Sunday, April 30, 2017

Good Reads

1. On Being Young, Driven and Still Human In which Arbela absolutely knocks it out of the park. Also, how awesome is her new blog layout?

2. How to Successfully Transition to Your First Job Just when I thought I was done studying forever, I now need to study this blog post (and the rest in the series) to prepare me for life.

3. How to Style a Menswear Inspired Look This is just hands down one of the coolest looks I've seen.

4. Up Your Instagram Game: 10 Instagram Flat Lay Photography Tips I'll totally admit that I am the worst at flat lay photos. These are some awesome tips!

5. One Shoulder Wonder Jane can literally pull off any look, I swear.

6. 32 Harlem Street-Style Looks, Plus a Playlist Another edition of I LOVE STREET STYLE.

7. How to Transform a Power Suit One day I hope to be able to own and rock a power suit. Chriselle looks amazing.

8. Long Enough How bomb are those trousers?! I'm obsessed.

9. 10 Hot Takes About the "New" Instagram Krista is one of my favorite accounts to follow, so I love all of her insight on what's happening with Instagram right now.

10. The New York Look Everything about this look is awesome, from the neck scarf to the ripped boyfriends jeans, all the way down to those freaking amazing fur loafers.

11. How I Stay True to My Spring Style Lydia's clothing and style is seriously out of this world. It's so classy and if you've watched even a few of her videos, you can totally tell that her style matches her personality perfectly.

12. Springtime in New York This is seriously one of my favorite looks of Krista's ever. It's so crisp, classic and springy!

13. Spring Style: Off the Shoulder Tops I love the delicate, floaty look to the top with the big belt and the edgy platform heels. Yet another super fun look from Jessica!

14. What Goes Into Being a Blogger It's really no surprise that I find blogging as a whole fascinating. I'm assuming if you're reading this post, you probably think the same! If that is the case, I highly recommend giving this post a read!

What have you been reading lately?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Mwah! | An April Playlist

Before I go any further, I will admit that this playlist features two songs by Metro Station as well as some songs from Beauty and the Beast. Really though, this is a fairly normal occurrence within my playlists. I'm pretty sure last month had new Frank Ocean, Celine Dion and George Michael so...

I digress, this month has been fun for music. Bleachers came out with some new music, which absolutely blew my mind. "Don't Take the Money" has their signature 80s flair that will make for the perfect summertime, windows down jam. Banks has a new haunting track that makes me want to dim all of the lights and let a fog machine go wild in my room while I sob in fetal position in the center of my bed.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I'm pretty sure that Dua Lipa has ruled my entire life this month. It all started with "Blow Your Mind (Mwah)," which has slowly become my new "Into You." I can't go a day without listening to it. I don't even like going a few hours without listening to this song. Walk down the street with this song playing in your headphones and I dare you not to start strutting. It's not possible!!!

Of course, Harry Styles' debut single has its place on my April playlist. Soon, my entire May playlist will be his debut album. I'm so not ready for May 15th when that comes out. Must. Mentally. Prepare. There's also a really cool track on this playlist called "Summer Clothes" by Marc Scibilia, a Buffalo native. His music is really chill and I've been really enjoying the acoustic version of that single!

Friday, April 28, 2017

New YouTubers On My Subscriptions List

I probably spend more time watching YouTube videos than I do watching actual television. It's been this way for quite a while, at least a few years. It's not even just content creators who I'm subscribed to. I watch videos in my suggested videos section, things that I find on social media that pop up in my feed, or even just hours upon hours of interviews from late night talk show hosts and their silly games. I subscribe and unsubscribe from channels every few months. Sometimes my mood shifts and  I become uninterested in certain video topics. I'm constantly seeking new YouTubers to watch and new channels to discover. I like beauty channels, fashion channels, vlogs, humor, anything that keeps me entertained for whatever amount of time. These are just the channels that I've subscribed to recently or somewhat recently!

1. Lydia Elise Millen

To watch for: luxury fashion hauls, come shopping with my vlogs, and a really cute fiancé and cat.

2. I Am Choquette

To watch for: luxury fashion hauls, long chit-chatty videos, and the most perfect aesthetic.

3. Lizzy Hadfield

To watch for: street style inspired videos and chill vlogs.

4. Cody Ko

To watch for: funny videos and calling out gross internet comedians

5. AmandaRachLee

To watch for: fashion hauls and bullet journal videos that will make you wish you could do calligraphy.

6. Coffee & Cashmere

To watch for: vlogs and New York themed content.

7. Kallie Kaiser

To watch for: LA style videos and lookbooks, hauls, and a sprinkling of beauty videos.

8. Mark Ferris


9. What Olivia Did

To watch for: a sprinkling of everything–books, beauty, fashion, chit-chats, anything under the sun!

10. The Sorry Girls

To watch for: fun DIY videos.

Who are some of your favorite YouTubers?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Things I'm Loving

1. Nine West mules

My favorite pair of booties that I have ever owned were a pair of black suede boots that I picked up for about $35 at the Saks outlet. They were Nine West too and from January 2016 until a few weeks ago, they were my staple. I'd wear them everywhere–to class, work, concerts, wherever I needed a pair of simple black booties that went with everything. Sadly, I wore these boots to the ground and then some, causing some holes in the toes. I nearly teared up when I tossed them into the dumpster a few weeks back. I try not to think about it, truly. Will I ever find a pair of boots that treat me as well?

Anyways, the whole point of that story was to say that Nine West shoes treat me and my feet kindly. They're always true to size and fit my slightly wide foot so comfortably. When I went shopping when I was home for Easter, I saw these gorgeous sand suede mules and I was immediately drawn to them. They were totally an unnecessary purchase, but I didn't know that I needed them in my life until I bought them. They go with literally everything. I wore them three days in a row last week without even realizing it. They don't slip off my feet when I'm walking, the heel is so comfortable to move around in, and there's no back to rub against my skin and create the world's worst blisters. Sounds like a winning pair of shoes to me!

2. OPI You're Such a Budapest and Essie Mint Candy Apple

I've been trying to get better about painting my nails on a more regular basis again. I used to be obsessed with nail polish my senior year of high school and freshmen year of college. Since then, I haven't really bothered with getting new colors. I actually need to replace some of my old favorites. But for now, I'm going through the shades that I bought a while ago and hoping that the quality is still up to par (so far, so good).

I pulled out my spring shades a few weeks ago and these two are on the top of my list of favorites. You're Such a Budapest is a sort of periwinkle meets lavender sort of color. It definitely leans more blue than purple, but it has some hints of a pastel purple in there somewhere. This is hands down one of my favorite nail polishes of all time. It looks great on the toes (which is what I have it on right now) and your fingers, which is not something I can say about all nail polish.

Mint Candy Apple is what you would expect from the name. It's a minty blue color. Usually when I think mint, I think of something that might lean a bit more to the green side, so this one is definitely more of a sky blue meets mint than a true mint green. Still, it's a really pretty color and I love to wear this one on my nails when the seasons change!

3. Girlboss, the Netflix series

I read #Girlboss, the sort of advice book/memoir by Sophia Amoruso, former CEO of Nasty Gal. I'm sure this book warrants a re-read at some point, but that's not the point of this lil' section of the post. Netflix adapted this book into a series, right now landing at 13 episodes. It follows Sophia Amoruso's twenty-something years struggling to make it as something in San Francisco. The show loosely (real loosely, according to the introductory slides) follows the book and Sophia's life, but it's still a seriously entertaining show.

Sure, Sophia Marlowe (in the show) can be irritating as hell. She's stubborn, strong-minded, and just a tad bit selfish (but let's be real, aren't we all?). Her mother left when she was younger, her dad is a number-driven business man, and luck just doesn't seem to be on her side. Throughout the thirteen episodes, you see her go from eviction notices to starting up her own eBay vintage store to eventually (do I even need to alert for spoilers? We know she started Nasty Gal, come on now) launching her own website.

It was an entertaining couple of days while I knocked out these half hour episodes. While it touches n the business side of things, really Girlboss focuses less on Nasty Gal and more on Sophia, which may either deter people or draw people in. If anything, it's fun to watch for Annie, Sophia's best friend who just says the weirdest sh!t that I love. And truly, Britt Robertson does an awesome job as Sophia.  I've seen mixed reviews about this show, but if you're looking for a new show to watch that doesn't take up much time and you can watch while you multitask, give this guy a try if you fancy a watch.

4. "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Hunter Place from The Voice

I'm obsessed with Hunter Plake. I didn't care for him in the Blind Auditions. I didn't dislike him by any means, but he really stood out to me in the battle rounds when he sang "Dancing On My Own" by Robyn so incredibly that I thought it was his song. His falsetto is CRAZY good and he further proves each week that he's good enough to win the entire season. This past week was no exception. He sang his own slightly EDM version of "Somebody I Used to Know" by Gotye and Kimbra, which is certainly a song that we all used to know. Not only did his falsetto shine as usual, he pulled out these deep and strong notes that I didn't know he was capable of. I dunno guys, this dude is mega-talented and even if he doesn't win, I don't expect that this will be the last I'm talking about him.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Warehouse District: Cathy's Creamery

Cathy's Creamery is a constant in my life. And by constant, I mean a constant craving that I have to continuously squash so I don't gain six million pounds. When I first downloaded Uber Eats, Cathy's was (and still is) one of the few dessert places listed. Food, I could not care less about. But dessert? Dessert is my passion. Dessert is my everything. Dessert is something that keeps me awake at night. People have a sweet teeth and I, well, I have a set of sweet teeth and–when given the opportunity to have something sugary–an insatiable hunger for all things dessert related.

One one particular weekend night at around approximately 10PM a few months ago (this time isn't important, I'm just trying to set the mood, ya feel?), my roommate and I decided to make the plunge and get some decadent ice cream sandwiches from Cathy's on Uber Eats. Since that day, there is at least one day a week where we scroll through Uber Eats and have the conversation of whether or not that day will be the day that we cave and order another ice cream sandwich. We're usually strong and resist the urge, but just know that it's always a tough decision that we tend to second guess.

Well, yesterday was not only the day of giving in, but it was also the day of visiting the motherland of ice cream sandwiches in Cleveland for the first time. We've no doubt walked past it before, albeit in the dark and a little bit tipsy (West 6th is a stretch of bars, essentially), but we finally visited during the day on an empty stomach and during a long walk exploring downtown.

Cathy's has milkshakes too, but knowing me and my intolerance to massive amounts of dairy, that just seemed like a disaster waiting to happen. So, my roommate and I braved some gourmet ice cream sandwiches and prayed to god that they'd end up being portable. Spoiler alert: they were. Honestly, there's something weirdly satisfying while also being slightly gross and unsanitary about eating while walking outside in a city. It's certainly not the first nor the last time that I'll engage in this, so really, I just call it practice. We got our spoons and a little mini bag to hold our ice cream sandwiches in while we meandered around downtown for what could potentially be the last time ever but I'm not going to think about that because that's a horribly sad truth that I am not ready to face.

Location: 1300 West 6th Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44113
What to get: Ice cream sandwich with the chocolate brownie cookie and cheesecake ice cream 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Bleached Hair Upkeep

I've been using bleach to lighten my hair for the past four or five years. I realized late in life (relatively speaking, I've been highlighting my hair since sixth grade) that my hair doesn't take to normal blonde hair dye. When my current hair stylist told me this, it made my traumatic orangey-blonde hair from eighth grade make so much more sense. Since the only way to lighten my hair is bleach, the texture and state of my hair does get affected (somewhat dramatically, but not too bad in the grand scheme of things) by the chemicals. For a while, my hair would feel somewhat like straw until I deep conditioned enough. It'd be in seemingly rough shape for a little bit before I'd get it under control and back to my normal hair texture.

When it comes to day to day shampooing and conditioning, my go to since I started college has been the L'Oreal line. Typically I use the Total Repair 5 Restoring shampoo (yellow bottle), but from time to time when my hair feels incredibly dehydrated I use the Hydrating shampoo and conditioner set (blue bottle). When it comes to drugstore haircare products, I prefer these L'Oreal ones for a normal duo that do a great job at, you know, the basics of keeping my hair clean and smooth, but also to add strength and shine back to my hair.

Another must have in my haircare arsenal is a heat protectant spray. I refuse to use heat on my hair if I don't have a generous amount of this dispersed through my hair. The last thing I need to do is damage my hair in the early (or even late stages) of a new hair color. Nuh-uh, I don't want those frayed rough dead ends! No thank you! I've been using the TRESemmé one for years and years, but so many brands have their own version.

A new addition to my haircare routine is the Hask Blue Chamomile & Argan Oil collection meant specifically for blondes. I've been dying to try out a purple shampoo for a year or two now. Because I don't live at home and don't really have the expendable income to get my hair done a lot throughout the year (but #goals though, right?), I usually get it colored twice a year. This means that at some point throughout the six months between dye jobs, the color starts to fade and I get plain old sad. Purple shampoos help tone and decrease the brassiness in blonde hair. My hair has the tendency to lean brassy fairly shortly after I get it done because that's just where my natural hair color lies on the spectrum. I've been dying to find a shampoo and conditioning combo that combats the fading of my blonde to a brassy yellow shade.

Not only does this Hask set have deep blue violet coloring to neutralize yellow and orange tones (um hello, throwback to that eighth grade disaster I was talking about), but it's also infused with argan oil. Goodbye, crusty dead ends! The set of shampoo, conditioner, and deep conditioner banish the brassy tones as they start to appear while simultaneously pumping in the extra moisture that bleached blonde hair needs. As far as I'm concerned, this is a fantastic two in one product that keeps the integrity of both the color of my bleached hair and the smooth, shiny state of my hair pre-bleach.

I've been using this set for a week now the same way that I would use my normal shampoo and conditioner. I continued to wash my hair every other day to really test out this product. Since I do apply this conditioner from my roots to the end of my hair, I got really worried that my roots would be greasy beyond repair with dry shampoo on the second day. Wrong! I was so nervous because of the added oil and hair repair benefits that it would over compensate and weigh down my hair, but instead, it had the same effect as any other second day hair. A few spritzes of dry shampoo and I was good to go for the day.

Even right now, I'm running my fingers through the ends of my ponytail and it just feels so smooth. I got my hair bleached about a month ago, which means the initial bright blonde tones that were apparent have faded by now. I didn't notice it getting brassy per se, but if you've ever bleached your hair or gone blonde, you know how sad it can be when you lose that initial bright blonde stage. Now, as I've said, I've only been using this for a week, which means I've probably washed my hair with it three or four times and I've used the deep conditioner twice. Still, even after only a week, I've noticed that sections of my hair that seemed to be losing their tone are back to normal, as if I had a quick stop back into the salon. I'm really excited to see what continued use of this Hask duo will do for my hair, especially since I don't know the next time I'll be getting my hair dyed will be!

This post has been powered by BrandBacker. All opinions, however, are my own. Thanks!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Recent Outfits, Part Nine

I call this look I Only Wanted To Wear the Blouse But It's Sheer and I Didn't Want to Wear a Bra So I Layered This Varsity Sweater On Top For Good Measure also known as I've Definitely Worn This Exact Outfit Before Somewhere On the Blog also known as Lizzie McQuire, You Are An Outfit Repeater!!!!! also known as #NOSHAME.

Top: J. Crew
Sweater: American Eagle
Jeans: Levi's
Boots: Stuart Weitzman

I call this look LOOK I FINALLY GOT A PAIR OF MOM JEANS!!!! also known as I Broke In Those Heels During an Eight Hour Work Day and My Feet Wanted to DIE. 

Top: Isabel Marant (from Cleveland Consignment Shoppe)
Jeans: BDG (from CCS)
Shoes: Kate Spade (from CCS)


I call this look You Can Bet Your Bottom Dollar That I Wore These Jeans Approximately Four Times the Week I Got Them also known as Heeled Mules Are the Greatest Shoes to Ever Exist and I Want Them In Every Single Color also known as #LivingThatNoAnkleBlisterLife.

Top: J. Crew
Jeans: BDG (from CCS)
Scarf: Coach (from CCS)
Shoes: Nine West

I call this look It Was Too Cold To Not Wear Pants, But I Really Did Not Want to Put Pants On also known as These Literally Feel Like Pajama Pants (And Someone Once Asked If They Were). 

Sweater: H&M
Pants: Kate Spade (from CCS)
Shoes: Nine West

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Good Reads

1. Celebrate the Everyday Trousers? With a pair of sneakers? I NEED TO TRY THIS! You know, especially since I finally (seriously, how many good reads posts have I mentioned that I need to get a pair of ~ fashion ~ sneakers to call my own?) got my own pair of white leather sneakers!

2. 10 Things I Learned About Leandra From Her Vogue Closet Tour I'm just here for the first comment on the post, from none other than the woman, the myth, the legend, Leandra Medine. But for real, this video was actually hilarious. She's so charming and clever and hilarious and so, so well-dressed.

3. Is Fran Drescher Pink the New Millennial Pink? I haven't even seen The Nanny, but I feel like I know the character Fran Drescher like the back of my hand based solely on her incredible style (and, you know, the whole having the first name in common–it's a thing, don't worry about it).

4. Layering a Jumpsuit First things first, I need to find the perfect jumpsuit. Then after that I need to figure out how to layer it like Jessica because this look is so damn cute.

5. 7 Legit Medical Reasons You Feel Exhausted @ me next time.

6. How to Wear One White Button-Down All Week *frantically pulls white oxford out of my closet and steams the sh!t out of it*

7. The New York Effect: Styling a Pleated Midi Skirt I finally got to try out my version of styling a pleated skirt a couple of weeks ago and it changed my life. I had the comfort of wearing a skirt (stuffing my thighs into jeans every day is honestly painful and I still, to this day, hate pants, but find them necessary unfortunately) and my slip on sneaks. But I also just recently got the most perfect pair of nude heels that would also look gorg with the skirt...I can feel the cogs in my head spinning.

8. How I Gained 1,000 Instagram Followers Last Month Y'all, listen to Jessica. She knows her stuff!

What have you been reading lately?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Dream Closet, Vol. 28

Apparently, my dream closet consists of color. I find it hilarious how my normal day-to-day wardrobe is a sea full of black, grey, white and the occasional tan if I'm feeling particularly neutral that day. The only color that occasionally comes out to play is my lip color. And even now, I'm getting a bit lazy with that. What gives?!

I've never been a fan of body-skimming silhouettes. I'm not a body-con dress kind of gal. I'm lucky enough that I can get myself into skinny jeans a majority of the week. I love that all of these pieces are either bohemian and flowy or have a nice flare at the bottom so it won't hug to my body. Plus, how incredible are those Fendi shoes? I have going ga-ga over the Fendi sock boots that Tamara Kalinic was wearing a few weeks ago and those heels kind of sort of give me the same vibe. And how stinking cute is that rainbow bucket bag? Ugh, adorable.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Navigating College As An Introvert

Some people don't believe me when I tell them that I'm an introvert. The concept of being an introvert and extrovert has many facets, but to me, simply put, as an introvert I get drained being around people for long periods of time where I see extroverts as people who thrive off of being around people and gain energy from those situations. It doesn't mean I'm anti-social and don't like being with my friends and out and about. It just means that I might need a brief period where I "recharge" and have a few moments to myself.

In college, while yes, there's a heavy emphasis on academics and getting that degree, there's also an equally heavy emphasis on socializing and networking. Do you know how daunting it is to move away from home, four hours away from the people you grow up with, expected to create a whole new life for yourself when you know that in order to do that you need to socialize and socialize hard? I was petrified to leave my room freshmen year. I'd even walk down the hall with my headphones on to avoid conversations with my floormates because I wanted to shelter myself from new people and experiences. For me, the fact that I eventually made friends in college (good friends, too) shocked the hell out of me.

I thought high school was it for me. I thought I had met the best people of my life. I'm sure a lot of people go into college thinking they're going to have the time of their lives and meet the people that they're going to hold onto forever. I didn't think that way. I thought I was going into college to get a degree and that was it. My perception of college was not the perception that society has on college and I think I almost self-sabotaged and set myself up for failure.

My college experience can be summed up in this short timeline:

  • Freshmen year: Too terrified to hang out anywhere but my dorm room. Occasionally conversed with roommate and suitemates. Explored downtown on foot alone, found comfort spots. Made one non-roommate friend, but rarely hung out outside of class. 
  • Sophomore year: Still mainly stayed in room. Occasionally hung out with non-roommate friend from freshmen year on campus. Declined any party invitations for three months straight. Occasionally would get ready to go out, looked at myself in the mirror and sighed, "who am I kidding?" before I would text her that I couldn't go out that night. Reluctantly agreed to move in with non-roommate friend and her two friends for an apartment junior year. Low-key was terrified that the other two girls would absolutely hate me (genuinely thought one of them did) (spoiler alert: she's now my best friend).
  • Junior year: Actual friend group? Who hung out every weekend? And I actually wanted to hang out with them? Consistently? I left my bedroom? What is this?
  • Senior year: Smaller friend group, more simplified. Weekends out turned into nights in, but still enjoyable all the same. Undertone of everyone being scared sh!tless for post-grad life. But, friends, nonetheless.
So, it took me about two entire years to find my way. Truth be told, I spent a majority of junior year thinking I was being punked. I tend to convince myself that people don't actually want to be friends with me because I'm kind of weird and if you don't get to know me I probably look mean because I have a resting bitch face and don't talk very much at first because I'm generally pretty uncomfortable in most introductory social situations. It was tough at first though. I had gone from holding onto the remnants of my high school friends to completely detaching myself from anyone but family and a couple of people from home. That's a recipe for disaster, a few months where I just felt really lonely. I had to learn how to rebuild and regroup, which as a person who doesn't seek out socialization is not an easy task.

But look, I did it! It's not to say that I still don't have days where I just want to be alone. Like right now, I could be writing this blog post in the kitchen where two of my roommates are, but I cherish a few hours in the morning to be by myself. And guess what? They get it. People understand my weird tendencies? And are okay with it? What is this sorcery! 

It amazed me to realize how many people are the same way. It's easy to make assumptions about people. It's easy to assume that people are uber social and love to be surrounded by people at all times. Snap judgements, as you could assume, can be detrimental. You never know what's going on behind the scenes. Sometimes even the people who seem to be huge social butterflies like to have an evening to themselves so they can just be alone and recharge. It's normal, even if it's not normalized in society.

I've talked about it before on the blog, but I want to reiterate it. You don't have to go party every weekend to enjoy college. You don't have to get a fake ID and hit the clubs. You don't even have to drink to enjoy college. My roommates and I have the most fun having sober dance parties in our apartment. You don't need the biggest group of friends to have fun. You don't need to be anything you're not in college. Because someway, somehow, you will find your way. 

Sure, I had missteps in college. I'm not friends with people I used to be friends with. I'm not closer with people who I thought I'd be best friends with. But I have my group, the people who don't think it's completely annoying (or maybe they do and just don't tell me which is fine too) that I have to sing everything I do and twirl around the kitchen and run up and down the hallways because walking takes too long. The people who don't question me when I say that I'm not in the mood that night to watch a basketball game, but who also aren't afraid to coax me into being social anyways. It's never forced. I know it comes from a good place because if it was up to me, I'd still be freshmen Francesca, hiding in her room too afraid to be out in the world. It took an army (and myself!) to get me to the place where the idea of going out to dinner and drinks with friends sounds great.

So, how did I survive college as an introvert? Easy, but actually not really.
  1. Forced myself out of my comfort zone. I hate the word force, but I really did. Sometime I had to contradict the thoughts in my head and by-pass the voice telling me to just stay inside. I can always tell the difference between me really truly wanting to avoid socialization and me just being a little bit scared of what people will think of me. Because that's truly what it always boiled down to. I'm always afraid of people's perceptions of me, how they see my personality, my appearance, my presence. Once I got over that (somewhat), it became easier each time. 
  2. Knew when to say "no." I still say no to doing things. I know myself and I know that I can't take an entire week of socializing. I know which days to pick and choose what to do and who to spend my time with.
  3. Got a retail job. Working in retail was my saving grace. I truly think that my two jobs–Wandering Wardrobe and Cleveland Consignment Shoppe–shaped me into who I am right now in this moment. I learned to find common ground with complete strangers. I now have regulars at the store who ask thoughtful questions and carry on from visit to visit. I have friendly relationships with customers, people who, if I saw them anywhere else, I would be too afraid to even look at most likely. Retail pulled me out of my shell. While my retail persona is obviously a little more embellished than my normal personality, I'd say them match up pretty well (besides the customer service voice which is seriously like two octaves higher than my normal talking voice).
And that's all she wrote! Just kidding. But that's how I went from sheltered, quiet seventeen-year-old who thought about transferring every week to the twenty-one-year-old who is down to her last month in Cleveland and is torn up into pieces about leaving her home for the past four years.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Things I'm Loving

1. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

I didn't know that this story existed. I saw Beauty and the Beast the other week with my roommate and the trailer for this new movie showed beforehand. I saw that Amandla Stenberg was starring in it and immediately decided that it was a blockbuster hit and deserved six trillion awards. I knew I would have to read the book before I dare saw the movie and lo and behold, it was on sale for like nine bucks or something at Target and it felt like fate.

I read this entire book on Easter Sunday. I think by now it's clear that if I don't read a book in one sitting or a 24-hour period, I forget to finish them. It's binge-reading or bust for me, so I did what I had to do and powered through the book. It's a fairly easy read. I feel like the term "easy read" can be construed as simple, but I prefer to attribute it to the fact that the author has been able to create a story that captures your attention and doesn't waver in their detail or storyline. Everything in Everything, Everything flows gloriously together.

The narrator, eighteen-year-old Madeline Whittier, is smart and clever, but is sheltered from the outside world. She has SCID and cannot leave her house because anything and everything could trigger a sickness. Her mother is her caretaker and doctor, alongside longtime nurse Carla. She has very little human interaction in person aside from her mother and nurse besides a few teachers who are able to give lessons in person rather than through Skype–after they've been "sanitized."

Things change when a new family moves into the neighborhood. Madeline watches from the window, forming a silent connection with the son of the family, Olly. They begin messaging each other, forming a bond and friendship. Eventually, Carla gives in and allows the two to meet in person and from then on out, for lack of better terms, sh!t gets real. Everything that Madeline had once believed has the chance to change forever.

I don't want to spoil too much of the plot, but if you're looking for a new springtime read, I'd pick this one up at Target before the movie hits the big screen!

2. "Hard Times" by Paramore

Paramore is back!!! I've been a big fan of Paramore since the "Misery Business" days and have continued to fall in love with whatever they're doing musically. I was going through my usual morning Facebook scroll yesterday morning and was bombarded by a new song and music video from the group that I barely even recognize anymore. It's got this really sick like, 70s vibe, and just makes me want to bop and dance. I mean, most songs make me want to dance. I have horrible rhythm, but nonetheless, I have ~ have the rhythm in me ~. All jokes aside, I actually really dig the song and I'm really stoked to see if their new album is following in this direction. It comes out on the 12th of May, which means it'll probably have to fight for my attention from Harry Styles' debut album. And you know, like, me crying over the fact that I'll only have two or three more days living with my roommates for the rest of forever. *starts hyperventilating*

3. Dior Oval Crystal-Embellished Optyl sunglasses

Oops I did it again, I played with my debit card...Let me just start this out by saying that the outlet mall is a scary, dangerous place and Saks Off Fifth always takes my money. And by takes my money I mean I practically just toss all of my money at random crap when I'm in there because I can't control myself. Luckily, I went with my mom who is always my voice of reason. Even this time though, she let me get away with a couple of things that I probably didn't need. Case in point: these sunglasses. I literally only wear my Quay glasses. I did pick up those Tom Ford cat-eye glasses not too long ago from work, but the second I saw these sitting on the sunglasses display, I immediately knew they had to be mine.

Typically, I avoid black frames because they look way, way too stark against my fair skin. Amazingly enough, these don't look like complete trash on my face. The shape is something unlike anything that I ever thought would look good on my face. But honestly, we all know the best part of these glasses is the incredible mirrored and embellished arms. Look at that sparkle!

4. "Kissing Strangers" by DNCE featuring Nicki Minaj

Oh, my first love...Joe...DNCE's music never fails to just make me happy. It's always so upbeat and danceable and honestly, those are two things that I look for in my pop music. And then a Nicki Minaj feature? Nothing could be better, nothing. "Kissing Strangers" is no exception to my love for DNCE. In fact, it might be one of my favorite songs of theirs. I would kill to hear this live. I can just see Joe, Cole and JinJoo bouncing around stage in my head. So fun!

5. Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara

It's been a while since I last talked about this mascara. When my last tube dried out, I decided to try out a few new mascaras in between, but I always come back to this one. This is either my second or third tube, which for me, extreme mascara fanatic, is pretty incredible. I have fairly low maintenance eyelashes (I know, I know, I'm lucky but just remember that my skin is horrible!) so most mascaras work for me. But this one works for me. I keeps my lashes long, full and curled. The tube says "full fan effect" and man, it is not wrong. If I'm using this mascara in succession with another, I always put this on second to separate the lashes and really just lengthen the crap out of them. The formula is nice too because it stays put all day, but isn't a pain in the butt to take off at night like some other mascaras I've tried.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Stages of Putting Together An Outfit

1. Wake up to first alarm. Snooze. Wake up to second alarm. Snooze. Wake up to third alarm. Consider getting out of bed? Snooze one last time, for good measure.

2. Slowly crawl out of bed. Somewhere between the kid from The Grudge and an infant. Groan of defeat is not required, but if potentially waking up roommates is not a factor, go for it. It adds a certain gene se quois.

3. Go through morning routine. Wash face, brush hair, cake on three layers of foundation and concealer to hide your still acne ridden skin even if you've been dealing with this crap for at least seven years and IT IS STILL PLAGUING YOUR FACE. Take a deep breath after suffering through the same acne rant you have weekly.

4. Open your closet. Search for the pieces of the outfit that you were creating in your head the night before and thought would be absolutely perfect for the next day. Retrieve pieces and hold them up in the mirror. You may or may not actually try these on before you decide that THEY'RE ALL WRONG. EVERYTHING IS WRONG.

5. Check the weather. Realize that it's actually twenty degrees colder/warmer than you thought (it could go either way in the Midwest). Change everything you ever considered for an outfit that day and start completely from scratch. Return to step four and do not collect $200.

6. Stare into the seemingly endless void that is your closet. Touch every single piece of clothing on the hangers, pondering momentarily at each piece. Is today the day that you'll finally wear that silk pajama top that you haven't worn since last season? Pass. What about the sweater you bought in four different colors because it was your favorite style despite not wearing two out of the four that are currently taking up space in your closet? Pass, pass, pass and pass. Faux leather MC Hammer pants that feel like you're legitimately wearing sweatpants to work and allow you to eat as much or as little as you want because of the elastic waist? Possibly. Pull those suckers out and lay them out on your bed, probably still unmade and messy from the morning crawl.

7. Pick out an entire outfit that you think you love. Look down at your bare feet and realize that you've chosen an outfit that goes with none of the shoe options that you have in your closet. Briefly consider stopping at the mall before you have to go to wherever you're going until you realize that that is completely implausible. Sigh in defeat and go back to step four. Again.

8. Try on two to three more outfit combinations, keeping shoes in mind this time. It's the law to hate at least two of the outfits that you try on in the morning. You're legally obliged. I don't make the rules, the founding fathers did. Am I saying that this is in the constitution. Maybe. Have you read the entire thing? There could be fine print.

9. Lay down on your bed in your bra and underwear for a solid five minutes. Realize that you've wasted half of your morning trying to dress yourself and that you now only have ten minutes to put in your contacts, brush your teeth, pack a lunch, get dressed and somehow walk five minutes to your car in the parking lot.

10. Scramble to your closet and blindly grab for something. Check reflection to make sure zipper on your kick flare jeans is done up. Ignore the fact that you're wearing an oversized turtleneck that you may or may not have worn the previous day. You didn't take a #OOTD photo so you don't remember what exactly you put on your body.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Confession: I'm Super Type A

Type A, noun: a personality type characterized by ambition, high energy, and competitiveness, and thought to be susceptible to stress and heart disease.

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I didn't know that Type A and Type B personalities existed for the longest time. I saw Carly (The College Prepster) talking about herself being Type A in a blog post years ago and a series of balloon-like question marks floated above my head until I finally researched the topic and realized that–yikes–I fit into the same bubble. Is "yikes" the right word to use?

I don't think that me being Type A ruins everything. Of course, I notice it in my every day actions. I see it in my work ethic, my stress levels, my occasional difficulty to fall asleep at night. But I also see it in my conscientiousness–making sure everyone is doing okay, sending personalized birthday messages on time, creating a welcoming environment for those around me–my need to achieve and make things happen.

It has its pros and cons. I don't like to procrastinate. Wasting time physically makes me a little bit nauseous (or maybe it was the dairy I accidentally consumed). When it comes to getting work done, this is great. I think this is why I never want my work to end, though. Plowing through my to-do list in record breaking time always feels like an accomplishment until I'm left without nothing else to do and have to face the idea of "free time." Free time? To relax? That is a foreign concept to me and something that I've yet to fully learn how to embrace and enjoy.

I don't like knowing that I can't do something or don't like something. I wanted to try everything when I was younger. I wanted to the learn the piano and the guitar, even if I didn't want to pursue any sort of music in my future. I wanted to play all of the sports and master as many activities as possible just to say that I could. I would have ever described it as wanting to be the best, but in my head I turn everything into a competition, as petty as that might sound. It motivates me. It's never negative competition. It's all one-sided and lingers in my head, popping up when I'm trying to decide what to do next.

I tend to worry a lot about everything. I worry about myself, my future, what will happen to me in such and such amount of time. I worry about my friends and their well-being. I worry about my family. I worry about the world at large. A lot of my headspace is taken up by my worries which piles on the stress. What will happen? What will I do when something happens? What will I do if something doesn't happen? It's like a mental spiral that sounds like white noise in my head, but I can't shake it. I'm a worrier through and through.

My life, at the moment, is centered around me–my career, my future, where I'm going to live. It's been this way for a while, really. I've been hyper-focused on getting myself to New York to work in the industry of my preference that I'm not willing to let anyone or anything in the way. Because of this, it's hard for me to let people in that might get in the way. I don't date. It's distracting. I don't want to give up my time to another person, which sounds selfish, sure, but I can't explain it much further than that. I just read that Type A people can often end up alone and merely shrugged. It doesn't bug me too much. Not as much as the lack of efficiency, wasting time, purposeful and intentional laziness.

I don't tick every single box on the ever-growing list of aspects of a Type A personality. There's not an entry test where you must check off ten of the requirements. But understanding that this type of personality existed and being able to relate to some of the aspects of being Type A helped me understand myself and why I do or say the things that I do.

Anyone else have a Type A Personality? Or are you more Type B?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Layering for Spring

Let me tell you one thing: taking photos during some of the worst wind I've experienced in Downtown Cleveland is not an easy task, not in the slightest. I just wanted to take some cute photos of one of my favorite sweaters in my closet but the weather was having absolutely none of it. These steps at Mather Mansion seemed to be even more of a wind tunnel somehow, blowing the wind in all directions simultaneously. The weather was testing us and we, thankfully, made it through a round of photos. It involved a lot of pausing, blooper shots, and knotted hair, but we did it!

Even if it's mid-April in Cleveland, it still can be pretty cold. I was still feeling the breeze in this ensemble, leather jacket and all. This might be annoying to some people who aren't used to the wishy-washy Lake Erie weather, but when it means I can extend my turtleneck game, I'm fine with anything that happens as long as it's not snow.

My turtleneck is a silk blend from the brand Zoom. I have absolutely zero clue where to get this brand since I got it at work, which makes me sad because it's one of the most comfortable pieces of clothing in my closet. The turtleneck on it is way less intense than some of mine (I'm looking at you, oversized Vince turtleneck that is equal to the length of it sweater itself) and gives me a tiny Audrey Hepburn vibe.

My extremely distressed jeans are by Joe's Jeans. My leather jacket is from Zara, as is the patchwork clutch/crossbody bag. My shoes are Via Spiga and contrary to that heel height are insanely comfortable. And it's not surprise that I'm wearing my Quay sunglasses. I don't got anywhere without those suckers.

Would it be a blog post without some blooper shots from the windiest shoot on earth?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Good Reads

1. Madrid City Guide It's been about four years since I went to Spain. The details are still a bit blurry, but the entire week

2. Mellow Yellow Jane always has the best old school vibe in her outfits. I love the vintage spins she puts on her modern dressing!

3. Little White Tassel Dress This is such a great summery dress! I love the simplicity of it. It's probably a dream to style!

4. Minimalism is Boring: 3 Maximalist Approaches to Spring Dressing I'm always out here trying to do The Most™. Minimalism? Not really my thing.

5. Lessons In Blogging This is some of the most thorough blogging advice I've come across!

6. Woman Crush Wednesday: Katherine Langford I binge watched 13 Reasons Why last week and Katherine Langford knocked it out of the park.

7. Embroidered Mules Street Style How do I not own a pair of mules like this that? Explain this to me!

8. OOTD : Red Lips Red lipstick is my absolute favorite and this dress is just killer. Love it!

9. #MyPerfectWorld with Origins | Magenta Heels and Camel Coat Origins will always have a special place in my heart for clearing up my acne for a long time when I was in high school and early college! I also love the pop of color with those magenta heels, especially against that gorgeous neutral coat!

10. The Importance of Female Friendship Kelsey got it right: females are strong as hell. I love my gal pals with my whole heart!

What have you been reading lately?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Four Things I'm Generally Too Lazy To Do

My toes have about ten layers of nail polish on them at the moment because I'm too lazy to take it off and pick a new color. Big shocker there.
I wouldn't consider myself lazy, but at the same time...I can be kind of lazy. Can't we all? Trying to do everything all at once is exhausting and sometimes I just don't want to participate in certain life activities. I'm lucky half of the time that I brush my hair and do a full face of makeup and like, brush my teeth and stuff. Okay, perhaps not the last one, but the brushing hair only happens about half of the time. I digress, there are just some days where I'm too lazy to do more than necessary. Some days might actually translate to most days, but we're going to pretend I'm a little more active than I'm letting on here even though we all probably know the truth. There are definitely certain things that I'm way less likely to do on a consistent basis that never fail to surprise me when it comes time to do them.

1. Painting my nails

 I used to be really good about doing this consistently. Every Sunday, I would line up my bottles and pick a new color for the week. Hell, sometimes I'd ever switch my color in the middle of the week because I felt like it. Yeah, that habit died pretty quickly, sometime around junior year of college. It started with just repainting over the remnants of whatever color polish was left on my nails from the week before. Then it turned into me just going weeks with bare nails and apologizing for the state of my cuticles and nail beds while I tried to fight off the laziness that consumed and destroyed my grooming habits. Now I'm lucky if I paint them once a month. It's not even that the act is all that time consuming. It's the upkeep and making sure that they don't get gunky while I'm sleeping. Even with a fast drying top coat, I have to sleep on my back like a zombie and I can't.

2. Washing my makeup brushes

God, I'm the worst when it comes to this. Honestly, it's no freaking wonder why I'm always breaking out. Again, it was something I used to be good at. I'd wash them weekly to ensure that I'd have fresh and clean face and eye brushes at the beginning of each week. I try to do them once every couple of weeks now but the lines blur sometimes and I don't even know how long I go between washes now. When you think about it, it's really gross. All of that makeup and bacteria built up within the bristles? *dry heaves* Yet, here I am, using dirty brushes. Actually, I did just finally wash them this week but it took a week and a half of me having it written on a pink post it note on my wall in front of my desk for it to finally happen.

3. Properly making my bed

I had to add the "properly" because currently my bed is technically made, but it looks like complete crap. An army sergeant would smack me on top of the head if they saw the state of my sheets. It's in complete disarray, throw pillows arranged crooked on my crumpled comforter with pillows that are half off the bed. It looks horrible, but I can't be bothered to take the extra like, thirty seconds to make it look neat and tidy. What is wrong with me? It takes zero time! It probably takes me longer to just throw everything on there and pick up the pillows I throw when they inevitably miss the mattress.

4. Cooking

This is either out of laziness or pure lack of talent in the kitchen. Who knows though, maybe if I spent more time in the kitchen I'd actually freaking know how to make something that isn't just boiling water and dropping in pre-made cheese tortellini that takes seven minutes to cook. But at the same time, I can't be bothered. I don't want to have to buy the ingredients. I don't want to have to risk potentially botching a few meals to get it right. I just want to go to Trader Joe's and ravage their pre-made frozen section and let those little meals dictate my life and diet. Bagel for breakfast every morning for the past like four years? Sure, let's go it. Sometimes I throw waffles and eggs into the mix to get a little crazy, but it always comes back down to my staples: bagels, tortellini, applies, edamame and a nice big cup of coffee.

What's one thing that you just can't get yourself to do on a regular basis?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Frayed Denim & Graphic Tees

I saw Little Mix at the end of Februrary and I'm still not even sure how I'm alive to tell the tale. I adore those four girls so much. I haven't purchased concert merch in so long because I never wear it, but I'll be damned if this Shout Out To My Ex shirt doesn't go to good use. I definitely had no business buying this shirt, but now it's in my t-shirt drawer and I probably wear it more than I should admit to.

 If you're unaware of Little Mix for any reason, that's the title of their lead single from their fourth studio album Glory Days and I'm convinced they were sent to earth to own pop music. They're fantastic. But this post technically isn't about them, but I will happily make everything I possible can about them.

I waited for these Celine shoes to go on sale at work and let me tell you, best decision I've ever made. I hemmed and hawed over whether or not I actually liked them or just thought they were so ugly that they were cool. But now, they're mine, and I'm so happy every time I see them in the bottom of my closet, neatly organized (well at least now they're neat) with the rest of my shoe collection.

The outfit really just consists of a few simple things. I got the t-shirt from the Little Mix concert (similar x hoodie version). The jeans are from the recent H&M x Coachella collection. I adore the frayed bottoms and all of the star details! Shoes, as I said, are the ballerina pumps by Celine from Cleveland Consignment Shoppe. The jacket is also from CCS, but it's by the brand Monki. I'm also wearing my trusty Quay reflective sunglasses and the Too Faced Melted Lipstick in Melted Strawberry.

I'm normally not one to wear my hair straight but for some reason, I was just feeling this more toned down and natural hair look. When my hair was longer, I always wore it curly or if I was too lazy to style my hair that day, I'd toss it up into a bun and call it a day. Part of my reasoning to cut my hair was so I would stop being lazy and start putting a little more effort into my appearance every day. Obviously, there's nothing wrong with not styling your hair. Hell, some days I wish I had my long hair back so I could just wear a damn top knot. But for me, I fall too deep into routines and sometimes I just need a change to get me out of those ruts I inadvertently dig myself into.