Bye Bye Dry Skin!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

There was a time in life where my skin was oily no matter what season it was. On one hand, it sucked because there was always a slight sheen to my skin after an hour or two, even after all of the matte foundation and setting powders in the world. On the other hand, there wasn't much to worry about when the cold weather hit because even if my skin did dry out, it wouldn't be much different anybody with normal skin during the rest of the year. 

Then, something with my skin changed and I started using dermatologist prescribed acne treatments and suddenly I had something for the first time in my life: dry skin, and on occasion, a lot of it. There are two (well, I'm sure more than two, but these are two big ones) incredibly irritating things about dry skin. First thing, it hurts. Have you ever had skin so dry that it feels like it's trying to pull away from your face and escape before it has to spend another second so dry? Waking up with your skin feeling tight sucks and is just an all-around uncomfortable experience. The second thing is that makeup just looks...gross over dry patches. This is probably TMI, but if I see a patch of dry skin on my face that's been made completely blatant with foundation and powder, I feel the urge to peel it off and then I'm left with either (a) even more skin to make it even more obvious or (b) a large spot on my face missing foundation that is impossible to cover.

Beyond just staying hydrated (also, very important, so like, don't stop drinking water during the winter?), there are quite a few things you could do to keep your skin nice and fresh and hydrated to combat that inevitable dry skin that comes with winter.

Tis the Season of (Tan) Turtlenecks

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

I really just added that extra tan in there for alliteration reasons, let's be real here. It's my favorite time of year. No, not the holidays. And no, not the end of the year. It's finally socially acceptable and weather appropriate to wear turtlenecks on a daily basis without the weird looks and absolutely sweating bullets.

I've declared, I'm sure, on multiple occasions that turtlenecks are my lifeblood. I mean, they're up there with coffee. Actually, the simultaneous combination of drinking coffee whilst wearing a turtleneck...*shudders*. It's just too much to handle. I just think that they're the perfect addition to any late fall and winter wardrobe. They double as a sweater and a scarf and I'm all about efficiency over here. I'm a forgetful person when it comes to accessories (have I ever mentioned that I forget to wear jewelry on a daily basis and completely neglect the tiny collection I do have?), so I'll take anything that helps me out in that department.

Making Your Bold Lipstick Last

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Contrary to belief made popular by my admittance to being lazy across social media, there was a time where I used to get ready almost every day of the week. That meant combing through my eyebrows, actually brushing my hair, and putting on clothes that weren't pajamas. I would say clothes that I didn't wear three days in a row, but honestly, I'm an outfit repeater. I mean, that's what Monday/Wednesday/Friday and Tuesday/Thursday classes exist for. Nobody knows that you wore the same thing in a row besides you and that one kid that somehow is in all of your classes.

Anyways, I digress, back when I used to get ready, I wore a lot of lipstick. Like, a new color for each outfit that somehow perfectly matched or coordinated. It was weird. I also wore a lot of dark and bold lipstick because I thought it was fun and suited me. And other than "what the hell are you wearing on your lips" (mainly when I wore my darkest colors that could've been a black lipstick or those times that I did actually wear a black lipstick), I got asked a lot how I got my lipstick to last without smudging or bleeding or fading off in patchy sections.

Now, I'm not good at many things, but I am good at keeping my lipstick on, especially my boldest shades.

Where Do I Find My Style Inspiration?

Monday, November 27, 2017

The easy answer to that question would be my brain, duh! But that would also be a lie and the only thing I like to lie about is my natural hair color. Style is weird, right? I mean, think about what you wore ten years ago, then five years ago, and then even a year or two ago. I think style is just an extension of ourselves: our personalities, quirks, interests, lifestyle, the whole nine yards. It's a visual representation of who we are (or maybe, in some cases, who we want to be). 

I like to think that I have aspirational style. I've only just turned twenty-two and I'll be damned if I think I know who I am. Do I even know what my style is? Is it trendy? Is it unique? Is it quirky? Coming up with a word to label my style seems like I'm putting myself in a box, creating restrictions for myself and making shopping and getting dressed even tougher in the morning.

But we're not talking about personal style, per say! We're here to talk about the inspiration behind my style, the reasons behind some of my outfits, the initial spark, the list of metaphors goes on and on...

TGIF | Weekly Favorites

Friday, November 24, 2017

Sorry about the lack of a new post yesterday! I think instead of doing cheesy, "Happy *insert holiday here*" posts, I'd rather just have nothing at all. But we're back in business today with a nice round-up of some of my favorite things this week.

Ole Henriksen Transforming Scrub

It's that time of year again when the heavy exfoliators come out to play. I talked about my Caudalie exfoliating cleanser last week, but my skin has dramatically gotten drier than the Sahara desert, so it became increasingly clear that it was time to bring out the big guns, my Ole Henrisksen Walnut Scrub. First things first, this one smells amazing, like an autumnal dessert. What more could you ask for? Second, it does the job and it does it well and without pain. Shoutout if you ever used the St. Ives exfoliators in your teen years and felt like you were ripped open your face with those huge, grainy chunks? This one has a similar grit, but it's more soothing while still polishing off any dead skin that you might have from the dry air or maybe some kind of product for your skin that might dry it out (i.e. my acne gels).

What They Don't Tell You About Post Grad Life

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

It's almost been a year since I graduated college, but it's really only been about six months since I moved home. I spent the technical first five months of post-grad life (and what would have been my final semester of college) working at my same two jobs and just enjoying my first moment of time without school since I was a small child. Then, I moved home, ready to enjoy my old summer job and just finally relax and spend time with family while also prepping my resume and cover letter writing skills and all those good things that come along with graduating and wanting to move to a new city and get right into work. 

It sounds silly because really, who wouldn't want free time? I don't know what to do with insane amounts of free time. I start to go a little stir crazy. I need projects and deadlines and something to do to keep me busy for a solid chunk of the day, something to give me purpose. 

It's not that I thought the process would be easy. I know there are jobs, but there are also a lot of people looking for jobs and specific qualifications and that places like to hire internally and that sometimes it's not what you know, but who you know. I know the importance of experience and good interviews and follow-up e-mails and thank you notes and all that jazz.

I Don't Know About You, But I'm Feeling 22

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I would say that y'all don't know this about me, but I've talked about it enough on social media this past week. I've been waiting since October 22, 2012 for this moment and honestly, I'm thriving. I don't particularly care about birthdays, but 21 was fun so I could finally order margaritas at Barrio and now 22 will be a good 365 days because I can listen to this song and fully relate. It's the little things in life. 

I did a similar post to this last year where I talked about 21 things that I've learned in 21 years. Since I'm completely uncreative, I decided to one up myself and spout out 22 things that I've learned since my birthday on that (presumably) cold November day. But first, in my honor, please listen to "22" by Taylor Swift while you read this. Look, there's a link to it right here. And also here. And once more right here, just in case you missed the first two. 

Cleaning Out Your Beauty Collection

Monday, November 20, 2017

I, Francesca, have a problem. Many problems, actually, but we won't discuss any of the boyband related issues today nor ever because that's just a whole other story. I digress. Before I put myself on a beauty buying ban–aside from repurchasing the essentials like foundation, concealer, and translucent setting powder–I had an issue with over-stuffing my makeup drawers with unnecessary junk. When I filled the drawers and had a separate bag of "out of season lipsticks" (y'all know I have a lipstick problem, right?), I moved onto skincare because I stored it in a different section and therefore had more space to fill.

In short, I buy a lot of makeup and beauty products. Or rather, I bought. But now I'm living in the post-makeup-buying-binge era and I have to deal with the consequences of my spending. Do I need five nude palettes? Not particularly. Do I have five nude palettes? 

Not anymore! Thanks particular product, just my mind and decision making skills.

TGIF | Weekly Favorites

Friday, November 17, 2017

Caudalie Deep Cleansing Exfoliator

It's that time of year again, the time of year where the temperatures drop and all ounces of hydration are sucked from our face. Then comes the dry patches, the inevitable gross skin flaking that can only occur after the season of the dry skin kicks in. Or, you could be like me and have acne treatments that dry your zits out, which is great until you're left with patches upon patches of dry skin. The Caudalie Deep Cleansing Exfoliator is a really gentle way to deal with the dry skin that just won't budge. While I will admit, there is another exfoliator that I prefer to use when my skin is insanely dry and flaky, but its second in command is this exfoliator. It's a blend of a regular cleanser and an exfoliator, but it actually has grit to it so it will scrub off the dead skin without feeling like it's doing nothing or completely ripping open your skin like some drugstore exfoliators can do.

It's not my most heavy duty exfoliator, but for everything but extreme cases, this does its job really well. It has a pleasant and almost unnoticeable smell, the tube is easy to remove the product from, and since a little goes a long way, it lasts longer than you would expect from a somewhat small tube.

Lazy Baking for Thanksgiving (And Non-Pumpkin Options)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Given the fact that I cannot cook a single thing that isn't frozen and pre-made, I'm shockingly not a terrible baker. Don't get me wrong, I still have to follow a recipe and I Google questions incessantly during the baking process to ensure that I'm not going to poison both myself and whoever I'm sharing the baked goods with. I also am kind of, sort of, most definitely a perfectionist, so my biggest fear when it comes to baking is not setting the entire house on fire in the baking process, but instead baking something that doesn't taste good. 

Because of this fear of missing the mark, I don't bake a lot. This is also coupled with a few more things, including the price of ingredients, actually having to go out and buy the ingredients that I might not have on hand, and the whole me being too lazy to deal with the whole prepping and baking and decorating process. However, there is one time of year that I will suck it up, roll up my sleeves, and get some baking done and that time of year is Thanksgiving (and like, occasionally Christmas if I have enough time and energy to go out in the cold and snow).

Detaching Feelings from Your Clothing

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Look, I know, this look is probably more Thanksgiving appropriate than yesterday's look. However, this dress is not nearly as comfortable as a pair of culottes and an oversized, fuzzy monstrosity of a sweater. Thanksgiving is all about comfort and eating one too many pumpkin flavored desserts. I'm not here to look cute, I'm here to devour more food than necessary and like, spend time with my family and stuff. That's important too. 

But that's not what today's post is about. I'm chatting all about detaching your feelings from pieces of clothing in your closet. Look, we all do it. I remember what I was wearing to my first interview at the consignment store (I no longer have anything but the pair of shoes that I wore), I remember what I wore to my college graduation, my first and second One Direction concert. I know how much things cost and how good of a deal I got on them. I remember silly things about clothing as some kind of subconscious ploy to never get rid of anything ever. 

Well, subconscious, you've been found out!

Dressing Comfortable for Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful that spandex and oversized clothing exists. I'm serious. There's nothing worse than rolling up to Thanksgiving dinner wearing clothing that is remotely tight fitting. Pants without an elastic waist? No thank you. Skintight sweater? I'll pass, how am I supposed to hide my food baby?

I don't know how fancy the Thanksgiving dinners you're attending are, but you could basically wear leggings and a hoodie at my house and you'll be fine. We host somewhere around 50-55 family members in our tiny suburban home, so there's always an overabundance of dishes to accommodate. It's also approximately ten thousand degrees in my house due to the fact that it's probably over capacity by at least 25. Even if it's essentially winter by the end of November in western New York, you have to dress like it's early fall to ensure that you will not sweat bullets while the turkey is being cut.

Getting My Holiday Spirit Back

Monday, November 13, 2017

I am not a Scrooge. While that suspiciously sounds like something a Scrooge would say, I'm really not! I've just had a tough time with Christmas spirit over the course of the last four years or so. I don't remember when I lost my sense of Christmas spirit, but I think that it was sometime around when I moved away for college.

I feel like the logically makes sense. It was my first time feeling like an adult (mostly because it was the first time I was legally an adult and responsible for myself, as I turned 18 during November of my freshmen year). I was never the biggest holiday fan before then anyways, mostly because I love the fall season and prefer Thanksgiving because it's the holiday that we host at my house. But, some switch inside of me turned off during the winter of 2013 and I just wasn't jolly anymore. I dreaded Christmas: the snow, the cold, the carols, the songs, the never-ending gifts, the peppermint, everything that went along with the holiday just became dull to me. I just felt tired and completely bothered by the holiday nonsense going on around me while I was exhaused from a long fall semester while also preparing for an even longer spring semester. 

But now I want my Christmas spirit back. I want to feel the same childhood sense of excitement around the holiday season that I used to. I don't believe the holidays to be a time of extravegent gifts or anything like that, but it's always been a special time of year to be around family. I think more than ever now, having that in my life is extremely important given what's gone on the past few weeks.

So, I've enlisted the help of a couple of my friends to help guide me back to having the Christmas spirit, one step at a time.

TGIF | Weekly Favorites

Friday, November 10, 2017

OGX Orchid Oil Shampoo & Conditioner

If I'm being completely honest, I only bought these because they were small, compact, and would pack better for my longer trips to New York instead of bringing a bunch of mini bottles. I've used OGX products in the past, but it's been a while since I've used their shampoo and conditioner duos. I also was, admittedly, drawn to this set because of the color and the smell. At the time I purchased this, I hadn't had my hair colored in about six months and didn't have another appointment scheduled, but I figured that it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to be more proactive about my color fading whenever I did get it done.

This smells as divine as you would expect an orchid scented product to smell. I love the packaging of all of the OGX products. I mean, they also look really great in a shower purely for aesthetic purposes as well. This duo is meant to moisturize and replenish hair so it slows down fading of color-treated hair. I just had my hair done a few weeks ago and as I am a big fan of the color, I would like to keep it around for as long as possible. I also love that this has moisturizing products too, as my hair can get pretty dry after I bleach it. It didn't happen as much this time because I believe we didn't use the same bleach as we have in the past or something of the sort.

Cheaper by the Dozen

Thursday, November 9, 2017

I constantly struggle with the debate of private versus public aspects of my life. My audience isn't huge, but the idea that anyone could stumble upon any given blog post at any given time causes me to pose the question: Where do I draw the line?

This was something I was going to draw the line with, but I wanted to talk about it in some capacity. It seemed wrong to gloss over it, pretend it didn't happen, and try to move on. This is not a typical blog post and I genuinely hope that I don't have to make another like this for a very long time. This might just be a selfish post, one that I write just so I have the feelings written down somewhere other than bottling them inside my head and heart.

It's not a post about fashion or beauty tips. It's mostly just a stream of consciousness, a string of emotional sentiments put together in an attempt to make myself feel better. If you've lost somebody in your life, I'm sure you understand the spiral of thoughts and emotions that follow. I'm just trying to make sense of them for the first time since it's happened.

I Feel You Baby | NYC Street Diaries

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Playing around with another entry in my Street Diaries. It's amazing what you can accidentally stumble across when there are major delays on the trains and you don't have a set agenda. I've not been having good luck with my train lines lately in Manhattan and last week was no exception. We just wanted to get down to SoHo to check out the Glossier showroom and couldn't catch a break with train delays because of a train with its emergency brakes on or something along the same lines. I mean, who can hear the muffled, distorted voice as it plays through the subway cars? Certainly not me. 

My friend and I decided to walk from wherever our train was stopped through the West Village and Greenwich because we had nothing left to lose. I'm sure this would've been really annoying had we actually had someplace important to go or if we had wanted to go back to our apartments or something. All we had to do was get down to Lafayette before 8PM and we were solid. As per usual, my friend Maddie took a few snapshots for me because she's a gem. I mean, who could deny a photo op with a Baron Von Fancy wall? I think we all know my affinity for some nice urban wall art, as we discovered with a quite a few of my posts when I was still living in Cleveland.

Plastic Bags and Pizza Boxes | NYC Street Diaries

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

As much as I love a crisp, focused, and good quality photo taken on a DSLR camera, I'm also a massive fan of candid and on the spot shots. As I didn't have time to shoot anything this weekend due to a loss in the family, I'm left with picking and choosing from my camera roll. I just really really wanted to get back into the swing of blogging. I was going to take a break last week and just decided that I needed to keep doing my normal day-to-day things (though I did skip yesterday because it was actually the worst day of my entire life) to keep myself moving forward.

As a way to celebrate the times where I don't have my mom or my DSLR camera around, I'm going to start posting Street Diaries, whether it's New York City or the streets of Niagara Falls. They're a lot more casual and more candid, and quite frankly, a little more me. Sometimes you just have to get a little saucy before a Niall Horan concert, walk twenty blocks back to your hotel to wear off your adrenaline, grab a slice of pizza, and pick up some massive waters at Duane Reade. What makes a better accessory than plastic grocery bags and a box of pizza? Very few things.

TGIF | Weekly Favorites

Friday, November 3, 2017

Nine West Glitter Sock Boots 

I have been absolutely lusting after a pair of glitter boots for a while, but I never quite found a pair that I liked enough. They were always either too stiff, hit me at the wrong spot on the ankle, or just had uncomfortable heel heights or widths. I also never thought that I would be able to pull off a sock boot because I don't particularly like the look of tight boots with skinny jeans, but since I've pretty much stopped wearing any jeans that weren't boyfriend/mom/kick-flares, I don't have to worry about that concern anymore!

So, I finally got the glitter sock boots of my dream from Nine West at the Saks Outlet because when do I ever get things when they're not from an outlet or secondhand? Anyways, they're just as glorious as they look. Peep them in this Instagram because I wore them to Niall Horan's concert on Halloween (#StillNotACostume) and maybe follow me there so you can see me continue to style them in most likely weird ways.

The Unexplainable, Incredible Experience of Live Music

Thursday, November 2, 2017

I don't remember my first concert, on account of I was most likely a baby. I grew up with my father in a band (and he still is, well over forty years later) as well as my older brother who found mild success in a local radio market. The love of live music was instilled in me at a very young age, no doubt some sort of weird hereditary trait that my dad must've somehow managed to pass down only to me and my older brother, not my younger brother.

Going to concerts as the daughter and sister of two musicians is a must. I had to be in the audience, not only because I wanted to enjoy the music, but because my presence was mandatory. Granted, this was also because I was a child who needed supervision, which meant that sometimes I got dragged around to different events. While I didn't necessarily get a say in some of my earliest concerts, I don't think that mattered much to me. No matter who was on stage, live music was still just that: the thing I loved so much up close and in person. I could hear it with my own ears and witness it being created in front of me.

Making a Case for Statement Coats

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Raise your hand if you're from someplace where you need to wear a jacket for more than half of the year. If you're raising your hand, hey girl hey. I feel your pain. Well, to me, it's not pain. I don't think that bracing the cold has to be our pain unless it's subzero with windchill and you have to clean the snow off of your car and hope to god that it doesn't take you twenty minutes like last time.

The trouble with wearing coats practically nine months out of the year is that they can, well, get boring. I wore a plain navy blue peacoat for several years of my life. There was nothing wrong with that navy blue peacoat from Delia's, besides the fact that I'm 99% sure I managed to rip a hole in the lining of both pockets. That's neither here nor there though. I learned that sometimes, one plain navy blue coat just doesn't cut it.

If you're going to spend 75% of the year bundled up in a piece of outerwear, you might as well have a little bit of fun with it. It's easier to justify having multiple coats when you need to wear one every single day of the year unless you're eager to freeze your buns off. Coats are vital for survival during the autumn and winter seasons that inevitably carry into spring. Playing around with colors, textures, and patterns is a simple way to breathe life into your outerwear collection and add a bit of spice to each ensemble with just a single piece.
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