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may picks

I said this in my fall trend post and I'm going to say it again right here: I am fascinated by trends. It seems like every season there is a running list of trends for each season and every outlet just chooses their favorite to talk about and spotlight. There are plenty of trends that I'm leaving out, like trenches, galactic sneakers (we've all seen those Louis Vuitton ones people are being sent, right? I have...thoughts on them), feather-trimmed garments, and the list goes on.

Not to quote myself, but I'm going to summarize what I said back in the fall just in case you didn't catch it. Because really, what or who decides something is a trend? Does everyone in fashion come together for one big conference and tack off things on a list for everyone to include in their collections that season? Why are there so many? Does four collections including a giant ice cream cone on somebody's head mean that wearing giant ice cream cones on your head could be considered a trend? I need answers

I've narrowed down the trends to six for the sake of this post. Are there more? Certainly, I already named three earlier! I just decided to showcase the six seemingly easiest trends to wear. Because, let's be real, not everyone is going to be wanting to wear (or have the money) for those heinous galactic space age-esque monstrosities of sneakers.

This might be the first time I've worn color in 2018. Okay, that's a lie because I wore a pair of burgundy pants in mid-January, but still. I had to go through my Instagram feed to remember that. My closet has been overtaken by blacks, greys, tans, really all things neutral. I was never a very colorful dresser to begin with, but in the past few years, I've really stripped my closet of all of its personality and replaced it with some relatively simple pieces. 

I can wear color, I just choose not to. I'm not necessarily afraid of it because we've all seen some of the lipsticks I put on myself and the heinous outfits I still manage to put together with the neutral clothes I have. I just...don't own it. In my head, it's easier to match neutrals and keep them around for longer. But believe it or not, somedays I do indeed like to inject a dose of color into my outfits to prove that I own something that isn't fifty shades of black and grey. If you don't want to go all in and wear head to toe color, there are four really easy ways you can add some color to your look without fully committing to a, say, bright red sweater and royal blue pants.

It's no secret that I watch far more YouTube videos in a day than I probably should. When given the choice between watching television or YouTube, we all know what prevails and it rhymes with...I'm not even going to stoop that low and try to make a silly rhyme. Mostly because the first word I thought of to rhyme with "tube" was "boob" and now I just sound like a twelve-year-old boy. The type of content I watch varies pretty frequently, especially since I am now starting to include more standard vlog type channels into my subscription box and daily routine instead of my normal fashion, beauty, and lifestyle content.

Beyond the pure entertainment factor of YouTube videos, the creators on their make some pretty damn good content. I love the multimedia aspect of content creating these days. I like reading blog posts just as much as I like watching YouTube videos, both purely for entertainment, but also to learn. I mean, there are only so many people that you know in real life who can help you with certain things. What would we do without the internet and hauls and review videos and how to style videos? While yes, YouTube has its issues and quite a bit of unfavorable content, YouTube is also the website that brought my creators who taught me how to do my makeup, curl my hair, where to shop for this and that, how to style whatever I was loving at that point in my style, and so much more that I wouldn't have been able to learn from my friends or peers or parents (again, sorry mom!)

I don't strictly watch who I'm subscribed to and typically love the suggested videos section on my homepage most of the time. But, for the sake of this post, I've gone through my subscriptions and divided them up into different sections for my most watched YouTubers. They're all wonderful, entertaining people and I'm always looking to add more so I never run out of videos to watch ever. That's the goal, right, to always have a full Watch Later queue?

Canadian skyline and a Canadian tuxedo? The only thing that's missing is a cup of Tim Hortons (it's roll up the rim season, y'all). My denim on denim looks will never amount to Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears wore to the American Music Awards in 2001, but I'm still going to live my life in their sartorial shadow.

Double the denim, double the fun? Why not take my love affair for the stiff blue fabric to a new level and just cover myself head to toe in it? I have a denim Stella McCartney bag in my favorites on The RealReal, I might as well get it and swap out my trusty Saint Laurent bag to make my look a triple threat. And why stop there? I'll get myself a denim baseball cap, a chambray shirt, and hell, let's just get some denim shoes too. 

And that, my friends, is what I'd like to call overkill. Or being extra. Or just really, really loving denim.

You may not be able to tell by my dry looking hair, but it was indeed rainy and windy outside while these photos were being taken. In fact, it's felt like it has been raining for the past week straight and it's really putting a damper on my mood. I'm out here trying to enjoy my week and mother nature has different plans by making everything cold and soggy and making it very difficult to take a decent picture outside without risking getting both myself and my camera (okay, and my mom) soaked.

As I mentioned in my most recent street diaries post, I don't wear hoods and umbrellas and I are currently on the outs after a particularly embarrassing (and painful) moment on Spring Street in SoHo. At the same time, the last thing I feel like dealing with is damp hair and stiff, wet clothing. Granted, if it was pouring rain outside, I would most certainly suck it up and find myself a suitable umbrella that wouldn't betray me. But for days like yesterday where it was just grey and sprinkling? Give me a hat and clothes that don't conform to my body and I'll be happy.

There is not a single thing about me that is glamorous and this most certainly includes my nighttime routine. While it would be aesthetically pleasing and make me really feel like my life was put together if I was floating around my perfectly styled apartment with a silky robe on in the late evening, that's just not realistic for me. If it's realistic for you, please, teach me your ways. I strive for that day when my nighttime routine isn't just a continuation of that day's mess.

My nighttime routine doesn't necessarily start at any specific time, either. Sometimes it starts right after dinner, other times it's nine or ten o'clock at night and I'm wondering where the entire day has gone. But, more often than not, it goes a little something like this.

Lush, the store we hate to love and love to hate. If it weren't for their lovely skincare and body care products, Lush and I might not get along that well. I hate baths. I hate everything about them. The idea of baths, all aesthetically pleasing and nice smelling with bubbles and the whole nine yards sounds really ideal until I remember that the whole point is to relax and sit still for god knows how long while the water starts to get cold. But while baths aren't my thing and I tend to skip over the bath bombs and bubble bars and whatever other b-name products they stock, there are quite a few other products that have my skin–both on my face and elsewhere–singing the loveliest of songs (which would probably be something by Carly Rae Jepsen).

On the other end of the spectrum though, just like with literally any other brand, there are a few products I've tried over the years that have been a little bit disappointing. My friend Hannah shared some Lush products back around Christmastime, which probably created the tiny note in my brain that told me to do something similar, just with regular products and not solely the Christmas range. So today, we have some Lush hits and some Lush shits, which I will appropriately call misses for the rest of the post to avoid this post becoming too obscene and laced with profanities. I'll leave that for my real life monologue and not my online persona.

If I wanted to be technical, I actually had about 44 hours in Manhattan. And then a total of about 20 hours on a train, round trip. But you know, for the sake of it being almost two days exactly, I'll fudge the title of this blog post. At least you know the truth now.

I like these sort of street diaries posts because they give me an excuse to use iPhone snaps that I take that I don't necessarily want to put on Instagram. Also because they are, admittedly, easy to do when I am short on time and don't have somebody to take photos of me. And I guess also because I like when things are a little gritty and deconstructed and aren't perfect. Not that the rest of my posts are perfect, but ya know, compared to these dodgy iPhone 6 snaps, they look like masterpieces.

My train got into Manhattan at around five p.m. on Thursday evening and my train back to the opposite side of the state departed from Penn Station at one p.m. on Saturday afternoon. I had my little end of the week blip in New York City, in which I spent a majority of my time holed up in a family friend's apartment because I think it might just be my New York happy place. And also because the weather was quite shit while I was there. That didn't help either.

I have an issue. When I see a beautiful handbag, I shut down. I lose all senses of what it's like to be a human and become a shell of who I once was. I get all weird and hot and honestly, if there was a trail of drool down my mouth and chin, I wouldn't be surprised.

Looking at beautiful handbags in haul and collection videos on YouTube is one thing. There aren't department stores and boutiques where I grew up that you could see any of these bags in person. And even when I went and visited New York City, I would've never dared to enter a boutique (actually, the only time I've ever actually entered a boutique was when I was meeting with the manager of one of the high-end boutiques at Bloomingdale's on 59th and when I was on Rodeo with my friend and she insisted we stop into a few) because the idea alone freaks me out. Of course, when I started working at the consignment store–my version of Harry Styles' "I used to be a baker" bit–handling expensive handbags was literally part of the job. 

There are two moments I will never forget: the first time I ever touched a Chanel lambskin bag. I think I held it with two fingers and said a prayer the entire time hoping to god I wouldn't accidentally nick the delicate leather with my nail and holding a Birkin bag. These aren't even bags I particularly want to own, they're just so iconic in their own right that I genuinely never thought I would ever be able to see one up close and touch it. I assumed I'd only see them in magazines, on Instagram, or on the arms of the fabulous people walking the streets of New York.

Do you ever see a trend on someone else and tell yourself that it's cute but you'll never try to wear it yourself? I saw Megan Ellaby rocking her vinyl trench coats at London Fashion Week back in fall of 2017 and all over her Instagram and YouTube channel. Homegirl can rock just about anything, so I definitely wrote the trend off as something I wouldn't be able to pull off and probably would never try. 

Aaaaaaand then I saw this skirt on sale for about fifteen bucks on ASOS and threw caution to the wind. I have this style of skirt in brown suede and denim, so why not just go a few steps further and get it in vinyl too? This style of this skirt is so simple to style and the vinyl just really adds an extra element and funky texture that I wouldn't get from a simple black skirt.

Happy Valentine's Day! This was a holiday that used to make me kind of mad, like some arbitrary date to show your love to somebody. But now I'm older and much less bitter and honestly, it's kind of cute. Of course, I mean, you should probably be kind and cute all year round, but there's nothing wrong with something being extra special today. On the other hand, there's also no need to do something extravagant. Do what you want! 

For me, today is just a busy day of trying to get as many things done as possible before I leave for New York tomorrow morning for a really, really mini trip. I also have a hot date with my dentist this morning for a routine cleaning, which is by far the best way I could start off a Valentine's Day. If you think I'm kidding, I can assure you that that is not the case. Clean teeth are my jam and it's been a hot second since I've been because I thought I wasn't covered by health insurance anymore. 

I feel like haircare is something that gets neglected on this blog. I talk an overwhelming amount about myself, then fashion, then makeup and skincare, and even music, leaving out what used to be the most important thing to me: hair. It's true. My hair was my security blanket back in high school and early college. I was terrified of it being short and cherished my long, thick locks and lived in constant fear of it ever being short. 

And then I cut it. And I cut it again. And I cut it a couple of more times, but now I'm trying to grow it all back again. That's the low down on my actual hair and now here's the low down on what I do to it on a daily basis. I have thick, naturally straight-ish hair (it has some texture, which is just miniature frizz) that has been color-treated for about ten years, with bleach instead of dye the past five years or so. I try to use heat on my hair as little as possible, but I also hate straight hair on me so I tend to curl it quite a bit. These are just what I use on a daily basis to keep my hair doing what it does best: being mediocre, but still kind of nice looking when I brush it and style it correctly.

Francesca, how many more times are you going to talk about denim you might ask? As much as I want to! This time, we're talking about the fit of denim, something I've had major struggles with since I was a young teen. We're going to try to navigate this conversation without bringing up and ~ body issues ~ aside from the fact that my body just has weird measurements and that's totally normal! I just got fitted for a dress this past weekend and it was no surprise to me that two parts of my body (ahem, namely my chest) are in a completely different size than the part of my body that doesn't lie (thank you, Shakira).

For about seven years of my life, none of my jeans fit me right. I was athletic and my thighs have always been and always will be "bigger." That's just life, I can accept that. My hip size reflects that, but my waist sort of missed out on the memo, leaving me with jeans that look like they were my jeans two sizes ago while my thighs are threatening to break free from the denim. Anything that fit me in the hips and thighs would be gaping at my waist. On the other hand, any jeans that would possibly fit my waist wouldn't budge past my knees. I consistently sucked it up and accepted that I was just going to have to live the rest of my life wearing belts or constantly pulling my pants up so I wasn't showing my butt off to the world.

My mom likes to point out approximately once a month that amount of band merch that I have purchased in my twenty-two years on this planet. And I mean, she's not wrong, I just like to block some of these out. I'm fairly certain that between the years 2007 and 2012, I purchased a piece of merch from every single concert I went to. This might not seem like too much, except for the fact that for two or three years in a row, I went to a concert almost every single month. Yeah, I was that kind of teenager. 

I accumulated a lot of useless band merch fast. Let's be real here: all bands do not have good merch. And since I never quite adopted full-on scene kid style during my very apparent emo child phase, the merch never fit my style. Plus, as we all know, I wore a uniform until 12th grade. So. My merch was virtually useless besides to lounge around my house in.

Some bands, however, do merch well. As you can tell from the frequent appearance of various Cheap Trick shirts on my blog as of late, there's one clear winner in my household full of band merch, both mine and my parents' (okay, an I admittedly like to borrow my brother's Saint Pablo tour hoodie from time to time).

I feel like you always remember your firsts. First concert, first kiss, first love, first time you dyed your hair, first anything really. It's such a funny concept that drudges up memories and brings on the nostalgia. My first, in this case, is the first brand I ever worked with on this blog. Let's take a trip back to winter of 2015. While I'd had my blog for over two years at that point, I'd only been blogging daily and taking it "seriously" for about eight or nine months. I got an e-mail from eShakti asking to collaborate and I think there might have been tears. I can't remember for certain, but you know how I am, so there most likely was. Since then, I've worked with them quite a few more times because it's just a company with good products and there's a special place in my heart for them.

If you're unfamiliar with eShakti, here's the low-down. They carry sizes 0-36W and the entirety of their clothing selection is customizable. This means sleeve lengths, hem length, collar style, even the addition (or subtraction) of pockets. But, beyond these customizations, you can also order items custom sized to your exact measurements if you don't wear a straight size. So basically, you can get an item made just for you that will make you feel good. 

I am a big fan of saving money where I can. I'm a huge fan of drugstore products and love testing out new ranges that don't reach the $20 range as the price minimum. However, at the root of it, I'm just a big fan of makeup in general and that includes the more high-end ranges as well. While you could most certainly have an entire arsenal of makeup that is all from the drugstore or from more affordable websites from independent beauty brands, there are some products that are just worth the extra money you put into them. I've been trying to stick to a pretty drugstore based life for the sake of saving money, but if my entire makeup collection vanished (I just shuddered, what a nightmare that would be to replace), there are a few things that I would need to rush to Sephora or a makeup counter to replace as soon as humanly possible.

I can, with absolute certainty, tell you that I have never owned a hoodie that wasn't an "athletic" hoodie and was only worn inside, around family, or occasionally for a late night Target run where we were the only people in the store with a few Canadian stragglers. The only way to sum up my decision to clearly not be comfortable was that it just wasn't my style. But honestly, what isn't more my style than a black sweatshirt material hoodie with "good vibes" embroidered onto it in a pretty white font? 

This post isn't about my wardrobe though, well not really. We're talking about my inability to properly feel relaxed or chilled out. You ever feel like you can't turn your brain off no matter how hard you try? That's where I'm at and where I've been for...a while.

If you've noticed, there has been a severe lack of actual content on this blog. I mean, posts are still going up and there are words attached to said posts but it's all been a bit blah. It seems when I get one part of my blog under control–in this case, the photos–something else decides that it doesn't want to cooperate. That something else is my brain and my fingertips and really anything that goes into typing out the copy to accompany my pictures. I just can't get my thoughts to untwist and form actual coherent sentences and ideas. I can't even get incoherent thoughts in my head, to be quite honest. It's just a big hollow void of emptiness up in my brain right now, I'm convinced. 

I've dealt with writer's block a thousand times before. Most of the time it surrounds the original writing that I do, sometimes with the articles I used to have to write for the newspapers, but I haven't struggled as much with it in regards to my blog. But alas, it was bound to happen and I think it's hit me pretty hard. Whenever I go to fill out my content calendar for the week or the next, I feel like I'm turning the wheels in my brain so hard that I swear they're going to catch on fire somehow. And then I still just end up with nothing because, well, simply put: I don't know what I want to talk about or what I can talk about.

Apparently, this shirt is a family heirloom. 

I nicked this oversized denim button-up from my mom's clothes a couple of weeks ago in hopes of recreating this look, but alas, I just didn't succeed because I am not a million feet tall like Gigi Hadid and even if my entire closet is turtlenecks, I don't have one that would work the same way. Regardless, I still wanted to wear this shirt, so I switched up my plans and took a simple route. 

When my mom saw what I was wearing when we met up at lunch, she laughed and pointed out that it was a shirt she was wearing in a photo with her parents years before I was born and that it wasn't even her shirt to begin with. So, who knows how old this shirt is. All I know is that it previously belonged to my uncle and then my mom. I'm declaring it an heirloom. Whats more precious and valuable than a Gap denim shirt? 

Of all of the recurring posts that happen on this blog, my monthly playlists are something that I will never let die. I love them too much and to let them go would mean letting go of a piece of myself! Just kidding, that's super dramatic, but I just like music a lot and it's fun to share what I'm listening to. Plus, I'm one of those annoying types of people who listens to everything and thinks she has the greatest taste in music of all time. Which I do. So. You should trust me, I won't steer you wrong.

This is probably the first month I got back into listening to random songs. The past few months have seemed to be shorter playlists, usually revolving around a certain artist because of the release of their new album or one of my nostalgic streaks. You know when you fall down the rabbit hole of listening to old music that you listened to years prior and realize that it has somehow consumed you for weeks on end? That happens to me a lot with hit pop songs from the mid to late 2000s and also pop-punk music from when I was a teenager. Those are my musical weaknesses.

Truth be told, a lot of this playlist is random songs that Spotify recommended to me on Discover playlists or that played after the music I was listening. I feel like my music taste can be split into three discernible categories: BOPS™, songs that make me cry, and songs that make for really great background and chill music. I constantly have music playing, no matter what I'm doing, but some songs are just more distracting than others. While I'm not overly picky with music, I have my very specific tastes for certain times of day or to tailor to what I'm doing.

Since this month was a fairly productive month for me and involved a lot of reading and writing, there was a pretty big increase in the amount of more "random" tunes that showed up on my playlists.  If you're the type of person that just likes a good (this is probably subjective but my music taste is literally one of the only things I'm confident about so I'm working with this) playlist to have on throughout your day to day life, this might be for you.