February 24, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up: Week 7

Whenever there is a three day weekend at work somehow it always makes the week feel longer. I thought we'd never get to Friday but here we are!

I have a nice weekend planned and I'm really looking forward to some family time. This week was unusually warm for February in New York and we got a little taste of Spring, which drove me crazy but also got me slightly excited. Maybe I'll actually try to enjoy spring & summer this year instead of hating it so much.

Maybe I'll make a bucket list of things to do during the spring/summer and put it here on the blog so I can hold myself accountable.

Yes, that's what I'll do!

I'm happy to report that I haven't felt as tired as I have the past few weeks. I think my Vitamin D medication is finally kicking in, and I think I've just been trying to have a positive attitude after I talked about everything last week.

I'm going to try to really keep it up -- a positive, happy Briana is something that is not easy to come by. That's an entire different post for a different day; for now, let's get back into what I loved this week.

Have a great weekend everyone!


February 22, 2017

Day in the Life: Nighttime Routine

Nighttime and getting ready for bed is one of my favorite times of the day. I am very into relaxing, as if you couldn't already tell, so I'm very into calming down before getting snuggly in my bed.

I've been wanting to do a nighttime routine post since I started my blog almost 5 YEARS AGO but I just never got around to it. It's also different now that I have my own room and have really perfected the ritual/routine.

I believe that it's really important to calm yourself before bed and get into the right mindset before getting ready to sleep. I've had many a nights where I was too anxious to sleep and tried to force myself asleep but ended up waking up every hour because my head wasn't in the right place.

Do whatever you find relaxing an hour or so before getting into bed and just calmly get yourself into the right frame of mind.

Now, I've read enough lifestyle and wellness articles to know that you're not supposed to be on your phone, use phone as an alarm clock, or even watch tv before bed but I go against all those rules. As someone who never has the TV off, I sleep with it on too. It turns off in the middle of the night but if I wake up and can't really sleep, I turn it right back on. The only way I can NOT sleep with the TV on is if someone is in the room with me, otherwise, it's on.

I've been this way since I was a baby -- I can't do anything without my tv on. When I used to have phone interviews when I first graduated college, I needed the TV on and just would put it on mute. If I'm home, my TV is on.

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Back to the nighttime routine....

1. Shower: I always shower at night and it's usually the thing that calms me down most. I take scorching hot showers even though it's really bad for my dry skin but I'm a rebel and refuse to listen. I never shower in the morning because I'm too tired, and there's nothing worse than being cold after a shower in the wee hours of dawn. I also like to wash the grossness of the New York City subway off of me at night.

2. Blog, Article, Etc: After my shower, I'll usually sit down at my desk (or in my bed) to finish some blog work, write an article, or schedule some social media posts. I'll admit, there are many days where this doesn't happen because I am so exhausted and the thought of even opening my computer is a struggle. It is however, usually part of my routine because sometimes when I get into bed too early and know I didn't do any blog work, I feel guilty and end up cracking the laptop open anyway.

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3. Oil Diffuser/Candles: Post shower, I get my room in the mood. I have string lights above my window that I turn on, light a candle, and if I'm feeling extra anxious, I'll turn on my oil diffuser. The mood lighting and scents instantly make me feel super relaxed and truly make all the difference.

4. Skincare: At this point, I'm probably tuned into whatever show is on TV that night; Vanderpump Rules, Beverly Hills Housewives, This Is Us, and of course, TGIT on ABC are usually the main culprits. This is the time that I'll start my skincare routine. I probably washed my face in the shower with my Tarte Frixxtion Stick but if not I use my Tatcha Powder or Clarisonic with a gentle cleanser. I then follow up with my oil, serum, and a heavy moisturizer. I may also throw in a sheet mask or regular mask to uber relax if I'm in the mood.

5. Journal: If I remember, I'll write in my regular journal or gratitude journal. It's really important to me to write down my thoughts and write down how I'm feeling or what kind of day I had. I definitely do not write a regular journal entry every night and I just started with the gratitude journal in the new year because I wanted to be more mindful of good things that happened to me or what I was thankful for that day. It helps with my anxiety and to just give me peace of mind.

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6. Read: I try to read every night but I'm not always successful. I have a stack of books on my nightstand but also have a few books on my iPad that I've been reading. This is also something that distracts my mind and calms me down -- mind you that the TV is on mute while this is going on (it always comes back to the TV).

7. Meditate: I've been SO into meditating before bed. I downloaded the app "Night Melodies" and they have so many different meditations to do to soothe you to sleep and they also have a white noise feature where instead of meditating, you could just listen to any white noise you choose. This happens when my TV is basically on mute, I have my Henri Bendel eye mask on, and I'm ready to go to sleep. When meditating, if I'm not an anxious mess, I'm pretty much asleep within 15 minutes. It's a miracle worker!

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In the midst of all of this I'm in and out of bed to get water or go to the bathroom, and I'm on and off on my phone. My phone life doesn't sleep until I do.

Another thing to mention is that I take my medication from birth control to my anxiety medication; what I've discovered in the past few months is something that has changed my sleeping routine. HUM Nutrition popped up at Sephora a few months ago, before the new year, and I was intrigued. I'm very caught up on herbal and all natural supplements that assist with stress, anxiety, and sleep so when I saw Beauty zzZz, I was intrigued.

It's an all natural supplement that helps promote a restful sleep; it contains melatonin and B6 and is classified as a vegetarian tablet. I do not take this every night because I don't need it every night but on the nights when I'm feeling fussy or know that I had a hard day and may be worked up, I'll take one about 10-15 minutes before I go to sleep.

Now, the difference between this and something like Zzquill is that it kicks in right away and doesn't leave you drowsy in the morning. I've never felt more refreshed in the morning than when I take this. It puts you to sleep quick but you're not groggy at all in the morning. If you have trouble sleeping, I highly recommend trying these; they're only $10 on Sephora.com and well worth it. (I've never tried actual melatonin because I'm afraid it'll leave me groggy in the morning. I could take this on a work night and not be afraid of how I'll feel)

(PS: I am NOT a doctor so I don't know how things will work for you but personally, as someone with anxiety and sleep trouble, this has worked wonders for me!)

After all of this is complete, I turn the lights off, blow the candles out, and relax with some of my favorite TV until I fall asleep.

What is your nighttime routine? Is it similar to mine? Share below in the comments!


February 21, 2017

Brand Buzz: Bow & Drape

Whenever a trend or a new company comes on the scene, the blogosphere is buzzing. The blog and this entire world is how I've discovered a lot of my favorite companies and products, but isn't that the point right now?

Social media, bloggers, and influencers are how we find out about everything now and it's only normal that a lot of companies are dubbed "social media companies" because that's how the word is being spread and how they're gaining customers.

Sorry for the social media rant, I've been on this knowledge kick because of my job and just researching more about the industry.

Anyways... by the title of this post you know that I'm talking about Bow and Drape; a company that lets you customize fun & punny sweatshirts, t-shirts, jackets, makeup bags, and even clothes for your dog.

They got their start a few years ago and have since made a huge splash with their high quality sweatshirts & sparkly appliqu├ęs. They do come with a hefty price tag -- around $65 for a customized sweatshirt but there is nothing more adorable than a sparkly, punny sweatshirt.

If you've never been on the website, I highly recommend heading over there now and playing around with some customization. From taxi cabs to hearts to pizza, and gold or black sparkly letters, the possibilities are truly endless.

I have 4 pieces from Bow and Drape; my first was an oatmeal colored sweatshirt that says Namaste in Bed; I can't tell you how many compliments I've gotten on it when I'm running errands or with my friends.

The thing about Bow and Drape is that their products are not meant to put into the washing machine or dry cleaned; just soak the item in your sink with some gentle detergent and viola -- it's clean! Because of this, it's stayed in great shape and is well worth the money.

For my 2nd sweatshirt I got a charcoal grey that says "I Can't Adult Today"; I like this one better than the Namaste because it's darker and is just slightly more comfortable but that could just be me and how I wear my sweatshirts.

I just bought my 3rd and 4th pieces this year; one from the NY Post Collection (the Sensational Sweatshirt) and a t-shirt that says "What Would Carrie Do?" as a homage to my idol Carrie Bradshaw.

As for sizing, the sweatshirts are true to size, maybe slightly smaller than normal but the t-shirts are VERY SMALL. Size up basically as much as you can -- that's my opinion.

I have so many designs saved in my profile on Bow & Drape  and I just want them all.

Graphic t-shirts are definitely back on trend and I couldn't be happier about it -- Bow and Drape plays right into that. I highly recommend grabbing a sweatshirt or something from them & trying them out! You won't regret it :)


February 20, 2017

Manicure Monday: Essie Gel Couture (Part2!)

It's time for the 2nd part of my new obsession, the Essie Gel Couture Ballet Nudes collection! If you missed last week, head there now to check out what all the fuss is about. 

I've loved the Gel Couture line since it was released but this new Ballet Nudes collection is speaking to me on another level. After I fell in love with "At the Barre" I ordered another shade called "Perfect Posture". It's described as a periwinkle and that is the perfect description. It does have a slightly more purple hue to it and almost looks identical to Virgin Snow-- another top 5 favorite of Essie colors.

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This formula was very consistent with the previous shade and is nearly identical. I do think these are slightly better formula than the 1st launch of Essie Gel Couture but this entire line is better than regular Essie and is a little more consistent.

There's not much to say other than this applied like a dream and I'm obsessed with the brush. It's very thick and flat, almost like a flat eyeshadow brush and it makes it ridiculously easy to apply and get an even coat.

I used the sample base coat and topcoat as last week, my Julep Base Coat Oxygen Treatment and my Orly Dry Drops. I also used my Josie Maran Bare Naked Polish Remover/Cuticle Treatment to remove the Essie Treatment polish I applied Thursday night. (I'm writing this on Saturday!)

My cuticles have also been a mess so I've been applying my NCLA So Rich Cuticle Oil obsessively.

I really love this color for the transition into spring and I'll for sure be wearing it a lot.

What's on your nails this Monday?

February 17, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up: Week 6

We're halfway through February and I can't even believe it. I don't want March-August to come, but I do because it means I'm one step closer to Fall! I really don't think anyone understands how much I hate the spring & summer, but whatever, I'll stop talking about it!

This week was tough for me; I battled some bad days at the beginning of the week and it was kind of eye opening to me. I've realized that I really haven't been in a good place and it's time that I accept I'm in a funk. Just because I'm on anxiety medication doesn't mean the world is full of sunshine and butterflies. My life is not that bad and I make it horrible -- I feel like I'm fighting against myself on a daily basis and I need to fix it.

For the past two days I've really been paying attention to this and just choosing to be in a better mood and it seems to be working. I think I also need to realize that by constantly complaining that I'm tired and forcing myself to accept that, that I'm actually just making myself tired.

I think a few weeks ago when I found about the Vitamin D deficiency, I grabbed onto that and ran with it. I used it as a crutch and an excuse for how I was feeling. I think I do that a lot; with my anxiety and my depression as well.

I'm realizing I have some work to do on myself and I think it's a good time to do it. I had a similar epiphany during September of last year and had a really good thing going but then my dad died and it all went to shit, and rightfully so.

I always seem to get super deep on weekly wrap ups but it's the perfect time to just dump my feelings out on all of you. I hope you know you can dump your feelings out on me too, I'm always here to listen!

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Onto happier things... here are my favorite links from this week!

Have a great weekend everyone!