March 29, 2017

Book Review Wednesday: The Girl Before

I went on a book buying binge before putting my Audible subscription on hold a few months ago. I wasn't in the mood for books and I had been listening to my podcasts on the commute to and from work, so I thought putting the subscription on hold was for the best.

One of the books I purchased before putting the freeze on my account was The Girl Before by JP Delaney. It's in that suspense/thriller genre (my favorite obviously!) and boy was this a doozy.

The book is the classic "goes back and forth to past and present" and is narrated by two women, Emma and Jane. The premises is surrounded around the idea of living a minimalist life in a house created by a famous architect.

The house is One Folgate Street and is a special kind of house with a lot of rules. If you don't follow the rules, there are problems, as one will find out.

book review-book review wednesday-royally pink

That is a very vague description and I can't describe the book properly without giving a lot of detail away, so read the description on Amazon (*you can head to the "Favorite Book" category page in my navigation bar to shop my favorite books!)

I'll get right to my review...

I loved this book! It was so different from everything else I've read and reviewed on the blog. It had a deeper meaning than just being a mystery novel. It was about examining your life when something bad happens to you and dealing with it in a way that suits you. What lengths are you willingly to go to feel safe?

It's also the kind of book that will throw you for twists and turns; you think one thing but then something different happens. I will say though, I knew who committed whatever crime/mystery a little less than half way through the book. I think I've just gotten good at figuring out what the writers are thinking.

This was an easy, quick yet interesting read and I think it's a book that would be a great listen instead of read! A perfect one for your first, free Audible book *if you haven't checked it out yet*

What is on your reading list?

March 28, 2017

BrunchCon NYC

I've been talking about BrunchCon since I purchased tickets at the beginning of February. When I heard the words Brunch & Con together I knew I wanted to go but I didn't think I actually go. It felt like the type of event I thought about going to but never would; it was not the case this time!

My big and I (big sister in my sorority) purchased our tickets on a whim after G-Chatting her at work saying we should get them before they sold out. This was a Tuesday... they were sold out by Thursday.

I'd been counting down the days, getting all my brunch stuff ready, and just couldn't wait to be in my element with all the other basic bitches in Manhattan.

I don't know what I was expecting from BrunchCon but I just knew it would be a day of eating and drinking and lots of brunch fun.

BrunchCon NYC took place in downtown Brooklyn at the Grand Prospect Hall. It's a catering hall that was decorated so incredibly gaudy (extravagantly bright or showy, typically so as to be tasteless) to the point where it almost seemed ironic.

YOOOO These donuts were so GOOOOOOOOOD

I arrived at Grand Prospect Hall around 10:40 and my big was already on line. We were in the doors by 11, which is exactly what we were told. 

We waited on a few lines and were then checked in, handed 1 plate, 1 fork, 1 knife, and 1 champagne flute to last us the entire day. I thought this was really weird -- how am I expected to carry these things around while trying to enjoy myself and take photos? It just put me off a bit.

We checked our coats and went upstairs to the main room where all the vendors were. The way this was laid out was that there were different sections with different vendors. Once you went into a section you tasted all the vendors; once you were out, you couldn't go back in. BrunchCon officials were checking off your sections as you entered so you couldn't go back in once you were done.

We were able to go to every vendor and I wouldn't say I was disappointed, but almost confused. All the vendors were just giving out tastings of their food, no where near full size food. Maybe it was just me being naive but I was expecting bigger portions. 

There was everything from donuts to nachos to pastries to mac & cheese. I will say there was some food I didn't taste and vendors we skipped because they just weren't up to our liking. 

My favorite foods were: cheddar stuffed sausage from The Vanderbilt, biscuits from Butter & Scotch, cold brew coffee from Cafe Grumpy , and empanadas from a place I CANNOT REMEMBER! 

I had 2 delicious mimosas from the Mimosa Bar, a Margarita, a DELICIOUS cocktail from St. Germain Liquor, and a classic Moscato Spritzer from Barefoot. I had a nice buzz going on and honestly was full by the time I left but it could've been that I had just mixed too much liquor LOL

There was supposed to be a speed dating event and a hangover lounge but I did not see either of these things; also, it was incredibly messy. There was garbage EVERYWHERE; on the floor, on tables, on food vendors' tables. It was kind of gross. 

I personally had a good time; the lines were long but I didn't feel like I was really waiting in line because you basically just ate your way through the lines. It was crowded but I've been to GenBeauty and other conventions and they're just as crowded -- that's what happens at these things.

The reviews online about BrunchCon are HORRIBLE. Literally, if you're part of the Facebook group event, you'll see people ripping them apart. I do agree with almost everything they're saying; it wasn't organized enough, the trash pile up was gross, there wasn't enough alcohol, and I thought the portions were a joke. I still enjoyed myself though and stayed until the end. I had fun with my big and talked to a few people about what food and drinks they were enjoying. 

I personally don't think it was a disaster like others are saying online but it had it moments; I wouldn't  buy a ticket for next year and I don't know if I can honestly recommend the event. I had a good time but knowing what I know now, I'm not sure if it was worth a $55 ticket.

*I don't like doing bad reviews but I was planning on doing this post despite whether I had a grand ole time or not so here we are!

*I did find my new favorite coffee -- the Cafe Grumpy Cold Brew was so delicious I need to take stock in bottles!

Have you been to a BrunchCon? Were any of you there on Sunday? Let me know in the comments!


March 27, 2017

What My Sorority Means to Me

This weekend I took a trip back to my college town and just like all the other trips before, since I graduated in 2014, it felt like no time has passed.

My sorority hosted an alumnae brunch so I got to see my friends as well as meet some of the younger, new girls in the sorority. It was so great being in our local bar, surrounded by different generations of Phi Sigma Sigma ladies. Seeing the sorority grow yet remain the same is so cool and so weird.

I pledged my sorority back in 2011, as a college sophomore. I didn't have the greatest freshmen year and was rejected from the sororities in the spring semester. I was counting on a bid from one of the organizations on campus because I had such a tough time making friends. When that wasn't the case, I considered transferring.

I didn't want to be at college without a sorority, I felt like that made the college experience; I'm not saying you CAN'T be at college without Greek life because you 100% can. I have a lot of friends who enjoyed their college experience to the highest degree and weren't part of Greek life. However, looking back now, I am so glad I stayed at Iona and went out for recruitment again in the Fall.

I got a bid to all the sororities I was rejected from; oh what a difference a few months can make. At Iona and at a lot of other small schools, it's easier to get a bid in the Fall semester because the freshmen aren't allowed to rush, so it's a smaller group of girls. Standing out amongst 40 is a lot easier than 100.

What happened next changed my life. I was part of this huge organization who held such a standard on campus. Within my sorority I started to take leadership roles and I said that I could see myself being on the executive board some day.

Socially, I had 50 girls on campus that I was able to have lunch with, go out with, and hang out with whenever I wanted. I had a pledge class of 4 girls who I loved with all my heart, and a big sister who I looked up to so much. My social life had changed drastically and it felt good to have a place of belonging.

Throughout my life I always had big groups of friends. In elementary school, I was super close with my entire class and then in high school, I had a group of 10-15 girls who I called my best friends. I went to an all girls' high school and being surrounded by all those girls all the time really made me feel confident and right at home.

That's why I had such a hard time in college. It was weird not having a set group of friends immediately, but that's what Phi Sigma Sigma gave me.

It may sound weird but I really cared and loved all the girls in my sorority. Did we have drama? Sure we did but not as much as you'd think. If anything, the drama was over our sorority budget or where to have formal. It was never anything that ended friendships or threatened the sisterhood.

Eventually, I became Vice President of the sorority and that changed everything. People respected me and I had power. That sounds horrible, but I mean it in the best way possible. I made changes in the sorority and people, till this day, look up to me for it.

I gained leadership skills, I was able to speak and hold my own in front of a room of 70+ young women who had very different opinions on everything and made it known. I was able to be helpful and problem solve. I planned events and dealt with our advisors. My leadership in my sorority, and in school because I was on our Greek Council Board as well, helped me in ways I still don't think I realize.

I always thought I could be a leader but didn't know until it was happening how much I was fit for a position like this. I loved it so much I'm an advisor for my sorority at a different chapter at a different school.

When I graduated, I was really depressed. My anxiety came back and I missed my friends. It was really hard on me and even now, I still get sad thinking about how I'll never have what I once did. Senior year of college was truly the best year of my life and I look back at it so fondly.

Weekends like this weekend, when I go back and don't know everyone in the room but somehow they know me and I feel a connection with them, that's what my sorority always meant to me. It was forming a bond with all these girls who joined for the same reasons I did and even though I just met them, we have this connection and it's something really special.

Walking down the street with my best friends, and seeing my college campus across the street, nothing has ever really changed. I'm the same girl all those years ago, I just have a full time job and different responsibilities.

Do I wish I could go to a fraternity party every weekend, sit in class and wake up at noon? Of course I do. I'd give anything to go back to my college days because weekends like this remind me of all I've left behind.

The good thing is, it'll always be my home and no matter how much time passes, it's still so incredibly special to me.


March 24, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up: Week 11

I am so happy the week is over! This was a busy, stressful week, one of the worse in a while so I'm happy to be home on a Friday night and awaiting my busy weekend. Tomorrow I'm headed to my college town to see my sorority sisters and Sunday is BrunchCon!

I'm so so so excited for BrunchCon; I'll have a full blog post sometime next week.

I also apologize for lack of posts this week -- like I said, work was busy and I was just too tired to open a computer.

I don't think much else happened this week expect for me going to work and sleeping so here's what I loved:

Here's what you missed on Royally Pink: 
Happy weekend everyone!

March 21, 2017

Brand Buzz: Evil Queen

I am a huge candle person. I don't know when it started; I've always liked candles but was never as passionate as I am about them right now. I probably had a few in college but it wasn't until post college that I truly fell in love.

I loved how they make my feel; calming, ethereal, and soothing. They make the entire house smell good and I'm immediately happy whenever I light one.

They are definitely more of a fall/winter thing for me. Is there anything better than Bath & Body Works from September-December?

I usually strictly buy Bath and Body Works candles because I personally feel that they smell the best, last pretty long, and I love the kitchy names and scents. Also, you never have to buy them full price. There is always a sale and always a coupon.

I was die hard BBW fan... until I somehow discovered Evil Queen. I'm pretty sure I've talked about it here before but I feel the need to dedicate an entire Brand Buzz post to ShopEvilQueen & their candles.

I discovered the company this past Fall and loved their fall/winter collection, and lusted after a few staples in their collection.

All the candles are very sassy, sweet, and cute. I love anything with funny meanings and sayings and that is exactly what Evil Queen is. I mean, with a name like Evil Queen what else do you expect?

What sparked this post was that I recently ordered two more candles from the company last week and the packaged arrived yesterday. I always get confused during the pre-spring/spring season as to what kind of candles I want. I don't really like spring or summer scents so it's very difficult to find scents I do like; I usually go with something musky but not too wintery.

Now, that problem is something I no longer have to deal with because Evil Queen has candles that don't really fall within a seasonal category so it's nice to have options.

The candles that I recently ordered are Bitches Who Brunch, which have scenes of mandarin, champagne, and hangover (LOL) & Magic Meditation, which is filled with frankincense, rain, and crystals.

Another one I purchased a few weeks ago but have not burned yet is one of their most famous and well known candles called Boss Babe, that has bergamot, cardamom, and goals!

She's started selling cute little bundles that come with a candle and a soap, scented to match. I think that's so adorable!

Evil Queen uses soy wax and is totally vegan so the candles are better for you than something else on the market!

I love small businesses and this is the type of company that speaks to me on a really good level. It's not just the product but the lady behind the product. All the packages come with sweet little messages like "This is the sign you've been waiting for" and "Kick ass today!" The candles also come with a little care sheet, but if you need more information you can head to the Candle Care Section of the website.

After this most recent round of candle shopping, I think they've officially made my list for favorite companies (and candles!)

Have you ever purchased from ShopEvilQueen?