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May 20, 2015

The Girl on the Train Book Review + Audible Review

Let's first start off with the fact that I have always been a huge book lover. I adore books and it took me a while to get into the swing of an e-reader. I missed (and still miss) the feel and idea of a physical book.

I'm very odd when it comes to what I choose to read in an actual book form and what I choose to read on my iPad or Nook.

Book series that I've started in e-reader form (like Pretty Little Liars), I will continue in e-reader form. Books about the real world and jobs, I prefer in physical book form.

It's just how my mind works.

But, what I have never thought I would like was the idea of an audiobook. Listening to a book? How ridiculous! I need to see the words in front of me! I need to be able to connect with the story by looking at it.

Well, that is surely not the case anymore.

I downloaded "The Girl on the Train" as my first free audiobook from Audible, which is powered by Amazon. I figured it's free and I mind as well give it a shot, I had nothing to lose.

I also thought that it would be a great thing to do while I was on the train going to and from work. My commute is a little longer than it used to be at my old job so I needed something to occupy my time better and not make me want to jump out of the window.

I don't really enjoy listening to music on the train because it kind of gets old and it bores me. I figured an audiobook would be a great solution.

And my goodness it was.



I'm addicted and I've listened to two other books so far. I purchased a membership to Audible which for $15 a month, you get one free credit toward a book and the audiobooks are pretty expensive so it was worth it to me.

It definitely keeps my attention and listening to someone narrate a story is so thrilling. I'm able to picture the story much more than reading the actual words on the page. It's weird but it really holds my attention and I am completely enthralled in the book. I look forward to my train rides for the sole purpose of listening to the books.

So that's the deal on Audible--if you're skeptical, sign up and try it. Your first book is free and you have nothing to lose. It's amazing and I think you'll love it, especially if you're a book worm!

Anyways...



I've heard so many people rave about Girl on the Train, I needed to check it out for myself. Many have said it is the next Gone Girl and I have to agree. It takes place in London and the narrator(s) have British accents and it makes the book that much better.

This was a book that kept me on my toes. It was very suspenseful and eerie and it had you trying to guess what would happen next. It also would lead you in one direction and then throw something at you that completely didn't see coming. It was just amazing on all levels. I looked forward to finding out what the hell happened at the end, it almost couldn't come soon enough.

The main character, Rachel, seemed very delusional at times but at the end, you were proud of her. It was amazing character development, even if she was annoying at times.

I won't give anything away but I will give a short summary. Basically Rachel is a drunk and obsessed with her ex husband. She has a delusional way about her, she is a fake, and she can't move on. You think you know her story, you think you know THE story but you don't.

The twist at the end was just as amazing as Gone Girl and it was just an incredible book. I would love to read it over and over again!

Have you read The Girl on the Train? What did you think?



May 19, 2015

May Birchbox Review

I've been LOVING my Birchbox lately. Every month it's like a little gift delivered right to my doorstep and I just cannot get enough.

I mean, I have enough make-up to last me 100 years but I changed my Birchbox profile to give me more skincare and hair-care, and that's what I've been getting! It's much appreciated and so useful!

The May box was curated by Emily Schuman, creator of the famous blog Cupcakes & Cashmere(which I LOVE) and at first, I thought we were all getting the same box but then realized that she hand picked all the products, in everyone's box and we weren't all getting the same.

Anyways....

I always peek at my box preview online because I just can't stand the suspense, and I was very happy with what I saw.

When I opened my box, I wasn't too thrilled.

That is because, I was sent the wrong sample. I was supposed to get the Dr. Jart Night BB Cream which I was so excited for because I've been wanting to try it for months, but instead, I received the regular Dr. Jart BB Cream, which I already have a full size of.

I usually don't complain about things like this, I just accept it and move on, but I really, really wanted the night BB Cream. I emailed Birchbox and they are so amazing and are sending me a sample of the Dr. Jart Night BB Cream!!

That is why I love Birchbox, because their customer service is hands down amazing.

The rest of my box was awesome though so lets jump in.




//Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Oil Treatment: This is a hefty sample size--I will never go through the entire thing. Myself, along with the entire world, is obsessed with oils lately: oils for the body, hair, face, everything! And this is no expectation. It says it's supposed to hydrate dry hair and boost shine so we shall see if it does what it claims!

Full size: $40
Sample size: 5/5

//Naobay Oxygenating Cream Moisturizer: I've been obsessed with skincare lately, ever since my skin started freaking out, and I'll always welcome more moisturizers. It's 98% natural, with avocado and olive oils (which are supposed to be amazing for the skin). It doesn't have SPF so it can be used at night, which I enjoy because I have my holy grail day-time moisturizers and really need night creams. I'm not usually picky with skincare, unless it breaks me out, so I'm excited to try this out!

Full size: $36
Sample size:  5//5

//W3LL People The Expressionist Bio Extreme Mascara: I really didn't need another mascara so this was probably the item I was least excited for. It's definitely a nice size and it's a dry formula, which I appreciate for every day wear. The brush is thin (I usually prefer thicker brushes) but if I don't like it, I could just pass it on to my mom who really isn't picky about mascaras!

Full size: $23.50
Sample size: 4/5

//Wei Golden Root Purifying Mud Mask: I was definitely most excited for this product, even if the size was a little disappointing. I am addicted to face masks. I've always loved them because it was like a little treat, it's such a pampering, luxurious item & process. I just cannot get enough. My addiction runs especially high when you combine the words mud and deep cleaning. I will be using this tonight and seeing how it goes.

Full size: $42 for a set of 8
Sample size: 1/5

Dr Jart + Premium BB Cream: I'll review this since it's in the box and I have a full size, even if it was the wrong sample. I really love this BB Cream (I also have the Radiance shade which gives a nice glowing effect). It's one shade for everyone, but it provides some nice coverage. I haven't been reaching for it as much as I was because I have so many foundations but I do like this for when I'm lazy and want minimal coverage or a no make-up make-up look. It's a nice smooth texture and holds up pretty well. I'm happy to have an small extra bottle to bring with me in my bag.

Full size: $39
Sample size: 2/5



That's my May Birchbox and I already can't wait for June!

PS: Why is it almost June??????

Do you subscribe to Birchbox? What subscription boxes DO you subscribe to?


May 18, 2015

Post Grad Update + 1 Year (OMG)

So, here I am, sitting in my room at 10:45 AM on May 17th, 2015. This time last year, I was at Madison Square Garden, getting ready to close one chapter of my life and allowing a newer, scarier chapter to begin.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending Iona's graduation of the Class of 2015 to see my little, my sorority sisters, and countless friends close their chapter & begin a new one. It was very surreal, to be there, not in a cap & gown, and not be as emotional as I was last year.

It was very weird but very exciting because I knew that my sisters would be just fine. Last year, I didn't believe anyone when I said that I'd be fine but now, it was like I knew a secret that my younger sisters didn't.

Aside from that, it was truly an amazing day. Watching these girls I've known since they were freshmen & sophomores become these beautiful adults who have the entire world in front of them, I felt like a proud mom. It was also just amazing and so much fun to be with all my friends.

One of my best friends said it best, "I feel alive when I'm here." And it's so true... I never feel more myself or more alive than I do when I am in my element with all my best friends, my Gaels.

And with that, we have come full circle.

I've realized something over the past few weeks... I will never be over not being a college student. While I may not cry, may not dwell on it everyday, but I will always miss Iona and I will always be sad that that part of my life is over, and has been over for a year.

I don't feel like an adult. I may have a full time job (a dream job at that), I may have great friends and family, and a good life but I do not feel like an adult. I thought getting a job would make everything better but I've realized I need a lot more to be fulfilled.

What I need to be fulfilled, I don't know. Who I am, I don't know. That my friends, is a scary thought.

I'm in a much better place than I was 6 months ago, that is for sure. I've dealt with my anxiety, I know my triggers, I know how to be a more positive person, I know how to think more clearly, I know how to handle situations better than ever before.

This time last year, I would've had to be hospitalized over the fact that I had less than 24 hours to prepare for a business trip to Chicago... the first time I was ever on a plane alone. I could've never done that last year but my experiences in my first year of post-grad have helped immensely.

I've learned a lot this year... I've learned that some people will walk out of your life, with no explanation, I've learned that you can rekindle old friendships you never thought would live again, I've learned that if people don't understand you, they will try to bring you down with negativity, and I've learned that you are the only person who can make yourself happy.



No one else is accountable for your happiness so you must surround yourself with positive people. Just because someone doesn't approve of something, doesn't make it wrong. If you are happy and you know in your gut that it is okay, then do it.

I've learned that you have to make your own mistakes, you need to see life for yourself.

Am I still a little lost? Yes, but I think that comes with being in your twenties. I'll probably always be a little lost until I feel 100% settled.

I have to remember to have faith that fate is on my side. Everything is happening the way it's supposed too, everything happens for a reason, I can handle anything God and the universe throws at me, and I just really need to remember that my life will come together eventually.

So far, so good though...

I just have to keep trekking through and come to realize that everything will fall into place.

I will figure it out eventually but I have my shit together a lot more than I did a few months ago, which is always a plus.

I've finally fallen into a routine and I'm not completely pooped when I come home from work or on the weekends anymore so blogging should get back to normal, I'll be able to have a social life, and get my life back--fight the exhaustion!

To find out where I was a year ago, read my Letter to my 17-Year Old Self-- one of my proudest, most emotional blog posts to date.

Thank you all for reading, for commenting, for giving advice, and sticking with me through the craziest, scariest, transition of my life (so far!)


May 15, 2015

Links to Love

As I'm typing this, I'm watching the season finale of Scandal... how in God's name is it the end of the TV season? How is Memorial Day weekend next week? How is my little & all my younger sorority sisters graduating from college on Saturday?

Why has it been a year since my college graduation and why can I remember it so clearly?

My mind is messing with my lately. So much has changed since I walked across the stage at Madison Square Garden and it's completely nerve wracking to think about how fast time is moving. It's giving me another quarter life crisis. I'm pretty sure I've had like three quarter life crises since my junior year of college...

Anyways... I'll get more into that in Monday's post, as I've been saying forever. Like anyone actually cares about my post grad update but hey someone needs to listen to me!

This week went by painfully slow but I enjoyed it. Isn't that odd? I'm getting settled in at work and enjoying it, I enjoy the routine.. I'm not as exhausted as I was at the beginning so that's always a plus. Dare I say, I'm enjoying adulthood? I mean, I miss school desperately and I think I always will but everything else is good.

I had a good week.

And here are some links I loved!

This was published in March but I just saw it today and I loved it!

Mad Men ends this Sunday and I've been addicted to all things Draper all week... like this quiz

Being the big spoon is underrated

When I was younger, I danced for 14 years. Ballet, jazz, hip hop, modern, pointe- everything. We were programmed to love this movie and I have to agree, Center Stage is AMAZING

Do I do these things? You could say yes...

They're dysfunctional AF but I love them anyway #LordDisick #Kourtney

Owen Wilson saying WOW a thousand times is HYSTERICAL

Okay, so I really need to get better at saving the links... I am so off my blogger game!

Well.... happy Friday & happy weekend :)


May 13, 2015

Wish List Wednesday + Handbags

My new salary is bringing out my shopacholic vibes... retail therapy is truly the best therapy there is. I've already started buying things I don't need and I have a running list of things I want. My first real splurge that I want to cross off my list? A new bag.

I have always been a bag lady, as I'm sure I've mentioned time and time again. I got a new C.Wonder (RIP) bag for Christmas but that was when I had a job that required me to bring my laptop to work. Now, I don't need my laptop and I leave a lot of stuff at my desk so my huge tote bag isn't a necessity.

I still would like a larger bag to bring to work because I bring my lunch & water bottle and make-up bag (and other items) but maybe a unstructured tote bag isn't the answer. I would also like something a little more tame (not leopard print) and more professional looking.

Basically, I want a Rebecca Minkoff or Kate Spade bag... both of which are currently sitting in my Nordstrom shopping cart. I get paid Friday, this could surely be the weekend I buy that new bag.

I've never bought a bag for myself, let me state that first. So to me, this is a big deal. All my bags, my entire life, have been gifts. Whether it was birthday, Christmas, or graduations, my bags have always been gifts. Sure, I may have bought myself a wristlet or a non designer bag but to buy a designer bag for myself is a huge deal. It means I'm an adult.

Oh god I have being an adult! I hate using that word!!

Anyways....

I've been doing some serious thinking, for a good few months, on what kind of bag I want--what color, what shape, what size, and I've decided a few contenders. Whether I buy one or buy them all, I'm a little bit obsessed and will surely be buying one of these bad boys in the near future!


Rebecca Minkoff M.A.B Tote 




Kate Spade Cedar Street Hayden Tote




Kate Spade Cedar Street Jensen




Kate Spade Emerson Place Hayden

Do we sense a theme here? Which one do you think I should get? Tell me in the comments :)

Shop these and some other choices (non work bags) below!


May 11, 2015

Manicure Monday (AGAIN!)

I had on multiple to-do lists to blog for the week today aka Sunday but if I'm being honest, I spent the day in bed, crying and dealing with a 12-hour migraine. Why was I crying? I couldn't really tell you. Also, my wrist hurts very badly. I think I've talked about this briefly once but I have a real problem with my wrists and hands. It's not carpal tunnel according to my pain management doctor and physical therapist but something is wrong and this weekend was really bad for it.

Obviously, it wasn't the greatest Sunday of all time.

Hence, blogging took a back seat, yet again, because I couldn't find the motivation to start.

So now, at 7pm on Sunday night I'm mustering up the courage to write a "not much thought had to go into this" Manicure Monday post.

You know my deal, with all my new nail polish at the beginning of a new season, I must manicure monday all of them!

Last week, after my first paycheck, I clearly went on a buying binge and ended up spending $35 in CVS. One of those purchases was a brand new Essie polish in a gorgeous spring/summer color and I didn't even think twice about throwing it in my cart.

It's a very pretty shade that is somewhere between red, orange, and pink. The website describes it as coral, and most people would agree. I don't know why I typed out that weird description... I clearly took too much medication today.

Originally, I was going to get a new Bridal polish from Essie's Bridal 2015 collection but ended up getting this little number called "E-nuff is E-nuff." 

The formula is great, very much like other Essie polishes I have. It wasn't too thick or too thin and two coats was enough to make it opaque.




I will say that the polish chipped a little easier than normal polishes but I feel like a lot of Essie's lighter colors do that, especially when it's a thinner formula.

I'm honestly not picky about my polish though--whether it chips easily or is hard to work with and streaky, I will still use it. Nothing stops me from using a nail polish I already spent money on.

In the same breath, I'm going to need to get more actual manicures in nail salons because my nails are really unhealthy. They break easily & aren't in the best shape. I got a manicure this weekend and the woman was horrified by my nails. Yikes!

Anyways, I will try to get at least one or two more posts this week.. I really need to get in the habit of creating a better schedule for myself. Hopefully it'll come eventually!

Happy Monday :)


May 8, 2015

Links to Love

It was my first full week of work this week and I think it kicked my butt. I am exhausted and I was very scatterbrained this week.

It's very unlike me to not feel like I have my shit together but boy oh boy was it one of those weeks.

I satisfied that scatterbrainedness(my own word) by doing a little online shopping and ugh, I love getting mail delievered.

I ordered a new BaubleBar bracelet, a brand new book (review soon if I ever start reading it), one & two amazing smelling candles, and a new mini wallet.

Oh... and I ordered the Alex drawers from Ikea.

So my bank account is crying but all is fine... reviews on everything coming soon!

Last weekend I went up to school (again) for our annual Cinco de Mayo celebrations. It was great to be back again and I had so much fun since this dage(day rage) is my favorite of the year but it also made me sad because it truly marked the end.

But what do you mean Briana, you graduated last year--you already had your end.

Well, now it's official. A new batch of seniors are upset that they're graduating and our time to sulk and wallow is over. I have been out of school for a year and the fact that graduation is next week makes it very official. I'm no longer the new alumni, I'm officially old and it really got me feeling some type of way this week.

Once again, I don't meant to ramble and I'll have a really uplifting(sarcasm) post grad update soon!

Anyways, I'm getting ahead of myself again so let's get into the links I loved...

CHARLOTTE ELIZABETH DIANA OF CAMBRIDGE--THAT NAME IS PERFECTION AND I ALMOST CRIED

Don Draper staring blankly is a hilarious and accurate tumblr account that had me laughing for hours

Carrie & co laid it all out on the table and I of course, love every second of it

100 true quotes about falling in love and it gave me all the feels

I might do a post on dad bods because I'm obsessed and it was all I talked about this week... as did the rest of the internet. Dad bods FOREVER

I am Peggy Olson, Peggy Olson is me and her badass strut down the hallway was epic in this week's Mad Men

6 things I wish I knew this time last year... oh to be young and naive

Whew, a lot more links than last week!

Enjoy the weekend everyone :)