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July 6, 2015

Manicure Monday + More Smith & Cult

After I tried my first Smith & Cult polish weeks ago, and my mom also tried it, we immediately fell in love. It is hands down the most incredible nail polish formula I've ever tried. It's smooth, opaque, gel like, and doesn't chip. It's everything you want in a nail polish...

And it comes with an $18 price tag.

Not ideal, but if you save up some Birchbox points, you can get a discount.

Which is exactly what I did the first & second time around.

The first color "City of Compton" was a pale-ish pink, which is great for my mom, but I like a more intense, exotic color... especially for the summer months.

My mom agreed that since I was using my points, and an extra $10 of my own money, that we could get a more fun color.

I decided on "She Said Yeah" (weird name) which is deathly similar to "Pret-A-Surfer" by Essie
(another favorite of mine). The colors look really different online so I was surprised when I received it and it looked too similar to the Essie polish.

I don't like having too many similar polishes in my collection, I feel like its a waste and it takes away from the fun of owning so many nail colors.

I got over it quickly the moment I applied it to my nails.

Before top coat

UGH, it was just as amazing as the first!

Super sleek, smooth, applied like a dream...everything and more.

After top coat

I paired with my new Essie top coat "Gel Setter", that everyone and their mother has been talking about. It gives a gel like effect to any polish you apply it too and I have to agree. It's insanely shiny and thick, adding that extra layer of protection to the polish. It's not too expensive, $10, and it's totally worth it.

This time around, my polish chipped a little more quickly than with "City of Compton" but it was nothing compared to my usual 1-2 day chip of a regular, Essie or other polish.

My mom took this color, along with the Gel Setter top coat to the nail salon and her color stayed on for over a week. Now that is impressive.

Expect to see a lot more Smith & Cult on the blog because yes, it's $18, but I will splurge for the prettiness and the staying power.

What's your go-to polish? Tell me in the comments!

July 1, 2015

BlueSky Planner Overview + Review

If it isn't obvious by now, I have a sick planner and stationery obsession. It's always been that way...I've always had multiple notebooks, diaries, post-it notes, etc laying around. I can't resist an adorable patterned notebook, or a notepad that has cute quotes printed on it.

I'm addicted to stationery so when I was emailed by BlueSky to talk about their 2015 planners, I couldn't resist. I could always find a use for multiple planners, hence my rambling in my ban.do planner review when I said I wanted two planners this year.

When I received the package, I was so happy that I not only got a planner, but three little notebooks that are perfect for toting around your bag. I love little notebooks like this to write down random thoughts, or keep to-do lists.

The planner is HUGE. It's a lot bigger than I thought it'd be so this will for sure be one I keep at work. I'm going back and forth between this and a Lilly planner...maybe I will skip out totally on Lilly.

This BlueSky planner isn't as cute or chic as I'd like and it may or may have not been something I picked out myself. I feel like I would if I was looking for a larger, notebook size planner.

The inside is very spacious, and definitely not plain--not like the Kate Spade planner. There are some fun designs, and perfect if you like a more low key but still decorative planner.

Once I decide what I'm doing planner wise, this will be a fantastic work planner. It's definitely big enough and I think will be a great addition to my desk.

Let's talk about the mini notebooks. I"m obsessed! I haven't used them yet but I'm going to start. One for lists, one for notes, and one for ideas. All three are formatted exactly the same way, each with a little heading on the top specificing what for. (Every "note" page has the word "notes" headlined at the top, etc).

I feel like I haven't seen tiny notebooks laid out like this before but I'm glad to have them now! I think the "List" one is my favorite since I'm all about making lists!

These are adorable and something I definitely would've purchased on my own! I also really love how they come in a trio pack together. Three for the price of one!

These are not expensive planners by any means but they are well made and pretty. The BlueSky website has so many cute, adorable, and chic stationery items, I may have to get some on my own!

What is your favorite go-to stationery? Tell me in the comments!

June 30, 2015

Work-Life Balance

This is a phrase I've heard a lot over the past few years. Ever since Junior Year of college, when I started to think about graduation and the real world, all the articles I've read have talked about the idea of work-life balance. I never really understood it, I thought it would be something down the line, but it is surely not.

Since starting my new social media job, I've realized that work-life balance is alive and real in the world of us twenty somethings. It's something we're all struggling with, as we take our new grown Bambi legs and start walking on our own, right into our first big people jobs and back into our parents' homes.

Your first job is really overwhelming. You're suddenly responsible for a whole lot more than you've ever been used too. You have a boss, you have a desk, you have responsibilities and projects that have to be done day to day. You have deadlines, and have to make sure everything is done to the best of your ability. This isn't like school, you don't get a grade, this doesn't just affect you. You affect your co-workers and your bosses, and the entire company.

When you think of it like that, it can seem really overwhelming.

As a social media coordinator, I'm the face of the company so to speak and that is very scary when you think about it. Obviously you're a face behind a computer, behind an account, but you're responsible for the brand's social presence.

When I realized that, it kind of stressed me out and made me nervous. I've since gotten over that and remain confident in the content I produce and have learned so much in only two months.

The other thing about social media, is that it's timely. We all know this. Social media is the future and it's something that is immediate. If something is happening, you need to be on top of it. There is no leaving it for Monday morning.

With that, it's very hard to separate work and home. In social media, work never stops and it could be hard to stop the habit. Posting an Instagram or Tweet while I'm at home on a Saturday afternoon is no big deal, but I (like other people) have to remind myself to not get sucked into a hole. Don't dive into projects that are due next week, on the weekends, try not to answer emails that aren't urgent, etc.

At first I didn't understand this, I felt the need to do everything as soon as possible and remain on my game 24/7. Social media is 24/7 but I don't have to be.

It's very important, to have a life outside of work and not be tempted to work all day, everyday. There is always going to be things that need to get done but the thing is, your job is not your life. You need to make time to do things you enjoy, outside of work. Those are the things that make you happy and shape you, your experiences make you who you are.

You are not your job and the sooner you realize that, the sooner you can make a life you love.

I really have been struggling with this and I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a few anxiety attacks over it. But I've learned over the past two months that I can work my butt off at the office, get stuff done, and have a relaxing weekend, then do it all over again the following week.

I do this by creating to-do lists, getting into the office early, only answering extremely urgent emails while at home, and reminding myself that it's a job, it's not my entire life. I'm still working on figuring out the perfect work-life balance, if it even exists.

The sooner you realize what works for you in relation to work-life balance, the sooner you can break the habit. I don't want to be so obsessed and worrisome over my job that I forget to go out and live a life that I love, that I've created for myself.

Work and life have to be separate, maybe not all the time, but most of the time.

Does anyone else struggle with this? How do you solve work-life balance?

June 29, 2015

June Favorites

Once again, June flew by and I can't believe July starts this week. Where is time going??

I asked one of my co-workers the other day "Is this how life is now? Time just flies?" And their response was a resounding "Welcome to the real world"-- great, that's just great.

In just a few weeks, summer is over and then fall comes along and this cycle continues. I really am surprised at how time is passing, it's going too fast. I feel like I don't even have enough time to do everything I want or need to do. I mean, in less than 6 months I'll be 23 years old. It feels like just yesterday I was going to high school.

How and why does this happen?! It's starting to make my think and rethink life choices and decisions.

I've come to realize, with time moving so fast, that you have do everything to live a life you want, a life that makes you happy. Nothing else really matters, as long as you're content with everything you're doing. This is something I'm working on, something that has come up recently.

Anyways, I'll stop rambling on philosophical notions of time and life and get into my favorites. I've been trying so many new products and things this month, and I have a few things that have really made an impact on me.

1. Colourpop: I haven't used any other eyeshadows since I got these. I am addicted and obsessed in so many ways. I placed another order that will be up on the blog within the next few weeks and I want more. They're easy to use, one swipe and instant eye-shadow look. Sometimes, especially in the summer, I don't feel like putting on a lot of make-up (and especially early in the morning before work). Eye-shadow is my least favorite make-up item to apply because it takes so much time and it's hard, for me at least, to get it to look good. These cream, mousse like eye-shadows are so easy to use, and make your make-up look appear pulled together. If you haven't checked them out, you really need too.

2. Smith & Cult: Another beauty brand I've been loving. After posting this Manicure Monday, I knew I needed another one ASAP. It's one of my best nail polish formulas I've ever tried. It's expensive at $18 a bottle but with Birchbox points, you can get them for cheaper. They're smooth, opaque, and incredibly shiny--they give a gel like effect to your polish. I have another Manicure Monday coming up with my new polish "She Said Yeah".

3. Rumba Watch: The watch that I got as my Birchbox Plus item in my June box has not left my wrist. It's the perfect size for everyday wear, I almost forget that I'm wearing it. It adds a bit of flair to any outfit and I love it. I've been looking for an everyday, yet dressy and slim watch and this is it.

4. Kimonos: I don't love clothes as much as I love beauty or accessories, but I have been trying to invest in more clothes so I have more options for a 5-day work week. The summer is especially hard for me to shop for because I like to be comfortable and the heat makes that so difficult. In comes Kimonos. This is a trend that I have missed out on the last two summers but finally got on board. I have three that I keep in rotation, and wear with colored pants. I'm obsessed. They're so comfortable but dressy, and aren't heavy in the slightest. They keep me cool and are perfect for work, if you have a more casual corporate office. Give me all the kimonos, please. Here are a few that I'm looking at for the future: One Two Three Four 

5. Elite Daily: I've been obsessing over the site because it's constantly inspiring me and opening my eyes to new things, and new feelings. It's inspiring me to write more and figure out what I really want out of my life. Some of those writers are really incredible, it's so admirable. Snaps to Elite Daily for killing the game lately!

There weren't too many beauty "products" this month because I've been loving so many different things, and trying so many new things, I can't pick just one! Keep an eye out for your daily dose of beauty coming up in the next few weeks. I have a lot of reviews + hauls coming up!

How was your month of June? What were your favorites?

Shop my favorites below: 

June 27, 2015

Links to Love

I feel like I haven't done one of these posts in weeks, when in reality it's only been two weeks.

I'll be honest when I say I've felt very disconnected from my blog lately. I'm writing posts but I'm not posting them on social media, and I feel like I'm not engaging. I hate that, because I really want to throw myself into this and do some fun stuff, but work has been crazy and I'm exhausted on the weekends.

Sometimes the last thing I want to do at night after work, or on a Saturday afternoon, is go back on the computer and try to form coherent thoughts.

Also, this weekend, starts a very busy few weeks for me. Between graduation parties, 4th of July, brunches, and dinners with friends, I'm excited to have a lot of things to look forward too.

That's something I'll talk about more in a future post I'm planning--making time for your life when you're busy with your first real job. Boy have I learned a few new lessons.

I've also been doing a shit-ton of shopping. It's actually horrific but I've also been saving money & paying my bills on time so I think I deserve some retail therapy (even if it is every week)-- so expect a few haul posts soon!

Anyways, first off let's talk about the incredible events that occured yesterday. I'm so proud that our country finally found the good and legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. LOVE WINS #America ;)

Here are the rest of the links I've been loving over the past two weeks:

Eva Chen spoke to Elite Daily #dreams

Speaking of Eva Chen, Lucky Magazine got into some heat a few weeks back #yikes

Umm, Riley Curry stole the show (I know I'm late to the game, #sorry)

Us anxiety ridden people are a little complicated to love

Give me all the Baked Brie.. no seriously, expect a recipe post on this soon #NOM

Refinery29 did a beauty competition and some of the winners are pretty dam awesome

Kylie Jenner >>>>

All girls schools are amazing and I recommend them to everyone at least once in their life

What did you love this week?

Have a great weekend everyone!!

June 24, 2015

Favorite Samples From Birchbox

I've been a subscriber of Birchbox ever since I started this blog, so a little over three years. I stopped subscriptions in-between because I was a broke college student at one point, but I've loved Birchbox every step of the way.

It really has opened so many doors for me in terms of make-up and I've learned about so many brands & products that I now know and love. It's been awesome to try new products every month and then have the chance to buy the full size, using discount codes & points in the Birchbox Shop.

Three years, countless boxes, and more beauty samples than I could count, you could imagine how many samples I've accumulated and how much I actually have tried.

I've had this type of post written down in my notes for a while and after hitting the 3 year mark (give or take a few boxes), I thought it would be a great idea to do now!

There have been products I've received in Birchboxes that I love, some I've hated, and some I just didn't have an opinion on.

Some of these products are from my first Birchboxes and are long gone, but I haven't forgotten how much I loved them, and some are newer products that I've fallen in love with.

1. Liz Earle Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion: I have major eye issues, from dryness to puffiness to allergies, I'm a mess. When I saw I was getting this "soothing" lotion in my April 2015 Birchbox (which was a Mad Men Inspired Box) I was thrilled. It's a great size sample and it's more liquid than lotion. It has a very subtle cooling effect and really soothes my eyes in the morning. I definitely notice a difference when I use this and I may just buy the full size when I run out!

2. theBalm Read My Lips Lip-gloss: This is the lip-gloss that converted me into loving lip gloss. I realized that companies were making lip gloss less sticky and more nourishing and pigmented. Since receiving this in my February 2015 Birchbox, I've worn this more than I could ever imagine and it's become a staple in my beauty routine. It gives the nicest wash of color and doesn't feel sticky at all. I will definitely buy the full size (and in more colors) once I use this up.

3. Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser: Okay, so until I was writing this post, I thought this product was like over $50 but it's only $32 and I may have to buy it. This was one sample I didn't want to end. It's a rough exfoliate cleanser but leaves your skin super soft and smooth. It's an odd consistency because it feels like sand and then you add water to it and it becomes a foam. I'm just realizing how much I miss it and I need it back now!

4. Tocca Crema de Mano Luxe Hand Cream: I received this lotion in the same box as the Suki Exfoliate and it's still going strong. I now keep it at work and I'm obsessed. I used it sparingly because I wanted it to last and I know I will have to buy a full size soon. It's the perfect consistency for an everyday hand lotion, not too greasy, not too heavy, it's very light and airy. It also has the most incredible scent. I have the scent Bianca which is green tea & lemon, but I'm tempted to try out a different one next time. UGH give me it now!

5. Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint: It's time to throw it back to my April 2013 box and this little devil. It was a small tube from what I remember but I used the entire thing up. This was when I was kind of clueless on the beauty front but I loved the glow this product gave my skin. With a $40 price tag, I'm going to have to build up to buying this again but I know the Jouer tints (luminizing or matte) are worth it!

6. Evologie Intensive Blemish Serum: I received this in my March 2013 box and I still have it. It's on its last leg and I have to fight with the packaging to get a little bit out. This really works. I swear to God, it works. It clears up my blemishes instantly and has been my go to for the past two years. I will 100% need a full size when this runs out for good.

7. theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer: I didn't realize what this product really was until I started watching Youtube and everyone was gushing over it. It is definitely a cult classic highlight in the beauty world and I still have my baby sample. It is just so intense but yet subtle if you use a light hand. It gives off a gorgeous glow and makes your skin look amazing.

8. Skin, An Apothecary Soy Body Whip: OMG. This may be my favorite sample ever. It is a rich, nourishing body butter that makes your skin feel so nice. It smells incredible and isn't too greasy. It is one of the most perfect body butters/lotions/whips I've ever tried and I know I still have it floating around somewhere!

I definitely have a few more products that were my favorites but these are definitely my top 8!

What products have you discovered from your Birchbox or other beauty subscription services?

June 23, 2015

Beauty Tips for Allergies

Ever since I was a little girl, I suffered severely from allergies. Once April rolled around, I knew I would have a rough few months and allergy season was in full force.

At first, it was just my eyes would water up and itch really badly--this was a quick fix with some eye drops. As I got older, the allergies and the symptoms got worse. And now it wasn't just the typical, Spring allergy season--it was when the weather changed in the Fall as well.

Now, I was coughing and sneezing and feeling drowsy because of the stupid pollen, along with my itchy, watery eyes. Not to mention constant sinus headaches and pressure from being having a stuffy nose *mad cute, right? It's honestly a nightmare, and sometimes, even after "allergy season" has passed, if the pollen count is really high, I'll still wake up knowing exactly what is wrong--it's my allergies.

Allergies aren't an excuse to stay home from school or work and you must muster the courage to get through the day. Looking good & feeling good with allergies, is a little difficult but I've had a lot of practice.

Also, this post may seem a little outdated since allergy season has sort of passed and it's officially summer, but like I said, I suffer all year around if the pollen index is high.

If this sounds like you, here are some of my favorite beauty (and lifestyle tips) to cure your allergies!

1. Eye-drops: Your eyes are going to be red and puffy, constantly wanting to touch your eyes because they itch so bad and nothing will relieve them. I recommend carrying around eye drops with you 24/7. You shouldn't overuse them but when the pain is unbearable, these won't steer you wrong. These have been my favorite since I was little and I always go back to them!

2. Nude eyeliner: With your eyes red & puffy, you're going to want to make them look more awake. There's nothing worse than walking around with puffy, squinted eyes. I recommend staying away from black eyeliner on your lash line and applying a nude colored eyeliner pencil in your waterline. It will instantly lift your eyes and make you look more awake. Your eyes look more open and less red immediately! I LOVE the NYX Wonderpencil for this--it's one of my favorite beauty products.

3. Eye Masks: This is something new I've been trying out and I'm kind of obsessed. I love face masks so when I realized eye masks were a thing, I was sold. I've used a few and there are some great ones out there. They're great for reliving puffy under eye bags and the cooling effect that they leave is wonderful. I love using these even when my allergies aren't acting up--waking up on a weekend morning, washing your face, and placing one of these on for a few minutes is an immediate wake up call. I love the Sephora brand because there are so many for all different skin types and needs.

4. Bare face: Sometimes it's best to go sans eye make-up when your allergies are acting up. Let your eyes breathe and relax by only applying some nude eyeliner & waterproof mascara. Leave the heavy eyeshadows and black liquid liner at home and go simple. It'll be a relief when you accidentally rub your eyes and don't end up looking like a raccoon.

5. Calming Skin: Your skin is probably a mess from rubbing your eyes and blowing your nose so counteract the redness with calming face products, like a moisturizer to help combat redness, or a nice, soothing face mask. Go easy on the heavy foundation and opt for powder or a BB Cream. Your skin will thank you!

Aside from these beauty tips, find your favorite non drowsy allergy medicine to keep on hand, stock up on the tissues, and stay hydrated. Pollen will not get me down!

What are your favorite allergy tips? Tell me in the comments because I could use all the help I could get :)