6 Years of Blogging

in , , by RoyallyPink, 5:30 AM
Today I celebrate 6 years of Royally Pink. This milestone is one I never thought I'd achieve because when I started this blog but one I am so excited to cross. I've always loved writing, it's always been my core hobby so to be able to create a place where I can write about whatever I want, whenever I want, and to have people read it is truly magical.

When I decided to start Royally Pink, it was just something to occupy my time. I had a lot to say and no one really to listen. I wanted to talk about career and fashion and beauty. I wanted an outlet to put my time and energy in.

I started it in the summer of 2012 after seeing The College Prepster aka Carly the Prepster, and I thought "I could do this!" I was going after a Journalism degree and I figured it was good to start honing my writing skills and show people what I could do.

I definitely wasn't one of the first bloggers on the scene but I do feel like I got the jump on blogging before the social media boom. It was before Instagram, which says a lot and I think that's pretty cool.

I don't know if I ever told the story but naming Royally Pink was very easy. I was sitting in bed, thinking of a name and honestly the first thing I thought of was "Royally Pink". I was deep in a royal family obsession (not much has changed there), I always wanted to be a princess and I loved everything pink. It made total sense at the time, and even now, it still sort of makes sense.

Royally Pink is just about fun, it's girly and light (except when it's not).

A peek at my first layout
I've thought about changing the name but what else would I call it? Anything else just seems completely inauthentic to me at this point.

In 2012, it was weird to start out but once I started, I couldn't stop. Everything was inspiring and I wanted to write about anything I saw. I didn't plan out my posts, I just kind of wrote on the fly. My layout was simple and I didn't really have a social strategy -- I just wrote and shared it. Back in the day, I used to blog 7 times a week and kept that up until my senior year of college where it was just too much.

One of my favorite layouts to date
I joined some networks, connected with other bloggers, and really just hit the ground running. I took it seriously from the start. I loved what I was doing but I wanted it to be a reflection of me and what I was about. First and foremost, it was a showcase of my writing and sort of an experiment.


I think this was the layout I had the longest, and probably loved the most. 

In turn, it became something I was fiercely passionate and protective about. For the first two years, I didn't really talk about it 'in real life'. It was my little secret yet, I'd share it on Facebook without a second thought and let people find out that way. It was very weird but it worked for me.

My most recent layout (I think) before this one right now. I get bored easily if you couldn't tell! 
It's been a very long 6 years and I'm very proud of everything I've published. There have been a few missteps along the way but I stand by every word on my little corner of the Internet.

the state of Royally Pink
Since those hot summer days, I've grown my social followings, understand best practices for most blog related stuff, developed consistent content series, figured out how I like to plan, have done countless sponsored posts, ended up on a few PR lists, and attended a few too many conferences.

All those years ago, as a shy little college junior with big hopes of journalism in front of her, I didn't think I'd still be here with my little piece of the Internet, writing her heart out. This blog has been there for me through everything: senior year, graduation, my first job(s), my dad's death, my anxiety journey, and so much more.

Most importantly, all of you have been there. I always like when I discover a new reader or see the pageviews tick up -- it means that someone out there likes what I'm doing.

I don't know what the next level of this blog is. Would I love to work on it full time? Of course but I don't know if that's ever going to be in the cards for me. I do know that I want to keep doing what I'm doing, keep writing content I enjoy writing and you enjoy reading, and just staying really true to who I am and what Royally Pink has always been.

To me, Royally Pink has always been very girly, fun, interesting, and real. I don't shy away from a lot and if I do, it's for good reason.

6 years later, from college to now, I thank you all for being part of Royally Pink.

Cheers to another 6 years!

xoxo
B


Right now I'm dealing with a really bad bout of anxiety. I don't know what it is but I've had it for the past two days and I can't shake it. I've tried to busy myself with organizing, cleaning, and cooking. I binge watched Riverdale on Sunday (again), tried to check things off a to-do list and even took a nap.

*I'm writing this on Monday*

Yesterday I woke up with crippling anxiety and I couldn't focus on anything. I did my hair, watched Youtube videos and I ran a few errands. I tried to write a few different blog posts and nothing would come out. That's why I decided to just ramble about the anxiety I was feeling.

I wanted to write my blog anniversary post which is tomorrow, I tried writing a beauty post that I wanted to post today, and my anxiety was so bad I just couldn't focus. I'm so anxious my hands are shaking. It hasn't been this bad in a while.



I took a break from writing this post because I had a massive anxiety attack. There were lot of tears, shortness of breath, and some screaming. Yes, screaming. Sometimes when the anxiety takes over, I can't control myself and my actions -- it's like I black out and just do whatever it is I need to do to survive. I needed to let all the toxins out and I do that by yelling through my cries.

I'm not sure what exactly triggered the anxiety attack but I do know that it was one of the worst ones and it was physically painful to go through.

I'm going to the doctor on Friday and I have to talk to her about changing my mediciation because the anxiety has been coming harder and faster lately which it shouldn't be because of my mediciation.

It's very funny that I write this now because I just submitted an article for publication about my struggle with anxiety and how I overcame it. I have overcome my daily battle in a way because the anxiety isn't always there, however I do still experience it and that is something I will struggle with forever.

Are you struggling with anxiety today? What are your remedies?
xoxo
B
We're a little late with the roundup this week but the good news is that it's a holiday weekend! I have been counting down the days to MDW for a few weeks now because I just needed a break... and an excuse to binge watch something.

It's Sunday, it's raining, and I'm on my couch watching Southern Charm: How They Got Here -- thank you Bravo!



So far, this weekend has been better than most. Friday night I went to the Yankee game with my family tree (sorority tree that is) and it was so much fun. I hadn't been to Yankee Stadium in 4 years and I forgot how much I loved it. For the past few years, I've been going to Citi Field because all my friends are Mets fans.

I grew up a Yankee fan and my dad was the biggest Yankee fan so being in Yankee Stadium made me feel very connected to him. At one point I even got emotional and teared up -- it was very weird but it's the little things, right?

Last night I went to the city for my uncle's 60th birthday and it was just a nice night out with my family. That's why now I'm planning on relaxing for the next two days. My anxiety is a little high, but I'm relishing in the fact that I have no plans today and tomorrow.

In the meantime, here are my favorite links of the week:


What You Missed on Royally Pink:

xoxo
B
This post was originally published in May 2018 but has since been updated.

As the resident bag lady of the Internet, I’ve had many a dream bag. I am constantly looking and longing for something new to add to my collection but for years, I knew there was one bag I had to have. I thought about it daily and dreamed about it nightly. I watched countless Youtube unboxings, reviews, and “WIMB” featuring it and I looked at all the NYC ladies on the subway with it.

I knew one day, she would be mine. That bag is the Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM.




And now, I have two of them. Talk about dreams coming true! Both Neverfulls are preloved but they are perfect to me and well worth it.




I got my first Neverfull MM in the classic monogram print in April 2017 from Tradesy. It was worn and has some tears on the leather lining at the top of the bag, but otherwise, it's in great condition. It didn't smell when I received it nor does the canvas have any issues. (knock on wood!) The lining was perfect and there was not a scratch/mark on it.

I paid around $500 for it which was a steal because the Neverfulls retail for well over $1500 at this point. Saving that much money is worth having a preloved bag, in my opinion.

I was so thrilled to have the classic Neverfull I almost didn't want to use it. However, I got over that feeling very quickly and it was one of my most used bags of 2017.

The first thing I thought of when I started using my Neverfull was that there is a huge reason it's called the Neverfull -- the bag is NEVERFULL. You can throw things in there, even unorganized, and it holds all your items incredibly well.

Sometimes I fill my bag up so much I think it's going to break but it does not -- the bag might look small but it surely is not. It does all of that while still remaining extremely lightweight; seriously, I am constantly surprised at how light the Neverfull feels on my shoulder, even when it's bursting with my items.

I should probably mention I use this as a work bag and it holds up against everything that I take with me on my commute. I always want to use this as an every day, errand bag like most women but I just have too many other bags that need my love and attention.

I mentioned that the bag is lightweight but I need to highlight this: I have had the worst back, neck, shoulder problems ever since I started using tote bags. It started when I got my first Coach tote bag my freshmen year of high school to use as a backpack. My body just cannot handle the weight on my shoulders and every bag I have ever used (with maybe the expectation of the Tory Burch Perry Tote) has hurt me.

The Neverfull DOES NOT HURT.

This week I was using one of my Kate Spade totes as a work bag and I was in so much pain it was unbearable. I decided yesterday morning to make the rash decision and change into my Neverfull MM Monogram and would you look at that, no pain yesterday and today!

You cannot go wrong with this bag.

I loved my Monogram MM so much I knew that I wanted to add another Neverfull to my collection. If you saw this video on my Youtube channel, you know that I recently purchased a pre-loved Damier Ebene Neverfull MM.

I have to say, I love this one more than the monogram. There is something so rich and gorgeous about the brown leather and the red interior. It's exactly the same as the monogram, it's just all based on preference.

The only difference is that my Damier Ebene bag is in much better condition than the monogram. Aside from a slight odor when I got it (which I took care of with dryer sheets), this bag looked brand new. I got it for around $700 on Ebay from a Japanese consignment shop. (They always have the best deals!)

In conclusion, the Louis Vuitton Neverfull is THE BAG to have. If you are a tote lover and you just can't find one that works for you, please go get a Neverfull.

If you can only have one bag, choose the Neverfull. Save up your coins, don't buy any other bags and go get the Neverfull. Whether it's pre-loved or brand new, it is worth every single penny.

I can confidently say that my Neverfulls are at the top of favorites in my handbag collection.

Do you have the Neverfull? What are your thoughts?
xoxo
B
In two short months, I’ll be one year into Weight Watchers and I’m still down around 25 pounds. When I started this journey I didn’t think I’d hit that number, but as I lost the weight and the weight stayed off, I wasn’t expecting to still be at that number.

It’s been a struggle, to say the least, because I’ve been at a standstill for a while since February to be exact. I referenced this and my struggle with the Freestyle system in my last post and while I’m having slightly better luck (I lost weight two weeks ago but then quickly gained a pound back), it’s still hard.

What is different this month is that I’ve been inspired. Did I have a bag of M&Ms last week and not count the points? Yes, I did because sometimes my self-control is just not there.

However, I really made a stride in my mindset toward the program and how I eat. After discovering an online community on Instagram all about Weight Watchers (as a blogger and a social media professional, how has it taken me this long to discover this?) I’m inspired by new recipes and the idea of meal prepping.

Trader Joes Hashbrowns; 2 egg muffins

I’ve been going to Trader Joe’s a lot more (once a week) to stock up on delicious, low point foods. I had no idea how full of Weight Watchers approved items TJ’s was! It’s amazing and so comforting knowing that.

I also have been following weight watchers hashtags and accounts to find new recipes and ways people are using their points.

In the past two weeks I’ve been making egg muffins for breakfast, cauliflower rice as a 0 point side for lunch at work, and planning on what to make for dinner and for sweet treats that are low in points.

The community on Instagram has really been so helpful in seeing that there are ways to get your snack on and eat what you crave without going overboard.

I even started my own little separate Instagram to highlight my meals (when I remember to Instagram them before eating)

This update is short and a little all over the place because I’m starving (so fitting) but basically, Weight Watchers is still working for me. I’m not gaining any weight and keeping it off, just as I have for the past few months.

I have my good days and I have my bad days. I need to learn to use my weekly points because that is what they are there for -- TO BE USED. I need to get better about tracking everything, even if I know it will put me over the daily usage (but again, weeklies are there for a reason).

Finding new recipes is really helping me and getting me excited about the program again. That being said, I will probably do 'Weight Watchers Wednesdays' a lot more than once a month, and it'll include more than an update on how I'm doing. I really want to incorporate more recipes that are low in points and in turn, low calorie but very tasty.

I hope you'll all stay tuned and continue with me on this little journey!

xoxo
B
At the end of the month, I'm going to be celebrating my 6 year blogging anniversary. That in itself is enough to send me over the edge -- I never thought I'd be blogging consistently for six years. It's quite the milestone in my opinion.

Over the past six years, I've tried all different techniques to help propel my blog to the next level. I'm all about organization, making my life easy, and making sure I'm using the best items to help me make the best content I could.




Within the past six years, I've seen my fair share of blogging tools, tips, and tricks to make the most of your content but right now, in 2018, I have found the tools that work best for me. I'm sure if you're a blogger, you've heard of these (I'm definitely not reworking the wheel here) but I just had to share!



Tailwind: This is the best Pinterest tool out there and everyone from brands to top influencers to micro influencers are using it. It's $15 a month and I've done the free version, but it's definitely worth it. For a time there, I was getting tired of spending the monthly fee so I canceled my membership. However, I quickly resigned up because I saw a dip in traffic and realized that it made my social strategy much better. I was basically lost without it.

All you do is schedule your Pinterest posts and Tailwind will send it out to the boards you picked at the right time to maximize views.  It gives you all sorts of analytics and has a lot more features that I really need to take advantage of. Pinterest has always been my #1 traffic source because it's essentially a search engine, not a social media platform so if you aren't using Pinterest, you have too!

*I just discovered Tailwind Tribes which is basically like a huge group board directly on Tailwind, which will directly help your pins show up in front of more eyes. It's wild and maybe I'll do a whole post on this!

Buffer: I used to use Hootsuite to schedule my Twitter and Facebook posts but I find Buffer much easier to use. I have the widget installed on my bookmarks bar and just go to the URL I want to share and schedule it out, without even leaving the page. It makes re-sharing really easy and gives you good analytics as well. I love having the app on my phone and iPad so that way I can schedule on the go. It's very easy and a must have for all bloggers (and social media mavens!)



Planoly: As a social media manager, I understand the importance of crafting the perfect Instagram post. I think before my job, I didn't really play into the Instagram game with my blog. I kind of just crafted an Instagram photo and threw it up. What changed that, besides the industry, is Planoly. Before this app, I didn't really have a way to plan out content, without paying for a subscription to something. Planoly has completely changed that.

It is a scheduler/planner for Instagram, has deep analytics, and an amazing blog with so many resources for influencers/bloggers/social media professionals. What I mainly use this app for is to schedule my Instagram photos, and also seeing what a photo will look in my feed before actually posting.

It's really helpful in planning out content for campaigns or sponsored posts because you can schedule the posts and kind of forget about it until the push notification pops up on your phone!

I love that you can store your hashtags so you don't have to write the hashtags out for every post. I have a beauty hashtag group, everyday group, and books. I should add more and will eventually!

If you want to up your Instagram game, please go check out Planoly!

Google Docs/Sheets: This is a new addition to my blogging tools routine and I've been loving it. I have countless notebooks that I use for blogging but digitally, I would just use my Notes app that comes with the Macbook. However, I started running into issues because I would want to reference something that was in those notes but I was away from my computer. I started using the Google Docs/Sheets for my editorial calendar, blog ideas, brand outreach, and everything in between and it's been life-changing. I love being able to reference things on the go and I feel so much more organized. It's amazing and I highly recommend!

What are your favorite blogging tools?
xoxo
B
It has been quite a while since I did a new Manicure Monday post but I've been in a nail polish mood. This week it's all about a pale pink color from a new OPI collection that has my chills multiplying.

When I saw that OPI was releasing a Grease collection I knew I had to have something from it. Grease is my favorite movie of all time and I have seen it well over 200 times. I first watched it when I was 7 years old and ever since then, I've been in love.

Danny Zuko was my first love and Grease is the reason I fell in love with musicals. Grease means a lot to me and I get very excited when I see/hear other people express their love and appreciation for the iconic movie.

The Grease Collection from OPI is to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the movie and I knew I needed a few (if not all) of the shades.



My first pick was the shade I'm talking about today and that's 'Pink Ladies Rule the School'. Since I purchased this one, I've also purchased 'Frenchie Likes to Kiss' which is a beautiful lavendar shade.

Pink Ladies Rule the School is of course, a gorgeous pink shade. It's a classic, baby/candy pink that is simple but really looks gorgeous on the nails. It's a color that can be worn throughout the year and adds a nice pop of color to a traditional manicure.




The formula is on par with other OPI nail polishes I have tried. It's smooth, easy application, and opaque after just one coat. It dries rather quickly which I can appreciate.

As for chipping, I think this was better than most. It looked good a solid 4-5 days after application so I was quite pleased with that.

I really loved this nail color and I'm excited to try "Frenchie Likes to Kiss" and try to pick up some more colors from this collection!

*The Grease Collection also comes in an Infinite Shine finish, and a Leather Effects finish. I'm interested to maybe try one or two from these collections as well.

 Below is a good overview of the entire collection available on Ulta.com


What is on your nails today?
xoxo
B
What a weekend!!

It started off very happy on Friday with my sister's college graduation. It was a really bittersweet day because I was so happy to be with my family but I was really sad that my dad wasn't there. Another milestone spent without him really got me worked up.

However, it was a beautiful day and it was interesting to sit through a college graduation without being the one graduating.

I was exhausted after a long day on Friday so I came home, ran a few errands and then passed out around 9:30 AM. Hence why this blog post is coming to you on a Sunday afternoon.

Then, it was time for my Olympics. I woke up at 5 AM on Saturday morning to watch the wedding of the year -- the Royal Wedding.

I didn't do any royal wedding coverage here on the blog but that's why we're talking about it now. I was so excited and so emotional while watching the wedding. I had my tea and scones ready (and some coffee for the American in me) and I watched the first bi-racial woman marry into the Royal Family.

It was a simply magical day and my love for the Royal Family, especially Meghan and Harry (the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) has grown 10x.

Here are some of my favorite moments:


  • All the celebrities from Oprah to George Clooney to Spencer from Pretty Little Liars
  • THE HATS. GIVE ME ALL THE FASCINATORS
  • Princess Charlotte once again stole the show when she turned around to give one last wave to the crowd 
  • Meghan's dress reveal was insane. I loved her dress so much; it was simple, elegant and everything I could ever want. Also, the veil was everything.
  • Meghan walking down the aisle was simply heart stopping. She looked like she was in a movie, a Disney movie to be specific. 
  • All the smiling, laughing and lovey-dovey eyes between the bride and groom

  • That veil lift -- oh just strike me dead.
  • The laughter throughout the church as Harry and Meghan recited their vows made my heart sing

  • The kiss - that kiss was everything. It was a surprise and it was a beat or two too long which was wonderful 

  • The procession throughout the town of Berkshire was truly something out of a fairytale. It was amazing


  • Her 2nd dress for the reception was jaw-dropping! It was beautiful! 

After the royal wedding, I took a nap and then lounged around until it was time to head to the Mets game. It was really gross and rainy out but I had a great time at the game.

Now, it's time to round up my favorite articles about the Royal Wedding! 

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and have a great week ahead!
xoxo
B
I sit here, four years post-college to the day, and going through my old college graduation blog posts from 2014. Every May I do this; I get all my good, evergreen college posts ready to be scheduled on social media for a new crop of seniors to read and I get emotional.

Just remembering how it felt to write those blog posts in my off-campus apartment while crying my eyes out and thinking I wouldn't know how to survive without the place I called home; without the place I cherished more than anything else in my life.

Those first 6 months, and even the first year after graduation I felt like I was drowning. I didn't want to do this. I didn't want to be an adult and all I wanted was to crawl back in the cocoon that was college. I wasn't ready and I didn't think I ever would be.

Yet, here I am and I'm ok.

How did I end up here, four years later?



Who would've thought my life has changed this much from the moment I walked across the stage at Madison Square Garden?

I've been through a lot the past four years; friendships ended and friendships began, I've moved from one house to another, I lost my dad, and I've struggled a lot with my mental health. I've struggled with my career, my social life, my love life, and balancing everything in-between.

However, despite all of that I am still standing and I'm doing pretty good, and not just from the outside looking in.

I have what some would say is a dream job, even though it doesn't even feel like work. I have all of my college friends and talk to them almost every day. I have a wonderful family and support system. I recently got a promotion at work, and I'm still blogging. Plus, I have a side project or two in the works that I hope to finish by the end of the year.

If 21-year-old Briana could look at 25-year-old Briana, she would think she's doing pretty great and despite everything, life has thrown at her the past four years, she came out on the other side.

And that's the thing I've learned most the past four years.

Everything is going to be ok in the end, even if you don't think it will be. Even if there is no light at the end of the very long tunnel, things have a way of just working itself out.

You get over that boy, you find that job, you get over your nerves about an interview, you learn to handle work confrontations, you still find time for your friends... in the end, it's all ok.

I went through the worst thing to ever happen to me: my dad died and yet, here I am. I survived.

Somedays I wake up and don't know how I got here but I know that I'm right where I'm supposed to be. Without college, without the horrible experience and depression I had after graduating, I don't know where I'd be. I think in a way it made me stronger and tougher because, before my dad, I lost the one real thing that was special to me.

It sucks, I won't lie, to see your campus change and people you knew as freshmen are now long gone.  Nothing looks the same and the people are drastically different but whenever you walk back onto that campus, you suddenly feel like you've traveled back in time.

Whenever I go back to New Rochelle and visit Iona, I immediately start to cry. As soon as I see the campus sign, I get extremely emotional and am driving through the tears. It's a weird feeling, for sure, but more than anything, it makes me happy.

I'm so happy that after all this time, even with everything that has changed here and in my life, the feeling I have toward this place has never changed.

When I'm with my college friends, the feeling they give me is still the same feeling as all those years ago and that makes my heart sing loudly.

Because the truth is, no matter where you go or however much time passes, the feeling you have around those people that changed you will still be there.

So to anyone who is reading this and scared shitless of putting on their cap and gown -- don't be. I promise you, if I am ok, you will be ok too.

You can always go home again, even if the home isn't your college campus but those people who grew up with you and helped you become the person you are today.

You may leave a place and leave people but they never really leave you.

xoxo
B

Ever since my junior year of college, I've been obsessed with career books and self-help books. I never thought there was anything to be embarrassed about when I was browsing the self-help section of Barnes and Noble -- there is something so wonderful about wanting to better yourself and your soul.

I think career books are so smart because they really give you a sense of purpose, and give you advice that you might not be able to get anywhere else. Reading a career book always instilled me with a sense of inspiration and aspiration. It lit a fire under my butt and really made me want to better myself through professional experiences.

When I graduated college, I knew it was time to hunker down and really get the most out of the career books made specifically for college graduates.

I still read career books and a lot of them are geared toward those looking for their first job. I knew that during this week dedicated to those about to walk across the stage to get their diploma, I needed to talk about my favorite books specifically made for YOU.

Some of these I've already talked about and some are new but either way, they are a must read!



1. I Just Graduated, Now What?: I remember during my senior year, I was laying in bed watching Jimmy Fallon and Katherine Schwarzenegger was on to promote her new book directed toward college graduates. I was intrigued and when I graduated a few weeks later, it was the first book I bought. This is definitely my number 1 book that I think everyone should read, even if you're 5 years post grad. It is incredibly inspiring and helpful and just makes you realize you're not alone. Everything you're feeling is normal and everyone else before you has experienced the same thing. It's an incredible book with advice from all your favorite celebrities. I feel like I should re-read it to find some inspiration, it was that good!

2. The Career Code: I won't go into too much detail about this one because I just wrote an indepth review about it. It was one of the more helpful career books, taking you from your first application to becoming a manager. It is the bible for anyone who wants to have a successful career and I highly recommend it. It gives you clear cut roads to take and what to do, what not to do when it comes to climbing the career ladder. It was incredible.

3. Leave Your Mark: This is a book written by Aliza Light, who was the lady behind DKNY PR Girl, one of the first major social media accounts. Because of that, this book is slightly geared toward people in the media industry but it was one of those books that I was highlighting and writing notes down from. She also released an updated verison which I really think I might pick up. It was a book that I read really quickly and felt like it really affected me. I just pulled it back out of my collection and am planning on re-reading. It's that good and that helfpul.

4. Welcome to The Real World: This is another book I've talked about before but again, it's one of the most helpful ones. It takes you through each step of adulthood and getting your first job. It was another book that I highlighted and took notes in. Lauren Berger is the Intern Queen and a really incredible resource; her advice is real, straightforward, and she never talks at you. She's all about helping and this is one of those books.

There are so many more career books out there but these are my favorites and what I found to be the most helpful in my four years post graduate. Stay tuned for more career/real world self help book reviews coming in the near future!

Happy reading!
xoxo
B
To date, one of my highest read posts on Royally Pink is 'Graduation Gifts for Your Big/Little' meaning the best graduation gifts for your sorority sister.

Now, that post can really be for anyone but I wrote it at a time when everything was Greek life to me. I figured what better time than any to write a post about generic graduation gifts for those in your life.

In my opinion, one of the best gifts you could give a graduate is money. It's very inpersonal and some would say tacky but it's the most practical. This person is graduating college, probably without a job and is going to spend the summer in their childhood home with no source of income. A nice savings account is just what the doctor ordered.

However, not everyone is going to agree with that, and I think there are certain people who shouldn't give money as a gift. I think immediate family members are the ones who should stick with cash, but friends and siblings -- this post is for you.

*This also doesn't have to just be for college graduates. High school graduates are included too.



1. Symbolic Jewelry: A piece of jewelry is always a great way to go and it doesn't have to be overly expensive. As long as the piece is sentimental and meaningful, I think it's a great idea. My mom got me a key necklace for high school graduation because it was the key to my future. If something has meaning, it makes all the difference.

The Christmas after graduation, I got this map necklace with the coordinates of my college and it's probably one of the most meaningful pieces I own. I think that is a GREAT gift idea!


2. Graduation Survival Kit: I always loved the idea of a survivial kit for the post grad. Think back to when you graduated college and what you felt like you needed. Give them a coffee mug, a bottle (or three) of their favorite wine, a metrocard (or whatever public transporation card is in your city), a beautiful, fancy notebook, a gift certificate to Moo.com for business cards, and an example of a perfect resume. Anything and everything that you think would be benefical to a post grad, throw it in the kit. It's useful, adorable, and the person will understand the thought behind it.

3. A professional handbag: This is mostly for me because you know how much I love handbags and they are my favorite gift ever. It's not something for everyone but I think if you know someone's taste, you can get it right. A professional, big girl handbag is something that is essential when entering the real world. Whether it's going to grad school, interviews, or your first job, having something professional to carry is a good idea. Also, I've said this before but a handbag as a gift for an occasion such as this can be very sentimental.


4. Professional Experience: If you want be very strategic about the gift you give, get them something that can benefit them in the long run. Maybe it's a meeting with a career coach or recruiter, or maybe a gift certificate to an online class. Something that will benefit the graduate's professional experience is very useful.

There are so many other things you could buy for the grad in your life (some linked below!) but no matter what, make sure to celebrate them because it's a huge deal. They've accomplished so much and are feeling so many different emotions. Make sure they feel loved and supported, they're going to need it.



I'm dubbing this week graduation week because at least for my alma mater, and a few others around me it is the week of college graduation.

My sister is graduating on Friday (weird that a college graduation is on a Friday but whatever) and I know she's been experiencing the emotions I did four years ago at this time.

I can't believe that it's been four years since I graduated college and my life changed more drastically and dramatically than I ever could've imagined.

I'll do more of a catch up on Thursday, the actual 4 year anniversary of my graduation but for now, I want to give you, the graduating senior, a few tips to enjoy the last week of sweet freedom.



1. Go to all the school events: Even if you think some of the events are corny, go to everything that your school is throwing for you. Whether it's a senior BBQ, a formal, or any kind of get together, go to it. Go alone if you can't find one of your friends to go with. You will enjoy those moments and reflect on them for years to come. As important it is to be with your friends, it's important to be on campus and be with your classmates, friends or not.

2. Don't Stress About School: It's over, forget it. Don't spend too much time in the library (unless you're with your friends and having a good laugh) pouring over your books and finals. Now, that is probably not the best advice but it's good advice in the sense that you want to be making memories. You will do great on your finals and be just fine. Enjoy the last few days on campus.

3. Have real conversations: During my last week of school, I remember talking to all my friends and not about superficial things. We had real, heartfelt conversations and it really changed everything. During my last sorority meeting, all of the sisters go around and say how much the seniors mean to them, and vice versa. I had my sisters write letters to me and tell me how I changed the sorority and them. It made all the difference in my college experience and was one of my favorite moments ever. Tell your friends how much they mean to you, reminisce about the past four years, and make plans for the future. Sit around a fire, drink a beer, and enjoy the company because in a few days, it's all over.

This week is the week before you become an adult. It's the last week you have to be with your friends with no one to answer too. You're on your own, and you need to soak up every last moment. It'll be the best week of your life.

xoxo
B
Friday is here again! I was exhausted this week and that is thanks to the pollen that is killing me slowly. My allergies have not been this bad in years but this week, whew, they threw me and everyone around me for a loop.

Because of that, I fell asleep stupid early Tuesday & Wednesday night -- I'm talking 8:30 PM early. It was wild but I felt really well rested.

Iced coffee season is in full swing as well and I have been enjoying every sip. It's a very random thought but I felt the need to share.

I know I said this before, but I'm so happy its Spring. I'm really enjoying the season so far and next weekend is going to be the first real Spring weekend. It's my sister's graduation, the Royal Wedding, and I'm going to a Mets game sponsored by Barstool Sports. I'm PUMPED.

I read a lot of articles this week -- it felt really good to absorb so much content. Here's everything I loved:




What You Missed on Royally Pink:
Have a great weekend everyone!
xoxo
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I had been off my audiobook game for a bit because I was too cheap to buy one! My audible credits ran out and I wasn't dying to listen to anything. I always have podcasts or Sirius XM to listen to on my commute so I was ok.

When I finally did have my Audible credits, I chose 'The Woman in the Window.' I feel like I've been putting off buying this book for no reason other than there were other books I wanted to read. However, I thought this was a good time to jump the gun.



This book was only 13 hours long which isn't that long in Audible time but holy crap, it felt like it dragged on and on.

I did not like this book and I think the length was a huge reason.

The Woman in the Window is about a psychologist Anna Fox who is agoraphobic and cannot leave the house. One day, she thinks she witnesses a crime in a neighboring house and kind of freaks out. She believes that she saw Jane Russel through the window, a woman she had just met previously but comes to find out that Jane is not who she thought.

We're taken on the journey of Anna finding out who really is Jane Russel, what the Russel family is really about, and facing her demons head-on. We see Anna face the agoraphobia that is keeping her locked inside, and we learn more about the issues she's experiencing, and why.

It was very interesting at times and I found myself wanting to know what really was going on, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

There are a handful of twists thrown into the story, one being a little obvious but it was intense to see it play out. The ending came out of left field and tied everything up with a neat, little bow and made the book worth the headache.

The twisted ending was something I could've never guessed. I usually always guess the endings of these books but this was one that I didn't so it was definitely cool to see it play out.

On the flip side,  I felt that the plot was a little all over the place and there were too many details we didn't need. Some things went on for too long, some things didn't make sense and I was just a tad bit confused.

I think there are better thrillers out there so if you need something new, go to one of my other book reviews! This is a definite skip and to me, it just wasn't worth the time.

Did you read The Woman in the Window? What did you think?
xoxo
B

I am not a good photographer, but don't tell anyone that since I'm a blogger and social media professional.

In recent years, I've definitely gotten better at taking photos and I can edit a photo pretty well at this point.

I always found that I was ok when it came to work photos but when it came time to take photos for my personal Instagram or the blog, I struggled. I also struggled with editing photos to be just right and finding an aesthetic for my Instagram account.

Somewhere along the way I gave up on an aesthetic and just tried to edit my photos the best I could, in a very tasteful, pretty way.

Well, I think my photo editing skills have been taken up a notch in the past few months with thanks to my favorite photo editing app ever: A Color Story.

I've had this app on my phone many times before but never utilized it. Finally, one day I made it my mission to just suck it up and try my hand at this photo editing app.

Now, I've tried a lot of other apps before but they were always a bit too complicated for me. I've also stuck with just editing right in the Instagram app and playing with the brightness and contrast. I found that I wanted something more, something extra and that's where A Color Story comes in.

Once you edit a few photos, you really get the hang of it. You can stick to just adjusting the brightness, contrast, and other elements or you can utilize the app for what it is: filters.

These aren't Instagram filters, they're real photo filters that are created by photographers and other digital professionals in the industry.

You can purchase different packs that are offered in the app, and each pack comes with a select number of filters that have a cohesive theme.

For example, I have the pack "Airy" that have filters that add a certain amount of airy light to the photo.

There are packs for virtually every mood and vibe and I'm obsessed with purchasing them to add something different to my collection.


Watch how I edit my photos in this video
before

After


Have you ever wondered how bloggers get those interesting light reflects in the corners of their photos? There are filters/packs for that too!

Those are different from the regular filters and they're called 'effects'. I have a few that add confetti and light leaks to photos and I am obsessed with adding these to my photos!

I always tone it down so it's not too obvious and doesn't overtake the photo.

Like I said, I've tried using every other photo app on the market but A Color Story is my favorite ever. It's super easy to use and does all the work for you.

I highly recommend you download it right now and use the already installed filters to try your hand at it.

How do you edit your photos?
xoxo
B
I've never used Amazon more than I have been in the past year or so. They've been the E-Commerce giant for so long but I feel like they have really stepped their game up in the past few years.

I was never one to purchase anything other than electronics or paper goods from them -- ordering beauty items and clothes just seemed wrong. I'm still not totally on board with ordering beauty from Amazon because I can never be too sure where the items are coming from.

Aside from all of that, I've really expanded how I use Amazon and there is a reason they are taking over the world. For example, whenever I'm out shopping, I'm constantly checking the Amazon app to see if I could get a better deal online.

Don't even get me started on Amazon Prime -- it's a game changer and if you don't already have it, please go subscribe.

I figured I'd put together my favorite finds from the shopping giant and share them with you!


What are your favorite Amazon finds?
xoxo
B
Spring is HERE and I am pumped about it. I mean, it might not even be spring but summer because it hit 90 degrees in New York the past two days and it is glorious.

I said it last week when it was first nice out, but I think I am officially excited for the spring and summer. I was off from work yesterday for a dentist appointment and then afterward my mom and I went to my aunt's house and sat in her yard.

summer-spring-ouai-katespade-pvc
How I spent Thursday:
Ouai Son of a Beach Ombre Spray
PVC Amazon Fashion Bag
Kate Spade Sunglasses (similar)
Meghan A Hollywood Princess book

I am nowhere near ready for the warm weather; no pedicure, no tan, and no shoes/clothes that fit me so I wasn't really tanning but enjoying the sun. It was incredible and felt so good! I got a bit of color and it was so refreshing to get some Vitamin D.

I am vowing that this summer I will make the most of it, unlike past years. I want to go to the beach and do more fun things -- this WILL be a good summer.

This weekend will be lowkey; I'll be with friends tonight and then tomorrow is filled with errands and heading to the gym. I've been obsessed with Trader Joe's so definitely expect a post about all my favorite items from TJ's!

Here's everything I've been loving this week:


Here's what you missed on Royally Pink:
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