My favorite month is over and I'm actually really sad about it. I get so upset when October ends because it means we're just one step closer to the best season being over. I wait all year for September-December and it goes by in the blink of an eye. I know I still have two more months, and so much exciting stuff happening but ugh, it makes me so sad!

Live in the moment, Bri... get a grip!

October was really good for me; lots of fall activities and getting settled in at the new job. November is going to be just as exciting and I can hardly wait!

For now, let's dive into what I loved. I didn't shop too much during October and I will do even less shopping in November (more to come on that) but I did find a few things that I simply couldn't live
without!

OH.... and Happy Halloween!!! 



Charmed and Cozy Pumpkin Earrings

I wanted to be fully in the fall and Halloween spirit this month so when I saw these earrings online, I had to jump at the chance to purchase them. I wore these Mickey Pumpkin earrings probably 25 out of 31 days of the month. I wore them so much that they broke but I was able to superglue them back together. They added a little something quirky to every outfit and I felt like I was in the spirit every single day. It's important to me that I feel like I'm making the most of my favorite time of the year and something as simple as earrings help me do that. They are just too cute for words and I will continue to wear them through November and the rest of the pumpkin season. I will also probably buy the candy cane version. 

Anthropologie Boulangerie Jar 

This is probably the most famous, best-selling pumpkin candle of life because I have seen it everywhere for years but never purchased it. I'm pretty sure the brand is exclusive to Anthropologie and if you don't know what I'm talking about, the scent is Pumpkin Souffle and I think the brand is Boulangerie? I've been burning this all month long and it's heavenly. It's a tiny candle but has a lot of burning time and the scent is strong and intense. It is a classic pumpkin scent and is probably one of my favorite candles ever. However, the one complaint I have is that it burns really unevenly. I take good care of my candles but this one no matter how much I burned it or trimmed the wick became a real mess. I'm still going to use it and will probably buy it again because it is the most fall candle I own.


Tula Glow & Get It Eye Balm

I don't think I talked about this before but I've had the Tula Eye Balm for a few months and have been loving every moment of it. My eyes have been really horrible this month; from puffiness to dark circles and sensitivity. This has been saving my life! I apply it in the morning to wake my eyes up and if I'm home might reapply throughout the day. If my eyes are tired at night, I'll apply it again. It just feels so good on the skin and really makes a difference in the brightness of your undereye area. My eyes are very sensitive and almost everything irritates them but not this! It's the one undereye balm that doesn't affect me at all. I really want the Rose Glow Balm they recently released.

What did you love this month?
xoxo

B
Halloween is tomorrow and I've been in the spirit since mid-September. I decided to further get into the spirit by reading themed books. I've never been a seasonal reader until last year when I read 'A Nantucket Christmas' and "The Autobiography of Santa Clause"

There was really nothing like sitting by a Christmas tree READING about Christmas. Once the Fall season rolled around, I wanted to try to read something seasonable and when I got a notification that 'The Rules of Magic' by Alice Hoffman was available for $.99 on Kindle, I immediately bought it and started reading.

I love the movie "Practical Magic" but never read the book. The fact that "The Rules of Magic" is the prequel to "Practical Magic" was more than enough reason to start the series. Plus, it was the perfect time to get witchy and into the Halloween spirit.

This isn't technically a book review because how does one review the great Alice Hoffman? It's just a stream of consciousness about Practical Magic, both the book(s) and movie.



The Rules of Magic

This is one of Hoffman's newer books and was written after Practical Magic (both book and movie). It follows Jet, Franny, and their brother Vincent. We see them discover who they are, go through life and deal with hardships and make it to adulthood.

I only knew of the Owens sisters from the movie Practical Magic so it was interesting to learn more about them from this book. It was a very long, strange book; it almost didn't have a point but I think that was the beauty of it!

The thing that surprised me about both books was that there wasn't a whole lot of magic. The characters are obviously witches and they understand that but it wasn't witchy in a sense of traditional witches, it wasn't about Halloween -- it didn't even all take place in the fall but it felt very cozy. I think that's a testament to Hoffman's writing. I was inside the mind of the characters and needed to know where their stories were going. It was just so good and a book I think I would love to re-read every fall.

Practical Magic

After finishing up The Rules of Magic, I dove headfirst into starting Practical Magic. I will say, I think I liked Rules of Magic better only because I didn't have a preconceived notion of what the story was going to be. The book is totally different than the movie -- it was sort of the same but really, really different. For instance, Sally's daughters are teenagers the entire time, Jimmy doesn't come back from the dead, and Sally lives in Long Island for most of the book! It was wild but also really fun that it was totally different. I think I liked the book more than the movie! The writing was just as flowery, beautiful, creative and warming -- it was just so good!

Neither one of these books is Halloween themed but I think they are the best books to read during the fall season. They are cozy, fun, creative, and comforting; I simply cannot describe it...for lack of a better word, they are magic, pure magic!

The movie is no different, really. It's a classic for a reason! It's definitely a little scarier than the books and for a while, I couldn't watch it because of the aspect of Jimmy possessing people around him. In the middle of reading "The Rules of Magic," I simply couldn't wait any longer to turn the movie on; I rented it on Amazon Prime and spent a Sunday afternoon watching it. Ugh, it's just so good and Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, and Stockard Channing are brilliant. I would dare say it's one of my favorite movies and one that I need to watch more.

If you have not read or watched any of the Practical Magic books/movies, please do so! If anything, watch Practical Magic tonight and start reading ASAP! While these are definitely my fall comfort novels, they don't NEED to be read during this time of year. Just read them -- you won't regret it!

xoxo
B
Over the course of the past few months, I've gone through a lot of changes and they were all related to my career and side hustle. In those hard moments, I had to really buckle down and find it within myself to do things I had to do when I didn't want to do them at all.

Sometimes, when you don't want to put your big girl pants on and be productive but you have too. I've been struggling with this so much; first, in the job search a few months ago and now in terms of blogging and freelance work. 

It can be really hard to drag yourself out of the unproductive, unmotivated pit of hell but there is a way... there is always a way.



Make a To-Do List

It might sound simple but getting your thoughts and tasks down on paper can be productive in itself. Seeing everything you have to do on one page can do wonders for your mind. It's also important to make a to-do list that is reasonable, especially when you're feeling a little all over the place. Prioritize the list with the most important thing at the top and so on; if you aim to get that most important thing done and accomplish THAT, it's half the battle. If you get that one important thing done, you will feel so much better and it will bring you out of the unmotivated rut.

Do What You Want, Not What You Have to Do

Productivity can mean a million things; it can mean going to the gym or responding to an email or freshening up your resume. Those might be things you have to do or things you want to do. When you're feeling unmotivated, the best thing to do is to do something you LOVE. It doesn't have to be on your to-do list, it could be something fun or something random. Doing something to be semi-productive is really good for your soul and will instill some sort of motivation within you. Once you go, you can keep going.

Look for Inspiration

One of my favorite things to do when I'm feeling unmotivated is to look for inspiration. I can find inspiration anywhere from Instagram to Pinterest to a book or a podcast. Listening to others do what they love makes me want to do what I love. If I'm suffering through a dry spell with the blog, reading other blogs and listening to podcasts about influencers and entreprenuers make me so happy. It makes me want to be better and do what I love. It can give you a different perspective on things and instill something in you that you didn't even know was there.

I hoped these tips helped -- I know they help me when I'm feeling lazy.

xoxo
B

Let's start off with the elephant in the room; I never post outfits photos. It was never my thing as a blogger for a few reasons, mainly that I hate taking photos of myself and never felt like my outfits were worthy of the blog. Also, beauty and lifestyle are just more important to me. You can read more about that here.

Secondly, I stole this idea from Grace Atwood. I used to read The Stripe all the time but somehow unfollowed Grace a while back. However, after discovering her podcast Bad on Paper, I'm totally back on the bandwagon and honestly, she's better than ever! I am a little obsessed and love her casual 'what I actually wore this week' post. It's not a lot of pressure, it can be simple iPhone photos but I still get to show you what I wore.

It's not stylized, I don't have to get dressed up -- I just snap a photo of my outfit before I walk out the door. This has never been a glamorous type of blog; sure I share my favorite products and what I love but I've also gotten really 'real' about grief, dating, career... that's what I always set out to make Royally Pink, a real blog for the real girl. Whether I ever make it 'big' in blogging is fine because it's been 7 years and I'm still going strong.

I figured this type of fashion post is the perfect way for me to incorporate my OOTD and some fashion into my content. It also made me realize that I really am not enjoying how I dress. I need and want to step up the style, I just need to get out of my comfort zone to do so!

Without further ado, let us commence the first "What I Wore Last Week" post!

Monday



Monday was a leopard day! I paired my Zella leggings with a BP camisole and my J.Crew Long Leopard Cardigan. I also wore my Tommy Hilfiger ankle booties that I got from Macy's last year. 

Tuesday



It was a typical all-black situation for your girl on Tuesday. I am just really comfortable in all black and this was a comforting week (aka that time of the month). I wore my Zella leggings, a J.Crew t-shirt, and a J.Crew cardigan. My Tommy Hilfiger boots were worn once again - I wear them a lot during the colder seasons. 

Wednesday



This is my favorite outfit! I love my Kate Spade heart sweater that I got last year (I loved it so much I got it in two colors, which you will probably see in next week's post. I also wore surprise surprise, Zella leggings & my Tommy Hilfiger boots. It's important to note that I have at least 5+ pairs of these same Zella leggings. 

Thursday



Thursday was a little different, just a little! I wore that J.Crew cardigan from Tuesday, in a different color with a camisole and J.Crew Ponte pants. I let my boots take a break and wore my Tory Burch Quilted Minnie Travel Ballet Flats

Friday



I worked from home on Friday so half the day was spent in pajamas and the other half in gym clothes. Note: I went to the gym AFTER working so there was a real reason for gym clothes. My cold weather gym outfit consists of an Adidas sweatshirt and Zella leggings

Saturday

I went to the gym again on Saturday so I wore the same outfit as Friday but then Saturday night I went out with my boyfriend and wore the below outfit.


Leith wrap sweater from last year (similar); camisole, Zella leggings, and Michael Kors espadrilles. My denim jacket is from Revolve and is the Superdown brand but it's no longer available! 

I forgot to take a picture from yesterday but I spent the day in Zella leggings (I promise, they were clean leggings) and an American Eagle sweatshirt

I really loved putting this post together *felt like a real Blogger* and I hope you enjoyed it too!

xoxo
B
We are just one week away from November, my 2nd favorite month of the year and I am ready. The past few weeks have been nuts and I'm kind of ready for it to slow down. I'm working from home today so I have a bit of a long weekend and I'm very thankful.

I feel like I've been letting a lot of things fall by the waist side; my room is a mess, my hair is a mess, my nails are a mess -- I just feel a little crazy and I think I need a day to catch up. I also have a million ideas rolling around in my head that I want to get down on paper; there just aren't enough hours in the week or enough energy in my body.

Right now, I'm watching Hocus Pocus for the millionth time this month and relaxing in bed. I'm hoping to get to sleep ASAP so I could wake up tomorrow and have a wonderful Friday.

Now, let's hop right into the recap of the week!


Links to Love

  • Rebag released a new app that lets you calculate the value of your designer handbags
  • I don't need another eyeshadow palette but this Huda one is CALLING to me
  • I love reading about editors!
  • We should all turn our bedrooms into 'gentle alarmclocks'
  • The best skincare trends to try this season
  • Switch up your coffee routine with these Starbucks drinks

What You Missed on Royally Pink


I didn't buy anything and am hoping to not buy anything until Black Friday -- more on that soon!

Have a great weekend!
xoxo
B
It took me a while to read this "The First Mistake"... I had it sitting in my NetGalley queue for quite a few months and just hadn't gotten around to reading it. When I first started reading it, I almost stopped because it seemed a little...off.

The story was slow to start and truthfully, I didn't understand where it was going. Once the plot was a little more put together, everything started to made sense and I became more intrigued.


Publisher's Summary

THE WIFE: For Alice, life has never been better. With her second husband, she has a successful business, two children, and a beautiful house.
HER HUSBAND: Alice knows that life could have been different if her first husband had lived, but Nathan’s arrival into her life gave her back the happiness she craved.
HER BEST FRIEND: Through the ups and downs of life, from celebratory nights out to comfort each other through loss, Alice knows that with her best friend Beth by her side, they can survive anything together. So when Nathan starts acting strangely, Alice turns to Beth for help. But soon, Alice begins to wonder whether her trust has been misplaced . . .
The first mistake could be her last.


My Thoughts

As I said before, the book started a little slow and I couldn't put my finger on what was going to happen. The story starts off with Alice noticing some odd things about her husband Nathan; flowers are sent to the house, she finds texts and emails, and everything points to his cheating.

Her best friend, Beth, is acting a little weird as well as other people in Alice's life. As a reader, your head starts to spin with all the different plotlines that could play, especially if you read a lot of domestic thrillers.

Alice has a lucrative home business, two children, and what seems to be an undying love for her first husband who tragically passed away. She has a fear of flying that prevents her from doing a lot but tries to hold it together as much as possible.

The more things start to unravel for Alice, the more she starts to spiral without having any concrete answers. Once everyone, Alice and the reader, finds out what's going on, the point of view of the book changes and you get more of the full story. The reader starts to understand why things are the way they are, but you also become incredibly confused. 

The character of Alice was a bit annoying and I couldn't stand Nathan or Beth either. They seemed a little whiny and just strange. I wasn't crazy about the writing either but that's beside the point... 

Jones' big twist, the entire point of the story, was pretty shocking and made everything worth it. It was something I didn't see coming and I honestly don't think anyone could ever predict the 'twist'. That part of the story, the big arc, made everything worth it and I'd re-read the book just to get that adrenaline rush of finding out what happened again. 

The second half of the book was much better than the first, and like I said, it made everything worth it. What I didn't like about "The First Mistake"? The ending! Oh, the ending made me so angry. It was left super open-ended and came at you way too fast. 

It was so fast that I couldn't even really understand what was going on; I had to go back and re-read a few pages because I was so confused. It wasn't satisfying and just overly annoying. 

Would I recommend this book? Probably not. I think there are better ones out there. I know a lot of people love Sadie Jones and while this wasn't my favorite, it was a nice introduction to the author and I'm curious to read one of her other books.

Did you read "The First Mistake"? What did you think?
xoxo
B

Little Loves, Vol 7

in , , by RoyallyPink, 7:00 AM
I was originally going to do a beauty post today but then I had a change of heart and kind of just wanted to chat with you all! It's been a really wild few months, starting my new job and getting back into the swing of a routine. I feel like because I'm trying to focus on my new job and establishing a routine, everything else has been slacking.

I've definitely neglected the blog a little and definitely have neglected my Etsy shop but I think now, as I enter almost the second month of working full time again I'm much more confident in my schedule. I've also been really re-inspired with my blog and the entire 'influencer' world lately. I've been following a bunch of new bloggers, reading new blogs and listening to a lot of podcasts and it makes me excited for everything I could do.

I want to do so much with my blog and I've said that so many times in the past seven years (yes, I've had this blog since 2012). I want to do things but yet I feel like I come up short. I don't know if it's because I'm not good enough, don't have the drive, or am not giving 100%. Sometimes I'm too tired at the end of the day, sometimes I feel like I don't have anything to write about, and sometimes I just am lazy. I think that's all going to change and I'm going to try to change up my content.

I'm also going to be putting more energy into my newsletter which I have been putting out multiple times a week. It's so much fun and I feel like I can be a little more personal. I'm definitely going to be offering more content there whether it's freebies, personal essays, or anything random that comes to my mind! Sign up so you don't miss anything!

That was my rambling/life update so I will get into talking about all my little loves lately!



I've been testing out a few products from Innis Free and have started incorporating their hydrating serum into my nighttime routine. So far, it's ok. My skin is freaking out lately so I can't get a good read on this, but I am intrigued by the brand! I've also been loving Pacifica and trying to use up my sheet masks so when my skin felt a little wild, I finally used my Stress Rehab mask and I definitely will be repurchasing -- it was so hydrating and felt so good on the skin! 


I found the most adorable, expensive coffee + pastry shop near my new office. I know Financier is a chain but my goodness, it is incredible. I love the layout of the shop, the food, coffee, branding, and the entire feeling you get when you walk in. I am obsessed with the fact that you get a little pastry when you order a coffee -- it makes the morning so much better! If you are ever near a Financier, you need to treat yourself! 


If you live on or near Long Island, you need to try Witches Brew in Hempstead. It's an adorable little dessert place (they also have some dinner options) that is filled with mismatched furniture, strange home decor pieces, and a very spooky feeling. It's a place that is open year-round but I feel is a little more crowded during the month of October. My friends and I went at the end of September for post-dinner tea & dessert and it was delicious. They brought our tea out in individual tea kettles which I was obsessed with, and the dessert was so rich. *I got apple cheesecake and it was to die for. I've been a bunch over the years but I just had to mention it! 


I had my first non-family wedding ever a few weeks ago and it was my boyfriend's friend. It was a Sunday night, right in my neighborhood so it was a lowkey travel/prep situation for me which I was super thankful for. I got a nice little shot of my (mom's) YSL bag and the signature drink of the night! It was a beautiful and fun night! 


Just me and the guy at the wedding -- the only picture we got was a selfie halfway through the night. We are not true picture people which is a shame... and also weird because I am a blogger/social media person and am always snapping pictures of others.


October means Reese's pumpkins and I have eaten at least 2-3 a week for the past month or so. It's a bad habit of mine during this season and I kind of need it to be over so I can stop! It doesn't help that I have a Walgreens in my office building and these are all over the place... and so cheap! 


I have been on a huge Disney kick lately and I couldn't resist these adorable pieces from the small shop, Belle and Park. I haven't stopped wearing this Mickey Jack-o-Lantern sweatshirt because it is so crazy comfortable (probably the most comfortable piece of clothing I own). I also couldn't check out without the Villains scrunchie. I'm a huge scrunchie kick (as is the rest of the world) and this was too cute to say no too. 



The baking season has commenced! I finally whipped up some Trader Joes pumpkin bread and it was more delicious than you can imagine. I added a few Lily's chocolate chips and used apple sauce instead of oil so it was a little more weight friendly. The apple sauce added something extra and cut a bit of the spicy flavor. It was better than I thought it would come out and proved that baking with apple sauce is a good tactic. 


Ok, hear me out... I know I didn't need Dunkin Pumpkin Lip Balm but how was I supposed to say no to these at the register? The branding is spot on and I could always use an extra lip balm, especially if it's pumpkin scented. I haven't used them yet, only photographed them but either way, they make for a good prop!

What have you loved lately?
xoxo
B


 
We're finally in the real Fall season because sweaters, boots, and jackets have made numerous appearances. The heat has flown away and welcomed the cool, Fall breeze we all know and love.

With the start of a new job as well as a new season, I felt the need to stock up on some staples, add a bit more trend to my wardrobe and freshen things up. In the short time that the season has been around and that I've had a steady paycheck again, I've bought quite a few things that have really rounded out my Fall wardrobe.

These are by far my favorite purchases of the new season so far!

Jack Rogers Poppy Booties


I haven't *technically* worn these yet but I wore them in my house when they came in the mail over the weekend and I'm obsessed. I don't fall in love with shoes very often so when I see a pair that takes my breath away and I can't stop thinking about, I usually buy them. The  Jack Rogers Poppy High Heel Bootie was that shoe! The nude leather, the snakeskin accent, they are perfect for Fall. They're higher than I usually wear but I think they're going to be great for work or a casual night out. I envision wearing them with just about everything because of the neutral color and I simply cannot wait to style them.

J.Crew Factory Leopard Print Cardigan

Is it even Fall 2019 if you don't own a leopard print cardigan? I missed out on a few during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale so I was thrilled to see J.Crew release one! I scooped it up as soon as I saw it on the New Arrivals page and try to wear it every chance I get. It's very long, very comfortable, and so on-trend. I'm truly obsessed.

Lele Sadoughi Houndstooth Headband


I've talked on and on about my love of Lele and talked about this headband in my Fall essentials post but I had to mention it again. It screams autumn, is super comfortable, and perfect for the season. I try to match my clothes to the headband instead of the other way around because I love wearing it so much!

J.Crew Factory Puffer Vest

For years, I've lusted after a few different J.Crew puffer vests but never really found the need for one. That changed this year when it dawned on me that I can use the puffer vest instead of my trusty denim jacket and it could make some of my outfits more casual and season-appropriate. I picked up this simple puffer vest and have been loving it! I wore it to Tough Mudder over the weekend (I was there for work), wear it with sweats when I'm running errands, and find it to be so freeing. I forgot how much I loved a good puffer vest and now I'm wearing it into the ground.

Revolve Pearl Denim Jacket


At the end of spring last year, I spotted this gorgeous denim jacket with pearl embellishments on Revolve. I had been searching high and low for a pearl jacket and it was like fate that this jacket found me. I didn't flinch when spending the $80 on it and patiently waited all summer long for it to be cold enough to rock it. Well, the cold has come and I have hardly taken this off. It matches everything, makes every outfit a little more extra and it's so comfortable. I have another denim jacket from J.Crew that I wore to death over the years but now I don't even want to put that on! It feels cheap and flimsy compared to this jacket. The brand is 'Superdown' and while this jacket isn't available anymore, I highly recommend the brand. The denim used in this jacket is very thick and sturdy which I thought would annoy me at first but I've worn it in and now the jacket fits perfectly. I might have to pick up a faux fur jacket from the brand to add to my winter collection.
It is COLD in New York and I am loving every moment of it! However, I have been so sick and the weather is 100% taking a toll on my health. I actually left work early today because I was getting a second wind of whatever I had last week.

If you're experiencing the dreaded fall cold, you need to take some Robitussin. I started taking it on Monday and within a day I felt better. However, I stopped taking it on Wednesday and now I feel the cold creeping back up so I need to get back on that train. I hated taking Robitussin as a kid because it tasted horrible, but as an adult, it's not so bad and I was just so thankful to feel better.

This weekend is going to be a relatively short one because I have a work event tomorrow morning in New Jersey, then I'm headed home and going to have a lowkey night in with my boyfriend, cook dinner and relax. I need to knock out the rest of this cold! 

I can't believe we're more than halfway through October; November is going to be CRAZY! I have one of my good friend's weddings, the Jonas Brothers concert, Frozen 2 comes out in theaters, Thanksgiving, AND my birthday. I love October so much but November isn't half bad!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, let's get into the roundup!



Links to Love

What You Missed on Royally Pink

Oh I bought too much...


xoxo 
B
The more I read books in the thriller/mystery genre, the more I'm starting to notice and be drawn to certain authors. Lisa Jewell is one of those authors and I was so excited to be able to read her latest novel, "The Family Upstairs" before it was released. *Thank you Netgalley!

I've read "Girls in the Garden", "Watching You" and "Then She Was Gone" but so many others are on my wishlist!

"The Family Upstairs" will be released on November 5th and it was by far one of the weirdest, most twisted books I've ever read.




*Does anyone know WHY there are so many different covers for Lisa Jewell novels? It is very confusing and I need to know why.

Publisher's Summary

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported living at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

My Thoughts

Cults have been very popular lately. With the rise of true crime, I've learned more about cults from Jonestown to the Manson Family. Then there's Scientology (which is definitely a cult) and the NXIVM sex cult that imploded last year; cults have been weaved into a few of my favorite TV shows like Riverdale and General Hospital, so you could say they are very hot in the streets.

That being said... at its core, "The Family Upstairs" is about a cult. The family who originally lived at 16 Cheyne Walk allows themselves to get roped into a weird cult, run by a man, who takes over the home and basically holds everyone hostage. It's a really twisted, disgusting story and you're constantly rooting for something to break the cult apart.

Before we understand what's happening in the past with the 16 Cheyne Walk family, we meet Libby who inherits this gorgeous, huge home. It's the home where she was found as a baby, in her crib, with adults dead downstairs and no one else around.

That in itself was enough to grab my attention and I was soon down the rabbit hole, addicted to the story and trying to figure out what exactly happened.

It seems to be a must-have in writing these days to go back and forth between past and present. It's very hard to remember a time where this wasn't the norm. "The Family Upstairs" also used that writing device; it went back and forth between Libby's present POV and the past's Henry... later on, Lucy.

We see how their stories came to meet in the middle, how Henry handled his parents forcing him to join a cult and letting these strange people intertwine themselves into their lives. Henry's family lost everything and we see the slow, horrific process of it. Eventually, you begin to understand everything that happened, why it happened, and who exactly it happened to.

"The Family Upstairs" wasn't scary... it was just plain creepy. It gave me similar vibes to "The Roanoke Girls"... super weird, super creepy and very interesting.

The book was a bit slow to start and a little hard to follow, especially from Henry's point of view but once you understand what's happening, you become highly invested. It was a wild ride and one that you will love to be on. 

If you love creepy, you will love "The Family Upstairs".

xoxo
B

I've been holding off on purchasing a lot of new beauty products and have been shopping my stash a lot. I've been trying to rediscover old favorites, use what I have and not have so much excess in my makeup collection. We'll see how long that lasts but for now, I've been doing pretty well.

I will admit, all of these are new to my stash but I've had them for at least 3+ months. One of them I even won in a giveaway! I've realized these are the products I've constantly been reaching for, on a daily basis most of the time, and they've elevated both my skincare and makeup routine.

The best part? All of them are under $40!


Botanics Organic Restoring Night Oil: $17.99

I've been on the hunt for a really great night oil. I wanted something hydrating and healing; I didn't need something overly fancy, just an oil to make my skin feel good. Enter Botanics. I've been obsessed with this brand lately; quality organic skincare at a drugstore price? What more could you want?! I got ahold of their Restoring Night Oil recently and have been using it nightly. It's infused with essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, and geranium to relax your skin (and your mind). The oil is supposed to restore and nourish the skin while you sleep, working with the skin's natural overnight healing process. I've been using it every night for the past few weeks and I love it! It really hydrates my skin but also makes my face look flawless when I wake up. I don't have too many skin issues (knock on wood) but this really enhances all the good things about my skin.

Kylie Cosmetics Skin Concealer: $20.00

Ever since my Queen released these concealers I've been dying to get my hands on one. I kept going back and forth whenever I placed a Kylie Cosmetics order because I was unsure of what the concealer felt like/looked like/what shade I would be. I'm not usually hesitant about buying complexion products online but something was holding me back. However, when they were released in Ulta, I jumped at it. I was finally able to see them in stores over the summer, picked my shade and liked the formula. It's now become one of my everyday concealers. It is medium coverage, blends out really easily, and is pretty long-lasting (in my opinion). I don't notice a ton of creasing and it lays really beautifully on the skin. It's a gorgeous formula and I highly recommend!

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Super Cindy: $34

Charlotte Tilbury strikes again! I've made no secret of it-- Charlotte Tilbury makes my favorite lipsticks of all time! I need/want every single shade of every single line she has. CT was having a sale sometime in July and she had a 'nude lipstick bundle' that had Hepburn Honey and Super Cindy for a discounted price. They were full-size lipsticks for the price of one and a half lipsticks so I jumped at the deal. I've been wanting both shades for a while so it was the perfect storm. I've been dying over Super Cindy! It's a true nude shade with more brown than peach/pink so it's darker than Pillowtalk, which makes it ideal for the chillier months. It looks so good on and has become the lipstick I wear when I'm not sure what to wear.

Clinique Moisture Surge Moisturizer: $21.50

I won this moisturizer in a giveaway recently and was a little skeptical about it. I've tried the Dramatically Different Clinique Moisturizer in the past and it broke me out so I was nervous to try this one. However, it's become one of my favorite nighttime moisturizers. This is a gel moisturizer which for me, is ideal for the warmer months but I've been loving it in combination for the Botanics Oil so I get double hydration. It is so soothing and sinks right into your skin; I swear, I could borderline feel it hydrating my skin. I just use a few dots on my face at bedtime and wake up with refreshed skin. I think this would be a good product for everyone, no matter your age, skin type or concern. It's just a standalone, awesome moisturizer. 

What are your current favorite beauty products?
xoxo
B
I've been putting off this blog post for a while for a few reasons, none of which I'm sure of but probably because I'm scared. I've hinted at things for a while, probably told you all what happened in some form over the past few months but I guess it's time to lay it all out. My hope is that this situation could help someone else get through a tough time.

In April, I left my job of 4 years at Laura Geller Beauty. It was time to leave and try something different; I accepted a new position in social media at a totally different type of company. It was in Long Island, not in Manhattan so I was driving instead of taking the train, something I was very excited for.

I felt completely burnt out from Manhattan and work in general but I jumped into another position at a new company in a new location with only two days off (which I spent in bed because I had emergency dental surgery). It was a rough, emotional few weeks because I was really sad to leave LGB and also very nervous.

I should've taken that as a sign that I was getting myself into something that wasn't right for me. I had a gut feeling, from the moment that I accepted the job that it wasn't ok and I regret not listening to that feeling.

My first day was horrible; I felt lonely, overwhelmed and like I didn't belong. I cried all the way home and all night because I didn't want to go back... I knew it wasn't right for me and I had gotten myself way in over my head.

Getting Fired

I was at the job for two and a half weeks before they let me go, saying that they didn't think I was the proper fit. I made a few mistakes but quickly corrected them and learned from it (they weren't major mistakes, just some copy/tagging issues in social posts). I wasn't shocked when I was let go because two days before, I saw a posting on Indeed for my exact job, therefore I knew it was coming.

I knew I was going to be unemployed but yet, I was fine with it. Maybe it was because I felt like it was a blessing in disguise; I didn't like the job (I knew I didn't, even after a few weeks) and I was already hunting for something else. I thought that getting fired was easier because I could recharge and figure out what I really wanted to do with my life.

I was going back and forth with getting back into beauty, leaving social media altogether, putting my energy into finding a writing job or maybe just freelancing full time. There were so many options and I needed to figure it out... not having a job would help me find the time to zen out and do that.

I wasn't freaking out because I live at home so #norent, and I knew I would probably get unemployment; plus, I had some savings, my freelance job at Byrdie and FabFitFun, both of which I just started.

Everything would be ok for the time being...everyone gets fired at least once and I had the support of my family and friends. I knew I would be ok... until I wasn't.

The Game Plan

When I got fired, I had a game plan: apply for unemployment, gear up my freelancing gigs, put my loans on hold, and get applying to jobs.

I took a few days (I got fired on a Thursday) to chill out, relax, and enjoy my free time but then that Monday, I got to work. I applied for unemployment, canceled my unnecessary subscriptions, made a dozen lists and applied for all the jobs that were calling to me.

I got to work on my Byrdie gig, trying to log as many hours as I could, and I felt good. I was feeling great -- I knew this wouldn't last forever and I would get a job soon. I felt positive and hopeful.

For the next few weeks, I developed a routine: wake up, breakfast, apply for jobs, freelance, blog, errands, gym, etc. I had tons of things to keep me busy and had a lot of momentum to keep me going.

That lasted only a few weeks. It was probably the beginning of June that I started to feel really hopeless.


Feeling Hopeless

There came a time during my unemployment, as I'm sure there is a time in everyone's, that I started to feel sorry for myself. My anxiety and depression started to get the best of me and I felt zero motivation to even leave the house most days.

I had gone on dozens of in-person interviews, what felt like hundreds of phone interviews, and had gotten close to the final steps of the interview process a few times but nothing was sticking. I was starting to believe I wasn't good enough and that I would be unemployed forever. 

I was getting nervous about my money situation, frustrated with myself and the job market, and just flustered with the fact that I had no purpose. I missed the routine of commuting, being part of an organization and having daily tasks; of course, I also missed the steady paycheck and safety net of health insurance

I was convinced that I wasn't good enough, that I was a failure and that I was destined to be a 'loser'. I am a pretty self-confident person so to have these types of negative thoughts was really hard on me and my mental health. 

The more I applied and interviewed, and the more I got rejected, the worse I felt. At one point I just had to take a break from applying to everything because I was exhausted. I was getting burnt from being unemployed and I hated it.

The Final Stages

As I started to get more depressed, I felt like I was going crazy. I was getting tired from my daily routine of the gym, errands, taking care of the house, applying for jobs, freelancing, etc. I legitimately thought I was going insane and was terrified to get my hopes up whenever I got to the final stages of a job interview.

Over the course of four months (May-August), I had gotten ghosted from a few prospects (I gave one company information for a background check and they just never got back to me) so I was scared to fantasize about some of the companies and positions I was in the running for.

When I interviewed for my current job, I had the best feeling and part of me knew I was going to get it. I went on three interviews, showed them examples of my work, and just got such a good vibe whenever I was speaking to the company. I was so nervous to get my hopes high but it was hard not too.

On the day of my final interview, I was convincing myself that I wasn't going to get it but on the way home, as I was walking home from the train, I got a call from HR and they offered me the job! I would be starting in September (this was mid-August) so I would have a few weeks of unnerving freedom to relax and get myself prepared. I took the call outside my house and my voice was shaking as I spoke to her. When the call was over, I ran inside and screamed to my mom that I got the job! We both cried, called everyone we knew, and I was pretty numb for the rest of the day because I was so excited.

My own personal nightmare was over and I was headed back to work, at a company that I thought was incredible and I had a feeling I would be really happy there.

I was over the moon and just completely satisfied with my decision.

The Lessons of Unemployment

I learned a lot over the course of the four months that I was unemployed.

Go with your gut

I should've listened to my internal thoughts (and my mom because she 100% knew it wasn't the right decision) about your career. However, I'm sure that if I didn't go through this, I wouldn't have ended up at my current job.

Make a plan

If you have a plan laid out, you will feel so much better. Keep a list of everything you need to do on a daily basis to ensure your success when it comes to finding a new job/keeping your life on track. If you establish a game plan and have goals every day, you will feel so much better. It'll feel like you have some sort of normalcy and control over your life during a time where it's very easy to not have control.

Establish a routine and be organized

What I did at the beginning of my unemployment journey is something I should've stuck with the entire time. Having an unemployment, daily routine was a lifesaver and the more I lost my steam, the more I lost my routine. It helped me feel normal and on schedule with everyone else in the world. In turn, I was also more organized

Have Faith


Lean on your friends and family -- vent to them and let them talk you up. It'll help you immensely to tell people how you're feeling. Also, read stories from other people who have been laid off (there are a lot of articles/blogs out there), talk to others who have been through similar situations. Journal, write down your negative feelings and just try to do things that bring you joy outside of looking for a new job. Try to keep your self-esteem high and remember that you are not your job -- you are more than that and you are strong enough to get through this tough time. You will land on your feet and find a job that is perfect for you.

*An extra lesson = SAVE YOUR MONEY. I might do an entire post on this topic because it 100% speaks to my soul.

Have you ever been unemployed? What were your feelings toward it? What lessons did you learn?
xoxo
B
I'm writing this late, again, while I sit in bed and watch the latest installment of "The Beautiful World of Jeffree Starr" by Shane Dawson. It is so amazing to watch them together and to get this inside look at the beauty industry but also all the scandals that have happened over the past few months. It's like a mini-movie and I'm obsessed.

I also have a horrible cold that I'm not sure if it's allergies, a cold, or something else. It's killing me for the past few days and right now, all I want is soup and sleep.  However, I want to get a post up and some freelance work done. Hustle, hustle, hustle.

Luckily, I have off on Monday so it's a three day weekend for me; I have a few plans like the gym and Trader Joes. I'm just ready for a chill weekend with a few errands thrown in.

My nose is too stuffed to write anything else so we'll jump into everything from the week.



Links I Loved

What You Missed on Royally Pink

I didn't buy anything this week, thank goodness!

xoxo
B
I had this post idea a few weeks ago when I was using my favorite cotton pads; they are very expensive for what they are so it got me thinking about my other 'essentials' that are more expensive than your average product.

These are items that I use daily but that I could get for a much cheaper price if I wanted. However, the reason I don't buy these items at a cheaper price is that the more expensive, luxurious version is just so good. To me, these items are worth every penny and I will continue to buy them until a cheaper version proves itself to me.


most expensive essentials-slip silk-sephora

Shiseido Cotton Rounds

These are the cotton rounds that inspired this blog post. I always swore I would never purchase these $10 cotton pads (they are now $12 for the larger pack) but curiosity got the best of me. I purchased them once and never looked back. They are like clouds on your face, don't crumble or break apart when saturated with liquid and really get all the dirt off your face with just one pad. They are unlike anything else I have ever purchased and I continue to buy them because my skin is so much better with them. If you're a savvy shopper, you can get them in TJ Maxx or Marshalls for a few bucks! Also, the Sephora VIB Sale is a great time to stock up as well! Just try them once; you might hate me for making you spend two-three Starbucks coffees on cotton pads but your skin will thank me.

Slip Silk Scrunchies

Jesus... who spends $40 on 6 scrunchies? ME, that's who! Just like the cotton rounds, curiosity got the best of me and I purchased too many packs of Slip Silk Scrunchies and now I'm addicted. I started out with the larger version because scrunchies are trendy and silk is supposed to be good for your hair but then I realized that I could get more wearable scrunchies for the same price and get more in a pack. Since then, no other scrunchie has touched my hair. I used to swear by Invisibobble and while they are still great and I recommend them, they're just not as good as Slip. My hair doesn't get any sort of crease, I don't notice my hair breaking off as much, and they are very comfortable to wear. I like to wear my hair up a lot and am constantly putting it up and down, so something that won't cause creases or headaches is pertinent. Sephora now sells a 'mini' version that is 3 scrunchies for $20 so it's not as much of an investment.

Beauty Blender

There are many dupes out there for the beloved beauty blender but in my honest opinion, nothing beats the original. There is a reason it was the first and the quote 'often imitated, never duplicated' comes to mind when I think of this brand. They have created a product so iconic that people use the term 'beauty blender' like they use 'kleenex'; even when someone is talking about a dupe, they still say Beauty Blender. However, I don't use dupes and I probably never will again. I've tried a handful of others in the past but nothing compares to the OG. I buy different colors and sizes but they are always Beauty Blender branded. Nothing beats it! It's soft, bouncy, and applies the product like a dream. Nothing is as bouncy or supple, nothing blends makeup quite as well as the OG BB. After being disappointed by dupes, I just decided that I will continue to shell out $20 for a pink sponge and enjoy every minute of it.

Bkr Water Bottle

Stepping away from beauty for this last essential and more into wellness...bkr bottle. I have looked high and low for a reusable water bottle that fits my lifestyle. I wanted something not too heavy, not too flimsy, something that can be put in the dishwasher, something cute, and something that is a good size. Enter, bkr. I did a giveaway with the brand at my old job last year and they kindly sent one to me to try. I fell in love and was immediately smitten with the bottle. Unlike other bottles, after multiple uses they didn't feel gross or dirty, they didn't smell, and while it was metal and didn't keep the water extremely cold, they got the job done. I now have three larger sizes and a mini bottle (the mini is too cute for words) and I'll never buy another water bottle, ever. The size I like (500 ML) retails for $38 but you can get a bottle on their warehouse sale or use Afterpay (which is another post in itself).

What are your most expensive essentials?
xoxo
B
I promised you another Essie Fall 2019 Manicure Monday post and here we are! This time, talking about the shade 'Home Grown'.

Home Grown is described as a golden peach nude with a hint of pearl undertone. It's a particularly light shade for the fall season but somehow, it works. It also makes it a great transitional shade and a color that can truly be worn year-round.

essie fall 2019 home grown


I loved how it applied, but that should be no surprise; two shades make it opaque and I don't necessarily think it chipped too fast. It's a shade I was unsure of when I saw it first in person but after applying it and seeing the glint in the sunlight, it's so beautiful. I'm not sure if I'll get much wear out of it in the colder months but it'll definitely be worn a lot in the spring, summer, and transitional months.

What are you wearing this Monday?
xoxo
B
Oh boy! What a weekend... which is why this post is coming to you on Sunday. I guess we're not really wrapping up the previous week but kicking off a new one.

Friday night I was rushing around after work to get my hair done and then drive out to Long Island for my boyfriend's birthday. Then I was up bright and early on Saturday to head to New Jersey for an Oktoberfest and pumpkin picking with my family. I was supposed to sleep there but I had a mild anxiety attack in the middle of the day and made my boyfriend drive us home at 9 PM. I passed out as soon as I got home and woke up feeling ok, so I guess I just needed to sleep in my own bed.

Now, I'm hanging out, going to do some freelance work, meal prepping and try to get as much blogging done for this week as possible.

We got our first official taste of Fall this week (with the exception of a 90-degree day on Wednesday) and life is feeling pretty good! I've got my window open, watching some Youtube videos and it truly is fall.

Shall we dive right into everything we missed on Friday? Sure!

Links to Love

What You Missed on Royally Pink

What I Bought

I purchased another Stoney Clover pouch with a pumpkin patch and I'm obsessed! I also picked up this gorgeous J.Crew Factory leopard cardigan and two more t-shirt bras from SKIMS (review coming soon!)




Have a great week and I'll see you tomorrow :) 
xoxo 
B
I've been reading up a storm which is why there have been so many reviews so I hope no one is sick of them yet.

A few months ago I did a review of Lauren Layne's first book in The Central Park Pact series, "Passion on Park Avenue" and it was truly one of my favorite books. Well, I was able to read the second book in the series "Love on Lexington Avenue" before it was released, and it was released only a few weeks ago!

I just have to say, Lauren Layne is so talented and her writing is addictive. It's a romantic comedy style with a deeper message, whether it's grief or fear or family... it's intense without only being intense.

Layne's third book in the series "Marriage on Madison Avenue" is coming out in January 2020 and I'm hoping to get my hands on a copy from NetGalley before that date. I just need to know how the series ends and what happens to the Pact ladies.

Now, let's get into the review...

PS: Can I just say how legendary Lauren Layne's website is? It gives a 'heat level' to all her books so you know how much sexytime is in each one. It's pretty wild and genius if you ask me.



Publisher's Summary

There are no good men left in New York City. At least that’s Claire Hayes’s conviction after finding out her late husband was not the man she thought he was. Determined to rid her home of anything that reminds her of her cheating husband, Claire sets out to redesign her boring, beige Upper East Side brownstone and make it something all her own. But what starts out as a simple renovation becomes a lot more complicated when she meets her bad-tempered contractor Scott Turner.

Scott bluntly makes it known to Claire that he only took on her house for a change of pace from the corporate offices and swanky hotels he’s been building lately, and he doesn’t hesitate to add that he has no patience for a pampered, damaged princess with a penchant for pink. But when long workdays turn into even longer nights, their mutual wariness morphs into something more complicated—grudging respect, and maybe even attraction...

My Review

While I was super excited about this book, I was a little bored at first but I think that was the point. Layne makes a point to show off Clare's boredom with her own life. As she finds herself, her life and the book become more exciting, even a little sexy.

Layne doesn't mess around with timing, we get straight into Clare's issues and we are introduced to Scott Turner, her new contractor that is going to rip her house to shreds and rebuild it. In my head, I pictured Scott as a Luke Danes (Gilmore Girls) type of character and I'd be curious if that was intentional in the writing.

Throughout the book, you are rooting for Scott and Clare to get together but can understand what is keeping them apart. Personally, I wasn't sure where we were going to end up in this relationship because it was so up and down throughout the book. Even towards the end, what happens I didn't see coming and it was so shocking.

I loved Clare's character development throughout the book, and how we saw more of the relationships between her, Naomi, and Audrey. You see Clare go from heartbroken widow to determined woman. She is ready to accept and move on from her broken marriage while also dealing with what she wants her life to be. It can only be described as a Cinderella story in a way, and it made me so happy.

I loved this book so much I would read it again; it was comforting, uplifting and heartfelt. It was definitely up to par with Passion and I can only imagine how good Marriage on Madison Avenue is going to be.

I am completely in love with the Central Park Pact series and if you have not read the books yet, please go do so. You won't regret it, they're amazing.

xoxo
B
This might be a little bit of a taboo subject but it's something we have all dealt with at some point in our lives... hangovers.

I'll be honest, I don't drink a ton anymore but sometimes when I do go all out, my hangovers are horrific, unless I do a little hangover routine. This past weekend I went to a wedding, drank a little too much, and could feel myself crossing the line between 'hangover morning' and 'no hangover morning'. I made sure that I did a few steps to ensure that I would feel ok in the morning... and I did!

Some of these may be things you've heard of before, some may be new, some are a little superficial and some are beauty-related.



Water

This is a no brainer but you have to drink water. At the wedding, I stopped drinking and chugged four glasses of water. Then when I got home, I chugged some more water and felt fine in the morning. Forget about Gatorade or Vitamin Water, just drink regular H2O and you will feel fabulous.

Liquid IV

Going off of the hydration note, if you feel particularly bad in the morning, Liquid IV is going to save your life. I've heard about these little packets for a while but only tried them this past summer. There were a few days where I was a little too hungover and one packet of Liquid IV in water made me feel so much better. It really does feel like you have an IV with antibiotics because it works that quickly. Liquid IV isn't just good for hangovers, it's whenever you feel dehydrated whether that's jetlag, a virus, or whenever you just need an extra boost. It's truly a lifechanging packet of magic.

Hangover Patches

I thought hangover patches were a bunch of hocus pocus until I tried one. I've been super into 'patches' lately so when I saw these patches on Revolve, I scooped them up. Just put on a patch about 20-40 minutes before drinking and keep it on for at least eight hours. You won't feel as crummy before heading to sleep as you would without a patch. I definitely think the patch prevented me from getting as drunk as I would *without* it which is a blessing. Side note: these particular patches STINK. I'm not sure why but they stunk up my entire drawer and honestly smelled a little when I had it on my body. Just be aware!

Cooling Eye Gels/Patches


If you've been around here for a minute, you know I love a good hangover beauty product and eye patches are the definition of hangover beauty. Pop a few patches (Skyn Iceland are my favorite) or gel eye pads/mask (I got a 250 point perk from Sephora of eye gels and they're better than anything I've ever owned) in the fridge and after about 30-40 minutes, take them out and apply to your face. It'll wake your face up, depuff your eyes, and make you feel a little more alive.

Skin Hydration

In terms of hydrating your skin and bringing it back to life after a long night of drinking, find something that is thick and super hydrating/stress reliving, like the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask or the Bliss What a Melon Overnight Mask. These types of products will revive your skin and not make you look run down and tired the next morning, which is ideal if you can't spend all day in bed. 

What are your favorite hangover tips?
xoxo
B
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