TGIF if there ever was one! I had a very long week and am happy to be in my bed, watching Riverdale and catching up on other shows. Work was very hectic, in a good way, this week so the weekend is much needed. However, the weekend is going to be packed; wedding dress shopping for my BFF tomorrow during the day, date night tomorrow night and a baby shower Sunday.

I wasn't in the best headspace this week and shopped a little too much. My no-buy was pretty much nonexistent this month and I'm determined to get back on track in March. I was feeling extremely anxious and a little manic so I stress shopped.

On that note, I have done really great at paying off huge chunks of my credit card which was the entire point of the no-buy so it's not a total loss.

Enough babbling, let's get into the roundup.



Links I Loved


What You Missed on Royally Pink

What I Bought This Week

I purchased a new iPad (have been saving up for this) and some other nonsense because I have no self-control. I picked up a new Olive & June nail polish and nail stickers, the Do Not Disturb candle from Evil Queen, two prints from Etsy (Melys and Holly Nichols), this adorable Dumbo keychain and a new duffle from Love Shack Fancy x Stoney Clover Lane. (I got the purple one which is sold out now but you can find other prints on their website) I also went to the SCL sample sale this week and picked up a new flat pouch & some initials patches. 

Whew! That was a lot. Have a great weekend everyone!

xoxo
B
I have reviewed the other two books in this series, "The Central Park Pact" (Passion on Park Avenue and Love on Lexington Avenue) series by Lauren Layne and I patiently awaited the release of the third and final book.

"Marriage on Madison Avenue" was released in January and I pre-ordered so it was delivered to my Kindle on the release date. I read it within a few days and I have to say, I think it was my favorite book of the entire series.

I was so excited to dive into this book because it had all of my favorite things: influencers, New York, and childhood sweethearts.



Publisher's Summary

Can guys and girls ever be just friends? According to Audrey Tate and Clarke West, absolutely. After all, they’ve been best friends since childhood without a single romantic entanglement. Clarke is the charming playboy Audrey can always count on, and he knows that the ever-loyal Audrey will not play along with his strategy for dodging his matchmaking mother—announcing he’s already engaged…to Audrey.

But what starts out as a playful game between two best friends turns into something infinitely more complicated, as just-for-show kisses begin to stir up forbidden feelings. As the faux wedding date looms closer, Audrey and Clarke realize that they can never go back to the way things were, but deep down, do they really want to?


My Thoughts

I was so excited when I knew that the last book would revolve around Audrey & Clarke's relationship. It was a side story throughout the other two novels so I feel like we really worked up to this story and it was everything we deserved.

Audrey is a fashion influencer, one of the biggest in the city, and Clarke is her BFF, as well as being one of the most eligible bachelors in Manhattan. Everyone always asks them when they're going to get together but at some point, the gossip columns went too far and sort of forced them into a fake relationship. 

I love a fake relationship because it almost always turns into a real relationship. There was so much push and pull between Audrey and Clarke, it was maddening. As a reader, I couldn't tell if they actually had feelings for each other or if their own game was catching up to them. It was super interesting the way it was written because it was very much back and forth between the two, which to me, made things seem more interesting and realistic. 

There were definitely moments where I had my doubts if they should even be together but then moments where it was so clear that no one in the world was better suited for a relationship than Audrey & Clarke. 

"Marriage on Madison Avenue" had everything; romance, friendship, heartbreak, weird family dynamics and just really fun characters.

This really was my favorite book of the series because I felt like I related a lot to Audrey but also it had a lot of emotion tied to relationships and what a relationship 'should' look like and what we 'should' want out of our love lives. It was just really interesting and fun! 

I can not recommend this series ENOUGH! It was my first introduction to Lauren Layne, who is now one of my favorite authors, and just a really wonderful, wholesome, fun, light-hearted series. You definitely do not have to read them all as they read as standalone books but I do think you should read the entire series, in order, because it just fits better that way.

I'm sad to see the Central Park Pact series end but it ended perfectly... I truly couldn't think of a better way to send these characters off.

If you need something new and light, definitely read this series and I promise, you won't regret it!

xoxo
B
It has been almost four years since I first talked about my experience with grief. I lost my dad in March 2016 and in a few short weeks, it'll be four years without him. At the time, I didn't think my life was going to go back to 'normal' but somehow it did. I look back at that time in 2016 where I was just hopeless; I had lost my dad, my family was forced to move, I was still getting my footing in my career, and things were messy in my love life. I was kind of lost in who I was and where I belonged. It was horrible.

Now, four years later, I'm settled into a fantastic new job, have a wonderful boyfriend and have a better sense of self.

Grief doesn't go away, ever. It is always there, a constant reminder of who you lost and who isn't there anymore. I wake up and one of the first things I think about besides wanting to hit the snooze button is my dad. Whether I had a dream about him or I just feel his presence, the thought is there. It's the first thing I wake up to and the last thing I go to sleep thinking about.

My new job is located very close to where my dad worked when I was growing up. I think about him on my commute to work, knowing he rode the same train for years and walked the same path as me. It hurts but makes me smile.

I don't cry a lot anymore, except for the occasional holiday or birthday but then it passes. It's just my life now but when I think about that, I feel an ache in my chest.

Before my dad, the person closest to me that I lost was my grandpa. I was 13 years old, my parents had just gotten divorced, and life was weird. I don't think I realized how sad it was at the time but losing a grandparent is nothing like losing a parent, I know that now.


However, grief-struck my entire family last month when my aunt, at the age of 53, passed away. It rocked my family and it's what prompted this post.

My aunt was my second mom. I was the first baby in the family and everyone ate me up (truly, I was adorable) but she took a special liking to me. I cannot even put into words what our relationship was, it was just so special. She was more than my aunt...

Without going into detail and protecting the privacy of my family, things changed in recent years and that relationship wasn't the same... but I also have gotten older and things changed for me as well. That being said, I still loved her with every part of me and to not have her here anymore is strange.

I felt guilty at first because I showed no emotion and I honestly felt no emotion. I didn't cry, I didn't really feel anything. I don't even think I was numb, it just didn't really affect me. It was sort of worrying everyone else around me and in turn, I started to worry too. I was going about my days like normal even though I was thinking about my aunt.

It was unlike anything I ever experienced before and perhaps, after losing my dad, nothing else compares. I've already gone through unspeakable pain.

Of course, I cried at the wake and the funeral... it was an emotional few days but when I was alone when I saw other people cry, I didn't feel much and I told myself that it was ok.

Everyone deals with their grief differently. Some cry for days, some don't cry at all, some get angry while others just hide it really well. There is no right way to grieve, there is no wrong way to grieve. It just is something that you deal with.

I dealt with my aunt's death and I'm still dealing with it. It is still very fresh and raw for everyone in my family. It is a constant reminder that life is too short and petty things don't matter. It's still at the forefront in everyone's mind, including my own. Right there along with my dad, my aunt is the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing at night.

I would say that my lost loved ones are what I think about the most during the day and it's really hard to carry that with you but I get through it, just like we all do.

No matter who you are grieving, or how you are grieving, know that it's ok. It will be ok.

xoxo
B
For the past few years, skincare fridges have been a top skincare trend in the beauty space. From bloggers to editors to random people on Instagram, everyone seems to have hopped on the mini-fridge train.

It's something that has always intrigued me but something I didn't see the need for. A mini-fridge to just put your skincare in is not a necessity and  I didn't even know where I would put it. I figured when I moved into my own place and had more space, I'd buy myself one.

Well, that changed in December when my boss gifted me a hot pink mini-fridge. I was so ecstatic to finally have one; I immediately set it up and put all my skincare in it. I sacrificed some space in my handbag storage unit and put the mini-fridge there. Right next to my makeup drawers makes for easy access and doesn't take up much space within my actual room.



The mini-fridge is just big enough to fit a six-pack so it can fit a decent amount of skincare products. I keep all of my under eye masks in the fridge along with my rose quartz roller, my Tula Eye Balm, and eye gel pads. This makes for the most refreshing skincare experience of life.

There is something so beautiful and relaxing about cold skincare, no matter the time of day. Ideally, I spend some key moments at night after a long day or on a Saturday morning treating myself to these cold beauty items.


From what I've read, there is no proof that your skincare products being cold makes them work any better or any different, it just feels good and isn't that half of what skincare is? To feel good about yourself and savor every part of the application?



However, I think having the eye products in your collection be cold makes all the difference in helping decrease puffiness and tiredness around that area. Even when I didn't have a skincare fridge, I tried to keep these items in my regular refrigerator.

Aside from my eye products and rose quartz roller, I like to keep a few moisturizers and eye creams, like my sample of the Belief Moisturizing Eye Bomb which is my new favorite eye cream, I'll probably have to buy the full size. My Clinique Moisture Surge also has a space in the fridge because when this gel moisturizer is ice cold it makes your skin feel wonderful.



A skincare fridge is not a necessity but it makes your beauty routine feel a little more luxurious and allows you to take a few extra moments for yourself during that time. It's also something I think a lot of people are intrigued by but wouldn't purchase themselves, therefore making it the ideal gift!

Do you have a skincare fridge? What do you keep in it?

xoxo
B
A short week has come and gone... I hope it treated you well! As I'm writing this, I'm falling asleep and it's only 7:40 PM on a Thursday night. I started the week off really strong and energized and by Thursday, I was spent. The weekend ahead is a low key one which is fantastic, but when aren't my weekends low-key?

I had the urge to shop this week and it was really bad. I almost gave in a few times but I just have to stay strong until next Sunday when my month resets and I can pick up a few things. I do have to restock on some beauty items and I should be doing that soon. Of course, I will fill you in on what I pick up!

There's not much else to say so let's get into the links & recaps!



Links I Loved 


What You Missed on Royally Pink

I didn't buy anything this week!

Have a great weekend!
xoxo
B
It's been about a month and a half since I made a vow to stop impulse shopping in 2020 and I won't lie, it has been really difficult.

The first two weeks of January were a breeze! I felt no desire to shop and loved that I had enough money in my bank account to get me through the days. It was very freeing and I felt amazing. Then, my family was struck with tragedy when my aunt passed away at the age of 53. It was a really hard few weeks; I was sad, anxious, and all over the place. The one thing I wanted to do was shop. When things are hard, that's my crutch.



I resisted because I wanted to buy the Stoney Clover Lane Cozy Collection (which I did) and that was going to wipe out my entire budget for the month. I caved though and gave into my grief; I purchased the Lipstick Pink Lele Sadoughi Velvet Headband for $49, sending my total for the month (with SCL) to $150.

I felt ashamed that I had broken the rules and it was only a few weeks in but I felt justified because I had a reason for shopping. However, that is the behavior I am trying to break -- shopping for an emotional reason. But, in the same breath, retail therapy is a phrase for a reason.

After talking to my friend who loves to shop like I do, and who is very rational and smart, said to just chalk it up and make your budget $150 because truthfully, $100 is nothing.

So, in February I have so far spent $143 and most of that was gone within the first two weeks of the month. I am having a hard time getting through the last few days and already have a list of things I want to buy in March.

I guess my update is that I upped my budget which I can afford because it's still not thousands of dollars. I've resisted a lot of impulse shopping; I've put things in my cart, got to the checkout page and then clicked. To me, that is a win.

The low-buy has been successful so far, I have less stuff and more money. I'm very proud of myself and I know it's only going to get easier as the days go on (I hope!)

xoxo
B
I love it when I read a description of a book on NetGalley and then it ends up being the book that everyone is reading and talking about on social media.

That's what happened with "Followers" by Megan Angelo. I requested this book months ago... perhaps even mid-Summer after being very intrigued by the summary. As we get further away from the start of influencer marketing and it becomes more normal, it's bound to start popping up in fiction books. That is the premise of "Followers"... influencers which of course, is very interesting to me.

I was so graciously given the chance to read "Followers" before it was released on January 9th, 2020 but I just finished it a few weeks ago #whoops. If I'm being honest, I didn't like the layout of the arc; sometimes on NetGalley when I receive an ARC, it's not formatted like a proper book and it makes it really hard to read. So it wasn't until I saw people starting to talk about it did I realize that I had it on my Kindle.

After reading the summary again, I sucked it up and read the book with the wonky format. And I'm very glad that I did.


Publisher's Summary

Orla Cadden is a budding novelist stuck in a dead-end job, writing clickbait about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Then Orla meets Floss—a striving, wannabe A-lister—who comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they dream about. So what if Orla and Floss’s methods are a little shady—and sometimes people get hurt? Their legions of followers can’t be wrong.

Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity—twelve million loyal followers—Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is based on a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.

Followers trace the paths of Orla, Floss, and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.


My Thoughts

This book was very hard to follow and understand at first. I was completely lost and kind of felt like giving up. It was just really confusing and frustrating. About a quarter of a way through, I fell into a groove and started to follow the story. I think it was partly the layout of the book, the flipping back and forth from past to present, and also the writing style. It was very detailed, intricate, and a little jumpy.

Once I got passed the confusing parts, I was completely addicted. I think I finished this book in one sitting after the complicated parts. I just wanted to know what happened.

Orla and Floss's stories were complicated and messy; it was very intertwined, a little confusing and self-dependent; throughout the book, I disliked them both more and more, especially Floss but that was the point.

When it came to Marlowe and the future world of influencers, it was hard to follow but very interesting. I much preferred Marlowe's stories than Orla & Floss. After "The Spill" which you don't really know what happened until the end of the book, influencers and technology became regulated by the government. Marlowe was a government-mandated influencer and her entire life is broadcasted to her followers. 

The way technology affects her life in different ways from marriage, friendships, her health -- her followers are able to touch every part of her life and she has no choice... until she does. Marlowe makes a big decision to find out who she is and it changes everything, for everyone. 

There comes a point in the novel when you realize the past and present are linked and I think that was the moment that I became more interested in the story. It was an 'oh my' situation and I couldn't believe things were going to go in that direction. It was so interesting. 

On another note, "The Spill" that everyone kept talking about throughout the novel was really anxiety-inducing. Thinking about how that could happen to us one day was insane and it was just so eye-opening, seeing how reliant on technology we actually are. There's nothing we could really do about it if technology stopped working one day; it was scary and very interesting. 

That's how I could sum up this book: interesting. Dreaming up a world where influencers are government employees and they have zero privacy is a scary thought. When you find out what "The Spill"is, you'll be nervous and think twice about what you share over technology. In the end, when everyone's stories connected, it made my heart happy. It was a beautiful ending that married both past and present in a great way.

"Followers" by Megan Angelo was one of the most interesting, thought-provoking books I've read in a while. It was a little scary, a little confusing, a little shallow but it all had an important message. I really loved "Followers" and Megan Angelo is a wonderful writer. I'm confident in saying that this novel will end up on my most loved book of the year list in December.

Have you/will you read Followers?

xoxo
B

This blog post was published in February 2020 but has since been updated.

This is my first handbag review in quite a long time. I recently sold a large portion of my handbag collection and haven't purchased a new one since September/October. That handbag was in fact, this Coach Cassie Crossbody bag.

Coach has made a comeback in recent years and I've been very intrigued by their styles. The brand now has a modern, sophisticated look that is accessible, beautiful, and practical. Coach is doing amazing things and I'm excited to continue to watch what was once my favorite handbag company.

I had seen the Cassie Crossbody around the internet a lot in the past year or so and I was surprised to see it bare a striking resemblance to the bag that has been number one on my wishlist for years... the Louis Vuitton Pochette Metis.

When I saw that others noticed the same thing, I immediately started looking for one of them on the pre-loved market. I didn't want to buy it new because I wasn't a fan of the price tag or the options they had available. I had my eye on the rustic, monogram color and that was only available on e-Bay. Well, after much hunting I found one that was priced fairly and in near perfect condition... it even came with the tags and original dust bag so I was sold.

I've used my Coach Cassie bag more than any other bag the past few months and I have loved every second of it.

Below is my full review where you can see the bag in action! Please let me know if you have any questions and let's chat about bags!




xoxo
B
I've talked plenty about my struggle with dry skin over the years. This year, though, it has been particularly bad. It hasn't been abnormally colder than other winters but my skin is truly bugging out.

Since around October, I've been having trouble not with my face but with the rest of my body. My eczema just won't go away... even with a prescription ointment from my dermatologist. Therefore, I've taken matters into my own hands and of course, have been trying a ton of products targeted for dry skin.

Almost everything I've used has really helped both my body and my face to relieve my dry, itchy skin and then also clear up some eczema patches that were being stubborn.



Weleda Skin Food

I bought this a few months ago after reading countless reviews on it but really Grace Atwood and Olivia Muenter are the ones who sold on me on Welda Skin Food. I bought it to use on my face and while I do use it on my face, it is the thickest cream I have ever seen or used. It is very soothing and I've used it on other dry skin patches on my body and it works really well. It's very emollient and a little difficult to blend in but it gets the job done. My skin feels incredible when I wake up in the morning and any dryness is immediately gone. It's filled with almond oil and sunflower oil which I think my skin responds well too. I've heard people say it's like poor people's La Mer; I've never used La Mer but hey, that's a decent comparison!

Glossier Balm Dot Com

This has been my go-to for years. It's officially the only lip balm that does anything for me. I've tried so many balms over the years and while I'm always intrigued by a new one, I come back to Glossier. It might seem like a fancier Vaseline but truthfully, it works better for me than Vaseline. Not only do I use it on my lips but I've had a really stubborn eczema patch on my thumb (so weird and random) and this is helping that as well. It's truly an all in one salve.

First Aid Beauty Pharma Oat & Hemp Multi-Fix Salve

When I saw this new product from First Aid Beauty, I immediately added it to my wishlist. I love anything with hemp and I thought the mixture of oat would be really interesting. Oatmeal is a key ingredient in First Aid Beauty's line and I know it does wonders for the skin. When I finally bought it, I was pleasantly surprised because it's not what I expected. This is definitely a salve but it is so tender and blends into the skin immediately. It's not hard to scoop out like a regular salve, which I appreciate. I have only used it on my eczema patch on my arm (that I have had since September and won't go away) and it definitely calmed it a bit. I have to try it out more but for the few weeks I've had it, it's been an excellent addition to my skincare routine.

Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash

I asked my dermatologist which body wash I should use and she recommended Dove. She also recommended I not take scalding hot showers but as a female, it is my duty to take showers that would make the devil gasp. However, I noticed that using Dove really does help my skin. I've used other sensitive skin body washes but Dove is by far the best one for me, particularly the sensitive skin formula. I also just started using Trader Joe's new almond body oil and it is delightful; my skin has been loving that!

Kopari CBD Body Calm Cream

I received the entire Kopari CBD line in PR and I couldn't be more thankful. I've never tried any Kopari products because coconut oil has always kind of confused me but you put CBD in the name and I'm sold. I've only tried the Body Calm Cream because I was most excited about that and it has been a game-changer. It's the least greasy body lotion I have ever used in my life, blends into the skin without leaving behind a residue and makes my skin less inflamed and red. I itch my dry skin too much and this really helps relieve the itchiness and really does make my skin feel calmer.


xoxo
B
Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I hope you have a lovely day with whoever you spend it; whether it's a significant other, your friends or even just alone for some self-love! I will be at my boyfriend's house tonight and am so excited for a nice night in!

Today I'm working from home and it's much needed after a few hectic weeks at work and just in life. My anxiety has been acting up so being able to chill and give myself a four day weekend is great. That's also why the blog was quiet this week, I just needed a break. I'm hoping this weekend will recharge me for the better.

It is going to be a busy weekend though; Valentine's Day, a friend's birthday tomorrow and brunch with my boyfriend's family on Sunday but I'll find time in between to relax, as I always do.

Once again, I hope you all have a lovely weekend... let's dive into the roundup!


Links I Loved


What You Missed on Royally Pink

What I Bought This Week

*I promise that a low-buy update is coming! I gave into my vices this week and picked up this Love Shack Fancy x SCL pouch but it was on Afterpay so technically, I'm still within my monthly budget! 

Have a great weekend!
xoxo
B
I've mentioned Stoney Clover Lane over the past few months and I simply cannot get enough. I've admired the brand from afar over the past year or so, ever since seeing their pouches pop up on Instagram. It wasn't until September that I finally bought myself a pouch and the obsession has been in full force ever since.

Let's start at the beginning... 

Stoney Clover Lane was created by sisters Kendall and Libby Glazer; they started it out of their teenage bedrooms, on Stoney Clover Lane. It started out with bracelets and then eventually turned into accessories and pouches, which is what they sell now. The full background story is really interesting and you should listen to Kendall's interview on the Be There in 5 Podcast. It made me love the brand even more. 

With Stoney Clover, you can customize your bag to your heart's desire. They have hundreds of patches to choose from, from letters, numbers, cities, beauty items, planes... really anything you can think of, they have. 

They also have a lot of different style patches; small, large, mini, clear, woven; their classic patches are made of very strong, beautiful nylon with heavy-duty gold zippers that add something special to the bags. Aside from the nylon, they have leather, denim, and woven materials. 

SCL has done a few collaborations recently too, with major, fun brands like Lele Sadoughi and Love Shack Fancy. Those are the two at the top of my mind and the ones I purchased. 

You might think 'how many pouches could one possibly need?' and to me, the limit does not exist. They are great for packing, organizing your travel items, or just having on hand for every day. I use my small pouches in my work bag to throw everything in, and let me tell you -- so many fits inside one pouch.

I used to have multiple makeup bags to carry different items inside my work bag but now, I just need one Stoney Clover pouch and I'm all set.




It's also really fun to get them for different occasions, like the seasonal patches; for example, my sister got me one that is Halloween themed and I bought myself a mini pouch that has a pumpkin on it for the fall season. Stoney Clover Lane also makes a great gift for a Bachelorette or bridesmaids because they have wedding patches.



One of my favorite new forms of patches they have are social issues; you can now show your support for your favorite cause, like animals, women's rights, or gun control by buying an SCL patch. I'm also pretty sure a donation of sales from those patches goes to the corresponding organization which is incredible.

The best part? There is an easy to use customizer on their website that allows you to visualize just how you want your bag to use, with patches and placement. For a $15 charge, SCL will sew your patches onto your bag but all the patches have a sticker on the back so you don't *have* to get them sewn, or you can sew them yourself. I've used special fabric glue on a few bags and it works great but sewing is best. 

Stoney Clover is constantly releasing new items and I have my eyes on so many! I really want a flat pouch, a duffle bag, and a woven tote for the summer. 

I have three small pouches, two minis, a flat cozy pouch, a crossbody bag, and a clear top. I haven't really used my clear top yet since it's 'for travel' but I love my small pouches and my flat, cozy pouch. I recently picked it up on the day it launched, a few weeks ago and I have not stopped using it as a clutch.

My everyday bag preference was something with a strap... I've never really carried clutches but after using this adorable cozy one for the past few weeks, I'm definitely going to get into the clutch game. It's so nice to just carry something without straps getting in the way and I love the fact that it's just a big open pit; I just throw everything in there and hope for the best! I've gotten so many compliments on it too and I'm going to be so sad when winter is over and I can't use it for another few months. 

If you want something fun and trendy, I do recommend one of the cozy pieces. They are just so cute and I really want to get a small pouch in this style. 

All in all, Stoney Clover has become one of my favorite brands. I love the branding, the quality, and Kendall & Libby. It's such an aspirational and inspirational brand and just makes me so happy! 

Have you tried any Stoney Clover Lane products? What is your favorite?
xoxo
B
Happy Valentine's Day week everyone! To celebrate, I finally used my Essie Valentine's Day pink color called "Talk Sweet to Me". If you missed last week's Manicure Monday, I used another Essie V-Day Color called "Don't Be Choco-Late" but this color is much more my speed for actual Valentine's Day.



I was instantly drawn to this color because to me, it looks like the perfect winter pink. It's not too bubblegum, not too ballet, and not too hot. "Talk Sweet to Me" is what I envision as the perfect shade of pink. It is completely on-brand for me and brings so much joy to my life. It's utterly perfect for Valentine's Day and I'm so happy with it.

The formula is pretty darn perfect. There was no bleeding onto the cuticles, it dried to perfection and looks really beautiful on the nails. I love the fact that I don't feel weird wearing this color pink in the winter, and it's on-trend all year round.

I don't have much else to say other than this is a fabulous polish and one of my favorite pinks in my collection.

What are you wearing on your nails this Monday?
xoxo
B
Happy Friday! The week didn't feel incredibly long and for that, I am super grateful. It definitely started off rocky... Monday I was really anxious and depressed. I came home from work, got into my bed and under my weighted blanket. I just felt horrible, for no reason.

After a few hours of sulking, I laid with my mom like the baby I am and cried my eyes out. Once I got it out, I felt so much better. Sometimes a good cry is all you need to feel better!

That being said, I have another low-key weekend by myself as my boyfriend is out of town again. I will be seeing my family and baby cousins, as well as going to the gym, making a Shop Rite run and then watching a lot of television. I mentioned it in my podcast episode this week that I need to catch up on Riverdale, Nancy Drew, Legacies, my Bravo shows, and finally watch Miss Americana.

I love slow weekends and I'm really looking forward to another one! Now, let's get into the roundup!



Links to Love

What You Missed on Royally Pink

What I Bought This Week

I did buy a few things as we entered February and am almost near my budget but I just needed some retail therapy. Below is what I bought from Target, as well as a new Snuggle Pillow & a 'Let's Do Brunch' Tray that isn't available online. Check your local dollar spot though! I also needed a refill of my Shiseido Cotton Pads so I picked those up and finally tried out the First Aid Beauty Fab Pharma Hemp Salve (so far, so good) 

I've been feeling my Disney obsession again so I picked up two items from BoxLunch: princess scrunchies and a Tangled wallet



Have a great weekend everyone!
xoxo
B
I was never a fan of Valentine's Day when I was single. I was the classically jaded girl who had had her heart broken too many times and thought celebrating a day of love was stupid.

In college, I would wear black on Valentine's Day, get drunk, and hang out with my sorority sisters. One year, my roommates and I even printed out pictures of our exes or boys we hated to love and shot nerf guns at them LOL.

As I've gotten older and now am in a serious relationship, my distaste of Valentine's Day has transformed into a love of the holiday. However, I don't necessarily think it has much to do with my boyfriend but more of the commercial aspect as well as the self-love feeling of the holiday.

I love hearts, the colors red & pink, and everything adorable that comes along with Valentine's Day. I think my mature mind has realized that Valentine's Day isn't just about romantic love but love for your family, friends, and yourself. I also use it as an excuse to buy chocolates, wear clothes & accessories adorned with hearts, and just enjoy everything being pink and red.



That being said, I wanted to share some of my favorite 'Valentine's Day' decor, clothes & accessories... the things that have been making me happy and putting me in the lovey, dovey spirit!

Gifts & Fun Accessories 


Decor (all from Target because that is where it's at this year!)

xoxo 
B
I have been living under a rock because I haven't heard of Colleen Hoover until a few weeks ago. Once I heard about her once I felt like I was seeing her everywhere! I've heard a lot of amazing things about her and can't wait to read more of her books... but for now, I need to talk about what I think is her most talked-about book.

Verity is a book I have definitely seen around but nothing about it intrigued me. I heard multiple people mention it in their 2019 favorites (or non-favorites) and I know Becca and Grace from Bad on Paper talked about this book a lot so I knew I had to read it. Multiple people in my book club Facebook group also raved about Verity so it was meant to be.

I was getting ready to purchase the book when I saw it available on Kindle Unlimited which I have a subscription to but I'm unsure how I am subscribed LOL.

I downloaded it immediately so it was clearly meant to be.



Publisher's Summary

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, the husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish. 

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity's notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn't expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity's recollection of the night their family was forever altered. 

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen's feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife's words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her. 

My Thoughts

I wasn't too sure what to expect from this book but I was enthralled from the moment I started reading. I love a plot that involves an author so, from the moment I found out that Lowen was a struggling writer, I was sold. 

Her instant connection with Jeremy keeps you guessing and you just know that something is going to happen... but yet I didn't know what to expect from Verity and Jeremy's life together. Well, the moment Lowen enters the Crawford home you know that shit is going to hit the fan. 

Without giving too much away, things heat up pretty fast. Lowen starts to think that everything is not what it seems and her opinion of Verity changes drastically, mostly due to the autobiography that she finds deep in Verity's draws. Lowen can't stay away from it and that is when things start going downhill. Jeremey and Verity's relationship/friendship shifts, you see Verity in a different light through flashbacks, and everything is up in the air. 

The book gets creepy real fast as Verity's injuries don't seem too permanent but only Lowen is around to see it. I can't explain too much without giving a lot away and I really don't want to spoil it but the novel is so creepy, so thrilling, and keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The ending of "Verity" is just what you would expect to happen... until it isn't. The last few pages were jaw-dropping and bone-chilling. As the reader, you are left with a thousand questions and realize that because of Hoover's writing, things can be as they seem or not. 

If you need a book that is going to change your life, rock your world, and have you reeling for days, that is Verity. Please, if anyone has read it and wants to chat about it, head over to my bookstagram @brianasbookclub or comment below!

PS: The book is heavy with sex, curse words, vulgar language, and some child abuse. It's gory and disturbing but in the best way possible.

Have you read Verity? Anything else by Colleen Hoover? What did you think?
xoxo
B

I am very into Valentine's Day this year and I hate that I am because it's just because I have a boyfriend (LOL) but at least I can admit it.

I love the hearts, all the red and pink and all the special beauty collections that come along with this love-filled holiday. I don't remember if Essie has done it in the past, but this year they released a special Valentine's Day Collection, in limited edition packaging and I ate it all up!

I picked up two colors from Ulta a few weeks ago and already used one of them.



"Don't Be Choco-Late" was the color I was instantly drawn to. It's a deep, chocolate brown and I feel like I don't have anything like it but I could very well be wrong. It was just so pretty and resembled a delicious box of Valentine's Day chocolates. I had to have it.

I used it a few weeks ago and it was delectable. It went on smooth as butter and didn't bleed onto my cuticles. It was a normal, awesome Essie shade and it was a pleasure to apply.



What stood out to me was the wear time. It didn't chip for 4-5 days and when it did, there was barely any wear. By the time I was ready to change my nail polish, there was hardly any chips. This was probably one of the longest wearing Essie polishes I've ever used, which is always a good thing.

As we move into the final moments of winter, I need to start wearing my darker colors more and more so I'm sure "Don't Be Choco-Late" will be in heavy rotation.

What is on your nails this Monday? 
xoxo
B
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