Monthly Muse: June 2020 Favorites

, by RoyallyPink, 7:00 AM
When I think about it, it feels like June was an incredibly fast month but in reality, I feel like it was slow -- like I cannot even remember the beginning of June.

I think this was one of the hardest months I've had in a while: family issues, the ending of quarantine, the protests and unrest across the nation. I'm happy to say goodbye to June 2020 and God willing, July will be better. So far though, it doesn't look like that. The COVID cases are rising everywhere and it's really scary on so many levels. 

I won't ramble on about the virus again because it seems that I do that in every little 'update' post. This post is strictly about my favorites of the month! 

My shopping was not as bad as it has been during quarantine and I hope that July is even better... but the new Love Shack Fancy x Stoney Clover Lane collection launches today so I doubt that! 

The favorites of the month consist of a few new items and a brand rediscovery but truly, they are all very useful products!

Let's get into it! 



The Book Club Bluelight Glasses





When quarantine started, I left my 'expensive' Bluelight glasses at the office because I figured I'd be back in a few weeks. Oh to be hopeful and naive in early March! I have cheap Amazon Bluelight glasses at home and was using them daily but truly, I can tell the difference. They are not as strong or as comfortable to wear so I knew I needed to invest in a new pair if I was going to be home for a while. I stumbled upon the brand called The Book Club and fell in love with their styles. The minute I saw "Love in the Time of a Dollar" I knew these glasses had to be mine. They were sold out on a bunch of retailer sites so I purchased directly from the brand website. The company is based in Australia and in times of COVID, shipping took at least a month. It was worth it though! The packaging of these glasses was adorable! They came in a package that literally looks like a book and the branding was on point. I'm a sucker for good branding and The Book Club knocked it out of the park. 

These glasses are everything to me. I wear them every day, don't get dizzy and my headaches are maintained. They are so outrageous that I almost feel silly wearing them but I feel so cool at the same time.  I want more Bluelight glasses from this brand just because they are so unique and the price is right. 

My glasses seem to be sold out on every US website but below are some others you can shop. Also, if you're willing to wait, just order from TBCEyewear.com. These glasses are worth it! 



Pacifica Beauty Aloe BFF Hand Antiseptic



Hand sanitizer is not hard to come by anymore and I'm very thankful for that because well if places are opening, we need it now more than ever. I'm very interested in the brands releasing hand sanitizer that has never been in the hand sanitizer game before. I just want all the sanitizer! That's why I purchased this Pacifica Aloe BFF Hand Antiseptic. Even the name intrigued me! On the Ulta website, it looked like a hand sanitizer spray but I was surprised to find out that it is not... it's a gel. It's also a pretty big bottle so it's not practical for everyday use but I have been throwing it in my beach/pool bag or using it at home. It's an interesting texture but I oddly really like it. It makes my hands feel really clean and is just a nice, larger sanitizer to share with others. I'm also a sucker for the packaging! I've bought a lot of hand sanitizers recently and want more (LOL) so I'll be doing a post on my favorites! 

Cloth and Paper

Cloth and Paper is a planner insert company that I've been using for a while but for some reason, this month, I've been truly obsessed. I've made four different purchases and joined a ton of Facebook groups dedicated to the brand. If you saw my IGTV of my recent haul, I talked about a lot of the inserts I recently purchased. It's a unique brand with many different size choices as well as so many different inserts. They have adorable accessories, are reasonably priced, and use super high-quality paper. They're also really sweet and throw in a bunch of freebies with your order. They have a subscription box that I am highly considering signing up for but we'll see. This month I had an overwhelming urge to redo my planner and I'm so happy with all my Cloth and Paper purchases. I will probably do a full overview of everything I've purchased and done an updated planner post or video. Cloth and Paper are also Black-owned businesses so definitely support if you need more planner accessories! 

What did you love this month?
xoxo
B
Every season I go through my nail polish collection to throw out old and expired colors. This Spring, after I did the declutter, I felt like I was in need of a lot of spring & summer colors, but I wasn't impressed by any of the new collections... that is until I saw the Essie Summer Collection. Wow, I am in love with so many of these colors.

I loved them so much I bought two and the one I'm going to talk about today is "Beachy Keen". A lot of my peach shades went bad and I desperately needed a new one. This one caught my eye and it's so beautiful.

Beachy Keen is described as a coral color with a slight sheen -- it's nothing fancy or groundbreaking but it looks incredible on the nails. This is the perfect pedicure color and I think I might to do that next. When you think of summer, you think of a nail polish that looks like this. It's stunning and I love it! 

In direct sunlight
In the shade


The formula is pretty standard for Essie. It went on really nice, a little messy but I was able to quickly clean it up and it lasted for a normal 4ish days. 

I don't have much of a tan right now but I could only imagine how stunning the polish will look with a fresh sun-tan! This will surely be in heavy rotation for the rest of the summer because it is basically summer in a bottle.

Stay tuned for another Manicure Monday post next weekend with another shade of the Sunny Business collection.

xoxo
B



Royal Roundup, Vol 3: Week 26

, by RoyallyPink, 2:31 PM
I guess my new day for this post to go up is Sunday. This week was pretty intense on so many levels. There were multiple family emergencies, a few hospital trips, some doctor visits of my own, and just a weird work week in general. I finally feel a little normal and it's Sunday at 2 PM... like what? I cleaned my room and straightened up the rest of the house, and am hunkering down to blog and watch some Youtube videos.

Fourth of July is next weekend, my least favorite holiday because I hate being pressured to have fun, and also, I'm never feeling patriotic. However, I will be spending the weekend in New Jersey at my aunt & uncle's house so it'll be nice to have something low-key to do.

The summer is trudging along and in full force, but the pandemic is still alive & well. Please, just wear a mask.

That is my PSA for the post so let's dive into everything.



Links I Loved

What You Missed on Royally Pink

I didn't buy anything this week!

Have a great week everyone :)

xoxo
B
During quarantine, I resigned up for Book of the Month club because I had been reading a lot and wanted to hold an actual book. I also love the fact that Book of the Month has pre-releases so sometimes I can get books before they are released.

I think this is exactly the case with The Guest List by Lucy Foley. When I signed up in April, this is the book I chose to receive and had been waiting for the right time to read it. Well, I finally finished it last week and well, I loved it. 


Publisher's Summary:

The bride – The plus one – The best man – The wedding planner  – The bridesmaid – The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

My Thoughts:

The summary of the book was pretty vague which in a way, had only intrigued me more. The first thing I noticed was that there were a lot of characters and a lot of different points of view. We start out with who can I only assume are wedding guests, finding a body so we know where we are going to end up.

We then launch into the true core of the story, a wedding is happening on a remote island and people have secrets. The best man has a secret, the bride, the wedding guest, and the maid of honor. There is so much happening but the story isn't hard to follow.

There are a few things happening: the bride is being told, anonymously, that she shouldn't marry her fiancee. The best man finds out a secret and can hardly contain himself, the maid of honor is going through her own issues and is hiding something that won't be revealed until the end, and the wedding guest is trying to hold her marriage together while away from the children.

We also get some insight from the wedding planner who seems very strange and when you find out why it's pretty jaw-dropping. The entire story takes place over the course of 24 hours and it is a jam-packed day, to say the least.

There's sexual assault, lies, scams, and multiple reveals that all point to one horrible person. The reveal, the multiple reveals are truly bombs and I didn't see any of them coming. It was a true murder mystery in that there were multiple suspects, multiple victims, multiple ways the stories could've gone. 

I've seen people say that The Guest List is overrated but I think this is one of the least overrated books I've ever read.

Have you read The Guest List yet?

xoxo
B
At the beginning of the year, I vowed to make 2020 my no-buy year. That has been an epic fail. I survived the first two months and then life went to complete shit. My boyfriend dumped me, Coronavirus took over the world, and we are experiencing what can only be known as the next civil rights movement. The world basically imploded and my anxiety took over. When I'm anxious, I do one big thing: I shop. 

March and April were really bad months for me, purchases wise. I spent a lot of money on I don't even know what but since then I've dialed it back.

In the midst of those purchases, I bought a lot of things that were incredibly useful and that I love dearly. I like to call them my quarantine purchases. 

People did a lot of weird things during quarantine, I shopped. 



Barefoot Dreams Blanket

I already had a Barefoot Dreams blanket but that has since retired to the living room. If I was going to be spending a lot of time in my room, I wanted to take it up a notch. I needed to make my room a little more cozy and what's cozier than Barefoot Dreams? I wanted a blush colored one to accent my room and after a lot of searching, QVC came through. I purchased this giant Cozy-Chic Covered in Prayer Throw. It's the coziest thing I've ever touched, so warm, and just feels incredible. It relaxes me like nothing else and I never want to be without it. It's probably my favorite purchase over the past few months.

Dash Mini Waffle Maker

I love waffle makers and waffle shaped foods so much. It's an odd obsession of mine but I cannot help it. I love the idea of putting non-waffle foods in a waffle maker, it's just so fun! When I graduated college I bought a large waffle maker for the house but it's been a pain in the butt for years, mostly because it's really hard to clean. I've been looking at the Dash Mini Waffle makers for months and finally splurged on one. They're $10 at Target and the cutest little appliance. I use it at least two times a week to make Kodiak Cake Waffles and because of the mini size, I get so many waffles out of them. It cooks the batter to perfection and is so easy to clean and store. I'm obsessed! 

Cuisinart Air Fryer

I talked about this in my "Items I Use Every Day Vol 2" post a few weeks ago but it needs to be mentioned again. My mom, sister, and I have never been home at the same time this much so with three grown women eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home daily, we needed a new air fryer. Ours was on the fritz and we wanted one that was easier to use, clean and not an eyesore on our kitchen counter. Enter this bad boy! It's like a mini oven and boy is it powerful. It cooks things in record time and everything comes out crisped to perfection. It's a game-changing air fryer and not expensive! I bought ours for $80 on QVC

Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Water

I love being tan but my time in the sun is extremely limited. To make myself feel a little more put together, I try to self-tan but have never found anything that really wows me. I'm not the greatest self-tanner so I've been looking for a product that makes it easy. Last year I purchased the highly coveted Isle of Paradise Face Drops but I bought shade medium and it just wasn't for me. This year, I decided to try the water spray and my life is changed forever. This is so easy to apply to both your face and body, and it looks so natural! Even when I mess up around my ankles and wrists, it's hardly noticeable. I have the shade 'light' and I am obsessed. I never want to be without this water! 

Gucci x Mickey T-Shirts

I bought a ton of sweatshirts, tees, and loungewear during quarantine but my favorite discovery had to be the faux Gucci x Mickey t-shirts from Etsy! I have three items from this shop: the sweatshirt, a pink t-shirt, and a tie-dye Mickey & Minnie tee. They are so comfortable, so chic and I simply cannot stop wearing them. 

I might do a volume 2 on this post as I remember more purchases because right now, I can't even remember what I bought!

Have you bought anything exciting and new during quarantine?
xoxo
B

Beauty Anti Haul Vol 1: June 2020

in , by RoyallyPink, 5:00 AM
Since being in quarantine my spending on beauty products has drastically increased. I haven't purchased much if any makeup and have been focusing on skincare and haircare. That being said, I haven't even purchased much in those categories either and when I do, I'm being selective. 

Right before quarantine, I started to get overwhelmed with the amount of product I have in my collection and knew I needed to make a change. I didn't want to spend money on every new launch and wanted to be more mindful of the products I was buying. I no longer felt the need to splurge on every new release and buy products I have a lot of, like concealers, moisturizers, and serums. 

If I'm being honest, there hasn't been any new product launches that have wowed me the way they used too. Maybe I'm getting old, maybe I'm getting bored or maybe the innovation just isn't in the market anymore.

During coronavirus, I felt like there weren't even that many launches happening within the beauty space which makes sense, the entire world was on pause.

However, I have been keeping a list of the things that have launched and don't impress me much, or that I'm skeptical about.

As all anti-hauls, this post isn't meant to bash a brand or shame you if you bought/like these products... I'm just sharing my opinion on beauty items like I always have.

To counteract this post, I also will be doing a wish-list series as I've done in the past because there are some products that I have had my eye on for a while.

Now... let's see what I'm not impressed with.




Drunk Elephant Body and Haircare

I'm not sure if anyone asked for DE to release non-skincare products but here we are. I think these came out in early March and I have not once thought to purchase them. Luxury body care doesn't spark any joy within me because I have my favorites from the drugstore that don't hurt my bank account. The haircare I'm skeptical about because DE is not a haircare brand so why would I trust them to make products that help? It just seems random to me and I'm not here for it. 

Everything from Anatasia Beverly Hills

I remember in the good old days of the beauty community, ABH was untouchable. They released products very sparingly and you could tell thought went into every launch. They weren't on a schedule, they released a few items a year and when they made their foray into makeup products (not just brows) it was a huge deal. Now? I feel like the magic has gone away. The brand releases so many eyeshadow palettes it's hard to keep up. I feel like there is a new launch every few weeks and it doesn't give anyone enough time to appreciate the last launch. It's just too much and it feels like the brand has lost its roots. None of the new launches impress me and ABH feels like any other beauty brand at this point.

Lancome Juicy Tubes

This is a relativity 'new' launch of an older, classic Lancome product. When I was in 8th grade, my friend's aunt work for Bloomingdales and she was able to get me a Lancome Juicy Tube in a candy pink color. I cherished that lipgloss for years. A few years ago, Lancome re-released Juicy Tubes in a few shades and I bought one. Of course, it wasn't like what I remembered because lipgloss has come a long way since 2005. I eventually ended up decluttering that gloss and now, Lancome has released Juicy Tubes AGAIN. I won't be picking them up, as much as my impulse shopping inner child wants me to. The glosses, as I remember, are too sticky and a little too tacky for my liking, and I really do not like squeeze tube lipglosses anymore.

Fenty Cream Products 

I know everyone loves Fenty more than life but if I'm being honest, it doesn't impress me much.  However, I was pretty excited about the release of their cream products because I love a good cream bronzer & blush... that is until I found out the size of the blush is basically a mini size in other brands. I watched a few Youtube videos and saw the size of the blush... it was so small for such a high price tag. I'm not sure why they did that but it completely turned me off to both products.

Huda Beauty Diamond Lip Balm

I love a high-end lip balm more than anyone but these diamond ones from Huda Beauty just don't seem like a good choice. They're called 'diamond' because they have a frosted finish to it, and that is not a look that I'm going for. I also am not a fan of lip balms that are in the shape of actual lipsticks. The packaging is beautiful and the bullet itself looks stunning but it's not something that I think I would use.

What is on your anti-haul list?

xoxo
B


Royal Round Up, Vol 3: Week 25

in , by RoyallyPink, 4:40 PM
Happy Saturday! I have a nice, long weekend ahead of me -- I was off yesterday and off on Monday so I'm in a great mood. I have so many things to get done, like mail a ton of packages, clean my room, blog, write an article, and do some other behind the scenes work. 

I've been feeling so motivated and flowing with a lot of ideas but honestly, no actual physical motivation to do the things I need. It's pretty frustrating but I'm trying to be gentle with myself and get myself back on track. 

New York is entering Phase 2 on Monday, Long Island is heading into Phase 3 so things are slowly but surely opening back up here... however, other states are seeing huge spikes and it's making me nervous. There has been so much change lately, so much unrest, the idea of quarantine ending makes me really nervous. I just hope everyone stays safe, wears their masks and we keep this virus at bay. 

I don't have much else on my mind... tomorrow is Father's Day, my least favorite day of the year since my dad died and I'm planning to see my grandpa and then spend some time with my mom and sister. 

Now that I'm done rambling, let's get into the post!



Links I Loved

What You Missed on Royally Pink

What I Bought This Week: 



xoxo
B
I have been on reading kick lately. I set a goal to read 40 books this year and I have already read 30.... we still have 6 more months to go!

As I mentioned in my last collective book haul. I wanted to group a bunch of books together to get reviews done a little faster and because some I don't feel need a dedicated post.

Here are a few books I've read over the past few weeks that I pretty much liked across the board. They were fun, entertaining, and where appropriate, very thrilling and mysterious.


Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan

This was an interesting book that I wasn't too sure where it was going. When Jess comes into the ER with her baby who is severely hurt, her friend Liz sees right through the cracks. Jess isn't telling the truth and there is more to the story... so much more.

Jess is suffering, confused about her hurt baby, and her friendship with Liz. There's so much uncertainty throughout the book, it was almost annoying.

Over the course of the book, we see both Jess and Liz's point of views but nothing really comes to fruition. We still don't know exactly what happened to Jess's baby until the very end of the book and it is a total twist; I didn't see that coming and it was really insane. 

I enjoyed this book and the ending was well worth it... but it wasn't my favorite. 

Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered

I don't listen to My Favorite Murder because I don't like the talk before the crime. When I listen to true crime podcasts, I want to get straight into the nitty-gritty of the crime. However, this book was on sale and I was curious to see what it was about. I knew nothing about Karen and Georgia but I feel like I know them really well after reading this book, and I'm probably more inclined to listen to their podcast.

"Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered" could be classified as a biography where we learned about pivotal moments in Karen and Georgia's life and why they're interested in true crime. I don't know if this was really a 'how-to' guide but it did touch on a lot of true crime aspects. I think if you're a fan of the podcast, this is a must-read and even if you're not a fan but like true crime, it could be a fun and interesting read. 

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

"The Dinner List" has been on my to-read list for years. The summary instantly drew me in, I mean, dinner with the five people dead or alive, one of them being Audrey Hepburn, is enough to make me want to read. Sabrina's 30th birthday is nothing like she expected. We see the guests she most wants with her, including her father, a professor, her ex-boyfriend, and Audrey Hepburn. Rebecca's life is told through conversations at this dinner and it's not what I expected.

By the end of the story, I was fully invested and sobbing like a baby. This was a very sad but beautiful story and I loved every minute of it. It might be one of my favorite books ever...and definitely a favorite for the year, so far. I can't wait to read "In Five Years" by Serle because I'm sure it's just as good and possibly heartbreaking. If you need a good cry and a good inspirational read, I cannot recommend this enough.

The Last Wife by Nicola Marsh

"The Last Wife" was mind-blowing. I don't' know what else to say but it threw me for a complete loop. It was thrilling from start to finish and keep me on my toes the entire time. I didn't know where the story was going nor did I want the book to end. It was intense and insane. Ria and Grayson's marriage fell apart but she stayed part of their rich, famous family... that is until she gets threatening emails about the darkest family secrets. She needs to find out who knows their secrets... and why the women in the family keep having near-death experiences. Ria has to do this while keeping away the attraction of her ex-brother-in-law and trying to maintain her job. What happens at the end of the book, it will surprise you and make you question everything. 

If you read one thriller this year, make it this one.

What have you been reading lately?
xoxo
B


Somewhere in the middle of quarantine, my hair started to change. I don't know if it was because I was stuck inside (is that even a thing?) or something else but my goodness, my hair was annoying the crap out of me. 

It was very dry, brittle, and tangly but at the same time, it was also getting greasy. It didn't really make any sense to me but it was noticeable because my mom even said that my hair looked extremely dull. I was also not using any heat on it and letting it dry curly whenever I washed it so perhaps it needed some heat?

Whatever it was, I was on a mission to try and fix it. When my hair doesn't feel or look good, it really ruins my entire day. If I had to go an entire year without makeup but I could do my hair, I would be ok with that. My hair has always been a sore subject for me and has made me feel really self-conscious so having it in order is a priority for me.

Once I realized there was an issue, I went on the hunt for products that would be able to help. Whenever I have a beauty issue, my first order of business is always Sephora & Ulta's websites. 

I knew that I needed some heavy-duty hydration and thought about products I had used in the past. My solution came in the form of three different products, two out of three which I have used before but when I combined them together, the results were magical.


SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate + Repair Protein Power Treatment 

I mentioned this product in my Black-Owned Beauty Brand post but it needs further explanation. I had previously tried a foil packet of this pre-shower treatment and fell in love. I never purchased the full size but now that I was in desperate need of it, I sought it out. All I do is apply a scoopful all over my dry hair before I shower and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes. When I get into the shower, I wash it out and continue to shampoo and condition as normal. However, the difference it makes in my hair post-wash is outstanding. My hair is noticeably shinier, softer, and easier to style. My hair just feels so much better when I use this treatment and when I don't use it, I can tell. I think the combination of the honey & yogurt is something special yet, it's gentle on my hair while restoring hydration. It's magical! 

Drybar Bay Breeze Hydrating Shots

I used these a few years back but never repurchased for one reason: they are expensive. For 4 shots (which is 4 uses), they cost $38 but this time around, I got them during the VIB Rouge sale and it was worth it. I knew my hair needed the extra hydration so to me, they were a necessity. After shampooing, you spray an entire bottle onto your hair and scalp, let it sit for up to 5 minutes and then rinse out. Instantly, your hair is less tangled and more hydrated. When I use these, I don't use an additional conditioner in the shower because I feel as if they do the job. It just revives the moisture in my hair and helps make it more manageable. The shots have Apricot Kernel Oil which helps condition each strand of hair, Sage Leaf Extract and Candelilla Extract to revive the shine and gloss in your hair. I don't use a shot every time I wash my hair but after one shot, I notice a huge difference. They're suitable for all types of hair and if you struggle with dryness and brittleness, I couldn't recommend this enough.

Living Proof No Frizz Leave-In Conditioner

Deep down, I knew the answer to my hair woes was a leave-in conditioner. I hadn't been using one for quite some time because I ran out and never repurchased so a new one was definitely in my future. After much debating and a realization that summer humidity & frizz was on the horizon, I decided to try the Living Proof No Frizz Leave-In Conditioner. I hadn't used this before but I had used the No Frizz line so I knew I was in good hands. I apply a quarter size of the conditioner in my damp hair, let it air dry a little bit, and then blowdry straight. There isn't frizz in sight afterward so it is definitely working!  

When I use all of these products together, my hair looks and feels so much better! It's healthier, shinier, and feels so good. Right now, this is my holy grail trio but below are some more hair care items I love & use frequently! 



What are your favorite haircare products?
xoxo
B

Royal Round Up, Vol 3: Week 24

, by RoyallyPink, 6:52 PM
Well, I think everyone is over COVID and it's starting to show. People are just not wearing masks, going out everywhere and I just don't understand why no one is being cautious. New York City went into Phase 1 this week, Long Island entered Phase 2 and opened outdoor dining so everyone on my Instagram is wildin out. 

Nothing has changed! The virus is still out there! We have no way to treat it and we have no vaccine so why yes, I understand we have to open and get businesses up and running again but like, everyone still has to be careful. 

I went to my friend's pool this weekend and there were three of us. We decided to go and get some food so we walked up the block to one of the restaurants in my neighborhood. When I tell you, the number of people crowded around the restaurant without masks and not social distancing, it was shocking. I just don't feel good about the world right now and want to stay inside for a lot longer than normal.

That being said, this week was really good and I was so happy to spend some time in the pool with my friends. I find that if I do something at least one day during the weekend, I'm very pleased with myself. I was really nervous after my boyfriend broke up with me in March that I would have a hard time adjusting to single life when it comes to be social. Then COVID happened and I didn't have to worry about that anytime soon, so I felt better.

Well, now that the summer is here and people are out, I'm finding myself feeling nervous again. However, the past three weekends I've had things to do and I think that I'm going to be ok. Does anyone else feel this way? Just pressured to constantly be doing things when it's nice out? 

I also cannot believe we are already halfway through June... the year is flying by and good thing because it sucks. 

I'm going to end the rambling here and get into the nitty-gritty of this post.



Links I Loved

What You Missed on Royally Pink:

What I Bought This Week



Black Owned Beauty Brands I Love

, by RoyallyPink, 5:32 PM
I made a commitment a few weeks ago that I was going to be more mindful of the content I am producing here on the blog. I don't get a ton of brand deals so I can't give back in that way. However, I do shop a lot so focusing on putting my money in good places can be how I help. 

When I looked at my beauty collection, I noticed a lot of brands were Black-owned so it seemed very organic for me to start there. I'm not hoping on a trend or going out to buy a bunch of stuff just to prove a point. These are items I use daily, have repurchased and/or really love. It's just timely that I share them with you! 

Right now, these are some of my favorite Black-owned beauty brands and a few products I love from each! 


Shea Moisture

I have been using Shea Moisture for a lot longer than I think I realize. I've used their body care, skincare, and hair products for years but it wasn't until the past few months that I was intentionally seeking them because I found products I was obsessed with. 

Shea Moisture makes good, quality products that actually work and are pretty affordable. They have so many different products it can be overwhelming but once you find the items that work for you, it's very rewarding. 

Shea Moisture was built in Sierra Leone when Sofi Tucker started selling African Black soap and Shea Butter in her village. The brand is built upon that legacy and some of their most popular products are still held within those product lines.  They are very intentional with their products and their ingredients and you can feel the message behind each product.

Right now, my favorite product from Shea Moisture is the Manuka Honey& Yogurt Hydrate & Repair Hair Mask. I'm going to do a bigger post on my hair routine but this is a saving grace product. I never want to be without it! 

Below are some of my other favorites from Shea Moisture: 

*It's important to call out that Shea Moisture is owned by Unilever, a bigger conglomerate but at it's heart, Shea Moisture was founded by a Black woman and to my knowledge, is still owned by one, and also has Black roots.
 

Nyakio

This is a brand I was recently introduced to a few years ago when I received some products in PR. Nyakio is a clean & green beauty brand with African practices rooted in their skincare and they also have a lot of different products that cater to different skin types and needs. My favorite product from the brand is their Quinoa De-Puffing & Firming Eye Cream. The brand seems to have limited availability right now but keep an eye on Target to see when certain items come back in stock. 

Miss Jessie's

When I discovered Miss Jessie's almost 10 years ago, my life was changed forever. While I am a white, Italian American, my hair has always been very curly, wavy, frizzy, and generally unruly. Since I was a young girl, it was something that made me self conscious and I have been straightening my hair since I was 10 years old. When I was a teenager and going int college, I discovered Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls, and my life was changed forever. It was the first haircare product that helped me embrace my curls and I'm forever thankful. I have also tried the Jelly Soft Curls but Pillow Soft made me feel like Carrie Bradshaw! Miss Jessie's is one of the best hair care brands I've ever used! 

Briogeo

Speaking of haircare brands that are life-changing, Briogeo was founded and is owned by a Black woman, Nancy Twine. Briogeo popped onto the scene a few years ago and is an extremely popular brand amongst the beauty community. Twine also became the youngest woman ever to debut a beauty line at Sephora which is a huge accomplishment! I've talked about Briogeo many times before and always seem to have at least one product in my collection at any given time. Below are my favorites! 



Another Black-owned beauty brand that has been on my radar for a very long time is Beauty Bakerie. I mean, the branding alone is enough to send me over the edge! I hope to pick up something from them asap!

What Black-owned beauty brands do you love? Share the suggestions below! 

*Fashionista put together a huge list of beauty & wellness brands founded/owned by Black women.

xoxo
B
I know it may seem insensitive to start posting regularly again but in my mind, social media is just the first step in advocating for change. I promise to diversify my content, share more meaningful organizations and businesses owned and operated by Black people and POC. Just because I'm posting normal content does not mean things aren't happening behind the scenes.

Now that the PSA is out of the way, let's get into the post.

I recently got a bunch of new Ella + Mila nail polish and nail care items so I was really excited to do a full Ella + Mila at-home manicure. I've used their polishes in the past and really liked them so having more colors to try out was nice. I also have been a big fan of their Quick Dry Drops so I knew they understood nail care. 

I love the branding of the brand, their colors, and the bottles. It's a strange thing to like but I really love it! 



For this manicure, I used the following products: All About That Base, Dulce Amor polish, In A Rush Top Coat, and Gotta Jet Quick Dry Drops.

I hadn't had nail polish on for over a week so my nails were clean and clear. I applied the base coat, waited a few minutes, and then applied the color on top. With two coats, the color stood out, was even, and not patchy at all. 



I waited another few minutes, applied the In A Rush Top Coat which made my nails shiny and pretty dry, then applied the Quick Dry Drops. Within 10 minutes, I had a beautiful summery manicure! 

The nail care products from Ella + Mila definitely made all the difference, in my opinion. They're great products and I will definitely continue to use them and once  I run out, I will repurchase. I feel like they made the manicure shinier and easier to apply. 

The colored polish, however, chipped after a day or two and I had to reapply. I then started picking at the polish and it came off in sheets. I think this is common for Ella + Mila colors but I still really like the polish. Perhaps I will try it out different combinations of nail care and the color polishes to see if something else works better.

All in all, I love the brand, I love Ella + Mila colors because I feel like they are unique. This might sound weird but they almost are a dull version of other colors. Like they are not as bright or as neon but they still work and look nice. 

What's on your nails this week?

xoxo
B



I have no words for what this week has brought. I have cried, grieved, processed, and thought long and hard about the world, about racism, and how I can be a better person and a better ally.

I have always considered myself to be blatantly non-racist and anti-racist. I call out any person, friend or family when they are being racist... I don't judge people by the color of their skin, I speak up against the injustices against black people, always. I have always considered myself an ally... and now I see that there is more work to be done. There is always a chance to do more, be a better person, and see the world through a different lens. 

For the past week, I've shared resources on social media, I've donated to the multiple organizations, and have signed more petitions than I ever have before. I want to make a change and be part of the change. I'm going to tune in more to listen to the Black community, support Black creators and Black-owned businesses. I'm going to do a little less talking, and a little more listening and I think that is important.

I also realize that sharing on social media doesn't mean that you're anti-racist/racism. Some people's gut reactions are not social media and they might be donating, signing, protesting, and not sharing it on social. That doesn't negate their contribution to the cause. Let's not judge or be negative during this time. Let's ban together, unite, and go forward toward change. The world doesn't need shaming or negativity right now. Everyone handles things in their own way, it does not mean they are ignorant to the situations at hand.

Also, being for Black Lives Matter and being anti-racist doesn't mean I am anti-cop. I have best friends who are cops, who are good people who are anti-racist. I can support black people and the police at the same time... but that doesn't mean that there isn't a need for reform... it's insane how much reform is needed in the police departments, all over the country and probably the world.

The country and the world need help -- we need to make changes from the local level all the way to the national level (from what I've heard, the local level is even more important!) and we are responsible for that change.

If you don't know where to start in this entire movement, the first place should be to make sure you are registered to vote. Make sure you are actively voting and understanding what is going on in your community. Educate yourself... I know that is a phrase that has been said over and over again but just make sure you understand what you are seeing on social and what is happening. 

The world is not going to change overnight but if everyone makes small steps to change, to educate, and to help then sooner or later, a big change is going to come.

Personally, I'm going to be more mindful of the businesses I'm buying from and to continue to call out racial injustices, even the casual ones, where I see it. 

I apologize if this post was all over the place... I've been having so many feelings over the past week and I almost cannot articulate how I feel but I thought it was important to come on here and talk directly to all of you. 

Ok, I am done now... I want to highlight a few different organizations, petitions, and campaigns that we can all easily get on board with!


Credit @arielsinhaha


Campaigns and Petitions 

*I am very passionate about the Breonna Taylor murder. It is disgusting and breaks my heart that she was just in her house, and police barged in without announcing themselves and shot her 8 times. They had entered the wrong apartment... It's horrifying. 

Donate:

I can continue to share donations and petitions as the days, weeks, months go on and will have them in my Royal Round Up Posts at the end of the week and will include in my email newsletter.

I will probably go back to normal content next week but am planning a post on Black-owned beauty brands/products that I love and have been using for years! 

Stay safe, stay sane, and stay educated!
xoxo
B
I think May was even faster than April and now we're getting into the full swing of summer. The virus is still wreaking havoc on New York but the numbers are much better. Parts of the state have already opened and new areas are opening every day. Long Island is set to open this week if it hasn't already, and I hope the boroughs aren't too far behind.

However, it doesn't matter too much to me because my company is WFH until September, possibly even October. That offers me some comfort as I know I won't be back at work right away. It gives the state and city time to figure out new regulations and protection for public transportation and the overcrowding that happens in Manhattan, especially in the summer. 

Throughout this entire thing, I don't know if I've been scared of getting sick but I know that the thought of being on the subway frightens me a bit. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

For now, I want to talk about my favorites for the month. 

*I addressed the unrest and racism in the country (and the world because protests have spread beyond the USA) in yesterday's post



Supergoop Glow Screen

For the past few years, I have gotten more into skincare and taking care of my skin. I also started the habit of putting on sunscreen, daily. I put it on under my makeup when I'm not wearing any makeup and of course, when I know I'm going to be in direct sunlight. When quarantine started, I had run out of my favorite sunscreen, Farmacy's Green Defense, and decided to try THE SPF brand, Supergoop. I purchased the Glow Screen after many positive reviews and have been using it every day. Did you know you should be wearing sunscreen inside? Because I sit by a window and am on my computer all day (Glow Screen has blue light protection), I apply this every morning and it really helps me to know that I'm caring for my skin even if I'm not outside. It gives a nice tint to the skin while making it look a little more even and pulled together but it also goes really well under makeup without adding any extra coverage or color.

Bando Stress Ball



This might be my weirdest quarantine purchase yet but I love it so much. I've been eyeing this ban.do croissant stress ball for months and finally just bought it because now is a great time to buy a stress ball. I leave it on my desk and use it throughout the day when I need a distraction. I use it every day and it's super cute... plus it gives into my croissant obsession.

JR Watkins Sleep Shower Mist



I shared this on my LikeToKnowIt page over the weekend so I had to include. I bought this Sleep Shower Mist from Ulta on a whim because I have, of course, been all about self-care and thought I needed to make my shower time a little more luxurious. You just spray a few spritzes to a steaming hot shower for a true aromatherapy experience. It doesn't make me sleepy or calm but it just adds a nice vibe to your shower. While I do enjoy a bath every now and then, it's a bit of a hassle so I like to make my showers as enjoyable as possible. 

Lilly Pulitzer


Warm weather for me means one thing... my love of Lilly Pulitizer reignites itself. It's not that I don't love Lilly in the Fall & Winter but the warm weather just makes me need my bright colors and patterns. Lilly Pulitizer had a lot of big sales during quarantine and I took full advantage of them. I ordered a lot of clothes and a few accessories and have been loving them. Below is everything I purchased and wearing these clothes as well as using my accessories makes me incredibly happy and honestly, if something makes you happy, go with it!
 

What did you love this month?
xoxo
B 
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