I received this book courtesy of NetGalley, prior to its publishing, but only just finished reading a few months ago.

There is something about the title, Ghosts of Harvard, that makes this book so enticing. Also, the cover? It's the kind of book you want to curl up with on a stormy night, with twinkle lights around you and a cup of hot tea. 

Ghosts of Harvard is truly the mystery to end all mysteries because there is so much involved. It's a heart-wrenching book, in many ways, but it is also just so good. The book is about so much... it's about mental illness, family relationships, blackmail, and murder.

I can confidently say it's one of my top favorite books of the year.


Publisher's Summary

Cadence Archer arrives on Harvard’s campus desperate to understand why her brother, Eric, a genius who developed paranoid schizophrenia took his own life there the year before. Losing Eric has left a black hole in Cady’s life, and while her decision to follow in her brother’s footsteps threatens to break her family apart, she is haunted by questions of what she might have missed. And there’s only one place to find answers.
 
As Cady struggles under the enormous pressure at Harvard, she investigates her brother’s final year, armed only with a blue notebook of Eric’s cryptic scribblings. She knew he had been struggling with paranoia, delusions, and illusory enemies—but what tipped him over the edge? Voices fill her head, seemingly belonging to three ghosts who passed through the university in life or death, and whose voices, dreams, and terrors still echo the halls. Among them is a person whose name has been buried for centuries, and another whose name mankind will never forget.
 
Does she share Eric’s illness, or is she tapping into something else? Cady doesn’t know how or why these ghosts are contacting her, but as she is drawn deeper into their worlds, she believes they’re moving her closer to the truth about Eric, even as keeping them secret isolates her further. Will listening to these voices lead her to the one voice she craves—her brother’s—or will she follow them down a path to her own destruction?

My Thoughts

I raved about it at the beginning of this post but Ghosts of Harvard moved me. At its core, it's about a sister wanting to find out what happened to her brother. She wanted to know why he did what he did, she wanted to do it all while being who she thought she wanted to be. 

When Cady starts to hear voices, she starts to wonder if she is like her brother, Eric. That sends her on a spiral of trying to solve the problems inside her head, juggle school, and figure out what happened when Eric was at school.

There were a lot of different plots but it all came together kind of perfectly. You had the ghosts in Cady's head, her relationship with Eric's friend, her studies, and trying to figure out what went on with Eric.

As the book went on, I started to slowly figure out *maybe* what happened with Eric (I had no idea why Cady was hearing ghosts) but the book took off in many different directions and what you thought was actually happening, wasn't happening.

The ending of the book was a truly wild ride. It was definitely slow at first but by the end, the stories sped up and I couldn't believe what I was reading. UGH. It was a book I just want to read over and over again.

I can't even fully explain the depth that this book goes in terms of mental illness and history and family relationships. It's something you can't comprehend unless you read the book.  Like I said, it has everything you could want in a novel and never once was it boring. It kept my interest the entire time.

Keep an eye out in December because this will 100% be on my best reads of the year!

What are you reading this week?
xoxo
B

My Stoney Clover Collection | July 2020

, by RoyallyPink, 7:00 AM
I have talked about Stoney Clover Lane before and if you read my weekly round-ups, you will notice that I always have an SCL item in my "What I Bought This Week" section. I also am constantly posting about them on my Instagram.

The brand means a lot to me: the founders are young women like myself and their passion & drive for their company is borderline life-changing. I love how engaged they are with their customers and their audience, how they take our suggestions and make them come to life. They are very transparent, they are always doing Instagram Lives and even started something called SCLU which obviously is Stoney Clover Lane University. SCLU allows the followers of the brand to attend business school with co-founder Kendall; we talk about the brand, how Kendall has overcome certain challenges and just the ins and outs of businesses in general.



On Instagram, there is an entire community of Stoney Clover Lane fans and we're always interacting with each other, sharing design inspiration, and just being fans of the brand.

SCL makes me so HAPPY. I love the customization aspect of it, how no two items are ever the same, and the high quality of the products. I love how they keep my organized, how Instagramable they are, and how there's always something new! 

A few weeks ago I filmed a Youtube video about my Stoney Clover Lane collection and since then, it has grown even more but I wanted to share it here on the blog since I do talk so much about SCL.


Do you own anything from Stoney Clover? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo
B

If I remember correctly, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale has usually taken place by now but I could be wrong... maybe it just seems that way because time is moving so slow and fast at the same time.

Either way, the biggest sale of the year is coming up. I think Nordstrom Sale fatigue has definitely set in as the influencer/blogger industry grows and more people talk about the sale. Also, I personally feel like the sale hasn't really brought anything new to the table in the past few years. The same items are on sale and it almost becomes a time to get restocks of your favorite items. 

Pair that with the global pandemic we're currently in and I feel like the NSale is not a priority right now... however, I'm still excited for it. Don't worry, I'm not going overhaul your social media & blog feeds with it... this will be one of two posts I share (the preview + what I actually bought). I will probably be posting a lot on LikeToKnowIt so follow me there if you wish to see more NSale content.

This year, the NSale seems different for me: I'm part of RewardStyle so I'll have more areas to share sale picks AND Nordstrom released an actual preview of almost everything being included in the sale. You can log onto the website and see items that will be included in the sale with sizes & pricing information right there. While you cannot add anything to your bag just yet, you can add them to your wishlist so you'll be ready to shop when the sale goes live.

The sale starts for Nordstrom Credit Cardholders on August 13th. It seems like a long time away but it'll be here before we know it.

After looking at the preview, there are some items I will definitely be purchasing, some I really want, and others that are just not my style. I think my vibe for the NSale this year is lounge clothes & home items. As we head into the Fall season, I'm pretty sure things aren't going to change from what they have been the past few months. The virus is still happening and coziness is a top priority for me. I'm also still working from home for the foreseeable future so I want to be as comfortable yet stylish as possible.

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale-NSale-Nsale2020


Below are links to everything I have my eye on and items that I already have (looking at you, Barefoot Dreams blanket, and Spanx leather leggings) that I highly recommend! 



Royal Round Up, Vol 3: Week 30

, by RoyallyPink, 4:19 PM
We're almost in AUGUST. The year is halfway over and Christmas is a mere 5 months away. Summer is basically done and I'm trying to hold off counting down to Fall for as long as possible.

However, Taylor Allison Swift is making that very hard. Folklore is giving me all the Fall feels. I just want to lay in a pumpkin patch and cry. 

Folklore is probably the best thing that will happen to all of us this year. I have so many thoughts and feelings toward it but someone on Facebook said it best: "Folklore is like if Red smoked weed." It's the Taylor album that I feel she is probably most proud of. I mean, to produce it in three months and surprise us all? Even her record label didn't know about it. That is some QUEEN SHIT.

I'm obsessed.

Today, obviously, is Sunday and I just got home from grocery shopping. Now I'm planning on blog work, watching Star Wars, and hanging out, as usual. This past week was a blur and I feel very unsettled so I need a hefty dose of self-care today. Yesterday was spent in the pool with my friends and it was fantastic, but lately, whenever I'm in the sun for an extended period of time, I get really sick. That's what happened last night into this morning and I slept until noon. Just not good at all.

I have a long to-do list today but we'll see what happens. I just want to chill. How are you spending Sunday? 

stoney clover lane - love shack fancy
SCL Terry Tote and Love Shack Fancy Flat Pouch
LSF Pearl Letters


Links I Loved

What You Missed on Royally Pink

What I Bought This Week

I've been on a major Etsy kick so take a look at what I picked up this week! *Not from Etsy but I purchased this Miranda Frye charm and I'm so excited to wear it! 
Let me tell you a story...

Back in 2013, I was obsessed with the Levo League, a new career site aimed toward young women. I read everything the site published, followed the employees on Instagram, and was truly enamored with the message of the site. When I saw that they were looking for summer interns, I jumped at the chance to apply. However, I didn't get the internship right off the bat but thanked the internship coordinator for her response and went on my merry way.

That act of gratitude struck a chord with the coordinator and mixed with my passion for Levo, a few months later, I got a DM asking if I still wanted the internship. I cried tears of joy and landed my dream role at a company that I was obsessed with. 

Later on, I found out that the internship coordinator did a lot more than just manage a group of hopeful college-aged women... she did a lot with Levo's social media and so much more behind the scenes. She was also a fellow Phi Sigma Sigma sister so I immediately took a liking to her. After the internship we stayed in touch, we talked a lot about career, about the sorority, about writing, and college. When I graduated in 2014, she was the first person I reached out to and she helped me land my first job in social media... she was also my boss and molded me into the social media manager I am today.

Her advice and her guidance along the way have helped me more than she will ever know. Now, her voice is able to help every other post-graduate (and beyond) with her new book "What's Next.

I owe Elana Lyn my entire career and the fact that you can all read it and gain the perspective from someone so smart and inspiration is truly a gift. 


Publisher's Summary

Create a five-year plan that covers all aspects of daily life—including work, finances, and health—with this all-inclusive guide to successfully reaching your goals after college graduation.

The celebrations have ended and you’ve finally graduated from college. But the one looming question remains over every recent grad’s head: what’s next?

In this book, you’ll find a detailed guide to putting together a five-year plan to set yourself up for success. No need to stress about having the rest of your life mapped out—instead, you’ll focus on how to make the most after graduation so you can thrive in the years to come. Whether you’re looking for advice on turning your first job out of college to a long-term career or need some tips on managing your money so you can pay down your student debt (and treat yourself), you’ll find all that and more in What Next?.

Filled with advice from journalist and lifestyle blogger Elana Lyn Gross, What Next? includes all the tools you need to achieve your goals one step at a time. Offering helpful guidance on every aspect of life, you’ll have no problem answering the question: what’s next?

My Thoughts

I am now no longer a post-graduate as I graduated from college 6 years ago but that doesn't mean this book didn't apply to me. Even if you are well established in your career, you can find a lot of goodness in What's Next.

Elana covers everything from graduating and landing your first job, to money and relationships. It's a full guide to adulthood and we could all use a reminder once in a while. 

She does not mess around in this book -- it is very straightforward without a lot of 'fluff' that doesn't apply. That is my favorite part of it! There is no time for unrelated stories or advice when it comes to "What's Next."

The unique thing about this book is that it is truly a 5-year plan. Elana gives clear steps and guidelines on how to set up your plan (worksheets and everything included) so you can keep track of your plans and goals all in one place. 

At the back of the book, there is a list of resources for your reference, everything from websites, publishers, and apps for a variety of different topics.

This is a post-graduate/adulting bible. It has everything you need in one place: it's a guide, a journal, and a reference document... you can't ask for more.

I've read a lot of self-help books in my time and while I might be slightly biased, I think this is a great one, especially if you're NOT into those self-help books. This is a book for anyone, despite gender, despite the industry, despite age... it's a very non-biased guide. It's short, sweet, and to the point. It doesn't tell anyone person's story (i.e: It's not written by a brand founder or an editor-in-chief like a lot of other books I've read). It's written by someone who has dedicated their life and profession to helping young adults find their way in the world. 

I could not recommend this book enough to the freshly graduated and even someone who is starting a new job or changing their career path. You won't regret it! 

xoxo
B


73 Questions with Briana

in , by RoyallyPink, 12:04 PM

Vogue's 73 Question series on Youtube is one of my life's greatest pleasures. I love seeing celebrities in their element and love learning more about them. Whenever it's a celebrity I really love, I'm super excited (like SJP and Taylor Swift) but even the celebrities I don't know a lot about, I find myself really falling in love with them after the video, like Blake Lively or Hailey Bieber. 

It's such a personal thing for someone to answer 73 questions about themself and I really adore it.

After seeing Neely from It Starts With Coffee share her own 73 question blog post a few months back, I knew I wanted to do it eventually and there is no time like the present! Some of the questions are the same as hers and others I've changed to better apply to my life. 



I hope you enjoy getting to know me a little better! 

  1. How old are you? 27
  2. Single or relationship? Single right now
  3. What is someplace on your bucket list you’d like to visit? Alaska and Italy are my top two!
  4. What is a “can’t live without” beauty product? Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk Lipstick 
  5. What makeup products do you always wear? Mascara and/or concealer
  6. Do you have any regrets? Does not overeating a meal count? LOL I always regret a big meal after because I feel sick but in life, I don't think so. Everything that has happened in my life has happened for a reason and to change anything would change everything.
  7. Favorite musical artist? Taylor Swift and the Jonas Brothers 
  8. Best concert you’ve ever been to? Taylor Swift Reputation Tour in July 2018
  9. The best vacation you’ve been on? I don't go on vacation a lot but probably Florida with my entire family when I was younger... maybe like 2003/2004?  
  10. Favorite place you’ve been in the US? Does Disneyworld count? 
  11. What is your favorite room in your house? My bedroom 
  12. Who do you admire that you’ve met? My mom
  13. Who is someone you admire that you haven’t met? Kim Kardashian, Sarah Jessica Parker, Princess Diana, Barack Obama
  14. What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you? I have a quick temper but I try to hide it.
  15. What is something you love to do? Read, write, listen to podcasts
  16. What is something you hate to do? Work out, dust, and blow my hair
  17. Who is your best friend? My BFF since pre-K, Jacqueline & a handful of my sorority sisters! 
  18. What makes you laugh? Funny TikToks
  19. What makes you cry? Just about everything but TV series finale episodes are my #1 culprit
  20. What is your favorite sport to watch? Baseball
  21. Favorite sport to play? None.. LOL 
  22. Summer or Winter Olympics? Winter!
  23. Spring or Fall? Fall is my life
  24. Favorite day of the week? Thursday
  25. Least favorite day of the week? Tuesdays are the worst for some reason.
  26. Favorite meal? Pizza or pasta. There's a dish my mom makes called Macaroni Pie and it's my favorite thing to eat.
  27. Favorite dessert? Chocolate cupcakes
  28. Biggest pet peeve? People who are always late and act like it's a personality trait
  29. Your least favorite household chore? Cleaning floors
  30. Favorite place to shop? Nordstrom and J.Crew
  31. Favorite type of clothing to wear? Leggings, a t-shirt & jean jacket
  32. What is one thing you love to do alone? Everything! LOL but run errands 
  33. What is something you hate to do alone? Eat in public places
  34. Where is your favorite place you’ve ever traveled alone? I haven't traveled alone anywhere expect for quick work trips.
  35. What is your favorite city to visit? Boston
  36. What is the biggest splurge item you own? My Louis Vuitton Neverfull and Favorite MM 
  37. What is something you’d love to splurge on? A Chanel bag
  38. What is a goal you have for yourself? Get back on track with WW 
  39. What are you planning right now? Nothing since we are in the middle of a pandemic 
  40. Who would you invite to dinner dead or alive that you’d love to talk to? Princess Diana, Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, my dad, Jackie Kennedy
  41. Who can you tell anything to? My best friend Gabby or my friend Will
  42. What are you likely to do on a rainy day? Lay in bed all day, watch Harry Potter, read books and go on social media
  43. Favorite animal? Dogs, elephants, and lions 
  44. All-time favorite quote? "Say yes and you'll figure the rest out afterward." 
  45. Guilty pleasure? Taco Bell, cheesy romantic comedies, and TikTok 
  46. How do you order your coffee? I usually will get a hot Vanilla Latte 
  47. What is your go-to alcoholic drink order? Rose or Vodka Soda
  48. Favorite nonalcoholic drink? Straight up water! I love water! 
  49. What made you cry last? A little boy playing Happy Birthday on the guitar 
  50. Have you ever seen a therapist? Yes! 
  51. What is one thing you won’t compromise on? Leaving for the airport 2 hours early 
  52. Favorite subject in school? English and history
  53. Least favorite subject in school? Math 
  54. Clothing items you can’t live without? Zella leggings and Jack Rogers Sandals
  55. Favorite handbag you own? Tory Burch Fleming Tote or my Louis Vuitton Speedy 
  56. Did you love high school? Yes! I went to an all girl's Catholic high school and we had the best times. I have so many amazing memories and am still friends with my little friend group! 
  57. What do you do right when you wake up? Grab my phone 
  58. Baths or showers? Showers
  59. Cold or hot? Cold weather, hot showers
  60. Hot Chocolate or Apple Cider? Apple cider! 
  61. Last thing you read? The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes by Suzanne Collins 
  62. Last time you read a magazine? Probably a few months! 
  63. Do you read the newspaper? No, but I have a subscription to the NYT app and read Apple News every day
  64. Are you political? Yes, I've gotten more political as I've gotten older.
  65. Favorite Actor? Leonardo DiCaprio or Channing Tatum  
  66. Best Movie You’ve Ever Seen? A Star is Born
  67. Favorite TV show? Sex and the City, Gilmore Girls & Gossip Girl 
  68. The last movie you watched? Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  69. Who do you call first with good or bad news? My mom 
  70. Greatest fear?: Bridges or being kidnapped
  71. The best day of your life? College graduation
  72. The worst day of your life?: When my dad died 
  73. Life's greatest wish? To be happy, loved and successful 

Leave a comment below with your answers to some of these questions! Let's all get to know each other more :)

xoxo
B
Face masks are IN... haven't you heard? I surely hope you have! Since the start of the pandemic when we realized we were going to have to be wearing masks, companies started selling them. At first, not a lot of places were producing them; my first masks were from a boutique in my neighborhood, Alice & Olivia, and Etsy. The ones from my neighborhood were the most comfortable at first.

Now? Everyone is selling masks, whether their branded (like Kylie) or fresh, beautiful designs like Lele Sadoughi

During the entire pandemic, I have been finding new masks to buy and love. Instead of buying makeup (which I haven't worn in the past few months), I've been all the masks. I like to have options, have them match different clothing styles, and also, I was them after every 1-2 uses so having a lot is a necessity.

What I've found from buying multiple different types of masks is that every mask is different. The sizing is different, the material is different and they all feel differently on the face. The one thing that is consistent? I can breathe while wearing all of them but yet they are strong enough that I feel protected.

I wanted to round up my favorite, most comfortable face masks that are available now! 



Stoney Clover Lane Face Masks

I have two different styles of the SCL face masks but right now, only the pink/mint are available. I love the heart bead detailing on the side (this doesn't make them uncomfortable, I can't even feel the beads when I'm wearing the mask). These masks are thick and you can't feel your breath through them but yet, you can breathe easily in them. I've had their tie-dye face masks for longer which are slightly thicker than the pink/mint and are probably my most worn masks. SCL just released Terry Cloth masks which look even more comfy and perfect. I also love how you get two masks in a pack so more bang for your buck!

Lele Sadoughi Face Masks

If you can get your hands on these masks (they are hard to come by), you need them. They are the most comfortable, easy masks I own and I just wish I had more. They're so great, my mom stole one of them from me... The Lele masks come in a pack of three for $40 which seems fair when you think about it ($13 per mask) and in my opinion, are very well worth it. They are stretchy, very thin, easy to breathe in, and comfortable to wear. I also love how small they fold up and how portable they are. I have the Cloud set and have pre-ordered the Lucky Charms set... I can't wait for them to arrive to have more masks to choose from.

Masks by Jill and Ally

I ordered this tie-dye mask on a whim from Shop Betches and had no idea that it was created by Aly Shapiro, RHONY OG Jill Zarin's daughter. I also had no idea that Jill and Aly were hand-making these masks down in Florida throughout the entire pandemic. They might be a little more comfortable than the others on this list but they are also slightly more casual. Masks by Jill and Ally are handmade (you can see them making the masks on Instagram Stories) and come in tons of different colors, from pastel solids to tie-dye to black & white solid. The best part? When you buy one mask, Jill & Ally donate a mask to a healthcare worker. 

Honestly, I love all three of these masks and cannot pick just one. I wear them when I'm in different moods and with different outfits. I highly recommend all three companies when it comes to their masks and is looking forward to picking up more from them soon!

What masks have you been wearing?
xoxo
B

Royal Round Up, Vol 3: Week 29

, by RoyallyPink, 7:48 PM
Hey, you... I hope you're wearing a mask.

The sheer blasphemy of the Coronavirus this week threw me for a loop. The United States has now set consecutive records for most cases reported... I mean, that is fucking insane. The government is making laws saying people CAN'T make masks mandated (looking at you, Georgia) and the federal government is lessening the power the CDC has. We are living in an alternate universe where the United States is out of control. I swear US citizens are going to be banned from other countries for a while if we don't get our shit together.

Wear a mask and honestly, don't listen to the government. 

Once again, I'm so thankful to live in NYC where we're entering phase 4 of reopening next week and everyone is being respectful, wearing masks & cases/deaths are super low. That being said, I hope you are all staying safe and sane.

I just really needed to get that off my chest because I feel like I'm living in a goddam movie. It's just not ok on any level.

I was supposed to be in Mexico this weekend for my friend's wedding... but that, of course, got canceled. My other friend just postponed her wedding that was rescheduled from May to November... to next year.  The two bachelorette parties I was supposed to go on in September & October will most likely *if they haven't already been* canceled. This year is total shit and if you were a bride in 2020, I feel for you.

Enough depressing talk, let's get into the links.


Links I Loved

I had an internal breakdown about my shopping habits but I still ordered from the Stoney Clover Terry Collection. I also needed some new beauty items from Target, including my holy grail body lotion that I cannot find anywhere else.

I have talked a lot about sleeping on the blog in the past. As I've gotten older, sleeping has become one of my favorite activities. I love to nap, I love to curl up in my bed after a long day and rest my eyes, I love relaxing in bed in the morning when I'm still tired, and I love waking up in the middle of the night to know I still have a few more hours of shut-eye.

That love doesn't come without its downsides... sometimes I have a lot of trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep so I've come up with a handful of nightly routines to help those issues.

However, since the start of COVID, my sleeping patterns have unsurprisingly been really messed up. The state of the world is incredibly anxiety-inducing so it's no wonder that sleep would be affected. 

The first few weeks of quarantine were rough on my mental health. The adjustment of working from home, the constant state of bad news, and living in the epicenter of the virus was really rough and I had to figure out how to sleep better.

I enlisted the help of a few trusty products plus some new additions to help me form a new and improved, and borderline full proof nightly routine. These are the products that help me fall asleep & stay asleep, night after night. 

Pacifica Beauty Pillow Mist

Previously, I loved pillow mists but when I was diagnosed with a fragrance allergy in 2014, I stopped using them. However, I couldn't resist trying one again. This one from Pacifica caught my eye at the start of the quarantine and I knew I had to have it. The brand released an entire line of Lavender products and the pillow mist was too cute. I don't spray this directly on my pillow but on my blanket and the edge of my bed, that way I'm not actually sleeping on it all night. It does semi-relax me but I think of this more as a nice-to-have than a necessity. 

*You can also use this on your body which I haven't done yet but I probably should! 

Slip Sleep Mist



On another note, I recently received the Slip Sleep Mist in the mail from the brand and am loving it just as much as the Pacifica one! This is more of a room spray than an actual pillow/fabric mist and the lavender scent is a lot stronger. I notice the same calming effect and I love the way it makes my room smell... like a great air freshener. It also looks a lot more luxurious on my nightstand than the Pacifica one.

You don't need both mists but just decide if you want more of a pillow or room spray! 

*Slip also sells a mini version of the mist

LUSH Sleepy Lotion

Another lavender product that I have talked about before... LUSH Sleepy Lotion is the best. It instantly relaxes me, doesn't feel sticky, and doesn't irritate my very sensitive skin. Even if I don't want to use it all over my body, I try to hydrate my hands with it before bedtime and the lavender scent puts me at ease. I wouldn't say it puts me to sleep but it puts me in the right frame of mind to unwind and relax, allowing me to be ready for bed.

Slip Silk Eye Mask 


I haven't slept without an eye mask in years and last year, when I bought my first Slip Silk, I threw out every other mask I owned. Now, I have 4 of them and will never use anything else. They are super soft, don't scratch my face and feel light as air. Sure, they come off in the middle of the night but that's because I move around like a monkey in my sleep but my goodness, they are essential. The extra darkness helps me stay asleep (I like to sleep with the TV) and something about the weight on my eyes (even though the masks are very lightweight) is an added bonus. If you buy anything from this post, it has to be this eye mask. Life and sleep will be changed forever. 

Slip Silk Pillowcase

Can you tell I love the brand Slip? No joke, they might be my top 5 favorite brands ever. I recently got my first Slip Silk pillowcase and it has made all the difference in my sleep (and my hair). It's very comfortable, soft and in some way, helps me fall asleep pretty quickly, even if I'm not that tired. I don't think Slip Silk pillowcases are supposed to help you sleep but it does for me at least. Also, my hair has not been as frizzy as usual when I sleep on this pillowcase which is enough for me to want to keep using it! 

Weighted Blanket 

Ok... I don't know if I talked about this before but now I have too... even if it's 90 degrees outside. A weighted blanket is going to change everything. While I need to do a deeper dive into the anxiety-reducing benefits of it, the sleep benefits are outrageous. I was sleeping under my Blanquil weighted every night at the beginning of the pandemic and was not waking up once in the middle of the night. I felt incredibly well-rested, peaceful, and just perfect. It's so amazing I could cry thinking about it. I can't wait for the weather to cool down so I could use this every night again. I will warn you though, you will sleep through alarms and loud noises when you use a weighted blanket -- it's like a sleep fortress. 

Headspace App or ASMR 

Just as everything else on this list, I talked about my love of Headspace Sleep in my Headspace post a few weeks back. I try to meditate every night before bed but then will also listen to a Sleep Story and within seconds, I'm fast asleep. Something about being told a story is very soothing but combine that with the white noise and a calming voice, and you've got a recipe for relaxation. I will also sometimes listen to an ASMR video from my favorite ASMR Youtube account "Lottie Loves ASMR". She makes the best videos that are super relaxing... I can't get enough! 


All of these things help me have a good night's sleep and hopefully they will help you too! What do you use to help you sleep?

xoxo
B



I have never listened to The Ladygang podcast before I read their book but I was still intrigued. It seemed like the kind of 'adult' guide that I could get behind. It seemed no-nonsense, straight to the point, and funny book that I would love.

Well, all my predictions were right. 

"Act Like A Lady" was SO GOOD. It's so good that I want to read it again and am considering purchasing the actual book. *I received a copy from Netgalley for review*. However, this is the type of book that you need a hardcopy of. It's a book that deserves to be flipped through every so often and to learn new things from constantly.

It's a self-help book that doesn't speak like a self-help book which are sometimes the best kind.


Publisher's Summary

If you're tired of being bombarded with the curated perfection on social media and you're starving for something raw, honest, and a little bit messy, welcome to the LadyGang. Keltie, Becca, and Jac are here to clear away the bullshit and give you the confidence to live your best lady's life.

Unabashedly sincere, clever, and full of questionable advice, Act Like a Lady explores the complexities surrounding topics like body image, breakups, navigating a career, and adult friendships through their own embarrassing experiences. The LadyGang has your back with essays like "Maybe She's Born with It, Maybe It's Photoshop" and "If You're Happy and You Know It, Thank Your Ex." You'll learn there are a million different ways to be a lady--and that includes accidentally farting during sex or having the guts to tell your friend she's being a selfish assh*le. No matter what you're going through, you'll find a space to bond over the sloppy, heartbreaking, joyous, and often ridiculous realities of womanhood. Nothing is TMI here.

My Thoughts

As mentioned above, I don't listen to The Ladygang podcast but the book still interested me. I liked the title, loved the cover, and wanted to hear what the three women who call themselves "The Ladygang" had to say.

The ladies take turns speaking their truths, telling their stories, and being extremely raw and real. They touch on everything from jobs to relationships to death and mental illness. They don't hold anything back and are brutally honest with their words.

It was refreshing to hear real advice from women who have been through a lot. Even though they are 'celebrities' they still felt relatable and honest. I felt like I was sitting around with my girlfriends, shooting the shit.

I think if you need an easy but informative self-help book that won't make you feel bad about where you are in life, listen to the Ladygang!

What are you reading this week?
xoxo
B




Kathleen Lights has always been my favorite Youtuber. I've been watching her consistently for 6 years, I met her at Beautycon in 2016 and I've bought a lot of her brand collaborations. However, I've never purchased one of her nail polishes.

Originally, Kathleen launched KL Polish a few years ago but after a falling out with her business partners, she launched Lights Lacquer. I hadn't gotten around to purchasing any colors but had every intention to. That is until I got an email from her PR agency asking if I wanted to try out her new summer collection.

I think I cried when I got that email. That was another moment in my blogging career where I wanted to pinch myself. Sure, it's just a PR email but I know what goes into those emails so it was a big deal.

Anyways, of course, I said yes and a week or so later, a package with the entire Lights Lacquer 'Sweet as Summer' collection arrived and I lost my mind.


 
I didn't know where to start with trying out the colors so I went with the beautiful orange, because what is more summery than orange nails? 

I filmed my manicure for TikTok and gave my thoughts there but of course, needed to do one on the blog.

First off, the color is stunning. It's very vibrant but not a corny orange -- it's a true, summer orange that almost seems like it has a hint of coral. It was extremely wearable and looked beautiful on the nails.



When I first applied the color, I was shocked that it was drying down to a matte finish. It didn't say that in the packaging but does say that on the website (I should've checked before applying). Matte nails aren't my thing but I used my Essie Speed Setter as a top coat and it made it a glossy finish. My nails looked gorgeous when it was all said and done.

The formula is impeccable on this particular color. It was smooth, not runny, and while at first didn't seem too opaque, after two coats, it became stronger. However, my nails did chip after 2 days, which could've been because I put a glossy top coat on top of a matte formula but honestly, it didn't bother me. I have all the time in the world to paint my nails so right now, chipping isn't a major dealbreaker. 

I don't have a ton of orange in my summer nail polish collection so this will be well-loved, and I might even wear it as a matte finish once in a while.

There are still five other colors in the collection and I can't wait to try them out... so far, Lights Lacquer is a high-quality nail polish!

What's on your nails today?
xoxo
B


It's Saturday night in the middle of July and I'm home. It is what it is at this point. The week was extremely slow but yet, I can't believe we're almost halfway through the month. I can smell the Fall candles in my future... we know how it goes around here. I start counting down to fall as soon as 4th of July is over.

The week was slow but decent. I got some bad news about a family issue but I also got my first freelance social media client! I've been wanting to get my freelance business off the ground so this was extremely exciting. 

I've been so motivated and I'm so happy that I finally feel like I'm doing the best I can when it comes to the blog, freelancing, and work. It's really rewarding and I almost feel like it wouldn't have happened if I wasn't single or if we were not in the middle of a global pandemic. Silver linings people!! 

As I sit here and bake Trader Joe's Corn Cookies while I'm watching Youtube videos, I think it's time to get into the point of these posts.



Links I Loved


What You Missed on Royally Pink

What I Bought This Week

This week I bought a lot of Disney stuff... don't judge. I bought Mickey Mouse crochet coasters, a Disney mask, another custom gold bracelet, and this Sugarfix by Baublebar ring

I made a hefty order on ShopDisney and you can check that out below!



I started Weight Watchers three years ago to the day. It has been a very long, incredible, and most difficult journey. My weight has been up and down for the past 1.5 years and it's been hard to get back on track. It's been some time since I've shared anything Weight Watchers related on the blog but just know I'm still active in the program and doing my best.

Since quarantine, I've been trying to find new recipes and new meals that I actually enjoy eating and stumbled on one that doesn't even really taste like a Weight Watchers recipe. 

One of my favorite foods, snacks, meals (?) is granola. Whatever you want to consider, I love granola so much and I was devastated to find out that it is extremely high in WW points. All the foods I thought were healthy turned out to be high in points so I had to say goodbye to them... including granola.

I've been on the hunt for good WW approved granola for years and never found one. All the packaged ones were too high in points and the recipes seemed complicated. That is until I flipped open my WW cookbook and found a relatively easy recipe for low points.

It did take me a while to find all the ingredients and I went to two different grocery stores but now that I know what I'm looking for, it's a lot easier.

When looking at this recipe normally, it is 5 points (on Green which is the plan I'm on) for 1/3 cups. However, I don't add raisins nor do I add toasted wheat germ. You can pretty much switch out any recipe for what you prefer but even without those ingredients, the granola smells and tastes incredible.



Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 cup of old fashion rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of uncooked wheat bran (I could not find wheat bran so I used oat bran and it's fine)
  • 3/4 cup of sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. On a large rimmed baking pan (I use this one from Rachel Ray) spread out the oats and the wheat bran (or oat bran). Bake it for 10 minutes & stir often. 
  3. While that is baking, combine the honey, almonds, and cinnamon to make a thick paste-like form
  4. Pull the oats and bran out of the oven & combine with the honey mixture
    • I have poured the mixture directly in the baking pan and mixed that way or you can put the dry oat mixture in the honey bowl -- I like doing the latter 
  5. Spread the mixture on the baking sheet and bake for another 10 minutes, stirring often
In the end, you have delicious granola that gives off the most delectable, sweet aroma smell. I swear, I wish I had a fresh, hot granola candle!

I store the granola in an airtight container, in the cabinet, and it lasts for weeks... maybe even over a month. It tastes a lot better warm and straight out of the oven but mixed in with your oatmeal, which is how I like my granola, it tastes delightful.

Once you make this recipe you're going to be making it every week... it's that good and that easy.

xoxo
B

If you've been around for a while you know I love a good self-help book. I love career books and step by step guides on how to navigate life.

When I saw that there was an average book for average adults being released, I was really excited. I never heard of Samantha Matt before seeing her book pop up all over Twitter but now I feel really connected to her and I love her journey. 

"Average is the New Awesome" is a manifesto for all the people who feel normal... who feel average and have average dreams. This isn't a book about starting your own company or making millions of dollars or becoming the CEO at age 25. This is a very realistic book for everyone... it's one of the most relatable books I've ever read and it's a quick read.


Publisher's Summary

A celebration of ordinary awesomeness, for all of us who were told "You can do anything!" and then found out we actually can't

Crappy homes, lame love lives, getting passed over for a great job (again)--not what we expected for our adulthoods. Americans tell their children you can become anything! But let's face it--most of us can't.

Sure, some of our peers go on to become astronauts or billionaires. But most of us don't. In Average Is the New Awesome, Samantha Matt offers encouragement to us regular humans. Full of hilarious stories and insightful advice, this is a manifesto for ordinary awesomeness--for the beauty that can be found when we acknowledge that good enough really is good enough, and that greatness is ours to define.

My Thoughts

I devoured this book in just a few days and it's one of those self-help guides that I'll reference for years to come. It is not as 'timely' as others I've read wherein a year it'll be out of date and while it's filled with common advice you have probably across at some point in your life, it's still useful. 

"Average is the New Awesome" is incredibly comforting. It didn't make me feel like I needed to be doing more, it didn't inspire me*, it didn't motivate me... not in the way other 'career/self-help' books have. It calmed me, it eased my nerves, it opened my eyes to something I hadn't realized before.

*It did inspire me to get my butt up and get to writing though

It's perfectly ok to not have wild dreams. It's perfectly ok to be 27 years old and not have it all planned out because life is not something that is able to be planned. It's fine to be average and most people are average. Social media has contributed greatly to our need to be busy, to create, to be something more but this book, Samantha Matt, made it perfectly acceptable to not want those things... to simply exist and be active in your life is enough.

I loved this book so much. When I turned the last page I felt relieved, relieved that someone understood me, and relieved that average was enough.

If you need something to ease your mind if you are looking for an answer to your quarter-life crisis, this book is it. Everyone under the age of 35 needs to read this book... it'll be a comfort like you have never known.

xoxo
B
On May 30th, 2020 this blog turned 8 years old. It was also the day that protests and violence erupted across the nation and the world in response to George Floyd's horrifying murder. It didn't' feel right to celebrate at that time and honestly, I was completely ridden with anxiety and very overwhelmed at that moment in time so I couldn't wrap my head around writing.

Even though that was over a month ago, it feels like it was just yesterday. The days in Quarantine are going fast but I didn't want this year to end without me acknowledging my blog's anniversary.



Over the past seven months, I've changed a lot. Things have happened in my life that I never expected and the world isn't what I expected. Throughout it all, I've thought about what I want my life to be and where I want to end up and it all comes back to the blog.

When I started Royally Pink I was going into my junior year of college. I was Vice President of my sorority, moving in with new roommates, and ready for the year ahead. I was thinking more about internships and my career, I wanted to get more serious about my writing and prepare myself as best I could for the real world.



I never imagined that I would be here, 8 years later, with a dream job in social media, still living at home, single, and in the middle of a pandemic. I don't know what I thought my life was going to be when I was 19 years old but it probably wasn't what life is now.

In 8 years a lot has happened to me and for me... some good, some bad and all life-changing:

  • I fell deeper in love with my college, my sorority, and my friends
  • I fell in love with a boy and fought like hell for him
  • I became Sorority Woman of the Year 
  • I got a byline in USA Today and other outlets before I even graduated
  • I graduated from college and fell into a horrible depression
  • I got my first job at a social media agency
  • I left there for my first job in the beauty industry as a social media manager
  • My dad died and my world was turned upside down
  • I started getting published in more outlets like Popsugar, Elite Daily, Reader's Digest, and The Newsette
  • I left my job in the beauty industry and after two weeks, got fired from my new job
  • I was unemployed for six months and learned more about what I want out of life than ever before
  • I had my first real relationship with a man I cared deeply about
  • I became a freelance writer for Fab Fit Fun
  • I found a new dream job at another beauty brand in social media
  • My aunt died this year and left my family in shambles
  • My boyfriend of a year and a half dumped me over a text message
  • A global pandemic happened and changed everyone and everything forever
In between, I lost friends, gained friends, watched my friends get their heartbroken, and watched them get engaged. I saw my mom find love, cried with my friends over everything and anything, handed out advice about career, boys, and life. I read books, became true crime obsessed, and had multiple crises. 

At the end of it all though, my blog was here. You were here. You watched me grow, learn, mess up, and fail. I don't know where I would be without this blog, without my outlet, without somewhere to put my energy into.

When I didn't know what to do, I always knew I could count on Royally Pink to guide me and keep me busy, to keep me sane.

As we enter the 8th year of this blog, I finally think I have my thoughts together. I've struggled over the years with wanting to make this something more... to be like the other influencers who get paid sponsorships and can make a living off the blog. I want this to be a real community, I want to treat this not only as a passion project but as a business... that's how much I love Royally Pink.

I've already made strides within the past few weeks and I'm really proud of myself. I think if I actually focus, I can do this. Quarantine has been good for that...I have more time to figure out what I want this place to be, where I want my life to be, and honestly, I think I have a good grip on that. 

8 years ago, I never thought I'd be here but I love the journey. I'm so grateful that 8 years later, I'm still here and you're still here with me. 

Thank you for all the love and support over the years. Thank you for reading, for following, and for sticking around through the hard times. I cannot express how happy you all make me.

To celebrate, below are some of my favorite blog posts to date, that has taken me through all aspects of life.


Thank you for the past 8 years. Here's to 800 more!

xoxo
B
I told you last week that I was going to be reviewing another nail color in Essie's new collection and here we are! Besides the light coral shade, "Beachy Keen", I felt like I needed a new hot pink/coral shade and "Throw in the Towel" was exactly what I was looking for.



This color makes me so goddam happy! It is definitely a bright coral with a touch of hot pink and in the shade can almost look reddish. I feel like it changes in the light but it's beautiful no matter how you look at it. 




The formula on this is very similar to the Beachy Keen -- it went on smooth and shiny, chipped after 3-4 days and looks gorgeous on tanned skin. It wasn't droopy or hard to manage nor did it get on my cuticles when applying. It was an easy polish to use and was on par with the other shade from this collection.

I really want/need more from the Sunny Business collection because they're too pretty to pass up. Sunny Business is calling my name and I might have to get it this week. 

What's on your nails this week?

xoxo
B


Happy July everyone! I had a very long weekend away in New Jersey and I'm happy to be home. I discovered something new this weekend: I'm highly allergic to dogs.

I've known I was allergic for a while now because whenever I'm around dogs for an extended period of time, I have a sneezing attack and can't breathe but this weekend, it was on another level. My aunt and uncle, whose house I was staying at, have a dog and I guess being there for three days made my allergies really act up.

On Friday night I had a panic attack because I truly could not breathe. It felt like I was breathing in sand... it was a horrible experience and made me sick the entire weekend. Now, I'm home with swollen eyes and distressed lungs but ready to get the week started. 

I've been feeling really creative and motivated the past week, thanks to following some new accounts on Instagram and TikTok. I'm hoping that I can keep it up and actually get some work done this week.

All of that being said, let's get into the post.


Links I Loved

What I Bought This Week

I purchased a customized bracelet from the Etsy Shop, ShopGolden Stars. I needed a new control top so I bought one from Skims and also wanted to try one of their new sleep dresses

 I also want to start highlighting the books I bought or scored from NetGalley so this week, I purchased Self Care, a novel about a wellness company. I cannot wait to dive into it. 

Have a great Sunday and start to the week, everyone!
xoxo
B
Since hearing about the Gypsy Rose Blanchard case years ago, I've been intrigued by Munchausen by Proxy. "Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSP) -- or Munchausen by proxy -- is a psychological disorder marked by attention-seeking behavior by a caregiver through those who are in their care."

Inlay terms, the illness manifests itself in *usually* mothers who make their children sick so they are always needed. It's really interesting, really sad, and I feel like it's something not talked about enough. However, it has been more heavily discussed in pop culture over the past few years and the latest entry is in the form of the novel "Darling Rose Gold". 

This novel has been on my radar for a very long time and was released in March of this year but I just finished reading it last month. It was nothing like I expected... it was so much better.



Publisher's Summary


For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.

Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.

After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.

Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she's forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.

Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling...

And she's waited such a long time for her mother to come home.

My Thoughts

Patty Watts abused her daughter Rose Gold for her entire life. Rose Gold gave the testimony that sent her mother to jail for 5 years but now, Patty is getting out. 

When Patty Watts gets out of jail, she goes to live with her daughter Rose Gold and her new grandson. 
Rose Gold purchased a new house just to home Patty and it just so happens that the house is the one Patty grew up in, which messes with Patty's head. The rest of the novel is spent with Patty and Rose Gold questioning each other and trying to accept each other in this new way of life.

That is... until we see both of them for who they truly are. 

Darling Rose Gold is told in two points of view, Patty and Rose Gold. We see their pasts and their presents, we see how they ended up where they are and why they are the way they are. While Patty was doing the abusing, Rose Gold was planning her revenge and she had a lot of time to plan it. 

The ending of this novel was not what I expected. It came fast, it came as a shock and it left you wanting more. It was truly the last thing I thought was going to happen and it made the book that much better for it. 

I will say, that this book reeked of Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee Blanchard. While I do think Darling Rose Gold was inspired by the famous case, it was eerily similar. I listened to a podcast episode of Bad on Paper with the author of this book, Stephanie Wrobel and it was incredibly interesting. If you read this book, I highly recommend listening to the episode.

If you are into mysteries and thrillers, I think you will really enjoy this book. It was unlike anything I've read recently!

xoxo
B
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