Here’s what I’ve been reading | September 2017

Happy first day of fall, everyone! Today I thought I’d share my thoughts on three books that I’ve read lately.

All three books are completely different from each other, so hopefully I can help you pick your next read–whether you are craving historical fiction, mystery or a love story. Let’s get started!

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Last fall, Fiona Davis released her debut novel, The DollhouseThe story intrigued me from the first to last page, so naturally I couldn’t wait to read The Address, Davis’s followup effort.

Like Dollhouse, The Address centers around another famous New York landmark, The Dakota. The story begins in 1884. Sara Smythe, a young woman who works in a posh London hotel, saves a small child from imminent harm. Upon saving the little girl, Sara meets her father, sought-after architect Theo Camden. Theo is so overwhelmed with gratitude for Sara that he offers her a position at The Dakota, a cutting-edge, soon-to-be-open apartment building in New York City that he is helping design. Reluctantly but gratefully, Sara takes the job and moves to America.

Fast forward to 1985: Bailey Camden is fresh out of rehab, desperate for a clean start. Her boss won’t re-hire her, so money is tight. Luckily, Bailey’s close friend Melinda offers to let her redesign her apartment, located in The Dakota.

Throughout the novel, Sara and Bailey’s stories start to mirror each other’s, even though they are a century apart. Bailey is eager to find her footing after rehab, while Sara is adjusting to a new life in America.

While redesigning Melinda’s apartment, Bailey finds out that Sara and Theo had a fling that ultimately led to murder. Sara was accused of killing Theo in a fit of rage. As Bailey begins to investigate the case, she is determined to uncover the truth about Sara, and even discovers facts about her own family.

The Address encompasses a variety of elements—historical fiction, murder mystery, romance and even self-discovery. Like I said, this novel had me hooked from the first page! I highly recommend this one.

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In The Light We Lost, Lucy and Gabe are college students who meet on one of America’s darkest days, September 11th, 2001. Amid all of the tragic events, they strike up a relationship.

Although their actual relationship is short-lived, Lucy and Gabe remain friends through the years, their paths intersecting from time to time. Gabe is immersed in his work as a travel photographer, and Lucy finds success as a children’s TV show producer.

As the book progresses, you begin to see the impact they have on each other, even years down the road. Although Lucy and Gabe are on different paths, are they still meant to be?

Jill Santopolo reminds me a lot of my favorite author, Karma Brown. She tells this love story in such a unique way. Although the chapters are brief and snapshot-like, emotion radiates from the pages. You really get invested in Gabe and Lucy’s relationship. Plus, every love story has to have a good twist, right?

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Just a couple days ago, I finished The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. I am always looking for a juicy murder mystery, so I was eager to start this one.

This novel centers around four women: Isa, Thea, Kate and Fatima. They meet as teenagers at boarding school. The four girls become close and create The Lying Game, which is as sketchy as it sounds: Try to get away with telling as many lies to as many people as possible. If that doesn’t foreshadow trouble, I don’t know what does.

Some fifteen or so years later, this cruel game comes back to haunt them. Kate notifies her friends that a body has been found after disappearing years ago, and they have something to do with it.

Alright, here’s the deal with this novel. It had SO MUCH going for it. I was rapidly turning the pages, awaiting the truth to finally surface. But in the end, The Lying Game fell completely flat for me.

First of all, the four main characters weren’t developed enough. They were just super paranoid the entire time, especially Isa. I would have liked it if there was a little more backstory on each of them. What drove them to want to lie, over and over? How did they develop such a tight bond?

Also, there were a lot of filler, unnecessary scenes the story. The suspense was sporadic. Something really suspenseful would happen, and then it would suddenly end, not really concluding. I honestly felt like The Lying Game could have been so great, but all the details didn’t correlate well with the ending–which turned out to be so, so random.

I hope this review makes sense. I really wanted to like this book, but I just didn’t. If you’re looking for a good murder mystery, read The Good Girl by Mary Kubica.

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I hope you all enjoyed reading this post. I am a HUGE reader, always looking for my next favorite book. What have you been reading lately? Let me know!

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Essence Cosmetics: Ulta’s Hidden Gem

Nestled among the big-name brands in Ulta is a small, end-of-aisle panel stocked with Essence Cosmetics. Due to the low prices–most items range no more than six dollars–you may be tempted to look past this display…but I encourage you not to.

Why?

Because Essence Cosmetics has some of the finest, high-quality makeup the drugstore has to offer. Today, I thought I’d share with y’all my favorites from this brand!

F A C E

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Let’s start with the Satin Touch Blush in Satin Love. I believe these blushes are newer to the Essence collection. Drugstore blushes tend to do nothing for me; they are usually too powdery and not pigmented. Let me tell you, Satin Love is a completely different story!

This tawny-pink blush is absolutely fool-proof. It has just enough pigment, and won’t leave you with clown cheeks. The smooth formula feels creamy to the touch, yet it is a powder without being ashy. It applies seamlessly. If you’re looking for a non-fussy blush for everyday wear, look no further. With a $2.99 price tag, you have nothing to lose.

I have mentioned the Pure Nude Highlighter in Be My Highlight numerous times on my blog. It is truly one of my go-to’s in my entire makeup collection. So here I go again! If highlighters tend to scare you, simply choose one with ZERO shimmer, like Be My Highlight.

This powder may look “meh” in the pan, but I assure you it looks SO PRETTY at the tops of cheekbones. It just gives you that natural glow, without being flashy. Be My Highlight’s smooth, baked formula is ultra-flattering, giving your complexion a glowy, healthy sheen. You can even use it as an all-over setting powder.

E Y E S

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I’m always eager to try any mascara that claims to give the “false lashes” look. So naturally, I picked up The False Lashes Mascara. However, after giving it a few tries, I wasn’t entirely impressed.

The wand is unique with a thin, cone-like shape. The formula is rather basic and creamy. Although it did define my lashes well, I didn’t really see a tremendous amount of length or volume. My natural lashes are on the stumpy side, anyway.

The False Lashes Mascara isn’t a complete dud! I like to layer it over a volumizing mascara. It combs and separates my plumped-up lashes. For that reason, I’d consider buying again. If you DO have long lashes, you might me more impressed by this mascara.

I wasn’t expecting to be impressed by the I Love Stage Eyeshadow Base. However, this $3.50 primer definitely proved me wrong! Not only does it keep my shadow from creasing, but it covers minor imperfections with its peachy color. The formula is creamy and blends nicely.

I will continue to purchase this one instead of splurging on a high-end brand. Who doesn’t like to save money where they can?!

L I P S

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To me, Essence’s lipsticks are some of the most affordable and quality of the drugstore. The Nude LongLasting Lipstick in Cool Nude 05 is a soft, mauve-y nude shade. The formula is very thin and buttery, like a balm. I don’t agree with the “long lasting” claim, but the wearable formula makes it easy to apply. I don’t even have to use a mirror! Cool Nude is a universally-flattering shade.

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Purple Power / Cool Nude 05

Lastly,  we have the Matt Matt Matt Lipstick in Purple Power. Don’t let the name fool you, this lipstick isn’t a stark, purple shade. Rather, it is a pretty orchid with a pink undertone. As the name suggests, the formula is very matte BUT it does not drag on my lips. It is truly amazing; I don’t have to prep with balm before applying. Plus, the packaging is sturdy. You would think this lipstick belongs in a department store, yet it costs four dollars. Can’t go wrong!

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Hope you all enjoyed this post! Essence is such a high-quality drugstore makeup brand that deserves more love. What is your favorite product from Essence Cosmetics?

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Mini ColourPop FALL Haul!

A couple weeks ago,  I made a small purchase from ColourPop–an online, affordable makeup brand. Fall is my absolute FAVORITE season for makeup. There’s nothing more elegant than flushed cheeks, bold lips and warm eyeshadows.

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In fact, my purchase reflects those three loves. Here are my thoughts on the few items I selected…

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Honest to goodness, I’ve waited a couple months to get my hands on the Yes, Please! Eyeshadow Palette ever since KathleenLights raved about it on her YouTube Channel. It’s received so much hype that it was sold out and finally restocked a couple weeks ago.

Needless to say, it was worth the wait! Y’all, these shadows are going to look so gorgeous in the fall. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to the UD Naked Heat Palette, I strongly suggest giving this one a shot. As you can see, it is filled with warm-toned shadows. It covers all the bases of a good fall palette. Oranges, reds, browns, neutrals and even a fun pop of yellow. My favorite shade of the entire palette is Butter Cake, the shimmery gold on the second row. It’s so pigmented and sparkly without having major fallout.

The Yes, Please! Palette is cute and compact, making it ideal for travel. I only wish there was a lighter, more pinky rose gold in this set. That being said, this is a great value for the price. Each shadow is high-quality and a cinch to blend!

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Up next, we have this SuperShock Cheek Blush in Between The Sheets. It looks a tad dark in the pan (and in person), but actually BTS swatches as a light, dusty rose shade. Super wearable! I kid you not, it is impossible to over-apply. I’m so glad I purchased this on a whim. Between The Sheets contains no shimmer or glitter, it is just a nice and natural rosy flush. Universally flattering.

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Of all the ColourPop lip formulas, the Matte X Lippie Stix are my absolute favorite. The formula reminds me of a solidified version of a liquid lipstick. No matter the shade, the Matte X lippies glide on with incredible ease while being highly pigmented. I’m amazed every time!

On the website, Daydream appeared to be a mauvey pink shade. It looked quite different when I swatched and tried it on. Instead, I would describe Daydream as a warm rose shade with a slight brown undertone. It’s not quite a red lipstick, but it’s not brown either. It’s the perfect in-between. I have been loving it!

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Here’s a picture of me wearing Daydream–featuring a cute llama 🙂 

Since Daydream is highly pigmented, I recommend prepping your lips before application. If not, the bold color will accentuate dryness and lines. Exfoliation rids your lips of any dry patches and balm will keep them from looking parched. If you don’t have time to do those extra steps, simply apply a gloss on top. Nars’ SuperVixen Gloss adds a super fun gold dimension to Daydream!

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Daydream / Between The Sheets

Those are my thoughts on my latest ColourPop Haul. These items make me super pumped for fall! What is your favorite item from ColourPop? Let me know!

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My Favorite Things | August 2017

It’s time for another My Favorite Things post….the months just keep flying by! Here are the items that caught my attention during August. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get right to it!

B E A U T Y

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For nearly four years, I have been devoted to the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Eden. I love that it has a little bit of coverage to mask imperfections. I’ve tried to find a similar dupe for the longest time, and finally I’ve discovered it–Essence Cosmetics I Heart Stage Eyeshadow Base. 

This eyeshadow primer has a peachy tone to it, whereas Eden is more yellow. That said, both provide slight coverage to my lids, evening out my skin tone. The Essence primer is just a lot cheaper! It is very creamy and applies evenly. It sticks to my lids nicely without fading, and of course prolongs my eyeshadow. If you’re in a rush, you can even use this shadow primer as a concealer. Needless to say, this item is a hidden gem at the drugstore. I will definitely repurchase!

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I am a lip balm addict. I consistently have five or six balms lining my bedside table.  There’s something about it that’s so comforting. About a year ago, I came across my all-time favorite balm from a French brand called Nuxe. It took me just a few months to finish the pot; I was planning to repurchase this luxurious balm. Long story short, I couldn’t find it anywhere online. I was SO SAD!

Amid my devastation, I found a replacement! First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm. This product is very similar to the Nuxe Balm. It has a thick, waxy texture, but please don’t let that scare you away. It takes a couple coats to apply evenly, but once it’s on your lips, it forms a moisturizing, protective barrier–like a mask!

If you have harsh winters, this would be a great balm to purchase! It will seriously heal and condition your lips. You can even layer it under liquid lipstick. The matte finish won’t mess with the finish of your lip product. It is truly worth the $20. This balm is NO JOKE!

F A S H I O N

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Image Credit: Sanuk

These Sanuk Pair O Dice Leather Shoes may look a little plain in the picture, but I promise they are SO CUTE when you have them on! I love the casual loafer look. These shoes are really high quality. They slide on easily and are really supportive. The soles are actually made with yoga mat material so these loafers are super comfy!

Plus, the caramel-colored suede is so chic and goes with most any outfit.

M U S I C

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Image Credit: Sounds Like Nashville

I have been a fan of Old Dominion since their 2015 debut, Meat and Candy. I was super excited when I heard they were working on a new album. But would it measure up to their first disc?

YES, it does! Happy Endings is filled with more happy-go-lucky jams. Old Dominion has stayed true to their signature fun and breezy sound while incorporating fresh melodies. My favorites on the album are No Such Thing As A Broken Heart, Not Everything’s About You, A Girl is A Gun and the poignant break-up tune So You Go. 

I highly recommend picking up this CD! Old Dominion is such a talented band. Their lyrics are catchy and flow with ease. I have seen them live four times already, and can’t wait to see them again. Because let’s just be honest…there’s No Such Thing as a bad Old Dominion song.

T O  W A T C H

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Image Credit: imdb

The Glass Castle has been one of my favorite books since I read it in the 11th grade. Seven years later, I was thrilled to see it finally make it to the big screen.

Castle is all about author Jeannette Walls’ dysfunctional childhood. Since her dad couldn’t keep a job, the family moved around frequently before settling in West Virginia. Even though they settled there, life was still tough. Food and money were hard to come by; adding to the turbulence, Jeannette and her siblings were often left to fend for themselves.

The movie shifts back and forth between Jeannette’s childhood and adult life in the late 1980s. It was sobering to see how she and her siblings were shaped from such an unconventional upbringing. They were so resilient, despite witnessing their father’s alcoholism and their mother’s free-spirited and at times reckless parenting.

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So there’s a look at my August favorite things! I hope you enjoy these items as much as I have.

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Five College Tips for My Former Self

The road to college was a bumpy one.

Leading up to freshman move-in day, I pushed through three surgeries during my senior year of high school, numerous physical therapy sessions and countless sleepless nights, wondering if I’d arrive at college on time. Ultimately, God graciously answered my prayers…
The day I anticipated finally arrived–I was headed to Lipscomb University!

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Freshman move-in day..equally terrifying and exciting!

On August 12, 2012 I moved to Nashville. I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage college with Cerebral Palsy, but I was fiercely determined to be independent–despite using a walker, wheelchair and scooter to navigate life.

Throughout my four-year college experience, I grew a TON–intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. It was the most challenging yet happiest four years of my life. However, if I could go back and give my 18-year-old self advice, here is what I’d tell her…

1.  Study hard…but give yourself a break (or two, or three). I have always taken my studies seriously, but there were times I sweated a test a little too much. I would begin to study a week in advance, but stress would still get the best of me. Break study sessions up into manageable slots. Don’t strain your brain by studying till 1 a.m. Crank up Spotify during  20-minute breaks. Watch an episode of New Girl.  Have a strict 10 p.m. ending time. It is possible to do well on a test without pushing yourself to the brink…trust me!

2. Make lists. Making a To-Do List each day will save your sanity. Be sure to write tasks down! Don’t just rely on your phone to keep you organized. Taking a couple minutes to compose a grocery list will save money. Companies like Earnest can help you out during college with a low interest personal loan. That way, you can use your hard-earned money for fun stuff! Jotting down homework assignments will keep your brain collected. It may be old-fashioned, but making lists and maintaining a planner is the KEY to college success.

3. Use your time wisely. A cliche tip, but this one is ABSOLUTELY crucial. Write down assignments immediately and carve out time to work on them–even if it’s not right away. Most importantly, don’t wait till the last minute. I know next Friday seems far away, but it’ll creep up on you. Savvy time management will spare you numerous mini-heart attacks.

4. Take a random class or two. Got a light load this semester? Fill that time by taking an extra class, even if it isn’t entirely in your major. Want to expand your storytelling skills? Sign up for that creative writing class. A three-hour nap is nice every once in a while, but that creative writing class may come in handy one day.

5. Celebrate your accomplishments. There is nothing more rewarding than hard work paying off. I know you want to race to the next class, semester or season, but please. Slow down and ENJOY the ride. Remember how far you’ve come instead of speeding toward the road ahead. Thank God for your blessings instead of rambling off requests to Him. Whether you’re celebrating acing an exam or graduating college, relax, smile, and recognize your accomplishments. You’ve worked SO HARD!

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Graduation day!!!!!

College is one of the most transformative times in your life. I know you think it’s all about books and grades, but it’s also a major time for self-discovery. Cling to your faith, be kind and talk to to everyone, and remember, just do your best–embrace the ups and downs of college!

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REVIEW: Glossier Cloud Paints

Blush has always been one of my favorite beauty items. A wash of color on my cheeks gives my complexion an instant boost. I love all blushes; powders, creams, stains–you name it. A few weeks ago, I decided to try out the Glossier Cloud Paint  blushes.

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Glossier describes Cloud Paint as being “Seamless Cheek Color.” And you know what? That description is perfect! These blushes are housed in cute, travel-friendly tubes, but the product inside is quite innovative.

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When I first squeezed a pea-sized amount of Cloud Paint onto my hand, I expected it to have a creamy, soufflé-like texture. Instead, the formula reminded me more of a serum, without the greasiness or shine. Really unique! Puff is a matte, bubblegum-pink shade. There is no sheen or shimmer. Puff appears bold right out of the tube, but when applied to the apples of my cheeks, the color quickly diffuses into a watercolor-like flush.

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The second shade I purchased was Dusk; a warm, mattified apricot color. It looks as if it was bottled straight from a sunset. So gorgeous! Dusk may be warmer, but it applies just as sheer and smoothly as Puff. All you need is a pea-sized amount, dabbing it gently to the apples of the cheeks.

As for staying power, I am quite impressed! Since the formula is so fluid and light, I suggest using primer and setting spray just so the pigment has something even to adhere to.

If you are nervous about using blush or worried about it settling into fine lines, I would give these Cloud Paints a shot. It’s such a natural-looking, goof-proof blush. It reminds me of a stain without the harsh finish. You can build it up to however sheer or bold you like.  And since it’s not powdery, it won’t settle into fine lines!

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From top: Puff / Dusk

Overall, I am so impressed by these Glossier Cloud Paints. The formula is so light and breathable, while the colors are wearable. They give you just the right amount of color on your cheeks without being glitzy or bold. Yet, they won’t make you look flat either. These would work on any skin type or tone, especially if you have dry or combination skin.

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Hope you all enjoyed reading this post! What is your favorite Glossier product?

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DRUGSTORE Makeup Haul

I’ve stumbled across some pretty amazing drugstore makeup the past couple months, so I thought I would share my thoughts with you today!

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My favorite thing about these few items is they actually rival some products from high-end brands, which means you can save a ton of money. Let’s get started!

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First up, we have this Maybelline The City Mini Palette in Rooftop Bronzes. Let me just say that this eyeshadow palette lives up to all the hype and MORE! There is not a single dud in this six-shadow set. For real! Each shadow is smooth and buttery while being evenly pigmented. This palette really reminds me of the Unzipped Palettes from Lorac.

It is a combo of golden, bronze and champagne shades. While they have either a sheen or shimmery finish, all of the shadows are quite wearable for everyday without being too bold or glittery.

Also, the Rooftop Bronzes is a no-brainer for travel! You can easily create multiple looks. Maybelline really hit it out of the park with this palette. Has anyone tried any of the other City Mini Palettes? 

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The No.7 Stay Perfect Stay and Define Crayon is definitely a hidden gem at the drugstore. As you can see, I’m a sucker for metallic, shimmery eyeshadow, so this baby caught my attention so quickly! I purchased the shade Gunmetal Gray. This super-smooth crayon is a cool-toned gray with a slight blue undertone. So unique and pretty! The metallic finish does not budge. I like to use this crayon as an eyeliner, but it can certainly double as an eyeshadow. Either way, it is super-easy to work with and doesn’t crease. I can’t believe it only cost $10. I will for sure pick up more shades!

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For the longest time, I was such a fan of Benefit’s High Brow Pencil. It just gave my brows a lift and highlight even when they weren’t freshly done. Even though I loved the oyster-pink color, I found the formula chalky and hard to blend. A couple years ago, I stopped purchasing High Brow for that reason all together.

Enter Wet ‘N’ Wild UltimateBrow Highlighter. No joke…this is like the improved version of High Brow without the steep price tag. The color is the EXACT same. But the formula is much more creamy and easier to blend. I no longer have that weird clump of highlight under my brow like I did with High Brow. It’s just so good. One thing though–the pencil is very soft so you have to sharpen every use or two. That being said, I much prefer this brow highlight over High Brow. If you try anything from this haul, I suggest giving this a shot. Your brows will be instantly lifted (and fierce) with the mere stroke of this crayon!

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Swatches of Gunmetal Gray and Brow Crayon (I assure you it isn’t as white as it’s photographing)

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Lastly, we have Catrice Cosmetics Prime and Fine MultiTalent Fixing Spray. I have mentioned how much I love the Milani Finishing Spray, but it’s just a little high for the drugstore. This one reminds me a lot of it, while being a couple dollars cheaper. It shoots out a lot of product with one pump, but the mist itself is very fine. I use this to set my makeup and foil eyeshadows. The packaging is a tad flimsy (it leaked as I was removing the plastic wrap), but as long as you keep it upright, you’re good to go! I would repurchase.

I feel like Catrice Cosmetics is one of those overlooked brands at Ulta. What is your favorite item from Catrice?

Hope you all enjoyed reading this post. Who doesn’t love a little drugstore beauty find?

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Day to Night Outfit Challenge

With today’s fashions, you can easily transition from the workplace to a night on the town with a simple swap of accessories! AUrate New York is an ethically-sourced jewelry company that designs both classic and edgy pieces domestically. Not only are they committed to selling high-quality jewelry at fair prices, but AUrate New York also strives to make a positive impact by helping their community and those in need through social causes.

AUrate New York has such a wide range of pieces that can be sported at work or on the town.  So today I thought I would share my picks for an easy day-to-night outfit look!

Day Look

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When choosing my outfit for this challenge, I wanted to look beyond skirts and dresses–pieces that are commonly worn in the workplace. I think jumpsuits are such a fresh, chic option! I love this one; the cheery pink color isn’t too bright, and the V-style neckline is perfect for showing off jewelry without plunging.

For the accessories, I decided to go with a neutral grey color instead of black or white. It makes the jumpsuit look modern. The blazer has a fitted shape with an edgy (but still work-appropriate) neckline. The loafers are stylish yet comfortable with the classic tassel detail! The fun floral bag adds a playful vibe to the outfit; it’s big enough for your work essentials, so you can easily grab it on your way out the door!

As for jewelry, I wanted to keep it classic and simple with white gold pieces. The White Gold Bar Necklace is minimal yet so pretty! For a personal touch, you can even have it engraved. I chose the Midi Gold Bar Earrings in White Gold to match the necklace. Lastly, I added the Quadricolor Ring with White Diamonds for a subtle touch of sparkle!

Night Look

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For my nighttime look, I simply switched to gold accessories! The metallic ankle strap heels have a sassy Mary Jane vibe, while the gold snakeskin clutch adds fun texture. Who doesn’t love to rock a bold lip while out on the town?! This hot pink liquid lipstick is comfortable yet lasting. It matches the jumpsuit perfectly.

 Chokers are all the rage these days, and I am completely in love with this trend! So naturally, I chose this Gold Flower Necklace. I love that you don’t have to fumble with a clasp; you can quickly put it on on your way downtown! The unique floral design also adds  texture to the crisp pink jumpsuit. For earrings, I wanted to keep it nice and simple with Mini Gold Bar Earrings in Yellow Gold since the necklace is such a statement piece. If you really want to keep it classic and simple, be sure to take a look at their wide range of earrings available!

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I hope you all enjoyed reading this post! Jewelry is such a fun and functional accessory to experiment with. You can easily express yourself while being on trend.

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Three EASY ways to wear PEACH!

Although peach is a universally flattering color, it can be intimidating trying to figure out how to wear it properly. For some reason, I stayed away from it for a long time!

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So today, I thought I’d share my favorite ways to wear this bright yet practical color! Let’s get started…

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Back in the wintertime I purchased the Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette. It has been a favorite in my collection since! Obviously, this palette contains several wearable peachy shades–from matte to subtle glitter. The key to pulling off peachy eyeshadow is placing it in one area of your lid such as the crease or outer corners. To tie a look together, I pair my peach shadow with a subtle golden or beige shade–the Sweet Peach Palette contains those as well. The majority of the shades are wearable and blend easily. Plus, it smells like juicy peach candy. YUM!

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I’m pretty sure the Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso is a staple in EVERY beauty junkie’s collection! It truly is universally flattering. This peachy-golden blush has the prettiest sheen to it without looking too chunky. My complexion is instantly warmed up! Milani has such great, high-quality products. I only wish it was sold in more places than CVS and the packaging was more durable. The plastic label on the top ALWAYS wants to pop out of place! Nonetheless, this blush is still worth the money. I’m on my third compact!

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At first glance, it looks like MAC CremeSheen Lipstick in Coral Bliss belongs in 1987–but don’t let the bold, coral-peach bullet scare you! This lipstick applies incredibly sheer, which makes it super-wearable. It might as well be a tinted balm! You can apply one coat for a subtle wash of color or apply a couple more for more intensity. Whatever the case, it’s goof-proof. The finish is smooth and pearly without being frosty.

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Coral Bliss isn’t very long lasting, but with the buttery formula, it is a cinch to reapply. I’m a big fan of MAC lipsticks, and this is one of my favorites. Such a unique yet practical color!

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I hope this post encourages you to buy some peachy makeup! Although it’s such a happy, springy shade, I believe peach can be worn all year. 🙂 Happy shopping!

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My top photo-styling tips

When I started my blog nearly four years ago, one of the factors I was most intimidated by was capturing photos for each post. After all, I am not a professional photographer! Through the years, I learned to make the best of my surroundings and became more confidant in my photography skills. That’s why I’m excited to learn about Light, a new company developing conveniently-sized cameras that produce high-quality photos with the ease of using a smartphone. Until that technology is common in all cameras, here are some simple tips on how I style photos for my blog!

Capturing Fashion 

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1. When I’m modeling an outfit, I shoot outside. My favorite time to shoot is mid-day, when it’s not too sunny and shadows are at a minimum. Plus, natural light allows my outfit to pop. I didn’t have to edit this photo; it was already balanced nicely!

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2. When I’m capturing an outfit indoors, I make sure to choose a neutral background. This background worked because it didn’t conflict with the outfit. Because gray is a neutral color, it isn’t too bright or dark. Once again, the outfit popped nicely against the gray, and was able to stand out!

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3. To add variety to photos, I use lower thirds. This is one of my favorite tips I learned in college! Instead of having my subject at the center of the frame, I position it to the side. That way, the subject doesn’t “cut off” the background. Lower thirds adds balance to a photo.

Capturing Makeup

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  1. If it’s too bright outside to capture a makeup look, I shoot in the car! I know it sounds silly, but I’ve captured some quality portraits perched in the passenger seat. The lighting is nearly perfect, and no dark shadows are around. All colors are able to stay true!

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2. If I’m including multiple objects in one shot, I use something to frame the photo. The dish is the focal point in this shot. It really ties the objects together instead of having them randomly placed. Framing the objects and having a pink-and-yellow color scheme easily composes this photo.

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3. When I don’t want to use an actual frame in my photo, I make sure there is a leading line present. The edge of my vanity serves as the leading line in this shot. To tie this photo together, I lined my products up to follow the edge of my vanity. I love how clean and crisp this shot is.

4. I also use filters from time to time to enhance my shots. In this photo I saturated and sharpened the colors so they looked more uniform. I’m all for using filters as long as they don’t completely alter my photos!

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I hope this post helps you out! Capturing the right shot can be intimidating, but there are really simple ways to improve your photos. You don’t have to be a professional to capture the world around you! All you need to do is work with your surroundings.

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