15 April 2014

Three Beauty Products I'm Loving Lately

Before I rant and rave about three beauty products I'm absolutely loving lately, can we talk about how badly I need a manicure in this picture? Trust me, I realize how ironic it is that I'm dishing out beauty advice with nails looking like that but what can I say, it was one of those weeks.

Now that we got that out of the way...I have to share three fantastic finds with y'all that have become staples in my makeup bag. As many of you know, I don't discriminate when it comes to beauty products. I'm willing to spend good money on skin care products, but I also don't believe that higher price always equals higher quality. In some cases you can find beauty products at your local drugstore that work just as well, if not better, than ones at the department store. I have two products for you today to "save" on, and one to "splurge" on...

Too Faced Lip Injection Color Bomb - I'm loving the colored lip trend right now, but I'm not a big fan of cherry red, so I went in search of the perfect "berry" colored lipstick and found it. I love this product, it's a balm/lip stain/lip stick so it goes on smooth but doesn't dry out your lips or run. Bonus, it also has a lip plumping effect. If you don't like the tingly sensation that you get from lip plumping products I wouldn't recommend this, but I don't mind it.

Cover Girl Last Blast Volume Mascara - This is my absolute favorite mascara, it's better than anything you can find at the high end beauty stores. My lashes look long and voluminous, and for $7 you really can't beat it.

Maybelline Instant Pore Eraser Primer - I can't believe more people don't use this last product, it's a hidden gem! If you're a fan of the Smashbox Foto Finish Primer, then this Maybelline Baby Skin primer is for you. The consistency is identical to Smashbox, but for a third of the price. I love how smooth my makeup looks over this primer, and it seems to last just as long as any other product I've used. Quit wasting money on the more expensive versions and give baby skin a try, I think you'll love it!

The lip color I'm wearing in this picture ^ is the Too Faced Color Bomb in "Bigger Berry" and it's described as a "deep raspberry wine". You won't regret having this color in your makeup arsenal, I promise.

14 April 2014

Black & White

Happy Monday friends! I hope you all had a relaxing weekend, and are refreshed and ready for a new week. The weather was perfect in Charlotte, so I spent some time laying by the pool and enjoyed one of those perfect spring nights sitting out by the lake, cold beer in hand.

Today's outfit was inspired by two things, my size and my trip to Europe. I love colors (particularly pinks a reds) but I'm petite and look really young. I feel like I don't do myself any favors when I wear bright colors, especially when I'm in a professional setting. While we were in Europe I noticed how the women in Paris and London tend to stick to dark tones (black, navy etc.) and they looked so polished and chic.

When I first saw these pants I was a bit intimidated. They're black on one side and white on the other, funkier than I typically wear. I paired them with a sheer black and white top and some black pumps and now it's safe to say I love them! I kept the accessories simple and added some berry red lips for a pop of color, to turn this outfit into one you can feel confident wearing in any setting.

All pictures courtesy of Andi at My Beautiful Adventures.
You can shop some black and white pieces below to create your own unique look! Also, come back later this week because I'll be sharing how you can get berry red lips like I have in this post.

11 April 2014

European Vacation - Stop 3, Rome.

I've been putting off writing this post, because putting the words to paper (or blog) makes it feel like I'm officially closing the pages of our European trip, an adventure that I wish could have lasted longer than a week.

The third stop on our trip was Rome, Italy. In Paris we met two other families who had bought the same Groupon as us, so we shared transportation to the airport and to our hotel in Rome which made things much easier. We stayed at the Hotel Donatello, a small boutique hotel, which was fine for our needs. The only issue with the hotel was how far it was from the nearest metro station, we didn't feel super safe at night so we ended up taking cabs from the station to our hotel.
I didn't get to Rome with any expectations, but the city was not what I had imagined. London and Paris seemed very clean and orderly but Rome was the exact opposite. There were people and cars everywhere, and the rules didn't seem to matter. It was a free for all when it came to getting from point A to point B. The first day there we stopped by the Colosseum, had pizza and gelato, and wandered for hours searching for the Trevi Fountain (which we didn't find until the next day).
We decided to take the metro back to the hotel to clean up and get ready for dinner, but it was madness! We happened to hit the station at rush hour and all I could imagine was getting trampled by the mobs of people trying to board. While we were waiting we met a group of guys from London who were in town for a rugby tournament, and we all decided that a cold beer sounded a lot better than trying to fit into a packed train. We ended up bar hopping that night with the London group, which was one of the funnest nighs of the trip, my only regret is wearing heels. The streets are cobblestone and I'm embarrassed to tell you how many times I fell in front of those boys, I know Margaret got a good laugh out of my shoe situation.
The next day we headed to Vatican City, and we bought tickets for the guided tour. This was the only tour we purchased on our trip and I'm really glad that we did. We saw the Vatican Museum, St. Peters Basilica and The Sistine Chapel without waiting in any lines. The history in Vatican City was just breathtaking. After that we finally found the Trevi Fountain (which was amazing) and enjoyed the best pasta meal I have ever had a little whole in the wall we stumbled upon.
I can't describe how much fun this trip was. It truly was an experience of a lifetime, "backpacking" for a week in Europe with  my best friend. We set off with no plan, no agenda and no expectations, and we just enjoyed the culture, the people, and the food. This trip left me with wanderlust. I'm itching to go back to Europe, and I have been daydreaming about Paris ever since we got back. It looks like it's time to start planning our next adventure...

08 April 2014

Color Blocking

One of my favorite fashion trends right now is "color blocking". I'm not big on patterns, and don't use them much in my personal style, so color blocking is the perfect trend to break from the neutral hues I typically wear. I didn't veer too far from my favorite neutral hues, but the yellow top and purple stripe on the skirt give my outfit just enough brightness for spring.

My favorite thing about this outfit is that it's versatile, because once the nights get warmer, an outdoor patio with seasonal ale on tap is the place to be after work. If you're anything like me though, you won't go out if you head home after work, so you need a look you can take from the office to happy hour.

This skirt is long enough for the office, and the blazer is the perfect accessory for your 9-5. Pair them with a cute tank that you can show off once you're off the clock, and you have the perfect spring workday look.

All pictures courtesy of Andi from My Beautiful Adventures
Shop items similar to the ones in this post below...

30 March 2014

European Vacation - Stop 2, Paris

Paris, oh Paris, I don't even know where to begin. To say I fell in love with this city would be an understatement, but I'll start from the beginning.

The second stop on our European vacation was Paris. We were taking the Chunnel Train from London to Paris and by this time Margaret and I had mastered the Tube (metro/bus) system in London, so we packed up our bags and took the Tube to the train station. We got to Paris and we were a little overwhelmed so just like we did in London, we took a cab from the train station to our hotel, but this time it was much cheaper.
Once we had settled into our hotel we only had about half a day to explore, but it was my birthday and I was determined to celebrate in style. We took the metro (which was very easy to navigate just like in London) to the square near the Moulin Rouge.Our first stop was a Parisian bakery, where we enjoyed macaroons, and then we settled into a quaint cafe on the square for pizza, creme brulee and a glass of wine. We continued my birthday celebration at the bars nears the Moulin Rouge, where I met a really cute boy. I guess you can say I had a "French" kiss, in Paris, on my 25th birthday. What else did you expect from the City of Love?
We made an effort to pack every single tourist stop into our second day in Paris. We had a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower, saw Notre Dame, the Louvre Museum, Arc de Triomphe, and Lovelock bridge. We sat at a cafe and enjoyed crepes and wandered the streets just soaking up the architecture and beautiful scenery.

The architecture is amazing, and all of the buildings are so well preserved. I fell in love with the balconies, tress, and rivers that make up the scenery. I could spend weeks wandering that city and have put it at the top of my list for places I want to visit again, and soon.
So many people have warned me about Paris. Telling me things like "The French are so mean, they hate Americans!" or "If you don't speak French you're going to be lost." Well, I'm here to tell you that we didn't experience any of those stereotypes. The people were extremely friendly, and although Margaret and I only speak minimal French, everyone was more than willing to help us when we asked questions in our broken French/English. Don't let what you hear stop you from visiting Paris because I'm telling you, the city is magical. Paris, Je T'aime.
The final stop on our vacation was Rome...

21 March 2014

European Vacation - Stop 1, London

My best friend and I just got back from one of the most amazing trips I’ve been on in my life. We took a week vacation and we traveled through Europe, visiting London, Paris and Rome. About a year ago we found a deal on Groupon that included airfare, transportation to each city, and hotels for each night.  Without thinking twice we booked it, but aside from those details we had no plan. We packed our backpacks and headed overseas, set on exploring the world.
The first stop was London. We flew all night from New York and made it to Heathrow Airport around 9 a.m. looking back on our trip we’ve come to the conclusion that we made one big mistake on our first day in each city. Our big mistake in London was taking a cab from Heathrow to our hotel. The metro system in London is super convenient, and cheap, but we were both too exhausted to try and figure out the route to our hotel. So we hopped in a cab which we seriously regretted doing after the total cost came out to be $140 dollars.
We spent that first half-day wandering around the area near our hotel, and had amazing Indian food for dinner, which many of you had recommended. The next day in London we made it our mission to visit all the big tourist spots. We saw Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, Big Ben, and walked around Oxford and Regents streets. My only regret was not going up the London Eye or in Westminster Abbey, but we just didn’t have time to do it all in one day.

That night Margaret found a hidden gem called Churchill Arms. It's a traditional pub with a Thai restaurant tucked in the back. If you're in London you have to eat dinner there, it was one of my favorite meals on our trip, plus the atmosphere is so unique!
I have two big observations from London. The first thing I noticed was how diverse the city is. There are people from all walks of life and all different backgrounds, but everyone seemed to blend together seamlessly. Being multicultural, I really appreciated that part of the city. The second thing I noticed was how well the men and women dressed. Everyone was so polished and posh. I fell in love with all the men in blazers, oxfords, and three piece suits. If only the men in America dressed as nice…
My mom went to college in London, so it was awesome to visit a city where she spent so much time when she was my age. She hasn’t been back since those days, and I think it would be so much fun to take a trip there together. My mom and I have always had this “soul sister” connection, and being in London I could feel just how similar she and I are, I totally understand why she loved the city.
After our two days in London we took a train to Paris...
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