Sequin Gowns & Mermaid Crowns

Monday, December 4, 2017

Holiday Party Etiquette

As we quickly approach the holiday season, I'm sure many of us are thinking about all of the parties and gatherings we will be attending! I know I'm already planning my outfits! However, there is one thing that, I personally feel, people don't often take into consideration anymore: etiquette.

Back in the day, when dinner parties were a weekly occasion and people dressed in their Sunday best just to eat a meal at their neighbor's house, etiquette was held to the highest standard. They even had books dedicated to it and it was taught in schools.

Today, people just kind of do whatever they want and say "screw you" to rules. But I really do think it's a lost art of manners that a lot of people still expect. So as a refresher, and so no one gets offended this holiday season, here is a list of party etiquette standards that should still be followed...if you want to be the perfect party guest that is!


To start, I really dug this quote from Slate: "RSVP abbreviates the French phrase Répondez s'il vous plaît, which means please reply, as is known by every adult worthy of receiving an invitation to anything good." Well said sir. The phrase has been around for quite some time and it's meaning seems to have become more loosely translated in recent years.

However, proper etiquette dictates that, in the event of receiving an invitation, one must respond in a timely manner. In the olden way of doing things, your lack of response would be taken as an acceptance. So basically, if you plan to come, respond as soon as possible. If you intend not to come, let the host know. The whole point of an RSVP is to get a head count for party preparations. No need for the host to make food for 30 if only 15 decide to show up. Save them the money, and stay on the list for the next party.

I also want to briefly touch on Facebook invitations. These same rules still apply! The only difference is your option to select "maybe." If you choose to do this, you should change your response to a yes or no as soon as you decide.

2. Mind the Dress Code

Some parties you may attend this holiday season may state a dress code. Depending on the venue and style of party, there are certain styles of dress that could be inappropriate.  Brush up on what each dress code means and make sure your are dressed appropriately. Most house/dinner parties will likely be semi-casual, which would be nice jeans and a blouse for ladies and jeans or khakis and a button down for guys (as and example.) Fancier parties will probably be cocktail attire, which is a cocktail (short or tea length) dress for ladies and dress pants and shirt with tie for the guys. Remember, it's better to be overdressed than underdressed! Bonus: if you're struggling for outfit ideas just search "holiday party outfits" on Pinterest! [Side note: Jean Wang of seriously knows how to slay the holiday outfit game!]

3. Actually Show Up

If you let your host know that you intend to attend, actually show up. Unless there is some kind of an emergency (anything important that requires your full attention) you should always stay good to your word. Obviously, if something comes up at the last minute, like your babysitter backing out, your host will understand and not hold you accountable. Deciding not to come at the last minute simply because "you don't feel like it" is totally unacceptable and will get you on the host's shit list real quick. Even if you lie, it's likely the host will see right through it, especially if it's close to the start of the party. Which leads me to another point: if you need to cancel, try to let the host know as early as possible. They're expecting you, so save them the worry by giving them a heads up. It's not the job of the host to have to track you down!

Also make sure you arrive on time! Some parties may have a specific start time and some may not. Make sure you know the answer to this question and arrive at the assigned time. If you must be late, let your host know and try not to be past 15 minutes: fashionably late. Fun fact: arriving more than 10 minutes (or so) early is actually just as unbecoming as being late. Coming too early leaves your host no time for last minute preparations. Best course of action is just to arrive at the start time!

4. DON'T Bring an Uninvited Guest

There are three major rules to this. One, only bring a guest if you are given a plus one on your invitation. Two, if you are invited and want to bring your SO, always ask the host unless you are all friends. Three, never just show up with an uninvited guest. It makes it very uncomfortable for the host, especially if the party is at their home. Also, that's now another person they need to make sure there is enough food and drink for.

5. DO Bring a Gift

When attending a house party, it is appropriate to bring a gift for your host. A bottle of wine is usually standard or bring something they can use for entertaining! Try a cool kitchen gadget or a parlor game! Or, if these aren't your style, ask your host before hand if there's anything you can bring. Finally, if you bring something, do NOT take it back with you when you leave! And don't take anything home (food and drink-wise) unless the host insists.

6. Be Present

The worst kind of party guest is the one who sits on the couch on their phone the whole time! Put your phone away and only break it out for photos or if your showing something as a part of a conversation. The whole point of parties is to get people to spend time together! Enjoy the company of others and spend your time mingling and making memories!

P.S. This links to a great article on what not to do at your office holiday party!!

7. Mind Your Timing

If the party has an end time, you should plan to leave at that time or just a bit earlier. What is appropriate kind of depends on the type of party and the venue. If there is an open ended time, try to feel the room and make your exit when the party seems to have come to a natural end.  If it's an all nighter kind of thing, stay for a couple hours at least and leave when you're ready! Just never leave without saying goodbye to your host!

Another thing to note: don't overstay your welcome. If everyone else has left and you notice your host looks tired, make your way out!

There are a lot of more specifics depending on the type of party, so if your not sure do a quick google search! Also, this is a really great interview with Derek Blasberg, author of Classy: Exceptional Advice for the Extremely Modern Lady and it's sequel Very Classy. Both books are totally worth a read!

XO, Briana

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Erno Laszlo Vitamin C Peel

Hey everyone! Welcome to cold weather season! Ew! LOL. Even though I hate anything below 72 degrees, I try to make the best of it by enjoying time indoors. *Insert Spongebob's ode to indoors song*
Related image

Anyway, for me that means lots of Netflix and face masks. You know ya girl loves a good face mask! So winter is a good time to try a bunch of different ones to combat that dry, dull skin. I had the pleasure of getting to test out the Erno Laszlo White Marble Dual Phase Vitamin C Peel, thanks to Influenster!

I was really excited to try this one because I'd never tested anything like it before. But wowie, this one is a beauty!

It works in two steps. First you open the jar that smells of a delicious orange grove; slightly reminiscent of the end of the Soarin' ride in Disney World. This part of the peel works as an exfoliant. You apply a thin, even layer and massage it in for up to 3 minutes. Then the second step is the activator or the chemical part of the peel. Fill the syringe and mix it into the exfoliant already on your face. Let that sit for 1 minute, rinse with warm water and viola! A quick five minutes for great results if you ask me!

Speaking of which...the results! Here's a before and after.

As you can clearly see, there was a huge difference after just one use! First of all, as I said in my Instagram story, my face has never felt this soft. Like, I actually couldn't stop feeling it! On top of that, my skin was glowing and looking almost airbrushed compared to the before picture. 

You can use this once a week, which is nice to have as a part of your routine, and it's a lot of fun to use. I also really liked how quick and easy it was. I think it will come in handy if I'm having a bad skin day and need a quick fix! I'd definitely recommend it to use before applying makeup to give you a super smooth base to work with! Bonus: it's chock-full of healthy ingredients like Vitamin C (obviously), carrot seed oil and lactic acid. 

Overall I really enjoyed this mask/peel and would 100% recommend it! It is a little pricey, coming in at $100, but a good idea for your Christmas list! It's available at Sephora as well as the official Erno Laszlo site. 

Have you tried this peel yet or any other products from Erno Laszlo? Let's chat in the comments!

XO, Briana

Monday, October 30, 2017

My Journey with Depression

I've been thinking about this a lot lately and thought I'd share my story. I feel like I'm an open book, so if I can in any way help others who are suffering from depression and/or anxiety than it's totally worth opening up about!

I was talking with my mom the other day about my journey with depression. She has had it for a long time, as well as my aunt so it runs in the family. I do want to put a quick disclaimer in saying that I have not been clinically diagnosed with depression or anxiety, but the shoe fits. I do also suffer from anxiety, which I will touch on, but I want to focus on depression for this particular post!

One of the things I brought up was the fact that I didn't realize that I was suffering from severe depression until way after I came out of it. It's almost like an out of body experience, looking back on myself now with fresh eyes. I didn't really start to experience depression until college. I had a lot on my plate: I was away from home for the first time, living on my own for the first time and dealing with the stress of classes and meeting new people. I think I was alright for the first few years because it was such a unique and exciting experience. However, I also traveled home once a month to visit which probably helped the situation.

My senior year is really when I can recall first experiencing severe symptoms of depression. At the time I blamed it all on being stressed out. I am a perfectionist (#anxiety) so stress comes quite easy for me. So having so many things to worry about and big responsibilities, like designing makeup for A Midsummer Night's Dream, just tipped me over the edge. Plus I was working two jobs and had a lot of drama with friends. It was pretty rough. And I also didn't get to visit home as much because I simply didn't have time.

To the symptoms. I didn't want to do anything. And I mean anything. Just getting out of bed half of the time was an absolute chore. I was constantly sick, whether it was a cold or allergies or just feeling like my whole body was hit by a Mac truck. I missed class a lot, called out from meetings and work, flaked out on spending time with friends and spent a lot of time watching marathons of Bar Rescue. Through it all, I really just thought I was tired from running all the time and that my body couldn't handle it. I was suffering and I didn't know why. I wanted to do all of these things, but my body just wouldn't let me. One of the things I want to note is that, although it is common, I didn't often feel sad. I did have certain days when I felt sad for no reason, which I could recognize. But more often than not, I just felt oppressive fatigue more on the end of nothingness. Just general "blah." I can't recall feeling much else, honestly.  I also gained a lot of weight, which I attributed to stress and eating crap. Not so much.

It wasn't until my mom pointed it out that I realized I was in a deep, dark battle with depression. My parents came down for a visit and my mom sat me down and said, "you're really angry." Now if you know me at all, you know that I am not an angry person. I'm probably one of the most chill people you know. But at this point at time I was the freakin' Hulk. Any little thing set me off, and the fact that I didn't notice until someone else did is a little scary. How can your entire personality shift without you even realizing? My biggest issue was that even though my mom had explained depression to me in the past, I was so far deep that I couldn't even recognize the symptoms. Luckily, that conversation with my mom was enough to wake me up and realize what was going on. Just being armed with that knowledge of what triggered me and what I was feeling, I was able to combat it and heal.

I think moving back home definitely helped. It alleviated a lot of my stress, and being with my family always makes me happy. I slowly got better and am lucky to have not experienced a really bad episode like that in many years. However, in retrospect, I so wish I had figured it out sooner. I missed a lot of opportunities and my schoolwork and relationships suffered as well. Part of me wishes I could get a do over for that year, but everything happens for a reason. I think I needed to experience that so that when I start to fall into that rabbit hole again I am ready to pull myself out. I haven't felt the need to get medication for my depression, since it is pretty mild at this point. My anxiety on the other hand is a different story, one that is for another day. With depression, I find that I am able to recognize my patterns and I prevent it by really taking care of myself mentally.

I still have to fight sometimes to get out of bed in the morning, but at least now I can tell the difference between depression weighing me down and just plain 'ol exhaustion! I'm happy to share my story and help you guys understand that depression is not always totally apparent. If any of you want to share your stories, ask/share advice, or just need someone to talk to I am always here! We can chat in the comments, or you can message me privately through my Facebook page!

XO, Briana