Sequin Gowns & Mermaid Crowns : 2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Passions

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Throughout the course of your life, you'll notice that several questions continuously seem to pop up. In particular, I mean, is "what are you passionate about?" You'll hear this question a million times by the time you're 20 and it gets really old really fast. What does it even mean? How are we expected to know the answer to that question as a teenager, when our brains aren't even fully developed? You'll hear this question when you're in middle school, choosing an extra curricular activity; you'll hear it in high school when you're deciding where to go to college; and you'll hear it in college when you're searching for a career. Even once you've got a degree or two, people will still ask you. Even if you've been in a successful career for years, they will still ask. So what is it about passion that is just so darn important and sparks so much curiosity? And why are we constantly criticized for what our passions are, or are not?

Since I had a mind enough to understand what a "passion" was I have been critiqued for it, constructively and not. As I've grown to an adult, this question has haunted me and it's accompanying comments: you're not passionate about anything, you like too many things, that doesn't count. Being the self-critical and self-constructive person that I am, this repartee stayed with me and continues to challenge me and make me question myself.

If asked, I would describe myself as a passionate person. To me, passion stands for something you care deeply about. There are many things I care deeply about, for example, my writing or my singing. However, I'm also passionate about non-hobbies like my family and love in general. Now that last one is where people start to criticize and misunderstand me. A lot of people have one extremely strong, obvious passion, like an artist's life revolves around his art. Passions are commonly described by people as a hobby, or a career or family. But I've always been a little different. My entire adult life so far, I've hunted for my passion. Was it acting, singing, writing, design, fashion? I put my love into so many things, that I could never choose just one to focus on. I could never give one thing my entire heart, mind and soul.

Today, as I write, I am less than a month from turning 26 and I think I've finally figured it out. In recent past, I had decided my passion was family. After all, if I had to choose one thing out of all of those in that list, family would be it hands down. But it still didn't account for those other things I still felt strongly about.

Funny enough, my epiphany came after watching the final episode of Girl Boss. I won't spoil the ending for you, in case you haven't watched it, but something about what Sophia went through made me realize: my passion is that big 'ol L word--LOVE.

My entire being is fueled by love. Everything I care about is important to me and is amazing because of the love I put into it. This blog has succeeded thus far, because of the amount of love that goes into each and every post. I excel in school, because my love for learning sparks that fire under my ass to get it done. I feel that I am my best self when I am in love.

Now I'm not saying that I need a man to be happy. That's not completely true. I can be entirely content without a man in my life, however when your passion is love the feeling you get when you have that unconditional love of a man that choses to love you is just unmatched. And the feeling I get when I have a man that I have chosen to give my love feels just as grand.

I'd always struggled with figuring out my passion, and I'd always claimed to be "just a relationship person," but I had never found the connection between the two. Why am I always happier when I'm with someone? Because I am fueled, I am driven by love and having someone to share that with is amazing. And I know a lot of people will say, "can't you give your love to your family and friends?" The answer there is yes, but it's just not the same. If you've ever loved someone romantically, you understand what I'm getting at. I'm counting on you to back me up on this.

But for as long as I can remember I have loved love. I love romance, I love affection, I love caring for someone and I love being in love. Love has always been the driving force in my life, whether it was being given or received. Love is my passion and everything I put that love into means something special to me. And I now feel like more a complete person finally understanding that about myself!

Where do your passions lie? Are you struggling to understand your's just like I did with mine? Discuss in the comments! I'm happy to give advice on this and connect with you on this very intellectual and spiritual level <3

XO, Briana

Friday, May 5, 2017

Lancôme Love!


Hello lovlies! I realize it's been a while since I've posted and I apologize. I'll start with my usual spiel: I'm graduating on Saturday, so the past month has been hectic blah de blah de blah. You get the gist. But I do have some great reviews lined up, so keep your eyes peeled for more regular posts from me! On that note, let's get down to business!

Recently, I was lucky enough to be chosen by Influenster to try and review and entire collection of Lancôme products! I'd heard some great things about the foundation in particular so I was really excited to get my hands on it! The group includes the Teint Idole Ultra Long Wear Foundation SPF 15(in 250 Bisque-W), the Teint Idole Ultra Long Wear Camouflage Concealer(in 220 C Buff), the Click & Glow Highlighting Skin Fluid(in Lumières de'Or), and the Le Métallique Metallic Lip Laquer(in Mirrored Nude.)

Let's start with the foundation! This was the one I was most excited about, after hearing NikkiTutorials rave about it for months. The first time I put it on, I wasn't super impressed, but I realized I wasn't using enough and that my dump beauty blender seemed to dilute it a bit. When I tried it again with a bit more product, I fell in love. I need a bit more coverage in certain spots and this foundation did the trick! It's super buildable, but still pretty high coverage to begin with. Unlike a lot of high coverage foundations, this one feels light in comparison and doesn't make you feel like a total cake face. It's a photoshop finish without piling on the product! I have mostly dry skin, and it felt nice: not drying or oily at all! The color matched me perfectly without a tan, which I will now have to use a good deal of bronzer to wear it now haha! But the wide range of colors and tones makes for an easy match! Also, Lancôme was not kidding when they said ultra long wear. This baby lasts and this is coming from someone who starts their day at 5am and goes to bed at 10pm some days. I put it on, went to work, came home, napped for a few hours and it still looked flawless! Definitely would recommend it for anyone looking for a medium-high buildable coverage!
My silly face with just foundation.
Next up is the concealer. Unfortunately, the color on this wasn't as easy to match so it was kind of hard for me to judge. I'm hoping to update when I have a deeper tan, however I still think it will be too cool toned for me. But I'll base this review mostly on the formula. This is a great concealer for blemishes and other things you want to cover, but I wouldn't recommend it for under the eyes. I liked it to cover up a couple of scars that I have. I usually have trouble covering them, but this concealer erased them like magic. I wish so much that the color was right because I would absolutely use it regularly! On the opposite end, I found that the formula was really super oily and shiny to a fault. It didn't bother me on the scars but when I used it under my eyes I had to choice but to bake, which still didn't mattefy the area completely. It did a good job with coverage, but I'm still pretty attached to my Tarte Shape Tape for my under eyes.
Another silly face with foundation and concealer.
The highlighting fluid was pretty cool and something different. I had never tried a liquid highlighter, so I was absolutely curious! This one gave a subtle golden glow and it was beautiful on the cheekbones. I'm used to the more powder metallic highlighters, but the liquid made it seem more like a "glowing from within" look than the "I just smeared unicorn blood on my face" look (which I happen to enjoy by the way lol.) It was very easy to use and great for travel. It does have an applicator tip but I would recommend using that if you're not applying on top of powder. I just put some on my finger and dabbed it on. Overall, I think it's really pretty and something out of the box!
Check out that glow though!!

Finally is the lip lacquer. Lancôme describes it as full coverage, however I found the color I got came off more as a gloss. It may have been because the color was very close to my lips but regardless, it was very pretty on. I did also try it as a lip topper over a nude lipstick and that looked nice too! So I think it's a versatile product that feels nice and hydrating on the lips. I would be curious to try one of the bolder colors.

Overall, I think Lancôme's Teint Idole collection has a lot to offer! My favorite was definitely the foundation, but I will absolutely use the other products as well! Below is a completed look featuring all of the Lancôme products. Have you tried any of these? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! Much thanks to Lancôme and Influenster for letting me try these for free!

XO, Briana

Monday, March 27, 2017

Grace & Frankie

Not only have I become totally obsessed with the show, Grace and Frankie, but I have also come to the realization that those characters are pretty much the two parts to my personality. Gemini's are often referred to as having "split personalities," however it's not always a devil and angel situation. In my case, one of my twins is just like Grace: a driven, hyper organized career woman. The other twin, however, is just like Frankie: a free spirited, bohemian artist.

Having to cater to both of these personalities can be really difficult! Making decisions is a constant struggle, because I often can't satisfy them both. Recently, I've been trying to decide what I want to do after I graduate. Looking at the big picture, the type of job I want is pretty specific.  In my Grace state of mind I think, "Go to New York. That is where you'll find the most opportunities and the biggest job market in your field." But then Frankie chimes in: "But it's the North and there's winter and it's cold and there's no beach."

Like, obviously Grace's idea makes much more sense and is in charge of my logic system. She focuses on the best options and what will make me successful. But then Frankie is the center of my happiness. She knows that even though something makes more sense, it's not necessarily going to make me happy.

I know it sounds like it, but I promise I'm not schizophrenic. I'm simply excited about this metaphor that finally has allowed me to explain what it's like to have two very different parts of yourself and also helps me understand why I often feel conflicted. I can now more easily assess each part to my argument and decide whether to listen to one or compromise with both.

I guess the moral of this story is that if you find yourself having a crisis and can't understand why, just break it down!

XO, Briana

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Insta-addicted


Woah hey, where did February go?! That short little month just flew right by and I'm just now realizing I didn't post at all last month! I am so sorry for that. Life has been a bit chaotic lately, but in a good way! I got a big girl job (yay!) as an editor and prompter operator at a local news station which is pretty exciting.  I'm loving it already! With that, I have been working a lot in addition to my retail job AND school. So I'm like, pretty busy, but not enough to warrant a good excuse and for that I am sorry! I was on a roll posting once a week and I'm going to get back on that horse again starting NOW!

So for today's lovely little post I've decided to talk to you about how addicted I am to Instagram.  Like, it's really bad.  Whenever I have a free moment, I'm most likely checking my follower count, scrolling through my feed or searching for new people to follow. I like to call it, "instal-addicted." In all of my 'gramming, I've noticed that I tend to gravitate toward similar themes for lack of a better word, so I thought I'd just do a little roundup!

Anything Tropical


If there are beaches, palm trees or waves involved I've probably liked it and followed your profile because I just can't get enough! I love everything tropical.  Blame it on my Caribbean blood or my severe case of wanderlust.

Beachy/Bohemian Style


Well obviously you all well know that I am a fashion girl.  So pretty much any clothes I see that I would want to wear get my double tap. I particularly like things that are either super bohemian or surfer girl chic. Also there's the occasional couture gown or fashion show runway video. Love those too!

Makeup, makeup, MAKEUP!


Again, you know I am a makeup addict.  I love seeing the newest products, cool new looks and mini-tutorials! They inspire my own looks and help me add to that ever growing list of new things I want to buy.

The Bohemian Home


I've recently gotten really into home decor, and I love the super bohemian beach shack style (as you saw in my Happy Little Mess post a few weeks ago.) I'm slowly collecting a small mountain of ideas to implement when I finally get my own place!

Really Funny Shit/Really Cute Animals





Memes and puppies essentially.  Who doesn't love a good laugh or a puppy passed out on a steering wheel? I mean, come on.

Oddly Satisfying Videos


This miscellaneous category includes but is not limited to: calligraphy, cake decorating, weaving and mandala coloring.

Acaí Bowls


These take over my likes page mostly because they are really pretty and I know I'll never be able to make them.

XO, Briana

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

COVERGIRL Outlast & So Lashy!


I was lucky enough to receive a whole bunch of amazing products from COVERGIRL recently and I'm so excited to share them all with you!! You all know I've tried tons and tons of different makeup products at this point and let me tell you, these are pretty fantastic! I'm a little hesitant when it comes to some drugstore brands, just because I've used so many awesome premier brands.  But lately I've been trying to find things that are more affordable, because honestly I'm pretty broke from the holidays lol. COVERGIRL has always been one of my favorites and constantly delivers! That has not changed with this new line of Outlast All-Day products.  

I'll go through each product individually, as they all deserve equal attention! Above is me before using any of the products. I'm just wearing foundation. Man, those dark circles are something...


Ok, so this is the COVERGIRL Outlast All-Day Soft Touch Concealer.  The applicator tip makes it easy to apply under my eyes as well as on anything else I need to cover (i.e. blemishes and redness.)  I used a small beauty blender to blend it in, but you could just as easily use your finger.  The coverage is great and it definitely lasted all day! My only qualm was the color; it seemed to be a little too pink for me.  So I may go out and buy the right color, but I've still been using it and mixing in a little bit of white to even out the color!  


This is the COVERGIRL Outlast All-Day Matte Finishing Powder and it is my favorite. I usually go for a loose powder to set my makeup, but this pressed powder is so versatile! You can use it with the application it comes with for a super matte finish, which I like to do on my more oily spots, or you can use a big fluffy brush for a nice, even finish.  In this picture, I used the applicator on my whole face.  I don't really use it much like this because it's a little too much for my normal makeup. However, I would use it this way if I was trying to do a really intense, full face.  Overall, I really love this powder!



So this one isn't a part of the Outlast collection, but it is still COVERGIRL! I also got this one from Influenster and used it in this almost all CG look!  It's called the COVERGIRL So Lashy! BlastPRO Mascara.  Honestly, for this a picture is worth a thousand words.  I mean, look at my lashes! They look like falsies! They're long, voluminous, and well separated.  It's basically the Better Than Sex of drugstore mascara. But lets talk about that wand for a second. Weird, right? I wasn't sure about it at first, because it was a little hard to use.  But once I figured it out it worked wonders! Basically I just twist the wand as I'm applying the mascara to really get the full glory of the wand.  Plus, the little ball like end is great for grabbing those baby, lower lashes! Absolutely love this and would definitely recommend it!


The last, but definitely not least, of the Outlast collection is the COVERGIRL Outlast All-Day Color and Gloss.  First, this color is BAE.  I'm a sucker for coral and when I found out that was the shade I was getting (Coral Crave) I may have done a little happy dance.  This is a breath of fresh air in comparison to all of the dark, matte liquid lipsticks I've been wearing. The base color lasted pretty much all day but I did have to reapply the gloss once or twice. Nothing out of the ordinary.  The good thing is that the base color stays even if the gloss wears off so you always have a nice punch of color! I also got tons of compliments on it! I can't wait until spring so I can wear this regularly!


Here's the full look! I honestly love all of the products and they have made their way into my usual rotation! I felt great that day because my makeup looked great and lasted all day! Much thanks to Influenster and COVERGIRL for allowing me to try all of these wonderful things for free! As always, all opinions are my own.


Have you tried any of these products? What did you think? Comment and start up the conversation! 

XO, Briana

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Happy Little Mess

Recently I've been day dreaming a lot about where I want to live after I graduate. Somewhere that's always warm and sunny where I can walk outside and be on a beach. I can actually see my little bungalow in my mind's eye, full of details from the wallpaper to the dishes in my cabinet.  An image of myself that reminds me of one of Lilly Pulitzer (below) will not escape my mind; me standing on the lanai in a silk printed robe, tan and with the biggest smile on my face.


Although this is a "dream" for a reason; it may be a bit far fetched for my financial status, but you gotta dream big baby! So I've put together a collection of photos from Pinterest & Instagram that really spoke to my dream house vision. I like to call it my happy little mess!




XO, Briana

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Let's Talk About: Winter Blues


It's that time of the year again, where the days are short, sunshine is in short supply and tons of people find themselves at home all day wrapped up in a blanket feeling like total crap.  If you are one of those people (I know I am) then you've come to the right blog post.

According to Mental Health America, about 5% of the U.S. population suffer from what is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  It is a form of depression that is prevalent during the winter months.  Interestingly enough, the further away you are from the equator, the more likely you are to experience SAD.

As a victim of general depression, I am absolutely susceptible to SAD and I hate it.  I notice it effects me more when I don't have a million things to do.  For example, I just started back to school after a very busy winter break.  I only have one class and hours at work have been cut so I've found myself sitting around the house a LOT.  I didn't recognize the symptoms at first, since it hasn't been as bad since I've moved down South.  However, this morning when I found myself glued to my recliner watching reruns of American Dad thinking "why do I have zero motivation to do anything," I realized I was just taking in my yearly dose of SAD.

The hardest thing about SAD is that you are constantly tired and don't want to do anything; and I mean anything.  Even all of the things I had planned to do today that were super fun made me cringe. All I wanted to do was sit there and wallow in self pity: I'm tired. I'm hungry. Everything hurts. Why do I still have a cold? I just want to sleep.  

Well no. I did not allow myself to do that.  Yes it takes a crap ton of willpower to peel your ass off the couch and do something.  Believe me, I didn't always have it in me.  And some days I still don't! But after years of dealing with depression and finding ways to get past it, I keep a few tricks up my sleeve for almost tricking yourself into feeling better.

Do something that seems productive but really isn't


What do I mean by this? Come up with some activities that make you feel like you're getting something accomplished but really don't make a ton of difference.  The perfect examples come from self care.  Get a shower, moisturize, put on a face mask and chill.  These may sound silly and like things you do on a regular day, but if you're feeling as low as I was earlier, you probably will be hesitant to do those too.  Basically, by doing something that got me up and moving and feeling like I was being productive, I got my brain in the mindset to continue my productivity.

Take baby steps


By doing things that are only a tiny bit productive, I'm slowly introducing myself into the productive mindset.  This works better, I find, than just trying to push myself into doing something very taxing like cleaning or exercising.  By taking baby steps, I've been able to slowly engage in more productive activities like writing this post.


Sunlight and Vitamin D


Everything I've read on SAD suggests getting as much Vitamin D as possible.  In the past, I've even been prescribed the vitamin because mine was so low.  I suggest popping over to your nearest pharmacy and getting in on some of those vitamin gummies.  Not only will they help your body adjust to the sunless winter months, but they are also delicious and much more fun than taking a pill.

I've also seen several suggestions for light therapy.  I've never tried it, but it seems to be something that really helps people with SAD.  Personally, I'm lucky enough to live in the South where I get a good amount of sunshine during the day.  So if it is sunny out, make sure to at least open up your blinds and let it shine in!

Create a happy environment 


Once you are able to get yourself moving, create a happy and uplifting environment.  I put on my summer playlist while I got my shower and lit a beach scented candle.  Summertime is my happy place, so using things that reminded me of that definitely made me feel better.  I also plan on painting my nails a fun color and put on some fun and comfy clothes.

Move where it's warm


This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately.  Like I mentioned earlier, the closer you are to the equator, the less likely you are to suffer from SAD.  I also personally hate the cold and want to live in an eternal summer.  So if you have the ability and desire to fly south for the winter (or for, like, ever) then do it.  You'll probably be a lot happier!

Check out my "Health" board on Pinterest for more information on SAD and other ways to help with depression.


What do you do to get yourself out of a winter slump? Have you tried any of these suggestions? Let me know in the comments!

XO, Briana

Monday, January 9, 2017

Power Playlist


Music always makes me feel great! It can instantly change my mood depending on what I decide to listen to. As a music addict, I'm obsessed with Spotify.  I love it because I have access to just about anything I might want to hear at the touch of a finger and I can make awesome playlists tailored to any occasion.  Recently, I've had my "Power" playlist on repeat!  I put together a bunch of songs that make me feel badass and like I run the damn world.  #GirlPower. This isn't nearly all of them, but a few of my current favorites! Hope they make you feel as unstoppable as they make me feel! What kind of playlists do you have? Comment with your favorites or your craziest/most oddly specific ones!

XO, Briana

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wishes for 2017


Happy New Year everyone! In an attempt to not be cliche, I've decided to do a quick round up of my wishes for the new year instead of making "resolutions."  I guess I would define "wishes" as things that I will strive for and hope will happen, but won't beat myself up if they don't.  It's like a resolution without the built in guilt factor!