Sequin Gowns & Mermaid Crowns

Sunday, December 1, 2019

My favorite fashion tricks and shopping tips


Since I was little, I have been into fashion and clothing. Over the years, I've picked up a few trick and mantras for my fashion and accessory choices. So here are a few of my favorites!

The wise words of Coco Chanel


This one always stuck with me and I'm not sure why. I'm at the point now where I don't even think about it anymore! The very chic designer suggests removing one accessory before leaving the house.

I don't always follow this exact rule, especially when layering necklaces, etc. But it's a good mantra to have if your still new at fashionably accessorizing.

(TalkinFrench.com/Vogue)

In this case, my advice would be to follow this for more stand-out pieces. For example, you don't want to wear big, dangley earrings, a statement necklace and a cuff bracelet. Why? More often than not, it's just too much going on. Same goes for a bold shoe choice.

If you have too many things going on, the eye doesn't know where to go.

So for jewelry, choose between a statement earring and a statement necklace and go from there. With shoes, make sure they match the vibe of your outfit and other accessories. You don't want to pair a chunky, glitter heel with a very prim and proper shift dress!

Dress it up!


I always like to use accessories and top pieces to dress up a rather casual look. A plain t-shirt and jeans can easily become more fashionable by adding a statement necklace or earrings, a jacket and a pair of heels; or one of the three!

For a casual but put together look, I like to go by the rule of three. If you are wearing three pieces, its hard to look overly casual! If you're feeling a little under dressed, keep this in mind and toss on a cardigan, vest, kimono or jacket to achieve that goal!

I love wearing palazzo pants (you know, the really wide leg pants made with really comfy fabric.) Sometimes they can read as pajamas if they're not properly styled! Throwing on my favorite denim jacket always takes the look up a notch!

Your makeup changes your look


Some people don't really think about this, especially if you're not really into makeup, but what you put on your face is just as much an accessory as a bracelet or a belt!

If you want to dress up a more casual outfit, go for a bolder makeup look like a glittery eye or bright lipstick.

If you want to dress down a more elegant look, go for a more minimal, natural makeup look.

Wearing a fancy dress for a party or night out? Add to the glam factor by doing a more nighttime-inspired makeup look like a dark smokey eye.

I like to use this trick when I want to be comfortable but also still look put together. I could be wearing just jeans and a cute tee, but I dress it up a little by doing a more "natural glam" makeup look instead of going bare-faced.

Better to be overdressed than under-dressed


More often than not, I wind up being overdressed for parties and events. It may have something to do with growing up in the city, but I just always feel like nightclubs call for sparkles and heels. Living in beach towns, that's not always the case since the entire vibe of the area is a little more casual.

(Fashion Fee)

Either way, I'd ALWAYS rather be overdressed than under-dressed. There's nothing more uncomfortable than showing up somewhere in jeans when everyone else is wearing a dress. I'd definitely prefer being the fabulous one in a dress and heels surrounded by people in jeans and tees.

That may be a personal preference, but looking extra put together is better than seeming sloppy or out of touch.

Invest in high-quality


Growing up I had two fashion angels on my shoulders: my parents. They each have different ways of shopping, which are both good in the right situations. Growing up shopping with my mom, she always was looking for a bargain. However, she also got carried away sometimes, buying things mainly because they were cheap and not for any real reason. That taught me that it's good to find a good sale (there's really no better feeling than seeing that "YOU SAVE X AMOUNT OF DOLLARS!" at the bottom of your receipt) but for the right reasons.

My dad also loves a sale, but saves his purchasing for high end items at discounted prices. So for every 10, $5 tops my mom would by at Fashion Bug (anyone else remember that store?) my dad would buy a Dolce and Gabbana shirt.

(Huffington Post)

So what did I learn from watching them? A few things actually: Quality is key; Sales are good, but don't go crazy; invest in better quality brands and closet staples and buy cheap on trendy items.

What I like to do is find those better brands that I love, like Free People, Nike, etc., and get them at deep discounts OR I'll buy ONE thing I really love at full price or less of a discount and nothing more.

For more trendy, lower quality items that you'll probably not use too often or will be out of style after one season, I turn to stores that have big sales on already inexpensive things.

Buy what you love


This one may have come to me through a combination of having WAY too many clothes and Marie Kondo in my head saying, "but does it spark joy?"

Regardless, one thing that helps me decide whether or not to make a purchase is by asking myself, "Do you LOVE it?"

That is my first line of defense. If I have any hesitation at ALL of whether I actually like it or not, I don't buy it. My thought process is, if my closet is full of things I absolutely love, I'm more likely to actually wear it all and not have a closet full of things that still have tags.


If the item is a little more expensive than I would have liked, I still may decide not to buy it, but to do that, I think about how often I'd wear it; is it worth the money for the amount of use I'll get out of it. Then I also look at what else I'm planning to buy. Sometimes, I'll put other things back to make room for the one more expensive item that I "have to have."

The only things I will buy that aren't necessarily things I'd be jumping for joy about are basics, like t-shirts that are the right color to match a certain pair of pants or something like that. But for unique, stand-out pieces, this is my method.

Embrace your shape


Dressing for your body shape can really make a huge difference! Certain styles and cuts are made to flatter specific body types.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not telling you what you "can and cannot" wear. I'm just saying, certain styles can really elevate your look by highlighting your favorite things about your body!

For me personally, and I'm sure for most of you, I have things I like and I have my problem spots. My shape is curvy but not busty. I have a nice waist and a big bum, but my problem area is my stomach. Using clothing, I am able to mold my body to appear what I'd like it to look like. Think of it like makeup. You're highlighting the assets and covering up the imperfections.


So for me, I like to buy things that will hide my tummy and nip in my smallest part, which is my waist. An a-line dress is my best friend. Some of you may favor your bust, so show 'em off (but please, keep it classy lol)

Also, on a somewhat related note, if you are on the curvy side, please don't feel like you have to cover everything up with baggy t-shirts and moo-moos!

And if you're really not comfortable in anything fitted, regardless of your shape, you can totally rock the oversized trend without looking sloppy! Just choose items that are made to be oversized and buy it in the appropriate size.

Pieces labeled "oversized" are cut specifically to still flatter the wearer while still having that comfy, baggy effect. Buying a regular shirt but three sizes too big isn't the same and doesn't always work out!

I could go on for days about my fashion decisions and shopping tips, but I'll leave those for another day! What are your favorite tricks and tips?

XO, Briana

Saturday, November 23, 2019

A decade of skincare


No doubt by now if you are on the internet on a regular basis, you've seen everyone doing the #TenYearChallenge.

I admit I did jump on the bandwagon and post photos a decade apart, mostly because I was intrigued to see how much I've changed. And honestly, 28-year-old me doesn't look all that different from 17-year-old me.


(Left: Feb. 2009 - Age 17 | Right: Oct. 2019 - Age 28)

A lovely, kind friend of mine who inspired this post told me I look exactly the same and that she needed to know my skincare routine.

In photos, sure I look the same, but IRL, there are definitely some wrinkles and fine lines that weren't there before, lol. They're unavoidable unless you've found the fountain of youth or something. But I like to think my years of taking care of my skin have helped!

So what I thought I'd do is a little look back at the last 10 years of my skincare regimen. Now, I will not act like I remember every, single product I've used, but there are a few that stick out in my mind that I will share with you!

The early years


When I was young, my mom always pushed me to take care of my skin. Wash your face. Take your makeup off. Moisturize. Most of the time I listened, but sometimes I just didn't feel like it or forgot. You know how teenagers are. My mom swears I have O.D.D. (Oppositional defiance disorder lol) Back then I would have fought her on that one. Now, not so much, lol.

Summer 2009 - Age 18

Anyway, thanks to her, I started taking my skincare seriously at an early age. It's definitely gotten much more complex over the years, but I also feel like the older I get, the more products I need.

The first skincare products I remember using were from Mary Kay. At the time, my mom was a consultant. I had the "Velocity" line, which I'm pretty sure doesn't exist anymore. It was made specifically for teens. Apparently, you can get it on Amazon for an astronomical price, but I wouldn't advise that lol.

Mary Kay Velocity line (Credit: eBay)

Anyway, it was a set with a face cleanser and a moisturizer. Easy enough. I also used Ponds Cold Cream to remove my makeup. Super old school and inspired by my great-grandmother who used it for years and had amazing skin.

Early 20s


In college, I think I probably slacked off more than I did before since I didn't have my mom there to bug me about it, but I remember still using the Ponds Cold Cream to remove my makeup. I didn't wear a lot back then. It wasn't until I got midway through college that I really got into trying new products.

At one point, I discovered that Ponds made makeup wipes, so I began to religiously use those. They were a lot easier than the cold cream! I still use them on occasion, but I've realized they're actually a little too drying for my skin.

March 2011 - Age 19

Also during this time, I discovered Lush. Boy this stuff is great. I was really into using things that were organic and Lush had it all.

Some of my favorites were the Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub, the Tea Tree Water Toner, the Ultrabland all-purpose cleanser (which I used as makeup remover) and the set I still use to this day: Mint Julips Lip Scrub and beeswax lip balm. I will admit, they are the original set I purchased probably at least five years ago and I probably should replace them.


Left: Mint Julips | Right: Ocean Salt Scrub (Credit: Lush)

I've used many other products from Lush over the years and still really love it! It was definitely a step up quality-wise and price-wise from my routine at the time. I added in a toner and exfoliant, plus other things that weren't for everyday use.

Another product I started using around this time—serums. My God, does a good Vitamin C serum work wonders for me. I think the first one I used was the InstaNatural Vitamin C serum.


Mid-20s


After graduating college and starting a blog, that's when I really started to get into testing new beauty products. I discovered many things that were loved and lost over the years, but some of them stuck.

I got to try out everything from drugstore to high-end lines. One line that I discovered is the Neutrogena Hydro Boost line, which I still love today. It's a great range of hydrating products at a reasonable price. But it's still great quality. My favorite is the Hydro Boost Gel-Cream. It's likely my favorite moisturizer ever and is made specifically for extra-dry skin. All of the products contain my favorite ingredient. If you don't already know, that's hyaluronic acid.


At this point I upped my game, completing a religious daily routine: cleanser, toner, eye cream, serum, moisturizer. I ALWAYS took my makeup off before bed, unless on very VERY rare days that I was too tired/drunk to care. Which I could probably count on one hand, lol.


It's also around this time that I really got into face masks. I love a good face mask and I still try to do at least one a week. But I'm old and tired so that doesn't happen anymore really. Although I've realized I really need to make more time to take care of myself! So maybe that will be my New Years resolution this year.

June 2016 - Age 25
Either way, I discovered quite a few that I loved. My favorite brand for masks though is by far Formula 10.0.6. They have a wide range of different masks and are really affordable. I hands down prefer a mask you squeeze out than a sheet mask. Honestly, I just can't sit still that long.

Another mask I really like is the Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal SnapMASK Stick. This baby detoxes your skin in only five minutes and has been a lifesaver for me. It's really the only one I've used consistently recently because it's so quick and works really well! I'd really recommend it if you're always on the go!

Today!


At this point I've tried a LOT of skincare products. A lot of the time, I switch off when I am sent something new to try out or if there's something I purchase. More often than not, I don't wind up repurchasing the same products. I'd say the only constants for a while have been Lush products and Neutrogena.

My routine right now, which has been wonderful for me, mainly consists of Erno Laszlo products. Their hydratherapy regimen has made my skin absolutely glow.


I've also really gotten into nighttime products. My favorite at the moment is the REN Clean Skincare Evercalm overnight recovery balm. Whenever my skin revolts on me, I just slather this on overnight and it really helps! Now it's not miraculously going to clear your skin of all imperfections, but if you have a really bad skin day, it will calm the breakouts and make your skin glow!

So that pretty much sums up all the things I remember about my last 10 years of skincare! I have learned a lot and plan to start adding more to my regiment, especially things with anti-aging properties! A girl won't be young forever!

Another thing I've learned, no matter how many eye creams I use, I still have some pretty dark designer bags under my eyes. LOL. So if anyone has found the magic cream for that, hit me up.

XO, Briana


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Top tips for WDW's Epcot Food & Wine Festival


So Sky and I went to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival for the first time ever a few weeks back and it was so much fun! There are tons of different foods and drinks from all over the world for you to give a try! If you are an adventurous foodie like we are, you'll absolutely love this one.

If you haven't been or are planning on going before it ends (or even next year!) Here are some of our top tips.

Stay on property if at all possible


If you are planning on spending a good chunk of your trip essentially eating and drinking around the world, having set in stone transportation without having to drive is a great idea.

We personally didn't stay on property, but we did have to make sure at least one of us were sober enough to drive at the end of the night lol. So if you're with a group that all like to get their drink on, I suggest staying at a hotel that at least has a shuttle service to and from your hotel.

The other perks of staying on property (not including neighborhood hotels) is that you can use your magic band as your method of payment. One of the things that really sucked for us was that every time we purchased something we had to pull out the wallet with our credit card. Now if you are planning to drink alcohol, you'll likely need to do that anyway to show ID. But the worry and hassle of possible losing your card could be very much avoided with the use of the magic band.

Use a gift card


To kind of jump off my last point, if you can't stay on property, there is another option for payment. At the festival, many kiosks sell special gift cards that are on a bungee-style bracelet that you can load up and use with ease.
2019 Food & Wine Festival gift card (Disney Parks Blog)
If you aren't able to use your magic band, I'd highly recommend doing this. Unfortunately, we didn't realize it was available until later in the evening. But there are a lot of benefits to doing this.

In addition to easy access, you can also much more easily budget yourself. When you choose the amount you want to put on your card, you now know just how much you have to spend. This is handy, since buying a $5 snack here and a $4 drink there can really add up quickly.

Don't try to do it all in one day


This festival is LARGE. There are a LOT of booths and tons of food for you to try. There are also a LOT of people there doing the same things you are! So making your way around the entire World Showcase can take quite a while if you add in waiting in line and pulling over to eat every 15 minutes.

We went for two days and did the festival as well as rides and shows in Epcot. We were able to get all the way around, but even so, we still didn't get to try everything. We hit up the ones we knew we really wanted to try first and then went back to the others the next day.

Eat to the Beat—America Gardens Pavillion
There's also other things going on in the park, like the rides and shows that happen regularly. There's also the Eat to the Beat concert which is really cool and a nice break in the America Pavilion after eating yourself halfway around the world lol.

My suggestion is just to make sure you have somewhat of a plan. Figure out the things you really want/have to see and do and make those a priority. Then the other things will just fall into place!

Sharing is caring


Most of the items available for purchase are big enough to share, and some of them aren't really. However, my suggestion is that if you are trying something you're not sure you're going to like, just share it with the people you're with and then if you really love it, go back and grab one just for you!

What Sky and I did was if there was a booth that had multiple things we wanted to try, we'd each get one and then we'd share them.

It was more than enough food and a lot of times we wound up each preferring one or the other then eating most of it anyway lol.


Skip the tray


A lot of people will encourage you to either buy or bring a tray to the festival. With this method you would, I assume, grab a few things from a couple different booths, use your tray to hold them all, then find somewhere to plop.

Personally, I don't think you need a tray. Between the two of us, we were able to carry a few things. Plus I kinda feel like the longer you take to collect your food, the more likely it will get cold. PLUS if you DO have a tray then whenever you aren't using it you have to lug it around.

So I'd say if you're planning on doing any rides and don't have a non-rider or stroller in your group, it's not really worth it.

Bring a backpack


Again to jump off my last point, if you DO plan to have a tray, bring a backpack! There are also other things you may need to lug around like souvenir glasses or anything you can't resist at Mouse Gear.


I find having a small backpack with me always is really convenient.

Don't forget to take a breather!


Even though you may not feel like you're doing much other than getting buzzed and stuffing your face, it's still scorching in that Florida sun. So don't hesitate to give yourself a minute to go inside somewhere and cool off and have some water.

Dehydration is the real deal so you want to make sure you don't forgot to drink lots of water, especially if you're drinking alcohol or eating spicy or salty foods.

We enjoyed checking out the Epcot Experience which was indoors and had a few photo spots, so that was a fun little break!

There are plenty of stores and other attractions throughout the World Showcase that you can just pop into to cool off or just take a break from eating lol.

BONUS!


Here are some of our favorite bites and drinks from the festival! Descriptions for each are in the caption below! We liked most of what we tried, but these all stood out to me! We went back for seconds on two of them. I'll let you figure out which ones!




[Top left: Hawaii—AULANI Sunrise (Vodka, DOLE® Pineapple Juice, and Grenadine); Top right: Islands of the Caribbean—Quesito (Puff Pastry with Sweetened Cream Cheese and Guava Sauce); Bottom left: Brazil—PĆ£o de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread); Bottom right—Refreshment Outpost: No Worries Panna Cotta (Raspberry, Papaya, and Mango Panna Cotta with a Cookie Crumble Base topped with a Lion King White Chocolate.)]

And that concludes my tips for this one! Have you been to the Food and Wine Festival? If so, what are your tips?

XO, Briana