Sequin Gowns & Mermaid Crowns : 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Endless Summer

It's just the beginning of December and we are swiftly approaching several months of unbearable cold. We've already seen our first snowfall here in the Northeast!  These are trying times for people like me who are naturally creatures of the sun and warmth.  And also for those of us who suffer from that weird seasonal depression syndrome thing.  Basically, I hate the winter.  So I do what I can to create an endless summer for myself!  It's the only way to truly survive until next summer!  So I'm going to share with you my top five tips to keep it summer in your brain when it's definitely not summer outside.

1. Create a Summery Atmosphere

A lot of us have sensory triggers that make us think of summer: the sounds of the ocean, the smell of tropical fruits, the unparalleled warmth of the sun on our skin.  So in order to make it feel like summer, take a few easy steps to create that scene in your bedroom.  

First, get some summer scented candles!  I personally have a large collection of candles, most of which are scents like "Endless Ocean" and "Pina Colada."  However, my new favorite set is the Old Factory Vacation Set!  Three small all soy, hand-poured candles are packaged in an adorable box, and each candle smells better than the next!! The ones in this set are called "Sea Breeze," "Hawaiian Lei," and "Awapuhi." The smell great when burnt separate and amazing together! Light these babies up and you've got that summer scent in an instant!  (Also, if you need candles for other occasions, Old Factory has several great sets with witty names like "50 Shades" and "Coffee Shop") You can get the vacation set and/or any of there other sets HERE! Much thanks to Old Factory and Brand Backer for letting me try these awesome candles!!

Crank up the heat!  Turn the heat up in your house, or get a space heater and sit next to it with all of your lights on.  This might run up your electric bill, but it will also make you feel like you're getting your tan on in Hawaii or somewhere warm of your choosing.

If you're going for the long haul, paint your room in bright summer colors!  That way, it'll feel like summer all year long, in your room at least!! My childhood bedroom has been painted in this pallet along with hibiscus flower stencils and homemade surfboards hanging on my wall.  It definitely made getting through high school a much better experience for me, haha.  But if you don't want to commit to something so, well, loud, then you could always get a tapestry or a beachy quilt to spruce up the place.


2.  Wear Bright Colors

In the Winter, we instinctively turn to darker colors like black, gray, black, burgundy, and black. Also we wear a LOT of black.  However, this doesn't have to be the case!  Just because the winter darkens our souls (I guess?) doesn't mean we have to dress like that!  Keeping within the realms of Winter clothing, you can throw in a hot pink bag, a bright blue dress, or killer orange shoes with your boring Winter colors to give your outfit a pop!  Also, throw in some summer textiles/patterns if you like! One of my favorite tricks is to pick one of my favorite summer tanks and pair it with jeans and a sweater!  Check out my Island Style pinboard for inspiration!

Follow Briana Rivas's board Fashionista {Island Style} on Pinterest.

3.  Pump Up the Jams!

Create a Summer playlist and play it nice and loud!  Pick songs that remind you of Summer or of memories you have from Summers past.  It will make you happier, I promise!  If you don't want to make your own, or just need a little inspiration, check out my Summer Vibe playlist on Spotify!

4. Use Summer Beauty Products

Pretty much all of the skin and hair care products I buy are purchased for their scent.  And most of those have a summery scent!  So grab your beach wave spray and your coconut body wash and get your Summer on! Or, get a nice summer glow going with some sunless tanning lotion! Also, using a tropical or citrus scented perfume will leave not only your hair but your whole body smelling like you spent the day on the beach! Here are some of my favorites!!
5. Get in a Summer State of Mind

Think about all of the things that make you love summer so much.  How does it make you feel? What things do you do?  What foods do you eat?  What places do you visit?  Try implementing some of these things (within reason of course) into your daily life to invoke the sense of the season.  For example, if you eat a lot of tropical fruits in the summer (or drink a lot of them if you know what I mean), then do that same thing every once in a while to bring your mind back to when you ate/drank that in the summer.  Keep your vibes happy and positive, while doing all of the above and you're bound to have a much happier winter!!  Aloha!

XO, Briana

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

KISS InstaWave Curling Iron: Review & Tutorial

Hey all! It's that time again, where everyone is starting to get into the holiday spirit!  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years etc!  I know I'm starting a little early this year on the Christmas train.  I've already started shopping and planning my outfits (#fashionbloggerprobz)  Any who, with outfits come hair and makeup. And I've found the perfect tool for all of those party hair styles!

Introducing the KISS InstaWave curling iron!  This tool is pretty awesome if you ask me.  It's a super easy way to get beautiful waves and curls with only about half the effort of a regular curling iron or wand.  I don't know about you, but I have a LOT of hair and my arms get pretty tired after curling my entire head.  But with the InstaWave, I found it's automatic capabilities to make the job wayyy less daunting.

Here's how it works:

After prepping your hair for heat styling, pull out the piece of hair you wish to curl.  I found that sections at about 1 inch worked best with the iron.

Next, place your hair on the iron.  There are spokes around the edges where you can slide the piece in.

Then, let the iron do its thing!  Use the curl dial to choose which way you'd like to curl your hair.  I found with my long hair that it worked best twirling away from your head.  Just make sure you're careful that you don't start too close to your head.  You don't want the iron to catch on other pieces of hair and pull toward your head.  With some practice, I think I pretty much mastered avoiding this.

Last, hold the iron with your hair on it for the desired length of time.  Like any other iron, the longer your hold it there, the tighter the curl. When you're satisfied, just pull the iron down to release.

And viola! Easy, awesome curls!  There's a lot you can do with this iron too which is one of the reasons I like it so much!  When curling my top/short layers, I was able to use the iron at different angles and it still worked great! Plus, you can change the temperature to further customize your curling experience.

Here's the specs:

  • KISS InstaWave is completely automatic and tangle free
  • Curl dial features left and right options
  • Iron has low and high heat settings
  • Highest temperature is 420 degrees
  • Iron shuts off automatically in 90 minutes

Overall, I'd definitely recommend this curling iron!  It's really great and so easy to use.  It also made the process quicker for me.  Plus, it was actually really fun to use!  Much thanks to KISS and BrandBacker for sending it to me to try out!  More than stoked to have it in my collection.  For more information, check out the KISS InstaWave website, or try the iron out for yourself!  It's available at Ulta, Target, and!

XO, Briana

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Epic Brow Game with Paula Dorf

As you already know, I am all about an epic brow game. Funny enough, I didn't even think about my eyebrows (besides waxing them of course) until like last year.  But now, I'm obsessed and constantly looking for great eyebrow products!  And believe me, I've tried my fair share of pencils, mascara, waxes, tints, etc. I've finally found my favorite to date in the Benefit Gimme Brow.  It's wonderful and easy for every day brows.

However, I've also had the pleasure to try the Paula Dorf 2+1 for Brows along with the matching brush, and let me tell you this is one of the best contenders thus far.  This handy little set comes with three pieces of pie: 2 brow colors in similar shades and 1 section of wax.  I was a little skeptical at first looking at it, since I didn't think the dainty looking wax would hold on my somewhat unruly eyebrows.  But once I used it, I found that I was totally mistaken.

The Paula Dorf set is very easy to use.  First you take the brush and dip it in the color(s) of your choosing.  Having two shades makes it easy to mix to get a color that best matches your brows.  Put that on in your desired fashion.  I like to first outline, then fill.  Then when your done that, dip your brush in the wax and glide it along your brows in the direction you want the hairs to sit.  Use as much as you feel comfortable with.  Everyone is different.

And voila! Epic Brows.  I like to use this set when I really want to define my brows and make them stand out (in an awesome way, of course).  Check out the before and after!!

I definitely recommend this brow set to all girls who want easy, great brows!  The set retails at only $26 and comes in 4 different color options: neutral, brunette, blonde, and red.  The one I have is the neutral and it worked great with my brows, even though I have very dark hair.  

Also, for being awesome followers, you get a SPECIAL BONUS!  Use the code BROWBRUSH to get a free brow brush with your purchase!

To check out this brow set and all of the other great products Paula Dorf Cosmetics has to offer, head over to their website by clicking HERE

And if you do decided to try it out, let me know! I want to hear about your experience and how you like it!! 

XO, Briana

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My Yoga Essentials

Hey everyone! I' m coming to you today with my first "real" fitness related post!! Although I have been known to be more interested in the research aspect of fitness (aka Pinterest) I have strongly connected to Yoga!  I find that yoga is wonderful for the fitness and health of not only your body but your mind and soul as well!  And I'm all about that.

Yoga is a great way to get in some exercise while simultaneously relaxing your body.  Anyone can do it and it's easy to start off with simple poses and work your way up.  Admittedly, I'm still pretty much a novice when it comes to the complicated poses, but I still find it extremely rewarding and something I'd like to make a part of my daily routine.

So far, I've come to realize that there are certain things you need to have an outstanding yoga experience! That's where this post comes in!  I'm going to share with you my Yoga Essentials:

1. Comfortable, Fitted Clothes
They make yoga specific clothes for a reason.  Trying to do downward dog in a baggy t-shirt is a total nightmare. I like to call it "the turtle effect."  Anyway, I find it best to wear a pair of yoga pants or leggings with a fitted active top.  Also, the stretchier the better.  You want to give yourself a full range of movement and flexibility.  Here are some of my favorites!
[Top: Nike Printed Studio Wrap in Black/Electro Purple | Bottom Left: Omgirl 'Urban Jungle' Tie Dye Leggings from Nordstrom | Bottom Right: adidas 'Arari' Print Racerback Tank from Nordstrom]

2. A Cute Mat

If you're going to be staring at it for some time, better make sure its cute!  More importantly, make sure it works for you.  There are several types of mats you can get.  There's the most common vinyl mats that come in all different colors.  Then there are yoga blankets or towels that are made with fabric.  I have one of each and use them in different situations.  For me I find that I tend to slide on my vinyl mat, and I get a better grip on the fabric one. But that's just me! I came across a great guide to picking the right mat for you from the Gaiam blog.  I find them to be a trustworthy source, since they are a well respected company in the yoga/fitness community.  Check it out!  Below, is a towel similar to mine from Spiritual Gangster!

Spiritual Gangster Magic Carpet Yoga Towel in Sky Blue
3. H2O

One of the most important things when doing any kind of exercise is staying hydrated!  Depending on the type of yoga you're doing, you'll probably work up a sweat.  So I always make sure I have a bottle of water by my side!  Especially Resource Natural Spring Water.  It's the perfect addition to a great yoga session! It comes from 100% natural spring water, is packed with electrolytes, and it's packaging is made of 50% recycled plastic.  So not only are you getting naturally hydrated, the bottle is eco friendly!  Plus, it tastes great!  I'm not a big water drinker, simply because I don't love the taste. But I find Resource to have a different taste that just sits better with me than tap water or other bottled waters. It's very smooth and I love it!  Much thanks to Influenster for sending it for me to try out! Learn more on their website!

4. Pretty Toes

Whether you're doing your yoga at home or in a class, your little piggies will be on display! Plus, they are a key factor in practicing yoga correctly!  So make sure you take care of your feet and have some cute polish that will make you smile!  Consider getting a pedicure, or doing one at home! Here's the polish I'm wearing now!

Nicole by O.P.I. in Feeling Very Cherry
5. A Great Teacher

The only way you're going to become an experienced yogi/yogini is by learning from the best!!  Find a class at your gym, a local yoga studio, or check out some online classes!  There are paid classes, apps, and even some free videos on YouTube!  I've compiled some of my favorites in my YouTube Yoga playlist, which I will link you to HERE if you wan to check it out!

So those are my top five yoga essentials!! I hope you find this useful and informative!  What are your essentials?  How do you yoga? Let's talk about it in the comments!! Also, below are my Fitness Gear and Yoga Pinterest boards!

Follow Briana Rivas's board Fierce Fitness {Gear} on Pinterest.

Follow Briana Rivas's board Namaste ॐ on Pinterest.

XO, Briana

Monday, October 20, 2014

Let's Talk About This: The "Yes Man"

So I want to take the first post of the "Let's Talk About This..." series to talk about some life subjects.  I used to blog back in the day on the website Xanga (ohhh Xanga...) where I would just write basically a journal.  I'd write about things that were bothering me and about what I did that day.  Writing about something that's on my mind usually makes me feel 1000 times better and knowing that someone anonymous might be hearing me out is just an oddly comforting thing.  Long story short, I thought that through this series I could get some things off my chest while also giving helpful advice and maybe even some witty anecdotes, ;)

So for this post I want to talk about friendships.  And I don't mean in the cheesy way it sounds.  I mean, the actual relationships you make with the people who become your friends.

There are a lot of different types of friendships, as I've learned in my ripe 23 years.  I have friends that have been in my life for a very long time, but who I hardly see.  Yet, we'd do anything for each other and when we do see each other, we pick up right where we left off.  My best friend lives many miles away from me, yet we talk regularly and are prominent in each other's lives.  These are examples of wonderful friendships that I currently have.  Then there are also bad friendships.  People who may be fun to hang out with but are self centered and don't really care enough to listen to your problems or motivate you to do your homework, etc.  Friendships like these are shallow and don't usually last.  I've had a lot of friendships that ended pretty badly.  But I've learned to let the negative people go for my own betterment.

But I digress.  What I really want to talk about is the "yes man" of friends.  I have a friend who is wonderful.  He's fun to hang out with, is genuine, caring and one of the best friend's I've had.  However, he is a "yes man."  He has so many friends that every time one (or more) of them wants to hang out, it's always a yes.  Now there's nothing wrong with wanting to be a good friend and showing you care, but sometimes you can get in your own way.  See, my friend has a bad habit of overbooking.  And he's not the only friend I've had with this problem, but I'm just using him as a recent example.  So even though we talk over text and I know he genuinely wants to hang out with me, between all of the things he has to do and all of the days he's already planned, we never find the time.  Again, this is understandable, but it does kind of get to me sometimes.  It makes me feel like he essentially has to "pencil me in" and that I maybe don't make it high enough on the list to warrant a Sunday brunch.

Yes, even I get insecure about things sometimes.   I feel a little petty hanging on to this for so long, but it's' just confusing me.  I realize this seems like me just ranting, but I feel like there are others that are going through a similar thing and this is me reaching out to commiserate.  So I guess the public service announcement here would be don't overbook yourself.  Trying to be friends with everyone spreads out you ability to create deep friendships.  The more people you try to please, the less time you get with each individual.  Are you picking up what I'm putting down here?

So that's all I have to say about this for now.  What do you think? Have you experienced this from either end? Comment away!

XO, Briana

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Crave Naturals Eyebrow/Eyelash Kit

Hey everyone!  Sorry I've been MIA for a while.  I've just been getting my life in order, putting my ducks in a row, whatever you want to call it.  I just started my job at Nordstrom (yay!) in the beginning of September, so I've been getting used to the crazy schedule and finding the time for family time, relaxing, and of course blogging!  So I'm going to try and get back on my usual track and post more frequently! Starting today!

I want to tell you about Crave Naturals! Crave Naturals is a beauty line that's mission is the give us tools to enhance our natural beauty and make our routines quicker and simpler!  The product I received from them is the Eyebrow and Eyelash Kit!

The tools come in super cute packaging that you'll want to hold on to!  Inside are two wonderful tools: The first is a double sided brush.  One side has a spoolie and the other an angled brow brush.  The second is a combination lash comb and brow brush.  These tools are great for getting the perfect brows and lashes all in one!  First use the brow brush to brush and place your brow hairs.  Then with the other tool use the angled brush to apply your brow color.  When you're done adding color, simply flip to the spoolie to blend it all in!

The last but just as awesome piece to these tools is the eyelash comb! After applying mascara, just slide the comb through your lashes to get rid of any clumps or the dreaded spider lashes!  It's super easy and handy!

I really love having these tools in my makeup kit!  It was one of those, "I didn't know how much I needed this" moments and now I'm glad I've found them!  Crave Naturals also have several other great products available on Amazon!  They also have their own webpage with extra information.


For reviewing this product, Crave Naturals has been kind enough to offer not only me but also YOU, my readers, a coupon for 25% OFF YOUR ORDER of their products through amazon!  So go snag yourself one of these awesome brow kits or try something new!  Just go to the Crave Naturals section on Amazon, add your item(s) to your cart, and then enter the code QQMSRCOC ! They would also love to  hear from you!  Don't forget to write an honest review on their Amazon page once you've tried it out!

XO, Briana

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Philly Fashion Week Feb 2014 Recap!

It's that time of year again!  The time where I finally get to post about the previous Philly Fashion Week right before the next one starts!  For some reason it just takes me a while to sort through everything and decide on my favorites!  But since this year I'll only be attending one show, unfortunately, I'll hopefully get the post up in a more timely fashion.  However, I do like to look back at the previous season with the start of a new one!  I think its kind of fun!  So without further ado, here is my look back at PFW February 2014!

One of the things I really love about PFW, besides all of the awesome clothes of course, is meeting new people in the industry who are local including PR people, designers, and fellow bloggers.  I've made many great friends in the past couple of years! Fashion week is somewhat of a reunion!
Me and my fellow blogger gals! Pic Cred to Erika from YCS!

Although PFW isn't nearly as large as NYFW, there's still always a huge turnout!  The venue is always packed to capacity, everyone anxious to see the shows!  In the lobby, there's food, live music and booths full of fun things to look at.
The line-up
Once inside, everyone takes their seats. Now, I've been on both sides of this coin.  The first time I went I was VIP and sat front row.  It was awesome and it made me feel super important haha.  Then the second time, I attended as press.  I wound up first sitting in the second row, but then moved to "the pit" which is where all the photographers set up.  If you've never tried it, runway photography is haarrddd.  Between the movement and the lighting it's almost impossible to get a good shot.  So I pretty much wound up screwing around with my camera most of the time instead of enjoying the show.  To my dismay, I still didn't get many good shots.  But I got a few and some videos of my favorite lines!  The first photo is from Tu Decor, a line by a wonderful woman who I am glad to call my friend!  Her line is sexy and feminine, but still bad ass! Click here to see the last looks! Second is my favorite from the line Suede Square.  The line had some really cool patterns and silhouettes!  The last photo is the finale piece from Dom Streeter's line.  I was particularly excited to see her's, since I was a huge fan from watching her win Project Runway! Philly girl's reppin'! I wish I would have gotten to meet her, but we're mutual on Twitter, so I guess that counts for something! #fangirling.  Besides my excitement, her line was beautiful and full of variety!  See her last looks here!

Tu Decor

Suede Square

Dom Streeter

Last, a fashion week post would not be complete without #OOTN's! For ready to wear, I wen't slightly more casual; For couture, I went a little more fancy!  I kept with a preppy/girly look for both looks!

[Night 1: Sweater: American Eagle | Shirt: Loehman's | Purse: My mom // Night 2: Jacket, Dress, Belt: Target | Top: Old, I don't remember | Shoes: Payless (a loonngg time ago) | Headband: J. Crew]

Monday, September 15, 2014

Obsessed: Falling For Fall...Maybe

Hey Everyone! Today's post comes to you from my Obsessed series, where I list a bunch of things I'm obsessing over at the moment!  This post's theme is all about Fall!  So here are 5 things I'm in love with and one, not so much.

Tie Dye

I've always loved me some tie dye.  Like all day 'erry day.  But I've always been a little scared to bring it into the fall, since most tie dye is made of crazy bright colors.  Finally, I've found a way to incorporate it into my fall wardrobe!  There are tons of cool tie dyes in dark color combos like black and gray, browns, oranges, reds, and dark blues!  The key is taking typical fall colors and picking your tie dye to match! Love it!


[Left: Free People | Center: Urban Outfitters | Right: San Diego Hat Company via Zappos]

Cynthia Rowley

I love this woman.  She totally gets me.  And every time I'm at Marshall's or TJMaxx and I run across the store to see a super cute dress, it's usually Cynthia Rowley.  I have several pieces by her, and I plan to buy even more.  Her dresses are cute colors and classic silhouettes, but still have that "chill girl" vibe.  Plus she uses tie dye! ;)

[All dresses by Cynthia Rowley]

Deluxe Sample Size

The three magic words when it comes to makeup? Deluxe Sample Size.  I love these samples!  I'm the kind of girl who'd rather try a bunch of things, than spend the same amount on one thing.  Lip gloss for example: I'd rather have 3, .10 oz lippies than one .18 oz one.  So I buy sample sizes!  Plus, you can get the same item for like a third of the price.  It's great if your bad at commitment to makeup haha and also if you just want to try things out!  Who wants to spend $20 on a lip gloss and then hate it? No one.  I actually just got Sephora's Give Me Some Lip limited edition lip sample set and I love it!  I got 5 different products for the price of about one full sized one!  And one of them actually is full size!  Can't beat that; I'm obsessed.  Oh and did I mention their perfect for travel?!

 [All sets available through Sephora]


So I know headwraps aren't exactly "new" but they are to me!  I've just discovered them recently and I really love them!  I bought a knitted gray one and I really want them in every color!  Super cute for bad hair days, or if you just want that bohemian style!


[Top left: BP. Nordstrom | Top right: Urban Outfitters | Bottom: I Wear The Headdress]

Printed Leggings

Printed leggings have become my go to wardrobe staple.  I've always loved wearing leggings because they are super comfortable and when you have them in basic colors they go with everything!  Recently, I started wearing printed leggings on a regular basis and here's what I love about them.  One, they are super comfy.  Two, they come in all different kinds of prints and yes, including tie dye!  Three, you can get them for great prices at places like Ross and Marshall's!  Four, you have endless options!  Wear them with a shirt and a vest, or with a cute basic dress!  Hurray for fashion and comfort!

 [My leggings: Hot Kiss from Ross | Bottom left: Boohoo | Bottom Right: Glamzelle]

What I'm NOT Obsessed With

Everything Pumpkin.  I'm sorry.  Sue me; I don't like the taste of pumpkin.  And believe me, I've tried.  A lot.  It's actually a funny story.  Since I was a kid I always loved the smell of pumpkin pie.  Every Thanksgiving I would take in the glorious scent of dessert.  Then I would grab a slice of pumpkin pie, anxiously awaiting the equally wonderful taste.  And then I was sorely disappointed.  I just don't like pumpkin.  All fall I will enjoy the pumpkin scented candles, while steering clear of the Pumpkin Spice Lattes and other pumpkin flavored things. End rant.

XO, Briana