Sequin Gowns & Mermaid Crowns : March 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

#PowerofPlants: The Boots Botanics Ionic Clay Mask!

Hey everyone!  So today I'm going to tell you a little bit about the Boots Botanics Ionic Clay Mask that I received courtesy of influentser!  I finally got the time to try it out and it did not disappoint!

First a little bit about the product.  This mask, when used, "actively removes impurities and deeply cleanses." It's also supposed to make your skin less shiny.  In the directions, it suggests that you use it a couple times of week for best results.  So seeing as I've only used it this one time, I'm just going to give you my initial reaction to it and how it made my skin feel.  The mask is made up of mostly organic materials, it's star ingredient being Willow Bark Extract.  Also, all of the Botanics products are free of parabins, mineral oils, parafin waxes, SLS, and SLES.  It's not tested on animals and the packaging is made of mostly recycled materials.  Save your face and the environment simultaneously!

Now lets get to the fun part.  Me and my fails at using new products.  So after reading the directions on the package (which as with anything else are extremely vague) I proceeded to put the mask on.  Now, it failed to tell me to shake well before using, so it was running everywhere and made a huge mess.  So please if you buy this make sure you shake it first to avoid a green goblin esq crime scene.

Next, I just smeared the now appropriately thick mask all over my face and neck, avoiding the eye area and making sure to put enough on.  You want to make sure you use enough to cover your face and not see skin peeking out, but not too much where it takes forever to dry.

Bonus ridiculousness

Once you feel like you've put an ample amount on, you get to sit around for ten minutes with a green face.  I proceeded to sing Defying Gravity for as long as possible before it was too stiff and I could no longer move my face. (LOL)  So don't expect to have a conversation for that short bit.  And don't laugh either. Seriously.

P.S. I wasn't trying to look miserable, i just couldn't make an expression

After your ten minutes are up, your face should have turned a lighter, less putrid colored green and be hard as a rock.  Make sure you touch it because it feels really cool.  Then proceed to your bathroom (if you're not already there) to take it all off.

On the package, it says something about tissues, and whatever.  I just rinsed it off with warm water and that seemed to do the trick.  I would recommend using tissues to make sure you get off all of the slime, I mean mask, as to not get it on your clothes or your white towel.  Luckily, my towel happened to be green.  I patted dry and Voila! good as new!

My skin now feels tighter, softer, and cleaner.  It's also more even in color and less oily.  It kind of feels like getting a mini facial!  This is definitely one of the best masks I've used.  I don't know about you guys, but I like to see/feel results right away and this one for sure hit the mark.  I would recommend this to just about anyone who needs a little R&R for their skin!  Enjoy!

XO, Briana

Brought to you by:

GlamST Virtual Makeup Tester

Hey everyone!! So recently I was given the opportunity to test out the website, a virtual makeup tester.  And can I say, this website is so cool!  It's super easy too!  The company is pretty new and the website is still in the works, but for now I can give you a mini introduction.

The site was made for girls like you and me who have that oh so horrible problem of buying makeup online. After all, how am I supposed to know if that $25 lipstick is going to look good on me in that shade without trying it on?  Enter GlamST.  They have a growing selection of products to test in all different colors.  So that whole annoying process is pretty much eliminated!   So shall we try it out?

After logging in, you can choose to use a model with a face/coloring similar to yours, or upload your own picture.  If you choose the later, the site will take you through a few steps to calibrate your photo and then you're all ready to go!

Once you have your pic ready, it's time to start trying stuff on!  You can go through step by step, or skip around as you please.  There are three sections: Face, Eyes, and Lips.  Each section has a few subsections, for example, concealer, liners, and gloss, amongst others.

I first did my face: foundation, concealer, powder, blush. (in that order.)  As you try things on you have options of color and amount.  And if you don't like it, just click the trash can to take that makeup off! If you decide you like something, you can like it to save for later, or add it to your shopping basket right there! It's that simple!

For my makeover, I chose a natural, summer look, because I'm sooo ready for summer right about now.  I did a light base just to cover my skin imperfections, a coral blush, brown shadow and liner, purple mascara, and pretty pink lips to top it off.  Here's my before and after:

Before (no makeup)
After GlamST Makeover

And here is the list of products I used:

Foundation: Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 in light
Concealer: Bareminerals Stroke of Light Eye Brightener in Luminous 1
Powder: Givenchy Le Prisme Visage Mat Soft Compact Face Powder in 83 Peach Plumetis
Blush: Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks in Calypso Coral

Eyeliner: Makeup Forever Aqua Eyes in Pearly Brown 2L
Eyeshadow: Laura Mercier Shimmering Neutrals Eye Trio
Mascara: Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Waterproof Mascara in Purple Velvet

Lipstick: Nars Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in New Lover

My overall review of the site would be an A!  The concept is awesome and the site is adorable.  Also the products currently on there are really nice ones and a good selection.  My only cons would be that the site runs a little bit slow and there are still a few glitches, but that's totally understandable for a new site.  I can't wait to see how it is after it's been up and running for a while longer!  Regardless, I know you are all gonna love it! So please go check out this site!  I promise you won't be sorry!  Even if you don't buy anything, it's always fun to give yourself or your friends a makeover! Also, don't forget to check out their Facebook profile for updates!!

XO, Briana

This post brought to you by Brand Backer

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Top 5 Blogging Tips for Awesome People

So I've been blogging for all of about 6-7 months and in such a short time I have learned soooo much about blogging!  Definitely not everything I need to know, of course, but enough to help out other people.  Which actually, my good friend Haven inspired me to write this post!  She's just starting her blog, MisbeHaven, and has been asking me for advice.  Of course I was flattered because I'm not exactly an expert, but she's my friend and I much enjoy helping her out.  Her first ever post is quite hilarious and I can't wait to see more from her!  So as I was saying, she inspired me to write this post.

Hey look, it's us! Circa. 2011

When I started blogging I had zero idea what I was doing.  I did a lot of pinning on Pinterest to my "Bloggy" board and looked at other peoples blogs.  Basically I read.  A lot.  But now that I'm on the other side of the rope, I would have loved someone more experienced when I first started out.  So this post is going to be my top five blogging tips for awesome people.

1. Post good content, but don't compromise yourself

Blogging is all about creative freedom.  In my opinion at least.  Your blog should be a place for you to write about, well, whatever the hell you want.  Whether it's yesterday's adorable outfit, or the horrible week you had at work, you should just get that all out in the open.  But your content should still be quality.  Like, legible and grammatically correct, and interesting.  And if you want to post something random every once in a while, that's ok too!  Just always remember, this is your  blog.  You created it and you always have the freedom to do what you want with it.  On the flip side, good content is important for building a following, if you're concerned about that.  When brainstorming future posts, think about things that you will enjoy writing about and that your followers will enjoy reading.  There is a happy medium, where you don't wind up slaving away at the keyboard for the sake of your followers.  End point being, don't compromise your vision for developing demographically focused pieces.  

2. Get yourself out there!

In order to become a famous blogger you need to GET YOURSELF OUT THERE!!! Don't be afraid of people or anonymous internet beings.  Promote your blog through all of your social media sites and wherever else you can find.  Post flyers on campus or in your local coffee shop, even get your friends to tell their friends and so forth.  Also, find opportunities to get the word out in person, by going to networking events, or other events that will probably turn into networking events.  Make up business cards and carry them everywhere.  You never know who you might wind up talking to in line at Victoria's Secret!  PR mavens buy pretty underwear too!  Basically, make it your job to tell people how awesome you are.  Now that's not so hard, is it?!

3. Don't get discouraged

I'm just going to be straightforward about this one.  It's going to seem like it's taking forever to build a secure following.  I've been at it for a good while and I'm still feeling under accomplished on that level.  But the followers will come.  Eventually.  You just have to be patient.  And if you are not the patient type, I understand because I'm right there with you.  Just don't get discouraged!  Remain positive and optimistic and good things will come to you!  If you keep doin' what you doin' you will get there! You go!!!

4. You are your BRAND

As you blog, keep in mind that you are your brand.  Your blog is your brand.  Everything you post anywhere is your brand.  You will eat, sleep, and breathe your brand.  So make sure you like it, because you're gonna have to get used to it.  One of the most important things about a brand is the aesthetic. Basically, make it pretty.  The visual aspects of brands is even more important today with things like Instagram and Pinterest. It should be eye catching, appealing to a wide range of people, and consistent. More importantly, it should feel like you.  For example, my brand is Sequin Gowns & Mermaid Crowns (also referred to as SGMC).  I purposely branded it with an acronym because it's shorter and easier to remember.  Short and sweet.  Then there's the sequins.  Part of the name and also a part of me; I freaking love glitter.  I kept a color palette that was minimalistic and easy on the eyes: gold, white, and black. These are all seen in my layout, my photos, and my logos.  Also, fonts.  Please.  Use no more than three different fonts.  Or you will be sorry.  And speaking of logos, my logo encompasses my brand.  It has my colors, my acronym, and its a crown with a mermaid tail.  It's pretty literal, but in my opinion, it's memorable and pretty!  So when your coming up with your brand remember all of this and incorporate it into your own blog/brand.  If you have a set aesthetic it will be easier to carry over into other things in the future. Your brand comes into play with your content as well.  It should all kind of go together.  It's all about consistency in your writing and formatting.  People should know it's your post by reading it.  Your content should sound like the same person wrote all of them.  This will come naturally if your a good writer, which most bloggers seem to be.  If you do have trouble in that department, I suggest doing some writing exercises to find your voice.  Practice makes perfect!  I could write a book on this but, to summarize, make your brand an easy to understand representation of you and what you want for your blog.

5. Be a part of the community

Being a part of the blogger community is hugely important.  This is how you gain respect with your peers. This is also another way to get your blog out there.  By being a part of communities, you can make friends with other bloggers, which is fantastic.  Not only do you now have awesome new friends, but they can also help you with their personal blogging knowledge and also help you to promote your blog.  And in return you will help them and everyone will be happy little bloggers!  There are plenty of places online to join up with other bloggers.  So find ones that suit your needs or your niche and have a presence.  Presence is also super important.  Don't think that just joining is going to make you millions of friends.  That is not  how it works. Community is all about being a part of something, so make sure you check in regularly and actually talk to people! I promise, it's fun and it's totally worth it!  Also, make an effort to check out and comment on other people's blog posts!  This will also make you friends and get you exposure.  So yay for community!

So those are just my top five tips.  I could seriously talk about this stuff all the live long day, ask Haven!  But alas, I cannot.  So if you have any particular questions you think I might be able to answer, then please do comment!  And if you have tips of your own, I'd love to hear them!!  I hope these are of some help to y'all! Keep your eyes out for future posts with the lovely Haven! In the meantime, don't forget to check out her blog, and also my Pinterest Blog Board!

XO, Briana

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Snowman New York {Fashion February}

While I was New York City for fashion week, I had the great honor of being able to visit the Snowman New York showroom, thanks to my good friend Angela!  She just signed them on as a new client and was there for a meeting, so we got to tag along to come and check it out! The company just moved their workplace so I got to see their new place, plus almost their entire collection for the season!  Everyone was super nice and welcoming.  They were excited for me to come and check out their line, and obviously so was I! I got to sit down with one of the designers, Jennifer Suh, for just a minute and she told me a bit about their vision for the brand.  We talked about the lack of fashionable outerwear that is also warm and comfortable.  With the Snowman New York brand, they hope to give the typical winter coat a modern, New York makeover!

Looking through the collection, I fell in love.  Every coat was unique and super chic.  There was lots of furs, great color, and innovative shapes. Did I mention they do dresses too?!  Also, the coats were super light-weight and thin, avoiding that A Christmas Story look we Northerners know all too well.

While we were there, Jen and her wonderful HR maven, Murrill Oaks, actually let us do a mini photoshoot in the showroom featuring some of our favorite pieces!  Thankfully, I had my "should-be-a-model" friend Emma with me to try them on! Ang even got in on the action for a shot!

Ang caught an action shot!
We picked our top four pieces and tried them out!  The first one (shown in the top and left photos) has a super cute fur hood, a cool green color, and the featured light weight down.  The one pictured in the right and bottom photos was black with a full fur front (which was super soft and shiny, btw) and a lovely face, framing collar.

This piece, shown below, was one of the first things I saw when I walked into the showroom.  It's a leather dress with fur trim and it is adorable.

Lastly, we got to see a piece from spring collection that I'm seriously in need with.  There is so much going for this little jacket! The sleeves are down, but the body is not which creates the perfect amount of warm for spring!  The collar is super "popable" and the curve in the back is flattering and unique.  It's a very versatile piece that should be a staple in every cool girl's closet!

Overall, I had a great experience at the Snowman New York showroom!  We had so much fun hanging out and doing our photo shoot!  I also really loved the whole collection!  Definitely an up and coming brand that I would recommend to any girl looking for a chic, new coat.  I can't wait to see more of what they produce in the future and hope to collaborate again with them soon! Thanks again for having us!!

For more information, look books, and shopping check out the Snowman New York website!

XO, Briana

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Trend Watching at Lincoln Center {Fashion February}

So as I am much aware that today begins our so long awaited March, I'm going to continue with my Fashion February posts, since all of these things actually happened in February! I have been quite the busy bee! As you already know, I had the pleasure of making my way to NYFW this season.  Although I didn't get to see any of the shows inside of Lincoln Center, I did get to trend watch outside!  This has seriously become one of my favorite past times.

This season, it was all about the coats.  Since it was so cold, everyone was wearing one and they were all so unique!  I saw a wide range of styles: preppy, mod, grunge, bohemian, you name it!  I snapped some cool shots of just a few of my favorites! My personal obsession right now is the fur (or faux fur) coats!  They look so luxurious and chic and can pump up any outfit! Also, most girls were wearing their coats in a cape style fashion, simply draped over their shoulders.  I thought that was so classy and feminine!  Definitely something I would try in the future! I also saw a lot of plaid and pastels.  Plaid is always in style, if you ask me, but pastels are beautiful for late winter and perfect for spring! Another thing that is always in style; Leather! Wearing leather in almost any piece is instant rocker chic.  I love the styling in the last three pictures; the girl (fourth row right) working the leather sleeves with lots of bold print and color, the girl with that outstanding lip dress rocking her leather jacket, and also the coordinating trio at the bottom! (Side note: I'm loving that guy's ombre pants!!)  Another thing I saw a lot of was the classic wardrobe staple, the camel colored coat.  Camel goes with pretty much anything and is uber chic, in my opinion.  My girls here paired it with metallics, plaid, and (my personal favorite fourth row left) mixed prints.

 Overall, most people were dressed very fashionably!  I guess people are a little more outlandish in the fall (see my Fall Fashion Week trend-spotting post).  I'm really excited to try out some (or all) of the trends I saw this season and implement them into my personal style!  What I'm most excited about is the pastels!! I'm not kidding when I say excited either.  I absolutely love that chic, luxurious quality that seems to have been floating around recently and I need  to participate in that.  So be on the look out for my attempts.

Speaking of pastel, another lovely pastel thing I got to try was macarons!  I've been dying to try them, since I see them everywhere online, at least once a day.  And also because of Gossip Girl (obviously.)  So I decided to get in touch with my inner Queen B and make my way to the Macaron Cafe!  Can I just say, this was a huge mistake because I'm now officially an addict.  We got a few different flavors to try, including PB&J (my first), passion fruit, Nutella, and apple pie!  They were all amazing and I'm currently on the hunt to find a place in Philly!  (P.S. if you know of any, don't be shy!!)  I also just found out that the Macron Cafe ships nation wide!! Needless to say, I'll be expecting a package soon...

Me before the magic.  About to eat my first ever macaron!

I was definitely channeling Blair Waldorf that day, not only through macarons and tromping around NYC, but in what I wore! Unfortunately, I didn't get a good shot, but you can see my Juicy Couture beret an my aeire sequined polka dot top!  I was also wearing a black Ann Klein coat, Betsey Johnson scarf, Wildfox hoodie, black damask leggings and necklace from Target, and my The North Face snow boots (since of course it had to snow...)  

 So this is just the first half of the day! I also got to do a mini photo shoot at the Snowman NY showroom!  That will be the next post, coming very soon!

XO, Briana