Sequin Gowns & Mermaid Crowns : August 2014

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Clinging To Summer: Wish List

Even though fall is technically my favorite season, I freaking love summer.  I can live without the scorching temps, but it's the vibe of summer.  That's what I'm all about.  Beach days, tropical drinks, bright colors, flowing dresses, and a wide variety of accessories.  Love it all.

I've always been the "surfer girl" type, even though I still haven't learned to actually surf.  I'm working on it, ok?! But for real, I've always wanted to learn.  When I was 14 and I finally got to redecorate my room from my baby wallpaper, it was all Maui, all day.  The walls are lime green with Caribbean blue, coral, and orange accents.  The border is painted over with stenciled Hibiscus flowers, and my mom and I even DIY'd some awesome fake surfboards for the wall.  Additionally, I had a grass bed skirt, a quilt with flip flops and flowers, and a cool umbrella over my bed.  Remember, these were the times of Trading Spaces so it was pretty "themey," but I loved it.  And I still do.

I bought books on how to surf, searched it on the internet all the time, and yearned for the days when I'd be at the beach.  I rocked the bohemian look along with a plethora of O'neil, Roxy, and Billabong tees with trucker hats, tie dye, and tons of hemp arm candy.  (see throwback pics below.)

This was teenage me for most of high school and college, with a little bit of prep thrown in (since American Eagle was the go to store at that time.)  As I am now, I was still a little all over the place.  But I've always liked that aesthetic and I still do.  I feel like it matches my personality: colorful, laid back, and fun!

With that all being said, I've recently come across some awesome things I'm dying to have before summer bids us farewell.  (Aka, until I can wear shorts without freezing my butt off.) I have a habit of keeping new things I find open in separate safari sessions on my phone.  So here are the things that currently reside there.

Wonderland Honolulu- Aloha Yoga Legging 
Aloha Xchng- Tropical Gangster Muscle Tee

Lil Coconut Hawaii- Island Girl Status Clutch

Ocean Ave. (via Society6)- You Had Me At Aloha Tee

Hana Maui Creations (via Etsy)- Gold Wave Ring

Friday, August 29, 2014


Hey everyone!

Sorry I've been kind of MIA for the past week or so.  My life has kind of been in transition, hence the title of this post.  Ever since my family and I have been back from the beach life, I've been constantly job hunting and doing all sorts of running around trying to get all of my ducks in a row.  Quack.  So as of now, I got one part time job and am waiting to hear from another.  So if I do get that other job, I will be a pretty busy woman.  Regardless, I will be doing my best to keep my baby going (my baby being this blog) during this little rough patch as I try to get my schedule in order.  I'm hoping to keep up on at least 2-3 posts a week or more if possible.  However, what I have been up to date on is all of my social media sites!  I can't help but be on at least one of them 24/7 so if you want more of me, follow me on social media.  I guarantee to post there every day.  Especially Pinterest, because I'm admittedly addicted.

On another note, I'm hoping to be doing some new kinds of posts in the future.  In addition to really working on regularly posting in my current series collections, I'm feeling some more "lifestyle" tag posts.  By this I mean things like advice on post-college life, relationships, and maybe some of my own life musings just to get them off my chest to people who may or may not read them haha.  Something like what they used to call a "journal" back in the day, but who has time for that?  Of course I will make them into posts with substance and maybe a moral to the story, not just me ranting about how I'm a hermit and I'm too shy for my own good.  Both true statements.  Also, since my new job will entail the pre-opening of a new store, I think it'll be cool to share that process with you all.  I know I'm excited to be involved, so if it's as much fun as I think it'll be, I'll be just as excited to share it with you all!  So I think that will be a fun and interesting new side to add to my blog and I'm pretty excited about it.  Can you tell I'm excited?  Excited...excited...

Lastly, you know what's coming up very very soon.  Fashion Week!  So expect to see some fun posts on my throwbacks from last season, events I'll be attending, and my favorites of the shows I probably just live stream on my computer because I'm still not cool enough to actually get invited into Lincoln Center. Although live streaming is cool because you feel like you're actually there and you can just sit in bed in your PJs and drink coffee during the 9AM show instead of running around like a crazy person trying to pick the perfect outfit and probably being one of those people that's "fashionably late."  So yeah, I'm cool with it.

Anyway, that's about all I have in terms of where I've been and what I'm planning!  Hoping to get some more posts done so I have things to post for you this weekend!  Speaking of, have a wonderful one!!

XO, Briana

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Valentia Even Glow Facial Serum

Recently, there has been quite a buzz about face serums in the beauty community.  I didn't really understand what it was or how it was used, but I was intrigued to try it!  Then, Valentia was so kind as to let me try out their Vitamin C Antioxidant Treatment Even Glow Serum!  It may be a mouth full, but all of those things are what make the product great!

The Even Glow Serum has a great deal of healing properties including: pore reduction, hydration, wrinkle/fine line reduction, evens skin tone, boots collagen production, and increases glow and radiance!  It's made with 98% organic and natural products such as green tea extract and rosehip seed oil.  The serum comes in a small bottle with a syringe for application.

For me, I put a nickle sized amount in my hands and applied to my face and neck.  I put it on every day after washing my face and before moisturizing.  The serum smells amazing, like oranges, it's refreshing when applied, and dries very quickly!  I felt like I didn't really even need moisturizer since the serum hydrated my skin so well.  After my 5 day test run, I was already seeing results!  The redness on my cheeks and chin were reduced and my skin felt refreshed and tightened.  You can see the change in my pictures below, even though the first one is a little blurry (my bad).  In both photos I'm wearing no makeup and in the first, I had yet to use the serum.

I was particularly excited to try the Even Glow serum because I do have issues with uneven skin tone.  It always bothered me to the point where I felt uncomfortable going out without something on my face to cover the redness.  So far, if these results continue as wonderfully as they have, then I will no longer have to worry about that!

Overall, I think the Valentia Even Glow Serum is a great product that is definitely worth trying!  You can only get it on amazon HERE, and it's only $35.  Plus, they're having a great promotion of buy one get one 50% off.

To learn more about Valentia Skin Care, Even Glow Serum, and other products check out their website HERE! 

*This post is sponsored by Brand Backer and Valentia Skin Care Company.  All opinions are my own and the product was complimentary for reviewing purposes only. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Shark Week!

Hurray for Shark Week!  Today marks the beginning of the 2014 Shark Week on Discovery Channel!  If you hadn't figured it out already, I love sharks and I love Shark Week.  I've been a shark aficionado for a very long time and always love anything ocean related.  But there is nothing like Shark Week.

Once a year, shark lovers from all over the country come together for a week full of new discoveries, stories, technological developments, and bad jokes about sharks.  And we eat it up.  No pun intended. Hah.  Anyway, there are tons of other things you can do to celebrate this joyous event besides just watching the shows.  You can host a party, dabble in a drinking game, or deck yourself out in shark-inspired apparel!  So I'm going to show you my favorite Shark Week inspired pins!

1. Nailed it.

Who doesn't love fun nail art?!  Well I found probably the cutest little nail sharks you've ever seen!  I've seen a few variations on this one, but this was by far my favorite! A great way to show your sharks some love and have adorable nails at the same time!  It's a win-win!

2.  Drinking Games...

Every good movie, TV show, or in this case television even has a drinking game.  Even Sharknado week had it's own drinking game, which I unfortunately did not have the joy in participating in.  However, I did watch the second one and it was just as ridiculous and hilarious as the first!  So if you haven't seen them yet, I don't know what you're waiting for! But I digress.  Many people have made their own variations on the classic Shark Week drinking game over the years, but they all have the same basic rules.  So feel free to change the scale based on how much you want to drink and if you want to survive the week.  Since honestly, once a shark jumps in the air in slow motion, you're pretty screwed.

3. ...And the Drinks to go with Them

You've gotta have some good, shark themed drinks to go with your drinking game!  So here are a couple of recipes I'm planning to try.  Feel free to make the non-alcoholic version for your boring, sober friend or if you're watching with the kiddos.


4.  Sharky Gear

How better to celebrate than with awesome gear! Grab a t-shirt, shoes, or even these awesome leggings from ModCloth!  Also, the Discovery Channel store has some awesome official Shark Week gear and more ridiculous things you will feel the need to purchase.  Or pull out any shark related things you already have!  I have a hat and a backpack!


5.  Comedy Shark

Shark Week viewers love Shark Week humor.  And general shark humor is funny too.  Make sure you pin some funny jokes to share with your friends at your viewing party!  Nothing is funnier than a misunderstood shark joke.  Nothing.


6.  Party Time!

A Shark Week party needs everything shark themed!  From plates to souvenirs, no matter how many people you have over there is a party style for you!  You can even find printable party gear!  Here are a few of my favorite party pins!
How adorable are these cupcakes?!

Very sharky garland. Printable through Etsy!
A great idea to make your party classy! Shark tea-lights! 

 So these are just a few things I wanted to share!!  I can't wait for Shark Week's kick off tonight and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!  For more fun, here is my own Shark Week pinboard full of ideas and shark funnies!

Follow Briana's board Shark Week! on Pinterest.
XO, Briana

Saturday, August 9, 2014

"No Makeup" Makeup Look

Hey everyone! And helloooo August! As we make our way into the hottest month of the year, our hair is expanding and our makeup is melting as soon as we step out of our air conditioned homes.  Great.  But there are a few things we can do to find the happy medium between "I don't care, it's too hot," and "I care way too much even though it's hot."  Enter the "no makeup"/natural makeup trend.  Girls, this is to our advantage!  I'm talking minimal, lightweight makeup that's barely there but still enhances that natural beauty of yours!

A light amount of makeup is great for a very hot August day, a day by the pool or beach, or anywhere you're planning on sweating! I know a lot of people have something to say about wearing makeup to the beach, but personally I'm not comfortable leaving my house without something on my face.  I have a blotchy complexion and dark under eye circles that I feel are better covered than out to see the world.  So I just put on very minimal makeup to even out my skin and give me enough coverage to feel comfortable.  Without further ado, here is my "no makeup" mini makeup tutorial!!

*Expressionless for makeup viewing purposes only.

Step 1: Tinted Moisturizer 

This little guy is your best friend for summer.  It's like a moisturizer, sunscreen, and foundation all in one!  It's lighter than BB cream, but still gets the job done.  I like to use the Aveeno Positively Radiant Tinted Moisturizer with SPF.  This is great for the sun because it's lightweight so you won't feel clogged up, the tint gives you the right amount of coverage without looking like a foundation, and the SPF protects your skin from harmful UV rays!

I just start off using about a dime-nickle size amount and just rub it all on my face and neck.  Make sure you blend because it is tinted and you'll be able to see any lines or clumps.  On occasion, I'll just use this by itself, since it does such a great job.  Every step past here is optional, but today I'm going to show you a little bit extra.

Step 2: Concealer

I'm addicted to concealer.  It really is a wonderful thing.  For me, someone who has redness and the occasional blemish flare up, I just go to town with my concealer.  But for this look, the key word is minimum.  So I just put a little bit on my blemishes (if any) and under my eyes to cover those dark circles.  In my opinion, this is good for your tan anyway.  You don't want under your eyes, your blemishes/scars, or your super red areas to burn or get darker anyway.  To me, concealer gives that extra layer of protection.  Like a hat for your skin! I use Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer.  Mine is the double ended wand with the Pure Color Lip Gloss on the other end, but you can buy just the concealer alone.

Like I said, I just pat a little bit under my eyes using my middle finger and on any blemishes or extreme redness I may have that day.  Make sure you blend well so it gives you coverage, but still looks natural.

Step 3: Translucent Powder

This step is optional depending on how you're feeling.  Sometimes I'm feeling a little extra shiny, so I'll just tap on a little bit of translucent powder, even if just to set what I've done.  Here I've used the Mary Kay Translucent Loose Powder.  

Just take a stipple brush and grab some powder.  Either tap on, or swirl the brush in circles to apply.  This will just mattefy what you've already put on and keep it from running or smudging.

Step 4:  Eyebrows

Eyebrows are so so important, even when you're wearing minimal makeup.  Making sure that your eyebrows look crisp and groomed will open up your eyes and your face!  There are several ways to do this, depending on your eyebrows.  Mine are temperamental and like to go all over the place.  They're also scarce in places, so I like to use the Benefit Gimme Brow.  It's a miracle working tinted brow gel that is one of my favorite products! In one foul swoop, my eyebrows are perfectly pigmented and set in place!  No fuss, no muss!  And it looks natural, but clean. It's super easy to use as well: all you do is take the little spoolie and brush it on starting at the front of your brow and work your way to the tips!

If you don't have this brow product, you can use a clear brow gel or mascara like this one, or a wax pencil like this one.  There are so many things made just for your eyebrows nowadays so if you have trouble finding something, then you haven't looked hard enough!!  Don't be afraid to try out different things and find one you like the best!

Step 5: Liner

No, we are not using thick black eyeliner, or anything crazy.  Just a little trick I picked up in my many years of using makeup!  To open up our eyes even more, we're going to tightline our water line with a pearly white liner!  I used to use stark white, but then I read somewhere that using a slightly off white, looks more natural and is closer to the whites of your eyes!  So I picked up this Sephora Collection Nano Eyeliner in Pearl Beige.  

Simply use this liner along your waterline and in the corners of your eyes! It not only give you a nice glow, but will also make your eyes look bigger!

Step 6:  Lashes

Again, this is optional.  But for me, I like to use just a little bit of mascara to open up my eyes!  It's the finishing touch to my "no makeup" look!  The key here is waterproof.  Believe me, if you know you're going to sweat, you don't want to wear regular mascara!  Unless you're going for the raccoon look, then by all means go for it.  But seeing as that's not what we're going for, I used the Maybelline Pumped Up Colossal Volum' Express Waterproof Mascara in the blackest black I could find.  I have super dark hair, so I use black and only black mascara.  Anyway, this mascara is great for a natural, full lash with that added waterproof protection.  Again, it looks like you're just having a really good lash day (if that's even possible). Just lift and wiggle on your top lashes and also your outer bottom lashes to really open up your pretty eyes!

Step 7: Lips

Don't forget to protect those luscious lips! I will reiterate what I said in my Beach Essentials Post: people often forget about their lips!  They are just as sensitive to the sun as the rest of your face, so make sure you wear a lip balm with SPF!  This time, I used Sun Bum SPF 30 Pink Grapefruit Lip Balm.  I just got this and I absoluteness love it.  It smells and tastes good (if you accidentally lick it. I don't recommend purposely licking it) and it's greasy in a good way (if you can imagine that).  It gives your lips a nice shine and you can tell easily when it wears off and when it's time to reapply!  They also come in several different flavors!

And viola!  The "no makeup" makeup look! The point here is to say, I look great even without makeup!  Even though you are technically wearing some, it sure doesn't look like you are.  Away with the haters who bash on girls who wear makeup to the beach, pool, or even the gym!  I will not apologize for feeling more comfortable with makeup on and neither should you!  Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with girls who don't wear makeup.  Kudos to you! But for me personally, my skin gets yucky when I don't wear anything and then I'm self conscious about it all day.  So I rock this look!  Also, you can use this look for those days where you just want to do the minimum and still look put together and awake.  Hell, use it whenever you want!

Regardless of when and where you try this look, I hope you like it and test it out for yourself!  Remember, every step past that tinted moisturizer is additional so feel free to mix it up!  If you do try it out, let me know! I want to know what you used, your variations, and how you liked it!  Leave your posts and replies in the comments section! Thus, I leave you with the full product list below!! :)

XO, Briana

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Beach Essentials

As the last month of summer begins, us beach babies flock to the motherland to squeeze as many sun-soaked days in as we can before the leaves start to fall!  So, a cute beach bag full of essentials is first on my packing list!  Here is a compilation of some of my favorite beach essentials!

1. The Cute Bag

Any fashionista knows that you can't be caught anywhere without an adorable bag!  Not even the beach.  So if you haven't got your adorable beach bag already, you better go snag one before they're all gone!  I got this Lilly Pulitzer You Gotta Regatta beach bag way back when there was still snow on the ground!  I absolutely love it, not only because it is in my favorite Lilly print, but also because it's big enough to hold all of my loads of things!  It's also plastic, so the sand rolls right off! Since I got this bag so long ago, it's no longer available on the Lilly Pulitzer site. However, here is the link to the same style bag if you really like it!

2. Beach Seating

Some use a chair, some use a towel, and then there's me.  I use this awesome beach mat by Tommy Hilfiger. Another thing that I've owned for quite some time.  This mat is comfortable with a built in pillow and super convenient because it rolls up and has a handle!  Bonus: it's adorable.  Pink and green palm trees can do no wrong! Here is a link to a similar mat, but I've seen them around at places like Walmart and Target.  I have also seen these Tommy Hilfiger ones up for bid on eBay!

3. Sunscreen!!!

SPF is sooo important when you are at the beach!  I'm sure you've seen countless articles on the importance of sunscreen and that you have to reapply constantly, so I won't lecture you.  What I will tell you is that this Sun Bum sunscreen in SPF 30 is to bomb diggity (am I showing my age yet?).  As a mixed chick, my skin likes to be difficult; sometimes it's Puerto Rican and tans instantly.  Other times it's German and burns instantly.  So finding the right sunscreen to balance those out is essential.  I've tried just about everything.  After coming to the conclusion that I couldn't follow in my father's footsteps and use SPF 3 (jerk.), I settled on about a 30.  That seemed to be enough to protect my skin, but still let me tan!  Then I found Sun Bum.  I'm not going to lie, I bought it because it was cute.  But the slightly hefty price tag was totally worth it!  I have been using it, sparingly, all summer and I absolutely love it.  It smells delicious, and I've burnt ONE TIME. ONE! And that was my "first real sun of summer burn." So it's definitely worth a try!  And the company also makes companion products, like lip balm and a face stick!

4. Lip Protection

And that brings me to my next item!  Lip protection!  People often forget that your sensitive lips need protection from the sun as well!  So make sure you bring a lip balm or chapstick with SPF to protect your lips from those harmful UV rays!  My favorite of the moment is Baby Lips by Maybelline.  I'm in love with all of these lip balms, but make sure you grab the one with SPF when you're headed outside!  Also, if you like a little more punch, top it off with a neutral lip gloss!  I'm in love with Beach Party by Philosophy!  It gives me just a little bit of shimmer, isn't goopy or sticky, and it's rightfully named!

5.  A Good Read

Whether you enjoy a good sci-fi novel or a fashion magazine, don't forget to bring something with you to read!  There's nothing like cracking open this months issue of Glamour with a backdrop of waves and sand! (Can you tell I'm dreaming of the beach?  I live 10 minutes away and the weather has been awful!!) Pro tip: Don't expect to see your iPad, Nook, or Kindle out in the open sun.  Believe me, I've tried and you can't see squat.  The only one you might be able to use is the ones that are "paper white"

6.  Perfect Beach Waves

Everyone is going gaga for beach waves, and I am guilty.  Personally, I enjoy just throwing my hair in a bun and dunking my head in the ocean. Let dry and take out of the bun and viola!  However, my hair already has somewhat of a natural beach wave texture (told you I was a mermaid) so for those of you who don't I have a handy dandy tool for you.  My favorite beach spray that I've tried is Not Your Mother's Beach Babe spray!  I've been using it for a couple of years and I love it.  It really works and is super affordable! You can use it on wet or dry hair, and it always looks like you just stepped out of the ocean! Use it if you want to feel like Ariel!

7. Cheap-o Sunnies

One thing I will never ever understand is people bringing their super expensive sunglasses to the beach.  One, your chances of losing them multiply by at least 100, two, you will get sand on them and they will get wet. Why tempt fate by even bringing them?  I always bring a cheap pair that are still cute but that I won't have an emotional breakdown if they get messed up.  I honestly don't even remember where I bought the ones in the picture, but I usually get them on sale at places like Charlotte Russe or Forever 21.  They'd probably only last you a couple weeks anyway so who cares?  These are super cute ones from F21 and they cost a little more than $5. #STEAL.

8.  Electronic Companions

What are the two worst things that can happen to your phone at the beach...within reason.  It gets wet/sandy or the battery dies.  Well, I have two solutions for you.  First is the waterproof pouch.  You just stick your phone inside, lock the top and you're golden!  Now, I wouldn't recommend taking it in the ocean with you, but if someone splashes you or you drop it in the sand, your phone is safe. (phew!).  Some of them, like mine, come with a lanyard for extra paranoid protection services!  Next is the solar charger.  If you get a decent one that doesn't quit working after a few uses (lammeee.) then this is a great concept.  Especially when you are directly in sunlight.  Just plug your phone cord (or any other USB electronic cord) into the charger and then plug it in to your phone!  Presto, chango, your phone is now charging!  Now keep in mind, this works like other solar powered things: you have to let it suck up some sun first.  Don't expect it to work if you've had it out for ten minutes.  I assure you it won't.  But this is great if you plan on being at the beach all day.

9. Lots of Hydration!

Whenever you plan on being in the sun for a long period of time, make sure you bring lots of fluids to keep you hydrated!  Obviously, water is the best, but I'm difficult and don't particularly enjoy water.  So the next best thing is tea!  Even though some of them are high in sugar (calm down, you're on vacation.) they are delicious and made mostly of water anyway.  The one I have here is a Marley's Mellow Mood Tea.  I believe the flavor was the black tea with peach raspberry passion fruit, but I do remember for sure that it was delicious and very thirst quenching. I got mine at Lowe's supermarket, but you can probably get it at Walmart or other grocery stores. Also, don't forget to bring a koozie to keep that precious drink cold!! Nothing worse than hot tea or water or anything for that matter when you're already baking in the sun!  Koozies keep those puppies cold for longer so you don't have to chug! I mean, how cute are these monogrammed ones from Haymarket Designs??

10.  After Sun Protection

Whether you burn or not, it's essential that you moisturize after prolonged sun exposure.  When you burn, you're more likely to put on aloe or something to sooth the burn.  But don't overlook it when it comes to getting a tan!  Being in the sun all day strips you skin of moisture, so after you get a shower make sure you use something to replenish that essential moisture.  The leathery look is so not cool.  My favorite thing to use is the Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Sun Lotion.  Not only does it give you tons of moisture, but it also locks in your tan!  Plus it also smells really, really good.  (Can you tell I like to smell really good? Because I do.)

So those are my top ten (respectively) beach essentials! I'm sure I could go on forever with things I didn't mention (like headphones, but duh right?), but these are the ones that made the cut!  What are the things you can't leave for the beach without?  What's your favorite sunscreen or lip protection?  Have you tried any of these things?  I want to know your opinions and suggestions! Don't be shy, leave me a comment!!

XO, Briana

*I have not been compensated to market any of these products.  These are my personal opinions.
**All photos linked to their source as well as where they can be purchased, unless otherwise noted.