Sequin Gowns & Mermaid Crowns : 2018

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Top 10 travel tips for budding jetsetters

Well, hello! It's been a minute, but I'm here with something I've been working on for a while. I've always been into traveling and seeing the world is absolutely on my bucket list. I do travel a lot, but until recently, I didn't feel it was enough to call myself a "jetsetter."

Now, however, by the end of this year, I'll have been in 5 different airports and visited 5 different cities, some of them multiple times. It seems like every couple weeks we are going somewhere! It's a lot and often takes a few days to recover, but it's totally worth it.

Our latest trip has inspired me to put together a list of my top 10 travel tips that I've come to follow in the past year, and some that have been good old standbys from my many trips home during college.

Be prepared for security

When you're waiting in the security line at the airport, use that time to your advantage. Make sure you have your boarding pass and ID in hand, remove any jackets or accessories necessary and start taking out any electronics and liquids that need to go through the scanners separately. The more prepared you are ahead of time, the less chaotic it will be once you actually get to security. Also, a bonus tip, when you're collecting your things from the belt, grab everything and move to a nearby bench. That way you can take your time getting yourself together and not be in anyone's way!

Be familiar with airline rules

Every airline has different rules when it comes to bags. Some come with a personal item and a carry on with each ticket, and others will only let you bring a small personal item (cough, cough, Spirit.) Make sure you know what you can take before arriving at the airport so you're not stuck panicking about what you're going to do with an extra bag! Bonus tip: Don't risk bringing a bag bigger than the designated dimensions. Some airports are more lenient than others and will let you get away with something a little too big, but others are strict and may make you check it if it doesn't fit inside the box! (I learned this the hard way and made a scene in Philadelphia airport. Needless to say, I didn't pay extra to check it.)

Keep yourself entertained

Plane rides can be nerve-wracking and also kinda boring. If you're not planning on sleeping or it's a longer flight, make sure to bring things to keep yourself entertained. Make sure you download music that you can listen to offline, bring a book or a video game. My fiance and I brought our Nintendo Switch and played Mario Party this past weekend and it was so much fun! It also made the time go much faster. So if you're a nervous flyer like me, I highly recommend it!

Always have your beauty essentials

There are certain beauty products you should have with you in your purse or backpack that will make your life a lot simpler. Things like a nail file (not the sharp, pointy kind), a makeup wipe and some moisturizer really come in handy. Anything that you need to feel comfortable should be in your kit! Plus a cute little makeup bag also doesn't hurt. ;)

Dress comfortably but fashionably

I like to be comfortable just as much as the next person, but I absolutely HATE seeing people traveling in their PJs or whatever they just threw on in the dark. Flying used to be a luxury and people would dress to the nines to travel. Those days have passed, but that doesn't mean we need to worry flight attendants that a homeless person snuck onto the plane. In a world overrun with athlesiure, there is no excuse to not look fashionable and comfortable while flying. Normally, I'll go for a cute pair of jeans with a nice sweater or even a cute graphic t-shirt with a jacket. On earlier flights that make me want to die, leggings and an oversized tee are an easy throw-on pair, but with the right pieces, can still look put together. Think more casual, less loungewear.

Get your packing done ahead of time

This one is a toughie for me. Packing gives me MAJOR anxiety. I hate having to decide what I want to wear ahead of time, and I'm always worried I'm going to forget something. Which is a warranted fear, since 99% of the time, I do. However, I've found when it comes to packing for a trip, you need to find the sweet spot: Not too early, not too late. I'd say two days before is a good option. It's early enough that if you forget something, you can toss it in or pick it up at the store, but it's also late enough that you have time to really contemplate what you want to take.

Use things in your hotel room creatively

When you're traveling, especially with limited bag space, there are certain things you can't bring with you. Additionally, you are away from your home where a lot of comfort items stay behind. Learning to creatively use the things you find in your hotel room can make for easy solutions to your problems! For example, I stand in front of the bathroom mirror to do my makeup. I also have extremely cramp-prone feet. So standing on hard, cold tile is just asking for an awful foot cramp. Sky had a brilliant idea by using a folded up towel for me to stand on, in place of the floor mat we have in our bathroom. Another example: wrinkled clothes and no iron? Hang the garment in the bathroom while you take a shower. The steam will help to release the wrinkles in your clothes! I also always carry a Febreeze wrinkle release spray with me, which also helps!

Stick to trusted sites and hotel chains

This one's a doozey. It's easy to get drawn into a seemingly charming, boutique hotel for a good price. However, they can't always be trusted. What may look "charming" online may wind up being basically a dump once you step foot in the place. I speak from experience. Since then, I've stuck to anything under the Hilton umbrella for the most part and I have not been disappointed. I think boutique-style hotels are cool, but it's hard to tell what you're actually getting for your money. If you do book a hotel outside of a major company, do it through the company's website. They are more trustworthy than sites like and Kayak. Also, do your homework. Check sites like Yelp and TravelZoo for reviews, also keeping in mind that there will always be some good and some bad reviews.

Have a plan

Some people may disagree with me on this one, but I think I make a good point. The idea of spontaneously whisking away to a new place may seem exciting and romantic, and it can be, but not always. If you travel somewhere without any plan at all, you run the risk of winding up sitting in a hotel room all day, or not even making it there in the first place. I like to at least have SOME kind of idea of where I'm going and where I'm staying before making the trip. I say, make a few broad plans, like going to a certain area, and explore from there. You'll still have that adventure, while staying sensible. You don't want to wander around and wind up in a dangerous part of town, or get lost in a place where you don't speak the language. As much as you'd probably be fine and have a story to tell, it's better to try and prevent something like that from happening if you can!

Bring a buddy

Traveling is always more fun when you have a companion. It helps the boring parts fly by and makes everything more of an adventure. Having a buddy means having someone to share your experience with! It's also much safer, since you have each other's backs. So whether it's a significant other, a friend or a family member, bring someone along to share the fun!

XO, Briana

Thursday, October 18, 2018

12 books I plan to read in 2019

As a lot of you already know, I love to read! At the beginning of each year, I open up my little GoodReads app and set myself, what I think to be, a reasonable and attainable goal. How many books can I realistically read in a single year?

Usually I play it safe at a meager 12; one per month. Doable. I did it last year, actually, and I was very proud! So at the beginning of 2018 I set the same goal.

Needless to say, this year hasn't gone quite the same.

See, last year I was single and had a crazy, inconsistent schedule. That made for a LOT of alone time at weird hours when I should probably be asleep. Instead, I read.

Now, I'm engaged and living with my fiance plus, I work the same schedule each day. My nightly routine usually consists of Netflix and popcorn with Sky. My morning routine is usually sleep, eat, get ready for work.

Doesn't leave a lot of time to read.

But recently, since Sky also loves to read, we've been trying more to take the time to read a few chapters now and again. When I went to show him GoodReads and my yearly goal, I was totally surprised to see I had finished a whopping ZERO books.

I'd started one before we started dating. And that was it. Still haven't finished it, and have moved on to a new book. And I think I started something else somewhere in between there that just kinda got lost...Maybe I should finish that one too...

Anyway, this sudden knowledge and thirst for reading has motivated me to ATTEMPT to get a head start on my list for 2019.

When I originally wrote this, I was going to attempt to read ALL 12 books in four months (by the end of the year.) Unfortunately, Hurricanes Florence and Michael took up about a month of that time, so not do I not have the time to read, I'm super behind on everything else in life.

I figure maybe if I tell you all about my challenge that you will hold me accountable and I'll actually do it, instead of telling myself about it and then forgetting about it in a week.

So the collage above features the 12 books I'm going to commit to at least TRYING to get through over the next year. That includes the ones I'm already reading.

1. Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hahn
2. Buddhism for Busy People: Finding Happiness in a Hurried World by David Michie
3. Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy Book 1) by Kevin Kwan
4. China Rich Girlfriend (Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy Book 2) by Kevin Kwan
5. Rich People Problems (Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy Book 3) by Kevin Kwan
6. Zodiac (Zodiac Book 1) by Romina Russell
7. Wandering Star (Zodiac Book 2) by Romina Russell
8. Black Moon (Zodiac Book 3) by Romina Russell
9. Thirteen Rising (Zodiac Book 4) by Romina Russell
10. Siren (Siren Book 1) by Tricia Rayburn
11. Undercurrent (Siren Book 2) by Tricia Rayburn
12. Dark Waters (Siren Book 3) by Tricia Rayburn

Follow my progress on GoodReads, here!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Pinspiration: Beach baby

Even though 99% of what I've been pinning is wedding related, there have been a few other gems here and there! These ones just give me major good vibes!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

A new chapter in a new book

I begin this prose with a very familiar statement: It's been a while.

Where have I been? Creating an entirely new life.

Expect things to be a weeeee bit different around here. It's been a solid 4-5 months since I've posted and for that, I apologize. Between working and being in a relationship, most of my free time I'm either asleep or out with my beau.

In the meantime, I've gone to Savannah, Ga., Disney World and Pittsburgh, P.A. I am also now happily a fiance to the love of my life! So expect to see some wedding nonsense on here in the future. Fun, yet stressful. We're working on keeping it more on the fun side.

Anyway, with everything that's been going on, I've tried to keep up on social media, but blogging just hasn't been at the top of my list. However, I really do miss it.

I write and do social media every day for my job, so coming  home and staring at a computer for hours is just not on my list of things I'm in the mood to do. However, I have learned a lot about those things, so I'm excited to bring that to my blog.

I'm hoping to slightly re-brand the blog and do things a little differently. Seeing as this point in my life is totally new: a new life, a new me, a new blog.

I'm lacking in creative outlets, so I really need to get back to my blog. I miss it dearly. So I'm planning on writing on here a lot more often, but in shorter posts like this.

The way I've always done it, each post takes HOURS to complete. I don't have that time anymore, but I still want to share things with you all, whether it's life stuff, the latest makeup trends or my latest fashion inspirations.

I'm coming back with a bang and I'm excited to share this new time in my life with you all.

XO, Briana

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The death of social media

This may seem a little dark, but hear me out. We are in the age of the downfall of social media. Or at least what it was originally intended for.

My boyfriend and I just had a nice, long conversation about this. What do you think was the original intention of social media? In my opinion; to stay connected with family and friends. To share.

I am an open book. I have never and never will have anything to hide. I have nothing in my life that I am ashamed of or embarrassed to share. And that's one of the reasons I took to social media in the first place.

I love to share. Whether it's a random thought, a funny meme I saw or something new I learned, I want to tell everyone. It's one of the reasons I'm in the profession I'm in, and why I'm good at it. I'd say, "it's why they pay me the big bucks," but I would be lying if I said I made the big bucks, lol.

Regardless, I'm a writer and a blogger and an optimist. I love to share and if I can make someone smile or make someone think, I'm content.

When social media became a thing (yes, I know I'm aging myself here) I was excited! Wow, a cool way to keep in touch with people who I either A. don't get to see often or B. would probably never talk to again if it weren't for social media.

My best friend from 2nd grade is still one of my good friends, thanks to Facebook. I don't talk to her every day, but seeing all of the amazing things she's doing in her life makes me feel good! It makes me feel like I can still be a part of her world, even though I'm not there.

And that's what I feel social media should be! A way to keep the people you care about close without the physical necessity.

Now some could argue that, "oh well you should make the effort to call or visit and not rely on social media." And to that I would agree, partially. But if we're being completely honest, if social media weren't a thing, how many people do you think would have just faded out of your life by now? How many friends would you have lost due to just "growing apart?"

To me, there are many people who I feel I have a stronger connection to because of social media. My friends back home, my family in Puerto Rico. I don't have the option, or the time, to call all of them on the regular. Don't get me wrong, I would love to be in constant communication with everyone who's ever meant something to me, but that's just not feasible.

Now to get to my point. Why do I think it's dying? What do you do when you log on Facebook? Are you excited to find your next meme to post? Or are you constantly worried about what other people are going to think about what you post?

This is your personal space. You have the right to freedom of speech, you can do whatever you want. You choose who can see into this little world of yours. So why should you be self-conscious? Why should you walk on egg shells, constantly worried about that old-school aunt or that overly-critical cousin to harass you and make you feel bad?

YOU SHOULDN'T. Hence, my point. The conversation around social media has shifted from a new form of communication to a new place for people to be assholes. And I don't say that to be funny...okay maybe a little, lol. But think about it. Cyberbulling is a thing, right? A big thing and a big problem. That comes with the shift I'm talking about. Social media has basically become a giant fishbowl. You make your little fish castle and everyone you know, and sometimes don't know, have an easy, fool-proof way to judge you.

But why? Why do people have to make everything negative? Why does society take anything that shines bright and snuff out the light? I don't have the answer to that, but I do know that the only way we can combat it is to ignore it and work through it.

I, frankly, don't care what other people want to judge me on. My thinking is that, you chose to follow me, you chose to see my posts, if you don't like it then sionara! I don't really know what else to say on it, other than find your way. Make social media about being social and enjoyable like it was meant to be. Block the, like I mean literally block them. If that person is going to treat you poorly online, then they'll do the same in real life. They don't deserve any of your attention.

You should be able to post whatever on your personal sites without having to worry about being criticized. Now that is a situational statement, seeing as a lot of times when posting something political, you should be prepared for a difference of opinion. But embrace conversation instead of criticism! Talk about things; if you do get a "troll" in your midst, attempt to have a conversation. If they don't respond to that then, again, sionara.

I'm not sure how to bring this to a conclusion, since it is entirely based on a rant I had earlier this evening. But I just wanted to share this with you. Share a thought. Share an idea. Because that's what it's all about. Make someone smile, don't drag them down.

Why do I share things on social media? Because I want to share my happiness with the people I care about. I think about what makes me happy: a like from an old friend, a comment from my mom, my boyfriend pulling up a photo and saying, "wow you are beautiful." I want to do that, I want to share my own happiness and add to theirs, and yours! I also feed off of intelligent conversation. I post things that will get people talking to me or that they can relate to. That is why I post whatever I damn well please, and will continue to do so.

XO, Briana

Friday, April 6, 2018

Where in the world...?

Woah. It's been over two months since I've posted a blog post, and boy do I suck haha. I sincerely apologize to anyone (if anyone) who has been anxiously awaiting my next story of ridiculousness. My life has gotten a little bit busier than it used to be, hence the lull in posting.

But now, I'm determined to get back on track and into a routine of posting regularly again, even if it's just a short review or story that I think you all will enjoy!

For now, I'll start with an update and some things to come!

So I bet you're wondering exactly what I've been up to. Well there are a few answers to that!

First off, I told you before that I had just started a new, full-time job in news! Well, I'm about three months or so in now and it's been pretty awesome. But it's also very time consuming, stressful and straight up exhausting.

When I got into news, I was definitely not prepared for the horror I'd be dealing with on a regular basis. I can't tell you how many murders, fires and kidnappings I write up in a week. Or a day even. It's insane. Thankfully, I have a pretty strong backbone and I can handle it. But, that doesn't mean that emotional trauma doesn't manifest itself in other ways than having panic attacks every day.

I sleep, like, a LOT. I stay up late after work until like 3 or 4 a.m. (Mind you, I work nights so I don't get off until 12 usually.) And then I sleep in until 11, or 12, or sometimes 1. Then I'm back at work at 2:30 p.m.

So I spend most of my time sleeping and sometimes eating. The rest of my time is spent with my boyfriend!

Which leads me to the next part of my story/excuse of why I haven't been around.

With my new job I also met the love of my life. It was crazy how it happened. We just kind of hit it off and the rest was history. We went out the first time on what may have actually been an accidental date, and then talked to each other for hours each day after that.

Actually, to spin off of that for a minute, one of the reasons we got so close so fast is that he really helped me get through one of the hardest times in my life. Only two short years after my maternal grandmother passed away, my abuela passed away suddenly from a heart attack. My family and I were totally stunned and it was just an awful thing to experience. But, I don't really want to talk about that too much, since I want this to be a happy post. I know she would want me to enjoy my life and be happy, and that's exactly what I've done.

Anywho, I've been spending almost all of my free time with Schuyler and it's been awesome. We've only just been dating for three months, but it feels more like three years! We've already had some amazing times together and are planning for many more!

But yeah, that explains where I've been, so let's talk about where I'm going! I've still been pretty active on Instagram, but I'm fully aware I need to do more. But I'm planning some cool things for the blog coming soon!

I've got a few book reviews I'm working on, some more "Let's Talk About This" posts and some fun travel things I think will be really cool!

So bare with me and stick around for more coming this month!

XO, Briana 

Friday, February 2, 2018

NeoStrata Foaming Glycolic Wash

As you all well know, I am a skincare addict. As much as I love makeup, I think I’m just a big a fan of all the different skincare products the world has to offer. Anything that is going to make me look flawless and glowing like a goddess gets an A+ in my book!

So I’m pretty excited about doing this particular review. Thanks to BrandBacker and NeoStrata for letting me test out this amazing product! Foaming Glycolic Wash is one of the coolest face washes I’ve ever tried.

The first thing that got me excited was the “foaming” aspect. When you put this cleanser on your face it’s like you are pampering your skin with clouds from heaven. I’m not even kidding. It’s super soft and feels very gentle on your skin, but you’d better believe that baby is doing some WORK.

You take a pump in your hand and rub lightly onto your damp face. Just doing that, the cleanser will exfoliate and smooth your skin texture. And you will notice it immediately.

The first time I used it, and every time after that, my skin looked totally airbrushed. It somehow gives your skin the same look as if you just put on something like Benefit’s Porefessional, but there’s nothing there…it’s just your face!

One of the other things that amazes me is that the glycolic acid in the wash gives you a deep clean without actual soap, and lactobionic acid does the exfoliating. I enjoy using this cleanser after taking off my makeup to get off whatever my makeup remover doesn’t or in the morning before applying makeup. It leaves the perfect blank canvas for any look from no makeup to full glam.

NeoStrata recommends using the wash both in the morning and at night, as tolerated. Seeing as how this 3.4 oz. bottle will set you back $40, I’d say it’s absolutely worth the splurge; especially if you are planning to use it exclusively.

The brand itself is known for their skincare that helps to improve the visible signs of aging, treat acne, dry skin and other dermatological conditions. According to the website, the Foaming Glycolic Wash is one of the brand’s most potent cleansers and has ingredients meant to “gently exfoliate and unclog congested skin to prepare skin for optimal benefits of the regimen that follows.” NeoStrata also recommends the product not be used by those with sensitive skin. The wash is soap-free, but also fragrance-free, dye-free and paba-free.

NeoStrata has proudly revolutionized the anti-aging skincare game for more than 40 years! They hold themselves to the "highest standards of quality and effectiveness to deliver products and results worthy of [their] dermatological heritage." Actually, the brand’s creators are known for their discovery that Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) have profound beneficial effects on human skin. The brand offers multiple products catered to different skin types and conditions.

To wrap it up, I was 100% blown away by this and I absolutely love it. It’s good for your skin and worth the price if you want flawless looking skin! My only tiny dislike, if I even had to choose something, would be that it tastes awful. Avoid getting it in your mouth if you can! LOL.

You can purchase this wash here and other products at the NeoStrata website. The Foaming Glycolic Wash is part of the brands “Resurface” line, which also includes several creams, lotions and even a daily peel. You can check out those products on the website as well along with several sets to get you started!

XO, Briana

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New Year Wishes 2018

Welcome 2018! Happy New Year! Last year at this time I sat down with my thoughts and wrote out some New Years "wishes" instead of resolutions. I want it to be a positive thing that sticks with me throughout the year and not something that will haunt me if I don't reach the goals I've set. So I think I'll do the same this year!

In my last post, I took a look back at what I wished for my year in 2017. So for this post I'm gong to make new ones, in addition to rolling over the ones I didn't quite make come true.

Working on my fitness, he's my witness (whooooOOOOEEEE)

Image result for fergie glamorous gym gif

Number one for me this year is going to be my health. I've finally gotten to the point where I've got a full time job and a set schedule, so no more excuses for me! I really want to get back into a healthy lifestyle like I was back in the end of 2016. I was working out all the time, I was eating well and I remember how good that felt. I want to get back to that. I'm tired of my stomach constantly being in knots and I'm tired of shoving Christmas cookies in my face 24/7. lol I want to be shoving pineapple in my face 24/7 instead! As a goal, I'd like to get to my ideal body. I want to get to the point where I can just throw on whatever clothes and be like hm, ok. I'm pretty close, but still not 100% where I want to be. I want to tone, and lose a little more fluff weight so that I can be a true size 12.

Blog Babe

Next is blogging. Coming back to my newly found time, I feel like I've had a lot more time to write on here than I have in the past. I'm also newly inspired for some reason. So my goal for this year is to post two-three times a week as often as possible. I also want to be more active on my Facebook page, since I feel like it's lacking a little.

Moving on up

I really would like to move out of my parents house, now that I have a better paying job. I've saved some money working 3-4 jobs over the summer and having my own space would really be amazing. I lived by myself in college for a while and it allowed me a lot more freedom in ways. I had space to do yoga in my living room whenever, I did everything on my time and I got to come home after a long day and have some time to myself. Don't get me wrong, I love living with my family, but I'm getting to that point in my life where I think it's really time to take that big girl step.

YouTube Guru

I've been trying to start filming YouTube videos in conjunction with my blog. I like putting videos together and I think it's fun for you guys to see my personality in action along with my immediate opinions. In writing, everything is pre-thought-out. You can't really have an immediate reaction in a blog post, since you have to think about what your writing as you type. With video, I feel like it pushes me to be more relaxed and helps with my public speaking. I'm particularly good with words, on paper. In person, however, I'm not quite as easy to speak. I often get lost in what I'm saying and stumble on words. Plus, I think there are things you can more easily show in video than in pictures. So I really want to get working on it! I do have a channel, it's called Beach Babe Beauty, and I do have one video up that I thought went pretty well considering my newbie status. I guess my goal here is to try to regularly film videos and get that channel some publicity!

Mental & Spiritual

I always make a point to assess my mental health and my spirituality. These are both really important to me. My mental health because I have a history of anxiety and depression; spirituality because it is a part of who I am as a person. Maybe I'll write a post about that sometime! My goal for my mental health is to stay happy and satisfied in life. The happier I am, the better my mental health is. Spiritually, I want to focus on educating myself. I like to be an expert at something before I go around flaunting it. So reading lots of books and watching videos and such makes me feel like I deserve to humble call myself Buddhist. But, I'll go into that story at another time.

I'd say those are my main wishes/goals for the new year, aside from other little goals like actually making my GoodReads goal...missed it by one! And maybe to try and get to the beach more often, just for a walk or to read, when it gets a little warmer. Definitely not now though, since it's currently 18 degrees.

XO, Briana