I Went to New York City!

Ever since I was little, I’ve dreamed of visiting New York City. Little did I know that I would be going on a girls’ trip to the Concrete Jungle during my senior year of college!

On January 19th, I boarded a plane and discovered that New York was everything I wanted it to be: big, busy, and full of life, lights and history. My friends and I lived the dream of pretending to be Gossip Girl characters all weekend long.

Here’s just a few highlights of our trip:

Time Square

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They say you can see Time Square from outer space, and I believe them now.

My friends and I visited Time Square during on first night in the city. We had the luxury of lodging in Manhattan, and Time Square was only a 15 minute walk from our place.

Although it was past midnight, the street looked as if it was mid-afternoon. Full of bright signs and branded images, Time Square truly is an advertising student’s dream!

We also ate at Joe’s Pizza – a joint known for its authentic New York style pizza and for being featured in Spiderman!

Brunch in Brooklyn

For our first proper meal in New York, we had brunch at Glasserie, a delicious Mediterranean restaurant located in Brooklyn. We ordered the Brunch Mezze Feast, a fully vegetarian family style meal. I had a spiked coffee and sipped some mimosas that my friends kindly shared with me. If you’re looking for a yummy restaurant with a cozy atmosphere, I definitely recommend visiting this spot.

Brooklyn Bridge

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When you visit New York, of course you have to go to the Brooklyn Bridge! We enjoyed our 1.1 mile walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, posing for tons of photos and appreciating the scenery.

 

New York’s Own – Cupcakes and Coffee

It isn’t NYC without cupcakes and coffee!

While in Brooklyn, we stopped at Baked by Melissa to try their famous mini cupcakes. They were so delicious and had us wanting more. The cookie dough and sugar cookie cupcakes are my favorites!

We also grabbed coffee at a nearby cafe called Financier Patisserie. I enjoyed a vanilla iced latte, my go-to order for a special occasion, and the cafe didn’t disappoint.

SOHO and Ladurée

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There are few places in U.S. more glamorous than SOHO New York. My friends and I grabbed Sunday brunch at Ladurée, an amazing French cafe originally from Paris. The Paris location has been in business since 1862. The moment you walk into SOHO’s Ladurée, you feel like you are right in the middle of France.

I ordered rose tea, and it truly was one of the best teas I’ve ever had. For brunch, we all ordered avocado toast. This entree was prepared with wheat bread, avocado, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on top. I’m not a fan of smoked salmon, but this dish had me questioning my preferences. Highly recommend it!

I bought a variety of macaroons to bring home to Chicago. Although I’ve never been to Paris (yet!), my friend assured me that SOHO’s macaroons taste just like they do in Paris.

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After brunch, we explored the streets and shops of SOHO. This area is full of luxury boutiques, sample sale shops, coffee shops, and luxe antique stores.

Central Park

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Our last stop was a classic – Central Park. Beautiful and big, just like NYC.

Central Park might have been the last stop on our trip, but it definitely wasn’t my last adventure in New York. I look forward to going back. But until then, xoxo… you know the rest.

 

 

2017, You Taught Me Some Things

2017 was crazy.

It was a tough year, full of life tests and confusion. But when I look back on 2017, I must say I’ve accomplished a lot. I raised my GPA to where I wanted it to be. I took on extra classes in order to graduate on time. I traveled to another country for the first time in my life. I had my first internship. I decided to learn to love myself, which is something I never thought I would be capable of even trying to do.

The best thing that came out of 2017 for me was growth. I feel like I am a better person because of this year. I’ve taken the initiative to improve my quality of life, and these are a few tips that have helped me grow throughout this year:

#1: If something doesn’t make you happy, leave it.

It’s simple: life is too short to waste time on things that don’t make you happy.

You dread working the job you hate? Quit it. A friend treats you poorly? Leave them. Something you used to love doesn’t give you the same joy as it used to? Find something new.

I’ve realized that I stick with the familiar, even if it makes me feel bad. I’m afraid of the unknown, so much so that I’ll put up with negative circumstances to avoid feeling uncomfortable or lost. But it’s not worth it. This year, I have only improved my life by leaving the negative behind. Holding on to lost causes are pointless, and it stunts personal growth.

#2: Some people will never change, and you don’t have to waste time trying to change them.

This is something I’ve reflected on for the majority of 2017. I think of relationships between people, internal qualities and the moves and mistakes we all make in our lives.

The hard truth is people won’t change unless they want to. The desire for change has to come from within. I think at some point in our lives, we all wish we could fix broken people, but we can’t. It isn’t our responsibility to change someone. Of course we can encourage it and express our concerns, but we are not responsible for anyone other than ourselves.

Realizing and accepting that this is out of my control allowed me to move on with my life. It isn’t that I don’t care; it’s that I can’t allow myself to sacrifice my sanity.

#3: It’s okay to be lost.

There is so much pressure on early 20-somethings to have our life together. We need to have a superb GPA, 8 internships on our resumes, 12 extra curricular activities, and 100 friends. We’re supposed to graduate from college and immediately start at a great new job, move into a place of our own, buy a car, get engaged, so on and so forth.

We’ve all heard it, and we all believe it at some point.

But the truth is everyone moves at their own pace. Just because one person has a $100,000 paying job, 10 travel plans for the next year, and engagement ring on their finger right after college doesn’t mean you have to. Life has a funny way of making things happen right when things are supposed to happen. Setting goals and working towards accomplishing them is more important (and more effective!) than competing with other people.

#4: Knowing what you don’t want is just as important as knowing what you do want.

I can even argue that knowing what you don’t want is more important than knowing what you do want.

This year, I’ve realized that I don’t actually know what I want. I feel like a lot of “my” standards are built off of what I’ve been told to expect. I have used this year to challenge those expectations and figure out what I don’t want in order to figure out what I need.

#5: It’s going to be okay.

There have been many times throughout the year that I have said to myself, “This is the end of me. It’s never going to get better. I will never move on from this moment.” (I’m not even trying to be dramatic. This is actual dialogue from my head.)

Plot twist! It’s not true. There is always a solution, and a new day will always come. Making mistakes and experiencing bad times is a part of life, but these moments don’t mark the end of your world. I promise you – and myself – that it will always be okay.

 

 

My Top 5 Holy Grail Beauty Products

Confession: I am a makeup and beauty geek. I absolutely love learning about new launches and trying new products. Walking into Ulta or Sephora, seeing all the makeup I have yet to try, excites me.

Although new shiny things ignite my love for trying different products, I have my go-to, die-hard, holy grail beauty products that never let me down. I’ve narrowed my list down to my top 5 products:

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Coverage Foundation

mufe-ultra-hd-liquid-founda-810x454Image from here.

I have been religiously using this foundation for over a year now, and it has never let me down. As a person with normal to dry skin, I need a foundation with lasting power and the ability to keep my skin from looking crusty. This foundation does it for me!

It has medium coverage and a natural finish. This foundation comes in a wide range of colors to choose from, and I love that Make Up For Ever offers warm, cool and neutral tones.

I wear this foundation year round. It holds up in the summer heat and doesn’t dry out my skin in the harsh Chicago winters. Want to know how well it holds up? I wore this foundation for every day of sorority recruitment and for a 12 hour Black Friday shift this year. My skin still looked good. If that isn’t proof of a good foundation, I don’t know what is!

This foundation retails for $43 and can be found at Sephora.

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

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Image from here

I can’t tell you the number of these sponges I have gone through. I use this sponge for applying both my foundation and my concealer, and I have yet to find another sponge that does it better. I’ve tried the original beautyblender, and in my opinion, it does not compare to the softness and ease of the Real Techniques sponge. Plus, it’s not worth paying $20 for a sponge.

A single Real Techniques sponge retails for $5.99 at Ulta. I prefer to purchase the packs of two for $10.99 or the packs of four for $17.99. In the long run, I save more money buying the value packs. These sponges can also be found at Target and other drugstores.

Lorac Unzipped Eye Shadow Palette

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Image from here.

I love rose tones. Anything rose gold or rosy pink is destined to be mine. Because of this and the undeniable quality of Lorac shadows, the Unzipped palette has been my go-to palette for years. I travel with it, and I use it for both everyday looks and nighttime looks.

This palette is composed of three true mattes, five shimmers, a satin/matte highlight shade and a glittery/matte-acting shadow. The shades range from shimmery rosy tones to bronze tones to a maroon matte. The palette also includes a beautiful gold shades and transition shades. All of the Unzipped shadows are super flattering.

This eye shadow palette retails for $42 at Ulta.

NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Soft-Spoken

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Image from here.

I have a huge collection of lipsticks. Even so, if you see me wearing a rosy nude lip color, I’m probably wearing this. I have gone through two tubes of this product, and it never fails me. I love how comfortable it feels on my lips and how flattering and wearable the color is!

This lipstick retails for $6.99 at Ulta.

Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Perfume

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Image from here.

I’m very picky with scents that I like, so it can be hard to find my perfect perfume. A few years ago, I tested Black Opium in the store, and I instantly fell in love. I looked up the notes, and I wasn’t surprised why I loved it so much: coffee beans, white flowers and vanilla.

Coffee notes… No wonder I – a coffee addict – love it!

Black Opium is the perfect combination of spicy, sweet and floral elements. It has been my go-to scent during the colder months. I love the sexy yet sweet smell of it, and I receive a lot of complements when I wear it.

This perfume retails for $69 for a 1 oz bottle.

I Saw Halsey in Concert.

Anyone who knows me or has the slightest idea of my music taste knows that Halsey is one of my absolute favorite artists. I remember hearing her track “Colors” play after a Lana Del Rey album came to a close on Spotify, and my love for Halsey’s music has lived on ever since.

When I listened to her latest album hopeless fountain kingdom for the first time back in June, I knew I had to see this album performed live. The Romeo and Juliet inspired story turned theatrical conceptual album captured my attention in a way that new albums haven’t done so in a while. The intense lyrics, the colorful beats and genuine artistry made this album one for the books.

I went to the Chicago show on November 19th with my lovely boyfriend. Seeing Halsey in concert was an incredible experience, and the anticipation for it was definitely worth it. There was fire, smoke, confetti, and all the lights and colors you could imagine. Halsey’s stage presence was exhilarating, and the crowd definitely imitated her energy.

Halsey took time to talk to her audience between, a personalized touched that I absolutely loved. She spoke about recognizing our wholeness as people and remaining true to ourselves – both of which are themes of hopeless fountain kingdom. At every point of the concert, it was clear this tour was composed thoughtfully and artfully.

The concert was different from what I imagined because I thought she would play all of hopeless fountain kingdom. Instead, she performed a montage of her current songs mixed with older favorites.

Some notables performances straight from hopeless fountain kingdom were “Bad At Love”, “Don’t Play”, and “Alone”. “Bad At Love” was super fun to see live, especially since the entire crowd belted the anthem alongside Halsey. Halsey engaged in some choreographed dancing with Tee Tee, her dancer, for “Don’t Play” on a small water-filled staged in the middle of the crowd. This really got the crowd going. With images of colorful balloons and the track’s bluesy vibes, Halsey’s performance of “Alone” made me feel like I was partying with Gatsby.

I have to say, my favorite performances were of her older songs: “Colors”, “Drive” and “Hurricane”.

Colors

“You’re ripped at every edge but you’re a masterpiece.”

When I listen to her song “Colors”, I can see flashes of colored lights and profound patterns in my head. Halsey brought this song to life on her tour. This performance featured intensely colorful videos of bursts of bright powders and mouths engulfing colorful drugs. The stage lights filled the stadium with multiple colors.

This video taken in Toronto shows Halsey’s “Colors” performance.

Drive

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“And California never felt like home to me, until I had you on the open road and I was singing drive…”

“Drive” is one of those songs that take you to another place. This song transports me into the scenario of driving fast down a highway in a car with a new love interest, wondering what comes next. I loved experiencing Halsey perform this song live with my boyfriend because this song reminds me of the fresh beginnings of our relationship.

Aside from her perfect vocals and the bright and colorful visuals, the amazing part of this performance was the audience. Tons of people across the stadium waved a light to the movement of the sound, uniting us all. “Drive” is not a new Halsey song, and seeing thousands of people being taken away by the performance was something special.

This video of “Drive” was taken at the Chicago show.

Hurricane

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“Don’t belong to no city, don’t belong to no man.”

Halsey closed her show with “Hurricane”, a personal anthem about belonging to no one but herself. The performance featured lightning, smoke and confetti. It’s easy to say Halsey ended with a bang.

This video of “Hurricane” was taken at the Chicago show.

I’m so glad I finally got the chance to see Halsey in concert, Needless to say, if she comes back to Chicago, I will definitely be the first to buy tickets!

Welcome to the Journey

Hi! Welcome! I’m so glad you are here.

This is my first post on my new blog. I am beyond excited to begin the adventure of documenting my style, my thoughts, and my experiences. However, this is not my first rodeo. I had a blog during the spring of 2016, but I didn’t keep up with it.

I know the reason my former blog didn’t live for long. It was a compilation of what I thought was an acceptable fashion/lifestyle blog: cookie-cutter, aesthetically designed, and limited. I felt trapped by the self-titled “fashion/lifestyle” blog positioning. I struggled to create content that fit this mold because it wasn’t organic. While fashion is a big part of my life, it doesn’t make up my entire self. Inspiration sprouts in many places, and limiting your voice only leads to the demise of your success.

I envision this blog to be a well-rounded representation of my life, including (but not limited to!) fashion, beauty, travel, music, and reflection. Through this blog, I want to be everything that I am and learn to be even more than that.

It’s a journey. Join me?