It is hard to even begin to synthesize everything that 2016 encompassed. Most people seem to be in agreement that it was a downright sh*tty year. I don't think that's wrong. However, I hope that the failures of 2016 will help us grow as a society in the years to come. I also hope we can realize that while this year had tragedy after tragedy, there were some moments of success. As a woman, I'm biased towards feminist victories: increased backlash towards sexual assault, as well as support of the victims, female representation on American currency, a “plus-sized” (ahem, average) model breaking boundaries, and further leadership by women, women of color, and transgender women.
But before I forget the main focus of this very blog, let's move into the less important (but much more fun) topic: makeup and fashion. Here are flash reviews of my nine favorite products from this year.
Tarte Tartelette In Bloom Palette
The most stunning, simple shades that can take you from a day of school or work to a fun night out. Seriously, these shadows will last all day.Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black
I cannot get enough of this addicting scent. The notes of vanilla & violet are perfect year-round, and the scent is just the right amount of strong & sweet.
Bite Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Honeycomb (original review)
After struggling for years to find the perfect nude lipstick, this provided a shining beacon of hope. The shade is just right: not too brown, not too pink, not too dead.
Yes to Blueberries Eye Firming Treatment
This eye cream has made my skin pretty happy, especially now that winter is zapping all the moisture from my life. You could drop $50+ on a fancy eye cream, or save your money and be equally as happy with this.
Charming Charlie Dakota Rinestone Watch
This was a fun, seasonal purchase that ended up being one of my favorite fashion finds of the year. I love that the face is the same color as the band, and that it's a simple design.
Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Pop Highlighter (original review)
I can honestly say that while I've wanted to buy other highlighters this year, this one has prevented me from doing so. It's just so beautiful, I could wear it every day and be happy.
Ban.do “I Am Very Busy” Planner (original review)
Wow, this planner is making me excited for 2017 (I'm an organization weirdo, shh). The fun & girly design helps brighten up my day, and makes boring tasks seem a lot more interesting.
Urban Decay Naked Concealer
The choice to not wear foundation means I need a pretty serious concealer. This one covers well and helps me feel more confident in my skin. My only complaint is that I wish there were more shades to choose from.
Nadri Geo Necklace
Last, but certainly not least, is this simple, yet stunning necklace that looks chic paired with any outfit. I can't stop wearing it!
I have to brag about my personal achievements as well. I'm so proud to have found an organization within my university that has helped me declare a major, and in turn, helped me find myself. Moda Magazine is a UW-Madison student-run fashion & lifestyle publication that has given me the opportunity to expand my portfolio and improve my writing skills. I have to not only shamelessly promote the magazine (read the beautiful Fall Print Issue), but also promote myself (eek, sorry). Check out my favorite articles: In Defense of the Holiday Binge, Beauty Basics for Winter Pampering, and CoverGuy: The Rise of Males in Beauty.
In addition to that self-promotion, I also want to include my 5 favorite blog posts that I've written this year. I'm very happy with the direction this site is headed in, and I can't wait to make more content in 2017. Check out: Valentine's Day Makeup, Portland Snaps, Going Foundation-Free, Autumn Jackets & Shoes, and Finding the Good in the World.
So, when you are thinking back on 2016 as you (in the future, hopefully) watch the inauguration of America's first female president, read about another life-saving scientific breakthrough, or experience firsthand the destruction of racialized, classed, and gendered divisions, remember the good stuff. Planned Parenthood received endless donations, Leo won an Oscar, and hey, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. How's that for a positive?
What was your favorite moment of 2016?
I'm very excited to have received the Beauty Box Five, which is a monthly beauty subscription box containing 5 samples per month. The box is ridiculously affordable, starting at $12/month. What I love most about the concept is that you can try a few different products, but if you don't like something, it's only a small size. The December theme is “party perfect”, which is adorable for this time of year, and the products definitely offer the ability to create a perfect party look.
Jelly Pong Pong Liquid Gossamer
Out of all of the products in the box, this one had me the most excited. Highlighters have obviously been an insane trend over the past year, and this one promises to give your skin anywhere from a subtle glow to a sparkle brighter than your holiday lights. The luminizer has a gorgeous rose gold sheen; this shade can look perfect on the cheekbones, down the nose, on the cupid's bow, or under the brow. If that isn't enough, the tube is absolutely adorable and adds a bit of brightness to the dull winter mood.
I had never tried Neutrogena shower gels prior to this, but was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed the consistency and texture. Although the size seems small, it's the perfect companion for a quick weekend trip or an overnight stay. I never know whether or not hotels will supply toiletries, so a small bottle like this is great to bring along. Plus, it meets airline size requirements!
AmLactin Cerapeutic Restoring Body Lotion
With winter knocking at the door (Madison hit -5℉ this weekend!), it's important to have an effective moisturizer. This lotion will give your skin all the hydration it needs. I'm not a huge fan of the scent, mainly because I'm biased towards fruity, flowery fragrances, however this formula does a much better job than others. The best part is that this is the perfect size to slip in a purse, backpack, or carry on bag for moisture on the go.
Professional Freezing Finish Spray
Whether you love ringlets, sleek straight locks, or fancy updos, hairspray is an essential. Throw this small bottle in your purse on a night out, and you won't have to worry about having messy hair or pieces falling out of place. The scent on this spray is very low-key, which is wonderful if you don't agree with some of the harsh, chemical smelling sprays. Pro tip: spray a bit on a un unused toothbrush and use it to tame flyaways.
Hikari Lip Gloss
The shade of this gloss intrigued me immediately. It's very on point with the recent brown lips trend, which makes it an ideal shade for holiday parties. It has mauve undertones to add originality and a hint of femininity. You'll look sophisticated, yet trendy and fun at the same time. Because this is a lip gloss, it won't stick to your lips during meals. However, it's very easy to reapply and offers beautifully opaque color payoff.
Overall the Beauty Box 5 is a great way to sample fun and exciting beauty products, and this one is especially fantastic for creating your perfect party look.
It's that time of year again. Final exams are upon us once more, and I, like many other college students, am on the verge of a breakdown. Deadlines, papers, study guides galore are filling up agendas, and there is no stopping them. But before you lock yourself in a closet with all your books, take a few minutes to think about how you might maximize your productivity and ultimately be more successful.
Choose a Practical Study Spot
While it may be tempting to set up camp in your cozy bed or on a comfy couch, you will be much more productive if sitting at a table or desk that has minimal distractions. That's not to say you can't check your phone every so often, but it's important to find a quiet place that won't get in the way of your train of thought. This will ultimately help you to focus more on studying, and less on Pinterest. If you can't get away from the noise, try listening to classical music or plugging in a background noise app to help you concentrate.
Budget Break Time
Diligent studying is important, however it is also important give yourself breaks throughout your studying session. A handy rule to follow is 20 minutes of studying, then a 5 minute break. Repeat this set 4 times, then allow yourself a 20 minute break. These time limits are adjustable, however I have found that this system works well for me. If you have trouble keeping up with these time constraints, an app like Focus Keeper can track it for you.
Make a Daily Agenda
In order to stay on top of things, it's helpful to plan out each task that needs to get done on a day-by-day basis. I even like to organize the activities on my list in the order I plan to complete them. It's a very satisfying feeling to check something off a list (for me, at least), so this (weirdly) helps motivate me to actually get sh*t done. Don't fret if you don't finish everything on your list, but simply move that activity to your next day. Take a deep breath, there's eventually time for everything.
Keep Up With Self-Care
Whether it's eating healthy and working out, sleeping in, or painting your nails, allowing yourself to continue activities that typically keep you happy and healthy is an important step in maintaining your general well-being. It may seem as though you don't have enough time to complete any activity that isn't studying, but realistically you need to do things that keep your mind feeling sane, and your body staying healthy. Even if it's something as simple as setting aside 10 minutes to do a face mask, this step can make an important difference in your finals mindset.
Final exams can be daunting, but these easy steps can lead to a less stressful few weeks. And if this still doesn't seem doable, when in doubt, just find a puppy to play with. Stress = demolished.
What are your final exam tips?
December 5, 2016 • Beauty, Holidays, Technology, Wear
November was a whirlwind of a month. I can't believe 2016 is nearly over, but I am looking forward to a fresh start come the new year. As always, I have a few favorites that I want to share.
The exciting purchase...Canon Eos Rebel SL1 Camera
As I mentioned in my last post, I have finally got my hands on a nice camera. I picked the smallest of all the Canon selections, however after using it for a few weeks I think it is absolutely wonderful. The quality of the 50mm f/1.8 lens that I purchased is beautiful, especially for portrait photos. My camera also came with the standard 18-55mm lens, and an additional 75-300mm lens. Both of these are nice for tight spaces, because they zoom in and out. The 50mm does not zoom, and therefore you must move yourself to find the perfect spacing. The zoom lenses have slightly lower clarity, but are still great for learning. I would highly recommend this camera (and the lenses) for anyone who wants to get into photography but does not know where to begin.
The rediscovery...Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara
It has been quite some time since I've used this mascara, but I repurchased it on a whim and am remembering how much I used to love it. Besides having a beautiful tube (I have been obsessed with light pink recently - just look at my Pinterest), the brush is perfect for giving your lashes both volume and length. In addition, the formula lasts well throughout the day, but doesn't stick to my lashes when I'm trying to remove my makeup.
The cult classic...Urban Decay Naked Concealer
I've talked about this plenty upon purchasing, but I really do love it. There is a possiblity that I might go back to my beloved Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer, however I do think that UD's concealer gives Nars' a run for its money. It is creamy and long-lasting, and does a great job of covering up dark circles and spots. In addition, the bottle looks nice within my makeup collection.
I have been using this app to track my water consumption over the past few months, and I think it has really helped me to hydrate more throughout the day. It's very easy: you set a daily goal, and enter each glass or bottle of water you have had. I find that the app really helps me to think about what I'm putting into my body.
The new find...Bath and Body Works 'Magic in the Air' Ultra Shea Body Cream
Another product that I mentioned in my last post, which is perfect for dry winter skin. The cream contains shea butter, meaning it is ridiculously moisturizing. Using this every night has helped to keep my skin soft and smooth, even as the weather is getting colder. In addition, this smells delicious.
The special gift...Nadri Necklace
I was very, very lucky to receive this beautiful necklace from my wonderful boyfriend. It looks stunning paired with every outfit, casual or fancy. I especially love how there are multiple settings for the clasp, so that you can wear the necklace a little shorter, or a little longer.
The holiday one...TeeStars Hanukkah Sweater
Amidst all the funny Christmas sweaters, I had to represent some Hanukkah. This one is soft and relatively priced, and I absolutely adore the menorah and smiling dreidel design. It is extremely comfortable, especially for cold winter nights!
What was your favorite part of November?