To Mom, on your birthday…

Some little girls grow up watching their mothers carefully apply their makeup in the mirror and meticulously choose the perfect pair of shoes to go with that day’s outfit. I grew up watching my mother gut fish from whatever exotic locale we happened to be living in.

Needless to say, my mother did not spend an extraordinary amount of time on her appearance when I was younger. As a research scientist, she spent her days in a laboratory surrounded by dangerous chemicals that would ruin any kind of clothing. Therefore, her everyday wardrobe consisted of old t-shirts, faded jeans, and sneakers. She was not exactly a fountain of knowledge when it came time for me to begin to think about my appearance.

She helped me with the basics: a touch of lipstick for a special occasion, concealer to cover the inevitable blemish that popped up the night before school pictures. But mascara? Lip gloss? Bronzer? That was a no fly zone and I was left to fend for myself.

So I did. I read any and every fashion and beauty magazine I could get my hands on from the age of eleven. I was fascinated by eye shadow, mascara, and anything that sparkled. You probably could have guessed that if you’ve been following this blog.

After finally being allowed to wear makeup to school in the seventh grade, I joyfully spent my time scoping out the latest products at the drugstore. I was particularly fond of blue eye shadow and pink lipstick, and happily forked over my hard-earned babysitting money for it.

As I matured and slowly began figuring out what worked for me (less is more and you don’t necessarily need to match your eye shadow to your shirt), my mother began to also figure out what worked for her. We’d go on shopping trips together and as I taught her the basics of style, she taught me many things as well.

I believe one of the greatest things my mother has taught me is the idea that no one person is better than another. Growing up in so many culturally different places with such open-minded parents has definitely allowed me to view the world as non-judgmentally as possible.

Like most relationships, ours has gone through difficult times, but through it all I know I can always count on my mom to be there when I really need her. I hope she knows the feeling is mutual and that I feel so lucky to be her daughter!



It’s a Maybelline Mascara Showdown!

I love splurging on high-end mascaras as much as the next girl, but lately I’ve been on a drugstore mascara kick. I seem drawn to Maybelline mascaras, and this post is a showdown between my three most recent Maybelline purchases.

(Side note–The whole time I was typing the title to this post, I couldn’t get this clip of my favorite Project Runway alum Daniel Vosovic out of my head.)

Also, I was going to take some comparison photos but trying to take a close-up selfie of your eyelashes is just awkward and uncomfortable for everyone involved (namely me, myself, and I), so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

IMG_3257The first mascara is one I have been using for a while now:  Volum’ Express One by One Mascara. I’ll admit, I first bought this mascara because I liked the packaging, but it does a great job of curling, separating and volumizing my lashes. As a self-proclaimed eyelash curler addict, I’ve found that I can forgo curling my lashes and still achieve a wide-awake look with this mascara. I also really like this mascara’s wand. It’s the perfect size and is able to catch those tiny inner corner lashes.

Next on deck is The Mega Plush Volum’ Express Mascara. This mascara’s most unique feature is its flexible wand which does take some getting used to. The brush is a bit larger than One by One’s, but it’s not unmanageable. Overall this is a perfectly fine mascara, but I found that it clumps a little bit more than the One by One. To help with this, I layer the two mascaras to achieve a full, voluminous look.

Lastly is Maybelline’s The Falsies Volum’ Express Mascara which was a big of a letdown for me. I heard so many good things about The Falsies but it’s just not for me. I found the curved wand difficult to work with, and the formula did nothing for my lashes. I am definitely not a fan of this mascara and I regret purchasing it. In fact, by the time you read this, I’ve probably already thrown it away.

All in all, two of the three mascaras I experimented with worked for me. Not too shabby. I’ll continue to use the One by One mascara, but probably won’t go out of my way to repurchase The Mega Plush. And, Maybelline, if I may quote Regina George: Stop trying to make The Falsies happen. It’s not going to happen.

What is your favorite mascara at the moment? Have you tried any of the ones mentioned in the post? Tell me in the Comments section please!

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How to Vacation Like a Boss (On a Budget!)

Last week, a friend and I took off on a three day trip to New Orleans. Needless to say, it was very fun and we had a great time (if you follow me on Instagram, you saw quite a few pics) despite the fact that we were both watching our pennies. Even if you’re not exactly making it rain, you can still afford to go on a fun trip like I did. Below are some tips and pics:


Travel at unusual times: If you’re able to, travel during the week or the off-season. In my case, we stayed at our hotel midweek, and got a deal on our room by booking in advance and paying ahead of time. Check out different hotels’ policies to see if any of these deals apply.

IMG_3202Check out tourism websites: The first thing I did when I started planning my trip to New Orleans was visit the city’s tourism website. There’s TONS of information on local attractions, festivals, hotels, and even special coupons for restaurants and other activities. I highly suggest visiting the tourism website of whatever area you are planning to visit. You never know what you may find!

Look for “free” activities: I hate going to new places without learning some of their history. As I was looking for guided tours in New Orleans, I stumbled across a company called Free Tours by Foot. They offer tours in many cities and allow you to pay whatever you want for your tour based on how you like it. I booked two walking tours with them and they were excellent! And since I wasn’t locked into a certain rate, I was able to save a little bit of money.

Save on transportation: I love flying when I travel but, let’s face it, airfare can be expensive. Explore your options when it comes to transportation! My friend and I were able to book bus fares for $5 each way through Megabus, a worldwide bus company that offers low fares to many major cities. Again, we booked in advance and were able to travel at inconvenient unusual times.


Where is your favorite place to travel on a budget? Share your tips with me below! Oh, and the picture above is Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s house in New Orleans–one of the many things I learned on the walking tour!



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Review: Hard Candy’s Glow All the Way

0067604560318_500X500I recently bought a pair of new shorts but when I decided to wear them for the first time, I noticed something was off…

That “something” was my less-than-stellar glow. So I decided to try out yet another faux glow enhancer, Hard Candy’s Glamazon Glow All The Way Face & Body Luminizer (phew…I think I ran out of breath just typing that). Although it claims to be infused with 24 karat gold, you can pick it up for only $8.00.

The application was ridiculously easy! Since the formula is tinted and the color appears instantly, there’s very little chance of making mistakes. Because let’s face it, nobody likes spending their time applying self-tanner only to discover a streaky, orange mess. And if you need a little extra moisture, feel free to mix in a little lotion with the bronzer.

You only need a few minutes to allow the product to dry, and you’re good to go! After applying the product, I noticed it was sprinkling a little outside. Naturally I was nervous about my new tan coming off, but it definitely stayed put. In fact, the tanner didn’t rub off on my clothing either!

So if you’re like me and you need a tan, glowing look in less than five minutes, check out this instant luminzier from Hard Candy. It won’t break the bank but it’ll definitely have you looking like a million bucks!

Feel free to share your favorite bronzing products with me in the comments section below!



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