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August 29, 2014

currently: august.

reading The Hundred-Foot Journey.
eating a square of Trader Joe's swiss milk chocolate with 30% whole hazelnuts every. single. night. Hazelnut lovers rejoice!
listening to Taylor Swift's new song, Shake It Off over and over, and because of that, her last album Red on repeat. It is a completely different album from the perspective of a single girl, which inspired my latest BuzzFeed post.
planning to possibly go back to school to take a few courses.
longing for a long weekend vacation opportunity to present itself soon. Cali anyone?
loving how cuddly max has been lately, & enjoying spending all of my time with him before he becomes a big brother and our time together gets divided.
finding it difficult to drive around in my car because the old six disc changer I always mention is finally broken for good. I hate the radio.
catching up with project life after getting nine weeks behind.
starting 30 days of: lunch today.
wearing my new ash boots!
enjoying the cooler nights & mornings paired with sunny & warm days.
writing about always being hungry and traffic jams.
thinking a lot about the future. Immediate, far off, just what's to come. Sometimes it's exciting, sometimes it gives me heartburn.
wishing I was back in Europe on my contiki trip.
throwing around the idea of a YouTube channel. Still not sure, but I'm really into it in my head.
missing hot yoga. Maybe it's time to get back into that.
focusing on doing more of what makes me happy, rather than needing someone else to make me feel happy.

August 28, 2014

august beauty faves.

1. Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette // 2. The Body Shop Grapefruit Scrub // 3. Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo // 4. The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Solid Oil Lips // 5. The Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder in 04 Deep Matte // 6. The Body Shop Colour Crush Lipstick in 140 Make My Heart Gleam // 7. Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation  // 8. Dr. Bronner's Organic Almond Castile Liquid SoapThe favorites from this month are a combination due to my splurge at The Body Shop as well my hair and my makeup brushes needing a nice deep clean every once in a while. I spoke about the Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette already, but to be brief, it's still the bomb dot com. I got a free sample of the Ole Henriksen face cream when I bought the palette, and I have actually been loving it. It's really thick, so not sure if I would recommend it for oily skin types, but I have dry skin and my face has loved it up real hard this month. A repurchase of the full size may accidentally happen. I've been washing my hair once a week with the Sunday Shampoo instead of my regular shampoo, and man does it leave my hair clean. I don't know what kind of magic is in that bottle, but after using it my hair is soft, silky, and just clean. Suuuuuper clean. The Dr. Bronner's soap has had similar effect, but on my makeup brushes. I have heard that the peppermint and lavender scents are more popular, but I went for the almond because I go nuts for nutty scents. My brushes feel so fresh & clean and my face is happy about that. I paid a little visit to The Body Shop early in the month, and while I only went in to pick up another grapefruit scrub, you know how it is. That being said, it's possible that the grapefruit scrub has been in a post before, but I cannot stress enough how great it is. It's exfoliating, it smells like heaven, and the tubs of it honestly last forever. I have been wanting to try the honey bronzer for a while, so I picked one up in 04 Deep Matte (it's not very deep at all if you ask me, my medium toned skin with a bit of a tan is actually a perfect candidate for the shade. I think once my tan is faded it will still be great, as long as I seriously tap the excess). I saw the wild argan oil range right up front when I walked in, and immediately gravitated to the solid lip oil. I love a good lip balm, and this is perfect for day to day, or if applied a little thicker, it's a great overnight balm. If you think that the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask is too thick, or you like it but don't use it all the time (like me) because it's a little too much for every night, then definitely try this solid oil. Lastly, I picked up the Colour Crush Lipstick because in store the swatch on my hand looked great, but to be honest, after taking the photos for this post (organized blogger fail) I wore it a few more times and decided that the color is a little bit too shimmery for me, and because it's a very sheer lipstick, eventually all that's left of it are the little shimmers, and I hate that. I like the formula though, so I think next time I'll give the a matte one a try.

*links are affiliate.

August 25, 2014

packing a beauty carry-on for a long-haul, overnight flight.

1. eye mask // 2. Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator // 3. La Fresh Travel-Lite Facial Wipes (spoke about them here, but much prefer these wipes after using them) // 4. Bite Beauty Agave Lip Masque // 5. The Body Shop Almond Hand & Nail Cream // 6. Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil // 7. Elizabeth & James Nirvana White // 8. Advil // 9. Fresh Sugar Lip Polish // 10. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment // 11. Revlon Lash Potion Mascara // 12. Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip TreatmentFirst off, this post is not sponsored by Fresh. I got a giant sample pack from Sephora before I left for contiki and everything except the full size lip treatment was in it and I fell in love with everything. They're the exact type of products you want to take on a long-haul flight. When flying overnight, it's important to make sure your skin is taken care of before you doze off. I always bring a hand cream, and the body shop almond hand & nail cream is amazing. It's not the type of cream that will stink up the whole area around you and irritate other passengers, it's just super moisturizing. If you have makeup on from the day or just because you wanted to look cute in the airport, bring some wipes to take it off, an oil to put the moisture back into your skin, and then a moisturizer (not pictured, but I ended up bringing this one). In between the serum and cream I did use the sample packet I got of the Clinique moisture masque, and I left that on for a whiiiiiiile to hydrate my skin while I was eating dinner and watching a movie. I wiped off the bit that remained before applying the serum and sleeping. I have a hundred lip products with me at all times, but the real life savers on this trip were the bite lip masque because it kept my dry lips smooth and hydrated while I slept, and then the lip treatments were good for quick application and for something not as heavy. I always bring advil or another headache medicine just in case, an eye mask (which I never liked before but have found really help! I'm obsessed with this one on my wishlist.) and mascara to swipe on before landing so that I don't look completely blank. And that's all! A quick and easy skin regime for thirty thousand feet above the earth.*some links are affiliate.

August 22, 2014

youtube roundup | my favorites.

*insert photo that has pretty much nothing to do with what I'm going to talk about because sometimes blogging doesn't work out and the photos you wanted to use are super dark and you're really annoyed at yourself for not knowing how to edit better to fix them. :)

For the past year or so, YouTube has been a part of my daily life. I can't even remember how I started getting into it or how I found out about half of the people I subscribe to, but like following a television schedule, I watch YouTube. Don't get me wrong, like every other 20something of this generation I consume media like it's my job, which includes binging on netflix, dvr-ing my favorite shows, reading through my bloglovin', skimming through the cosmo that comes to my house every month (that I never paid for but it has my name, so haayyy), and countless others. But YouTube is so different than any of those other various forms of media in that it's a real person just talking to their camera and hoping that someone, somewhere is watching and loving it. I feel like I know so much about some of these people that I forget we're not actually friends. For example, talking to my actual friends about some type of make-up product that I am using now, "oh yeah, my friend Anna - I mean. This girl Anna. On YouTube. Yeah, anyways, she uses it sooo..." Insert awkward pause and mumbling to try and save myself from looking like a complete fool to no avail. Whether you're into YouTube, didn't know it was home to anything other than funny cat videos, or somewhere in between, here are some of my favorite people/channels on YouTube for you to check out if you're looking for new media obsessions, or even if it's just with your morning coffee for ten minutes.

Anna of ViviannaDoesMakeup // Anna is one of the main people I feel like I could be friends with in real life. She reminds me of myself and her humor that she usually put disclaimers on as not very funny, I find hilarious. The way her relationship with her boyfriend is reminds me of how I am in relationships, and generally just everything about her is delightful and makes me want to be her friend in real life. Her YouTube channel is mainly beauty, but she also does weekly vlogs, which are my favorite. Follow her on twitter, instagram, and read her blog.

Zoe of Zoella // Zoe is another person I feel like I am friends with and then have to snap myself out of it. With over 5 million subscribers, and as one of YouTube's largest channels, she manages to stay humble and fun. Frankly she's just adorable, and whether she's doing a hair video, a favorites video, vlogs of her daily life, or just sitting down to talk about something that's important to her, I can watch it all. Follow her on twitter, instagram, and read her blog.

Tyler Oakley // Tyler is another YouTube sensation who is quickly gaining tons of fame. He recently gave and received awards at the Teen Choice awards, has done other things for MTV and their red carpet for events, took part in One Direction's 1D Day, and is constantly in those teen magazines you see in the aisle of Target and are tempted to get because Harry Styles is on the cover (no, just me? Can't be). He's all over the place and I'm sure he'll soon be a household name. He's hilarious, vulgar, and innovative. Follow him on twitter, instagram, and tumblr.

Estée of EssieButton // Estée just makes me laugh out loud, or LOL if you will. Everything that comes out of her mouth, her delivery, and her countless hand gestures just kill me. She's a Canadian living in London with her boyfriend and adorable greyhound, Reggie, and not only does she do beauty videos, but she does DIY and cooking sometimes, and her, Aslan, and Reggie do daily vlogs here and there. She's an absolute riot, and even if you don't like beauty things, you'll love her just for how silly she is. Follow her on twitter, instagram, and read her blog.

Alfie of PointlessBlog // Though I've been watching him since before he started dating Zoe, now that they date I've taken even more of an interest in him, particularly in his recent addition of daily vlogs to his second channel. Zoe and other YouTubers that I like appear in them often, which makes them fun to watch. He also has a gaming channel, and when him and Zoe play the sims, or him and Chai play super mario on the wii, I'm all over it. Follow him on twitter, instagram, and watch his daily vlogs.

Louise of SprinkleOfGlitter // Louise is Zoe's best friend, and her channel is kind of what I would imagine my channel to be like if I had one. Sometimes she does beauty things, sometimes hauls, clothing lookbooks, general life chats, etc. She has a very sweet husband, Matt, and an adorable baby girl who is about three, named Darcy (who is her absolute mini me!) She's absolutely hilarious and so easy to watch for hours. Follow her on twitterinstagram, and read her blog.

Jack Howard // Jack is one of the most recent channels that I have started watching, and that started because him and Louise became best friends and started appearing in each other's vlogs and other videos together. He's a total sweetheart, and very good at creating videos not only because he's hilarious, but also very talented with all of the editing and things. He edited a few of Louise's videos for her, and you can just tell that he's got so much talent. And he's pretty good looking too, if I do say so myself. Hay, Jack. Follow him on twitter and tumblr.

Amelia Liana // Amelia is someone I found through Essie, and she's another beauty YouTuber. She's beautiful, funny, and is the type of person that makes you want to spend all of your money on the things that she recommends because she's so influential. Her hashtag, #feelingspendy, sums that up in a perfect way. Follow her on twitter, instagram, and read her blog.

Grace of ItsGrace // Grace. Grace, Grace, Grace. There's seriously so much to say about her that there's almost nothing to say. She's literally one of the funniest people that I don't know. She makes videos that have shockingly little actual content, but they still manage to have me rolling around laughing. Her and her two best friends, Hannah and Mamrie, do a stand-up show together that I wish was coming to NYC, and they also made a movie, Camp Takota, which reminded me so much of my camp experience. If you want to laugh a ton, follow her on twitter, instagram, and tumblr.

Jaclyn Hill // Jaclyn Hill is a professional makeup artist who knows literally everything there is to know about makeup. She's another person who makes me feel like I am Donald Trump when I go into a Sephora. She's a bad influence, but I know that everything she recommends is going to be amazing, and she's super into skincare, which has definitely helped with my skincare regime and blessed me with better skin. She's very funny, and always does bloopers of classic Jaclyn at the end of her videos, which I live for. Follow her on twitter, instagram, and read her blog.

Phew. Okay. Go check them out. YouTube is the next big thing people, I'm telling you. I mean, it already kind of is, but I'm still always surprised when people tell me they don't watch YouTube or didn't know that there are people who make a living from it. I think it's great, and I want to do whatever I can to support the people that I watch, because they are all incredibly awesome.

August 21, 2014

dear max.

Dear Max,

I have been your nanny for a year and a half now, and you have filled that time with so much joy and love, more joy and love than I ever thought I could give or receive. I have written many letters to you in my head over this year and a half, but now I think it's time to put one down in writing, the best way I know how.

I can't be your nanny forever, though I wish I could. But I promise you, I will always be in your life. For trick or treating adventures, birthday parties, your big school events, even the little stuff. Especially the little stuff. You are my little man, my best friend, my dude, and my favorite cuddle bug. I could never leave that behind, never in a million years. 

The other night I put you to bed while mommy and daddy were out, which is my favorite thing to do. During the day we play and run and dress-up, but at night you are quiet, thoughtful, and more loving than I ever see during the light hours of the day. As the day unwinds, you become a softer, more tender boy, and it's my favorite time to spend with you.

We colored pictures of Mickey and played with stickers, we ate dinner side by side and talked about what it means to be someone's BFF, and how you want me to teach you to eat with chopsticks. You are such a different boy than you were a year and a half ago, so much bigger and wiser, but still that same inquisitive child who wants to know everything about everything, and fast. 

When we went up to bed you chose to read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, which is one of my favorites. We read it many times when I was teaching you your alphabet before your second birthday, just as my mom had done with me when I was little. We read through the whole thing, me speaking the words and you pointing out all of the lowercase letters on the pages. Then we reached the final page, the full alphabet in capitals and lowercase and you started singing the ABCs. I've heard you do this countless times, sometimes correctly, sometimes jumbled, like when you first learned and you just could not get that "L M N O P" part down. But this time was different. You sang it with a smile, in your sweet little voice, and me, well I just stared at your round cheeks and long eyelashes and beamed with pride at the little boy you have become right before my eyes. 

Holding back tears, I told you that that was simply the best you've ever sang your alphabet, and that yes, next time I will sing with you. We cuddled and you draped your arm over my neck like you always do before nap time, and I squeezed you back as hard as I could.

I have so much love for you, sweet boy. So much love that I can't really even comprehend it. I have been thinking about how hard it is going to be to not be with you every day, but this night was what I needed to calm my anxious mind. As I left your room and said goodnight, my "I love you" sitting on the tip of my tongue as I turned out the light, you whispered, "I love you so much, Alessia". It was all I could do to get the words out of my mouth to tell you that I love you back before crying my way down the stairs. I've heard you say those words to me a million times over, sometimes through giggles when I tickle them out of you, but tonight was different. You expressing your love without having a prompt put all of my worries to the side. 

No matter who comes into your life next, no one can take away our special bond. You are my little man and I am your Alessia, and that is how it will be forever. 

Yours always,
Your Alessia

August 20, 2014

30 days of: lucas.

Another 30 Days Of: finished, and I still really love this little photo project. As with the other installments, I found it interesting figuring out different ways to take a photo of the same thing, and this time it was my pooch, Lucas.Lucas doesn't do much throughout the day, so it was hard to get in him many positions besides sitting and laying down on one of his two favorite rugs in the house (you can probablu figure out what those two look like just from the sheer number of photos taken on them).There is a good mix between photos taken on my phone and photos taken on my canon, and of course, my very favorites are on a mix of both, continually proving to me that I don't need to make myself feel that bad that I don't always have my DSLR with me, though the quality never fails me. In the ten photos above, the silhouette of him in front of the front door was taken with my iphone, and I absolutely love it. In the ten below, on the bottom right corner, his little paws were captured with my canon, and I am obsessed with that one as well.As with the other 30 Days Of:, I kept a hashtag on instagram going: #30daysoflucas. And again, without fail, I managed to only put up a few rather than thirty or close to it, but it was still fun having it. To see Lucas all the time, you can follow #lucasthebeagweiler on instagram. Next up, 30 Days Of: Lunch, my favorite meal!

August 19, 2014

tunes tuesday // august playlist.

This month has been all over the place music-wise. In my car it's still Ed Sheeran on repeat, but at home, work, and with friends a lot of other songs* have come into play. Plus, I had a spotify binge and found a bunch of new artists by following a long chain link from an artist I love to a bunch of other artists that are similar. Some of those new artists are Lewis Mokler, BleachersLewis Watson, Ross Copperman, Ron Pope, and Mike Dignam. The Script has a new album coming out in September and their new single Superheroes is out now and so good, so that made the cut. Most of this music is a bit softer, kind of folk/indie, but all really good. Listen to the playlist on spotify here.

*honorable mention this month goes to Ariana Grande and Break Free.

August 18, 2014

editorial calendar // how i format mine.

Every blogger has a different way of keeping organized, and I'm pretty pleased with my way. I have a sugar paper la planner from target (was only sold last summer for back to school) with simple monthly spreads that just about fit the perfect sized post-it and have enough room for all of the other bits and bobs.I always write in pencil when I'm planning, even though the post-its make it so I can move things around. This might seem silly, but I think other office supply lovers will relate to me when I say I have a favorite type of pencil, the papermate clearpoint mechanical pencil. I use the small neon post-its, and each of the four colors are used for a different category to help me get an overall idea of the balance of a month with just a glance. I use two Russell+Hazel to-do lists for each month, one for things I want to do during the month (books to read, project life spreads to complete, 30 days of: installments) and another directly underneath (see photo below) for photos I need to take for different posts. I like that there's a tick box at the end of each line so that I can have that really satisfying feeling of crossing something off once it's finished #nerdalert.When things are going really well, I can normally fill up a month with posts before the previous month is even halfway through. This is when I'm feeling inspired, and have a lot of projects and recipes backed up to get through. I keep post-its along the side of a month if I don't know when I'll have time to complete the project, but know that I'm going to get to it at some point soon. Some of the ones shown in the picture below have been rolling from the previous month for a couple of months now, but all will get done at some point because being physically able to see them lingering there lights the fire under my tush a bit.On the side of the planner, I use a weekly to-do list that I found in Target's dollar spot. I use this to keep my daily lists in check, considering my month is a bit broader. Things to get done like emails, Chelsea Dogs posts, shopping, appointments, etc. all go onto that list and get tucked into the monthly page. It's nice to have the planner as a mobile unit that can come with me anywhere I bring my computer to get work done. I've seen other versions of editorial calendars that are either cork boards or calendars that stay put on a wall, but for now I don't have one single place I work, so this calendar is great for on-the-go if you too work in multiple places (like starbucks, outside, or the dining room table to name a few) but need to refer to your calendar often.

August 14, 2014

too faced natural eyes palette.

While I was away in Europe I kept saying "I wish I brought a palette instead of all of these single eyeshadows", and then I thought, I don't really have a palette that can "do it all" in terms of my go-to looks and style, which is also small enough to not be a hassle to carry around. So upon returning home, I went to Sephora and ended up with three palettes in my hand to choose from. First I saw the Bobbi Brown Surf and Sand palette in 'Sand', then the NARS And God Created The Woman set, and finally, the Too Faced Natural Eyes palette. I first put down the NARS palette because even though I liked that it came with a brush and a couple other things, it wasn't a "do-it-all" palette for me despite the beautiful colors. So I was between the Bobbi Brown and the Too Faced, and honestly it came down to the price. For $29 less I could have nine eyeshadows instead of eight with the same beautiful color payoff (according to my messy in-store swatches), and the colors were so similar, that I knew it'd be a better choice. The packaging on the Too Faced also seemed a little better - smaller, metal, tighter magnetic closure.I used it this past weekend, and man, do I love it. It's small enough to bring around with you, there are enough neutral colors to do a bunch of different looks with (and the palette comes with three cards for particular ideas), and they wore well both nights, not rubbing off and with little to no fallout on application. There are perfect blending shades, like 'heaven', 'nudie', and 'cashmere bunny', and the most perfect metallic lid shades. 'silk teddy' is very similar to Stila's Kitten eyeshadow, which is one of my faves, but a standalone shadow that broke on one of my trips because it is such a fine formula #saddestnightever.The colors are all really beautiful (see swatches above, all except for 'heaven' because it wouldn't show up particularly well on camera) and I'm really happy with the purchase so far. If you're a neutral gal like me (and you obsess over a great champagne color), this palette is for you my friend.

August 12, 2014

tunes tuesday // ed sheeran - x.

Oh, Edward. Before I begin, to see me fangirl over Ed just a little bit more, see this post, this post, this post, this post, this post, or this post. (Or just search Ed Sheeran in the search bar to the right and you'll literally come across seven pages of search results of every time I've mentioned him).

Ed Sheeran is by far one of my favorite artists, if not my absolute favorite. He is pure talent in an adorable redheaded man's body and I love the crap out of him. This new album, 'x' or 'multiply', came out in June, and since then it has been on repeat all the damn day. It's the only CD in my six disc car changer that I've listened to since I put it in, and it's constantly playing on my spotify at work, with friends, or in anyone's car other than mine who actually has the capability to play music that isn't on a disc. So it's safe to say that I'm obsessed, just as I knew I would be.

This album is different than his last in that I think he picked more of his songs that include a bit of rapping and quickness, but there's still a million uses of the loop pedal as usual, and that's the best part. His voice is angelic, his rapping is magic, and the music is fantastic. I could talk about the album for hours, so honestly I think the album should just speak for itself. Listen to my favorite song on the album, I'm A Mess below, and buy the album on iTunes here, Amazon (for hard copy and mp3 versions) here, or listen on spotify here.

I'm A Mess
Ed Sheeran

August 11, 2014

the best two weeks of my life, part two: what I loved about traveling with contiki.

If you read this blog regularly, you know that a month ago I was living a carefree lifestyle in Europe, bouncing from country to country with a busload of amazing people. In part one of this little mini-series I've decided to do about my trip with contiki, I posted a lot of my photos from the trip. In this little part, I want to talk about what I loved about contiki as a company.

1// it's a money saver. it is impossible to do the amount of traveling that I did (five countries in eleven days) and see all of the things that I did for the amount of money that I spent if you don't use a tour company like contiki. I'm not completely versed on competitor's prices, but to be honest, I don't even know who their competitors are, and I don't really care that much #sorrynotsorry. To pay for three meals a day, accommodation, travel, tolls, shows, sights, and more, would cost a damn fortune. I love that I paid one price when I booked my trip, and besides spending money and optional activities, I never had to worry about money.2// all you have to worry about doing yourself is setting your alarm and actually waking up to it. Every tour has a knowledgeable tour manager who isn't an eighty year old woman holding up a flag for her tour to follow, and a bus driver who is guaranteed to make you feel safe that will handle every single thing. Our tour manager, Mike, was awesome. Not only was he super cute extremely well versed in all of the places that we were, he was genuinely one of the most organized people I have ever met. Your tour manager has to take care of all of the hotel bookings, dinner and show reservations, know where the bus is going and when, what time everyone needs to meet and where, draw up schedules, give speeches of endless information regarding the history and culture of the places you're going, recommend anything and everything to fifty needy people who want to do a million different things at once, and also try to have a good time while doing so. It's a tough job for sure, but between him and our driver, TJ, I felt like I was in great hands, always safe, and always looked out for.You literally don't have to think on one of these trips at all. Stress is completely eliminated and you are free to have the best time possible.3// you're never alone. there are fifty other people besides you sitting next to you on the bus for you to talk to, become friends with, take one too many shots with, dance on tables with, create inside jokes with, see the world with, take weird pictures in front of monuments with, and have the best time of your life with. It's overwhelming to meet so many people and try to imagine getting close to all of them, but it's kind of like college or sleepaway camp - everyone just gets to know everyone else so well, so quickly. It's amazing what a game of head's up or would you rather can do to bond a group of 53 people. Everyone is there for the same reason, and unlike traveling with one or two other people, you get to travel with a huge group so that there's never a dull moment. You're in a position to make some lifelong friends, and if you're lucky, you end up with a giant facebook group full of your little tour family to occupy the after-tour depression.

4// you get to occupy your mind with the little things. Like I said, you literally do not have to think on this trip, and for once in your life (if you tend to be a busier, more stressed out person like I can be), you get to "stress" about what outfit you're going to wear to dinner, which beautiful sight you want to see first, or what sandwich you're going to get at a rest stop. It's just nice to be able to stop and look around at the world and not be thinking about your life back home or anything else that usually can cause you stress. Vacations in general tend to do this to a person, but with contiki, because everything is taken care of for you, you get to do more of the fun stuff in the cities you visit and can spend zero time with your face in hotel printouts and travel tickets worrying about all of the mechanics of the trip that you had to organize on your own (one disclaimer is you do actually have to worry a lot about where in the hell you and your friends are half the time. Why are maps so confusing?!).5// once you've been on a contiki tour, you get a 5% discount on your next contiki. While 5% seems like a joke, it's actually a pretty big chunk of money once everything is said and done, and it's better than nothing. I'd gladly pay the full price for another trip, so the discount is just a bonus. Also, if you book more than one trip with them at once, you save money, and they have a discount for early payers as well. It's not impossible to fund one of these trips if you're a good saver and appreciate spending your hard earned cash on the experience of a lifetime rather than a new pair of shoes (though I always manage to find the funds for both).

6// contiki feels a lot like camp. Like I mentioned before, contiki feels like college move-in, or counselor orientation at camp, and those are the types of experiences that I can look back on in my life and honestly say I have loved the most. I have friends all over the world because of the camp that I worked at, and now from contiki, and it's just really nice to be around different people than you're used to. It's refreshing and it makes you love the world a little bit more.

I am not sponsored by Contiki, I just love the company, had an amazing experience, and want to share with others how great their tours and employees are.

August 8, 2014

friday link love | 7.

This album is amazing. So much talent.
I have never been more at risk for dropping my phone on my face laying in bed than when I was reading this. So many tears and fits of laughter.
I can't afford to shop after my latest vacation, but I'm loving on this, this, and these so hard (see the shoes in action on Anna pretty much on the daily).
And while I'm on that note, Anna is just the most awesome person ever, and I'm obsessed with all of her videos and blog posts. I think we'd be fast friends in real life, so I feel like we're hanging out when I watch her videos. Weird? Yes. Sorry 'bout it? No.
I failed at reading in July by literally reading not one page of a book, so on my list for this month is this book, this one that just became a movie, and this one on a recommendation from a friend, which is also on my 2014 paperback lust list. Gotta get moving on the reading front pronto.
My friends and I are constantly quoting this adorable kid vine and this hilarious kid video.
This BuzzFeed Community post showing proof that Iggy Azalea's song Fancy is all about Schmidt from New Girl absolutely killed me.
And while we're on the subject of BuzzFeed, here are a couple of things from me: a hilarious dog + things that all nannies know to be true.

August 7, 2014

ipsy glam bag review | july.

1. Bare Minerals 5-in-1 BB Cream Eye Shadow - 'Divine Wine' // 2. Be fine Daily Moisturizer // 3. WHet Nail Polish - 'Facetious' // Pixi Tinted Brilliance Balm - 'Unique Pink' // 5. Hang Ten SPF 8 Tanning OilThis month's ipsy bag came while I was away on my trip, and man could I have used some of these minis while I was gone. But they're all awesome nonetheless and will get used at home. The moisturizer is something I'm holding off to try because I'm just about finished with my current daily moisturizer, but it smells great and feels like a good consistency on my hand. The nail polish is pretty cool as well, a very similar color to Essie's Butler Please, just a bit darker. This is something else that I'm waiting to try, but the formula seems okay after being given the quick "drip, drip" test (for those of you who don't know what that is, or really all of you because I made it up, the drip, drip test is something I do to see how thick the polish is, if it seems watery, or if I can just tell that it's going to be streaky and non-opaque. Sometimes the drip, drip test works like a charm, sometimes it's totally off. I realize that this is not helpful whatsoever). The hang ten oil smells delicious and will be put to great use this weekend at the beach. I like to wear oils over regular spray or cream sunscreen with about 30 SPF because SPF 8 really isn't enough coverage for the sun, and oil attracts the sun to your skin. You still get a great tan with the SPF 30 underneath, promise.The Bare Minerals BB Cream Eye Shadow is actually a very cool product. It's brand new, and it's basically a cream base shadow. The color I received is a darker brown that I usually use on my eyes, but it's kind of blendable if you work quickly. And that swatch on my wrist was only there for about five minutes but wouldn't come off in the sink without some scrubbing. Hopefully that means that the staying power is great. And finally, the Pixi tinted balm is something I've seen in Target before but never picked up, and to be honest I kind of have a love/hate relationship with it right now. It's very moisturizing, but the color barely shows up, which you can see on my wrist above. I pushed that sucker into my skin and barely got a sheen. So it seems like it is just a nice lip balm, not something you're going to reach for if you want a bit of color.
*I apologize for the dark photos, the time of day just was not right. Some above links are affiliate.

August 5, 2014

new ink.

I have always been the type of person to want tattoos, even from a young age. I used to doodle what I would want in the margins of my homework in high school and dream about the day I would turn 18 so I could get one. It turns out I waited until I was 19, but I've been hooked since the first one, and will probably continue to have the tattoo fever for a long time.

This weekend I got my fifth tattoo with my two best friends, Alyssa + Meagan. We have been talking about our "next ones" for a while, and decided that this weekend that we were going to spend together would be the perfect time. Every time I've gotten a tattoo I've been with either one of them, and never have I gotten one alone, so between us we share quite a few (including a matching one on our inner foot that says "forever", which was all of our firsts).

We went to Leathernecks Tattoo in Brooklyn, which is the first place I've gotten one that I feel like I definitely want to go back to. It was super clean, the guys that worked there were all funny and completely nonjudgmental (which is something that has bothered me about places we have been before), and I felt comfortable with my artist right away. Because we were all getting something simple, we were in and out on a Saturday afternoon (without appointments!) in just under an hour and a half. So if you're anywhere near Brooklyn, I'd highly recommend this place to you, though I've never tried anywhere else in BK. I just had a really good experience.I have a million tattoo ideas and concepts, a lot of which are on my Pinterest ink board, and the idea of an anchor has been in my head for a while. I don't do anything involving the sea, nor do I belong to Delta Gamma (though I am guilty of posing in their manner for a picture or two here or there), I just love the idea behind an anchor. It's strong and stable, and through rough seas keeps a boat where it needs to be. Especially at this juncture in my life where I feel like I'm trying to pull into adulthood on my own, I want to remain the strong person that I've always been. It's not that I need a reminder to be strong (though it doesn't hurt), I just take a lot of pride in my ability to stay strong no matter how rough things get. And though it's so fresh and sharpie looking right now, I know that it will be there on my skin forever to remind me of why I am who I am and what has happened to get me there.

*see more about another one of my tattoos here.

August 4, 2014

july beauty faves.

1. Essie 'Sew Psyched' Nail Polish // 2. The Body Shop Aloe Protective Serum // 3. Barry M Nail Paint in Black // 4. Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief // 5. Blossom Lychee Hydrating Lip Gloss // 6. The Body Shop Grapeseed Glossing Serum // 7. The Body Shop Hemp Lip Protector

Because I was in Europe for most of July, I didn't really spend a lot of time testing out new beauty things, so pretty much all of these products were either samples I got and took with me, or from a little Body Shop splurge before I left. The grapeseed oil has done absolute wonders for my hair. It makes it soft and silky after I blow dry it, and I feel like it seals in my (very) dead ends really solidly. The aloe serum has been great for when I don't want to use an oil based serum on my face. It feels more like a moisturizer than a serum, but it's so light that your moisturizer you top it off with doesn't feel heavy or thick. And the hemp lip protector combined with Bite Beaty's Agave Lip Mask (talked about here) kept my lips in check on the plane and through my travels. I also used the Blossom clear lip gloss on the trip because my friend Jenna had one, and I became quickly obsessed with how simple the product is. It moisturizes your lips, but makes them look glossy and beautiful for when you want that little bit of extra oomph. I bought one immediately upon returning regardless of the bad place my bank account and I are in right now. The Clinique mask was something I got from Sephora as a sample before I left, and I would love to purchase the full size. I used the sample on the plane because planes always dry my skin out, and this mask was like a cool drink of water for my skin. I was having some womanly breakouts at the time as well, and rather than get worse on the plane, this mask in combination with my Josie Maran argan oil light (talked about here) calmed that all down and made my skin baby smooth. Though I'm not a huge nail painter anymore because I can never seem to find the time, I am literally obsessed with this Essie color that I got in gel version at the nail salon. I've never gotten so many compliments on my nails when they were a simple solid color, but this color is just awesome + one of my favorites these days. The Barry M black polish is something that I don't think is sold anywhere in the US, but I got it in London a while back and am so in love with this company's formula. Even though it's summer, I wear black on my toes a lot and have been loving this one. If you can get your hands on Barry M polish, DO IT.

*some of the above links are affiliate. see sidebar under "fine print" for more details.

August 1, 2014

currently: in a nutshell. (a large nutshell).

Life is interesting right now, and has been for all of July. And interesting isn't even the best word, but I'm going to try to break it all up in a cohesive way (more for my own sanity than anything else).

bitten by the travel bug. I started off July with the trip of a lifetime, and immediately upon returning, my travel high became more like a mini depression. I missed all of my new friends, many of which kept on traveling after our contiki, which made looking at any social media difficult. I also just missed the carefree lifestyle I had adopted for those two weeks. Hop on a bus, drive to a new country, see the most amazing sites, go out with my friends, sleep in hotels, wake up and do it all over. It was amazing, and something I hope to do again next summer, but until then, the loss of it is kind of making the rest of my life seem a little bit more dull than it maybe is in reality. Maybe.

childhood friends. I came home to my friends a bit divided. It's concerning because we're a group of six girls that have been friends for twenty years, and while two of us were away, the other four fell out. It wasn't something I was expecting to come back to, but even now it's still being dealt with. It's extremely overwhelming to see my friends upset with each other because we never fight as a group, let alone only a few of us. It's a weird situation that I hope gets resolved soon, because it definitely adds to the stress of everything else and makes all of us sad.

working three jobs and then some. I've been applying for online publication jobs for a couple of months now, and it's getting a bit discouraging to never get a response. I'm not going to stop trying though, as I know what I want to do in life now more than I ever have before, and that initself is keeping me going. On the Max front, he's loving life and in camp for six hours a day, so while he does that, I'm temping at an accountant firm for the cash I'm missing out on while he's off learning to swim and do gymnastics, making everyone proud. Though it's not the type of work I'm used to, or honestly, that I enjoy, it's definitely a nice change of pace for the next few weeks. But this means that less and less time is available for me to work for Chelsea Dogs, and even less time to be posting on this blog and working on the projects that keep it afloat. It's stressing me out, but hopefully over the next couple of weeks I'll be able to find some balance.

love story. I wasn't sure that I was going to share this here, but I've always been open and personal, so I need to continue to do what feels right for me. I find myself a single woman after six years, and while I'm not going to go into detail, it's a weird feeling. I've only skimmed the surface of the struggles of long distance relationships on this blog, I think partially because it's something that is so complicated and unique in every relationship that it is really hard to generalize what a LDR really feels like. But basically, long distance is not something to be taken lightly, and it's the type of thing that no matter how in love with someone you are, distance just crushes your dreams and makes you unhappy. Again, every relationship is unique and there are a lot that work out just fine in the end, it's just not the case for mine.

So that's my month of July and current status in most aspects of my life right now. It's been a very stressful and emotional time for me, but this blog makes me happy and keeps me busy, so I'm hoping to find the balance soon and be able to resume the parts of my life that make me feel joy and start worrying a little bit less about the parts that don't, especially the things that I can't control. It's only going to go up from here, and I'm excited about that.