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what i'm wearing + birthday weekend

Today is the first day of birthday weekend, and I am quite excited that the day is finally here!

January has been very bleak to say the least. For the past four years I've had sorority rush, syllabus week parties, big/little reveals, and my birthday weekend to wrap up January. Now, I've had New Year's resolutions and lots of working out...while still managing to keep up the birthday weekend tradition. Post-grad January is definitely not as exciting. 

My friend group is having a mini reunion this weekend (four out of eight of us will be in NYC), and I'm having a huge birthday party on Saturday night to kick off the most boring age: 23. Thank God Miley Cyrus has an amazing anthem to honor the number. 

So, let's talk outfits. 

Friday night will probably be pretty low key (I have no way of knowing - most nights that are supposed to be low key end up being very high key, and vice versa), and I didn't feel like buying a new outfit for the occasion. 

The pink silk top that I have shown is close to what I'm wearing, but not completely. What I'm actually wearing is a blush pink silk top with black almost looks like a Victoria's Secret sleep cami if we're going to be completely honest. So, that + jeans and black booties. Pretty simple. Oh, and of course my favorite leather jacket. It's still January in NYC, folks. Pretty freakin' freezing. 

On Saturday, my friends and I have a very large very fun brunch planned in Midtown, and I was quite inspired by this outfit on Pinterest. I've been wearing my bootcut/flare jeans all the time lately, specifically when paired with these booties...mainly because I bought those jeans when I was a freshman in college and a size or two smaller, and now I am finally able to fit into them again! Hurrah for health. Anywho, I'm wearing them with a band tee and leather jacket.

Let's talk about this band tee thing. 

So I did a post a while ago about band tees, but I had yet to actually buy an actual band tee. Urban Outfitters is so absurdly overpriced it's not even worth it, Forever 21's are ripped to shreds or cropped, and everywhere else I just didn't like or know the bands on said t-shirts. 

Guys, I am telling you - Hot Topic is the hidden gem of band tees. 

They literally have everything. And they're cheap too! I went online last week to browse their selection, and they had the coolest Rolling Stones multicolored tee that I immediately fell in love with. Also, being the hardcore rocker that I am (ha), I couldn't pass up the opportunity to buy a classic Led Zeppelin shirt. Of course, if I had ordered online the tees would have been delivered the second week of February, thus missing the date I wanted to wear it, so I had to drive to New York to the only Hot Topic in the surrounding area in order to find these tees. 

Surprisingly, they had everything I wanted and more, and I was able to get both t-shirts for less than the price of the exact same Led Zeppelin t-shirt at Urban Outfitters. Praise the Lord.

So, in conclusion, if you're looking to seem cooler than you really are and want to wear a band tee, go to Hot Topic. 

Moving on to the main event. My birthday party will be just me and 50 of my closest friends (ha!), and I've had my dream outfit in mind for a while now. Silk tie-waisted black dress, sheer tights, over the knee boots. SO GUCCI. I'm very excited about this. The dress was inexpensive and is all I've ever dreamed of, and I had to take this opportunity to wear thigh-high boots. I'm not completely sure what jewelry I'll be wearing - like always, either gold hoops or this gold choker that I wore on New Year's Eve. It'll be an in-the-moment decision. 

My bag of choice for the weekend will be my go-to party bag, my oversize Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac. I guess it's just a Mac then? I don't know, but it's larger than your typical mini mac. I literally stuff it with makeup remover wipes, emergency makeup, gum, perfume, the works. 

I AM SO EXCITED. I'm trying to convince my friends to stay in NYC and live with me (fingers crossed), and honestly I haven't seen a bunch of the people I invited to my party so it'll be fun to have a reunion. 

Pray for me, y'all. I love birthdays more than the average human, and this is my first non-Wake Forest birthday weekend so things could get pretty rowdy! 

Have a great weekend! 

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style + work totes

I've used a tote bag to carry schoolwork and life necessities all through middle school, high school, college, and now in my post-grad life. I was never one to carry a backpack (except in my monogrammed black North Face backpack phase my sophomore and junior year of college), and let's be real - tote bags are just so much cuter.

While the bags I like are (of course) more expensive (hi Annabel Ingall), you literally cannot go wrong with a Longchamp tote. I like the large size - it's the standard size that you see every sorority girl carrying around campus. Black is the basic, navy is for the preps, but tan and light pink are great if you want to stray from the leather-strapped masses. 

I used the Tory Burch Ella Tote for two straight years, and I'm sorry to say that I actually wore it out. Like, it fell apart. I'm disappointed that it couldn't keep up with the whirling dervish that is Hannah Holliday, but it did the job while it was still in one piece. 

Besides the Annabell Ingall Isabella tote, the Tory bag is my favorite tote bag of all time. It's black, so automatic win, but the patent leather really adds the extra special touch of Tory chic. The more I write about it, the more I miss it.

Madewell's Transport tote is the basic leather bag that's big enough to carry all your junk, while still plain enough that it won't clash with your daily outfits. I prefer the tan leather (the one time I'll stray from a black bag), and it comes with a shoulder strap for added support.

What tote bag do y'all use to bring to work? 
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beauty + an ode to charcoal

I have been loving charcoal based beauty products lately. Since changing all my skincare products to Beautycounter, I've been paying a lot more attention to my skincare routine. Two main products I use on a daily and weekly basis contain charcoal, which is the new "it" ingredient for skincare and health. 

Charcoal Benefits:

  • All-natural
  • Deep cleans and detoxifies
  • Reduces appearance of pores
  • Removes excess oil from skin
  • Gently exfoliates
  • Draws out toxins, bacteria, chemicals, dirt

Beautycounter Charcoal Cleansing Bar This is my favorite! I use it every night with my Clarisonic for double-duty skin cleaning. It's literally a black bar of soap, and according to the Beautycounter it detoxifies and absorbs impurities in your skin without drying it out, resulting in a smoother, brighter complexion." I absolutely love it. My skin in general has changed for the better since I've started using Beautycounter, and the charcoal bar really cleans my skin in a way that normal facewash can't.

Beautycounter Purifying Charcoal Mask This was the first charcoal-based skincare product I've used. Right now I use it once or twice a week, but it really depends on what I have going on. The mask dries once you apply it, and it tightens pores, exfoliates, and draws out any impurities.

Bioré Deep Cleansing Charcoal Pore Strips The girls I lived with my senior year of college loved these pore strips. They're a 10 minute treatment to draw out dirt and oil, and reduce the size of pores.

Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask I still sneak in some Clinique products now and then, and this charcoal mask really does the trick. 

L'Oreal Detox and Brighten Clay Mask I have seen this mask advertised everywhere and I'm itching to try it out. L'Oreal has made three new clay masks, one of them including charocal to detoxify and make your skin super glowy. My skincare goal is to look as dewy and glowy as possible, so fingers crossed that this product delivers! 

Origins Active Charcoal Mask Lastly, this Origins charcoal mask focuses on environmental toxins and dirty to clear your complexion and brighten your skin. Charcoal is a great way to fight acne and keep breakouts at bay!

Do y'all use charcoal in your skincare routines? Any new products I should know? 
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style + shopping for birthday weekend

Hello lovelies. Happy Wednesday. 16 days until Birthday Weekend, so let's start planning outfits now.

I've mentioned Birthday Weekend in a previous post, and I believe I did a roundup last year with details of my 22nd birthday. This year two of my best friends are coming to NYC for the occasion. The first night of the weekend will be a regular going out night, and the second night is the birthday celebration: we're having a big party / bar night with a bunch of friends from college and post-grad. While I'd like to have new things for both nights, I'm not counting on it, so the real goal is to make the party night the special one. 

My big thing this year is to find something inexpensive without turning to Tobi or Forever 21. I graduated college almost 8 months ago, time to move on. So, in the collage above, I'd say 75% of the products included are "inexpensive" - and the rest are things I already have (ie. Le Rip jeans, Oribe spray, over the knee boots). Just to give you an idea of the look I'm going for for this particular weekend!

Tricky thing about my birthday being in January: it's cold. I hate the cold. Why I actively chose to live in an area that has four seasons, I don't understand, but I'm beginning to regret it. Going out when it's cold outside is a total buzzkill (literally), and it makes picking out outfits difficult.

So, I just ignore the weather and wear what I want anyway.

I wore a romper on New Year's Eve, I typically go out in a leather jacket + cami / jeans combo, and last weekend I wore heeled booties in a snowstorm.

I may be an idiot, but no one can call me weak.

That being said, I am going for one of two options: dress, sheer tights, over the knee boots + leather jacket OR top, ripped jeans, booties + leather jacket. Warm enough, appropriate enough, and probably will be all black.

I was looking for options yesterday and sending them to my best friend for opinions / approval, and she was giving me a hard time because literally every option I sent her was black. Guys, I'm serious, I would love to wear more color if there were cuter choices! I am just not loving anything not in the black / dark red / grey range lately. It goes with my mood and the time of year. 

Okay. Let's get into what options I've come up with for Birthday Weekend. 

Black Top Because you can never have enough black tops. If I had more funds / no qualms about ordering four very similar looking tops, I would buy all options above...but that's not the case. I am loving the Topshop lace velvet bodysuit (one of my favorite choices above, by far), and of course being a fan of the turtleneck / choker (really anything around my neck), the ASOS halter top. I think the black top + black jeans combo might be better for the first night of Birthday Weekend......decisions, decisions.

Booties HOW AMAZING ARE THESE BOOTIES? They're metallic! I have some similar, but they're only plain black...definitely not as cool.

Crossbody If we're really going to be honest here, I don't like crossbody bags. Yes, they're convenient; yes, they're safer to take out; yes, they're the "go-to" party bag, but real talk - they suck. You can't fit anything in them! I like putting everything in one place in case of emergency (not a real emergency, but having concealer and an eyelash curler available if need be), and crossbodies are not the bag for emergencies.

That being said, I have a designated crossbody that I use for all going out occasions because it's big enough without being a hassle, and I end up switching out my wallet for a miniature version so I can fit more "supplies" in my bag. It's a jumbo version of the Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac, and for the life of me I can't find my specific bag on the internet. So, instead, I've included cute, less functional options that are aesthetically pleasing. No clue if they can hold things effectively, but who doesn't love some cheetah print?

Glowy Skin Glow baby glow all the damn time. My favorite highlighter of the moment is the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Poured Creme in Champagne Pop...if you're deciding between Poured, Pressed, or Liquid, I would go with Poured. I've found it lasts longer! I do, however, layer Poured with a powder highlighter because I have a highlighting problem, so if you're as psycho about makeup as I am, just grab them all.

Messy Hair I have perpetually messy hair (a lot of effort for making it look like no effort was used), and I owe a lot of my "look" to Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray.

Moto Jacket I have this jacket and it's never done me wrong (it's also on sale, so go for it). I got bored with putting the same black leather jacket picture on all of my collages, so instead I've spiced things up with a maroon suede jacket from BLANKNYC. It's a little pop of color (a very loose interpretation, however), but it looks warm and chic so perfect for going out in January in the northeast. Basically, a jacket is non-negotiable, so make it look good.

Over the Knee Boots
 Not shocking.

Silk Cami Dress I ordered this dress yesterday and (fingers crossed) I think it's the look I'm going for for Birthday Weekend. I actually have this dress in a midi version and wore it all through the fall, so I'm hoping the mini version with over the knee boots, sheer tights and maybe even a choker will work!

Tan Skin (Kind of) Being this pale makes me self-conscious, but it's nothing that a good two layers of St. Tropez Bronzing Lotion, bronzer, and face / body bronzing highlighter can't fix.

GIVE ME Y'ALLS IDEAS AND INPUT! I'd love to know your thoughts!

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beauty + january beauty favorites

It's been a looong time since I did a big beauty haul, so let's jump into it. I've been using new products for the past couple of months, and I thought I would share some of my favorites today!

Let's start with the base. Last time I talked about foundation I was raving about the Makeup Forever Ultra HD foundation - don't get me wrong, I still love it. But, as the months got colder, my skin got paler, and I had to adjust my foundation color accordingly. I'm now using NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Deauville. I've used this for about a month now, and I love it. It's the perfect shade for my skintone, and is non-drying and glowy. 

I will always remain faithful to my Benefit Erase Paste, but I needed a change. Erase Paste is pretty thick and is better for my tanner skintone, so I updated my concealer to NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla. If any of y'all watch YouTube makeup videos, you know this is a fan favorite, and the best part is it really does live up to the hype. 

I actually just bought the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Luminous Bronzer on Saturday, and I can already tell I'm going to use this every day. It's amazing. It's so glowy and wonderful, and gives you a natural tan without going too crazy. If you're unsure about shelling out $50 for a highlighting bronzer (thankfully I had a giftcard), Hourglass also offers a travel size version if you want to try it before committing. 

I've been looking for a big, fluffy powder brush for my favorite Too Faced Bronzer (and now my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder), but I decided to go the drugstore route to save a little bit of money - brushes are ridiculously expensive, and I couldn't seem to find the exact one I wanted at Sephora or Ulta. I bought the Beauty 360 Bamboo Powder Brush

My birthday is at the end of January, and the lovely Sephora gives you a choice of birthday gift during your birthday month. The first option was a Caudalie Skincare duo, and the second was a Tarte blush and lipgloss duo. I went with the Tarte set, and I am loving the blush. The color is called "Paaarty," and it's very pink and girly. It goes perfectly with my daily makeup routine, and is supposed to be long lasting - have yet to really notice the results, but I'll keep y'all updated. 

Besides highlighting my face to tan disco ball proportions, and I am going crazy over my brows. I recently had them tinted and it was an absolute game changer. I'm going to do a post about my brow grooming routine on it's own (basically the next time I go get them waxed / tinted), but guys - I'm a full believer in the tint. 

I didn't think I would like coloring my eyebrows just because I really do like doing my makeup myself, and brows are fun to do. But now I can just put on some mascara and concealer and be totally fine, because my brows look so dark and full. 

But, I still like to use brow products, so here are my recent favorites. I've switched from Anastasia's Dipbrow Pomade in Taupe to Benefit's Precisely My Brow Pencil in 3. I'll fill in the sparse areas of my brows, then apply Benefit's 3D Browtones in 4. This brow gel is meant to add dimension to your brows, rather than just add a color or clear hold. I still use Gimme Brow, though - lot's of layering! 

If any of y'all follow my personal instagram, you know that I did give into temptation and cut my hair - 5 inches to be exact. I decided to switch up my haircare routine as well, and now I use OGX's Weightless Hydration Coconut Water Shampoo. I am a huge fan of OGX, as y'all know, and only use their shampoo. This specific product smells so good! I don't use it super often, mainly because I wash my hair less since it's so much shorter. 

Lastly, I couldn't go a beauty post without mentioning something from Beautycounter. I had a little online shopping binge before Christmas, and ended up getting the Nourishing Rosewater Mist as a freebie. I spray it a few times before I go to bed, or whenever I need a refresher. Supposedly it can be used as a setting spray, but I've yet to test it!

What new beauty products do y'all use? 

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beauty + winter skin & hair lifesavers

I don't know about y'all, but my skin and hair just completely go to hell when it gets too cold outside. 

Needing all the help I can get, I have a few go-to products whenever I'm too dry. These have been fin-tuned throughout the years (two have been added in the past couple months), but I've found they get the job done and can be used year-round. 

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle So cheap, SO EFFECTIVE, so amazing. I have been using this quick deep conditioner since I was probably 14 years old, and it's never done me wrong. Aussie has now released three different versions of the 3 Minute Miracle Deep Conditioner (strong, moisture, and color). I use the Moisture conditioner every time I wash my hair, and it works wonders. 

Beautycounter Cream Cleanser As I previously mentioned in my review of my new-ish Beautycounter products, I love this product. It's non-drying and non-irritating. It really gives more to the skin than it takes away.

Beautycounter Hydrating Face Oil I'm trying to save this product so I use it sparingly, but a drop of the Hydrating Face Oil in my daily moisturizer, or a few drops before I go to bed, and I'm all set. This is the first winter I have not had dry skin (which is unreal), and I completely owe it to changing my skincare products to Beautycounter. 

Benefit It's Potent! Eye Cream Love this stuff. Have been using it since high school. Great for daytime and nighttime. Honestly, I love anything from Benefit so you can't really go wrong.

Moroccanoil Original Treatment The original hair oil. 

Moroccanoil Body Soufflé I dry brush all the time, and I definitely need to hydrate my skin after physically brushing the dry skin off. The Moroccanoil Body Soufflé smells amazing and keeps me glowing and moisturized. 

Rosebud Salve I'm pretty sure every girl has had this lipbalm at some point in their lives. A little goes a long way and it always works!

What products do y'all use to stay hydrated in the wintertime?

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health + how i'm getting in shape in 2017

Hey kids. I have finally recovered from the holidays and am ready to do 2017 with full force. I've been in and out of NYC and finally I'm in CT to chill out and get things organized for the new year.

Let's be real, I should have been spending last week organizing my life, but instead all thoughts were dedicated to New Year's Eve. However, better late than never so let's jump into it.

There are two events coming up in 2017 that are the focus of my attention: first, my birthday, at the end of January, and second, a reunion with my college friend group in Florida at the end of February. These are the only things that are set and that I'm aware of and that I can actually plan my life around.

My birthday in college developed into a 2 to 4 day long extravaganza, and graduation will not stop that. My birthday is on a Tuesday this year (super boring, considering in college my birthday fell on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the respective four years), so my friends are visiting me for the weekend before and celebrating the most dull birthday (#23) in the most fun way!

My Florida trip is at the end of February, and it's a nod to the annual spring break trip to Naples that my friends and I would take in college. It'll be the first time since homecoming that the entire friend group will be together - it's a lot harder to see each other consistently post-grad!

Florida means beach which means bikinis, and considering we're a group of 8 ex-sorority girls, I can guarantee the entire trip will be documented with hundreds of pictures. It's crackdown time for that bikini bod.

I have 21 days until Birthday Weekend, and 49 days until Naples. I am fully committed to getting in even better shape than I currently am now, and making a few different lifestyle choices to make 2017 my healthiest year ever!

Stick to a designated workout routine I love making schedules, especially for working out, but unfortunately the holidays have kind of messed up the consistency of my exercise routine. No one wants to go for a run when there's Home Alone and pie. Yesterday was my first day of my New Year's workouts: 3 days of cardio, 2 days of strength training, and Soul Cycle once a week. I've signed up for the Daily Burn app, and currently I'm on the Cardio Sculpt plan.

A week of workouts on my new plan looks like this:
Monday: Cardio (elliptical, running) for 45-60 min.
Tuesday: Daily Burn workout
Wednesday: Daily Burn workout
Thursday: SoulCycle
Friday: Daily Burn workout
Saturday: Daily Burn workout
Sunday: OFF

We'll see how well this plan works. I'll keep y'all updated.

Drink (mainly) water I was really good about drinking water at work (I would try to refill my water bottle as much as possible to get more steps), but being home there's less of a motivation to be constantly drinking water. The goal is to drink at least 8 cups of water a day, with no soda or fruit juice. Also, cut back on alcohol. I'm totally sick of drinking after the holiday season (so many parties, so much wine), so this won't be hard.

Cut back on dairy, sugar, and gluten I was doing this before the holidays anyway, so I know the drill, it's just tricky to get back into the swing of things!

Some other goals I've set for myself to get healthier are:
- Get enough sleep
- Walk 10,000 steps per day
- Log meals on Lose It!
- Manage portions

What are y'all doing to get in shape for 2017? Let me know in the comments section! Also, please tell me if there are any posts you would like to see this coming year!
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