Friday, May 25, 2018

6 Staples for Glowing Summer Skin

The weather has really taken a turn here in Buffalo and so has my beauty routine. Warmer days equals simple makeup, and I am loving an easy, glowy beauty look.

In the past, I have strictly used full coverage foundation. I wanted flawless skin with no scars or blemishes in sight. Not only was finding a full coverage foundation that worked with my skin next to impossible, but it made my skin worse. The past few weeks I have been using the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer. My skin has been much happier and I have embraced the flaws I once scrambling to hide. I do use a touch of concealer here and there, but mostly for my under eyes. My go-to brand has been the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer. It's a great price and blends so easily with just the tap of my finger. I feel like acne has been a hot topic lately. The truth is a lot of people deal with it and that's okay. At the end of the day, a blemish really doesn't matter. And to be honest, not stressing about my skin has been a breathe of fresh air.

Blush is my favorite summer beauty product. The Glossier Cloud Paint in Puff has quickly become my day to day go-to. The Dusk shade is perfect for an evening look. When I'm feeling like a little shimmer, the GALifornia Blush by Benefit gives my cheeks a rosy glow. 

When it comes to lip products, I always prefer something I can swipe on without a mirror. I love using the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment. The colors are gorgeous, it has SPF 15, and keeps your lips so hydrated. I also recently started using the Glossier Balm Dotcom in Rose. I love the scent and the thick formula for when my lips need some extra care.

I have two mascaras that I consistently reach for. The high end brand is Benefit's BADgal Bang!, and my drugstore pick is L'Oreal's Voluminous Lash Paradise. They are quite similar, but if I had to choose I would go with Benefit. Pro Tip: Always buy the travel size of high end brands. It's cheaper and the smaller wand allows for more control.

Spritzing on setting spray is the best part of getting ready. It's so refreshing and really wakes me up. Any setting spray by Urban Decay is a winner in my book. I recently tried the Quick Fix. The subtle coconut scent is very nice, and this formula is super hydrating and brightening. 

Travel Diary: A Day in D.C.

When flying home from Dallas last Tuesday, a tornado just outside Washington, D.C. caused a cancelled flight and an impromptu overnight stay. A cancelled flight is not often a welcome hitch in the plans, but once I was settled into my hotel room I decided to take advantage of this opportunity. I love D.C. and have been to our nation's capital a few times over the years. When one of my good friends was studying at GW, I made a few trips to visit her and instantly fell in love with the city. It is beautiful, clean, and swarming with men in suits.
Before I set out on my spontaneous adventure, I did a bit of research just to find out where the optimal drop off location would be. I planned on walking everywhere and needed a solid starting point. I decided I should start at the Lincoln Memorial. Here is what my day in D.C. looked like:

11:30am - Took an Uber from my hotel to the Lincoln Memorial. Pro Tip: Always use Uber Pool. The cost is way cheaper and sometimes you get to ride solo.

12:00 pm - Made my way along the Reflection Pond to the WWII Memorial. I had to stop for a few minutes to watch a mama duck and all her little ducklings swimming in single file. They quickly became quite the tourist attraction. 

12:30 pm - Arrived at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden. This museum focuses on modern art. Even the building is a work of art. Pro Tip: All Smithsonian Museums are free, so take advantage!

1:30 pm - Stumbled upon a dozen or so food trucks across from the Federal Building. Lunch was in full swing. I grabbed some empanadas from The Corn Factory and claimed a shady spot to people watch. I also swung into a Starbucks to charge my phone and escape the heat. It was 95 degrees that day. Pro Tip: It never hurts to take a break and charge your phone. 

3:00 pm - Walked to the United States Botanic Gardens and passed the Capital Building along the way. The Botanic Gardens are so beautiful! I spent an hour wandering through each room, doubling back to view a few rooms twice.

4:00 pm - I stepped foot in the most beautiful building my eyes have ever seen. The Library of Congress took my breathe away. I spent well over an hour starring at the ceiling and taking pictures from every angle imaginable. There is not one photo I snapped that will do this inspiring space justice. If you ever get the chance to visit the Library of Congress, do not pass it up. I stood amongst Thomas Jefferson's personal collection of books. It was the perfect last stop on my day of adventures. 

6:30 pm - I ended the day with a cold beer and a plate of the most delicious tater tots of all time at ChurchKey. The bartender was so friendly and very helpful when it came to answering all of my beer questions. There were so many great brews on tap. Pro Tip: Make friends with the bartender, they have the best stories and are more than happy to give you sample tastings.

8:30 pm - Arrived back at my hotel. I was exhausted and my feet were killing me, but spending the day exploring one of my favorite cities solo was so worth the minor foot cramp. It was so exciting to explore new places in one of my old favorite places. Having the freedom to make my own literary and do whatever I wanted was very liberating. I love traveling with family and friends, but traveling solo is something everyone should try at least once. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Met Gala 2018: Favorite Looks

There's nothing like the first Monday of May to get the creative juices flowing. This year's Meta Gala Theme, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, filled the red carpet with ethereal looks. Here were the gowns that blow me away:

Amal Clooney in Richard Quinn 

Blake Lively in Versace

Kate Bosworth in Oscar de la Renta

Sarah Jessica Parker

Amanda Seyfried in Prada

Alicia Vikander in Louis Vuitton

Lili Reinhart in custom H&M

Zendaya in Versace

Emilia Clark

Priyanka Chopra in custom Ralph Lauren

Images from WWD.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Marshalls Haul

I don't know about you, but I love hauls. I used to post hauls all the time. I recently stopped in Marhsalls for something specific... I cannot recall what it was... Clearly, I ended up with a few things that I did not need, but once I stumbled on them, it was obvious I had to have them.
I have been very into French press coffee lately. Brewing my own little cup of coffee at my favorite restaurant is what life's little pleasures are made of. When I saw the cutest little French press (on sale!), it was from the shelf to my hands in seconds. Of course, I would need some coffee for my French press. How great is the name of this coffee company?!
Marshalls is really stepping up their book game. 52 Lists for Happiness has been popping up in my feed lately. I discovered it tucked away amongst the office decor for just $10. I have been an admirer of Garance Dore's work and had her book on my wish list for quite some time. I found it in the clearance section of Marshalls for $12! The images within the book are so lovely.
My final purchase was a pocket sized agenda that will fit in just about every purse I own. I wanted something small to jot down errands and reminders for when I am on the go. I love this cute little agenda.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Coming of Age

When I first decided I want to blog back in 2009, it was a fun hobby. In the very very very early days, it was similar to a diary. I just popped on to write about my day or how I was feeling about life.
I later tried to curate my blog a bit more. DIYs were big for a bit and posts were touch and go for a few years.
In 2014, I did not post once.
By 2015, I picked it up again. I was living in NYC and feeling very inspired, but I was a little lost in the blogosphere. I did not have a solid identity and found myself mimicking other bloggers.
For the past two years, I have been the most active. While I still have not mastered a consistent schedule, when I do post I love the content I am putting up. Not to sound like a Lifetime movie, but my experience with blogging has been a growing experience as well. As I grow and change, the blog grows and changes with me. I often think about what it will be like to look back on this blog 20 to 30 years down the road. It will be a trip down memory lane that's for sure, but I also want it to be me. There are so many blogs out there and I don't want to conform. I like fashion and beauty and reading and venting and learning and growing and sharing. One day I may post about quitting my job and the next I might post a haul. It's all over the place, kinda like me at the moment, but I don't mind. Ultimately, it's an outlet. A creative outlet for whatever I am into at the moment. So, while my posts may be all over the map, I hope there's something you find that you can relate to.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


At 1:00AM on January 15th, 2018 I quit my job. I do not have another job lined up. I quit my job with no backup plan. At the age of 28 (going on 29 in less than two months), I will admit I thought I would have things "figured out." I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in 2015, after 6 years of undergrad and jumping from school to school until I found my dream school in NYC. I was naive and believed that after earning my degree, I would find the perfect job, make great money, and live happily ever after at the young age of 25. Three years later and my life at the moment could not be further from that fairy tale.

I landed my first "real job" right after graduating at a company I was initially excited about. After a few months and a shift in my duties, I soon found the work monotonous and too far removed from what I wanted to be doing. I studied marketing at LIM College, a small, private college in the heart of New York City with a focus on the fashion industry. I never wanted to be the next Anna Wintour, but I wanted to work in the fashion world. It was exciting and glamours and it was what I was drawn. The trends, the designers, the art and passion that goes into fashion. It's not all glitz and glam, and sure the work isn't always going to be exciting. It can be caddy and tough, but my experiences were always positives one.

One of my greatest internships was at Town & Country Magazine. I was only interning once a week on Fridays, but I always woke up excited to get into the office and see what I could help with. I would grab my coffee on the way and walk across town on 59th Street right along Central Park. I started my internship in the fall when the leaves where changing and the trees were showing off. I can remember a specific day on my walk to work when I thought to myself, "Mary, can you believe you are walking along 59th Street in NYC, coffee in hand, on your way to organize clothing and accessories from some of your favorite designers to prepare for a photo shoot?" I was in awe of my situation and so incredibly excited to show up at a job where I was unpaid and running around all day organizing and collecting garment bags. But I'll tell you what- it never felt like work. Every time I stepped into Heart Tower and stared up the steep mammoth escalator to the half a dozen elevators that lead to Town & Country, Cosmo and various other magazine offices, I was giddy.

Photo of Central Park on a sunny fall day on my walk to Hearst Tower.

Fast forward to last week. My days of sorting Oscar de la Renta shoes are long gone and I stare at a computer fixing issues on the backend of a website for hours at a time.Work that was tedious, stressful and most of all lacking in drive and creativity. Don't get me wrong, I am not afraid of hard work, but I am afraid of mindless work. I had only been working this job for 4 months, I loved the people, but the job duties were stressful and non stop issues arose every hour it seemed. There were too many issues to uncover and solve in a day. Day after day, I would leave defeated, rattled, and feeling like a failure. The stress turned into anxiety and the anxiety kept me up at night. I was getting little sleep and when morning came I dreaded the commute to an dark old office.

Sunday, January 14th rolled around and work was looming only hours away. I could not fathom the idea of going into work the next day. The thought of it made me nervous and so anxious I wanted to break down and cry. I was unhappy, stressed to no end, and saw no way of bettering my situation. I did something I never imagined I would do and something I am not completely proud of. I wrote an email stating my resignation. At one am on Monday, January 15th, I threw in the towel.
I am not a quitter. I have worked in jobs I didn't enjoy in the past, but over the course of a month or so, this job was breaking me down. This was not a decision I took lightly and I considered the consequences and all the people I would affect and disappoint. But, with all that to consider, my mental health, well-being and happiness were far more important to me.

I grew up in a family full of hard workers. My father owns a business and my mother is a lawyer. At a young age, a strong work ethic and desire for success was instilled in me.  But I think there was another piece of the puzzle that was not always stressed in our society, and that was to find joy in my work. This is no fault of my parents, I think this is a characteristic of America. I have come to realize what a strong emphasis there is to finding a job and earning a paycheck, but I think being happy with what you do is just as important, if not more important. Before I started working full-time, I would tell myself "I want to find a job and do what I love." That certainly fell to the wayside as jobs were hard to come by and the feeling of need to find a job outweighed the need to find the RIGHT job.
I am ready to work. I am ready to throw myself into a job. I just want it to be the right job. I think I get so hung up on the idea that a company wants to hire me that I forget that I should also want to work for that company. I have certainly accepted jobs because I felt I needed to more than I felt I wanted to work there. It's important to remember, I get to choose the job just as the managers get to choose me, if I am the right fit. I am making myself a promise to only apply to jobs that I can see bringing me joy. Sure, there will be tough days, but the good days will outweigh the bad if I am doing what I love.

Resigning was a very difficult decision. It was a choice I made with a heavy heart, but once I made the choice I felt a burden was lifted. You know that saying that's been around (and is so clique), "You only live once." Well, I have realized it's true. You only live once and I did not want to live another day feeling overwhelmingly unhappy and unfilled. I want to find my dream job. Honestly, I do not know what that is. I have so many interests from food to fashion to anything surrounding creativity. And maybe my next job won't even be in the marketing field anymore. One of my favorite quotes (another clique) is "Not all who wander are lost." I am wandering right now. My path my not be clear, but I know what I want and just as importantly, what I don't want. I may be wandering, but I am not lost. I am at just beginning my journey.

I still have the issues of T&C that I helped with during my internship.