Monday, June 30, 2014

Prismatic World Tour

Some of my best girlfriends in the whole wide world came over to my place for the weekend. While girls' weekends are usually awesome on their own, there was one thing that we planned this weekend around that made it that much more special, exciting, and...well...prismatic.

We went to see Katy Perry! :)







The concert was phenomenal. It was an incredible confection of bright colors, incredible set designs and lighting, and - of course - fabulous music. We were singing along pretty much for the entire concert.

After the show, we spent the entire weekend catching up and hanging out in my hometown. I'm so happy that my girls got to come up, and look forward to many more adventures this summer and beyond. :)


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Sunday, June 29, 2014

What's In My Evening Clutch

Events are a huge part of summer. Whether they are events like concerts, dates, girls' nights, family functions, or weddings, we all have something special that we have to plan for.

One essential for these events is a clutch or small bag. Sure, I love my large purse as much as the next girl, but it sometimes just doesn't cut it for the events I have going on. For example, would I really want to take a huge bag to a concert, especially if it's standing room only? Or, would I be spending more time fiddling through my purse for my phone to take pictures, or actually taking the pictures themselves?

So, based on these thoughts, I wanted to put together a little guide on what to pack for evenings out. Or, "how to evening clutch".



Choosing your Clutch

Purses are accessories, meaning that they are just as valuable to your ensemble as any piece of jewelry, belt, shoes, etc. Depending on your event, you can opt for a crossbody bag or a proper clutch.


What's In My Clutch: Crossbody Bag Options




Crossbody bags are excellent because they keep you hands-free and they come in a variety of styles and colors. They're also super-versatile, and can go with a variety of situations.


What's In My Clutch: "Proper Clutch" Options




"Proper clutches" are more dressy in comparison. There's usually no strap, so you're not hands-free, but they look gorgeous with more formal outfits and can dress up a more casual outfit as well. These clutches can also be smaller, too, so you may be more limited on what you can carry than you would a crossbody bag.

Clutch Essentials

Cell Phone - Please pack it fully charged for emergencies, contacting friends and folks to meet up, and recreational use (like Instagram). 

Driver's License, Cash, etc. - This is self-explanatory, but please make sure that these can't fall out of your bag. A coin purse is a great idea for these essentials.

Lip Gloss or Balm - Lip gloss or lip balm is the easiest way to refresh your makeup on the run. The less maintenance, the better, so look for products that have a lot of pigment or are natural/easy to apply, especially without a mirror.

Mints - Again, this is self-explanatory, but mints or gum are an essential for sure. I prefer mints over gum, just because trash cans to dispose of gum may not always available wherever you are.

Add-Ons

Pack these if you have extra room in your bag. These can be event-specific, too.

Camera - Whether that's a larger camera (especially if you're the photographer at an event - in which case your camera will likely have its own bag) or a point-and-shoot, cameras are a great option if you don't want to use up your phone battery or want high-quality photos.

Mirror - Mirrors aren't always available in every situation, so a small purse-sized one may be a good option. You can also use the surface of your phone or even your phone's front-facing camera as a mirror if you're pressed for space, though.

Extra cosmetics - Pack whatever you might need, whether that's lipstick, eyeliner, blotting papers, or anything else. Roll-on perfume is a great idea, too.

External phone battery/charger - This can be a huge help at concerts, especially if you're using your phone as a camera and you don't have service at the venue. I'd recommend a smaller one, though. The less extra cords and bulk you have to deal with, the better.

Small "Emergency Items" - These can be anything from nail files to band-aids...if there's a chance you might need one of these, pack them.


What items do you like to pack in your evening bag? What would you add to this list (or remove?)
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Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Playlist for Lazy Summer Days



I made this playlist while I was flying back from Amsterdam to Detroit. I wanted to put together some songs in anticipation of the summer days ahead; days I could spend drinking coffee in the mornings, catching up on Instagram, posting something new to the blog, and getting ready for any things I want to do with my family and errands that I want to run.

Follow me on Spotify here. :)

What songs do you like to listen to on lazy days?
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Friday, June 27, 2014

Candle(s) in the Wind

Since December of last year, I've been obsessed with candles. I discovered said love of candles over the Christmas break of my senior year of college, when I had the freedom to burn candles with actual wicks.

Now that I've graduated, I've had so much fun discovering new scents, and the sheer amount of scents to choose from. I love changing out different scents depending on my mood. Plus, the fact that Bath & Body Works had a semi-annual sale going on didn't hurt, either. ;)

Here are the candles I've been loving lately:

1. Peach Bellini




"A shimmering blend of white peach, sweet orange peel and yellow mandarin with a pop of blackcurrant that sparkles as bright as the sun."

I'd heard great things about this candle via YouTube, and was excited and curious to pick this up. My goodness, it's fabulous. If you like peaches/fruity scents, I highly recommend this one.

2. Espresso Bar


"In Italy, you never take your coffee "to go" - instead you stop and savor the aromas of roasted espresso beans and sweet vanilla froth that inspired this fragrance."

I'll say right now that the candle's description is so accurate. Italians don't seem to get their coffee to go at all. Coffee - espresso, really - is an art for them.

This one's a deviation from the scents I normally purchase. It's not exactly fruity or sugary, but it smells like chocolate with a hint of coffee and it's great. I recently burned it while drinking my morning coffee, and it's surprisingly not too overpowering. Besides, why not have more of what you love?

3. Gelato



"A creamy, sweet blend of raspberry and strawberry with an effervescent sugar-spun finish form the perfect Italian indulgence. Bravo, Bravo!"

I wrote about this candle in my pastels post earlier this week. This one is mild and sweet, almost like the gelato I discovered in Italy. When it's burned, though, it's unmistakably sweet, and I love that.

4. London Calling


"A royal blend of tea, lemon, and sugar. Great traditions from across the pond!"

This one is a surprising frontrunner in my candle collection. I enjoy candles that smell like lemonade, and this one is no exception.

Also, as you can probably tell by the glass, I've burned this one down over halfway already. It's been an excellent and fresh summer fragrance.


I unfortunately couldn't find London Calling or Peach Bellini online to link for y'all. :( However, I found Peach Bellini in-store, so check out your local B&BW if you want to find new scents. :)

Also, I'm not sponsored by B&BW. I just love their candles and wanted to share my favorites with you!

So, have you tried any of these candles? What candles are your favorites?
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

My Favorite YouTube Beauty Tutorials

I watch a ton of YouTube, and a large variety of it, too.

However, my YouTube adventures really began in high school, when I was experimenting with various makeup looks. My school had us wearing uniforms - plaid skirts and all - with little freedom to express our style. Because of this, my outlet became makeup - the brighter, the better. That's where YouTube came in. There was a seemingly endless array of tutorials for every occasion and inspired by everything imaginable.

Now that I've been in and out of college, my makeup looks have toned down considerably, and I've had fun experimenting with hair and fashion now, but I still need tips and inspiration from time to time.

So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite YouTube beauty videos.

1. Zoella's Messy Bun Tutorial



I normally keep my hair at shoulder length, so I'm not able to create a "proper" topknot all the time. That being said, though, I love the way Zoella does buns, and I use her tips even on low buns, especially with the way she creates volume.

2. Essiebutton's Easy Winged Liner Tutorial


I've been doing winged liner since high school, but I wasn't always good at it. I would somehow make the wing too long, or not long enough. The same thing kind of happens today, but once I stumbled upon this video, I realized I discovered a game-changer. All you need is eyeshadow and an angled brush to "measure twice, cut once", as she says.

3. Elleandish's Nail Tutorials


I only just recently discovered Elleandish/Janelle's nail tutorials, and I LOVE them. She makes tutorials feel easy to do, no matter how complicated they look at first. Also, I love how she gives alternate color palettes for many of her tutorials, so it's easy to change things up to fit your personal taste and/or outfit. The one I'm featuring is her Electric Daisy Carnival-inspired tutorial.

4. Any of Evelina's Get Ready With Me Videos


I love GRWM videos. But there's something about Evelina's GWRM videos that's just epic. I'm featuring her Holiday GRWM video just because I watched it so many times when it came out. It's beautifully done. It makes me want to dance to EDM and turn my own getting-ready "parties" into actual parties. (Also, if you like this one, check out one of her first GWRM videos. It's just as epic, if not more so.)

Who are your favorite beauty gurus on YouTube or blogs? Do you have favorite beauty videos that you like to watch?
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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pretty in Pastel

I've recently gotten into pastels. I still love my neons/brights, but I love how pastels fit into my girly/classic style.

I've loved pastels in clothes for awhile now, but I've started to get into pretty pastel things in general. I found a couple things over the past week in pastel shades, and I thought I'd show you.


I picked up this candle on Monday. Bath & Body Works is having a semi-annual sale right now, and candles were 50 percent off (so expect a candle post very soon!). 

That being said, I LOVE the way this candle smells. According to the bottom of this fabulous glass container of joy, it's "a creamy, sweet blend of raspberry and strawberry with effervescent spun sugar finish". I love sugary/fruity scents, so this was a delightful addition to my collection of candles.

Also, the candle itself is a pretty pastel pink, and it reminded me of Italy (because gelato is basically joy in a cup or cone). B&BW actually has a lot of Italy-inspired scents at the moment, so that made me happy.


This little guy actually came from Italy. I found it whilst duty-free shopping at the Rome airport on my way home from my trip, and oh my goodness...it's a combination of some of my favorite things in life - bunnies, mint, glitter, and makeup - all wrapped in probably the most adorable packaging I've ever seen.


The makeup inside is actually good quality, too! I used it when we were landing in the US, and it was nice to have eyeshadow and lip gloss in one place. I haven't worn the blush yet, but it swatched well.

Also, look at the left side. See that white product above the two pink glosses? That's eye primer. I just might be using this as a travel palette for future trips.

This makeup bunny is by Pupa Milano, and he also comes in peach and silver.

Do you like pastels? If so, what pastel things do you like - clothes, home decor, makeup, accessories, etc.?

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sorry, Not Sorry

I discovered a YouTube video recently.


I love this Pantene campaign. I've been in the workplace already - mainly my senior year of college - and I learned the importance of being both nice and confident. Regardless of where I am, though, being confident and assertive can really help me in a lot of situations.

I'm guilty of saying "sorry" for things I don't need to apologize for. I don't need to be sorry for wanting to be treated with respect, and I don't need to be sorry for the way I express myself. I don't need to shy away from opportunities just because I don't feel like I'm good enough for them.

And I especially don't need to be sorry for the way I act, especially as a Christian.

"Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." - 1 Timothy 4:12

Of course, there's a time and place to be assertive, and there's a time and place to be silent. Regardless, don't let people walk all over you. You're too awesome to be sorry for who you are. :)
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Capri, the Island of Lemons and Grottoes

June 19, 2014

This is our last day in Italy. :( I was sad to leave - I'd loved this trip so much - but by this point, I was ready to come home.

I'm glad we spent this day in Capri. It felt like a good way to cap off our trip and enjoy some island sun for awhile. :)

We boated from Sorrento to Capri via Hydrofoil, an extremely fast ferry-like boat, and it was fun. It reminded me of riding on a plane, as the seats were lined up together and we were traveling at high speeds; just add water.



Once we arrived, we changed over to a smaller boat to tour the island. This was easily the best part of our day, as the water was gorgeous. It's a perfect blue shade. Also, there's coral that grows on the walls in some of the grottoes, and it's a bright neon orange. (On a side note, the island looks like a place where mermaids would probably live, what with the amazing water and such!)






After our boat tour, we took a fenicula (a tram car) up a steep hill to the island's town, Anacapri, where we would take a walking tour up to the Augustus Gardens. After that, we were free to wander.

During our free time, we were spritzed by green tea and lemon perfume (which smelled DELICIOUS) and ate at a small cafe, where I enjoyed an amazing proscuitto and mozarella sandwich. Mom had lemon juice with sugar there. Capri loves lemons - it's one thing they're known for.

I also had the BEST gelato in Capri. I had Tiramisu and Stratiacella (cookies and cream) gelato on a homemade cone that they made in-house. Yum!

I really enjoyed Capri a lot. :) I had heard great things about it from my mom, who had been there 8 years prior, so it was exciting to get to see it with her and Dad.

The only thing I wish I could have seen was the Blue Grotto. It was closed the day we went, but I hope to go back someday.

~

I loved this Italy adventure so much! Its ending was bittersweet, but one adventure must end before the rest begin, I guess. :) I feel so glad and blessed that I finally got to go to Italy, and it was an experience I'll never forget.

I hope to have even more fabulous adventures in the future, whether in Europe, the USA, or somewhere entirely new.

Ciao for now, Italy! You are amazing. Don't worry, I'll be back. :)



~

I hope you enjoyed my Italy posts! :) I'm glad I got to blog this adventure and share it with you.
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Monday, June 23, 2014

Pompeii + Sorrento

June 18, 2014

I had the song "Pompeii" by Bastille stuck in my head for a while in anticipation for this day on our trip. :)


But alas, I actually think I liked the song better than the actual ruins. :/

Pompeii is interesting, don't get me wrong. It was neat to see the indentations in the streets where chariots had been, and it was fun finding things like an old bakery oven where bread would have been sold. Plus, I got to see Mount Vesuvius.




But, I'll be honest, there wasn't that much in Pompeii to see. I'm glad I got to see it, and that I can say that I've seen it, but I'm glad I saw it once, just because it is a touristy destination, possibly even more so than Rome.

~

When we drove into Sorrento later on that day, I had no idea what to expect. But once I saw the water, I realized that we were in a resort town, and I got really excited. Yay for tropical climates!




Sorrento is an absolute delight. It's not too big, but it's bright, colorful, and happy. Parts of it reminded me of Florida. We mainly shopped, wandered, and ate gelato. :) AND as of this particular adventure, I can successfully order gelato in Italian now! Yay for learning important skills!



After dinner, Mom, Dad, and I were able to walk through the town at night, starting from the harbor. It's wonderful at night, and the view of the lights along the coastline when it's dark is breathtaking.



I have to say that Sorrento is my second favorite Italian city, behind Venice. :)
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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Spoleto Adventures

June 17, 2014

On this day, we roadtripped back towards Rome to get us in the right direction to travel to Pompeii, Sorrento, and Capri. Yay!

But first, we decided to stop in a small town called Spoleto. Spoleto was similar to Assisi in that it was also situated on a hill. The fun part about it was that we reached it via at least five escalators. Those were a nice break from all the walking we'd been doing this trip.

We saw:

  • Cattedrale de Santa Maria Assunta 
  • Roman Theatre
  • Various other pretty buildings and streets
Most of our free time was spent wandering the streets of Spoleto, but we had the absolute best time at a cafe we found that overlooked the city. It was there that I discovered two things: one, I can order sparkling water in Italian (yay!) and two, I found the best gnocchi ever - gnocchi with boar sauce! (It sounds intimidating, but boar sauce is basically a sausage/red sauce.)



I also made friends with a cat. :)



Gelato was great in Spoleto, too. I ordered tiramisu and nutella gelato in a single cone, and it was amazing (and I ordered that in Italian, too!).

Next stop, the Campania region. Pompeii, Sorrento, and Capri await! :)

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Roadtrippin' Part 2 + Assisi

June 16, 2014

It's a travel day, once again! This time, it's a 5 hour drive from Lido to Assisi.

Being on a bus for that long can be tiring, but I actually really loved roadtripping in Italy.

Here's what I loved so much about it:

  • European rest stops are well-stocks with snacks, drinks, and other lovely things. Autogrills in Italy even have coffee/juice bars where you can get a fresh-squeezed orange juice, a Grancrema (coffee-flavored Frosty-like dessert), or an espresso (which I had in Bologna for the first time!).
  • Listening to music is the best. I had a lot of fun crafting the perfect roadtrip playlist to listen to during the longer drives.
  • European snacks are amazing in general.
    • Mikado (Pocky in the US)
    • Rodeo chips, AKA "Italian Fritos" 
    • Piú Sticki (which are like French Fries but smaller and more crispy)
  • Fanta Lemon is a fabulous travel drink all day, every day.
  • Having videos on your iPad is an excellent idea. I had an episode of CW's Reign that I watched on this particular bus ride.
  • The Italian countryside makes roadtripping so much better. :) There always seems to be something new to see from region to region.


So Assisi was a very pretty place. :) It's situated on a hill, and it's known mainly for St. Francis' Cathedral. The rain that day made it hard to walk up and down the steep streets, but it was still neat to navigate a city situated on such a high hill.

My favorite thing we saw in Assisi was the cathedral itself. Nearly the entire church was painted wall to ceiling with frescoes, whether they were depictions of Bible scenes, the life story of St. Francis, or even decorations along the sides of walls. It was beautiful. The mosaics on the second floor of the church were gorgeous as well.

Next stop: Spoleto!



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Friday, June 20, 2014

Venice, I Love You! (And Americano Cafe, Too!)

June 15, 2014 (Hello from the USA! :) I'm back!)

This is my favorite day of the trip. :)



To start our adventure, we took a ferry to Murano to watch a glassblowing demonstration. I knew that glassblowing was a delicate art and would be amazing to actually watch, and it was neat to see how pieces like vases, horse figures, and other glassware were made.

After our brief venture into Murano, we hopped on the boat and finally went to Venice. That first view from the ferry was beautiful, but that was only a chip off the iceberg of what joy I would see there.



We first took a general walking tour around the city, and then had free time to explore. We used it to see:

  • Rialto Bridge
  • Doge's Palace (which was HUGE and AMAZING)
  • Gelato (of course)



The absolute best part of the day was the gondola ride we took. Seeing the city from a gondola was absolutely magical and didn't even feel real. Since no transportation other than boats are allowed, the only things you can see passing by are people, buildings, bridges, and other gondolas or other water transport. When we reached the Grand Canal, I got my absolute best views of Venice, with the Rialto bridge on my right and various gondolas drifting on my left.




My other favorite part was seeing the Americano cafe, where Ernest Hemingway spent a lot of time. So, because that made me immediately think of Midnight in Paris and how much I loved Hemingway in that movie, I got a picture in front of it! :)



It's safe to say that Venice is one of my new favorite cities. I was sad to leave, but I know I'll be back someday. :) And I'm glad that I spent Father's Day with Dad there. That made it so special. 



Also, having church with our group at the beach by our hotel afterwards - sitting on the rocks by the Adriatic Sea - was icing on the cake.






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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Roadtrippin' + Bologna Adventures

Hey hey, y'all! :) As of right now, I am packing to come back home! Blog posts have been late due to wifi not always being available at hotels/coffee shops/what have you, so Italy-related stuff will be going up over the next few days, along with other fun posts I've been wanting to share with you.

So, without further ado...here's what we did in Bologna!

June 14, 2014

So, at this point, we were en route to Venice...or just to our hotel, which happened to be 20 minutes from the boat that would take us there.

On our way, we decided to make a stop in Bologna. This stop wasn't on our original itinerary, but our tour guide suggested it. Once we all decided to go, we parked our bus in Bologna - also called "Bologna Rossa" because of its red bricks - for adventures.



I LOVE that city. It was much less tourist-y than the cities we'd visited thus far, and it just made me happy in general.

We visited two churches, ate at a cafe (where I had lasagna), and did some shopping.

I felt I could really explore Bologna. Landmarks there were easy to get to if you had a map. Also, the city itself was gorgeous. Shops were housed under ornate porte-cocheres (arches and all!), and the entire town just had that authentic Italian feel. :)

Next stop, Venice!
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Sunday, June 15, 2014

I Heart Florence!

Ciao! :) Italy is still as amazing as I dreamed it would be. I'm loving this country more and more the longer I'm staying here.

So, before we reached Florence, we hit a rest stop on our way from Rome. Mom and I attempted to order coffee - called "grancrema" - but instead, we got what I would consider a coffee-flavored Wendy's frosty. And it was amazing.

Here's what we saw over our 2 days in Florence:

  • Duomo
  • Santa Maria Novella
  • Santa Crocce
  • Medici Castle
  • Gallery of statues (with the David "copy")
  • Academia & David
  • Uffizi
  • Ponte Vecchio
  • Arno River
  • Hotel Torre Guelfa (recommended to us by a friend of ours - the views from the terrace were PHENOMENAL).

And here's what we saw at Pisa:
  • Leaning Tower (of course!)
  • Baptistry
  • Santa Maria Asunta
While we were staying in Florence, we stayed in a town called Montecatini. I had my very first cappuccino there. 



I really liked the town of Pisa more than I thought I would. It's neat how all of the monuments are together in the "Miracle Square". It kinda reminded me of Washington D. C. 





I was also pleasantly surprised by the statue of David in Florence. I was impressed by its detail and its perfect proportions.



Throughout this trip - and not just with David - I have been happy to see the religious art here. So much care goes into these works, whether they are in churches or not, and it's truly inspiring to see art that's based on the Bible last for so many years, centuries even. :)

I loved getting to see the pharmacy at Santa Maria Novella. They have an incredible history; monks had been crafting perfumes and the like since the 1200s. It's a beautiful building, too! Mom and I love vanilla in our perfumes, so we were delighted to pick up their Vanilla scent. It smells like vanilla extract that you bake with. It's wonderful!

Overall, I really loved Florence. It just seems so sweet to me. Where Rome is dramatic and opulent, Florence is slightly more understated and more centered in fine art, but both cities are equally amazing. 

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