What’s In My Birchbox- A Monthly Look

What’s In My Birchbox- A Monthly Look

At Christmas I was gifted a subscription to Birchbox and recently I’ve been excited to receive my box in the mail, so I thought I would do a few monthly looks at the 5 sample products that come in the box. What’s great about Birchbox is that each box comes with a list of the products, how to use them, and the price for a full size product. The box that these products come in also changes every month, and I look forward to seeing what cute design will be next. I’d like to apologize for the lateness of the post and as such will be beginning with the box from March. So without further ado, here are my Birchbox products for March and April!


March

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These Hydrating Collagen Eye Pads from Wilma Schumann Skin Care were unexpected as I’ve never used collagen eye pads before. I did not think I needed them since I am only 20. But once reading the back, I realized that they are not just for “fine lines and wrinkles” but that they also reduce puffiness, which I definitely have after a late night. I did notice a slight difference once I used them, but nothing major. Nevertheless, I’d probably use them again if I had an event to go to.

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I love Smashbox products (especially their eye shadow palettes) so it was a fun surprise to find this Photo Finish Foundation Primer in my March Box. It goes on nice and smooth, and I’m pretty sure it has a bit of a sparkle to it (which I think is great for Spring/ Summer time).

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This OUAI leave in conditioner is fantastic! It leaves my hair so soft and it smells great. I’m a sucker for anything that smells good! I have now fallen in love with this brand because of how quality its products are.

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Winky Lux Glazed Lip was another product I’ve never tried before and I was not disappointed. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it has a sweet scent to it, almost good enough to eat. This lip gloss was called “Coffee Glaze” and it is a gorgeous pinky brown color in the container. Once on, however it has a beautiful shimmery sheer look. I expected it to be sticky like a gloss, but I was delighted to discover that it goes on like a balm, very light and smooth. Use it over a colorful lipstick or on its own, either way it’s so pretty.

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I’ve never used a Dr. Lipp product before so this balm was my first encounter with the brand. It’s tiny (only 0.1 fl/oz) even for a sample, but it goes a lone way. I didn’t need a lot when I used it. I decided to try it on my lips first since it was a colder season and they were a bit dry. The balm is thick but slides on nicely and definitely moisturized my lips. The only other way I’ve used it is to tame my eyebrows, and it works surprisingly well, if a little bit sticky at first.


April

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I LOVE this shampoo from Davines! It smells absolutely divine and it leaves my hair looking amazing. I was surprised by how much came in the sample, but I’m so glad it did because I have been using it for every wash since I got it. It is enriched with olive oil extract, fatty acids, and Vitamin E so that it smooths frizzy hair. What is also great about this shampoo is that when I brush my wet hair, there are almost no tangles and my brush slides nicely through my hair.

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If I loved the shampoo, I absolutely adore the conditioner! I have never had a conditioner leave my hair feeling softer. I don’t often praise hair care products mainly because I think they all do the same job for my hair, but this conditioner proved me wrong. It smells so lovely, like a light floral scent, and I don’t need to use much. This has probably been one of my favorite products I’ve received in all of my Birchboxes.

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I had never used a setting spray before trying this one so I don’t have much to compare it to, but I have to say I did like it. It has SPF 30 and is the Organic Makeup Setting Spray from COOLA. I didn’t notice too much of a difference to be honest, but my makeup did look a bit better than when I normally end the day. One perk I noticed was the scent was nice, not overpowering or chemically. It has aloe vera extract and cucumber along with hyaluronic which is supposed to “boost hydration.”

 

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As I have previously said, I really like Smashbox products, however I don’t especially love gel eyeliners just because I find that they smudge more easily than others. That was the case for this eyeliner too. I made the best of it though and used it to create a killer smoky eye which it was perfect for. It also stays on incredibly long, almost annoyingly long as I found out when trying to take off my makeup lol. I would definitely recommend the Always On Gel Eye Liner- Fishnet from Smashbox if you’re looking for a good gel liner.

 

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This tiny little sample perfume was everything one could wish for in a scent. It is the Citron Fig Eau de Parfum from CLEAN Reserve and it definitely is a clean scent. It reminds me of freshly dressed lady about to leave for the gala (if that makes sense). I’m pretty particular about scent, as I’m sure we all are, and I prefer lighter notes that don’t make too much of a statement. This parfum hit that perfectly, allowing me to use it as a subtle addition to my person.


I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these products as much as I have enjoyed discovering them each month. I’ve never used a subscription service before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But receiving presents in the mail is always fun, especially when they’re a surprise. I was always excited about what would come each month, especially because I am not particularly aware of all the beauty products out there. As I said before, I am a beauty novice so this is the perfect kind of thing for me because it shows me all the products I never would have known about. Plus, each box comes with a little paper explaining exactly what each product is and how much the full size is on the Birchbox website. All in all, not a bad first subscription. Which month’s products are your favorite- March or April?

Ciao for now!

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Brunch and Munch in Boston

Brunch and Munch in Boston

Now that the weather is getting warmer I’ve been venturing into Boston more. A couple weeks ago, I went for a birthday brunch with a friend at this adorable restaurant called The Friendly Toast in Cambridge, MA. The decor was really wacky and retro with cartoons, comics, and old fashioned artwork all over the place.

Even the menu was weird and wild, in the best possible way. It was just my scene! I ordered The Monster Breakfast which comprises “two ‘mini’ pancakes or two French toast, two eggs any style, home fries & your choice of meat.” I chose the French toast with scrambled eggs and sausage. It was so good that I ate too much at the beginning and ended up taking half of it home with me… which was great because that just meant I got two meals for the price of one… exactly what brunch should be!

My friend ordered King Cakes which is described as “two “mini” pancakes with bananas & chocolate chips inside & peanut butter in between, with real whipped cream on top; encircled by a side of bacon (or turkey or vegetarian bacon, but Elvis will roll in his grave).” I got to try a bite of it and man did it taste good! If you’ve ever had a peanut butter and banana sandwich, it’s like that but 5 times better because instead of bread there’s pancakes, and theres chocolate in it too. Basically I wanted to order the whole menu but had to restrain myself.

The waitstaff was fantastic as well. My server, Alex, made sure to check on my table frequently enough that my coffee was refilled before it was empty but long enough that my conversation wasn’t being consistently interrupted. Even though it was packed to capacity, Alex was consistent in her attention to our table, and always had a smile on her face. I noticed similar things from the waiters at the tables next to me. Something I will say though, is that the wait time is super long. Luckily, my friend Jess had placed a reservation on an app on her phone before we arrived, otherwise it would have been over an hour wait.

I love finding new restaurants and this one was perfect for a quirky foodie like myself. If you’re in the mood for a change in scenery or simply want to enjoy a delicious brunch, The Friendly Toast is a must try. I know I’ll definitely be back!

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Ciao for now!

Tampering with Tampa- What To Do If You’re Passing By

Tampering with Tampa- What To Do If You’re Passing By

If you saw my last blog post, you’ll know that I recently went on a cruise out of Tampa, FL and it was fantastic! This post will be dedicated to sharing a couple fun things to do in Tampa if you’re only there for a short time. If you’re waiting for a flight or you’re just passing through, there is a bunch of neat places to visit in Tampa.

The Florida Aquarium 

If you like the water and all things sea life, I suggest checking out the Florida Aquarium. My mom and I went for the morning before our afternoon flight and we spent an enjoyable and informative couple of hours exploring. Here’s a tip: it’s cheaper to buy tickets online than in person. I used my iPhone to go on the aquarium’s website and bought the eTickets online for a few bucks less than if we had bought them at the ticket counter. We arrived right as it was opening since the aquarium is about 100 feet away from where our cruise docked, so the place was pretty empty.

What’s also great and convenient is that they stored our luggage for us so we could walk around unencumbered. We spent the first forty-five minutes looking around the gift shop and watching two 15 minute short 4D films. The first movie was about sea creatures and we were spattered with bubbles and misted with water as we watched. It was pretty cool. There was about 10 minutes in between the films so we sat outside in the sun and just enjoyed the day while we chatted. The second little short film was a sequel-type film to Happy Feet and the little theater was filled with a bunch of mothers and their toddlers. It was cute.

Then we walked around and saw some stingrays, which I got to touch, a seahorse, and other cool sea creatures. They were feeding the sharks and other big fish as we sat down to look in the large tank, and we learned what they all ate, and in which part of the tank their specific feeding area was. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was field trip day for the entire Florida school system and tons of groups of children began flooding the aquarium.

We took that as a sign that 2 hours was enough time to spend at the aquarium, and we scooted on out. It was around lunch time when we left and my mom had looked up a celebrated restaurant for us to try in the historic Ybor city part of Tampa. Even if you’re not hungry, this is a really neat part of Tampa to visit because it is where all the immigrants (mainly Cuban, Spanish, and Italian) went during the early 20th century, and it’s home to many old cigar factories. Mainly, Ybor City is just a really cool place to visit. it has a bunch of bars and restaurants to entertain you for a couple of hours if you’re passing through.

The Columbia Restaurant

We took an Uber from the aquarium to The Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City, and it was as if the restaurant took up the whole block it was such an impressive place. Once inside, I felt like I had entered an aristocratic 20th century house. They, like the aquarium, were good enough to store our suitcases. The waiting area is like a foyer in a beautiful home with dark wood and lovely artwork. The restaurant itself is composed of a number of rooms, each with its own kind of theme. The room we were seated in was large and bright with beautiful chandeliers, old timey artwork, and a loft area above on the side with more seating options. All of the waiters are dressed in fancy dress: black jackets and pants with dark bow ties over crisp white shirts.

It was a wonderful atmosphere and one of the most beautiful restaurants I’ve eaten in. The food was to die for as well! I ordered The Original Cuban sandwich with a cup of  the Spanish Bean Soup. The sandwich was delicious but the soup was my favorite. It was so tasty and flavorful that I wished I had ordered a whole bowl. We ordered empanadas as an appetizer and they were served piping hot and yummy!

For dessert, I ordered hot fruity tea that was filled with flavor, and my mom and I split an order of churros. The churros were so good we ate them all. They came with 3 dipping sauces: chocolate (my favorite), caramel, and berry.  Overall, the meal was amazing, and I would recommend anyone who wants to enjoy a delicious meal in a classy establishment visit the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City. (They have other locations in Tampa as well, but this is the original.)

To digest our food after that heavenly but hefty meal, mom and I took a walk down the street, reading the history of Ybor City on the signs posted on the street. By the time we reached the end, it was time to head to the airport and end what was a wonderful Spring Break. If we’d had more time, maybe we would have gone to the beach, to the Busch Gardens, to the zoo, or visited one of the many museums that Tampa has to offer. I guess that just means I’ll have to go back!

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Ciao for now!

Cruising through Spring Break

Cruising through Spring Break

 

I have never been on a typical “spring break” during my college career. Granted, I am only a sophomore so this was really only my second Spring Break. Last year, I decided to stay at home with my family in the cold New England weather. It was definitely a nice break from my academic schedule, but I did feel like the cold weather was never-ending. This year, I was lucky enough to go on a cruise to the Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico… with my mom. I know you’re probably thinking it’s strange that a college student would want to go on Spring Break with her mom, but I honestly loved it! My mom is so much fun and I love doing things with her. So, I counted down the days until we would set sail on Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas.

By the time March 2 rolled around, I was ready to get on that plane and head to Tampa, FL for a five-day sun-filled vacation. Unfortunately, the weather in the East was not ready to let me go. By the time I got home from school, most of my friends’ flights had been cancelled due to the nor’easter, so my mom and I were crossing our fingers that our flight would leave as scheduled. I guess we didn’t cross them tight enough, though, because our 6:55 flight was canceled at 2:30. Now, we were a little worried because the cruise set sail from Tampa the next day and if we couldn’t fly there, we would miss it.

Luckily, my dad is a fast thinker and a very smart man, and he suggested that since we were only about 30 minutes from the airport we should just drive there to find another flight. This turned out to be the perfect idea because, although my mom had called the airport/airline and was told there was nothing they could do other than refund out ticket, we eventually found another flight to Tampa early the next morning. (Shout out to Miranda at the Southwest terminal at Bradley Airport because you were fantastic and helped us make our cruise!)

*Flying Tip: If your flight is cancelled and you are close to an airport, I suggest you go to that airport and speak with the people at the airline. Face-to-face contact is more likely to get you booked on another flight than simply calling on the phone because they get tons of calls from frantic flyers. Plus, if you are friendly while at the same time asking if there’s “anything at all they can do,” they will be more willing to try to accommodate you.*

Day 1- Travel and Ship Day

So, early Saturday morning my mom and I set off for Tampa and boarded our cruise. It was so amazing to be on board the ship because there was so much to explore and it was so sunny and warm. We started by looking around and centered on the beautiful atrium in the center of the ship. We sat on a beautiful couch at a little bar and just admired all the details of the boat. Then we decided we should take advantage of the sun, so we changed into the swimsuits we packed in our carry-ons (since you don’t get your luggage until after the ship is about to leave), and lay on the deck chairs. After an hour or so, we realized how hungry we were, so we headed to the buffet and gawked at all the options we could choose from. There was so much food that I think we may have over-indulged that first meal. But it was all too good to pass up.

Around 3:00 we decided to rest for a little bit to recover from our travels and to digest all the food we had just consumed. My mom had decided to get us a room with a balcony, which we’d never done before, and when we entered out cabin we immediately knew it would be worth the extra money. Even thought the balcony was small, it made the room seem so much bigger and added a less claustrophobic feel to the room. Plus, it was nice to sit out there and feel the breeze brush through my hair as I watched the water. Since, we were tired, though, we decided to wait to try out the balcony and instead took a nice little nap. We were awoken by the loudspeaker declaring that everyone needed to head to their prescribed deck for the safety practice. This took no more than 20 minutes, and then we walked around exploring the ship some more.

By the time we were ready for our dinner reservation, our hunger had returned. We opted for the sit-down dinner every night because it was nice to get a bit more dressed up and to be in a restaurant environment for our last meal of the day. My mom requested a window table, and the host graciously accommodated us. So as we ate our food, we were able to watch the sun set over the crashing waves. Overall, it was a perfect atmosphere. After we ate, my mom and I went to a show at the ship’s theater. The performer was a stand up comic, and he was pretty funny. By the time the show was over at around 10:30pm, both my mom and I were ready to turn in. This first day was a long and active one. The beds in the cabin are pretty comfortable and I could not really feel the rocking of the ship as I lay down. I would say Day 1 was a success!

Day 2- Ship Day

Sunday was a day at sea and a very relaxing one at that. The day started with my mom bringing me a cup of tea and a banana to eat on the balcony. Not a bad way to wake up! Then we went for a hearty breakfast at the buffet. We brought our food to a table near one of the huge windows and ate while we watched the sea go by. I have to say, this is my new favorite way to enjoy food. Then we walked around and came across a clothing sale the ship was having and picked out some cute T-shirts and an adorable beach cover-up.  Then we decided to take advantage of the sunny day and went to the front of the ship to catch some rays. I was a bit burned from the day before, so I found a chair in the shade.

After a while, we went back to the buffet for lunch, then tried out the adult-only pool area. This area was covered with huge windows above so that it was warmer but also incredibly bright with sunlight. The pool itself was pretty warm surprisingly and not very  crowded- the perfect swimming atmosphere. By the time I dried off a couple hours later, my mom and I decided that it was tea time. Luckily, right there in the adult area was a little cafe where we ordered some pastries and then made ourselves a cup of tea each. We took our afternoon treat over to the little tables and sat facing the sea as we sipped and snacked. Then we retired to the room for a post-tea rest. I ended up on the balcony just watching water and listening to music. It really was a perfect afternoon.

Before we knew it, it was time for dinner: 7:00. That night was fancy night, so we dressed up more than we normally would- dresses, jewelry, and bright lipstick. The food was delicious as usual, and we took our time to fully enjoy the meal. Around 9:00, we went to see another show at the theater; this time it was a cabaret-style musical. The performers were very good and they all had beautiful voices. After the show, we decided to go to bed early because the next day we had to wake up early. We only had from 8:00 am to 3:00pm at Grand Cayman and we wanted to make the most of it.

Day 3- Grand Cayman Island

The day started early as I sat on the balcony enjoying the tea my mother had brought me and watched as the sun rose over the horizon. Then we got a quick buffet breakfast and got ready to disembark into the Cayman Islands. We took a smaller boat to the shore and then found a taxi to take us to the Calico Jack’s at the Seven Mile Beach (which, fun fact, is NOT 7 miles). We then rented 2 beach chairs with umbrellas for $20 and set up our little slice of heaven. I have to say, I have never seen water so clear and so blue before. It was astonishing! So as I dipped my toes into the crystal clear water, my mom set up the mini speaker we had brought and played some chill beach tunes.

After a little while, I ventured into the gorgeous water for a refreshingly cool swim. My mom had gotten us both snorkel gear (from Amazon) before our trip, so I got to try out snorkeling for the first time and I was not disappointed. I saw tiny little fish and lovely sea life. After a while, I went back to the chairs and it was my mom’s turn to venture into the water. By the time noon rolled around, we were ready for food. My mom went to Calico Jack’s and came back with yummy snacks and some margaritas. It was a fantastic lunch not only because of the food and drinks but because of the absolutely amazing atmosphere which we ate in.

When we finished eating, we stayed at the beach for another half an hour and then decided to head back to the main area. We took a taxi from the beach to the town area and walked around all the shops for a bit. On the cruise, we had gone to a jewelry show the day before and Amanda, the shopping cruise director, had given everyone a huge coupon book and flyers for a bunch of free/ discounted jewelry at each location. So, mom and I went to Effie to collect our free necklace, upgraded to a necklace and earrings set for $10, and then went to Diamonds International to claim our free charm bracelet and charms. One of the cool things about cruises is the free stuff you can claim, and I definitely came back laden with more jewelry than I boarded with. We went into other cute touristy stores as well and got a couple of tee shirts and hats. While we were wandering, we came across a rogue rooster just casually walking alongside us. What a strange and comical sight.

At 2:00, we headed back to the ship so we wouldn’t get left behind when the boat left at 3:00. Back on board, we rested until dinner time. I read more of my book from the beach that day (The Help by Kathryn Stockett if anyone is wondering). We had dinner as usual and then frequented another show. There’s a pattern in our nighttime activities, if you’ve noticed haha.

After the show, around 10:15, there was a really entertaining music and dance in the atrium area. It was 70s night so they played a bunch of ABBA songs and 70s music while simultaneously doing old-school dances. Everyone was crowded around the dance floor and up above in the seating areas on every floor overlooking the atrium. Mom and I were on the 8th floor looking down and singing and dancing along. It was such a lively atmosphere that we were pretty sad when it ended. But we were also tired, so we went back to the cabin for a good night’s rest.

Day 4- Cozumel, Mexico

As usual, the day began with a big buffet breakfast, but since we docked a bit later I got to sleep in for a little longer and was able to see as we pulled into the dock. Mom and I had decided the night before that we were going to begin our adventure in Cozumel with the shopping tour headed by Amanda. This allowed us to go with a group in a free taxi to the center of the city where we were dropped off at Diamond’s International. Here, we received another free charm for our bracelets.

Then we again went to Effie and got another free necklace, this time in a different color, and my mom bought herself a nice birthday present from there. What was nice about going with Amanda, though, was that we could purchase nice jewelry, leave it at the store with our name and cabin number, and then Amanda would come and pick up everyone’s jewelry to deliver it safely back aboard ship. This was great because mom and I did not want to bring the nice new jewelry to the beach with us just in case something were to happen to it. Because of this perk, we didn’t have to worry about anything. After the jewelry stores, we went to the typical tourist stores and bought a couple more T-shirts and souvenirs. At Viva Mexico! they had a free tequila tasting which was something fun mom and I tried.

When shopping had tired us out, we decided to take a taxi to Chankanaab, the beach. Once there, we had to pay to get in, and then we went to lunch at one of the restaurants. What’s cool about Chankanaab is that there are so many things to do; you can go swimming with turtles, snorkeling, and so much more. We were pretty boring people so we just went to the beach and snorkeled on our own. Even just doing this was a lot of fun though! I found a hammock to lie in and read while mom went snorkeling and vice versa. At this beach, there were a lot more fish and a much deeper area of water to explore. There were constantly waiters coming around asking if we wanted anything to drink, so at one point we each ordered a local beer. We left after a couple of hours and headed back to the port.

However, there was so much to do at the port that we ended up staying there for another hour. We got a couple of knick knacks at a touristy shop and then, oh and THEN, we came across the most fun place I’ve experienced: Senor Frog’s Cozumel! (From what I hear, they have these in many locations.) Let me tell you, this was an atmosphere fit for college students on Spring Break, which is probably why there were so many college kids there. They had great music playing, wild waiters, and lots of drinks to choose from. Mom and I ended up ordering 2 Bahama Mamas and while we were waiting for them to arrive, a  waitress came around with shots 2 for $5 so of course we indulged.

Then our drinks came… in the tallest thinnest cup I’ve ever seen. We got to keep both the shot glasses and the tall glass as souvenirs. Our table was right next to water and overall, the atmosphere in this place was so much fun! After we went back to the ship, we got ready for dinner, ate, and then went back to the room to watch a movie and call it an early night.

Day 5- Sea Day

Because this was our last full day, mom and I decided to take advantage of some of the amenities on the ship. We woke up late and had a calm and filling breakfast from, you guessed it, the buffet. At 11:00, we had an appointment at the spa. I had never had a massage before, so I was excited. I got the 75 minute full body massage and facial; both were amazing. The spa service on Royal Caribbean was excellent- the people were friendly and the atmosphere was so calming.

By the time we were done, it was almost 1:00, and it had started to rain. This meant we were pretty much confined to inside activities unless we wanted to get soaked. So, instead of laying out in the sun as we had planned, we went for lunch. After, we walked around the ship a bit and happened upon a Billy Joel “impersonator” in the atrium area. I absolutely LOVE Billy Joel so I was eager to stay and listen. I got some water and stood up top on one of the balconies as I listened to this guy play the piano and sing like Billy Joel, and I softly sang along.

When this was over, mom and I met up and we went back to the room to rest, because doing nothing all day really tires a girl out. It stopped raining late in the afternoon, so we went out on the balcony for a bit and enjoyed our last night on the water. Then we went for dinner and I enjoyed every morsel of food. I do have to say the food on board the ship was excellent every time I ate… which was a lot!

When dinner was over, we went to the 7:00 final show at the theater. It was a fun performance, and the end was very much ABBA heavy. The performers dressed up as the iconic group and the band played a bunch of their songs as the singers belted out a mixture of Dancing Queen, Mama Mia, and more. At the end, all of the performers came out on stage, took a bow, and said what country they were from. Then, almost the whole staff of the ship, or representatives from each department, came onstage to applause from the audience to show our gratitude. One thing that’s neat about Royal Caribbean is that its staff are from all over the world. After the show, we packed up and went to bed.

The next, and last, day on the cruise mom and I set out to enjoy the buffet and the sun for one last time. By the time it was our time to disembark, we had taken our last stroll around the ship and said farewell to our Caribbean cruise. It was a wonderful five days that I wish would never end.

Ciao for now!

Snapshot of Summer – Italy 2017

Snapshot of Summer – Italy 2017

As a college student, I love Spring Break! It is a nice respite from all the midterms that pop up and the usual stresses of academic life. Plus it’s always fun to get away and leave the cold winter weather behind. I am currently away on a cruise, floating away in the sun and heat. I’m writing this post in advance because I will not have internet while on the ship, which will be a nice change. Of course I will be writing a blog post on my adventures in the Cayman Islands and Cozumel, but for now I thought I would take a look back on my favorite photos from this past summer when I was in Italy. I know it’s random, but I’ve been thinking about the heat and I just miss Italy a lot, plus I thought some of you might like to take a look at my pics. (If you like these, maybe check out my travel Instagram account!) Without further ado, I present to you: Italy summer 2017.

 

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Milan
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Venice
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Hope you enjoyed the photos, ciao for now!

Feeling like Cinderella at the Ball- Makeup and Outfit

Feeling like Cinderella at the Ball- Makeup and Outfit

Last night I went to a ball organized by my university at the Westin Copley in Boston. It was the first time I went to one of these parties and I have to say, it was so much fun! But what was really exciting was putting on a beautiful dress, curling my hair, and most of all doing my makeup. There are so few opportunities to get dolled up in college that this was exciting. My friends and I spent a couple hours trying to look our best, and the finished product did not disappoint.

I thought I would do a blog post on my outfit and my makeup for anyone out there looking to get all glam for a night out. So, without further ado, here it is…

Outfit

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My dress is from Express and I’ve actually had it since I was a sophomore in high school. I bought it when I went to New York City for my 16th birthday and I absolutely fell in love with the color. The blue makes my eyes pop, and it ended up glowing in the fluorescent lights last night. Plus, it’s pretty comfortable and the skirt twirls when I spin on the dance floor. The belt my mom bought me at Francesca’s I think last year, and it’s absolutely beautiful. It can turn a casual outfit into an elegant one with just the snap of a button.

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I did not have a lot of dressy shoes at school with me because, well, I don’t have many opportunities to wear them. However, I recently went to Primark and I found these beautiful heeled sandals for less than $20, so of course I had to buy them. They ended up going perfectly with my dress and they were pretty comfortable to dance in. The only problem I had was that it started snowing and the open toed shoes let my toes freeze!

Makeup

Face

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I started off with Simple replenishing moisturizer which I absolutely love. It makes my skin feel incredibly hydrated and it goes on so smoothly.

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For my foundation, I used Maybelline FIT me foundation in the shade Ivory (115). It is matte and does a great job of covering the redness on my skin.

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I have a bit of a cold, so my nose is a little red from all the times I’ve blown my nose into a tissue. Because of this, I used Maybelline Master Conceal concealer to hide the redness and add a perfect finish to my skin. I like this concealer because it also gets rid of my under-eye circles and disappears my blemishes as well. I use the shade light (20).

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For my cheeks, I used Mary Kay Kind Heart blush because it’s more than just a blush. It’s shimmery so it also doubles as a bit of a highlighter. It accentuated my cheek bones and brought some color to my face.

Eyes

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To get long luscious lashes for the ball, I obviously used my Better than Sex mascara from Too Faced. It makes my lashes look fake because they are so long.

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My favorite eyeliner is the Sephora colorful wink-it liner because it makes putting on liquid liner SO easy. It also allows me to get a beautiful winged look without the mess of having to do it six times trying to get it right.

I wanted to add a party element to this eye look, so I used Sephora retractable eyeliner in sparkly silver. This gave my eye a bright look that said “I’m here to party.” Plus, it looked great on top of the dark black eyeliner I had on.

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Now for the smoky eyeshadow look. I’m the first to admit that my eyeshadow skills are pretty average. However, I decided to try and spice it up for the ball last night. I used the Smashbox Double Exposure palette. Because my dress was a light blue, I opted for the shade Silver (which was more of a light purple/blue than a silver) for the lid of the eye. For the inner corner, I chose Blanc to brighten it up. And for the crease and outer edge of my eye I used Midnight. I have to say, I think it looked really nice.

Lips

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The lipstick I used, I absolutely adore. I’m almost out of it that is how much I use it. The lipstick is from Anthropologie in the color Scarlet and let me tell you it is a gorgeous red. It also lasts SO long. I put it on around 8:30 pm and it stayed on until  I came back around 1 am. Besides the fact that it lasted that long, it also stayed on through all of the food I ate and the many cups of water I consumed. Overall, a fabulous lipstick.

That is all for my party look, and I hope you enjoyed reading about it. As I have previously stated on my blog, I am not a makeup expert. I get my knowledge from YouTube videos and online tutorials just like most people. But I find it fun to experiment with makeup and create a whole new look for various occasions. Thanks for reading and leave a comment below with some of your fave makeup products, I’m always looking for new things to try! 🙂

Ciao for now!

Musings at the Boston Science Museum

Musings at the Boston Science Museum

I have always had a love-hate relationship with science. The love part comes in the form of curiosity at the many amazing things science has done, especially in terms of space exploration and ancient earth. I’ve never been very into the academic type of science, though, which is where the hate part comes in. It’s not that I necessarily “hate” academic science; it’s more that I just cannot appreciate and understand it the way I can science that I look at for my own enjoyment. And I feel like that is the case for most people in life: You enjoy what excites and intrigues you, while you simply tolerate the rest.

Museums, however, have a way of turning even the most boring and inane things into a world of curiosities. Luckily, as a college student, I can usually get into museums for free with a valid student ID. A couple weekends ago, a group of friends and I decided to hit up the Museum of Science in Boston. This is a museum that I used to go to as a kid with my family and on field trips, so this was my first venture there as an adult and I was a little nervous that it wouldn’t live up to my memories. Luckily it did. Now that may have been because the group of friends I was with consistently make me feel like a child, but whatever the reason it was a great time.

Natural Science

We started off on the green section which is the natural science, aka not my favorite science. But I was pleasantly surprised by the exhibits they had in this section. There were neat sections on the body with interactive activities. Some of my favorites included a table with a computer screen and above it a long tray with plastic foods encased in plastic glass, and a walking activity. The food one was cool because you would pick which of the encased plastic foods and subsequent portions you would eat for a meal. Next, the table would flip over with an even greater selection of fake food and you would choose again. Then, the computer would tell you where you range amongst other people of your age and different ages, as well as gender. It’s way cooler than I’m describing it, trust me. The walking section was interesting because you would just walk along a certain pathway and when you get to the end, there is a computer generated image of your walk/ gait that you get to see, along with how many calories you burned during that 5 second walk. Again, my description does not do this justice.

In addition to these activities, there was also a section on reproduction (aka the growth of babies), so there was a live chick exhibit where you could watch chicks incubate and hatch. There was also a wall with the sizes and images of fetuses in the womb at certain times during pregnancy. It was kind of weird, but in an intriguing way. There was a station where you could measure the length of your ear, where you could guess how many stuffed animals were inside a tube, and many more. As I said, this museum takes the mundane science and turns it into exciting experiences. Up another level was a section on mountaineering and climbing which to be quite honest was not that thrilling. The coolest part of that section was the microscope you could look into and see an aerial view of some of the most famous mountains in the world, including Everest and the Grand Canyon (which, yes I know, is not a mountain).

4D Movie Experience

After the green section, we were going to venture over to the blue area which had things like outer space, inertia, lightning, etc. But as we were crossing the carpeted glass bridge, we stumbled upon a 4D movie on sharks showing in exactly 10 minutes. We decided to quickly buy tickets and were then subsequently seated in the blue-lighted area. It was a really neat experience because not only were we squirted with water when the shark thrashed its tail, but our feet were softly whipped as the fish moved their tails back and forth across the sea floor, and we were jabbed in the back when the sharks devoured their prey. I’m not going to lie, there were moments that I was genuinely freaked out, not only because of the 4D experience, but also because of the pure power of the sharks and their awesome (in the purest sense of the word) existence. It was probably only a fifteen minute movie, but it was definitely worth it.

Outer Space and Electricity

Our next stop was the blue area! This is the section I remember from my childhood. We went to the room where you can capture your shadow and stand in a rainbow of light. To capture a shadow, you stand in the (relative) dark and then someone presses the button and a camera-like flash goes off. When its over and you move back, the wall holds the form that your made. It’s my favorite part of the museum. The rainbow room is fun too because you can take such weird pictures in it and they always come out looking cool. Moving through this area, we got to the playground. There was a swing that teaches you why it moves the way it does, a pulley that you can try and tug on to move a 500 lb bag off the ground, and there is a gazebo with a spinner inside it where you will get incredibly dizzy. It truly is an indoor park, but it is also a classroom to learn all about the science behind everyday activities. I felt like a little kid again.

We also gravitated towards my other favorite area: the space section. Now, this is more of a corner than a section because there’s not a whole lot. But boy is it interesting. There is a replica spaceship that kids can go inside and look at, there’s a replica rocket, and an entire display to inform your space knowledge. Another favorite of mine is the lightning experience. It’s actually a show that goes on a few times during the day. It’s in a huge room spanning 3 floors with a bunch of metal object and machines to demonstrate lightning and electricity. A couple of times throughout the show, the person working the machines will actually generate electricity/lightning and use the different electric sounds to go to the beat of a song (at my show it was the Jurassic Park theme). It really is a fascinating sight to see and I would recommend it to anyone who goes to this museum.

Other Sections

Other exhibits we visited include the mental health section where there were artworks and videos of and by people with mental illnesses, the dinosaur section with dino skeletons, and the environment section. By the time we were finished looking at everything, it was ten minutes to closing time. So of course we headed to the gift shop and looked at all the fun science gifts and toys. It was pure joy. We were only at the Boston Science Museum for about four hours, but we saw and experienced so much and had such an amazing time. Well worth my Saturday.

Here are some neat photos I took, enjoy.

Ciao for now!

Read the Future

Read the Future

I am an English and History major in school, so it will come as no surprise that I love reading. I’m constantly immersed in a book, and some of my favorite authors include Jane Austen, J.K. Rowling and Fredrik Backman. Just for reference, my favorite books are: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. While I love all of these books and could definitely re-read them on a loop forever, I think it would be good to read some other books. Who knows, maybe the next book I read will be added to my list of favorites. Below I am writing my upcoming reading list, so that if any of you are interested you can check out these titles as well- click on the affiliate link to find these books on Amazon (the affiliate link means I get a part of the commission if you end up buying the book. If you don’t want to use my link, no worries I just want you to enjoy the books for yourself!).

I try to read at least one pleasure book a month, and while that may not seem like a lot to some people, I have a full school load with lots of reading and writing so there is a limited time frame for me to read. But I love reading, and the moments of the day that I can sit on my bed with a cup of tea and pull out my book is my way of relaxing from the stressors of life. So, here is my reading list that hopefully I will complete sometime soon. I hope one of these titles grabs your attention too! (If not, try one of my favorites because they’re all beautiful books!!)

Those are the ten books on my list for now, but I’m sure I’ll find more to add the next time I pop into a bookstore. If you’re interested in even more titles, here are some books that I’ve recently finished that I think would be worth checking out: The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, Emma: A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, A Discover of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

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If you have any favorite books, I’d love to hear what they are! Leave your suggestions in the comments.

Ciao for now!

My Favorite Beauty Products for Travel

My Favorite Beauty Products for Travel

I’m going to be honest, I’m not a beauty guru so my knowledge about makeup and beauty is limited. But I know enough to know what’s good and what’s bad (at least in my own terms). These are all inexpensive beauty products, with most of them coming from CVS or Target, but some are nicer pricier products I’ve received as gifts. Now that that is out of the way, here we go!

I tend to go for lighter makeup when I’m traveling just because my skin is sensitive and adjusts weirdly to new places that I go. And, a lot of the places I go are beachy, so I don’t wear a lot of makeup anyways. But, when I do like to get all glam for a night out or a nice dinner, these are some of my travel go to products (FYI the links go directly to the product I’ve listed if you want to check it out):

CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM for normal to dry skin ($16.49 at Ulta)

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My skin varies from normal to dry and this moisturizer definitely makes me feel like my skin is being nourished. It is a little heavy but it’s not that noticeable and it helps my makeup go on easily. I love that there is sunscreen in this moisturizer because on vacation I am usually outside in sunny places and I have very pale skin so it’s good to know I’m protected. There is also a version without SPF 30 if you don’t want the sunscreen. I’m not going to lie, it does smell a bit like sunscreen, but it’ll go away after a few minutes, and I think the benefits outweigh the cons for this product. I’m left with soft protected skin.

Maybelline BB Cream in shade 110 Light/Medium (($6.69 at Target)

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I love this product for beauty vacays because it’s incredibly light and is essentially a tinted moisturizer. I have problem skin and this BB Cream does a nice job of getting rid of the redness and problem spots for a few hours. It also has SPF 30 so I don’t have to worry about my very pale skin getting damaged by the sun.

Maybelline Master Conceal concealer in shade 20 Light ($7.99 at Target)

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As I’ve previously said, I have issues with my skin so it’s nice to know that I can rely on this concealer to help me manage my blemishes. I’ve gotten more confidant in my skin as I’ve grown older, but there are times, especially on vacation when I’m taking a lot of photos, when I get self-conscious of my skin. Master Conceal helps me cover up some of these blemishes so I look stellar in my vacation photos.

Smith’s Rosebud Salve ($7.58 at Amazon)

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I. Love. This. So. Much. I started using this product as simply a lip balm but soon realized it is so much more. It can be used for almost any beauty need. If you’re interested in this product and want to know a few of the many ways it can be used (like eyebrow tamer and eye makeup remover) check out this article from Bustle. Needless to say, it is the perfect travel beauty product because of its many uses.

Mary Kay Kind Heart baked cheek powder ($18 at Mary Kay)

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This is such a beautiful not only because of the presentation, but also because it has a bit of a shimmer when applied. A shimmery blush is perfect for a vacation where I want to give the appearance of a summery glow even if I don’t actually have one. Plus, it’s a light coral that doesn’t stand out too much, giving me just a subtle rosiness to my cheeks. Overall, it’s a lovely look for a sunny vacay.

Sephora colorful wink-it felt liner – waterproof ($14 at Sephora)

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I like this eyeliner because it is really easy to apply and make eyeliner look good when applied. We all know how hard it is to get that perfect winged look, but this felt tip liner is essentially a pen, so it’s so simple to get a nice eye look. In addition, it’s waterproof meaning that during your vacation you can take a dip in the water without worrying about your makeup running. It also lasts a long time and stays looking amazing even after an hour siesta (speaking from experience).

Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara (sample) ($12 at Too Faced)

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I know everyone has been raving about this mascara for a while so I’m here to concur with them! This mascara really does make my lashes look super long and voluminous without feeling extra heavy. I like the sample size for travel because it lasts long enough for a trip about 2 weeks and is the perfect packing size.

Lotus Elixir No.4 perfume ($12 at Anthropologie)

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This rollerball perfume is about the size of my palm and smells amazing. According to its description on the Anthropologie website it is “a focus-inducing blend of hawthorn greens, mint, white lily, rose and violet (FLORAL).” I love it mainly for the strong impression it gives off without being overpowering. It’s not your typical floral scent, it’s almost dark (if that makes sense). It lasts a while and is the perfect size for traveling since it’s only 0.2 oz.

Bed Head ROCKAHOLIC Dirty Secret dry shampoo 2.5 oz ($10 at Ulta)

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I got this as a giveaway from the club HerCampus that I am a part of at college, so I did not pay for this product. (I write for the HerCampus site if you want to check out any of my articles- sorry, shameless plug.) But, I like Bed Head products and I got it for free so I decided to try it out. I ended up loving it because it a) smells good and b) makes my hair look good as new. Those are basically the only criteria I have for dry shampoo. Some others that I’ve tried do not get rid of my greasy hair which, ya know, is a pretty important factor of a good dry shampoo. This is a nice travel size as well so I’ve taken to bringing it on trips so that after an especially hot day, I just spray this in my hair and I’m ready for a night out.

Advanced Clinicals Tea Tree Oil 1.8 fl. oz ($11.55 Amazon)
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I’m not going to lie, I found this at Marshall’s for about $5 when trying to find a cheaper replacement for my other tea tree oil. I got this by chance because I liked how big the size was for the price it was. I use tea tree oil on my blemishes after I take my makeup off, cleanse, and tone my face because I have found that it will diminish or prevent acne. I absolutely live by tea tree oil since it essentially saves my face which is why I need to have it when I travel. After a day of my face full of sunscreen and makeup, tea tree oil does wonders. Luckily, this is a nice size and it comes with a dropper so I don’t end up using too much or pouring half the bottle out when I’m just trying to get a tiny dot. Highly highly recommend tea tree oil to anyone with blemish prone skin.

I hope you enjoyed this beauty review and if you want more just let me know in the comments. Question of the week: What is your favorite beauty/ makeup product for travel and why?

Ciao for now!

Tips for Packing the Perfect Suitcase

Tips for Packing the Perfect Suitcase

Figuring out how to pack everything you want on a trip can be difficult. There are probably so many things you want to bring and very little suitcase space. Believe me, I know the struggle. I’ve traveled quite a bit in my life, so I think I’ve finally figured out how to make it all work. If you’re interested to find out how I do it, check out this post!

Optimize Suitcase Space

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I have been lucky enough to travel a lot in my young life, but what’s always been hard is trying to fit everything I want to bring on my trip into a suitcase. Over the years, I’ve tried various techniques to stuff my bag to the brim. A couple of years ago however, I stumbled upon the perfect packing trick that helps me fit WAY more clothes into my small suitcase than I ever could in the past. Want to know what it was?

ROLLING! Yes, by rolling my clothes instead of folding them I am able to fit twice as many outfit options for my trip. This is incredibly helpful because I always want to bring more clothes than I know I could ever wear. All you have to do is fold your shirts in half and then roll from the top going down into a tight cylindrical shape then place it into the corner of your bag. Repeat this all the way across your suitcase and then add more levels as you begin to stack the clothes on top of one another. It’s also great because it doesn’t really wrinkle your clothes the way folding them does.

For shoes, I like to make them fit in like a puzzle which mostly means placing them at opposite angles from each other. For longer boots, try tucking one of the boots inside the other so that once its in, it looks like one boot with heels at each end. For sneakers, if you places them shoelace size down, you won’t get your clothes dirty.

Want this duffel bag? Find it here for a great price!

Toiletries

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When packing toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, face wash, makeup, lotion etc. you don’t have to splurge on buying new travel size products. Instead, head over to your local dollar store or Amazon and pick up a couple small travel size bottles. Then you can fill them up with the products you already have at home. Some bottles even come with a suction on the side so that you can stick it to the wall of your shower. They’re useful not only because you don’t have to buy a bunch of new products, but you can also reuse the bottles for any and all trips in the future, making them a sound investment.

Jewelry

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We all know the struggle of tangled jewelry on trips, so instead of putting all of your necklaces and bracelets together, put them in plastic wrap to avoid them moving around. This is easy and you probably have plastic wrap in your home anyways. You can also use tissue paper, putting a piece around each piece of jewelry.

You can also put rings inside of old pill boxes. In fact, pill boxes are great for a lot of things, like any generic medicine (ibuprofen) or actual medications you take, as well as pairs of earrings, hair ties, and any other small necessities you want to bring.

Carry-On

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My carry-on is my life-line when I travel, and I usually use something like a Longchamp bag because it is big enough to fit my belongings but small enough to put under my seat. I pack what I think I’ll need if my suitcase is lost or doesn’t arrive for some reason. So, with this in mind, I always make sure to pack an extra pair of underwear, socks, and some leggings. Along with these necessities I like to have a book, my chargers, a notebook and pen, some face wipes, a bit of travel sized makeup (mascara, lip balm, and BB Cream), and an empty water bottle.

Because this is a bunch of stuff, I like to use some different things to organize my bag. For the clothing items, I try to pick a cute little makeup bag because the clothing items are small enough that they’ll fit and they will be discreet in a bag seemingly for makeup. Chargers can go into either a plastic bag or another makeup type bag depending on how big they are. The face wipes and travel size makeup I like to put into a smaller makeup bag that can fit in the pocket of my carry on. This gives me easy access to lip balm and moisturizer when the flight dries out my skin. The empty water bottle is useful because, as most people know, you’re not allowed to bring liquids more than 3 fluid ounces through security. But, if you have an empty water bottle, you can fill it up in the water fountains once past security and won’t have to buy the pricey airport plastic water bottles.

I hope these tips helped, and if you have any other suggestions please leave them in the comment section. I’m always looking for new travel hacks!

Ciao for now!