November 26, 2014

Winter Outfits: Weekend and Work Uniforms

It's been freezing in NYC lately...like abnormally cold for November. A lot of people have been complaining but I honestly love this weather.

There is something so nice about walking in Manhattan, dark and cold, after work. I may be weird but I know I'm not alone in saying that I love the cold weather.

Dressing for the cold is never a problem for me...it's so much easier to just throw on a pair of jeans and boots for work than it is for me to dress for the heat.

There's also nothing nicer than having a weekend winter uniform that is so cozy and lush, you don't even want to put pajamas on.

Winter clothes are my favorite and these are some of my favorite looks, both for work and the weekend.
Winter Cozy

Winter Work

November 25, 2014

KISS Instawave Curling Iron


This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own.

I have naturally curly and frizzy hair. My hair has been thick and unruly ever since I remember. I have distinct memories of sitting in front of my television and have my mother aggressively brush and blow dry my hair.

It was tortuous.

As I sit here writing this, I have just scalded my scalp with hundreds of degrees of heat to get it pin straight.

I have become a pro at straightening my hair over the past years but curling my hair, getting those bouncy, beautiful girls that professional hairdressers are so great at getting—that has never been my forte. 

Until now.


I have always experimented with curling irons but it just didn't work. I didn't know how to use it nor did I have the patience to wrap every single strand along a hot barrel.


When I was given the chance to review the Kiss Instawave automatic curler, I jumped at it. I had seen this product along with similar ones on television and online and the thought intrigued me. It's automatic? How does that even work? Would it tangle my hair? 

So many questions that I soon got all the answers too.

I waited a few days after I received the Instawave to make sure I had enough time to properly try it out and two weeks ago, I did. I didn't have anywhere to go but decided to play around with my new toy.

Hair separated into sections and ready to go
Throughly confused at first
I was confused, at first, how did this work? I attempted a few different ways: wrapping my hair around the barrel was very unsuccessful but then I just read the directions and it paid off.

To use the Instawave, you just place the iron next to your hair, vertically, and just press the button. The barrel catches your hair and wraps around the barrel. 

While doing this, you hold down the button, activating the iron with heat and a spinning motion.

Sound confusing? I know. It's not that complicated.

One little curl!

Hair wrapped around barrel, automatically curling
In the end though, you have beautiful, luscious, bouncy curls! My curls held up pretty well; I slept on them and they were in intact the next morning. Granted, I have naturally curly hair so curls stay intact until I wash my hair.

Before and after!
A little information on the Instawave—it automatically shuts off after 90 minutes and has 2 heat settings, high and low, the maximum temperature being 420 degrees.

I can attest to the fact that my hair did not tangle, even though while curling it, I figured it would because the iron is wrapping your hair automatically.

It is a very weird concept but it's safe to say, I will never be using another curling iron. I have never ever used something so easy with such incredible results. If I wasn't so lazy last week, I would've curled my hair every single morning before work because I love the look of curls from a curling iron.

You can bet that I will be using it for the holidays/every time I go out. UGH I'm obsessed!

The KISS Instawave is hands down my new favorite hair tool. 

What's your favorite hair tool?


November 24, 2014

Gift Guide: Beauty Lover

This is probably my favorite gift guide I'm going to post because it's probably the easiest for me to identify with.

It's no secret that I'm obsessed with beauty products and there is no better time than Christmas to ask/give the most luxurious beauty sets and gifts.

As easy as it may seem, buying gifts for beauty lovers may not be the easiest gift to purchase. Beauty is something people are very particular about—are they more of a eyeshadow palette or lip girl? Do they like warm or cool tones?

There are so many options when it comes to beauty but there are always a way around that.

Between Ulta and Sephora, there are so many gift palettes out there, you are bound to find something suitable for your beauty lover.

I think for Christmas and the holiday season, it's best to take advantage of those gift and value sets because they usually come with deluxe sample sizes of best selling products, giving your beauty lover the chance to try out new products.

Unless your beauty lover asks for something specific, stick to the basics, hence the reason a gift set is a great idea.

These are my picks if you know someone has a true passion for make-up, skincare, and all that good stuff.

Tarte Petite Treats 12 Days of Christmas Lorac The Royal Eyeshadow Collection Smashbox Try It Kit Stila Flawless Gems Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlights Butter London Gilded Gears  Glitz & Glam Party Essentials  Gift Sexy: GlamGloww
What are your picks for the beauty lover in your life?


November 21, 2014

Links to Love

It's less than a week till Thanksgiving, a little more than a week till my 22nd birthday, and on December 1st it's my favorite day of the year—Cyber Monday. There's so much going on but yet, I feel like there's nothing to look forward too.

This week I realized I need to make moves. I need to buckle down and get my shit together. No more crying, Briana. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and get a grip on your life because the world isn't stopping because you feel depressed.

This week was kind of a wake up call and I'm going to try to stick to it...maybe even start my New Years Resolutions on my 22nd birthday. We'll see how it goes.

I'm crazily excited for Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday, mostly because it's an excuse to eat gross amounts of food and it's near my birthday.


Enough of my blabbering... here is what I positively loved this week:











Okay, yeah, that was a lot of articles but they all inspired me and made me feel good this week.

Happy weekend everyone :) 


November 20, 2014

Things Carrie Bradshaw Taught Me

I had a completely other post scheduled for today but then Saturday night, while I was home alone in my pajamas, blogging, and watching Sex and the City, it dawned on me to write this sort of post.

I have mentioned it before and I'll mention it again—Carrie Bradshaw is my spirit animal. If you have ever met me there are a number of things I will talk about: my sorority, blogging, and Carrie Bradshaw are amongst the few.

She is one of the most glamorous television characters and hands down my favorite (aside from Blair Waldorf). She's a complicated yet simple journalist who lives fabulously in New York, with her best friends and countless boyfriends.

That's Ms. Bradshaw on the surface but there is so much more. I may sound silly when I say it but I relate to her, she says things that I would say, things I'm thinking. I have seen every single episode 100 times but each time I discover a new lesson, a new quote, a new eye opening realization.

Over the past year or so, I've seen so many articles bashing Carrie Bradshaw and while honestly, some of it is true, the other half is silly because um, it's a show. And I don't care if she was a "bad friend" or naive when it came to Mr. Big, she's awesome and I love her.

Ms. Bradshaw has taught me a lot over the years since I started watching "Sex and the City" and I feel like I have learned so much about who I am from watching the show.

Credit
Here's what my spirit animal, role model Carrie Bradshaw has taught me about life, love, and everything in between.

1. Always follow your heart: If there is one thing Bradshaw did was follow her heart. Whether it was in writing a book, a pair of Manolos, or Mr. Big, she knew what was right for her deep down. When she knew Mr. Big wasn't right for her (at the time), before he went to Paris, she broke it off. When she didn't want to marry Aidan, she broke it off. When she didn't like the cover of her book, she fought it. Her heart, her gut, her initiation was always right.

2. Things take time: Maybe this has more to do with love than work because Ms. Bradshaw was successful in her column and later her book but you can't rush something you want to last forever. Mr. Big and Carrie's relationship took FOREVER and it was a lot of back and forth but Carrie never gave up. She didn't "wait" around for him but she knew (and Charlotte knew as well) that they would end up together.

3. Own up to your mistakes: Carrie always admitted when she was wrong, even though those articles said she was a bad friend and all that jazz. When she cheated on Aidan with big, she did not try to blame him. She felt terrible about it and knew she was wrong. Even when she walked in on Samantha doing something inappropriate, she tried to apologize (even if it was after Samantha said she was upset). Realizing when you're wrong will help you live a better life, holding grudges is exhausting.

4. Get up after you've been knocked down: You're not going to die of a broken heart. Carrie Bradshaw is the definition of that. The love of her life left her at the alter for Christ's sake!! There is always a greener side to life...there is always something out there better for you. Carrie never let the bad things define her, she always picked her head up (even if it was after laying in bed for days on end). 

5. Forgiveness is possible: Friend, foe, or romance, Carrie forgave and has been forgiven countless times. Miranda forgave her for letting Aidan take care of her when her neck was out, Aidan forgave Carrie for cheating, and Carrie forgave Big for EVERYTHING. Forgiveness is possible and necessary, no matter the issue at hand.

Honorable Mention: Shopping and a good pair of shoes fix ANY problem ;)

These seem like trivial, common lessons that all aspects of life could teach us, that anyone in our lives can tell us but the way Carrie Bradshaw and SATC does it is just more fun, don't you think?

Shall we quote some Carrie to end the post?





Do you like Sex and the City? Who's your favorite girl?


November 19, 2014

Birchbox Book Club: "Sharp Objects" Review

The Birchbox book club book for the month of October was "Gone Girl" and the other Gillian Flynn books. 

I said in my Gone Girl book review post that I had won "Sharp Objects" from Birchbox but had no idea that I had won the other two books as well, in a collectors edition book set.

Um, score! 

I was so happy to come home to all three Gillian Flynn books, even though I already read "Gone Girl" because I had purchased it on my iPad.

Anyways, I immediately jumped into "Sharp Objects" and after posting a picture of the set on my Instagram, everyone was telling me "Sharp Objects" was messed up and crazy and I was going to love it.


"Sharp Objects" is about a Chicago reporter, Camille, who is assigned to go explore the murders of two young girls in her hometown. The catch is that Camille doesn't speak to anyone back home, including her mother.

The whole book revolves around Camille trying to solve the mysterious murders while also dealing with a very odd mother, a half sister who is positively bonkers, and a possible new romance.

I don't want to give too much away but in the middle of the book, I knew what to expect. I called the ending before I even finished the book. 


Just because I kind of figured out who the killer was didn't mean finding out was any less exciting. It was insane--the plot twists that Gillian Flynn throws at her readers are nuts and I love every second of it.

"Sharp Objects" was definitely a little slow for my liking. It didn't move as quickly as I would hope, there was a lot of repetitiveness in "solving the case" that we probably could've done without but it did make everything more suspenseful.

I had to stop reading at a certain point during the night because it was making me so anxious and nervous. I just wanted to know who the killer was! I just wanted to know what happened.

The ending was messed up—just like my friends said. It was sick, sort of in the "Gone Girl" way. 

Honestly, this book was incredible, just as incredible as I expected. Gillian Flynn is one of my new favorite authors because she writes so well...she has a way with words, the way she strings sentences together. It's incredible.

Sometimes I sit back and I ask "How did she come up with that?" Like how exactly did Flynn come up with this idea...its sick.

Nonetheless, if you read "Gone Girl" and LOVED it like mostly everyone on the planet, you will love "Sharp Objects." I haven't read "Dark Places" yet and I don't know if I will because the premise kind of freaks me out so we'll see.

Have you read any of Gillian Flynn's books? Tell me what you thought in the comments!


November 18, 2014

November Birchbox Review

Another month, another Birchbox and this month was pretty good. Honestly, I always love my Birchbox. There's always at least one item I've been wanting to try or I've been wanting something similar. I don't understand people who constantly complain about subscription boxes—like it's $10 a month, chill out.

Anyways......

Birchbox started doing this thing where they let you pick one of the samples in your box every month, that way you can get something you really want. Or you could just leave your box as is and be totally surprised.

I had missed the boat on the deadline for the October box so I was really excited to see the November choices. There were a few items that I could've liked but instead, I chose the Buzzfeed Life Curated box. That was an option—instead of your regular box, you could opt for this special box created by the Buzzfeed Life team.





The items were listed on the website so you knew what was in the box before you received it and honestly, all these products were ones I have been eyeing up for months so I thought mind as well get that one!

I am not disappointed and quite excited for this!

Let's see, shall we?

//Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo: Everyone all over the internet has been raving about this dry shampoo so I'm really excited I finally get to try it. The sample size is quite generous, a usual travel sized dry shampoo bottle so that's awesome. It smells incredible—it has Sea Buckthorn and I just love the way that smells. Dry shampoo is tricky to get right but I think Amika has hit it on the head. I don't have any white residue in my hair after application, it smells great, and honestly really does soak up all the oil and makes my hair feel, look, and smell fresh. I will definitely be repurchasing this once the sample runs out. I may even like it more than my other favorite dry shampoo. 

Sample Size: 5/5
Full Size: $21

//Dr. Jart+ Pore Minimalist Mask: This is another product I have seen EVERYWHERE. Dr. Jart's is also a brand I have been seeing everywhere in the Birchbox universe and with my skin issues lately, I really wanted to try this mask. This is a Korean mask that is "soaked in charcoal serum to clear and smooth skin." It is also supposed to help the appearance of pores and it's a scary black color. As I write this, I haven't tried it yet but I've heard so many good things about it, I'm sure it'll be great. It'll also be hard to distinguish if it really works because it's a one time use mask.

Sample Size: 5/5 (even though I wish it wasn't single use, it is how the masks are sold)
Full Size: $35

//Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips: Once again, another product people go crazy for. It's something I've been wanting to try (see what I meant by I wanted to try every single product for a long time) and it definitely lives up to the hype. It's a thick gel, think vaseline but thicker (kind of like Aquaphor or Carmex). My lips have been super chapped lately and this has helped them feel moisturized and smooth. I use this right before bed and my lips feel awesome in the morning. The sample size is super disappointing as there is hardly any product in the tube but I'll probably get the full size because it's not super expensive.

Sample Size: 1/5
Full size: $14.50

//Greenleaf Signature Candle in Silver Spruce: I've been obsessed with candles lately and it was a major selling point for the Buzzfeed box. It's a tiny little candle and doesn't give off a super strong smell but it's so so nice. It smells like Christmas trees and a fresh, winter smell and it has been getting me in the holiday spirit. I'm obsessed.

Sample Size: 3/5
Full size: $17 (not bad for a candle)


//Mirenesse iCurl Secret Weapon 24hr Mascara: The selling point of this mascara is that it's like an eyelash curler and mascara in one. The wand is in the shape of your eyelash, a U shaped, which makes for easy, awesome application. Does it last 24 hours? Probably not but OHMYGOD. It lengthens, separates, and really does look like all you did was curl your lashes with the best eye lash curler in the universe. The mascara dries really quickly, almost as soon as it touches your lash but the true star here is the brush. As soon as I applied, my mouth dropped and I was stunned at my lashes. Incredible and I'm saving up my Birchbox points for this bad boy.

Sample Size: 3/5
Full size: $35.96

Do you subscribe to Birchbox? What did you get in your box this month?