The Classic Brunette

Thursday, June 23, 2016

New Beauty Purchases

Do you ever start randomly buying lots of beauty products that you don't exactly need? Yeah, that's been me lately! Over the past few weeks I've bought a bunch of new beauty products that I thought I would share with you all! Most are awesome, but they also have some pros and cons that you should know about before purchasing!

Maybelline Vivid Matte Lipsticks

I got these two Maybelline Vivid Matte liquid lipsticks in Nude Flush and Rebel Red from Influenster and was super excited to try them out. I was a little disappointed because they definitely aren't matte, even if you blot with a tissue like they recommend. However. I still really love these two colors! They have great pigmentation, and the nude is perfect for summer. The red one is slightly orange tinted, so it makes for a fun, bold take on the classic red lip. My favorite thing about these though is that they don't dry my lips out. Does anyone else have that issue where some lipsticks make your lips feel like they've been without moisture for days?? These thankfully don't do that, and that's a huge positive for someone like me who is constantly applying chapstick. Not joking, literally applying chapstick as I type this.

Barielle Nail Strengthener

I have the weakest nails on the planet. They've always been prone to breaking, peeling, and thinness, and I've never been sure why. I've never worn fake nails and have only started getting gel manicures within the past year, and yet, here I am. I've tried taking biotin supplements, letting my nails go polish-free for months, and a few other things to no avail. My most recent attempt at gorgeously strong nails has been Barielle's nail strengthener cream. Honestly, I'm not sure if it's working or not. My nails feel stronger, or at least the tiniest bit thicker, although they seem to be peeling as much, if not more than before I started using the cream. It says it takes 3-4 weeks with multiple applications a day until you start to see real results, so maybe all this peeling will reveal a whole new strong set of nails that resemble Khloe Kardashian's in a few more weeks? Or it's all just a lie, I'll keep y'all posted either way.

Urban Decay Products

I don't know why I had never considered any other Urban Decay makeup other than my trusty Naked Palette! My best friend Stephanie and I went to an event of theirs a few weeks ago and had our makeup done, and I kind of spent $75 on makeup...sorry mom! But anyway, I ended up getting their lip gloss in Liar, BB Cream, and silver glitter liner. I love the color on the gloss even though it's definitely more of a darker nude/pink, something that I don't normally reach for everyday. When I do wear it though, it always seems to pull together my look, especially if I'm wearing cooler or darker tones. The only thing negative that I have to say about it is that it's so sticky! Sometimes if there's wind my hair gets stuck to my lips, and that's no bueno...but overall it's pretty great.

Now the BB cream isn't completely out of this world spectacular, but I did actually think it was foundation when I saw myself in the mirror. So it does have great coverage and is very light on the skin, which I think is good for a BB cream to have. I mostly bought this though because I was just in need of a BB cream. *insert shrugging emoji here*

Something I totally didn't need, though was the glitter liner, but I did really want it, haha! Every time I do a going out look I always seem to want a ton of glitter on my eyes. Don't worry, I make it look classy. (Anyone else flashing back to the early 2000's when the amount of body glitter you had on was equivalent to how cool you were?) The makeup artist who did my look at the event actually used the glitter in my shadow and it looked great. I wish I took pictures! It was exactly what I imagined when I would look at myself in the mirror before a night out and would say "I need more glitter!" I bought a tube in silver and Steph bought one in gold. I've already used it a few times for both eyeliner and adding a little more glitter to my sparkly shadows. If you're looking to add a little extra something to your next makeup look, I highly recommend it!

So those are my new purchases! Do you have any recent beauty purchases or classic beauty buys that you swear by? 

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Little Life Update

I thought I would make today's post a little bit of a life update since I feel like I haven't had any personal posts recently. Today seemed like the perfect day for it too since I'm starting my new job for the summer! As you read this I'm probably sitting in my orientation trying to get myself psyched for a job where I still have no idea what I'll be doing. I'm working with Stanford Hospital's college student program and I was placed in the financial department. Not sure how they decided this was the place for me, (Hello! I'm horrible with math!) but I'm going to try my hardest with the assignments they give me and hope that I can make it through the next ten weeks without any bumps!

So another update on the job later when I actually find out what I'll be doing, for now lets talk about life, what's coming up, and what feelings I've been having. We'll get the fun one out of the way first...I'm traveling to Chicago in a few weeks! I'll only be there for a weekend, but I'm excited because the city's been on my list of "to-go's" for a while now. If you have any recommendations for things to do, where to go, what to eat, I'd love to hear them! Again, I'll only be there for like two days, but I'll try to squeeze as much in as I can. The only thing that's for sure on my list is going to a Cub's game since my Dad is on a mission to visit every ballpark in America, haha!

Second, it's just dawning on me that I'll be a senior and graduating from college in less than a year from now. WHAT? When did that happen?! I've already started pinning graduation caps on Pinterest, doing research for my senior thesis (my program gives us a summer assignment...), and thinking about what I want to do and where I want to go in my post-grad life. The major thought circling around the latter is staying at home for a year to save some money and figure things out, but all my roommates are most likely staying in our house now (if our landlords let us renew for another year!) so that's another option I'll have to consider. But I've been constantly thinking about making a major change and moving somewhere completely new to get what I think I've been missing. I don't know exactly what I've been missing, but the little itch to get out of California has been there for as long as I can remember

So although these thoughts aren't exactly new, I'm realizing that my decision-making time/process is coming very soon. I'm already getting a little nervous about leaving college, which I know is normal, but I'm just hoping things will all work themselves out in the end. I know this was a little bit different than my regular posts, but I hope I can relate to some of you college seniors out there feeling the same things as me. 

For those of you who have moved completely out of state/far away from your families, how did things go? I'd love to hear your stories in the comments (specifically those who've made the NYC move!!)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Top 10 International Travel Destinations You Have To Visit

I've been lucky enough to travel so much in my short 21 years. I've been to 16 (soon to be 17) states and 10 countries and through it all I've seen some wonderful places that have taken my breath away. This list is international in the sense that I'm including both places within the United States as well as outside because I feel like I wouldn't be giving you the best places to travel if I ignored either one of those categories! 

New Orleans, Louisiana

I went to New Orleans the January before last for a week long trip for a class and it instantly became one my favorite cities in the world. There's so much history in the city, and there's something there for everyone. I expected to like the city, but didn't expect to have such a great love and appreciation for it. When you're strolling through Jackson Square listening to live jazz music (even if you aren't a huge jazz fan, it really is amazing!) everything just feels more alive. Of course I recommend getting beignets at Cafe Du Monde, but I thought I would suggest a few other things that might not cross your mind. I highly recommend taking a swamp tour. It was by far one of the best parts of my trip, and the best part was that the driver of my boat let us hold a baby alligator! I went with a place called Airboat Adventures and had an amazing experience. I also recommend taking some sort of "spooky" tour, whether it be a vampire tour, a ghost tour, a voodoo tour or even book yourself a haunted hotel room. You're in a city where the history is a little crazy, might as well go for it! If you're up for it, I also recommend taking the trolley out to the Garden District to do a little shopping and look for your dream house. Oh, and take a little trip to Sucre bakery and get yourself something sweet. Trust me, you won't regret it. And lastly I recommend walking out to the Mississippi River and just getting that little sense of nature and calmness within the city. Yes, there may be some passed out drunk people laying out on the rocks, but it's an interesting experience to go directly from lively city to vast river in a block's distance. I loved this city so much that I decided to base my senior thesis on one of the major aspects of the town, Voodoo! And if everything turns out right, I'll be visiting the Big Easy again in January.

Sydney, Australia

I haven't been here myself, but my best friend did a summer study abroad there two summers ago. She said it was a truly amazing city, and brings it up all the time. I haven't met a person who hasn't gushed about the city, its people, and the wonderful experiences they had. I asked her what she recommended someone do while traveling in Sydney and immediately she said the Bridge Climb. She's pretty terrified of heights, but said it was one of her favorite experiences of the trip. It comes with amazing views, and a great story to tell your friends and family back home. She also highly recommended a breakfast place called Pancakes On The Rocks for the breakfast food of your dreams.

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre is a group of small cliff cities in Italy that you can only get to my boat, foot, or in some cases by train. When I studied abroad in Rome last summer my friends and I took a day trip to hike through the cities and I'm so glad I went. I had never heard of the towns before, but they are incredibly beautiful. The buildings are painted bright colors and are seemingly stacked on top of each other. The water was bluer and clearer than I've ever seen, and the wine tasting was basically incredibly, and that's coming from someone who doesn't exactly like wine (Please hold your gasps). Although the towns don't have too much to do, I would recommend walking around, trying the local food, and taking a dip in the Mediterranean Sea. Also, if you plan on doing the hike, fair warning, it's not for the faint of heart. They say it's a hard hike, and what they mean is that it's pretty dang difficult. Also, don't be like me and forget to pack walking shoes and decide to wear a dress. #facepalm

New York City, New York

Of course NYC is on this list! It's another one of my favorite places in the world, and I couldn't not put it on a list of must see travel destinations! I'll keep this one short by saying a few of my favorite things about the city. I recommend heading to the Top of the Rock instead of the Empire State building so you can get it in your pictures! Also, if you stick around in the Rockefeller Center gift shop, you might just score yourself some free tickets to one of the shows that tape there. I luckily got to see a Jimmy Fallon joke-testing show when I was there. Is anyone else totally in love with  obsessed with Jimmy Fallon?

Dublin, Ireland

If you've been reading my blog for a few months, you may remember a post about my travels in Ireland and Scotland. I wish I had more time to travel up the Irish coast, but unfortunately it was a quick trip. The city itself is full of history and tons of friendly people! Take a trip to the Guinness Storehouse if you're into beer, or even if you're just interested in an amazing view of the city. My friends and I also discovered an amazing little restaurant called Mocha Land that doesn't seem like much more than a coffee shop, but if you grab dinner there, you'll see that they make incredible food. I also highly suggest that you check out the Museum of Modern Art, although we never went inside, we got to see the old royal garden that is right beside the building, and it's free!

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh was the gothic town of my dreams. I felt like I was living in the 16th century while walking around, and for a history major, or anyone who likes old cities, it was absolutely incredible. Warning, if you plan to go in the winter, you will likely freeze your butt off without proper layers and portable hand warmers. If you're looking for some amazing Scottish comfort food, i.e. savory pies, I highly recommend heading to a restaurant called Mums! In terms of locations I loved walking through Greyfriar's Kirkyard (Cemetery) for some eerily beautiful graves and a sad, yet heartwarming story of a local dog. I also really loved touring Edinburgh castle and wandering through the city's many many hills!

Scottish Highlands

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I'm also adding the Scottish Highlands as a part of this because my friends and I took a day trip to the highlands, glencoe, and loch ness. I felt like I was transported to Hogwarts, y'all. They filmed a lot of the Hagrid's huts scenes out in the Highlands and the views are incredible. I still want to happy cry a little inside just thinking about how beautiful the views were from the bus tour I went on. Trust me, best decision of the trip was booking a tour to see the countryside of Scotland. Although the picture isn't one I took myself, that was the types of view you got everywhere.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Okay, maybe I'm just adding this one because of the huge history and Ben Franklin nerd that I am, but I loved Philly when I visited a few years ago. And yes, that is a picture of my looking up at my hero B Frank at UPenn. If you're a history buff like me I would definitely put Philadelphia on your list of future travel destinations so you can check out Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed, or where Nicholas Cage had his nerd moment in National Treasure, The Liberty Bell, and anything related to colonial america. Also, be sure to have a cheesesteak for me!

Brussels, Belgium

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Although I went here way back in 4th grade, I remember it being an incredibly beautiful city. My favorite memory from visiting was climbing the bell tower in Bruges (I thought this was in the city itself, although the internet tells me my memory is wrong and that it's outside the city in a town called Bruges!) and eating some delicious Belgian waffles with lots of chocolate sauce. Also, a little fun fact that I remember from the city is that there are no french fries, because all fries are really Belgian fries!

Rome, Italy

I tried not to put two cities within the same European country on this list, but I had to include Rome. It's my favorite European city, not just because the Lizzie McGuire movie was filmed there (although it does enhance it's cool factor) but because everything you see and everywhere you go is filled with history. Okay, maybe not the hoards of people trying to sell 2 euro waters or cheap trinkets, but the buildings are full of character and charm. There are a few obvious places to go like the Colosseum and the Vatican, but there are some places that not many people recognize are worth visiting. A few of these are the Galleria Doria Pamphilj, the Borghese Gardens (you can access them by climbing up the Spanish Steps than taking a left and walking all the way up to the top! Much easier than accidentally stumbling up a hill to get there.) and if you're looking for the best gelato in the city, head to Giolitti's.

What are your favorite places to travel?

Monday, June 13, 2016

6 Myths People Have About Bloggers

The stereotypes about bloggers constantly swirl around in my head. People say these things to me, to other bloggers I know, and it's a little frustrating at times. I was inspired by Rebecca of Sunny Rebecca and her post about Blogger Stereotypes to write some of my own myths that I've heard about bloggers.

1. Bloggers get paid to say good things about certain products

It seems like every time you go to your favorite blog, the author is raving about a new product that they just tried. No matter what they try, it's the absolute best, especially if that post is sponsored and the product was provided by the company. It's true that bloggers tend to say nice things, but that's because we want to provide you with the best possible products out there! Bloggers strive to be incredibly authentic, at least they should, and it would be wrong to feed readers false information about a product. If a blogger is given a product that doesn't live up to its promise, is not made well, or a blogger reacts negatively to it (think beauty products) why would we want to expose you, our wonderful readers, to it! So yes, technically we do get paid to say good things, but only if we good things to say. And sometimes (read:most of the time), even without getting paid we say great things about products we love and use on a daily basis!

2. Blogging is so easy. Literally anyone can blog.

This is another one of those half-truths. Yes, anyone can blog. All it takes is some motivation and inspiration to get you started! However, blogging is 100% not easy, and if you're not willing to sacrifice time and a little of your sanity, it's probably not for you. It may look like all bloggers do is take pretty pictures, write a little bit, and boom, done! But there's so much more that goes into the blogging world, mostly business and marketing tactics that no one really thinks about! I've talked more in depth on that issue in my post about what goes into making a blog post so give that a read if you want a better idea!

3. Bloggers have perfect "Insta-worthy" lives

If you weren't aware that Instagram is a lie, well, now you know. This doesn't just go for bloggers, everyone wants to seem like everything they do is sugar coated and amazing. For bloggers, that's just kind of our job! We want to make our lives look like everything is put together and beautiful to be more inspirational to our readers and followers. Creating a pretty picture helps to establish an image for ourselves and our brand, which hopefully appeals to our target audience. Of course our lives aren't actually perfect all the time! My room isn't always 100% organized, my lipsticks aren't arranged by color (although that's a great idea...), my food isn't always so pretty on a plate, and I don't wake up with a full face of makeup every morning. We're all just regular people, who just try a little harder to look perfect via social media!

4. Blogging isn't a real job/Bloggers are so rich they don't need a real job

I've heard both sides of this argument in the almost two years that I've been blogging. It's either all bloggers are making six figure salaries, at least the popular bloggers, and don't do any other form of work or blogging is only a hobby and doesn't "count." For probably 1% of bloggers, the former is true. There are some blogs that make huge amounts of income, and the author of the blog can rely on that income alone to live their life comfortably. But for most everyone else in the blogging world, there is something else that the person does along with blogging to support themselves. This could be owning a small online business, doing graphic design work, working a completely separate job (like Krista from Covering the Bases!) or are full time students, or a combination of all of the above. So yes, some of the very well known and well-established bloggers are making a good amount of money, but even if they are, it's still a real job. Again, the amount of work that goes into blogging is more than meets the eye and when you're running a blog full time it's a business of its own!

5. Writers block isn't a thing

Writer's block is always a thing! There will be times when I can think of 20 blog post ideas in one brainstorming session and then there are times when I'm left sitting with a notepad wanting to pull my hair out for not thinking of anything creative. The amount of times I've asked my friends or family "What should I write about?" is insane. Sometimes, you're just stuck!

6. All *successful* bloggers fit into a certain category

This myth is more for the bloggers themselves than for readers. I know so many bloggers who feel like they have to be squished into a tiny niche in order to be successful. You either have to be all fashion, all home decor, all food, etc. and if you're not, you won't do well in the blogging world. I think it's definitely important to find a target audience and keep posts centered around a few topics, but it's practically impossible to limit yourself to one single category. Some of my favorite, and very successful, bloggers have two or three main focuses that they post about and it keeps their blog from seeming repetitive. Bloggers are diverse, and I think that's one of the best things about blogging! You can be a food blogger who also does outfit posts, or you can be a book review blogger who also loves to talk about beauty products. Whatever your blogging about, there isn't necessarily a limit. 

What myths have you heard about bloggers?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Fathers Day Gift Guide

So I just realized there's a lot of black and brown in this collage, what is it about the mens section that screams only these colors? I think we should petition to get dads, or I guess men in general, to bring in some more colorful accessories! I gathered some gifts for the "classic" dads out there since Father's Day is just around the corner and it's best to buy things earlier rather than later! I had to add the SF Giants jersey in there for my own dad. While making this post I was asking my dad what a stereotypical dad would want, and these were some of the things he came up with. He doesn't think exactly like a blogger, although he told me that he does, so some of the things he suggested couldn't be put into a collage. He suggested taking your dad to his favorite sports game, coupons for doing housework, and a nice dinner with the mom might have said that last one.

A few other suggestions would be getting your dad a book from his favorite author, a brain games book (any other people's dads love sudoku or brain puzzles?), grilling tools, personalized drinking glasses, a swiss army knife, a cook book, socks, dress shoes, a nice tie, or just some good quality family time. 

If you remember from my Mother's Day post I said that when I was younger we did "Donuts with Dad" at my elementary school. I specifically went through my photo albums to see if I could find one of those pictures, and lo and behold, this was the only one there was in the few albums I looked through.

Yes, that's me making the funny face while my sister sits there trying to pretend like she has a normal family. For some reason, most of the pictures of my dad and I are silly. Even the ones we take today! But even so, I thought I'd also share a few ones I found, just because it's (almost) the day to celebrate and appreciate him.

Do we get cool points for the matching "dad glasses" and blank stares at the camera?

Love you dad! Thanks for always being my number one fan, especially with my blog, and putting up with me when I say I'll do chores and forget that I agreed to do them later. 

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