What's In My Carry-On + Last Minute Christmas Gifts

by The Classic Brunette, 1:51:00 AM
The weekend before Christmas is always one filled with traveling. It doesn't matter if it's just a short road trip to Grandma's or a flight home to see friends or loved ones, there's always some distance to cover! I flew home a a week early, but I know many of you that are traveling today, tomorrow, or on the 23rd to get home to your families in time for the holiday. I thought it would be the perfect time to share a little about what I usually pack in my carry-on during this travel-packed time of year, as well as some last minute Christmas gifts because I also know that most of you aren't done shopping!

Delicate Holiday Jewelry With Sequin

by The Classic Brunette, 3:01:00 PM
This post was sponsored by Sequin NYC, as always all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Classic Brunette. 
Wow Christmas is coming up so fast! The first week of December seemed to just fly by. I simultaneously want this month to speed up and move slower, haha! I love Christmas day, but this month is also my favorite so I don't want it to come and go so quickly! I've loved seeing all the houses in my neighborhood decorated in lights, putting up lights myself, and lighting all my holiday scented candles. Is everyone else a candle lover like me? Anyhoo, with all the holiday activities happening, I wanted to share this fun little work friendly outfit along with some gorgeous jewelry from Sequin NYC that would be perfect for holiday gifting or wearing to your holiday activities. 

Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers Under $20

by The Classic Brunette, 12:00:00 AM
This post contains affiliate links

Christmas is so close, everyone! I'm already listening to the Michael Buble Christmas album practically 24/7 and the tree in my house is set up and covered in lights. It's definitely the most wonderful time of the year! This gift guide is a little late, but it's still full of some great finds and right in time for the holidays. Stocking stuffers are one of my favorite things to purchase, because not only can you use them for actually stuffing stockings, but they're the perfect little presents to give to coworkers, friends, roommates, basically everyone! At this price point these gifts seriously work for everyone in your life, and if you have a bigger budget in mind than you can give a few different combinations of the gifts above, or just browse all of my gift options for her to find the perfect present! All of these picks are under $20, so while you're picking up a few for gifts you might as well grab one or two for yourself as well!

November Instagram Roundup

by The Classic Brunette, 2:02:00 AM
*This post contains affiliate links*

Happy Thursday friends! I can't believe it's the last day of November, this month seriously flew by! But that just means there's only one more day until the start of my favorite month, December! Anyone else get an overwhelming feeling of happiness once the Christmas lights come out and the air turns a little colder? It's the perfect time of year to snuggle up in your pjs and a soft blanket and burn your favorite seasonal candle. I seriously can't wait to start all the Christmas prep and decorating! I'll be trying to include some holiday content here on the blog and on Instagram(@samimast if you want to follow along!), but for now I thought I'd share some of what's been on my Instagram over the past month. 

Pink Ruffled Sweater + 5 Things About Me + GIVEAWAY!

by The Classic Brunette, 3:08:00 AM
Omg guys, so I tried to take photos of this outfit ASAP so that things wouldn't sell out, but...Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I had no chance. Although some things might come back in stock (the jeans definitely will!) I'm not sure some items, like the sweater, will. But I did link to similar items, so if you'd like to recreate the look there are still options! 😊  P.S. Make sure to read to the end of this post to enter in the Nordstrom giveaway!

So I wanted to take this post as an opportunity to re-introduce myself if you are new here to The Classic Brunette! Maybe you're like me and totally creep on multiple pages of a blog once you start reading them and simultaneously find out so much info about the blogger that you feel like you kinda sorta know their life story....or maybe you're a normal person and just read their blogs and don't creep like I do. Either way, no judgement! But, for those of you that don't like to read back to the early embarrassing posts, I thought I would share five things about myself so we can get to know each other a little better!

Your Guide To Black Friday Sales + Outfits/Items On Sale

by The Classic Brunette, 1:52:00 AM
*This post contains affiliate links*

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! This year is drastically different for me with my parents not being here, but I'm still trying to make the best of things by celebrating with my sister. In a way I'm glad Thanksgiving was never a huge holiday with me and my family (we always travel instead of doing an elaborate home meal), so luckily it doesn't make things quite so hard on me emotionally. I'm instead focusing all my thoughts on Black Friday and how I can help YOU to get the best deals in store and online! Definitely a good choice if I say so myself. I've rounded up ALL THE SALES plus a few items that I've shared that are currently on sale. 

10 Simple Ways To Practice Self Care

by The Classic Brunette, 1:14:00 AM

I was planning an outfit post to go up on the blog last Thursday, but everything just kind of got the best of me at the end of last week. After everything that's happened these past few months, it's not unusual for me to just not feel emotionally sound for a little bit, and that's totally okay. I've recognized that it's fine to just take some time to myself, because my mental health (especially right now) has to come first. So I do apologize if there are a few gaps in my blogging and social media here and there! But, the main point here is that taking that little time off made me recognize how much more effort I should be putting into my own self care. This isn't only important for me though, everyone should have their own way to take care of themselves! I decided to share this post now not only because of what I've been dealing with, but because the holidays always seem to put everyone into a frenzy. Whether it's crazy family members constantly asking about your relationship, worrying about buying your friends the perfect gifts, or getting swept up in the "holiday loneliness," hopefully these self care tips will keep you a bit saner and happier during the season (and always 😊 ).

5 Things I'm Loving + Things On Sale

by The Classic Brunette, 1:30:00 AM
*This post may contain affiliate links*
Hello and happy Monday everybody! The holidays are getting so close, and I can't contain myself! I bought a trendy holiday wreath made of pom-poms today and am so excited to start decorating my house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I know, I know there's always a whole argument this time of year that Thanksgiving doesn't get the credit it deserves as a holiday, but in my mind the two holidays have the same decorations. So that means according to me, you should have no shame at all in putting up your decorations this early. (Or even earlier...) 

Speaking of the holidays, make sure you go and check out the first post on this year's gift guide series! It's the Gift Guide For Her For All Budgets and I've gathered so many fun items that any lady in your life will LOVE! I'll be posting a new gift guide each Saturday until the week before Christmas! Well, minus the weekend of Thanksgiving, because that's family time! Plus, you'll all be too busy shopping those Black Friday weekend sales, right? 

Anyhoo, today I just wanted to share with y'all some things I've been absolutely loving lately! I used the new poll feature on my Instagram stories to see what you all wanted to see on the blog, and this post won by a landslide! I'll definitely be using that feature more often to get your opinion, I really like getting input on what YOU like to see on the blog, and this is such a simple way to do it!I share a lot of things that I love here and on my Insta, but sometimes it's nice to share a few more details on some recent items that don't always come together in one cohesive post. Plus, these types of posts generally end up with me giving y'all a little bit of a life update as well which I personally love reading on other people's blogs!

Is that something you like too? Let me know in the comments if it is or isn't! While you're down there commenting, be sure to let me know if there's anything specific you'd like to see on the blog in the coming weeks! :) 

Now for those things I'm loving!

Holiday Gift Guide: Ideas For Her For All Budgets

by The Classic Brunette, 12:31:00 PM
I'm so excited to be sharing the first gift guide in my holiday gift guide series! Y'all seemed to love when I did this last year, so I'm doing it again this year, although slightly different. Last year I had a separate gift guide for various budgets in separate posts, however this year I decided to do one post with classic "for her" gifts, and just split them up by budget on the one post. This way all of these gifts are in one place, and you don't have to wait another week or two to see posts for your budget. Hopefully it will work out better with ordering online this way so things also don't sell out! This will be my largest gift guide, but it's also the one that is likely to have things sell out first.

This specific guide is for any woman in your life, your mom, sister, bff, roommate, etc. I've gathered a pretty large variety that hopefully covers all categories (although there will be a beauty guide in two weeks, so I've left a number of those items out!). I typically like to shop at stores like Nordstrom and Amazon that have a wide range of items so I can do my shopping in one place, however I also really love Etsy for things that are more unique and personalized!

Over $100
Faux Fur Round Chair $150 | T3 Twirl Trio $289 | Pink Leather Crossbody $128 | Parka With Faux Fur Trim Hood $365 | Gold Carryon $135 | Gray Diamond Pattern Crossbody $295 | Open Circle Gold Necklace $135 | Kitchen Aid Pro 600 Mixer $499.95 | Amethyst Bookends $200 Riding Boot $320 on sale for $220 | Diptyque Set Of Mini Candles $100 | Monogram Flats $148 | Pink Nesting Jars $134 | Naughty Nice Sweatshirt $108 |

T3 Twirl Trio: If you're looking for a high end set of hair tools, T3 is the way to go! I've heard nothing but great things about this set, and if I was splurging on a gift for myself, this would be what I would get!

Parka With Faux Fur Trim Hood: This J.Crew coat has been one of their best sellers for the past few years now and it's back again! It's Italian made, and will definitely keep you warm if you have a harsh winter coming your way!

Amethyst Bookends: No matter way you slice it, amethyst is going to be pretty expensive! But if you've got the funds and you know someone who has a thing for the gem, these beautiful bookends are a great gift choice! 

Monogram Flats: I don't care what you say, monograms will always be in style to me! Monograms are so classic, and I love finding them in unexpected and cute ways. These custom flats are adorable and perfect for someone who also enjoys a good monogram.

Under $100

White 'Vintage' Pajamas: I don't know about you, but pajamas are one of my favorite things to buy for myself and for others! They're so cozy and it's something that no one really thinks to buy for themselves. I love this classic white set that has a kind of vintage feel to them!

Patagonia Pullover: I have this pullover and I am obsessed! I use it whenever I go to Lake Tahoe and I also used it when I traveled to Ireland two winters ago. It's the perfect jacket for cold weather that doesn't leave you feeling extremely weighed down.

'Booze' Decanter: This might just be my favorite item on this guide. I'm not sure why but I LOVE the look of this decanter. It's absolutely gorgeous and will look perfect on a bar cart!

Gold Glitter Flats: I have a pair of pretty similar looking flats, and constantly get questions on where I got them! Unfortunately the ones I own aren't available anymore, but lucky for y'all I found these. Get these for your glam friend who loves adding a little sparkle to her outfit!

Under $50

Gold Personality Necklace: I talked about why I love these necklaces on Instagram, but I think the concept for this company is so cool! Each necklace has a symbol that represents a personality trait, which means you have the opportunity to create a visual representation of someone's personality. I can be so amazing to see what someone else thinks of you (compassionate, confident, ambitious, etc.) when you might not have thought of it yourself! They also have bracelets if you or the one your gifting to doesn't like necklaces!

Pom Pom Slippers: Aren't these the absolute cutest? I got these about a week ago and have been wearing them all around the house, and even once outside the house when I was too lazy to put real shoes on. 😂  I think the pom poms are so fun, and make them a little bit more exciting than your average pair of slippers.

Girls Just Wanna Be CEO Tray: This little trinket tray is perfect for the girl boss in your life! She can have it as a mini catch all dish or just a place to display some cute jewelry. And at $10 it's a steal!

Hopefully this guide gives you some great items that will help kick off your gift purchasing! It's still early, so all of these items will have plenty of time to ship out before Christmas comes. If you have any specific requests for future guides, I would love to hear your thoughts so I can add extra items to the next guide! 

Sephora VIB Sale Best Picks

by The Classic Brunette, 12:00:00 AM
*This post contains affiliate links*
It's the most wonderful time of the year...the Sephora Sale! I'm just kidding, we all know that the real most wonderful time of the year AKA Christmas is still a month away, but in the meantime we have the Sephora VIB sale, Thanksgiving, and Black Friday to carry us through until the Christmas mania really begins. (Although let's be real, I'm one of those people who starts listening to holiday music on November 1st 😉 ) I was debating on posting this, as I'm sure so many other bloggers have already covered the sale, but from polls on both Twitter and Instagram Stories it looks like you all want to see my picks anyhow! I'm sharing a bunch of different makeup categories which each have options for every budget, so this is great if you're thinking about buying some of these products as presents!

The levels of the sale vary for your Sephora account status, so here's all the information you need to know:

  • VIB Rouge: use code 20FORROUGE from 11/3-11/6 and again 11/10-11/15 for 20% off
  • VIB: use code 20FORVIB from 11/10-11/15 for 20% off
  • Beauty Insider: use code INSIDER15 from 11/10-11/15 for 15% off

So even if you haven't spent enough this past year to be VIB, you can still get 15% off your purchases! Check out all my best picks below, all with their prices BEFORE the sale (meaning it's even cheaper than I listed it!).

20 Movies And TV Shows To Get You In The Halloween Spirit

by The Classic Brunette, 12:32:00 AM

Halloween is just around the corner! Nothing gets me more in the mood to celebrate the holiday, or just the fall season in general, than watching a themed movie or binge watching a spooky show. I've gathered up a few of my favorite ones in the graphic above with all the movies and then the three Halloween-ish shows at the end. They aren't in a particular order of importance except for Hocus Pocus, because that will always be my favorite!

SkinClearing Fall Makeup With Neutrogena

by The Classic Brunette, 1:43:00 AM
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SkinClearingMakeup #CollectiveBias.

Although fall is definitely one of my favorite seasons (second to winter!), over the years I've also come to realize that the season tends to bring on more responsibilities and with that a bit more stress than summer. In previous years the stress would come from starting up school again, but now that I've graduated stress is starting to poke its head in from other areas in my life. Not only am I dealing with all the stress from the events from the last few months, but I also have the added responsibility of looking for a job. Another thing that I associate with fall is the changing of my makeup routine. With the change in weather, my skin becomes a bit dryer, but also subtly becomes lighter, so sometimes I need to pick out a new shade. A recent find of mine that covers both of these shifts is Neutrogena® SkinClearing® Makeup which covers up and helps prevent breakouts while you wear it, perfect for those who experience stress breakouts like I do! I've created a whole makeup look for fall with this line as a base and am loving how these products have a dual use.

What To Do When You Lose A Parent

by The Classic Brunette, 4:00:00 AM

I'm honestly not even sure how to really start with this post. If you've been following along with my blog, you have probably noticed I haven't posted much in the past week or so on here or on any of my social channels. Some of you are aware of what has been going on with me and my family, but for the most part I had decided to keep things quiet until I was really ready to talk about things. I wasn't sure that I would ever be ready to talk about things, however I always like to keep my blog an honest place. I guess I will start this off by explaining what exactly has been happening in my life, bare with me as I'm not sure if there's really a right way to go about this. Knowing how difficult these past few months have been for me, I also want to do my best to help others if they unfortunately fall into a similar situation and I figured blogging about it honestly would be the most helpful.

Best Of The Shopbop Sale Under $100

by The Classic Brunette, 10:54:00 PM
Y'all I was trying to round up this post as fast as possible (hence why it's out a little earlier than my usual Thursday post!) because things are selling out SO FAST. Shopbop has a ton of great items on their site, and all of them are included in the sale! Of course there are items that are discounted before the sale as well and I've linked a ton of those so you have the best deals. But this sale is great because you can get an extra 20% or 25% more off depending on how much you spend! Every purchase under $500 (yup that means even a $15 item) is 20% off and every purchase over $500 is 25% off with the code EOTS17. This post is for every budget out there because as we all know, budgeting is my friend. So I'm sharing my picks under $50 and under $100, as well as some extra favorites in the shop carousels underneath each category. Shop them all below and let me know what items are your favorites. And be quick, this sale only lasts through the 29th!

Travel Guide: New Orleans

by The Classic Brunette, 4:00:00 AM

New Orleans is one of my absolute favorite cities, and if you've been reading my blog for a while you probably already know that. For those of you that aren't familiar with why I love the city, here's a brief explanation. I first traveled to NOLA during my sophomore year of college for a religion class based on Voodoo. I fell in love with the city then, and enjoyed the topic of that class so much that I decided to write my entire senior thesis on Voodoo! (I honestly would love to send it to you if you want to know more about the religion, I promise it's as interesting as you think it might be.) I then traveled back to the city during my senior year for some extended research on the subject and might possibly be visiting again next summer if things go as planned. New Orleans is full of great culture, history, music, and of course food! I wanted to share my own guide to the city so that you can experience all of the things that make New Orleans such a unique and fun destination!

Am I the only one who gets that itch to change up their bedroom decor every few months or so? It's never because I hate what I have been living with, but I just get bored with staring at the same exact space for months on end. This was especially true for when I lived in the dorms at school, as I would typically bring in the same stuff that I chose freshman year on a whim but didn't actually love. Since living in a house things have been better. I have more space to decorate, had a fresh start to really pick out things I love (like my duvet cover!), and felt like I had a place that was actually mine. But that want to change things up a bit was still there, however I don't want to spend a fortune decorating and redecorating every few months, that would just be ridiculous. I've found a few ways to get around dropping a ton of cash and wanted to share them with you in case you are in the same boat!

How I'm Learning To Love Instagram Again

by The Classic Brunette, 4:00:00 AM

Y'all it's been a ROUGH few months with Instagram. I don't even have to just call out the bloggers with this opinion, since it seems like everyone is frustrated with the app in one way or another. I'm not going to lie, I've loathed using the app since around July after my optimism of the new changes officially ran out. I was only using it because it's necessary as a blogger. I would open the app, passively engage with others, publish my post and then toss my phone to the side. I don't think I've enjoyed scrolling down my feed since May, and because of that I haven't wanted to engage with people in the way that Instagram was originally made for. Sure, I've replied to comments (sparingly, and I'm trying to change that!) and I've interacted with some accounts and hashtags to try and make use of the new algorithm, but I haven't enjoyed much of it. I'm tired of hating Instagram though, and have decided to make my use of the app less about what I can get from it and more about how I can enjoy it again. I want to use Instagram the way I used it in the beginning. It was a way to build connections with others, view inspirational photos, and interact in a genuine way. I'm slowly starting to take steps in this direction, and thought I would share what I'm doing in case any of you are feeling the same way!

My Best Bloopers

by The Classic Brunette, 4:00:00 AM
As a blogger I try to make myself look as put together and stylish as possible. It's our job as bloggers to look like we have effortless lives where we never so much as have a hair out of place, however that is SO not how our lives work. For every post that I'll actually be featured in (mostly outfit posts) on average I'll take 50 or so photos with maybe 7-10 ones that I look good in. Most are not flattering or don't portray the look I was going for, but on occasion there will be a few great pics that make me double over laughing. Sometimes these photos are a little more common than normal because I'm by no means a professional model! Although I've definitely gotten better, my blooper skills are still pretty strong, haha.

These photos are all from within the last year and a half, so they're pretty recent. I love to laugh at myself, and honestly most of the time I'll show these bloopers to friends and family because I think I'm just hilarious. I hope you find these as funny as I do, because some of these are pretty embarrassing! 😂  But I'm giving you full permission to laugh at all of these, so enjoy them!

Original Post: Didn't make it to TCB! 

You know that feeling when you've got lipstick on your teeth? Yeah, this is that captured in a photo.

College Dorm Room Essentials

by The Classic Brunette, 4:00:00 AM

Although I'm officially out of college, I can't help but get in that back to school mindset that always pops up in late August. I like to pride myself on how prepared I was my last few years of college, however I remember just how unprepared I was during my freshman year. I thought I had everything together that I needed. In some ways I overpacked, in other ways I completely forgot some aspects of normal living (I literally forgot silverware! How useless is that? Not everything is finger food, Sami!) Last year I wrote my ultimate college packing list that covers the majority of college essentials, however after giving myself some extra time and being introduced to some new products/brands, I've come to realize that the list of college necessities can always be improved.

Sephora Makeup Haul

by The Classic Brunette, 4:00:00 AM

Hello lovelies! For the first time in a while I made some purchases from Sephora, and I wanted to share them with you. I've never done a "haul" type post, but I feel like this would be considered one. I'll also be including reviews and swatches (for the palettes) as well as my overall thoughts on the products.

How To Prepare For A New Kitten + Meet Henry

by The Classic Brunette, 4:00:00 AM

Hello friends! I thought it was about time that I shared this news here on the blog; I got a new kitten! His name is Henry and I adopted him about a week and a half ago. My poor boy has been sick since coming home from the shelter with an upper respiratory infection, so he was part of the reason why I took that hiatus a little while back. It's hard taking care of a new pet when all you want to do is give them love, but what you really have to give them is medicine. Henry was on five different medications to help him get over his cold, and although he's only on one now, it was pretty rough for a while. He sprung back relatively quickly though and the only way you can tell that he's still sick is because he sneezes every so often.

All White Summer Outfit

by The Classic Brunette, 4:00:00 AM

Happy Monday! I hope you are all having a wonderful start to your week, I know that for me this week will be full of blog work as I'm attempting to plan content through the end of the year (I'm already through August and working on September!) This is the first time I've actually been ahead on planning my posts, and I'm pretty excited about it. I'll be having a reader survey on the blog in a week or so to check in with all of you on what you want to see on the blog in the coming months. So be sure to check in some time next week because I would love to hear your thoughts!

I also have some exciting life news that I'll be sharing on the blog soon, although those that follow me on Instagram and watch my Instagram stories might already know what I'll be sharing. I'll give ya'll a hint...there's a new addition to my household and he's a cutie. ;) But enough about the future blog plans, those will all come in time!

RELATED POST: Blue Striped Top

I wanted to share this super simple summer look which includes the absolute CUTEST off the shoulder pom pom blouse! I've practically been living in this top for the past few weeks since it's been so unnaturally hot and humid in Southern California lately. It's easy for me to throw on over shorts or jeans and turns every outfit into something trendy and fashionable. Although I absolutely love this shirt, it is extremely oversized!! I did research before buying and decided on ordering a size small instead of my normal medium/large because nearly everyone on the website stated how big it was. I am SO glad I listened to the reviews because the small is still slightly oversized, especially in length. However, this is still a great buy in my opinion! All you have to do is size down (one or two sizes depending on how oversized you want the top to be) and it makes a perfect summer top. I personally like to tuck it in, but it also works without tucking.

I decided to do match the all white look with pops of color, namely because of the fun pom poms from the blouse. The more I wear accessories the more I remember why I love them so much. I'm normally pretty forgetful in my day to day outfit planning, so accessories don't always make it in to my finished looks. But these last few weeks I've remembered to throw some on and have mostly been wearing these turquoise earrings! They're from Baublebar's Target line called Sugarfix and are only $13, honestly such a steal for how high quality they are. I've been adding them to a bunch of my outfits just to add some color. Now I just need someone to constantly remind me that accessories are an essential part of a great outfit so that I'll wear more of my jewelry!

What are your favorite ways to accessorize simple outfits?

Travel Guide: South Lake Tahoe

by The Classic Brunette, 4:00:00 AM

Hang in there friends, this is going to be a long one. So after asking you all if you would be interested in a post all about South Lake Tahoe, many of you responded saying yes! Lake Tahoe has practically been my second home for as long as I can remember, so I wanted to take some time to write out a pretty detailed guide. The majority of my family's vacations are to Tahoe, mostly because we have a timeshare. As I said, South Lake Tahoe has acted like a second home for me for many, many years. I've grown up at the Stardust Lodge (where my family has a timeshare) and used to be best friends with the hotel's cat (sadly gone now) and I will constantly be walking around the property in my pajamas. I love the city so much, and know that it will be a place I will continue to travel to for the rest of my life. Without further ado, here is a guide to all things South Lake Tahoe.

Where To Stay

So I might be a little biased here because this is where I've stayed for the majority of my trips, however I think the Stardust is amazing! I've stayed in all the types of rooms they have available and they're all pretty cozy. Each room is nature-themed and has a lot of great amenities, with most having some form of a kitchen in the room. The hotel also has free movie rentals, two pools/hot tubs, free donut breakfast every morning, and a variety of activities including dinners, bingo, and crafts. 

The two major hotels in South Lake Tahoe (outside of the ski lodge) are also one of the main focal points of the city. I'm grouping them together as they are very similar and are actually connected via an underground tunnel. They each have casinos on their main floor (what many people visit the city for) and each has a good variety of dining options as well. And once again, I have many childhood memories here, since this was normally where my grandma stayed when she came up to visit. Overall a classic hotel with basic amenities. The rooms are pretty basic, however they are normally at a decent price!

Note: I'm only featuring these hotels because these are the only ones I've stayed in and have an opinion on! I have also heard great things about the newly renovated Fireside Lodge B&B, and the Heavenly Ski Resorts.

What To Do

I used to take this boat around the lake a lot when I was younger! I love the views of the lake that you get, and it's a nice way to see the whole lake while relaxing. You can take it for day cruises, dinner cruises, and more. 

Mini Golf:
I absolutely love mini golf, especially if there's a cool theme to it. There's a mini golf place in Tahoe that is one of my favorite places to go in the summer (It's closed during the winter!) since it has a few different themes. It's called Magic Carpet Golf and my personal favorite is the dinosaur themed one where you play with huge dinosaur replicas as your holes! I have a photo somewhere here on the blog, although I can't seem to find it anywhere! However if you're staying in the downtown area there's also a smaller mini golf course in the Heavenly Village!

It's no secret that Tahoe has a lot of casinos! Since I grew up going to Tahoe I feel weirdly nostalgic at the casinos. My parents and grandparents would frequent the casinos when I was younger, and walking around with all the lights and sounds of the machines was pretty fun for me! Now that it's legal for me to gamble, I like to go with my parents and sister when we're there and have a little fun.

There is an insane amount of hiking in Tahoe! Although I personally haven't done that many hikes, I can still tell you that the views are absolutely stunning wherever you decide to go. The forests and bodies of water are gorgeous, and offer a great number of trails to see them!

I did this once when I was in high school and it was so fun. (And yes a little bit scary, haha!) Basically you head out to the lake on one of the boats, sit in a chair either alone or with a friend and a big parachute takes you above the lake while the boat drives around beneath you. It's pretty incredible. There are a number of parasailing companies in Lake Tahoe, so it's a simple process of picking one that fits your location, price, and other needs!

Go To The Beach:
Tahoe has a beautiful beach! If you can't tell from the name of the town, there's a great big lake! The beach is a nice place to spend time if you want fantastic views and super clear water. You can see the lake area (duh!) as well as the mountains surrounding it. It's absolutely beautiful. Just be aware, the water is normally pretty cold due to the snow runoff!

                               Where To Eat

The Sage Room:

This is the place to go if you'd like to have a fancy sit down dinner. The Sage Room is a steak house that is actually in the Harvey's hotel on the same floor as the casino. It is definitely more pricey, so if you want a place to splurge on a great meal then this would be it. I highly recommend the prime rib and for dessert the cherries jubilee!

Ernie's Coffee Shop:
This is my favorite place to eat in South Lake Tahoe. My family has been coming here for years, and the food has always been delicious. They're only open for breakfast and lunch, so make sure you plan accordingly. You'll want to get there early if you choose to dine there on the weekends as it tends to get crowded! I recommend the bacon cheeseburger, and the rest of my family recommends the Huevos Ernesto, the patty melt, and the incredible cornbread. P.S. I don't need souvenirs since I come up here every year, but my love for this place is so real that I've bought three of the t-shirts they sell. P.P.S. Those shirts are really comfy.

Macduff's Pub:
Macduff's Pub is one of those places that you would not realize existed until you stumbled upon it. It's off the main road (whereas most other restaurants are all along it) and is located in the second story of what I believe is another restaurant. I'm actually not too sure if there's another restaurant beneath, if it's catering for Macduff's, or something else entirely. However, all I know is that while downstairs is usually extremely empty the upstairs is crowded and full of people eating amazing food. The menu is a mix of American and traditional English fare, so my mom particularly enjoys this spot for some authentic British food. (If you didn't know, my mom is from England!) Prices are a little bit more than average here, although the food is exceptional.

Forest Buffet at Harrahs:
Want some great views and a lot of options, the Forest buffet is the place for you! My family loves to go here for an easy meal where we don't have to think. Everyone can find something they like, and if you're a rewards card holder with Harrahs/Harveys you can earn pretty nice discounts or even free meals here.

Grocery Shopping at Raleys:
I wanted to include the local grocery store as well, because a lot of the time my family ends up cooking while we're there. If you stay somewhere that has a kitchen and want to save some money, eating at your hotel is a great way to do that. Plus, Raleys always has the best desserts in their bakery section! (Also, many locals that I've talked to over the years say that the grocery store also has the best Chinese food selection, go figure!)

Day Trips

Virginia City
As a history nerd, Virginia City is the ultimate day trip for me. I've been coming here since I was little and enjoy it every time. To reach the town you have to have a car, and be willing to drive some somewhat terrifying streets. The roads to the city are steep, windy, and at times narrow. But it's completely worth the trek! The city itself is relatively small and definitely touristy, but boasts some beautiful victorian buildings, museums, and some good old fashioned fun (quite literally). You can pan for gold, check out the old mines, explore some of Mark Twain's stomping grounds, and check out the many antique shops. But don't forget to stop for some ice cream at Grandma's Fudge Factory!

Carson City
Carson City is the capitol of Nevada, and a nice place to stop if you have a free day! You can check out the government buildings, as well as the many antique shops in the area. Nevada has a lot of history, and you can be surprised what you can find in these stores! Although the city itself isn't incredibly exciting, it's still a great place to stop if you need a break! 

The biggest little city in the world! Reno is like the toned down version of Las Vegas. It's not as flashy, but there's still a lot of fun to be had here. There's gambling, antique and pawn shops, and for the kids (or any person at any age, really) there's a huge arcade/circus area called, you guessed it, Circus-Circus. When I traveled to Reno with my family this would always be the most exciting part of the trip. Circus-Circus was my heaven, and quite honestly is a large reason why it's listed as an excursion on this post!

If you're headed to South Lake Tahoe or just thinking about a possible trip, I hope this helps! I'm always available to answer more questions or provide more recommendations if need be, so don't hesitate to email me! 

P.S. WOW it has been a long time since posting! If you've noticed I've taken almost 2 weeks off from blogging and about 3 weeks off from Instagram. I just decided that I needed to clear my head and get everything in my life back on track, and it's finally there. Thank you all so much for understanding!

Summer Beauty Essentials

by The Classic Brunette, 4:00:00 AM

It's almost the end of spring which means it's time for my beauty must haves for next season! I've tried out a ton of new products recently and have decided on a few favorites that are perfect for summer. Summer for me means a lighter amount of makeup that works overtime to make you look good. I hate wearing heavy makeup in the first place, but when it's hot I definitely don't want to feel like I'm melting. Some of these products are perfect for that exact reason, but all of them are quality beauty/makeup items that will make you ready for the summer! Without further ado, here are my picks...

Sephora Collection Rouge Shine Lipstick in Love Spell c/o : This fun pink color is the ultimate summer shade. Like most people I tend to gravitate for brighter colors during the summer months, and I love to have a lip color that is easy to match with any outfit. Love Spell by Sephora is exactly what I needed! The pink isn't overwhelmingly bright and needs a few coats to get a large amount of pigment which makes it easy for me to add just a hint of color to any makeup look. It will definitely be my go-to color for this season!

IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream c/o : Okay, so I know I said I don't like to wear heavier makeup in the summer, but a girl has to wear foundation sometimes! This isn't foundation though, it's actually a CC cream. Think of CC cream as being in between a BB cream and actual foundation. It's light, but also gives a lot of coverage. I LOVE this CC+ cream from IT Cosmetics because it has SPF 50! As I talked about in my self-tanning post earlier this week I burn extremely easily, so anything that can combat that is a life saver. This cream applies very nicely, has a great formula, and smells amazing. If I were to guess I would say it has a sort of vervaine/lemon scent. I wear the shade light, however I definitely could wear the fair shade as well. (Any one else always in between shades?)

Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo : I am literally always in need of dry shampoo during the summer. I don't know what it is about the sun and my hair, but they definitely don't get along. I'm always a greasy mess even though I washed my hair the day before. This dry shampoo is one of the best I've tried and doesn't leave any pesky gray spray behind, always an issue for this brunette! It's also perfect for me since it gives my hair a little added texture.

Sephora Collection Mini Deluxe Charcoal Antibacterial Brush Set c/o : Has there ever been a product that you never knew you needed it until you already had it? That's me with this brush set. I have been in the dark for so long, because I didn't even know that travel/mini brush sets existed. I'm doing lots of trips home this summer and definitely don't want to be dragging all my makeup brushes around with me every time. Normally I have to narrow down which brushes I can use for multiple things and always feel like I never take what I actually need. With this I have all my brushes together and it comes in a super compact carrying case that I don't need to worry about it taking up a ton of space!

Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Drama : I am a mascara collector. I love testing out new mascaras, but I especially love when I can find great ones on a drugstore budget. This Maybelline mascara is INCREDIBLE. A while ago on the blog I believe I mentioned that I normally do three coats of different mascara on my lashes to achieve the look I want. Not anymore! I do a few swipes of this and I am good to go. The pigment is fantastic and it increases length, volume, etc. Like the name says, it's like you're wearing falsies. The only thing I don't particularly like is that sometimes my lashes clump easily with it, however that's a small price to pay!

Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream c/o : I received this in my gift basket from The Couture Gift Collection and have fallen in love with it ever since. It will never leave my side...ever. Seriously though it's an amazing moisturizer that does wonders for my skin. I use it after I get out of the shower (when my face is at its driest) and before I go to sleep. My skin has never felt so happy. It's got a relaxing cucumber scent and I've been known to say "ahhhhh" after applying it because it makes me feel that good. I don't toss this phrase around often, but I swear by this stuff.

Sephora Mixology Palette c/o : Nude eyeshadow palettes are my favorite type of eyeshadow palettes. A nude eyeshadow palette that gives you the perfect combinations of each pigment, that's even better. I love how this palette is set up because it means you don't have to do any of the work if you don't want to. Yes, I love being creative and seeing which shades go together, but there are times when I'm headed out the door and need to look good fast. These shadows are already perfectly paired together and all of the shades are so dreamy!

Have you tried any of these products? What is on your summer beauty essentials list?