My First Birchbox: Unboxing & Review

WOW WOW WOW, Happy Monday!

I’m super excited to be back on Sparkle and Shine and even more excited to share that my first post back is all about my first ever Birchbox! For my 23rd birthday, three of my best friends got me a three-month subscription to  the monthly service. Thanks to Amber, Julia, and Hope, each month I receive 4 or 5 samples of high-end beauty, haircare, and skincare products- delivered right to my front door!

I was like a little kid on Christmas morning the first time my Birchbox came. I always love trying new beauty products after watching other bloggers and vloggers rave about them or finding new products on my own. With commuting into the big apple for work, the amount of time that I have to go shopping and spend hours browsing through Sephora, Ulta, and even a local drug stores, are very limited. Now, I don’t need to worry about finding new products – they are delivered right to my door!

Check out below to see what I had received in my box and my ~honest~ opinion on what I thought about it all!

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  1. Catherine Malandrino’s Romance de Provence Eau de Parfum: An ode to Provence, the timeless scent mixes fruity and floral nuances with vanilla and patchouli. If there’s one makeup product I am always nervous to try new of – it’s perfume. I’m not a fan of super strong scents. Clinique’s Happy is my go-to because of it’s super light scent. This perfume was a little stronger than my liking. With hot summer days coming up, where I spend my mornings underground on the NYC subways, a strong sample size of this perfume will be perfect in my bag. Quick spritz and the oh so fabulous (not) smell of the subway will be gone. 
  2. Beauty Protector’s Protect & Detangle: This best-selling elixir locks in color, protects from heat damage, and adds silkiness to each stand. During my freshman year of college, I became obsessed with straightening my hair. Later classes, compared to early morning for high school, meant more time to get ready and I would spend each of those extra minutes frying- yes frying- my hair away. Four years later and I am still trying to fix the damage I caused to my hair. I only straighten my hair in certain situations and when I do, I make sure to use heat protector. This is by far my new favorite heat protectant! I usually only straighten my hair once a month, so April was the first time I got to use this product and I loved it. It didn’t have a lingering scent and did not need to use a lot of the protect for it to work. Plus, my hair looked so smooth and silky. If only I had a selfie to show it off! 
  3. Real Chemistry’s Luminous 3-Minute Peel: Apply this acid-free peel to clean, dry skin for luminous results. Massage in a circular motion to exfoliate, then wash skin with a mild cleanser to remove. I always love trying to find new face masks and exfoliants – it’s my favorite. I love how fresh and clean I feel after deeply exfoliating and cleaning my face. As I’ve mentioned, commuting in and out of the city for work takes a lot of my time. By the time I get home, from 15+ hour days, I just want to shower and go right to sleep. I love that this exfoliant didn’t add extra time- no need to wait for it to dry then wash it off. I just simply scrubbed the peel on and it three minutes – I could clean it off. I’m able to use it right in the shower, not waste time, and get super clean skin. Winner, winner!
  4. Manna Kadar Cosmetics’ Lip Locked in Sienna: A primer, lip stain, and gloss in one, this innovative product ensures that your lips stay lusciously hydrated and smooth all day while delivering rich, long lasting pigment. I am OBSESSED – not just with the color, but with how long this lasted. I used this ultimate lip product when going out for Paul’s birthday in Hamden- knowing between sweat, drinks, singing, and who knows what else, my makeup look would take a beaten. At the end of the night, for post-going out Dominos, my lip color was still in tact as if I had just put the lip stain on. From now, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll be sure to see this lip color quite often!
  5. Dr. Lipp’s Miracle Balm: The natural formula completely rehydrates skin and lips, soothes sunburn, tames unruly brows, and nourishes thirsty cuticles. Apply to dry lips and other areas of the body as needed. Not going to lie, I haven’t used this one yet. Since I do PR for Aquaphor and Eucerin (#client), I have plenty of products to rehydrate my skin and lips at my fingertips. I was super excited when I read that the product helps soothe sunburn. Summer is right around the corner and if you know me in real life, you know that I have a bad tendency of getting sunburnt. I’m excited to use this balm when that day rolls around – which will be soon. Sorry, Gram!

Do you have a subscription to Birchbox? Thinking about it? Comment below and let me know! 

 

Let my gal pal Casey teach you how to properly put on your makeup on her YouTube channel

Happy Friday, babes!

SO one of my bucket list items for 2017 (since I don’t believe in a “new year, new you” mindset) is learning more about how to properly do my makeup. I watch tons of YouTubers and buy so many different products, but I just don’t know how to always put it on. To be honest, I’m pretty sure the brush I put my eye shadow on with this morning was a concealer brush. WHOOPS!

I always fake it til I make it when it comes to makeup- pretending I know how to properly blend and contour, knowing what my 20 brushes are for, and that I can do a great smokey eye.

But I don’t. Let’s be honest, the closest I get to a smokey eye is on Sunday morning brunch when I didn’t take my makeup off the night before.

For all you girls like me out there, let me introduce you to my friend and sorority sister, Casey!

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Casey and I had gotten really close during my senior year and is someone I still talk to now that I have graduated and am doing the whole adulting thing.When I saw that she started her own YouTube channel of makeup tutorials and lifestyle content, I KNEW I had to find out more and share about it on Sparkle and Shine.

Check out what Casey had to say about starting her own YouTube channel:

I am extremely passionate about film, makeup, and laughing – so I thought creating a lifestyle & beauty YouTube would be the perfect combination of the three!! If I can make videos all the time, show the world how to do some kickass makeup, or put a smile on someone’s face, I’m ecstatic.

LOVE IT! I love supporting my friends when they start new projects, like when Lianna started blogging.

Now enough about Casey and more about her makeup tutorial! I’m starting to adapt techniques from her “Makeup for Dummies” video so I know what I’m doing – like starting with light eye shadows and building up to the darks.

But enough of me explaining – why don’t you just watch for yourself?!

Check it out: 

Have any good makeup tutorials and tricks for a girl like me? Comment below and share them…then go watch more of Casey’s videos and subscribe!!

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I graduated…..now what?

Well, I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Quinnipiac University on Sunday (despite being scared out of my mind to do so).

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And what has post grad life given me so far? A lot primetime The Price is Right specials, naps, and trying to get a hold of this adult thing.

To save some breathe for when everyone asks “what are you ACTUALLY doing post grad?” I decided to just share it with the whole wide world on Sparkle and Shine. 

Starting on Monday, I began my online Master’s courses for Interactive Digital Design from Quinnipiac. I’m excited to dive more into learning coding, Adobe programs, and different multimedia techniques. It’s definitely going to be harder than any of my other classes from my Undergrad years at QU, but I’m very excited to get started. Plus, I’m lucky to have my mom, grandparents, aunts, and best friends as an amazing support system for whenever the going gets tough.

I’ve been in love for the past three years – with Sparkle and Shine. I’ve loved coming up with what I want to write about, putting the piece together by creating graphics and typing the story, sharing it on social media, and watching everything come together. I’m hoping that with my Master’s in IDD and my undergrad degree, I will be able to further my professional career and Sparkle and Shine.

More importantly, since I will be living at home, I will not have as many responsibilities on my plate. As you readers know, I was constantly boggled down with Res Life, my sorority, my school television station, a full-time course load, and so much more. Now, I will have so much more spare time to focus on the Sparkle and Shine blog and video blog. I’m hoping that with my spare time and my new Master’s courses, I will be able to continue Sparkle and Shine and all of its contents.

In the meantime, here’s to sparkling through the next few months as I begin this post-grad journey!!

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MY GUY BFF DOES MY MAKEUP {NEWEST VIDEO BLOG}

Happy Saturday, readers!

If you don’t subscribe to my YouTube channel (which you totally should do like, right now), you may not know that I recently released my newest YouTube video blog.

Check it out: 

My guy friends always complain that I am always late whenever we go somewhere.

The reason? I am doing my makeup!

Give me ten minutes or two hours and either way I’ll be 15 minutes late cause I am doing my makeup. They never understand why it takes so long or what goes into a makeup routine (like helllllo…that ‘no makeup look’ took about 20 minutes), so I decided it was time for them to see what it takes. And then share it with the Internet…

Watch the hilarious new video of Brandon doing my makeup, then comment on the video and let me know what you think!

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Come travel with me + Vera Bradley this New Years Eve

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Vera Bradley and Her Campus Media. All words and opinions are my own.

I’m late.

Readers, no matter how much time I have to get somewhere, I always end up late. Give me an hour or five and I’m going to use every extra minute and then some. My family has even started telling me that events are happening earlier than they actually are just so I can end up on time.

This is why when I travel, I like to stay super comfortable. My yoga pants and puffer vests are always my go to outfit and my Vera Bradley Large duffel travel bag in Katalina pink is my go to luggage!

The bag, which sells for $85 online, is big enough to fit so much stuff in it. Ask any of my friends – I am a total over-packer. For a simple one night’s trip, I bring about three bags – this duffel, my purse, and a duffel just for hair products.

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Vest: (similar) puffer vest from the Gap | Top: (similar) Long sleeve from Victoria’s Secret | Yoga pant: Foldover waist bootcup yoga pants from Victoria’s Secret

Whenever I travel, my four most important items are my robe, my makeup bag, my travel coffee mug, and my sunglasses!

I’ve always loved robes for as long as I can remember, thanks to my grandma. She would always show me how blissful it would be in the morning to be snuggled up in a cozy robe and slippers. My robe has become a part of who I am – and the fact that’s cheetah print really seals the deal! Whether it’s a trip to my little’s house or a beach vacation, I always have my robe to wake up to in the morning and wear when I am doing my makeup.

Which leads me right into my second most important item – my makeup bag! Makeup gives me that extra confidence boost that I always want- whether it be just my basic mascara or a full smokey eye. My newest makeup bag, from Victoria’s Secret (similar), is big enough to carry all that I need from any of makeup hauls.

I live off of coffee. I’m pretty sure my veins are a mixture of coffee, diet coke, and glitter more than they are blood. Whenever I travel, I always need to have coffee with me. Hey, I need coffee with me whenever I go anywhere. Santa Clause brought me this new Juicy Couture travel mug to bring with me. If I don’t get to stop at a Dunkin Donuts before I hit the road, I always make my own coffee. It’s great to have my own travel mug with me because some places, especially at my school, let you fill up your own mug for a cheaper price.

Lastly, I always will have my sunglasses with me. I have three of the exact same pairs – one pair I always have in my car, one I always have in my purse, and then another pair that I try to always use and keep on me. They’re great to avoid the sun in your eyes while driving, any glares on the road, or keep your eyes hidden when you’re peaking on the hotties laying next to you on the beach! Something about a great pair of sunglasses also always helps my confidence level – I feel just so badass in a great pair of aviators.

What are your must have travel products? Comment below and let me know! 

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What I wore & how I was asked to a fraternity Christmas party

Ho, ho, ho readers!

Are you in the holiday spirit? I know that even with finals being right around the corner, I am makings sure that I am with Christmas music, candy canes, and holiday pajamas.

Right after giving gifts to those that I love, my favorite part of the holiday is the Christmas parties! I love the ugly sweaters, the red dresses, and decorative earrings.

Last week, my best friend and I went to his fraternity’s Christmas party and I wanted to share the look with you all:

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Dress: Red Lace Fit and Flare dress from DressbarnShoes: Embellished caged heel from Lane Bryant 

And weeks before the event even happened, Paul had asked me by surprising me with a festive stocking! Weeks earlier, I had asked him to my sorority semi formal with donuts. Here’s how he asked me, complete with a festive puppy stocking (since we call each other puppy):

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See mom, it looks like being on the naughty list for all of these years has finally paid off!

Do you have any Christmas parties coming up? What about ugly sweater parties? Share your looks with me down below!

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Rocksbox Look: a.v. max Mock Lariat Necklace in Gold & SLATE Crystal Spike Earrings

Happy Black Friday, readers!

I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving with your family, remembering what you are thankful for as you eat your weight in mashed potatoes. My list included my sorority family, my best friend, Paul, boxed wine, and all of my readers.

And as my way of saying thank you for being so amazing, I wanted to remind you all about some awesome ways to celebrate Black Friday in a Sparkle and Shine type of way! You can get 10% off of a single shirt order from Greek Streak by using code SPARKLESHINE and you can get 10% off The Collegiate Standard with code SAMI10.

And one of my favorite discounts I can offer is a free month of Rocksbox!

When registering for the site, enter coupon code sparkleshinesamxoxo to get your free month.

As may you remember from a previous last Rocksbox post, I am loving the designer jewelry subscription box company and want you to all experience it, too!

For $19 a month, you will be able to have unlimited access to designer jewelry shipped right to their door. After selecting items and adding them to your wishlist, your personal designer will send you three items that average of about $200! You can swap pieces at anytime. There’s zero effort and no commitment. Shipping is free and pre-paid both ways.

In one of my recent Rocksbox sets, I received the a.v. max Mock Lariat necklace in gold and SLATE Crystal Spike earrings.

Thanks to the photograph skills of my awesome resident, Caitlin, check out how I styled the pieces.

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Sweater: Now only sold in plus-size Cutout Cable-Sleeve Sweater from Forever 21 | Leggings: Hi-Rise leggings from American Eagle

Boots: No longer sold (Similar from DSW) | Ring: Love & Kisses ring from Tiffany & Co.

With the holiday season officially in full swing, I recommend jumping on the Rocksbox bandwagon. Why not have the hottest pieces for Christmas and New Years Eve? Especially, when it’s all free!

Happy Black Friday shopping and enjoy wearing the jewelry. Make sure to tag me on Instagram at @sparkleshinesam when you post your favorite selfie featuring your Rocksbox look.

 

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