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! 

 

Stand up to social media and live your life Undoubted {LAUNCHING FRIDAY}

Happy Wednesday, beautiful people!

We’re about to get serious. It’s time to talk about something that’s often overlooked – anxiety.

For those who suffer from anxiety, something that may seem minuscule will not feel that way in the moment. With social media, it’s so easy to read other people’s negative thoughts and let them infiltrate your own thoughts. It’s easy to look at someone else’s negative tweet and start feeling the same. Or even worse, it’s easy to look at someone else’s positive post and start comparing yourself – cutting yourself down until you no longer see your own beautiful soul.

That’s where Quinnipiac seniors Hayleigh and Elizabeth are jumping in to take a stand.

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The two friends are launching an online support system called Undoubted and on Friday, their mission to make social media positive and honest again starts.

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Hayleigh and Elizabeth met during their freshman year at Quinnipiac University. Quickly, the two found they shared many similarities, from the basic things like being entrepreneurship majors, to the more personal things like struggling with anxiety. Being twenty-somethings they are active on social media and witness negativity in the online space daily. Together, they wanted to make an impact. They set out to provide a more positive space for impressionable women to surround themselves with, while also being mindful of all the scary firsts, and big decisions that come with adolescence. They decided that being honest about their own experiences could provide comfort to other young women.

They hope Undoubted will create a network of other honest women like themselves- to have raw, real, and meaningful conversations. No one should have ever have to feel alone. Hayleigh and Elizabeth desire to be the face of female empowerment, they want to help change the stereotypes surrounding those who suffer from anxiety, and they made the vow to live undoubtedly every day.

I’m going to join their fight to live life Undoubted. Are you?

Check out Undoubted when it goes live on Friday and make sure to follow Undoubted on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to stay up-to-date on living your life Undoubted!

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Celebrate Galentine’s Day with Bryan Anthony’s

Happy Hump Day!

One week from today, Walgreens and CVS will be putting their Valentine’s Day on half price. Until that glorious moment, you’ll be bombarded with “What to Get Your Boyfriend” and “Non-Flowers and Chocolates Gifts for your Bae this V-Day” (trust me, I know this, I work in PR).

But aren’t really seeing is gifts for your pals on Galentine’s Day!

I’m a big believer of Galentine’s Day- the day before Valentine’s Day were you celebrate your go-to ride-or-dies, those kick-ass friends who are by your side no matter what. My friends and I have even done Galentine’s Day gift-exchange parties to celebrate how much we love each other – something I definitely recommend!

Though it may be too last minute to plan a party, there’s still time to shop for some goodies for your BFFs! My current favorite? Bryan Anthony’s!

What I love most about the jewelry site is that all of their pieces tell a story – whether it’s about your best friend being your soul sister, or you’re following your heart despite the odds, or connecting the dots of life when the going gets tough. There’s something for each of the moments – and that something is a gorgeous piece of jewelry.

I recently purchased the soul sister ring set for my soul mate of a best friend, Lauren!

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Lauren and I call each other other our soulmates, in honor of the infamous Sex and the City quote, “Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.” After three hour long coffee dates, long drives with the music blasting, and late night FaceTime sessions, we realized more and more how true this was for us.

So for her 21st birthday, I knew that the perfect to celebrate her birthday, our friendship, and distance not coming between us would be these soul sister rings.

It really is a great reminder of how amazing our friendship is even though we are states away.

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Now go celebrate your amazing friends, like Lo, this Galentine’s Day by going to Bryan Anthony’s and ordering from their different collections.

Happy shopping!!

Have you checked out Bryan Anthony’s before? Are you going to now? Comment below and let me know!

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Eating My Way Through Instagram: DO

Hey, readers!

As I explained last week, I follow so many cool NYC food places on Instagram. Now that I’m working in the city, I try to explore as much as possible and see, do, and eat all that I can (like 10Below).

My most visited place? DO, a cookie dough confections shop!

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DO was originally located right around the corner from my office on 2nd Ave. Whenever my work friends and I were feeling stressed, we would always head on over to eat our feelings! And TRUST ME, the delicious cookie dough and all the different toppings had done wonders for our stress.

Whenever we would come back from DO, our co-workers would always ask how we could be eating raw cookie dough. Well, DO saves you from the garbage talk about not being able to eat raw cookie dough. They make their cookie dough with ingredients that are made to be eaten raw- making it 100% safe for you to eat! You won’t be hearing anyone tell you about how you can get Salmonella from DO‘s cookie dough!!

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DO is now located in Greenwich Village (unfortunate for my stress eating habit, but very, very fortunate for my waist line). At the new location, DO offers a complete experience- think Cups meets cookie dough! The cookie dough scoop shop lets you completely customize your bowl of cookie dough and then enjoy it.

Don’t live close to the NYC area, but still want to try this super delicious, super safe cookie dough? DO offers nation-wide shipping!

Are you going to try DO? Been to their new store-front? Follow them on Instagram? Comment below and let me know!!

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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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Eating My Way Through Instagram: 10Below

Hey, readers!

Time for a little fun fact- one of my favorite activities in NYC, when I’m not in my cubicle at  work , is to explore NYC. There’s so much to see, so much to do, and so much to EAT.

I follow so many (probably too many) food Instagram accounts that feature all of the fun, cool food places to eat around the City. Every so often, I try to cross one of them off of my food bucket list.

The most recent destination? The ice cream shop 10Below in the East Village!

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On Sunday, some of my sorority family members and I went out about in NYC. I got to show them where I work, take Lauren to Times Square for the first time, and so much more- all of which you saw on Snapchat!

One classic trait of our family, the Bad Girls Club, is loving ice cream! We love catching up over ice cream, so I knew that trying 10Below would be perfect with Amber, Lauren, and Emily.

What makes 10Below so trendy and popular on Instagram is that it is NYC’s original hand rolled ice cream! Each person’s Thai-inspired ice cream rolls are made right in front of them, with ready-to-order ingredients. This means that the ice cream has no preservatives or stabilizers.

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 10Below turns liquid cream into ice cream in under two minutes, thanks to a cold plate that reaches temperatures below 10 degrees! Then, the ingredients start to get mixed together, flattened out, and then rolled up,. Put your toppings on and ready for you to eat. SO COOL!

 I posted tons of videos on my Snapchat, but if you didn’t get to experience them yourself, here’s a Cosmopolitan YouTube video showing the whole ice cream rolling process at 10Below:

The ice cream was so yummy! It tasted lighter than most ice creams, making it feel less heavy in my stomach after I ate it (turns out that was because it didn’t have all those extra additives).

10Below has tons of locations, besides the one in the East Village that we went to! Their original location is in Chinatown, but they are also in Flushing and the Lower East Side. Not in NYC? They’re opening locations in LA and Philadelphia soon.

Stay tuned for more posts in my new Eating My Way Through Instagram series!!

Have you been to 10Below? Seen it on Instagram? Would you go? Let me know below!

 

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Full-time big girl, part-time blogger & am ready for 2017!

Happy Thursday, babes! It’s time to add a little Sparkle and Shine to the start of your holiday weekend and find out more about my blog hiatus.

I mean helllllllo, my blog presence is a present!

In the past few weeks, I’ve posted about College Fashion Week and shared my Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide, but those were my first posts since September. I disappeared. Call me Carmen Sandiego because where in the world did I go?

I know it’s only a little over a month, but it feels like an ETERNITY. I have never, EVER taken a break that long from blogging or from Total Sorority Move once I started contributing for them. Yes, life got stressful when I was at school – tons of school work and extracurriculars, but never to the point that I just completely stopped. Dropped down to only a few posts a month? Yes. Absolutely. But to just disappear out of the blue – never.

And the reason? Because I’m now working in the real world!!

If you don’t know, I graduated in May from Quinnipiac University. Since then, I’ve become an Account Coordinator at the PR firm Access Emanante. I’ve been doing PR for Philips Zoom, Philips Norelco, Philips Sonicare and assisting with a few other beauty consumer brands. I’ll be continuing to expand my consumer beauty/grooming niche in 2017 by adding NIVEA Men to my list of clients.

A little fun fact I wanted to share – I got interested in PR because of Sparkle and Shine. Over the years, tons of different companies and influencer programs have reached out to me. I love getting to know the brands that I am working with, finding out their goals, and helping them achieve their goal. It absolutely I’ve always seen one side of the realm, but wanted to see the other – see the decisions behind working with certain influencers, crafting the program, and activating it. After interning, I was hooked and knew that this was what I wanted to continue to do for the rest of my life. And now, here I am, living out my dream!

I’ve always dreamed of working in the city – that Sex in the City magic in the air, the lights, the people, the hustle and bustle. So landing a gig here was a dream come true. Except, the wonderful hour-fifteen minute commute was not something that got factored into the dream. I’ve traded in my noon classes for 5:30 AM alarms, yoga pants for business casual, and am on NJ Transit more than I am in my own car.

And in all these changes and getting accustomed to my new lifestyle, I had to put Sparkle and Shine on a little hold. I had to focus on myself and my future in the PR world- making sure I’m eating right and sleeping enough hours, finishing and starting tasks on the train to the office, and so much more. Many mornings, I would wake up and say I would start a blog post on the train or would say that I am going to answer blog e-mails. Then after showing the conductor my monthly train pass, I would shut my eyes, open my Nook app, or start answering all the text messages from my friends I was too tired to respond to the night before. Before I know it, I would by at Penn Station and ready for the work day. No blog work done and another promise to push it off later. Later, later, later – but wouldn’t happen.

So here I am now – December 22, 2016. A full-time PR professional, a part-time blogger, and ready to revamp myself as a blogger, re-finding myself in the blogging world, in 2017.

This is more than just an update on where I have been and it is definitely not a PSA about less posts coming in 2017. Instead, this is my promise to you for 2017. I’ve begun thinking about my content calendar, channeling in work strategies to Sparkle and Shine, been in touch with brands, and drafting posts.

Sparkle and Shine may have gotten but on the back burner, but for 2017 it’s the full course Thanksgiving style meal on the front burner.

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