The podcasts I can’t stop listening to right now

Hi, babes! Happy Friday, junior! 

While you are here, I need to tell you about my most recent obsession – podcasts. Up until a few months ago, I never understood the hype. “Why would you want to just listen to someone/two people talk AT you?” I would think.

That thought quickly changed. One day on my commute to work, I decided to switch off Sam Hunt on Spotify and turn on a podcast. Ever since, I’ve been hooked! Whether it’s at work, driving, or on NJ Transit, if I have my earbuds in, I am listening to a podcast. 

What exactly have I been listening to? Find out all the details on the podcasts I can’t stop listening to below. 

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My Favorite Murder // For those of you who know me in real life, you know that I love true crime! From binge watching any Netflix true crime docu-series to sparking up a debate on who killed JonBenet (it was her brother….), I am always fascinated by true crime. The first podcast I have ever listened to and the first one I always go to turn on is My Favorite Murder. Comedian hosts Karen and Georgia put a unique spin on a very serious subject as they share the details on two new murders each week. As soon as you listen for five minutes, you’ll see why the two have such a cult following! 

Gals on the Go // When two of my favorite YouTubers, Danielle Carolan and Brooke Miccio, decided to start a podcast, I knew from the start I’d be listening. While “the pod,” as they like to call it, can be geared more towards college students, their tips on productivity, goal setting, and beauty tips are universal. There is just something about listening to these girl bosses talk that always will put me in the zone and make me feel like I can conquer anything! 

We Met At Acme //  Food influencer Lindsey Metselaar opens up about millenial dating in NYC in her podcast We Met At Acme. There is no better way to sum the podcast up than how Lindsey puts it on her website, “We live in a generation of suppressing and not expressing. This podcast touches on subjects that we don’t talk about, but we all want to know about. We Met At Acme delves into sex, relationships and vulnerability, with some hilarious anecdotes along the way.” If you have gone on one date since 2017, whether it be from an app, a friend who set you up, or you took a chance on that guy in a bar, you will be able to relate and love this podcast. 

Call Her Daddy // While We Met At Acme goes there and touches on milennial dating, sometimes you just want to hear someone really, REALLY go there — and that’s where Call Her Daddy comes in. Video blogger Alexandra and her bestie Sofia have the brutally honest conversations that you and your best friends are already having in your group chat. You know, those totally intense conversations when someone gets a text message of an eggplant emoji from a guy who ghosted them three months ago or a friend shares the details of a first date that went a little too far? That’s what they’re talking about. While you will be laughing hysterically the entire time, make sure you have your earbuds in, as the two may be NSFW.

What are some of your favorite podcasts right now? Comment them down below or tweet them to me at @sparkleshinesam

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My latest Netflix binge

Hi, babes! Happy Tuesday!

Of course, as soon as I make my comeback to blogging, I had to go MIA last week. Unfortunately, I came down with a nasty case of bronchitis and a kidney infection right in time for Halloween. For the week that I spent quarantined in my house and out of work, I had ample amount of time to watch Netflix… and more Netflix, and more Netflix to get in the Halloween spirit. Just because I couldn’t go out, didn’t mean I couldn’t get into the holiday spirit. Check out the spooky shows I binge watched last week below!

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Can we talk about how long ago I started this series on the blog? It still ends in “.wordpress.com” on the image!

The Haunting of Hill House:  The supernatural horror series follows the Crain family, who temporarily moved into Hill House in 1992  to renovate the mansion. While unnecessary repairs elongate their stay, the family begins to experience paranormal phenomena in the home — which ultimately result in a tragic loss and the family fleeing. More than two decades later, the Crain siblings and their father reunite after another Hill House causing tragedy strikes, and they are forced to confront the ghosts of their past– both literal and physical.

As your mind twists through each episode, attempting to anticipate the unimaginable, be sure you pay plenty of attention! There were tons of moments my mom and I would need to pause the show, remind each other of how this moment connected back to one three episodes ago, or would need to point out a ghost one of us didn’t notice!

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The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: This adaptation of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” is very different than the version I grew up on — no quick wits from Salem, no goofiness from Harvey, and definitely no Britney Spears cameos. Instead, this version of Sabrina was dark and would send a chill down your spine.

However, this darker version still revolves around teen witch Sabrina Spellman, as she wrestles with being half-witch and half-mortal. As her sixteenth birthday comes around, and she must decide if she will choose to live life as a witch or a mortal, evil forces threaten her, her family, and the mortals she loves.

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If you’re looking for something not too spooky to binge, check out my last Netflix binge post from July 2016!

Now that I finished these shows, I will need something new to watch. What are you currently binge-watching? Comment below and let me know!

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Start your Halloween Weekend off with my current playlist

 

Disclaimer: I promise there will be no Monster Mash mentioned below. 😉 

Hey, babes!

Happy almost Halloween! For those of you who will be dressing up this weekend and heading out, happy Halloween weekend to you! Whether you’re hosting a Halloween party, or getting ready to go to one, the music that you play always set the tone.

Start your Halloween Weekend off right by jamming out to some of the songs I can’t stop listening to recently:

High On Life Martin Garrix ft. Bonn // Tequilawine– Olivia O’Brien

REDMERCDES by Animè // I Like It by Cardi B, Bad Bunny, and J Balvin

Without Me by Halsey // Kiss and Make Up by Dua Lipa and BLACKPINK

Fux With the Boy (Remix) by Young & Devine // Motiv8 by J.Cole

Stay Together by Noah Cyrus // Drew Barrymore by Bryce Vine

What If by Kane Brown and Lauren Aliana // Ride by TimeFlies

If you’re in the mood for some throwbacks, check out my previous must-have weekend playlist from summer 2016.

Be safe this weekend!

What songs can you not stop listening to right now? Comment below and let me know!

A former Bachelorette contestant texted me to start blogging again..and HERE I AM!

Hey babes, hey!

Hope you’re still sparkling and shining because I am back! Let’s pop the champagne, raise a glass, and throw some confetti in the year, shall we?

But honestly, it feels like a complete dream that I am currently posting on Sparkle and Shine again. Time and time again, I sat in front of my laptop in my office, while on NJ Transit, or even on my phone with the intent to start a blog post. But after commuting in and out of the city, every time I sat down to work and create blog content, I ended up getting distracted by a text message from a friend that I wasn’t able to answer in a few hours or wanted to get away from the screen after spending 9 hours in front of it at work. Then, on the weekends, I would make as many plans as possible to try and have some work-life balance.

After connecting through work on a professional level with former Bachelor contestant Jamie Otis, her and I quickly formed a friendship. While recently eating some of the yummiest crab cakes ever in New York City, I started chatting with Jamie about my blog (for those of you who don’t know, on top of being a nurse, a mom, and hosting Married At First Sight Unfiltered, Jamie also runs a blog. What A #GIRLBOSS!), and chatting through the hurdles of trying to get back into blogging, finding the time to do so while juggling a full time job as a PR gal and a work-life balance! Jamie, being the total ray of sunshine that she is, helped encouraged me to find the balance and make my time. After her encouraging words that day, and a text that evening as additional kick-in-the butt encouragement, I am here. I am back and plan on being better than ever.
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Here’s to what Sparkle and Shine will bring through the end of the year, and into 2019! Cheers!

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! 

 

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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