fashion

May and June Sales Hauls

Hey everyone,

I haven’t done a haul post in a while, so I wanted to share my great finds from both May and June!

This haul includes lots of Spring/Summer shoes (of course), casual dresses, gorgeous gowns, and blouses.

I also snagged some outerwear that’ll be great for this Fall/Winter. Am I the only one who likes to buy off-season clothes because they’re so cheap during the in-between months?

Anyway, time to get to the goods. Links to buy are included for everything, as always.

Lulus Midi Dress
Lulus Striped Sandals
Tobi Halter Maxi
Tobi Cold Shoulder Maxi
Tobi Off the Shoulder Maxi
Venus Fringe Sweater
Venus Faux Fur Trim Coat
Venus Sheer Sleeve Dress
Venus Keyhole Top
Venus Belted Maxi
Dolce Vita Slides
Target Leopard Slides
Target Brown Slides
Amazon Espadrilles

Some of these items were purchased during MDW sales, others just regular sales, but all of them are still currently discounted.

Happy shopping, and don’t forget to comment below to share your own favorite haul items.

I’ll be posting more hauls and great fashion finds very soon. 🙂 ❤

books

Book Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Trilogy

Hi all,

I finished the third book of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (TATBILB) series this past weekend, and I just had to write a review about the trilogy.

After hearing about the Netflix adaptation of TATBILB from so many people, I decided to add the book to my Spring reading list.

At the time, I didn’t know that there were two more books in the series, or that I would end up reading those, as well.

Just a few pages into the first book, I could tell that the story and its narrator, 16-year-old Lara Jean, were special.

The first book has a pretty cool premise–Lara Jean writes love letters to her crushes as a way to get over them; over the course of her life she’s written five letters to five different boys.

The letters end up getting stolen and mailed out to their subjects, some of whom Lara Jean still goes to school with or sees on a regular basis, and that’s just the beginning.

What I was expecting to be an amusing, quick, YA read actually turned out to be a really sweet and enthralling love story that continues throughout the rest of Lara Jean’s high school career (covered in books two and three of the series).

This series ended up touching my heart for a few reasons; first and foremost, I identified a lot with the main character, who has a shy demeanor and spends a lot of time with her family.

Lara Jean isn’t a big partier and she doesn’t have much experience with boys, which makes every little moment between her and a potential crush extra special.

Lara Jean reminds me a lot of how I was in high school, and reading about some of the things she deals with besides boys throughout the series (family stuff, mean girls, choosing a college and then the finality of graduation) took me right back to my teen years.

These books were so well-written that they not only reminded me of my past, they brought back some of the feelings I had at that time, and that ability to affect a reader’s emotions is something that really impresses me when it comes to writing.

When Lara Jean was getting closer to graduation and was savoring every “last” experience she had, seeing things through a veil of simultaneous finality and possibility for the future, that mindset and the way it feels to be in that position came rushing back to me, striking up some old, nostalgic pangs that I had forgotten about and definitely never expected to feel again.

When I finished the series, my heart was heavy with the feeling that something really special had ended, but I was also able to imagine all of the possible ways the characters’ lives could continue from there. And I really wanted to imagine what else would happen for them.

Author Jenny Han confirmed that the last book was the end of the series, but if she had continued to write about Lara Jean’s college experience, adult life, or even the high school years of Lara Jean’s younger sister, I would buy those books the first date they were available.

If it’s not clear yet, I really enjoyed and would highly recommend all three of these books.

I keep talking about them as a series and not individual, because to me they are a package deal.

There is one key story that flows throughout all three books, and other stories begin and end within them, as well.

After finishing the last book, I immediately went to Netflix to watch the movie that so many people have been raving about, and I was glad to have that extension of my experience with these characters and this world.

The movie was great but, as always, I definitely recommend you read the books before watching (preferably all three, since they added some things from books two and three to the movie).

Without giving too much away, these books tell the story of young love and how falling in love can help you discover who you are and reveal your true self to others without you even realizing it.

They tell about how important it is to savor the time you have with the ones you love, because most things in life, if not all, are temporary.

They tell the story of a young girl growing up and facing challenges, and rising to meet those challenges even when she didn’t think she could.

Most of all, they depict the life, priorities, and struggles of a 16- to 18-year-old girl with both accuracy and grace.

I’ve never read any other book by Jenny Han, but I will definitely be adding some of her other works to my TBR list.

If you’re interested in reading books from this series, here are the names of each book and where you can buy them (click the picture to open a purchase window).

Or you can buy all three paperbacks in a set, here!

If you’ve already read this series, let me know what you thought in the comments below! I’m always interested in fan-girling over some great literature, OR in hearing another perspective from someone who maybe didn’t get the same things I did out of the story.

What other series are must-reads? I have a vacation coming up in July and want to make sure I bring some great reading material with me, so please share your recommendations in the comments below, as well.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your week! ❤ 🙂

lifestyle

Cleaning Hacks (and Products) for Keeping Your Home Tidy All Year

Hi friends,

Has everyone finished their Spring cleaning yet?

I know I haven’t…but my husband and I have been trying to make progress little by little whenever we have a few hours on the weekend.

I’ve discovered a few cleaning tips, tricks, and products that can help make things easier for you, just as they have for us.

Check out my recommended cleaning hacks and cleaning products below, click the images to purchase, and don’t forget to leave your own suggestions in the comments! ❤

Reusable Dryer Sheets: You’ve probably got these guys stored wherever you do laundry already, but did you know they can be used for household cleaning after you use them in the dryer? Used dryer sheets don’t need to be thrown away; they can be used to clean off mirrors and other glass surfaces, coffee tables, and even the inside of your toilet (preferably not all with one dryer sheet…lol). This is a great hack because it’s likely something you’re already using and therefore doesn’t cost you anything extra. Cheap (or free) hacks are the best hacks, no?

Drill Scrub Brush: I kid you not, my husband actually bought a drill just so he could clean our bathroom floor with this scrub brush. But hey, don’t knock it. Not only was the process a bit more amusing for him, he got our bathroom floor (grout included) spotless by using this drill scrub method. The brushes themselves are pretty cheap. We’re going to try doing the shower walls with it next so I’ll keep you all updated.

Dish Soap for Stains: This is more of a clothes cleaning than house cleaning hack, but still applicable, in my option. Did you know that dish soap can get almost anything out of clothing? Spill some marinara sauce on your white sweater? Get a grease stain on a t-shirt you love? Swipe your shirt sleeve with mascara while trying to get ready at the crack of dawn? Next time you get a tricky substance on your clothing, sheets, or a towel, put it under warm water, add some dish soap, and rub gently. You’ll be amazed at how well this works and all of the different things it works for.

Scrub Mommy Sponges: My aunt gave me these for Christmas a few years ago and I haven’t used another sponge since. These sponges are durable and useful, with one tough (yet gentle enough not to scratch) scrubbing side and one smoother absorbent side. They are great for washing any type of dish, cleaning counters, and cleaning off appliances as well. Plus they come in cute smiley-face shapes.

Robot Vacuum: Sure, having a robot vacuum probably feels a little bit like cheating, but you can’t deny how convenient it is that these things exist. It’s not as necessary right now as I live in a two bedroom condo, but once I move into a full-size house I know I’m going to appreciate our robot vacuum immensely. I can have it rolling around on the floor cleaning up while I’m taking care of other household chores. These are a little on the pricier side, of course, but if you invest in a well-made one, I think it’s totally worth it.

lifestyle

The Best Teen Dramas from the Late 90’s and 2000’s

Hi all,

Hope your week has gotten off to a great start!

One of my favorite things to do on weeknights is relax in my bed and binge watch some old TV shows.

Lately, my guilty pleasure has been old teen dramas ranging from the late 1990’s to the mid-late 200’s.

All of these are shows I’ve watched before (most of them multiple times) but I still find myself pulled into the drama and I love every minute of it.

I guess, with so much happening during the day, it’s nice to have my mind occupied by something else; plus, it’s a little nostalgic being reminded of the things that we thought were so important back when we were in high school. 😉

Here’s my ranking of 10 of the most popular teen dramas from the 90’s and 2000’s, plus which popular streaming services you can find them on.

10. The OC
This is your typical California teen show, and was also my first exposure to Rachel Bilson, who is currently one of my favorite actresses! It’s a cute show about best friends, boys, and high school and is basically what you’d expect from the early 2000’s, but tapers off a little for me around the last two seasons. Without giving anything away, I’ll just say that some of the decisions of the show makers left me confused and focused on what I wished the ending could be, rather than what it was.
You can currently stream episodes of The OC on Hulu!

9. Dawson’s Creek
Ok, so I’m probably going to get grief about putting this one so low on my list, but I just never got into Dawson’s Creek the way a lot of other people did. It certainly had a cute love story and lots of great drama, but it couldn’t hold my interest as much as the other shows of its time for some reason.
This one is also available to stream on Hulu.

8. Laguna Beach
Dubbed “The Real OC,” Laguna Beach was a documentary-style show on MTV that followed a cast of real teenagers throughout their last couple years of high school. I honestly can’t tell you why every teenage girl was so obsessed with this show back in the day, but I still find myself drawn into the episodes whenever re-runs are on. This is another one that got weaker as the show went on, in my opinion. By Season 3, the original cast had all graduated and a new crop of students became the focus; that’s where I lost interest.
All three seasons are currently available on MTV.

7. Greek
This ABC Family (now, Freeform) show was about Greek life at college, and even though I didn’t participate in Greek life myself, I found this show really entertaining. There’s a great on-and-off love story woven throughout all of the seasons, and I found myself on the edge of my seat every step of the way for this couple. Overall, this show is really cute and I would definitely watch it again.
This show is available on Freeform or Hulu.

6. Gilmore Girls
This is another show that many other girls my age would probably put much higher on the list. For some reason, I just couldn’t get into Rory and Lorelai as much as everyone else (even though my sister’s old nickname for me was Lorelai). I did love how into reading Rory was, though, and there were a couple of juicy love stories in this show that caught my interest. I still haven’t, and probably won’t, watch the Netflix reboot.
To help you get caught up for their new show, Netflix has all of the old Gilmore Girls seasons available (in addition to episodes of the reboot series).

5. Friday Night Lights
This show makes me so happy and sad at the same time. I absolutely loved it, but I feel like it could’ve been even better if it wasn’t a victim to the writer’s strike that happened in 2007/2008. I loved all of the characters, the dramatic high school story, and the exciting football scenes. I have a soft spot for any show that combines sports and love stories; and yes, that is a bit of foreshadowing for what’s to come in the remaining four TV shows for this post. Getting back to Friday Night Lights, the only reason this show isn’t higher on the list is because I wanted more of it, and I felt that a lot of pieces abruptly cut off.
You can watch all of Friday Night Lights on Hulu and select seasons on Amazon Prime.

4. Degrassi: The Next Generation
In a way, I feel like I grew up with the characters of Degrassi. This series ran for ~14 years and it covered absolutely everything you could possibly have to deal with as a teen: breakups, friend drama, embarrassing moments, and several other more serious topics like rape, drug use, and STDs. It’s kind of odd to say, but I feel like I really learned a lot from this show, and all of the serious issues they included were done tastefully and successfully, in my opinion. I used to watch this with two of my best friends on Friday nights, so thinking back to the show also reminds me of happy, carefree times. This show will always be special to me.
There is a Degrassi YouTube channel with most of the seasons available to watch.

3. 90210
This spinoff of the original Beverly Hills show is another one that drew me in right from the beginning. One of the main characters, Annie, is actually played by a Degrassi alum, which is what originally drew me to the show. This starts off following another class of California teens, but the show expands to many different characters and story lines throughout the seasons. I’ve watched this series all the way through twice, and still follow some of the actresses on Instagram because I grew to love them.
The show is currently available on Amazon Prime.

2. Gossip Girl
So, I actually didn’t watch this show until a couple of years after it ended, but the first episodes I streamed had me hooked immediately. This show is your typical teen drama, but focuses on the elite, super rich side of New York. I love that this show takes place in the city, I love that it is centered on fashion, and I love Blake Lively and Leighton Meester (I also really, really love Chuck and Blair’s relationship…but who doesn’t?). My cousin is obsessed with Gossip Girl, and she’s the one who got me into it. I’m so glad she did because this is a great show to binge, especially if you want to get pulled into the story and forget about your own stress for a while.
All of Gossip Girl is available on Netflix.

1. One Tree Hill
I cannot even begin to describe my love for this show. Yes, I was horrified to hear the allegations against creator Mark Schwahn not too long ago, but this show and all of its beautiful messages still remain unblemished in my mind. OTH starts out as another high school drama, but it goes deeper into the relationships of the characters and who they are as people more than any other teen soap I’ve seen before. The main character’s love for literature speaks to my heart, and there is so much amazing music and art included in, and created for, this show. A really great decision the writers made was to skip over the college years; so we see the cast go through high school, and then jump to them being in their early 20s. It sounds weird, but it worked so well for the story. My favorite thing about this show is getting to see the evolution of each character throughout the 9 seasons (ie, 13 year time span) of the show. The transformation of some key people is not only amazing to watch, but it’s absolutely believable. This show taught me so much about myself and what I want out of the world; it inspired me and touched me deeply, and I would absolutely recommend it to a woman of any age. My husband and I recently watched it together and he loved it, too!
One Tree Hill is currently on Hulu!

What are some of your go-to teen drama shows? I feel like shows in the late 90s/2000s were so much better than they are now, but everyone probably feels that way about a certain period of time that’s special to them.

It’s silly to think that a TV show, especially one that’s made to be over-the-top, could actually have an impact on its viewer; but a lot of these shows stuck with me over the years.

Going back to watch an old series sometimes feels like wrapping myself up in my own teenage blanket, remembering how I saw the world at such a crucial point in my life, reflecting on who I was and who I turned out to be.

Comment below with your recommendations for great dramas I can binge watch at night, or with a special show that means a lot to you.

I love to find out more about you guys, so please don’t hesitate to share!

Thanks for reading, and until next time…<3

fashion

The Best Bargain-Priced Sandals for Summer

Hi everyone, and happy Saturday!

I feel like the weather skipped right over Spring and now it’s suddenly super hot every day.

I’m certainly not going to complain about nice weather, or the opportunity to wear all of my new sandals on a regular basis.

With Summer basically upon us, I wanted to share all of the great new shoes I’ve been wearing lately and where you can find them.

As usual, I got all of these on sale and they’re still priced really well.

These Valentino dupes from Amazon are perfect, and such a great bargain at under $20. Valentino is one of my favorite Luxe brands because of their more edgy styles. The rock stud is one of my favorite design elements they use, and these sandals look just like the real thing for a fraction of the price.

My sister actually gave me these Franco Sarto wedges because they were a little too small, and I happily took them off her hands! I’m building quite the collection of wedges lately, but I can’t help it. I love the cute but laid back style that wedges have.

These Steve Madden slides are my favorite new shoe! I love the spikes and I’m also pretty into white sandals this year. I’ve always been a fan of Steve Madden, so I’m not at all surprised to find myself obsessing over something of theirs this season.

Speaking of Steve Madden, these Madden Girl sandals are so sparkly and pretty. I’ll definitely be wearing them on warm Summer date nights this year. I love a versatile shoe, and I could see these pairing well with both casual and dressy looks.

This pair of Sam Edelman sandals is another one I’ve been giving a lot of use so far this year. I do own other Sam Edelman shoes but this is my first sandal from the Circus brand. The first time I wore these, I was pleasantly surprised by how cushioned the sole was. Super comfy and cute!

Those are my Summer shoe recommendations for today!

All of the shoes shown above have lower price points and are really stylish.

I’ve worn and will continue to wear all of them for the rest of this Summer and, most likely, many Summers to come.

You’ll definitely see more Summer fashion finds from me soon, so be on the lookout for future posts.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful weekend! 🙂 ❤

beauty, lifestyle

Natural Everyday Look with Drugstore Makeup

Hi all,

So, unlike many other bloggers (and many other girls in general) I’m not a huge fan of makeup.

When I was younger I was never allowed to wear it, and that’s probably why I wasn’t really interested in makeup when I got older.

I’m also pretty terrible at doing my own makeup; again, most likely due to my lack of practice.

However, I do like to wear basic makeup when I want to look a little more dressed up, so I’ll do a natural look for client meetings, parties, photo shoots, etc.

I wanted to share a super simple, natural makeup approach that is my go-to whenever I want to highlight my natural features and make my skin look more even-toned.

All of the products I use can be found in a drug store or on Amazon (all are linked to Amazon in this post) and are pretty inexpensive.

So here’s a step-by-step guide of how to create my natural makeup look; this only takes 20-25 min and is very easy to do, so it’s perfect for a daily morning routine or a once-in-a-while look refresh.

Step 1: Primer

Maybelline Master Blur Stick Primer

This product is actually a recent find for me, but I absolutely love it.

It has great coverage for a primer and the “Light” shade blends perfectly with my skin tone; I’ve actually worn just this primer with mascara when in a rush!

It is also available in a transparent color, which allow you to get the same pore minimizing benefits with an even more natural look.

Step 2: Foundation

Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse

I love this foundation because it goes on smooth and is still only light-medium coverage.

In the winter I use the Ivory shade but in the warmer months I switch to one of the Light or Light-Medium shades; they have a lot to choose from so you should be able to find the right one for your skin tone.

You can use any type of blender or sponge to put on your foundation, but I prefer the standard makeup wedges; they are cheap and disposable, so I can just throw them away after a few uses to avoid causing extra breakouts on my skin.

Step 3: Bronzer

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer

This is one of the most expensive makeup items I own, but I actually got it from an Ipsy bag some time ago and it has lasted me a while.

A few things I love about this product: it smells like chocolate (!!!), it adds the perfect amount of color and slight tan to my face, and it (seemingly) lasts forever.

I would definitely recommend this bronzer, but if it’s a little above your price point, there are certainly others from trusted brands like Neutrogena or Maybelline that are cheaper.

Step 4: Mascara

Covergirl Bombshell Mascara

This mascara is literally the BOMB…it’s double-sided and adds both volume and length to your lashes.

I’ve read online that a trick to getting really great-looking lashes is to use two different mascaras, but you don’t even have to do that with this Covergirl tube because it’s already two in one.

I kind of bought this on a whim a few years ago when I saw the commercial for it, but I’ve loved it ever since and am always going back to get the same one when I run out.

Step 5: Lip

Baby Lips Coral Crave

I’ve posted about Baby Lips before; it’s basically a great lip balm with a few different shades to choose from.

My everyday go-to is Coral Crave, which is just slightly pinker than my natural lip color.

It adds a little more color to my face without it even looking like I have anything on, which is awesome.

That’s it! I don’t use eyeliner, highlighter, eye shadow, or setting spray for my typical makeup look.

As I mentioned, I like to keep it simple and I also aim to highlight my natural features rather than changing the look of them.

Of course, I’m not knocking anyone who likes a more intensive makeup look; I went the first 18-ish years of my life wearing virtually no makeup, so even this very minimal style sometimes feel like a lot on my skin.

The thing that I think is cool about makeup is how customizable it is; there are so many different products out there that you can choose something as bold or as tame as you want, and you can change it up every single day if you want to.

I hope you found this list of products useful, and I’m more than happy to hear any makeup tips you may have to share!

Comment below to let me know some of your favorite products, and what you think they work best for (every day look, costume makeup, extra glam, etc).

Thanks for checking out my latest post and I hope to see you back here again soon! ❤ 🙂

Top | Jeans | Necklace
fashion

Chic Outfits for the Spring and Summer

Hey everyone!

So…I took a little bit of a break after my 30 day blogging challenge, but I’m back and ready to share a lot of new content with you all!

It’s been raining nonstop here, but I know that means warmer weather is just around the corner, along with pretty, well-watered plants and flowers.

While I wait for the skies to clear up, I’ve been daydreaming quite a bit about outfits that are perfect for higher temperatures.

I’ve put together a few looks that I really like, featuring a lot of discounted pieces, as usual!

Check out the looks below and feel free to comment with your reactions/feedback.

Links to buy are included for everything, as well.

Dress | Sandals | Purse | Earrings

This black and white chevron dress is so easy to accessorize because its neutral colors go with pretty much anything. For Spring, I’d add a mint colored purse from Kate Spade and some pretty arm candy (pictured are the lotus, Stand Up to Cancer, and ‘What’s for you will not pass you’ bangles from Alex+Ani, plus a colorful bangle from a local boutique).

Dress | Heels

This dress is a little more formal; great for a graduation, shower, or any other event you may have coming up over the next few months. Also shown here are a large Kate Spade purse (not currently avail) and a matching necklace/earring set from NY&Co.

Shorts | Top | Sandals | Purse

I love some fun, bright colors in the warm weather! These adorable color blocked shorts are perfect with any white top, and I’ve just been dying to use this Valentino bag that I got at a huge discount from Saks, so here it is. 🙂

Dress | Sandals | Purse

Another pop of color comes from this pretty Boho Factory dress. Shown here with the same sandals and purse as the previous picture, and some added statement earrings (an old pair that I’ve had forever) to complete the look.

Dress | Belt | Bracelets | Shoes

It seems like every time the warm weather comes around I find myself with a new sunflower dress…not that I’m complaining! The dress and belt were both Amazon finds, the shoes I’ve raved about in multiple previous posts, and the bracelet set is from Boho Factory. The earrings, again, are a super old pair.