Hellooo friends! As you already know if you follow me on social media, I recently moved into a condo in Downtown Orlando [#SoAdult]… It’s my first time living ALONE & I looked at quite a few places before finally making a decision. I ended up choosing a studio in a nice high-rise that overlooks Lake Eola. I was torn between that OR a 1000+ SQ FT, 1BR/1B [for the same price] that was in an older building – it had a huge walk in closet & tons of space, but the kitchen wasn’t ultra updated & it didn’t have a lot of the building ammenities/safety features that I was really wanting. I ultimately decided that I would rather have a SMALLER space that felt modern, up to date & was in a building that I was extremely comfortable in!
My unit has SUPER high ceilings [like, literally 20+ ft] & one end is all floor to ceiling windows/a sliding glass door that opens up to a nice sized balcony [which I love.] Those features definitely make it feel LARGER & very open – but it’s only a little over 500 SQ FT total… & there’s no separation between the kitchen area / the rest of the space. I’m slowlyyyy trying to decorate & furnish my new home in a way that makes the MOST out of the small space + makes it look larger [& stylish!] I wanted to share this process with you guys incase you TOO are trying to decorate an *itty bitty* condo/apartment, or maybe just need some home decor inspo in general! I’m going to be doing a post about EACH section of my studio as I finish it. First up is the BEDROOM area, because…duh, it’s the most important. #ILOVE2NAP
Alright, so – when I moved, the only furniture I brought with me was my headboard/bed, nightstand & dresser [which I had from the last apartment I lived in with a roommate.] Tuft & Needle was nice enough to send me a new mattress [it’s heavenly]; & I had a basic white bedding set… but it was DEFINITELY time for an upgrade! I really wanted bedding that would look more adult/sophisticated & match the overall aesthetic of my new place. One of my favorite things about staying at nice hotels/resorts when I travel [besides the room service, obv] is the BEDDING – I love how crisp, classic & luxe it always is – so I wanted to recreate that feeling.
I’ve always heard AMAZING things about Boll & Branch + had seen photos of their beautiful bedding across social media… so I was BEYOND thrilled to partner with them to decorate the bedroom section of my condo! In case you aren’t already familiar with the brand – since its inception, they’ve been directly sourcing the world’s finest organic cotton and re-engineering every design for a better-end product of heirloom quality. Each detail of their products is highly intentional –from the tension of the thread to the diameter of the yarn & the type of dye used. It’s all 100% pure organic; proving that products can be BOTH eco-friendly & beautiful!
Honestly, not only does the quality of their bedding live up to all of the *hype* – it’s even BETTER in real life. When my order arrived, I was soOo excited, I ran down to grab the packages right away & immediately opened them up… As you can see in my photos, the Boll & Branchsignature boxes & packaging itself is GORGEOUS [almost too pretty to open!] I was really impressed by the details & overall presentation of the products – definitely an amazing first impression.
I decided I’m going to start throwing a little post up each month talking about the new products I’ve had the chance to test out*! I typically post everything I get in the mail on my IG/Snap stories, but I feel like it’s way more useful for you to know if the product ACTUALLY worked/if I liked it – so here ya go!
WHAT IT DOES: “A mascara that delivers outrageous volume, lift, and curve for a false-lash effect. Lash out with Estee Lauder’s Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara. With each application, eyelashes seem to multiply, magnify, and grow for a bright-eyed, sexy look. Formulated with Extreme Bold Volume, a blend of three high-volume fibers in a mousse-light base, it conditions lashes with its Lash-Advancing Vitamin Complex. It features a wand with an oversized BrushComber Extreme brush, designed with two types of bristles: flexible fibers to coat on maximum formula, and its solid fibers comb and separate, building better volume and clump-free definition.”
WHAT I THOUGHT: Ok, I’ve tried A LOT of mascaras. Basically all of the ones that you constantly read good reviews about [both drugstore and high end]… & I REALLY love this one. I will have to rebuy it after I run out because now I don’t know if I can live with out it. Obviously, the packaging is GORGEOUS – my first impression when I received it was how pretty it is & how great the name is [I mean, who doesn’t want “SUMPTUOUS EXTREME” lashes?!] But it actually does live up to the description – it makes my lashes look SUPER long & thick, but not clumpy. I’m obsessed, go get it.
WHAT IT DOES: “A quick-absorbing, cream-gel formula that helps reduce the look of cellulite, visibly lifting and firming hips and thighs. Based on 60 years of contouring expertise, this innovative body treatment is powered by eight plant extracts, including quince leaf extract. It targets the appearance of cellulite, visibly lifting, firming, and smoothing hips and thighs for a more streamlined silhouette. This addictive, refreshing cream-gel instantly absorbs to soothe and smooth the skin’s surface.”
WHAT I THOUGHT: I’ve actually tried this before! Last year I was researching what the *best cellulite products* were & this one kept coming up… It’s kind of pricey, but I had an employee discount at Nordstrom at the time – so I decided to try it out. I loved it & could definitely tell a difference, I was pretty bummed when I ran out. I was really excited to receive a fresh bottle & still feel the same way about the product as I did before. It’s a light, refreshing cream that has a slight scent to it that’s not crazy or overwhelming…it tingles when it goes on [in a nice way, not a scary lip plumping gloss way.] I like to use it right after the shower &/or right before bed – if you use it regularly [like every day] you’ll definitely start seeing/feeling a difference. It makes your skin feel tighter, smoother/firmer & if you have specific cellulite spots that are always a problem – I think it really improves them [it doesn’t make them dissappear, duh.] If you use it religiously while ALSO on a clean eating diet & workout routine – you’ll see a HUGE difference & some of those spots will most likely actually go away.I know it’s on the more expensive end, but the bottle is pretty large [you can see in my photos] & there’s a lot of product in it – you can use a small amount & it goes a long way. If you’re getting ready for a specific event [vacation, photoshoot, wedding, etc] I think it’s totally worth using it during the month or so leading up to it. PS: EVERYONE has cellulite 🙂
WHAT IT DOES: “Restore skin with vital moisture, vitamins and essential fatty acids to help promote water retention and proper lipid balance. This ultra-moisturizing mask visually plumps skin to smooth out wrinkles and refines skin texture. The result is a healthier-looking complexion and skin that feels softer and revitalized.”WHAT I THOUGHT: I’ve tried this mask a few times now – definitely does what it says as far as moisturizing & smoothing, my skin tends to be dry so I really liked it. I like to do it at night before bed or in the shower. This was my first time trying out a COSMEDIX product & it made me interested in testing out some of their other stuff.
WHAT IT DOES: One-of-its-kind skin perfector that boosts skin appearance in less than a minute. Skin looks smooth and rejuvenated immediately thanks to cream’s surprising color and texture (no Silicone in, but Silicone-like insta-effect). Acts on a cellular level. Energizes skin aquaporins (skin’s water channels), boosts skin hydration and skin cells communication for radiant look right now. Its unparalleled ultra-smooth, silicone-like texture provides stress-free, relaxed and confident appearance in an instant. It works on blemishes and wrinkles leaving skin super smooth and matte, refreshed and radiant.”
WHAT I THOUGHT: First off, AMAZING branding – I loved the box, packaging, bottle etc. It also came with a mini sample of their “Face With A View Concentrated Cream.” The whole concept of the product is really cool & I love how it’s marketed towards people who travel; because it’s true – your skin does get really gross & dry from being in & out of airports/planes. I really liked using the product as kind of a primer for my makeup – it INSTANTLY blurs & smooths your skin for sure. I found that my makeup glided on easier & looked more perfected because of the product. The Concentrated Cream ALSO worked really well – overall great products & I’m interested to see what else this brand comes out with!
WHAT IT DOES: “An innovative, double-sided concealer, with a full-coverage matte stick on one end and a lightweight, illuminating liquid on the other. Dualist Matte and Illuminating Concealer is double sided with a full coverage matte stick on one end and a lightweight illuminating liquid on the other. The matte stick provides maximum coverage for discoloration, blemishes, dark circles, age spots and redness. The moisturizing illuminating concealer can be used to reawaken a dull complexion, brighten the under eyes or cheekbones, and diffuse fine lines with a soft and flattering glow.”
If you happen to be one of the [150 MILLION]daily, active users on Snapchat – then you’ll probably relate to the embarrassing confession I’m about to make…
I have a severe snap-induced complex. The filters have given me COMPLETELY unrealistic beauty expectations & goals for myself. I literally find myself wishing I could turn into a baby animal [yes – doe eyes, pervy, furry ears & all] or have a flower crown permanently attached to my skull [I could just get it medically stitched on, right…?]
Everything started with the infamous, tongue-slurping, puppy dog filter… it was innocent enough at first, but then – the entire female population started to realize that it transformed their face into a subtly smoother, glowier, overall PRETTIER version of the mug they were used to being greeted by in the mirror every morning.
It soon became an epidemic; girls couldn’t stay away from the pup poses & sexy slurps – it was more addictive than [I would imagine] a Starbucks unicorn frapp laced with crack is. SO, after noticing the trend, Snapchat did what ALL smart businesses do – they decided to capitalize on & appeal to the insecurities of their target market!
WHICH BRINGS US TO WHERE WE ARE NOW…
…living in a world FULL of perfect-pretty, sexy-cute-baby-animal, skin-smoothing-makeup-applyingfilters; with new variations released DAILY! It’s honestly overwhelming. But if you thought this whole spiel was leading up to me condemning Snapchat, or saying that we should all just learn to be happy with our *natural, non-filtered* faces…..
I did extensive *research* & spent some time pondering the [deep, mind boggling] question of, “Exactly WHAT makes each individual filter so appealing? And how can those things berecreated in real life?” With some of the filters, the answer is blatantly obvious/basic – i.e. you can literally just purchase oversized, aviator-shaped readers [that don’t actually improve your reading ability in any way, shape or form] at your local hipster shop. It’s also extremely easy to buy, or make, a *real life* flower crown [although if you constantly wear it during your day to day, non-festival-attending-life, you’ll probably get some strange looks.]
However, MOST of the [best] filters convert your face into something that just… isn’t a *real life* possibility [like a baby deer or a cartoon bunny rabbit.] Sure, the furry ears/pink nose are adorable, & part of the reason why girls overuse them… but when I actually analyzed the filters that I find myself constantly choosing; I realized it’s because they ALL have certain characteristics that I’m going to refer to as, “the pattern of pretty” or #POP [can I get a copyright??]
[Now you know the reason guys barely ever use these filters… because they DGAF about ANY of these things]
SO, HOW DO YOU ACHIEVE #POP WITHOUT AN APP?
By using the original, pre-iphone filter, obviously…
PREP: Your skin needs to be looking smooth & healthy – even without makeup on – to achieve ultimate snap filter quality IRL. It’s hard to recommend a specific cleanser just because everyones skin is SO different, but I love Kiehl’s products. After cleansing, moisturizing is going to be a HUGE key to getting the perfect filter glow. Try these products:
CONCEAL: After you’ve primed, it’s time to get down to business. You’re going to use concealer to cover any blemishes, dark circles or spots – you want a product that’s hydrating [no creasing throughout the day] & will blur imperfections for a perfected complexion that still looks natural. These are amazing:
COVER: Next up – you’re going to apply foundation. Obviously, finding the correct shade for your skin tone is super important, & I always prefer to use a LIQUID form of foundation. You’ll want a high-pigment formula that will blend seamlessly & hide even the most hard-to-cover imperfections for an overall matte-finish that’s ideal for photos [if you need it, you can follow with a powder foundation in the same shade.] Try these:
CONTOUR: Ok now it’s time to contour & highlight your face to be the best [skinniest] version that it can possibly be. The *art of contouring* is really a whole other blog post in itself, so go watch a youtube tutorial on how to do it if you don’t already know. But BASICALLY; you’re going to want to use bronzer/dark shades [cream, powder or stick] in the hollows of your cheekbones [the area that’s created when you make a sucked in fishy face], around your face & on the sides of your nose. Then apply blush to the apples of your cheeks [the area you see when you smile], & highlighter on the top of your cheekbones, bridge of nose, upper lip & eyebrow bone. HIGHLIGHTER is the ultimate key for photos & creating the glowy filter look [just reference any of the Kardashians.] There are some great palettes that include everything you need all in one! Also, make sure you BLEND, BLEND, BLEND. Use these products:
LINE: For your eyes, if you want to achieve the same doe-eyed, oversized look that the snaps filters provide; you’re going to want to use a liquid liner to do a winged, cat-eye style upper lid line. The wing creates the illusion of a wider eye & fuller eyelashes. JACKPOT. You can use an under-eye brightener + faux whites eye liner [yes, that’s a real thing] on the bottom lids to create super white, glowing eyeballs just like in the filters. Use these:
LASH: Obviously, if you want to REALLY recreate the #POP, you need to throw on some false lashes – preferably mink, whispy, with less lashes on the inner eye & more on the outer eye [again creating the illusion of a much larger eye.] If you don’t feel like going to such extreme efforts [or getting glue in your cornea] – you can just layer a few great mascaras to create the same volume. Try these lashes &/or mascaras:
For this filter, just grab some clear, aviator shaped reader glasses that serve no real purpose [+ a glowy eyeball & glossed lip] and perhaps a novel that you have no intentions of actually opening.
THE EVER-CHANGING CROWN OF FLOWERS, BUTTERFLIES… OR WHATEVER
This one focuses primarily on the over the top head crown, but tends to also include a VERY glimmery eye & of course, totally smooth skin.
THE HOTTEST BABY PIGLET [?] EVER CREATED
If you follow me on basically any social platform, you know that I really love this one. I’m aware that it’s annoying & obnoxious [ESPECIALLY if I record myself talking & you have to listen to it played back in that terrifying high-pitched voice.] I’m honestly still not even 100% positive what animal it is, but the pink shade of the ears leads me to baby pig – so that’s what I’m sticking with. Everything about this filter is perfect. The whispy lashes, glowing, oversized eyes, contoured/bronzed slimmed face & subtle glossed lip suck me in EVERY time. #POPPIGLET
THE CHEETAH GIRL [PART-TIME SURGEON]
Remember that Disney movie – the Cheetah Girls? I feel like this filter was inspired by it… but then when I move my head & a random surgical mask with whiskers on it appears, I become very confused. Regardless, it makes you look super attractive [because of the #POP.] This one has great lashes, a bronzed look, smooth skin & a blueish glow to the eye.
THE VARIOUS CUTE BABY ANIMALS TRYING TO READ
One of the most recent additions to the *consistent filter crew*…THIS is how you know that Snapchat KNOWS exactly what it’s doing. They decided to just combine the whole adorable-baby-animal-thing WITH hipster glasses [+ #POP] & voila: basic bitch magic. The baby bear [?] wearing oversized round readers is my personal go-to – but they all feature thick, voluminous lashes, large glowing eyes, a bronzed-contoured face & super smooth skin. Genius.
If you try hard enough, believe in yourself, & have a ton of time/money to spend at Sephora – you can ALWAYS look like a Snapchat filter! [Oh & as a side-note…the reason no one wants to use the new Instagram face filters is because they DON’T follow the #POP I described. Mark Zuckerberg, get at me.]
I know, I know – flower fields are REALLY trendy these days & you’re sick of seeing photos of them [#BlameTheBloggers] … but alas; here I am … posing in a flower field! In case you’re wondering – this one is actually located in a totally random Northern Virginia town [NOT in California!] It’s called:
Ok, onto the *important* stuff… I was REALLY excited when I found this Pistola Denim jacket [it’s actually almost like a shirt because it’s so lightweight] because honestly, is there anything better than having a Biggie quote embroidered across your back? NOPE, not when you’re a white girl harboring a deep appreciation for 90’s rap + a slight obsession with the East Coast VS West Coast conspiracy theories… Anyways, I bought it in person at Bloomingdales – unfortunately, it’s already sold out on their website 🙁 but it IS still in stock on Windsor’s online store, woohoo!