Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Personal Style Inspiration

Style is something I notice. I mean, I really notice. Even today I noticed how nice a cashier was dressed as I was paying for my things. Honestly I was so impressed with how nice he looked. He was obviously someone with a strong sense of personal style. And that is something I deeply respect. There are people who follow trends and there are people who could care less about clothes. I am neither of these people. I do not follow trends. I do care about clothes. Putting an outfit together that really feels like "me" enables me to feel that much better about myself before I start my day.

I have pretty much narrowed down my personal style over the years although it continues to grow and change as I grow and change. I used to spend hours pouring over fashion magazines and tearing pages out. I would take my clippings and paste them inside a notebook. I now own almost 10 of these notebooks because I have been doing this for years. It's fun to look back on what I found inspiring when I was 17 years old and how much my taste has changed since then. However, some things remain the same. There are key fundamental things that still grab at my attention. I pay attention to effortlessness, silhouettes, basics that are not so basic, but allow me to go into further detail below.

To begin, I am particularly attracted to the 1920s and 1960s. I think it has something to do with the age of rebellion and heavy eye makeup. Both decades involved a lot of protest and unladylike behavior, which I'm into. The 1960s are often emulated today and that's because the fashion was to die for. I have already mentioned the makeup, but can we please talk about the clothes? Of course we can. Short skirts, knee high boots, headbands, stripes, I could go on and on...

This brings me to my next inspiration. The amount of adoration I have for this woman is almost obnoxious, but it's just because she's so cool. I'm referring to Alexa Chung. She uses a lot of 1960s silhouettes in her every day look. She loves a good shift dress and flats, but she also has this spunky, tomboy vibe. Everything about this girl is effortless and timeless. She might be the only living famous person I care about.

I take that back. I care deeply about Lana Del Rey as a person and as a style queen. She has referred to herself as a "gangsta" Nancy Sinatra. Oh, stop. I love you. Mostly I just want to borrow all of her cool letterman jackets and door knocker earrings.

As far as style blogs are concerned, my top favorite blog OF ALL TIME is Fashiontoast. Rumi's style is absolutely everything I love encapsulated into one wardrobe. She should get an award for her layering skills. She takes what seem like very basic pieces and layers them together in unique ways. She really has an eye for detail. She collects pieces with an interesting cut or drape so they really are not so basic. Her style is relaxed and minimal, but also incredibly badass at the same time. I don't know how she does it.

Some other really great style blogs belong to:

Claire | Layers basics, great boots, off duty rock star kind of thing.
Coline | A little bohemian, a lot of black, very French.
Jane | Creative, unique, and luxurious.
Karla | Glam-our-ous. Flossy flossy.

I think it's safe to say street style is the biggest source of inspiration because it's literally everywhere. The Sartorialist is a great street style blog that I have kept tabs on for years. Also, I have two separate Pinterest boards dedicated to style; one for spring/summer and one for autumn/winter. So, check those out if you want to see what strikes my fancy.

Personal style is meant to be personal. It's all in the way you carry yourself. What I mean is your energy and personality convey so much more about you than whatever outfit you are wearing. Someone can be rocking some serious heels, but if their energy is off putting I'm not impressed. On the other hand someone can be wearing basic jeans and a tee, but with the right kind of energy I want to know everything about them. Also, don't for one second trick yourself into thinking you have to dress like other people. I love seeing how crazy someone's outfit can get. If anyone gives you a hard time for being unique, they are probably just jealous ;) Keep an eye out for inspiration everywhere you go because it will only lift your spirits and make you feel that much better about your life. I think it is very important to feel like yourself and I think the best way to begin that process is to figure out how you want to show who you are and to be proud of that person. You are important and you matter and you should really love everything about yourself.

Until next time,


Friday, June 20, 2014

Makeup Inspiration: The 1960s

I found this video yesterday of an Alexa Chung makeup look featuring none other than Alexa herself! I absolutely adore this woman. She has the best sense of humor and I love her raspy voice.

It's quite obvious that Alexa is beautiful, but she just has this kind of presence that captures my attention. It could be the fact that I am hopelessly drawn to Scorpios. Regardless, I love that she has a simple makeup routine and it always looks flawless. She admittedly rips off the Jane Birkin vibe and it's totally working for her.

I was inspired by the low maintenance look and began doing a little research. It turns out that most of my beauty icons were actually beauty icons of the 1960s.

For example:

Anna Karina 

Audrey Hepburn

Brigitte Bardot

Marilyn Monroe

Natalie Wood

I particularly love the fact that this look is still being used over and over again today. Not only is it reminiscent of a time that is highly glamorized, but it just works. Accentuating the eye with a flick of eyeliner, contouring the cheeks, and dabbing the lips with a flattering shade for a perfect pout works for just about everyone.
Lana is the epitome of retro beauty in today's world. Bow down! 

Jennifer Lawrence

Kate Moss

Kristen Stewart

There are so many variations to this particular makeup look. 

You can make the liner very dramatic a la Amy Winehouse.

Or very soft the way it is here on Kiko.

This would actually be kind of complicated, but it looks so cool.

Reverse it.

Or, you know, line rhinestones inside the crease for a crazy glam look.

Never let eyeliner intimidate you. It takes a lot of practice (and thousands of cotton buds) to get it right for your eyes. But once you figure out what flatters you, I promise you will really like it. I always feel that much more put together when I apply eyeliner. It's actually quite simple once you get the technique down. 
I apply a neutral, cream colored eye shadow all over my eyelid. Then I apply a matte brown shade inside the crease of my eye with a rounded shadow brush. Then I apply my eyeliner and brush on a couple coats of mascara. I keep the rest of my face natural with a light coverage foundation, some cream blush and highlighter to keep a dewy finish, groomed eyebrows, and a nude lip as to not distract from the eyeliner. It's honestly a simple, every day kind of thing for me. I understand it might be too much for some people, but it works for me. 
60s makeup

Now if you really want to jazz things up, take a note from Audrey's look below. That's what I'm talking about.
So much glitter!

Until next time,

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Serious Topic: Anxiety

I am going to preface this post by mentioning just how irritating it is when someone degrades or insults someone with a mental illness. I recently heard someone say, quite loudly, that she thinks some girl is "crazy, she's, like, BIPOLAR!" She yelled this in an area with a lot of people where, chances are, there was at least one person who is actually diagnosed as bipolar. The stigma against mental illnesses is real and these diseases are not taken seriously enough. Just because you cannot see someone's brain does not mean that it cannot be ill or imbalanced.  With that said, I hope that I can shed a little light and I hope even more that people educate themselves on mental illnesses so that we can all have a better understanding of one another.

This post is not going to go into extreme depth of every mental illness EVER because I honestly do not have the knowledge for that. I have done research on various illnesses because I want to work in the mental health field, but I am by no means an expert on any of it. I have however suffered from a couple of different things and can share my experience with them. I think the main reason I want to share this is because I don't want anyone to feel alone or isolated with their problems. Once I began opening up about what was going on with me, I found that a lot of other people could relate and had similar issues. I didn't feel the need to hide it anymore. It is a liberating thing to be like, hey I have some issues and they affect me a lot but it's okay because I'm just a human! 

As you can tell from the title of this post, it's pretty obvious where I'm going with this. 


There are certain levels that are normal, of course, but I have suffered with anxiety since my early childhood. I had my first panic attack before my age reached double digits. I do not know the exact reason why I have it, but I have learned so much over the years about how to cope with it. This is what I really want to share because maybe, just maybe, it will help someone out there learn to cope with their own anxiety.

I have always felt very uncomfortable in groups of people. In high school, I was quiet and insecure and didn't feel like I belonged there. I have always been kind of a loner anyway, so being around a lot of people was out of place for me. Hello, I'm an Introvert - capital "I". But this was beyond the usual dislike of crowds. I distinctly remember feeling physically ill before attending football games. The idea of walking up the bleachers in front of everyone gave me knots in my stomach. This might sound silly, but the anxiety consumed my mind. I did not have the highest self-esteem, I had to deal with mean girls like so many other girls do, and I was just kind of ~different~. 

The perfect hand gesture to describe someone being ~different~. Thank you, Wes Anderson.

My anxiety grew even worse when I went away to college. I was also struggling with depression, so I would sleep a lot, not eat, randomly start crying, etc. I stayed in school, but my mental health wasn't really any better. I rarely went out to social events. I was usually by myself because I was too afraid of people. My third year of college is when my anxiety reached it's all time high. I was having panic attacks multiple times a week and to sum it up, I was miserable. By the way, a panic attack is a physical reaction to anxiety. For instance, my body begins involuntarily shaking, my heart rate increases, I feel really hot, my stomach hurts, etc. Things didn't really turn around for me until I reached my early 20's. My last year of college really helped me get a grasp on how to take care of myself. I still struggle with anxiety, particularly social, but I have friends who understand when I need to leave a party early. I have not had a panic attack in over a year. But I know that I will continue to struggle with this my entire life, particularly when I go through a big life change (that's definitely my trigger). 

I guess what I'm getting at is anxiety affects SO MANY people. Literally millions. It's still a big mystery as to why we suffer from it, but I have my theories. Someone actually had the guts to tell me I had "no reason" to be anxious because I'm "a young, pretty girl". My anxiety is not a switch nor is it something that I chose. It's my brain, my nerves, my perceptions, my sensitivities. Basically, that guy was an idiot. 

On to coping mechanisms! These are what have worked for me personally, so I cannot guarantee they will work for you. I would not recommend getting in your car at midnight and driving around until you finally calm down. Although I did do this regularly, it is not particularly safe nor environmentally friendly. My first piece of advice is to talk about it with someone you trust. Talking about your anxiety will help put everything into perspective. The things you are dwelling over will begin to sound a lot smaller when you say them out loud. Maybe even see a counselor because they can help you understand why you react to things the way you do. It is enlightening. You're not crazy, you're just a human. :) I know that when I begin to feel panicked, I start looking around at all of the solid objects in front of me. Looking at my current surroundings reminds me that I am in this moment and that whatever I am worried about is not in this moment. Focusing on the present moment, taking deep breaths, and reassuring myself (out loud) that I am going to be okay is my go-to method for not having a full fledged panic attack. And if all else fails, I'll hop into my car and go on a drive. Works like a charm. 

I feel like I could write about this topic for the rest of my life. I have found some great YouTube videos of people describing their own experiences with anxiety. Once I began opening up about mine, I found that quite a few of my friends also suffer with it. My goal now is to help people with similar issues and I am beginning that goal by posting this. Hopefully it helps someone, even if it's just a little bit. Remember, you are simply a human existing on a massive rock that is floating in an infinite space. The things you are anxious about do not need to weigh you down any longer. It takes a lot of work and a conscious effort, but eventually you will no longer dwell on these thoughts. They are too heavy for you to carry, so learn to let yourself let them go. I know anxiety is a consuming, gut wrenching thing. I know it feels like it will never end. But trust me when I say it does eventually fade away. You just have to be willing to face it and accept it for what it is. It is a part of you, but it does not have to inhibit you. I cannot get the years back that I spent consumed in my anxiety, but I can move forward from it and teach other people how to cope. It is kind of scary to post something where other eyes will see it, but I think it's important to talk about this. There is nothing shameful about having anxiety or any other mental illness. I'll say it one more time, we are all just humans doin' human things and dealin' with human stuff. It's not easy for any of us, so I think it is important that we learn and teach as much as we possibly can so that we can all understand each other and make life a little easier for everyone. That is all.

Until next time,


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Makeup Inspiration: The 1990s

It seems to me that the 1990s is a constant source of inspiration. I have witnessed it being cycled back into music and fashion over the past few years. I'm not surprised because the 90s definitely had some very cool moments, especially where style is concerned. I was born near the end of 1990, which means I was lucky enough to grow up with the Spice Girls, butterfly clips, and Dunkaroos. I also remember a childhood that didn't have internet, and when we did finally have it, it was located in what was once called "the computer room". I gathered inspiration from images I found in magazines, music videos, and CD art. In fact, the first CD I ever bought was a Spice Girls album. I still have it.

My first exposure to the word "feminism" and my role models to this day. GIRL POWER!

No matter how different things may be today, the 1990s beauty trends still tug at my heart strings. I never venture far from the smokey eye and nude/brown/pink (what?) lip colors I know and adore. I just want to look like an extra from the set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, OKAY?

I want to be just like you when I grow up.

And so, without further ado, some ladies from the 1990s who were (and still are) my beauty icons.

 Not to mention TLC, Destiny's Child, Fiona Apple, Aaliyah, Kate Moss... the list just goes on.

I don't know what it is about this particular moment in the beauty world that has me so infatuated. I won't chalk it up to nostalgia because I genuinely enjoy when my makeup looks like this. I don't know, I guess I like what I like and that's all there is to it. Does anyone else still rock this look? Or are you more influenced by another era? Leave a comment if you want letting me know what you're into!

Until next time,

I totally had these. And body glitter. So much body glitter.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Five Favorites No. 3

1. I found this song by BANKS at the perfect time. Don't you love when that happens?

2.  NYX Butter Gloss, particularly in the shade Creme Brulee. It's a nice pinky nude and it smells delicious.

3. This shirt. I need it. Reminds me of Jay and Bey's new song I'm always hearing on the radio. 

4. I feel like I'm always talking about Warsan Shire, but that's only because her work needs to be talked about. I have found a lot of solace in her writing. Click here to listen to my favorite poem of all time.

5. I watched SuperBad the other night and it still kills me. It came out in 2007, when I was 17, but it still gets me every time. There are things I still say to this day that came from that movie. I will always love it. I will always quote it. Because, really, when a movie is this good... "people don't forget." 

Until next time,


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

WCW: Claire Marshall

Everybody seems to know about YouTube. It's a great place to find How To videos or, most importantly, videos about cats. Recently there has been a huge growth in people joining the YouTube community, referred to as "vloggers" or "beauty gurus", posting videos of their daily lives, shopping habits, and beauty tips. Just search MAC dupes and you are bound to find endless amounts of videos. I have subscribed to many channels over the past few years, but there are only a handful that I keep track of. Like, I actually get excited when I see that one of these people has posted a new video. One of these special YouTubers is Claire Marshall.

This is Claire. She's so pretty.

Like, really pretty.

Claire has a very distinct style with everything she does. Her videos are always creative. Just check out this look book she did. Her style is always, always so good.

Even her Instagram account is stylish.

 Her tattoos are beautiful. Look at them. LOOK AT THEM.

I found Claire's channel very randomly one day almost two years ago. I clicked the link to a video where she talks about her tattoos and I immediately subscribed to her channel. I also may have watched, like, five other videos in a row that she had posted. She was still just beginning her channel at this point, working as a freelance make up artist, but I knew that she was going to be a big deal. Now she is doing YouTube as a full time job and has gained an incredible amount of recognition for her channel. If you watch any of her videos you will see why. She pays attention to detail, edits beautifully, provides original content, and adds creativity to everything she does. She kind of goes above and beyond and it is admirable. If you don't get what the big deal is about YouTubers, let me just say seeing someone like Claire pursue an out of the ordinary job has been very inspirational for me. She's carved a path that has suited her and she continues to do what she likes. She's a hustler. She also has a black cat (my favorite animal) named Bruce Lee. This little guy has his own fan base, and how could he not? Just look at him.

He's so cute.

I had the pleasure of meeting Claire last August when she visited Chicago. She was just as down to earth and funny as I knew she would be. She posted the picture below to her Instagram account and I about did a back flip out of excitement. 

 Needless to say, I really admire Claire. She has built a career for herself and has remained humble and true to herself throughout the entire process. I think my favorite thing about her is that she keeps it real. She is a genuine person with a great sense of humor and a heart of gold. She's exactly the kind of girl you want to be friends with. I'm always excited to see what she will do next. :)

From the meet up at the bean.

You can find Claire on YouTube, TwitterInstagram, and her blog.

Until next time,


Monday, June 2, 2014

Stream of Consciousness

I love life a little more every day I get to be alive. I am happy to finally be in a place like this. Calmness has started to grow inside of me. I have noticed it a lot lately. I sat on a bench the other day and there were several seats open around me. A woman sat right next to me instead of anywhere else. I am wondering if she felt my calm, my safety. I just want to make people feel safe with me. I never want anyone to worry that the words that come out of their mouth will be judged in my presence. I know how hard it is to talk about how you really feel. I know how it feels to have someone reject your love. I know how it feels to stay up all night crying over loss. I know. I know. I know. Pain is fleeting and thank God for that. But when it’s right there in the middle of your chest it feels like you will never see tomorrow. I have lived too many days in pain. I am not going to anymore because it’s too heavy and I don’t want to carry it with me. 

I have not always been optimistic. I used to hate myself. Or maybe I just didn’t like myself. I’m not sure which because they both involve a lot of self doubt and second guesses. I didn’t feed my body and I didn’t feed my soul. I went looking for validation in people who would never take the time to hold my hand. I wanted to find a home when all I needed to realize was my body is my home. I live here, in this space of flesh and bones, and it is supposed to feel good. I started to spend a lot of time alone. This is how I learned to love myself. Now I feel so much love that I want to show it to everyone who will allow me to do so. I now know that loving other people is an act of courage, but there is nothing more courageous than loving yourself. The kindness you feel for yourself spreads out from your finger tips and it touches everyone you talk to. I want to be that for people. I want my energy to wrap them up in a hug so they never feel alone or misunderstood.

I spent too many days holding on to pain. I don’t have to explain loss to people who have lost. There is no such thing as a bigger loss. It is what it is and it hurts all the same. I have finally given forgiveness a real effort. Letting go of things that are too heavy for me to carry is the kindest thing I have done for myself. People change, people leave, people die. We do not have to carry this weight. It is out of our control and that’s okay because we don’t need to control people. We absolutely cannot control people. Let them go. Let them change. You get to do the same thing and you can be happy. So very happy each day you get to be alive. And the best part is that you can be that light in other people's lives when they need it most. You can spend time with people you love. You can stay out late dancing and laughing until you cry. You can get lost and discover a new favorite place. You can sleep outside with the peaceful sounds of nature. You can get on a plane and immerse yourself in a new culture. You can do anything. Absolutely anything. Being alive is a blessing and maybe even a little magical. 

Until next time,