An Out of this World Highlighter Palette

If there’s one aspect of the world that we see daily, but don’t really understand, it’s outer space. The majority of us on Earth have never visited another planet or seen the stars up close, but being reminded of how small we are in such a large, unknown universe is equal parts fascinating and terrifying. Because of these mixed emotions, I’ve always been interested in astrology and the creators of Anatasia Beverly Hills Cosmetics seem to be as well.

The Moonchild Glow Kit is a set of highlighters that have been around for a while now. The colors range from a sheer white to a stand-out blue, and they are all absolutely gorgeous. The best part is because they are highlighters, they are pretty sheer to begin with, so they’re perfect for makeup beginners who want to take the next step in incorporating more colors into their palette.

Although they go on sheer, the colors can gradually become more pigmented with just a little more product. Anastasia is a high-end brand that holds some of my favorite, everyday beauty products and this palette is no exception to delivering quality results at a reasonable price.

But let’s talk about the colors. Most highlighters offer a pearl, tan or pink shade that fades into the skin and offers a subtle glow. These highlighters offer a similar effect, as all highlighters do, but the colors are more obvious since they are not neutral- based.

Blue Ice, the first color in the palette, is a white shade with a blue undertone, which is reflected when light hits it. The next color, Pink Heart, may seem like the most natural shade, but it offers one of the most pigmented shades of the palette. The light pink color holds a lot of sparkle and stands out much more than it depicts in the pan. Star, a seemingly silver shade, goes on as a pearl color with pink undertones, making it the most subtle shade, which was surprising to me since it seems so out of the ordinary in the palette. Lucky Clover channels its name and provides a mint green color that blends into skin, but only provides a noticeable color when the light hits it. Purple Horseshoe also follows its namesake by providing a gorgeous violet color with blue undertones. Finally, Blue Moon provides an opal-colored highlight with blue, purple and pink undertones that shows when light reflects it.

Personally, my favorites are Lucky Clover and Purple Horseshoe since they are the most unusual highlight colors and they reflect differently in the light.

What I love the most about this palette is how different the colors are compared to natural highlighters. The palette channels its name and provides shades as diverse and interesting as outer space. Another reason I’m obsessing over this palette is because there’s the potential to create eyeshadow looks, since these colors are so versatile.

Anastasia Beverly Hills doesn’t follow beauty rules. Makeup is supposed to be fun and tailored to looks you find interesting. Anastasia believes that if you want to channel your inner moonchild that you should wear it with pride. This palette is just another example of ditching set ideals of what beautiful is and allowing women and men to put their interests into their makeup routines.

Why Denim Jackets Are Making Their Way Back into My Closet

Denim jackets are just one of those items. The article of clothing that most people have owned but tend to shove into storage whenever the trend begins to lose popularity. Whenever it’s out of style, the jacket remains hidden – but saved because it’s a reoccurring style item.

For me, jean jackets used to give me flashbacks to early elementary school where my mom would shove me into a bedazzled one, preaching that I would need it when it got cold during recess.

Fast forward 12+ years and I sometimes wish I still had that jacket (if it was adult sized and wasn’t covered in plastic jewels). The 90s-2000s style has been back for a while now and it doesn’t look like the trend will be leaving anytime soon. The jean jacket has proven time and time again that it’s a reliable item that deserves more than just its five minutes (or few months) of fame every few years.

Check out why a trend item as old as me is making its way back into my closet.

1. It’s a basic item- with a twist.
Denim jackets are versatile. Just as jeans and white tee shirts are clothing items that you need to put any basic look together, the jean jacket is similar. Although they aren’t necessarily unique, these jackets are different than the former items I listed because they are not as popular.
2. It can be dressed up or down.
Throw a jean jacket over leggings and a fun tee shirt for a casual look or dress it up with a romper. This is also perfect for transitioning seasons when the temperature fluctuates from hot to cold within a week.
3. It can be an accessory.
One of my favorite looks is tying a jacket/flannel/sweater/etc. around your waist. This is a favorite mainly because I get cold easily and I usually am in need of another layer – but the look really can make a basic outfit more interesting. The denim can break up a solid pattern if you’re wearing a dress or a romper, or can just add another texture if you have a casual look with pants and a shirt.
4. It can become an instant DIY project
Though I’m personally a fan of the plain look, jean jackets can easily become a craft to work on. Cut out some shapes, bleach it, add some patches – it’s super easy to customize it to fit your unique style.
5. It’s fashionable and comfortable
Lazy girls, unite! I’m all about comfort, but still want to look good doing it. Jean jackets look put-together, but are still super comfortable given their oversized wear and soft denim (no skinny jean material here!).
6. It’s wearable in (almost) all seasons.
Happy Ohio spring! For those of you in the South, this may not apply, but for fellow Northerners, denim jackets can become your best friend. The fabric is heavy enough to wear underneath winter coats during the chilly months, but are still thin enough to keep you warm during the spring or summer nights.
7. I like it.
Here’s the most biased opinion. I love jean jackets. I think the look is cute and perfectly represents the fun, rebellious fashion trends of the 90s. No matter how you chose to wear it, you can’t go wrong with this article of clothing. Fashion is all about expressing yourself through what you wear, so don’t be afraid to rock whatever you feel most comfortable in!

So there you have it! Though many of us were probably too young to remember the 90s, there’s no harm in dressing to the era. Slip into a jean jacket, throw your hair into a scrunchie and put a choker around your neck. It may be 2017, but we’ll party like it’s the 90s until the next decade of trends rolls around.

New Adventures

Airports: the epitome of no sleep, delays, stops at TSA and overpriced snacks. When you have somewhere to be, the airport is just a means to get to your destination.

But airports, to me, mean something more.

I’m not going to lie and say I love sitting in an airport when my flight to Greece has been delayed for three hours. I’m not going to say that I have a sense of excitement when I take my shoes off to get a full body scan at TSA. And I’m definitely not going to talk about how much I love paying $7 for a bag of m&ms that could be purchased for $2.50 at the gas station four blocks away … so what’s this fascination with airports that I have?

Airports represent more. Airports represent excitement and adventure. Entering an airport is the first step in discovering something new or leaving behind who you were before.

No matter if you’re going on a trip with friends, to visit family or on a solo adventure, you’re leaving your home to visit a new place. Whether you’re going to a familiar place or a country you’ve never visited, the memories you make and what you’ll experience will shape you into someone even slightly different when you return to that same airport to fly home.

Airports exemplify change. They symbolize gaining experiences and an escape. Leaving what you know to involve yourself in a new experience is what life is all about. Stepping out of your comfort zone is exciting (and a little anxiety-ridden), and airports show that through the people.

The passengers of airports are excited. Or they’re in a rush. Or they’re nervous. But whatever it is they all have a story.

And the people who come to the airports have a story all themselves. You can see the reunions of families or the tearful goodbyes. People’s emotions show more than whatever persona they put on as they rush to their connecting flight.

Airports have a lot more to offer than just a never-ending line to pick up a boarding pass. A range of emotions, a potential for a new experience and daydreams of what’s to come is what you receive before you even take off.

uncOnvential beaUty

I go to a school located in a small town that would be considered quiet… except for three blocks that have a nightlife all their own. I go to a school that is located in a state that experiences high 70s on one day and then snow within 24 hours. I go to a school where more than half the population leaves for the summer months, but doubles as soon as late August hits. I go to a school where the cops ride around on horses.

Talk about unconventional.

Maybe we’re all a little unconventional, and maybe that’s why we fall in love with Ohio University. A school that doesn’t care if you wear pajamas to class. A school that agrees, life is hard, so it’s okay to go out and enjoy any random Tuesday night. A school that “welcomes all who walks its paths” and says that directly on a plaque cemented into the bricks.

During my time at Ohio University, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that bricks are slippery when wet and rain boots are a must. I’ve learned that the library will move you to the second floor as soon as midnight hits. But among the most important is that I’ve learned more about myself in the three years I’ve spent passing College Green, than I have in 20 years of walking this Earth.

OU accepts the beauty in difference. OU thrives on the eccentric — the out of the ordinary. And that’s what makes it so great.

When people come to OU, they fall in love with the scenery. They fall in love with the small-town feel or the majors they provide or maybe even the night life. But people stay for the way it makes you feel.

The friends you make are genuine. The connections you make are strong. You begin to love the town and what it offers. You begin to change, but for the better. In time, you find yourself opening up to more possibilities and find what you are capable of. You realize that you have a spark you never knew you had. The town provides you with the best four years, all you have to do is put yourself out there.

Athens, Ohio is a tiny town — a hidden gem between rolling hills and cornfields. When people ask me why I chose this school, there’s nothing I can really explain, except for the fact it felt like home.

I walk through College Green now with an admiration for the trees and the bricks and the confusing words that greet you as you walk through the gates. I make sure not to step on the Great Seal of Ohio (although not graduating in four years would probably just be a plus in the end). I rush down the steps of Baker to sprint to my class in Walter and I complain about the temperature in Bentley, even though after six semesters of classes in the building, I know it will be much higher than the temperature it is outside.

It’s been four years since I first stepped on the campus of Ohio University, and the only thing that’s changed is me. This unconventional town has stayed mostly the same, but it’s changed me for the better and for that, I cannot thank it enough.

Stop Planning, Start Living

It’s hard to not look forward to the future when almost every point in our lives seems like it’s preparing us for the next step. High school was prep for college, college preps us for an internship, an internship preps us for the dreaded three letter word: JOB.

 

But what ever happened to living in the moment?

 

No matter how many times we say it (or see a social media post) we never seem to. We’re always planning for the next stage.

 

We’re young, shouldn’t we just care about the moment we’re in and stop worrying so much about the future?

 

This is not to say that we should stop caring because this moment is the only one we should care about. What this does mean is that we should be more self-aware. Stay off of your phone when you’re with friend, stop freaking out about not being in a relationship and most importantly, make decisions based on what you like right now, not what you think will look better on a resume.

All too often we base our decisions on the future. We take jobs we don’t have time to fit into our schedule so we can save for some far away goal. We take on a leadership position because that’s another point on our resume. We join an organization because we think having a diverse range of activities makes us desirable to potential employers.

Thinking too much in the future leads to disappointment. No matter how well our planners schedule our days or how perfect your plan is for after graduation, shit happens. You meet someone, or an unexpected event pops up or that once perfect plan gets delayed. And you realize that’s okay. The unexpected is what makes life exciting and fun. Sometimes what comes out of it is a blessing, sometimes it’s a lesson but regardless c’est la vie.

Why prevent yourself from learning about your interests just because someone reading a single piece of paper thinks you’re more qualified? Why start planning your wedding when you don’t even have a plan for dinner? Why worry about your future husband when you don’t even have a date for date party yet?

Take pictures to capture your experiences, not to prove to others how much fun you’re having. Choose an occupation that you’re passionate about and disregard the starting salary or the stereotype from society. Enjoy the moment you’re in now because before you know it, you’re not living it, you’re just planning.

 

 

 

Because I Said I Would.

Because I said I would.

Five words. A sentence that breaks a few basic rules of the English language. A string of words that is usually a sarcastic remark.

But “because I said I would” is really so much more.

Last weekend I had the privilege to attend a conference in Indianapolis. The meeting consisted of multiple speakers and sessions. One of the keynote speakers was an Ohio University grad named Alex Sheen.

Former bobcat speaking? I’m listening.

Long story short, Sheen went viral after his father died and he posted the eulogy online. His father was a man of his word and Sheen made a promise to continue that tradition, as well as help others keep theirs. Sheen gave out white promise cards with “because I said I would” at the bottom. Cards that would remind people to continue what they said they would achieve or what they would do for someone else. Sheen vowed to give out promise cards to whoever asked for them.

And he did just that.

To this day, over 5.4 million promise cards have been sent out. Sheen has walked 245 miles in 10 days in honor of three women held captive for 10 years. He has helped rebuild small businesses in Ferguson, Missouri after looters destroyed them. He has provided over 100 Disneyland tickets to children battling cancer and their families, so, for one day, they can celebrate like any normal kid.

But the greatest service of all is what Sheen did through the movement.

Thanks to Sheen, he has helped people overcome any hardships that they’ve experienced in their lives. He has helped people admit any wrongdoings and lessen the guilt that they could have faced. He has helped people set goals and reach them.

Sheen holds the company and his promises in the highest regard. Making over 1 million dollars a year, Sheen donates most of it to charity and lives off a humble salary because he knows this movement is about helping others reach their potential, not a profit.

As Sheen said, a promise is exciting in the beginning. You’re happy to accept and say you’ll do something, but just as a resolution fades when the work gets too tough, so do promises.

It’s easy to quit. It’s easy to say no and tell yourself that you’re just one person and you can’t make a difference. It’s easy to just push it off and make an additional empty promise with an unclear due date.

But what’s hard is pushing through. Asking yourself “Why did I make the promise?” and “Who does it help?” is much more difficult, but much more rewarding. No one said it was going to be easy or fun … but these small gestures push us beyond average and make us extraordinary in the eyes of those we help.

So I want to take the time to tell you to write down a few promises. Whether small or large, whether it helps you or a group, whether it’s one you want to share or one you’ll keep personally to yourself —make these promises. There’s always next year until there isn’t anymore … start now.

I promise to make a difference in someone’s life before I graduate from college …
I promise to be a person who listens with an open mind …
I promise to try to be a better person every day of my life …
I promise to remember that no moment is guaranteed except the one I’m living in …
I promise to live a life worth living….

Because I said I would.

What are you promising?

Battle of the Brands

I’m a cool tones girl.

No, that was not a punchline.

Whenever I do my makeup, I always seem to gravitate towards browns, greys and neutrals with a cool undertone. When I heard that Anastasia Beverly Hills Cosmetics was coming out with a new palette, I knew I would fall in love with it since I’m a big fan of the brand. When I found out that it was a palette of warm colors, I was sure I wouldn’t be a fan. But when I saw the colors in the palette, I knew I had to get it.  

The palette itself is filled with colors ranging from “neutral to berry”, according to Sephora.com. The coppers, oranges, and maroons are so different from the popular Naked (Urban Decay) or Chocolate Bar (Too Faced) palettes, which usually come with a ton of neutrals and only one or two of the ordinary colors.

So when winter break came around and I got my seasonal job back at Sephora, I gifted myself with the Modern Renaissance palette.

I immediately texted my friend Caitlyn, a fellow beauty lover, about my purchase and sent her multiple pictures of swatches of my favorite colors. We virtually freaked out to each other and I assured her she could look at the palette as long as she wanted to when we got back to school.

A few days later, when the holidays really came, Caitlyn sent me a picture of a gift she had received. A palette named Fall into Frost from the brand Morphe. One that looked similar to the tones in the Modern Renaissance palette, so like any other makeup lover would do, we decided to test them out and find which was best …

These were the results.

Number of colors
Winner: Fall into Frost

Fall into Frost – 35

Modern Renaissance – 14

Quality of Shadows

Winner: Modern Renaissance  

I could speak about this palette for DAYS. The eyeshadows blend easily and smoothly. You can control the intensity of the colors, so don’t be afraid of the bolder tones. The shimmer shadows have sparkle evenly distributed throughout and the matte shadows fully cover with an even application. What you get is usually what you pay for and this palette proves it.

Least amount of fall out

Winner: Fall into Frost

I’m going to be completely honest, I was a little disappointed with the Modern Renaissance palette. While the color payoff is GORGEOUS (see next point), it comes with a price. Though the fall out isn’t too bad when applied (i.e. it doesn’t fall beneath your eyes), it does leave excess pigment in the palette.

Shadow Colors

Winner: Modern Renaissance

Now hear me out, while Fall into Frost is gorgeous, I don’t know if all of the colors should have been included in this specific palette. Other than the ordinary shades, I don’t think that a black or a green is necessary. These colors should be reserved for palettes with more neutrals, blues and other cool tones.

Modern Renaissance follows the color scheme. All of the colors fall into the orange, pinks and reds on the color spectrum. Because of this, they all work well together, giving you the ability to use all of the colors to create different looks.

 

Pigmentation

Winner: Tied

Since the colors are not exactly the same, it’s too hard to choose when there is a shadow that is a shade darker to the most similar swatch you have. However, I will applaud both brands for creating high quality shadows that deliver serious color.

LeftModern Renaissance 

RightFall into Frost

NYE in NYC

IMG_1913

“… is that the New Year’s Eve ball?” I asked to no one in particular, pointing to the closest thing that resembled a tiny crystal sphere. Above the lights and screens of Times Square, it was hidden in the shadows so much that you could almost miss it. The famous New Year’s Eve ball was supposedly 12 feet in diameter, but it currently looked like the size of a golf ball. Of course, from seven blocks away, even the largest shape was bound to look tiny.

“Uh … I think so …,” my boyfriend answered, with not much certainty.

The famous NYC New Year’s Eve celebration is something I’ve wanted to go to for the past 20 years. Since most of my New Year’s Eve memories consist of watching the ball drop from my friend’s couch, when my boyfriend invited me to come with his family to check this event off their bucket lists, I immediately said yes.

But I was starting to regret the decision.

The time was 6:54 p.m. Only an hour since we began waiting, four hours until the ball began to drop and six minutes before we would celebrate the New Year somewhere five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

While the ball drop might look glamorous and fun, which it is from about 11:30 p.m. onward, what they don’t show you is the waiting. Unless you’re within the block, you can’t hear the performers, so over the span of multiple hours, you really just wait, and wait, and wait. Some may describe it as an “experience” but it’s really comparable to waiting in a line that never moves.

To make matters worse, the waiting begins long before you are gated in. There are designated “pens” on every block, but to get into them you need to wait shoulder-to-shoulder, chest-to-chest, to go through security. With a full body scan, a pat down and a thorough check of pockets, the security mirrors TSA. No big bags are allowed, which was obvious by the number of discarded backpacks thrown in a pile before you enter the check-in area.

Once you get “in” Times Square, the police barricade every block. You have to wait a couple minutes until the first gate fills up. Then you go to the next block where another gate will fill up and another and another, until eventually it is your turn to be shoved into a pen with hundreds of other onlookers.

But, you’re finally here! You’re in Times Square to celebrate New Year’s Eve! But now you have to wait again …

You should also be warned that in order to get a decent spot (yes, several blocks back is considered “decent”), you have to get in line by 5 p.m. To be within the vicinity of the performers, be prepared to get checked in by 8 a.m. But be warned, once you leave the gate you don’t get your spot back. That means no bathrooms, no food and no water for potentially more than 12 hours.

Of course, people get creative. I witnessed a woman’s husband lift her over a gate for her to run into a neighboring store to go to the bathroom. A mini mart also started taking orders for customers who couldn’t wait to get food and even began supplying wine to ring in the New Year.

And whatever you do, leave the sparkly dresses at home! New York gets cold. Even in 40-degree weather, standing outside for hours made it feel like it was freezing. Throw on a parka, a pair of boots and multiple socks to complete your New Year’s look. It might not be fashionable, but you’ll regret leaving early from frostbite more than not being able to wear a dress covered in glitter.

So would I do it again? Probably not. When I describe it as a once in a lifetime experience, I mean it. Not being able to leave a gated area made waiting that much more unbearable and stressful.

But, the pros did outweigh the cons once it finally hit 11:59 p.m. The excitement spans almost 20 blocks back and hearing the crowd cheer for the hope that happiness and luck will follow into the New Year is something that you can’t experience elsewhere.

The fireworks going off, large block numbers counting down the seconds shine on, a large crystal ball descends slowly and confetti gracefully falls from the sky. It’s much more of an exciting experience when you’re in the middle of it, rather than watching it on a couch states away from the action.

In the end, I got a foam hat advertising Planet Fitness (and the New Year), a bucket list item checked off and a New Year’s kiss, which was a pretty great start to 2017 … even if the famous New Year’s Eve ball does look much bigger on TV.