07.14.2016

Favorite Nail Polish Brands || 3 Free + 5 Free

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I recently gave up acrylic nails / gel nails and began researching safer nail products. It is commonly known that acrylic nails damage your natural nails and that the application process gives off some pretty strong odors, so giving up acrylic nails was pretty much a no-brainer for me.

I’ll be the first to admit that gel nails look amazing and last for weeks if you take care of them, but the curing method can be problematic (depending on where the gel polish service is performed). Some salons use a LED light system to cure their gel polishes, which is relatively safe, but some salons choose to use harmful UV light systems. These UV light systems expose gel-lovers to harmful UV waves, which enter your skin and mutate the DNA – just like the sun or a tanning bed would! Long story short, I have decided to stop getting gel polish because I don’t always visit the same nail salon and I sometimes have a hard time figuring out which type of light the nail technician is using (the curing machines all look very similar in shape + I try not to study/stare at the color of the light too hard because that is also dangerous to do!).

IMG_4252Once I started using “regular” nail polish in lieu of acrylic nails and gels, I noticed that not all polishes are created equal. I did some research online and my search turned up an entire list of toxic, harmful chemicals that are in our nail products. My mom, my sister, and I have come up with a list of tried-and-true nail polish brands that are 3-free or 5-free (meaning that they are free of the “Big Three / Big 5” toxic chemicals found in nail polishes). This best part is – all of my recommended nail polish brands look amazing, dry super fast, and actually last!

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Check out my favorite picks for the best 3-free and 5-free polishes below:

3 Free
These brands are free of the following 3 harmful chemicals: Dibutyl phthalate or DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde.

    1. Sugar Babe Los Angeles – I first fell in love with Sugar Babe Los Angeles polishes when my mom got home one day with a pretty pink bottle of it! I love that it contains no harsh or harmful chemicals and the polish lasts for SO LONG. I’m not kidding! And you can usually get away with doing just one coat because the color payoff is great. They are available online here or at On Que Style if you live in the Orange County area.
    2. OPI – OPI polishes are well known for a reason! Tons of salons carry their polishes. OPI is a great option for girls who are searching 3-free polish at the nail salon that they already know & love (like Lincoln Park After Dark!).
    3. Essie – I love all of Essie’s glitter polishes! The glitter never flakes off and never looks chunky/tacky.
    4. Formula X – Sephora’s Formula X brand of polishes offers so many colors! You can test out each polish at Sephora stores. Formula X offers a system (aka starter kit) that comes with a bottle of nail cleanser, base coat, and shiny top coat + you own color option. This starter system is a great value because you get to pick the color option!

5 Free
The brands are free of the following 5 harmful chemicals: Free of the “Big Three” listed above + formaldehyde resin and camphor.

    1. Butter LONDON – I first fell in love with Butter polishes when I was a student at USC and would mill around the USC Bookstore with my friends between classes. This brand of polish has an incredibly smooth application and doesn’t chip, making it a winning brand in my book!
    2. Chanel – Chanel polishes come in many unique colors. I really enjoy using their rich jewel tones in the fall!

 

 

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I hope you enjoyed reading about my recommended brands for 3-free & 5-free nail polishes! I would love to hear your nail polish recommendations in the comments 🙂

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07.01.2016

SO CHOIX || Custom Subscription Box

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Recently, a unique company called So Choix (pronounced “so shwaa,” Choix meaning choice in French) reached out to me about doing a review on the high-end beauty products and custom subscription box service that they offer. I said yes because I love makeup, I love the concept of the custom subscription box service that they offer, and I am 100% in support of hygienic cosmetic samples!! While I know that some people enjoy asking for free cosmetic samples at in-store beauty retailers, some beauty lovers don’t have access to high-end cosmetics counters or would prefer to get brand new + clean samples sent directly to their door instead.

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What makes So Choix different is that you can buy a monthly subscription box that comes with 5 samples of your choosing. You can officially say goodbye to all of the random products that show up in average beauty subscription boxes! On So Choix’s website, you’ll be able to design your own custom subscription box, selecting from the hundreds of products they offer. They offer luxury brands such as Chanel, Gucci, YSL, and so many more! On their website, you can also purchase full-sized luxury makeup products. Each So Choix monthly subscription box comes with cosmetic applicators, which is extremely helpful! The boxes also come beautifully packaged and the samples arrive in appropriate containers, so there’s never an issue with products drying out or spilling. Below are pictures of the box that I customized. I chose to do a “summer beauty themed” box, complete with Benefit’s “Ooh La Lift” Concealer, Chanel’s Coco Madmoiselle perfume, Chanel’s Rouge Coco Shine lipstick, NARS’ Illuminator, and Tom Ford’s Bronzing Powder. All of the items were packaged beautifully and super easy to apply since they came with twist-up cosmetic containers / applicator brushes!

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Subscribers receive 5 samples each month for $15, which might seem a bit pricy for samples that you might be able to scrape together for free from the products on display at other in-store beauty retailers, but having hygienic, properly packaged, and brand new samples is totally worth the price! Also, if you are a So Choix Member, you can use the points that you earn from each month’s subscription towards purchasing full-sized products from the So Choix website. Members receive 250 points each month, which equals $5 on their website. So Choix members will also receive free shipping and have access to member-only special offers, so take a peek over at So Choix and give this incredibly unique service a try!

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06.06.2016

Ready for Summer || Hair Recipes

IMG_3183 (1)I’m super excited to be sharing some info about one of my favorite haircare brands today! If you haven’t heard about Hair Recipes, it is a unique haircare line that focuses on sulfate and paraben free formulas. Their products are exclusively sold through their website and they have products ranging from Lemonbalm & Rosemary shampoo to Beer shampoo (YES, beer shampoo. Check this product out here if you don’t know why beer is beneficial to your hair!).

I am always on the hunt for the best “at-home DIY” haircare recipes, mainly because DIY hair recipes are typically made of natural, easy to find ingredients. Home hair recipes are also super healthy for your hair (as opposed to some shampoos/conditioners that contain parabens and harsh sulfates!!). Naturally, I find Hair Recipes’ shampoos, conditioners, and nourishing oils to be a quick & easy option for the situations when I don’t have time to whip up a homemade hair care remedy. Their products also smell absolutely amazing and make my hair feel thicker, shinier, and more manageable. What more could a girl want?!

When I do have time to indulge in an at-home hair treatment, I don’t have to look any further than the recommended “home haircare remedies” provided on Hair Recipes’ website. Their home recipes are complete with detailed instructions and other information on how their products work in conjunction with their website’s recommended at-home treatments.

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I find that I get the best results when using Hair Recipe’s Egg Yolk shampoo + conditioner and the homemade recipe from their website, which I’ve included below (*I modified their recommended recipe for my personal use – I use the Macadamia Oil instead of Argan Oil!).

Try it for yourself! 🙂

HOME RECIPE
-Ingredients:
1 raw egg & 2 to 3 tablespoon Hair Recipes Argan Oil (depending on length of your hair).
-Instructions:
Mix raw egg & Argan Oil in bowl. Massage into wet scalp and hair. Wait 4 to 5 minutes. Rinse with cool water. Hot water will scramble the egg and it will be hard to remove. Repeat rinse with warm water. Shampoo with Hair Recipes Egg & Cognac shampoo and again rinse with warm water. Egg adds vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids to the hair. Repeat after every 6 to 8 shampoo washes.

Thanks for stopping by!

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06.01.2016

Summer Style Edit || Trends You Need to Try

Summer 2016 is right around the corner, so I thought I would put together my 3 favorite “trends to try.” The inspiration for these trends comes from the runways, but the trends have been reinterpreted into more practical, wearable style picks. If you’re like me and enjoy keeping up to date on fashion trends, you’ll definitely want to invest in a few “trendy” items this summer. What I love most about these particular trends is that you can mix and match pieces across the 3 areas seamlessly since they are all feminine styles. Enjoy!

1.The Romantic Bohemian
This summer calls for lots of romantic, 1970’s inspired flare. Romantic silhouettes get a chic, festival inspired update while textured and gorgeously printed fabrics make feminine pieces really pop. This trend is perfect for a summer wedding or date night!

2. Menswear Inspired
Fashion takes a cue from the menswear side of the fashion spectrum this summer. Try looking for styles that use poplin/tweed/seersucker fabrics, collars, pleats, and exaggerated silhouettes. This trend is defined by the use of fabrics that are traditionally used in menswear, but it is given a fresh new kick with the use of subtle feminine details (such as open backs and voluminous sleeves). Try this trend for your next dinner party, date night, or for a chic workday look.


3. Futuristic 90’s Glam… Say What?!
This last trend is defined by the use of futuristic metallics, 90’s inspired silhouettes, and a color palette that Baby Spice (and I..) would definitely approve of.  The holographic trend of 2013 is back in for summer 2016 – but with a new 90’s inspired twist. Luxe metallics, clear/lucite materials, iridescent finishes, and feminine interpretations of edgy 1990’s trends all collide to create this eye-catching trend. I have to say that this is my favorite trend by far for this summer. Keep an eye out for pale pinks, “mom jeans,” holograms, slip dresses, cropped T’s, and flatforms. This is more of a streetwear inspired style, so I would save this kind of look for a summer night out on the town, brunch with with the girls, or even for a trip the beach.


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05.20.2016

Spring In My Step || Instagram Lately

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An outfit shot from Nordstrom’s Spring Trend Fashion Show
Details: Dress || Bag || Similar wedges here & here

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My mom and I had such a fabulous time at our dear friend Evelyne’s DVF South Coast Plaza event!
Details: Dress || Shoes

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The OC blogger group a blast at this Coachella themed that our friend Cassydy hosted. We did a little shopping & sipping at one of my absolute favorite stores, Modern Romance.

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I’m addicted to these facial cleansers from Wabi-Sabi Botanicals. They are smell AMAZING and are non-toxic!

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This was kind of an “impulse buy” since I had a Rebecca Minkoff gift card to use, but I’ve gotten so many compliments on this little key-fob! I use it at school to store my USB sticks (and now I sound like a total dork) with style.Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 12.29.23 PM
Exploring downtown LA in Show Me Your Mumu (the sunflower print is sold out, but the other prints  offered are equally as cute!)

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An outfit of the night pic of the look I wore to FIDM’s Debut Fashion Show || Dress || Coat

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Obsessed with these crewnecks from this shop!

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Exploring The Getty Villa with my boyfriend in Malibu.

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Another shot from The Getty Villa.

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A fun day in the beautiful city of Santa Monica.
Coat (similar) || Hat

Thanks for stopping by! Make sure to check out my blog’s Instagram account for more.

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05.18.2016

USC || Graduation Portraits

Last weekend, my brother walked in his commencement ceremony at the University of Southern California. It is hard to believe that I was crossing the stage just a year ago to get my own diploma! In some ways, the last year seems to have flown by…but it also feels like forever ago when I think back on  everything I’ve seen and done over the past year. I remember taking my graduation photos on campus with my mom and my sorority and thinking that they were just part of going through the “grad motions,” but now I realize now that those super cliché graduation photos are actually so important to have in the long run.

My mom did a GREAT job on my own graduation photos, but she was super busy during this year’s gradation week because she was planning a party for my brother, Alexander. I insisted that my brother let me relive my glory days at USC and make a trip up to campus take his photos (haha). I knew that USC’s campus would be super crowded and hectic during graduation week with finals wrapping up and all of the families coming into town for the ceremony, so I brainstormed a few locations to shoot at and we were in and out within an hour. I convinced my brother to take some suuuuper spirited graduation photos with some of USC’s most recognizable locations in the background – I even convinced him to climb up on a building for a #views photo (mostly because he loves Drake and the future generations NEED to know that 😉 ). If you’re wondering what the peace sign shots are about, that’s USC’s sign for “Fight On,” our motto.

Alexander was a good sport and we had a good laugh at the fact that I have to jump up on benches for most of these photos (I am much shorter than him…he is 6’3″ so I was struggling!). Today I’m sharing my favorite shots so that future graduates may use them as inspiration for their own graduation photo shoots. Enjoy!


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Congratulations to my brother, Alexander, on being a member of the USC Class of 2016! I already miss running into you on campus between classes – how lucky I am to have had my brother at my college and part of greek life with me. FIGHT ON!

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04.12.2016

Sorority Chic | A-List Greek Designs

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Dress || Necklace

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This pretty package from A-List Greek Designs seriously couldn’t have showed up at my doorstep at a better time! As an Alpha Delta Pi alumna, I am always looking for understated ways to incorporate my letters into my wardrobe. Last weekend, I revisited my sorority house for an Alumni Tea event and wore this necklace (I put it on the second it arrived…after sending a few snaps of it to my sisters, of course 😉 ) I received quite a few compliments on it, so I thought I’d share it on my blog!

There are so many chic and polished options when it comes to wearing your letters post-graduation, especially over at A-List Greek. The bar necklace I wore to our Alumni Tea event comes in gold, rose gold, or silver and can be stamped with up to 15 characters of your choice! They can also hand stamp jewelry with your initials or roman numerals to create a perfectly personalized piece.

On the A-List Greek website you’ll find adorable assortment of sorority jewelry, Greek letter marquees, metallic tats, and hair ties (how cute are the ones they sent me?!) for any sorority or occasion. If you’re looking for a stylish and sophisticated gift for new members, actives, or even the sorority sisters heading out into the “real world,” you should definitely check out A-List Greek Designs. They are officially Greek licensed and were founded in 2013 by a group of Greek-affiliated women. Use the coupon code “LOVEALIST” at checkout for free shipping!

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03.27.2016

Cute Kicks

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A few years ago, I would never have considered sneakers to be part of my go-to wardrobe – but my recent obsession with this season’s feminine sneakers trend has me reaching for a comfy pair almost every time I walk out the door! I’ve been exploring Los Angeles on foot quite a bit lately, so that is where my search for comfortable & fashionable sneakers began. Also, I am constantly on the lookout for fashionable sneakers that are comfortable enough to wear while traveling since there is usually a ton of walking involved. With all of the trendy sneakers hitting stores this season, it is almost hard to avoid them at this point!

I thought I’d share some of my favorite feminine sneakers that will pair well with casual, non-athletic clothing for spring & summer. Time to say goodbye to boring athletic shoes, ladies! For those of you who find your average white sneakers too casual or plain – I’ve rounded  up a few feminine and “different” options that you could try pairing with a lace top + jeans, or even a flirty dress. One of these might just end up being your new go-to! (These and these are my favorites!)

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03.22.2016

The Flower Fields | Carlsbad, CA

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My mom and I heard about The Flower Fields from one of our relatives and knew we just HAD to go! We did a little research online and made a quick trip to Carlsbad to visit the fields. It looked even prettier in person with all of the flowers in bloom! The hills were so colorful…it felt like we were walking in a fairy tale. It was a little windy and cloudy, but the flowers didn’t seem to notice 😉

If you’re in Southern California, you really should see the fields for yourself. The flowers cover a beautiful 50 acres and can be toured via an antique tractor wagon (how cute is that?!). It is a great spot to take special occasion photos or to relax with family!

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01.22.2016

New York || Travel Photo Diary

I hope that your 2016 is off to a fantastic start 🙂 I started the new year off with a quick trip to New York City with my boyfriend, Julian, in celebration of his 25th birthday! We were only in NYC for a few days, but we managed to fit in just about everything on our to-do list.

The highlights of our trip include taking the subway to Brooklyn for a Nets game, enjoying an Afternoon Tea at The Plaza Hotel, visiting SoHo’s amazing consignment shops, grabbing lunch with a fantastic view on the top floor of Saks 5th Avenue, ice skating at Rockefeller Center, eating brunch at Laduree, walking through Central Park, and only getting lost on the subway one time!  We were on our feet the whole time and pretty tired from the flight but it was totally worth it. I have to say that my absolute favorite parts of the trip were ice skating and experiencing my first snowfall (I have been to the snow before, but I have never experienced the snow actually falling!).

The only thing that I really wish I had gotten to show Julian in NYC is the view from the One World Observatory. I got to experience the incredible view of NYC from the One World Trade Center just last year when I visited Conde Nast’s headquarters for their Teen Vogue event and would have loved for Julian to see it as well! The pictures I showed him from my trip of the view just didn’t do it justice! Unfortunately, it was super cloudy and snowing on the day that we were exploring by the One World Trade Center, so we decided to save visiting the Observatory for another trip when it was clear enough to see the view. It is at the top of our list for our next visit (whenever that may be).

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy these photos of our trip! 🙂 If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section!

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