Monday, December 1, 2014

Track of the Week: December 1, 2014

Haven't blogged about music in ages but I've been listening to this track on repeat as of late. It's Clean Bandit & Jess Glynne with Real Love.

I've got the original version in my playlist but wow I've listened to like six other mixes and versions this week too. The music is just so great with interesting rhythms and sounds and Glynne's voice is strong and passionate.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Afternoon Adventures

This semester has been an absolute whirlwind. I'm applying for graduation, finalizing my major and minor, locking in my levels and weight, and just all around getting ready for the real world. Without a doubt, my ass is being kicked by the to do list I've been keeping. What's really been getting me through are my friends and my family. My mom is my number one supporter and, even after I've let her down and pushed her past her limits, she's never given up on me. But sometimes it's hard to lean on someone who lives so far away. It's times like now that I'm glad to have the friends I do.

One of my very best friends Sarah (you can find her here) was looking to get away from Oklahoma City last Sunday and called me for some back up. It ended up being only a couple of hours, but wow I am so beyond glad she called. We'd had an original plan to find a pumpkin patch out of town and grab a couple to make our living areas more seasonable. While things didn't exactly go as planned, the day was wonderful.

We first headed over to the OU campus in Norman to grab a sweet treat from Hurt's Donut Company. Holy cow. Now only are there amazing donuts like Maple Bacon and Fruity Pebbles, but they make a milkshake to compliment each donut. I got myself a mint chocolate donut and the shake to match. It was heaven. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Quick Tips: Feeling Tired

I don't know about you guys, but this semester is kicking my butt already. It's only week four and I feel like, even though it's under control, I've got quite a workload being handed off on me. I'm feeling super tired and as the days grow shorter, that's only going to continue to happen.

I'm not the best at managing my time, especially when it comes to scheduling sleep in responsibly, but I have figured out a couple of things over the past couple of years. So here are my quick tips for staying awake and healthy and sleeping when you need it.

  1. Don't Procrastinate: Putting off doing your work only means you'll have to do it later, at night, when you should be sleeping. It sucks to have to be awake when you're exhausted so if you can work on things over time, then you'll probably be able to get to bed at a reasonable time.
  2. Schedule You're Sleep: During the week I wake up at the same time every day, even if my start time for the day differs. And unless it's a special occasion I try to wake up at the same time every Saturday and Sunday. It keeps me on track and gets me feeling tired at the same time most nights.
  3. Take Naps: As a college student, sometimes getting to bed at a "reasonable" hour just isn't feasible. On days when you're feeling exhausted try to find time to schedule in a nap and set an alarm for when you'll wake up. This keeps you in control of your sleeping, rather than falling asleep at any time and not knowing when you'll wake up. Know you're body and how long you need to nap. Too long or short of a nap can tire you out even more.
  4. Have Some Backup: Sometimes you've just got to power through a day of exhaustion. Look into some sorts of things that keep you energized. Exercise wakes me up, and so does minty gum or candy. And a cup of coffee won't hurt too badly.
xo -Val

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Outfits & Essentials: Made For Walking

I'm not going to lie to you; this trend is close to my heart thanks to Mr. Harry Styles. I've been loving his style for the past year or two (and I'm loving the long hair, by the way). From his YSL obsession and his love for hats and headscarves, boy has a style all his own. Aside from the skinny jeans, his signature piece is definitely a pair of Chelsea Boots.

I got myself a heeled pair this past Christmas (now unavailable from Forever 21) and I've been absolutely in love ever since. I'm not a big spender, as you know, so here are some of my favorite Chelsea Boots, all available for under $50. (Hint: H&M seems to have the most variety of styles!)

Info & links under the cut.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Adventures in Central Park

About two weeks ago I headed in to Manhattan to help move one of my best friends into his new apartment. Being from Long Island, I'm in the city quite a bit and I generally walk along the same routes to get where I'm going. This time, however, I changed it up a bit.

Firstly, I always use Madison Avenue. It's my favorite street in New York and I could just window shop up and down for hours. I usually take Madison all the way up to where I need to be, but after hitting Ladurée (since I'll never skip Ladurée) I headed over towards Central Park. And boy am I glad I did.
Central Park is huge. Let's just start by getting that out of the way. On the way up I walked through and on on the way down I walked along the outside since it was evening (better safe than sorry). According to Siri's scenic route and directions the walk is about four miles each way and despite my poor choice of footwear (seriously, choose comfort over style for this trek) I really enjoyed myself. I'd only seen a small portion of the park in the past, but I had no idea the park had gorgeous, secluded areas like the ones I found.

If you ever get the chance to just spend an afternoon in Central Park wandering around on the various paths and trails I cannot recommend it enough.

There are some more photos of the absolutely beautiful park under the cut.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

In Defense of the Selfie

Let's get real for a second. Selfies have taken the world by storm. Selfie was literally Oxford Dictionary's word of the year in 2013. We see them all over our social media; Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook being flooded by photos we take of ourselves. So why are people getting so bent out of shape when it comes to selfies? What's the problem with selfies?

Nothing. I think there's nothing wrong with selfies. I'll tell you why. There is so much negative energy floating around in the world, and especially in our media. Magazines say we aren't pretty enough or thin enough, that we'll look this much better if we change this about ourselves, and that if we only change ourselves then we can be better. To me, a selfie says, "Look at me. Look at me being happy with myself. I am so happy with the way I am that I am going to show you." What could be the matter with that? And yes, I understand that you might think it's reaching for attention and whatnot, but who cares if it is? I post a selfie because I am happy with myself and I want everyone to know.

And with that, I'll leave you with the most maddening song of the year.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Bluegrass Charm

Earlier in the year, I was sent a couple of products from an adorable company called Bluegrass Charm. Based in Kentucky, this shop has all of your monogrammed needs and is super precious! Best part about it? The quality of the goods are great and the prices won't break the bank! Win win!

This post is long overdue, but I wanted  to give you a peek at what they sent me because everything is adorable and better late than never I suppose!

Firstly, they sent me two keychains (both are adorable). The first one is an Alpha Phi embroidered key chain. I had a keychain like this my freshman year and I used it until it fell apart, so I was beyond excited to see this in my package. The colors are gorgeous and it hasn't really gotten dirty at all.

The second keychain is a plastic circle with the BC logo on it and a cute grey and white chevron ribbon tied at the top. This one is also great quality and has resisted chipping as well as fraying. Love both of these! 
Next thing in the package was a coozie with the brand logo in glitter and oh my gosh the amount of times I have used this? I couldn't even tell you. I love this coozie. I have a lot of coozies and let me tell you this one is great. And of course I love the glitter detailing. 
Also inside were two monogram decals. The quality of these is really nice and the lettering is very crisp and precise. I haven't used them yet because I'm sure of what I want to put them on. Do you have any suggestions? You can order these from their Etsy page here.

Along with these goodies, I was also sent a Logo Tee with my monogram on the front, all printed in gold glitter, and a black and white chevron infinity scarf with my monogram embroidered in red. Unfortunately, both of these are still at school so I won't be able to show you these until August, but once I'm back I'll absolutely show you those as well!

Current'y, Bluegrass Charm's Shop Envy page is under construction, but their Etsy, Tumblr, and website are all up and running! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Bachelorette Calorie Burner

This summer, my family has adopted quite a bit of a healthy lifestyle. It wasn't something I planned on doing, but it's been a lot easier than I expected. (It probably doesn't hurt that my mom does the food shopping and cooking.) 

Aside from eating better, as a family we're trying to be more active too. So I put together a workout for our favorite Monday night program, The Bachelorette. I know it's a little late in the season, but better late than ever!

Have you been watching The Bachelorette? Who are you rooting for?
Hope your Monday was super romantic!

One Direction: Our Moment

I've said it once and I'll say it forever; I love One Direction. When I first heard that the boys were releasing a fragrance I immediately put it on my Christmas list. My family, being the wonderful people that they are, got me not only the perfume for Christmas, but the whole gift set which includes a body lotion and shower gel. When I went back to school I didn't take the set with me, afraid that it might get jostled or busted up through the traveling, so I have only just been using the set since mid May. And oh boy. I love this stuff.
Well firstly, the packaging is gorgeous. The gift box has all five of the gorgeous guys on it, so duh I love it. But the inside is super sturdy and I've been keeping everything inside the box even as I've been using it. It's been keeping out the dust and keeping all the products together has reminded me to use them together. (Full disclosure; I haven't used the shower gel yet because I share a shower and don't want anyone else to use it up on me!) 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Like To Be Bad

Okay, so this might be crazy but I used to hate wearing nail polish. I used to be constantly aware of it on my fingers and I thought I could feel the added weight on my hands; like I said, crazy. Well, I when I went off to college I decided that I wanted to love it and after painting my nails time and time again I have reached the point where I hate having unpainted nails.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago my aunt and I went for pedicures and she'd picked up a couple of Essie polishes and gave me this one; #798 Like To Be Bad.
This color is a little sheer and I've been using three to four coats to achieve the really opaque look, but it is seriously the most lovely baby pink color. In the bottle it appears to be very shimmery but once applied the pink glitz really blends out. I would consider this to be a a pretty flat and neutral color, but I am truly in love. I can already tell that this is going to be a repurchase. No chipping for days and pretty for every season. Neutral, but still adds a subtle pop of color! Totally my color for summer.
What are some of your favorite polishes? Any that you've been absolutely loving for summer? Let me know!

Happy Sunday and best wishes for the week ahead!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Currently Listening To: June 2014

So this month I've been jamming to both new artists and some old personal favorites alike. There is just so much good music out there and I've been eating it up! Here are eight of my favorites for the month of June! You can listen to the playlist on Spotify under the cut below!

Even though I'm absolutely going to be doing a post reviewing Ed Sheeran's new album next week, I just had to include something in here! What have you guys been listening to this month?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Homemade French Macarons

For months now I've been dying to try my hands at some homemade French Macaron cookies. Some of my family came out to spend the day for Father's Day and my aunt suggested that we give it a shot. After heading to our local grocery store to pick up some ingredients we got to work in the kitchen.

I've been watching Byron Talbott's YouTube videos for a while and have been really wanting to try one of his recipes, so after clicking around on his website for a little bit I decided to base my cookies off of Byron's Salted Caramel Macaron recipe. I even went ahead and followed his instructions for making homemade caramel filling from a can of sweetened condensed milk, and guess what! It totally worked! We also used some seedless jams and peanut butter to fill the other cookies too!

Following his instructions, this really wasn't too tough to do! There is quite a bit of patience required when making these cookies; having to whip the egg whites into a meringue, letting the batter dry for 15 minutes prior to baking, cooking in the oven for at least 10 (depending on your oven), and the thirty minutes of cooling time before you can fill them but wow these cookies were so worth it!

I'm thinking some red, white, and blue ones for the Fourth of July!
Hope everyone had a nice Father's Day!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Me Time on Madison Avenue

Last week I took a trip into Manhattan to see some of my friends in a musical theater showcase my school was sponsoring over at the Ailey School. It wasn't until to 2:00 but I headed in to the city early, getting in at about 10:30. I met my aunt for an early lunch and a quick trip to MAC to pick up some eyeshadow and when she had to leave for an appointment I headed towards Madison Avenue. Madison Avenue might be my favorite part of the city and wow, walking up and down it by myself was an absolute treat.
I'd been dying to try some Ladurée French Macarons for ages, and had totally forgotten that there was a shop on Madison Ave. I was so beyond excited when I spotted it across the street and immediately dashed over. I couldn't decide if I wanted a creamy one or a fruity one, so I caved and got one of each; pistachio and raspberry. I can't even tell you which I thought was better. They were both incredible. If I could only enjoy one treat for the rest of my life Ladurée French Macarons are it.
After the performance, I had some a few hours to kill before I was to meet up with my aunt again for dinner. I'd never been to the Madison Avenue Lilly Pulitzer, despite being a New Yorker, so I took a trip up towards 79th. Wow it was so beautiful inside. I was looking to pick up some of the Alpha Phi printed gifts but they were out, which was a bummer but I did pick up a new coozie (which I'm thinking of possibly using for a giveaway). The staff were just beyond sweet and really made my experience in the store a great one. I'm not really in a place right now where I can splurge on a big Lilly purchase and not once did I ever feel like they were pressuring me into either buying something or leaving. I would absolutely go back again!
Afterwards I headed over to Central Park which is so beautiful in the spring time. Having been in Oklahoma for the past couple of months has meant that I haven't really been around for New York's transition from winter into spring and summer but the park was looking beyond gorgeous. I walked around for a bit and then sat down to organize my thoughts and my planner, just enjoying the beautiful weather. 

I've never been someone who's had a hard time with alone time, but I never expected to enjoy my time in Manhattan as I did. I generally have my sister or a guy with me when I'm having a little daytime adventure, but having no one to entertain but myself was extremely nice. Everyone should try to take a day for themselves at some point. I could walk as quickly as I wanted, take photos of whatever, stop in any shops I wanted to browse, try clothes on I had no intentions of buying so I could see them on myself; it was just an all around great day.

Take vacations with yourself, even if they only last a couple of hours. You're better company than you expect you are.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: Jack Johnson - From Here to Now to You

I think there's something really cool about sharing music. In my opinion, if someone tells you a piece of music resonates with them then you should take the time to really listen to it. You might not understand exactly how it makes them feel or why it sits so strongly with them, but I don't know I think it's special.

Anyway - point comma get to it - I'd asked someone recently if he could only listen to one album from this point on which would he choose and he replied with Jack Johnson's From Here to Now to You. So I downloaded the album and listened to it on my flight on my trip back to New York from Oklahoma.


I've always been a big accessories girl and ever since I got my first watch, which I still wear to this day (skinny wrists), I've just loved the way that a watch can be both functional and gorgeous. This is definitely something I inherit from my Daddy, as he's a huge watch fan. I can't even tell you how many watches my siblings and I have gifted him over the years.

Anyway, yes - big watch fan. I have a couple but one type I do not have is a watch with a leather strap. I'm thinking of tacking one onto my Christmas list this year (I know - it's only May) and have been looking at some beautiful ones online and in the shops. Here are some of the watches that have really jumped out at me from Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors, and Marc Jacobs.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Outfits & Essentials: Red Hot Mama

As a dancer, I've been wearing red lipstick since before I can remember. As I've gotten older, I've brought the red lip into my every day life and wow it's truly a such a powerful statement. It's not news to anyone that the red lip is popular as it's a classic and while there are a hundred of lipsticks out there, I'm sharing a few of my favorites with you that won't strain your wallet.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Currently Listening To: The Vamps

SERIOUSLY I CAN'T. These boys are so stinkin' cute. I first heard the Vamps single "Wild Heart" on BBC Radio 1 in January and just fell in love. So, of course, I looked them up on YouTube and binge watched all of their covers. Just what a talented group of guys. And finally; a full album. Praise.

"Can We Dance" has been one of my favorite tracks for ages and I'm so happy to hear it on this album along with familiar tracks and new ones as well. But you guys. AH. I really like this album. I've had it playing in the background a lot lately and just haven't stopped bopping along. It's fun and it's light but it's sassy and I like it so much. I keep catching myself humming the tracks and I didn't even realize I knew them already. 

Give this a listen you guys. It's way better than I expected it to be. 

Hope your week is going well! Cheers! xx

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Away from Home

I hope everyone had a great Easter yesterday, and a great weekend if you aren't of the celebrating persuasion. It turned out to be a really nice day, here in Oklahoma City, and the rain held off until this morning which I appreciated.

While we did have a half day of classes for Good Friday (I attend a Methodist university so we get some Christian holidays off) I wasn't able to go home for the weekend. Being from New York, it's hard to get home; I'm usually only home for the summer and Christmas. Luckily for me, a lot of my friends are in the same boat as so many of us performance majors are from all over. I was able to spend the afternoon with some of my dearest friends and my sorority sisters and have a lovely brunch. We did an Easter basket exchange, which was so cute, and had mimosas and cooked and it just really turned out to be a lovely day.

My freshman year it really freaked me out to be away from my family during holidays. I haven't been home for Thanksgiving or Easter in four years and it used to be a real bummer. Looking back, it's been kind of nice. I've gotten to experience the Thanksgiving traditions of three different families and create new traditions for Easter with friends. A lot of my favorite memories have been made spending time with my friends when I couldn't be home with my family and while freshman Val would have never believed me, I wouldn't trade these times for anything in the world.

Anyway, I hope you're starting off your weeks with full hearts the way I am. Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Track of the Week: April 20, 2014

Happy Easter everyone! I hope that you're all having a lovely day enjoying time with some family and/or friends. I had a lovely day, but I'll post more about that in another update. This post is about our next Track of the Week!

This week we're keeping with the acoustic feel. I've got Sam Smith's acoustic version of Latch off of his Nirvana E.P. on repeat.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Track of the Week: April 6, 2014 & April 13, 2014

Hey guys! I've decided that as someone who just really adores music (who doesn't though) it would be cool to start sharing some of my favorite individual tracks with you. I know I've done some artist and album spotlights in the past, and I plan to continue doing that, but to keep things more consistent I've decided to start something new.

So, without further ado, I give you the Track of the Week!

I'm someone who listens to music on repeat over and over again, so I'll be sharing the songs that continue to be replayed again and again.

I was thinking about this last week as I had a track for last week, and as it's Sunday I have a new track for this week. So this week there are two tracks!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Currently Listening To: 5 Seconds of Summer

So I've not really posted it about it on here, but I am obsessed with One Direction. I could go on about them for ages, but this post is not about them. I do, however, credit them for introducing me to the band that's been on repeat for the past couple of days; 5 Seconds of Summer. They just released their EP She Looks So Perfect and oh my gosh, you guys. 

They've got a fun, upbeat, and rocky sound and all of their music is totally catchy. It's nice to actually listen listen to but has totally been working as my background music as I've been getting stuff done the past couple of days. 

This EP is great. They picked some really great songs to send out there that are certain to be caught in the listeners' minds. But once you're obsessed with the BLANK tracks off of the EP don't fret! There's another earlier EP out there and loads of covers done by the guys too! So don't worry; your 5SoS fix doesn't have to end with She Looks So Perfect.

You can pre-order the EP from iTunes here is you're in the US. I'll leave you guys with the video for "She Looks So Perfect." Hope your week is off to a great start! Love ya!

Monday, March 24, 2014

My Everyday Makeup Routine

Lots of people had requested this tutorial over on my tumblr and this was seriously so much fun to film! This was my first time filming a tutorial, and I think it went pretty well; though next time I think I'm going to record my voiceover using my camera as opposed to recording the audio straight into GarageBand using my MacBook Pro. Anyway, here it is! All of the products used will be listed under the cut!

Spring Break 2014: Turner Falls

This semester for spring break my family and I decided it'd be best for me to stay here in Oklahoma. Being from New York, it's expensive to catch a flight home for such a short amount of time. Originally, not much was planned for my week in OKC but I was so happy and so surprised that one of my great friends and sorority sisters was coming into town. My twin (Alpha Phi twin, not blood twin) was staying in town as well, along with some of my other close friends, and the week turned out to be much more than I could have hoped for.

On Thursday we headed towards Turner Falls, which is about an hour and half drive from campus, and made a mini vacation day. 

Now, being from suburban New York, I've always considered myself to be more of a city girl but being out at the falls really had me feeling adventurous. We went on a hike up the side of the falls and once all the way at the top, we climbed down into the water. Despite being the slowest and most afraid one out of the bunch, I think I held my own. I'm afraid of heights and I stood at the top of a cliff and looked down and out into the water; I am so proud of myself.

After heading downstream to peer out over the falls, making our way back upstream to wear we'd left our shoes, climbing back up the cliff side towards the pathway, and making our way into a small cave, we headed back down towards the pool level and laid out on the makeshift beach for a while. The day was so wonderful and so unexpected. If you had asked me if I'd be hiking around Oklahoma cliffs and streams during my spare time, I would have thought you were insane.

What I'm saying is I am so thankful for my friends and the experiences I've been able to have with them whilst here in Oklahoma. Most of my closest friends are graduating in May and I'm not sure what it's going to be like during my last semester without them. There are six-ish weeks until most of my class graduates and it's the strangest thing just knowing I'll be back for a few more months whilst they won't be. 

Be adventurous guys. Hang out with your friends. Make the most of all of the time you have together, whether it be climbing cliffs or grabbing drinks and having IHOP at three thirty in the morning (it happens, stop judging me). Just enjoy each other.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I'm on YouTube ♡

I finally did it! I have been wanting to create a YouTube channel for ages and have put it off again and again, but I finally got it together and created my channel and posted my very first video. It's just a little bit about me and what's to come from the channel.

If you guys have any videos you'd like to see me make, leave a comment here or on the video's page.

Hope everyone is having a great week! ♡

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Something New: Resolutions for 2014

Generally, I'm pretty terrible at keeping up with my New Year's Resolutions. But this year I really want to set some achievable goals for myself and do my absolute best to reach them. I think posting them here will keep me accountable as well and I've heard that sharing your resolutions with others makes them more real and therefore you have more of a desire to accomplish them, especially when someone can now check on your progress.

I came up with what I believed to be eight achievable resolutions for the new year.