The Half Bun: A Love-Hate Relationship

Lately, it appears as though a new, messy, lazy-day hairstyle has been added to the repertoire of braids, buns and ponytails.  Not unlike Ariana Grande’s signature ‘do, the new half bun trend takes advantage of the fact that some things are better when done only halfway.  The look is unavoidable, as seen on celebrities and street style stars alike.  Now, some of my friends are trying it!

While I’m still on the fence about the half-up ‘do as a whole, I admit it is possible to rock the look.  For whatever reason, I just haven’t yet had the courage to try it out for myself.  I don’t do things unless I’m almost completely sold on the idea, so until that happens, I’ll just keep Googling and Pinning until I reach my verdict.

The good news is that this look works on a variety of different textures, styles and lengths, so whether your hair is naturally kinky and curly (like mine) or falls pin straight, you can still be included in the trend.

What do y’all think about the half bun?  I’m still so undecided!


Hidden Gems

This past weekend, after the stressful shifts at work were out of the way and before the fam celebrated Father’s Day with some Capitol Lunch, I took a trip to Wally World in an effort to cross some things off the “Stuff I Need” list.

But before we could even make it to the beauty department, my sister and I stumbled upon an endcap full of hidden gems.  There was a sale on jewelry, a major sale, and I found statement pieces at prices I’ll probably never see again.

I walked away with four major pieces of jewelry and a hopeful, excited heart full of love for the future looks in which they will be featured.  (Not to mention the fact that they barely made a dent in my wallet.  I was still on budget to continue with my shopping list!)

1. Neutral Layered Necklaces  |  $7 (clearance)

2. Neutral Drop Earrings  |  $5

3. Punchy Statement Necklace  |  $5

4. Aztec Layered Necklaces  |  $7 (clearance)

As you can probably already tell by the price markers on the products themselves, this fine fashion jewelry was a steal to begin with.  Now consider the fact that those originally priced at $10 were brought down to $7….It was pretty much a no-brainer, guys.  Had to do it.

While I had some trouble finding these exact pieces online, I found some similar ones.  And seeing as the clearance prices are posted online, I can almost guarantee that you can find even more great deals at your local Walmart, as well.  It’d be worth the trip!

What I love about the layered necklaces is that they were packaged to be worn together, but each one comes apart and can stand on its own.  So when my outfit is extra bland, I can stand to stack ’em, but I can also do the opposite for a more casual look.  I love freedom of choice, especially because my outfits tend to evolve depending on my mood.

I can’t wait to wear each of these pieces for a professional look or with a pop of color for summer.  Stay tuned, y’all!

Guess Who’s Back (Back Again)

I’ve written this post over and over again in my head, but I’ve found that my thoughts and words seem to flow more naturally when I actually get to sitting down and writing them. So here I am, sitting outside on a small porch balcony, sleeves rolled up, iced coffee in hand, trying to decide whether or not I owe an explanation for my YEAR-LONG ABSENCE.

I know it’s kind of supposed to be a big deal in the blogging world when you take a break from posting without informing your readers. But blogging experts also say that running a blog shouldn’t feel like a chore, and maybe that’s what it was starting to feel like to me. So I’m sorry if you’ve missed me, but I’m also not sorry because I took some much-needed time off to focus on myself, my life, my schoolwork, my relationships and my goals.

But I’ve missed it, too. Oh, how I’ve missed it. It feels so right to be back in my zone of absorbing information and drawing inspiration from everything around me and thinking, Hey, that could be a cool blog post. (This might sound super lame to basically everyone, but I’m really a dork, and I always have been.) I just miss writing for the sake of writing. And that’s kind of what I want this blog to be about.

I don’t want this blog reboot to be more drawn out than it needs to be, but CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT THIS WHOLE NEW BLOG THING I DID. Essentially, I’ve moved everything over from Tumblr and have chosen WordPress as my new hosting platform. (No disrespect to Tumblr—I still reblog the hell out of everything on there.)

I’ve reinvented my About page and wrote a bio that feels more like “me,” and I am also currently in the process of creating and designing a professional online portfolio to showcase all of my work.

More posts will follow shortly, but in the meantime, check out some of the things I’ve been up to in the past year:

  • made the Dean’s List
  • enjoyed two Florida vacations
  • re-learned Adobe Photoshop and mastered Illustrator and InDesign
  • created this multimedia piece, of which I am very proud (!!!)
  • perfected my resume and hunted for internships

I’m so happy to be back and can’t wait to share more posts with you!  Until next time…
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On Test-Driving Vegetarianism

I always swore I could never be a vegetarian.

“I like meat too much.”

“But bacon is so…good.”

My sister went through one or two vegetarian stints throughout her high school years.  I can remember sneaking into her bedroom while she was at work or driving around with friends or at a sleepover.  Once, as I cracked open her door and quickly scanned the contents of her messy bureau-top, a small, round sticker stopped me in my peripheral tracks.

It featured a cutesy cartoon clown fish with a frown and furrowed brows—if a clown fish can have brows.  He was surrounded by a mass of bubbly white text: “Fish are Friends, Not Food!”

Shortly after, I would learn that the stickers had come as part of a free vegetarian starter kit she had ordered from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) website.

At the time, I knew a few things for certain: a large part of the meat industry’s daily tasks involve the cruel and inhumane treatment of animals leading up to, and during, slaughter; vegetarians don’t eat meat; and vegans basically don’t want anything to do with animal products.

I knew that the treatment of animals was disagreeable, abhorrent and disturbing.  I knew that I could never stand to see my beloved family pets treated in such a way.

I knew that my sister and some of her friends—and a few years later, some of mine—were exploring these injustices, and acting upon them, for valid reasons.

And yet, I never felt an urgent need to test out vegetarianism for myself.

Maybe I was too naïve or too young or too cowardly.  Maybe I wasn’t courageous enough to face the facts and stare at the problem head-on.  Maybe I didn’t feel the need to eliminate meat from my diet.  Maybe I never dabbled in the “veg” pool because I simply couldn’t, or wouldn’t.  Or maybe it just never happened.

Now it has.

I recently decided to join the United States’ 7.3 million vegetarians for a week and explore not only new eating habits but a new lifestyle, as well.  Clearly, I was in good company.

I was lucky enough to have a knowledgeable and admirable mentor by my side, someone to point me in the right direction, someone whom I could text when I needed help finding alternative sources of protein, and someone who wouldn’t judge me if, at the end of this experience, I decided to go back to my carnivorous ways.

Staci Obasi, a longtime family friend, has been a vegan for four years and is raising her 1-year-old son the same way.  When I told her about my plans to try out vegetarianism, she coined a fitting name for the process: getting “vegucated.”

She sent me an email a day or two after we first spoke about my idea, in which she said there are two driving forces behind the “veg” movement: health and animal cruelty.  People who go meat-free obviously have to be more conscious of the foods that they consume.

The elimination of meat from one’s diet usually results in increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables—although there are some non-meat-eaters who exist in a rut of processed food consumption.

Furthermore, vegetarians and vegans prefer not to support the meat industry because of the ways animals are treated before, and during, slaughter.

So what, exactly, did this lifestyle shift entail for me?

In a nutshell, it meant that, by making the conscious decision to avoid eating certain meat products, I would end up paying closer attention to everything I ate.

Most of my days are spent in and out of classes on a college campus, which means that I am pretty much subject to whatever meals are available in the cafeteria.  As I walked through the orange turnstiles at the entrance of the cafe on my first day as a vegetarian, the reality of my choice began to settle in.

The first thing I saw: the build-your-own-burger station, complete with the usual long line of hungry, hard-working students longingly watching their lunchmeat sizzle on an oversized grill.  I quickly kept walking, ignoring the temptation that existed just outside of my periphery and trying to convince myself that deep-fried chicken tenders dipped in honey mustard weren’t my favorite grab-and-go meal on campus.

Let’s just say there was a lot of salad involved.

This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, since I genuinely love salad anyway.  But I did get a little bored toward the end of the week.

When you decide to go full-on vegetarian after about 20 years of doing the opposite, you have to grow up and stop being so damn picky.  Because your meal options are really limited, at least compared to what you’re used to.  And you don’t want to become a part of the vegetarians-who-only-eat-processed-foods statistic.

The pizza here isn’t your favorite?  Eat it anyway.  You’d rather have smoked beef jerky instead of trail mix?  Choose the trail mix anyway.  You’re sick of boring bowls full of leafy greens, sliced carrots and broccoli, but you only like eggs if they’re cooked a certain way?  Grab two hard-boiled eggs anyway.  And eat them like an adult would.

Although I stuck to the plan for the majority of the week, I didn’t make for the perfect vegetarian.  I did indulge in a bowl of chili and a junior bacon cheeseburger from Wendy’s.

But, in my defense, I don’t believe that these apparent slip-ups stemmed from a lack of understanding, acceptance, or appreciation for vegetarianism and all that it stands for.  Nor did they come from a lack of interest in my personal health or a wavering dedication to the project.

More than anything, I ate the chili on Thursday because it was there.  It was what my dad happened to make for dinner that night.  I ate the Wendy’s cheeseburger because it was available.  I was in a huge rush, and a salad doesn’t make for the best car food.

If I had asked him to, my dad could have just as easily whipped up a vegetarian version of his chili.  And if I had been more prepared, maybe I wouldn’t have had to make that fast-food stop.

But I wasn’t raised in such a way that avoiding meat is second nature; thinking like a vegetarian doesn’t come naturally to me.  Although I had learned how to navigate the school cafeteria in order to eat like a vegetarian, and although I was getting along all right without meat, it’s true that my brain isn’t wired to notwant beef or fish or chicken.

The point is, assimilating to the “veg” world came as a bit of a culture shock to me, as someone who spent her whole life eating meat—and loving it.  Moving forward, I’m not so sure that being a devoted vegetarian is for me.  How am I not supposed to order a steak at Outback?  Why wouldn’t I love the taste of super crispy bacon at brunch?

This is not to say that I don’t respect vegetarians or vegans or anyone else devoted to the “veg” movement.  If anything, this experience has given me a deeper understanding of the “veg” world and those who choose to be a part of it.

But I’ve realized that the decision to become a vegetarian can probably go one of two ways: you either hit a turning point, during which you devote yourself to the “veg” lifestyle wholeheartedly, as Staci did; or you become exposed to and more aware of the lifestyle and begin to make small changes where you see fit, even if that means continuing to eat meat while still being aware of the arguments against doing so.

You can imagine the direction in which I naturally lean.

Getting Topical with Australian Tea Tree Oil

Oils are having a moment.

I’m talking facial oils, cleansing oils, body oils, Argan hair oils and essential oils.  The world of skin and hair care has unearthed the power of beauty oils made to cleanse, soften, heal, seal and moisturize.

Years ago, when I hadn’t established a skin care routine and was thus in limbo, I tried some tea tree facial products that cleared up my breakouts, evened out my skin tone, and left me feeling less oily at the end of the day.

Having spent a few months as an esthetician at an all-natural day spa, I know that tea tree oil is one of the most widely used and universally applicable essential oils out there…which is why I was delighted when my bottle of 100% pure Australian Tea Tree Oil by Apothecary Extracts arrived!

Tea tree oil is most popular for its topical uses like combatting acne, skin tags, psoriasis and fungus, but Apothecary Extracts sent me a guide containing 53 other tea tree oil recipes (shampoos, lotions, soaps, household cleaners and disinfectants.)

I decided to pull from their hand and body scrub recipe by mixing sugar, olive oil, lemon juice and honey with a couple drops of my Australian Tea Tree Oil.  After, I was ready for my weekly tradition: an at-home mani.

I used the scrub in combination with a cuticle softener to clean up the areas around my nails and soften the skin around my knuckles.  It smelled so clean and left my skin baby soft and refreshed.

My nails have been fire engine red for a week now, and in that time, I’ve used my Australian Tea Tree Oil both as an acne and blemish treatment and as an aromatherapy agent.

Now it’s your turn to get on the beauty oils trend!  I’ll be hosting a Twittergiveaway where you can receive your own full-size 4-ounce bottle of 100% pure Australian Tea Tree Oil by Apothecary Extracts.

Follow me and stay tuned for rules and conditions!  I can’t wait to share this special product with one of you (:

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Introducing SOBO’s Age Smoothing Eye Serum

Guys…I seriously think I’ve found it: the most incredible, make you look wide-awake-on-a-Monday-morning beauty serum that I have encountered to date!  It’s the Age Smoothing Eye Serum from SOBO Skin Care, and it has been my savior—especially this past week, as the piles of schoolwork continued to grow.

Before I share how I used this product and what I thought of the results, it’s important that I credit the masterminds behind it.

About the brand:


SOBO Skin Care’s main philosophy is to create the most natural, wholesome, versatile, effective products possible.  The company uses primarily natural and organic ingredients—orange flower extract, hops, and strawberry oil, among others—to provide the same results in a gentler manner.  Its cleansers, toners, creams, and serums are formulated to rejuvenate a variety of skin types.

About the product:


The Age Smoothing Eye Serum is made from a silicone base that moisturizes and protects the skin around the eyes from puffiness, wrinkles, dryness and elements that can harm sensitive skin.  It also contains essential lipids, which work to accelerate thorough healing and promote the production of healthy skin cells after intense procedures, such as microdermabrasion.  In total, this serum boasts six simple, yet effective, ingredients.  Bonus: the hypoallergenic formula is perfect all skin types!

How I used it:

Serums are so simple.  I started with a clean face in the morning and used the SOBO serum underneath my makeup.  I used about half a pump of the product underneath and around my eyes, being careful not to get too close to my actual eyeballs.  Generally speaking, I used the eye serum in the same areas where I use concealer.  I waited maybe a minute to make sure the serum was no longer wet or tacky before applying my makeup for the day.

What I thought of it:

In case I didn’t already make it clear, I LOVE THIS SERUM.  (And I’m not just saying that because they gave me a free sample.)  I have looked wide-awake and refreshed throughout the entire week, even when I wasn’t feeling my greatest.  The skin around my eyes looks healthy and supple.  I’ve even noticed that my eyes look less “crinkly” when I smile!  (Check out my ~*selfie*~ to see for yourself!)


I can tell that my skin loves this serum stuff simply by how it feels to apply it every morning.  It’s a tad heavier than most serums I’ve used, but I think that’s where the healing complex comes in.  Honestly, it feels expensive—like I’m pampering myself.  Have you ever slicked on yummy body oil after toweling off post-shower?  That’s how good the SOBO Age Smoothing Eye Serum feels around your sleepy eyes.

I’ll be sad when my sample bottle runs out!

How you can get it:

Fortunately for you, my dear readers, you can get 25% off your order at when you use the code “TRYSOBO” at checkout!  This discount code does not expire and applies to your entire first SOBO Skin Care purchase.  (Pssst!  The site is also featuring free shipping with a $75 purchase!)


Other SOBO products available to you include the Ultra Age Repairing Cream, the ULTRA HGF Youth Serum and the Essential Moisturizing Cream.

Happy shopping!  May you have glowing skin all season long (:

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Coffee Break: Blogger Update and Discount Code!

Hello, my lovely readers!  Happy Thursday!  I hope you’re all enjoying and making the most of another beautiful day.  If you’re struggling, remind yourself that after you get home tonight, there’s only one more day standing between you and the weekend.  Pretty sure you can handle that.

I wanted to provide you with a quick little update and let you know why I will most likely be reverting back to posting only once a week for the next few months.  (I figured this sort of catching up is what people do over coffee, right?  So perhaps this will be the start of a new blogging series for me!)

The fall semester started last week, so I’m currently in the process of adjusting to a new school and work schedule while also trying to find time for homework, extracurricular projects (hello, Her Campus QU!), watching Big Brother, brainstorming post ideas, and enjoying what I have left of my social life.  While I enjoy being busy, it can get to be quite stressful.  I’ve been trying to maintain my zen.

I’ve also been thinking about treating myself, seeing as I worked throughout the long Labor Day weekend and made it to time-and-a-half status.  (Is it payday yet?)  I received an email from Hautelook, tempting me with their Dooney & Bourke sale….I may just have to splurge.  We shall see!

But enough about me.  I have a special gift that I would like to share with all of you!  Valentia Skin Care has offered to share a 20% off discount code for those of you who are interested in buying their Even Glow Serum!  (Read my product review here.)

Follow these instructions carefully to receive 20% off your purchase:

1) Search for “Valentia organic Vitamin C serum” on Amazon

2) Click on the listing for the Even Glow Serum

3) Click “Add to Wish List” before adding the item to your cart

4) Click “Add to Cart” and use coupon code: TNAMRRTI

5) You should be able to opt for free shipping at checkout.

The best news: This promo code doesn’t expire until November, so you still have plenty of time to shop!

Thanks for checking in, and I can’t wait to share another post with you soon! XO

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