Hey, pals. I’ve been wanting to document my travel wardrobe for some time now and after I got 12 billion questions about my red dress from London, I decided now was a good time to start. Below are all my outfits for the 2017 London Book Fair along with links and my thoughts on each piece! Hope you enjoy and please let me know in the comments if you have any questions ❤

 

 

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I wore this outfit for my first night out and I really loved it. The boots are super comfy and I really like the lace up design in the back. I’ve worn them since on a night where I walked a lot and had no pain issues. The open-back sweater is an older piece from Charlotte Russe, so I am not sure if it’s still available but I found another cute option that’s similar and included the link below. The phone case I actually didn’t order but it came with another case I bought by accident (lol oops.) It’s cute though, especially if you’re a fan of unicorns like me 🙂

Boots: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FN6PGV8/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_KaT5yb5W4VTJJ

Sweater dress: http://www.charlotterusse.com/open-back-sweater-dress/302213099.html

Phone case: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LXRS54P/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_QJS5yb7Y5YCDX

 

On the first day of the fair, I opted for this dark green vintage style swing dress. I spoke on a panel that day (which happened to be on an ALL PINK stage) so I wanted to offset my hair with a darker shade. This dress fits well/true to size. It’s especially flattering if you have a bigger bust, and it was definitely comfortable. Next time I wear it, I’ll have my hair up to show off the high collar. My shoes are originally from Modcloth but I purchased them a few years ago so I provided a different link below. This cellphone case is one of my favorites, both for the super cute pom-pom and because it doubles as a mirror.

Dress: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0162994L8/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Shoes: https://www.sourpussclothing.com/bettie-page-alicia-heels-pink.html

Cellphone case: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LZVX48G/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_KKN5ybESMZ0MS

I love the print on this dress but I wish the sleeves were 3/4 instead of capped. floral1Not because I don’t love cap sleeves because I do! But because the cut on this particular dress just wasn’t working for me. I have small arms, so I was sort of swimming in the sleeves but if your arms are on the bigger side this might work for you. I matched the dress with a pink cardigan and it was pretty cute.

 

My favorite dress of the trip! Comfortable, nice cut and flattering. I got tons of compliments with this outfit. The dress comes with a black belt which I didn’t use because it’s basic af and I hate belting my dresses. I spent several hours on my feet and the shoes gave me no issues. They are a little hard to buckle but besides that I recommend these if you’re in the market for a cute kitten heel. They also have a bunch of cute color options so I might get another pair.

Dress: http://secretofdiva.com/product/muxxn-womens-1950s-vintage-34-sleeve-pleated-scoop-neckline-swing-cocktail-dress/

Shoes: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01L2MXUEW/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_btU5ybKSF6E6C

PicMonkey Collage

Let me know if you’d like more posts like this and please ask any questions you have about my outfits below!

If you’re anything like me, you follow a lot of beauty and makeup accounts on Instagram, and if you do it won’t be long before you come across an account promoting Younique Mascara. The posts are always the same, long thick lashes, obtained by using their “Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes,” and said to be a comparable alternative to falsies.

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A Younique customer’s picture from their website.

I’ve wanted to try this mascara for quite some time, but I did have a few questions. First, some of the girls who post pictures of their lashes have that clumpy, spider lash look: not a look I’m fond of. Secondly, how easily does this mascara come off? It looked like an intricate process for application (more on that later) and I wasn’t excited to spend another fifteen minutes trying to scrub it off after. Lastly, does this stuff really work?! So, I decided to buy the Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes and try it for myself!

First, here is a picture of my bare lashes. A “before” picture if you will.

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My lashes are pretty long naturally, but I wanted a huge boost ahead of my upcoming birthday party, so I was very excited to try Younique. The directions ask you to apply your favorite mascara first, and I used Makeup Forever’s Smokey Extravagant Mascara. Here are my lashes with just my Makeup Forever mascara.

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Before applying my mascara, I curled my lashes and then went on to begin the Younique Mascara application.

First you apply the transplanting gel evenly on your lashes. During this process I noticed I did get a few bits of the gel on my eyelids but it came off very easily and didn’t mess up the rest of my eye makeup.

Next, I quickly applied the fibers (you have to apply it before the transplanting gel dries) and again a few of the fibers did fall on my cheeks but it came off very easily and wasn’t a big deal to me at all. I mention this because I’ve seen some reviews that point this out as a negative but to be honest, this happens to me with normal mascara anyway so I didn’t see it as a negative. I also think that with practice, this might happen less as this was just my first time applying the mascara.

Lastly, I applied the transplanting gel again just to seal the fibers in place and here are my results.

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I loved the end result. My lashes were long, full and not tarantula-lashy or clumpy like I feared. I did separate my lashes with a lash comb a bit and I was really amazed at how long my lashes looked. Here is a comparison side by side.

sidebyside               No mascara                    Makeup Forever Mascara                  + Younique

The Younique mascara really extended the length of my lashes, they were almost touching my eyebrows! It was weird to get used to at first because they just looked so long, but now I am pretty much obsessed with how it makes my lashes look.

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So, the lashes didn’t look clumpy to me, the mascara worked much like it said it would, and now was the moment of truth – how easily does it come off? I usually take my makeup off with Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes and it works beautifully. I decided to try and take the mascara off with just the towelettes not expecting it to work completely…but it did! The mascara came off super easily with just one wipe and I used the same towelette for the rest of my makeup like I usually do.

I am not a fan of falsies, (I suck at applying them!) but I would definitely recommend Younique Mascara to anyone looking for dramatic length and beautiful lashes. If you follow the instructions and don’t over do it with applying coats, it will be your favorite mascara ever, I know it’s mine!

As part of this review, I am hosting a Younique Virtual Party. You can buy any of their products using this link: https://www.youniqueproducts.com/melaniedellarosa77/party/1344919/view

A big THANK YOU to Melanie DellaRosa for helping me with my order and introducing me to this great new product 🙂

PicMonkey Collage

 

49c6bb35782da34046325c5eb1684b14 I am one of those people who loves changing their hair. I’ve dyed my hair every color from black to pink to blonde, let it grow well past my shoulders, and chopped it all off into a pixie cut without a second thought. While playing around with different hairstyles is fun, it can also cause serious damage to your locks. A few years ago, I decided I HAD to have pink ends on my hair, but more than that, I wanted pink on blonde. Problem was, my hair was dark brown and even black in some parts as I’d dyed it just a few months prior. To skip the reading and watch my video on repairing bleached hair, click here! I decided to go for it and went to a salon called Dramatics in the Flatiron district of NYC, near my job at the time. I had made my appointment a few weeks prior, and they told me to make sure I had plenty of time to spare since it would be a long process. They weren’t kidding. After testing my hair, they decided it was safe to bleach it out and after about two (could’ve been three) processes, my hair was finally light enough to proceed. After my hair was the right blonde shade, they dyed the ends a hot pink and deep conditioned the crap out of my hair.

Me and my pink/blonde hair.
Me and my pink/blonde hair.

I loved the results, my hair color was exactly what I’d wanted, though I had to sacrifice quite a bit of length to achieve it. They styled my hair and sent me on my way, but it wasn’t until I washed it myself for the first time that I noticed just how much damage had been done. My hair literally felt like straw, and while it should come as no surprise considering how much they had to bleach my hair to get it to the color I wanted, it’s something quite different when you realize, ‘crap now I’ve got to take care of this fringe myself!” gwen Straight off I went to Youtube. I spent hours watching videos on repairing damaged hair and the best products to use on bleached hair. I came away with a lot of great information, but the one piece of advice that served me most and which I came to find true myself was this – nothing will repair your hair fully, but time. Dr.-Who It’s true, there are certain things you can do to help your hair not incur any more damage, but as for the strands which have already been fried well, they’re going to stay fried until you chop them off. There’s really no way around it, once your hair gets damaged to a certain point, the most you can do is make sure it doesn’t get worse. That being said, I am glad I followed the advice of the Youtube videos I watched as they not only helped me nurse my hair back to health, but helped me get an even healthier head of hair once the bleach/damaged parts were all gone.

These are the things I did to get my hair from terribly damaged to luscious once more!

1. Use minimal heat!

This was probably the hardest on the list. My hair is usually curly, but after the bleaching, I’d be lucky if I could get a wave out of it. But it wasn’t straight either. It was, for lack of a better word, crispy. Hard, puffy and unruly. So air drying it was not an easy feat. The only way my hair looked good was if I used a blow dryer on it (or in some cases, braided it, so learning some new hair styles involving braids is worth looking into!) and every time I so much as combed it, tons and tons of hair fell out. Still, I didn’t want to go out looking like the frazzled end of a broom every day so while I did use a blow dryer on my hair, I tried to do it as little as possible and also made sure to use heat protectant when I did. The flatiron though was OUT of the question. I found that if I tried to use it, my hair would just fall out in troves, so I decided I would just put my beloved Sedu away for a few months. I got some great dry shampoo (Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo) and tried not to wash it as often which meant not drying it as often. That brings me to number 2…

2. Keep Hair Washing to a Minimum

This may sound gross but trust me, it will make a big difference. If you’re not one of the people who already subscribes to the “no-poo” method of hair care, then washing your hair less after it’s been bleached/seriously damaged will make a world of difference. Using shampoo strips your hair of it’s natural oils, something you will desperately need to make it healthy again. After I’d undergone my bleach/dye process, my hair felt so horrible after the first shampoo, and soon after researching what to do to repair my hair, I found out why. Which brings us to our next point on the list…

3. Use a Sulfate Free Shampoo

If you don’t follow any of my other advice, follow this step. Using a sulfate free shampoo really helped my hair so much, and allowed me to wash it without the fear of damaging it further. I swear by SheaMoisture Raw Shea Moisture Retention Shampoo and their conditioners as well. I would recommend this even for people with healthy hair! It makes such a difference in the shine and overall health of your hair. It does take some getting used to, as it doesn’t produce a deep lather like normal shampoos, but once you see the results, you’ll be too addicted to go back. I know I was.

4. Use a Protein Treatment

Using some sort of protein infused product can be a crucial to restoring your hair’s health. I used Bed Head’s Dumb Blonde conditioner and it helped me loads. Keep in mind, you shouldn’t use this in your hair every time you wash, and when you do your hair will feel a bit harder so a deep conditioner or hair mask will be in order. Speaking of deep conditioners…

5. Get a Good Deep Treatment

Not using sulfates in your hair is just part of the process, but adding vitamins and oils to your hair will also help along the way. Deep conditioners and hair treatments can help you do just that. I used another one of SheaMoisture’s products, this time their Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Mask. Although I wasn’t washing my hair as often, I made sure to use this every time I did. It helps keep your hair as manageable as possible as it grows out and gets back into a healthy state.

6. Don’t Dye Your Hair!

This should go without saying but, I’ve seen a lot of friends dye their damaged hair a darker color in order to make it appear healthier. While it’s true that having darker hair will make it look somewhat healthier, the reality is you’re only damaging it more and you could run the risk of losing a lot of hair (or even eek, getting a bald spot!). As tempting as this “quick fix” seems, please trust me and don’t dye your hair until at least a few months have passed.

7. Use Natural Oils

I still use coconut oil in my hair today and it was a great addition to my hair care regiment. It added a lot of shine and bounce back into my hair and helped replace some of the natural oils missing in my bleached strands, especially after a wash.

8. Trim Your Hair Often

As I said from the onset, there is nothing that will bring your hair back 100% but time and trimming your hair is a crucial part of this. Not only will it help you gradually get rid of the damaged parts, it will encourage more hair growth (healthy new hair!).

9. Be Patient!

Whether your damage stems from bleaching like me, or using too much heat, it will take a lot of time before your hair is one hundred percent healthy again. The good thing is, it IS possible! With some patience, a few great products and a few trims, your hair will be back to normal in no time!

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My hair today. Shiny, healthy and splint end free 🙂

 

Products I used

Shampoo: SheaMoisture Raw Shea Moisture Retention Shampoo

Deep Conditioner: Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Mask

Dry Shampoo: Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo

Protein Treatment: TiGi – Bed Head Dumb Blonde Reconstructor

Redken Extreme Anti Snap Leave in Treatment

Sexy Hair Soy Tri-Wheat leave in conditioner

Coconut Oil

 

Blow-dry-girl

I have a friend who has what I would call wavy hair. Healthy and not too long but pretty thick. She asked me how long it took me to blow-dry my hair, and I told her about 20 minutes.

“Wow,” she said, and went on to describe how it took her over an hour to dry her own hair, and even then the results weren’t the best. She said she didn’t like how flatirons made her hair look, and wondered why it was taking her so long to dry her hair.

Right away I asked, “What blow dryer do you use?” and she grumbled something about possibly some Revlon dryer, and I nodded, with the knowing eyes of someone who’s been drying her own curly hair straight since she was twelve: “It has to be your dryer.”

My friend trying to dry her hair with her Revlon dryer. (approximate recreation)
My friend trying to dry her hair with her Revlon dryer. (approximate recreation)

Now, I am not here to tell you you can’t find a good dryer without spending a million bucks because you can. But in my experience, lower end dryers that you can find at Walmart for instance, don’t really get the job done as well as a salon bought or professional dryer, but it also depends on your hair.

If you already have fine, straight hair well, you don’t need much heat, just enough to dry it. But if your hair is curly like mine, thick like my friends, or say super curly like my sister’s is, you will need heat, and a lot of it, to get that salon finish, especially if you haven’t learned your way around flat irons or rather not use them.

I got a professional dryer for Christmas one year but after years and years of use it finally broke. I couldn’t afford an expensive one at the time so I just got a $20 Con Air one in the meantime. I had that dryer for a little over a year and I relied heavily on my flat iron during that time, not a great thing considering I later went on to bleach, and dye it pink which fried my hair out even more (will post a tutorial of how I got my hair back into a healthy state if you guys like!).

The dryer wasn’t horrible, but it just did not get hot enough to straighten my hair properly. When I was done, my hair always looked puffy, dried out, and just generally not cute.

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One day I found a Babyliss Pro on sale and went for it, and it significantly cut down my drying time and gave me the look I wanted without having to rely on my flatiron.

I’ve looked around and seen that there are brands like Revlon and Conair with higher end dryers, but I’ve also noticed some reviewers mention they still do not get hot enough. It could very well be that there are some great dryers out there from these brands and others like them, but rather than test them out, I will just go with the professional dryers I know work for me.

I obviously have not tried every dryer in the world, and I’m also not here to bash the good people over at Revlon/Conair etc. But I am saying there is a reason stylists use certain dryers, and are willing to shell out the big bucks to get them. In my experience, it really does make a difference in terms of how long it will take you to dry your hair, and the results you get.

What dryer do you use? Does it work well? Let me know in the comments below!