Spice Up Your Summer Wardrobe With Our Summer Boot Guide

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When you think summer footwear, you probably envision some nice toe-freeing sandals, maybe some wedges if you’re feeling fancy – but boots probably aren’t at the top of your list. Though boots are traditionally associated with the cooler fall and winter season, with the recent trend toward ankle boots and booties, it’s easier than ever to incorporate boots into a trendy summer look.

We partnered with JustFab to bring you some ideas how to match your boots with your warm weather wardrobe. Check out our favorite creative ideas, and if you like what you see, click through any image to purchase from JustFab.

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Stay Gorgeous on the Sand: How to Wear Makeup at the Beach

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Summer lends itself to a loosening of sorts…relaxed beauty routines…fewer pieces clothing…lowered inhibition. We all just feel a little sexier in the summer, no? (NO?! Have a few glasses of rosé and get back to me.)

While you’re drinking, let’s talk getting glam for the beach. As much as most of us enjoy going au natural, who doesn’t want to channel a little Brigitte Bardot every now and again, am I right? It’s just fun.

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‘Mirror in the Sky’ Blog Tour: Tara’s Playlist

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In Aditi Khorsan’s Mirror in the Sky, Tara, who has always felt like something of an outcast at her private school full of students both richer and whiter than her, has her life flipped upside-down when Terra Nova, an “alternate” Earth is discovered. Tara’s social life changes drastically, and the existence of Terra Nova causes shifts in her relationships with friends and family.

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Tips for Rocking a Non-Traditional Hair Color

(Image Credit: Hillary Boles)

(Image Credit: Hillary Boles)

Outrageous hair color is no longer only for the punk kids making a statement or the artist that nobody understands. Bright, non-traditional hair colors have been pouring into the mainstream steadily over the past few years. It is still a bit risky and intriguing to try out pink or blue hair, but it is definitely more acceptable now than it has ever been. If you’re thinking about taking the color plunge, whether with streaks or all over color, we have five tips below to help your color stay brighter longer.

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How to Slow Down a Relationship That’s Moving Too Fast

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When you meet someone that seems to be everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more, it can be hard not to fall head over heels. Hold off on your “future wedding” board on Pinterest, though. The phrase “good things come to those who wait” is especially true in a relationship; if you feel like things are moving too fast, they probably are. Take these steps to slow things down and avoid ruining a relationship that could have great potential. Continue reading

10 Summer Beach Bag Essentials

10 Summer Beach Bag Essentials

10 Summer Beach Bag Essentials

Summer is officially here and you know what that means – time to hit the beach, enjoy some fun in the sun, and travel on a vacation or two. There are few things quite as glorious as a day soaking up the sun with the waves crashing nearby, and the summer season is the perfect time to enjoy it. If you’re looking to make a full-day trip to the sand, it’s essential that you pack your beach bag accordingly. Forgetting sunblock or water can quickly turn your day from fab to drab. Check out our list of 10 summer bag essentials. Continue reading

5 Common Reasons Your Skin is Breaking Out

SBOAlright, you’re tired of it. You are way past puberty, you wash your face regularly and you even splurged on that overly expensive miracle acne face wash! So what gives?! Unfortunately no matter how many precautions you may think you’re taking, you may still be missing some everyday habits that are causing your vicious breakouts. Here are 5 of the most common reasons you’re still breaking out:

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4 Reasons ‘BrainDead’ is Summer Must-See TV

BrainDead (Image Credit: CBS)

BrainDead (Image Credit: CBS)

Last summer, UnREAL and Mr. Robot proved that summer TV could be just as good as the real thing, and this summer’s new shows picked up right where those left off. But the number one show you need to be watching right now is CBS’s BrainDead.

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How to Look Your Best in Pictures!

How to look your best in pictures!

There unfortunately is no step-by-step manual on how to be photogenic, but being “unphotogenic” does not mean that you are not physically attractive. The most gorgeous person in the world could look like an absolute toad in pictures. There is a certain art to taking a good picture. Sometimes it is random, someone just catches you at the right time in the right place. But there are some tricks of the trade that can help you to make every picture a good one. Continue reading

Your First Time: Buying a House

Your First Time: Buying a House

When my husband and I started looking for a house, it was an exciting venture. It was going to be a place for us to just make a life together, but we had no idea how to even start that process. Other than stalking Trulia and making a wish list, we weren’t really sure where to go first. Beyond it being a fun time in your life, it can be stressful if you’re doing it alone or never had to handle a transaction as large as this.

So, here’s what I learned after going through the process, and what I wish someone had told me when we started looking to buy a house:

Know what you need in a house.

This is important and something that I think might be overlooked. What you need is different than what you want. You might want lots of land, a pool and an in-home movie theater, but you don’t necessarily need that, especially in a first home. Think of how many bedrooms and bathrooms you’ll need to be comfortable, the style of house, the location, what kind of amenities you want near by. These are the things that you need to keep in mind, and if you decide you want a pool you can always add that later.

Know your financial limits.

Just because you can afford a $1200 mortgage payment doesn’t mean you should. Many websites will have calculators that will max you out or tell you that you can afford half of what you make towards a mortgage payment. But I think we all know that’s crazy, and you need to remember that life happens. If you max out your budget or give half of it to the mortgage, you’ll be in a pinch when you need some extra funds. Lay out a budget and see how much money you could comfortably handle without feeling paycheck to paycheck. So to sum it up, if the calculators say you can afford $1400, look for something at the $900-$1100 range to ensure you have enough of a financial buffer for “life happens” moments.

Interview your real estate agent.

There are hundreds of agents out in the world looking to help you find your house, but not all of them are going to have your best interests at heart. Don’t be afraid to go in and interview your agent. If you don’t like them, try someone else. The right agent will make the process seem stress free and fun, instead of a stressful nightmare. Our agent was wonderful, and always said what she would do if she was in our place, rather than giving us the typical jargon.

Shop around for loans.

There are so many types of loans, and many banks will offer them. Every bank will have different interest rates, some better than others, so make sure you don’t just choose a rate because you don’t want to research. There are loans made specifically for people in the military, people looking to buy in rural communities, and even no-money-down loans. One word of caution though: any loan that says you don’t have to put down money for a house sounds great but the reality is you’ll be paying no-money-down mortgages.

Have a solid down payment.

This might seem like a “duh” moment, but it’s very important. Most places will recommend that you have about 20%, and that’s a very smart thing to do. Not only will that help reduce your mortgage payment, but it also avoids having to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). PMI is basically insurance that the loan office takes out to ensure you don’t skip out on payments and leave them with a huge debt. This happens when you pay anything under 20% of a down payment. My husband and I put down a little under 15%, but we were fortunate to have our PMI paid off at closing. The more you can save, the better you’ll be when you go to buy a house.
But the biggest tip is just to have fun. You only buy your first house once – duh – so make these moments the best you can. Do your research, understand what you need for a house, and enjoy your new home.

Is Your Sunburn Cause for Concern?

SCFCThe sun’s effects on our skin can range from some seemingly innocent freckles and a healthy glow to blisters and pain. It can be difficult to know when to let it go and when to freak out. Although all exposure to the sun is damaging and can cause skin cancer later in life, there are some warning signs to look out for when you get sunburn. Continue reading

The Twelve Steps in My Bravoholics Anonymous Recovery

WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE (Image Credit: BravoTv)

WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE (Image Credit: BravoTv)

1.) I admit that I am powerless over Bravo–that my TV watching life has become unmanageable.

Every night after a long day at work, I plop onto the couch, grab the remote from where I last left it, and hit power on. Before my mind even realizes what my fingers are doing, I am in a trance, typing in the channel numbers to tune me into Bravo. It’s as natural of an act as turning on a light switch. It does not matter what day of the week or what time it is. I’m not even looking for a specific show to be on. I am paralyzed by the channel, tuned in with a half-conscious stupor, as the voices of The Real Housewives and Below Deck casts become white noise. My DVR is set to record each series, including “first looks” of new episodes, making watching any other channel or show impossible. I don’t make after work plans with friends if there is a new episode of Top Chef on and I would miss its live airing. Bravo consumes me, and I am powerless against it.

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DIY leopard print gold leaf tray

DIY Leopard Print Gold Leaf Tray by A Creative Day

DIY leopard print gold leaf tray

(Image Credit: A Creative Day)

Beautiful do-it-yourself projects that are so simple I wonder why I never thought of them always catch my eye. This DIY Leopard Print Gold Leaf Tray by A Creative Day is one such DIY. All you need to make this project at home is a gold leaf pen, a little creative flair and a tray that is in desperate need of some leopard spots!
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No Boyfriend, No Girlfriend, No Problem

HydraFacial MD Review: This Facial is Worth It!

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When it comes to skincare, I’m a big believer in prevention: monthly facials for anti-aging, SPF to avoid sun damage, and lots of water to stay hydrated (and to possibly stave off wrinkles).  

But, every now and again, I live my life a little too Patsy Stone. Speaking of, is anyone else as excited for the AbFab movie as I am? Anyways, because I graduated college in the last decade, as in before Britney Spears’ infamous 2007 breakdown, I just don’t have the kind of time that I once did to make such debaucherous rookie mistakes without taking action.

After one insane week in particular, I took a long, hard, squinty look at myself in the mirror, and I had to admit, I looked kind of like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Quelle horreur! And! To top it off, my skin was freaking out because I went off birth control.  Mind you, I never really broke out, even as a teenager.  Yet, here I was looking like a disaster.  And I, being fairly vain (not conceited or narcissistic, just vain), had to do something.  IMMEDIATELY!

After much frantic Googling, I stumbled upon the HydraFacial MD. According to the website, the HydraFacial is a multi-step treatment that “cleanses, evenly exfoliates and extracts to remove impurities and dead skin cells while at the same time replenishing vital nutrients including Antioxidants, Peptides and Hyaluronic Acid.”  Super! It works through some futuristic-y sounding process called the “Vortex technology system,” and involves a machine that looks just as futuristic.

Upon further research, it seemed the HydraFacial addressed all my skincare issues: fine lines, skin tone, and congested skin. Brilliant. I consulted the handy HydraFacial MD locator and I was in with a same-day appointment. Once I arrived, I had a brief consultation, where I moaned about my skincare woes to a very no-nonsense aesthetician. Who incidentally, and completely irrelevantly, looked very much like Red from Orange is the New Black.  She agreed that the HydraFacial was a good choice for me and gave me a few facts as she ushered me into the treatment room.  

First, a HydraFacial isn’t like a traditional facial. Meaning, there are no masks (boo!), but my face would not be poked and prodded by those painful extraction tools (yay!). Instead, the machine would do everything, from deep cleaning to diffusing serums into my skin. Also, HydraFacials aren’t meant to take the place of conventional facials, but rather they serve as a sort of supplement to them.

The procedure takes about a half-hour, so it can definitely be a lunchtime treatment. However, some clients may experience redness, so for your first treatment it’s better to come when you don’t have any post-facial obligations. Some people may also notice that their skin will be sensitive to the sun after the HydraFacial, so be sure to apply a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, which we should all really be doing anyway.  Lastly, for some clients to see full results, a series of three weekly HydraFacials is recommended, with monthly appointments thereafter.  But many people look glowy and have clearer skin after the first treatment, so they just opt for monthly appointments for maintenance.  The smoother, plumped-up effects can last up to a week.

Then we got down to business. I braced myself and asked whether the treatment would be painful. I was assured that no, I may only feel a little suction on my face or a sensation comparable to microdermabrasion, which I’ve also had. And that was exactly right. I felt virtually nothing, except the coolness of the tool, which looks like this, gently brushing across my face.  

The treatment consists of four steps, and an optional Vortex-Boost serum:  

Step 1: Exfoliation

The Activ-4 serum sweeps away dead skin cells and makeup debris, revealing healthy skin.

Step 2: Acid Peel

I was slightly intimidated, as I’ve had fairly strong peels and I know they can burn. But I was pleasantly surprised that this glycolic/salicylic acid peel barely even tingled. And I had no redness, peeling, or flakiness post-facial.

Step 3: Extraction

This was a welcome, pain free-change. Standard facial extractions leave me awkwardly mouth-breathing and teary-eyed as an aesthetician seems to endlessly stab at my nose. However, here, all I felt was a slight sucking sensation while my pores were de-clogged.  

Optional Step: Vortex-Boost Serum

After the extraction you can add a Vortex-Boost serum, which includes “DermaBuilder” (for fine lines, skin tone evenness and texture), “CTGF/Connective Tissue Growth Factor” (for fine lines and wrinkles), or “Britenol” (for brightness and to diminish the appearance of dark spots and discoloration).  I did the DermaBuilder because it sounded like the most inclusive option.

Step 4: Serum

The vortex-fusion tool infuses an “Antiox+ serum” into the skin. Rich with antioxidants, peptides, and hyaluronic acid, Antiox+ reduces the production of melanin, which prevents the appearance of brown spots and discoloration, instantly firms and tightens, deeply hydrates, and promotes collagen and elastin production.

And that’s it!  

So how did I look afterward? Well, I wasn’t red at all, which was obviously good. And while my skin was definitely more hydrated, it didn’t look vastly different than it normally does after a traditional facial… Until the next day. I don’t know what happened, but when I woke up the next morning, my face looked incredible. As in, my skin was brighter and glowing, and my breakouts were gone, and those spots of discoloration that I always get after breakouts go away had greatly faded. Honestly, I didn’t need to wear any makeup at all, and I almost always like to wear a little bit.  Bottom line: I’m a convert! Because anything that makes me feel beautiful when I’m completely natural is a must-do in my book.