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Guides, School

If I Could Go Back: Tips and Tricks from a Soon-to-be College Graduate

If I could go back

I feel so old. I’m graduating from college in December.

Sometimes, I’m eager to just “get it done,” but I’m finding myself looking back on my time in college more and more as I approach the “finish line.”

This “graduation” concept feels so foreign to me – the past four years have whizzed by.

I’ve learned a lot at my colleges (yes, plural – I transferred from four-year-universities twice). I’m a first-generation American, and when I began my college search, I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. To be perfectly honest, my parents didn’t have a handle on this whole “college” thing, and neither did my older sister (because she woke up one morning and randomly decided to study overseas, so she was of no help whatsoever).

Here’s what I wish I had known:

Get your finances together.

I had no idea how I was going to finance college. Frankly, I wish I knew what the hell I was doing. I think that’s the most important part, before you even start looking at schools. Find out how you’re going to pay for college, be it loans, financial aid, grants, scholarships, family, working, or another source. Whatever it might be, figure it out and figure it out early. It’ll definitely alleviate some stress later.

Begin your college search earlier on in high school.

I didn’t go on many college tours. I only visited two campuses in high school – Rutgers and the University of Central Florida. I went on to attend them both. I didn’t really know what I wanted or what I was looking for, and put more thought into my lame supermarket job and my high school “friends” than college. Think about what you want. My ideal school needed to have a great sports team, massive libraries that I could pull all-nighters in, a large student body, no one from my high school, and far, far away from my parents (sorry, 18 and rebellious). That’s great, but perhaps I should’ve put more thought into the programs that the school offered, ie. the actual point of school.


Go Knights!!


Go Knights! … Again!

Focus on your health.

There’s no shame in seeking help regarding your health, be it physical or mental. I wish I had reached out earlier on in my college career when I was struggling. Everyone struggles sometimes. In fact, getting help could have saved me a transfer. More than 25% of college students have been treated for mental health conditions in the past year alone. Brush that stigma off and seek the help you need. Oh, and take your vitamins.


College is about finding out who you are. Granted, some may say it’s an expensive way to do so, but you really can discover so much about yourself in a matter of four, “action-packed” years. It’s important to meet people, join clubs, hang out, and just live, be it late night IHOP runs or helping your floormate practice her dance routine at four in the morning.


Who cares if you’re up late – make it a trenta!

Be a student – and enjoy it.

To put it simply, some of us can afford to focus strictly on schoolwork, whereas others cannot. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t exhausted myself over a few minimum wage shifts when I could’ve been working on projects and studying. Often, people say that when you’re in school, that’s your job. However, I understand that everyone’s situation is different. I wish I had a better sense of my priorities earlier, since that job is not even on my radar anymore.


If I could go back, I would do it all over again.

A real college experience is priceless (even coming from a workaholic).

My first year of college was the best year, but I hope all four years are great for you.

College is scary and college is challenging, but most of all college is rewarding.

Best of luck to you on this journey!

P.S. – My love affair with FIT has dulled down a bit, but do you want to go to FIT? Motivate yourself to get through the final half of the semester with this guide.

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My Life, School

Makeup School Week 4 Update

My makeup school experience has come to a close … :(

Last week was amazing. The add-on classes I spoke about were such game-changing experiences. So, I actually did get to land certain techniques which I’m thrilled about, and I played around with avant-garde looks. I also had one-on-one instruction with one of the best teachers I’ve ever had, Ruthie Weems, and I think that helped me tremendously in perfecting what I’ve been working on.

Here’s one of the beauty makeup looks I did during class that I’m particularly proud of:

A photo posted by Saba Bokhari (@sababok) on

I had my practical exam (a photo shoot) on Friday and I passed! I decided to go with a beachy, glossy, skin-focused look (which I LOVE). My model, Nicole, was super sweet and rocked the look. I’m eager to get the prints from the photographer!

A photo posted by Saba Bokhari (@sababok) on

PLUS, I booked my first bridal party for September! I’m not sure if I’m going to go the bridal route, but it doesn’t hurt! I’m obsessed with weddings anyway.

Truthfully, I miss my cohort the most, and the whole routine. It’s so energizing to wake up, head to Manhattan, grab a coffee, and play with makeup all day.

A photo posted by Saba Bokhari (@sababok) on

A photo posted by Saba Bokhari (@sababok) on

It wasn’t just makeup artistry that I got to work on at Chic Studios. The instructors coaxed me through my imposter syndrome and helped me become more confident in my work (like I detailed in earlier posts, I’m my own worst critic).

As with all things, I’m eager to keep learning and practicing, and would definitely recommend Chic Studios in New York City for anyone eager to take on an intensive makeup artistry program. Are you closer to Los Angeles? They’ve just opened their new branch there, so look into it if you’re interested.

I’m so glad I went for it.

P.S. – Catch up on my makeup school week-by-week recaps: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3

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Staying Radiant with Physicians Formula

The kind folks over at Physicians Formula sent me a bunch of their new products to try, and here are my favorites!


  1. Super BB All-in-1 Beauty Balm Bronzer & Blush – $13.95 – This is a duo of soft, velvety powder blush and bronzer. The blush is a gorgeous light pink. Although the bronzer runs a little orange for me, with a lighter hand towards the warmer summer months, it’ll definitely add a kiss of subtle sun.
  2. Super BB All-in-1 Beauty Balm Cheek & Lip – $6.95 – This fruity little beauty balm ball is designed to add color to the cheeks and lips. My tip is not to over blend it. It smells like berries, and you can build up the coverage. It’s a cute little item to keep in your purse!
  3. Shimmer Strips Gel Cream Shadow & Liner - $11.95 – These gel creams are quite shimmery. You need to warm them up with the heat of your fingers to truly activate the creamy texture. They can double as a shimmery base for your shadow, too, or you can apply it all over the lower lid and pop a matte shadow in the crease.
  4. Nude Wear Touch of Glow Palette – $14.95 – This quad is perfect for on-the-go highlighting and adding color and life to the cheeks. The pearl and gold highlighters can double as eyeshadows, perfect for any summer look!
  5. Argan Wear Ultra-Nourishing Argan Oil Blush – $12.95 – This rosy argan blush is perfect for providing a lovely flush to the cheeks. Also, the design of the product is super cute and Moroccan-inspired. I’ll be packing this on my trip in a few weeks!
  6. Argan Wear Ultra-Nourishing Argan Oil Bronzer - $14.95 – This bronzer smells somewhat exotic. I haven’t worn a hydrating bronzer before, so trying one infused with argan oil was pretty interesting. It has specks of gold with it, so it keeps you looking bright and glowy. It’s always good to switch things up every now and then!
  7. Bronze Booster 2-in-1 24K Gold Highlighter & Bronzer – $14.95 – I’ve always loved Physician Formula’s bronzers (especially in my high school days), and this one is great for an all around warmth to the skin. This one is more matte, which I like more to create a bit of warmer shadow in rounder parts of my face.
  8. City Glow Daily Defense Bronzer (Paris) – $14.95 – This product combines my two great loves – Paris and bronzer. This bronzer had gold, glittery foil to accent the Parisian skyline impressed on it, but I swept that all over my face. Sorry! I’m obsessed with gold. Overall, this product provides a nice glow to the skin.
  9. Organic Wear BB Bigger! Better! Lashes Mascara – $9.95 – I prefer this wet mascara formula and found it to be very conditioning. What I like most is that it doesn’t feel like I have anything on, but the ultra black color, lift, and volume are certainly there.
  10. Sexy Booster – Cat Eyes Collection Liquid Eyeliner – $9.95 – Wow. This liquid liner is definitely one of the best I’ve tried from the drugstore variety! The brush is precise, and the product is BLACK (unlike the charcoal colors most companies parade as black). I did a cat eye using this with EASE. Be sure to shake it before applying, though, to ensure a consistent, intense black.
  11. Sexy Booster – Cat Eyes Collection Mascara – $9.95 – My note to self after trying this mascara was “YAAAS.” Enough said. I curled my lashes and applied two coats of this mascara and was quite pleased with the results. The brush is fat, and it plumps up your lashes. It’s perfect to finish off a smoky look.

After trying all of their new products, I discovered that Physicians Formula is all about the glowy, effortless radiant look without irritating your skin. So far, so good.

I have sensitive skin, as you regular readers probably know. These days, I can break out in hives at the drop of a hat, so I’m really cautious about what I try. Most of the products are hypoallergenic, so I’ve been at ease.

A bunch of these babies are coming on vacation with me in a few weeks. I’m looking forward to being bronze in the sunshine and escaping from the never-ending winter wonderland in New York!

If you try any of these products, be sure to let me know what you think!

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Reviews, Shopping

Makeup Haul & Review


It’s time for another makeup haul! Last weekend I stocked up on products for both makeup school and my own personal use.

We’ll start with Sephora Collection’s In Flight Beauty Sleep Kit, a plastic pouch including earplugs, hair ties, socks, a luggage tag, and an eye mask. Yeah – I was supposed to save that for my vacation in a few weeks and had no willpower because it was so cute. I’ve been using that contoured eye mask on the daily. I think I might buy one for my mom (if they’re still in stock) so she can use it on our long flight soon!

I got some of Sephora Collection’s Hair Ties as well. They’re the only ones that don’t snag or crimp my hair, and I can use the same one for ages. I bought one around holiday and it hasn’t let me down.

Brush cleaners galore! I needed some brush cleaner for makeup school, and I bought a variety because I wasn’t sure how I’d like them. The only one I’ve gotten a chance to use so far is The Natural: Citrus Brush Cleaner. GUYS. I LOVE this one. My whole class is obsessed with the scent and it does clean your brushes well. It smells like the one my instructor suggested (that was $30+). This one was $11. YEAH.

I bought a bunch of travel skincare to test out, so I wanted to get a pink facial brush to go with it. This one is the Precision Pore Cleansing Pad. I have the Clinique Sonic Face Brush but I think it’s abrasive on me for daily use.

I purchased a black Sephora sharpener for school. I have a Clinique one for personal use, but for my kit I just needed a little something.

Brushes galore! Now, I put some thought in the assortment of brushes. I received 10 Real Techniques brushes at makeup school, which are great, but I’m not fond of them for all that we’re doing. They can be pretty limiting. So, I bought three #27 blending brushes, one #56 flawless airbrush, a #81 lip brush, and one #10 crease brush.


Underneath those is a Sephora Rose Face Mask. I’ve tried a bunch of these, and rose is one of my favorite scents. I’m saving that one for a pamper night.

Since I’m always on the go, I love having a rollerball with me so I don’t inundate the passengers on the train. It’s cute, portable, and discreet. This one is Chloé classic. I can’t wait until they make Love Story, Chloé’s new fragrance, in a rollerball.

I picked up my first Melted Liquified Lipstick! My coworker loves them, and I decided to give them a try. I think I chose one of the new shades, Melted Berry, and I quite like it. It may not be the best for drier lips, so I think I’ll enjoy it more towards the summertime. My lips are currently submerged in Rosebud Salve. Thanks, winter.

And … Kat Von D’s Shade & Light Contouring Palette. I know. I said I wasn’t going to. But I did. And I’m GLAD I did. I love this contouring kit – so pigmented, easy to blend, AMAZING. I wish I had waited before buying my Anastasia one. I’m reserving this one for personal use and donating my Anastasia one to my makeup kit.


I bought some skincare bits and bobs, as well! As much as I love my First Aid Beauty Cleanser, I wanted to branch out and experiment with some other products. I picked up the Boscia Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil and Fresh’s Soy Face Cleanser.

That Boscia oil has proved invaluable for makeup class! I often find myself having to remove a full face worth of product following our in-class “rotations.” This is an easy way to quickly dissolve it all – even bright red lipstick – in one fell swoop.

I’m enjoying the Fresh cleanser, but I feel I’ve been conditioned to lather my face wash. Sometimes it lathers – other times it doesn’t. Otherwise, I like it. It makes my skin feel soft and it’s A-OK for sensitive skin.

Lastly, I purchased Smashbox’s new Photo Finish Primer Water. I haven’t given this one a good test, and I think I’ll be trying it more once makeup school ends. I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews, and seeing how much I love their Photo Finish Primer, I’m sure it will be great.


This month has been super crazy, but don’t worry: I have so many more posts coming your way! I had a few readers email me post requests, which is more helpful than you think. Contact me if you’d like to see something here – I welcome all (reasonable) suggestions!

Until next time x

P.S. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram if you’d like daily snapshots of my day-to-day!

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My Life, School

Makeup School Week 3 Update

As Week 3 of makeup school comes to a close, I find myself seeing the artistry around me differently. In particular, I’ve been mentally reassessing the work of artists I know personally and all of those beauty Instagram/YouTube wunderkinds.

One of the most important facets of this makeup education is the clarity. It’s hard to explain. Things are just … different (eloquently put, I’m sure).

Like I described in earlier posts, this has not been a cakewalk. Artistry is hard, especially if you’re normally hard on yourself. My skin seems to be taking the brunt of it (praise God for Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion, ya’ll). Also, I’ve been eating entirely too many macaroons from the fancy patisserie across the street out of stress (or addiction, whatever).

I have been practicing quite a bit (though not enough) and learning about areas of specialty that I could work in.

Mostly, though, I just want to perfect techniques. The artists educating me told me certain things can take years to get just right.


Did I mention that I’m impatient as well?

I’m the whole package, ladies and gents.

Truthfully, sometimes I just want to curl up and pray there’s a magic wand of talent to zap myself with.

Next week, instead of classes, we have little add-ons/electives, or areas of focus. I actually decided to pony up and do two electives instead of one (at an additional cost, but I need it)!

I decided on Focus Techniques because what we work on is some of the most requested trends asked of me (essentially it’s a week-long class hammering down on false lashes, winged liner, smokey eye, and the perfect lip) and because of my background in fashion, I opted to take a Fashion & Runway course as well. Usually when I totally mess up a look, I write it off as avant garde. This way, I’ll actually learn what REAL avant garde work is supposed to look like (ha)!

The final photo shoot practical exam is on Friday. I’m a little nervous about it, and again, I hope it comes out amazing.

This weekend, I’ll be at Sephora anyway (WHICH I LOVE and miss terribly all week long!), so I’ll pick up some extra supplies and whatnot, and I’ll be flipping through magazines to draw inspiration.

Here are some photos from the week that show what I’ve been up to:

A photo posted by Saba Bokhari (@sababok) on

A photo posted by Saba Bokhari (@sababok) on

A photo posted by Saba Bokhari (@sababok) on

A photo posted by Saba Bokhari (@sababok) on

A photo posted by Saba Bokhari (@sababok) on

Oh, and in case you were wondering – juggling FIT on top of all this has been a real treat! #overachieverproblems

I do have one last tidbit of good news, though! My article was on Yahoo! Beauty – AHHH! Crazy times.

Until next week x

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