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Guides, My Life

FYI – You Can Be Allergic to Nail Polish

December 14, 2014

Well folks, I wasn’t going to write about this on my blog, but my family encouraged me to warn others about what I’m “going through.” I’m trying to make light of this, but it actually really sucks. (So eloquent)

No, I’m not going to reveal the nail polish brand (out of courtesy), but I will say it’s one I’ve never used before, and the colors were scarlet (fingernails) and berry (toenails). Though I’ve read about red pigment and its connection to allergies/irritation, I’m not certain that’s the case.

I consider myself to have somewhat sensitive skin, but never in my life have I had reactions to nail polish. I’ve used brands from Zoya, Essie, L’Oreal, Revlon, Milani, China Glaze, MAC, OPI, you name it, I’ve probably used it with no problems at all.

That’s why I was so surprised to discover that I got hives on my hands and feet. I’m going to spare you the photos …

This has been going on for a couple of days now, and I’m not going to lie – it’s incredibly frustrating. I get splotches of redness around the affected areas, and my hands and feet start itching like crazy. I’ve been on a steady rotation of Benadryl (and subsequently pass out from it, because it makes you drowsy).


I’ve spent the start of my holiday from school taking Benadryl, reading magazines, and passing out.



What I Did

The following are my tips on dealing with a mild allergic reaction to nail polish. Clearly, I’m not a doctor, but this is what I was advised to do in my particular case:

  1. Take it off. Every trace of that polish be damned.
  2. Pop some sort of antihistamine, like Benadryl. Benadryl and I are now buddies. This is not a sponsored post, it’s simply what I had available at home.
  3. Use a hydrocortisone cream. Apply it generously to the affected areas – this relieves the itch. Wow, how sexy is this post?
  4. Don’t wear nail polish for a while. Actually, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to wear nail polish ever again (not the end of the world, but still). I’ve heard differing accounts.
  5. Wait it out. This can last anywhere from minutes, to hours, to in my case – days.

It’s been a few days now and I’m still reacting to it, likely because there are still bits of the polish that simply won’t come off. When I try removing the polish with remover, my feet swell. Cute.

Let this serve as a warning to test nail polish like you would test hair dye.

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Guides, My Life

5 Things I Wish I Knew About Beauty In High School

December 12, 2014
A film photo I took in my photography class during high school. First step to blog photography? Ha.

A film photo I took in my high school photography class. First step to blog photography? Ha.

I can’t believe that in one short year, I’ll be graduating from college. I know I’ve learned a lot since I occupied the hallowed halls of high school (as I should, since I’m forking out a pretty penny for tuition), but I’ve also learned more about beauty.

Here are some of my major beauty mistakes, and hopefully you can either learn from them (before it’s too late) or relate to them!

  • It’s perfectly okay to experiment. I never wore bright colors on my lips in high school. I remember purchasing my first bright pink lip gloss during my freshman year of college – I was terrified at the thought of wearing it out and about. From the moment I was brave enough to swipe it across my lips and step into my dorm’s common room, I knew I was in love. That product was NYX’s Dolly Pink – never forget.
  • Wash off your makeup, ya filthy animal. Better yet, implement some kind of skincare routine. Seeing as I was broke throughout high school (aside from the cash I raked in with my glamorous cashiering job at the local grocery store), I didn’t invest in or thoroughly research a skincare regimen. I would buy the harshest drugstore salicylic acid acne cleanser (even though I didn’t have acne …) and the rare times that I’d actually use it, I’d wonder why it stung so badly. My tip? Figure out what kind of skin you have before splurging, and wash your face every night before bed! I realized later that I have sensitive, combination skin that is not prone to acne. Lesson learned! I now use First Aid Beauty and Ole Henriksen products on my face – SO good.
  • Stop tugging at your eyes. You’re not ageless. Okay, okay. I was given a lot of warning about this one, but I never took it to heart. I kind of still don’t. When I apply my signature winged eye, I tug pretty hard at my eyes. BIG MISTAKE. HUGE. I am now noticing a loss of elasticity around my eye area and that freaks me out. Because of my must-have cateye, I will look like a wrinkly mess within the next few years. PASS ME THE EYE CREAM. 911.
  • Smokey eyes are NOT for school. Well, this one seems fairly obvious. I know what you’re thinking – smokey eye but afraid of lip color? That’s a little weird. Yes, I used to rock smokey eyes from time to time at school. I don’t know what I was trying to prove with that … eight AM and black eyeshadow (with lots of fallout, mind you) don’t “mesh.” I used this old MAC quad and thought I was the coolest b alive. Nope.
  • Stop slathering on the face makeup. One time, a former “friend” told me that he could probably scoop off my foundation with a spatula. I was (understandably) very offended. When I would hug people, I’d get foundation on their clothes. When I was in class, I’d copiously reapply my Clinique powder. I really, really packed it on. What I didn’t realize then was that I was using the foundation and other face makeup as a literal mask, painted on to act as a barrier and hide my “true self.” I was deeply insecure about my appearance, and clung to these products for dear life. I’ve since switched to BB cream and the like, and sometimes I go out with little to no makeup at all. This has been a very gradual process, but I’m proud of this feat.

Looking back on high school makes me very upset. I think about the scared little girl hiding behind beauty products to make herself happy. I dealt with a lot of things in high school that I don’t talk openly about – I was (quite frankly) miserable for four loooong years, and hated every second of it. My friends were never really my friends, and I would often lash out at people and say some terrible things. I hated everyone, but even more, I hated myself.

As time has passed, I’ve grown more confident and have come into my own. I know this post is getting weirdly deep, but if anyone currently in high school is reading this, know that college is SO MUCH BETTER.

Oh, and FYI – the girl that kids in high school bully (mostly about her lack of fashion)? She will end up backstage at NYFW and interning for some major designers.

Karma, baby. The world has a way of working out.

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Brands In Depth: LAQA & Co. at Birchbox

November 22, 2014

On Friday, a group of fellow NYC bloggers and I got the chance to check out LAQA & Co.’s holiday collection at Birchbox SoHo. If you remember correctly, last year, I begged Birchbox to open a brick & mortar because their pop-up shop in Chelsea was so great.

Looks like my wish was granted (ha!).

laqaandco_birchbox_01 laqaandco_birchbox_17

Have You Heard of LAQA & Co.?

Founded in September 2011, LAQA & Co. started when a couple of thirty-somethings realized that much of the beauty industry was fueled by celebrity entrepreneurs and professional makeup artists. Though not a bad thing, co-founder Nicole Lee assured me, she and her business partner simply noticed that there was a need for artist-driven products.


An admiral incorporation of social responsibility, a percentage of the proceeds go to young artists. Existing art becomes part of the product packaging, and is then exposed all over the world. The artist for the products I was so generously given is Elena Kulikova.

When choosing artists for their packaging, Lee and her team need to make sure that it “pops and looks good on a box,” says Lee. Any packaging design aficionado can tell you that artwork isn’t necessarily always “translatable.”

As for what works for LAQA & Co.? “Really ‘graphic-y’ designs that are fun and playful,” Lee reveals. Each of the products has a different work of art, but the key is balancing the elements. In order to look good together, they have to balance each other out, not unlike a smokey eye and a nude lip.

For an upcoming collection, LAQA & Co. co-founder Nicole Lee divulged to me that she’s in talks with a Greenpoint artist who will create different looks for each product.

Bloggers, breakfast, and beauty products at Birchbox. Perf.

Bloggers, breakfast, and beauty products at Birchbox. Perf.

Checking Out Their Products

Makeup from LAQA & Co. is great for the girl on-the-go: a no fuss, no muss collection curated by customers. Using feedback on social media, the brand releases products in colors they’re sure their consumers will love.

The products are made with convenience in mind. The Fat Lip Pencil Fiver is no exception.

The product is easy to apply, highly pigmented, and leaves a glossy finish. In their usual set, the colors include Toots, Doppelganger, Jammy Bastard, Shambolic, and Palate Cleanser. They have the convenience of a pencil, but the pigmentation of a full bodied lipstick. Their Fat Lip Pencils also include shea butter – perfect for moisturizing in the cold winter months.

As an added bonus, I was able to nab Siren Song (in place of the shade “Palate Cleanser”), a rust/burnt red-orange with red undertones made exclusively for Birchbox.

“The 90’s trends are back,” says Birchbox’s Senior Manager of Brand Development Deepica Mutyala, and Siren Song is the perfect shade to not only be on trend, but also match the changing leaves.



Coming up this spring, as per my Twitter prediction, are LAQA & Co.’s Cheeky Lip Pencils. The dual-purpose product produces a matte finish, almost Benetint-like. I had a chance to test it out and I’m eagerly anticipating its debut in spring!


Their nail polish dries glossy. Check out those gorgeous colors:

laqaandco_birchbox_09 laqaandco_birchbox_05

LAQA & Co.’s Tuxedo Nail Pen is the perfect stocking stuffer. One side holds glossy black nail polish, whereas the other holds a matte black formulation.


Searching for that holiday party lip? Try that classic red lip that you won’t have to fuss with. LAQA & Co.’s Palate Cleanser is super pigmented, and it stays on while you mingle.


Above, my friend and makeup artist Meagan McGraw is wearing Palate Cleanser. Funnily enough, Meagan and I used to work at Sephora together. I was SO thrilled to see her. She’s an amazingly talented makeup artist, and a wonderful teacher.

Overall, I truly have high hopes for the growing makeup line. I look forward to seeing LAQA & Co. add more to their range over the years. Keep an eye on these guys.

Disclaimer: Thanks to Birchbox and LAQA & Co. for your generosity. I’m excited to doll myself up this holiday season!

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My Life, School

Makeup at the Museum of the Moving Image

November 15, 2014

On Friday night, I headed over to Astoria, Queens with a friend to visit the Museum of the Moving Image. Only one twenty-minute M ride later, and we were there.

For my college’s PR term/final project, groups of students were assigned to create proposals for smaller NYC-area museums. Prior to this, I didn’t even know the place existed.

Let me just say, I’m so happy I checked it out.


First of all, there was free admission (on Fridays between 4 and 8), and taking into account getting there ($5 or so round-trip on the subway), that price simply couldn’t be beat.

I didn’t research MoMI before heading out, aside from how to get there and the hours, and only expected to be there for 30-40 minutes.

I ended up exploring the museum for three hours.

They have so much to offer for people of all ages. I took some photos for my class project’s purposes, but you must head down to Queens and see this museum for yourself. It’s worth it. Personally, I found it far more interesting than MoMA.

Since I went there with 0 expectations, my jaw just about hit the floor when I saw a full hair and makeup section.

I nearly passed out. Makeup used in film and television through time. Here are a few images I took (not even a third of the intricate displays they had) but for the rest you really need to head on down!


Overall it was a fun night and I definitely recommend it to anyone for an affordable and culturally-enriching outing.

This was such a pleasant surprise. Looks like I need to explore the other boroughs more!

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My Life, Travel

Birthday Festivities in Orlando

November 15, 2014

First things first, let me quote one of the greatest humans of our generation by saying, “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22.” No, that’s not Gandhi, it’s Taylor Swift.


Yes, I just turned 22 this week and so far it has been AWESOME. I flew to Orlando, Florida for the weekend because Disney is perfect no matter how old you are.


I took a car to the airport and couldn’t help but take a picture of the changing leaves.


Breathtaking views on the plane.


Landry’s – one of my favorite restaurants in Orlando. My family has been going there since I was a kid.


WALT DISNEY WORLD. It’s all happening.


Feeling at home in Epcot’s “Morocco”


Cute little hideaway. Very relaxing area to sip smoothies and such.


We managed to book reservations at the Coral Reef Restaurant. It seemed like a long wait for other people in the lobby of the restaurant, but the underwater views are unrivaled.


My “surprise” little birthday dessert :) I think Disney’s “Celebrating A Birthday” pin may have tipped the waitstaff off.

My friends from UCF (the school I attended for my freshman year of college) came to Epcot to see me. At that point, I hadn’t seen them for almost three years and it really made my day/month/year/life.

It’s crazy to think that we’re all graduating from college soon. Unreal.


The next day, after some Downtown Disney exploring, my family and I headed back to New York. Upon my return to Manhattan around midnight, my roommates made me brownies, sang me “Happy Birthday,” and blasted Taylor Swift songs until the wee hours of the morning.

Life’s good. I’m excited to see what 22 brings.

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