Modern Merbabe: July 2016 Boxycharm

Hi guys and welcome to today’s episode of “Valentina’s super bad at being on top of her blog,” thanks for tuning in! In this week’s episode, we will talk about time management skills, procrastination and why I suck at all of the above.

In all seriousness, I’m actually really surprised at myself for having found the time to write this post (and two more after these). My sister and I just moved out of our apartment and into a new house with my parents (only like five minutes away from our apartment though) and if I hadn’t had a couple of posts pre-written and scheduled, nothing would have gone up last week as we were in the midst of moving!

Now that we’re officially out of the apartment and in the new house and my room is mostly set up, I have my vanity set up and could take pictures for my post! This post is being written and published live (well, ish) but the next two will be scheduled, as I leave for a two week trip to Chile on Friday!

Anyway, moving on.

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Today’s post is all about this month’s Boxycharm box, the theme for which is Modern Merbabe. How cute is that? I love how cute and unique their themes are and I love how this one looks too!

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This month’s Boxycharm technically only included four items, but considering the fact that they sent us a magnetic palette from OFRA with six of their shadows, I’m not complaining! I don’t know what the colors are but honestly, they all look really nice and I’ll definitely be trying these! I’m also really excited to have another magnetic palette, because my current one is tiny!

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Then, we have the Mally Beauty Rounded Blender Brush, which is SO SUPER SOFT, a Noyah lip gloss in Malbec, and the PYT Hair Argan Oil Treatment. All in all, it’s not my favorite box, but I definitely feel like I got my money’s worth from these products and I can’t wait to see what will be in my next Boxycharm!

Cancelling my ipsy and Birchbox and keeping only this one was a great decision — except I did subscribe to Play! by Sephora and I finally received my first box (just now, actually!) and you can read all about it in next week’s post!

Let me know what you thought, how you feel about Boxycharm, beauty boxes, life in general, or anything at all! I’d love to chat and hear what you have to say!! Thanks for reading!

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OOPS, I DID IT AGAIN: Sephora haulin’

Hi my beautiful angels! As you can probably surmise from the title (and as you know if you read last week’s post), I’m coming at you with yet another haul, this time exclusively from Sephora!

Before anyone says anything, let me defend myself: half this haul was bought with store credit and VIB points, so you can only judge me for one half of it. Okay? Okay. (I feel your judgment, but come on, we’ve all made bad decisions.)

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Let’s start with the “I probably really didn’t need this” half: the lip products. I’ve been on the hunt for a lot of specific lip colors and Sephora had all three of those in their range, so how could I resist? I got another one of the Sephora Collection cream lip stains, this time in Strawberry Kissed — if you’ve read my blog, you’ve probably seen me talk about these liquid lipsticks and how they are some of the best and most underrated (plus affordable!) liquid lipsticks ever.

Then I got three of the Luster Matte lipsticks, in the colors Petal Luster, Mulberry Luster and Deep Plum Luster. Petal Luster was a total impulse buy, but the other two are exactly the colors I’ve been thirsting over so I’m really excited to have them!

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From top to bottom: Strawberry Kissed, Petal Luster, Mulberry Luster and Deep Plum Luster. (Sorry for the bad lighting, I should have taken these pictures earlier!)

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And for the more reasonable half of my haul, we have the Caviar Miracle Multiplying Volume Mist, which I got with my VIB points, the Cover FX Mattifying Primer, and the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder.

The story behind those last two is this: a few months ago, I got a mattifying primer from BECCA but unfortunately, it didn’t work for me at all, so I returned it and went back to looking for the perfect mattifying primer for my ever-so-oily skin. Now, fast forward to last month when I found this Cover FX primer as a point perk at a Sephora, tried it out and LOVED it, so I decided to get it with the store credit I got from the BECCA primer.

My two options were: buy the full size Cover FX primer for the same price as the BECCA one and call it a day, or try out the mini one (which they thankfully had in store) and get something else. I pondered on this decision for a long, long time, but as soon as I saw this mini of the Laura Mercier powder than everyone and their mother raves about, I knew I needed it!

So voila, that’s my haul for today. Tune in next week for the next haul post because lol I have no self-control.

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Cheeky Walgreens and CVS haul

Hi guys! Today’s post, as you can see above, is a very cheeky and probably unnecessary drugstore haul. I use the word cheeky because it’s one of my favorite words commonly used in the UK (it isn’t really used here in the US) and because it encapsulates this haul perfectly! Why? Because I didn’t really need most of this stuff. Really. It’s like 30% needs and 70% indulgence.

But anyway, let’s move on with the haul!

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First of all, we have some new lip products that I was very excited about! The Milani Amore Matte Lip Cremes are basically the reason this haul even happened — my friend Becca mentioned seemed them in stock at our local Walgreens, something which has never happened before, and knowing that one of the colors was a dupe for the MAC lipstick in Oh, Lady I’ve been trying to replace, I knew I needed it!

I got two colors — Obsession and Precious — and so far I love them! Obsession is everything I needed in a dark plummy liquid lipstick, and Precious is a very beautiful warm-toned dusty rose color. It’s very similar to some of my favorite lipsticks but I’m keeping it solely because it’s more warm-toned than the others I have.

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Then, knowing there was a gap in the container where I keep my Wet n Wild and MAC lipsticks, I wanted to get just one of the Wet n Wild MegaLast lipsticks and chose the color Sand Storm, a great brown, warm-toned nude.

Lastly, CVS had a sale on Rimmel lip liners, so I got two in the colors Spice and Tiramisu. Check out the swatches above! (Plus the swatch for the eye crayon I got which I will talk about next.)

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Over at CVS, they had a promotion where if you bought two Maybelline eye products, you’d get five dollars in their rewards, and knowing I needed a new mascara and that I’ve been wanting to try this Color Tattoo crayon in Bronze Truffle, well, how could I resist?

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Walgreens had a sale for the Wet n Wild nail polishes, so I picked up the two shades on the right, but when I got the five dollars from CVS, I knew I needed to get one of their 1 Step Wonder Gel polishes and this color had been calling my name, and naturally, since they were buy one, get one 50% off, I picked up a third MegaLast polish for just $1.47. How could I say no?! The colors here, from left to right, are: Stay Classy, Wet Cement, Private Viewing and On a Trip.

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Lastly, I’ve been desperately needing a new eyelash curler and my sister has this Revlon one that she likes, so I figured I’d give it a shot, and I’ve been dying to try out the new Wet n Wild brushes so I got this large eyeshadow brush to see how I like it!

I know you’re probably thinking, “Valentina, what the hell happened to your monthly beauty budget?” but here’s the thing: the last haul I did was in April, and I haven’t spend any (literally NO MONEY AT ALL) on makeup or beauty products that were non-essential since May. So consider this me spending my budget allowance for June and July!

…but don’t judge me next week when I do a small (ish) Sephora haul… or the week after that when I tell you about the two OFRA lipsticks I just ordered and the stuff I got from the Boxycharm website using the points I accumulated…

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Girls Just Wanna Have Sun: June 2016 Boxycharm

Hi my loves! Sorry (again…) for how sporadic my posts have been recently, it’s been a rough couple of weeks and between that and my lack of inspiration for posts, it’s been impossible to muster up the motivation to spend time on my blog! I’m trying to not beat myself up about it but I don’t want to completely slack off and abandon my blog so I’m going to do one post a week for the next few weeks until this writer’s block passes!

So today’s post is my (very late) monthly Boxycharm post. As you guys can see, this month’s theme is the very summery “Girls Just Wanna Have Sun”and even though I’m not into summer or beaches or heat (can you tell I live in the wrong state?!), this theme is super cute!

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Onwards to the box! In this month’s box, we received five full-size products and there were some brands (*cough OFRA cough*) that I was very excited to see. We received a good assortment of products and there isn’t anything I’m disappointed by!

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First, we received this Farmacy Hydrating Coconut Gel Mask. I love masks and even though a hydrating mask seems more like something for someone with dry skin, I’m still excited to try it! My oily skin does deserve moisture and love even if I hate it 90% of the time.

Then we got an OFRA Oil Control Pressed Powder and as you can imagine, as an oily-skinned gal I was super excited to get this! It’s not at all translucent so you do have to be very careful not to get too crazy with it but I tried it out once and I like it so far!

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For the last three items, we got an LVX nail polish in the shade Serene. I’ve been OBSESSED with pastel colors lately (even though I can’t wear most of them at work!!) so this is right up my alley and I can’t wait to have a couple of days off work to try it on!

Then we got a Girlactik Beauty Precise Eyeliner Marker, which I can’t say I’m too jazzed about since I literally never wear eyeliner, but also KathleenLights likes this brand and this eyeliner (I’m pretty sure anyway), so maybe this will encourage me to get better with eyeliner!

Lastly, we got a Cougar Beauty Mineral Face & Body Shimmer. Now, what exactly this is supposed to be completely beats me, but it seems interesting so I’m willing to give it a shot. I swatched it on my hand and didn’t notice much of anything but hey, maybe there’s a secret to it. If I don’t like it, it’ll probably be passed on to a friend.

So that’s it for my Boxycharm this month! What do you guys think? Are you subscribed to Boxycharm? Let me know in the comments below!

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About the City Beautiful

It seems so simple to say that 49 people died on Sunday morning in Orlando, in what is the worst mass shooting in recent US history. Laid out like that, it’s just a fact, an event that will soon end up in history books and that students will learn about in class — something that people discuss along the same lines as terrorism, 9/11, Columbine, Sandy Hook, etc.

But for those of us residing in the area, it’s a lot more than just a fact. It’s a reality we had to face, after waking up Sunday morning and seeing it on the news, or reading about it on facebook. It’s a reality that we anxiously texted our friends to make sure no one we knew was at Pulse that night. It’s a reality that we refreshed the page with the victim’s names as they were being released, just to double check if we knew anyone.

It’s a reality that 49 of our neighbors were murdered in cold blood, because a shooter was angry he saw two gay men kissing, or because he was gay and couldn’t deal with it, or because he supported ISIS. Whatever the reason, it took 49 lives away from their friends and families way too soon, and we can’t forget about it.

The first thing about the massacre that struck me was that it wasn’t just a senseless act of violence, it was an attack against the LGBT+ and Latinx communities of Orlando. The shooter (whose name will never cross my lips or be formed by my fingers) didn’t just open his phone and drop a pin on a map to decide where to go. He had been to Pulse multiple times, was even recognized by Pulse regulars, and made a calculated decision to take those lives away from innocent people.

The second thing that struck me was just how close to home it hit. As if the fact that this took place in the city I’ve called home for the last four years weren’t enough, the attack was at the one and only gay club I’ve ever been to, during Latin night, where two of my sister’s coworkers were, where one of my friends was supposed to be, where one of my coworkers had been but left early — and to top it off, the shooter was from the town my parents live in and even went to my high school for a year.

It’s chilling to think about how small the world is when I put it like that, but the point is that it isn’t about me. It’s about the 49 lives that were lost, the 49 people who were just out to enjoy life, to spend time with friends or their significant others, who felt safe in a space that was supposed to be safe.

This massacre is a somber reminder of the dangers queer people still face just for being ourselves, for being proud of who we are and not afraid to show it. I thought Orlando was a bubble of love and acceptance, where I could go out with my girlfriend, hold hands and kiss without worrying about being violently attacked or killed.

But now every LGBT+ person in Orlando, in Florida, and in the rest of the country will question their safety. What we previously thought was safe might not be anymore, and that’s why we can’t ever forget that this wasn’t just an act of terrorism, it was an act of hate. It was an act that targeted LGBT+ and Latinx people, and we need to stand up and speak out about it, lest people forget.

This week has been hard. This week, I’ve cried, hugged my friends, told everyone I loved them, because life is too short to let those words be unsaid. But it’s been beautiful and humbling to be part of a community where as soon as they ask for people to donate blood, lines at donation centers are five or six hours long.

Where a GoFundMe campaign gets thousands of dollars immediately, and is at four million dollars only five days after the attack.

Where people are donating their time and money to do everything necessary to help out the victims’ families, where doctors and nurses were waking up in the middle of the night to go help their coworkers, where the Orlando Police Department was working tirelessly to figure out the motive behind this senseless crime and bring answers to the families.

And for that, I’m proud to be an Orlandoan. I’m proud to have moved here four years ago and to call the City Beautiful my home, because we are #OrlandoStrong.

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To the women who inspire me

In honor of National Best Friend Day, I wanted to write a little something about some of the special women in my life.

I think that, in a way, I’ve always been a feminist. I’ve always spoken up for fairness and equality (even if it meant arguing for my siblings and I to get toys worth the same amount of money), I’ve always believed in girl power, and I’ve always had strong, amazing women around me. It’s no surprise that I turned out to be a fervent feminist, and it’s no surprise that I surround myself with my best girls. They’re my rocks, my support system; my go-tos when I need advice, a shoulder to cry on, a fun night out, or anything and everything I could possibly need, so I wanted to give those beautiful women a shout out.

First, to my mom, who is the reason I’m here and why I am the way I am. Who taught me to be strong, to not let bullies get to me; to keep trying and work harder to get what I want. Who keeps our family together with a diet of laughter, love, and lots of bad jokes, and is the center of our universe. My mom is the most beautiful, strongest, and amazing woman, and sure, I’m biased, but I have the best mom in the world.

To my aunt Titina, who’s there when my mom isn’t, and isn’t afraid to tell me what sometimes is hard to hear. Who supports me unconditionally, cares about my well-being more than anyone else, and is one of the smartest people I know. Who inspires me to keep learning, keep growing, and reminds me to take care of myself every day.

To my sister, my cousins, and the rest of my aunts, who make me proud to be a woman and to be part of this family. Who did my hair and makeup when I was 12 and going to my first party, who took me shopping, listened to me cry about bullies, gave me advice and supported me through my years of school. Who are proud of me every day, and who I miss every single day I’m not at home in my country. Who I love dearly and can’t wait to see again.

To my friends Grace and Katie, who have the single most beautiful friendship I have ever witnessed, and I’m lucky they chose to let me into their world. Who have been there for each other every single time they needed it in the last four years, who lovingly call each other best friend and know what the meaning of that phrase, and have been there for me ever since I met them, whether it be to lend an ear or give wise advice. Who understand my Gryffindor personality, and accept me at my most overwhelming Gryffindor state. Who make every pop culture reference under the sun, and understand my passion for every single fandom I love.

To the beautiful Kelsey, who I reconnected with after six years of knowing each other but losing touch and yet, it feels like we’ve talked every day for the last six years. Who is brave and courageous and shares her feelings and experiences with the world, teaching us all with her beautiful words and writings. Who is literally #goals, even when she’s in her PJs and at her most unkempt. Who understands needing to vent your frustrations, needing to scream about Steve Rogers, and feeling like you’re falling apart but pretending like you’re put together. Who never stops learning and listening and understanding her privilege, and is so careful about her intersectional feminism.

To Emily, who is smart, fierce, funny, and writes the most relatable articles and often makes me cry with her words. Who loves Disney and gets what post-CP nostalgia is like, and understands my editor struggles when I’m on article 15 of 30 to edit and the words all start to blend together. Who has worked relentlessly for as long as I’ve known her, and inspires me with her work ethic and enthusiasm (and her love for Grant Gustin).

To Lauren and Selah, who are my favorite writers and whose articles I look forward to editing every time. Who share their words and their feelings with us and the rest of the world, and we are infinitely lucky to read them. Whose friendship is everything that a friendship should be, and who are always a text or snapchat away, or commenting on my instagram and being the supportive, loving and kind women they are.

And lastly, to the girls of She Did What She Wanted, for forming a beautiful and diverse family with girls from all around the country and the world. Who share their stories, who make this a safe space for all girls, and who are a piece of the puzzle that this collective makes.

To all the women who inspire me, thank you.

Baby’s first Pinup Girl Clothing item!

Hi my beautiful tropical fishies! Today’s post is my first fashion post in forever and a day, and what better way to bring back fashion to my post than by writing about my beautiful new skirt from Pinup Girl Clothing?

I was introduced to Pinup Girl Clothing (lovingly called PUG for short) by my friend Katie, who is the proud owner of quite a few of their pieces and has been raving about them for ages! I knew when I saw her beautiful dresses and skirts that I needed to get something of theirs in my hands, but when I saw Katie’s Jenny skirt, my fate was sealed. Unfortunately, none of the current Jenny dress colorways were something I loved enough to spend so much on it so I began looking into the skirts, and when I found the Jenny skirt in turquoise and black harlequin, I knew I had found my first Jenny.

The Jenny skirt is a beautiful full gathered skirt, perfect for twirling around in it (as you can see I did a lot of during the taking of these pictures). It’s full enough that you could wear a nice and full petticoat with it, but it looks good without a petticoat and still has a nice volume.

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I took Jenny out for a spin at Universal, where my friend Hayley was kind enough to get some pictures of me in the skirt. True story: I used to hate taking pictures because I hated looking at my body in pictures, and last fall, during my grad photoshoot, Hayley had to resort to making the weirdest noises to get a good smile out of me. I’ve gotten a lot better at pictures since then, and there was very minimal noise-making during this shoot! It’s the magic of PUG, obviously.

(Also, this is the face I apparently make when Captain America asks me to hold his shield for me. I followed that with asking if I could throw it, but his answer was a very resounding no.)

I can’t even begin to explain how great I felt waltzing around the park in my Jenny, and I can’t wait to splurge on another PUG item sooner (or later). You can tell it’s amazing quality and even worth the money it cost! Just don’t tell my mom how much I spent on it.

For this outfit, I paired the skirt with a loose satin-y cami from LOFT, a red hair scarf from Amazon, and a pair of Jessica Simpson Mandalaye flats. I didn’t wear any jewelry this time around, but the other few times I’ve worn it, I’ve spruced up the outfit with jewelry and a petticoat and it looks beautiful all together!

My favorite thing about the skirt (besides, well, everything) is that the colors in the skirt make it super versatile to match with. There’s dark red, baby pink, teal and mint colors in the print, which means there’s a variety of colors to pick from to match your outfit! And better yet, a red lipstick will always go with the skirt.

What do you think of my new baby? Had you heard of Pinup Girl Clothing before?

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