Thursday, October 26, 2023

YouTube: Evie’s Magic Castle


 Click Here! 

Hello everyone! I would like to introduce you to my daughter’s YouTube channel Evie’s Magic Castle. We only have a few videos up so far but rest assured there are many more to come! Be sure to check it out, and subscribe to be notified when we upload new videos!!  

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Wedding Guest Dress






My husband, and I attended the wedding of an old friend of our’s over the weekend. This dress was so comfortable. I wore it all night, and into the very early morning. The only complaint I have with it is the tulle material makes zipping it up difficult. The zipper sometimes sticks on the waist line seam. However, I would still definitely recommend this dress especially if you are large chested. 

Important disclaimer if you decide want to purchase this dress. All of the reviews on the ASOS site say this dress runs very small, and recommend sizing up two whole sizes. I did that, and it was definitely too big almost everywhere aside from the bust. It worked out, however, because I was then able to take the dress to a seamstress, and have it fitted properly. So just a FYI before you buy!  

Also, I absolutely swear by this lipstick. I do not use any other red lipstick or liquid lipstick at this point. This literally stays on my lips all night,  and through eating dinner. Everyone there was asking what lipstick I was wearing. The only thing that stops people from buying it is the fact that it does not come with a lid. You have to purchase it separately. That said, while it is more on the expensive side you can see where your money is going. The lid of the case has a mirror that flips open when you take it off to apply it. It’s so convenient when reapplying on the go. I highly recommend it! 

Links below are affiliate links, and I receive a small commission if you use them. 

Lipstick: Guerlain bullet lipstick

Dress: ASOS

Shoes: Francesca’s

Purse: Givenchy 

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

The Fall of Influencer Brands

We have been so inundated with influencer brands over the years, but it’s starting to look like they are finally getting the hint.. we are not interested. The makeup and skincare industries are so over saturated with influencer and celebrities product lines it’s ridiculous. Thankfully, Sephora has been removing these influencer lines from their stores over the past year. These celebrities have no involvement in the actual development of the products, just put their name on it, and show up for the launch photoshoot. That is not how you create a successful brand, it’s just sad. 

In my opinion, the reason they are not involved in the development process is they don’t have a genuine interest in the industry. It’s no secret that makeup can be extremely lucrative; the profit margins are significant. You can make a product for only a few dollars, and sell it for upwards of $50-$60. The success of Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, and Jeffree Star Cosmetics were, in my opinion, what kickstarted the cash grab trend we see now. The difference is, those brands filled a void in the market, and genuinely provided something unique to their customers. Now, however that is definitely not the case. 

One of the many problems with these celebrity/influencer makeup and skincare companies is, it takes away from the people who have devoted their lives to working in this industry. Let’s look at the Jaclyn Hill situation as a prime example. 

Jaclyn Hill was (and to some still is) one of the most influential, and followed people in the beauty community. No one was surprised when she came out with her own makeup line, it was on brand for her, and something she aspired to for years. The problems with began when she started to become known as Jaclyn Shill,  and only made content promoting her brand and collabs. However, at the time it was pretty much brushed off because she was a beauty influencer and that is what they do, she just seemed to only do that. It’s one thing to promote the products you use, but when you consistently only promote low quality products you start to lose credibility. Can you really trust a review if you know the person is getting a serious kickback? 

Fast forward to launch of Jaclyn Hill Roxanne which was her new jewelry line that no one seemed to like. Reviews were terrible, and she was accused of copying design from other companies. Then, Jaclyn launched her loungewear called Koze, and the internet went nuts. 

Koze was an existing loungewear company, established in 2017 by fellow content creator, Kayln. She has a substantial following of over 220k on YouTube, but of course that number pales in comparison to Jaclyn. So, as you can imagine from the launch of Jaclyn’s line Kayln was forced to shut down her company. Punches were thrown by Jaclyn making videos showing that she owns the trademark for the name. There are plenty of articles, and videos devoted to this specific situation I recommend a quick Youtube search if you’re interested in a more detailed explanation. 

This brings us to a few days ago when Jaclyn dropped a YouTube video declaring she is not passionate about her companies, and will be closing her brands. *insert record scratch sound* So after all of the drama, completely ignoring Kayln who reached out many times asking Jacyln to just change the name of her company, and parading around her trademark she is closing the company. I cannot imagine how Kayln must feel after hearing that news. What was the point Jaclyn? 

Again, that is just an example of how these influencers and celebrities don’t actually care about the products they are putting out there. Please do your research before purchasing from anyone.  Chances are you can find the same product, with better quality, from an actual reputable brand. 


Until next time, 


Sammy 


Sunday, July 23, 2023

Honest Product Review: 100% Pure Super Fruit Balm

It has been an extremely long time since I have tried a new product that was this unique within its own category of skincare. Introducing, 100% Pure Super Fruit Balm.

What makes this moisturizer stand out, in my opinion, is the texture. It has an almost waxy consistency, and needs to be warmed in the hand before application. 


It definitely leaves a sticky texture on the skin after application, but there is only so much you can do about that given the waxiness of the product itself. 

At first, I was kind of confused why that was all it said, but I figured, I’d oblige. Applying it is kind of tricky. You need to pat it into the skin rather than glide. Once it’s on your face, you can literally feel it just healing your skin. I love this for now, but it has only been about a week.  I need to try this out for at least a month or two, though, to see if I still feel this way. 

[Update: I realized, despite reading the directions I wasn’t using it as directed. I was using much much less, about a pea sized amount at most and applying it to my most dehydrated areas. (This was used in conjunction with my hydrating serum by Bioloque Researcher). I used as directed tonight, and I don’t like it.

I had to quickly clarify my review because, this is important to know when deciding if this product is for you. Anyway, when I used the quarter sized amount, as directed, I really don’t seem myself ever using it like this again. 

If you have oily-normal skin you will not like this at all. This is for dry and or dehydrated skin. Now because I have combination skin I don’t need to apply this all over my face. Skincare can be applied like makeup. You wouldn’t put concealer all over your face would you? So, I think when applied to those areas on the skin for a boost of hydration it’s great. All over the skin though, I’m not a fan. 

Also, if you have acne prone skin this has the potential to break you out. I’m not 100% sure as I am not a dermatologist, but I can imagine this feeling like it clogs pores.

All of that said, when used solely on problem areas it works great!]



I will definitely provide an update as soon as I have one!

Have you tried this moisturizer? What’s your favorite 100% Pure product?


Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post. However, the links included are affiliate links meaning if you decide you would like to purchase this product using my link I will receive a small commission. Thank you for your support! 


Monday, July 17, 2023

Watercolor: Part 2

 

Original Watercolor by Me 

This was one of my first full page ladies. This one inspired a theme for most of my watercolor paintings, thereafter. 

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Bye, Clean Girl… Hello, Hipster

I don’t know how to start this post because, it is essentially just the ramblings of a fashion nerd. So I decided to approach this as an open fashion diary entry. I may even turn this into a series, we will see. 

Entry #1: 

Circa January 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot lately how I believe the next big fashion (and beauty) trend is going to be an ode to the hipster era. 

The hipster aesthetic is essentially pushing back on mainstream trends, and as such can be interpreted stylistically in a large variety of ways. There really is no one-way to define hipster style, but there are a few themes. 




1. Anything Vintage

During the height of the hipster era, I would define my style as predominantly vintage or vintage inspired. By definition, wearing vintage clothing embodies the disregard for modern or mainstream trends. 




2. 90s Grunge with Warhol Sprinkled in 

Another variation of the hipster aesthetic is a combination of 90s grunge, and 60s mod Andy Warhol vibes. I would describe it as a fashion/image conscious interpretation of 90s grunge. This one also feels pretty nostalgic for me. 




3. Grandma-Chic

Think oversized cable knit cardigans, with ironic graphic tees. A lot of lace and gaudy sequins. It’s amazing honestly. This also synonymous with the male Brooklyn hipster look. It would consist of a flannel, brand new non-worked in work boots, and skinny ties. 



3. Too Cool for School Mentality

That said, the hipster "mentality" goes against the whole idea of the social media algorithm. The notion of following a "trend" for likes is the opposite of something a hipster would do. So I am curious to see if that has an effect on anyone's view towards social media in its resurgence. 





Makeup and Beauty: 

I look forward to the influence it will have over in the beauty space as well. It’s going to be fun to see everyone’s interpretation of it. I predict it will consist of looks ranging from “slept in make up” with smudge-y shadow/liner, to clean geometric 60s mod eye, to bold lips, and eyes. I this may end the focus on bold blush that we have seen over the past year or two. 

Honestly, this will be a nice change from the (sorry) boring Hailey Bieber clean girl aesthetic. No offense to any clean girlies out there, but it’s just so boring 

I think the Hipster aesthetic can now be embraced through a 2023 lens. There are so many creative people out there, and it is now easier than ever to share ideas with people who hold common interests. 

I am looking forward to seeing what’s next in fashion and beauty. I think it’s time we start encouraging more individual style and self expression rather than everyone conforming to what we think is popular at the moment; that results in everyone looking and dressing the same. I can’t wait to see the comeback of the hipster! It’s going to be fun! 


Until next time, 


Sammy


Friday, June 23, 2023

Is there really an Olaplex Lawsuit?



For years I considered Olaplex products to be the gold standard of hair care. However, due to the allegations in the lawsuit against the company I’ve been afraid to use my once go to hair mask. I actually just went to Ulta to return my No. 3 hair mask, and was surprised to hear the employees were unfamiliar lawsuit. So that being said, let’s break down the whole ordeal. 



In February 2023, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Olaplex Holdings Inc. The federal lawsuit alleges that Olaplex products have caused their customers to experience serious injury and hair loss. Additionally, they are claiming the company is "misleading the public and false[ly] advertising." The suit has now grown to include over 100 plaintiffs as of this month. 

Further research shows, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has 98 adverse reports regarding Olaplex products. Now, I don’t believe that necessarily has to do with the lawsuit, but I thought it was worth mentioning. 



Olaplax CEO JuE Wong posted a video to the company’s social media accounts and said, “We are prepared to vigorously defend our company, our brand, and our products against these baseless accusations. We want to reassure our community of professional stylists, customers, and fans that they can continue to use our products with confidence.” Olaplex is firm in their denial of all allegations that their products are unsafe/cause damage. 



What I find interesting is Olaplex’s IG page. Hear me out, so they have no mention of suit on their page. Olaplex has over 2 million follows on IG. With that kind of following they should be getting way more than 14-18 comments per post. Furthermore,  reading through the comments I noticed they are all suspiciously positive. Now call me a conspiracy theorists, and for the record this is just my opinion, but it looks like they are going in and deleting any negative comments. It is very rare for a company of their size, with that large of a follower count to only have about 15 comments on a post; all of which are glaringly positive. That looks extra suspicious when you have a pending class action lawsuit filed against you don’t you think? But like I said, that’s just my opinion that no one asked for. 

I’m curious though, what are your thoughts? Are you still using Olaplex? Is this the first you’re hearing of the lawsuit? Are you totally phased or are you returning everything? Let me know! 


Until next time, 


Sammy

Friday, June 9, 2023

Exposed: Don’t Trust What You See On Social Media



Look, it’s no secret that people edit their photos. I have definitely adjusted my angles to make myself look taller or cranked up the saturation to make a photo more vibrant. No one is going to be bothered if you slightly edit your photos before you post them. It becomes a problem however, when you brand yourself as body positive, build a massive following and two companies from posting "real" photos of your body, and then get exposed for photoshopping the entire time. 

“Body positive" influencer Karina Irby has been called out for editing her body to look "skinner" by John Dorsey aka @goob_u2. The reason I, like many others on the internet, find this so upsetting is because she built a career off of posting her authentic body, and encouraging others to do the same. Scrolling her Instagram you’ll see captions such as:




Irby's entire brand and persona is centered around being unabashedly herself. She even takes the time to explain how harmful unrealistic beauty expectations can be on young women especially. She shares the struggles she went through as a teenager comparing herself to airbrushed images. 



She even takes it one step further by posting photos of herself both edited and "not edited” which was highlighted in @goob_u2's reel.  She captioned this post calling out influencers who edit their bodies, and accuses them of being part of the problem. Irby then goes on to say, "Be the change you want to see."



She decided to go on a weight loss journey which is great. Good for her. Do whatever will make you feel your best, and be your healthiest. The problem is, she is editing her body to look thinner than it really is. This goes against absolutely EVERYTHING she preaches, and completely contradicts the message she built her massive following on. It is extremely deceitful, and honestly just down right sad. We are talking about a person who literally writes captions about the beauty of cellulite, and founded two businesses by branding herself as "authentic" and unedited. She has shamed and judged others who edit their photos, only to be exposed for doing it too.




This photo is one of the many examples @goob_u2 shows as evidence of Karina Irby editing her body. As you can see she made her waist much smaller. If you draw a straight line from the top of the door down you can see where the door magically disappears. This is an obvious result of bad photoshopping.

Please use this as reminder to stop comparing yourself to people you see on social media. That also goes for influencers who built their entire platform on “body positivity.”


Until next time, 

Sammy




Sunday, June 4, 2023

Watercolor: Part 1

 


Original Watercolor by Me 

This painting was made for and inspired by a family friend. 


Monday, May 22, 2023

Wide Leg Pants for Short Girls Like Me

 

Get This Look


It is a total misconception that us short girls can't or shouldn't wear wide leg pants. As a just barely 5'2'' gal myself, I am here to tell you to get that thought out of your head. In fact, I think this silhouette can make you look taller.  A good wide leg trouser is an incredible easy way to elevate any outfit. My only advise is to mind your proportions. For example, because the bottom half of your outfit is wide you're going to want to style the pants with a more fitted top. This is because, as a shorter person wearing too many oversized pieces can make you look unfinished, and kind of like you're drowning in fabric. Another styling tip is go to monochromatic. In other words, pair your trousers with a top in the same color family. This will elongate you, and also just looks really classy when styled this way. 

I have almost exclusively been wearing wide leg pants for the past 3 years now, and it's no secret finding wide legs that aren't way too long is a struggle. However, over time I have discovered a good amount of places to order from that are short girl friendly! 


MOTF

Viscose Relaxed Fit Tapered Pants 

These are actually one of my favorite pairs of pant in my closet right now. They are definitely made more for the cooler months, but I absolutely love them and always get a ton of compliments when I wear them. 


Nasty Gal 

Petite Pleated Wide Leg Tailored Pants

I have been a fan of Nasty Gal since they were just reselling thrifted pieces on ebay. If you go back into my blog's archive you can most definitely find a post or two about this company. This site always has a wide selection of really nice wide legs. 


Abercrombie 

A&F Sloane Tailored Pants

I know, my fellow millennials are having some seriously bad flash backs to popped collars, terrible lighting, and that overwhelming perfume you can smell before you even see the store at the mall. BUT let me tell you, the vibe is so different these days! I am honestly impressed with how they have turned it around post downfall. The great thing about these slacks is the come in short, regular, and long. 


Free People

Lotta Love Linen Trousers

These are perfect for spring/summer. The light weight linen material is very comfortable and breathable. While these aren't considered petite or short, but they just so happen to be the right length if you're on the shorter side.   


   Cider

Houndstooth High Waist Belted Wide Leg Trousers

These are great year round. I wear them to work, and just out and about. I love the really high waist, and the fact that it comes with a belt. The material looks like it is going to be heavy, but it's not. They are very comfortable, and affordable. So if you are looking to buy your first pair of wide leg pants, but are not ready to commit to some of the higher price points go with these. 


Until next time, 

Sammy 

Friday, May 12, 2023

Brand Spotlight: Jessekae

 

Shop This Look


Brand spotlights were something I used to love posting on my blog back in the day. So, it was important to me to choose a really special brand to highlight now that I am back, and am out of blogger retirement. That said, the choice was pretty easy. Let me introduce you to my go to dress company Jessakae. Now, they don't only sell dresses Jessakae specializes in a variety of products such as top, skirts, sleepwear, and even a Mommy and Me collection. (Mother-daughter photoshoot coming soon...)





The aesthetic is very feminine, and whimsical.  I own three JessaKae dresses, and each of them make me feel like a modern day princess. That confident feeling doesn't just come from the beautiful prints and fabrics, these dresses are extremely flattering and look good on any body type. In fact, JessaKae prides themselves on their inclusive sizing ranging from XXS - 6X. 





While they predominately sell online they do have a storefront in Utah, which I would love to visit sometime! Another wonderful thing about JessaKae is they are constantly coming out with new collections! I swear every time I look at their Instagram they are promoting their latest drop. I don't know how they do it, but I love that they do! Check them out, and let me know what you think! 

Until next time, 

Sammy 





Thursday, April 27, 2023

Spa Day: The Peninsula Spa

 




No girls weekend would be complete without a spa day. Allow me to take you on a tour of the beautiful spa at the Peninsula Hotel in NYC, and the treatment I received. 




When you first walk in you are greeted by a relaxing atmosphere and calming aroma. After you check in you’re escorted to the locker room where you have access to both the wet and dry saunas. If that is not your style you also have the option of laying down in their relaxation room; which unfortunately I was unable to document because I was too relaxed. 




If you make your way upstairs you’ll find their state of the art gym and gorgeous pool oasis. I honestly forgot I was in the city. 




We then made our way back down to the waiting room which had the most impressive wooden chairs, and delightful snacks and tea. Next, it was time for my treatment. 




I usually get facials when I go to most any spa, including this one. However, something told me to try something new, and I am so glad I did! Mom and I selected one of the Peninsula’s signature 2 hour treatments, the Detox and Adrenal Program. My Spa Therapist, Sasha was so wonderful, and took the time to explain everything about my treatment. I never fully understood or believed chakras were even a thing until now, but I’m getting ahead of myself let me start at the beginning. 



The Detox Adrenal Program features two components: The Rasayana scrub, and The Rasayana wrap. 

The Rasayana scrub contains tulasi, walnut shells, cinnamon, and aloe. Tulasi is extremely detoxifying for the skin, the walnut shells are a physical exfoliant, and the cinnamon helps to brighten the skin and defend it from free radicals. Aloe is used for healing, and nourishing the skin. 

The Rasayana wrap has a variety of ingredients that are all detoxifying for the body and skin. These ingredients include, French green clay, green tea, spirulina, and tulsai. 

While I was wrapped up I felt like I was the ex-wife in that scene from Legally Blonde, when Elle and Emmet go to question her at the spa mid-treatment. Basically the spa moment I have been dreaming of ever since I was a kid. 

Then, Sasha helped me over to the shower to wash off all of the exfoliate. But wait there's more! 




The next portion of the treatment is the Blissful Marma Massage. It helps deliver immediate relaxation while taking care of your seeded tension. It has different levels of pressure (light, medium, and firm.) Several massage techniques are used including Deep Tissue, Swedish, Chakra Balancing, and Lymphatic Drainage. 

Let's break that down a little more. Chakra Balancing is a way of dispersing clogs between the ligaments and muscles. I could literally feel where my Chakra's where when Sasha pressed down on them. Like I said earlier,  I genuinely didn't think a chakra was something you could physically feel within your body, but boy was I wrong. I have never felt more rejuvenated than I did after this! 

Now I have always been a fan of any form of lymphatic drainage, as I am someone who holds onto fluids pretty easily. A lymphatic drainage massage helps by moving the lymph fluid towards the lymph node, where the fluid then gets deposited into the kidney and bladder as liquid waste. In other words, you pee it out. 

Overall, I highly highly recommend this treatment to anyone who is looking to help regulate your hormones, boost metabolism, immune system, and descrease stress. Oh and don't forget to ask for Sasha, and tell her I sent you! 

Until next time, 

Sammy