Seersucker Sass

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Holographic Beauty: It's Not Just for Festivals!

This post contains affiliate links.  Items in this post were gifted by Almay.  All opinions are my own.

When I received my welcome package as part of Almay's Class of 2018, I immediately loved the products, but I wasn't sure where I would ever wear them.  My first thought was how perfect they would be for festivals.  They were holographic, in shades I never would have purchased for myself, and all around fun!  The Cosmic Collection definitely didn't seem like something I could wear to work.  Boy, was I wrong.

When I stopped being intimidated by the fun and trendiness and actually gave the products a try, I fell in love.  (If you follow me on Instagram, you can read all about it on my stories!)  I'm excited to share my favorites with you and how I incorporate these beautiful products into my daily routine!

Let's start with the most intimidating product - Make them Jelly Hi-Lite in Unicorn LightThis product is unlike anything I've ever used before!  It is a sparkly gel that you dip your fingertips into and pat on to your face.  Y'all, it is so easy to use, and it gives your skin the perfect rosy glow.  I use it daily - five minute face or full on glam.  (I also really love this product for days when I'm looking a little sickly.  The pink tint to the highlighter adds a little life to my face.

I have also fallen in love with their Shadow Squad Eyeshadow.  These are also in my daily makeup line up!  I use the top two shades of the Illusionist quad - right for crease, left for all over - and then the pink shade in the bottom left corner of the Fairy Tale quad as the perfect highlighter for my brown bone.  The Illusionist quad is highly pigmented, and the Fairy Tale quad is mostly shimmer and perfect for highlighting or layering to "remix" the colors underneath.  What I love most about these quads is that they easily fit into my makeup bag.  I have versatility and options without having to lug a giant palette around.

I don't wear eyeliner every day, but when I do, I love the Eyeliner Pen.  It's the first eyeliner pen I've used with a ballpoint tip, and it produces a beautiful winged liner.  If you're like me and don't wear eyeliner every day, I recommend going at it with a light hand.  So many of the liner pens I've tried in the past have required going over and over to get a nice, dark line, and that's (thankfully) not the case with this one.

The easiest way to incorporate a little cosmic beauty into your every day routine is with the Goddess Gloss.  Depending on the day, I either go with Angelic - a sheery, sparkly pink that's beautiful alone or layer over a bolder lip color - or Flame - a bolder, darker gloss that's a berry color.  (Flame isn't pictured because I left it at the office... oops!)  Flame is more pigmented than Angelic, and neither shade is sticky or thick.  (I would really like to try the blue Ethereal shade, because layering a blue gloss over your lip color is supposed to make your teeth look whiter!)

And when the day is done and you're ready to remove all of the cosmic fun from your face, I recommend the Oil-Free Makeup Remover Towelettes.  (Also not pictured because I've been using them like crazy and the pack was almost empty. Haha.)  Shimmer products can be pretty difficult to remove, but these wipes do the trick.  They also smell like cucumbers and are extremely gentle to your skin!

If you see something you love, Ulta has Almay products one a "buy one, get one 50% off" special!  (I plan on grabbing a Shadow Squad in Cause a Stir, more wipes, the Ethereal gloss, and the blue version of the Make them Jelly Hi-Lite.)

I want to hear from you!  Have you tried something out of your comfort zone lately?  Maybe it was a workout class, a new beauty product, or an article of clothing.  Whatever it was, I want to hear about it!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Seven Years Cancer Free - How I'm Really Feeling

I'm really excited to share with y'all that I celebrated seven years cancer free last Friday!  There's something about hitting seven years that feels like a major milestone for me.  One was so exciting, two built upon that excitement because it's another year removed from cancer, three and four were just trying to squeak by to five, and five felt like winning the lottery because that's when your risk starts to decrease and you can breathe a little.  But seven... seven has been something else.

Whenever I talk about cancer, I focus on the positive.  But in light of so many things happening in the world, especially the passing of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, I feel it's important to shed light on the struggles.  I tend to leave those out because I never want to be perceived as negative or a complainer.  But celebrating being a survivor is so much more than pretty pictures with number balloons; there's a heaviness, a time for reflection on who I am now and the hell I went through to get here.

Usually, my cancer free anniversary is pretty cut and dried.  I get my skin checked in March or April, they biopsy me, I hold my breath for a week waiting for results, it's all good, I hold my hand to my chest and breathe for a few minutes, and then I move on knowing that in a couple of months I'll celebrate another year without cancer in my body.  This year was special.  There were no spots of concern, so no biopsies for me!  It was all smooth sailing.  Lucky number seven.

This year was also a little different in that I found out in May I needed to have some invasive testing done, and the soonest date available was my cancer free anniversary.  This started my ride on an emotional roller coaster.   I have done so much reflecting on my experience with cancer in the past three weeks and really allowed myself to feel all of the feelings.  Usually when an unpleasant emotion pops us, I repress it.  Nope sadness, not today.  Fear, I do not have time for you.  Frustration, please go away so that I can focus.  But I think to truly cope with everything that was going on, I needed to allow myself to go back to that place.

Being a cancer survivor is kind of weird, and it's different for everyone.  Please remember the thoughts and feelings I share are mine alone, I don't speak for us all.

I chose to be very private about my battle because I felt like that was safest for everyone involved.  I didn't want people around me to be sad.  I didn't want people to treat me differently.  I feared people would exploit what I saw as a flaw.  I think this is the same attitude a lot of us have adopted toward mental health, as well.  If we're not visibly unwell with our arm in a cast or a brace on our ankle, we sweep it under the rug.  Most of us probably don't see a doctor.  (Guilty - I saw my primary care physician on Tuesday.  It was the first time in over four years.)

If I could go back, I would be upfront about it.  Hey, I have cancer.  It's treatable, and I'm not dying.  If I look really bad, it's probably because I'm sick and also because it's really hard to wash, dry, and straighten your hair after arm surgery.  If I seem sad, it's probably because I'm dealing with depression because cancer is scary.  I would have asked more people for help, as well.  Helping is how a lot of people cope with what they're watching someone go through, and I could have definitely used a hand carrying in my groceries.

I also wouldn't have been so ashamed of my scar.  After my surgery, I wore a cardigan over everything.  Even in the summer.  I had to take pills so that I wouldn't sweat.  (It is so absurd to type that out, but cancer will do a number on your confidence.)  Now I see it as a sign of resilience.

Another choice I made was to stay in school while battling cancer.  That's actually how I told my best friend I had cancer - a text that read Hey, I found out I have cancer and everyone thinks I should take some time off from school.  What do you think?  When I finally opened up about my battle, so many people commented on the strength that it must have taken to stay in school.  To be completely honest, I stayed in school because it was what I knew.  I was 20, and I had spent the past 15 years going to school.  I knew if I moved home I would be bored and lay in bed all day sleeping and crying.  If we're going to comment on anyone's strength, it should be my mom's for respecting my decision. 

When I look back on that, it opens my eyes to the number of people silently struggling every day.  I've always loved the quote about being kind because everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle, but allowing myself to reflect made me feel it that much deeper.  I was so broken walking around like my life was fine and I had it all together.  Speak kindly to people, smile at strangers, show grace.  Build relationships, tell people you love them, reach out to that friend you haven't heard from in a while.

There's one more thing I feel compelled to share, and that's survivor's guilt.  Nothing ever prepared for feeling guilty simply because I am alive.  My Grandpa passed away about six weeks after I found out I was cancer free.  He had chosen to go on chemo that same day.  I felt so guilty for so long - why was I allowed to live when he wasn't?  I still feel sick to my stomach when I hear someone has passed away because of cancer.

If you told me seven years ago today that I would be choosing to speak about something so personal vulnerably, I would have shook my head at you and readjusted my cardigan.  But I hope moving forward that more of us will choose vulnerability.  In a world of Instagram perfection, we'll be honest and open about the things that cut us to the core.  We'll ask for help when we need it, and we'll choose to help each other.  And we'll give ourselves grace, because things like these are always easier said than done.

I'm really happy to share with you that I got my test results back yesterday, and everything was good.  And I want to thank you for celebrating with me every year.  The world needs more people like you!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Loving Lately

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting Seersucker Sass blog.

It's been a really long time since I've blogged... which means we have a lot of catching up to do!  I'll have plenty of posts about what I've been up to and lessons I've learned, but let's start with the fun stuff - what I've been loving lately!  I'd much rather spend my money on travel experiences during the summer, so I've kept all of the items on my list under $30.

1.) OGX Dry Shampoo ($9)  •  I use the Biotin & Collagen shampoo and conditioner, so when I saw that a dry shampoo had been released, I knew I had to at least give it a try.  I was convinced I had found the best dry shampoo around for only $4, but this is my new favorite.  For starters, it smells amazing - and not like chemicals.  The bottle also lasts much longer than I'm used to a bottle of dry shampoo lasting.  And it blends incredibly well.  I've even started using this when I just need some extra volume in my hair.

2.) Younger  •  I've been binge watching Younger and I caught up just in time for the season five premier last night.  If you're unfamiliar with the story line, Liza is going through a divorce and trying to re-enter the workforce.  When no one will hire her, she lies about her age and lands a job that she loves in publishing.  I'm also obsessed with Hilary Duff's character, Kelsey.  (And if you needed another reason to love this show, the fashion is incredible.)

3.) Gold Block Heel Pumps ($30)  •  If you're looking for a pair of flirty little heels for summer, look no further.  The gold is fun and can be dressed up or down, and the heels are actually comfortable.  (I wore these while climbing on things in an alleyway during a blog shoot last weekend and actually felt stable in them.)

4.) Almond Shower Oil ($25)  •  I get horrible ingrown hairs when I shave, to the point that I was wearing pants every day to avoid having to shave my legs more than once a week.  I heard about this product from Carly and tried it out on a whim.  Y'all.  Not only do I no longer have to deal with ingrown hairs, but my legs are softer than ever and I don't have to shave as frequently.

5.) Vetiver ($22)  •  I've been challenging myself to try new Young Living products each month.  Vetiver was part of my May Essential Rewards order, and it has been an instant favorite.  It has an earthy scent, and I love using it while writing or working.

6.) NARS Concealer ($30)  •  If you follow me on Instagram stories, you know all about my new habit of going to Sephora with no makeup on and asking them to teach me how to do a certain aspect of my makeup.  About a month ago, I learned how to do concealer, and it has been a #gamechanger.  I don't like cosmetics with heavy coverage, and this product provides just enough coverage without being cakey.

It also does exceptionally well in the heat.  The first time I tried it out was at one of my brother's track meets.  I was outside from 3 PM to 10 PM, and it didn't melt off of my face like other concealers I've owned in the past.

7.) #100SquatChallenge  •  I'm on day four of a month long challenge of doing 100 squats a day... and loving it!  I'm trying to create healthy habits, and these short challenges help me feel accountable and motivate me to work out even more.  It has been fun seeing what my body is capable of.

I want to hear from y'all.  What are you loving lately?  Fill me in!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Fragrance Favorites

Happy National Fragrance Day!  I'm probably one of like five people who loves those made up holidays, and I have zero shame, especially today.  I'm an extremely nostalgic person, and scents are something that will stop me dead in my tracks and have my brain flooding with memories.

When I was a little girl, my mom would get me ready for school and then do the final touches for herself, including a spritz of perfume.  Sometimes, if it was a special occasion, my mom would give me a spritz of her Jovan Musk.  I always thought my mom was so glamorous with her big curls, long eyelashes, and fancy perfume.

In middle school, I fell in love with classic Hollywood glamour.  I insisted on having my own bottle of Chanel No. 5.  Even though I identified much more with Audrey Hepburn, if Chanel No. 5 was good enough for Marilyn, surely it was appropriate for me.  I wore one spritz to middle school every day, and two spritzes to church on Sundays.  (Can I just say God bless my parents?!  Sometimes when I think back on myself as a child, I just want to hug them for never trying to change me and just letting me be my weirdo, ridiculous self.)

High school and college were fun.  I own probably every Juicy Couture scent known to man and the whole collection of Ralph Lauren's Ralph Hot/Cool/Wild/whatever random adjectives also appealed to teenage girls thanks to this time in my life.  I proudly displayed them on a mint green cake plate in my dorm room and invited my girlfriends to try them out before going to the bars in college.

When I graduated and became a very professional woman, I wanted something more subtle and natural.  (At this time, I was also afraid of pretty much any chemical thanks to cancer and a lovely little lymph node removal.)  I wore Barr & Co's signature scent, and I smelled like a little sugar cookie.

When I turned 25, the search for a signature scent began.  I started sampling scents from my monthly PLAY! by Sephora subscription box, and eventually settled on three.  While I sometimes feel a little frivolous about it, I love that I have an everyday scent, a night out scent, and an elegant scent for special occasions.

EVERYDAY SCENT - My Burberry Blush

Described in one word:  sweet

Scent type:  fruity florals

Notes of:  pomegranate, rose, jasmine

Why I love it:  This is a subtle, feminine, sophisticated scent.  If it was an article of clothing, it would be a classic Burberry trench.  It's nice and it's polished, but it doesn't scream "look at me!"  I look forward to putting this on every morning because it lifts my mood.  This is definitely my "I'm a polished career woman" scent.

NIGHT OUT SCENT -  Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium

Described in one word:  sexy

Scent type:  addictive, floral, energetic

Notes of:  coffee accord, orange blossom, cedarwood essence, patchouli essence

Why I love it:  I've always played it safe when it comes to scents, and this is the opposite.  If it was an article of clothing, it would be a leather jacket.  It's spicy and sensual, and I get a little confidence boost whenever I wear it.  This is my "it girl for the night" scent.


Described in one word:  elegant

Scent type:  fresh

Notes of:  orange, bergamot, mandarin, Tunisian curacao

Why I love it:  For starters, I love it because it was a gift from my aunt.  I never purchase fragrance for myself, and I was desperately in need of something new.  It was a just because, surprise gift, and it tickled me.  (It was actually my everyday scent until my aunt gave me the Burberry scent for Christmas!)

This scent is very feminine, and it's very strong.  If it was a piece of clothing, it would be a blush chiffon dress or a tweed jacket.  It's very ladylike, but it stands out.  This is my "fancy, wise beyond my years" scent.  

I've also noticed that I receive a lot of compliments from men regarding this scent.  So if you're looking to pick up a man, here's your scent.  You're welcome.

Black Opium  •  My Burberry Blush  •  COCO MADEMOISELLE

I want to hear from you - what's your "signature" scent?  And is there a scent that immediately takes you back to childhood?  Let's chat in the comments!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Five Things I'm Doing for Myself this Week

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting Seersucker Sass.

It's no secret that self-care is a trending topic in 2018.  First there were the posts about bubble baths and face masks.  Then there were the "opposition" posts about how self-care was so much more than bubble baths and face masks, and we should be focusing on therapy and mental health.

In my opinion, self-care not only looks a little differently for everyone, but it looks a little differently by the day.  Some days, I need a really good ranting session with my girlfriends where I'm free to yell and get worked up and get it out of my system.  Other days, I need to be on my yoga mat, sweating out my stress.  And after a really long day, there's nothing better than soaking in a hot bath and just enjoying the silence.

Yesterday morning, I realized that I had some errands that couldn't wait any longer.  Nothing opened until noon, so instead of continuing to sit around and wait for the world to open, I left a little early and treated myself to a healthy breakfast at my favorite juice bar.  While enjoying my avocado toast, I kept thinking about just how nice it felt to take a little time to do something for myself.  So I made a list of five things I would do for myself this week.  I'm sharing it not just for accountability, but also to encourage you to do the same.  As we discussed before, self-care doesn't have to be a face mask and it doesn't have to be therapy.  Self-care is whatever you need it to be that day.

1. Getting my eyebrows done.  Yesterday, I took the time to have my brows threaded for the first time since January.  A brow pencil is one of the few cosmetics I use on a daily basis, and it was to the point that even a brow pencil could not save them.  Despite the fact that brow threading is not a painless experience, I felt like a new person walking out of the salon.  Moving forward, I hope to prioritize taking pride in my appearance a little more, as it's currently the first thing I'm willing to cut when I need more hours in a day.

2. Recording a "list of gratitude" throughout the day.  Y'all, I cannot tell you how much this has rocked my Monday.  Instead of giving something up for Lent, I decided to be more intentional about gratitude. [more about that here]  Mondays can be rough, so I decided that this week, I would make a list of things throughout the day that I'm thankful for.

So far, I'm really thankful that I can move my car because there is no longer a random washing machine sitting behind it (I know, seriously, WTF.  #apartmentlife), I made it into the office before 8 AM, I have an amazing boss, and my new toner is working.  It is crazy how differently I'm seeing my day now that I'm looking for the positives.

3. Working on a personal writing project.  I love to write, and I've decided to write a work of fiction for fun.  I don't have intentions to publish it or really share it with anyone except a girlfriend or two, it's just something that I'm doing to prove to myself that I can and to continue sharpening my writing skills.  I started this weekend, and it's crazy how much more inspired I've felt with blogging.  I plan to dedicate a few hours this week strictly to working on this project.

4. Ordering new powder because the one I currently use just isn't doing it for me anymore.  Have you ever found yourself using a beauty product just because you have it?  That's  where I am with my setting powder right now.  It finds tiny, almost nonexistent fine lines on my skin and clings to them.  After pretty much giving myself a complex, I've decided the powder has to go.  I'm taking the plunge and ordering Glossier's Wowder (along with their Cloud Paint because I also have a complex about looking washed out... but that's a different story for a different day.)  And to avoid feeling wasteful, I'll be passing the product on to a friend who isn't dealing with fine lines.  Everyone wins :)

5. Scheduling time to do nothing after work.  This is a big step for me.  I only have plans after work two days this week - one is a coffee meeting at a cafe that I love and one is dinner with my best girlfriend.  I actually turned down a meeting this week because it would be occurring immediately after my annual skin check up, and I knew my body and mind would need time to rest afterwards.

I want to hear from you - what are you going to do for yourself this week?  Write it out, schedule it on your calendar, whatever you need to do, let's make it happen!

PS - If you pray, would you mind to send some prayers my way on Thursday?  As I mentioned, I'll be having my annual skin check up.  I trust that it's all part of God's plan for my life, but prayers for calm nerves while potentially playing the waiting game and acceptance of the outcome are much appreciated.