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Girl, Where Are You?

A photo posted by Val’s Vanity (@valsvanity) on

Right here! Over here! 👋🏾

Sorry, kittens. I didn’t mean to ghost you guys! But it is for a good reason. I’ve received another amazing opportunity to share my love of beauty with even more people. The only snag? Trying to balance the hours between work and play again.

This isn’t the end — far from it. I’ve still got more beauty secrets to share, news to freak out about, and muses to inspire your next look. You’ll just have to stay tuned on Snapchat to see what comes next. But if you’re still willing to come along for the ride, it’s sure to be filled with more crazy twists, turns, and lipstick smears.

Lifestyle, Personal Musings

How to Feel Like an Adult When You Live with Your Parents

Can't believe this was already six years ago!

Can’t believe this was already six years ago!

Has your newsfeed been filled with customized caps lately? Have you had to run home to see your sibling, friend, or family member pick up their diploma? With graduation season in full swing, everyone thinks their future is so bright that they’ve got to wear shades. But the reality is that the Class of 2016 has the most student debt in American history with a total sum of $60 billion! While we’re not in the midst of the recession like when I was in school (hey class of 2010), that’s still a lot of money to pay back with a small starting salary.

Like most millennials, I returned to the nest after earning my degree to help save money while I paid off my student debt. But unlike many of my contemporaries, I’m still hanging at home with the ‘rents and I’m happy there. Over the years, I’ve heard: “Don’t you think it’s time to be on your own?” “Don’t you want to live in the city? Wouldn’t that make it easier?” They mean well, but it doesn’t mean I have to move out if I’m not financially ready. According to U.S. News and World Report and Rent.com, the average cost of a one-bedroom in the Big Apple is $3,044—not including utilities, cable, groceries, cell phone, etc. that can put a serious strain on your wallet. And I’m not the only one! A recent study by the Pew Reasearch Center found that 32.1% of millennials are currently living at home.

While living at home eases my budget, there are benefits and pitfalls that both the child and the parent(s) have to contend with. What I’ve found is most of the problems that come along with this setup boils down to a few things to keep in mind so everyone can find harmony:

Respect: First off, this goes both ways no matter what. While you are under your parents’ roof and should adhere to their rules (within reason, as I know some households are stricter than others), they also need to understand that you’re an adult—which may be more of an adjustment for them than it is for you. They may still see you as a child, which can cloud their judgement and color how they treat you now. They need to understand that though they have endless life experiences and advice to offer, you have to make your own mistakes in order to learn from them—they’ll be there to catch you when you fall.

Communicate: Remember, you’re grown now. So that means you can’t give them the silent treatment when things don’t go your way. It only creates resentment that will build over time before it explodes, leaving everyone’s feelings hurt. Going back to respect, be upfront with your feelings when it comes to the space you share as well as how you assert your independence within the household. And your parents should hear you out and respect your opinions whether they agree or not. Once both sides are out in the open, it’ll make it much easier to find a compromise and resolve the conflict.

Contribute: Just because Mommy did your laundry before college doesn’t mean you treat your home like a hotel and sit on your butt while they do all the work. All of you have busy lives filled with jobs, bills, a social calendar, and more, but the house is a communal space you share. Whether you assign weekly chores or rotate responsibilities, you should all do your part. Pitching in not only makes it easier to maintain a household, it also compels you to feel like the house is also yours and teaches you the basics of running a home for when you finally leave the nest.

Still live with your parents and have tips of your own? Or if you’re already out on your own, what’s the biggest lesson living at home taught you? Let me know if the comments below.

Decor, Lifestyle

10 Motivational Typography Prints to Get Over the Hump-Day Slump

shelfie

I’ve been feeling seriously sluggish lately, and it’s not just because of EDC (there will be more on this later). It could also be the batch of good weather we’ve finally received on the East Coast—I mean, I have to enjoy the sunshine while I can, right? Whatever it is, I find myself distracted by everything and I really need to focus. I can make promises as much as want, but unless there’s something there to remind me to complete my tasks, they can fall by the wayside. But I’ve decided to get myself in gear starting with my space.

While my decorating has stalled a bit with a bunch of boxes that I can’t get rid of just yet, I’m looking up when it comes to making my house my home, namely with some wall art that adds some motivational mojo. I’m a visual kind of person—if I can’t see it (or feel it tangibly) I just won’t get it. I’ve been on the hunt for cool prints that give me the life advice I need minus the saccharine clichĂ©s that already clutter home decor shelves. No shade to “Live, Laugh, Love,” but I need a swift kick in the butt, not a hug, to get stuff done. If you’re in the same boat, I’ve found a few favorites I’m adding to my cart to ensure I can Carpe that Diem and stay on track to making my dreams come true. 

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Beauty, Body, Lifestyle, Personal Musings

Surviving Festival Season & Not Sweating the Small Stuff

I like to tell people I grew up in a pit—a mosh pit to be exact. I went to local metal shows in high school and cut my teeth on the Vans Warped Tour and the Bamboozle before Coachella and festival season itself became a thing. So when I got to listening to house and EDM music after college, I thought the same concepts I could apply to my festival-filled past. Well, not exactly.

I got the chance to explore the technicolor world of the Electric Daisy Carnival when it hit NYC on May 14-15th, thanks to Secret. The brand has had a unique shift in focus from the barre babes and the Soul Cycle set to the summer music scene where calories are burned dancing in the heat of the moment rather than in a hot yoga studio, embracing the unfiltered fun and rush of summer music festivals. Last year, Tokimonsta took over as Secret’s festival face, but the brand put the power in the people’s hands (and arms, too) by offering a body paint station smack dab in the middle of the grounds. There, ravers of every flavor could water-marble their limbs and snap up a travel stick of the deodorant to swipe on between DJ sets. Though I initially felt out of my element at the vibrant affair, I learned a lot more than I expected before slipping on the neon wristbands.

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Lifestyle

New York’s Newest Hot Spot: The Period Shop

sarah-michelson-u-by-kotex-period-shop

We usually take to social media to squee over our latest finds, to fangirl, and air our grievances with the universe—we just never expect someone to listen and take action. But that’s what happened to Sarah Michelson when she took to Tumblr to call for something we didn’t know we needed: a period shop. Yeah, really, a period shop. And it’s coming to life today in the Big Apple, at 138 Fifth Avenue, where shoppers can snap period-themed items from the like of Aelfie, Ban.do, Baggu, and more thanks to U by Kotex.

If there were shops that could shill one item like hot sauce, men’s shaving products, and more, Michelson reasoned a period shop could mean serious success. “We have stores for men’s shaving gear, hot sauce, random crap that may not be necessary to our experience,” she said during  the shop’s preview Thursday night. I was on my period, and I kept having these thoughts, and it became this merging of ideas.”

While visions of pizza and pain relief danced in her head, Michelson’s post took off on the platform gaining thousands of notes and got noticed by U by Kotex. The current advertising and marketing major—she’s switching to focus on cosmetics and fragrance marketing next semester—worked closely with the brand to deck out the space with everything needed to make that time of the month much easier to handle, including tampons, pads, and pain relievers mixed in with sweatshirts, sweatpants, and pins decked out in feminine-care couture, and, of course, lots and lots of chocolate. Best of all, the proceeds benefit Susan’s Place, an NYC-based transitional residence for homeless women, who are often left without the feminine care products they need compared to clothing and food donations received.

“I wish the period store could be around all the time because then I’d be here [on my period],” Michelson admitted. “More typically, I’m home in sweatpants, getting drunk on ice cream and chips, eating literally everything, listening to music, chilling, moaning, groaning, bitching about life. But things like this make the experience so much more positive.”

And that’s really the end game: de-mystify the drama of our monthly menses. Whether you want to call it Aunt Flo or (my personal favorite) Shark Week, we’re now seeing a shift from stigma to social acceptance of a normal bodily function. “I think the stigma attached to periods is not just the older generation; I experienced it in high school, which was not long ago. It sucks, but I feel like it’s something everyone has a collective culture [about it],” Michelson explained. “It’s just a shop; it’s just a period; it’s just a tampon—the whole thing that’s surrounding it is so biblical, it’s ridiculous. The fact that U by Kotex is doing this, making this a reality for regular women, shows that this is what we can do. I think that the best thing people can do is talk about it—mothers, daughters, friends, talk about it, and eventually the stigma will be gone.”

So if you’re in New York City, the shop will be open to the public starting today May 13th through May 15th.

Hours:

May 13th: 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. with DJs on deck 12:00-6:00 p.m.; Nail Art available 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.; and a comedy show 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

May 14th: 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. with a Carmilla cast meet and greet 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.; DJs on deck 12:00-6:00 p.m.; Nail Art available 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m

May 15th: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with DJs on deck 12:00-5:00 p.m.; Nail Art available 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m; and PMS massages 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

Head over to UbyKotex.com for more details and check out my Snapchat ASAP to get a behind-the-scenes look at the space.

Beauty, Lifestyle, Personal Musings

Beauty Secrets I’ve Swapped With My Mom

mothers-day-2016

Before YouTube and Instagram, the biggest beauty influencer in everyone’s lives was Mom. Mine was no exception. I would sit in awe as she took a flame to her eye pencil, created full roller sets without a mirror, and collected lipsticks in an array of shades that I would sample and swatch on our apartment walls while she napped (Sorry, Mom!). Without her, I likely wouldn’t be so in love with the power of transformation that cosmetics offer or the power to repair mistakes with a proper skincare and hair care products (and I’ve made a lot mistakes). But throughout my career, I’d like to think I’ve helped my mom learn a trick or two that she’s helped to pass along to others, sharing her favorites and helping to build community through beauty. So in honor of her big day, I’ve rounded up some of the best advice we’ve shared with each other. Happy Mother’s Day, and if you can, give your mom a hug for me!

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Lifestyle

Oh Great, Another Beauty Blogger

intro

I know, right? In the age of the YouTube beauty guru and Instagram superstar, I would have the same thought stumbling across a site name like this.

But I’m not your average beauty blogger. While my love of lipstick began as a toddler, I’ve been an editor for over five years. I worked with big media companies including AOL and, most recently, Mode (formerly Glam) Media where I earned access to some of the industry’s most influential insiders. I discovered the season’s trendiest looks backstage at New York Fashion Week, swapped beauty secrets with celebrities, and mined new hacks from Hollywood’s elite glam squads.

Throughout my career, I sharpened my editor’s eye to uncover the most innovative products on the market. I regularly fall head over heels for pretty packaging or fangirl over the fresh new face of a brand, but I know a product’s efficacy and ingredients are priority, regardless of where you stock up on your supplies.

So you’re an editor? Big deal. What do you have to offer that hasn’t been regurgitated multiple times across the web?

Valid question, and that’s the beauty (pun not intended) of the internet: to provide space for everyone to raise their voice and share their perspective. I’m like a lot of you. I may not be as skilled with a makeup brush as some of those in your social feed, but I’ve picked up plenty of tips and tricks along the way that I’m dying to share. I’m also a plus-sized latina who’s on the hunt for shades, formulas, and fits that work well for me when options are limited. I want to share my favorite finds as well as my inspirations—it’s really that simple.

So you can come along for the ride if you’d like. It’ll be a trip, but we’re all here to have fun, right?