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Personal Musings

Personal Musings

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, 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.

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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Beauty, Lifestyle, Personal Musings

Beauty Secrets I’ve Swapped With My Mom


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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