A Thanksgiving Checklist

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These are my top tips for having a successful Thanksgiving! I would suggest printing this out and taping it to your refrigerator so you don’t forget any steps along the way. We shall start from the moment you get out of bed and proceed until you close your eyes at the end of the day. Let’s go!

  1. Wake up and EAT PANCAKES. (Or waffles.)
  2. Drown yourself in coffee, you’re gonna need it.
  3. Take a shower, you are disgusting and there are PEOPLE COMING OVER. Oh my god, I can’t believe you forgot it was Thanksgiving.
  4. Weigh yourself to set the control weight for how many pounds you gain that day (or rather in one sitting).
  5. What are you doing weighing yourself, YOU HAVE TO START COOKING THE TURKEY?!?!?!??? Thank god I am here to get you back on track.
  6. Start that turkey, mash those potatoes, cook those string beans, head over to see your BFF Marie Calendar for your surplus of pies.
  7. Determine the best method for changing the subject when relatives ask about your dating life, job, living situation, etc.
  8. CRANK UP DEM JAMS. (Translation: turn on some music.)
  9. Secure the best spot at the table that is closest to the food so you don’t have to walk as far to get seconds and thirds and probably fourths. This is so obvious that I just can’t even believe I am including it.
  10. Start a group sing-a-long to “Super Turkey.”
  11. If you don’t know what “Super Turkey” is, consult the 10-year-old at the table.
  12. Go around the table and say everything you’re thankful for. Everyone will probably say some variation of the same thing, so just roll with it.
  13. Feed half of your meal to the dog patiently sitting under the table as this is his/her favorite day of the year.
  14. Finish your meal, and then contemplate why you bought so many pies because your stomach may pop at any second.
  15. Eat the pies anyway.
  16. Yes, you want whipped cream with that.
  17. Practice your best “horrified” face for when your family suggests a group jog around the neighborhood. Who needs exercise when you have a comfortable couch to vegetate on?
  18. Weigh yourself again to see how many pounds of cranberry sauce you packed in. How much weight did you gain? Let me know in the comments!
  19. Go through all of the old family photo albums to oodle over how cute you used to be. Gotta stock up on those #TBT photos for Instagram, ya know?
  20.  If you’re feeling particularly feisty, get to the mall at 10pm, grab a prime parking spot, and then return at 9am to sell it to the highest bidder.

Wishing you a successful holiday! Remember that you don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to be thankful for things, every day is a blessing. Comment below any list items I may have missed, and have a lovely Tuesday!

Holiday Gift Guide: Best Friend

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I just dug my boots out of the back of my closet, which can only mean one thing…… IT’S OFFICIALLY WINTER. Okay well maybe the seasons in California merge together and it’s been “Winter” for a couple of weeks now, but the boots really solidify things in my mind. And now that it’s Winter time, it’s also time for holiday gift guides. Today marks the first of many gift guides that will be rolling in through my blog over the next couple of weeks.

Today we shall be covering the ‘BEST FRIEND’ gift guide, and although you probably (definitely) know your best friend better than I do, these are a collection of items that I feel like any best friend would cherish.

  1. SoulCycle Gift Card – Give some SOUL, change a life. I mean let’s just not even talk about the fact that I left a detailed instruction guide of how to sign up for SoulCycle in the ‘review’ section of one of my AirBNB hosts in New York. It was just really vital that she take a class with my favorite instructor, ya know? I’m basically SoulCycle’s #1 cheerleader, it’s fine….
  2. Starbucks Travel Mug – I am not even kidding, the new Starbucks mug line is so cute it makes me want to cry. I WANT EVERY SINGLE ONE. Honestly, these cups are going to sell out so fast, I would suggest hopping over to your local Starbucks ASAP to get the best designs. Check out the entire collection here and then send me thank you letters at your convenience.
  3. Beyoncé Mug – Monday mornings are hard for everyone, but you can make it a little bit brighter for your best friend with this mug. Also, if anybody wants to make me this same mug in the Taylor Swift edition, that’d be cool. And just a side note, I have actually recently jumped on the Beyoncé train. Her latest music video is just kind of the best.
  4. Faux Fur Vest – I’m not saying that you should buy your best friend a faux fur vest, but if you were going to, this one is cute. I feel like best friends are the ones that you can get away with buying them clothing because you know their size and their fashion sense well enough to make smart purchases.
  5. Topshop Teddy Robe – Honestly though? HOW IS THIS SO CUTE? The holidays are the season to spread joy by means of furry things that make you feel like you are in fact a teddy bear. You’re welcome.
  6. NARS Virtual Domination Cheek Palette – Yes, this palette is the prettiest makeup palette you have ever seen. Ever since I first saw it on Anna’s blog, I feel head over heels in love. And then one day while I was just casually browsing through Sephora (oh.. you don’t do that?), I swatched it and it’s just as gorgeous as it appears in photos. BEST FRIEND PRESENT STATUS.

Have you decided what you’re getting your best friend for Christmas? HAVE YOU GOTTEN YOUR BOOTS OUT OF THE BACK OF YOUR CLOSET? Let me know below, I would love to discuss the Winter season further. Happy Monday!

The Other Typist: A Review

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“With one simple act, Odalie had snared me in a trap that consisted of equal parts temptation and shame. I was bound to her from that moment on, always wondering yet eternally unable to ask if she was privy to my act of covetous theft. All this before we’d ever even shaken hands or been introduced.” - The Other Typist, Chapter 1.

It is 1924 and Rose Baker is as plain as can be in every aspect of the world. She was raised by nuns, and she has always been taught to follow the rules and stray within the lines. And for her job as a typist for the NYPD, it is imperative that she does exactly that. She sits in on interviews and transcribes every confession or lack-of-confession that comes out of the victim’s mouth, making gruesome murders seem like small talk about the weather.

When Odalie Lazare walks into the police precinct to interview for an open typist position, she changes the course of Rose’s life entirely. Well… not immediately of course. At first, Rose just surveys her from afar, because Odalie is just one of those people who can capture the attention of an entire ballroom of strangers just by stepping through the door. Soon after the initial workroom tension is broken, Rose is swept up into Odalie’s world of speakeasys, fancy dresses, lavish lunches, movie theater tickets, and secrecy.

And then all of a sudden, during a coastal getaway amidst the blisteringly-hot New York months, Odalie’s past seems to catch up with her and her secret starts to rip at the seams.

Oh, and I must warn you that there will be a point in the book where you will realize that the story is being told from a point in the future, looking back upon what happened. Rose is recounting her experiences, and she keeps referencing an “accident.” After you realize that fact, you will be so drawn into the story that you may have to stay up until 1am to finish it. I’M JUST SAYING… Plan your sleep schedule accordingly.

Suzanne Rindell writes with a silent force that will creep up on you in the most un-suspecting way and I dare say that The Other Typist is a captivating as Odalie Lazare herself.

Have you read The Other Typist? Let me know below. If you haven’t, grab your copy here!

Thanksgiving Outfit Inspiration #3

thanksgiving3Definitely the most fashion-forward series of the lot, this is what you wear when you want to be taken seriously. The clothes pretty much speak for themselves, but just in case those adjectives are screaming out at you, let’s go over all of the reasons that you need to run out to the store to pick up these one-of-a-kind Thanksgiving ensembles.

  1. This is a onesie that you will be passing down to your children and then to your grandchildren. It will be a family heirloom that you can say Sally from Love & Sparkles brought to your attention. I may even make it into your family will. This is an outfit that you should buy in mass quantities because it will become apparent that everybody will want to wear it as well and then you can all sit around the living room afterwards in a circle on the floor to have a pow wow and talk about important matters such as the quality of leaves in today’s society.
  2. Pilgrims get to participate in Thanksgiving dinner, and nobody wants to participate in Thanksgiving dinner more than dogs. Pilgrims are also in charge of the leftovers, and I am sure that your dogs will be more than happy to take on that responsibility as well. Oh, and this Oscar-winning costume can also be used on your cats and even on the family iguana.
  3. Sometimes the small and agile members of your family will get lost within the masses of the turkey costumes, so it’s smart to dress them up as turkeys too so that they will feel like part of the family and not run away to live with the squirrels at the local elementary school. This costume can actually also be used on the turkey itself.
  4. This subtle fedora will go virtually unnoticeable as you spend hours upon hours preparing the mashed potatoes in the kitchen before the big meal. As you sit down with your closest friends and family members, they will all exchange whispers to try to determine where your hat is from because their eyes will be green with envy over your obviously superior fashion choices.

Will you be donning any of these outfits for the big day? Let me know below!

Thanksgiving Outfit Inspiration #2

thanksgiving2For me, Thanksgiving has always seemed like a very causal affair. It’s always spent with family, whether that’s immediate family or cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents, etc., who really could not care less what you wear as long as you show up. So for that reason, today’s post is all about sweater dresses, the most casual of dress options whose level of comfort will have you falling asleep on the couch after dessert.

  1. Banana Republic Heritage Marled Sweater Dress – Carly Cristman, one of my favorite fashion bloggers, recently created a second Instagram account to document her daily outfits (Have you ever heard of a better idea?!? I sure have not.). The other day she wore this sweater dress and I am fully obsessed. It’s like the Queen of sweater dresses and I need it in my closet ASAP.
  2. Felicity & CoCo Fit & Flare Sweater Dress – A fancy-pants sweater dress that could actually pass as a cocktail dress if styled appropriately. And the reviews are great!
  3. Greylin ‘Sadie’ Shimmer Stripe Sweater Dress – Sparkles on dresses make me go all *heart eyes emoji.* I also just love the color & would probably wear this is everyday life as well as around the Thanksgiving table.
  4. NastyGal Gabriella Knit Tunic in Burgundy - THAT BURGUNDY COLOR THOUGH. SO GOOD. This is a dress you can wear allllll holiday season. It’s so festive I can’t even handle it.

What about you? Is your Thanksgiving usually pretty casual as well? Or do you generally dress up for it? Let me know!

Thanksgiving Outfit Inspiration #1

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It’s as if the Pilgrims specifically planned Thanksgiving to be during the busiest time of the year when you really don’t have time to organize a meal made for the Kings as well as plan out that perfect outfit ensemble that will convince all of your family members that you really do have your life together. It’s just not possible, ya know? And that’s why I’m here. For the next week (OH MY GOD THANKSGIVING IS IN A WEEK), I will be sharing hoards of outfit inspiration for your disposal. And with that, let’s get started!

  1. Free People Turtleneck Pullover – THIS SWEATER THOUGH?!? I need it. I’m so obsessed with turtlenecks lately it’s kind of a problem. I would obviously pair this one with leggings instead of jeans because I mean…. pie…. sweet potato casserole… cranberry sauce…. mashed potatoes….. more pie……..
  2. BaubleBar Delicate Teardrop Frost Strand – Statement necklaces with sweaters are a fool-proof way of making it look like you color-coordinate your life and make it to the gym every morning all while still getting a solid 7 hours of sleep.
  3. Sam Edelman ‘Felicia’ Flat – Leopard print anything is always appropriate.
  4. Make Up For Ever Aqua Rouge in Light Rosewood – Okay so I have yet to try these but I’ve heard that they stay on forever. Like, it will probably still stay on even while you’re going back for thirds…

And with that, you have successfully put together an outfit that will make you look like the most effortlessly chic person in the room. Happy Thursday!

My Night-Time Skincare Routine

STEP ONE: Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing TowlettesneutrogenafacewipesSTEP TWO: THREE OPTIONS

1. Clarisonic + Purity Facial Cleanserpurityfacewash

2. BareMinerals Exfoliating Treatment Cleanserbareminerals

3. Clean & Clear Morning Burst Facial CleansermorningburstSTEP THREE: EO Face – Moisturize

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When you look at someone and think “woah, they have really clear skin!”, it might be because they have a really excellent foundation, but it’s more likely because they take really good care of their skin. Skincare is something that takes so little effort but makes such a big difference. Over the years, I’ve found the products that work for me, and I really don’t stray far from them because they are basically specks of gold bundled up into a bottle. Today, I’m going to take you through those products. Let’s get started!

First of all, I use the Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Wipes to remove all the makeup and dirt and bacteria off of my face. I can’t imagine my skincare routine without these wipes because they can power through even the most waterproof mascara. And as an added bonus, they leave your skin really smooth and radiant.

After removing the large majority of my makeup with those wipes, I then move on to a cleanser. I rotate through cleansers depending on how my skin is feeling that day. If my skin feels weighted down, I turn to my Clarisonic. I always use it with Philosophy – Purity Facial Cleanser because it’s a really gentle formula that pairs perfectly with the heavy duty Clarisonic. For everyday use, I like the BareMinerals Exfoliating Treatment Cleanser. It’s a powder formulation that is allows you to customize the formula depending on how your skin is feeling. And because it’s a powder, there are no harsh chemicals in the mix that you might find in liquid face cleansers. It says exfoliating in the name, but it’s gentle enough for twice-a-day use, and can also be used as a face mask! Finally, my favorite drugstore product is the Clean & Clear Morning Burst Face Cleanser. It’s an oil-free product that I’ve been using (and loving) for years.

And lastly, I moisturize my skin before heading to bed. I’m fully obsessed with the EO Face – Moisturize that can be found at Whole Foods. Given that it’s from Whole Foods, you know that the ingredients are clean, and I can tell you from experience that it really is an incredible product as well as super affordable.

And that pretty much covers it! Those products have allowed my skin to stay healthy through the years, and I’m forever thankful. What products do you use? Lemme know below!

Taylor Swift Makeup Starter Kit

taylorswiftmakeupTaylor Swift is one of those people who is both insanely talented and also happens to look like a supermodel, and it’s really just not fair for the rest of us, ya know? In recent years, Taylor has changed up her style quite significantly (50’s dresses to crop tops) and has consistently changed her hair (curls to bangs to a bob), but her makeup has stayed relatively the same: that red lip classic look that you like.

As I discussed in my post yesterday, Taylor has been sending out Christmas packages to fans, and has included her favorite makeup products within the mix because she just understands that when you find that perfect red lipstick, you just need to share it with everyone you know. I have gone to the good will of compiling a list of the makeup included in fans’ packages so that you too can look as sparkling as Taylor Swift this holiday season.

You’re most welcome. Now go raid Sephora before all of the Dragon Girl lip pencils are gone!

Santa Swift Is Coming To Town

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We all know those people who get into the Christmas spirit way too early. At this point in the year, those people have already started listening to Christmas music, putting their tree up, and shopping for Christmas presents. And then there’s some people who have already started sending out those Christmas presents (IT’S MID-NOVEMBER). The person I am referring to here is none other than country-turned-pop princess Taylor Swift. To be fair, Taylor did grow up on a Christmas tree farm so the Christmas spirit is practically in her blood. The point of this story is that the recipients of those Christmas packages are none other than her fans.

It’s an interesting concept because generally as artists get bigger and skyrocket through the clouds of fame, they lose contact with their fans and become untouchable. But with Taylor, quite literally the opposite is happening. And as somebody who has been a fan of hers since basically the beginning of time, I can say with full confidence that she has returned to that level of intimacy with her fans as when she used to stay until 2am after shows to meet everybody who came to see her when she was just an opener for other artists. And now, thanks to social media, Taylor knows about her fans’ lives and what they’re going through and what their favorite songs are and who they surround themselves with. And the thing is that she actually cares.

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Christmas packages on Taylor’s doorstep going out for delivery to fans.

Oversized FedEx packages have started turning up on the doorsteps of fans all across the country, with handwritten cards and more-than-a-handful of presents from all over the world in each box. The recipients of these packages consist of both people who have met Taylor and people who have never met her. It’s a wild card whether you will get a package, but the one hint is that Taylor will leave a Santa emoji on one of their posts. And these gifts aren’t just mass-bought by her team and sent out, they are specifically hand-picked by Taylor for each fan, with notes for each gift explaining their significance.

One letter for a fan: “Ally – I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately and all I want is for you to have a life that you love. I can’t begin to understand what you’re going through, but if it helps you at all to know that I’m pulling for you, you should know that I am. I check in on you all the time because you’re smart and hysterically funny and beautiful. You deserve to be happy and I just hope these presents make you smile… Because you make me smile. – Tay”

And I think that the whole concept of Taylor sending packages to her fans so early is something that a lot of people can learn from, and not just artists in the entertainment industry. I think we all have people in our lives who matter to us, and sending them surprise packages just to show that you care is a really beautiful way to live your life.

An Ode To Pop Music

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If Winter had a soundtrack, it would probably be a Michael Buble Christmas album…… right? RIGHT. But this year, I have not been listening to Winter-y music at all due to all of the pop music masterpieces that have escaped from the recording studios recently. While everybody else is staring out the window at the raindrops falling down while letting beautiful piano symphonies glide through their ears, I am jumping up and down in circles to powerful pop melodies and head-banging along to catchy beats. These are my favorites, and I hope they will soon be yours too.

Taylor Swift, 1989: I mean, do I really even need to talk about this? I feel like I went through a whole month where I only posted about Taylor Swift and if you made it through that phase, I applaud you. 1989 is so lyrically brilliant I can’t even handle it. Also, you need the Target edition because the three extra songs that come with it are soul-enriching.

Mary Lambert, Heart On My Sleeve: The opening track on this album makes me feel all kinds of feelings. If there was song I wish I wrote (if I knew how to write songs), it would be ‘Secrets.’ It’s so powerful I can’t even handle it. And then the rest of the album is not exactly coherent but is composed of a beautiful compilation of pop smashes and poems and melodies that will have you swaying back and forth.

One Direction, Four: I can sense you rolling your eyes through the computer, and I need you to stop that. I’m listening to this album right now and I’M SO OBSESSED. Off the top of my head these are my favorites: “Ready To Run,” “18,” “Change Your Ticket,” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go.” But really though, the whole album is excellent.

Colbie Caillat, Gypsy Heart: If you’re having a bad day, you need to go listen to “Try” RIGHT NOW. Probably the most uplifting song I have ever heard. And then on top of that, the rest of the album is sonically coherent and consistently mind-blowing. I just cry at how talented that girl is.

Lights, Little Machines: I just don’t even know how to explain this album because it’s everything I never knew I needed and then some. Lights has such a specific sound that has gotten so much stronger over the course of her musical career, and she is just killing it right now. Just go listen to her album, just do it.

You’re welcome. Also, I just realized that I used ‘I can’t even handle it’ twice in this post. I say that way too much, sorrrrry ’bout it. YAY NEW MUSIC!