3 Red Lipstick Looks You Can Actually Wear During Summer

Maybe it’s the Swiftie in me, but I’ve always been a big fan of red lipstick. When I’m looking for a pick me up, or a way to elevate my #ootd, I always turn to my favorite tube of red lipstick to get the job done. Red is a statement color, it’s bold and bright, but in a way, it’s also become a little safe. These days when Fashionistas and beauty gurus alike are rocking every shade from neon green to gray, red becomes a classic choice. While it may be the best color for the winter holiday season, red lipstick can have its moment in the summer months too. I’ve selected a few red lipstick looks to making your summer rock in red.

Classic Hollywood Glam: A simple cat eye and bold red lip can never do you wrong, no matter the season. Keep your face makeup light and natural, with a slight contour and neutral eye. Build on a glamorous winged liner and select your favorite shade of red for your lips. False lashes are optional to step up your game. When picking the best shade of red lisptick for your skin tone, lean towards a bluer red for cool tones or a shade with an orange base for warm tones. Those with neutral tones, swatch until you find a shade somewhere in the middle. Have fun with the challenge! Finding the perfect shade of red lipstick for your skin tone is like striking gold.

Peachy Glow: Color your eyelids in shades of the best summer fruits, and don an orange-leaning or scarlet shade for your lips. For this look, use pink, orange, or yellow (or all three!) and create a monochromatic and dreamy peachy look. I used my favorite shade of peach colored blush for a base on my lids as well as my cheeks. Brush up the blush onto your temples for extra drama. Highlight your cheekbones, brow bone, down your nose, and inner corner of your eyes in a golden shade and feel as bright and delicious as a summer treat. The red on your lips will take this summer glow to the next level.

Smoky and Sultry: Look as hot as a summer bonfire with this smoky eye evening look. Using shades of brown, leaning towards the bronze and golden browns, blend a smoky eyeshadow look on your lids. Add some bronzer and contour to your cheeks as well, and finish off with intense lashes and a wine colored red lipstick. The brown undertones in your shade of red will match the drama of your eyes and leave you with an eye-catching end-of-summer look.

What’s your favorite way to wear red lipstick? Let us know in the comments below!

Here’s What You Can Expect To Gain By Taking a Self-Defense Class

As a little girl I was warned not to talk to strangers. As a freshman in college I was told not to take drinks from them. Parents worry about their daughters staying out late at night. Women travel to the bathroom in packs. The threat of violence looms over a women’s life in a way that men will never experience. I remember in my sophomore year of college, there was a man who kept attacking women when they walked home to their dorms at night. Every store in my college town sold out of pepper spray that week. Luckily those women were able to fight him off or escape, but I couldn’t help but wonder what might have happened if the man wasn’t a drunk frat boy, but rather someone more sinister. My university (and many others) offers a beginners self-defense course for all incoming students to take for free, and while I urged all of my friends to go, not one of them did.

I have been a practicing martial artist since I was eight years old. I have primarily studied jukido jujitsu, a martial art that is a great blend of standard punching and kicking, joint locks and pressure point manipulation, and throws. Sometimes a martial artist can spend their whole life practicing their art but never have to apply it on the streets. Unfortunately, I have been attacked on multiple occasions, some circumstances more serious than others. Martial arts goes beyond what you do in the dojo and enters into your everyday logic and thinking. You don’t need 13 years of training to defend yourself or change your life for the better. In fact, just taking one self-defense class can improve or even save your life. Here are a few reasons why you should sign up for a class.

The Self-Defense: A beginners or basic self-defense class, especially one created for women, will be focused on teaching proper techniques and defense from attacks commonly thrown onto females. You can learn something as simple as releasing a hand from your wrist or waist, to learning how to get out from under someone who has you pinned to the floor. One class can make a life or death difference. It might be a hard concept to think about, but knowing how to release a choke or properly maneuver a technique so you can run can make all the difference. You don’t have to sign up to become a martial artist (although it is a great way to learn and exercise!) but you can devote an evening toward personal safety. It will go a long way to easing your mind some day.

Self-Awareness: A self-defense class or a study of martial arts doesn’t just teach you how to punch or kick someone, it also teaches one how to think about their surroundings and circumstances. Ever feel sketched out walking to your car after work? Besides asking for someone to escort you to your car, always try to park under a light and keep your keys ready in your hand. Once you’re in your car, lock the doors and drive away. The scroll through Instagram can wait until you get home. Have you ever left a party and had some group of guys catcall your girl gang? Look closely at the guys. What are they wearing? How tall are they? What color is their hair, eyes? Do they have tattoos? Do they favor a leg? While it may seem paranoid, taking in the details can make a difference, and taking a self-defense class can teach you tips and tricks to watching your back. 

Confidence: Learning self-defense and how to take in your surroundings can go a long way to bringing some peace of mind. If you are more sure of yourself and your capabilities, your confidence will grow. You can stand up to a bully and face down an attacker. Knowing self-defense and applying what you have learned will make the jitters ease. Sometimes just being able to tell yourself that “you’ve got this” will be enough. No one wants to ever be in a circumstance where they have to defend themselves, but if it does happen, at least you will have the knowledge to care of the situation.You know what they say, “better safe than sorry.”

Have you ever taken a self-defense class? Let us know in the comments below!

If These Bags Don’t Scream “Summer” I Don’t Know What Does

In this day and age as our phones get bigger and women’s jean pockets seem to get smaller (or disappear altogether), carrying a purse becomes essential. Filling a bag is never hard. Tossing in your phone, wallet, keys, and lipstick of the day is a must; litter the bottom of the bag with receipt paper and spare change, and I think you can consider yourself a classic American woman.

But not every purse is up to the challenge of your adventure of the day. Sometimes you don’t need to bring your massive Mary Poppins bag to dinner, or you need more than a clutch for a beach day. I’ve selected the perfect summer bags to tackle any day filled with sun and sand ahead of you.

The Camera Satchel Bag: This bag fits it all without looking bulky and weighing you down. Choose a satchel bag that easily stashes away your camera, wallet, and any other essentials for the day ahead of you. This purse will also serve well in the fall to carry your school notebooks or photoshoot essentials. I chose my bag in a sweet terra-cotta color, dancing on the spectrum of “millennial pink” for a classic cool girl vibe. Pair the purse with a sundress and block heels, and go explore some historical city streets.

The Mini Backpack: This small backpack fit a lot more than I ever expected it to. This was my vacation purse that I toted around with me when I was on island time, stashing away my small wallet, passport, and even my camera inside. The double straps of the backpack make it easier to adventure hands-free, and the size doesn’t slow you down. The mini size makes you look stylish, not just like a student. Pair with your favorite pair of denim shorts, tennis shoes, and power slogan t-shirt.

The Posh Beach Tote: Just because you’re going to the beach doesn’t mean you can’t look fashionable beyond your bathing suit. Stow your towel and sunscreen in a heavy duty and waterproof tote bag that doesn’t scream soccer mom. I took mine to the beach the other day and the tide tried to take it way, but it held up! Talk about durability. Also, the pebbled leather look and tassel element to this bag takes your beach day up a notch. Style with your favorite bikini and sandals.

Do you own a must-have summer bag? Show us your favorite carry-all on social by tagging @CFashionista!


How to Maintain a Long Distance Friendship

I first met Talia when I was 11 years old. I was reading a book about a cat who saved the world, and she felt compelled to ask me if I had read this other series about cats who took it over. She brought me the first book in that series the next day, and we became instant friends, bonding over a love of reading and coconuts (and apparently cats).

We recently celebrated our 10 years of friendship, but seven of those years have been apart. Long distance friendships aren’t easy, but you should never let a strong bond burn out because of a little distance. While it can be hard to make memories together when you are 2,500 miles apart, I’ve got some tips and tricks to making it work.

Photo via @shannamerceron (with Talia!)

Plan a Vacation: I first found out that Talia was leaving my small town in Florida to move back to Los Angeles at my freshman orientation for high school. Everyone picked up their class schedules, but she didn’t have one. She broke the news to me that night: she was moving before school started. I probably cried enough tears to fill a bathtub, wondering what I would do without one of my best friends by my side in the carnival of high school. We promised we would visit each other soon, and we did. I saved up all of my babysitting money and begged my parents to let their 14-year-old spend her winter break in the city of angels. Since then we’ve taken turns visiting each other when we can, and while it will never compare to seeing each other every day like we used to, the time that we do spend together has become extra special and has only made our love for each other stronger.

Photo via @lovelyykelly

Talk Whenever You Can: I quickly realized that while a three hour time difference might not seem like much, it can make all the difference between being awake or asleep, or in and out of class. Talia and I never created a strict schedule about trying to force x amount of calls with each other into our weeks. If I had a moment, I would call. If she answered, great, if not, I would sing a song into her voicemail. Sometimes our phone tag lasts days, but eventually we get a hold of each other and there is always so much to talk about. We still text each other memes and complain about our siblings as if she was still just a 10 minute drive away. Every call is ended with “I miss you,” but just hearing her voice makes her feel not so far away.

Photo via @livgraul

Keep Each Other Updated: An important part about maintaining a long distance friendship is to stay updated with each others lives. Who are her other friends? Know their names and their ticks. Where does she work? Where does she like to study? What guy does she have her eye on? I sometimes feel compelled to take notes, so I don’t miss a detail, as I am able to build up her new life and what it looks like in my mind. You want to be able to talk to each other without feeling like you’re always explaining who is who. Talk about your tests coming up so you know when not to call, or to send a gif of a cat dancing for support. Stay on top of the little events that create the facets of your friend’s life. You can’t be there, but at least you can make it feel like you have a clue.

Photo via @emilyypaulino

Meet Each Other’s Friends: If you’re lucky enough to visit often, make an effort to meet their friends while you’re in their new digs. It can be tempting to want them all to yourself, but hanging out with their friends and family further cements you in their lives and helps put faces and personalities to names. I still keep in contact with some of Talia’s friends that I met in California a couple of years ago. Chances are that the friends your friend picks, will be a good match for you too. Getting to know each others friends will help make yourself feel more real in their new life despite the distance.

Photo via @rebeccabnorris

As you get older, life seems to move a little quicker, and with a fast paced lifestyle comes a lot of change. Whether it’s graduating or moving from one college to another, saying goodbye to summertime friends, or relocating for your sweet new job, friends suddenly get spread across the map, and that friendship can fade away. It’s okay, sometimes people are only in our lives only for as long as we need them to be. But if you really love and care about someone, you’ll make the effort to keep contact and maintain the relationships that mean something to you.

How do you make your long distance friendships work? Let us know in the comments below!

Going on a Beach Vacation? Here’s What to Pack!

I think everyone has their own opinions about packing. For some it’s half the fun of going on a trip; for others it’s a complete drag. As for me, I tend to wait until the last minute. I love dreaming of all of the outfits I’m about to rock in a new location, but I always overpack and end up feeling stressed that I forgot something, despite an overweight and overstuffed suitcase to the contrary.

While packing for my upcoming cruise (filled with beautiful beach destinations!) I made a list of the necessaries that can’t be left at home. Not only will this make my vacation photos pretty much a fashion show, but it will also (hopefully) keep me organized and avoiding those pesky baggage fees.

Sassy Swimwear: A vacation calls for your favorite bikini and even a new trendy one-piece. Strut on the beach in stylish swimsuits that will be comfortable for something more than sitting poolside, but also eye-catching against the cerulean water. Make sure to pack enough pairs of suits so you aren’t always putting on one that’s still wet.

Protection from the Sun: Sunscreen is a must, and packing your favorite baseball cap or a floppy hat can’t hurt too. Everyone wants a summertime tan, but it’s important to care for your skin and think about its health longterm. I’ve also recently found this great sunscreen for my tattoos that helps preserve the ink and prevent fading! Make sure to reapply your sunscreen and stay hydrated while beachside. When the vacation is over you’ll thank me for it!

Proper Footwear and Coverups: I love to explore the places that I visit in the summertime, and packing the right footwear to do this can make all the difference. Hiking boots might take up too much room in your suitcase, so try to hunt for the perfect pair of sandals that can handle a lot of walking, but still look cute in pictures. No one wants blisters on their feet while vacationing!  A pair of wedges to match a sundress for dinner and some flip-flops for poolside hangs are great additions to the suitcase too. I also love to bring kimonos and flowy beach coverups with me to coast around in, so I feel like I have more coverage, but I slip back into the water with ease. 

Clothes to Look Hot and be Cool: Admit it, when packing for a vacation, all of your favorite outfits and fresh new finds tend to make their way into your suitcase. Photos are bound to happen on vacations and you want to look great in every one! I suggest packing clothes that can handle the sand, salt, and heat when traveling to a beach destination. You  want your vibe to be “babe” not “bum” and this can easily be done and still look cute.

Do you have any beach vacation packing tips? Let us know in the comments below!

So You Bleached Your Hair…Now What?

Trends in skincare and makeup are pushing the au naturel look. While, sure, that can be attributed to the natural beauty movement, perhaps it’s actually a strategy to reserve all your energy for maintenance of the extreme hair color trends.

A scroll through Instagram will have you craving a fresh dye job. From silver strands to fantasy locks, getting bold hair color doesn’t stop when you leave your salon. Choosing to bleach your hair, turn your blonde locks brown, or even go crazy with blue dye requires upkeep to maintain that Insta-worthy look. Using the right products can be a game-changer when it comes to taking care of color treated hair. But one product does not fit all (dye jobs).

So in order to keep your summer mane stunning, check out how to treat your specific color below!

To Prevent Blonde Brassiness: As they say, blondes have more fun. But you want to keep your blonde color bright and ashy, not brassy. Bleaching your hair can be a long process. If you have dark hair, you can’t turn your locks silver in one visit to the salon. It is a long step-by-step process to achieve the color you are looking for. You’ll have to stick it out until you reach your desired shade. Once you’ve got your platinum hair or perfect highlights, you’ll want to keep them looking fresh. I recommend using purple shampoo (and even conditioner!) to maintain your color. The violet shade of the shampoo will continue to tone and nourish your hair.

To Prevent Color Fading: If you’ve dyed your hair, you’ve committed to the shade you picked out.  A good way to prevent dullness and fading is to limit the amount of heat styling, and to try not to wash your hair every day. Every time you use heat on your hair, the color’s shine is stripped away. Try to use other products like mousse or texturizing spray for a wave or curl, and if you must use heat, make sure it’s on a low setting.

Every time you wash your hair the color is leeched away from the strands. Try to use dry shampoo more often and use shampoos and conditioners that are meant to maintain color and shine, and are sulfate free. If you have a hair color like pink or blue, there are conditioners available now that have some of your color in it, so it continues to maintain your shade. Also, washing with cold water will maintain your color as heat opens up the cuticles and rises the color away. This goes the same with the heat of the sun. Try to skip tanning or wear hats to keep your color bright.

To Prevent and Heal Damage: Sometimes there is a price to pay for dyeing your hair, and it comes as fried ends and dry texture. Especially if you’ve bleached hair, it takes time to heal and repair the damage of the processing. Deep conditioning masks on the hair can fix some of the dryness, and, once again, avoiding heat tools gives it time to repair. Run argon oil through your wet hair to make it easier to comb and to heal split ends. Have some patience and diligence, and your will be back to it’s fabulous self.

Do you have any haircare tips? Let us know in the comments!

Confession—I Still Wear Body Glitter

Everyone has their guilty pleasures. Movies that they only watch alone, sweet treats they sneak in the night, and songs that they blast in the car. I’ll admit that I listen to Disney soundtracks more than is socially acceptable for a college-age “adult.”

Makeup and beauty products can be guilty pleasures, too. There are those products that we bury at the bottom of our makeup bag in fear of our roommates seeing; yet would equally lose our minds if we left home without it. Sometimes we don’t even realize our pleasures are something we should feel “guilty” about until we are faced with the awkward stares and judgmental eyes once our secret love affair is “exposed.”

Here’s the truth: I love body glitter. You know that majestic, shiny, totally unnatural specks you wore in middle school? Yes, I still not only wear it, but have a plethora of options. It was recently revealed to me that my love of body glitter is not a universal one. My friend once joked when we went out dancing that I rivaled the disco ball with the sparkles on my shoulders. How was I to respond? Thank you?

In this day and age beauty trends come and go faster than the seasons, and it can be hard to keep up. Some trends even start as a joke and then actually get some traction. (I’m looking at you feather brows.) But there are some old staples that ladies hold onto from their middle school days; products and trends that have proven their worth and can still hold their ground in our eyes. I still rock blue eye shadow and a glossy lip, and I have a few friends who swear by their sunless tanner.

Are these the “latest” trends in beauty? No. Do some people consider them taboo or tacky? Probably. Do I care? Not really. As with any real relationship, the heart wants what the heart wants (even if that is colorful glitter applied in a totally unnatural way across my cheekbones and collarbone).

Do you have any beauty related guilty pleasures? Let us know in the comments below!

The Summer Lip Guide For Anyone Who Hates Lipgloss

Lipgloss isn’t for everyone or, frankly, anyone who lives in remotely windy weather. I have the kind of hair that seems to favor the wind over me, and getting even a single strand caught in lipgloss is just the worst.

If you don’t feel like pulling sticky strands of hair across your face this summer but still want to serve some looks, you’re in luck. Here are a few lipstick trends to try that are gloss-free and 100 percent on trend.

Vampy Lip: Who says dark lipstick is only for the cold months? Break out your favorite shade of plum or dark red and mix it up with this refreshing beauty look. The key to pulling off a vampy color in the warmer months is to make the rest of your face lighter and airy looking. Try to wear minimal heavy makeup, like skipping the eyeliner and going for fluttery lashes instead. I suggest wearing a pastel eyeshadow look in pinks and oranges, or even yellow, to brighten up your face. The fun springtime colors paired with the dark lip will totally make a statement.

Ombre Lip: This is a fun combination to try with any three shades of lipstick, from dark to medium, to light. Make sure to use lipstick that is the same or similar formula for ease in pulling off the trend. I went for a nude look, but mixing black and red, or pinks is fun too. The combinations are endless. Start by lining the outside of your lips in the darkest shade, making sure to cross an X on your cupids bow. Then choosing your medium shade, fill in under the liner. Smush your lips together and use a lip brush to blend. After the product has set for a bit, pick up the lightest shade and brush it on the center of your lips to perfectly pull off the ombre effect.

Bold Lip: Have you always wanted to wear a shade like blue or purple but never thought you could pull it off? I have some tricks on how to do so. I’ve found that the best way to wear a bolder color without it looking too standoffish is to choose an eyeshadow color in a  similar shade. Blend a few different shades of the color on the eye to create a monochromatic look. Add your lipstick and wear the color with pride. Ever wanted to wear a shade like black but didn’t want to look “goth”? Try wearing a silvery or glittery eye makeup look that shouts glam instead of goth. When you swipe on your black lipstick it’ll be a statement, but a fun one, for sure.

What lipstick trends do you want to try this summer? Let us know in the comments!

This Beauty Look Will Totally Work With Your Graduation Cap

Whether you like it or not, the day of your graduation will be filled with pictures. Your friends will want to take selfies with your cap and gown and your parents will want a family portrait to celebrate your achievement. Of course in all of these photos, you will want to look your best. I am one who loves to rock a bold red lip or pastel eyeshadow, but even I have to admit that the day of graduation calls for something a bit more subtle. We wouldn’t want your eyeshadow to clash with your school colors, now would we? I created a simple, but photographable look that will look great when you take your graduation photos with a professional, or with your sister’s favorite snapchat filter.

Working the Face: Make sure to prime your face for your foundation and the long day ahead of you. This will help prevent any streaking or creasing from tears or sweat on the stressful and exciting day. Make sure to blend your foundation into your neck too! It will be especially visible in pictures if your face is much tanner than your neck. Try not to go too heavy on your concealer under the eyes or use too light of a setting/face powder. If a camera flash goes off it will give you a ghostly look. But you will want to make sure you mattify your T-zone. That’s usually where your oil will build up and give you the highlight you aren’t looking for. Be sure to fill in your brows, especially at the tail ends. Sometimes brows seem to fade away in pictures.

Lining the Eyes: I recommend going for neutral colors of eyeshadow. Use a matte shade as a base, a darker shade in the crease, and highlight with a shimmer on the inner corners of the eye and brow bone. This will draw attention to your eyes where you want it and make them pop. Liquid eyeliner is the way to go over a pencil. It will create a darker and more even line that will photograph better and give you the cat eye you’re looking for. Finish with your favorite volumizing mascara. Add false lashes for extra drama and length.

Finishing Your Look: Before your spritz your favorite setting spray to seal your makeup magic in place, don’t forget to contour and add more color to your face. Brush your favorite contouring powder onto your temples, jawline, down the sides of your nose, and of course, under the cheekbones. This will add more dimension to your face. You can be a little more heavy handed with your blush, so you don’t look washed out in pictures, but be careful! Sweep highlighter over your cheekbones and down the bridge of your nose. When selecting a lip color, a nude or soft pink is the way to go. Choose a simple and sweet color that is pleasing to the eye and not under the category of “statement color.” Graduation is not the day to try an editorial look. You’ll thank me later when you see your pictures.

Most of all, remember to have fun and relax! Taking pictures should be a fun experience to document a milestone in your life. On the day of your graduation, remember to let your smile rest a little and not strain too hard for pictures. A soft smile never did anyone wrong.

Have any graduation makeup tips? Let us know in the comments below!

Here’s Everything You Need To Do To Live It Up Before Graduation

College is truly an experience unlike anything else. The challenges you will face; the memories you will make in four short years that you will never forget. Sure, there are ups and downs of pursing a higher education. (Students loans, I’m talking to you!) But the friends you make and the connections created with a professor or another student are something you will carry with you for a long time.

As I am graduating this year, and saying goodbye to my wonderful college town, I figured I should make a graduation bucket list of sorts. Will I be back? Maybe. But I have to make what little time I have left as a student count.photo via @taylormackenzieh

Hit up all of your favorite coffee shops one last time: If you’re like me, you’ve checked out all of the trendiest places in town, and some of them may have captured your heart (and your Instagram) more than others. Make sure to visit your beloved spots and say goodbye to your favorite barista who always managed to give you the best latte art and extra stamp on your punch card. Sit back with your coffee and take in the view. Notice all of the corners of the shop and people watch for a while, instead of studying or scrolling through your phone. Take in the points that made you love the place so much in the first place. Promise that you will come back someday.Photo via @livgraul

Go to brunch with your gal pals you might not see again for a while: After graduation, you and your girl gang will most likely physically disband, heading to different cities to start your lives in the “real world.” Gather up all of your lady friends and clink your glasses of orange juice to a toast to the future over waffles and eggs benedict. Could you imagine a more perfect morning? Make sure to dress in your Sunday best and bring your polaroid camera for all of the pictures you are bound to take.

Photo via @jaamierose

Visit a spot on campus you’ve never been before: The other day I had my last in-person class on campus. As I walked out the doors, I decided to take a different route to the bus stop. My campus is pretty big, and I ended up stumbling upon a part of campus I had never walked before. It was nice to discover another section of my beautiful campus and take in my last few moments as a student before the countdown to graduation truly began. I recommend getting lost on your campus. See who or what you might bump into. But also wear sneakers in case you get turned around, I sure wish I had on more comfortable kicks when I did! 

Photo via @mixed.hues

Find the perfect dress for graduation and decorate your cap, too: Of course any Fashionista knows that the best part of gradation is picking out your dress. I chose to go with a traditional white dress, that has pretty scalloped lace and cap sleeves. I can’t wait to show it off! Now I just can’t make up my mind what shoes to wear… Don’t forget to decorate your cap too! The top of your graduation cap is one last way to express your creativity and individuality. Let the world know where you’re headed. Mine features a Harry Potter quote, of course, as I head off to get my MFA in Creative Writing. Check out Pinterest for ideas and find a quote that relates to your future.Photo via @shannamerceron

Check out a place in your college town you always wanted to go to, but never did: Whether you’re moving to another state or sticking around for a few more years, there is nothing like being a college student in a college town. Gather up your friends for a girl’s night out and only go places you’ve never been, or maybe get up early and watch the sunrise in that nature preserve you always said you would visit. Have a fancy dinner at the top-rated restaurant on Yelp. Check out that trendy thrift store. There is still time!

Photo via @ameliachristineburns

Take a lot of pictures, because your kids may not believe everything you tell them someday: Sometimes my friends beg me, “Oh, please, no more pictures!” But I have no shame shoving my camera in people’s faces. A few years down the line you may wish you had taken a picture with your theatre class and favorite professor. You may look through your photos are realize that you never captured one of your great adventures on film. Sure, you should always take in the moment through your eyes, not a lens, but it never hurts to take a minute to snap a shot that you will carry with you for a lifetime. After all, you only go to college once.photo via @beierlejohanna

What is on your graduation bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!