Get The Look – Lauren James

I am constantly on the look for trendy new brands that have amazing quality and designs. I stumbled upon Lauren James while shopping for pieces for my fall senior portrait session with Mark Webb Photography. I agonized over my outfit decisions, as I wanted each choice to represent my personal style and flair. After weeks of shopping, I tried on two Lauren James dresses at a boutique and I was completely hooked. Today I’ll be sharing my two favorite Lauren James pieces with you, along with a review of each dress!

 

The Lauren James Livingston Solid Seersucker Dress has an absolutely fabulous design and features a sweetheart neckline, big pleated skirt, and beautiful bow on the back. This dress comes in eleven colors including the gorgeous red that I purchased. I am completely in love with this dress, and am so pleased with the quality.

 

The second dress that I purchased from Lauren James is what I am now calling my “power dress.” I am absolutely obsessed with this dress and love how versatile it is. I have worn it with strappy heels and red lipstick for a bold, sassy look and with black pumps and pearls for an interview. The Lauren James Landry Solid Seersucker Dress is hands down one of my absolute favorite purchases of 2016.

 

I absolutely adore these two Lauren James dresses that recently found their way into my wardrobe and I cannot wait to continue shopping with this amazing up and coming brand.

Get a free Lauren James sticker shipped to you here!

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha

 

Fall Make Up Must Haves

Hey y’all!!

It’s officially October which means that it’s now socially acceptable to fully embrace all things fall. I am definitely a warm toned girl which means that I adore fall because its color scheme was practically made for me. (Find out if you’re warm or cool toned here.) Today I’ve put together a make up look using all of my favorite fall essentials. These products that I’m sharing with you today are my absolute favs and are staples for the upcoming season. I hope you guys enjoy this look!

 

Face –

Primer : Maybelline Master Prime 300

Concealer : NYX Concealer Wand Green and COVERGIRL Trublend Fix Stick in Medium 

Foundation : COVERGIRL Clean Matte BB Cream in 540 and Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in 7.75

Highlighter – Feather River Body Pumpkin Latte

Eyes –

Eye Primer : Revlon PhotoReady Eye Primer Brightener

Eye Shadow : Grav3yardgirl Swamp Queen by Tarte – natural peaches all over, dogman in the crease, mancat in the outer corner, and sassy bun on the lid

Mascara – COVERGIRL The Super Sizer Mascara and Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara

Brows – Benefit Ka-Brow

Lips – 

Tarte Creamy Matte Lip Paint in Crop Top

All of the following pictures have #noedit and were taken with flash to show y’all the full look!

Happy Fall y’all!!!

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha

 

 

 

 

A Letter to The Stressed Out AP Student

This post is for all my high school students stressed out over AP exams, finals, exit exams, and projects. Remember – “We’re all in this together.”

If all you can think about is DBQs, FRQs, and whether you’re going to get a 2 or 3 then this is the post for you. In my opinion, the beginning of May is the absolute worst time of the year in high school. You have all the regular stress of school plus the additional stress of multiple three hour exams that determine whether you have to retake an entire course in college or not, and I know how overwhelming it is. Between cramming for exams, finishing homework, and studying for regular tests; it seems as if there just aren’t enough hours in a day.

When the stress gets to be too much and you can’t seem to think straight, it’s extremely important to be able to take a step back, relax, and gain perspective.  Will it matter if you passed AP Biology when you’re working at your dream job in fifteen years? Does it matter if you got a four or a five on AP Human Geography when you get into your dream college? Will your future husband care if you passed AP Calculus? The answer to all of these is NO.

While these exams are important, especially because in many cases you’ve spent a year preparing, they are in no way a defining point in your life. You are not defined by how well you do on one test in the first or second week of May. You are not defined by a 3,4, or 5. With that being said, I do feel that by studying smart and not overwhelming yourself it’s possible to make it through AP season without too many mental breakdowns.

 

Happy Studying and Good Luck!!

 

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha

3 Study Tips to Survive the School Year

The end of April is one of my least favorite times of the school year. AP Exams and finals are looming ominously and stress is at an all time high. During this crazy time of the year, it’s important to tell yourself to relax and breathe because the end is in sight. I only have about thirty days of school left, but the amount of work I have left to do is overwhelming. When the stress is too much and you need a break, remember these three things to help you push through and finish strong.

  • Take Regular Study Breaks

I find that it’s best to take your study break in a different room from where you are studying or you could even take advantage of the great weather and go for a quick walk outside. When you return from your break, you will be much more focused and ready to work.

  • Change The Scenery

If you’ve been studying for finals or AP exams for days on end then it will help you to find a new place to study. Personally I like to move my study session outside to a local park or even on my front porch. The fresh air helps me feel energized and to regain focus. Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to study somewhere unconventional.

  • Find A Study Buddy

This tip definitely varies in effectiveness based on personality type and who you choose to study with, but I am definitely a fan of studying with a friend or a group. It’s important to find a friend with equal focus and one that knows how to study. I have found that it is helpful for me to quiz others on the material because reading it aloud helps it stick in my brain.

The biggest study tip that I can share is to find what works for you. No two people study exactly the same or learn the exact same way. Be sure to be persistent with studying and never give up. Good Luck to you all as we take some of the most important tests of the year, we’ve got this!

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha

 

Gypsea Jewels

Hey y’all,

It’s one of my absolute favorite times of the year… SPRING BREAK. I’m in sunny St. Augustine, Florida spending time with my family. Spring Break is the first time this year that I’ve had the chance to wear some of my favorite pieces that have been sitting in my closet all winter, including my Gypsea Jewels!! Gypsea Jewels is an up and coming jewelry brand that offers eclectic designs at affordable prices. They have branded themselves on creating unique and fashion-forward jewelry that’s sure to impress. This brand is just under a year old, but the quality and design of their products is to die for!

 

I rocked my gold arrowhead wrap necklace  with an Aerie (sweet and sexy line) tee, SOLD Design Lab jeans, and black chunky heels.

 

Check out the details of my outfit below.

https://api.shopstyle.com/action/apiVisitRetailer?id=478767000&pid=uid3424-33496632-9

https://api.shopstyle.com/action/apiVisitRetailer?id=512211602&pid=uid3424-33496632-9

https://api.shopstyle.com/action/apiVisitRetailer?id=509386626&pid=uid3424-33496632-9

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha

Prom Trends

Prom season is right around the corner and for many girls the hunt for the perfect dress is in full swing. Shopping for the perfect dress is no easy feat. Finding the perfect dress often takes hours of trying on dresses, multiple stores, and several arguments with mom. While shopping for the perfect dress can be stressful, it should also be fun because prom is one of the most exciting and memorable nights in high school.

This year, there are a few trends that seem to be dominating the prom dress scene. For example, two piece dresses are very popular. While many are skeptical of two pieces at first, I think that they are a great option for girls who don’t want to go with a classic dress silhouette. Two pieces styles range from an elegant long sleeve top with a ball gown skirt to a strapless top with a fitted mermaid skirt. Two piece dresses have added variety to the world of prom dresses and allowed designers more room for creativity.

Dresses with embroidered details are very hot this season. From the runways of Sherri Hill to Jovani, embroidery is everywhere. I think that this trend is very interesting because embroidery is so versatile and can be used in different styles. Embroidery can be used for a bohemian vibe or it can be used to dress up the dress and give it a rich,regal feel.

Printed dresses will be everywhere for prom 2016. These dresses have gained popularity in the fashion world over the past few years and this trend is now being translated into prom dresses. This trend can be used in a variety of ways from just a small printed detail to a full floral skirts. The floral prints being used by many designers are perfect for a springtime prom because they are so light and happy.

These three trends will be dominating prom dress choices across the nation this year. While all of these trends are beyond fabulous, finding the perfect dress is very personal and specific to every girl. I firmly believe that the dress that looks the best on you, is the dress that you feel the best in. My best dress shopping advice is to go with your gut and be sure to choose what makes you smile from ear to ear.

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha

Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?

Today I’m here to share my favorite snow day activities that don’t involve building a snowman. If you have absolutely no interest in freezing your tail off and playing in the snow for hours on end then this is the post for you. A snow day is the perfect time to catch up on things that need to be done, but who really wants to do that? That’s what regular days are for! For the past two days I’ve been snowed in due to #snowpocalypse2016 and my friends and I have made some awesome memories and none of them involved building a snowman.

First we started our day off by attempting to make grilled cheeses, but that ended with smoke alarms going off so I won’t elaborate any more on that. After the grilled cheese fiasco we decided to try our hand at baking indoor s’mores bites. We followed a recipe from Pinterest that can be found here. The s’mores were pretty foolproof and tasted great. We ate them right out of the oven.

With our s’mores bites in hand we settled in for the evening with our “adult coloring books.” I can not tell you how fun these are, we colored for hours. I bought the coloring books at Target and you can purchase your very own here. Coloring is an awesome stress reliever and a great way to pass the time when your snowed in.  I definitely recommend giving it a try. For the rest of the night we just had a nice old fashioned sleepover. From hilarious YouTube videos (our favorite channel is wafflepwn) to devouring pizzas to dancing to our favorite Spotify playlists, we had a fantastic night.

By the third morning we all had cabin fever, but not much was open so we decided to brave the outdoors.  We planned a photoshoot in the snow. This activity involved a bit of preparation so after our sleepover we all woke up early and went our separate ways to get ready for the event. A couple of hours later we met back up, all dressed in warm coats and furs. We posed for pictures all morning. From silly faces to serious, we took all kinds of pictures. It was such a blast to get ready with my best friends and just have fun snapping pictures in the snow.

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So the next time that someone asks you “Do you wanna build a snowman?” you can say no proudly and use this post to suggest plenty of other fun activities for a snowy day.

Stay warm and sparkly,

Samantha

HASK Hair Care

Happy New Year!

Thanks to my friends at Brandbacker, I have been provided with some fantastic new hair care products from HASK Hair Care. I thoroughly enjoyed these products, and loved getting the opportunity to try them out. The products I received were from the Macadamia Oil line, and I was provided with shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, and a shine oil treatment.

IMG_0734 (1)

I have very dry and frizzy hair so I need products that hydrate my hair and are able to keep it healthy and strong. The HASK line did a fantastic job of this.  The products are very easy to use and the results were amazing. From the first use, I could tell a noticeable difference in my hair and the benefits have only increased over time. I have been using the shampoo and conditioner every night, along with the deep conditioner and shine treatment periodically. I’ve been using HASK for two weeks now and I think that it’s safe to say that I am now converted. Thanks to HASK my hair is shinier, frizz free, and much easier to manage. I definitely recommend these products and I look forward to continue using my products. HASK products can be purchased at drugstores, ULTA, and Sephora.

Disclaimer – I received this samples for free, however all opinions stated are my own.

Happy New Year!!

xoxo,

Samantha

 

Playlists for Every Mood

It’s no secret that music is a great emotional escape, and that what you want to listen to depends on your mood and what’s going on in your life. Today I’m going to share my favorite playlists for almost every situation.

 

Happy – I love to listen to this playlist while driving on a sunny afternoon. It’s sure to be a super fun listen for days when you’re loving life.

  1. Sing – Ed Sheeran
  2. Shower – Becky G
  3. Whistle – Katy Tiz
  4. Shut up and Dance – WALK THE MOON
  5. Act My Age – One Direction
  6. Riptide – Vance Joy
  7. Dancing With Myself – Billy Idol
  8. Swimming Pools – Kendrick Lamar
  9. Girl Almighty – One Direction
  10. Countdown – Beyonce
  11. Happy Ending – MIKA
  12. I Want You To Know – Zedd
  13. Chains – Nick Jonas
  14. I Really Like You – Carly Rae Jepsen
  15. Honey, I’m Good – Andy Grammer
  16. Talking Body – Tove Lo
  17. Cheerleader – OMI
  18. Come On Eileen – Dexys Midnight Runners
  19. Year 3000 – Jonas Brothers
  20. Drag Me Down – One Direction
  21. Raise Your Glass – P!nk
  22. Hide Away – Daya
  23. She’s Kinda Hot – 5 Seconds of Summer
  24. Emotion – Carly Rae Jepsen
  25. Black Magic – Little Mix
  26. Lost and Found – Ellie Goulding
  27. Salute – Little Mix
  28. Cool for the Summer – Demi Lovato
  29. Take It or Leave It – Cage The Elephant
  30. Love Myself – Hailee Steinfeld
  31. Renegades – X Ambassadors
  32. Something In The Way You Move – Ellie Goulding

Love Songs – These songs are so sweet and I’m obsessed with them.

  1. King of Anything – Sara Bareilles
  2. Love Song – Sara Bareilles
  3. Nobody Love – Tori Kelly
  4. I Choose You – Sara Bareilles
  5. Fall For You – Secondhand Serenade
  6. Still Into You – Paramore
  7. I Want Crazy – Hunter Hayes
  8. Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
  9. Beating Heart – Ellie Goulding
  10. Stay – Rihanna
  11. Lay Me Down – Sam Smith
  12. Happy – Marina and the Diamonds
  13. Little Things – One Direction
  14. Fool’s Gold – One Direction
  15. You & I – One Direction
  16. Seasons of Love – Glee Cast
  17. A Thousand Miles – Vanessa Carlton
  18. She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5
  19. 18 – One Direction
  20. Adore You – Miley Cyrus
  21. Where Do Broken Hearts Go – One Direction
  22. JOY – Ellie Goulding
  23. Goodness Gracious – Ellie Goulding
  24. Crazy in Love – Sofie Karlberg
  25. Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
  26. Night Changes – One Direction
  27. The Heart Wants What It Wants – Selena Gomez
  28. I’m Not The Only One – Sam Smith
  29. Love Me Like You Do – Ellie Goulding
  30. Come & Get It – Selena Gomez
  31. Leave Your Lover – Sam Smith
  32. Happy Ending – MIKA
  33. Glitter In the Air – P!nk
  34. Take Me To Church – Hozier
  35. Let Her Go – Passenger
  36. Lovin’ So Hard – Becky G
  37. Someone New – Hozier
  38. How Long Will I Love You – Ellie Goulding
  39. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
  40. Hold My Hand – Jess Glynne

Sassy – This playlist is so fun to jam out in the car to. It’s the perfect sing along playlist.

  1. Breakaway – The Hollywood Soundtrack Band
  2. When I Grow Up – The Hollywood Soundtrack Band
  3. Love Story – The Hollywood Soundtrack Band
  4. BO$$ – Fifth Harmony
  5. What Dreams Are Made of – The Hollywood Soundtrack Band
  6. Rich Girl – Gwen Stefani
  7. Worth It – Fifth Harmony
  8. Bass Down Low – DEV
  9. Lovin’ So Hard – Becky G
  10. I Will Never Let You Down – Rita Ora
  11. The Tide Is High – Atomic Kitten
  12. Don’t Cha – The Pussycat Dolls
  13. Strut – The Cheetah Girls
  14. My Humps – The Black Eyed Peas
  15. Sk8er Boi – Avril Lavigne
  16. Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield
  17. Breakout – Miley Cyrus
  18. 7 Things – Miley Cyrus
  19. Crazy in Love – Beyonce
  20. The Best of Both Worlds – Hannah Montana
  21. Party In The U.S.A. – Miley Cyrus
  22. Play My Music – Jonas Brothers
  23. Aaron’s Party – Aaron Carter
  24. Good Morning – Chamillionaire

Chill – This playlist is definitely my favorite. It’s awesome for a plethora of occasions but I love to listen to it when I’m chilling or driving by myself.

  1. JOY – Ellie Goulding
  2. The Words – Christina Perri
  3. Human – Christina Perri
  4. The One That Got Away – Acoustic – Katy Perry
  5. See You Again – Wiz Khalifa
  6. Elastic Heart – Sia
  7. Somewhere Only We Know – Lily Allen
  8. Drops of Jupiter – Train
  9. Someone Like You – Adele
  10. Unconditionally – Katy Perry
  11. Who Says – Selena Gomez
  12. Leave Your Lover – Sam Smith
  13. Say Something – A Great Big World
  14. I Choose You – Sara Bareilles
  15. Only You – Ellie Goulding
  16. Beating Heart – Ellie Goulding
  17. Young and Beautiful – Lana Del Rey
  18. Lay Me Down – Sam Smith
  19. A Drop In The Ocean – Ron Pope
  20. Figure 8 – Ellie Goulding
  21. Chandelier – Sia
  22. Lean On – Major Lazer
  23. Someone New – Hozier
  24. Clocks – Coldplay
  25. How to Save a Life – The Fray
  26. Gravity – Sara Bareilles
  27. Big Girls Cry – Sia
  28. Shake It Out – Florence + The Machine
  29. Flashlight – Jessie J
  30. Almost Lover – A Fine Frenzy
  31. Dog Days Are Over – Florence + The Machine
  32. Oceans – Hillsong United
  33. Girl Crush – Little Big Town
  34. Your Biggest Mistake – Ellie Goulding
  35. Wild Child – Kenny Chesney
  36. Your Song – Ellie Goulding
  37. No Bravery – James Blunt
  38. Photograph – Ed Sheeran
  39. Crystal Ball – P!nk
  40. Reflections – MisterWives
  41. I’m A Mess – Ed Sheeran
  42. Better Together – Jack Johnson
  43. Skyscraper – Demi Lovato
  44. On My Mind – Ellie Goulding
  45. Hey There Delilah – Plain White T’s
  46. Stand By You – Rachel Platten
  47. Don’t Forget Where You Belong – One Direction
  48. Hello – Adele
  49. I Run to You – Lady Antebellum
  50. Army – Ellie Goulding
  51. You Found Me – The Fray
  52. Over My Head – The Fray
  53. Gonna Get over You – Sara Bareilles
  54. Breakeven – The Script
  55. Used To Love You – Gwen Stefani
  56. Big Girls Don’t Cry – Fergie
  57. If I Were a Boy – Beyonce
  58. King of Anything – Sara Bareilles
  59. Arms – Christina Perri
  60. She Used To Be Mine – Sara Bareilles

For the rest of my playlist collection, be sure to check out my Spotify account at smayb-us.

 

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha

 

 

The Simple Joys of Life

Close your eyes. Now, take a minute and think about all the things you’re thankful for. The things that immediately come to mind are probably big things such as family, friends, shelter, health, and safety. With that being said, there are many small things in life that just make the world a little better. Often times, these small joys in life go unnoticed. These are the things that make the bad days better and the great days fantastic. I’m going to share a list (in no particular order) of some of these wonderful little things that make life that much sweeter.

  1. Puppies
  2. Fresh Flowers
  3. Coffee
  4. Girl Scout Cookies
  5. Snow Days
  6. Dancing Like No One Is Watching
  7. Free Wifi
  8. Fuzzy Socks
  9. Manicures
  10. Christmas Lights
  11. Laughing So Hard It Hurts
  12. Fast Internet
  13. New Car Smell
  14. Brunch
  15. Knowing Every Word To A Song
  16. Summer Camp
  17. Having Time to Yourself
  18. Fall
  19. Fresh Starts
  20. The Beach
  21. Warm Hugs
  22. Winged Eyeliner
  23. A Freshly Made Bed
  24. The Royal Family
  25. Handwritten Letters
  26. Waking Up And Realizing You Still Have Time To Sleep
  27. Chocolate Fountains
  28. Exercising
  29. Eating Your Favorite Meal
  30. Spending All Day In Your Pajamas

I encourage you all to take an extra minute today to reflect on all the simple joys that make your life better.

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha