I wore my favorite blue dress to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve last weekend.

Okay, this is my only blue dress but we’ll gloss over that fact. 

To my non-local readers, the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is a sprawling park about an hour’s drive outside of Los Angeles. Every year between March-April the poppies in this huge field all bloom at once, appropriately called a superbloom. Being surrounded by miles of golden wildflowers was a nice relaxing break from the bustle of L.A. life.

The dress I’m wearing here is from Forever 21 [similar here]. I’ve had it for a few years and it’s one of those dresses that I don’t wear often solely because I love it so much and don’t want to overdo it. Does anyone else do this? 

By the time you read this the superbloom may be over, but here’s some advice on how to enjoy it when it rolls around again this time next year:

  • Get there early. We left L.A. at around 11 AM on a Saturday morning and there wasn’t a lot of traffic, but there were wayyyy more cars coming in as were were leaving in the afternoon.
  • The official address of the poppy reserve is 15101 Lancaster Rd, Lancaster, CA 93536, but here’s a tip: put this address in your GPS but don’t enter the park. There are huge fields of poppies on the drive right up to the park that you can frolic in for free. A lot of people, present party included, just pulled to the side of the road and walked around the fields on our own. This way you avoid the $10 parking fee and the long line of cars trying to get in.
  • Bring water. It was quite hot when we got there, and the fields with the thickest groups of flowers were quite a walk away from the road. We avoided the crowds of people by walking a little bit and had a nice sprawl of poppies to enjoy to ourselves. 
  • Don’t step on/pick the poppies! Respect Mother Nature ūüôā

BeautyCon was a day I won’t soon forget.

On Saturday I was lucky enough to score a free ticket to BeautyCon LA. I was this close¬†to not going. Tickets sold out early, and I was devastated. I know¬†I shouldn’t have waited until the last minute to buy a ticket, and trust me I’ve learned my lesson. I lamented my situation online, and some kind soul forwarded me the link to grav3yardgirl’s latest video – ¬†grav3yardgirl’s crew was giving away free tickets to the first 500 people who showed up to BeautyCon at 8 a.m. Me, being the crazy determined but emphasis on crazy¬†person that I am,¬†woke up at 5 a.m. on Saturday to wait in line. When I arrived¬†the crowd wasn’t very large so I knew just by looking at it that I would definitely get a ticket. By 7 a.m., I’m pretty sure over 500 people already showed up. I got my special wristband and felt so very relieved.

And that’s the story of how I¬†got a free ticket to BeautyCon.¬†Because I was this close¬†to not going at all, I really appreciated the experience that much more.¬†I even vlogged the entire day, from start to finish, and you can watch that vlog right here and see what BeautyCon 2015 was like.

As you can see in the video, I had a lot of fun that day and accumulated more makeup than I planned. Believe it or not, I went into BeautyCon not planning to buy anything! But almost all of the booths were offering a sale of some sort that I couldn’t pass up. Keep reading to see everything I got at BeautyCon!

BirchBox

IMG_0628

I don’t have a subscription to Birchbox, but I know quite a few people who do. I haven’t jumped on the birch bandwagon because I like to research my makeup before I buy it, so I feel that most of my Birchbox goodies would go unused or regifted to someone else. But the Birchbox booth at BeautyCon¬†was giving away a free box to every person who followed them on social media, and who could say no to that!

IMG_0630

The cool thing about this box is that I got to choose my own samples. It was fun looking over all of the options, and this is what I ended up getting:

    • Hair: Phyto Huile Soyeuse Lightweight Hydrating Oil
    • Makeup: Cynthia Rowley Brightening Illuminator, however my package was empty¬†ūüôĀ
    • Skin: Red Flower Illuminating Rose Collagen Renewal Face Serum
    • Fragrance: Juliet Has A Gun Miss Charming perfume
    • Bath: Rituals Zensation Foaming Shower Gel Sensation

Tarte

Tarte Park Ave Princess Fearless Blush Dark Skin

I haven’t bought a Tarte product in a very long time,¬†but gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Many of their popular items were deeply discounted, and I have this problem where I just can’t turn down a good deal. I also have this problem where I’m addicted to makeup, but don’t let anyone know about, okay?

Tarte Park Ave Princess Fearless Swatches NC45

I was already in the market for a bronzer, and Tarte’s Park Ave Princess just looked so gorgeous in the pan. And it was only $15 but normally retails for twice that amount. I was worried though that it wouldn’t show up on my skin because it swatched so lightly, but the woman at the counter assured me¬†that it would also make a beautiful¬†highlighter, and oh-my-gosh-she was not kidding. Yesterday I¬†recorded a video using Park Ave Princess as a highlight and it will be up very soon¬†ūüôā

When I first started using makeup and watching YouTube videos, one of the first things I coveted was a¬†Tarte blush, but I could never justify the $30 price point. NARS blushes cost the same, and are notoriously the best blushes in the industry! (For the record I don’t have any NARS blushes either).

Well…the Tarte blushes were on sale at BeautyCon for $10. Yes, ten dollars! I could have bought three, but I didn’t want to get too crazy. How many blushes does a girl need? Don’t answer that question, because I’m already regretting only buying one blush.¬†I had no idea which color to get because I was just not prepared, but I ended up with Fearless after a deep internal struggle.

BH Cosmetics 

BH Cosmetics Missy Lynn Palette

My first, and one of my favorite, purchases at BeautyCon was the BH Cosmetics Missy Lynn palette. I have been drooling over¬†this palette for months now. I can’t tell you how many times I put it in my shopping cart, only to empty it because I kept telling myself that it was just a¬†BH Cosmetics eyeshadow. But I have seen so many tutorials for this palette and all of the looks are so gorgeous. I love every color in this palette, and best of all they are all matte colors, too.

Missy Lynn Palette Swatch NC45

This palette only cost $10, and I am already blown away by the pigmentation just after swatching it on my arm. This is not your typical BH Cosmetics palette. I have been disappointed with the palettes I’ve tried in the past, but this one must have a different formulation because the quality is unbelievable. I will definitely try this on my eyelids very soon and post a full review and tutorial.

Rolla Costa

Rolla Coaster T Shirts Review

I was pleasantly surprised to find at least one clothing brand at BeautyCon. In case you didn’t know, buying¬†new clothes is one of my 5 highs in life¬†(the other four being desserts). I’ve never heard of the brand Rolla Coster before, and according to the saleswoman they are currently only available online. I bought two basic shirts from them for only $8 each, and so far I am very pleased with the quality. The shirts are very soft and opaque. Transparent tops seems to be¬†a trend among women’s shirts these days, and it’s so hard to find a top that you can wear alone without a tank underneath.

Rolla Coster Shirts try-on

I bought a simple striped black-and-white T-shirt and a flowy grey sleeveless shirt. I’m wearing the grey shirt right now and I have to say it’s pretty comfy. Rolla Coaster also had some cute dresses and skirts, but because there was no fitting room I didn’t want to risk buying the wrong size.

QVC

QVC BeautyCon LA

I had no idea what would be inside this little box. A woman at the QVC stand wordlessly handed one to me and about a thousand other people passing by. I was expecting a small bracelet or necklace, but luckily there was makeup! And a moisturizer! And hair conditioner!

QVC BeautyCon LA Unboxing

  • Tarte Brazilliance Skin Rejuvenating Marajuca Oil Self Tanner
  • Algenist Concentrated Reconstructing Serum
  • Wen Cucumber Aloe Cleansing Conditioner

Miscellaneous

IMG_0656

And of course, I did snag some other free samples while I walking around BeautyCon.

  • TarteGuard SPF 30 Sunscreen
  • Tarte Brazilliance Self Tanning Face Towelette
  • Laneige Water Sleeping Mask
  • OGX Sea Mineral Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Carol’s Daughter Sacred Tiare Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Tons of cute tote bags ūüôā

As you can see, BeautyCon LA 2015 was a blast. I look forward to going again next year! Let me know if you want me to review any of the products in detail.

~Thanks so much for reading! Don’t forget to follow me on social!

 Twitter I Instagram I Pinterest I YouTube

signature

 

Bonus: I got to meet grav3yardgirl at her meet-and-greet! She was very sweet, and I thanked her giving me the chance to attend #BeautyConLA ūüôā

GraveyardGirl BeautyCon LA 2015

Cupcakes and cookies and pie, oh my!

Y’all have no idea how excited I am about¬†this post. I am incredibly¬†passionate about desserts, and I would even go so far as to say that I love desserts just a tad more than I love makeup. Don’t get me wrong, my heart skips a beat every time I walk into a Sephora, but it skips a little bit more when I know I’m going to grab a bite from one of the heavenly places that I list below.

You would think I eat dessert every day by the way I gush about it here. In fact, I’m pretty sure I tweeted once that I ate the same chocolate bar for breakfast, lunch, dinner…and then breakfast again. Let me see if I can find it…

Twitter Chocolate Screenshots

Ah, yes.

Twitter Screenshots Chocolate

Click here to follow me on Twitter.

Well… since then I’ve actually drastically cut down my sweets consumption. Eating sweets all day every day started to make me feel pretty crappy, and after watching the documentary “Fed Up” on Netflix I decided to cut all excess sugar out of my daily diet. I still LOVE sugar, spice, and everything nice, but now I limit myself to just one sweet a week. Shockingly, my world hasn’t ended, either. I’ve noticed that my craving for sugar has gone down by a lot,¬†I’ve lost a couple of inches off my midsection and I feel better, too! Moderation is everything, y’all. I still strongly encourage you to visit these¬†spots the next time you’re in town, just not all in the same day!

So that’s my health-conscious spiel of the day, and now on to the fun stuff! In no particular order, here are my favorite¬†dessert spots in L.A.

1. Sprinkles Cupcakes

Sprinkles

I know I literally just said “in no particular order”, but that’s a total lie. The truth is that I moved to L.A. just so that I could be closer to Sprinkles. They make the best cupcakes in the world, and no one can convince me otherwise. Their cupcakes are quite large and very moist. I even had their sugar-free red velvet cupcake once and it was unexpectedly delicious. These guys make sugar-free cupcakes taste like the real thing! My personal favorites are the Dark Chocolate and the Salted Caramel (#TeamSalty) cupcakes. Sprinkles has expanded their line to include¬†ice cream (their red velvet ice cream is NO JOKE), brownies, and cookies, but their cupcakes will always¬†be the best.

2. Diddy Riese

DiddyRiese

Another SoCal staple, Diddy Riese scoops up some insanely addicting ice cream sandwiches on the cheap. A huge sphere of ice cream smushed between two warm cookies will only set you back about $1.75, and keep you full for a while too. Diddy Riese is a cash only establishment, and I may or may not keep a stash of crumpled dollar bills in my glovebox just so I can satisfy my ulta-sweet tooth there every time I’m in the area.¬†When I first moved to L.A. I visited Diddy Riese multiple times a week, and I quickly learned that you want to avoid the place like the plague on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s not uncommon to see a long line of UCLA students wrapped around the block to get some Diddy Riese. I once¬†stood in line for an hour just to get my hands on these cookies. Worth it.

 3. The Pie Hole

PieHole

I never knew I felt so passionately about pie until I visited Pie Hole. It sits on a little tucked away street in downtown L.A., and they quite covertly serving up the best pies I have ever tasted. The first thing I ever bought at Pie Hole was their seasonal strawberry basil cheesecake, and I already knew after that first bite that this place would become my regular downtown stop. Their menu changes regularly, but there seem to be some items that I see there regularly including their macaroni and cheese pie (just as delicious as it sounds) like their mouthwatering Mexican chocolate pie, which consists of a dense chocolate filling smothered with sweet vanilla whipped cream. I took my friend here once, and as soon as she took one bite out of their Earl Gray pie she paused for a moment to reflect on the fact that she hopes to one day find a partner who is as good as that pie. True story.

4. Primo’s Donuts

Primos

Primo’s is an awesome local donut shop on the Westside that puts all other donut shops to shame. When you walk in it’s not unusual to see Mr. and Mrs. Primo hanging around the shop in their clean white aprons, smiling and greeting everyone who enters. Their donuts are superb, and I’m lucky enough to live just a few minutes away. I’ve been to Cali Donuts, DK Donuts, and some other shops (Dunkin’ Donuts does not count, people) but Primo’s is still my favorite. Their donuts just taste so fresh, warm, and real. Their buttermilk bar is one of the best things I’ve ever tasted, and totally worth the thousands of calories.

5. Saffron and Rose

SaffronandRose

Saffron and Rose is such an interesting place that ice cream lovers around the world need to experience at least once. Saffron and Rose is located in the Persian area of Westwood, and it has some of the most unique ice cream flavors I’ve ever tasted. Their rose ice cream in particular is amazing because it is incredibly fragrant¬†and tastes very floral-ly. It’s hard to describe, but it tastes pretty much the way you’d expect a flower to taste – sweet and airy. They also make a wonderful pistachio that you have to try. I’m personally not a huge pistachio ice cream lover, but theirs is the superb. All of their ice creams have a very creamy texture that softer than soft serve but still easily spoonable. Their range of flavors is incredibly impressive, which makes it one of my favorite ice cream places out there.

So the next time you’re in L.A., you know where to go! What places am I missing? I’d love to visit the dessert spots that you guys suggest. Thanks so much for reading.

signature

 Twitter I Instagram I Pinterest

Los Angeles isn’t like the rest of the world. Everyone knows that, but only about four million people get to experience it daily. I wanted to be one of those people, so I took the leap of faith and moved to Los Angeles because I love bright lights and big cities.¬†After living here¬†for a month, I can say with confidence that this city is crazy in the most wonderful ways. I don’t have the authority yet to tell you the deep inner secrets of L.A, but ask again in a year. In the meantime, I consider it my moral obligation to share with you my knowledge of L.A. so far from a transplant’s point of view.

1. Your chances of running into Jennifer Lawrence at Starbucks are slim, no matter how many gods you pray to. 

starbucks

If you plan to move to L.A. to become best friends with Katniss Everdeen, prepare to be disappointed.¬†It seems the best way to run into celebs around here is to work for TMZ. It’s been a month and I still haven’t seen Bradley Cooper¬†running shirtless on a beach, or been invited to attend an all white party at the Kardashian mansion. Maybe the Christmas season has more in store for me – it is the season of miracles after all.

2. The Hollywood dream doesn’t happen overnight.

hollywood

Unless you know someone in The Biz or were born clutching a Rolodex filled with contacts, expect to struggle at first like the rest of us mortals. Everyone here wants a full time job that pays at least $60,000 and still allows enough free time to throw weekend all white parties in Oahu, but those opportunities are few and far between – unless you know somebody. You can also just work really, really hard and slowly claw your way to the top of the middle class playground. That’s totally doable, and you’ll get there eventually.¬†Happiness is a journey and not a destination,¬†they say.

3.¬†Natives can’t wait to leave.

seattle

The grass is always greener in Seattle, apparently. One thing I have noticed about true blue L.A. natives is that most of them can’t wait to get out. Now, this may be worrying to any new Angeleno but just remember how anxious you were to get out of your hometown when you came of age. I love Atlanta, but I¬†couldn’t imagine living there my entire life. People here feel the same way. ¬†Seattle seems to be a popular destination for native Angelenos – at least it rains over there.

4. Lower your living expectations. 

room

Better yet, come here with your trust fund in your fist. Expect to spend about $800 a month for a studio apartment in¬†a slightly sketchy neighborhood. About $900 may get you a one bedroom apartment the size of a closet, or a studio apartment in a slightly better part of town where someone is less likely to steal your groceries while you unload them from your car. The apartment situation here is crazy, and it can be pretty easy to spend an entire paycheck on your rent, but that is no way to live.¬†You can save a little bit of money by having a roommate. Don’t worry, you will get that dream two-story loft style apartment someday but you may have a little more grey in your hair when the time comes.

5. Master the art of parallel parking or suffer.

parallel

In many places you can live your¬†whole life and get away with not knowing how to the art of parallel park-fu, but in Los Angeles parallel parking is a part of everyday life. This is largely because actual parking lots are scarce. Expect to park on the street every single time you go out whether you’re heading to a bar or the dentist’s office. In¬†the past month I’m happy to say I’ve strengthened my parallel parking skills from novice to adequate, though I still hold my breath whenever I feel like my car is¬†about to grate against the curb.

6. Plan to be late.

142991_pollute_ALS_

Speaking of street parking, it actually doesn’t exist. It was a terrible lie, I know, and I’m sorry. Some say that parking does exist in Los Angeles but I’ve realized that if you try to look for it it goes away, like the floaty things in the corner of your eyeballs. Parking is largely a myth here but if you believe in miracles and would like to try your luck, realize that finding parking takes time. Budget in about 30 minutes on top of your driving time whenever you have to make a trip into the city, and don’t think that excuses like “there was traffic” or “I couldn’t find parking” will be accepted by your boss or peeved blind date. You have to be responsible enough to plan around delays.

7. California and Georgia are¬†very similar¬†in one way…

bakersfield

Los Angeles County stretches for hundreds of miles, but it has to end somewhere. Eventually the bright lights start to get a little dimmer, and the human-to-cow ratio starts to close in. While L.A., San Diego and some of the other major cities are great, once you leave their city limits it can get pretty rural pretty fast. Nothing about California has really reminded me of Georgia so far, but the distant tiny cities that we pass sometimes when we travel off the beaten path can come pretty close. I suppose every metro area has its share of the boonies, and a lot of colorful news comes out of there.

8. No one cares about the East Coast.

flyoverstates

Californians love California and can’t imagine why anyone would want to live anywhere else. Over them Sierra Nevadas is a vast and barren land that they don’t want to know anything about. Living in California is¬†basically like living in a Target – you have everything you’ll ever need right here so why leave? If you want sun, drive over to Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, or Malibu beach. If you want snow, put on a parka¬†and hike up to Lake Tahoe to get your fill. If forests are more your thing, the redwoods are¬†right there.

9. The best food comes from the most unassuming places.

applepan

This may not be specific to L.A., but I’ve noticed that all of the most delicious restaurants seem to always reside in a strip mall, behind the massage therapy center, and it could really use a fresh coat of paint. A lot of these stores were also first opened by grandma and grandpa back during World War ll, and the recipes they use are still the same. The age of the restaurant¬†may explain its shady exterior but boy¬†their pies¬†are so good you don’t even mind that your table doesn’t look like it hasn’t been wiped down since the last dogfights.

10. Everyone has a dog.

?????????????????????????

And I’m totally okay with that because I never met a dog I didn’t like.

~Thanks for reading! Find me on Instagram,¬†Twitter, Pinterest¬†and Google+¬†and don’t forget to follow my blog ūüôā¬†