June 28, 2016

Things Every Good Blog Should Have

I've been doing this blogging thing for a little over three years now, crazy huh? And while I've taken my fair share of blogging breaks and hiatuses, I've learned a thing or two in the process. But less as a blogger and more as a blog reader. Even on my most extended breaks, I've always continuously and regularly read my favorite blogs, and still scrolled through Pinterest and Facebook clicking on new posts that caught my eye.

But so many times I find even some of my favorite blogs commit these blogging faux-pas, and I've been noticing the same mistakes being "committed" over and over again, by newbies and professionals alike! So I rounded up a list of ten mistakes that I've seen being made and then wrote this post of things that every blog should have (and most definitely needs!). Is your blog guilty of making these same mistakes?

must-haves for every blog!

June 22, 2016

San Juan Sun


A few months ago, my best friends and I escaped for a fun-filled Spring Break trip to Puerto Rico. If you've been around for a while, you'll already know that going on a "real" Spring Break trip was on my 101 in 1001 list, so I was so excited that we got to cross it off.


While we were there, we got to explore the entire country, because my best friend Kasie actually spent part of her childhood growing up in Puerto Rico, so she knew where to go and what to see. We really tried to avoid the "tourist" spots, partying with the locals - including me having an impromptu performance of "Don't Stop Believin'" in front of an entire bar.. the motto was YOSBO (you only Spring Break once).

We actually didn't stay in San Juan like most people do, but we stayed on the West coast in Rincón, a very beachy-surfer town, and it was the CUTEST! We did, however, venture into San Juan for two days of our trip: one, to explore Old San Juan, and the other to visit Al Junque and to stay in a resort before our flight the next morning.


This was March, so remember Connecticut was freezing when we left, so I embraced every second of the San Juan sun while we were there, using it as an excuse to break out my summer wardrobe.


As you know, I live in Trinidad and Tobago, so "summer" for me doesn't exist, because like Puerto Rico, it's summer year-round. So I knew for this trip, and to accommodate for the heat we were about to face, I would need to pack thin layers, linens, fundamentals and tons of hats and sunglasses to protect my face from the bright sunshine. 


That meant picking up a floppy beach hat before my trip, and because I had little to no summer clothing packed with me in Connecticut, I needed to go shopping. But once again, I was ballin' on a budget, and I knew that the likelihood of me losing this hat on this trip was incredibly high (I'm a mess, guys!), I hit my go-to budget-friendly store, Forever 21 to pick one up. 

 

For Old San Juan, I knew I was facing the beautiful cobblestone streets and tons of walking, so I made sure to pick my comfiest (and favorite) sandals, my Jacks! And with the colorful buildings and walls I was gonna be finding, I opted for a more neutral look: navy and white stripes, because you can never go wrong with stripes!


Add a pop of color with my crossbody, and tons of laughs with my best friends and it was hands down my favorite trip! I'll definitely be sharing more photos with you soon, of all the cool places we went to! Let's just say I want to go back! 


-- 

SHOP THIS POST:
striped tank: Banana Republic (old); similar | shorts: Banana Republic (old); similar
sandals: Jack Rogers 'Hampton' sandal in Platinum | crossbody: Tory Burch (old); similar
sunglasses: Ray-Ban (currently on MAJOR sale at Amuze!) | hat: Forever 21

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June 10, 2016

10 Makeup Mistakes You're Probably Making

Until recently, I hated makeup. I didn't hate makeup per se, but I hated doing my makeup. Plain and simple: I sucked. I couldn't match my foundation color to my skin and my everyday routine consisted of putting a too-dry, too-thick BB cream on my face and going my way.

When I was in NYC in October, I got offered by an employee in Bloomingdale's to match my foundation. I normally ignore the offers while I walk through the beauty floor, but I needed a new foundation so I sat at the NARS counter as she did my makeup, taught me and basically sold me the entire collection. One small fortune and a ton of compliments later, I was inspired to actually learn how to do my own makeup. Over the last few months, I've become obsessed with makeup. I save every article I come across with different products I want to try: both high-end and drugstore, I pin makeup tips and looks constantly, and I scroll through Sephora on the reg.

But like 2013 Caroline thought, makeup is a lot harder than it looks. Pinning something to your board isn't enough and it's 100% trial and error, but watching YouTube videos, reading articles online and having ideas of what you wanna create definitely helps. What I've noticed is that people tend to make the same mistakes (myself included) when it comes to makeup, and hopefully this helps you figure out why you don't look like you rolled off your Pinterest board.


// you don't moisturize: applying makeup on skin that's too dry is just a no-no.. and the main reason is because doing this may shorten the life of your look. You killed your winged eyeliner and your contour is on fleek, as they say, but failing to moisturize can cause the makeup to crack, come off easily or look heavier than it may be. Moisturizing is as important of a part of your makeup routine as applying your foundation or throwing on mascara.

// you wear the wrong shade: we've all done this at least once in our life.. we're at the drugstore and don't have time to differentiate between light 3 and medium 1, and honestly they kinda look the same, so you just pick it up and go. Right? Wrong! Next time you're picking out a foundation or tinted cream, spend that extra time color matching, because we all know that clear line that appears when your color is just one shade too dark or light.. Are you able to try out the foundation before you buy it? Swatch it on your neck, NOT your arm! It'll give you a closer match to your true shade!

(image via Buzzfeed)

// you aren't using primer or finishing spray: this one is just common sense.. why would you beat that face and create a remarkable piece of artwork without putting some finishing spray after, or priming it before? Using one or both of these products extends your makeup, prevents it from smudging, rubbing off or sweating off, and keeps you looking fresh all throughout the day.

// you skip blush: i used to do this one alllll the time because I never knew how to properly apply blush. Unfortunately we all need a little bit of color, especially after putting foundation and concealer on our faces, and skipping blush gets you one step closer to looking like you just saw a ghost! (especially for my fellow pale girls!) Do some research, find the best place to apply blush for your face shape, and never go back!


// you're using the wrong brushes: you do NOT need to use a brush for the purpose written on the packaging, BUT there are certain brushes that work better for certain products or features than others. Have a brush and don't know what to use it for? Google it! There's guaranteed to be at least 4 YouTube videos using the same (or similar) brush to give you an idea of what to use it for!

// you think you need to spend a lot of money to look good: while you may think that the only way you can do your makeup well is by shelling out hundreds on high-end and designer makeup brands, that's not the case! Especially in 2016, more and more drugstore brands are rolling out products that actually beat out high end products in color, consistency and wearability. Watch any YouTube makeup artist and they will name at least five products you can pick up at your local Walgreens, Target or even Walmart, and most of them are under $10 or $15. (I'll definitely be sharing my favorite makeup products under $15 soon!)


// you're using old products (especially mascara): my eldest sister is the best example I have for this one.. I was doing her makeup one day and she brought out all of her makeup, and I'm talking some of the best of the best makeup products. I took one look at everything and had to let her know that having Chanel makeup is great and all, but products tend to expire.. so dishing out hundreds of dollars on makeup is great if you're into makeup, but if it's gonna sit in your drawer for three years, your makeup looks aren't going to come out the way you want. Yes, it's true.. makeup products expire.. one makeup artist even told me she switches out mascara every month (although I replace mine every two to three months.. whoops!)

// you waste too much product: use your fingers to blot concealer rather than a brush or sponge.. it saves you SO much product and money in the long run! I read about this method online and always had it stuck in the back of my mind, until one day I actually tried it. Not only did I use half the amount of product that I normally used, but I also covered the area more evenly. Don't believe me? Watch Wayne Goss the makeup artist who swears by this routine.. the tap tap tap concealer method.



// you aren't cleaning your brushes often enough: this one is so so so important, not just for the application of your makeup but for hygiene purposes. Putting off cleaning your makeup brushes is one way to clog your pores and end up with unwanted pimples. Plus, clean brushes apply makeup soooo much better and easier, and just feel so much better on your skin. And the best part is that you don't need to shell out tons of money on unnecessary makeup brush cleaners, you can totally clean your brushes using products you likely have at home already. I'll be sharing my DIY brush cleaner soon!

// you're simply wearing too much: the golden rule in makeup has always really been 'less is more'. Now, don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with wearing a lot of makeup, but in the last year I've really learned to embrace my natural beauty. Now, instead of leaving the house with a face full of makeup, I may just use tinted moisturizer and some mascara, or BB cream and a swipe of gloss.. learning to love yourself without makeup is just as important as nailing the makeup looks you see on Instagram. But that doesn't mean I don't go all out when I want to either.. there's nothing wrong with either!


At the end of the day, makeup is all about expression and freedom and having fun.. so have your fun experimenting, whether you use Urban Decay, Dior or Maybelline, or if you're lucky enough to get your hands on Jaclyn Hill's Champagne Pop collection. (But seriously guys, I NEED ALL OF JACLYN'S PRODUCTS!!!)

Did I miss any mistakes people make? Agree with these? Sound off in the comments below!


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June 08, 2016

June Goals

I know many of you must be wondering where I disappeared to, especially since I made the commitment in my January/February goals to blog more consistently. This was my last semester of college (as you all know from Monday's post), and it was definitely a hectic one. Between a full course-load, working on-campus, being a full-time RA and participating in all of my student involvements, this semester was crazy. Add in a booming social life (#seniorsrule), my sister's wedding (including trips home and to New York for dress fittings), some more medical stuff, applying and interviewing for jobs and YET another round of laptop issues (honestly Apple, is it SO HARD to ask for a functioning laptop?!!), I was forced to put The Caro Diaries on the backburner. And I'm not upset about that: honestly, it's okay to put life first.

Now that I'm back home and funemployed for the summer, I have a few things I definitely want to achieve this month! I'm starting to share my goals every month as a way of keeping myself accountable!


// work towards getting a job: this includes fine-tuning my resume, working on my LinkedIn profile and applying to jobs at home. I don't really want to rush into working just yet, and my parents and I decided it would be a good idea for me to settle into life at home before I rushed into working. I originally didn't want to start working until September, but realistically I'm aiming to be employed by mid-July to August.

// save my money: although I'm not bringing in a full-time income because I haven't started working yet, I'm making a little money here and there through babysitting and the blog, and I want to save the very little I do make throughout the summer so I can treat myself in the future. My next purchases: a new laptop (I desperately need one - this baby is holding on by a thread at this point), more clothes obviously, a trip to visit my friends back in the U.S., and booking a carnival costume for carnival in February!

// get back into a workout routine at home: moving home has been tough because now I have to re-create a whole routine. Now that I'm home, I'm finding it harder to "find time" to workout because I'm not in a strict routine.. I simply have too much free time! (I know it makes no sense!) I started back working out this week with my cousin, and I'm comparing costs of several gyms in the area and deciding which one I want to get a membership to!

// launch The Caro Diaries at home: a big reason I didn't want to move home was because I felt like it would be the end of the blog I worked so hard to build over the last three years. I decided that I simply wouldn't let that happen, and I'm working to launch TCD at home by working with local companies, attending local events and eventually (hopefully) hosting events of my own!

// cut my hair: my hair has gotten so ridiculously long lately and feels so unhealthy.. the ends are brittle and weak and my hair just falls limp and stringy, and even when I blowdry it out or curl my hair, it never seems to last longer than a day (though I should note, Trinidad's humid weather probably has something to do with that). Anyways, I'm wayyy overdue for a trim and I really just want to chop it all off! Here's to trying something new!

I think that's enough goals for this month! Good luck with all your goals and plans for this month, guys! I'm sure you'll all kill it! I'll definitely update next month with my progress!

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June 06, 2016

Now What?

Remember in the movie Finding Nemo, when the fish all work together so they can all escape? They come up with the genius idea and they are all rolling to the pier in the plastic baggies trying to make it to the ocean, and they finally get there and they're just sitting there in the baggies, not really quite there yet? And they say this genius little quote..


A few weeks ago, I graduated college. Yep, I know.. it's crazy! Four incredible years flew by at my dream university. I remember visiting schools in February of 2012, just months before I would make my decision and knowing from the minute I stepped foot on Quinnipiac's campus that that was where I needed to be. Despite some tough times - lost friends, breakups and makeups, drunken nights and hungover mornings, hard classes and ones that pushed me out my comfort zone - Quinnipiac and college managed to be everything I thought it would be and so so so much more. 

As I moved my tassel to the left, and tears poured out my eyes (true story, I sobbed the minute I sat back in my chair after crossing the stage), the first thing to cross my mind wasn't "YAY" or "I did it!", it was "now what?" 


Anti-climactic, I know - but I stood there, surrounded by my friends and fellow graduates and I realized it was the end of an era. Not only was I saying goodbye to my time at Quinnipiac, to my best friends and to the people and the place that became family and home to me, I was also saying goodbye to college Caroline. From here on out, I had to be adult Caroline, and to be honest, I wasn't ready for that. Adult Caroline has to work every single day. Adult Caroline can't go to the senior bar on a Monday. Adult Caroline can't put off doing laundry another week. Adult Caroline can't live in college t-shirts and eat dining hall food and drink cheap liquor and take personal days because she feels like it. Sadly, adult Caroline has to be an adult. I kind of felt like adulthood was just hitting me in the face..


But to be honest, these things didn't scare me that much. Yeah, it sucks to be a responsible adult, but we all have to do it at some point. Plus, I've already established that none of us really have our shit together. What scared me the most was that for the first time in my life, I don't have a plan. I don't have five courses registered for next semester. I don't have my on-campus job and my role as an RA anymore. I don't have my best friends within walking distance. I no longer have access to amenities like gyms, food and electricity for free. From the minute I moved that tassel to the left of my cap, I realized I had no idea what comes next. 


The "now what?" paradox, I call it. You see, college is a trap! You go off to college and have four incredible (albeit challenging) years. You make meaningful friendships and relationships and lifelong memories. And at the end of those four years, you just leave. That's it. You say your goodbyes and you move on from the incredible times you shared, from all of your favorite places, and everything you've known the last four years. It's bullshit! You're left standing in an oversized gown and a decorated cap, thinking "what happens now?"

And that's okay. It's okay to not know what happens next. It's okay to spend the summer babysitting and working at the restaurant you used to waitress at in high school and re-adjusting to life at home before you figure out your career and what comes next. And if you're one of the lucky few that graduated with a job, it's okay to not know what happens next, to not know how to maneuver the job force and the real world, to be scared being the fresh meat at your new company. It's only natural. 


So as I stood in my cap and gown, smiling through the tears and hugging my friends and family, I thought "now what?". And as I boarded my plane for Trinidad as I moved home for God knows how long, I thought "now what?". And as I unpacked my suitcases, re-adjusted to life at home and spent time with my family and friends, I thought "now what?" And even as I opened this laptop tonight, I still think "now what?" 

And for the first time in my life, that's okay. Not knowing what comes next is the beauty of it all. Now is the time to embrace the unknown. To figure it all out as it comes.. and just take a breath. Because, at the end of the day, it'll always work out. I may not have a job in my field right now, I may not be living in New York City like I always dreamed of, I may not be making six figures and have the closet I've always wanted. But what I do have is determination and drive (and a college degree, damn it!) and a will to make it work.  


So yes, I miss college. Yes, I miss screaming the words to the song "Shout" with my best friends at a bar. Yes, I miss being overly-involved and going to events for free t-shirts and free pizza. Yes, I miss pulling all-nighters in the library with my just-as-exhausted-and-stressed friends. Yes, I miss laying out on the quad when the warm weather rolls around. Yes, I miss putting on all my Quinnipiac gear to pack TD for another hockey game. Yes, I miss every sorority philanthropy event we hosted. Yes, I miss my best friends and being carefree knowing that it'll all fall into place. But you know what they say... the best is yet to come. 

(by the way, my cap was decorated by the very talented Tesni from Mud and Muscles!)

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