Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Summer Beauty Detox:
Bombshell Heatless Hairstyling for Overworked Hair

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WalgreensBeauty #CollectiveBias

Hair, Heatless Hairstyle, Collective Bias, Walgreens

So, I just got back from the state pageant a few weekends ago (if you didn't read about my experience, check it, dudes), and my poor lifeless hair is literally screaming for a break. It was purely a strategic decision to torture my hair by re-lightening it back into full blown golden blonde territory, and now that I'm retiring from the circuit for a while, its condition is of grave concern if I want to avoid chopping it all off and donning an awkward bob. Plus, when I think of summer beauty, I think relaxed and easy-- not over-processed and dead

Regardless of whether or not your hair is currently in fabulous or dismal condition, it's always good to show it some mercy, especially during the summer months when chlorine and sun are having adverse effects on it already. I've learned, however, that "going easy" on your hair doesn't mean you have to sock bun it for weeks at a time, although I do love a good sock bun. I've come up with a fabulous method for achieving bombshell curls without applying any heat using only affordable drugstore products found at Walgreens. 


Hair, Heatless Hairstyle, Collective Bias, Walgreens

Once you've gotten your products, perform your nightly routine as usual. If you wash your hair at night, let your hair air dry until it's completely or at least semi-dry. Remember: No heat is key. Blow drying isn't an option. 

Hair, Heatless Hairstyle, Collective Bias, Walgreens

Squeeze a quarter-sized amount of Garnier Fructis Style's Curl Sculpting Cream Gel into your hands and gently comb through your hair with your fingers.

Hair, Heatless Hairstyle, Collective Bias, Walgreens

This next step looks tricky, but it's easy once you get the hang of it. Put on your Scruci soft headband and be sure it's folded thinly enough so you can pull hair through it. The benefits to using a soft thick headband are that a) they're easy to sleep in and b) they won't create a crease in your hair.

You'll need to part your hair, ideally down the middle to avoid having too much hair on either side, but it's really dependent on how you want to wear it. Starting with one side of your hair, take the strand of hair closest to your face, which should be about an inch thick, and thread it over and under the headband. Next, using the same strand, add an additional inch of hair and repeat this procedure until you've wrapped all the hair from one side around the headband.

Hair, Heatless Hairstyle, Collective Bias, Walgreens

Do the exact same thing on the other side. Note that when you get to the back of your hair, odds are there will be a large amount poking out. Do your best to tuck it around the headband and secure with bobbi pins. If it's not somewhat wrapped around the headband, the back of your hair won't have any curl. 

When you're done, you'll have created a crown of hair wrapped around this headband, and you're going to look really attractive. Be prepared for hungry paparazzi piranhas, like my brother, to want to take pictures.

Hair, Heatless Hairstyle, Collective Bias, Walgreens

Go to sleep. When you wake up, remove the bobbi pins and gently finesse the headband out of your hair. Use your fingers to smooth out the curls. Once you've crafted the perfect volume of curl, use the Mark Hill Fabulous Finish Hairspray to lock them in place. 

For my half-up, half-down look, take the top layer of your bangs and pull them up and back. Spray some Fabulous Finish underneath this segment of hair and tease it like crazy with a fine tooth comb. Once teased, brush it out a little bit, pull it back, and secure with two discrete bobbi pins. 

Hair, Heatless Hairstyle, Collective Bias, Walgreens

And voila! You've created a bombshell summer hairstyle without apply any heat at all. Not only will you receive copious amounts of compliments, but your hair will love you for it, and that's what matters. If you head to Walgreens anytime between now and August 30th, use this coupon to get a free travel-size makeup brush set with any $20 beauty or personal care purchase, excluding the baby category (sorry, toddlers). Beware-- it will not be hard to reach the $20 break point. See below for where I did the majority of pecuniary damage during my last Walgreens excursion: the hair care aisle. 

Hair, Heatless Hairstyle, Collective Bias, Walgreens


How do you style your hair when you're on a summer beauty detox? Suggestions welcome! :)


Happy Hump Day!
xo

♥ Stephanie

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Rantings of a Retiring Beauty Queen:
The Miss Florida USA 2015 Pageant

Miss Florida USA 2015


Well, I'm fairly certain that it's time to retire the crown and move on to greener pastures. I typically refrain from writing posts straight (and bluntly) from the heart, but I can't just not share my honest thoughts about my most recent pageant experience. Even after letting my feelings simmer for few weeks, I feel obligated to give true insight into my raw experience in Hollywood, FL. In order to break down this post into something less than 5000 words, I've created a list of the 10 most valuable things I learned during Miss Florida USA 2015 week. 

1. Miss USA is not Miss America.

As a former competitor in the Miss Florida MAO system, my standards for quality, character, and treatment of all delegates are admittedly high. I don't need to dive into the specifics, but I wouldn't say that's 100% true in the Miss Florida USA system. I was pretty much treated as an inconsequential filler; most of the staff didn't even know my name, although I learned to respond to Elyse, Jessica, and Caitlyn. Oh, and this notion was formulated back during Seminar Day weekend. My introduction segment was completely left out of the Central Florida introductions, and when I brought it to their attention, I was initially ignored by the staff then told it would be fixed immediately once I spoke to the director himself. Was it fixed? Nope. Did I get an explanatory message or apology? Nope. Oh, and I was also removed twice from their email list. That was cool, too. 

I'm forever a Miss America girl at heart, and I've learned that nothing will change that-- not even age lawsuits and accidental crownings. Due to my unforeseen health debacles, which kept me from competing my last two years of eligibility, I was forced to switch systems due to age restrictions; however, I'm confident that I would've represented the Miss America organization well in any capacity-- local, state, or national. I do not fit the mold of the USA organization, and I'm proud of that. Kudos to you if you do-- I'm not knocking what they stand for. I just didn't appreciate being treated as a newbie background dancer all week when my financial planning firm, my blog, and my charity all suffered from taking 7+ days off. Also, the  most tangible differences were that our interview was 4 minutes (1 minute introduction, 3 minutes of interaction with the judges) vs 10, and there was no talent portion, so yes--- it really is solely based on your swimsuit and evening gown, which is unfortunate when your fortes are public speaking and performing. 

Regardless, it was a week I'll never forget, and I'll forever cherish the memories made with a handful of my newest and closest friends. The fabulous madness started literally as soon as we walked into the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood on Registration Day. Because I threw the First Pitch for the Tampa Bay Rays the night before (best.night.ever.), I had to drive in on Tuesday morning, so considering the fact that I primped and prepped post 4-hour drive in both a McDonald's and Wendy's bathroom, I feel like I came out looking better than expected. I've been dying for a nice collection of Hervé Léger dresses; however, they're too expensive to buy online, and that's really all I had time for when preparing my wardrobe. Huge thanks to The Kewl Shop for supplying fabulous blue ombré bandage dresses that fit like a glove for a fraction of the cost. 

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015

2. A great interview is a personal-- not necessarily panel-wide-- victory. 

Although (spoiler alert) I wasn't a finalist in this year's competition, I knew I was taking a risk in interview by discussing stocks, bonds, and consumerism instead of makeup and how our country can miraculously fix the epidemic of childhood obesity, but you know what? I'm a professional, and at 26, I feel uncomfortable adjusting my level of maturity in any real-life professional situation... because that's what I considered the "personality interview" segment to be: a legitimate job interview. Plus, from my perspective, it was one of the best interviews I've ever given, so I'm walking away with a new-found charismatic confidence. One of the male judges-- I always bond with the boys--actually told me I had an "amazing interview" as I exited the room, so at the very least, my dorkiness and I made an impression on one of them. 

Plus, who wouldn't feel like a bombshell in this bomb blue bandage dress from The Kewl Shop? It's the most daring thing I've ever worn in an interview room, but I have to admit... it's probably also my favorite. 

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015, The Kewl Shop, Bandage Dress

3. When carb deprived, salmon can taste like candy.

Come Day 2 of Miss Florida USA week, we were all already tired, stressed, and harboring insatiable appetites. The first night's dinner was Italian at Mama Mia's, which was fabulous, but oh my-- Dinner Dos at GG's on the inner-coastal was to die for. My table mates and I may have embarrassed ourselves getting third and fourth servings of their amazing candy-glazed salmon, but who cares? We needed our protein fix. 

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015, Delicious Salmon, GG's

Observe the salmon in all its glory.



4. The George Washington hair do doesn't photograph well.

I've admitted it before, but my hair hardly ever holds a curl. To further complicate my beauty routine, my extensions, given the summer's relentless humidity, were even less likely to hold a curl. Ergo, I was forced to wear my hair + extensions in rollers...all day. Obviously most girls followed suit, but that didn't stop Tel-Air from documenting our rehearsals on all forms of social media. Dang, we look goooood

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015

5. a) Girls don't look cool rapping. b) There are occasions when it's appropriate to wear false eyelashes with sweatpants. 

All I heard in the weeks immediately preceding the state pageant was how amazing Miss Florida USA's "Fun + Games Night," which takes place the night before competition begins, usually is. Honestly, I was mostly excited to give my skin a much needed detox, since for me, fun + games=bare face + flip flops; however, even in sweatpants, most delegates still donned stage makeup, complete with fake eyelashes. Serious WTF/FML moment. 

All other things aside, the cheese ball in me loves the idea of team building, so ignoring the fact that I was suffering from mild insomnia, I really enjoyed the evening. The emcees were hysterical, and thanks to Bri and her eager passing of a"hot ferret" during a strange variation of musical chairs, we ended up in center spotlight for a rap battle. It didn't go well; my rap was two lines. But technically, I still won-- cause she just said "yo" and "b-reezy" the entire time. Oh, and there was also a dance party. Give me glow sticks and Backstreet Boys '90s jams, and I'll get down all night long, or until 9PM in sleep-deprived pageant land. 

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015, Fun and Games Night

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015, Fun and Games Night

6. Not placing highly is easier to accept when you're older. 

Turning 26 was traumatic for me, as my age definitively rounds to 30, and it definitely isn't regarded as an ideal number in pageant land (27 is the cut-off, so you're approaching geriatric territory), but having a life outside of my title really helped appease the disappointment of not catching the crown. I'm so proud of the effort I was able to put into my pageant body, since allotting sufficient time for dedicated workouts was out of the question due to my work schedule, and even though my gown may have been what some considered a little too conservative for a USA pageant, I represented myself and my style more truly than ever before. 

Check it. 

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015, Miss Tampa Bay USA

Reverse!

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015, Miss Tampa Bay USA

Team Tampa rockin' the white. 

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015

7. Official or not, sister queens are sister queens.

When I competed a few years ago, I was crowned with two of my all-time favorite ladies, Laura and Kate, AKA my official sister queens. I thought this was a pageantry-wide ordeal, but apparently, in MUO system sister queens aren't usually a thing. I was crowned solo, and I actually helped emcee the Miss Tampa USA Pageant somewhere around 6 months later, where I met Bri, who would later comprise half of what's known as Team Tampa. Our territorial bond may not be official, but it's legit. I don't know how I would've gotten through the week without this beauty.

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015

And who could forget Devyn? She's Miss Kissimmee USA, and she also quickly became one of my saviors during pageant week. Our fun little trio pretty much became inseparable, aside from when we were separated into short and tall girls, a division known as Group A vs Group B (no, neither of them are short, but in the MUO system, anyone or anything under 5'8" falls into midg territory). One of the highlights of our week was getting to meet Sabrina, Miss ARC Broward, who was a doll and a complete inspiration to each and every contestant. You go, Sabrina. 

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015

Oh, and my roommate was pretty darn fabulous, too. Natalie, the reigning Miss Hialeah USA, kept me and my feet smiling with routine evening foot soaking sessions and late night room service orders. I lucked out.

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015


8. A white robe can turn an ordinary girl into a boss.

Hands down, the most hyped day of the week is called Press Day, which conveniently fell on the same day as our interviews. Essentially, all the delegates congregate in swimsuits of their choosing, covered initially in luxurious white robes provided by the Westin Diplomat, for a group shot, followed by a slew of group and individual media coverage for local news channels. 

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015, Press Day

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015, Press Day

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015, Press Day

The group shot went shockingly quickly, but due to our non-hometown (ie. South Florida) titles, the media wasn't really all about us-- or anyone from the North or Central counties. However, that didn't disqualify us from being forced to hang out by the pool in the 100 degree heat for over two hours. I really shouldn't complain, though, because all sweat aside, it's the only time we saw significant sunlight over a 5-day period, and the Westin's pool balcony and beach view were downright gorgeous. 

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015, Press Day

Huge thanks to Voss for supplying all the girls with refreshing quality h2O during our time of need. I'm confident I would've passed out without you. 

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015, Press Day

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015, Press Day

9. It's really hard to spell and pronounce my last name.

I don't know who Stephanie Zinjka is, but she was put in all sorts of news stories throughout the week.

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015


10. At the end of the day, you'll always be Miss America to those who matter. 

On Saturday night I rushed back to the hotel to get my things and GTFO of Miami. Truth be told, it's just not my scene, and I really wanted a cheeseburger from McDonald's. When I walked into my hotel room, I saw a gorgeous bouquet of pink flowers and immediately felt a rush of jealousy that Nat's boyfriend was so perfect and supportive. To my utter shock, they were for me-- from my bosses at SWA. The best parts were that a) they spelled "tomorrow" wrong and b) their well wishes arrived a day late, but those minor discrepancies made the gesture all the more genuine. When I told them the news, they responded almost in unison, "You'll always be our Miss Florida." 

At the end of the day, I know that to be true. Just because a panel of five strangers didn't see my ability to represent the state doesn't mean I wasn't the best candidate for the job-- and it doesn't mean those who matter will see or think any less of me. For the first time since my birthday, I was incredibly grateful to be 26 and to have the life experience and maturity to rationalize what I would've previously labeled as my failure of a last pageant hurrah. 

My Experience at Miss Florida USA 2015, Beautiful Flowers, Good Luck

My loving friends and family have said it a dozen times, but I'm finally coming to terms with the truth of it. Miss Florida USA would've been lucky to have me, but it just wasn't my night. Different judges, different outcome, different girl. Congratulations to the new Miss Florida USA 2015. She really is beautiful inside and out, and I couldn't be happier for her! The friends I made along the way have made every credit card bill and ounce of stress worth it, so at the end of the day, I'm one happy and winning camper. I can carefully stow my crown with only the fondest of friends and contestant memories. 

I'm definitely still planning on finishing off my year with my best foot forward. I'm actually singing the National Anthem for Orlando City Soccer next weekend, so post to come! 

Have a great weekend!
xo

♥ Stephanie

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Back to School Lookbook:
Scholasticly Chic in SearsStyle



Back to School, searsStyle, Style, Fashion

The only positive thing about going back to school is being granted the societal permission to purchase a new school year's wardrobe, complete with the newest trends and up-and-coming brands fresh out of summer. In Florida, scholastic style is typically characterized by classically tailored and polished garments, ranging from crisp blazers to fitted business casual dresses, always with a distinct touch of personal flare. Price is obviously a factor, since student budgets are notoriously tight, and this year I found myself loving all aspects of erudite life at Sears. The new Kardashian Kollection can only be described as fabulous, and shockingly inexpensive (and trendy) pieces from Metaphor, Bongo, and Studio S also quickly piled into my shopping bag. 

Despite my admitted frugality, I ended up purchasing a gold mine of student styles at Sears. If you're anything like me, graduate school life isn't just about attending class-- any given day encompasses my life as a student, fashionista, tutor, and networker. Hence, my scholarly style spectrum ranges from A to Z depending on the hour. For a little insight into my versatile collegiate closet, here are a few of my favorite looks from Sears for rocking the fall semester: 


Back to School, searsStyle, Style, Fashion

Nothing screams A student more than a well-tailored blazer. Pair hot pink with angelic eggshell chiffon and barely above-the-knee cobalt skirts, and you're guaranteed to impress peers and professors alike. 

Back to School, searsStyle, Style, Fashion

Back to School, searsStyle, Style, Fashion

No true prep's outfit would be complete without the essential classic shoe ware: penny loafers. My Laura Scott mock croc brown loafers go with everything, and they'll keep my feet happy while trucking across UCF's massive campus. 

Also, who uses backpacks anymore? Ever since undergrad, I've opted for over-sized bags, and this Kardashian Kollection beauty holds everything, from textbooks to snacks to makeup. It's like a Mary Poppins bag-- but way cuter. 

Back to School, searsStyle, Style, Fashion

Back to School, searsStyle, Style, Fashion
Blazer: Kardashian Kollection // Top: Metaphor // Skirt: Metaphor (Missy Bubble Skirt in Mazarine Blue; Not Available Online) // Bag: Kardashian Kollection // Loafers: Laura Scott // Watch: Geneva // Bracelet: Studio S


Back to School, searsStyle, Style, Fashion

During my downtime on campus, it's all about comfy chic styling. My Kardashian Kollection skinny jeans from Kim's line fit like a dream, and with some creative cuffing, they look cute and fitted on all women of varying heights. 

Back to School, searsStyle, Style, Fashion

Back to School, searsStyle, Style, Fashion

My campus casual style also includes classic jewelry, like my rhinestone clover earrings and gold cross bracelet. Also, with all the late night study and tutor sessions, a girl isn't fully dressed without her over-sized sunglasses. Gotta hide those raccoon eyes at all costs. 

Back to School, searsStyle, Style, Fashion
Top: Metaphor // Jeans: Kardashian Kollection Kim Skinny Line // Bag: Kardashian Kollection // Earrings: Studio S // Watch: Geneva // Bracelet: Studio S


Back to School, searsStyle, Style, Fashion
Most graduate students don't have the luxury of playing in sorority houses all day, although that would be pretty boss. As an undergraduate Calculus II and III tutor, I struggle with looking professional-- to ward off the freshman stalkers-- and incorporating my personal style in a business appropriate way. Since I've grown to consider animal prints as neutrals, I had to have this bodycon sheath printed animal dress from the Kardashian Kollection. It's the perfect mixture of sass and sophistication, and it's one of the hottest prints for the new fall season.


Back to School, searsStyle, Style, Fashion

I just can't get enough of this stunning triangle Kardashian Kollection bag. I wear it with almost everything, since it clandestinely holds all my work and school essentials, and it pairs perfectly with the black and white animal print on the dress. 

As soon as I saw these versatile Metaphor Kayla black wedges, I knew I had to have them. Wedges are always in during the spring and summer months, but these are designed so uniquely with a Mary Jane-esque feel that I could see myself rocking them all school year, as well. They make my humongous feet look sexy in dresses, skirts, or pants, and they keep my toes blister-free, which is obviously important. 

Back to School, searsStyle, Style, Fashion
Dress: Kardashian Kollection // Wedges: Metaphor // Bag: Kardashian Kollection // Earrings: Studio S (Not Available Online)


Back to School, searsStyle, Style, Fashion

After long days of studying and making mad cash (not), a girl's gotta do what a girl does best: network. My affinity for Happy Hour has made weekly social outings a mandatory schedule essential. Intuitively, the more often you go, the more people you meet, so I had to incorporate a bundle of networking outfits, like this adorable leopard jumpsuit, into my back to school wardrobe.  

Back to School, searsStyle, Style, Fashion

I've never been a fan of jumpsuits until I saw about half the girls rocking the heck out of them during Miss Florida week. They're insanely comfortable, and when sized correctly, they're incredibly flattering for your figure. This gem from Liberty Love has become an instant closet favorite, and I never want to take it off. It's comfy enough for class yet stylish enough for a date or for a fancy Happy Hour. I'm obsessed. Paired with my studded KK jelly clutch and tortoise bracelet? Back to school perfection. 

Back to School, searsStyle, Style, Fashion

Back to School, searsStyle, Style, Fashion
Jumpsuit: Liberty Love (Knit Tube Black Animal Jumpsuit- Not Available Online) // Wedges: Metaphor // Bracelet: Studio S (Not Available Online) // Clutch: Kardashian Kollection 


What are some of your back to school style essentials? Which trends have you excited?


Happy Hump Day, y'all!
xo



The hottest trends, celebrity style and fashion tips you can afford to try. 

Compensation was provided by Sears via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Sears.

♥ Stephanie
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