Beauty Review: Ole Henriksen VoxBox

Beauty Review Ole Henriksen VoxBox on Monogrammed Magnolias

So I may or may not have let out a teensy tiny scream when I found this little orange and yellow package sitting on my doorstep the other day. Turns out the contents were totally scream worthy, in the best way possible. They were Ole Henriksen products after all.

Thanks to the amazing peeps over at Influenster, who sent over the products, I’m bringing you a full review of not one, not two, but three…count ’em, 3 products!

Being the avid Sephora stalker supporter that I am, I’ve heard of Ole Henriksen but hadn’t really given any of their products a chance before. Hence, the excitement when checking the mail. Who doesn’t love trying new beauty products?

Beauty Review Ole Henriksen VoxBox on Monogrammed Magnolias

Truth Serum Collagen Booster

The first product I spotted was the Truth Serum Collagen Booster, it just seems like such an iconic Ole Henriksen product but like I said, I’ve never tried it before and I was deeply intrigued. I admit, when I first applied this product, I was a little confused about what was supposed to happen. Should I be looking out for a brighter complexion or one that’s more plump & hydrated. To be honest, as a dry skin girl, I was hoping for the latter. What I got in return was really a mix of both, especially when paired with the next product I’m going to talk about. I definitely noticed a bit more radiance and my skin didn’t seem so dry and flaky afterward but nothing too miraculous. The only downside, however, is that this stuff is pretty sticky after you apply it.

Beauty Review Ole Henriksen VoxBox on Monogrammed Magnolias

Sheer Transformation

Remember when I said I was a dry skin girl? Yea, well, that pretty much makes this little guy my new BFF. I could feel a difference in my skin after the first application, which is the sign of a true winner in my book. It has this incredible texture too, creamy but not heavy. Honestly, it manages to be creamy and gel-like while being hydrating but not sticky. Great for summer skin that can get a bit oily at times, even us dry girls can have our moments.

Beauty Review Ole Henriksen VoxBox on Monogrammed Magnolias

POWER Bright

Even at first glance, it appears this next product is what the whole box is centered around. The brand new POWER Bright is “a professional-strength three-step brightening system with an unprecedented 25% vitamin C concentrate to deliver maximum radiance in as little as one use.” Fancy, huh? I actually really enjoyed using this product. It was fun to try first thing in the morning, smelt lovely, and really did brighten my complexion but it was a bit daunting. Three steps is a lot when it comes to one product, especially when each step has a different set of instructions to accompany it. However, I definitely enjoyed the exfoliation and brightening effect but would most likely reserve this for more of a pamper day than every day use.

What are your thoughts on Ole Henriksen? Have you tried any of these products? Let me know in the comments below.

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xx

Merisa

My Ultimate Home Decor Wish List

Ultimate Home Decor Wish List on Monogrammed Magnolias

In case you haven’t heard, I just moved into my first apartment! Which is actually a huge house that me, my sister, and a family friend are all renting. I’m absolutely loving it so far. We have baby bunnies that live in the hedges across from us, ducks come up into our yard from the river, and there’s even a groundhog that pokes his head out every once in a while. It’s like living in a Disney movie! That is of course, minus the luscious princess hair, fairy godmothers, and never ending stash of gold coins, but hey.

It’s actually that lack of gold coins, silver coins, or you know, just paper money that has prompted this post today. It’s hard to decorate a house when you have unrealistic expectations of home decor AND a mountain of student loans to pay off. That’s why I’ve chosen to live my life vicariously through my inner Blog Boss Babe self…aka, I’m just gonna make a wish list and pray some generous soul decides to treat it like a house warming registry. A girl can dream.

My Ultimate Home Decor Wish List

  1. Gold Flatware – Playing into that whole “I’m a Disney Princess” scenario with this one but seriously, how lux would it feel to eat off gold utensils?
  2. Press for Whiskey – I’ll take whiskey over champagne any day so this just makes sense.
  3. Dot Chair – I’ve wanted this chair since I saw it on One Kings Lane forever and a day ago so of course it’s got to go on the list.
  4. Anna Wintour doll – Because I desperately need the editor of Vogue magazine sitting on my couch on a daily basis, people.
  5. nuLoom rug – Hot pink is kinda my thing, I mean just take a look around.
  6. Booze decanter – I’ll need somewhere to keep all that whiskey I’ll be buzzing for.
  7. Bamboo bar cart – refer to number 7.
  8. Kentucky print – After living on the other side of the line for a bit, I’m a little Kentucky obsessed now that I’m back in my home state and this Kentucky Derby print just couldn’t get cuter.
  9. Starburst mirror – I’m a mid-century modern fanatic so of course I’ve gotta have a sunburst in my arsenal.

What’s your home decor style? I figure I’m a bit of a modern eclectic. Let me know your style in the comments below.

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xx

Merisa

 

 

The Summer Trend You Need ASAP

Summer Trend You Need ASAP on Monogrammed Magnolias

I’ve been a fan of fun summer trends since the days of sparkly jelly sandals. Don’t act like you didn’t get in on that one too. These days, though, the trends are a bit more practical than plastic footwear without compromising on the fun. Care to take a guess as to what trend I’m talking about exactly?

None of other than…pompom detailing, of course!

I don’t know about you but I cannot get enough of these fuzzy little guys. I want them everywhere, from my closet, living room, even my outdoor space! The great part about this trend is that my dreams can all come true. Just check out the awesome selection I’ve gathered here.

Pompom Everything

1.  Missguided Pompom Play Suit – This all white off-the-shoulder romper just screams summer! Show of your tan and your fabulous style at the same time. What more could a girl ask for?

2.  Be Awesome Today Pillow – Give me rainbow pompom tassels or give me death. Okay, that might have been a tad overdramatic but can you blame me?

3.  Ommaha Sandals – I want to go to another music festival just so I can rock these sandals. They feel very Coachella to me.

4. Julia Pompom Trim Scarf – Summer scarves might just be one of my favorite accessories ever. They’re just so versatile and this one is packing a very strong trend game.

5.  Sammy Pompom Bonfire – Another off-the-shoulder romper? Really, Merisa? Yea, I know, but I couldn’t resist. This just seems like the perfect day-to-night outfit to me and you can’t pass up something like that.

6. Pompom Bangles – These little beauties had me at pompoms but kept me hanging around with bright tassels. The best of both worlds.

7.  Pompom Belly Basket – I want to take this basket home and fill it with the comfiest of blankets and throws then sit it in my living room. Bing, bang, boom! Style in a snap!

8.  H&M Straw Hat with Pompom Band – I’m not going to lie. This hat might just be sitting in my online cart as we speak. I think I need it like NOW.

9.  ASOS Swing Dress – This dress adds a bit of class to the party while still being flirty & fun, the way pompoms are meant to be.

Are you planning on joining in on the pompom trend this summer? What are some other summer trends you’re excited to work into your wardrobe? Let me know in the comments.

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xx

Merisa

Beach Day Must Haves

Beach Day Must Haves on Monogrammed Magnolias

It’s that time of year again! When the weather is so sweltering that we seek shelter from the heat in the cool embrace of the nearest body of water. For a lot of people that means “surf’s up” out in the big blue a la Blue Crush but I’m more of a poolside senorita. Good news, though, your list of what to pack will most likely be the same whether you’re heading out to bask in the rays by the Atlantic or floating in circles in your own backyard. With that being said, let’s jump right into my Beach (or Pool) Day Must Haves.

SPF

That is no bigger must have in my arsenal than sunscreen. You’ve got to protect your skin, people. After all, it’s the only skin you’ll ever be in! So slather on the good stuff, SPF 30 or higher. Don’t forget the teaspoon rule, use one teaspoon for each limb, your torso, and face. Follow those rules and you’ll be good to go.

Beach Day Must Haves on Monogrammed Magnolias

A Cool Drink

It’s important to stay hydrated, especially when sweating it down in the sun. One of my favorite ways to do just that is with a cool drink of water but not just any water. I like to fancy things up a bit with sliced cucumber. It just adds an unbelievably refreshing kick. Oh and you can’t be expected to keep a drink cool without a coolie. My pick at the moment is this fun style from Lilly Pulitzer.

A Good Book

I have this crazy habit of always keeping a book within arms reach and a day by the water is no different. I’m currently reading Petal Pusher: A Rock and Roll Cinderella Story by Laurie Lindeen which I picked up while I was in Nashville last week but some suggestions are Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht, or ones of my favorite pool side reads, Harry Potter!

Beach Day Must Haves on Monogrammed Magnolias

Sunnies

I’m a sunglasses fiend. I’ve got tons of them but my secret is that none of them cost more than $20. The reason for that isn’t because I’m cheap (believe me, I love a good splurge) but more because I’m a bit of a klutz so you won’t see me rocking designer sunglasses anytime soon. No, I’m more into trendy picks like these and these from Rue 21, they’re both under $6!

Swim Suit

Last but certainly not least, if you’re going to be in the water you’re gonna want a swim suit. Right now I’m loving the halter neck Karissa suit with cut out sides or the strappy Keandra two-piece, both from Adore Me.

Adore Me Swim on Monogrammed Magnolias
via Adore Me

Now pack your bags and head to the nearest watering hole, y’all! Summer isn’t going to be around forever and we’ve got to enjoy it while we can.

What are your Beach (or Pool) Day Must Haves? Let me know in the comments below.

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xx

Merisa

 

My Apartment Hunting Tips

Apartment Hunting Tips on Monogrammed Magnolias

Wow! It seems like forever and a day since I last updated, saying that I was back from a blogging break. Apparently I lied. Unintentionally, of course. In fact, I have a very good reason for my absence this time around.

I got my first apartment! It all happened so suddenly and unexpectedly that things have been extra crazy around these parts but I literally could not wait any longer so I’ve forced myself to set the boxes aside for now so I could share the new with all of you!

Ever since my sister and her best friend got back from their internship at Disney World we’ve been searching for their next apartment. Which, mind you, is a lot more exhausting then it might seem. We spent several days slurping Nutella milkshakes, highlighting the heck out of the classified section of the local newspaper, and scouring our college town and the surrounding area for any spot they could call home. Then one day, we found a full blown house for rent…in an excellent neighborhood…in a great price range…with 3 bedrooms! So they asked me to move in with them and I say why the heck not even though that was never my intention. Sometimes, you’ve just gotta take a leap of faith and this was definitely one of those moments.

I’m not going to lie, the house seemed perfect at first but it’s been a lot more work than we ever imagined it would be and we’ve definitely learned some lessons along the way that’s why I want to share my apartment hunting tips with you. So you can learn those lessons ahead of time.

Apartment Hunting Tips

Make a Wish List

  • Include EVERYTHING you could ever want/need in your future humble abode.
  • Oh, it actually helps to break that list into wants and needs. What is absolutely necessary and what would just be awesome to have if you could. For example, do you need a bathtub or would a shower suffice? Is a dishwasher really necessary?
  • If you’re going to have roomies then compare lists. Who knows, your roommate may think a bathtub is an necessity even if you don’t.
  • Set a price range. Make sure you AND your roomies have a budget within the same range and stick to it.

Visit as Many Places as Possible

  • But don’t waste your time!
  • If a listing sounds sketchy or doesn’t meet your basic needs don’t bother.
  • The more places you check out, the better idea you will have of what’s out there.
  • Also, don’t go out of your price range. Trust me, you don’t want to check out an apartment way out of your budget only to fall in love with it. That never ends well.

Beware of Scammers!

  • There are some rotten people out there, ones who pretty much make a living from ripping people off.
  • Don’t just jump into things. Do your research. This can be taken two ways. First, it’s easy to ask around about landlords in a college town. Odds are someone you know knows someone who has had an experience with the building, landlord, or area. Just ask. Also, do your research on leasing laws in your state. They can surprise you.
  • You also want to feel safe, comfortable, and trusting when it comes to your landlord. If you’re not then that can make situations awkward in the future. Think, are they easy to get along with? Will there be an issue if something goes wrong and you have to contact them?

Check EVERYTHING!

  • Are utilities included in rent?
    • What utilities will you be responsible for? Is everything in working order? What are the hookup fees? Is there a garbage pickup fee? Is a sewer fee included with the water bill or separate?
  •  Check outlets, faucets, drains, heating/cooling, lights, fans, air vents, doors, locks, windows, etc.
  • Be aware of appliances! Some listings can be labeled as “unfurnished” which can mean it doesn’t come with appliances. You don’t want to be stuck with buying a new oven or refrigerator if it’s out of your budget.
  • Always ask about a washer/dryer hookup especially if those appliances are not included. Some apartments don’t have hookups but offer coin operated laundry…if you’re lucky.

There ya have it, learn from my mistakes! Now I can’t wait to show you all the fun we’re going to have decorating. I suppose I should get back to those boxes now so that can happen sooner rather than later. Be sure to follow me through my social media links below and let me know your favorite apartment hunting tips in a comment.

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xx

Merisa

Life Update: A Disney Vlog, Zac Efron, and Drunk Girls

Life Update: A Disney Vlog, Zac Efron, and Drunk Girls on Monogrammed Magnolias

Can I just start by saying how good it feels to finally be blogging again? It feels amazing! So much has been going on lately and I left y’all with a post really came out of left field so I thought I’d ease back into things with a quick life update. Although it’s probably going to be more rambly than quick, let’s just start where I left off.

Life

I was feeling pretty emotional after my last post, it just brought up a lot of things I had been repressing for a while so I really needed to just take a break and do a little mental self-care. Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment on that post by the way. It was something completely different for me, I really enjoyed writing it and I’m glad a lot of you enjoyed reading it just as much. That little funk didn’t last all that long though so no worries.

The next week, my sister returned home from her internship at Disney World! She’s been gone since last August and I missed her so much that it was seriously emotionally overwhelming to see her walk through the door. I didn’t realize until she got home just how much I had missed little things about her. It’s crazy but I’m so happy to have her back, annoying me with her clothes strewn across the banister and refusal to close a drawer or cabinet door. It’s great!

Oh, her and her boyfriend actually started a YouTube channel vlogging all their adventures while they were down there. They’re posting her final days in the parks now and plan on vlogging a lot more this summer so it would be incredible if y’all could go like some videos and subscribe!

I’ve also been taking a break from social media at the moment. I’ve tweeted intermittently but haven’t been on Instagram since the new update. I’ve been out of the loop for so long that I hadn’t even realized that one of my pins on Pinterest had sort of went viral, at least viral level in my world. Technology can make me crazy sometimes. For instance, I feel like I’ve been so much more productive during this little break but I also feel so disconnected. This little world I’ve created for myself just kept turning and I wasn’t even steering the wheel, crazy.

Well, that’s about all that I can think of at the moment. Not a lot but like I said, it was mostly a break to just regain my composure. To wrap things up I’ll leave you with some things I’ve been enjoying as far as entertainment lately.

Entertainment

First of all, I miss Fear the Walking Dead already and it’s been less than 48 hours since the mid-season finale. However, AMC’s new series, Preacher, seems promising. I like the supernatural continuation from TWD and Fear, love the accents, and the premiere episode featured songs from Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash so no complaints there.

Oh, fun fact, Preacher is actually produced (as well as occasionally written and directed) by Seth Rogen, as in the star of Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising which my sister and I went and saw this weekend. I’ve got a lot to say about this film and give it a big thumbs up so maybe, just maybe, be on the look out for a full break down coming soon since it has two of my favorite things…a strong feminist undertone and Zac Efron.

To top things off, I finished Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl this past weekend after picking up the whole series at a local thrift store. I enjoyed it so much even though I’m years late to the party on this one. I can’t wait to finish out the series this summer. Oh and I can’t forget, I discovered the wonderful voice of Maren Morris this month too. I’ve heard her songs, My Church and 80s Mercedes on the radio at work before and I enjoyed them but never thought much more about her as an artist until I heard, Drunk Girls Don’t Cry. It’s pretty much the perfect single girl anthem but should be heard by all. Just consider the line, “Deep down he’s a really good guy / That’s like saying / Drunk girls don’t cry.”

I’m so glad to be back, y’all! Have a great day and an even better week!

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xx

Merisa

 

Ex’s and Oh’s: The Tale of the Instagram Sucker Punch

Ex's and Oh's: The Tale of the Instagram Sucker Punch on Monogrammed Magnolias

Have you ever been just minding your own business only to be completely blindsided by an ex popping back into your life? Yea, that happened to me yesterday.

The day was bound for disaster from the very start. I woke up late to find actual dark clouds looming overhead, the wi-fi was down, I put off going grocery shopping the day before so there was no food in the house, the printer jammed, it was just one annoyance after the other. I made every conscious effort not to let it get to me. After all, I had just written a whole post about ways to stay positive just last week. It was time to put my words to the test.

I wrote a list of what I needed to get done. I listened to some 90s R&B. I even took some time to get caught up on Grey’s. I felt better, motivated even, but then I fell into the deep, dark rabbit hole known as Instagram.

There I was, just scrolling through all the pictures of girls twirling in sundresses, double tapping all the peonies when I came across an image that totally sucker-punched me.

Suddenly I was staring into the eyes of my ex. Like the ex.

He was smiling, that unbelievable smile. He was wearing my favorite t-shirt. He was standing in the middle of all our old friends. He was holding hands with the girl he left me for.

I could feel my heart crack just a touch.

She looked tired. She didn’t have makeup on. Her hair was pulled back too harshly.

A little ray of hope.

Then I took in the whole picture a bit more.

She was smiling too. She also appeared to have swallowed a whole watermelon fairly recently.

Oh god.

She’s pregnant.

The flood gates open.

I lost it. In that moment, I completely lost it. Maybe it’s because I haven’t outright cried like that in a while or maybe it’s because I was seriously caught off guard but I just lost it.

Mind you, it wasn’t an ugly, gasping for breath, shoulder shaking cry. It was more like my eyes just decided to became a pair of gently flowing waterfalls.

I locked my phone and tried to pull myself together. I dried my tears but I couldn’t stop thinking about him. My mind was reeling with every good moment we ever had together. Then I did what I never should have done. I unlocked my phone.

The picture was tagged. I went to her Instagram, private. Damn.

Next stop, the fiery pits of Facebook. Surely I could find something to stab myself in the heart with there.

Not only was he going to be a father but he had gotten married last fall and the wedding was gorgeous. He wore a bow tie like the one I used to tie for him. She moved to his hometown to finish college and met his nephew who used to beg me to come visit over the phone. They’ve been Facebook official since June 2012.

The night he graduated college he promised to come visit me before school started back, that was May 2012. We were standing under the gazebo in the park, holding hands. His parents were waiting for him at Applebee’s. He didn’t invite me to go, to meet them. He just kissed me on the cheek and said, “Buck up, Ace. I’ll see ya soon.”

He went radio silent sometime in June. First the calls stopped, then the texts, he didn’t even post to Facebook anymore…which was kind of a big deal in 2012. We were a thousand miles away from each other but it felt more like lightyears.

I went back to school and his best friend couldn’t look me in the eyes when we met in the dorm hallway. I couldn’t take that. “I’m a big girl you know. I’m over it,” I lied.

That was the moment I decided to compartmentalize our entire relationship or lack thereof. I opened a tiny box in my head and stuffed inside every little memory of us. I sealed it shut but after today, it looks like I need more tape.

I still wear the earrings he gave me when I lost the diamond studs my mom handed down and the sweatshirt I stole from his bag as we ran to his car in the pouring rain is still hanging in my closet.

It’s funny how things happen, isn’t it? He’s had a whole other life in the four years since we last spoke. I haven’t had a relationship last more than a few months since him. I can’t decide who’s fault that is.

Another thing I can’t decide on. Why did I cry? Like what is that all about?

Was I upset because he was happy? Was I sad that he was with her and not me? Was I jealous? Was I just acting crazy?

I don’t know how to answer that question. I don’t want to be married and I definitely don’t want to be pregnant. Not now at least. I don’t even want to be with him. So why do I care so much? I think this quote sums it up fairly well.

Ex's and Oh's: The Tale of the Instagram Sucker Punch

One thing I am sure of, I feel a lot better after talking this out with you all. Thanks for the help, loves!

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xx

Merisa

How I Stay Positive

How I Stay Positive on Monogrammed Magnolias

We all have those days. You know the ones. When it just seems like there’s a little cloud floating above your head. Not a fun, keep-you-from-melting cloud like the one Elsa gave Olaf. No, more like a The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy level cloud of doom and gloom. Those days are hard and there are times when they seem to be more frequent than good days. It seems like March & April have been one of those times for me. I’ve complied quite the arsenal to battle against the negativity though.

How I Stay Positive

Lists — I am a forever fan of lists and a lot of the time, when I’m feeling icky and negative, I’m also feeling anxious and my mind is reeling. When that’s the case, I sit down and make a list. It can be a to-do list just to give me focus, a list of goals to give me hope, or just a stream of consciousness splashed across the page which brings me to my next tool…

How I Stay Positive on Monogrammed Magnolias

Journaling — Writing is the way I work through issues. It always has been. I remember being in 5th grade and running home to grab my Crossroads (yes, as in Britney Spears) journal from it’s hiding spot underneath my bed and just pouring my little heart out after one of my friends has told a boy I liked that I, well, liked him. He did not return the sentiment and it was the end of the world as I knew it, at least until everyone forgot about it over the weekend. Writing my thoughts down turns my emotions into something physical and maybe it’s just because I’m a visual learner but having everything down on paper just makes it easier to deal with.

Quotes — Who doesn’t love a good, empowering quote dripping in positivity? They’re game changers if you ask me. A great quote has great power. You can see some of my favorites that I continue to go back to scattered through out this post. You can find them all by following me on Pinterest.

How I Stay Positive on Monogrammed Magnolias

Music — Music is probably my favorite pick-me-up ever. I just put in some earbuds, turn the volume up just enough so that I can’t actually hear any outside noise, and go to town. My favorites right now are playlists like Spotify’s Pop Rising or Acoustic Pop and of course Beyonce’s LEMONADE!!! I just can’t say enough about the amazingness that is Lemonade. The songs Hold Up and Sorry are so perfect for a little positivity boost, even if they seem to have come from a negative place.

How I Stay Positive on Monogrammed Magnolias

The Positive Millennial — Guys, this group, created by Amanda from The Happy Arkansan, is seriously amazing!  The whole group is dedicated to being positive and supportive of each other, which is absolutely incredible if you ask me. There have been days where I’m really struggling to see the good and I’ll get a notification from the group and there it is. There are themed daily prompts to help guide and offer support and someone is always on hand to lift you up when you need it. I can’t say enough good things about it but I think you really need to see for yourself so check it out here and join the group!

Do you have any tricks to staying positive? Let me know in the comments or tweet me! I’d love to hear from you.

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xx

Merisa

 

My Mother’s Day Gift Guide

My Mother's Day Gift Guide on Monogrammed Magnolias

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8th this year. That’s less than 2 weeks away. Whoa. That really snuck up on me. No worries though, there’s plenty of time to pick out the perfect gift for your momma. To get the ball rolling, I’ve picked more than a few pieces that I know my mom would absolutely love and maybe your mom will to. You can shop these picks directly by clicking the item photo or the link in the description. While you’re at it, let me know your favorite in the comments!

Throw Pillow – I could definitely see this little pillow being a cute reminder of how awesome Mom is every time she sits in her chair.

FitBit – Mom is always going, going, going so she’d probably get a real kick out of seeing just how far all that going is getting her.

Pearl Necklace – When it comes to gifts, Dogeared jewelry has you covered no matter the occasion.

Tory Burch Rollerball Set – This just screams “Happy Mother’s Day!’ to me! Plus, it’s always nice to try out fragrances in small amounts when giving as a gift as scent is so personal.

Quay Sunglasses – Just like me, Mom is a sunglasses junkie so it only seems fitting to feed the frenzy right?

MAC Lipstick – Everyone should have a MAC lipstick in their collection, it’s as simple as that.

Trinket Tray – This makes me laugh and reminds me of the SNL ladies and their infamous mom jeans skit. Too fun!

Ralph Lauren Robe – Mom deserves the luxury of nice robe. It’ll make everyday feel like a spa day.

Sugarfina Champagne Bears – Speaking of luxury…give Mom some champagne gummies to snack on!

Kate Spade Studs – These are just so classic, perfect for Mom!

Tory Burch Tote – For the splurge worthy, classy momma!

Personalized Moscow Mule Mug – I don’t know what it is about Moscow Mule mugs but everyone needs one!

I hope this guide helps you find the perfect gift for your momma, or your grandma, or your bestie that just became a momma. Whoever you celebrate with this Mother’s Day, make sure it’s a good one.

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xx

Merisa 

Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht

Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht on Monogrammed Magnolias

Hello, Magnolias. I just finished reading this awesome book, Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht and the first thing I wanted to do was tell all of you how awesome it really was. That’s a sign you just can’t ignore so I decided to shout it from the rooftops of this blog instead of, you know, actual rooftops. In case you couldn’t already tell, I a lot to say when it comes to this book so let’s get to it.

Leave Your Mark

Land Your Dream Job. Kill It In Your Career. Rock Social Media.

Does anyone remember DKNY PR GIRL on Twitter? I found the anonymous, Gossip Girl-esque account back in college when I was begging to get my hands on anything and everything related to the field of public relations. DKNY PR GIRL was EVERYTHING! I remember watching the Oscars with her one year and hanging on to every fashiony tidbit she’d throw our way. All via Twitter, of course.

I think I made it through 3 or 4 chapters of this book before I opened the front page and saw the words DKNY PR GIRL emblazoned underneath the author’s name. Holy crap, I thought, “Aliza Licht is DKNY PR GIRL?!” See, I’d lost track of my Twitter friend toward the end of college and must have missed the memo but that just made me even more excited about this book, as I had taken the time to notice that the @dkny Twitter account was back to being, well, all about DKNY.

Land Your Dream Job

I like to think of this book as a dash of memoir mixed in with a whole bowl full of mentorship and a pinch of success story as Aliza takes you on this incredible journey right from the start of her career. In fact, this first section is the part of the book that makes me wish I could hope in a time machine just to throw this book onto the bed of my sophomore year dorm room. While reading, couldn’t help but think, “I wish I had this book back then.” So let me say it now, to all of you college girls out there struggling to figure it out, Aliza talks to you through this book like no mentor, advisor, or big sister I’ve ever had. She lays out exactly how she went from an aspiring plastic surgeon merit-scholar to Senior Vice President of global communications at Donna Karan International.

Those are two very different ends of the career spectrum and I know from experience that when you’re in college and faced with the pressure of exams, term papers, the look of disappointment in your mother’s eyes, and discontent in your heart it can be difficult to make a decision. That’s why I loved seeing that Aliza made it out alive. She turned her world on end and came out on the other side better than ever. That’s inspiring and girls like you and me need to see that more often.

Better than just reading about her journey and how she managed to pull off the great feat of conquering the fashion world, Aliza shares her secrets every step of the way. She covers the conundrum of how to get experience when you have no experience, the dreaded cover letter, and killing it in your first interview. There’s even awesome sidebars that allow you to take a moment to really think about what she’s telling you and how you can relate it to your own life. That’s just the first part.

Rocking Social Media

I’ve skipped over the second part, Killing It In Your Career, not because it’s less of a golden nugget than the others but because I don’t want to give everything away. Plus, absolutely everyone can stand for a little career advice. The real kicker for me at least was the final part, Rocking Social Media. It’s a bit of an eye opener really. Social media is a bigger part of our lives than most of us realize. Aliza takes us through the brilliant conception of DKNY PR GIRL in this section. We’re talking everything from the power of anonymity to the nitty gritty of skillful damage control and she handles it all while standing on that all too familiar line between graceful experience and zero chill. If you’ve ever freaked out over a project to no end only to have it go ridiculously smooth, or vice versa, then you might know what sort of balancing act I’m talking about.

Creating the Brand of You

My favorite part of the whole book, hands down! Mostly because this is the section I can relate to right now, at this very moment. Take a look around here. I’m creating something here and it’s been a long road to get here. It might not be a Twitter account with over half a million followers but it’s something and it’s me. Going through this section made me realize that I’m my own publicist, my own spin doctor, my own author, my one and only MVP. That might seem obvious to some but to me it was a huge realization because I’m actively involved in creating a brand right now. Before reading this I kept thinking of a brand as something physical but that’s not what it is at it’s core. My brand is me! It’s what I put out into the world. It’s my tweets, my Pinterest page, my smile, the way I say hello, it’s everything. It’s literally the mark I will leave on this world.

See why I’m head over heels for this book now? I give it 4 stars, meaning you should really get your copy now!

What books are you reading right now? I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments or you can tweet me!

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xx

Merisa