I could be called a face mask junkie. I love the idea that you can slather something on your face and literally feel it cleaning your skin, and see results instantly. Enter, Cupcake by Lush.

Now, I’ve tried a lot of masks. And, a lot of them just don’t work– at least for my skin. I have never tried a Lush face mask, but my fiancé and I use several Lush products that we absolutely adore. The store has a constant promo that if you bring back 5 clean black Lush pots, you get a free face mask. So, I hoarded our trash for a while and did just that.

Lush has several masks that are scooped out in cute little dishes and sit on ice in the store. The saleswoman who helped me was incredible and really helped me choose a mask for my skin and  one that did what I wanted. For reference, I have combo/oily skin that is prone to breakouts.

first use with Cupcake

Cupcake, and all of the fresh masks, need to stay refrigerated. You can get several uses out of a jar– for example, I’ve gotten about four masks out of mine, and I can probably get another one or two!

This totally vegan mask did wonders for my face. I applied a pretty thick layer, and let it sit for about 10 minutes before washing it off. Word to the wise— I washed it off one time in the sink, but I found that it kind of crumbles off and can make a mess. The next time, I washed it off in the shower and that was a much better/ less messy idea.

After washing it off, my skin instantly looked great. My pores around my nose are normally huge (a typical problem I want masks to fix) and Cupcake literally blurred them. My pores were nonexistent! After sleeping and a day of makeup, they weren’t quite as invisible, but definitely were smaller.

My face overall was radiant. I am hesitant to say “glowing,” but there was definitely a fresh radiance showing through. My face felt so clean, much cleaner than I do after washing my face or even using my trusty Clarisonic (the one I use is pictured below–click for the link to learn more!)

I did use my normal moisturizer after washing off the mask, but my skin did not feel incredibly tight or dried out. If I don’t use moisturizer before bed, I’m going to have problems.

review

Overall, I definitely, 100 times over, would recommend Cupcake to a friend who has skin like mine or has similar issues. Its about $10 if you don’t bring in 5 pots, but totally free if you do! And it smells like chocolate….so this is a win-win situation. (Available only in stores, because of the whole refrigeration thing)

Lush, cupcake, face mask

I have already used this several times (like I mentioned earlier) and I know I’m going to get another pot when mine is empty. Run to your nearest Lush right now!

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own. Affiliate links are included, meaning I could make a commission from products purchased through those links.

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I get it. I thought kick flare, distressed, cropped jeans were weird too… until I found the perfect pair. It’s a lot of trends going on in one look, so its easy to be intimidated.

I really loved the idea of this sort of jean in pictures, because every fashion blogger and their mother has been rocking them since spring. I stumbled upon these Madewell jeans after what seems like forever of looking, and I haven’t turned back. See how I styled them and go find your perfect pair!

Jeans: Madewell Cali-Demi Boot Jeans; buy them here.

Baseball game

Whether it’s a baseball game, a movie in the park, or a trip to the ice cream shop, you need a cute and relaxed outfit that still looks stylish. The Madewell jeans are perfect for this look, because the cropped fit is automatically more casual than any other fit. I think the button-up fly adds a little pizzaz, too. Your tank and jeans combo just got more interesting!

Top: James Perse; similar available here and here

Shoes: Sam Edelman; similar available here

WORK meeting

There’s something about a blouse tucked into distressed jeans… it just screams cool. I paired this look with the cutest earrings that gave me just the right amount of color. A block heel helps make this look more professional, but you could dress it down with ballet flats or sandals.

Top: Rose and Thyme; Similar available here and here

Earrings: New Directions; buy the same ones from BaubleBar here

Shoes: Sam Edelman; buy them here

Had to throw in a garden shot, because it’s finally summer!

Please ignore our garden mess here. We’re in full blown yard work mode!

Madewell, jeans, fashion, style

Date night

I’m all about a comfy-casual look on date night. This outfit is nice enough to wear to a trendy new restaurant, but casual enough to go for drinks afterward at our favorite dive bar. The Madewell jeans give this outfit a edgy feel, while the espadrilles and cropped tank make it work friendly, if you don’t have time to go home and change.

Top: Madewell; similar here

Shoes: Steve Madden; buy them here

I also really love how the hem of these jeans show off the ankle strap on these cute wedges!

jeans, Madewell, fashion

Happy shopping! If you buy these or any other cropped, kick flare jeans, let me know how you style them!

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links, which could mean I make a commission through any sales.

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Our closet is a mess. It’s a tiny, dark room that requires me to stand on a step stool anytime I walk in there. Recently, my fiancé and I decided that we were taking drastic action… and making a walk-in closet. Now, we couldn’t really build one on or expand the current closet (nor could I afford to) so we looked into other options.

He talked to a professional company about designing one, but that would cost about $2,000… which isn’t happening. After some pushing from me, we went to Lowe’s and bought an Allen and Roth closet system that we designed to meet our needs and measurements.

Disclaimer: We aren’t finished with the project yet, but I was so excited I couldn’t wait to share! Check back in the next week or so for an update! 

Getting started with your walk-in

I didn’t plan to buy anything when we went into Lowe’s.

But, when we saw the closet aisle, I was hooked. While several brands had similar closet systems, we were drawn to Allen and Roth because of the rich finish of their wood, the way the pieces were very customizable, and their prices.

For reference, everything we purchased was in the color Java.

The area we planned to make into our walk-in closet is a small room on the second floor, right across from our bedroom and bathroom. The location and size made it perfect for a closet. The room was not being used for anything, either, so there was really nothing to be moved out!

how we did it

For our room, and disastrous plaster walls, we didn’t want anything that had to be mounted. We picked the Ventilated Wood Closet Tower ($159) to be our focal point.

Then, we chose two 6-foot Ventilated Wood Closet Shelves ($69.98 each) to use next to the tower for more folded items or baskets. For our hanging clothes, we used the hooks that came with the shelves and purchased expandable poles ($13.98) to insert in the hooks and create racks.

As installation goes, we plan to put one of the shelf/rack combos a few inches above the top of the closet tower, because the pole hangs about one inch below the shelf. We will add the other about midway up the tower.

For a smaller wall, we purchased another Ventilated Wood Closet Shelf ($49.98)— but this time in the 4-foot option. We plan to hang that on a smaller wall that is virtually useless for anything else.

Last but not least, we decided on the Ladder Shelf Bookcase ($119) to give us a little more storage, but also because it looks so cute!

overall thoughts with our new walk-in closet

I was insanely pleased with what Allen and Roth had to offer in terms of a walk-in closet & just home organization in general. With all of the furniture we bought, and the nails/anchors we needed for plaster walls, we walked out of the store with spending just over $500. In comparison with other options, I think we really got the best bang for our buck!

Everything was also very well labeled, which made the putting together process not as bad as I expected. All we have to do now is finish hanging the shelves!

I think were going to really enjoy our new walk-in closet! If you have a spare room, I highly suggest you build it into something you will use and enjoy everyday. Let me know if you do, or if you try any of these products!

where to buy products

Everything in this post is from Lowe’s in the home organization aisle. Additionally, everything is made by Allen and Roth and is displayed right together and all on the same aisle! (At least it was in my store). Links to purchase online, or see whats available in your store, are below.

Wood tower

6-foot shelf

4-foot shelf

Ladder shelf

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own. 

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Drugstore mascaras are everything. There are definitely beauty products I think are worth spending money on— i.e. eyeshadow, a good curling iron, brow products. With that being said, mascara is not one of them.

I have tried lots of mascaras and let me tell you, Better than Sex by Too Faced is awesome but it isn’t THAT much different than Maybelline. I will venture to say several drugstore mascaras are even better than high-end brands, and that’s what we’re talking about today.

Great lashes are a necessity in my world. I can wear no makeup in the summer, but I need a little lash going to make my face look acceptable to walk into brunch.

I hope this post helps you find your new favorite mascara, and let me know which one it is! Links to buy each product are available in bold following each review.

Maybelline The Rocket Waterproof Mascara

This mascara is really hyped on YouTube, and for good reason. It is amazing! It gives great volume and length, and really keeps my lashes curled all day. The Rocket also stays on all day and dosent crumble across my face, which is always a plus. I’ve been through several tubes of this, and I don’t doubt I’ll go through dozens more in my lifetime. This is ALWAYS the first step in my mascara routine, no matter what goes on top of it!

 

 

(PS even though this one is waterproof, it isn’t especially hard to take off!)

Buy it by clicking below

Covergirl the Super Sizer

If you want lashes that look fake, this is the mascara for you. I love this product for when I want super dramatic, black lashes. If you like really clean, separated lashes… I would pass on this. But if you don’t really care too much (like me) then this is your guy! Covergirl mascaras usually aren’t my favorite they seem to flake off my lashes, but the Super Sizer is an exception.

This is a really wet mascara and takes a while to dry, so be careful when applying  not to mess up your shadow or liner.

Buy it here

MaxFactor Masterpiece Max

An oldie but a goody, the MaxFactor did not disappoint when bringing back their line to Walgreens. While I know I’m not supposed to put mascara on my eyelash extensions, I sometimes cheat and use this on the ends! I like this product because it’s kind of dry– and I love when my mascaras dry up a little! This isn’t still available at my Walgreens, but it’s worth taking a look at your local store. Otherwise, it’s still available on Amazon!

Buy it by clicking below

Revlon Ultimate All in One

I never thought I would be the girl who had a special mascara for my bottom lashes, but that’s who I’ve become. I only bought this mascara because I had a coupon at Target, and there were so many different versions I got intimidated and just bought the one that said “ultimate.” When I opened it and saw how tiny the brush was, I was like “oh I’ll never use this.” WRONG. I use it nearly everyday when I have eyelash extensions to give my bottom lashies some color, and sometimes I use it on the corners of my eyes to get those wayward, crooked lashes. The small brush is super easy to control, and you don’t end up with mascara all over your under eye. I love this product and I want to try the other versions too!

Buy it here

Milani Length in Seconds

Okay I’m cheating a little here– this isn’t exactly a mascara, but fiber extensions you use to make your lashes look longer and thicker. If you’ve never used one of these babies before, it’s simple. Put on one coat of whatever mascara you want, and then quickly do a coat of fibers while the mascara is still wet. Then, do another layer of mascara. Basically you want to sandwich the fibers between mascara layers! The cotton-like fibers stick on to each lash and give the illusion of eyelash extensions (for a whole lot less cash!). While this is not an everyday step for me, I love using it for when I want a more dramatic look and my extensions have fallen out.

Buy it here

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own. Some links may be affiliates, meaning I could make commission from your purchase.

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I don’t know about ya’ll, but the summer can make me lazy with my makeup. When it’s so hot that I know my foundation will melt off anyway, what’s the point of wearing it? That’s when my love of tinted moisturizer comes in handy.

Tinted moisturizer, BB creams, CC creams, whatever you want to call it (some hard-core foundation guru is rolling over in her grave), I love a light layer of SPF that can give a little coverage too. Yes, SPF! It’s hot and sunny out there, and you can’t skip on sun protection for your face just because you’ve heard it gives a white cast in photos. Plus, these creams are so light that I hardly believe that would happen here.

Keep reading to read about my favorite tinted moisturizers to use on those days where you just want to throw on your bathing suit and go! Each product has a link to purchase and my complete thoughts.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer: SPF 20

Some people refer to this cream as their holy grail product. While I’m not sure I’m quite there yet, I do love this stuff. The coverage is very sheer, so don’t expect any scars or spots to be fully invisible. The finish is definitely on the dewy side, and can look slick throughout the day if you have oily skin. I still love it though, because this cream minimizes the look of my pores and tones down the red spots in my face.

Buy it here: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 Blush

 tinted moisturizer

 tinted moisturizer

Almay Smart Shade CC Cream: SPF 35

I’m not sure how long this product has been out, but it’s new to me! I recently purchased this CC cream at Walgreens on sale, and I’m so glad I did. I bought light-medium, although I could have gotten away with light. This cream blurs fine lines on my face but isn’t heavy enough to cover my freckles. It also helps with my pores, which is always a plus! And, the good side to buying the darker color is that I don’t even have to add bronzer… yes, I know I am the worst.

Buy it here: Almay Smart Shade CC Cream, Light/Medium

 tinted moisturizer

 tinted moisturizer

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint: No SPF

This is my personal favorite product on the list. I bought this new Neutrogena cream at Ulta in April and immediately had to try it out. I absolutely love this! I have even used it as my foundation when I add my full face makeup (under-eye concealer, powder, blush, etc.) and it still looks great! The coverage is slightly heavier than the other tinted moisturizers on my list, but it can be sheered out by applying with a wet sponge. I literally have nothing bad to say about this “tint.” It’s part of the brand’s new Hydro Boost campaign and all the products contain hyaluronic acid, which is basically a water fountain for your skin.

Buy it here: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint, 1.0 Fl. Oz. 40 / Nude

 tinted moisturizer

 

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream: SPF 30


Maybelline is a repeat on my blog, for good reasons. I actually have listed this BB cream on my favorite foundations list, but it’s definitely lighter than a true foundation. This oil-free baby is hydrating, but doesn’t leave my face looking slick… basically unheard of with tinted moisturizers! I have repurchased this product several times, and I’ve never regretted it.

Buy it: Click link above

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own. Some links may be affiliates, meaning I could make commission from your purchase.

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Summer is here– whether you like it or not.  It’s in that weird time of year though where it might be 85 degrees in the afternoon, it can get a little windy after dark. Some of my favorite things to do in the summer are outside events, like baseball games, festivals, or cook outs… and I want to look cute, but not die in of a heat stroke or other crazy southern weather. Enter, boyfriend jeans.

I am guilty of having these loose, distressed jeans in several colors… three to be exact. I can’t help myself. Both of my blue pairs are from Lucky Brand (they are the Dylan style) and my white ones are from Target.

How to wear them

One of my favorite summer outfits to wear on brisk nights is a cute ruffled top with boyfriend jeans. The jeans provide just enough edge to balance out the super girly top, and here I added block heels for a little more sass. I bought these Sam Edelman heels for a wedding, and have gotten so much wear out of them. (The link is included below, but I actually found them cheaper in store!) This Kate Spade purse is also one of my favorites, because it gives me such a pop of color in my more neutral wardrobe.

P.S: When the weather gets even hotter and the wind is a thing of the past, just sub in a pair of distressed denim shorts. Basically boyfriend jeans as shorts, am I right?

What brand are your favorite boyfriend jeans? Should I try stores other than Lucky and Target?

outfit, fashion, Style

outfit, fashion, style, boyfriend jeans outfit, fashion, Styleoutfit, fashion, style, boyfriend jeans

Top: Forever 21 (not Forever 21 brand, but bought in store as an online-return. Similar here)

Jeans: Lucky Brand (click link below for exact)

outfit, fashion, style, boyfriend jeans

outfit, fashion, style, boyfriend jeans

Bag: Kate Spade (similar here)

Shoes: Sam Edelman (exact here)

These braids are called Boxer Braids and I used a tutorial I found online. It’s pinned to my hair and makeup Pinterest page if you’re interested!

 

outfit, fashion, style, boyfriend jeans

 

Thank you to my sweet boyfriend Mitri for being my on-call photographer.

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own.

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Welcome!

Sweater and shorts outfit for spring.

I’m Ivana– a Birmingham native who’s still here, 25 years later. The Southern Style Diaries strives to showcase my love of all things southern. Find out how to throw the perfect back porch party, how to wear overalls without looking like your cousin Ed, and the best way to rock a red lip.

I’m a news reporter by day, where I cover crime and local court for AL.com and The Birmingham News. See my professional work here.

My favorite things are my dogs (all dogs, actually), tacos, and a good T.J. Maxx.

Connect with me on social media to keep up with my day-to-day life—sometimes you’ll even catch some breaking news tweeted there from the Magic City, as we call it! Please check back weekly for new posts! Make a request for posts on social media or in the comment section, and I will be happy to look into it.

Drop me a line for any questions, or just to say hi!

xoxo

Ivana

Media kit available by request. 

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New season, new clothes… am I right? I’m on the hunt for a few things this season, including kick flare jeans, a white denim pencil skirt, and a black crop top. I went to Forever 21 on this mission, as it isn’t quite pay day… and I found none of these things. However, I did find a few things that I am so happy with! That’s the lesson of Forever 21 I guess– go in with an open mind.

I’m still looking for those things I listed above and if you have any ideas where I can get those, holler. In the mean time, hit up your nearest Forever and see if they have any of these killer items!

Disclaimer: 2 of these things are from the store’s plus-size section. While I am not plus size (I usually wear a 4-6) I love an oversized fit. I am also tall and most of the brand’s dresses or skirts are too short for me, but I can usually find a good length in the plus size section. A 0X in this section is the equivalent of an XL.

Casual button up

This cropped shirt is a great find. I am in love with the blush color, and the material has a silky feel. I love the retro look of a cropped button up shirt with boyfriend jeans (which Forever 21 has plenty of!) (Find it here or in the plus-size section; $15.90)

outfit, Style, fashion

Swim cover up

My mom and I bought this to share, because we were both obsessed with it. The sheer material and fringe make it great for the pool or the beach, and the colorful embroidery makes you want to wear it to dinner with a bralette. Great option for those of us who don’t want a boring cover up! (Was not with the swimwear or coverups! Find it with the kimonos; $29.90)

Forever 21

 

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Fringe sandals

Yes, I have a thing with fringe, okay? I am so in love with these sandals and I’ve already worn them. And received tons of questions on Instagram about them! (Find them here or in shoes; $22.90)

Forever 21

Maxi dress

Again in the plus-size section, this dress is the perfect length for me. It hits me about mid-calf, and the longer sides go down to maxi length. This material is super thin and clingy, so sizing up is not your worst idea. Also comes in pink. (Find it here or in the plus-size section; $17.90)

outfit, Style, fashion

outfit, fashion, Style

Leggings

I have some adorable Free People tunics I love to wear in the summer. Because I definitely do not have ‘work clothes’ and ‘weekend clothes,’ I also wear these to work. These blue leggings are perfect to wear underneath long, loose tunics because it looks like you’re wearing jeans… but you’re way comfier. (Find it here or in the basics section; $3.90)

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Denim skirt

Everyone needs a good denim skirt… and Forever 21 has tons to choose from. I went with a plain, true-blue one so it would go with just about everything. These run small and short, so if you order online without trying on I would get a size up! (Find it here or with the jeans; $17.90)

Forever 21

This post was not sponsored; all opinions are my own

 

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I swear, I’m not dead.

Its been more nearly 2 weeks since my last post and I feel so bad! Things have gotten a little crazy in life, but I’m back. And, I brought the coveted Tarte Shape Tape with me!

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This concealer has taken the makeup world by storm and is SO hard to find. I believe its exclusive to Ulta (if you aren’t buying through Tarte) so your store options are limited. I totally recommend calling before you go and seeing which colors they have in stock, or when their next shipment will be. Tarte’s website has a really accurate description of the color range… see that here.

Ulta also has an option in the app to see if any stores near you have the item you’re looking for. That can be helpful, but store employees have told me it isn’t always accurate.

While the Ulta employee (who was awesome) matched me with fair neutral, I bought fair beige because it had a little more pink in it, which I like. That means I don’t have to use my normal Maybelline dark circle eraser underneath! The Shape Tape cost me about $25.

Watch

Below is a video of my first impressions of the product, which I have been using daily ever since! Here is the brush I used and mentioned in the video.

PS- There were a few technical difficulties in this video… including but not limited to a noisy camera lens, Grant barking, and a cell ringing. Please excuse my life.

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It’s that time of the year–wedding season. I have four weddings to go to this spring and summer, and figuring out what to wear can be tricky.

While I planned to have a photo shoot in my wedding outfit from last weekend, a few kinks made that impossible (there’s never a wedding without at least one issue!) so iPhone party pics will just have to do.

Below is the outfit I wore to the rehearsal dinner and wedding, complete with brands and links to buy. I have another wedding this weekend, and I am thinking about reusing my rehearsal dinner romper… any thoughts? Totally separate groups of friends, so ya’ll will be the only ones who know my secret.

wedding 1

wedding 2

Dress- ASOS Bow and Tie Detail Dress

Romper- Romper via TJ Maxx (similar here)

Shoes- Sam Edelman via DSW (I found mine on the clearance rack for less than half price!)

Bangles- Forever 21 (similar here)

Makeup- Tartiest Pro Palette, Benefit They’re Real Lipstick in Nude Scandal

Happy shopping!

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own

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