With all the hustle and bustle of the world, it can be easy to get drained. You know the feeling, when you’re so over your day job, but too tired to even enjoy your hobbies. By the time you feel recharged, its Monday all over again.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. But juggling everything can be exhausting, and sometimes its easy to put everything— work, keeping the house clean, taking care of family/pets/etc.— above yourself. Sometimes, you just have to put yourself first.

I feel like as women, we’re wired to think that we have to fix everything for everyone else… or at least, that’s definitely my personality. I also have a problem of thinking I constantly have to be productive, and I have to build Greece in a day. It’s obviously not my best trait!

I have had to learn over the years that taking care of yourself, mind and body, is so important for this very reason. You can’t take care of everyone else if you haven’t also checked on yourself, and anything you do won’t be done 100% if you’re not completely present.

For me, it’s super important to take a little time every evening for myself. Whether that’s reading a new book for 30 minutes before bed or having a cup of coffee on the porch, I find that I operate so much better in every aspect of my life when I have a little time to recharge.

Here are my top five ways to take a little time to center myself at the end of the day! I highly recommend trying some way, even if its not one of these, to check on yourself each day.

 

Take a nap

Yes, we’re adults. Yes, we need naps. Sometimes, as much as I want to do something productive and creative, I just need to lay down and sleep. A good 30-minute nap after work and before dinner has definitely saved my life many times.

Read a good book

I mentioned this earlier, but it’s one of my go-to things to calm myself down after a long day. There’s something so relaxing about losing yourself in a good story! I try to read before bed, and make sure I save my place in case I fall asleep in the process.

Have dessert

Let’s start by saying I am not really a cook. I love to bake, probably because I could absolutely live off sugar, and I have the biggest sweet tooth, it’s like ALL my teeth are sweet. I have something for dessert every. single. night. It can be a mini Hershey’s bar and a giant marshmallow, or a bowl of ice cream… but, I always look forward to it, and it can make my night if I’ve had a less than great day. Don’t deprive yourself.

Watch your shows in bed

We have a TV in our bedroom but we don’t have cable there, so I’ll watch a new Netflix drama after dinner while curled up with the dogs in bed. I also have a guilty pleasure of binging YouTube makeup videos, so I’ll lay down with my iPad and go to town. The dogs love having an excuse to lay down, and so do I.

Take a walk and listen to a podcast

A short walk around the block is good for your health, but it’s also a lot more enjoyable (for me at least) when you have something to listen to. I’m a podcast junkie, so I take my earbuds and listen to the newest episode of my favorite show while getting a little exercise and vitamin D. Win-win! And if you have dogs, or cats that like leashes (I’ve known a few), take them along to boost both of your moods.

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Hey y’all! When I was in high school, I hoarded single eye shadows from Maybelline, MAC, and Covergirl. But, in the last 8 years or so, I feel like palettes have taken over the game.
Palettes have such pros and cons to me. The pros are the fact that you get a dozen or so shadows in a single compact, often for cheaper than you would get buying them all separately. Also you get an already curated group of colors you know will look good together in several different ways. But, on the flip side, sometimes you can’t spend $40-60 on a palette, or you’re only interested in one or two shades in the entire thing.
I get it. But I think overall, if you know how to navigate the insanely saturated world of eyeshadow palettes, you can wind up with a great collection you’ll go back to time and time again.
Here are my top 6 favorite palettes, both drugstore and high end. Happy blending!

Tartelette In Bloom by Tarte

Maybe my favorite palette ever! I love the shades in this palette and how they can be used for simple & clean looks for every day, but then you can use the dark burgundy or black to smoke things out a bit for night. Classic colors and such a great formula! This guy is totally worth your money, ten times over.

Buy it from Ulta here

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Paradise Enchanted by L’Oréal

Peach-scented eye shadow… are you skeptical? Because I was. But no joke, this palette is awesome. I love the colors, the shimmer shades are amazing, and the scent is actually really nice! There’s quite a bit of fallout, but I that’s not surprising with the price point and kind of odd packaging on this product (the shadows like sit on top of the plastic palette). I’m still loving it though, because the shades are so pigmented and blendable.

Buy it on Ulta’s website here

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Naked 3 by Urban Decay

Ah, you knew it was coming. Naked 3 is my old standby, and I can always reach for it when I want to do a quick look that I know will turn out well. I feel like I don’t branch out a lot into some of the colors into this palette, but I’m trying to give some of the glittery and deep shades a shot. But, regardless, this is a product I couldn’t live without.

Buy it from Ulta here

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Lovatics Demi by NYC

This palette is a sleeper for sure. It’s SO affordable, and I would definitely call it a dupe for the original Naked (which was a close runner-up in this post). These colors are surprisingly pigmented and the white shade is awesome to lay down before you get started building shadows. You can tell that the fallout is pretty heavy, but I don’t mind too much because the shadows are so buttery, you could blend it with your fingers.

Buy it on Amazon here

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Tarteist Pro by Tarte

I had an internal debate by including this, but hear me out. I don’t usually use solely this palette for a full look, but it has some undeniably amazing matte shades. The four shimmer shades aren’t my favorites (although the formula is great), but I love how the palette is designed to make things easy– each row is technically a “look,” which can make things super easy if you are being lazy or just don’t know what to do! I have a few staple colors in this palette that are totally worth the price tag. Plus, I love the huge mirror!

Buy it on Amazon here

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Flawless 3 by Makeup Revolution

Let’s start by saying I love Makeup Revolution products, and love their price tag even more. I was crushing hard on Naked Heat and the Tartlette Toasted palette, but wasn’t willing to shell out the money for either. So I found this guy, and it saved me so much money by giving me triple the shadows! They definitely aren’t the best quality eyeshadows and they take some layering, but I think this is a great dupe for some of the warmer-toned palettes out there. You get a ton more options, and the shimmers are great when used over a glitter glue or with a wet brush.

Buy it from Ulta here

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Hey ya’ll! I have gotten several requests on doing a how-to for applying undereye concealer. Well, ya came to the right place… I have some straight zombie dark circles, and I’ve tried just about everything at one point or another to combat and cover them!
Here’s a quick tutorial on how I do my undereye concealer, and the drugstore products I use. Yes, I said drugstore! You don’t have to pay a lot for good coverage. I will link all the products underneath the video.

Enjoy! 

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind in Brightener

Coty Airspun Translucent Powder

If you’re interested, the high end products I use sometimes are the Tarte Shape Tape and It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye. To combat eye dryness that can come with wearing makeup almost everyday, I use eye cream every night and sometimes under my makeup! Again, I think the drugstore has great options like the Cerave Eye Repair Cream.

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We’re so close to fall, and I can’t wait!

Fall is my favorite time of the year for many reasons– a chill in the air, the upcoming holidays, pumpkin-flavored everything… and fall fashion. To me, there’s nothing better than a good pair of boots and oversized sweater!

As fall approaches, I love seeing all the transition pieces start coming out. While I can’t wait to get a new pair of OTK boots, it makes sense to pick up a few pieces that I can wear now and take into fall with a good denim jacket or pair of leggings.

On that note, here’s my top pieces to take you into fall. And, they’re all from Amazon! Fall fashion plus Amazon prime… you had me at hello.

Happy fall shopping!

Amazon, Amazon fashion, fall, fall fashion, Southern Style Diaries1. Nine West Levona Crossbody with Floral Pom: The cutest little bag to go from work to date night! This will look awesome with jeans and a white button down now, and with a sweater later.

2. Ella Moon Waterfall Collar Cardigan: I’m a sucker for fringe sweaters, and I can’t wait to wear this over a plain white tank and jeans. You can also wear with leggings when you want a little warmth but don’t want to put on real clothes!

3. Qupid Mule Fashion Bootie: I have these in white, and I’m so obsessed with them. They’re comfortable, affordable, and a lot more versatile than you think! Def going to have to pick them up in black, too.

4. Ella Moon One Shoulder Ruffle Mini Dress: How precious would this be for a fall wedding! If it’s a little chilly, throw on a leather jacket and you’re good to go.

5. Guilty Heart Chunky Block Heel: I ordered these yesterday, and I’m anxiously awaiting their arrival. For $25, you can’t beat these suede heels! The style is exactly like a pair of Sam Edelman’s I have, and everyone needs a pair of leopard heels to wear with dark denim in the fall.

6. LianSan Classic Metal Frame Round Mirrored Sunglasses: A pair of pink sunnies is good year round. Just because the sun starts setting earlier in the fall doesn’t mean you don’t need eye protection (or SPF)!

7. After Market Woven Dress: Again, ordered this over the weekend. I’ve had my eye on this dress forever, but it was over $100… I bought for $18! Buy this before it goes! Also comes in navy, which would look awesome with a denim jacket for chilly weather.

8. Alexy Mottled Resin Hoops: I am obsessed with these! I got them a few weeks ago and have been wearing them nonstop. They’re super lightweight, go with everything, and are $11. Trendy fashion at a good price!

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Ya’ll know I love a full coverage foundation. That’s why I don’t want anyone to have a heart attack when I say in the past few months, all I’ve been wearing is light, sheer coverage.

I KNOW. I KNOW.

But before you have the reaction I would have six months ago, let me make my case.

I started having skin issues about two or three months ago, when I realized my thick Tarte Shape Tape concealer that I swear by was beginning to really dry out my undereye area. Since I was wearing it every day during the week, I think my face just really needed a break. I tried every moisturizer on the market, but nothing helped. So, I stopped wearing concealer.

At this point, I figured 1) full foundation without concealer to cover up my zombie eyes is going to look ridiculous on me, and 2) my whole face probably needed a break.

I went on the hunt for a good face sunscreen, and landed on the IT Cosmetics SPF 50 CC Cream.

This is where everything changed.

makeup, Beauty, foundation, IT Cosmetics

Since it’s humid and hot where I live, makeup in the summer doesn’t ever work very well, anyway. I started wearing the CC cream with a little of my Loreal Magic Lumi Highlighter underneath my eyes for a little pop, and then using my normal blush and bronzer on top.

And I liked it better than ever.

In the past 2 months or so of wearing this combo, my skin has changed. My face is so much clearer and I have less redness in my cheeks than ever before! Because of that, my freckles really stand out and the CC cream lets them show through. I really like being able to show off my skin, accentuating my features while covering what I really need to and adding sun protection (which if you know me, I am a huge advocate of!)

When I want a little more of a full makeup look, I’ve still been wearing the CC cream, but mixing in the Loreal True Match Lumi Foundation. The Lumi foundation keeps the dewy, natural look going— but gives you a little more coverage and a more even, smooth finish. I sometimes use the Lumi on its own, too. It’s got SPF, and its similar enough to the IT Cosmetics to interchange.

It’s no secret I don’t own a lot go high-end makeup, but the IT Cosmetics cream is a new must for me. It costs $38 at Ulta, but you can usually find a coupon to take a little off. I have not been able to find a dupe for this product, and I have tried about every CC/BB cream at the drugstore! And the Lumi line, which I obviously love, is already at the drugstore. Score!

If you’re a full coverage girl, give this a shot. If you don’t want to shell out your money for the CC Cream, run to Walgreens and pick up the Lumi. You will be glad you did!

Are ya’ll interested in seeing a video or photo step-by-step on how I do this light-coverage routine? Just let me know! I would love to share! 

Xoxo

Ivana

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Hi ya’ll! Today we’re taking about something that’s essential to my confidence- my smile.

I know, I know, but hear me out. I had a lot of dental and orthodontic work done when I was younger, which was’t exactly a pleasant experience nor a cheap one. Since I went through so much to get this smile, keeping my teeth pretty and healthy is a priority to me. Having aligned, straight teeth is one thing— but another thing that makes a difference to me is the color of my teeth.

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My smile has always been linked to my confidence, because I smile (and talk) a lot! Because I’m constantly showing them off, I want to have white teeth that I feel confident in. And also, let’s be real— red or bright colored lipstick can really accentuate stains! 

I’ve done at home teeth whitening before in high school with a kit from my dentist. While I loved the results, it was very pricey and it made my teeth so sensitive. I haven’t had any whitening treatments since then though, and with my wedding quickly approaching (less than 4 months!) I needed to get these coffee teeth corrected! When I heard about Smile Brilliant, I knew I wanted to give it a try.

Before and After

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(before: top | after: bottom)

SB comes with super easy, foolproof instructions on how to create your customized whitening trays. Simply mix the two putties together like Play Doh to make your impressions, and send them back with the included envelope! Within days, I had my teeth whitening trays and was ready to whiten.

I did my treatments every other night to cut down on tooth sensitivity, and I really didn’t have an issue with it. I found my back teeth get the most sensitive, so I just put less whitening gel there and concentrated it on other areas. Before bed, I put my trays in and turned on The Staircase, and an episode later I took them out. It’s that easy! (and, are you watching that show on Netflix? I am so convinced he is guilty as sin!)

Smile Brilliant, Southern Style Diaries, teeth whitening, teeth,

After several weeks of this pattern, I am so impressed with my results. I will probably keep up my whitening several times a week until the wedding, just so my coffee addiction doesn’t turn on me again.

How do you feel about your smile? Are you confident in your teeth, or do you feel like you’re just giving up on all the work you’ve had done on them in the past? If you’re ready for some improvement, give SB a try! The people there were so nice to give me a $149 credit to gift to one of my readers so you can try it out yourself! To enter, hit the link below and leave your name and email address. Winners will be announced via email in two weeks! 

Happy whitening! 

Enter the giveaway!  

P.S. If you can’t wait to see if you’ve won the contest, get 10% off your Smile Brilliant order with the code ivanasuzette


Home Teeth Whitening

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This is something that’s hard for me to put into words, but I’m going to try. I love new makeup, and a good pair of shoes, and my fancy KitchenAid mixer, but I think we’ve all started taking these things for granted and started giving too little.

More and more, as I slather on my tinted sunscreen and mascara before work in the mornings, I realize how lucky I am to do this, and to live this life. 

Just today I spent $30 at Walmart on beauty and skincare items. It hit me while I was checking out, couldn’t someone use this $30 more than I do? Couldn’t someone use this money for something more— like food, or water, or a blanket— than the new L’Oreal eye shadow palette I bought?

L'Oreal, Flower Beauty, makeup, beauty

(We’ll talk more about that later)

I think about this kind of thing a lot lately. Sometimes I fall into this thought that since I’m not a millionaire, I can’t give or make a difference. But then I remember the little things I try to do, like donate clothes I don’t wear, give cash to someone who needs it, feed the neighborhood strays, and listen to someone who needs to talk. While I can’t give $10,000 to charity, I like to think that these little things I do can make a difference in someone’s (or an animal’s) life.

On a slightly separate but related note, I think what you do with your words and actions is equally important. Last weekend, my fiancé and I went to Waffle House down the street from our house. We walked in and sat down and just then, a server approached a man at a nearby table. In a completely unnecessary, degrading tone, she told the man that he couldn’t sit there because he didn’t order food and he needed to leave the restaurant. The man, who had a WH to go cup in his hand, politely explained that he had ordered and was waiting on his food. Obviously surprised, she tucked her tail and walked off… while the clearly embarrassed man got up and walked to stand by the door. Turns out, the people next to us had bought the man a meal, and he was waiting to get it.

My amazing fiancé (who will kill me if he reads this) looked at me and said, “I know you’re hungry baby, but I can’t eat here with someone who acts like that.” Neither could I.

We got up, left, and ate somewhere that welcomes everyone for breakfast.

I’m not saying this to brag, but because it reminded me that goodness and giving doesn’t have to be measured by dollar signs. It’s measured by kindness.

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Hey y’all! Sorry for my absence lately, I’ve been slammed at my day job with some big court news. Keep up with me on Twitter if you’re interested in that!

But, I wanted to pop in and talk to you about one of my favorite activities— shopping! Y’all know I’m on a budget, and I think most of you are too. And, even if you’re not, why spend more money if you don’t have to?

Here are some of my favorite places to shop and some of my best tips per store.

Southern Style Diaries, Ivana Hrynkiw, clothes, shopping, budget

Happy shopping!

TJ Maxx: TJs is my goldmine and I could talk about it for days. But I’ll keep it short and sweet- check out every department, including the beauty and jewelry, for items up to half off store prices! You will find brands you never expected to be there, and save your wallet some pain.

H&M: My favorite leggings are from H&M. It’s one of the only places I can find leggings that are long enough and don’t shrink up past my ankles! Again, don’t forget their beauty aisle! Their makeup products are surprisingly high quality.

Old Navy: This is a great place for comfy basics like cardigans and workout clothes, and they also have an awesome selection of jeans. They have a huge variety of sizes, and their pants come in petite and tall. The Rockstar 24/7 jeans are my favorite!

Forever 21: I love keeping up with current trends, but I don’t want to spend a lot of money on something I’ll probably only wear for a year. Forever has the trendiest clothes, with a huge selection, and you don’t have to shell out money that you’d rather spend on a year-round item. Also, they have some amazing sandals for summer!

Belk: If you don’t have one, Belk is a southern department store that carries brands like Free People, Ralph Lauren, Sam Edelman, Jessica Simpson, French Connection and more. They sell shoes, makeup, accessories, and home goods. The best part— like most department stores— is they’re always having sales and giving our coupons.

Target: I have a love/ hate relationship with Target’s clothes. I always feel like they look so cute on the rack, but not so much on my body. Lately though I’ve really been loving their new brands A New Day and Universal Threads. I got two great work dresses from AND for just $7 and $13 a piece on the clearance rack! I also have two great button down shirts from UT that are so light and comfortable for summertime.

SheIn: I have a lot of thoughts on SheIn, but read more about that here. Overall, I think they *can* be a great source of cheap, cute clothes, especially for summer!

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own.
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One thing my wedding registry— and my house— is full of is rugs.

Lots of colorful, interesting rugs always makes a house feel like a home to me. My parents’ house is absolutely packed with Turkish and Persian rugs. I grew up going to flea markets and antique stores with my mom, hunting for the best deal on an authentic piece.

While our budget isn’t exactly friendly to the authentic Turkish rugs right now, I am all about stocking up on ones that are identical to them without the hefty price tag! I think these rugs can totally transform a room with little effort, and also helps protect your floors from muddy paws and coffee spills (guilty!).

Our floors also could use refinishing, but that’s definitely more of an investment than we’re planning to make at this point. Until then, some strategically placed rugs is more than perfect!

Also what I love is when you get tired of it in one spot, you can move it across the house to totally change another room. It’s like a home redo without the money.

rugs, Ivana Hrynkiw, Southern Style Diaries

Lucky for me, my Arabic fiance is ALL about a good rug and actually enjoys hunting for them! One of my favorite memories is being with my mom and Mitri at a flea market in New York when my mom found an amazing Oushak rug, and Mit had to carry it all the way back to our hotel in Midtown. I don’t think he’s as fond of this memory though…

Where to buy

Some of my favorite places to shop for affordable rugs are HomeGoods and TJ Maxx, flea markets, and off-the-beaten path antique stores. I’ve also found some great sites recently I love to keep my eyes on—  jossandmain.com, luluandgeorgia.com, and appleandoaknash.com.

I’m linking some of my favorites below so you can check them out, and maybe you’ll become obsessed too!

Tan and pink rug: Great for the dining room!

Purple and red runner: I would use this going from our dining room into a little side room. We usually close that area off, but I wouldn’t with a runner like this!

Pink and orange rug: If you have a large bathroom, this would be amazing. It wouldn’t fit in mine, but I could use it in my office/makeup room where I usually get ready.

Multicolor red rug: To me, this is kind of a standard Turkish-lookalike rug. Great for the living room or bedroom! And, this is from the Joanna Gaines line at BBB, which my registry is full of.

Gold and pink rug: This beauty would be amazing in a front entry room, or mudroom as the kids call it these days. I have a front table I would love to use this underneath. The light colors are so welcoming!

White and yellow rug: I have nothing like this white and yellow rug, and I am obsessed with it. It would look great in a bedroom or in a room that doesn’t get enough natural light… those light colors would fool everyone into thinking you had tons of windows.

Blue area rug: This guy is huge, making it a great piece for the den or living room. It would be awesome if you had a neutral-toned couch and a glass coffee table, because the rug would be the star of the show.

Pink and yellow rug: I would use this smaller rug at the top of the stairs, leading into the kitchen, or in the space before our bathroom door. Rugs like this are so versatile, and when you get tired of it somewhere you can just move it!

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I know I don’t usually talk about my health on my blog, but I think it’s important and I wanted to tell you about my health and fitness journey, and how happy I’ve become with my body and overall health over the past year.

I’ve always liked exercising, but struggled to find a consistent workout routine that I didn’t get bored of or dread. In high school and at the beginning of college, I opted for the treadmill/ elliptical for sometimes two hours just to feel like I was burning “enough calories” to lose a few pounds. I was also at a really rough part in my life in the first semester of college, so I compensated by exercising for hours to feel like I was in control of something.

Fast forward to the middle of college, I tried (and failed) to get into trial/outside running. I was also eating horribly, but I didn’t try to change that because I wasn’t gaining any weight. Because I looked okay, I thought what I was putting into my body didn’t matter. I felt so tired all the time, probably because I was consuming so much sugar and empty calories.

But last year, I did a total health 180. I found a workout program that is perfect for me, and one I actually look forward to going to! I got on a steady schedule, which I need to be consistent, and I hardly ever miss a class. When I do, I am never happy about it and I find myself working harder at my next class to make up for it. I couldn’t love my trainers more and they push me to be my best, without ever making me feel embarrassed or not good enough.

Ivana Hrynkiw, Southern Style Diaries, kickboxing, Gauntlet

If you’re like me, you never thought you needed a trainer. You are wrong! I think having such great trainers has pushed me to want to do better and want to stay on track. You don’t have to have a bootcamp type trainer– I hate that– but you need to have someone to encourage and support you, no matter what kind of exercising you do.

After nearly a year of being at my gym, I got my level 1 kickboxing certification! It may be silly, but I was so proud of myself and my body, and I can’t wait to keep testing for the next level.

Food

Aside from fitness, last year I totally changed the way I ate. I started paying more attention to what I was putting in my body, but without being obsessive. Now I eat healthy, prepped meals most days for lunch and dinners during the week, so I know exactly the nutrition I’m putting into my body and I can keep track of what I am not getting enough of. And, I don’t feel bad about scarfing down nachos on Saturdays and having a few drinks!

It makes so much sense, but I never thought about how the things I was putting in my body were affecting me negatively. Now, let’s get this straight. I still have to have at least one ice cream per week, and I still can knock out a whole pizza and a bowl of cheese dip in one sitting… but, I don’t feel so bad about it. It’s all about balance!

I’m so proud of myself because I made this change for me. I wasn’t necessarily trying to lose weight (although I did), but I wanted to tone up (which I also did) and feel more confident in my body. I am so happy with my health these days, and it breaks my heart to see girls who are not. I hope my story can inspire someone to change their lifestyle and get in shape for THEMSELVES. Not to fit in a dress, and not to look good for bikini season. Do it for you and you only! Your health and fitness is crucial to YOU.

Xoxo-

Ivana

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