Getting Personal: Midriff.


Hey there bow friends,

Today’s post is a little different.  Although it’s titled “Midriff” it could also be titled “Things I’m Not Ashamed Of.”  I have realized there are some things I do or are a part of me that other people don’t like or find embarrassing.  I really hate that.  I hate it a lot.  It’s hard to be comfortable and confident in your own skin while being judged by those around you.  I thought I’d list things that I am not ashamed of in order to..feel better about myself.  Anyways, let’s get to that list.

  • I’m an average student and it takes a lot of work to be that average student.  I do the best that I can.
  • I do swear.  In fact I think I swear an average amount for a college student in their twenties.  It’s not my favorite, but I don’t hate myself for it.
  • I eat my feelings sometimes.  Often.
  • I used to overpack a lot.  Now I can’t live down that reputation.  Oh well.
  • As I’ve mentioned before, I’m over weight.  
  • I have struggled with depression and anxiety since elementary school.  Panic attacks and all.
  • I’m a very sensitive person.  Ask Beau.  When I get really happy, I cry.  When I watch Long Island Medium, I cry.  First 10 minutes of Up?  I cry.
  • I love Lady Gaga.  Let me be a little more clear.  I love Lady Gaga.
  • I am, above all other things, a sass master.  I have strong opinions and an even stronger ability to make sure they are heard.
  • I talk loudly.  It’s in my blood to talk loudly.  My inner Puerto Rican refuses to be silenced.
  • Regardless of what others may think, I’m actually quite the introvert.  I have to try awfully hard to socialize with people and I surprisingly don’t like being with others all that much.  Social situations often times exhaust me.  What’s nice is once I am comfortable with people (My family, Beau and his family, my friends) I don’t feel like I have to try as hard.  This does mean I have a hard time making friends unfortunately.
  • I am obnoxiously proud of being from New York.  I’ve lived in Florida for 14 years and although it’s been home for that long, it hasn’t ever really felt like home. It’s just not the right fit for me.
  • Occasionally, I dress in ways that others don’t think is appropriate for my weight. For instance, showing a little bit of my midriff.  All I can say is that if it makes me feel good, I’m going to wear it no matter how uncomfortable it makes you feel. 

I’m really not embarrassed or ashamed of the person I’ve become.  As humans, we are constantly changing and developing.  I’m trying to learn to love that process.  I’ve also been trying to be a stronger person and to build my confidence lately.  I just thought something like this post might help me feel better.  I actually do feel feel really good now.  I’m going to make some tea and take some time to appreciate myself.  

I encourage you to all tell me one thing you’re not ashamed of in the comments, twitter, or facebook.   We can be fancy and even give it a hashtag. #Midriff ?  Maybe it will help you feel better too.

We shall talk soon.

-Tara Joy ❤ 

Beauty Exploration: Line Design.

Black Track Fluid lineHey there, bow friends!

I’m a huge fan of some liquid liner action, but have recently ended up spending some money on a gel liner from MAC.  How did this happen?  I was persuaded by a MAC girl who knew just what to say to get me to hand over my card.  That’s beside the point.  I got to participate in a special MAC event for the summer and my MUA and I decided to play around with a more angular and interesting eyeliner look.  With a MAC 266 and a steady hand, I somehow magically executed the perfect flick with a thumbs up and compliment on my handy work from the MUA.  

How was that magic possible?  Well.  It’s all about the approach.  The angled brush was fantastic to creating a clean sketch and allowed a lot of control.  This tiny sketch of a baby triangle lead from the lower lash line in the direction of the tail of my eyebrow as reference.  It was surprisingly simple.  Plus, the 266 is my brush of choice to define and fill in my brows.  I think more than one use justifies a purchase.

So what do I think of the Blacktrack Fluidline gel liner?  At first it was love.  Easy, smooth application and a decent amount of opacity.  About 3 hours later, I noticed it transferred onto my crease area.  Oi.  Now I don’t have oily lids and have never experienced transferring from my Milani Eyetech Extreme liner or the Maybelline Gel liner (buy this at like Walmart or walgreens for a price around $5.50.  It’s marked up at Ulta,) For such a decently pricy product with a big following, I’m surprised it didn’t exceed my expectations.  

I hope you guys enjoyed my slightly scattered thoughts on the liner as well as a recap on my love for the good old MAC 266.  Maybe with some trial and error I’ll figure out how to make the liner last.  Have any tips? Let me know!

We shall talk soon!

-Tara Joy ❤



A College Life for Me: Dorm Decorating.

My Sophomore Year DormHey there bow friends!

My senior year is here.  That’s scary/gross/exciting to put into words.  Considering the fact that I’ve lived in dorms for the last 3 years, I thought I’d give you some tips and insight on how to get your decorate on.

  • Make it feel like home – One thing a lot of people fresh into college don’t do is make their dorm rooms feel homey.  You will be living in this little cube for 9 months out of the year.  A space that isn’t comforting or inspiring will often cause people to become homesick (Take it from me.).   Bring photos of friends and families, decorative pillows, stuffed animals, favorite books, and anything that makes you feel happy and cozy.
  • Be fair, but be true to yourself – Having a roommate (especially one you’ve never met before) can be hard to get used to especially when it comes to decorating/arranging your room.  Analyze your space and propose ways to make the most of what you’ve got.  Your room is a shared space and should therefore be created of shared ideas between the two of you.  If you want your desk by a window, speak up, but be kind.
  • Keep it practical – Think of organizing in a vertical way in order to make the most of your space.  Most rooms are small and come with a desk, night stand, small closet, and a loftable bed.  One of my favorite things to do is slightly raise my bed so I can store things like my hamper and storage boxes.  I usually bring a small fridge (Apparently some schools give you one, check before you shop.) and keep a bin of snacks or water bottles on top.
  • A bedroom not a storage unit – You can easily over stuff your room.  It’s probably best not to bring your entire wardrobe with you for school.  Most people go home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so think of these times as opportunities to swap out weather appropriate clothing.  Bring decorative elements like small rugs, posters, photos, fairy lights, or whatever floats your boat.  My rule for knick knacks?  If everything I want to decorate with doesn’t fit in a shoe box, it doesn’t come to school with me.  You want a homey room, not a clutter cave.

I hope that this was helpful in some way.  Are there any other elements of dorms or college life you’re wondering about?  I’d love to help.  Speaking of help, I could probably use some.  I’m currently moving into my new apartment for school and still need to unpack tons of stuff.  Time for me to spend some time organizing my life.

We shall talk soon!

-Tara Joy ❤

BowTube: Makeup Collection.

My Makeup Set UpHey there bow friends!

It’s been a few years and I haven’t even shown you my stash of cosmetics.  I was thinking about what to review next and thought I’d ask you all.   If you see anything in my stash that you are really interested in knowing my thoughts on, do let me know!

On to how I store it all!  Yes.  I did follow the typical trend of using the IKEA Alex Drawers.  I went for the shorter, wider ones instead of the tall ones as I like to use the top surface for decorating and things.  They are kind of pricey, but I think they’re worth it and match the aesthetic I’m trying to create in my room.  The construction of the drawers themselves wasn’t so bad, but greatly time consuming.  The drawers work well, except for the top drawer which pulled out really slowly for the first week or so.  It’s all good now.

The drawer organizers are the IKEA Stodja trays.  They fit perfect inside with some wiggle room and offer a clean and easy way to get your organize on.  Plus!  They are only $1.99.  They’re also pretty sturdy and clean up very easily.

I hope you enjoyed watching and if you found something you’re interested in knowing more about, let me know.

We shall talk soon!

-Tara Joy❤

Getting Personal: Let’s Get Physical.

The Outdoors - Nike Free FlyknitsHey there bow friends,

Today I wanted to talk about something a little different that I have been thinking about a lot recently.  This year I have spent a lot of time exploring the outdoors here in Florida as well as in Colorado and Iceland and being really active.  I’ve always loved and appreciated nature and being outside, but it’s a little harder for me than it used to be.

That probably sounds like I have a serious medical issue, but I promise I’m okay. Let me explain. I was a very active child.  I participated in years of ballet, jazz, and modern dance as well as tennis, soccer, and horse back riding.  I’ve never been a star athlete, but I always continued to stay active.  I wasn’t the most fit kid and remember very clearly the way my life seemed to fall apart as I “ran” the mile in middle school (But I was a pro at the sit and reach.  High five for flexibility!), but I was always doing something.  As time went on and high school came around, so did lots of extra weight and an abundance of inactivity.  At the beginning of college, I shed almost 40 pounds, but slowly they crept back into my life.  I had a year of reclaiming my health when I worked hard on eating well and being active, but finals and summer break through me out of whack.  This all leads up to now.

To be honest, the issue is that I’m not entirely confident in my physical abilities and I struggle with being overweight (50 pounds overweight, just to clarify).  I get stuck on the fact that I got myself into this large rut of semi healthy eating and very low physical activity.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love nature and being outdoors. I love the feeling after a great work out.  I love walking, biking, yoga, and all of that good stuff, but it’s hard to push through sometimes.  I’m very easily discouraged and tend to struggle with staying motivated.  I understand it’s a journey, up and downs happen, and that being active and healthy is a lifestyle.  Trust me, I tell myself all of that constantly.  It’s just hard to keep up sometimes.

Beau consistently motivates me and inspires me to embrace the outdoors and has brought me back to appreciating being active.  He has encouraged me to pick up running as well as pushed me to embrace the kinds of physical activity I love like ballet.  Beau and his family are very active, outdoorsy people and they have included me in a ton of outdoor experiences like hiking, biking, beach adventures, and riding.  They have been a fantastic positive influence on me when it comes to keeping active and I appreciate them greatly.

I’m not sure what I’m trying to get out of this post.  Maybe just brainstorming some thoughts as to why I’m holding myself back.  This year, I want to reclaim my body and move forward.  I want to feel better and do more.  I constantly challenge myself academically and don’t see why I can’t do that physically.  I think I focus on the past a bunch when it comes to where I stand with my health, but here’s to moving forward!

We shall talk soon!

-Tara Joy ❤

PS That muddy knee was due to sliding in a mud patch in Iceland.  I’m really graceful.

Travel Mini Round Up.

Travel Minis

Hey there bow friends!

I know, half way through summer already and I still have summer tips.  As you know, I make lots of trips to visit Beau and I’ve also just come back from a little vacation.  To say I’m a master of searching out the perfect travel size products is an understatement.  Today I’m going to give you some of my top choice recommendations.

When it comes to hair products, I’m a huge fan of minis rather than the regular size products as they tend to be huge.  The Toni & Guy Sea Salt Texturising Spray is perfect in size and as a product.  Holiday second day hair gets wavy with a few spritz of this stuff as well as a refresher from a mini Batiste dry shampoo.  Oh, and a mini of whatever hair oil I’m using (Usually my beloved Morrocan Oil) gets thrown into the mix as well.

Makeup removal on the go!  I snapped up this tiny Studio 35 eye makeup remover from Walgreens and tend to refill it when it goes empty.  The Yes to Blueberries travel face wipes tend to make an appearance as well.  Trying to give your makeup a boost of lasting power?  A mini and skinny Urban Decay De Slick should sort you out.

Trying to get the hydrated, summer glow?  I’d go with any of The Body Shop body butters in the travel size as you won’t have the fear of a leaky lotion with one of those.  Oh, that glow I was talking about.  Mix a bit of the Sally Hansen travel sized airbrush legs with your lotion and you should be good to go.

Oh, and the tiny Axe Anarchy spray (which smells unexpectedly incredible) is good for freshening up once out of the plane or train.

I hope these mini (mini) reviews help you out when you’re looking for perfect products to bring along on your adventures.  Have any teeny tiny recommendations for me?  I’d love to hear about them.

We shall talk soon!

-Tara Joy ❤

Beauty Exploration: Light and Fresh.

The Body Shop Grape Fruit Body Butter; Fig and Yarrow Rose/Sandalwood/Neroli Complexion Water.Hey there, bow friends!

I’m back in action!  Back from Iceland, done with my course, and ready to finally have some proper me time.  Speaking of Iceland, the weather was pretty chilly (go figure).  Colder, drier weather means my normally oily skin gets a bit more dry.  In order to keep hydrated, I misted my life away using the Fig + Yarrow Complexion Water in the Rose/Sandalwood/Neroli scent.  Not only did it rehydrate my skin through out the day, but the scent is relaxing and fresh.

Speaking of fresh, grapefruit body butter anyone?  I love The Body Shop mini body butters for travel and this grapefruit one has its own place in my summer travel bag.  It has a very natural, grapefruit scent, sweet and tart, that lingers softly with wear.  Plus, it packs a hydrating punch as all the body butters do.

These travel minis were perfect for my trip.  What minis do you swear by and where are you traveling to with them?

I’ve got all sorts of Iceland footage that’s going to be put into a couple of vlogs along with blog posts of my trip.  I’m so excited to show them to you and I hope you’re excited to see them!  It was a gorgeous place and an incredible experience.  I’m so grateful to have been able to be there and enjoy that time with Beau and family.  I hope you are all doing well.

We shall talk soon.

-Tara Joy ❤

BowTube: Life Update Vlog.

Alphonse Wrinkle noseHey there, bow friends!

I’ve got an update vlog for you all about what’s going on in my life right now.  I’ve been reading a lot of John Green, got a surprise hair chop, and am struggling to care for a succulent.  I know.  My life is a roller coaster ride.

Alphonse ElricOne thing which kind of took over a little is that Al (You know, that beautiful guy I talked about this time last year.) is going to be put down this week.  He hasn’t been doing well recently and his new owners and I decided it would probably be better for him as his quality of life will most likely decrease in the months to come.   It’s something I needed to get off my chest and I feel a bit better about it now, but it’s definitely going to take time for me to get over it.  I don’t know how you get over this kind of thing, but I guess I have to figure that out.

I hope you all are having great summers.  I’m actually heading to Iceland Thursday with Beau to be with his family and explore.  What are your summer plans?  Anything exciting happening?  Let me know!

We shall talk soon.

-Tara Joy  ❤

Fig + Yarrow Cardamom and Coffee Body Scrub.

Fig + Yarrow Cofffee and Cardamom Body Scrub.ScrubFig + Yarrow Cofffee and Cardamom Body Scrub.Hey there bow friends!

Today I thought I’d talk about this incredibly delicious (I don’t eat it, I swear.) Cardamom + Coffee scrub from Fig + Yarrow.  I snatched it up at a table at the Denver Flea a couple weeks ago and have no regrets.  I had heard some lovely things about Fig + Yarrow in the past and couldn’t help but make it rain on the girl operating the booth.  I wanted it all, but I came away with two little beauties, one being this cardamom and coffee body scrub.

I love a great exfoliating scrub and this one boasts not only proper exfoliation, but also magic firming powers.  It has a rich coffee and (you guessed it) cardamom scent that makes you want to scoop it into your coffee maker.  The scrubby bits are actually roasted coffee bean.  Mixed with cocoa butter, shea butter, and olive oil, the scrub offers a nice moisturizing feel afterward that softens my skin.  I will say, the first time I used it the moisturizing feel grossed me out.  A little greasy, a little yuck.  After a couple more uses I’ve learned this feeling is mainly user error.  Too much scrub means too much extra moisture.  Moving on.

Caffeine is apparently wonderful for cellulite.  I don’t think I’ve used it long enough to notice any firming action, but I do use it on my thighs and all of the less “firm” parts.  I love every component, even the jar it comes in.  It looks extremely lovely in my bathroom with all my other pamper goodies.  I think it’s the perfect add in to a summer routine for glowing arms and legs.  Plus, nothing makes me happier then products made in Colorado.

On that note, I think I need to have a warm mug of energy.  I hope you all are doing well and enjoying your summers!  I’m getting in a lazy summer time rut, but you’ll be proud to know I’m pushing through. Here’s to an active and bustling summer.

We shall talk soon!

-Tara Joy

Summer Bright Lipstick Picks and Giveaway Winner Announcement.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Love Sick; NYX Butter Lipstick in Fizzies.Fizzies and Lovesick.

Fizzies and Lovesick.Hey there, bow friends!

Care to see what I’m smacking on my mouth these days?  I’m sure that was your first thought this morning.  “Man, Tara’s mouth.  It’s been looking really bright these days.  I wonder what it’s wearing.”  I tend to wear all sorts of shades of lip products during the summer, but I’ve been crazy loving these two drugstore lippies in particular.  I hauled them a week or so ago and thought I’d let you know why I love them.

The one I’m wearing right now (as I type) is the NYX Butter Lipstick in Fizzies.  This little beauty is a wonderful summer shade that offers a punch of peach and rose.  The formula is quite creamy (like buttah) and sheer. Much more sheer than the Revlon Lip Butters, but there’s no added shimmer.  It’s extremely comfortable to wear and doesn’t settle into any lines, crevices, or dry spots in my lips.

Now off to an old favorite.  I love the Revlon Just Kissable Balm Stains and I had never thought of the shade Lovesick as something I needed until I saw it on Vivianna.  This color is incredible.  That kind of shade that makes your teeth vibrant white.  It’s definitely bright and makes me feel extra confident.  The stain wears evenly, but my goodness.  Good luck getting it off.  My swatches of it lasted forever even through multiple showers. Like the other balm stains of this finish, the formula is comfortable and buildable.  It’s a great add in to any collection.

I also love that Lovesick matches my current purse so well. I’ve been accidentally matching everything to this bright handbag and you know what? I kind of like that matchy matchy business.  It’s a really odd color for me, but I’m rocking it anyways.  Have any color or product recommendations for me?  What have you been wearing this season?

Oh.  And I bet you’re wondering who won that lovely giveaway, well…


Congratulations to Annie! I’m dying for you to get your hands on all the lovely goodies. Please email me as soon as you can so I can send you your awesome prize!  Thank you all for entering.  Thank you for reading and thank you for making this such a lovely place for me.  I hope you all have a great weekend.

We shall talk soon!

-Tara Joy