Realisation Par Leopard Print Skirt Dupes

Scrolling through Instagram I have seen the same skirt pop up countless times. It seems as though every fashion blogger owns the same leopard print satin midi skirt – which I desperately want. The cut is flattering on every body type and while it is an animal print, it’s not so “in your face” as you would imagine. With some digging (not much tbh) I found the original seller to be a brand called, Realisation Par. Their philosophy revolves around creating unique individual pieces rather than collections, something I feel is a little bit out of the norm for a higher end designer. Alexandra Spencer and Teale Talbot wanted to create special items missing from your everyday wardrobe – and I am definitely missing this skirt from mine. But at a price point of $180, I don’t have it in me – or my bank account to buy the original Naomi – Wild Things. If you are anything like me and struggle with justifying spending that much cash money on a skirt, here are a few options to save you the $$ but not the look.


Zaful $18.49 – Showpo $42.95 – Boohoo $18.00 – Nastygal $20.00 – Shein $14.00 – Princess Polly $50.34 – Zara $49.90

Iceland: Where to Go and What to Do

IMG_8461We chose to stay in an airbnb about 40 minutes from Reykjavik and 20 minutes from the Blue Lagoon. I was immediately drawn to this airbnb in the listing because of its cozy cabin charm and rustic Icelandic decor. Our host met us on the first day to show us where everything was and explain how to use the hot water etc. He was truly such a nice man and he even stocked the fridge with some bread, cheese and tomatoes so we had something to eat before we were able to go food shopping. The house was a cozy two bedroom with a kitchen, bathroom and the living room had a flat screen tv with netflix and hulu for us to watch. It was nice to live in the more rural area of Iceland rather than in a hotel in town. I would definitely recommend looking into an airbnb somewhere along the beach like we did.IMG_8473IMG_8470

On our first day, we wanted to stay close to home and chose to explore what our local town had to offer. We drove to a supermarket and picked up some essentials (bread, bananas and nutella) among other things.. Then we took our map and explored southern Iceland where we found two amazing light houses, a beautiful cliff over looking the water and a small geyser. The geyser ended up being one of my highlights of the trip because of the multiple rainbows I saw. I even saw a rainbow form a complete circle. One of the craziest and most beautiful sites I ever witnessed. All through our trip, I can honestly say I saw at least two rainbows every single day and from the picture below, you can get a sense of how vivid they all were.

IMG_8459IMG_8458IMG_8467(1)Besides the many many rainbows I saw, the animals were maybe my favorite part. I love farm animals, always have. It may stem from my farming culture back in Poland, but every time I saw sheep or horses, I nearly lost my mind. The animals were all very friendly and for the most part did not run away. One time though, we did spot sheep that seemed a bit confrontational but they were only protecting their young. We came at a great time because we got to see so many babies! Sheep, horses, cows, you name it. Safe to say I had more than one photo shoot on the side of the road with various animals. Here is one of my favorite shots. IMG_8457On our second day, we went to the Blue Lagoon. I had my reservations about the lagoon because it seemed to be the number one tourist attraction and from my experience, the more touristy, the worse. But to my surprise, the lagoon was just the opposite. The lagoon was not crowded and the facility was very well kept and clean. Some of the staff could be a bit nicer but when working with tourists, I understand it can get frustrating. We ended up staying at the lagoon for 3 hours which flew by! The comfort package (the cheapest package) comes with admission, a drink in the lagoon and a silica mask. I heard one of the employees telling another tourist to put conditioner in their hair before entering the pool but I chose not to do so. BIG MISTAKE. My hair turned hard as a rock and drier than hay. I had terrible hair for majority of our trip no matter how many times I washed it and how many bottles of conditioner I used. So, my advice, drown your hair in conditioner before going into the lagoon. Your hair will thank you.

IMG_8468IMG_8472The next day we planned an all day trip to three more widely popular attractions; Skogafoss, the airplane and the Black Sand Beach. The drive down to these locations was about three hours but once we got there, all three were within a half hour drive of each other. Skogafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland and is widely photographed on the internet. The waterfall is surrounded by beautiful grassy mountains with hundreds of sheep frolicking in flower fields. Our of our six day stay, this day was without a doubt the sunniest and warmest. Not the best day to wear my thick nordic sweater. To get to the top you have to climb about 300 steps. In that heat, my back was drenched. If I learned anything from our trip to Skogafoss, it was to always layer. IMG_8455IMG_8466(1)Our second stop was the famous plain wreckage. From pictures online, it looked as if the plane was just off the shore but boy were we wrong. To get to the plane its a two hour round-trip walk on a harsh gravel path. We managed to walk to the trail in only two hours but the sign at the beginning says it’s four hours round trip. If you have long legs like us, you can definitely cut the time down but do be careful because the trail is extremely rocky. That being said, the plane itself was very cool and totally worth the walk. Because it takes a while for people to get to the plane, there were very few people there at a time which made it easy to take pictures. IMG_8465(1)IMG_8464(1)Our last stop of the day was the Black Sand Beach. The name is slightly deceiving because there was no sand. The “sand” was more like tiny black pebbles mixed in with bigger smooth looking stones. By this time, the wind had picked up making the beach weather a bit harsh. Definitely not bikini appropriate but then again, I don’t think anyone expects to wear a bikini there. The beach also has these amazing rock formations that you can climb, perfect for a photo-opp. Overall, the beach was very serene and almost romantic if it weren’t for all the screaming children running around. IMG_8454My third favorite part about Iceland were the flower fields. Everywhere you went, you could see these purple and sometimes blue flowers. They grew in fields and in small bunches on the side of the road and even on rocky mountain tops like this one. One afternoon we went for a hike not expecting anything to find the most beautiful field of flowers growing at the very top. There must have been miles and miles of these flowers. IMG_8460Now here is a little secret I want to share with you. All across Iceland you can find “secret” hot springs that mainly locals know about but somehow word of a few of them has gotten out. We took a swim in this one nestled between two volcanoes. In order to get to it, you have to drive to hidden valley and hike 20 minutes. The water was filled with moss and the bottom of the pool was so slimey you could barely walk but the temperature was nice and the surroundings simply took your breath away. The little building featured has rooms where you can change in and out of your baithing suit but I recommend keeping your belongings somewhere you can keep an eye on them rather than in the rooms. If you want more information on how to get to this secret hot spring, let me know!IMG_8463(1)IMG_8462(1)Finally, I will leave you with my thoughts on our visit to Reykjavik. Let me preface that I have been to European cities many times so I am familiar with this kind of city feel. We chose to spend one day in the city for that reason. And while the city had its charm, any more than a day seemed like a waste. The restaurants were extremely expensive and the alcohol cost even more. We did however, want to try some traditional Iceland food so we chose to splurge on a meal and stopped into the Icelandic Barrin for some meat soup. The smell was a little off putting but the overall taste was good. Keep in mind the meat in the stew is lamb. A few other places we visited were Braud & Co which is known for their cinnamon rolls. We bought two and I am still day dreaming about them. We also visited the Whale museum and stopped into the Chuck Norris Cafe to see what it was. We saw the famous church and the whale statue and of course, browsed all the gift shops. Overall, we had fun in Reykjavik but we preferred seeing the natural beauty of the island rather than spending time shopping. IMG_8471IMG_8469My takeaways from our Icelandic adventure were that no material objects can make you feel the way a mountain can. While we are not “outdorsey” people, there is something about standing in a valley looking up at a beautiful sunset that makes you want to be. If you are thinking about traveling to Iceland but are on the fence because of price, I think you should really go. I have memories to last a lifetime.

A Refinery29 Style Diary: A Day in Beauty PR

Today I will take you through a busy day in my life working at a Beauty Public Relations agency in New York City.

Spoiler Alert: it’s not a lifestyle of the rich and famous.

Name: Nicole – Occupation: Associate Account Executive (AAE) – Location: 45th ST. NY, NY Work Day: 10AM-6PM

5:05AM I wake up to the worst sound in the world; my alarm. It’s still dark af outside. A notification pops up on my phone: “Get your ass to gym”. I fall out of bed and manage to put on workout leggings.

5:20AM I walk into the gym and immediately want to walk out. I chug overly concentrated pre-workout and head for the treadmill. Then the elliptical. I go over to the free weights. I pick things up and put them down.

6:40AM I stand under boiling hot water in the shower for too long.

7:10AM *obnoxious rattling* I down a protein shake out of my blender bottle because “gains”. I use vanilla protein with almond milk. For an extra kick in the morning and for a little extra flavor, I add in a teaspoon of instant coffee. I fry up some egg whites and my favorite Morning Star meatless spicy sausage patties.

7:50AM I sit in a freezing car waiting for my wind shield to defrost.

8:06AM I board the (what I only imagine hell feels like), train. NjTransit, if you’re reading this, I hate you.

8:55AM I transfer trains at Secaucus.

9:22AM I take the subway to Bryant Park.

9:50AM I sit down at my desk.

10:00AM I scan for placements online. We use a tool called Cision which notifies you based on key words when a client has been featured on a publication site or magazine. I find three new placements for one client and two for another. I send an email with write ups on the placements including UVPM, links and images to clients. I input the new placements into our Rolling Report, a fluid excel document that holds all placements to-date. This report is sent to the client at the end of the month for review.

11:00AM I have a call with a client. I print out the agenda I created the day before and dial in.

11:30AM I recap the call in a word document and send back to the client with any additional feedback or information discussed on the call.

12:00PM Print publications have been folding left and right and editors are getting laid off. Every month we send magazine editors the newest launch from our brands. I comb through our list and delete all the editors out of work. I’m left with 24 editors. I print labels and start assembling gift bags. Each gift bag receives a product, press release, note and business card.

1:00PM Lunch arrives. Every Thursday we have an agency wide catered lunch. This week is Indian, my favorite. We sit at a long table in the middle of the office discussing any difficulties teams have been having with clients, products etc. We brainstorm a few solutions while everyone finishes their curry. Someone mentions a funny story about an old intern and it kicks off a chain of funny stories about the old agency owner.

2:00PM I begin scouting makeup artists for this month’s seeding. I collect information such as Instagram followers, email and agent representation in a word document template. The very specific format takes a long time and I end up taking a break.

2:50PM An old client needs their inventory sent back. I pack up the skincare products and any old collateral. We have our own shipping station so I play UPS woman for a while.

3:40PM I take a stab at some pitching, regional to be exact. Regional or mid-lead refers to magazines specific to a regional such as the AMNY(New York) or DMagazine(Dallas). I send a blast and respond to some reactive emails from the pitch.

4:00PM I run downstairs for coffee. We are lucky because we have 3 Starbucks locations within two blocks, a Pret A Manger IN THE BUILDING and a Gregory’s Coffee a block away. Options, people.

4:30PM Two more placements come through. I send the write-ups to the client and update the Rolling Report.

4:45PM I can’t find a hi-res image of a product in our shared drive folders. I decide to reorganize all product images by name, date and category because i’m crazy. And maybe a little bit of an over achiever.

5:30PM I am spearheading an Influencer program at the agency so I am slowly updating contacts in our influencer media list. Every day we receive requests from bloggers to be added to our media list. Once added, these bloggers receive pitches and are eligible to receive samples to try, review and write about. There are roughly 2,000+ contacts in this list. Slowly but surely we’ll get there.

5:40PM My team regroups for an EOD meeting. We discuss any outstanding work and what needs to be prioritized for tomorrow.

6:01PM I head for the subway to Penn Station, take a connecting train to Secaucus and board the Bergen County local train.

7:50PM We arrive in my town. I sit in a freezing car waiting for my wind shield to defrost and drive home.

8:00PM I’m home. I eat dinner and watch television with my mom until 10:30PM. I need to move out ASAP.

11:00PM I scroll through my Instagram feed in bed liking images or girls in bikinis and think about how much the gym will suck tomorrow morning.

11:30PM Lights out. Do it all again.

Evil Eye Accent Wall: DIY IKEA HACK

Last year I painted my room completely white. I’m talking white walls, white furniture, white curtains, the whole 9 yards. I needed a change from my gray walls and orange accented pillows I slept in for the last four years. I wanted something more “adult-like” and something I wouldn’t get bored of after a few months. The great thing about having a white room is being able to decorate it with whatever color palette you want and being able to change up the entire look and feel with only a few throw pillows. But the bad thing about having an all white room is having to actually decorate it. My mom had hesitations about my all white room because of its #hospitalvibes but I knew I would be able to make it my own. Unfortunately, up until now I haven’t been able to really make it that. Call it interior design block.

Last week I was strolling through Ikea, aka the land of the meatballs and home of the lingonberry juice. Ikea finally introduced some new artwork to their collection and it was very refreshing seeing something other than an oversized Audrey Hepburn, a foggy bridge, and a London landscape with a double decker. You know exactly which paintings i’m referring to and this is how we know Ikea was long over due for some newness. In the corner of the art section, I stumbled upon some decals from the new SPRIDD collection, a limited edition print-based collection of vibrant must-haves perfect for modern nomads. One decal pack in particular caught my eye which contained two abstract looking eyes, a nose and a mouth. Not exactly sure who would want or need a face like this on their wall but I immediately thought of an Urban Outfitters pillow I saw a some time ago.  Evil Eye Ikea Hack 4.jpg

Unfortunately the pillow is no longer available but here is similar option if you are in the market for an eye pillow. This decal pack is not available online and is only sold in certain Ikea stores so if you’d like to pick these up, definitely call your local Ikea ahead of time to see if they carry them before you make the trip. Each pack is $10, a steal in my opinion for such a large sized decal. I bought three packs. In total, I spent $30 on this wall.

In order to make sure I liked the final look of the wall, I played around with the placement of each decal before completely committing to sticking them on. I took a pair of scissors and cut each decal out to have separate pieces instead of one large sheet. Then, I put two piece of tape on the back and stuck them on the wall where I thought they would look great. Once happy with the placement, I took off the back piece of paper on the decal and stuck each onto the wall for good. Although they are sticky, they are not so permanent that you cannot remove them without ripping off chunks of paint. Just remember, each time you remove them, they will lose a little bit of their stickiness allowing them to eventually peel off the wall before you are ready to take them off. So my best advice, have someone stick the decals on and have a friend watch from a far to make sure the placement looks good before committing to a spot.

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Evil Eye Ikea Hack 5

The overall labor of this project is so minimal, it’s hard to even call it a “project”. For $30, I was able to completely transform a bare space into a cool tumblr-esque accent wall giving my room the character it was missing. And although these eyes are “eye catching”, they are minimal enough to match any other patterns or textures I may add to my room in the future.

Evil Eye Ikea Hack 1

Evil Eye Ikea Hack 2

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Let me know in the comments if you like how this mini project came out and if you would ever consider giving your room an accent wall like this.