Leopard Print is a Neutral with Maddy of The Black Barcode


I have always been a firm believer that Leopard Print is a neutral. Last time I was home, I did some shopping with my friend Maddy, of The Black Barcode. Maddy was lusting over a similar cardigan at JCrew, and when we walked into H&M and found this cardigan at a fraction of the price—$10—we couldn’t resist.

I choose to style my cardigan around my waist, but in true Ithaca, New York style, it was colder than expect so I ended up just wearing it. Overall, great sweater. I got many compliments throughout the day and loved the look of it. If you are afraid of bold prints, I would highly recommend tying them around your waist as a way to ease yourself into the style.

Maddy and I also teamed up in the spring to do a post on spring pastels, if you are interested in reading that one too.

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Get This Look: Leopard Print is a Neutral

Sweater: H&M | Shirt: TJMaxx | Jeans: Nordstrom Rack | Flats: Old Navy | Watch: Kate Spade

See How Maddy Styled Her Sweater



As always on Sophistication and Sparkles, my goal is to help you get the most out of life during your college years and early twenties. Certain things are worth splurging on—hey, Fall textbook order—but others aren’t. I hope that this post gave you an idea of how you can find exactly what your looking for without breaking the bank!

~Alana Robin


October 14, 2016

September Ipsy Bag Review


As a girl on a budget that has a passion for trying new products, Ipsy is my perfect soulmate. For only $10 a month, I get five new products in the mail. In High School, I was a long time Ipsy subscriber, and I actually restarted based on my trip to the Birchbox Store in Manhattan. I realized how much I was missing the service and figured I would do it for a few months, get some new products, and then cancel again. I know, big plans for a simple subscription, but as a true budget-lover, I can’t help but think ahead. This September Ipsy bag is really good, so get ready for a full review.

Subscribe to Ipsy Here!

Please note: This is not a sponsored post, I just like to tell you about things that are fun and worth the money!

Review of the September Ipsy Bag 2016

Waxing Kara-Sweet Lips Honey Lip Balm in Clear, $10: This product is amazing. For the past two nights, I have put it on before bed. In the morning I can still feel the insane amount of moisture on my lips. Lip balm is something I think you can never really have too many of, so I was happy to find this in my bag.

Crown Brush Ombre Angle Brush, $13: Brushes are always fun and often expensive, so I was happy to find this in my bag. It feels soft and seems like a decent quality level, but I haven’t played with it yet so can’t say more.

Whish Renewing Mud Mask, $44-full size: I am a mask hoarder. I have had acne prone skin for about 12 years, so I love to try new masks. This sample size is honestly perfect for me because it will last roughly 5 uses.

tre’StiQue Mini Highlight Stick in Maldives Luminescent, $34: When I first opened this product, I thought the cap was missing. It wasn’t. It just opened completely differently than expect. After that initial struggle, I am extremely happy with this product. I have sampled the Benefit Watt’s Up highlight stick before, and am very excited to try another. I find this type of product to be perfect for your inner eye duct or as an eyeshadow base.

Tarte Cosmetics Tarteist Lash Paint Mascara, $23-full size: Mascara is always a necessity because you never want to use a tube for much longer than 3 months. Mascara is the one product that I try to continuously replace and keep up with. That’s why getting one in a subscription box makes me smile. I tried this mascara this morning, and like the consistency; however, it has an interesting cap as well. It is pull off instead of twist off. I am very interested to see if the product dries out faster with this type of packaging and will keep you all updated.

Total Bag Value: $124 (if all products were full size)

Things I Would Have Purchased Myself

When you are on a budget and subscribe to something like this, I think it is important to take a step back and value the bag. I ask myself what I would have actually purchased, and what I would have paid for that product. Not what it is worth, what I would actually pay. That’s they only way to truly know if it was worth it. In my September Ipsy Bag, I would have purchased the following items myself:

  • Lip Balm for $3
  • Face Mask for $5
  • Mascara for $5 (it is a sample size)

The total I would have spent to get items that I will use to completion was $13. Therefore, even with my own stubbornly, cheap mentality, this bag was worth the $10. This doesn’t mean I won’t use the other products. It just puts value on what I would have spent on these same products.

Interested? Subscribe to Ipsy!


As always on Sophistication and Sparkles, my goal is to help you get the most out of life during your college years and early twenties. Certain things are worth splurging on—hey, Fall textbook order—but others aren’t. I hope that this post gave you an idea of how you can incorporate new products into your daily routine without breaking the bank!

~Alana Robin

September 21, 2016

Guide to Making Impressions at the Career Fair


Senior year.

Its a bittersweet time full of fun events and last memories.

It is only week three and I already find my self being pulled in a million directions. There is pressure to attend every event, catch up with friends, ace your coursework, and—most of all—find a job.

Finding a job is easily the most intimidating process. Internally, you know exactly what you want. Externally, not only can you not voice what you want, but it doesn’t seem to exist in any of the job postings.

It is easy to feel discouraged and as though there is not perfect job for you.

It is easy to feel as though whatever job you do take may or may not be a huge mistake.

Well, thats why I am here to help. I have battled my inner stressed out demons and developed the perfect plan to attack the job search in full on mode.

Over the next month, I will be doing a series of posts on every step of the job hunt process. Today, I will be disclosing my tips to make impressions at the Career Fair.

Last year, I did a post on how to write the perfect resume: read it here for my best tips and tricks!

Before You Go to the Career Fair

Here is a simple check list of everything you need to do before the Career Fair.

  1. Update your resume and print 20+ copies on resume paper
  2. Look through the companies coming
  3. Look at what positions the companies are hiring for
  4. Get a map and highlight your path though the fair
  5. Pick out the perfect outfit
  6. RELAX

The last step—to relax—is extremely important. Companies want to see you calm and confident, not a nervous wreck.

Quick Tips for the Career Fair

  • Always introduce yourself with a pitch [see below]
  • Always ask for a business card and follow up with a “great meeting you” email
  • Always smile
  • Always ask the recruiter about their experience—people love to talk about themselves and it gives you a good feel for the company
  • Always chat quietly with people in line with you if you can—recruiters love to see that you are friendly
  • Never rush—you want them to think they are the booth you care to talk to the most
  • Never fidget—they are standing there all day and fidgeting can be very distracting
  • Never stand with friends and talk about companies—wait until you leave because the walls have ears

Prepare your Pitch

When you walk up to a booth, you want to have a concise and telling pitch for yourself. Mine goes a little something like this:

“Hello, I hope you are having a lovely afternoon. My name is Alana Askari and I am currently a senior studying Hotel Administration. Over the past three summers, I have had the opportunity to pursue internships in Retail, Corporate Hospitality, and Event Planning. From these experiences, I have found that I thrive in roles that require teamwork, analytics, and continuous learning. For these reasons I am interesting in your company.”

I try to slightly alter my skill set or offer more explanation to my internships if it is relevant and the recruiter looks interested, but often times it is better to keep it brief. After this pitch, the recruiter will say some things and then you will use your preparation skills and say:

“I would love to hear more about the _______ position at ______ company.”

Then, keep it a conversation. As things he/she says interest you, ask about it. Show that you are paying close attention.

Before you leave the booth, make sure to ask:

“What is your favorite part about the culture of the company?”

This is the perfect question. Not only does it allow the interviewer to talk about themselves, but it gives you a true gauge of they feel about the company and if they have a staged or genuine answer.

September 10, 2016

ELF Makeup Haul

my mini ELF makeup haul

As an glam girl on a budget, I love ELF makeup. Being in New York City this summer, I spend a lot of time walking around, and I actually stumbled upon a full ELF store. This was extremely excited to me because in the past, I have only really ordered online, and it was so nice to be able to test and see the products in person. Plus there was no free shipping minimum, which is always good!

ELF Makeup

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Makeup is always a good idea. Two of the three products I purchased have worked their way into my daily routine already.

  • Blush and Bronzer Duo in Fiji-matte: The other duos I have tried from E.L.F had so much glitter in them, so I was thrilled to find a matte palette.
  • Brow Pencil in Neutral Brown: Wow. Brow pencils NEVER match for me, but this one was only $2, so I gave it a tried. I am so happy that I did, because it is smooth with intense coverage that blends very well.
  • Corrective Concealer Palette in Neutralize and Conceal: I am still waiting to figure out the best way to use this product, but I love the color options. It is a little creamy, making me think it will be better for the upcoming winter months.

ELF Brushes

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I have always loved the brushes, but Target never has the widest selection, so I picked out three to add to my collection.

  • Blending Brush: I have been using this brush for to blend my eyelid crease. It has a similar shape to my Simga blending brush, and while it isn’t quite as soft, is does as good of a job. If you are looking for an affordable eyelid BFF, this is a great option.
  • Selfie Ready Powder Brush: Let’s be honest…half the reason I bought this was the name. That said, this brush is amazing. I use it to buff in my powder, and find that it gives me a very even application.
  • Sculpting Face Brush: I have been using a weird variety of brushes for my contour, so I had to snag this brush to try it out. It has a curved/sloped top, which I find works really well for bronzer. The bristles are a bit dense, so I have been using other brushes to blend after the initial applications.


As always on Sophistication and Sparkles, my goal is to help you get the most out of life during your college years and early twenties. Certain things are worth splurging on—hey, Fall textbook order—but others aren’t. I hope that this post showed you some new products that you can incorporate into your daily routine without breaking the bank!

~Alana Robin

August 10, 2016