College Confidential Part 1: Standardized Testing (SAT, ACT, AP….)!!!

Hey Everyone!!!

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I cannot apologize enough for being AWOL for a whopping three months! From school work to extracurricular activities and college applications, I have been more than swamped with large amounts of work. However, I only have one more final exam to complete before I graduate high school and prepare to set off to University next fall! Some of my younger readers have been asking for advice regarding applying to college and I decided to create a new series called College Confidential that is dedicated to giving out tips and advice regarding college applications. Today, I will start off the series with one of the first tangible facets of the college application process: standardized test! Here we go:

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Tip #1: Purchase study materials – workbooks, flashcards, CD-ROM programs and etc.

This step should be done during either your sophomore year or the summer between your sophomore and junior year of high school. I found that through reviewing the material found in the books for a period of about three to six hours a week was imperative in increasing my scores. I suggest Gruber’s, Barron’s and the Princeton Review!

Tip #2: Join a prep class or hire a private tutor. 

In order to gain admission to some of the more selective colleges in the country, a student’s test scores should be at a certain standard. Sometimes, workbooks and studying aren’t enough and outside assistance is needed. Huntington Learning Center and local universities are always a great resource for these types of lessons. Be forewarned that some of these classes can be very expensive, so have a true conversation with either your parents and/or guidance counselor before taking this tip.

Tip #3: Decide which tests you are going to take – every tester is unique!

Depending on where you live, there is usually a misconception as to which of the two preeminent standardized test carry more weight in college decisions. On both the east coast and the west coast, the Scholastic Aptitude Test, better known as the SAT, is seen as the “stronger” exam. In the midwestern region, the American College Testing, better known as the ACT, is seen as the “stronger” exam. In reality, each test is viewed equally. I suggest that you take both tests at least once, and then use that experience to decide which test is better for you. Here is a great article about each test!

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Tip #4: Take as many practice exams as humanly possible! 

I cannot emphasize this tip enough – practice exams are some of the best ways to study for standardized test out there. Through answering questions similar to those found on the tests, your mind will begin to think like an exam grader. I also suggest grading yourself HONESTLY after each test – these scores will help you assess how to shape your test taking abilities in order to get a higher score.

Tip #5: Take at least one practice exam in a testing environment. 

This can be done at either a school or tutoring center. Even though completing practice exams at home can be very helpful, you will never take the SATs on your private desk in your bedroom. These tests will emulate the true exam in both content and environment – and will lead to a more accurate depiction of your score.

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Tip #6: Take care of your physical and mental health before and after the exam

Make sure to take regular breaks between studying, eat right and have a good night sleep before any exam. I have seen fellow students put their minds and bodies through the ringer in preparation for the exams, and I would not suggest it to anyone. Know that your health, both physically and emotionally, is more important than any exam!

Tip #7: Take the exam and see how you do!

Now that you have studied up and had a good night’s rest, it is time to take the exam. Remember to stay calm yet alert in order to correctly answer all the questions, and don’t get too down on yourself if your first score isn’t as high as you wished for. You are allowed to take the exams as many times as you want!

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❤ Naa

I’m Going to Mercedes-Benz/MADE Fashion Week!: Bobby Abley Overview + Giveaway!!!

Hey Everyone!!!

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Today, I will be posting the first fashion presentation at MADE Fashion Week that I had the pleasure to attend. Due to the poor weather and unfit hotel accommodations, I was only able to participate in NYFW for 2 days. On the first day, I spent the entire duration at Lincoln Center, where I watched three separate shows. On the final day, I spent the evening at Milk Studios and saw a concurrent four collection presentation on the 8th floor. Here we go:

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Accessories and Styling: For most of the shows, I review the hair styles and makeup application on the models from the runway. Since all of the shows that I attended at Milk Studios were stationed with male models, I decided to concentrate on the styling of their hair and the accessories with their clothing.Each of the models had a very laid back yet put together hair style to reflect the child-like innocence of the collection. Each model wore a pair of burgundy sneakers, neon backpacks and faceless teddy bears. All in all, the nostalgic appeal of the collection was found in the styling as well.

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Clothing: Now, time for the most important aspect of every fashion show: the clothing. I had the fabulous opportunity to speak with Mr. Abley, and found that he has a history of being inspired by Disney cartoons and traditional fairytales. Following his The Little Mermaid inspired collection for London’s Fashion Week: Men’s Collection last July, Abley created a The Jungle Book inspired collection for MADE Fashion Week. With bold cartoon-inspired prints, knit shorts, the installation of geometric patterns and a refreshingly juvenile method of styling, the Bobby Abley FW 2015 collection was the perfect mix of child-like nostalgia and contemporary chicness.

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Loved this look!!!

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I was very happy to have the opportunity to attend and review such a large amount of men’s fashion shows this season at NYFW. If you want to check out more of Bobby Abley’s work, check out his website here. I will have my Charlotte Ronson overview up soon (I lost my flash drive so I had to restart from scratch). Also, remember that my giveaway for a $50 Forever 21 Gift Card is still open here!!!!

❤ Naa

I’m Going to Mercedes-Benz/MADE Fashion Week!: Rebecca Minkoff Overview + GIVEAWAY!!!

Hey Everyone!!!

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Welcome to my first post about my experience at New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2015! I wasn’t able to post as heavily during last season due to some scheduling conflicts, but I have some truly incredible collections to show you this time around! As I said in my overview of the David Tlale FW 2014 Collection (which I wrote almost an entire year ago!), the beauty of fashion week is there are times that you can get into shows that you weren’t originally invited to. I was able to get into the Rebecca Minkoff show through standing room and a very kind member of the band. Here we go:

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Music: Rebecca Minkoff is one of the few presentations that always utilizes live music in all of her fashion presentations. This year’s band was possibly the most talented and well suited for the collection that I have ever experienced. The collection, which was inspired by the 1970’s hippie movement and the punk rock era, was heavily complimented by the 70’s inspired music that also had a modern twist. The sultry vocals and jazzy atmosphere was perfect for the entire presentation.

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Beauty: After doing some researching regarding Mrs. Minkoff’s inspiration for her fall collection, I learned that she was inspired by the Chelsea Hotel girls, including iconic names such as Janis Joplin and Grace Slick. The girls hair was left in messy, long and grungy waves, while their makeup consisted of bold eyeliner, rose gold eyeshadow and neutral lips. All in all, the beauty aspects of the show perfectly fit the era that Minkoff attempted, and succeeded, in conveying.

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Clothing: While the presentation and the styling are very important components of any fashion show, the clothing is by far paramount in importance. The collection was absolutely breathtaking. With an emphasis on luxurious outerwear consisting of tweed and suede, flowing chiffon tops and maxi skirts, modern-day capes with fringe and impeccable use of leather, the Rebecca Minkoff FW 2015 Fashion Show was incredible. I hope to see the articles presented at this show worn by fashionistas of all backgrounds in months to come.

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This is just a few photos that I took while at the show. My Charlotte Ronson overview should be up sometime tonight. Also, remember that my giveaway for a $50 Forever 21 Gift Card is still open here!!!!

❤ Naa

Exciting News – International $50 Forever 21 Gift Card Giveaway!!!

Hey Everyone!!!

So, as you may know, I have been blogging for about one and a half years. In that time, I have accumulated over 7,500 followers on all of my platforms, connections with a wide array of fashion companies, become a professional fashion correspondent for an incredible television company and have participated in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York twice ! It is thanks to you, all of my followers, that I have been able to change from that shy 16 year old girl blogging in my bedroom to an actual fashion journalist. So, as a thank you to everyone, I am having a giveaway – which you can enter here !!! Here we go:

Forever 21 Gift Card

Remember that you can enter the giveaway here: Adolescent Chic International $50 Gift Card Giveaway !
 Since I can’t really show swatches with with a gift card, I’m just going to shed some light on some awesome bloggers and models with Forever 21 outfits!
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This is a beautiful Forever 21 – purchased outfit by the amazing beauty blogger Alina. The post can be found here!
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This is a fantastic all black ensemble by Vanessa Cesario at The Brunette Salad utilizes Forever 21 items for everything except for the shoes. The photo was uploaded on Chictopia, and can be found here.
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I am in love with this Forever 21 red plaid dress paired with the a pair of Forever 21 black sandals. You can find more of these awesome outfit pairings at Upbeat Soles!I wish you all luck as you enter my giveaway!
Also, please feel free to comment below what future posts you would like to see and read the Terms and Conditions of the giveaway here and ENTER HERE at a Rafflecopter giveaway.
❤ Naa

Fragrance Frenzy: Because of You by Jordin Sparks

Hey Everyone!!!

Welcome to another addition of Fragrance Frenzy! Today, we will be reviewing a perfume by American Idol Winner and international recording artist Jordin Sparks. This is definitely a great gift idea for those who are looking to get their friends a cute, inexpensive fragrance for daily use. It is one the more feminine and sweet scents that I have encountered — which isn’t a surprise considering the incredible Jordin Sparks is the name behind the face. Here is the review:

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A fragrance set of Because of You costs $23.95 at Amazon (can be found here). The product is described as “distinct, innovative, elegant, and subtle, this fragrance offers a long lasting sensuality. It celebrates the renaissance of extreme femininity and power of spontaneous emotion.” The scent can definitely be described as both floral and subtle, like a mix of Fancy by Jessica Simpson and Laundry by Shelli Segal. However, the scent can be very underwhelming at points. I give the scent a 3.75/5.

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Bottle

The two photos above are of the box that the perfume is found in and the bottle itself. As you can see, the bottle is placed in a metallic pink colored packaged with golden inscriptions. The back of the box shows a beautiful campaign photograph of Ms. Jordin Sparks. In relation to the bottle, it utilizes stain glass techniques to create a gradient affect, where the bottom of the bottle is pink while the top is clear. A single bottle carries 2.5 fl. oz. of fragrance. All in all, I give the packaging a fair 4.25/5. However, I do wish that the box and bottle had more details.

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The photos above can be found here. All in all, I feel that this fragrance does fare well, especially considering I purchased my bottle for less than $8. It has a very well-balanced mixture of femininity and delicacy. However, it does seem to be a bit underwhelming in scent and its packaging leaves a bit to be desired. All in all, I give this fragrance a 4/5 or a B.

❤ Naa

(My) Everyday Makeup Routine for Very Dark Skin

Hey Everyone!!!

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I am so sorry for being MIA for the last couple of months. As a little recap, I have been busy working for my new job at Behind the LOOK, applying to college, schoolwork, extracurricular activities and working as a freelance fashion journalist for different magazines and websites. However, I am back with an exciting edition of Makeup Madness! Today, I will be showing you my everyday makeup routine. This makeup look is great for women with Very Dark Skin (particularly, women who are a MAC Shade NW55 or darker). Let’s go to the tutorial!

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Step 1: Apply a thin layer of medium-coverage foundation all over the face using either a makeup sponge or stippling brush. I used MAC Matchmaster Foundation in the shade 9.5.

Step 2: Highlight under the eyes, on the bridge of the nose and on the chin with a lighter colored concealer in order to add dimension to the face. I used Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Stay-in-Place Flawless Wear Concealer in Extra Deep

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Step 3: Dust a black, matte eye shadow to use as a base in order to make the colors appear darker. Then, sweep a medium brown shimmer eye shadow all over the lid. Finally, mix the deep brown shade and the black matte shadow and use as a crease color to add more dimension to the eye. I used three shades in the Sephora Enchanting 14 Eye Shadow Palette.

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Step 4: Line the waterline and tightline with a black eyeliner. Then, use that same eyeliner to create a small cat eye on both eyes. I used the Wet and Wild Brow and Eyeliner in Black.

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Step 5: Put one or two coats of mascara on both the top and bottom lashes to add length and volume to your eyelashes. Use a dark brown shade in order to keep the look casual. I used the Maybelline Big Eyes Mascara in Brown Black.

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Step 6: Use a red-tone dark brown cream foundation to contour the cheeks and the bridge of the nose. Then, use a similarly toned eyeshadow to set the cream foundation. I used Ruby Kisses Cosmetics 3D Face Creator in Level 16 and MAC Eyeshadow in Embark.

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Step 7: Set the foundation and concealer with a dark brown face powder. I used MAC Studio Fix in NW58.

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Step 8: Use a coco-colored lipstick and dark brown lip gloss to add a fun, natural pop to the lips. I used Covergirl Continuos Color Lipstick in Coco Blush and Black Radiance Radiant Lipgloss in Mocha Madness.

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Step 9: Finally, I used a makeup setting spray to give my face a dewy finish. I used MAC Fix+ Makeup Setting Spray.

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Stay tuned for my next post and I am so happy to be back!!!

❤ Naa

Exciting News – NAKED 3 Palette Giveaway!!!

Hey Everyone!!!

If you follow me on Twitter, than you know that I recently have been hired as a professional fashion/beauty blogger and fashion correspondent of Behind the LOOK. Behind the LOOK is a TV program that broadcasts every Tuesday at 10 pm on BFSTV in New York and is described as “celebrating the creators of today’s beauty trends and cultures.” As a way to support my new workplace, and a big thank you to all of my followers who made this possible, I’m hosting a giveaway!

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Photo Courtesy of Makeup By TiffanyD

The NAKED 3 palette is described as “12 NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN (and insanely beautiful) rose-hued neutrals from Urban Decay. From pale, shimmery pink to deep black matte with red micro-glitter, these neutrals will make you want to get Naked all over again.”

Naked 3 Swatch

The following swatch is from Head to Toe. As you can see, the palette includes a vast array of rose gold-toned hues from a light, champagne shade to a deep black with red micro-glimmer. Here is an in-depth review of each shade.

RULES:

Each of the following actions result in one submission into the giveaway:

1. Like Behind the LOOK on Facebook 

2. Follow @BehindtheLookNY on Twitter

Each of the following actions result in two submissions into the giveaway:

3. Follow Behind The Look on WordPress 

4. Follow Behind the Look on Bloglovin 

Each of the following actions result in five submissions in the giveaway:

1. Post a blog post about this giveaway

Swatch 1

Photo Courtesy of Temptalia

Strange – A pale, neutral pink matte-satin

Dust – A pale, metallic pink shimmer with iridescent micro-glitter

Burnout – A light, pinky-peach satin

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Photo Courtesy of Temptalia

Liar – A medium metallic mauve shimmer.

Nooner – A medium pinky-brown matte.

Factory – A pinky-brown satin.

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Photo Courtesy of Temptalia

Buzz – A metallic rose shimmer with silver micro-glitter.

Trick –  A light metallic pinky-copper shimmer with tonal micro-sparkle.

Limit – A light dusty rose matte.

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Photo Courtesy of Temptalia 

Mugshot – A metallic taupe shimmer with slight pink shift.

Blackheart – A smoky black matte with rosy red micro-sparkle.

Darkside – A deep taupe-mauve satin.

I personally purchased the palette in this giveaway, and I hereby remove any liability from Urban Decay or Sephora. The giveaway will start on September 13 and ends on December 1, 2014.

❤ Naa

Designer Decoding: Cesar Galindo

Hey Everyone!!!

It has been a very long time since I posted a segment in my extensive “Designer Decoding” series, and since New York Fashion Week is only five weeks away, I feel that now is the perfect time to reinvigorate the series. For today’s installment of Designer Decoding, I am introducing a designer that I not only admire due to his great talent, but whose work I had the great pleasure of photographing during his Fall/Winter 2014 collection for my blog. Today, I shall be highlighting the work of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week veteran and the current CZAR of fashion, Cesar Galindo.

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Photo can be found here

Cesar Galindo has a very interesting origin for his designing background. Galindo, born in Houston, Texas and the youngest of eleven children, began his extensive career in fashion through costume designing. His specialty included corsets and other Victorian period costumes for both the Miami City Ballet and the Houston Grand Opera. Galindo’s designs are distinguishable through his use of “femininity, social occasion dresses, architecturally draped hems and necklines and a rich color palette”.

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Photos can be found here

The photo above comes from the most recent Spring/Summer collection, and presents a brilliant utilization of silk fabric and bold colors. This collection combined ready-to-wear staples and evening wear, as it belongs to his CZAR line. The first gown, with is bright red shade and deep blue, triangular center shows Galindo’s great talent for working with pleats. The third look, a monochromatic gradient of blue, shows Galindo’s ultimate technique for draping. Finally, the center look shows that Galindo can still create simple silhouettes that show off a woman’s natural beauty.

Fall 2014 Cesar Galindo

Photos can be found here 

The photo above comes from the Fall/Winter 2014 collection, a presentation that I had the greatest honor of attending (the post can be found here). This collection also belonged to the Czar brand, and consisted of ready-to-wear pieces along with semi-formal wear. Now, due to the fact that I have an entire post dedicated to the this particular collection, I will not go into heavy detail about the looks. However, what I can say is that Galindo was able to combine soft fabrics, such as silk and chiffon, along with heavier materials, such as furs and leather, to create a collection of cohesive outfits. The collection also showed Galindo’s talent for creating printed works, particularly with the gowns and graphic jeans.

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Photo can be found here

The following three looks are my personal favorites for his past collections. The first look, a gold and black romper paired with golden sandals, appeared in his spring 2013 collection. I am particularly impressed by the perfect fit along with the use of print to create a very flattering silhouette.

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Photo can be found here

The second look, a midi-length, all white dress with a plunging V-Neck, appeared in his spring 2012 collection. For this look, I am heavily impressed with his selection of the model, as the ivory shade of the dress pops on her caramel-toned skin. Along with the contrast, the actual dress is a prime example of Galindo sticking to the ultimate fashion mantra: sexy and simple.

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Photo can be found here

This final look comes from the spring 2010 evening collection by Cesar Galindo and presents his skills in construction to the world. The dress acts similarly to the white gown from his Spring 2012 collection due to the fact that it is a bold color placed on a very dark-skinned model, however, the constructed one-shoulder design is absolutely exhilarating. This is by far my favorite look of all of his recent collections.

❤ Naa

Fashionista Summer Fashion Trend

Fashionista Summer Fashion Trend

Playsuit romper
$230 – styligion.com

Suede shoes
$55 – fashionunion.com

Pink handbag
amazon.com

Clear eyewear
americanapparel.net

Bobbi Brown Cosmetics eyeshadow
saksfifthavenue.com

Lancôme mascara
neimanmarcus.com

NARS Cosmetics lips makeup
neimanmarcus.com

Style Savvy: 4 Summer Fashion Outfit Inspirations

Hey Everyone!!!

Here is my second edition of the seasonal Style Savvy Outfit Inspirations! Today, I will be showing you multiple different ways to dress for the warm summer months while retaining a similar style. As a fashion blogger, I have spent the last year trying to discover my own personal style through experimenting with different trends and closet staples. Through all of my studies, I have found that there is a wide assortment styles, from the dark, punk-inspired roots of Debbie Harry to the classic femininity of Audrey Hepburn, everyone has their own style. So, let’s get to the post:

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Casual Summer

This look is perfect for the girl who loves to match style and comfort into the perfect, everyday summertime attire. The all-around staple for the summer months are jean cutoff shorts, as there short length elongates one’s legs while allowing one to stay cool in the heat. A sleeveless wrap top adds a hint of class and beauty to the ensemble, while a pair of light brown sandals are another summer staple. Neutral makeup, chunky sunglasses and a bold handbag finish off this classic summer look with both comfort and beauty.

Preppy Summer

I had to channel my Gossip Girl routes in order to create this Blair Waldorf inspired ensemble. Every Park Avenue Princess has to own her own floral print, A-line dress in order to scroll down the paved sidewalks of the Hamptons. A pair of heeled oxfords and a flimsy sunhat completes this Fahrenheit friendly ensemble, while a chunky designer tote and rose-gold accessories add a hint of sophistication.  Finally, rose colored lips and cheeks along with luscious lashes will have you all ready for a summer to remember!

Boho Summer

For this look, I recycled a dress that was used in my last Style Savvy report, but removed the cardigan and scarf in favor for more weather appropriate attire. For this look, a brown colored weaved belt and similarly colored sandals prove perfect for a less heavy look. For accessories, use an organic tone backpack, a couple of homemade bracelets, chunky sunglasses and dangling earrings in order to add a slightly more bohemian look. In order to complete a suitable makeup look, I suggest an icy-colored pink lipstick shade along with a light pink dust of color on the cheeks.

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Now, this is by far my favorite look of the entire collection. In my wildest dreams, I picture myself as a trendsetting fashionista on the same level of Carrie Bradshaw and Aria Montgomery. In my humble opinion, a structured romper is one of the most fashion forward summer outfits that one can don in this day in age, along with a bold colored belt and matching tote. For the windy summer nights, I suggest a floral printed blazer to add more warmth to the sleeveless ensemble, along with a pair of bold stilettos (such as the zebra print pair above). For accessories, I suggest a golden watch and matching earrings along with sheer sunglasses to add some spunk to the look. Finally, for the makeup, I suggest a sexy dark-brown smokey eye and nude lips to add a splash of sex appeal.

Please tell me your favorite look below!

❤ Naa