January Favorites!

January is over, which is equal parts exciting and horrifying. Exciting because January is such a cold and gloomy month, but horrifying because time is passing so fast and I’m almost done with school. Yikes. But anyway, this month, a lot of new things, and some not-so-new things worked their way into my daily routine and are very much my favorites now.

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First are my makeup/beauty products.

Just like last month, myPhilosophy Amazing Grace Shower Gel made it on the list. It seriously just smells so fresh and clean and after a month I’ve barely used a quarter of the bottle. I love the way I smell after showering with it.

Going along with the Amazing Grace theme, I started really, really loving my Philosophy Amazing Grace Prefume this month, too. Andrew got this for me for my birthday last year, and I’ve basically been using it sparingly, because I love it so much and don’t want to use it up, which is actually not how it should be. I’ve started using this all the time now, and I absolutely love it. Again, the fresh smell is amazing. I want to get body butter, too, but I’m also a little afraid of it being Amazing Grace overkill. But I’m not sure that’s possible, to be honest.

Another repeat on this list is my Naked 3 palate. It’s amazing. I love it more over time, and I legitimately look forward to doing my makeup every day so I can use it. Sad or amazing? Not sure. Regardless, I’m so happy I bought this and it’s so so wonderful. Definitely a favorite.

Right when I got back to school I had to run down the street to Rite Aid (because I managed to forget my deodorant in Rochester?) and so I grabbed a new topcoat in addition to my new deodorant, and it was the Revlon Quick Dry Top Coat. I’ve been super dissatisfied with the topcoat I had been using, which is some kind of Sally Hansen one, because my nails would chip after literally 12 hours, 9 of which were spent sleeping. I’d heard good things about Revlon, and it’s so much cheaper than Essie or Sally Hansen or OPI, so I went for it, and I’m so happy with it. It makes my nails really nice and shiny and keeps them from chipping for a few days. A+.

Over break, I went to Target with my mom (“just to poke”) and she ended up buying two of the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain for herself in a nude-pink-mauve color that I don’t typically wear. After trying them on, though, I really, really loved the color. It’s a good, natural looking color that still brightens up my lips. So I grabbed this one–in the color Honey– at Wegmans while I was on a beer run. One of my classiest purchases to date. But I seriously wear this all the time.

Finally is the Urban Decay Primer Potion in Sin. My mom got me a little sample-size of this primer and the one in Eden for Christmas, and I had been using Eden for a while and the kind of discovered Sin. It’s a super pretty champagne color and it looks good with color over it, or kind of on it’s own. I don’t know what it is but I’m a sucker for that pretty shimmer.

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There were a lot of things that are non-beauty related that I loved this month, too.

To start: Candles. I have a super sick obsession and love for candles. The day after Christmas, I picked up two mason jar candles from Bath & Body Works, and I had a Yankee Candle from Black Friday as well. I’ve finished all three in the three weeks I’ve been back. Sick, I know. But I love burning them during the day, at night, whenever. It’s just so relaxing and wonderful.

I also started loving Chai Tea when I was home. I don’t know what posessed me, but on one of my three thousand trips to Sips at home, I decided I needed a vanilla chai and ohmygod it’s so good. I tried the Tazo liquid Chai Latte mix with vanilla soy milk. but the Oregon Chai Vanilla Chai Tea powders are amazing! I’m rationing them while I’m here to make them last as long as possible.

I’ve always loved statement jewelry, but somehow my love for the statement necklace has grown, if that’s possible. I think it’s just the best way to add some personality to a otherwise boring outfit. I especially love wearing them with collared shirts, to dress them up a little, add a little sparkle. The black one in the photo is from Target, and I wasn’t sure how much I liked it at first, but it’s grown on me and I’ve worn it a ton since I’ve been back at school. The other one is from JewelMint. I really love the necklace, but beware of JewelMint–when you order one thing, you get signed up for a monthly subscription and they dock you $30 a month. I did not know that, and then I became painfully aware, and promptly cancelled. But I love the necklace!

And finally, those aviators. I kept seeing pictures all around the Internet and Pinterest of these tinted aviator sunglasses, and I just felt like I really needed some. The cold weather is just making me really crave sunshine and fun colors. I got these from H&M and they we’re really cheap but a decent quality. I love ’em.

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The first clothing love I’ve had this month is hats. I have a beach hat that I got this summer, but I wanted one I could wear about on bad/dirty hair days. Of course, Bridget came through and got me this pretty green LeMoyne hat for Christmas, which I have worn a ton, and I love. The color goes really nice with my gingey hair.

I also really wanted a knit beanie with a pom pom after seeing this one Mackenzie Horan had, and I ended up finding this one on 6pm.com. I love how cute it is but still seasonal. It makes the gross Polar Vortex a little more cheerful for me.

photoFinally: vests. I really really love the quilted J. Crew excursion vests but I could never ever justify paying for one, or ever even asking for one as a gift. And then I found the Quilted Barn Vests from Old Navy. Of course, by the time I got to tell my mom about them, they were sold out of every color in my size in store and online, except pink. She ended up getting it for me for Christmas and I didn’t hate it, but I was also nervous about wearing it, since bright pink isn’t one of my go-to all-over colors. But! With all the navy I wear, it ends up being a really nice pop of color. And then, literally hours before my flight back to New York, Old Navy had a navy one in my size and we scooped it up. I’ve actually worn both of them pretty equally, which makes me happy. And I also have my fleece one from Patagonia that I got for my birthday last year, which I consider more of an indoor vest, but I love it the same. At this point, I think I may be on the verge of having too many. If that’s even possible.

This was an extremely long post, which I didn’t anticipate, but these are my favorites from January. I’m glad to be done with this month and ready to move onto the good parts of the year.

Healthy Lifestyle

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In high school I was always going going going, running from one practice to another, and I never once really thought about working out or eating right. (Although my mom did warn me that I should start eating healthy before I stopped being active). However, after I hurt my elbow at Nationals freshman year, I slowed down my activity and gained probably five pounds, which probably wouldn’t have been noticeable except I also lost all my muscle. As a result, after sophomore year, I started really trying to live a healthier lifestyle.

The first thing I did away with was as much processed food as I could. I fell back in love with fruits and veggies and greek yogurt. I started preparing my own foods and avoiding white breads and flours and processed sugars. I embraced healthy fats and drinking water. Not only did I lose the fluff I gained in my inactivity, but I started to feel so much better. After a few weeks, I started craving clean, healthy foods and being semi-repulsed by the processed foods.

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Of course I still have pizza or a doughnut every so often when I crave it, but I genuinely don’t want them all that much. Especially not after I eat them and they make me feel super nauseous and sluggish. I just genuinely feel better when I eat better.

I also rediscovered working out. For a while, all I knew was cardio and abs, but slowly I started adding in more weight lifting and less cardio. Confession: I am not a runner. Back in the day when I played softball, my claim to fame was my speed between the bases. A quick three second sprint was about as much as I could handle. Anything over a mile, maybe two is pushing it. I’d love to be able to run 5k’s, or half marathons but this girl is a slow runner, and I just genuinely don’t enjoy running, especially not on the treadmill.

As a result, I’ve found several workouts involving mostly weight lifting that I just enjoy so much more than running. There’s cardio involved, but I use the cross trainer, and focus more on lifting weights and building muscle, and it has just felt so much more rewarding to me, and it’s always exciting when I notice new muscle definition. This is the workout I started with this summer, and this is the one I’m on now.

I also try really hard to get enough sleep, and to drink tons and tons of water. And to really try to think positive and have a positive body image.

One thing that has really helped me to stay inspired and motivated is Tumblr. There are so many fitness blogs out there and they are all so insightful and have such good, body positive messages. Becca is one of my favorites, as well as Sharee and Taralynn.

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And finally, as much as working out is solely on being healthy and making your best self, I like cute workout clothes sometimes. Over break, I got three pairs of workout leggings at Aeropostale, of all places, for $5 each. SUCH A STEAL. They don’t really have them online, but pop into a store and check it out. I also really like Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx for workout clothes, since they have the comfy Nike shorts and Nike Pro’s but a lot cheaper than normal. Other than that, I just wear old t-shirts, since those are most comfortable for me. I also have a pair of pink and green Saucony sneakers (here’s a similar pair). I used to have Nike Free’s but they really hurt my shins, and the Saucony one’s are so much more comfortable. They were also decently cheap, since I got them from Marshall’s.

I think that’s all I had to say about health and fitness. But, living a healthy lifestyle is one of the best choices I made. Not only do I look better, but I feel so much better and I feel like my confidence has just gone way up ever since.

PR Too Far?

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Let me preface this post by saying that I already work in PR and it’s definitely something I want to keep working in. I have nothing against the career path, in fact, I love it.

That being said, sometimes I think PR has gone too far. Tonight in my PR class, the teacher asked us what outlets or personalities we trust. Immediately my thoughts went to my favorite bloggers. I always use them to guide my tastes in clothing and makeup and pretty much anything else. But then when we were talking about advertising, the same bloggers came to mind.

The constant sponsorships and “c/o”s in photo descriptions make me wonder how much of the recommendations come from the bloggers, and how much is just a PR move. It makes me trust their choices a little less, because I can’t tell if they are wearing something because they genuinely like it and would buy it, or if they’re just wearing it because it’s free and they’re getting money from a sponsor.

And I honestly don’t think I would love getting random free stuff as a blogger, unless I truly loved the brand and believed in it. So Kate Spade, if you’re reading this, I’d love to partner up. But otherwise, I’d never write about something just because it was free. I’d never want to feel obligated to include something in a post, just because it was given to me and I don’t really like it. I genuinely hope other bloggers feel the same way.

I just don’t like the feeling of constantly being bombarded with advertisements for different brands and products when all I’m trying to do is read up on fashion and beauty.

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Accepting Your Journey

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Over the past four years, I’ve come to realize, through a ton of different experiences, that my life and my journey is exactly that. Mine. It doesn’t belong to anyone else, and that’s what makes me and my experiences all unique. I wouldn’t be the person I am now without all of my own experiences, and I wouldn’t have achieved all the things I have without following the path that is uniquely mine.

This became most evident to me in college. Yes, I have enjoyed a lot of parts of being at school. I have met so many people who have all touched my life, and had so many experiences that I could never have had if I had chosen a different school. But no matter how hard I try, I can’t shake that feeling of not being…attached. I don’t feel like college is a high point in my life. There are a few people I know I will keep in touch with, but I don’t feel like these are the greatest people I have ever met. And the more I think about it, I think I felt the same way about high school. I didn’t want to go to school nearby, I was ready to graduate, to move on.

Don’t get me wrong, the friends I had in high school are the greatest friends I think I will ever have. We keep in touch and there are several that I text every single day. But the whole thing, the place, the feelings, I was ready to leave. Until about March of my senior year, I kind of bounced between friend groups, and I only really had one close friend who I stuck with all four years. My glory days weren’t in high school, and I thought I would find them in college, but I didn’t find them here, either.

I’m hoping this feeling of not-quite-fitting-in and being ready to move on is just the Universe’s way of telling me that the best is still out there, that I haven’t peaked yet. I hope to goodness that this is the case, and for that reason, I am incredibly excited to move on to the next stage of my life.

I also don’t want to wish it away, either. Perhaps, just as in high school, the end of my senior year will bring me lifelong friends. I’m enjoying every last minute I have, but I also know that this is not where my journey ends.

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Realizing that my journey is it’s own and that I don’t have to be obsessed with my college experience in order to still enjoy it, I can accept myself and my experiences here at Fordham and not feel bad that I wasn’t a huge partier, and that I didn’t have heaps of close friends and wild and crazy nights. I had fun doing my thing, regardless of how different from everyone else I felt.

Another important thing about self-acceptance is accepting the things that make us different. We’re all different, living different lives and we’re all at different stages of our journey. That’s what is so beautiful about life. In order for the world to work, we all need to operate in different ways so that all the different things that go on every day can happen.

What helped me see this is by seeing everything that made me different. I hated myself for so long for not loving college. I hated the bars. I thought it was wrong that I preferred to stay in and write. But that’s something unique about me. I have a passion and after I stopped caring and started loving that about myself, life got easier and I started making the right friends.

Nothing makes you feel worse than comparing yourself to others, who are all at different stages in their journey. That girl who has so many friends at school, or your friend who already has a job lined up after graduation, or the blogger who’s three years younger than you and already has a huge following. They all have different journeys, none of which are the same as mine. I constantly have to remind myself of this, and have to be thankful for every part of my own.

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This was an extremely long and heavy post, which I apologize for, but having it all out of my system is cathartic. Some days are easier and more fun than others, but I am continually grateful for every step in my own journey, and I completely accept it for what it is.

Blog Birthday

82cf5c52548dda5d5c4d7349be7a9445My blog turns one today! What started out as a class assignment turned into something I genuinely love doing. The past year has been full of ups and downs and uncertainty and happiness, and having my blog to help me process it all has been simply amazing.

A year ago I hated life at school, felt like I had no friends and was absolutely struggling to figure out what direction I wanted my life to go in. Now, I feel so happy with not only my life at Fordham, but with my friends and family at home, too. I feel so much more confident in who I am, and so much more sure of what I want to be.

Having a place where I can throw down all my thoughts and feelings and then sort through all those raw emotions has absolutely helped me get through the tough times and to savor the great times. I am so happy I started blogging and I’m so excited to see what else I can do with it.

Five Ways to Relax

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It’s obvious that I’m pretty tightly wound. All week long I’m in go go go mode, so at night or on the weekends, I need to make an effort to relax. Sometimes I end up just passing out, but other times I like to just unwind for a few hours.

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1. The first thing I’ll do when I get home at night is light a candle. I have a few mason jar candles from Bath and Body Works that I absolutely love. The smells aren’t overpowering and the light from the flame is so relaxing. Candles are easily one of my favorite things now. I want more.

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2. Painting my nails is one of the most relaxing things I do. The focus I have while doing it just puts me in a trance like state. So not only does it calm me down, but afterward, my nails look good, too.

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3. One thing I can do for hours on end is watch Netflix in bed. I can watch TV shows, movies, documentaries…anything. I have a special talent for watching entire seasons of TV shows in an entire day. It takes my mind off of things and puts me into another world. Plus my bed is so comfy and I have a heated blankie.

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4. I’ve also become obsessed with tea. I think I have four or five boxes of different favors in my kitchen right now, and I make some nightly after dinner. It’s so warm and snuggly.

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5. I’ve always loved books. When I was younger my mom would order me boxed sets of Gossip Girl books because she knew how relaxed reading makes me. It gets me lost in another world and I just feel completely engrossed in the characters and stories. I love cuddling up in bed and reading until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore.

I can guarantee, in any given weekend, I’ll be doing at least three of these five things all day.

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How I Stay Organized in College

Now that I’m (EEK) a Second Semester Senior, I like to believe I’ve finally got a good grasp on college and how to stay organized and on top of things. I wasn’t always as obsessive and tidy as I am now. In high school, I refused to use a planner and my notes were…confusing. But now, at the wise age of 21, I think I’ve got it. Just in time to never have class again.

The most important thing, in my opinion, is my planner. About a week into my freshman year I bought one and it was absolutely priceless. I can easily write down every assignment and due date and highlight it with the appropriate color and make sure that I know what I need to do. I also use my planner to write down any meetings I might have, or other plans. I also make weekly To Do lists on sticky notes and stick them on the page, too, so I can easily see everything that needs to get done within a specific week.I also take great pleasure in crossing things off as I complete them.

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I used to get a folder and notebook for each class, but this year, I just snagged a three subject notebook and called it a day. I’m only in three classes, and the thought of just one notebook with everything in it felt so…easy. I marked each section with the class name, and that way, I can have everything in one place, and I don’t have to carry a million books around when I do have class.

yes, I'm taking a class on Harry Potter (and philosophy)

yes, I’m taking a class on Harry Potter (and philosophy)

I’m also pretty OCD about my notes. I like everything to be clear and just as the teacher said it in class, that way, when I go back and remember hearing it in class, I can find it more easily in my notes. I’ve tried to take notes on my laptop before, but I never feel like I’m learning material as much as I do when I physically write things.

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I also have a weekly calendar on my wall. That way, I can outline everything that I need to do within a certain week, and I can see what days I have available and what times I can’t add in more things.

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While I by no means claim to have my life together, I do think I have a pretty good system for keeping myself organized, especially relating to class and scheduling. But! If anyone has any tips I haven’t mentioned, I’d love to hear them. I’m all for organization.

Lake Placid 2014


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In the summer, I’ve written about how my friends’ family is generous enough to welcome all of our friends into their home on the Lake in Sodus. It has always been one of my favorite places to go, and the times I spend there are truly amazing, full of just happy times and full hearts.

My friend Peter’s family has a few cabins way up in Lake Placid that some of my friends have been going up to for the past few years. I had always heard how much fun they had, but had never been able to make it until this year. It was wonderful. I love my home friends. They are truly my family and the entire three days we were up there, I was just filled with just so much happiness and warmth.

We left on Tuesday, right when that delightful Arctic Blast hit the country. We managed to completely miss all storms (two of our friends were not so lucky) but the cold temps made it impossible for anyone to ski. But I wasn’t going to anyway.

We laughed, we drank, we ate, we laughed more. There is absolutely nothing better than falling asleep talking with your best friends and then waking up surrounded by them in the morning.

Unfortunately, Andrew had to go back to Atlanta on Monday for school. The only thing that would have made these past three days absolutely perfect would be for him to have been able to share it with us.

Below are just a few of my favorite pictures from the week:

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Jamie gettin’ sassy

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Kara and Peter startin that fire

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me and lolly

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the boys all ended up sleeping in this room in the basement with like 6 single beds and a few desks. we called it “lake placid prep”

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the views were absolutely stunning

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pete being a model

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we tried to hike a mountain but it ended up being more of a nature walk

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kara nursing me

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nature.

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we went out for BBQ in DT LP for dinner and drinks and ohmygod it was so delicious.

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pulled pork tacos.

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groceries for grown ups

me posin' with the mountains

me posin’ with the mountains

It was just so wonderful. The best part was that after spending all this time with my friends, I’m not sick of a single person. I love them all so much and I’d hang out with them for three more days if I could.

It makes me sad that this might be our last time all together like this in the winter, but part of me also has confidence that we’ll all find a way to come together even when we’re being busy adults with many important things to do.

I’d also love to go back up someday with Andrew — although perhaps in the summer — so we could see how pretty it is and spend time being more touristy.

CoverGirl 3-in-1 Foundation Review

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I’ve been all about my Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer since this summer. Unfortunately, the shade I have was matched to my skin right after our Maryland vacation, and I was much, much tanner than I am right now. So on a recent trip to Wegmans, I scooped up a bottle of  Covergirl’s Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation in Creamy Beige. I had heard a ton of rave reviews about it on YouTube, so I decided it would probably be worth it.

I love love love it! It has great coverage without being gross and cakey, which is why I shy away from foundation typically.

This is my bare face, freshly washed, no moisturizer, no makeup:

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I started by applying a base of my Boots No.7 Mousturizer and Clinique Superprimer.

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After I got everything all smoothed out, I used my Beautyblender to apply two pumps of the foundation all over my face.

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And then I blended the daylights outta that stuff. And the coverage was amazing!

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And then I just finished up my look with Benefit Erase Paste and Boi-ing, e.l.f. blush and bronzer, Essence setting powder, Benefit They’re Real Mascara and my UD Naked 3 palate. And…ta da!

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I really really like it. It matches my skin really well, and it has just the perfect feeling. I was a super makeup snob, especially regarding things that go all over my skin, but this foundation might be enough to change my mind. For the winter, at least.

Work It Out

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My entire life I have been an active person. In elementary and middle school, I was a multi-sport kid, going from softball practice to gymnastics. In high school, I played sports year round, and cheered all-stars in addition to spring softball. On days when I was especially grumpy or irritable, my mom would look forward to when I would come back from practice and be in a good mood again.

When I went to college, cheering stopped being my outlet and I started working out at the gym to relieve stress. After I quit, I started looking forward to working out, for running until I don’t feel my problems or sweating out my problems. Last summer I joined a gym and stopped focusing on cardio and ab exercises and started a full weight training regimen. I loved it. It challenged me, it didn’t kill my time and it made me feel good.

Over break, I haven’t really had access to a gym while I’m home, and while I’ve been trying to focus on clean eating until I go back, I woke up the other morning in a slump. I was in a sad mood and all I wanted was to lay in bed all day and be mopey.

My mom suggested going to the gym with her, as her guest, and after resisting for a few minutes I agreed. I found a new workout plan for the new year, and afterward I just felt absurdly amazing. It was maybe a 45 minute routine, total, but my muscles were worked, and I just felt amazing.

I forget sometimes how much I love being active and working out. I forget how good it can make me feel. It’s a huge part of my life, and something I absolutely love. A good mood is always just a workout away.

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