Read and Review: Your February Reading List

I’ve been meaning to do this for ages, since I love reading and sharing which books I loved. However, in earlier months, I’ve just managed a couple of books and who wants one review a month? I need a whole list. So I hunkered down and managed to read 5 this month, which I consider a feat, thank you very much! Especially with Netflix putting out new TV I want to binge once a week (help). Anyway, here’s all the books I read and how I liked them! Enjoy

The Handmaid’s Tale

The Gist: Post apocalyptic world where some women are servants and men control everything. Yeah that’s it

Thoughts and Feels: I read this mostly because it’s a show and instead of paying for Hulu, I decided to read the book. It was a relatively fast read, but only because I kept waiting for it to get good. The premise is really interesting, but left a lot to the imagination. I never understood people’s roles or what really happened to cause this societal shift? It’s one of those books where the end leaves you to come up with your own conclusion, which as a write myself, feels like a cop out.

 Rating: 4/10-Meh

Pieces of Her

The Gist: Andrea moves back to her hometown in Georgia after her mother becomes ill. Her and her mother experience a tragic shooting that leaves Andrea questioning everything she thought she knew about her mother and her own life.

Thoughts and Feels: Twists! Turns! Murder! I’m here for it! I love a good murder mystery and this one was insane. I love a good book that just absolutely consumes my life and I read it every free second I have. It’s one of those really rare books that you don’t guess the end or half of the things that happen, for that matter.

Rating: 10/10-please read

Cop Town

The Gist: Atlanta cops Kate Murphy and Maggie Lawson work to uncover a cop killer, while navigating life as a female police officer in the 1970’s. Let’s just say it’s not easy.

Thoughts and Feels: I LOVED THIS ONE. All about bad ass lady cops in the 70s what more could you want? Also the whole crazy-dont-know-what’s-gonna-happen-murder mystery. Basically going through Karin Slaughter’s entire “discography” (but what’s the book form of that word??) and I’m not mad about it.

Rating: 10/10-please read

All We Ever Wanted

The Gist: At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning (stole this from Amazon cause I really didn’t know how to summarize it)

Thoughts and Feels: This was a weird subject to touch on. Very much a “hot button” issue and I’m not really sure how I feel about this book. It did some things really well, but others maybe a little bit problematic. I usually love everything this author writes, but this one was puzzling.

Rating: 6/10 because I still liked the book, just not as much as I normally do

The Unexpected Truth About Animals

The Gist: Touches on a few misconceptions about animals and where those misconceptions came from in our history.

Thoughts and Feels: If you didn’t know this about me, I find animal documentaries super fascinating. I’ve been deciding whether to buy the book for a while and I’m very glad I did. History is crazy, animals are very weird and the writing is funny.

Rating: 8/10 not a murder mystery but still good

 

Adventures in Crazy Workouts: Flywheel

I have a love/hate relationship with cycling classes. Okay, it’s mostly hate. I used to take them all the time at my University gym a couple years ago, ya know, when I was living my best life with a free gym included in my tuition. I thrived on my cycling 7 am classes on Monday’s and have tried to re-create those happy times in these trendy NYC cycling classes. I do love a good Monster cycle class, and I had some high hopes for Flywheel. As you guys know, or maybe don’t, I very much dislike Soulcycle. It’s got flashing colored lights, there’s a lot of yelling, and too many different moves (i.e MOVE UP! DOWN! HANDS AT FIRST! SECOND! RIGHT! LEFT! JUMP!), you get it. I prefer not to be screamed at while I workout, but maybe just me.

I figured I would try this place, simply because the first class was free. I went in, found my assigned bike, and patted myself on the back for being all early. The instructor walked in, talked at a normal volume and I took it as a good sign. As soon as the thought This might actually be okay started forming in my brain, he began to play house music and yelled, “YOU GUYS READY TO GO?!” It was definitely a struggle after that. I checked my apple watch probably every 10 minutes waiting for it to end. Which is sad because the only other time I do that when I work out is when I’m running—because running is just excruciating.

You know how you have ac certain voice when you talk to someone professional? Some people refer to this as their “customer service voice.” Our cycling instructor obviously had a “cycling instructor voice.” He sounded like a gay radio announcer. If you’re wondering “hmm, what does that sound like?” Here’s my best impression:

Okay it was deeper than that, but you get it. Now, I don’t wanna make fun of this dude. However, I can because I know he was putting this voice on. Imagine hearing that mixed with way-too-loud house music.

The one thing that was actually different about this class that I enjoyed was the ranking. We were able to see how we ranked in the class the entire time and even had short bursts of competition with each other towards the end of the ride. Definitely made me push myself to go faster!

Overall, this wasn’t my favorite. I like cycling, but hate when my ear drums burst while have a seizure from flashing lights. This is a workout, not a Kesha concert, thanks.

How To: Eat Yo Vegetables

Raise your hand if you’ve resolved to be healthier in 2019?

I’d consider myself a pretty decently healthy person—who’s addicted to sugar and will not apologize for it. I’ve recently, in the last 6 months, gotten used to eating a serving of vegetables a day. May not sounds like a lot, but you gotta start somewhere, right?

I’ve never been a huge fan of vegetables, because ew. I usually struggle with them unless they’re drowning in some sort of sauce (ranch?). I somehow found a way of making them taste amazing and, almost more importantly, ready very quickly. I’ve never been the kind of person who can sit and wait for food to cook for an hour. I thought I’d share my go-to in case anyone was looking for a quick recipe! I’m by no means a recipe expert and you can totally tell because my pictures are very basic, but you get the idea.

Note: You can use ANY vegetables, I’ve just been really into asparagus and sweet potato lately.

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You need:

That’s literally it. I know turmeric seems weird, but its so good mixed with all of the other things.

How I do it:

  1. Grab a skillet and oil it with a decent amount of whatever oil you chose
  2. Put your veggie of choice in there and cook it on medium heat
  3. Flip them after about 5 minutes and add spices( I like mine very brown, so maybe flip them earlier if you don’t)
  4. Turn heat on low and add juice from the half lime
  5. EAT

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I added chicken because it goes really well with all the other spices, but you can use whatever you like! I’ve noticed if you don’t have a gas stove, they may take longer to cook, just an fyi. I eat this all the time (ask my roommate) and I love it!

 

 

 

The Dating App Conundrum

When I moved here for an internship my junior year of college, I was the queen of dating apps. I really only used Bumble (this was pre-Hinge) and found pretty decent success. I was broke and knew absolutely no one so dating apps were fun when I was bored and wanted to do something in the city. I also lived in the East Village, which is prime for dating and going out in your 20’s. It gave me some much needed distraction and hey, summer of fun in the city. 

In college back home, I never used them. I had enough success—or should I say I had enough “distractions” going out to bars that I really just didn’t need them. I definitely used them when I was bored and needed a confidence boost, but never really dated anyone from them. I always felt like I had to be constantly talking to someone, so any lull in my boy-craziness needed to be filled with a stint on a dating app that I would give up a week later.

Since moving here, I picked it back up again. I would say 9 out of 10 times are usually a bust. Since I actually live here now and it’s not just a summer vacation, it’s almost a chore. Out of the dates I’ve been on in the last year, only 2 have made it past the first date and only 1 further than that. I was listening to a podcast and a comedian said it best, “I don’t use dating apps because the “vibe” I give off online is not really me. You don’t usually like someone just based on pictures, it’s peoples energy.” I try way too hard on dating apps to sound funny and original, therefore I look like a weirdo. I try to match with people who also sound funny and original on dating apps, therefore I match with guys who aren’t my type more often than not. No idea why that is.

I’d first like to point out some weirdos and just general funny stuff that seems to happen only on dating apps. Ladies, read it and weep—with laughter:

First, let’s start off with some weird trend I’ve been noticing (that definitely need an explanation and a cease and desist):

When answering the question “The last time you cried was…,” an ALARMING amount of men have said the movie Click. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s that really horrible movie with Adam Sandler aka basically every movie he’s in ever. The fact that enough men are crying during this movie that I’ve noticed is so horrible I don’t wanna think about it.  Adam god-damn Sandler, I can’t. 

When asked about their last meal, chicken parmesan is a very popular answer. I think I’ve eaten that once in my whole life. Not a bad choice, but so weird. I guess it’s better than saying pizza, but really only one step up.

Job title as “looking” or “entrepreneur” translates in my brain to “unemployed and will take you to a dive bar and split it.” Just make something up related to what you do or put what you WERE doing, duh.

Linked Instagram accounts: mixed feelings about these because sometimes they add more pictures of the guy. HOWEVER, some people should not. For example, if your entire Instagram is you doing “motivational” videos. I also ran into a guy who had an entire Instagram of….boats. Like maybe keep a little mystery going into date 1, just a thought.

Here’s some gems I managed to screenshot and am very happy I did:

Just trying to match with the general population. Nothing specific
Who’s gonna tell this guy it’s 2018 and everyone has seen Star Wars….
I think I’ll go out to dinner. I don’t fancy being cooked???
Is he here just to make friends??
Can’t communicate, someone help him
Do you live in New York City, yes or no?
This was a solid burn and I don’t feel bad. Okra is DISGUSTING
Thanks Justin! 
33,000 people at LSU but yep, toooootally know him. Also serial killer response
this guy never matched with me because he doesn’t like to be corrected. I really wanna know if he fixed the spelling, it haunts me everyday.
This guy never matched with me either, I mean COMEON he probably never got something so funny he didn’t know how to handle it.
I hope this guy found love cause he deserves it

Lastly, I’d like to say that men are still out here, in 2018, thinking selfies are okay. They are not. Please, please stop taking shirtless pictures, pictures in your car (???), pictures in your bathroom mirror with your leg on the sink (this is a real picture I saw of a guy who had the AUDACITY TO MATCH WITH ME. If you want to see it DM me). I know for a fact your mom makes you take pictures every Christmas, your fired who are girls take pictures of you or get your bro to take one I DONT CARE. No selfies in 2019 thank you. 

Needless to say, I deleted them all recently. I think it’s a good idea to take breaks from dating apps. I haven’t in a while and I have to say I really don’t miss it. If it gets monotonous, delete it. You don’t need to waste energy and good makeup on a boring date! All the power to you if you like them and you met your boyfriend/husband/soulmate, but I’m tired and its getting cold as hell. I’ll be watching Christmas movies and hanging with my friends until further notice.


I Survived: Juicing Edition

I did something I have never done in my life. I didn’t eat for three whole days. As a person who never drinks smoothies, much less juice, this was weird. I never thought I would be one of those juice cleanse people, but here I am. Never say never, ladies.

What made me want to do this:

I was, what the marketing world calls, influenced. I saw a person in the health industry that I respected and followed, do it, so I did it. Honestly, it’s on my list of “never-s.” Oh I would never cut out bread and cheese, I love it! I did that. Oh I’d never go vegan that’s so weird. I did that. The list continues, people. I will say I’ve always been a little curious. What’s the hype? So, just like I did when I moved to New York, I decided in 2.5 seconds and did zero planning and research! Kidding, kinda. I did look at a few different places and watched a couple Youtube videos of people who did them. Minimal research, in other words. I decided to do the same one as my girl Blogilates. As you guys know, I’ve watched her workout videos for about 2 years now and I respect her opinion, okay!

Here’s the one I did:

 

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I picked Cleanse 2 instead of the first one, simply because I felt I wouldn’t need a heavy drink in the morning. Cleanse 1 has a smoothie-like drink in the morning and night, while Cleanse 2 only has it at night. I also preferred to keep it as fruit and veggie based as I could—since that’s pretty much the point. I realize this is super expensive, but all in the name of research and pure curiosity? *bank account gives me the super side-eye*

Things I’m going to keep in mind going in:

How I feel overall

How I sleep

How bad are the cravings during and after

How my energy levels are (gonna try to keep doing the same things workout-wise)

Day 1:

I did a really intense HIIT workout this morning since I figured today would be the day I had the most energy. First two juices were really good, the third one not so much. Ginger in a drink is really weird, but I also drink apple cider vinegar—which is basically salad dressing water. Around 3pm I was pretty tired, probably could taken a nap. I didn’t drink any coffee today and my head is HAMMERING. The worst part of today was probably from 3-6 and then I was less like “I could eat so many chips right now its insane.” I will say after day one, I’m a little peeved at myself for thinking I was too good for Cleanse 1 for two reasons. Cleanse 1 had NO BEET JUICE—I had to choke this one down it was awful. It also had one more of the smoothie-like drinks and honestly, that last juice is the only thing I was looking forward to all day. So yeah, not my best idea. Good intentions paved the road of my personal hell (okay I’m being dramatic but you get it). I’m really hoping I wake up refreshed and can actually go for a run tomorrow, let’s see how that goes.

Please enjoy me drinking beet juice:

Day 2:

Last night was rough! It felt like one of those nights you eat until you make yourself sick and you have to force yourself to concentrate on something other than food. As I was going to sleep—early I might add, I resolved to quit this whole thing after one day. I did not feel great about it, being a competitive person and definitely wanting to prove to myself I could do it. This morning, however, I felt a lot better. I wasn’t super tired and my body didn’t seem to hate me too much for not feeding it. I decided to keep going, cause why not? I went for a walk instead of a run mostly because my head is still hurting. I definitely had my coffee too and I have no regrets people! I need my bean juice okay!! Now that my head feels normal, I can focus on how I actually feel. Today was about 100000% better than yesterday. I have way more energy, I’m not craving stuff as intensely as I was and I even had enough energy for a run. Yes you read that right, at 8 pm I went for a run. I never run at night. I just don’t have the energy for it and I don’t want to. Went to sleep at little full still, but so much better than yesterday.

Day 3:

I’m ready for today! No cravings really and I worked out like normal this morning. I took it a little easier and tried not to overextend myself, but pretty much could do everything I normally do. My energy during this is wild. I was so worried I was going to be dead the whole time and that’s so not the case for me. I felt pretty great all morning. By 2 pm, I lost my energy. This seems to be the point in my day where I normally get hungry and don’t have a lot of energy. Kinda of weird, but I guess makes sense. At night, I was definitely feeling hungry again. Not as bad as Day 1, but I could definitely go for a sandwich. Luckily, it was the last day so yay!

Conclusion:

This went from 100-0 real quick. I really thought after Day 1, I was going to report that I quit and was not gonna do it again. However, I actually kind of enjoyed it in a weird way? I thrive on a structured diet, no thinking means no room for “oh man what am I gonna eat ugh I’ll just have chips for dinner.” If I was a richer lady, I would just order those meal kits every week and never have to think about meals again. I also loved not having to cook. Cooking has never been my thing, I need meals to be 10 minutes prep-time and thats it. It was a good way to sort of force myself to get back on track as far as my healthy habits go.

How Did I sleep?- Actually very well, but I wouldn’t say a huge difference than normal. I’m a good sleeper, overall. The thing that I did notice, however, was I woke up feeling super rested and not groggy in the slightest. No matter how much sleep I get, I usually want to go back to sleep after my alarm, but this was different. My alarm went off and it’s like my body was ready for it and I was wide awake.

How bad are the cravings?-So very bad the first day, then lessen as the 2nd and 3rd day go on. I could always eat, but I wasn’t ravenous the whole time

Energy Levels?-Surprisingly normal. After the first day, that is. I would say the 2nd day was the best as far as energy and cravings.

How I feel overall?- Honestly, actually really good. I forget sometimes, how good I feel when I’m eating really healthy. I’ve been letting myself snack A LOT and instead of listening to my body, which was really hurting my moods. I’ll also say my mood was really great after the first day, almost giddy?

Will I do this again?

Actually, yes. Maybe after the holidays when your schedule is messed up and you just want to nap for 10 years. It was a great way to get me back on track as far as making sure I’m putting the ~goods~ in my body. It’s not for everyone, but I really enjoyed it.

 

 

 

 

How To Survive in NYC (for a year)

I have to preface this by saying, I only know how to survive here for a year so far, so take this how you will.

It’s crazy as hell to think I’ve been living here for a whole year. Can I make it anywhere now? Just kidding, I have not “made it.” I do think I could probably live anywhere now. I’ve said it before, but this has been a long year, but also a very short year. So much is different, including myself. Not to sound fake deep and corny, but moving here has really changed me and tested me. Sometimes when I really didn’t want to change or be tested (the city really be testing me a lot).

It didn’t start out all rainbows and kisses, though. This also marks the day I missed my 6 am flight (never again), had a 4 hour layover, broke down because I couldn’t figure out how to get into the Airbnb I had rented and finally collapsing into sleep at 2 am after realizing I was trying to open the wrong door. Some of my experiences here have been just like that: a mess.

Obviously, not everything about NYC is messy. Cool things happen here all the time, like Christmas, full bands in the middle of the subway station, going to very fancy places when you are not fancy. Sometimes, just walking around is my favorite thing I did all day.

Anyway, these are the things I’ve learned since living here. Also, a few tips if you move here.

 

Unlimited subway passes are not for “rich people”

First of all, rich people aren’t taking the subway. Second, if you don’t get the unlimited and you have to commute for work everyday, you’re gonna be spending more money for no reason. This is generic, but I did it for like two months and would choose between walking somewhere and taking the train.

Figure out the easiest way to get home at night and at normal times

Okay, so the trains are ridiculous after like 9pm on a weekday and weekends. Sometimes they run late night, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they tell you, and sometimes they don’t. If you only know one train home, you’re gonna be screwed. Figure it out now, or freak out when its dark and scary. Your choice ladies. My advice, always know how to get home from Union Square. Almost every train passes through there, so it’s a very easy spot to get to.

Always charge your phone. I repeat. ALWAYS CHARGE YOUR PHONE

Or keep one of those dorky battery packs with you. I choose to charge because that doesn’t fit in my cute, small, purse. I say this because there may come a night when your phone dies, you have no idea where you are and you decided to keep talking to a guy who has now ditched you. This will be very terrifying at 4 am. Charge your phone, or cry because you don’t know how to get to the L from where you are. (also, before someone calls me out, I was in the west village so the streets were not numbered!!!).

All pizza basically tastes the same. Don’t believe the hype.

Lemme tell you, I’ve had a lot of pizza in my time here and I still like the dollar slices.   Maybe that makes me a cheap date, but I will accept this title with pride. Everyone here acts like a pizza snob because some people put some noodles on it or an extra blob of cheese. Also, Joe’s pizza sucks. Catch me standing in a horrendous line for burnt pizza, I have lost my mind.

Just take the Uber to the Airport, unless you want to spend all day trying to get there.

If you have all day to kill and want to be cheap, go for it. If you wanna go to work half-day and then fly, DO NOT TRY TO TAKE THE TRAIN OR BUS. It’s just not worth the inevitable “hi can I skip you? my flight is leaving in 10 minutes and if I don’t make it I may cry right here in front of you and that is awkward for everyone involved.”

Don’t live in New Jersey

Just don’t. There’s only one train and it’s slow. You’ll never convince me otherwise

Times Square is horrifying

I thought so when I moved here and it has only been solidified since I had to work near it. No where else will you run into people just standing around looking up or a creepy dude in an Iron Man costume saying “oh my god you look so good hello beautiful.” Why broadway shows are there, I will never know.

Bodegas are legit. Not everything there is super cheap, though.

I can get asparagus for a dollar, but Cheerios are 5 bucks. Rx bars are maybe 50 cents more and almond butter is like 4 dollars more. I’d say, get most produce there, but the extra stuff you’re gonna wanna go to the real store(more than likely whole foods).

Buying too much at the grocery store isn’t a cute lil meme, its actually the WORST THING YOU CAN DO

Lemme tell you right now, buying groceries is a horrible experience. If you get too much stuff and tragically have to get two bags instead of one, you are about to be very uncomfortable on the train, off the train and walking your dumb butt home. Shopping online was 100% invented by a New Yorker because absolutely no one wants to drag a bunch of bags home. My only advice is that you buy gloves for the winter and get an apartment close to the train (you won’t think thats a big deal at first because you can walk but some day you may have a ripped whole foods bag and will be cursing yourself for that mistake), or by some miracle have a whole foods right by your house.

New Yorkers aren’t mean, they just mind their business and maybe are in a constant irritated state

If anyone in the South sits down and starts chatting with you, it’s weird, but kinda fine. If anyone does that in New York, the person is homeless, insane, or both. Most of the time, New Yorkers are just trying to get wherever they need to go n one piece and quickly. I think this HuffPost article sums it up the best:

Wake up in a small room.
Leave the apartment to grab a coffee. Wait in line.
Get honked at by a cab driver while trying to cross the street (you didn’t cross fast enough).
Get to the subway. Five people push you into the train car because EVERYONE is in a rush.
You’re smushed, and way too close to a stranger for comfort.
Get out of the train, get bumped into by five people trying to cut in front of you to get to the stairs.
Walk into your office building. Wait in line for the elevator.
Try to squeeze into the elevator, but too many people. Wait for the next one.
Get to your desk.

We have a reason to be irritated. You try doing this every single day.

New York during Christmas is a magical experience

Everyone should come here in December at least once. New York probably spend an unholy amount of money to make itself the place to be during Christmas and it shows. There’s so much to do and so little December (and also too many people).

I promise you this, everyone is hustling just as much as you are and also feel like they’re failing

New York can make you feel like you are never doing enough. It costs an extreme amount of money just to exist in this place, so it can feel like you can never catch up. You’re over worked and get paid what can feel like nothing just to live. Sometimes, it feels like everyone else makes more, lives better, has more etc. In reality, whatever person you’re looking at is probably older, has worked for years longer than you or is struggling as well and just looks like they’re better off. No one is posting their failures.

Making friends is hard. You’re gonna have to look like weirdo to make them, but its worth it.

Being blasé about making friends will get you absolutely no where. You’re gonna have to put yourself out there, feel stupid, meet people you don’t necessarily vibe with and even do some stuff by your damn self. You’ll come out on the other side, but the loneliness can be stifling if you let it. Don’t.

Believe what people say, it’s HARD to live here. (It’s worth it)

In case you can’t tell, it is hard to live here. It costs a lot for very little space. There’s a billion people. It smells. You feel FOMO all the time. The winter is death. Sometimes you get up and just wanna go back to sleep for a month because you’re really tired of “rise and grind.” Something that always makes me feel a little better is that, eventually, I won’t live here. I will have done (hopefully) all of the things I wanted to do, and will be tired of all this hustle and bustle and move my butt out of here. The doe-eyed look you get when you first move here is going to fade with the “rat race” of everyday life, but the city still has some tricks up its sleeve if you really want to see it. You have all of your life to experience being slower-paced and settling yourself down. Living here is not for the weak or the slow. Do it now, because the story later is the best to tell. Whether its 1 year or 10, it’s a great career move. You really can make it anywhere if this is where you start. Also it’s really fun to vacation other places and tell people where you live (people automatically think you’re living your best life whether that’s actually true or not).

 

Why I’m Switching My Skincare

My post about my skincare was basically a lead-in to this because I am going to actually try to have beautiful baby skin for the first time in 10 years! As yo guys know, I’ve been struggling for-EVER with my skin and it’s just NOW getting it’s crap together.

Let me start by saying, just doing my own research for this post, there isn’t a lot to go on. I’ve read couple things from different websites, but they seem pretty sketchy and unreliable. I will say I look at Sarah’s YouTube for some ideas when it comes to skin care. I’m referring to her as Sarah, like I know her (I do not, duh), but I’ve been following her journey for a bit now. She had horrible hormonal acne like I did and she has GORGEOUS skin now, like it looks fake. However, looking at her skin update, I’m not impressed. It is super simple, but the products are expensive. She also uses a cleansing brush everyday, which I do not know how her skin survives, as well as warm water. She also recommended a few essential oils as well. Using essential oils is probably something I should start doing, however I’m not about to but 50 dollar oil products please look at this one and how many ingredients it is:

 

 

 

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Like what is all of that?! Is it necessary?! Probably not. Safe bet that the reason it has so many ingredients, is the exact reason this retailer can hike up the price. The beauty industry is one that profits from the idea that you can’t get these “natural products” anywhere else. There’s no such thing as natural beauty, because if there was, they’d be out of business. If you could just cleanse your face with oil, then they can’t charge you $50 for it. They have to add all of this other junk you don’t need, in order to sell it.

As I was inspired by my cousin, who also struggles with her skin, I’m going au natural. I’m going to start slow by using only a few things at a time to really see what works with my skin and I’ll be documenting it all here!

As a refresher, this is what my skin looks like now:

 

*cringe*

These are the products I’m starting with:

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Honey -using this to wash my face daily. May switch to an oil (olive or other) instead of this breaks me out. Will keep ya posted

Coconut Oil -this to take off my makeup/ my first cleanser at night before I use honey (Trader Joe’s kind because it’s cheap)

Lemon -Mixing this and honey for my 2x daily wash.

Collagen pills -I’ve been wanting to try for a while and my cousin recommended this one. I’ll see how different it make my skin after a month!

Products I’ll be trying after my skin gets more acclimated:

Rose Toner -Heard great things and I have oily skin so I feel like I need toner? Who knows I’m just trying things out at this point.

Vitamin E oil -This supposedly helps with scars, but i don’t wanna overload my skin with oils right off the bat. Definitely want to try eventually however.

So far, this feels WEIRD. I do notice my makeup goes on a little smoother, however my skin looks a little red for some reason. Not sure what that’s about, but will keep this updated monthly to see how it goes! Let me know if you guy have any products you love or blogs you love who are doing the same!

 

Life The Update: Dreams as Big as My Eyeballs

Highly anticipated and 100% organic cane sugar, ya’ll I’m finally giving you a life update! It took me way too long to write this. As I said in my last update, I’m still not used to the whole “talking about my life and not worrying about what Britney from high school thinks about my post” thing, (for the record, I don’t know a Britney from high school and apologies if you graduated with me and your name is Britney this aint no shade to you girl). My last post was awkward because I was struggling and had a bit of an ego blow. As always, the voice must be silenced and I must continue to be the girl who wore her belt from Brighton my mom bought for me on Ebay even though 10 girls in 7th grade told me how hideous it was whenever I wore it (along with my embarrassing white kitten heels—yeah you read that right). So, like always, I must write this.

 

With that lead up, you might be thinking this is gonna be an awkward post about me failing. I’m very pleased to say how wrong you are. After 1 month of waiting—literally to the day, I am pleased to announce I am the Social Media Coordinator for Memorandum.com! I get to work everyday for someone I’ve admired for almost a year now, which is insane. I finally get to show off my creativity and do something I’ve been itching to do since getting familiar with the blogging world. Still can’t say what the heck my “5 year plan” looks like, but I can tell you it looks a whole lot better than it did at this time last year.

As a girl who always kind of felt stupid for getting a degree in English instead of something practical (and honestly almost switched my Sophomore year). Someone who didn’t get fancy internships, go to a fancy school or know anyone who could help me get here, I always worried about how I would ever be able to get where I wanted to be. I found my passions late in life and I worried I should taken this class or done this extracurricular in order to do what I wanted. If there’s any proof of all that being a big pile of hooey, I want you to know I’m it. Best advice I can give? Always listen to your gut feelings. I’m bordering on being one of those “never stop grinding” gym memes, so I’ll leave it at that. I can finally say without any hesitation: I’m out here living my best life, ya’ll.

 

The Sunday Summary

I haven’t done one of these in MONTHS, so I feel as if I need to update you guys on the things I really like lately. Pay attention (please), this is a good one.

Elf Concealer

I have this weird thing where I have two concealers. One is my expensive concealer for when I wanna look like a pore-less model and one for when I’m just living my everyday life as a regular human—or for when I wanna look good, but not that good. Just me? I happened to be in Target the other day and remembered I was running out of my regular human concealer, as well as my fancy one. A dilemma! On a whim, (and because I didn’t wanna go to the mad house that is Sephora), I bought this. Actually rivals my expensive concealer AND only $3?! I have turned a new leaf.

Graphic Tee Trend?

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I never, In my wildest dreams, thought I would actually like this trend. I love pairing a tee with fancy pants (as seen below), especially patterned pants. Not by any means ready for Fall, (because Winter is next), but I do miss my pants. I’m still hesitant to buy any band t-shirt that I have never listened to, or a shirt that says something horrible like “beast mode.”

RX V.S. Lära Bars

It’s hard to pick which one I like better. RX bars are my personal OG. They have basic ingredients, big, taste amazing and have no added sugar. HOWEVER, Lära bars are making a serious contender. Some of them do have added sugar (usually only about 3g), but follow the same “basic ingredients” principal. They also have some amazing flavors like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Coconut Creme Pie and (my personal fave) Lemon Bar. They aren’t as big as RX bars, so I would say that’s their downfall. I know I’m late to the party on these, but maybe someone else is too, okay!!

Running on a Treadmill?

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As you guys may know, I’ve been implementing running back into my daily workouts. I used to run solely outside (in the devil’s heat), but lately, I’ve been using the treadmill. At first, it was a ride on the struggle bus. You have nothing really to pay attention to except maybe a TV you can’t hear. You also aren’t really going anywhere, so it’s just you and your thoughts for however long you can stand it. Since switching to a focus on endurance, instead of focusing on speed, I’m actually enjoying it. I either listen to a podcast, or some of my favorite jams of the moment. Definitely not going fast, but I can usually last longer and run better on the treadmill. As with anything, the more you do it, the better you get.

Book of the Summer: You are a Badass by Jen Sincero

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Late to this party as well, mostly because I figured this book was corny. I decided to switch it up and read a book or two about bettering my life—maybe give the murder mysteries a break. This was surprisingly good and only slightly corny. I would say, keep an open mind when reading. It gave me things to do while on the job hunt and inspired me to change some things in my life. Highly recommend if you feel like you’re struggling with anything or just need some inspiration*~.

 

Let’s Get Skin-timate: My Skin Journey

I wanted to talk about something I’ve struggled with since puberty: SKIN. Specifically, the skin on my face. This is gonna be a long one since I’ve been struggling for 10+ years (craziness), so strap in! Get some snacks.

 

First, let’s break down my journey a little bit.

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Right before the miracle of braces circa right before 8th grade 

I’ve had what I would call “problem” skin since I was about 13. Specifically, I would breakout on my chin. Usually it was one or two, but I always was embarrassed about it and started wearing makeup very early in order to cover it. My aunt, being a Pharmacist, was the first to prescribe something for my skin. After months, my skin stayed the same, despite dosage increases.

Once I was starting 8th grade, I went to a Dermatologist for the first time. He prescribed me a BUNCH of different stuff, but again, nothing really changed.

For a couple years, I just used the stuff you could get at Target like Neutrogena, Clean & Clear etc.

Around my Sophomore year of high school, I started using Proactive. It worked moderately well and I would say my skin was bearable. After not seeing the dramatic results they show on their TV adds, I decided to try something else. In the rise of Pinterest and blogging, my mother and I read about using oil as a cleanser. I don’t really remember my exact results with this (I was but a wee junior in high school), but I wasn’t satisfied with how my skin was reacting to it.

 

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Summer of my junior year. Probably the best my skin looked for two years

I was recommended acne products by a Sephora worker and switched all skin care to a particular brand (doesn’t exist anymore).  This made my skin better, but I still had breakouts regularly. I ended up just going back to regular ‘ole Clean & Clear and my skin was pretty okay the entirety of my junior year. I would still breakout, but it was bearable. Of course, I obsessed over every pimple, but looking back it was really tame. Calm before the storm, as they say.

 

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A blonde me? Senior year

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Decided not to wear makeup this day and after seeing these, regretted that decision

Going into my senior year of high school, I got the worst breakouts of my life. It went from being manageable or a few here and there, to full on cystic acne all over my cheeks and chin. I went back to Proactive in hopes that would help and after another failed attempt, went to a Dermatologist. He sent me back with a few things to try, while my skin stayed basically the same. I was going into College, trying to meet new people and make friends so this was not ideal.

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First day of college, the worst my skin ever looked

Around the same time, my cousin was also struggling with her skin. Like me, she had trouble skin later in life and was struggling to find anything that worked. She began taking the drug Accutane and was surprised by it’s dramatic results.

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While taking Accutane my freshman year

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Summer, after 7 months on Accutane. (please ignore the face I’m making, sheesh)

Accutane is controversial for a few reasons and so most people use this as a last resort. It has very strong side effects including: back pain, dry lips, dry skin and even depression. You take this everyday for at least six months. As a female, you have to jump through A LOT of hoops to get the medication. Blood work and pregnancy tests are a monthly thing as well as making sure you have two forms of birth control. Despite all of this, I was determined to find some way to get it. Luckily for me, a doctor at my school’s health center prescribed it to me. Yes, my skin got drier and thankfully, my hair did too. Other than that, I was lucky enough to have no serious side effects.

After about the 3rd or 4th month, I started to see a real difference in my skin. Going through my first year of college and finally having manageable skin was the best feeling. Accutane was really the only thing that ever worked for me, personally. After being on it for 7 months, I was finally down to about two breakouts a month.

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Sophomore year of college (I miss my short haiirrrrr)

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Junior year. (you can sort of see the scars on the side of my face) Let me live, i know this picture is odd

 

Unfortunately, since getting rid of breakouts, I was left with scars. I’ve struggled so much with just breaking out, that I just basically thought “Okay this I can deal with,” and mostly left my skin alone for the past 4 years. Still trying to hide from anyone seeing me sans makeup, of course. You can’t really see the difference between my skin after Accutane and now since I wasn’t really documenting it. My skin looks similar, but I promise, some of these pictures (sophomore and junior year) I have good makeup and strategic lighting.

I do want to share the, few, subtle things that I have been doing lately that have helped me dramatically. My skin right now is about the best it has ever been, (except my baby skin) and I wanted to share what I’ve been using/doing to help get a more even tone!

Lemon juice

I’ve touched on this before, but just to reiterate, this is the best thing for a brighter tone to your skin! I literally just cut this baby in half and squeeze the juice on my skin every night before I go to sleep. Seriously, do it.

Honey

This stuff has been my saving grace lately and I’m so sorry I neglected (hated on) it for years! I use this for very simple masks, here’s a couple:

Tumeric and honey=spot treatment

Pink Himalayan salt and honey= exfoliation mask

I’ve also been using it in my coffee as a sweetener!

Cut. That. SUGAR

I’m sure ya’ll are thinking, “is this girl about to tell me to stop eating sugar again?” and I AM!!! I just stopped using sugar n my coffee and it has changed my skin so much, and its only been a month. So much of your skin is a reflection of what you put in your body and sugar is the worst thing you can do to your skin. I cut sugar in my normal diet and really only eat sugar (I’m talking like cookies, cake etc. or what I call “obvious sugar”), maybe twice a week. Sometimes, I’m just really craving it, so i definitely  let me myself have it. I never wanna go back to that long month of no sugar and making myself miserable (do not recommend).

Wearing less makeup

This is hard to do if you have a full-time job, obviously, but try as much as you can. I definitely recommend not using foundation if you do feel like you need to wear makeup. I only ever use tinted moisturizer and then cover-up for my scaring and dark circles. I recommend this or this, they are very similar in my opinion and I like both!

Don’t use a cleaning brush every night

This discovery stemmed from me just being too lazy to buy a new brush head for my Clairsonic and then not using it because the brush was too gross. I was basically over-exfoliating my skin and it was not thanking me. I would say if you have one of these, use it once a week.

Wash your face TWICE

So since I’m not using the brush to get all of my makeup off, I now have to wash my face twice. Once to remove my makeup and second, to cleanse. Never been a fan of makeup wipes, I feel they can be super harsh. I prefer just washing it twice.

Cold water only

Recently, I followed another blogger with UNBELIEVABLE skin. Like baby smooth and dewy. She used a bunch of different things. I’ll admit, once people suggest products to use, I usually tune out. Having tried so much stuff, I really don’t take advice about skin products that claim to work. HOWEVER, she did say she only washes her face with cool or cold water. It takes some getting used to, but I’ve been doing it ever since. Putting boiling hot water on your skin in general probably isn’t great, but definitely if your face is sensitive. I would recommend at the very least warm/cool water.

 

For years, I had people tell me what I should be doing for my skin. I hated anyone who would comment on it, as I preferred to pretend it wasn’t an issue. Most of the skin advice I got, was unsolicited. Random people would tell me what I should be doing and honestly, that was probably the worst part. I tried not to think about my skin, as I knew I had more things about myself to offer. No matter what, you are not your skin. We get so wrapped up in how we look, that when we don’t look our best, it can be hard to live normally. If you’re struggling with your skin, you’re not alone. One of the reasons my skin is better could be simply age! Don’t dwell on it, everyone has something they’re embarrassed about. If you know someone struggling with their skin, for the love of god, just leave them alone about it. Whatever you’re about to say, they’ve probably tried it. At the end of the day, you still have to go out and live your life. My skin’s not perfect. I still get embarrassed walking around without makeup, sometimes. Everyone has something about them that they don’t like, but find your way of dealing with it and do what you can.

*Not a professional or expert, only sharing what has worked for me in my own, personal life.