Thursday, October 31, 2013

October Favorites

I know, I know, yet another person hopping on the monthly favorites bandwagon and I'm not even what you would consider a traditional "beauty blogger", which I think is sort of reflected in this list anyway. But I love reading these kinds of posts, as well as hauls, because I'm nosey and like to see what products others are trying that might peek my interest. If I love these kinds of posts (and YouTube videos…), I know there must be others that do too! So without further ado, my October favorites:

This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin: This was recommended to me last summer by my therapist and I've only just gotten around to reading it. I wish I had gotten around to it earlier, especially after all of the struggles I've had. In sum, it's a book that takes the basic components of music such as timbre or pitch and explains their ties to cognitive psychology, neurochemistry, and evolution. But it is written in a way that anyone can understand even without any type of background on music or psychology. I don't want to get into much more detail but it really is a fascinating read if you have any interesting in music or psychology or simply are looking for a new book to read. Music was something that has always helped me through tough times, especially the darkest days of my depression, and reading about some of the reasons why it helped me was really eye-opening.

Benefit's the POREfessional: I don't really have any 100% staples in my makeup routine but this one will probably be the first. It definitely minimizes my pores and as am added bonus it mattifys my skin and evens out my skin tone pretty well. And when combined with my normal primer, my makeup stays put all day. I don't like heavy products on my face and this one is light-weight and oil-free so it is a perfect primer for everyday use.

Benefit's Gimmie Brow: I've never used products on my brows before until this one and it's pretty darn good. It's a new, all-in-one gel +brush that you just swipe and it distributes the product evenly and makes the brows look uniform. I never knew I needed a brow product until I used this and became addicted. I have relatively prominent brows so it makes me feel better leaving the house knowing that they look groomed and not like I haven't ever had them waxed.

Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation: I recently decided to get back into liquid foundations after only using powders. I have dry skin and powder foundations tend to emphasize that fact, especially in winter. I don't want my stupid old flaky chin to come back and make it look like I have dandruff. Rimmel is one of my favorite drugstore brands so naturally that's where I turned and I was not disappointed  It's medium coverage and has a slightly dewey finish, but it's not too dewey. Being someone who has struggled with her confidence because of her acne, this does not break me out and when paired with my concealer, makes my skin look pretty damn good if I do say so myself and is a definite confidence booster. It also has an interesting scent, not bad, but I can't place it. I like it though.

Maybelline Color Whisper: A Plum Prospect: With my purple hair, I'm not really fond of how it looks with a red lipstick; it's too much for me personally. So I've been experimenting with more purplish toned colors and this one has been a hit. The application is smooth, has wonderful color payoff, and is pretty long-lasting. I love my lip products and always feel confident when I love the color of the product and know that it won't be wearing off or smudging on me throughout the day.

Maybelline Color Tattoo: Pomegranate Punk: This is currently in my everyday makeup routine. It's a creamy eyeshadow base that is easy to apply and looks wonderful on its own. I like to blend it with my MAC Bare Minimum eyeshadow for a slightly smoky eye look. The deep pomegranate color is also perfect for fall. For people who don't wear eyeshadow often and are looking to start, this particular product is a strong place to start as its easy to use and comes in a variety of great colors.

MoroccanOil Intense Curl Creme: Absolutely amazing. I just love this product. It helps tame my crazy frizz, enhances my curls, and hydrates my weak/ damaged hair. And like any MoroccanOil/ argan oil kind of product it smells incredible. I use it after I wash my hair as a leave-in conditioner and a little goes a long way so even though it's pretty expensive, (seems like) it's going to last a while. And I am one anyway who will splurge on hair care, so it's likely I will repurchase it.

Batiste Dry Shampoo: Floral & Flirty Blush: Dry shampoo is a hair essential and Batiste is the best brand I've tried. Not only does it remove the oil and make the hair look fresh, it can be volumizing as well. My curls have always made me self-conscious when they're not exactly uniform because they're a day old or they look greasy and this product does the trick in boosting my confidence. I'm also one who likes her hair products to smell good, if you couldn't already tell, and I love this scent. This one is floral scented and I'm excited to try the other scents!

Monkey Slippers: Cold weather is coming and my toes need warming. I got these from Target last year and while there are holes from constant wear on the soles, I can't bear to part with them. They're just too cute! If I'm not wearing my Minnie Mouse onesie at this time of year, I definitely have these on my feet! And cute slippers are always better than lame, bland slippers anyway. 

And that is it for this month! Let me know of any products you really liked this past month!

Talk to y'all soon!


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Just Doing Me

When I first started going to therapy two summers ago, one of the big things I learned was that in order to be happy I needed to start taking care of myself and focusing on me. I've always liked my alone time but I never really did things during that time to take care of myself until the past few months or so when I began to set aside time for pamper days/evenings. I normally try to do them once or twice a week depending on how stressed I am, and being back at school generally means I need it at least twice a week. I honestly wish I had started doing these sooner because they are so relaxing and I've found they are very helpful in setting the mind right, and after all of the problems I've had over the past few years these days can be a God-send stress-reliever at times.

A full-out pampering for me consists of some sort of hair treatment, a few skin products, and doing my nails. Sometimes I will only do one or two of these things if I'm short on time, but at least once a week I like to go full-out.

I also like to experiment with new products just like I do with my makeup. And as I have really struggled with my skin all of my life I've found that most of the more common drugstore products just don't work for me. I can't explain why but I've tried almost every Neutrogena, Clean & Clear, etc. product under the sun and while some may work for a little bit, most of them never fully work for and so I have had to branch out into slightly more higher end products such as Origins, Clinique, etc.

And since I love pampering I thought I'd share with you a few of the things that I love to use.
Redken Extreme Deep Fuel: While I'm a natural blonde, it is a dirty blonde and I like it much lighter so I get it highlighted, so there's a lot of damage that's been done with the bleach over the years. And the shampoo I currently use to get the purple in my hair can be drying at times. I also have pretty weak hair from years of being an untreated anemic, I even lost half of my hair and the stuff goring back is way stronger than the other stuff, so most of my ends are horrendous. All of this means I need a strong hair mask and this one is amazing. My hair stylist is a Redken stylist so I have always used Redken products and this is one of the best. I put it on damp hair, wrap it in a twisty towel and then wash it out 10-15 minutes later and it makes my hair softer. After some searching to find it online and why it was so ridiculously expensive on Amazon, I found that this product has unfortunately been discontinued. Bummer.

Organix Luxurious Moroccan Argan Creme: I picked this up on a whim because I've heard great things about argan oil. I was recently given MoroccanOil Intense Curl Cream by a friend's mom and I actually like that better (and it is so worth the hype) but as it's much more expensive, I still use this one once a week to make my hair feel extra soft and healthy at the ends. It also smells fantastic so that's an added plus.
Bath&Body Works Stress Relief Body Cream: I'm a sucker for things that are spearmint scented and this body cream is no different. The eucalyptus and spearmint are meant to not only nourish the body, but the mind as well with aromatherapy. When you take the time to breathe in deeply I have found that it does work, at least for me. I even purchased it in hand sanitizer form so I can take it with me if it's needed. As a body cream, I like to also slap it on my feet and put socks on to nourish my feet and moisturize them so it works as a multipurpose product.

Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask: With my 100 point perk at Sephora I once nabbed the amazing GlamGlow YouthMud mask and fell in love with it. Unfortunately it's super duper expensive so I have been on the hunt for a good replacement. I stumbled upon this particular mask after reading a post by Lily Melrose over on her second blog, etcllymlrs, and decided to give it a shot. It works very well and I've seen a noticeable change in my skin. It has worked well to help clear my pores and leave my skin looking fresh. While not as instantaneously effective as the GlamGlow mask, it is still something that I will forever repurchase because of the results I've seen, especially when paired with my Origins Super Spot Remover Acne Gel.

Origins Drink Up 10 Minute Mask: Since I have dry skin hydration is a must. This mask smells like apricots and does wonders. I'm itching to try the overnight version of this mask but for now this does wonders. I will end up using it twice a week as winter comes along but this mask makes my skin feel refreshed and hydrated.

Rimmel Lasting Finish Pro in Lava Red: I've never had a real manicure or pedicure in my life; I've always loved doing my nails myself as I find it relaxing (and my nails used to peel terribly bad from my anemia). Fall is a great time for dark nail colors and this is a gorgeous deep red. It's even darker on than in the bottle and I love it. This particular brand is particularly long-lasting as well!

Seche Vite Top Coat: Everyone should definitely believe the hype on this one. It's fast drying and leaves a glossy finish that almost makes it seem like you got a gel manicure. For someone who loves doing their nails as much as me, this is just a must have.

LUSH Mint Julips Lip Scrub: I honestly can't get enough of this stuff; it tastes like a York Peppermint Patty! It's a simple exfoliator for your lips but it works wonders. And since it's made of pure sugar its 100% edible and tastes amazing. I probably use this more than I should but I can't help it. It will be a stable come winter and the ever so prevalent dry lips.

Bath&Body Works Candle: Sweater Weather: No pampering is complete without a candle. I was drawn into this candle by the name and then loved it by the smell. It says it's a combination of eucalyptus, fresh sage, and juniper berry, all I know is it smells like heaven.

What do you like to use on pamper days? I love getting recommendations!

Talk to y'all soon!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Never Alone

Hello there! How are y'all?

Recently I had some mental struggles that led me to having my first panic attack in well over a year. It was over a grade on an exam and I actually started crying in the middle of another class because at the time I felt like a failure. I worked through it and then went on a canning trip. Canning is basically canister solicitations and we do it 3 weekends in the fall to raise money for THON. On our trip, we got to see one of my org's THON children (basically it's like an adopt-a-family kind of thing) and seeing him helped make me put things in perspective.

I realized how lucky I truly am. Struggles are going to happen and it's how you respond to adversity that makes you stronger.

Per the usual with me, one of the main things that helped me cope was music and I thought I'd share with you one of the songs that I absolutely love.

This is a live cover version of the song Never Alone by Lady Antebellum performed by Kait Weston. I've always loved this song but when Kait came to perform it at THON 2012 it gained so much meaning that I went to iTunes and bought her version as well. I hope y'all listen and enjoy it as much as I do! 

Have a great rest of your week everyone and I'll talk to y'all soon!


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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Stepping Into My Comfort Zone

I know, I know… that sounds the opposite of what you are supposed to do. But hear me out!

I've mentioned before that I have only recently become more comfortable wearing what I want to wear. Meaning, that I normally chose to dress how everyone else was dressing to fit in rather than how I wanted. And let me tell you, there have been a few moments where I have wanted to revert back to the old me because of some comments.

For example, one of my current favorite pieces of clothing are dungarees/overalls, whatever you prefer to call them. I have a few pairs, my current favorite being my floral Kimchi Blue ones from Urban Outfitters. It was these I was wearing not too long ago when I got some interesting comments such as: 
"Overalls are for little kids." 
"Aren't you a little old to be wearing that?" 
"That outfit is for a 5-year-old." (that one was said when the person behind me thought I had music playing through my earphones when I actually did not.)

Sigh...they're so pretty 

My daddy always said, "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all." So even though I wanted to tell those people off, I held my tongue.

For once in my life, I'm wearing the kind of clothes I want to wear. Again, I know I've mentioned this before, but it is nice to not second guess pieces of clothing I think are cute because I think the majority of people would negatively judge me for it. So what if I wear things that the majority of people on my campus probably wouldn't wear? It's what makes me, me. I know it kind of sounds obnoxious, especially because there are many other people out there with a similar style to me, just not around me at my college (at least from what I've seen). I guess what I'm saying is that despite some of the negative comments I may get, it's nice to finally wear what I like and feel comfortable in and not just picking out things to wear because it is the norm.

When it comes to make-up, I have recently developed an addiction to lip products, especially lipsticks. Now that it is fall, red lipstick is a definite must for me (even though I would have never even touched it before this year, funny how things change). Wearing red lipstick is not abnormal, I would say it's extremely common. But what I have found is that very few on my campus ever wear it to class and only really do it for a night out. Sometimes the only person I come across that is wearing it during the daytime is a female professor. With the prevalence of red lipstick in the beauty world or whatever you want to call it, I do find it a little odd that not more people wear it on my campus. Maybe they do and I just happen to not come across them. I don't know about you, but I always feel like a badass when I wear red lipstick. I love wearing it. Makeup is fun and just because you don't wear a certain item/ any makeup at all, doesn't mean you can put another person down because they wear what you don't. Just like clothing, makeup is a form of expression and if someone wants to wear red lipstick to class, they can.

So I'm just going to put on my dungarees, my red lipstick, and embrace the real me.

Is there anything about your style that makes you stand out from others in our community?
Talk to y'all soon!


Monday, October 14, 2013

Wild Ride

(photo by me)

Nothing plays with my emotions quite like sports do, especially when they involve my Penn State Nittany Lions. I originally was going to do a long winded post about the game, but I decided to just post my panoramic picture of our white-house.

While this picture doesn't do nearly enough justice to depict what it looks like to have over 107,000 people all in white cheering on our boys to an improbable, come-from-behind, 4 overtime win, I just couldn't not share it.

This game was without question, the best sporting event I have ever been to. While I probably had about 5 mini heart attacks in the span of an hour, it was totally worth it. Singing the alma matter after the game, despite it being a new tradition since last year, has never felt so unifying. And I feel sorry for those who never get a chance to have this kind of experience as sports just bring people together like no other.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Well, That's Different

"Well that's a different hair color…"

Yes, my hair is currently not your typical color; it's a light purple with a slightly gray tint.

And I love it.

I have always wanted to dye my hair a fun color, I did dip-dye it blue back in the spring, but that was mainly to test the waters. I've always loved the look of purple hair in almost any shade and I have dying to do it myself. Especially after seeing it done on Kelly Osbourne and Perrie Edwards.

I didn't have it done in a traditional way however. This past weekend, I went home and had a hair appointment where we put heavy highlights in to lighten my hair back to a very light blonde (I am naturally a dirty blonde but we had dyed it brown earlier in the year and have been slowly working back to the light blonde - but I digress). While I liked this final result, I secretly had a different plan for it. When I can back to my apartment at school, I decided to go purple. 

To do so, I did some research a few months ago and finally settled on using the Fudge Clean Blonde Violet Toning Shampoo. This is a purple shampoo usually used to rid blonde hair of brassiness when used following the instructions. I, on the other hand, did not follow instructions. I lathered my hair generously using the shampoo and then put it in a twisty towel to sit for 30 minutes before washing it out; and then I did it again the next day. Now I have purple hair. 

It's probably going to be a pain in the rear end to maintain the color I want because I'm using a shampoo (and when I go back home for my short winter break and get my hair highlighted again to get the last of the brown out it may be a bit of an issue… oops) but in the end I'm really happy because the shampoo worked like a charm and that's all that matters. 

As far as reactions from other people are concerned, I've had numerous compliments and only a few mixed reactions. I'm sure there are people who don't like it and think I'm crazy, but that is their problem and not mine. The old me would not have had the confidence to do something like this in fear of what other people would think. Now, all I can think about is how boring it must be to not be able to fully express one's self in fear of other's reactions when in reality, you shouldn't base your appearance on what others think. If you like what you look like then that is all that matters in the end.

Talk to y'all soon!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Emotions Running Wild

Hey y'all!

It's finally hit me.

Exactly three months from today, I will be sitting in my orientation. In London. A city I have never been to. In a country I have never been to.

Holy. Crap.

I know I've talked about this before, I'll probably ramble on about it to death to be honest, and somethings I'm about to write may be a little redundant, but right now my feelings are a little different from when I was first accepted. And don't get me wrong, I am beyond thrilled. Words cannot even describe how excited I am for this experience. Studying abroad has been a dream of mine since high school. I have always wanted to travel the globe and learn about other countries first hand. But the reality of it all is all hitting me at once.

I won't be a three-hour drive away from my parents in the next state north, in the same timezone. Instead I'll be across the Atlantic, in another country, in another timezone, about an eight-hour flight away. I know I am relatively independent from my parents as far as day-to-day tasks and such are concerned, at least I like to think that I am, but this is a whole different ball game. I can't go home on weekends for short visits or doctor's appointments. I probably won't be able to talk to my family as often as I do. My U.S. American sports teams/leagues will be difficult to watch (For anyone who knows me, this is very disappointing). I'll miss THON, my most favorite event ever. Timezones may cause me to miss other events in general. There will be products of many types I won't be able to get. The currency is different. The language is still English, but a different kind so some slang, etc. may confuse me despite all of the tv shows, movies, music, YouTube videos, etc. I watch/listen to from the UK (which is surprisingly a lot). I don't have a single friend or family member that lives abroad that I can go to in an emergency (albeit I will obviously make friends there).

All of these things combined have made my mind run wild and just thinking about it is currently making my heart race. The unknown is funny in that it can be both terrifying and very exciting, depending on how you decide to approach it.

I am constantly reading about London and specifically study abroad experiences, etc. in London so I feel as though I am preparing myself well. I know I'll at some point be homesick and experience culture shock no matter how prepared I feel. I know it's probably going to get even more overwhelming as my departure day draws nearer. Hopefully my tendency to over-prepare (if only you could see all of the information I have gathered…) will lessen the anxiousness I know I will feel.

No matter what kinds of emotions hit me, I can honestly say that three months is still too long to wait! I know, I know, I've already waited so long that three months will fly by. But I just want to be in London already!

Talk to y'all soon. xx