Monday, October 13, 2014

Favorite Beauty Posts: October 13th, 2014

Did you guys see the premiere of The Walking Dead last night? I don't think my adrenaline has pumped that hard for months! I'm definitely digging the fall TV lineup.

  • MsRosieBea with DailyMix does a nice Halloween skeleton tutorial which I'm sure I am going to copy come the 31st. 

  • The Conscience Fund details her beauty routine when her skin is "Suddenly Suddenly Sensitive". I can definitely relate to when your skin decides to do a 180. My skin seems to go in spurts of perfection, sensitivity, then hormonal cysts. JUST LOVELY!

Monday, October 6, 2014

September 2014 Recap & Favorites

In September, I went from scorching California weather to the dry heat of Las Vegas and then off to a shock of snow(!!!) in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. I was able to bond more with my Euro-fam whom I'm not able to see nearly as much as I'd like. I also had a nice break from the hustle and bustle of LA. Driving through the dark fields on the way home was surreal. I hadn't seen ANYTHING that dark since moving to the city.


Once arriving back to my new town, I picked up a nice head cold (probably from the airplane, which also oddly reeked of onions) and spent a few days sleeping it off. Eventually, the fiance dragged me out of the apartment to head down to the Santa Monica Pier which I'd never been to. I have to admit, the pier was slightly underwhelming but I'd like to go back and ride the ferris wheel anyway. Next date night, I suppose. September was a fun month, but I'm looking forward to more Autumn activities in October.

September Favorites:

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Inspired by the Edgar Allen Poe  short story of the same name, Griffin has creatively expanded upon Poe's world via Araby Worth, an upper class teen partying in her steampunk-esque city while a highly contagious virus spreads around the city. The virus affects those who do not have the means to purchase gas masks or live high above the diseased slums. However, once dragged in to the rebellion against Prince Prospero, Araby's life becomes more than just alcohol, drugs, and parties. Filled with lush description, realistic dialogue, and a nice little love triangle (what YA book doesn't these days?), Masque of the Red Death is a quick and entertaining read, most of which I enjoyed while on the plane back to California. The sequel to the novel will surely be downloaded on my Kindle before my next beach excursion.  

Simple's Protecting Light Moisturizer SPF 15

Nestled next to other beauty favorites on my bathroom shelf
I used to HATE all moisturizers with SPF. I was absolutely convinced that SPF clogged my pores and irritated my skin. I only used sunscreen when going to the beach. Terrible skin decision! I've finally found a light, oil-free and inexpensive moisturizer with SPF that doesn't cause a rash of pimples across my forehead. So far, I have not used one product from Simple that I haven't adored. Seriously. I am in awe of the product range's versatility and affordability. Try it out, y'all!

Whenever I'm sad, exhausted, crampy, headachey, stressed, or just not that perky, I take a bath. I'm the ultimate lover of hot water and sincerely believe that it cleanses away just any general "down-in-the-dumps-ness". To add extra umph to my bath, I've been dumping a half a cup of Dr. Teal's in hot bath water and climb right in. It melts away immediately, leaving a nice waft of minty steam while the salt and magnesium sinks into my skin.

Vanilla candle from Target

Being on a tight, one-income budget (for now...) tends to push out any higher-priced candles out of my monthly online shopping spree but what else am I going to light when I want to de-stress or try to hide the kitty litter smell when people use my guest bathroom? Chesapeake Bay candles back a powerful scent punch while lasting a fairly long time. Unfortunately, the candle doesn't tend to melt quite evenly but for $6 at Target I'm not going to complain. I'd recommend checking out their Vanilla and Mandarin Berry scents.

Pumpkin Spice Latte...


Okay, okay, enough with the basic bitch haters talking down on my obsession with Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I can't help I wish every single meal could be accompanied by a nice latte that reeks of cinnamon, all-spice, nutmeg, and pumpkin. When it doesn't feel like autumn where I live, a pumpkin spice latte can get me in the fall mood. It doesn't hurt that the pumpkin scones are delicious as well. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Struggling with Anxiety and How I Cope

Haphazard Notions
Think of your happy place (Jackson Lake Lodge, Grand Tetons, WY)
It has taken me a long time to admit to myself that my anxiety is not something to be ashamed or embarrassed about. I've struggled with my mental illness since early elementary school where I feared tornadoes and earthquakes, long winding canyons where our car could "tip over" at any moment, breezes that I thought would turn in to major life-altering tornado storms that would rip up my house and spin us all away. I feared my mother and father getting sick, if cancer could develop in my young body, if my younger brothers would get hit by lightening or snapped up by a kidnapper.

Even though I wasn't and still am not particularly religious, I would pray every night for my loved ones' safety. It would become a ritual that I did nightly. If I didn't, I just knew something terrible would happen. Not only would whatever "bad thing" I feared would come true but I would have to live with the constant guilt of not completing my nightly prayer ritual. Everything would be my fault.

The seed of my OCD compulsions had been implanted into my head, nestled right next to my developing panic disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). If I do this, I can prevent that which will then keep me anxiety free, or so I thought.

Instead, completing the compulsion or ritual to prevent whatever I feared coming true became almost more important than the actual fear. For example, if I didn't wash my hands three times or wipe them on the towel three times, a knot of dread would tighten in my stomach. To erase the dread and whatever impending doom I had just created by not following one of my "rules", I would have to start over-- wash three times, wipe three times, done. My world is saved, for now.

My issues with anxiety, panic attacks, and OCD behavior have waxed and waned over the years, Middle school was rough, high school easier but still depressing, college a massive up and down nearly every day. Now, as a "full-fledged adult" I still struggle daily. But there are a few things that I like do do whenever I feel a flare up.

Take a breath
Simple. Easy. Effective. After anxiety rears its ugly and oh so familiar head, take the time to close your eyes and focus on your breath. Go in a restroom if you're in public or even your car. Wherever you're alone. Keep breathing-- in and out, in and out. Through the nose, into the lungs, and slowly release the breath through your mouth. Keep focusing on your breath. The way it feels in your mouth, in your lungs, let it flow out in one slowly controlled breath.

Focus on NOTHING
I know this is incredibly hard for someone suffering with anxiety. Your worries and fears won't leave. They intrude upon your thoughts, forcing your panic to rise up. It has taken me years to really be able to think of nothing. Once the high-tide of panic has subsided from the breathing exercises, begin to push out all thoughts. It is one of the hardest things that I do. It would be easier to run a 5k than for me to actually sit and focus on NOTHING. Remember, it is just a mental exercise. Focus on your even breathing. Keep going. You'll get better at it, which will then help you.

Pamper yourself
As "girly" and makeup obsessed as I am, I never thought that home spa products were worth buying. Why would I want to lay in my bathtub smelling lavender or chamomile while doing absolutely nothing? That will only give me time to think about my problems. No. Like the breathing exercise, use this time to rid your mind of its thoughts. Focus on the warm bath water, the rising steam, the therapeutic aroma of your chosen bath product. Use this time to recharge and remember that this too shall pass. I like using Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt Soaking Solution and a few vanilla scented candles.

Exercise and/or Yoga
I've begun to incorporate yoga in to my morning routine. Not only does it help strengthen my lower back muscles (I have major issues with back pain) but I find that the stretching helps center myself, providing for a calmer day. I hope to one day incorporate some kind of meditation in to this routine but I haven't gotten there just yet. Unfortunately, I'm not the best at exercising regularly (other than morning yoga). However, when I do run or lift weights, I find myself sleeping better at night and stressing out less during the day.

Learn more about anxiety
I used to avoid this. Reading about anxiety or how the body processes fear depressed me or increase my anxiety. But the more I pushed on finding and reading resources for coping with, the better I got at actually coping. Find reputable blogs, message boards and/or self-help books. For those skeptical about self-help books you just have to find ones that fit with your personality. I know I'm not going to feel better reading Chicken Soup for the Soul. I like things geared towards learning how to incorporate "self-talk" in to my daily routine or finding peace within myself via non-denominational spiritual writing. Most recently I've enjoyed Dr. Claire Weekes Hope and Help for Your Nerves and oddly enough, Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones, which is not a self-help book about anxiety but about writing. Her writing and writing exercises force me to look deeper in to myself which helps with the anxiety anyway.

See your doctor about your anxiety if you haven't already
Speak with your doctor about your anxiety. This is an illness and they do have tools to help you cope. If medication seems right for you, then try it. There is no shame in using medication to control your body's response to increased levels of unnecessary adrenaline. Your doctor can also speak with you about exercise and other de-stressing activities and can also refer you to a therapist. CBT or Cognitive Behavior Therapy is very beneficial for a lot of people. Try it out with licensed therapist if you think it may help. Remember, you may need to try a few therapists out before you find the best one for you specifically.

A nice quote I once saw somewhere on a self-help board is "Anxiety is the destroyer of perspective". I wish I knew who said it. I've always loved the saying and I repeat it to myself when I start to spiral down an irrational anxiety black-hole. Find other mantras or sayings to think about. It may seem silly at first, but it really can help.

Keep fighting. Things will get better. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear some.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Favorite Beauty Posts: October 1st, 2014

Man, writing the date on this post has depressed me. It's October already? Where are the cool temps and crunchy fallen leaves? Oh, right. I now live in California. It's Land of Eternal Summer it seems... I am craving thunderstorms and knit sweaters, sneaking mulled wine in to football games, and turning OFF the A/C instead of cranking it up so I don't melt in to the floorboards of my apartment.

Okay, back to the original purpose of this post-- linking to some of the best beauty-based articles, blog posts, and/or video tutorials that I've been watching or reading in the last week or so.

  • Nic from Pixiwoo's Kylie Jenner Tutorial has me yearning to wear more pinky-nude lipsticks. 

  • Linda Hallberg's Eyebrow Transformation tutorial. Put on the subtitles if you don't speak Swedish...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Yellowstone National Park

I'm still trying to figure out my website and even though I'm fairly adept with technology HTML/CSS/ web design has seemed to allude me. I 'm extremely envious of anyone who can whip up even the most basic website without the help of some kind of WYSIWYG editor. 

I've been away from the internet for the most part this past month. It's been incredibly refreshing spending time with family, traveling around the Yellowstone area, even reading and writing like a maniac. 

As much as I love Yellowstone, I didn't just go there just because I felt like seeing it. We were showing some family from Europe around a few of the western states (my ass is still numb from all the driving). It is a shame though that when I think of vacations I never think of the area for myself. The last venture up that north happened when I was still in my teens. Yellowstone reminds me of school trips and family vacations where I argued with my siblings the whole ride up, not a stress relieving or romantic vacation with my fiance. 

I was completely wrong. The true awesomeness of the national park's vistas are almost overwhelming. When you look out upon the expansive marshes of Hayden Valley or the never ending shoreline of Yellowstone Lake the life you left behind in "the real world" just disappears. There can't be anything but this view. Nothing else exists. There's only this beauty right here, right now.

Yellowstone makes me wish I was some Romantic era landscape painter (high school history reminder of the Hudson River School of painting HERE!). 

However, at the risk of sounding like some old-fogey, I swear the times I visited Yellowstone as a child and a teen we ALWAYS saw a bear, at least something more than bison. Unfortunately, while driving our Euro-fam around we barely saw bison. If you've been to Yellowstone, you've most likely run into massive, sprawling herds of bison, so many buffalo surrounding the roads and small stop-offs it was almost irksome. NOT THIS TIME. We only saw a herd of six bison roaming about near Canyon Village. Any other buffalo we saw were lonely old man-bison wandering as a solitary figure out in the distance or like the one pictured above, snorting and rolling around in the dirt (which was really fun to see). We surely disappointed our Euro-fam after the long drive filled with tails of mama bears dashing out in front of our car with two little cubs in tow or annoying experiences of sitting on winding roads for forever because the buffalo JUST WOULDN'T MOVE.

To satisfy our wildlife cravings, we went to the next best thing-- West Yellowstone's Grizzly Bear and Wolf Discovery Center. Where, as the name implies, you can gawk at grizzly bears and grey wolves. The grizzly bears (and all the other animals) are rescues, either abandoned as cubs or unable to stay away from humans (junk food is tasty...). 

Through out the day, the center's employees hide treats aka peanut butter, veggies, and carcasses, around the view-able grizzly bear enclosure. As an activity (and for the visitors) the bears run out to find their treats, play with the crows, and/or bathe in the little waterfall ponds. It's really quite enjoyable. As of my visit this September they have bears, wolves, and various birds of prey. However, they are in the planning stages of a water-based exhibit with otters and trout. I'd highly recommend visiting the place ESPECIALLY if you have kids or were one of the unlucky few to not get a glimpse of  more wildlife in the park. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pardon My Dust

I'm working on revamping the blog! So, if you see little glitches or errors that's why!

Monday, August 25, 2014

5 Books On My To-Read List

I'm an avid reader on a shoe-string budget at the moment (moving is expensive!) so I've been methodically researching my books to devour for the next few weeks.

My current read. I think I might be the last person in the world to read this!
My current book. I think I might be the last person in the world to read this.
Sure, I could and probably should go to my local library but I haven't really found it yet and I do love to have my own version that I can mark-up, dog-ear and write the date I read it in. I'm a little odd like that. I have to also admit I'm not very good at returning books to the library either. Late fees end up being the book's cost anyway.

I try to buy at local bookshops or independent online sellers as much as I can. If  I can, I also look at Ebay and sellers on Amazon. Just make sure you look at the seller's rating and their shipping times. I've accidentally bought from people who take 4 to 7 weeks to ship when I wanted the book ASAP!

I am of the school of thought that believes writers should not only write all the time but should read as much as possible. Read constantly. Read anything. Just READ. I read celebrity gossip, New Yorker essays, Twitter feeds, scripts of movies I have and haven't seen, YA novels, rando textbooks I've found in my house, newspapers, literary novels, travel guides, coffee table books, etc. The list could go on and on. And, don't get me started on people who "don't like to read". You just haven't worked on your reading muscle. Reading is an activity that needs to be practiced to become fluent in just like any other activity. You won't paint the Mona Lisa on one try and you most likely won't enjoy War and Peace the first time you read a book either.

1. Sweetness #9 by Stephen Eirik Clark

2. Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson

3. Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay

4. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling -

As a massive Harry Potter fangirl, I want to give Rowling's other writing a try. I should probably also read The Casual Vacancy as well.

5. Gulp by Mary Roach -

I cannot believe I haven't read anything by Mary Roach. Nearly every single English professor, grad student, book-lover, etc. has recommended her to me.

EDIT: I finished A Fault in Our Stars today... I'm in love. Off to buy more of John Green's novels.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday's Link Love: August 18th, 2014

Here's what I've been reading online lately:

  1. The Gloss' "The 15 Best Hacks For Organizing Your College Dorm Room" which you definitely don't need to be in college to enjoy. I wish I could go back in time and implement the class bin suggestion!

  2. Feel like a jackass when talking about your awesome skills, successes, or goals? Read Lifehacker's "5 Things I Learned About Self-Promotion (Without Being a Spambot)".

  3. Another Lifehacker post! I'm notorious for messed up sleep habits. Here's The Best Time to Work When You're Sleep Deprived.

  4. As a writer, I especially enjoyed Flavorwire's 10 Stunning Writing Studios but I highly doubt you need to be one to enjoy the eye-catching designs of these spaces.

  5. I couldn't be more jealous of Rosie the Londoner's Parisian vacation.

  6. Last but not least, Caroline Hirons went to the LUSH FACTORY!