Winter Makeup Look-Book

With the weather being cold and inconsistent, it can be difficult to have the motivation to put effort into a good outfit, let alone put on makeup. This week’s blog has some inspiration for fun and simple makeup looks.

Our first look is a simple light-glam. This look features a warm-toned lip and a shimmery brown eye. This look is perfect for any occasion. It can enhance a simple outfit and bring attention upward to the face. This look is also perfect for any eye color!

The next look is one of my favorite types of makeup looks. This is a monotone burgundy eye with a white liner in the water line to really open up the eyes. To bring the monotone look together, a deep, reddish burgundy lip color is used. A deeper blush also works well with the color scheme. The darker colors really bring out the adored winter “by the fire” vibe . You can do this look super quickly and it’s perfect for a fancy dinner or a date with a special someone.

What I love about this fun and super easy makeup is that it’s so natural. Here the makeup consists of a little bronzer to give some warmth to the skin, a mauvy nude lip and some mascara. I like to revive the sun-kissed look I often lack in the winter. It’s classy and it’s a great look for class or hanging out with friends and family.

Our last piece can be done with a multitude of color options. This purple half-cut crease really meshes well with the cool-toned colors to go along with our wintery and chilly vibes. This also could be done with an icy blue or gold to really bring that pop of color into the dullest of seasons.

I hope that this can provide some inspiration to your wintery looks. Have fun and get creative!

Facing Reality

When you look at someone, the first thing you see is their face. The face is the window to a world of thought, conversation, or the building of a relationship. Yet contrary to the purpose of a face, we often turn ours away from others. As we’ve aged, technology has grown more advanced. Instead of politely acknowledging one’s existence in passing, or saying hello to a stranger, we’re stuck on the elevator with our faces stuck in a screen.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge culprit of this. I find it extremely difficult to push myself out of my comfort zone and talk or just simply accept silence in human interaction. If there is a pause, I pick up my phone. If I feel uncomfortable, I pick up my phone. One day I was walking from a class to my job across campus and decided as I went through the main building, Baker Center, and up the escalators that I wouldn’t look at my phone. To make this even more challenging, I looked to my left just a few feet to look at the faces of people going the other direction, just to see how many would look back or make eye contact with me. Then I attempted to keep count as best I could. I passed over 50 people, maybe even 75, but less than 10 people met my gaze in the few seconds that we passed.

This social experiment was generally just for fun. I didn’t actually do a serious number count, write down, or seriously analyze my experience. I simply did it to see how much random interaction people actually took part in. Keep in mind, as weird as all of this sounds, interaction is part of what makes us human. We need to set down the screen, spend less time on social media, turn off the tv and the music and interact with people.

Like I said before, I’m not just “preaching to the choir.” Many people don’t realize they are lacking interaction. I’m also not saying to talk to every person you see. I am simply hoping to encourage you just to look up and look out. A smile could change the outlook of someone’s day. Let’s stop camouflaging behind our screens and with our headphones. Be human, be real and face reality with your beautiful face.


Braving the Cold: A Guide to Winter Weather Skincare

Across the nation, frigid temperatures have caused the closings of schools, universities, and businesses. Dangerous temperatures like these can really be hard on our precious skin, to the point of causing frostbite. This is my guide to maintaining healthy, moisturized skin in subzero weather!

  1. Shower and wash your face at night. Using a mild face cleanser before bed can wash away makeup and dirt; the real importance of washing your face at night is so that the creams or lotions you use can trap the moisture in. This allows the skin to soak up the moisturizer overnight, instead of getting dried out from moisture evaporation when going outside (if you were to shower in the morning).
  2. Apply a moisturizer that is a little more dense, like a cream rather than a lotion. I like to use a heavier cream in the winter to avoid getting flaky skin around my nose and forehead area. Specifically, a face moisturizer may assist in longer term protection rather than a typical body lotion.
  3. Use a hydrating face mask. I stressed in a previous blog that face masks should only be used about once a week. I still stand by this, but using a hydrating gel or jelly mask can keep the skin feeling super smooth and supple if used after cleansing and before moisturizing.
  4. Use a light face oil over top of a moisturizer. Using an organic face oil can, again, lock in that moisture and prevent dryness.
  5. Don’t overuse makeup. If you’re treating your skin to lots of moisture treatments or products, the chances are, you’re risking getting a breakout or getting some patchy areas on your face. Take it easy and rock your natural beauty!
  6. Lip balm. Lip balm. Lip balm. Invest in a high quality product from Fresh or Bite and cover those lips before you go outside. Some cheaper lip products can cause peeling or dry out the lips (causing you to use/buy more). Don’t overuse the product, but be sure to guard your lips before going outside, so they won’t get chapped.
  7. Bundle up! Use a scarf when going outside so that cold air doesn’t bite at your exposed face. It can help prevent drying and redness as well.

These are just a few simple precautions. I love learning and talking about new ways to take care of our beloved faces. I hope these few simple tips/reminders help you this week! Stay warm!

Is Meat a Must?

For many years meat-eaters and vegetarians alike battle over who is correct about what a healthy human diet should consist of. From a vegan or vegetarian’s standpoint, the human body is not wired to process and digest raw meat and animal products like other carnivores. But people who eat meat may remind their counterparts that without animal products, we begin to suffer from the lack of certain vitamins or the necessary amount of protein. Both sides have valid arguments, but what is the right choice? This leads us to the purpose if this week’s blog. Meat: to eat or not to eat.

In December I began to notice a flaw in my diet. I was intaking a lot of different types of animal products and I noticed the way my body felt while processing and digesting red meat, pork and some chicken. I hadn’t done much research, but after getting through a stomach bug in the days following Christmas, I decided that it would be a perfect time to try a new style of eating. Just shy of a month ago I became pescatarian.

Pescatarians are different from vegetarians in that instead of consuming no animal flesh they do still eat fish and seafood. I found this to be an easier transition for myself and a great way to still be able to find easy protein.

I chose to take this plan of action for a few reasons: to maintain a healthy weight, to maintain my health quality, and for ethical purposes. According to the article “Does Man Need Meat”, “the vegetarian lifestyle is linked to better weight management and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics”. This sounded super appealing to me! I did take into account other factors of healthy eating and in turn, did research to make sure I was going about the new way of eating properly. The Medical News Today article “Is Vegetarianism the Natural Option” says, “from a medical point of view, we should only eat meat if it is healthful to do so. Over recent years, there has been a growing mountain of evidence in support of the health benefits of a vegetarian diet and the health risks of pounding too many burgers into our bodies,” which again has been a great part of helping me find reasons to stick to this lifestyle.


Although I’m not sure if I’ll continue with the pescatarian diet, I am noticing the physical changes I’ve experienced in the last several weeks. The first is that eating a primarily plant-based diet has decreased the time it takes for my food to digest. I feel less heavy and full after eating a meal. I don’t feel as fatigued when I wake up in the morning. I’ve also experienced less instances of acid reflux/heartburn. While all of these benefits have helped me stay consistent on this diet, I have had to be very conscious about my protein and vitamin B12 intake. I make sure I drink soy milk or eat some yogurt as dairy and soy milk contain B12, calcium, and other necessary vitamins. I do try to incorporate fish, but when a dining hall or restaurant doesn’t have a fish/seafood option I gravitate toward nuts, beans, tofu, sunflower seeds and peanut butter to make sure I’m getting the proper amount of protein. In addition to my benefits, I hope I can make a small impact for ethical purposes. If you’ve gotten this far, I encourage you to try a new way of eating and push yourself outside of your comfort zone; it makes a huge difference (and I don’t miss meat that much). Check in later this Spring for any further updates (as I may or may not continue, we shall see)! Happy New Year!

https://www.livestrong.com/article/468626-does-man-need-meat/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320047.php

Complexion Rescue

As we settle into winter months, we also have to settle into a steadier skincare routine. In a previous blog post, I talked about how important it is to develop a skincare routine where you are cleansing and moisturizing regularly. I definitely needed to take my own advice, so I began looking for a moisturizer suitable for my skin. Luckily, I found the products I desired to add to my routine by doing some research, trying a few samples, and ultimately being introduced to new brands through my Sephora Play subscription box.

This week, I want to rave about a great skincare brand called Fresh. When I started getting my subscription box, I wasn’t necessarily looking for a face cleanser, as I’ve had a hard time finding one that didn’t irritate my super sensitive skin. That was until I received the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser in a trial size. This stuff is awesome! The product contains soy proteins, rosewater, and borage seed oil; these ingredients help to gently lift off dirt and makeup while soothing and nourishing the skin. It’s also sulfate, paraben, and phthalate free. It always leaves my skin feeling smooth, helps against acne development, and pulls off the makeup and dirt from my face. It feels so clean and soothing. The best part is the cleansing gel goes a long way, making it a long-lasting product. Now, my favorite part of the day–which used to be putting on makeup–is taking all of my makeup off and taking care of my natural beauty.

Although I’d found my holy-grail cleanser, I was searching for a moisturizer that was also safe for sensitive skin, did its job, and was actually worth the price. I highly recommend stopping into a local beauty store like Sephora or Ulta and asking for a sample of more expensive products before buying them. Because I had such a great experience with the Fresh cleanser, I decided to try out the Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Moisturizer. Again, I have zero complaints about this product. It doesn’t make my skin appear oily, and it has cleared up the dry, flaky areas that once plagued my nose and forehead. It’s safe for sensitive skin, and again with its time release technology with infused rosewater, my skin stays smooth, hydrated, and soothed throughout the day. This is another long-lasting and worth-it product for almost any skin type. It’s important to be aware though, that some moisturizers may enhance the look of larger pores. With having this particular skin type, it’s important to remember heavier creams can enhance or clog larger pores and water creams would be more suitable. All this is to say, this Fresh moisturizer hasn’t clogged or enhanced the larger pores around my nose and again I would recommend this product to anyone.

Fresh has not only graced our skin with great cleansers and moisturizers, but one of their most well-known products is their lip-balm and face masks. You cannot go wrong with anything from this brand. If you decide to check it out, check reviews and make sure you have no sensitivities to any of the ingredients. Thanks to Fresh my skin is becoming the smoothest and most hydrated it has ever been. Grab a sample, you’ll find yourself falling into a new routine with these lovely products!

The Launch We’ve All Been Waiting For

If you’re a makeup fanatic you’re probably aware of the recent launch that swept not only the nation, but the world. Several weeks ago, Morphe announced its launch with famous social media influencer, James Charles. The company launched the 39B Artistry Palette along with a brush collection all inspired and influenced by James Charles. This blog topic was highly anticipated and although it has been widely discussed, I’m here to give my opinion since receiving my products!

The background for the creation of this product is very interesting. Morphe discontinued their vibrant colored 35B palette and many artists were very upset; James Charles (who has rapidly gained a large number of followers) was particularly vocal about it. The awesome part about the launch was it was somewhat unexpected to the public, so when the news dropped makeup lovers everywhere ate it up. As soon as it went live online I–of course–had to jump on the bandwagon and add it to my collection!

The palette features three different sections: the top two rows for more “everyday” looks, the larger, middle pans are “most-used” colors, and the bottom two rows are vibrant colors used for more “art-inspired, bold” looks. The brush collection features many different blending, packing, face, and eye brushes (including multiples of some), and the Morphe beauty-sponge.

My initial reaction was that the packaging and case for the products were extremely gorgeous! The real tea, though, is the color payoff from the pressed pigments in the bottom two rows of the palette. Despite some negative feedback online, I have been extremely impressed with the colors and the blendability–which was the point of this collaboration. As I’ve said in other blog posts, Morphe is my go-to for eyeshadows and brushes. If you’re in your makeup a lot or doing makeup for others, this brush set is for you! The brush set comes with 34 brushes and a sponge in a hard leather cylinder tub. It is true that the colors do not swatch well on the arm, but when used with a nice eye primer (I use Urban Decay Primer Potion) and applied with brushes, it really does give off the color you see in the pan. As with any shadow or pigment, good blending takes time, and the products, in fact, do blend. My favorite thing about the brush set is the face brushes, the multiple blending brushes, and the dual ended eyebrow brush featured in the set.

Of course, I will include a shot of an unedited eye look I did with the blue section of the palette without any liner or lashes, so you can get the scope of the pigments! While I’m no professional, I do recommend this collection to anyone who really is into makeup. If you haven’t purchased it yet, you can find it at Ulta as it has sold out worldwide on the Morphe site. I absolutely love doing product reviews and encouraging readers to try new products, so I’m very excited to be letting you know all about this collection in particular! I think it’s so important to find a creative outlet and makeup is definitely one for me. This collection is a lovely way to “unleash your inner artist.”

 

Top Coffee Shops in Athens

I often find myself on a chilly day cooped up in my room with nothing more to do than watch Netflix. And while I really value those lovely, laid back days, I need a place to escape. Generally speaking, I love food and a pretty, calm environment. That obviously means you can most likely find me in some of the various coffee shops on campus. These are my favorite cafes listed from best to worst and why.

1. Brenen’s Coffee

The selection at Brenen’s is fantastic! They not only sell coffee and pastries, but they have an awesome selection of sandwiches and snacks as well. I’ve found Brenen’s is a nice place to hang with friends. They have my favorite coffee by far on campus (try a Nutty Irishman)! They also have a punch-card (which I have used completely), but are a little bit more pricey than that of Court Street Coffee. Support an alumni!.

2. Donkey Coffee

Donkey takes my number two spot solely based off of its super laid back vibe. Its interior has kind of an intricate layout, but when you walk in it just looks and feels so mellow. Not to mention their products are great as well. Not too pricey. And again, supporting local business is great.

3. Court Street Coffee

Court Street has pretty awesome coffee drinks, pastries and smoothies. In my personal preference, I do feel a little put off by the sit-down vibe in the shop, but they have plenty of room and a cute set-up. The prices here beat that of the other cafes in my opinion. It’s a great stop when you’re on the move and need to grab a quick drink.

4. Catalyst

Catalyst takes my number four spot. Before you anticipate why, it’s because I have only heard about it and have not yet tried it. I wanted to include it on my list because I feel inclined to support this local business as well, and I know it is well-liked by some friends who have been repeat customers! I cannot give my complete discretion on this location, but of course, coffee is coffee.

5. Starbucks

My number five spot is Starbucks. While I do like this chain coffee company, it is hard for me to justify spending a large amount of money on corporate coffee knowing there are small cafes with coffee just as good that support local people.

 

Even if you aren’t currently a student at OU, you are now aware of some pretty awesome coffee and hangout places to check out when you’re around Athens. Don’t forget how important it is to support small, local business. You’ll be helping out your community while enjoying a delicious coffee or tea drink.

Going From Only Child to Sibling in a Matter of Weeks

Many people either know what life is like to be a sibling, or what it means being an only child. For 17 and a half years, I knew what it was like to be an only child. I was constantly surrounded by adults except for the interaction I had at school or dance. I never wanted another sibling because the young me feared the unknown of sharing attention and space. I even used to say I didn’t like kids and I’d rather be around adults. I was content with the time and attention I got from my parents and it seemed as if that would not change.

Oh, how the tables turn…

Within a few short weeks I went from being an only child to sharing a home with two children who once were simply my neighbors. I took on the “big sister” role, but without the typical nine months to prepare. The fact of the matter is, just because you take on the role of sibling when your parent makes the decision to foster a child, doesn’t mean you become a “sister” or “brother”. Those terms come with relationship development, to many, they are terms of endearment. I was not granted that endearment at first, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to. When a nine and twelve-year-old move in, a lot changes, and so do you.

Nearing the midpoint of my senior year, when my mom decided it was in the best interest of our neighbors to move into our home, my world was flipped upside down. No, I didn’t freak out, but I felt many moments where I was longing for the solidarity of my past life. I never expected I would have to become a new type of role model where someone is looking at my every move. The change wasn’t horrible, it was in fact a really good growth opportunity for myself, my mother, and our two new family members. Now, I won’t go into detail of our transition, or explain exactly where we struggled, but I will tell you how I have changed over the last 10 months.

I have learned to be exceedingly patient in situations and with questions. I have learned how to hold my tongue. I have learned that as a child, you don’t always need to know why the answer is no. I have been able to reflect on my own childhood and understand that when my mom or dad did things I didn’t like, it was generally in my best interest. I will never forget my mom saying, “you might hate me now, but you’ll love me later.” I have learned what it means to be respected and disrespected and how to remain confident in those times. I have learned to be a different kind of role model. I have learned how to love differently. I have learned how to be more understanding, considerate, and compassionate. The past 10 months have proved difficult, but have played a part in the development of becoming a strong adult. I miss Shawna and Aaron when I’m away at college. I love to laugh with them and talk with them. To see how much they have changed in 10 months is incredible! And while I know I’m not always there and it gets hard at times, I love to see how my mom has changed and the difference she is making in their lives as well.

All this to say, these things wouldn’t be possible without the love and trust in Jesus, which is the only reason any of us have made it as far as we have in this journey. Although I was able to learn a lot as an only child, I was able to learn more by becoming a sibling. I am grateful to now be considered a sister.

 

BOX IT UP

One of the biggest issues I find with purchasing makeup is that once I’ve used it, I sometimes regret buying the product. It seems to be quite common that we end up returning or not re-buying a product we used once. Yes, this may happen for a multitude of reasons, but the one that seems most common is that we are making uninformed purchases or buying based off of recommendation. A simple way to avoid these issues would be to try the product yourself before buying it. Okay, now you’re probably wondering how you might try the product without blowing a bunch of money. A subscription box is the answer. And now you’re probably thinking, “don’t I have to pay for a subscription box?” Here is why I think it is absolutely worth it to subscribe to a box.

  1. You get several products which gives you at least a week’s worth of usage (maybe even more depending on how/how often you use the product.)
  2. A box gives you a range a products to use: moisturizer, all types of makeup products, face masks, cleansers, perfumes, and sometimes even makeup tools.
  3. A basic subscription box will give you around five products, plus shipping for only 10 dollars!
  4. You get time to test a product and see if it suits you before you decide you really want to buy a full size.
  5. It’s really nice to receive mail, especially when it’s a nice little package of beauty products and not bills.

There are several different types of boxes you can subscribe to: Sephora, Ipsy, Birchbox, Boxycharm and more. The most important thing to look for before signing up for the monthly box is reviews and ratings. I highly recommend a Sephora Play box. I started receiving one last month and I love it. All of the products I’ve mixed into my routine and I’ve even found things I am willing to purchase in the future! The first option for a Sephora Play box starts at whopping 10 dollars and comes with 6 items! You can upgrade to more products and the price increases with the product increase. With a Sephora box, you can also use points you receive in your box toward purchases at the store. While Sephora offers non-customizable boxes, brands like Ipsy allow you to customize your preference of the products you receive.

A subscription box is definitely not a necessity, but if you’re buying makeup or looking for holy-grail products, it would be a great (small) investment to make. Take it from a fellow makeup fanatic, it’s totally worth it and you won’t regret it!

 

A Guide to Facial Care

Like most people, I experience moments of bad skin or develop a breakout, only to wonder: how could I have avoided this issue? Whether or not you’re a college student, a high school student or a middle-aged woman, a correct skincare routine is super important. I’ve been spending some time doing research on how to take better care of my face, and hopefully through my process you can learn something to benefit from as well.

For a daily routine, we will start out with the steps for the morning. It’s super important that when you wake up (before you even touch makeup) you should apply a moisturizer. This moisturizer should be suitable for your skin type. If you suffer from dry skin, you’ll want a thicker cream. Lotion will not really help in giving your skin the proper moisture. If you have oily or combination skin type, then a lighter, hydrating (water-based) gel might work better for you. You may also try lotion although I don’t really recommend lotion as it can contribute to clogged pores. Also, before applying your makeup, use a face primer. If you have large pores, using a pore refining primer is most beneficial. I currently use the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer and it not only fills in my pores, but holds my makeup in place all day long. Again, if you suffer from dry skin, a hydrating primer would work nicely as well.

After you’ve rocked the day, with or without makeup, your nighttime routine could make or break your beautiful skin if you don’t do the right steps. To accomplish and maintain clear skin, you can end your night with these simple steps. If you are wearing makeup, remove it with a makeup remover of your choice and then proceed to rinse your face with lukewarm water and cleanse with a facial cleanser like the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser. Next, rinse the skin, pat dry with a clean dry towel, apply your moisturizer and if you choose to use a skin oil to help clear acne make sure that is the very last step so that the oil isn’t trapped in your pores. Organic oils and essential oils can be great for toning, calming and cleansing the skin. An oil blend may enhance a youthful look and oils like a diluted tea tree oil can help reduce redness and shrink acne. It is also very important that your pillowcase is regularly washed or changed as it can collect sweat, drool, oil and dirt which can have a huge effect on your face. You may find that a good moisturizer and facial oils will help keep skin supple and can prevent the occurrence of fine lines and wrinkles.

Lastly, as indulgent and lovely as it may be to use a face mask, I recommend doing these masks only once a week. Overusing face masks can irritate the skin or cause an imbalance in the skin’s natural oils. Also making sure the mask you use isn’t packed with crazy chemicals is super important. A mask from a brand like Lush or Origins would be great for most skin types as they have products for different skin types and are often vegan, cruelty free and organic.

A few simple changes in your skincare routine can really alter the health and appearance of your face. Keep in mind these steps may not cure your acne, but it can definitely help. Making sure that you’re drinking plenty of water, maintaining a nutrient rich diet and not accumulating lots of stress will also play into avoiding breakouts and maintaining youthful skin. I hope this serves as a helpful tip to guide you to the correct facial care! If you’ve ever contemplated subscribing to a subscription box be on the lookout for next week’s post about the pros and cons of a subscription box and why I recommend one. Until then, have a wonderful week!