My Thoughts on Hulu’s “The Act”

If you have not watched the show “The Act” on Hulu, I recommend watching it before reading this post! This show is based on a true story. Even if you know this story, I still recommend watching the show! (Spoiler warning.)

Like many people, I have a lot more free time right now. My family and I have been catching up on different TV shows lately, and we recently decided to watch “The Act” on Hulu. “The Act” came to Hulu in March of 2019. I remember thinking to myself that I really wanted to watch the show, but I never got around to it until now.

This show is based on a true story of a girl named Gypsy Rose Blanchard. Her mother had Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy, which is basically the need to care for somebody who does not need it. Gypsy’s mother made her sit in a wheel chair though she could walk. She shaved Gypsy’s head and told others that her daughter had Leukemia. She even had a feeding tube inserted because her mother would tell doctors that Gypsy could not chew her food. These are just a few of the ways that her overprotective mother controlled and manipulated Gypsy and those around them.

When I first heard about this story, I was completely shocked and disturbed. I felt a mix of emotions. I felt bad for Gypsy, but at the same time, I was frustrated with her choices. I was angry that a mother could do something like this, and to her own child no less. After watching this show and watching a ton of interviews as well as the documentary, I wanted to talk about this crazy story.

While watching this show, I questioned how much of it was true. I knew that since it is based on a true story, a lot of it had to be accurate, but I also understand that some things are dramatized for television. What I have found is that most of what I saw in the show was very accurate.

I first want to talk about the actor’s portrayal of these real life people. Patricia Arquette played Dee Dee Blanchard, Gypsy’s mother. Arquette was phenomenal, to say the least. I think that she was the perfect person to play this role. She made this character extremely believable, and I got chills watching her. She even won an Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in a limited series, so I know I’m not the only one who admired her performance!

Then we have Joey King, who played Gypsy. Again, I think she was the perfect choice for this role, and she did an amazing job. I grew up watching Joey King. She is my age in real life, and I remember first seeing her in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and Ramona and Beezus. While I am not too familiar with other roles she has played, I think that this one is probably one of the most challenging ones she has ever played; partly because she is portraying a real life person who is still alive today. She truly stepped into this character by shaving her head, wearing false teeth, and perfectly imitating Gypsy’s voice. King had many vulnerable scenes in this show, and I admire the way she handled them with grace and maturity. While I am unsure of who Joey was up against for the Emmy, I still think Joey should have won some award because she was incredible as Gypsy.

And then we have Nick, played by Calum Worthy. This character really creeped me out. It was very clear early on that he had mental health disorders, and since I had watched interviews and the documentary, I knew the way that each of these characters spoke. Worthy was spot on. He sounded just like Nick, and I felt that he got his mannerisms right as well. While I was not familiar with this actor before watching this show, I think he also did an amazing job, and I think that each of the actors for this show did their research.

I couldn’t believe the lengths that Dee Dee would go to manipulate and lie to her friends, family, and neighbors. She even tricked celebrities into thinking that Gypsy had all of these medical issues when in reality, she was perfectly healthy. It was really terrifying because Dee Dee had her own mental health issues, and it led to a very controlling and restrictive environment for Gypsy to grow up in. She would tell Gypsy not to speak at doctor’s appointments, and she turned Gypsy into a great liar and manipulator. It was truly an abusive home. Gypsy’s father was not exactly a part of the picture. At least from what I understand, he was really not around much, so he was fooled as well.

Because Dee Dee was able to fool everyone, she and Gypsy were given money and donations, free trips, and a house was built for them by Habitat for Humanity. I believe that Dee Dee not only loved the attention and sympathy, but she loved the fact that they were getting all of these nice things handed to them. One of the things that this show and this story has reminded me is the way that family can really shape who you are as a person, whether that is good or bad.

I found myself questioning the doctors so many times while learning about this story. I first thought to myself: how on earth did no one see that Gypsy was healthy? I then realized that even if the doctors would tell Dee Dee that Gypsy was completely fine, she would still tell Gypsy that she wasn’t.  I truly don’t know how she got away with this for so long, but it blows my mind that doctors couldn’t really do anything about it. A doctor in the documentary had said that he can report cases when he believes a child is being neglected, however Gypsy wasn’t exactly being neglected; she was being over treated. Essentially, all he could do was write down the fact that he believed Dee Dee had Munchhausen by Proxy. The way I see it, over treating someone is just as bad as neglecting them.

Since Dee Dee wanted Gypsy (and the world) to believe she was younger than she actually was, Gypsy really did have the interests of a little girl. Even into adulthood, Gypsy had a love for Disney princesses and fairy tale endings.

What seemed to be the breaking point for Dee Dee was when Gypsy got older. Gypsy began questioning a lot of things that I feel many people at her age would wonder about. Her neighbor in the show, Lacey (played by Annasophia Robb), was speaking to her about a Christian dating site. She told Gypsy about a guy she met on the site, and Gypsy was certainly intrigued. Their conversation was very quickly interrupted by Dee Dee, however Gypsy had already come up with a plan.

On this dating site, she met a guy named Nicholas Godejohn. They spoke for a few years before ever meeting in person. At night while Gypsy’s mother was asleep, she would walk around, eat sugary foods (that she was apparently “allergic” to), and she would Skype Nick.

The more Gypsy pushed for independence, the more controlling Dee Dee would get. She did not want Gypsy to grow up and start disobeying her. Plus, the older Gypsy got, the more likely she was to ruin what her mother had created.

Leading up to the murder scene in the last episode, I truly was on the edge of my seat. I was actually scared to watch the scene. When Nick texted Gypsy that he was at her house, she seemed a bit hesitant to let him in. She handed him the knife, and as he walked to Dee Dee’s room, Gypsy locked herself in the bathroom. I was completely freaked out at this point. Soon, Nick murders Dee Dee, and watching Gypsy cover her ears as she tries to block out her mother’s screaming, was chilling.

At first, I wondered how on earth they believed they could get away with doing something like this. Then I was reminded that they were both very childlike. When Gypsy posted on her and her mother’s shared Facebook page that Dee Dee was dead, Nick reminded her to turn off the location, though he was a little too late. This is ultimately how they were caught.

Since I knew how this story ended in real life, I knew what to expect while watching the show. Gypsy got 10 years in prison, while Nick got life. I am sure that the opinions differ widely, but for me personally, I think that 10 years is somewhat fair for Gypsy, however life for Nick seems a bit extreme to me. I do think that he should’ve spent more time in prison than Gypsy because he is the one who actually murdered Dee Dee, but it was honestly heartbreaking watching his interrogation. Nick’s behavior was very childlike and I think he truly did not understand the severity of what he had done. I felt like the fact that he had mental health disorders was not necessarily taken into account (though I am not exactly sure). As for Gypsy, it is hard to say what she really deserved because although she is the one that planned out the murder and in some ways, manipulated Nick into doing it, she went through so many years of abuse. I honestly don’t have a solid conclusion for this because there is so much that needs to be taken into account. It’s all very complex.

I do feel, however, that Gypsy and Nick need therapy and mental health counseling.  What she went through will affect her for life. If she wants to live a more productive and healthy life, mental health counseling or therapy could be very helpful for her. As for Nick, he may not be getting the help he needs in prison, which is sad. I think that he really should be in a hospital setting so he can get the help he needs while still taking responsibility for what he did. The same could be said for Dee Dee. She needed help, and if someone would have been more proactive in looking into this situation further, things could have ended differently for all of them.

It was very clear that Dee Dee had mental health issues. If you are unfamiliar with Munchhausen by Proxy, like I was at first, you may not understand what could cause a person to do such horrible things to her own daughter. Since her mother had this mental illness, one would think that it would drive her own child to go crazy. While I do think that Gypsy was mentally affected by the abuse, she seems to be very smart and she is much more aware of the world than even her mother realized. When it comes to Nick, his mother said that he was diagnosed with Autism and Asperger’s. Nick himself mentioned that he has multiple personalities, and as an audience, we were introduced to Victor, his darker side (the side that murdered Dee Dee).

Something I questioned while watching the show was the relationship between Dee Dee and her own mother. In the flashbacks, we would see Dee Dee taking care of Gypsy, and then Dee Dee’s mother would interfere, telling her that she isn’t doing something right. Understandably, Dee Dee would get frustrated with her mother. She felt like she could handle it on her own. The relationship was obviously strained, but I was curious to know if this was what their relationship was really like in real life. I did not hear much about this in the documentary or other interviews I watched.

I also questioned the relationship between Gypsy and her father. In the show, it seemed that Gypsy was not very close to her father. When he came to visit her in prison, they almost seemed like strangers. It seemed as if she didn’t want to see him. In the documentary, Gypsy gave her father a hug, and she cried in his arms. They seemed to be a bit closer than what was portrayed in the show. I don’t think that Gypsy got to see her father very much, if at all once they moved out of Louisiana. (Also, can we talk about how much the actor who played Gypsy’s father looked like her real life father? That blew my mind!)

Of course, children are going to rely on and trust the adults in their lives, specifically their parents. This story shows what happens when the one person you think you should trust the most, does the unthinkable to you.

Though the story is a bit dark, I really enjoyed this show. The actors were phenomenal and as a viewer, I could see the amount of work that was put into the research behind the real life story.

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts about this show! Let me know what you thought of “The Act” in a comment below. Thank you so much for reading (and send some Netflix/Hulu recommendations my way)!

Spring 2020 Playlist

I cannot go one day without listening to music. I listen to music when I’m driving, when I’m working out, and even when I am just sitting around with friends. Today, I am sharing some of the songs that I have been listening on repeat all season long! As I’ve mentioned in other playlist posts, my music taste is all over the place, but pop is my favorite! Let me know what songs are on your spring 2020 playlist in a comment below!

  • Feelings – Lauv
  • Lie To Me – 5 SOS ft. Julia Michaels
  • To Die For – Sam Smith
  • About Love – MARINA
  • Forever – Lewis Capaldi
  • I.F.L.Y – Bazzi
  • Vulnerable, People You Know, Feel Me – Selena Gomez (I am obsessed with her new album “Rare”)
  • In My Bed – Rotimi ft. Wale
  • Glitter – BENEE
  • Emotionally Scarred – Lil Baby
  • Genetics – Meghan Trainor ft. The Pussycat Dolls
  • Blood, Sweat & Tears – Ava Max
  • Higher – Ally Brooke and Matoma
  • she’s all yours – Loote
  • Safe – Daya
  • In Your Eyes, Save Your Tears, Blinding Lights – The Weeknd (His new album “After Hours” is so good!)
  • Traphouse – Tory Lanez ft. Nyce
  • Keep It From You – GLADES
  • Break My Heart – Dua Lipa
  • Favorite Dream – The Careful Ones
  • Kings & Queens – Ava Max
  • Worry About Me – Ellie Goulding ft. blackbear
  • Train Wreck – James Arthur
  • Kissing Other People – Lennon Stella
  • Cruel Intentions – Delacey ft. G-Eazy
  • Creep On Me – GASHI ft. French Montana and DJ Snake
  • Underwater – Cody Simpson
  • Eyes Off You – PRETTYMUCH
  • COULD HAVE BEEN YOU – Jake Miller
  • Almost In Love – Olivia O’Brien
  • Be A Light – Thomas Rhett (ft. Keith Urban, Chris Tomlin, Hillary Scott, and Reba McEntire
  • Salt – Ava Max
  • YOSEMITE – Travis Scott
  • All For You – Wilkinson ft. Karen Harding
  • More Than OK – R3HAB and Clara Mae and Frank Walker
  • Hurt – Sasha Sloan
  • Something New – Wiz Khalifa ft. Ty Dolla $ign
  • This Town – Kygo ft. Sasha Sloan
  • Worst Behavior – SACHI ft. Sam DeRosa
  • Thinking ‘Bout You – Dustin Lynch ft. Lauren Alaina
  • Drive – DJ Fresh
  • To Each His Own – Talos
  • Love Riddim – Remix – Rotimi ft. Akon
  • Go To Sleep – Bearson  ft. Kailee Morgue
  • Bad – Lennon Stella
  • Shedontknowbutsheknows – Tove Lo
  • Safe With You – Delaney Jane
  • I’m Ready – Sam Smith with Demi Lovato
  • HIT ME up – Stefflon Don
  • Don’t Get Me Started – Pia Mia, Gunna, Carnage
  • Ride with Me – Pink Sweat$
  • Still Learning – Halsey
  • Fallen so Young – Declan J Donovan
  • Don’t Even Know You Anymore – Netsky ft. Bazzi and Lil Wayne
  • Sunrise In The East – Becky Hill
  • Slow Burn – Kacey Musgraves
  • Bitter Love – Pia Mia
  • Like It Is – Kygo, Zara Larsson, Tyga
  • Think About Us – Little Mix
  • Back to Life – Hailee Steinfeld
  • To Hell and Back – Maren Morris
  • Be Kind – Marshmello, Halsey
  • Stuck with U – Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber

How I’ve Been Staying Productive While Quarantining

COVID-19 has very quickly spread across the globe, causing many people to quarantine in their homes. I know that the world is slowly reopening, however, I felt that sharing this blog post with you all can still be helpful. Especially for those of you who plan on quarantining for a bit longer.

While many people love being at home all day, other people may be struggling with it a bit more. For me personally, my mood is different every day, though I think many people can relate to this. Some days I feel very productive and happy, and other days I break down and cry. It’s so strange to be living through a pandemic like this. I never thought that I would ever have to go through something like this, but here we are.

When we first had to start quarantining, I was finishing up my junior year of college. School work kept me busy during that time, but now I have completed the semester and I am on summer break which means I have a lot of free time. Too much free time is not necessarily a good thing, at least for me, so it is important and in some ways necessary for me to keep busy.

As I said, not every day is amazing. When I do have great days, I try to think about what it is that made it great. Today, I wanted to share some of the ways that I have been staying productive (and happy) while quarantining.

Exercising

Alright, if you know me at all, you already saw this one coming. I love working out and staying active, however gyms have closed a while ago which means people are either working out from home or skipping their workouts. When I got the email that my gym was temporarily closing, I was upset but I understood that it was the right call to make in order to keep everyone safe. So, I had to get a bit experimental. Luckily, I have quite a bit of gym equipment at my home. I have a workout bench, some weights, and resistance bands. I often feel much more motivated when I am working out at the gym, so at first it was a bit difficult to get into this new routine. I am happy to say that I am working out 5-6 days a week! It keeps me busy, and it makes me feel healthy and happy. I enjoy weight training, HIIT, yoga, walking (or hiking), and I’ve even been playing badminton! It is so important to stay active especially at a time like this. It is tempting to lie down all day and watch TV or play video games, but when I do nothing productive all day, I feel awful. When I work out, my mood can change completely. (If you can get outdoors for your daily exercise, that is even better. Fresh air is always important, but especially right now!)

Cleaning + organizing

I am not the biggest fan of cleaning, but of course, it has to be done. I have been trying to keep my home clean and organized. I have been getting rid of things I don’t want or use, and I enjoy organizing. It keeps me busy, and it has allowed me to go through things that I would have most likely left alone for a long time. While cleaning isn’t my favorite thing to do, there are times when I get a random urge to just clean everything. It is always important to keep your home clean, after all, that is your space that you come back to day after day. Plus, at least for me, having a clean and organized space relaxes me (and it’s aesthetically pleasing)!

Pampering myself

I try to prioritize taking care of my physical, mental, and emotional well-being. I have so much time to do whatever right now, so I have really been taking care of myself even more lately. I like to keep up with my outer appearance because it makes me feel more confident. I’ll do my own brows, I’ll use hair and face masks, and I will do my skincare routine. For my mental and emotional health, I like to do the things that make me happy. Whether that is working out or writing, I try to make time for the things I love. I also feel like talking (or in my case ranting) about how I feel always helps me. If I have a bad day or I’m just not feeling like myself, I will spend some time with my family and talk to my friends. This relaxes me, and sometimes you just need to have a good cry (I know I’ve had a few while being stuck at home)! Allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you’re feeling, jut don’t dwell on these feelings. Have a bad day, and try to do better tomorrow.

Blogging + writing

Writing is one of my biggest passions, and luckily, I can do this from the comfort of my own home. I love planning out and writing my upcoming blog posts. Nothing beats the feeling of being inspired, and somehow, even while stuck at home, I’ve managed to stay inspired. I like to plan out my blog posts at least a month ahead, and I try to stay on track with my posting schedule. I really enjoy writing and blogging, but if this isn’t your thing, try to dive into your hobbies or explore new ones. Learn more about what it is you want to do, and do it!

These next 2 are not necessarily productive, but they make me happy, and I think they are needed and important to mention!

Talking to friends and family

Luckily, I am quarantining with my family, and they are my best friends. I am happy to have them by my side. While I like my alone time, I still love hanging out with and talking to my family every day. My family even did a zoom reunion so we could see the family we haven’t seen in a while! I have really been missing my friends lately, so I try to text them often. I even have a couple facetime dates planned out with my friends. I hate that we can’t see each other but once this is all over and done I am going to give them the biggest hugs. I understand that not everyone is quarantining with their family or friends, and you may be by yourself right now. I am sure that this is very difficult, so this tip is especially important for those of you who are alone. Reach out and talk to your loved ones as often as you can. This is going to pass eventually!

Relaxing

I know that this post is about staying productive, but honestly, many of us have some time to relax, so we should enjoy it! When I am not doing any of the things I mentioned above, I like to relax. For me, relaxing looks like lying on my bed watching Netflix or YouTube, scrolling through social media, or reading. I’ve been thinking of starting some new TV shows and watching some of my favorite movies as well.

While it is great to be productive, it is ok if you’ve been relaxing a little too much lately (we may never get this much time to relax again)! Please, don’t be too hard on yourself. Like I said, this is a really strange time we are living in right now. If you have been spending your days lying down and you don’t feel very productive, that’s ok. If you’ve been moving nonstop and staying busy, that is ok too! What I will say is that you should take note of the things that are making you feel great and recognize the things that are making you feel bad. Based on what I’ve been seeing in the news, things do seem to be looking up (at least in some parts of the world). Don’t lose hope. I think we are all going to come out of this so much more grateful to be able to simply live our everyday lives. To interact with other people less than 6 feet apart. To workout at the gym. To go to the grocery store without a face mask on. And to hug the people we love extra tight.

Thank you so much for reading! Until next time!

I Did Yoga Everyday for 1 Month, Here is What I’ve Learned

Earlier this year, I said that I wanted to try new forms of exercise, and yoga just so happened to be my choice. Now, I never plan on giving up weight training (it is and always will be my favorite form of exercise), however I think it is good to try new things. I was not sure if I would like yoga, or even stick with it when I started it a month ago.

A family member recommended this program to me and it includes a variety of workout videos. Out of everything I saw, yoga was, for some reason, the one I chose to try. I think this is partially because my workouts are often a bit more fast paced and not really relaxing or slow, so I was looking for something different.

At first, I honestly thought that only flexible people could do yoga. I would not exactly use this word to describe myself. I don’t think that I am necessarily stiff though either. Somewhere in the middle… I guess? Anyway, I had my doubts when it came to yoga. I can honestly say that I do like it, but I’ll get to that later.

Some of the many benefits of yoga include: increased flexibility, weight reduction, improved respiration, and increased muscle strength. The benefits however, are not just physical. I feel that this could be said for many forms of exercise. When I work out, it gets me out of my head and it allows me to simply focus on me and my body, which I love. Some of the mental/emotional benefits include: an increase in body awareness, relieves stress, sharpens attention, and calms the nervous system.

A couple of my family members decided to join me for yoga every single day for the month. We would roll out our mats in the living room, and we would set up the program on the TV. The program we chose is a 3 week program; each week focusing on something a bit different. That first week, we focused on foundation. The point of this first week was simply to build a strong foundation for the weeks to come. I was introduced to a ton of yoga poses (most of which I was unfamiliar with). I found that I really liked downward dog, low crescent (and crescent twist), wide legged fold, and reverse tabletop. Some of my least favorites? Chair pose and chaturanga. I have a love/hate relationship with the warrior poses and goddess pose. I also really liked the relaxing poses such as child’s pose and shavasana.

I quickly realized that yoga is not 100% relaxing, at least not for a newbie. It really is a workout, and before I started doing it, I honestly didn’t feel that it was. I found myself out a breath at some points, and I did modify a couple poses at times. The timing of each practice varied, but most of them were around 30 minutes long. I really began to look forward to our evening yoga because it gave me some time to stretch and relax (both of which, I don’t think I do enough).

For week 2, we were focusing on expansion. Something that I learned from yoga is that expansion and length are incredibly important, not necessarily height. Obviously, slouching and hunching is not going to help you in yoga, or in the long run! In poses where we had to reach up or away from our bodies, I would lift my spine and stretch. I became much more aware of my posture and where I was holding tension in my body. I tend to clench my jaw without realizing, and it has led to soreness in my jaw and the use of a mouth guard every single night. I really tried to focus on where I was sending my energy.

It was in this week when we began incorporating some balancing poses. I found that balancing is challenging for me at times, and I’m not going to lie, I got frustrated when I would just topple over again and again. One thing that has always helped me is focusing on an inanimate object. I actually learned this when I used to take dance classes. If you are about to spin or balance, stare at something that is not moving. This tip was very helpful to me in yoga. I did realize that one leg was always easier to balance on than the other (my stronger leg seems to be my right, which makes sense since this is my dominant side).

In week 3, we focused on progression. As the weeks went on, the poses definitely got more challenging. We would hold the poses for a bit longer as well. Throughout the weeks, we would focus on something specific each day. For example, some days we would focus on core, other days we would focus on stretch, and then other days we would do a flow. I really enjoyed flow days because it was pretty much constant movement, which I prefer over sitting still for too long. It was also a bit more challenging.

Once the 3 week program was over, we decided to do it again to see if it would get any easier for us. As I am posting this on my blog, we are currently in week 2 again! I wanted to do this daily for a month before writing about the experience and sharing it with you.

One thing I noticed is that I really struggled to relax. I just recently finished up my junior year of college, so it’s not like I have a ton of work to do. Plus, we’re all quarantining at home. Normal stressors in my everyday life are not exactly present right now, so I don’t know why I found it so hard to just be. I guess what may have hindered my relaxation was the fact that the instructors would talk pretty much the whole time. I was also learning all of the poses as we went, so I had to look up at the screen multiple times. I think that once I know what I am doing, I won’t necessarily need an instructor and I won’t have the distraction.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with yoga. I didn’t really think that I would enjoy it and I even thought that the practice was silly at times. I’ve learned that it isn’t just about stretching or contorting your body in strange ways. It is about letting go of stress, relaxing, and simply focusing on your body. While I do feel a bit more flexible and more aware of my body, I think I still need more time to practice.

I plan on continuing to learn yoga, though I may not do it every single day. I am hoping to learn to relax a bit more, and gain more flexibility. I am glad that I decided to get out of my comfort zone and try something new because it has introduced me to a new form of exercise that I actually enjoy. I wouldn’t say I like it more than weight training though 😉

I always recommend trying new things, especially when it comes to exercise. Sometimes, doing the same thing over and over can get boring and repetitive. I like to change up my workouts from time to time to avoid this. I am excited to say that I can add another form of exercise to my list. I enjoy weight training, HIIT, dancing, hiking, going on walks, and now, yoga.

Go and try something new today, and as always, thank you so much for reading! (And check out my Instagram, @sacchere14 to watch me flow!)

My Trip To Hawaii

In June of 2016, my family and I were off to Hawaii! This was another very memorable trip for us, and I got to cross a few things off of my bucket list while we were there! I have been reminiscing on past vacations since summer time is upon us and that is usually when we do our traveling! Today, I wanted to talk about this trip with you all. I am sharing this story by memory (and with the help of photos). All of the photos I share with you were taken by myself or a family member.

I remember that the flight was a pretty long one. We actually had a layover in Arizona, and then we flew straight to the beautiful island of Kauai (The Garden Island). I believe that the flight from Arizona to Kauai was 9 hours. I was so excited to go on a tropical vacation. Hawaii is one of those places that everyone dreams of going to, and I was and still am so grateful that I had the chance to go.

Kauai is very dreamy and beautiful, and even though we went around June, the island was not really crowded with tourists. This island is definitely less touristy than some of the others!

We stayed in the cutest Airbnb right by the water. The décor was tropical, and my favorite part was the balcony that looked off at the pool, and behind it, the ocean. Waiting for us on the table was a lei and a note from the owners. I loved the beautiful plumeria flowers that we would always see in Hawaii. We didn’t do much that first day because we were pretty tired, but we were looking forward to our 2 weeks of relaxation and exploration.

The view from our Airbnb in Kauai

One of the things I remember hearing about Hawaii was that it is extremely humid, and while I did feel the humidity, it wasn’t terrible (though my frizzy hair may have said otherwise). The weather was so beautiful on this trip. Every day was sunny and 80 degrees, and it really only rained while we were sleeping. I love sunny days and I am not a fan of rain, so I was happy!

On our first day, we all put on our bathing suits and drove down the road to the beach. The water was a stunning turquoise blue, and the weather was perfect. Poipu Beach was where we spent a lot of our time on this trip. When we drove around the island, we stopped a couple times to take some photos. We often saw beautiful waterfalls that would seemingly come out of nowhere.

Poipu Beach, Kauai

We spent most of our days relaxing by the water. When we weren’t at the beach, we would be hiking, swimming in the pool, exploring the island, and trying new restaurants. I remember that one of my favorite places was called “Bubba Burgers”. I still think that these may have been the best burgers I have ever tried! I tried some great seafood, and I often ordered my favorite dish: pasta (doesn’t matter where I travel, I always look for pasta on the menu)! I also had some white pineapple which was so delicious!

We went on a few intense hikes on this trip! One of the biggest ones was at Waimea Canyon State Park.  I reffered back to my Instagram post where I called it, “the craziest hike of my life”. To some people I’m sure this was not the case, but I guess at the time I felt that it was intense! We walked by some cliffs which terrified me, and I remember falling on my butt a couple of times as well! By the end of the hike, we were dirty and sweaty, but I didn’t care too much because the view was absolutely stunning.

Waimea Canyon, Kauai

We also hiked some of the Kalalau Trail. This trail is very famous and it is, get this… 22 miles long (roundtrip)! We did not get that far, but what we did see was still beautiful. We stopped at an area that looked like a small beach. I can’t imagine hiking that long, but I’m sure the view at the end would have been amazing!

From our hike on the Kalalau Trail, Kauai

One of the highlights from this trip was a boat ride we took along the Na Pali coast. Kauai is not as big as some of the other islands in Hawaii, so we rode from one end to the other. We had so much fun, and tour guide was able to show us some gorgeous views. We were on a speed boat, so the wind was blowing and I remember laughing most of the time. We even saw a few beautiful rainbows through the waterfalls.

The Na Pali coast, Kauai

One of my favorite parts of the trip was seeing the wildlife. We were able to see Hawaiian Monk Seals pretty much every day. They would come up to the shore to sleep on the sand. Of course, we couldn’t get too close to them because we didn’t want to bother them, but they were adorable! On one day in particular, we put on some goggles and brought a waterproof camera out to the beach with us. Everyone spotted a baby seal with its mother, and a sea turtle, and I got to swim very close to them! It was truly incredible.

A Hawaiian Monk Seal, Kauai
A Hawaiian Sea Turtle, Kauai

Another highlight from this trip was when my family and I went on an ATV tour at Kipu Ranch. We went in 2 separate ATV’s and we followed a tour guide with other tourists. We would drive for a bit, and then stop to take photos and talk about the island. Although I’ve never seen “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”, or “Jurassic World”, our tour guide told us that they filmed these movies on the island.

Our ATV Tour at Kipu Ranch, Kauai

Toward the end of our trip, we were able to see a luau. This is something that I think everyone pictures when they think of Hawaii, so this was really cool to see in person!

The last major highlight from this trip was a really big surprise to us. I always wanted to fly in a helicopter and that’s exactly what we did! This was such an amazing experience. We flew with a company called Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. Our tour guide was very friendly and he knew a lot about the island. The views were absolutely gorgeous, and for someone who is fearful of heights, I was surprisingly not scared. We were able to have the tour recorded, so we can always watch it back and remember this amazing moment.

From our helicopter tour of Kauai

I am always so very grateful that I am able to travel the world with my family. Being with my family makes me incredibly happy, and when we travel, we get to experience something new and exciting together, making it even better. I am hoping that we can travel again soon, however our health and the health of those around is much more important, especially right now.

For now, I’ll be dreaming of traveling again. Until next time! Mahalo!

What’s In My April Ipsy Glam Bag

I always look forward to receiving my glam bags, however this is especially true lately. Being stuck at home all the time due to the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult some days. Not going to lie, online shopping and beauty subscriptions like Ipsy have been boosting my mood a lot lately!

So, this month, the theme was “full bloom”. Ipsy wanted its members to get glam for the spring time, and I am all about it! I absolutely adore this months bag! The floral design is perfect for spring, and the lilac and pink are gorgeous. I also love the circular wooden zipper. While I do love the design, I did not really love the products I received this month. I rated my overall bag a 2/5 stars. As usual, I did not peek at what I was going to receive until I actually got the bag in the mail (I like to be surprised)!

Inside the glam bag:

So, this is the product I chose to receive this month! I was in need of a new setting powder, so when I saw this I knew I needed to try it. I never feel like I have much to say when it comes to setting powders, but I do like this one a lot! With loose powders, I feel like I am never applying too much, which is good. I rated this 4/5 stars.

I had a VERY bad experience using a face scrub in the past. As someone who has struggled with acne, I have learned that facial scrubs are NOT my friend. I once tried using a facial scrub and brush to exfoliate and well, it made my acne flare up and spread. I was hesitant to use this product, so I applied a tiny bit to my fingers and very gently applied this on my face. I don’t plan on using it often, though it is gentle compared to other exfoliants I’ve tried. I rated this 2/5 stars (mostly because I am not a fan of face scrubs).

I do not really use face masks very often, but when I do, I definitely prefer the kind you can wash off! I love the fact that this one is gold! I haven’t really had a chance to use it, but I don’t think that I will have an issue with it. I will hold off on rating this for now.

I was really excited to try out this mascara because I have heard great things about this brand. I really like the wand of this mascara, however the product itself is not my favorite. I found that it gave my lashes a very natural look. It did lengthen them a bit, but it really did not give me the volume I like. I think this mascara is perfect for a more natural/everyday makeup look. I will continue to use this product, but it is not a favorite of mine. I rated this 3/5 stars.

I used to use liquid eyeliner ALL THE TIME. Now, I rarely ever use it; partly because I still struggle to create the perfect wings, but also because it can be really difficult to take off. I didn’t really want to use this product, but I did swatch it on my hand. It appeared to be very pigmented, though I am not sure how long it would last. I tried a mascara by this brand last month and it was not the best. If I do decide to use liquid eyeliner soon, I will try this one out, however I was not thrilled to receive this. I rated this 3/5 stars.

Sadly, this months bag was not the best for me, however I am excited to see what I get in my May glam bag! Let me know what you received in your April glam bags in a comment below! Thank you for reading!

If you would like to sign up to become an Ipsy member, click here!

My Go-To Healthy Meals

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I am in no way a dietician, a nutritionist, or qualified in any way to discuss nutrition. I simply wanted to share some of my favorite healthy meal ideas. I am not saying that this is what everyone should be eating; this is just what I enjoy! I eat pretty much the same things every day (on the weekends I change it up a bit). Also, I definitely don’t make my food look pretty all the time (I did that for the photos)!

Today’s blog post is all about food; one of my favorite things 😉 I started eating healthier in January of 2018, already 2 years into my fitness journey. I realized that while I was seeing some results with my body due to the gym, I was still eating the same way. I was never someone who ate a ton of unhealthy food or junk food, however I knew that I could do better. I made small changes and I’ve been trying to eat healthier ever since. I’ve never had a bad relationship with food, but it was hard to change up my diet. I was trying to gain more muscle, which meant I had to eat a bit more than I was used to. I had to eat more protein, fruits and vegetables, and I also needed to drink a lot more water.

You are probably going to notice that these meals are very simple and easy to make. I am no chef, but I can cook pretty basic foods. You don’t have to learn crazy difficult recipes in order to eat healthy. I find that not only is it easier to make these meals, but they can be put together very quickly, and they are nutritious.

 Let’s start with the most important meal of the day; breakfast!

I was never the person to skip breakfast, though my breakfasts are much more filling now! Typically, I like making breakfasts that are quick and easy, but also healthy. For today, I am sharing a favorite of mine! Oatmeal is a great option because it provides vitamins, minerals, fiber, and even antioxidants. (If I don’t feel like oatmeal, or I am running low on time, I will opt for eggs instead). When I make oatmeal, I like to add milk and a bit of brown sugar as well. To top it off, I will either add flax seeds or chia seeds, both of which have many great health benefits. On the side, I like to make some multi grain toast. I will switch it up at times, and either go for peanut butter or avocado. Today, I decided on avocado toast. I simply cut an avocado in half, mash it up and use it as a spread for the toast. I’ll sometimes add a pinch of salt to give it a bit more flavor. It is important to eat fruits or vegetables at every meal, and while I do not do this every day,  I do try! One of my favorite fruits to have for breakfast is a banana.

Lunch time!

When it comes to lunch, mine is often all over the place and random. Today, I decided to share a salad, however I added a few things to make it more exciting. I try to eat salad most days, but if I am honest, some days I simply don’t feel like eating it. Like I said, my lunch can be pretty random. I’ll often eat a sandwich, fruit, or salad. It really depends on the day and what I am craving. For the salad pictured above, I included romaine lettuce, broccoli, turkey, feta cheese, and avocado.  I know that dressing is not very healthy, however I enjoy it so I added a bit of Italian dressing. I haven’t exactly found a healthy substitute that I like. If you have any recommendations for a healthy salad dressing that tastes good, let me know in a comment! I also like to eat a bit of fruit such as grapes or an apple at this time.

Dinner time!

I would say that out of all of my daily meals, dinner is the one that I change up the most (though I still eat the same foods pretty often). For dinner, I enjoy salmon, chicken, pork, or beef (yeah… I could never be vegan). Today, I am sharing another go-to meal: salmon. I made pink salmon with broccoli and basmati rice for my sides. I like to switch up my sides between broccoli, rice (brown, jasmine, or basmati), or potatoes. To add some flavor, I’ll add a but of garlic powder or salt to my sides as well.

As for drinks, I really only drink water. I am not a coffee or tea drinker, and I stopped drinking soda (except on special occasions) in 2018. Before I started working out, I would drink 1 or maybe 2 bottles of water a day. Cut to over 4 years later, and I am drinking 4-5 bottles a day (4 bottles = 8 cups). I’ll typically drink 1 bottle around breakfast time, 1 during a workout, 1 around lunch time, and 1 around dinner. I keep water with me at all times, and I’ll sip it often throughout the day.

I would like to mention that this is not ALL I eat in a day. I definitely like to snack, and I like to enjoy something sweet pretty much daily. I don’t want anyone reading this to think that I eat 100% healthy 100% of the time because that is not at all true. While I am proud of how I’ve changed my diet thus far, I am not perfect, and I am still learning. I struggle with self-control when I know we have ice cream or chocolate in the house, and honestly, sometimes I’m just craving some chips or some buttery popcorn, and that is ok! I allow myself to indulge (though I try not to do it all day everyday). It is important to listen to your body. Feed it healthy and nutritious foods, but don’t forget to enjoy your favorite dessert once in a while too.

 Eating healthy has always been the hardest part of my fitness journey, but once healthy foods are incorporated into your daily routine, it becomes so much easier. Not only is this helping me reach my fitness goals, but it makes me feel really good as well. Remember that what you put into your body is either going to boost your energy or drain it. Make small, subtle changes and incorporate your favorite healthy foods into your daily meals. You are eventually going to see the changes you want to see. It takes dedication, commitment, and hard work.

Thank you so much for reading! Until next time!

OOTD: Spring Style

I am very excited about sharing this OOTD because I purchased it while on my dream trip. I am a big fan of wearing dresses, and I absolutely adore this one!

Earlier this year, I went on my dream trip to France! Of course, I did a bit of shopping while I was there, and brought back a few pieces that I fell in love with. I want to start by talking about the dress itself. While I was walking through the Latin Quarter in Paris, a few of the girls and I stopped by some of the boutiques. We were really just window shopping, but when we stopped by a boutique called Côte à Côte, something caught my eye.

I purchased this beautiful dress for €29.99. This high-low dress is perfect for spring, and the colors are stunning as well. I actually do not have a lot of green in my wardrobe, so this was different for me! The dress is also white and gold with a little bit of navy blue in there as well. The pattern reminds me of New Orleans, and the ruffles add to the feminine look. There is also a fabric belt to cinch in the waist.

The dress is by the brand “Chic and Jeune”, but sadly, I could not find this dress online. Unless you live by a boutique called Côte à Côte, I am not sure there is any way you can purchase this exact dress. I apologize about this, however, I found a VERY similar dress that can be purchased on Amazon for around $17! Another similar dress is linked here.

As for shoes, I am wearing my go-to black heels. I love the simple yet elegant look of block heels, and I bought these from Amazon a couple of years ago for around $20-$30. They are by the brand “Madden Girl”.

When it comes to jewelry, I love having a staple piece (or pieces) that I wear daily. I am wearing these 2 gold rings that I have been wearing every day since I was about 13 or 14 years old. My mother let me have them, and I love the look of dainty rings. For my earrings, I am wearing a pair that were my grandma’s. When she passed away, my dad let me have some of her jewelry, and I think that these earrings are beautiful. I am also wearing this gold coin necklace that I just purchased from Amazon. I love the vintage vibe that I get with this necklace! Lastly, I added a few gold bangles.

Thank you for reading!

Fresh Face for Spring: My Skincare + Everyday Makeup Routine

It has taken me quite a while to get a solid skincare routine down. Even now, my routine is not perfect (so don’t judge too harshly). I have found quite a few products that I have fallen in love with and I wanted to share them with you today! I am not only going to be sharing my skincare routine with you, but also a very simple and fresh makeup look for the spring time!

Since I have been staying home due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, I rarely wear makeup. I like to get glammed up once a week for fun (and for pictures). What I’ve noticed is just how clear my skin is getting! I think that it is a combination of not wearing makeup and using the right products for my skin. I have struggled with acne since I was about 12 years old, and I am 20 now. While in school or working, I like to wear a bit of makeup because I feel that I look more presentable and it gives me a bit of confidence. I also do it to cover up my blemishes. I think I’ve finally realized what part of the problem is… my skin HATES makeup. For someone who loves makeup so much, this realization has been frustrating, to say the least!

I’ve been taking much better care of my skin now. I change my pillow case frequently, I clean my makeup brushes once a week, I try not to touch my face, and I’ve been using some amazing skincare products.

My skincare routine:

If I am wearing makeup, I normally take it off once I am home for the day (this is usually earlier than when I do my full skincare routine). Anytime I see people rubbing their skin harshly to either remove or apply their makeup, a part of me is cringing! Honestly though, I used to do this too. Now I try to be super careful. After removing my makeup, I will usually cleanse my face quickly because I feel like it helps to remove whatever makeup is left on my skin. Then, if I feel like my skin needs it, I’ll apply a bit of moisturizer or hydrating cream.

Now onto my daily routine! As I mentioned, my skincare routine is not perfect, and I am still learning. This is just what I like to do!

At night, after washing my face in the shower, I like to use an acne cleanser. My favorite is the Bioré Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser. This does dry out my skin a bit, so it is important that I hydrate!

 Next, I use my new favorite cleanser by Youth to the People. It is the Kale and Green Tea Spinach Vitamins Superfood Cleanser. I have been loving this product lately, so I wanted to share it with you! This product smells so good (the best way I can describe it is fresh), and I truly feel that it does an amazing job of deeply cleansing my skin. I highly recommend trying this product out for yourself!

The next step is serum. I got this serum trio from Artnaturals. I have spoken about this brand on my blog before, but I had never tried their skincare products! I was excited to try these out and they did NOT disappoint! This trio comes with a Vitamin C serum (reduces wrinkles, fine lines and dark circles), a Retinol Serum (age defying), and a hydrating serum (moisturizing). I wasn’t sure what to expect , and to be honest I did not have high hopes. It is safe to say that I have fallen head over heels with this trio. My blemishes are disappearing, the texture of my skin has improved, and I truly feel like my skin is glowing. And this is after only 2 weeks of using the serums! I believe that the retinol serum has helped me the most, but I enjoy using the other 2 as well. I use the retinol serum at night. I absolutely love these products, and I would recommend them to everyone!

Occasionally, I will apply face oil next (I do not do this too often though). I have been using the face oil by Go-To Skincare. Typically, after this I will apply a moisturizer. My favorite one at the moment is the Dr. Frog Water Fullcharge All In One. This moisturizer is amazing, and it has quickly become a part of my everyday routine. I gently blend this into my skin and I bring it down to my neck as well. This does not have a very strong scent, but it is subtle and it smells nice. This product makes my skin INCREDIBLY soft, and it feels refreshing and hydrating. This is another product I would recommend!

After, I will move onto my eyes. Lately, I have been using both an eye serum as well as an eye cream (sometimes I’ll use one or the other). I have pretty dark under eye circles, but because of my big eyes, I feel like I have always had them! I don’t believe that anything can necessarily get rid of under eye circles, but there are products that may lessen the appearance. I have been using the Dermadeli Nourishing Eye Serum. I don’t have much to say about this product because I have not seen a difference yet. I apply a tiny drop of this and very gently dab this under and around my eyes. Then I go in with my Murad Renewing Eye Cream and once again, gently dab this under my eyes.

In the morning, I don’t like to go too crazy. I will first wash my face with my Bioré acne cleanser. Then I use the Artnaturals Vitamin C Serum, and follow up with the Moisturizing serum!

My fresh face makeup routine:

Now, I know I said that my skin has been clearing up and I really do believe not wearing makeup has been a major help! However, I did want to share a simple, fresh makeup look today. This look is perfect for those warm spring days.

  • First, I like to prime my eyelids to keep the shadow on all day long. On days when I am doing a natural look, I will either not apply eyeshadow, or I’ll apply a very neutral color. Today, I decided to wear a single eyeshadow by Phase Zero, in the shade “Banana Beige”. This is the perfect color to brighten up the eyes without overdoing it, and it adds a bit of sparkle! I simply applied this all over my lids, and lightly blended it up into my crease.
  • Then, I curled my lashes and I took one of my absolute favorite mascaras, the Maybelline Lash Sensational Curvitude mascara in black. I applied this to my top and bottom lashes. What I love about this mascara is the fact that it makes my lashes very long, but it does not give me too much volume. It appears very natural, and I love the look of long, natural lashes.
  • Next, I used my Hydra Veil face primer by the brand Illamasqua. I applied my go-to foundation, the Maybelline Fit Me foundation, with a sponge. If you have a BB Cream or a Tinted Moisturizer, I would actually recommend this. It is much lighter than foundation, so If I had one, that is what I would use instead! I then applied my loose setting powder by YC Collection, and I sweeped this across my face.
  • I have been obsessed with cream highlighters lately, and this was my next step. I love nothing more than a blinding highlighter, and this one does the job perfectly in my opinion. I used my highlighter by the brand Flesh, in the shade “Pinky” and applied it right above my cheekbones, my brow bones, the inner corners of my eyes, and the tip of my nose.
  • I then took a blush by Kaleido Cosmetics in the shade “Primadonna” and brushed this onto the apples of my cheeks. I love this shade because it is the most beautiful pink. It is not too light or too dark, and it gives me glowing, rosy cheeks.
  • I applied some chapstick, and then took one of my favorite glosses by Vasanti Cosmetics in the shade “Super Mom”. I love doing a glossy lip when I do natural makeup looks. It also added to the glow that I was going for!
  • Lastly, I sprayed my Pixi by Petra Glow Mist to complete the look!

That is it for the fresh, glowy makeup look! It is very simple, and it literally took me 5 minutes to do!

Thank you so much for reading! If you try any of the skincare or makeup products, let me know what you think! Until next time!