How to Live a Happier Life

So many people go searching for happiness. What I have come to realize is that happiness always comes from within. The sooner this is realized, the sooner happiness can begin.

I think that all anyone ever wants is to be happy. The problem is many people do not know where happiness comes from, so they go off to find it somewhere else. Happiness is a choice, and it all starts with you. Every morning, I try to wake up and choose to have a great day. To be happy. Obviously, not every day is a great day, but your attitude really is everything.

I often describe myself as a very happy and positive person. I think I’ve always been like this. I find joy in the little things, and I tend to have an optimistic view of life. This doesn’t mean that I am positive and happy every single day, but that is always my goal.

Today, I wanted to share some ways to live a happier life overall, but I am changing things up a bit. I am really excited because I decided to include a few of my friends and family members in on this blog post! I asked them all the same question: What is one thing you would say to someone who wants to live a happier life? This may seem like a surface question, but in reality, it is extremely deep and personal. I am going to include a few of my family members and friends responses, and my own as well. Keep in mind that these responses are paraphrased, however I included their main point(s). I also included a couple quotes that stood out to me the most. Their answers were brief, but in my opinion, very meaningful.

Here were the responses (in no particular order):

Say positive mantras daily

Whether that is “Today is going to be a great day” or “I am grateful for what I have”. By focusing on the positive things in life and remaining optimistic, happiness will follow. “Never underestimate the importance of recognizing the silver linings in life.”

Love your job

No one wants to spend their lives miserable. We all start somewhere, just make sure you are working hard to get to where you really want to be. They always say that when you love your job, it doesn’t necessarily feel like work. Make sure you’re doing what you love. (This person also mentioned that having a furry friend in your life can bring so much joy as well.)

Let go of your past

Holding grudges will only hurt you in the end, so there is no reason to hold hate or bitterness in your heart. This person also stressed the importance of removing toxic people from your life and forgiving everyone.  Remaining positive is key in her life as well.

Spread more love and less hate

Being cruel and mean will get you absolutely nowhere in life. Love and kindness are powerful. What you put out into the world will ultimately come back to you. Spread love always.

Don’t worry about what other people think

It shouldn’t matter so much what people say or think about you because at the end of the day, your own opinion of yourself should matter more. Focus on yourself and do what you want to do. That is what is going to bring happiness. “Nobody is putting as much effort into thinking about you, as you are.”

Delve into your passions

Focus on your goals and your dreams and work hard to make them a reality. You really can do anything you want in life, and by working toward your passions, happiness will always be with you. Do not let anyone discourage you or make you believe that you can’t accomplish your dreams.

Go with the flow

Sometimes, being a planner (especially during an unpredictable time) can lead to a lot of disappointment. There are going to be moments in life when things will not go your way, and it is important to adapt in these situations. Understand that change is going to come, but know that how you react matters most.

Think positive thoughts

“Your thoughts control your actions and they will control your mind too.” Remember to always remain positive and never let negative comments from others bring you down. Do the things that make you happy, and spread kindness to everyone. This person also mentioned the importance of incorporating meditation into ones daily life.

Surround yourself with family

It is so important to have your loved ones around you. Family should always be a priority, and making time to be with them is what makes this person very happy. Not everyone has a great relationship with their family members, so if this is you, try to find friends who feel like family, and keep them close.  Having good people in your life can help you in ways you couldn’t imagine.

Every answer I received was beautiful and personal to the individual. I found it interesting to see what everyone said because happiness means something different to everyone. Some common themes I found were positivity and kindness. I was very happy to include these people in this blog post because they mean a lot to me.

Remember that ultimately, happiness is a choice. Yes, good things are going to happen and yes, bad things are going to happen. But, at least to me, you can choose how to react to most situations you face. Being happy truly does come from the heart. If you wake up every day, focus on the positive, and choose happiness, I promise, you will find it.

Thank you so much for reading! Until next time!

Fitness Update: June 2020

Hey everyone! Today I wanted to share a fitness update with you all because it has been a while since I talked about my personal journey! I am going to be sharing my current workout split, new fitness goals, healthy eating, and how I am motivating myself to work out during a global pandemic.

I have been working out for about 4 ½ years now, which is absolutely crazy to say. Time really does fly. I feel like it was yesterday that my dad was teaching me all of the basics of weight training. In reality, I have grown so much since my first time in the gym.

The last time I spoke about my personal fitness journey (not just sharing tips and tricks) was in February for my 4 year anniversary. Well, a lot has changed since then. Very soon after I got back from my trip to France in March, COVID cases were spiking and states across the country were telling people to quarantine in their homes. This virus led to the closing of restaurants, stores, and of course, gyms.

Fitness

I was never one to enjoy at-home workouts. I always felt that I lacked the motivation to get through them. When I am at the gym I feel so much more focused. I had to learn to push myself, especially on days when I wasn’t feeling it. This was actually a somewhat difficult transition for me. It took some time, but after a few weeks I got so used to working out at home, and it just became a part of my daily routine. It’s like forming any habit; if you continue to do it daily, eventually it will become a part of your daily routine. Once I got into that routine of simply working out at home, I decided that I needed to change things up and make it a bit more exciting.

 There are many different forms of exercise. What I’ve found works for me is a combination of weight training and cardio. Since I do not have any cardio machines at home, I have been incorporating HIIT into my routine even more than I used to. Before, I would go to the gym, stretch, do cardio, and then begin weight training. Now, I’m doing something a bit different. Instead of doing HIIT before or after weight training, I’ll do it at the same time. For example: if I am working out my upper body and I finish one set of shoulder presses, I will quickly get up and start doing something like jumping jacks, or I will run in place. It is somewhat hard to explain, so I’ll leave it to Google.

According to Google, HIIT is “a cardiovascular exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods, until too exhausted to continue.”

I hope that makes sense! But basically I alternate between a set of weight training and then I’ll complete a HIIT exercise for 30 seconds, and repeat.

My workout split

Luckily, I own a workout bench, weights, and resistance bands, so I have access to a bit of equipment which has been extremely helpful. My dad actually bought a set of weights that range from 5-25 pounds, and I’ve been using this during every session. I know that many people don’t have any gym equipment in their homes, but there are always alternatives!

Keep in mind that my schedule does not look exactly the same every week. I like to change things up, but also listen to my body and what it needs. Also, this is a schedule that works for ME. Find what works best for you, and go by that! Here is an example of what I do in a week:

Sunday: HIIT

Monday: Back + biceps (with HIIT)

Tuesday: Lower body (glutes, quads, calves + hamstrings)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Chest, shoulders + triceps (with HIIT)

Friday: HIIT

Saturday: Full body (with weights)

The reason you do not see abs or core anywhere in this schedule is because I have been doing yoga every day. In many of my yoga sessions, I am working on my core and my abs!

Yoga has actually been very surprising to me. In January of this year, I told myself that I would try a new form of exercise, and yoga happened to be what I chose. I started using a program that has a variety of workout guides and videos, so I have been using this to learn yoga. I watch a different video every day, and I follow along with the instructor. I have been doing yoga for 10 weeks now. I feel so much more toned, and I have been getting better at the practice! I made a post all about my experience starting yoga, so if you’re interested in that, you can click here after reading this post!

I am a very determined person and I am very easily motivated, so I am proud that I have been able to stay on track lately. Somehow, even while quarantining at home, I’ve managed to become even more physically active than I was before COVID!

Healthy eating

I’ve never had a bad relationship with food, and I’ve never had any issues relating to my weight, but to me, eating healthy is still the most challenging part of living a healthy life. I feel like I have been doing ok this year, but I could do better. Any time we make a grocery trip, I have a list of my go-to items that I eat every week including: apples, yogurt, grapes, and salmon, to name a few.

I normally do not have a problem keeping my main meals of the day healthy. For breakfast, I’ll often make eggs or oatmeal. I may also eat a banana and some multigrain toast with avocado or peanut butter (depending on what we have). My lunches are pretty random, but I’ll usually eat an apple, some turkey, and a salad. For dinner, there are some days when I will just eat whatever my mother makes, however there are quite a few days when I will make my own healthy version or a completely different meal.

 I also snack quite a bit during the day, and while I try to keep it healthy, sometimes I’ll crave some chips or even a bit of ice cream. I often allow myself to indulge in my cravings, however I try not to go overboard. My addiction to chocolate and ice cream is as strong as ever, but I am learning to limit myself and have some self control.

I never really tracked my macros or kept track of my daily food intake, partly because it stresses me out and sometimes (depending on the person), it can lead to a negative relationship with food. At this point, I feel like I know what works for me and what doesn’t. I just try to listen to my body and eat as healthy as I can while still enjoying my favorite meals/snacks at times.

On the weekends, my breakfasts and snacks stay the same, but my family likes to eat out on Saturdays and Sundays. Many restaurants are allowing people to dine in now, but we don’t feel comfortable doing so just yet. We’ve been picking up our food and eating out at different parks. I have to admit, I enjoy eating outdoors when we have nice weather.

I stopped drinking soda in 2018, though I do drink it on special occasions. I’ll occasionally drink juice, but water is my go-to. I drink 4-5 bottles of water a day. This used to be such a challenge when I first started, but now I can get through it with no problem. Working out definitely helps me drink more water, though this also means more trips to the bathroom…

My current fitness and health goals

Since gyms will most likely be closed for a little while longer, my goals right now look a bit different. Usually one of my biggest goals is to gain muscle but right now I’m focused on maintaining the muscle that I have. I am going to continue doing 20-30 minutes of yoga everyday as well. And lastly, I am trying to eat as healthy as I can. I am not being too hard on myself and I have been listening to my body and what it needs. This is enough right now.

I am very proud of the progress I have made on my fitness journey so far. While I do feel that my progress has been slowed down a bit due to the closing of my gym, I am doing everything I can to be physically active at home, and it feels really good! I am going to continue with my routine and even if my gym opens soon, I will not be going yet (just to be safe).

I hope you enjoyed reading this fitness update! Stay safe and healthy!

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!

How to Build Self-Confidence

Hey everyone! As I am sure many of you are aware, I am all about confidence and self-love. That is, after all, what my blog is centered around. I did not just create this blog for myself though; I created it for other women like me. For the women who are trying to gain confidence in themselves. For the women who are working on loving themselves unconditionally. I created this blog to stand with you, and to let you know that I understand exactly how you are feeling. Today, I wanted to share my best tips on how to build self-confidence.

I feel as if I have been on this self-love journey for so long now, that at times it can get really frustrating. I say this all the time, but I am not where I want to be in life just yet. I still struggle with confidence and I still struggle with self-doubt. I have grown so much in recent years, and I have gained quite a bit of confidence in myself, despite the struggle. I am proud that I was never the kind of person to pretend to be anyone other than myself. I always stayed true to who I was and what I wanted, even if that meant that I didn’t fit in. This still rings true today.

Part of me felt that it wasn’t right to share these tips with you all because I am not the most confident person out there. But then I thought, if I am feeling this way, there is bound to be other women who do too. Plus, these tips that I am sharing with you today have definitely helped me gained confidence in myself, so I hope that this helps you too!

My tips:

  • Be prepared

One thing that always brings me a bit of confidence is being prepared for anything. Since I am a college student, this is a tip that I have learned in the past few years. Sometimes, you need to be ahead of the game. For me, this means getting my school work done and being productive. If that means going over something the day before class, I do it because I know that by taking the time to look over a reading or do an assignment, I will know exactly what my professor is talking about. I like to know what’s going on, and I like having a plan. This is just a personal example. Find what that is for you, and stay on top of it! Whether you are studying for your driver’s test or you are getting ready for an important interview, being prepared will always bring you confidence and calm your nerves.

  • Compliment yourself daily

Self-affirmations are a great way to start your day. You do not necessarily have to believe the positive things you tell yourself, but you should! I try to do this every day because it makes me feel confident. It may seem a bit silly to look at yourself in the mirror and say “you’re beautiful” or “You’re strong”, but I am telling you that it works! Embrace the awkwardness and show yourself some love. Soon enough, you are going to believe the words that you are saying.

  • Get out of your comfort zone

This is something I tend to struggle with a lot, however I’ve been doing this more often lately. I am the kind of person who enjoys routine and planning things out. I find comfort in a daily routine, and getting out of it can be challenging for me. Well, I recently went above and beyond with this tip, and I was able to go on my dream trip to France! This was a huge step for me, and it brought me confidence as well as independence. Although I wasn’t alone, I did go with a group of girls from school who I did not know too well. I ended up having an amazing time and I learned that sometimes getting out of your comfort zone can be the best thing for you. This is a big example, but there are smaller things that you can do in your everyday life that will lead you to a similar result. Do the things that scare you. If it is going to help you grow in positive ways, take the risk.

  • Self-care

I always feel my best when I take care of myself. I like to take some time to pamper myself, and keep up with my appearance. Although I know that looks aren’t everything, it does make me feel more confident when I look presentable. I also enjoy dressing up and doing my makeup and hair. I’ve noticed that when I am wearing an outfit that I love and feel comfortable in, that is when I feel most confident. I know that everyone is different, and not every girl likes to get glammed up. If this is not your style, I would suggest wearing what you want to wear. Whatever you feel best in, wear it. I do not look at the word “self-care” and think that it only applies to appearances. I work really hard on taking care of my heart and mind as well. Take care of yourself all around. It makes a world of a difference.

  • Surround yourself with good people

This is easier said than done, I know. I feel lucky that I have an incredible and loving family to fall back on. They are my everything, and I am so grateful that I have the relationship with them that I do. I am aware that not everyone has this though. I always struggled to make friends, so I never had very many, but right now, I know that the ones I do have are true. As long as you remain true to who you are, you will attract the right people, however, there is a good chance that you will attract the wrong people too. Be careful and be aware of who you surround yourself with. Some people will only get close to you to use you, to hurt you, or to bring you down.  Trust me, you don’t want or need people like that in your life. Cut the ties, and find people who truly love you, support you, and care for you. And remember to be that person for them as well.

  • Work toward your goals and passions

This is something that I have been working very hard on, and I have to say, not only does it make me feel confident, but it makes me happy. Creating this blog was one of the biggest steps that I have taken that is helping me reach my goals. Since I love to write, I now get to do it often, all while helping others, and nothing makes me happier. If you take some time to think about your goals and what you want in life, you can start working toward those goals right now. There is no reason you have to wait around. Go after what you want in life, and even with the setbacks, please keep going. If you are passionate about something, and if you believe in yourself, you can reach your goals. And don’t forget to celebrate your victories, no matter how small!

  • Envision the person you are trying to become (essentially, fake it til’ you make it)

As I have learned, gaining confidence can take a long time. It also takes a lot of work. Even if you aren’t 100% confident in yourself, it is ok to act like you are. There is a difference between confidence and cockiness or arrogance. No one is better than anyone else. Just try to imagine the person you are trying to become, and work every day to get there. This does not mean copying anyone else’s lifestyle or comparing yourself to anyone else. While it is great to be inspired by others, I simply mean that you should strive to be YOUR best self. When I imagine the woman I am becoming, I see that she is strong, confident, and kind. While I would describe myself with these words right now, I know there is always room for improvement.

  • One last tip from my momma: There is no deadline

I was recently speaking to my mother about confidence, and how I wish I was further along on this journey. What she told me is something that I think everyone should hear. I told her that I was worried about never reaching that point of being 100% confident in myself. I was worried that I would not be able to have the things I want in life if I am not confident in who I am. She reminded me that there is no deadline, and that people have their dreams come true at different points in their lives, and there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, by taking your time and working on you, the right things will come to you at the right time. She said that life may seem long right now, but it is actually really short. And lastly, she reminded me that it isn’t about the destination, it is about the journey.

I know that this may seem overwhelming, but we would all be much better off if we gained more self-confidence. Know that it takes time, but you will get there eventually. I haven’t given up hope, and I hope you don’t either. I am right there with you. Thank you so much for reading!

What’s In My March Ipsy Glam Bag + Glam Bag Ultimate

Hey beauty lovers! Today I am sharing what is in my march Ipsy glam bag and glam bag ultimate! This month’s glam bag ultimate will be my last, but I still plan on receiving the regular glam bags every month.

This month, Ipsy celebrated their 100th glam bag! Ipsy decided to gift members with a $2 credit toward an add-on, and a personalized product in all glam bags! I love the bag this month! I think that the turquoise and lime green are a beautiful combination for the spring time, and the studs are a nice touch.

For my glam bag, I rated it a 4/5 stars! I liked many of the products I received this month.

Inside the glam bag:

  • Girlactik – Precise Marker Liner in Black Noir

I do not wear liquid eyeliner all that often (partly because creating the perfect wing can be a struggle at times), however I created a makeup look using this eyeliner this month. This product worked really well for me, and I found it to be very pigmented and easy to use. I rated this 4/5 stars.

  • FoxyBae – Replenishing Hair Mask

I was only able to use this a couple times so I can’t give a real in depth review of it right now, but I did notice that my hair felt softer after using it! I will hold off on rating this for now!

  • Ofra Cosmetics – Bronzer in Americano

I am such a big fan of Ofra Cosmetics! I do not wear bronzer very much but I was looking forward to trying this one. For some reason, I do not love the look of bronzer on me, but I do think this would be beautiful to wear in the summer time! I rated this product 4/5 stars.

  • Wander Beauty – Eyeshadow in Bouquet  (my pick)

I am in LOVE with this eyeshadow! I knew the second I saw it I was going to love it. The champagne color is stunning and can be included in many different makeup looks. I applied this all over my lids and then blended it up into my crease for a more natural/everyday look. I rated this shadow 5/5 stars!

  • Hanalei Company – Kukui Lip Balm in Tropical Citrus

The smell of this lip balm reminds me of something I used to eat from my childhood. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I am not mad at it at all! It smells tropical, which I really enjoy. While I do love hydrating my lips and using lip balms daily, I did not really need another one! I rated this product 3/5 stars.

  • Sugar Cosmetics – Uptown Girl Lengthening Mascara in Black

I really like trying out different mascaras though this one did not impress me. I felt that it did not give me the length or volume that I want, and it did clump my lashes a bit. I would rate this mascara 3/5 stars.

And now for my glam bag ultimate! I rated it 3/5 stars this month.

Inside the glam bag ultimate:

  • Pixi by Petra – Glow Mist Setting Spray

I was never really one to use setting sprays, however I really like this one! Thanks to ipsy, Pixi by Petra has become a favorite brand of mine. I spray this on my face after finishing my makeup and it gives me a subtle glow. I rated this product 4/5 stars.

  • Go-To – Face Hero

I am always hesitant to try face oils. I have acne prone skin, so face oil is not necessarily something I like to use often. While I did not really like the smell of this product, I did use it a few times this month. I have to say, I have not noticed much of a difference with my skin just yet, but this may be the kind of product you need to use for a while before seeing results.

  • Dermadeli – Nourishing Eye Serum

As someone with dark under eye circles, I get really excited when I receive eye products! With this serum, a little goes a VERY long way! A small drop of this serum is plenty! I apply this all around the area of my eyes and gently dab it into my skin. I will continue to use this product and hopefully I will see a difference.

  • Hey Honey – Show Your Glow Colloidal Gold & Honey Beauty Mask

I love the fact that this mask is gold! It honestly looked like I brushed a ton of highlight all over my face! I only used it once, but I do really enjoy wash-off masks, so I will continue to use this! I rated this 4/5 stars!

  • 111Skin – Rose Gold Brightening Facial Treatment Sheet Mask & Celestial Black Diamond Eye Mask Set

I am really not a fan of sheet masks, so this was not my favorite product to try! I do like receiving eye masks but I haven’t had the chance to use this just yet!

  • Sunday Riley – C.E.O 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum (my pick)

I have fallen in love with this serum! My skincare routine has been coming together lately and this product is now a favorite! It smells like oranges and makes me feel refreshed! I am going to continue to use it, but at this point I would like to rate it 5/5 stars (if this were to change for some reason, I will update).

  • Chella – La Vie Eyeshadow Palette Deluxe

This eyeshadow palette is absolutely beautiful! The colors are gorgeous and can be worn daily! The palette includes 2 matte shades and 2 shimmer shades. The shadows are very pigmented and I think that I will be reaching for this palette often! I rated this 5/5 stars.

  • Christophe Robin – Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt

I had never used a product like this before! I replaced my usual shampoo with this. The first thing I noticed was the texture. It was very grainy and definitely felt like a scrub. Then, as I was using it, I noticed the scent. This smelled like men’s deodorant which is not my absolute favorite smell, so I didn’t love that! I feel like this is a product I would need to use more than once to see if I like it, so I will update if I end up really enjoying or really disliking it!

  • Library of Flowers – Honeycomb Handcreme

I do not use hand creams that much, so I did not really care to receive this product. It does smell nice and it made my hands feel very soft, so I will be using this product occasionally. I rated this 3/5 stars.

  • Moon Oral Care – Kendall Jenner Teeth Whitening Pen in Vanilla Mint

If I am being honest, I am still hesitant to use this product. If I do, I will let you know what I think of it!

  • Complex Culture – Angled Foundation Brush

I prefer to use my hands or a sponge to apply my foundation, so this brush will probably not be used very often! I rated this brush 2/5 stars.

  • Illamasqua – Hydro Veil Primer

When I first received this product, I did not really know what it was. I read about it, and saw that it was a makeup primer. I applied this before applying my foundation. It was strange because I had never tried a gel face primer before. It almost felt like a moisturizer because it was hydrating!  I only got to use this a couple times so I am not sure if I should rate it just yet.

  • Youth to the People – Superfood Cleanser

I love trying out cleansers and this one did not disappoint! This product smelled and felt very clean. I don’t use it every day because I like switching out my products, but I did use this a few times this month and I really enjoyed it. I rated this 5/5 stars!

Thank you all so much for reading! I know that I have been doing these “what’s in my glam bag” posts for a while now, so I am trying to find a way to change it up for you all. This way, it won’t be too repetitive! I am open to any suggestions you may have, so leave a comment below!

Want to become an Ipsy member? Sign up here: https://www.ipsy.com/new?cid=ppage_ref_control&sid=link&refer=18f2lm

Healthy Hair for Spring: Artnaturals Argan Oil Hair Mask Review

Hey everyone! Today I NEED to talk to you all about this hair product because it has very quickly become a favorite of mine!

I definitely have a love/hate relationship with my hair. It honestly depends on the day… and the season. In the hotter months, my hair can get a bit frizzy and dry whereas in the winter I feel like I can tame it much easier.  My hair is a strange mix of wavy and curly. I try not to use too much heat on my hair to avoid damage, so I often leave it natural. If I brush my natural hair… well, I don’t even want to go there!

Let’s talk about the product! Last year, I was looking online for a decent hair mask to try. I was reading about a celebrity recommended hair mask, but of course, it was little expensive. I looked at the ingredients included, and found a hair mask that was much cheaper on Amazon, but it still included many of the same ingredients. This product contains natural and organic ingredients such as argan oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, aloe vera, and keratin. This hair mask claims to repair, hydrate, and moisturize your hair.

This the artnaturals Argan Oil Hair Mask ($11.90 on Amazon). To use this hair mask, you simply apply a quarter size amount onto your palm and distribute it throughout your hair (after using my fingers, I grab a comb and brush it through). When I use this product, I’ll typically wash my hair normally, using shampoo and then conditioner, and then I’ll apply the hair mask. The directions say to leave the mask on for 3-5 minutes or 20 minutes if you have damaged hair. I found that 10 minutes works best for me personally. While letting the hair mask sit for 10 minutes, I will shave my legs. Once the time is up, I simply rinse out the hair mask. After using this product, I don’t like to put anything else in my hair.

This mask smells so good! When I first started using it, I wasn’t sure if I would see much of a difference, but I was hopeful. What I quickly noticed is just how soft and silky it made my hair. I could easily run my fingers through my hair, and the texture was not dry, hard, or greasy. I also think that this product gave my hair some shine which was needed!

It has definitely taken me some time to learn how to manage my hair. I still deal with a bit of frizz, especially during the hotter months, but I have been trying out quite a few new hair products lately, so if I come across anything else that stands out, I will be sure to share it with you all! As for this hair mask, I highly recommend trying it out for yourself! If your hair is in desperate need of a revival after the winter months, this product is for you! Let me know if you try out this hair mask, and leave me a comment telling me what you think of it!

Thank you so much for reading! Until next time!

Valentine’s Day Eye Makeup Tutorial

Hey everyone! I had so much fun creating this eye makeup look for Valentine’s Day, and I wanted to share it with you all! In my January Ipsy Glam Bag Ultimate, I received a new eyeshadow palette by theBalm Cosmetics, and I have been obsessed with it! This is the “What’s the Tea?® Ice Tea Eyeshadow Palette” ($36). I decided that I could create the perfect V-Day makeup look using this, and that is what I am going to be sharing with you today! This is a somewhat natural eye with a pop of pink!

When I first saw this palette, I thought that the theme was adorable. The palette as well as the colors all relate to gossip. If I am being honest, I probably would not buy this palette if I were walking through an Ulta or Sephora because I do not typically go for bold colors. I definitely prefer browns, golds, or taupes. This palette includes three matte brown shades, and six shimmer shades. Although I would not buy this for myself, the different shades of pink and blue are gorgeous. If you have read a couple of my other makeup tutorials, you may know that I am a little afraid of using bold colors in my eyeshadow looks, but I’ve been trying to get more experimental, and I have actually been having a lot of fun with it! I used to do the same eyeshadow look every single day, but thankfully that is not the case anymore (thanks to Ipsy)!

The eye makeup tutorial:

  • I started off by applying the neutral eyelid primer that comes in this palette. I gently blended this onto my eyelids. You want to ensure that your eye makeup lasts all day and night for Valentine’s Day, so primer is essential! I also feel that primer makes applying eyeshadows a bit easier because it gives the color a smooth base to stick to!
  • The first color I took was this beautiful pink color in the shade, “The 411”. I simply applied this onto my eyelids. I was immediately impressed by the color payoff with all of the shades!
  • Then, I took the light brown shade, “Oh Snap” and blended this into my crease as a transition shade using windshield wiper motions.
  • I then took the middle brown in the shade, “The Run Down” and applied this to the outer “V” of my eyes. Make sure to blend out the shadows after this step. These shadows are incredibly easy to blend (with just a little bit of fallout when applying them).
  • The last step for the eyeshadow is highlight. I took the shade “He Said, She Said” and lightly applied this to my inner corners and my brow bones. In my opinion, highlighting these areas complete an eyeshadow look beautifully. It brightens up the eyes and makes you look more awake. I love this shade because it seems to be a mix of light purple and gold, making it more unique (and stunning).
  • Next, I lined the outer half of my lower lashline with “The Run Down”, and then lined the inner half of my lower lashline with “The 411”.
  • Next, I took my L’oreal Voluminous Lash Primer, and my Maybelline Lash Sensational Curvitude mascara and applied a few coats. I love this mascara because it always does a beautiful job of lengthening and separating my lashes. If you prefer to wear false lashes, you can do this as well!
  • Lastly, I took my usual black eyeliner by Essence and lined my waterline and tightline. I do this pretty much every time I do my makeup because it adds a bit more drama to any makeup look, which I love!

Thank you so much for reading! I am so in love with this eyeshadow palette, and if you are interested, I highly recommend looking into buying it! Let me know how you’re planning on doing your Valentine’s Day makeup in a comment below!

My Pamper Routine

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, so why not show yourself a little extra love by taking a day to pamper yourself? Even though I have a lot on my plate right now with school and work, I still think that it is important to take some time to relax and pamper myself. I am not able to have nights like this too often, but when I do I enjoy it. Today, I am going to be sharing my pamper routine with you, as well as the products that I will typically reach for on these nights.

Please keep in mind that although I am using the term “self-care”, “self-care” is not just about the physical. Self-care is also about your mental and emotional well-being. You can look good on the outside, but it doesn’t matter if you’re not taking care of the inside. What I am sharing with you today is just a part of my self-care routine; the physical part.

When it comes to the inside, I try to speak positively about myself and do a lot of personal reflection. I have quite a few hobbies, many of which I often share with you on my website. I like to make time to do the things that make me happy, such as working out, writing, and even just relaxing and watching some Netflix. Please remember to take care of your well-being and not just your physical appearance. On nights like this, I just want to do something to make myself feel a bit more confident and taking care of myself has always been and always will be my top priority.

I try to have nights like this at least once a week, but I practice internal self-care and self-love daily.

When I get home from a long day, I always remove my makeup. I will NEVER leave my makeup on while sitting around at home or going to sleep (I don’t care how tired I am)! So, before anything else, I’ll grab a fresh makeup wipe and gently remove my makeup. After doing so, I like to cleanse my skin to remove any extra makeup. Sometimes I will apply a hydrating cream or face mask afterward. Then I will typically relax, have dinner, get some school work done, and then I continue with my pamper routine.

The first thing I do is blast some of my favorite music. It makes the routine even more enjoyable this way. My pamper routine always starts in the bathroom. I like to take a hot shower, and I will wash my body, my face, and my hair. I wash my hair about twice a week, so this isn’t anything special, but I seriously love the feeling of soft, clean hair. After shampooing and conditioning, I will take one of my favorite hair masks, the Artnaturals Argan Oil Hair Mask, and gently comb it through my hair, letting it sit for 10 minutes. (I plan on doing a review all about this hair mask in the near future because I am so in love with it!)

While the hair mask is sitting, I’ll grab one of my best razors and I will shave my body. I think I can speak for all of us ladies when I say that getting into bed with clean, cool sheets and shaved legs is one of the greatest feelings. I have seriously been loving body scrubs lately, and I enjoy exfoliating before shaving. I have been using the Cela Seed to Skin Scrub Natural Grain Polish. I like to rub this in circles all over my legs (if you know of a great exfoliating brush for the body, let me know in a comment below). This scrub has a sweet scent to it that makes you want to apply more and more! After my shower, I like to apply a bit of lotion to my legs to moisturize them.

Next, I begin my skincare routine. If I am being honest, I really don’t have a set skincare routine. I have been trying out a ton of different cleansers, moisturizers, and serums. Sadly, I struggle with acne, and sometimes it can get pretty bad. I am always a bit anxious when it comes to trying new skincare products because I don’t want to irritate my acne-prone skin. Most products usually work fine for me, but I like to be careful anyway.

I start by using my Biore Charcoal Acne Cleanser. I love this product, but it does tend to dry out my skin a bit. I then move on to serum. I have been using this Sweet Chef Beet and Vitamin A Serum Shot. And lastly, I apply the Ahava Daily Moisturizer. I love this moisturizer and every morning I wake up with such smooth skin! I know my skincare routine does not include all of the proper steps right now, but I am still on the hunt for all of the right products.  I want the products I use to be affordable, I want them to include healthy ingredients, and I want to love them. Once I find this, I will share a full skin care routine with you all!

After taking care of my skin, I will paint my nails. I prefer to get my nails done at a salon, but if they aren’t done, I will simply cut them and push my cuticles back. I will sometimes paint my toenails, but as I am sure many of you can relate to, my toenail polish lasts a very long time. This is a step that I will sometimes skip in the winter, but I like to make sure my toes are always done in the warmer months.

Next I will be tweezing and trimming my eyebrows. While I am lucky that my hair grows back long and fast, I wish this was only true for the hair on my head and not the hair everywhere else on my body! I also have darker hair which doesn’t help, so it can be a lot to maintain. I actually have to tweeze my brows a couple times a week, but I really like to take my time to maintain it.

After this I will head downstairs to have a late night snack and I will get ready for the next day. The last step to my pamper routine is applying my Skin Regimen Night Detox. This is a mask that you apply and wear over night and wash off in the morning. It protects, repairs, and strengthens your skin while you sleep! I don’t use it every night, but I have been enjoying it lately!

I hope you all remember to always take some time for yourself, even if you have a busy schedule. When I plan a night like this, I always look forward to it because it allows me to relax and just focus on myself. Everyone deserves to relax every once in a while, so this Valentine’s Day, please take that time and use it to pamper yourself (and let yourself indulge on some chocolate a little, I know I will)! Thank you so much for reading!

Embracing Change and Making Positive Choices

Some people can easily adapt to change while others may struggle a bit more. Some people are very willing to try new things while others prefer to stay in their comfort zone. Either way, change can be overwhelming and there is a level of uncertainty that comes with it. In life, things are always going to change. We can either look at this as a negative thing, or a positive thing. We can experience so many different  kinds of changes whether that is moving to a new city, going to college, or something on a smaller scale such as switching up your diet. Many people believe that in order for change to happen, they need to do something big and they need to do it quickly. There are so many small things that you can do that can lead to big and positive changes over time. Today, I wanted to share some small things that I have been doing that have had positive effects on me and my life. I hope that by me sharing this, you will be inspired to make some positive changes in your life.

Recently, I noticed that I was making subtle changes to my daily routine and this is not only making me feel happier, but it is making me feel healthier all around.  I am currently a junior in college and I just recently started a new semester. This is always a little stressful and overwhelming for me because it can take some time for me to get comfortable in a new routine. It was so nice to have some time to relax over the holidays, but now I am back to school and my schedule is not ideal. My days are pretty long and I have some pretty big gaps in between my classes.

I was nervous to start this semester because not only was I taking new classes with new people, but I was also about to start my first internship. I am the type of person who likes to plan things out and I enjoy routine. I wanted to sit down before the semester started to write out a schedule that included everything I wanted or had to do in a day. This schedule included school, school work, my internship, the gym, and time for my family and myself.  I had no idea how I was going to do it all in one day, but 4 weeks into the semester, I can (somewhat) confidently say, I am handling it. In this situation, I was somewhat forced into change. A new schedule meant I had to turn things around, so change was necessary.

First, I wanted to talk about how I have been able to get to the gym. When I first started my fitness journey, I was in high school. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday my dad would pick me up from school and we would go to the gym together. Once I started college, I began going to the gym on my own and I went earlier in the day (typically I would leave for the gym around 1pm). Luckily, my school schedule allowed me to go at this time most days, so this is the schedule I stuck to for quite some time.

As some of you may know, I felt like I had lost my motivation last year quite a bit and I knew I needed a change. Now, mostly due to my school schedule, I have to work out in the mornings. This is something that I was not used to because I was never one to work out in the mornings. Although I am a morning person, the idea of waking up and going straight to the gym just sounded exhausting. I think this change was exactly what I needed. I have been going to the gym in the mornings around 9am and I have been feeling really good about it. After my workouts, I always feel more awake, more energized, and happier. I am now able to get to the gym early, and then I can focus on school and my internship for the rest of the day. There are only a couple minor issues with going to the gym in the morning. One issue is that I start to feel tired and sluggish after lunch time, so I need to find a way to keep my energy up in a healthy way (if you have any tips or advice on how to get over this, please leave a comment below). And the other issue is that I feel like my workouts are a bit rushed because I have to get to school right after the gym. I could wake up a bit earlier, but it is difficult!

On to a similar topic: healthy eating. Along with losing my motivation for the gym last year, I was also falling off track with my healthy eating. Well, I knew this year I wanted to do better, so I have made small changes. Since my days at school are pretty long, I always pack a lunch. I rarely eat fast food, and I am usually comfortable making my own food at home. When I pack my lunches, I make sure to bring healthy options. Even if there are sweets at home, I try to avoid them and save them for later when I get back home. I’ll typically pack something like grapes, an apple, turkey, crackers, nuts, and yogurt. This is usually enough to get me through the school day. When I get home, I eat my dinner, and then I’ll let myself enjoy something sweet. I have a major sweet tooth so avoiding sugar is incredibly challenging for me. I allow myself to enjoy my cravings however I don’t go crazy. Moderation is always key.

I think that many of you can relate when I say that technology is absolutely addicting, and it can negatively affect us in more ways than one. I was never the type of person to allow people on social media to bother me and I think this is because I know who I am and I understand that people like to showcase their highlight reels. What I do have a problem with is knowing when to put my phone down. I struggle with this mostly at night. I know I do not get enough sleep and it is something I am working on. I decided to limit my time on technology at night. After I finish my school work and take a shower, I don’t bring my ipad downstairs with me. If I do, I know I will end up on Netflix and I will binge watch my favorite TV shows all night long. Now, I’ll just scroll through Instagram and eat a small snack before I head off to bed. I try to get to sleep by 12:30 instead of 1 or 2am like I used to. Since I have to be up early for class most days, I need to sleep even more now.

These are just a few small things that I decided to change in my daily routine. I knew that if I didn’t make these changes and stick to them, I would feel much more tired and I simply wouldn’t feel healthy. Certain situations in life are going to push you to make some changes. While my new schedule is what gave me the push I needed to make these changes, I also make choices in my day to day life to stick to my goals. I don’t HAVE to go to the gym, eat healthy or put my phone down. I CHOOSE to wake up and go to the gym (let me tell you, it is so tempting to sleep in on those days), I CHOOSE to pack healthy and delicious foods for lunch because I know I am going to enjoy it and it is going to make me feel good. I CHOOSE to limit the amount of time I use technology. We make choices every single day; make sure to make positive ones.

Thank you so much for reading. I know change can be difficult. Trust me, I don’t always like it and I had a couple of breakdowns when trying to figure out how I would do all of this. But let me just say, sometimes change will push you to make better decisions and it will even push you to better yourself. If you get a little off track, it is ok. Take your time, make small changes, and you CAN change your life in such positive ways. It all starts with you; your attitude, and your choices.