A LUSH Birthday Present

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Happy belated birthday to me from my sister! I had my 22nd birthday (I’m feeling 22) back in March, and in my sister’s true fashion, she gave me a gift two months late. Knowing that I absolutely love LUSH products, she gave a bunch of new stuff to play with.

I tried all of these products except for the Fresh Farmacy Cleanser because I’m still trying to finish up my sample of the Coalface Cleanser from LUSH. Coalface has really helped clear up my skin and reduce the blackheads around my nose. It also helped reduce the oil in my skin, but I think it kind of dried it out too much. I combat that with a good moisturizer and the occasional serum. Anyway, with all this new stuff, I wanted to give you a brief review of the products that I have tried!

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The star of the show is the Tea Tree Water. This has truly transformed my skin, and I am not kidding. If I had a before and after picture/if you could actually feel the difference in my skin, you would buy this product too. I have been using this after I wash my face and before I moisturize, and it has made my skin so smooth and bright. Like I said earlier, I have oily skin, and after using this, I’ve noticed less oil throughout the day and clearer skin that’s smooth to the touch. I have to stop myself from touching my skin because it’s so soft. A lot of the redness from my acne is also gone. It’s truly the best thing I have ever tried from LUSH, and I may even say that it tops the Mask of Magnaminty.

My next two favorites are the Mint Julips Lip Scrub and the It Started with a Kiss Lip Tint. First of all, lip scrubs are just great in general because there’s nothing better than soft lips, except maybe soft skin. Second, the Mint Julips Lip Scrub also just tastes so damn good. After I used it, I put on some lip balm and dabbed a little bit of the lip tint on top. It’s perfect because it gives you a soft pop of color, so you can use it all day, every day, which I do now. I just love the rosy color it gives me.

The last thing I tried was the Ultrablast Toothy Tabs, which is pretty awful. I am going to stick with regular toothpaste because tbh – it was kind of disgusting. You’re supposed to chew it up until it gets foamy. Then you brush your teeth like you regularly would, but the taste made me want to throw up all over myself (not really, but just a little bit). Safe to say, I’ll only use these if I run out of toothpaste, but I plan on stocking up with enough Colgate toothpaste to last me a lifetime.

Again, I haven’t tried the Fresh Farmacy Cleanser yet, but I will for sure let you know when I do! Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend:)

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Roadtrip to New Orleans

Six college students. Two cars. One trip of a lifetime.

A couple of months ago, I hopped in a car with two of my sassiest friends to embark on a journey to the Big Easy a.k.a NOLA a.k.a New Orleans. We headed down south for a fun birthday getaway, and and before I knew it, I walked away with three more crazy friends and a bond that only New Orleans could forge.

We spent the days experiencing the culture of New Orleans by exploring the French Quarter, Jackson Square, the French Market, Canal Street and Magazine Street. But at night? We hit Bourbon Street with full force.

To this day, this trip is the closest thing to the movie The Hangover that I have ever experienced. New Orleans is more than I ever thought it could be, and I am so happy to have been lucky enough to experience it with such a great squad.

Check out some of my pictures of the city above!

P.S. Have you heard of the #KendraTrapsFetty campaign? If not, search it! One of the ladies that I had the honor of meeting on this trip is embarking on a journey to meet the man of her dreams, Fetty Wap. She’s one of the greatest people I have ever met, and I can’t think of anyone who deserves to meet Fetty more than her! Join the movement and help her meet her man by signing this petition!

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#MAKEYourself

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I recently signed up to become a Brand Backer which is a way to discover new products and become an influencer in the beauty blogger arena, so this post is my first through Brand Backer for the #MAKEYourself campaign! All opinions are my own:)

I was sent two samples of their products – the Matte Finish Eyeshadow in Alabaster and Silk Cream Lipstick in Taffy, which I am wearing in the photo above! The eyeshadow was a pale cream color, and it didn’t really show up on my skin. However, the eyeshadow went on smoothly, brightened up my eyes and was a great background for my winged liner. As for the lipstick, it was definitely a winner! I am a huge fan of pink lipstick, mainly because Victoria Secret’s models usually have pink lipstick on the runway. The color wore off within a couple of hours, but my lips still had a slight pink tint to it. It was creamy and super hydrating throughout the day, so I was a big fan.

MAKE is a beauty company based in New York City, and they don’t test on animals! They have a ton of great products that I think are great for young professionals looking to keep it minimal in the work place. For my readers, feel free to use this 20% discount code on your MAKE purchase: MAKEYOURSELF. Visit the MAKE website to check out some of their pretty products!

*Sponsored by MAKE

Lush Mask of Magnaminty Review

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Let me add this to the list of things I absolutely love! Before I begin, I’m just going to say that you should get the Mask of Magnaminty immediately. There is a reason that it has 4.6/5 stars and over 700 reviews.

So after browsing through Lush’s site for a few days and mulling over what products I wanted to try, I knew that I had to get my hands on Mask of Magnaminty. The description says that it’s meant to cleanse, exfoliate and soothe your skin, and the reviews say that it’s great for people with acne-prone, oily skin like me! So obviously I had to get it.

Mask of Magnaminty is extremely different from the Boots Botanics Ionic Clay Mask that I tried. This one takes longer to dry, exfoliates with the aduki beans and doesn’t make a mess in my bathroom. The mixture is both creamy and chunky, and hell, it’s a ton of fun to put on your face.

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The moment you put it on, your skin is going to tingle like it’s never tingled before! You can blame it on the peppermint. As you rub it in, you can feel the aduki beans and primrose seeds exfoliating your skin, and once the mask is dry (usually around 10 minutes), all you have to do is rinse it off slowly and massage your skin along the way.

I’ve been using this mask every Sunday for the past 3 weeks, and my skin has never felt better. Immediately after I use it, my skin feels so smooth and clean. My skin isn’t as oily on a daily basis anymore, and it also has helped with acne. My face has never been clearer. I noticed that if I have some pimples in their early stages, the mask will bring them to the surface faster, and they tend to heal faster too. So if you get some pimples right after you use it, don’t freak out! It might look bad at first, but I promise that the mask is helping the whole situation.

I am super picky about what I use on my skin, and this has definitely passed the test. Now I understand what the hoopla is all about, and I am definitely jumping on this bandwagon. I find Lush products too expensive, but this is one product that I wouldn’t mind spending money on. It’s worth it!

Monday Mornings

This is me on Monday mornings. No makeup. Messy hair. Eating cereal out of a Tupperware container. This is the epitome of a Monday morning.

As I get dressed for class and eventually put on some eyeliner and concealer, all I can think about is how I would have NEVER posted a picture sans makeup like this a few years ago.

Unfortunately I used to be under the impression that perfection was the goal. That looking put together was more important than being put together. That being rough around the edges made you less of a person. I wanted to be as Barbie-esque as possible because I wanted people to think that I was perfect.

Oh, how wrong I was! In the wise words of Olivia from The Bachelor, “perfection is overrated.” Even though she was talking about her toes when she said that, we can just pretend that she was talking about something other than that.

Somewhere along the way to adulthood, I realized something life changing, and it was this: it is none of my business what people think of me.

Some days I look like a million bucks. Other days I look like I crawled out of the sewer. Regardless of what kind of day I am having, I want to be real, and real is sometimes not wearing makeup. Real is sometimes eating cereal out a tupperware container. Real is not being perfect because perfection does not exist.

Lush Ultrabland Cleanser Review

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It’s product review time! The last (and first) time I went to Lush, I asked for some products that would help clear up my skin and solve the whole oily skin problem. Maggie, the lovely lady who helped me, recommended Ultrabland. She said she used it regularly as a makeup remover and cleanser, and when she tested it on the back of my hand, I was all about it. But I wasn’t ready to drop some big bucks, so I asked for a sample instead.

Recently, I grew some balls and tried it for the first time… and I did not like it at all.

To begin with, the product is this creamy, waxy substance that you’re supposed to apply to your skin as a makeup remover and cleanser. So you rub it on and wipe it off with a cloth, and it’s supposed to remove your makeup and clean your skin at the same time.

My biggest problem with Ultrabland is that it felt like I was smearing butter on my face. It was so thick and greasy that it felt like it was clogging my pores rather than cleaning them. I felt like no matter how long I rubbed my face with the cloth, there was still reside left on my skin, and for someone with oily skin, I felt like I had dived headfirst into a tub of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, which would be okay if I liked butter (but I don’t).

If I wasn’t such a hoarder, I would have thrown this away right then and there, but it’s sitting at the bottom of my junk draw in my bathroom. And it will stay down there until it magically becomes a less greasy cleanser.

In the meantime, I’ll stick to my tried and true Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes and Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser.

 

4 Things You Should Know About Taking Charge of Your Dental Health

Hello & good morning! I’m so happy to be 100% again. I’ve been recovering for the past few days from a wisdom tooth extraction and a root canal retreatment, so I’ve been a little out of it.

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Since this whole dental stuff is fresh on my mind, I figured there’s no better time than now to talk about some important things – real life things – that might help you as you attempt this thing called adulthood.

Scary right?

Well before we begin, here’s the tl;dr of my horror story at the dentist. I went to an awful (and probably fake) dentist who completely botched my root canal and had to wait eight months to get it fixed. And what did I learn in those eight months? A whole lot about dental insurance, that’s what! So here are some tidbits that you should definitely know if you ever plan on taking your dental health into your own hands.

  1. Dental insurance covers more when you go in-network. As someone who has never had to deal with insurance, I had a lot to learn about insurance. The first thing I learned was that dentists operate either in-network or out-of-network, meaning either they have or don’t have a contract with your insurance company. When you go in-network, your insurance is willing to pay more of your dental bills. It’s kind of like a thank you for shopping within our network.
  2. Insurance does not foot the whole bill. Again, I had no real understanding of insurance until now, and what I have come to understand is that insurance pays for a portion of the bill based on what you get done. For example, my insurance only pays for 60% of the cost of a root canal procedure on a molar. If you need to have a simple tooth extraction, insurance will pay for 90%, but if you require surgery to remove it, it will only pay for 60% of the operation. Moral of the story: don’t assume that the cost of any major procedure will be covered by insurance.
  3. If you don’t want to get screwed over, consider having consultations with multiple dentists. Lucky for me, I had eight months to look for a dentist. In that time, I went to other dentists with my symptoms and asked for their opinion. I got a pretty clear answer for why I was having so much pain in my root canal tooth, so when I finally settled on a dentist, he came to the same conclusion as the other dentists, so I knew he wasn’t making up anything. Also, most consultations are free, so it doesn’t hurt to get second opinions.
  4. Go with your gut. This is a less factual tip than the ones above, but I still think it is a valid way to protect yourself in the real world. I had a gut feeling that the “fake” dentist was not a good dentist. He was impatient, uncooperative and careless, and it ended up costing me. My new dentist actually took the time to go over the procedures with me and talk through my options, and in my gut, I knew that I was making a good choice when I picked him. Since then, it’s been smooth sailing.

So trust me, I know that it’s scary to venture out into the real world and to start handling things on your own. Hell, I almost cried a bunch of times because it was so frustrating to look for a new dentist. But it’s so important to learn about these things that will make a huge impact on your quality of life and well-being. Plus knowledge is power!

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Spotify Playlist: Running to Class

Happy Monday!

Guess what today is?! The first day of classes this semester! Instead of dragging myself out of bed and zombie-walking to my classes, I’m gonna put on this playlist in the morning and pump myself up to see all of my friends, take in this beautiful campus and hopefully meet my future bae in one of my classes😉

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How I Got Over My Fear of Public Speaking

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Class presentation for our PR campaigns class. // 2015

You’re looking at someone who used to sweat profusely, never made eye contact and avoided speaking in front of any number of people. Even talking in a small group made me nervous. But in this picture… I. Was. Killing. It.

My first memory of public speaking was in kindergarten when my teacher asked for someone to stand up in front of the class to lead our daily rendition of the ABCs. I had done it the day before, but shit, I wanted to do it again, so I did. And that day, I stood up in front of my class (again) and led our class through the ABCs.

That was the last good public speaking memory I had as grew up and developed a fear of public speaking. It didn’t develop until middle school – oh, you know, the greatest period of time in every teenager’s life. I was ugly. I was awkward. I was shy. So for me, talking in front of my class, or even raising my hand, was completely out of the question. While the pretty and sociable people in my class called for everyone’s attention, I was hiding in the corner and trying to hide my snaggle tooth.

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The only time I’ll show you guys a picture from my awkward stage. // 2006

Unfortunately I never really snapped out of the whole “avoid people looking at me” phase. I became one with the wall, and I was completely fine with that. Kinda. I was fine with that until I realized how much I loved being in the spotlight and making people laugh.

I was in my first public speaking class at the University of Georgia when I realized this. I had been a ball of nerves prior to my first assignment, which was to recite a three-minute speech written by someone famous. Most people picked historically significant people like Martin Luther King and Obama. Me? I picked Aziz Ansari.

So I stood up in front of my class and recited (with notecards of course) a three-minute standup joke that Aziz Ansari performed during his Dangerously Delicious comedy special. It was that first laugh from the audience, from my friends, that let me know that I was doing alright. Even though I stuttered a few times, I didn’t care because by the end, I had made a room full of people laugh.

Since then, I haven’t stopped trying to make people laugh when I present. My goal is to get my message across in the funniest, most informal way as possible because that’s the type of impression I want to leave on people. A younger me would have been scared of looking like a fool in front of a room of people. Now, I don’t care if I look like an idiot. If people leave with a good understanding of my point, then I did my job. *Drops mic* *Walks out*

With more presentations than I can count under my belt, I’ve learned a few important things that I think everyone should know in order to become public speaking stars.

Find your presentation style. Maybe you like to be poised and elegant like Helen Mirren. Maybe you want to be informal and relatable like Jennifer Lawrence. Whatever it is you want, be that. Go online and watch YouTube clips of speakers and presenters that interest you and mimic the style that you like. It’ll help you as you develop your own voice.

Pretend like everyone in the audience is your friend. Regardless of your style, if you pretend like you are talking to a room full of your friends, it’s a lot less stressful. First, it’ll calm your nerves to feel like everyone is supporting you. Second, it’ll be easier to recover from mistakes because like you and your friends usually do, you can just shrug it off.

Realize that mistakes are okay. Everyone makes mistakes especially in public speaking. People get flustered and tongue-tied. People stutter and fidget. Whatever happens, it is okay. People are a lot more understanding than you think, and for the most part, people are more interested in what you’re saying than how it’s delivered. No mistake is too big to recover from, so shrug it off or laugh it off. It’s not that big of a deal.

Force yourself to speak in public. That whole “practice makes perfect” thing that people talk about? It kinda works. The more you practice talking in front of people, the easier it will get because you’ll start to feel more comfortable with the environment of a speaker. They are usually in the front of a room, on a raised platform, holding or speaking near a microphone, etc. These things take a while to get used to especially when you’re in a room full of people. By forcing yourself to speak in public, you’ll learn how to quickly adapt to different speaking environments thus leaving more time to focus on the content of your speech.

Of these things that I’ve learned, I personally think that the first one is the most important. I have presented in front of CEOs, CMOs, VPs and executive directors. I have spoken to groups of ten people to crowds of one hundred people. In every instance, I have always remained true to my style. I like to keep it lighthearted and fun, and I never beat around the bush. I like to think that it’s my honesty that makes me relatable.

And to be honest, this confidence I have developed when presenting is still a work in progress. I still trip over my words and fidget with my hair. But I have made progress from the girl who couldn’t look anyone in the eye to the girl who can make a room full of people laugh. And that, my friend, is what I like to call: a win.

Charming Goals for 2016

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Ahhh it’s 2016 – how are you doing on your new years resolution? Did you make one? If not, check out my previous post for some resolutions that you’ll enjoy sticking to.

As for me, I have some goals I am hoping to work towards this year. For the past couple of years, I set some pretty unrealistic goals. This time, I’m hoping to do it big by starting off small.

Eat more vegetables – I can count on one hand the vegetables that I enjoy eating: broccoli and green beans. It’s not that I hate vegetables; it’s that I enjoy eating other things like pasta and hot wings. But as I get older, I get more concerned about the food I use to fuel my body, and I’m simply not as healthy as I should be. I am going to start incorporating more vegetables into my meals, and hopefully I find more vegetables that I enjoy eating. I’ll most likely keep you guys updated on my food journey through my food blog Broke Bitch Meals.

Volunteer more – There are plenty of things I am passionate about, one of them being animals. I started volunteering at my local animal shelter a long time ago, but since I started working, my schedule doesn’t work well with their open hours. But as all PR people do, I’ve created a plan B. Instead of volunteering physically at the shelter, I’ll put more time into assisting online and offering my help with tasks that can be done remotely.

Read more books – If I could be anything in the world, I would be a writer. Just the thought of sitting down at a desk with a cup of coffee and my fuzzy socks makes me warm inside. But writing is mentally exhausting sometimes, and my schedule this year is already jam packed. So instead of writing, I am going to read. Instead of scrolling through Facebook and Twitter before bed, I am going to read a little bit before I go to sleep.