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Good Times Never Seem So Good

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Welcome to my blog!

This is a place where I want to share my take on three of the most important things in my life: theatre, body positivity, and creativity. It’s named after a lyric in “Sweet Caroline”: “Good times never seem so good” because I want to share the good times in my life with all of you.

About me: My name is Caroline and I’m a collage student at DeSales University currently earning my bachelors in Theatre Design/Technology with a focus in stage management. I love theatre, body positivity, and being creative which is what I’m here to share.

My Progress So Far

Now that we are in the new year, part of my resolution was to bring myself to be the healthiest I can be so that I can be an organ donor for my dad. So far, I have been tracking my food and going for walks or using my parents’ elliptical every day and I am very proud of the work I have been putting in. I’ll admit that I haven’t been the absolute healthiest on this journey. I have indulged in some sweets almost every day and I need to exercise more self-control. I had a bad morning last week where I looked at myself in the mirror and I was so upset with the way I looked. Then I got even more upset because I was thinking so poorly of myself. It’s important that I feel confident in myself and put myself to a true and healthy routine. I have loved getting into the habit of taking a break from whatever laziness I have put myself to and taking a half an hour or so to be active. It’s a great way for me to feel productive, which I love, and I get to confidently say that I did something to improve my health and am closer to my goal of being healthy enough to be a donor.

I have been trying to phrase this journey as me trying to be healthier so I can be a donor and I avoid solely thinking about losing weight or becoming thinner. This has been helpful in shaping how I think about myself and my adjusting lifestyle. Pushing myself to be more positive has, so far, been the biggest thing making me continue. Instead of thinking, “ugh I have to go work out now…” I think about how nice it would be to go for a nice long walk in the fresh air, or I think about how nice it would be to go ham on the elliptical and then shower off all the sweat. If I go extra hard on a workout, I treat myself to some awesome skin care after just to keep up the pampering of my body. Working out in a way is pampering yourself because for me, when I’m done, it makes me feel better about myself. Even though I may regret it in the middle of it, I’ve never come down from a workout and regretted anything I did.

I can’t wait to see how I keep going throughout this month and the rest of this year. It hasn’t been long, but I really am proud of everything I’ve done. I hope this can inspire anyone else looking into a lifestyle change!

Favorite Skincare Products of 2018

I take my skin care very seriously because I like having nice, soft skin and I don’t wear makeup very often. Below Is a collective image of every product I used in 2018. I have dry skin, and I found all of these products to be very nice.

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Going in order of when I use the products in my routine, I’ll give my review and whether or not I want to use it after I finish it.

First is the Stem Cellular Cleansing Oil by Juice Beauty. I use this to take off my makeup and it really cuts through the product and melts the makeup away, even on my full glam nights with intense contour and glitter. It retails for $34 at Ulta. I have found that the Pacifica Coconut Cleansing Oil is a good dupe for this, retailing at $15.

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Here are the ingredients: Juice Beauty Proprietary Blend Of Fruit Stem Cells: Apple Buds, Grape Buds & Lemon Leaf.
Helianthus Annuus (Organic Sunflower Seed Oil/Huile De Graines De Tournesol Bio)*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride+ , Polysorbate 80, Vitis Vinifera (Organic Grape Seed Oil/Huile De Pépins De Raisin Bio)*, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C/Vitamine C), Tocopherol (Vitamin E/Vitamine E), Pyrus Malus (Organic Apple Juice/Jus De Pomme Bio)*, Citrus Medica Limonum (Organic Lemon Juice/Jus De Citron Bio)*, Malus Domestica (Apple Fruit Cell Culture Extract/Extrait De Culture Cellulaire De Pomme), Vitis Vinifera (Grape Fruit Cell Extract/Extrait De Cellule De Raisin), Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon Leaf Cell Extract/Extrait De Cellule Des Feuilles De Citron), Litsea Cubeba (May Chang Oil/Huile De Chang Mai), Cinnamomum Camphora (Ho Wood Oil/Huile De Camphre).

*Certified Organic Ingredient / Ingrediént Certifié Bio
+ Plant Derived / Origine Végétale

I follow up this product with another from The Ordinary. After the retinol serum, I use the Hylauronic Acid 2% + B5 Serum. This has such a rich consistency and my feels feels so rich and my skin looks amazing after I use this product. I will absolutely purchase it again once I’m out. This product retails for about $7.

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Here are the ingredients: Aqua (Water), Sodium Hyaluronate, Pentylene Glycol, Propanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Panthenol, Ahnfeltia Concinna Extract, Glycerin, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Citric Acid, Isoceteth-20, Ethoxydiglycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol.

After this, I have been using the L’Oreal Age Perfect Eye Renewal. This is an okay product. It feels nice on the skin but it didn’t last long. I have very dry skin under my eyes and the smooth sensation didn’t last long after application. This retails for $12. I will be looking into a new product when this runs out.

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For a fresh spritz, I have been using the Mario Badescu Rose Water Facial Spray. I love this product because it cools me down on a hot day and is a nice way to add some hydrating freshness to your skin. It can also work as a setting spray if need be. I like to use this if I get too overheated while applying my makeup to freshen up and give myself a chance to set my makeup before I sweat it off. I am absolutely buying this again. This product retails for $7.

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Here are the ingredients: Aqua (Water, Eau), Propylene Glycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Rosa Canina Extract, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Leaf Extract, Fucus Vesiculosus Extract, Gardenia Florida Fruit Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Parfum (Fragrance), Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Chloride, Citronellol, Geraniol, CI 17200 (Red 33), CI 42090 (Blue 1).

Last but not least, I have been using the Garnier Micellar Water, but usually not to remove a full face of makeup. This product has been so handy to fix small mistakes while I do my makeup and it is a fantastic product to use when cleaning your brushes. I don’t often use it to remove my face makeup because I don’t like using wipes unless I have nothing else. I prefer to remove my makeup with a cleanser. This is a great product that retails for $9.

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Here are the ingredients: Aqua/Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isohexadecane, Potassium Phosphate, Sodium Chloride, Hexylene Glycol, Dipotassium Phosphate, Disodium EDTA, Decyl Glucoside, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide

I hope this has been eye-opening for anyone reading this. These are all of the products I tried in 2018 and my opinions on them. If you have any great products to recommend, I’d love to hear about them!

Looming Anxious Thoughts – My Senior Project

There are often times where I feel a small pang of anxiety looming over me because of thoughts of what I can’t control. For me, this is mainly the thought of everything that I have yet to do or the future that awaits me beyond college. One of the biggest things on my mind is this big senior project I have going on. It’s called Act 3 (technically it’s Integrating Experience) and for this class, the senior theatre majors must form a company put on an entire children’s show. This includes picking the show, electing people to positions, designing the show’s lights, sound, costumes, sets, and props, casting the show, and putting everything on its feet. I am the production manager for our show, which is called The Princess King. It is a charming tale about defying expectations and stereotypes regarding gender and status.

I have a big job, making sure that everythings stays organized, and it’s the first time I’ve had an opportunity to do this. To make matters worse, the faculty usually expects students to learn from their predecessors so I’ll have to rely on people who don’t even go to school any more to help me with odd questions… Or I’ll have to figure them out for my own. I am interested in production management as another career path but this role is of not the typical production manager so it is unfortunately not teaching me much in terms of what I should expect should I hope to take on more responsibilities in this type of role in a professional setting.  It scares me knowing that I’m not confident in how I should do my job and I worry I’ll let people down. All I want in the world is to help put on a show that we will all be proud of and be a leader that my class can rely on and trust throughout the entire process. I want to be confident and I think to get me there, I must make a list of everything I can expect so that I don’t get overwhelmed when things come up. Making lists is a good way for me to get my anxiety together and I hope that will help with this.

I have an incredible support system within my senior class and outside and I know that I will have help. I just need to trust myself.

Feeling Lost

It’s easy to feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, like you’re lost in your own life. There have been times when I look at myself in the mirror and don’t even recognize myself and it’s times like this when I feel so small and scared. It’s times like now where my future is pretty vague and I have no idea where I’m going. This is a major factor that fuels my anxiety. It’s times when I feel like this where I feel the most doubt and fear in life and I don’t really know where to turn next. I wish that I didn’t have these feelings but this is a part of life- to question the next step. If we didn’t feel lost from time to time, we wouldn’t find our next path. Sometimes we need to dig deep in our hearts and minds to discover what we are meant to do next. I often forget to do this and assume that I’m headed toward a dark place. I often struggle to see the light at the end of the tunnel because I’m scared of what will be on the other side. But that’s the beauty of life. We are never privy to the knowledge of what is yet to come. It is something that we must discover with each passing moment of each day. It is okay to question your next step, but you must trust that you will find your way. It’s like the verse in Amazing Grace, “I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see.” Don’t let yourself be blind to your future. Embrace it with confidence. This is an easy sentiment to write into a blog post and isn’t as easy to follow through with in life. I need to trust that I will find a way into a bright future despite feeling lost at the moment.

If anyone has any suggestions for bringing yourself out of dark thoughts, I’d love to hear about them.

Things Stage Management Has Taught Me

Being a stage manager is a really cool job. It allows me to be heavily involved in productions without having to be onstage. There’s a bit of a stigma for theatre majors because people say that we need something to fall back on since it isn’t the most stable field. But there are so many important that this job has taught me that I know I am extremely prepared for my future.

Communication

As a stage manager, I am expected to be in constant communication with my actors, assistants, designers, technicians, the director, front of house, management, administration, and run crew. It is important that I am in good communication with all of these fields because it keeps a production organized and it ensures safety. This is something that is important in any field, and stage management has really given me a crash course in this.

Organization

One of the main duties of a stage manager is to keep the entire production organized from rehearsals throughout the performances. Stage managers keep extensive amounts of paperwork detailing prop lists, prop tracking, scene shifts, entrances and exits, blocking, scene breakdowns, and so much more depending on the needs of the production. If a stage manager is disorganized, the entire production falls apart. If I’m not two steps ahead of the director during rehearsal, then we aren’t running according to schedule. Organization is key to this job, as it is for many other fields.

Patience

Patience really is a virtue that is so important to uphold for anyone, and especially for me in my role as a stage manager. Actors aren’t always the easiest people to work with. They have a lot of memorizing and research to do when getting into character and working in rehearsal and for some, this puts them on edge. I have had my fair share of unpleasant encounters with people at work but I have learned that being patient and rising above any bad encounters, it makes you a stronger person and better person to work with.

The art of multitasking

Multitasking is something that I have become a pro at, especially during college. I have learned how to tackle multiple tasks at once to save time and my sanity. This is really great because it allows me to become more organized and check more things off my to-do list at once.

It’s okay to ask for help

This is something that I struggled with for a long time. I always wanted to be wonder woman but that isn’t always possible. This last year especially has taught me that I don’t need to be a super hero all the time. I have people around me who love me and care about me and would help me if I ask. If you ask for help when you need it, it shows that you’re comfortable bringing more hands onto your project to make sure that it gets done right.

Honesty and integrity

Honesty and integrity are important for any person with any job or life. as a stage manager, I am a leader. And as a leader, it is my responsibility to set a good example for myself and the people around me and practive being the best person I can be. Not only has practicing this been beneficial to my career, it has been beneficial to my personal life as well.

Gaining Weight in College

When you go to college, something everyone talks to you about is the dreaded “Freshman Fifteen”. This alludes to the fact that most people, if not everyone, gains a little weight in college. This is a major fact for me as I have gained close to 40 pounds in the last three years. In high school, I was extremely often. I was a part of my school’s dance team which had me practicing 4 hours a week in addition to games, dance classes at a studio for 4 hours a week, and I acted in plays, keeping me on my feet a few hours every week. Once I got to college, a mix between my more sedentary lifestyle, eating unhealthy food (because it’s cheaper), and alcohol took its toll on my body. Below are pictures of me at prom and me at the PSF gala last summer. It’s me but the look of my body is completely different.

 

Gaining weight in college is totally normal, but you shouldn’t let it get you down. Most colleges have exercising facilities on campus that you have full access to. Take advantage before these are no longer at your disposal. One of the most annoying things about grocery shopping on a college budget is the fact that the healthier food is so much more expensive than the less healthy options. It’s easy to fall into habits of going for the cheaper options because you can afford it. When you’re at the dining hall, focus on the types of food you are getting. Go for healthier options more often so you know you are getting quality food in your system.

A great resource that I have been using since highschool is an app called My Fitness Pal. This is an app that allows you to track how much you need to eat in a day in order to lose some weight. You also track your exercise and water intake. It’s great because you customize it to your needs and lifestyle. If you have a more active lifestyle, the app will encourage you to eat more throughout your day. If you have a very sedentary lifestyle, the app will encourage you to eat less but still in a very healthy and reasonable way.  Throughout the day, you keep a diary of your food, water, and exercise and it gives you an idea of how you are progressing from week to week. When you load a food item or beverage, if it has a bar code, you can scan it into the app and it will give you all of the nutritional facts that are on the lable. You can also search all the food you eat in a day and it will give you several options to show you the calories and other nutritional facts. Below are a few pictures to give you an idea of what the app looks like.

I highly recommend checking this app out if you want to become healthier but don’t know where to start. It does a lot of the work for you and is a good motivator to keep up healthy habits since you must physically enter the food and exercise throughout your day.

Part of what I want to do this year is improve my health so I can become a kidney donor for my dad. This is overwhelming for me because I want to succeed but I get so self-conscious when I work out because I fear that people will judge the overweight girl at the gym. Luckily, my parents own an elliptical and I can work out at home but it isn’t healthy for me to assume that people will think poorly of me for wanting to exercise. I can’t let my fear of what other people will think of me get in the way of me pushing myself. If i truly want to get in better shape, the person I need to worry about is me. Fitness is a lifestyle that takes dedication and a strong will to keep it up. This is something that I will definitely struggle with moving on, but that’s okay.

Healthy Habits For 2019

Now that we are in 2019, I want to start working in healthier habits into my daily life for my physical and mental health, and finances. Now that I have decided that these three staples are what I need to work on, I want to start going through realistic goals/activities that I can slowly implement into my lifestyle. If i say that I must do a complete 180 on my current lifestyle, I would never keep up with it. I’m not a perfect person and I will definitely slip up from time to time. But by thinking of small things that take a fraction of a second to consider doing, I am one step closer to becoming a healthier and more content person.

Some of the things listed below, I already do, but it’s good to remind myself of the healthy habits I need to continue doing especially while I have resources at college that I won’t have once I graduate.

Physical Health

  • Park farther away from buildings at school, stores, etc. so I walk a little extra every day
  • Go for a walk when I get too stressed (this will help with the mental category as well!)
  • Think twice before I snack when I get bored
  • Try to pick a healthy alternative to unhealthy food
  • Cook for myself more often
  • Go to the gym at school and walk/cycle while reading for class (we love multitasking here at the blog)
  • Stretch in the AM and PM

Mental Health

  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Keep a gratitude log (bullet journal)
  • Monitor how negative I am toward others
  • When overwhelmed, write out a schedule of what you need to get done and how long you think it will take you to accomplish it
  • Try on a bunch of outfits and appreciate how good I look in them
  • Gush over how cute your pets are

Finances

  • Evaluate if I really need to buy something
  • Put in extra hours for workstudy
  • Go out to eat less
  • Keep a spending log (bullet journal)

A New Health Journey

As I mentioned in my blog post titled “My Pledges For The New Year”, I mentioned that a major goal for me in 2019 is to start losing weight. I am doing this for myself so that I can become a kidney donor for my father. He has had a kidney disease for the last two years that has forced him to go on dialysis and put his name on the kidney transplant list. He is in great health as of right now but I want to get tested so that if there was an emergency, I would be right there to help, as kidneys aren’t always in great supply for those in need. I have been in contact with the transplant center and they said that my BMI is a bit high for me to be a good candidate and that was the push I needed to tell myself to get off my butt and do something about it. I weigh over 220lbs and am on the short side, which means that I need to work on my physical health. Not only will this be good for me, it will be good for my family My father is an amazing man who deserves the world. He has done so much for me in my life and I feel that I need to do everything in my power to be there for him. I can’t imagine a world where he isn’t in it and that love is my best motivation.

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My high school graduation. Me and my dad (pre-kidney issues)

This is something exciting but also scary. I have never had major surgury before and if I am a match and my dad needs me, this is something that I will do. Although I have some fears, my dad is worth fighting for. This weightloss journey is going to be hard for me. I love food and am lazier than I’d like to admit and it will be an adjustment becoming a more active person but there is nothing more important than helping those you love.

My Pledges For The New Year

Going into 2019, the year I graduate from college and start to navigate the scariness of adulthood, I promise to myself that I will believe in myself. No more doubt and putting myself down. Just because someone else wants something or is good at something doesn’t mean that I can’t want something or do something. I have been digging a hole for myself in the past and now as a young, passionate woman with a bright future, I need to be the force that propels me out of my abyss into the bright, shining future ahead of me.

I also want this new year to become a year of becoming a healthier person physically, mentally, and financially. Physically, I want to become more active and start losing weight. It’s not that I don’t love my body, but I hope to become a kidney donor for my dad and the doctors at the transplant center say that I need to look into losing weight to become the best match possible. This is something I really want to do because if I can help my dad become healthier, I want to do everything in my power to make this happen. Mentally, I want to accept the fact that I have anxiety and have panic attacks from time to time and that as I discover coping mechanisms, to never fear implementing them when necessary. Financially, I want to practice the art of spending less and saving more. I have a bad habit of spending much more than I’m making and then putting myself in anxious situations where I panic about my lack of money. By practicing financial self-control, I will be able to have a better piece of mind for my future.

A lot of people say, “New Year, new me” and I want to make this a reality for my future. 2019 is a huge year for me and it’s up to me to grab life by the horns and take control.

Try new things

It’s been hitting me lately that I am my biggest inhibitor in my success. I think that because other people are more attractive, smarter, and more successful, that I can’t try new things. I almost didn’t start this blog because I thought I’d never have 1,00,000 followers but that’s not what this is about. I started this blog to give myself a bigger and more personalized outlet for my thoughts and feelings and I couldn’t have made a better decision. I am doing something for me and not caring how many followers I have or the other types of blogs that exist. This is something that makes me happy and I need to trust that I can do anything as long as I am passionate enough and work hard enough.

With the new year approaching, don’t be afraid to try new things. Don’t think about who else out there is doing something similar. If you think starting a youtube channel, or starting a fitness instagram, or a baking blog will bring you joy, go for it! Don’t let your level of popularity, body, or fears put you down. You can do anything you set your mind to as long as you let yourself.