So a few months ago, I did something I never EVER thought I would do… I wore a bikini when I went to the beach with my friends. I’d had the swimsuit for over a year but I never had a chance to wear it and when my friends and I decided to spend a day at the beach, I knew it was time to bust it out.
Before this time, I only wore one piece suits or tankinis that covered my entire stomach, but never a bikini that left my midriff exposed to the world. If I was ever in the market for a new swim suit, I would immediately look for a more conservative option. Not necessarily because it was a style I liked, but I assumed that people who look like me should never wear a bikini. I assumed that if I ever dared to wear one that people would stare at me, people would whisper as the passed me in judgement.
When we got to the beach and set up our spot, I suddenly remembered that when I took off my cover up, I would be in a bikini in front of a lot of people… and I was suddenly terrified. But I wanted to have fun and go in the water and not have to worry about anything so I ripped off the bandaid and took off the cover up and I felt okay, but still nervous. Suddenly my friends were exclaiming about how cute I looked and were asking where I bought it. So far, so good. No judgement and I was getting used to the sensation of being more exposed in public.
Every now and then I would hear people laughing and immediatly fear that they were looking at me and laughing that a curvy girl was in a bikini, but I’d look around and it was just friends laughing as they played frisbee, or parents laughing with their young children making sand castles, or the people laughing in bliss as they played in the water. One of my friends and I decided to go for a nice long walk on the beach and just catch up and I started to forget about my fears about being judged. If anyone did judge me, I never noticed.
In the end, I guess what I’m trying to say is try to get out of your comfort zone every once in a while.
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.
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.
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
Next is the Neutrogena Hydroboost Cleansing Gel. This has been a nice cleanser. It’s very light and makes my skin feel very clean. It retails for $8.99. I prefer the Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser because it feels more gentle on my skin when I rub it in. This product retails for $7.99.
Next is the Neutrogena Hydroboost Exfoliating Facial Cleanser. I like this product because it’s very gentle on my skin and I never feel irritated after. I used to use an exfoliant by Aveeno and it was just too harsh for my skin. My skin isn’t sensitive but it’s nice to have something gentle. So far, this is the best exfoliant I have tried to date. It retails for $7.99.
For toner, I have been LOVING the Pixi Rose Tonic. I love this toner so much because it’s super hydrating and my skin feels so rejuvenated once I’ve used it. The 3.4 fl oz bottle retails for $15.
Here are the ingredients: Water, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Propanediol, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sodium Pca, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Triethyl Citrate, Rose Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Rosa Canina Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Sambucus Nigra Flower (Elder Flower) Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Betaine, Sodium Citrate, Montmorillonite, Citric Acid, Disodium Edta, Ethylhexylglycerin, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate.
Another toner I’ve been using is the Ofra Cosmetics Energizing Elixir. This is a nice toner that leaves my face feeling very refreshed. I must say I prefer the Pixi toner to this one. The Ofra toner retails for $14.
Here are the ingredients: DEIONIZED WATER, ALOE VERA EXTRACT, GLYCERIN, MAGNESIUM ASPARTATE (AND) ZINC GLUCONATE (AND) COPPER GLUCONATE, ALLANTOIN, METHYLIAZOLINONE.
I noticed that I’ve had pretty large pores lately, so to help combat this, I’ve begun using The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion. The Ordinary is a very affordable brand with really cool products. I highly recommend looking into this brand for products that you don’t normally find in the store. This retails for about $10 depending on where you purchase it.
Here are the ingredients: Squalane, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Bisabolol, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil.
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.
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.
For moisturizer, I’ve been using a few. The first is the Neutrogena Naturals Multi-Vitamin Nourishing Misturizer. This is a great cream that absorbs quickly and leaves my face feeling nice and soft. I love putting this on after a shower because it feels like I have put all the moisture back into my skin. This product retails for $16.
Here are the ingredients: Water (Purified Water), Dicaprylyl Carbonate (Coconut/Palm Kernel Derived), Glycerin (Vegetable), Glyceryl Stearate (Coconut/Palm Kernel), Cetearyl Alcohol (Vegetable), Heptyl Undecylenate (Caster Oil), Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil (Inca Inchi Oil), Cetearyl Olivate (Olive Oil), Sorbitan Olivate (Olive Oil), Stearic Acid (Palm Oil), Gluconolactone (Corn), Benzyl Alcohol (The Remaining Ingredients Are Essential to Blend the Product Together and Maintain Effectiveness.), Ethylhexylglycerin (The Remaining Ingredients Are Essential to Blend the Product Together and Maintain Effectiveness.), Sclerotium Gum (Fermented Plant Matter), Tocopherol (Vegetable), Sodium Benzoate (The Remaining Ingredients Are Essential to Blend the Product Together and Maintain Effectiveness.), Fragrance (The Remaining Ingredients Are Essential to Blend the Product Together and Maintain Effectiveness.), Ilex Paraguariensis Leaf Extract (Yerba Mate Tea), Maltodextrin (Cassava), Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum (Peruvian Tara Seed), Hydrolyzed Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum (Peruvian Tara Seed).
Another great moisturizer is the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel. This product is very light weight and my skin easily drinks it up. It’s nice because it doesn’t have a super creamy texture but it still gets the job done. this product retails for $20.
Here are the ingredients: Water, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Polyacrylamide, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Dimethiconol, C13_14 Isoparaf_n, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Chlorphenesin, Carbomer, Laureth_7, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance, C12_14 Pareth_12, Sodium Hydroxide, Blue 1.
For night cream, I have been using the Botanics Hydrating Night Cream. When I put this on at night, I wake up and my skin feels so smooth and silky. It has a wonderful floral scent which I don’t mind. I know some people are wary about scented skincare products. This is a really nice natural brand. This product retails for $14.
For an acne spot treatment, I have been using the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion. This product is a bit potent but it does a great job helping me get rid of my pimples. I just dip a q-tip into the lotion, dab it on any problem spot, and let it sit all night and when I wash it off the next morning, my pimples have clearly calmed down. The product is a bit potent when you first open the bottle, but the smell isn’t an issue when it’s on my face. This product retails for $17.
Here are the ingredients: Isopropyl Alcohol, Aqua (Water, Eau), Calamine, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Sulfur, Camphor, Talc, Glycerin, Salicylic Acid.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Senior Prom 2015
PSF Gala 2018
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.
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.
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.
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.
Let’s talk about self-depricating humor. I am a huge implementer of this in my life and I always forget how toxic it can be. Sometimes I use it to get positive attention and sometimes I can’t accept that I actually am beautiful and good at things so I force myself to believe that I’m not.
Don’t trick yourself into doubting your self worth. Employ mind over matter. Instead of tearing yourself down, build yourself up. This is something I really need to work on this year and I want to dedicate 2019 to pushing myself toward a life of self-love and appreciation. If I can’t be my biggest supporter, I will not achieve the success I hope to gain when I graduate from college.
Life is far too short to hate yourself. You can’t prosper and suck the marrow out of the bones of life if you aren’t willing to show yourself, especially your body, the love it deserves. If you have a problem, love yourself enough to fix it. If you think dropping a few pounds will make you feel better, find a way to become more active that will bring you joy. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a lazy day or pig out with your friends, but by loving your body in different ways, you can find the peace you need to love yourself the way you are meant to.