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Lifestyle

Lifestyle

What You Need To Know: Dip Powder Manicures

What exactly is a dip powder manicure, you may ask. Great question. Even after seeing this technique become increasingly popular within the last year, I never paid much mind to it. As a habitual nail biter, I was forced into always having acrylics in order to not tear my own nails to shreds. Recently a new salon opened in my area (the salon is called the Blush Nail Lounge if you’re in the Columbus *check out bottom paragraph for more*!) that I was dying to check out, but they didn’t offer any services with acrylics. So, not really by my own free will and more so fueled by major fomo, I decided to try the dip powder manicure. Here’s what I learned…

The Process

If you’ve gotten acrylics before, you’re familiar with the tedious and time-consuming application process. This is nothing like that. Dip can be used on either your natural nail or with added tips. I added tips to a few of my nails to even out the length. After that two second application, the nail was buffed lightly with the electric buffer, just enough to create an even surface on the nail (nothing like the four different types of buffing that shave off most of your natural nail with acrylic application). After that a primer is applied, followed by a clear coat. Then each nail is dipped into the colored powder of your choosing. The clear coat and powder dip process is repeated two to three times. Then the final top coat is applied and you’re done. That’s it. Done. I’m not kidding I sat there with my mouth hanging open at how quick and easy the process was. 

Are They Strong?

Yes! My favorite aspect of the dip manicure is that it feels like your natural nail but a bit tougher. They aren’t as strong as acrylics. However, they are extremely light weight compared to acrylics, while still being stronger than your natural nail. 

How Long Do They Last?

Dip manicures can last up to a month! They outlast both acrylic and gel fills which is absolutely amazing if you’re like me and can only afford to splurge once a month. Earliest a fill should be needed is three weeks. 

Would I Get A Dip Manicure Again?

Heck. Yes. Again, I’ve been wanting to transition back to my natural nails for the longest time and I’ve found that this is the perfect compromise. Not only is the dip application process easier, but it’s also less harsh and damaging on the natural nail. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ll be returning to acrylics anytime soon!

I want to give a special shout out to the Blush Nail Lounge in Columbus, Ohio for giving me such an amazing first experience with a dip manicure! The nail technicians were so helpful and patient, willing to answer any questions I had and even put in the time for the extra detail I wanted to add at the end. On top of the amazing service, their space is brand new and has one of the cutest interiors I’ve ever seen! Not to mention nail color options for days. Okay, done gushing over how much I love this place (for now). Hope this helps!

Food & Travel, Lifestyle

Bfast in Cbus

As I’ve recently discovered my incredible ability to spend an entire paycheck on breakfast & brunch in just one weekend, I figured I should put my taste testing to good use and share some of my favorite spots with everyone. As graduation is right around the corner, as well as nice weather and entertainment season in general, I wanted to give a few recommendations and (hopefully) relieve some of the event planning stress! If you have any breakfast or brunch places you absolutely love, please tell me!! As mentioned before, I have no qualms when it comes to spending money on food… I also attached the link to the menu for each restaurant, just click on the photo caption! One last thing, added a couple suggestions at the end if you have a larger party and might need a reservation. OKAY, I’m done, let’s talk food!

 
Brekki Shack

First up on the list is Brekkie Shack! Since it’s located in Grandview, it avoids the busy traffic of the short north/downtown area which is always a plus. I’m going to tell you right now that you will order more than you are physically able to consume because literally every single thing on the menu makes your mouth water. Bonus: they have a super cute neon sign that says “pancakes & dreams” that is definitely Instagram worthy if you can snag the spot!

Flowers & Bread

I had to include one of my all time favorites, Flowers & Bread. Not only can you order a whole loaf of fresh made bread (if you aren’t sold already I don’t think we can be friends…) but both the interior and exterior of the building is so aesthetically pleasing it brings a little tear to my eye. The menu is amazing and they offer both breakfast and lunch options!

Dough Mama

Allow me to introduce you to my newest love, Dough Mama. Y’all they have fresh made pies, need I say more?? The maple iced latte is a must, along with anything involving their cheddar biscuits. However, would not recommend for a super large group! Seating is very limited. Like one of those spots where it feels like you’re playing musical chairs, eyeballing everyones seat to see who will finish next and analyzing how fast you can move to beat out the other three people waiting for the same seat. But, fresh made pie….

Kittie’s Cakes at Bexley

Kittie’s Cakes is my all time favorite spot. Things you must order include a freshly made cinnamon roll, paired with the nashville hoodie to drink! It’s about a ten minute drive from the campus area but so worth it. The area itself is very old fashioned, slow paced and beautiful. Not only do they have a full breakfast menu, but also lunch and cocktails to accompany it!

Northstar Cafe

Mint. Iced. Coffee. I don’t even like mint and I can’t make it out of Northstar without ordering one of these bad boys. This is right in the middle of all the action of the short north district, with the option to sit and eat there or just as easily grab it to go. My favorite thing about Northstar (besides the mint iced coffee) is the fact that you walk away feeling good about what you just ate. Their options are rather healthy and fully satisfying!

I have so many more places I could add to this list but I’m going to wrap it up with these last two recommendations. If you have a larger party and think you’d need to make a reservation, I would suggest either Forno or The Goat (located in the short north & downtown area). They both have plenty of seating, give the option to make reservations, and (most importantly) have outstanding menus.

Thank you guys for reading my suggestions! Again, please let me know any recommendations you might have as well! Always looking for new places to explore.

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My “Feministic” Views: Addressing a Few Misconceptions

Don’t get me wrong, I love men. Some of my closest friends are guys and I value their relationships more than anything. I have many men in my life who I look up to and admire very much. I’m grateful for all of them and am so lucky to hold a relationship with them with such a mutual respect and understanding. 

However, just because I have guy friends and male figures in my life that I admire, doesn’t mean I can turn a blind eye to inequality amongst males and females in America. To be clear, me recognizing this inequality does not mean that I hate men in any way, does not mean that I think less of men in any way, and does not mean I’m unable to have open discussions pertaining to this inequality and/or lack thereof from any other person’s viewpoint. 

My viewpoint comes from years of observing, experiencing and learning about this topic. I still continue to learn about it every day. 

I wanted to address why I made a post the other day about a tweet that I saw. If you didn’t see my Instagram story, I put a picture of myself with a new short haircut and brought up a tweet that I saw saying “only women with long hair are attractive”. My response to that was “men ain’t sh*t, you’re hot no matter what”. I also mentioned the fact that, in our society, men are raised to view certain things as attractive versus unattractive. 

I got a response from a guy that said something like this: don’t generalize all men because of what one man said, understand his ignorance and move on.

After responding that I didn’t find it acceptable to stay silent on an issue that affects the way people feel about themselves and ultimately live their lives, I got a rather aggressive response that led to him stating the following: there is no pay gap between males and females, women deserve to be paid less due to pregnancy, there is no ideal woman anymore as this isn’t the 1900s, and to top it all off, white privilege doesn’t exist. 

Man. Oh. Man. To be clear, I did not address any of those issues in my story except for the image of an ideal woman on the most basic level. I was told that I was just trying to “make myself feel better” and that none of what I was saying was correct. When I tried to have a discussion about the issues he was addressing, I got berated and was told to “keep coming at me with your feministic views.” 

Here are the top two reasons I chose not to ignore this man’s ignorance: accountability and awareness. 

When I say that society has raised men to behave and to think a certain way, I am holding all of us accountable. I’m not blaming this one individual male who made one comment about a female’s appearance. In America, the image of the ideal partner, and the ideal self, has been formulating in the minds of every individual since they were children. We are shown images, told repeatedly, of what our society identifies as “beautiful”. The further we stray from these ideals, the more damaging it is to our self-perception and ultimately our self-value. 

My favorite example of how harmful this unrealistic standard of beauty can be comes from an experience by Dr. Brene Brown. She did a project with a class of hers that had three parts. The first was to bring in their favorite magazines and cut out images that fit their “ideal look”. She noticed how every participant was taking bits and pieces of different women in order to create one ideal look. The second part of the project was to find themselves in these magazines. After flipping through magazines and finding only bits and pieces of themselves (a similar haircut, skin tone, etc.) the students gave up in frustration. The final part of the project was to ask the students “how does being invisible feel?”. 

The answers that were given were all self-blaming. They said they couldn’t find themselves in these magazines because they weren’t good enough or, even worse, because they didn’t matter. They blamed themselves for not fitting the pictures they had created based on a learned idea of beauty. Based on a learned idea of value. 

In just one sitting, these students went from cutting images out of a magazine to convincing themselves that they don’t matter in this society. 

To go back to the tweet that said “only women with long hair are attractive”, I hope it might be a bit clearer the consequences these statements may have, and also why I chose to address it rather than to remain silent. We are reinforcing ideas that are demeaning to many individuals. We are reinforcing ideas that take away value from people who matter, which is every single person in this nation and on this planet. Beauty is, first and foremost, a cultural construct. Let’s work towards constructing a cultural view of beauty that looks at more than the surface. One that adds value to every individual rather than taking it away.  

I didn’t get to touch on a lot of other subjects that were brought up, so if anyone would like to discuss anything else with me, please feel free to reach out! 

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Graduation Dresses

Last Minute Edition

As I was putting all of my recently made reservations for graduation into my planner, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I had successfully made all my reservations, had a plan in order for my family, had my final school work in order, everything was in place. Then I realized I was missing a pretty important piece to the plan: a dress. We’ve all worked really hard to get to this point in our lives and we definitely deserve to look and feel our best on such a big day. If you’re in panic mode (as I was), I thought I would share a list of my top choices to give some inspiration! Links are in the captions and there’s usually alternative colors if you’re just attending a graduation and need some inspiration as well. I varied completely in styles and price ranges, so there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to the order of the dresses. With that, good luck ya little procrastinators ! (oh, and congratulations!!)

Lace Cami Dress / Abercrombie
Wrap – Front Cami Dress / Abercrombie
Donna Mae Playsuit / PrincessPolly
Molina Mini Dress / PrincessPolly
Katrina Eyelet Tiered Ruffle Mini Dress / Urban Outfitters
Ruffle Sleeve Mini Dress / Revolve
Petra Button Front Dress / Revolve
Peggy Dress / Sundae Muse

Lucette Dress / Sundae Muse
Inspiration, Lifestyle

Lessons Learned

I have too much I want to say about this past weekend. I tried to fit in all into one piece of writing, but it ended up being five pages before I was even halfway through. 

Instead, I’m going to share a story a day, until I run out of stories. 

I didn’t know what I was doing. I felt in a rut, stuck in the wrong place, stuck in the wrong mood. My birthday was one week away. I’ve always had an irrational fear of birthdays. Not the fear of getting older, but a fear of being behind in life. Of not hitting the landmarks that have been instilled in my brain I should have hit by the age of 23. 

This is what I needed to escape. 

I wanted time to think, time to be on my own. I opened Airbnb and typed in the date’s “March 29-31”, anxiously clicking the search button. Up popped a few options, a loft here, an apartment there. It wasn’t until I saw a red cabin on the outskirts of Asheville, North Carolina that I knew. That was exactly what I was looking for. 

Mind you, I have never traveled completely on my own to an unfamiliar location before. Ever. I’ve traveled many times with family and friends but seeing as I am usually a very cautious individual, planning my trips meticulously, I was in completely unfamiliar territory with this one. 

Confirmed: March 29- March 31. Check in 3 pm- 12 am. Pack your bags!

Just like that, I was off to Asheville. 

Since it’s a special occasion, I want to skip forward to my favorite part of this trip. Let me introduce you to Patrick O’Shea.

Upon my arrival, I was introduced to my host (and one of the kindest men I’ve ever met), Bob. He asked what I was doing there, assuming I was there to enjoy a weekend of fine dining and breweries, as many other guests had been. 

Funny question, really. I had no idea what I was doing there. 

“I like to write,” I said. I explained how I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by my birthday coming up and really just needed a change of scenery for a second. I wanted to be able to collect my thoughts, hear myself think. 

“Well, if you need some inspiration, there’s the arts district,” Bob began. “It’s covered in art, graffiti. I would describe it as a new age, hipster, rich kid type area.” 

I visibly cringed and Bob laughed. 

“If you’re looking for more of a townie location, I would recommend Jack of the Wood. It’s the epitome of an Irish bar, live Appalachian based music and best bar food in town.” He had me at Irish bar. I was sold. 

I walked into Jack of the Wood and immediately began to smile. The majority of the crowd had beards and were sporting a leather vest and/or a cowboy hat. I was easily one of the youngest people there. Everyone had a beer in their hand and there was college basketball playing on the tv next to the bar. 

Perfection. This is exactly what I had been looking for all along.

I sat down at the end of the bar next to an older man, ordered a beer and leaned back in my chair to watch the game. A few moments in, I felt the older man next to me tap me on my shoulder. I turned, already apologizing if I had been in the way of the tv. 

“Oh no, honey, you’d have to be a few feet taller for that to be the problem,” he chuckled. Fair point. He motioned for me to look to my left and asked me how I felt about “man buns”. About a foot to my left was a younger man, sporting that very look. I laughed and explained that it’s not my favorite, but whatever makes people happy. 

“I’ve got to be honest with you, every guy I’ve ever met with one… asshole,” he said. “Complete asshole. You’re trying too hard buddy, just give it up!” he said, loud enough for me to hear but just below man bun’s level of hearing.

This is how I met Patrick. He was late sixties, a regular at Jack of the Wood, and stole more olives from the side of the bar than I could count. It was truly impressive how quickly he moved to grab them when the bartenders turned their backs. He still wrote and performed his own music every Monday night at this very bar. 

He asked why I was in Asheville, what I liked about it so far. 

“Honestly, I love the people. I’ve found that every person I’ve run into has been extremely nice and so open in conversation.” 

“Do you think that has anything to do with yourself?” Patrick responded. 

Seeing as he was insinuating that the way I looked had something to do with people being nice to me, I responded by saying I really didn’t think so. He laughed and gave an exaggerated “sureeeeee”. 

I knew what he’d meant. However, this is exactly why I had been looking for this crowd. Patrick wasn’t saying anything to try and impress me. When I asked him a question, he answered with complete honesty. He wasn’t trying to prove himself to me, to make me like him, to show the similarities between us. Many people my own age will say what they think you want to hear. Not Patrick. This was him, take it or leave it. 

As Patrick was on a first name basis with everyone who worked at the bar, I quickly became acquainted with the bartenders and servers. Before I knew it, I was on my third beer, the Purdue vs Virginia game had just been tied by a buzzer beater shot and all of us had bets on who was pulling through for the win. Even the bartender who claimed he “didn’t care at all for college basketball” was leaning over the counter, yelling with the rest of the crowd when their team fell behind. 

I asked Patrick how he’d ended up in Asheville. 

“My ex-wife moved here with the kids. It was a no brainer,” he stated, matter-of-factly. He told me what his kids were up to now, what they’d accomplished. “I’m just so happy their mom raised them,” he said. I asked if he thought they would’ve turned out differently being raised with him. He scoffed and informed me they wouldn’t be even half the people they were today, had their mother not raised them. 

The band began to play, and Patrick ended the night by scolding me for paying eighty dollars for jeans with holes in them. 

“It’s outrageous! Ninety dollars for these jeans, holes and little frills sticking all out from them and girls are paying for them! Bring ’em to me, I’ll grab a pair of scissors and do it myself,” he exclaimed, completely exasperated by the whole concept. I informed him that fashion companies were now laser printing wrinkles onto jeans, to sell them with a “pre-wrinkled” appearance. This almost pushed him right over the edge. We both laughed.

He’d stayed around longer than usual “to be chivalrous” he’d said. Another older man had entered the bar that he was not particularly fond of. 

“What a toad. What a complete toad,” Patrick said. I was dying laughing. “He’s just slimy. Maybe if he didn’t look like such a frog, people would actually talk to him,” he fumed. Patrick refused to leave until this guy left, insistent that he didn’t trust him. I appreciated it. 

After he’d left and I had eventually returned to my bed in the red cabin I had rented, I thought back to what Patrick had said. Did I have anything to do with the way people treated me here?

Yes. He was right, but not in the sense that he’d intended. It did have something to do with me. I had to be open to the experience. I had to be open to meeting others, to trusting others. I guess most people my age wouldn’t have picked this bar in the first place, but I noticed that even more wouldn’t have given someone like Patrick the time of day. 

Unfortunately, we tend to look past what’s right in front of us. 

Traveling alone allowed me to be open to others. It forced me to trust in people more so than I normally would. To be open to hearing their little anecdotes, each containing a vital piece of their lives they were excited to share, to teach you about. It’s truly incredible what you can learn from a complete stranger. 

When I listened to myself, felt where I was truly comfortable, I found exactly what I was looking for. If I trusted myself, I could trust in others. If I trusted myself, I would end up exactly where I was meant to be. 

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On My Body

I didn’t have much time to write this (aka pls don’t judge me for how poorly it’s written) but I did want to take a minute to acknowledge something really important to me. 

The female body has been viewed and commented on by so many. Opinions fly from every mouth about what it should look like, what it should dress like, how it should act. 

I started doing yoga at a young age. When I first started, I enjoyed the physical challenge behind it. Twisting and contorting my body in ways that were unfamiliar to it, attempting at every class to be able to move on to more challenging concepts. I was completely focused on the physical feat behind it. I wanted to master my body at this point in time. I wanted to be able to control it, be able to push it to its furthest point. 

I took a break from yoga for a while when I began college. A break makes it sound like I took a week off but if I’m being honest, it was years before I got back on a mat. I just recently came back to it, breaking myself in with a hot yoga class. The class hit me, and it hit me hard. However, I found myself being able to do things I hadn’t been able to do, even when I was trying my hardest and practicing regularly. As I hadn’t been to a class in a while, I had to start fresh. I had to listen to every word the instructor was saying, watch the other members of the class, listen to myself as I exhaled deeply through the pain of starting over. This time around, I had focused not on pushing myself, but on listening to myself. On talking to my body, moving deeper into poses with each exhale. 

I accomplished much more in the exchange of talking and listening to my body, than I ever was able to when I was just telling my body what to do. Having a conversation with it, telling it where I wanted it to go but allowing it to lead me there at its own pace. I didn’t rush to get to the end, to master the pose right away. I took my time in getting there, acknowledging how my body felt at every single moment throughout the process. 

It takes time to learn how to listen to yourself. It takes time to acknowledge the fact that your best and most beautiful version of a pose, will look completely different than someone else’s. It took me years to wrap my head around what seems to be such a simple concept. I grew out of the idea of only picturing myself at the end. I now take the time to appreciate where I’m at, every single day. I acknowledge that it doesn’t matter how you look, but how you feel.

Listen to what feels right from the inside, not to what people tell you is right from the outside. Enjoy the strength that you find within, recognize the power that your body uses to push you through every day. That power is so much more valuable than any other person’s opinion.

This is just a small reminder to anyone who needs it.

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Peach & Raspberry Sweet Potato Toast with Whipped Cottage Cheese

I recently came across Abbey Sharpe’s cookbook, The Mindful Glow Cookbook, and immediately fell in love with the recipes. My first attempt was on her recipe for Peach Melba Sweet Potato Toast with Whipped Cottage Cheese. I won’t lie, the name sounded extremely intimidating (I really only understood the “toast” part) but the recipe ended up being extremely easy and so satisfying! If you don’t like sweet potatoes, stop after the broiled peaches. I honestly could eat these peaches drizzled in honey every day for the rest of my life.

Ingredients

  • 1 peach, sliced into 14-16 thin wedges
  • 1 tsp pure liquid honey (I used a lavender honey, highly recommend)
  • 3/4 cup 2% or 4% cottage cheese (I used 1% and everything was fine!!)
  • 1 sweet potato, cut into 4 slices lengthwise about 1/4 inch each (make sure to scrub clean first)
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 3 tablespoons sliced unsalted natural almonds, toasted

Directions

  • Preheat broiler too high. Lay the peach slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of honey. Broil just until caramelized (about 5 minutes).
  • In a small food processor or blender, puree the cottage cheese. Coarsely chop four of the now caramelized peach slices and add them to the pureed cottage cheese. Blend until smooth. Add honey to your liking!
  • Place the sweet potato slices in the toaster and toast until tender and golden, about 3 to 4 rounds each, depending on toaster settings.
  • Place a generous amount of the cottage cheese mixture onto the toasted sweet potato. Top with slices of broiled peach, fresh raspberries and sliced almonds.

Tips

  • I couldn’t wait for peaches to be in season to make this recipe (I was too excited), but it’s very easy to overcook the peaches!! Keep an eye on them and take them out before or at the five minute mark, no later!
  • Our toaster is about five years old and was twenty dollars from Target.. if your circumstances are similar, it will definitely take more than 4 toaster rounds! This is totally fine, just be sure to check the texture after each round.
  • I am not a fan of cottage cheese in general, but this combination makes it heavenly.
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Skincare Essentials

For the never-ending winter of 2019

I don’t know about you, but my skin is struggling to keep up with this weather. The ups and downs from 60 degrees to 10 degrees are definitely not helping my biggest concern, which is dryness. I’ve never been one for routine, but this past (and present) winter has forced me into it. Below I’m going to share my routine, keeping it in the order in which I use it throughout my process of getting ready.

Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash

This product was 100% worth the dirty glare I got from my friend as I grabbed it, right after begging her not to let me buy anything else from Ulta. After many trial and errors with other face washes, I found that I preferred foaming over exfoliating, light scented over heavy scented and absolutely needed something that didn’t leave my face feeling oily or sticky after washing it off. This face wash has a light lemon scent, foams perfectly and only takes a very small amount to cover the entire face.

Thayers Witch Hazel Toner

I was slow to hop on the bandwagon with this product, mostly because I didn’t know what a toner was or how to use it. I finally broke down and bought it and I have never turned back. I apply it all over my face (the rose petal scent makes you feel like you’re at a day spa) and it immediately releases the tension in my skin. It’s like when you water a plant for the first time in a long time and it just immediately soaks up all the water and looks a million times better. Picture that, but with your face…

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

I apply my moisturizer after I’ve let the toner sit and soak into my skin. I’m far past the point of buying a moisturizer just because someone famous uses it, it has a pretty bottle, it’s a name brand, etc. I’ve tried it all. This product (which I buy from target) has worked the absolute best as a moisturizer for me. It’s very thick, so I would definitely suggest starting off with only a bit and working more into the skin as needed.

MAC Strobe Cream

This isn’t as much a skin care product as it is a massive life hack. This gives you the ability to have that just came back from a ten day vacation in the Bahamas glow, without you actually having to go anywhere (except maybe a beauty supply store). I apply this before I put my foundation on, right on the cheekbones, as well as on the forehead, just above the eyebrows.

Mario Badescu Facial Spray

I have used multiple setting sprays and honestly have not been impressed with any of them, before trying this one. I spray this onto my face just before applying my foundation and then finish my entire look by setting it with another spray. I adore this because not only is it light on the skin, but the scent is so refreshing that it literally just makes me feel good to be putting the product on. It doesn’t feel heavy or overwhelming in any way.

Smith’s Rosebud Salve

THIS. This is the chapstick you’ve been looking for your entire life. Or, at least it was for me. I feel like we can probably tell that I’m partial to floral scented things at this point, but this rose scented lip salve is the ultimate amount of hydrating. It also appears glossy on the lips, which I love.

Anatomy of a Fragrance Lotion

Let me just say, I’ve never been a huge fan of lotion. I use it mostly out of necessity or in the summer more than anything. However, after I received this as gift from a friend, I decided I would try it out. I usually don’t like the feeling of lotion, how it sticks to your hands long after you’ve applied it, making them feel greasy or oily. This was the exact opposite. I didn’t even know it was possible to have a lotion without those qualities, but this proved all my doubts wrong. It also comes in candle form, available at Anthropology!

Bioelements Kerafole Face Mask


Last, but not least, is this Bioelements face mask. I have combination skin and this really helps keep it under control and prevent any breakouts from occurring. I actually found this when getting a facial done. The woman performing it recommended doing a seven day purge (aka doing the mask seven days in a row) and then following up by doing it once or twice a week afterwards. After doing the seven days in a row, I was completely clear of any problem areas and my skin felt fresher than it had in a long time. (Side note, I don’t struggle with acne or any major skin concerns, but this did help clear any small breakouts or more sensitive areas I was having issues with).

Those are all the tips I have for now! If you have any products you love/use daily/would highly recommend, pleaseeeee tell me !!! I’m always on the lookout for new skincare products and am always open to trying new things. Hope this helps!

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Blogging 101

Little hacks from someone who still has no idea what they’re doing.

I recently got the opportunity to attend a workshop in the Short North district of Columbus, Ohio. The workshop was led by Stephanie (@bohemiancrown) and Becca (@girlwithoutfilter), two blogging beauties in the Ohio area. Throughout our time there, we got the opportunity to ask some of the questions that we haven’t been able to figure out on our own (aka through google) and I wanted to share some tips I learned! Quick note, I know I have only the bare minimum figured out, but if you have any questions about how I do something or what else I learned from this event, PLEASE feel free to reach out to me!

Helpful Hints for the Amateur Blogger: 

  • Use both general & specific hashtags to promote your posts
  • Don’t use over thirty hashtags (Instagram will think you’re a spam account & hide your content!)
  • Watch out for banned hashtags! This will also bury your content. The list is pretty obscure and has things you would never expect, so do a quick google search of “2019 banned hashtags Instagram”.
  • Look at what is working for other accounts you follow. Watch what hashtags, promotions and other content works best for them and try it on your own account!
  • Use apps to help plan your posts (I use UNUM, which allows you to import images and see how the layout will look on your instagram page before actually posting it)
  • If going for a certain aesthetic, Stephanie & Becca both recommend using Lightroom (desktop version has better options but phone app works too). My favorites include: VSCO (A2 filter), Snapseed (brush tool to lighten exposure), and Facetune 2 (whitening tool to lighten the background of photos).
  • If you have a business account, take advantage of it! Look at the statistics given to see what time posts are most successful, which posts got the most attention, which posts didn’t take off as well as planned. Use the promotion option for posts you would like to get the most reach.
  • Stephanie’s Key to Success: Spend at least two hours a day interacting with people on social media. Starting conversations, replying to comments, answering direct messages, reaching out to other accounts. Interacting with other people in your network is essential to building your brand (whether personal or business). Take the time to build genuine connections with others.
  • Becca’s Key to Success: Networking! Joining Facebook groups relevant to your interests or areas of expertise, talking with other bloggers, going to local events to meet people with similar interests are all great ways to get more reach. Although her rule was similar to Stephanie’s, Becca also encouraged the “real” aspect, showing your true self to your followers and not being afraid to show up on your story dressed in a robe, no makeup on, hair still wrapped in a towel. People can relate to that!

If you’d like to keep reading, here are a couple more in-depth lessons to consider whilst on your blogging journey.

We’re All Learning

The biggest take away I had from this workshop is that we are all constantly learning. Both Becca and Stephanie reiterated how constantly the social media game is changing, especially since they had started out. There’s always a new rule to follow, there’s always a new algorithm to be aware of and you’re always going to be one step behind of someone else. At the end of the day, you’ll never be able to keep track of all of it. Don’t get caught up on the small stuff!

Ask Yourself Why You’re Doing This

When asked why you are doing what you’re doing (whether it be blogging, starting your own business, etc.) the answer should pop into your head immediately. You should be doing this because it’s something you’re so passionate about that you can’t help but want to share it with others. If the first thing that pops into your mind has anything to do with followers, endorsements, or money, you might want to reconsider. This should be something you love!

Make Connections

As we can see from both “keys to success”, building a community is essential. Don’t be afraid to talk to other people! Reach out to other accounts, bloggers, business owners, whoever it may be that is similar in interests. Start conversations, ask questions, build those relationships. It can be intimidating to reach out to people who seem to already have everything figured out. Remember, we all had to start somewhere. At the end of the day, we’re all here to support one another.

Authenticity

Always, always, always be yourself. It can be easy to get caught up in being what you think others want to see. Be nothing but yourself and show the real you. Don’t be afraid to post embarrassing photos, show your average daily routine, post ten pictures in a row on your story of your dog. People relate to this! If you’re true to yourself, your followers will be true to you as well.


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The Art of Self-Care

Sometimes, you just need to take a break. I know, easier said than done. Here are a few quick tricks to fit some time for self-care into a never-ending busy schedule. 

Take a Deep Breath (Or a Couple…)

This sounds too simple, right? If your day is jam packed with work, whenever you have a break in between meetings, classes, etc. , stop for one minute, close your eyes, and take three deep breaths. Listen to the sound of it and focus only on the air going in and out. If it helps, count each time you exhale a breath. If you need (or have more time for) more than three breaths, keep going! It sounds silly but it really does help.

Smile 

Ninety-nine percent of the time, if I’m smiling, I’m happy. It’s a natural reaction for your energy to change when you smile. Muscle memory associates the act of smiling with the emotion of happiness. It’s a natural trigger. With that, find a reason to smile at some point today. Look at a funny picture you took with a friend, a text that made you die of embarrassment originally but now makes you giggle when you talk about it. Speaking of, f you’re in an especially stressful situation, call someone and tell them about it. Every time I go through a particularly frustrating situation, I call my friends with the intent to rant about the situation until I feel I’ve made my point about how unfair my life is and beg the question of “why is the universe doing this to me?”. This usually ends in me laughing it off because talking about it makes me realize how insignificant these events really were. Sometimes you just need to hear it out loud to be able to put things in perspective.

Plan Ahead 

In one of my recent reads, I came across this genius idea of planning little surprises for yourself. I know that I always feel more motivated when I have something to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be a week-long excursion or a bank breaking appointment of some kind. It can be as little as scheduling a coffee date with friends at a café you’ve never been to before. This past Monday, I was in the middle of a crisis while looking at everything I had to do in the upcoming week. I stopped everything I was doing, google searched nearby spas, and booked facials for myself and my roommate. The facials were relatively inexpensive, and it was something we had been wanting to do for a really long time. It was completely worth it. It feels good to treat yourself occasionally! You deserve it!

Eat a Donut

…Or a baked good of any kind. Get on yelp and search “best bakery near me”. Click on the one that looks the most appetizing, has the cutest décor, or the highest rating (whatever floats your boat). Even with the splurge on calories, I can promise you that by the time you take that last bite, you’ll have a huge smile on your face. Baked goods are magical. 

Act of Kindness

I don’t know about you but doing things for others makes me genuinely happy in return. Go out of your way to do something kind for someone else. Hold open a door, offer a ride to your roommate, give someone a bigger tip than usual, pay for the person’s drink behind you. Again, it doesn’t have to be anything huge. If you want to take it a step further, go for it! It can never hurt to build up good karma! 

Hit the Breaks 

Put your phone down (unless, of course, you’re reading this article). Start small with intentionally putting away electronics for five minutes. Set a timer if you’d like. No, it doesn’t count if you do this while napping… Take a break from social media. Even if you don’t think you have a problem with it, try it and see how you feel. I deleted snapchat recently, planning on re-downloading it the next day. It’s been two weeks and I haven’t missed it one bit. Instead of taking on more stressors through social media, tackle some stressors you currently have in your real life with that spare five minutes. 

And if none of these suggestions help, look up pictures of tiny animals. Tiny animals are always a good idea. 

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