A Thank You to my Grandma

I’ve grown up always being very close to my grandma Jane, she has always been to all of sporting and school activities, and is the most selfless and strong woman I know. So I wanted to write a little bit about her and, not only what she has done for me, but so many other people.

My Grandma grew up on a farm in a small town called Jesup, Iowa. Her father passed away when she was just for due to an accident while he was serving as a volunteer firefighter, and her mother passed away when she was not much older, at 14, from cancer. Her and her three brothers were raised by her oldest brother. She never really had much support though, because her brother was always working to feed the family. All four of her brothers had passed away in 40’s also from cancer, so my grandma has experience a lot of death in her life. When my grandma had kids of her own she made a pact to herself to never miss an event if she could help it, because she never had parents that could attend. Even now at 70 years old she makes it to all of my events, my sister’s events, and all of my cousins. She passed that down to my mom as well, and I can always count on them both to be there.

Last year, by grandma was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and even through her chemo treatments she made she sure to take care of everyone else first. My cousin is on the waiting list for a kidney transplant and my grandma would sit with him through dialysis, even though she herself was struggling. When I was in middle-school I used to miss the bus to school like 3 days a week and my grandma would make the drive from her house to mine whenever I called to drive me to school. Now, she can’t drive because the chemo caused severe neuropathy  in  her feet (she still walks however and refuses to use her cane) So now once in a while I will drive her around and run errands and we get lunch and talk. She tells me about how she was involved in the women’s movement in the late 60’s, which I find pretty cool.

She had done so much for me over my entire life, and has really inspired me to be a better person, and she deserves the recognition.

Experiences from a Daycare

Last summer I got a job at a daycare. Honestly, going into it I didn’t know what to expect. I knew that kids were loud and sometimes gross, but I have loved their sometimes hard to understand antics for as long as I can remember, so I figured the job would be a good fit. I walked in on my first day to 25 preschoolers staring at me expectantly. I didn’t have much training, actually I had no training. My boss said “this is the kind of job you are just thrown into.” Obviously, it worked out okay because, now even a year later i still work there.

I love my job and what every day has to bring, but sometimes there are moments that you just can’t forget, especially when working with kids. They say and do some pretty absurd things sometimes so I decided to share my experiences working at a daycare. I won’t be using the children’s real names for confidentially reasons.

A group of preschoolers were playing in what is known as “home-living” basically you have a mini kitchen set, some baby dolls, and a table. I overheard a little boy, let’s call him Ben, arguing with the rest of the group about how he wanted to be the mom. The rest of the kids said that of course he couldn’t be the mom because he was a boy, now knowing me, I like to teach the kids that they can be anything they want, so I went over to them and said that he could be the mom if he wants. I guess he really took that literally because when a bigger man came into the room , to pick up his child, Ben asked the father if he was pregnant “because boys can be moms too.” I guess I learned that day to be more careful of how I word things because young kids take everything literally.

Another experience I had was with discipline. I’m one of the more lenient of the staff there. I would think to think that I’m pretty patient and don’t get mad easily, so I guess it came as a surprise the first time I actually got upset with a child. The preschoolers were outside playing and there was a group of them suspiciously playing with a ball over by the fence. The kids know that they aren’t supposed to have the balls by the fence for the reason that it’s easy to get them thrown over, and it’s irritating to have to go and get them every five minutes. So, I watched for about a minute and one child threw the ball over the fence and into the construction area on the other side. I watched her do it, and all the other kids laughed. I went over to the gate picked up the ball from the mud and put it inside. I told the child that threw the ball that they were done playing with the balls fro the rest of the day. This made the child extremely angry apparently because she started screaming that she never gets to play with the balls (hmm I wonder why) I gave her the option to either go find something else to do or go to the wall (the wall is kind of like a time one spot when the kids are either misbehaving or need some time to cool off) and this must of made her so angry that she decided to take off her shoe and throw it at me. By this point she had made a big commotion, so the other staff members were looking. Needless to say this child got sent to the principals office.

 

Contouring and Highlighting

Contouring has been a makeup artists secret for ages, but it is now one of the biggest makeup crazes. Everyone from beauty gurus to everyday people are attempting it, but what actually is contouring? From an artists perspective all contouring really is, is a form of shading, or adding depth. This is why you contour areas of your face that you want to be more concave, like the hollows of you cheeks. Adding these deeper shadows can change the curvature of the face, add dimension, or even change a face shape completely. Highlighting on the other hand is the opposite of contouring. You add a lighter shade to emphasize the parts of the face that the sun light would be hitting most directly, thus making them stand out.

 

Summer Self-Care

The weather is getting warmer and the sun is getting brighter (aka I am getting sweatier and my pale skin is getting redder.) It’s nearing the end of May which means summer is on it’s way, and I couldn’t be happier. With the changing weather and the dangerous UV rays there are a few things you can do to take care of yourself this summer.

Sunscreen

This is probably the most important thing you can do to protect our skin from dreaded sunburns, peeling, and the possibility of skin cancer down the road. The threat may not seem relevant in the moment, but every time your skin burns and peels, it’s damaging the DNA, which highly increases your chances of skin cancer. I work at a daycare during the summer, so I spend the majority of my days either on the playground or at the pool. When we are lathering the kids in sunscreen I make sure to apply it to myself as well, even though I won’t get as good of a tan, I won’t be getting burnt, which is a common occurrence considering the fact that I am extremely pale.

Sunglasses

Just like your skin, your eyes need protection from the harmful UV rays. Investing in a pair of good sunglasses are worth it. Not only will they protect your vision, they will prevent the need for excessive squinting on delay the onset of early crows feet.

Haircut

The summer usually means humidity. (Especially for me here in the Midwest) and humidity means frizzy uncontrollable hair. Getting your ends trim can be a quick fix to control fly aways, and make hair easier to manage in the summer heat.

Deep Conditioner

This one is better for the end of the summer when hair is need of a drink. Summer can be a bad time for damage from the sun bleaching it to chlorine or who know what else. Using a hair mask or deep conditioner will repair damaged hair from the summer and control unwanted frizziness

 

 

Success is Subjective

In elementary and even beyond kids are asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Most kids give the generic answers of doctors or lawyers or chefs. When I was younger I had this vision of my future self. In my head I always grew up to someone important. I had a good job with a lot of money and a perfect family. I had moved out of my hometown to reside in a big city with my two dogs. I was always stuck on the idea that in order to be important, I had to do something important, and it was easy to think that. I was a good student who was told by family, my teachers, and friends that I had a lot of potential. Even my naive child self never pictured a future where I was just like everyone else, in my head I was going to be better. I know that sounds completely narcissistic, but I believed that to be a successful I had to be the best.

Obviously I don’t believe that anymore, and as I’ve gotten older I realized that success is defined differently by everyone. To some people being successful means having a job making a lot of money, but to others it means having a job that they love. The two may look at each other and think the other isn’t successful, but to themselves they are. I used to define my personal success as something my peers could be proud of me for. It had to be a tangible thing like good grades or getting awards, or doing something impressive that would get attention. If I wasn’t being the best or getting attention, than to me I wasn’t successful. Now I’ve learned that defining my self-worth based on other opinions of me was incredibly dangerous, and resulted in a deep rooted fear of failure.

Most of my time in high school I struggled with depression and anxiety, but my junior year things really started to take a turn for the worse. I was forced to reevaluate my definition of my success, because there were (and still are) days that even getting out of bed is draining. And let me tell you there is no achievement award for getting out of bed. To others it may look like I’m not trying hard enough, and am maybe not successful, but on those bad days I try to give myself an award for getting out of bed, or eating dinner, or cleaning my room. It seems sad that such trivial, everyday tasks could be that hard, but sometimes they are. I need to celebrate every goal that I reach no matter how small it seems, because if I don’t then I’ll never be able to reach my bigger goals.

I no longer believe that I have to do important things to be important. There is success in being happy and healthy, and living a genuine life the way you want to. I don’t think I was successful even though maybe I got good grades, because I was living for other people’s expectations of me, and not for my self. I’ve realized that every little victory should be celebrated, and that one person’s victory may not be another’s.

 

 

 

Multimasking

We’ve all seen the fleeting Instagram trends that all the “beauty gurus” swear by. From clown contouring to glitter eyebrows to bubble nails, these trends never last for very long, but for a good few week they are all you will ever see. A new I have been seeing lately is the the practice of multimasking. Similar to getting a professional facial, people are using a combination of masks to create a customized skin care remedy. Always getting breakouts around your nose? Try clay or charcoal in that area. Have dry patches on your cheeks? Get a moisture specific cream and apply to that area. What about noticeable eye bags after a long night? You can an eye-specific sheet mask. Combining more than one mask makes it easy to treat area specific problems, and to give yourself an amazing at home facial.

 Normal Skin 

Type of mask: Brightening- look for clay based masks for a tightening effect or for masks with exfoliating acids and brightening vitamins for anti-aging.

Where to put it: cheeks or chin

Dry Patches

Type of mask: Oil-based moisturizing cream for when your skin is thirsty. It will hydrate skin without clogging pores.

Where to put it: cheeks or forehead

Acne-pro
ne Areas

Type of mask: detoxifying, either charcoal or salicylic acid. It will clean and remove dirt from pores.

Where to put it: Forehead, nose, chin

Sensitive Spots

Type of mask: Soothing sheet mask will help to eliminate dark circles and puffiness under the eyes. For extra cooling store the patches in the fridge.

Where to put it: under the eyes.

Putting in Time for Yourself

On a day to day basis, it’s easy to get caught up in the responsibilities of life, and forget to put time in for yourself. I know I spend a lot of time worrying about what I can be doing next, there has to be something more, sometime else to check of the list of completed tasks. At times it can be overwhelming, and lead to unnecessary added stress in your life. I know for me, I get so caught up in things that it builds up to the point I forget to take care of myself first. Recently, I’ve really been conscience of building in a little extra time for myself and doing things that are for me. And for me, only. I’ve found that it serves almost as a reality check and helps out life into perspective. Not only that, but it keeps me just generally happier and in a better mood.

The first thing, and probably the most important, to staying healthy and happy is getting the proper amount of sleep. I used to go to bed sometimes at 4 am and other times at 4 pm. I found that I was tired and groggy the majority of the time. Now I go to bed at the same time every night, and I feel more alert during the day.

Another thing I started doing for myself is taking baths when I’m stressed. It gives me time to just be alone and relax without having to worry about anything else. I will also put on a face mask once or twice a week, and just the act of pampering myself makes me feel better. If bubble baths and face masks aren’t your thing, find something you do love, and do it on a regular basis.

The final thing I do, is to wear makeup and clothes that make me happy. A lot of people say that girls who wear makeup aren’t confident or are insecure, but for me, the opposite is true. Just spending a little extra time on myself in the morning makes me more confident throughout the whole day. As does wearing clothes that I like. If I’m in sweatpants, I tend to feel more tired than I do if I dress up.

The Time I Got Stuck in a Pillowcase

I’ve always been someone to do things purely out of curiosity. Any “what if I…” idea I usually followed through with, leading to not so desirable consequences. Just last week, I was at a Japanese restaurant with some friends, and one of them said he didn’t think I would drink straight soy sauce. Of course I did it to prove him wrong, and because naturally I was curious what it was like to drink straight soy sauce. Let’s just say it isn’t pleasant. The outcome was no different when I wondered how much of myself I could fit into a pillowcase.

I was home alone one evening when I got myself into this situation. You’re probably wondering “what was a child doing home alone?” I’m not offended by this assumption, because it is reasonable to think that only a child would think to get inside of a pillowcase. Sadly though, you are wrong. I was sixteen, nearing seventeen, when this occurred. I was alone and bored in my room when I thought to myself “hey, I bet I can get at least three fourths of my body into this pillowcase.” That thought right there was the first mistake in a series of mistakes to come in the hour and a half to follow.

I sat on my bed and put my legs feet first into the pillowcase. No problem at this point. Now, I was getting confident that I could fit more of myself into the pillowcase, and is also when I made mistake number two. I bent my knees into an L position, and somehow managed to twist around so that my feet were on the bottom of the pillowcase and my knees were squished against the top, still bent.

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Image not to scale

I didn’t realize I was stuck until I tried to move. It was like a Chinese finger trap, or quick sand, the more I struggled to get free, the tighter the pillowcase got around my knees. I wasn’t too worried though, because I tried to convince myself I was just being dramatic, and that there was no way I was actually stuck. But, I sat pleading with the pillowcase for about thirty minutes, when I decided my efforts were futile. I had no other option but to try and make my way to the kitchen to grab some scissors, and cut this thing off of me. This was mistake number three. I rolled off of my bed, onto the floor with only minor injuries. I then proceeded to roll into the kitchen, and that’s when I realized the real trouble I was in. I looked up at the drawer containing the scissors, and knew there was no way I was going to be able to reach them.

That didn’t stop me from trying though. I tried hoisting myself with my arms, but I wasn’t strong enough. I then tried getting into a position where I could maybe jump up.
Again, I failed. So what did I do? I sat waiting for someone to come home and rescue me from my cotton prison. When my mom finally came home, she was able to get me the scissors, and I cut myself free. Although I made it out of the pillowcase in tact, my dignity was not so lucky.

 

 

GLAMGLOW SUPERMUD Review

I went into Sephora around Christmas time to pick up a face mask, because my was breaking out quite badly. I asked the associate what she recommended, and she gave me a sample of the GLAMGLOW SUPERMUD Clearing Treatment, to try out before I bought the whole thing because it is quite pricey ($69 for 1.2 oz). After I used all of my sample I did end up purchasing the full 1.2 oz, because by the small sample amount I was given, I thought that I liked it a lot.

My first thoughts when using the sample was that the mask was amazing, and exceeded my exceptions quite a bit. I’m not going to lie the name of the product is a little but gimmicky, and I probably would have never purchased it on my own. I just assumed that because of the price and the way the product is marketed that it would be a rip off.  Using it the first week I was pleasantly surprised. The product did mostly what the associate at Sephora told me it was supposed to do, which is deeply cleanse and soften the skin, while drawing out dirt. After my first use my skin did feel very clean and noticeably softer. On thing that I was a bit worried about was that the mask was going to dry out my skin, because I tend to have very sensitive skin and a lot of different products can irritate it. In the past different skin cleanses have turned my skin bright red, and created dry patches that hurt a lot, but the GLAMGLOW mask did no such thing. There was no irritation or redness what-so-ever, and my skin felt clean and soft.

That however, was my experience with the sample. Like I said I did end up buying the full product, and I used it about once a week. One thing that I love about this mask is that a little really does go along way, and the mask has lasted me several months. I still use it about once a week, but I have less success than previously with the sample. After a few weeks the product has started to turn my face red, and leaves a burning sensation when I rinse it off. It is supposed to tingle a little bit while on the skin, but I have found that it has started to irritate my face more than I would like. Although when I rinse the mask off my face feeling very clean, it has become a bit dried out, and it has not cleared my face like it claims to. If anything, my face breaks out more the next day.

Now, my face isn’t horribly dry or broke out or anything, and I still continue to use this mask, mostly because it is a lot of fun. I most likely will not purchase it again though, because it was expensive and I haven’t really noticed any of the benefits, other than my skin feeling clean. I do love face masks though, and I really enjoy putting the extra time into myself, but I could find cheaper options that work better for this purpose.

Is Expensive Better?

Today, certain makeup brands act as a symbol of status. You hear all of  the beauty bloggers and vloggers rave about their huge makeup collections of only the most prestige brands. Wandering the aisles of Sephora, you probably wish that you could afford the same products these internet personalities have and wonder if they are really worth it. Is it really necessary to drop $50 on lipstick? Or is there an option that works just as well for a fraction of the cost?  I know personally, I have bought luxury makeup only for the sake to say that I own it, of course I also thought it would be better than anything I could buy at the drug store, but it turned out that I didn’t love it nearly was much as I thought I would for the price. On the other end, I have also bought makeup from the drug store, and loved it more than anything else I have tried.

When deciding if you should splurge and go for the high end products, I think it’s important to consider what type of product you are buying. For example, I have used cheap mascaras that are better than any expensive one that I own, but when it comes to foundation I find that for me, cheaper ones tend to be a bit more cakey and don’t apply quite as nicely. For example, I have used the Mabelline the Rocket mascara for more than a couple of years now, and I can say that I still love it (although not as much as the Buxom mascara but I have already posted about that.) The Rocket was only about $6 and continues to be one of my favorites. I have also tried a Tarte mascara that was well reviewed by many in the online makeup community, and I did not like it at all. I felt like it made my lashes clumpy and almost sticky (I’ve also wrote about this in a previous post).

Another area I think it is better to spend the extra money is when buying makeup tools, such as brushes and other applicators. I have found that many cheap eye shadow brushes tend to create a lot of fallout and leave little product on your actual lid. Which definitely isn’t worth it when you spend a lot of money on eye shadow (which isn’t always worth it either). However, higher end brushes can be more than a lot people are willing to spend, and there are many mid-range options that work just as well. I didn’t have to spend a lot on my Morphe brushes, and I absolutely love them.

Like I said earlier, more expensive eye shadow isn’t always the best place to spend your money, but I know for me, at least for a long time, it is where I spent my money. I have all of the Urban Decay Naked palettes and honestly they are not as great as they are made out to be by a lot of people. Although they are highly pigmented, which can be a problem for some less expensive brands, I find it hard to blend them properly without them getting muddy. I have other cheaper, drug store palettes and eye shadows that I have no such problems with, and would probably buy again, over the Naked palettes.