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THE BRAND THAT HELPED SAVE MY SKIN

My first run-in with the brand Origins was a spot treatment that I’d tried. I never had acne, but I do break out with some very stubborn & scattered problem spots at times and I’d tried almost every treatment on the market: from drugstore to drying lotion, from tea tree oil to skin-ruining 100% isopropyl alcohol. I bought the Origins Super Spot Remover at Ulta, tried it that night, and woke up to a clear face. Unlike most spot treatments that consist of mostly salicylic acid and some other chemicals, the Origins spot remover contains natural ingredients like red algae and saw palmetto to combat redness as well as oil and bacteria. There’s not a person that I’ve recommended this to that it hasn’t worked for–even my 13 year old, hormonal little sister! Priced at $16, it falls somewhere in the middle on the acne treatment price scale but is well worth it. If I could recommend any one product from this brand, this would be it! It’s a miracle worker in a tiny bottle.

After the spot treatment worked so well, I branched out and bought the Original Skin Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay. Again, the results with this mask were instant. Focusing on smoothing the skin, clearing it of dead and dry cells, and resurfacing glowing skin, this mask does it all! I was hesitant to try it since I’m allergic to rose, but the the Kaolin clay did not irritate my skin at all. This mask minimizes my pores, smoothes and evens out imperfections, and even reduces my redness. It does it all, and leaves my skin soft to the touch (but don’t touch your face too much it’s bad.) Anyway, I’d have to say it’s a very close second to the spot treatment in the race to be my favorite product!

With all my raving and posting and praising of the products I had tried, Origins reached out and offered me some that I hadn’t. These came from their Perfect World line, a line rich in antioxidants and suitable for all skin types to preserve youth and protect from sun rays and atmospheric, free radical damage. After trying the SPF 40 moisturizer and SPF 20 eye cream (both with white tea as important ingredients,) I decided that I was fully in love with this brand, its products, its mission, and its people. I’ve seen amazing, quick, and lasting differences in my skin since discovering this brand. It’s saved my skin and many of their products are now staples in keeping my skin healthy. Some other products not aforementioned that I’ve tried on my own and fell in love with are:

  • Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask: The name really says it all: it only takes 10 minutes to get your skin out of trouble. When you have a bad breakout or feel one coming on, this is the best mask to heal & prevent flare ups. Ingredients like zinc, sulfur, and camphor absorb oil, remove dirt, and refine skin’s texture to, as the name states, keep skin out of trouble.
  • Dr. Weil for Origins Mega-Bright Dark Spot Correcting Serum: This is probably one of the most important products in my routine. It heals dark spots–which I struggle with–quickly and more effective than any other product that I’ve tried. It’s pricey but beyond worth it; but don’t forget when using brightening products, you’re much more at risk to sun damage, so don’t forget SPF!
  • A Perfect World Antioxidant Cleanser: A gentle foaming cleanser that doesn’t make my dry skin dryer; it smells amazing and I feel that my skin really gets the deep clean it needs.

Origins, as well as aloe vera (don’t worry, that post is coming soon,) has changed my skin so much. Each product I’ve tried has been more than worth it, and everyone I’ve recommended this brand to have had the same, if not better, reactions to the products as I’ve had. Origins, thank you for being the brand you are, and thank you for saving my skin!

THE BENEFITS OF VITAMIN C: IN BOTH TOPICAL AND SUPPLEMENT FORMS

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a naturally occurring substance with antioxidant properties found in many foods, supplements, and skincare products; and it has many benefits. It may not cure the common cold as many believe, but it has many benefits for your skin and body; including wrinkle prevention, the fading of dark spots, healing of dry skin, and overall ‘glow’ of the face and neck. It specifically targets collagen production and cell regeneration.

There are two ways to reap the skin benefits of vitamin C: topically or internally (by supplement.) The most common topical application of vitamin C is in a concentrated serum form. This method is the quickest, if you want to see the difference very fast. Applied to the face as a concentrated serum, the immediate skin contact means the targeted area should see the benefits in as little as a week. Some popular and effective vitamin C serums are the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Serum ($80, 20% off here), Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum ($45), and Derma E Concentrated Vitamin C Serum ($19.99). Keep in mind, super concentrated serums such as these certainly AREN’T for everyone since they do not match the normal pH of skin, and though they provide the quickest results, if they don’t work for you or irritate your skin there are alternatives: such as the Bare Minerals Pure Brightening Serum Foundation SPF 20 ($29.50), SheaMoisture Weightless Shea Serum Foundation ($15.99), and TonyMoly Master Lab Vitamin C Brightening Sheet Mask Set (2 for $9).

If you (or your skin) still don’t want to go topical, foods rich in vitamin C complemented by vitamin C supplements will give you these results and more, but the results may show up slower. Ingested forms of vitamin C can prevent photo-damage and UV-induced skin damage, as well as the skin benefits of topical vitamin C, and benefits for the immune system. Foods high in vitamin C are oranges, red peppers, kale, and broccoli; and my favorite, tasty vitamin C supplements are the Nature Made Gummies.

Either way you choose to reap the benefits of vitamin C, your skin and body will thank you!

AGE-OLD QUESTION ‘HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO HAVE A LIT SUMMER WITH $4.65’ ANSWERED

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It’s always hard to find summer work, especially with extenuating circumstances. And asking for money to get some food while hanging out with friends or finding the funds to pay for popular amusement, put frankly, sucks. Here are some tips, based on the famous/infamous Tumblr post above, on how to have fun this summer on a budget.

  • Lakes: A cheaper, and usually closer option to the beach. Unless you live directly on the coast, getting to the ocean is probably at least an hour hike; which usually leads to an empty gas tank or outrageous beach parking ($). Lakes, especially for those in land-locked states, provide a beachy atmosphere while being more accessible and FREE. Grab some friends, a towel, and a picnic lunch and live it up on a lakeshore this summer!
  • Local Live Music: Many cities and towns put on festivals or concerts around holidays, sometimes even weekly! Usually these events have vendors and food trucks, like farmer’s markets, but admission is free! You may not be paying to see your favorite musician, but local artists can surprise you. Grab some friends and maybe just find your newest musical obsession.
  • Farmer’s Markets: While products here aren’t free, farmer’s market experiences are always enriching. Filled with local art and produce, fun ca be found walking around, taking pictures, admiring local art, and sampling local cuisine and produce. And if you do go to a farmer’s market with the intent of spending some $$$, most things are cheaper, and you leave with the satisfaction of shopping local and supporting local businesses instead of larger-scale capitalism.
  • State/National Parks: Most nature walks, hikes, and trails in the parks system are free. With these you get two for one: entertainment and your daily exercise, and the views, peace, and quiet are unparalleled. If you live in a state with freshwater springs and rivers, they are also beautiful alternatives to beaches, and admission ranges from $2-$6 for a day pass.

These are just a few of my favorite summer activities under $4.65. Comment your favorite things below, let me know if you’ve tried any of these, and let me know things you want to see next!

DRUGSTORE SKINCARE: PRODUCTS UNDER $10 NOT CLICKBAIT!!!!!!

Anyway, as pretty and fun as expensive skincare is, it’s possible to keep up an effective, healthy routine on a budget. I’ve acquired many higher end products from Glossier, or for PR, or just from times when I’ve had the extra money to invest in products, but some of the best products I use have comparable “dupes” or are drugstore products themselves. Here I’ll share some of my favorite drugstore products under $10 that I have tested or now use regularly in my routine, so that you can build your own on a budget!


CLEANSERS: Finding good, cheap cleansers is the easy part.


TONERS: Now this was the hard part.

  • I found one, good, versatile drugstore toner in my search: L’oreal Hydrafresh Toner ($6.29 for 8.5 fl oz.) Despite being the only great toner for my skin, it well rivals other very expensive toners on the market. It’s alcohol free, infused with Vitamin B-5 for hydration, and is an overall texture and brightness booster. Though I only found one toner that was well worth it, and effective for all skin types, I’m glad I found this one because it’s amazing!

MOISTURIZERS: A bit easier than toners, but not much.


MASKS: My personal favorite 🙂

  • No matter what, the Que Bella Beauty face masks will be my all-time favorite masks–and they’re all UNDER $3. The Purifying Tea Tree and Witch Hazel Mud Mask ($1.97) is my own little miracle worker and best-kept secret, that I’m now sharing with all of you. They come in a single-use pouch, but each package contains enough product for at least 5 uses (just don’t open the pouch fully, and store it in an airtight container like a Ziploc bag.) I find all mine at Target!

So that’s it for the strictly drugstore products under $10, but some other drugstore-priced products and brands to check out I’ll link here!

  • DECIEM–The Ordinary: Perfect for serums, chemical exfoliants, vitamins, and acids all under $10!
  • Mario Badescu: Most Mario products are $15 or under, and they have very good outline routines for each skin type and concern; and their physical exfoliants are amazing as well. The Enzyme Cleansing Gel, Aloe Vera Toner, Orange Cleansing Soap are some of my favorite Mario products, and the $8 trial size of the Enzyme Gel lasts a very long time!
  • Kiehls: Again, not a drugstore brand but some of their basics (Ultra Facial Cleanser, Ultra Facial Cream) are priced as such! ($10 and $16, respectively)

And don’t forget, if you really want high-end skincare without your debit card breaking itself in half, trial sizes (if used properly) can last a very long time and are usually priced reasonably for the amount you get!

MYTHBUSTER: HEALTHY SKIN AND CLEAR SKIN AREN’T SYNONYMOUS

I see the phrases “healthy skin” and “clear skin” thrown around, used synonymously–by beauty and skincare bloggers, by celebrities, by magazines and media, by other writers, and by young people as young as 9 years old. It’s become the basic belief among most people, at times even including myself, that skin must be clear to be healthy. Mythbusters 101: this is not the case.

Blemishes, acne, blackheads, rosacea, uneven texture and tone do not make your skin unhealthy. Acne is a condition of the skin, specifically inflammation of the pores. Blemishes and texture and darker spots are parts of our skin; they happen.

Typically these things are viewed in a very negative light, causing self esteem problems and often teasing or the idea that people with these conditions are less beautiful than people with clear (or airbrushed) skin. And this typically leads to people thinking that these conditions mean your skin is not healthy, and that skin must be clear, refined, free of scarring and poreless to be healthy. That’s the myth I’m busting here.

While in some cases, people with acne or other skin conditions may have unhealthy skin, it does not mean that their skin is unhealthy because of it. The bare minimum that skin needs to be healthy is to be cleansed twice a day, toned, and then moisturized. If you’re using the right products (drugstore or high-end) for your skin type and skin conditions, drinking water, and wearing sunscreen daily, then your skin is healthy. It does not have to be visibly clear to be clean, balanced, soft, and protective.

It took me awhile to realize all of this. I’ve spent years believing my skin was unhealthy just because it isn’t perfect; I’ve spent years chasing “perfect” skin. But it doesn’t exist! Healthy skin is much more important than clear skin, and though it’s going to take awhile for that fact to sink in, I know it’s true. For everyone struggling with any of these skin conditions and for anyone who thinks they’re unhealthy for it, you aren’t.

Chase healthy skin first.

**Special thank you to @fairyfreja on IG for the inspiration for this post. ♥

MY SKINCARE ROUTINE: HOW I SIMPLIFIED IT, AND WHY YOU SHOULD GET YOUR SKIN ANALYZED

 

Anyone who’s known me for more than 45 seconds knows that I love skincare. It’s become so therapeutic for me; I love keeping my skin healthy and testing and promoting new products. Recently I’ve learned. though, that simplicity can be best when it comes to skincare: all depending on skin type and skin condition (the current state of health of your skin.) The use of the wrong products can be detrimental for your skin–so my advice is to do lots of research. Ask a skincare representative at Ulta or Sephora (most of them really do know their stuff,) find out your skin type and condition, read the ingredients of products, and test things out until you find what you love–don’t always just trust celebrity hype or pretty packaging. All of this being said, I just got my skin analyzed and simplified my routine! I have dry skin in good condition, so these are products that are very versatile, but may not work for every skin type. So, without further ado (rambling,) here is my skincare routine! Italicized will be my all-time favorites!


MORNING


NIGHTTIME


EXTRAS

BOOK CLUB: JUNE

The two most dreaded words in high school have now become some of the most important to me. Breezes blowing, temperatures rising, and green tea in hand, reading over the summer is one of the most relaxing pastimes one can take up–no matter what your inner high school freshman is telling you. Here are my suggestions for the month of June–feel free to comment or contact me with your thoughts and input, or any suggestions for July:

  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Dystopian novel-turned-Hulu original, this classic focuses on a post-religious war America, called Gilead. Radical Christians, powered by the Lord and His word overthrow the government to create a new reality. A “matriarchal” reality with Wives, Commanders, and Handmaids; a world where women can no longer read and where no crime cannot be justified by a twist of the Word. Published in 1985, Atwood is ahead of her time in some of the stories she tells; while reading I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that someday this could be our world and our reality. Check it out, keep up with the show on Hulu, and let me know your thoughts!

  • The Complete Works of Sappho: A New Translation by Sappho. The poems of Sappho are written for lovers of poetry, ancient Greece, and women alike. Little is known about Sappho from research, but much can be told from her poetry. She wrote in a lyric style, primarily about love and women, and is praised within the LGBT community. No matter your gender or orientation, Sappho’s poetry is for lovers. Dripping of sweetness and lust and jealousy, as seen in this translation:

“Laughing love’s low laughter. Oh this, this only
Stirs the troubled heart in my breast to tremble!
For should I but see thee a little moment,
     Straight is my voice hushed;
Yea, my tongue is broken, and through and through me
’Neath the flesh impalpable fire runs tingling;
Nothing see mine eyes, and a noise of roaring
     Waves in my ears sounds;
Sweat runs down in rivers, a tremor seizes
All my limbs, and paler than grass in autumn,
Caught by pains of menacing death, I falter,
     Lost in the love trance.”


  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It may seem strange to recommend a book required in my Children’s Literature and Diversity class. It may seem strange to recommend a book targeted for an 11-year old audience. Skepticism and strangeness aside, this is one of the best books that I have ever read and is by far my favorite. Telling the story of a boy named Auggie, a boy with severe facial deformities and a deep love for Boba Fett. Wonder is a novel focusing on kindness, perspective, friendship, hardships, differences, and what the word ‘wonder’ really means. I encourage you all to check out the trailer for the upcoming movie, step out of your comfort zone, and really think about what ‘wonder’ means to you.

  • IT by Alexa Chung. For visual learners, fashion lovers, or those who just want to read two pages of praise about the Spice Girls, IT is the perfect book. Mostly pictures and fashion advice from acclaimed guru and model Alexa Chung, this book is perfect for the readers but non readers, or anyone who wants to learn how to perfect heels, a cutoff denim skirt, and a ripped band tee. Although the writing is sub-par, and many only own it for the famous light pink cover, this book includes some great film photography and tips on how to dress like a modern-classic woman.

 

WHAT DO WE DO?

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Our country is turning against each other. We’ve stopped making change. We’ve even backpedaled on some of that change we worked so, so hard to achieve. So it remains: what do we do?

  1. ORGANIZE. Pick a worthy cause or foundation you support–trust me, there are plenty. Organize your thoughts, messages, and how you want them conveyed. Put into motion a plan of action, whether it’s by yourself, with a foundation, or with a group. Be passionate, be safe. Be informed and organized.
  2. AGITATE. Don’t be afraid to make people uncomfortable. Agitation and being challenged to think and work outside of a comfort zone, outside of what is expected, is what makes change happen. If people are shaken up, agitated, or downright annoyed enough, they think harder. They change their minds.
  3. EDUCATE. Educate people. Educate them on the facts they don’t know, the side they aren’t seeing. Educate them with stories and experiences and feelings–because they can stick harder than facts. DON’T complete steps 1 and 2 for a cause you are not educated on. If you aren’t properly educated on what you claim to support, you can spread misinformation and come across as being weaker, having a weaker argument; being a follower, not an organizer. Out of all three steps, arguably educating–yourself and educating others–is the most important.

    Some causes that I support, to get you started: ACLU, BLM, Make A Wish, The Trevor Project, The Audre Lorde Project, Planned Parenthood, She Should Run. Don’t forget: contact your senators about health care!


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LOSING YOUR IDENTITY, AND HOW TO COPE

“Find a thing that you love, find a thing you understand.”


When people ask me who I am, and what I love, the first and most important thing that comes to mind is dance. I’ve danced, off and on, for the past 17 years of my life. A few vital years were missed due to injury, surgery, and physical trauma, but I have channeled those experiences into passion and hard work to become the dancer I always dreamt that I’d be. When I found Extreme Dance Company, I found a home and a family of individuals who supported me and helped me get better. This past semester, I began to notice what I thought was my old knee injury rearing its head again. I danced through it, like I always have. After a scary fall and almost a week of not being able to bear weight on my leg completely, I danced my last show for Extreme, and possibly my last show ever. Even after rest and no dance, I realized I was getting worse and not better; and this week I received some very damning MRI results and a cold, hard order: no dancing. It’s an order I’d heard before, but never with this much riding on it, never with a condition so serious. I thought that might be the end for me, as a dancer. I felt like I’d lost a part of my identity that I can’t replace. I still feel very lost, and scared in general, as everything is up in the air and doctors still aren’t sure about, well, anything. Though I feel like I can’t replace that part of me, what I’m learning while I’m coping is that I don’t have to. Dance will always be a part of me, just maybe not always in the same way. As I (metaphorically) dance through this medical journey of tests and diagnoses, I’m hopeful and stubborn and prideful and I hope to take the stage again one day. Though I will never be able to dance as frequently or as hard as in the past, I know that I have options. And I know that dance, and the people it’s given me and the lessons that I’ve learned will never be lost.

GLOSSIER: UNCENSORED

 

By now, many have heard about or seen advertisements for the new makeup and skincare brand GlossierA line of “skincare as makeup,” coveted for its signature, minimalist, light pink packaging has taken beauty bloggers, skincare enthusiasts, and the rest of the internet by storm. Many think it’s a hoax or a craze, or that you’re paying for packaging over product. I agree and I disagree. While I recognize that the company has great room for improvement and not all of the products are perfect, many of them are very good quality and have improved the overall health and beauty regimens of not only myself, but many of my friends and colleagues as well. Some of these products include, but are not limited to: boy brow, priming moisturizer: rich, and balm dotcom. In January I was lucky enough to be contacted by Glossier and taken on as a representative to promote, share, and sell Glossier products to my social media communities through this link. Though I’m now a rep, I still recognize that these products are not for every skin type and many of their products could be improved, quality and ingredient wise. Through the good rumors and the bad, the only way to truly find out what works for you is to find out your skin type, pinpoint the issues you’d like to target and the assets you’d like to improve, do independent research, and try the products you’re curious about.