Finding Creativity

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Creativity comes in waves for me. As soon as I manage to grab hold of it, it somehow slips right out of my fingertips. Lacking creativity and going through “writers block” is very difficult for me because I feel that I am at my best when I am being creative and when I am inspired.

So how does one go about finding creativity? Well, I’ve found that there are little things that I can do to help keep me inspired. The first of which is having a clean, organized desk. There’s something about neatness that lets my imagination run wild, and messy desks are the bane of my existence.

Next, brainstorm. Doodle. Make lists. It’s helpful to give your mind a little push to get you started. You don’t have to spill the utmost brilliant ideas onto paper, but start with something small. Perhaps something that you’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately, something in your room that catches your eye, or even a picture that you saw as you scrolled through your social media outlets.

I suppose the last one depends on if you like tea or not, but a cup of tea always helps me to center myself and sort through the jumbled ideas in my head!

What are some ways that you find creativity and inspiration? Let me know in the comments below!

Make It Happen

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HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!

(Yet another reason March is the best month of them all.) (The other reason being my birthday.)

To celebrate this wonderful day I’ve decided to share with you some of the kick-ass women that have helped shape my life in huge ways.

Malala Yousafzai and her inspiring strength and passion for what she believes in. She encourages me to stand up for what’s right and to keep fueling my desire for learning.

Simone de Beauvoir, a philosopher and feminist who really made me think, who stretched my mind in ways I did not think it could be stretched.

Kimberle Crenshaw for introducing me to intersectionality, which is an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT aspect of feminism as a whole.

Sylvia Plath, who taught me that it’s okay to feel and that my feelings are valid. The Bell Jar opened my mind to thoughts and situations that are very rarely discussed, let alone written about.

My professors that I’ve had during my time here at UWS. Each one of them inspire me to become a better person and challenge me in the classroom and therefore out in the “real world” as well. Because of them, I look forward to going to class because I know I’ll leave as an even better version of myself.

My mom because she’s one heck of a mom and role-model.

And of course, all my amazing, intelligent, ambitious, and kind friends without whom I would certainly not be the person I am today.

So thank you to all the women I’ve mentioned, and of course those whom I have not. I am so proud to be a woman among all these beautiful souls.

My Favorite Cruelty Free Products

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Recently I wrote a post about animal testing and cruelty free products (which you should totally check out if you haven’t already!!!) and today I decided to show you all some of my absolute favorite cruelty free products. None of these are makeup products, but I plan on doing a post about that in the near future!

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Prior to December I would wash my hair every day. Every. Single. Day. At the time I wasn’t aware of how bad that is for your hair, but over the past three month I’ve trained my hair not to need to be washed everyday! I usually shampoo about once a week, so on my off days I use dry shampoo. I’ve never been a fan of dry shampoo before; it always made me feel dandruffy and messy, but I was convinced to try out the Blow Pro Faux Dry  ($20). Long story short-I LOVE IT! It’s a powder substance, much like baby powder and all you do is shake it and then squeeze the bottle directly onto your hair and Voila! No more greasy hair!

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I started using the Yes To Tomatoes face wash ($9.99) and moisturizer ($11.19) only about a week ago, but I can already see major improvements. Not only does it clear up acne really well, but it also helps to get rid of those pesky, blotchy red spots. I use these every morning and night, and I wake up every morning with bright, glowing skin! One of the cool things about the Yes To brand is that they have different lines of products for a variety of skin types: normal/dry, sensitive, oily/acne prone, fine lines/wrinkles and uneven skin tones. And each of them are accompanied with different fruit or veggie based products!

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I’ll be honest with you, natural deodorants are not fun. I’ve tried three different natural deodorant sticks and I’ve been extremely unhappy with each of them-I stunk. It got to the point that I was so fed up with them and myself that I took to google to see if anyone had any advice on this particular subject. Thankfully I found a blog post about it and a lot of the people in the comments were suggesting SoapWalla. I found the SoapWalla shop on Etsy and decided to try out their deodorant cream ($14.99). It has completely changed my life for the better. It’s made of vegetable powders, clays and essential oils so it hasn’t got the most appealing scent, but it is incredibly effective. I went like, three days without showering and I still smelt amazing. Okay, maybe “amazing” is a bit over the top, but I definitely wasn’t stinky anymore!

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I’ve been using the Organix brand of shampoo and conditioner for quite some time now, and it easily trumps any other shampoo/conditioner I’ve used before. My favorite is the Argan Oil ($7.99) one, but there is a HUGE selection of different scents that suit different types of hair. This shampoo has never left my hair feeling greasy or straw-like or anything of the sort. Plus it smells delicious!

 Hopefully this is helpful for those of you who are in the process of adopting a cruelty free life! Have a good weekend!

Negativity? No Thanks!

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I’m not sure if it’s something that comes naturally with getting older, but I’ve found that I no longer give a damn about what everyone else thinks of me. When I was younger, in high school especially, I was always so paranoid that people were talking about me when I walked by, or that the giggles I heard behind me were due to the fact that something was terribly wrong with my outfit.

It caused me so much stress and uneasiness because everywhere I went I was wondering what was wrong with me, mentally going through all the ways to not draw attention to myself.

I don’t know if you realize this but that’s kind of a really terrible way to live life.

Perhaps it was college, or maturity, or just some weird happenstance, but eventually that just stopped. Don’t get me wrong, I care a lot about what my friends and family think, but outside of them…nope. From time to time I still get a sense that people are talking about me (it’s a bit obvious when they get into a group and they all take turns looking at you and then proceed to talk in hushed voices) but all I can do is shrug. Because the fact of the matter is that 99.9% of the time those people don’t know me, they’re just making assumptions about me based off of shallow things. All that really matters to me is that I’m happy with myself.

And you know what? I am.

So if you’re battling the same fear that I was, I urge you to take into consideration how little those people know of you. Instead, think of the people close to you who know loads about you and love you unconditionally. Do not base your worth on what some stranger says, it’s simply a waste of time.

You do you, friend. You do you.

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Introversion

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No, I’m not antisocial. No, I’m not a loner. No, I don’t hate fun.

I’m just introverted.

What does that mean exactly? Well, introversion is a personality trait  that consists of things such as being quiet (for the most part), observing, thoughtful-but most of all, introverts tend to get their energy from being alone.

I like to be on my own. In fact, I love it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy spending time with others. Usually whenever I’m socializing I hit this wall where all of a sudden I have no more energy to contribute to the occasion. It’s like pulling out the white flag and waving it around while whispering “Okay, I’m done. I’d like to be alone now. Thank you.”

While extroverts get most of their energy from being around people and being social, introverts are quiet opposite. Give me a day (or three) to recuperate after an exhausting social event and I’ll be ready to go again!

Here’s a handy dandy little guide about introversion:

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Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert or even an ambivert, you’re awesome. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

Thanks for reading!

What I Love About Myself

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Believe it or not, I had a great Valentine’s Day. And I’m single.

In the past I’ve always dreaded Valentine’s Day (partly because the mix of red and pink makes me nauseous) but this year I was content. More than content, really. I was happy.

Spending the weekend with my best friend, Reena, and eating junk food upon junk food and watching rom-coms was certainly helpful in having a good Valentine’s experience, but the fact that I’m currently the happiest I’ve ever been with myself was icing on the cake.

Contrary to popular belief, you can celebrate Valentine’s Day even if you’re single. It can be a day full of lovin’ yourself, and does it get any better than that?

So in honor of Valentine’s Day I’ve decided to make this post about self-love. Here are 10 things that I love about myself.

1. I love my independence and the fact that I can enjoy my own presence when I’m on my own.

2. I really love my eyes.

3. The fact that I’m passionate about certain issues.

4. How confident I’ve become with my body over the years- I’ve gone from cringing whenever I looked in the mirror to actually checking myself out sometimes! Ha!

5. I’m trustworthy; I don’t tell people other peoples business. Gossiping is boring to me.

6. The fact that I’ve unlearned so much internalized misogyny and problematic thoughts.

7. My desire to constantly learn more and become a better, stronger person.

8. My sense of humor.

9. My love for dogs (which probably trumps my love for humans, if I’m being honest.)

10. I’ve got a kick-ass smile.

A few years ago I probably wouldn’t have even been able to come up with 5 things that I love about myself. Progress is a beautiful thing.

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Now it’s your turn; what are some things that you love about yourself?

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CRUELTY FREE

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You know what I love? Animals. You know what I don’t love? Animal testing.

Like, really. Animal testing is one of the most aggravating things to me. It also makes me cry. A lot. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve cried while watching videos of animals that had been tested on. My soft heart simply cannot take it.

Over the last year and a half I became extremely conscious of animal testing and in doing so I began to realize how many of the products I had been using were tested on animals. Umm…pretty much every single product I owned.

So with the new knowledge I had of animal testing and doing research onto alternative methods of testing that DON’T involve torturing animals, I adopted a Cruelty-Free life. I will admit that it wasn’t easy; it took quite a while to weed out all of those tainted brands that I had been using for so long (damn you drugstore makeup) but now I am cruelty-free and oh so happy about it!

Here are some links that can describe alternative ways to test much better than I could, so please check them out!

http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/alternatives-animal-testing/

http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/cosmetic_testing/facts/alternatives_animal_tests.html

One of my favorite companies is called Lush, and the reason I love Lush so much (besides the fact that all their products makes me feel like a soft, delicious-smelling baby, minus the drooling and lack of teeth) is the fact that they work to fight animal testing. And guess what? Their products work AND they’re very successful! Huh, it’s almost as if animal testing isn’t necessary to maintain a good business….weird…

http://www.lushusa.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Lush-Site/en_US/AboutUs-OurStoryShow?cid=about-animal-introduction

Please check them out and while you’re at it, buy yourself a bath bomb. You deserve it friend.

So how exactly does one go about adopting a cruelty free life? It’s actually quite simple. All you have to do is look for either of these two symbols on any given product:

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If you don’t see these anywhere on the product, try looking to see if there is anything that says “This product was not tested on animals.” Sometimes it’s tricky to find it next to all the writing, but it’s worth the search.

Another method you can use to see if something is cruelty free is to use this neat little shopping guide. Just type in the brand you’re considering and it will let you know if it’s cruelty free or not!

http://www.leapingbunny.org/shopping.php

And if you’re really devoted to finding good products, I recommend the Beagle Freedom Project’s “CRUELTY CUTTER” app for your smartphone.

I have so much more to say about this topic but I’ll leave that for another day. In the meantime, here’s a video of some beautiful babes feeling grass under their paws for the first time since they were rescued from a laboratory.

A Weekend In Winona

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This past weekend I had the opportunity to take a trip down to Winona with my best friend Reena to surprise our other best friend, Tricia. We arrived in Winona around 5:00 Friday night and met up with a few of Tricia’s friends and needless to say she was quite surprised when she found us sitting on a couch in her friend Bekah’s house.

It was a really great weekend spent meeting many of Tricia’s friends, eating yummy food, exploring Winona and above all, still somehow finding a way to waste hours upon hours doing absolutely nothing. It’s what we do best.

Before we left yesterday, however, Tricia took Reena and I to this cute little cafe called Blooming Grounds. We drank hot cocoa and chai’s and simply sat and enjoyed each other’s company.

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This weekend reminded me how wonderful these two girls are and how lucky I am to be able to call them my best friends. I always feel so comfortable with these two, and they are so supportive of me and everything I do. (They even listen to my feminist and animal right’s rants :) )

Favorite TV Shows on Netflix

I think this post is long overdue, but better late than never! I’ve watched my fair share of TV shows on Netflix and I’ve come up with a list of my Top 10 (even though I still have another 20 on my To-Watch list).

1. Revenge

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If it weren’t for my friend Autumn, I probably would have never started watching Revenge. But she got me hooked from episode one and the rest is history. Revenge is an ABC drama but the lead character is a kick-ass woman and her “sidekick” is one of my favorite characters of any TV show. The cliffhangers at the end of each episode will be the cause of your binge watching an entire season in one day.  You’re welcome.

2. Freaks and Geeks

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Unfortunately there’s only 1 season of this show, but it is worth the watch anyways! It’s from 1999 but it is so great. It’s funny and lighthearted and Sam (aka John Francis Daley) is so relatable in this show.

3. Teen Wolf

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I KNOW I’M SUCH A DORK FOR THIS. But I think this show is absolute gold. I mean who doesn’t like teen angst and werewolves and Dylan O’Brien?

4. Gossip Girl

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If you wanna talk about angst, this is the show for it. I’m pretty sure I watched the entire 6 seasons in the span of a few weeks so it all kind of jumbles together in my brain but I can assure you that it is full of drama and eye rolling moments and millions of reasons to dislike each and every character, but at the end it all comes together. Trust me.

5. New Girl

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I’m in love with Zooey Deschanel so it’s not a surprise that this show is so dear to my heart. I have never laughed so hard and so many times during a TV show like I do whenever I watch New Girl. It’s truly one of the most genuinely funny shows out there, in my opinion.

6. Orange is the New Black

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Wow, talk about binge watching. This show is so so so amazing. It’s centered around women (in prison) and it’s not too often that you come across a TV show that is all about women. And not just white women but Women of Color and Transwomen as well. Plus it’s hilarious and highly quotable.

7. Skins

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If you want to see me cry and question the meaning of life, just put an episode of Skins in front of me. After I finished the series I had to take a few days to pull myself together. Also, it allows me to live vicariously through groups of British teenagers that have a much more…colorful life than I do.

8. The Office

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I don’t think there’s even any words that can describe how great of a TV show this is. Honestly, if you haven’t watched it yet, it’s a MUST. It gets progressively funnier with each episode and your life will be forever changed.

9. Gilmore Girls

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Since this is the most recent series I watched, it’s very special to me. I love that it centers around a single mom and her daughter and shows the relationship between the two of them and the importance of that relationship. It’s extremely witty and endearing and overall just a really good watch. Also, Paris Geller is my idol.

10. Parks and Recreation

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Last but NEVER least, my pal Parks. This show is absolutely hilarious. The first season is a bit tough to get through but I promise you it gets sooooo much better. I’m actually considering re-watching it sometime in the near future!

So there you have it! These are shows that have shaped who I am today (ha ha, I’m not kidding).What are your favorite TV shows on Netflix?

Change

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I want to start off by saying that when I started this blog I wasn’t planning on solely writing sappy posts, but somehow that’s what it has come to. I suppose it’s hard to write about my adventures when I spend most of my time in bed, but alas. I was just now struck with a thought regarding change. (Probably due to the fact that I just finished Gilmore Girls and I feel that my world has been turned upside down.)

Alright, so you know those moments of transition in your life? Let’s say for example, graduating high school and going off to college, maybe breaking up with someone you’ve been with for years, a new job-anything of the sort. It’s always so bittersweet, and in my case I find it to be more bitter than sweet, and we sulk or contemplate the end of that chapter of our lives and then days go by and it doesn’t seem so terrible anymore. In fact, it all seems distant and we often find ourselves wondering why we were so bent out of shape over it in the first place.

Well I have a theory for that. This might just be the dried tears and heavy heart of the Gilmore’s talking here, but the way I see it is this: we live our lives in moments. At the time they don’t seem like merely moments because they’re the focal points of our lives. They’re a given. Once those moments fade, however, once we’re faced with the reality that things change and that nothing will be the same forever, we freak out a bit. Because it’s like our whole life, everything good or routine, is floating in midair and we can jump and jump and jump but it will always be out of reach. But it’s still hovering over us; never really gone.

We sometimes become too comfortable with our lives, which makes sense. So when that constant in our lives is all of a sudden gone, packed away, reserved only for reminiscences, it throws us off. I mean, who knows when or what the next good thing will be? What if nothing will ever be better than what it used to be? But we get over all that. We section off our lives in collections of good or memorable things. And then the next one comes along. And as soon as that period of our lives are over, we feel lost. It’s a cycle. Graduating high school is a bittersweet transition, but then you have college years. Breaking up with your partner is tough, but then you meet someone who exceeds anything you could have ever imagined you wanted. You leave your old job, but the new one is filled with challenges and excitement.

It gets to the point where we look back on our lives and it no longer feels bittersweet; everything just kinda fits together. It works out. It may not feel like it at the time, but it works out.

I’m trying to apply that to my life. The good parts aren’t lost forever, they’re just changing. And that’s perfectly okay.

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