The Bags Under My Eyes are Designer: Top Tips for Looking Well-Rested

Sometimes I wake up in the morning, look at my baggy under-eyes, messy hair, and lifeless skin, and I wonder if I ever actually sleep at all or if I spend the entire night sleepwalking a marathon and don’t even realize it.  It’s hard to constantly get good rest, and even harder to look well-rested, but I’ve narrowed down a pretty good routine to give my body the best night of sleep possible, and wake up feeling (and looking) refreshed.  Here are my tips:

Stop looking at screens at least 30 minutes before bed

Most research articles will tell you to even go an hour or two, but sometimes I have trouble turning mine off that far in advance.  All I know is that if the bluelight causes your brain to continue working hard right up until the second you close your eyes, it’ll be harder to lull into sleep.

Practice meditation and/or deep breathing

Another reason I like to keep my phone out just a bit longer: I use the Headspace app for ten minutes of concentrated meditation and centering before bed.  I also love using it in the morning, but when I use it at night, it’s primarily to help slow my breathing and heart-rate so I get tired faster.

Drink a cup of (decaf) tea

My favorite is the “Calming” tea by Yogi.  If I don’t have that on hand, chamomile will do just fine.

Take a hot bath

In the same way that hot tubs relax the body and make you sleepy, a hot bath will knock you out in no time.  Throw in whatever LUSH products you have on hand, and let the stresses of the day melt right off of you.

Read a good book

I actually like to do this while in the bath.  Somehow I’ve managed to never drop my book in the water.  The only hard part about this tip is if you’re a bookworm like me, you might want to stay up even later because …. just one more chapter, please!

Do some bedtime yoga

I use this yoga routine almost every night, and let me tell you, by the time I’ve wrapped up, I can’t stop yawning!

Diffuse lavender essential oils

I love to put a few drops of lavender essential oils into my diffuser before bed.  Sometimes I even put a little in my bath, then again on my pillow.  The scent is incredibly calming and almost like an all-natural muscle relaxer.

Use VIIcode’s “Oxygen Eye Mask for Dark Circles”

I just recently discovered this amazing product, and I am hooked!  I recently shared with my Insta fam about how my under-eyes have looked like I got punched in the face since I was a little girl.  No, really, people used to think I was getting beaten up.  A lot of it has to do with allergies, and the rest is just a pigmentation thing.  However, after just 3 uses of these eye masks overnight, I am shocked with how much brighter and lifelike I look when I wake up.  The masks are meant to be worn for eight hours – a little different from your typical 15-30 minute masks – so they suggest overnight use.  You don’t need to wear them every night to see results, just 2-3 times a week.  Three boxes is considered a full treatment, and there are six packets in each box.  The gel-like material is cooling and comfortable under the eye, which I’m grateful for, since that area is very sensitive.  There’s nothing to wash off after use.  You’re just left feeling refreshed and looking much more awake!

Highlight/line your under-eyes with white

This is a relatively new trick for me.  After I put on all my makeup, I like to go back with my Stargazer powder (a bright white powder – so I wouldn’t suggest this product if you’re not fair-skinned), and dust it on beneath my eyes.  I also use a smaller brush to pack on just a little bit of the powder to my lower waterline.  This helps counter the red in your eyes, and brightens your whole face.  I’ve found that it dramatically reduces the appearance of dark circles!

So, there are all my tips.  After many years of trial and error, I’ve gotten this down to a science, and my life is all the better for it.  I no longer look like an absolute zombie when I totter down the stairs each morning, but instead, I feel and look much more awake!  What are your tips for a good night sleep or appearing well-rested?

The Bags Under My Eyes are Designer: Top Tips for Looking Well-Rested The Bags Under My Eyes are Designer: Top Tips for Looking Well-Rested The Bags Under My Eyes are Designer: Top Tips for Looking Well-Rested The Bags Under My Eyes are Designer: Top Tips for Looking Well-Rested The Bags Under My Eyes are Designer: Top Tips for Looking Well-Rested The Bags Under My Eyes are Designer: Top Tips for Looking Well-Rested The Bags Under My Eyes are Designer: Top Tips for Looking Well-Rested The Bags Under My Eyes are Designer: Top Tips for Looking Well-Rested

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oxygen eye mask for dark circles c/o VIIcode | top | leggings | coffee mug | yoga mat (only available in purple or teal now)

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Work Hard and Be Nice to People: 5 Ways to Make Someone's Day

Raise your hand if you’re happy it’s Friday! 🙋🏼 I pre-wrote this post because I’m currently on the trip up to New Jersey with my boyfriend to visit some of his extended family for Easter.  It’s going to be a long drive, so feel free to head over to my Instagram and keep me occupied!  While so many people celebrate this holiday just for the candy and the Easter bunny, I’m celebrating even more than just that.  On Easter Sunday, I rejoice that so many years ago, Jesus took my place on a cross, washed away my sins, and rose from the dead three days later, allowing me to live a joy and peace-filled life in His Father’s presence.  Just thinking on these things brings such thankfulness into my heart, and all I want to do is share that love He gave to me with others, and make their day!

Sometimes I find myself so focused on my own selfish needs and desires, that I forget how many others around me are hurting.  That one rude waitress may have just gotten a ticket on her way to work, or that mom you saw snapping at her kids could have found out she wasn’t able to afford this month’s rent.  You never know what others may be going through, so why not do what you can to make their day a little brighter?  Here are FIVE ways to do just that:

Pay it forward

This one is pretty well known.  You’re in the Starbucks drive-thru or the check-out line at the grocery store.  Instead of just paying for your own order, pay for the person behind you.  You have no idea how much they might have needed to save their money that day.

Snail mail

Paper and pen, envelopes and stamps.  It’s a lost art, but it’s so much fun to receive.  I had so many pen-pals when I was a little girl.  Write a note to your best friend and mail it to them.  I can bet you anything it’ll put a giant grin on their face.

Compliments are key

Come on, it’s not that hard to tell someone that their hair looks fabulous or that you love their shoes.  Sometimes I’m a little too shy to do this, so I’ll tell my boyfriend, and before I know it, he’s walking up to the cashier at Target to tell her that I love her unicorn locks 😂  You know what? I can spot the blush from a mile away, so it was well worth it.

Let them know you’re thinking of them

Have you ever gotten a text that just said something like, “I heard a Jonas Brothers song in my flashback playlist today and it made me think of when you loved them so much”?  Okay that’s totally something only my bestie would send me, but it seriously means so much to know that she thought of me.  Sometimes I’ll just text my boyfriend with a silly Finding Nemo gif or something random during his work shift to tell him he’s on my mind.  It doesn’t have to be excessive, just enough to let them know you care.

Bake it up

They say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but I think that applies to more than just men.  There’s a Christmas movie I love that at one point shows a lady baking goodies for her apartment neighbor, even though they rarely talk.  It’s always made me want to whip up a batch of peanut butter truffle cookies (my signature) and just leave them on my neighbor’s porch.  I know I would love a surprise like that!

These are just a few of my favorite ways to turn someone’s frown upside down and make their day better.  What are some of the ways you put this into practice?  Let me know so I can bring a little more joy into my life and the lives around me.  Happy Easter, everyone!

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workout tank c/o Adore Me | workout leggings & sports bra c/o Adore Me | gym bag c/o Ankit | sneakers

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A Dip in Crochet: Swimsuit Confidence at Any Size

On Monday night, I was lucky enough to see one of my favorite female artist’s live in concert.  JoJo has been on repeat for years, but especially since she released her album, “Mad Love” last year.  Not only are her vocals out of this world, but she focuses heavily on some things that are incredibly important to me: body positivity and self love.  I’m so blessed to be living in an era where these subjects are truly coming to the surface and there are so many campaigns focused on bringing confidence to those who struggle with self worth and negative body image.  I know that even just a few years ago, these were topics that weren’t touched on in the slightest.

All that being said, I still get negative remarks sometimes when I say that I’m a “body positive blogger.”  People scoff as they look me up and down and say “of course you are, you’re tiny!”  Sure, I’m thin, but that doesn’t mean I’m in love with my body at every moment of every day.  In past posts, I’ve mentioned that I had a severe eating disorder in high school.  I now have a reminder of my recovery in the form of a little tattoo on my hip (you can see it just slightly through the crochet).  Let it be known that I was already thin at that point in time, but it didn’t keep me from thinking I wasn’t.  Let it also be known that I am still thin and there are some days I wish I wasn’t.  No matter what shape or size you are, if you have stretch marks or cellulite (or both, like me), there will be someone saying you’re not “ideal” and you should change.  If you come away with anything from this post, let it be that you don’t need to change a thing.  You are beautiful exactly the way you are, and it’s something to be proud of!

For some, swimsuit season has already arrived.  For me, it’s fast approaching.  This is a season I tend to dread every year.  Despite my extra time at the gym the past few months, my legs still aren’t quite as toned as I’d prefer, and my chest hasn’t dramatically increased in size (laugh all you want, but I’m the CEO of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee)!  However, despite all my body woes, I’ll be shamelessly putting on a bikini and soaking up the sun very soon.  I believe that no matter what size you are, you have a “bikini body” and you gotta rock it!  I know I’ll be rocking mine in this darling, crochet, high-waisted ‘kini from Adore Me, all summer long!

Just as I did last year, I’m taking a pledge this swimsuit season to not retouch any of my bikini photos.  I believe that my body is worth being celebrated, and yours is too!  So if you believe that, will you take this pledge with me?  Spend a summer free of any inhibitions or need for “perfection” – I mean, what is perfect anyways?  I say it’s the beautiful body you’ve been given, so let’s ooze confidence in it this year!

A Dip in Crochet: Swimsuit Confidence at Any Size A Dip in Crochet: Swimsuit Confidence at Any Size A Dip in Crochet: Swimsuit Confidence at Any Size A Dip in Crochet: Swimsuit Confidence at Any Size A Dip in Crochet: Swimsuit Confidence at Any Size A Dip in Crochet: Swimsuit Confidence at Any Size A Dip in Crochet: Swimsuit Confidence at Any Size A Dip in Crochet: Swimsuit Confidence at Any Size A Dip in Crochet: Swimsuit Confidence at Any Size A Dip in Crochet: Swimsuit Confidence at Any Size A Dip in Crochet: Swimsuit Confidence at Any Size

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swimsuit c/o Adore Me | kimono (gift from a friend – similar here)

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Bloom Where You're Planted: Why Your Situation Doesn't Define You

Let’s say it together, “your situation does not define you” or rather, “my situation does not define me.”  This phrase is important for so many reasons.  Let me delve into it a bit.  When I was sixteen years old, I struggled with a serious eating disorder.  There has been many a time I’ve heard someone label an individual as anorexic purely because they are slim or they weren’t able to eat lunch, and this breaks my heart.  It’s a real issue and it’s much more mental than physical.  It’s viewing yourself as something you’re not.  That’s where I was.  I’ve never been heavy, or even curvy, but I thought I was overweight.  I thought that pretty meant my thighs shouldn’t touch, and so I starved away the pain in my heart.  Fast forward to 20 years old, fully recovered from the disorder thanks to my amazing support system, and scared to death because of such severe stomach pain.  After the test, the diagnosis read “gastroparesis,” a stomach disease that basically paralyzes the stomach and doesn’t allow it to digest food.  After going through job after job and panicking because I couldn’t keep one more than a couple of months before my stomach would flare up and I’d have to call out sick for weeks at a time, I said “so long” to the 9-5, and took a leap of faith.

That leap of faith was this blog.  I could have easily given up right then and there.  I could have fallen into the deep depression I went through in my later teenage years, but I chose another path.  I chose to combine every part of my life that I loved and create something beautiful with it.  I chose to bloom where I was planted.  I chose to not let my situation define me.  When my stomach flares up and I’m stuck in bed for days, I write pitch emails, I edit photos, I search Tumblr and Pinterest for inspiration, and I thank God for the fact that despite my health, I can still do what I love.

I’ve brought this mentality into another portion of my life as well now.  I’ve discovered that I absolutely love to work out (especially in my cute Adore Me activewear).  It relieves my stress, if I don’t over-work it actually helps my stomach, and it makes me feel proud of my body – something I haven’t been able to do in my entire life.  Not only have I hated on my outward appearance, but then my stomach created a disgust for my insides as well.  When I see the results from the hard work I put in during a work out, I get excited.  I’m not doing it to get skinny – no, I would be dishonest if I didn’t say I actually need to gain weight right now, but to see the definition in my arms, or the fact that I can win at tug-of-war with the Mastiff dog I walk each day, it’s immensely satisfying.

Look at your situation right now.  Does it define your life?  Do you feel anxious or depressed over the place you’re in?  What can you do to change that?  Take a deep breath and assess for a second – not your overwhelming situation – but rather, what you can do to learn from it.  My disease has taught me to culture my gifts and learn more than I ever thought I would.  What can your situation teach you today?

Bloom Where You're Planted: Why Your Situation Doesn't Define You Bloom Where You're Planted: Why Your Situation Doesn't Define You Bloom Where You're Planted: Why Your Situation Doesn't Define You Bloom Where You're Planted: Why Your Situation Doesn't Define You Bloom Where You're Planted: Why Your Situation Doesn't Define You Bloom Where You're Planted: Why Your Situation Doesn't Define You Bloom Where You're Planted: Why Your Situation Doesn't Define You Bloom Where You're Planted: Why Your Situation Doesn't Define You Bloom Where You're Planted: Why Your Situation Doesn't Define You Bloom Where You're Planted: Why Your Situation Doesn't Define You Bloom Where You're Planted: Why Your Situation Doesn't Define You

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activewear set c/o Adore Me | tank top | sneakers | water bottle | hair extensions

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For any of you who follow me on Snapchat, you’ll know that I mostly post videos and pictures related to my blog: unboxing, behind-the-scenes during photoshoots, and shopping excursions.  I also post about going to get coffee with my family, my obese cat (if you think I’m kidding, I’m not – she’s HUGE), and sometimes little recipes and random funny things.  However, recently I decided to take a massive leap for myself and for all of you, and I did an entire Snapchat story in relation to my biggest insecurity – my face.  The video is at the top of this post for you to watch and get an idea of what I’m talking about.I didn’t want my story to take up too much time on Snapchat, so I cut it shorter than I planned, but the response was so overwhelming, I decided it was entirely necessary to write a full post on the topic.

As I said in my video, from a young age, I received criticism on my face and my skin.  I’ve had horrible allergies for a very long time, and because of that, I have deep purple circles under my eyes.  People used to question me and ask if I was alright, and if my home life was okay when I was little, because it literally would look like I had a black eye. When I was relatively young still, my sister introduced me to concealer, and I began by just putting that under my eyes to help my appearance not be so frightening.  Then I started dealing with acne, and by the time I was thirteen years old, I was wearing a full face of makeup (yep, I’m talking foundation, concealer, powder, and the likes) just to cover up my blemishes – though there weren’t many yet.

In high school, I actually had a YouTube channel for makeup tutorials.  This had only recently become popular, so I jumped on the bandwagon since my dream at the time was to become a makeup artist.  This was something I absolutely loved, but I never actually showed my face without anything on it because I had become so self-conscious.  I would always get excited when I found a girl that did tutorials and who didn’t have flawless skin, but I was never confident enough to show my own.  I hated going to the beach or the pool during the summer because I wouldn’t take off my makeup and so people would giggle and make fun of the fact that I had a full face of makeup on while I was splashing around in the water.  I was part of musical theatre in high school as well, and I refused to have anyone aside from myself do my stage makeup (side note: as much as that sucked at first, it ended up being a blessing in disguise because I was requested as a makeup artist for the shows even after I finished high school – so that was encouraging and I still thank my summer camp directors for giving me that opportunity).

I dealt with an eating disorder, depression, and anxiety as well, which only increased my skin issues.  My occasional acne became worse and worse, to the point where I would actually sleep in my makeup because I, myself, couldn’t stand looking at my face without it.  Now, I deal with some major digestive issues which has made not only the acne worse, but my skin pigmentation is totally “off” as well.  Then I became a fashion blogger.  How on earth, in a world filled with all these beautiful, seemingly flawless women, would I be able to survive?  Comparison has been a very challenging issue for me throughout my entire life, and now I was deeply enthralled in the beauty and fashion industry – where it’s completely dog-eat-dog!  I will say that there are many ladies that are showing who they truly are and they accept others in the most encouraging manner, but I have also seen the opposite.

For the past month, every day that I got on Snapchat, there was at least one lady who would cover her face in shame, swear by filters, or ridicule her “terrible skin,” only to reveal in the next video her near-magazine-cover-perfect skin.  It made me stop and think, “if that person thinks that they’re so ugly with one, barely visible blemish, then what would they think if they saw my face without any makeup?  What would they say about my acne-ridden skin and black eyes?”  It hurt my heart, because while those people may think they’re only critiquing their own skin, they’re not only bullying themselves, but they’re affecting the mindset of their watchers or readers.  I was talking with one of my life-long friends, and flat out told her, “I’m thinking about just showing my face to the world and taking a stand and seeing what happens,” and she said, “I think you should do it!”  I kind of shrugged it off, but then two days later when I woke up and got on Snapchat, I saw yet another flawless lady talking about how unsightly she was, and I practically threw the covers off my bed and was like “that is enough.”

After posting my short story on Snapchat, showing my makeup-free, filter-less skin, and then totally freaking out over the fact that I just showed all that to all of social media, the responses immediately came flying in.  Not only did I receive compliments on my beauty without makeup, but women and men began sharing their stories with me, telling me how insecure they were and how social media and the fashion and beauty industry has made them question themselves and their worth.  My heart was simultaneously warmed and saddened.  It was comforting to know that my vulnerability had helped other people, but I want to do more.  I want to stand and make a difference in my blogging world, and outside it.  I can’t just sit still and watch people hurting and questioning their beauty, because the thing is: whether you have acne, stretch marks, pigmentation issues, extra weight, glasses, you’re in a wheelchair, or anything else, you are still beautifulYou are not alone.  I may not struggle with every single challenge, but I have a few, and I know that there are so many who can relate.  We should be encouraging each other’s beauty internally as much as externally.  Our hearts, the way we care for others, the stories we are writing are all unique and completely beautiful.

I’m not sure what you’ll come away with after reading this – and seriously if you read all this, you’re incredible – but I hope you truly take away the fact that you are more than just your skin or your size, and you always have someone to talk with.  I want to hear your stories, whether you’re still going through it, or whether you’ve come through it to a better place.  And I want you to take a moment today to find something about yourself and about someone around you that you find completely beautiful.

This post was written while I was still under the name “Drunk on Vogue”.  For those of you interested in keeping up with my current YouTube, just click here.

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