Wednesday, May 31, 2017

College Expectations

College isn't the best four years of your life.


I said it.

I spent the summer before I started college, three years ago, forming all these grand expectations of what college would be like, the experiences I would have, the friends and memories I would make. Oh how silly I was that summer. I would love to go back and give myself a dose of reality and not make so many expectations, because college hasn't turned out to be what I expected. 

Of course there have been great times, amazing even. But all of college is not like that. I've felt sad, lonely, anxious, and friendless a lot my past three years - and these are the best years of my life? That's depressing.

High school wasn't great for me (socially, I had an amazing high school education), and any time I was upset about it, family and friends would tell me "oh don't worry, college is going to be better." I looked to the experiences my older siblings were having in college - meeting their best friends, having the times of their life, taking on these huge roles within their university - and got excited for how awesome college was going to be. Imagine my disappointment when college didn't turn out to be like that for me. And that's just what I've been - disappointed. When sorority recruitment wasn't picture perfect - disappointed. When I didn't become best friends with the girls on my hall - disappointed. When the friends I did make didn't turn out to be the people I thought they were - disappointed. When I didn't get some big leadership opportunities I desperately wanted - disappointed.

Now I don't say this to be a Debbie Downer. I say all of this so that those of you who are starting college this fall won't do what I did. Don't fall in the trap of creating expectations for the next four years, because college won't live up to those grand imaginings of Pinterest-perfect dorms, being best friends with your roommate, acing every class you take, meeting your bridesmaids, having the time of your life. Think of how much pressure those expectations are putting on the next four years, on you. The reality of college can't possibly live up to that.

A professor showed a great Ted Talk this semester that explains expectations and why they lead to so much unhappiness and I think no matter what stage of life you're in, you should watch it, because we all constantly form expectations of everything - such is the burden of the tech age. 

Pretty powerful stuff, huh? So now you get it. When you have all of these expectations, your reality can't possibly live up to it. It's been said a million times, but social media is just the highlight reel not the outtakes. And most of life, of college, is the stuff that doesn't end up perfectly cropped and edited in a square on your Instagram.

So I beg of you, go into college - whether it be your first year or your last semester - your new job, your next vacation without expectations. Take it from someone who has been there, you'll only end up disappointed. But maybe, without all those expectations, you'll be spontaneous and surprised at the joy that comes out of it. Remember, college is just four years of higher education, not the best four years of your life.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Clear Your Skin Naturally

I've shared a few times now that I made a big change in my skincare this year. For the first time since I started getting acne, probably around 14, I am using products that are all natural. Most acne products are full of harsh chemicals that may help the problem, but can also negatively impact your skin. After not noticing much of a change in my skin while on Proactiv, I started to get really frustrated - which didn't make the situation any better. Then I stumbled upon a list of natural, ~inexpensive~ products on the blog Lemon Stripes. I went for it, it couldn't make things worse.

Now I've been using the products for about four months and my skin has changed dramatically. The dryness along with major breakouts I experienced before are completely gone. I'll get occasional flare ups, but with these products they clear up quickly. So here is the skin care routine I've been using for the past few months that has given me the best skin I think I've ever had.

Step 1 // Remove Makeup

This is only my first step at night, of course. I am a big fan of makeup remover wipes and have tried out many options. My favorites are the Walmart Equate brand sensitive wipes. They come in a package of 40 with a secure lid so they don't dry out. One wipe gets off a full face of going out makeup. They also don't burn my eyes ever, which is my main issue with most wipes.

Step 2 // Cleanse Skin

The first product recommended by Julia was this cleanser by Desert Essence. All the ingredients are natural, which I love. It lathers really nicely and completely cleans off any makeup leftover without making my skin feel dry. I recently ran out of soap, and when I went on Amazon to reorder, I discovered that Desert Essence sells a refill bottle that is only $2 more than the bottle with a pump and you get 23.5 oz more! This will probably last me the next year and a half, at least.

Step 3 // Tone

So I had never even heard of witch hazel before buying this product, but it's awesome. It's a great toner without having any alcohol and other ingredients that dry out skin. I originally bought the Original version, but for the second round, I got the Rose Petal version. They work exactly the same, this one just has a slight rose scent. The one down side to it is that the cap doesn't stay closed very well and it easily leaks out. I've lost a lot of product because the faultiness of the cap. I recommend putting it into another bottle if you're going to be traveling with it.

Step 4 // Spot Treatment

This product is a big part of what has helped my skin. I didn't buy it at first, but after not really seeing a change for a few weeks I decided to add it to my Amazon cart. Y'all it WORKS! So well! I'll put it on any spots at night and they've drastically improved by the next morning. If you're going to get anything, get this. It works so much better than any spot treatment I've ever used and it's just natural oils.

Step 5 // Moisturize

I'm kinda iffy on this Acure moisturizer. It's light and absorbs really nicely. It also doesn't make my oily skin more oily, which is pretty difficult for me to find. My main issue with it is that it's advertised as oil control. While it doesn't make it worse, I wouldn't say it's oil controlling, at least not all day oil control. I do like it overall though and repurchased it.

I picked up another product from Julia's recommendations, the Aztec Secret Indian Clay Mask. I was pretty surprised to find out that it's just the clay powder and you have to mix it with water to make the mask. I've used it a couple times and it's alright, but I haven't really used it properly to know whether it really works or not.

All in all, I am so happy that I made this change in my skin care. I've realized how bad all those chemicals and harsh products were on my skin over the years. I'm still searching for a good, natural exfoliating scrub, so if you have any recommendations I would love to hear them. Let me know if you decide to try any of these products. I've loved them all.