25 June 2015

Playacar: What's in my Washbag?

This week I'm jetting off to Playa del Carmen outside of Cancun, México! I feel so blessed to be able to travel to such beautiful countries, knowing so many people never have the chance to explore beyond their borders. 
I am in the middle of a little transition. Every chance I get, I've been switching to all-natural products. That is, products that are cruelty-free, non toxic, chemical free, vegan, eco-friendly, etc. 
Before you ask - no, I am not vegan. I am still educating myself and trying to learn as much as possible about all this - I am not expert! But I do want to do my part and love on our planet as much as possible, while nourishing and treating my body (and my fellow creatures!) with only the best natural care and upmost reverence. 
While packing for my trip, I've included some rather lovely cruelty-free and body lovin' products I thought I'd share with you.
Spending time outside in the sun is a beautiful, beautiful thing! Nothing better than feeling the warmth on your skin. Even so, it is very important to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays! Y'all know the drill, so I won't lecture you. Bare Republic Naturals is a cruelty free, natural mineral sunscreen collection designed in California to provide you with broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection in a waterproof formula. It smells of coconut vanilla and doesn't feel icky on your skin - win win! 
 Since my hair has been keratin-treated, I've become more aware of the damaging chemicals inside normal shampoos - you know, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and all those other wordy ingredients. If you can't pronounce it, it most likely isn't natural, and you should definitely avoid it if possible. This Jāsön shampoo and conditioner duo is made without all that junk, and is a very cheap alternative to the Pureology hair line. 
Now onto the face. Here I have my Origins Original Skin Renewal Serum, and my current cleanser, the Rosa Centifolia Hot Cloth Cleanser from Ren Clean Skincare. This cleanser is absolutely wonderful! Just pump a bit of the creamy goodness into your hand and massage it into completely dry skin - over makeup and all - and it breaks down all makeup, dirt, and impurities. Then lay a hot cloth over your face to open the pores, gently wipe away your panda eyes with the gentle exfoliating cloth, and rinse with cold water to close your pores and voila! Clean, soft skin. Both Origins and Ren Skincare products are formulated with 100% plant-based organic ingredients and are not tested on animals. Check out their websites for the long lists of hard-to-pronounce chemicals that their products are made without.
As much as we may not like it, our bodies are meant to sweat. Antiperspirants, although effective at preventing wetness and odor, are toxic and filled with harmful crap that alters our body's natural chemistry. Plus, the main active ingredient found in those antiperspirant deodorants, aluminum, has been linked to cancer and all sorts of bad things. So do your body a favor - let it breathe and regulate heat the way it's meant to! Tom's of Maine is a lovely drugstore brand that carries all sorts of natural, earth loving products - from deodorant to toothpaste and everything in between.

Now that, my friends, is a quick sneaky peak into my washbag done! I always enjoy being nosey and seeing what people pack with them on holiday. Hope you've enjoyed this post. If you did, be sure to subscribe and leave your comments below! I'll be coming to you soon with more holiday related posts - but right now I've got to hop on a plane! 

Until next time,
L x

23 June 2015

The Hike: Pedernales Falls

Hello everyone, been such a long time since I have posted on here - and again, I apologize. Seems like I am always so busy that blogging hasn't been a tip top priority, but I'm always buzzing with ideas and content so stay tuned! Plus, I'll be traveling and adventure-ing hard pretty soon. I'm ready, are you?!

Ever since classes have ended, I've been itching to go outside and explore. Scrolling down my Instagram feed often generates some serious adventure envy. I just want to hop on a plane or jump in a car and get my butt out there! There's so much beauty our lovely earth has to offer...but what better place to start than in our own backyards? 

Yesterday, we made our way down to Pedernales Falls State Park, a beautiful nature reserve in the heart of the Texas hill country. After a nice dip in the river to enjoy the calmer current, we hit the trails.
Continuing down the trail towards the falls, you'll find beautiful limestone formations, small tide pools and collections of interesting stones and pebbles along the river. Got lots of sand and rocks stuck in my Chacos! Nothing a quick rinse won't fix.
 Water has this beautiful way of occupying any and all places, finding its way into small caves and basins and making itself at home amongst the rock's accommodating curves.
 Standing on the brink of something so powerful and untamed...it's a feeling of appreciation, of respect. I love standing near the water and hearing the massive whoosh as it crashes into land.

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.” -Norman Maclean

Until next time,
L x 


23 May 2015

How To: Turn a Down Day into a Good One

Do you ever just feel so…blah? Like you’re stuck in an inexplicable funk of blah-ness that just isn't you? You know what I mean. Sometimes you just can’t shake it. Everybody has those days (Can’t help but think of that old Hannah Montana classic just then — try your best to not shimmy away the sadness. Or you know, just carry on). In all seriousness, the funk is real people! Sometimes, life comes and whacks you hard in the face. Maybe it’s something more serious — the shattering loss of a loved one, the crushing pain of a broken heart, the helplessness of unemployment or eviction or failure or rejection. Maybe it’s a loss of hope, of faith, of courage. 

Or maybe it’s relatively minor — situations like these are what I’ll focus on for the sake of this post. Maybe you had a sucky week at school or a hard day at the office. Maybe you’ve lost your motivation. Maybe you’re feeling under the weather and are starting to think it might be good to just crawl in a hole and stay there, as long as there’s a fair supply of Kleenex at the bottom.

When life comes to whack you hard as it so often does, it’s natural to just take the blow and lie there on the ground. All you can focus on is the certainty of that moment: how sucky you feel, how “ratchet” you look, how much it hurts, etc. The last thing you want to do is think about the future. 

However, eventually there comes a time when you just can’t wallow any longer. There comes that moment when you realize you haven't left your bed in three days and you’ve got chocolate on your chin and you're hair is a mess and OH! Dear God, is that what you look like?! There comes that moment when you’ve just got to close the Netflix, crawl out of bed, and get on with life.

So what's the next step? Today I'll share with you a few of the things I do to turn a down day around.

1. Make your bed. Now that you've finally peeled yourself from those sheets and wiped the Dorito dust off your mouth - it's alright, I won't judge - give yourself a clean fresh start by making the bed. It'll make you feel better, I promise. For some reason, I need to have my bed made in order to get anything done. The room (and your life) will always feel messier when a messy bed is present.
2. Wash your face. For the Dorito dust. But also because nothing feels better than a fresh, bare face. Use a refreshing cleanser or mask - maybe something with a zesty fresh fragrance that is sure to leave you feeling squeaky clean and uplifted.
3. Write in a journal. If you can manage it, try to start keeping a journal. I started keeping journals a few years ago, and I can't tell you what a release it can be. It's not designed to be extra work, but if you can write a little bit every day, I guarantee you a clearer mind. Try to write about things you are grateful for - once you remember how truly blessed you are, a good mood and a smile isn't far behind.
4. Listen to music. Pump up the jams, pump it up. While your feet are stompin'. But really, turn off all the mopey shiz and turn on all your favorite upbeat tunes - preferably the nineties throwback ones that you can just solo-jam to in your room...like this and definitely this. Whatever your feel good song is, blast it and get the good vibes going!
5. Go outside. Take a quick walk outside to really clear your head. Go somewhere with friends. Anything that'll get you looking at something new, feeling something new. I find that going outside in the fresh air always has a positive effect - especially if it's a beautiful sunny day out. Seeing all the good around you, all the trees and the birds and the smiling people, can give you a whole new perspective. Witness all the life that has happened while you were shut up in your dark room, and you'll realize that time doesn't stop when you do.
6. Read a good (funny) book. Right now I am nose deep in Mindy Kaling's Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) and loving it! Definitely would recommend as a light, seriously funny read that'll have you smiling like a weirdo in public and drawing too much attention to yourself.
7. Find your mood switcher. For me, my puppy Cocoa (a tiny Yorkshire Terrier) can always brighten my day in an instant. She is just too freaking adorable - you can't keep a serious face around her. She doesn't live with me all the time though so, when I am not back home at my family house, I don't even know what I do. I am beyond obsessed with her, as those of you who know me already know, but I can't help it.

And there we have it - some of the ways I deal with a down day. Hope you've enjoyed this post! Until next time...

13 May 2015

The First Year

I took this photo of my mom's birthday tulips. Have I ever told you I love tulips? The more you know...
There’s something about that first year on your own that just changes everything. Flipping through the worn pages of my trusty Moleskine (you should all invest in a good old fashion journal, just saying), I’ve realized that, in the past year, a lot has gone down. Exactly a year ago, I was getting ready to graduate from high school. Only a year. And here I am, three, four hundred some odd days later, sat alone in my first apartment that should be empty by now, listening to the rain fall hard outside my window and thinking. Thinking.

For all intents and purposes, this website is basically an online journal. My space. My breathing room. I get to decide which words to leave unsaid and which thoughts should be published. Granted I haven't posted on here in what feels like ages, and that’s because I’ve been too busy — for lack of a better phrase — getting my shit together elsewhere (not that my shit will ever be together per se). Anyways, I guess what I mean to say is, this is my little corner of the internet where I can be really honest. And it’s about to get real.

As I think back on the crazy year I’ve had, there is no way I could’ve anticipated everything that I went through. I am not going to lie, it was a hard year. But I am not going to bore you with the depressing sob story right now, because that’s all in the past now. My grades were great and all that, so it wasn’t really the school part…just a lot of personal struggles. The super short spark note version is, basically, first semester of freshman year sucked…but after a lot of soul searching and growing up and learning how to manage my life and health issues better…things started to change for the better. 

Moving on. Time to focus on the whole point of this rambling blogpost. Here are some of the things I’ve learned during my first year at university. I have learned that…

1) You just can't be all the things. And that’s okay. If you're anything like me, you constantly think about the kind of person you want to be — how you want to portray yourself, how you want to dress and look like, what kind of vibe you want to give off. Maybe you want to reinvent yourself. While college is the perfect time to do that, don't pressure yourself to be that best version of you right this second. It takes time to grow. Keep that best version of you in mind, but don't be too hard on yourself when things don't seem to go your way. I want to be all the things, but sometimes, I just can’t. 

2) The best things in life are not planned. College is the perfect time to be spontaneous, to have fun, to really experience life and youth and all its glory. If you’re like me, you’re a planner. You think and think and think and rarely leave room for error. You make lists, you plan. But every once in awhile, put away the notepad, girl! Let the chips fall where they may. Let go and let God do for you what He thinks is best. The best things in life are complete surprises. Don’t be afraid to just go for it.

3) You can't date an idea. Don’t let your unrealistic expectations get in the way of something that could be really great. Remember that he or she is a person with flaws, insecurities, complicated feelings and emotions. You can’t expect every person you go out with to tick off all the boxes. But by no means am I saying lower your standards…keep those standards real high. You deserve the absolute best.

4) No one knows what they are doing. I mean no one. When you walk onto campus for the first time as a doe-eyed freshman, you see those sophomores and juniors and think, wow. Those guys have got it going on (and let’s face it, we do). Those guys have it all figured out. Uh no, we don’t. Tell that to the senior that’s changing his major for the fifth time. Every one is going at it at their own pace and figuring it all out as they go along. You don't have to know everything. That’s the beauty of college. These are confusing times my friends. But really, what better time is there?

5) Homegirl isn’t always going to back you up. In the real world, it’s real easy to find out who your true friends are. People change in college, so don't expect that all your high school homies will stick around or still have your back. Most importantly, be wary of the “friends” who don't have your best interest in mind. College is a very competitive playing field in all aspects of life, but especially when it comes to academic accomplishments and dating. Be careful. You know that girl from high school who’s really quiet and sweet and never did anything to hurt you? Those are the ones you gotta watch. Just kidding. But really, the only person who is truly, one hundred percent on your side always, is you. Just be careful and stick up for yourself. That’s all I’m sayin’.

6) Nobody cares. So do what you want, wear what you want. Go dance around in the quad with your pjs on, do cartwheels on the fifth floor of the library, or be the fatty smuggling three pizza boxes into your dorm…because nobody cares. In college, weird shiz happens all the time. Most of the time, people will just shrug and say, “That’s so college” or “eh, good for her. You do you. Hashtag YOLO.” And if on the off chance they give you a look, they probably just failed a final or got dumped. Give them a hug. Or don’t. Your call.

7) It’s okay to be a mess. Every one is a mess. If you feel like a mess, that just means you’re college-ing correctly.

8) It’s okay to cut people out of your life. In fact, it is your right. It’s healthy to get rid of people who bring you down, who don't look out for you, who don't truly care for you, who are just in it for themselves. In the words of the queen Tyler Oakley, “You are allowed to cut people off who are not productive, who do not make you a better person, and who do not make you happy. You know who I’m talking about. You don't need them.” Need I say more?

Now, PAY ATTENTION HERE. This next one is probably the most important. 

9) True friendship is rare. A true friend isn’t jealous. He/she wants you to be your most beautiful, happy, vibrant self. Don't EVER let yourself feel like you have to hide your own light to protect someone else’s insecurity. If they can’t step back and support you without feeling threatened, jealous, or competitive…they do not have your best interest at heart. DUMP THEM and refuse to change yourself for their sake. Find people who challenge you to grow and want you to get better…who love you always. 

It’s true what they say — college is a truly amazing time. You’re young. You’re still a kid, but at the same time you’re learning how to adult. It’s the last time you can really just enjoy freedom and relative lack of responsibility. It’s your time to make mistakes. To dye your hair purple and completely regret it…or rock it. To get hurt. To learn. To get back up. To major in Philosophy because there’s "no real career in that" anyways — why not? To do what you want. To find yourself. It’s transformative, it’s eye opening, it’s exciting, it’s confusing, it’s liberating. It can be the best four — or five, if you wanna take a victory lap — years of your life. But like any experience, it is all about how you make it. 

I could go on and on about all the these I’ve learned this year, and I love giving advice, so this blogpost could’ve easily turned into a book, but I am sure you’re so glad it didn’t. If you’ve survived reading all the way ’til the end, thanks for the read. Knuckle touch.