We Have A New President, and I Wear Black

I tried to write a blog post. I tried. There are no words for this.

I cannot figure out how we got to this place, a place where the rich and the white are protected and everyone else falls in the dust. Is this even America anymore? How can we be land of the free or home of the brave with a new leader like this?

This election was a huge blow to my view of human nature. I’ve always wanted to believe in the goodness of man. I’ve always wanted to think that we naturally have characteristics like compassion, love, and intelligence. Now, I’m not so sure.

After Trump was elected I had a 30-second period of time where I tried to convince myself, “Maybe it won’t be as bad as I thought.” Then, Bannon was nominated.

Since November my blog has had relatively little to say on the matter of politics, and that is because I just don’t know what to say. Everything I thought I had figured out is gone.

We have a new president and I wear black.

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Product Review: E.L.F. Baked Highlighter

I received E.L.F. Baked Highlighter in Moonlight Pearls as a gift recently. You can get it at Target for $2.99 + tax or at Walmart for $4.00 + tax.

 

Highlighting has been one of the top beauty trends for the last several years. Like most makeup products nowadays, highlighters can come as liquid, cream, and powder. Highlighter is used on prominent areas like the top of your cheekbone, tip of your nose, or bow of your lips in order to bring them out with a shimmery glow.

E.L.F. Baked Highlighter is a baked powder highlighter.

Application of this highlighter is a bit tricky. The powder is packed very tightly and is hard to pick up with a brush. Since I’ve used it nearly every day for the last few weeks the hardest top layer has worn down and it’s become a little easier. That being said, it’s still not as easy as I would hope for.

I usually dust it along my cheekbones, tip of my nose, and the cupid’s bow of my lip. For a highlighter, it is pretty subtle in comparison to some of the higher-end highlighters. However, for every-day use I like a more subtle highlighter. When I have worn it in public, I’ve gotten a lot of comments and compliments about it, which tells me that although it is subtle it is still noticeable.

Overall, I would recommend this highlighter. It is extremely affordable and I have been happy with the subtle but still noticeable glow it provides.

 

For more of my makeup reviews, see:

Rimmel London Provocalips Liquid Lipstick

Covergirl Katy Kat Matte Lipstick

2016 In Review

When I sat down to finally write about my 2016, it was with an overwhelmingly pessimistic attitude. “2016 was shit,” I thought. But as I began to type out a word-vomit rough draft I thought through the year and realized that, even though it was a hard one, it has been one of the best years yet.

A lot happened for me in 2016, good and bad. I finally settled down and decided what I want to study: a double major in Political Science with an emphasis in Community Involvement and Nonprofit Leadership, and Communications on the Journalism track. I found my flaws and learned to accept them but also to work to improve them. I rediscovered my love for painting and improved on my artistic skills. I started this blog, which I’m proud to say is almost a year old. I mourned and mourned but finally got over a big relationship, which was harder for me to do than I ever expected. I traveled Asia through Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. I lost friends, but made even more. I found medications that help with my depression and anxiety, after months and months of trying different medications and dealing with horrible side effects. I watched the election results pour in and had to figure out a way to ground myself in a world that seemed to tip upside down. I came out as queer on Facebook and, to my surprise, was met with overwhelming support from almost everyone I know. I had to face demons I didn’t know I had… and came out on top.

It was a hard year. There’s no doubt about that. I cried a lot. I felt lost at times. But, I also grew and learned and discovered.

I took the bad experiences and was able to turn them into something positive. That is something I will be able to look back and take pride in for the rest of my life.

To everyone in my life: thank you. I love you. And I look forward to a beautiful 2017 of growing and learning with you.

Two Things I Learned About Communication From A Non-Communicative Ex

Communication is at the core of every successful relationship. I once heard it put that it doesn’t matter how much you fight, but the way that you fight. Effective communication can make, or break, the relationship.

But what happens when communication isn’t there? Here are two lessons I learned from a non-communicative ex.

Words Are Important.

I am a writer, and have always been fascinated with the intricacies of words in the English language. Each word has a slightly varied connotation. Placing alternate words into a sentence can give it a wide variety of connotations. For example, “Mom called for us to come inside the house” sounds very different than “Mom screamed for us to come inside the house,” even though they are essentially the same thing.

Despite this, I didn’t realize just how important word choice could be until my ex and I started having disagreements.

The words you use during an argument are key. If you choose the wrong combination of words, you run the risk of escalating the argument. If you choose the right combination of words, then the argument is solved much quicker.

If I got angry or rash and used negative words, it was detrimental to the conversation. However, I noticed that if I spent a long time crafting exactly what I wanted to say down to the last word, I was able to explain what I was feeling. If I selected each word in an exact and specific manner designed to get my thoughts across without any sort of misunderstanding, then I could make him understand.

Whether you are expressing hurt, anger, sadness, or even joy, picking the perfect words is essential to communicating your feelings.

However…

Words Shouldn’t Be THAT Important.

Word choice is incredibly difficult even when you are at your very best. In the middle of an argument when you are upset, angry, hurt, frustrated, or experiencing any other intense emotions, it becomes exponentially more difficult to choose the right words.

Emotions have a tendency to cloud the brain. When you are not in your right mind, it is nearly impossible to convey your exact thoughts and feelings.

The truth is that you shouldn’t need to. You shouldn’t have to pick the exact, perfect words.

Communication is a two-way street. Your word choice is important, but shouldn’t be the deciding factor in whether or not your partner understands what you are trying to say. A communicative partner should ask questions, look at things from your perspective, and try to meet you in the middle when working through disagreements. Of course, you should do the same for them.

So, yes, do your very best to choose your words as effectively as possible. At the same time, remember that all the pressure should not be on you. Communication goes both ways, and it’s not your job to carry all the weight.

2017 New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions are a great way to set goals for yourself. When the new year rolls around, you can look back and see what you achieved (or what you need to work harder on). This helped be a lot in 2016, and I’ve been able to look back and see how much progress I made over the course of the year.

I’ve decided on a few goals that I have for 2017.

Improve My Physical Health

I want to learn to eat healthier. Starting in June, I became a vegetarian. Being a vegetarian is hard, because you need to learn to get your protein from other sources than meat. Additionally, I want to cut down on fast foods and sugars.

I want to drink the recommended 64 oz of water per day.

I want to go to the gym at least three times a week, and start adding cardio into my routine. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress. I love weightlifting, but cardio is much harder for me to enjoy. However, it has better health benefits than weights alone. It can help stabilize your mood, increase your metabolism, and generally build your stamina and physical fitness.

Take More Time For Myself

With the combination of work, school, and sleep, I rarely get time to do the things I enjoy. I hardly ever get a chance to read, to play guitar, to go out on a walk, to play video games, or to paint. I think that taking time for your hobbies is really important as a means of relaxation and unwinding, as well as personal enjoyment.

I am also very introverted. I’ve learned to function very well in an extrovert society, but I definitely think that I would benefit from taking more time for myself to be alone in order to recharge and give myself more energy.

Improve My Mental Health

I spent most of 2016 working through medications and therapy in order to ease the burden of my depression and anxiety. Medication and therapy is, of course, wonderful. However, I want to continue to learn strategies to combat mental illness on my own.

Learn Life Skills

I want to get an apartment in the fall. Since the start of my college experience, I’ve been living in the Residence Halls on campus. I’ve loved it there, and overall it has been a great stepping stone for me. However, life in the Residence Halls is very sheltered. I think that I am finally ready to move off campus. This will boost my skills including time management, cooking, financial responsibility, and more.