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Saturday, March 15, 2014

A day in Charleston

Thursday morning, my mother and I headed out on a spur-of-the-moment mother-daughter trip to Savannah, GA. 5 minutes before we arrived to the exit to Savannah, we decided to make a slight detour and go to Charleston, SC instead. This little change of plans turned out to be a great thing!

The last time I had been to Charleston was on a third grade field trip where we visited a battle ship, the aquarium and the beach all in one day.
Needless to say, I didn't remember too much about the place and have always wanted to go back to see the city in all of its charm and history.

This place is GORGEOUS. If you have any kind of appreciation for old homes and awesome architecture, you will love Charleston. All the hubbub is surrounded around the downtown area. In this area, there are TIGHTLY packed streets FULL of little shops, big stores, cute cafes and high-class dining and TONS of people and cars trying to find a place to park. 

WARNING- If you are the slightest bit claustrophobic, you might not enjoy this city. I drove around this downtown area for at least thirty minutes (most likely more) until I finally decided to park in a parking garage. These are your best bet in Charleston unless you are lucky and talented enough to find a place to parallel park. Otherwise, you normally pay a dollar for every half hour your car sits in a CRAMMED parking garage. 
WARNING #2- Drive a small car. I can only imagine how hard it would have been to be able to do anything had I not been driving my small Honda Accord. 

Once Mom and I were situated, it was exploring the streets of Meeting Street and King Street and those streets that all of the AWESOME shopping is located on. They have everything from small boutiques to Forever 21 (my personal favorite) to Louis Vuitton. 

 What made all of the houses and buildings so special was the intense iron-work detail incorporated in most of them. Everything is just so detailed and beautiful.
I would definitely describe the city as plain romantic.

I literally could not believe how fancy the Urban Outfitters store was. You walk in and there is crazy gorgeous exposed beams in the high ceilings and as you go through the store, it just gets bigger. There is highly detailed moulding and giant glistening chandeliers. I'm telling you, this place was an architect-lover's dream. I didn't even care about the clothes.

And this picture doesn't do it justice.

Just some exploring! You are sure to find little spots of cuteness in between buildings downtown!

Mom and I are avid gelato lovers. So you can bet your bottom we took advantage of the first gelato place we saw. Both of us got Salted Caramel flavor (our absolute favorite!) and this sure didn't disappoint!!!

 Mom and I were lucky enough to find a hotel near all of the goodies of Charleston that just happened to have a restaurant on the top floor. This was the view we had while we were eating our nice dinner! Mom had a true low-country meal: Shrimp & grits. I stuck with shrimp in pasta :)

I had to include my favorite purchase of the trip. I only did shopping in Forever 21 and got a skirt,  some cami's, an eiffel tower air freshener and this baby right here!

For those of you who are uncultured (like my family who thought it said ow-y haha), this dainty gold necklace says "Oui" which is French for "Yes". 

I kind of see it as me saying "yes" to adventure!

We literally were only in Charleston from lunchtime on Thursday until we left after lunch on Friday, but despite its shortness, it was a wonderful trip. 
We had some wonderful mother-daughter experiences.
Thanks Mom! 

Me at Waterfront Park! 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Makeup 101: Things I never did before but do now

For those of us who do not have magnificent and glowing skin, a little makeup never hurts. If you do have nice skin, DON'T WEAR IT!!! I would love to be able to feel fabulous without lathering on layers of foundation, however, the wear and tear my youth has put my skin through has left it rather un-fabulous. I began wearing makeup in middle-school when acne first began its reign on my face.
Since then, I have learned quite a few things about what you should and shouldn't do when using makeup. In no way am I saying that I am an expert on makeup but I have learned, for the most part, through trial and error and error and error and error.
The organization of my every-day makeup collection. Yes, I use most of this stuff. No judge-rays.

For those of you beginning to use makeup or need a few tips on how to make your makeup look better, here ya go:

The Basics

Before you even think about putting any unknown substance on your face, you need to take care of your face to put it in the best condition it can be. That way, the makeup only covers what needs to be hidden and enhances the good parts. This is done through washing your face everyday (twice a day, preferably) and keeping your face moisturized. 

I only recently learned the importance of moisturizing. I have an incredibly oily face and thought that any kind of "lotion" would only add to the shininess that I so often battle. This is not the case folks.

If you, like me, struggle with extreme oiliness the BEST thing that you can do is moisturize. Doing this regulates the kind of oils your face excretes. Be sure that you moisturize with something made FOR THE FACE and not some kind of body lotion. That could ensure the opposite affect to happen. I personally use Cetaphil's Oil Control Moisturizer that is formulated specifically fro acne-prone skin like myself. Every dermatologist I've ever seen has always recommended Cetaphil products and they have yet to let me down.

Cetaphil also has face washes, however, I prefer to use Neutragena. I like to have a face wash with an exfoliant in it to help get some of the dead skin off and leave my face a smooth canvas. 

For those of you with dry under-eyes or aging skin, I recommend using an eye-cream at night along with your moisturizer. 

Now to the actual cosmetics of the situation...

Before going and buying the cheapest foundation you can find and just slathering it on your face, there are a few things that you should consider.

A. Everyone has different skin types.

  • Most skin types fall under the category of oily, dry, or a combination of both. 
  • The foundation you choose should help the type of skin you have. If you have oily skin, you do not want a foundation that is labeled "dewy". This will only make your face shinier. You want a foundation that claims to be "matte" or withholds oils from flooding your face. As a person with oily skin, I use Covergirl's Outlast 3 in 1 foundation. 
  • If you have dry skin, you most likely do not want a dry, matte foundation. While it is acceptable in some cases, most matte foundations with grab on to any dry spot on your face and make it look worse than it actually is. Use a foundation that is not drying and make sure that you moisturize EXTRA. 
  • For combination skin, it is up to you. Some days I might have a lot of dry spots on my face yet still have my oily tendency. On these days, I use extra moisturizer and try not to cake a lot of makeup onto the dry spots because it tends to make my face look cracked. 

B. Everyone has different skin tones. Don't look like your rubbed Nutella on your face.

  • People tend to believe that if you test foundation on your hand, it is going to be your right color. WRONG. Your hand is most likely a completely different color than your face. Although it might be odd, try it out on your neck and look in a mirror or you cell-phone. The trick is to not look like you are wearing foundation. Your face should blend into your neck. 
  • It is obviously a lot easier to have someone professionally find your exact makeup color for you, but that normally means you're going to spend a fortune on a foundation. If you have the money, DO IT. If not, use the trick mentioned above.

C. Cheap is not always good. Cheap is not always bad. Expensive is not always good either. 
  • Whatever foundation you decide on should be based on the factors of your skin type and your skin color. Don't buy something because it is cheap and don't buy something because you assume expensive means it HAS to be good.

I never.....but now I do!

I never set my foundation before, but now I do!
  • Setting your foundation means applying a powder on top of your foundation so the liquid stuff does not budge throughout the day. If you have oily skin, DEFINITELY do this. Dry skin, you can get away with not setting it. 
I never paid attention to my eyebrows, but now I do!
  • If you put all of this stuff on your face, sometimes your eyebrows can get drowned. Not only this, but if you have a ton of eye shadow on, suddenly your eyebrows disappear. This is when you need to fill in your brows.
  • Filling in your brows does not mean DRAWING ON your brows. Unless you have no eyebrows, don't do that. Use what the good Lord gave you and just fill in the sparse areas. Here is a good example of how to fill in your brows without looking unnatural. While some of it may be unnecessary for some of you, it gets the idea across.

I never cared about my lips, but now I do!
  • Sometimes foundation can cover up your lips and make you look like you don't have any lips. Who doesn't want lips? Before putting on foundation, I layer on some chapstick so my lips can be in the process of moisturizing and after I am finished, I wipe off my lips. The chapstick keeps the foundation from getting all over my lips, and all of it wipes right off clean!
  • If you like lipstick, wear natural colors for everyday unless you're bold and wanna rock a cool lip. Its really all personal preference. I love a good red lip, personally. Just make sure your lips are moisturized BEFORE the lipstick. 
I never used any tools for application, but now I do!
  • Your fingers are great tools, but sometimes it gets to be unsanitary or just not a good application technique for some areas. I have a big set of brushes that I use for applying powder, blush and my eyeshadows. 

  • For foundation, I use the fake version of the Beauty Blender (which normally costs around $20 for this little sponge... mine is around $5 from Target). You dab it all over your face with your foundation and it blends it all in very well. 

I could go on and on and on about makeup, but hopefully these tips will help you beautiful women!

Remember that it is not makeup that makes a woman beautiful! You are all gorgeous and loved! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Averting the gaze.

I was sitting alone tonight at the Klondike Cafe of Wingate waiting on my food to be prepared.
The room was packed with people and there I was, sitting all alone with my face in my cellphone.
I couldn't help but realize what I was doing and how incredibly sad it was to keep my eyes on my phone in order to keep an awkward eye contact with a stranger from happening.

Even when I did look up, I noticed that anyone who I could have made eye-contact with automatically averted their gaze in an opposite direction. Now, I didn't take this personally because heck, I do the same thing in situations with strangers at night. You don't want to look like a creeper.

But this idea of "averting your gaze" in all social interactions began to really bother me.

Is it so hard to look into the eyes of someone you've never met? Or even someone you do know?

I do this thing all the time where I purposefully try to look into the eyes of passersby and smile. If they smile back, I think that says something about their character. I assume that they would be someone who I would like to associate with. The more I see and smile at this person, the greater chance I have of making a friend.

Friends yielded from this practice are little to none, but I'm still working on it (haha).

Tonight, I realized it is a different thing when I'm not on the move. When I'm sitting alone in a crowded room, the chance of me looking up and smiling at a stranger is scarce. Maybe its because I'm an introvert and groups of large people scare me but maybe it goes to show something deeper about people in general.

Something about looking into someone else's eyes just shows vulnerability, I think. And perhaps being vulnerable is what our society struggles with the most.

Think about it. We are forever in search of the ways that are most comfortable to us. We like to be in the neighborhood with the nicest people, be put in group-projects with the best-behaved of the bunch (at least I do), sit with all our friends at lunchtime...
Even technology has created an avenue to escape vulnerability. I mean, the cell-phone is like the vulnerability shield of our generation.
Riding an elevator with someone you don't know = look at your cellphone.
Awkward conversation turning to silence = look at your cellphone.
Crowded room full of people waiting on food = look at your cellphone.

In ways, we are isolating the people that need interaction the most. It is a proven sociological and psychological fact that we all need to socialize in order to develop. Why is it that we have isolated ourselves from continuous development at an older age?

If a baby stuck it's head in a cellphone every time someone looked at them, it would literally become mentally disabled. Socialization is just THAT important.

(Can you tell that I actually learn stuff in college? haha)

It may sound crazy, but I think if we were all just a little more vulnerable, the world would be a better place.

Lets take a chance, folks. Lets not avert our gazes. Look into the eyes of someone and you might just look into their heart.