I am a twenty year-old college student based in the Boston area. As a Digital Media + Social Justice major, spreading inspiration and positivity is extremely important to me. When I'm not reading, writing, or blogging, I enjoy cooking delicious vegan meals and binge-watching crime shows on Netflix. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 18

I’m happy to say I’ve had a super productive weekend, and lots of time to unwind and de-stress after working forty hours last week! I normally only work 32 hours per week, but my boss asked me to cover a Friday shift and I can always use the extra money. On Friday, Buck came over and spent the night (as he usually does on a weekend night) and we ordered delivery and watched cartoons (as we also usually do.) My back was so sore after spending so much time running around at Starbucks, I had no problem falling asleep in the blink of an eye on Friday. The last thing I remember is Buck watching tik toks and turning his phone to show me them as I fell asleep, lol.

Check out the fabulous lighting in my room! This mirror is magical.

Yesterday was catch-up-on-things-around-the-house day, so I did tons of laundry, cleaned up my room, and went grocery shopping at Target. The Target I went to was definitely not the closest grocery store to me, but I like to go there because it’s the single ONLY location I know that carries the Gardein Chick’n Florentino. I also bought a bigger reusable water bottle, because I definitely don’t drink enough water throughout the day and I’d like to make a bit more of an effort. I also started watching Coven last night, the third season of American Horror Story, despite Buck’s warnings that it’s going to be too spooky for me. I will admit, I’m four episodes in and it is quite disturbing, but I’m definitely too deep into it now and I HAVE to see how it ends. I actually don’t watch a lot of Netflix nowadays, but hey, it’s spooky season, and what better way to spend October than binging spooky television?

To be honest, it’s been really nice to focus all my attention on something besides work. I have definitely felt like Starbucks is consuming my life lately, particularly since it’s so intensive and there’s even some internal store drama going on. I’m trying to transfer pretty badly, both for my own well being and to cut my commute in half, but I’m also not opposed to finding a new job altogether. Even if I just cut back on my hours and spend more time doing freelance/remote work, that would be a step in the right direction.

On that note, today has been all about applying for jobs and getting some writing done. I’m going to start publishing two articles a week instead of three for the foreseeable future, because with my current busy schedule it’s just too easy for me to get behind. I’m looking forward to the week ahead, including weekly dinner with my friends and taking Nathaniel on a surprise date some day next weekend, and *maybe* even a response from a new job? Stay tuned!

Had a lovely little picnic in Brighton yesterday. I love these overalls.

Wednesday, October 7

I’ve had pretty much exclusively early shifts this week, which is difficult when I’m scrambling out of bed at 5:30am but totally worth it when I’m clocking out at 3:30 in the afternoon. I think having four straight days of waking up madly early has been taking a toll on me, as I usually have one 8 or 9am start time thrown in somewhere in the middle to help me recharge. I think feeling consumed by work this week has made me a bit more irritable and sensitive than usual, which isn’t really surprising.

I’ve also been stressed because the expenses of living completely independently are more present than ever. Because I have to switch subways four times a day just to get to and from work, my train fare bills are so expensive. I did the math and it looks like I spend $115 a month just taking the subway! On top of that, I essentially ran out of food yesterday and my SNAP benefits don’t land until Saturday, so that was really stressing me out. I decided to get my dinner from Starbucks because I get free food for working there, and then I went to another Starbucks that was closer to Buck’s school so I could eat with him and spend some time getting work done with him. He bought me dinner on the spot when he learned that I’m broke, which made me cry like a baby in the cafe. And then, afterwards, he paid my train fare to get home! I also received a few venmo donations from my other friends who learned about the situation I’m in currently. It is so sweet and generous of them, and I don’t think I can accurately put into words how much it truly helped me this week. I have an amazing support system.

I think my takeaway from this week has been that I (eventually) need a better paying job. I have enough to barely scrape by every month, but not much more than that. At the rate I’m going, I’ll never be able to put away savings, get off welfare, or even dream about getting a car. And particularly since I have a college degree and I could easily cut my commute in half (cost and time wise) by finding a new job, there’s no reason for me not to. And I mean, for what? To brew coffee? I love my job and the people I work with, but now that I’m settled into my new life in Boston, I think it’s time to aim higher.

So that’s what I’ve been doing these past few days: thinking about what sort of jobs I’d like to have. There is a really great website for hiring in Boston called HireCulture, and because it specializes in creative jobs for artistic folk like me, I’ve been really excited about checking that out. I’m also trying to be easy on myself and remind myself that I’m doing the best I can with my current circumstances. I know I’m a hard worker, and I will continue to work hard to build a better life for myself. 

Sunday, October 11

It’s about eleven in the morning right now, and for the second time ever, Nathaniel and I are actually successfully sitting side-by-side and getting work done in silence! We always say that we want to hang out and do work together, but we usually end up getting distracted and putting on a movie instead or something. Today, however, we both have our headphones in, we’re fully caffeinated, and we’re both click-clacking away at our keyboards together.

It’s so nice to have reached the weekend after such a taxing week. It wasn’t a bad week or anything like that, but it was certainly overwhelming at times and I’m glad to have a chance to catch my breath now and focus on other things. For one thing, I’d really like to do some more poking around for jobs that are both closer and higher in salary. I’m also going to get some articles done today, of course, and then I want to make some plant terrariums for my friends who very kindly sent me money, as a thank-you gift. And then, after that, it’s just going to be video games until bedtime! Playing The Sims is hands-down my favorite way to unwind and forget about the world for a while in my free time. What do you guys use as escapism? Do you have a favorite video game too?

Anyway, I’m hopefully going to get today’s newsletter up in a few minutes, then I’m going to finish my fall lookbook, which was supposed to come out last Thursday. And then, I suppose I’ll move onto the job hunt. If I could find a closer Starbucks to my house that gave me more hours, that would probably be the most optimal outcome. I’ll keep you guys updated on how my ongoing job hunt is going.

It’s officially fall, which means it’s now my favorite season! This particular fall already feels so much different than past ones, as this is essentially the first October I’m spending not being in school. It’s very surreal to see the leaves changing and feeling the weather getting colder, but knowing that I’m not going back to school because…there’s no school left to go back to.

Anyhow, this fall also feels a bit different because I’m focused more on buying clothes that are comfortable and appropriate for work, rather than outfits that I think are cute for class. I’ve certainly been buying a lot of cozy sweaters, and I noticed they all fall into a similar color story, so you’ll probably notice a similar theme in this lookbook. 

Let’s start off with the color palette I’ve been loving so far. I’ve always been really drawn to pastels, particularly pinks and yellows, no matter what the season. I can also pretty much only wear neutral tones to work, so that’s why several of the tops I pick out are either white or gray. I like colors that can pair easily with denim or yoga pants, so shades of white, cream, and beige are usually a pretty safe bet. I also tend to stick mostly with cottons rather than wools, as I find wearing wool to be extremely repulsive and uncomfortable.

As you can tell, I’ve been OBSESSED with my overalls and I try to wear them at least three times a week. For one thing, they’re extremely comfortable and perfect for working in a coffee shop. I love that I don’t have to constantly hike up my pants while wearing these! I also love that they serve as a perfect transitional piece for a fall in New England- you can wear them with a short-sleeved top in the summer, and then, as the weather starts to cool down, you can transition to overalls and sweaters (as I’ve been doing frequently.) I truly believe everyone, regardless of gender, needs a pair of overalls in their closet.

Like I said, I’ve been really loving sweet, feminine pastels, such as with my color gradient sweater I picked up a couple of years ago, and the super-soft tie dye hoodie I found for 40% off at Aerie last month. I’ve been wearing both of those items constantly this fall, particularly the hoodie down at the cape last weekend. As you can probably guess, I like to purchase things that are versatile and have a multi-purposeful use. This hoodie doubles as both my pajamas and my lazy-day slip-on, and additionally, as something for my boyfriend to occasionally sneak from my closet. If you don’t have a good, everyday hoodie yet, fall 2020 is the time to invest in one. I think we could all use a big, cozy hug from a soft hoodie right now. 

Going back to neutrals and clothing items that can be easily mixed and matched, I’ve been enjoying layering my outfits this month. New England especially is known for its rapidly-changing weather; it could be 30 degrees in the morning and up to 75 by the time I’m leaving work at 3pm. With that being said, I’ve been wearing a lot of neutral cardigans that can easily dress up or dress down an outfit, depending on how the weather evolves throughout the day. 

I’ve never been huge on prints, but horizontal stripes have always vibed really well with me. If you peep some of my older lookbooks you’ll notice horizontal stripes make quite a few appearances! I think it’s just a classy, universally flattering pattern for everyone, and particularly in the fall, I’ve noticed that stripes in general seem to be very trendy.

That’s pretty much where my style has been going these past couple of months! It honestly hasn’t been a very far departure from my summer style- perhaps just a bit more bundled up and cozy. The spark notes of this lookbook are basically bulky, cotton knits in a variety of pastel and neutral colors, and lots of denim to match. What have you guys been loving so far this fall? Do you keep up with popular trends, or do you travel to the beat of your own drum? Let me know down below!

While I have definitely used a lot of awesome makeup in my life, there are also a few products scattered here and there that I was not impressed by. Today I’d like to share with you some of the most disappointing makeup products I’ve ever used, from skincare to eyeshadow. It is important to note, however, that just because something didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. Everybody has different needs and preferences when it comes to makeup!

Acure | 100% Plant Squalane | $9.99

This product is a perfect example of something that doesn’t work for me, but may very well work for someone else. I’m not exactly sure what squalane is, but I can tell you this- it made my skin VERY shiny and oily. As someone who already has oily skin, this product truly just didn’t mesh well with me and left my skin feeling like I’d just rubbed olive oil all over it (not an exaggeration.) However, if you deal with exceptionally dry skin, this could be the perfect product for you! I have to say, I’m not giving up on Acure yet because I’ve heard great things about the brand, so I’ll let you guys know what I think of their other products.

Yuni | Yunicorn Celestial Jelly Daily Mask Cleanser | $9.99

This was another product I picked up on the same trip as the Acure serum, so in retrospect, not a great shopping day for me. I genuinely like the idea of this product, but I found the application to be somewhat nonsensical. You’re supposed to apply this product onto dry skin with dry fingertips, and then wet your fingers and spread the product around, but I always found that doing so wouldn’t allow the product to get bubbly or wet enough. It was a miss for me, but hey, maybe someone else out there will love this. 

Urban Decay | Eyeshadow Primer Potion | $13

You know, I genuinely wish this product worked out for me. It has great reviews, it’s loved by many, and by now it’s essentially considered a staple in the makeup community. However, I have to be allergic to something in this product because the last few times I used it in the past, my eyes developed a puffy, itchy rash. Obviously not everyone is going to have the same experience as me, but until I know exactly what ingredient in this product was harmful to my eyes, I definitely won’t be picking this one up again. I prefer to use a concealer as an eyeshadow base anyhow, as I personally feel like that is a better method for keeping your shadow looking pigmented and long-lasting.

POPBeauty |  Lightshow Eyeshadow Fire Fit | $14

I know I previously mentioned in another post that I was looking forward to using this product, but now that I’ve been looking at the swatches and thinking about it harder, I actually think this product was a miss for me. It would be one thing if this was a $5 eyeshadow palette, but for $14, I would have expected a little bit better color payoff and overall performance. I’m definitely going to try to keep using it, but in general, I really feel like the mattes in this palette were so chalky and underwhelming. 

That’s going to be it for today! I know this was a bit of a shorter article, but I suppose that’s a good thing, because it means the majority of the products I’ve tried have been a success. Have you guys tried any of these products yourself and had similar results? Let me know down below!

Monday, October 5 

It’s crazy that it’s already October, isn’t it? 2020 is seriously flying by, which I suppose is a good thing, since 2020 hasn’t really been treating anyone kindly. I’ve been a bit behind on blogging and writing, so today is all about playing catch-up after the very busy weekend I had! From Friday to Sunday, I was in Cape Cod with Buck and his family to attend his sister’s wedding. I had never been to the cape before, so it was really exciting to visit a new place I know nothing about (and of course, I was super excited to go to attend Hil’s wedding!). We went to the private beach near where we were staying at sunset and when I saw how beautiful the rainbow sky looked, I actually cried. I’ve never seen such a beautiful sight in my life, and especially in such a negative year, it was such a treat to watch something so astonishing and be reminded of the goodness in the world.

The ceremony was also on the beach, and I felt perfectly safe being there because it was a small ceremony (and since it was outdoors, there was plenty of breathing space.) I cried once during the ceremony because I’m such a feeler, and a couple more times during the reception during the first dances. I can’t help it- I think weddings are so beautiful and filled with good energy, it’s hard for me not to tear up a little. And particularly since I adore Buck’s family so much, it was hard not to feel blanketed in love. Being engulfed in the wedding energy all weekend made me think about my own future wedding a lot too; what I’d like for myself, who I would invite, etc. Buck knows I want to propose to him next year, but it’s not something I’m actively planning at the moment. I have a general idea of what I’d like to do, so maybe I’ll tell y’all someday. 

Normally I would be working today, but I took PTO in advance because I wasn’t sure what time I would get home last night. It’s a good thing I did, because like I said, I really wanted to catch up on some writing and do some things around the house. I’m working some overtime in the next few weeks anyway, so it’s not like I’m losing hours or money anyhow.

That’s pretty much everything I’ve been up to this past week and weekend! Obviously a lot of wedding excitement for Nathaniel’s sister and the family, which I felt so honored to be a part of, and now I’m slowly easing myself back into my normal routine. I’m looking forward to getting my paycheck on Friday and my food stamps on Saturday- my fridge is starting to look a little bit bare! When I say I’m low on food, it’s because I (stupidly) buy a lot of perishable things at once and don’t realize that many of them will go bad before my next SNAP benefits land- not because I can’t afford to eat. It’s moments like this that I’m actually grateful to work at Starbucks, because I know I can get some free (or heavily discounted) meals from my job until then. I hope you guys have a really great week ahead- I’m looking forward to spending my days with my friends at work and my weekends with buck- so I have nothing to complain about. Stay safe, everyone!

Now that I am making tips at work and my income is steady, I’m happy that I’ve been able to make a few fall purchases here and there. If I am going to make any sort of purchase, especially if it’s something on myself, I try to stick with things that I know I will keep and take care of for as long as possible. With that being said, let’s hope I’ll get a good, long use out of all of these new purchases! 

Quilted Bedding | Target

I’ve been using white bedding for a while now, and while I like it in theory, it’s not as nice anymore when you realize it looks SO dirty so fast. Literally two days after I washed my white bedding, it would already be covered in lint and dirt and look just as unkempt as it did before. A lot of the bedding/bedroom setups I’m drawn to on Pinterest are yellows and burnt oranges, so when I decided to purchase some new bedding, that’s the color scheme I opted for. I would have ideally wanted a set that came with pillowcases as well, but I couldn’t find a set in my size, so I just opted for the quilt instead. I like it because it’s not too heavy, it’s extremely easy to wash, and so far, it’s been holding up nicely! Definitely a pricey purchase, but also worth it. 

Plaid Scarf | Target

I saw this scarf during the same shopping trip as the bedding, and seeing how it was only 5 bucks, it didn’t take long for me to decide to buy it. I like this style of scarf because it can be worn as both a shawl or a regular neck scarf, and since I’m living on a budget, there’s nothing I love more than a two-in-one! I’m looking forward to keeping warm with this all season long (and for many seasons to come,) even if I already have a mask to cover the lower half of my face.

Denim Overalls | Gap

This was actually purchased for me by my lovely mother (who has a matching pair, might I add,) but I’m still going to add it to my list of new fall additions. As far as I know, I’ve never owned a pair of overalls before now, and I am totally in love with them. Even better, I’m allowed to wear them to work at Starbucks because they fit the dress code! I’m so excited to wear these out as long as I can- hopefully for many years to come. I love clothing that is functional, comfortable, and of course, very cute. 

Pastel Tie Dye Hoodie | Aerie

Fall is the ultimate hoodie season, so I’m making sure I’m well-stocked in that department this October. Aerie was having a 40% sale on all their hoodies, and since this one looked extremely soft and pretty, I ultimately decided to buy it as a little treat for myself at the mall. Nathaniel has also been loving this hoodie, and according to my friends at college, he’s even been seen sporting it around campus. I can’t say I blame him- it really is a great hoodie!

Grateful Dead Hoodie | Urban Outfitters

Speaking of hoodies I’ve been sharing with Nathaniel, we’ve both been loving this super huge, cozy, Grateful Dead sweater I bought with my tip money last week. I normally don’t really shop at Urban because it’s so expensive, but they do have a great selection of Grateful Dead merch, and I knew I would get a great use out of this hoodie. It also now holds sentimental memories for me, as I brought it with me to a family wedding last weekend and wore it while we all sat around the fire. I think cozy, big hoodies are always a good purchase, so I can’t say I regret purchasing it. 

That’s pretty much everything I’ve been loving this fall, from my wardrobe to my bedding! I love everything, but I think I’m especially living for the overalls and the Grateful Dead hoodie. Let me know what you guys are excited about this fall in the comments below!

As soon as September 1st hits, I go headfirst into Fall Mode and nobody can stop me. I don’t care when the official first day of fall is- summer’s over as far as I’m concerned! I have a great variety of things to tell you about this month, so I hope you guys find this article enjoyable and informative.

Health & Beauty | Method Body

Now that I’ve used up the last of my Lush Rockstar soap, it was time to invest in something new for the shower. I noticed one of my housemates had a Method body wash in our shower, which is what sparked my interest into trying out the brand. I decided to go with the “pure peace” scent, which has notes of peony, rose water, and pink sea salt. I love traditionally soft and “feminine” scents, and this body wash is just absolutely delightful. Not only am I obsessed with the scent, but I also love the ethics behind the company. There’s nothing bad or damaging in this formula, so not only does shower time smell like a luxurious spa- I can feel good about my choices, too!

Home & Decor | Apple Pumpkin Candle by DW Home

I don’t need to remind y’all that I shop for fall candles year-round, and when I first smelled this candle, I knew I had found my new favorite. The scent is pretty strong, so if you’re sensitive to candles, you may not love this one. However, I LOVE the overpowering apple smell and I probably burned it for at least two hours a day this month. Unfortunately, I’ve now run out after burning it so much, but the good news is, I’ve got plenty of other fall candles lined up. 

Lifestyle | Pumpkin Anything

This past month, I have been cooking (and drinking) so many pumpkin items, it’s a wonder I’m not sick of it yet. For one thing, pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin cream cold brews from Starbucks are my EVERYTHING right now (god, I sound so white.) And, as someone who works at Starbucks, I’ve seen a lot of other folks jump on the pumpkin drink bandwagon as well. I’ve also been incorporating pumpkin into my baking lately, such as with my pumpkin bread that I made last week. I’m sure I’ll be sick of pumpkin by November, but for now, I’m a huge fan.

Health & Beauty | POPBeauty

I’m a strong believer that one should switch up their skincare routine every few months to keep things fresh and updated. Particularly with the seasons changing and the weather getting colder, I wanted to pick out some new products that would really focus on hydration and renewal. I decided to go with POPBeauty because their line was very affordable, vegan, and none of the items looked too intense for my sensitive skin. Right now, I’m using the Fizz Jelly Cleanser, the Extra Aqua Shot serum, the Zero Shine Hydrator, and the ZZZ Mask before bed. I also bought the Makeup Magnet Mist, which I’ve been loving as well. Like I said, these products are super clean and gentle on the skin, and I also really enjoy the bright aesthetic of this brand. I’m super excited to continue adding to my collection! 

Food | Candy Corn Boom Chicka Pop

I have to make a confession, I bought this popcorn at Star Market and I literally ate the entire bag in one day. In my defense, it was a medium-sized bag and not a huge one, but still. This stuff is VASTLY addicting. I’m actually not a big fan of candy corn itself (it gives me a sore throat?), but this stuff was straight-up delicious and perfect as a sweet fall snack. I’ll definitely be buying this again on my next trip to the grocery store.

Entertainment | The Michelle Obama Podcast

I think Michelle Obama is simply just a lovely person. She seems like she really has her life together, and her wisdom shines through for so many admirers. I was really excited when she announced that she was starting a podcast; I felt like it was a really human thing for her to do, to open up about her life experiences in a very personal way with her guests and her audiences. Not only have I learned a lot about Michelle from the podcast, but I also feel like I have learned a lot about womanhood and what I can expect as I continue to navigate through the world and develop into my own strong woman. 

Fashion | Oversized Sweaters

I’m basic, I know, but there is nothing I love more on this planet than a huge, cozy, neutral sweater. It definitely does not help that I live down the street from a TJ Maxx and I can go shopping for sweaters whenever I want. I’ve been really into neutrals lately (when am I not into neutrals?), which will account for why most of my oversized sweaters are an array of beiges, whites, and grays. I’m particularly loving this gray zip-up sweater I picked up the other day; I’ve been wearing it almost every day since I bought it. 

That’s everything I’ve been loving so far in September! What have you guys been enjoying so far this fall? Let me know in the comments. 

Saturday, September 26

Right now, I’m sitting at Starbucks (the one my boyfriend is working at, actually,) enjoying a pumpkin cream cold brew and trying to get some work done. I don’t know if other people feel this way, too, but I find it easier to work when I’m not in my own house. If I try to work in bed, for example, I either end up napping or scrolling through my phone. So coming to Starbucks seemed like a good idea for today; I got to see Buck, reload some money on my Charlie Card, and get some work done! And coffee, of course. I get a horrid migraine if I don’t have my caffeine. 

As you can see from the title, yes, I did sprain my wrist this week. I’m actually not exactly sure how I did it, but it was almost definitely caused by work. I have to do a lot of heavy lifting, so it makes sense that one wrong move or strain on my wrist could cause me to get a grade I sprain. It’s not too bad, but for the past few days I haven’t been able to put any pressure on that wrist without feeling a shooting pain. So I’ve been doing most things with my left hand, which has been tricky, but going alright. I also currently can’t really afford to buy a cast or a splint right now, so I’m sure that’s going to slow down my healing as well.

Anyway, work was quite stressful this week and physically taxing (mostly due to my injury,) so I’m really happy to have a few days off to catch up on other things and have some self-care time. On Tuesday, I had a lovely dinner with my co-workers, and we decided that we’re going to continue to have weekly dinners and rotate whose house we go to. Next week, we’re going to have fancy ramen at my friend Luke’s house which I’m really looking forward to. Obviously we talk about what’s going on at work, but we also talk about our relationships, our lives in Boston, being queer, etc. It’s really nice to know that I’ve made some solid friends for life since moving to Boston.

Then, on Wednesday, Buck came to visit me at work and ended up just hanging around until the end of my shift. We got some pizza afterwards, which was so lovely of him to treat me to, and then he ended up coming back home with me and staying the night. It’s nice to have someone to sleep next to and then wake up with; somehow, it makes the day ahead feel more bearable and comforting, knowing you are starting your morning on a note of love and safety.

Besides seeing him and my friends this week, I haven’t really been up to too much! I did buy some new bedding, which I’m currently loving a lot. Besides that tiny new update, really nothing in my life has changed. I’m just having a good time enjoying my life, spending time with my loved ones, and getting blogging done in-between. Next weekend is Buck’s sister’s wedding, which we will obviously be attending, and I’m really looking forward to telling you guys all about that! Stay safe this week and remember to take care of yourselves.

Since living in Boston and working almost full-time, my makeup routine and budget for makeup has certainly changed a bit! For one thing, I hardly wear any makeup at work, so a lot of the products I do pick out are more so designed to enhance my features a little bit and make me look awake, rather than a full-coverage glam beat. It’s noteworthy to add that while I wish all of these products were cruelty free (it’s an ideal I strive for,) L’oreél and Maybelline are unfortunately not cruelty free at this current point in time. With that out of the way, I hope you enjoy reading about some of the makeup I’ve been using lately from the drugstore! 

Lightshow Palette Fire Fit | POPBeauty | $12

I normally steer clear of drugstore eyeshadow palettes because I just don’t think they hold up to the more expensive ones (nor do I find the color stories interesting,) but this one just looked too beautiful for me not to try. I’d never heard of POPBeauty before, but since the price was decent and the entire collection of products looked adorable and clean, I decided to give it a go. As most of you know, I’m a huge fan of warm browns and oranges, and that’s exactly what this palette has to offer! The colors are gorgeous and the shimmers are especially stunning, but the mattes were not quite as pigmented as I had hope. Nonetheless, I’m definitely going to keep using it this fall and I’m glad to add it to my eyeshadow collection! 

Colour Riche Matte Lipstick in “Matte-Traction” and “Matte-ly in Love” | L’oréal | $11 each

I definitely don’t need another red lipstick in my makeup bin, but oh well, I really loved the look of these two colors. I think $11 for a lipstick is super reasonable, particularly since they all perform relatively the same and look all alike once applied on the lips. I was expecting these lipsticks to be a bit more matte, considering the names, but they still looked very flattering despite being a more cream-based formula. I also really like the packaging on these lipsticks: for a drugstore item, I actually think they look quite sleek and expensive. 

BrowFast Sculpt | Maybelline | $6

I’ve been meaning to buy a brow mascara for forever now, because I’ve finally grown my brows back in and I think they look much more natural when I use a mascara wand as opposed to a brush or a pencil. Although I really love this product a LOT and I think it’s so simple to use, I wish I had gotten a lighter color! My natural hair color is quite a warm brown, and the brow mascara shade I picked out is quite an ashy, dark brown. Nonetheless, for $6, I’m super impressed and I’m definitely going to keep using it because I love the formula. 

Matte Lip Stain in “Empower” | L’oréal | $12

Right behind a classic red, my second favorite lip color is a nudey pink. This time, I decided to opt for a lip stain formula and go with this one, also by L’oréal. I love this formula because it’s not too drying- something I pay attention to as the weather starts to get colder. There’s nothing worse (makeup-wise) than putting a drying lip stain onto your cracked lips! Because this lip stain is so soft and smooth, I think it could also double nicely as a cream blush. What do you guys think? 

MasterCamo Crayon Corrector | Maybelline | $10

I’ve always had very red, uneven skin, and since I’ve had luck with green concealers in the past, I decided to buy a new one. One of my biggest reasons for wearing such a heavy foundation in the past was because I wanted to erase my redness, but now that my makeup is on the softer side these days, I’ve found it looks more natural for me to just counteract the redness and then put a BB cream on top. I really like the spongy design of the brush, and I think it’s been doing a pretty good job so far! This is definitely going to become an everyday item for me. 

Lip Liner in “Brandy Wine” | wet n wild | $4

Last but certainly not least, I decided to pick out a dark lip liner that I could wear with my nude-colored lipsticks. I think that adding more emphasis to your lower lip and cupid’s bow can make them look more defined and rounded, which is why I decided to pick a color that may mimic a shadow of my natural lip color. I’m pretty happy with the color, and for $4 there isn’t much I can complain about. What do you guys think?

For this month’s little ramble on human behavior, I thought I’d talk about a metaphor I think about frequently and have definitely posted about before: veils. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll leave the little excerpt from the book that first explained this concept to me here:

“Mom says each of us has a veil between ourselves and the rest of the world, like a bride wears on her wedding day, except this kind of veil is invisible. We walk around happily with these invisible veils hanging down over our faces. The world is kind of blurry, and we like it that way. But sometimes our veils are pushed away for a few moments, like there’s a wind blowing it from our faces. And when the veil lifts, we can see the world as it really is, just for those few seconds before it settles down again. We see all the beauty, and cruelty, and sadness, and love. But mostly we are happy not to. Some people learn to lift the veil themselves. Then they don’t have to depend on the wind anymore.”

This quote is from a book called When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead- a book I highly recommend, by the way. And ever since I first read the book about ten years ago, I’ve been thinking about my relationship with my own “veil” a lot, and what seeing the world with one means to me. After taking a required Ethics class back in college that discussed the theory of Rawl’s veil of ignorance, I began to think even harder about it and how other peoples’ veils affect their feelings towards themselves and others. And I wondered, years after first reading When You Reach Me, if perhaps Rebecca Stead was thinking about Rawl’s theories as well when she penned the quote.

Anyway, today I wanted to talk about what this means to me and how shifting my view of the external world has created an internal change within me. Instead of the wind softly blowing my veil out of my face, I feel like 2020 has just ripped it away completely. For me, there were several moments of my veil being snatched away and forcing me to look at the world how it really is: COVID-19. Racial Injustice and the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others. Wildfires scorching across the hottest places on earth and mercilessly destroying everything. Hurricanes. Politics. Corruption. Shootings. Death.

And then, aside from those worldwide, universally-traumatic events, I had my own private life changes that shifted my view of everything. And not all of them were bad, actually. Falling in love with Nathaniel (and realizing I have everything if I have him) was a huge shift in my world that lifted my veil and opened my eyes to what true love means. Moving out of the house and getting my first apartment, being on welfare and working a “real job” and doing everything for myself, by myself, shifted me without me even noticing. Because sometimes, you don’t even see the change happening until you suddenly wake up one day and realize everything is different now.

Going through coronavirus and being forced to examine how broken things are in this country, and how I, even unknowingly and blindly, have been contributing to a corrupt system by ignoring it, has really forced me to reevaluate everything. It has made me realize that although I have my own problems in my life, and my struggles are valid, there are other people around the world who have it ten times worse than me. There are people who are losing their lives, their loved ones, their faith in humanity, and their homes. And while I have my own share of loss, I still feel inclined to open myself up to the world with arms of empathy and kindness and sorrow, ready to help in whatever way I can. I am ready to un-learn old ways of thinking and continue to think critically about how I can be a better light in this world for others.

I’ve noticed that these external changes in my life have subtly changed the way I think about a lot of things. I feel quite comfortable in my own skin now, and I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, despite all of the scary things happening around me. I’ve noticed in the past six or so months that being a harder worker has made me a brighter, kinder person, who appreciates human interaction and connection more than anything in the world. I’m the person who will start a conversation with anybody- the old man sitting next to me on the train, the person behind me in the grocery store line, or the customer ordering a coffee from me at work. There’s something about 2020 and needing to feel connected to everybody that has made me want to throw positivity around like confetti.

There’s another veil-lifting moment I want to talk about that struck me a couple of weeks ago. I went back to my hometown for a couple of days so that I could visit my eye doctor, and I ended up staying overnight with my dad. He put dinner down in front of my face- it was a piece of pizza from one of my favorite spots in New England- beach pizza from Tripoli’s. And I don’t know why it was this exact moment in time that struck me so strongly, but I just stared at that pizza in awe and looked back up at my dad, like, “Wait, you’re sharing your food with me? This is for me? And you don’t have to buy food with SNAP benefits? And I don’t have to clean up the dishes?”

I don’t know if I’m doing a great job of explaining how astonished I feel, so let me try again. For the past few months, living on my own and paying my own bills and just trying to get by on welfare living with two people who I don’t like very much (and definitely don’t share anything with, let alone pizza,) my brain was just having a really hard time processing what my father was doing for me, giving me some of his food. And in that moment, I felt my veil being lifted, seeing my world for how it really is, and how much I have changed along with everything else around me.

Another veil-lifting experience of pure happiness and astonishment: A few days ago, Nathaniel was walking me back to the train station after I came to visit him for an afternoon cup of coffee. The sky was playing some sort of an optical illusion that evening and the sun looked ginormous and red and beautiful, like a big glowing circle of red construction paper, and the clouds were streaked with pastel oranges and purples, and he proudly pointed out the sun to me because he knew I would gasp with delight. And I don’t know why, but there was something about that evening and Nathaniel showing me the sunset that made my eyes well up with tears and my heart feel so full, I thought it would burst. I remember I just grabbed him and hugged him so fucking hard, and I felt so happy to be alive in that perfect moment with him. That, to me, was another moment of lifting my veil and taking time out of my usual day-to-day life to stop and appreciate the world for what it really is. 

It’s moments like that which remind me why I have so much to be grateful for and appreciative of every day. I may not have much, like reliable food or enough quarters to do my laundry, but I have all the blood red sunsets and ten-minute hugs I could ever ask for. And that, for me, is something I’ve never even had to consider before this year.

Thanks for showing me the sun!