If you’re not familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, this article probably won’t make very much sense. INFJ is one of the sixteen Myers-Briggs personality types, and an extra-special one, dare I say. INFJs are the rarest personality type and make up less than one percent of the population. As an INFJ myself, it was an extremely rewarding experience to finally take the test and realize that my uniqueness and sensitivity is a good thing. I also began researching characters who are believed to be INFJs in literature, and found myself astounded by the results.

Side note: Obviously, MBTI is not a proven science, and thus, these ideas are my opinions and not necessarily factually proven. That being said, I did consult quite a few forums to verify my thoughts. Also, SPOILERS AHEAD.

Let’s refresh: What are the indications of an INFJ? Primarily, you can identify an INFJ by their strong intuition, sensitivity, and strong emotions. We enjoy spending time alone, reflecting on events of the day and the interactions we endured. Fiercely independent and quietly strong-willed, INFJs have left their mark on the world for centuries.

Ivy Walker

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“I see the world, just not as you see it.”

Though there may have been a few logical flaws in M. Night Shyamalan’s 2004 thriller The Village, heroine Ivy Walker was one of the golden characters that held the story together. Even in the face of fear, trauma, and loss, Ivy, a blind character, demonstrated incredible strength. One of the INFJ’s greatest tributes is their empathy for others, and Ivy’s emotional courage is what makes the plot relatable. Though a part of her has empathy for Noah Percy’s developmental disability, she ultimately must choose Lucius’ life over his. Soft spoken and unconditionally loyal to her family, Ivy is the true embodiment of an INFJ.


Atticus Finch

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“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view; until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Clearly, literary superhero Atticus Finch is an extremely complex character with a wildly fluctuating reputation (especially after the release of Go Set a Watchman). No matter how you feel about the father of Jem and Scout, it can’t be denied that his foresight and individuality sets him apart from peers in his community. While his Intuition (N) is introverted, his Feeling (Fe) is very extroverted- seen in how he encourages Scout to look at the world from a new perspective. One of the INFJ’s greatest assets is their diplomatic attitude, and Finch embodies this perfectly with his deep thinking and desire to make everybody happy, if possible.


Nitta Sayuri (Chiyo)

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“This is why dreams can be such a dangerous thing; they smolder on like a fire does, and sometimes they consume us completely.”

One of the reasons I loved Memoirs of a Geisha so much was because I truly felt like I identified with the main character, Sayuri. In true INFJ fashion, she is quiet, reserved, and peaceful on the outside. On the inside, however, Sayuri is brewing with visions of an idealistic future for herself and the Chairman. Sayuri is a hopeless romantic, often lost in the dream of what could be. She understands the balance between reality and idealism, but still secretly hopes for a future in which her soul can truly flourish. Delicate as a flower, but stronger than fire, Sayuri weaves a beautiful account of the INFJ in Memoirs of a Geisha.  


Lindsay Weir

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“Just ’cause a girl speaks her mind, doesn’t mean she’s a psycho.”

If you were a teenager in the 1990s, there’s a solid chance you probably remember the short-lived television show Freaks and Geeks. Lindsay, who openly struggles with peer pressure throughout the season, is easily swayed by her friends. She also serves as a mediator for many of the characters, quietly observing the change in her friends as they grow and mature together. Lindsay is perhaps one of the most thoughtful characters on the show, viewing life as a big picture rather than a collection of small details.


Jay Gatsby

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“There I was, way off my ambition, getting deeper in love every minute, and all of a sudden I didn’t care.”

As perhaps the most controversial character on the list, Jay Gatsby goes through one of the most dramatic character developments I’ve ever seen in a mere 192 pages. Though extremely idealistic and determined to achieve his goals, his weaknesses ultimately lead to his death. When an INFJ truly, deeply loves someone or something, the chances of tearing him/her away from their goal is slim to none. Gatsby’s love for Daisy and relentless pursuing of her just shows how out of touch with reality he can be, despite being extremely intellectual. Gatsby is quiet, observant, and clearly ambivalent as he switches between a wild party goer and an idealistic lover.


Daenerys Targaryen

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“I’m not going to stop the wheel, I’m going to break the wheel.”

I’m not a big watcher of Game of Thrones, but it didn’t take me very long to pick up a few clues about Daenerys. Though shy on the surface, she is a powerful ruler and a stubborn believer of what she feels is right. She is also extremely sensitive to criticism, and fiercely believes that all of her ideas must be righteous. Because her intuition and understanding of humanity are so strong, Daenerys understands what the other characters need to succeed and persevere. And, like every other character on this list, she is a strong advocate for social justice.  

Who are your favorite INFJs in literature? Let me know in the comment section!


Take the test yourself: https://www.16personalities.com/

Picture Citations

http://unbreakablemovie.wikia.com/wiki/Ivy_Elizabeth_Walkerhttps://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/02/harper-lee-atticus-finch-flip-flopper-115429https://www.aceshowbiz.com/still/00000574/memoirs_of_a_geisha_27.htmlhttps://www.planetclaire.tv/quotes/freaksandgeeks/lindsay-weir/http://flavorwire.com/389178/required-reading-list-jay-gatsbyhttp://fandom.wikia.com/articles/daenerys-targaryen-then-and-now

There seems to be an assumption going around that vegans only eat raw fruits and vegetables. I, in fact, first learned about this phenomenon through a meme on facebook:

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I mean, for one thing, I haven’t had a “heavy night out” in years. I’m more into the “stay at home and binge-watch The Office” scene. With a bag of Lay’s potato chips. Or a plate of enchiladas.

So clearly, my dietary needs extend a little bit beyond celery and sliced apples. I like a hearty, filling meal just as much as the next person- just without the whole murdering-innocent-animals component. And thus, the veggie burger was born.

If you’ve read up to this point, I’m hoping it’s safe to say you’re interested in my favorite foods to eat on the daily. This is an average meal plan for me, including snacks and how much water I aim to consume over the course of the day.

9:30am

The time that I eat breakfast varies from day to day, but generally, it’s after eight and before eleven. If I’m working an A.M. shift for that particular day, I’ll probably skip the smoothie bowl and grab some cereal instead. Buuut, if I’ve got some time to kill, a smoothie bowl is ALWAYS a go-to. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and the results are always remarkably tasty. This morning, I blended frozen mango chunks, ice, and bananas to get a base for the bowl- about a handful of each. To garnish and give it that insta-ready look, I added some more bananas, some strawberries, kiwi, peanut butter, granola, and cocoa pieces. The results are refreshing and filling, delivering a perfect punch of protein to get me through the day. Along with the smoothie bowl, I also enjoyed some iced coffee (a must) and a glass of water. I also prepare my portable water bottle, which I enhance by adding fresh fruits or cucumbers.

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1:00pm

Lately, I’ve been on a meatless meatball kick. These “meatballs” from Trader Joe’s are truly top notch, and add a rich flavor to any savory meal. Did I mention there are twelve grams of protein in every serving? Because they can be so filling, I sometimes choose to just enjoy them alone. Today, however, I added in a cup of steamed vegetables to bring some color to my meal. By lunchtime, I’ve probably downed half of my water bottle- if not more. Once you make drinking water a routine priority in your daily life, the rest is easy. Drinking water comes just as mindlessly to me as blinking or breathing- it’s not something I need to remind myself to do. Not only does drinking an adequate amount of water keep you feeling hydrated and awake, it’s also great for keeping your skin looking blemish-free.

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5:00pm

Before I became a vegan, one of the hardest things I envisioned giving up was pizza. On top of being the token dish at every social get-together, pizza is simple to make and extremely tasty. The good news is, vegan pizza is just as easy to make (and dare I say, even tastier.) My favorite way to prepare pizza is on a piece of vegan naan bread, which is available at most chain grocery stores. Feel free to top your naan pizza with whatever toppings you want, but for me, I only eat my pizza plain. Daiya makes excellent mozzarella-style shreds that melt and taste just like real cheese, I’m happy to report. Once again, I opt for a glass of water with my meal, or polish off my first bottle of flavored water that I made around breakfast time.

8:00pm

Around this time, I’m usually reading, writing for the blog, or catching up with my friends over text. I also tend to get very snacky around this time, as a thin-crust plain pizza doesn’t always quite cut it. Some of my favorite late-night snacks are peanut butter, chips, strawberries, granola, or cereal- or even a combination of two. I also tend to drink a lot of water at night, usually if I’m concentrating on one task for a long period of time. I also LOVE to take steaming hot baths, and enjoy a tall glass of cold water during that as well. If it’s a chilly night and I’m not in the mood to work on projects or take a bath, I enjoy making myself a cup of hot cinnamon tea and parking myself in front of my laptop to watch Netflix. Whatever it is I choose to do, I always make sure I’m satisfied, happy, and ultimately, healthy.

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If you’re interested in learning more about my diet, or if you have any suggestions for me, drop a comment below! I look forward to posting again on Wednesday!

xx

Sarah

 

 

Yes, this one’s for all you lovely pinup gals out there. As a practicing pinup myself, one of the best aspects of the style is the lovely compliments I receive from others. Vintage clothing is a timeless taste- one that will never go out of style. Not only is it beautifully classic and easily recognizable, but it’s also extremely fun to shop for! Here, I’ve compiled a list of where I like to find my retro-style clothes. Grace Karin and Belle Poque are available through Amazon, but I will include the link to the websites as well.

Without further adieu, my top three favorite modern vintage shops!

Grace Karin. Grace Karin is probably (actually, definitely) my favorite place to find modern vintage clothes. The prices are fair, the quality is terrific, and the range of prints to choose from is extremely impressive. The website also offers a wide range of styles to choose from, including casual dresses, vintage dresses, prom dresses, petticoats, and accessories. Grace Karin is the 2nd cheapest option for dresses and petticoats, with Belle Poque beating its prices ever so slightly. Belle Poque, if I remember correctly, actually falls under the same company that manufactures the Grace Karin dresses. For that reason, you’ll notice many of the patterns and styles are similar between the two companies.

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Website: https://www.gracekarin.com/


Belle Poque. As previously stated, Belle Poque carries the most cost efficient options for emerging vintage lovers. Not only do they also offer a wide range of dresses and petticoats, but they sell some prom dresses on the website as well! The vintage aesthetic of the clothes extends far beyond 50s glam as well- you can also find some steampunk Moulin Rouge-style skirts in the “Bottoms” section of the website. Just like Grace Karin, Belle Poque is independently owned and based in the USA. Many of the items are made from thick, breathable, high-quality cotton- something important to polyester haters like me.

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Website: https://www.bellepoque.com/


Modcloth. While Modcloth may be twice as expensive as Grace Karin and Belle Poque, it doesn’t come without good reason. These clothes are simply impeccably made and impossible to replicate, if I do say so myself. And, unlike Grace Karin and Belle Poque, Modcloth offers a swimsuit and shoe collection! (Remember my vegan sloth flats? Yes, those are from Modcloth). The heels on the website are absolutely adorable, and, if I had a larger disposable income, I’d buy many more of them. If you have a little bit of extra cash around, and you want something really special, I would definitely point you in the direction of Modcloth.

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Website: https://www.modcloth.com/


Unique Vintage. One of my favorite things about Unique Vintage is that the clothes are divided by era- so you can pick and choose what selections you’d like to see. Unique Vintage also has a lovely range of plus size options for vintage dresses, swim, and even flapper. The bright patterns, expertise construction, and inclusiveness of this brand makes them one of my personal favorites for picking up vintage goodies. Just like Modcloth, however, the prices are a little up there, so be careful how much you choose to splurge!

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Website: https://www.unique-vintage.com/


All pictures are from the websites they correspond with.

I’m no stranger to mental illness, but I’m not an expert either. That being said, I have picked up a few nuggets of information along the way, especially those pertaining to capitalism and injustice in modern health care. Oh, and the poor handling of mental illness in both public and private educational institutions.

With that out of the way, let’s carry on.

In this day of age, ADHD and ADD are basically slapped on anybody with a hyperactive mind. These diagnoses usually stamped onto the identities of children when they are quite young- more often in boys than in girls. While women are just as likely to have ADHD as a man, the stereotype seems to be that only men are diagnosed with the disorder. For this reason, ADD and ADHD are overwhelmingly underdiagnosed in females who are less likely to exhibit signs of hyperactivity.

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In my case, for example, I never had any issues with sitting still in elementary/middle school. In high school, I actually rather enjoyed sitting and taking notes. The only reason I excused myself from class to get my body moving was if I felt a panic attack coming on- not because I was bored. Perhaps the reason I never suspected I had ADD was because of this reason- I wasn’t loud, I wasn’t disruptive, and I wasn’t a “problem.”

The problem is, I did have symptoms of ADD, I just didn’t realize that that’s what they actually were. Looking back, I never had the slightest clue what my math and science teachers were talking about. Lectures, graphs, and numbers would go in one ear and come out the other within seconds. I could study data for hours on end, and my brain still wouldn’t be able to comprehend what I was seeing. Did I feel stupid? Absolutely. Did I think these issues, in fact, were attributed to a learning disability and thus not my fault? No, it never crossed my mind.

And THAT is the problem.

I got through public school with decent grades and a clean record of good behavior, but I did it through what I call intuitive learning. Rather than fundamentally understanding the material itself, I watched the other students and mimicked exactly what they did. I sure didn’t learn anything, but I earned myself the grades I needed.

In science classes which required physical labs, I probably would have seriously injured myself had I not been paired with a lab partner. No matter how hard I tried to listen to directions and visualize the steps in my brain, I just couldn’t grasp the concepts. I obviously wanted to understand the safety procedures and do the work properly, but no matter how hard I tried to focus, I always found myself completely tuning out and focusing on nothingness. No, I wasn’t even just daydreaming, my mind was literally blank.

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As I said, these intuitive-learning and people-pleasing tactics got me through high school with decent grades- enough to get me into college at least. I wasn’t the smartest in my class, but I also wasn’t the dumbest- hence why I was never detected as a “problem.”

What I excelled at the most in my high school career were art and English classes, which probably comes as no surprise. I have a much easier time focusing and absorbing information when I’m provided with colors, shapes, textures, pictures, etc., and these types of classes were excellent for my talents. Not only was I flourishing and having a good time learning, I was also recognizing my strengths and realizing that this was what I wanted to do with my life.

Of course, like many other underfunded public schools, my high school didn’t see art and imagination the same way I did. These classes were apparently not as important as mathematics and sciences, as demonstrated when we almost lost ALL art/music classes to budget cuts.

*Deep sigh.*

Can you imagine being a right-brained woman with undiagnosed ADD going through four years of schooling without any clue what’s going on around you?

Luckily, we artists and musicians fought the budget cuts for the classes that we deserved. That’s another story, though- one I’ll surely go into another time.

Anyway, on with the key point. The United States is building a wall (ha) of misdiagnosed mental illness, and the building blocks are ignorance and bias. I could have gotten the help I’d needed earlier and had a much more enriched learning experience in high school, had I known my learning disability was something to be taken seriously. Until we, the adults and the professionals, put more emphasis on true signs of ADD, girls (like younger me) will still avoid coming forward and sharing their struggles. If we all paid a little more attention to how our children, then perhaps these disabilities would be properly diagnosed and treated.


Works consulted/further reading: https://www.additudemag.com/add-in-women/

 

I’ve always been a book addict, and an old-school one at that. Not only are my preferred selections are the ones published in the nineteenth century under obsolete pseudonyms, but the way I like to enjoy my novels is rather old-fashioned as well. Tablets and Kindles? Forget it. I need to put a book up to my nose and sniff it to know if I’m going to buy it.

Admittedly, I do frequently reread books the books I love and cherish. Some of the books I read again and again include Anne of Green Gables, Memoirs of a Geisha, When You Reach Me, and Little Women. Anything with a strong female lead a heart-twisting plot evokes both my mind and my wallet, without question. The four books I’m currently reading go as follows:

Memoirs of a Geisha

Author: Arthur Golden

Page Count: 428

Genre: Historical Novel

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As previously said, this bestselling novel is one that I find myself picking up again and again. This timeless classic work is so beautifully written, you’ll find yourself periodically forgetting it’s a work of fiction. Nitta Sayuri, the main protagonist, weaves a story of success and prosperity after loss and trauma. Golden gives also gives an extraordinary look into the scenery Japan’s beauty, and reading this book made me want to hop on the next flight to Kyoto. This novel is a perfect blend of history and romance, and a must-have for any serious book lover.

 


The Name of the Star

Author: Maureen Johnson

Page Count: 372

Genre: Fiction, Ghost Story

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For someone who adores books and buys them on a whim, I have a surprisingly difficult time getting into books that I’m not priorly familiar with. And, for this reason, I was a little skeptical to dive into the Shades of London series. Apparently, I didn’t need to worry; I finished this book in three days, and I currently have the second book in my Amazon cart. This book has the perfect elements for a ghost story: a boarding school in London, a century-old killer, and a brashly brave female heroine. And really, what’s cooler than a secret British Police Force that fights off ghosts with diamonds?

 


And Then There Were None

Author: Agatha Christie

Page Count: 284

Genre: Mystery, Crime, Psychological Thriller

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As you’ve probably caught on to, I’m a sucker for anything that’s spooky and psychologically thrilling. That being said, how could I not pick up a copy of this classic Christie novel? This bestselling thriller has sold 100 million copies worldwide, and as I delve into it, I can see why. Christie’s hauntingly beautiful dialogue and nuggets of details tie the plot together into something truly magical. Similarly to The Name of the Star, I see myself devouring this book within weeks, if not days.

 

 


Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes

Author: Edith Hamilton

Page Count: 465

Genre: Mythology

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Growing up, one of my favorite things to read was a children’s book of mythology stories. I especially loved the tragic (yet oddly fascinating?) story of Persephone’s kidnapping to the underworld, and the tragic death of Icarus. Nothing compares to the beauty and intricacy of these stories, and Edith Hamilton does an excellent job weaving the tales. I love enjoying this book over a cup of ginger tea with my feet kicked up on the ottoman- and maybe The Office playing in the background. (Trust me, I’m an excellent multitasker.)

 


Picture sources:

https://www.google.com/search?q=the+name+of+the+star&rlz=1C1CHZL_enUS757US757&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiJyPaCuoPbAhWytlkKHbZ6B3gQ_AUICigB&biw=1200&bih=656&dpr=2.5#imgrc=p82jpUAjmiLfaM:

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/61237/memoirs-of-a-geisha-by-arthur-golden/9780679781585/

http://www.agathachristie.com/stories/and-then-there-were-none

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHZL_enUS757US757&biw=1200&bih=656&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=CZX4WqqgH4Tu_QaOmJtA&q=mythology+edith+hamilton&oq=mythology+edi&gs_l=img.1.0.0l3j0i5i30k1j0i8i30k1l4j0i24k1l2.93877.96313.0.97774.13.11.0.2.2.0.155.1170.7j4.11.0….0…1c.1.64.img..0.13.1200…35i39k1j0i67k1.0.sk-qEC_yDYc#imgrc=Ueb_54TCG6gwaM:

 

 

Name: Citrine
Chakras: Sacral, Solar Plexus, Crown

Zodiac: Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra

Planet: Jupiter

Element: Air

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Fun fact! Citrine was known as the “merchant stone,” as it was kept in cash boxes to attract prosperity.

On top of using crystals for my own health and well-being, I also frequently use them on friends and family for reiki-like healing sessions. One of the most common stones I use on the root and sacral chakras is citrine- a beautiful tangerine gemstone which originates from quartz. Citrine is the stone of abundance and success, bringing creativity and prosperity to all of your environments. The energy of citrine is one that is happy, joyful, energetic and vitalizing, on top of being fantastic for your health.

The healing properties of citrine extend to your body, mind, physiological realm, and emotions. If you find yourself feeling heavy and exhausted, meditating with citrine can energize your body and recharge your mind. Citrine also corresponds with the circulation and energy systems, thymus, thyroid, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, and the the female reproductive system. The stone is obviously versatile in what it promotes, making it my go-to for crystal healing sessions.

In regards to the mind, citrine promotes calmness and enhances your concentration, allowing you to focus on important information and steer away from distractions. I personally find myself holding on to citrine and studying it in times when I feel emotionally lost. There is something truly magical and mysterious about the way citrine works; this stone helps you to unearth the confidence and creative drive that may be hiding deep within you. As someone who is extremely sensitive to criticism, I have found that citrine helps me to respond calmly and constructively. Citrine itself possesses a positive attitude, and if you believe in the stone, that positive energy will seep into you as well.

Piggybacking on the mindfulness of citrine, it can also assist with raising self-esteem and overcoming depression. As an Aries myself who struggled with depression in the past, the correspondence between astrology and metaphysicality is something real and raw in my life. I am a highly sensitive person, and possessing a stone like citrine filters my intense energy into something positive and rich. If you want to know more information about citrine and its metaphysical properties, I highly recommend any book by Judy Hall. As for purchasing citrine yourself, Village Silversmith has wonderful authentic crystals. I’ve been buying from them (I live in New England) for many, many years, and recommend them to anyone who is starting out with crystals.

Judy Hall’s Website: https://www.judyhall.co.uk/

Village Silversmith Website: https://villagesilversmith.net/

Ah, sweet, sweet summer! While it may not be my favorite season, I have learned to appreciate the joy that comes with floppy-brimmed hats and opened-toed shoes. Being a New England gal, the weather can be quite unpredictable here, so it’s best to always have a variety of wardrobe options year-round. I’ve been into warm colors and intricate patterns lately, along with textured neutral accessories. Enjoy my seven wardrobe staples for this month! (Postscript: I do quite a lot of Amazon shopping, and that’s where you’ll find a majority of these items.)

This short-and-sweet floral printed 50s style dress from Grace Karin. This sleeveless, cotton boatneck dress comes in forty-two different prints, so I had a difficult time picking which one to order! This dress is breathable, comfortable, and absolutely stunning over a petticoat. Every time I put it on, I feel like I’m getting ready for an afternoon tea party. You can find it here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01J99PUF2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1&psc=1

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These classic flat Oxfords are perfect for both casual and formal wear- and they look fabulous with almost anything I pair them with. There aren’t many days I’m seen without a pair of heels, but these are my new go-tos for the long days spent on my feet. The little holes that dot the sides also make these shoes quite breathable and perfect for summer. Order them here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00724ZIBS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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This adorable dress is exactly same to the floral one- it just has a different print. I’ve never seen a print like this one before, and I fell in love the moment I laid eyes on it. Prepare to get loads of compliments when you wear this one out on the town! As I said before, the material is breathable yet thick, and looks marvelous over a petticoat.

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I purchased this beaded clutch at a local boutique for my Sophomore prom, which feels like ages ago. Though I scoured the internet thoroughly to see where else this clutch can be purchased, I couldn’t find the company or the seller. Fortunately, there are many other clutches on the market that are very similar, if not almost identical! This clutch isn’t big enough to fit a smartphone, but is the perfect size for tiny essentials, like lipstick and powder.

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Maaaaaybe my new favorite dress of all time? Gosh, this dress is amazing. I feel like a 1950s waitress every time I slip into it, especially when paired with the Oxfords. In the picture online, the minty color looked a brighter and tackier, so I was pleased to see that the actual color is rather muted and softer. This dress looks lovely with or without a petticoat, so have fun experimenting! Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0727M7H5G/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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I’ve posted about these flats before, but how could I not repeat myself? Yes, those are sloths hugging rainbows with cherub smiles on their faces. These flats are 100% vegan and ideal for both casual and formal attire, in my opinion. They pair nicely with any dress, adding fun and a bit of silliness to any summer look. Also, did I mention that they are insanely comfortable? You can find them here: https://www.modcloth.com/shop/shoes/slow-and-behold-vegan-ballet-flat/155024.html

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This A-line pleated high-waisted skirt, with a bow tie on the front. Sure, it’s only May, but can you imagine wearing this to a Christmas party with a ruffled green top in December? *dreamy sigh.* This elegant skirt is under $20 and comes in four different colors, including black, blue, and green. The material is breathable and light, while still keeping my tush fully covered at all times. I prefer it without a petticoat, but it looks lovely both ways. Find it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XSKL57Q/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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That’s what’s new, everybody! Enjoy your day, and I’ll see you on Friday.

xx

Sarah

(Spoiler alert: it’s good.)

 

For me, becoming a vegetarian did happen overnight. I woke up one day, decided that I was disgusted by the murder of innocent animals, and made up my mind right then and there to stop eating meat. It wasn’t hard in the beginning, and it still isn’t hard now. Even as a vegetarian, there are still tons of perfect comfort food options: grilled cheese, fries, ice cream, macaroni and cheese…

Referencing the list above, I wasn’t always so keen on becoming vegan. Before I was fully educated on the vegan diet, I believed it to be only eating carrots and kale, with a plain glass of water at every meal. Cheesy, gooey, comfort meals were obviously off limits for vegans.

Or so I thought.

Obviously, I’m much more educated on veganism now. In fact, I’m about 95% close to being completely vegan, and I still enjoy flavorful, filling meals. Veganism doesn’t have to be about just eating raw- it’s about finding more ethical and healthier alternatives to the foods you already love. I made myself the world’s gooey-ist dairy-free grilled-cheese sandwich today, and it was fantastic. So why are vegans getting such a bad rep?

I’m taking it upon myself to broadcast the joys of dairy-free cheese products. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Daiya.

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I mean, come on. LOOK AT THAT.

I was first introduced to Daiya Foods by a Buzzfeed article about vegan cheeses (because, you know, Buzzfeed.) The glowing reviews about its “tastes-exactly-like-cheese-but-isn’t-cheese” quality really got me thinking, and before I knew it, I was strolling through Whole Foods with the products in my cart.

According to the Daiya website, their products are completely free of the following:

Dairy (duh)

Eggs

Gluten

Soy

Peanuts

Fish/Shellfish

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Not only are the products better for you health-wise, but the packaging used by Daiya is also eco-friendly. As someone who is an outspoken advocate for sustainability, the eco-friendly aspect of Daiya gives them huge bonus points from me.

Obviously, there are some differences between vegan cheese and “regular” cheese, but the differences really are remarkably subtle. These slices have the same cut, texture, taste, and smell of real cheddar cheese. They’re perfect for sandwiches, and melt decadently onto Boca veggie burgers.

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I also picked up a few boxes of the Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac, in both the cheddar and alfredo variety. I tossed some steamed broccoli into the cheddar macaroni for dinner last night, and to say the least, my results were not disappointing.

I can’t stress enough how similar these Daiya products are to the taste of actual cheese products. Some of the flavors are a bit more bitter and slightly different in texture, but the taste is truly something homey and delicious.

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Works consulted: https://www.livekindly.co/vegan-cheese-brand-daiya-arrives-uk/

https://daiyafoods.com/why-daiya/daiya-difference/

 

Spring has sprung, and so has the hunt for the best new cosmetic products. For me, the month of May is all about new beginnings and hasty changes in the weather- though I’m not too excited about the latter!

It’s true. I, the sunshiney retro gal, am not the biggest fan of summer. I like my face a lot better when it’s not sunburnt and dripping with sweat, if I do say so myself. Nonetheless, these are the top five beauty products I’ve been using this month to keep my skin clean, moisturized, and as bright as it can be.

Ebb & Flow “Fire on the Mountain” Herbal Detox Clay Mask. I picked up this treasure at a local shop a few months back, but had neglected to try it out until recently. And boy, I had been missing out. Not only is this product 100% organic and cruelty-free, it’s also highly effective and carries a light, lovely, lavender scent. It’s also quite efficient for removing blemishes and blackheads when used twice weekly- something I’ll certainly need help with as the humid weather rolls in. To apply, mix a couple tablespoons of the mask with water until you achieve a sticky mixture, then apply all over the face. Bonus points: this product is VEGAN! Find it here for $16.00: https://www.ebbandflowbyty.com/shop/fire-on-the-mountain

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Valjean Labs “Restore” Facial Serum. Though traditionally found through the very boujee Urban Outfitters, I purchased this serum at my local Marshalls (for notably less than the original price, I might add.) For the days when my skin is feeling tired and uneven, this serum is perfect for brightening things up and truly tightening your pores. Traditionally, I use it before bed to give my skin a little bit of extra nourishment. This product is cruelty-free, and can be ordered either online or from the Urban Outfitters store. Find it here for $15.00: https://www.urbanoutfitters.com/shop/valjean-labs-facial-serum?category=SHOPBYBRAND&color=050

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ArtNaturals Brightening Vitamin C Serum. I learned about this product through WhispersRed ASMR, who mentioned it in her skincare routine video. She described the product as being excellent for brightening skin, tightening pores, and giving the skin a naturally radiant glow. Upon hearing of its clearly fantastic abilities, I had to purchase it myself, and I wasn’t disappointed in the least. Made in the USA and completely cruelty-free, this is another fantastic serum for daily use. I pat a generous amount of this serum on my face right after my morning shower, when I know my pores are the most open, and follow it up with a light moisturizer.   Find it here for $13.00: https://artnaturals.com/artnaturals-vitamin-c-serum-fights-free-radicals-and-reduces-wrinkles-1-fl-oz-30-ml-16-00.html

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Pukka Tea: “Revitalize.” Arguably, tea probably can’t be considered a “beauty product.” From my perspective, however, it is the products we put in our body that reflect how our skin looks on the outside. This vigorating and energizing tea will keep you feeling fresh and awake on both the inside and out. With ingredients like cinnamon and ginger, you’ll notice your eyes looking brighter and your skin looking clearer.  Find it here for £2.99: https://www.pukkaherbs.com/teas-supplements/pukka-organic-teas/revitalise/

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Lush “Mask of Magnaminty” Face and Body Mask. I must confess, this is a product I have been purchasing regularly since first trying it back in July. On those sticky, humid summer days, this stuff works magic for cooling off your skin and scrubbing out all the oily impurities from the day. This mask is also extremely moisturizing and soothing, both on the body and face.  Find it here for $14.95: https://www.lushusa.com/face/masks/mask-of-magnaminty/02129.html

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By Sarah Desroche

ASMR (Autonomous sensory meridian response), despite its remarkable following, seems to have picked up a notorious reputation over the past five to six years. There are a handful of adjectives I’ve seen attached to this sensation: weird, sexual, “cringey”, strange, even “wrong.” I recently watched the This Morning interview focusing on ASMR, and was horrified to hear the sensation referred to as “whisper porn.”

 

Um.

 

The reality is, many of the people describing ASMR in this way are the people who do not experience the tingly feeling themselves. They are outsiders looking in, judging a phenomenon they simply can’t understand. As once put by Phil Collins, “Some people don’t trust what they can’t explain.”

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It is my responsibility, amongst other members of the community, to set the record straight about ASMR. By definition, ASMR is “an experience characterised by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine.” The chemical reaction of ASMR releases a calm, relaxing, and usually sleepy feeling throughout the body. For myself and many other people, ASMR youtube videos are used to help us fall asleep and unwind our worries of the day. WhispersRed, one of the more prominent content creators in the ASMR community, has had perhaps the largest influence on my well-being in this context. For me, listening to Emma (WhispersRed) speaking quietly in a video is no different than if my mother was reading me to sleep. Her voice is calm, level, motherly, and sweet as honey. Even when she is pattering about, just simply talking about small events from the week, I get a great deal of comfort from the easy listening factor.

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Photo from DailyMail.com

When I discovered that I had developmental PTSD earlier this year, a lot of the unusual behaviors and panic attacks I’d suffered throughout my adolescence began to make much more sense. Certain environments and activities were (and still are) extremely anxiety-inducing for me, ranging from large social gatherings to simply falling asleep at night. While ASMR can’t magically erase all of my mental illnesses and daily strifes, it plays a crucial role in helping me to balance all areas of my health. When I put my head down on the pillow and plug into an ASMR video, I’m not focusing on childhood trauma or panic attacks: I’m focusing on Emma’s voice, or the relaxing sound of someone crinkling paper or tapping. Having this outlet to relax and feel truly safe in my own bedroom is a feeling I can’t even put into words.

Emma, who also struggled with PTSD after a car accident, is a true symbol of happiness and wellness after trauma. Despite the privations that may have held her back, she has demonstrated the strength within all of us to pick up the pieces of our life. She has taught me, probably without realizing it, that beauty can be found in the most difficult of times.

In my life, ASMR videos are one of the key components for self-care. The list essentially goes as follows: bubble bath, tea, vegan cheese, Bob Ross, ASMR videos…and a good night’s sleep. I recommend these videos to anyone and anybody who expresses difficulty dozing off and relaxing. If you try out the videos and decide it’s not for you, so be it, but I amend you for giving it a chance. There are millions and millions of people around the world, one by one, coming forward and finding their place in this growing community. If you truly feel like you are one of them, don’t let any negativity prevent you from the self-care that you deserve.