I’m so excited to be introducing a new monthly series: My Monthly Obsessions! These articles will incorporate all different kinds of goodies: music, products, clothes, tv shows, recipes, and much more. I love sharing my thoughts and interests with all of you, and if I can be a source of inspiration for your obsessions, then all the better. 🙂 Let’s get into it!


TV: The Bachelor

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You know, it’s not my proudest obsession, but I’ve definitely been very into watching The Bachelor with my mom every Monday night. We previously poured ourselves into The Bachelorette, which was filled to the BRIM with piping-hot tea. Let me just say that I definitely watch this show ironically- I think the storyline and the morals are very dodgy, and I definitely don’t think it’s a good representation of healthy dating. But damn, is it entertaining to watch! Sometimes, you just need to take a break from the stress and strife of life, especially with the harsh political climate dominating television. I certainly enjoy cuddling up with my Unhide blanket (hint) and my Vanilla Birch candle (hint hint) every Monday night to watch The Bachelor before bed. What’s your favorite television show at the moment?


Health/Beauty: Differin Skincare

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This line of skincare was actually a gift to my from my mother, so mom, if you’re reading this, thank you! I have tried a plethora of skincare regimens over the years, as I struggle with sensitivity, cystic acne, and redness. Stress and periods are usually a pretty severe factor for me as well, so I always try to take the best care of my skin possible. The thing that’s different about Differin (ha, see what I did there?) is that your skin will go through a “purging” period during the first few weeks. A skin purge basically means all the gunk and oil and deep zits will rise to your face and essentially get flushed out; so yes, my skin did look terrible for the first few weeks of using this. But then, all of a sudden, it began to magically clean up after the purge was finished! Needless to say, I’m now obsessed with this skincare line and I’m looking forward to further improving my skin this winter. 


Health/Beauty: Juvia’s Place

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I’ve been a big, big fan of Juvia’s Place eyeshadow palettes for years now, so naturally, I knew I had to try their “I Am Magic” foundation. My skin is extremely red and oily, so every time a new matte full-coverage foundation comes out, I immediately want to try it. I love this foundation because it’s extremely inexpensive at only $20, and a little goes such a long way. Seriously, just a few tiny drops covers my entire face seamlessly. I also pair this foundation with the Dermablend Jelly Primer, and I swear, it’s a match made in heaven. I also picked up the “I Am Magic” mini palette while I was at Ulta, because I love the warm-toned colors and the gorgeous shimmers. As you can see, Juvia’s Place has been on my mind quite a bit this month, and I’m so happy I decided to give these products a try!


TV: Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath

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Unrelated, but this woman is aging like fine wine.

I didn’t know much about scientology before watching this show, but now that I’m fully immersed in it, (1) I’m terrified of this corporate cult and (2) I have so much admiration for Leah Remini’s strength and character. This show is set up like a docu-series and analyzes the corrupt, problematic nature of the Church of Scientology. It’s absolutely mesmerizing, and even though the series has been out for a while, I knew I had to incorporate it into my January Favorites. I’m only one season in, and I have no idea how this debacle is going to end, so I’m really looking forward to crawling into bed and binge-watching the show this weekend. 


Music: Ethel Cain

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I discovered Ethel Cain after coming across a Buzzfeed article about queer woman artists, and I immediately fell in love. I already listen to a lot of indie/alternative queer music, so Ethel Cain’s soft, electric music fit perfectly into my aesthetic. In a way, her use of electronics and audio-distortion reminds me a little bit of Enya, which gives it a peaceful vibe. My favorite song by Ethel Cain at the moment is “Casings.” It’s one of those songs that is just so ethereal, and so beautiful, but it’s also so sad that it fills you with the desire to cry. Ultimately, I think Ethel Cain is extremely underrated, and even though I usually always cry after I listen to her music, it’s 10/10 worth it.


Home/Decor: Vanilla Birch by White Barn

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This was actually a candle that I bought for my mom, but she ended up not loving it since candles tend to trigger headaches for her. Anyway, she ended up gifting it back to me, and I have no complaints so far! I love wintery, warm-smelling candles, and Vanilla Birch by White Barn is exactly that. I also love the container that the candle comes in; I know its irrelevant to the actual candle itself, but it’s so elegant and pretty, and it looks so nice in my room. I’ve been burning this candle every day for the past couple of weeks, and it really reminds me of Christmastime and the warm fuzzies I associate with that period. It’s not as wonderful as Alpine Frost by Wolf + Lamb, but trust me, it’s a close second. 


Home/Decor: Unhide blanket

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This was yet another goodie courtesy of my Fab Fit Fun box, retailing normally at $65. Funny story about this blanket, I was originally intending on giving it to my friend as a Christmas gift, but the blanket was SO SOFT, I ended up keeping it for myself and buying her something else (sorry, Lily!). Here are the quick facts: these faux fur blankets are 100% vegan, and a portion of all proceeds go to The Humane Society. Aaaand, it’s co-founded by Ellen DeGeneres! Need I say more? In a nutshell, I’ve been really loving this blanket, and my mom has been loving hers too. In fact, I think I’ve even convinced her to sign up for Fab Fit Fun.  If you’re looking for a new, minimalist blanket, I highly recommend this one. 


I hope you guys are enjoying this new feature on my blog! I’m looking forward to jotting down my monthly favorites from here on out, so let me know if you have any product/tv show recommendations for me!

 

2020 is a new year and a new decade, so I’ve decided to introduce some new seasonal/monthly features into my blog to kick off the year! One thing I really want to start on my Vegetarian Diary is “Recipe of the Season.” My mom and I both love cooking (and baking), so I have tons of recipes to choose from! Today, however, I’ve narrowed it down to one of my all-time favorite recipes of the season: Sun Dried Tomato Gnocchi. This isn’t specifically a winter dish, but I have been enjoying it a lot this winter. The original recipe calls for chicken, but obviously I didn’t add it during my own preparation. Nonetheless, feel free to enjoy this recipe with or without chicken! You can find the full recipe on eatyourselfskinny.com

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Here are the quick facts about the nutritional value of this recipe:

-Spinach, of course, is a magical superfood loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. I’m picky about spinach. I’m not a huge favor of the flavor, but in this recipe, it’s barely detectable when combined when combined with notes of tomato and cheese. Especially as a vegetarian, spinach is a great way for me to get some iron into my diet and maintain my health.

-Tomatoes make this dish colorful and vibrant, and they’re also a great source of vitamin C and vitamin K. Tomatoes can also lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.

So anyway, what is gnocchi? Essentially, it’s an Italian potato dumpling. It does taste quite a bit like a doughy noodle, and if I’m correct, it is technically considered a type of pasta. Also, it’s believed that gnocchi was the first pasta ever invented by the Italians! It’s a recipe and a historical tidbit  all in one.

Additionally, this recipe can also be substituted with gluten-free gnocchi rather than the traditional style, and of course, vegans can prepare it without the cheese and chicken. Trust me, it’s still just as delicious! 

I love this recipe because it’s warm, comfy, and homestyle- three things I love the most during these cold winter months. Obviously you can prepare this dish year-round, but I’m personally looking forward to making it next Christmas for my friends and family. If you guys also try out this recipe, let me know! I’d love to know your thoughts.

The holiday season is right around the corner, and I’m feeling so excited to have this semester over and done with! I’ve been incredibly busy, so it’s going to feel great to relax for five weeks with my family. 

Anyway, today’s article is my winter mood board, and as you can see, I’m drawing a lot of inspiration from neutrals, whites, and feminine touches. 

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It may sound surprising to many people, but winter is actually one of my favorite seasons. It probably has to do with me being an introvert; I love to spend time indoors snuggled up with a blanket and a good movie. I also love Christmastime, because it means I get to spend time with my family and friends who I may not get to see often (for example, Eli). I decided to incorporate lots of scenic images of wintertime into this moodboard because it really sums up the energy I’m trying to emote this winter: placid, calm, and graceful.

Additionally, I included a few shots of  sweaters and beanies that I found on google, because I’m really into neutral colors (like I said) and warm, fuzzy fabrics. A good chunk of my closet right now consists of pastel acrylic sweaters, beanies with pompoms, and warm, neutral-toned winter scarves. I like to wear clothes that can be easily layered and customized, because you never know what to predict weather-wise in New England! I also feel like neutrals match my current makeup style very well, which is mostly warm-toned smokey eyes and red lips. I’m hoping to get the “Proof is in the Pudding” palette by Beauty Bakerie in my winter Fab Fit Fun box, because I think that also ties into my current aesthetic well!

Lastly, I wanted to include a couple images of my favorite indoors activities: drinking tea and burning candles! No matter where I am and what I’m doing, I always have at least 4 candles burning throughout my apartment back home. There’s something about the comfortable glow combined with that Christmas-y smell (I burn winter candles year-round) that puts me in a great mood. Right now, my favorite candle is “Crisp Fall Night” by Yankee Candle, and I also love pine-scented tea light candles as well. As for tea, I’m proud to say that I am finally coming around to enjoying tea. I didn’t find it appealing for a while, but now I’m absolutely obsessed with Trader Joe’s Winter Wake Up tea, with a little milk and sugar added.

Anyway, I feel like this moodboard really sums up how my December is going: filled with warm beverages, sweet-smelling candles, and lots of knitting. I’m looking forward to spending the holidays with my family, and of course, I’m really excited about writing more content for blogmas! My next post is going to be one of my favorite things to write- a holiday gift guide! So keep your eyes out for that. 🙂

Monday, December 2

I’m back at school after a wonderful Thanksgiving break, but I won’t be here much longer! I’m technically on winter break December 14th, but I have to come back four days later to take ONE EXAM. I’m not really counting that as part of school, however, because I’ll already be moved out by then and the exam will only take about twenty-five minutes. Still, I’m a little annoyed to have to drive all the way back to school just to take one exam. 

I’m feeling pretty tired right now, even though I had my regular morning coffee. I might go ahead and make myself a tea, because I’m going to have a long day and I need to keep my energy levels up. Today is my first meeting for Analog, and even though half of the team can’t be there, I’m excited to lay down the groundwork for this organization!

It’s also snowing right now, which is beautiful to look at from my window (but less fun to walk in). Two of my classes were cancelled due to the snow, so I’m taking this opportunity to tackle some school work due next week. It seems surreal I have less than two weeks left in the semester!

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Friday, December 6

So, I’ve definitely slacked a bit on my catch-up this week, but in my defense, I have been very busy. I’ve been essentially glued to my computer trying to get work done, so thankfully, I’ve reached the end of a very productive week! Between working on Analog, securing my capstone, chatting with potential employers, and knocking out tons of presentations, it’s definitely been chaotic around here. I’m looking forward to simply relaxing and playing The Sims 4 this weekend.

Next week is my final week of classes, and I’m looking forward to coming home and sleeping in my own bed next Friday. I’ve also made plans to see some of my high school friends over winter break, so I’m really excited about that. Per usual, it will be a pleasure to see Eli as well.

I’m going to try to get some blogging done this week, because I’m falling a bit behind on that, but it’s important to me that I don’t overwork myself. Especially since I have such severe sleep problems, making time for relaxation is very important to me. Tonight I’m going to go watch a talent show with one of my classmates, then I might swing over to my friend’s resident hall to keep her company while she’s on RA duty.

I’ve made similar articles to this before, including a recent article about how to avoid dry skin in the wintertime. Today, however, I want to focus completely on sensitive skin, and the issues it can cause year-round. For me in particular, my skin is sensitive to everything, including water. Water!

I wouldn’t go as far as to say I have diagnosable heat rash, but I definitely do experience some intense symptoms in the summertime. If I can, I try to stay inside as much as possible from May-September, to keep my symptoms at bay.

Of course, sometimes the unavoidable happens. Sometimes I try a new shampoo or body wash and break out in an itchy rash, the AC breaks, or the detergent in my sheets irritates my arms and legs. Whatever the situation may be, I always try my best to keep the reaction as short and mild as possible. Here are all my tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years- most of them being trial and error. I hope you’re able to find some solace in them as well!

One of the biggest pieces of advice I can offer is to have professional allergy testing done at your closest hospital or doctor’s office (I’m not sure exactly where the testing is carried out). Essentially, the doctor will test you for x amount of common allergens by injecting you with a very small amount, and observing which allergens create a rash. It may sound painful and gross (because it is), but ultimately, you’re going to get some crucial answers about your health. I, for example, am allergic to a very specific ingredient in some lotions and shampoos, and now know that I can only use products free of that ingredient. It might make shopping a little bit more difficult, but at least you’ll know what products/ingredients give you rashes.

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Oatmeal baths are great for irritated skin.

Another tip I’ve learned over the years is to always have a special place to keep all your rash remedies. I have a box under my bed with a cold compress, oatmeal packets, baking soda, aloe vera, and a bottle of zyrtec. Obviously, you can’t always whip up an oatmeal bath when you’re out in public, but consider grabbing the zyrtec or a benadryl in case of unforeseen emergencies. There have been so many times I’ve been bitten by an insect, or even just touched a damn leaf, sudden itchiness broke over my entire body. It might not completely erase the itchiness, but it should at least alleviate your symptoms to some degree.

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Burt’s Bees products are natural, hypoallergenic, and cruelty-free!

Lastly, I want to tune you guys in on some of my favorite hypoallergenic beauty/skincare products. Like I said, most of these tips are things I’ve personally learned through trial and error. Almay, Burt’s Bees, and Real Purity are all cruelty-free and safe for the skin, as well as being kind to the planet. It can be difficult to find the best of both worlds, but these two brands are nothing short of lovely. If you know any other great brands for sensitive skin, let me know below!

I hope some, if not all, of these tips and tricks work for you. Taking care of your body and listening to its needs are some of the most important things you can do for yourself, especially when you’re dealing with constant sensitive skin. Good luck!

Picture credits: TerraCycle.com, Beauty Crafter

Coming up next: Hush Makeup Review: 2.0

Admittedly, I am a bit of a hermit in the wintertime. And that’s actually one of the top reasons that winter is my favorite season- it’s the perfect excuse for me to stay inside and cook some of my favorite comfort food dishes! Lately I’ve been on a bit of an Italian food kick, so a lot of my favorites this season is are pasta and cheesy dishes that cook quickly in the oven. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do! All of the recipe links will be included at the bottom of the page.


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First and foremost, my absolute FAVORITE new recipe is this vegan stuffed shell dish by Nora Cooks. In my personal experience, a lot of vegan dishes struggle to replicate cheese, but this one actually does a really fantastic job. That’s mostly attributed to the use of nutritional yeast, which has a naturally cheesy taste. Nutritional yeast is also an excellent source of B12, which is crucial for a vegan diet in order to stay healthy. On top of being nutritious and authentic, this recipe is also simply delicious and very filling. I’ve already made it twice in the course of a month, and I don’t see an end in sight.


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If you’re looking for a fatty, salty, carbolicious way to fill the void in your heart this winter, I highly recommend you dedicate an entire evening to making a garbage plate. What is a garbage plate, you ask? It’s a beautiful yet disturbing concoction of macaroni salad, breakfast potatoes, spicy chili meat sauce, and two hamburgers slapped on top. Oh, and then you smother it in mustard and ketchup and mix it up. I came across this recipe by watching a Jenna Marbles video, who also happened to prepare her garbage plate vegan. Making a garbage plate is extremely time-consuming, especially since most of what I prepared was made from scratch, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. And the entire plate ends up being HUGE, so you have enough leftovers to ask you the rest of the week. I think the perfect way to spend a snowy night would be to throw a garbage plate party, so call up your friends and get one started asap.


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This is (kind of) connected to the garbage plate, because this recipe is a component of the garbage plate, but I wanted to include it separately nonetheless. For all my southern hemisphere babes who are living up the summer, you’ll love this vegan macaroni salad recipe. I like to think that it’s somewhat healthier than regular macaroni salad, because it uses apple cider vinegar instead of real mayo, but I swear it tastes exactly the same. In fact, I would argue it tastes better- it has a light, delicate smell that won’t stink up your kitchen or your fridge. I was never a fan of macaroni salad before, but after trying this recipe, I’m officially hooked. The recipe I’ve linked below isn’t vegan itself, but you can just opt out the eggs and use a vegan mayo instead of regular mayo if you want to prepare it vegan. This macaroni salad is really good on burgers- I highly suggest you try it yourself.


Besides those three recipes, I mostly just ate fruits, veggies, and tons of soup this winter. That being said, the season isn’t over, so let me know some other vegan recipes you’d like me to try! I’m always open to trying new recipes as the seasons change.

Stuffed Shells: https://www.noracooks.com/vegan-stuffed-jumbo-shells/

Garbage Plate Recipes (You should also check out Jenna’s video for a more detailed description of the preparation, and how to make vegan substitutes. Someone even posted her entire recipe in the comments): https://www.thespiffycookie.com/2013/05/16/homemade-garbage-plates/

Macaroni Salad: https://www.foodiecrush.com/how-to-make-classic-macaroni-salad/

Coming up next: Vintage Winter Moodboard

 

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I consider myself pretty #blessed to have oily skin. I know that may sound odd, but truthfully, I don’t think there’s anything worse than having dry skin. (Okay, I can think of quite a few things worse than that, but you get what I’m saying.) Dry skin is extremely noticeable, uncomfortable, and sometimes even painful. My skin used to become very dry in the winter months, but as I’ve gotten older, it has done a complete 180° and become exceedingly oily instead. There are quite a few reasons for why this might happen, but in my particular case, I think it was due to puberty. Everybody’s skin is different, of course, so I can’t guarantee what works for me will work for you too. I also don’t spend a lot of time outside, so I’m sure this has an impact on why my skin is hardly ever dry. That being said, I’m happy to share my tips, tricks, and skincare routine with you today. Enjoy!

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I’m sure you’ve heard this many times before, but the most important way to keep your skin supple and bright is to drink an adequate amount of water. A dehydrated body means dehydrated skin, along with an overall lack of energy and vitality. The most natural way to preserve your beauty and keep your skin, nails and hair healthy is to drink 75-150 ounces of water per day. This can sound like a difficult goal to achieve if you don’t carry water with you during the day, so if this sounds like you, consider buying yourself a reusable water bottle. You’ll hardly notice yourself reaching for it throughout the day, and before you know it, drinking water constantly will become a habit. I try to drink as much water as I can first thing in the morning, because I usually don’t have time for a sit-down breakfast and like the fullness that drinking water gives me. Ultimately, I guarantee you’ll see a difference in your skin if you utilize this step. It’s the cheapest and the easiest!

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Another way to instantly brighten and hydrate your skin is to start using face masks 2-3 times per week. Not only is it a lovely way to pamper yourself after a stressful day, but it’s also a proven way to help improve the quality of your skin. If you don’t have the time or money to go out and buy a professional mask, don’t fear- they’re insanely easy to make yourself. For example, mashing up a banana and applying it to your face and neck for twenty minutes is possibly the easiest recipe I’ve ever learned. This mask truly does work like a charm, and will leave your skin feeling soft, smooth, and more hydrated than ever. If you do want to purchase some face masks, I recommend the brand Formula 10.0.6. Their masks come in a variety of smells and forms, and they’re also a cruelty-free company!

Next, consider extending your skincare routine with a heavy-duty moisturizer to apply in the morning and nighttime. I have been using the CeraVe moisturizing cream religiously since middle school, and I don’t intend on giving it up any time soon. This product also comes in a pretty large bottle, and from personal experience, you can make it last up to a year before you need to buy another one. This moisturizer is also fragrance-free, so if you’re prone to sensitive skin (and especially dry skin), this could be the perfect cream for you. I like to use this moisturizer on my hands, face, and neck once before bed and once when I wake up, just to ensure that my skin is always hydrated and feeling fresh.

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Last but not least, there are tons of healthy fruits and vegetables that have been proven to reverse dry skin and give you a healthy, lasting glow. Unlike creams and masks, these foods work on a cellular level to make you feel hydrated from the inside out, and also give you sustained energy and a sense of well-being. Some foods you may want to consider increasing in your diet include avocados, nuts, sweet potatoes, olive oil, cucumbers, matcha, and squash. If you haven’t seen the educational video on why cucumber is so darned good for you, here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQhFGaTTEqc

I hope that some (if not all) of these tips give you some new ideas on how to look after your skin. I am certainly no expert, but I have had positive experiences from practicing all of these methods. Ultimately, the best way to take care of your skin is to work from the inside out and utilize living the healthiest life you possibly can. After all, you are what you eat.

Coming up next: Jenna Marbles is the Zeitgeist of Our Time