Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Quick Life Update

Well, I've done it! I finished my undergrad degree - WOO HOO! Here are some important life updates that will relate to future posting, especially since I have a lot more time to write (and more topics to write about!)

*I graduate Friday afternoon! In lieu of my usual series "Skin I'm In," I'll be doing a special feature that evening about graduation- my dress, ceremony, and most importantly my hair! Trying to do something with this glorious mane and also sticking it under a not-hair-friendly hat is a challenge - and one I'm willing to tackle!

*I've gotten a big girl job! I've kept it a little hush hush, as it's in the preliminary stages, but I got my first paycheck yesterday so I figured now would be a good time to make it official.

*With jobs comes a dress code. While my workplace is fairly casual, I'm still coming to terms with pieces of my wardrobe that have turned out not to be workplace appropriate (at least, by my own standards.) Expect a post on managing a limited wardrobe!

*Finally, I've decided to join the Daughters of the American Revolution! I was just matched to a chapter, so I'll be sure to post about my experience becoming a member! I think it's very important to connect to your roots, whether it be from the creation of America, Ellis Island, or a recent journey to a new and better life.

What have y'all been up to? I know plenty of you have finals- study hard and good luck!

Stay true to yourself,

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Skin I'm In: Self Tanners

Welcome to the second installment of Skin I'm In! If you missed it, this series is about accepting your skin for what it is and sun safety.

Today we talk self tanners. When I first discovered self tanners in early high school, they were orange, streaky messes that never turned out right! From foams-at-home to spray tans, I always ended up looking striped and orange.

Luckily I learned a few tricks since then to help combat streaks and reduce that orange-y color!

First, decide what kind of tan you want. Are you doing a whole body tan or just arms or legs? How soon do you need your tan? How much maintenance can you put into your tan?

If you're going for full body, I suggest "Tan in a Can." The aerosal spray can reach all over, including your back (which is always tricky) and sometimes can even be sprayed upside down!

I've used the Neutrogena spray, but I recently picked up the Banana Boat version for a few dollars less. I like the smell of Banana Boat much more, but the color isn't as deep, so it's better for a light bronze.

If you need your tan now, I'd recommend an instant gel or foam, or even a body bronzer. I nabbed a VS PINK beach bronzer last year and I use it for an instant glow - it gives a nice bronze color with a little shimmer, smells great and washes off. I hope it's released again this summer!

If you need something low maintenance and have a little patience, I recommend a gradual tanner. For the super fair ladies like myself, try mixing the gradual tanner in with your daily lotion. It gives more hydration, prevents streaks and helps distribute color evenly (plus it extends the life of your tanner!) I'm a big fan of Jergens Natural Glow.

If you want a deeper, more instant tan, consider a spray tan. I've had both a booth tan and an airbrush tan, and I think the booth worked out better but I enjoyed the air brush experience more. The booth was faster and the tan lasted longer without streaking.

When you spray tan, remember to exfoliate before you go. I recommend going in the morning, shortly after a shower. Make sure you have a good amount of time to dry fully and not create "patches" - sitting for too long too soon, etc. - and wear loose but easy-to-put-on clothes. Finally, moisturize! Be light, but ensure that any dry spots get a little extra so they don't soak up too much tanner.

Do you use a self tanner? Which one is your favorite? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thesis Update

It's done!!

I had my thesis defense today. It was a lot less nerve-wracking than I made it out to be. I also got to wear a super cute new dress - a creme and black pin striped dress with a scalloped hem - which is always a bonus.

I passed with minor revisions - after I make the changes I get to turn in my thesis and be done with it FOREVER!!!!

Can you tell I'm excited? 'Cause I am! Senior thesis was a difficult challenge and I definitely learned a lot from it. I'm glad I didn't give up and was able to complete it! There were definitely times I wanted to throw my hands up and quit - but I knew it was the only thing standing in the way of my degree so I took it in stride.

Are you required to do a senior thesis? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,

Friday, April 19, 2013

Skin I'm In: (Sun) Block Party!

Welcome to the first part of my new series, Skin I'm In! You may remember my earlier announcement about this series. You can read it's origins here.

We've all heard the basics: too much sun can cause skin cancer and tanning beds are bad for you.

But those don't really help... nor do they truly encourage sun safety.

So let's look at sun safety in a new light and start with SPF. We all know we should use it, but what kind? How much? When?

SPF broad spectrum 30 is your best bet. It blocks 98% of UVB (burning) rays. SPF blocks 99%. Anything higher than SPF 50 can be left on the shelf- it doesn't block much higher than 99%. Plus, a little sun is okay as our bodies need Vitamin D.

I am a big fan of Clinique's sun block. It's in a bright yellow tube, lasts a good while, doesn't smell like coconuts or crazy beach vacations and doesn't clog pores.

I've also become a fan of the Fresh Effects BB Cream from Olay. It has a little color, lots of moisturizer and SPF 20 all in one handy bottle. And it smells like fresh flowers! Armed with a face powder with some SPF and I'm covered all day!

I've also been playing around with a sample from bareMinerals... I'm liking it so far! I got a deluxe sample from Sephora and I'm trying to decide if I like the primer better than the BB Cream I'm currently using... this product does indeed live up to it's promise of all day wear!

Now that you're armed with sunscreen, slather about 1 oz, about a shot glass, on your body 15 - 30 minutes before outdoor activities. Be sure to apply to those tricky areas like toes, ears, back of the neck, soles of feet and arm pits.

When it's time to reapply, which is roughly every 2 hours, do your best to go indoors and take a 15 minute break from the sun. Reapply as normal, and add a little extra to places that feel exposed - for example, my arms always burn first.

While you're reapplying, take note if your skin is developing color - red or tan - or if any freckles are darkening. If so, consider covering up for a little bit (linen tunics will be your best friend) or taking a break inside.

Do you use sunblock? What kind is your fave? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Not so much fun in the sun

I come from a very fair background. I have some Irish, British, Scandinavian and German all mixed in. I've got naturally blonde hair and light blue eyes.

So naturally, you think I would know a thing or two about sun safety... but you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink, right?

Essentially, I've gotten some tough burns in the past. But recently I got a such a bad burn that I vowed never to tan ever again.

Now I've said this before... but after a trip to the ER and lots of misery from itchy, blistering, red and purple skin, I'm serious this time.


So now I have a challenge: to accept my fair skin, protect myself, to learn more about and educate others on skin safety and finding ways to enjoy the sun without damaging our skin.

So welcome to my first series, "Skin I'm In." Every Friday, I'll be discussing facts and figures, fashions, society and sun safety for the modern southern belle.

How sun savvy are you? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

1 skirt, 3 ways!

It's easy to underestimate the basics... like a black pencil skirt! I have tons of cute tops and dresses, but very few "business bottoms."

I had an interview for a big girl job the other day... and I was baffled with what to wear! My classic suit was at home and the attire at the office was business casual. I wanted to fit in, look cute but also look pulled together.

I thought about buying a whole new outfit, and then I stumbled across something at Target that made my day: the simple, black pencil skirt.

A wardrobe classic that I just happened to be missing! It'd be perfect- I could wear it with almost any color and any top.

I thought I'd share my frugal find and some of the outfits I tried on for my interview! I ended up choosing a peach blouse similar to the dotted blouse.

1 skirt, 3 ways!

Mossimo® Women's Pencil Skirt -Black

Plus, there are SO many more outfits you could create with this... add a blazer, a button down or a simple top with a statement necklace. I can't believe this was missing from my wardrobe!

What's your go to basic piece? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A true legend never dies

In the past two days, we lost three great women!

First, Sunday morning, Lilly Pulitzer passed away at 81 years old. She was surrounded by family and passed away peacefully.

I found Lilly inspirational because she refused to be bored. She was an heiress who married rich but she still went door-to-door to sell fruit from her citrus grove! She didn't intend to do anything special, she just wanted to have fun.

Second, Margaret Thatcher passed away Monday morning. She was 87. She was the first female prime minister of England in 1979 and also was Great Britain's longest serving prime minister.

She was nicknamed the Iron Lady... she was inspirational to me because she stuck to her word and never backed down.

Finally, Annette Funicello passed away Monday afternoon. She was 70. Annette was a beautiful dancer and singer and got her start on the Mickey Mouse club. She was a favorite Disney star in the 1960's and starred in several movies.

She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1992, but she never gave up on hoping for a cure, even though she had to succumb to a wheelchair. I found this quote of hers summed up why I thought she was inspirational: "When I wake up in the morning, I like to imagine, 'This is the day I'm going to hear about an MS cure on the news.' I know it may be a long way off, but what a glorious morning that will be."

The big thing I value in all of these women is that they stayed true to themselves. The legacy they left behind was not to please people - it was to live life they way they wanted and to follow their hearts.

Which of these women inspire you the most? Who else inspires you? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Thesis Update: This is WAY harder than I thought.

So, I'm still working on my thesis and it still makes me want to die a little on the inside.

I know I've worked on papers this long or longer before, but man this takes a lot out of you. I'm one of those people who likes to accomplish a task in one sitting, or at least a segment of it, and senior thesis is not a place to do that.

Part of the reason I'm so stressed out about my thesis is I feel like I don't have enough time to work on it and get involved. I've been setting my alarm every day to make sure I spend at least 1 hour on it a day, but once I piece together all of those pieces, I feel like I'm just stringing thoughts together, with no rhyme or reason.

That's what frustrates me the most... there is absolutely no way I could sit down and write this paper in a day and come back to it the next day and edit and move on.

This thesis is like a wedding cake. You can't just throw it together and carve down, you have to build it up.

First, you create a strong and steady base - your literature review. Then, add a few more cakes on top of it to make it hearty and proud - like your methodology, observations and findings.

Then, lay down some icing- an intro, conclusion and transitional paragraphs, pipe the edges with your format and finally at your cake topper- the abstract- at the very end.

Lord help you if you think you can just toss this together!

As much as I want to do this project all at once... there is no way I, or anyone, could. That's why it's a semester-long class - you need ample time to complete it.

This last semester has been a total work out of large, continuous projects, which I think I'm no good at. So you can imagine my frustration! And with the due date quickly approaching, it's time to make sense of all my segmented pieces.

Wish me luck! Are you better at longer, drawn out projects or quick and efficient tasks? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,