Thursday, November 27, 2014

Why You Should Avoid Those "Look How Now" Articles

I was flipping through a magazine this week, when I saw an article preview with the caption “Get Hot This Weekend”. Now my immediate reaction was to flip straight to the page, but a thought stopped me.

“Am I not hot now?”

 Now as Anna Kendrick put it, “I am not beer commercial hot…” In fact I wouldn’t use the word “hot” to describe myself. I am self conscious about my features and my body. And it’s not bad that I hate my self or the way I look, but I find myself comparing my looks others. I do struggle with self image issues, but I think that most girls do at some point in their lives, which is why we all turn to those articles that tell us they can solve our self esteem issues.

But I don’t think that a magazine article can make any one “beautiful”. Because the media seems to only have one definition of beauty- skinny. Most articles are about fitness to loose weight, the right clothes to slim your waist, and makeup tips to elongate your neck line and make your face look thinner.

Beauty isn’t about weight or size, it’s about confidence and personality. And I am still learning that. We need to ditch those size -2 models and look to other real women to define beauty. Girls with personality and brains. Ladies who aren’t afraid to be who they really are.

So if magazines want to continue publishing “How To Look Beautiful” articles, they should be about finding the things that make us feel good about ourselves. They should be about how we can change the world. Not about physical appearances.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t wear makeup or dress nice, because who doesn’t like getting dressed up? But our looks shouldn’t be what make us beautiful, our hearts are what make beautiful.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Doggie Winter Essentials

Well it's almost winter, and in some parts of the nation it's actually cold! But here in Texas, its probably 60 degrees. Which is fine because it's not blistering cold, but I would like to wear my sweaters that I pulled out of storage more than once. But as the cold approaches, we need to remember our pooches. They get cold too! Here are some winter essentials for our furry friends.

1. Sweaters
If your dog is smaller and has a thinner coat, then they will definitely need an extra layer when they are inside. Just like you wear long sleeves and flannel PJs, doggies need their warm clothes too. They get cold just like you and me. They don't have to be fancy, but they should fit properly. Not too tight and it should cover most of their back.

2. Coat
The sweater may be enough for some dogs, but sometimes a knitted sweater just doesn't cut it. Your pooch needs something that will protect them from the wind while outside.

3. Warm Blankets
Your puppy will love you for giving them an extra blanket to snuggle up in. They love to bury themselves in warmth. Just be sure you check in the blanket before you sit down, they may already be curled up in it. I know Sunny, is always hiding in her blanket. She gets so comfortable that she refuses to come out when she's called.

4. Doggie Booties
If you live in a place that has constant snow and ice, you may want to consider getting your dog some protective paw wear. That ice and snow can really hurt your dog's paws, especially while walking a lot outside. They may even get a small case or frost bite if not taken care of properly.

5. Food Mats or Elevated Bowls
You need to place your pet's food and water bowls on either some mats or have them elevated because the floors get cold in the winter and may freeze or make your pet's water and food really cold for your pooch to eat or drink.

Those are a few winter essentials for your puppy and remember that since your dog is probably spending more time inside that you need to take them out for longer walks to get their exercise. Also consider getting them a smart toy or busy bone to keep them from getting bored and turning to your furniture for a chew toy.

"A girl should never be denied their dog." - Legally Blonde the Musical
Be sure to hug your pup this week!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Study Session Playlists

I don't know about you, but I am already spending countless hours in the library in order to prepare for finals and for the end of the semester. I cannot focus in the midst of conversations and study groups and other voices around me, but I also cannot study in dead silence. I have to have some type of background noise that is not distracting. For me, that is music. Here are some of my favorite Pandora stations to study with.

1. Big Band/ The Andrew Sisters.
Well, first of all, I love the sound of the 40s swing time. It is fun and upbeat, but not distracting because most of the songs do not have lyrics or very few lyrics. So you can't really sing along, but you can definitely tap along.

2. Disney.
Most of us grew up watching and listening to Disney movies and music from their films. These are well known songs, but most are soft sounding. There's no Dubstep-Disney, at least not that I know of, but you could probably find something like it on YouTube. Disney is a classical go to station because it's familiar and relaxing, almost as if you are back to when you were a child, curled up with some buddies and having a great time.

3. Christmas
It is the most wonderful time of the year, after finals. Listening to Christmas music is a great reminder that there is life after school. It gives you something to look forward too. "If I can get through finals, I can go home for Christmas! And eat cookies and drink hot chocolate."

4. Electronic for Study
This is pretty self explanatory. It is similar to classical music in the less distracting area, but it brings a more modern feel while studying. There are few to no lyrics,  so no distracting words but it is not completely boring.

These are just a few of the stations that I listen too. So here are some tips for studying with any type of music.

1. Try to keep the music peaceful and relaxing. So probably not death metal, but if that relaxes you, then go ahead.

2. Listen to it on a low volume level. You need to be able to hear yourself think and work out problems. Not only is it better for your hearing, but it is considerate to those around you. You don't want people three tables down to be able to understand every word to every song. Keep it down.

3. Try and avoid listening to radio stations. All of the commercials and announcements can break up your studying and be very distraction. Pandora commercials are limited, but inevitable. Just as long as there's not a break every other song, you should be good.

4. Listen to your jams before your test. It's relaxing and you will feel more calm and confident when you go into rock that exam!

Hope this helps, I know that you can rock those finals and end of the semester projects!
Happy Finals, and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

DIY Coffee Creamer Snowman

A week, or so, ago, my friend Brittney, author of The Military Wife Life, asked me to write a guest post for her blog. I only agreed if she would return the favor in writing a DIY post for me. (DIY's are not my forte, but I still love them!) And of course, she happily agreed. She is really artsy fartsy. And since Abilene already has its first snow of the season, what better to craft than a snowman!? Check it out!!!

It’s almost that time of year again! Winter (and Christmas!) will be here before we know it. If you live up north you’ve probably already seen some snowfall, but for those of us who live in places where it doesn’t snow, it’s nice to have a little reminder that it’s actually winter (even when it’s still 65 degrees outside). To help you celebrate the change (or lack of change) of seasons, here’s a cheap, easy, and eco-friendly craft for you.

Stuff you need:
·        Empty coffee creamer container
·        White paint (acrylic or spray paint—I used acrylic)
·        Black & orange permanent marker
·        Buttons
·        About 1 foot of ribbon
·        Hot glue

Stuff you do:

Start by peeling the label off your empty container, then clean it out with soap and water.

Next, paint it white. I used acrylic paint so it took me 4 coats to make it look good, but you might be able to get away with less if you use spray paint. Just make sure you always let it dry completely before adding another coat.

Tip: you could also leave the container clear and put a strand of white Christmas lights inside.

Now comes the decorating! I used permanent markers to draw the eyes and carrot nose on my snowman, but you could use black buttons, googly eyes, or even construction paper to build your face. The only buttons I could find were small clear ones, so I also used a permanent marker to color them red and green. Of course, you can use whatever colors or sizes of buttons you want. Make it yours! I used hot glue to attach them to my snowman.

For the scarf, I took about one foot of black and white ribbon and used—you guessed it—a permanent marker to make it look similar to red plaid. Again, you can use whatever color/pattern of ribbon you want.

Once you’ve got your ribbon, wrap it around the neck of the container and tie a loose square knot (the kind of knot you use to tie your shoes—the part before you make a bow, that is). Make sure your scarf looks the way you want it to, then use your hot glue gun to secure the knot in place.

That’s it!

See, I told you it was easy!

Happy crafting!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank You

Today is Veterans Day. A day where we take the time to thank and honor those who have risked their lives and those who are risking their lives for our freedom and for our country. I personally do not fully understand the sacrifices that our military and their families make everyday. And I know that others do not as well. But that shouldn't stop us from showing gratitude and thanking them every opportunity we can.

When I was Disney World in 2013, we were in Epcot near Snow White's wishing well and there was a long line in the middle of the road but no princesses or characters to be found. As we got nearer, I saw who was at the front of the line. There was this tiny old man in a wheelchair with a flags on both handles of his wheelchair and he was proudly wearing his World War II Veteran hat. I almost burst into tears as I watched each person approach him and shake his hand, thanking him for his service. I wasn't able to meet him because he and his family were leaving. But I thanked God for him and all of our other veterans for their sacrifices for our freedom.

I just wanted to take the time to thank all of the people that I personally know who have either served, are in the military now, plan to be, or are family of those who are in the military:
My Uncle Dale and Aunt Terri
Amy and her Husband
Codie and Brittney

I visited The National Museum of the Pacific War this past summer. Visiting that museum was an eye opening and great experience. Even though it is in my home town and I pass by it nearly everyday, I've only been twice. I take it for granted, one of our nation's favorite WWII museums and I just pass by it, never remembering it's significance.

I hope I don't pass by people who've served and take them for granted. I hope that I at least recognize them.

Let's not take our freedom and our country for granted. Let us remember and honor those who are protecting our rights.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

5 Ways to Stress Less During Finals Week

My great friend, Brittney, whom I've mentioned before was kind enough to ask me to write for her blog. I was ecstatic, but didn't know what to write. She said that she was stressed about her upcoming tests and that sparked the idea for a "Stress Less" post since finals are closer than we would like them to be.

Please go and read my post, along with her great material at The Military Wife Life: 5 Ways to Stress Less During Finals Week.

Brittney is a married college student who is very crafty and loves DIYs. She is always trying new recipes for her and her husband. And she loves giving advice to those who are either military spouses or have boyfriends or girlfriends in the military. Go check her out!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Decorating for the Fall

Even though the fall weather has recently arrived here, our dorm has been decorated for while. Nothing to big or fancy, but still some fall colors everywhere. Here are two of my little creations that are proudly displayed in room 301.

Happy Fall Banner
I love burlap! It can go with almost anything. So when I found a burlap banner on Pinterest, I knew I had to have something like it in my dorm. Here is what I cam up with.

It is really simple and very cute. You really only need 3 materials.
1.   Burlap Banner. I found my burlap banner at Hobby Lobby and it was already cut. But if you cannot find a similar one, I’m sure you can find something and tweak it to your desired banner style.
2.   Paint. I bought orange, yellow, red, brown, and black. Although I didn’t use the black.
Paint pics
3.   Leaves (optional). I had some left over leaves from another craft (see below) and figured they would make the perfect end pieces. I just tied them into the banner.

Fall Vases
I also came across pictures of the glass bowls full of leaves and pine cones and other fall items. That inspired me to create my fall vases.

They were really easy and super cheap.
 1. Glass Bowls. I found mine at Dollar Tree
 2. Leaves. The leaves I used were from some of Walmart’s fall foliage in the craft department. I believe they are meant to be stuck in already existing plants or something. They come on a “twig” and are bendable, but I just cut off the little knob that was holding the actual leaves on them and pulled the leaves off.
3. Other Fall Foliage (optional). Since I knew I couldn’t find pine cones, I bought two little bouquets of fall twigs and leaves to stick into the vases.
4. Paper. I crumbled up paper and put it in the center of the vase and then surrounded it with leaves. This gives it volume and the appearance that it is full.

These are pretty easy and fairly cheap. Perfect for the beautiful colors that come with the fall.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Wearing Confidence

While updating my blog, I came across some photos that were very disturbing to me. My Mary Kay Challenge. I don’t remember my skin ever looking that bad. EVER. 

When reminiscing on anything you never remember it to be exactly the way it was. You either think it was way worse than it really was, or better than it was. Just like when there are others involved, chances are you have different stories about the same event. I am just glad that I don’t remember my skin being that terrible, which means it must not have affected me that much.

By “not affecting me” I mean it must not have impacted my self esteem in a big way because I still went to class, I still didn’t wear makeup all the time. I know other people don’t really care because I don’t really care about what other people’s skin is like. Sure I could be envious about someone’s “flawless” appearance, but let’s be real. NO ONE has flawless skin, not even celebrities. We’ve all learned that now thanks to high-definition. But does that make any of them less gorgeous? No, in fact, that makes them relatable. Their pedestal that they have been placed on for being rich and famous and “perfect” has just been lowered. Because they are human, not some airbrushed robot.

Now let me step off my soap box and get back to my skin. 

My acne probably flared up due to stress of a new environment and new eating habits and all things college. But that didn’t stop me from living life, I may have looked terrible, but I still had a blast that first semester. I had become aware of my flare ups, enough to make an appointment with the dermatologist back home. But I didn’t stop living. I didn’t let my appearance, or what I thought my appearance was, keep me from trying new things. Sure, it may have affected me a little bit, but I don’t believe that confidence comes from the surface. 

Your outward appearance can attribute to your self confidence, but true confidence comes from within and you can choose to wear it or not.

Of course I am glad that my skin has cleared up, I am actually extremely grateful that it has cleared up. But I don’t believe my life would be that much different if I still had red bumps splattered across my face. I would still have the same friends. My grades would not have change. Nothing drastic would come out of it.

I say all of that to say this; having “flawless” skin would be ideal, but acne or braces or a weird birthmark or whatever you consider to be an imperfection should not stop you from living life to the fullest.

Here is a little progress picture… top right to bottom right is all during first semester, and then the left was taken this week. No makeup, besides some leftover eyeliner and mascara. 

“A face without freckles is like a sky without the clouds”- Natasha Bedingfield

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Change, Change, Change

Some of you may have noticed that this blog underwent a huge transformation. It will continue to be remodeled and tweaked as the weeks go by. But I just wanted to take the time to thank and promote my friend, Brittney's blog. She went to school with me last year, but she is now living her life as a newlywed with her beloved hubby in California! 

Brittney and I go way back, like August of 2013, haha. We knew each before that, but we really got to know each during our freshmen year of college. Considering that I was always in her dorm room, we hung out a lot and grew closer while bonding over pinterest, eating cookie dough from the tub while watching The Office, and Celebrating Christmas during our snow days! I sure do miss her, but I know she is having the time of her life as Mrs. Barnett.

I encourage you all to check our her blog, The Military Wife Life. She loves DIY's, Food, and she is posting about her life as a Military Spouse. It full of fun stories and yummy food. She's also very artsy-fartsy and was the one who designed my new header! It took all afternoon with constant emailing and texting but we finally got it!

Go see what life as a Marine Wife is like! 

Thanks, Brit!!! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fall Essentiales

So the cold weather has officially made its way to Texas. And with the cold weather comes the warmer clothes. After a few weeks in the semi coolness of fall, I have noticed some items that I am constantly washing and re-wearing.

My absolute favorite thing that I basically wear all the time are woven open sweaters or cardigans. They are so easy to throw on over t-shirts to dress up, but they can be worn with anything. I always have one in my backpack for those classes who think that blasting the AC will make us pay more attention. FYI, it doesn't, it will just make us hate the class more and ignore what the professors are saying out of spite. Not that I would know or anything. *cough, cough*

Here are some from Target that I just adore.

And of course, it cannot be fall without the riding boots that pretty much every girl owns, myself included. But let's try and look some other styles of boots for the crunchy leaf weather.

First, the oxford wedges. I love these because they enclose the whole foot, which not only keeps your feet warmer, but are great for when you are running late to class. Literally, running across campus to make it to your 8am. They can be worn with skinny jeans, leggings and a fun indie or boho skirt. You can also dress them up with a nice dress if you wanted, basically, these are a great addition to your shoe stock.

Here are some combat boots. Now, I am not a huge fan of the combat style, but these have been all over campus lately and I am getting used to them. Plus some of the outfits that the girls here have put together are really cute. These are mostly for the hipster/ "hiker" outfits, not so much dressy as they are for your casual days. But if you can figure out a way to dress these shoes up, let me know!

And lastly, these ankle boots are a great addition to your wardrobe. I've seen some girls layer their boots with woolen socks, or I guess you could call them ankle warmers? But anyway, it really can add to an outfit. As with the oxfords, these can be dressy or casual. Leggings, wool socks, and these boots can make for a really cute "Date night" look. Or if your just attending classes and then maybe hitting up the library for some study time, just some skinny jeans and these boots matched with a nice top can make for a perfect outfit. 

Sweaters/ Cardigans and ankle boots are just some of this years Fall Essentials.
What are your fall essentials this coming season?