My Honest Opinion- Glossier, Part 2

Image result for glossier logo I began my last review of Glossier products unaffiliated with them. I must disclaim that I am officially a Glossier rep now (*cheers! fireworks! celebratory hugs!*). However, just because I can now offer you guys a 20% discount instead of just 10%, I am still writing this review with my honest opinion. Last time I only reviewed Generation G & the Stretch Concealer. Since then I have practically bought everything from Glossier & I am STILL SO OBSESSED. The amount of Glossier stuff I now have is a bit ridiculous so I am splitting up this review several posts. This post will discuss their skin care products, the next will go into their makeup, and another post will be about other things (like their masks & their…. sweatshirt? yes, sweatshirt. A sweatshirt I will literally wear 5 days in a row.)

Enter the Milky Jelly Cleanser. My holy grail. My soulmate (sorry Joe). My best friend (sorry Alex). This cleanser IS PHYSICALLY MAGIC. First, it is insanely cleansing (duh, it’s a cleanser). I can have a full face of makeup and I’ll simply rub this all over my face (without water) & my day is washed away. Second, it is insanely moisturizing. I use this day & night, afternoon, midnight, whenever. It is so soothing my face is as soft as a fat baby’s butt after I use this. I honestly have gone through so many bottles of this & have 1 backup & 2 on it’s way. As I have discussed previously, I had terrible combo skin that was riddled with pimples. I always had a constant battle with my skin– how to keep it moisturized without leaving it greasy as a pizza. This cleanser has seriously transformed my skin. It’s nourishing, smells great, doesn’t strip my skin of it’s oils, yet cleanses makeup/dirt/etc off my face to prevent any sort of horrific outbreak. If there is one Glossier item I could only own for the rest of my life, it’s the Milky Jelly Cleanser.

Next, enter the Priming Moisturizer & the Priming Moisturizer Rich. Let’s get real. I never used to moisturize my face because hello, super greasy. Then I read some beauty blog that talked about how keeping your face moisturized reduces oil production, etc etc. I then began to moisturize like a mad woman but never quite found the right kind that fit my combo skin. Say hello to the priming moisturizers. For those ridiculous summer days with lots of nose sweat, the Priming Moisturizer is my go to. For those frigid, snow filled winter days with sad dry skin, the Priming Moisturizer Rich is what I reach for. If I had to choose one, I would go with the Rich because 1) smells like lavender 2) much more moisturizing throughout the day. Both are great primers for maker which is great for someone who likes the least number of steps in the morning! I will say that if your skin is a bit sensitive, you might have a slight reaction to these moisturizers.

Now, enter the Invisible Shield, aka sunscreen that YES EVERYONE NEED TO WEAR EVERY SINGLE DAY. However, I will admit, I do not wear it every day…. If I had to wear a sunscreen it would be the Invisible Shield. It goes on like a gel, smells like citrus, & melts into your skin so you don’t feel bombarded with that “sunscreen” feel (you know, that heavy white goop that smells like a weird motel). The only issue I had with this was that it left me so shiny. Perhaps I put too much on, or maybe put it on in the wrong order (which btw, if you have any tips on how you apply your beauty products in terms of which one you apply first, second, etc., leave a comment because I still don’t know). However, it is the only facial sunscreen I will ever use because it feel so not like sunscreen & is SPF 35, I’m just terrible at remember to do it EVERY SINGLE DAY.

TL; DR: YOU ARE GOING TO GO BUY THE MILKY JELLY CLEANSER RIGHT NOW. K? K.

Click here to save 20% and get free shipping with any purchase $30 or more!

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#IrmaGherd: My Dealings With a Super Storm

tumblr_inline_n094750FY41qid2nwGrowing up in Florida, hurricanes have always been a part of my life. Growing up in the Bradenton/Sarasota area, hurricanes have always tended to avoid us at the last minute (I personally like the legends of being on ancient Native American burial grounds protecting us). Hurricane Charley in 2004 was the only time I have ever felt as scared as I did about Irma, but I was 12 and it was a completely different experience. I’ve grown from being scared of losing my snow globes and American Girl dolls, to being scared of losing a roof over my head. So let’s go through my Irma timeline, as a way to cope for myself—selfishly, from start to finish. Through this storm I have experienced and witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugly.

 

Sunday, September 3, 2017:

I requested this day off work right before my restaurant closed so I could help my friend Kaitlyn move into the open unit in my crappy lil house. Her house mom (long story) said to her to watch Irma closely because she told her our house was frail and if it’s coming here then Kaitlyn needs to go to their house from the storm. I remember I said “its almost 100 years old, so think of all it has survived.” I then text my dad:

Me: do we have any idea where Irma is going?

Dad: -insert nondescript generic photo hurricane path too early to really know a thing- And it looks like after Friday it may take a turn North but its too early to tell for sure.

Me: Hopefully it doesn’t come this way. Bc idk if my house would sustain a storm to this level.

I’m fine on Monday, nothing phases me of this storm. I hang out with my friends and we have a traumatic Sonic adventure. I know I’m scheduled to begin house sitting and pet sitting for my bosses the next morning so I go to bed.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017:

I wake up seeing posts all over on Facebook about places that don’t have water and how this storm could take out Florida. I still am remaining calm. I go to my bosses’ apartment and get situated. We talk about the storm a bit and I mention I’m going to go on a hunt to find water later just to be safe. They tell me to contact them if the storm becomes bad and they leave for Ireland. I then proceed to enjoy some puppy cuddles and decide to change to Bay News 9 to watch the weather reports on Irma. I get nervous. Two hours later I’m trying to find water and go to multiple stores including peculiar stores like Staples that people sometimes don’t realize sell water. Nothing. In Kmart, customers have bought every storage bin, every cooler, and every kind of water they sell. I’ve already been informed Publix, Walmart, and Winn Dixie are out. I start to panic. I have an anxiety attack in the parking lot and then go see my friend Sarah to make a hurricane prep list.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017:

This was the last night I slept. I found water this day, I felt secure, and the weatherman was saying it shouldn’t be bad for where I live. I was worried about my friends who were in a more direct line of the storms projected path, but it was also too soon to really tell. I calmed some of my out of state friends explaining to them that nothing bad will happen, and I hung out with some doggos. I had an excellent Benadryl nap, and life was fine.

Thursday, September 7, 2017:

My family decided that maybe staying home wasn’t the best idea, but we weren’t entirely sure yet. We spent the day hurricane proofing my parents neighbors yard since she lives part time in Illinois and did a little bit of work here and there on their house. At this point in time, I started watching the news around the clock and I stopped sleeping. I wanted to see every path update when it happened, and for anyone who follows storms, you know that the different paths are released at a staggered time that doesn’t really allow you to sleep. My squashed anxiety over hurricanes was back. I let my boss know we might be evacuating to Tampa but weren’t sure yet, but the animals would be fine to come with me because it was just a precautionary measure.

Friday, September 8, 2017:

I’m growing more nervous over the storm, but life will be okay. We are going to go to Tampa. My mom helps me pack my records up and some of the more important things I wouldn’t want to be destroyed at my apartment. We moved my TV and my piano away from windows just in case. I moved my plants away from windows just in case. I want us to get on the road that night, I had my car packed up with my hurricane food, my bottled fluids, and I had my backup batteries for my phone charged. I had clothes to last me a week. I had Orange Baby and my baby blanket packed up. I go to my parents’ house and my dad is saying he isn’t sure if he will go with because he still has too much to do. I push through the pain and finish their yard. Mind you, I still have a slight break remaining in my almost healed broken foot. I’m in excruciating pain but I don’t care. I want my family to stick together. I want us to get out of there. I don’t trust my house, I don’t trust the island, and I don’t want to deal with a storm alone.

Saturday, September 9, 2017:

The track that is released this morning terrifies me. My calm and collected weatherman, Denis Phillips is now worried for the area that is my home. When he’s worried, I’m worried. I wait until 7:20 in the morning before I finally decide it was late enough to call my mom. It’s coming right for us and it’s going to be intense. I’m in tears. The news is saying how it’s too late to leave. The whole state is virtually dry of gas. My dad calls me back a few minutes later and tells me I have to call my boss’s dad and have him take the animals because we needed to go far away and we didn’t know how long we would be gone. I’m no longer calling the shots in this scenario. He tells me I need to meet him at my apartment and that he’s on his way and has two suitcases for me. I can’t get ahold of my boss’s dad. So I call my boss. I’m trying to stay calm but calm was gone. I was scared. My dad didn’t think either of us would have a home after this storm passed. He told me we were going to try and make it to our house in Jersey. I can barely breathe; I’m overcome by fear and crippling anxiety. I get to the apartment and he tells me I need to pack as much of my apartment as possible. I had to pack smart. What can’t be replaced and what will I need to start my life over. Clothes are the most important he told me. Because I might need to interview for jobs, have clothes for jobs, and have clothes for an indefinite amount of time to wear. Then he tells me he’ll see me later. I whimper. In this moment of panic, I didn’t understand and comprehend that he also needed to go do the same thing I was doing in this moment. I realize this now, but in that moment I wanted my dad to hold my hand through the scariest time of my life. I’m almost done packing and my best friend since middle school and downstairs neighbor texted me to tell me that she’s evac packing as well and whoever finishes first to go to the others place. When I finished and we hugged in her living room, it felt like there was a possibility we could be hugging for the last time. I hadn’t told anyone yet, but if I lost everything, and I mean everything, I wasn’t coming home. I went and situated the animals I was pet sitting with there new temporary furry caregivers, and I went to my parents home to get the ball rolling in motion. We were already evacuating after the point where the news said it was too late. The house still had so much left to be done and my dad said that my mom and I should just go—he won’t be far behind. Panic. No. Don’t panic. Mom can’t see after dark so I agree. My mom and I go. We hit the traffic we have been seeing about on the news all week. My dad leaves over an hour after we did, it might have been close to two hours. Somehow he makes it beyond us in Ocala. We had difficulty finding gas, as did everyone, but we manage to all meet up at the same gas station. It’s sunset. We still have over six hours to go to get to our destination in South Carolina. Because of my mom’s night blindness, we ended up needing to find a place to stay after a bit more on the road. Thank God, and I mean really, the big guy upstairs is working for us here, we were right by the summer camp I used to work with. One phone call to my beloved camp mom, Miss. Sarah, and we had a place to safely stay for the night. True Christianity, a phone call late after dark, and I have a place to stay. I don’t sleep still, my third night of not sleeping, but I pray hard.

Sunday, September 10, 2017:

We wake up before dawn, we clean our room we stayed in at camp, and we leave a donation out of gratitude. As soon as the sun is up, we continue our journey to South Carolina. We have to drive through some of the worst weather I have ever driven through on our way out of the state in Jacksonville. They were being hit hard with a nor’easter that morning and a mix of the outer bits of this ginormous storm was already hitting the northern part of Florida. We are literally being chased out of Florida. The second we cross over the Florida/Georgia line, my heart nearly stops. I can breathe. We make it out of Georgia and into South Carolina. I finally have my appetite back… well somewhat, but enough that I finally can eat something. We make it to the cattle farm we are staying at until further notice and I feel relieved but I’m still obsessively checking all social media. I have so many loved ones who are waiting out the storm in boarded up homes or in shelters. I’m still so worried. We see new tracks. It’s looking like it might not be as bad as we thought, but anyone who knows storms, knows that these storms can change whenever and you should never feel false safety until it has fully passed. I’m safely out of the state, I know I will get some tropical storm level weather the following day in the area of South Carolina I am staying in, but I can live with that. I continue to pray that everyone is okay. I end up needing medicinal assistance to sleep that night, but before bed I text one of my oldest friends who’s family stayed on the island for the storm, it hasn’t been that bad. I fall asleep feeling hope.

Monday, September 11, 2017:

It’s my dad’s birthday; we wake up with word from most of our friends and family telling us how the storm wasn’t as bad as it could have been. How there still isn’t power but it should be fine all around. We wont know about my parents’ house for a little bit longer because the island is still closed. I’ve been awake for a couple hours now, I’m checking Snapchat to see the videos and the photos of the storm, and I see one from one of my downstairs neighbor. There is a tree collapsed on our home. I run and show my mom and then I cry. My home. My first house. Has a tree in it. I don’t know the severity of damage. I just know a tree fell. My dad says he’s going to drive home right then and there to try and get however much of my stuff as he can out of my home. I talk him out of this. The storm is still active and it’s his birthday. I want us to stay together as a family. I had to hold myself together to make sure he didn’t feel compelled to leave. Sarah calls me to tell me there’s a tree in our house but it looks like my unit could be fine to get my stuff out. I call Kaitlyn to let her know we have a tree in our house but that we can’t get upstairs until further notice. I break my six-week sobriety over lunch because: tree in my house. I consider not going home. We finally get word that my parents’ house is fine. My coworker who lies behind them had her son go and walk our property as well and send us photos and videos of how it looks. Before I fall asleep, I finally get word that my basically sister and her family down in Naples are okay. The worry I had all day for them is relieved. I sleep without medications.

Tuesday-Friday, September 12-15, 2017:

There isn’t a lot I can do at this point. My family every day monitors gas levels on our drive home and traffic. We need to make sure we can make it home in one go of things without getting stranded anywhere from running out of gas. So we decide to make the best of this. Our host family is by far the most amazing host family we could ever have. I get to go out on a 4wheeler and meet over forty cows. We bond. We enjoy country living. Nothing more we can do than make lemonade from lemons. Newberry, South Carolina stole a piece of all of our hearts.

Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Present:

I have to get a storage unit; I have to move all of my stuff out of my second story apartment that hasn’t been inspected for safety; I have to start over. Since doing all of this, I have gotten barely any to basically none shifts at my job. Literally starting over. I have no money. I have no home. I feel humbled and I feel broken. But I’m trying to remind myself every day that something good will come eventually. I have my family. I have my life. And I was able to get my belongings out of my apartment. I had amazing friends help me all throughout the week even though there are definitely better more exciting things they would have rather had done. I have cried, a lot. So many tears have shed. I have had countless mental breakdowns. I overcame losing my job that was my primary income and having to make the best of my secondary income and managed to stay up on of all of my bills without losing my house. Despite overcoming this major set back, a storm takes out my home. I have to fight with my landlord to get us our security deposits back. I have to face reality that I won’t be able to live alone anymore and that I don’t have anyone set in stone that can be my roommate. To say I feel like I hit rock bottom is an understatement. I have to believe everything is going to end up better than it was before even. I know this could have all been way worse. My heart breaks for all of the islands in the Caribbean. My heart breaks for the Collier and Lee county areas where I spent my college years because they took more damage than we did. But I can’t help but selfishly still ask why me. Why did I have to lose my home? Why do I have to find a new job so I can maybe have a shred of hope in finding a new home? Why do natural disasters have to happen in general?

I’m not writing this in hopes of gaining sympathy or anything like that. I’m writing this because I firmly believe that putting your feelings out there will help relieve your worries. I don’t have a therapist to talk to anymore, so that leaves my blog I share with my best friend. Everyone experienced this traumatic super storm differently. Everyone handles the storm aftermath of exhaustion differently. I think this storm broke everyone a little bit, and I think it’s healthy for us to talk about how it broke us. It’s important to be able to say, “hey, I’m going to be okay, but right now I don’t feel so okay.”

To anyone who extended your graciousness to me and my family before, during, and after this storm. From the bottom of my heart: thank you. Your goodness will forever hold a special place in my heart.
For my Caribbean neighbors and my fellow hurricane season effected states, I hope and pray that from here on out we get cut a break from these storms. I know it might not happen, but I still hope and pray.

Stay safe and stay dry my friends.

alex

 

Let’s Get Minimal- In The Bathroom

In my lifelong goal of living minimally, but fully, I have decided to tackle one of the most ridiculous rooms in my apartment- the bathroom… I love beauty products. From masks to lip products to cleansers to shampoo to body wash, etc. The list is forever long. However, I realized how cluttered my tiny bathroom was and how I actually was overwhelmed with the amount of “stuff” I had shoved into the one cabinet hovering dangerously above the toilet.

Starting last year, I began to shorten my beauty routine. Shortly after I posted my review about Glossier (read here), I began to really cut back on my makeup. A little mascara here, a little concealer there, a swipe of Generation G in Crush, and I was done. I began to incorporate this into my cleansing routine. Yes, I fell susceptible to Glossier’s Milky Jelly cleanser. No, I promise I am not sponsored by Glossier. I am literally just obsessed with this minimal, simple, beautiful, woman-owned company.

tumblr_m10d4m02BO1qid73sSo what can you do to de-clutter and enhance your bathroom space?

Here’s what I did:

  • Throw away everything you haven’t used in the past 3 months. I’m talking eye shadow palettes, mascara, lippies, masks. First of all, they’re probably already bad (yes, makeup has an expiration date). Second, if you haven’t used it in the past 3 months, when will you really use it? (unless it’s winter and your summer moisturizer really isn’t cutting it with the harsh cold winds)
  • Figure out your holy grail of cleansers. At my worst, I had about 5 cleansers. My face was crying for help. There is no reason to have 5 cleansers. In addition to my Milky Jelly cleanser which I use all the time, I have an exfoliating cleanser which I use in the shower several times a week. My favorite right now is Alba’s Hawaiian Detox Scrub. I’ve never had a scrub that has left my face so smooth yet so hydrated. It’s a perfect compliment to the gentle Milky Jelly.
  • Limit yourself to one shampoo, one conditioner, & maybe a hair mask. I don’t use hair masks because my hair is actually pretty healthy & moisturized. Maybe you already only have 1 set of shampoo/conditioners, but I actually had like 3 different conditioners and 2 different shampoos, and goodness knows how many masks at my worst. Why? I don’t know. They all smelled nice. Did I use them for specific reasons? Nope. Granted, if you have an anti-dandruff shampoo, you can probably keep that (although the best cure is to actually not wash your hair every day.) Pro-tip: wash your hair every 3 days, condition first, shampoo second. You’ll have super voluminous, soft, healthy hair in about a month.
  • Figure out your every day make-up look and throw away everything that doesn’t make the cut. When it came down to it, I realized I only used one type of mascara, despite having about 5 hiding in my cabinet. I didn’t use eyeshadow anymore (except one that Alex sent me for christmas which I am obsessed. Colourpop, I see you and your perfect eyeshadows.) I definitely didn’t use my eyeshadow palettes. I didn’t use eyeliner anymore, so why were there 3 used ones taking up space? Now, if you use all this stuff, keep it! Obviously. But if you haven’t used that palette you bought at Sephora 2 years ago, you might want to give it to a friend (if you haven’t touched it. Don’t share used makeup) or chuck it.
  • It’s okay if you have one thing you’re obsessed with. Or 2. For example, I love my liquid lipsticks (for those “fancy” days…) and I love facial masks (I use them about 3 times a week to support a face that requires no foundation anymore, hooray!). Therefore, all the extra space I have now created by eliminating the things I didn’t use in the past 3 months or in my daily routine can be filled with things I actually used.

TLDR: Know your routine, your skin, yourself. Eliminate everything that just doesn’t make sense or you haven’t used in years (literally, years).

Disclaimer…. obviously if you’re really amazing at makeup and that’s your thing, then hold onto those 25 tubes of mascara and your fancy eye shadow and your super awesome skills. Fun fact: I am definitely one of those people who could watch YouTube makeup videos ALL DAY. I am not so secretly jealous of their skills. Hence, me embracing that no make up make up look… *cries*

Get 10% off your first Glossier purchase & simplify your beauty routine:

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We’re still here…

Hello! So…. it’s been a few moments (months…) since we have updated this blog. Life kind of happened and unfortunately we have severely neglected this blog. I’m trying to raise a puppy, I delivered babies this summer, Alex is making money and surviving hurricanes. You know, the usual.  However, we just reached a milestone in our followers so I thought I would hop on here and say HI WE ARE STILL HERE!

As I’m entering my last semester of nursing school (omg) and Alex settles into her new apartment (not so new now though… because it’s been a while since she moved…. ha), I hope we can find more time to post more!

We have lots of saves drafts filled with our thoughts on surviving young adulthood and lots of new ideas brewing in our heads so please don’t leave us!

Here are some cool codes you can use though in the meantime:

15% off Wool and the Gang

10% off Glossier

10% off The Elephant Pants (as seen on Shark Tank!)

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DAY 88/365

tumblr_inline_nb3h740cQe1snulowHi, Hello, Sorry. It’s been a minute. Whitney and I are crazy complicatedly busy. I’ve been moving, she has clinicals and a job and a puppy. Bear with us! (Rarrrr -that’s a bear growl thing…old camp jokes-). We love you, we miss you, we love our blog, we really do try! Moving on! We are just about one quarter (a little over 24%) of the way through the year 2017, and I decided I wanted to revisit my goals for the year. Not to change them or anything, just to have  a little status update on any progress I’m making. So, to refresh everyone’s memory, this is from my New Years Post:

Here we go… Like Whitney said. I may or may not achieve these.
(I’m okay with that.)

  1. Continue to learn as much as possible at my job to strengthen my resume.

  2. Continue to work towards (and maybe even obtain??) moving out on my own.

  3. Ride my new bicycle as regularly as possible.

  4. Clean out those clothes I hold on to hoping I’ll one day wear again when they aren’t even age appropriate anymore.

  5. Stop worrying so much what other people think about me.

  6. (I’m stealing one of Whitney’s and putting it in quotes because plagiarism scares me. Sorry!) “more self love, less self hate”

  7. Cut back to only 2 alarms instead of 3 in the morning.

So lets take a look at this.

  1. I got moved from one department to another department at my job, and I have definitely been learning something new all the time. I’ve began working on skills that make my resume look better. So I’d say I’m on the right track for this one.
  2. I moved out of my parents house!!!!! Check!
  3. Well… oh my gosh, I am so sorry Max and Sarah… I have only ridden my bike twice.
  4. I’ve cleaned out HUGE bags full of clothes, but still have more I need to purge. Especially with moving. So we will consider this on the right track.
  5. Lol. I’m cute for thinking I will fully obtain this goal. Don’t get me wrong, I have no shame in my game. I proudly fly my crazy train flag. But I still will always worry that someone isn’t really my friend, hates me on the DL, or will be secretly talking about me behind my back. I’m going to keep trying on this one though.
  6. This is a huge work in progress. I’m my own worst nightmare when it comes to criticism of myself.
  7. Welllll, as of this morning, I just had to add a 4th emergency in case I fall back to sleep alarm. So… baby steps.

Where are you at 88 days into the year? Have you been making progress? Or are you falling under the theory of January… February… oh and March, too… are simply trial months of the year? Let me know! I’d love to hear in the comments below. No shame in our game, right?

 

Peace&Blessings

alex

Nursing School // Study Tips for the Non-Studier

Nursing school problems: I have a test next week and I have zero desire to crack open my notes and focus. So I thought I’d finally get around to writing a post about how I study in nursing school, especially since I will be graduating this year. I specify “nursing school” because how I study in nursing school is a complete 180 from the way I studied in college. In college, I walked away with 2 Bachelor’s degree, a really good GPA, and memories that will last a life time. I NEVER STUDIED. I went to class 80% of the time, cranked out a billion papers while watching Lost, and actually had time to like, go out to dinner with friends. Culture shock when I started nursing school (read about why I went back to school here). I attended all the lectures, studied my butt off, ignored my friends for an entire year, and still managed to have really sucky grades. How? Why? What happened to my brain? Everyone was like “I studied 15 hours on Saturday! What about you?” Was I not studying enough? It wasn’t until one of my clinical instructors told me “Whitney, don’t go down the rabbit hole.”  when things started to click and I realized that I needed to study smarter, not study more.They're all the right answer! The never-ending struggle. #Nursing #NursingStudent:

If you ask anyone in nursing school, they will tell you how difficult and how Funny Nursing Quotes: http://www.nursebuff.com/2013/07/funny-nurses-quotes/: terrible the exams are…. I can tell you first hand that the exams are a death sentence. Select all that apply? HA! Let me just skip those since I’m 100% sure I will get it wrong anyway. (Don’t do this. A huge chunk of the NCLEX is apparently select all that apply). The most important thing I learned half way through nursing school is SAVE YOUR BRAIN SPACE. What do I mean by that? Nursing is a very complex profession. Sure it’s not medical school but we are required to basically know a little bit about everything and know what is abnormal/normal/weird/strange/good/bad so we can tell the doctors who will then tell us what to do even though we already know what they’re going to say… but whatever. I’m only in school for 2 years, not 8. No complaints. However, much like we cluster care with NICU babies, I find that clustering information and saving my brain space has drastically improved my studying and my grades.

Hey look! 250 Funniest Nursing Quotes and Ecards #Nursebuff #Nurse #Humor: Here are some little tips to help you survive nursing exams if you hate studying like me:

  • Go to every lecture. I found that instructors are not out to fail you. In fact, you will learn that the information they will most likely test on will be something they emphasize A LOT. If you hate reading 100 pages, go to the lecture and figure out the highlights your instructors deem important and test worthy.
  • Review your notes right after the lecture. This takes like 20 minutes max and it exposes your mind to the information again, further implanting it into your memory (hopefully). If you have any questions (sometimes instructors teach faster than I can write), go to your textbook and fill in the missing pieces.
  • Review every day. This is similar to the tip above. The more exposure you have to the material, the more you will understand it. Review your notes every day while you’re eating breakfast, walking your dog, in between red lights (just kidding. DO NOT DO THAT.), going to the bathroom (hey, if you’re reading this you realize that nurses/nursing students can’t be grossed out by anything), etc.
  • Record the lectures. Confused about something you scribbled down? Listen to the lecture again to clarify. This is the easiest, most time saving thing I wish I knew to do when I first started nursing school. Rather than trying to find out the information or trying to get a hold of the instructor, I can fast forward through my recording and bam! It’s there.
  • Rewrite the information. Don’t rewrite your notes word for word. Summarize them, organize them, make them yours. My notes from lectures are a mess. I have writing every where. When I finally sit down to study I either use note cards or a fresh notebook to rewrite all my notes. I organize the information, summarize points, create acronyms, etc. Writing out notes word for word is really wasting your time. Forcing yourself to write them with your own words/format/whatever will force you to think about what it is you are writing out.
  • Stop studying. Whenever I find my mind wandering in the middle of a study session, I stop. Before I used to power through and tell myself “Let me just finish this neuro section and then I will take a break.” However, more times than naught, I could never remember what I studied. Rather than waste my time and giving myself a false sense of accomplishment, I simply finish up whatever sentence I’m writing, close my book, and remove myself from my study spot. Sometimes I will grab something to eat, bake some cookies, watch an episode of whatever show I’m into, walk to get some coffee, literally anything to reset my brain. Once I am refueled, I return to my study spot and continue on. It is important not to get too distracted and waste the rest of your day (I am guilty of this), so this is where I would set a goal. Once the cookies are done baking, go back to studying. Once I finish this episode and go pee, go back to studying. Etc.
  • Use your resources. My go-to resource for nursing school is the Saunders NCLEX-RN review book. This book brilliantly breaks down the key points and organizes all that information thrown at me. I highly recommend this book for anyone in nursing school.
  • Don’t go down the rabbit hole. We are studying to become nurses, not doctors, not physical therapists, not respiratory therapists. Nurses. As nurses, we have a role of constantly assessing, educating patients and family, and communicating with other members of the team. I used to waste my time studying every part of a disease, but I had to remind myself, as a nurse my role is to know what is abnormal, what is improving, and the interventions to go along with that. We are required to know pathophysiology, but not to the extent I found myself studying. Forcing myself to focus on the role of the nurse and not go down that rabbit hole (i.e./ the cardiac system is endless and fascinating, but not for testing purposes) has saved my brain space and helped me with exams. If I want to know the detailed pathophysiology of Kawasaki disease, I definitely look it up… after my exam!
  • HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF A LIFE. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Go to yoga. Go to a movie. Go on a dinner date with your significant other you haven’t seen in like a month. Trust me when I say that extra hour of studying will not help. Enjoying an hour lunch with a friend will keep you sane and decrease your anxiety.

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TLDR: Don’t go overboard with the studying .No one cares if you studied 15 hours on Saturday… in fact that’s kind of dumb. Listen to your brain. If you’re tired of studying, get up and grab a cookie.Study smart. Go to lectures. Nursing exams really suck but just remember they’re a tiny part of something huge and amazing. Remember your end goal of becoming a nurse and dominate those exams!

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I Have High Functioning Anxiety/Panic Disorder

tumblr_inline_namymk27nv1snulowI’ve probably started typing and then deleted this post more times than I can even keep track of. It’s easy for me to click “share” on Facebook when someone posts a link to someone else’s post about their mental illness, but it’s a completely different story when I share my experience. I’m not trying to get a lot of shares, I’m not trying to gain support (I have a wonderful support system as is), and I’m not trying to make a point. I’m writing this more so for myself. It’s a lifestyle blog, this is part of my lifestyle. This will definitely be my most vulnerable post I have ever written.

It’s something I deal with every single moment of every single day of my life. You wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell by looking at me, hence the high functioning. But it’s there, constantly. While I face feeling anxious about pretty much everything, social situations are my biggest challenge I face. I over analyze, I blame myself for everything, and I assume people don’t want to be around me. If anyone, even my best friend, takes more than two minutes to respond to a text message, my throats begins to feel tight. I know, this doesn’t sound high functioning. It is. While I am feeling this way at all times, through behavioral therapy and determination I have reached a point where I am relatively successful of having my logical part of my brain silence the anxiety. Except, having the volume turned down doesn’t mean it goes away. Telling me to “stop overthinking” or “stop stressing” or “who cares let it go” is fine and dandy. Believe me, I appreciate your efforts in saying what you think will help. However, I need you to understand that what you’re saying means nothing. Anxiety and stress are two totally different concepts. I can be having a high anxiety day without any added stress just like I can have high stress days while having a relatively low anxiety day. Stress is something brought on by an outside source. Anxiety is never ending.

I remember my first panic attack like it happened yesterday. I was a senior in high school and we had a math test. My schedule had become much busier my senior year between IB, the drama program, and my part time job. I suffered a gnarly burn at work which complicated life, I was sick for almost a full semester, and I was going through major social circle changes. Despite all of this, I felt like I was still doing okay in school, nothing amazing, but okay. We were sitting down for the test, I don’t remember what the concepts were but I remember feeling like I had a good grasp on it, and then when the test actually began my mind went blank, I could no longer breathe, and then my vision blacked out. I never wrote down a single answer. It felt beyond trivial and teen angst filled to talk to my teacher after class and try and explain what happened, how I didn’t even know what happened. She responded instantly “You had a panic attack. Has this happened before?” While hearing her then explain to me what she believed I was going to was terrifying, because she said it would probably happen again, it was comforting to hear an explanation for the terrifying event I just experienced.

They would continue to happen periodically, some were worse and some weren’t as bad, throughout the rest of the year and my first two years of college. My parents began noticing areas I didn’t function as well with. I had crippling anxiety when it came time for me to get rid of anything I ever owned. ANYTHING. I couldn’t get rid of my 6th grade math assignment because what if one day I needed that again? You never know! (You do know. You won’t need it. But I couldn’t process that at the time.) My mom and dad finally decided that I should see somebody about all of this. Beginning in my junior year of college, I began seeing a therapist about once a week. It was weird at first. I didn’t feel like there was any huge trauma (I mean, there was, but I had the anxiety before that) I should be discussing that could be causing people to be concerned about my anxieties. I knew I didn’t want to be medicated, so eventually I figured out how to make this work. I learned a lot about myself. I learned that while the list of mental illnesses she began listing off over time seemed ridiculous, they were actually common and very intertwined with each other. Everything related back to how my brain responded to having Anxiety/Panic Disorder. We began working on ways to cope and self soothe. That term always sounds funny to me when used for reasons other than babies, but it’s what I had to learn how to do. Counting helps. You count to ten while inhaling slowly. You count down from ten while exhaling slowly. You repeat as many times as you need to before you’re calm. It’s easy to type out what to do. It’s harder to do it when you actively cannot breathe. Therapy helped. I was embarrassed for the longest time about going to therapy. I felt like it was something I should be ashamed of. I outgrew that. I think everyone should go to therapy at some point in their life because you learn a lot about yourself.

I don’t go to therapy anymore. I haven’t been to therapy since 2013. I still have some really bad days. Some of those really bad days actually last for a couple weeks where anything and everything makes me anxious. “Why didn’t my parents add an emoji? Are they mad at me? Quick think through everything you have said and done in the last 48 hours. Where did you mess up.” That’s what anxiety is like. I’m constantly replaying the last 48 hours, sometimes even the last week, of interactions I had with people to make sure I didn’t do something wrong. You wouldn’t think that by looking at me. I’m usually just sitting there, often times with the subtle curve of the corner of my mouth. I’m usually fidgeting, it keeps my mind from spinning into hyperspeed. The constant tucking of my hair behind my ears, the flicking of my fingers, the repeated opening and closing of the same three apps on my phone.

It’s hard for me to make friends sometimes, because I’m afraid of the no texting back. But I have the logic part of my brain. That gets louder all the time. Telling my anxiety to hush. Reminding me that it’s not always about me or something I did. Maybe mom or dad are busy and didn’t think to add a smiley face or maybe it’s because every message doesn’t need an emoji (like, wow, I don’t use emojis all the time, why should everyone else have to?). Sometimes people get busy and don’t answer texts, or life gets stressful and they stop answering texts. Do you know who does both of those things all the time? Me. You know what helps my anxiety the most? Talking about it. I used to be ashamed to talk about it because that’s what you’re supposed to do with mental illness. Keep it quiet. Don’t let anyone know. Keep up the charade that you’re “normal”. The stigma surrounding mental illness is something that absolutely needs to be stopped. I’m taking my step in doing my part by stopping it. This is my journey through anxiety/panic disorder. It’s not over, it never will be over, but I get better at coping with it every single day and I’m willing to be there are a handful of you out there who had absolutely no idea that I deal with this nonstop.

I’ve shared my story, now share yours. Feel welcome to leave comments below linking me to a post you’ve written about your own mental illness. Feel welcome to leave comments below sharing with me your story. Speak freely about what you face daily and stop the stigma. I have a mental illness but I’m functioning completely fine and I’m happy.

 

Peace & Blessings,

alex

 

P.S. check out or blog shop linked over in the side bar/menu to get your own Peace & Blessings gear. (or any other gear!)

Maker, not a Seller

Why I’m backing off the Etsy life

No, I’m not leaving it. Etsy is a phenomenal spot for novice sellers like myself. However, the saturation of knitwear and other goods is unbelievable. If you make it on Etsy, you really make it. If you don’t, you end up with 64 sales in 4 years. I’ve had more custom orders than orders through my Etsy shop simply with a presence on Instagram, Facebook, and in the community. So what was wrong? After much deliberation about what I needed to change to make my Etsy shop more successful, I decided that the problem isn’t what I was putting up, my items, my “look”, or the whole Etsy thing… it was me.

I am the worst seller. I can’t sell to save my life. I hate promoting my stuff. I am terrible with describing each item. I am terrible with keeping my shop up to date with the latest trends and hot new things (I’m looking at you messy bun beanie… why don’t we just wear earwarmers?) I am SO BAD with packaging. I have spent countless hours staring at the beautiful shops of some of the most successful knitwear folks and they just ooze professionalism, perfection, and beauty. I… do not. That’s when I realized I am not a seller.

When am I the most content? When I’m creating new pieces for my loved ones, when I’m working on new projects for myself, when I’m learning new sitches, trying out yarn I spent way too much money on but oh my goodness the alpaca makes it so soft! When I have no pressure to make a certain number of sales, reach a certain number of shop likes, no pressure to make money.

I am not a seller. I am a maker. And after 4 years in this Etsy game, I am realizing this and accepting it. Hey, I already finished 1/4 of my sweater that I “never had time to do” because “I had to keep my shop stocked”. I will still keep my Etsy shop. I will still create new pieces for it and adding new items when I can, not when I must. My Instagram will no longer serve as a platform to advertise my shop, but rather my journey &  my creations. My Etsy shop is still my virtual baby and I am proud of it, but I am no longer letting it dictate my “maker” life.

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Introducing the Alex & Whitney Store!

We are really rolling in 2017. So much so that we basically decided to open up a shop. “Wait, what? Don’t you already have an Etsy shop?”  Well, the Etsy shop and this blog simply share a name. Which is why we decided to change the name of our blog since Whitney’s Etsy shop and this blog have morphed into 2 entities. Since both Alex & Whitney contribute to this blog and it’s really about them fighting through the early stage of adulthood, what better name than Alex & Whitney!

The shop consists of mainly typography, featuring our favorite sayings. We may branch out of the business of “words” but for now, we hope you grab a shirt and have a laugh. So go ahead. Check out our shop! And share it with all your friends.

Alex&Whitney Blog Shop

 alex&whitney

Becoming an Aunt Changed My Life

 

tumblr_inline_n9qe50rjfH1snulowThere isn’t anything that hurts me more than when someone tries to tell me Layla isn’t actually my niece, or now that Carter is born and thriving through his earlier months… that he isn’t really my nephew. I’m not blood related to them, this is true; and I have never tried to claim being blood related. I’m referred to as their aunt, and I see them both as my blood relative and I love them both more than I love myself. I would do absolutely anything and everything to protect these tiny tiny humans. Furthermore, I would do anything and everything to be there for their mother, who has been in my life since I was 8 years old.

I met Layla when she was three months old, and it killed me that I didn’t get to meet her sooner, but at the same time, I didn’t really know how much I loved her until I first laid eyes on her. Then the moment Sarah asked me if I wanted to hold her, and I had this little bundle of joy in my arms with her eyes staring up at me, I wanted to cry. I was in love instantly. I no longer just viewed her as another adorable baby like I had in the past with all the babies I babysat growing up. I knew I wanted to be as actively involved in this child’s life as her mom would let me. Thankfully, her mom is more than welcoming to having me around and I made it a goal to try and go see her at least once every other week if not more. Before I knew it, my phone was filling up with photos of her as she grew and I was organizing them in an album dedicated just to her. Before I knew it, I started having to budget out an allotted amount of money I was allowed to use towards buying her presents and clothing. I started planning out everything I wanted to get her for her first birthday because nothing was too much for this innocent little angel.

My love for this family grew even bigger when I found out Sarah was pregnant again, before Layla was even a year old. Then everything got even more exciting when Sarah found out she was having a boy. As soon as I knew it was a boy I started going out and buying baby boy clothing in all sizes to prepare for the baby shower. I, in all honesty, cried the day Sarah told me she wanted me to visit her in the hospital when Carter is born. For me it’s an incredibly honor to be welcomed into her kids lives so heavily because these are the most important part of her life, they are her whole life. The day Carter was born, the universe aligned perfectly, it was his actual due date which almost never happens, and it was on a day I always work the dinner shift… but this particular Monday, my restaurant had to close for maintenance. I couldn’t contain my excitement, I could barely sleep the night Sarah went into labor, and as soon as I got the go ahead to come to the hospital I was getting a food order from Sarah (let’s face it, no mommy who just gave birth should be required to eat hospital food… as if) and making my way to the hospital to do what I didn’t get to do with Layla. Meet Carter on his first day in this world out of his mommy’s belly.

Magical is an understatement, awesome in the truest sense of the word would describe it nicely, I was overjoyed when he was passed into my arms. This tiny, fragile, and perfect in every imaginable way, baby boy who I cannot wait to continue to get to know as his personality forma more and more each day… and to be a part of his life.

I look forward to the years to come in how I will get to spend more time with each of them. I want to make sure I stay a positive influence in their life. On days that I feel like nothing matters, thinking about Layla smiling or Carter’s toothless grin, makes everything in the world seem more bearable.

Sarah has been in my life for a long time, and even though she and I drifted apart from time to time due to us going to different High Schools and then me moving away fro college, I’m glad we’ve always stayed in touch. I’m even gladder I’m back in our hometown and I can see her all the time. You never realize how much you miss having someone in your life until they aren’t and then they come back into your life and you’re asking yourself how you have made it this long without them. Thank you for letting me be your beautiful children’s aunt, even if I’m not blood, even thought they have their blood related aunt and uncles who are perfect in every way, thank you for letting them have another as well. It has seriously changed my life for the better.

alex