Categories
my life positivity

loner

I like doing things alone better.

I am an only child so that may make more sense… maybe?

Whatever the case may be I’ve never disliked being alone.

However, this is not the case for all.

Rather than asking why others dislike solitude, I thought about why I enjoy being alone!

‘ME TIME’

Don’t get me wrong — I like being social!

But I also enjoy spending time by myself.

Recharge yourself. It’s necessary.

I AM AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN

There is a certain satisfaction in doing something outside of the norm.

We all know it.

Being alone in public tends to be one of those taboo things.

So yeah, if I go to a happy hour alone to journal it is okay to feel confident in your difference!

Just follow through with what feels good for you.

You’ll be amazed by how awesome happiness feels!

APPRECIATE YOURSELF

Something I have learned overtime is that no will be will able to give you love you’re “looking for”.

You have to love yourself.
That’s the only way.
All that good (cliche) bullsh*t.

Hey, I don’t make the rules!

Think about all the joys of solitude, such as no one else to account for or answer to.

It is freeing!

Do you guys like having alone time?
Let me know in the comments below!

Talk to y’all soon,
Alex

Categories
Everythanggg

everyday makeup

Hey guys. I’ve gotten quite a few messages on Instagram asking about my everyday makeup routine. Well, ask and you shall receive! 

I’m using ‘everyday’ lightly. I definitely do not wear this look everyday.
But this is my go-to day look.

I tend to focus on my skin makeup and brows because they’re the most important part of the look for me. 

I use a mix of drugstore and high-end products. I’ve listed some budget-friendly alternatives too! 

I hope you’re able to find a new product (or two)! 😋

Your skin is the canvas. Makeup is the medium.

So taking proper care of your skin will result in better makeup application and wear. 

I’m in the middle of figuring out what skincare products my face likes so if you’re interested in a skincare routine in the future, let me know! 

While my skin is going through its phases I’ve been switching between two face primers.

THIS Ciate London primer is great for hydrating dry or dull skin. It has a very subtle fruity scent that dissipates soon after application. 

I like wearing this product when I’m having a relatively good skin day. 

THIS Peter Thomas Roth primer is great for those with oily skin like myself. 

I shine like no other, I swear!

For cheaper options of skin prep, I enjoy THIS Milani Prime + Correct Setting Spray. 

It’s a primer AND setting spray — two for one! 

You can grab Milani products at any drugstore. I think I got mine at Ulta

While my primer sets on my skin, I move to eye makeup. 

My go-to shadow is a bright shimmer color all over the lid with heavier application towards the tear duct and a neutral warm brown swept in the crease. 

I have been gravitating towards THIS neutral shimmer set from Mac Cosmetics and THIS warm neutral palette from Thrive Causemetics

The Mac glitter shadows do have a bit of fallout which is why I apply shadow before undereye concealer or foundation. 

Stars In My Pocket (champagne shade in Mac palette) packed on the inner lid.

Frida (terracotta brown shade from Thrive palette) and Let’s Roll (red bronze glitter shadow) blended in the crease.

I picked up THIS undereye brightener by Becca a few weeks ago and have been loving it. 

My under eyes tends to crease throughout the day resulting in an aged look. 

Not cute. 

I put some product on the back of my hand then use my ring finger to warm up and apply the brightener under my eyes, around my nose and any dark spots. 

The product is a little heavy so a little goes a long way! 

After the brightener, I go in with THIS concealer. 

LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!

The only other Bare Minerals product I have tried is THIS gel serum foundation.
I unearthed it from my collection and admittedly don’t like it as much as the concealer.

This concealer is incredibly lightweight and natural-looking while providing INSANE coverage!  

If you have more dry skin you may not need to set the Becca brightener.

However, I do have rather oily skin and find the concealer and brightener looks best when I set with a bit of translucent powder. 

There is some under eye settling throughout the day.
I just blend it out with my finger then I’m good to go!

THIS Maybelline dark circle treatment is a comparable holy-grail drugstore brightener! 

I’ve been using THIS loose drugstore powder. I also really like THIS compact. 

It’s made for oily skin and I do find my shine holds off longer when set with this! 

I was recommended THIS Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer towards the end of summer by a girlfriend of mine and have been using it since!

I start by using a bit of the bronzer on a small contour brush and follow the “three-technique”. 

If you’re unfamiliar, it’s when you sweep bronzer from your temples, accentuating the cheekbones and then along the jawline. Mimicking the number three with your brush strokes.  

If I want more a more defined look I will follow up with THIS deeper bronzer by Becca in Bronzed Bondi

Clearly I need a makeup shopping spree

I’ve just about run out of THIS NYX WonderStick in Light but I was loving it while using it! 

Super blendable. The primers I mentioned for sure help the product glide but even alone this contour stick is awesome! 

If you’re willing to invest a bit more in a cream bronzer, I would recommend THIS one by MILK Cosmetics.

I am rather pale and do not find the shade to be too dark or muddy for my complexion.
Another incredibly creamy, blendable product!

My go-to powder blush recently has been THIS darker mauve shade, Truffle by The Body Shop.

This winter I’ve been really into cream blushes. THIS Lip + Cheek Stick by MILK Cosmetics brings such a youthful, glowy look to the skin. Shade Werk.

For highlighter, I’ve been sticking with my tried and true layering duo.

The label has completely worn off but the highlighter I use is very similar to THIS Clinique cream one.


It’s a really pretty pink, pearly shade. It reminds me of Benefit High Beam which I used to death in high school.

I apply the cream product to the back of my hand, then using a damp makeup sponge dab the product onto the high points of my face. 

Cheekbones, brow bones, the tip of the nose, and cupids bow. 

Get nuts with it! 

Then using my ring finger, I layer THIS Mac Mineralized Skin Finish in Lightscapade over the areas I applied cream highlighter. 

BROWS 

I’ve been getting my eyebrows threaded at Zara Brow Bar for about four years now. 

I love the way my brows have transformed and I’m super pleased to not have to put a ton of work into them! 

My brows aren’t super thick so I prefer a thinner style crayon/pencil to give a more natural look. 

I used THIS definer crayon/pencil in Brunette or Dark Brown for a while. 

But recently I switched up to an old favorite. 

THIS $10 micro brow pencil by NYX. When I take my time to use this, my brows look BOMB!

LASHES + LINER

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper has been my eyeliner of choice for about four and a half years. 

There was a stint of time — about 2 years — I wore winged eyeliner every day. 

I really like makeup! And I really wanted to perfect wings. 

Which I did. 

I would typically wing it out but I’ve been trying to perfect baby wings. 

That’s my new passion project. 

For my lashes, I was really loving THIS Tarte mini I picked up at Sephora but the fallout was too much. 

It was settling on my undereye area and irritating my contact lenses. 😔

I grabbed an old favorite on a recent trip to Sephora.
Another MILK Cosmetics product.

THIS mascara is worth the hype!

LIPS

L’OREAL Infalliable Pro-Matte Liquid Lipstick in Dose of Cocoa; L’OREAL Infalliable Pro-Matte Gloss in Statement Nude; Sephora #LIPSTORIES in #9; Bite Beauty Amuse Bouchie Lipstick in Chai; Milani Lipstick in Naked; MAC Cosmetics Matte Lipstick in Twig. (left to right then down)

Variation of mauve/rosey mixes.

Spritz my face with Milani Setting Spray. 

I’m good to go. 

I always wash my hands immediately after because I wear a lot of dark clothes and touch a lot of product.

That’s it! Talk to y’all soon, 

Alex 

Categories
lifestyle positivity

regression is easier than progression

Welcome to 2020 people! I hope you all had an amazing time ringing in the new year. I spent mine, very lavishly, chowing down on house lo mein from my favorite Chinese restaurant, while snuggled up in bed. The life of a 21-year old gal living in the city! 

This past week I reconnected with a friend I haven’t spoken to in a while over coffee. Funny enough, we have both been spending a lot of time reading; similar books within the same genre, if not by the same author! We got into conversation about Donald Miller’s, Building a Storybrand, which breaks down the framework of how to successfully convey a message. It’s a great read and I would highly recommend everyone check it out. 

When I got home, I glanced over to my shelf and focused on Miller’s book. I noticed the corner of a loose paper peeking out and decided to revisit the notes I had taken while reading the book sometime over the summer. The loose page was scribbled with notes. 

“You must signal change,” stood out of me. My mental wheels began to turn, thinking of all the ways I want to better myself entering the new year. One of them is spending more time with people who challenge my mind and push me to think outside of the box. However, when you are so accustomed to one way of living, making a major change is not going to be easy. 

Falling into old habits is easy. Much easier than establishing new habits. To live your most impactful life, you must ensure you are happy!

As I have touched on in other posts, the way to be happy is to understand your individual needs and meet them. For me, I have to be active daily. Whether that be stretching, going to a workout class, strength training or walking around the city! If I don’t get my daily sweat in, I begin to feel “off.” By this, I mean a minor irritation which can build up to become a major irritation. Small things add up. 

When I get into these moods, I feel unmotivated or unhappy or some other negative feeling. Being able to identify these needs and why you are feeling this way is key to being your best, most productive self.

Once I have identified what I’m lacking, I work towards correcting it. Like many others, my regression tends to have a domino effect. Why? Because falling into old habits is easy! 

Hitting the snooze button repeatedly on my alarm, rather than waking up to have coffee and read is a very easy thing to slip back into. Especially when it’s so cozy and dark in the morning. BUT this is not a productive way to do things. I know once I take off the blanket, I will be up. The more times you break your old habit and replace it with the new one (sitting up and putting your feet on the floor after your alarm goes off), the easier to becomes to retrain your brain to have an automated response. Yay for minimal brain-power required to perform habit loops!

Although breaking the habit is difficult, when we pair the disliked thing (waking up early) with something we enjoy (morning coffee), the brain is even more likely to create the new automated response. It’s similar to a reward system in the way that we do something we don’t like, then get a treat for doing it. Our brains like that. 

While I am by no means able to provide a specific method for which to follow, I hope to have at least planted an idea to help further your growth. ☺️

Talk soon, 
Alex

Categories
positivity

finding the silver lining

Call me a hopeless romantic — or a person who took control of their life — but I love finding silver linings. Having the ability to accept that certain situations in life are outside of your control is the key to inner peace and true happiness. Or so I’ve found. My worldview used to be much different than it is now. I largely attribute this positive change to my ability to search for whatever positivity lies in a heap of negativity. Even if you have difficulty finding something, you maintain the hope that something will be found.

The concept of “silver linings” has always been present in my mind. I have developed the ability to look at something that can be perceived so poorly by others, find the hope within and do my best to strive towards it. This was not always the case — I have chosen to view life this way.

Silver lining graphic

Perception differs from person to person. Two individuals can experience the exact same event, yet exhibit completely different responses. This is because external factors play a large role in the development of our perception. However, what is important to remember is that perception and reality do not always coincide.

David Eagleman explains this disconnect between perception and reality in the simplest way. Look in the mirror. Move your eyes to the left, to the right, then back to the left. You never see your eyes move.

Although there is no evidence of gaps in your perception, critical parts of the experience have been edited out such as the visual experience of your eyes moving side to side.

An individual’s perception of the world is composed of previous experiences, expectations, context clues and other outside stimuli. Although these external factors are able to influence the way an individual views a situation, it is not the determining factor. Perception is able to be altered.

Not to toot my own horn, but I’m doing pretty well for where I’ve been. Early on in life, I was repeatedly faced with incredibly trying circumstances that many other people in my situation may have let consume them. Being an angsty and misunderstood youth, I often wondered why this — for lack of better term — BULLSHIT was assigned to me.

I stole a bobblehead from pre-K once and I returned it the next day, okay! WTF, world?!

I am not attempting to compare tragedies in life, but just to give you a synopsis of a few major ones so you know I’m not bullshitting this post…
I am legally an orphan in the state of Pennsylvania. I spent a portion of my childhood living in an unstable, toxic home environment. I have less than five immediate family members. And I was displaced from my childhood home, allowed only a few hours to gather my belongs, losing most of my irreplaceable childhood memories, aside from what I could fit into a cardboard box. And, fun fact, that home is now a settlement used to facilitate the re-integration of individuals with criminal backgrounds.

I think it goes without saying, but that shit SUCKED. However, here I am — still standing! Despite December trying to kill me. Much of my sanity I attribute to humor. In life, you must be able to laugh at yourself and the situations you encounter. Otherwise, you will be miserable and bitter. Believe me, I’ve been there. This is where searching for the silver lining will help you maintain your mental facilities! Seeing as I do not know what is plaguing you, I am going to tell you about the positive aspects I have found from the sucky circumstances I mentioned above.

Although it sucks not having your biological parents on this earth to see you flourish into the best version of yourself, I WOULD NOT be who I am without what I have experienced. I know I would not have been able to: attend my (at the time) dream school; have such a compelling personal essay topic; or apply to seven colleges and universities for free. Another positive aspect that is rather f*cked up but true is that whoever has the ~honor~ of ending up with me won’t have to deal with in-laws! Plus because of my incredibly small (relevant) family, when I eventually write and publish my book there won’t be many people to offend!☺️☺️☺️

These events also taught me crucial life skills some people do not develop until much later in life, if at all, such as: dealing with loss, becoming accountable for yourself, facilitating communication, and altering perspective.

If there is one thing you take away from my tangent here, look for the positive aspects in negative situations. It’s going to be hard at first, and I am not going to lie and say it becomes easier — you just become better at finding the needle in the haystack of nonsense. Remember to laugh at your failures, shortcomings and unfortunate situations! Do not fixate on or become consumed with negativity. For more tips on that, check out an older post of mine, eliminating negativity.

As always, thank you for reading.

Talk to yall soon,
Alex

Categories
positivity

are you an imposter?

The topic of imposter syndrome has been incredibly relevant in my life within the past few weeks. Not saying my feelings are unique, but I had no idea a name for this feeling existed and was shared by so many people! In short — imposter syndrome refers to one not believing they are as capable, or competent, as others perceive them to be. Imposters fear being exposed as a fraud or phony.

Uh, guilty.

Living in the digital age with social media depicting the perfect lives of others, it is easy to get sucked into the delusions thrust upon us. However, keep in mind someone may be looking at you, aspiring to live your life. Okay, maybe you’re thinking, “Me? No way.”
Aside from social media, the demeanor in which you carry yourself sets the stage for how others perceive you. People may look at you and think, “Wow! They’ve got it together,” meanwhile you’re in your head thinking, “don’t mess up, don’t mess up.”

A few weeks ago I asked you guys to send me topic suggestions on Instagram. A friend of mine from college, Emma, is the amazing individual who requested this. I only mention this because she is one of the people I credit with my mental health journey. Emma, bless her soul, met me when I was a silly freshman in college going through sorority recruitment. The stars aligned — I was recruited to the same sorority and we were paired as big and little sisters.
Emma took that role seriously. She was one of the first people in my life to tell me things I didn’t want to hear. She brought me to terms with realities I did not want to acknowledge whether it came to boys, social drama, life before college or everything else you can imagine. Emma is someone I have always admired when it comes to juggling the nonsense life brings, and so being requested this topic from her made me reflect that much more. I feel like an imposter writing this! Haha.

Although an oversaturated phrase, “Fake it til you make it,” still holds true. Maintaining a positive, affirming mindset is incredibly healthy. Imagine how you speak about yourself to others. Many imposters “suffer from chronic self-doubt” that roots in low self-confidence. Those who lack self-efficacy, viewing themselves as individuals not capable of great things, speak lowly of themselves. How do you expect someone to believe in you when you don’t even believe in yourself?

Individuals practicing a healthy mindset are more likely to share accomplishments and engage in other confident behaviors. The laws of energy say similar energies stick together, which is why it can feel like when one bad thing happens more follow. We are allowing that negative energy to dominate and attract like forces (other negatives). However, if we rechannel the negative into positive, we will attract better energy into our lives.

Struggling with self-doubt can be even more difficult when those closest to you are not the most helpful at building you up. Friends and family, although they carry so much love, are not always the best at expressing it. Over the years I have been working on affirming myself rather than seeking affirmation from others. When you take control of your happiness, it is liberating! I wrote more about this on a blog a few weeks ago, if you’re interested in some tips for eliminating negativity. Prioritizing time to explore my passions allows me to grow into my best self, which shows through to others.

Stay kind to yourself through positive affirmations and other forms of self-love. Try your best not to compare your life to others, because you never know who is comparing theirs to you saying, “I wish.” Keep in mind that everyone is a little bit crazy. Some just camouflage it better than others.

Thank y’all for reading.
Talk soon,
Alex

Categories
positivity

focus on the now

Hey there everyone! I want to share an idea that was conveyed to me through a book I read this week, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. The theory is that we, as humans, do not prioritize enough time to allow our minds to “escape.” During these periods of creativity and/or rest, the brain activates synapses outside its typical radius, allowing the individual’s conscious mindset to expand. Yes; rest, because sleep is amazing!! McKeown mentions “Sleep Is the New Status Symbol,” an article in The New York Times highlighting that the most successful people in the world get 8+ hours of sleep. (both awesome reads)

McKeown has inspired me to make a few lifestyle changes as we transition into the new year — 2020! I am feeling amazing about ending this final month of the decade and entering a new period of life. The remained of 2019, I am prioritizing creating space for uninterrupted thought in my daily life. Proudly I can say I have done this every day of December and plan to continue until it becomes a seamless habit.

During this 5 or 10 minutes, I will journal or meditate.
Yes, it sounds lame — I know. Just give it a shot. Allowing yourself time alone with your thoughts can seem daunting, but remember you are in control. During this time it is important to be aware of your breathing. Being in control of your breath is the most important aspect of being present.

When I am taking my time to escape, I spend a few moments working any stress out of my neck or anywhere else I may feel tense. Then I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I am always astonished at the capacity of the lungs. Feeling the expansion within my chest brings my attention to the shallowness of average breathing. Each inhale fills my chest with air, like helium in a balloon, with each exhale releasing some helium.

The goal here is for the balloon… (you)… to float… (relax). And while this works for me, this may not work for you.
Try at your own risk. I also make sure to set an alarm because sometimes I fall asleep. 😋

Yeah, I wanted to keep this week’s post short and sweet. Remember to be present at the moment and focus on the now. I have found taking control of my breathing to be incredibly helpful in centering myself.

As always, thank you for reading.
Talk to y’all soon!
Alex

Categories
Everythanggg

6 places to get sh*t done in Philly

I am a busy gal who wears many hats. I mean that figuratively — hats are not my accessory of choice. In all seriousness, I am almost always working on (or procrastinating working on) something. Whether it be assignments for class, content creation, freelance projects or general administrative labors of living, like scheduling dentist appointments. Juggling all of these roles and tasks can be tough. I’m sure many of you can relate!

I personally am most productive working outside of my house. There are days when I work from home but they tend to be centered around laundry, cleaning and cooking. Every so often the 1950’s housewife in me comes out — always a pleasant surprise!

However, it can be a tedious task to find good workplaces. This is why I’ve compiled a list of six of my favorite places to get sh*t done in the city! Don’t worry, these aren’t (all) your traditional coffeehouses.

  1. Devil’s Alley, 1907 Chestnut Street

During my freshman year of college I worked as a waitress here and made some good friends I still keep in touch with. When I’m not in the mood for a coffee and want to grab a beer or small bite, I go to Devil’s Alley. The high-ceilings and skylights above the bar makes my day — I am a huge fan of natural light!
Processed with VSCO with av4 preset

The bar staff is always great and there is a rotating draft list, which is a plus! The bar isn’t huge, and during the lunch rush (12pm – 2:30pm) it can get a little rowdy and loud. If you cannot work in a noisy environment, this probably isn’t your place.

The wifi is kind of erratic, but there is a complimentary hour pass available through Xfinity. I set up my hotspot from my cell phone, seat myself near an electrical outlet and tackle my work. I typically am here on Tuesdays or Wednesdays when Brett is bartending. Go see him and say Alex sent you — he hooks it up and is super personable!

Make sure you get fries! I opt for classic, but Old Bay are good too. Brain food, right??

2. Capital One Cafe, 135 South 17th Street

These spaces are located in major cities, including Philadelphia, Boston and Seattle. They offer free wifi for all visitors, a welcoming atmosphere, quality Peet’s Coffee and ample seating. There are also tons of electrical and USB ports! Nothing is worse than a giant working space with nowhere to charge electronics. First world problems, I know.

Aside from the perks mentioned above, there is free financial coaching available to anyone! Capital One identified the divide between millennials and banking then moved towards bridging that gap with the introduction of Capital One Cafes. Grab an incredibly cheap coffee (members get 50% off) and talk about how to better manage your money with an expert financial advisor? Yes please.

I have to admit I am partially biased since I am a Capital One member but hey, discounts on coffee are always appreciated. Plus there are time frames when members get free coffee! So yeah, being a member is great, I love it.

3. Herman’s Coffee, 1313 South 3rd Street

This former auto repair garage turned coffee shop is adorable with a wide variety of speciality espresso beverages, if you’re feeling adventurous! The aesthetic of this joint screams retro summer vibes. Coffee choices range from simple black coffee to espresso tonic mixes. The coffee is good and strong. Available seating options are large communal tables, solo bar seating or lawn chairs.

The inspiration behind this interior design concept comes from the owner’s grandfather, Herman, who was known for sitting in his lawn chair sipping a fresh cup of coffee. This space does more than just warm the heart with their story, they also are supportive of local business ventures! Over the summer they hosted pop-up shops with different Philly businesses, including 1-900-ICE-CREAM.
Follow Herman’s Coffee on Instagram for more information on future events!

4. Rittenhouse Square

Processed with VSCO with e7 presetFor those of you who know me personally, this is no surprise. I practically live in this park, I’m here so much! Growing up in the city, I have always found myself drawn to the park. I really enjoy people watching. I can sit on a bench and observe everything around me for long periods without being bored. The range of people you will encounter during your time here is quite remarkable! This is one of the reasons why Rittenhouse is such an awesome place to hang around. Some of my favorite stories of talking with strangers stems from this park, but that’s a whole different topic. Nonetheless, there is never a dull moment here!

On Tuesdays and Saturdays the park is lined with vendors selling fresh bouquets of flowers, produce, jellies, jams, bread and seasonal specialities. If I swing by on a Tuesday afternoon, I usually grab a mini pretzel from Lost Bread Co. Aside from food, artists and other creative spirits frequent the park. Although the weather is getting cooler, I would recommend spending some time in the park. It’s a great place to sit and recenter yourself, especially now that the crowds have thinned out from summer.

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The downside to this spot is the lack of wifi and electricity. However, there is a complimentary hour of Xfinity wifi you can use. And when you need to charge up or use the restroom, there is a Barnes & Nobles directly across the street which is open to the public! Inside, on the second floor, there is also a Starbucks cafe which you could work at but I crave the fresh air.

5. Good Karma Cafe, 928 Pine Street

This fair-trade coffee chain has four locations around Philadelphia, but this one is the largest (and my favorite). If I am going to be sitting in a coffee shop, then it has to hit all criteria: strong coffee, ample outlets and comfortable seating. Plus you’ve got to offer more than just coffee — ya girl has to eat!

Good Karma has tons of tables, offers the option of seat cushions and has an entire menus of food choices, which is awesome. Another plus is that they have a few outdoor tables, but they are difficult to snag!

6. Pennsport Beer Boutique, 242 Wharton Street

Photo from Yelp

I was at Herman’s Coffee one day working on some stuff. I got a bit hungry and this place was right next door attached to Charlie’s Roast Pork, a place that make bomb roast pork sandwiches. I decided on going there for lunch. I knew this little island of merchants has been in the Pennsport District for a while, but I am rarely ever by this part of South Philly — I spend a vast majority of my time in Center City.

Pennsport Beer Boutique offers 6 rotating draft beers, including a seasonal Cold Press Coffee Pumking by Southern Tier. (Which sounds AH-MAH-ZING!!) Aside from the draft list, there are an extensive variety of bottled options. Whatever you may choose, you’re allowed to drink it into Charlie’s Roast Pork. You bet I set myself up in the corner, ordered my food, ate and was incredibly nice to my waitress. 10/10 would recommend for good people, beer and food.

Where do you go to work in the city? Let me know in the comments below!
As always, thank you for reading. 🙂

Talk to y’all soon,
Alex