Wednesday, April 25, 2018

When I Realized I Had Anxiety

"Hannah I think you're having a panic attack." My supervisor at my on-campus job said to me calmly as I tried to catch my breath.

Did I have anxiety? I mean sure, but everyone does. I could go for a run, go to the gym or sleep and it would go away. I didn't need help. Everyone had anxiety, and I was just like everyone else.

But in my last semester of college, I realized I wasn't okay.

I think the anxiety got really bad when I started checking, double checking and even triple checking the locks on my apartment doors.

I rationalized that it was just safe to do since my bedroom was on the third floor of the apartment, and I couldn't hear if someone tried to get in. I was just being responsible, right? Our apartment complex was unprofessional and didn't take steps to ensure the safety of its residents. So I was just being cautious, right?

These thoughts weren't completely incorrect, but they were more justifications of actions that weren't really healthy. I would come to find that these actions were Obsessive Compulsive.

It was my extra semester of college, and I was on edge. A lot of my friends had already moved on to the real world, and I was in a weird transition period in my life. I never really handled transition well. I would rather just move onto the next thing. But I had a semester of waiting.

I think the panic attacks started settling in before my first essay test of college. How did I make it four years without an essay test? I'm not entirely sure. But my professor for this class was super old school and a little sexist so I was already nervous. I studied for weeks for that test. I knew all the answers, but I went through the test in pencil to make sure I didn't have any errors, and then thought I would have time to go over it in pen. I did not. Half of the test was in pen when time was called. I went up to him after class and explained and he said it was fine. “Next time just to be sure to do it all in pen.” Easy enough right? Wrong.

I left the classroom and called my dad in a panic. "Dad, Dad, Dad." He walked me through the situation and he talked me through it. "Hannah, if he said it's fine, then it will be okay. He wouldn't tell you it's fine and then take points off your grade." I knew that he was right, but my mind was still racing, I was still in a panic but I didn't know why because I knew everything was fine. I couldn't slow my brain down. I still had another test in two days. "Hannah, go home and lay down. It will be okay. You did your best and that's all you can do. You told me you knew the answers. So if you did, then you did great. It's going to be okay."  I knew he was right.

I was burned out though. As I got off the bus at my stop and walked to my apartment, I felt weak. I felt empty and tired. I was fried. I didn't know how that could be possible though. I had chipped away at the material for this test, and the test I had the next day, for almost three weeks. I had studied and studied again the whole semester thus far. It was an extra semester that my parents were helping me make happen, and I didn't want to let them down. And I wasn't. They never made me feel that way; it was just pressure I put on myself.

A lot of my friends had already graduated and were working full time jobs. So I got to see what life would be like when I moved on to the real world. However, there were still a lot of uncertainties. I didn't know where I would work. I didn't know how long I would stay at home after moving back to Chicago. I didn't know exactly when I would be able to move back to the South. These are all completely normal experiences when you graduate college, but I also put an added pressure on myself. I always had jobs, internships, a social life and school work. I always filled my time and made the most of it; I always exceeded expectations. I'm the kind of person that if someone tells me I cannot do it, I work and work until I can prove them wrong. This mindset can also burn you out. It was common for me to break down and need a day to myself every couple months. But it was fine. I was fine.

That's what I kept telling myself.

Around the time of this essay test, I also made some pretty big decisions and my community was shaken up by some tough student situations. Personally, I put an end to a toxic relationship in my life that was way overdue to be dealt with.

Around that time two students also passed away on campus. A pledge in a fraternity (in which I had several friends) died from hazing. Another student took his own life. I couldn't stop thinking about these students’ families. How they were so young and had so much life ahead of them. Although I never knew either of them, knowing that they were a part of the student body of a place I loved, it definitely affected me.

There were a lot of things coming at me in this span of two weeks. Also, you can throw my 23rd birthday into that mix. Granted, that wasn't stressful; it was fun, but it was a busy time.

In college I was used to balancing internships, jobs, school work and a social life. I had friends and I laughed and I loved it. Everyone gets anxious about stuff, everyone experiences stressful situations and everyone reacts differently. But sometimes it's too much and you need help. As I crawled into my bed after my essay test. I had no appetite, I had no attention span and I was zoned out. I knew that I needed to study for the test. But for the first time in my life, I didn't care. I couldn't make myself get up and focus.

The next morning, I dragged myself to my test. I took it. I thought I did okay. I pressed the submit button on the computer and when my screen flashed my score, I was in disbelief. I scored a 43%. I had never scored so low in my life. What was happening?

I walked across campus to work. My heart rate spiked. I couldn't control my breathing. My thoughts were racing. I couldn't relax.

As I walked into my office I started crying. I couldn't slow anything down.

"Hannah I think you're having a panic attack."

Luckily, I worked on campus, and my coworkers knew what to do. My college has a really great Mental Health program and, for the rest of the semester, I saw the right doctors, worked through my thoughts, and got prescribed the right medication.  

It wasn't that I had to be fixed. I think people are often afraid that their head has being shrunk, and that they have to do all these dramatic things to feel better. But that is not the case. As my counselor started asking questions, it started to make sense.

I couldn't sleep. I had nightmares where I would wake up gasping for air. I didn't trust myself or my heuristics, and I constantly doubted myself. My thoughts were centered around small, insignificant things, and they would consume me for days.  I couldn't focus on important things because I was fixating. And at those times when I felt drained and had no appetite, it was me coming down from a panic attack.

I realized that all my "freak outs" were actually panic attacks. I had been coping with talking, working out and believing that everyone felt this way. I started medication and for the first time in a really long time, I could relax. I was actually doing well in school and could focus on things that mattered. I finally had control in my life.

Sometimes, we need more help than others. It's okay. I was lucky that I had an amazing support system of my family and friends to support me while I did what I had to do to learn to cope with my diagnosis. You cannot see mental health, but it is very real. If any of the symptoms I've mentioned sound familiar, it's okay! You're not alone. There are so many support groups, hotlines and people who care about you and can help you. You just have to speak out. Even if you only tell one person, you can start coping and learning how to live with anxiety.

Having anxiety isn't the end of the world, but not dealing with it and being honest with yourself might be. I'm not "cured" per se. There are still days when I have panic attacks, when I fixate about things that don't matter, and sometimes feel hopeless. But knowing that I have anxiety, knowing the signs and knowing how to cope makes a world of difference.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

My Everyday Make-Up Routine

Last week on my Instagram i asked what y’all wanted the next post to be and you chose my everyday make up routine!  Before I dive into it though, I want to make sure that we’re all on the same page.

You do not need make up to be beautiful! Beauty comes from within. Beauty comes from your words, your actions and your overall view of the world. There’s nothing wrong with wearing make up or not, but I would never want anyone to feel pressure to do something they weren’t comfortable with. 

Today as I wrote this post, I’m not even wearing makeup! I ran out of time at the gym this morning when I was getting ready for the day and that’s okay! Sometimes I wake up a little early to put make up on and that’s okay too. It’s all about balance. 

Okay off my soapbox, let the fun begin. 

Before any make up goes on my face, I make sure of a few things:
  • I drink 3 to 5 liters of water a day. There are so many benefits to staying hydrated and one of them is clear skin
  • I take my make up off every night. Your skin needs a break and needs to be bare! It needs air.
  • I try to go one or two week days without make up on. That seems weird but if I’m just going to be behind a computer screen, I don’t mind maybe only having concealer on or no make up at all. 
  • I use a night cream and moisturizer. 
  • I clean my brushes. Maybe not every week but I make a conscious effort to make sure what I’m putting on my skin is clean.

In the next few weeks I’m planning on sharing a more detailed post with my skin care routine but I think those are some important first steps even before any make up is applied.

After applying moisturizer, I begin applying concealer. I use two for different blemishes. 


I spray all my sponges with Trader Joe's rose water facial toner, I feel that it helps the sponge absorb something other than my make up without diluting the products. I actually use the handle of my blush brush to get the NYX dark circle concealer and I apply it to my eyes like so:

After I apply the product right to my under eyes and sometimes other dark spots on my face,  I use the make up sponge to pat into my skin. Gliding or smearing products on your skin displaces them and they don't prove as effective in my opinion. I also apply the NYX HD Studio Photogenic concealer on other blemishes and pat it with the blender. 

After the concealer is blended, I apply a primer. I switch between the NYX #sansfilter primer and the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer. I like these primers because if I don't feel like wearing foundation on top of the concealer and the primer then these also are tinted to blend with your skin tone, so you don't have to!

After the liquid base, I then apply bronzer. I don't use a "base powder" per say. I just jump straight to the bronzer and use it according to the season and my skin tone. Lightly dusting it on my face.

Now comes for the extra frills. I never contoured UNTIL I found this product. The NYX Wonderstick CHANGES LIVES PEOPLE! CHANGES LIVES! It makes contouring so easy and look natural. Another big component of my conversion to contouring was when Courtney Shields of BYOB did a contouring tutorial of what she does, this helped me perfect the everyday contour. 

I use the brown or side of the stick more of the stick, but when I'm taking a lot of time to do my make up for a date night or the night on the town with my friends, I'll use the lighter highlight side as well. 
I draw the with the contour stick to accent my cheekbones and the corners of my forehead. 

I spray my smaller sponge with Trader Joe's rose water facial toner and start at inner end of the lines around my cheek bones. I blend and dap at the same time into my hairline. Then I blend the forehead lines partially into my hair line and partially frame my face.

Then I apply the Maybelline FaceStudio Master Strobing Stick above the accent lines I just blended and then start in the middle of my face and blend it up and into my hairline. 

My eyelashes are naturally pretty thick and very dark, so I don't always wear eye make-up, but I figured I would explain what I do for this area of my face! I apply Ulta eye shadow primer, you need a small dab of this because a little goes a long way! I have a well-loved Ulta palette, but I love these palettes because there versatile but you also cannot mess up. After I dabble in the palette, I top it off with Ulta mascara. I make sure to start at the base of lash and run the wand through each section of lashes, sometimes I do a double coat. I make sure to evenly spread the mascara on my top lashes. I rarely wear mascara on my bottom lashes. 

This picture was too good not to post. But you get the point, I also comb my lashes through with an old clean mascara brush to further separate the lashes. 

I top my routine off with lipstick (hello!). Right now I'm obsessed with Too Faced Holy Chic! Liquid lipstick and NYX Butter Gloss in the shade Tiramisu. I apply two coats of the liquid lipstick, let it dry and then add the NYX Butter Gloss

All of my beauty products are linked in the beginning and the end of this blog post. I am by no means a beauty expert. This is an easy, everyday and affordable make up routine though! I hope y'all liked this post and that if you want any video tutorials, please let me know! 

Cheers to having fun with makeup, but knowing that your beauty is what shines from within!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Shop Your Closet

After blogging for about two months, I do not have all the answers but I have realized some things. 

One of the most overwhelming feelings I have developed is FOMO. Granted everyone has a Fear-Of-Missing-Out sometimes, but I found myself worried that I didn’t have enough stuff. 

Enough new clothes to blog, enough clothes that made shoppable links, enough shoes to match earrings, earrings to match shoes, etc. I haven’t gone into debt or anything, but once I realized this fear or worry I had that was so worldly, I prayed about it. 

I’m not telling you how to cope with your worries, however for my anxiety and my own state of mind, I have found prayer to be a very useful tool to clear my mind, think of others who may need His help more than I do, and most importantly to carve time for God into my life. 

As I was reflecting, praying and reducing anxiety, I realized that my best bet for succeeding in the lifestyle blogging business, was to utilize things I already had in my closet to make new outfits. This sounds so simple. But sometimes you get lost in the hype and you can lose track of what your real goals are. 

I want to create a community of positive people, get to know people I otherwise wouldn’t have met, promote products that I believe in, and if I look good while I do it, I wouldn’t be mad.

I decided to style a simple Lou & Grey dress that I bought a few years ago a few different ways for a few different occasions to inspire me and realign my goals. 

The first look was a simple spring weekend look. Great for doing things around the house when you're hanging out in the summer.

By adding sneakers to the dress, you're dressing it down while also being able to move freely. It's also about what you're comfortable with! You can run to a spring farmer's market, the grocery store, or even a friends house. This cardigan is one of my new favorite things. It's cozy but not too heavy. throwing on a Kendra Scott necklace can spruce up any outfit! All of these neutrals come together for a relaxed weekend look.

When you're feeling a little more spicy and you're heading out for a nice dinner with people you love, I stepped up the casual.

These espadrilles are fun and flirty without being too much. A pop of color takes everyday basics to the next level. I also cannot stress how important it is to invest in a jean jacket! This is an oversized one from Brnady Melville (let me know if you want the link!). It was a $45 investment that can be worn throughout every season!

A toned down way to step up your basic cotton dress, is a linen jacket and some slides! This jacket is actually from Old Navy, the slides are from Abercrombie and Fitch and they give off a toned down vibe that won't break the bank!

The last look I thought would be great for a night out on the town with the girls or a nice date night. 

This jacket and these velvet heels instantly dress up anything! Again, utilizing neutral pieces can make a brand new outfit! I love all of these pieces separately and together -- and that means that all these pieces will be worn multiple times and I will get my money's worth. 

At the end of the day, buying new pieces is not a crime. However, don't get caught up in what you see in the social media world because that's only one aspect of people's lives. Influencers and bloggers are just doing their job by bringing you good deals or great pieces, there is nothing wrong with that! But don't let it affect how you feel about yourself. You are exactly where you're supposed to be. You are enough. You are important! Cheers!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Jean Confidence

“If I lose 5 more pounds, these jeans will fit perfectly and I’ll be happy.”

That’s one example of what I used to tell myself. The journey of self love never really has an end, but for some it’s hard to move along the path to accepting yourself for all of the beautiful things you have to offer.

“What you have, someone else is praying for.” When I take the time to think about what makes me special or what I like about myself, I used to think that I was being selfish. That I had to deflect all of the thoughts in my head that made me feel good.

I have green eyes, freckles, Beach-wavy hair, a quick wit and I’m a good friend. All things off the top of my head that I used to push away.

I think in today’s society it’s so easy to compare ourselves to others. It was hard not to when I was at the pool with all my friends and I seemed to be the only one with a gut. And it’s embarrassing to say, but when all my pretty friends got hit on at the bar when we were out, I felt like this was a direct reflection of my self worth.

Does anybody reading this feel like they can relate? BECAUSE GUESS WHAT? IT’S NOT TRUE! You’re beautiful and amazing just the way you are! And I’m serious.

I definitely won’t be able to cover the whole journey of self-love that I have been on, but I find that a big symbol of my journey is jeans.

Until last year, I would almost never wear jeans. And when I did, I dreaded it and couldn’t wait to take them off. I thought that I could never find jeans that looked like what my friends wore. Jeans that I wouldn’t have to squeeze into and feel terrible about myself when wearing them.

I got to a point in my life where I had really let myself go because of some small foot surgeries that kept me from working out for about a year, on and off. One day, a girl that I had traveled in similar circles with in college wanted to create a group of woman to hold each other accountable. I joined it and through the 12 week BBG program I changed my life!

BBG stands for Bikini Body Guide by Kayla Itsines. It’s a program designed for women.

You’re probably thinking - Hannah I thought this was about jeans! Don’t worry I’m getting there. This program was more than working out, it changed not only my physical appearance but how I treated myself.

I realized that everyone was built differently for a reason. That everyone has their own health problems regardless of their size. That I was the only one I had to worry about. I used to obsess about numbers on scales and numbers on the tags of my clothes, but I realized that they’re just numbers. The numbers didn’t define who I was, how I felt, or what I had to offer!

I was gaining muscle and losing fat but technically my “numbers” went up because I was transforming my body. I had never been more comfortable, and I overcame the weight and negativity that followed my surgeries!

Once I realized that what mattered was how I felt in my clothes and not the size of them, I was free. I can still be fashionable and trendy without having to be a certain size.

Sometimes I have days where I think about what it would be like to be able to wear things like my friends, or my new found 1000 Instagram followers, but then I remember that I was put on earth to be this way. I was meant to show the world what I have to offer, not hide behind meaningless numbers!

No one is perfect, but if we focus more on the positive things about ourselves, the negatives fade away. I work out 4-5 times a week, I live an active lifestyle, and I like cooking and eating healthy... but sometimes I want onion rings and that’s okay! Listening to your body is so important.

This post doesn’t even begin to cover body positivity, but I hope you’ll follow along with me on this journey and be apart of it so we can grow and learn together and make the internet a more positive place!

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