Wednesday, February 27, 2019

It's Been A Whole Year

Wow, one whole year of Mimosas & Lipstick. It's crazy how much your life can change in one year. This time last year I was fresh out of college and just returned to Chicago after celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans; I felt stifled. I felt stuck with what I learned at school and was lacking a creative outlet in my life. I followed bloggers, admired them, and for a while had been wondering if I could do it too. I often asked myself, why would I be a blogger? Who would listen to me? Who would look forward to my posts? I constantly shot down my 'wild' idea because I was afraid of failure. I was afraid of opening up my life to other people. It made me anxious.

Since high school, there had always been an aspect of my life that involved writing. Whether it was poetry club, working for an online magazine, interning with Jay Ducote at Bite & Booze, there was always space for me to write creatively.

I followed bloggers, admired them, and for a while had been wondering if I could do it too. But why would I be a blogger? Who would listen to me? Who would look forward to my posts? I constantly shot down my 'wild' idea because I was afraid of failure. I was afraid of opening up my life to other people. It made me anxious.

After running this idea by everyone in my life, I realized the only thing I feared was fear itself. I researched and asked around, searching for advice to start my website. Bloggers I had known all of college like Karli Willis and Filo Garcia, gave me some helpful tips, and just like that, I just started. It was as easy as that. It became clear to me that with hard work and persistence, you can achieve anything; you just have to push yourself to just do it.

Anything worth your time takes effort and time. In a year, I feel that I've found my way, and I continue to work at it every day. After all, that's the only way you get better! I luckily had friends and family that helped me every step of the way with their moral support and photography abilities.

Over this year, I have grown in ways I never thought possible! I never realized how much of my degree I would use in a hobby, and surprisingly it's made me better at my professional skills.

If you are the kind of person who likes constantly learning, then blogging is for you. The blogging process is a lot like anything else. Try, fail, take a step back, reevaluate the process and try again. Although events in the past year weren't necessarily "failures", there were times that some things did not go the way I had imagined. An outfit looking frumpy although it looked perfect in my head, a blog post, a social media post not getting the engagement I expected. There are trials by fire for so many things, but getting to evolve over time makes it all worth it.

Through blogging, I have found an amazing community, my voice, and confidence. I used to second guess every decision I made and although I still do that, creating my own brand has helped me believe in myself and my capabilities.

The biggest thing that I can take away from this journey of a year is to listen to your gut. I look to my intuition for a lot of things; even I can be quick to push it aside and assume I'm wrong. If you're good at something, stick to it. Don't listen to the naysayers, the people who try to bring you down a peg when you're working for something you love. If what you're doing isn't harming anyone and it makes you shine; trust it and be consistent. With your thoughts, words, and actions.

Although blogging is a hobby for me, and not a full-time job, I love everything I have learned through the process. I am pursuing a career in marketing and the lessons I have learned through blogging have been very applicable to my field Topics like coding, website design, branding, and others are often brought up during interviews which I can now speak to on a personal level. I'm using my hobby to better my professional skills and career. Blogging has kept my brain sharp and ready for my next career move, giving me a way to funnel any creative energy into a single space: Mimosas and Lipstick.

When someone questions my intentions, my hopes from this, or tries to tell me it is a waste of time, sometimes I find myself believing them. Maybe I should pack it up. Maybe I should quit. Maybe I'm not impacting anyone and I'm selfish.

When I feel down about my blog, want to quit and pack-up my bags, something always happens. You. The feedback I get from blog posts, Instagram stories of me being a goofball or a tip I randomly give, and how they help you. How some of you look forward to them, some of you didn't even realize you were struggling with something or you just like to laugh at me. Basically, putting myself out there positively impacts another person.

It makes me want to keep going. To keep evolving, learning and creating content that helps others. Whether you need a new mascara or motivation for self-love, rest assured that I am preparing and gearing for the next year to create content that you want to see.

So here's to the first year of Mimosas & Lipstick. The highs, the lows and everything that I learned because of them. I thank each and every one of you for joining me on this journey of love, laughter, and the realness. Here's to you and taking the time to consume my content, none of you go without being noticed. I'm thankful for you every day.

I never thought I'd be here a year ago, so let's see where we are a year from now!

Monday, February 25, 2019

My Skincare Routine Lately

I remember a couple of months ago when I shared my first skincare post. It was something I had never done and I was apprehensive because although I was excited about starting to take skin care seriously,  I didn't feel experienced enough to talk about it.

I have been lucky to overall have good skin. I've always consumed a lot of water, taken my makeup off before bed and washed my face religiously. However, I tend to break out monthly and I get terrible ingrown hairs. This left scars, scabs, and embarrassment on my face.

Everyone sees their imperfections or flaws first and I am no exception. Eventually, after discussing it with my parents, I decided to seek the help of a dermatologist. I had been referred to mine by a friend and I figured it was worth a shot.

She started me on two ointments (Clindamycin and Tretinoin) and a prescription pill (Spironolactone) to reduce irritation and redness on my skin. At first, I wasn't sure. It felt like overkill. Then, my skin peeled off. I kid you not, my whole face was constantly shedding. And then all of a sudden, clarity. Through that month or two, I started to physically see and realize the importance of ingredients we use on our skin. We should be focused on the ingredients of anything we consume, but it became clear to me that my skin needs to be a priority.

I had already started to invest in skincare prior to my dermatologist appointment, but now I was starting to get somewhere. I had a jumpstart to where I needed to be. My irritation on my skin has dramatically decreased. I rarely experience the pain I once did. I help maintain my skins complexion by using masks, serums, tools, and moisturizers. Everyone's skin is different, but I have found these to be helpful and by far my favorite skincare products.

Tula Exfoliating Treatment Mask - Worth every penny! I use this mask probably once a week to help get rid of any dead skin or residue on the surface of my skin. It calms my skin and leaves it soft and glowing! You aren't supposed to use it every day so it will last you a while!

Neutrogena Make-Up Remover Wipes - I think almost every girl in America has these tucked away somewhere. I use them every time I take my make up off, they do the job without a lot of work.

Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream - This gives my skin an extra boost of moisture, which is wonderful especially for the winter months.

Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Scrub - I have found this to be the most gentle on my skin. It's effective without stripping my skin of nutrients.

Derma Suction - This tool is something I'm still learning how to use, but I will say it is very effective. You have to make sure that you're going slowly and constantly moving or you might give yourself something similar looking to a hickey! Make sure you let your pores open up, I always have trouble waiting but it's a super important step!

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay - I received this mask in a Secret Santa exchange over the holiday season and it works wonders for my skin! It comes as a powder you mix with water or apple cider vinegar and then apply it to your face. I do this probably once a month. If you have sensitive skin, I would be careful of this product! This mask is supposed to pulsate.  I haven't experienced that but it does make my skin feel crazy smooth!

Mario Badescu Rosewater Spray - Dampening makeup sponges, setting makeup, a refreshing mist midday, what can't this spray do? I don't even really have to think twice about this, it's a beauty and skin must!

Charlotte Tilbury Multi-Miracle Cleansing Balm - My mom got this as a free gift and we have been loving it! You can use it as a cleanser or leave it on overnight for extra baby soft skin. I leave it on overnight probably once or twice a week.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel - This is my newest skincare product. I heard other bloggers speak highly of it but wasn't sure and I'm so glad I tried it! It gives the skin instant moisture and is easy on the skin. Definitely an affordable alternative to some of the other masks I mentioned. I have been keeping this in my bag and throwing it on whenever my skin feels dry!

Everyone's skin is different, but what's important is to nourish it and to treat it with care. Sharing my updated skincare routine was something I had been asked to do because people could see an improvement in my skin and my confidence. Of course, I still experience breakouts, but they're in no way as extreme as before. I know that medication has played a major factor, but I also know that maintaining and proactively caring for your skin is important as well.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Loving Your Bathing Suit Body

Lately, I've seen a lot of girls, even my girlies, talking about getting "bikini bod ready". The diets, the fads, the shakes, the workouts, the pressure. There are so many ways that girls feel they need to change to have the "perfect body".

We’re too big, too small, too chesty and we need to cover up, we can’t fill out a swimsuit. All comments and social constructs designed to make us was to cover up and hide.

Here's my insider tip: you already have your bikini body. This isn't a post that only applies to my curvy ladies, but also my thinner ladies too. There is so much pressure from the idea of comparison.

We don't need to starve ourselves, try fad diets, or constantly talk about the weight we believe we have to lose to look a certain way. I will not stand for it any longer!

I get things take time. Until a few years ago, there weren’t brands making suits for girls the helped them express themselves and celebrate their bodies. I used to squeeze into and ooze out of swimsuits. Constantly pulling and adjusting suits that weren't made for girls like me. They were the largest size places like Victoria’s Secret offered, even though they weren't made for a majority of the population. I was miserable and embarrassed. I wasn’t embracing my body and loving it! I was putting myself down for not fitting into something that society decided was the appropriate body type for a bathing suit.

This also didn't help how I talked about my body. I was putting my emphasis on the size on a tag rather than how it made me feel. If you are desperately trying to fit into something you're not going to be happy.

Nowadays, luckily, there are so many more options for everyone. They make swimsuits larger than a size large, which was at the time still not a true large. There are online market places, brands we know and trust and companies that just sell swimsuits now! There is a place for you to find your perfect suit. Options for you to find what makes you confident and shine.

I've rounded up my favorite bathing suits that have varying sizes, fits and colors that you're bound to love. The key to a bathing suit for me personally is a high waisted bottom. That's just what I'm comfortable in and that's what makes me confident. I also gravitate towards patterns and bright colors. Having options and say in what you wear, can open many doors and create self-confidence in my opinion.

At the end of the day, no matter what anyone says, the size on the label, or the fit, as long as you are comfortable, that's what matters. Bathing suits can be a new frontier. They can make us feel exposed and vulnerable. It's completely natural, but let's change the narrative. Let's rock patterns, bright colors, and fits that make us look forward to the beach.

Let's build each other up, and remember that we're not the only one who feels self-conscious. Every girl, no matter her shape, gets self-conscious. Don't let the falsehood of the comparison game get the best of you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

One of My Hair Secrets!

Some of my most frequently asked questions from blog followers are hair related. How I style it, what products I use and how do I protect my hair.

I have a lot of hair and for a really long time, I've taken advantage of my hair being thick and figured it was able to "take the heat". Over time, I started to realize the long term effects of hot tools and not giving your hair the nutrients and protection it needs. But, it's hard to find the exact shampoo, conditioner, and heat protectant that your hair needs on the first try, in the beauty aisle.

Reading shampoo ingredients, committing to a bottle, hoping it doesn't dry your hair out more. Being disappointed, starting all over again. Ugh! It can be so frustrating.

When Formulate reached out, I knew it could be worth a try. Formulate is shampoo and conditioner, made just for you! They craft every formula with one person in mind that's sulfate free, paraben free, dye free, preservation free, and cruelty-free. Their team of chemists utilize your traits and preferences to create the right shampoo for you. You begin your journey with a quiz. This allows you to share what your hair is like, and where you want it to go.

The quiz has you answer in-depth questions, but the survey takes maybe 5 minutes! I shared that wanted my formulas to protect hair color, hydrate, help protect my hair from heat, and help with oil control.

You even have a say in the scent! I personally like more earthy tones and I selected Verdant. What I like about the scent I picked is that it's powerful but not overbearing. It's light, which fits in with my style.

Since your formula is created just for you, it did take about a week a half for me to receive the product. I was comfortable throughout the process though because the Formulate team behind the products updates you every step of the way.

The product itself is very sleek. The bottles come with pumps already, another plus for me.

I've used Formulate's custom formula for about a month now and I can say that the results are evident! My hair definitely feels more nourished and softer! And I want to share this experience with you!

Formulate and I have teamed up to help one lucky winner transform their hair routine! Enter here for a chance to win your own custom Formulate shampoo! I think that knowing what goes into the products you use is important, and if it can be customized to fit your personal needs? All the better.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

My Latest Amazon Picks Under $35!

I recently ordered Amazon Prime, which may or may not have been an accident, but I'm starting to realize the value and quality of it! Truthfully, I order a lot more on Amazon than I realize, and that shipping alone on a year of purchases probably costs more than the annually Amazon Prime fee. So here we are.

As I realize the benefit of Prime, I also find myself making more lists on their website. All of these items are either on my wishlist, in my closet or on their way to me. There are so many great picks on Amazon, but sometimes it can be overwhelming!

I have really been loving their dress and sweater selection! All the sweaters and dresses linked in this post are available in multiple colors which I love because everyone's color wheel and style are unique!

The accessory selection on Amazon is also amazing! The first accessory I ordered off of Amazon was my purse organizer and I use it literally every day! Some other finds that I have been loving are this hat that comes in multiple colors and my new belt, it's a steal!

The leggings I linked are also a great dupe for the Alo leggings! They come in three colors. 

This style of bikini was a major hit last summer but seemed super expensive in my opinion, so I'm excited to try out the more affordable version, I've heard only good things!

Amazon has so many items to choose from that sometimes it can be impossible to choose or find products you can guarantee are what you were looking for. That's why I try to pull together what I have been loving lately to help make the selection process easier. 

Happy deal finding! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Garden of Relationships

All friendships are special. If you picture having a garden full of relationships, they're all different kinds of plants. They're beautiful, wonderful flowers, succulents, trees, fruits that all weave a tale of you.

Some relationships are new acquaintances, and they might appear as tiny beautiful daisies. Some friends that you don't always keep in contact with but when you're together you pick up right where you left off might be represented as a succulent or another low maintenance plant. I would imagine family relationships have thick, deep roots like trees. A romantic relationship would be represented to me as an orchid or a peony bush.

I would imagine old, childhood friends as beautiful raspberry bushes or a collection of sunflowers. the oldest of friendships, although extremely important, can sometimes get lost in the chaos of life. It's sometimes easy to get off track and to not nurture these relationships as we settle into new aspects of life.

Old friends are crucial though. They keep you true to yourself and they’re a constant reminder of growth, compassion, and love. 

I’ve always valued my friends, but I think I truly began to realize their true worth more recently. 

As my friends and I forge new work relationships, social relationships and romantic relationships, I’m always excited to hear and share and meet these new people! 

Two of my oldest friends, Taylor and Sofia, and I always try to get together. This last weekend, we decided to have our boyfriends meet over dinner. When I told my boyfriend, Joe, about the idea he was so excited! Excited to get to know people that have known my whole life. 

I was a little nervous honestly. Good nervous, but nervous none the less. Just like when Joe met my mom or my brother as well it was nerve-racking not because I didn’t think they’d get along but because they have known me my whole life and mean so much to me. 

As we met up, exchanged introductions and Started to share stories, all of that melted away. 

We exchanged old stories of each other, laughed at ourselves, and gave our boyfriends all a more profound profile of each of us. We've remained friends for almost fifteen years (or longer who knows) through losses, gains, fights, and laughter. We're all so different but the same. My sunflowers make me who I am, they've seen me throughout time and will always help form who I will be. 

Although life can get crazy, hectic and sometimes overwhelming, it's always important to keep up with the people in your life who have been there from the start. You need to tend to the different parts of your garden, not all at once. But over time it should all reflect equal effort in my opinion. 

Including old friends in what sometimes feels like your 'new' life helps make bonds, both new and old, deeper and more profound. Nurture the beautiful relationships that you have been blessed to find throughout your life, because no matter where you are, they will always feel like home. 
© Mimosas and Lipstick. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.