What I Learned From a Year Without Makeup – Part 1

a year without makeup

I gave up makeup for a year for spiritual reasons, and learned a lot from the experience, spiritually and in other areas of life. Here’s Part 1 of the lessons I learned. Read Part 2 here (coming soon). Read the start of my journey here

gGiving up makeup for a year was a faith-based decision. I don’t think I would have done it if I didn’t feel that it was getting in the way of having a relationship with God.

Giving up makeup, for me, actually meant giving up a large part of my external beauty, which in turn meant giving up a crutch I had been relying on for years. That was the problem: my beauty was essentially a foundation upon which I tried to build my relationships to other people and the world.

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Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

ivory prom dress

THE Dress (on a model who looks suspiciously like Rory Gilmore). Image Via Zeleb

some years ago, about a year before prom, I started thinking about prom dresses. I looked around a little bit and saw THE dress. I just knew I was supposed to wear it–I had a gut feeling. Plus, it would look fabulous on me, and every guy I had ever liked in high school would drool over me in it. So I saved the link to that bad gyal, saved the pictures, and began thinking about my grand entrance to prom.

And do you know what I did after that? I decided to keep looking. It was still early, and what if there was something even better out there? It couldn’t hurt. I ended up spending months obsessing over dresses, trying to find the most statement-making piece until finally, a close friend pulled me aside and told me how tacky my dress choices had become. Oops.

In the end, I didn’t get the dress I originally wanted, or even the dress that prompted an intervention. In fact, I didn’t even go to prom at all, partly because of how much I stressed over the thing. This is what perfectionism does to me–it blows things up to epic proportions and gives reasonably ordinary things massive weight, causing an inability to move on with life or make decisions.

*Raises hand* My name is C and I’m a recovering perfectionist.

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How I Manage My Time: Organization for the Naturally Disorganized

Time Management

gGetting organized was the thing I heard, in some variation, before the start of every school year. Our trips to the store to get school supplies seemed to convey that, the handing out of agendas in class every September seemed to convey that, my Dad telling me that the key to being successful in life was to “be organized and start early,” and yet, somehow, I missed the message.

My desk at school was always a mess, my homework was often late, I was often late, and my parents affectionately called me “Space Cadet” because I was so scatterbrained. I generally felt that I was always running behind my life and trying to catch up with it. Didn’t everybody?

The first time I truly “got” getting organized was in my second year of undergrad, and organization played a big part in my getting my first year of straight As.

One of the most valuable things getting organized taught me was that I can have control over my time.

I’m rediscovering time management lately, and here’s what’s been working for me.

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On Feeling Intimidated By My Own Dreams

Quote by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, First Female President of Liberia (read her Harvard ’11 speech here) | Images via YoutubeKateOGroup – Etsy

It seems I’ve been surrounded by achievements lately. The Forbes 30 under 30 list came out; Issa Rae (creator of Awkward Black Girl and Insecure) was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. Instagram and Youtube are full of people who are living seemingly glamorous lives by pursuing their passions, like Shirley B. Eniang, Shameless Maya, and Patricia Bright. My favourite bloggers, like Style Domination, are blowing up. I love to see them all. Seeing people accomplishing their dreams makes me happy and leaves me feeling inspired.

Sometimes, fortunately or unfortunately, I’m also prompted to feel that I need to hurry up with achieving my own dreams. As I approach being two years out of undergrad, my 24th birthday, and not being where I want to be yet, I’ve been wondering lately whether I’m wasting time.

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Relaxed Hair Care Review: Marc Anthony Strictly Curls Curl Defining Lotion

Marc Anthony Strictly Curls Curl Defining Lotion Relaxed Hair

Once upon a time, I fell in love with a very effective hair product. It’s name was Nexxus Phyto Organics Humectin Extreme Moisture Conditioner. I used it for years after being introduced to it by my Mom, who used it for decades. For those of you familiar with the old Nexxus Humectress formula, this is it, with a different name. It has become hard to find and very expensive, which has led to me trying to find a new leave in conditioner.

I was looking for a product that was both moisturizing AND made my hair soft & shiny, did not weigh my hair down, was affordable, and was something that I could find easily in a Shopper’s Drug Mart, Walmart, or Sally Beauty.

I read several positive reviews before purchasing the Marc Anthony Strictly Curls Curl Defining Lotion, but didn’t find any reviews from people who have relaxed/texlaxed hair like I do. I know it’s intended for people with curly hair, but who’s to say it won’t work for me too? (Hint: it does).

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An Introvert’s Guide to Surviving Parties

girls_night_out

Images via Club 1201 &  Pinterest

secret: I’m an introvert who has extroverted friends. This means I get invited to…parties (dun dun dun). If you’re like me, you’ve probably felt an uncomfortable feeling creeping in when a party’s coming up. While potentially fun, parties can also be draining.

I am very grateful to have friends who consider me enough to invite me to their events. It’s important to me that I support my friends by showing up and enjoying myself, and it’s taken me several years to figure out how exactly to do this.

I’m still learning, but there are a few things I’ve learned to do that help me out.

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The Cost of Chasing Dreams: Persevering Through Uncertainty & Failure

Muhammad Ali Punch Bag
Image Via: Archaeology (did you know there’s a hypothesis that the human face has evolved to take punches?)

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In my first year of university, I had no idea what I was doing with my life, until I woke up one night in tears, determined to resolve my existential crisis. I wrote a list of all the things I believed I needed to be happy. I asked myself, of these, what are the minimum I would need to have happiness? And then I asked myself, what career will get me closest to the majority of items on my happiness list? After that, it was pretty easy to narrow it down. I chose to pursue a highly competitive career. And boy, am I feeling that pressure now.

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