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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

My March Favorites for 2017



Hello, beautiful! I'm back with another monthly favorites post for March 2017. Though the month isn't over yet, I've had the opportunity to try a lot of new products this month that I can't wait to share with you all.

Not all of my favorites are beauty-related, either. In this post, I'll be sharing everything from the album I can't stop listening to, to the tasty foods I can't stop eating. Spoiler alert: I went vegan! Well, sort of...I'll explain later ;)


In addition, I'm also revealing two new components of my monthly favorites in this post! First off, every month I'm going to be selecting a blogger of the month to share with y'all. My blogger of the month will be someone whose brand I believe in, whose posts I've really been enjoying lately and who makes me want to read more.

Every month, I'm also going to be selecting a cause of the month. As a former Girl Scout and now a member of Kappa Alpha Theta fraternity for women, service and philanthropy are close to my heart. Selecting a cause of the month is my way of sharing that love with my readers by educating you on an important issue I believe in and encouraging you all to give back to your community. So, in advance, I hope you will consider making a small donation to March's cause of the month!

Anyways, as long-winded as my intros usually are, I have an excess of favorites to share with you this month (aka I couldn't make my mind up), so I'll spare you the rambling and jump right in!


BEAUTY


Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay 


I got a sample size of this mask with my points from Sephora the other day when I was buying a new face cleanser (also mentioned below). I've only used it once so far, and already I can say it is hands-down the best face mask I have EVER used! Not only does this mask smell heavenly and dry at the speed of light, but it's also one of the only masks I've used that actually made a meaningful difference in the appearance and texture of my skin. I have combination skin, so I love the way it softened and moisturized my dry areas without clogging my oily pores. If you're interested in testing out the magic of this mask for yourself, you can get it for $26.00 from Sephora.

Philosophy Purity Made Simple 


This month has been all about restoring my skincare routine for me. A few months ago, the depression and anxiety hit hard. As I was dealing with it, I fell out of a good skincare routine - and now that I'm back into a better one, Purity Made Simple has become the latest addition to my regimen. No cleanser I've ever used has removed dirt, oil and grime the way Purity Made Simple does. This product made a huge difference in my skin from the very first time I used it. My only qualm with this product is it doesn't remove waterproof mascara as effectively as I would like. However, this cleanser's miraculous effects on the texture and clarity of my skin far outweigh the drawbacks! Get it for $24.00 from Sephora. 


Missha All-Around Safe Block Essence Sun SPF 45


Continuing my month of skincare obsession, I've been really interested to explore the K-beauty trend lately. In addition, with warmer weather heading my way (hopefully), I'm trying to get into using sunscreen more regularly. People in my life have suffered from skin cancer in the past, and while I know it's a fairly easy cancer to treat, I also know that skipping the sunscreen in pursuit of a tan significantly raises your risk. Missha All-Around Safe Block has been my first step in both of those directions! Unlike most sunblocks you can find at the drugstore, Missha All-Around Safe Block absorbs quickly and has a light, floral scent, without any of that sticky white residue. So, if you want in on this goodness, get it for $11.90 from Amazon Prime. 


Crest Pro-Health Advanced with Extra Deep Clean Mouthwash


Hopefully y'all don't think I'm crazy for putting this in my monthly faves, but ever since my dentist's appointment I've made it a goal of mine to improve my smile. Flossing every day has been instrumental, but so has using this mouthwash. I was never big on mouthwash before I tried this one. However, Crest Pro-Health Advanced does EXACTLY what it promises: leave your mouth feeling healthy and fresh! Not only does this mouthwash contain fluoride to strengthen my teeth, but it also tastes amazing and kills any remnants of morning breath. Get it for $5.97 from Wal-mart.

Suave Kids Twirlin Swirlberry Detangling Spray


TBH, I've been a fan of this product since I was a little girl. The swirlberry scent smells amazing, and as a kids' product, this detangler is a lot gentler than more sophisticated brands I've used. But all defensiveness aside, this product really does its job of softening and detangling your hair. I revisited this childhood favorite because I've recently become a fan of sleeping with my hair in a messy bun - and while this certainly keeps my hair off my oily skin, it often leaves my locks tangled in knots. Thankfully, I rediscovered my old favorite detangler spray and found out I love it just as much as I did when I was little! No shame - get it from Target for $2.89.



FOOD


Teatulia Green Tea


Quirky story, but Ryan actually won me this tea in a natural foods gift basket as part of a raffle at his work! And I'm so happy he did, because otherwise I never would have discovered my new favorite green tea. Drinking tea is an important part of my daily routine. As someone with anxiety, unwinding with a cup of hot tea with a splash of almond milk or honey after class really helps! On that note,  this green tea is so good it doesn't need anything added to it. Plus, I love the unique pyramid shape of the teabags, which make it easy to remove (and reuse 2-3 times, which I just learned from reading the website!). Get it online for $8.99.


Blackbird Doughnuts


OH. MY. GOD. If you live in the Boston area, you might have heard of Blackbird Doughnuts already, but whether you're from Boston or simply planning a visit, Blackbird deserves to be on your radar. Their blueberry cake donuts truly changed my life - they're perfectly sweet, just moist enough and as beautiful to look at as they are in your mouth. (The mocha chip, which I also tried, deserves an honorable mention for its rich, dark chocolate-y flavor, but pales in comparison to the blueberry cake donut.) To ogle the menu, visit Blackbird's website here or mosey on down to their shop on 492 Tremont Street! 


Part-time veganism


I know this is kind of a strange follow-up to donuts, but lately I am committing myself to reducing the number of dairy products in my diet. If you've followed me for a long time, you might already know I've been a vegetarian for almost six years now, for a mix of animal rights and health-related issues. Awhile back, I also tried being vegan full-time for about a month - an experiment that was a spectacular failure, if you ask me - but found myself feeling restricted and starting to "cheat" on dairy products. Now that I've made my goal to eat vegan five days a week rather than seven, I find it a lot easier to passionately support animal rights issues without feeling deprived. Plus, since I know I can have cheese and yogurt and all the things I love whenever I want on the weekends, I actually miss it less and less with every passing week!



BOOKS


Can't Help Falling by Kara Isaac


Reading romance novels is something that's very close to my heart. As a blogger, writing book reviews is a huge part of my background. Whenever I'm in a depressive episode, I've found that reading for pleasure is the best way to soothe my soul and regroup. Back when I was in the worst depression of my life, reading (and blogging about the books I read) was how I healed. So, all backstory aside now, this book was one of the few novels I've had the chance to read for myself since I've gotten to college - and I loved it! At first, I picked this book up, truthfully, because I thought this would be a quick, easy read. True, this book was a page-turner, but I quickly found it had a lot of complex elements to it, beyond pure romance - namely, its sly incorporation of quirky C.S. Lewis references, as well as its sensitive treatment of religious differences between couples. Admittedly, this book could be viewed as a bit cliche by some, but it's meant to be a lighthearted read, and I got exactly what I wanted out of it! Get it for $10.39 on Amazon Prime.


MUSIC


"Shape of You" by Ed Sheeran


Like every other person on the planet right now, I am simply SO obsessed with Ed Sheeran's new album, Divide, and this wonderful song off it. "Shape of You" is one of those songs I HAVE to blast when it comes on the radio, and simply cannot resist singing along to. Not only is it catchy, but its sound is clean and simple - almost acoustic - which I love! Artists like Ed Sheeran should never be drowned out by tons of synthesizers or autotune, which really sets this song apart from other jams on the radio. Old person rant aside now, you should totally give "Shape of You" a listen if you haven't already! Here's the link to make it easy for ya.



APPS


Relax Melodies


My anxiety has come up a lot in this blog post so far, but that's not about to stop me from bringing it up again! If you have anxiety (or have ever been anxious before a big event, like prom or your SATs), then you know all about the insomnia that comes with it. Thankfully, I discovered this app, which is my quick cure for falling asleep fast with anxiety! Relax Melodies is a free app for iOS and Android that allows you to mix your own perfect blend of soothing sounds and melodies. Personally, I love the sound of rain when I can't fall asleep at night, so I listen to a blend of rainstorm and city sounds. (When I'm home from Boston, I crank those city sounds way up - the backroads I live on are way too quiet for me!) I've become so obsessed that every night, I know it's bedtime when I put in my headphones and listen to Relax Melodies. Get it for free on iTunes or Google Play.


Pacifica


Another mental health app! Are you sensing a trend yet? I used to use Pacifica fairly regularly to keep track of my moods and healthy habits, but fell out of the habit as this semester started to get busier and busier. Now that the app released a bunch of new updates, I've gotten re-obsessed with this app and all it has to offer. Pacifica is an amazing app for anyone who struggles with anxiety, depression or even just everyday stress. The app lets you track your moods and healthy habits, such as sleeping and drinking water, and view your progress over time. Additionally, Pacifica comes with a number of resources to help you cope with anxiety, depression and stress, like breathing exercises and a bunch of different thought diary entries, so you can tackle common thinking traps and triggers of anxiety. Though I'm not a huge fan of it (because the endless notifications stress me out), there's also an option to join a number of virtual support groups and chat with your peers about your problems. Most importantly, I love Pacifica's multifaceted approach to addressing anxiety in its users. Finally, I can get everything I need from Pacifica without cluttering my phone with a thousand different anxiety apps! Like Relax Melodies, Pacifica is also free on iTunes and Google Play.


Sunshine



As anyone who knows me will tell you, I'm always downloading and experimenting with new apps - but this is the last one for March, I promise! This month I tried the app Sunshine for the first time, and fell in love with it for a bunch of different reasons. For starters, what is Sunshine? Here's the best way I can think of to describe it: Sunshine combines a weather app with a mood-tracking app to predict how you'll feel based on the weather and give you personalized advice for self-care. Not only will Sunshine let you know if it's going to rain or snow, or be sunny and warm, but you can also record how the weather made you feel, whether that's hot, cold, freezing, happy, sad, etc. However you're feeling, Sunshine remembers that information and uses it to make personalized predictions! So, every day when you wake up, you'll have a new prediction from Sunshine letting you know if you should enjoy a cinnamon latte when it's freezing or put on sunscreen when it's bright and sunny. Get it for free on iTunes and Google Play.


BLOGGER OF THE MONTH


Yay! I was so excited to get to this part of the post and reveal this new component of my monthly favorites, especially because I am just so passionate about this month's blogger of the month.

In March 2017, my blogger of the month is Sarah of Lavender Life. Lavender Life is an incredible blog and resource about taking care of your mental health, living LGBTQ and being a feminist. 

Recently I came across a tweet from Cole Sprouse that really rang true for me, which you can read here. As a blogger, I've really struggled to incorporate political activism into my posts without compromising my brand - but as soon as I read this tweet, I realized that was the problem, after all: who I am as a feminist, a poli sci major and an activist should be part of my brand. 

You might be wondering what this has to do with my blogger of the month. Well, Lavender Life is a blog that I think accomplishes that goal in an incredible way! 

Every day, Sarah's blog and brand advocates for a better world for those with mental health issues and people in the LGBTQ community. As a person with anxiety and depression, I've found comfort in the resources she provides on her blog, and also been inspired by how vocal she is on social media about the things she cares about. 

Though I'm not LGBTQ myself, I am a feminist, and many of my friends are LGBTQ as well. As a member of BU's Feminist Collective, I feel passionately about including everyone in the feminist community - a value that lines up perfectly with Sarah's brand. Her unique intersectionality is apparent in funny, creative posts like 30 Things Bisexual Girls Are Tired of Dealing With and "It's just locker room talk" and Other Lame Excuses

I could go on and on about how much I love and admire Lavender Life, but instead of listening to me blab, go check out Sarah's blog for yourself!


CAUSE OF THE MONTH


March's cause of the month is PERIOD.org!

Starting a Menstruation Advocacy Month at BU is something I've been passionate about this semester. I've been a Clue Ambassador for about a year now and as a part of that community, learned a lot about using my voice to speak out for menstruation advocacy. 

So, as part of a class where I have to volunteer, I reached out to our Center for Gender, Sexuality and Activism and worked with the Feminist Collective to start a series of events aimed to raise awareness about menstruation. A big part of that mission has been working with organizations like PERIOD.org to teach others what homeless people who menstruate go through every month on their period.

Imagine what it would be like to menstruate using a paper bag instead of your favorite tampons or pads. According to PERIOD.org, for many homeless people, this is a fact of life. PERIOD.org addresses this injustice by providing care packages to shelters, among other advocacy activities.

When you donate to PERIOD.org, 50% of that money goes toward buying and delivering menstrual products for people in need. On top of that, 25% goes toward legislative outreach, such as pushing for policy reform at colleges and advocating to eliminate tampon tax. The last 25% goes toward providing supplies to campus chapters so they can host drives of their own.

Menstruation advocacy is an issue close to my heart. I started menstruating at 11 years old and quickly found that my periods were heavier and more painful than those of my peers. After I went on oral contraceptives (not knowing what my other options were), I suffered from various vaginal and mental health issues that forever tied me to the issue of reproductive justice. (You can read more about my story with birth control here.

If any of what you read here resonated with you, I encourage you to make a small donation to PERIOD.org this month! Just $2.00 can cover an entire menstrual cycle for someone in need. Check out how to make a donation and/or get involved over at their website! 


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