I Turned 30 in Honduras and It Was Everything

How do you want to celebrate your 30th birthday? My husband, Bill, asked me this a while back and I couldn’t come up with a good answer, so we tabled the discussion for a long time.

Then one of us mentioned it would be nice to resurrect a dream we’d had at 25. To celebrate that milestone birthday, we had wanted to take a big trip together. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out then for a multitude of reasons (a serious loss in the family, money, timing), but we found ourselves wondering if maybe it’d be feasible for 30.

We waffled. We were just about to pay off our joint credit card debt, so we weren’t sold on the idea of incurring more debt. We went back and forth and back and forth until finally we said: fuck it. We’re only going to turn 30 once and we might as well make a big deal of it. We decided on not just one but two trips—one near my birthday and one near his.

My birthday was up first, so when the right deal popped up, we booked a week-long western Caribbean cruise that would take us to Honduras, Belize, and Mexico. Though we’d been to Mexico before, Honduras and Belize were new to us, so we were excited. (We’d also booked this trip in the dead of winter so the idea of spending a full week in the sunshine on the beach really appealed to us.)

The trip ended up being the perfect blend of relaxing and serene and fun and exciting. We spent a lot of time laying out in the sun, drinking, sampling food, and exploring. What more can you really ask for? Here’s what we did in each port!

Roatan, Honduras

I turned 30 in Honduras—a phrase I can’t believe I get to say. We watched the sun rise and, for our excursion, we were taken to a private island and greeted by goddamn sea lions. Bill and I broke off from the group so I could take a picture with Ting the sea lion. I ended up getting to do a couple of tricks with him, like shaking his hand, feeding him fish, and even getting a kiss.

We wandered through the “zoo” comprised of animals that had been rescued and then found the beach, which was more picturesque and serene than I imagined. Though the day had begun a bit cloudy, by the time we’d wandered to the beach, the sun was out and the water was clear and we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day. We got some local beers, laid in the sun and in the shade, splashed around in the water, and relaxed. As I think of it now, I feel like I can still feel the sun on my face and hear the rustling of the trees (as well as the occasional squawk of the parrots who were nearby, but that’s all right).

Midway through the day, we got some local food including rice and beans, chicken, fish, and plantains, which I still maintain was the best food we’ve eaten on the trip. After lunch, we had opportunity to feed some monkeys as an optional part of our excursion. I was in, and Bill offered to take some photos of me. When we got to the monkey cages, we learned that Bill would have to join me in the cage while someone else took the photos, and he kindly agreed to do so, even though he wasn’t crazy about the idea—especially after they said the monkeys would gravitate toward the tallest object in the cage (AKA him).

But we were set up with two bowls of food and ushered into the cage. Two monkeys jumped onto Bill immediately and eventually some jumped on me, too. The sweet little noises they made sounded just like puppies and they were a whole lot gentler than I expected given that there were tiny mammals climbing all over our heads. Bill and I laughed a lot during these couple of minutes and it was great.

After another hour or so on the beach, we explored the replica Mayan ruins, stopped in the gift shop, and then went back to the boat, concluding what might have been my best birthday ever.

Harvest Caye, Belize

Harvest Caye is a private island owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines, which made it the perfect destination for another beach day. It was truly stunning, both from a distance and up close—and, honestly, who wouldn’t want to spend the day on a private island?!

We rented a clam shell beach tent to keep us out of the sun because it was hot as early as 8 a.m. But I really loved this port and I never say no to a beach day. I even found a perfect seashell that I snuck into my bag and brought back home with me.

Costa Maya, Mexico

In Costa Maya, Bill and I (already sunburnt) opted out of spending a day on the beach and instead wandered around the shops. We caught a show featuring “pirates” (which was actually pretty good!); admired some of the Mexican wares; watched majestic dolphins playing; and drooled over some beautiful conchas. There was even a bird sanctuary featuring flamingos to check out. It was fun!

Cozumel, Mexico

How do you say farewell to a vacation that’s already been incredible? YOU SWIM WITH DOLPHINS. Yeah, you heard me.

I’ve always loved water animals and the idea of swimming with dolphins seemed like… well, a lot like magic. Bill insisted we do it, saying we’d love it, and he was absolutely right. It was the highlight of the trip!

I was so excited that I could barely keep my cool, and when we finally got in the water with the dolphin, the trainer asked, “Is everyone excited?” and I gave such an enthusiastic “YES!” that I volunteered myself to go first. IT WAS THE BEST.

The trainer pulled me away from the group and told me to hold onto my life vest. The dolphin would then come and give me a kiss on the cheek, the trainer said. She DID. I DIED. Then I got to give her a kiss, too! The trainer instructed me to hold out my hand and the dolphin would come put her nose in my palm, but instead, she gave me ANOTHER kiss on the cheek. I felt like we were besties, obviously. Then she put her nose in my palm and I was able to pet her. For the last trick, I had to hold out both hands and touch her flippers. It was incredible and I was so, so happy, which I think you can tell from my photos.

I also loved watching Bill interact with the dolphin, too. He was so kind and gentle with her. It was sweet. And, of course, he took the best photo.

In between each trick the dolphin did, the trainer shared facts with us, let us get up close with the dolphin, and the swim wrapped with a couple of tricks. In all, we spent about an hour in the water with her, and it was glorious.

In all, the vacation was lovely and just what we needed after being vacation-free for about a year. I’d highly recommend the vacation to anyone looking for an ultra relaxing trip!

xo.

Things I Wore (and Did) in May 2018

May was a truly magical month. I always tend to love May: warmer weather, longer days, and it’s my birth month so I’m very biased.

But this May was extra great. First, I was promoted at work, and as of June 4, I’m officially back in the social media realm! I’m so, so, so excited (and it’s been fantastic so far). I also had so much fun spending time with Bill and friends and Obi.

Also: I turned 30.

And, I didn’t just turn 30. I turned 30 in style. Like, as a spoiled 30-year-old princess and I loved every single second. It started with an incredible gift from Bill—meet-and-greet tickets to see my favorite drag queen, Trixie Mattel. I MEAN. I’m not exaggerating when I say that night was one of the best of my life.

If you’re a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, or if you’re even just a fan of Trixie, then you know she’s hysterical. I’d been dying to see one of her live shows, which mixes comedy with her folk music. Bill and I had meet-and-greet tickets to one of her shows back in September but, unfortunately, weren’t able to go. So this was everything!

Before the show, WE GOT TO MEET HER. I was so nervous that I got drunk, despite having done this once before and despite knowing she’d be perfectly lovely, which she was. I was also able to give her a gift: an adorable beaded Miss Vanjie bracelet. When I handed the bracelet over to her, rambling about how I bought it for her and didn’t make it, she put the bracelet on her wrist and said to me, “You had to buy this? You dumb bitch.”

Trixie Mattel called me a dumb bitch I expect to see that on my gravestone. 

I also got to take a photo with one of my favorite local drag queens, Mia E Z’lay, who performs regularly at Drag Brunch in Holyoke, Mass., which Bill and I love to go to. It was awesome!

Then there was the show. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a really long time; I laughed until my stomach hurt, until my throat ached, and until I cried, and then I laughed some more. I laughed so hard that I made friends with the (very drunk) couple in front of me who couldn’t stop laughing every time I laughed. Trixie’s show was the perfect mix of smart comedy and terrible puns, 90s music that’s so bad it’s good, skits, high-brow jokes, low-brow jokes, drag jokes, and folk music. I loved literally every single second of it, including the time I spent inhaling two bags of peanut M&Ms in between my bajillion glasses of wine.

That alone would’ve been an incredible birthday.

But then the next day Bill and I left for a seven-day cruise to the Caribbean. I KNOW. Whose life is this?!

More details on the cruise to come, but here’s what I wore during this momentous month!

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Old Navy
  • Jean jacket: TJ Maxx
  • Shoes: Tieks

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Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe Amelia (shortened because my lil legs weren’t built for Amelias)
  • Shoes: Payless

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How cute is this 90s kid T-shirt? It was a gift from my cousin and I have no idea where he bought it, but I wanted to include it anyway!

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Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe Carly
  • Shirt: Marshall’s
  • Shoes: DSW

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Ya girl’s Trixie Mattel outfit. It’s not every day I rock a see-through top, but this was my favorite drag queen’s comedy show, and if you can’t show your bra to a drag queen, who can you show it to?

Outfit details

  • Bra: Cacique
  • Dress: Amazon
  • Shows: Payless

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Target
  • Skirt: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Tieks

Cruise outfits

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Outfit details

  • Body suit: Rainbow
  • Shorts: Rainbow
  • Earrings: 25 Central

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Outfit details (me)

  • Bathing suit: Charlotte Russe
  • Skirt: LuLaRoe Maxi
  • Shoes: Amazon
  • Backpack: Target

Outfit details (Bill)

  • Shirt: Target
  • Shorts: Marshall’s
  • Shoes: Nike (“On discount!”—Bill)
  • Sunglasses: “Those sweet babes are from a store in Honduras.”—Bill

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Outfit details

  • Bathing suit: Charlotte Russe
  • Skirt: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Amazon

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Outfit details

  • Bathing suit (clearly, I lived in this): Charlotte Russe
  • Shorts: Rainbow
  • Shoes: Amazon

And, here’s a peek at what I did. (Does not include cruise photos!)

 

 

 

Thanks, May, for being dope. And thank you, Bubby, for making my birthday extra, extra special.

xo.

Things I Did (and Wore) in April 2018

I’m happy. I’ve been feeling like I’m at a great place in my life—with my husband and my dog, of course, who are my lights—but with everything else, too: work, friends, family, me. Things just feel good and I’m trying to savor that feeling. My therapist has been trying to help me be more positive (Lizandra, you’d be so proud) and I feel like it’s been working. Maybe it’s the sunshine or maybe it’s just that life can just be pretty great sometimes. All I know is I want to bask in this.

That said, I haven’t been taking as many outfit photos lately, especially as I’ve been working hard to get my spending under control (thus, less new clothes to show off). But I did nab a couple of photos!

Here are some of the things I wore in April.

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I really like this dress, which is a great combination of loose and cute and also it has pockets which you all know that I love.

Outfit details

  • Dress: 25 Central
  • Leggings: Old Navy
  • Boots: DSW

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It took me a while to wear this outfit as I feel like it’s the most I’ve ever shown off my belly. Let’s be real: I’m fat, and my polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) makes it so that I tend to carry my weight right in my stomach. So, it took me a long time of staring at this dress (a gift from my mom) in my closet before I finally gained the courage to wear it out.

I wore it.

And nothing bad happened!

I even felt pretty good in it. I am always seeing these amazing plus-size beauties on Instagram showing off their belly, so why not me? It may not be an all-the-time thing for me, but I shouldn’t be ashamed of my body. It’s taken me nearly 30 years to realize that, and I definitely still struggle (especially with feelings about my upper arms and back), but I’m working on it.

Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe (thanks, ma!)
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: DSW
  • Cardigan: Forever 21

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Okay, so, this isn’t a typical “what I wore” photo, but I did wear this makeup, and I loved it. I never wear lipstick, but I think I could! On a lazy Saturday afternoon, I decided to toy around with some of the makeup that’s been piling up in my vanity (a combination of Ipsy gems and my impulse purchases).

Surprisingly, I loved this red matte lip.

Then I decided to venture even further out of the box and go for a red glitter lip, because why not?

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Makeup details

Plus, here are things I did in April, which included:

  • Savoring every magnificent moment of Beychella (and then obsessing over it, talking about it, thinking about it, listening to other people analyze it, and loving it all over again)
  • Listening to new music, including the Cardi B and Chloe x Halle albums
  • Finally meeting up with April, my longtime Tumblr/Twitter friend, as she visited Brown in Providence (I love the internet! Thanks for bringing me such great friends!)
  • Finished a lovely, wonderful project at work called “Building Bridges”, which was aimed at bringing people together across their differences and celebrate the diversity in this big, beautiful world
  • Took advantage of the first nice day in April with my husband and visited our favorite winery
  • Had dinner with Bill and two wonderful (new to me, old to him!) friends
  • Spent some quality time with my friends and their hilarious, adorable kids
  • Ate some pie because of some good work news (which I can share soon!)
  • Petted dogs at work because of course
  • Tried to go to People’s Court (yes, the TV show), failed, and turned the day around by stopping by Milkcraft for some incredible ice cream

 

A great April and I’m ready for May, an upcoming vacation, and turning 30!

xo.

Things I Wore (and Did) in March 2018

I barely documented my outfits in March—and I’m nearly three weeks late in posting—but the month itself included tons of fun opportunities, as well as some challenging ones.

Here’s what I wore!

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Marshall’s
  • Skirt: Forever 21
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: Payless

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OK, so, I was clearly feelin’ this new shirt I bought at Marshall’s. It’s black and white, boat neck, and, on the shoulders, there are rose-gold buttons. What’s not to love?

Outfit details

  • Shirt: Marshall’s
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Boots: DSW

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Marshall’s (Not sure how I feel about it anymore, honestly?)
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Boots: DSW

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Outfit details

  • Dress: 25 Central… and it has pockets!!!
  • Leggings: Old Navy
  • Boots: Payless

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Amazon
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: Payless

Can I just say I’m over black tights/leggings/boots AND READY FOR SUNSHINE?

Here’s a little of what I did last month, including:

  • Visiting friends at my old job
  • Supporting our local drag queens at a drag brunch
  • Contributed to an art exhibit
  • Hosting a dinner party with friends
  • Enjoying brunch with friends (and my adorable nephew, O)
  • Getting TICKETS TO SEE BEYONCE!!!!!
  • Picking up some poetry books
  • Visiting the Smith College bulb show
  • Celebrating our pup’s 6th birthday
  • Spending an incredible date night with my husband eating Mexican food, buying books, and going to a spa
  • Attending a Bianca Del Rio show
  • And, finally, going to dinner at Bocado, an incredible tapas bar in Worcester, Mass.

Life is pretty good.

xo.

Recipe for Low-Calorie Carrot Cake Muffins

Carbs are my weakness, especially if they’re sweet (I’m looking at you, cookies and muffins). But I’m trying really hard to lose some weight, so 600-calorie muffins don’t quite fit into my day.

Thankfully, I stumbled across a recipe on Reddit for Jumbo Banana Carrot Muffins that are only about 160 calories each! (The original recipe comes from Taste of Home.)

The best part? The muffins are huge, filling, and delicious.

Low-Calorie Carrot Cake Muffins

Ingredients

(Makes approx. 8 muffins)

  • 1/2 cup all purpose
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar Free Vermont Butter Flavored Syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 boxes raisins

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine the two types of flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • In a separate bowl, beat eggs for approx. 30 seconds or so until thoroughly mixed.Beat in maple syrup and orange peel. Fold in the bananas, carrots, and applesauce.
  • Stir wet mixture into dry ingredients just until blended.
  • Fill greased muffin cups two-thirds full.
  • Bake at 350° for 25 minutes.

Enjoy!

xo.

Things I Wore (And Did) in February 2018

All month long, I kept telling myself I just needed to get through February and I’d be that much closer to spring—and it ended up being a lot easier than I thought! It helped that February was overall a pretty good month, with lots of fun plans.

I had brunch plans with friends; had an incredible Valentine’s Day with my husband, which included spending time in the Berkshires and Mass MoCA; celebrated Galentine’s Day with friends; enjoyed bonding time with one of my close friends, Laraine, and her son, O; visited my grandma; went house hunting for Bill’s parents (who will be returning to Connecticut soon); and saw Black Panther. Can’t really ask for much more during an otherwise dreary and cold month!

Here’s what I wore.

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This LBD from LuLaRoe is one of my favorites. I spent all last year thinking I looked best in LLR Nicole dresses and Perfect Ts… but it turns out the Julia dress is what truly has my heart. I love it! I have three Julias that are staples in my wardrobe, including this recent black purchase.

Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe Julia
  • Shrug: Forever 21
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: DSW

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Outfit details

  • Dress: 25 Central
  • Leggings: Old Navy
  • Boots: DSW

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I rocked a version of this same outfit last month, but this time I went without leggings because it was a relatively warm day! Realizing now the bottom of the skirt was a tad wrinkly, but oh well.

Outfit details

  • Dress: Target
  • Skirt: LuLaRoe Cassie
  • Shoes: Tieks

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My husband summed this outfit up best: “You Blossom-looking motherfucker.” He’s not wrong. (A friend pointed out the outfit is probably more like Six, but you get the point.)

Outfit details

  • Dress: Forever 21
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: Payless

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With the cold weather fading (no complaints from me!!!), I’m running out of time to wear this sweater dress, so I made the most of it.

Outfit details

  • Dress: 25 Central
  • Leggings: Old Navy
  • Boots: DSW

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Another warm day!

Outfit details

  • Shirt: Target
  • Skirt: LuLaRoe Cassie
  • Shoes: Tieks

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I’ve had this dress for a bit and I was so excited to wear it on March 1! It really felt like I was saying hello to spring.

Outfit details

  • Dress: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Payless

Here’s a peek into what I did this month, too.

 

How was your month?

xo.

Things I Wore (and Did) in January 2018

If January isn’t for snuggling with your dog, then what’s it for, anyway? Looking back on my photos from this month, it’s clear I spent a lot of time inside the house bundled up and petting, snuggling with, and admiring my dog—which is exactly how I like spending my winters.

Other highlights include:

  • Dinners and brunches with friends (I love my friends and I love having friends, which is kind of a new-ish thing for me!)
  • Winning an award for a project I managed at work (!)
  • Attending the Women’s March
  • Going to my first-ever local drag brunch with my husband
  • Taking a Skillshare writing class
  • Working in therapy to try to see things more positively, stick up for myself, please others less, and put myself first

I also got sick with a terrible cold and tried (and failed) to get Hamilton tickets that won’t cost me all 10 of my fingers and toes. You win some; you lose some.

In 2018—which is my 30th year on this earth—I’m doing my best to really focus on the things that are important: the people I love, including myself. I have been working hard this month to treat those close to me with kindness and also to prioritize my own mental and physical health and well-being.

It’s really easy to find excuses not to put yourself first. While I’m quick to tell others, “treat yo’self!” I’ve only tended to use that phrase as a reason to spend money frivolously and eat whatever I felt like. Those were easy ways for me to feel like I was treating myself, but really, I was just kind of giving in to habits that made me feel good in the moment but overall left me troubled. I’m doing my best to reign both of those habits in and to focus on actual, true self-care, which (for me) includes tackling the sometimes tedious or difficult things that are good for me. I think, in addition to living with less fear in 2018, I’m also trying to embrace moderation. We’ll see how it goes.

In all, January was a good month, and I feel like making it through it means that spring is just within reach.

Here’s what I wore!

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(Special appearance by Obi, who is wearing a sweater from my grandma)

Outfit details

  • Dress: Amazon
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: Payless
  • Necklace: 25 Central

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Boots: DSW

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Outfit details

  • Sweater: Old Navy
  • Leggings: Kohl’s
  • Boots: From my mom

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I wore this to the Women’s March, which I felt was the perfect shirt. I didn’t attend last year’s (I was too depressed) but was thrilled when some friends invited me to attend this year, and the march left me feeling really empowered and strong. This is the same one (in pink) that Frank Ocean wore in concert a while back. The shirt is available from Green Box Shop, which is a small business owned by a young woman of color. Check it out! (The one downside about the shirt is it wrinkles really easily, but I love it otherwise!)

Outfit details

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I wore this to drag brunch AND HAD THE TIME OF MY LIFE. It was so much fun to support our local drag queens. Bill and I have already bought tickets to the March brunch!

Outfit details

  • Dress: Amazon
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: Payless
  • Earrings: 25 Central

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Is crushed velvet my new favorite thing? It might be. Sue me.

Outfit details

  • Shirt: Target
  • Skirt: LuLaRoe
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: Payless

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Outfit details

  • Top: Marshall’s
  • Skirt: Forever 21
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com (why yes, I do have six pairs)
  • Boots: Payless

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Outfit details

  • Blazer: Target
  • Shirt: Charlotte Russe
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Boots: DSW

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Outfit details

  • Shirt: Old Navy
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Boots: DSW

Here’s what I did. (See: snuggling with dog.)

Living Without Fear in 2018

The end of 2017 is here, and I imagine there are many of us who are pleased to say farewell to the year. While I had many moments of personal triumphs, some days, it was hard to exist as a woman of color in Trump’s America. Nevertheless, I persisted. Nevertheless, we persisted.

As a society, we were challenged by this year—at times, vexed, angered, exhausted, overwhelmed. But we were also determined, committed, disciplined, hopeful, and driven, and that’s got to count for something.

I’ve been seeing so many resolutions for 2018 and, perhaps it’s just me, but they seem to be much more thoughtful than I’ve seen in years past. Resolutions to be kinder, to live more meaningfully, to be patient, and one I’ve seen again and again is to live without fear.

As someone living with anxiety, living a life without fear simply isn’t possible for me. But I do think I often let fear hold me back from pursuing things I’m interested in. I’ve gotten better about that in recent years and, as I get ready to look 30 in its face, I’d like to try to adopt a modified version of that motto for 2018: live with less fear. It doesn’t sound as pretty, but it feels more achievable for me, so I’ll try to embrace it.

I spent 2017 trying to live a life I could look back on and be proud of, and I think I mostly achieved that. I traveled. I went on adventures. I laughed. I cried. I persevered. I took leaps of faith. I challenged myself. I tried new things. I said goodbye to things I loved. I said hello to things that scared me. I loved. If I can do all of that again in 2018, it will be a good year.

Here’s to some of the lovely (and not-so-lovely) things I experienced in 2017*…

*some of the captions below may not make sense because they’re part of old posts, but just roll with it!

 

…And to a 2018 with less fear.

Happy New Year, all.

xo.

Things I Wore (and Did) in December 2017

Last December, I complained about not taking many outfit photos throughout the month, and it seems some things don’t change. Whoops!

Here are a few things I wore throughout this brutally cold month (and I do mean just a few).

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I wore this 90s-inspired look to see my favorite boy band, Backstreet Boys, perform at Mohegan Sun casino.

Outfit details

  • Shirt: Forever 21
  • Skirt: Forever 21
  • Boots: Rainbow (I think?)
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com

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I had been coveting a crushed velvet dress for months, so I finally bit the bullet and got myself one for my office holiday party. (I definitely also splurged on a crushed velvet pencil skirt but I haven’t worn it yet.) No regrets!

Outfit details

  • Dress: Forever 21
  • Cardigan: Forever 21
  • Boots: Rainbow (I think?)
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com

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After a successful day of shopping with Grandma (one of my favorite things to do), I ended up with these AMAZING slippers and needed to document them. Alas, this outfit was just for around the house. 😉

Outfit details

  • Fleece: Old Navy
  • Leggings: Kohl’s
  • Slippers: Forever 21

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Not my favorite outfit or even the most flattering, but so ridiculously comfortable.

Outfit details

  • Dress: Ann Taylor Loft
  • Scarf: Payless (I think)
  • Boots: DSW

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Marshall’s
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: Rainbow
  • Necklace: 25 Central

And here’s what I did during December!

xo.

Things I Bought That I Love: Urban Decay Eye Liner and Essence Lash Princess

I love makeup, but I’m pretty bad at applying it. For years, I swore by Avon’s Glimmersticks for eyeliner and whatever drugstore mascara I felt like buying and called it a day. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that but, in recent years, I’ve grown restless trying to find a better eyeliner and mascara for my daily look—so restless, in fact, that I was strictly no-makeup for a bit. (I may return to it. Who knows?)

I found a few worthy contenders (including benefit They’re Real! Lengthening MascaraMaybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner; and ColourPop Crème Gel Liner), which were all great.

But now I’ve gone from great to OH MY GOD, which is the dream.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil (in perversion) and essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara (in black) have become my go-to eye products and I’m so excited to have reliable products that actually last and look good on me that I had to gush.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil

Important things to know about my face before I dive in: I have hooded eyelids that tend to give me trouble with eyeliner on my top lid. Despite using matte primer AND a layer of nude eyeshadow, the eyeliner I typically put on my top lid is mostly gone by the afternoon.

NOT SO WITH THIS BAD BOY.

I made it through an entire workday and subsequent holiday party without it wearing off! What kind of witchcraft…?

This eyeliner offers the smoothest application I’ve ever experienced. It goes on like I imagine smudging soot would, except this is more controlled and overall better (obviously). One of my biggest complaints with the Colourpop gel pencil liner was that sometimes the soft tip would break off when I was applying it (probably because I don’t have much finesse).

But this isn’t like that. It’s heaven on my MFing eyelids.

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This is what the eyeliner looked like around 3 or 4 p.m. (nearly the end of my work day) and just before I left for the holiday party. I’m still very clearly wearing eyeliner! And you can see it! And it’s not all smudged! All good things.

This eyeliner is well worth the $20 (and the extra $10 for the sharpener, too).

essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara

I’ve always wanted long, luscious lashes. Who hasn’t?! But, alas, my eyelashes are stubby and it is what it is.

There have been tons of different types of mascaras I’ve tried—mostly of the drugstore variety, but also a few that I’ve received from my Ipsy subscription, too—and none have ever really made an impression on me.

But I read about the essence Lash Princess mascara on Reddit. I saw a before/after photo of someone using it and desperately wanted to try it, too, and I was ultimately sold when I saw the price tag (less than $5!).

YOU. GUYS. I have eyelashes!

Here’s the brush:

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Pretty straightforward (though I did nab two other types of essence Lash Princess mascaras that I’m eager to try, too).

The result is pretty good for me, though! The eye on the left (my right) has mascara; the eye on the right (my left) doesn’t.

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Not bad, yeah?

It certainly makes me feel kind of luxurious, and sometimes that’s all that matters.

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Although my makeup skills are not beauty guru-level, there’s something so satisfying about finding a product that works for you. I’m pleased! If you give these a shot, let me know what you think!

xo.