Guest Post: Little Bright Things

Maria and I have known each other since I was in kindergarten and she was in first grade, today she is one of my closest friends and I am thankful to have someone like her in my life. This is her blog which I love and know you will too.

5 Little Ways to Boost your Beauty Routine

Most of us are in a time crunch and don’t have the means to invest in a bunch of fancy cosmetics, (psh who needs all those chemicals anyway?) These are some things you can incorporate into your every day routine and actually get results with out spending much, if any, of your hard earned dollars.

You can try them all out, or slowly incorporate them one by one each week and see which ones really suit you. Making these simple tweaks in your routine is not only fun, but it can take a bit of stress off of the day just knowing that you did something to pamper yourself.

1. Scalp Massage: They’re so good for hair growth and hair health because it gets the blood flowing in the scalp and helps the nutrients, ya know, nourish. All you need is 5 minutes. You can fit it in while you wash your hair, or just once week. I like to do a mask with an egg (rich in protein), castor oil (promotes hair growth and thickness), and a little coconut oil (hydrates), and apple cider vinegar, which I apply in the shower between the shampoo and conditioner (lots of shine, don’t worry the smell goes away). Wether you’re doing this dry, with the mask, or in the shower, just flip your head upside down and rub with the pads of your fingertips (no nails!) different secitions of your scalp until you feel it get warm and then move on to another section. Make sure you shampoo WELL if you did the mask to get the oil out, and don’t use as much conditioner.

2. Multi Task Mask:  You may not have done a face mask in a while because you just don’t have the time or patience. But if you think about it, once you put it on the mask does all the work, all you have to do is sit there. Have a long study session coming up that night? Weekly phone call with mom? Prepping meals for the week? Helloooo, these are the opportunities your face has been waiting for. Before you sit down to write the paper you’ve been putting off for weeks or start cleaning the apartment, get into something comfy, wash your face, and slap on your favorite mask! My favorite DIY  mask for dry skin is 1 mashed banana, greek yogurt, and raw honey. When your face has a little redness or you feel a break out coming on, try: almond meal, honey, greek yogurt or milk, and turmeric (a great natural anti-inflammatory). My favorite store bought mask is Dermalogica’s Gentle Cream Exfoliant. It was an investment for me but after I had used the sample size I absolutely loved it. It contains lactic acid which exfoliates by “eating away” at the dead skin cells instead of scrubbing them off.




3. Eat, Drink, and be Glowy:   One small but worthy investment you could make would be a multivitamin. Vitamins and minerals are what really make your skin glow. Up your intake of leafy greens with lunch and or dinner and don’t forget to drink drink and drink more water. I find that when I use my CamelBak I drink more water for whatever reason, and it’s an environmentally friendlier option than disposable  water bottles.

4. Face Massage: This is something that I’ve recently picked up. Not only is it super relaxing, but it’s great for your skin long and short term. It gets the blood flowing which is great, but over time it can help prevent wrinkles and premature aging. I use a mix of 2 natural oils like argan, castor, rosehip, or olive. Watch pro make up artist and beauty expert walk you through her routine. 

5A Little Show of Hands: The whole package is “hair, skin, and nails” right? There’s no need to give yourself 30 minute at home manicures every week (unless you enjoy that) but at least once a week I like to put a coat of nail strengthener on my nails, file them down, maybe to a little mini sugar and lotion scrub. I’ve recently been keeping a little bottle of  home made cuticle oil my nightstand and try to remember to quickly put it on before I go to bed.

Bonus Tip: Squeaky Clean:  If you’re someone that uses make-up brushes, (odds are if you use make-up you use brushes), get into the habit of keeping them clean if you don’t already. This week, take the time one day to thoroughly wash your brushes because one thing many may be overlooking is a dirty brush on a clean face. Recipe for a break out.

After all is said and done, beauty routines are fun, they’re pampering,and yes, they boost our confidence. But more importantly, we do it because we enjoy taking care of ourselves. Just remember the make-up bag is not your source of confidence.

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others. For beautiful lips speak words of kindness. For poise walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” – Audrey Hepburn 

Maria A.

“The best four years of your life” and other myths about college.

the best four years 3

There’s a lot of hype out there about college. It can be a great experience (will need: good attitude) but there are certain things that are said pretty consistently about college that are not necessarily true.

1) “The best four years of your life.” I heard this one a lot, and if you think about it, that’s a lot of pressure to put on four years. I mean the best of your life? I think that even if you have a really incredible college experience, it won’t be the best time of your life because there are so many good things to come. My mom was one of the only people who gave me a description of college that I found to be true. She said that it was kind of lonely. Not because you’re a social reject who doesn’t have any friends, but because it just is. As John Green so poetically put it, there is an “existential loneliness” about college.

I think this is because we’re used to being with our families and then suddenly we’re not. We aren’t with people who genuinely care about us and love us unconditionally. Instead everyone is a stranger who doesn’t know or understand us the way our close friends and family do.

Some people adapt better and more quickly than others, it has taken me years to adjust. Being an introvert, I value close relationships which are hard to form in four short years. I’m lucky enough to have found a couple, but it hasn’t been until this year that I’ve been able to be more at peace at school.

2) It’s okay to eat poorly. Okay no one came out and said, “yeah you can eat badly, you’re in college.” But most college students do. We think that because we no longer have parental supervision and because it’s cheap and convenient and we’re young, it’s okay. The thing about that is that eating healthy can be inexpensive and convenient, it just takes a little bit more thought than ramen noodles. And even more importantly, our habits now will have a significant impact on our quality of life as we get older. If we don’t take care of ourselves now we will pay for it eventually.

3) It’s okay to not get sleep. I don’t know how often I hear students complaining about how tired they are, (seriously, way too often). People stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning or pull “all-nighters” to get assignments done. Not only is this usually completely preventable and unnecessary, but it is a serious hazard to our health and cognitive function.

This video helps explain why it is so very important to get those zzzzz’s: How much sleep do you actually need

4) You have to party to have fun. Freshman year I got to college and promptly found that I had no idea what to do on the weekends. Of course it didn’t take me long to figure out what (seemed) like everyone else was doing: going to parties. I went to a few and it took me less than that to discover that they were not my scene. I like parties, I like parties where you dress up and you eat hors d’oeuvre and talk to other guests with soft music playing in the background…unfortunately the overwhelming majority of college parties are drastically different from this.

Once I knew that fraternity parties were a no-go for me, I became concerned about what I was going to do for fun; I couldn’t stay in my dorm all night reading…right? Thankfully I had a couple of friends whose idea of fun was closer to mine, and as the semesters have gone by I’ve met more and more people with similar interests and gotten closer to a handful of them. I’ve gone hiking, swing dancing, shopping, had movie nights, gone out to dinner, gone to concerts…If you find that the inebriated college student, deafening rap music, hors d’oeuvre-less party is not your scene, that’s okay because I guarantee you that there are many more ways to have a good time.

College, like life in general, is what you make it. You have to go into it with an open mind and good attitude in order to make the best of it. I think one of the most important lessons I’m learning is who I am, who I want to be and accepting that person. Don’t be discouraged if college hasn’t turned out to be how you thought it would, how you look at something determines how it affects you.

A positive mind creates a positive life.

 What about  college has been/was different than what you expected?




Why It’s important to take care of yourself.

So maybe you read the title of this post and said, duh. I mean taking care of yourself seems kind of a no-brainer. But it’s amazing how many people actually do not take care of themselves. Especially in college, you’re away from your parents who tell you to take your vitamins, go to sleep and eat your vegetables. With classes to study for, social events to attend and people to text it seems like actually cooking a healthy meal and getting eight hours of sleep are commodities that we simply do not have time for. The thing is, they actually aren’t commodities, they are absolutely vital to our health. Up until recently I also regarded things like healthy food, exercise, sufficient sleep, and “me time” as unnecessary. As a result I became constantly stressed and did not meet my usual standards of school work and social behavior, (I can be extremely unpleasant when I’m tired/hungry). I know I am not the only college student to experience this, I am constantly surrounded by people complaining that they only got four hours of sleep the night before, had ramen for dinner and haven’t been to the gym in two weeks. The excuse is almost always the same: I don’t have time. As I have recently learned, there actually is time to do these things. Here is a condensed list of ways to stay healthy within a tight time limit:

1) Recognize that your health is a priority. It is, and you will be so much happier once you feel great about yourself. I promise. Good health is not just the absence of illness, it is a state of mind and body described as “wellness” ( It takes time and effort to achieve true health.

2) Say NO to drama. I know so many people who leave things until last minute because they love the drama. They love to complain about how they don’t have time and haven’t slept or eaten for three days etc etc. No one likes to hear you whine, so just be responsible, eat right and get sleep.

3) Make a schedule. I have everyday of the week planned out down to almost the minute. This may seem extreme but  to get it all done and keep up with my health habits, it is helpful to know exactly what I’m supposed to be doing when. Take a few minutes to look at your schedule and figure out when you are going to do everything. Make time for homework, exercise, sleep, a few minutes of downtime before sleep, meals and friends.

4) Be disciplined. This is difficult, I know. But it is vital to success. The easy part is writing down a schedule, but sticking to it is another story. This has always been a struggle for me but what really helped me make it was this: act as if you didn’t have a choice. If you just look at your schedule and say, okay next I have to study for biology, instead of battling whether or not you “feel like it” you will be so much more efficient.

5) Make a meal plan. If you have a meal plan with the dining halls or something of the sort you don’t have to worry about this, just make sure to carefully select what you want to eat and not automatically go for a burger. If you don’t have a meal plan, every weekend make a list of meals you want to eat and buy the ingredients. This will save you so much time and energy!

This is a SUPER condensed list, there are a million of other things that healp to save time and stay healthy but hopefully this will help.

taking care of yourself

What are your health tips? Let me know!

Thank you so much for reading!