Refocusing My Intention

Refocusing My Intention

Before I left school for the summer, I made a promise to myself that I was on the verge of breaking until now. I had fallen into a dark place spring semester, and I hadn’t been to the gym, I hadn’t done yoga, and I hadn’t been myself since the semester before. I lost weight and fell to the lowest I’ve been since before high school. I made a promise to myself that over the summer, I would commit to all three meals a day (yes, even breakfast), I would resume my daily workouts, and I would start yoga again. When I made this promise to myself, my mother was still alive; someone I envisioned myself doing these things with. When she passed, I lost all motivation to better myself, and my yoga mat kept its place at the back of my closet. My mother and I had many things, but yoga was one of the most important that I shared with her, as she was the one who introduced me, and was the reason I fell in love with it.

I’ve been telling myself that before this summer is over, I need to fulfill my promise to myself, that I need to stop using my mother’s passing as an excuse, because she was worth so much more than that, and she would want me to continue to complete my goals in life–that’s just the kind of person she was. I also knew that getting back into my routine, and starting up yoga again would allow a smoother grieving process. Yoga is powerful in that way, especially for me.

Up until last night, I was entertaining a possible relationship with a man that I just recently realized is wrong for me. Even at two years older than me, he lacked a maturity that I found I needed from someone I wanted to be in a relationship with. Although, he made me learn a lot about myself, he couldn’t be there for me in the way I needed him to be. He was great at speaking sweet nothings, but that’s all they really were. He made me question myself, my appearance, my feelings, and my own way of thinking. I’ve always had self-esteem issues, but I envisioned being in a relationship with someone, was about being with someone who loved, or eventually would love, you for who you were. Someone who thought you were beautiful exactly the way you were, and never made you question if you were deserving of love. And really, all I’ve ever wanted is to reciprocate that kind of love. But I began to look in the mirror and dislike what I saw more than I had before I’d met him. We had been coasting for about 6 months, and the topic of an actual committed relationship never came to head unless I was the one bringing it up. Even at that, conversations were avoided, questions were deflected, and I began to ask myself why I wasn’t enough for him to commit to. I began to question my own self worth more than I ever had.

Yesterday, something in me finally clicked, something that hadn’t in a while. I realized who the fuck I was, and who I had forgotten I was striving to be. For the longest time, I hadn’t remembered that the most important opinion of yourself, should be from yourself, and that you cannot expect someone to love you, if don’t learn to fall in love with yourself. I had been thinking about this for quite sometime, but I ultimately decided that I needed to leave him behind to be able to take myself forward.

Even though my mind was made up, and I was going to break it off, a part of me still wanted to see if he would say anything that could possibly change that. A part of me still wanted to know if he truly saw a future with me. This was the same part of me that couldn’t help but remember the good that a happened in the last 6 months. But even at that, I still couldn’t ignore the bad, because it wasn’t something any healthy relationship, especially one that had never been established, could or should entertain. Not one that I wanted to be in, at least. After awhile of senseless conversation, and him avoiding the true issue at hand, I understood that he wasn’t going to say anything that would change my mind, even if he knew the true depth of what was on it, or the decision I had come to (he didn’t). It was almost as if him not saying anything, told me what I really needed to hear. I hung up on him mid-sentence, moped about it for a bit, and then began drafting what I’m now calling my goodbye letter. I won’t say what I put in it, but Lord was it long.

I sent it, deleted his number, every picture of us on my phone, and unfollowed him on all social media. As sad as this may sound, as soon as I accomplished all of this, it’s like this weight was lifted off of my chest. I felt freer than I had in a very long time, and I smiled.

I put on some music, and literally sang and danced around my room. I got the random urge to re-organize, so I ended up cleaning my room. Sometime during the process of putting everything back into my closet, I glanced at the yoga mat I still hadn’t touched. Something in me finally made me bring it out. I laid it down, found a 20 minute yoga instruction, and belatedly began the fulfillment of the promise I had made to myself a little over two months ago.

At the beginning of the instruction, the video instructor asked me to commit to an intention for the session, and at the end, they asked me to return my focus to that purpose.

My intention was to find, manifest, and believe in a better me. To tell myself I’m beautiful even when I feel ugly, to smile even when I feel sad, to write even when I feel uninspired, and to keep pushing forward even when I feel I can’t go any further. To keep promises to myself, because I deserve kept promises. To appreciate myself for all that I’m worth, and to never settle for anyone who treats me less than my immeasurable value. This summer, my objective to myself was to do what was best for me, and the people I love, and now, even though I still have a lot to rewrite and rebuild, I feel as if I’m on my way to accomplishing that.

I took a deep breath, exhaled, and said a silent “Namaste”. I thanked my mom, and I thanked myself, for giving me the strength to remove toxicity from my life, and to refocus my intention.

Today marks exactly two months since I lost my best friend, my rock: my mom. It also marks the day that I decided I deserved better than how I was being treated, and how I was treating myself. I want to be unconditionally loved for my authentic self, and I want to strive for being the best version of myself that I can be. Even though that will take quite some time, I’ve found that that’s worth the wait.

I’ve found that I’m worth the wait.

Sending my love,

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15 Ways to Practice the Art of Self-Love

15 Ways to Practice the Art of Self-Love

Since I’ve been dealing with my mother’s passing just last month, it’s made me appreciate the little things I subconsciously do, or used to do, to take care of myself–some of these even being things I did with her. I often think about how much better I could be, and how it’s hard to focus on striving to be that person, when I’m trying to figure out how to grieve and I’m constantly tied down by countless emotions. Then I realize, that sometimes, just like the version of myself I envision falling in love with, I’m not perfect… And that’s okay. People are allowed to go through things, and I mean really go through them. They are permitted to feel every ounce of pain, and sigh at every feeling of relief. I can’t blame my mom passing on a lack of a good relationship with myself, because to be clear, it was never really healthy even when she was still here. Because I have people to take care of, and because I have myself to take care of, I’ve been pretty determined to manifest this self-fulfilling friendship.

So I’ve been trying this out:

Make yourself your top priority at some point in the day, because sometimes, it’s selfless to be selfish. You can’t effectively help others unless you help yourself, and equally so, to be able to fully give or receive love, you need to be capable of loving your own vessel fist.

And when it all comes down to it, you deserve the same love you give to others.

There are plenty of ways to fall in love with yourself, and the relationship you have with yourself. While some are more direct, and involve self-affirmation, some take the back route, and distract you with things you can use to relax, and, as a result, you end up falling anyway.

So let’s explore some methods of self-care:

1. Be Positive

Start every morning by telling yourself that it’s going to be a good day, even if you think it won’t be (or you pulled an all-nighter and only got 3 hours of sleep before class or work). You woke up this morning, and I think that’s one reason, if not the most important reason to smile.

Try telling yourself something really positive–does that direct deposit come in today? Did you pull off an effortless top bun (even though it took more than enough effort)? Did you get the perfect winged eyeliner before a tenth try?

Tell yourself that, even if on a minuscule scale, you’re going to do something good in the world today. Whether that’s making someone laugh, or smiling at a stranger–tell yourself that you have more than enough power to affect someone, other than yourself, in a really beautiful way. You never know what people are going through, and how significant of a difference you can make with something seemingly small.

2. Take a Bubble Bath

And add a bath bomb! Some of my favorite bath bombs come from Lush Cosmetics. These include, but are by no means limited to,

  • Pink: a sweet candy smelling bath bomb that turns your water into a dream-like frothy pink with cute little biodegradable heart confetti. It’s featured ingredient is Tonka Absolute, but is also made with natural ingredients like Vanilla and Lavender Oil. It’s sure to create luscious escape. Price: $5.25
  • Twilight: this particular bath bomb is pink as well, but when it fizzles down, creates streaks of purple (think twilit sky), and finally turns into a deep indigo blue. This one’s featured ingredient is Lavender Oil, and you can never have enough of that. Note that if you have trouble falling asleep at night, essential oils like Lavender create a warm, fuzzy feeling, and help induce a more peaceful and restful sleep. So this one’s perfect for before bed! Price: $6.95
  • Butterball: This one is almost always my top choice. I keep these stocked for a rainy day, literally. This bath bomb’s featured ingredient is probably like my favorite thing ever, Cocoa Butter. Ugh, yes. When you pop it into your bath, it oozes this blissfully dreamy vanilla scent. Because of the organic Cocoa Butter, your skin will feel soft and hydrated (and you’ll smell amazing). Price: $4.95

Baths at the end, or even in the middle, of a stressful day tend to relax your mind, thereby de-stressing you, and making it easier to function for the rest of the day, or sleep better at night.

3. Read

Something that definitely helps me unwind is reading (something other than my Bio 102 textbook). This week’s picks are Jane Austen and this cute little book of poetry. I highly recommend taking a trip to your neighborhood Barnes & Noble. If you have a free day, spend the entire day in there, I promise you’ll feel lovely when you leave.

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4. Self-Reflect

As a writer, self-reflecting at the end of most days in a journal, is something that 1) clears my mind, and 2) creates avenue for more inspiration. Get yourself a little journal a ridiculous ink pen, and put something down in it every now and then. It doesn’t have to be every day, but studies show that writing things down, sometimes makes them easier to process and creates room for more information intake. Journalling can help manage anxiety, cope with depression, prioritize concerns, and improve your mood.

5. Put on a Face Mask… or 2

This act of self-love gives you triple rewards: glowing skin, being able to unwind, and calming your mind. You can also double this up with some other self-care acts like reading or writing while it’s drying, or putting it on then sinking into a luscious a bubble bath (exactly what I’m about to do after writing this). I have to represent one of my favorite cosmetic companies again, so here you go Lush:

  • Cup O’ Coffee: This is an exfoliating face (and body) mask that is perfect to wake you up in the morning. Because its featured ingredient is Coffee Infusion, it has the intoxicating aroma of a freshly brewed pot of coffee. It also contains Kaolin that cleanses the pores, and ground coffee that scrubs away dead skin to reveal your glow underneath. Price: $10.95
  • Mask of Magnaminty: Another face and body mask, Magnaminty is cleansing with out harsh exfoliation. It’s a bit more gentle than Cup O’ Coffee, so you can use it more frequently throughout the week. It’s made with Kaolin clay and infused with Peppermint Oil, Vanilla, and Honey which calm redness and moisturize. Price: $10.95
  • Rosy Cheeks: PSSST THIS ONE’S MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE. *Clears throat*, Rosy Cheeks is an uber soothing and uber softening fresh face mask. Made with Kaolin Clay, its featured ingredient is natural Rose Oil, which acts to nourish and tone your skin. It also includes fresh Rose Petal infusion, and Calamine Powder to remove dirt. This mask is perfect for people with oily skin (such as myself) because the Calamine Powder also tightens pores, and thereby* calming* your skin and leaving a smooth matte finish behind. Price: $12.95
  • BB Seaweed: This is Lush’s newest fresh face mask and I’m completely in love with it. Like Rosy Cheeks, it has Rose Absolute, but its featured ingredient is Bladderwrack Seaweed. 7 pounds of this natural nutrient-rich seaweed goes into each batch.It’s made specially for those of us with sensitive skin, and has finely ground almonds for gentle exfoliation. Price: $8.95

*Lush’s fresh face masks must be kept in the fridge as they are made with fresh ingredients and without preservatives!

6. Do Some Yoga

One way I decompress is through yoga. I started two years ago with my mom, and now, even when I’m in school, I go alone to yoga classes at least 4 times a week. Just think, calming music, stretching, no thinking, and no outside distractions for an hour of your day. I feel like everyone needs at least hour of every day to get away from everything; whether it be school, work, social distractions, and even feelings. Yoga is a very good way to re-center yourself, and re-focus on your goals for the day, the week, and even for your life. Re-instilling your life mantra for an hour every day can prove to be extremely motivating, and then it’s a workout!

7. Meditate

This one is very similar to yoga, just minus the stretching. Focused breathing, a focused mantra, or focusing on nothing at all. Take 15 minutes out of your day to sit down, close your eyes, and breathe. Focus on nothing but your breathing, and you’ll see how your stress just washes away, even if it’s only for 15 minutes.

8. Listen to Music

Because I am very fond of putting feelings into words, sometimes I tend to run out of words for said feelings. Sometimes music is a gateway to expressing those feelings you felt couldn’t really be expressed. Whether it’s making your own music, or listening to someone else’s, sometimes this is just as therapeutic as yoga, mediation, or a hot bath for me; and I can do this one while working as well!

9. Burn Some Candles

Here’s a list of essential oils with different uses and benefits:

  • Cinnamon. Cinnamon has stimulating attributes that help fight mental lethargy and work to improve focus and concentration. Try a cinnamon candle while you’re getting ready for class in the morning for a more productive and memorable lesson!
  • Jasmine. Jasmine can be used to calm nerves, but it is more so renowned for its uplifting capabilities such as confidence, optimism, and energy, making it a great antidepressant. Try some Jasmine oil, flowers, or natural Jasmine tea when you aren’t feeling quite like yourself.
  • Lavender. Lavender has an über soothing effect on nervous tension and can help to control emotional stress. It also works to treat headaches and migraines. Try a Lavender bath before bed to help promote more restful sleep!
  • Rosemary. Rosemary helps to improve memory recollection and combat physical exhaustion.
  • Vanilla. Vanilla is a very a warm and cozy scent, and there’s a reason why people describe it as such. In several studies, researchers have found that smelling natural vanilla bean elevated feelings of contentment and relaxation. When you’re relaxing after a tiring day, a little vanilla bean may go a long way. Ooh and try some Vanilla ice cream! It’s a bit of a reach, but it still tastes good!

10. Get a Mani/Pedi

It’s okay to treat yourself every now and then. Just like yoga or mediation, this can be another way you dedicate 30 minutes to an hour to yourself and only yourself. If you want, bring a friend along! Just remember, a mani-pedi never stressed anyone out more.

11. Take a Nature Break

If you’re feeling cornered, bottled up, stressed, or like you’re about to explode, drop everything, and just take a long walk outside. If you have to bring your phone, turn it on silent. Use this time to look at the simpler, more beautiful things about life, and then go back to work, to school, to family, and see how much more productive you can be.

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12. Watch Reruns of Your Fav Sitcoms

This one’s a definite fav. When I’m feeling stressed about school work, I make a productivity goal with myself. Once I’ve completed it, I shut every thing down, close all my textbooks, put on a sweatshirt and leggings, grab some yogurt or some ice cream, and watch re-runs of FriendsAmerica’s Next Top ModelThat’s So Raven, and even Proud Family. I don’t quite know how to explain it, but there’s something about watching or engaging in things from your past. It’s almost like a time capsule; it sucks you back into that age you were when your biggest fear was the boogie man, and your biggest responsibility was making sure you practiced your spelling words for the big 10-letter quiz the next day at school. So watch an episode, or 5, of Law & Order SVU re-runs; let Benson and Rollins take your mind off of life for at least a season

13. Plan Out Your Week

Get yourself a planner and some colored pens, and plan out your week! Yes, I’m talking Monday through Friday. Any big tests coming up? Due dates for that essay? A seminar you really want to attend? Maybe a social event with friends on Saturday. Write out a schedule for yourself, and a little to-do list. When you accomplish things, check them off. You’ll feel better, promise. Research actually shows that checking things off of a list of things-to-do causes your brain to release Serotonin, a chemical responsible for feelings of pleasure, accomplishment, and content.

14. Turn Off Electronics

Give yourself one hour, whether it be at the beginning of the day, or the end, where you turn off your computer, your laptop, your TV, your Apple Watch or your FitBit, and even your pager (if you still have one?) At the end of your hour, turn everything back on, and go back to your life, but just know that that one hour without all of those distractions, you’ve given your poor old brain a huge break. And during this hour, you could have done at least one thing from the list above!

15. Tell Yourself It’ll Get Better

Whenever you feel like you’ll never get everything done, you just can’t keep your eyes open in Business Law 102, or you can’t get rid of feelings of hopelessness, try telling yourself that it won’t always be like this. That all of the work you’re doing now will some day pay off. Say that you’re doing it for you, even if right now you’re doing something for somebody else. Because even if you are, you only started doing it, because of a vision you had or have for yourself down the line. Remind yourself why you’re doing something, and the contentment that it could possibly bring you, and I guarantee you’ll feel at least a little better about doing it. Know that at the end of the day, if you’re not making yourself happy by doing it, or you aren’t working to be happier as a result, then you shouldn’t be doing it at all. It’s a good feeling to be able to feel like the world is smaller than it really is… To feel like the weight of the world isn’t on your shoulders. Because to be quite honest, it isn’t.

You just have to try and remember that every now and then.

– – –

Hopefully this can be a help to some of you, because I’m working on sticking to them to help myself.

Today, the moon is in full Sagittarius, aligning with its opposite in Gemini, so this Friday’s feeling pretty sweet for this little Sagittarius girl. 

Do you guys have any other methods of self-care that work for you? Or maybe do some of the ones I mentioned? If so, let me know down below! I love hearing from you ☺️

P.S. thank you for 300 WordPress followers, and 2,000 overall!

Until next time,

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2016 Nordstrom Fall Beauty Trend Show: Oakbrook

2016 Nordstrom Fall Beauty Trend Show: Oakbrook

This past Saturday, October 15th, my mother, my sister, my aunt, and I were invited to Oakbrook’s 2016 Nordstrom Fall Beauty Trend Show.

Let’s talk the outfit first.

The Outfit

My top was a thick knit cream sweater from H&M; simple, comfortable, yet still chic. My jeans, oh my jeans: dark wash distressed high waisted denim from Hollister. For accessories, I decided on a cute and simple Kors Jetset Purse, my Fitbit Alta, two of my favorite Hai Panda Bracelets, my Pandora Rose bracelet and my favorite statement necklace from Forever 21. I finished the outfit with a simple pair of nude flats from Forever 21, and my favorite American Rag Cargo Jacket.

Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 2.43.43 AM.pngThick Knit H&M Sweater: $30 / American Rag Cargo Jacket: $30
High-Waisted Distressed Hollister Jeans: $25 / Michael Kors Jet Set Purse: $90IMG_5123.JPGForever 21 Opalescent Statement Necklace: $20 / Hai Panda Beaded Bracelets: $32IMG_5153.JPGPandora Rose Braclet: $125 / Gold Limited Edition Fitbit Alta: $150

The entire outfit was under $500 of course – this isn’t the Grammy’s.

Keep in mind that this all wasn’t purchased at the same time. I’ve acquired some of my favorite statement pieces, such as the Pandora Rose Bracelet and the Fitbit over the years, those being gifts to myself, and the Kors purse being a birthday gift. You just have to be a savvy shopper 😉

Oh yeah, you probably want to hear about the actual event.

The Event

We arrived at 4am, landing us first place in line, and with our blankets in tow, proceeded to tough out the autumn chill for 3 hours – then in which the doors would be opening.

We shared some laughs with others in line, aching for 6:30am, when they would bring out the music and coffee to tide us over until the event began. I didn’t even drink the coffee, I used it to warm my hands. I’m sure it tasted swell though.

The time was finally 7:30am and my crew and I were ready to work the event. The doors finally opened, and after the initial bliss the wave of heat gave us, my little sister and I strutted into the Nordstrom department store, with my mom and aunt right behind us. Gladly accepting our complimentary goodie totes, we made our way up the two flights of escalators, and took our place front row, stage left, excited for the trunk show to finally begin.

Every trend show is exciting, filled with people who appreciate fashion and beauty just as much as I do. It was exciting to preview the upcoming Fall and Winter trends, as well as new products from some of the most popular cosmetic and fragrance companies. This year’s host, Gilbert Vera – definitely my favorite in the past 3 years – bounced out and started the show off perfectly. He was charming, funny, and knew just which buttons to push to get the crowd excited.

The Models

The fashion show was broken down into two distinct concepts that somehow manage to work together: Modern Romance (ultra-pretty neutrals) and Dark Glamour (bold color).

 

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  1. Going from right to left, the first model wore a For Love & Lemons white dress with crochet detailing and sexy black thigh high boots.
  2. The second, a Laura Mercier Model, wore an Alicia + Olivia cream sweater with beaded dealing and a black pleated wide leg pant.
  3. The third was one of my favorites, she sported a Ted Baker London black gown with a bow detail.
  4. The fourth, a MAC model, wore an Olivia Palermo + Chelsea28 black leather overalls and a Leith ivory ruffled high collar blouse.
  5. The fifth, my absolute favorite, wore a Trouvé black poet’s blouse, and a rose cigarette pant. The shoes were to die for.
  6. The Charlotte Tilbury model on the far left, wore a Kate Spade New York blush pink sweater with a rosette bow, and a Milly black modern miniskirt.

You don’t know how hard it was to resist the urge to strut the runway with them. Très chic

After a couple minutes of music, the DJ stops and says “I just wanted to say that the two girls in the front row, in the blue shirt and the green jacket, were the very first in line”. My sister and I looked around and realized in .02 seconds that we were the girls in the blue shirt and the green jacket. Gilbert walks over and puts the microphone in front of my sister, asking how long we’d been there, and once he heard 4am, he suggested that we receive a gift. He comes back from the gift table and hands us this Deluxe Dior Gift Set. This was her second year coming to the trunk show and my third so we were definitely hyped to have received such a  beautiful gift.

The Deluxe Dior Gift Set: $200 Value

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Ms. Dior Absolutely Blooming Perfume: $90 / Dior 5 Colors Skyline Palette: $63 / Dior Vernis Nail Lacquer: $27 / DiorShow Mascara: $28.50

Only about 20 minutes into the show and we’re on Trish Mcevory watching this gorgeous lady talk about the ‘Chic Collection’ Planner’ ($225), and it consisted of everything you’d need to get ready in the morning in under 10 minutes. Gilbert takes center stage again, and pauses, walking over to my mom, and asks for her brochure (it consisted of all of the designers we’d be seeing throughout the show), and he says, “I just want to point out that this lovely lady right here is taking amazing notes on each product we’ve seen. Like look at this!” He literally walked around and showed everyone additions my mom made with her loose cursive penmanship. He’s like “Let’s give her something shall we?” The crowd cheers, and my mom, my sister, my aunt and I are beyond excited for the second time that day. He comes back and gives her a $200 value Trish Mcevoy gift set. I nearly died, twice.

The Trish Mcevoy Deluxe Gift Set: $200 Value

Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 2.47.37 AM.pngNo. 9 Blackberry and Vanilla Musk Eau De Parfum: $85.50 / No. 9 Blackberry and Vanilla Musk Enriched Body Cream: $60 / No. 9 Blackberry and Vanilla Musk Body Polish and Sugar Scrub: $55

The Deluxe Philosophy Goodie Bag: $120 Value

I also received a beautiful Philosophy all-around sampler bag. Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 2.48.26 AMThe show moves on to talk about another 15 or so brands and their newest products. I’ll put some of my favorites down below.

MAC ‘C’est Chic’ Matte Eyeshadow Palette: $65

IMG_7768.JPGNow this is a palette I can really commit to. Whenever I buy palette’s from MAC, I always opt for the customizable “build your own palette” option (only available in standalone MAC stores and online), because I tend to favor buying palettes in which I can use all the shades. Too many a time – and I know this is true for African-American and other colored women and men – there will be shades in a palette that I love and that I finish first, shades that are ‘eh’ on my skintone and therefore are not used as much, and shades that don’t fit me at all, or that I’d never wear. Building my own palette at MAC guarantees that each shade in my palette will be used equally, and look equally beautiful on my chocolate skin.

But this ready-made palette may be a contender. I love matte shadows, and each one in here is matte. What I will say is that for each matte shade, I appreciate the shimmer version of it, if you want to go for a simple one-tone look. Despite that minor flaw, I can definitely see myself getting this palette for Christmas 😉

The shades include: You’re Bluffing (soft peach), Soft Brown (soft golden peachy-brown), Demitasse (midtone brown), Corduroy (muted reddish-brown), Dash of Mocha (dark beige brown), Pale, Please (washed out pink), Oo La Café (midtone neutral), Choc-ful (murky midtone pink), All’s Rosy (deep pink rose), Embark (intense reddish brown), Drawing a Blanc (creamy beige), Fogged in Dirty (grey), Pinch of Sage (warm grey), Dance in the Dark (dark brown), and Raven-Eyed (deep dark navy).

Jo Malone London’s ‘Basil & Neroli’ Cologne: $65 – $130

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It’s fresh, light, eccentric, with a herbaceous warmth, and a citrusy twist. A perfect everyday scent, and I plan on picking up my very own 1 oz. bottle.

Photo credit: theperfumeboy.com

‘Laila’ Fragrance: $56 – $76

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Laila is this beautiful and clean scent by Geir Ness of Norway. It’s infused with Norwegian mountain wildflowers and with a touch of fruit inflections. What makes it better? The creator, Geir Ness, dedicated it to his mother, Laila, who used to take him up to the Norwegian Mountains when he was a young boy. Can we say ‘cute’?

Fresh ‘Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy-Boosting Face Mask’: $62

Behind-the-scenes-at-Fresh-Beauty-s-lab_article_full-1.jpgThe representatives at the counter gave me a free facial with this, and I have to tell you it is one of the best masks I have ever tried, aside from  Lush Fresh Face Masks. It smells amazing, and it’s actually 50% real crushed citrus fruits, including oranges, lemons and clementines. Its vitamin fruit complex contains vitamins C, E and B5, so it’s perfect for anyone with natural vitamin deficiencies, such as myself. The lemon and orange fruit extracts and minerals are supposed to help revitalize skin, and give it a more vibrant glow and soft texture. Of course I can’t judge that off of one use, so this is something else I plan on purchasing during the Christmas season.

Photo credit: prestigeonline.com

I digress

All in all this was the best Nordstrom Trend Show I’ve been to out of the three total times I have attended. It was lively, rewarding, and had an amazing host; so thanks so much to Gilbert Vera and Nordstrom for making this one the finest yet.

Nordstrom Beauty Trend Event.pngDid anyone else attend a Nordstrom Trend Show? If so comment below, and tell me which city you went to, and how it was!

Even if you didn’t attend a Trend Show (you should!), what looks are you most excited for during the Fall/Winter? Ultra-pretty neutrals, bold color, or a little bit of both? I’d love to hear from you!cropped-femme-rewritten-banner-14.png

 

 

Not So Good to be a Good Girl

Not So Good to be a Good Girl

For decades, possibly even centuries, mass media and popular culture have focused on teaching girls to embrace a version of selfhood that is particularly damaging to their potential greatness. Our authority, our authenticity, has been staggered by the pressure to be “good”-selfless, modest, kind, gorgeous, and submissive. Growing up we have been told how to treat our bodies and when it is acceptable to show them – if at all.

As women, we live in the ultimate paradox of a lose-lose situation. Our bodies are constantly held to the standard of absolute excellence and the ways we choose to display our sexuality are often (always) abhorred.

The problem is, we do not emphasize the correct message for both the male and female population–at least not as much as we should.  It is almost always acceptable for boys and men to act in provocative ways, and that girls and women should be repressed and unstimulating. We constantly impress upon women that they should have no sexual freedom, yet, at the same time, men are generally admired if they have high levels of sexual activity. This ideology opens the door for a dangerous sense of entitlement, which in turn, can facilitate a culture that excuses harassment, rape, domestic violence, and other injustices that women face disproportionately more than men.

In the media, and unfortunately perpetuated throughout daily life, people constantly focus on the visible aspects that make women women, but when they themselves venture to be proud of their own anatomy, or attempt to be sexually liberated, it is painted as engaging in activities “unfit for a lady”, or they are slandered as whores and sluts. Women are only expected to be sexual if it is for the purpose of pleasing a man, or in the pursuit of bearing a man’s offspring. The ultimate consequence of such a primitive mindset, is the toxic message that “a woman’s body exists entirely for the consumption of men”… (or man rather, because if a woman has more than one sexual partner that is another reason for her to receive a scarlet letter). The next inference will be that a woman’s mind, a woman’s consciousness, exists solely to serve man.

That could not be further from the truth.

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It is more emphasized for girls to protect themselves from sexual harassment than it is to teach men to respect the women they come in contact with. Disseminating itself into rape culture, the resulting idea is that it is the victim’s fault that they were sexually assaulted. Subsequently, the message that arises is that they sanctioned their harassment by being too much of a tease and that the way they were dressed warranted the maltreatment they received. This speaks as if an outfit with slightly more coverage could convince a potential rapist that their payoff may no longer be worth the struggle. This, in turn, communicates to society (and young women, more importantly) that the way a woman dresses determines how she is to be treated.

Historically, much of the world’s society has been a patriarchal bureaucracy intended to enforce the assumption that men are to be incomparably successful and “their” women are to be submissive, sophisticated, domesticated mates. Mothers and daughters are to be seen, never heard, and to bear offspring whenever their husbands so please. Such an unspoken rule and regulation on one sex tells a single group that they are entitled to the other, and the other, that their inherent obligation is to please.

As contradictory to common sense this may seem, if you have a daughter, don’t raise her to be a “good girl”. Instead of constantly controlling and encouraging anxiety with countless warnings about the unavoidable dangers of the opposite sex, engage her in conversation. Listen to what she has to say, then reflect, and advise. The appreciation and voiced affirmation of a girl’s feelings at a young age can powerfully influence her emotional confidence and success as a woman. With the added pressure from mainstream media, it can be quite challenging for young women to focus on forming their own authentic identities. In my afflicted opinion, females are more perceptive to the emotions of others and empathetic to what they feel. Research has shown that girls develop emotional intelligence earlier than their male counterparts. Having said this, it is important to understand that this innate gift is stifled by the need to constantly hide what they truly feel. When our emotional expression is perpetually depicted as meaningless, we begin to regard other people’s sensitivity at the expense of our own. Coming from personal experience, when focusing on achieving someone else’s definition of perfection, girls begin to discount their own feelings. We do this with such commitment, that by the time we turn into young women, we have found it consummately rational to censor our own consciousness. Consequently, we begin to surround ourselves with individuals who do not value our feelings. We can’t blame them, though, because at the end of the day, we give others no reason to care, if we don’t even pretend that we do. This constant neglect of our own emotional disparity, can, in turn, affect our mental and physical health. Focus on encouraging young girls to discover aspects of themselves that they can translate into conducive and cathartic outlets.

Everyone has to find something to give their mind a break.

A lack of care for our emotional fitness translates into other facets of life–especially relationships. Above all, it keeps us from falling, and remaining, in love with ourselves.

I think we females have two points in our lives where we are consciously able conceptualize the meaning of loving ourselves: as candid, innocuous children, and when we have experienced enough in life to be able to filter through the bullshit and find our own beautiful truths.

I suppose we’ll all get to that point someday.

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