Weekly Gratitude: Bad Days

Now I know this might seem like a strange thing to be grateful for. It’s not that I like bad days because they are bad, I like them because they make the good days that much better. Not every day can be a good and happy day, because things happen. And sometimes, nothing is necessarily wrong on these days and you just feel a little off. Allow yourself to take these days to recharge and take the time for yourself. Just remember it’s okay not to be 100% all the time.

Some things I like to do on these days:

Turn off your phone and disconnect
We live in a world where the first thing we do when we wake up is look at our phones, and right again before bed. You see how wonderful and great everything is going in other people’s lives and feel a certain pressure to live up to those standards. We don’t like for people to see the not so happy parts, so we put out there what makes us look the best—the ultimate highlight reel of our everyday lives.

Put on your comfiest clothes
This may seem like an obvious one but it really makes all the difference. You won’t be able to fully relax if you aren’t comfortable. Put on your favorite pair of sweats and your biggest, softest t-shirt, it’s a game changer.

Put on some soft music
Music is a big part for me and makes me feel that much better when I can relate to certain songs. Here are a few songs that I love listening to on these days:

  • Venice – The Lighthouse and the Whaler
  • The Heart of Life – John Mayer
  • Unwell – Matchbox 20
  • Wake Me Up When September Ends – Green Day
  • Holding Back – SG Lewis
  • All the Right Moves – One Republic
  • Riptide – Vance Joy
  • People – Nico and Vinz

Do some mindless tasks
This can be anything just as long as it doesn’t require a lot of thinking. Something for me would be cleaning my room. When I have a clean room I have a clear head. On days where you’re probably already doing a lot of over thinking anyway, the last thing you need is a cluttered mind.

Read a book or put on your favorite show
Snuggle up on your couch with a book you love or pop on a Netflix show and have a mini marathon! Let yourself break away from your world and into the fantasy lands of the stories. It’s okay to escape for a while.

Go out and buy something that will make you feel a little better
This doesn’t need to be anything big or expensive. For me I would buy a yummy smelling candle, a fuzzy blanket, a new face mask, or a new notebook. Just a little treat that you don’t really need but want.

Go for a walk or a drive
This is one thing that almost always makes me feel better. It lets me be alone, listen to my music, and just think (or not think).

Comfort food
Make one of your favorite meals or order in some take out. Food is never a bad idea.

“Some days are diamonds, some days are stones.”

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Summer Lookbook 2016

Summer is a time for me to really express my personal style—girly, simple, and comfortable. I’m not one to wear super tight stuff that’s just honestly going to make me sweat even more in the warmer months. I try and add some personality with bright colors like this coral top, or try and work with colors that compliment my skin tone like the olive dress. These have been some of my go to summer outfits for summer 2016:

Outfit #1

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  • Olive Dress- Nordstrom BP
  • Bracelets- Alex & Ani
  • Sandals- Nordstrom
  • Bar Necklace- Fab Fit Fun Summer Box

Outfit #2

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  • Blue Top- Target
  • White Bralette- Target
  • Black Shorts- American Eagle
  • Sandals- Nordstrom

Outfit #3

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  • Romper- Target
  • Bracelets- Altar’d State
  • Sandals- Nordstrom

Outfit #4

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  • Coral Top- Nordstrom BP Lush
  • White Shorts- Target
  • Necklace- Nordstrom BP
  • Sandals- Target

Outfit #5

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  • Black Maxi Dress- Nordstrom BP
  • Necklace- Costa Rican market
  • Sandals- Target

My Skin Care Routine

Throughout my teen years I have found out the hard way that taking care of your skin is crucial. It is more beneficial to spend time and money on bettering your skin rather than just buying makeup to cover it up. Having good skin not only lets that makeup go on smoother but is also a major confidence booster. I’ve always been insecure about my skin. I have breakouts here and there and have hyper pigmentation in certain areas I just can’t seem to get rid of no matter what I try. My recent skin care routine has done wonders for me in getting rid of those pesky spots while also evening out my complexion and the texture of my face. I have noticed a huge difference in my skin since I began using these products and highly recommend trying them out. I was definitely one of those people who felt like I had tried everything and just nothing seemed to help. I am very pleased with these products and have gained a lot more confidence in my skin. I use all of these products twice a day—when I wake up, and before I go to bed to ensure I get the best results. Not only does it work but it’s incredibly simple and easy to use.

WHAT I USE: Rodan + Fields Unblemish Regimen for Acne Prone Skin

Step One: Acne Treatment Sulfur Wash

This is a creamy purple wash that leaves my skin feeling awake and smooth. I use it every morning and night sometimes paired with my Clarisonic Mia for an extra deep clean.

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Step Two: Clarifying Toner

After washing my face I apply this to my whole face with a cotton round avoiding my eye area. This not only tones my skin but removes any dirt or oil that the wash might have missed.

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Step Three: Dual Intensive Acne Treatment

After waiting for the toner to dry I apply this third step. This product has two serums that contain benzoyl peroxide for the treatment and prevention of breakouts. It’s light and feels great on your skin leaving it feeling moisturized and healthy.

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Step Four: Oil Control Lotion

This last step is great because it not only keeps your face hydrated without leaving a gross oily residue, but it also has an SPF of 20. This is amazing for when you may not have time to apply that extra layer of sunscreen to your face during those sweltering summer months. It’s one less step and so worth the outcome.

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**If you are interested in learning more about these products my lovely rep Lizzy would be happy to help you get started and talk about what is best for you!

Lwaterhouse.myrandf.com

50 Things That Make Me Smile

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  • new notebooks
  • seeing people I love happy
  • feeling appreciated
  • stargazing
  • movie nights
  • thunderstorms
  • fresh clean sheets
  • getting mail
  • driving alone
  • mornings
  • flowers
  • doing something right the first time
  • chocolate chip cookies
  • people who just understand
  • music that makes you think
  • getting dressed up
  • intellectual conversations
  • Harry Styles
  • when I see my food coming at a restaurant
  • texas sheet cake
  • hugs
  • Disney World
  • big cozy blankets
  • gas station snacks
  • candles
  • traveling to new places and experiencing the culture
  • writing long letters
  • frozen mango chunks
  • finishing my to-do list
  • naps
  • pretty stationary
  • weddings
  • Chicago
  • binge watching Netflix series
  • airports
  • the farmers’ market
  • seeing people I admire in their element
  • thank you notes
  • exploring
  • breakfast food
  • coming home after a long trip
  • Costa Rica
  • face masks
  • getting my eyebrows done
  • cereal
  • new makeup
  • being trusted
  • pizza
  • a clean room
  • Mexican food

An Open Letter to My Younger Self

Dear Anna,

I think you have grown more this year than you ever have. You have learned so much, made new friends, experienced new things, and made memories that you hope to never forget. You have found a passion in writing and are hopeful for the future. You have a group of people who support you and love you. You have everything you could ever need, so embrace it. But there are some things I have learned and want to share with you going forward.

People change, and that’s okay.
As we know, you aren’t good with change. You want to be a good friend to everyone, and have the intense desire to have everyone like you and make people happy. You are a yes person, you are a people pleaser. You don’t like conflict, and you like things to go your way. When they don’t, you get thrown off and a little confused. Recently more than ever, you have learned that people change and that is okay. I firmly believe that God places people in your life for a reason. You need those people at a certain time in your life and He knows that. They will help you figure stuff out and grow in ways you never thought you would. They will teach you things about yourself and be there for you when you need them the most. But times change, you change, and people change. Don’t let this get to you. Trust in God that He has a plan and everything happens for a reason. This is just the beginning and it can only get better from here.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.
You are a worrier. You worry about everything and anything. You worry about your friends, your family, the most random of things, and people you don’t even know. You have a big heart and your compassion can at times be your ultimate Achilles’ heel. Take this time to focus on yourself and what makes you happiest. If it isn’t going to matter a year from now or even a month from now, it’s not as big of a deal as you think, I promise.

Meet as many people as you can.
You didn’t really come out of your shell socially until your senior year. You had a really solid group of friends all through high school but there were so many more I wish you would have gotten to know. Going forward, throw yourself in head on, and meet as many new people as you can right away. I know you’re not the biggest fan of new situations, but do it for yourself. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.

Be yourself.
You are constantly worrying about what other people think of you, and quite honestly I think they could care less. They have themselves to worry about. So be the truest and loveliest version of yourself. Show people your honest, caring, and sometimes funny side to you. It’s okay if you look like a fool sometimes. It’s okay if you mess up. It really is okay. Do what you want to do and don’t let your confidence get in the way. Show people who you are, the real Anna.

Accept the fact that things won’t always go your way and learn from it.
You want everything to be perfect all the time. Throw that thought away right now, because that probably will never be the case. This is a really hard thing for you to accept and want to live in your fantasy world all the time. Take it in and grow from it. Know that nothing or no one is perfect no matter how much you want it to be. Be aware you can’t always fix things. You are a fixer when things don’t go right. You do whatever you can to make it right or change what happened, but you have to for your own sanity realize if it’s worth being fixed. Most of the time, it’s not.

Love,
Anna

Weekly Gratitude: Alone Time

As I begin this new part of my life a lot has been put into perspective, and I have realized how much I am thankful for in my life. I have been blessed in ways I can’t even put into words. I have an out of this world support system who would drop anything for me in a heartbeat, as I would do the same for them. So with these weekly gratitudes (something I hope to make a regular part of this blog), I will choose one aspect of my life I am especially grateful for that week and share with you just how much it means to me.

This week I am grateful for alone time. I have always been one who enjoys solitude. It’s the short drive I have to work in the morning, when I’m washing my hair in the shower, reading a good book, or taking my dog for a walk. Those times alone with my thoughts where I can really think and plan and not have to worry about anything else other than myself. Discovering that I am going to be forced into adulthood in 36 short days has me feeling some type of way. I like the idea of it but also not really at all because what do you mean my mom won’t be making me dinner every night? I recently have grown to cherish this alone time to figure out my goals and what I want out of this life. It’s made me more aware how I should be spending my time and how I really want to spend my days. It’s been a huge wake up call for me and for that I am thankful.

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My Everyday Makeup Routine

I guess you could say I like to go for the “no makeup” makeup look. I keep it simple and don’t go overboard with crazy colors. I like my neutrals and think it makes me look the most polished. I have a few drug store items but most of my collection consists of Bobbi Brown products along with some other higher end brands. The last two years for my prom makeup I have gone to the Bobbi Brown counter at my local Nordstrom and have never looked back. These products have seriously changed the game for me. I am going to walk you through step by step what I do on a daily basis.

Step One: Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light to Medium Bisque

This product I put on my under eyes as well as the inner corner. It takes away the darkness and most of the hyper pigmentation I have. Makes me look more awake in seconds!

Step Two: Bobbi Brown Concealer & Powder Duo in Warm Beige and Pale Yellow

This next step adds a little more natural color to my face with the concealer that matches my complexion perfectly. I pat this right on top of where I put the pink correcting cream. I then follow up with the yellow powder to set it and make sure it stays put all day!

Step Three: Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick in Natural 4

Stick foundation is one of my all time favorite products. I used to swear by liquid partnered with the beloved beauty blender thinking it gave me an “airbrushed look.” They don’t even compare. This is way easier and I can have my whole face done in two minutes, maybe less. I would say it provides a medium coverage but is very build able. This product paired with the Bobbi Brown full coverage face brush leaves it flawless and gives a completely weightless feel.

Step Four: Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder in Aruba

I use this bronzer to add a little extra warmth to my face. I could say that I contoured with it, but honestly that’s not easy and a lot of work. I do the classic 3 motion along my temples, cheekbones, and along my jaw line. It has some shimmer (but not glitter) leaving your face extra luminous.

Step Five: Maybelline Fit Me Blush in Medium Pink

I don’t typically spend a lot on blush because I don’t use a lot of it. I use just enough to give my face a natural flush and that’s about it. I’m not trying to look like I’m wearing it. This is a soft pink with some shimmer giving me a healthy glow.

Step Six: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Opal

I’ve been eyeing this one for a long time now and I finally caved in and bought it. It is absolutely gorgeous and the perfect highlight in my opinion. You can definitely go over board so a light hand is necessary, but the results are ridiculously worth it.

Step Seven: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion & Naked 2 Palette 

I don’t always wear eyeshadow, but when I do this is my go to eye look. I have been using the Urban Decay primer for years now and it keeps my shadows on all day. I have all 3 Naked Palettes and have found the second palette to be my favorite and most wearable, at least for me. I like a bright shimmery eye so I go with “Bootycall”, a light champagne color, on my inner lid and then  “Chopper”, a shimmery rose gold, on the outside half. I think this makes me look awake and brings out my green eyes really well.

Step Eight: Brows

I have pretty thick brows to begin with so there isn’t a lot needed to keep them in order. All I use is a dark brown powder from my original Naked palette in “Buck”. This is a nice rich matte brown that gets the job done. I simply fill them in and run over them with some clear eyebrow gel to insure they stay in place.

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Step Nine: Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara in Black

This is the final step and my favorite one. I have decently long lashes to begin with but I love to enhance them in every way I can. This mascara is one of the best I have tried between drugstore and higher end. It darkens my lashes, doesn’t clump, separates them, and makes them appear longer and thicker. What more could I ask for?

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My routine is simple and easy, typically only taking about 8 minutes in the morning. It blends well and doesn’t look cakey. I highly recommend these products to anyone looking for something new. Like I said, they have changed the makeup game for me.

No Uniforms? Um What?

I have gone to a private school my entire life thus far and worn a uniform all 13 long years of it. I love fashion and beauty and have always wished that I could have dressed “cute” for school and shown off my personal style. In the past I’ve relied on summer break and weekends as my chance to show off what I know (or what I think I know). Now that I actually have the chance to wear whatever I want, I find myself asking the question, “what do ‘normal’ kids wear to school?”. Do I risk going all out and coming off as a try hard or keep it casual with some sweats for comfort? I think I took for granted how easy it was just to put on my khaki pants and polo shirt every day without ever thinking twice. Now it’s a choice I have to think about and make every single day! This is the moment I’ve been waiting for all these years though, right? This is my chance to dress “cute” and look how I want to look. The city of Chicago will be a perfect place to get the ball rolling and try out various looks and styles.

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Some things I plan to keep in mind while making this wardrobe transition are:

Keep it basic
Now I’m not saying be totally boring and have no fun when planning your outfits, but keep it simple. Jeans and a white t-shirt can be plain but spruce it up with accessories. A simple gold necklace and diamond studs will get the job done, leaving you looking classy and like you actually put in more effort than you did!

Layer it up
This is so crucial. Bring pieces that you can wear separately but also layer when necessary. Then you will be prepared for all seasons and whatever weather gets thrown your way. This will also take up way less closet space in the long run and keep you feeling great with your minimalistic approach.

Practicality is key
This is all about what you do and do not need. Am I really going to need that bright yellow sun dress or five pairs of jean shorts? No, especially when I’m moving to somewhere where it will be snowing for at least 3 months or so and where I have incredibly limited closet space. Think about it.

Get rid of it
Before I leave for college I plan on doing a purge of my entire wardrobe—what I wear and don’t wear, and what I like and don’t like. If I haven’t worn it in the past 3 months I probably won’t wear it in college. So if that’s the case, donate it or sell it, don’t bring it with you.

 

New Beginnings

And to think this is going to be my backyard for the next four years? Well, that as well as the incredible city of Chicago! I couldn’t be more excited about taking this next step in my life — college. Wow, what a daunting thought. Wasn’t it just yesterday I was playing house and setting up lemonade stands?

I have never been one who is good with change. I like the people and the things in my life for a reason, so why do I have to leave it all behind just to get an education? It’s definitely going to be a difficult transition from suburban Indiana girl to Chicago city living in just one short month. But I’m ready. I have to be. I’ve decided this is what I need to do to become who I want to be (I know how cheesy that sounds but you’ll be getting a lot of that so be prepared). This city will offer me so many things, so many new experiences, a new culture and a whole lot of new people. I’m just close enough where I can come home if I really need to but also far enough that I am really on my own.

Even though I’m really actually quite terrified with the concept of leaving all my loved ones behind, I’ll also be leaving another thing—my comfort zone. My comfort zone and I have quite a tight bond that I almost never leave its side. I am hopeful that with this new life change comes a door (or even a window) that makes me WANT to leave my comfort zone.

I’m a very optimistic person so I am excited for college too believe it or not! I love the idea of living on my own, designing my own room (even if it’s a small box with ugly wood furniture and cement walls), and learning to be independent in so many other ways. I want to meet as many people as possible and fall in love with my life in every aspect. This is going to be an amazing start to the rest of my life, my first of many new beginnings.

Be a Goal Digger

Travel
fly on my own
learn to use public transportation
study abroad
visit all 50 states
visit all 7 continents
go on a road trip with my best friends
swim in every ocean
visit the places on my wanderlust list
(Greece, Italy, Ireland, England, Australia, Spain, France, Norway, Germany, Sweden, Bora Bora, Fiji, New Zealand, Bali)

Kindness
send my mother flowers sporadically
call my grandparents once a week just because
spend a day giving out random compliments
raise $5,000 for a charity

Fitness
be able to run a 5k
lose 20 pounds
come up with easy healthy go-to meals
feel confident in whatever I’m wearing
gain strength and muscle

Food
write a cookbook
cut processed food from my diet for a month
eat vegan for a whole week
find a signature recipe
have a dinner party

Personal
graduate college with a minimum of a 3.5
find a job I love
get married
become a mom
own a house
celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary
write a book

Skills
learn how to play guitar
learn how to play piano
become fluent in Spanish