Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Year I Learned How to Love Myself

2015 was a very important year for me, and I've been working on a special project for a while now. Today, the last day of 2015, is the day I decided to post this video and blog post, and I can't believe it's finally here. I have really poured my heart and soul into this project, and I'm so proud of how it came out. I made a video, and wrote a longer explanation post, so check both out, and let me know what you think! I hope you like it!

            Loving yourself does not come easy. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, but have never felt like I had the ability to. Because of this, one of my goals for 2015 was to learn how to love myself. I knew it would be hard, but I at least wanted to try.
            I have never felt comfortable in my own skin, and I always compare myself to others about everything: thoughts like “that girl has tanner skin than me”, “look at her tiny waist”, or “my arms will never look like hers,” constantly fill my head. I’ve always been insecure about my body, and myself in general. My body image has also never been good, and I especially struggled with it while growing up.
When I was 12 years old, I was bullied by a boy in my class. He called me fat each and everyday, which was one of my biggest insecurities. I wasn’t fat by any means – I was a dancer who had muscles in order to enable my body to do the sport that I loved. I mean sure, I wasn’t the tallest or thinnest girl in my class, but I come from a short family, so long and model thin legs were never going to be in my future. That was okay, but as a young girl going to school, being told that I was fat by a boy in my class hit home, and I started to truly believe it. He didn’t know that I spent hours each day at my dance studio to improve my dancing, all he saw was that I was different from the other girls. I also read too much according to him, and he thought it was strange that I was so much quieter than everyone else. I was never the loud one in my friend group, and they all had no idea just how much I hated myself and my body.
            I started wearing sweatshirts to school every single day in order to cover up my insecurities. The sweatshirts to me were like a shield against everyone else; they cocooned my body so no one could really see it, and they made it easier for me to not stick out in class. If I could just hide myself from that boy and everyone else, I thought, eventually the voice inside my head constantly putting me down would stop. It didn’t, and if anything it made it worse. With the extra baggage over myself, the boy realized his words had an impact, which to bullies, realizing they are actually hurting someone is like striking gold. His remarks only got meaner, and he put me down every chance he got.
            I never told anyone, even my family who was extremely close and supportive of me, that I was getting bullied, or that I hated myself. I wouldn’t even look in the mirror because I was afraid of what I would see, and I avoided the camera at all costs. My mom and I would pick the cutest outfits out for school, but I would always put a sweatshirt over them and tell her I’d just take it off when the day warmed up. That time never came, of course, and I kept the sweatshirts on the whole day, no matter how warm I was. They were my security blanket, and they hid me from everyone else. I don’t think anyone realized just how insecure I was about my body, or how inadequate I felt. It didn’t help that I had the meanest teacher in our grade, whom was sexist against girls and constantly put us down while praising the boys in the class. This only empowered my bully because he felt so untouchable.
            My struggle with my insecurities continued on for the whole year, but between the summer of sixth and seventh grade, I took off my sweatshirt in front of my friends because it was so warm. They were so shocked at seeing me without my second skin, and it was in that moment that I realized just how crazy it was that I had been wearing them every single day for a year and a half.
I went into middle school and discovered makeup, which I loved to play around with. I probably wore way too much to school, but it was something that I loved and made me feel more confident. I started wearing those cute clothes my mom and I picked out, without covering up with a sweatshirt everyday. I switched from dance to cheer (a decision I now regret), and ended up finding a best friend. I had also met two girls in orchestra, who would later become two of my closest friends in the entire world. My confidence kept getting better and better, and by the time I was a freshman in high school, it had vastly improved from when I was 12.
            Freshman year arrived quickly, and with it came many ups and downs. I quit cheer, a decision I am very happy with, and decided to join the swim team full time (I had swam on and off my whole life). It was something I was good at and something that I absolutely loved. I found wonderful friends who were fun and exactly what I needed at the time. They were accepting and supportive, and I’ll always be grateful to them for letting me into their close-knit group. For the most part, the year was great, and I started liking myself more.
The end of the year was where the down started. My best friend at the time, the girl I met cheerleading, started acting like a completely different person from the one I got so close to. Our friendship ended, not horribly, but not on a good note either, and I spent the summer being pretty lost. I’m grateful to her for being there with me in middle school, and we truly did have great memories from that time. I was able to go through those two years with someone who accepted me, and no matter who the person she is today, the girl I was best friends with was wonderful.
That summer was hard for me because I had just lost my best friend, and I felt so lonely. I started hanging out with two other girls, however, and found the best friendships I’ve ever had. Joycie and Rachel were there for me in a way they probably don’t realize; I could literally be the weirdest person in the world and there was never any hesitation on their part that we were sisters in all but blood. They were my best friends then, now, and will be always, and I can’t thank them enough. Because of their total acceptance of all my weird quirks (trust me, there’s a lot), I was able to start accepting myself as well. I thought if these two girls don’t care about my faults, why should I? With them, my supportive family, my friends from swim, and swim itself, I was in the best place I had ever been.
The rest of high school was both good and bad – as all experiences with high school are – and my confidence varied from time to time. I took hard classes with incredible teachers, and my love for English, Spanish, and learning about different places across the globe solidified. I got my first serious boyfriend at the end of junior year, but it wasn’t the best relationship. He made me feel lesser in every way; less beautiful, less smart, and less of a person in general. I don’t think he called me beautiful once, but I also learned that our relationship was not what healthy ones were like. It was short-lived, luckily, and I actually learned a lot about myself through the mistakes that we both made. Ending the relationship made me stronger and more confident because I learned how to stick up for myself.

The summer before college was spent making memories with my best friends, and we had a blast. I was nervous going into college because I was afraid I would be homesick every day, not be able to do well in my classes, or that I wouldn’t find a solid group of friends. None of these things happened, and though freshman year wasn’t everything that I expected it or wanted it to be, it was everything that I needed, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I made awesome friends, and ended up absolutely loving it there (and I still do today!).
 I came out of winter break and into the new year, 2015, worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up this track of being happy with myself. So, that’s why one of my goals was to learn how to truly love myself. I have always loved the idea of self-love, and thought I would achieve that when I looked or felt a certain way. I thought that when or if I got a gorgeous guy’s attention by looking the way I had always wanted, it would all just click for me, and bam I would love myself. Well, ladies and gents that is not how it works. Like any relationship, loving yourself takes time and effort, and you have to love yourself before you can love others.
You would think it’d be easy to get to know yourself because, hello, it’s not like you haven’t met yourself, but it is hard work. Loving every single part is hard, hard work. You have to love the quirks and “faults” as well as your best qualities. Let me just say, though, your quirks and shortcomings can be some of the most beautiful parts of you. They are what set you apart from everyone, so make sure to give those parts some extra lovin’.
Body image is also a huge part of self-love. I have always had horrible body image; I’ll be the first to admit it. I saw my body as a failure because I wasn’t the tallest and thinnest girl out there. Again, comparison comes into play here big time. I compared my body to probably everyone I met, which was not a healthy thing to do at all. No, I don’t have model long legs, or world-class abs like Olympic stars; however, instead of thinking of these things as failures, I choose to love my body as it is. Sure, I work out everyday to stay in shape, and simply because I enjoy working out, but I no longer think “I’ll love my body when…” because that isn’t how anyone should think. I work out and eat right because I love my body. It does amazing things for me, and allows me to pursue the crazy dreams and goals I have. It lets me see the people I love, and go on adventures with. I can see all of the incredible sights this world has to offer because of my body, whether or not I have the “perfect” one, if there is such a thing. Our bodies do some pretty crazy things, and allow us to live this life we’re given. To not love it is a half-life; doing awesome things, but not appreciating the vessel we can do them in. I know I’m not the prettiest girl in the world, but there’s no one else out there like me, and there’s no one else out there like you. You are the only person who can be you, so never compare yourself to others. They are living out a completely different story to yours, so of course they’re going to be different.
My journey to self-love was a long and hard one, as they so often are. It’s hard to love yourself when there are people telling you that you won’t amount to anything, that you aren’t anything special, or that you’re ugly. We’re all special in our own ways, and you get to decide how far you go in life, not other people. Yes, there are going to be hard things for you to go through, but you react in the way that you want to, ultimately. You can let those people knock you down, or you can try your hardest to prove them wrong. I hope one day I can simply tell that boy from grade school that I made my dreams come true, despite how hard he tried to crush them, and that I love my body now. Please, please, please, don’t ever let anyone stop you from doing what you love. Regardless of whether or not your dreams are the “right” ones, or if they’re “too big” for you to reach, at least try. Honestly, what is the hurt in trying? You will truly never know if you can make it, if you don’t ever try. And don’t just give half the effort – fully and truly go for your dreams with all you’ve got. We get to decide what we do with this life, so you might as well do as much as you can.
So, the reason for this long, long rant is for you to realize that loving yourself is one of the best things that could happen to you. It takes a lot of time and effort, but the best relationships do. Start with small things, and work up to the bigger and harder things. And please also realize your body is beautiful – flaws included. They are what make you unique and interesting, and what set you apart from others. Never compare your body to others, or feel like it isn’t good enough. I mean really, just ask yourself, what is it not good enough for?


Thank you SO much for reading and watching, and I hope you have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My Grown Up Christmas Wish List

Merry Christmas Eve, Eve!
Every year, my parents ask me for a Christmas list, and in recent years they have changed a lot! There are a lot less toys, and receiving socks is now one of the highlights of my Christmas mornings. Whereas getting clothes as a kid was not cool at all, I love it now. Since Christmas is only a couple of days away (what?!) I thought I would share what's on my list this year!

1. Gray socks
Is it weird that gray socks are seriously my favorite thing in the world? There is something about them that I absolutely love, and I am always in need of cozy socks!
2. Nike Frees
I've had my trusty Nike's for a couple of years now, so I think it's due time to get a new pair! I'm running a whole lot more lately, so I desperately need another pair to switch around with.
3. The illustrated copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
I was thumbing through a copy the other day, and ohmygosh is it gorgeous! I'm a total Harry Potter fanatic, so I've been dying to get my hands on it!
4. Ecosphere
These things are so cool!
They are an enclosed glass bowl (or in this case, oval), and contain microorganisms and shrimp that don't need anything from the outside! I love the environment, so this thing is so fascinating to me.
5. Booties
My favorite pair of flat booties have finally bit the dust, so it's time to get a new pair, as much as it pains me. I have a pair with heels, but I like flat ones for day-to-day wear since they're a lot more comfortable.
6. Pink Sugar Perfume
This is my all-time favorite scent, and I've been out of it for a couple of years, so I really wanted another bottle. I smelled it somewhere a little while back, and now I've really been missing it!
7. Bralettes
I have been wearing bralettes non-stop because they're so comfortable - it seriously feels like you're not wearing a bra!
8. DSLR Camera Stabilizer
These guys are great for filming, because they create a much smother and stable image for things like landscape shots.
9. Over-sized turtleneck sweater
I have seen so many celebrities wearing these lately, and I think they are so cute! They are so easy to make an outfit out of, and are super comfy for the winter.
10. Tickets to the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Los Angeles
I am so excited for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to open in Los Angeles, because it's much closer than Orlando! It would be so incredible to go for the opening weekend, but I figure that's probably not going to happen. A girl can dream, though!

Well, that is everything that is on my grown up Christmas list! I'm so excited for Christmas, and I can't wait to give my family and friends what they want for Christmas! Seeing my loved ones' faces light up when they open up their presents on Christmas is truly my favorite part of the day. We're getting so close! Looking at Spring also really helped me to create my Christmas list this year!

What's on your Christmas list this year?

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful day! :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

How To: Decorate a Small Space for Christmas!

Decorating for Christmas is one of my favorite things to do, so I thought I would share how I decorated my dorm for Christmas! I'm back home now for winter break, but I'm so glad I decorated my dorm for Christmas, because it really got me into the holiday spirit, and allowed me to get through finals sanely!

1. Get festive pillows and put them on your bed, couch, etc.
Christmas pillows are always so pretty, and there are so many to choose from! I love to go to Michaels to get them because they have a lot, and they also have a lot of coupons you can use! This makes the cost of the pillows go down a lot, and also allows you to get a lot!

2. Get a mini-Christmas tree
I found my little Christmas tree in the dollar section of Target (it was $3), and later found the little ornaments for $3 as well! I had the little firefly lights already, but I know Target has some for super cheap as well. It's super easy to find really cute and small Christmas trees that don't cost a lot, and also won't take up a lot of room in your small space! It was also super fun decorating it, even though it didn't take that long at all.

3. Make a cute Christmas banner
I found a little kit at Target (I promise this isn't sponsored by Target!) with gift tags and a bunch of twine. Instead of using the trees as gift tags, I decided to make a little banner out of them and put them by my desk! It was super easy to do, the kit was $3, and it looked so cute once I hung it up! This would also be really simple to do with simple construction paper and twine if you can't find a kit like the one from Target!

4. Hang up twinkle lights. Everywhere.
I have little fairy lights in my room year-round, but they definitely feel super festive around the holiday season! You could even get some red or green colored lights to layer on top of twinkle lights already there.

Alright, well those are four, simple ways to decorate a small space for Christmas!
I can't believe it is already time for Christmas - this year has seriously flown by. This is my favorite time of the year, though, so I'm trying to soak it all in as much as I can.

You can also check out the video I made down below, and you can see more of my Christmas-fied dorm room!

Do you like decorating for Christmas?

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful day!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Home for the Holidays

Finals are finally over, and it is winter break at last! I've been home for about a week now and my parents just now got internet, since they live in the middle of nowhere. It has been killing me to not be able to post, but it gave me a lot of time to think about my blog and YouTube channel! I have big plans for next year, and I'm so excited to get started on them. I've realized just how important they are to me when I was stuck not being able to post anything.
I also have a big project I have been working on for a while now, and I am finally going to tell you guys about it! This past January I wrote a post entitled 2015 Will be the Year... in which I wrote out my goals for the year. They were more of just general things I wanted to work on, because I felt that would be better for me personally. The second goal of the list was "to celebrate myself, and learn to love the person I am. It might take the whole year, but this year I'll learn to love myself." A little bit into the year I decided to document the whole process, and think about how I was doing. I can honestly say that my self-confidence has never been better, and I'm in a wonderful spot right now! So, at the end of this year, I will be publishing a blog post and video called "The Year I Learned How to Love Myself." I'm so excited for you all to see it, because I've been working very hard on it!
I have a couple of Christmas-related posts going up this week, so look forward to those, as I am back in business with Internet! I can't tell you all how happy I am, because now I get to resume my daily Gilmore Girls binging. This girl has her dogs, cats, and Netflix, and I couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How To: Shine Hunter Boots!

It is now officially December, and I'm sure we are all thinking the same thing: WHAT?! I honestly don't know how December creeped up on all of us yet again, since last December doesn't even seem that long ago. Don't get me wrong, I am overwhelmingly excited for Christmas and the holiday season, I am just shocked that it's already here! Although, this cold weather we have been having in the Pacific Northwest has made winter seem very real and, well, here. I am currently wearing sweats and one of my coziest sweaters while lying on my bed because it is so cold. Glamorous, I know.
Along with the cold weather, rain has been very frequent in the forecast. My trusty Hunter boots have been a staple to my wardrobe as of late, and they were starting to show that fact a little while ago. There was a white film all over the boots that made them look dull and matte, something that I did not want. I searched all over online for ways to shine them, and found out Hunter actually has a shining sponge specifically for their boots. It's only $7 so I decided I would give it a try! There were a couple of other steps to the whole process, so I thought I would share with you guys exactly how I got my boots back to their former glory!

I got my Hunter boots a year ago, and they have definitely been one of my best purchases! They come in handy all the time since there is a lot of rain in the Pacific Northwest, and I can wear thick socks with them when it gets colder. This is what they looked like after one year of having them:

You can see there is a lot of oxidation on the rubber, making them appear slightly gray and matte.
The first thing I did to start the whole process was to simply wash them with a sponge and soap (I used Dawn). This took away some of the oxidation, but I still wasn't that satisfied.

I dried them off with a rag, and as I did so, I noticed that the rag itself was taking off a lot of the whiteness when I scrubbed pretty hard on them. I decided to wipe all of the surface down with the rag - I scrubbed really hard - and it worked wonders! The boots were a lot more shiny, and most of the whiteness was gone.

After wiping them down with the rag, I used the Hunter Boot Shine sponge all over the boots. This was a super fast process, and was the icing on the cake! My boots look so much better, and are really back to how they looked when I first got them.

There are still a couple of spots that look slightly discolored, but they look SO much better than before I cleaned them. I am really happy with how they came out! This has definitely taught me to stay more on top of keeping them shined, though! Although I love the shiny boots, I think the next pair I get might be the matte ones, because they are a lot less upkeep. Now I know how to keep them shiny, though, so I will be keeping these babies for a long time.

Do you have rain boots?

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful day! :)

This is NOT a sponsored post.