College Winter Necessities

Moving from California to Rhode Island has been a rude awakening, weather wise. New England is no joke, and while so far the weather has been mild (by New England standards), I’m quickly  learning what it takes to survive the cold. Here are the products and items that I’ve found to be absolutely necessary when going to school somewhere cold.


Beauty – Between the fierce cold weather and constantly running the heater, your skin and hair need as much TLC as possible. Here are some must have beauty products.

Thick Moisturizer – I’m obsessed with Cetaphil’s Moisturizing Lotion, it’s moisturizing, but doesn’t leave my skin feeling oily.

A Good Deep Conditioner – I think that in places where it gets really cold, they put something in the water so that it doesn’t freeze in the pipes. I could be wrong, but my hair has felt SO much more dry after showering here in Rhode Island. Although, lets be honest, a good deep conditioner is necessary no matter where you live.

Lotion – Same as my hair, the shower water seems to strip my body of all moisture. Lotion is so necessary for your poor skin after all the changes in the weather.

Vaseline – My go to for chapped lips, plus one little tub of it will get you through college because a little goes a long way!


Dorm – If you’re lucky, you may end up with a nice dorm room and a quality heating and air system. But more often than not, dorms have cinderblock walls, cold linoleum floors and crappy ventilation. These are items that have helped me thaw after walking back from class in the freezing cold & stay warm in my cold dorm room.

Heating Blanket – What’s better than a soft blanket? One that heats up. The holy grail of warmth in the winter.

Fleece Blanket – My bed is set with my heating blanket and down comforter, but a fleece blanket is a must-have for wrapping up in. Especially when the fire alarm goes off in the middle of the night and you have to stand outside in the cold while they determine that someone was just smoking in their room. Seriously.

Rug – Crucial if you have linoleum floors, and still beneficial if you have carpet. It keeps the room warmer and creates an added seating area!

Space Heater – Even with 5 blankets I still find this to be necessary. Especially for when you get out of the shower and re-enter the cold harsh world.


Clothes

Beanies – They say a majority of your warmth comes out of your head and your feet, so keeping those both warm is a good place to start. Stock up on a few good beanies, my favorite is Carhartt – they’re cheap and great quality!

L.L. Bean Boots – I don’t know about other places where it snows, but I do know that if you live in New England it’s like a right of passage to own Bean Boots. They’re warm, fashionable and last forever.

Blanket Scarves – These are heaven sent! Something else I’ve learned about the cold is that it HURTS. Blanket scarves help protect your face and ears, and when you get to class you can wrap yourself up in them like a regular blanket!

Gloves – They say cold hands warm heart, but I’d rather have warms hands.

A Snuggly Pullover – This one isn’t exactly necessary, but it helps. Invest in a nice sherpa fleece pullover for studying and hanging out inside, they are SO comfy and SO worth the money.

A Good Winter Coat – Being from California I didn’t even own a decent jacket, but having a serious winter coat is necessary if you live somewhere with a real winter. This will be the biggest investment, but you get what you pay for, so don’t be afraid to dip into the savings, you will be grateful when the weather dips below zero!


There you have it, winter necessities! Let me know what your favorite winter staples are!

How I Cured My Severe Acne & Scars

There have been a lot of ups and downs in my life, but I don’t think anything that I’ve gone through was as miserable as acne. Acne is awful in general, but when it’s all over your face, the place that people stare at when they interact with you, the self consciousness is unreal.

Thankfully, I don’t suffer from acne anymore, but I would like to share my experience with those that do still suffer from it. This isn’t a guaranteed fix, but it’s what worked for me and I hope that it will work for others as well!


My Skin History

I’ve always had pretty clear skin. A pimple here and there, but nothing major or worrisome. In late August 2016, I switched birth controls from the pill to an IUD. The change in hormones gave me acne pretty much immediately. For some people, birth control can be used to heal acne and for others it can cause it. It’s really just a toss up.

The acne that the IUD caused was severe and cystic. I had big cysts all over my cheeks and forehead that just continued to worsen. Because I got the IUD the day before going away to college, I couldn’t get it removed until late December when I came home for Christmas. Even after it was removed, nothing changed. The acne was there and not going anywhere without a fight.

This is the only picture I have from that time. It did get worse than this, but this is a good preview of what it looked like.

Cystic Acne


The Fix

During the four months that I was at school, my dermatologist prescribed topical acne creams – benzoyl peroxide cream and Epiduo. I was using both religiously and they absolutely destroyed my face. They were incredibly harsh and caused burning and chronic redness, which only made me more self conscious. Because these creams were SO harsh, I didn’t want to use a harsh face wash as well, so I stuck to gentle Cetaphil. This is where I went wrong.

It turns out that what I needed to do before anything was use an acne wash, so that I was actually cleaning out the acne with acne fighting chemicals, not just gently washing and then putting chemicals on top of my skin. Once I switched to an acne wash, Clearasil Ultra Daily Face Wash, I saw an immediate change in my skin.

After cutting back on the topical and using Clearasil twice a day, I had improved my skin, but I still needed something to knock it out. My dermatologist prescribed me an antibiotic, Doxycycline, for 90 days to knock out the acne bacteria that was in my body. I stopped getting new acne probably half way through the medication, it was incredible. I continued to take it through the 90 days (always finish antibiotics, even if you’re better) and was ecstatic about the improvement.

 


The Healing Process

After my acne went away, my focus was on healing my skin. It was still severely injured from all of the disruption that it had gone through. I also picked at and popped my active acne because I’m a monster and have no self control, so that really hindered the healing process and caused more scarring. Don’t be like me.

To speed up the healing process I treated my skin very gently. I used Cetaphil face wash in the mornings and continued to use Clearasil at night, which is still to this day my skin care routine. I would gently use toner on a cotton round at the end of the day to clean out anything that was on my skin. If you don’t already, I would highly recommend adding toner to your skin care routine. You will be shocked at what is still on your face and in your pores after washing it. I continued to use Cetaphil moisturizing lotion and started used vitamin E oil, which helps heal scarring.

In Recovery:

Skin Recovering    fullsizeoutput_657.jpeg


Healing the Scars

My dermatologist said that any redness means there is still irritation, which means your skin is still healing. Even though I was anxious to start working on my scarring, I had to wait until the redness completely went away, which unfortunately took months.

Once it finally went away I started using a Derma Roller. These are heaven sent. I took progress pictures throughout my time using it and my esthetician said she had never seen such quick improvement with acne scars. If you don’t know what a Derma Roller is, it’s essentially a device covered in small needles (spooky, I know) that you roll all over your face. The first time I used it I was terrified. I promise it’s not bad, though.

It’s purpose is to poke small holes in the scars, which signals your skin to heal and rebuild new skin. If you do it enough, your scars will eventually disappear. You can find my detailed video on how I cleared my acne here and my video tutorial on how to use a derma roller here!

I hope that this post was able to help in some way. Acne is truly awful and if you are suffering from it, just know that it won’t last forever. Thank you so much for reading and good luck on your journey!

From Pitted Scars to Now:


 

13 Most Bingable Shows on Netflix

1. Friends – The most bingable show in existence. I stand firm on that opinion.

Friends
2. The Office – Politically incorrect and completely hilarious.

The Office

3. Arrested Development – They put the fun in disfunction. And it’s great.

Arrested Development

4. Gilmore Girls – The most iconic mother daughter duo. Coffee coffee coffee!

Gilmore Girls

5. Weeds – Middle class mom turned drug dealer. Nancy Botwin is the badass we all need in our lives.

Weeds

6. Pretty Little Liars – It stretches a bit thin at the end, but the majority of the show is interesting in its twists and turns.

Pretty Little Liars

7. Hart of Dixie – Big city doctor moves to small town Alabama. It’s funny, lighthearted and there are lots of love triangle dramas.

Hart of Dixie

8. Grey’s Anatomy – Funny/sweet/heartbreaking. The doctors will become members of your family. Just don’t get too attached, it is a Shonda show!

Greys

9. Parks & Recreation – May we all aspire to be more like Leslie Knope, with a best friend like Ron Swanson.

Parks & Rec

10. New Girl – Jess, Nick, Winston, Schmidt, Cece. They all bring their own quirky, incredible humor to the table.

New Girl

11. Parenthood – An incredibly well done show about family and everything that comes along with it. Plus, Lauren Graham !!

Parenthood

12. Shameless – It will no doubt make you wish you were a Gallagher from Chicago. Somehow the insane dysfunction looks desirable!

Shameless

13. Stranger Things – Yes. It is worth the hype. If you haven’t seen it, clear your schedule and get started.

Stranger Things


There you have it, 13 incredible, bingable shows. All of them available on Netflix! Let me know your favorite binge-worthy shows! ♡

Gilmore Girls Soundtrack

There were about 200 songs played throughout the 7 seasons of the original Gilmore Girls show. I know that I’m not the only weirdo who likes listening to the soundtrack because a fellow Gilmore weirdo has a Spotify playlist with all 199 of the songs. However, I’ve boiled them down to a playlist of 40 songs that I feel really capture the essence of Stars Hollow. So for my fellow Gilmore weirdos, here is my official Stars Hollow, CT playlist.

  1. Where You Lead I Will Follow – Carole King (The Anthem)
  2. There She Goes – The La’s (Intro to the pilot)
  3. Where The Colors Don’t Go – Sam Phillips
  4. I Don’t Know How to Say Goodbye to You – Sam Phillips
  5. Truly, Truly – Grant Lee Buffalo
  6. Why Does it Always Rain On Me? – Travis
  7. Fade Into You – Mazzy Star
  8. Earn Enough For Us – XTC
  9. Holding On To The Earth – Sam Phillips
  10. Heavenly – Grant-Lee Phillips
  11. Mockingbirds – Grant Lee Buffalo
  12. What Do I Do – Sam Phillips
  13. Honey Don’t Think – Grant Lee Buffalo
  14. Taking Pictures – Sam Phillips
  15. One Line – PJ Harvey
  16. Everybody Needs A Little Sanctuary – Grant Lee Buffalo
  17. How To Dream – Sam Phillips
  18. My Little Corner of the World – Yo La Tengo
  19. Found Love – The Free Design
  20. My Darling – Wilco
  21. Spring Released – Grant-Lee Phillips
  22. Love Is Everywhere I Go – Sam Phillips
  23. Know Your Onion! – The Shins
  24. Que Sera Sera – Doris Day
  25. Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days Of Summer – Nat King Cole
  26. I Wanna Be Sedated – Ramones
  27. Then She Appeared – XTC
  28. The Man Who Sold The World – David Bowie
  29. 99 Luftballons – Nena
  30. Mona Lisa – Grant-Lee Phillips
  31. So Says I – The Shins
  32. Reflecting Light – Sam Phillips
  33. Lily-A-Passion – Grant-Lee Phillips
  34. If I Could Write – Sam Phillips
  35. Burning Down The House – Talking Heads
  36. Wedding Bell Blues – The 5th Dimension
  37. Moon River – Audrey Hepburn
  38. Amazing Glow – Pernice Brothers
  39. Hero Takes a Fall – The Bangles
  40. Eternal Flame – The Bangles

Extra props to you if you can remember what scene each song was featured in. Long live Stars Hollow! Here is a link to the playlist on my Spotify. Enjoy ♡

7 Ways to Deal With Anxiety in College

I’m an anxious person. Like, faint and hit the ground anxious. I take medication for it, which helps manage the problem at large, but there’s no cure to keep small anxieties away. College is a stressful time and can cause people who have never had much experience with anxiety, to struggle with it. These are some ways that I have found prove successful in managing my anxiety.

 

1. Look For The Source

Anxiety is your body’s way of telling you that you’re in danger. It’s a necessary function, say, when you’re walking down a dark alley alone. But sometimes our nervous system goes on overdrive and makes us uneasy when we don’t really have a reason to be. Try to check in with your body and see if you can find the source of what is making you anxious. Are you homesick? Worried about an exam? If you can locate the source, it will be easier to get rid of it.

2. If You Know The Source, Work On It

If you’re homesick, try setting up a FaceTime date with your family (and your dog, of course). If you’re worried about an exam, make a study plan, so that you feel more confident in your ability to do well. Do what you can to tell your mind that you aren’t in danger, and that everything will be okay.

3. Rewatch A Show

Rewatching shows is my go-to for anxiety. I’m a lifer when it comes to watching Friends. I find that watching something that I have already seen is much more relaxing than watching a show that I’m unfamiliar with.

4. Draw or Color

Doing anything artistic or creative is really helpful for relaxation. Drawing tends to stress me out because I’m not artistically inclined, but coloring is really soothing to me. Here is a really cool motivational/swear word coloring book, so that you can color like an adult!

5. Work Out

Yeah, the gym definitely doesn’t ease my anxiety either. But there are other ways to work out! College gyms often have fitness classes like yoga, Zumba, spin, etc. You can also go for a run or walk, alone or with a friend. There are endless possibilities, but getting your body moving is a great way to get serotonin flowing to boost your mood and lower stress levels.

6. Pinterest

Pinterest is my favorite way to distract myself online. I find that mindlessly scrolling through social media can leave me feeling fuzzy-headed and upset with how much time I lost. But on Pinterest, time is not wasted when you spend two hours building your dream home! If you’re an avid Pinner check out my page, I’m seriously obsessed with making and perfecting new boards.

7. Journal

Sometimes when you’re anxious, it can help just to let it all out. Journaling is extremely therapeutic and helps you release things that you may not even realize are weighing heavy on you. Here is my all-time favorite journal!


I hope that I was able to provide you with something new to try out on your anxiety, I know how tough it can be to deal with. Let me know what your favorite ways of dealing with anxiety in college are! ♡

Tags: College, College Tips, College Advice, Anxiety, Dealing with Anxiety, Anxiety in College, Mental Health

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7 Ways to Deal With Anxiety in College

How to Survive Getting Sick in College

 


Prevention

In most areas of life, preventing an issue is easier than handling it later. If you share a room or apartment with other people, it’s crucial to clean handles, knobs, light switches etc., so that germs don’t spread.

As soon as you feel sickness coming on, batten down the hatches! Airborne is the best way to prevent those germs from becoming a full blown illness. Also be sure to hydrate! Drinking water with electrolytes will help you to stay hydrated.

Sick Day

 


Care

Okay, so you got sick anyways. It happens to the best of us. Now, it’s time to work towards getting better!

1. Identify What You Have – If you know what’s wrong, then you’re better equipped to fix it. Your school should offer free health services, so you can go get checked out by the school nurse and figure out what’s really going on.

2. Treat Accordingly – If you have a stomach bug, get mild foods like bland soup, bread and crackers. If you have a head cold, get both daytime and nighttime cold medicine, because you want to make sure that you’re staying on a good sleep schedule and not letting the illness affect your schoolwork. If your sickness affects your throat, be sure to gargle with warm salt water to kill off any infection.

3. Isolate Yourself – College is very social, like, all the time. There’s nothing worse than getting sick before a party or event that you were looking forward to, but it’s never worth it. Being around people when you have a lowered immune system can set you back days in healing time. You also don’t want to be spreading your germs to other people!

4. Keep Hydrating – Sometimes it’s hard to want to drink water when you feel crappy, but staying hydrated is really important. Water with electrolytes, gatorade and pedialyte all help with hydration.

5. Order Food – Being sick is a great excuse to get food delivered straight to your dorm. My favorite sick meal is Pho with Sriracha! Use my Uber Eats code eats-madisonw2984ue and get $10 off your first meal order!

And last, but most importantly –

6. Rest – I know a lot of people are big advocates for ‘sweating it out’, meaning pushing themselves to work out in order to get rid of their sickness, but it’s a fine line between helpful and hurtful. Often, your body just needs rest to fight the sickness. Let yourself lay around for a few days, catch up on your Netflix watch-list and just feel better!


 

5-Minute Allergy-Friendly Dorm Oatmeal


Ingredients:

  • Quick Oats – My gluten allergy isn’t contamination-severe, so I just use normal Quaker Oats, but they do make Gluten Free as well!
  • Chia Seeds – A good source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and antioxidants. They swell in water which help keep you fuller, longer.
  • Nuttzo 7 Nut & Seed Butter – This is the best substitute I’ve found for peanut butter. The variety of nuts and seeds makes for a great texture and it’s super filling. Be careful purchasing if you have a peanut allergy, Nuttzo does make some nut butters with peanuts.
  • Wholesome Organic Coconut Palm Syrup – I happened to buy this at Costco, but any syrup will do for an added sweetness.
  • Cinnamon
  • Almond Milk
  • Boiling Water
  • Fruit – I don’t often have fresh fruit because there are no grocery stores near my campus, but I love adding blueberries when I have them!

Best-Ever Dorm Oatmeal Recipe


Directions:

1. I typically do 4 teaspoons of oats and 3 teaspoons of chia seeds, depending on how thick I want it. The chia seeds grow substantially when you add water so you’ll have to play around with the recipe and figure out your preference.

Best-Ever Dorm Oatmeal Recipe fullsizeoutput_57e

2. I put a teaspoon of nut butter in before I pour the hot water on, because it helps to soften it and make it easier to mix in. (Regular almond butter pictured)

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3. Pour in boiling water, as much as you see fit. A lot of it will be absorbed by the chia seeds.

Best-Ever Dorm Oatmeal Recipe Best-Ever Dorm Oatmeal Recipe

4. Top with syrup, cinnamon, fruit or any other toppings.

Best-Ever Dorm Oatmeal Recipe

5. Once the water is soaked up by the oats and chia seeds, I add a little bit of almond milk to make it more liquid-y. Top with cinnamon and enjoy!

Best-Ever Dorm Oatmeal Recipe fullsizeoutput_585

6. Viola!

Best-Ever Dorm Oatmeal Recipe


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Best-Ever Dorm Oatmeal Recipe