Reading Corner – May 2017

In the month of May, I had a couple of lofty goals. I wanted to finish at least two books, and try to do a Reading Marathon, but that obviously didn’t happen. Usually I don’t create a Reading Corner post unless I actually have read something and finished it but I did still want to keep you updated. I’m still trying to read when I can, and this last month I ended up stumbling for a little bit. I had a lot going on that last week but I’m hoping that with June I’ll be getting back into the swing of things. In the meantime, I am working on a new list of books I want to read, and trying to get back into literature analysis (yes, I do that for fun) like I used to. If you have suggestions of your favorite books, please let me know in the comments below.

See you soon,

Jess

13 Reasons Why – A Depression Sufferer’s Review

13 Reasons Why has become a small Netflix phenomenon resulting in memes flying everywhere. Even if you haven’t watched it I bet you have seen the “This is your tape…” memes on your Facebook.

I personally have mixed feelings when it comes 13 Reasons. As a person who has suffered from depression and suicidal urges their whole life, I feel like if I didn’t put in my input on it then the whole point of the show becomes useless. I just wanted to wait for my head to get straight before I did. Honestly, I had to stop multiple times watching the show as well as when I write this because it’s difficult for me.

Show Summary

The show itself is based off of the book 13 Reasons Why written by Jay Asher, and can actually be found in the Teen Fiction section of your local bookstore. The show and the story take place in the aftermath of a teen girl, Hannah, committing suicide and left behind a series of tapes about her “reasons” for doing it. The tapes are then given to each person on them to be listened to. Once they have completed the tapes, they pass it on to the next person. We follow Clay as he goes through his turn of listening to the tapes and what he goes through with them. All during this, Hannah’s parents are in the midst of suing the high school. The season ends with Hannah’s parents having the tapes and the teens on them are beginning the testimonies.

It’s The Little Things

There are a couple of things that I feel like people missed when watching the show:

  1. The time stamp on the video testimonies are for a future date in our time and gives us a possibility that Hannah hasn’t killed herself yet. It shows us that the events in the show didn’t have to happen.
  2. For a small moment, during one of the times it shows Hannah’s parents fighting, they mention that Hannah has dealt with bullying before in her previous school and that it was one of the reasons why they moved. It’s mentioned one time and then never referred to again so if you don’t pay attention, you miss it.

Both of these moments give us the thought that none of these event’s had to happen at all, but also gives us a bit of a fatalistic view of things. If Hannah stayed at her old school, she may have still gone down this same path because of how everything was handled.

What They Got Right

After giving it a lot of thought there were a couple things I feel like they approached correctly, but also a lot of moments where they got the show completely wrong.

What they did get right only involved Hannah and her actions. For one, how she acts around her parents even to the last day. She acts like everything is fine and there is nothing bad going on in front of them, even though she is absolutely falling apart. Some sufferers of depression create a mask of being okay in front of family members because they feel shame for their depression, or can feel like they would be a burden to them. This can especially be from the fact that Hannah knows that one of the reasons they moved was because of her and they are so worried about the store she doesn’t want to add one more thing to their worries.

Secondly, through the tapes Hannah is essentially blaming these people for her depression and suicidal thoughts. In some stages of depression, it can be shown that a person will have this “It’s your fault that I’m like this.” view point. They can be dealing with the anger and frustration as well as feeling of they aren’t in control.

Where They Went Wrong

I feel like they got a lot of things wrong that can actually become damaging to people, particularly teens, who are dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts in a way that might prevent them from going to get help. What they did wrong in the show is where I almost felt like rage quitting. These things can be really damaging for people watching the show who suffer from mental illness, or are family members of those who are.

The biggest problem I had, was how they portrayed as going to get up as useless. The counselor and his actions when Hannah comes to his office are troubling. Schools just like other workplaces have a cell phone policy when it comes to their staff, normally cell phones are not to be used during school hours unless it is an actual emergency. The fact that he brought his phone out during a session with a student could get him in a lot of trouble. On top of that how he handled Hannah’s conversation with him, was bothersome. He was too distracted to listen to her and instead of trying to dig deeper and try to help her he blows her off and tells her to get over it. Hannah is obviously telling him that something is wrong and giving him signs that she might hurt herself, and in most states he would be obligated by school policy to notify the authorities if she mentioned such things, but the fact that he didn’t pay attention was troublesome.

With her  parents they didn’t try to encourage her to go to therapy after dealing with the bullying before but instead think that just getting away is enough. Clay’s parents also referenced that he has gone to therapy before, but after he is showing warning signs that they notice, they don’t push him much to go back. They just say “We need to do this together” or “Do you need us to call your therapist” but don’t really make an effort outside of that to get him to go.

How Skye portrays self-harm is a stereotype that has been circulating around for a while. The thought that self-harm is better than killing yourself  because committing suicide is for cowards. This can create the idea that self-harm is okay when it really isn’t. I did appreciate that they showed multiple forms of self-harm, including alcohol abuse, more than just cutting yourself, but the moment that they did show it it comes to perpetuate a stereotype. They had an opportunity to address it but they didn’t.

Finally, the part that bothered me the most,  Hannah’s suicide. Part of the reason why I had such a hard time watching this is that it made me relive the times I have tried to kill myself. There were a couple of times where during the scene I had to pause and walk away for a moment. When I did finally feel up to watching it all the way through I looked at the details of how she did it. She chose to be in old clothes, filled the bathtub, then slit her wrists. That seems like a lot of thought into something she says she just decided to do. Something that I see that they missed is when she cutting into herself, there could have been a moment where she kind of had a clarity. I can’t say that many people who have fully committed suicide have had this moment, but many people who have attempted that I have talked to did experience it. A moment of “Oh shit” and fear setting in. Why did we feel this? Because death is terrifying even to those who think they are ready. By doing the scene without that moment in the show created a dramatic and almost romanticized veil over Hannah’s death.

This is not even mentioning the fact that how Hannah’s death is portrayed along with the tapes as a suicide with the intent on revenge and not that someone needed help and we didn’t pay attention. In a way this blows out the validity of Hannah being shown to have mental health problems. It instead shows it in a way of, “I’m telling everyone your secrets and I can’t face the consequences if I’m dead.” as well as, “You killed me.” and not “I decided to do this because I felt like it was my only option.”

Final Thoughts

In my final opinion on this, though Selena Gomez is a self-proclaimed mental health advocate, I feel like she as well as everyone involved very much missed the mark on this show. I understand the fact that it is meant to be a conversation starter and it has achieved as that, but the valid points that many people from mental health sufferers to mental health professionals have against the show have been frequently blown off by the people involved with the show. They had a major opportunity to change the narrative of how mental health is addressed in the media and they failed, horribly. They could have had the chance to bring the topic of how teens are often shown to go through multiple phases of depression without showing signs and that there are ways to get help. They could have taken the time to show having a mental health professional in school is important to help the students. Hell, they could have said that helplines need more funding to encourage others to call and be able to handle the load. Instead they added a little 40 minute commentary as a completely separate thing on Netflix about how this was Selena’s sort of pet project.


I hope that if you have lasted long enough to read through this post, that if you suffer from depression, suicidal thoughts, or other mental health conditions that you know you are not alone in your struggle even if you feel that way. Getting help isn’t easy but it is important. Reach out to family, friends, or even your doctor. If you feel like that isn’t an option there are hundreds of help lines of strangers with their whole job is to listen to you and help you. Feeling this way doesn’t make you less. Just because you feel broken doesn’t mean you can’t mend.

And for people who have family members that are going through this, pay more attention and listen to them. Help them get help, and get informed. Their are multiple books on depression, as well as informative websites. Take a step with them and let them know that their problems are valid. Continue to encourage that they receive professional help.

And don’t forget. I love you.

Jess

6 Ways I Got Control of My Acne

Since I was a teenager, I have been insecure about my skin. Acne, blackheads, and extremely oily skin bothered me daily, and continued to do so into my twenties. Over the past year and a half, my goal has been to finally get control of my acne. This hasn’t been easy for me and was a series of trial and error, but I do think there are a lot of different factors that have helped me with getting my skin closer to how I want it to be. [DISCLAIMER: Everyone’s skin type is different and have different issues. So what may work for me may not work for you. If anything I can recommend seeing a professional that will help you through this process as they are knowledgeable about what is and isn’t good for your skin. But don’t forget underneath the zits, blackheads, dry patches, and acne scars, you are f-ing gorgeous.]

These are all the things I’ve either began incorporating or started doing different that work for me:

I started getting professional facials.

This is actually the most expensive part. At my day job I can get a professional facial at a discounted price, but because it still costs a lot for me so I only get one maybe twice a year. Once in the beginning of summer, and once in the beginning of winter just so I can get ahead of my skin changing how it acts. Doing this helps because I actually have a licensed aesthetician talk to me about what is going on with my skin and about what may not be working. It also helps that I work with that same person a lot so she is often the one that will tell me to put down the soda.

Replaced soda with herbal tea.

Soda has always been a big part of my life. Every weekend when one of my uncles when shopping he would always come home with 20 2-Liter bottles of Pepsi for all of us to drink during the week. I ended up having to condition myself to liking bottled water when I got older.

A couple of months ago I ended up having a really bad cold and since I didn’t have the ability to go to the doctor I overloaded on herbal teas and things to boost my immune system. They did help me a lot for getting through my cold so I could still go to work everyday, but drinking them  also became a habit and something that I really enjoyed. After a while I rarely drank sodas, and I noticed that my skin started clearing up. It ended up being a way that I could get my water intake in without having to worry about added sugars, so I was staying hydrated as well.

I found a routine that works for me and I stick to it.

It took me a long time to find products that work well for my oily skin without being overly drying, but once I did I created a routine that I stick to religiously. I actually have two routines. My longer routine are for most days where I use my skincare routine as a way to destress from the day or want to start the day with a really good cleanse. The shorter routine are for my days where I am running late, or I am just too tired to do my full skincare routine but the needs are getting taken care of. For the products I use, it is a mixture of high-end and drugstore products but if I see that there is something that isn’t working for me anymore, once I finish it I don’t repurchase.

I clean anything that ends up touching my face.

Whether it is my pillow case, my phone, or even my hair, I try too keep the things that touch my face as clean as I can. Oil and bacteria build up from your skin can and will compound onto everything that it touches and when you apply those items to your face again this is one of the things that can cause a lot of breakouts. This is usually how often I’ll clean the things that touch my face:

  • Makeup Brushes: Deep clean weekly or sooner if my makeup start’s applying weird.
  • Cell Phone and Work Phone: Wipe with a disinfecting wipe daily
  • Pillow Case: Every two weeks. I usually sleep on one side for a week, and then flip it to the other side for a week before I wash it.
  • Hair: Every three to four days. The minute I start getting oily, second-day hair it gets pulled back or it gets put up.
  • Hands: EVERY CHANCE I CAN. I know that one tip that everyone keeps saying is to stop touching your face, and that is pretty much impossible to do. You will touch your face without realizing it 98% of the time, so it is much easier to make sure your hands are clean when they touch your face rather than constantly fighting yourself because you like to lean on your hand while reading.

I don’t wear foundation much anymore.

I honestly hate trying to apply foundation. Being as pale as I am, I have a very difficult time finding a foundation that matches my skin tone, as a lot of women do, but is also able to stand up against the fact that my skin gets very oily. So this year I stopped wearing foundation all the time, check out my new year’s Instagram post about it. I am at a point where I only wear it when it is a special occasion and it wouldn’t feel right to me to go in not wearing any. Even then the foundation I have right now is a pretty light coverage foundation so you wouldn’t be able to tell anyway. At this point, the closest thing I will wear to a foundation is actually a primer and a little bit of face powder that help mattify my face.

I went after the inflammation first, then the acne.

This is actually a tip that my aesthetician co-worker told me about after my first facial with her. As long as your skin is dealing with inflammation, the acne will persist and be really difficult. Come to find out a lot of the products I used before were causing the inflammation on top of other things. So she recommended that I try out the Dermalogica Ultra Calming kit before I went back to my normal skincare. The kit itself was a 3-month supply of the line and after using it for the 3 months my skin was a lot less red and warm and my acne was starting to calm down. After I finished the kit, and went back to my normal skincare routine everything worked better. My acne clearing products actually started clearing out my acne and my moisturizers worked better at keeping my skin hydrated.


Do you suffer from acne, or any other issues? What are your holy grail items that have helped with those problems? Let me know in the comments below.

Jess

How Project Pans have Changed my Spending

Right before I started my Largest Project Pan Ever in 2016, I was on the lookout for a new makeup case. I needed something large enough to hold my pallets but also compartmentalized enough to help keep everything organized. What I ended up with was a fishing tackle box. I’m not kidding.

When I brought it home I was excited to fill it up with all of my makeup items, and come to find out I had more than enough. I grabbed my box in the bathroom closet and off of the counter to start organizing. Doing this brought me to the realization that I had way too much stuff. I had samples from IPSY bags that I received almost a year before, and of course all the items I purchased at Ulta when I had a bad day.

This is where the idea for the Largest Project Pan Ever came from. I wrote down every single item that I had  and come up with 143 items in total. My goal being to finish them all, no time limit, and only purchasing if I need to replace something.

Since October, I have used a lot of the items in this project pan, and I have kept up pretty well with my low-buy, but I have seen a change in my spending when it comes to those items I’m starting to repurchase.

When I finish an item on the list, I decide if it is something that I know I would want to repurchase I would mark it and write it down on my repurchase list. Doing this helps a lot because if I know I already like something I am much more willing to repurchase just that item and not deviate.

With that I try to wait to order those items when they are on sale or have a free gift with purchase. Usually the gift is a sample of another item from that line. Also ordering it online helps because you get extra samples. I rely heavily on samples if I want to try a product out, that way I don’t have to purchase a full size and worry if I don’t like it. It saves a lot of decluttering in the long run.

This also helps with wanting to do my research before I try a new item. Having a sample or a travel sized version of the time does help, but I also check the reviews of an item or even beauty blogs. They often have visuals of the item in use as well as the results.

Speaking of visuals, having a way to completely visualize the amount of products I have helps because I know I don’t need more products. More than likely I have 5 similar eyeliners in black, I don’t need the newest liquid eyeliner from L’Oreal.

I cancelled my subscription to IPSY and limit my interaction on Influenster. I decided to do this so I don’t have to deal with a constant supply of makeup arriving at my doorstep. A good portion of the items on my list are from IPSY, and with some of them being full sized items,  it is going to be a while before I finish them all.

Finally, I’ve changed how I approach going to the beauty section of a store or a beauty store. I can now say that I am capable of going into Ulta just to look at stuff but to also not have the urge to go to Ulta on a bad day.

I’m not purchasing nearly at much as I used to and I’m currently experimenting will all the items I have. It’s more enjoyable this way because I don’t feel like I’m missing out on the new items. More than likely I already have something similar that I really enjoy. Hopefully, I can keep finishing items so my stash can be minimized and I can invest the money that I was spending on beauty items on things that I really need. Like getting an apartment.

For my other project panners out there, have you seen your spending change since you’ve started doing project pans? Are you willing to do one to see if it helps yours? Let me know in the comments below!

Jess

Our Welcome to Night Vale Road Trip 2017

Last spring, Sunshine and I went to our first Welcome to Night Vale Live Show here in South Carolina. We have only been listening to the podcast for a couple of years but we love it. The humor, the characters, the stories themselves just appeal to us. So when we found out that they were going on tour again we  got tickets to the closest showing, which this year was Durham, North Carolina.

For us this is our 3rd road trip to North Carolina, but it’s the first one where we weren’t going to see family and friends. Being just an overnight stay, we didn’t get to explore as much as we wanted to, but the car troubles we had didn’t help much either.

About half way up I-95 we noticed that our car was shaking and we kept hearing a low whomping noise coming from the passenger side of the car. After we pulled over we checked the wheels to see if something was stuck in the wheel well, but nope. Our front passenger tire was completely bald and was close to going flat on us. We made sure before we left Durham to get the tire replaced, only to realize the both of the front tires were close to popping, and that the front end of our car was a little worse off than expected.

The rest of the trip was wonderful. The show was amazing, and brought a perspective on a character that you wouldn’t think of. But I wont give any spoilers away because you have to see it for yourself.

But I did get to meet Tameka Flynn (voiced by Symphony Sanders)
And the weather, provided by Erin Mckeown.

What I can tell you is the beer they were serving was really nice. No matter where they go, the live show always has local beers available. For Durham, it was the PonySaurus IPA. Sunshine kept the beer for himself, but at least let me try it. It ended up being very smooth for an IPA, hell for a beer even, and had that perfect amount of hoppy-ness you would expect.

And he didn’t really share much of it.

The next day was when the fun really started. There was a few hours difference between checkout time and when we needed to leave Durham so we got the chance to walk around and be tourists for a change. Plus we were hungry.

For breakfast we decided to go to Beyú Cafe, a jazz lounge/cafe, and HOLY CRAP was everything amazing there. From the decor to the menu everything was meticulously selected to be a tribute to the Jazz era. Of course Sunshine wanted to go for the beignets, I wanted to go for the coffee.

The Runaway Latte

The latte’s were their man attraction on the menu, and the two that Sunshine and I ordered were the Dr. Carver’s Peanut Butter Latte and The Runaway, respectively. The Dr. Carver’s Peanut Butter Latte tasted exactly like Peanut Butter Crunch cereal. The Runaway, was made with praline syrup, cinnamon and cayenne pepper sprinkled on top, giving it this subtle heat like you would from mexican hot chocolate. They were so delicious and beautifully made that a table next to us asked what we ordered so they could get ones for themselves. (I just checked their website and sadly they aren’t on there anymore. It might just be a special menu only see in the restaurant.)

The food itself was just as wonderful. We ended up ordering quite a spread because we wanted to try a little bit of everything, particularly the beignets. From the french toast to the egg biscuit, everything was perfectly cooked, and you could tell that the owner took pride in the place because he was hands on from the minute they opened. I just hope that if they open another location it would be in Charleston. Please?

We have conquered the amazing breakfast.

With our bellies full and a couple of hours to go, we went off to explore the street. The two main stores we went into were Dolly’s Vinatge and Letter’s Bookstore.

In Dolly’s Vintage, I was a little too distracted by all the pretty things to take pictures. It was set up like a small boutique, with only a portion of it being for vintage clothing. Predominantly it was vintage jewelry and vintage themed items. Sunshine ended up with a couple of shirts and I left with my first vintage brooch. *Insert happy wiggle here*

Letter’s Bookstore on the other hand, was nice and open. Unlike a normal bookstore where it would be a billion shelves close to each other, it was set up with space in mind for people who like to stand or sit on the floor and start reading a book before purchasing it. Though there were plenty of books that I wanted, I am proud to say that I kept with my no-buy on books during this trip. Sunshine on the other hand bought a couple of books.

And you cant forget the obligatory picture of the driver.

To mark the ending of our trip, on our way home we continued a tradition of ours. Everytime we go to North Carolina, we stop at South of the Border. South of the Border is a lot of things all in one rest stop. It has a gas station, fireworks and gift shops, a putt putt golf course, a hotel, and many other things. It doesn’t look very well kept, but it is a good place to stretch your legs if you’ve been in the car for a few hours. As always we stop there to walk, use the bathroom, and goof around to push off the reality that in a few hours we would be back home and back to our normal lives.

Overall, we enjoyed our trip. For once it was just a trip for us to have fun and be ourselves. We got to talk about serious things in an environment that we felt no pressure in and just got to take the time to enjoy each other. Hopefully, we’ll get to take more trips like this soon.

 

All Hail the Glow Cloud! All Hail!

Jess

Largest Project Pan Ever Update 3 (April 2017)

 

It’s that time again! At least this time I have enough to make a full post update, unlike February. For this month I was able to cross 10 items off of my list and was able to finish all of my panning goals for April. If this is your first Project Pan post, check this out for my explanation of it.

If you’ve been watching my Instagram, then you already know what products that I’ve finished this month, but this post is more for giving a more in depth review of the products.

Continue reading

11 Period Hacks That You Probably Already Know

11 Period Hacks You You Already Know

11 Period Hacks You You Already Know

If there was a way to make a woman’s period easier to deal with, she would probably do it. Some of us have it down to a science, while others still struggle. After being diagnosed with Endometriosis at 19, I spent the last few years trying to make it easier for me so I’m able to function like a normal person during that time. These are 11 tricks that I found have helped me, that more than likely you’ve figured out too. Continue reading