honest to blog

Happy Wednesday, Magical Creatures!

I follow a fair number of fashion + lifestyle bloggers. I love to see carefully curated social content: you know, when the caption, outfit, photo, lighting all rolls into one beautiful piece of art that ALSO fits with the  user’s social media image and aesthetic.

I try to achieve the same level of content, just without a professional photographer, brands sponsoring me, and without the same resources that other bloggers have. Challenging, yes, but I do my best.

Over labor day weekend I traveled with my family to Atlanta to visit my brother. While we were there I saw something that shocked and appalled me, and I thought I’d share it with you all. It reminded me why I like doing what I do, and why I might not be as polished or successful as other bloggers.

My family and I went to Shake Shack on a sunny Saturday afternoon, because cheese fries. I ordered a full meal–burger (no bun), cheese fries and a Diet Coke.

We were sitting outside eating when we noticed a couple behind us. The girl was skinny, beautiful, fashionable and well made-up. She and (what I assume was) her significant other were sitting across from one another with similar full meals in front of them.

He was eating, she wasn’t. She was taking pictures of her food with a professional camera. He looked a little annoyed, but I understand. We are all guilty of taking photos of delicious food before eating it–I do it. We all do it.

She held up her burger gracefully to take a photo with the Atlanta skyline. I assume the photo turned out great, it was the perfect day.

It began to occur to me that her food was probably getting cold. I thought, my mouth full of cheese fries, that she should eat it soon or it would get soggy.

After that, I started beating myself up. This girl was so gorgeous, like unbelievable. She had the perfect body, hair, makeup and outfit. How is it that she gets to eat junk food and still be perfect? I looked down at my empty container of fries with disgust.

Then something unexpected happened: She picked up her tray full of food, took one sip of her milkshake, and walked over to the trashcan and threw all of it away.

I think we are all guilty of comparing ourselves to the ideal standards we see on social media. We all know we’re not supposed to do it, and we all talk about not doing it, and then we do it. It’s subconsciously ingrained in our scrolls. It happens without us even knowing.

The worst part is, what we see on social media isn’t always genuine or real. Pictures are posed, moments are invented, truths are exaggerated, photos are edited. This is the reality of the business. I don’t expect everything I see to be genuine, but I guess I never suspected it would be that fake.

The idea that this girl posted all these pictures of her food, and then a picture of her honestly makes me sick to my stomach. Young women are going to look at this. They are going to think, “Why am I so fat?” They are going to think, “Why can she eat that food and still look like that?” When the truth is, she can’t. She is human. She is faking. She has the power to influence the next generation, and instead she is perpetuating unrealistic goals, ideals and images of being a woman. I mean all first-world self-esteem issues aside, the sheer food waste is nauseating.

Sometimes, I’m unsatisfied with my content. But the truth is, the reason I don’t have as much content and as picture perfect content is that I don’t make shit up. If you see me drinking a margarita, I’m drinking it. If you see me wearing an outfit, I’m wearing it. All day. If I post a picture of cheese fries, you better believe I’m eating those cheese fries.

I promise that I will always be honest & transparent in all I post on social media, and I so appreciate those who do the same.

I hope this gives you some sort of perspective and encouragement. You are enough. You are perfect. You are beautiful. Not to mention, think about how unhappy that girl is. She missed out on some damn good cheese fries.

Glitter and Rainbows,

Hannah

 

23 things i did while i was 22

Happy Wednesday, Magical Creatures!

I turn 23 tomorrow, which is such a weird age, don’t you think? I’m pretty sure that I  thought I would never be 23. You think about what your life will be like when you are 21, 25, 30 even 22, but never once have I thought, “Hmm. I wonder what my life will be like when I’m 23.”

But, I will be 23. I’m going to have to deal with being 23 for an entire year, so don’t worry, getting over it now.

Looking back at the past year, I realize how absolutely insane it has been. I’ve gone through some major life changes and accomplished quite a bit (no wonder I’m so tired!).

For today, I am still 22, and the earth has given me magical weather. Rainy, humid, cool but not cold. The air feels thick.

On this, my last day of 22, I thought I’d try to gain a little wisdom by reflecting on the last year of my life.

  1. I wrote 15 blog posts. Not my best work, I know. I’m not going to beat myself up though because I do what I can and what I need to do for myself, and sometimes blogging gets pushed down near the bottom of that list.
  2. I decided to take a break from my part time job. I decided that concentrating on my academics was more important.
  3. I joined a student organization. I am well known for being un-involved in extracurricular activities (in college, at least). This was a big stretch for me but I gained valuable assets from joining PRSSA.
  4. I voted. Although the election didn’t exactly turn out how I had hoped, I am glad I made the decision to exercise my right.
  5. I interviewed for an internship, and I got the job. I had a fantastic experience working at Liz Alig. So fantastic, I forgot to leave!
  6. I interviewed for an internship, and I didn’t get the job. This failure was an important stepping stone for learning how I perform in interviews, and how to accept my personal strengths and weaknesses.
  7. I saw Hamilton. I was in the room where it happened with my mom and sis.
  8. I raised my GPA, made the Dean’s list, and was granted back my presidential scholarship. I went through a few personal and health struggles that negatively impacted my class performance during my sophomore year, resulting in the loss of my scholarship. But, I worked really hard to get it back and did even better than I thought I would. It was a huge win for me, mostly because I proved to myself that I could do it.
  9. I went to Washington DC. I have been before when I was younger, but this time I felt like I was genuinely able to appreciate the value of the history I was seeing and experiencing.
  10. I got bangs. Hey–we all have regrets.
  11. I decided to make a conscious effort to reduce my footprint. I started to be more conscious of what garments I was buying, in what quantity and from where.
  12. I went to Colorado. It was my first time in the rocky mountains AND taking a vacation without my fam. I also learned that Colorado is WAY TOO FAR TO DRIVE TO.
  13. I was diagnosed with sciatica. So, my back hurts sometimes. Sometimes it’s really painful but other times it’s fine.
  14. I attended a public protest.
  15. I reconnected with a friend. Overjoyed that I randomly ran in to my high school best friend Ally at a bar in Warsaw, because now she can be more than just my high school best friend.
  16. I lived by myself for the first time. A little scary, but I learned to be cautious about leaving lights on and locking my door.
  17. I learned what it feels like to be overworked. Once my internship started and I was driving to Indy three times a week, while also working at American Eagle, while also looking for a job, while also taking my final college course and sometimes babysitting–I was a little tired.
  18. I graduated from college. Whoo!
  19. I moved to downtown Indianapolis. And I love it.
  20. I started a full time job. Again, love it.
  21. I saw the solar eclipse. Not full totality, but standing in the circle with 500 of my closest friends and looking up at the sky together was pretty cool.
  22. I dyed my hair red. I’m hoping it will make me more fiery and adventurous. That’s how it works, right?
  23. I visited my brother in Atlanta and made a couple new friends. I finally had a chance to get to know my brothers girlfriend, Jessica. I also became bffs with her dog, Tucker, who is a sweet magical unicorn puppy. And I saw Stan Lee and we are best friends now I think.

Wow! So many things! Anyways, happy birthday to me and all that nonsense. Look out for my sister and I this weekend on Mass Ave celebrating. We’ll be the ones wearing obnoxious blow up unicorn horns on our heads.

Below is a small collection of photographed standout moments from 22.

Glitter and Rainbows,

The Girlicorn

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glossy, glossier, glossiest

Happy Friday, Magical Creatures!

It’s no secret that my skin issues are nonstop and raging when I least expect them.

This has turned me into a skin-product hoarder, a label which I accept with great pride.

Ally (my favorite esthetician/bff) got me hooked on Glossier, specifically the Milky Jelly Cleanser which I featured in my skincare routine post a while back. Since then, I’ve tried quite a few of their products and I’ve started using their skincare line (almost) exclusively!

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Glossier is genius every step of the way, from their branding to their products. Buying these products feels more like an experience rather than a purchase. The whole purchasing process feels like a dream. I was so wrapped up in the story that I didn’t even notice the $86 I dropped…whoops. Features on the website include a virtual skin-tone matching program and clips of diverse and effortlessly beautiful women applying and using each product individually.

The experience doesn’t end after purchase. A feminine dreamland arrives in an unassuming cardboard box sealed with “glossier” tape. Upon opening, I am showered with unexpected presents (stickers and samples) and dainty little packaging. The inside of the box is lined with millennial pink and a unique message scribed on each lid (mine said “skin first, make-up second”). The products are tucked in Glossier’s signature pink bubblewrap bags for safe transport.

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And if that wasn’t enough, there are still the products! Ugh. So in love.

Following are the products I’ve tried so far. All Glossier products are hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested and cruelty free.

1. milky jelly cleanser

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You know the drill. No harsh cleansers, a gentle and solid clean. Means you can wash your face morning and night without stripping your face of its natural oils.

2. mega greens galaxy pack

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A detoxifying mask for those of us who are acne prone. Pull imperfections to the surface to cycle through those breakouts faster and eventually prevent them from ever happening in the first place. I use this nightly in the shower (or bath if I’m feeling fancy). Goes well with a glass of rosé. I’ve been following this with the moisturizing moon mask.

3. super pure serum

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A serum that balances and soothes breakout prone skin. Reduces redness and penetrates pores to clear out built-up impurities. I use this nightly after my mask to seal the deal.

4. priming moisturizer

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The everyday lotion moisturizer. Usually I go with a gel moisturizer, as I explained in my last skin care post. After a while, I felt like the gel moisturizer was just sitting on my skin and wasn’t being absorbed. This felt heavy when I first put it on (just a tiny dab) but was absorbed into my skin within a half hour, leaving my skin soft and smooth with no residue. It doubles as a makeup primer, but I like to let it soak in a bit before I put any makeup over it.

5. lip gloss

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Tagline: “it’s the glossiest.” A simple, classic, glossy lip gloss. No fussing with pigments or shades. Leaves lips flawlessly 90’s glossy.

 

I know these products are little expensive, but from my experience (so far) they are stretching a long way and definitely worth the investment. Click Here to get 10% off your first purchase.

Have a good weekend, magical creatures!

Glitter and Rainbows,

The Girlicorn

life update (i’m a big girl now)

Happy Friday, Magical Creatures!

Good news: I am finally a college graduate.

You probably didn’t know because I didn’t have any sappy posts or posed cap-and-gown photos (I decided to skip my graduation and save the $110), but I did it.

Much has happened in the past month, and my life seems to be picking up its pace exponentially. First things first, I graduated from Ball State with a BS in Public Relations, already having a full-time job lined up for after school. I had set this goal for myself during the spring semester knowing fully that many people don’t find a job until a year or two after graduation. I feel fortunate to have accomplished this goal and am so thankful to all of the people who aided in my search.

I finished up my internship with Liz Alig on a Friday (I’m still doing blogger relations), moved to downtown Indianapolis that weekend, and started my new job on that Monday. I was thoroughly exhausted for a couple of weeks, but I survived, and came out the other end determined and thrilled to be doing what I’m doing.

I live in an industrial studio apartment with 15 foot ceilings, concrete floors, and stainless steel countertops (peek Justin and Akio on bottom right).

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And the biggest bathtub I’ve ever soaked in.

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Apartment tour coming soon, but first I have to unpack all the way (she says three weeks later while sitting in bed and watching A Handmaid’s Tale).

Oh, and there’s a rooftop infinity pool.

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I’m working at High Alpha, a venture capital studio that dreams up and funds tech companies. My job is fast paced and my co-workers are fantastic.

The office is on the top floor of a building right on Monument Circle, daily inspirational city views included.

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In summary, I am currently living in a big girl apartment, working a big girl job, all in a big girl city.

Now I’m just waiting for it to feel like home.

Glitter and Rainbows,

The Girlicorn

my new skincare routine (aka WOW)

Happy Thursday, Magical Creatures!

About a month ago, I was complaining about how frustrated I am with my skin to my friend, Ally, who happens to be an esthetician. I was at the point where I felt like my skin would never be beautiful, no matter what I did to it.

I started getting acne my sophomore year of high school, and it hasn’t ever fully gone away.

One of the reasons is because I have anxiety, and stress faithfully produces acne no matter what I do.

Also, again as a result of my anxiety, I have a habit of popping and picking at my face relentlessly, which just makes it worse. I do it subconsciously, so it’s a hard habit to break.

Lastly, I have tried a thousand skincare products, but I always struggle with being consistent. Also, I never understand the difference between a good product and an expensive product.

Luckily, Ally is a licensed skin-care expert, and she helped me find some new products that really work for my skin.

the routine…

step 1: cleanse

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Ally gave me 2 different cleansers to try. At night, I’ve been using Dermalogica’s Dermal Clay Cleanser to get a really deep cleanse. In the morning, I use Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser as a refresher. I also use the Glossier Cleanser to remove eye-makeup.

From Ally: Hannah is an oily girl who is breakout prone. Knowing both of those things, I chose the Dermalogica cleanser to help keep her oil at bay. The clay is absorbing her leftover oils while the sage and cucumber is keeping her skin calm. You don’t want to use too many clay based products thinking it’ll help with the oils, because it could also be drying out your skin. The Glossier cleanser is just a good, everyday cleanse. It’s not a bad idea to have a deep cleanser at night, and a gentle one for the morning.

step 2: exfoliate & tone

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Ally picked out Pixi Glow Tonic, which is a gentle chemical exfoliant and a toner. It comes as a liquid, or in “to-go” pads, which are way more convenient. I use the little pad after cleansing, paying particular attention to places where my pores get easily clogged to break down the trapped grime.

From Ally: There are two different types of exfoliants, chemical and physical. Physical exfoliants are usually the face scrubs you find in any store. St. Ives (a.k.a. the devil because it uses walnut shells to exfoliate the skin, which causes micro-tears and can lead to more breakouts and hyper-pigmentation) is a good example of a physical exfoliant. The Glow Tonic is a chemical exfoliant with a low percentage of Glycolic Acid, so it’s basically working by itself morning and night. I chose the Glow Tonic for Hannah because it’s not as abrasive as a physical cleanser, and our goal was to help with her breakouts.

step 3: moisturize

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As featured in my last post, Ally suggested that I use Neutrogena Hydro Boost. I use a sponge (to discourage myself from touching my face) to completely saturate my skin, which feels so refreshing after using the tingly Glow Tonic.

From Ally: Being an oily girl and trying to find a good moisturizer can be hard. Some moisturizers can be too rich, which can lead to more breakouts. Others, however, can lead to dehydration, or flaky skin (fun fact: when your skin gets flaky in certain areas, it’s lacking water, not oils). With that being said, I chose the Hydro Boost for Hannah because its oil-free, it doesn’t clog your pores, and it has hyaluroniacid in it, which is something we naturally produce in our skin. Any gel moisturizer is going to be targeted for oily skin because they are water-based.

step 4: treat

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Lastly, Ally told me I should try using a clay mask as a sleep-in spot treatment. I’ve been using the Freeman Feeling Beautiful Anti-Stress Mask at night to really clean out my pores, and dry up my active pimples. After my moisturizer dries, I dot it on my active spots and leave it on all night.

From Ally: I personally have been doing this whenever I have a small breakout and let me tell you, IT WORKS. The clay is going to help dry out that particular spot, and the sea minerals are going to keep your skin calm. You wouldn’t want to coat your whole face with this mask because it is very drying. Using it as a spot treatment on top of a good skincare regimen won’t irritate your skin because the process is so temporary.

the results…

Now, no skin routine is ever going to completely get rid of breakouts.

I’m prone to breakouts for a variety of reasons including increased hormones during my period, my oily skin, and the fact that I’m going through some high stress situations (job searching while having two jobs anyone?!?).

Naturally, this means I’ll still suffer from the occasional breakout. Here are some progress photos over the last 4 weeks. Sorry for the quality hair and facial expressions, at first I was just doing this for my own reference!

Also, I took all of these after my morning routine, which adds extra redness because I’ve been touching and washing and whatnot.

Week 1:

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Week 2:

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Week 3:

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Week 4:

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I think what I’ve noticed the most over the past couple of weeks is that I still get spots, but I they cycle through much faster, meaning I have less of them at a time.

The other thing I’ve noticed is the improved quality of my skin. It looks much brighter overall, not to mention a reduction of redness and rash-like acne. My skin rarely looks splotchy anymore, which used to be a constant.

Here is a photo of me on my best skin day over the last month, in some really great lighting.

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I am so grateful to Ally for giving me another chance to do skincare right, and for her contributions to this post! Any of you who live in Warsaw, check out all of her services at jThree Salon on Center St.

On another note, I officially accepted a full time job this week! I’ll be the Office Coordinator at High Alpha.

Glitter and Rainbows,

The Girlicorn

 

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i <3 these things (aka may faves)

Happy Thursday, Magical Creatures!

I want to finish off the month of May by sharing a few of my favorite things.

If you just hummed The Sound of Music, go ahead and include yourself on this list.

1. I’m Drinking: La Croix

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Or, the new Diet Coke.

I’m constantly fighting the hydration battle. I’ve never been good at carrying a water bottle or remembering to drink when I’m not thirsty. And, I’m ashamed to say it, but WATER IS SO BORING.

This month, I have been trying to transition to drinking something a little healthier than Diet Coke. It still satisfies my carbonation craving, but is free of artificial sweeteners!

My go-to is the Peach-Pear flavor, but Grapefruit is a classic.

2. I’m Watching: Bill Nye Saves the World

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Bill Nye is still targeting millennials in this new Netflix original, but don’t worry, he’s grown with us. In each episode, Bill tackles a different controversial subject, debunking myths with help from his correspondents and a panel of experts.

I love science, so watching this show was a no brainer for me. But if you think science is lame, who are you, and also, you won’t after watching this show. Bill educates his audience in entirely entertaining ways, as usual, and all in an array of classy bow-tie-and-suit combinations.

His dad-esque humor and wacky experiments make me feel like a kid again.

3. I’m Wearing: Bobby Pins

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Bobby pins are always in my hair because I’m growing out my bangs, but I’m not complaining.

Some people try to hide their bobby pins, but I say wear them loud and proud.

Showing off pins is a strong feminine statement. It says, “Yes, I work hard to look this good. Don’t underestimate me.”

I have some cute colored ones as well as the classic kind, which are a little more functional. I love them piled on in an up do, or just pulling hair out of the face.

4. I’m Reading: Girl on the Train

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I’m right in the middle of this book, so don’t worry, no spoilers will be given because I don’t even know them yet.

I mostly started to read this book because I wanted to see the movie, but I’m enjoying it far more than I initially expected.

The structure of the narrative makes my heart happy. It has a creative timeline that keeps me on my toes, not to mention the complex and relatable characters that author Paula Hawkins has dreamed up.

5. I’m Using: Neutrogena Hydro Boost

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Yes, this is the product on those commercials with Kristin Bell where she has the best looking skin you have ever seen. And surprisingly, it is actually real.

I mean it’s not going to give you Kristin-Bell-level skin, that’s just good genes. But it DOES work.

Thanks to my extremely talented esthetitian/beauty-guru friend Ally, I have a new skin care routine that is changing my life (post to come in the next month).

I learned that my skin isn’t dry, it’s dehydrated. Instead of a lotion moisturizer I am now using a water-based moisturizer! It’s hydrating my skin like crazy. My skin actually has glow now, which I’ve honestly never seen before.

It’s on the high end of pricing for Neutrogena, but I think it’s worth the splurge for a good moisturizer.

6. I’m Listening to: Future Islands

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Just check them out, okay?

All I have to say is that they are officially my summer crush. And I have them on repeat.

 

Thanks for checking out my post, I hope you have a wonderful weekend, magical creatures!

Glitter and Rainbows,

The Girlicorn

 

a summer of fun (aka work work)

Happy Friday, Magical Creatures!

I am officially 2 weeks into my summer “break”.

I am in the process of finishing my final semester at Ball State (!!!!). All I have left to complete is my 2 credit internship class. If you don’t know about my internship, refer back to this previous post. I’ve been doing blogger relations, and I’ve even been able to correspond with some of my favorite bloggers! So, mostly, I’ve been trying not to fangirl at them and being a complete professional.

This summer feels like a new start for me, as I am venturing out into the world, job searching, working and continuing to blog.

The sad part about this summer is that Anthony is living at home so that he can audition in Chicago, get his personal trainer’s license and take coding classes. He’s pretty cool.

As a result, I am flying solo in Muncie. This weekend I’ve been adjusting the apartment to fit one person’s stuff instead of two which means there is SO MUCH SPACE, WOW. Although, unfortunately, it feels a bit empty.

Here is a list of things I’ll be doing this summer:

  • interning with Liz Alig
  • working at American Eagle
  • looking for a (real) job
  • blogging
  • trying to resist adopting a cat
  • buying too many plants
  • painting my nails odd colors
  • forgetting to water the plants
  • making tapestries with Mandy
  • trying to get my skin to clear up
  • buying plants to replace the dead ones
  • eating so much guacamole

I’m interviewing next week with a financial firm in Carmel! The real world is coming so fast, but I actually feel like I’m ready for it for the first time.

Let me know what you guys are up to this summer in the comments!

Have a good weekend, magical creatures.

Glitter and Rainbows,

The Girlicorn