Once upon a time, I would publish monthly playlists on this here blog. Well since May, when wedding planning went into overdrive, I stopped posting playlists but didn’t stop creating them. Then in August when wedding planning went into hyperdrive, I stopped creating playlists because I was focused on creating the playlist of music that would be played at the wedding. So now that I’m finally married, I have an aptly named Finally Married Playlist. I’ve taken the two unpublished playlists, Dada Movement and Dusty Pages and compiled them into one 3 hours and 17 min long playlist with a few bonus tracks starting from God Only Knows – our first dance song.
If you listen to your local, national public radio station, you’re probably familiar with The Moth. Specifically, The Moth radio hour, an hour worth of curated stories from people’s lives that entertain and inform us all about life and the human condition. Each story is a true story from the storyteller’s life and what they share can be humorous, emotional, heartfelt, but basically always leaves you feeling a little more connected to humanity than you did before – or at least it does for me. I love listening to people’s stories. I love connection. So I really love The Moth.
I’ve fantasized about being on The Moth radio hour, but it’s a long road to get there, and it starts with StorySlams. The Moth hosts StorySlams in various cities across the country that are centered around a specific theme. Storytellers then coming to the event put their name in the proverbial hat and destiny decides whether they will share that story or not. Each story is judged by random people in the audience, and the winner of the night goes onto a GrandSlam where they compete against other StorySlam winners. The stories that get onto The Moth Radio Hour are curated from the Moth Mainstage, which is another level of The Moth that I assume one gets to by winning a GrandSlam.
It’s a journey, and one I am ready to embark on. I’ve been called an oversharer. I definitely identify as being a writer. So why not! Last night I attended my first Moth StorySlam. I crafted a story around the topic of control, and then decided it wasn’t good enough to perform – so I just went to observe. Since I was a newbie, I felt just getting a lay of the land would be good and I’m so glad I gave myself the grace to try and then know when I may be out of my realm. Well, after listening to fabulous stories, and not so great presenters of stories, and stories that weren’t even on topic – I have COMPLETE confidence that anything I write is worthy of my name in the hat. And really, I can only get better with each try. So I’m going to keep on trying.
When you attend a StorySlam, slips of paper with a question around the topic is on the chairs, and people can write a two sentence story around the topic to toss into a box. Last night the topic was “Control, ” and the question was, “When was there a time you felt you had lost control.” I wrote four sentences that outline the story I’m going to share below. The host read my slip of paper, the audience laughed, and she ended by saying, “That’s not a two sentence story, that’s an existential crisis.” I loved it. But her saying it was an existential crisis was sort of the reason my instincts said to not share my story because it didn’t feel like a story, it felt more like an essay.
Later in the evening, Dan and I ran into a few of the people who were also at the StorySlam, and I had confessed which slip of paper was mine. They burst into laughter and astonishment in being able to relate to my life existential crisis and encouraged me to share my stories – because it seemed like I could tell a good one.
So without further ado – here is my story around the theme of “CONTROL.”
(please note this is the first and only draft)
I have expensive taste. I always have. Ever since I was a child and didn’t understand what monetary value was, I would go straight for the most expensive item on the menu or want the fanciest toy in the store. My instincts point to the finer things in life; so I really enjoy looking at Net-a-Porter. This habit of mine is one part dream casting/manifesting and one part just plain window shopping – here are a few of the items I’ve saved for my someday closet.
I love the vintage look of all these dresses. One of my goals for 2018 is the wear a vintage dress at every Thinkspace Gallery opening for a year. It’s a fun creative way to express my style, and I have somewhere to go to rock my finds. Obviously, these dresses aren’t vintage, but they inspire what I’ll be on the hunt for.
In the past two years, with all the wedding planning, Dan and I haven’t gone on as many adventures as we would like to take. So when we were invited to a wedding in Napa this year, we went full road trip status. I splurged on a new vlog camera and we made sure to make time for some roadside attractions.
Here is our Napa Adventure recapped:
I’m not a big party girl. Well, not anymore. And for my bachelorette party, I had no desire to head out to Vegas or get wasted bar hopping and dancing into the wee-hours of the morning. I’m just not that person. Just as unique as weddings are to each bride, so is their bachelorette party – and my bachelorette celebration was an amazing, relaxing, euphoria spa day at Glen Ivy with my sister, mom, aunt and two of my five bridesmaids.
Here is my Instagram caption highlighting the day.
Yesterday, I turned off my phone and unplugged from the noise. Celebrating with my wonderful sister, bridesmaids, mom & aunt – we enjoyed a Glen Ivy spa day to the max! My favorite experience was soaking in a 102° hot tub and then dunking myself in a 62° freezing bath. It was invigorating. I need that in my life. It’s a shock to the system and now I get why Tony Robbins plunges into ice cold water every morning.
We enjoyed saunas, a green mud grotto experience, a private hot tub next to our cabana. I’m pretty sure we had the same cabana the RHOOC lounged in too. We definitely had a VIP experience thanks to my amazing sister aka maid of honor. I just want to do it all over again, every Monday, from now till forever. Don’t think that is going to happen, but a girl can dream.
Now I’m going to take a shower, and at the end rinse off in cold water.
This post is a placeholder since I intend on posting photos of the day tonight. My little accountability/ motivation. I’m so zenned-out right now, it’s ridiculous. For as stressful as this wedding process has been, the amount of love and gratitude that fills my soul is overflowing and abundant. 💖
I will beat the shame game by owning my journey.
Whenever I visit other blogs, I’m inspired or motivated to work on my own. Then when I’m on my blog, tinkering with widgets or brainstorming new content ideas, I start to look at my past content and want to hide it all. I have this itch for a fresh start. And just a few moments ago, I was reminded why I shouldn’t start all over again, and I should start owning my journey.
Blanket Fort Adventures is my longest blog relationship. I’ve been sharing my life online since 2003 under different names and on different platforms. And although an early adopter of blogging, the inconsistency in my online identity meant I was never in one place long enough to build up a readership. But Blanket Fort Adventures has been around for a while now, since December 2011, and the topics discussed, the focus – it’s been all over the place. In 2017, an unfocused blog / purely online diary is a total faux pax. How do you grow that? Well, I’ll tell you it’s flipping difficult. So while in the midst of re-strategizing BFA, I scrolled through my Bloglovin profile looking at the visual inconsistency, the weak blog titles, and what caught my eye was all my road trip posts.
My cross-country road trip. My dream trip that I planned and executed in October of 2014. I went to the category all the posts are housed and just scrolled through all the adventures. I smiled. My eyes were wide, and I admired the woman in the pictures. I admired myself. And that doesn’t happen very often.
After listening to a dozen or so interviews and Ted Talks with Brené Brown I’ve come to realize, I carry around a lot of shame. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always had the gremlins in my head saying I’m not enough and I’m not capable. As an adult, I combat them with daily affirmations and a bunch of other coping tools, but those gremlins are still pretty strong on a day to day basis. Especially since I started planning a wedding.
As I looked back at my old road trip posts, at the bad graphic design and fuzzy photos, I silenced the gremlins of shame and decided to own my journey. My journey in blogging, relationships, career, life — everything. I’ve exposed parts of my journey, and I shouldn’t feel ashamed of it. I shouldn’t hide it in the pursuit of perfection either. I am who I am.
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
― Brené Brown
The best thing for me to do now, for my blog and myself, is to come to a place of acceptance. I can pursue general self-improvement and creative growth with out it defining a lack of who I am. Yup, really have to work on moving out of a fixed mindset and into a growth mindset. So, I’m not hiding it. I’m not hiding my countless attempts at a weekly Friday series with different names and formats. I’m not hiding the countless, “It’s been a while since I’ve blogged,” posts. I’m not hiding. My mistakes are exposed, so we can ALL learn from them.
Thank you for letting me share my journey with you. My imperfection. My shame.
p.s. I can’t help but feel a little silly to be having this deep reflection and dialogue with myself because of an analysis around my blog. But, it is a safe way to express a much deeper self-examination I’m experiencing. Because perpetual self-doubt and shame is nonconstructive and poisons the potential greatness that life possesses. There is a war between light and darkness going on outside of us, so we have to beat the battles within to win the war for love and light.
Hey, there cutie!
It’s been a minute. It always is. My blog is like my 10th friend. I rotate it into my life like the coffee and cocktail dates I try and schedule with my IRL human relationships. Now, that I’m in the 100-day countdown to getting hitched, I really don’t expect this to be any easier, but I can always hope. The game plan? Eat healthily, secure six hours of sleep a night, avoid alcohol, and take my supplements. Sadly, although I had a playlist created in May I never published it. So, I’ve combined May and June into one 2 hour dreamscape of cool hits for hot days 😉.
Wish me luck! 95 days till the wedding
full track list after the jump
Anti-biotics, laser treatments, birth control – I’ve tried it all to manage and clear my acne and none of it really worked. I wanted to share my acne skin story because I no longer have painful cystic breakouts and my regimen might help someone else out too.
When I was thirteen a boy named Henry said to me, “you have perfect skin.” This would have been a compliment except for the fact that I remember he was angry at me. He said it to me almost like a curse, like I didn’t understand the world because I had perfect skin and he would show me. Little did Henry know, that in six months from when he cursed my perfect skin, I’d get my first acne breakout. Cystic acne that would plague my adolescence and adulthood for the next fifteen years. I can’t for the life of me remember the interaction that led up to Henry cursing my perfect skin, but I will never forget that he did – because I haven’t seen it since. My cheeks are covered in icepick scars and I’m never without some discoloration, but I can proudly say I have managed to get the upper hand on my acne.
My acne has gone in cycles, from 16 to 22 it was really bad, then around 23 to 26 it mellowed, but right around 27 it came back with a fury. The pimples were deep, red, and really pissed off. Up until the last few years, I’ve never experienced clear skin. At a minimum, I would have 3 -4 deep pimples on my face with a collection of blemishes, usually around my chin but the breakouts didn’t discriminate from my cheeks or forehead. My breakouts were painful. I’d just be living my life and my skin would hurt. When I’d sleep over at a boyfriend’s house, I’d wash off my makeup and wouldn’t get into the same bed unless the lights were off, I’d also wake up and put on makeup before my boyfriend was up. I’ve never understood people who can just wear a little coverup and be done. All the tutorials that suggest a little cover up/concealer for a quick morning routine never had acne. I’m illustrating my experience with acne because I want the person who also is 26 going – “why the hell do I still have acne” read this and gets that I understand them. Cause acne isn’t just one or two pimples that eventually go away. Acne is painful, all over, persistent, and leaves a mark (or dozens).
I’ve used the following regimen for over a year now and have clear skin because of it! Whenever I deviate and try different cleansers and moisturizers, the breakouts come back. Also, I used to believe in the “skin purging” story, but unless you’re using a serum that is accelerating cell turnover, the skin shouldn’t breakout and purge. The purge can be a sign of irritation, and a reason to stop using a certain product. So without further ado – here is what I use for my skin.
Femmenessence Macaharmony: I purchased Femmenessence MacaHarmony to help with menstrual cramps, but what it did for my skin makes me a forever advocate. When using the supplement my cramps are better, but unlike any oral solution before, the MacaHarmony helped to clear up my skin and keep it clear. The above Before picture was taken 2 days before starting Femenessence, within a month I saw a huge difference in my skin and by month three my skin was the clearest I’d seen since I was a kid. My skin was so terrible, I didn’t necessarily experience a breakout before it got better, my skin was just terrible and became wonderful. The supplement also helps with my fatigue. The company that makes Femmenessence MacaHarmony also has a medical team people can call to help advise with dosage or answer any questions, talk about AMAZING customer service. I can’t say enough nice things about Femmenessence.
80% of my clear skin is due to Femmenessence, and the other 20% to my actual skin care regimen. I’ve determined this because whenever I’ve deviated to new skincare products, while on Femmenessence, I’ll experience a few new breakouts. Not hormonal breakouts, but breakouts attributed to skin irritation. I’m so grateful for discovering this new routine, I’m ride or die with the following products too.
Philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleanser: Double cleansing is the ONLY way one should be washing their face. The first cleanse is to wash away all the makeup, dirt, pollution, and impurities. The best cleanser I have found for this is Philosophy’s Purity cleanser. It’s really gentle, but breakdowns makeup like a beast. I rarely have to use any eye-makeup remover. I also use Purity as my morning face wash too. I believe the more gentle you are with your skin when approaching acne the better. Most acne products are incredibly harsh and drying on the skin, and those suffering from acne are willing to ignore the fact these products speed up our skins aging process in the hopes of clear skin NOW. However, when I decided to be kinder to my skin, it started producing the desired results. Can’t blame it for breaking out, when I was irritating it twice a day with salicylic acid.
Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser: At night I follow up the Purity Cleanser with Mario Badescu’s Acne Facial Cleanser. This is the only step in my skincare routine that has the word “acne” on it, and I only use it once a day. I view the second facial cleanse as treatment. The first cleansing to remove the dirt and makeup is prepping the area for treatment. The ingredients in the acne cleanser are able to penetrate deeper and manage the bacteria that causes acne, because it’s not fighting through other junk to get to the real culprit of a pimple. The MB Acne Facial Cleanser contains salicylic acid to combat acne, but also has amazing skin soothing ingredients like Aloe Vera, Chamomile, Thyme Extracts, and Hyaluronic Acid for ultimate hydration. All the loving ingredients in the MB Acne cleanser have been kind to my skin as a treatment solution, especially since I’ve found most acne cleanser are extremely aggressive and irritating to the skin. And when the skin is angry, it can cause more problems instead of less.
Rosehip Oil: The use of oils on the skin have been on the rise in the last 6 years and for good reason. IT’S AMAZING!! Although I double cleanse with gentle products, I’m still removing a lot of the natural oils from my face and leaving it thirsty for some hydration, and nothing beats treating my face to rosehip oil before bed. I started using it because I read that the way to combat oily skin was to use oils on the skin. It seems counter-intuitive but actually, makes total sense. The skin will produce excess oil because it’s not balanced and needs more hydration than it’s being provided. When you start using oil on your skin, the skin soaks it in better than most standard facial moisturizers, and in turn, stops producing excess oil. Well, after testing this myself for over 2 years – that science is fact. I have the most balanced and supple skin! In the morning my skin glows and not from being “oily”, it’s because it’s still hydrated from the night before. Also, Rosehip oil helps with healing minor scars and discoloration, which in my before and after picture you can tell a lot of my hyperpigmentation has faded, and mostly because of rosehip oil. It is a bit smelly, so I will follow up the rosehip oil with a drop or two of tea tree oil. I just dab the tea tree oil around my chin mostly and a little around my nose for aromatherapy and then call it a night.
I don’t recommend Rosehip Oil for the morning because it is an oil and makeup will not go on properly, but at night it’s perfect. By the time I’m done brushing my teeth, the oil has soaked into my skin enough that I don’t feel I’m going to leave an oil stain on my pillowcase. p.s. I have a black pillowcase, so not sure what this would do to a white pillow case night after night, however, I haven’t really had any embarrassing issues at hotels.
Ponds Cold Cream: Since I was doing a blog post on my skin care regimen, I wanted to add the fact I use Ponds Cold Cream to remove my eye makeup. I don’t use it every day, but if after the Purity Cleanser I still have makeup residue around my eyes I use the cold cream. I started using Ponds Cold Cream as an eye makeup remover 6 years ago and I’m so happy I did because it’s helped me with fine lines and wrinkles around my eyes. The extra hydration from the cream has been acting like an eye cream for the last half-decade and I didn’t even realize it until now. My mom has always been a Ponds Cold Cream woman, so when all the eye makeup removers I purchased started to hurt my eyes or need too much rubbing to remove the makeup, I turned to a classic. All I do is gently apply some of the cold cream to the eye makeup I want to remove and then swipe it away with a cotton pad. Super fast, easy, and no rubbing that can cause those pesky signs of aging. I had to give some major props to this classic oldy but goodie. The tub lasts FOREVER, and it so gentle and nourishing. I’m so happy I started using this because I didn’t start using a legit eye-cream until now. When I went to go purchase my first eye cream, the saleswoman thought I was 21 – yup not so much, but thanks for the compliment.
The above products are what have worked for me in a way that no other skin care regimen ever has. A common issue with those with acne is not just trying to cover up the discoloration with makeup, but fighting with the less than stellar texture of our skin as well. I’m so happy and thankful for figuring out what works for my skin because now I know the texture of my skin on my wedding day will actually be nice. That might be super shallow and vain, but when you’ve had a hard time going to sleep because you just have a painful breakout across your face and can’t lay down on your side like normal, clear skin starts to mean something a little more to you than just vanity. It means comfort in my your body, and reinforced confidence in your mind.
Everyone’s skin is different and treatment of acne is going to be different, but if you haven’t found a solution yet I urge you to test mine out. It’s really great for sensitive skin and has changed my life. Until this stops working, I’m not changing anything in my nighttime skin care regimen for acne.
Disclaimer: I’m not a dermatologist. I’m not a skin expert. This has all been stated from my personal experience dealing with acne and how I cleared my skin. I’m an expert in living with acne.