Your One Wild and Precious Life

Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets. Her poem, The Summer Day, has always offered me inspiration and comfort on days when I need to be reminded of all that this wonderful life has to offer. What do you plan on doing with your one wild and precious life?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

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YouTube Manicures and Other Budget Beauty Savings

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am the ultimate girly girl. I used to get manicures every week, pedicures every 2 weeks, eyebrow threading every 3 weeks. I would buy countless amounts of beauty products, eager to try to latest skin cream or hair conditioner. For a girl that’s planning on going to Thailand in 8 months, I’ve had to significantly cut down on all of my favorite beauty regimens. For the first few weeks, it was utter chaos. My nails were a hot mess, and my eyebrows had grown into an unruly bush. My expensive organic conditioner had run out, and my MAC mascara was dry.

What’s a girl to do when she wants to look her best, but is trying to save money for a huge trip? Well, my first step was to search on youtube for manicure tutorials to teach myself how to do it myself. I taught myself how to do regular manicures, french manicures, and I’ve even dabbled into some designs! I thought I’d never be able to do my nails myself, but I actually prefer it now. If my nails chip, I can fix it. If I want to repaint them everyday of the week, I can. And it’s all free! The same process has worked for me shaping my own eyebrows. After I one day completely misshaped my eyebrows myself, I vowed to  ALWAYS get them done professionally (threading has saved my life on many occasions). But an amazing video has taught me the many wonders of shaping your eyebrows yourself. And again, it’s ALL free! By doing my nails, toes and eyebrows myself, I can save at LEAST $150 a month. I wish I’d starting doing it all myself sooner!

As far as beauty products go, I’ve found some awesome alternatives to my pricey skin, hair, and makeup products.

Best Ever!

If you haven’t tried Maybelline’s Falsies Mascara, you’ve truly been missing out. The wand make your lashes clump free and long with TONS of volume. I’ve actually had people ask me if I have fake eyelashes on. Falsies runs about $7.50, MAC runs for about $11 and Dior Show is a whopping $24. I’ll stick with the falsies.

For my conditioner, I have fallen in LOVE with Trader Joes Nourish Spa Conditioner. As you know by now, my hair is outrageously curly, and it takes a REALLY good conditioner to not make my hair look like a fro. It’s cruelty free, enriched with organic botanicals, and it doesn’t contain any harmful laurel/laurel sulfates, which is DEATH for curly hair. At a mere $4 at my local Trader Joe’s, it’s a steal.

Cetaphil Antibacterial Gentle Cleansing Bar may not work for everyone, but I was recently diagnosed with adult onset acne, and this soap has been a godsend. It’s basically cleared up my acne, and it works really well for after workouts when you’re super sweaty. It’s super gentle  and doesn’t leave my skin feeling dry and gross. One bar is $3.99 and lasts FOREVER.

I’ve also switched out a lot of my expensive makeup products for drugstore brands. Almay’s eyeliner lasts all day and goes on super smooth, Maybelline’s Dream Mousse concealer has great texture and coverage, and L’Oreal’s HiP eyeshadows are super affordable and offer amazing pigment.

All of the changes I’ve made to my beauty routines and products have saved me countless dollars that I’ve added to the savings account for my trip. It’s refreshing to know that I don’t have to completely sacrifice beauty for Thailand, just make a few changes.

And remember, for you guys who might be reading, you might not use makeup, but you can definitely give yourself manicures and groom your own eyebrows! Just don’t use the polish! 🙂


Janet Jackson! Janet Jackson! … Or the Story of How I Became a Greek Celebrity

When I studied abroad in London my junior year of college, I had the awesome opportunity to take a 10 day cruise through the Greek islands. Starting in Athens, we traveled to Mykonos, Patmos, Kusadasi, Turkey and Santorini, Greece.

My friend and I decided to go to Athens a few days earlier than the rest of our classmates to check out the sites. After wading our way through the crowds of Athens, we reached the Parthenon. The weather was absolutely amazing, the skies clear and blue. While I was taking some pictures of the sights, two young women came up me to and asked if I could take a picture. I happily obliged and went to take the camera from one of the women. To my surprise, she instead motioned for me to get in the picture with her and her friend, while someone else took the picture of all 3 of us. The two girls then smiled and waved bye while they graciously thanked me. I thought this was a little weird, but I just shrugged it off and thought maybe they just like my awesome hamburger shirt I was wearing that day.

Except for the fact this seemed to happen numerous times throughout my time in Greece and Turkey. In that same day, I was approached by 4 more groups of people, all wanting to take pictures with me. By this point, I was thinking that I had to resemble some sort of Greek celebrity or some European pop star. Just as I was leaving the Parthenon, I heard a girl shout “SISTER! SISTER! SISTER!”. I turned around and saw a very pretty girl with long cornrow braids waving at me, followed by a group of students around my age. They all ran up to me, giving me hugs and snapping pictures. After a few minutes of chaos, I decided to finally document this phenomenon on my own camera, and my friend snapped this picture of all of us.

Degrassi, The Greek Years.

While I was on the boat I told one of the tour guides about my experience in Greece and asked if I looked like some pop star or celebrity. He laughed, and then told me that Greek people tend to find black women very fascinating and beautiful, and it’s rare for Greek people to see black women. I was shocked and awed at the same time! How interesting for people to want to take pictures with me just because of the color of my skin! It’s something I’d certainly never experienced before.

But it didn’t stop in Greece. While I was in Turkey, I went shopping at the Kusadasi market (which is HUGE and amazing, BTW). I bought an awesome leather jacket, and proceeded to wear it immediately. Paired with my sunglasses, I walked around the market looking at all the awesome wares, from knock off Dolce and Gabbana and Rolex watches, to beautiful scarves and dresses. Picking up a scarf, I heard a man yell “JANET JACKSON, JANET JACKSON!”. I turned around and saw a man waving to me, followed by about 10 other people running towards me, all yelling “Janet! Janet!”. Laughing, I tried to tell the people I wasn’t Janet Jackson at ALL, but they didn’t care, and kept snapping pictures.

The few days spent in Greece and Turkey not only made me feel like a celebrity, but taught me how important it is to go and travel. Until that point, I hadn’t even realized there were parts of the world where people might not see black people that often. That trip completely opened my eyes to the fact there are many more parts of the world I need to explore. I came back from my trip abroad a completely different person, and I plan on doing the same on my trip to Thailand.

Do any of you have any awesome travel stories you’d like to share? Comment!


Meet Jack. He wants to come to Thailand. But How?

Meet Jack. He’s a 2 1/2 year old rescue chihuahua from West LA. We’ve had him almost 2 years now and he is the love of my life.

He wears hoodies. Bad.Ass.

One of the major reasons I wasn’t going to take this trip is because of Jack. I don’t really have anyone here in LA that would keep him, or they have pets of their own. Jack LOVES people, but he is uncomfortable around other dogs, so anyone that has pets already is out of the question. I’ve researched, and I know it is possible to bring pets to Thailand, but the extra costs of taking him are having my rethink things. We also wouldn’t be able to freely travel, and it would be harder to find a place to stay. But how can I leave him behind?

that FACE!

Jack, as you can see, is super small. He only weighs 6/7 lbs. He’s completely house trained, rarely barks, and he loves being in bags and purses so it’s pretty easy to smuggle him around.  Christine Gilbert has a great article about taking pets with you while you travel that I’ve been reading over and over religiously. I know that it’s not entirely impossible to bring him, and I so want to make it work! What’s a girl to do?!

It's not even this cold in LA, but I couldn't resist!

Has anyone ever traveled with their pet? What are some tips or advice you have?

and P.S., sorry for the lame picture quality, all the pictures I have of Jack are on my blackberry 🙂