January Recap

I can’t believe it’s already February — where did January go??? Inspired by Rossy from AyrGalaxy, I’m doing a recap of the past month. So onto this month in review…

Blog Milestones:
 

  • This month I reached 107 followers! You all are amazing, and I love reading your comments on my posts (& welcome to all my new followers — hi! My name is Abigail :).
  • I also surpassed my previous “most-views-per-day” record on January 28th with all the people who stopped by to get advice on the February Birchbox sample choice.

Posts from this Month:

Plus, coming up soon are my January Favorites post and review of my December Birchbox.


Resolutions:

Well, these didn’t go so well. I did eat more vegetables, but I was awful at eating meals at consistent times — school will do that to you! I also barely exercised at all, didn’t keep in contact with any of my long-distance friends, and didn’t spend a day immersing myself in French. Instead, I sat in bed and read a lot. Like, a huge amount: 9 books, totaling 2900 pages. Don’t ask me how I found time for that with school going on! In productive news, though, I just had a great job interview that I hope is going good places!


Blogger’s Spotlight:

I wanted to share some blog posts that I particularly enjoyed reading this month (originally inspired by Elisabeth from Everything & Nothin’).

  1. I SO identify with the concept of an inner adult proposed by Nancy of notquiteold. I need one of those.
  2. This post about “Putting the Care in Career” from Tenure, She Wrote resonated with me.
  3. I laughed at this Sciency LOL from Why? Because Science. 
  4. The Book Wars’ theme for January was Female Detectives, which inspired a lot of my reading this month. Here’s an article about Nancy Drew! As well as reviews for 2 of the 9 books I read this month: A Tale of Two Castles by my beloved Gail Carson Levine and the Enola Holmes series (of which I will be reading the remainder in February).
  5. The Book Wars also prompted me to add some diverse books being released in 2016 to my reading list.
  6. I enjoyed reading these poems by Katie Donovan.
  7. This highlights post from She’s a Maineiac made me laugh. Hard.
  8. I always enjoy reading posts from A Frog in the Fjord (and learn a lot about Norway while I’m at it), and this post about differences in New Year’s Resolutions between Norwegians and immigrants was no different.
  9. One Fifty inspired me to work better on journaling, and I particularly enjoyed her Week 4 Learning Log about stoats.
  10. As usual, I loved the manicures that Sandra from Finger Candy does: this month my favorites were her lavender, jasmine, hologram dotssome fun hearts, and rainbow sweaters.
  11. This post about love and wanderlust from The Other Fork in the Road reflects everything I feel about taking the next step in my life, in which I will probably move away from my college city for my career, leaving my already-employed boyfriend behind.

That’s it for January; happy February! Thanks for sticking with me in 2016 🙂

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Welcome, 2016!

2015 was a pretty great year overall, despite some hard times. I’ll be posting some “end-of-year” recaps sometime soon, including the list of my favorite products from the past year and some photos of my travels. But today I want to talk about the upcoming year.

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I have high hopes for 2016, such high hopes and big dreams. I am also absolutely terrified of it. This is the year of my final school graduation (at least for the foreseeable future). The year that I will hopefully find and start my first job, and therefore the year that I finally need to figure out what I want to do and where I want to live (at least for the time being). The year that I will have my last great opportunity for long-term travel (at least for a while), since starting employees rarely receive more than 2 weeks vacation. And all of this is so scary in my eyes, like a leap into the great unknown that I would really prefer not to take just yet.

That said, this is the year that I will finally leave school behind (as much as I love it) and have more control over my free time. The year that I will hopefully start work with a company and in a role that I love. The year that I will get to travel long-term, as long as I find a job before graduation and plan my summer right. My fear is of the ifs. There are so many “ifs” in my life right now. Usually I love possibility, but at this point it’s less possibility and more feeling a little left behind — I’m the one who doesn’t know where I going and feels a bit like a rudderless ship, while it seems like everyone else has chosen a course to sail that they’re happy with.

So, I’m taking control of what I can. For 2016 I’ve made a few (okay, more than just a few) new year’s resolutions. Some of them are things I want to remember to do on a daily or weekly basis until they become habit. Some of them are goals I want to work towards achieving. Some of them are milestones I want to reach.

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Ongoing: 
1. Strive for better eating. This means eating reliably (no more skipping dinner because I’m busy!), eating enough vegetables (preferably with every meal), and testing out new healthy recipes.
2. Exercise in place to get in shape. The “in place” part is there to remind me that I don’t need to go outside or even get dressed to work on this resolution. Right now my goal is to do some form of exercise 3x per week (ex: dancing, yoga, running) and do stretching and/or strength exercises at least 4x per week.
3. Read! I know I should associate more specific goals with this, but right now it’s just a general injunction to read whenever and wherever I can, because it is something that I derive such pleasure from. I want to tackle some classic books that have been on my to-read list for years, as well as some of the best new works of fiction and fantasy.
4. One “French immersion” day per month. I have been speaking French since kindergarten, but in the past year and a half I have barely spoken the language at all. I don’t want to lose it, and I find that the best way of refreshing a language is to dive in headfirst. So one day per month (ish), I want to immerse myself in the French language. All of the media I consume, the conversations I have (within reason) and any writing I do will be in French.
5. Dedicate time to my long-distance relationships. So many of my friends graduated last year and moved away to start jobs in new cities, and I’ve been lousy at keeping in touch with them. I’ll be distant from even more friends after graduation this year. I don’t talk to my parents as often as I should, and I want to change that. I want to call my grandmother more. I also may be in a long-distance relationship after graduation which I will have to devote communication to.

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Disclaimer? And a conflict of integrity.

I didn’t start this blog to make money, or to get sent products for free, or to become famous — did that even really need to be said? I started it because I wanted to try something I thought I would enjoy. And I have — I really love trying new things, and thinking critically about things, and practicing writing those thoughts down. Which is where this critically-thought-out blog post comes from…

I first heard about websites like Influenster and Tomoson back when I was first starting this blog. While googling advice about photography and blogging platforms, I couldn’t help but hear these sites get tossed around as “another thing that bloggers do,” “another part of the business”.

I only joined Tomoson.com about 3 weeks ago. I browsed the site a bit, saw some things I was interested in trying, hit the “Apply” button. Most of the promotions on the site I don’t have enough followers on any platform to apply for anyway, but browsing the options felt a little bit like window shopping.

For a while, I was conflicted. I applied for a bottle of argan oil and thought, how am I supposed to explain this to my readers? I requested a duo of unbreakable silicone wine glasses while wondering, how will I review this on my blog when it’s completely unrelated to beauty? After admittedly being confused or or annoyed by other bloggers when they reviewed dryer sheets in between “What’s in my bag” posts and lipstick reviews, I felt like I was betraying myself and my readers by doing the same thing.

The realization I’ve come to is that this is my blog. Yes it’s currently focused on beauty, and I have no desire to change that since I started this blog as a forum for me to talk about things that I can’t talk about in other arenas of my life. But just because I want to keep it focused on beauty doesn’t mean that it’s all I can talk about.

I’m just here to say that I’m not doing this for money, or to have more things. Every single thing I have applied for on Tomoson is something that I thought would be a useful part of my life. And if it’s a useful part of my life, why shouldn’t I share it with you?

So, I wanted to give you a heads-up that in the future you might see posts about products that I’ve been sent for free in exchange for my honest review. I’ll always mark them as such, and I won’t let anything affect my opinion of the product.

I would really appreciate your feedback on these thoughts! Have you felt a similar conflict?

Five Little Things: This Week in New Products

  • I attended a formal event last weekend, and I took the opportunity to wear a lipstick that used to be my favorite but that I haven’t worn in ages — probably because I haven’t had anywhere suitable to wear it to! Meet L’Oréal’s Lip Accents Crème in Paradise Plum. It actually still is my favorite lipstick for being fancy. So this isn’t actually a new product, but just something that feels new because I haven’t worn it in so long.

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  • I’ve been using my new Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask as an overnight lip treatment, and it’s been wonderful. My lips have never felt so moisturized!

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  • I picked up the fairly new VO5 Shine, Glow, & Go Beauty Oil at the grocery store last week, and since then I’ve been using it twice a day. It takes longer to soak in than my body lotions, but so far I’ve been loving it anyway! I think it’ll be especially great for summer.

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Five Little Wonderful Things…

…that have been making my life better this week.

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  • Smoky Poppy Body Butter! I apologize for my excitement, but this product has been improving my life this past week. Since winning this adorable pot in an Intagram giveaway from @budgetbeautyblog, I’ve been using it as a hand cream every time I wash my hands. It’s worked wonders — no more dry skin on my hands!

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  • I wore NYC Nolita’s Lavender on my fingernails for much of this week, but I feel like it’s a little too dark for me. Now, I’m lusting after a pale lavender polish, like Revlon Charming or Mint Lavender Macaron.

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The Numbers

Two Thursdays ago, my little blog got 82 views, which shocked me. I was beyond surprised. It was the most views I’ve gotten in a single day so far. Then, on March 1st, I hit 90 in a single day.

In the last 2 months, I’ve gotten 1,022 views on my blog. This is in comparison to 297 the two months before that, and 76 total in my first 5 months of blogging.

Stats 3-10

I’m not in this for the numbers, of course, but it feels good to have people reading what I write. It’s amazing that someone is enjoying what I produce enough to spend time going through my posts. I started blogging to help myself learn what I liked, keep track of how I was growing, and perhaps eventually contribute something back to this online world that has taught me everything I know about makeup and skincare. I can’t help but be gratified that there are people out there who think those contributions are worthwhile.

What surprises me the most sometimes is which posts people are reading, which indicates to me that I should ask you what you’d like to see — let me know what I should write about next! Tell me in the comments, via e-mail (justaprimer@gmail.com), through Instagram (@justaprimer), or on my new Twitter (also @justaprimer … do you detect a trend? 😉 )

Stories from the Week: Five Little Things

This week, I have five stories from my everyday life for you.

  • Last weekend I watched The Theory of Everything. I thought it was really good! I was really impressed by the acting and the cinematography. However, another wonderful aspect was Jane’s costumes. My favorite was Jane’s dress in the opening party scene (the four images at far right), but I also loved her everyday outfits, especially her turtleneck sweater/skirt combinations.

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  • On Tuesday I picked up my beloved Kat Von D Tattoo Liner (beloved because of its uniqueness in my collection and its cost, not because of how often I actually use it) and tried to use it. Nothing came out. I admit to freaking out a little bit — how did something I opened so rarely dry out? Was this an acceptable reason to return it to Sephora? Did eyeliners have a “dry-out” expiration date that I somehow missed? Then I realized I’d been storing it with the tip up, and after letting it sit for a bit with the tip facing down, it was as good as new.

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  • This week I performed the monologue that I had selected last week. I was surprised by how much fun I had while performing it! It felt powerful, somehow. And my acting teacher complimented me on it, which also felt really good.
  • On my nails this week, I’ve been keeping it plain. After last week’s glitterbombs, I decided to tone it down this week by going nude. I used a coat of Sally Hansen Maximum Growth, then 1-2 coats of Revlon Sheer Pink, and completed it with a Sally Hansen quick-dry topcoat. Because I do love glitter, I kept Zoya Trixie topped with Wet n Wild Hallucinate from my previous manicure as an accent nail (which is why it’s starting to look a little ragged). I love how natural and well-kept this Revlon polish makes my nails look.

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  • I attended a local fashion show last night, and it was a lot of fun! The friends I was going with, however, didn’t tell me they were dressing up, so I only dressed up a little bit. I wish they had told me, because I get so few opportunities to wear a bold lip, and smoky eye makeup, and heels.

Do you have any stories from this past week?