Monday, August 22, 2016

Fashion and Fitness - My cheap therapy

Lately, if you have been following me on Instagram, you have been probably hearing about how I've been really stressed out. Partly the reason why I hadn't been posting as much in the recent months, because life got really out of hand. I got really stressed out, anxious, my project completely changed direction and I thought I would be ready to defend my thesis by the end of the summer, walked at graduation, and now my plans are completely different (or at least delayed).
I guess everything happens for a reason. I didn't get the job I interviewed for (the one that I thought was my perfect match, guess it wasn't so perfect after all), I started getting contradicting (but good I guess) results, I got a dissertation year fellowship, so the fact that all of my Plan A's didn't work out, my Plan B is coming in handy now, even though I didn't appreciate it at first; so now I don't have to worry about TAing while trying to figure out the jumble of confusion that is my life right now.
And while things haven't been working the way I planned (Oh science, that's how you must be, right?), the one thing I HAVE been able to control is my exercise and health routine. I gained some weight from losing my work out momentum, stress, eating whatever I wanted, and I fell back into the stress and anxiety routine I worked so hard to get over. I referred back to my health and fitness community over on facebook and I refound my inspiration. I started a workout program that's available for free on the Beachbody On Demand that I subscribe to, and with the help of 2 other amazing ladies, we are keeping ourselves accountable for getting the workouts done - as in, we have a group chat going and we each message the others when we are pressing play on our workouts and get it done! It has really helped me manage my stress and anxiety and really helped me make time for myself. I have started regarding working out as "Me" time, and a meeting I make with myself, and I'm not allowed to skip it, just as I wouldn't skip a work meeting, etc. While I have been struggling a little still, I am doing a lot better with managing my stress. I am obsessed with my new life style, when I have a rest day, I am just itching to get back to working out!
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Monday, August 15, 2016

Beach Chic Essentials - Don't want summer to end!

Hello!
Today I'm bringing you a "Beach Chic Essentials" post, where I'm talking about pieces that I'd wear to the beach! I am totally missing the beaches of Nice and Southern France, I had such a good time (photos to be shared in part II of travel diary coming next post!).


Beach Chic Essentials

Beach Chic Essentials 

1. Swimsuit - I mean, duh, you need a swim suit for the beach. But a long standing problem we all have is what kind is best for our body type. I have been opting for bikinis in the last couple of  years, but styles have been changing and there are a LOT of cute one pieces, for some extra coverage. A lot of people have the thinking that a one piece is for someone who isn't confident in their body, but I would disagree! I've seen a lot of celebrities and really confident women wearing some stunning one pieces! But how to decide what kind of suit goes best for your body? Here are my criteria for deciding:
  • Do I feel comfortable in this?? **So important!!!** You don't want to buy a suit just because it is a trend, and when you are on the beach you are so uncomfortable. You will just be squirming on the beach the entire time worrying about how you look. This has happened to me before and such a no no.
  • Is it flattering? What kind of top and coverage does it have for the girls? I like having a little more coverage than showing a lot of cleavage. Halter? Spaghetti strap? strapless? Again depends on if you think it is flattering and if it is comfortable.
  • Bottoms - what kind of coverage do you want? More skin showing, go for more "cheeks" peeking out, or more coverage, you can go for more traditional bikini bottoms. I like fuller coverage bottoms with some ruching, provides full coverage while still making my bottom look nice!
  • What kind of tan lines do I want? I've seen a lot of really cool cut out swim suits - especially with one pieces, and you have to consider what kind of tan lines you are ok with, especially if they are visible with every day clothing.
2. Shoes/Sandals - I choose some cute sandals that I can wear to the beach and not worry about destroying them. Also ones that I don't mind sand getting on them, or easily clean. I got some crazy  tan lines from being on the beach in France, haha on my feet!! Never would have thought!

3. Accessories  - Some cute accessories can complete the look! A big floppy hat is my go to right now, to block out the sun's damaging rays from my face, a cute beach colored phone case (waterproof preferred), and some jewelry - a cute necklace, a ring, a floaty, a floral headpiece, for that boho look!

4. Cute tote bag to carry all your essentials - I really like these woven or straw tote bags, they are super cute and add a boho look. They also fit a lot more than you think, so they are definitely a good kind of bag to use for the beach! and you won't mind if you get some sand in it!

5. A cute towel -  I made the mistake of not bringing a towel with me to the beach in Nice, and it was a mistake because they didn't have sandy beaches, they had pebble beaches, and oh my when the sun hits down, the pebbles are HOT! so I used a scarf as a makeshift towel, but next time I will be more prepared! There are so many cute and chic towels, with cute patterns or sayings, so many different kinds! 


Shop the look below!


What are some beach essentials you MUST have? How did you determine what kind of swim suit is best for your body type? What kind of swim suit do you gravitate towards? one piece or bikini?
Let me know, I'd love to know in the comments below!

xo

Andrea


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Friday, August 12, 2016

Things I Currently Adore...and a review of my Current Makeup Products

Happy Happy Friday!
I'm so glad it's the weekend!
I'm in dire need of a few days off to relax, lab work has been insane and so busy.
Thought I would put together a post about the current products are my go-to and what I am obsessed with.
I recently had to buy more makeup, but I couldn't afford the hefty price tag of my high end products from Sephora, like my Smashbox CC cream, Dior and Bare Minerals Mascara, or my Urban Decay Palettes, so I had to settle for some cheaper options for my every day looks. I am saving my more expensive makeup for special occasions! See my reviews below and a comparison!
Here's the look from a day in Paris visiting the Eiffel Tower! Photos to come next week for the next parts of my travel diary!


1. Smashbox Photo Ready CC Cream vs Maybelline Pure BB Cream
Granted, they're not the same product, as one is a CC cream and one is a BB cream (wheres the AA cream?? lol!), but both do the trick, although I do prefer the CC cream. The CC cream provides more full coverage and it does what it says - color corrector. I've been using it to cover up dark circles under my eyes, redness, scarring, and it works, well. When I switched to the BB cream, it did its job, but I noticed I had to apply more product to get the coverage that I wanted. It says it is a sheer tint, so I shouldn't have expected as full coverage as the CC cream, but it still helped with redness. I did notice though, the BB cream started clogging my pores, as I started getting some little spots/pimples I think that are called malia near my eyes, near the scaly skin near your tear duct, which was quite annoying. The BB cream claims to have salicylic acid to help treat acne while covering up, which is a great addition, and I did notice my skin has cleared up a bit. Although that could also be due to eating clean and changing my diet. As a daily cover up, it does the job, especially when I am just going to lab. If I was going to an event, dinner, going out, I would use the CC cream, but for daily just going to lab, the BB cream works.

SMASHBOX Camera Ready CC Cream • Smashbox • $42
Maybelline Dream Pure BB Cream • Maybelline • $8.99

2. L'Oreal LA Palette Nude 1 vs Urban Decay Smoky Palette
I love love love Urban Decay. I have all the Naked Palettes except for Naked 1. For my daily makeup looks to lab I love just wearing a simple brownish/nude/goldish look, as it makes my eyes pop but isn't too much for work. I have easily almost used up all of my sparkly brown nude shades in almost all of my palettes. And at a hefty 54$ for a palette, I can't afford to do that. So I recently found the L'Oreal LA Palette Nude 1 at about 20$, and it does a good job. The shades are more matte than the shimmery ones found in the Urban Decay Palettes, but as a daily thing for lab where I'm not too concerned about anyone noticing my eyeshadow, its fine!

Urban Decay 'Naked Smoky' Palette • Urban Decay • $54
L'Oral Color Riche La Palette Nude 1 • L'Oreal • $19.99
L'Oral Color Riche La Palette Nude 2 • L'Oreal • $19.99

3. L'Oreal Voluminous Original Mascara vs Dior "DiorShow" Blackout Mascara 
Now, I LOVED the Dior Blackout mascara, it really makes your lashes full of volume, and I just adore the wand, it really is built for volume! But, the Dior Mascara comes at a hefty 29$ price tag. I initially switched to a mascara by Bare minerals that was also great, but last week I came across the L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara, and OMG. at 1/3 of the price of Dior Mascara, I am achieving a similar look! I am in love with it! Totally worth it. Lots of volume as the name suggests, and definitely separates my lashes. I remember snap chatting about it and saying my eyelashes look fake!

L'Oreal Voluminous Volume Building Curved Brush Mascara • L'Oreal • $8.49
Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Lash Domination Volumizing Mascara • bareMinerals • $19
Dior 'Diorshow' Lash-Extension Effect Volume Mascara • Christian Dior • $28.50

4. Urban Decay Primer potion
Ok, I have no comparison here, mainly because I haven't been able to find a product that is as good quality as the Primer Potion. It is a little expensive (20$ for a little bottle of it), but it is WORTH IT and last a while. I have been using this product forever and it really does make your makeup last! My makeup has lasted ALL day, over 12 hrs of running around the lab, even going to the gym and sweating. The one day I forgot to use eyeshadow primer, my eyeshadow caked pretty fast. And this primer also helps my liquid liner last, and not smudge throughout the day! Do you have a primer that you love? let me know about it and I'll try it out!

Urban Decay Anti-Aging Eyeshadow Primer Potion • Urban Decay • $13–24
Urban Decay Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion • Urban Decay • $12–20

5. Maybelline Line Stiletto Liquid Liner
This one is probably the best liquid liners I've used, and I've tried different ones. It has a felt tip which makes it really easy to apply a cat eye. After I had a hard time finding it in target (boo!), I paid a little extra for the Sephora Brand liquid liner, which was also good, but it has a little brush. When I ran out of that one and tried to buy more at Sephora, they only had the waterproof kind, and I was reluctant but I needed liquid liner.... and I regret the purchase. I used it for a week, and I had a reaction to it. I tend to avoid waterproof products (mascara, liner) because they're super hard to take off, and I always end up losing some eyelashes... and this Sephora Waterproof liquid liner started to make my eye lid skin burn when I applied it. Bad bad bad. So I immediately tossed it and went back to my Line Stiletto Liquid Liner.

Tattoo Liner • $20
Maybelline Line Stiletto Ultimate Precision Liquid Eyeliner • Maybelline • $5.99


Shop the products below, if you want to try the deals or the splurges, and let me know what you think of them!

Are there any products for the categories I've talked about that you use that you can't go without that I should try? Do let me know! I'm always down for trying new products!

Have a wonderful weekend!

xo
Andrea




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Monday, August 1, 2016

Travel Diary - Part I - Lisbon, Portugal - Conference and Sightseeing

Today I bring you Part I of my Travel Diary, Conference and Sightseeing in Lisbon, Portugal!

I was given the opportunity to attend a Biological Methylation Meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, where I was able to meet the experts in the field, whose papers and publications I have been reading since I started graduate school! It was such a great experience, and it was 5 days full of science, all directly related to my field of work! I've been to other conferences, that were more broad and general, and I didn't enjoy them as much as I enjoyed this conference! I was just putting up my poster during the first session (my session was the second one) and I got stopped immediately and was talking about my research the whole two hours, and then the whole two hours at my actual session! It was such a great feeling to have people who knew about my research and were genuinely interested - talking science for 4 hours and getting so many good ideas of things to try! I even won the poster award, along with a travel award, which gave me some funding to help with my travel expenses!

Traveling to conferences is a BIG thing I would suggest to anyone who is in grad school. I have taken advantage of conferences to feed my travel bug, and it has opened up so many doors and networking opportunities! And if your boss/advisor can pay for you, it is a free ticket to travel (most of the time!). I have always taken advantage of vacation time after the conferences I've been to - Like last year I was in Barcelona for a conference and I traveled to visit my family in Cyprus afterwards, and this year I traveled to France after! So definitely a way to enjoy your time by having an international conference and using it as an excuse to travel around! Of course, any travel after a conference is on your dime, but compared to the full price of a plane ticket TO europe, its not too bad :) and I had some savings that I put aside especially for a european trip that I utilized to pay for this trip! It was amazing, because after I passed my candidacy exam, I told myself, when I graduate, I'm going to travel around europe, and I made a list of all of these cities I wanted to visit, and I made part of it happen! Graduation happened and I got to check off a few cities (not all of them, but a few is better than none!).

Scroll down to read more about the various photos I took (all with my iPhone 6!! Amazing camera for a phone!).

The conference even organized a wine tasting tour in the Marfa province, which was about a 45 min drive from where the conference was being held, and it was really great drinking wine in the countryside with professors and experts in my field! It was unreal and like a dream!

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Episode 3 - Survival Guide to Grad School - 6 Tips on Surviving First Year!

Happy Weekend!

Today I'm bringing you the third episode in my "Survival Guide to Grad School" Series - this time I'm talking about 6 Tips to get through First Year!

First year was tough for me - from moving across the country away from my family and friends, to finally getting serious about research while taking classes and TAing... it can become a lot! So take some of my tips if you are in a grad program (or thinking about it), and save your sanity by learning from my mistakes!



Are there any other tips you have from when you went through grad school that you wish someone told you sooner?

Do you have any ideas for topics I should discuss next or any ideas for what you want to see next?
I'm really trying to produce more YouTube videos, so do let me know and if you fancy, subscribe to my channel to be updated when a new video posts! I will be doing some makeup looks next also :)

Have a wonderful weekend!

xo

Andrea

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