fresh breath

God always knows what you need.

This semester was expected to be the worst, the hardest, the most demanding and grueling semester I would have in college – I was so nervous. Since my freshman year I have been dreading the fall semester of my junior year. It was set up to be the semester where I would take the most upper level science classes at once and still try to maintain my sanity and all the other crazy things that college students do. Maybe I went into this semester with a bad attitude, or at least a pessimistic attitude – one that expected the worst. I am so delighted, blessed, and truly thankful to say that this was indeed not the worst semester of my life; in fact, it may have been one of the best but for many different reasons. Academically, I studied smarter (AKA less, shorter, more focused) and enjoyed my classes more because everything I loved about biology and chemistry came together finally! I also spent more time doing things that made me a happier person (yoga, hanging out with my friends, taking time off, going to the lab). I think God strategically placed people and events in my life to buffer the ride that was expected to be pretty uncomfortable for a while. I think God knew I needed a support system, people to lift me up and cheer me on and remind me why this is worth it, and He gave me that. He gave me that in my roommates who have often seen me studying with frustration and then later baking dozens of cookies to decompress; He gave me that in my cherished best friends who remind me to stop, go out for dinner, enjoy a glass of wine, and do something fun and relaxing; He gave me that in my mentor/boss and coworkers at Vanderbilt who showed so much grace and support by allowing me time to study, focus, and take off when I needed it; He gave me that in my (now) boyfriend who endlessly encouraged me through countless physics problems, biochem exams, late nights and early mornings, and who never forgot to make me laugh in the middle of the chaos; and He gave it to me in my family who never failed to call, check in, and send me prayers when I needed them most. So, yeah, God knows what you need. I say that not because I saw what was happening while it was going on in my life – no, there were definitely times when I wanted to give up and felt completely unmotivated – instead because He was always there, working in me and around me and through me and through others to me. Sometimes what you expect to be a big, bad terrible storm turns into a beautiful, refreshing spring shower – it brings you flowers, sunshine, and a breath of new life. I sit and reflect on a semester that was a whirlwind, a serendipitous whirlwind of unexpected friendships and newly minted forever memories. I blinked, and it was suddenly over, my expectations were wrong and this time I was happy about it! But my, how I have been shown that the God I love, cherish, and serve, will always know what you need. Not only that, but He will abundantly bless you with what – or who – you need.


Y’all college already has me feeling like I’m swimming in a large pool with the drain turned on. BUT with the good Lord by my side, some time management skills, and control over my attitude towards it, everything is going to be O.K. (I am actually hesitantly excited about my classes, especially forensics in literature!). But for real, pray for me. And I will pray for you! (Just let me know what you need). With that being said, I am very blessed to be able to live in a country where I can learn freely and with great instruction. I am blessed to obtain the free will to make decisions which I feel most accurately reflect my passions without being forced to study something I have no interest in. And I am blessed to have makeup to assist in my late-night bags, cold and thirsty skin, and indoor-intensive complexion! I have always been a makeup and skincare enthusiast and I am now even more concerned with taking excellent care of my skin to prevent molecular damage! So, listed below are some of go-to (and new) makeup items. I hope this semester finds you in good tidings of great grades and lots of unadulterated joy.

  • bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss in “High Roller and Life of the Party”. Found here!
  • Becca Cosmetics x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfecter “Champagne Pop” found here!
  • A Beauty Blender for all my blending needs (they are real). Find it here!
  • Boi-ing by Benefit cosmetics for all the times I get stressed out, stay up late, or need extra coverage. Look here for yours!
  • My favorite Sephora highlighter brush, because highlighting is essential when you are so, so pale and live in the frigid cold! Here.
  • I love the Makeup Forever Mat Velvet foundation for the winter. It is oil-free and won’t cause skin irritation! On Sephora, here.

Some of my really important skin care essentials:

  • NeoStrata Skin Active Exfoliating Wash (used once daily). This is a glycolic acid based wash that exfoliates and brightens skin! I have not had any problems with it, and have actually seen improvement in my skin.
  • NeoStrata Bionic Face Cream. This is used in the morning, before makeup. All of the products in this line are anti-aging but truthfully it is never too early to start!
  • I also used a prescription-strength retinoid cream formulated and sold by my dermatologist, Dr. Michael Gold of Gold Skin Care. Retinoid or Retin-A creams are proven to improve skin over time, including increasing skin cell turn over and resurfacing the texture of the skin! I couldn’t find this one online, but it is an essential part of my skin care regimen!
  • Obagi Sun Protection SPF 35 sunscreen. I put this on after I have washed my face in the morning, but before the face cream! This is also only sold through specific retailers. Sun protection is very important because I want to keep my skin young and pretty when I am old and tired! And even more important is that I take measures to prevent skin cancer caused by daily sun exposure. Looking for a sunscreen that is oil-free or intended for the face or neck will help prevent clogged pores and breakouts.

Well, those are some of my favorite skin care and makeup products at the moment! I know this is not a typical post of mine, but sometimes it is fun and refreshing to share something else I really enjoy talking about. Thanks for reading!

find your happy place!

I frequently write about love. But that’s because love is so, SO important to me. Realizing this has dramatically changed my perspective on various things and people in my life. Loving others only creates a more peaceful inner self for me. Loving my everyday interactions gives me a purpose for all of the tasks I complete within a day. Loving someone else romantically gives me encouragement and constant support. Loving God gives me hope, reason, and understanding. Loving myself gives me confidence and self-success. Loving difficulty gives me triumph over obstacles. Love makes the world go ’round. Love drives people to achieve their dreams and marry their soul mates. Love is what pushes me to be great and never settle for less. Love is what makes me appreciate myself when I feel sluggish, disappointed, and not very beautiful. Love is what goes. Love perseveres. Love is determined to weave its way into my life. Yours, too.

As a teenage girl in high school, there are great implications that it is time to find a boyfriend. Find a boyfriend, even if he doesn’t meet your standards. Even if he isn’t the best person for you. Even if your parents don’t like him. Even if you don’t really like him. Just make sure you aren’t alone. Make sure you aren’t drifting through high school discovering who you are as a person.

Because that would be bad.

Intimate love has a time in our lives. In my opinion, it is AFTER you have established who you are as a person. Run a trial with yourself. If you can’t go 2 weeks without depending on a significant other for affection, attention, and admiration, then it’s time to sculpt and identify who you are as a person. It’s so important! Relationships are essential in our lives, no doubt. But constant confirmation from a guy for your self worth is only harmful and toxic. Not essential.

Become aware. Become aware of the thoughts that invade your mind when you first wake up. Become aware of how you feel when others talk to you. Do you feel happy? Do you feel insecure? Do you feel ashamed of who you are? Do you feel proud? Do you feel embarrassed? Assess. Assess your surroundings. Assess your emotions. Analyze. I am such an over analyzer. Situations, emotions, feelings, reactions. But by analyzing I find the things that drive deep into the root of who I am and flip the switch that makes me happy and makes me feel calm and comforted; I also know what does the opposite. So analyze your day. Analyze what you pick out to wear and why you wear it. Is it for you? Is it for a boy? Is it for impression or is it because YOU like it? Analyze how others treat you. Require respect. If you don’t like the way someone speaks to you or speaks around you, verbalize it. If you don’t like the way you think or speak, change it. You are not bound to your old ways. Everyday is honestly a new page. Write accordingly to how you feel and what makes you happy.

Back to love. By determining why things are happening the way they are and figuring out who is in charge of your life, you will learn to love. You will learn to love the appropriate way. When you straighten your life out and find your identity, you will love who you are. You will learn that you control how others treat you and how they think about you. You will learn that you love who you are. Your quirks. Your interests. Do not hide your interests. I get playfully ridiculed all the time for being “nerdy”. But guess what, I love to learn! It makes me happy. It makes me powerful. I love knowledge and that is not something I am ashamed of. If you love to play video games on the computer, then own that! If you love girly things, then love those things! LOVE WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY! Love what makes your soul smile.

When you spend all of this time deciding you are worth it and deciding that others can’t inflict pain and disappointment upon you any longer, you will realize you don’t need affection, admiration, or attention from anyone else. Like a wise woman once said, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

The thought that struck me today was that you don’t need someone else to be happy. Find your niche. Find the nooks and crannies of the world that suit your needs and connect with your soul. Find your calling. Find your happy place. Go there, and go there alone. Remain an individual in your relationship. Never lose your identity and never lose your love for yourself.

Random blog post, but I feel very passionately about this subject. Too many young girls are getting caught up in boys and worldy things before they know who they are. You are beautiful, worthy, and important. Never forget that.

Happy Friday!

Thoughts of Thanks


This morning, I rolled over onto my side and looked at my clock. 7:57. I decided to wake and embrace the quietness before this undeniably busy, beautiful day begins. As I was climbing out of bed, I reached over to turn on my bedside lamp. Warm, saturated, yellow light filled my perfectly messy room. I put on my record player and brewed myself a cup of coffee. The tranquility of these simple tasks evolved into an array of simple, thankful thoughts. There are many misconceptions about the reality of people only being “thankful” on Thanksgiving, but I am inclined to believe that this premise isn’t true. It is very obvious that attention is brought to what we are thankful for on this day marked as “a day of thanks giving”. But I truly believe people are thankful every day, even if in a very small way. I know I have been thankful for something as odd and miniscule as my eyebrows before (for preventing an influx of sweat into my eyes!). I have been thankful for bad situations that have turned into intricately developed lessons learned. I am always thankful for my ever loving parents, sisters, and brother. I am not boasting, however. Because there are times I am stressed beyond my control (or so this is what my mind believes). I have been ungrateful for many things in my life. I will never be able to fully comprehend the merciful grace my God has bestowed upon me. He, after all, is what we should be most thankful for. I have watched my family, friends, and strangers go through unthinkable times and remain thankful. Victims of robbery that have asked for prayer for the robber. Families that have had their children, brothers, and sisters murdered and have asked for mercy on the killer. I pray my heart becomes as tender and compassionate as the hearts these individuals possess. Life, so many times, can make a genuine person shallow and unappreciative. And that is why I am thankful for days like today. Where we are consciously and incessantly reminded to “be thankful”.

Along with my inundation of grateful thoughts this morning, another thought rose to my mind. I am not entirely sure why or what triggered it. The only explanation I can come to is that sometimes God places thoughts on our minds for dwelling and understanding. I thought to myself the repetitive phrase I have heard many times from exposures of marketing techniques and, of course, my parents. “Nothing in life comes free” I thought to myself. Proceeding this thought was that this statement is wholly and utterly false. I started thinking to myself all of the things in life that are free. My family offers love and devotion to me for absolutely no price. The moments I spend with my sisters discussing projects we want to do, the anticipation we share for our little Ezra, the excitement we have for Christmas, and the always present, meaningful support we extend to each other has no price tag. The care, advice, and generosity my brother in law shows towards my education and college decisions are things I couldn’t pay for and am so thankful for. The generous sacrifices of time, money, labor, comfort, energy, and passion my parents undoubtedly and unthinkably show me on a daily basis are things I don’t deserve. Love is eternal and absolutely, positively free. Materialistic things, though I do favor them and get trapped in the worldly perception of them, are not free. My hope for today is that I can shatter my love for “things” and nurture my love for people and emotion. I will keep this thought at the forefront of my mind today as I am enveloped by the love from phenomenal people I am blessed to call my family.

I want to wish everyone who reads this post a very Happy Thanksgiving. May you spend it happily engrossed in conversation and delectable food!

“I always thank God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in Him you have been enriched in every way, in all your speaking and in all your knowledge” 1 Corinthians 1:4-5 NIV