11 Beauty Products To Unleash Your Inner Mermaid

Originally published on BuzzFeed.

I know you’re a mermaid. You know you’re a mermaid. Let the world know your true identity with these sea-inspired beauty picks.

1. Lush Big Blue Bath Bomb

Can’t make it to the ocean? Bring the ocean to your bathtub. Packed with seaweed and sea salt, this fresh bath treat will have you flipping your tail with glee. Plus, you’ll smell like you just stepped on land for the first time in forever.

2. Sabon Body Gel Polisher in Tropic

Brazilian women use sand to exfoliate their skin. Mermaids use Sabon’s Body Gel Polisher. This rice-powered polisher will give you glowing, beautiful skin all over. You’re also not going to want to stop smelling yourself. 

3. OGX Sea Mineral Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner

Drench your locks in moisture and harness the power of the ocean in your shower. This shampoo and conditioner is going to put shine in your hair and a smile on your face. It’s meant for dry and damaged hair, but it’s also light enough for any mermaid to use. 

4.  Peter Thomas Roth Blue Marine Algae Mask

Look luminous and healthy at the same time with this sea-powered, hydrating skin treat. This cooling, blue face mask is formulated with tea from the Jeju Islands of Korea, and glacial lake blue marine algae. 

5. Pacifica Aquarian Gaze Water-Resistant Long Lash Mineral Mascara

What’s better than a natural, mineral-based mascara that promises length and volume all while not running down your face when you’re swimming in the deep blue? You’re going to want to stash this little gem in your beach bag.

6. Ralph Lauren Fresh Eau de Toilette

This may as well be the official scent of summer — magnolia, sparkling lemon, and chilled watermelon create the perfect signature fragrance for any sea (or land) dweller. You’re going to smell as fresh as a sea star.

7. Stila Aqua Glow Watercolor Blush

The sheer, watery glow from these blushes are going to look beautiful on your cheeks whether you’re going to the supermarket, to work, or swimming with all your fishy friends.

8. Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar

It’s not called “the little black soap that changes everything” for no reason. Reveal radiant skin with this detoxifying cleansing bar powered by — you guessed it — sea mud, and 26 minerals derived from sea. 

9. Tarte Rainforest of The Sea Eyeshadow Palette

With shade names like “Mermaid,” “Seashell,” and “Starfish,” how can you resist? The colors are luxuriously pigmented and shimmery and will look great against your tan this summer.

10. Essie Nail Lacquer in Barbados Blue

Let the silvery-baby blue shade lift your mood and remind you that you really are a mermaid, even though you lack a tail.

11. Urban Decay Beached Bronzer

Get your tan on without the burn with this soon-to-be cult classic bronzer, available in two natural looking shades. 




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Why Relationships In College Are Underrated

Originally published on The Odyssey on 10/5/15.

Image from https://images.unsplash.com/uploads/1411070807173e4d6762d/f84a3a01?q=80&fm=jpg&s=efdcb673b079f6f3908c2ddd91f98509.
Image from Unsplash.

When our parents (and their parents) were in college, they were socialized to pair off. Everybody knew a friend of a friend you would be perfect for. Parents would phone their friends to set up a dinner with their family, who just happened to have a son or daughter your age. Of course, this still goes on (think Rory Gilmore), but our culture has drastically changed when it comes to relationships, especially in college. Young adults are hooking up more, and settling down less.

According to TIME, 25 percent of millennials will not get married. Those who do get married are getting married later than previous generations. More women go to college now than in the 1950s, when the median age for marriage was just over 20. Now, that age has risen to 25 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. There are definite reasons for this change, such as more women attending college and focusing on careers, the desire for financial stability, and just not finding the right person.

Meg Jay, PhD, psychologist and author of “The Defining Decade” writes that the 20s are an “emotional sweet spot” for growth. Eighty percent of our life’s most important moments happen before we’re 35.

In her book, Jay writes, “Our 20s are the defining decade of adulthood. Eighty percent of life’s most defining moments take place by about age 35. Two-thirds of lifetime wage growth happens during the first ten years of a career. More than half of Americans are married or are dating or living with their future partner by age 30. Personality can change more during our twenties than at any other decade in life. Female fertility peaks at 28. The brain caps off its last major growth spurt. When it comes to adult development, 30 is not the new 20. Even if you do nothing, not making choices is a choice all the same. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do.”

Having a serious relationship in college is amazing, and severely underrated. In your 20s, you will emotionally mature and grow the most. When you have a partner by our side during this time, you will grow together. You will learn together and support each other through life’s most important moments. College is not a breeze, and having a boyfriend or girlfriend with you can be the biggest support and source of motivation. A significant other will push you to be your best self and challenge you to not only exceed, but to try new things and have new experiences. Besides having a deep and meaningful connection with another similar human, you will always have something to do on your weekends, whether you go out and dance all night, or stay in, cook together, and snuggle all night.

This isn’t a call to action to get moving and go on hundreds of dates in the next few weeks. It’s a message to realize that your 20s are not a decade to just waste away, lounge, and put off figuring out what you want in life. Besides, who doesn’t love snuggles, anyway?

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How To Kick This Semester’s Butt, And Hard

Originally published on The Odyssey Online on 9/28/15.

Kick it!
Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/49503214348@N01/3435484065

I enter every semester with the same mantra: this time, I will be organized. It wasn’t until my junior year that I really started following that. You’ve got to kick this semester’s butt, and you will with these three tips.

1. Microsoft OneNote is my hero.

Microsoft OneNote is amazing. I keep an online notebook in the program for each new semester. Within that notebook, I create a new page tab for each class I’m taking. Within each tab, I create a new page for every assignment. I also copy and paste the course’s syllabus on a new page so I can access it from my computer even offline. OneNote is like having a five-subject notebook without having the pages fray and the cover rip off halfway through October.
2. Ditch the cute micro-planner for a normal-sized one…and actually use it.

Every year, I get a new planner and say I’m going to use it and stay organized. Every year, I abandon it in the first few weeks of the semester. I realized last year that this because the planners I was using were so small and I would lose them or leave them in my car or at home. Last semester, I found a cute planner that was the same size as my other notebooks and I stuck to using it the entire four-month period. It’s bigger, you can’t really lose it unless you try, and it won’t even fall out of your hands when you’re carrying the rest of your books across campus because you’re too lazy to use a backpack. To benefit from using a planner, you have to actually use it. You should go through your syllabi and mark down all important due dates for the whole semester, so you are sure to not miss anything that will mess up your grade. It takes such a short amount of time to do this, yet will have a huge impact on your semester
3. You need a folder. And a notebook. And maybe a binder. No excuses.

In high school, I would stick any papers my teachers would give in my notebook. This lead to extreme un-organization and papers everywhere. I could never find anything easily! Now, as a senior, I’ve mastered the notebook-paper-folder organization. I take all my in-class notes in notebooks and put all papers and articles in a folder. I stick the folder in the notebook for easy access and to ensure I don’t forget to bring the folder to class. For one of my classes this semester, it’s all reading and note-taking. My professor puts her lecture notes up online, so I print them out and take notes on those in class. Instead of the notebook-folder method, I hole punch my notes and put them in a binder. Easy!

Once you start on the right track, you have a better chance of staying on and not falling off. It’s easy to just write down assignments on random post-it notes, but it’s also easy to lose them and then forget to do your work. This semester, adopt my mantra and actually get organized! You’ll feel a lot better about your semester, and I bet your GPA will too.

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What I Learned On My First Flight

Originally publihed on The Odyssey Online on 9/21/15.

Image from https://images.unsplash.com/uploads/14114640960629b5c3fa0/116dc05a?q=80&fm=jpg&s=8a48f069b474daee874fc131a7429cd9
Image from Unsplash.

My boyfriend planned a trip to Europe for my 21st birthday and gave me the tickets on Christmas morning. A predictable reaction would include lots of jumping up and down and hugging and smiling — which I was doing — but I was also starting to panic. I’d never been on a plane before and I was completely terrified.

I can’t remember when my acro- and aero-phobias really started, but I do remember getting stuck on the cable cars at Great Adventure when I was a kid. I remember being stuck on the wild mouse ride at Hershey Park. I can recall crying in a glass elevator at Madame Tussaud’s a number of years ago. I can’t pinpoint what sparked my long lasting fear of being off the ground, but it wasn’t just a little nervousness.

The next few months I went through many emotions. I created Pinterest boards for all three countries we would be visiting. I purchased guide books. I planned outfits for every activity. But I also had nightmares about the seven-hour flight there and double flights back. I spent time reading and educating myself on planes and their pilots, and I was able to talk myself into getting on the plane with a smile on my face.

I learned that the risk is almost always worth the reward. Had I not gone on that plane, I wouldn’t have had the best two weeks of my life!

A little bit of bravery can go a long way. Yes, I was terrified of that first flight. The small bit of courage I mustered up got me through all the turbulence and weird noises.

You can be afraid, but don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. How will you grow otherwise?

When you have a problem, you don’t have to try to fix it on your own. On our flight home, the airline made a mistake and my boyfriend and I got separated. This was a huge problem for me. Rather than moping about it or trying to ask other passengers to switch, we talked to the flight attendants. They were able to find a solution with the help of some kind people so that we could sit together and hold hands during take off.

The flight was fine, as you could have guessed. Hell, I even enjoyed it. I loved looking out the window. I loved the friendly flight attendants and the snacks they brought. I loved playing trivia for hours on the screen in front me. I can’t say the full-day flights were my favorite part of the trip, but they definitely weren’t worth all the stress I had put myself through over them.

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Living Life Through Our Lenses

Image by Brittany Hoops

Originally published on The Odyssey Online on 9/14/15. 

Image by Brittany Hoops

As I sat on my balcony in my hotel room in Menaggio, Italy, I took in the colorful landscape behind my iPhone. I was capturing a panorama of the Italian sunset in front me. Lago di Como is the kind of place you see for the month of June on a calendar. The skyline is formed by snow capped mountains and backlit by splashes of bright blues. The lake is crystal clear and sparkling. The seaside villages along the leg-shaped coast are straight from a storybook. I left my vacation with over a thousand photos on my iPhone.
Everyone is a photographer these days, thanks to smartphone accessibility. High quality and high megapixel cameras are always in our pockets and purses. Gone are the days when we must purposefully lug around a camera if we want to capture a moment. Not only do we have portable phone-cameras, but we have all the tools to easily edit our photos and share them on social media. With the click of a few buttons, our followers could be peeking in on our vacations and experiences real time. Is our camera accessibility distracting us from being in the moment?
It can be hard to find a balance between snapping photos and enjoying the present. Pictures and videos can remind us of our travels, our dinners, time with loved ones and friends. Pictures can capture emotion and beauty and simplicity. What pictures can not capture, however, is the exact feeling that overcame you at the moment you clicked the capture button.

At least once a week since I came home, I happily flip through the photo-book I created after my vacation to Italy. I’m happy I have the photos I do, both posed and candid, but I wish I had spent a few less minutes trying to snap the perfect sunset photo from every angle rather than capturing it in my mind.

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