Monday, October 13, 2014

Conquer Your Fear


          Hello my beautiful friends, today I am talking about a very exciting topic, conquering fear! I feel that this is a very important topic to discuss, because for most of us, fear controls our lives to some degree (it's okay, you can admit it, you're scared of stuff too). Recently I've been doing a little conquering of my own, so I want to discuss my epiphanies and offer any help I can to the rest of my fellow humans. 

          To begin, let me share a bit with you about my own experiences with fear. Prior to this point in my life, I kept up a lot of fear-based habits. I barely communicated with some of my old friends from high school, fearing that they no longer cared about me. I kept up a relationship that had long since passed its expiration date because I was terrified of being lonely, and I was so afraid to face myself without him there validating me. My fear of other people's opinions of me kept me from doing and saying so many things. I had so many negative and fear-based beliefs about myself and about life. I was getting by, and even enjoying myself a lot of the time, but still, the fear affected me deeply. 

          Did any of those examples resonate with you? Fear has a hold on every heart, to some extent. Luckily, there are ways to, yes, conquer it!

           First, you must pinpoint your fear. If you have negative feelings about any situation, they are probably fear-based. Maybe you feel bad about not hanging out with your friends often enough. This could be because you are afraid they could dislike you, or because you are afraid to be alone and face yourself. Find your fears. Write them down and identify them. 

          Now comes the actual conquering part. There are several ways of going about this. One excellent way is to follow your fears. I love the quote "Fear is the path to adventure," because it is so true! Fear can actually be seen as a guiding force. When you are afraid of something, that is your gut pointing you towards the next thing to tackle and overcome. 

          When taking this approach, time is of the essence. There is another quote I am fond of that reads "Procrastination breeds doubt," which is very true. The more time you have to think about doing something, the more you overwhelm yourself with negative thoughts. When this does happen, you must try to expel the doubt from your mind. But how? Well...

           The core of overcoming your fears is believing in yourself. Once you come to terms with the fact that you are all you have to survive, you will realize that doubting yourself - about anything - is about the least productive thing you can do with your time. And suddenly it kind of becomes a tough-self-love thing, where every doubt you can eliminate is washed away simply for the sake of efficiency. You can be your own rock. You can get through anything. You don't have to listen to anyone else's opinion about you (good or bad) because you know within yourself that you are good, and your own affirmation is all you need. 

          I'm not saying that you don't need other people - don't abandon your friends! I'm also not saying that this process is quick. But honestly, coming to the realization that my self doubt didn't serve me, and that I am the only person who can make myself happy, really helped me realize how unproductive harboring fear is. I'm still learning. I'm not a guru, and life is a continuous process, but I seriously believe this advice can help people out there, because it helped me. 

          For more life advicey stuff, surf my Life Ideas tag. For more help on this specific topic, I highly recommend reading The Four Agreements. It's a brilliantly helpful book. Now go forth, and conquer thy fear! ;)

Photo cred goes to the lovely Madeline Stone!


Monday, September 22, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake


Hello, everyone. Today I am sharing a dangerously delicious recipe from Life, Love, and Sugar: the chocolate chip cookie cake. This deliciousness is addictive, trust me. I preferred it without the vanilla buttercream, but I included that part of the recipe just in case you al would like to try it. 
Ingredients
Cookie Cake
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips OR about 1 cup of chocolate chunks

Vanilla Buttercream
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp water
Instructions
Cookie Cake
1. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
2. Mix in egg and vanilla extract.
3. With the mixer on low speed, add flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.
4. Stir in chocolate chips. Dough will be thick.
5. Chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
7. Place parchment paper into the bottom of your cake pan to help the cookie not stick.
8. Spread the dough out into the cake pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden.
9. Remove from oven and allow to cool mostly in the cake pan, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Buttercream
1. Beat the shortening and butter until smooth.
2. Slowly add 3 cups of powdered sugar. Mix until combined.
3. Mix in the vanilla extract and 1 tbsp water.
4. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add more water to get the right consistency.




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Summer Thrift Haul!



       Hey friends, today I am sharing a little thrift haul video which showcases the many thrift scores I have made since my last thrift haul video, which I made about a year ago. As you can see on the right, that first sweater I showed you guys is now indeed in my Etsy shop!
       Please let me know if you guys like this video! I really enjoy doing these and will probably be able to make another very soon since I plan to be doing some thrifting in the near future. I flu guys have any questions about how or where I thrift, please leave a comment below and I can answer your questions in an upcoming post!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Great Makeup Debacle



        Hello, friends! Today I am here to talk about, yep, you guessed it, makeup! I've struggled with my own views on makeup for a long time. About a year ago, I wrote the article, Go Makeup Free and Feel Beautiful!, providing you all with a healthy list of reasons why you didn't need to wear makeup. And now, here I am, wearing it. What?! Yes, I know, confusing and contradictory indeed. 

        For a long time, I went through this cycle where I wouldn't wear makeup or do my hair at all for a month or longer to appreciate my natural beauty (mmhm). And then I'd "binge" on makeup. Mascara, eyeliner, and lipstick?! Oh yes. This madness would continue for several days, sometimes accompanied by the uncharacteristically copious use of blow dryers and curling irons. Then I would stop and go back to my plain, unadulterated ways. And I'd feel bad about the binge! I subconsciously had this belief that doing your hair and makeup meant you hated the way you naturally looked and you were putting yourself down. And I felt bad for this supposed act of self-hatred. 

"Makeup is both a treat and an art form, a little something extra. It is not a crutch to rely on to make yourself look perfect everyday. You already look perfect!!"

       Then, I just laid off for a long time. Over the summer I got really into that whole space punk thing, and just weird and interesting makeup in general. I watched a lot of YouTube videos and saw a lot of sick selfies on Tumblr and I started to see makeup as an art. It became more of an act of self-expression rather than one of self-hatred. 
























         I see now that wearing makeup is not a sin - it's just a fun thing to do! I'm getting more into makeup and slowly finding things that look nice on me that I enjoy wearing. I have set down a few guidelines for myself though. These are:

- Wear makeup to have fun and express yourself. Makeup is both a treat and an art form, a little something extra. It is not a crutch to rely on to make yourself look perfect everyday. You already look perfect!!

- Wearing makeup every single day is something that I see as just a bit excessive. Therefore, I neither require myself to wear it every day, nor do require myself to go without it everyday. Everything in moderation!

- Enjoy it! Makeup should be fun! I don't really like the idea of slobbing foundation all over myself every day (nor do I need it!) so I don't do it. It's not fun for me. I do, however, go a little crazy with glitter. I like glitter :)

That's all for me today, guys. What are your thoughts, feelings, or experiences with makeup? Let me know down in the comments! 

Photo credits to my friend Madeline Stone for those pictures of me workin' it 90's style.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Life Lessons From a 19 Year-Old


   

 Hi, everyone! I recently had my 19th birthday, and I spent some time reflecting on what I learned in the past year of my life. I wanted to share these lessons with you all in a video form,  just to make it more personal and conversation-like, but here's a brief list of them below too!

1. Forgiving yourself is key to growth and happiness.

2. Getting upset with yourself when you can't complete every task you want to do is not conducive to self-love. Instead, you must celebrate your progress.

3.Reading is awesome! The library is your friend.

4. If you are thinking of breaking up with your partner with any feelings besides discomfort, you should probably break up with them.

5. Always express your feelings toward other people and let them know you like them.

6. Never bury your emotions. Deal with negative feelings as soon as possible and work through it fully.

7. Do no harm. Treat all living things with respect and kindness, including yourself.

8. Being connected to your feelings and spirituality is very important for your own wellbeing.

9. Reach out to the people around you. Connect with your family and friends.

10. Loving yourself is REALLY IMPORTANT.

11. Live with intention. Focus your mind on what you want.

12. Act on your ideas and be prolific and productive.

13. Experimentation and variety are things to be embraced. Try new things!

     I hope that these life lessons I have shared with you all may help some of you see things in a new light or gain a new understanding of life, just as I have in the past year. If any of you have any thoughts, experiences, or life lessons of your own, please feel free to share with me in the comments section or at my email account which you can find under the About Me tab up top :)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Easy Fresh Peach Cobbler


Oh man, this stuff is addictive. I've never truly appreciated peach cobbler until now. This recipe is so simple (it comes from here), but you can also make it a little more homemade with your own sugar cookie recipe for the topping. 

Ingredients
Fruit
to 10 fresh peaches, pitted, peeled and sliced (about 4 cups)
tablespoons sugar
tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
tablespoons butter, softened

Topping
pouch sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
teaspoon almond extract or vanilla
egg

Directions


1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Place peaches in dish. Sprinkle sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and lemon juice over peaches; mix lightly with spoon until coated. Dot top with 3 tablespoons butter.



2. In large bowl, mix topping ingredients with spoon until soft dough forms.



3. With hands, shape golf ball-sized balls of dough into 1/4-inch-thick disks. Place disks over peaches, covering most of the top. (With any remaining dough, make and bake cookies.)



4. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!



Friday, August 8, 2014

Gift Package Exchange EXTENSION


Hello everyone, I have decided to extend the summer gift package exchange to ensure that more people have the opportunity to get involved. Here are the new directions:


1. You email me your mailing address at aplleegrl@yahoo.com. 

3. You assemble your care package you are going to send. 

3. I randomly pick an address for you to send a care package to and email you the address by Tuesday, August 12th. 

4. You ship your package by August 13th, Wednesday. 

5. You receive your own package and enjoy!!
Please note that you must join the swap by Tuesday, August 12th. 
I advise joining well ahead of the shipping date, which is the next day, August 13th. That way you will have a lot of time to prepare your package and make it look nice. Also, everyone must pay shipping for their own package

For ideas on what to include in your package, please see my full post, here