Friday, June 29, 2018

Quick 10-minute Bullet Journal Spread for when you are busy! - July 2018

June 29, 2018 2
bullet journal spread july 2018 quick and easy

Summer can get really busy and even though you love the notebook that you use for journaling or really want to plan your summer, sometimes you just don't have the time to fill up your bullet journal with 10 different washi tapes and 10 different layouts across 10 different pages.

So here's a really quick and simple bullet journal spread/layout I did for July 2018 that takes 10 minutes to do and doesn't require a lot of brain power in terms of creativity and design.

If you want to skip this post and watch the video so you can multitask or simply due to preference, click on my youtube video below! If not, just scroll down...




bullet journal spread july 2018

I faced two main problems when preparing to make my July spread.
The first problem was that I didn't bring any of my Tombow calligraphy pens, washi tapes, etc. and also didn't have any watercolors to decorate with instead. The second was that I didn't have much time to make my spread as my summer has been pretty busy so far.
I had to do with what I had - which was, obviously, my Moleskine bullet journal, some construction paper, and my black ball pens (and a sketch pen). 

Here is my minimal and simple bullet journal spread for the month of July made with the least number of stationery items I have used ever and least amount of time. Bullet Journal: Extremely Minimal Edition.

bullet journal spread july 2018 quick and easy

bullet journal spread july 2018 quick and easy

bullet journal spread july 2018 quick and easy

I dislike writing with a ball pen and strongly prefer gel especially for bullet journaling. I think my bullet journal spread for this month was definitely less neat but it was very simple since I didn't have too many materials to work with. It was also shorter since I know in July I will be vacationing and I only have one summer class I am taking online.

I only added basic elements to my journal - monthly calendar overview, monthly goals and tasks, important dates and deadlines for the month, and simple weekly spreads with my 4th and the 5th week being merged under the heading "Week 4" and having only different task categories headlined.

I recommend this "flash journaling" spread for anyone who doesn't have time to create a full-on spread and will be having a "meh" month with not much to plan!

Have you made your Bullet Journal spread for July yet? Comment below and let me 

know what style your monthly spread is - minimal or decorative?


Thursday, June 28, 2018

How My Acne Got Cured - How you should properly manage your acne!

June 28, 2018 0
I dealt with severe acne for about 4 to 5 years and it wasn't easy at all. As of today, I am so happy to say that I no longer deal with severe acne. I may have occasional breakouts here and there but that's it. My face has mostly cleared up and even the acne spots are slowly fading away. If you want to know more about my acne story, click the link to my article below:
I hope to help those like me who have dealt with acne for longer than you should have. So if you currently deal with acne or know someone who has been dealing with acne for a quite some time, share this post (you can share with the buttons at the end of this article) with them so that they or you can finally enjoy having clear and clean skin.

how to cure severe hormonal acne

If you read my article above, you know that I had very persistent acne and I tried a lot of different things but all of the methods failed. No face wash, no cleanser, no acne beauty products were improving the condition of my face at all. However, there was one face wash that did the trick just a little bit. It helped me control acne but it wouldn't always prevent new acne forming. Though, my skin would look cleaner (compared to using other products) and the face wash had a cooling effect that helped minimize my pores. I believe, to some extent, it did help reduce my acne by almost an unnoticeable amount, which was good, but not enough.

The product I'm talking about is the Neem Face Wash by Organic Harvest.
Now if you haven't heard of the company, it makes sense. It isn't very popular yet. The company is based in India but I'm pretty sure they also ship to other countries. But you are definitely in luck if you are in India or someone from India can get this product for you (less shipping fees or no shipping if you buy it from a store)
This product made the most difference to my skin than any other non-medicated/non-prescribed product I have tried.
    I also attempted to make changes in my diet, like reducing my intake of dairy products, consuming less of oily foods, etc. I cannot be certain if these changes helped my acne or till what extent they did but I definitely noticed a slight reduction in my facial acne during this "dietary change" period.

    However, let me tell you what really cleared up all of my acne in just a matter of few months.
    Medications. Yes, that is right. I did a whole course of medications to eliminate my acne. I am honestly surprised of how less this is recommended on other blogs. Prescribed medicines can sound a bit scary and I don't blame you, because sometimes they do have side effects. Some side-effects I experienced were frequent hunger pangs (totally random, right?) and a minor skin allergy. However, the side effects subsided in a few days and weren't bad at all, to be honest. If you have been dealing with acne for as long as I have, you know that a few days of hunger pangs and a little itchiness on your face is completely worth for getting rid of your acne. Other than those minor side effects, I didn't really have another trouble.

    When you visit a dermatologist, he/she can tell you exactly the reason why you have acne. Acne isn't only caused due to "not keeping your skin clean". There could be several factors that cause and aggravate it. In my case, most of my acne was hormonal. My dermatologist also diagnosed that the acne on my left cheek was due to UV radiation. Note that I applied sunscreen (SPF 40 and PA++ or above) almost every time I stepped out of my house. Turns out you can get acne due to UV radiation even if you take such precautions. You can't diagnose your own acne unless you are a dermatologist, and I'm assuming you are not since you wouldn't be reading this if you were. It really helps to know exactly why you have acne and to be prescribed medications to get rid of it quickly. The time for the treatment obviously depends on what kind of acne you have, how long you have had it, and how severe it is. The process requires patience and some efforts from your side too but I, personally, thought it was the best decision I had made.

    I was prescribed 2-3 different tablets/capsules every time I visited my dermatologist (which was about once a month) for around 5 months or so. As of now, I am only on external (cream) medication.

    I noticed that I had absolutely no new acne forming on my face for a good few months after my oral medications stopped. My acne is still very in control but I have very small bumps (very, very small) appear on my face once in a while. The cream I am currently prescribed is to help with that. Overall, I have had very clear skin even after my oral medications stopped and my skin's quality is definitely way better than it used to be (absolutely no doubt!).

    One thing I'd like to share is that, before I decided on getting an appointment with the dermatologist, I decided I wanted to make at least some of my acne disappear before I went. I was determined and found a few face packs to make at home and other remedies and they actually did some good. One thing that I did twice every single day was spritzing my face with diluted rose water using a spray bottle.
    I will probably put up a post on this method, and other face packs that helped me, soon.

    If you think that going to a dermatologist is not an option for you (though I highly, highly recommend it), you should also visit the link below. The article is a complete skin care routine that helped me manage my acne and still helps me maintain my skin:
    You may not be able to go to a dermatologist for certain reasons, maybe you don't have a good one near you or maybe you cannot afford to visit one (the medications can be expensive too, sometimes, depending on what medications you are prescribed). But if there is there is any way you can, you should definitely do it if nothing else is working out for you.

    An important part of this entire process is consistency. You should be consistent with your medications and your acne routine. If you are prescribed oral medications, do not think you can get away with not washing your face for the entire day or longer. You have to maintain your skin quality and provide internal and external help to your skin.

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    Saturday, November 25, 2017

    Anxiety and Depression.

    November 25, 2017 2
    Two words: Depression. Anxiety. I don't wish it upon anyone. It's the worst thing to have ever. It makes you feel stupid and "way too emotional" and makes you feel like you have no control over your life and emotions.

    I've been dealing with anxiety for quite some time - around 2 years. Yep. It's the first time I've said it to more than 2 or 3 people and it's weird. I was actually inspired by LaurDIY's (a famous YouTuber) who made a video about anxiety herself some time back. My anxiety began after a traumatizing event that happened. It still makes me cry till this date even if I don't think about the specifics.

    It started out with crying every day. It was bad. I was depressed for about a year. In fact, I didn't stop crying every day till I finally spoke (by spoke I mean text because it's way easier to talk about something over Whatsapp rather than saying it out loud) to my teacher from middle school about it one day (we're pretty close and even though she isn't my teacher in the classic sense anymore, we still talk once in a while). It felt like a little weight was lifted and she gave me some helpful advice.

    However, anxiety isn't that simple. Talking to someone who you know can help, and does help, doesn't just make anxiety go away. People will get mad at you for not talking but talking doesn't always lift the weight off of your shoulder. Sometimes, it just makes you relive the entire situation that caused it and almost make you go to square one.

    On my best friend's birthday, I had an anxiety attack. I ran to the bathroom thinking it would be less embarrassing and though it probably was less, it was still embarrassing because it was pretty obvious I was about to cry when I fled to the bathroom of the restaurant. The rest of it is so blurry I can't even remember who came in the bathroom to ask me if everything was okay. Of course I didn't say anything I didn't want to make this whole planned day to be about me and my whining and my sad life.

    Anxiety attacks were still very prevalent even after I talked to my teacher and I would get them with what any one else would think was the most nonsense trigger. Stress and then anxiety attack because I hadn't slept on time and wouldn't get enough sleep because I had to wake up early; stress and then anxiety attack because I had packing to do for a trip and my bed was a mess,  stress and then anxiety attack because it was my birthday and I didn't want to talk to anyone or celebrate but people were still calling me. All those above reasons sound so stupid, but I didn't have control over my anxiety and even the smallest stressful situations would trigger it.

    It also took a toll on my relationships with people but honestly, I couldn't do anything about it because I was just going into a downward spiral. Depression + Anxiety isn't a fun combination. I always feel terrible for whoever I'm talking to/interacting with when I'm having an anxiety attack because I don't want to open up but I get mad at that person for not doing anything or not trying to make me feel better even though they may not know what's happening exactly. It's really hard to communicate correctly when you feel depressed.

    If you are reading this and have anxiety or depression, even in the smallest form, know that you are not at fault when people get angry at you for "not opening up" or not telling them what's wrong. I know how it feels to bring up the trigger situation or whatever the root of your problems are and honestly even after it being 2 years I'm still crying every few minutes or at least getting really teary while typing this post. I'm literally taking a minute break between each paragraph.

    Anxiety sucks. The worst part is when the person beside you doesn't realize you're having a minor/major anxiety attack (attacks don't always involve tears) and you wish you could do something but it's almost paralyzing and you don't feel like saying it out loud. You also don't want other people to judge when you're stressed because it could be because of a "stupid" reason.

    Sometimes, you start healing and you notice your anxiety decreasing. You're happy. Genuinely happy. I had that phase. It was incredible and I can only wish it comes back to me. I am still, overall, more happy than last year and I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful I'm not back to square one. But I know people out there experience that and it isn't fair to them..or to you if you are experiencing this.

    I get a few small leaps back once in a while and that honestly sucks. Finally feeling like you are over it and that you have been successful in breaking through it and moving forward when one night a random little thing throws you off balance and you cry again. Over a "stupid" scenario.

    It isn't always an easy path especially when you go through phases of depression and anxiety. If you are reading this and want someone to talk to but don't want to talk to your family or friends (been there) then please message me on Instagram and vent out if you want to or if you want to talk about anything. @blackandwhiteandwise . And no, this isn't a shameless promo, I genuinely want you to message me if you want to talk about anything. I may not be very helpful or may not have great advice to give sometimes, but I will listen.

    Don't let anyone tell you that you are overreacting, or being way too emotional over something stupid, or that you are at fault because you aren't telling them what is going on. Everyone deals with things differently and everyone has different triggers they know not to touch. If you feel like it's the end of the world, it's not. Hang on a little tighter and it'll get better even if it doesn't seem like it.

    Just in case you are suffering from something, here are a few sites for hotlines/helplines:

    http://www.aasra.info/
    http://www.suicidestop.com/call_a_hotline.html
    http://togetherweare-strong.tumblr.com/helpline




    Saturday, November 4, 2017

    My Weekend Resets - How to de-stress!

    November 04, 2017 0
    Long time, no see?

    Firstly, thanks to my friend for motivating me to write a blog post (though I don't know how often I will be posting yet - I'm a bit overwhelmed still as you will read ahead)

    I am taking a little time off my blog because I am unable to get inspiration to write things here. I will probably have some study-related posts or organization posts or something out there soon. Lately, I've been really messy and all over the place. I've had a lot of anxiety this past week and felt like I had no control.
    I like weekends because I can reset my mood. One of the reasons I was so anxious and unmotivated recently was because I didn't have time, and when I did, I wasn't being productive.
    Being productive is very important to me and it makes me feel extremely satisfied and happy. I love being busy.
    I was completing all my assignments last-minute and it made me feel horrible. I was completely stressed out.
    So this is me resetting my mood.



    C L E A N

    The first thing I like to do is clean up my mess. Don't get me wrong, I love a good organized mess because I know where everything is and it's all on the floor for me to easily find. However, a mess on my floor is a depiction of my mind - a mess. My floor is filled with books, loose pages (since I don't really use notebooks), and files. Step one for my reset is to segregate my crap. Pages to recycle go in a pile, textbooks go back in my book shelf, pages either go in the "make notes" pile (I make messy notes during my lectures and then create organized and clean notes later on) or in the files for the class they belong to. Files then also go into my bookshelf.
    I then pick big pieces of scrap paper and put them into my trashcan. Then comes the vacuum.
    Nothing makes me happier than a super clean, vacuumed floor after living in a mess for a week. I usually get messy every week but that's okay.
    I then clean my desk and organize my bookshelf if needed.

    P.S. I love playing some joyful music to make my mood even better.

    P L A N

    For some reason, my planner pages for the weekend is very messy. I like to just scribble things I have to do. Sort of therapeutic, actually.

    S T U D Y

    The next investment I make to lessen the stress in the coming week is to study.
    First, I complete assignments that are due on Monday. Then, if I am able to do those in time, I go ahead and do assignments that could be due after Monday. For example, I usually do assignments for a class I only have on Thursdays since the material is up by the weekend. By doing this, I have extra time during the week to study and not get overwhelmed by tests and assignments.

    S E L F - C A R E

    Stress usually impacts my hair. I've had hair fall for quite some time now and when I'm stressed or not taking care of myself, it accelerates. Hence, on the weekends I usually apply an Oil hair pack thingy concoction to my hair (I may make a mini post on what I use). It immediately makes my hair feel healthier and fall less. It always makes me feel better when my hair looks good (in terms of quality and not how it actually looks lol).

    H E A L T H

    I like to go to the gym at least once a week and a Saturday or Sunday is the perfect day when I have no plans. Even a little exercise is great for your body if you don't have the time to do too much.



    A  G O O D  E N D I N G

    I like to end the day with wrapping up my homework/studying by 8-ish and then watching an episode or two of some TV Show. Recently, I have also been reading a chapter or two of "Many Lives, Many Masters" by Dr. Brian Weiss before going to bed. 

    Saturday, September 30, 2017

    People - A Photography Album

    September 30, 2017 0
    Just a random compilation of a few photos I took of human beings. I never really took pictures of other people because my comfort zone is "non-living" or "non-motile" (aka Nature, usually). So this is kind of like a trial, I guess. I hope to have some proper photoshoots in the future! 

    ©BlackandWhiteandWise
    Literally taken in my bedroom. Spur of the moment decision when I realized the lighting in my room became kind of dramatic (monsoon season yas)

    ©BlackandWhiteandWise
    Took this picture at my dad's office's opening ceremony. Everyone was dressed up in Indian Attire. The chief guest cut the ribbon and was given a bouquet of flowers as a gift.


    ©BlackandWhiteandWise
    Taken of my brother as he waited to be hit by the tides of Miami Beach last year.

    ©BlackandWhiteandWise
    Self Portrait by that same window because dramatic af

    ©BlackandWhiteandWise
    This candid picture was taken of my friend on New Years Eve 2016. We (friends) were dressed up to do a photoshoot and I clicked this actual candid (it wasn't faked, I swear). Quality is not as good as the other pictures due to some unknown reasons and maybe because the artificial lighting was not good enough to trick the camera into thinking it was daytime.



    Wednesday, September 27, 2017

    Petroleum Jelly v/s Eyelids (What it Did to my Eyes & Why you shouldn't use it)

    September 27, 2017 1

    Like a lot of people, I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and the Internet in general. I read on a couple of occasions that people were using Petroleum Jelly on their eyelids to make their eyelashes grow and I was intrigued.
    The particular reason for it catching my eye (geddit? geddit?..I'm sorry please don't leave) was the fact that I have short, sparse eyelashes and I've disliked that for a very long time now. My eyebrows are sparse as well. Despite having this first world "problem", I never really did anything or never took care of my eyes to maybe help them be moisturized or whatever. I just let them be and once in a while would hope that I would wake up with my eyelashes a little longer.

    When I saw that people were using petroleum jelly, I thought, why not. Petroleum jelly is branded as a cure-all or help-all so I thought there would be no harm.
    I started applying it to my eyelash line every day hoping the moisture it provided would help my eyelashes grow somehow (as if they were plants).
    For a little backstory, let me tell you other factors that played into the soon-addressed disaster.
    I was travelling every day to school by bus. Public bus. In India. If you know anything about the city life in India, you know that it is very polluted and travelling by a public non-AC bus (I also traveled by AC buses but the non-AC buses were more frequent so I'd ride them so I could reach school earlier) with all the windows open, doesn't really offer any protection from the pollution and dust that's flying around.
    I did wash my face when I came back home but that didn't really help...let me tell you what exactly happened.



    Apparently, I should've done my research before I decided to use petroleum jelly on my eyes.
    It was the summer time in India, and summers in India are very intense. Sometimes even ceiling fans don't do the job because it is just so hot. One day, I started itching my eyes a little. It didn't hurt, and it just felt like my skin was dry. I didn't think much about it. The sensation became stronger towards night time and I didn't know what to do. I didn't have any eye drops on me so I just washed my eyes with water a couple of times and went to sleep. I woke up with my right eye swollen and red. It looked like there was some fluid buildup and I kind of freaked out. Initially, I thought it was due to the dust and heat or something because I traveled to school daily in unbearable heat. The only thing that didn't add up was, why now? It had been over a year since I had been traveling the same way to school and back and this had never happened in the past. I still washed my face every day like I used to. So what was different now?
    I got a small bottle of some generic eye drops from the pharmacy. Though very slowly, the swelling or whatever it was, did go away. I went back to applying the petroleum jelly and it was all normal for a few weeks. 
    My eye started itching again but I ignored it because it wasn't possible to have another eye infection in the same month was it? I was more careful this time and I made sure to wash my face immediately after I got back. But I was wrong. The same thing happened all over again. I applied the eye drops once a day again and it slowly subsided so I didn't visit an Optometrist.
    By the third time, I knew the moment my eyelids started feeling itchy, what was about to happen. I put in eye drops even before I noticed any bulge or redness but that didn't stop my eye from getting infected. Also, note that it wasn't just only my right eye. My left eye got infected to the second or third time (but it was always only one eye, thankfully). This time it was a bit worse than the last two times and I that's when I finally went to the Optometrist. 
    The Optometrist told me that it was a dust infection and prescribed some medications which helped my eye in just a few days.
    But it still didn't make sense to me. How did I get the eye infection 3 times in one month? It had never happened before.
    I realized that the petroleum jelly was the only variable and I decided to do some research.
    Apparently, even though claimed to be "non-comedogenic", petroleum jelly does trap dust particles in. So I was moisturizing my eyes, but I was also trapping any dust particles that were on my waterline. Petroleum jelly (if you are good at chemistry, you will know), is not soluble in water. Hence washing my eyes with water was not helping and the dust particles remained trapped. I also came to know later that petroleum jelly doesn't really help grow your eyelashes. Moisturizing them doesn't necessarily mean they will grow longer. Basically, I did all of this for nothing and it harmed my eyes (thankfully though it was only temporary). Once I stopped using petroleum jelly, I never experienced another eye infection despite being exposed to the same traffic and pollution and heat.

    Also, another property of petroleum jelly that makes it not-so-safe for your eyes is that it is viscous. It is completely safe to use oils but petroleum jelly is thicker and has more density so it can weigh down on your lashes.

    I didn't take any pictures of the eye infection just because I hated the way my eyes looked (obviously) but I'm pretty sure you can visualize what an upper eyelid looks like when it's swollen and red.

    A lot of people use it and have experienced no inconvenience, but I personally suggest you do the following as a precaution if you are using, and want to continue to use, petroleum jelly on your eyelids (maybe because you want a cheaper alternative to eye creams or something along those lines):

    • Buy a baby shampoo like the Johnson's Baby Shampoo (doesn't have harmful chemicals and doesn't burn your eyes)
    • Take a drop or two of the baby shampoo and dilute it with water. Wash your eyes very close to the eyelashes (so as to wash your waterline and upper waterline) and then just rinse your face to remove any leftover shampoo
    This will help you remove any dust particles thoroughly and I do this occasionally or frequently depending on how frequently I go out and it's an effective way to prevent any dust related eye infections.

    If you are using petroleum jelly for any reason on your face/body/etc, make sure to use one from a known brand. Don't risk buying from an unknown brand you have never heard from. This is why:
    Petroleum jelly is refined from oil and the components that are removed from it to make petroleum jelly are thought to be carcinogenic (in some cases). Before you freak out, know that companies like Vaseline are tripled refined and are non-carcinogenic. Hence only buy from brands of which the degree of purity is known to avoid unnecessary harm.

    It is also advised that if you have acne or any similar skin condition, you shouldn't use petroleum jelly as a moisturizer for your face (instead you should use a water-based gel moisturizer).

    Even though I believe you shouldn't use petroleum jelly on your face, there's no harm using it on the rest of your body and I still use it on my body as a moisturizer sometimes. You can use it to moisturize your knees or elbows (since they tend to become dry and rough easily, at least in my case). 
    There are a lot of other uses of petroleum jelly where it actually benefits you rather than harming your body, for example:

    • to heal minor scratches/burns
    • on your hair (I've tried this!)
    • when you are doing nail art (to protect the surrounding skin of your fingers)
    • on your pets' paws
    • you can even put a little bit on before spraying your perfume on that spot to preserve the fragrance for a longer time
    Petroleum jelly isn't a dangerous product, but you should just know where to use it!

    Sunday, September 24, 2017

    Faces Cosmetics Review - Is it a good drugstore brand? (Hypoallergenic and no animal testing!)

    September 24, 2017 0
    Faces cosmetics review

    Faces Cosmetics is a Canadian Makeup Brand which (as far as I know) sells mainly in Canada, Mexico, Quebec, India and I think even Honduras.

    Faces is pretty famous in India too, maybe not as much as Revlon, Loreal, and Maybelline, but you still see the Faces stall with the others in the mall and there are quite a lot of proper stores in malls too. Faces is a bit more affordable than Revlon (there might be products that are an exception) for the most part and the brand has a decent price range.

    Though I don't own all Faces products that are available in India, I do own a lot. I'm only going to review products that I believe are worth the bucks. (But as a heads up, some products that I'm not a fan of are their loose powder eyeshadow pigments and their nail polishes).

    One thing that I love about the brand is that the products are hypoallergenic! If you don't know what that means, it basically means that if you have oily/acne-prone/combination skin type, the face products are great for you and won't cause you to break out! The brand also doesn't test on animals, which is great if you are vegan or simply love animals (like me) and don't want to buy products from brands that test on animals.

    1. Ultimate Pro Illuminating Powder (a.k.a Highlighter)

    Faces cosmetics highlighter

    This one is definitely on the top of my list. It might even be my favorite makeup product I own right now (partially because I'm in love with highlighters in general). In fact, I will go as far as saying that I like this more than the MAC Mineralize Skinfinish highlighter. Yes, there is the powder flying off if you use a big brush but it isn't a big deal. If you apply it using ur finger (even a light dab on the powder and on to your face is more than enough to make your cheeks pop!) or a small fluffy brush you'll get less powder flying. And it lasts all day long!

    Faces cosmetics highlighter swatch


    2.  Makeup brushes

    Faces cosmetics makeup brush

    It may be my lack of experience in the "makeup brush" sector of makeup, but Faces brushes are pretty good. My favorite one is the small fluffy brush for applying eyeshadow (not shown in the picture above because I couldn't find it in time) and the blush brush (which I use for everything but blush. #TeamNoBrushKnowledge). The quality is pretty good and there's no hair fall out.


    3. Matte Lip crayons and Lip Pencils

    Faces cosmetics lipsticks
    I hate when lipsticks say they are "matte" but have a very visible/noticeable gloss to them. ???. This is one is completely matte and the texture is creamy so you don't feel like you are dragging your lips every time you put it on. There's great pigmentation and it lasts for a decent amount of time. If you eat a lot there will be transfer and you may have to reapply, but otherwise, it should last the whole day! The formula could be a bit drying but if you make sure to moisturize your lips a few minutes/sometime before applying your makeup then you should be fine. (If you have unmanageable dry lips then maybe matte lipsticks just aren't for you in general). The lip pencils are also smooth and easy to apply. They are the right amount of soft if that makes any sense; not too hard but not so soft that it breaks every time you try to line/contour/fill in your lips.

    Faces cosmetics swatches

    4. Eyebrow pencil 

    Faces cosmetics eyebrow pencil
    I have sparse eyebrows, and when I say that, I mean S P A R S E. Many would even say non-existent (I like to believe they're a bit more visible now than they used to be a few years ago - I'm getting there). So filling in my eyebrows is something I like to do frequently. Most eyebrow pencils out there are either way too dark or way too brown (I have black hair) so I'd always just use black eyeshadow to fill in my brows. I've heard beauty gurus say all the time to use dark brown if you have black hair and I didn't realize how much of a difference that made (even though it may not seem so) until I used this product. It's a great waxy formula and the spoolie that it comes with on the other end is a plus point. One problem is that it will spread if you rub your eyebrows (e.g. if you're itchy or whatever, I don't know what you deal with, eh) so it isn't smudge-proof but for the most part, it does the job well. It's really easy to blend out if you put on too much so there's a lot of control as far as the intensity goes, but again I just wish it would become a bit smudge proof after a few minutes of application.


    5. Gel Eyeliner

    Faces gel eyeliner
    The eyeliner isn't that special (nothing really stands out when compared to other brands) but it does the job and it doesn't break the bank just like the other products from the brand (note that the foundations can be a little higher priced compared to Maybelline's, etc). I do love the fact that the brush comes with the liner and is in the cap (I just realized it would've helped to take a picture of that but basically half of the long extension of the cap snaps off to magically reveal a tiny, cute brush) which makes it more hygienic in a way since the brush isn't lying around in a dirty pouch. It has a very dark, opaque pigment which I like but it does smudge a little (or that just could be because I scratch my eyes every few minutes when I forget I have eyeliner on). It's a good eyeliner if you're not looking for anything super special. I recommend it if you prefer gel eyeliners over felt-tip/liquid eyeliners. I personally prefer gel because the brush gives a more precise and sharp wing.


    Is it the best brand? No. Does it fall under my Top 5 favorite drugstore brands? Yes. Overall, I love the brand and will probably try out a few more of their products soon. Out of the above list, I would definitely say that my favorites are the highlighter and the lip crayons.

    Thursday, September 21, 2017

    6 Important Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Bullet Journal

    September 21, 2017 0
    I only started my Bullet Journal a few months ago so I still have a lot to learn and practice. However, I have made so many mistakes and realized a lot of things that I wish I knew before starting a Bullet Journal. Here's a list of 6 important things I wish I knew before I started mine:

    things you should know before you start your bullet journal

    ⬩⬩⚫⬩⬩

    1 ➤ You make mistakes! 

    There will be scribbles and cancellations and strike-throughs. You may add an extra day to a month while making your yearly overview or make a spelling mistake because you are so focused on trying to make your lettering look perfect. Sh!t will happen and there's nothing you can do other than practicing. I was annoyed every time I made a mistake because I saw all these pretty, flawless bullet journals online and I couldn't make it that pretty. Give yourself time and you will get better at it!

    2 ➤ Aesthetic!

    You should watch a lot of Bullet Journal videos on YouTube, so you can perhaps figure out what aesthetic you like the best. I didn't do this and I didn't even realize I wanted my Bullet Journal to look like a certain way so I winged it and sometimes winging it doesn't work the the best. My Bullet Journal was all over the place and I didn't feel like using it. I re-made my journal to an aesthetic that I liked best after doing some research on YouTube and getting inspiration from videos that were similar to my aesthetic. You can even search on Instagram if you are aiming for some beautiful layouts!

    3 ➤ It can get overwhelming!

    There are so many types and aesthetics and layouts and elements you can add and modify to the Bullet Journal. Even though that's the beauty of this type of journal, it can get quite overwhelming at times. It's hard to choose what you want to include and what you don't. I suggest adding elements you think you will use and each month trying a new element. I never thought a monthly spread calendar would be useful to me, but after I tried it out, it's my most used and most favorite element in my Bullet Journal.

    4 ➤ You don't have to include everything!

    You don't have to add each element from the original Bullet Journal Design or the most commonly used ones. Your Bullet Journal should be functional and designed to suit your requirements. So only add elements you will really use. If you know you don't have a busy week and will only be binge-watching a TV show half of the time, don't dedicate a daily log for that week, just have a weekly log.
    If you don't watch a lot of TV shows, there's no need to add a TV show log. You get the point, right?

    5 ➤ Placement

    When I started my Bullet Journal, I didn't properly plan out what elements I wanted to add. I had a rough idea; year spread, TV show tracker, 2017 goals, monthly spreads, etc. I ended up not realizing I had a few more elements to add like "Favorite Quotes" till I finished my first monthly spread. The problem with this was, if I had an element that is just going to be one page and used throughout the year, it should be at the front of the journal, before the monthly logs, etc. My bullet journal became disorganized because of this. So you should plan out which general elements you want to add to the front of the page (so that they are easier to find and your journal looks organized) and add those first. Leave a page or two if you feel like you might have another idea or two to add in those pages. You are going to use your Bullet Journal to be more organized so the journal should reflect that in its structure.

    6 ➤ Notebook

    One thing I definitely didn't think was a priority when I decided to make a Bullet Journal was investing in a good notebook. I thought it didn't really matter but as I started making my journal more creative and using different pens/markers, there was major bleed through and the paper quality honestly sucks. Definitely invest in a good bullet journal if you are confident you will maintain it for the entire year at least. Though, I do have one thing to say, which is, if you are starting out with a trial mindset (i.e. you are just testing the waters with this new planning technique) then using a random notebook isn't the worst idea. You'll save money and you can make mistakes and not cringe yourself to death (just kidding). If your notebook is giving you too much of a hard time you may not want to make another bullet journal, so that's also another side to the coin. 

    Sunday, September 17, 2017

    DIY Polaroids! Aesthetic, Looks like the real thing + Way Cheaper!

    September 17, 2017 0
    Here's an easy and quick tutorial to make DIY Polaroid Pictures that don't require great art skills and looks exactly the same as real ones for much cheaper. My personal favorite DIY!


    DIY polaroid pictures

    Okay, let me tell you straight up. This DIY has to be my most favorite one yet! It is super easy, requires very little computer knowledge (if you aren't technology savvy), only requires a document-editing software, is wayyy cheaper than buying a polaroid camera + the films every time, and looks literally the same from the front! 5 amazing pros with the only con being...nothing!

    P.S. Go to the bottom of this post if you wanna skip the reading and just watch the video!

    Without further ado, here's an easy and detailed tutorial to create perfect polaroid picture dupes in about only four (yes, 4!) cents each! (for a mini polaroid. for a larger polaroid, 8 cents only!). For my Indian viewers, that's around 2.5 rupees per mini polaroid (and 5 rupees for a bigger polaroid)!

    How to edit your photos:
    To give the polaroid-like effect to the pictures, I use one of my favorite photo editing apps - VSCO.
    Literally all you have to do is add the T1 filter (I like to keep it around +6 only not the entire effect, but that's up to you) and then increase the contrast. Again, it depends from picture to picture how much editing is required to give it the polaroid effect but I usually stick to +1 contrast only. The settings I use give it only a slight polaroid effect so you can adjust them according to what you want.


     


    Also, the colors do look slightly different when it is printed so if you're lucky, your printer will help you achieve the polaroid effect! 

    Let's get to the physical stuff now:

    The first thing you will need is some glossy photo paper. Preferably, use the same brand as your printer but it doesn't really matter that much. I used HP paper in my Epson printer and it turned out fine. The Epson glossy photo paper, I believe, is cheaper than HP one in case you want to go for the cheaper option. I used HP one because it was already lying around, probably from ages ago.
    HP premium glossy photo paper

    Next, you will obviously need a laptop and any document editing software (Microsoft Word or the apple document editing software. I clearly have no clue what it is called).

    Start by first adjusting the paper size and margins. Here are the settings I kept for my specific type of photo paper:

    glossy photo paper page size settings

    If your photo paper has tabs and you would like to avoid those tabs, make sure to select the size option "with tab" while printing. I did not do this even though my paper had tabs. This is what I did instead: After my first print, I understood which side has an excess margin and made sure the tab came on that side when inserting the paper into the printer. By doing this, I could just break off the tab after printing and the white space in the polaroids would be uniform instead of two having longer white spaces than the other two (you will understand this better when you see how I added the pictures below).

    Next, use the ruler feature to create two perpendicular lines going exactly through the middle of the page. Make the lines a light gray color so that if you cut incorrectly, the lines won't be as visible.

    dividing word document into four

    If the rulers are not visible, then go to the "view" tab and click on the ruler box as shown below:

    enabling ruler in word document

    Next, add your desired pictures like shown below:

    diy polaroid pictures using word


    TIP: To ensure uniformity, use one picture and size the other 3 pictures to the same dimensions as the first one. You can crop the picture if needed. Use one picture as a guide so that the placement is exact for the next picture and so that the white space is the same for each "polaroid".

    Place your paper in your printer and make sure to adjust the tab in your printer:

    how to adjust printer for photo paper

    Here is how I set up my print options:

    print options

    print options for photo paper inkjet printer

    Print them and let them dry...

    epson inkjet printer

    epson inkjet printer

    printing polaroids using inkjet printer

    Here is what they should look like once you print them out:

    aesthetic diy polaroids

    Finally, try to cut them out neatly using the gray lines you added earlier as a guide.

    TIP: Wait 15 minutes at least before cutting or even touching the paper. Leave it on your desk or somewhere safe. If you scratch the paper, by mistake, before it dries, you will end up moving the ink and you won't be able to fix that. Hence, wait before cutting the paper. Once the ink has dried, scratching won't hurt your picture (unless you aggressively scratch it...which why would anyone do that?).

    cutting polaroid pictures

    This is the amazing final result! It turned out so pretty and looks legit. I definitely recommend only using glossy photo paper for the same effect and for longevity of your "polaroid pictures". If you use normal printer paper, perhaps consider laminating them so that they don't get ruined by smudge marks or get ripped.

    DIY polaroid pictures

    cute puppy polaroid picture

    cute puppy polaroid picture

    DIY polaroid pictures


    This is an easy DIY with perfect results (you really can't go too wrong even if you mess up the printer settings) so I hope you enjoy trying it out!

    More Ideas!
    • You can add magnets to the back to display on your fridge
    • You can add resin to them to preserve it forever
    • You can print out a large size (either use the entire 4 × 6 sheet or a bigger sheet if available) and glue it stiff foam to make a mouse pad.

    If you would like to see the video version of this tutorial for a clearer understanding, click below:


    Thursday, September 14, 2017

    One Week Decluttering Challenge - The Minimal Lifestyle

    September 14, 2017 0
    I need to have a serious decluttering session and what better way to do it than a challenge! So here is my take on the "7 days" challenge - 7 days of decluttering to be a bit more closer to a minimalist lifestyle.
    (If you know me personally, you know I need to do this challenge because my room is a complete disaster even after doing somewhat of a decluttering session)


    NOTE TO READERS: This post was written when I was in India, hence the room I refer to is my bedroom back at home!


    Today is Day 1 and as I'm writing this, I'm sitting on a chair, typing with my laptop on my desk. My desk is a complete mess. I recently posted my "How to declutter like a pro" article on this blog you can read it by clicking the link below:
    I did follow my own guide. In fact, the guide was written off of my decluttering session. However, I noticed that the amount of decluttering I did, did not satisfy my goal. I avoided decluttering because I was bored of doing it those two days and I think I'm finally ready to do an actual massive declutter. I have to reduce all the items I own by a lot because I can't fit everything into my suitcase (I'm going back to the USA to attend university if you didn't know) and also because I don't want my dorm room to look cluttered and flooded with all the junk. I will take a picture right now of the current situation (a.k.a mess) in my bedroom.


    Cringe-worthy, right? I agree! You would think I would be ahead of my game if I put up decluttering guides. Truth is, I'm not perfect and sometimes my laziness kicks in hard. I abandon a task completely and don't come back to it for ages. 

    I'm going to conquer this 7 Day Challenge and I'm inspired by two reasons:
    1 - I really need to narrow down what I am going to take with me and what has to either be passed on to my younger brother (like drawing tools and stuff like that) or thrown away/donated.
    2 - I wouldn't want all this writing to go to waste because I bailed on Day 2. I like to be efficient and not completing this challenge would be the complete opposite of that.

    Note that the "After" pictures may or may not look very different from the "Before" pictures above (I don't know yet because I'm literally writing this on Day 1). I'm assuming that there won't be a massive change because a lot of my things will either be kept so my brother can use them (e.g. art materials for his future school projects) or will be sentimental items that I can't take with me but I wouldn't want to throw them out. Some items will also still be present and not packed away into my suitcase because there's still time (a little more than a month) for me to go away so I won't pack everything just yet. Maybe I'll pack the things I know I definitely will not need till I get to my dorm room.

    Here's my 5 Day schedule (you may skip to any particular day if you are more interested in that section of my room if you are looking forward to decluttering that same area in your room too):

    Day 1: Mainly my nightstand and other small drawers/cabinets 
    Day 2: Wardrobe part 1
    Day 3: Wardrobe part 2
    Day 4: Study desk part 1
    Day 5: Study desk part 2
    Day 6: Bookshelf (+ Laptop just for fun)

    I tried to alternate heavy and light decluttering throughout the week so I don't get overwhelmed/exhausted/bored by the entire process to ensure I declutter thoroughly.

    Let's begin!

    Day 1: Nightstand

    Before:
    Since it's been a while since I did an intense cleaning up in my room, I think today I will start off with a small section of my room as you saw in the schedule above. My night stand is very small and I recently threw away a lot of old nail polishes when I was doing some light decluttering. However, I think I do need to revisit the situation and maybe make space for other items, that are on my desk, that don't belong there (like my lotions and sprays).

    After:
    So the session was pretty fast and I'm glad it was because I started at around 7 pm or 8 pm. Here's how much I threw away:


    I ended up only decluttering my nightstand and not the other drawers so I think I'll just do those when I do my study desk. A lot of the stuff in my nightstand remained because my mom keeps nail polishes she uses in my nightstand too and there are also other things we both use that will probably stay there even after I move out. I'm still pretty happy with the progress and how much I threw out because it was way more than how much I threw out during my recent, failed attempt. I had some expired things, some items I hadn't used in ages and knew I wouldn't like some fake nail sets and adhesive stickers for the same. The problem I have when decluttering is trying to throw away items that have been gifted to me. I know that I won't use that item now but I also know that they've spent money on it. I feel guilty, but there's no use in keeping it because I 100% don't want it otherwise.

    I also put all my art supplies from other cabinets into one cabinet (I will not be taking them with me but I have kept them for my younger brother).

    Today was kind of like the trailer for this whole challenge and it hardly took any time. Tomorrow is the real deal. Decluttering my wardrobe and then my study desk is going to be a real challenge.

    Day 2: Wardrobe Part 1

    Before:
    So as I'm writing this, it is already 5:40 pm and I'm afraid I won't have enough time to declutter my wardrobe thoroughly. The reason being, I also have to write a blog article and a few other tasks for the day. I'm pretty sure I can't film a YouTube video now (which was supposed to be today's priority).
    Anyways, I'm gonna have some snacks and then get on with the decluttering.

    My goals are to:
    A) pack away clothes I won't wear till I get to the US (I know it isn't technically decluttering, but it's still organization and I also want to implement that into this challenge).
    B) Separate my wardrobe into two sections: one for clothes I will give away just a few days before I leave and one for clothes I will wear now and also want to take with me.
    C) Identify things I want to give away or discard right now like old accessories, etc
    D) See a difference, personally, when I compare the before and after.

    After:
    I am pretty proud of today's work. I was able to successfully manage to do A, B, and D to some extent. I still have 2 compartments of my wardrobe to sort out, which I'll do tomorrow.
    This is what has been removed, permanently from my wardrobe:


    The bag doesn't seem too big even after using my phone as a reference but there are a lot of clothes packed into that bag. Plus, I had already removed and given away a lot of clothes a few months ago so imagine the picture above × 2 or maybe even × 2.5.
    I had a lot of packaging and cardboard and all that from accessories and from socks, etc which I discarded. I just piled all my socks and then stuffed them into the corners of my suitcase (packing hack, by the way). I still kept a lot of my clothes for the sole reason that I may or may not have time to shop once I get to my campus and it'll take some time for me to settle in my dorm too. I don't want to have to stress over things like not having enough clothes on top of all the other things I'm going to be sorting out there.
    My wardrobe definitely looks way emptier than it was before but I'm still a little concerned if everything will fit in two suitcases. I'm hoping that the rest of the days in this week will help me believe that I don't have way too much left after cleaning out everything.

    Day 3: Wardrobe Part 2

    Before:
    Today my main goals are to accomplish yesterday's incomplete goals and my focus is the top shelf of my wardrobe (it contains accessories, makeup, maybe some toiletries, and some miscellaneous items). Again, a lot the stuff will stay in my wardrobe because I'll give most of my accessories to my mom and she doesn't have space in her wardrobe (lol) so it'll stay in my wardrobe.
    If I finish decluttering my wardrobe early, I might (might!) do a bit of tomorrow's task.

    After:
    As expected, not much was taken out to be discarded since I decluttered about 80%-90% of my wardrobe yesterday itself. However, I did manage to remove more items than I expected to. I was basically expecting none of my jewellery/accessories to be discarded as my mom would use all of it but suprisingly I had a good amount of accessories discarded.

    I let go of a lot of necklaces and earrings that I wouldn't have let go if my goal was not to make sure all my stuff fits into two suitcases so I'm glad I didn't keep anything for "sentimental purposes". Trust me when I say that before I kept everything for "sentimental purposes". Most of the time it wasn't even close to sentimental but I gave myself that excuse every single time.

    Mission Nearly empty wardrobe: Completed
    (just clothes I'll need for about a month's time and clothes I'll throw away just before going are kept)

    Day 4: Study Desk Part 1

    Before:
    Those who notice that I've given myself two days for a desk and think that it is weird, kindly refer to the "disgusting ___" collage above. My desk has a lot of storage and is bigger than the average desk. I need two days. Okay...maybe I want two days, but whatever!

    After:
    I've successfully managed to distance myself from my art supplies (I love my art supplies and I'm a big time art supplies hoarder). Most of it has been kept, neatly, in the storage cabinet below my desk for my younger brother to use for school projects. I will only be taking a few paint brushes and perhaps one small watercolors set. I've thrown away some files that are old, a lot of miscellaneous items including things like old pens, rulers that were in unusable condition (don't ask how, I have no clue), etc.
    I have filled my trashcan completely (to the point of overflowing). I have also gotten rid of a lot of the bottles that were lined up on that one shelf. Everything is so miscellaneous it's hard to describe what kind of stuff I threw out!

    Day 5: Study Desk Part 2

    After:
    (I decided to skip the before part because there wasn't much to say)
    There was a trunk-like case below my desk which was previously a case for the keyboard I have (we don't put it in the case anymore). It had a lot of art supplies, some random electronics I don't use, etc. I threw out 2 small boxes worth of stuff including an old microscope set I got when I was way younger (total scam, something was wrong with the microscope so it never worked properly), some decoration kits and so on. I also gave a lot away to my cousin who has come to visit me.

    Day 6: Bookshelf

    Before:
    My bookshelf looks extremely messy and I have way too many files and notebooks in it. I hope to segregate the 4 sections of my bookshelf like this:
    1 (Top shelf) - Files and notebooks I want to keep
    2 - Dictionaries and notebooks for my brother + one or two pairs of heels
    3 - Reading books (combined). I will decide which books I will take with me the last minute if there is any space in my suitcases.
    4 (Bottom Cabinet) - Rest of my sandals/heels

    After:
    I was successful in doing exactly as I stated in my goals above and segregated my bookshelf according to that. I still have around 3 miscellaneous items that I am very confused about whether to keep or not. #Dilemma

    I also have two camera bags in my bookshelf currently but that is again because there is nowhere else to keep it safe, I guess. My tripod will most likely reside in my wardrobe.

    I threw away a lot of CDs (eBook versions of my high school textbooks), some vintage greeting cards with an unknown origin (why did I even consider keeping those in the first place?!), a lot of very old books and dictionaries, and two pair of sandals. I gave a pair of boots to my cousin because I had a total of two pairs of boots and I don't have enough space in my suitcases to fit too many shoes.

    Overall, it felt pretty great to declutter my room and finally being able to actually see the furniture in my room for once. Unfortunately, I did this very last minute and just forgot to transfer all the pictures of my room from my camera to my USB drive once I was done decluttering and only realized now (after moving to USA). My camera is back at home and so I can't show you guys the wonderful room transformation that occurred after I finished decluttering it.
    Hopefully, if my dorm room gets cluttered I can make a post when I declutter that! Just kidding, guys please do not hope that!