How I Cleared my Skin (pictures included) // My Diet

I’ve been hesitant to make this post for a number of months now…

Why?

Because my skin, especially during it’s bad stages, is something that is extremely personal to me.

But, if you’re anything like me when my skin was at it’s worst, you are desperate for any advice or miracle products, just anything that will improve your skin. So, my hopes are that by sharing my experience in clearing my acne, my story might be helpful for at least one person struggling with the same thing.

I really think that only people who have acne can relate to what it feels like to have troubled skin. I struggled with acne for nearly five years, and I can honestly say that it has been one of the hardest challenges I’ve faced in my life. Having one or two pimples isn’t that bad, but experiencing acne is somehow entirely different. It effects a person on a deep, self-conscious level like nothing else. No matter what you do- cover it up with makeup, wash your face constantly, invest in expensive products- it seems impossible to get rid of. For me, five years seemed like an eternity, and one point I couldn’t even imagine having “clear skin” because it seemed so far out of reach. So, if you have acne, or even just periods of troubled skin, please read my experience, because I was able to achieve clear skin (for the most part) through a lot of trial and error.

During the winter of 2015 I decided that I was completely fed up with looking in the mirror and disliking my skin to point of immense insecurity, so I made some drastic changes. Now, about one and a half years later, I can testify that three main things radically improved my skin. Today I will be talking about the affects of diet on my skin, and over the course of this week I will go in-depth into facial treatments that have improved my skin and my product recommendations.

 

My diet

On January 1st of 2016 I made the drastic decision to eliminate all gluten, dairy, refined sugar and fried foods from my diet. I also got a blood test which showed that I am allergic to eggs and most nuts, which I then cut out of my diet as well. At first I was very strict to the point where I wouldn’t even eat honey or real maple syrup. After about four months of eating a clean diet I began reaping the benefits. I noticed major improvements in my skin tone and texture, and I also slimmed down without even having that intention. I cannot stress enough the importance that diet plays in our health, especially the health of our skin, which is the largest organ of the body.

About six months ago, I began taking Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen. Collagen offers so many benefits for the hair, skin, nails, gut and overall health. I swear by the powdered collagen that I use because I truly feel like it has improved my skin’s elasticity, texture and tone dramatically. Not to mention, I notice my hair to be much healthier, thicker, and shinier when I take it on a regular basis. I cannot recommend the Great Lakes gelatin collagen enough, and I would encourage everyone to buy some for themselves. It literally makes your skin glow.

Yes, eliminating staple foods from your diet may seem daunting and impossible, but after eating the way I do for over a year now, I can say that it is so extremely rewarding. My recommendation would be to start with at least one food group you’d like to cut out, see how it makes you feel, and then proceed from there. After reading countless articles on how food effects acne, I would highly recommend eliminating all forms of dairy from your diet, for at least two weeks, and see if your skin improves at all. If you do decide to make a change in your diet in hopes to clear up your troubled skin, just know that it does not happen overnight, and like any other medicine, it takes time to see the results.

Since starting my diet, I have now altered it in a sustainable way that is not quite as strict as I used to be, just because my skin is nowhere as bad as it was. I consider myself to live out a healthy lifestyle, which means listening to my body and not depriving myself of foods that my body craves. However, I still follow the no gluten, dairy and refined sugar for the most part.

I’ve also found so many other pros to eating my specialized diet. I used to have the biggest sweet tooth, and now that I don’t let myself indulge in processed, sugary treats, I don’t crave them as much. I never feel bloated after my meals, and best of all, I never feel guilty after eating something “bad”. The best advice I can give to someone who wants to make the change is to always have healthy alternatives and snacks on hand for when those cravings do hit. I will be doing a post on my favorite health food snacks very soon so stay tuned for that.

Diet played a large role in the clearing of my skin, but throughout the same time period I was consistently getting facial treatments and using special products on my face. I will be delving deeper into those topics in my upcoming posts.

Pictures:

December, 2015

January 7, 2016

January 14, 2016

February 1, 2016

February 8, 2016

February 18, 2016

March 12, 2016

Current without makeup (May, 2017)

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Thanks for reading, please let me know if this post was at all helpful for you. If you have any tips or advice regarding skin or acne, feel free to leave them below, I am always interested in reading what others’ have to say.

Stick around for my follow up posts on skincare products and facial treatments. xoxo

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Read my previous blog post: Life’s a Rollercoaster

Life’s a Rollercoaster

Life has been nothing short of a rollercoaster these last couple of months. 
It began with a new job that I poured the majority of my time and energy into. From there, my life was transformed by genuine friendships and connections. I found myself busy all the time, constantly cramming school work, serving up coffee and smiles at the drive-thru coffee shop I work at, and all the while, doing my best to fit in time for friends and family. 

That may sound like a lot to some people. And it is a lot, trust me. Being a full time student + working part time + trying to have a social life is at times very exhausting. 

But don’t misunderstand me when I say these things, because in no way am I complaining. During this new year, and new season of my life, I have found myself to be happier than I’ve ever been. 

It’s funny, because some days I do find myself complaining about how busy I am or how tired I am, but in all honesty, I am the happiest girl when my days are filled with productivity. So instead of whining about what I don’t like, I have been trying to embrace the fact that I am young and able to have a crazy life. 

Throughout these last few months I have grown tremendously as an individual. I feel as if I’ve found my voice more than ever, and that I’ve become much more comfortable and confident in myself as a person. I can’t express how truly blessed I feel. 
With a busy life comes the shocking reality of how fast each day flies by. There’s a popular country song that’s on the radio quite often that’s chorus goes, 

“Sixty seconds now feels more like thirty

Tick-tock, won’t stop, around it goes

Sand through the glass sure falls in a hurry

And all you keep trying to do is slow it down, soak it in

Keep trying to make the good times last as long as you can

But you can’t, man

It just goes too fast.”

And that’s exactly how I feel about life. It’s going fast and it’s a rollercoaster, there’s definitely no stopping it. With graduation right around the corner, summer plans becoming clearer, and post high school uncertainties looming in my future, all I can do is hold on and enjoy every second of this crazy ride. 

As I’m sure you may have noticed, I have dramatically pushed blogging to the side. And I really don’t like that. From here on out I want to make blogging a priority again, because I do love it and feel like there can be a future in it for me. I recently created a video that explained the thing that holds me back often times, which is perfectionism and the thought that everything I produce has to be amazing and exactly how I imagined it in my head. But that’s just not realistic, and I talked about adopting a new mindset that creating something everyday, no matter what it is, is better than creating nothing at all. 

Watch it here: https://youtu.be/OTI_pNKtNdU

IMG_9825Anyways, that’s my rant. Basically, I want you all to know that I’m still alive and well (and very content). And also, that I’m going to put aside dedicated time for blogging in my life because it’s important to my heart. 

Thanks for tagging along on my rollercoaster of a life. You guys are the best. 

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Xoxo, Madeline

Fresh Face // My Skincare Staples


I don’t want to jinx anything… but my skin is the best it’s been since the time I was twelve years old. I can’t help but sing my praises, because, as many of you know if you’ve followed me on my journey, I have struggled with acne-prone skin for nearly five years. That’s a heck of a long time to be stressed out about breakouts.

Within the last couple months, I have noticed significant improvements in my skin. For the first time in years I feel confident enough to wear a bear face, save for a few spots of concealer. I never even used to walk out of my house without foundation on.

My skin texture has become 20x smoother and I have even noticed a reduction in dark marks and scaring. I am a happy girl, and today I decided to share a few of my skincare staples with all of you. On a side note, I would never promote products that I don’t 100% support and approve of. I am here to help even just one of you improve the state of your skin, so I only recommend my holy grail products.

1. Derma E Purifying Daily Detox Scrub

For months I struggled to find the perfect exfoliator that wasn’t too harsh or drying on my skin, but was still able to give my pores a deep clean. After some trial and error, I found the best one I’ve ever tried. The Derma E exfoliator with activated charcoal leaves my skin feeling refreshed, clean and smooth. It has tiny exfoliating beads which gently scrub away the makeup residue and build up from the day. Many times, whether I’m taking a shower or bath, I leave the exfoliator on for about 5 minutes which acts as a mask as well. I couldn’t recommend this product more.

2. Derma E Purifying 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask

Want to try out a face mask that works? Derma E’s mask with activated charcoal draws out impurities and cleans out pores for a deep cleanse. I treat myself to this mask about two times per week, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. My skin is always left feeling smooth, radiant and my pores are noticeably smaller. Charcoal face masks are a must have for me, but this one is the best one I’ve tried yet.

3. Aveeno Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer

Maybe it’s a coincidence, but around the exact time I noticed my skin was clearing up, I had just begun using the Aveeno clear complexion moisturizer in both the morning and at night. It is made with a natural active soy complex and promotes even skin tone and texture, specially made for acne-prone skin. I purchased it on a whim, but have been obsessed with this product for nearly three months now and I’m currently on my second bottle. I think my skin reacts very well to the soy complex, and I honestly think it is a huge factor in the improvements in my skin. I am not the type to trust over-the-counter products for my face, but this Aveeno moisturizer has been a true life savor. I don’t think I’ll ever stop using it. I would say it’s worth a try for anyone looking to banish breakouts. It has never left my skin oily, but has also never left my skin without enough moisture- just the perfect balance.

I have been seriously contemplating doing a post all about how I cleared my acne, tricks, tips and what I did. It is a very personal subject for me, but if it helps anyone I would be willing to tell my full story. If you are interested in a more in-depth post about how I got rid of my acne (with before and after pictures) please leave me a comment down below. I want to write what you all want to read, and would appreciate any feedback you have for me.

Browse Derma E’s website here

Read my previous blog post: Champagne and Zebrawood // Jord Watches

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And as always, thanks for reading. xoxo, Madeline

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Beloved Winter // My Favorites + My Video


Wow. What a winter…. a cold winter.

Honestly, in the sixteen and three quarter years that I have been livin’ my life on Earth, I haven’t experienced a winter in Oregon quite like the one we had this year. Fall came early, and with it, buckets of rainfall.

After autumn, came a surprisingly wintery winter. And by that, I mean more rain, some freezing nights, many dark days, and finally… loads of snow. Well, loads of snow for us Southern Oregonians who live in the valley where snow sometimes isn’t seen for a couple years.

I’m not going to be cliche and say that I love the snow and winter is my favorite season and cold weather clothes are 10x better than warm weather clothes …. because in my heart I know that summertime is my favorite time.

So yes, the snow is nice for a couple days, but the moment it begins compromising my driving and that of others’ and when the sun doesn’t peek out from the clouds even once in a whole week, that’s when I am quickly over it and my body literally craves actual warm sunshine. Anybody else?

I am ready for days filled with golden sunrays that warm up my soul.

But….. as a devotion to winter, I decided to compile my holy grail (tangible and non-tangible) things that helped get me through this harsh season.

1. Hask Chia Seed Shampoo & Conditioner


Hask hair care products have literally saved my hair this winter… they keep it abundantly moisturized and silky smooth. I am in love with this natural, no additives line and would highly recommend all of their products because they are so nourishing to the hair!

2.  Minerbs Activated Charcoal and Rose Face Cleanser


I use this at night to remove my eye makeup before using my specialized acne facial cleanser (which I do not put around my eyes!). It is nice and gentle, but still works wonders in deep cleaning the skin. It’s also 100% natural and made here in my home town by a wonderful woman I know. The Minerbs brand carries mostly mother and child products for mamas to be or who currently have babies, like gentle moisturizers and powders that are all natural. I love to support small businesses, and I think you’d love this one! You can find them online here.

3.Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate


I have already talked quite a lot about this great collagen protein powder… if you want to hear my full scoop on it read my smoothie recipe.

4. Nature’s Path Gluten Free Naturally Sweetened Corn Flakes


This needs no explanation… except that it’s my favorite guilty pleasure- gluten free, refined sugar free yumminess.

5. Frontier Bites

I recently picked up this flavor, blueberry almond, and a pineapple flavor… and man do I love these little snacks. Perfect for on-the-go (especially at work), healthy and so addicting.

5. Wrapped Hoop Earrings 

I have had these treasured earrings for around 4 years now probably, a gift from a friend. I still wear them quite often, and whenever I do, I get loads of compliments on them. Everyone always asks me if I made them myself, and I always answer with, “no, but I should have”. So maybe I will sometime in the future, because they seem easy enough to DIY and I wouldn’t mind having a second pair.

6. The Balm, Meet Matt(e) Trimony


This lovely little single shadow has done me good throughout this last fall and winter. It’s the perfect deep burgundy shade for the colder months, and looks best when blended with my favorite soft brown shade in my crease. It’s been a go-to look of mine for months now.

7. My 2017 Video

On a random note, I made this creative recap and New Years intentions for 2017 on my YouTube channel. I worked super hard on the filming and editing and would appreciate any feedback I can get. I’m an amateur, but hey, 2017’s all about doing something new and pursuing what you love, right?

Thanks for coming along on my very random winter favorite with me. Xoxo

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2016 

2016 has given me a multitude of blessings. 
On the 1st of the year I began a long diet journey, where I cut out all gluten, dairy, eggs and refined sugar. It was a major transition from my processed and sugary cravings. I will say that I’m not the best at following through with many things. I’m the type of person who gets super stoked about a new project and then about two thirds of the way through I slowly lose motivation. But with my new diet, I made a point of sticking with it in order to clear up my skin, and I did keep it up. For one whole year (save the time I went to Hawaii + a few holidays) I have not eaten any junk. It may not seem like a large feat, but for me I couldn’t be more proud of this accomplishment. It was such a great learning experience, and now I know just how strong my will power is. 

2016 has also given me a new job as a barista in a locally owned coffee shop franchise. I have met new people, built lasting friendships, and even reconnected with old friends. 

I tapped into my creative side more than ever before. I began writing more blog posts, filming and editing a few fun videos, taking more pictures, making lots of yummy food and making artwork. 

2016 has been my year of travel. During the summer, my sister and I took our first flight without our parents to Panama, South America where we visited my best friend and her family. 

And later during the summer my family, myself, and one of my best friends made a trip to Hawaii for three whole weeks. It was such a magical vacation and I am beyond blessed to have been able to do as much as we did and stay as long as we did. 

I was lucky enough to escape my small town numerous times throughout the year… once with just my sister and a few of our close friends on a camping trip, and other times on small family getaways. I was able to explore Oregon quite a bit and travel to places I’d never seen before. 

2016 has treated me like a princess and all I can do is thank God for the great experiences I had and the many opportunities that my future holds in 2017. 

Thank you all for following along on my journey this past year, your support means the world to me. Virtual hugs!! I have so many fun and exciting things planned for 2017 and I can’t wait for you to know about them! 

Follow me on Instagram to stay up-to-date with my travels and daily adventures

Here is a glimpse of my year….

 

My Foundation Routine


Lately I have been loving my foundation routine. I think I’ve finally found the perfect products for my skin that leave it looking very close to flawless and I’m so happy with the look of it.

Not to mention, my skin has been amazing lately, except for the few dry patches due to extremely cold temperatures here in Oregon.

Step 1

I prime my face before anything else with the Studio Gear Prime Objective skin protecting face primer. This product really helps to even my skin texture and smooth any uneven places because of it’s silicone base. It has an easy-to-use no mess pump which I really like and it doesn’t have a fragrance. I have oily skin and I think it does a great job of keeping my makeup in place all day, even through sweat and extended wear. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a great base for their foundation.

Want 10% off your Studio Gear order? Use code BB at checkout.

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Step 2

I have recently started using Jane Iredale’s liquid minerals foundation in the shade latte. The color is a perfect match for my skin-tone, and I love that this product doesn’t clog my pores, and actually aids in the healing of my acne-prone skin. However, one thing I don’t like about this product is that I have to use so much of it in order to achieve the full-coverage that I like. The consistency is almost watery/thin so it takes about 3 to 4 pumps until I get my desired coverage. Unfortunate, but I still use it everyday and love the natural look it gives, and I would recommend this foundation to anyone looking for a great natural one.

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Step 3

After applying foundation, I go over it with my Jane Iredale PurePressed base mineral foundation in the color amber. When I purchased this, I thought I was getting the same color as my foundation, latte, but it turns out its a shade lighter (I think). I don’t really seem to have any issues with them being different colors. I absolutely love this product. You can either use it on it’s own or as a setting powder over foundation- which is what I do. I think the coverage this gives to the skin is flawless, but still natural at the same time. If it’s a day when I don’t want to wear a ton of makeup, I will opt for just this powder and it still evens my skin tone noticeably. My only complaint is that will the cold, dry weather we get here in Oregon, powder foundation tends to accentuate my dry areas. dsc00565dsc00568dsc00580dsc00599

Here is a good view of how the products look on my skin. As I said, I think the primer does a nice job of evening my skin texture and smoothing any unevenness. The foundation gives me a beautiful full-coverage look, and then the powder sets everything in place, while giving me even more coverage. I love this foundation routine and think I’ll be sticking with it for a long time. dsc00615dsc00617dsc00621

Thanks for reading… I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my makeup routine. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below and I will get back to you.

xoxo

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Read my previous blog post: Crepes // Gluten Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free

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Crepes // Gluten Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free

Who doesn’t love crepes?

I know I do, especially on a chilly morning with a cup of coffee, and topped with a generous amount of peanut butter.

Today I’m sharing my all-time favorite gluten free, vegan, refined sugar-free crepe recipe with you all and I am so excited. I’ve been making this recipe for about six months now, and I feel like I’ve finally perfected it. So enough with the chit chatting, let’s get onto the recipe.

First, I wanted to quickly mention my crepe topping/filling of choice; this delicious Wild Friend’s peanut butter. Today I used their coconut chocolate peanut butter which reminds me of nutella, but is only made with agave and natural ingredients. However, they have a multitude of other flavors to choose from, for example, this gingerbread peanut butter, and they also make almond butter and sunflower butter if peanuts aren’t your thing. The company was started in Eugene, Oregon, very close to my home, and their story and outlook on food is one I can stand behind. I would fully recommend checking them out, looking for them in your local grocery store, and supporting their growing business!

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In order to add a holiday flavor to these crepes, I opted for a touch of cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and extra vanilla extract. I enjoyed the depth of flavor they added. dsc00043dsc00046

I choose to use a mix of two gluten free flours- this one is one of my favorites: Bob’s Red Mill all purpose flour, which acts as a 1:1 substitute for regular flour. Through recipe testing, I have found that varying the flours while cooking with gluten free ingredients makes for a better outcome than using all of one type of flour. But I have tried other flour mixes in this recipe, and all all-purpose mix seems to work just fine, so use whatever you have on hand. I just recommend sticking with the Bob’s Red Mill mix for half of the portion of flour, and you can change the other portion of the flour mixture if you desire. dsc00069

And secondly, I added the Enjoy Life gluten free all purpose flour.dsc00082dsc00099

Here I used rice milk, just because that’s the best milk for all of my allergy needs, but feel free to use any plant milk of choice. dsc00118dsc00129dsc00139dsc00157dsc00166dsc00175dsc00183

Gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free Crepes

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill all purpose flour

1 cup Enjoy Life all purpose flour

1/4 cup coconut oil (liquified)

2/3 cup plant milk

2 cups water

1 tbsp. Vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 tsp. Pumpkin pie spice 

1 Tbsp. Maple syrup

Pinch of salt

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Grease a large pan with coconut oil. Ladle a small amount of batter into a low-to-medium heated skillet and quickly coated the entire bottom of the pan. Let cook until the edges start to curl and then flip and cook for a bit longer. 

Top with any desired toppings: chopped nuts, peanut butter, maple syrup, powdered sugar and butter or fruit. dsc00148

Thank you for reading. Stay tuned for more healthy recipes and collaborations with awesome brands! xoxo

Buy Wild Friend’s Nut butters

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There’s Snow Time Like Finals

‘Tis the season of finals. 

And wowwweeee have I been busy and a little bit stressed. I haven’t had much time to blog or post on social media lately, but I wanted to share a quick update about what’s been happening in my life. 

I am currently taking one Biology class through my local community college, and I have my lecture and lab final exam on Wednesday (wish me luck!). So I’ve been studying my butt off in order to get a good grade. I can’t even express just how happy I’ll be after this week when I will be on winter break and I can breathe for a second and tidy up my life.

Other than school, I have been working quite a bit, and haven’t had much time to do anything else. So my life’s pretty exciting if you ask me. 

What’s to come? 

Over the next month or so I will be working on filling out college applications and I have a few really fun collaborations with brands that I will be sharing on my blog and Instagram that you should stay tuned for. 

Also, I’m in the process of painting my room and giving it a remodel (try to guess the color;)). 

(p.s.- if you aren’t already following me on Instagram, you should! Especially if you like pictures like these ones) 

SOUL Review// Rain International

As many of you already know, I am an avid health nut, which means I’m constantly on the lookout for new, healthy foods or supplements that benefit my body. Over the past couple of weeks I had been trying out SOUL by Rain International. Remember my FUSED coffee review and recipe? SOUL is created and marketed by the same company, so you already know it will be amazing.

Basically, SOUL comes in convenient, individual packets that are perfect for a busy body like myself who seems to be constantly on-the-go.

SOUL is the first seed based nutrition of it’s kind. Each packet of the gel-type liquid is filled with a synergistic blend of the black cumin, black raspberry, and chardonnay grape seed. All of Rain’s products are non-GMO and don’t contain any harmful additives. They use a high-tech “cold-press process to carefully preserve each seed’s life-giving nutrients.”

Instead of drinking those horrible energy drinks that contain who knows what, SOUL has created an innovative product that helps fuel the body, naturally.

Benefits of SOUL

Anti-inflammatory Properties: Through a cellular study, SOUL proved to reduce inflammation in the human body by 33%.

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Anti-aging Properties: Through a cellular study, SOUL showed a 62% increase in stimulation of cell life for anti-aging properties. And who wouldn’t want to look younger?dsc_0241Through multiple studies, SOUL has proven to boost antioxidants in the body.

Now that you know all of the benefits of SOUL, I will tell you my experience with the product.

I made a point to take one packet per day in the morning for a solid two weeks in order to track my results. I really enjoy the taste of SOUL; it’s quite concentrated because it packs such a punch in only 2 fluid ounces, and tastes very fruity from the raspberry and grape seeds.

After nearly a week of religiously taking it, I realized that my energy was boosted quite a lot. For some reason, especially when the weather begins to get really cold, I feel as if I’m struck with tiredness and all I want to do is curl up in my bed and sleep. So, with the cold upon us here in Oregon, I was beginning to feel this way, but after taking SOUL I didn’t have the same urge to sleep my day away. I also noticed that SOUL put my in a better mood throughout the day, and that starting my day off with a packet really kept working to brighten my mood throughout the whole day.

My skin is honestly the best it has ever been during my teenage years (and I am 16). I attribute the clearness and smooth tone and texture of my skin to SOUL and also to another supplement I’ve been taking. I think, without both of them together, my skin wouldn’t have seen anywhere near the amount of progress as it has while taking both supplements. With SOUL, your taking a whole concentrated 2 ounces of pure wellness and nutrients, so you can only imagine the effect that is will have on your body and skin.

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Overall, I’m very impressed by SOUL’s philosophy, effectiveness and thought behind each product. So far, I have absolutely loved their FUSED coffee (which I drink almost everyday) and SOUL. I am now currently trying out another product from Rain International, called CORE, which is similar to SOUL. I will be doing an in-depth review on that once I complete my two week cycle, so stay tuned if you’d like to read what I have to say about it.

Want to purchase SOUL?

If you’re interested in purchasing or reading up further on SOUL, there are a few options I would recommend.

Through this link you can visit their website, browse their products and read all of their reviews and stories behind the products. You will have the choice to either buy a product one time with a flat rate, or you can “subscribe” and save money on their products. If you subscribe, you will be sent any products that you choose each month, for example, a month’s supply of SOUL, with the exception of putting it on pause or skipping certain months. dsc_0250

Buy SOUL

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Read my previous blog post: November in a Nutshell

November in a Nutshell

img_4874I will start by saying that this month has brought an abundance of blessings.

When you’re caught in a blustering rain storm without a rain jacket, it’s hard to remember to be grateful for anything really; not because you are ungrateful, but simply because your mind is occupied with so many different things that a rainstorm might invoke.

To me, life resembles a rainstorm more often than we might like to admit. Ever since the beginning of the school year, my life has been nothing less than chaotic. Wake up early, go to school, work, pick up kids, earn money, be creative, take photos, do homework, drive to the mountains, run errands, cook, bake, blog and the list goes on. I feel as if I’ve barely had one moment to breathe during the past two and a half months.

I wanted to share my heart today as a reminder to be thankful, even when your life might resemble a rainstorm that caught you off guard. And I thought it was only fitting since Thanksgiving (probably my second favorite holiday) is in a few days, and what better way to celebrate such a wonderful time than to exclaim your thankfulness.

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To start off with the small stuff…

I’m thankful for health. I have not gotten sick throughout the chilly months yet, and I wish for it to stay that way. Now that I mention it, I can’t even remember the last time I got sick so I guess I’m doing something right.

My hair has finally noticeably grown out from the last time I chopped it, which was now two whole years ago. I’m very happy with how healthy, long and shiny it is.

I only have about three weeks left of school before Christmas break. I am a senior in high school, but I’m also enrolled in my local community college where I am taking Biology (one of the hardest classes I’ve ever taken) and I currently have a B which I have worked very hard for.

I get the opportunity to work with Kindergartners two days a week as a part of my high school elective credits, and they bless me so incredibly. My heart is always warmed by their unique and quirky personalities; they are too funny and adorable. Yes, sometimes it can be tiresome having to constantly reprimand them, but at the end of the day, they lift my spirit more than anything else.

All my life, my family has supported me, but now more than ever I feel extremely blessed by them. Recently, I have become closer with a couple of my cousins. I am starting to realize how important family is, because they really are the only ones who will be there for you no matter what.

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And now onto the bigger picture of thankfulness…

I am thankful for a loving God who carefully designed me and gifted me with a creative heart. All along I have known of my innate desire to create things, but at the point I’m at in my life, I am beginning to pursue my creative nature more than ever before. I want to capture feelings, memories and moments; whether it be through writing, through a camera lens or through paint smeared on a white canvas. I have a fire burning inside of me to make beautiful things, and to share them with the world.

With all of that being said, I have some exciting stuff planned for the near future.

My sister and I will be purchasing a Cannon 70D within the next two or three weeks, which we will use to photograph and video each fleeting moment. I am hoping to delve into videography (and maybe vlogging) on my youtube channel once I get the hang of the new camera. I can’t wait to capture this beautiful life; people, places and things with a new perspective. Not to mention, I will be able to create so much better and more content for my blog, especially food recipes. Stay tuned!

I am tossing around the idea of starting some type of “project”. I don’t know why I am so intrigued by such an endeavor, but I think it has to do with the thought of continuously creating something that all comes together in the end to form something unique and (hopefully) beautiful. Not too long ago, I started reading the book “The Happiness Project”, written by Gretchen Rubin. Basically, she summarizes her happiness journey in which she spent one year pursuing. Each month, she set goals for herself which ideally helped her achieve happiness; things like, lighten up, enjoy now, give proofs of love, or make time for friends. Two months later and I still haven’t finished the book… whoops. But, from what I’ve read, which is almost all of it, I can say that just reading it made me feel happier. I loved the fact that she took one whole year to focus on and practice things that improved her mood and overall attitude, she didn’t just give up after January.

Another person who inspired my desire to start my own project was a friend of mine named Keeli. Man, let me tell you, this girl is such a gem, and I couldn’t be more thankful that God connected us through blogging recently. Just a few weeks ago she started something that I’m going to call the “I am” project. What she wants to do is photograph people, portrait style, and with each new picture, she has them write a sentence or short phrase about something that they are, whether it’s true now, or they want it to be true in the future. I had the opportunity to participate in her project and I wrote my own “I am” statement. I think it is such a wonderful idea, it’s creative and connects people that might not think to spend time together otherwise.

Keeli has a blog too, which you should go show her some love–>Sip Seek Serve

Click here to see the portrait she took of me and read my “I am” statement–>Keeli’s Instagram

And lastly, I am so incredibly thankful for this blog. I am able to share any and every random thought that pops into my head with people that may actually enjoy my writing. It is a dream of mine to be able to look at my blog and see my creative dreams become reality, and for that reason, I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my writing space. But for now, I’m content with the progress I have made over the last two years, and I am very proud of myself for sticking with blogging for so long.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I want to know what you are most thankful for in your life. Is it a person? A book? A place? An opportunity?  Let me know in the comments!

xoxo.

My sweet friend Miranda took the beautiful photos pictured in this post. Follow her on Instagramimg_4915img_4995img_5075

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Read my previous post: Fall Favorites