Pretty In Bronze: life
Showing posts with label life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label life. Show all posts

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Rescheduling Our Wedding due to Covid-19
April 02, 20200 Comments

Hello,

This has been a very strange and unfortunate time for the world and there's really no other way I can put that into words. As some of you may know, I was supposed to be getting married very soon, but with Covid-19, not only did the Ontario government declare a state of emergency and banned large gatherings, it simply wouldn't be safe. I do get to the point after several paragraphs of me ranting/giving some back story to our decision, so I will put headings in so you can skip the whole rant if you'd like to! I do want you to know if your wedding was also rescheduled/cancelled, or any event for that matter, that it's ok to be sad about it, even though other people may have it harder than you! Don't let others guilt you for feeling down about the situation.

Rant (And backstory)

My fiancé, Steven, has asthma. My mother, some of his parents, and a large percentage of our guests (60+) are considered high risk if they were to catch this awful virus. It all feels very dystopian or apocalyptic, which is stressful as it is, but it has also taken away countless celebrations, people's jobs and most importantly, peoples lives.

Planning a wedding is stressful on it's own and I had just come out of being stressed as everything had fallen into place. The only thing that we had left to purchase before all of this happened was our wedding flowers. We had made the final payments to our venue, had all vendors confirmed, my dress was almost ready to be picked up after being altered, and had all of the RSVP's ready to go with all of the required information. All we had left aside from flowers was having a rehearsal dinner/decoration making session the day before, writing our speeches (which to me is fun) and actually getting married the day of.

I like to browse Reddit fairly frequently, and not even two weeks ago I wasn't worried in the slightest about Covid-19 affecting our wedding. At the time, people were still saying it was blown out of proportion, and that the death rate was lower than the flu, etc. While on Reddit, a post from the wedding planning subreddit caught my eye. Someone had cancelled their wedding, which was two weeks away. I was shocked and clicked on it, learning that several guests had backed out. This was before any shutdowns occurred on this side of the globe.

"Things will cool down by our wedding," I told Steven, completely sure of myself. None of our guests had cancelled and at that point, we hadn't even received one inquiry about the virus. I was home with my puppy for two days at that point because she had just gotten spayed and also had a preventative gastropexy done, and my job allows working from home, so naturally I stayed back to keep an eye on her and her incision. The day after her surgery I received an email from the company I work at, telling people to prepare to work from home. Everyone would have a week to get their things together before not being allowed back at the office for the foreseeable future.  I was already at home so I didn't need to go back, but I was happy because my company cares about its employees, even if the decision seemed unnecessary to me.

A few days later, the whole company was home as the cases escalated too quickly. The questions from guests started pouring in. Even now as I post this, we don't know if weddings in Ontario will be allowed with over 50 guests by the original date. Even if they were, we wouldn't want it to happen anymore and risk anyones health, on top of wasting a bunch of money for only a portion of the invited guests to show up. We learned that the venue would only contact us if they knew for certain that they could not operate on the day, but it would be last minute.

When we rescheduled - What is happening now

I couldn't go on every day, not knowing what was happening, so I emailed the venue, requesting to reschedule.

Thankfully for us, it all worked out. A summer date was available and the only downside is that it's a Friday rather than a Saturday. We get to keep our original room that I fell in love with, same start time, and all of our vendors are available and we're happy to reschedule. We're expecting less people to be able to attend now, but that doesn't matter to us. What matters is that most will be there, and our guests will be much safer at that point (we hope) than they would be attending a wedding right now.

If things improve, we should still have a great wedding day because we'll be marrying each other, and it helps that there's less chance for rain as well. We can order our flowers in time and now have months to finalize our speeches, practice dancing, improve our speech and tan naturally (with sunscreen of course).

I'm not really sure what I'm hoping to get out there with this post other than to say how grateful I am that we got so lucky, and are so lucky during this crisis. If you're having a wedding soon and are worried, please reach out to your vendors and see if you can reschedule. Living with the stress of not knowing what's happening is awful and I promise you that you'll feel much better about it! Of course I'm still worried because this thing is only getting more and more serious, so there's a chance that the new date will also be rescheduled or cancelled altogether, but if it gets to that point, the wedding really isn't a priority.

Stay inside unless you have to go to work, or need to get food. If everyone who is able to do this or work from home cooperates, this thing will improve and we'll have a better chance at finding a cure or at least better manage it. And for the love of all things holy, don't go out if you're feeling ill and especially not if you have tested positive, or have the symptoms of Covid-19.

Don't believe everything you read on the internet, but instead use reputable sources, such as https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 . They have a mythbusters section that includes a lot of the misinformation that's been spread around, so be smart and think critically!

I hope all of you reading this are doing ok and I'm SO sorry if you're not. I can't personally help, but there are tons of resources out there for you. Don't be afraid to reach out to your loved ones (safely, on the phone or computer). If we all work together, we can get through this much quicker.

I'm going to try and focus on lifestyle and beauty for the next little while as a distraction. On a random note, if you enjoy reading fantasy, check out my newest story that I've been updating weekly on Wattpad, Apollo's Prophecy :)

See you soon!

Thursday, March 05, 2020

How to Keep Track of Expenses and Budget for Your Wedding
March 05, 20200 Comments

Hello!

I have a very different type of post for today. This is purely related to wedding planning and budgeting, so if that's not your thing, that's ok! Keep an eye out for future beauty and lifestyle related posts coming soon!

One of the most stressful parts of a wedding is how expensive they can be. Even the best budgeters will have trouble not going over in any categories and unexpected expenses seem to pop up every now and then.

The Government of Canada actually has a very useful spreadsheet available on their website, free of charge. I modified the spreadsheet a lot to cater it towards my wedding. Here's a screenshot with some of the totals blocked out for privacy reasons.


If you open up the original, you'll see that I've made quite a few changes based on categories we do and don't have. We mainly moved rows around to different categories (For example, decor is all one category). We also eliminated many selections and added a few that pertain directly to our wedding. The numbers include tax and shipping costs as well.

If you look close, some of the boxes under the 'Actual Expenditure' section have a small black triangle on the upper right. These are notes that I inserted to break down the expenses that led up to the total cost. And example of this is the 'Makeup' row. In the notes I included the total price, including the gift cards I used to purchase makeup. The main number is what came from out of pocket. The 'Suit/Accessories' section was edited for you not to see the total numbers, but I broke things down by total cost of each item. The suit, shoes, bowtie, socks, etc. were all added up.

Steven and I are actually considering starting a YouTube channel together that focuses on finance and budgeting since it's something we take very seriously compared to most people our age. Because of that we're obsessed with spreadsheets. Once the wedding is over and we have the final costs, we'd be open to walking through each category with full transparency on how much each item costed us. We'd also like to share our gift/money tracker, which is the next image in this post.


A gift tracker is always a good idea to make life easier when writing your thank you cards. In my opinion, it's a bit impersonal to order a bunch of cards that say the same thing. Our plan is to order cute cards with some pre-determined text, but write out a personal thank you to the guest, and include mention of their gift so they know we're putting effort in.

We have a small registry for those who don't feel comfortable giving cash, but we know a majority will give money so we've made an estimate of what we'll receive from each guest or family unit based on what point of life they're at. By this we mean that we wouldn't expect a teenager or student to give as much as an older family who is in a good financial situation. We also added a notes section in as there are a few guests that we specifically told not to worry about getting us anything at all.

 We under-estimated for the most part (and I blocked out the total guess vs the actual amount so far) so it'll be interesting to see how much we do get! Some family members have already committed to giving a certain amount, or providing help (for example, making a wedding cake and a bunch of sweets for the night), so we count that as a gift and still added it. So far a large portion of the venue and food costs have been provided by my Aunt, so I tweaked the total 'planned" and 'actual' amounts to subtract that number, since that isn't money we're physically receiving after the big day.

Spreadsheets are an amazing way to keep track of expenses. While Steven and I both know how to create formulas on excel/sheets, it was much easier to use a free spreadsheet and tweak it to what we want. Even if you're not Canadian, you can use the free spreadsheet provided by the Government of Canada and erase the flag and notes in the first row in case it would make you feel weird!

That's it for this post! I hope this helps anyone who is currently planning a wedding or at least gave you some ideas on how to get started. Please let me know if you would be interested in an update surrounding the budget once the wedding is over, and especially if you might be interested in a channel that focuses on budgeting. We thought it'd be cool because we're both in our early twenties (well, I'm basically mid) and have very ambitious goals that we've worked hard towards since we were still teenagers due to living in a very expensive part of Ontario (Yes, Im talking about Toronto and the GTA housing prices).

I hope to see you soon!

Friday, February 07, 2020

Saalt Soft Cup Review
February 07, 20200 Comments
Hello,

This is a bit different for me in terms of reviews, but one of my 2020 internet goals is to transition this blog to include more lifestyle posts, rather than focusing on makeup and skincare since I haven't been purchasing as much as I used to. Lifestyle makes more sense for me because it's... my life. I really appreciate when the influencers I watch talk about real life, so when Samantha Ravndahl and Raw Beauty Kristi reviewed period cups, I was very intrigued after hearing about them for years. Both specifically raved about the Saalt Soft Menstrual Cup.



It seemed like the Saalt Soft cup was the most comfortable period cup and had the highest reviews, so I finally caved and ordered it. I hate pads and tampons for many reasons. First and foremost, they make it a lot easier for me to get a UTI because I'm SUPER prone to them and every UTI I've ever gotten that wasn't condom related has conveniently been right after finishing my period. Pads are super annoying for that reason and because I have to wear bulkier underwear to feel comfortable in them. Tampons are just very uncomfortable for me. I don't have a heavy flow, so they're really annoying to put in and take out. I'm talking the full eight hours of wear and then it's still dry and let me tell you... taking out a dry tampon is NOT a nice feeling. They're also not good for your body in general and on top of that, disposable period products are very expensive! Only a few years ago we still had to pay tax on them in Canada. Another thing that finally pushed me towards buying a period cup is how wasteful pads and tampons can be.

I've always been a reuse type of person (I save all the gift bags and wrapping I can for when I'm giving presents to others). I never really thought about the environment and how bad period products were for it until people started mentioning it online. I have had a period since I was only eleven years old. I'm 24 now. That's 169 periods so far. My period is normally the full seven days, so at minimum I've used 1183 pads and tampons. Realistically, I've used about 1300 since it's not only one a day when it comes to tampons. That's a lot of waste for one person who is still pretty young. Period cups are reusable and the Saalt one says it can be used for up to ten years with proper care, so that's a lot less waste and for me the amount of money I spend on period products in one to two years (about $50 because I have a light flow) can potentially cover ten years with one period cup.


Saalt Soft Menstrual Cup Claims & Features

- Reusable up to ten years if you take good care of it and store it properly
- Comes with a pretty storage bag
- You only need to change it twice a day
- The soft version is more flexible
- No toxins, hypoallergenic and it's chemical free unlike many period products out there
- It's made with medical-grade silicone
- Made in the USA
- Vegan!
- They donate money from every purchase to HER International.

The cup comes with a lot of instructions (and their website is super helpful as well) to make it easy to understand how to use the cup and how to take care of it. They have a lot of information on their website so I recommend doing some research into the sizing because everyone's vagina is unique, but I personally went for the small size because according to their size guide it would work best. I'm under thirty years old and I've never given birth. The small size fits three tampons worth of blood while the regular fits four. Given the fact that when I did wear tampons I went for the tiny ones due to comfort and such a light flow, I knew the small would be the best fit for me. Their cervix positioning explanation made me feel even more confident because I have a tilted cervix, and they include that in their information.

I know there are now a ton of video reviews of the cup, but I wanted to to a day-by-day review of using this cup for the first time. Perhaps in a few months I'll do a video to update you on it, but the following is my first week using the Saalt cup!


Day 1: Light flow (Medium for me)

I did the C fold method when I woke up and it was almost too easy to the point where I was convinced I must have inserted the cup wrong. I followed the instructions to check that it had suctioned properly by using my finger to check and it was definitely secure! I didn't push it in deep enough so I did feel it a little bit when walking. but when I went to the washroom at work, I pushed it slightly and then I couldn't feel it at all anymore. I did wear a panty liner just to be safe.

Going to the washroom (both #1 and #2) didn't make the cup fall out at all. I was definitely aware of it, but didn't feel like it was coming out or losing suction at all. I was also happy that there was no leakage so I knew I'd be safe without a panty liner.

When I got home I emptied the cup and was surprised at how little blood there actually was in comparison to what a pad or tampon looked like. I was a little scared at first when going to take it out because the cup sucked in further, but I used my muscles to push it out (very easy) and pinched the cup to make it lose suction before easily pulling it out. It wasn't messy on the outside so it was easy to spill out and go to the sink. I washed the cup out and made sure the little air holes were clear and cleaned the area to make sure no blood would get out and put the cup back in using the other folding method, the punch-down fold.

I then went to the gym, couldn't feel it at all when working out (mainly cardio, but also squats) so I was pretty stoked. I kept it in for my shower since I had cleaned the area beforehand and changed the cup right before going to bed.

Overnight was perfect as well. I couldn't feel it and slept comfortably and confidently that there wouldn't be any leaks and there weren't the next morning!

Day 2: Medium Flow (Heavy for me)

DISASTER. The cup went in fine to my knowledge, but when I went to the washroom much later in the day (six hours in) my underwear was completely stained with blood. I don't know what I did wrong, but I suspect I forgot to twist the cup to create a strong suction. I did the finger trick to make sure the cup wasn't still folded anywhere, but I guess that isn't enough. I'm annoyed that this happened on the second day after the first day was so perfect, but I guess I was too confident.

I showered as soon as I got home with the cup out, cleared all of the blood out and put the cup in again, making sure I twisted it after checking that it wasn't folded. This time I put a pantyliner back in my underwear just to be safe. I think I'll keep doing that until I can go at least two days without any leaks. I'm not concerned because there was no leaking at all on day one, so I know it's not the cups fault, but just user error.

Day 3: Medium Flow

I ended up putting the cup in correctly the night before so I woke up without any leaks, walked the dog  and then worked out all before 6 in the morning. I took it out to shower, washed it out and put it back in and to be safe I put a panty-liner in my underwear. Before leaving for work I needed to use the washroom and it turns out I didn't put it in far enough. I had no leaking, but it did pop out a little bit so I had to put it back in and do the twist method to try and re-secure it. After several hours and a few washroom visits, I wasn't leaking. After getting home and taking the dogs on a walk, I emptied the cup and all was good. There was a bit of blood on the outside rim, but I think that got there while removing the cup. It was pretty difficult for me to get it to suction properly when putting it back in, despite trying to get all of the air out though. It's very strange that some times it's really easy and sometimes I struggle, but I'm just happy I didn't have any leaks today and I have hope that I'll get to the point where I always get it right and no longer have to use liners.

Day 4: Light Flow

No leaks in the morning! As long as you get the suction right at the start, leaks won't happen. I have realized that I've been waking up with more urgency to pee, so I think the cup is making my bladder a bit more sensitive. Several hours later and we were at the mall where I was trying on pants. I had one tiny dot of blood in my pantyliner so that wasn't from leaking, but likely blood that was leftover on the sides.

Days 5–7: Basically non-existent

Some months I have a very light flow on the last few days on my periods, and others, like this month, I basically have nothing except for discharge. I never know if I'll randomly have blood again after a day of nothing, so I wore the cup for the last three days regardless. I had no issues at all with it and figured out a schedule that worked well for me to only change the cup once every 12 hours. It collected the discharge without a problem and continued to be easy to wash out so I was really pleased! At the end, I washed the cup out well and left it to air dry in my ventilated bathroom before putting it back in the cloth pouch that came with the Saalt cup, having it ready for my next period.


Final Thoughts

I'm very impressed with this! I definitely recommend trying to make the switch to a cup for all the reasons at the beginning of this blog post and more.

I thought for sure I'd have more than one day of leaking on my first ever week of using a period cup, but I'm pleasantly surprised that I adjusted quickly. The FAQ section of the Saalt website and video instructions makes it really easy to learn. I felt a million times more comfortable using the cup than I do when I've used tampons in the past. It's also way more comfortable than wearing a pad and I didn't at any point feel like I'd be getting a UTI, which is even nicer. Working out is much easier with the cup and I can wear nicer underwear that doesn't give me intense panty lines, which just helps me dress and feel a bit better during my period.

The only downsides I felt was that I definitely had to pee more often with the cup in, and I felt slightly more cramping than usual. I know most people haven't experienced the cramping with the cup, but I'm just sensitive in general so I wanted to mention it. For reference, tampons made me cramp pretty badly on the rare occasions that I would wear one, and pads would just give me a weird dull throbbing down there that wasn't pleasant at all and thankfully the cup doesn't do that to me.

I hope this review was helpful to anyone considering trying a period cup! I'll see you soon with some beauty/bodycare content!



Sunday, February 02, 2020

We Got A Puppy - My Experience With the Puppy Blues and Anxiety
February 02, 20200 Comments
Hello!

This is just a regular life post I've been wanting to make ever since getting Sophie, the newest edition to our little family. I feel like this can be helpful for people who are looking into getting a puppy, as well as those that are struggling with a puppy, or have the puppy blues. I have a video at the end of when I got Sophie, but this post is mainly to focus on my pre-existing anxiety, puppy blues and how I'm doing much better and hope you will too! I also included the puppy vlog at the end of this blog post that we filmed before and when we first got Sophie!




History

Here's a bit of backstory: I LOVE dogs with my whole entire heart. I have Chewy, my 11-year-old Griffonshire Terrier (half Yorkshire Terrier and Brussels Griffon), who I adopted when he was almost a year old. He was (and still can be) a problematic dog because he came from an abusive situation. Over the years he's become so much better and can get along with a lot of people and dogs, but he still barks his head off. He also wasn't exposed to many people, so he hates anyone that looks different (I'm talking different skin tones, accents, hats, hair, etc.), but thankfully it's minor in comparison to when I first got him. I thought Chewy was difficult to deal with because he was already an adult. Sure, he only had a few accidents inside and occasionally would revenge pee (I'm serious), but he was also twelve pounds so it wasn't too bad to deal with.

Chewy, 11 years old.

Skip forward ten years. I've dreamt for over a decade of getting a puppy. I know it's selfish since there are so many dogs out there like Chewy, who need a second chance, but I always wanted to have at least one puppy that I could fully bond with from start to end. Specifically, I wanted a Chocolate Newfoundland puppy.

Years ago when Steven (my soon-to-be husband) and I first started dating, his neighbour adopted a chocolate Newfie. I'd never heard of the breed before, but instantly fell in love with her personality. I immediately started researching the breed and knew that it was the dog for us. They're amazing family dogs and are great with children, which is very important to us because we want to have babies in a few years and don't want to worry about having a dog breed that isn't good with them. Newfies are also a giant breed, meaning they get to the weight of a human, and sometimes more. Chocolate Newfoundlands are on the small end of the scale in comparison to Landseer, Silver and Black Newfoundlands. These dogs are fairly low to moderate energy when fully grown, which was great for me because I'm not a fan of exercise and the maximum of forty minutes a day that is recommended by professionals sounded great as well. The final deciding factor was the fact that Newfies aren't bad as apartment dogs. For the first several months of their life, Newfoundlands aren't supposed to use stairs, which makes living in a condo much easier.

In late 2018, we finally started our search. We discovered that Chocolate Newfoundland puppies are very difficult to come across in Canada, and when you do, they're normally over $3500 and have to be flown into Ontario. While we can certainly afford a dog, that's a lot of money that we weren't willing to spend solely on the purchase price. A lot of events led us to finding a Canadian breeder (I can tell the story on YouTube at some point) and we were set to get a puppy right before Christmas of 2019! Sophie—the name of the mother dog—didn't end up having puppies. We're still not 100% sure if she had a miscarriage or if she simply never got pregnant, but we're leaning towards miscarriage since the breeder told us she was 90% certain two weeks before the expected due date. We were heartbroken, but I refused waiting another six months to potentially still not have another puppy right around the wedding time in 2020. I started broadening my search and decided to look at American breeders. That's when I found the breeder we went with.

Getting our puppy!

We were finally going to have a puppy and were set to pick her up on November 30th, 2019 from Pennsylvania. In honour of the puppy we didn't get a chance to have, we decided to name our puppy Sophie. We bought the giant Costco bed, ordered a crate over a month in advance and everything we would need for Sophie and counted down the days. I was super excited and couldn't stop talking about it. My dreams of having a puppy were finally coming true and I didn't feel any anxiety over it. I was excited the entire six-hour road trip down, when I met the puppy, and crossing the border back into Canada. When we were about twenty minutes away from Steven's parents' house the feeling of dread set in.

Sophie at 5 weeks old.

I came to learn that this feeling of dread wasn't going to go away after one night. Things were difficult, but I figured I'd get used to it after a few days. I never really considered how often puppies need to relieve themselves. With Chewy, he was fully grown so I never had to wake up at night to bring him outside or worry about leaving him alone for a few hours. My anxiety gets worse if I don't get a good night of sleep, so that started building. Sophie was (and still is) teething and would try to eat the floor, walls, doors, hands, blankets and pretty much anything she could get her mouth on. I had to be hyper aware at all times and it was exhausting me.

I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and it got really bad to the point of a few panic attacks and what felt like complete mental breakdowns. I had almost two weeks of working from home alone with Sophie while Steven was working, and it drove me crazy. I felt like I hated Sophie and regretted getting a puppy. I couldn't remember why I even liked dogs in the first place. I became afraid of having children in the future. Not only was I struggling with the regular puppy problems, but our crate never arrived (that's a whole other story) so I couldn't even go to the washroom without having Sophie with me. It was awful. I lost seven pounds in the span of one week from not having time to eat because Sophie never seemed to sleep long enough.

A few days before I was completely off of work for the next three weeks, I got sick. I hadn't been taking my vitamins, eating properly or taking showers. I got a really bad UTI the night before my holiday company party (I still went). After a few really bad days of non-stop crying I knew something had to be done. I can do a post on my personal mental health if anyone is interested, but in this one I'll stick to the puppy related stuff.

Sophie, 9 weeks old
When the holidays were finally over and we were back at the Condo, Sophie had trouble adjusting for a few days. A crate had finally arrived (over a month late) so we at least had that. We were very lucky that she was able to sleep through the night and not have an accident when we first woke her up to bring her outside in the morning. She would excited pee when Steven came home at lunch to let her out and when I got home from work, but that stopped after a few days. By the next week, there were no more excited urination accidents at lunch or after work. Sophie stopped having frequent accidents in general. In mid-January, we started leaving Sophie unattended when we were at home with her without many accidents. Puppy school was/is amazing (she was doing well above the level and she was the youngest in the class by over a month). Now, we still have the odd accident if we take too long or let her have too much water, but I'm finally at the point where I love Sophie and wouldn't go back in time to not get her. My puppy blues are finally gone, and only my anxiety remains, but that's permanent for me anyway.

I'm an author, so I'm not the best at writing short posts. To sum it up: Yes, the puppy blues is a real thing and it's terrible. It'll make you resent your puppy and hate your life. What I'm telling you is that they will go away, so don't give up on your puppy after only a month. It took me nearly two months to finally love my dog and look forward to seeing her when I'm away. While she's not perfect yet, Sophie's actually a really impressive four-month-old puppy according to everyone who meets her. She knows a lot of tricks, comes to comfort me when I'm crying (very frequent) and is going to make an amazing service dog for me when she's fully grown. She still tries to chew on my hand and my pants when I run by (she's killed one of my Roots sweat pants and put a small hole in another pair, and put a few holes in one of my favourite winter hats), but that's normal behaviour for a puppy that will go away as long as you train them. It'll always be two or three steps forward and one step back until they're grown up, but you will start feeling a bond with your puppy and it feels amazing when they finally become more independent.

Sophie's first visit to my office. 16 weeks/4 months old.

Thanks for reading this super long blog post about my struggles as a puppy owner. If you want to follow Sophie, here's an Instagram photo of hers.



You can also follow Chewy on Instagram!



Here's the puppy vlog we filmed when we first got Sophie!


And here's Sophie's First year video!




See you soon!

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

2018 At a Glance and 2019 Goals
January 02, 20190 Comments
Hello!

This is my first blog post of 2019 and I'm actually kind of excited about it! 2018 was by far my best blogging year in terms of writing on this blog and perhaps even Instagram. My YouTube has been all over the place, but overall I feel like I've put out the most content since starting to take blogging a bit more seriously in 2016.


Instagram

I have lost a lot of followers, but it seems like they were the annoying spammy followers that you get every time you post a photo. I've noticed over the years that I get a lot of accounts (including some major brands) that would follow me, and unfollow after a few days, only to follow me again a few weeks later. This is apparently very common as they are hoping for you to follow them back and not notice what they've done. While it is a bit discouraging to see the numbers falling, at least I know that my true followers will remain and continue interacting with my posts, even though the algorithm makes it difficult to get seen without annoying everyone with hashtags. This year I've stuck to my instagram layout/theme for the most part which has seemed to help with engagement. I hope to continue with the same layout in 2019, or altering it eventually, but that really depends on some of my goals for 2019.

YouTube

The year started out better because Steven and I had our apartment with good lighting. I felt more motivated to post, but with the loss of being a YouTube partner (I don't meet the criteria anymore as I have under 1,000 subscribers and less than 400 hours of video views a year), I also lost the money I was making from ads. It wasn't a lot, but I used to use my YouTube money to purchase makeup or beauty tools to feature on my channel. Without that, I can't buy nearly as much makeup, which gives me way less content to produce since my own entertainment budget is tiny (most people, including my own mother, don't understand how I do it) so I rely on gifts and free products sent in PR. I started posting less videos and focusing more on Instagram and this blog after I noticed that I was barely getting views, and a lot of thumbs down. I know a majority of the thumbs downs are trolls that are coming from one particular video of mine... or two... but it still really bothered me (still does), but near the end of the year I posted a few videos, despite the lack of real viewers and all of the thumbs downs, while living in a crappy basement with terrible lighting. In 2019 I hope to post more as soon as we move out and I have access to my lighting and makeup again.

Life

A lot has happened in 2019 in my personal life. For one, I got engaged! I have two posts so far talking about the ring if you're interested. This means some wedding content will be sprinkled in here and there once we actually get started on planning—though you can see all of my inspiration on my 'Wedding' Pinterest board. We moved from our apartment that I loved into Steven's mom's house temporarily as we didn't know if we'd have to move for his job or not. While it meant (and still currently means) my commute is 2+ hours each way to work every day, we are saving a lot of money since we're paying very little rent comparatively that can help us buy a house sooner, and pay for our wedding. On top of that, I got a promotion and raises, I released my debut YA Fantasy novel, I wrote  second novel and so much more has happened!


2019 Goals

It's been a crazy year for us so with that in mind, I have a few goals that I will share with you. I won't be sharing anything big or very important because RawKristiBeauty made a great point (based on a few research studies) that you are less likely to achieve your goals if you tell others about it. I know other studies say the complete opposite, but I've never tried this before so we'll see how it goes. I'll just share a few small goals that don't really matter.

Wear Earrings 

Yes, that's literally one of my goals. I love the look of earrings on people, but I suck at wearing them. My mom gave me a cute pair of diamond earrings for my birthday that I actually wore for a few months. My biggest issue is that if I take them off to sleep, I'll never remember to put them back in, so I wore those for three months straight and they got so gross (TMI) that I almost ripped my ear trying to get them off. My goal is to make an effort to put earrings on most days, and if I sleep with them in, take them out at least once a week to clean everything well. If I can stick to this, I'd love to get a second piercing as a gift to myself in 2020!

Taking a Pictures Every Time I Wear Makeup

I know it sounds silly, but I honestly forget most of the time. When it's time to add a new face picture to my feed, I have nothing. I wear makeup once a week, and post a face picture once a week, but every several weeks it will be twice since I try to post every other day. Because of this, I need to have a good picture of my makeup every single time I wear it. If that means wearing makeup more than once a week, that's fine, but I am going to try really hard this year to do this right.

Scheduling Content

This is something I've done for the past few months and it's really helped me on Instagram and my blog. When I have free time and nothing else to do, I want to write as much as I can up for blog posts, or edit product pictures and start scheduling those posts to ensure I have a more consistent blog and feed. My actual goal is to have at least two instagram pictures a week realistically (every other day as my big goal), and at least one blog post a week. It doesn't sound like much, but for me that would be huge if I can actually stick to it.

Painting My Nails at Least Once a Week

Another huge deal for me. 2018 was the first year that I didn't bite all of my nails off. I've been biting my nails excessively since I was five years old (a byproduct of my General Anxiety Disorder... yes diagnosed) to the point where they'd constantly be bleeding. I did almost 'relapse' a few times and caught myself biting small pieces off, but it never got really bad like I used to be. Taking multivitamins every day (or at least 90% of days) definitely helped strengthen them and help them grow faster, but I am proud. I set that goal for myself because I knew I'd either be getting engaged in 2018 or 2019 and didn't want my old disgusting nails with a beautiful ring (shallow I know) and that truly motivated me to not bite them. Painting my nails about once a week really helped stop me from biting as well. Because of that, I want to continue that into 2019 so my nails can remain nice and... normal. Maybe I'll even stop biting the skin around my nails... but that might be unrealistic for me.

Washing Brushes Once a Week

Another goal that seems easy, but is hard for many. I used to be really good about this, but now that I only wear makeup once a week, I've gotten really bad at it. I always think it'll be fine to use them a second time a week later, but I always end up breaking out. Because of that, I want to wash them once a week. If I end up wearing makeup more than once I have enough brushes to do another full face of makeup, but then I'll have more to wash.


I have a few other goals, but these are the smaller ones that I'm willing to share. Let me know if you have any goals that you aren't keeping to yourself and if you have any questions or comments about my goals or anything. I hope 2018 has been good to you and that 2019 will be even better!

See you soon!

@beautybyamysousa