Sigh, I have been going through a rough patch lately. I know life definitely has its ups and downs, which makes me feel optimistic that some beautiful sunshine is right around the corner, but it doesn’t always make the downs easy to manage in the moment.
I’ve been super-sick on and off for just over a month now. I know that sounds goofy, especially since I’ve been chronically ill for almost four years now, but it makes everything a lot more complicated on top of just dealing with the symptoms I’ve become used to. My bright side to all of this? Thank goodness my immunity has been stronger than ever the past couple of years and that I’ve stayed away from sick people enough that I rarely have episodes like this.
It’s made writing infinitely more difficult, though, as well as going to the gym. I haven’t had my normal routine which has thrown me off, and I would be willing to bet that most girls can relate to my whole “I’m a lot more emotional that time of the month” talk.
Truth is, right now I miss my old “normal.” I miss running more than anything. I miss going outside to play volleyball with my friends — even when I didn’t have a good setter to help me hit — I miss being able to go grocery shopping by myself, and I miss baking. I miss always being the one to offer to drive because my car is more roomy and because I enjoy driving. I miss having the freedom to drive places just because I want to, not because I have to be somewhere, and I miss relying on myself for most aspects of my life.
It’s been really, really hard for me to get to a point where I can ask people for help. In fact, I’m still not there yet. I still have a lot of trouble telling friends that I can’t drive as far as they’d like me to in order to hang out, I hate dropping the “the Metro makes me nauseous” bomb because yes, I know nobody wants to drive into DC, and I miss being able to go to DC whenever I want.
My parents were out of town last week, which made life infinitely harder. I didn’t have someone cooking and cleaning for me at home, and I had to take care of my little puppy by myself. I don’t think I can really emphasize how much I hate to admit that I need other people to help take care of me.
At just twenty six years old losing some of your independence is a really tough thing to come to grips with. I want to make my own money, I want to have freedom to travel, and I want to be able to drive all over the place whenever I want to! I like spending some time by myself, but it can be difficult to do that outside of the house and when I can’t drive myself around to go on little “Krista dates.”
My bright side today is just going to be that I know there are a lot of blessings to come. Something that is giving me comfort today is Deuteronomy 31:8, where God promises that He will be by my side no matter what I have to face in life.
“The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
I also got some messages from my best friend, who knows I’m dealing with a lot, and will be sharing some of her wisdom in the near future. I guess I can count that as a major blessing today — along with the many other people I sometimes forget are my friend, despite my life changing so drastically. In the meantime, I’m really excited that it’s almost the weekend, and I am going to make the most of the evening by watching an episode of The Office and eating some unhealthy microwave popcorn before bed.
I just wanted to let y’all know I haven’t been feeling so great lately, which is why I’ve been MIA on here. I have lots to write about, but it’ll have to wait until I’m a little better. Love you all, and thank you so much for still coming to my site even though I’ve been away! ❤
Okay, so it’s been forever since I told y’all I was moving to cruelty-free beauty products, but I finally feel like I’ve tried enough to actually share some reviews. I have subscribed to a few different beauty boxes — ipsy, Birchbox, and FabFitFun — and am a VIP member at Sephora now that I have been in so many times to switch up my beauty routine.
I decided to do my review in a similar manner some of the subscription boxes do, by showing off one of my favorite makeup bags with 5 products I recommend. The reason I’m linking everything to Sephora’s website is because I joined their beauty program that lets you pay just $10 for free shipping on any order for a year. What?!
Without further ado, here are a few of my “Must Have” cruelty-free staples:
Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara Let me start off by saying I love Tarte cosmetics. Every product I have tried I’ve really enjoyed, but this mascara is thebomb.com. Not only does it give my lashes volume, but it lengthens them and gives them a beautifully full look. I really could not say enough great things about this mascara, and between the cruelty-free testing and incredible product, Tarte has a new lifetime customer.
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion I didn’t know the power of primer until I started using this baby. Currently I am kind of obsessed with bronze and gold eyeshadows, so I use my Naked palette or Pure Cosmetics shadows over the primer to create a fun everyday look. The Urban Decay eyeshadow primer makes these colors so much more pigmented than they would be on your naked eye, and sets a really nice foundation to add eyeliner to if desired.
Edward Bess Deep Shine Lipgloss Oh my gosh. The way this lipgloss smells combined with its stay-power is amazing. It takes a little bit of getting used to, as it’s a stickier formula than I’m used to, but after just a couple of wears I have become a loyal fan.
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil It’s safe to say UD is one of my favorite makeup brands, (Along with Tarte and Jane Iredale) and I was so relieved to hear that they are also cruelty-free. My favorite eyeliner color is “Perversion,” as it’s a super-basic black that can go with any kind of look. I would say it’s a bit on the heavier side, though, so use it sparingly!
Zoya Nailpolish Anyone who knows me will vouch that I always have some sort of fun polish on my nails. Needless to say I was devistated when I found out that OPI does, in fact, test on animals, and that my enormous polish collection had to be done away with. Thankfully, though, my last FabFitFun box had a beautiful subtle pink shade of cruelty-free brand Zoya nailpolish. I am in love with this brand now, and can’t wait to try other colors. It’s really reasonably priced and has incredibly trendy colors. Horray for loving animals and beauty!
What cruelty-free products do you think should be a staple in my beauty bag? I would love more recommendations, so sound off in the comments!
“Tilt your head, you are gorgeous when you look at the camera like that!”
I laugh as my best friend cheers me on from behind the camera. It’s so ironic that she is a photographer; Audrey is one of the most beautiful girls I have ever known, and it’s funny that she found a passion to showcase others’ beauty. After doing two photoshoots with her I decided I had to take a picture or two of her every time we went out; after all, she should totally be in front of the camera too!
Audrey is blessed to be outwardly beautiful, but it’s her heart I love most. She is one of my very best friends, and that has absolutely nothing to do with looks and everything to do with character. Audrey is someone who has been a fiercely loyal friend since I met her, and even though we both want to do similar things in the world, we support each other and push each other to be better, rather than choosing to compete. I can always count on her to make me laugh when I want to cry, and be a great friend even when she has a million other things going on.
I have so many different stories I could write about Audrey, but today I wanted to focus a little on her journey to DC and how she has handled being a grounded twentysomething.
Krista: You moved to DC without having a set plan or a job lined up, but everything worked out. This is a great example of your faith in God providing for our needs. How did you feel when you made such a big step?
At the time I decided to move to Washington I was attending college in a really tiny, snowy college town. I’m from Las Vegas so even just the idea of being cold is so upsetting to me — I don’t do snow! I remember thinking, “I would absolutely love to get out of here, but don’t see how that’s a possibility right now.” The thought of a few semesters left in my little college town also seemed a little daunting to this solar-powered girl.
I can’t describe why, but I sincerely just felt so good about moving. I had no plan, so even though I felt direction-less I applied for three internships — one in Texas, one in California, and one in DC. It was November and I was somehow hoping to score a last-minute winter internship. I have always been a firm believer that in life, we get what we are willing to work for. I think a lot of the time we sit back and wait for signs in life or big things to happen when really God is saying, “What are you waiting for? If you want it, go for it!” He can’t guide us if we aren’t willing to take that first step in the dark.
I was in class one day and got a call from a man who was the owner of a pretty prestigious company I had applied to in Washington, DC. He didn’t hesitate to tell me how under qualified he felt like I was for the position, and needless to say it was pretty intimidating. Nevertheless, he agreed to meet with me in person and two weeks later I found myself driving across the country. Needless to say, that door closed and the next six weeks I felt like I was totally in the dark, but I kept applying, networking, and most importantly, I never stopped praying. I am now working at a job that is so perfect for me at this time in my life and I am tremendously grateful the internship didn’t work out. It is amazing how when a door closes it is often a blessing in disguise, and I think God blesses us when we keep our faith even if we can’t see the bigger picture at the time.
Are you still happy with your decision to move here?
I am so happy! And I mean, I get “Krista time” so what is not to love about that?! I think happiness is something we create, not something we magically find. Although I would be happy anywhere, the way things fell into place once I got here has seriously been so inspired. Since moving back I have had people come into my life in such incredible ways that I couldn’t imagine life without.
What is your favorite thing about the DC area?
I am from Nevada so growing up if we wanted to go to another state it was often an all day road trip. I love that I can get in my car or catch a train and in just a couple of hours I can be somewhere else entirely. DC also has such a contagious energy about it that I love but it also transforms at night and is so peaceful. You can spend a lot of money and go to an elaborate show and dinner or spend absolutely nothing at all walking around the monuments or in a museum and still have such a rewarding experience. The history and diversity here never cease to amaze me.
You are someone I really love because you’ve never let a relationship, a job, or a busy schedule get in the way of your friendships. Have you always been like that? What advice would you give to girls trying to juggle a busy life?
For me, life is all about finding the balance. I think in this area especially, everyone is busy but some people wear it as a badge of honor and I am just so not that way. I try to give everyone the best of me throughout the day and put my best face forward but then there are times when I just need to unwind and be with girlfriends and unwind over Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake Factory over a good vent sesh 😉 Ya feel me?
Umm, of course I do!
We haven’t ever really been single at the same time, but our interactions never change when either of us gets a boyfriend. Do you think there’s a reason for this? What makes you value “girl time” as well as quality time with your boyfriend?
Growing up my family didn’t communicate a ton. I was raised with a single mom who worked so hard to make a living for my brothers and I, but she was spread thin so my girl friends became my closest confidants. I think a lot of girls lose their identity in their boyfriends. A lot of the time people see relationships as the whole cake instead of the icing on the cake of life. Having a relationship with someone you love and trust is a beautiful thing, but you are both still individuals. At the end of the day most people are likely to go through a couple of relationships before they end up with the person they will marry, and when those relationships end you shouldn’t be calling up your girl friends like, “Hey… Remember me?” I think it is totally healthy to spend some time apart in relationships — it keeps you both satisfied and allows you to miss each other instead of having to do everything together. I also have the most fiercely loyal, hilarious, and loving friends in my life that just seem to get me. Who wouldn’t want girl time with friends like that!?
Something I find really cool about our relationship is that we both want similar things in life, but build each other up and share successes, rather than competing. What advice would you give to others in remaining supportive of their friends, rather than competing with them?
When I was in high school I was really insecure. I had this small mindset that I needed to prove myself, but the only person I wasn’t good enough for was myself. As I got older I realized that I was really self destructive and then embarked on a journey where I was trying to be more self-aware. Once I shifted that way of thinking I learned that I not only found joy in my own accomplishments but also the accomplishments of those around me. Someone else’s success doesn’t diminish your own and I wish more women understood that. I remember having froyo “girl time” dates with you all the way back to my first year in college and we always wanted the same things, but I was always so impressed with this about you as well! Having humble but accomplished women in my life makes me want to be better — not bitter — and I wasted a lot of years being the latter. I would tell girls that felt this way to learn to genuinely be comfortable in their own skin and then start vocalizing to others things you genuinely admire about them instead of trying to lead with your own accomplishments. I am so uncomfortable around women who constantly try to make themselves look better than others. None of my girl friends are this way. It’s a shallow and small way to live. If you are threatened by someone else, look inside yourself. What is it about them that you are intimidated by and what is really triggering these emotions of insecurity and jealousy in you? Be honest with yourself and then face that head on.
As I mentioned in your introduction, I always think it’s funny doing photoshoots with you because you are clearly someone who cameras just adore! What got you interested in photography?
Haha oh man, I don’t see it that way, I just genuinely love doing it! I have always wanted to photograph people’s love stories and when I was little I remember looking through bridal magazines and being at weddings thinking how that would be my dream job — to capture those beautiful moments. I still have a long way to go but luckily we live in an era where you can learn absolutely anything and thanks to YouTube it is a lot easier to get a head start in something you don’t know a lot about.
What is your favorite thing about photography?
It is so fun to live in the moment but then that moment is gone and photography is something that helps us remember some of life’s sweetest moments forever. I wanted to be able to create something people can hold on to — whether that is a candid moment of two people dancing or a picture someone can look at that makes them smile because they feel beautiful or see themselves in a new light. I love creating that!
If you could choose anyone in the world to photograph who would it be, and why?
My nephew because he is such a sassy little stud. He’s like Bieber and is a little high maintenance about his crazy paparazzi aunt these days! I am not the kind of person to get starstruck or anything like that, so that’s a tough one. I seriously can’t think of a single celebrity I would really want to photograph over one of my friends or family members, but that’s just my personality. A couple of months ago I was doing a woman’s hair and makeup who was a single mom and had never really been pampered like that before. Afterward she looked in the mirror and got teary eyed and couldn’t stop smiling. I seriously live for moments like that with hair/makeup/and photography where I can help someone feel beautiful and see what I already see in them. I don’t see being a girly girl as something shallow or worldly but rather as something I have a knack for that I can use to help others smile and I love that.
If you’re interested in getting a photographer for something in the DMV, shoot me a message and I’ll connect you with Audrey!
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: I’M MOVING!
In just a couple of weeks I will no longer be on this website. My dating life changed a loooong time ago, so I am finally taking the time to make some changes that reflect this and moving my site to KristaLauren.com (As I have mentioned before I would have done this a lot sooner, but I am technologically challenged and 10 times out of 10 prefer to write instead of work on my site). Make sure you sign up to receive emails for my posts, like my Facebook page, or bookmark my new site if you want to stay a part of my Single in The Suburbs family.
There is often a lot of talk about how annoying “slow walkers” are. I have always fallen into the “annoyed” category since God gave me long legs at birth.
When I was 22 I got sick with a chronic illness — Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. It started off as a debilitating sickness. I could only walk about twelve feet without resting, and could only make the long journey up a flight of stairs to my bed once a day with the help of my parents and taking little breaks between climbing a few steps and sitting down to rest until I reached the top.
When I was finally well enough to go out of the house for a fifteen minute errand to the grocery store it was a big deal. I felt like I had this tiny piece of normalcy in my life, even though I felt constantly dizzy and nauseous.
Wegmans was my number one choice for a field trip, and I wanted to see if I could go find a salty snack and chocolate bar while I was there. One salty snack, one sweet treat. That’s it.
I walked to the dessert aisle first, as it was closer to the entrance, and my eyes grazed over dozens of choices. The room spun as I tried to read new labels, and my body started to gently sway. I knew I wasn’t feeling well enough to stay in this upright position much longer, but I was determined to be normal again — at least for a few minutes. I snagged a bar I thought might be halfway decent and took each step to the popcorn aisle as carefully as I possibly could. I didn’t want to fall, and I absolutely was not about to faint in public for the first time — not today.
As I put one foot in front of the other I vaguely noticed the bustling around me. I felt mildly panicked as I began to realize I shouldn’t be alone anymore and that my heart was racing the way it does when I’m about to pass out. My eyes slowly scanned the aisle, and I couldn’t feel my footing anymore. My feet were still planted firmly on the ground, but my head was spinning in circles.
“What the hell is her problem,” I hear behind me. I turn, dazed, as a woman my mom’s age firmly nudged me into the shelf that held some sort of food I couldn’t quite make out. It wasn’t until I was intentionally lying on the ground* to get the blood to flow back to my brain moments later that it all clicked. I was the one with the “problem.”
Tears welled up behind my foggy eyes. I had never been different before, and I wasn’t used to having a disability. No one could tell by looking at me that I was sick, but my body reminded me every second of every day that I was ill. The room kept spinning, but somehow I kept thinking.
I was a heavy mix of angry, frustrated, and devastated. Why aren’t people more patient? Why can’t we have some sort of label for the chronically ill so that people would know I need extra help? But wait, why can’t people just be kind to others in general and realize that you never know what someone else is going through by of the way they look?
These are questions I never really thought about before I got sick. I am guilty of complaining to friends about “slow walkers,” moody waiters, and distracted baristas. Having a chronic illness has taught me the very important lesson that just because someone looks fine doesn’t mean that they are. People can have a hard time for a number of different reasons, and instead of making their life any more difficult by making snarky remarks or getting frustrated, we should all take a minute to practice patience and kindness. After all, even if someone doesn’t need it, there is never any harm in being kind to others and treating them the way you would like to be treated. Sure people can be frustrating sometimes, but is the hustle and bustle and rush of life really worth hurting another human? Is whatever you are rushing to really worth upsetting anyone over? I think the answer for most of us if we sat down and thought about it would be “no.”
*This is a tactic POTSies use to ward off some of our symptoms and feel a little better, hence the “Postural” in “POTS.”
Getting sick with a chronic condition is life-changing and confusing. I have become a bit of a pro when it comes to being sick, so here are a few tips on what to do if you or someone you love ever get diagnosed with a chronic illness:
First and foremost, do not panic. Take a second to breathe, and realize that just because you now have a name to label your symptoms doesn’t mean it’s going to get worse here on out. If anything it actually gets much better since you are able to explain why certain things happen to your body and how to treat them.
Realize that it’s normal and okay to cry. Doctors have seen it all, and if they’re good at their profession they will be sympathetic towards your feelings (And if they’re not, it’s definitely not you — it’s them).
Do not go on Google! I cannot stress how important it is to process everything before reading dozens of articles and Facebook forums about your illness. Whether it’s an absolutely extreme version of your illness or a post venting about how difficult life becomes with this condition, there isn’t a lot that will help you out that very same day. Give yourself a little time and ask your doctor questions, rather than relying on WebMD to give you a cure. I found that negativity can really have a direct effect on your health and healing, which is why I try to keep things as stress-free as humanly possible.
On a related note, make sure to find out how to contact your doctor in case you need to reach someone with a question about symptoms you might be having. Most doctors who deal with people with chronic conditions have a way of reaching them, whether it’s a nurse hotline or an email address. I have a neurologist who offers an in-home service where I can email him with questions or prescription refill requests, and he replies within a day. It’s been a really valuable resource and I tend to stick with the doctors who really care about their patients.
If a little bit of time goes by and you’re still afraid to research what you have, ask a family member or friend to do some research for you — then leave out the really unhelpful negative information. I’ve found a lot of people with chronic conditions can be incredibly pessimistic and bitter — and they have every right to be! But the more you can try to keep your spirits high and look towards your bright future, the better off you will be. I very firmly believe in the power of positive thinking, and although that may not be able to heal your body, it can at least keep your mind in a healthy state.
If you do have a hard time staying positive about life, though, there is absolutely no shame in seeing a therapist or counselor to vent your frustrations to. Never feel bad about needing extra help. It doesn’t mean you aren’t strong — sometimes I think being able to ask for help is the hardest thing a person can do, but it can be life-changing.
Lastly, be open with friends and family about what you need. It can be difficult for loved ones to know how to react or behave when someone close to them gets sick, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to be there for you. Giving people a very concrete thing they could do to help — such as talking on the phone for fifteen minutes a day or making a meal for you and your family — is actually really helpful.
I know how scary and life-changing getting a chronic illness is. I remember getting diagnosed with POTS like it was yesterday. Collecting a few other “syndromes” and conditions along the way hasn’t been easy, but I’ve at least had enough experience to stay a little calmer when I learn something new about my health. Finding five things you are thankful for despite being sick is something I try to do on my most difficult days. I am thankful for my family (This includes Macy!), Robert, my best friends, the sunshine, and chocolate. That was a really easy list, and I grouped a bunch of people together. Despite not having the life I had dreamed of for most of my childhood, I still have some pretty incredible blessings.
I am finally starting to feel a bit better. I was really sick all last week, and although I am still in the middle of recovering (POTS makes it a real “B” to heal after anything even remotely shakes my health), I am at least able to get out of bed and walk around some now.
Today I have a little YouTube video to share with y’all! I got my FabFitFun box and wanted to open it on camera to show everything inside the spring box. I’m still getting used to being on camera (And have no idea how to edit anything — help!), so any and all advice is appreciated. 🙂
Overall I really liked this box — possibly even better than the “Editor’s Box” I got last time — and I’m already obsessed with some of the makeup I got in it. I’ll be writing reviews on that in the near future.
I hope y’all have a great Monday, and thanks for watching!
*I should note, though, that I made a mistake and it’s actually not $40/month, rather it’s $50/box, which is every three months or so. With my coupon code it is $40 for your first box, though, so make sure to utilize that if you want to try it out!