Thursday, February 23, 2017

Live Your Truth



Live your truth. For the past several days, these words have resonated with me. I've heard so many people encourage me to live your best life or do what you love. And I thought I was. I was doing everything I was supposed to. My life looked perfect on paper. But I felt empty inside. 

My life has not been perfect by any means. I've faced my fair share of challenges. I would not say my life has been easy. But I did follow this timeline for myself. It looked good on paper. In fact, I'm almost afraid to touch my perfected LinkedIn profile. I spent so much time trying to talk myself up and make myself look impressive. I spent so much time pursuing a life I thought I should want. I didn't want to be judged by others and I spent a lot of time comparing myself to other people. But maybe we should back up a little...

After high school, I entered a four-year university (well, five for me) and studied nutrition. My desire to study to nutrition stemmed from my aspiration to become a doctor. With a nutrition degree, I'd have all the prerequisites for medical school but it seemed more fun than studying biochemistry. Also, it was parents approved. Less than a quarter in, I knew this plan wasn't meant for me. I tried to switch my major but changing programs wasn't easy at this university. Somehow I trekked on. Five years later, I graduated with my bachelor's of science. I was proud. I had plans. I wanted to be a researcher. I was going to work for a year and then apply to graduate school. 

Surprisingly things went according to plan. I quickly got a brag-worthy research position at a prestigious university. Life was falling into place, right? Just the opposite. I was miserable. I was living at home, as this job was 20 minutes from my parent's house. I was saving up for grad school so there was no point in getting my own apartment--this meant I did not feel independent, as I had in college. I didn't know anyone in the area besides my best friend and boyfriend [now fiancé]. To make matters worse, I made no attempt to make friends. I wasn't happy with myself. My job had wonderful benefits but I worked crazy hours and wasn't able to really plan time for myself or socializing. Also I worked from home a lot. It sounds good in theory but it got me into the habit of not getting dressed or leaving the house, which led to depression. 

Jump ahead a couple years, I finally convinced myself to apply to graduate school [the depression had actually kept me from applying after my first year out of school]. I needed to escape. I applied to a bunch of programs across the country, all related to what I was doing at the time. I didn't spend much time actually looking into the programs. I just knew I needed to do something. 

After several months of not hearing anything, I got an e-mail from New York University. I was waitlisted for their master's of public health program. Unfortunately I was also waitlisted for the other program I thought I was more interested in at Tufts. Colleagues encouraged me to submit additional documents in hopes I would get into the Tufts program. However, before doing so, I heard back from New York University. I had been accepted and I needed to make a decision in the next two weeks. My gut told me jump and that's exactly what I did. 

I didn't know much about New York. I had visited after graduating college with Joe and we had loved the city. I had a good feeling but I was also terrified I would hate it. I'd never lived in a big city before. Joe started the New York job hunt, as we had already discussed moving out there together. Unfortunately, relocating across the country is no easy feat. In fact, he wasn't even able to move out until two and a half months after I had. It was lonely without him. 

I started my graduate program just after labor day. My best friend texted me after my first class and asked how it'd gone. I remember sitting on the bus and realizing that I hadn't liked the class at all. Of course I lied and said it was great. Who says they hate the thing they moved across the country to do? I also assumed I would grow to like it. Or at least tolerate it. And I never did. In fact, I really disliked it. I thought the program was awful. The way it was run. The majority of the staff. Maybe other programs at NYU are better but this was not my cup of tea. At all. 

Moving to New York did have a silver lining [actually multiple silver linings!], I was able to pursue more events related to my blog and YouTube channel. Aside from loving this city, I was also able to be more creative. I wanted to spend more time on my creative pursuits but felt weighed down by the lie I was living: my real life. 

I rushed through my program and was able to complete it in a year and a half. My last semester dragged on but I kept telling myself things would magically improve when I graduated. I would get a full time job I loved, I would have time to work on myself, and everything would be perfect. I bet you can guess how that worked out. 

After the holidays, I came back and struggled to get myself to apply to jobs I had no interest in. I kept going back and forth as to whether or not I could pursue something else. Something that felt right. I was [and still am] working on myself through [much needed] therapy. I was realizing more and more how untrue I've been to myself for such a long time.

Last week I had a revelation. I can't keep lying to myself and forcing myself to do something that makes me miserable. I need to do something that genuinely makes me excited to get up in the morning. I need to be spending the majority of my time each day doing something I feel passionate about. And that something is creative. I need to grow my brand, my blog, my YouTube channel. I need to starting living my truth. 

I don't expect to suddenly make a full time income off my blog. That is unrealistic. But I do expect myself to reach out for opportunities that will lead me in that direction. I want to learn everything I can and put myself in nerve-racking situations to meet new people in this field. To be honest, I'm still reworking my resume and determining what types of jobs to go for [and if you have any advice for changing your career, that would be greatly appreciated!]. 

I'm just starting this journey. This journey of accepting myself for where I am and what I actually like. I hope you'll join me in that journey. 

If you take away nothing else from this post, please remember:

And above all else--

Live Your Truth



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

DIY Rose Water [Video]



Still have leftover Valentine's roses? I'm sharing how to make DIY rose water in my most recent video. 

This is a fun and simple diy--it's also a great addition to your skin care routine. 



Saturday, February 18, 2017

10 Self Care Tips [Video]


Happy Saturday!

I'm starting a new video series: Self Care Saturdays. To kick off this series, I'm sharing 10 self care tips

How do you practice self care?



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentine's Day in New York City [Video]


Joe and I had such a fun Valentine's Day yesterday in the city. I'm really glad we opted to see a show over exchanging gifts! Waitress was everything--cute, romantic, sad, emotional, and fun. They even sold pies to eat during the show. If you sit closer to the stage, you can even smell freshly baked pies [they have pies in ovens on stage!]. I highly recommend seeing this show! 

After purchasing my tickets through TodayTix, they sent me a referral code to share. You get $10 off your order with the code: BWFKN. [This is a referral code so I do get $10 as well]. We waited in a separate line to pick up our tickets outside the theater and it was quick to get them! If you're interested in discount tickets to any Broadway show, I highly recommend checking out TodayTix

If you want to see how our Valentine's Day turned out, check out my video. Hopefully they will also serve as some date night inspiration for the future!

What did you do for Valentine's Day? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments.



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day Makeup



Happy Valentine's Day! I can't believe Valentine's Day crept up so quickly. I am so excited for tonight. Joe & I are going to a steak house for dinner and then seeing Waitress on Broadway, as I mentioned in another Valentine's post

I want to share the very simple makeup I'll be wearing tonight. It's simple yet polished. I think it's perfect for Valentine's Day!

SHOP THIS LOOK:

Here's how I achieved the look:

I started with my eyes--this way I didn't have to worry about fall out. 
I primed my eyelids with Too Faced Glitter Glue to allow my eyeshadow to stay in place.
I applied this amazing Stila Glitter in Kitten Karma all over my lids. 
I then primed my skin with Smash box Photo Finish primer to make my makeup last all night. 
I applied Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation all over my face for medium coverage and to even out my skin tone. 
I used this Kat Von D Concealer to mask the dark circles under my eyes. I then set this area with the two lightest shades from the Kat Von D Shade & Light Palette to avoid any creasing. 
For my brows, I opted for Glossier Boy Brow in Brown as an all in one brow product. 
I used this fabulous mascara on my lashes. 
On my cheeks, I used this Hourglass palette--I used the pinkest shade for my blush & the highlight on my cheek bones. 
Finally, for my lips, I went for the Kylie Lip Kit in Koko K but I also think this Tarte lip paint in Namaste would be perfect!

I hope you have a fun Valentine's Day with a significant other or friend! 



Monday, February 13, 2017

The Single Lady Playlist [Valentine's Edition]

via Tenor

This one is for all the single gals out there...


Happy Valentine's y'all! 


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Non-Material Valentine's Gift Ideas



Gift giving is something I find to be very difficult. To make matters worse, my fiance Joe never knows what he wants and isn't really into material possessions. I've learned over the years how to find experiences to give him as a gift. These are all gifts I've given in the past and they have all been greatly appreciated! Hopefully this will help you if you can't decide what to get that special someone for Valentine's Day next week!

Show Tickets: Whether it be a comedy show or a Broadway show, tickets to a show are always a great gift idea or date night plan. In New York City, there are a number of places that offer discounted Broadway tickets. I've used TKTS--they have discount ticket booths in Time Square and South Seaport [much less crowded!] as well as TodayTix which sells tickets up to a week in advance! I actually just purchased tickets to Waitress for Joe and I on Valentine's Day. 

Weekend Away: If this is in your budget, a weekend getaway can be really fun and romantic. Two years ago, I surprised Joe will a weekend trip to Seattle. I told him how to pack but didn't share where we were going until we got to the airport. Valentine's Day fell on a Saturday of a holiday weekend, which made things even more perfect. It was one of our most memorable vacations. 

Cooking Class: One year Joe and I went to a sushi class. We learned how to make miso soup, seaweed salad, and a number of different rolls. We learned, participated, and ate a ton of great food! This class was part of an adult education program through a community center. Try looking up community centers in your area for affordable classes!

Day Trip: If a weekend away isn't an option, try planning a day trip. Venture to somewhere a hour or two away. Search on Yelp to find the best spots to eat within your budget. Pick one or two activities to do that day. One of my favorite day trips was the first of Joe's birthdays we spent together. I planned a surprise day trip and took him kayaking. We saw sea otters! Afterwards, we had a picnic on the beach with amazing sandwiches from a local shop we'd never tried. This was only a 30 minute drive for us but was a day full of brand new activities. However, this was at the end of summer so this exact day might not be an option for you!



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wedding Skin Care Routine [Video]


Today I'm sharing how I'm prepping my skin for the wedding. I've created a video with my daily and weekly skin care habits. 

SHOP MY SKIN CARE!




Let's go through the face masks I used and their benefits:

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask: I've been using this mask for years! It's probably my favorite charcoal mask on the market. I have larger pores around my nose [who doesn't?!] and this mask really helps to clear and minimize my pores. I like to use this mask on freshly cleansed skin and follow up with a hydrating mask

Fresh Rose Face Mask: After a deep cleansing mask, follow up with this mask to soothe and calm your skin. I love anything rose so this mask is right up my alley!

Aveda Tulasara Wedding Masque: This has been my go-to mask for adding hydration back into my skin [separate from wedding prep, this is also great in the winter months!]. 

Tula Exfoliating Treatment Mask:  For a exfoliating treatment once a week, I like to incorporate this Tula mask. There are two types of exfoliation: chemical and physical. This mask offers both with it's ingredients and granules that slough off dead skin cells.

Fresh Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy-Boosting Face Mask: This mask gives my skin life! It is packed with nutrients that brighten your skin. Also this mask is great if you are getting over a cold to bring your skin some much needed hydration.

Are there any other face masks I must try? Please let me know in the comments!


Friday, February 3, 2017

My NYC Restaurant Week Picks


Twice a year, Restaurant Week rolls into town. Fabulous restaurants offer three course lunches ($29), dinners ($42), and brunches ($29). Nearly 400 restaurants in New York City participate in this event, which will be going on through February 10, 2017. As a lover of all things New York City and fine dining, I have a duty to share some of my favorite spots.

These are my Restaurant Week picks:

The Russian Tea Room: Odds are you've heard of this one. The Russian Tea Room is incredibly famous and for good reason. Their food is delicious and incredibly rich. Their decor is fun. It's a classic spot to check out. This is also an expensive spot so Restaurant Week is the ideal time to check them out!

Quality Eats: Quality Eats truly has some quality food. Try the grilled nueske's bacon with peanut butter and jalapeño jelly. It sounds like a weird combination, I know. But my friends got it the last time we visited and they loved it!

Felice 15 Gold Street/64/83: If you love Italian food, this is the spot for you. Joe and I went for Valentine's Day last year. We had wonderful service and the food was amazing. Also they have three locations throughout the city to choose from.

Park Avenue Winter: This is one of my favorite restaurants in New York City in general. This restaurant changes their menu and decor seasonally. Last time I visited I got the burrata with persimmon as my appetizer and it was everything. I highly recommend checking Park Avenue Winter out now or at any point!

Rosa Mexicano: This is the one restaurant Joe and I ventured to last winter Restaurant Week. The guacamole actually has a kick to it, which is more than I can say for most Mexican restaurants in New York City [I'm from California so I'm tough to please!]. If you're going with a friend, get the Churros en Bolsa and Tres Leches to split for dessert! There are several locations: Union Square, Tribeca, Midtown East, & Lincoln Center.

Baita at La Birreria: Decked out as an Italian Alps winter lodge--what more could you want? Joe and I had a celebratory dinner here on the night I completed my graduate program. This is a really cute place to check out!

I also want to include a few places I'd like to try...

Beauty & Essex: Well-known spot with (allegedly) amazing brunch

Murray's Cheese Bar: Let's be real: I just want to go here for the cheese flight

Strip House: Joe and I are hopefully going here for Valentine's Day. I've been craving some good steak!

I hope this was helpful if you are considering partaking in Restaurant Week Winter 2017

Have a great weekend!




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