Friday, June 30, 2017

Currently listening, 6/30/2017

I've talked about my love of and obsession with Hamilton, and how I went to New York to see it on Broadway. In case listening to the original cast recording wasn't enough, last year, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the show, put together another album - The Hamilton Mixtape.

The Mixtape was all songs from the show (or cut songs from the show), covered by current artists - the perfect combination of musical theater and pop music. Earlier this week, they put out a music video for one of the songs on the Mixtape - Immigrants (We Get The Job Done). You can watch it below - even though the title is a line from a show set during the Revolutionary War, I think the video makes it clear that the issues it covers are still relevant today.





Along with the music video, Lin-Manuel announced a new Prizeo campaign, with the chance to win tickets to see Hamilton in LA on opening night, and to meet Lin-Manuel himself. You win entries by donating, where the money raised goes towards a number of organizations providing services to immigrants. If you use my link to donate, we both get free entries - just click here!

And if you're as Hamilton-obsessed as I am, search the #Ham4All hashtag on Twitter or Instagram and enjoy going down those rabbit holes. Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Beautypedia: Makeup and Skincare Reviews

https://www.beautypedia.com/

(Note: this post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission if you click. But obviously, this doesn't change my opinions!) 

As an undergraduate, I studied Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, and now I work in and study Public Health - I'm a scientist by nature! I'm analytical and I like facts and figures and evidence. Which means when it comes to makeup and skincare products, I want to know that they work, and that they actually do what they're supposed to do.

There are so many products with pretty packaging and big claims that it's so easy to get sucked into! After buying too many products that didn't really work - and spending too much money, too! - I discovered Beautypedia. It's a website that rates beauty and skincare products on a scale of one to five. But unlike other review sites, they go beyond just user reviews - they really do their research. They look into the full ingredient list for damaging or irritating items, and they read scientific journal articles to really learn how different ingredients can help and harm the skin. Best of all, by comparing ingredient lists, they can tell which products are just expensive, over-hyped versions of drugstore products!

I don't agree with every review 100%; there are definitely products I use that they don't rate as a five. But it's still the first place I go when I'm looking for a new product. At the very least, it's a good starting point for finding new products, especially if you want to see if they'll work for your skin type, or make sure they don't contain anything that will irritate your skin.

Below are some recent products I bought after consulting Beautypedia.



 From left to right:
Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow in Kitten Karma
Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Eyebrow Gel
Urban Decay Vice Liquid Lipstick in 714
NYX HD Photogenic Concealer


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Pittsburgh Jazzlive International Festival in the Cultural District

Keeping with the Pittsburgh events this week, I'm sharing my time at the Pittsburgh Jazzlive International Festival last weekend, held throughout the Cultural District in downtown Pittsburgh. They had a packed weekend full of performances by local, national, and international groups.

I stopped by on the first night, when they had free performances happening all night at different spots downtown. A friend's husband actually plays in a jazz band, so we wanted to go hear him perform!




After listening to the band for a while, we were all starving, since we had come right from work. Since we were nearby, we decided to see if we could snag a table at Meat & Potatoes, one of my favorite restaurants. Usually you need to make a reservation at least a week in advance, but somehow, there was a table for us and they sat us in 10 minutes. I had a delicious meal of bone marrow and mushroom risotto, and went home quite happy!


It was a great night of live music, good food, and friends, and I always love hanging out in the Cultural District because there's always something going on!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Essie Gel Couture Review

(Note: this post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission if you click. But obviously, this doesn't change my opinions!)



I'm a big fan of routines. Each Sunday night, I like to paint my own nails. I dabbled with getting weekly manicures done, but there wasn't really a nail salon close to me with convenient hours, and so over the years, I built up quite the collection of nail polishes.

When gel manicures started to become popular, I went to a salon and got one done. I loved how long it lasted, but absolutely hated what happened to my nails when I took the polish off. I tried to be careful, and soaked my nails for a long time before trying to push off the polish, but it still didn't help - my nails were ruined for a while. I was really turned off to gel polish after that experience.

When I saw that Essie came out with a non-LED light version of gel polish (Essie Gel Couture), I was skeptical, but willing to at least try it - and then I was hooked. It lasts at least a week with no chipping, and best of all, comes off so easily - really just like regular nail polish.

They have a great selection of colors, just like the regular Essie polishes, but they look "thicker" like a gel manicure does. You can find them at Ulta and Amazon, and they're fairly affordable, especially when you compare them to paying for a weekly manicure! I'm now working on building a collection of these polishes to rival my old collection.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Weekend Recap: Wedding Style

(Note: this post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase.)

It was another busy weekend for me, with both a wedding and a bridal shower!

My cousin's wedding was held at Pittsburgh's National Aviary, which was such an incredible venue for a wedding! The ceremony was held in the Historic Rose Garden, which was beautiful - sadly, the weather didn't totally cooperate, but held out for long enough that the ceremony could be held outside. I also got the chance to snap a few pictures! My hair didn't hold up very well in the humidity, clearly!







We moved inside for cocktail hour, and got to mix and mingle with some birds and my new BFF, a penguin.
 


And how gorgeous is this view??




After cocktail hour, it was back outside for an amazingly fun night of dinner and dancing. Look at these desserts!




This was the best shot I got of my dress - it's this one by Cupcakes & Cashmere, from Shopbop. It was so perfect for the venue, and so comfortable too!




All in all, I thought it was such a unique and fun place for a wedding, and I had the best time. Has anyone else been to a wedding at a coll venue?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Currently reading, 6/23/2017

It's almost the weekend, and I'm off to a wedding later today, so I wanted to take it easy today.

I'm a huge online newspaper reader. I actually was an editor on my school's paper during college, and the love of journalism and the news stuck with me. I found two articles that I read this week that I wanted to share and talk about a bit!

The first is this article about coconut oil. Coconut oil has been such a popular ingredient lately, with people being advised to put coconut oil on or in just about everything. It turns out it may have been over-hyped - it's not bad for you, but it's not the superfood it's been claimed to be, either.

I'm always really skeptical when people talk about food or diet fads as the one and only answer to a problem. There isn't really a secret or a magic ingredient that can fix health or healthy eating! Especially when there is no scientific, researched-based evidence behind the claims. You're much better off using common sense rather than following the diet of the year. Keep using coconut oil on your hands, your hair, and your face, but maybe don't put it in everything you eat and drink.

The other article I want to share is this one - it's a more personal article. A middle-school student wrote an article about how she couldn't get a book published with a "regular" disabled girl as the main character - all the book publishers she submitted it to wanted to see the girl more defined by her disability, and see her struggle with it.

Just like the author of that article, I don't see myself as being defined by my disability - it's a part of me, but only a part. It can be difficult to get the world to see past my wheelchair, to get other people to see the similarities between me and them, and not just the differences. It's a really great read, and I'm incredibly impressed by the author - being published in The New York Times while still in middle school is amazing.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Apple AirPods Review

A few weeks ago, I finally bit the bullet and bought the Apple AirPods - with some help of lucky timing, since they go in and out of stock very quickly. I'd been thinking about buying them basically since Apple introduced them last year, but started really considering it when I got the iPhone 7 Plus, which doesn't have a headphone jack.

I know that Apple does provide a converter that turns the charging port into a headphone jack, but this means you have to do a lot of plugging and unplugging every time you want to listen to music - and since my strength is limited, that's difficult for me. I also had a pair of Bluetooth Beats headphones, but they had to be looped around the back of the ear, and I could never get them to fit comfortably.

I've had the AirPods for a few weeks now, so I've used them long enough to write about them.

What I like:
  • How user-friendly they are
    They are incredibly easy to set up and use. You just make sure your phone's Bluetooth is turned on, open the AirPods case near your phone, and that's it, they're paired. You don't have to re-pair them every time, either - you can just pop them in your ears and hit play.

  • How easy it is to charge them
    Having the case charge the phones is genius. The AirPods are tiny, so you're going to always put them in the case when they're not in your ears anyway - it's so convenient that this also charges them.

  • How you can check the charge percentage
    If you open the case near your phone, a little screen pops up on your phone and lets you know how much charge is left in the case, and in both of the AirPods themselves. I hated never knowing when my Beats headphones were going to die - and hated more when they died when I really wanted to use them!

What I don't like:
  • The shape of the earbuds
    I like them better than the regular Apple headphones that come with your phone, but they still feel weird in my ear, and I'm always afraid they're going to fall out. I really like the headphones with silicone tips that really fit inside your ear, but the AirPods are by no means horrible.

  • How much outside sound comes through
    I've found that this varies depending on what music I'm listening to, but these definitely aren't noise-cancelling headphones. There are some songs that I struggle to hear, even at the highest volume, if I'm walking outside in traffic. Other songs are much, much louder, though, so this isn't a dealbreaker.

All in all, I'm loving the AirPods. I think the charging case is so innovative, and the packaging is typical Apple - very sleek. The lid is magnetic and stays closed yet isn't difficult to open, the earbuds themselves fit snugly in the case - they're not banging around.

Now I just need to stop being terrified of losing them!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Time for Three with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

I've mentioned I love going to hear live music. This isn't just limited to musicals or to concerts - I like classical music too, and love to check out the Symphony. Pittsburgh has a amazing symphony, and in recent years, they've started to expand their lineup. They have something called the FUSE series, where they do mash-ups of classical and current music, held at Heinz Hall in downtown Pittsburgh.


It makes for a really fun concert - it's a bit more laid back than a traditional symphony show; they have a happy hour beforehand at the theater, and the energy during the concert is a lot lighter! At the FUSE concert I went to last week, they didn't focus on one particular current or classical artist, they did a whole bunch of different mash-ups - Vivaldi mixed with Britney Spears, Mozart with John Legend, Mahler with Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve. You can check out a video of them performing their version of Bittersweet Symphony here - it's one of my favorite songs and I think this version is beautiful!

The group that they brought in to play with the symphony, Time for Three, was incredible! They were so passionate about their performance, and looked like they were having the best time. They really made the show so enjoyable, and they were clearly very talented artistically. They seemed to love what they were doing, and made the audience love it, too.


If you ever get the chance to check out a similar concert in Pittsburgh or your own city, I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Time Management Tips



Living with a fairly serious chronic illness while also working full-time and going to graduate school part-time has forced me to learn about time management. There are a limited number of hours in a day or week, and it can be difficult to manage your personal life, social life, and deadlines from work and school that come up - but it's possible! I'm sharing what I learned below.

  • Write down your schedule
    This sounds simple and obvious, but I think it's really important. You don't necessarily need to write things down in a paper planner - you can use your phone or Google calendar - but it needs to be recorded somewhere! Don't just write down actual appointments or classes, but also include deadlines and due dates, tasks you don't want to forget about, and social activities, too. It's much easier to plan when you can see your schedule in front of you, and helps you not miss things! Since I've been in graduate school for so long now, the semesters start to blend together  - my calendar is key to make sure I go to the right class at the right time, and that I don't schedule a work meeting during class time.

  • Prioritize
    This isn't always the easiest, but it's necessary. This goes along with writing down your schedule and due dates. Once you take stock of what is due in the next week, look at your schedule and your assignments, and figure out what is due earliest, and what is going to take you the longest and require the most effort. You may want to go to see a movie that your friend invited you to, but if you have a paper or big presentation that you should be working on, it's probably not the best idea. And that brings me to...

  • Know your limits
    You can't do everything! You had to be okay with saying no, and be okay with having to miss out on some things. I know that we talk about fear of missing out (FOMO), and I totally get that it's a real thing! It's no fun to see your friends posting on Instagram about going out while you're stuck studying. But if you try to do everything, you'll end up getting no sleep, and that's not sustainable over the long run - you can really make yourself sick; your body can only handle so much. This is something I've really had to adjust to - I get tired a lot easier because of my SMA, so I always need to keep this in mind and know when I need to say "no."

 Does anyone else struggle with time management? Leave your tips in the comments below!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Pirates Game at PNC Park

I had a busy but fun weekend - I checked out a jazz festival on Friday after work, went to a Pirates game on Saturday evening, and then went to brunch on Sunday to celebrate Father's Day! I also had to make sure to squeeze in some homework and blogging, too, and at least a little bit of relaxing - I finally watched the new Beauty and the Beast!

I'll talk about the jazz festival in another post, but I wanted to talk about my time at the Pirates game. My friend ended up having an extra ticket and invited me to join - I'm so glad that I did! Not only did the Pirates win, but PNC Park is such a beautiful field and I sometimes forget how much fun it is going to a game!


The city closes one of the bridges connecting downtown to the North Shore, where PNC Park is, so that people going to the game can walk across. What a stunning view!

It turned out that our seats were on the field level, which was incredible! I've never sat that close at a baseball game - I'm not a huge fan, but it's definitely easier to pay attention when you can see the action up close. The handicapped seats at a big field like PNC Park are usually pretty limited, and almost always the top row of a section, not at the bottom, so this was a really great surprise.


We ran into the Pirate Parrot, so we had to get a picture with him!

 

I was also lucky enough to end up with one of the foul balls from the game - a very sweet Pirates staff came over and gave it to me.


And since the game ended with a win for the Pirates, it also ended with fireworks! It was the perfect end to a great night.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Currently Streaming: Oh, Hello on Broadway

Happy Friday!

I'm a huge pop culture fan, which means that I'm also a huge Netflix fan. I love finding new shows, or re-finding old favorites, and marathoning them (yes, Netflix, I'm still watching). Sometimes I feel like I've seen everything I'm interested in on Netflix - which is why I was so excited this week when I saw that Oh, Hello on Broadway is now on Netflix!

When I was in New York last year seeing Hamilton, I made time for one more show - Oh, Hello, with Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. Oh, Hello is something that's really hard to describe... it's a play within a play; a show that's based on the recurring sketch from The Kroll Show.

But what you really need to know is that I didn't stop laughing for more than a minute at a time during the show. It's hilarious, with lots of pop culture references, and show on Netflix was the night that Steve Martin stopped by to be interviewed. It's just as funny on Netflix as it was in person, and it's the perfect thing to watch over the weekend!

When I saw the show on Broadway, I stopped by the stage door afterwards, and Nick Kroll and John Mulaney couldn't have been nicer or more gracious!




Enjoy your weekend, and check out Oh, Hello on Broadway if you're looking for something new to Netflix!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Strip District Spots

Over the past weekend, I ventured to the Strip District to explore a neighborhood of Pittsburgh that I don't visit very often.

The Strip District is the busiest on weekend mornings - there are so many unique vendors and markets selling fresh food, and there are a ton of classic Pittsburgh breakfast/brunch places like Pamela's and DeLuca's. However, I'm not a morning person, so I don't make it to the Strip when it's bustling very often!

But Pittsburgh's restaurant scene has really been growing in the last few years, and there are some real gems in the Strip! I went to check out Bar Marco - an intimate restaurant with a small but innovative menu, and really cool vibe!



Everything I ordered was amazing. I came because they were featuring Copper River salmon, which is salmon from the Copper River region of Alaska, and in my opinion, the very best salmon - you can only get it once a year, so it's really special.


After dinner, I was craving something sweet, so to Klavon's it was! Klavon's is a Pittsburgh institution - it's an old-school ice cream parlor/soda shoppe. The ice cream is delicious, and the atmosphere is so unique - you feel like you're back in the 1950s!







Wednesday, June 14, 2017

What Is SMA?

So, I've mentioned a few times now that I have SMA - Spinal Muscular Atrophy. I thought it would be a good idea to tell you a little more about SMA and how it affects my life. Since I've had SMA my whole life, I'm also including some throwback pictures of me as a kid for fun!


SMA is a genetic, neuromuscular disease. There's no family history of it, but both of my parents are carriers of the genetic mutation that leads to SMA, and both my sister and I have SMA. It basically affects our muscles, which are a lot weaker than a normal person's. My brain tries to send the message to my muscles, but the message gets really weak as it travels from my brain down my body, and so my muscles' response is also really weak. Generally speaking, the lower down on my body the muscles are, the weaker they are.

I've never walked - I've used a power wheelchair since I was 3 years old. I need help with things like showering, getting dressed, and getting in and out of my wheelchair. I also use a feeding tube at night to help me get enough calories (which is a whole other story for another post), but still eat normally during the day.


Even though there a lot of things I can't do alone, I have really lived my life trying to be as independent as possible. I went to college and lived in the dorms on campus, which was a huge adjustment for me, but I'm so glad that I did. I have a job and work full-time while also working towards my master's degree. I go out with friends to restaurants and bars, love to travel (although it requires a bit more planning and preparation), and generally try to live my life as "normally" as possible. That's not to say that things aren't harder for me at times - I'm always tired, which probably feeds my caffeine addiction, and I don't often have the opportunity to be spontaneous - but I try not to focus on those things. They may not be "normal," but they're my normal.

I think diversity is really important, and I hope that my blog adds some diversity! But I also think it's important to focus on what makes us alike, and not always on what makes us different.

If you're interested in learning any more about SMA, you can do so here. And please leave any questions in the comments!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

My Trip to NYC for Hamilton

 Sunday night, while the rest of Pittsburgh was watching the Stanley Cup finals, I was watching the Tony Awards. I love musicals - I see as many as I can when they come to Pittsburgh. The music, the acting - they're enthralling, and for three hours, they transport you into another world. I'm not known to be an especially emotional person - I'm logical, rational, and analytical - but there's something about live music, whether it's a concert or a musical, that just makes you feel alive.

About two years ago now I started hearing and reading a lot about a new musical called Hamilton. I finally checked it out on YouTube, and like everyone else who listens to it, I was hooked. I listened to the songs every day, I learned the lyrics, and I bought the Hamiltome from the Drama Bookshop because it had the Lin-Manuel Miranda stamp of approval. I had always been interested in the Revolutionary War period of history, because I had the American Girl doll Felicity whose story was set in that period, and Hamilton reignited my interest. I read the biography of Hamilton that inspired the show, I read letters from the archives written by Hamilton and Angelica and Eliza, and I went deep into so many Wikipedia rabbit holes. But I never really thought I'd get to see the show on Broadway - I figured I'd wait until it finally made it's way to Pittsburgh.

Traveling, as much as I love it, isn't easy for me and my family. There are no direct flights from Pittsburgh to New York that can fit my wheelchair in the cargo area, so we have to drive. And because of all the medical equipment we have to travel with - wheelchair chargers, breathing machines, my feeding tube pump - traveling by car is not a simple thing. We try to not get out of the car during the drive, because it's so hard to get our wheelchairs in and out of the car with the suitcases and bins we have packed in around them. We have to worry about an accessible hotel, an easy way to get around once we arrive, and just general logistics of getting ready with a lot of equipment in a small hotel room.

But I was browsing Twitter one day, and saw that a block of tickets for the Broadway show had opened up an hour earlier. This was back when none of the original cast had left yet - tickets were a hot commodity. I figured they would already be sold out, especially since wheelchair seating at shows is so, so limited - there are usually between 10 and 20 wheelchair and companion seats for the whole theater. I clicked through just for fun, picked a random day, and... found myself with two tickets in my Ticketmaster cart, with mere minutes to decide if it would be possible for me to convince my whole family to plan a trip to New York 6 months in the future.

I know I said I'm not an emotional person.... but my heart was racing and I could hear it pounding in my ears. I quickly called my mom to talk to her about it... and promptly started crying. The good thing about being a generally unemotional person is that what you do get emotional, people understand how much you must care about this thing. Somehow, my family agreed, and the tickets were mine.


Seeing Hamilton on Broadway was so incredibly special. The show absolutely exceeded every single expectation that I had - I don't think that anyone has ever been disappointed after seeing the show. But it was made even more special because of the effort it took for my family to get me there - it meant so much to be able to see it!


Sometime in between buying the tickets and seeing the show, I also got my dad, sister, and cousin addicted, but only had the two tickets for my mom and I. By some crazy stroke of luck, a new block of tickets went on sale two days after we got home from our trip to New York, and now all five of us will be seeing the show later this year. I am so unbelievably excited to not only get to see the show again myself, but to be able to share it with all of them!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Dressing for Wedding Season


This summer seems to be the summer of weddings for me – between family and friends, I have at least one wedding each month this summer! Since multiple weddings are extended family members, I can’t repeat the same dress for all of them, so I’ve been doing some serious wedding guest shopping.

Since I'm pretty tiny - I can sometimes fit into a kids size medium! - I tend to do most of my shopping online. I've just found that they have the best selection in terms of sizes and styles that aren't always in the store, and it's easier for me to find dresses that fit but don't look too young.


There are two stores that I look to most frequently, and I've picked out a few selections I love from each store:

(Note: the links below are affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase.)

  •  ASOS
    ASOS is a UK-based retailer, but they do offer free shipping AND free returns to the US, which is an amazing deal. In addition to affordable prices and more unique styles, ASOS offers Petite 00 sizing. Sizing has been an issue for me in the past, in terms of finding things that actually fit, so I really appreciate this sizing!


             

           
  • Nordstrom
    There actually is a Nordstrom not too far from me, but their online selection is really unparalleled. It can get expensive, but you can definitely find things on sale – sometimes you just have to shop in advance! They are also one of the only stores to carry women’s size 4 shoes, which I really appreciate. Plus, they always offer free shipping and free returns, with no time limit! You can’t go wrong.

         


I'm always looking for new places to shop, so let me know your go-to places in the comments!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Three Rivers Arts Festival Recap



Each year, Pittsburgh has an annual Arts Festival - the Three Rivers Arts Festival - downtown around the Point. It's always a really fun event to check out, with lots of artists, vendors, free concerts, and food trucks! The festival spans two weeks, and I love going to roam around, check out the art and music, and snack on some funnel cake. I want to share some pictures from my time there this year.





This is only a small section of all the booths that are at the Point - there are so many different artists to check out!

This year was especially cool because there was an installation art piece called the Umbrella Sky Project. Basically, a small section of the festival area was covered by a sky of umbrellas! It was especially fitting for Pittsburgh as it's known to rain here during Arts Fest time.


  


  


And finally, my favorite part is visiting my fried Katie, who has a booth at the festival! You can check out her Etsy shop if you're interested!



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Evening Skincare Routine

Since I talked about my morning skincare routine earlier this week, I wanted to follow up and talk about my evening skincare routine. What I do at night isn't too different from what I do in the morning - like I mentioned in my last post, sticking to a routine is important, especially for me!

While I'm always picking products that are suitable for my oily and acne-prone skin, at night, I also focus on anti-aging. I'm in my late 20s now, and want to make sure I am keeping my skin as healthy as possible!

  • Cleanser/Makeup RemoverWhen I get home from work and class, I'm usually pretty exhausted and just want to get my makeup off quickly. I used to use some sort of face wipe - it's a bit of an ordeal for me to get to a sink that I can reach easily to wash my face. But then I found Bioderma Sensibio micellar water, and I've been obsessed ever since. I just put the Bioderma on a cotton round and wipe it all over my face - it really does an amazing job getting my makeup off. It can be hard to find Bioderma in the US - I buy it at Beautylish, but you can also buy it on Amazon - just make sure it's from a legitimate seller and not someone passing off a knockoff as the real thing. Make sure to read the seller's reviews!
  • Eye Makeup Remover
    I could use Bioderma for my eye makeup too - it can even handle waterproof mascara - but I like how gentle the Almay Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover Pads. They come pre-moistened with eye makeup remover, and they never make my eyes burn or sting. You could even use these with contacts in without having to worry.
  • Toner and Exfoliant
    This step is the exact same as my morning routine. I use the Skin Balancing Pore Reducing Toner, and the Clear Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution. I just put a few drops of each on a cotton round, and swipe them all over my face.

  • Serum
    I've mentioned that my skin is oily - it's oily enough that I don't need a moisturizer at night. Since I want to use something anti-aging, though, I use a very lightweight serum, the Resist Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum. It's so light that the texture is almost watery, which is exactly what I need. It doesn't add oil or grease or too much moisture to my face.

I also use a prescription cream at night that has a form of a retinoid in it, which is why I don't use a separate retinol product.

These are the products that work for me, but I'd love to hear what you use at night! Let me know in the comments.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Morning Skincare Routine

Happy Monday - I hope everyone had a great weekend! I took advantage of the nice weather and went to the Three Rivers Arts Festival - it's a big annual arts festival in downtown Pittsburgh. I'll talk more about that and share some pictures later this week.

Today, I want to talk about skincare. I’ve been dealing with super oily skin basically since middle school, when I first started breaking out. Since then, I’ve gone to countless dermatologist appointments and have tried tons of over-the-counter and prescription products. About a year ago, I finally felt like my skin was under control and the best it’s ever looked. It’s still an oil slick, but my oily skin and pore size are genetic – there’s nothing that I can do about them. But I have found things to keep my skin clear and to keep it looking good.

I’m sharing my morning skincare routine in the hopes that it can help someone else who has super oily skin! Everything I use in the morning, product-wise, is by Paula’s Choice – I found them a few years ago, and I really like how their products are backed by science and not focused on pretty packaging.

  • Moisturizer/Sunscreen
    My final morning skincare step before makeup is moisturizer/sunscreen. I went YEARS without ever using moisturizer – like I mentioned before, my skin is incredibly oily, and doesn’t need any extra moisture. I know a lot of people say oily skin needs to be treated with moisturizer, and that may be true for dehydrated skin, but I have genuinely oily skin no matter what I do or how much moisturizer I put on.

    BUT… sunscreen is still important for skin health and preventing future wrinkles, so I wear something light. I wear the Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense – it’s basically just sunscreen with some added antioxidants, but it sets to a nice, matte finish and works like a primer. It wears really nicely under makeup – no pilling!


And don't forget - consistency is key. It's SO important to establish a routine and stick to it!


I would love to hear any recommendations from you about what you use on your skin and what you’ve found to work!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Ten Things About Me

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I thought that a good way to start this blog would be to share a few things about myself. So, here are 10 things about me!


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1.     Starting with the basics – my name is Heather, and I’m 28 years old.
2.     I live in Pittsburgh, and I’ve lived here for my whole life.
3.     I work in public health research at a local university. It’s different than what I studied as an undergraduate – engineering – but I love it!
4.     I’m also working towards my Masters of Public Health – I’m a part-time student, so it’s a long journey.
5.     I have a very spoiled Yorkshire Terrier named Lily, who is almost three years old now.
6.     I love music, whether it’s a concert or a musical, and try to see as many shows as I can.
7.     I have Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a genetic neuromuscular disease, and have been in a wheelchair since I was three years old.
8.     I love going to restaurants, especially in the summer, and even more so if there’s a rooftop!
9.     I am obsessed with all animals, especially big cats, and have planned multiple vacations around animal encounters.
10.  I drink so much coffee it basically runs through my veins.

I’d love to meet and learn about you – comment below and introduce yourself!