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The Sunshine Blogger Award

Oh my goodness. I was just nominated for another blogger award! This time it’s the Sunshine Blogger Award and honestly, it’s really touching that Beth (see below in Gratitude and Appreciation) thought of me to nominate and acknowledge me as a blogger worth thinking of and sharing to others. I’m truly honored and feel very lucky to be a part of this great community. But onto the tag! I’m quite ready to answer some questions about blogging, myself, and everything in between, and make up some questions myself! (Get ready those who were tagged!) Here it goes!

The Rules
  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blogging site
  • List the Sunshine Blogger Award rules and display the logo on your site
  • Answer the Sunshine Blogger Award questions
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions
  • Notify the nominees about their nominations
Gratitude And Appreciation:

Such a big thank you to Beth over at The Black Ant Blog for nominating me for this award! I’m very honored because Beth is a fantastic blogger, who writes so passionately about a variety of real subjects, like health and mental health in such a positive and informative way. If you haven’t checked out her blog already, it’s definitely worth adding to your blog reading list! Thank you again, Beth!

The Questions I Should Answer:

1. When did you start blogging? What kick-started you?
I started blogging five years ago! My blog has been through many phases: a bucket list blog, a travel blog, the first version of That Weird Girl Life, and now it’s in its second (and even better, if I say so myself) phase of That Weird Girl Life. I started blogging because I wanted to have an outlet to write about what I was interested in, and in a weird way to push myself out of my comfort zone (aka having a bucket list blog and/or travel blog that didn’t play out because I RARELY travel- though I’d really like to travel more if I could). But in a way, this version of my blog is still pushing me out of my comfort zone: though it’s doing this by having me open up about my mental health and hopefully helping other people by sharing my stories!

2. Best friend in primary school? Do you still keep in touch?
I had several best friends in primary school (I know, so popular!), but I haven’t really kept in touch with too many. I’m friends with them on Facebook, but I do have one or two I still keep in contact with and consider my best friends, though they live out of state and don’t see each other as much as we used to. Ugh, adulthood!

3. Desert, Tropics or 4 Seasons? You can live anywhere in the world!
I live in the desert, and while the tropics may be fun to visit, I’m going to have to say four seasons! I would love to have an actual autumn, with red and yellow falling leaves, and that crisp, cold weather where you can actually wear sweaters and other comfy and cute fall clothing. Here, it’s almost October and everyone is still wearing shorts.

4. Do your friends and family know about your blogging?
Hmm. I actually don’t talk about my blog with my family or friends! I don’t know if I’m afraid they’ll read it and judge me or what, but I tend to be very open and honest on my blog, regarding mental health, and I am not like that in real life. So in a way, I’m keeping my blog a secret and just sharing it with my internet friends. I hope I can be brave enough to tell more people about it in the future and discuss writing it, because I love blogging and I’m so proud of my blog, but for now, I’m too shy to say anything.

5. Where would you love to go on holiday just with your 3-4 best friends?
Oooh a girls trip! If we had unlimited cash, I would say some big city like Los Angeles or New York and really go for the whole big city experience. Stay in a nice hotel, spend the day sightseeing, shopping, and having fun. Then at night, dress up and go out for some fun shows, enjoy a fancy dinner, and see what the nightlife is like and have some late night adventures. Basically, the theme would be “treat yo selves!” and we would just go all out.

6. Where is the most exotic place you have ever lived?
Well, not to brag, but I have only lived in one general vicinity for my entire life. I’ve only lived in one state, Arizona, in the United States, and that’s it! But in the perfect world, I would love to live in England (if you could call that exotic. But from where I live that’s super exotic!).

7. If there was one vegetable or fruit that you had to include in every single meal (for life), what would it be?
Ooh, I love all types of fruit (not so much vegetables, which is odd for a vegetarian, but hi, ME!), so I may pick something like an orange (delicious and wards off scurvy!) or a nice crisp green apple. Would they go with the meal? Probably not, but I’d find them delicious anyway!

8. You have a farm: horses or alpacas? Why?
Alpacas, because horses scare me. I’m sorry, but I don’t trust a giant quadruped that can sense your fear. It’s suspicious, I’m telling you! Also, have you seen a baby alpaca? Too cute! I’d pick a baby alpaca over a baby horse any day! (Sorry, baby horses!)

9. Do you play music in the background while writing? What type of music?
I actually prefer silence when I write! I know that sounds incredibly strange, but if I listen to music, I end up getting distracted by the lyrics, and if I listen to classical music or movie scores, I get swept away in the musical emotion and start daydreaming. So it’s much easier for me to stay focused if there is just absolutely nothing at all playing in the background.

10. How do you use social media?
Probably not as well as I should be! I love going on Instagram and Twitter (not so much Facebook anymore) to see what’s going on with friends, the world, and the blogging community. I try to use Twitter and Pinterest to promote my blog, but I usually just use Instagram for fun (though I will promote my blog on there every so often, not going to lie!). And as fun as social media is, I’m really trying to cut back. I’ve noticed that the constant comparisons and the onslaught of information can be bad for my mental health so I really do try to take short, frequent social media breaks, even though that may be “bad” for my blog. But my mental health has to come first!

11. Three random facts:
  • I don’t like being the center of attention, so no surprise parties, please!
  • My all time favorite band are the Arctic Monkeys (give them a listen, they are amazing)
  • I love entering contests for some reason. Do I ever win them? No. But do I get a little thrill thinking I could actually win it even though the odds are stacked against me? Heck yes I do.
*Bonus Question!*

(Let’s make this an even twelve! I think Beth added an extra question so I’m going to answer it because it’s a good one!)

12. If you have written a book – what is it? If not, what would you write about? Does it have a title yet?
I have not written a book, but I’ve always thought writing one would be such a great accomplishment. As an avid reader, to actually write something that other people will read and enjoy, just like I’ve read and enjoyed so many books, is probably an amazing feeling. And the fact that you wrote a complete story, with a narrative, characters, made of thousands and thousands of words, is truly astonishing to me. But if I ever did write a book, as a fan of all things spooky, I would definitely write a horror novel!

My Nominations:

(And bloggers, I apologize if you've been nominated before or if this isn't your jam, so please don't feel like you have to do the tag unless you want to. I just wanted to nominate you because I admire all of your blogs and hope more people will discover all of your content! But if you do decide to do the tag, please let me know because I'd love to read it!)

1. Julie- Darkbluejournal

2. Steph- Sometimes I Write

3. Deandra- The Black Princess Diaries 

4. Sean- Authentically Average

5. Kirsty- Love Popcorn

6. Delta Elaina Ariana Deathstorm- The Dead Books

7. Kaili- Entertainingly Nerdy

8. Meagan- Quibbles and Scribbles

9. Arielle- The Little Dismaid 

10. Eleanor- Mxrshmallow Queen

11. Kayleigh- Kayleigh Zara

11 Questions I Want My Nominations to Answer:

1. How has blogging positively impacted your life?
2. When do you like to blog: morning, afternoon, or night?
3. What is the one food you refuse to eat?
4. If aliens came to earth, what would you first show them that you think is cool?
5. If you could switch places with one person for the day, who would it be?
6. What is your favorite social media medium and why?
7. What’s your perfect type of vacation: sight-seeing or relaxing?
8. If you could travel back (or forward!) in time, when and where would you want to visit?
9. What is your least favorite thing about blogging?
10. Three cutest animals: go!
11. If you could spend the whole day doing something you love, what would it be?

That was my post for the Sunshine Blogger Award! It was really fun to answer and I had such a great time coming up with the questions, haha. I hope they weren’t too quirky, but hey, that’s me! Have you been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award? If not, what questions would you come up with to ask?

Stay Weird,

Learning to Embrace My Dark Under Eye Circles

Dark circles. Bags. Under eye circles. Whatever you call ‘em, I got ‘em. I’ve had them ever since I was a baby, and they’ve been here to stay ever since (I was a very tired looking baby). And they aren’t just dark. They are actual deep crevices under my eyes as well. My glasses usually hide them, but I know they’re there. Oh, I know they’re there.

Now, under eye circles in and of themselves aren’t bad. Some people have dark under eye circles due to illness, lack of sleep, or just genetics (so dark circles on someone may be a sign that something is off, so if you don’t normally have them, please get yourself checked out, just in case!). I myself fall under that “genetics” category (thanks, mom and dad!). But the worst thing about having under eye circles is that they are so noticeable and everyone always points them out to you (in a concerned way, of course):

“Are you feeling okay?”

“You look really tired!”

“You need to get more sleep!”

“Concealer would really help with those!”

All super helpful, except I’m a) feeling just fine, b) am sleeping 8+ hours a night and, c) concealer is not strong enough to cover these babies.

But the worst actually is:

Person: “Wow, you look really nice! You looked really tired yesterday.”

Me: “That’s because I’m wearing makeup today…”

My under eye circles never really started bothering me until I became depressed when I was around twelve. Before that, I barely noticed them. I was healthy, sleeping well, and mentally stable. But once I turned twelve, I stopped sleeping, ate less, and was just generally not in a good way. The lack of sleep and nutrients caused my eye circles to turn even darker and that’s when people started commenting. I got more and more self-conscious until the day I finally realized how bad they were.

I was around thirteen at the orthodontist getting my braces tightened (ah, the joys of being a young teen) and my orthodontist had my file with him. I had forgotten that when you first get braces, they take some pictures of your face, from the front and both sides, just for a frame of reference for your face and jaw line. My doctor jokingly showed me mine, and said he could sell these to a tabloid magazine one day when I became rich and famous (hardy har har). But I didn’t find it funny because I saw my photos. I remembered the medical assistant who took the photos said I didn’t have to smile in the pictures, so I didn’t. But what I saw when I looked at the photos was an unsmiling twelve year old, with under eye circles so dark, it looked like I had been punched in both eyes. In fact, the first thing that crossed my mind was that it looked like a mug shot of a drug addict who hadn’t slept in a week.

I was so shocked and embarrassed. That was me? That was what I looked like? I’ve been walking around this world, walking past people, looking like this? It was then that I became obsessed with trying to get rid of my dark circles.

I somehow convinced my mother to let me start wearing makeup, or at least start using some sort of concealer or foundation. She let me buy this weird foundation stick that you were supposed to put under your eyes to try to reflect some light under your eyes and lessen your dark circles. Didn’t help, but I tried the best that I could.

Later, when I was older and feeling less depressed, my eye circles grew less dark, but were still prominent. I was so embarrassed by them. The thought of my pictures from the orthodontist haunted me. I wanted to look bright and happy, not depressed and sad. I started wearing foundation from a compact as a teen, putting it under my eyes. It didn’t do much, but it was a start. I then graduated to concealer AND foundation, and that’s where I stayed for a long, long time.

I was so embarrassed for anyone to see me without makeup. It started to become part of my identity. I didn’t like the way I looked without it. The concealer helped lighten my dark under eye circles, the foundation smoothed my skin, and the eyeliner and mascara made my eyes look bigger. I wanted to look like the best version of myself, which meant no under eye circles and no imperfections (minus the occasional pimple or two. I’m human, okay?). I even thought that people treated me more nicely when I was wearing makeup. That’s how convinced I was that I needed to wear makeup.

It didn’t help that there’s been such a boom in the beauty industry lately. Full face makeup, caking and baking concealer onto your face, with bronzer, highligher, the whole shebang covering your entire face, made me see my imperfections even more. Though the people who were doing this to their faces were probably covering up their own imperfections (maybe even some dark under eye circles…? Gasp! God forbid!).

But then came the turning point. About a year or two ago, I developed cystic acne. For those who don’t know, adult acne is real and it is awful. You thought you were done with acne during puberty? Uh-uh! It’s back to haunt you in your better and more emotionally stable years! My acne was so bad that every time I put on makeup, it made my cystic acne even worse. And for those who don’t know, the more you touch and bother cystic acne, the worse it gets (and the bigger it gets too!). And cystic acne HURTS. My face was so bad that I did the unthinkable: I stopped wearing makeup entirely.

I know. It went against everything I had done for years. But my acne was so bad that I couldn’t help it. My makeup routine dried up until I was only using acne face wash and an acne safe moisturizer since I was drying out my face so much. I was embarrassed to go out without makeup, but at this point, I was even more embarrassed of the giant cysts that were popping up on my forehead and cheeks. I didn’t want people to even look at me. I was in my late 20’s and I had acne. I felt like such a loser.

As my face slowly started clearing up, thanks to trial and error of face care and finally a trip to the dermatologist (why did it take me so long to go??), I suddenly realized that I hadn’t really been wearing makeup. My daily makeup routine had boiled down to just acne safe moisturizer and a bit of sunscreen. I should have been shocked until I realized that I didn’t care that I was walking around without makeup. My face was clearer now and I was actually proud to show it off. Nothing artificial on my face, not even under my eyes!

I don’t know if it was my adult acne, the fact that I’m older now, or the fact I just don’t care what other people think, but I realized that my under eye circles are NORMAL. I was born with them. I have them. They are a part of face and I can’t change that. So why am I trying to change something I literally can’t?

The beauty world has a product for everything you hate about your face. Cover your imperfections: zits, acne, acne scars, discoloration, wrinkles. I’ve tried and seen so many items, home remedies, and even procedures for getting rid of dark circles and the bags under your eyes. It makes me so aware and insecure of my own under eye circles and makes me wonder, “why is everyone so desperate for me to get rid of them, if I was born with them?” Are they an imperfection or just natural?

I’ve decided to embrace my under eye circles. They’re a part of me, and completely natural. Do I wish I sometimes looked like someone else who doesn’t have those deep, dark crevices circling my under eyes? Of course! But no matter what concealer I use, I can’t hide their darkness and the deepness of them too. It’s my face, and I need to love it, dark eye circles, acne scars (thanks for that, cystic acne!), and all. No amount of makeup can make me forget that I have them, so why even use it?

Thanks to developing acne later in life, I’m now taking even better care of my skin than I ever have. I’m keeping it clean, exfoliated, and moisturized. I’m taking pride in my skin and face, and usually just wear moisturizer and sunscreen in my day to day life. If I want to wear makeup for special occasions, I only wear a light bb cream, mascara, a bit of eyeshadow, and use an eyebrow pencil to fill out my brows. Simple and natural. For me, makeup should be all about enhancing your natural beauty, not about hiding and changing it.

So I’m wearing my bare face and under eye circles proudly. Is my skin perfect? Hell no! Will it ever be? I’m gonna go with another hell no since your skin just basically gets worse the older you get (yay nature and the passage of time!). But am I embracing it and working it? Hell yes! (With not too much filtering of selfies, might I add. Also, smearing Vaseline over your phone’s camera just doesn’t work the same way it did back in Old Hollywood)

So if you see me out and about, I hope you think my dark circles suit me, because they aren’t going anywhere. And frankly, I don’t want them to. If I ever have to cover them up for any reason (weddings, other special events where you are not in charge of your makeup look), you know it won’t be for long. These dark semi-circles are ready to shine and be in the spotlight! And for once, I finally don’t mind.

*NOTE: If you love the way you look and just love wearing makeup, go for it! This isn’t at all to shame anyone who wears makeup because they just love wearing makeup. You do you, but I hope that you can feel confident all dolled up as much as you do when you’re also all dressed down. Face wise, that is.*

Do you have dark circles? Do you cover them up or do you let them see the world? (Haha) Do you have any "imperfections" that you embrace? Also, do you think the beauty world is trying to make us feel bad for having “imperfections?” Let me know in the comments!

Stay Weird,

Review: Cherry Wallis' Curation of Magical Curiosities Box

In case you didn’t know and have never read my blog before, I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. And while I am not a big collector of Harry Potter things, I do have my fair share of knick knacks from the series. Books, Pop Funkos (or is it Funko Pops?), movie merchandise/replicas... I have a few HP memorabilia. I’ve also been trying to be more minimalistic too (and save money in the process too!), lately, so I’m trying to cut back on the tchotchkes. But I have a guilty pleasure of watching subscription box unboxing videos on Youtube. And one of my favorite Youtubers, Cherry Wallis, is a massive Harry Potter fan (she has the most amazing replica collection!) and does a lot of Harry Potter subscription box unboxing videos. I am obsessed. All of the amazing trinkets that come out of the boxes are so creative and cool (mostly small business/fan made!), and I get a vicarious thrill watching her unbox all of these amazing items.

So when I heard that she was going to be collaborating with Geek Gear, a subscription box that has a Wizardry box, on her own one time Harry Potter inspired box, called the Curation of Magical Curiosities, I just knew I had to get it! Cherry has such amazing taste when it comes to these things, plus she’s a fantastic artist who has an excellent eye for design. She knows good quality AND great Harry Potter things when she sees them. Girl knows her stuff. So I knew this box was going to be AMAZING.

I ended up ordering the box the day orders opened, and the boxes were sent out near the end of August, but I didn’t end up getting mine until September 4th. Apparently, Geek Gear and Cherry weren’t expecting it to be such a big hit and were overwhelmed with all the orders! Good for them! So while I was happy for them and their success with the boxes, I was dying to get mine. It was so hard to avoid spoilers when people (like Cherry herself) were doing unboxing videos of the box online and I really, really, really wanted to watch them and see what was in the box! But thankfully, I avoided spoilers and now my box is HERE and I’m ready to give my excited (yet honest) review of the box.

*SPOILERS AHEAD! And apologies for my substandard photography skills*

This box has seven items in it, each based on each year of Hogwarts that Harry attended. Let’s begin!

The box came all wrapped up in a dark plastic bag and of course as an Anglophile I was delighted to see that it was from England via the Royal Mail (me = dork).

I then unwrapped it and saw the beauty of the box! I loved all of the details on front! It made it look so magical and like it was delivered by an owl! (Albeit a slow owl, like Errol, since mine was so late. You can’t blame the poor bird, he’s so old). 

The first thing I saw when I opened it was a handwritten looking note from Cherry. I think it was her handwriting, it was so pretty and such a cute message too. It definitely made me more excited to see what was in the box!

The note from Cherry said:

“I hope this letter finds you well, and that the owl that delivered it arrived safely.

I also hope that this box didn’t end up in the wrong hands, as I will likely get into trouble for exposing our kind to the muggle world…

If you’re reading this, I wanted to say a big thank you for all of your support with the Curation of Magical Curiosities.”

Always, Cherry

PS. By the way, the bird bites.”

Cute throwback to Sirius in the postscript!

And notice this cute layer of flying keys and lightning bolt tissue paper underneath! How sweet is that? I’m so saving that for something! (Because seriously, how can you throw that away??)

The next thing I saw were a bunch of loose paper packaging (or “wiggly worms,” as Cherry might say), but they weren’t just plain brown colored, there were also GOLD wiggly worms! What an adorable touch! It made the box look a lot more special and exclusive.

The first thing I took out of the box was this cute pin, of three pumpkin juice bottles with snowflakes on them, with “The Yule Ball,” written underneath. I love how sparkly they are and the details on them are just amazing. Seriously, I would never have in a million years thought of something this cute and creative.

The next thing I randomly grabbed was this box decorated like the Herbology green room. Um, this packaging, you guys! So well designed and the colors! It’s like Professor Sprout designed it herself! How can whatever was inside compete with the awesomeness that is this box? 

And then I opened it. And a freaking Mimbulus mibletonia plant was inside! What????? I was NOT expecting that! The details on it are insane! It looks so much like the one in the movie that Neville has that I was expecting it to shoot out some goo. The Mimbulus mibletonia looks so quality that I swear it looks like a licensed item. I honestly can’t believe it how good this item is. I’m still in shock.

After being a little shell-shocked, I moved on to what was hiding in the gold wiggly worms. It was something wrapped in brown paper and string! So very wizarding world! I honestly had the thought “This looks like how the Sorcerer's Stone is wrapped in the movie,” but I brushed that right out of my head because of course it wasn’t. Was it?

But it was!! I was gobsmacked! I now have my very own Sorcerer’s Stone! (Or Philosopher's Stone, all depending on where you are. You know us Americans just want to be different from everyone else in the world. If we’re not removing U’s from letters, we’re changing book names to our liking) It looks more like how I imagined it in my head when I first read the book. Less choppy and roughly cut like the first movie, but more smooth and jewel-esque as I had first pictured it. I wish I could wrap it back up as prettily as they had, so I could feel like it’s more secure. The Sorcerer’s Stone is very precious, I just can’t have it lying around!

There was another box, small, blue and long, that said “Memory Vial”. Oh my goodness. On the very top of the box it has a small illustration of the pensieve, and on the side of the box it said “This exquisitely crafted vial bottle will hold your closest memories for many years to come.” Oh, yes. Yes yes YES!

It was, in fact, a legit memory vial, a la Dumbledore and Snape! The glass bottle itself is a beautiful shape, with a lovely looking stopper. I can just imagine some dreamy, cloudy memory floating in there, just waiting to be poured into the pensieve. And silly me didn’t even noticed that it came with stickers to put on your vial, so you can label your memory! (Which I forgot to photograph, but trust me, the label stickers are gorgeous!) So so so brilliant!

After calming down after the memory vial, I saw the next item. It was Time-Turning Tea, a passionfruit infused tea. Unfortunately, I don’t like tea (does this mean I can’t live in England ever? Please don’t say that), but it sounds really pleasant and I know my older sister who LOVES tea will gladly drink this for me and give me her review. It honestly makes me wish I liked tea, because it does sound quite delicious.

The next item I saw was a brown envelope, sealed with an interesting looking sticker. Inside were some pages from Advanced Potion Making! The recipe on the first page was “Draught of Living Death", and the rest of the pages had the rest of the recipe, along with scribbles and runes drawn on (perhaps drawn by the Half-Blood Prince himself?). The amount of detail and thought gone into this item is just mind-boggling! I love having a little piece of a Hogwarts textbook. Can we get some Hogwarts, A History pages next??

Under that was a large print, the last of our seven items, and to my great surprise, it was a lovely illustration of a baby mandrake! And not only that, but it was drawn by Cherry! I knew she was a great artist, but this was such a great way to incorporate her talent into the box! Not only is it a great quality print, the illustration is just spot on and portrays a chunky, grumpy baby mandrake perfectly! (I personally love mandrakes and feel like every Harry Potter fan who has a child should do at least one photoshoot of their child as a mandrake in a pot) It was a fantastic way to end the box, honestly.

Underneath THAT, was the cheat sheet, hand written again in what I think is Cherry’s writing, describing each of the items, Cherry’s stories of them, who or what small business made them, and what year they correspond with. Year One, was the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone. Year Two was the Mandrake artwork. Year Three was of course, the Time Turning Tea. Year Four was the Yule Ball pin. Year Five was the Mimbulus mimbletonia plant. Year Six was the Draught of the Living Death pages from Advanced Potion Making and Year Seven was the memory vial.

All in all, I have to say this was such a strong and magical box! I loved every single one of these items and found the quality and artistry in each and everyone one of them so amazing! Cherry and Geek Gear honestly could not have done a better job, with the presentation, the creativity and uniqueness of the items. You can tell Cherry put her heart and soul into this and as a fan I just want to say that I am so proud of her! I am more than impressed and just wished the box had been endless, like Hermione’s purse. Just more and more magical items coming out, nonstop. Thinking about it, I really don't know if I could pick a favorite? I mean, I kind of love having the Sorcerer's Stone. But the memory vial?? And the pin?? Okay, I can't pick. I love it all!!!!

I would of course buy another box from Geek Gear/Cherry again, despite trying to cut back on both collecting things AND spending money, but if it’s got Cherry’s name on it, you know it’s going to be good. And speaking of that, today, the day that I am posting this blog, she apparently is coming out with something magical and Christmas-y coming out for pre-order! So if you’re interested in something Harry Potter related that Cherry has to due with, please check out her Twitter and her Youtube channel, since she’ll be making the announcement there today! I know I will most likely be signing up!

What did you think of Cherry’s Curation of Magical Curiosities box? I was so impressed by it that I honestly can’t get over it. Which item was your favorite?? Let me know in the comments below!

Stay Weird,