Friday, November 25, 2016

In the Beauty Cabinet

Happy post-Thanksgiving Friday, dears!  I hope everyone had/is having a sweet holiday <3.  With it being wintry outside again, my skin has decided to do its annual get-dry-and-cracked routine.  I'm also still dealing with my acne and acne scars, and I'm trying to find skincare and makeup products that are moisturizing, brightening, healing, and cruelty-free.  The no-animal-testing part is really important to me. I know that there are a lot of other people out there who care about animals and who are also struggling with skin-related issues, so hopefully some of the beauty cabinet favorites I'm sharing today may be of use to you :). Financially, it can be very difficult to afford a lot of skincare and makeup products, and I can't always have these products on hand because it just gets too expensive, but given how awful acne scars and dry, peeling skin can be, it's sometimes worth it to invest in long-term solutions.  Hopefully some of them will be able to help you, too!

For Dry Hands
As soon as it gets cold outside, BAM, my hands turn into a palette of dryness, redness, and peeling. They also burn and hurt a lot, and my mum has been really on my case about taking care of them.  She has work-worn hands from long days and a demanding job, so she's particularly wary of hand-care, but I tend to forget to put moisturizer on, and the soap at school has been eating away at my skin. Deep Steep's Peppermint Vanilla Argan Oil Hand Cream has been a life-changer! It smells like peppermint candies (which I haven't been able to have in a long time due to food sensitivities), and it's so much fun for the holiday season! It's not tested on animals at all, it's affordable, and it's full of natural goodness like shea butter and aloe vera.

For Coverage and Sun Protection

I've been trying to use products without dimeticone lately, but it's very difficult to find foundations and BB creams that don't include it.  REN's Satin Perfection BB Cream has made a major difference in my skin coverage. It has no silicone ad adjusts to your skin tone, and it protects from UV rays and oxidizing agents while providing you with a soft, smooth glow. I use a very small amount every day because it is expensive, but it is so soft and light that I get excited to put it on in the morning.

For Foundation
Zuzu Luxe Oil Free Liquid Foundation is silky, soft, cruelty- and gluten-free, and a little goes a long way (which is good because I really can't afford it, lol).  "Zuzu Luxe" is a really fun name to say, too, so that's an added bonus.  The coverage provided by the foundation is very thorough, and it does an amazing job making my acne scars less obvious--a true miracle!  It also gives a natural glow that isn't oily, thick, or shiny.  Yay!

<3 Frances

Monday, November 21, 2016

Monday Playlist

I feel like it's been a while since I've gotten to put a playlist together.  But music has been the only thing that's made any sort of stand against my latest case of writer's block, so I'm taking a study break (yes, it's midterm season!) to share some recent favorites. Can you believe that it's already almost Thanksgiving?  Fall 2016 is going by so much more quickly than I'd anticipated. And I'm very cold today  . . . multiple sweaters and my brother's jacket and jeans cold.  You might notice that as a theme in some of these song selections.

Kaleo: "I Can't Go On Without You"

Ben Cocks: "So Cold"

Damien Rice: "9 Crimes"

Greg Laswell: "This Woman's Work" (Cover of Kate Bush)

<3 Frances

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Bronte Sisters' Mum

I am completely and entirely obsessed with pretty much anything that has to do with the Bronte Sisters.  Their short lives were full of heartbreak and poetic tragedy, much like the stories that they wrote, and the love they felt for one another is so sweet it could make me cry.  Imagine my excitement, then, when I found some of their mum's writing published online. (I'd like to picture myself discovering it in some dusty English library somewhere, perhaps with tea and my glasses and lots of old books, but for now the only resource I really have at my disposal is Google, LOL.)

Maria Branwell Bronte
Anyway, if you aren't yet familiar with Mrs. Bronte, let me give you a little bit of a crash course.  Born Maria Branwell in April 1783, she grew up in Cornwall in a respected Methodist family. Like her daughters, her youth was marked by death, too.  Of her siblings, only five survived past childhood, and her parents were both dead by the time she was 19.  The light at the end of the tunnel, however, seemed to come when Maria met Patrick Bronte through her extended family.  The two connected immediately.  Unfortunately, their relationship wasn't entirely approved of because Patrick wasn't as well-off as the Branwells had been, but Maria didn't care.  She thought humble livelihoods and poorness were positives in the eyes of God, and she genuinely loved Patrick:

Surely after this you can have no doubt
 that you posess all my heart.
Two month ago
 I could not possibly have believed
that you would ever engross so much
of my thoughts and effections
and far less could I have thought
that I should be so forward
as to tell you so
I feel that my hearth
is more ready to attach itself
to earth than heaven.
(The above is from a letter to Patrick that I found on the "The Bronte Sisters" blog, which is amazing and can be accessed here.)  Patrick and Maria married and had six children: Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte, Emily, Branwell, and Anne. But after Anne's birth, the now-Mrs. Bronte fell very ill.  She spent months in agony before dying of ovarian cancer in 1821. Her last words? "Oh, God, my poor children!"  Her story is heartbreaking, just like the tuberculosis-ridden lives of her children.  Only such poignant tragedy could've led to the production of works like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre
<3 Frances

Monday, November 14, 2016

Meet Cholita

A few weeks ago, I posted about bears and the abuse so many of them endure in the wildlife trade, in entertainment, and in the bear bile industry.  Well, today I want to introduce you to Cholita.  Cholita is an Andean bear (like Paddington!) who spent much of her youth in a circus where she underwent such severe trauma that all her fur fell out. Her teeth were broken claws and fingers were removed, too, and by the time Peruvian authorities took her from the circus to place her in a zoo, she was so scarred and hurt that finding a safe forever home for her was impossible for ten years.  Animal Defenders International rescued her early last year and, after several months of rehab, she journeyed to Taricaya Ecological Reserve.  Lush and full of wildlife, Taricaya is worlds apart from the five-foot-by-five-foot cage in which Cholita used to live.

Watching Cholita, my heart breaks because it's clear that, even though she's in such a sweet home now, it's clear that she's still in a lot of pain just because of the scars of her past.  She still doesn't have the toes of her front paws, and she'll never be able to reclaim the years of her childhood that were stolen from her.  I imagine her as a baby being taken from her mum and from her natural habitat, and it's almost too horrible to think about. There are animals just like Cholita all over the world--animals who could've grown up with families and rain and sunshine and trees but who instead end up confined to metal bars and cold, hard floors.  But the good thing is that it doesn't have to be this way for them!  Cholita was rescued.  All it takes to save the animals like her is action by people who really truly care.

<3 Frances

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Oh, My Goodness, Planet Earth is Back!

It's been ten years, but BBC's Planet Earth nature series is finally back!  YES!  This is so exciting! Planet Earth II is premiering on BBC now, and the video footage from it is beyond incredible.  It's a really nice break from everything that is usually on television, and its episodes transport viewers to some of the world's most fascinating island, jungle, mountain, grassland, desert, and city (yes, city!) habitats.  (And there's apparently even footage of a swimming sloth.)
If you're just as enthusiastic about this news as I am, then please please please take a mental health break to watch BBC's official extended trailer.   Looking at cute animals increases productivity, and we could all use a little more nature in our lives, right?
Happy Planet Earth-ing!

<3 Frances