Monday, 28 November 2016

The Perfect Christmas Gift Box


I personally love giving others gifts - I enjoy seeing their faces, and I love the feeling of knowing that I found that perfect gift.. oftentimes, however, I find the stress of searching for the 'ultimate' Christmas gifts each year crazy - I'm a perfectionist, which inevitably means that this year must outdo the last which must outdo the last and so on. Sometimes, however, it seems like I've hit a financial and creativity wall, and the search for original gifts (no socks, candles or mugs, please) can be impossible.

Since pairing with FabFitFun earlier this year, I've grown to love their boxes and the quality of their products (I've invested in a subscription for myself, because #treatyourself?) - and more importantly, I believe that it's the perfect gift for any girl into fashion, health, fitness, beauty and lifestyle products (let's be honest, who isn't?)

PLUS, FabFitFun deliveries are packaged in super-cute boxes, so your gift wrap worries are long-gone, adios, au revoir!

You can check out FabFitFun here, and use the code "ITSLIT" at checkout for an additional $10 off your first box!!

(Also, let me know your thoughts when you receive your first box! Feedback is welcomed!)

Love,
Annabel



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Sunday, 20 November 2016

Winter Style Look-Book















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Skin Care Products I've Been Loving


I've always had a very "less is more" approach when it comes to skincare, and I still adhere to this. That said, I enjoy mixing up the products I use on my skin, experimenting and evolving as I age and as my face requires different things.

That said, without any more unnecessary introductions, these are the products I currently use one to two times daily on my face, and that I've been really happy with;

  1. Nip + Fab Soften Kale Fix Moisturizer - This one sounds a little odd, and honestly, has a somewhat confusing scent to it (I can't work out if I like the scent or not truthfully), but as far as moisturizers go, this is one of the best I've used. It isn't oily at all, but it isn't super light either - I definitely feel like my skin is instantly hydrated when I use this, although I recommend using it at night or at a time when you aren't going out, just as it takes a little time to soak in properly and I find that moisturizer of any kind makes my face a little red for a few minutes.
  2. Derma e Very Clear Moisturizer - Yes, another moisturizer. I use this one less regularly than the  N&N one mentioned above, simply because this moisturizer actually is anti-blemish as well. I love having a moisturizer that is a little bit of both (it's not as strong as straight spot cream, though), and I tend to use this when some parts of my face are breaking out, but also dry at the same time (the struggles). This moisturizer is a little heavier than the N&F one above, and definitely requires time to fully soak in and do its work. Also, added bonus; it's 100% vegan!
  3. Derma e Facial Cleanser for Oily Skin - This is your classic facial cleanser, use twice a day product. I haven't had any significant breakouts since using it (touch wood), and it feels really natural and light (also vegan) which makes me love using it even more. My only bit of advice or warning would be to consider your skin type - this wash is definitely catered towards oily skin, so if this isn't you or you tend to slack on the moisturizing, perhaps consider a different degree of efficacy.
  4. Skin Laundry Restoring Night Serum - I actually received this product as part of the recent Fall FabFitFun box (if you don't know what this is or want $10 off your own box, click here for details!) and decided to try it. I'd heard good things about Skin Laundry beforehand, but hadn't taken the plunge simply because I'm on a college budget and wanted to know for sure that the products were worth investing in - and after this one, I have to say, yes!! This is essentially just a lightweight serum that I apply all over my face before sleeping maybe 3-5 times per week, after cleansing etc. I couldn't tell you exactly what it does in specific detail, but it certainly always leaves my skin feeling super fresh, it evens out my skin tone a little, and acts as just that final layer of toning and clarification at the end of a long day! Also, you get a lot out of each bottle, as the required amount per night is so tiny!
  5. Enlite Super Face Glow For It Exfoliating Mask - I can't lie, I love a good face mask - and when a mask combines a little exfoliant in it, I'm sold. Whilst I use this one sparingly, maybe once a week, I really love it (it takes self control not to use it more truthfully!). Being a clay mask, it sets in around 10-15 minutes, but comes off easily, hydrating your skin, with the micro exfoliants removing any dead skin. Plus, it's primary purpose is a brightening mask, which I love given how dull and tired my face can get during college or stressful times, as well as for the aid around dark marks and scarring from acne when I was younger. Pro tip: use a dark towel to wipe your face after using, as it's a grayish-green color and shows on light towels! (Don't worry, the color comes out in the wash). 
I hope these products help you or entice you to expand your own range of regular skincare products, and if you have any products that you love or have heard about but want an honest review before investing in, let me know in the comments below!

Love, 
Annabel


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Saturday, 19 November 2016

Weightloss Teas - Yes or No?

source: loveitandmoveon.com
I remember vividly the first time I heard about "teatoxes" - or rather, "tea that makes you lose weight!" I thought that I'd hit the jackpot - my fifteen year old self was convinced that this was the answer to my prayers. And whilst I wasn't an overweight teenager by any means, I definitely didn't feel comfortable in my skin, and wanted to lose just those last few pounds to truly feel beautiful (ugh).

Right then and there, I invested in a fourteen-day detox from Skinny Mint Tea, and when it arrived, I was ecstatic.

The first night that I took the 'nighttime cleansing' tea - essentially just a laxative tea - I found myself shaky and feeling ill in the bathroom for half the night. Truthfully, I was so naive at this point that it didn't even occur to me that the tea may have been the cause of all this - I didn't even know what a laxative was. But, when I got up to get dressed the next morning for school, I noticed that my stomach was virtually completely flat, and I could've (might've?) cried with happiness.

That same night, getting into my pajamas, I noticed that my stomach had bloated back out to its original size from the food I'd consumed throughout the day, and I can say for sure, I cried.

After realizing that this nighttime tea was what was really making quick changes (and what young teen doesn't want quick results?) I began ignoring the instructions and taking it every night, as opposed to every second. Now, I know that this then opens the doors for people to say "the tea isn't the problem, you didn't follow the instructions!" - and they'd be right here - but over the course of four years, I went on and off "weight loss" teas in general, as well as different brands, sticking to their instructions to a tee (pun totally intended).

Now, five years after hearing about these laxative teas, my digestion is still recovering. I bloat easily, can't use the bathroom regularly (if you know what I mean) and get massive cramps from poor bowel functioning. I've seen both doctors and dietitians, and the symptoms are mystifying, with cures even less visible. I focus on my diet and hydration and exercise, hoping that my body can restore itself to its natural function.

This article is not to critique SkinnyMint Tea, BooTea, SkinnyMeTea or Flat Tummy Tea (the brands I have personally tried) in particular - I merely have grown to disagree with the concept behind weight-loss teas in general.

If you look carefully at the packaging of almost every weight-loss aiding tea, you will see printed in some form that the tea only assists weight loss, and works when consumed in combination with a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Now, while this may be true, I have found and genuinely believe that the reality is that the role these teas play in your weight-loss would be a mere 1% of your total weight loss progress.

The real success lies in forming good habits, eating the right food, exercising enough and getting enough sleep.

Personally, I don't recommend any form of weight loss tea whatsoever - regardless of brand of strength or ingredients. Keep in mind also that there are a ton of other ways to get your metabolism going for less money, and in a far more natural way (peppermint tea? green tea?), which is a lot more sustainable for long-term health and keeping the weight off.

The one tea that I did try and genuinely enjoyed - would recommend - is Fruiteatox (pictured above). This is a UK based brand that ships internationally - however, it's important to note that I am not recommending this tea for weight loss, but rather for morning energy, nighttime calming and great taste, all in collaboration with natural, vegan ingredients. This tea is much more beneficial to your skin and energy and glow than it is to your waistline - and this is more important!!

Moral of the story - you can do better than weight loss teas!!

If you're looking for weight loss, look at your lifestyle! If you still feel the need to add something in, look for green tea or peppermint tea or any superfood that enhances your metabolism - it'll save your wallet and your digestion in the long run!!

Love,
Annabel





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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Dreaming Big Enough


We all have dreams - goals, ambitions; those things that we could only hope would happen to us. And a lot of us have plans, too - step by step forecasts of exactly how we are going to achieve our dreams. However, lately I've realized that my personal dreams were exactly that - personal. What I wanted and what I've been striving for has been completely self-focused and narrow-minded, and after really thinking about it, I realized that these 'dreams' I'd been having were only part of the picture.


I want to write - that much has always been clear to me. Whether it's for a blog, or a magazine, or a novel, or for film and television - I know that writing is more than just my hobby, and that in that ideal world, it would be my career. 

But there is more to it than that - I enjoy writing, and I want to stick with it, but I'd neglected the things I truly care about.

I care about women - I care about making sure young girls grow up full of confidence in themselves, class and elegance, youthful fun and high hopes. I want women to empower women and then for all women and men to empower all people. 

I care about race, and sexuality, and minorities. I care about allowing people - everyone - the chance to have their voices hear. I want a world wherein no story is more or less important than the next simply because of who is telling it, how it is told, or who it is about.

I care about travel. I care about all people exploring the world and taking the time, investing the energy, in challenging themselves culturally. I want everyone to have the opportunity to expand their borders, and to see and experience the true value in what it means to be a global citizen.

I care about the environment. I want people to not simply acknowledge global warming, but to act upon it. To educate themselves and to spread love and to live in a way that protects our livelihood, our planet, and our unborn generations.

I care about a lot of things. We all do.

For me, I now know that writing is merely my pathway. Writing is my medium of choice for spreading awareness - for reaching others, connecting with people all over the world, trying to make a change, no matter how small, and improving every little aspect of what it means to be alive, to be a woman, today.

When people tell you to dream bigger, it's almost always a suggestion to go higher - to take yourself higher, or move faster, or succeed further. I am telling you to dream bigger, also - only this time, I want you to dream bigger for everyone. Dream bigger for all the people who can and will be aided by your personal goals, by your successes - the people whose lives will be changed for the better for having known you or seen your mark on this world.

Dream bigger, yes, but most importantly -
Dream Deeper.

Love,
Annabel




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Saturday, 12 November 2016

Giving Up Make Up


As a twenty-year-old girl, makeup is something that has become pure habit in my daily routine. Part of getting ready for class, dinner, brunch, parties or just about everywhere except for the gym and bed has involved some degree of help from concealer and mascara in the very least.

However, a few weeks ago, as my skin flared up rather badly, I decided to try and detox my face, let it breathe and watch what happened.

Now, as far as makeup goes, even when I am wearing some form of coverage, I don't wear a whole lot. Concealer, foundation or tinted moisturizer, mascara - maybe some bronzer if it's nighttime. That's about it, i'll hardly ever wear eyeliner, and I don't know that I've ever really applied any eyeshadow or crazy lip colors unless they've been part of a costume.

Nonetheless, the task of not putting anything on my face was frightening - this requires confidence from the best of us, especially when our skin is mid-breakout. And it was hard - it was challenging in a number of ways.

I felt vulnerable, and more than that, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I was convinced - despite knowing that it was irrational - that every single person that saw me was thinking about how bad my skin was. Yet, the sad thing was that despite my knowing that this was irrational, it was actually only irrational to a degree - sitting in classes beside other girls who were looking as flawless as every other day almost did create an immediate contrast between me and the girl next to me, so greatly so that I was sure even the kindest person who wouldn't be looking for flaws in me would have them shoved in her face.

Perhaps I was right - perhaps that's exactly what was going on. But perhaps not - we'll never know.

For around two weeks straight I avoided makeup altogether, applying mascara just twice for outings and dinners with friends. And whilst it was challenging each and every day, it was also the best thing I could've done - not for my skin, but for me.

Without makeup as a shield and generator of self-confidence, I was forced to find confidence in myself - in who I am as a person. I was forced into trusting that good, kind-hearted people wouldn't care what I looked like, and that these were the only people I wanted to attract throughout my life.

I was forced to realize that I had, without knowing it, become dependent upon feeling good in how I look, and that the tiny moment of applying concealer and mascara each morning was not nearly as small as i'd assumed - it was huge. It changed me far more than I'd care to admit, even now.

Yet it was through being forced into acknowledging these realities; avoiding bathroom mirrors during classes purely so that I wouldn't let my mood be affected multiple times a day, was one thing - but getting to a point where I could look in the mirror without feeling sad - a point where I could be happy with my natural state - that was the real triumph.

Because I am - I am happy with me, no makeup, nothing needed.

This isn't because I have perfect skin or amazing features or won the genetic lottery - it's simply because I trained myself into loving my own beauty.

I will wear makeup - I have. When I go out, or simply on the rare day that I decide I want to wear something just because, I do. And it's not a big deal either way. The only difference - yet, a massive difference, is that now I truly wear makeup for me, rather than simply telling myself that I did.

I want to challenge every single one of you to go a week without makeup - no matter what events or excuses many pop up. Go out - go out without makeup. Even those of you who don't think you need to do this, because you're not reliant upon makeup for confidence - prove it. I think you'll surprise yourself, in all the best and most necessary ways.

You've got nothing to lose, but you have a whole lot of internal, authentic love to gain.
Go for it, and don't look back!

Love,
Annabel





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Thursday, 10 November 2016

My Views on the 2016 Presidential Election


Recently I wrote a piece touching upon the intricate and somewhat toxic circulation of media and individual responses to the current results of America's Presidential Election. You can read that article here, to see what I was witnessing and how I was reacting just one day after election.

Now, with a little more time to think and breathe (though still, it's all very fresh) I still agree with my original article completely, however, I wish to expand.

First and foremost I want to point out to everyone that this is not the first politically polarizing event in American or global history, and it certainly won't be the last. Oftentimes, the hardest struggles and most fearful positions can bring out the best in people. The danger lies in the fact that similar situations bring out the worst of some, and our challenge is to make a conscious choice to react with love and kindness and determination.

Moreover, education is a vital step, but not the only step. Research statistics, policies, predicted plans and propaganda of both sides of the election - including (and especially) your own. Politics as a whole is ridden with media enhancement and misinterpretation that swells and spreads via social media without justification and backstories. The only way to know what you're talking about and what is true is to seek out reliable information for yourself, and remain skeptical of all else.

Finally, and what i believe to be most important, is how you choose to act.

This election is an American one, but it had been broadcast internationally. The result is out, the numbers tallied. That's that (for now). What matters most, and what will ultimately define America far, far more than its President or Senate, is how American citizens choose to react.

More than anything else, I've seen hatred. I've seen social outcasting, exclusion, blame, fury and heightened egos. Take a moment to think about the people you speak to. They are people, and nobody reacts well or listens truly to attacking and violent statements or actions.

And, above all else, remember that this will pass. How you feel in this moment isn't permanent, but what you say to people, what you choose to do and how you interact with everyone you see is permanent. Don't ruin friendships and relationships today when this is only a short tomorrow.

You will regret yourself far more than this heartbeat in time, if you let this election ruin your relationships.

Love,
Annabel


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