On one of those "I'll just pop in and just look around" days at ULTA, I came across NYX's Liquid Suede lipsticks. I feel like my entire life has been a hunt for the perfect matte lipstick. I had tried and bought a bunch of different ones, the most recent of which was the Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick. Although I definitely loved it, it just wasn't matte enough. Enter NYX Liquide Suede.

6.26.2016

NYX Liquid Suede Review


So I have a confession to make. And it's something I've struggled with for a while and now that I think about it, I think you might struggle with it too : riding the struggle bus. 

Now for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, the phrase " riding the struggle bus" refers to anyone who's life is full of slightly (or majorly) embarrassing/"why am i so challenged" moments on a regular basis. 

Below are 10 instances in which it occurred to me that I indeed was riding the struggle bus in college.




1. When I thought it was a great idea to make ramen noodles in my electric kettle
When you're hungry and too lazy to go to the kitchen in your residence hall, you stoop to some serious lows. Ramen making. In an electric kettle. I mean, it worked, but my kettle never quite recovered and the next three cups of tea smelled like the most suspicious mixture of hibiscus and spicy beef.


2. When I wanted to address my professor, and totally forgot his name
Starting your phrase with, "Excuse me professor...err...sir." and leaving it hanging isn't great. The situation is only made worse when about four professors turn and look to you expectantly, and you're left to smile and meekly point to the one you were addressing in the hopes that you don't come off sounding like too much of an idiot.


3. When I put too much laundry detergent in the washing machine
A laundry room full of bubbles is actually only cute and funny in the movies. In real life, it's terrifying. And hazardous. 'Nuff said.


4. When I locked myself out of my room, then out of my building

One day, rushing out of my room for class, it completely slipped my mind that I had left my key in the room...until I stepped out and the door shut behind me and the auto-lock feature that  I had come to love quickly stabbed me in the back. Cool beans. 

The situation only got worse when I got out of class and was headed back and realized that not only did my key let me into the room, my student ID that was attached to it let me into my building. Fabulous. 

A freezing January morning in North Carolina was the perfect setting for this mishap. I gave public safety a call, and they were eventually able to get me back into my building, an back into my room.


5. When I had to speak on behalf of my group about an analysis of a reading I hadn’t read
As a pre-med bio major, my science homework always comes before others like Cultural Anthropology. It just so happened that on the day that we were breaking up into groups to discuss the reading I hadn't read, he asked each group to pick someone to speak on the group's behalf. 

Guess who was chosen by the group? Yep, yours truly. 

Luckily for me, I can give a monologue on nothing in particular, so I pulled it off. Or so I thought until the professor, after a long pause, asked me, "so what exactly are you trying to say?"


6. When I found a $10 bill and felt like Bill Gates
The college financial situation is real. And sometimes when you're at a really low point (cooking free ramen noodles in an electric kettle), God really comes through. My roommate had asked me to pick out some books for her in the library one day and I pulled out a particularly old one from the top shelf. 

Seeing that it was on her topic, I opened it to check if it would have anything of use for her. Luckily for me,  I spotted a little bookmark, and when I turned to the page it was nestled in, I found myself face to face with president Alexander Hamilton himself! 

What luck! 

I pulled out the ten dollar bill, dropping the book in my haste, and held it up to the light. YUP, IT WAS THE REAL DEAL! After a spastic jig, quick prayer of thanks, and calming deep breaths, I walked out of the library, with knowledge for my roommate in my backpack, and president Hamilton in my back pocket.


7. When I thought I had avoided the freshman 15 but my pre-college pants didn’t fit anymore
So there I was having "a little bit" of everything  at the dessert counter all year every time I was in the dining hall, and on the unfortunate day that I went to put on a pair of jeans from high school, they wouldn't close. 

Being the dedicated person I was, I MADE THEM CLOSE. And the grotesque muffin top that glared back at me in the mirror was enough motivation for me to peel those bad boys off and hit the gym.


8. When I read my notes in that second inner voice that doesn’t register any of it

I absolutely hate when this happens because I find that I've "read" and "progressed" through an entire page and during the small pause it takes to flip the page I realize that I have ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE what I just read. So I flipped back and started over. Am I the only one whose thoughts are elsewhere while their eyes run across the page pretending to absorb knowledge?


9. When I was homesick for 60% of the year
Most people are so excited to finally be away from home for college, but let me be the first to say that I wasn't. I was so scared. I was about to be over 7,000 miles (literally!) from home. I missed it terribly. I won't say too much about this now because a post on this very topic will be hitting my blog very soon.


10. When I thought a sweater was sufficient to keep an east coast winter at bay
My school does a stellar job at keeping all the buildings nice and toasty during the winter. That's why I'm choosing to blame them for the day I forgot that it was actually winter-ing outside and left my residence hall in nothing but a light sweater. 

Did I mention that this was the same day as number 4 (see above)? I think this was the day I realized that not only did I have a seat on the struggle bus, but that my seat was in fact the driver's seat.


Are you on my struggle bus? I'd love to hear some of your struggle bus moments in the comments below!

6.24.2016

10 Times I Was On The Struggle Bus In College


I was talking to one of my friends a few hours ago about our upbringings in African households and how they truly shaped the young women we had become. There are multiple truths you are made privy to when being raised in an African household. And you only learn to appreciate and occasionally laugh at them when you've moved out and are living on your own. I thought I would share ten of these not just for my African friends who need a slight refresher on the joys of being a CAP (Child of African Parents) but also for anyone else seeking a glimpse into our not so glamorous upbringing.


6.21.2016

10 Facts About Being Raised By African Parents


I'm roughly halfway through my summer vacation and I decided to make some changes to my lifestyle. Mainly adopting five habits in the areas of beauty, health, and faith. I am a firm believer in the importance of personal upkeep and improvement. That's why I'm sharing the five habits I am working on adopting this summer and hopefully you'll like them enough to adopt them too! Here's the health edition.

5 Healthy Habits to Build This Summer


I'm roughly halfway through my summer vacation and I decided to make some changes to my lifestyle. Mainly adopting five habits in the areas of beauty, health, and faith. I am a firm believer in the importance of personal upkeep and improvement.

That's why I'm sharing the five habits I am working on adopting this summer and hopefully you'll like them enough to adopt them too! Here's the beauty edition.


6.20.2016

5 Beauty Habits to Build This Summer




It's been about a month since I turned nineteen.

Oddly enough, I'm not ecstatic. Last year, turning  eighteen had been the pinnacle of my year. I had received my diploma, a document acknowledging that the thirteen years of grueling 6 am wake-ups was indeed for a reason. 

And I was eighteen. I was an adult. 

An independent woman who don't need no man (except my father upon whom I am still financially dependent...lol). So maybe the idea of freedom (in all its complexity and, oddly enough, simplicity) was a major factor in the importance I gave the age of eighteen. 

That's understandable, right? Right.


But here I am, at last celebrating what some of my college counterparts would call my "#NastyNineteeeeeen *tongue out emoji*" and I'm not that hype. And you know what? I've resolved that that's okay. 

This sentiment is akin to what I felt when I turned seventeen. As I climb further and further towards my pinnacle (yeah, that's what I'll call my mid life zone between 30 and 60), I find myself missing the simplicity of life at the age of nine. The almost magical beguilement that surrounded my every day is something that now, a decade on, nags my innermost thoughts. 

My life was entirely orchestrated, but done just so. Just so that I still lived a life that I thought was entirely my own. Just so that I, missing two front teeth, believed I had achieved some sort of maturity. 

Just so, you know?

Every year I advance past the age of thirteen, I look back exactly a decade and realize that life was truly the most perfect when it was the most simple. Things started getting dicey at eleven so I guess I'll have to take time and reflect on that when I turn twenty one.

When I was nine, life literally seemed perfect. I know now that it really wasn't but I can't pretend that I didn't have the ideal childhood. I like to think that I wasn't spoiled, but in all honesty, I had everything I needed, and it was supplemented with everything I wanted. Let me be the first to say that this isn't the best way for parents to raise kids, but I turned out alright so I guess it works in some capacity.

Being nineteen , I'm burdened with responsibility and a mind that is forever churning to figure out where I'm heading in life. Of course I know I'm going to medical school in the next three years. 

Hold on. THREE?! DIDN'T I JUST "GRADUATE" FROM ELEMENTARY EIGHT MINUTES AGO?!?

...Oh, that's right, that was actually eight years ago. 

Why does it seem that time only picks up speed the older I get? I used to be so excited about growing up. It's overrated. I want out. Rewind. Backspace. Hit refresh. Something.

I'm not entirely sure what this year will bring. All I know is that I'll smile, I'll cry, and as is the norm lately, I'll be more than a little confused as to what in the actual fiddlesticks is going on.

6.17.2016

On Turning Nineteen



In a heavily consumerist society, a recurring theme is the ability to dispose of items, and unfortunately, people whom we feel we no longer have a need for. 

With the consistency of the changing seasons, a new iPhone is released just about every year, and its generational predecessor can be found passed down to young children or preserved in a green storage bin under a blanket of dust behind grandfather’s old Mustang. 

Although much more animate than cell phones, friends and “loved ones” seem to be as disposable. Oddly enough, friends do share an uncanny similarity with old iPhones and the hot pink nail polish trend—they are widely accepted to be only for a season.


What I find also as a longstanding trend, is the disposability we grant to phrases. Take the phrase thank you, for example. The personalized you is dropped and renders it a passing thanks. I don’t believe that the word thanks, in all its six lettered heft, is sufficient to convey a sense of sincere gratitude. 

Maybe it is because I am what my old English teacher would call a “fluffer” when it comes to words, but I cannot apologize for preferring to have every word used to its maximum capacity—without sounding like too much of a word snob, of course.

But the prime example of a phrase dug up and tossed about incessantly is the phrase I love you. Used most meaningfully at marital ceremonies to convey the intention of long standing physical, emotional, and financial support, this phrase, now soiled, is the con with which college boys convince enamored girls to sleep with them. 

It is the phrase that follows “OHMYGOD” when a service is granted or a gift is received. It too shares a similar plight as thank you as it is often reduced to love ya

Most people may not say it, but it is this factor of disposability that lends to the feeling that the love ya they just received may not have been sincere. That is why I am calling for the biggest verbal and written revolution since Shakespeare threw a bunch of words at the English language and they became mainstream. 

I am calling for the biggest campaign to save an endangered species: the sincere word. Ambitious, I know.


I am fervently fighting to give I Love You its meaning back.

Going off to college, in an earnest bid to be as correct with my use of the English language as possible, I have said I love you to a handful of people. I gravitate towards phrases like “I strongly like you.” Phrases like this one mean exactly what they say: there is something about you that is pleasing to me. 

The golden phrase, I love you, takes time for me to bestow upon the individuals around me. I make it this way so that once I finally do say it, that person knows that it is said with all that is within me. 

And without a shadow of a doubt, they are able to believe it. The reason I treasure this particular phrase is because of the power it has. Any love I have for those close to me is modeled after the love God continues to pour over a disgruntled and defiant humanity. Of course mine pales in comparison, but what I’d like to highlight is that it is the thought that counts. 

When I say those three words to someone, I want them to stand for something. If imagery and symbolism weren’t the foundation upon which language were built, then all we’ve ever known about what we say is a lie.

Dear friend, when I say I love you, it stands for the emblematic hug my heart gives yours. 

It stands for the repeated crunches our diaphragms perform as we share a laugh. 

It stands for the determined darkness behind my eyelids as I pray for you. 

It stands for the tear that gravity drags downward over pore-filled cheeks as I cry over what pains you. 

It stands for the blistering speed at which my vocal chords vibrate as I cheer for your successes. 

It stands for the knuckle buckling squeeze my hand gives yours before we embark on an adventure. 

It stands for the contentment that nestles itself in my lungs, causing a breathless giggle to erupt from my lips every time I reflect on our memories.

I love you.

6.16.2016

Give 'I Love You' Its Meaning Back


Going off to college is tough; you’re leaving behind everything that is familiar to you and are being plunged into the unknown. The anxiety surrounding the situation can be exacerbated if like me, you move quite the distance from home (7,000 miles, anyone?).  

But this doesn’t just apply to the college transition. Any transition in which access to those closest to you is severely limited is a tough one. 

Below are some of my top tips on how to maintain friendships at a distance.




"Give Me Space"


Although the “we need a little space” line is a cliché in the realm of break ups, it might just save your friendship during this transition. 

If both of you are headed on different paths, chances are you’re both going to be thrust into an environment where you’ll have to settle and re-establish yourself. Talk to your bestie and set a ‘grace period’ in which it will be okay not to be frequent communication. 

Three weeks to a month is a solid amount of time for a grace period. You’ll be out of the orientation haze, and will be making strides in establishing your day to day routine.

Make Time For FaceTime


I’m not entirely sure how besties kept up before the advent of FaceTime. I'm thinking pigeons, but I don't think I would trust one to make it all the way to my friends. 

This iPhone feature has single handedly contributed more to the maintenance of some of my most meaningful friendships than any army of carrier pigeons ever could have. 

Once you’ve settled into your college routine, it’s time to dedicate that one hour slot in the afternoon, to a quick catch up sesh with bestie.

Make Plans

Another thing that greatly helped me maintain my friendships was making plans. Even if they don’t happen, planning a trip with your best friend is definitely fun. 

There’s a trip to London that has been planned and is still waiting to happen (right Saher?). Making plans is also a great way to escape the day to day hustle and bustle. 

I don't know about you, but there's just something about checking flights and destinations that calms me. Being that there's no real time crunch, it can be a relaxing process.

Put In The Work

Know that not everyone you were friends with before your move still has the intention of being your friend now that you’re in your new setting. And there are definitely the ones you gravitate towards more frequently. 

For my closest amgios and amigas (oh I speak Spanish now?) I make sure I reach out several times per week. If it’s snapchat, there are about 3 people that I am in touch with on a near daily basis. But as for every few days, FaceTime is something I make sure to make a priority.

*********
About three months into my transition to college, I found myself still struggling to adjust to being an ocean away from my family, and my friends were spread out all across the US and the world. Although I was constantly surrounded by people, I felt very isolated.  

Enter Kara.  

Kara has been my best friend since the beginning of high school when we kinda just decided that best-friendedness was for us haha. She was flying from Cyprus to the US to spend time with some family, but made the time to stop by and spend the weekend with me. It meant the world to me. 

Although breakfast for dinner and a near religious binge of Orange Is The New Black made up most of our agenda, just being with my best friend in a place that wasn’t home was everything to me. 

We kept in touch all through the year, and I think our friendship was able to stand the test of distance because we made each other a priority and never let too much time go by without being in touch.

Maintaining Long Distance Friendships



Having successfully accomplished my first year of college, I thought it would be fair to share the little scraps of wisdom I've picked up along the way. I'm taking a wild guess and assuming that you're in college in order to prepare for a successful future, correct? 

Okay, I know some of you (however few) might just be present because your parents are forcing you to go. Whatever the case, I'm certain that you want to make the very best of the experience. 

There are some things you just don't do in college. Unfortunately, I've done most of them. Isn't that the beauty of knowledge? That you acquire it and pass it on so that others may live a better life?

Yes? 

No?

Regardless, I'm here to help you avoid said mistakes, k? You're welcome, boo.


1 | SCHEDULING LATE AFTERNOON CLASSES

Home girl, I get it, I really do. You're finally out of high school and you are making the executive decision to sleep in. Congrats. But listen, is it worth it? Okay, yeah, you avoided those 8, 9, 10, or even 11 am classes, but are you really trying to still be in class at 4:45 pm wondering when the (nonexistent) bell is going to ring?

No. 

That's why you need to schedule your classes earlier. Maybe you don't walk into your 8 am with a hop in your step and a smile on your face (*raises hand* just me then?),  but scheduling your classes earlier in the day frees up your afternoons for work, sports, studying, naps etc. 

When I get my stuff done earlier, I usually get to spend my evenings and nights as I please.

2 | PULLING FREQUENT ALL-NIGHTERS

Yes, you're a big bad college girl, but don't get caught up in the hype. All-nighters may be necessary a few times throughout the year but constantly staying up until the wee hours of the morning won't really make you the happiest dandelion come time to actually be a functioning human. 

Plus it will definitely take a toll on your productivity. Your parents had it right sending you to bed at 8 when you were a kid. Our brains are still developing, even in college. 

Now that you're at a point in your life where the influx of long term information that needs to be retained is increasing, you need to make sure that your brain is working at its very best. And that means getting some sleep!

And need I mention those less than chic bags that will be clutching at your eyes? Yeah, off to bed!

3 | WASTING (FREE) TIME DURING THE DAY

One of the best things about college is that all of a sudden, it seems like you have an abundance of free time.  This is why time management becomes a major KEY to success. You can't just waste your time and expect everything to be dandy. 

Actually scratch that, you CAN. 

As in, it is within your capability, however, I highly discourage it. That extra hour or two between classes is the perfect time to get a jump start on your homework so you'll have less work to do later on in the evening. 

Also, let me just make a quick case for my all-time favorite pastime: naps. Naps are so important. Especially since rule number 2 probably just flew in through one ear and out the other. If you can't be bothered to do your work, take a nap and recharge that battery. And by that I mean your biological battery, as well as your phone battery. #KillinIt


4 | GOING TO CLASS IN PAJAMAS

Never should this ever happen at all. I'd be a liar if I told you that I had never made this mistake but trust me, I get it, you do not have the time to be looking like you're about to strut down the runway of Paris fashion week during your 8 am Psychology class. 

That's totally understandable. However, one thing that's high on my list of priorities in college is looking presentable at all times. You don't know who you'll meet (think future husband or employer) on any given day. 

There is simply no way you'll be able to live down the fact that you met your potential future employer in your faded my little pony pj pants. Not a good look.

5 | NOT BUYING CLEANING SUPPLIES

Okay, this goes for all four years of your college career. Dorms and apartments are dirty. Unless you want to be contracting an alphabet of diseases, make sure you budget for cleaning supplies as well as make time to use them and actually clean up!

Check out this post I wrote on the five unsung heroes of your college shopping list. These five are absolutely essential and it's kind of criminal (and gross) to forget them.


6 | GOING TO THE BATHROOM BAREFOOT


Don't do it, girl, don't do it! First of all, why on earth are you walking around barefoot to begin with? Do you know what's been on those floors?

Do you know what's gotten stuck in that carpet? My roommate and I regularly put down and vacuumed some carpet cleaner, but you can bet we still had our slippers on in the room. 

Slippers in the bathroom, though? That's a no brainer. Especially if you're sharing it with other people.

7 | PROCRASTINATING ON LAUNDRY

Gone are the days when mom breezes into your room, laundry in tow. It's on you now. So pick a day (any day except Saturday and Sunday) and get that laundry done. Now you're probably wondering why I advise that you get your laundry done on a weekday. 

This is because everyone else is having the same thought process you were just 4.5065 seconds ago: I'm too busy during the week. 

Think again, ma'am. 

That two and a half hour break between classes on Wednesday is long enough for you to toss some clothes in the washer for a cycle and migrate them to the dryer with enough time to spare to get them back to your room and grab your stuff for the next class. 

Ironing and folding can happen later.


8 | NOT GOING TO OFFICE HOURS/ TUTORING

It's not cute to struggle in silence. That's why your university has a bunch of resources available to you. This is the time to take ownership not just of your education, but of your future as well. 

These aren't like high school grades that you won't remember past the summer after graduation. These are the grades that'll set you up for internships. Internships that could pave the way towards that dream job. Do I hear a cha-ching?

Go see your professor about that thing he said in lecture that made zero sense. Then go to tutoring to figure out those calculus steps you keep tripping over.

9 | THE FRESHMAN FIFTEEN

I'm going to say this once and only once: take care of your body. It's the only one you've got. Of course you'll want to indulge, but beware of the bulge! 

I'll write a more in depth post on this at a future date, but for now, just know that you don't want to be wondering how you let yourself go a year from now.

10 | BEING LATE TO OR MISSING CLASS

The only person who ends up being at a loss here is you. You know why? Because whether or not you come to class, you're going to be spending the next decade or two paying off college debt for the classes you didn't go to. 

Mhmm, thought you were slick, huh? 

Being late is also just downright rude. You know better, and I'm willing to bet that on your mama. There's a professor that has spent hours preparing knowledge that they are trying to share with you. The least you could do is show up. On time. 

By the way I wrote this post on getting in good with your professor. Check it out!

6.15.2016

10 Mistakes To Avoid In Your First Year of College

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