My January Ditch List

Okay, we’ve all been here: we buy a product with certain expectations only to be gently let down before banging our heads against a wall, regretting every impulse that persuaded us to purchase said product in the first place. Can’t be just me, right? In a less headache-inducing manner, sometimes we make a purchase that was super awesome at first but it was just time we moved on from the product. We can still find it in ourselves to maintain a friendship (or acquaintanceship) with our old loves.

I have owned a few products that just didn’t quite fit the bill for me. If I had a nickel for every product I’ve ever purchased that I ended up tossing to the side, I’d be at least a thousandaire by now. At least. Since I wasn’t about to compile a list of every single product that fell short for me, I did the next best thing: I compiled a list of every single product I’ve used for the last few months that fell short for me. Maybe these products didn’t do the trick for you, either…

Disclaimer: I have used all of these products continuously; by no means did I use any of them just once and decide that they didn’t do the trick! Please keep this in mind when determining my credibility!

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The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil System This system includes the facial exfoliator (not pictured), the toner (left), the anti-aging serum (middle) and the skin clearing lotion (right). I have breakout-prone skin (as well as some post acne marks sprinkling my face) and I’ve always had a difficult time finding a product that works well for me. I’ve actually been using this system since September and, at first, had relatively good results. Within the first month of use, I had noticed some improvement in the severity of my flare-ups. I loved that these products helped to calm things down in just a few days, but after a while it seemed as though my face “got used to” the products and they lost their effectiveness. This being said, I kicked this one to the curb in favor of the Shea Moisture Black Soap system (lookout for a review of this!) However, if your skin problems are light or mild, I highly recommend this system.

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Tarte Lip Tint in Energy Noir I had such high hopes for this product…I thought it’d be a nice, bold berry color because I had purchased my Tarte dressed to the nines lip cremes at the same time and thought that this was also a pigmented lip creme (my fault because I should have read the name of the product more carefully. Oops). The shade is alright, though not the berry color I had in mind. It’s extremely sheer and still not much of an adequate lip tint. The finish is very similar to that of a lip gloss (which I personally don’t like anymore) so this product was definitely not one that I was fond of this month.

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New York Color Long Wearing Nail Polish in French White Tip No. Just, no. It’s not that I don’t like white nail polish (I truly love it, actually) but this particular brand just got me like…no….If you love seeing ugly streaks left behind by your nail polish (which I doubt you do) then you’ll love this nail polish! This nail polish is very streaky and sometimes two coats isn’t enough to hide that! Plus, this nail polish chipped rather quickly (Ummm, what happened to being ‘Long Wearing’?) It is relatively fast drying, however that doesn’t make up for its lack of quality. Sorry, New York Color, but this one just didn’t cut the mustard.

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Dove Dry Spray Confession time: I love sweating. And this is the part where you think you didn’t read that correctly so you go back and re-read that last part. Never fear, your eyes didn’t spazz out on you – I love sweating. I mean, I Zumba, box and workout on my own (and I’m pretty interested in getting into crossfit) so how can I not enjoy sweating, right? Anyway, I was hoping for a deodorant that would keep my B.O. at bay so I don’t, you know, send anyone running in the opposite direction (though, I’d be able to clear a gym pretty fast. More treadmills for me, right?) I decided to try this out because I had never used a dry spray before and plus I love the smell of pomegranate! This just did the opposite of what I wanted it to do. I felt that I smelled worse and like I had to carry it around with me to run into the bathroom, wipe my pits and apply more throughout the day. So, yeah, I was pretty self-conscious when raising my arm or hugging people. Needless to say, there will be no second date with this product.

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Essence Jumbo Eyeliner Pen Maybe I got unlucky with this one. I’ve heard good things about Essence cosmetics so I jumped at the chance to purchase a product from them for insanely cheap (they’re products are already affordable, so getting to make a purchase for next to nothing was even better!) This was my first time using an eyeliner pen, though I have always wanted to use one. I’ve been using gel eyeliner since high school and excited when my package arrived. I swatched a bit of it on the back of my hand and was extremely pleased to see that it was pigmented and pretty hard to completely remove #stayingpower #24hourwear. Unfortunately, the times I’ve taken this out for a spin weren’t as satisfactory as I had hoped. The color wasn’t very pigmented on my eyelids and actually faded out really quickly. Creating a winged look was relatively easy with this pen, but as far as #stayingpower went, this fell flat.

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Sephora Cream lip Stain in Polished Purple Oh no – my beautiful purple lipstick made it onto this list! #sadface. The color is beautiful and Sephora is an amazing brand – don’t get me wrong! However, it seems to me that there is some sort of metallic hue to this shade that I’m not too fond of. Not only that, but I feel that this dries a little too matte for my liking. At the same time, I don’t want my lips looking like I dipped them in oil! Did I mention it is hell to get this product off your lips? Well, it’s hell to get this product off your lips. Sephora is fantastic but I will not be repurchasing this particular product.

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Tarte Dressed to the Nines Lip Cremes in Striking and Plush These lip cremes are fantastic in every way, shape and form! The only reason I ditched these two shades is because they just don’t compliment my skin tone too well. They look way better on fairer skin, so I just gave them to my mom, who is significantly lighter than I am! Fantastic, high quality products, but they are just not the shades for me.

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Neutrogena Oil Free Eye Makeup Remover ‘Oil free’ my backside! Never will I ever repurchase this product! It’s extremely oily and leaves you with a gross, heavy feeling. Plus, it’s horrible if you get this in your eye! My feelings of hatred toward this product are so intense that I can’t even say anything else about it!

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Wet n Wild Makeup Remover Towelettes I’ve tried many makeup remover wipes in my day and these are literally the worst ones I’ve ever used! I bought them because my go-to Elf makeup wipes weren’t in stock at Target and these were really cheap at a wonderful $2.97 for a pack of 25. The towelettes themselves are of very poor quality and it is extremely difficult to remove any makeup using these wipes. I have found myself using up two towelettes per night when removing my makeup because one is just not enough! They hardly put a dent in my foundation and I’d rather not scrub the crap out of my face to come close to wiping off my makeup!

Well, the savagery is over…for now…

What’s on your January ditch list? 

 

My January KissList

In just a few days, we’re going to put January (and hopefully this annoyingly massive snowstorm) behind us. However, there are just some things from the first month of the new year that maybe we don’t want to leave behind. And thus, my January KissList was born – my compilation of all the wonderful lip products I had the fabulousness of using this month. It pretty much just goes without saying that I would basically do everything in my power to repurchase these products (basically everything).

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Tarte Limited Edition LipSurgence Lip Creme in ‘Pizzaz’ Okay, maybe I can’t repurchase this one because it’s limited edition (so sad). I will definitely be able to find a dupe because the red shade isn’t so uncommon, but when this product runs out I will certainly miss the surge of fiery excitement that I get when applying this lip creme. I love that this product looks like an adorable mini lip crayon and it’s retractable! I don’t want to drag on and on and on about just one product so be sure to check out my swatches and review of  Tarte’s  LipSurgence Lip Cremes!

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NYX Lipstick in ‘Hestia’ This is the lipstick that really made me fall in love with lipsticks everywhere! It’s a dark almost wine colored red, which I am SO in love with! I have worn this lipstick literally everyday without fail (yes, I really did wear it every. Single. Day). The shade really complimented my skin tone and the entire look was gorgeous (if I do say so myself) with my blue hair, winged eyeliner and massive eyelashes! The lipstick was only $6.99 and is long lasting but not drying. This is where things get a little distressfully sad: I had been taking a winter class on campus for the last three weeks and only brought three lipsticks with me and Hestia was one of them. I always put it in the small pocket of my backpack (to reapply after eating, duh). One day I just couldn’t find it! I turned my backpack inside out and went through everything I owned. I guess it was just time for us to depart. R.I.P. Hestia.

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Random lip balm from school I’ve gotten into the (interesting?) habit of moisturizing my lips at least 10 times a day. I normally use Vaseline to do this and just allow it to sit until I feel I need more. However, when I lived on campus during the winter session I had forgotten my jar of Vaseline in my old room (I had to move). This actually hurt me more than you might think! Fortunately, I found a tube of lip balm that I had gotten for free from school just two weeks earlier! Let me tell you, this stuff was a lip saver! It kept my lips very hydrated and had a sweet cherry scent (pretty much like Chapstick). It was probably a cheap lip balm with my school’s logo slapped on it but it did the trick! The Vaseline wasn’t even missed that much!

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NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in ‘Cherry Skies’ Literally just the other day I went out to Target and at the top of my shopping list was dark red lipstick. I needed something to replace the gaping hole in my heart that the loss of Hestia caused. I was actually hoping to find another tube of Hestia, but didn’t. I then turned my attention to looking for a tube of the NYX lip cream in Copenhagen – another really pretty vampy lip color – but to no avail. But then I found Cherry Skies and thought it would be a good fit for me. Now, I’m not super happy with the fact that the packaging looks like something I would have gone gaga over in middle school, but the color is great and exactly what I was looking for! My friend, who also writes for our school’s branch of The Odyssey, wrote a review of these cream lipsticks.

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Tarte Limited Edition LipSurgence Lip Cream in ‘Luscious’ I literally lose my sh*t over these Tarte lip creams! Luscious is another beautiful color that I’ve fallen in love with in just four weeks. I describe it as a very toned down berry colored lip cream. It’s still really pretty and compliments my skin really well! It isn’t as strikingly bold as its sister, Pizzaz, but it also isn’t sheer enough for me to, you know, hate it and want to throw it across the room (just kidding, I have never and will never injure a lippie).

Those are five amazing lip products that I’ve been using this January! Stay tuned for my January DitchList – some heads are going to roll!

What are your favorite lippies? 

6 Things You Need To Stop Doing To Your Lipstick

Lipstick is basically artwork on your lips. Your friends, sisters, brothers, colleagues, classmates and cats can look, but they can’t touch! Here’s a mini lesson on Jasmin’s history with lip products: until the seventh grade I have always worn Chapstick; seventh grade to sophomore year in high school I was a lipgloss junkie – I hoarded that stuff like it was candy (I mean, I have had lip gloss in flavors such as Skittles and Starburst); junior year to senior year I was back on the lip balm train, though not necessarily Chapstick; freshman year of college I wore lipstick sparingly. Now here I am wearing lipstick literally everyday! I’m wearing it as I type this!

What can I say – it’s a college girl’s crayon! Anyway, after wearing lipstick every single day, I’ve had a few hits and misses when it comes to this stuff. I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks for a really pretty pucker, but more importantly, I’ve also learned a few things that just should NEVER happen to your lipstick! Like, seriously, if you’re doing these things to your lipstick STOP.

  1. Dabbing your lipstick on your lips to tone down the color. Guilty as charged (for a short time). When I first started wearing lipstick regularly, I would dab the color lightly on my lips because I had a super deep wine-colored red and I wasn’t 110% sure that I wanted my lips to look so vampy (who doesn’t love vampy lips? What even was going through my head then?) So to try to tone things down before setting foot outside of my dorm room, I’d just dab the lipstick on my lips and smooth it out with my finger. No biggie, right? I thought it okay…until I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of class and looked in the mirror. If you want a less impactful color on your lips then buy a less impactful color. Dabbing doesn’t look neat and it just looks washed-out and totally undermines your amazing lipstick skills! And, in case you were wondering, I started rocking dark red lips real quick!
  2. Using it as lip liner. Again, GUILTY. This is just not a good idea because you won’t get the precision that you would if you were using actual lip liner. The shape of my lips have changed basically every other day because I kept using lipstick to line my lip shape. Sometimes I’d over exaggerate my cupid’s bow, and sometimes I wouldn’t even have a cupid’s bow! You could probably imagine how many times I messed up and had to clean up my mistakes with my finger a Q-tip. You’ll save time and your patience if you stop doing this. It’s okay if you’re using liquid lipstick because the doe foot applicator will allow for more precision than lipstick. If you don’t have any lip liner, I guess you’ll just have to skip lining your lips then.
  3. Using it as blush. Personally, I don’t understand this. I mean, I understand it but I don’t understand it. What’s meant for my lips will only go on my lips. I know this is a cool hack, which definitely saves you money because it means you won’t have to go out and buy blush, but many lipstick formulas are just too creamy to act as blush. This is bad if you have naturally oily skin (like I do!) Plus, you wouldn’t want your cheeks to feel too slick if you’re already wearing foundation.
  4. DEFINITELY stop using it as eyeshadow! My mom does this and I don’t recommend it, especially not if you have sensitive skin. Your eyes are a very sensitive area and some lipsticks probably aren’t safe to be used there. If I were you, I wouldn’t risk it. Use actual eye shadow rather than trying to be the Hack Princess who ends up scratching her eyes out because that lipstick didn’t take too kindly to her eyelids.
  5. Using colors that don’t go well with your skin tone. This one is not your fault – we’ve all been complete beginners at some point and have made (grave) mistakes with our products. Take it from someone who used to buy a pretty pink lip color only to find that it looked like absolute shit against my skin (the buildup of excitement ended up being crushing). Bite Beauty has a lip lab in NYC where you go in and have a personalized lip color that’s literally everything you want it to be – even down to the scent! The specialist will sit down with you and use your desires and skin tone to create a shade that is super pretty and fits you well! You could also go to your local mall and take a visit to MAC or Sephora, where the beauty consultants can give you recommendations.
  6. Not removing it before eating. How many times do I have to say I’m guilty? Buy, yes, totally guilty! People who wear lipstick all the time totally know the struggle! You have to check your chin after every bite to make sure you didn’t get lipstick there. Then as you pull away from your sandwich or bagel or whatever, you see your lipstick stains on your food. Do I even have to tell you that you have an increased risk of getting crumbs and chunks stuck to your lips? I have found it way easier (and less worrisome) to just remove the lipstick before sitting down to eat. This way I can enjoy my food in peace and just reapply when I’m done (I was probably due for a touch-up anyway).

These are some things I’ve learned NOT to do as a result of wearing lipstick like I get paid to do it. Sure, you probably still looked super cute even though you were doing these things (except for getting colossal crumbs stuck to your lips in #6. That ain’t pretty on anyone) but now you can look fabulous by avoiding them!

What will you never ever do to your lipstick? 

My Blood-Pumping Workout Playlist

You don’t have to be a gym junkie (almost me) to enjoy the company of a few tunes while your legs move on that elliptical. Random fun fact about me: I love sweating! Yes, you read me right. That’s something you probably won’t hear every person say, but sweating feels good to me so I like to listen to something that can make me do just that!

Getting in the zone…

Music takes my mind to another universe. It’s not just something I play to drown out the strained grunts of people benching more than they can take. When I first set foot on the treadmill I like to have a few minutes of music that prepares my mind to go on a (well-deserved) journey. This is anything that can get my in the mood to really give my all during my workout. Here are some songs that I think are perfect for the job (btw, you may notice a shift in genre at some point!)

  1. ‘Wildest Dreams’ by Taylor Swift I’m not a HUGE T.Swift fan but I’m in love with this song! I like playing this song first because it helps me get my mind prepped for the flight away from college, assignments and people who annoyed me that day. It’s so flowy and light – like a dream. Is it weird that I sometimes imagine I’m doing a waltz to this song?
  2. ‘Bitch, I’m Madonna’ by Madonna ft. Nicki Minaj This is one of those songs where it’s expected that you just dance like no one’s looking (okay, I’ll admit that sometimes on the elliptical it might look like I’m dancing a little. Might). This is a great song to help me begin picking up speed and increasing my heart rate!
  3. ‘Feelings’ by Maroon 5 This is also a song that I use if I want to increase my heart rate or keep it up. It definitely has an energetic vibe to it, and what better place to let out all that energy than the gym!?
  4. ‘Can’t Remember to Forget You’ by Shakira ft. Beyonce Yet another song that makes me want to stop what I’m doing and dance. Are you noticing a trend here?
  5. ‘Limbo’ by Daddy Yankee I do love some energetic Spanish music when working out! This is song is one of my all time favorites. Plus I’m still trying to maintain a high heart rate at this point.
  6. ‘Baile Privado’ by Prophex This one is a super small break. It’s definitely danceable but slightly more toned down than my last few songs. This is a good time for me to grab a few sips of water while walking briskly on the treadmill.
  7. ‘Pegate Mas’ by Dyland and Lenny Now I’m back up there! This one is more energetic than the previous one and it will help me advance toward my period of going harder.

Picking up power…

So this is where things really get heated…The songs I go for at this point in my workout are songs that will really help me push myself further and harder and just keep going. You don’t just want to dance when you hear these songs, you want to really move and give everything you’ve got!

  1. ‘Gimme’ by Beenie Man Truthfully, I’m not too sure how to describe this song. It’s just great for going hard and really kicking those heels up! You cannot be caught sitting down if this song is playing! It’s impossible!
  2. ‘Kotch’ by RDX This is more of a Caribbean song that’s kind of heavy in some places but perfectly danceable! Warning: You might receive confused looks from your fellow gym-goers as you basically dance wildly to this song.
  3. ‘I Need Your Love’ by Shaggy This song is so catchy and has a vibrant personality. I can literally imagine myself somewhere exotic jamming to this. You won’t even notice how much you’re sweating because your mind will be in the islands.
  4. ‘Drop it Low’ by Kat De Luna This one has a great bass beat – perfect for when you’re lifting or using assisted weight machinery.
  5. ‘Locked Away’ by R. City ft. Adam Levine Okay, here’s where I can take a sip of water and dial down the power just a little bit, but still keep moving to keep my heart rate up.
  6. ‘Booty Wurk’ by T-pain Time to build up again. If you hopped off the treadmill, I recommend doing squats to this song.
  7. ‘Centuries’ by Fallout Boy I like this song for doing “burn-out” workouts where you just keep going and don’t stop. This is also great if you’re workout using concepts from H.I.I.T. The heavy periods of the song are great for high speed intervals.
  8. ‘Phoenix’ by Fallout Boy This one is a little heavier than the previous, which makes it awesome for really putting it all out there when you’re coming up on your final big push.
  9. ‘Exes and Ohs’ by Elle King I’m too in love with this song right now! I literally play it twice because the rock genre is so great for really making me move my feet, and plus I adore singing this song – with or without an audience!

Cool down…

It’s time to take it easy once and for all. Your heart rate need to come down, and this is where it’s easier to get away with gulping water as you walk the final quarter. Let your mind slowly recede from your rocker workout and into slightly more calm and paced activity.

  1. ‘Here’ by Alessia Cara This song is very light and catchy – super great for closing your eyes and just absorbing it all.
  2. ‘Tennis Court’ by Lorde Lorde is one of my favorite artists and Tennis Court is just a great song so I have to include it on my playlist!
  3. ‘Glory and Gore’ by Lorde This is my favorite song by Lorde! It’s very deep and the lyrics reflect more serious ideas, like ones surrounding consequence. This song can literally put you in a deep daze while you cool off.
  4. ‘White Teeth Teens’ by Lorde This one has some sort of charm to it, maybe because of her tone in it. It’s certainly not as deep as Glory and Gore but this song will put you in more of a content trance.
  5. ‘Buttons’ by Pussycat Dolls Okay, you have to end your workout on a fierce but relaxed note (is there even such a thing as that combination?) Buttons is kind of sexy but takes things really slow, so you can be fiery and passionate while still letting the sweat on your back air dry during the last three minutes of your workout!

I hope you really enjoyed reading through my list of songs that I just must play (and dance to) while I workout!

What songs are on your workout playlist? 

 

How To Survive Boxing Class

For the past five months, I’ve had the awesome opportunity to take a boxing class called Pink Gloves Boxing at my college. Let me tell you, I couldn’t be happier with my experiences! Sure, I’m a pretty tough girl (despite what my blog title might imply) so when the going gets rough, I don’t back down. I’ve graduated from Tier I and am now off to Tier II. Over the last few months, I’ve come together with many different girls: some who never even dreamed they’d be wrapping their hands and putting on boxing gloves; some who thought they were ‘too weak’ for boxing and wouldn’t last a minute against a punching bag, but just wanted to try it out anyway; and some who asked themselves what they had gotten into when they set foot inside the room. Like any other physically demanding sport, boxing comes with potential risks for participants. Things may not always go as expected, which may have you questioning what exactly you signed up for. To help you keep your head (because let’s face it, decapitated isn’t a good look on you) I’ve compiled a list tips for surviving boxing class that can counter the butterflies in your stomach (unless you really like boxing so the butterflies are a good thing!)

  1. Wear proper shoes that won’t have you yanking them off after class is over. Appropriate footwear is essential to having a successful workout session, no matter what fitness class you participate in. For my boxing class, a pair of sneakers with good traction is ideal because we did a lot of exercises such as ‘mountain climbers’ that require that you don’t slide your feet all over the place! Make sure you’re also wearing shoes that don’t hurt the bottoms of your feet. I’m flat-footed so I need sneakers with the necessary adjustments to ensure that I’m not cringing at every step I take after a workout. You will be on your feet the entire class because there is significant footwork that goes along with boxing.
  2. Bring water bottles with a straw. No, just a regular old water bottle will not suffice – what were you even thinking!? Just kidding (kind of). Having water with you is absolutely necessary regardless of what you put it in – recyclable water bottle, reusable water bottle, canteen, plastic container that once housed your leftover meatloaf – you name it! But pro tip: use a straw! You’ll have boxing gloves on and you might not want to take them off mid-workout. I mean, have you ever tried to unscrew a cap without fingers? I really like the water bottles from PINK. They hold 24 ounces, come with their ever-so convenient straw for easy sipping and they’re super cute! You can check those out here.  And here we all thought that straws were just good for sipping lemonade on a hot summer day. Turns out they’re a pretty badass way to help you drink water from your meatloaf container easier.
  3. Become an expert at hand wraps. Your hand wraps are your ultimate protection against injury – well, that and proper punching technique! Pink Gloves Boxing taught students how to properly wrap their hands to avoid injury. It was literally Day 2 of class so it must be super important, right? There are many different techniques for wrapping your hand, and, in fact, some boxers even develop their own style of hand wrapping. Some well-seasoned boxers, might I add. For now, follow the hand wrapping instructions as set by your instructor. Become so good at it that you could actually teach boxing newbies how to wrap their own hands (I could literally wrap mine in my sleep). There will not be a single day when you will not have to wrap your hands during boxing, so make sure you do yourself a favor and learn how to.
  4. Stop looking at what everyone else is doing. Who cares that some girl in your class can do a crazy hook-jab-punch combo at gear 5 and you can only barely wrap your head around it at gear 1? Who cares that the girl next to you has flawless form when doing push-ups but macaroni bends better than you do? Stop. Looking. At. What. Other. People. Are. Doing. If you’re too busy getting hung up on the idea that you’re slow compared to everyone else or everyone else is so good and you’re just eh, then you aren’t allowing yourself the proper environment (or attitude) needed to learn and grow. Go at your own pace. If you need to slow things down to really understand them, then you do you and let other people do them. What good are you doing yourself if you sacrifice form for speed just because you think you have something to prove?
  5. Get to know your fabulous fellow boxers. A huge part of Pink Gloves Boxing was an emphasis on community. Yes, you learn at your own pace, but you learn in the midst of a group of people who are there to do the same things you’re there to do. If you weren’t lucky enough to successfully force  persuade your friends to take a boxing class with you, then try to buddy up with some of the new people you’ve met. Friends make it possible for you to get through even the hairiest of times. Find someone you can make conversation with while you wrap your hands, or someone you can laugh off your boxing blunders with. Getting to know new people will make the experience even more fun and worthwhile and will show you that even though you might’ve come alone, you won’t leave alone.
  6. Put 110% into your workout. Make everything count! Crappy at push-ups? Keep going and tryKeep trying and you will be able to get a little bit better each time. I say this out of personal experience! Instructor told you to punch as fast as you can for 20 seconds but you’re cheaping out and going hard for the first 10 seconds and then slowing it down out of laziness afterward? Tsk, tsk, tsk. You’re only cheating yourself. Make sure you do everything with purpose because that’s the only way you’ll really get something out of the class. Everyone who took the class with me said they enjoyed every minute of it. That’s because we all put our best foot (and our non-dominant foot) forward (excuse my sad attempt at making a boxing related joke). You won’t feel as satisfied if you don’t really work for it. You won’t feel as satisfied knowing you didn’t sweat that day.
  7. Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes (and then laugh them off). You will probably screw up in front of the instructor while practicing and he or she will notice and you will know that he or she noticed. The first step toward fixing a mistake is admitting that you’ve made one. Sidenote: I can’t even tell if I’m so inspirational as hell that I just made that up off the top of my head or I heard it somewhere and I just think that I made it up. Anyway, what good will come out of crying over spilled milk, or a jab that should have been a straight? Being able to pick yourself back up regardless of the blunder is what will help you get through the day. Bonus points if you can laugh it off afterward. So what if everyone saw you get nailed in the head because you didn’t duck in time? Yesterday’s history and tomorrow’s a mystery – who knows what you’ll get punched for forgetting to do.
  8. Don’t be discouraged by being #2…or #3 or #4 I used to be obsessed with being the #1 of my class. I kid you not. From the moment I could add 2 + 2 together, I’ve always prided myself in being the best at what I do. I could never handle being benched by someone else too well, and I always came back with a vengeance for being the winner. In our class, being #1 was a petty issue, and never anyone’s top concern. I learned to be okay with not being the best – not being the one everyone stared at in awe because I knew exactly what I was doing. I learned that I didn’t have to feel threatened by someone who was ‘better’ than I was. Yes, differences existed, but that wasn’t important to any of us. What mattered was doing what we came there to do – learn something new, support each other and better ourselves. No lie – not worrying about coming out on top is a huge weight off your shoulders. Now you have enough room to worry about having a good time.

My boxing experience with Pink Gloves Boxing was an incredible one that I learned so much from. If you’re looking for more info on PGB, you can check them out here. With these tips to help you along your way, you won’t just learn how to survive your boxing class; you’ll learn how to accomplish. 

 

3 Winter Must-Haves To Make The Cold A Little More Tolerable

Is winter over yet? Unfortunately, my friend, it’s barely begun! If you live somewhere that’s cold during the winter months and you aren’t really a big fan of the cold wind stinging your face and numbing your fingers, trust me, I know exactly how you feel! I’m winter’s number one hater. You can actually read all about why I hate winter here. I absolutely dread walking through a hurricane of brisk winds that whip my neck, make my eyes tear up and force a steady stream of snot out of my nose (c’mon, you know exactly what I’m talking about!) The mere thought of it gives me chills – and not the i’m-crazy-excited-for-some-crazy-shit-to-go-down kind of chills! So you pretty much know what that means: you’re going to have to dress to be as warm as possible! After recently having to brave the unforgiving elements daily, I’ve come up with three pieces of apparel that I simply would not have been able to endure a daily trek during the wolfish winter without. After all, looking super cute and staying super warm are #goals.

1. Touch Screen Gloves, Target $12.79

I got a fantastic pair of touch screen gloves that prevent my fingers from turning into icicles and still allow me to handle my phone when needed. Trying to text while waiting for your bus? Pretending to check your email to look busy because some weirdo keeps trying to talk to you? Regular gloves won’t cut it and neither will going gloveless! What I really like about these gloves is that the touch-sensitive pads on the tips of the thumb and index finger are more touch-sensitive than those on many other gloves. So sometimes you might find yourself tapping the screen multiple times because your gloves are hindering you from hitting the buttons you intended to. It completely defeats the purpose of having gloves that allow you to properly use your phone if your gloves don’t let you properly use your phone.

2. Fleece-lined Leggings, Charlotte Russe $14.99

I’m a proud lover of leggings and, yes, I do consider them pants (bite me, haters). They just pretty much go with everything and allow you way more flexibility than a pair of jeans. Yeah, leggings are kind of thin and you’d probably still feel cold air seeping into your thighs if you wear them out. But don’t worry, this doesn’t have to rain on your parade. Some wonderfully amazing person decided it would be a tastefully toasty idea to line the insides of leggings with fleece. God bless. I highly recommend you get your hands on this if you aren’t planning on tossing your leggings to the side for the colder months. They are actually very warm and you still retain full flexibility. Ah, fleece is such a magical thing.

3. Turtleneck Sweaters, H&M $34.99

I’m not 110% sure why, but this season I developed a deep love for turtleneck sweaters. Just in time though – they really came in handy! Ever feel like even though your jacket is zipped as far up on your neck as it can go, but somehow you still feel the tingle of a draft sliding down your shirt? Turtlenecks are really great at protecting your neck and keeping you warm. And if you buy the really thick ones you are literally set! They are also very fashionable! Dress them up with an intricate statement necklace; wear them with (fleece-lined) leggings and tall riding boots; sport them alongside baggy sweats for an all-over comfy look. Face it, your closet needs these turtleneck sweaters.

Hopefully you feel a little more confident to take on the weather in style. There’s definitely more to winter apparel than just hats and scarves.

What are your winter must-haves? 

 

I Tried Lisette’s Pro Tips For Flawless Lips And Here’s What I Found

If you picked up the February 2016 issue of Seventeen then you might’ve come across a page for Seventeen Beauty Smartie, Lisette. Here, Lisette teaches readers how to totally nail the liquid lipstick look a super cute pucker. I actually began wearing lipstick every single day a few months ago, since I found a vampy red that goes great with my skin tone and blue hair, but it hadn’t occurred to me that my application methods needed a little…work…

No, I wasn’t wearing lipstick on my teeth all day (I’m not that terrible at applying lipstick) but I also wasn’t becoming a Beauty Smartie any time soon, either! After giving Lisette’s method a once over, I thought it would be beneficial to actually try it out and see what happens.

Here’s a shot of Lisette’s tips.

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Step 1: After applying my foundation and doing my eyeliner, I applied a hydrating lip balm from Nivea. I have experienced cakey lipstick in the past, so I know how important it is to have moisturized lips! After allowing the product to sit for a few minutes, I wiped it off. Quick story: there was one time in the past when I applied lip balm and then right after, I applied my lipstick! Let’s just say that was a lost cause that didn’t allow the full affect of my vampy lipstick to show through. #neveragain.

Step 2: The liquid lipstick I used was a dark purple from Sephora cream lip stain collection in the shade Polished Purple. Yes, I am that girl who will saunter around campus with outrageous colored lips. This particular liquid lipstick goes on your lips kind of shiny but then dries extremely quickly to a solid moisturizing matte. I wiped off the excess because we want this to look neat, not like the lipstick tube exploded on our lips!

Step 3: Outlining my lips was, admittedly, a challenge for me. This is where you have to channel your inner surgeon, lest you end up with lipstick everywhere but your mouth. Steady hands are definitely key here. I tried to start with my cupid’s bow and actually made a thicker outline than I had intended (oops). Then, I found that in some parts my line was crooked and a bit shaky (double oops). Outlining my lips with the Sephora liquid lipstick was pretty difficult. I tried this again with my one true love (my lipstick from NYX in Hestia) and found that outlining my lips was much easier to do with the lipstick. I suspect that this is because the liquid lipstick had a long wand so I had less control with it. But honestly, this can be countered with practice.

Step 4: This was my favorite (and least stressful) part! I didn’t have to worry about ruining a once-perfect line or making overly thick strokes. After holding my breath for Step 3, getting to color in the lines was literally like a reward. Take a look at my results:

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Like I said, I still need practice when creating the outline of my lips, but I can certainly say that I learned a new approach to a spectacular art. Lisette’s tips were great and I’m really glad I decided to try this out. A resolution of mine is to enhance the makeup skills I have and develop new ones, so this was definitely a great start for me! To find out what other New Year’s resolutions I made, you can check out my post here. If you want to see more tips from Beauty Smartie Lisette, you can find her incredible work here.

What are your tips for flawless lips? 

What College Actually Did To My Sleeping Pattern

College can do some…interesting…things to a person. Maybe you were once a slob but after a few years of being forced to learn how to conserve every ounce of precious space, you picked up what you were lacking in the organization department. Or maybe once upon a time your outfits were always on point but college has introduced you to the beauty of wearing your pajama pants to class when you just don’t give a rat’s behind. For me, my sleeping habits have been altered in an interesting way.

I was always used to waking up early. I wouldn’t call myself a happy early bird that sings with the bright morning sun (to be honest, sunlight annoys me) but waking up early and getting my butt out of bed and on my way to getting dressed for school was a normal thing for me. While my high school peers complained about waking up ‘early’ at 7:30am for class at 8:20, I always took pride in shutting them down by adding that I got out of bed at 5:30am to leave the house an hour later.

It’s rumored that 8:30am college classes are the absolute worst, but I thought I was up to the so-called ‘challenge.’ This past semester, though, due to the availability of some of my classes, I ended up with days when I didn’t have my first class until 1pm and then no class at all on Fridays. It was a relief knowing that I had class late in the day because for me that meant that the night before I could stay up as late as I’d like to do assignments and study. Plus, because I took a lot of evening classes this semester, I was usually more free at night to do work. Going to bed later than I was used to nudged me to wake up a little later.

I also found myself sleeping in later than normal because I had a little extra time in the morning. Okay, more than just a little extra. Previously, ‘sleeping in’ to me used to mean waking up at 9am. After this semester, it got to a point where waking up at 11:30 in the morning on weekends and on those glorious 1pm class days became ‘sleeping in.’ I cringe a little at early morning classes and do my best to avoid them because I learned that it actually feels kind of good to not wake up with the birds.

But then I brought that habit home with me for winter break and that’s when it actually hit me that this was something that I developed. All those years of waking up early like it was my job turned into sleeping in, which now seemed so easy. Is this just a habit or is it a bad habit because of the misconception that millennials are lazy and I’m basically adding fuel to the fire by sleeping in? I surprisingly don’t know where I stand on my feelings toward this change. I have just come to realize that college forces us to adapt in interesting ways. Besides, I would assume that someone with the opposite situation would become accustomed to waking up early and thus it would now be easier for them to do so. If we pay attention enough, we might find more changes and different habits forming.

I truly do wonder if I’ll be able to get back into that once-familiar grind of waking up annoyingly early. Maybe. College, after all, is full of push factors that can influence any aspect of our lives.

What’s your idea of sleeping in? 

My Review Of Blogger Babes’ Book 3: Blog Content

Just yesterday as I was going through my email, I came across this splendid offer from Blogger Babes, a community that brings together female bloggers and gives them the resources they need to go from writing as a hobby to writing as a profession – all on their own terms. You can find out more about Blogger Babes here. Anyway, the email was an offer to download a free copy of their Book 3: Blog Content. Even though I’ve been blogging for two years now, this is the first time I’ve made an investment toward a website of my own, so I’d like to learn how to write content that’ll knock people’s socks off! In a word, I was psyched about this book. I downloaded it for free on Amazon for the kindle. The original price of the book is $4.99, but who doesn’t love free stuff? After reading the book and making note of eye-catching strategies and things that really stood out to me, here are my thoughts on the book:

The format was simple but not boring. I sometimes have the attention span of a parrot. I’ll admit that sometimes when I read books, my mind kind of wanders from time to time and it’s like I’m reading words on a page without understanding them. I don’t need my eighty-something college professor to tell me that that doesn’t allow me to read effectively. This book, however, held my attention from start to finish. The text is very easy to understand and I truly liked seeing the small splashes of pink used for headings (because black and pink are a match made in color heaven). 

All concepts were explained well. Clarity is really important, especially when trying to teach someone something. Authors Heidi Nazarudin and Ponn Sabra introduced problems and offered solutions in a concise way that still left me feverishly jotting down notes in praise. 

I was definitely able to learn something new. Well, I learned a lot of somethings from this book. I was already familiar with a few ideas, but the ones I had never really thought about seemed like game-changers! In the eight days since I officially launched my new website, my page views have been…eh. Definitely not where I wanted them to be, however they were exactly as I envisioned them. The points made in this book were literally a huge wave of confidence washing over me because I knew I’d be able to put them to good use and benefit from them. In fact, here are some of my favorite points made by Heidi and Ponn: 

  • Get in the Mood.” As you might have guessed, you need to find the optimal time of day and setting for you to write posts. Certain factors may actually make your work sloppy and you need to be on top of your game to create kick-ass content. This point made me excited because I already know that I write some of my best work at night just before going to bed. For some reason at that time I just have this big surge of energy and creativity, and writing posts is way better than bouncing off the walls and annoying the hell out of my roommate. I’m also at the top of my blogging game when I’m sitting at Starbucks. The dim lighting, light background noise, high tables and smell of coffee let my creative juices flow way easier!
  • Pitch a few ideas to magazines and company websites. This sounds like a great way to make connections with publications. I’m still in college but I could use all the connections and publicity I can get! I’m already thinking of some other websites that I can pitch ideas and submit articles to. Upon doing some research I found that Cosmopolitan actually pays you $100 to submit an article to them! Of course, you only get the money if they decide to publish your article, but knowing that you’ve got a shot is great motivation! I’m totally getting on this ASAP.
  • “Common Blog Problems.” Seriously, my heart was literally racing every time I read another problem because I had to mentally double check with myself to make sure I included all the components the book mentioned on my blog. One point made was on the ease of use of the comments section. I realized that I should double check that and set out to make commenting on my blog as easy as possible for users (because, to be honest if I have to sign into some other account from a pop-up window and my internet is already slow as hell, I’m going to get frustrated and just not comment!)
  • Allow guest posts. Even though I’ve seen tons of collaborations on YouTube videos, the thought of allowing another blogger to make a submission to my own blog had never crossed my mind. Sadly, I am the only blogger that I actually know (as opposed to know of) but this just means I’ll have to do a little digging and reaching out to some well established bloggers. In the end it’ll all be worth it!

These are just a few of the points mentioned that really caught my attention. Overall, this book definitely got me thinking about my content in a new way. I actually figured out another way to add a little piece of myself to my blog in an interesting way that could help me stand out from other blogs that go along the same lines as mine! I realized that adding editorial-style posts on things going on with fashion, food, etc. might be a cool way for me to mix things up a bit from time to time. Plus, I do have lots of experience writing editorial-style pieces. It’d be an even better way for me to assert my (sassy) opinions.

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This book showed me that even though writing/blogging is a hobby, with some extra keen attention and fine tuning, I could seriously have blog posts that’ll really keep ’em coming and build a great business. This book is great and I can’t wait to read the others!

JS

The Awkward Traveler’s Guide To Manhattan Part One: Basics + Battery Park

If you’re like me, you’re probably not one with the New York City subway or the bustling streets and skyscrapers that make your head hurt when you look at up at them. You aren’t too sure about what else Manhattan has to offer besides the Empire State Building and other notorious landmarks. I’m just starting to make my way around Manhattan, which means I’m getting to know some streets, eateries and really cool things to do in the city. For my fellow awkward travelers who still get confused when finding the correct platform at train stations, I made this guide: The Awkward Traveler’s Guide To Manhattan. I figured it would be a great way for me to document my experiences with traveling through the big apple. Plus, the information I share with you just might come in handy on your next trip to the city. Without further ado, let’s get into part one of this multi-part guide!

The Basics…

There are a few things that I picked up on my last two trips to the city. These might sound like tips for “dummies,” but, hey, when you’re not a very gifted traveler there’s no such thing as a dumb tip, so feel free to shoot a death glare in the direction of anyone who makes fun of you for it.

Plan to spend an entire day in the city. There’s no such thing as a quick trip to the city. Plus, you should totally try to get your train money’s worth by spending as much of the day in Manhattan as you can. It might feel like a chore if you aren’t used to waking up early, but plan to get dressed and ready to leave your house before 10am. It definitely takes time to reach your destination and you wouldn’t want to cut your experiences short because of the commute. 

Awkwardness loves company – bring a friend! Chances are you aren’t quite ready to take the city of lights by storm all by yourself just yet. Getting yourself lost sounds pretty scary, but getting yourself and friends lost sounds pretty hilarious (and memorable in a good way). Don’t feel shy about asking your friends to tag along with you. On my last trip to the city I went with my best friend, her sister and our other friend. Even though you can enjoy the city by yourself, being with company pretty much guarantees an amazing time. Your friends can catch you when you fall (or when you almost trip over a section of cracked New York City sidewalk because you just had to take the pic for your Snap story). The beauty of it is that there’s no need for perfection on a trip to the city with some besties. 

Google maps is the only tour guide you’ll need. (No offense to tour guides or anything). Google maps was literally how we found our way around the city from start to finish. It was really great for the commute when we took trains and had to find the correct stops to get off at. Plus, it helped us find an awesome eatery for lunch, a cool museum and other fun things to do. Google maps is with you literally every step of the way. I have always been that person who would go online to hotspot.com to get super detailed public transportation directions as printouts, so I’d literally be pulling stapled pieces of paper out of my bag in the middle of wherever I was to check what my next move had to be. That’s probably as awkward as it gets. You’d be surprised at how intricate Google maps can be yet how simple it is to use. You literally cannot get lost (no matter how bad you are with directions) if you’ve got this app in your pocket. 

There’s nothing wrong with looking like a tourist. Stop thinking that everyone who walks past you as you try to take a picture of the flatiron building thinks that you’re a tourist. Well, excuse the crap out of me if I’d like to photographically document memories and breathtaking sights because I’m not in Manhattan 24/7. Also, if you’re going to take a picture of something, you’ll get a way nicer pic if you actually stop walking long enough to focus on your object or scene. I failed to realize this one or two times and ended up with pics that were okay but not as brilliant as I would have liked them to be. I actually stopped to take this one and it actually came out alright. See my BFF in the pink hat. 

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Fashion do or don’t: Handbags in the city. Lugging around a big, but stylish, sack through the city doesn’t sound very enjoyable. I don’t really like carrying handbags or purses, but I’ll take one if I have things to carry that can’t fit in my pockets (or if I don’t have pockets because leggings don’t!) So I borrowed my mom’s handbag because that day looked pretty cloudy and I felt the need to bring an umbrella in case of rain (playing it safe is a pretty good idea). My best friend survived our trip to the city with no purse, no handbag and everything in her pockets. Amazing. To be honest, I felt the need to clutch my bag at all times because I didn’t want someone trying to swiftly snatch my bag with all my crap and run off. Ultimately, I say don’t feel like you have to bring a fancy bag because you’re going to the city where all the other ladies will be rocking fancy bags (because I kind of felt that way. Just a smidgen). A small cross body can suffice. If you have no good reason to sport a bag that’s bigger than your head, don’t. 

Battery Park…

On my trip, my friends and I hung around the Battery Park area, which is the southern tip of the city. I discovered some interesting things there that I hadn’t realized existed. One of the best parts was that they were, wait for it…free! Not having to be bothered by costs and paying for stuff is like music to an awkward traveler’s ears (or any traveler’s ears for that matter).

3 Free Things To Do In Battery Park

Ride the Staten Island Ferry. I had a wonderful time riding the Staten Island Ferry from the terminal located in Battery Park. You can read all about that experience hereYou can catch the ferry from the terminal on Whitehall Street. The ferry is free and arrives every 30 minutes. You could actually take the ferry to the St. George terminal in Staten Island and then get right back on the ferry for the return trip to Manhattan. If you’ve never travelled over water by boat before, I highly recommend you go for a ride on the ferry! 

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Go to the National Museum of the American Indian. Okay, I didn’t actually set foot in this but my friend found it and went in while she waited to meet up with the rest of us. This is one of the few museums where admission is free for everyone. There are exhibits that cover Indian history all over the Americas. If you’re into museums or learning about the American Indian culture then I suggest you take a look. 

Relax at Elevated Acres. Elevated acres is literally a park on top of a roof. Yes, you read me right. There’s an open turf that’s perfect for a picnic with an S/O, some nice plant life that would be great for photos and you can watch helicopters take off and fly around the water. We found this place thanks to none other than Google Maps. The only cost is a little exercise, if you’re not particularly fond of it, because you have to walk up stairs to get to the roof. I would definitely like to return in the summer to get pictures of the flora when they’re in bloom. Nothing wrong with looking like a tourist, right? 

Awesome Eats in Battery Park

Shake Shack. Shake Shack is a heavenly place with heavenly burgers, heavenly fries and heavenly milkshakes! Did I mention this spot is absolutely heavenly? You will devour one of the most delicious burgers of your life here. I highly recommend the black & white milkshake and cheese fries. The price is totally worth the quality of the food, and they can accommodate to serve dietary needs or restrictions. Just let the person taking your order know. 

Financier Patisserie. This is an adorable little eatery on Stone Street in Battery Park. Patisserie specializes in French pastries and is actually home to some of the city’s best macarons. I can’t speak for fans of macarons because I’m allergic to almonds, but my friend got the chocolate macaron and said it was really good. I had a slice of the fraisier, which is a delicate little cake with strawberries and creme. #quality. This is also a good place if you’re looking for a hot sandwich and coffee. 

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So hopefully you’re starting to see that getting around the city isn’t as dreadful as you might think it is. Plus, if you’re ever in the Battery park area, you’ve got a great place in mind for lunch and dessert, after you work up an appetite after the free attractions, of course!

Be on the lookout for Part Two! 

 

 

I Rode The Staten Island Ferry For The First Time

So I got a little head start on my New Year’s resolutions, which you can read right hereOne of my resolutions was to travel around the city more, since I’m from the boroughs of New York, yet blue moons are more frequent than my trips to my Manhattan. My friends and I decided to take the Staten Island Ferry since none of us have ever rode it. I wanted to go but I was a teeny bit uncertain about it – mostly because I wasn’t sure how safe I’d feel traveling over water. 

We took the A and R trains to Whitehall Street in Battery Park. Truthfully, I imagined us waiting outside on the dock for the ferry and then walking up a gangplank to board the boat. Turns out there’s actually a building that you enter if you want to go on the ferry. It was spacious and honestly reminded me of an airport because of the vendors and magazine stations and all the people waiting. The ferry was supposed to come every half an hour. As the time neared the 30 minute mark, more and more people started crowding around the doors that would be opened once the ferry arrived. I honestly hadn’t expected there to be so many people taking the ferry!

I felt almost tingly as everyone began boarding the ferry (which is a lot more humungous in person!) I was extremely surprised to see that there were rows and rows of seats on the ferry. I wanted to grab a window seat just so I could watch the water. I got one better, however. My friends and I went to the bow of the ferry where passengers were allowed to stand, but there were safety ropes and gates barring us from going beyond a certain point.

Standing outside while the ferry was in motion was my favorite part! I even made a new little feathered friend who seemed to be enjoying the ferry ride as much as I was!

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Moving on water against the (rather cold) sea breeze, past other small vessels and even past a sister ferry was really exhilarating! We stayed up front until the trip was complete so we could watch the ferry pull into the dock in St. George. We were in Staten Island! This was also my first time coming to Staten Island, the only borough I had never visited in all of my 19 years in New York.

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In Staten Island we took a short walk to the National Lighthouse Museum. It’s just off the ferry in a cozy little house-looking kind of building. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students. There were displays of other white houses in the United States (and really cool looking ones at that). The souvenirs sold were mostly some type of jewelry and were really pretty. Everyone there was really nice and welcoming! There was even a map with hundreds of pushpins. Visitors to the museum could take a pushpin and insert it on the map to represent where they came from. People from all over the world visited this museum! Fun fact: People from every U.S. state has visited the National Lighthouse Museum in Staten Island except for Minnesota!

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I had a great time on the Staten Island Ferry, and without a doubt have been thinking of taking another trip on it! Maybe next time to tour Staten Island and visit some cool restaurants and cafes. Taking the Staten Island Ferry is definitely a fun thing to do in the city that also happens to be free. As my best friend put it, the ferry is one of the last few remaining free things in the city. Even if you just take it to St. George and then turn around for the return trip, it’s still a wonderful experience!

JS