My Favorite Stationery

I’m kind of addicted to stationery. For this post I thought I would focus on the all of the different pens that I have and what I use them for. It’s gonna be a shorter post, but the pictures are pretty 🙂

In my planner I love to use the Sakura Micron Pigma. As you can see from the picture above I have a crap ton of these pens varying from the 005 to the 03 to the 08 to brush pens, basically if Sakura makes it, I probably have it.

I like using these pens because the ink is archival quality, doesn’t smear, and has minimal bleeding. I don’t keep all these pens with me all the time, for the most part I have about 5 in my planner at any given time, but these pens are also nice for journaling.

If you’ve seen my older posts, you know that I used to be a stan for the Stablio Point88 Fine Point pens in my old bullet journal and planner They’re nice pens that come in a lot of graphic colors, but they bleed a bit too much for my taste. I haven’t used them in ages, but once I started journaling again, I’ve been using them to add some much needed pops of color to the minimal color palette I use.

I very rarely use pencils. But I thought what the heck, since they aren’t my most used item I might as well splurge on a nicer model. For my Arabic homework and in class work I use the Pentel Graphgear 500 and a staedtler eraser. It’s a pretty nice pencil. It has a nice weight that makes it feel solid in your hand and a cool metal grippy bit that makes it super easy to hold on to.

Sadly, my picture of my pens ended up looking kind of crap. I use ballpoint Pilot Acroball for all of my notetaking. The pens are really smooth, have a nice darkness, and don’t smear on the paper. I’m a huge huge fan of them.

And yea that’s my favorite stationery! What kinds of pens do you use? Honestly let me know I’m kind of addicted to buying stationery 🙂

I Review So You Don’t Have To…Fitbit Charge

As the responsible adult that I am, the moment I get paid I decide that I need to treat myself. So, to celebrate the new year and help myself in my fitness goals, I bought the Fitbit Charge 2.

As someone who is constantly trying to be more mindful and conscientious of personal wellness, I thought that a fitness tracker would be a good tool in helping me quantify my health. At the time of this review, I’ve been using the Fitbit Charge 2 for a month and these are my thought.

Essentially, the Fitbit model I have tracks sleep, heart beats per minute, steps, how many flights of stairs you’ve gone up, and fitness. How well it does each of these things is up for debate (according to some people the bpm tracker is not super accurate, but it’s fine for me).

It retails from a variety of places for about $150.

Here’s how the Charge 2 is described on the Fitbit website:

Make every beat count with a fitness wristband built with PurePulse® heart rate, multi-sport modes, guided breathing sessions & interchangeable bands.

In addition to the aforementioned attributes of the Fitbit, they also talk a lot the heart rate monitor, multi-sport tracking & GPS, cardio fitness level, and guided breathing sessions as stand out features.

The Fitbit isn’t my first jaunt in the fitness tracker realm. Before using the Charge, I had the Jawbone UP 2. The Jawbone was a fine tracker with a nice app interface, but the strap was pretty flimsy. In less than a year of having the tracker, the band broke, but I was able to return it and have a new one sent my way.

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How I Prepare for a New Academic Quarter

how-i-prepare-for

I start school this Wednesday and while I’m excited to get back into the swing of things, I’m also super stressed. It’s not really the classes that stress me out, but more so that I’m starting my junior year of college this year. This means  that in the next year I’ll have to start getting serious about applying to grad school and about planning what I want the next phase of my life to look like. But, that’s a stress for another day.

Plus, I’m working a new job 15 hours a week with a night shift. I’m a bit nervous that it’ll be really hard for me to balance the new job with school.

For now I’m just getting ready for the next quarter. I know that for some of my readers, you all have maybe already been in school since August or earlier in September, but I think that these tips can still be really helpful.

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To All the Men Who Harassed Me

Note: I’m taking a break from my usual content to get something off my chest that has been bothering me. Getting harassed is a reality in the US, but now in my travels I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed by the amount of negative, draining experiences I’ve had. Writing is a good way for me express myself, so yeh. Here it is. CW: talk of unwanted touching, harassment, anxiety, etc. 

To all the men who harassed me:

Hello. You probably don’t remember me, but I remember you. I remember when you shouted at me, followed me, and touched me. I remember what it felt like to be safe. I remember when you made me feel ashamed of my body. I remember blaming my blackness, my makeup, and my entire self for what you did. I remember being terrified when your hand groped my thigh, when you whispered things into my ears, when you pulled out a knife from your backpack. I remember feeling dirty and violated and ashamed. I remember the panic and terror I felt as I search around for my pepper spray. I remember feeling helpless. I remember hating myself for being a woman and worst of all a Black one. I remember it every time I sit in a taxi and walk down the street. I can feel myself ceasing to be a person and instead becoming a sexualized, dehumanized commodity. I remember feeling weak and helpless and defeated. I don’t remember a time where I could just exist. A time where no one stared with their predatory gaze to pierce through my imagined cocoon of safety. I don’t remember peace or solitude. My mind cannot fathom a time where I wasn’t thinking of ways to protect myself. Carrying pepper spray. Holding my keys like claws. Glancing behind me at the slightest sound. Being apprehensive. Staying on my guard. Never going out at night.

So thank you. Thank you for instilling within me an acute fear that I cannot escape. Thank you for the experiences that will always live on in my mind.

And I’m sorry. I should have told you to leave me alone and go away and spouted all the profanities that sat angry and primed behind my teeth. I’m sorry that I smiled at your dumb words to placate you in hopes it would protect me. I’m sorry that I was not braver and that my cowardice and self-preservation made me shut down and not protect myself. Most of all I’m sorry that I made you think your actions were okay, that women exist for your pleasure, and that we don’t deserve the right to feel safe in our own bodies.

I am sorry for me and sorry for how these experiences have irreparably hurt me.

Best,

Me

I Review, So You Don’t Have To…The Diva Cup

I REVIEW, SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO... (2)

Probably one of the worst things about traveling with a uterus is the inevitability of having my period at the worst given opportunity, whether it’s when I’m on a plane, on a bus, don’t have access to a bathroom, etc. My period is an absolute troll, so I get it usually right before I go on a trip.

As I write this blog post en route to Dubai, guess what? My period started a few days ago.

In the past when I’ve traveled, my contingency plan to make sure I don’t end up bleeding all over the place is to shove a ridiculous, embarrassing amount of pads shoved into any place I can fit them in my suitcase. Pads and tampons pretty much suck for traveling. In many places around the world, there isn’t ideal locations to dispose of menstrual supplies or to get your preferred brand on appropriate hygiene products. Especially for me someone who prefers pretty strongly a certain brand/type of pad, not having access to my brand is a huge bummer.

Many people with periods who travel a lot, have busy lifestyles, or want to decrease their amount of period related waste have started using menstrual cups as a solution to address the issues they’ve experienced with traditional menstrual supplies.

In this post I’m going to describe my experiences using one of these menstrual cups, the pros and cons of these kinds of products, and if I recommend them.

What is the Diva Cup?

The Diva Cup is the menstrual cup that I have chosen to utilize during this summer as I travel to the U.A.E., Jordan, Greece, and Italy, The Diva Cup is a medical grade colorless silicone cup that is inserted in the vagina (similarly to a tampon) that sits at right at the base of the vaginal canal to collect menstrual blood/ejected materials (sorry that sounds really gross). The Diva Cup can be left inside the body for up to 12 hours.

Why did I buy the Diva Cup?

I bought the Diva Cup because I hate having to deal with my period when I travel. I hate the struggle it is to find pads that don’t feel like diapers, I hate the difficulties in finding places to dispose of pads in a way that is both sanitary, culturally sensitive, and environmentally friendly.

Menstrual cups greatly appealed to me for this summer because I’m going to be gone abroad for about 3 months, I didn’t want to have to somehow shove that many months of of pads into my luggage.

Also, since the Diva Cup is reusable for like up to 10 years, it’ll pay for itself pretty fast. For example, on average I spend around $144 a year on pads. If you count the amount of laundry I have to do to get blood out of my sheets, clothes, and underwear I’m sure the cost would get much closer to $200. The Diva Cup costs $45 at Whole Foods, so it ends up basically costing $3.75 a month, compared to the average $14 a month I spend on pads.

Benefits of the Diva Cup

The main benefits I’ve identified in my times using the Diva Cup are that it’s a really effective method of having a period, but not having your period affect your life too much. Once the Diva Cup does its sealing/suctioning action, your risk for a leak is pretty low. This gives me a lot of peace of mind/freedom to go out without worrying about what pads I’m going to bring, where I’ll store them, etc.

Additionally, it’s pretty easy to deal with the Diva Cup compared to pads…however there are some cons with this that I’ll discuss in the next section.

If you’re someone who cares about the environment and is interested in minimizing their impact on the Earth, the Diva Cup/any menstrual cup is a winner. Honestly, even if you try the Diva Cup for one day and then do one day of wearing pads/tampons, you can see very clearly the dearth of waste you’re creating.

Finally, the Diva Cup is pretty darn great for travel. It’s just a wittle cup that can fit discreetly into a purse/luggage.

Cons of the Diva Cup

Most of the cons of the Diva Cup are applicable to any and all menstrual cups.

If you’re squeamish, not used to touching blood, or experience some discomfort being that uh…”involved” in a bodily process the Diva Cup may not be for you.

It also requires a learning curve in figuring out the most comfortable way to to it in the body and the most comfortable way to remove it. I’m still working on finding a way take the Diva Cup out that doesn’t feel like my insides are ripping apart.

The biggest thing that is a con along with insertion is dealing with the blood that will be collected in the Diva Cup. I recommend not using the Diva Cup in a public place because you need to: 1)wash your hands 2) dump out the cup in the toilet 3) leave the stall to wash your hands and maybe rinse out the Diva Cup/wipe it with a paper towel in the bathroom and 4) reinsert the cup. I personally would not do any of this in public because it’s a bit complicated. It’s pretty easy to plan though around using the Diva Cup, like emptying it before you leave the house, so you don’t have to worry about it while you’re out.

My last critic of the Diva Cup has very little to do with the product itself. If you look at the Diva Cup’s website, it’s incredibly gendered. There are a ton of people who have uteruses and experience periods who do not identify as women. I think that the heavily gendered language on the website, the name of it as “Diva”, and the heavy usage of traditionally feminine coloring/graphics could be a bit isolating for those who do not identify as women, but would still like to use the Diva Cup.
TL;DR

Overall, I would recommend the Diva Cup. It’s pretty convenient, works quite well, is cost effective, and minimizes the environmental impact of a period.

If you want more information about the Diva Cup, check out their website (http://divacup.com/) and Youtube has some pretty stellar reviews, I recommend this, this, and this. Also, if you’re interested in reading other people’s experiences with the the Diva Cup and other menstrual cups, the Menstrual Cup Live Journal has all the ins and outs of basically every brand.

What have your experiences been with menstrual cups? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @travelingcurl!

 

Sophomore Year in Review

SOPHOMORE YEAR

The quarter is finally over #blessed #yaaas. On June 8th, I’ll wrap up my sophomore year of college (well it’s also sort of almost the end of my junior year, but that’s a confusing topic for another day). This year of college has been the literally struggle, but also it’s been really rewarding too. The most notable thing that happened this school year is that I declared my majors! Now I’m officially doing a double major in Anthropology and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. I’m super jazzed about my course of study because I’ve found a way to incorporate my interested in culture and language into a dual degree program that seems pretty sweet. I’m also happily ending this quarter with a new job for next school year that is a much more positive, accepting, and wonderful work environment.

If you’ve seen my other post, my Freshman Year in Review, you’ll know that my first year in college was not great. To be honest it was one of the toughest years of my life because of my increased anxiety, struggle with depression, and the passing of my grandfather. This year began on a similar foot as I lived in one of the worst living situations of my life. Living with my roommate was truly one of the most awful living situations of my life that made it basically hell for me, but in Spring I was able to move into a single room!

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10 Realities of My Life Now That I Can’t Sleep

  1. Sleep is important. I miss sleep. Laying in bed not being able to sleep is irritating.
  2. Birds do chirp early in the morning and it’s super annoying if you haven’t sleep all night.giphy
  3. Catching up on things I missed at Reddit until I fall asleep is a good use of time.
  4. Surprisingly none of my friends are awake at 3:30am, 4:15am, or 5am when I wake up.
  5. Chocolate tastes better at 3am.
  6. People in my dorm take baths at 2am…it’s strange.giphy-1
  7. I feel more creative in the wee hours of the morning.
  8. It’s possible to survive on 5, 6, and 7 hours of sleep, but 4 hours is really pushing it.
  9. There’s something very peaceful and almost meditative about being awake in the middle of the night.
  10. Dear God I miss sleep.sherlock-sleep

I Review So You Don’t Have To… Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant

I REVIEW, SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO...

The only thing I want from my deodorant is to make me smell nice and not sweat. That’s all. I don’t expect it to transform me into Black Cinderella a la the (best) version of the story with Brandy for the 90s or to make me the coolest, least sweatiest person in the world.

All I’m looking for is the basics.

Well except that I’m also allergic to most deodorants. For some reason the mixture of aluminium and zinc oxides in most deodorants break my skin out to high heaven. Not to get into the knitty gritty, but I’m talking red, itchy bumps in my dang armpits.

Because of my tres sensitive skin, I’ve tried all sorts of your typical hippy dippy all naturale deodorant fare, whether it be those crystal ones (don’t work), TOMS deodorant (doesn’t work), and a whole other hodge podge of products that tbh shouldn’t be sold as a deodorant because they neither make me smell nice or not sweat. Thankfully, I have found a deodorant that works for me and rarely breaks me out, so I haven’t tried out any all natural subsitutes in awhile.

(Enter me 19-year old buying more unnecessary skin care from Sephora)

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Vanity: Skincare Routine

vanity skincare routine

Why is this post called Vanity?

Vanity. In many circles vanity is something that’s shunned. It creates an interesting societal contradiction of women being expected to meet the eurocentric standards of beauty where they are judged highly for going through the motions of achieving that standard of beauty. In some sense I can understand the general negativity that surrounds the word. Taking pride in one’s outer appearance counters the American value system of taking pride in accomplishments earned by merit, whereas physical appearance is not something that one earns. There’s a certain air of selfishness in vanity that makes people who pride themselves on their on their looks seems as though they don’t equally value being a good person.

For myself, taking care of both my outer and inner appearance is a critical part of my own self-care. If you’re a person who lives in a stressful environment or lives with a mental illness, actions that make you feel calm and cared for are usually the first things that get abandoned, whether that be showering, eating regularly, wearing clothes that make you feel good, exercising, etc.

My various beautification routines all serve the same purpose of giving my an almost therapeutic meditative space to make me feel good. When I put on my makeup and do my skincare I am taking up time in my day to something that I like to do that doesn’t benefit anyone but me. I find these routines to be incredibly empowering because it reminds me that I am worth the time and money to do the things that make me happy.

And that’s why I’ve decided to call my beauty posts “VANITY”. In time I may find that this word no longer represents how I feel, but currently this word and what it means to me are something I want to share on this blog.

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What’s In My Bag?

There’s something very intimate about seeing what’s in a person’s bag. For some people there bag is a storage container that let’s you see how all the things in their life accumulate. For others it’s their space to keep everything tidy, together, and make their lives easier. I see the accessories that we have extensions of our selves and our choices. Fashion in itself is many times a way to express the things that we value, whether it be minimalist, chic, expensive, or easy fashion. The things that we carry say something about us as individuals.

All of my bags are black with tan accents. I don’t know what that says about me. If I was feeling more introspective I could say that I value simplicity in fashion and things that match together easily. Or that it’s an outward expression of teenage moodiness, a residual side affect of my age 11-13 emo phase. Even more simply, it could be that I just like the color black.

My most recent handbag acquisition is the Hershel Supply Co. Dawson Backpack ($69.99 USD). I typically use a crossbody bag, but the first time I saw the Dawson, I was immediately drawn to it. Carrying a backpack reminds of more simple times in my youth, where I carried only the necessities in a small bag (I say my youth, but I mean like when I was in kindergarten). Carrying a backpack significantly decreases the amount of stress on my shoulders that I typically experience when carrying a purse because the two straps help to distribute the weight more evenly.

I use this bag basically anytime I go out on the weekends/after class when I don’t need to carry my super huge backpack. Despite it’s small size, it’s actually super functional. I can fit most of my daily essentials in the backpack without feeling like it’s overstuffed. I have once or twice used it on a school day when I only have one class, but it’s definitely not a replacement for a standard backpack/tote/whatever that you’d carry school stuff in. Also if you have a smaller laptop, there’s a really convenient, padded pocket in the rear of the bag. Even though it says it can fit a 13-inch computer. I straight up cannot fit my laptop in there unless I wanted to super squish it…which I don’t.

The price is quite a bit steep, but to make it worth the price I’ve been carrying it every time I need a purse. The quality is really good so I imagine it’ll last for a while.

Here’s what I carry on average in my Hershel Dawson Backpack

What's in My Bag

  1. Hershel Supply Co. Dawson Backpack
  2. Banana: I’m all about carrying food with me. Bananas are a super fast snack that instantly makes me feel satiated until I can get actual food.
  3. Contigo Water Bottle: Like every other basic college student who wants to stay hydrated, I keep a water bottle with me…constantly. I try to drink about 72ish oz. a day and carrying a full water bottle in my backpack, which is unnecessarily heavy encourages me to finish my water a lot faster.
  4. Makeup Pouch featuring…
    • Purell: The city is dirty and I’m all about them clean hands
    • Chapstick: Dry lips are one of my biggest pet peeves! This one has sunblock in it, so I know that my lips are hydrated and hopefully not absorbing too many UV rays.
    • Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsitck in Lolita: Ever since I got this it’s been one of my go-to slightly girly lip colors. It’s pinky enough on my skin to look a bold, but it also is a ton more neutral than my more vampy lip colors. Plus, it’s good practice to carry the lip color you’re wearing around with you just in case your lip stick needs reapplying.
    • Sunglasses: One time at the optometrist’s office my eye doctor told me that your eyes can get sunburned. He went so in depth in a horrifying description of sun caused eye damage, that I wear my sunglasses whenever it’s even a touch bright outside.
  5. Wallet: My classic obnoxious hot pink wallet is my fave. 10/10 would buy again.
  6. Journal & Pen: I journal in ebbs and flows. Right now I really enjoy having my journal as a tool to reflect on my day, right down some stories, or do a bit of crafting. Carrying it around gives me a chance to write down my thoughts in the moment when they’re the most pressing.
  7. Tablet: I rarely actually use my tablet for tablet-y things in real life. Since it’s a Nook and Samsung collaboration, it’s main function in my life is as an e-reader to store all my books.

I would carry more, but tbh I don’t have much going on where I need to have a ton of stuff with me all the time.

What are you bag essentials? Do you agree with me that fashion is an expression of self and what we value? Let me know in the comments  or tweeting me @travelingcurl.