Dubai: A Photo Diary

DUBAI

Dubai is hot. That’s the first observation I made when we got off the plane. The breeze wasn’t comforting like it is in Seattle where the wind helps to stave off overheating from the hot, hot sun. Instead the air was suffocating, hot, and heavy…did I mention it was hot?

After we disembarked we traveled through the Dubai International Airport, which feels a lot like a Vegas casino with its glittering psuedo-marble floor, ornate chandeliers, and indoor water features (and no I’m not joking there was a waterfall in the airport). The airport’s intense air conditioning provided a brief moment of respite before we exited the cold haven and made our way outside. I mostly am accustomed to seeing primarily male taxi drivers, but the Dubai Airport offers a really cool option for women, where you can take taxis driven by other women. If you happen to be at the airport, be on the lookout for their super cute pink hijabs.

Side note, make sure that your cab driver turns on the meter at the front of the cab, so that you don’t get scammed. If you don’t seem like a native Arabic speaker or like you’re from the area, you’ll probably experience a driver not turning on the meter so they can charge you an exorbitant price.

The Dubai Mall & The Burj Khalifa

thetravelingcurl

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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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OOTD: Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking

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I try to be a super fashionista, but then I realize that I don’t have a ton of money for my desired aesthetic and I’m in college. These factors have contributed to my très “slightly better dressed than your average psuedo-hipster” aesthetic. But alas (poor Yorick!), I put together an outfit that I really really like today! It gives me very late 90s grunge meets military inspired meets girly in a really fun way.

 

florals- for spring- groundbreaking.

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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.

A Reintroduction.

A REINTRODUCTION.

Well hello there. It’s been a month since I last updated The Traveling Curl. Most blogging people will tell you that not blogging for a month with no explanation is not a best practice, which I must agree, but I have good reason.

I was not inspired to write on this blog.

Why is that you may be wondering? Well it comes down to a few things to be honest. The most above them being that writing college “how-to” posts is not something that I can commit myself to doing constantly. I yearn to express myself creatively and talk/write about my life in a meaningful expressive way that allows me to connect with others. Running a blog that solely writes about college cannot fulfill that desire for me. That’s basically when I stopped posting 2 months ago. I felt distressed. I worked hard to create this blog and give myself a place to write/create what I wanted, but in the end this space became limiting, and that’s not the Traveling Curl I imagined. I want a place where I can write about my life, interests, classes, experiences, etc. Whether that be in a “Wow look I discovered this really radical way to do…” or “Fiction Fashion inspired by…” or reviews of tv shows, products, movies, etc., heck, I’d even love to do some longer form academic style posts.

From all the blogs I’ve read about how to be a “Successful Blogger” this is 100% not recommended. For people trying to make a business out of blogging, they are a lot more focused so that they can sell stuff. This summer/autumn/winter, I saw myself in that same trajectory of trying to brand myself as this college blogger in aims of making it a business. Sadly, I’m not the kind of person that can just not compare myself to others, so this more business-y type blogging made my time writing for the Traveling Curl a lot less rewarding. It’s difficult to see other people being successful in this niche kind of way that isn’t success to me. I thought I’d be happy getting like 1,000 views on a post or something, but then you go on someone else’s blog and see that they get 50,000 views on a post, and this comparison never ends. I’ve realized that for me success isn’t going to look like this. Me being happy with the blog means that it meets my creative needs as an individual and that other people can find another college girl and say “Hey that person’s like me!”. Creating a community where myself and others can feel free to be their authentic selves is more important to me than page views/monthly user stats/or making my blog a business.

I am more at peace and more inspired when I remember that The Traveling Curl is a hobby, a wonderful, fun, rewarding, frustrating hobby. It doesn’t increase or decrease my value as a human being. It’s just something fun for me to do.

And what does that mean for you as a reader of the Traveling Curl? If you’ve stuck with me through this weird hiatus period you’re a gem and I am sending you all of my positive vibes. What you can expect from me is….

1) More posts with passion and more things that interest me. In my 19 years on Earth, I’ve amassed quite a plethora of random things I love and I hope to incorporate them into this blog.

2) Consistent posting! With this shift to more hobby, enjoyment blogging, my update schedule will change to Wednesdays and Sundays at ~7am PST. On Wednesdays, I am planning on more shorter form, creative posts whether it be a sweet picture and some words, a haiku, some crafts I’m doing, etc. On Sundays, look forward to some longer, more thoughtful posts. Think like book reviews, life updates, college “how-to”, day in the life, type things.

3) Greater engagement/community building! I’m in college with a job and clubs, so I can’t promise to pin 5 things on Pinterest everyday, tweet like 10 things, post inspirational quotes, or anything like that, but I would like to connect more with my readers. Beyond that I would love and be so fortunate to have engaged readers guest post. If you’re interested in this, I’ve created a page on my blog with more details.

Like every youngster, I’m trying/growing/changing and I hope that you’ll stick around as the Traveling Curl transitions into a place that I feel inspired to create.

If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to comment!

A Peek Inside My Planner

Planning has never been my strong suit. As someone who is quite preoccupied with being organized, I very often fail at planning. For some reason planners have just not appealed to me. Sometimes they’re too big or too small or have the wrong formatting or not enough room.

APEEKINSIDEMY PLANNER

This year (or well the first two months of this year), my planner of choice has been the MAMBI Happy Planner. While I’m usually a horizontal planner girl, but the morning, afternoon, evening vertical split of the Happy Planner is plenty of space to track my to-dos, homework assignments, and appointments.

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