Reading Slump Much?

Reading Slump Much?

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Hello and happy Wednesday. Maybe you don’t notice this because you still get your weekly bookish posts, but I feel that for a few months I’ve slowed down in my reading and that’s not very encouraging.

There was a time in my life, in a not so distant past, when I would read about seventy books per year. Now I think I’ll get to half of that, maybe a little more if I push myself while I’m on vacation. Yes, there was also a time during this year, in an even less distant future, when I was struggling with my mental health and didn’t feel like doing anything. That, obviously, affected my reading rhythm.

I think I’ve already posted about reading slumps, and if I haven’t then I feel that talking about this subject was long overdue. Currently I’m “reading” three books, but we all know that means I’m probably actively reading one and have left the other two for another time. I actually started one of those books about six months ago, but I struggle every time I pick it up, if I do manage to pick it up.

This is not the first time I’ve been in a reading slump and it won’t be the last. Maybe my mood has affected my book selection and that ultimately has left me reading stuff that I don’t enjoy. That happens, right? When we’re happy we sort of attract happy books, but when we’re not, we manage to pick the darkest, gloomiest books.

Now, I feel like I’m overcoming the slump already, and for that I’ll apply a technique that’s worked before. I’ll finish reading the three books I’m supposedly currently reading, and then I’ll use my TBR jar to help me select what I’ll read next. I’ll try to read as many short and bubbly books as I can while I’m on vacation, so that when I get the rhythm back I can make a smooth transition into other books. And I’ll obviously tell you what I think about them right here, so stick around.

How do you deal with a reading slump? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

Why I’m Back Home

Why I’m Back Home

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Hello and happy Saturday. I interrupt whatever you were doing to bring you massive news: yes, I’m back in Colombia. As I’m typing this, it’s been a week since I came back home, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I’m not going to justify myself here, and I’m not going to try and get your approval or your pity, but I feel that throughout these months I’ve opened up so much about my personal life beyond the makeup, the books, and the teaching, that I sort of *have* to tell you what happened.

Let me backtrack a little bit and give you some context because if you’re new to this blog, you probably are super lost right now. My name is Camila and I’m a school teacher. If all goes right, I’ll soon start my third year. I was born in the States but have lived my entire life in Colombia because that’s where my family is from. In December 2017 I got the news that I’d been selected into a program to get certified as a teacher in Baltimore City. You see, it had been a plan of mine to move to the US in the year 2018. And here I was, making it true.

I quit an awesome job in March of 2018 because although the program wouldn’t start until late June, I had to attend an event in March and then another one in late May. Besides that, I wanted to spend time with my family and best friends, and start getting ready for my big move. I was excited, and I had great expectations for what was to come. I always pictured myself as a happier person living this amazing life, abroad.

Spoiler alert: I wasn’t happy and my life wasn’t amazing.

Now, to some it might be crazy that it only took me ten days to realize that whatever was going on wasn’t really my thing. To some, I might’ve seen like a spoiled brat, or a coward. I truly don’t give a sh*t what people thought (or still think) of my decision. Here’s why: I made a decision in favor of my mental health, and that’s something I will never regret.

On June 26th I got to my Airbnb, a room with a private bathroom in a house located in a pretty odd neighborhood. I say it’s pretty odd because you had this super modern school in front of a nice park, and the cutest houses, and then you walked a block and found that the houses were in horrible conditions, that there was trash in the streets, and that the people stared at you as you walked.

My room was always cold and I could never get to fix the temperature, so instead I slept with two blankets and a sweater. I sort of got used to that; I mean, I was going to stay at that same room for six weeks until I found my own place, so I guess my body adjusted to the low temperature. And yes, that meant the headaches subsided after the second or third day.

The day after I got to Baltimore, I went to a Price Rite (?) and bought what would be the food for at least the first couple of weeks. The food situation was also dreadful. I mean, at school I had free lunches and then at home I either ate whatever my mom bought or made, and at least once a week I’d go out with my best friend. Now here I was, eating peanut butter toast for breakfast, a bagel with cream cheese for lunch, and half a glass of almond milk for dinner. For days I considered just eating at a restaurant, or buying stuff to go, but I had nothing close by. No McDonald’s, no Five Guys, no nothing.

I only had proper meals three days out of the ten I was in Baltimore: one was the lunch I had at the Cheesecake Factory by the Inner Harbor, another was the dinner and lunch my mother’s best friend (who lives in DC) provided me, and the last one was brunch, the one that led me to my decision of going home.

Many little things led me to quit and come back. One was my mom telling me that on her birthday, which she spent alone because my sister was in Europe with my dad and his family, she was walking our dogs and fell down and scratched her face. I immediately thought that nothing would’ve happened had I been there, with her. Another one was the fact that one day a friend’s husband drove me home, and as I was getting out of the car he told me “don’t go out at night.” I wasn’t planning to, but having someone from Baltimore warn me about my home for the summer was plain scary. Then there was that Saturday.

That Saturday I washed my hair because even though I hadn’t been very strict about my beauty routine, I was still only washing my hair on the weekends. I noticed a lot of hair by the drain. Like, a lot of MY hair. I’d just gotten a haircut a few weeks back and knew that my hair was healthy, but I thought “well, maybe it’s because I’m washing it after so many days.” I got out of the shower and brushed it with my Tangle Teezer, and found the brush, again filled with my hair. My. Hair. Was. Falling. Off.

I really tried to ignore that horrible fact, while also trying to justify it. I was under stress due to the program I was in. I was eating badly and not getting the amount of protein I needed. Those were pretty solid reasons, and they were also pretty scary ones. They all led to this even scarier conclusion: I was pretty close to getting ill.

Just like the previous weekend, I went Downtown. I had to send my university transcripts over to an evaluation agency. After that, I went to this cafe called David & Dad’s for brunch. It was around noon and I was eating for the first time that day. It’s not that I hadn’t been hungry, but eating at home was sort of stressing me out. It was not something I enjoyed doing, if I’m being honest, especially not when there was bread for toast, bagels, peanut butter or cream cheese. I’d even ran out of almond milk and was basically stealing from my host, half a glass at a time.

I sat in that cafe and got a huge waffle that tasted like eggs, with salty butter and a jar of Aunt Jemima’s (seriously? That’s what I paid $4?), accompanied by a gross glass mug of hot chocolate. I felt dumb for asking for a hot chocolate and knew I’d regret it as soon as I stepped out onto the street. I also felt overwhelmingly alone. I made a list of my certainties at the moment and realized I only had one: that thing my father had told me about the possibility of coming back.

He’d said it because he sort of had to, but I don’t think he actually thought I’d do it. Hell, I always thought I would go to the States and have this wonderful life and only come back to Colombia for the holidays. But the truth was I missed that home in Colombia more than ever. I missed seeing my parents and grandparents, I missed hanging out with my friends and snuggling with my dogs. I missed speaking my language and I missed the job I’d left behind (which I’m not getting back). I had nothing but a lot of prospects, a lot of hypotheses and what if’s: I didn’t have a job, and I didn’t have a permanent home, and I didn’t have any real friends with whom to hang out during the weekends.

So I texted my mom, half of my disgusting hot chocolate still in that gross glass mug. I texted her “I think I’m going back home in a few weeks.” Then it dawned of me. No, my hair was falling off, and I was very close to being ill, to being depressed. I wasn’t coming home in a few weeks. So I gulped the disgusting thing and added. “Maybe I’m coming home sooner.”

Just remembering that moment makes me want to cry, but if you ask me for the reason, I can’t explain it. Maybe I’m still sad about everything I went through, about everything that went through my mind. Maybe I’m relieved about the way things unfolded afterwards. I just know that for ten days I was in emotional hell and I don’t wish that upon anyone.

I’m a crier, but I’m a private crier. I cry watching TV or movies, and sometimes I cry while my best friends or my family are around. But I don’t cry in the middle of the street, and I don’t cry on a bus, at least I didn’t before that Saturday. I paid for my breakfast and then walked to the bus stop, and I was crying. I was wearing sunglasses but I knew some tears slipped. I knew some people noticed but pretended not to. Welcome to America. Welcome to Charm City. Yeah, right.

“I’m going home tomorrow,” I texted my mom. She told me she was out running errands and could she call me later. I told her sure because what else was left to do or say? I got to the house, my room colder than ever, and I just full on cried. I went into the Delta app and found seats for the following day, and I thought “tomorrow this time I’ll be on my way home.”

I talked to my mom, and cried throughout our entire talk. I talked to my dad, and my sister. I talked to my best friend. I made an announcement on Facebook because I wasn’t going to tell the same story to 200 people every time someone asked me what was going on. This is the message I posted:

Ugh, this is awkward and I really don’t *have* to do it but I just don’t want to answer a ton of separate questions and give a whole lot of explanations. Here goes nothing. 
I’d been talking about leaving to the States for years, and I had planned this trip for months. I even quit an awesome job and spent a whole lot of money on it. This was my dream. 
Now ten days after living “the dream,” I decided to go back home. By that I mean I already bought the ticket and will be in Bogota by tomorrow. Why? Because for ten days I’ve cried every time I’m by myself and I’m very close to being depressed and I’m scared. For ten days I’ve had more anxiety than I’d had in my lifetime and I’m just not about sticking around to see if I’ll pull through. 
I’d rather be a happy quitter than a messed up winner, and I’d rather go back to the comfort of my home with the people I love the most than try to be an adventurer all by myself. 
I always thought living in the States was for me, but after that taste I got, I know at least for now, that’s not true.

I made arrangements, packed my bags, and fell asleep. The following day, I woke up at 6 a.m, watched a whole lot of Younger (yes, there’s a post coming), and then got an Uber and left for the airport. I regret nothing.

In the comments below, tell me about a decision you made that you think changed your life for the better.

Happy Saturday!

Love, Miss Camila

Things Are About to Change

Things Are About to Change

Announcement (2).pngHello and happy Saturday. I don’t know why this feels so sad, like I’m about to tell you really bad news. I don’t know if it’s because sitting down and writing this post makes everything all the more real. But I guess I just have to go ahead and talk about it.

I think a common denominator in my latest posts is the fact that I’m telling you about my trip and how I need to start saving, or how I have to decide what I’m taking with me and what is staying in Bogota. I’ve talked about my moving away in abstract because that’s how I felt about it, you know? Like it was something that was going to happen someday but here I was still able to live my life as I have for the past twenty-four years. Well, now I’m weeks away from this trip and it’s all sort of become real.

For three months now, I’ve been able to sit down in front of my computer almost ever day and write two to three posts. I’ve been scheduling these posts, some with months in advance, but this Sunday as I saw my blogging notebook I realized that I’m sort of running out of post ideas, and what is worse, I’m running out of time. Now, of course if I stop scheduling my posts you’ll notice, probably not now but a few weeks from now, so I just wanted to give you a heads up if the nice posting stream seems to slow down.

I’m also here to tell you that the content of the posts is going to change a bit, too. I’m not going to be able to buy as much stuff, so that means there aren’t going to be as many hauls, at least not at first. I will probably be super tired or not in the best blogging mood sometimes, and that is going to translate into shorter posts.

Right now I’m not able to anticipate just how much all the changes are going to affect my blog, but I still want to let you know that I am aware of things maybe not staying the same. For now, I plan to keep the blog and to maintain the established schedule, we’ll see what happens in the future.

Happy Saturday!

Love, Miss Camila

 

Why I No Longer Follow Any Booktubers

Why I No Longer Follow Any Booktubers

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Hello and happy Wednesday. For the past three months I’ve had so much free time, I mostly don’t know what to do with it. That’s a lie: I blog and I watch YouTube or Netflix, that’s what I do, but my channel tastes have changed and I no longer follow people I used to love. For a while, I was super into Booktube, but almost all of a sudden I got fed up and decided to unfollow basically every booktuber in my feed. Today I’ll tell you why that happened. Let’s get started, shall we?

I’m trying to remember every booktuber I followed, and I’m going to make a list at the end of this post for you to check out in case you’re interested. Like with everything else, I just followed one channel, which led me to another, and then some more, and finally I was following more bookish channels that makeup and beauty channels. I started watching these videos for entertainment purposes, but also because I have a blog and I’m always looking for ideas to incorporate in my posts. Booktubers also get free books to review, which means that I could have more titles to add to my wish list.

At first, I really enjoyed the relaxed style of the videos. Obviously, every person has their own way of doing things, but in general I felt like there was way less editing and script than in the case of makeup or beauty videos, for almost reasons. I experimented with some very popular channels, but I didn’t like them, so they were the first I unfollowed, but there were others I truly loved and was happy to be following.

I don’t know when I started noticing that all the videos the booktubers were uploading were pretty much the same. Let me explain: I felt that the content channel A was uploading was very similar to what channel B was making. The reason? In most cases the videos were being sponsored by the same publishing houses, so the booktubers had to talk about the same book.

This happens with makeup too: when a brand releases a new product, some beauty gurus get sponsored videos to show that product in action. I may be biased here, but I think a makeup product gives you way more possibilities than a book. I mean, if you’re given a book, you’re most likely to come up with a review, and that’s it.

Sometimes Booktubers are being sponsored by subscription boxes like OwlCrate, in which case they upload an unboxing, but once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. I mean, why would I watch the same unboxing in three or four different channels? That makes no sense.

I decided once again to unfollow some of the channels so that I could avoid seeing the same video over and over, but then I discovered another issue. Most of the booktubers I followed were college kids who had their channels for fun and not as a full-time job, which means they sometimes didn’t upload any videos, and they didn’t even have a set uploading schedule like “professional” Youtubers.

Basically, I got annoyed. I felt that I wasn’t getting the content I was originally getting, and I decided to unfollow every booktuber I used to follow. I occasionally check out some of the channels, but usually the videos don’t attract me. Has this ever happened to you? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

PS: Here’s the list of booktubers I told you about

Tashapolis 

abooktopia 

jessethereader 

emmmabooks

sarawithoutanH

readbyzoe

a dash of ash 

A Clockwork Reader 

Book Roast

Trying Lip Tattoos (Again)

Trying Lip Tattoos (Again)

Hello and happy Sunday. This this a follow up post to the Trying Out Lip Tattoos one, which was published a few months ago. Basically, today I want to show you the whole process of applying the lip tattoo mask, and obviously the “after” results. Let’s get started, shall we?

I own the Color Story by SE lip tattoos because my aunt, who is a makeup artist, gave them to me for Christmas last year. There are five shades, which you can see in the pictures, so from top to bottom I’m wearing: Dahlia, Poppy, Fuchsia, Rose, and Lilac.

I applied this mask first thing in the morning, and the first piece of advice I’d give you if you would like to use this product for real, is to exfoliate your lips beforehand.

You’ll notice in some of the pictures that I have darker patches, and I think that’s because the mask clung to where my lips were dry and chapped. A lip scrub evens out the texture of the lips and removes anything that might not look good.

I felt that the results of day one were quite nice, so I was eager to try the other shades in the set. When I tried Poppy, which is the darkest shade, I noticed that it was kind of tacky, like it was drying out. That made the application harder, which is why, especially on the lower lip, there are darker patches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From day three on, everything went smoother, and I was getting used to my morning lip tattoo. I would wear lip balm to finish the look because I do think that without it, the lips look too dry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s day four. I just noticed how uneven the application was, and it is noticeable after the mask is removed. Still, I think I would wear this tattoo as a base for lipstick or lipgloss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s day five, and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised with the color after removing the mask.

I think the whole process is way easier and cleaner once you get the hang of it, and the results are nice. I wouldn’t replace my usual lippies for lip tattoos, but I would consider them occasionally as a lipstick or lipgloss base.

If somebody is more into the no-makeup/natural/ your-skin-but-better kinda vibe, I think lip tattoos are a good option, having exfoliated the lips before and wearing lip balm or clear lip balm after applying (and removing) the mask.

In the comments below, let me know what you think about lip tattoos, and if this post maybe changed your mind about them.

Happy Sunday!

Love, Miss Camila

Trying Halo Beauty: Three Weeks

Trying Halo Beauty: Three Weeks

Hello and happy Sunday. Welcome to another episode of “why am I still taking these pills?” aka week three of trying Halo Beauty. The answer to the first question, if you’re curious, is: I paid $40 for the pills, so I may as well take them.

In the nails department I’m starting to see more significant grow, and I notice that my nails seem to be thicker and stronger. Sometimes my nails peel, like I can notice that a layer is kind of trying to come off, I’m not really sure how to explain it or whether this happens to somebody else. Right now, I have two nails like that, so even if I feel them being stronger overall, they are still prone to peeling off.

My hair looks good, doesn’t it? I feel that it didn’t change much from last week to this one. It appears to be healthier than it did before I started taking Halo Beauty, but you know my thoughts on spending $40 on pills that will  just make my hair look good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, let’s talk about my face. I do want to say that during this week I got a face mask and I also got my period, which are two factors that might have altered the results of Halo Beauty, but let’s be honest here, I couldn’t just stop doing what I usually do to wait and see if a product does work.

I got the mask because I felt that I was getting a lot of breakouts, like I’ve been telling you throughout the updates, and I needed to unclog my pores. I did get two more breakouts on my chin, which is normal after a mask like the one I got. It’s also normal because, like I said, I got my period, and that sometimes can show on my skin.

This week has been the worst for my face, not just since I started taking Halo Beauty, but in a while. I hope that it goes back to how it usually is once the month is over because I feel that, even if Halo Beauty may not be what is causing the breakouts, it is clearly stopping my skin from getting better. Maybe that’s what happens when you try to improve something that doesn’t need any improvement.

In the comments below, tell me about a face mask or treatment that helps with breakouts and clogged pores because I think I’m going to need it.

Happy Sunday!

Love, Miss Camila

 

 

Trying Halo Beauty: 2 Weeks

Trying Halo Beauty: 2 Weeks

Hello and happy Sunday. As much as I love trying and reviewing different products and then blogging about my thoughts, I get super annoyed when said products don’t work. I get annoyed because I’m spending my own money on them, and I really want them to do what they’re supposed to!

By that intro, I guess you already know that I’m not happy with Halo Beauty because, after two weeks of taking it, I haven’t seen any real results.

My nails have started growing and they do look strong and sturdy, but I need them to reach a significant length before I can determine whether Halo Beauty has worked on them or not. I’m still hoping that within the next two weeks they can achieve that length.

I’m probably most disappointed about my skin because I have seen no changes whatsoever. Before I started taking Halo Beauty, I had breakouts on my chin and under my eyes, which are my problematic areas. Whenever I’m stressed or anxious, I get breakouts there, and, as I told you on the last update, I’d been anxious.

My chin has gotten better, but you can still see that I have something there, and besides that, I also got a breakout right on my hairline, which hadn’t happened before. Besides, and this could also be caused by my recent stress, I’ve noticed that the dark circles under my eyes are darker and deeper than ever.

My hair is looking good and healthy, which is something I believe I can thank Halo Beauty for. It’s still too soon to tell if it’s grown or if it’s growing at a somewhat fast pace, but I notice that is stronger, shinier, and less prone to getting dry.

The thing is, Sugar Bear Hair did the same for my hair and it was $30, while Halo Beauty is $40, and if you get the three or the six-month packs, you get discounts and free stuff with your vitamins. Plus, they’re actual gummies and they’re delicious. I tried them last year, and I was in love with them. You can check out my post on Vitamin Supplements and my Hair Update to find out more about them.

I know there are still two weeks to go, but so far, from what I have (not) seen, I’d tell you not to buy Halo Beauty, and to reach for Sugar Bear Hair instead, especially if, like me, you’re spending your hard earned money on these things.

In the comments, tell me about a super hyped, and overpriced product you got because everyone was talking about it, but that did nothing to you.

Happy Sunday!

Love, Miss Camila

Trying Halo Beauty: 1 Week

Trying Halo Beauty: 1 Week

Hello and happy Sunday. Don’t you love my just-got-out-of-bed selfies? Well, it’s been a week since I first started taking the Halo Beauty supplements and, to be honest, I haven’t seen much improvement in the “skin” department.

I’m really not surprised that there haven’t been great changes. For one, I’d been super stressed this past week, so I’d been having breakouts (and picking  my face, which only makes the breakouts worse). I’ve also only tried these pills for a week, so I’m not expecting to see major changes right away. I know some people have experienced them from the start, but they probably had more serious issues than just a few pimples here and there, so the results are more evident. Anyways, we still have three more (hopefully stress-free) weeks to go.

With the nails, it’s been pretty much the same. They’ve grown a bit, but not enough for me to really see whether they’re stronger or not. They look healthy, though, so that’s a good thing.

 

 

 

 

 

What really did it for me this week was the hair. I haven’t washed it since Sunday, so you bet it’s gross, but aside from that, look at that beauty. I obviously wouldn’t be able to tell if it grew in a week, but what I can notice is the volume and the shape of the waves. My hair is getting it’s body back and I’m living for it! Something I’m also super happy about is how bright it looks.

That’s it for today’s update. In the comments let me know what would you take supplements for.

 

Happy Sunday!

Love, Miss Camila

My Life So Far

My Life So Far

Hello and happy Saturday. It certainly feels odd to be typing that after almost a full month with no teaching posts. And just to clarify, no, this isn’t teaching related.

Let me update you on what’s been going on since my last day working as a school teacher. I traveled to Baltimore and had a blast. The time alone helped me realize many things about myself and the way I want my life as a “real adult” to be. I was supposed to meet this guy I’d been talking to online, but that ended up not happening. I came back to Bogota, took a test for the program I’ll be part of this summer, and then spent a weekend by the beach with my sister.

I spent my first week at home, still adjusting to my recent trips and the fact that I was no longer working full-time. I did have to go to the school where I used to work because it was the English Day and I was the person who’d planned it, and had to execute it as well.  My best friend graduated from university and then, after her celebratory brunch, I went to a holiday house my family owns outside of Bogota and spent the days reading and sunbathing. Then it was Easter, and literally nothing happened.

This first week of April has been tough because the guy I was talking to decided to break contact with me. I will explain this in another post, as well as some other bits of information I’ve let out throughout this post. I’ve been coping with the help of Mark Rosenfeld’s dating advice, and obviously I’ve been redirecting my energies into productive activities like blogging, my Portuguese classes, and getting everything ready for the trips that await me.

I’ve decided that I’m going to try and use this space on Saturdays to tell you more about what’s going on in my personal life, and we’ll see how things go once I get back to teaching. Now, in the comments below I want you to update me on your life. How’s everything?

Happy Saturday!

Love, Miss Camila

Goodreads Update

Goodreads Update

 

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Hello and happy Wednesday. I’m always honest when it comes to the books I’ve read and the ones I haven’t. I rarely post a review on a book I haven’t fully read, unless I was provided a sneak peek or an excerpt. I think adding children’s books to your Goodreads list is kind of like cheating, though I have to admit I did that last year because I needed to reach my goal.

Yes, sadly, on more than one occasion I’ve become one of those people who seem to read only for the sake of achieving their reading goal, of “winning” at the challenge they set for themselves at the beginning of the year. Once, I checked my reading challenge and it showed me that I was five books “behind schedule,” and that had been after I’d modified the goal from 70 books to 65.

At that moment I decided I had three options: I could keep lowering the goal, so that I was always “on track,” although that was sort of like cheating; I could go on reading mode, find a ton of easy, short reads and achieve my goal; or I could just stop caring and decide what I wanted to do was enjoy my reading time without feeling like I had an assignment to fulfill. I picked option number 3, which meant resetting my Goodreads challenge.

Now, I’ve seen many people set their goal to one book, which they accomplish within two hours of establishing the mark. It might appear to be dumb, but the reason for setting a goal is to be able to keep track of the amount of books one reads in the year. I had, for example, read 46 books by the time I decided to forget about a goal. Don’t get me wrong, I still like to keep a record of the amount of books I read in a year, and I still like to challenge myself, I just wasn’t feeling that particular challenge.

In terms of my blog, not having a reading goal doesn’t change anything because I will continue reading at the pace I’m used to, and I even think that you’ll benefit from more in-depth reviews because I’ll be less pressured when reading. I have some interesting ideas you’ll be able to see soon, and that I think can be accomplished because now I don’t “have” to be reading a certain amount of books in a month or in a year.

If you have a Goodreads account and we’re not friends yet, click here  to add me. In the comments, let me know whether you set a reading goal for yourself or not.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila