Posted in Music

Top 10 Songs of the Week 7/9

This week, I was really into showstopper music with intense sounds and over-the-top vocals. Add these songs to your playlist if you want songs that’ll get your heart pumping!

1. Hymn to Bacchus by Daemonia Nymphe

2. Fuqboi by Hey Violet

3. It’s Tricky by Run-D.M.C.

4. 99 Red Balloons by Goldfinger

5. Uma Thurman by Fall Out Boy

6. Granger Danger by Starkid

7. You’ll be Back by TY-CE

8. Comet by NateWantsToBattle

9. Cpr by cupcakKe

10. Cool for the Summer by Demi Lovato

Question of the Day: What’s on your playlist this week? Let me know in the comments below!

Posted in Dogs, Humor

You Know You Own A Chihuahua When…

Ah, chihuahuas…those itty bitty bundles of joy. Or terror. It really all depends. For something so tiny, chihuahuas are certainly complex creatures. And the only people who truly understand this are chihuahua-owners. Here are some other ways you might know you own a chihuahua…

  • You know how to sleep on the tiniest sliver of your mattress…while your dog takes up the rest of the space (despite weighing less than 10lbs)
  • You know you can’t leave anything of value around your little monster…or else it will get chewed up by tiny teeth
  • You love taking your dog to the pet supply store because everyone coos over how cute your pooch is
  • You have a very small shadow that follows you wherever you go
  • You have to be careful when you sit on your favorite chair, as you never know when “somebody” might steal your spot
  • You always have a cuddle-buddy during thunderstorms
  • You know that powerful things come in small packages
  • Most of your money goes towards dog food, toys, bedding, treats…and doggie clothes
  • You have to keep your house like a sauna in the winter. You can’t stand to see your little buddy shiver
  • You know you have the cutest, tiniest best friend

chihuahua-624924_960_720

Posted in Books, Self-Care

How Audio Books Changed My Life

Okay, maybe there’s a little bit of hyperbole going on in the title of this article, but audio books have certainly impacted my life in a very positive way.

Growing up, I was absolutely obsessed with reading. Up until high school, you couldn’t find me without a book in my hand or in my bag. I read the final Harry Potter novel in a single sitting. I was thoroughly in love with the written word.

But once I got into high school, my love of reading diminished. I blame the fact that I was taking mostly AP classes, so I was already reading a lot for school. Reading for pleasure seemed like an exhausting chore. Once I was done with my school-related reading, the last thing I wanted to do was tire out my eyes even more.

Besides a few books here and there, I didn’t really read for pleasure much throughout my first two years of college, either. Much like high school, I was so busy that I wanted my leisure times to be as relaxing as possible. And then, I discovered audio books.

I’ve always been a fan of podcasts since I could relax or work on other things while listening to them. I found that audio books were very similar. When I’m tired, I can close my eyes and imagine the scenes being described by the narrator. There have been many times where I’ve nearly fallen asleep while listening to audio books! (And that’s a pretty big deal because I’m a major insomniac!)

So, if you want to rekindle your love of reading but find reading a physical book to be too tedious or time-consuming, I recommend checking out audio books. You can download free mp3 files of audio books from Open Culture. Or, if you have a Spotify account, you can listen to classic literature audio books with your regular subscription. Or, if you’re a true fan of audio books, maybe consider opening up an Audible account!

Happy listening!

Question of the Day: Do you prefer regular books or audio books? Why? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to like and share this article!

Posted in Beauty, Self-Care

Review: Groovy Green Tea Wash-Off Mask

Hello, friends! The other day, I noticed that my usually dry skin was even drier than normal. I assume the heat has something to do with it, but who knows? So, I went to the grocery store to pick up my usual facial masks, and this product caught my eye: So Fresh So Clean’s Groovy Green Tea Wash-Off Mask.

20170701_181446

~First Impressions~

Packaging

I was immediately drawn in by the packaging. Brightly colored and “in your face.” It was impossible to ignore on the store shelf. Also, I was incredibly fond of the resealable nature of the pouch. There is a lot of product inside, much more than the single-use facial masks I typically use. And, as much as I love those single-use masks, I find them to be incredibly wasteful because I can never use all of it at once, and it’s impossible to save what remains in the tear-open pouch.  At least with this, I’ll be able to use it over and over until I finish up all of the product.

Features

20170701_212239

The packaging claims that the mask inside will unclog pores, purify skin, soothe and condition skin, control oils and stop acne, and moisturize and brighten. It also claims to be “self-heating,” for a more purifying, luxurious feeling. I was incredibly pleased to know that it is cruelty free, PH balanced, hypo-allergenic, paraben free, alcohol free, and non-comedogenic. Overall, I’m very happy with the ingredient list!

~Application~

Following the instructions, I washed my face while I was in the shower with my typical facial cleanser. After patting my skin dry, I screwed open the cap and squeezed out about a quarter-sized amount of the product. Next time, I think I might use just slightly more, but not much more. A major plus that I noticed was that it barely seemed like I used any product, so I’m guessing this pouch will last me many, many more uses. Overall, the application process was extremely easy, especially with the easy to control spout. Unlike other facial masks, I didn’t have to dig into a tiny foil pouch. I just had to give it a gentle squeeze and it poured out into my hand. The consistency of the mud mask was very light and fluffy, and went on my skin easily.

20170701_185949
Obligatory Mask-Selfie

~Wearing the Mask~

I was a bit shocked at how quickly the mask heated up after applying it. It only took a few seconds before it got really, really warm. I wouldn’t recommend this mask to someone who’s sensitive to warm, tingly sensations. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but it was certainly intense at first. The sensation got a bit easier to take after the first few minutes. Then, it felt like a relaxing spa mask. It definitely felt very luxurious on my skin.

~Aftereffects~

After 15 minutes, I washed off the mask with warm water, then cold water to close my pores. Then, I dried off and applied my regular moisturizer. My skin was noticeably softer and smoother. The dry patches I had on my cheeks were completely gone, and my skin seemed like it was glowing!

~Conclusion~

I absolutely love this mask. Honestly, this will probably replace the masks that I previously used. My favorite features are the fact that it’s cruelty free, reusable with tons of product, and that it leaves my skin feeling soft to the touch. I rate it 9/10! I highly recommend this mud mask for anyone who feels their skin needs a little TLC!

If you would like to try out this product for yourself, you can get it on Amazon Prime for $9.91!

Question of the Day: Do you have a favorite skin care item? If so, let me know in the comments!

*This is a non-sponsored article.
Posted in Religion, Witchcraft

Witchcraft Demystified

This one is for the curious knowledge-seekers out there. The ones who feel the call of the Craft. The ones who wonder, “What really is witchcraft, and how can I get involved?”

This one if for the wary wonderers. The ones who are both repulsed and intrigued by the assumed “darkness” involved in witchcraft. The ones who think, “Am I going to Hell if I learn about this?”

This one is for people who just want to learn about witchcraft, and want to see some of the misconceptions that surround the Craft get debunked.

Here are some of the common questions I hear people ask about witchcraft:

1. Is witchcraft the same as Wicca?

Short answer? No. Long answer? It really depends. Many Wiccans practice witchcraft as a part of their religion. And there are witches, such as myself, who practice witchcraft alongside a completely different religion. And then there are even witches who are atheists! Witchcraft isn’t tied to any particular religion.

2. Is witchcraft evil?

Not necessarily, no. Could someone hypothetically use witchcraft to cast curses on innocent people? Of course. But the energy that witches harness during a spell or ritual is entirely neutral. It is up to the practitioner to decide whether they will use their abilities for good or evil.

3. Is witchcraft Satanic?

Refer to point #1. Just like with Wicca, witchcraft can be practiced alongside Satanism (or any religion) but it isn’t Satanic on its own. Witchcraft is what you make it.

4. Is witchcraft real?

I certainly think that it is. Spells that I’ve cast in the past have always worked.

5. Can you turn someone into a frog?

No. Unfortunately, witchcraft can’t defy the laws of physics. Though powerful, the Craft still has its limits.

6. Who can become a witch?

Anyone! Witchcraft does not belong to a single gender, race, socioeconomic class, or any strict category. If someone wishes to become a witch, they can do so.

 7. How can I become a witch?

Now, this is a tricky one, since there is no straightforward answer. Learn everything you can about witchcraft. Knowledge truly is power. Decide if you want to combine your Craft with your religion, or keep the two entirely separate. Learn how to write your own spells and how to recreate a ritual on your own. Perhaps follow other witches on your favorite social media sites and observe what they do. What I’m trying to say is: You can do almost anything you want to become a witch.

Hopefully I was able to dispel some common misconceptions about witchcraft and demystified the topic as a whole for you!

Question of the Day: What questions do you have about witchcraft? Let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them!

Posted in Food

An Argument for Pescetarianism

In honor of passing the one-year anniversary mark of becoming a pescetarian, I am reposting an article I wrote when I first adopted the diet and lifestyle. Enjoy!

***

To preface this, I’d like to say that I completely support people who follow a vegetarian/vegan diet, and I admire people who follow such diets for moral reasons. As much as I would love to entirely cut out meat products from my diet, plant-protein is hard for my body to digest, so I need some animal-protein to stay healthy. This post is not to say that vegetarian/vegan diets are bad. It is meant to educate people about a healthy, morally sound, and environmentally sustainable lifestyle diet that they may not have heard about before.

I used to be obsessed with meat. Pork tenderloin, filet mignon, bacon… It was all so delicious! Sure, I liked some vegetables and fruits, but they were never a main staple of my diet. Sure, on occasion I’d like a nice salad, but I thought fruits and vegetables were incredibly boring. They were great snacks, but they could never be the star of a dish.

But then I went off to college. I go to a rather small, liberal arts college in Massachusetts. A rather sizable portion of the population is some form of vegetarian or vegan. And most of them do it for moral reasons. If it weren’t for the vegetarian/vegan population at my college, I probably would have never made the switch to pescetarianism.

Pescetarianism is a modified vegetarian diet that also includes fish. I made the switch to pescetarianism rather slowly. At first, I was reluctant to give up meat. Until I met the vegetarians and vegans at my college, I was never fully aware of the horrors of the meat industry. Male chicks being torn to shreds because they are deemed “useless” because they can’t produce eggs. Pigs, who are highly intelligent animals, are forced into small cages, kept there until they go insane from the stress and fear. I felt sick every time I ate meat after learning about this. I knew I couldn’t continue eating meat.

I was taught how to make vegetarian and vegan meals that were far from boring. After just a bit of research, I learned most of the foods I already loved were vegetarian/vegan! And, while slightly expensive, vegan junk food is just as good as the non-vegan equivalents!

So, I started cutting meat out of my diet. Over the span of several months, I ate nothing with a face. Due to medical reasons, I had to keep consuming milk and eggs to keep my calcium levels up. But I noticed I was feeling weaker without meat-protein. I worried I’d have to abandon vegetarianism in order to feel better.

But then a woman in one of my classes introduced me to pescetarianism. She had been a pescetarian all of her life, for both health and moral reasons. Until that point, I never knew what the heck that even was. She gave me a rather convincing argument for pescetarianism. She told me that some scientists believe that fish don’t feel pain like other animals do, if at all. And while that doesn’t completely make killing fish for food okay, it’s a step-up from eating an animal that has been tortured and killed.

So, for people like me who absolutely need the easy-to-digest animal protein, fish are a much more morally sound choice. And there are tons of health benefits for eating fish! They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acid. No more fish oil pills for you! Fish is one of the healthiest proteins, so you’ll get healthier if you cut out other meats from your diet!

Also, seafood is environmentally sustainable! Sure, there are species of fish that are overfished, which are to be avoided. But many types of seafood are perfectly sustainable! If you’re worried about eating seafood that isn’t environmentally sound, check out Seafood Watch. They let you know which types of seafood are farmed in an environmentally friendly way.

Turning towards pescetarianism has been one of the smartest decisions I’ve made. I’ve become far more aware of what I’m putting into my body. I’m no longer a food zombie that simply eats without thinking. Even if the pescetarian lifestyle isn’t for you, don’t be a food zombie. Try to eat responsibly and know where your food comes from. Happy eating!

***

Question of the Day: Do you follow a specific diet? If so, tell me why in the comments below!

Originally posted on 5/26/2016 on The Witch is In

Posted in Music

Top 10 Songs of the Week 7/1

Here are my favorite songs of the week! This week, I’ve been really drawn to upbeat, happy music. These songs are perfect for any summer party or when you just need an energy boost!

1. Cocky by Shea Couleé

2. So Emotional by Whitney Houston

3. Dreaming by Blondie

4. Rabbit Hole by Natalia Kills

5. Planet Schmanet Janet by Laverne Cox

6. Mercy by Duffy

7. Salute by Little Mix

8. Two of a Crime by Perma

9. Stephen by Kesha

10. chAngE by Mami

Question of the Day: What’s on your playlist this week? Let me know in the comments!

Posted in DIY, Self-Care

How to Make a Self-Care Box

Content Note: descriptions of anxiety and panic attacks

One moment, I can feel perfectly okay. Then the next, my heart will begin to race and the room will close in around me as I break out into a cold sweat. Panic attacks can be unpredictable, which is why it is absolutely vital to always be prepared for one. In the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to think how to stop the oncoming storm that is a panic attack. It is all too easy to feel helpless in those moments, like nothing could possibly ease the terror and tension. However, in my calmer moments, I know what calms me down when everything feels like it’s falling apart.

That’s why a self-care box is so important. Think of it like a first-aid or disaster kit. You compile the items you will need to help ease your panic attack ahead of time, and then when a panic attack does occur, there is less stress and confusion over what you should do to help yourself. Also, a self-care box can be helpful in relieving regular day-to-day anxiety.

Here’s how I made mine:

1. Get a box or container

I recommend getting a box that’s a pretty decent size, depending on what you plan on putting in it. You want to make sure that everything fits. Optional: either get a cute-looking box or decorate it! My self-care box is a purple Pusheen box. It’s so cute that it makes me smile, and that helps make me calm down a little.

2. Add a journal and something to write with

It has been proven that writing about your emotions can help ease the symptoms of anxiety and help you gain more control over your emotions. This may not be helpful in the middle of a panic attack, but it can certain help you recover after the worst parts have passed. Writing about the attack may help you identify what triggered it and help you plan how to avoid it next time.

3. Add a coloring book and colored pencils/crayons/pens

Coloring in a coloring book can greatly reduce feelings of anxiety and fear because they calm our amygdala, the part of our brains that cause us to feel fear in the first place. They also help focus on on a positive task instead of focusing on our panic. By keeping a coloring book in your self-care box, you have something on hand to do when you feel your anxiety creeping up. They may even prevent an anxiety attack before they even start.

4. Add something to squeeze or squish

I keep Play-Doh, a stress ball, and a Squishy Panda in my self-care box to squeeze and squish when I feel anxious. I find having something slightly physical to do helps keep my mind off of my anxiety and focuses me on something else. Having something to squeeze seems to relieve some of the tension I feel during the worst parts of my panic attacks.

5. Add something to chew on

I keep a chewy necklace in my self-care box to gnaw on when I feel extremely anxious, but you could also keep a pack of gum or some type of snack in your self-care box if chewy jewelry isn’t your thing. Chewing on something helps reduce anxiety by stimulating the vagus nerve, which is responsible for lowering heart rate. By lowering your heart rate, you’ll start to feel calmer and less panicked.

Lastly…Add whatever else you think would be helpful!

Anxiety and panic attacks can be debilitating, but with the proper preparation, you can reduce the lasting impact they have on your life. Hopefully your own self-care boxes will have the same positive impact on you all as mine has for me.

Question of the Day: What would you put in your self-care box? Let me know in the comments!

Posted in Humor, Literature

Sassiest Literary Quotes

Are you looking for the perfect comeback to an insult? Or perhaps you need the perfect Instagram caption for your badass selfie. Of course, you could always go with some song lyrics or something of your own creation. But if you’re like me with a flair for the dramatic, why not go with a quote from a literary genius? You might be surprised by just how sassy they can be.

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” –Oscar Wilde

“If your brains were dynamite, there wouldn’t be enough to blow your hat off.” –Kurt Vonnegut

“If you’re looking for sympathy, you’ll find it between shit and syphilis in the dictionary.”- David Sedaris

“If you will forgive me for being personal…I don’t like your face.” –Agatha Christie

“What are you now? A third-rate actress with a pretty face.” –Oscar Wilde

“The man is as useless as nipples on a breastplate.” –George R. R. Martin

“It should take you about four seconds to walk from here to the door. I’ll give you two.” –Truman Capote

Question of the Day: What’s your favorite literary insult, either from this list or elsewhere? Let me know in the comments!

Posted in Gender and Sexuality

I’m Feelin’ Pan-tastic

Content Note: descriptions of homophobia and bullying

With Pride Month coming to a close, I find it appropriate to reflect on my own sexuality and how important it is to me. The most frequent question I get around Pride month is “Why are you proud of being pansexual? Straight people aren’t proud of being straight.” So hopefully this will clear up that question once and for all.

I first came out as pansexual at some point during my senior year of high school. At the time, only a few of my close friends knew about my sexuality. For years prior, I had always assumed that I was straight and that my attraction to girls and nonbinary people was normal for straight people to have from time to time without making them “not-straight.” But once I started dating, I tended to only ask out men. And while I did enjoy dating men, I couldn’t help but secretly have crushes on girls and nonbinary people. I wanted to date them like I dated guys. So, it wasn’t long before I realized that I wasn’t really as straight as I thought.

Still, I grew up in a pretty conservative town for the area I’m in, so I wasn’t overly eager to tell everyone the truth about my attractions. My parents were extremely accepting of who I am, so I was definitely lucky in that regard, and some of my friends were already out. Still, I couldn’t help but feel something akin to shame about my sexuality at the time. As someone who had been bullied her whole life, I was very conscious about everything that made me different from my peers. And many of my peers were straight and slightly homophobic. They would always joke about the Gay-Straight Alliance or preface compliments with “no homo.” Some would even make openly queer students the targets of direct bullying. I worried that if I came out of the closet that the bullying I already experienced for being biracial and “weird” would only worsen or get violent. So, I kept quiet about it until I graduated.

Everything changed once I got to college. I go to a very prestigious historically women’s college. Approximately 40% of the total population identifies as some type of LGBTQIA+. There are several organizations on campus to support people like me, populated by people who are proud of their gender identities and sexualities. I felt accepted for once in my life. I began to realize that my feelings towards my sexuality were based on the feelings of others. I was not ashamed because being pansexual is wrong, I was ashamed because I believed others would view me as wrong. But they were the wrong ones for judging people based off of who they are. Just like there was nothing wrong with me for being biracial, there was nothing wrong with me for being pansexual. I was done with being afraid.

So why am I proud to be pansexual? Because I spent far too long being ashamed over who I truly am. By embracing my sexuality, I truly began to accept myself.

Question of the Day: How did you celebrate Pride month this year? Let me know in the comments!