Is that title making you feel uncomfortable? Because it definitely made me feel uncomfortable to write. We're not supposed to talk openly about financial matters unless you've got some brilliant solution to become a millionaire, which I certainly don't. 

I've been avoiding blogging for a while - for a number of reasons. Time, confidence, depression, a demanding job, etc all play into it. But I also realized something that changed my perception of what I was doing with this blog. And that's this:

I can't afford to blog about beauty anymore. 

Let me break this down into a few sections for you. 


1. Buying/testing products

I used to love spending frivolously on makeup products that I was curious about back when I didn't have rent to pay. I'd see a review or YouTube video about a certain product release and I just had to have it to try out, so I'd go get it. My Sephora Beauty Insider points were racking up and the rush I'd get with each new box of goodies delivered in the mail felt worth it at the time. I had a lot of fun makeup, but I had quite a number of products I barely used or that I used once and realized they weren't that great. 

Once I started a YouTube channel/blog, I would justify to myself that buying products solely to review them was a "good investment" because it was creating content for those channels. Now, I've never made a red cent from YouTube or this blog (and that's ok!), so telling myself that spending a ton of money on beauty products each month was ok because it was contributing to my content...probably not the best financial idea. 


2. Keeping up

It's no secret (thank you Instagram stories) that makeup companies send lavish PR packages of their newest releases to big-name YouTubers, Instagrammers, and other social influencers. They often are the first to hear about launches, making days of scouring the internet for clues and being the first to go purchase something obsolete. By the time I, the average person, get my hands on a new makeup product, it's already been blogged/photographed/vlogged/reviewed by dozens of other content creators. It feels like you're always behind and that's because you are! The game is rigged against you on this one if you're a nobody like me. 


3. I just don't have the money anymore

I started pursuing makeup as a more serious hobby when I was living with my parents and blissfully ignoring my student loan debt except to make minimum payments. It felt like I had all this extra income so why not spend it on fun things? In retrospect that makes me cringe. If I'd just spent all that "extra" money paying down my debt, I would be in such a better financial situation than I am now. Fast forward to today, where I've gotten serious about paying off my student loans and have a car payment, rent, utilities, groceries, etc, to worry about. Makeup impulse buys just can't happen for me anymore. I'm not going to buy every scent of a new bath bomb anymore to test it out. I just can't.



So yeah...going forward I'll still blog about things I love, lifestyle things and maybe the occasional beauty bit here and there. Who knows? But my days as a wannabe beauty blogger are over.


I’m beginning to think that I grew up in an especially TV-strict household. When I was growing up, I remember I was firmly NOT ALLOWED to watch The Simpsons – or Titanic even though all my friends who were two years younger already had. But we also never had the “good cable” so I missed out on a ton of shows and consequently never watched such favorites as Friends, Fraiser, Seinfeld, etc etc. And to be honest, I never really thought I was missing much.

BUT! I just started watching The Sopranos after a work lunch where my colleagues were all reminiscing about it. I’m at a time in my life where true crime is super interesting to me for some reason, so a mob show seems to fit right in.

I’m only on Season 2 (no spoilers!) but so far I’m liking Chrissy’s eyebrows, Meadow’s eye-rolls, Tony’s shark-like smile, and Carmella in general. And the theme song is constantly stuck in my head. It’s especially interesting to me how all the women in the show choose how much they know about and how they deal with all the nonsense that goes on with the men in their lives.


Do you have any old shows you’ve recently discovered? Or ones you weren’t allowed to watch? I’d be interested to hear!

A competitor for Lush? Not quite.


I've been a Soap & Glory fan for quite some time - ever since I saw UK beauty vloggers talking it up and frantically trying to find a store that sold it. Now you can get Soap & Glory at your local Walgreens and Target, and they're releasing new products all the time. Some of my all-time favorites include the Flake Away Body Polish and Sugar Crush Body Wash.

When I saw that they'd released a collection of bathbombs, I was intrigued. Since Lush has risen in popularity, I've seen other brands trying to get in on the bathbomb craze. While I haven't been tempted by any others yet, Soap & Glory's winning collection of scents drew me in to these. 



The Fizz-a-Ball comes in three of their signature scents - Original Pink, Smoothie Star, and Sugar Crush. At $5.00 each, they're fairly reasonable for a onetime use product. And here comes the BUT...

I was honestly fairly disappointed by their lack of color and scent. While they smell nice when unwrapping them (from a very difficult to remove layer of plastic), the scent dissipates very quickly once it dissolves in the bath. And there is almost no color payoff at all - it turned my bath a very light pink which just looked a bit icky tbh. There was also quite a bit of silver microglitter that left a ring around my tub at the end. Overall, the experience was ok - not remarkable, didn't really add much.




Depending on what you're after in a bathbomb, these could be up your street - but personally I'd rather have a strong color and perfume if I'm splashing out (pun intended ha) and treating myself to a special bath. 




What do you think? Have you tried these, or any other bathbombs that are worth the money? Let me know!


Happy Friday! January is FINALLY over you guys! It felt like the longest January of all time...why??? It seems like the Pacific Northwest isn't going to have any type of real winter, so I'm moving on mentally to spring and getting excited for sunny days ahead. This weekend I'm going to try and find some new shoes for work and also have a cozy SuperBowl watching day on Sunday with snacks!

+ I'm IN LOVE with these new Gucci photos by Petra Collins - DOGS

Rodarte's new photos are so dreamy! 

+ I'm really curious about this new boxing tracker - it doesn't seem to have a calorie counter type program though, but could still be useful.

+ Finally - new Chvrches music is here!

+ I've been doing a lot of travel daydreaming and lately, I'm really feeling Iceland - especially after seeing these gorgeous photos.

+ I made these cookies recently and they were really good - thanks Pinterest! Best part - no eggs needed!

+ The best gif

+ My favorite twitter account right now

Have a good weekend!

Photo by Petra Collins for Gucci (linked above)


So you've got the January Blues. Hey - me too. January is my most loathed month - it's the month my mom passed as well as her birthday, it's dark and cold and I feel extra flabby from comfort eating. I spend nearly all month wishing it was over. Are you in the same boat? Here's a few things that are helping me this dreary month:

These videos made me laugh out loud when I was having a horrible day:





+ Some blog posts to read:



+ Indulge in some summer daydreaming - currently hoping to plan a trip here.

+ Bake something nice - have a little bit of sugar is OK. :)
Some recipes I've been eyeing:


+ Do a little bit of self-care - personally I've been taking a lot of extra hot Epsom salt baths which help me relax and binging on low-emotional-investment shows like Catfish and Millionaire Matchmaker. Sorry Black Mirror, I'll watch you another time.

January is almost over - be nice to yourself and we'll get through it together!


Hey 2014 Alison, it's 2018 Alison here.

I so wish I could go back to this moment, with you standing on this overlook of Deception Pass, having your photo taken by a guy who would go on to emotionally destroy you for a little while, and tell you that things will be ok. 

It will take 4 years - 4 complicated years. 

Along the way you're going to :

  • lose your mom
  • move out of your home on bad terms
  • have a lame breakup
  • have a bad New Year's Eve
  • move to another state
  • be betrayed by employers
  • lose friends
  • get a new job
  • survive a heat wave
  • go a zine convention and have an anxiety attack and leave after 15 minutes
  • go to Sitka, Alaska and London, England
  • join some disappointing gyms
  • watch your friend get married
  • reconnect with family
  • and get another new job - among other things


It's going to be really painful leaving your boxing gym behind, and it will take some time, but you'll finally find a new one where you feel like you have a community.

You're going to go through some really lonely times. Like really lonely. 

You'll miss the island even though you were so glad to leave it. 

You'll feel like all your friends are married or getting married and despair. 

You're going to miss your family and your mom a lot. Every January is going to be hard.



But here's where you are at the beginning of 2018:

  • you're in a relationship (!) with the best guy you've ever met
  • you finally have a good job that's interesting and challenging
  • you like all your co-workers
  • you're back into photography again and feeling inspired
  • you live in a cute apartment with your best friend
  • you've paid off 2 of your student loans and are finally making progress on the rest
  • you box at a gym you really like
  • you just ordered a book on baking bread


2014 Alison - it's going to get better. You're going to get through the mess that is 2014 and the slightly lesser mess that is 2015 and come out the other side scarred but strong. 

2018 Alison is the happiest she's been in years. 


The beginning/end of the year seems to be the time when all the good movies come out and there have been some good ones this year. I'm still on my "see all the Oscar noms" quest (failed twice before - wish me luck for this year!). These are the top 5 movies I've loved so far this year: 



The Florida Project 

This little film caught me by total surprise. I went into it like I tend to do with movies around this time of year - knowing nothing about it. But right away I knew it had to be directed by the same guy who did Tangerine. This movie feels like the second piece of Sean Baker's oeuvre of stories of the overlooked. The Florida Project follows a group of children and their parents living in a motel on the outskirts of DisneyWorld. As their parents struggle with addiction, prostitution and scrounging up money for their weekly rent, the children amuse themselves with mischief. The color palette and cinematography are magical and sublime when contrasted with the rough lives of the characters. A gorgeous film and a must watch.


Lady Bird

I've been a fan of Greta Gerwig since I saw her in Frances Ha and her directorial debut did not disappoint. I'm a sucker for a coming-of-age story and this one about a complex girl (played beautifully by Saoirse Ronan) growing up in Sacramento is touching and hilarious. What I connected most with was the mother/daughter relationship dynamic - it felt real. So real in fact that I burst into tears right after the movie ended. I also love a film that not only explores a character's story but also explores a place and the love letter to Sacramento aspect of the film was equally moving. 


The Disaster Artist

I'd heard about The Room for years but never saw it until I saw an ad for this film and knew I couldn't see it in good faith without first watching the movie that started it all. The Room is a bizarre movie and Tommy Wiseau is a bizarre guy. Based on the book by The Room co-star Greg Sestero, The Disaster Artist showcases both Tommy Wiseau's problematic, delusional behavior and the earnestness of his dreams with equal measure - you end up rooting for Tommy without knowing really if you should. James Franco is incredible in this role and it's fun to watch him and Dave Franco play off one another. Even if you haven't seen The Room, see this film. 


Baby Driver

Never have I cared about a car chase movie until Baby Driver. Ansel Elgort plays Baby, a getaway driver trying to pay off a debt by participating in criminal heists. His plans get derailed when he falls for a local waitress and his cohorts make it impossible for him to escape his life of crime. This film is fun, action-packed and has a great soundtrack. You root so hard for Baby the whole way through. Just ignore Kevin Spacey - he gets his in this film. 


Kedi

This simple documentary about free-roaming cats in Istanbul, Turkey captured my heart. Seeing how the people of Istanbul respect and love the multitude of cats that come in and out of their lives is inspiring. There's nothing particularly investigative or earth-shattering about Kedi, but that's why it succeeds. It's a meditation on how the lives of cats and city-dwelling people intertwine. 


Honorable mentions: Wonder Woman, Atomic Blonde, Coco, Girls Trip, The Big Sick

Disclaimer: I still haven't seen several movies that could have potentially made this list, including Get Out, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Call Me By Your Name, I, Tonya, Logan, Molly's Game and The Shape of Water.


photo sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5