series: beauty must haves! day 1

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I have learned that all you need is just the basic makeup products IF they work magic. It is awesome to have just your top beauty items to be able to apply them as quickly as possible and get on with your day! I have finally found the products that I am 100% happy with.The price, staying-all-day power and application of the products I will share with you over the next few weeks are my only beauty must haves!

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I have been obsessed with the wing look and applying my eyeliner with a wing since 2008. The past few years, I have tried almost every brand and type of eye liner but realized the BEST and only eye-liner you need to achieve the look is the Revlon ColorStay Liquid eyeliner in Blackest black. The tip is the perfect size and it drys and stays put all day – no matter how hot it is outside! I still sample the new eyeliners at Sephora sometimes, but even the more expensive brands don’t do the trick like this gem.I wish someone would have told me about it before I tried so many others!

How I beat depression (and stay insanely happy every single day!)

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6 years ago I was so depressed that I would wake up and fall asleep crying.

My mind constantly went to the worst case scenarios. Sure, there was some hard things going on in my life at the time – but I would let whatever was going on in my life that made me so sad play over and over and over again in my brain until the situation was turned from an unfortunate event to a life-crippling monster that choked all the hope out of me and made it impossible for me to get out of bed in the morning or find joy in anything.

I began to see a psychologist, then a psychiatrist who almost instantly put me on strong and addicting anti-depressants. In the end; after months of all of this and the mind numbing drugs/”therapy” I was only sinking deeper into a even darker hole. Then one night God rescued me when I was so low that the only place I could look was up.

I found the book “GET OUT OF THAT PIT” by Beth Moore which God used to speak the truth into my life about my sadness. I changed so much from reading this one book that both my psychiatrist and psychologist separately told me they have never seen anyone as depressed as I was waltz into their office a completely changed bright-eyed and positive human being so fast.

After I finished that book and began to focus on God to help me, I never saw either of them again.

So, why am I sharing this all with you today? I felt like I needed to get this out there because I know that SO many people deal with depression. I also wanted to share this post because I am aware of how depression can creep its way back in if people who used to be depressed let their guard down and pick up old thought patterns or actions. I want to remember always to stay away from the lies that caused me to become so depressed.

I think that the only hope and way out of depression is God. Everything else that we seek to make ourselves happy is worthless, futile and a lie. I have seen so many people on both ends of the spectrum: those who live their life with God and those who live life to please everyone around them and what I have found is that although it rarely happens instantly; with time – sooner or later – the people who live their life for the world’s approval will hit a dead end of utter hopelessness. The people who live their life with and for God, have peace and HOPE when the going gets rough as well as when life is good. 

“And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7

“There is no solid satisfaction to be had in the creature; but it is to be found in the Lord, and in communion with him; to him we should be driven by our disappointments. If the world be nothing but vanity, may God deliver us from having or seeking our portion in it. When creature-confidences fail, it is our comfort that we have a God to go to, a God to trust in.” - Matthew Henry

Another way that God has helped me to stay out of depression and full of happiness is GRATITUDE. When I catch myself believing lies about my life or myself, I will say thank you to God OUT LOUD everything I can think of until I feel better! THIS IS THE MOST POWERFUL PRACTICE I USE FOR STAYING OUT OF DEPRESSION. Surprisingly, I find that the small things bring the biggest smile to my face when I do this practice. 

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.

- Melodie Beatty
Here are Some BIG + LITTLE things I am giving thanks for today [in no particular order] :
Just The fact alone that I can walk, hear, smell and see!

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ONE OF GOD’S BIGGEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL BLESSINGS – MY DEAR FRIEND CASSANDRA.

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HOW HAPPY STARBUCKS SOY ICED CHAI TEA LATTES MAKE ME!

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2eMY WONDERFUL, SUPPORTIVE PARENTS.
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MY HUGE NEW RIDICULOUSLY COMFORTABLE ALL WHITE BED – JUST LIKE I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED! (THIS IS ESPECIALLY AMAZING AFTER SLEEPING ON A OLD TWIN MATTRESS ON THE FLOOR FOR A WHILE WHEN I FIRST CAME BACK!)

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the fact god decided to create SUNSETS. HE SURE IS AN AMAZING PAINTER.

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Take a moment to count your blessings and say thank you. This practice not only keeps you happy – I believe it also will bring more of what you are grateful for into your life! 

 

Series: How to see the world for (almost) free! Post #2.

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See the first post in this series here.

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I hope that this little post will do Couch Surfing justice. I am worried that a simple blog post will not suffice for how much I LOVE Couch Surfing.

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In my personal opinion, couch surfing is the best thing that ever happened for travelers.

http://www.couchsurfing.org is a place where you fill in a profile with photos and personal information and then you are able to connect with hosts in the country you are traveling to or you are able to host travelers.

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Many people ask me how I ever could find joy in sleeping on a stranger’s couch or feel safe doing so. Here is some information on the TRUTH about Couch Surfing and some important tips for C.S. newbies!

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First off, Couch Surfing is NOT just a free place to crash – it is a way to discover a culture on a level that staying in a hostel will never allow you. It is a way to find lifelong friends with locals in a country where you may not speak the language. It is a way to connect with the most beautiful, free spirited and giving people. I still stay in contact with many, many of my couch surfing hosts.

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I have couch surfed both abroad and in the states. In Barcelona I stayed with 3 different hosts, in San Diego I stayed with 5 different hosts, in Chicago I stayed with one host. I have gone to Couch Surfing events in San Diego and in Chicago and have met marvelous people at both.

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If you are a little scared to make the jump to couch surf; here are a few of my tips for first-timers:

1.) Fill out your profile as extensively as possible. Don’t just post random facts, post information that is as deep and real as possible and shows people who you really are. Think of what you are writing from the perspective of the person who will be reading it to host you – for example, hosts are not going to want to invite someone into their home who has not taken the time to even fill out a profile. Don’t only state that you like Chinese food and sunsets! ;) Get a bit more personal and let your personality shine.

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2.) MAKE SURE THAT YOU REALLY LOOK INTO YOUR HOSTS BEFORE SENDING THEM A COUCH REQUEST! I want to make one thing clear – not everyone in the site is awesome. The majority of REAL and experienced couch surfers are, but there are creeps on most sites. It is extremely important to make sure that your host is not some creep who has never before hosted someone or used the site. One time, I almost sent a request to someone when I was in a rush and in a bind before reading his whole profile. I am so glad I did because I found out that it was a “shared sleeping arrangement” and he had listed some other creepy and strange info on his profile! If you are new to couch surfing, stay with VOUCHED FOR hosts. This means that a certain amount of people who stayed with them in the past (I think it has to be 3 or 4…) verified that they are who they say they are and they are great hosts!

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3.) Post lots of (true-to-you) photos. The best photos to share on your profile are ones that actually look like you and ones that will serve as conversation starters when you meet your hosts! Couch surfing is not a dating site. So don’t post lots of edited pictures in your Sunday best or partying garb! A lot (if not most) couch surfing hosts are travel junkies, so it is a great idea to share photos of your own travels. If you have not done much traveling yet, post some photos of your hobbies.

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4.) Join groups  on the site. Couch surfing is a community of all types of people. (Not just hardcore travelers or “hippies”!!) I am in many groups and change my groups depending on where I am at the moment. For example, while I was in Paris I joined an “Expats in Paris” group. Hosts will look at these groups when they check out your profile and it is an easy way to share a bit more about yourself instantly. There are many different groups to join which range from hobbies, languages and even groups to find hitch hiking buddies in different cities!

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5.) Send a good request message. “Popular” hosts get many travelers messaging them to stay at their place to make sure that your message stands out! Hosts can tell when you just copied and pasted a generic message to a bunch of different hosts. I recommend writing something interesting about the host you are writing to in order for them to know you actually read their profile! Also, even though you have to fill out the dates that you are asking them to host you for in the request, it is great to fill in some info on what time and how you will arrive as well in the couch request message so they can have an easier time making a decision if it will work out in their plans to host you.

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6.) Don’t expect too much… (or too little): Let me explain. New Couch Surfers get confused about how to use the site sometimes. Couch Surfing is NOT ONLY A FREE PLACE TO CRASH but it also is not free access to a local tour guide! Don’t expect too much: Do not make your hosts feel like they have to show you all around their city or spend every waking minute with you. On the flip side, don’t make your couch surfers feel like you are only interested in them upon arrival for a place to sleep. EVERY SINGLE HOST IS DIFFERENT. Some may be working a lot or busy when you are staying over, but some may expect that you will want to spend dinner time cooking together or really want to show you all around their city! It is good to learn more about what hosts will be expecting by reading their references. It is best to expect to spend some time with your host just out of courtesy – If you know that you will not have any time to spend with them, let them know your plans in the first message to them so you don’t come off as being rude.

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7.) Make sure that you read references about your host. These references are EXTREMELY important to look over. Ladies: Make sure that if you are staying with a guy he does not only host (cute) girls! This is a RED FLAG CREEPER ALERT!

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If you have any questions about Couch Surfing, leave a comment below!

WELCOME TO THE BEST COMMUNITY OF

OPEN MINDED,

FREE-SPIRITED

TRAVELERS -

THE C.S. COMMUNITY!

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Series: How to see the world for (almost) free: Day 1!

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I am doing a special blog series on resources you can use to be able to see the world (almost) free! I have used all the tips and resources I will be sharing and they are all things I reccomend regularly to my friends.

Disclaimer: traveling alone can always be potentially un-safe. I want to make sure that if anyone follows thru with my advice they proceed in the safest way possible. Please be smart and triple check the people you connect with before doing so anywhere you go in the world! Always, always, always have an emergency contact person you really trust know exactly the place you are going and alert them right before you get there that you are on your way so that someone will know where you are at all times. Include your emergency contact person with the telephone number of the person you are connecting with as well, just in case. It is better to be safe than sorry!

With that important note aside, lets get to the fun stuff!

215494_1634321270230_1602630120_31207593_7913614_nLiving in San Francisco in 2010 for a few months wiped my savings clean. San Fran is the most expensive place to live in the states and I was over it, I had new dreams of spending the summer in Europe but had no clue how to make it happen with barely any money. One night at a www.meetup.com cocktail party for girls who had recently re-located to SF I shared this dream with a girl who I met there.

She told me all about her wonderful experience in Europe last year being an Au Pair and told me to immediately check out www.greataupair.com. I am so happy I did because just 2 weeks later I had my host family and ticket booked to Barcelona, Spain for the next month. I am not ashamed to admit that I decided on Barcelona, Spain because it was voted the best beach city to live in that year by National Geographic.

Basically any cool city you would want to live in the world will have a few families posted on sites such as www.greataupair.com. Although this site has a fee, I would advise you to pay the small membership fee because it is more than worth going thru a verified site such as greataupair.com over a free site that will not gurantee any safety or validity for you.

You may be wondering what an Au Pair is and if you would really like to become one.

Au Pair: An au pair (plural: au pairs) is a domestic assistant from a foreign country working for, and living as part of, a host family. Typically, au pairs take on a share of the family’s responsibility for childcare as well as some housework, and receive a small monetary allowance for personal use. – Wikipedia

My explanation of an Au Pair: A nanny overseas who either lives with the family or has living arrangements paid for.

Each family will work out a completely different situation with you on living arrangements and wage. I did pay for my own flight to Spain but I met some Au Pairs in Europe whose host family was able to help with their ticket, or even buy it completely for their Au Pairs – this is more of an exception than a rule but it certainly is not unheard of. One of my best friends in Paris actually had a host family who paid for her apartment which overlooked the Eiffel tower!

Todays post may seem like it is one just for the ladies, but I assure you that it is not. There are always families looking for guy aupairs! Since they are so few and far between, guys have a great chance at getting connected with a family of boys most likely.

Remember: There are an insane amount of families out there who all have their own world views, religions, expectations and family rules (or lack thereof). So, as long as you like kiddos and you are not planning on going to another country to party all day, every day, the chance that you will find a family that is a good fit for you is pretty high.

Top spots for inspiration

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♥ my top fashion/lifestyle

inspiration spots,

1.) H&M Life VIDEOs

Each video is filled with fashion wisdom (for both men and women) from fashion icons around the world or from youth on the street who have a great personal sense of style.

My favorite part about these videos? They rarely come from the U.S. ;)

2.) KAYTURE.com

If you know me, you most likely already know I am in love with this European fashion blogger who is hands down the most gorgeous and down-to-earth girl EVER.

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 3.) Vintage fashion icons/vintage media

I will keep the pictures short here since I plan on doing a vintage blog post soon and want to save some of my favorite snaps for that. ;-)

I found a ton of magazines from the 60′s and always look thru them before shoots or going thrifting! I have so many vintage pieces that I need to understand how to style them, so, I look to how they worn when they were first created.

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4.) Marykate & Ashley

I love The Row, I love their book “Influence” and I love how buisness savvy and book-smart these 2 are. Plus they have the coolest and most unique personal styles – if you get to know them, you know how different they dress from each other and I think that is pretty cool. ONLY DOWNFALL: They wear fur, no bueno.

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5.) Pinterest (surprise, surprise!)

Some of my favorite pins:

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6.) Places I have lived:

People tell me my style is “eclectic” since I have come back to the states.
The definition of eclectic is:

1 : selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles
: composed of elements drawn from various sources
So, it must be that I wear a combined style of places I have lived in the past few years? Every city has such a different style, it is crazy!
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After getting inspired by anything however, just a reminder; put your own twist on it!

Be yourself. You are beautiful. ♥

Journaling

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IMG_3628There is just something about writing on PAPER with a PEN that really gets me thinking and inspired.

Every time I crack one of my old journals open, I am reminded of so many lessons learned or special memories which would have otherwise been completely forgotten. Even the incredibly sad journal entries which were written on tear stained pages.

I wrote quite a few journal entries after my 2 best guy friends passed away within 2 years of each other, both before the age of 21 and both quite tragically… I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten thru these times without being able to spill my heart out on the pages of my journals.

Looking back now, I am able to see the truth in what everyone told me when they said that time heals and to just stay strong because one day I would be able to breathe again without it hurting.

Even those wounds that at one point were so gut-wrenchingly painful that I didn’t think I would be strong enough to endure another day, I am able to look back at these entries and remember – I truly can get thru anything… “just keep swimming” as Nemo would say.

Of course, not all my journals entries are from sad times. My favorite journals to look back on right now are the ones I wrote post my morning yoga times in the park around my place in Paris.

Even though I still have a decent amount of journals, most of them were actually stolen by the police in Spain when they kicked us off the plaza I was living on in Barcelona last summer (along with all my other belongings) I am very grateful that I left behind a few journals in the states. Now that I no longer have many of my childhood journals, I realize how much they meant to me!

Do you journal? If not, I encourage you to start! One day you will be glad you did. ♥

One tip on journaling: learn from my mistakes and leave your old filled journals at home while you are traveling! I am sure the police had a great time reading every little secret from some crazy little American girl who lived in a tree house in Spain!

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large size CORRECT Bisous, Kate, nomadyouth.com cropped

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