I've been blogging for over three years now, which may not seem very long in comparison to some others. I do, however, feel like I've seen a lot of changes throughout my limited years in the blogging world. When I began Blush and Fairy Dust as a bright eyed, bushy tailed 17-year-old, anyone could start their own website, write about anything under the sun, and there were absolutely no rules. Today, blogging has become less of a hobby and more of a career. And that's certainly not a bad thing. People can make a large income working from home in their pajamas, sharing important tips and lessons that they have learned. I completely support that. I am, however, slightly baffled at the increase in articles and posts about blogging.
Anytime I scroll through my feed on Bloglovin', Pinterest, or Twitter, the bulk of the posts I see shared are “How I Made x Dollars in Just 1 Year of Blogging,” “How I Quit My Job and Started Blogging Full Time,” or “6 Ways to Earn an Income Blogging.” At first, I was interested, so I began clicking on many of these posts so that I too could learn how to be a successful blogger. After reading each post, instead of feeling inspired to improve my blog, I felt a little down about Blush and Fairy Dust. I couldn't really figure out why. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I realized how harmful these articles have been for my self-esteem.
Blogging has always been a hobby for me. I'm a full-time student, which makes schoolwork my number one priority. As much as I'd love to put more time and effort into my blog, it simply does not take precedence over school. Therefore when I started reading more and more articles about how I could improve Blush and Fairy Dust, I noticed that I really didn't have time to make many of these changes. More importantly, I didn't really want to.
Implementing some of the strategies I read about felt very artificial to me. I love writing and hope to someday work as an editor, so my blog has always felt like practice for my future career. Additionally, I appreciated that it was a low-key, low-stakes way to write. Now, however, I feel like there's a strict set of rules to adhere to, all because of the increase in blogging about blogging. These posts all seem to suggest something: in order to blog successfully you need to do x, and if you don't do it exactly, you won't be successful.
Reading blogging about blogging has frustrated me endlessly. I can't help but want to be successful in my blogging career - whatever that success may entail. Whether it's thousands of readers, thousands of dollars, or name recognition, I want Blush and Fairy Dust to have success. And when I first clicked that ‘create blog’ button three and a half years ago, it seemed like the possibilities were endless. Now I just feel like a tiny dot in a sea of words, opinions, and domains. I worry I have lost the innocence and freedom that used to make my blog individual, unique, and special to me.
As well as these personal ramifications, I've noticed that blogging about blogging brings a lot of traffic to people's blogs (and yes, I fully understand the irony of me blogging about blogging about blogging). Many of the posts I see shared have thousands upon thousands of repins, retweets, and shares. It upsets me because I see a decrease in readership for articles about simple beauty tips and reviews, outfit of the day posts, and hair tutorials. It makes me wonder whether or not you need to blog about blogging in order to increase your readership.
I completely understand that blogging about blogging can be very helpful to many people and never meant to do anyone any harm. However, I feel that it has been a large part of the shift of blogging from hobby to career. Additionally, it has created a standard that many bloggers may find difficult to follow, or may not even want to follow. When this happens, smaller bloggers that don't adhere to these standards find themselves lost in the blogging sea, as well as unappreciated for their skills.
Maybe I'm the only one who feels this way, and maybe I just needed a bit of a rant. If I can take anything away from this brainstorm, it's that I need to stop reading blogging about blogging. Whether it's just a personal opinion or something that others agree with, I am going to try to adhere to my own blogging standards. Because that's why I started it in the first place.
So here's my mantra going forward:
Write about what you love, don't take yourself too seriously, don't get caught up in comparisons.
Lastly, have fun.
What is your opinion on blogging about blogging?
During my recent purchase of the Glossier Stretch Concealer (review here), I also grabbed the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser. I was running low on my current face wash (The Body Shop Tea Tree Face Wash) and decided that it was time to try something new. Glossier's focus on clean, healthy skin appealed to me, and I appreciate that the Milky Jelly Cleanser can be used with or without water. Therefore I grabbed the inexpensive cleanser (only $18 for a bottle!) and have not looked back.
The packaging is very beautiful - clean, minimalistic, and pretty. It's also very easy to use and has the possibility to lock the dispenser for traveling purposes. Additionally, the bottle is large enough to hold a usable amount of cleanser, but not too large where it doesn't fit in any travel makeup bag. I also really love the scent of the product, which is rather odd but makes for a pleasant way to wake up and wind down.
I wanted to wait a few weeks before reviewing this so I could see the effect it has on my skin. I've been using it in the morning like a standard cleanser; after wetting my face, I rub it around my skin for a few minutes and then wash it off. In the evening, I use it on a dry face to remove my makeup and cleanse. After rubbing it into my skin for a minute or so, I rinse it off. I found the texture slightly odd at first, but am now very much a fan of the gel-like consistency. I was surprised that the cleanser didn't bubble or foam up when it came in contact with water, but this actually makes for a cleaner cleanse and doesn't take away from any of the cleansing properties.
As a morning cleanser, this makes my skin feel smooth, bright, and hydrated. I actually like that it doesn't react like a classic face wash because it doesn't strip my skin of its natural oils, but still takes away any excess shine. My pores feel clearer, and over the past few weeks it seems as though my face has become brighter and softer.
Using this every night has also made it much easier and soothing to remove my makeup. The Glossier Milky Jelly erases tough mascara, eyeliner, and shadow like a dream, all while cleansing your skin simultaneously. Even after rinsing off, my skin feels moisturized. Overall, this cleanser has me all kinds of excited. I've basically forgotten about my old face wash, and can't wait to try more products from Glossier.
What is your favorite cleanser?
Have you tried Glossier's Milky Jelly Cleanser?
Physical cleaningOf course, your place of living probably needs a deep clean. While cleaning may seem boring, tedious, or too much work, it can actually be a great way to get away from other responsibilities and refresh your room, apartment, or house. But don't just vacuum and wipe down the surfaces. Actually get into all the nooks and crannies. Scrub the shower, organize your makeup, and finally get rid of that stack of old magazines. Once you've cleaned and cleared your physical space, you can work on your mental space.
Mental cleaningIf you're like me, you don't do a great job of keeping up with your mental well-being. Yet it's one of the most important aspects of keeping a healthy lifestyle. Spring cleaning is the perfect time to give yourself a mental checkup. Think about all the parts of your life that have been getting you down, as well as your attitude throughout different activities. Remind yourself that it's okay to feel down, but that it's ultimately necessary to let yourself get out of that rut. A few mindful activities that always help me are a relaxing shower or bath, using a coloring book, or a quick Netflix session (check out five of my favorite shows here).
Materialism cleaningIn conjunction with spring cleaning your physical space, make sure to go through your possessions and think about what you really use. It's fun to collect things like makeup and clothes, but it can actually be a burden to have so many materialistic objects. I'm not saying you have to get rid of everything and live with only five possessions, but it can give you a fresh, new perspective and even further help your mindfulness to get rid of the shirt you've owned for ten years or a five-year-old foundation. Even better, donate (usable) items that you decide to get rid of. Help someone else and yourself.
Spring cleaning is also a great time to check up on your physical health routine. Personally, I am in an exercise slump. While you're already at it with the rest of your cleaning, try to figure out a new type of exercise or a few healthy recipes that you want to give a go. Simply finding something new can be the door to a healthier side of you. Essentially, spring cleaning is the perfect time to reevaluate those New Year's Resolutions that you've probably given up on. The exercises that I'm currently interested in starting are yoga and boxing. We'll see how that goes.
What are your favorite spring cleaning tips?
full review here) is amazing for getting ready fast and natural-looking skin. It melts into your face after a few hours, creating the illusion of flawless skin without any products. This concealer will cover spots and dark circles but may need to be used in conjunction with a color correcting concealer if you have very dark circles. Overall, however, this concealer works wonders for your five-minute routine.
Following concealer, I swipe on a few coats of my favorite mascara. My current love is this lengthening, volumizing winner from Too Faced. I have naturally short lashes, but just a few coats of this mascara almost gives the appearance of false lashes. It's amazing because it can be built up for extra drama, but can also be worn subtly for simple definition. For a five-minute routine, this mascara is quick and fool-proof.
You've got your lashes done, but to add more definition to the eyes while still keeping it subtle, I go in with this eyeliner on my upper inner lash line (otherwise known as tightline). It may feel weird to apply eyeliner in this area, but it's a feeling that you get used to after a few times. The best part about wearing liner this way is that it looks as though you have a naturally thick, defined lash line, making your eyelashes look even better.
I've been switching off between this Urban Decay lipstick and the unfortunately discontinued Revlon Lip Butters (check out an old review here) for this purpose. I love using a cream product for blush during the warmer months, but instead of spending the money on an actual cream blush, I simply repurpose my lipsticks into cheek products (for more information on that go here). Dab a little onto your cheeks and blend it in with your ring finger, layering more product as needed. The best part is also adding this to your lips for a matchy-matchy feel.
Shop my five-minute face:
What are your favorite quick products?
In light of yesterday being International Women's Day and March being Women's History month, I thought it only fitting to discuss some of my favorite novels and books that are written by powerful women, about accomplished women, and for brilliant women (I'm talking about all women, if that isn't clear). “Women's Literature” is an ambiguous, complicated topic, because it begs the question: Why do women need to have their own genre? Yet, if women weren't recognized separately, we might not be mentioned at all. Few women writers have historically been considered canonical writers, and even fewer of those women actually write about women. Due to that misrepresentation, I am always trying to find talented women writers to support. I love all of these writers and am confident that each of these feminist works will inspire you.
The Bell Jar, Sylvia PlathI've always felt myself to be a feminist, but after reading Plath's novel I found myself leaning more and more towards advocating for women's rights. The voice of Esther, the protagonist, is brilliant - introspective, questioning, funny - and the fire she will light inside you is one that I have yet to extinguish (nor do I want to). In addition to the feminist undertones, Plath's journey with mental illness is an eye-opening look into depression, as well as a relatable read for anyone struggling with similar downfalls.
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale HurstonIf white women are removed from the canon, women of color are even further removed. Hurston's novel was almost lost completely until Alice Walker discovered it and pushed it back into its deserving spot on the bestseller list. This story is an important look into one woman's journey navigating marriage and love, in addition to advocating for Black Feminism and the inclusion of women of color in the feminist movement.
Milk and Honey, Rupi KaurKaur's collection of poetry felt like it could be my own journal entries. I'm confident in saying that every single woman can relate to at least one of the poems in this collection. Not only is Kaur's writing absolutely beautiful, soul-searching, and powerful, but it also inspired me to better my relationships, mindset, and self-love. I also love the bonus of abstract, simple drawings throughout the book.
Bossypants, Tina Fey/Yes Please, Amy Pohler/Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy KalingThe lumping of these three together may seem like I'm trying to reduce their importance, but it's actually just so I can cheat and include more than five works. All three memoirs were incredibly fun reads, but more importantly gave me three new role models. Each strong woman fought for her career in a male-dominated industry and kicked ass while doing so. I love having such wonderful women to look up to that make me strive to achieve more.
The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins GilmanReading this short story was another eye-opening look into the way mental illness and sickness in general used to be seen by society. Before postpartum depression became widely known and accepted, women were thought to be insane. This unfair treatment happened much too frequently, and Gilman's depiction of a misunderstood woman in a man's world is unnervingly beautiful and hauntingly relatable. A quick, but meaningful read.
To Be Read:
Fear of Flying, Erica JongAfter reading an article about this book many years ago, I have wanted to pick it up. The story was groundbreaking when it was published in the early 70s, and has continued to be listed as a pivotal feminist read ever since. The story is an inspiring look into womanhood, feminity, and independence.
Bad Feminist, Roxane GayThis collection of essays is a commentary on the modern definition of feminism, and I am looking forward to learning Gay's interpretation of the movement. Feminism has changed greatly since its beginnings and I think it's important to recognize the differences in today's world.
We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieThe New York Times Bestseller is adapted from Adichie's popular and well-known TEDx talk by the same name. After hearing countless beautiful quotes from this talk and book, I am inspired to read the entire thing.
As an iconic feminist read, I feel like Beauvoir's work is not one to miss. I read a very interesting chapter from the novel in a literature class that motivated me to read the whole book.
The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
I am beyond ready to read this book. Some of my absolute favorite quotes were written by Maya Angelou, and I can't wait to read through her journey of emotions.
Feminism is an important issue for all people, not just women. Educating yourself on the issues, past and modern, that women have had to deal with is necessary for creating an accepting and progressive world. Be sure to check out these works, and catch up on my last reading list.
What are your favorite feminist works?