Natural deodorant is a tough switch. But the frightening effects of anti-perspirant deodorants is truly enough to convince me I don’t need Dove or Secret or some other drugstore brand to mask the potential odor of me living and moving. This is actually the second time I attempted to make the switch. I know shame on me, wellness lover, whatever, I am human. I had previously tested a natural deo that was in paste form, that had to be applied basically twice a day in order to be effective. This go round, I knew I had to commit to a brand I could rely on with outstanding results. I have heard amazing things about the product and I am absolutely in love. I really noticed a difference when I once forgot to put it on and noticed there was a slight aroma from le pits. In other words, it actually prevents from the daily stink. The packaging is sexy and the product is effective. Need I say more?
I am obsessed with this mist. This hydrating accelerator is to be used post- wash and pre-serum. It is key for your skin to be moist before applying more product as it allows for the products to sink deep into your skin. I am nearly finished with my second lil’ bottle of this guy, and will absolutely be ordering another bottle when I can remember it. Lastly, the scent of this spritz is remarkably herbal and refreshing. Huge fan of it and I spritz generously!
Finding the perfect moisturizing tool for my eyes has been a long time struggle. Thanks to Indie Lee, the dilemma has been quietly solved. I have previously tested eye balms that have been cooling or tightening, but I don’t need those benefits daily. At 23 years old, I need protection and moisture, I get those benefits from Indie Lee’s eye balm immediately. This product is hydrating, gives the delicate skin around my eyes a soft glow and creates a smooth surface for make up application.
Mid-Summer, I popped into Credo Beauty, seeking a radiant serum that did not weigh me down in New York heat. This Kypris product was one of their recs, and I gave it a shot. I honestly liked the packaging, and that it had the word “Dew,” in its title. I am glad I liked it, because in retrospect that was a pretty judgey method for choosing the right serum. The product is lightweight, cooling and hydrates. I would usually pack it in my bag for SoulCycle- as I often showered after class- and would gently massage a few drops on my skin. Despite the light consistency of the serum, it fully hydrates your skin. This product was perfect for summer and I am all about it for hot temps!
I purchased this product at JaneGee’s flagship shop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in the beginning of the summer- and I was hooked. I have very sensitive skin, and the sun is quick to bite. I flew through my first bottle and repurchased mid-Summer. The scent is herbal, oil is soothing after a hot day in the sun and the price is reasonable! This product is a fantastic natural alternative to some (albeit efficient) but unclean products for keeping your skin hydrated and extending your sun kissed glow.
Rad brand and stellar product! Summer in a can, to say the least. Finding the perfect hair routine is a bit of a situation for yours truly, especially in the summer, but this product is fantastic. It gives a salty crunch, without the stiff aesthetic that curl products often create. Not only is this product a great way to preserve your curls or waves, but it is also a UV protector. Major major if you get your hair treated in any way, or are passionate about the care of your hair. For my post-bathing ritual, I spritz the Surfspray after applying a curl cream and anti frizz cream. I also use it when I am need in need of a touch up, or when heading to the beach to catch some rays- not waves. It is so great, I highly recommend testing out this product regardless of the season.
Charleston, South Carolina | | Photographed by Jesse Volk
We are en route from Firenze to Cinque Terre for a quick two day jaunt. You know the place- it’s probably what you envision when you hear someone chatting about the coast of Italy. It’s an incredibly picturesque little town composed of five wee villages replete with stunning views and landscapes. Strangely, though, it’s also home to some of the world’s ugliest Airbnb’s. Perhaps in the high season there are some nicer options, but at this time of year it was slim pickings for “Mern” and me (Welcome Marie-Nicole- also known as Mern, French American, Sassafrass glam babe, and my closest friend abroad in Firenze!! Xoxxoo muah)! One would think that an infamous location like Cinque Terre would have a plethora of boutique hotel and summer-flats available. Unfortunately, however, all the lodging options we found were over-priced and full of old school euro décor – not exactly ideal.
It’s a lovely Saturday and we are heading towards Riomaggiore by train! Despite Cinque Terre’s proximity to Firenze, the journey to Cinque Terre does require one train change after departing from the central train station in Firenze. We booked our Airbnb & transport last night, with the knowledge that it might be a bit chilly and rainy during our visit. Mind you, we are heading to a location that’s known for its long hikes and views from the water. All of the popular activities are entirely outdoors. But hey, we are going!!
The weekend is already shaping up to be an adventure. I slept through an hour of alarms. Leaving myself with less than thirty minutes to get ready for the day, pack, eat breakfast, etc. It was also in my morning schedule to bathe, so I’m sporting dirty hair and no make-up. I was late to the train station and we had to hustle onboard, sweating and grumpy. We finally find seats only to hear an announcement in Italian telling us that the train is out of service and to move to an alternative train. My fellow travelers and I competitively scramble to find a good seat with their travel buddy of choice, on our new train. The flurry of activity made for an exciting ten minutes of havoc to say the least, especially considering the fact that I’m also carrying two obnoxious tote bags. As we are shuffling through the train, desperately searching for seats, I am thinking for the hundredth time that I need to invest in a sleek Lululemon backpack for shenanigans like this. Somehow we found seats near, but not next to, each other and the journey finally began.
Have I mentioned that nothing really works in Italy? No?? Perhaps I can enlighten you. For instance, yesterday when I was moving to my new abode it took us 45 minutes to get a cab. One does not “hail a cab,” here in Firenze- you have to find a phone and make some calls. There are three taxi companies, no Uber, and a country full of people that have no sense of urgency. Added together this makes it nearly impossible for a taxi to be consistent. I do not find myself too flustered by this lag in progression, but it is something to be aware of. As in, what if there’s a flight to catch? You might want to give yourself more time than necessary. Additionally, try to compose yourself. Adapt. Get over it. It’s a different place where things simply run differently (or not at all, like the train we had to vacate).
Back to the weekend ahead- we are going to have fun! I’ve got a bag of snacks (including gluten free bread) so I feel aptly prepared. However, I also have some sort of sinus pressure, ear pain, running nose situation happening right now, so I’ve got to go find some tissues (aka toilet paper). Classic. Oh, and this just in! Mern just passed me her phone to show me the expected weather for Cinque Terre today. The little screen of her iPhone 5 gleams: “Sixty-eight degrees Fahrenheit, with gray skies and a solid chance of rain.” I am telling you, it’s always an adventure. Chat later ya boobs.
One Week Later
It’s been roughly a week since our return from Cinque Terre, and I am still in awe. Unfortunately, not the good sort of awe that leads to daydreaming and future trip planning- quite the opposite, actually. Let me explain: Cinque Terre can be best explained as hype.
According to Urban Dictionary, hype is “A fad. A clever marketing strategy which a product is advertised as the thing everyone must have, to the point where people begin to feel they need to consume it.”
My gal pal and I were greatly disappointed with the entirety of Cinque Terre. We arrived on a gray day with high hopes for a lovely weekend. We managed to find affordable accommodations with Airbnb in Riomaggiore, and our host was very sweet and hospitable. After we arrived and took a quick tour of our little flat, we promptly ventured out for sustenance. With approximately five restaurants in the town of Riomaggiore, we settled on the first one (I cannot recall the name, probably because I neither felt the need to recommend it, nor store it for later dissection on Yelp). The waiter cautioned that there may be cross-contamination, but thankfully I was left unscathed. My fish was fabulous, and the side of veggies was so-so. The day was soon dampened by rain… as was our weekend. Jokes, jokes! We made it an adventure.
We really did enjoy ourselves! We laughed, found nutella, and enjoyed being bloated due to our respective digestive issues. Yet, I must say, the gray skies and dewy weather did not help the looks of the decrepit architecture of Cinque Terre. Honestly, it resembled a Eastern European slum. The biggest disappointment was the lack of culture. To start, Cinque Terre is compiled entirely of tourists. I know we are visiting as well, but I did not spy one local roaming the town. The magic of Cinque Terre has been entirely stripped by the override of tourism. It goes beyond “a tourist town,” and I can say that confidently as I am currently living in Florence. It was like Disney world for adults- nothing more than an attraction (lines and bad food included). Isn’t this supposed to be Italy? It felt like a bad trip to Epcot.
On our second day the sun came out, so we set out to visit three of the five towns that make up Cinque Terre. We began the morning with Nutella toast, a recipe for success, and soon after caught the ferry to Monterosso; the furthest town from Riomaggiore. This venture allowed us to see the five towns from the sea, and let me tell you- perspective is everything. Riomaggiore looked quite lovely from the water, but was questionable when viewed up close. Sorry ‘bout it.
Starting our morning off in Monterosso was quite nice. We hopped off the ferry and right back into the sea! We cleverly changed into our suits, on the pebbly beach and dipped in the water for a morning swim. Apparently jellyfish have been a bit wild in Cinque Terre this season, so I was a little frightened. Nonetheless, this was the best part of the trip. The little beach was not overrun with tourists, so the experience was restorative. After lunch, we discovered the larger beach of Monterosso, along with the striped beach umbrella’s of your dreams. Monterosso really is much bigger than the other towns, and the images and blogs do not do its size justice.
We then pranced to Vernazza, which was strange and not as charming as Monterroso. We scooted away from the crowds to find an aperitivo on top of a cliff with a breathtaking view (the local vino bianco of Cinque, was actually quite lovely).
While the land and sea of the area are beautiful- truly stunning- Cinque Terre is best known for its towns, which have been ransacked by the masses and stripped of their appeal. Once upon a time- in the seventies- Cinque Terre was a hidden gem. A lustrous, beaming, secret, spot for holiday. And I apologize for letting you down, but in 2016 Cinque Terre was nothing more than a beautiful disappointment.
Oddly enough, it remains immensely picturesque when viewed through a lens- especially with solid editing skills. So here is a little mind F for you. Enjoy these beautiful, idyllic pictures of a sad, soulless place called Cinque Terre. Xo H baby
Photos via iphone. Taken by myself (Hannah Rice,) or not if I am pictured.
Last week, I began another semester at the College of Charleston. I was elated to be back in Chucktown and reconnect with my darling friends and peers, but stressed nonetheless. I was jet lagged, exhausted, and excited. I also refused to admit defeat. I refused to acknowledge my anxiety. I do not know why we millennials find ourselves denying our mental and emotional states until we are completely broken down by stress. I do not want to participate in that cultural habit and I hope to asses my circumstances whenever they might be out of sorts.
Each semester of my college career feels as if I am starting a temporary job. You have one week to get comfortable with your surroundings, nail down the perfect academic schedule, and maintain mental agility for new schoolwork. I found myself constantly checking my email for academic updates, sprinting to Barnes & Noble on multiple occasions, and organizing my social life in the most frazzled state. I kept telling myself it would feel normal soon enough, upon finding a routine. I settle in a routine, that looks different every few months of my life. The whole process is unnatural. College is like that, you have a consistently abnormal schedule for 4 (or more) years.
Do you know how I felt? Restless. Utterly restless. I was crawling about campus, running on limited hours of sleep and attempting to perfect every inch of my life. It is impossible to perfectly arrange the details of one’s current schedule. Yes, I sort of managed an amazing schedule with a four day weekend every weekend, but I do know that surprises will stir up my days. As I found myself in a quiet moment, spotify found Restless by Audrey Assad, and I quickly realized my personal setback.
And I’m restless, I’m restless
‘Til I rest in You, ’til I rest in You
I am restless, I’m restless
‘Til I rest in You, ’til I rest in You
Oh God, I wanna rest in You
Sometimes my outrageous attempts to be positively combating life simply leads to tears. I began every morning prepared to conquer the day, with an exceptionally enthusiastic attitude and yet I still found myself overwhelmed. I was bubbling with anxiety. Is it so bad to say, “I am effing anxious and every bit of this week sucks?” Why couldn’t I admit it? Was it that all my peers are faking it? They are all so calm. Eerily calm.
Transitions take time. Acknowledging when we need a hot second to rest is crucial to feeling like ourselves and being the best little human we are capable of living as. I am not striving for perfection, and I do not suggest you try that. I would much rather admit to feeling anxious. Then follow the acceptance of my feelings with a hot bath, good book and solid quiet time. We have got to rest, my friends, if we want to understand anything about our surroundings, circumstances and current reality. Resting should be a priority.
I am peeking at my accounting homework now, with a little smile. I can do it. Last week, there was no chance of me understanding content, and now I am ready. We need time, most frequently, in order to get it.
I know that the Lord has called me to so much more than an anxious, academic-fearing heart. I am very excited for this season of my life; the lessons that I will learn, the love I will get to share and adventures that await. Don’t let your restless heart get in the way of life.
Need some rest inspiration? I’ve got your back.
Hot tea (opt for herbal)
A healthy diet
Chill on the sugar, it messes everything up
To Do Lists (let your brain breathe)
Taking the time for a nap
Candles- just don’t fall asleep
A hot bath, also don’t fall asleep
Navigate a schedule that permits a full night’s sleep
Jesus? He is the best, but whatever floats your boat babe!
None of this is helping? No worries, I will redirect you to a brilliantly inspiring article. I know I am not full of all the wisdom in the world, but Goop seemingly has it together (Thanks Gwyneth!)
Last Monday, I was off to an anxious, stressed and emotional start to finals week.
I wandered to a local coffee shop to flip through emails, complete a paper and hopefully relax a bit. After my brief encounter with my almond chai, I hustled home in full stride with music blasting in my earphones. I paused before I entered my home. I have a new neighbor. A new shop by my house. A sweet boutique. A stellar owner. Her face is warm, hugs inviting and smile authentic. Fine, I will walk inside for a hug. I bee lined for her arms, avoiding eye contact entirely. I nestled into the perfect hug, and my glasses quickly steamed by my hot tears. “Is everything okay?” Caroline asked. “I am stressed. Anxious. Emotional.” Caroline quickly ushered me to a comfortable seat and handed me a candy cane. Armed with motherly solace, she is equipped for anything.
Before we began conversing to discuss my emotional state, she said, “I just want you to know how loved you are.” Caroline met my mother this past weekend, and they adored each other. “I saw the way your mother looked at you Hannah, she loves you unconditionally. You are so loved.” I accepted her sweet words of encouragement but trembled as I recalled school’s harsh reality, “I am genuinely fearful of failing an exam.” I sniffled, holding back tears in fear of damaging a fresh coat of make up. Caroline’s words were perfect. Her comfort continued as she repeatedly told me, “You are more than a grade.”
Why is it that love is reassuring? The power of love never ceases to astound me. As she comforted me, I glanced at my tattoo, mom’s words whispering, “I love you,” in the midst of my anger with temporal frustrations. “Hannah, you are more than a grade,” Caroline did not stop with her encouragement. She continued to build me back up, “You sparkle Hannah. We all know it. We see you and you sparkle.” I do not know if I smiled, teared up or just shut my eyes in acceptance of this genuine love. At some point in the conversation I just laid my head on Caroline’s lap, like a dog begging for a head rub. Caroline carefully patted my back, her kind words flowing, and love filled my heart to the brim. The support of her words and touch, enabled me to forget the possibility of failure.
Throughout the morning, previous to my encounter with Caroline, I prayed for the Lord’s comfort. I asked for peace for the week, but begged him for temporary relief of my anxiety. I have experienced several recent doses of love directly from God. However, I find great comfort in the arms of those around me. Physical touch is crucial to my emotional health. Odd, but it is me. I need hugs, snuggles and head pats. Instead of God soothing me in alone time, He did what He had to get me into the arms of His love. Letting Caroline be a vessel of His compassion, was incredibly kind of Him. I joyfully accepted the love I received. The tangible relief of falling into a hug. Caroline’s motherly love and empathy. The sweet reminder of listening to words I know to be true but struggle to believe during a time like finals. Finals hurt my heart. Finals challenge not only my learning disabilities, as well as my anxiety and emotions.
“You Sparkle,” my heart instantly melted. It was affirming, yet again, that something might be seen in me than more than the identity of being a student. I am in fact more than a grade, I am more than my GPA, and I am more than a student. I am much more than a student and I hope to known for that. I hope to be known for hugs, love and laughter. I hope to known for being my true self and settling for nothing less. Including, restraining from the self-deprecating thought process whilst enduring a difficult course. It was a joy to hear that I might sparkle to someone around me, I am undeserving of such a compliment but whoah did it tickle my heart. Authenticity. Transparency. Human’s like it. It is relatable.
So let’s say I could tell you to pick the next three years of your life. The first option is all excitement. It is entirely fun and good. However, you remain the same. The second option, is unexpected. Filled with plenty of joy as well as challenges. Some of the trials may be far from ideal. You leave those three years of ups, downs and in betweens, a different person. You grow. What would you choose?
My life is extraordinary. I attribute that to the assortment of blessings, adventures and relationships that surround me. I also am aware that the road I travel largely shapes my character. The past few years have been thrilling, and having recently lived in New York City for the summer, I was heavily doused in an assortment of stimulation. Upon returning to Charleston I experienced major culture shock. It took nearly a month before I felt even slightly grounded in the present. Along with coming to terms with the lifestyle of Charleston, real life repeatedly slapped me in the face. I felt like I could not keep up with it. Every inch of me wanted to crawl in a hole and give up. I desperately wanted an out from my feelings and my circumstances. Oddly enough I had expected this season of my life to be a challenge, however I did not believe I was at all equipped to handle life the way it hit me these past few months.
I am choosing a challenging road by finishing school. Call me crazy, but I actually believe by completing my degree I am following God’s plan for my life. I know that by this decision, I am choosing His plan for my life, and not Hannah’s utopia. I am completely aware that school is hard as hell for me. I am one of those problem students that needs a significant amount of attention. Those students exist in college, for sure. I want to be a good student, but I do not strive for perfection in the classroom because that is not my reality. It is not my strength and that is okay. It is okay because I am not giving up. It is okay because I am not allowing school to butcher my self-esteem. It is okay because I am refusing to allow anxiety to ruin this. I am intentionally keeping myself in an environment where I do not thrive. Yes, maybe, if I was crazy enough I could transfer (for the 3rd time) to an institution where I could study what might apply to my future career. That is not happening, I am staying at the College of Charleston and utilizing this opportunity for growth. I have the rest of my life to aspire to more, to follow my dreams and feel good at what “I do,” but for now, God is teaching me what it is like to be doing something that does not make me feel good, which is being a student.
I could not have asked for this semester to have turned out in any other manner than which it did. I have grown exponentially throughout this season of my life. I am blessed beyond measure to have the opportunity to keep learning who I am, and how God has created me. I love a good challenge, I really do. The challenges have been more than I thought I was equipped for and I could explain several situations as genuine pain throughout these past few months. Pain makes you grow. Challenge makes you grow. Excitement leads to joy. It does not mean I am a sad sack of tears. Quite the contrary, I have been overwhelmed with love and joy. God has spoke to me in the sweetest of ways, with the simplest of words. God acknowledging His plan for my life, is a dream come true. I could not ask for more right now.
My final few days in Budapest were euphoric. My mother and I felt beyond blessed to be content with our companionship; i.e. not random mother-daughter arguing! We really enjoyed our quality time and it was astoundingly joyful.
My mom is my favorite travel buddy. I love how we travel. We find the best cafes and shops. Little bits of magic and old spots of nostalgia. We are a discovering duo.
I wrapped up the last of our adventure, and I am home in Charleston missing it terribly. I have an awful lot to share about being present and I plan to do so soon. Thank you for reading, texting me you love me, and the sweet support. I am a lucky lady! Love you all.
D A Y 4 ~ M O N D A Y
Lunch: Villa Bagatelle. Modern vibes yet you feel like you are a little girl in a castle. Gluten free friendly. I ate a lovely chicken entree for lunch, followed by rich hot chocolate and fresh gluten free bread from the bakery below.
Dinner: És Bisztró. Located at the Kempinski Hotel. Sometimes people are scared away when restaurants are in a hotel but this is not the place to be afraid of. Gluten free friendly ~ they even had a gluten free bread roll for me before dinner!
D A Y 5 ~ T U E S D A Y
Lunch: Déryné. We love it there and were able to meet up with a dear friend and some of her friends! I had risotto. Gluten free friendly.
Visit: House of Terror. An intense museum, but well done. It is nearly entirely in Hungarian- love the authenticity but confusing. I left knowing that I need to learn more about communism in Hungary.
So… this gelato. Initially, my goal was to get gelato from Gelarto Rosa once a day in Budapest. It didn’t happen. I did indulge the two times I had the opportunity to go! This trip to Gelarto Rosa, I had several helpings. Due to a complication involving spicy chocolate instead of dark chocolate, I had 3 servings. They were incredibly kind about the confusion but I did not care because I was stuffed with gelato. Gluten free friendly. And friendly!
D A Y 6 ~ W E D N E S D A Y
Blue Budapest. Mom and I went on a short morning stroll, and we gazed at fall in full bloom. I really did not want to leave. I had the motivation of returning to Econ and a presentation, which honestly really helped me get on the plane. My sweet as ever mom ubered to the airport with me and took public back into the city. I wanted to be with her for every possible second.
I love Budapest. I love the people I saw. Conversations. Adventures. Laughter. Love. This trip was a huge blessing and I returned home overflowing with the love I had received. I know it is a long journey for a short trip, but it was worth every second of agonizing jet lag. I am young and full of energy. Now is the time for these trips. Especially a trip home, to a city I love with a mother I cherish.