1. You won’t have a successful relationship unless you’re 10000000% okay with just being with YOU, first.

The time I spent single, alone, and NOT looking for a relationship were probably a couple of the most crucial years to my growth as a person that I wouldn’t have got if I kept jumping boy to boy or looking for that special someone. That time alone allowed me to reflect on my past, understand my experiences, get through heartbreak, and learn to love myself first. I’m sure you’ve heard that saying that goes “no one can love you if you don’t love yourself.” It’s completely true and I don’t think you can gain that understanding if you’re constantly going from relationship to relationship. A break up is devastating and you need some time to heal and be alone before you’re ready to take on a whole new person. You need time to grieve and you need to learn from that relationship before going into a new one. Relationships are there to teach us and there’s always a lesson to be learned if you give yourself the time alone to learn it. If you’re just going from relationship to relationship without ever being alone, you may never ever have these opportunities to grow. It’s like keeping a plant in a nice pot inside where it’s comfortable, but if you put it outside in the sun, it’ll grow to places it never dreamed of.

2. We all had that ONE relationship or person…

You know the one. That one person you were so enamored by despite them treating you less than you deserved. That one relationship where you spent most of it in tears, the one that turned you into a crazy and emotionally impulsive version of yourself. The one where you completely lost yourself in so when the relationship ended or the person left, you felt like you died and all that was left was a shell of yourself. We’ve all had at least one of these in our lives. We look back on these times mostly with huge regret and shame for how we acted and for how allowed ourselves to be treated.  But these relationships are actually a beautiful blessing we should be grateful for because they taught us SO MUCH about ourselves, other people, and about relationships. How would we know what kind of treatment we would accept from a partner if we didn’t go through these relationships that completely broke us? How would we learn how to be strong again and gain a sense of self without that emptiness when this person left us? You got knocked down and buried but you STILL found your way out of that hole with only your own two hands, and now you’re better and stronger than you could have imagined yourself ever being. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, more dazzling than before. These relationships gave us a real chance to grow and start anew. I know I wouldn’t appreciate my boyfriend the same way I do now if I didn’t go through experiences like this. Something that closed off my heart at first ended up making it bigger than ever.

3. A relationship is nothing without mutual respect and honesty.

You should be able to tell your partner how you feel. You should be able to cry on their shoulder. You should be able to be honest about your life with them. And you should give them that opportunity to comfort you the way a partner is there for. You should be able to respect your partner when they have the courage to be honest with you. You should be grateful and appreciative when they do something nice for you. You shouldn’t lie to them or hide from them. You shouldn’t put out a false image you can hide behind. A partner should know ALL OF you, otherwise who are they really in love with?

EYEBROWS

Eyebrows. The two most important features on your face, they can be your best friends or your worst enemies. Us ladies have to use actual torture devices like THESE

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or go through excruciatingly painful procedures like THIS

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just to keep them under control and looking nice and polished.

Fixing your eyebrows can be an extreme anxiety inducing and daunting task. It’s enough to give someone nightmares at night and cause us to have monstrous thoughts, especially when we’re bombarded by pictures of gorgeous women with even more gorgeous eyebrows.

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dreaming

Being a woman SUCKS.

The truth is though, is that eyebrows can make or break your face. I’ve learned this the hard way, through many moments of trial and error. I am now an eyebrow enthusiast for 2+ years.

These are my eyebrows now:

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How did they get like this, you may be asking yourself. Lots of plucking?

NO.

Lots of shaping and penciling?

HELL TO THE NO.

The trick to nice eyebrows, is to STOP DOING THIS TO YOUR FACES

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AND THIS

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AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD THIS!!!!!

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In my time, I have had my eyebrows look like every one of these pictures. In fact, the first picture IS me. It took me a long time to figure out that you have to do virtually NOTHING for your eyebrows to look good.

I am posting these eyebrow rules because I have recently been asked multiple times by women how I do my eyebrows.  I’ve collected these rules over time because I have experienced the humiliation FIRST HAND. Live and learn, baby!

1. RULE NUMBER ONE: DO NOT OVER PLUCK!! THEY’RE THERE FOR A REASON!!

Though I don’t know what that reason is, eyelashes are there to protect your eyes so the fuck are eyebrows for in the first place, but there must be a reason and a good one since they’re there.  Maybe to protect your eyelashes protecting your eyes so you have like a double force field of awesome protection. Anyway, you don’t want to over pluck the very features that can frame your face in a beautiful way, like Megan Fox for example. They say that we as humans are attracted to symmetry, so if you over pluck those babies you’re throwing off the whole symmetry of your gorgeous hot face. Obviously, if you’ve over plucked your eyebrows, you can refer to RULE NUMBER TWO!!!

2. RULE NUMBER TWO: THIS GUY WILL BE YOUR BEST FRIEND!!

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Sometimes you accidentally over pluck your eyebrows, or like me, they might be just  a SMIDGEN too short.  That’s where this guy comes into play. He’ll be like your best friend who holds your hair back while you puke after a long night of tequila shots and bar dancing. I’m very against penciling in eyebrows, I just feel like they very rarely look good or natural. A shadow two shades darker than your hair applied with this angled makeup brush is your best bet if you need to fill in spots.

3. RULE NUMBER THREE: DON’T GET ALL TORTURED ART STUDENT ON YOUR EYEBROWS!!!

If you must pluck, DON’T try plucking them into a shape that they aren’t naturally growing. I know sometimes we get tweezer happy and treat our eyebrows like an art project, but this is VERY BAD and if you do so I will personally give you a VERY BAD GRADE. This is where symmetry comes into play again. Your eyebrows should be similar to the shape of your eye in order for them to flatter your eyes best. When I’m plucking or shaping my eyebrows, I refer to the “crease” on the upper lid of my eye and follow that shape. Only pluck the stray hairs, not the forest!

4. RULE NUMBER FOUR: YOUR EYEBROWS SHOULD NOT LOOK LIKE SPERM!!!!

NO EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE

5. RULE NUMBER FIVE: LENGTH!!!

Your eyebrows should be no longer or shorter than the length of your eye. Once again, we’re thinking in symmetry here. If you have to pluck or fill them in to make them more even to the length of your eye, do so with EXTREME CAUTION AND CARE!!!! My eyebrows are 80% eyebrow and 20% shadow. That 20% makes a world of difference.

With these rules, YOU TOO can go from THIS

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TO THIS

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That’s right, girls. You WILL turn into Megan Fox.

Depersonalization.

Depersonalization.

“is an anomaly of self-awareness. It consists of a feeling of watching oneself act, while having no control over a situation.[1] Subjects feel they have changed, and the world has become vague, dreamlike, less real, or lacking in significance. It can be a disturbing experience, since many feel that, indeed, they are living in a “dream”. “

I feel like I have new eyes.  New eyes that have seen things that I never was able to see before.  New eyes that can see people, see them for exactly what they are.  Good, bad, and straight through them.  It’s almost like a curtain had been cast in front of me for all of these years.  But now  I can see, and I can hear, as though I have new ears.  Ears that now pick up on inconsistencies, kindness and selfishness, truths and lies.  I can hear so much that was nothing but background noise before, muffled and just out of my reach.  As if I have never heard before, ears that up until now were stuffed with whatever others fed them.  But now I can hear.  I feel like I have new eyes, and new ears.

But most importantly, I feel like I have new hands. New hands that ripped the curtain away from in front of my eyes, that cleaned the voices of others out from my ears.  New hands that are now strong enough to pick me up, pull me away from the other hands trying to pull me back, away from what had been a constant tug of war.  New hands that have placed me back on my own two feet.  And now I’m here, and I’m standing again.

Life lessons.

I’m not perfect.  I’ve had my fair share of mistakes, some which I’ve made over and over again.  I’ve made mistakes, but I’m not ashamed of them.  Actually, I read a really great quote the other day,  “Don’t ask yourself  ‘What was I thinking?’, ask yourself  ‘What was I learning?’” and it got me thinking (always a good thing, right?).

What have I learned? How have I grown? From five years ago, one year ago? From yesterday?

I think it’s important to reflect on your experiences and ask yourself what each one taught you.  That’s what experiences are for, afterall, is to teach us something.  Ever since I read that quote, it inspired me to ask myself the same question. What was I learning?

1. Age doesn’t equal experience…experience equals experience.  Not everyone is on the same time line.  Not everyone experiences the same things at the same times and in the same ways.  I’ve been called naive by people older than me simply because, well, they were older than me.  I’ve also met people younger than me who have seen more than their elders have.  We all experience different things at different times, and that doesn’t come with age.  It comes with simply, experience.  And the way one person experiences something doesn’t define how others may experience it.  The only person’s experiences we can truly judge is our own, and age ain’t nothing but a number baby.

2. You can’t please everyone.  It’s human nature to want to be valued, appreciated, and liked by other people.  But the truth is, is that you can’t please everyone.  No matter what you do, say, wear, etc. someone is going to dislike you.  You have no control over that, and how exhausting would it be to try?  It’s a wasted effort constantly being a “people pleaser” when you could put a little more focus on just being yourself.  Either way, you’ll get the same results: you can’t please everyone.  So, you may as well be yourself while not being able to please everyone, than be something different not being able to please everyone.

3. What other people think of me is none of my business.  The only thing that really matters is what I think of myself, blah blah blah.  Everyone says this, we hear it all the time, but can we honestly say we act on those words?  Think of it this way; the moment I realized that the only thing that matters is what I think of myself, is the moment that I realized that I only have this one life to live, and that I’m only ever going to be me.  Just like YOU’RE only ever going to be you.  The most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one you have with YOU, so you better make it a good one.

4. We picture things going a certain way in our heads.  We fantasize, we hope, we dream.  Sometimes, we wake up from those dreams, lose sight of them, and lose sight of hope.  Sometimes we choose to hold on to those dreams with a firm grip, refusing to ever let go of them.  Some who hold on are told by those who let go to “face reality”, to let go and live in the “real” world.  That holding on is childish and weak.  But is that true?  Does holding on to a dream or hope make a person weak, or is holding on the only way to truly test that strength?  To truly accomplish anything at all?

5.  Confidence doesn’t happen when you receive a compliment, a promotion or award, or when you win a competition.  Those things put a little bounce in your step, yes, but confidence doesn’t rely on them.  Confidence shines even when you get insulted, when you lose or get fired, when you come in last place.  Confidence is knowing you’re worth it anyway.

6. Happiness is a choice that only you can make.  Sure, you may want a fancy things because you think they’ll make you “happy”, but will they REALLY?  Not in the long run, no.  Many of the things we long for only give us a temporary high, and when we come down, we’re left searching for the next thing that will make us “happy”.  We can’t rely on an outside source to keep us happy forever.  An “ideal” situation will only make us happy for as long as it’s considered ideal.  A shiny new car will only make us happy until it’s rusted and not so new anymore.  You might think your significant other MAKES you happy, but if it’s a healthy relationship, it should only just add some more happiness to what was already a pretty darn happy life.  And let’s be real, it’s not the responsibility of any of these things to make us happy.  We can value them, and appreciate them (as we should!), but outside sources will not MAKE happiness, nor should they.  They should only enhance happiness that was already there in the first place.  Real, LASTING happiness needs to come from within, and that is OUR responsibility and our responsibility alone.

This is what music is for me.

I can’t believe it’s been a month since our X Factor audition. It’s crazy how fast the time flew by. I am so pumped to get working on more projects for us, more covers and original music, and while on the subject, I wanted to share this beautiful cover of  “Somebody That I Used to Know” that really struck a chord with me:

Ben had Jenn and I listen to this a couple of months ago, and the three of us literally had in on repeat for the rest of that night. We were in absolute awe over it. This cover is so beautiful, that when listening I had tears rolling down my cheeks so fast that I could not stop them, they just poured out. The beauty that these talented people created in this song reached deep into my soul, and made me see so clearly in a time where everything feels so foggy. I guess you could say it was an “epiphany” of sorts, and I know that the feeling that this cover gave me when I heard it is the reason WHY I love making music so much. I don’t even care about the business or how hard it is to get into, and I don’t care about the money or the fame if we’re ever blessed enough to be a part of the music world. All I care about is bringing people this same feeling, this same clarity. This same burning LIGHT.

As individuals and in our trio, Ben, Jenn, and I put so much into a song. We’ve all spent so much time and heart into a piece we’ve done. I know I’ve spent hours over a harmony, just the perfect note to blend with Jenn’s melody and Ben’s playing, that perfect note that will bring that genuine soul into the words being sung. I’ve studied lyrics, picked them apart and felt what they mean to me, what they mean to Ben and Jenn, and what they might mean to others. I detach myself from my surroundings when we get together, and I never see our camera recording, or Jenn’s mom and brothers watching us when we jam for them. I open my eyes and see my past playing out right in front of me when Jenn and I sing, when Ben plays. I watch my past dance through the music, becoming the music itself for that brief moment.

It’s amazing when you consider the hard work that an artist puts into something they create, whether it’s someone on the radio or a local band. Someone who truly feels the music they create. I saw a quote about this once. I can’t find it and don’t recall who originally said it, but I remember what it meant to me and will explain it the best that I can. With a painter or an architect or writer, a blank sheet is a canvas that will last forever, the outcome hanging on a wall, published into a book, or rooted into the ground. For a musician, silence is the canvas, but the sounds won’t last forever. They will last for a few moments, and we spend countless hours working on those few moments of glory music brings when it paints along that silent canvas. Digging into our souls and our pasts and our humanity for that little bit of beauty that can’t hang on a wall or sit on a shelf, nor can it rest firmly into the ground. It’s a kind of beauty that rings in our ears only for as long as the song plays. But while the sounds won’t last forever, the message beyond them WILL. This very silence just begs for me to keep painting across it.

And you know what? That is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

To Ben and Jenn:

I am proud of us for the simple fact that the first big thing we did together as our little trio was an X Factor audition. Even if we didn’t go further than we originally wanted to, we got to be a part of a huge competition that millions of hopeful and talented people audition for as well. It’s pretty crazy to think about how we went from singing in my little bathroom with a video recorder on a phone, to going into this competition ten hours away with a little bit of money and a car. We went through so much more than we expected to just GETTING to Rhode Island, and damn. Look at what we did. We didn’t let anything stop us from getting to this audition.

We didn’t give up when our audition song choice was questioned, we didn’t give up when people told us it might be better and safer to stay home and wait until next year. We didn’t give up when the battery in the car we were taking died the night before we had to leave; we looked at plane tickets, we talked it out, and we finally decided on buying a new battery before we left. We didn’t give up when we got lost on our way there. We stopped anywhere we could looking for maps, and Jenn thankfully fixed the GPS at the perfect time, and we were back on track. When we finally checked into our hotel and then left to register, we didn’t give up finding a free parking spot, which was a lot harder to find than we thought it would be. We didn’t give up when we were finally waiting to register, outside of the stadium in the pouring rain, no umbrellas, in a line that did not move at all within nine hours. We all wanted so badly to just leave and take a hot shower and sleep, but we didn’t. We stood there. We sucked it up and tried to make the best of it and met some cool people who made that wait a little less miserable.

We didn’t give up the next day when we stood in line waiting for the auditions to start, and were told by a producer that Ben could not have his guitar for the audition and to put it away in the car. We improvised the best that we could. We didn’t give up when we witnessed some things that went on behind the scenes of one of many televised musical competitions, something that was humbling to see. It was not only sobering to hear all the incredible talent around us, but to also see how the show is not what it appears to be when it finally airs. But, that didn’t stop us. We watched tons of hopefuls line up in front of the line of cubicles in the stadium where the producers waited to hear them sing their hearts out. We heard such amazing voices, some got through and some didn’t…and we waited. And waited. And then, it was finally our turn to audition as a trio. A trio that we felt so strongly for even in the short amount of time since we first started playing music together.

No, we didn’t get to go further on in the competition. But, we still walked away with that same hope. And not only that, but I think that hope turned into something stronger. After everything, not once did we actually run away. We have plans to still make music. We still have motivation, and passion. And that is something that we need to hold on to no matter what. The determination that we held in those four days is something that I have never seen anyone else hold so strongly before in my life. I just wanted to say that I am proud of you two, and I am proud of what we did even if the outcome wasn’t what everyone hoped for. I want you both to know that we can only go up from here, and that we know we can go through anything as long as we keep that dream alive. Like Jenn said, WE GOT THIS. This is my high five to you, Ben and Jenn.

Compromising, equal responsibility, and a fresh slate.

Taking time to come to a compromise in a disagreement and to find an equal piece of responsibility in an argument is the most important thing to do in order to make the best decision. If one, both, or all parties are feeling rushed to solve something without giving themselves a proper amount of time to think it through, it will only end up causing more troubles in the future and worsen an already bad situation. So, the person(s) must pull away to take as much time for their personal thoughts and individual minds to come to a conclusion. And when they do, they return with a clear head. A person can’t force themselves on another person, and a person must be allowed to deal with something at their own pace as long as they are honest that they need the time.

If one or both persons of a situation can’t accept the responsibility they played, then nothing will ever be solved because the compromise will never be reached. If one person wants to pull away, you must allow them to do that, even if it hurts. You must allow them an opportunity to see the bigger picture, and an opportunity to figure where they can go from there. You then can take advantage of your own time and decide if that person is worth the wait. If you are the one who wants to pull away, do your best to make your intentions clear to the other person or persons, and give yourself that space to regain a balance and harmony in your mind. Give yourself that gift of a clear head and a fresh slate, because if you do, you give the other person that same opportunity and that same clear mind, and a chance at figuring out where THEY can progress.

Afterwards, the understanding the involved people will have of themselves and the others will be much more obvious and easier to navigate in a way that can benefit everyone long term. Focus on the long term benefits, and focus on learning from an experience, instead of trying to fit something together before you have time to see the real solution.

Being able to relate to songs you liked as a kid.

It’s funny how we can re-discover something from the past and see it in a way that we didn’t in the past. Like music and old songs, for example. Looking back and listening to songs that as a kid you heard, and liked, even though you didn’t understand the message at the time. And then, years later, coming across the same song and thinking “Wow, I loved that as a kid!”. When you give it a listen for old times sake, you get an enormous and profound feeling from hearing the lyrics being sung to you again. When young, a song like this might not have made any difference in our lives except for the fact that we just liked our parent’s or friend’s taste in music by default. But when older and having seen more of the human complex and emotion, you realize that between the time you first heard the song and the moment you listen to it again, you lived the song. You lived through the exact thing that the person before you lived through in order to feel inspired to write and sing that particular song in the first place.

It’s sort of crazy to think about. I loved this song as a kid, hearing it on the radio in my mom or dad’s car. Having them blast it because I would love sitting in the backseat singing the words that I didn’t understand, just heard. Years later, I’ve grown up and seen more and felt more. Coming across this song again really gave me this sense. Nostalgia, and inner strength. It makes me see how I have grown from a little girl who just loved musical sounds to someone who loves it for every sum it’s whole is built from. Still loving it for the sounds, yes, but now for the words, the meaning, the message, and the emotion. It makes me see how human I have become being able to relate to this song that I enjoyed so much years ago.

Music is healing because as we go throughout our lives, we discover and experience more and more things that we can relate to in a song. And when we sit back and relate to different pieces of music, we really can see how much we’ve grown and what a certain experience taught us. Music is so beautiful in that way, and I think that’s why we will never come across a person who does not enjoy at least one song.

Peer pressure, and never being able to catch that darn Mew-Two on Pokemon for Gameboy Color.

There are many different types of peer pressure that we face from the time we are born to the time we are old and wise.  When we are young, we feel peer pressure to fit in with the other kids at school. Maybe we try to do this by attempting to beat our friends at Pokemon, and feeling pressured to catch that Mew-Two on our GameBoy Colors. (Impossible, I could never get him EVEN with the Pokemon master ball! I spent nights trying to capture him, and endlessly turning off my game without saving it so I could try over again. Bastard, I still have nightmares about being the only child playing the GameBoy game at recess unable to capture him. I always offered to link up my GameBoy with someone else so maybe they would trade me their hard earned Mew-Two for my Onyx. I was not a very effective sales person.)

No matter who you are, you will always face different kinds of pressures and feel obligated to make a choice within that pressure. Throughout school, I was not very well liked. I did not have many friends, and I still wonder if maybe that was because they all knew and could sense that I was the only one who wasn’t able to get my grubby little pixelated Ask Ketchum avatar hands on that Mew-Two in the video game. No matter the reasons, though, I didn’t have many friends. Despite one of my best friends from school, Katie, whom I am very lucky to have in my life to this day, there were a few people that maintained a friendship with me only outside of school. These people would ignore me in classes and during the school day, then send me instant messages asking to hang out in “secret” after school ended for the day. Now, please don’t get me wrong in my mentioning this. I do not hold any grudges to these kids because of the secret they wanted their friendship with me to be. I hope it doesn’t come across that way, because that would be the complete opposite of my intention and my genuine feelings on this subject.

Peer pressure is hard to deal with, especially in high school when we were growing up but impressionable and still trying to find a way to fit in. We all have had to find our own way to deal with peer pressures the best we knew how, and none of us are innocent in that we haven’t ever given in to some form of pressure or another. I definitely was not always innocent in my attempts to handle newly discovered peer pressure. Neither were they, and neither were you. That’s the beautiful thing about being human and growing from our experiences though, no matter which hand we were and will be dealt in our lives. We grow in our experience every day. Something I want to strive to do everyday I’m alive is to learn from experience, learn humility and empathy, and learn inspiration and compassion in that experience. I want to share these experiences with others, and I want others to share theirs with me.

Humanity needs to open up its mind a little more everyday, and the power of compassion and experience can change the world around us. I truly believe it’s that simple. I truly believe that something that may seem so small, in retrospect can have a most enormous impact on the way we are as humans. My whole point here, and the moral of the story, is to treat people as you would want to be treated. We hear it from so many people; our parents, teachers, a mentor, and people in the media. The Golden Rule. Don’t treat an individual differently depending on the environment you see them in. If you like someone and deep down value them in your life, whether it be an acquaintance, friend, or lover, please let them know that. Show them that their individuality is important. Treat all people the same, and don’t fear the repercussions you may receive from treating people with equality. And maybe, turn on your old GameBoy Color, and try to capture that Mew-Two one last time. You’ll be surprised at what you can do and the Pokemon you can capture if you put your mind to it.