Struggling with Acne and Self-Esteem

Hello lovelies! It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling with some pretty intense acne this past year. I’ve tried so many different skincare products and routines, and it’s taken quite awhile to make any progress. These past 6 months I’ve been taking pictures of my skin, so I could eventually do a blog post showing the progress.

I knew I wanted to do this blog post because acne is something I’ve struggled with. It’s pretty much the root of my insecurities, and a lot of my time and money was focused on trying to have super clear skin at one point. But, with hormonal, cystic acne, it’s kinda hard just to clear it up in a day. It’s painful, it extremely noticeable under makeup in real life, and it tends to come right back a week after you clear it up, in my experience.

I had pretty good skin with minimal acne until July/August of 2017. It was a gradual change to where my skin went from typical, teenage hormonal acne to intense, cystic hormonal acne.

July/August 2017

These are the first photos I took of my skin for this post. They are from what I deem my “first” real breakout and when my skin really started taking a turn for the worse in August of 2017. I remember thinking, “Wow, there’s no way my skin could get worse than this.” And, boy, was I wrong. At this point, I believed the acne would pass quickly, and that is was caused by stress. I was starting my senior year of high school, applying for college and worrying I wouldn’t get in, and Casey left for basic training for the Air Force. Needless to say, I was stressed. I figured once I wasn’t anymore, it would go away.

November/December 2017

Then, in late November/early December I started to see my skin getting even worse. I can’t say it’s too much different from August, but there was quite a few more pimples and noticeable marks leftover from the zits I couldn’t help but pop. If I could go back, I wouldn’t have touched a single one of those cystic pimples, because they left some nasty marks on my face.

January 2018

January was one of the WORST months for my skin. I’d say my acne was at it’s worst during this time period. I felt ugly, worthless, and the cystic acne covering my face was PAINFUL. Again, I was popping pimples like it was my job and picking at the scabs that were left. It really did a deal on my face because of this.

Quick note: I’m not sad in these pictures, it was just a little awkward taking pictures so close to my face!

I can actually feel how painful those pimples were from just looking at those photos. Even when I’d get the stubborn zits to go away, they’d come back in a week or so. I think the fact that I literally just could not get them to go away for good was the most frustrating.

Meanwhile, my skin was covered in red pimples without makeup, but this is what it looked like with makeup and an Instagram filter.

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Looking at that picture I’m still not quite sure how I managed to make it look like I had clear skin, but I promise you this photo was taken days apart from the makeupless January ones. I even remember finishing my makeup in the mornings and still seeing bumps all over my face.

My skin looked pretty bad like this until about February/March when I started using Proactive. I swore I’d never use it because I genuinely thought it was a gimmick, but Casey had some leftover boxes and suggested I try it, so I did. I had nothing to lose at this point since my skin already looked so bad.

April 2018

Proactive made a noticeable difference in my skin, but I was still struggling with a few stubborn, cystic pimples on my cheeks that kept resurfacing. I went to the doctor and she prescribed Tretinoin Cream 0.025%, which is one of the lower dosages of retinoid creams. She recommended I continue using Proactive and to apply the cream just in the areas where I had acne (as seen in the pictures above). It’s been the best product for clearing up those painful, cystic zits. I didn’t even know my regular doctor could prescribe me cream for my acne, but it saved me a trip to the dermatologist!

Now

My skin isn’t completely clear yet, but I’m not dealing with constant breakouts and cystic zits. When I do get a pimple, which is rare, it’s small and passes within a day or two. This is just from being on the retinoid cream for two months, and I didn’t even have to go to the dermatologist to have it prescribed to me.

The biggest difference in my skin now is that it’s just leftover marks from acne that aren’t raised bumps. It’s a lot easier to cover with makeup and it isn’t painful anymore. Luckily, retinoid cream helps with scarring too, so I’m continuing to use it. The 2-3 cystic zits that were super stubborn and always coming back are gone, and if I push against the spots where they were, I don’t feel anything.

Acne is one of those things that seems like no big deal, unless you’ve got it. To me, when I had bright red, painful bumps covering my cheeks and jawline, it felt like the end of the world. I had a twisted image of myself when I looked in the mirror because all I saw was the acne. When everyone seems to have clear skin on social media, in magazines, and on T.V. it makes the breakouts seem even worse. I can tell you from experience that a little bit of Estee Lauder Double Wear and photo filters can go a long way. And if you think even celebrities have perfectly clear skin, then check out this article from Teen Vogue about Lili Reinhart or this one from Allure about Kendall Jenner!

Now, I still have a long way to go to get rid of my acne scarring. I’m definitely less insecure and I can actually leave the house without foundation or concealer on. I can’t stress enough how easy it is to make it look like you have clear skin on social media. If you’re struggling with acne and self-esteem issues, I really hope this post helped you out!

xoxo, The Chic Flamingo

 

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The College Credit+ Program: My Experience & Tips

Hello lovelies! I’ve mentioned a few times on my blog before that I take college classes while I’m still in high school. Ohio has a program called the College Credit Plus program where students can take classes through a lot of different colleges in the state. I’m not sure what other states have a program similar, but in Ohio students can take college courses through it without having to pay for tuition or books. Today, I’m sharing my experience as a CC+ student, and a few tips if you’re thinking about taking college courses in high school too!

I started taking college classes through the program my junior year of high school at Wright State University Lake Campus. My school does offer a few college courses at the high school through CC+, but they are through a state college and not a university. This isn’t always a huge deal, but I felt more comfortable getting college credits through a university where I knew the credits would transfer better. Also, when I decided that I was going to do CC+, I was considering Wright State University Main Campus as a potential college after high school.

When I first started CC+, I had completely no clue what classes to take. I didn’t know whether I should do online or on-campus, so I just stuck with on-campus my first semester to get a feel for it. The school gave me a list of courses other students had taken, and my advisor at college gave me some basic classes freshmen typically take. Honestly, my first semester I winged it. I signed up for three random classes (a psychology, English, and history) and went with it.

My first bit of advice is to just go for it, even if you don’t know what degree you want in the future.

After my first semester, I pretty much knew I wanted to go to Kent State for Fashion Merchandising. I got in contact with an advisor from Kent and she sent me some information about the courses required for a fashion merchandising degree. For Kent State, the program requirements can be found on their website too. She sent me an online transfer guide for Kent, too. The transfer guide became my lifesaver before every academic appointment. I would check out the general education courses required for fashion merchandising, and use the transfer guide to find the Wright State equivalent.

I recommend getting in touch with prospective colleges to get a transfer guide and program requirements. It saves you from wasting your time taking classes that won’t contribute much to your degree.

Although, I did take a few classes that I’m not quite sure will transfer or that weren’t a program requirement. I took a Small Business Management class because at the time I wanted to own a boutique in the future.

My third semester of CC+, I did all online. It was a mistake for me, but it may not be for anyone else. Every day I had the mornings off and went to high school for 3 periods a day. I slept in most mornings and saved all of my homework for the day it was due. It was a huge mistake on my part, but taking all online may work for other people!

The college courses I’ve taken weren’t too difficult in my opinion. I wasn’t a straight A student in high school, but it wasn’t anything unachievable. I think some times people assume you have to be super smart to do CC+, but that’s just not the truth. At the college I go to, there is free tutoring, and I take full advantage of it. Earlier this semester, I was struggling in the microeconomics class I’m taking. I figured out the only way I am going to comprehend the material is to sit down and read the book until I understand it.

If you start to struggle in a college course, ask for help. Professors may be able to offer you extra credit or you can find a tutor to help you out. At my school, if you fail a college class, you have to pay for it!

Now, if you don’t know where your future is headed, you can still do CC+. Casey did CC+ with me my junior year and he did not really know what he wanted to do when he was older. He assumed college, but soon decided after that the military was where he was meant to be. Casey was able to take the classes through CC+ that counted for high school too, and he graduated a year early. Even with him being in the military it benefited him because he was able to rank up prior to enlistment.

Even if you aren’t 100% sure college is in your future, college credits can benefit you.

There’s a big misconception around CC+ that you might miss out on important events in high school. This is so wrong on SO many levels because if you want to be involved at school, you can be involved. I went to homecoming, prom, I played sports, and I’m even in a club. The things I missed out on were things I didn’t want to do, so if anyone tries to tell you that you’ll miss out on high school experiences, don’t believe them. I’m only a part-time college student, but I know people who do CC+ full time and feel the same way.

Another misconception about the program is that it’s hard to participate in sports. Again, SO wrong! I played golf and swim and I knew I had practices in the evening, so I made sure to take classes in the morning. There was one time when I had a sectionals golf match and a college exam on the same day and at the same time. I talked to my professor and he let me take the exam a day early. All the professors I had handed out a daily schedule in the syllabus, so I knew at the beginning of the semester when exams and important events were.

Don’t let anyone discourage you from the CC+ program. There’s a lot of misconceptions surrounding the program. If you have a question, don’t be afraid to ask someone who has already done it, like me!

Taking courses at a college campus during high school was genuinely the best decision I’ve ever made. I matured and became a lot more independent because of it. I should graduate high school with 38 college credits, and I didn’t have to pay for any of it except a parking fee! It takes some hard work and self-motivation, but it’s all worth it!

Please, if you have any questions about the CC+ program, let me know. I know when I started to consider it, I had a ton of questions that were left unanswered until I dove in and found out for myself. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to see more of The Chic Flamingo!

 

 

Life Update (Swimming, Shopping, and Lots of Stress)

Hello lovelies! From the survey I ran at the beginning of January, I found that a lot of you actually wanted to read more personal things on the blog. It’s been a hot minute since my last blog post, so I wanted to sit down and write a chit-chat style blog post to fill you in on where I’ve been. 

I don’t talk about swimming often on my blog, but if I’m going to start sharing more personal things on here, then this is the place to start. Basically since I was eight years old, I’ve been swimming year round with the same girls on my high school team. We’ve been working SO hard this season and have devoted a lot of time to bettering ourselves. One of our big goals this season was to win our conference meet which was yesterday. We’re a team of ten girls, with two seniors, a junior, a sophomore, and six freshmen, so it kinda sounds like a long shot. Regardless of our size, we are an incredibly strong, close-knit team and we ended up getting first. Swimming isn’t an official sport in our conference, but it didn’t lessen our excitement since it was the first time in school history that the team took first!

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After the meet, my school decided to congratulate us at the basketball game that night. I don’t usually go to basketball games, but I figured I’d go all out and even dress for the theme.

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Oh, and my flash drive decided to break a few days before an important assignment was due this. Not only did this flash drive contain all my college and high school work, but it had my blog pictures on it too. Luckily I did have an earlier version of the important assignment saved to my Google drive. I ended up going back through and redoing the final edits, so it turned out better in the end anyway! Lesson learned, from now on I’m saving files in two places after I edit them.

To clear my mind from the week’s stress, I went to Target and Starbucks with my mom. I ended up getting three different things, so I thought I’d throw them in this post. The first was this gingham swim suit with cute little bows on the top and bottoms.

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Gingham Top & Bottom

I got this navy blue pinstripe suit as well. I have never had a swim top this style, but I think it’s my new favorite!

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Navy Top & Bottom

I’m obviously excited for warmer weather, so I ended up getting these gingham flats as well. It’s supposed to get cold here in Ohio again, but I’m hoping it will at least be warm enough to wear these flats!

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One last thing I wanted to mention in this post isn’t about me, but I thought I’d throw it in anyway. Casey graduated from Air Traffic Control tech school this past week! It’s been a LONG four months of stress for him, and considering his class had a 60% wash out rate, I’d say this was a huge accomplishment. Yay, Casey!

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So hooray for a crazy week that ended with big accomplishments and a little bit of fun shopping! Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to see more of The Chic Flamingo!

 

NYE at Smiths’ Boathouse Restaurant

Hello lovelies! I know I said in my last post that I was just going to hang out in pj’s with Casey on NYE, but we had a little change of plans. All day we had been going back and forth trying to figure out where we could go out to eat because I wanted to dress up and have some good food. Luckily we got a call from a family friend asking us out to dinner with his family to a restaurant neither of us had been to before. Steve Stone, our family friend, said it was a super nice place with amazing food, so how could we deny?! We ran to Casey’s house, grabbed some clothes for him, ran back to my house, and I threw on the skirt I had been dying to wear. The Stone’s picked us up and we headed to Troy, Ohio to dine at Smiths’ Boathouse Restaurant on the Great Miami River.

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As soon as we arrived, I was in pure awe of how gorgeous the area was. The building used to be an old boathouse, and was converted into this beautiful restaurant below.

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On NYE, they were having a special buffet with Chicken Gordon Bleu Bites, Brussel Sprout Slaw, Salmon with Parmesan Cream Sauce, Garlic Parm Mashed Potatoes, and Rosemary Roasted Carrots, just to name a few of my favs! They also had a carving station where the owner was slicing up prime rib right in front of you. My very favorite was the baked cod. I love cod, and I can hands down say this was the best cod I’ve ever had. It had a spectacular flavor and was super flaky and crispy.

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Here’s a snap of me with my first plate of the night. I was not even close to being finished then!

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We finished off our meals with the delicious homemade desserts that were displayed on a boat, how cool! I cannot remember the exact names of the dessert, but there was a chocolate cake with a chocolate covered espresso bean on top, another cake that I believe was carrot cake, and apple streusel dessert, and cookies. It was the perfect way to end the spectacular feast we had!

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I hope to go back to Smiths’ Boathouse Restaurant soon because the Stone’s said brunch is incredible there, as well! Nights spent dining with family and friends are my favorite, and I’m so grateful for all the times I got to do just that in 2017. I hope that 2018 is filled with many more times like this!

Thanks to Steve, I am giving away a $25 gift certificate to Smiths’ Boathouse Restaurant on my Instagram & Facebook page. You can enter on both social media platforms, just head on over to them to find out how! Also, go ahead and check out Nature’s Green Nursery Facebook page while you’re at it, because Steve has the best nursery around!

To help me create better content in 2018, please click here to fill out a reader survey, thanks!

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MY EIGHTEENTH BIRTHDAY!!

Hello friends! Yesterday was my eighteenth birthday, so to celebrate I’m sharing how I spent my day and showing pictures from the past eighteen years. I want to start off by saying how incredibly grateful I am for my family and friends guidance these past eighteen years. Without those closest to me, I would have never been who I am today!

To kick off the birthday festivities, my mom got me custom macarons from Michelle’s Macarons. I have never had a macaron from Michelle’s Macarons that I didn’t like, and she did incredible on my birthday macarons. They were salted caramel flavor, and Michelle told my mom they go great with coffee. So of course as I’m writing this, I’m sipping on coffee and eating my macarons!

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Then we headed over to Coldwater Café in Tipp City for dinner. Wow, it was SO good. The service was amazing and the food was delicious. To start, my family and I shared a parmesan crème brulee appetizer and a platter of oysters. I had never had oysters before, and I was pleasantly surprised about how good they were. For my entrée, I got a brie pasta and added grilled chicken. It had sundried tomatoes, spinach, and brie of course! It was downright delicious and I could probably eat it everyday. For dessert I had a cup of freshly brewed coffee and vanilla bean crème brulee. Our waitress knew it was my birthday, so she melted a candle to the side of my dessert plate.

IMG_1206IMG_1211 Overall, I’d have to say my eighteenth birthday has been the best yet. I got to visit my future home, and spend quality with family. Plus, I got to eat all of my favorite foods!

To finish it off, I’ve included various pictures of me from the past eighteen years. Thanks for following my posts this birthday week, and to keep up with my daily life, don’t forget to follow my Instagram and Facebook!

 

 

 

 

Where I’m Going to College!

Hello friends! Today, I went on a college visit to the college I’ll be attending next fall. I’ve been dreaming since freshman year of attending this college. It has everything I want, and more. I knew the moment I got my acceptance letter that I’d be going here, and I’m super excited to share with you all today where I’ll be attending!

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Whoo hoo! Yes, that’s right I’m a future Golden Flash! It’s the #1 fashion school in the Midwest, #3 fashion merchandising school in the US, and the #17 fashion school worldwide! The program is outstanding because they truly set their students up for success. The Fashion School offers several study away programs in places like Paris, Florence, and New York City just to name a few. Plus, they have corporations like Target come in and interview students for internships.

My visit today was incredible. I went for a Fashion School prospective day where I got a ton of information on curriculum, study away programs, and scholarship opportunities. The Fashion School advisor who gave the presentation was so kind and helpful when it came to questions. If you’re considering Kent State for fashion design/merchandising, definitely look into a prospective day because it made me even more sure about my decision.

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Since I attended the Fashion School prospective day, I got free admission into the museum. The 80’s exhibit was my absolute favorite, but the 40’s was a close second. It was neat to see the exhibit all about fringe because it is a decently big trend now, so it was cool seeing how fringe has been worn for the past 100+ years.

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To finish my visit off at Kent, I had to stop downtown at The Fashion School Store. I wanted to make it official by getting a sweatshirt I have been eyeing since my first visit last November. In applique it says, “The Fashion School” and embroidered underneath it says, “Merchandising.”

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This goal was not hard to reach since Kent State has a higher acceptance rate, but I’m celebrating regardless. Being on campus makes me feel as if I’m home, and I know this is where I belong. I’m ready for the next few years to be full of studying fashion forecasting, marketing, media, and so much more.

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18 Random Things About Me

Hello friends! Today, I’m doing a more personal post because it is my birthweek! Saturday is my 18th birthday, so my posts this week will be based around that. I thought I’d kick off my birthday with 18 things about me that you probably don’t know. I typically only talk about fashion on my blog, so I figured this would be a fun way to switch it up!

1. I take part time college classes

I started taking college classes at the beginning of my junior year of high school through Ohio’s College Credit Plus program. Basically the school pays for a student to take college courses through tax payers money, so I will have just about 2 years of college done when I graduate high school. The only thing I’ve had to pay for was a $15 parking fee when I took classes at the local college, but now I take online. It’s taken a lot of dedication, but I don’t think I could ever regret this decision!

2. I’m the editor of my high school yearbook and newspaper

My sophomore of high school I joined my journalism class where we produced the school newspaper. I knew I enjoyed writing, so I thought I’d give it a shot. By my junior year, the class was combined with the yearbook class, and I became the editor of both publications. I wasn’t so sure about yearbook, but it quickly became one of my favorite hobbies. In college, I look forward to joining at least one of the publications because I’m not quite ready to give it up yet.

3. I’m a swimmer

At five years old, my mom signed me up for the summer swim team and I HATED it. The next summer, I didn’t join, but I watched my parents cheer on my older brother who did.  I’m a super jealous child, and the next year I decided to swim again. I’ve been swimming year-round since I was about nine years old now. This week begins my last swim season ever, since I don’t plan on swimming in college. The picture below is my relay and I after we placed at Districts.

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4. Four is my favorite number

This one is super random, but four is my favorite number. I was born on the fourth of the month so I’m convinced it’s the luckiest number.

5. I failed my driver’s test… twice!

Yes, this one is a little bit embarrassing, but I failed my driver’s test twice. I passed the driving aspect of it the first try, but failed the maneuverability section the first, and second, try. Finally the third time, I took a smaller car and passed quickly. I still don’t know how I ever passed because I am still terrible at parking!

6. My house is surrounded by fields

I live in a rural farming community, so the land around me is all corn/bean fields. These fields separate my neighbor’s homes from ours. If you look around my home, there is a field north, east, south, and west.

7. Vanilla lattes are my favorite coffee drink

I can’t think of a coffee I don’t like. I like espresso drinks, French press, and regular black coffee. If I had to pick a favorite, it’d be a vanilla latte. Hot or iced it doesn’t matter, it’s always my go-to drink!

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8. I work at a boutique

Fitting, isn’t it? I’ve been working at a boutique for a year now, and before that I worked at an embroidery shop. With both of these jobs I’ve handled clothing every single day. Working at a boutique has been harder because most days I come home with clothing instead of a paycheck! Regardless, I love working at a boutique because I get to put together outfits and get clothes ready for the floor.

9. I love cats

Growing up, we had several cats who lived in our garage and we had a batch of kittens pretty much every year. At one point, we had two batches of kittens at once. Since then we’ve made sure we spay/neuter our animals and have given away a few cats. Now, I only have three cats outside and one living inside. Our indoor cat is named Gus and he is such a baby. He looks like a Siamese, but he’s really just a mix.

10. My mom introduced me to fashion

Thankfully, I had a mother who raised me in the world of fashion. She graduated Indiana University with an Apparel Merchandising degree. I’ve been dressed in the cutest outfits since I was born and she’s still super opinionated when it comes to what I wear. I’d definitely say my mom and I have a similar style. A lot of times when we get ready to go out, we find ourselves accidently matching or coordinating.

11. My brother is a sailor and my boyfriend is an airman

You probably already know this about me if you follow me on Instagram. This really isn’t about me, but it is a huge part of my life. I grew up with a lot of military ideals because my grandfather was in the Navy, so my mom was raised that way too. I remember always having to make my bed with a 45 degree angle, and I didn’t realize until I started having friends over that not every kid makes their bed that way. Now, with my brother being in the Navy and Casey in the Air Force, I’m sure military will continue to be one of the biggest aspects of my life. Here’s a picture of Casey at graduation. I highly doubt my brother wants to be in this post, and due to him being deployed currently I can not ask him if I can include a picture of him!

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12. I’ve been with Casey for over 2 years

Casey and I have been dating for almost two and a half years. Before he left for the Air Force, we spent just about every day together. We’ve changed so much in the past two years, but I’d say his style changed the most. When we started dating, he wore Buckle head to toe, but since then he’s learned to love everything preppy. He cannot wear civilian clothes in public right now, so he’s wearing his ABU’s on most days! We started a vlogging channel together this summer before he left, and plan on vlogging as much as we can when he’s home this Christmas.

13. My favorite dessert is crème brulee

I LOVE crème brulee. It’s my all time favorite dessert. I prefer a small, rich dessert compared to a piece of cake or browines. A macaron is my second favorite dessert, but I’d rather have vanilla crème brulee!

14. My fashion icons are Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, and Jackie Kennedy

I love a classic style, and these women have just that. From Audrey’s iconic little black dress, Jackie’s white pants + black tee, and Grace’s midi skirts these women had impeccable style. Not to mention, they all wore pearls!

15. My favorite season is fall

I love fall because of the cold weather and fashion. Nothing is better than cuddling up on a Sunday morning in fall with a hot cup of coffee. In the fall, the fashion is better because of layering and cozy sweaters. Also, it’s pumpkin spice season!

16. My hair is naturally curly/wavy

I almost always have my hair sleek straight, but my natural hair is a wavy curl. It used to be really curly when I was little (pictured below), but the curls have became looser as I have gotten older. It’s much easier to manage my hair when it is straight, so that is why I rarely wear it natural.

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17. I want to work at a fashion museum in college

Both the colleges I’ve been accepted into have fashion museums, and I’d love to volunteer/work at one. I love history and fashion so the two coming together is a dream for me. I’ve been to the Kent Fashion Museum several times, and I would really like to see the behind the scenes work of getting the exhibits ready!

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18. I’m going on a college visit this Friday

This Friday I’m going to visit the college I plan on attending next year. I’m not going to say what college it is, but I’ve applied and been accepted into Indiana University and Kent State University. Any guess of where I’ll be attending? Follow me on Instagram to see the college I’m visiting this Friday!

I don’t really talk about my personal life on my blog, but I figured since it’s my birthweek I’d change it up a little. Stay tuned this week for more birthday posts and to find out what college I plan on attending next fall!