Liebster Awards!

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Since I started this shiny new blog at the beginning of the year, I feel like I have grown so much as a blogger even though it's only been a few months. There's something about building your own site from the ground up that makes you want to work so much harder! I'm so grateful for all of the sweet people I've gotten to meet and all of the new experiences I've had. I still have a ton to learn but I'm excited to grow! You could imagine my excitement when I saw that not just one but two lovely and talented bloggers nominated me for the Liebster Award! I will have each of their links next to their questions so please check them out because they are incredible. About the award:

The Liebster Award is for bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  I love that there is a limit because some of us less known bloggers can get recognized without getting lost among those that have thousands of followers.

The Rules:

1. Bloggers must link back to the person who originally nominated them.
2. Nominees must answer all of the 11 questions given to them in the nomination.
3. Nominees must choose 11 of their favorite bloggers with under 200 followers to nominate for the award.
4. The blogger nominated cannot nominate the person who originally nominated them.
5. The blogger nominating another blogger must inform that blogger that they are being nominated.

Questions from Jen of Frugal Diaries

1. What inspired you to start blogging?

To be honest, I think I was just really bored. I started blogging on Livejournal back when I was in middle school. This was pre-MySpace, pre-Facebook, and maybe even before AIM?! My friends and I used Livejournal (and then Xanga) to communicate online. I posted a lot of emo song lyrics, quotes, and random anecdotes. Almost ten years later, I'm still doing all those same things, just on a bit of a more professional level. The transition to blog professionally was just so natural to me. I always knew I was meant to work online.

2. What is your goal with blogging?

My main goal is professional growth - and I don't just mean that in financial ways. I am a busy student who also works part-time at a "real" job,  so it's been hard for me in the past to maintain professionalism with my blog. I'm trying really hard this time at communicating with other bloggers, networking, posting consistently, and building relationships with brands. I'm not sure where I want to be long-term, and I honestly don't think my personal site could be my only job. I recently started blogging for an education website and I love it! I think having a nice mix of virtual jobs is exactly what I want to do.

3. What’s one new thing you want to try this year?

I'm going to New York City for BeautyCon! Going to an industry show was at the top of my list, and I'm happy to say I'll be going to one in one of my most lusted after cities.

4. What is something you know now that you wish you knew then?

Know your limits and be your own boss. We hear it all the time, but do we really? Especially with blogging... I tried so hard on some of my previous blogs to 'write what the readers wanted'. And yes, to an extent, that is super important but you have to be satisfying yourself first. It got to a point where I was blogging daily to suit my readers yet I didn't have a social life, I wasn't sleeping, and I didn't find the posts to be of great quality. Don't spread yourself too thin. That goes for everything, not just the Internet.

5. What’s the latest book you read and would you recommend it?

I read "The Other Side of the River: A Story of Two Towns, a Death, and America's Dilemma" by Alex Kotlowitz for an Urban Politics class last semester, and it just really resonated with me. It tells the true story of a young boy from Benton Harbor, Michigan who turns up dead one night. Benton Harbor is known for being extremely low-income and full of criminal activity. The town directly across the river from it - St. Joseph is the complete opposite. A lot of racial tension between the two towns erupts after the death and the author does a really great job highlighting that tension. I grew up not too far from these towns, and have known people from "both sides of the river" so I found it really interesting and also quite sad.

6. What’s the best advice someone ever gave to you?

"Be yourself and everyone will love you." Okay, maybe that's actually a quote from Elle Woods in Legally Blonde but I believe it. I was such a weird kid, like seriously. I went through a phase where I thought I was Hispanic (I actually taught myself Spanish by translating Shakira lyrics with a paper dictionary but that's another story for another time), and then there was my gothic phase (I never really grew out of that one), and then I turned into a party girl for a couple of years. I don't know that I ever consciously felt like I was pretending to be someone else, but I do know that I've always had some innate need to be accepted. It's weird, because I don't have any enemies and I have a ton of Internet friends *thanks* but I still have this deep fear of being judged. I guess the point here is you guys - Internet people, that is - know me for my weirdest, quirkiest, sometimes most obscene qualities and you still like me so... why wouldn't everyone else?

7. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Montreal. My family on my mother's side is French-Canadian and I knew I'd always wanted to visit. I finally got to go when I was 14 or so and I had the time of my life. There is so much I love about that city but I don't want to ramble. You really just have to see it to believe it.

8. What’s your most prized possession?

This is a tie between my Panasonic Lumix G5 and my iPhone 5c. I use each of them to document my life and take photographs so I love them dearly. If I had to choose I think I'd say my Lumix. People make fun of me for shooting with a mirrorless micro four-thirds until they see that the quality is as good (if not better) than a full sized DSLR. It's so great.

9. What’s your favorite quote?

"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do." - Steve Jobs

10. What single quality do you appreciate the most in people?

Kindness. It's that simple. I instantly get turned off of someone when I hear them utter anything sexist, racist, homophobic, or just plain rude. I know that no one is perfect, but it's just not that hard to be kind.

11. What’s your favorite post that you’ve written (please include a link)?

I'm really proud of this interview I did with R&B artist Mariami. I'll be a bit embarrassed if she reads this but I honestly had no idea what I was doing at that point. I got a hold of her on Twitter because I was an obsessed fangirl and somehow she granted me an interview. I remember being so nervous talking to her over Skype but I pulled it off and I think it turned out quite well. She's an incredibly talented, kind-hearted, and beautiful soul. She was so sweet to me and I will always support her.

Questions from Cheri Era:

1. Favorite fashion trend at the moment?

I feel like I live in the Arctic right now so my style has been very casual and comfortable. I love mixing super casual with dressy, like a pullover sweatshirt over a collared shirt or a denim button up under a dressy cardigan. I've been pairing a lot of grandpa sweaters with sexy dresses, too. Also, I'm all about menswear. I can't even count how many oxfords and large face watches I own.

2. Three makeup products you can't live without?

Mascara - I've been loving Benefit's They're Real! Bronzer - I like a warm matte shade, like Maybelline's Dream Sun in Matte Medium. BB Cream - e.l.f.'s new BB cream has been my go-to!

3. TWO of your guilty pleasures

Where do I even start? I'm a sucker for pop-punk. I grew up listening to it, and I think that was the first style of music I truly loved. I always blast it in my car and then turn it down when I stop at a light and people start staring at me, hahaha! And sugar. Specifically vanilla cupcakes, but I'm not picky. I never liked sweets until my 20's and now I can't get enough.

4. Favorite food?

Besides sugar? I make a mean rice & veggie curry dish. I also love Ethiopian food, but I don't get to eat it very often.

5. Your future goal for your blog?

See previous set of questions :) I answered it in #2.

6. How do you relax when you're feeling stressed?

Filming videos really helps me. It sounds weird because it's work, but it's fun. It's nice to get completely lost in a pool of word vomit over a few lipstick shades rather than think about real life problems like schoolwork, family drama, or the weather. It's my little way of forgetting about reality for an hour or two.

7. Two of your favorite blogs?

Besides the two beautiful ladies who nominated me, of course --

Excelsior Lady is not a beauty blog, but I've been following her for a couple years now. She takes brilliant photographs and the design is just so simple and pretty.

The Puzzle of Sandra's Life is a beauty blog and I'm a new fan. Sandra is absolutely stunning, she does brilliant tutorials, and I could listen to her accent all day!

8. Coffee or tea?

I can't wake up without coffee. Tea is on my to-do list.

9. Your resolution for 2014?

I made a blog post about this, I'll link it! Spoiler: so far I've achieved 3/9.

10. A place you've always wanted to visit?

I'd love to visit Jamaica, as it's part of my cultural background and I feel like that's important, you know? To be honest, I want to see everywhere at least once.

11. Favorite store to shop?

I hate to be the stereotypical beauty blogger but I could spend hours in Ulta or Target.