Dealing with Toxic Creator Comparison


Personal Development + Social Media Managing Printables
50 Page Printable Package

As a content creator, it’s so easy to compare yourself to the other influencers out there. Dealing with toxic creator comparison is hard when you may be comparing yourself to their followers, engagement, success, sponsorships, photo quality, style, self image, or growth. And that’s okay, because if we’re all really honest with ourselves, we all do it. 

The point of this post isn’t to teach you how to not compare yourself to others, because that’s inevitable. I’m here to teach you how to recognize the comparison and diminish the negative effect that it has on you. 

So, how can we start recognizing the comparison? I’ll give you a few statements to look out for. If you find yourself saying these things while feeling jealous, unworthy, or less than someone else – you’ve entered the realm of toxic comparison. 

“I wish I had ____.”

“My ____ doesn’t look like theirs.”

“I wish that I was feeling or doing ____.”

“That makes me want to upgrade ____.”

“That makes me wish I was at ____ point in life.”

“That makes me wonder if I’m doing ____ right.”

“That makes me feel like I need to be doing ____, but I haven’t yet.” 

“I’m no longer proud of the progress I’ve made after seeing ____.”

Notice how I called it “toxic comparison”. Why? Because like I said before, comparison is inevitable but it doesn’t have to impact you negatively. 

Toxic comparison is looking at a post and thinking, “Wow, her house looks amazing. I wish that I was able to afford what she can. Maybe if my business was more successful, I’d be able to have a home like that. Am I doing this right? Am I doing enough?” 

But comparison doesn’t have to look like that. It could look like, “Wow, her house looks amazing. I’m sure that she’s worked hard for what she has so maybe I can learn from her or allow her to be an inspiration/motivator for me.” 

That feels much better, right? It’s all about creating a positive mindset for yourself. Think about what you can learn/benefit from seeing something, rather than being disappointed and jealous of what you saw.

So now that we’ve gotten the basics down for recognizing toxic comparison, I want to give you some extra food for thought as creators:

Hold onto your true “why”. What do you want to change? How do you want to benefit others? That should be more important than anything else. If your “why” is for personal gain of money or fame, you need to find something stronger and more meaningful than that – because that won’t sustain you.

Know what value you bring to the table and focus on doing what you do best. You spending time thinking about how someone else’s content or life is “better” than yours serves no good purpose. Just put your head down and get your sh*t done.

Remember that it’s a highlight reel. People don’t post their failures. People don’t post to announce that they’ve lost their job, gained 20 pounds, suffer with depression, or got hurt in a relationship. Just because someone has a nice home, doesn’t mean that every single part of their life is as perfect as the filtered photo of one part of their life. 

If you’re a small creator comparing yourself to someone who has thousands upon thousands of followers – don’t assume that they are better. There are so many possibilities as to why someone could have more growth than you on a social media platform. Maybe they’ve spent more time on the app, maybe they created their profile way before you, maybe they had a video go viral, maybe they’ve posted more and had more exposure, maybe they know exactly how to post to please the algorithm.. The list could go on. Just remember, they aren’t better because they have more followers.

If you’re looking at someone else’s content, wishing yours looked like theirs – use that as your inspo! Obviously you shouldn’t be completely copying what they’re doing, but you can make the idea your own and produce something just as great. And if you feel like you don’t have the resources or know-how, shoot the person a DM & ask, or just do some research and find tutorials or learn how to create on a budget!

This is the last one, and possibly most important. If you’re feeling jealous or insecure everytime that a certain person comes up on your feed – freaking unfollow! Quit making yourself feel bad when you can curate your own feed to inspire you in a positive manner. Follow people who encourage you and make you feel confident in yourself and your abilities. 

To wrap this up, I just want to say that social media is a place where we share pictures or videos of a few minutes in our day. What you see isn’t what’s real because it doesn’t include all aspects of people’s lives – only what they want to share. Choose to focus on your work, what you bring to the table, and what you’re grateful for. Xoxo

If you liked this post, you should also check out:

https://thesopblog.com/category/sis-content/

Post-Grad Unemployment Anxiety Tips: 2021 Edition

POV: You’ve just started post-grad life, you’re unemployed, and anxious to know how things are going to work out. It’s understandable! You’re in a season of big change. Until this point, you’ve been going to school for most of your life, where you’ve been constantly told what to do and when. Now you’re starting the job search, which may feel out of your control, but it’s not! You may be looking for someone else to employ you, but you are still in charge of creating your own path. You just have to rely on your knowledge, capabilities, and decision making to lead you into a career and lifestyle that you love. 

My first piece of advice – control what you can. Maybe you can’t control who will hire you or when, but you can control your routines, attitude, work ethic, and effort put into your search. 

Before anything else, use your free time to do some soul searching before making big decisions. Before you enter the job pool, make sure that you know what you want. Know what you’re passionate about, the tasks you like doing, the strengths you possess, and which careers support and accommodate the lifestyle that you’re looking for. 

Set some post-grad goals and/or create a post-grad plan. Make a note of short and long term goals in all aspects of life, not just career. Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years? Will you be trying to purchase your first home? Will you be starting a family? Where do you want to live? 

These will obviously change over time, but accounting for your other life goals can set the tone for your ideal job. For example, I know that I want to make my own schedule and be present with my family in the future, so I’ve chosen a career that allows me to work from home and be my own boss. 

Treat searching for a job like it’s your job. If you don’t want to spend months looking for employment, you’ll need to put in sufficient time and effort. Block off a certain amount of hours during the day and solely focus on job searching during that time. This way, you’re prioritizing over procrastinating. 

Set routines. If you’re going to treat the job search like a job in itself, you need to plan your day around it! What else do you want to accomplish? Set a routine for when to wake up, when to get your exercise in, when to start “work”, when to socialize, etc. 

Do at least 3 productive things every day. More than likely, you won’t instantly find a job. And sometimes, searching without results can feel discouraging and unproductive. So make sure that you’re doing 3 things every day that make you feel proud of yourself, then write them down! That way, you’ll have a record of your progress. 

Find a temporary job until you find the right one, if necessary. If you are in a position where you need to worry about where the next paycheck is coming from – find a temporary job. It may not be glamorous or your ideal position, but it can get you through until you do find your end-goal career. 

Give yourself grace during this time! This is uncharted territory for you, and you won’t instantly figure out the lay of the land. You don’t have to have everything planned out or immediately jump into an extremely successful career. Take a deep breath and use this transitionary period as a chance to discover yourself and your wants! 

That’s all that I have for you! Just keep one last thing in mind: Don’t live for the future. Plan for the future, but make sure that you are present and enjoying the life that you are currently living. What’s meant for you will come in it’s own time! xoxo



Growing Self Confidence: Advice for Women in their 20’s

Ready for this growing self confidence advice? Take it from someone who’s spent 90% of her life extremely self conscious: Confidence is liberating. I never understood how much anxiety and stress came with insecurities until I gained the confidence I’d needed so badly. 

Once you become confident in yourself and start to understand what you deserve, you will attract amazing things. How? When you know what you bring to the table and understand what you deserve, you don’t settle for less than that. Confidence shows you that you can be self sufficient enough to wait for better things to come, because you know they’re coming.

If you’re ready to let go of certain beliefs and find that confidence, here’s my advice for you:

You were not made for everyone. You could be coffee and some people will prefer tea. It doesn’t mean that one is better than the other, it’s just a personal preference. But their personal preference doesn’t make you any less of a person. The good thing is, you weren’t created to please others. Your life is yours and you should be living it as so. 

Recognize and use your strengths to your best ability. It’s extremely hard to be confident if you don’t know what value you bring to the table. Find your strengths and focus on them. What’s something that you’ve pushed through? What’s something you’ve accomplished? What’s your favorite quality about yourself?

Believe in your ability to work through hard things. Confidence is shown when you’re in a hard season but you know that you’re able to push yourself through it, no matter what comes your way. How can you have that faith in yourself? Look at what you’ve survived in the past. What strengths do you have that you could apply in this situation? 

You deserve great things. You deserve to be happy, unconditionally loved, and valued. You deserve to chase your dreams, feel like you’re constantly becoming your best self, find healthy relationships, and so much more. You deserve the world, and you don’t have to hold certain qualities to deserve those amazing things.

Looks do not define you. You are more than a body or a physical appearance. You are your strengths, your heart, your mind, the way you treat others, and so much more. People will not love you because of the way you look, they will love you because of the way that you make them feel. Think about it this way: I’m sure you know someone that is physically attractive, but their personality makes them a complete turn off. Right? Prime example that demonstrates that looks aren’t everything. 

Lastly, you have to unconditionally love yourself, even when you aren’t happy with yourself. At some point in your life, you are 100% bound to mess things up, fail, and have regrets. But confidence is knowing that your failure doesn’t define you. You can fail without being a failure. Just figure out how to pivot and grow from the situation. 

You are allowed to feel confident. You are supposed to feel confident. You’re holding yourself back when you hold onto the insecurities. Realize your value and don’t settle! xoxo

Creating SMART Goals In Order to Follow Through in 2021

Are you one of those people who starts off the new year with 10 different goals but ends it by maybe accomplishing one or two? It’s okay! There’s still hope. I bet you aren’t even the problem, it’s how you set your goals.

Before we get into the post, I want to share my SMART goal planner template that you can fill out at home! 


SMART Goal Planner on Etsy

Alright, so let me take a guess at some of the goals you’ve attempted to set over the years.. You want to lose weight/exercise/eat healthier, get organized, wake up earlier, start reading, learn a new skill, quit a bad habit, or spend more time away from social media.. Have I gotten one yet?

The problem with all of these goals is that they’re too broad! You have to dig deeper and think about the steps that go into those goals. Think of it this way – It’s like you telling someone who’s never baked before that they need to make a velvet cake by (x) date without giving them the directions to make it. They may have the motivation and materials, but they need to have a recipe or guidelines to follow to be successful. So, how do we create guidelines for broad goals? Having SMART Goals.

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Attainable

R – Relevant

T – Timely

You’ve probably heard that a million times before in your PE class or guidance counselors office, but it’s because it’s a really good method.

To explain this a little further.. I feel like losing weight is one of the most common goals, so we’ll look at the process through that lens.

To make it more specific, think about why you want to lose weight: To tone a certain area of your body? To fit back into old clothes? To genuinely improve your health? To hit a certain number on the scale? To feel confident again? Think about the reasoning behind the goal. Once you’ve found it – that’s the new goal, not “losing weight”.

How you measure your goal will obviously depend on what it is, but putting it into numbers is usually helpful. For example, if you want to start reading, read (x) pages per day. Weight loss is a bit of an exception because looking at numbers can get obsessive and/or dangerous. Obviously, you can look at a scale, BMI, or body measurements. I don’t personally recommend that process for everyone, so if you want to stray away from a scale or numbers, take progress photos or have a “goal” outfit that you can work up to. If you’re wanting to measure confidence or genuine health (best way to go about weight loss), you can write down on a daily/weekly basis how you are feeling about yourself, body, health, etc.

The next step is making it attainable. Goals have to be realistic. Otherwise, you’re going to feel so overwhelmed that you’re not going to want to work towards it at all. You shouldn’t be trying to lose 20 pounds in a month or promising yourself that you’ll spend 2 hours in the gym every single day. Try 5-7 pounds a month and a minimum of a 30 minute workout. If you can do more, great! Start with a smaller goal that you know you’ll be able to achieve, and then work from there. Let yourself collect some wins on the way to the bigger goals instead of setting the bar higher than you can reach.

Next, we’re looking at relevance. What do you need to be doing to achieve this goal? What is absolutely essential? What are some things that you could probably cut out? If you’re going to put time and energy towards your goal – make sure that it’s spent well. What’s relevant or essential to weight loss? Eating nutritious foods, staying active throughout the week, drinking water, getting sleep, etc. What could you cut out of this process? Possibly drinking, snacking on desserts multiple times a day, etc.

Lastly, we need to make sure that our goals are timely. I think of this in two ways – making sure that you have time to accomplish these goals and having a timeline for how you’ll achieve them. To make sure you have the time, schedule it in! Set aside (x) amount of time to go to the gym during the week or (x) amount of time to meal prep. Once you’ve realistically scheduled in that time, create a timeline. Take your measurements and put a date on them – lose (x) amount of weight this month, feel (x) way about yourself within the next couple of weeks, etc.. Just put a date on it.

Creating SMART goals helps narrow your focus on what you want, and then gives you the roadmap to help you get where you need to go. What are some of your goals for the rest of 2020? How will you specify them and follow through?

Becoming Independent from Other People, Objects, & Habits

From personal experience, I believe that we can be dependent on three different things: other people, objects, or habits. There’s nothing wrong with being dependent on others in certain situations. We’re human and sometimes we need to lean on and be with others. Trust me, it’s normal. But it does become an issue when you are dependent on others to the extent that you can’t effectively go about your day without someone by your side. The same can be applied to objects and habits – sometimes they can be helpful, but they can also be harmful when heavily depended upon. 

Unhealthy dependency can take many forms. Here are some examples: 

  • Depending on a person for confidence or affection
  • Depending on others to accomplish tasks
  • Needing someone to help you process and work through hard situations 
  • Constantly wanting people around for entertainment 
  • Being dependent on an object to cope (ex: foods, substances)
  • Depending on a habit (ex: looking at your phone when you first wake up, watching hours of tv when you’re bored)

Becoming independent is not easy. It requires regularly bringing yourself out of your comfort zone to change previous beliefs and behaviors.

Independency from People

As you’d expect, the way to become independent is taking a step back from other people. My first tip is to learn how to hang out with yourself. Stop constantly asking other people to hang out just to prevent you from being bored. Instead, find a hobby that you can invest your energy in when you’re alone. And if you’re wondering, that hobby shouldn’t be watching Netflix. Find something that actually fulfills and excites you. Blogging has been a great hobby for me because I always have a go-to when I’m bored!

Ever since moving to a larger city, the main thing that I’ve struggled with is doing things in public on my own. In the past, I’d find a friend to tag along so I wouldn’t be facing things alone. While it was nice to have someone do it with me, I found myself always procrastinating to match other people’s schedules. Eventually, that got really annoying. The resolution for this has been blunt and straightforward – I’ve told myself to suck it up. People won’t always be there to hold your hand, so it’s better to learn how to do things on your own now. So, suck it up and then find a way to reward yourself after completing the task. For example, if I go to the grocery store alone, I’ll allow myself to grab a Mountain Dew. It sounds silly but I normally don’t let myself drink them, so it’s just a small reward for getting out of my comfort zone.

Another way to be self sufficient is by learning to process hard situations on your own. In all honesty, no one will care about your problems as much as you do, so you may as well learn how to handle them on your own. And again, people aren’t always going to be there to hold your hand. We all handle hard things in different ways, so it’s up to you to figure out the best way for you to go about that. (I handle problems by journaling and praying to process and understand. I also like running to release stress.) Just take the situation into your own hands and ask yourself what you need to do in order to move on. Of course, you can still reach out to friends for help or advice, but keep in mind that they aren’t your therapist.

You can also grow in your independence by practicing regular self-reflection. Why? Self reflection is taking the responsibility to grow, and that personal growth is important because you need to be happy with you in order to “hang out” with yourself, to rely on yourself, and to trust yourself. Become someone who inspires you and you will create the confidence that you need to be independent. 

Disconnecting from your phone can also be a huge help in becoming more self sufficient. Even if you are choosing to spend more time independently, you aren’t really alone until you can turn off the phone and truly disconnect from other people. Take an hour out of the day to put the phone away and spend intentional time on what’s important to you.

Lastly, to my ladies.. Stop relying on a man to complete the “manly” tasks! Right after a breakup, I was moving into a new place so I built a desk and a huge set of shelves. I had to use all of my strength to move them around my house, but I did it. I swear I’ve never felt more independent and empowered. You are stronger and more capable than you think. 

Idependency from Objects and Habits

I think the easiest way to become independent from objects and habits is realizing what triggers you to give certain responses, then training yourself to react differently. Here’s some examples:

Stress eating 

  • Object: Comfort food
  • Trigger: Uncomfortable or stressful situation 
  • Habit/Reaction: Using comfort food as a coping mechanism
  • Change: Change the way you respond to the trigger by choosing a different habit than eating when stressed (ex: run instead of eat)

Checking your phone before getting out of bed in the morning

  • Object: Phone 
  • Trigger: Waking up
  • Habit/Reaction: Checking texts, social media, etc
  • Change: Change the way you respond to the trigger by establishing a task (other than checking the phone) to accomplish when you first wake up

To bring this post to an end, I’d just like to say that independence is powerful. Being able to fully support yourself is a hard task, but it will bring you so much success. So invest energy into yourself, spend time with yourself, trust yourself, and you will do great things!

Since My Mental Health Diagnosis: Why You Should Ask for Help

In honor of today being World Mental Health Day, I wanted to share a little bit more about my mental health recovery and why I’m so glad that I finally decided to seek help!

I think a lot of people are scared to get mental help because they are afraid of what they’ll find out about themselves or they fear the recovery process. From my personal view, my diagnosis was a complete shock to me and it was much ‘worse’ than I expected. But hearing those four terms didn’t change anything. It didn’t make my circumstances worse, I just finally found the definition for what I was feeling. Having that definition helped me figure out what I needed to do to get better. The point is, you can’t fix something if you don’t know what’s wrong. If I didn’t hear those four words, I’m 100% confident that I wouldn’t be in the place that I am today.

As for the recovery process, it obviously wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy, but I promise you that it was much easier than living in an unending pain where I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. Recovery is hard and it takes time, but every step you take makes it easier. Each step reminds you that you are strong enough to work through this and it shows you that there is a happy ending waiting for you. In a way, recovery was exciting to me. I knew I had work to do, but I was so happy to know that I actually didn’t have to feel the way I’d felt for so long, and I was working on giving that up.

I still consider myself in recovery. I’ve done the bulk of the work that I need to do, but I know that there is always room for improvement. Disorders like mine don’t just disappear, but you can learn how to work with them and still be happy.

So if there are any of you out there that need an extra push to start this journey, I want to share how my life has changed since I got my diagnosis..

One of the things that I struggled with most pre-recovery was how tired and sick I felt all the time. I woke up tired after a full night’s rest and still took a 4 hour nap on a daily basis. On top of that, I always had a headache/migraine that was so bad that it made it hard for me to simply think. And when things got really bad, I would get stomach aches, start shaking, have a nervous/nauseous feeling, etc. Now, I rarely ever nap, my headaches have significantly decreased, and I almost never feel sick like that. But just to be clear with this one, this wasn’t a mental/emotional improvement that I could have worked on to make this transition, this has come solely from medication.

The second thing that has significantly improved is my motivation and productivity. I think that the medication has helped in a sense because it’s given me the energy, but I also had to teach myself that if I wanted results in any aspect of life, I had to put in work. Being motivated and productive is really important to me because I thrive off of knowing that I made use of the day and gave it a purpose.

The way that I speak to myself has completely changed. Mental illness can make you feel so unworthy and unimportant. Before recovery, I spoke to myself in such a toxic way. Every “problem” that I had with myself was my focus, especially when it came to my appearance. I thought being mean to myself was a good form of encouragement to do better. For example, I would use my frustration about the way my body looked to fuel my motivation for exercise. But now, I think of exercise as a way to praise my body and fuel it to feel better – and it makes me want to workout so much more.

My confidence has significantly improved as well. Changing the way that I spoke to myself made a huge difference. I also stopped striving for perfection. I asked myself what difference would it truly make to feel physically “perfect”, and I realized that I would still have a lot of the same issues that I do now. So instead of hating the body that I was in, I praised it for the things that it allowed me to do – like travel, hug my loved ones, get out of bed in the morning, etc. When I started working out for the right reasons, I created a body that I proudly worked for. Even aside from physical appearance, when I became more productive I felt proud of myself. Working through all of my issues made me feel strong and resilient. I started focusing on the reasons to appreciate myself instead of the things that I needed to fix.

Becoming more confident and realizing my value has really changed the game for me. Understanding that I matter and my wants/needs matter has allowed me to start prioritizing myself and doing what’s best for me. I’ve also learned to cut off the people who don’t recognize my value or don’t treat me as if I have any, which has made me appreciate myself more in the long run. It’s so much better to have confidence and freedom instead of toxic relationships that can bring happy moments from time to time.

Recovery has made me realize how intertwined mental and physical health are. So now, I’ve made it a routine to workout at least 5x a week. Honestly, I’m still not “perfect” with the way that I eat, but I’ve incorporated more healthy meals and perfection isn’t the goal. I’m proud of the changes because I feel more energized, less lethargic and bloated.. I just feel healthy now!

This process has made me realize what my triggers are and how I can avoid them. I realized that being alone for long periods of time really triggers my anxiety and nightmares. I realized that certain people can make me act impulsive to match their energy. I realized that having a dirty room makes me feel extremely overwhelmed.. So, now you won’t catch me fueling those triggers.

I also realized that you can’t avoid all of your triggers or unwanted situations, so I learned how to cope with things in a healthy way. Some of my favorite ways to cope are journaling, taking a break to distract myself with something like Netflix, or heading out for a hard run.

I also had to find things that made me genuinely happy. I realized that I’d been so unhappy for so long because I never had anything (healthy) that I truly cared about and enjoyed. I love taking time to blog, nights with my girlfriends, going for runs, etc.

Lastly, I’ve become gratitude focused, “glass half full” if you will, which makes me feel so much more positive. Being thankful for the things I have took away from being upset about the things that I didn’t.

If you are questioning if something is wrong, or if you have a little gut feeling that you could be doing better than you are – ask for help. Know that you don’t always have to feel your best or pretend like you do to please others. You should value yourself more than other’s opinions and work towards the day where you feel genuinely happy. Reach out, ask for help, and get ready to put in the work. 🙂

Happy World Mental Health Day!

Dry, Sensitive Skin Approved Products to Clear & Hydrate

After sharing about my previous skincare story and tips I’ve learned over the years, I figured it’d be a great time to share some of my favorite products that helped me transform my skin! Most of the products I have to share are topical creams, cleansers, or serums, but I also have a few supplements that really changed the game for me. There’s a good range of products here, so I hope you can find something that works for you!



Before we get into the products, I wanted to share my skincare routine printable! It allows you to assess what products and routines are proving to be effective or harmful, so you can make the necessary modifications. There are many reasons that your skin may be having a breakout/issue: product, product usage frequency, routine frequency, product combinations, and more – so make sure you’re keeping track of it all!

Supplements

OLLY: Flawless Complexion Dietary Supplement Gummies, 50 CT. $14. – Bought at Target.

This has been the most helpful product that I’ve ever used for acne reduction. After one day of using them, I was able to tell that my face had reduced redness and pigmentation. A close friend even noticed a difference after the first day. After taking them for about a week, I saw a huge reduction in my cystic acne. After a few weeks, I stopped having cystic breakouts in general. After I’d been taking it for a few months, I’d actually forgotten to get more of the product for about a week. By the time I was actually able to find a store with them in stock, my face had completely returned to square one. I’ve been using them for about a month since then, and my clear face has been restored.. Literal game changer!!

Plexus: ProBio 5. $36-42 – Bought on website.

As many of you know, I am an ambassador for Plexus. I’ve spoken about this product before, but it’s also been a crucial part of helping my skin. Even though the OLLY gummies were able to help with my cystic acne, I still had little skin colored bumps on my face. I don’t know what they originated from, but I noticed a significant reduction of those once I started taking this probiotic. I also noticed that it helped with the redness and pigmentation of my skin as well. (Shameless plug, but if you are interested in getting some of these, shoot me a message and I’ll set you up with some discounts.)

High End Topicals

Kypris: Antioxidant Dew Serum. $90. – Received from Boxycharm.

This product is extremely expensive, I know. I actually was sent the product in a BoxyCharm box, or else I would have never even tried it. But girl, I have fallen in love! As I told you guys earlier, I have skin that gets so dry that it literally peels off in the winter. With this serum, it absolutely never happens! It also does a great job of evening out my skin tone. I swear, worth every penny for my dry skin girls. I will be repurchasing soon!

Clinique: Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector and Optimizer. $52 – Bought from Ulta.

As I mentioned before, even when my acne is at it’s best, I still have dark scars. I haven’t used this product consistently enough to truly know the long term effects because I cycle different products throughout the week. But, in the times that I have used it, I’ve really liked it. The product has a jelly texture and it feels cooling, calming, and lightweight. It leaves a noticable difference of an even skin tone (overnight). However, I think this product is more for the oily girls. It doesn’t really dry my face out, but it also doesn’t add any extra hydration. Lastly, this product smells really good!!

Dr. Brandt: Hydro Biotic Recovery Sleeping Mask. $52. – Received from BoxyCharm.

I actually don’t use this product overnight, I just use it whenever I don’t wear makeup. It has a jelly consistency like the clinique, so it’s also cooling and refreshing. It just leaves my skin really hydrated and evens my skin tone a little as well. Honestly, I think of this as the cheaper/jelly version of the Kypris serum. The results aren’t as great as the Kypris, but it still works really well – at about half the price.

Glam Glow: Gentle Bubble Daily Conditioning Cleanser. $28. – Received from BoxyCharm.

I used this product a lot over the winter when my face was super dry and irritated. As it says, it’s extremely gentle on sensitive skin. I actually looked over this product with a dermatologist and she recommended that I use it because the ingredient list was so short and she liked what it contained. I don’t think that it improved my skin in any way, but I just really liked how gentle it was. My face was so irritated that it actually hurt to wash my face, so this was super helpful.

Makeup Eraser: The Original Makeup Eraser. $20. – Received from BoxyCharm.

I use this in two different ways. 1) Makeup wipe, makeup eraser, cleanser or 2) Makeup eraser, jelly cleanser, cleanser. I don’t think that this product takes 100% of your makeup off, just like any other wipes you’d use, but I do think that it’s good to add into a multiple step process. Also, they are machine washable so they are reusable and good for the environment!

Drug Store Topicals

Neutrogena: Hydro Boost Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Cleansing Gel. $8. – Bought at Target.

I’ve liked this product for the price. I think it’s great for the super dry girls that don’t want to spend a bunch of money on a face wash! It also smells super good. Just be careful, some people do break out from this line because of the added scent.

Your Good Skin: Moisturizing Make-Up Remover Wipes. $5. – Bought at Ulta.

I love this brand! I need to try more from them. I started using these wipes during the winter when it was extremely painful to take off my makeup or wash my face. I was amazed at how much these helped. I didn’t feel like they really moisturized my face, but my face was so dry at that point that it was hard to tell if anything helped. Thankfully, it took away most of the pain of removing makeup and didn’t leave a gross oily residue after.

Your Good Skin: Pore Minimizing Tonic. $5. – Bought at Ulta.

I had to quit using this over the winter because I wasn’t able to use toners at all (they dry you out). But, when I was able to use this, it helped my acne tremendously. It also helped reduce the appearance of the dark marks on my face. I’m going to try to start using this again in the summer, and I’ll give you guys an update then. But for my oily girls, you should really check this out!

Mario Badescu: Drying Mask. $18. – Bought at Ulta.

When I was more oily, I would use this all the time. It did help with my acne and definitely did the job of drying my face out. The product lasts a long time as well, which helps because you shouldn’t do it more than twice a week. The only thing I didn’t like about the product was the smell.. That part is terrible. But, once it’s done – it’s done.

Ponds: Clarant B3 Dark Spot Correcting Cream. $8. – Bought at Target.

This is just a cheaper way to get rid of the dark scars and marks left over from acne. I like to put this on under my makeup in combination with the Kypris serum to hydrate my face before my foundation cracks. It’s a great, inexpensive cream.

Aveeno: Clear Complexion Cream Cleanser With Salicylic Acid. $7. – Bought at Target.

This is a very gentle product that leaves my skin feeling really soft and hydrated. Most cleansers leave my face feeling stripped and irritated by fragrance or exfoliants, but this product just feels really simple and natural. They also have a clear complexion foaming cleanser as well. I have both, but I mainly use the cream product. It’s the cleanser that I am currently using, and I don’t see myself switching.

Doctor Prescribed

Adapalene: I’m unsure of the brand or price because it was dermatologist prescribed. This is what I use to fight the cystic acne that I get from time to time. I use it on the little pimples as well, but there are plenty of topical treatments that could probably help those, too. This has been a life saver, since I’ve learned to use it in the right way. In the beginning, I was putting it all over my face (in conjunction with moisturizer) and it was burning the frick out of my face. I felt like I had permanent sunburn.. In the winter. Now, I just put it over the blemish itself, and it goes away within a day or two – pain free!

Curology: A lot of you have heard of Curology somewhere on social media, I’m sure. They have a 3 piece system: a moisturizer, cleanser, and personalized prescription for your skin’s needs. I use the moisturizer on a daily basis because I think it’s formula is really hydrating without feeling greasy. I liked the cleanser because it was gentle and effective. As for the personalized product, I haven’t used it recently because I’ve laid off using extra products on my face. I used it more often in the past, but I wasn’t consistent with it so I didn’t see good results.

Alright, so that’s all I’ve got for now! Hopefully you guys were able to find something that could really benefit you. If you give any of these a try or have any good skincare recommendations (especially for dry and sensitive skin), shoot me a DM on Instagram! Have a great week 🙂

Skincare Tips for Cystic Acne, Dehydrated + Sensitive Skin

My Story

I’ve struggled with cystic acne since I was in middle school. I’ve been on and off medications, and I really had no idea what worked for me until I really started doing the research. I spent a few months with a dermatologist and still couldn’t find a solution. I was extremely close to starting Accutane, a very harsh medication that you take for severe acne. Thankfully, I found a few different products and learned what regime works for me. In addition to that, I had to make a few lifestyle changes to really make a solid difference.

In the past, the winters were terrible. My face dried out so badly that my skin started peeling and my cystic acne hit its worst points. For a few months, my skin was in constant pain. It was really painful to put on or take makeup off, but it was basically pointless to put it on in the first place because it couldn’t even hide the dryness or acne. Luckily, I had it a little easier in the summers. I always made sure to stay in the sun so I could keep a tan and clear face. I had significantly less breakouts and my skin was much more hydrated than it was in the winter months. But, until this past year, I was ignorant to the importance of sunscreen so I’ve been left with sun damage and a few too many wrinkles for a 21 year old.

What I Did Wrong

Since middle school, I’ve tried to buy all the products to help my skin. I tried proactive, curology, and every other product that I found with good reviews or a promising description. My “skincare routines” were anywhere from 3-5 steps every night. At the time, I thought that was a good thing but I was actually over treating my skin. I also never researched the ingredients of the products I used because I just trusted the claims on the bottle or the reviews that I saw. I failed to realize that some products just didn’t work well with me, I just figured that it was my body/skin’s fault that it was getting worse.

I also really never understood the effect that my diet had on my skin. After deciding to do some “testing” on what did and didn’t work, I now know that I can’t consume dairy, soda, or french fries for multiple days and have clear skin. Funny how the things we love the most can be the worst for us.. But in all seriousness, if you’re struggling with acne, you should eliminate parts of your diet for a specific period of time to see what could be causing the breakouts.

What I’ve Learned

Over these last few months, I’ve completely turned my skin around. I still have scarring from acne and sun damage, and unfortunately I’m not sure if that will ever go away. But on the other hand, I rarely break out, my skin is more hydrated, and it’s not in constant pain – so I’m considering that a win! Here are some of the tips that I’ve learned to make these significant changes 🙂

Don’t..

  • Drink caffeine. Aside from the obvious coffee, soda, or teas.. I realized that even taking my pre workout was making my face a lot worse.
  • Always trust a dermatologist. I went to one for months and my skin didn’t get better until I started listening to my own body.
  • Eat poorly 24/7. A lot of the sugary, fatty, or carby foods that we all love are the worst for our skin. Like I said before, eliminate foods for a while to see what is/isn’t working for you!
  • Skip taking your makeup off or washing your face. You are honestly asking for a breakout if you skip it!
  • Go to the gym with makeup on. Your pores open up when you sweat and you don’t want the makeup to clog your pores.
  • Pop acne or touch your face. If you have to pop something, use a specific acne popping tool. They are super cheap and can be found on Amazon, at TJ Maxx, etc. They help eliminate the scarring.
  • Put too much product on your face – whether that be makeup, self tanner, or skin care products. Let your skin breathe.
  • Use abrasive scrubs or peels too often. This will irritate your skin.
  • Use expired products. Check the dates!
  • Use products with a lot of ingredients. Simple = better!

Do

  • I can’t stress this enough, but wear your freaking sunscreen. I ignored this for so many reasons – I thought it broke me out, I didn’t think I would get as tan with it on, I didn’t like the way that it felt on my skin, etc. But if you do your research, you can find a sunscreen that doesn’t break you out or feel greasy, while still protecting your face from sun damage and wrinkles.
  • Drink as much water as possible. Good for hydration and clearing skin.
  • Try a jelly makeup removing cleanser instead of wipes because wipes can dry your face out, leave a lot of unseen makeup behind, and irritate your skin. Use a makeup removing cleanser and then immediately follow up with your regular cleanser.
  • When introducing new products to your skin, try them out one at a time. Try one for a few weeks and see if that works before starting something else, even if it has different uses/benefits. If you’re trying a bunch of new things at once, you will never know what the true cause is if you have a breakout.
  • Research what products will be best for you and your skin type.
  • Manage and regulate your stress levels. High stress can cause acne.
  • Wash your face twice a day (timing it right if you do workout/sweat or wear makeup).
  • Keep your makeup brushes and applicators clean.
  • Moisturize daily – even if you have oily skin. I thought I had oily skin, but it turns out that my skin was so dry that it was overproducing oil in an attempt to compensate.
  • Let your face breathe once in a while, don’t wear makeup every day. Don’t clog the pores too much.
  • Wash face immediately after sweating.
  • Talk to a dermatologist! They may be able to discover things about your skin that you didn’t originally notice. Just take their advice with a grain of salt because sometimes you actually do know best.

So, I hope you guys can learn from my mistakes and use some of these tips that I’ve learned over the years! In my next skincare related post, I’ll share some of my favorite products for clearing up my skin and keeping it hydrated. Have a great week! 🙂


Skincare Routine Worksheet on Etsy


Unspoken Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

I recently realized that I subconsciously haven’t wanted to speak much on my bipolar disorder because of the huge stigma that it carries. Once I realized that I’d been avoiding it, my first thought was to make a post because that’s why I created this blog – to erase the stereotypes and stigmas that mental health disorders have.

I want to start out by saying that not all people with bipolar disorder are “crazy”. In fact, when I told my friends and family, they were in genuine disbelief. Even I was confused when I’d first received the diagnosis. But as I learned more about the unspoken symptoms of bipolar disorder, I started to understand.

But before I get into the more unspoken symptoms, I want to address the common assumptions of bipolar disorder. A lot of people believe it’s rapid mood swings, super impulsive decisions, risky behavior, unwarranted overreactions, or someone possibly wanting to hurt themselves or others. I’ll be honest with you, these are symptoms of bipolar disorder. But when these symptoms are stated, people assume the worst situation possible. For example, when people hear “impulsive decisions” they assume something like crashing a car or maxing out a credit card. But for some of us, those “impulsive decisions” can be saying something without thinking first or making last minute plans to go out instead of doing homework.

The point of explaining this is to let you know that society portrays mental health disorders as much worse than they typically are. Yes, it’s possible for someone with bipolar disorder to crash their car, but it’s not common. It’s an extreme example of the disorder. You can still feel or seem “normal” when you’re bipolar.

Now that we’ve discussed that, I want to share how bipolar disorder affects my life. Even though I know other people with the disorder who experience the same things, I will not speak for them. But as you’ll see, my responses don’t really fall in line with the common assumptions of bipolar disorder.

My most “severe” or overwhelming symptom is my changed motivation levels. I have weeks where I want to spend every waking moment doing something productive. After that, I have weeks where I never want to leave the couch. Basically, I’ll spend a few weeks accomplishing double of what I should be, and then I crash for the next few weeks and do the absolute bare minimum.

My motivation is basically all dependent on my changing energy levels. When I have a lot of energy, I sleep a lot less to get more done. I wake up early to get a good workout in. I can focus a lot better on work, so I try to work as much as possible while I know that I have the motivation. But when I don’t have the energy, I skip the workout. I procrastinate on the work. I become a couch potato.

I also find it very hard to remember things. I have the worst memory out of anyone that I know. Not being dramatic, I wouldn’t be surprised if I was told that I had short term memory loss. Here’s a few examples..

  • I’ll be in the middle of a sentence and completely forget what I’m saying and never remember.
  • I completely forget about things that happened the day before.
  • I can’t ever tell a story because I leave out huge details (because I forgot).
  • I have to take notes on every reading and bring them to every lecture because I know that I won’t remember what I read 5 minutes later.
  • I lose things frequently. (ex: where I park my car, the phone I had in my hand 2 minutes ago.)
  • I can’t trust myself to remember anything important – due dates, personal details about friends, instructions, etc.

I really struggle with this. It’s really frustrating to not be able to trust yourself with important information, especially when it affects other people as well. Luckily, basically everyone that knows me is aware of my situation and knows how to work around it. They’ll text me things that they’d like me to remember or just remind me themselves. For me, I write down everything that’s important and frequently set reminders.

I think one of the main reasons that I can’t remember things is because I can’t concentrate. I have so many racing thoughts going on in my head 24-7. I just have so many different emotions, thoughts, and worries about things that my brain never shuts off. I have literally never just sat down and thought about nothing in my entire life, even when I’m trying to sleep.

On a different note, I have depression and anxiety but sometimes I have unexplained sadness and/or anxiety for longer periods of time, which I contribute to bipolar disorder. I don’t know how to explain it to someone who doesn’t experience it themselves, but it’s almost like a different type of depression or anxiety when I hit a bipolar low. The symptoms worsen, but for no reason, like nothing happened to cause it. When I hit bipolar lows like this, I undertake a lot of physical tolls like headaches, stomach aches, and jitteriness.

One of the things that I hate most about bipolar lows is my change in appetite and weight. In the past, I’ve always coped with feelings by eating. It’s something that I’m improving at this point, but I’m not out of the woods yet.

I also feel guilt – like I can’t do anything right. I feel weak because I’m sad and anxious for absolutely no reason. I feel angry and upset that I don’t have the power to control it and move on from it. I also get upset because I usually don’t accomplish anything while I’m in bipolar lows.

I’ve also noticed that being bipolar really affects my social life. When I’m happy and energetic, I want to hang out with other people. But when I’m not doing so well or I’m super tired, I don’t want to see anyone. I am a suffer in silence type of person, so sometimes I’ll want to go days without seeing people.

Irritation/anger has also been a symptom for me. I don’t personally believe that I portray that to others because I would never want to project onto someone else, treat others poorly, or even let people know that I’m upset. But when I’m in a bipolar low – so many things irritate me. It’s extremely pitiful if I’m being honest. I can get irritated by a little things like a comment that someone says (that I’d normally easily excuse) or by freaking dropping my pen. It’s weird.

Lastly, and probably least importantly, I can’t ever make a decision. I can’t decide where to go to dinner, what time to go to the gym, what outfit to wear, where to live after graduation, etc. I know that most of those things are very little decisions, I honestly just couldn’t think of more important ones.. You get the point though.

Whew.. I feel like that was a lot, but I just wanted to express that being bipolar isn’t always a scary or crazy thing. It can apply to very normal situations and people. Which one surprised you the most??

Also somewhat in relation to bipolar disorder, I took a social media/blog hiatus. It feels good to be back and sharing important things! I know a lot of people wanted to see this blog post to get more informed on bipolar disorder, so feel free to reach out to me on Instagram (@carmenreynolds) or Pinterest (@thesopblog) with any questions! Other than that, have a great week! 🙂

9 Inspiring People to Follow on Instagram

Social media will give you the result that you ask for. And what you ask for is determined by who you follow. 

So, if you’re constantly asking to see the successful and beautiful women who edit their photos with a fancy preset, only show the highlight reels, and pretend that life is all sunshine and rainbows – that’s the unrealistic standard that you will subconsciously set for yourself. 

But if you ask to follow women who post pictures without makeup, show you their fat rolls, tell you when they’re having a bad day, and give you tips on how to improve your life – you will let go of the unrealistic standard because you’ll finally see that people don’t always live the glamorous lives that they portray to live.  

If you constantly follow content that makes you feel jealous and unworthy, that’s what is going to stick with you. But if you’re constantly following inspiring and uplifting content, that is how you will feel. So, choose wisely. You get to determine how social media affects your mindset. 

I’m going to give a large variety of people to follow. There are accounts for overall self development, business, body positivity and self love, faith, and more. In upcoming posts, I’m going to niche down and pick one topic, like body positivity, and give a larger list.. But I need more time to get my thoughts together for that. So, we’ll go ahead and get into it. I will share every person’s Instagram handle in case you’d like to check them out! 

Rachel Hollis, @msrachelhollis – 

If you are a regular reader of mine, you probably know that Rachel Hollis is my queen and forever role model. She is a motivational speaker, author, host of a podcast, blogger, mama of 4 kids, and so many other things. I don’t know how she does it all. I found her by randomly deciding to read her book, Girl, Wash Your Face. It motivated me to get down to the root of my mental health issues, love myself, create healthy habits, stay motivated to accomplish goals, and work hard AF. Since reading her first book, my life has genuinely changed so much. I have now read her other book, Girl, Stop Apologizing, followed her on all socials, attended her online “RISE” personal development conference, and more. If you don’t follow anyone else on this list, just make sure that you follow her. You won’t regret it. 

Dave Hollis, @mrdavehollis –

You guessed it, Dave Hollis is (well.. was) Rachel’s husband. They recently divorced. Nevertheless, he is one of my greatest role models as well. I’ve also read his book, Get Out of Your Own Way. The book was basically about his journey of personal growth and all the lies that he had to stop believing before he could truly grow. The book was written for people who are/have been skeptical of personal development, because he was at one point too. Following Dave on social media has really enforced me to stay motivated to accomplish goals – especially when it comes to working out. Also, he posts the CUTEST freaking videos with their adopted daughter, Noah. I am obsessed with her.   

Jenna Kutcher, @jennakutcher –

Jenna Kutcher is many things. Mainly, she is the definition of a boss babe, and holds titles of a business coach and entrepreneur. Jenna has her own blog, podcast, e-courses, and more. So if you are a small blogger/influencer, she’s definitely one that will have some free resources for you (and some great paid ones as well). Aside from her business coaching, she talks a lot about body positivity, self love and growth, relationships, mom-life, and more. 

Mik Zazon, @mikzazon –

I followed Mik on Instagram recently and haven’t done much research on her otherwise. But, I added her in because I love her Instagram. She is extremely real about mental health, body positivity, and loving every single part of yourself – no matter how many pimples, scars, or rolls you have. You won’t find any of her photos with any retouching or without an extremely genuine caption. It’s been a breath of fresh air to see something so real on Instagram. 

Ashley Graham, @ashleygraham –

Ashley Graham is a plus sized model who wants everyone to feel comfortable in their own body. She created a podcast (which is also a show on YouTube) called Pretty Big Deal, where she talks about confidence, beauty, and self love. She has a lot of celebrities on the show that co-host and help her change the narrative on the standards that society has set. 

Cathrin Manning, @cathrin_manning –

Cathrin is a YouTuber that talks a lot about content creation. She gives so many tips for getting more viewers, creating a unique brand, cultivating a genuine audience, and more – no matter what niche you are in or what platforms you use. She’s also been really open about the struggle as a small influencer (before she hit fame), which has been super helpful for me because I’m still in the small influencer stage, and it’s been nice to know that my feelings are valid and that I’m not alone in feeling them.  

Savannah & Cole Labrant, @sav.labrant & @cole.labrant – 

I paired Savannah and Cole together because I mainly admire them for their relationship and the way they lead their family. Sav & Cole are young, famous YouTubers that vlog about their blended family life, christianity, etc. Before the couple had met, Savannah got pregnant at 19 in an unhealthy relationship where she felt unworthy. She then had Everleigh and raised her as a single mom. Eventually, Sav met Cole when she thought that no one would want to date her because of Everleigh. But, Cole embraced it and treated them both like freaking queens. I was introduced to them by their wedding video that went viral. It was so beautiful that I was left in tears. Now, I mainly watch them to learn how they keep Jesus at the center of their relationship, family, and life. But also, watching them has also shown me what a healthy relationship and/or marriage can look like at my age. Quite honestly, I think it’s been important for me to watch them so I don’t lose sight of what I deserve or how I want my future family to look like.  

Morgan Harper Nichols, @morganharpernichols – 

MHN is an artist and poet that shares her original and personally drawn quotes. She is overall just a bright and uplifting spirit that speaks truth through her writings. I am in awe of her talent lyrically and artistically. 

Long story made short, these are the handful of people that inspire me on a regular basis! Making social media a positive learning space has really changed how I view myself and the concept of social media in general. I’m always looking for more people to follow and learn from, so if you have any favorites that I should check out – let me know! xoxo