Learning to Love Leah

Rudy’s Gotcha Day

A year ago today I took a leap of faith and adopted my little chiweenie (half chihuahua/half dachshund) puppy, Rudy. He and his siblings were only 6 weeks old but their mother had stopped taking care of them so they were up for adoption at the Humane Society. At the time, Rudy’s name was Sonnie (which turned out to be very appropriate as he LOVES the sun). He was the only brindle one of the bunch and the only puppy that I held before I decided to adopt him. He weighed a little less than a pound and was still very much a baby. I have been very lucky to have the help of my family and boyfriend to help me raise him as he can be quite a handful! Rudy is now a whopping 7 pounds and very active! He loves to play with everyone (including kids, deer, crickets and squirrels) and enjoys going on long walks and hikes. At only a few months old, Ian and I took him on an 8 mile hike and he was STILL running when we got back to the car! When he is not running in circles, Rudy loves to lay in the sun or sleep on his heated blanket. He has brought so much joy into my life as well as taught me a lot of responsibility. I can’t wait for many more wonderful years with this little boy by my side!! Happy Gotcha Day Rudy!!

First picture I ever saw of Rudy!!!

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Lipstick kisses for Rudy! Love that fang!
Lipstick kisses for Rudy! Love that fang!
Kisses!
Kisses!

He loves to sleep in my suitcase! Especially if I am not home.
He loves to sleep in my suitcase! Especially if I am not home.
Loves to cuddle as close to you as he can!
Loves to cuddle as close to you as he can!
Brown noser!
Brown-noser!

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Got caught in the rain! Rudy has his raincoat on :)
Got caught in the rain! Rudy has his raincoat on :)
Staying warm under his heated blanket
Staying warm under his heated blanket
Rudy put all of his babies up on the heated blanket :)
Rudy put all of his babies up on the heated blanket :)

Guarding the house with "Uncle" Kodiak
Rudy and his “Uncle” Kodiak guarding the house

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Taking a Self Health Day

As I have been learning about how to cope with my anxiety, I have become a big fan of taking self health days. These days consist of allowing myself to take a breather and relax. I choose to work on myself and bettering my health before doing anything else. I have been learning how important it is to make your emotional health and sanity your number one priority and while every day is different I am doing my best to better myself! I thought I’d share what I like to do on these days and I’d love to know in the comments how you like to pamper yourself!

P.S. Everything that is in green is a link to a product that I have mentioned! 🙂

Bubble Baths:

I find baths to be so relaxing. I make the water as hot as I can stand it and stay in until it starts to get cold. I use this lavender bubble bath that I bought at Walmart because it was on sale but I actually have really enjoyed using it. It makes the whole room smell like lavender and makes quite a lot of bubbles! I also will light candles if Rudy is already in his kennel for the night and take that time to wind down from the day.

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Face Masks:

I have been getting more into skin care recently and have been exploring the world of face masks. I picked up two Studio 35 masks a few months back and while I don’t think they are anything special, they are still fun to use. I have the cucumber peel-off mask and the mint clay mask both of which you can buy at Walgreen’s. When I get out of the bath, I like to wash my face with this cleanser, also from Walgreen’s, which gives a nice minty, tingly feeling to the skin.

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Watching TV:

Recently, my guilty pleasure has been The Bachelor! I try to watch it live each week but if I miss it, I Hulu it ASAP. I’m team Lauren B. all the way!! Between episodes I also like pretty much any show on TLC and HGTV.

Cuddling with Rudy:

Of course, I cannot forget about spending time with my little puppy! He brings me so much joy and happiness and I love cuddling up with him and getting puppy kisses!

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February Ipsy Glam Bag Review

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This is my 4th month of receiving my Ipsy glam bag and I am definitely loving this one! The bag itself has a fun graphic design on the front (that Michelle Phan helped design!). I am billed $10 on the 1st of every month and typically receive my bag by the 15th. Below is my review of the 5 products I received!

  • I have linked the websites of the companies and any other products I have talked about in this blog! They are linked through the green “here”. Just click on it and it will take you to the site! 🙂

Luxie Beauty – Small Tapered Blending Eye Brush 231 ($12)

This blending brush is AMAZING!!! I have yet to invest in high quality makeup brushes and now I know why they are so different. The bristles are extremely soft, it blends like a dream and most importantly (for me) it will apply Colourpop shadows! I love Colourpop’s eye shadows but not being able to apply them with most brushes can be very frustrating. This one picks up the shadows and applies them like a dream. I am so happy with this brush and I cannot wait to play around with my Colourpop shadows more!!

Check out Luxie Beauty here

Check out Colourpop here

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theBalm Cosmetics – Mary-Lou Manizer  (Full size $24)

As an avid YouTube makeup tutorial watcher, I have heard just about every guru rave about this highlighter. While I do prefer a more dramatic highlight, this one is just perfect for subtle makeup days or for someone who wants a minimal glow. It honestly makes you look like you are glowing from within which is nice, especially if you didn’t get much sleep the night before!

Check out theBalm here

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Flash

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Natural light

Paula Dorf – Baby Eyes Enhancer (Full size $20)

This eyeliner is your typical waterline eye brightening color. I have nothing bad to say about this product but it is practically identical to the Rimmel ScandalEyes liner in Nude which is less than $5!! I would suggesting picking up that nude liner at your local drugstore instead 😉

Check out Paula Dorf here

Rimmel ScandalEyes in Nude here

UPDATE: I swatched these two eyeliners side-by-side and noticed that the Rimmel one is a bit more yellow toned while the Paula Dorf one is more of a salmon color. HOWEVER, when I tried to remove them with a makeup wipe, the Paula Dorf eyeliner came off right away while the Rimmel one did NOT budge! I was very impressed! Drugstore for the win!

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Natural light

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Flash

VINTAGE by Jessica Liebeskind – Sparkling Lipgloss in Pink Sequin (Full size $21)

This lipgloss is a pretty light pink gloss with a slight sparkle. I don’t see myself wearing this everyday but it is gorgeous in the center of your lips for a highlight. I was thrown off by the brush but the bristles are actually quite stiff which is good because it makes for easy application. While I would probably not repurchase this, I think I will enjoy it for special occasions.

Check out VINTAGE by Jessica Liebeskind here

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No flash (above)

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Perfectly Posh – BFF Best Face Forever Exfoliating Daily Face Wash (Full size $21)

I have heard so many great things about this face wash but unfortunately, the exfoliating beads were too harsh on my sensitive skin. There is no way I could use this daily but I’m sure it would be amazing if you aren’t super sensitive like me. It made your face feel fresh and left a slight minty tingle which I enjoyed. I still haven’t found an affordable face wash/cleanser so if anyone has any good suggestions for sensitive skin I’d love to know in the comments!

Check out Perfectly Posh here

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OVERALL,

Total price I paid for the bag: $10

Total value of the bag: ~$98 (using the full size product estimations)

I cannot be happier with the value of my bag this month! I will use all of the products and I will definitely be reusing this bag! (They work great for traveling!) If you want to sign up for a monthly subscription with Ipsy, please use my referral link here and we both get points toward an extra product in our bags 🙂

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5 Things I’ve Learned About Myself From Working at a Nursing Home

After working for a little over a year at a continued care retirement community I have learned some important lessons about myself and decided to share them with you all! If anyone else has ever worked as a nurse, CNA or in a nursing home in general, please leave a comment saying what you have learned about yourself!

1. I’m not good at hiding when I’m tired 

Working for 8+ hours at a time, you get tired. Since my job is to keep our residents happy, I rarely complain of being tired/hungry/in pain. However, one resident in particular always comments on how tired I look by the end of the night. I always thought I hid it so well  but after looking in the mirror I realized she’s right, when I’m exhausted it shows.

2. I am able to remember A LOT

As a CNA you have to remember every little detail about a resident’s schedule: What they typically order to eat, what they are allowed to eat/drink, what time they go to bed, their nighttime routine, what they like to wear, what time they get up, ect. While this seems overwhelming at first, it becomes almost instinctual. I sometimes go two weeks without working and will still be able to recall  everyone’s preferences and routines when I get back.

3. I am stronger than I think (physically and emotionally)

Physically-

Having a job where you are expected to care for all the needs of another person means there is a lot of physical strength involved. I have to be able to help residents as they stand, roll them around in their bed and support their weight as they walk. Sometimes a resident’s strength will give out during a transfer (moving from the bed to the wheelchair, for example) and you will be practically holding them in midair until you can gently sit them down. I do not have large muscles but I am still able to (typically) hold my own. (However, I am no where near as strong as my other co-workers, may of whom have been working for years and make everything look so easy!!)

Emotionally-

After working a year, I have witnessed my fair share of deaths. I have held hands of residents on the brink of death, read to them, sang to them and told them it was alright to let go. I have heard residents cry for their parents and wish to die. I have been present when the nurse listened one last time for a heartbeat and declared the resident deceased. I have had to discuss funeral matters with a family minutes after witnessing their loved one’s death. In all of those times it is imperative to stay emotionally strong for that resident and surprisingly I am able to do it every time.

4. I ask for help a lot – but that’s okay!

It can be easy to be prideful (or not want to bother your co-workers AGAIN) and want to do everything by yourself.  However, as a CNA, the well being of the resident is extremely important. I have learned that if I am uncertain of anything, to never be afraid to ask for help. It is better to have more people helping than to be shorthanded. Luckily, I am blessed to have great co-workers (many nurses included!!) who are always willing to lend a helping hand.

5. My heart has an ever-growing abundance of love for others

I have celebrated holidays and birthdays with residents, cheered them on during physical therapy and sat through many televised sports games and routed on their teams. I have been spat on, peed on and cursed at by residents who are confused and do not understand why I am in their rooms. I have spent many hours working and typically go home each night feeling exhausted. But, even on the most stressful of days, I still love each and every resident with all of my heart.

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Celebrating Valentine’s Day Early

I have been so impressed with how good Rudy has been since we have gotten back to the apartment. Normally we go on at least one long walk a day or to the dog park but recently we have been cooped up in the house. So since I couldn’t take him somewhere nice for Valentine’s Day (he’s only 7 pounds – even with a sweater he still shivers outside!), I decided to buy him his first Puppuccino! Yes, there is a drink at Starbucks just for dogs (sample size cup filled with whipped cream). Rudy absolutely LOVED every lick of it and even tried to run away with the cup before I could take the cap off! It was fun to see him enjoy his little treat and to do a photo shoot of him. Normally he is quite photogenic but it was hard to get a good picture as he was so engrossed in the whipped cream (still managed to get a couple though!).

We are going to continue the celebration tonight by going home to eat an early Valentine’s dinner with my family. I’m excited to see them and eat a nice home cooked meal! We couldn’t think of anything very festive to make so we are having spinach ravioli – YUM! Rudy will also be thrilled to go to his “grandparents” house and see his “Uncle” Kodiak (my parent’s dog). They have so much fun chasing each other and rolling on the floor. So, this will be another surprise gift for him!

On Sunday, I will be celebrating with my co-workers and residents of the continued care retirement community where I work. I saved my matching pink scrubs to wear and I’m sure we will also be decorating the dining and living rooms so it should be a fun day! It is always very special to care for the people that live there but holidays spent together are always that much more special.

I hope everyone has a special Valentine’s Day filled with love and joy. Make sure to celebrate your loved one’s this Valentine’s Day! (Parents, pets and friends count too – not just significant others!) Even just a quick text can change someones day!

Happy Valentine’s Day 🙂

Matching Starbucks drinks!
Matching Starbucks drinks!

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Running off before I could even open the cup!
Running off before I could even open the cup!

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Looxi Beauty Makeup Review

I am so excited to share this independent makeup brand with you! Looxi beauty was founded by a makeup enthusiast named Jessica. She makes and presses these shadows and highlighters herself and everything is cruelty free! All products have a slight sweet cupcake smell to them which I find very nice. If you want to see any of these products on my face, I have many pictures up on my Instagram (@learningtoloveleah) of me using them! I have purchased 5 duochrome (aurora) eyeshadow and 5 highlights to review!

eyeshadow with names 

Eyeshadow swatches (above)

highlight swatches with names

 Highlighter swatches (above)

**ALL PRODUCTS FOLLOWING ARE SHOWN WITH NO FLASH ON THE LEFT AND FLASH ON THE RIGHT**

Highlighters

I LOVE these highlighters! They are long wearing and give such a nice glow to the face. A wide variety of colors are available – from wearable gold shimmer to blue and green. Jessica does a FABULOUS job of making sure there is good selection for ALL skin colors 🙂 They are $15 in a compact or $7.50 if you buy them in the pan which you can then pop in a Z-palette.

Bombshell – Described as a reflective, light champagne gold. This color is specifically good for lighter skin colors because it does not show up too harshly. Check the website for other colors that work well for medium to dark skin tones!

Luna – Described as light blue. LOVE this one in the winter – makes you feel like Queen Elsa!

Aurora (Duochrome) Highlighters

I personally do not see much shifting color when I wear these but that does not stop me from wearing them! The formula on these are top notch!

Pandora – Described as a pink to silver to lilac shifting highlighter

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Tragic – Described as a pearlescent beige highlighter with a pink shift

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Wicked – Described as an icy blue highlighter with an intense violet shift. If you have Luna, you probably do not also need Wicked unless you are blue highlighter junkie!

Aurora (Duochrome) Eyeshadows

Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the eyeshadows as much as the highlighters. They looks gorgeous in the pan and swatch nicely but once on the lid you have to be very careful not to blend them away because they are so soft. I did not see much shift once on the eye either except with Duperstar which is the absolute must-have out of the entire collection that I received. These are $5 each.

Bohemian – Described as a shifting shadow of pink and silver. It looks gold/copper to me once it was on my eyelids.

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Genesis – Described as a shifting shadow of purple, blue, silver and green. This color looks light gray on my eyelids.

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Duperstar – Described as a shifting shadow of purple, pink and blue. This color is PHENOMENAL! This was the one eyeshadow that I truly saw duochrome once on the eye. There is a light purple undertone with light blue sparkle on top. This shadow lasted about 8 hours on my eyelids (with elf’s eyeshadow primer underneath) until it began to crease. Of all the eyeshadows THIS is the one that I would definitely recommend that you NEED in your collection!

Disturbia – Described as a shifting shadow from purple, gray, and pink. This color honestly looks very blue to me in person. I was surprised it was not described as blue at all on the website.

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Omega – Described as a shifting shadow of green, purple and dark blue. This one has a very obvious duochrome shift in the pan and in the swatch but once it is on the eyes I was very disappointed. It looks dark gray and blends out to almost nothing. I have tried it with primer dry and wet and still got the same results 🙁

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 Overall, I definitely recommend the highlighters and of course, Duperstar. I have heard good things about her regular eyeshadow collection so I will probably be purchasing some of those in the future and do an updated review.

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Moving Back into My Apartment

As I type this blog I am watching Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta with Rudy sound asleep on my lap. I have just finished taking an online philosophy exam (I made a 95 – WOO!!) and have officially moved back into my apartment after winter break. Surprisingly, I feel good. Typically it is hard for me to go back to living alone (with the exception of Rudy, of course) after spending so much time with my family. However, my mom came over today and helped me to scrub, vacuum and declutter my ENTIRE apartment! It feels wonderful to be able to roll on the floor with Rudy, have a clean tablecloth on my dining room table and sleep in a freshly made bed. Oh, and did I mention that she also stocked my pantry and fridge with my favorite foods?! My dad also made himself available during the day just in case we needed him. I am so blessed to have such a supportive family that realizes how important it is to come home to a clean slate.

THANK YOU MOM AND DAD!

With that being said, I will be pretty busy for the next few days as I work this weekend and have a test on Tuesday. Keeping busy is very important for me and with all that I have on my plate, plus keeping Rudy happy, I think I have my hands full.

Thank you to everyone who has followed this blog and/or my Instagram. I have been so humbled by all the sweet responses I have gotten. Later this week I will be posting my first makeup review. I know this may not be interesting to everyone and by no means do I expect you to read it if it does not interest you! I will be posting life updates every week but I also wanted to include some of my interests on this blog which I will also be posting about weekly. Again, thank you for all the support!!

Chocolate mousse that my mom surprised me with! The bowl is reusable too!!
Chocolate mousse that my mom surprised me with! The bowl is reusable too!!
Rudy all snuggled up in his heated blanket!
Rudy all snuggled up in his heated blanket!

Relaxing with Rudy!
Relaxing with Rudy! P.S. Also wearing John’s college shirt in honor of his birthday!

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Welcome to Learning to Love Leah!

I cannot believe I am finally posting my first blog!! Since I started college in 2013, I have enjoyed watching YouTube videos, vlogs and reading blogs. So, now three years later, I have decided to start my own blog! I am a twenty year old college student and part-time nursing assistant.  School has consumed most of my life for years and recently I have been learning how to relax and find joy outside of academics. Through this blog I hope to document the new and exciting moments of my life as I explore myself. I have recently developed a fascination with fashion and beauty, discovering a creative side I thought I had lost in elementary school. I have gained confidence in traveling and am loving exploring nature and new places. I have found motivation to get dressed, clean my apartment and take care of my body.

These changes did not happen overnight but took time. As I mentioned previously, I have always succeeded in school. But, to do so, I focused all of my energy in my assignments. I would study for hours, days, weeks and still not feel confident in knowing the material. I have vivid memory of doing my homework and sobbing (as young as middle school) because I felt as if I had no energy and no motivation but my conscience would not let me stop. My brain felt as if it was being assaulted but I had a loving family, wonderful friends and was successful. Nothing made sense. It began to get too overwhelming and in high school I started distancing myself from everyone, pouring more time into my challenging class schedule. After still struggling to find happiness in college, I accepted the help of a counselor and was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and mild depression. When the sessions weren’t enough I began medication to clear my mind of the fog that had taken residence there for years. I still have bad days but I am finding myself happier than I have been in years. I am proud of myself and where I am going with my life. My family, boyfriend and dog (yes, my dog has helped me in SO many ways!) have been my biggest support through everything and I am so grateful for each and every one of them.

With all that aside, this blog will not focus on my anxiety and depression. I am realizing that I am much more than those two words and plan to focus on the positivity of my life. Since I have finally acquired a professional quality camera (Best Christmas gift ever from my boyfriend!) I feel prepared to take another leap in my life and start this lifestyle blog. I would love to take you along for my journey in self-discovery as I learn to love Leah.

Working after Christmas Eve Service. I helped decorate the dining room with snowflakes for a Christmas Day surprise!
Working after Christmas Eve Service. I helped decorate the dining room with snowflakes for a Christmas Day surprise!
Taken before Christmas Eve Service with my dog, Rudy.
Taken before Christmas Eve Service with my dog, Rudy.
With my boyfriend, Ian, at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND
With my boyfriend, Ian, at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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