Month in Review + 1st Year PhD Thoughts | May 2019


Happy June, friends! It's beginning to finally look like summer here in Madison and I'm so excited for all of the summer shenanigans to begin! This past month, my biggest achievement was finishing my first year of graduate school - whew!

The last couple weeks of the semester were a crazy time of working too much, burning out, and subsequent couch potato status but now I feel like I’m a little bit back to my old self! The warm weather doesn’t hurt either :) Since I’ve been through the academic ringer this past year, I thought I’d share a couple of my thoughts from my first year as a PhD student - at first I thought I’d write about “things I learned” but let’s be real, my brain is usually such a whirlwind of chaos that these are really just random thoughts on my first year :P

  • No one can quite prepare you for what it's like to pursue a PhD. Before starting my PhD, I was warned time and time again of the stress and work and pressure that comes with both a PhD and academic professions. I read every book I could get my hands on and interviewed every PhD student I knew to get a feel for whether this was something I truly wanted to pursue. Despite all of that prep work, there was still really nothing that could have prepared me for being a PhD student because there’s really nothing quite like it (in both the good and the bad). I wasn’t really prepared for how confused and frustrated I’d be throughout most of the year (since it is such an independent pursuit) and I truly didn’t understand how difficult it’d be to maintain some semblance of work-ilfe balance during the busier times of the semester : /

  • Anxiety is a real thing. I reeeeeaaaaally thought that I’d managed to train most of my social anxiety out of my system. I grew up a super shy kid and throughout high school and college, my social anxiety continued to decrease - so, naturally -I thought it would only keep decreasing as I got older. I was wrong. I honestly can’t quite pinpoint the exact reason why my anxiety has skyrocketed since beginning my PhD (likely a combination of many things) but I think it often stems from being told to do things that I have no idea how to do which brings up all kinds of feelings of incompetence.

  • Just because everyone else is working 24/7 doesn’t mean you also have to work 24/7. This is something I’m still trying to talk myself into! I’m one of those people who really can’t focus for more than 5-6 hours in a day. Even when I try to work more than that, the first 5 hours of my work day are about 100000x more productive. I’m a part of a very hard-working cohort and I often feel pressure to work later at night and all the time on weekends. I’m still working on reminding myself that I’m a human, not a robot :)

Anyhoo, if you’ve made it this far, thanks so much for listening to my PhD-related rambles :) Hope your May was absolutely wonderful and thanks as always for reading!


May Favorites | 2019


Hello everyone! I'm so excited to be starting my favorites series back up this summer (hopefully, I'll be able to keep it up!) because I've really missed sharing my favorite products with all of you! This past year has been a huge change for me since I started my PhD program and some of the favorites I'm including this month are really favorites that have helped me survive my first year as a grad student - I hope you enjoy it! :)


Bose Headphones: My number one favorite of the month (and really of the year) are my over the ear BOSE QC35 headphones! These noise-cancelling headphones are amazing. I work out of a shared office on campus and when most of the stuff I'm doing requires a lot of concentration, any level of noise can be distracting. Although these headphones don't cancel out everything, they do a pretty darn good job of making all that background noise fade away enough that it no longer distracts me. If you're a student working in busy campus areas or someone who works in an open office, I'd highly recommend a pair of these noise-cancelling headphones to help you focus!


Essential Oil Roller Balls: Since I started my PhD, my anxiety has been a bit of an up and down roller coaster. For the most part, my anxiety is extremely mild (what many therapists have called "high functioning) and really tend to surround social and work situations. I mention this because there are many people who have much more severe anxiety and the methods in which I try to combat anxiety likely won't work for everyone since my anxiety is on the milder side. I've always really enjoyed essential oils but recently started using them to combat anxiety in social situations which is where roller balls come into play! I now carry them around with me everywhere and use them before presentations or discussion heavy classes where I know my anxiousness is usually pretty high. I can't say that these roller balls have cured everything but they definitely help in providing a comforting scent and calming nerves.


Clue App: Clue is an app that allows you to track your period along with a whole host of other symptoms surrounding your health. I've been using clue for almost a year now and I've found it so, so helpful for better understanding my own body and emotional patterns. Clue has a lot of different options for what you can track and the ones I've found most helpful are motivation levels, emotions, and social interactions. Since I started tracking everything using Clue, I've noticed that I nearly always have some kind of conflict with my partner a couple days before the start of my period so now I try to be extra aware of my emotions on those days!  


Tarteist Pro To Go Palette: I don't have too much to say about this palette other than it's been the perfect fit for me this past semester. Sometimes running around campus for up to 10 hours a day leaves me looking real haggard and tired so I've carried around this little tarteist palette for midday touch-ups and it's been so handy since it has all the right colors for a neutral, basic eye look. Plus, since it smells like chocolate, I always take a big whiff to wake myself up, too :)


 JOAH Beauty Gel Lipstick in Sweet Cheeks: For me, this lipstick shade is the perfect "my lips but better" color. I first received it in an influenster box and have been using it nearly every day since then! If I'm having one of those days where I just don't want to worry about my lipstick fading weirdly or drying out my lips, this has become my go-to. The gel formula is nice and comfortable and since this shade is so close to my natural lips, if it fades, I don't have to worry about it looking strange or patchy.

I hope you enjoyed this month's favorites! Let me know what your favorites have been this month! I'd love to try out some of your favorite products! ♥


BeautyFix Review | May 2019


BeautyFix is a monthly skincare, makeup, and haircare subscription box created by Dermstore. A monthly subscription is $24.95 per box and a one-time box purchase is $34.95. Most items in the box are either full or deluxe sample size products. 


Tocca: Giulietta | Full-Size $76


Skyn Iceland: Firming Eye Gels | Full-Size $30 for 8 pairs


Box Faves:

  • Skyn Iceland Eye Gels: BeautyFix sent this in a previous box and I loved these eye gels - they’re so cooling and so comfortable - even more so than other similar eye gels! They do run a little on the expensive side so I especially like receiving them in subscription boxes since this makes them a little more affordable!

  • Dermologica Sleep Cocoon: I absolutely loved this sleep cocoon because it goes on like a cooling gel but lasts all night long! Usually anything that moisturizers throughout the night tends to be a little on the heavier side but this product feels really light and feels like it still has some moisture left in the morning, so I’ve been enjoying it a lot!

Box Flops:

  • Tocca Perfume: If you’ve read my reviews before, this will be nothing new, but I am not a fan of receiving perfumes in subscription boxes! I don’t think they bring a lot of value to the boxes and since I tend to be pretty picky about scents, they’re not particularly useful for me since I rarely find a scent that I like through a subscription box. I know this works for other people but I tend to prefer finding perfumes in stores!


This month's BeautyFix was a bit of a weird one for me because although I liked most of the products, they were also mostly products I've already received in previous BeautyFix boxes. I still think the value of the box was absolutely stellar and the products in the box were great, however, I do wish that there was a little more variety in the brands and products that they included in the box so that I could've tried different things - after all, isn't that sort of the point of subscription boxes?