Re-Introduction

After much thought about what I wanted to do with my writing, I’ve returned. I was having a hiatus every few weeks because I had become unsure with what community I was diving into. I wanted to be in the fashion community, but the more I saw, the more I found myself hesitant to go deeper.
I have been writing on this blog for about two years, but recently early this year, I noticed my heart wasn’t in my writing anymore. I want to attempt to salvage this because my blog is my life. I wasn’t meant to write only about clothes, sales, and where to buy things. I do love reading those types of blogs because I want to know for myself, but I honestly don’t have a talent in shopping for good deals, or even pairing different pieces of clothing together! And I’m tired of pretending like I am. I don’t want to be mediocre in my writing; I want to write from my heart, because that’s how I can touch others.

 

In this industry, most of us go with trends. I also went with trends, at least in clothing and beauty. But I want to come out and speak about the truth finally. Not only in fashion and beauty, but also in the ever growing feminist undertone that seems to be creeping into the fashion and beauty industry. The social issues that impact the blogsphere are important because blogs and social media are some of the main drivers of opinion in today’s media. Most of the things I own I bought after discovering them from a blogger/vlogger or social media. And until recently, I also swallowed all of the lies fed to me about culture from the prominent figures in the blogsphere and social media. I want to turn away from the trends and find true and simple beauty in life.
I am still a dreamer. I still spend most of my time thinking about life. But I have changed my mind on a lot of things I thought I understood. I have been “red-pilled,” as they call it. I want to continue with my fashion and beauty posts, but also write a token story or topic linked to each one. Many people have told me to do beauty tutorials, but I rarely change my make up, even in photoshoots. The only thing I really change sometimes is the lipstick, because I was absolutely obsessed with finding the perfect lipsticks, but even now, I have found my go-to colors and I don’t think I’ll be buying new ones anytime soon. And I have tried so hard to write about only fashion, but I am just not excited enough to write something meaningful. I want to find purpose again in my writing. Because without it, how can anyone find value in the writing?
I want to dive deeper into some topics that I already write about, like beauty, fashion, self confidence, and healthy lifestyle practices. But I also want to explore new topics that interconnect with these, such as what feminism has become, how to reform the body positivity movement, race tensions and how it relates to the fashion/beauty industry, and how politics and culture are shaping our world today. As current events shape our culture, I want to give my take on what is happening, how we can preserve the parts that are slipping away, and how to adapt to the future.
While we live in a world full of deceit, it seems that we are always searching for genuine people. Hopefully you’ll follow me on my journey to becoming a better writer as well as a better person.

XO Nicoco

Follow me on Twitter @PetiteNicoco

Cutting Down on Refined Sugar

  

I’m well known to be a serious sweet tooth. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been caught in the sugar addiction, even so much that would eat candies containing high fructose corn syrup until I would vomit. Great addiction, right?

Even as an adult, I would consider myself to be a sugar addict. You know, the kind of person who absolutely needs to go to out at 8:39 PM on a weekday just to get a donut. Or the person who goes to a potluck and gets a huge plate containing every single dessert. Or the person who eats cake for breakfast, considers strawberry shortbread to be a meal and needs a caramel macchiato. 

So I decided to cut down as much refined (processed) sugar  as possible. I’ve talked about doing this for a long time but never found the strength to actually follow through. I decided on February 1, 2016, I would begin a 21 day fast from as much refined sugar as possible. I’m happy to say, I think I’ve broken my addiction and can finally eat guilt free! I’m halfway through the challenge. 

I was not going to try to start something I wouldn’t finish, so I gave myself guidelines:

  • Consciously avoid all processed sugars.
  • I can still eat natural sugars found in fruit.
  • Any sauces on meals, try to avoid as much added sugar as possible (no adding sugar to homemade cooking, no ketchup or any other highly processed sauces that contain sugar).
  • The only chocolate I can eat is 85% dark or darker. 
  • No adding anything to hot drinks like tea or coffee. 
  • Only wine I can drink is the dry wines containing 6 grams of sugar  or less per 8 oz. 
  • Try to minimize bread, white rice, and any crackers. 
  • Absolutely no pastries, ice cream or candy. 
  • Absolutely no sugary drinks, such as juice, soda, or creamy drinks. 

The first three days were the hardest. I knew I would experience withdraw, but it did not minimize the effects of my body being upset about the reduced refined sugar. 

The first day, I felt fine health-wise, but I was extremely hungry no matter how much I ate. I ate a ton or vegetables that day, hoping the fiber would help me become full. I was highly irritated by mid morning, and stayed annoyed all day. 

The second day I woke up with a sharp headache. I was also still irritated and hungry no matter how much I ate. It was painful because the headache turned into a migraine by the afternoon and I pretty much felt like I was coming down with a cold. 

The third day I felt the same as far as my health, but was now also bloated from all of the fiber that my body was not used to digesting. I didn’t feel as hungry, but that was mostly because I had a stomach ache from being bloated. 

By the fourth day I had started to learn how to eat without the refined sugar. There were three things that I realized by this day….

1.) You’re never going to be full if you don’t compensate your sugar with protein. 

This is something that will cause you to fall into relapse if you don’t do it! To stay full you must incorporate more protein into your diet. I started eating nuts, seeds, eggs, meat, and protein bars (you have to get 5 grams of sugar or less to make it worth it), and it helped a lot. Pair the protein with some real complex carbs like oats, quinoa, brown rice, ect., and you will stay fuller longer. 

2.) Drink more water to combat the higher intake of fiber. 

If you’re replacing your sugary snacks with veggies, you’re going to have some bloating until your digestive system is used to fiber. Especially if you have a hard time drinking water on a regular basis like me. But drinking more water in between meals will help your system digest the fiber and get everything moving! Which in turn reduces the bloating and stomach aches. 

3.) This addiction will take time, just like any other. 

It’s going to be a long time before I completely reject refined sugar. They say that when people cut it out for an extended period of time and suddenly try to reintroduce it, they feel sick after eating it because it’s too sweet or doesn’t sit well with the stomach. 

For me, I have decided to cut down but not completely cut refined sugar, just because it would be extremely hard to do so in today’s society. So far, it’s getting easier each day. I have decided to go past my 21 days and extend it to as long as I can. I know that I can, because the longer I go, the better and more bearable it gets. 

Nicoco

Keeping Hydrated in Winter

Winter has been really ridiculously dry this year. I’m not sure if this is just typical for this area or what, but I find I can’t wear lipstick without getting super cracked lips (I’ve switched to a balm tiny for now) and my hands are constantly dry. I’m also very bad at drinking throughout the day, so I’ve had to come up with more creative ways to keep hydrated in winter. 

Winter cold can severely dry out your skin, so proper hydration is vital. Mornings we usually forget about water and go straight to caffinating ourselves. Sometimes throughout the day it’s easy to think you’re hungry when you’re actually thirsty. It’s hard to remember to drink the recommended amount of water each day, especially if you’re busy with work or school.

Keeping Hydrated in Winter

1.) Drink Herbal Teas

   

Herbal teas do not dehydrate the body like coffee, and they are beneficial to many conditions. Cinnamon tea prevents urinary tract infections, dandelion tea is good for people with cystic acne, and hibiscus tea is good for fatigue. It’s also a great way to warm yourself up in winter without extra calories….*cough*hotchocolate*cough*

2.) Carry water with you at all times.
 

It’s hard to avoid drinking water if you gave it with you all the time. You literally have no excuse. If you carry a bag most of the time, it’s definitely a great idea to add a bottle of water in your magical bag of essentials. I’ve found that carrying a ‘special’ bottle makes you more likely to be happy about drinking it as well. 

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Once summer comes around again, I’ll definitely start making the citron presses again. Fruit infused water is the best kind, but it requires effort, which I don’t seem to have in this season. 

Nicoco

Ayurveda Tips for Diet + Health Rant

I’m probably the last person who should be writing about healthy living and Ayurveda. I was really on track with my health last year, summer 2014, but since then, I’ve deteriorated into a person who over drinks, over eats, and does zero exercise. This time was worse than the other “relapses” I had in my healthy habits. I think it’s just part of the fact that I always have had a fast metabolism, so growing up I became addicted to sugar and just never really cared about eating healthy until it was too late to “easily undo” the sugar addiction.

People might think I’m still thin, and I agree to some extent, but you know you’re pushing your limits when all of your clothes suddenly don’t fit you anymore. It literally takes some serious effort now to find something that fits. I have three pairs of jeans I can’t even wear because it hurts to sit down now. Most of my dresses are extremely tight around the waist area, and same thing goes for my tops. I liked everything tight before when I was thinner, but it’s very uncomfortable now to wear these clothing items. It’s not even how my stomach sticks out – it’s the fact that I can’t breathe when I sit down because it hurts, and the fact that when I take off my clothes, there are red marks on my skin from them being too tight. I’m easily tired nowadays and just overall feel like crap. So yeah, I might still be on the skinnier side, but it’s past the limit of being healthy for my body type now.

I’m sure all people who are on this tightrope of being skinny yet chubby know what I’m talking about. People are constantly telling you to eat more or saying you are fine, but you know in your mind that you are unhealthy.

I started making some small changes lately. I stopped drinking, and I’ve been clean for almost two weeks. I don’t have a problem with drinking wine, but I just need to stop for a while and then ease myself back in and limit it to one glass a day instead of half a bottle a day.

It’s the usual culprit that caused the weight gain: sugar. I’ve been eating out so often that I do not monitor my sugar intake. I’ve also been drinking tons of sugary drinks like bubble tea, smoothies, lattes, and hot chocolate. Not to mention that damn good Korean bakery that seems to be in every Asian grocery store. There’s just so many places to find good food here in Dallas, it’s hard to stop yourself.

So I’m trying (again) to cut down on the sugar. My first target is going to be the drinks. No more sugary drinks. But there are so many things to consider when trying to make life changes that you need to continue. It takes dedication, moderation, and consistency to make these things work.

Ayurveda Tips for Diet

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Recently, I started studying Ayurveda, which is basically a system for natural body healing that originates from India. I do not know much about it yet, but I found some interesting tips in regards to eating that I thought would be helpful for others to know.

1.) Eat your largest meal at lunch. I always thought that breakfast was better to be bigger, and dinner has always somehow become the biggest meal I eat, and sometimes I even skip lunch. But since the body is aligned with the sun’s path. Eating between noon and 2 p.m. is the best time to eat the largest meal because the sun is the highest in the sky. Ayurveda explains this is how the body’s digestion works. This is also why eating late at night is bad for you. Toxins build up and not all food is digested. Night is when the body regenerates and pulls out toxins. That can’t happen if you’re still trying to digest a full meal.

2.) Focus on enjoying your meals. Stop multitasking, skipping meals, and rushing to eat. Everyone can make time if they make it a priority. Enjoy your meal, eating at a normal pace and savoring the food that you have. Make it a time where you focus on the culinary aspect of your life. It will make you want to try new things, cook more, and find the best ingredients.  It will aid your digestion and allow you to stop overeating.

3.) Stop drinking cold drinks with your meals. I know, this is just in our culture to do it. But it hinders digestion when you drink cold drinks and can cause bloating or slowing of digestion. Instead, Ayurveda suggests to drink room temperature water, or even drink outside of meals instead of with meals to aid with digestion.

It is without a doubt very hard to change eating habits. Especially in this age and culture where you can pretty much eat anything you want, anytime. With some moderate changes, slowly over time, you can begin to heal your body. Ayurveda can help you stay consistent. For more, learn from my source of learning, Cure Joy in Ayurveda.

Nicoco

Dallas Update

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So…. I’ve made it to Dallas. It’s quite a metropolitan area. While we were on the way here, I felt extreme depression and culture shock. I disliked living in PA because it meant to me that I was not progressing. I realized that I never disliked it for anything more than that reason. I miss my family, my friends and coworkers, my old job, all of the relationships I had, the places I am familiar with, and all of the little things that made it home.

It was raining the day we left, and it rained the entire drive here. It was depressing. I didn’t like the southern accents, the country music or the big trucks. Thank goodness that is only in the rural parts of Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas.

Dallas is not like that at all. The shopping and food options alone make this place awesome. I’m not used to the three lane roads (on each side), and the excruciatingly long traffic lights, but I’m sure I’ll be fine. There seems to be a lot of places I can do photoshoots, and we haven’t even explored the downtown yet. But that’s the thing: this place is huge! It takes forever to drive from Frisco, a suburb of Dallas, into inner city Dallas. But it all sort of looks like a sprawled out city. It’s something that was shocking after driving for miles on open roads.

I’m not going to lie; the first week here was very difficult. I cried almost everyday from the stress. I miss my family and friends, and I’ve never moved away before. We had many unexpected expenses this week, and my work situation has been chaotic. We arrived here with no furniture, so we spent the whole week going back and forth to Ikea, Walmart, and Daiso. On Friday, we spent 6 hours driving and standing in line at the tax office and the DMV. And throughout the whole week, we were really unprepared with food, so we ended up eating out more than we should have. The city is also so spread out and we weren’t used to driving around so much.

I’m a suburb girl, even if I’ve never wanted to admit it. Just by circumstance, I’ve spent my life living in suburbs. I think I can unlock my potential here in the city. I just have to find my rhythm and figure out how things work here. For example, back in Central PA, if someone cuts you off on the road, you would feel very angry and probably it would be a big deal, only because it doesn’t happen that often. I thought PA had some bad drivers. I knew that New Jersey, New York, and D.C. drivers were the worst. But in Dallas, the sheer volume of people here makes it impossible to be polite at all. You will definitely get cut off here on a daily basis. And you learn that it’s not a big deal, and to just move on.

Also, the amount of things to do here is overwhelming. In PA, we would ponder about what to do, and in some ways it was annoying, but it was also easy because there was only a handful of things to do. Here the options are endless. It’s crazy. Even just regarding places to eat, there are too many options here. I feel like most of my Instagram is turning into a foodie account, only because there is so many nice places to eat here. There’s almost a mini Korea town near our house. We’ve eaten at the restaurant in H Mart, Paik’s Noodle, Yogurtland, Mozart Cafe, and have plans to eat at Omi Korean BBQ, and we’ve only been here for a week. Our friends who has lived here for many years also took us to Tokyo One, a Japanese buffet, and Razzoo’s, a Cajun restaurant.

I think we’re going through phase one all over again. It’s like how it was when I first moved out of my parents house and I had no idea what I’m doing. Now I have no idea what I’m doing, but in a different situation. And I’m sure that after a month or two, we’ll figure it out.

 

Dallas Move Update: Tips for Moving

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It’s literally only a week and a half before my husband and I will drop everything we know and move to a new city. It’s becoming more real as the time goes by quickly. It’s overwhelming because I cannot seem to keep my thoughts organized.

I’ve caught myself crying or feeling depressed about leaving the people I care about here. Just as songs trigger  most all emotions that I’ve felt, certain songs intensify the pain of leaving. It’s also the fact that I cannot remember how the West looks and I cannot know how it will be once I get there. I’ve built a life here, whether I liked this life or not, and it’s grounded, about to be uprooted.

So I’m still struggling with that, but on top of the mixed emotions, I’ve been trying to figure out how to actually move there. It took a while to pin down an apartment, but I did it. I reserved a moving truck, but my husband and I finally decided against it, because of the following reasons:

  • Most of our furniture is hand-me-downs and we need new stuff anyway
  • We were only planning on taking the bed, table and couch anyway
  • If we take a truck, we’ll be driving separately for 8+ hours a day alone
  • We’re not sure if either of us can drive a truck that big
  • It’s actually cheaper to buy new things once we arrive.

As a result, we have been purging so many things. Old furniture, trinkets, clothes and accessories we don’t use. We’re basically Marie Kondo-ing our life right now. Bags and bags of things for giveaway. Here are some things I’ve learned so far about moving across country….

You Absolutely Need to Get Rid of Unnecessary Items

When you’re moving across country, you’re probably either starting over and taking what you can fit in your car (like me!), or you’re renting a moving truck that’s going to cost you about $1500.00 so you can move your large items. Because of this, you really need to get rid of the trash you’ve been hoarding. If you’re like me at all, you just can’t throw it away unless it’s actually trash. But in the case of moving like this, you can’t take multiple trips back and forth like you can in a local move. You can literally only go one time, so only take the things that have real everyday use or meaning to you.

Author of The Magic of Tidying, Marie Kondo talks about how you can purge and clean in such a way where you will not feel overwhelmed. By working in categories rather than rooms, you can stay on task. For example, you might have clothes and coats in more than one room and more than one closet. So take all of them and put them in one place to begin.

Start Packing Early in Small Amounts

Believe me, I’m the worst procrastinator. I always put off doing things. But this is one of those things I’m not going to take any chances about. Just do it now so you will not be stuck with piles and piles of things to sort through the last day before the move. You’ll have a mental breakdown.

Call All of the Utilities Ahead of Time

If you rent or will be renting, call them a week or two weeks ahead to tell them you’re cancelling on the move date and let the new companies know you’ll be needing services. The last thing you need is to remember the day before, or realize you didn’t set up service until the day you arrive. This goes for internet too. Set up the installation so you won’t be without internet for more than a few days.

Don’t Allow Stress to Ruin Your Last Days

This is a huge change. It’s literally a new start. Don’t worry too much about the smaller details. Focus on getting the purging and packing done and then allow yourself time to find closure for the city you are moving away from. Find peace and meet with friends and family. Understand that this is not an end; it is a new beginning.

 

To some extent, I still can’t believe I’m doing this. But I feel like this is the first step to finding my way. And I’m going to free-fall and see what this has to offer.

 

The Story Behind Airports

I have to be honest. Whenever we go to pick up my younger brother from the airport, these are the only times I ever set foot in an airport lately. It’s sad, but the last time I flew was when I came back from Thailand in 2011.

Being here always reminds me of several things. It reminds me to be aware of the people around me, because this is the place where we say final goodbyes as well as the place where we meet and begin a new life. Airports are the symbol of freedom, the freedom to escape, to wander, to discover new places in the world.

But the airport is also a reminder of the life I should be living. I’m a traveler at heart, and I never want to stay in one place. But I’m also 23 years old, late bloomer in my maturity level, and still confused as hell about who  I am and where I’m going. I really only know for sure that I will keep writing. Everything else could change in a moments time, and being reminded of that sense of being out of control scares me.

It’s that feeling of emptiness… The feeling of the unknown. You think things are going well until you’re reminded of all you could be doing. You begin to compare your life with others, and instead of inspiring you, it brings you down. It creates a hunger for the life you want to live, but at the same time it creates a wall, a barrier, because you begin to believe you will never be able to change. Anyone who goes through this enough times will eventually accept their current situation as their eternal reality, and I’m scared it will happen to me as well.

You have to remind yourself daily that if you aren’t where you want to be in life, this is only temporary. You can still change. You need to keep your mind open to visualization. Don’t close all the doors and force yourself into a life of half assed attempts to distract yourself from the reality that you’ve created; accept the hurt you have, remind yourself you are still changing, and start again.

I say these things, but I know it is so hard for us adults to realize. We tend to believe that once we’ve settled down, this is the life we will have for the rest of our life. I’m only 23, but I know from being married, we’ve somewhat trapped ourselves in one geographical area, and for me as a wanderer, it takes a toll on my spirit. The security of where we are now is so comforting that I’m trapped between the lust and longing for adventure and the basic need of security. So many people do this to themselves. And it begins with avoiding the painful emotions we need in order to change and slipping into a silent death of the routine. 

And so, the dream begins to die a slow and agonizing death, screaming to us without a voice, silently falling away from us, until upon our deathbed, we realize the regrets we have we can never undo.

So maybe sometimes it’s good to feel uncomfortable about where you are in life. And it’s moments like these when I sit in the terminal waiting for my brother that I am overcome with the echos of  these feelings. And I remember that I need to push on and not fall under the sleep spell of a mediocre life. I, too, can go to the airport to get on a plane. And when that day comes, it will be the happiest feeling in the world.

#OOTD:
Jacket – Calvin Klein 
Scarf – Calvin Klein
Bag – Calvin Klein
Jeans – Forever21
Shoes – Forever21