New Blog Address!

I’ve never been good at committing to buying a .com for the blog, but after a wonderful year-ish with WordPress, I finally felt comfortable using it as my forever platform.

So, for the last time, if you wanna keep following via email or bookmark the new page, etc., etc., go to THIS link:

http://reyoncenoels.com/admin/

There is a new place to subscribe via email there, as well as add it to your reader as usual thanks to WordPress. All the social media icons are in ONE place at the top — simply click the one you want to go to and/or follow, and there you are!

It’s still under construction, but all the blog posts are there, as well as a NEW one! I will get this site redirected there within two weeks, so even if you don’t subscribe, etc., you will still be seeing the new page. I just wanted to give everyone a head’s up and time to get their ducks in a row before I did!

Thanks so much, lovelies. I can’t wait to keep growing with y’all❤

www. Wednesday

Happy half-way through day, ladies and gents! Links for your perusing pleasure…

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+ As everyone here knows, I can get pretty political and impassioned when people are being wronged… but instead, I will just leave this gorgeous series of photos of the prayer chain in Charleston here, because I need–and maybe you to do–to focus on the positive for a while. It’s absolutely stunning what people can do when they work together.

+ A lot of people these days say reading is a waste of time, or boring, or insert other moronic excuse here. GOOD NEWS, LIT LOVERS: WE DA HAPPIEST!

+ I’m 114% positive I have thought this type of malpractice was going to happen to me before because I KNOW MY BODY, but doctors think I’m crazy. Doctors let this poor girl die because they didn’t take her seriously, and I am so proud of her mother for making a public effort to change that in the face of losing her gal. Brava, lady.

+ I’m intuitive and introverted (with a pesky outgoing personality), and this is why you think I’m totally bonkers.

+ Back to that whole book thing mentioned above: if you need a summer reading list, Refinery29’s got you! I also have a massive stack beside my bed I could roll-call for you, but I’m not sure you’d find that appealing!

+ My fave Aussie blogger came up with a list of 35 things she’s learned about life in 35 years, and I agree with ALL of them… except maybe the kid one😉

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Hey, did you know PYGMY HIPPOS WERE A THING?! Now you do & you can obsess with me!

Hey, did you know PYGMY HIPPOS WERE A THING?! Now you do & you can obsess with me!

Bravery in the Blog

I may not know much, or hell, even that much at all, but at least I know I’m brave.

I’m brave enough to speak my opinions, whether my readers will agree or not.

I’m brave enough to show my humanity through happiness, anger, sadness, bitching, etc. because I won’t pretend to feel a way others deem “acceptable” just to make said folks comfortable.

I’m brave enough to keep going, despite so many people telling me to stop because “nothing will ever come of this space.”

I’m brave enough to disconnect from people, no matter who they are, who don’t get why I would choose a blog over a career that doesn’t accept what the blog has to say.

I’m brave enough to say e.x.a.c.t.l.y. what I’m thinking.

I’m brave enough to come here and write anything–even the uncomfortable stuff–and sign my name to it.

So why, why, why, is one of you hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet, trying to infiltrate my life? Why are you wasting your time? I will always be here whether you want me to be or not. I may change the blog’s interface or subject matter or header 89 times, but I, the author, will still stand behind it, no matter those changes. I will be here, tall and unwavering, no matter what warfare you’re inexplicably trying to start. In fact, many of the things you’ve tried to accomplish over TWO ENTIRE YEARS have never, ever worked. Let it go or stop reading, plain and simple.

I’m brave enough to say without hesitation that you are a coward. You are someone who has some great void in life, and you fill it with hate instead of newfound interests or love. You are someone who has nothing better to do with your time than to type comments or send emails from behind a veil.

I get it. I certainly would be bored if I couldn’t say precisely what I desired to or confront someone face-to-face. But maybe, just maybe, you could try to be brave. Whatever your problem is, you will never solve it behind that curtain of hate, that security blanket of secrecy, that misdirected keyboard thrashing.

I’m even brave enough to forgive you if you ever want to join us in the Land of the Free Thinkers. If not, just stay in your lane, and let the rest of us write and live our lives to the fullest.

Some Sunday Selections

I normally (er… used to normally?) hook up links to my blog during my www. Wednesday feature, but since I’m SO far behind, I figured I’d roll ’em all out here on this lazy Sunday. Or, if you’re like me, you’ve already been up for three hours listening to the Arctic Monkeys and planning blog entries.

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+ I LOVE short stories. There is something about them that is so special; here’s a list compiled by Refinery29 of 30 you need to read… bookmarked and ready to go over here!

+ My friend S posted or sent this McSweeney’s article to me forever ago, and it just knocked me off my feet. It’s a perfect picture of our mental health care system right now, as written by a lady writer whose been through it all. She’s also witty as hell, so read it if you like charming-as-hell writing.

+ Not that I know anyone like this (cough… me), but I’ll just leave this here for anyone who might understand the 11 struggles of being a highly sexual being.

+ Through pure chance, I am apparently a combination of two of my lady heroes’ body-type wise: KimK (hourglass) and Angelina (carrot), and I could not be happier. I also adore how many body types they address in this article. #Refinery29JunkieForLife

+ I will never tire of this highly paid teachers salary math problem floating around on the Internet. Spoiler alert: teachers are so, so, SO underpaid.

+ BLESS THIS POST: 15 things you don’t owe ANYONE.

+ Just sayin’, this dude ain’t a marriage counselor for nothing. He understands why women (or men) leave and/or cheat on the ones they love: lack of attention/gratitude/listening.

+ Because I miss it every day, here’s a compilation of 26 Office quotes that will make you laugh. There are thousands more if you just WATCH THE SHOW!

+ I was appalled to find that the Neutrogena products I’d been using for YEARS were exposed as being horrible for you/NOT WORKING this year, especially since I’m (for the most part) vigilant about sun exposure. EWG has an extensive list of sunscreens that actual work, while also being good for your body.

+ God, I hope this scientifically-proven method of decreasing procrastination works on my concrete-stubborn procrastination tendencies.

+ This beauty article makes me feel so validated about my brow tendencies. Here’s how to keep your brows on FLEEK… and get ’em there if you don’t feel satisfied yet🙂

+ Please enjoy this puppy photo to brighten your day, or you know, make it brighter.

via jjae

via jjae

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Hopefully I’ve caught up enough to jump back into the www. Wednesday pattern later this week! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, lovies❤

Smashing Your Boxes

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Pic via my bff, BB, from Austin, TX

Our perceptions of ourselves are probably a little skewed. Let’s be honest: most of us are probably our own biggest fans. Still, I strive to be mindful of my flaws (and let others know about them) in an effort to get to that sought-after self-actualization that Maslow guy was always on about.

That being said, I constantly feel I’m being thrown into these little boxes of inaccuracy, and that inaccuracy just drives me up the wall. I’m bogged down by the weight of the people who refuse to look beyond the borders of the walls they’ve imposed upon me before they’ve even seen the second layer of who I am. Yeah, sure, I’m that girl you got really drunk with one night six years ago, but that doesn’t mean I’m only a girl who drinks. That is a mere glimpse of my character and the experiences that have shaped it.

Just because I dressed in a crop top and shorts last Saturday doesn’t mean I’m rockin’ that look on the regular, nor does it imply that I belong in some kind of derogatory “slut” box.

Just because I lost my cool on a few folks who–frankly–probably deserved it, and you happened to witness said incidents, doesn’t mean I belong to be herded into your “dramatic ladies” category.

I forget my words sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I’m automatically and always required to reside in your box labeled “idiocy.” I could go on for days about how painful it is to be so categorized in such a small space when I want so badly for that person to know each and every tiny detail of me.

It’s hard, because none of us WANT to care what other people think. But when someone else’s VIEW of you is so skewed from the REALITY of you? That’s hard to ignore, especially when the person matters to you, yet they refuse to look past the boundaries of their self-created boxes on boxes and into your core.

I get bitchy sometimes, but I’m overall a sweet, loving person who just likes being honest. I go mad from time to time when people seem to be doing something wrong, but that doesn’t mean I want to live my life with that energy all. the. time. I am clumsy and foolish, but that doesn’t mean I can’t pull myself together to be poised and serious should the occasion call for it. I’m a bit of a mess sometimes, but I actually spend the majority of my time in an organized (somewhat vanilla) routine that keeps me down-to-earth.

I can be quiet and loud, refined and wild, funny and sad, hyper and exhausted, gregarious and boring, all in the same day. But none of that means I am any less deserving of your time.

I might not be perfect, but I am a human. We’re complex characters, and if you think we’re going to stay in one box, especially a faulty one you chalked up yourself? You got another thing comin’, honey……… especially if you’re someone who can’t admit to being wrong about the most trivial of pursuits , let alone admit to being… GASP! Less than perfect.

Like me. Like the rest of us. Like the world who doesn’t live in boxes because we’re cyclical and nuts and amazing and horrifying and brilliant all at the same time.

And all of us, not just the ones in your “perfect even though I haven’t looked below the surface or given anyone else a chance to prove they might be as good (if not better)” boxes, deserve to been seen fully, deeply, completely. We deserve to be seen, period.

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Words via the lovely Ellen Hopkins.

How-To: Things I Want to Learn

There are a lot of how-to’s I can already do, or sorta know how to do. This rendition, however, is a list of things I vie to know how-to and hopefully can share my learned skills with y’all along the way. And let’s be honest, share those super fails, too.

1. Sew. Let’s start with the basic button.

2. Recall how to tie a tie… because I used to be baller at it.

3. Handle the hardware aspects of home decor, like anchoring screws in the wall, etc.

4. Weaving for decorative purposes, like this awesome negative space piece!

5. Start making 75% of my beauty products at home, like these coconut oil products, and eventually sell them!

6. To get my damn lipstick to stop smudging.

What are your goals right meow? Let me know in the comments!

Beauty: Basic BB Contour

I’ll be frank: I’m not a make-up artist. I’m not even halfway there at all, but I adore my newfound love and interest of it that I discovered so late in life. In the process, I’ve kinda figured out what works for me and what doesn’t.

I’ve been experimenting with different contouring than usual lately. Sometimes it turns out weird, but other times it turns out awesome. For the most part, this Dr. Jart+ BB Kit has been so on point, because it contours without leaving my face looking like it’s covered in Carolina mud.

Step 1: Highlight. Left pic is rubbed in, right pic is how it all starts.Step 2: Shade. Left pic is a profile of how I normally shade both side of my face, but this can change depending on the occasion, right pic is blended into the skin (with slight edging into the highlight).Step 3: Neutralize. This is something I always did, but never knew what to call before Dr.J labeled it for me. It’s perfect for all the spots you need to fill in, as well as for areas where you need to blend a bit. Left picture is before, right is after of course.Step 4: Blend ERRYTHANG. Now, this particular set of photos captures how dehydrated my skin was that day after a long, loooooong night before, so this isn’t optimal quality at all. However, it at least shows how the contour can be toned down using whatever you want. I should have gone with a BB cream, but went with my BareMinerals. After I set it all and added the rest of the makeup (not pictured) it looked slightly more normal.Makeup is kinda my jam these days. And no, I’m not perfect, but damn if it isn’t fun using my face as an experimental canvas for all these awesome products we have at our disposal. Hope this helps any of you beginners out there like me! A basic contour can change YO’ LIFE.

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See?

Beauty: Younique

A couple of months ago, I started noticing a few people posting (and inviting me to) Younique parties on social media. I was always interested, but in the world of ALL THE THINGS ALL THE TIME, I found myself kind of distracted from looking further into the products. When my friend A had a party though, I finally had some time (HELLO SPRING BREAK!) to sit down and look at the products.

I was sorta hesitant because, well, the realist in me ALWAYS is when it comes to these types of products. You know, the ones sold via parties or a not-so-hidden pyramid. And for the most part, that gut instinct is right: I find myself let down and broke.

But once in a while, I find myself pleasantly surprised (thx, Jamberry), and so was the case (mostly) for my new AU NATURAL products.

That’s not to say I don’t have a huge learning curve when it comes to these products–I do–but these are easy to learn with because they layer well. Since they’re all natural, they apply and feel different from normal cosmetics, but not in a bad way. The very first time I had my eye pigments and fiber lashes to play with, the look came out pretty decent for zero experience on my end.

Not bad for a first timer…….. but I went out and bought a lash brush the next day.

When all my Younique babies finaallllllly arrived, I came home and threw all of my products on in a sort of “Let’s just see where the hell this goes without a trial run” tornado. I ended up looking a little extra purple than I would have normally, but since that’s user error, I figured I’d share what I did, what I learned, and how I feel about the products.

Yeah, that’s not a giant lip feather… that’s a ZIT ON MY LIP.

First things first: I have horrible-ass lighting in my house. I had to run each photo through like, 5 filters, just to get either pic to look REMOTELY close to true-to-color. That being said, I took one in blue light and one in orange so you folks could see that the makeup catches the light it’s exposed to because it’s made from real things. That could be a cursing or a blessing depending on how you look at it, but so long as you’ve got on the right colors for your skin, you should be shouting from the rooftops that it won’t look crazy outside if it looked good inside and vice versa.

Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes: 10 outta 10. 5 stars. ON POINT! While I’ve seen the dreaded spider eye roll out on some users, I haven’t really had that issue. Of course, I could have done a better job at brushing out the lashes on my left eye, but who cares? I just got off of 8 hours of work. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FO’ DAT, especially if it looks good anyway. I only used one coat of mascara on my top lashes, bee-tee-dubs.

Moodstruck Minerals Pigment Powder: The purple (Regal) seen here is banging. I’ve used another I could barely see (Innocent), but again, user error. I’ve since looked up some tips and when I used them today, the pigments worked fine. I still need more time with these to get a 100% grasp on how I feel about them, but I did like that I could use my green pigment (Famous) as a SUPER FINE eyeliner. You can’t see it in these pics, but just trust that it looked SWEET with the complementary purp. I applied with an eyeshadow brush and a Q-tip (for the liner).

Beachfront Bronzer (in Sunset): It’s almost offensive how blendable this shit is. I’m kind of mad about it, and by mad, I mean I didn’t look orange, I could contour so easily with it, and I can tell it will take me decades to run out. I applied with a Q-tip because I still had makeup on, but would normally used a contour brush!

Stiff Upper Lip Lip Stain (in Savvy): Ehhhhh, I don’t know. I just don’t. And I just don’t know because it’s a lip stain. I’m really weird about lip stains because my lip skin doesn’t like them. This is actually the first one that’s STUCK, so kudos to the product there. The color is off the chain, but I had to layer it 3 times, put some purple pigment on it, and then put ONE MORE layer on it to get rid of the always-present lip show-through I get with stains. Maybe it’s just a product my skin can’t or doesn’t want to tolerate. You can see below that even with all that, there’s still this GIANT space in my inner lip that’s like “OH, YOU WANT THIS PART OF YOUR LIPS TO BE PURPLE, TOO? SORRY, BYE FELICIA!”

Refreshed Pure & Natural Rose Water: This is the best thing ever. Of all the things, this is THE thing. It smells like heaven and feels so good. It set my makeup, but I actually put it on because I’m having a horrible breakout right now and I knew it would calm down my skin.

Shine Eye Makeup Remover Cloths: A MAKEUP REMOVER CLOTH THAT IS OIL-BASED?! Shuuuut the front door. As y’all know, most of my face cleansing is done with oils. When I saw this had both sunflower AND jojoba oil in it, I was not hesitant to use these wipes on the entirety of my face, not just my eyes. And it worked without that weird red, shiny, burning thing you get with other cloths.

Overall, Younique is offering some awesome things: natural, earth and animal friendly products sold by ladies, supporting other ladies. I can’t argue with that, nor the customer service!

Review:

Rating:

  • 8 out of 10 overall; 10 out of 10 for the rose water and mascara!

Coverage:

  • Light-Medium. These products are probably for ladies who have naturally better skin/don’t mind letting imperfections show because you do have to layer everything if you want heavy coverage. (I’ll check back in after I try their BB creams, primers, and moisturizers, though! That could make all the difference…)

Tips:

  • Listen to the directions with the mascara, lest you want spidey-eye!
  • I have naturally “line-y” lips, and I like them, but that’s probably why lip stain doesn’t. Believe it or not, I use a lip mask on these things once a week! But if you try to put this stain on lips that aren’t smooth, YOU’RE GONNA HAVE A BAD TIME! Also, it really doesn’t budge. I had to use my MK lip mask to get the color off, and I’m still rocking slightly purple lips. This last thing, however, is not bad. It’s like a naturally-tinted balm; I might use it this way from now on!
  • Consult with your Younique presenter. If she has the same skin tone as you, she’ll know what you need. If she doesn’t, she still might know. If she doesn’t know, she’ll direct you to another presenter who does. PRETTY COOL, EH?!

A Decade Out

The line sounds like the cliche opening in a movie trailer, but it’s plucked straight from reality: ten years ago, my life changed forever. I was a 17-year-old dreamer who believed in everything, feared nothing, and dove right in. But on April 20, 2005, I became a 17-year-old adult who didn’t believe in anything, feared EVERYTHING, and second-guessed facets of life I’d never even fathomed. I was thrust face-first into a harrowing situation, and the result was a broken human with a temporary case of PTSD and a life-long case of GAD and depression. 4/20/05 literally changed the fibers of my being, down to the very synapses in my brain.

I’ve talked (briefly) about losing my first love before, but sometimes I feel like I could write forever and still not manage to describe the events, the emotions, the people, the smells and sounds. I could never do the day justice through words in a million years. Whether I go a day or a year without thinking about it, when I let the moment completely take me over, I still feel the same dense sadness in my sweaty panic as I remember.

A struggle as a writer–especially one on the Internet, where things are public as public can be–is how much to reveal. Sure, it’s my life and I can tell my stories, but I very much take into account the privacy of others when I tell a story that doesn’t involve me and me alone. A decade out, though, I feel like it’s a disservice to J’s memory to leave out the details of how he died. Point blank, addiction killed him. I didn’t know it then, but god, I see it now.

The thing is, we see addiction as this gross, shadowy thing in our society. Only horrible, gaunt, rotting people who sell their children’s belongings to get a fix are the ones who get hooked and die, right?

Wrong. So wrong.

J was so different from our societal image of addiction that no one saw it, not even I. He was warm and disarmingly handsome. He could make me laugh with such ease, and even in our hardest times, it never felt uncomfortable. He was caring, intelligent as hell, family-oriented, and loved his friends. J attended church, even though I didn’t, because it mattered to him. He, on paper, was perfect. But the boredom of living in a town that didn’t provide enough stimulation for him–for most of us–pushed him on this precarious path of substance abuse we ALL walked down in that time. The thing is, he walked further than the rest of us… and it ended in the worst way, the way it never should have.

But that addiction doesn’t take away what he gave me, his family, and all of his friends while he was still here. The only thing it actually does is make it a horrible accident, and anyone who says otherwise doesn’t deserve to hear the memories the rest of us get to share with each other about a magical human who touched us on an intimate level.

I used to think “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t share this because it’s not just my story,” but the thing is, it is a story that saved me from dying, too. Sure, I immediately went cold turkey the day he died, but it was because I didn’t trust drugs anymore, not because I saw an issue. But when I realized how close or knee-deep-IN he and I and so many others were to addiction, I couldn’t believe no one had stopped us. I couldn’t believe no one had noticed. And then I realized, it’s because we didn’t fit the mold. We made straight A’s, looked attractive and healthy, and we could act our naive faces off. We tricked everyone, and probably the best of us paid for it. A lot more did before him and unfortunately, a lot more have since, too.

Ten years later, I am still broken, but I am alive; I thank J for that gift often. But I think I can thank him more by being more open about him and his struggle, about the different faces of addiction and the different ways we can be addicted. I can thank him by continuing to ruthlessly take care of my health, mental and physical. I can thank him by raising awareness of the INSANE amount of teen drug use, especially in tiny towns. I can thank him by living my life for me and ONLY me, just like he wanted me to.

And in a way, I feel like that means he’s not gone because addiction doesn’t change someone’s core. J’s core was kind, and we’ll spend our time left here making sure that core kindness keeps rippling through the world. He left a legacy that will last forever: through us, through the lives we build, and through the people we help. How many people can say that?

Not many, and we’re all better for knowing someone who could.

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www. Wednesday

It’s back, it’s back! Link party below:

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+ Can I get an amen on this EliteDaily article about how you assholes keep calling us crazy, but really, you’re just dicks? K, thx.

+ You have to be deaf if you don’t like Ariana Grande. Proof in the Whitney Houston-cover pudding found HERE.

+ Because I’ve been sick (read: FATIGUED!) for so long, here’s a Buzzfeed article of all my eternally exhausted faces……. as told through DOG PHOTOS!

+ This perfectly describes how people who don’t vaccinate themselves or children sound to me… brava, Girl Pants!

+ i-D magazine compiled a perf vid of slang terms you need to know. You may think you’re above slang, but all us teachers will tell you: YA NEED. TA KNOW!

+ Since I’m in a slump right now, I figured we could all use this kid-approved list of 22 acts of kindness we can all easily pull off.

+ Also, if you’re feeling slump-ish, let’s all read Amazon’s 100 must-read books to escape, eh?

+ Realizing late in life I’m probably in this slump because I fall under 95% of these 11 traits of an Indigo child

+ A simple, yet comprehensive, list of traits all of us should have in a partner!

+ Overall, I think Iggy Azaela is problematic, but I think it she would focus more of her time acting like this–open and honest about plastic surgery aka WHY DON’T ALL CELEBS DO THIS?!–she could gain some respect and maybe start forging her own (non-problematic) path.