Being a Bawse

This post has not been sponsored. There are affiliate links within this post, which means that I get a percentage of a purchase you make when you click on them. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Wise Willow possible! (Also, as always, everything I promote I personally love! 🙂 )

I started watching Lilly Singh (aka Superwoman)’s YouTube videos way back in high school, during my homework breaks. I found her to be an inspiration, someone who was able to make me laugh and relate to her experiences. I followed her progression as a creator over the years, noticing how she grew as a person but always stayed true to the vision she had started with.

At that point in time, I had never thought of myself as a creator. In fact, if there was a project in high school that was described as a creative endeavor I would inwardly panic, thinking I had no creative ability whatsoever. I had always known that my drawing/painting/anything art related skills were far and few, not recognizing that there were other ways to be creative. I had boxed in a definition of creativity, and dismissed myself because I happened to fall outside of those characteristics.

I always love hearing how other creatives started their blogs, channels, and other media because these stories usually have something in common: whether they thought of themselves as creative or not, they recognized this ability and what they can share with the world. As I have said before, I had a lightbulb moment of recognition when I saw a Pinterest post about starting a blog written by the lovely Morgan Timm. It was as if I was seeing myself in a new light, suddenly remembering how much I used to love writing when I was younger. All of the journals, diaries, and short stories that would escape my imagination and leave imprints on the pages of my childhood. How I dreamed of becoming an author one day. All of these feelings came back in a rush, for they had been buried for so long.

I have seen a similar progression in my own creative endeavors from when I started until now. In August I will have been blogging for two years, and I find it difficult to put all that I have learned into words.

When I saw that Lilly had written a book (something I have always dreamed of doing!), I knew that I had to get a copy. I was fortunate enough to stumble across a signed copy, and could barely wait for it to arrive. It came to my campus mailbox this past Monday, and was one of the best ways to start the week. I started reading it with no preconceived notions of what to expect.

Words cannot even describe how I felt as I turned each page. It was almost as if I was hearing the echoes of my own heart. Each vivid page brought my own dream to life, and more than that it made me feel like I wasn’t alone.

To give you some background, I try to put my all into everything that I do and am quite busy as a result. I enjoy putting my best foot forward, but it hasn’t always been an easy journey.

In high school I was quite stressed. Beyond that, my life was void of the creative energy that fills every gap in my life today. I was trapped in the box that I had drawn around myself, committed to living a scholarly life that never tested my creative ability. Lilly describes her own struggle with feeling as though she wasn’t pursuing her passions, and just living a life she thought she was meant to live. Though she experienced this after college, I resonated with the idea completely. I was stuck in my own idea of what my best life was, restricting my own growth.

When I started my blog, I started to erase the box and draw lines in new directions. I journeyed into the unknown, guided by the creative voice that I had subdued for so long. Instead of critiquing all of my creative choices, I embraced them. I made mistakes, I learned, and most of all I loved. The color started to seep back into my world, and I could feel my creativity growing with each day.

Lilly took on creativity as a full-time job, and does an amazing job of balancing it all despite the criticisms that she receives. As a student blogger, it’s common for me to have my motivations questioned. My day is scheduled nearly hour by hour, and I am always reading, writing, working, and creating. There are many who don’t understand why I choose to spend this much time on creativity, but for me it can only be explained by passion. It never feels like work for me, and as I sit here right now typing in the early hours of the morning I feel surrounded by joy and positive energy.

Blogging has allowed me to embrace my true self, and erase the rigid lines I had thought were permanent. There were many creators who inspired me to take this leap, and I can only hope that I inspire others to do the same.

If you haven’t read How to Be a BawseI highly recommend that you grab a copy! I read it in one day, and haven’t stopped thinking about it. How have you embraced your creative self?

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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My Journey in Essential Oils

This is not a sponsored or promoted post, all thoughts are my own. 🙂 

Exactly one week ago I received my premium essential oil kit from Young Living Essential Oils, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. As you know, I have been embarking on a number of new journeys and experiences this year and improving my wellness has been one of my main goals.

When adjusting to any new situation, or even to a subtle amount of change, keeping up with a wellness regimen can be very difficult. In my schedule, I find that sometimes it’s hard to momentarily pause and reflect because I’m often rushing from place to place.

I had been researching the benefits of essential oils for quite some time, not really sure if they would fit into my lifestyle or help me to achieve more of my wellness goals. Staying healthy in college is one of the most important aspects of student life, but it is also one of the most difficult.

At around this time of year, it seems as though stress and business all contribute to illnesses around campus. I’m always looking for ways to decrease my stress and remain more focused on each moment, and decided to take the plunge and invest in these essential oils. I couldn’t be happier!

It’s only been one week, but even in this week I have experienced quite a bit of stress surrounding class assignments and other due dates. When I first opened up my kit I was shocked at how much was in it! It inspired me to organize a space in my room for the diffuser and all of the oils, which is right at the foot of my bed on my mini fridge. 🙂

That first night I diffused Stress Away, and I woke up feeling very refreshed and rejuvenated! In the mornings (especially when I have earlier classes) I have been diffusing a mixture of lemon and peppermint oils as a refreshing and focus-centered combination. It has worked wonders for my productivity (sending emails, etc.) in the mornings, and I feel much more awake when on my way to class.

The day that I used the kit the most was this past Sunday, when I woke up with a horrendous migraine. I have used essential oil rollers in the past for my headaches, but never diffused oils to try to relieve the symptoms. I diffused a combination of oils throughout the day, focusing on the peppermint and R.C. (Eucalyptus) oils that usually help to relieve headache pain. I also applied Panaway topically with a carrier oil (coconut oil) to relieve the muscle tension and I was able to be productive for the second half of my day which was a huge game-changer!

As I write this, I am currently diffusing Lavender as a way to relax after a very long day. In times of stress due to deadlines and requirements, I have been reaching for Peace and Calming and Stress Away, and words cannot describe how these have changed my wellness routine. I have also been pairing essential oil diffusing with my meditation practice lately.

I’m so excited to keep updating you on my journey in essential oils, as it has far exceeded my expectations! I have a new Instagram dedicated to this wellness journey, as well as a new Facebook group! What have your experiences with essential oils been? Are you looking to integrate them into your own wellness routine? Feel free to leave a comment below or email me (thewisewillowblog@gmail.com) if you are interested in these oils, I’ve learned so much about them and would love to get you started on your journey! 🙂

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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My Minimalist College Dorm Room Tour

This weekend I felt inspired to film a casual vlog showing you around my college dorm room, and how I have incorporated minimalism into my daily life. This was the first casual vlog that I have ever filmed, and it ended up being 46 minutes long! I always wondered how people made such long YouTube videos, but now I completely understand!

I hope that you enjoy this more casual look into my daily life, and I would love to hear what you have been up to lately! Leave a comment below! 🙂

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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Being a Minimalist in College

I’ve started many new endeavors this year, but the most rewarding one thus far has been my journey in minimalism. Even though I have only been back at school for a few weeks, the positive changes that have manifested as a result of this lifestyle change have led me to inadvertently embrace all of my initial goals. Over my winter break I thought about how I could implement minimalism into my life as a college student, and when I returned to campus knew right where to start! Beginning is the hardest part, but the rest naturally follows!

So you may be wondering how I even approached going through all of my belongings in my room. I took to YouTube and Pinterest for inspiration from other minimalists, especially regarding what criteria they used to go through what they owned. Even though “minimalism” might suggest living with as few material items as you can, the essence of the lifestyle is quite different. Instead of living with as few items as possible, the goal is to own only items that bring value to your daily life.

As I looked around my room, I thought about all of the things that I use on a daily basis, and then started at my desk to go through what no longer served me at this point in my life. One of the elements of minimalism that I love the most is its approach to minimizing: an item could have had value and meaning in your life, but no longer needs to. There were definitely things that I found myself holding on to “just in case,” but I was forgetting that everything is impermanent. Change is inevitable, and it is beautiful.

I sorted through drawers and tabletops, appreciating everything that no longer served me but also letting it go. I set everything gently into two large boxes, knowing that others will find meaning in these items as they travel on their own life journeys.

As I looked around the room I knew where everything was and how it fit into my life. It was then that I was able to think about what might add value to my life, if anything. After some reflection, I realized that I now felt as though there was now room (both physically and emotionally) to engage with one of my new interests: essential oils. These take up very little physical space, but contribute positively to my health and overall wellbeing.

Through this minimizing process I felt as though I was finally acknowledging that the person I was is no longer the person I am. Something that most minimalists have emphasized is the relationship between what we own and who we are. In everything that we own we invest some of who we are. Similar to our music tastes, what we own can tell its own story about who we are. And who we are is subject to change. Minimalism highlights the relationship between the self and our surroundings, and suggests that our possessions need not remain permanent.

As soon as I felt comfortable shaping my surroundings to my true self, the rest fell into place. Where there was once makeup lies essential oils; books that I loved are now destined to be enjoyed by others.

My room has become an even clearer representation of who I am. Before it was simply my room. Now it is my sanctuary.

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

 

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

It has always been one of my dreams to go to the Universal Studios™ Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and I loved every moment of it! Being able to vlog this adventure was one of the best parts, and I hope that you love it!

I highly recommend visiting if you are thinking about going, it was a wonderful way to celebrate my love for the Harry Potter series (which I grew up with). And if you were wondering, I’m a Ravenclaw through and through! 🙂 Let me know what house you’re in down in the comments below!

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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My New Life Journey: Why I Stopped Wearing Makeup

Today’s post is one of the most personal posts that I have written on my blog, but it is something that I’ve wanted to write about for a while (especially with my new interests this year, and with my experiences). I am only writing about my own experiences, and in no way want to promote one way of living over another. My personal journey with makeup has spanned many perspectives, and I think they were all valuable for me during each phase of my life thus far. 🙂 My taste and interest in makeup has been something that has changed alongside me, and I wanted to write about that journey since I am embarking on a new one this year.

I started wearing makeup during my junior year of high school. I had problem skin for most of my early teen years, but only started to grow self-conscious about it when I was about sixteen years old. I didn’t know the first place to start with makeup, but I was constantly feeling uncomfortable about my appearance. Part of me wanted to start my journey into makeup to boost my confidence, but part of me wanted to feel as though I didn’t need makeup to feel confident in myself. I started looking online for inspiration, and found makeup tips from articles on Pinterest and YouTube tutorials.

I started my journey with very minimal and basic makeup, and learned from trial and error about what best suited my skin. Over the years I discovered that I have quite sensitive skin, which eliminated wearing foundation and other higher coverage concealers as options. I started to straighten my hair and wear more makeup over time, trying new products until I finally reached a point where I knew what worked best for my skin.

When I entered the world of blogging, I started to learn more about different products and brands. Makeup shifted from being something I did to gain more confidence to something I enjoyed for myself. I loved learning about new makeup techniques and products, and trying them out for myself. It became a hobby of mine, especially in college where I was able to learn how to create more professional and everyday looks. When I started on my vegan journey during my second semester, I began to think about looking into cruelty-free makeup brands. This created a new shift in how I related to makeup, and I started to prefer more natural looks with products that contained natural ingredients. I learned more about what products I liked to use (I did an E.L.F. and ULTA haul a few months ago 🙂 ), and my interest in makeup and skincare grew.

My time in college has caused many a breakout, which I initially thought was due to stress (and I am sure that stress was definitely a factor), but I discovered that on the days I didn’t wear makeup (often weekends), my skin would be a lot less temperamental. I also found that I was slowly going back to being less confident in myself. When I looked in the mirror with no makeup on, all I thought was “wow I look exhausted, I need to fix that”. But my way of fixing it was to cover it up instead of get at the root of what was causing my skin woes.

Once I started winter break, I didn’t wear makeup as often. I started to see improvements in my skin, and felt less like I needed makeup to look more awake and energized. It was then that I started to realize that wearing makeup was allowing me to create a temporary solution to the root of a lot of my skin problems. I had also developed so much as a person over the course of my time in college that I felt more confident in my direction and in my interests. I no longer felt as though I needed makeup to gain confidence, but I did feel as though I needed it to feel and look more awake and present. This shift in mentality coincided with a shift in interest away from makeup and towards skincare. Taking care of my skin started to be more of a priority (and as some of you may know, I started to become a bit obsessed with face masks after a long day 🙂 ). I found that as I focused more on my hydration, nutrition, and skincare, I didn’t feel as though I needed makeup to feel more present.

My interest in minimalism and more natural living over the past few months also contributed to this shift, and I decided at the beginning of this year to officially go without makeup. I’ll be honest, at first it was a bit difficult to feel as confident on a daily basis because I felt as though I was missing a part of my routine. When I looked in the mirror, it was surprising sometimes to see my reflection. But as the days went on, I started to be truly comfortable in my own skin yet again. I became more focused on my skincare routine and making sure that I was staying as healthy as possible. As the days went on it became even easier to let go of cosmetics. There hasn’t yet been a time when I felt as though I would be happier if I were wearing makeup.

My interests have always shifted alongside my life changes, and makeup has been one of those interests. Though I am no longer interested in it for my current path, I think it is absolutely wonderful when people are. There was definitely a time when it added so much to my own happiness and became a hobby of mine that I loved investing time in, and I love watching other people feel the same way. I wanted to write this post as a way of revisiting how my life has changed, and how my interest in makeup has changed with it. A year ago, or even a few months ago, the decision to not wear makeup wouldn’t have been one that matched my lifestyle.

I think it’s really important to live with intention, and to do everything that you do with love and passion. I have been reading about intentionality quite a bit recently, and being able to love everything that you do is such an amazing feeling. I think that it’s natural to have shifting interests in life, and they are all valuable to who we are in the moment that we are living them.

I’m embracing this new year with new visions, but still remember fondly the interests that I have left behind. I hope that you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. 🙂

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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Florida Vlogs 2017: Day Four – Wildlife Preservation

Today we went to an amazing Giraffe Ranch wildlife preserve that was family owned and operated, with the mission of confronting the issue of mass extinction with many species around the world.

This was my favorite day of the trip so far, and definitely my favorite vlog to make! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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Be Bold 2017: Blog and Business Goals

So far in 2017 I’ve done quite a bit of brainstorming about where I want my blog to go in 2017. As you’ve seen this week, one of my main goals was to expand my content to include videos on my YouTube channel. Throughout my blogging career, I’ve learned that taking creative risks is one of the best ways to get out of your comfort zone and learn more about yourself.

When I started my blog, one of the reasons I did so was my love for writing. However, another contributing factor was the fact that I wasn’t yet comfortable being in front of the camera and making media in that way. This year I decided to challenge myself and start making more visual content to pair with my writing. So far, I’ve loved the challenge that this has presented! (If you’d like to check out my YouTube channel, I would love to hear your thoughts or have you subscribe! 🙂 ).

One of my other goals is to blog about my new journeys. There are a few journeys that I want to take this year, and I hope to venture into new creative endeavors in the process. I want to live my life more intentionally, pursuing my passions and living a life that I love. I want to help others, and I have learned that I have numerous interests that I want to explore over the course of my undergraduate (and post-graduate) career.

I also want to start a big project this year, and am still thinking about the specifics. I want it to be a creative venture that combines all of my passions into one. I’m still in the planning stages, but I have received so much support from the blogging community about starting such a project! 🙂

So there you have it! Those are my three main goals for my blog and business in 2017, which I was inspired to explore as part of the Be Bold 2017 Linkup organized by The Social Butterfly Gal. There will definitely be more posts corresponding to these goals, but if you would like to learn more about what I’ve done so far in 2017 to achieve these goals feel free to take a look at My Journeys!

What are your blog and business goals for this year? I would love to hear them! 🙂

If you would like to participate in this Linkup, click on the button below!

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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Florida Vlogs 2017: Day Two

I’ve had so much fun making more media content this year! Today we went to a beautiful beach where I actually stepped in the ocean! (For those of you who don’t know, I’m not the biggest fan of water). The water was quite cold, but the views were breathtaking! I hope you’ve been enjoying these vlogs, I’ve certainly loved making them! 🙂

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

 

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Florida Vlogs 2017: Day One

Florida Vlogs 2017: Day One

One of my goals for 2017 is to create more video content on my YouTube channel, and this trip has given me the perfect opportunity! We took a beautiful hike today, with perfect weather and breathtaking scenery! It was a wonderful way to spend our first full day in Florida!

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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Alyssa DeBella

21 | Lifestyle blogger | Minimalist | Dreamer ✨| Language Lover 💕| Animal Obsessed ❤️🐶| Double Major 📚| Vegan 🌱 |Traveler ✈️ (currently in: Europe)
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