Sun Safety This Summer

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Sun safety is a huge priority in my family. I had a great Uncle pass away from skin cancer, my mother had Melanoma, and I have already had three suspicious looking “freckles” removed. Not too mention, I am as pale as they come- it is quite easy for me to get burned.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what skin tone you have, everyone is at risk. To help prevent skin cancer, wearing an SPF 30 or higher daily is essential, no matter the weather.

Since I live at the Jersey Shore, my friends and I are very careful about being out too long in the sun, or making sure to really cover up when we head to the beach. We know now that not only does the sun cause skin cancer, but chronic UV exposure will give you winkles, hyper-pigmentation, and age spots.

Here are a few of my favorite sun blocks for face….

and for body…

On top of that sunblock, you can protect yourself with clothing and accessories!

Hats:

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ASOS

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ASOS

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URBAN OUTFITTERS

Cover Ups:

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URBAN OUTFITTERS

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URBAN OUTFITTERS

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BECCA

Adding sunblock and other skin protectors is essential, and so is staying up to date on skin protection news. One company I discovered which is great with this is called Oscar, which is a health insurance company based in New York. Oscar uses technology to help members stay informed and on top of subjects such as skin protection. They recently wrote a great blog post about ‘protecting your biggest organ” – your skin. They offer some quick tips on SPF use and even how to get a vitamin D fix.

Another thing I love about this company is that they keep things simple and smart; they have a team of nurses and healthcare experts on call to answer any questions, even something as simple as what foods can help with getting your vitamin D. It’s even free to talk with a doctor over the phone anytime. It’s like having a doctor in the family, doesn’t that sound nice? 

I hope you are all enjoying your summer so far and being diligent about sun safety. My goal is to keep sun protection in mind and be super safe, while also enjoying the warmth we’ve all been waiting for. I also plan on making sure to have healthcare experts in my life, such as the teams at Oscar Health Insurance. After all, you can never be too careful with your most beautiful asset!

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New Year.. New Health.

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Me and Mike on New Years

Welcome 2015,

I am sure you all have been inundated with new blog posts, articles and videos with “resolution ideas” for 2015. As a self-help junkie, every year I can not wait to start thinking about the new resolutions I will take on. However, this year is much different: I have no interest in resolutions at all…

About a week before New Years I felt very sick: I was incredibly lethargic, my skin looked terrible and I had trouble falling asleep. Unfortunately, this is the usual for me, except this time it was a bit more extreme.

I had spent the day at my Uncle’s beautiful dinner party filling up on my favorites: baked mac n’ cheese and various sweets. I came home and could barely stand. It wasn’t that I was full, I had sharp pains. I recalled these pains from when I was only 13 years old in Middle School. At that time it became clear to me that I had a weak immune system and most likely had what my nutritionist called Candida. Ever since then I have been researching nutrition immensely and have learned quite a bit.

Since there is an unbelievable amount of information, I tried to keep it simple for myself: my body does not want gluten, dairy or sugar. I knew this due to various health issues I had and the inflammatory issues these foods caused. And believe me I tried everything. I went to various doctors who offered treatments and medications. These would only work temporarily- if at all. What I did notice was I would feel immensely different when my diet changed. However, I knew the only way I could do this was by completely cutting out all the foods I loved (pasta, bread, cheese, chocolate, chai, and even rice). I wanted to beat all of my issues and wipe them out completely for optimum health. The nutritionists I spoke to said it was possible- but I needed to eliminate the foods 100%- at least for a prolonged period of time.

This idea scared me a lot– I felt there was pressure always in the back of my mind. I could eat healthy all day, then screw up at night and it was ruined. Not to mention in school I was so exhausted that I thrived on instant yummy foods and the energy the sugar rush would give me. I always knew it was horrible for me- but I just could not push myself to quit the bad foods.

Flash toward to last week, I remember waking up in the morning. I believe it was the 27th, I started journaling again and wrote down 10 things I was grateful for. This is something I don’t usually do, if I am being honest. That whole day I felt at peace with my body. I didn’t crave wheat or dairy or any form of sugar. But I also didn’t pressure myself, that night I wanted a hot chocolate and instead of stressing myself out, I allowed it. The next day it was a lot easier for me to continue my healthy eating. Why is this? I sort of have an explanation..

I am a perfectionist. I know this because I have been told multiple times. Not in an OCD kind of way, but I expect myself to do the best and sometimes try to be the best. This can be incredibly stressful. I have a mentality that life is tough, so you got to be tough right back. Everything needs to be thought out, planned and executed perfectly, or you will be a step behind someone else. I am a 5″3, privileged female living in NYC with a dream to be a well-respected actor and to help others. I don’t have the mental capability to not be a perfectionist. I truly believe my dream is attainable, it is possible for me (even though I look like a million other wanna be actresses), I just have to be one step ahead. And this is exactly how I have gone about my health. It needs to be perfect. If I failed, oh well, just curl up in bed eating pretzels and watch The Office all night. (That show always makes me feel better about my current life circumstances.) ALTHOUGH, I have begun to realize this not only detrimental for my mental health, its purely unhealthy and I will never succeed at curing my health issues.

I said above that I do not have any resolutions- this is true. If I have a resolution for myself I will not be able to expect anything less then perfect- and you know where I am going with that one. Down, down hill to failure-town. Every year I have resolutions that I write down and every year I look back and say, “oh wow I didn’t keep any of these resolutions, shocker”. I have decided for 2015 I will gradually, at my own pace, begin to break my bad health habits. Now this does not work for everyone, but not only does it loosen pressure for myself, it makes me happy at the small progress I make throughout each day, which encourages me to try harder. In a way its like I am tricking myself.

So that’s that. I will try my hardest to refrain form gluten, dairy and sugar. I think the best way for me to do this is by finding delicious, alternative recipes online. I am really excited for the New Year. I have a lot of new ideas, hopes and dreams for myself. I want to stop thinking and start doing. What about you guys?

Happy New Year,

Olivia xx

Transitions

 

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Hello everyone,

its been far too long! I had quite the hectic summer…

Some highlights :

  • A weekend workshop at the wonderful Omega Insitute.
  • A trip with my entire family (on my Moms side) to Bermuda!
  • My first family wedding.
  • Celebrating my 2 and a half year anniversary (cuz why not? :))

I would like to begin with my story about the Omega Institute. I was reading an amazing book called “The Tools” when I learned that the two authors would be doing a weekend workshop at a beautiful retreat in Upstate NY. I had to go! My mom and I made the three hour trip to the woods where we learned more about our spiritual side and ate extremely healthy food with some kind-hearteded people..

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The authors, also professional therapists to some major celebrities, were funny and seriously helpful. Though their ideas are complex at times, with practice and concentration you can seriously change your life for the better. Everyone should give this book a shot.

 

Now I am starting off at a new school on the Upper East side of Manhattan. So far it has been amazing! I love this area of the city, the vibes are great. Though I loved living downtown, I am really feeling better up here. The energy is great. I am finally in my major: Acting! I am feeling optimistic and love my Professors.

One major theme for me this month is pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. I am diving more into music and writing music, working with garageband. I just want to do everything! I start my days now at 7 am and soon hope to wake up earlier. I want to push myself and do the unusual for me. I am thinking of mood boards, visualization projects and organization. Most importantly though: hard work. I really did not work hard for what I wanted last year, this is definitely going to change with my new journey.

 

I have already gotten into the Autumn spirit. I baked a pumpkin pie and pulled out the comfy sweaters.

Currently I am listening to a cool, new young band called Echo Smith. They are incredibly talented and uplifting .

A couple weeks ago I took Mike for his birthday to go see Arcade Fire at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It was such a beautiful experience it inspired me to want to perform at a few open mics. So we shall see how that goes!

 

I shall keep you posted on some new endeavors.

 

 

xx Olivia

 

 

Loving Life

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How is everyones 2014 so far? I started off the New Year living in a tree house in the rainforest in Costa Rica..

Yes it was crazy. I have so many pictures I can not wait to share. It truly was a life-changing experience. I came back with complete positivity and a sense of peace. And that has been my resolution for 2014- to find a sense of peace within myself. 

Every year its the same resolutions…

  • work out everyday 
  • no soda
  • no cursing
  • read books etc…

I find that these resolutions honestly just stress me out. There is always this lingering pressure starting out the New Year. To the point where I am just like ugh I don’t even want to try anymore.

And yes they are important to incorporate into life.. but I find that the pressure is not beneficial to my life.

My important words for 2014 are

  • Gratitude
  • Peace
  • Love

Because without these three things how is a happy life achieved? 

For gratitude I decided to keep a gratitude journal. Every night, or the nights I can, I write down everything I am grateful for that happened that day. It has been going very well!

For peace I decided to turn off the news. No more CNN, USA Today, etc. Although current events can be important, I was constantly checking the news all day everyday purely out of boredom. And I just kept getting hit with more and more bad news. It really started to drag me down in 2013, and give me a pessimistic outlook. So far I have been detoxing from news I actually have a much brighter outlook on life I have to say. I plan on volunteering my time to give back to the community as well.

For love I decided to start giving more loving attention to my family and friends. I felt this past year I really just blew people off for my own personal time. Now everyday I try to talk to friends I barely contact and I have conversations with every family member. I am trying to be a lot more loving and less judgmental. 

 

Resolutions can be hard to keep so my motto is just to take it day-by-day. I know there will be plenty of times this year where I find it difficult to stick to these three words, but there is always tomorrow. Don’t let yourself get stressed because it will all work out, especially if there is gratitude involved! And most importantly treat yourself well.  

I hope everyone is having a wonderful, safe January. 

xx Olivia 

 

Living For the Weekend and A Short Film!

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JACK from Grace Jackson on Vimeo.

How is everyone? I have been so busy at school, but learning a lot.
Lately I’ve realized how grateful I am for the weekend. Resting after such a hectic week is very much needed.
Some of my favorite things to do on the weekend include…

-discovering new tea
-window shopping
-napping all day
-discovering new music
-reading a great book
-writing in my journal
-watching my favorite TV shows
-eating my favorite food
-discovering new parts of NYC

above you will see I posted a short film called Jack that I stumbled upon on tumblr. What I love so much about this video is how happy this man is, and how simply he has lived. It reminds me that you can live without much and still have a great life. I hope you all enjoy it too.
And as we speak, NYC has just gotten its first snow fall of December!

My First Fall in NYC

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I am a big big fan of Autumn. And this is the first time I am living in NYC starting as a college student. So far I am enjoying it ! It is such a change from living in the suburbs of NJ.

NYC in the fall can be absolutely beautiful. And I am so grateful to be able to wake up every morning and experience it.

Some of my favorite Autumn quotes ….

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
― George Eliot

“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.”
― John Donne

“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.”
― William Cullen Bryant

Time Out Magazine has a list of things to do in the Fall in NYC which is so much fun! Theres 101 choices but some of my favorite are…

  • Watch the leaves fall at Green-wood cemetery and New York Botanical Garden.
  • March in the Village Halloween Parade
  • Pay respects at the 9/11 memorial
  • Go see an indie rock band at Webster Hall
  • Visit the New York Philharmonic
  • Hit up Spa Week!
  • Go up to Queens County farm and find some pumpkins 🙂
  • Get lost in central park
  • Shop at Brooklyn Flea Market

I hope everyone is getting ready for Fall and had a wonderful summer!

xx Olivia Mullen

Trip to a Farm

This passed week I had the pleasure to stay at one of the most peaceful places I have ever been, Whistlewood farms in Rhinebeck, NY. It was truly a treat and I can not wait to go back. The woman who owned the little house is an artist and decorated her place with charming pieces of artwork, charming rustic furniture and beautiful antiques. And when we woke up in the morning she had prepared for us a delicious breakfast ! On our trip we also got a chance to stop at the CIA (culinary institute) to eat at one of their restaurants  The food was absolutely delicious! I would definitely go again.

I am officially on my spring break. And most of it has been spent with me worrying about college. I have started getting the rejection letters but I am trying to keep my spirits up. Hope you are all well!

 

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Be Free

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Hello everyone! I haven’t been on in awhile.. but I have good news…I bought myself a new macbook! So I will be posting much more. School has been going well but I thought I’d talk about stress. My life has been very very stressful lately. Due to urgent parents.

I understand college applications are important.

What I don’t understand is why they have to be so stressful.. I really feel that stress in life is completely unnecessary. Of course its important to get things done. But life is too short to waste it on stress.

So its pretty funny but I’ve been trying to coach my mom on how to handle her stress. She doesn’t seem to like me coaching her.. she thinks it should be the other way around. But I believe everyone should be free of stress.

“Where’d the days go, when all we did was play? And the stress that we were under wasn’t stress at all just a run and a jump into a harmless fall” 
― Paolo Nutini

The Secret to Happiness?

I recently read an article on Womens Health about the secret to happiness. According to a new study in Psychological Science, “making a good, respectable name for yourself leads to the most satisfaction,” as opposed to having lots of money. The articles mentions that researchers studied 80 college students happiness levels. They then calculated the students levels of “respect” through peer ratings and how many leadership positions the students had. When they asked about the students income the truth came out: money did not make them happy- respect did… Womens Health then goes on giving some tips to help raise you respectfulness…

  • Be honest—and be open to others’ honesty. (Wise words of Donald Trump..)
  • Believing in yourself, Setting firm goals and following through. (Maria Rodale, CEO and chairman of Rodale, Inc.)
  • Instead of hyperfocusing on other people, look to yourself (John Mackey, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market) My moms a big fan lol.

I think these are great points however… here its goes…. you need money for respect. (unfortunately) You need appropriate clothes and materials. However, with respect you can work your way to get those things I guess. Its a never ending cycle.