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Aaron’s Amazon Christmas Gift Guide 2019

Aaron’s Amazon Christmas Gift Guide 2019

Christmas is just around the corner and I know that millennials and gen z are notoriously hard to buy for. Here are some must-haves that I have compiled if you are struggling with what to buy. Half of them I own and the other half…

Getting Back On Track

Getting Back On Track

I have been regrouping for the last few months and just getting to know my life in the UK again. It is been a rough transition, to say the least, when you are used to a lifestyle and a living dynamic, to have that completely changed in the space of days can be disruptive.

Tips For Moving Country

Tips For Moving Country

Angels Tunnel New York Street Performer

Tips for moving country! The top stresses in life are a new job and a new house. What do you do when you are dealing with both at the same time while also factoring in a 4000-mile distance? I took a placement year during my university degree where I moved to Orlando for a year, and then after my degree, I moved to New York. Whilst I am no expert in an international move, I know a thing or two.

1. Consolidate

Ever since finding out that I had to move out of New York, I started planning on how I would consolidate the amount I accumulated. Since I moved to NYC I had accumulated a lot. From sample sales to plants, I came with one suitcase and I somehow left with four. This is including multiple trips home where I swapped out winter and summer wardrobes but I somehow still managed to end up with a small houses’ worth of possessions.

I put all near-empty cosmetics on a separate shelf so that I would use them first. Cosmetics always seem to be deceptively heavy. I also became ruthless with what I wanted to keep, asking myself questions to help prompt a decision.

  • When did I last use it?
  • Does it bring me joy?
  • Is it worth the luggage space?

I used the same concept for clothing, all haggard work clothes I threw away or donated. If you are giving, it is a lot easier to let go of because you know that it is going to a good home. I also really got into ranger rolling EVERYTHING and then using packing cubes to keep everything organised. Not only does it really help unpack when you arrive at your destination, it aesthetically makes me feel like I have my life together.

I also used a service to send some of my suitcases home called sendmybag. It is a service that will literally post a suitcase home for roughly the same price as an oversized suitcase at the airport. This meant that my bags arrived before I did and it was a door to door service (I lived in a 6-floor walk-up so you can imagine how useful that was). You can use my affiliate code here for 5% off!

Central Park Horse and Carriage

2. Think of the initial journey

The idea of dragging all of my possessions down my six-floor walk-up apartment into a Uber and slugging it to JFK was already giving me nightmares. Luckily, my boyfriend visited towards the end of my year and I sent a suitcase with all my winter wear home with him (conveniently all of the heavy stuff). It would be one less suitcase to lug around and I will be ordering an Uber XL so that all of my items will fit. 

I booked with Virgin Atlantic and with the air miles that I had accrued from flying back and forth from Orlando. I managed to book a premium flight at a fraction of the cost. Now premium with Virgin is in no way first class, but it does allow you to have two suitcases to check in as luggage. Premium also has a dedicated check-in desk so that you do not have to wait in line. I booked a red-eye flight so the extra comfortable chairs and a mimosa upon arrival ensured that I arrive refreshed, and ready to tackle a new life in the UK.

Dog walker, Central Park, New York City

3. Don’t Let It Overwhelm You

Upon hearing that my visa was not approved, I initially fell into free fall. Slipping in and out of panic and phoning my mum every day to try to gain control of my life. I am all about structure, and I need “next steps” always. When I do not know what is happening, I feel myself losing control, and I go into flight or fight.

I started with the basics, I redid my resume and started looking for opportunities. I read a book recently called Big Magic, and there was great advice for when you are scared or nervous about something. Just keep repeating to yourself “I’m excited, I’m excited, I’m excited“. Your mind switches and you start to become excited.

Start interviewing and researching where you are. For me, I became fixated on finding a car. I was sending links to friend and family for weeks and weeks before even moving. I was so desperate for everything to be in place when I got home. There is no rush, research, but do not be so hard on yourself. It will all fall together eventually.

Canal Street New York Nikon Ilford film photo black white

4. Moving Country, Make Plans

Start making plans immediately, connect with new and old friends. Plan an arriving or leaving party or both. Start looking at networking events in the area. There are a lot more people in the same boat than you would realise and moving country can be lonely business. For the first two weeks when I moved and lived in Orlando, I was so panicked. In the end, I just had to force myself to sit by the pool and start talking to people. I did not give up so easily and those people have become close friends that I have seen every year since.

Met Steps, New York, Ilford Film photo Black White

5. Save

Just save, it is something that should be on your radar anyway. When you are moving country, you will not have the same support network as back home. You need to be ready for every eventuality because it will happen. I struggle with saving a lot, and I have to try to be very strict with myself.

For me, money needs to be moved to an account that I cannot get too. I suffer from lifestyle inflation (1st world problem, I know) but the minute I start earning more, I start spending more. It is something I try to keep it under control. I have been using apps like Qapital as well as my Monzo account. It lets me round-up for savings and moves it into a separate account.

A great post that I wrote last year on making financial decisions might help, you can find it here.

Moving abroad does not have to be scary. Just remember “you’re excited, you’re excited, you’re excited”.

I hope you enjoyed these tips for moving country and remember, Stay Fabulous!

A

The Best 5 Books For Millennials Who Want To Get Their Act Together.

The Best 5 Books For Millennials Who Want To Get Their Act Together.

Audiobooks and Audible have been lifesavers for me because it allows me to absorb information while also getting on with my daily commute. Some people will say that this is not a real way to read a book, but I call BS because I think different people learn in different ways.

The Best 5 Financial Decisions You Should Make In 2019

The Best 5 Financial Decisions You Should Make In 2019

Let’s face it, I have never been a fiscal guru. If you put my credit history on a graph it would resemble something like a mountain skyline. From considering selling my kidney to marrying someone so that they can get a visa for cash, older…

Life Update

Life Update

Hey friends and family, I am back with a life update here and before we start I am a little short on content at the moment so please accept some old silhouettes of me looking wistfully into the distance. Once again I have promised consistent updates, and once again I have taken a spontaneous two-month break from writing. What is the truth of it? Adulting is exhausting and these New Yorkers adult hard. If five years ago someone told me that by the ripe old age of 25 I would be working 60 hour work weeks I would have gotten on the first flight to a tropical island and started a new life for myself selling shells on the beach and in all honestly that thought frequently crosses my mind.

 

 

I am currently in that antagonising wait for the H1B visa, and for those who do not know what that is, it is a lottery to see if I am allowed to stay in the country. Every year the USA opens 65,000 places for talented kids with degrees to obtain an H1B visa and remain in the USA another 3-6 years. Now, unfortunately, this year there was upwards of 190,000 applicants which slim my chances of approval down to around 25-30%. Although, still, I am looking at it in a “glass quarter full” kind of way.

I never thought I would be the type, but I am living for the weekends (sponsored by mimosas). I am not getting the chance to travel as much as I would like to but what I lack in cultural experiences, I am making up for it ten-fold in work experiences. Every day is a new challenge and opportunity for me and managing a team has proven to be demanding but rewarding. To see initiative and creativity flourish has been great. I am spending this weekend in New Jersey with Jenny and her family which I think is a much-needed break. It feels great to be out in some space that does not smell like a public restroom. That is the problem with New York in the summer, all of those grotesque smells are accentuated and enhanced and that is when the deodorant dodgers are at their most noticeable.

 

 

On this blog over the next few weeks, I am hoping to post a few cosmetics reviews as well as some life hacks as I think that is my main point of interest and something that I enjoy doing. I have even thought about *cringe* starting a youtube channel, if not for anyone else but me. The last few years I have felt my confidence decrease massively, and I think since quitting acting and coming of out the proverbial closet my self-confidence has been in rapid decline with a sprinkle of an identity crisis on the side.

Future fear is another element playing on my mind at the moment. If this visa does not get approved, then I will be back to square one. Part of me finds the idea of this refreshing and the promise of being anything and anyone I want is quite liberating. On the other hand, living is expensive, and a guy got bills to pay.

 

 

Mum, dad and Aimee recently visited for my birthday, and I think I was more excited to see their reactions to the big apple than anything else. To see three people experience New York for the first time is fantastic and I took them to all of my favourite places as well as some places I had wanted to try. Where to bring first-time New Yorkers could be a fun post to write actually (parking lot that). We had a chance to do loads of fun things that I have wanted to do for a while now. We saw two Broadway shows, Wicked and Chicago which was both fabulous. I took them to Comedy Cellar in the West Village which was hilarious albeit the aircon too cold and the drinks too strong (yes you heard that correctly). I am not usually one to complain but the pineapple vodka tasted suspiciously like paint thinner so much so that mum could not drink hers so I had no option but to finish it. We managed to pick the best day to go on a river cruise around the bottom half of Manhattan which was not only an excellent tanning opportunity but also a great chance to see the city from different angles and the waitress service meant that I was constantly hydrated if you catch my drift.

That is about all I have for you guys right now in terms of a life update, I am working on creating more content but it is strangely harder than you would think and I am gaining a lot of respect for all of the content creators out there because some of you are killing it! If there is anything anyone would specifically like to know about then shoot me a message because it would be great to see what content is interesting people.

Until next time,

 

A

 

What to do when you’re feeling depleted

What to do when you’re feeling depleted

  “Energy is finite” you have to be careful where you expend it and to whom”   Now picture this story: You are at the office, you had a 6 am start and it is not looking like you will be out much before 6…

Does Derma Rolling Work? 0.5mm and 1mm

Does Derma Rolling Work? 0.5mm and 1mm

I wanted to tell you a little about my experience with a derma roller. A derma roller is essentially a bunch of little needles that you roll on to the skin which creates lots of tiny little holes that your body then naturally starts to…

2018 Skincare Favourites

2018 Skincare Favourites

My main focus this year is going to be on me and to really start working on the things that I do not like about myself. One of these is my skin, I have always had a fragile relationship with my skin to the point where it will react to a number of inevitable life stresses. You best believe that if I had the slightest bit of stress, slept less than 8 hours, consumed fried food, candy or so much as looked at dairy then it would show up on my skin the next day.

I have always been in a trial and error relationship with skincare as well, where I used to work for LUSH all of my cosmetics would be natural and they always have done the job but never quite a WOW transformation so I decided that what my body needed was science-based skincare. I have now opted for a new regime and I will be keeping track of the outcome. Since moving to New York my skin has gotten very oily and congested because of the amount of pollution in the air and on the subway.

Queue the Ordinary, now at first I always thought that the Ordinary was a super clever marketing ploy with its simplistic packaging and hard to believe pricing but I figured I would give it the benefit of the doubt. There are a few different products that I have used from the Ordinary, one being the AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution, great exfoliant but I did not notice any long-term benefits and when it comes to a mask I think there are better options out there.

One of my top favourites from the Ordinary is the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. I was sceptical at first (mainly because I had no idea what these two ingredients really did). I have been seeing a huge difference since starting to use it not only in the severity of my acne but the duration that certain pimples would take residence on my face, the consistency is not ideal and can feel a little tacky on the skin at first but that soon disappears, it just means that I have to wait a few minutes before applying additional skincare on it.

 

 

Second, is something that a lot of people may have heard of but it is the Aztec Secrets Indian Healing Mask, the aim of the game is that you mix it one part clay with one part apple cider vinegar. Honestly, best mask I have ever used. Before this I thought the GlamGlow range was the best mask because you could truly feel it working, with Aztec Secrets I could literally feel the grossness being sucked out of my skin, it was truly detoxing and not just fake advertising buzzword “detoxing”. The next day my skin was visibly clearer and the texture was the best it has been for the longest time. Did I mention its only about £13 for a lb as well!?

 

 

Third up is the Ordinary’s 100% Plant-Derived Squalane. I was always used to using creams on my skin to hydrate and I thought that was all I could use because I suffered from oily skin. This oil seems to hydrate super quickly and feels almost like a dry oil. It has also been an excellent base for any makeup products, especially powder foundation. My favourite thing about it is that I can just mix a few drops of it with my other skincare or with my sun protection and it is one less step to worry about.

 

 

Fourth up is a strange product that I stumbled upon. Burts Bees Garden Tomato Toner, it is formulated for an oily and troubled skin. I have always had a small hatred for toners because I felt like they done nothing for my face. This toner actually feels like its benefiting my skin instead of just swiping cloudy aloe water over it with a cotton pad. It comes in a super cute bottle too and is pretty reasonably priced for the ingredients inside it, it leaves my face a little red so I try best to use it mainly in the PM.

 

 

As some of my skincare is quite chemical based and can be quite harsh on my skin I have to be sure that I am using suncare every day, this is one thing which I did not do in Florida. My lack of care in Florida led me to have sun damage to my forehead after just a year of living there. If you are like me and sunscreen makes your skin very oily and sticky then fear not, there are some alternatives, one being La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 50+ Ultra-Light Fluid. This is a great sunscreen because you can just pop a few drops of foundation with it and use it as a tinted moisturiser. Another sunscreen with similar properties is Glossiers Invisible Shield.

I hope you enjoyed this 2018 skincare favourites if anyone has tried them please comment and let me know what you thought or if you have any ideas on what I should write about next!

Stay Fabulous,

A

Pilot

Pilot

In true Aaron Dowler style – this blog has arrived around several months late. Anyone who followed my story in Florida will know that I am notoriously late and inconsistent when it comes to keeping people updated on my life. It did not help that…