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An Honest Chat About Sustainability

Sustainability is the hot topic of the moment, and I'm glad it is. After all, we only have one planet, the fact that leading an eco-friendly lifestyle became trendy is a good thing. It means that more people are willing to try and make changes to the way they are living, yet it can also mean that the subject will stop being a topic once it stops being trendy. 
I, like most of us, am guilty of falling into the trend, and consequently start becoming more aware of what I buy, what I use and what am I consuming in general.

Today I thought I could share with you my thoughts and opinions on this topic. I realize that my opinion may be a little bit controversial, but I think it's time I share my thoughts in here. 
A Portuguese Zero Waste Instagrammer that I follow, named Catarina Barreiros, shared a quote the other day that ran along the lines of "We don't need a hand full of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need millions doing it imperfectly." and if I had to use a quote to summarize my point of view on the matter this would be it. I don't do as much as I could and I am aware of it. I use a lot of plastic, I buy fast fashion and I eat meat, all things that can be condemned by more extremist environmental activists (something I am not). However, I am conscious of these decisions and I have been trying to make little changes in my life so that I can lead a life that is more environmentally friendly, I must assure you that all the little steps I've done are easy and can be done by anyone who's willing to make a change. 
The real difference is made when a lot of people make little changes instead of trying to change everything about the way they live only to finding it too hard and simply giving up. 

As I said I do eat meat, but after watching Cowspiracy I've learned a lot about the dark side of the meat industry. Did you know that to produce 1 Kilo of beef it takes up to 15 000 Liters of water, to produce 1 Kilo of pork up to 6 000 Liters? Not to talk about the fact that the biggest cause of the hole in the ozone layer is the CO2 generated by cow farts (it's all on the documentary if you don't believe me). 
After having this knowledge I simply couldn't keep eating meat more than 10 times a week. I then and there made the conscious decision of eating one vegetarian meal every day, leaving animal protein to be eaten for the other. I truly believe that if everyone did this, the mass production of meat would be an easy fix problem. I do love vegetables which is a big help, but I've had to try new things in the kitchen and try my best to keep this habit going. I didn't feel much of a difference in my routine but at the end of the day, I know I am making a difference. 
Another thing I truly believe in. Is that the fast fashion industry (which includes basically everything I've ever got) is a needed industry. It allows a lot of people to be able to dress because most of us can't afford to buy only from sustainable brands. I would love to be able to do that, but at these point in time, I absolutely can't. So I do the next best thing. I buy only pieces that I know I will have a lot of wear out of. For example, the top I am wearing cost 3€ for Lefties 2 Summers ago and it's still going strong. I've had the denim shorts from Pull and Bear for over 5 Years and they are still my favourite piece of denim shorts. I have certain pieces that I've had for years and years and that I always find myself going back too. I try to repair the pieces when they need repairing and when I am done with them they are normally to worn out to go anywhere but the trash can. If not, I always had the habit to pass it on, either to my mum, some friends or to some charity that collects clothes. This way I know I am doing my part making the fast fashion industry a little bit slower. 

Now, let's talk about the elephant in the room. A little friend we have named PLASTIC. Recently plastic has almost become a forbidden word, a word that carries a lot of baggage within itself. If we talk plastic, we talk about ocean pollution, fish genocide, the end of drinkable water. However, and even though most of us are aware of its dangers, plastic has become an indispensable part of our routine. It's in our food, in our shower, in our makeup bag, in our closet, it's basically anywhere if we care to look.  
I've been making an effort to reduce my usage of plastic by making little unnoticeable changes. So far I've replaced my toothbrush for a bamboo one, I've stopped using shower gel and started using soap bars instead, I always carry a metal straw in my bag so that I am not using the disposable ones. 
When it comes to the supermarket I try to carry a tote bag with me in which I can carry my groceries, I never use the little plastic bags they have available for fruits and vegetables. 
Another thing I  try to do is to buy locally. I get most of my fruits and vegetables from a local grocery store I know the owner and he knows me, it's less expensive, I know the products are great and it feels really nice to support a local small business.

These are a few of the changes that I've made so far. I know they seem small, but a lot of small actions make a big difference. I hope to keep educating myself on this matter, and I hope to keep doing what I can to preserve our beautiful planet, so that places like the one this post was shoot at don't become a memory, but a reality, places I will be able to take my kids to one day and that they will take their kids too as well. 

Photography: Alexandre Serôdio 
Location: Loulé, Algarve, Portugal 

Life Update: From the Algarve with Love

Another school year is over. Another Summer is beginning and I am home for the Summer months. I'm home, I'm free. I took a much-needed break and here I am. I'm back and full force. 
The last six months made me realize, more than ever, that what I truly love to do is to share my vision of the world. Not only in words, but in pictures and in video form. For the rest of the year, all I want is to create better content. I am not worried about schedules or posting a lot, all I want right now is to try and let you see the world with all the beauty that I am able to see in it.

Taking a break allowed me to go to the beach, tan in the sun, take a dip in the ocean and go to the cinema a lot! Taking time off is something I've realized is essential, it allows us to see things from a different perspective. It changes our point of view on everything. I would one hundred per cent recommend you to do the same. We need to realize that feeling stressed all the time and like we are a bomb ready to explode at any second it's not a good thing. It doesn't make you a better or more hardworking person. It is not positive and Summer is the best time to relax and unwind. If all you want to do is to spend a full day at the beach or at home watching Netflix, I promise you don't have to feel guilty about it.

I also finished my third year of university. It feels like only yesterday I was sitting behind the computer and writing about my 1st year of Uni, and now that 2020 is approaching I realized it will be my last year there. I really want to write a full blog post about what I've learned in the past three years and a whole reflection on my time while being at Uni, but for now, I want to say that I feel absolutely terrified of being done with it. Studying is all I know how to do, I know how to get good grades, how to balance my time but school and studying as ALWAYS been a factor in the equation, the day that it won't be is coming. The day in which I will be an adult, I will have responsibilities, big decisions to make, to get a job or do a masters, to stay in Lisbon or move somewhere else. We never know what life has o offer, but the sooner it approaches, the harder it becomes to make decisions because you learn the power that those (said decisions) have. They are the stones in the adulthood path, the foundation of the House of Being a Grownup. 
Anyways, I truly believe in doing what if feels right at the time and we will always sort out the rest. I try not to worry about my life and the future so that I am able to focus all my energy in positive thoughts and good vibes.

Last but not least (if this was a list this would probably be first). I STARTED A YOUTUBE CHANNEL! As you can see on my first video I am pretty insecure about stuff in general. I thought about starting a channel, it was something I had on my mind for years, I've had various attempts to do so and I always gave up, I made up excuses and I never took the step forward to simply do it. I came to the realization that if I didn't I would always have that "what if" feeling with me, and I truly didn't want that. So I did it. I am going to see how it works if it goes well great, if not, at least I would have tried.
So let's see how that goes, my new challenge, something that was in my 2019 resolutions and that I managed to take down! 

For now, all I want is to keep the good energy that I have going on. To keep feeling as happy as I am, not struggling with anxiety not struggling with anything basically.  Wednesday I will go to Lisbon for a couple of days for what's probably going to be the last time this summer and then I'm back in the Algarve for exciting times! I can't wait to keep sharing my life with you, here, on YouTube or on Instagram. It's amazing that I have created this digital diary, where I will be able to look back, no pictures lost (as it happens so many times). I will be able to read posts like this and see exactly where my mind was at that specific moment, how I looked and what was I doing. I truly love to blog, to create content and to feel like I have a door open to truly be myself. Thank you for being on that side and for helping me keep this going. 

Love, Ana

Photography: Alexandre Serôdio
Location: Loulé, Algarve, Portugal 

Stepping out of my Comfort Zone with the Avon Mark Collection

2019, the year I promised to be more inventive with makeup. This might be my first step out of my comfort zone regarding eyeshadow but I figured it was the perfect opportunity to try the Avon Mark Collection.
I love how this collection has such minimal packaging, something that is the opposite of the fun and vibrant colours of the products.
 I own a few products, almost enough to create some sort of full face and so that was what I decided to do. I did not wear the lipstick with the eyeshadow because Neon Pink on the lips and purple on the eyes totally wasn't a vibe I was going for. 

The first product I used was the Matte SPF20 Fluid Makeup. This may be my favourite product from the bunch. This is a very light coverage foundation that (regardless of what the name says) is everything but matte. I love how easy to apply it is and how glowy it makes my skin look. This one is going to be one of my main allies during the warmer months. 

Then I followed with the star of the show, also known as,  Loose Pigment Eyeshadow in Dazzling Violet. This product was a challenge that I accepted with open arms. I had never used a loose pigment before and I had never used purple eyeshadow but I knew that it could work really well. I decided to give it a try. Being more inventive with makeup means not only colours, but techniques, and products that we may be afraid of but that may also surprise us. I loved the colour of this eyeshadow and it lasted pretty well on the lids. I used concealer to prime my eyes and I didn't powder on top of it. I also used another tone of purple to blend the eyeshadow in and give a bit more dimension to the look.

To finish my eye look I used the Big and Daring Volume Mascara. This one is not my favourite mascara of all time because it leaves the lashes quite clumpy. However, if you LOVE volumizing mascaras I think you will really enjoy this one. I honestly think that some huge lashes are needed in order to finish up this kind of look. 

The lipstick I own from the Mark Collection is in the shade Be Loud, a neon pink that is as out of my comfort zone as it gets. It has a creamy formula and it doesn't last ages on the lips thanks to that. If you are ready to embrace the neon trend I think this shade might be a good option and I must confess I am very tempted to create a look using this product. 

To finish it all of a few sprays of the Magix Prep and Set Spray I don't have much to say about this one except that is a very good product. It makes my makeup stay for a long time even in the hot 35ºC weather that we have been presented with here in Portugal. This one is the one I've used for the longest time from the range and I truly am a fan. 

And this is the finished look. It feels strange to show a look that I've created here on the blog after so long, but I truly hope you liked it. I must remind you again that I am just a 21-year-old trying to play with makeup and learn something along the way. 

5 Skincare Products I've Added to my Rotine

My skincare routine has always been quite complete with a mix of high street and high hand products. I've started wearing makeup at a young age and (THANKFULLY) I was always aware of the importance of removing my makeup and taking good care of my skin. Today I am going to share with you five products I've been wearing for a few months and really enjoying. 

Hydra Végétal Radiant Exfoliating Gel (Yves Rocher - 7.70€): I try to exfoliate my skin at least once a week, I feel like exfoliation is an important step in order to keep my skin looking glowy and less oily. This is the product I've been using for almost 5 months to exfoliate. I really like it. I truly think this is a section of my routine I still need to try more products and explore more. I think this a good product, but keep in mind this is a category in which I haven't tried many of this category. 

Zero Oil Deep Pore Cleanser with Saw Palmetto and Mint (Origins - 19.95€): This is one of my favourite face washes of all time. I always buy face washes that are designed for oily skin, in order to help me control the oil production of my skin. This product has become one of my favourites. Firstly I love the smell (even though I know it won't be to everyone's taste). The formula is really good and a little goes a long way. I would really recommend this one for people with an oily skin type. Both mint and Saw Palmetto are great ingredients when it comes to treating acne, which for me works has a big plus. 

Ultra Facial Oil-Free Toner (Khiels - 20€): Kiehl's is one of the best brands in the market when it comes to skincare. I had never tried anything from them before, but after getting my free skin diagnosis (which is something anyone can do at any Kiehl's store) I decided to buy this toner, once it was the product that I needed to replace at the time in my routine. I am really glad I did. I really notice a difference when I skip this step in my routine I really notice a difference. This product helps blemishes to try and it's my biggest ally when it comes to keeping my skin oil-free. Because of it I really want to get all the products that were recommended to me at their counter.

Alex Steinherr x Primark Plump & Glow Serum-in-cream Moisturizer (Primark - 6€): I always want my skin to look as glowy and hydrated and it possibly can. For that, I try to go for a moisturizer that potentializes those aspects. This is a more budget-friendly option. This is one of the best moisturizers I've tried. This is a great value for money product. My skin feels very moisturized after using and it has quite a natural glow. I sometimes skip primer when using it because this product has quite a thick texture, which makes it feel like enough base for my foundation. 

Rêve de Miel Stick Balm (Nuxe - 6.10€): If you've been following me for a while you would know that I've been battling with super dry chapped lips. I've tried multiple lip balms and I keep a tube on me at all times. Around Christmas time I got the sick version of the classic Nux Rêve de Miel. I think this might be one of my favourite lip balms of all time. It truly works, which believe me, it's not something I say without thinking. I use it every day. I use it while doing my makeup in the morning and I take it with me everywhere I go. If you want a good budget-friendly lip balm, this is a product I would 100% recommend. 

And this is it! I've really been enjoying trying more skincare products and consequently learning more about my skin. The moment we that conscience that skin is the biggest organ on our bodies and one that we more often than not neglect, the moment we make the choice to look at skincare with the same eyes we look at eating healthy foods or working out the difference will be noticed. I know that if I don't drink enough water or if I have too much sugar my skin is more prone to breaking out. The same way if I skip my routine for several days. 
So go drink a glass of water, and reflect on your own routine. I truly hope this blog post helped in some way and that you try some of these great products. 

A Alfama da Lisboa Bairrista

Being from Portugal and having lived in Lisbon for the past three years it feels only right that I don't treat this as any other city guide. I am going to write about the city I chose to call mine in a very special and different way. I am going to talk about Lisbon as the city full of history and full of stories that it is. My goal is not only to show you how beautiful the city is but to tell you how much there is to know.
 Please keep in mind I am not from Lisbon and in a way, I am a tourist like anyone who is just visiting, so I may commit mistakes and I don't know as much as a TukTuk driver or a city guide, but I am going to do my best to share with you a bit of the history of the city. 

While I write this post I play Amália Rodrigues in the background. I couldn't do it in any other way, I grew up listening to fado and Alfama is the place where it was born and where it thrives here in Lisbon.  
I could talk about specific places like the Igreja de Santo Estevão, the Portas do Sol Viewpoint or the Feira da Ladra, but Alfama is much more than that.
Alfama is like a getting inside a child storybook, filled with colours and stories to find out, music and typical characters. Alfama is considered by many the heart of Lisbon, and maybe that's because it's easy to get lost between the narrow streets and alleys that are part of the neighbourhood, everything looks unique, yet the same, it's cohesive, typical and it has a proper soul. You won't see in Alfama what you see around other neighbourhoods in Lisbon, and that is what makes it so special.

There are multiple Casas de Fado, little restaurants where you can try some great Portuguese food and listen to fadistas (singers of Fado) play live. I've been to one once and it was a truly amazing experience, the respect for the music, mixed with the food, the wine and the very feel of the Lisboa Bairrista that many travel the world to see works perfectly. It's an experience that I would recommend to anyone wanting to learn more about fado and the Portuguese tradition as a whole.

You will see in Alfama that there are clothes drying outside the houses in the clotheslines, something that only contributes by adding colour to the pallet, flower pots, and old ladies selling ginginha d'Óbidos. You will sell the barbeques were you will find sardinha assada, chouriça assada  and many other Portuguese dishes. You will listen to the fado that comes out of the stores, Casas de fado, and from the street itself, either from a CD or from a singer, always joined by the beautiful sound of the Portuguese guitar. 

Alfama is a neighbourhood located between Graça (another typical neighbourhood of Lisbon) and Praça do Comércio, you can get there by taking the tube to Santa Apolónia and just climbing up the hill, but if you get off at the Terreiro do Paço tube station you are a 10 minute walk away, you will pass by Museu do Fado (I know you must be done with fado by now). You can also visit the Panteão Nacional where are buried a few of the most distinguished Portuguese personalities, such as Amália Rodriges, Eusério, Almeida Garrett, Sophia de Mello Breyner and a few others, from politicians to writers, and other important cultural figures that spread the Portuguese culture around the world. 

This is for sure a place that must be part of your travel plans, regardless of how long you are visiting for. Whenever I used to picture Lisbon when I was a kid Alfama was always on my thoughts, either because of Fado, Santos Populares or simply because it's such an iconic place. It's one of those places that truly make me feel like I am experiencing something unique that I wouldn't be able to see anywhere else in the world.
I hope I inspired you not only to visit this neighbourhood but also to learn a bit more about it, to look at it with other eyes rather than simply looking at it's instagramable colours. To look at it with the sad eyes of fado, the promising eyes we looked at the sea, look for history and for stories, for songs and for pregões. Try to understand the city while visiting it, instead of simply looking at it as an outsider. 

Location: Alfama, Lisbon, Portugal