11 Scientific Proofs That God Is Real and the Bible Is True

As you can probably tell from my fitness posts, I like to understand the science behind things. When it comes to my faith, I often hear people argue that God and the bible can’t be real because science proves it.

I think that science proves the opposite. However, I don’t think that naming off a bunch of scientific facts can make someone believe. I think that has to happen in their own way and their own time, and they have to be open to it as well.

As a believer, I love to research the scientific evidence because it really strengthens my beliefs. I don’t think we mix science and the possibility of a higher power enough. Science and God don’t have to be enemies. I think science was created by God. Science shows we were made from dust and well the bible says this too.

Genesis 2: 7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”

But wait, there’s so much more…

10 More Scientific Proofs of God and the Bible

  1. Non-Christian Historians from the time of Jesus do deny Christ as the Messiah, but all documented that Jesus was real. They just believed he was some sort of magician tricking Christians. There is written record from non-Christians that he was crucified and that there was an earthquake and darkness at this time. We have more proof that Jesus was real and crucified than the opposing.
  2. The bible explained the importance of blood long before humans ever understood the importance of it. The bible stated in Leviticus Ch 17: 11 “The life of the flesh is in the blood…” It wasn’t until the 1800s that we figured this out. Old medical practices long after the bible was written would drain people’s blood when they were sick and it would often kill them.
  3. The bible understood the importance of sanitation practices before we implemented it. In 1846, the city of London had a terrible Cholera epidemic because they would dump their sewage in the streets. Long before this, the bible stated in Deuteronomy 12: 13 You must have a designated area outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. Each of you must have a spade as part of your equipment. Whenever you relieve yourself, dig a hole with the spade and cover the excrement.” (Sorry scientific evidence isn’t always “pretty”. LOL)
  4. (More gross facts.) In 1847, 18% of women giving birth would die because nurses at the time would work on dead bodies and then help the women that were giving birth without washing their hands. After hand washing was implemented, this dropped from 18% to 2%. The bible warned us to wash our hands long before we started implementing it. Numbers 19: 11-12 “The person who touches any human corpse will be unclean for seven days. He is to purify himself with the water on the third day and the seventh day; then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third and seventh days, he will not be clean.” The bible actually explained germs many times. Covering your mouth and quarantine was instructed in Leviticus. The bible’s medical knowledge was ahead of the times.
  5. For thousands of years Noah’s Ark was the largest recorded boat. With it’s dimensions being 30 to 5 to 3, this is the perfect ratio to carry tons of supplies. Much later these same dimensions were used for used for the SS Great Britain ship and also for ships for World War II. Noah’s ship building was the first of its time for a long time.. How would Noah know to make a boat with those dimensions? Only God can be the explanation..
  6. Food regulations. We often get beef steak rare, but not pork steak rare. In the modern times we know this and understand why, but the old testament written 3,000 years before modern times exhibits a knowledge of food born diseases, which surpasses the knowledge people had back then.
  7. The bible is perfectly historically accurate. Here are just a few facts that show how. The David stone proved David was a king of Israel. Pilate inscription that proved “pontius pilate” was the governor of Judea at the time that the bible says. And also, the unity of the bible: written over a period of 1600 years. It’s a catalog of 66 different books, 40 writers. They spoke different languages. But, there’s nothing contradicting if you really dive into the context. There is a “magical” unity of all of the books of the bible. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls proved that we translated through the years perfectly.. Ever played the game telephone? This would have been impossible without a higher power.
  8. The bible is the most attacked book, but still the number one selling book. Some people in certain countries aren’t allowed to read the bible, like their government would literally kill them, but they choose to risk their lives and read the bible secretly. I believe this is because there is power in God’s word.
  9. Miracles. They happen every day. We can’t explain them scientifically.
  10. The very glue that holds our cells together, a protein called Laminin is in the shape of a cross. Colossians 1: 17 states, “He [Christ] is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

There is sooo much more but, don’t take my word for it. Research it for yourself.

The Best Place to Get Cupcakes, Cookies, and Cakes

Recently I celebrated my boyfriend’s birthday. We went on a float trip and went camping. You obviously can’t have a birthday party without some cake! Sweetology sent me some tasty cupcakes for all of us to enjoy. They had lots of cute decorating kits to choose from, but I of course chose their Great Outdoors Decorating Kit to fit the occasion. We got to have fun decorating the cupcakes ourselves. It was the icing on the cake to the perfect birthday celebration!

IMG_0570.jpg

img_0584.jpg

img_3486-1.jpg

Sweetology is revolutionizing cake decorating. I was so intrigued by their company and what they’re doing that I wanted to learn more, so I went straight to the source. I conducted a Q and A with one of their employees, Elizabeth Davidson.

IMG_3493

Q: What makes Sweetology different? 

A: Sweetology isn’t just a place where you can go to buy baked goods. It is the first entertainment retail concept around the decoration of cupcakes, cookies, and cakes. What makes Sweetology special is that it’s all about the experience that is shared with friends and family and the memories that are created in the process of decorating. It’s a special place where little kids can decorate their grandparent’s birthday cake or participate in a fun camp with friends. But it’s also a perfect venue for a group of girls to have margaritas and decorate for a bridal party or just a fun-packed girls’ night out.

Q: I saw that you guys hold parties, will you tell me a little about that? 

A: At Sweetology, we hold all different kind of parties. Birthdays are the most popular, but we do bachelorette parties, baby showers, and even corporate team building parties. My favorite part about Sweetology parties is that you get your own dedicated instruction by one of our expert decorator “Sweetologists”, whether you hold your party on or off-site. These parties are always a hit because you not only get to learn to be a better decorator and have a ton of fun in the process, but you also come home with a delicious party favor that you designed yourself.

Q: It seems that you guys are known for your self-decorating kits, but do you guys also take decorating requests? 

A: Absolutely! On our website you can design your own cake by choosing size, flavor, frosting color, accent frosting color, and sprinkles. Or, you can always come into the store and put in a request. Either way, our skilled Sweetologists will make the perfect cake for your celebration. You can also have custom cookies and cupcakes made in any design- you name it. We do everything from company logo cookies to unicorn cupcakes.

Q: Do you guys hold decorating classes? 

A: Yes, we hold decorating classes for all ages. Next up is our Sunday Funday where participants will learn to make a super cool one-eyed monster cake. You will be amazed at the kinds of things you can create with the right tools and instruction! Our summer camp for kids is also a series of decorating lessons. Each week is a different theme, like “Fantasyland: Wizards and Mythical Creatures” or “As Seen on TV”.

Q: What do you love about working at Sweetology? 

A: Throughout the duration of my internship, I’ve gotten to see the passion of the Sweetologists who work in the store while I would shadow them. It is so much fun to see how much each of them is engaged with the kids and adults alike during camps and parties. It’s truly special that at Sweetology, we care why you’re there to decorate and want to make it the best experience possible.

Q: Anything else you would like to share?

A: Yes! I have to plug the best fundraiser opportunity ever- selling our decorating kits! So, if any of your readers are looking to raise money for their organization, we have a unique, high quality product to offer as well as great marketing support along the way. People love that our decorating kits are a tasty treat- which is always a fundraising hit- but also that it provides an experience they can share with friends and family.

Also, drop in and decorate with us any time! No appointment is needed- we’re always happy to have you.

IMG_3532

I’m so impressed with Sweetology and all they offer! It’s the perfect sweet escape in St. Louis.

Whitening Sensitive Teeth at Home

IMG_7410

I’ve always worked hard to keep my teeth looking clean and white. I’m a compulsive brusher, brushing my teeth at least three times a day. Throughout my life, I’ve used a lot of different whitening products on the market. This time I wanted the power of a professional whitening method, but I didn’t want to have to make a trip to the dentist. My days are really busy, that’s why Smile Brilliant Whitening Trays were the perfect whitening choice for me. I was super excited that they wanted to collaborate and send me the system to try and review!

Whitening Treatment at Home

Smile Brilliant sends you impression material, so that you can make impressions of your teeth at home, send them back, and receive custom-fitted whitening trays, just like your dentist would make. Custom-fitted trays get your teeth looking whiter than ever because it allows the whitening gel to cover every single tooth and reach all the nooks and crannies of your unique smile. Smile Brilliant’s whitening gel is dentist strength, 22% Carbamide Peroxide in 3ml syringes.

At Home Whitening 4

My T3 Sensitive System came with 3 whitening gel syringes. Each syringe has enough gel for 3 applications, so I did  9 different whitening sessions. The kit also comes with 3 desensitizing syringes, so I desensitized after the treatment each time. A common myth floating around is that teeth whitening can damage your teeth, but that’s actually not true. Professional teeth whitening is incredibly safe. Teeth sensitivity is normal when whitening, but it can be annoying, so that’s why I love that Smile Brilliant offers desensitizing gel to help with the discomfort.

Whitening at Home 6

Custom fitted whitening trays from your dentist can cost over $500. Smile Brilliant’s system is just under $150 and you can use it in the comfort of your own home. I hate having to take a day off of work to go to the dentist. Smile Brilliant makes the experience simple with their easy-to-follow directions, great customer service, and free postage.

Untitled design (14)

IMG_7411.jpg

It was so easy to stay in my normal routine with Smile Brilliant’s custom trays. They fit perfectly on your teeth, so I didn’t have to worry about them falling off when playing with the dogs or being uncomfortable when I’m trying to relax and read. You actually forget that you have them on! I had to make sure I set an alarm, so that I wouldn’t leave the whitening treatment on too long. Before.png

As, you can see my teeth weren’t extremely stained in the before because I always use drug store whitening products and I don’t drink a lot of soda and coffee, but I could still tell a huge difference. I had a lot of other people noticing my pearly whites too! The great thing is Smile Brilliant customizes your whitening system kit to your sensitivity and your level of stains. I don’t have the most perfect straight smile, so sometimes I get self conscious of my teeth. When my teeth look gleaming white and clean, it really gives me an extra boost of confidence.

Great news!! Smile Brilliant wants me to give one of you a chance to have a kit for yourself for free! For a chance to win a  T3 Sensitive Kit for yourself or a friend, you can enter here: ” www.smilebrilliant.com/g/shanialexis“.

If you’re excited to try Smile Brilliant’s teeth whitening custom trays and don’t want to wait, you can use my coupon code: “shanialexis15” and shop the best kit for you here: https://www.smilebrilliant.com/product/teeth-whitening-trays.

Please let me know if you have any questions about my whitening process. I’m here to help! 🙂

The Best Purple Shampoo

So it seems like all my life I have been searching for the best purple shampoo. I never really noticed a huge difference when I used them. I wanted one that really helped me get the ashy grey undertones that some call “icy blonde”. I naturally have dirty blonde hair and when I get it highlighted, it often pulls brassy gold undertones. I even had to use purple shampoos when I dyed my hair brown in high school because purple shampoos help get rid of brassiness for brunettes as well.

img_0952-e1540437537760.jpg

Last winter, my friend started using Fanola’s No Yellow Shampoo and she couldn’t stop raving about it. Her hair was so ashy and amazing! It was like she got it freshly dyed, but it was just her shampoo! I reached out to Fanola and asked if they would send me some to try and I also fell in love.

img_1119-e1540439410969.jpg

I try to go as long as I can without getting my hair highlighted to be better on my hair. Sometimes I go over 6 months and this shampoo helps keep my hair looking good while I wait it out. The great thing is I only have to use it once every two to three weeks because it works so well. Most purple shampoos are more harsh than regular shampoos, so you really don’t want to be using them more than once every couple weeks. You’ll want to be careful not to leave it on too long because it can give your hair a purple tint. One time, I left the No Yellow Mask on my hair for like 30 minutes in the bath tub and I had major purple tint for a couple days, but it actually looked pretty cute, so I didn’t complain.

img_1166.jpg

I wasn’t paid to write this post. I genuinely just love the product I was sent and wanted to share it with ya’ll looking for that staple purple shampoo. It is on the more pricey side, but I have had mine since this winter and still have plenty left! It’s a very quality shampoo, so a little goes a long way. Fanola carries many other great products. I’m still trying out all of the other products in their hair care package.

A Current Favorite

I recently fell in love with a watch and sunglasses brand that I came across, MVMT. I had a rough time picking out just one watch and pair of sunglasses because they had so many trendy minimalist designs.

IMG_0554

I’m wearing the Crescent Marble, Boulevard Series Watch and Purr Sunglasses in Milk Cherry Red/Cherry Flash.

IMG_0550

I wanted my sunglasses to be something really unique and a cute pop of color. I love that you can wear these red sunglasses year round. They obviously look great in the summer, but the red will look festive this holiday season. Sunglasses are just as important in the winter. That white snow and bright sun can be blinding here in the Midwest.

IMG_0553

MVMT has the most charming gold and rose gold watches but I decided to go with a gunmetal watch, featuring a marble face, because I wear a lot of black clothes and silver jewelry.

IMG_0556

The best thing is both my watch and sunglasses are incredible quality. If I’m going to be wearing something everyday, I want it to be durable and comfy.  Not only does MVMT have great quality products, but I also love their mission: “to inspire you to live life on your own terms”. They have a campaign called #jointhemvmt. Many creators share what moves them on their page. If you are wanting to see what this company is all about and #jointhemvmt, use code: “shanialexis15” to receive $15 off your purchase.

IMG_0555

I want to share with you what currently moves me. I came across a poem a few months ago that helps get me moving every day.

“A love note to my body:

first of all, I want to say
thank you.

for the heart you kept beating
even when it was broken

for every answer you gave me in my gut

for loving me back
even when I didn’t know how to love you

for every time you recovered when I pushed you past our limits

for today,

for waking up.” – Cleo Wade

This poem changed my perspective on my body. Most times when I thought of my body, the first image that came to mind was how I look naked in front of the mirror, with all of my insecurities running through my head. I realized I should really be thinking about how often my body kept going, even in times when I was mentally broken, for how my body wakes up every morning, even when it is the last thing I want to do, and how my body is healthy and moving every day. What moves you?

Photos by @thekiddidthat.

Is Your Foundation Breaking You Out?

Recently, I had a tragic experience with a foundation I was using.

Let me fill you in on my struggle with acne. (Skip this paragraph if you don’t care) I started getting acne before I ever wore makeup. My parents made me go to the dermatologist in only sixth grade because they saw that I was already getting moderate acne at such a young age and they didn’t want it to get worse and cause scarring. At the time I was super nervous to go to the doctor and embarrassed about the whole situation. I am now very grateful that my parents made me go to the doctor back then because I’ve been able to keep my acne primarily in check. Although it has been a constant battle. I have been on the high risk acne medicine, Isotretinoin (Previously known as Accutane) two different occasions. Most people can use this acne medicine for 4- 6 months and never have acne again. I was part of the 2% that was not so lucky, although it has helped me more than any other medicine. My skin was clear for about a year after using it. I will probably have to go on the medicine for a third time because over the past year I have started slowly getting my oily skin back and my familiar breakouts.

I have had some of my worst breakouts in my life this past year. Horrible cystic acne, on and off. I realized one of the big culprits.

Dun..Dun..Dunnnn:

MAYBELLINE Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Foundation

Untitled design (12)

I started using this foundation because I wanted a more affordable everyday foundation than what I normally used which is Estee Lauder Double Wear. I had heard really great things about this foundation in the beauty community and I liked the coverage and matte finish it gave me. Right when I started using it I noticed worse than normal breakouts. I figured it was a coincidence or my skin needed to get used to the makeup. After I ran out of the foundation my skin cleared up. I again thought it was a coincidence and was because I wasn’t as stressed, so I decided to repurchase. A couple weeks into using it, I had the worst breakout of my life. Cystic, painful acne all around my mouth. I decided to look up reviews about this makeup. What I found was horrifying… Tons of stories of people that never had acne until they used this product. Check out some of those reviews here: https://bit.ly/2GmyquJ. I felt like I immediately needed to warn people about this foundation on my Instagram story. I received over 20 messages from girls that also had a similar experience. (Does this mean it will break you out? Maybe not, but if you are someone with sensitive skin, I would be careful using it.) I then was on the journey to look for a new drugstore foundation that wouldn’t break me out. I started looking into what pore clogging ingredients to stay away from. This foundation has several PEG ingredients, which can clog pores. When doing my research about other ingredients, looking for a new foundation became very overwhelming. (List of ingredients to stay away from is at the bottom of this blog) Most of the great coverage foundations recommended in the beauty community were full of pore clogging ingredients. I decided to do a lot of research to find the best foundations for your skin that are also known for great coverage in the beauty community because most people with acne prone skin don’t want to give up the great coverage of a foundation.

Here are some tips for makeup application when you have acne prone skin:

#1

Look for a foundation with water as the main ingredient. Water is obviously not going to break you out, so if you find a foundation that makes your skin look great and water is the main ingredient then you’ve found a winner!

#2

Find a foundation with a pump. A pump foundation keep your foundation from being exposed to the air, which can cause bacteria and change the formula of the foundation.

#3

Some people are sensitive to SPF foundations because of an ingredient called oxybenzone. If you find you are allergic to oxybenzone, find a sun protectant that uses zinc oxide or or octinoxate instead.

#4

Clean your beauty blenders, brushes and sponges!

#5

Be careful of silicones, talc, and sulfate ingredients. Some people’s skin does not react well with those ingredients. Test things out and see what works best for your skin.

The Five Best Drugstore Foundations for Acne Prone Skin

#1 Almay Truly Lasting Color Foundation 

It’s been awhile since I’ve used this foundation, but I remember really liking it because it’s non-comedogenic. I used it for a long time. Contains vitamin E which can help fight acne. If you’re sensitive to makeup with SPF then I would not advise using.

#2 Neutrogena® Skin Clearing Liquid Makeup

I have personally used this foundation as well and liked it. It has Salicylic Acid to help fight acne, so I would only use this product if you have oily skin. Non-comedogenic and oil-free.

#3 Revlon Color Stay Foundation

I recently started using this foundation after finding out about Maybelline Fit Me. My acne has cleared up a bit. It definitely doesn’t last as long as my Estee Lauder Double Wear, but I am liking the formula.

#4 Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation

I haven’t used this foundation yet, but I had a couple friends who have acne-prone skin recommend it to me and it has great reviews.

#5 Loreal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation 

I also have not tried this foundation and was recommended it. Dimethicone is the second ingredient listed, so be careful if you are sensitive to silicones.

The Five Best High End Foundations for Acne Prone Skin

#1 Too Faced Born This Way Foundation 

This foundation has a lot of street cred. Two acne-prone Youtubers said this foundation is a holy grail for them. I personally think it is a little too oily for my skin and some do say it breaks them out because of their skin is sensitive to coconut water. If you love coconut-infused products, you will probably love this foundation and it’s vegan!

#2 Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup

This is my holy grail foundation. Many full coverage foundations make people break out, but this one has great ingredients.

#3 Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation 

A little pricey, but Koh Gen Do always uses great products for your skin.

#4 Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation Mattifying Oil Free

This vegan foundation is known for it’s amazing ingredients and with helping with breakouts.

#5 Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Water Foundation 

If you want a glowy foundation, this one may be for you. It’s very hydrating and is also vegan.

The primary causes of acne are

  • Excess oil production
  • Hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells
  • Bacteria
  • Excess activity of a type of hormone (androgens)

So most likely, your foundation is not the only reason you have acne, but some foundation ingredients can make your skin breakout worse. Everyone’s skin is different. A foundation that works great for one person may break someone else out, so keep this in mind when testing out my recommended foundations. The list of ingredients to be careful using is below. I hope this blog helps! I wish you all clear skin. 🙂

High- higher chance of clogging pores. Medium- medium chance of clogging pores. Mainly be aware of the top five ingredients in your foundation.

High Acetylated Lanolin
High Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol
High Algae Extract
High Algin
Medium Almond Oil
Medium Apricot Kernel Oil
Medium Arachidic Acid
Medium Ascorbyl Palmitate
Medium Avocado Oil
Medium Azulene
Medium Behenic acid
Medium Benzaldehyde
Medium Benzoic Acid
Medium BHA
High Bismuth oxychloride may cause cystic acne
High Butyl Stearate
Medium Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
Medium Cajeput Oil
Medium Camphor
Medium Capric Acid
Medium Caprylic acid
High Carrageenans
Medium Cetearyl Alcohol
High Cetearyl Alcohol + Ceteareth 20
Medium Cetyl Alcohol
Medium Chamomile
High Coal tar
High Cocoa Butter
High Coconut Butter
High Coconut Oil
High Colloidal Sulfur
High Corn Oil
High Cotton Aws Oil
High Cotton Seed Oil
High Crisco
High D & C Red # 17
Medium D & C Red # 19
High D & C Red # 21
High D & C Red # 3
High D & C Red # 30
High D & C Red # 36
Medium D & C Red #27
Medium D & C Red #40
High Decyl Oleate
High Dioctyl Succinate
High Disodium Monooleamido PEG 2-Sulfosuccinate
High Ethoxylated Lanolin
High Ethylhexyl Palmitate
Medium Evening Primrose Oil
High Glyceryl Stearate SE -MUST have SE after the stearate
High Glyceryl-3-Disostearate-(MUST have a “3” with it)
Medium Grape Seed Oil (extract is OK)
High Hexadecyl Alcohol
Medium Hexylene Glycol
High Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
High Isocetyl Stearate
High Isodecyl Oleate
High isoproply linoleate
High Isopropyl Isosterate
High Isopropyl lanolate
High Isopropyl Myristate
High Isopropyl Palmitate
High isostearic acid
High isostearyl acid
High Isostearyl Isostearate
High Isostearyl Neopentanoate
High lanolic acid
High Laureth 23
High Laureth 4
High Lauric Acid
High Linseed oil
High Mink Oil
High Myreth 3 myrstate
High Myristic Acid
High Myristyl Lactate
High Myristyl Myristate
High Octyl Palmitate
High Octyl Stearate
Medium Octyldodecanol
High Oleic Acid
Medium Oleth-10
High Oleth-3
High Oleyl Alcohol
Medium Olive Oil (but Olive Oil Extract is OK)
Medium Palmitic Acid
Medium Peach Kernel Oil
Medium Peanut Oil
Medium PEG 100 Distearate
Medium PEG 150 Distearate
High PEG 16 Lanolin
High PEG 200 Dilaurate
Medium Peg 75 lanolin
High PEG 8 Stearate
Medium Pentarythrital Tetra Isostearate
Medium PG Dipelargonate
Medium PG Dipelargonate
High PG Monostearate
High Polyglyceryl-3-Disostearate (the “3” must be present)
High Potassium Chloride
High PPG 2 Myristyl Propionate
High Propylene Glycol Monostearate
High Red Algae
Medium Sandalwood Seed Oil
Medium Sesame Oil
High Shark Liver Oil
High Salt – Table Salt or Sodium Chloride
High Sodium Laureth Sulfate
High Sodium Lauryl Sulfate-leaves a film on skin-clogs pores
High Solulan 16
High Sorbitan Oleate
High Sorbitan Sesquinoleate
High Soybean Oil
High Steareth 10
Medium Steareth 2
Medium Steareth 20
Medium Stearic Acid
High Stearic Acid Tea
Medium Stearyl Alcohol
High Stearyl Heptanoate
High Sulfated Castor Oil
High Sulfated Jojoba Oil (Jojoba beads are OK)
High Syearyl Heptanoate
Medium Tocopherol (Tocopherol Acetate is OK)
Medium Triethanolamine
Medium Vitamin A Palmitate-(ONLY this form of Vitamin A)
High Wheat Germ Glyceride
High Wheat Germ Oil
High Xylene

 

Forever 21 Finds

Every time I get a compliment on an outfit and am asked where it’s from, the answer is always Forever 21! I often hear, “Oh, I can’t shop there. It’s too hard to find things.” I think that’s one thing I love about shopping there though.. I enjoy a good challenge. It’s like searching through a thrift store, not knowing if you’re going to find anything or not.. But, when you do, it’s oh so satisfying! I am also balling on a budget and don’t enjoy repeating outfits often, (especially on my Instagram) so I prefer to buy more affordable clothing. (Unless I’m splurging on a staple piece.) This blog features items from my last Forever 21 haul. I collaborated with Amar Kahlon- @ShotsbyAK for these effortless street looks. It was a really fun shoot. We enjoyed great conversation and Insomnia Cookies!!

Here are my Forever 21 finds and my five tips to shopping there.

IMG_8843IMG_8842IMG_8846

IMG_8841

IMG_8844 (1)IMG_8837IMG_8840IMG_8838

5 Tips for Shopping at Forever 21 

1.

Know what you’re looking for. Last time I went in knowing I wanted some business chic trousers that I could wear to work, white boots, sunglasses, and a cute top. Guess what I found!? All of those things!

2.

Don’t be afraid of the clearance rack. They purposely put the clearance rack in the back with bad lighting. There are always some cute in season items hiding on the clearance rack. The orange striped top I’m wearing above was off the clearance rack!

3.

Don’t be scared to size up. Last time I was there, every cute sweatshirt or t-shirt was cropped. I personally don’t like wearing cropped shirts often. I like to size up from a small to a large to make that cropped t-shirt more of a mid-crop, oversized look.

4.

Be daring. Forever 21 is full of edgy looks that you may be scared to take on. Find an edgy piece and pair it with something from home that’s more simple. I bought plaid trousers, but instead of buying the matching plaid jacket, I paired it with a casual white baggy shirt to tone down the look.

5.

Shop their shoes and accessories. Maybe you can’t find that cute going out dress, but their shoe and accessory sections never disappoint, and then you don’t have to deal with the dressing room lines! Plus, if you’re like me, I always lose my jewelry, so it’s best that I buy affordable jewelry.

I hope this helps! Let me know your go-to affordable clothing store in the comments. 🙂

“Nostalgic Narrative” – A Poetic Lookbook

NOSTALGIA is when you look back and feel an old familiar happiness. Those memories aren’t always real. Sometimes, the flashbacks are fabricated and might not be what you really experienced.

I worked with Photographer, Bishoppe Kamusinga to compile a lookbook of three styles that make me feel nostalgic. Each of these looks are so classic to me. I love the fun patterns, the burnt orange tones, and the free spirited mood of this shoot. I hope every image and poetic line takes you to a different place, somewhere nostalgic.

Look #1: 70’s Chic

IMG_8043

I want to let go, but I keep hanging on.

IMG_6993 (2)

I told myself I wouldn’t look back, but my reflection reminded me of you, my twin flame.

IMG_8055

Never enough time, but always enough time for you to cross my mind.

IMG_8044

The sun gleaming against my skin. For a second, it feels inspiriting, and then the hot memory of you burns my skin.

IMG_8042

I wake up everyday and think “Today is the day, I will finally forget all the good times with you.”

IMG_6910 (1).JPG

I wish it was that easy.

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

I wish I could truly control my mind.

IMG_6712 (1)

No matter how much I distract myself, the thoughts, the memories, the nostalgia, always pulls me back.

Look #2 Free Spirited Fashion

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

I never wanted life without you.

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

I don’t think you did either.

IMG_7955

You let everyone and everything tear us apart.

IMG_7941

You left me broken.

IMG_7926

It still feels like a nightmare.

Look #3 Dated Dress

IMG_8046

A nightmare that repeats every single night.

IMG_8040

You left me no other choice, but to say goodbye.

IMG_8039

Goodbye to our dreams, goodbye to the nightmares.

IMG_8048

Goodbye to the

NOSTALGIA-

noun

a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time

IMG_8037

Hello to new memories, a new mindfulness. A life without you filling the spaces in my head and my heart.

How I Got My Body “Miss Illinois Ready”

I competed in Miss Illinois in June 2016. I want to share with you my routine and how I got my body “Miss Illinois Ready”. Preparing for the swimsuit portion of Miss Illinois was pretty difficult because there were one hundred other things I had to focus on for Miss Illinois like paperwork, keeping up with appearances, knowing what was happening in the news, interview questions, stage presence, and my talent routine. On top of all that, I had just moved to a new city for an internship, so my plate was pretty full!

My Plate

Speaking of my plate, what did I eat preparing for Miss Illinois? Lean meats, greens, and whole grains. I’m a huge advocate for eggs to start your day! Eggs are super easy to cook, plus you can change them up. One morning you can do over easy eggs with a piece of toast, the next you can do an omelet with spinach, the next you can do scrambled eggs with salsa and avocado, and the next do scrambled again, except with a little buffalo sauce. The possibilities are endless! For snacks, my go to were protein bars, rice cakes with almond butter, and a protein shake. I had each of these almost everyday. I constantly ate! I did 3 nutritious meals and 3 high protein snacks a day. How did I burn off all that food?

Fat Burning

I would burn fat the moment I woke up because the first thing I would do was 10- 20 minutes of fasted HITT cardio. I would do Fitness Blender HIIT Workout YouTube Videos. They don’t require any equipment and they are free! This cardio helped me get my metabolism going for the day. I did HIIT 5 times a week.

My Other Plates

The other important plates are the ones I would put on the bar to squat and deadlift. Big compound movements like squats and deadlifts are so important to have in your exercise routine because they stimulate your core and burn the most fat. Make sure you have proper form, so that you don’t hurt yourself. Start off using little to no weight and then add the plates! Start low and go slow. My lifting routine was pretty simple.

I did 6-8 different exercises targeting whatever muscle group I was doing for the day. 3 sets for each exercise of  8-15 reps. I usually started with lower weight then went up and lowered my reps.
Monday- Legs

Tuesday- Bis and tris

Wednesday- Back

Thursday- Shoulders and Chest

Friday- Glutes, Abs, and Plyometrics

Saturday- This day was usually making up for whatever day I missed above, but if I didn’t miss any, I would do another leg day.

Supplements

The only supplements I was taking was the GNC Women’s Ripped Vitapak, along with drinking BCAA’s during my workout. I also tried to remember to take a probiotic and fish oil daily.

Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 9.47.41 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 9.48.04 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-01-10 at 9.48.13 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-01-10 at 9.48.21 PM.png

I actually remember being scared to get my swimsuit pictures back, thinking I wasn’t in my best shape. Once I received my pictures, I was like dang, I really was in my best shape! I wanted to look lean with muscle definition and that’s exactly the package I brought to the stage. This shows that even when we are exactly where we want to be, we can still be too hard on ourselves. Don’t let your insecurities keep you from feeling confident. Be proud of yourself, no matter where you are in your fitness journey! If you have any fitness questions for me, please comment below or send an email to sbelshaw5@gmail.com.

6 Beauty Products I Can’t Live Without

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I wanted to share with you the six beauty products I find myself always using before I leave the house. Don’t wear a lot of makeup? I use these each of these products when I do a more natural look like the look below.

IMG_6687

1. Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation

img_6674.jpg

This foundation is heaven sent!! I have combination skin. My skin is naturally oily, but I use drying acne products. I have so much trouble getting foundation to stay on, but this is the most long wearing foundation I have found yet and the best coverage!! This foundation looks a little cakey by itself, but once I put on my powder, it looks perfect. Beauty gurus all rave over this baby. It retails for $42.00. It is a steep price, but a little goes a long way and because it lasts all day, you won’t waste product reapplying. You can always save it for special occasions and use a cheaper foundation for everyday use. I use the color 2N1 Desert Beige.

2. Maybelline Instant Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer

img_6673.jpg

The best under eye concealer! I use this as a liquid highlighter. It instantly makes me look more awake. Retails for only $7.94 at Walmart. Beauty gurus rave over this one too! Super easy to apply with the sponge top! A great drug store product. I use the lightest shade fair, because I use it to highlight and create dimension.

3. Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Loose Powder SPF 16

img_6675.jpg

If you have sensitive skin, you’ll want to give this one a try! I have repurchased this powder foundation ever since I first tried it in 7th grade! (That was over 10 years ago.)  I originally bought it because I was trying to find a good foundation that didn’t break me out. My dermatologist told me to look for something non-comedogenic and oil-free. This product is both of those things and more! It is also hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, dermatologist approved, and cruelty-free. It has a matte finish and helps get rid of my oily shine! I love that it is a powder that has great coverage and that it has SPF 16 to help protect your skin. A more affordable alternative to BareMineral Powder Matte Foundation. It retails for only $10.68 at Walmart. The only downfall is the limited color options. I use the color creamy-natural. It comes with a small brush, but I always use my own large kabuki brush.

4. Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment Skin Protectant

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Always have chapped lips?! You need to try this! It is very similar to vaseline, but thicker and works ten times better! I put it on every morning and night before I go to sleep. They do have smaller options than this huge tub that I have. I have tried the Aquaphor Lip Relief and it did not work as well for me as the healing ointment. I once was on a very strong acne medicine called Accutane. (It is a pill that dries your whole body out extremely bad. My lips would crack and bleed.) This was the only thing that would help my lips! Everything else I had to reapply every five minutes to feel any relief. I swear by this stuff! When applying, know that a little goes a long way!

5. Revlon Eyelash Curler

img_6676.jpg

This eyelash curler of mine is ancient! Whenever I buy a new eyelash curler, I always end up going back to this one. I think it’s because I’m so used to it. The technique of using an eyelash curler is more important than which one you are using! It is all about patience. Start at the base, hold for seven seconds, move to the middle of the eyelashes, hold for another 7, and then last to the tips. I have really short, stubby lashes, but I often get compliments that I have nice lashes and it is all because of the curl! If you are doing a quick natural makeup look, don’t skip curling! It’s an underrated step. I know these are scary to use at first! Watch a few YouTube tutorials and practice. Every girl should own one of these babies!

6. LashBlast Fusion Mascara

img_6677.jpg

My favorite mascara!! I’ve tried numerous high end mascaras and I always go back to this affordable drug store mascara. Whenever I use a different mascara, my lashes end up sticking together and it looks like I have five lashes. This gives you volume and length.  The oversized spikey brush, helps give my lashes volume. It it is almost like using a teasing brush on your hair. I never use the waterproof formula. Waterproof formulas are hard to get completely off. It is bad for your lashes to not breathe at night. It dries them out! My lashes became much healthier when I stopped using waterproof mascara. Retails for only $7.68 at Walmart. I use the color very black.

These make great stocking stuffers and small gifts! Girls love trying new beauty products.

Let me know the beauty products, you couldn’t live without in the comments below. 🙂 I’d love to try them!