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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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I wish it was that easy.

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I wish I could truly control my mind.

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

Look #2 Free Spirited Fashion

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I never wanted life without you.

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I don’t think you did either.

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You let everyone and everything tear us apart.

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You left me broken.

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It still feels like a nightmare.

Look #3 Dated Dress

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A nightmare that repeats every single night.

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

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Goodbye to our dreams, goodbye to the nightmares.

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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

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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.

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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.

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1. Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

Does your makeup bag frustrate you?

My makeup bag and my makeup organization drove me nuts. There was never a makeup bag big enough to carry all my products. I have four Naked palettes, so just my eyeshadow alone was hard to fit in any makeup bag. I hated having to empty out my makeup bag every time I did my makeup. It made for a mess and products were scattered everywhere. Plus I could never find what I wanted to use. Doing your makeup is a long enough process without searching for each product you need next. After I won the title of Miss Gem City, I was doing appearances every week, so I knew I needed a better way of organization for my makeup. I decided to buy a train case. I love mine! I purchased it on sale for $75 and it was originally $110. It seems like a steep price to pay for a makeup case, but I searched at every makeup store at the Mall of America to find the best case and the best deal. Mac offered a more lightweight Travel Case for $175, but that was out of my budget and I wanted a case that had shelves. I would rather my case have shelves and be heavy than a giant light weight makeup bag. Online, Sephora has many different options of train cases for $110, but if you want something cheaper, try looking at a Sephora store like I did or Ulta has even cheaper cases!

My train case even came with keys, so I can lock up my expensive makeup when I want to! Check out a 5 sec video of me opening and closing my train case here.

Two Boho Chic Looks

Everything is from Buckle in both of these looks. I worked there for a year, so most of my clothes are from there!

In the first look, I mixed patterns with the striped shirt and the patterned kimono. Don’t be afraid to try mixing patterns.

The second look is much more simple. It’s a Billabong midi length dress. (Midi length is very trendy right now.) I love the back and how the dress accentuates my curves.

I adore Buckle because they will style you for free and they carry my favorite brand, “Free People”. You can find so many different styles and brands there.

Buckle offers Buckle Select now. Buckle Select has an actual stylist that will select outfits for you based on your information and preferences. Your personal stylist will put together outfits for you and send them to your house, free of charge. Buckle Select provides free shipping and returns, within 10 days. My former manager Jordan is one of the stylists for Buckle Select. She is  amazing at what she does and super trendy, here is the link to her page.