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.


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

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.


1. Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation


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


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


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


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


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!

Taylor Swift “Reputation”- A Review from an OG Fan

There is a clear disclaimer in the title. I am an OG Tswift fan. A Swiftie. I will obviously be a little biased when reviewing this album. If Taylor recorded her farting in a melodic rhythm for 15 tracks, I would probably still buy the album and tell everyone that it’s a real piece of work.

I fell in love with Taylor when she debuted her first single, Tim McGraw. You really can’t get anymore OG fan than that. I can remember the first time I saw the music video. I was sitting in my grandma’s living room watching CMT. I still get goosebumps every time I hear that song. My sister burned me the “Taylor Swift” CD for Christmas that year. Still to date the best Christmas present I’ve ever received. (Taylor Swift concert tickets from mom coming in a close second!)  I feel like no one remembers that album. SO many good songs!! Tim McGraw, Picture to Burn, Teardrops on my Guitar, Should’ve Said No, and Our Song.

I get annoyed when people say “I miss the old Taylor Swift.” or “I used to hate her, but she’s got some good songs now.” I’m obviously a protective mama bear when it comes to my girl, TSwizzle. I love her music in all forms. It has helped me get through plenty of heart breaks and her music always make me feel like a powerful woman. There is something about her poetic lines and metaphors that explain how I feel in a way I’ve never been able to put in words. It’s really rare that an artist can encompass my feelings. Most songs I like these days are hip hop songs, where I don’t know what half of the words even mean. Taylor’s music is a nice escape from that.

Her new album is definitely different than anything she has done before, but it’s Taylor breathed. It is still poetic, classy, and catchy.

1. Ready For It?

Is Taylor Swift rapping? Close to it. This song is a sexy, dark love song.

My favorite lyrics: “Some boys are tryin’ too hard, he don’t try at all though. Younger than my exes, but he act like such a man, so I see nothing better, I keep him forever.”

What the song means to me: This song shows the honey moon stage. The excitement of meeting someone that isn’t boring for once. Are you ready for the games?

2. End Game (feat. Ed Sheeran & Future)

This isn’t one one of the songs on the album that I find myself playing a lot. (Yet…) I do like that it focuses on forgetting about their reputation and being together forever. Not a lot of hip hop songs portray that.

My favorite lyrics: ” I don’t wanna touch you. I don’t wanna be just another ex-love, you don’t wanna see. I don’t wanna miss you. Like the other girls do.”

What the song means to me: When you meet someone and you want to be their next and last kiss. When you see your power couple potential.

3. I Did Something Bad

I do find myself playing this song often. I like that Taylor is bringing out her dark side in this song. I think this song proves to Taylor haters, she is no longer singing “whiny break up songs”.

My favorite lyrics: “I never trust a narcissist, but they love me. So I play ’em like a violin and I make it look oh-so-easy. ‘Cause for every lie I tell them, they tell me three. This is how the world works. Now all he thinks about is me.”

What the song means to me: I think this song shows a girl who attracts narcissists and has got really good at playing their games. She begins to not feel bad for stooping to their levels. She realizes she doesn’t owe anyone anything.

4. Don’t Blame Me

Another favorite I have on replay. This track fully dives into electopop, but there is a soulful undertone, almost like a haunting church hymn.

My favorite lyrics: “Don’t blame me, love made me crazy.  If it doesn’t, you ain’t doin’ it right. Lord, save me, my drug is my baby. I’ll be usin’ for the rest of my life.”

What this song means to me: This song explains the addicting, make me crazy kind of love. No matter how bad it is for you, there is no walking away from it.

5. Delicate

AHHHH. Yet another, I have on replay! This song is more laid back. A nice refresher from some of these heavy, “got me in my feels” songs.

My favorite lyrics: “Is it cool that I said all that? Is it chill that you’re in my head? ‘Cause I know that it’s delicate (delicate) Is it cool that I said all that?Is it too soon to do this yet? ‘Cause I know that it’s delicate.”

What this song means to me: When you’re in that beginning part of the relationship and you are both starting to like each other, but you don’t know if it’s too soon to tell them how you feel. You don’t want to ruin what you have.

6. Look What You Made Me Do

Okay when this song dropped, I could not stop listening to it. It made me so psyched for the Reputation album. I really love a good revenge track. It’s haunting, sexy, and triggering.

My favorite lyrics: “I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me. I’ll be the actress starring in your bad dreams.”

What this song means to me: When someone does you wrong so many times that you finally crack. They bit the hand that fed them and now their dead to you. The old caring, nice you is dead and you’ll never be quite the same. They’ve done you so wrong that you know, you will haunt their conscience forever.

7. So it Goes…

This song is definitely a sexy one for Taylor. Dark and steamy. Something I could hear in a 50 Shades of Grey movie. She has a great way at hinting at sexy thoughts without really saying them because Taylor is a classy b****.

My favorite lyrics: “I’m yours to keep (oh) And I’m yours to lose. (baby) You know I’m not a bad girl, but I do bad things with you. So it goes…”

What this song means to me: When someone has that magical effect on you where they can get you to do just about anything.. Someone that gives you a dangerous high. When their skin is pressed against yours, you feel complete. Something you’ve never felt. Your bodies are like two puzzle pieces that fit perfectly together.

8. Gorgeous

I feel like next time I see a gorgeous intoxicating face in a crowd, this song is going to be playing in my head. Once it is in your head, it is hard to get out.

My favorite lyrics: “You make me so happy it turns back to sad. There’s nothing I hate more than what I can’t have. And you are so gorgeous it makes me so mad.”

What this song means to me: It takes me back to that child-like flirting when the more you liked someone, the more you acted like you didn’t. When you meet someone so gorgeous that you know there’s not a chance for the two of you, but you will still daydream about it.

9. Getaway Car

This synth-pop song is breathtaking and exhilarating. It takes you on a roller-coaster full of emotions.

My favorite lyrics: “Don’t pretend it’s such a mystery. Think about the place where you first met me. Ridin’ in a getaway car. There were sirens in the beat of your heart. I shoulda known I’d be the first to leave.”

What this song means to me: When you start a romance with someone, but you know it’s doomed from the start. You know you’re going to be the one looking for a reason to get out.

10. King of My Heart

This song isn’t my favorite. Probably because I don’t relate to it. I haven’t found the “king of my heart”, but I’m glad Taylor has!

My favorite lyrics: “And all at once, you are the one I have been waiting for King of my heart, body, and soul, ooh whoa. And all at once, you’re all I want I’ll never let you go”

What this song means to me: When you think you’re going to die alone then you meet someone that makes you feel like you never have. You find the one you’ve been waiting for all this time.

11. Dancing With Our Hands Tied

I try not to listen to this song too much because it’s really dreary. It makes me feel like I’m looking out a window of a dark, cold room on a rainy, gloomy day. It’s depressing to say the least.

Favorite lyrics: “Could’ve spent forever with your hands in my pockets. Picture of your face in an invisible locket. You said there was nothing in the world that could stop it. I had a bad feeling.”

What this song means to me: When you fall in love with someone and they say they won’t let anything get in the way of forever with you. Yet, everything gets in the way of forever with them. You would do anything to be able to dance with them again.

12. Dress

A sonically slow and sultry love ballad. This song is the most lustful song on the album.

My favorite lyrics: “Say my name and everything just stops. I don’t want you like a best friend. Only bought this dress so you could take it off.”

What this song means to me: All you think about is being next to the person you love in bed. All you want is them and you don’t care about the risk of heart break. They are always on your mind. They’ve left their mark on you.

13. This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

An upbeat, playful song calling out the backstabbers. An anthem to laugh at all the ridiculous rumors.

My favorite lyrics: “Here’s a toast to my real friends. They don’t care about the he-said-she-said.”

What this song means to me: When people enjoy spending their time talking about you and figuring out ways to ruin your reputation, but would never say those things to your face. Well, those fake friends ruin nice things and good people.

14. Call It What You Want

My personal favorite on the album. Catchy, beautiful, a pop master piece.

My favorite lyrics: “My castle crumbled overnight. I brought a knife to a gunfight. They took the crown, but it’s alright. All the liars are calling me one. Nobody’s heard from me for months. I’m doin’ better than I ever was.”

What the song means to me: You can be going through some real shit and at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what people think of you. It shows how love conquers all the drama. Your reputation doesn’t matter. Love matters.

15. New Year’s Day

This song reminds me of Taylor’s older music. I love it. The simple guitar and piano backing doesn’t distract from the beautiful lyrics.

My favorite lyrics: “Please don’t ever become a stranger, whose laugh I could recognize anywhere.”

What this song means to me: You want the good times with someone, but you’re willing to endure all the bad times for the good times. Hold on to the memories, whether they’re good or bad because the memories and each other are all we really have in this world.

Reputation is a concept album. It has an overall theme of well, reputation. It’s the perfect mix of hip hop, trap, and electro-pop production styles. I had to listen to the songs on this album a few times to really fall in love. Like 1989, it is very sonically cohesive. I do sort of miss days where an album was more like a playlist of random, great songs. Although, I love that a concept album better portrays an artistic story.

I have loved watching Taylor’s music grow. I grew with it. I’m a born and raised country girl that moved to a city. My music choices have evolved as well. I love that Taylor can write and perform any type of music. She truly is an incredible artist.

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.

My Fitness Journey

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March 2016: One year of lifting and flexible dieting.
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March 2016: One year of lifting and flexible dieting.
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September 2015: three months of strict carb cycling meal plan paired with lifting and cardio.
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Sept. 2015: three months of strict carb cycling meal plan paired with lifting and cardio.
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Mach 2015: before my fitness journey, I was eating very badly and had just started lifting.
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March 2015: Before my fitness journey, I was eating very badly and had just started lifting.

Here is a look into how I became a healthier, stronger, and more confident me.

I’ve always been pretty active, but working out went in phases for me. Treadmills, ellipticals, and workout videos would always get boring for me. I didn’t hate my body. I have a high metabolism and was considered “thin”, but I didn’t feel like I was as healthy and fit as I could be. I knew I had potential to be more fit if I would eat better and find exercises that I actually enjoyed. I really lacked motivation because I didn’t know how to get to my “goal” body. I was scared to weight lift. I didn’t want to get “bulky”, plus lifting was intimidating. I didn’t know what I was doing and there were always a ton of guys in the weight room. I wish I would have known sooner that I would fall in love with weight lifting and that it’s not all that hard!

The whole #girlswholift movement started and I was always seeing crazy fit girls that looked healthy, strong, and sexy on my Instagram. I started following their accounts and I was like “Wow… I want to look like that..” It took me about a year of following these girls and a breakup to finally get the drive to take my butt to the gym and try out this whole lifting thing. I started lifting with a friend and I wasn’t seeing a whole lot of difference in my body, so when summer came around I decided to start eating healthy too.

I knew eating healthy would last only a week unless I had a strict meal regimen to follow, but I didn’t want to count calories, I wanted an actual plan and meal ideas to follow. That’s when I decided to drop $90 on meal plan custom made just for me by one of my favorite Instagram Fitness Gurus, Sarah Bowmar.

Once I started following it, I decided to sign up for Miss Illinois USA, which is a modeling pageant system that usually prefers a muscular, lean titleholder. I knew I had to take this meal plan and working out serious if I wanted to be lean and toned for the competition. I only had three months.

I started incorporating 10 to 20 min of fasted HIIT Cardio. This means before I ate anything in the morning, I would either do a 10 to 20 min video of exercises like burpees, squat jumps, high knees etc, or do 10 to 20 min of running sprints up hills, which I actually found fun. I would take my Ipod and portable speaker out to the park and pretty much kill myself for ten min listening to my favorite rap music, aka Drake,  Nicki Minaj, Fetty Wap, and The Weekend.

I’m not going to lie HIIT Cardio is not easy, but you just have to remind yourself that it’s only 10 to 20 min and then you’re done! Plus doing fasted HIIT cardio in the morning really wakes you up and makes you hungry. I’m never hungry when I first wake up, so trying stomach egg whites is not fun. After fasted HIIT, I’m super hungry and I can’t wait to eat my healthy breakfast! I recommend Fitness Blender videos on Youtube, they are free and really good! I did HITT about five days a week.

I lifted about five to six days a week. I made up my own workouts by getting ideas from Instagram and The more you go to the gym, watch people, and ask people questions, the more comfortable you get. I feel like a pro working out now.

I lost 20 lbs. and gained serious muscle in three months. I was super lean for Miss Illinois USA. Afterwards, I decided to take a break from the meal plan and be flexible with it. I’m not near as lean, but I still feel really healthy and I love my body.

Why do I advocate for people to lift?

1. You can work a different muscle group everyday and switch up your exercises, so it never gets boring. You don’t have to lift super heavy, start out with five pound dumbbells! Trust me no one is judging you. Everyone is worried about other people judging them, no one really cares how much you lift and if they do then why would you want to impress someone like that? I still only use 10 to 15 lbs. dumbbells.

2. Many girls say I don’t want to lift, I just want to get “lean” and “toned”, they think lifting will make them bulky and that’s not true. Unless you are already bulky or you try really hard and long to get bulky then you won’t be. Plus usually people that appear super ripped are only ripped when they flex, so a super ripped girl can still look delicate and feminine in a dress. (Shoulder muscles are so sexy in a sleeveless dress.)

3. I personally wanted to build curves. I’ve never had an “hourglass” figure and always wanted a muscular “booty”. You can’t build up muscular curves without lifting, unless you were blessed and born that way!

4. You really do feel better when you’re stronger and healthier. I used to have troubles opening a water bottle and now I feel like I could battle out Ronda Rousey. 😉

No matter your body type or your “body goal” preference, you are beautiful the way you are, but it is important for you to feel your best and live a healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly. You should always consult your doctor before lifting and don’t start with heavy weight. I hope you fall in love with weight lifting if you haven’t yet! More info on my workouts and what I eat to come!