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Well This Is Kind Of Embarrassing…

 

 

Ok I have to admit, it’s a little embarrassing what I’m posting today.  I’m 30 years old and it was only a few months ago when I tried my first extra-long curling iron.  I know it might not seem like a big deal but I pride myself in trying all of the latest and greatest…and let me tell you this iron makes a world of a difference!  I received this BioIonic curling iron as a gift for Christmas & the one I got is six inches long and 1.25 inches in diameter and for me, this is the perfect size for the type of curl that I want.

And I can’t be the only one that loves this iron since it received fifteen 5 out of 5 star reviews on Sephora.com, that’s unheard of!

I know you might think this iron isn’t for you if you have shorter hair but let me tell you otherwise!  I love this iron for two reasons: the extra length allows you to curl all the way up to the root, saving time if not halving it, and it gets superbly hot.  From what I can tell the added heat curls the hair quicker and it makes it last longer throughout the day.  What else could you want in life?   With this iron we’ve cut our getting ready time in half and we’ve extended the life of our hairstyle/blowout.  I would say this iron will work best for hair that is collarbone length or longer.  The iron I have allows you to pick your heat level and I always choose the hottest, which is 430 degrees.  If you’ve recently colored your hair or if it’s in a more fragile state you can pick a lower setting but I am more than pleased with how well this iron works on my platinum blonde hair.  There will be a tiny bit of a learning curve as working with a longer (hot) iron is a bit challenging, but it’s nothing that takes longer than a day or two.  I also love this specific iron because the clamp follows all the way to the end.  Some extended irons don’t have that feature and it’s just less of a headache for me to have to worry about where I’m letting it clamp shut as I’m curling it all over my head.  Quick & easy and I’m out the door!


To view similar irons click here. 

To purchase the above iron, call or text 785.393.9991.

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The C Factor :: Desirae

Oh this girl, this girl, this girl, this girl.  Everybody in their life should have a friend this good. Everybody in their life needs a friend who shows up the way Desirae does. I am beyond proud to feature her in today’s C series because she truly is the most amazing person I know. For those of you who don’t know, “The C Factor” is a series here on the blog that highlights successful, confident, motivated women.  The example that she’s set for me as a friend (and just plain human being) is one that I will forever be grateful for and I don’t take for granted.  I am the left puzzle piece and she is my right.  She’s my person.

So minus the gushy gushy stuff, I hope that your read today’s interview and realize how and where you can make your life better.  It’s not a competition but a challenge on how much pride you can take in your own life.  Where can you reach?  How can you better prioritize your time?  Take a few lessons from the girl who does it on the daily, the busiest person I know…This girl keeps her schedule packed but it’s all for a good cause, all to make a positive dent in this world.  She spends her days teaching 3rd grade (only the bravest survive) and her nights leading bible study.  On the weekends she serves as an usher at her church and also volunteers for “RECESS” a respite care program for kiddos & families there as well.  She’s also involved in robotics and cooking programs at her school and in her “free time” she nannies, runs 8 miles a day and writes for her own blog at Rookie Rieke.  Be sure to check out her blog where she writes about life in Dallas, adventures in bargain shopping and “that single life.”


 

What is the best compliment someone ever gave me?
The best compliments that I’ve ever been given have come from my students.  I spend my life praying that they will learn, grow, and most of all know that they’re loved.  It’s hard to pick one compliment, because young children are so full of them!  I adore their pure hearts and their ability to see beauty in the most simple of things.  But a moment happened the other day when one of my kids was telling me how she she would miss me over Spring Break.  I asked her why and she simply said “because I’ll miss your hugs and your smile.”  That melted my heart because she complimented my character and the way I love her.  She let me know that she feels it and believes it. For me, nothing says “job well done” more than that!
What are two words that I would use to describe myself?
Determined and compassionate.  There have been many moments in my life that that have tested my faith and endurance, but I’ve been determined to overcome.  I don’t believe in taking the easy way out, and I don’t believe in giving in.  I believe that if you want something you have to work for it!  I’m also very compassionate.  I believe the Lord gave me a heart that yearns to understand, comfort, and love other people.  I find the most joyful moments come when I can be of some resource to others.
One good deed that I have done for someone?
It’s difficult for me to answer this question because I feel like good deeds go both ways.  When you do something for someone else, more times than not, it actually ends up blessing you, too.  One exchange in particular stands out to me and that is when I had the opportunity to donate bone marrow.  I entered the Be The Match bone marrow registry in 2011 and in 2012 I was notified that I was a match for a woman in Montana.  That year was a particularly dark time in my life, and being notified that someone needed ME was nothing short of a God thing.  I went through the process, donated my marrow via the PBSC method (much like giving blood), and waited.  Over a year later, I got the call from my recipient.  She, Kristi, was alive and well!  That phone call changed my life.  She thanked me for saving her life, but the funny thing is that she saved mine, too.  I love our story because it reminds me of how each of us is here for a specific purpose!
One thing that most people don’t know about me…
One thing that most people don’t know about me is that I didn’t have braces until I was 27 years old.  I grew up in a very humble home where we had all we needed and not much more. Growing up in such a way is something I would never change.  The best parts of me were shaped by parents who did all they could with what they had.  That being said, as a child I never had the opportunity to have braces.  I LOVE laughing and smiling, but growing up I often covered my mouth in embarrassment.  While some friends would complain about their wires being uncomfortable, I secretly prayed I could experience such discomfort!  Finally, for my 27th birthday, I bought myself Invisalign.  It may seem silly, but finally having straight teeth has been one of the biggest confidence boosters ever!
How do you handle a hard day/day at work?
After 30 years of life, I feel that I’ve finally figured out the best recipe for hard days.  First, you  have to be okay with the fact that they’re going to happen!  I have found it imperative to arm myself every morning for whatever is ahead.  I start the day in the Word, reminding myself of God’s promises. And yes, He promises that things won’t always be easy! He says that in this life, we WILL have trouble (John 16:33), but in the VERY next breath He tells us to “take heart” for He has overcome the world. How sweet is that?  A warning and a reminder!  Next, I get ready for work by listening to Kari Jobe Pandora. These two things start my day with an armor of strength and peace.  Then, if the day unfolds with difficult situations, I pray, I text my best friend, and I remember that I’m here for God’s work.  Being a teacher, that “keep-my-sanity” cycle sometimes happens HUNDREDS of times throughout the day!  But knowing yourself and what to do is half the battle.  Then to end any day, especially difficult ones, I like to either go on a long run or go to my cardio kickboxing class. There is something very empowering about being active and just sweating it all away!
What is your greatest strength?
My greatest strength is my ability to see the positive in situations.  Finding the silver lining is pretty automatic for me, thankfully.  There have been moments in my life that felt almost impossible to find the good in, but I’ve learned that you see what you look for.  We all have the choice of how to view life. Choosing to look through the positive lens is a lot more fun.  Trust me! 🙂
How do you handle criticism?
Criticism has always been a double-edged sword for me.  I love learning and growing, but I am also a perfectionist and always want to do things right the first time!  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned how to embrace it with grace and gratitude.  Watching how my students respond to criticism has also helped me in the sense that they trust the source (me), they listen to me, and then they try again.  It’s been huge for me to listen to only trusted sources of criticism because, quite frankly, someone is always going to have something less-than-peachy to say.  Some people just lurk and judge, and others are truly trying to help make you better.  I’ve realized it’s up to me whom I listen to! 🙂
Do you do anything to build self-confidence?

I do many things to build self-confidence!  I love that this is one thing no one else can do for me.  I start from the inside and work my way out.  As mentioned above, I strongly believe in reminding myself of Truth as often as I can.  I also take my physical health very seriously.  I haven’t always known health, and now that I do, I see it as a gift that I don’t want to take for granted! I eat things (for the most part) that I’d want my daughter to eat, and I take every opportunity to workout.  But if for some reason I’m feeling less confident, I always do a soul-check, because nine times out of ten, the problem starts there.  If I’m confident in my walk with the Lord, everything else falls into place.

What does it take for you to perform at your best?

Coffee.  Is that an okay answer?!  Haha.  No, but really I feel the best when I get good sleep (8 hours), have a warm cup of coffee during quiet time, and fuel my body well.  I truly believe that when your mind, body, and spirit are well feed, you can do anything you set your mind to!


You can follow Desirae on Instagram here, and her blog on here! 

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2016 BLUSH HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

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IT’S HERE!!!

Today we cover some AMAZING gift ideas at unbeatable prices. I would consider this a gift that I have, finding these deals and steals. Originally I had planned not to include anything outside of makeup but then I realized that as a mother/daughter/sister/friend, we ALL need ideas for gift giving!

I shall step up to the plate and offer my sacrifice…

Here we go!

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1.) Brushed Metal Cake Stand, H&M $17.99

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A few ideas with this one: it makes a great hostess gift (especially if you add yummy treats on top), it can hold a small vase of flowers along with making a great table setting, it’s great to keep next your sink to hold your soap bottles…

I also love the idea of this as a gift for a mom (from siblings) with a few new perfume bottles on top & and don’t forget a pretty bow!

2.) Clarisonic (Mia 1) $109 with Coupon Code

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I cannot say enough great things about my Clarisonic face brush. Hands down nothing compares to how well it cleans your face and how soft it makes your skin feel. I was able to find an amazing discount code from Clarisonic’s website. Just enter the code “SHOPANDSAVE” at your checkout and receive $20 off! That beats any other online deal!

3.) Sonia Kashuk Lipliners $7.99 at Target

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I’ve blogged about these liners before and also here, and the fact that they are only $8 each (and carry an amazing color selection) means that you should have at least 2 or 3 on hand. Also great for stocking stuffers and girlfriends! The SK liners are also a great option for your wedding day!

4.) Honest Beauty Creme Blush $22

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Between this and the Tarte BB Tinted Primer I recently blogged about, I would say these are the top 2 best makeup products I’ve EVER used. The finish that this creme blush gives is second to none. It’s the best way to keep your skin looking hydrated in the winter months and it gives a beatuiful glow in the summer months as well. I love this color shown above “Truly Thrilling” for this winter season as well as the “Truly Exciting” shade.

5.) “All Nighter” ColourPop Eyeshadow Foursome $18

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Can we just take a moment for the simple fact that a regular-sized Urban Decay single eyeshadow retails for $18 at Sephora? And this ENTIRE SET is $18!! Ahh!! These colors are gorge-us and they have pigment like nobody’s business. My favorite way to wear these are wet and while doing so they take on a 2D effect. These shadows look best on the lid with a matte shade in the crease and they also work great as a bottom eyeliner. Best part? They’re all neutral and you can combine them with any other shades you already have at home!

6.) “The Good Times” Ultra Matte Lip Kit by ColourPop $18

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Quite honestly I don’t get it. I don’t understand how ColourPop puts out amazing products at such low prices. FIVE lipsticks for $18? Is it because they know we’ll be buyers for life and never buy another brand again?

I picked this set because you get a good variety of everything, a merlot, a poppy red, a dusty rose, a cool toned pink and a flattering nude. And I think any of these shades would pair perfectly with the eyeshadows and blush above!

I also love how CP always includes 3 different shaded skin tone swatches next to their products. This helps show how the color will “fall” on our own skin tones…

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7.) Penn Light 1 Globe Mini Pendant $79.20

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Obsessed doesn’t even begin to cover it with lights like these. I could probably put one of these guys in every single room in my house and it would just “work.”

I love it for a little boy or girl’s room and I also love it for kitchen lighting. It would look adorable with 2 or 3 in a row above an island or above your kitchen sink! See also: bathrooms.

8.) Viv + Rae Lily Cloudy Rug, $85 and up

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Ok so I just love this rug for a playroom. To me it embodies the magic of kids and it helps entice daydreaming. And you’ll be happy to hear it also comes in pink for us girlie girls!

9.) Star-Patterened Throw $24.99, H&M

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A few ideas for this blankie: it makes a great newborn gift (who says you can’t pre-buy?), it would look adorable hanging over a bench in the mudroom or, you can include it in the Christmas Eve pajama present for your kids along with a good book or movie to use it with.

10.) Pottery Barn Silver German Glitter Letter Ornaments, $2

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Man-oh-man are these a great gift idea! PERFECT for teachers or that someone who is hard to buy for. They look great on the tree and they also look magical hanging over your mantle. You can also use them to spell out a special word if you wish. Here is another initial ornament that’s similar as well…

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11.) “Bambi” Choker $33.50 @ Nordstrom

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If we’re going 90’s style it better be in solid gold. Case in point, this metallic choker. It’s neutral, it goes with everything and it’s a more stylish version of the ones you’ve already seen.

12.) H&M V-Neck Camisole Top, $12.99

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I think I need about 12 of these, for $13 bucks are you kidding me?? I love it for work (you better believe I’ll be sporting this in the facial room) and I love it for play of course. It’s great for date night and the shine makes it holiday appropriate…which brings me to gift #13.

13.) Leith Floppy Felt Hat, $12.98 (50% off) @ Nordstrom’s

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I got this hat for my birthday and have no fear, it’s as fabulous as it looks. At first I didn’t realize how stylish I would feel until I actually put it on and realized that I needed a better coat to accentuate it. Don’t you worry, I pulled through and found the CUTEST coats for it…

14.) Free People Midnight Bomber Jacket, $54.60

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At first I thought, “that gray hat has to be worn with a trenchcoat.” And then I nixed that idea because it was too predictable, I needed something a little more modern than that. I was lucky enough to stumble upon this bomber jacket and the fact that it comes in 3 colors!

I love all the colors but I think the red paired with the gray hat is very “Christmasy” but in a good way. Red is so festive and the gray hat keeps it toned down.

15.) H&M Mauve Faux Fur Jacket, $49.90

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I have to admit, I also love the idea of wearing that gray hat with this adorable dusted rose faux fur jacket. This would look so, SO cute with the previous metallic v-neck cami and gold choker! I’m daydreaming about it now…#addtocart.

16.) ASOS Chiffon Satin Pajama Set, $28

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Last but not least…

Listen, when I turned 30 (yesterday, literally) one of the first thoughts that honestly came to mind was how I needed a few pairs of nice satin pajamas and let me tell you why:

Nice pajamas make you feel extravagant, they are cozy, they help create a beautiful 24/7 wardrobe, they look beautiful no matter where they reside – in a closet or on a hanger, they hold value in that you strive for quality in all areas of your life.

How many of you watch a good movie with someone beautiful like Michelle Pfeiffer in it, and do you notice what she wears to bed? Sorry but it’s not your 2007 Turkey Trot 5K t-shirt. It’s often something in silk or chiffon and it assists in creating a relaxed and serene atmosphere before you fall asleep. These soft colors and silky fabrics help relax your mind and promote your way to more rejuvenating rest…and what’s better than rejuvenating rest?

All these gifts.

Just kidding.

Happy Shopping…


I hope you enjoyed this 2016 gift guide and comment below on what you plan to purchase for yourself or loved ones!

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Makeup Most Wanted

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Today I’m sharing some of my top secret info with you…

Some makeup artists choose to protect & hide their kits as children of their own, never revealing any of their secrets or products.  But I am a big believer in empowering and encouraging and so with that, today I wanted to share 3 of my most favorite products that I use in my professional kit!  These are the products that I know I can rely on and use to make clients (like the lovely bridesmaid Krista above) look amazing on W-day.

Let’s roll!

1.) MAC Paint Pot in “Soft Ochre” $22

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Here’s why I love this paint pot from MAC: yes it is designed to be used as an eyeshadow primer but, I also love it for opaque coverage on the lid by itself.  Sometimes we don’t want to do 3419 steps in our morning routine, or sometimes our eyelids are super red from allergies…this paint pot conceals like the real deal.  The trick is to layer this onto the lid heavily with a cream brush. By doing so it creates a beautiful, wide awake look on your eyes.  This trick also benefits people who have smaller or closer set eyes, creating the illusion of big and bright!

And don’t let me forget to mention that it keeps shadow & liner in place all day long.

2.) MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter in “Light Boost” $27

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This pen is magical!!  No but really, this pen has taken the place of some of my heavy duty concealers which is nutso considering the fact that it is SO thin!   It brightens like a dream and it’s the one item that can really elevate your look and your makeup.  I apply it under the eyes, on the chin and between the brows for a 3D effect.

3.) Ardell Lashes in “Demi Wispies” $4-10

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Honestly, I use this set on about 90% of my brides.  They are my tried-and-trues and they never ever fail me.  Even if someone wants more of a natural look I just cut off the end and place the smaller part of the lash onto the outer part of the eye, does that make sense?  So you’re using that smaller ended piece to open up the eyes and create that “doe-eyed effect.”

They are also available in a multi-pack option so be sure to buy that so that you can have a few on hand for the weekend! #dancingsenoritaemoji

I hope you enjoyed taking a peek into my kit and hopefully it gives you ideas on what to shop for the next time you head to the makeup store!

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October Special :: The Pumpkin Facial

Happy Monday Y’all!

The PF is back and better than ever!  Be sure to book your appointment this month and receive $5 off ANY SERVICE when you bring in 2 items for Tonganoxie School District’s “BACKPACK BUDDIES” program.

BACKPACK BUDDIES is a wonderful program that helps replenish needed items for students including food and toiletries.  Read the list below to see what you can donate and bring it in the day of your appointment to receive your discount!

Let’s keep these kid’s hearts and bellies full this Fall!  Can you help us achieve that?

Needed items: 

Full-size toothpaste, toothbrushes, bath soap, toilet tissue and other necessary household items (maybe dish soap, laundry detergent, deodorant).  Fruit cups, snacks like Cheese-Its, pretzels, trail mix, individually wrapped granola and snack bars, and juice boxes.

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Makeup Minimalist

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“The best way to enjoy your favorite things every day is to only own your favorite things.”

When I became a mom, my normal everyday routine got flipped upside down in those first few months of newborn life.  Suddenly, everyday beauty rituals became obsolete and I distinctly remember asking my husband (while halfway crying) how moms ever have time to curl their hair in the morning.  Why did I ask my husband that?  As if he could ever answer the question! Sneaky, sneaky you are post-partum hormones…

Since then I have streamlined my hair and makeup routine and I have gotten rid of anything I don’t use on a daily basis.  Friends, this is huge coming from a MAKEUP ARTIST.  I have so many beauty products it’s ridiculous.  But I slowly learned that if I only had what I truly needed and loved that getting ready in the morning could be enjoyable if not, delightful.

Today I want to reveal how I was able to minimize my routine but also keep what I had around me beautiful and purposeful…

DECLUTTER

There is no magical formula for streamlining your beauty items because everyone is different in how they do their makeup but I do have a few suggestions.  Adopt a one item in, one item out mindset.  Stick to the basics and keep one of each: face primer, foundation, foundation powder/setting powder, blush, bronzer, eyeshadow primer, one eyeshadow palette, one brown eyeliner, lash curler and mascara. You should also have a lip color that you love and goes with anything.

Click here to read a post on my favorite everyday lip glosses, this will give you a good idea of what colors to look for.

CLEAN

Next, clean out your makeup bag or the area where you apply your makeup.  Alcohol your eyeliners and lip liners and sharpen them before putting them back into their homes.  Clean the edges, lids and mirrors of compacts and palettes with a baby wipe.  Items should be easy to spot and not look cluttered as a whole.  I adore these darling glass + gold trays from Target. They allow your makeup items to lay flat while making them easy to spot. Bonus points: these trays are on sale and would makeup a fabulous Christmas gift for someone!

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REFRESH

Next, clean and organize the top of your makeup vanity.  I prefer to have close to nothing on top of the table I do my makeup on.  It’s so incredibly refreshing to wake up and start your day with a blank slate.  While searching for makeup vanity inspiration I found an underlying component in all of the pictures that I loved, fresh flowers.  

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Fresh flowers make any bathroom look expensive, no matter how small or big your room is.  It’s one of the cheapest things you can do to make your space look elegant but also clean and inviting.

SANITIZE

I’ve recently been using the Honest Company Lavender Hand Sanitizing Spray and I plan to purchase a second one for my makeup bag.  I think it’s a genius idea considering that cold and flu season is upon us.  How perfect would this be to use right before you begin makeup in the morning to prevent germs from spreading?  Also, can you tell that I’m married to a nurse? 😉

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REBUILD

Last but not least, decide on a brush set that you love.  Stick to coordinating colors and create a beautiful template with it.  I adore the Bold Metals Collection from Real Techniques because I am a huge neutral lover in general.  These brushes are so beautiful and would look stunning next to your newly cleaned makeup items.

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And for the record, how adorable is their new Miracle Diamond Sponge applicator?  This is art in itself!

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If money is tight but you feel the urge to live a fabulous life, buy 1-2 brushes at a time.  Another great option is Sephora because their brushes are always in stock and you can pick between all black or all silver.  OCD freaks UNITE!  And don’t forget to add brush cleaner too.  If you keep it near your brushes in an easy-to-see spot, you’ll clean your brushes MUCH more often.  I like Sonia Kashuk’s brush cleaner because it’s gentle and smells like lavender.

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What’s weird is when I started this journey of becoming a minimalist (don’t worry, it’s transferred into every area of my life), is that it happened unintentionally.  I was an overstressed mom who felt like she hardly had time for anything.  Flash forward a year later and I truly appreciate the things that I have, each and every single item.  Getting ready is a joy and I’ve found staple products that work well and look good on me.  You’ll be surprised at how different you feel once you clean out the unwanted and welcome the new.

And for the record, it’s much easier to straighten your hair as a new mom than it is to curl it. 😉

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The C Factor :: Samantha

So here’s the deal…

I am over all of the negativity that is going on in today’s world. I am over women not having confidence in themselves and not believing they can have what they really want in life. I am over women not lifting each other up, and people not sticking up for the underdog. I am over people feeling weak and insecure and alone. There’s just not enough love in this world right now and it needs to change.

So I’m going to change it.

Today is the first post of a new series called “The C Factor.”  The C stands for confidence but it also stands for courage.  This series is about women who rise above. They are determined, ambitious, and they know the importance of paying it forward.  The series will feature an interview with 9 questions and I am excited to “compare notes” from each talented & successful woman.  There is a recipe for success and I truly believe that it takes a village to raise each other up.

So let’s get started!


When I first decided to do this blog series, I immediately thought of my friend Samantha. You know what’s funny? I’ve only met Samantha once and it was over 2 years ago.  But we became friends on social media and since then her encouraging posts always leave a lasting impression on me. Crazy. Think about that ripple affect for a second…

I met Samantha when I did makeup for her for at a Miss Teen USA photo shoot.  She was the current Miss Missouri Teen and since then she’s gone on to become a TV host and model, all while attending Missouri University.  When I emailed her and asked her if she was interested, she was super excited with the idea and she was kind enough to send it back ASAP.

And then I read her answers.  And I was like, Oh-Em-Gee. 

I knocked it out of the park with this girl.  She is more than beauty and brains.  She has a giant heart and she shares her faith.  She’s currently seeking her personal training certification while she writes and shares recipes and workouts for her own blog, www.samanthajobowers.com

She helped pass a House Bill last spring and she currently majors in Atmospheric Sciences at Mizzou.  What?? You mean you can do all of this? Let’s remember Samantha isn’t even the legal drinking age yet…

Take notes, girls. 

1.) What is the best compliment someone ever gave you and why?

It truly means the world to me when people make an effort to reach out to me to tell me I have inspired them in some way. Whether it be through social media, my blog, or face to face, I really do try to leave a lasting impression on the lives of others every day. The best compliments I receive are when people tell me that I have inspired them to live a healthier lifestyle, or to pursue a goal they have been wanting to start working towards for quite some time, or that they feel more confident in themselves and their abilities because of my influence. It makes me feel like I truly am making a difference.

2.) What is one good deed that you have done for someone else?

Well, I have a passion for encouraging others to be the best that they can be. Healthy relationships with yourself AND with others are the foundations of a healthy lifestyle as a whole. One thing that I am very proud of that I feel has made significant strides in promoting overall health and wellness among our youth is the passing of House Bill 2481, which designates the month of February as “Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month” in Missouri. I was able to work closely with House Representative Donna Pfautsch to create this bill and take it all the way to the governor’s desk, where it was signed in to law this past spring. This is a great way to shine a light on this topic that is often left in the dark and promote happier, healthier relationships across our state.

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3.) What is one thing most people don’t know about you or would be surprised to know about you?

A lot of people wouldn’t guess that I grew up playing competitive sports my entire life. When people find out I compete in pageants, I think their automatic reaction is to picture a “Toddlers in Tiaras” type situation. When in reality, I spent my childhood in basketball shoes instead of high heels! I’m so thankful for the experiences I had with my sports teams growing up, because it truly taught me that with hard work and perseverance, anything is possible. I really feel like sports have made me the person I am today.

4.) How do you handle a hard day at work/school? 

Well, I just transferred to the University of Missouri this year, where I am majoring in Atmospheric Sciences. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that sometimes my physics homework can get a little stressful! I am a huge proponent of using exercise to relieve stress. Whenever I have had a long day, I love to go on a run and just let my mind take a break. I absolutely LOVE hot yoga, too. It’s a great way to improve flexibility, focus on bettering yourself, and get in a REALLY good sweat session! 

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5.) What is your greatest strength?

I would say my greatest strength is my work ethic. I take a lot of pride in the amount of effort I put in to my goals and aspirations. Each and every day I try to take steps in the right direction and keep my mind focused on what I want to achieve. Some days are better than others, and I know it’s important to remember that everyone has set backs, twists, and turns along the way. But I truly believe that it is precisely those challenges and that adversity that is shaping me into the person I am meant to become. 

6.) How do you handle criticism? 

I love criticism. I think there are two ways we can choose to look at criticism: one way is to view it as something meant to harm us, keep us down, and affect us negatively. The other way is to view criticism as fuel and motivation to improve yourself. I choose to see criticism not as a put down, but rather as a little push. I can either choose to listen to that “little push” and work on improving myself, or I can filter it out and let it go in one ear and out the other if I don’t feel the criticism was constructive or genuine. It’s all about knowing yourself, your weaknesses, and what your goals are for self improvement. Sometimes a little criticism is a good thing!

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7.) Do you do anything to build your self-esteem or boost your self-confidence?

Absolutely! I don’t think there is anything wrong with giving yourself a pat on the back occasionally. In fact, I think it’s so important that you give yourself a little credit when you achieve a goal or succeed at something you’re passionate about. For me, I get my confidence from my faith. I am a huge fan of Joel Osteen books, and every night before I go to bed I read a devotional passage to remind myself that my strength comes from the Lord, and ultimately He is guiding my path.

8.) How do you encourage other women? Do you feel an obligation to do so because of so much negativity in the world today? 

I think all women have an obligation to encourage each other! We as women need to be uplifting and empowering towards one another every opportunity we get. I try to reach as many young women as I can through social media, my blog, and day to day life. Sometimes, doing something as simple as giving a nice compliment can turn someone’s entire day around. I think pageants are an excellent example of how women can encourage and empower one another. A common misconception is that the contestants are competing AGAINST each other. When in reality, we are only competing against ourselves. The women I have met through pageantry are some of the most empowering, strong, and genuine women I know I will ever meet in my life. I think the way we portray confidence in the media today tells young women that in order to be confident you have to have the latest clothes, have the best body, have perfect makeup and hair all the time – when in reality, confidence comes from within. You can have all of those things, and still not feel true confidence. TRUE confidence comes from accepting your flaws and imperfections, having a genuine heart of service, and striving to leave a lasting impression on the lives of others each and every day. 

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You can visit Samantha’s blog here and you can follow her on Instagram here. (@samanthabowers_)

And you can pin and copy her delicious recipe for 60-calorie chocolate glazed donuts here.

Because donuts are important too.

donuts

 

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Current Necessities

current necessities

So I decided to compile a list of my current favorite products and once I was finished, I looked it over and realized how obsessed I actually was with this list.

I love these current 5 things so much that I could’ve made this the “Top 5 Products for 2016.” Folks, this post is that good.  And because of it, they are not current favorites, they are current necessities.

Enjoy.

1.) Sally Hansen “Miracle Gel” Nail Polish in Pinky Promisecurrent necessities (1)I have been on a recent mission to find the perfect brand of nail polish that fits my lifestyle.  I know it sounds silly but I NEED a polish that lasts more than a day and doesn’t take forever to dry.  This Sally Hansen brand has been a lifesaver because it coats the nail so well in two coats that there’s no need for a base or a top coat, seriously!

*Make sure you let the first coat fully dry before you apply the second.

 

2.) Makeup Forever Lipstick in “N4”N4Guys, this lipstick….ohhhh this lipstick.  I adore it!  It has looked fabulous on a countless # of my makeup clients.  It is the perfect pinky beige and it pairs so well with a gloss too!  Refer back to my post on the NYX lip glosses to see what you could wear it with!  And let me tell you why you shouldn’t buy a “nude lipstick” from a drugstore brand…because 9 times out of 10 it’s either too frosty or too sheer.  Save your wallet the heartache.

 

3.) “5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit” by Nicki Koziarz5habits

Truly, I have never read a better book than this one right here.  I’m still debating on whether or not I want I should dedicate an entire post to this book.  It’s life-changing, it’s mind-opening, and it’s the kind where you will highlight the entire book.  After I read this book I could not believe all the things I quit without even realizing it.  This book has changed me from the inside out and I want to share one of my favorite snippets from the book:

“She is able to look into the future with confidence because she is determined to become the vessel for what she has been created to do.  She’s not tossing pennies into the wishing well of life.  Her focus is contagious, and she has the ability to stick with things long enough to master them.  She understands that the days, weeks, months, and years aren’t here forever.  And the passions within her have the ability to become forgotten daydreams.”

 

4.) Stella & Dot “Geometric Crosby Bag” on sale for $75Crosby

My mom bought this bag when it first came out and I have been so in love with it ever since.  I love how clean and simple it looks but nevermind the fact that it’s still just sooo cute!  I think it’s a great bag to transition with between summer and fall and I love the idea of pairing it with skinny jeans, camel booties, and an ivory silk blouse for fall.  (I’m not the only one who plans out an entire outfit from a bag, am I?)

My sister is a Stella & Dot stylist so please contact me to order if you’re interested!

 

5.) Gold Decor Accentsbunbun

For Easter this year my mom bought me, herself and my sister this adorable gold bunny as a gift.  Even though we got it in the spring, all 3 of us still have it out for display in our homes.  I love the idea of meaningful (and beautiful) gifts in your home and there’s nothing more fabulous than little pops of bling if you ask me!

The little bun bun from above is from Hobby Lobby.  I’m not 100% sure if it’s still in stock but you’re bound to find something similar!

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Coveting :: Why It Steals More Joy Than You Think

HappyFeet

These feet.  These tiny, perfect, happy little feet.  These feet belong to a boy who has my heart. I could not love this boy and his feet more if I tried.  The skin over his big right toe grows in just a little to the left.  He loves to eat his feet (especially during diaper changes) and he always loves to tap his heel onto my legs when I’m giving him a bottle, much like an old man would do in a rocking chair drinking sweet tea on his porch…

Why do I know every single detail of this boy’s life?  Because I’m his Mommy and because he was handpicked for me.  Because God always knows exactly what we need and who we need. This first year as a parent has taught me more in 8 months than what I’ve learned my entire life before I had him.  It’s astonishing to think that nothing will truly bring me more joy than being this boy’s Mama.  It’s astonishing to think that I will never be happier than I am right now.  Life is so perfect right now, not good, perfect.

So I was surprised this morning…surprised when I left Starbucks and I was in the middle of reading a pregnancy announcement on Instagram from a famous Mommy blogger when I began to feel a little jealous.  I don’t even know this person which makes this blogpost seem even more ridiculous. The post was from a Mom and she was announcing her 2nd pregnancy. And for half a second, I became envious.  I wanted that to be me.  A small wind of disappointment came over me because at that moment I wanted to be pregnant.  I know this sounds crazy.  How many moms of 8 month-old babies want a newborn?? But make no mistake, I LOVE babies and if I could have 10 right now I would.

So I ask myself that horrible, unwanted word…why?

Why would I ever want more than what I have right now?  Why would I want to change anything in my life when it’s perfect the way it is right now?

Because desire is a learned habit.  Because in our society, more is more.  Because if we have everything we need…what else is left?

I stop myself. I am angry at myself for wishing for anything other than what my son has already given me.  I make it a point in that present moment to be thankful for what I have.  My family and friends are all that I’ll ever need below God and I sure as heck don’t ever want my son to hear me say “I want more.” Because what does that say to him as a child?

 A.) I must not be good enough for Mommy and/or   B.) If she’s never happy, I’ll probably never be happy.

I vow to myself and my family that today, those words will never come out of my mouth.   

I saw a quote online this week and it said “If it doesn’t open it’s not your door.”  Wow.  Powerful stuff.  I so remember the days after my miscarriage when I cried and cried because I grieved the loss of that baby.   And one dear, sweet mother told me “I just think, if I wouldn’t have had that miscarriage then, I wouldn’t have the children that I do now.”  And that needs no explanation for parents of children.  After hearing that, I especially will tell you that I would go through a million miscarriages to get to the son that I have today.  And I wouldn’t question it for a second.

Sometimes road bumps lead us to bigger bridges.  Road construction means there’s something better up ahead, right?

The only thing we truly need in this life are friends and family.  They are the ones we laugh and cry and share our moments with.  They are the ones we create our irreplaceable, priceless memories with.   I challenge you today, to be content with what you have.  To do what you need to do to be happy.  To grab your life by the wheel and say, THIS IS ENOUGH.” Because you know what else is a learned habit?  Contentment.  And once we keep reminding ourselves that what we have is enough, eventually, it will be.

Possessions do not produce contentment, people do.

And tiny little happy feet. 🙂


To read about my miscarriage story, click here.

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International Women’s Day

It’s International Women’s Day!  

I happened to stumble upon this Ted Talk video this morning and I couldn’t not share it with my readers and friends especially on a holiday like today.  There is so much wisdom packed into this 20 minute video that it’s one that you will need to watch over and over.

Friends, this video is valuable to any woman in any stage of her life.  You do not have to be a mom to benefit from Gesine’s wisdom and insight.

It puts tears to my eyes how Gesine has lived many years of her life and yet her emotions are similar to that of a mom of a newborn child.  She has achieved so much as a businesswoman and yet she still writes “Mother” as her occupation on the dotted line…

Thank you for leading the way Gesine…