Humility and Anxiety

God has continually sent me this message. Every time I hear it, it speaks to me and leaves an impact, but I haven’t been using it the way He wants me to. So He keeps sending it to me, telling me to write about it. So tonight, instead of laying in bed and watching Friends like I normally do, I am finally getting my computer back out to write this.

They don’t tell you that post-grad life is a lot of doors closing in your face and hearing a lot of “Nos” to all the jobs you thought were perfect for you. Or that you’re going to face a good bit of self doubt and question your life choices. They leave all that out, and it’s not a fun surprise.

I feel as though God has continually tried to make me realize I don’t need all that I had before – the cheerleading, dancing, classes and everything that kept me busy and sane. I only need Him.

The message I listened to recently from Elevation Church was about anxiety and one of those popular verses we like to pick from the Bible and make work for us.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6

I’ve gone to this verse several times just trying to get help, saying, “God, please help me get this figured out. I’m giving this to you. I’m casting these anxieties on you.”

We probably all have done this, right? Well Pastor Steven Furtick brought to our attention the verse before this one. He pointed out that the verse we all know and love is not a command for us, it is the result of the command we tend to ignore in the verse before.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,casting all your cares upon Him, for He careth for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7 

“Humble yourselves”

We often find it difficult to humble ourselves enough to the point where we are fully reliant on God. I’m strong and independent and can do a lot of things on my own. I let my pride get the best of me so many times by saying I can do this all by myself, that I even neglect letting God help me.

When I actually step back and realize that I’ve been trying to tell God, “let me handle it on my own,” it all makes sense. Life, no matter what your situation is, is hard! Don’t get me wrong, you can get through life on your own, but you’ll be just getting through and that’s not a good life. You will miss out on joy and happiness and all that God has in store for you.

That is no way to live your life. Of course, this doesn’t mean life is going to be easy and problem free forever, because we’re human and we mess up a lot.

So through those times when we feel that we can’t get it figured out and are having never ending hard times, it’s for the betterment of us. God is working on you and He will use this time to benefit you later. In the mean time, it sucks. When that happens, we have a forgiving, loving Father who will continue to break us down to the studs so He can rebuild us back to a strong structure on a solid foundation.

How awesome is that?

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btw, the image above is from Valerie Wieners. She’s awesome and you should follow her Instagram!

My DCC Audition Experience

Letting the world know my dream of becoming a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader was one of the hardest secrets to let go of. I’ve dreamt of this for years and officially decided this was something I was going to go for my freshman year of college, planning to audition after graduating from college.

I never wanted to tell anyone about my dream for fear of failing and everyone feeling sorry for me. I never expected to be so proud of myself for making it as far as I did. I truly underestimated how huge it is to just make it to Semi-finals.

This past academic year has been an absolute whirlwind. It flew by faster than I ever could have imagined, bringing on my impending audition pretty quickly. I have juggled the ending of my collegiate cheerleading career, ending of my academic career, job interviews and so much more.

While I had always dreamed of becoming a DCC, I put the dream on hold for a while. A job opportunity presented itself in Austin, TX that took my attention away from my DCC dreams. I still held on to both for a while, until moving further and further along into the interview process for the Austin job when I decided chasing a career opportunity was more important than chasing my dreams.

That decision lead to me being stressed and miserable for the month where I had given up on my dreams. I looked at it as the auditions would come around again next year, but this potential job wouldn’t. I finally decided to take back control of my future and go after my DCC dreams two weeks prior to auditions. I felt a huge sense of relief, but also panic because auditions were only two weeks away.

I hopped back on my strict, healthy-eating regimen and made sure to run or workout every day. I never completely quit that, because thats just not in my nature to be completely lazy, but I went full force and put all of my energy into it. I could tell a difference in how I looked but more so how I felt about my body. The audition process is hard because you know they are not only looking at your dancing abilities, but also your physical appearance.

So lets skip to the week of auditions.

Thank the Lord for good friends who were there for me through the stress of this week. There is a long list of good friends who I owe my sanity to.

Coming up with an audition outfit was stressful. From speaking with former DCCs, they strongly suggested I wear bright colors and definitely add “bling.” I spent hours rhinestoning my audition outfit. Rhinestones and being overly flashy in that sense aren’t my thing nowadays.

I made sure to really focus on getting an ab workout in every day, and was so happy with my results. Abs have always been an easy place for me to target and tone quickly though. I did plenty of oblique exercises and also hundreds of Russian twists, my favorite ab go-to.

IMG_8456 213174172_10101842660480674_5431116286442580798_nI flew to Dallas on a 6:00 a.m. flight and was picked up by my mom’s good friend and coworker, Kimmie. Kimmie was my surrogate dance mother for the weekend and I like to think she had as much fun as I did. She has a beautiful home in Fort Worth, a quick 20 minute drive to AT&T Stadium. She also introduced me to Texas barbecue which I would say is just as good, but not quite better, than Carolina barbecue.

IMG_8462The night before auditions, we drove over to Power House of Dance in Dallas to meet with Kim, a friend of Kimmie’s and a former DCC, Dallas Mavericks dancer and member of many other professional dance teams. She made me dance freestyle, my least favorite thing to do, and also helped me with my slate (name, age, where I’m from etc.). She was so so helpful and gave me the confidence boost I really needed.

I knew I could dance, I know I’m a great dancer in front of the mirror in my bedroom, but can I dance well in front of 14 judges and a bunch of cameras? or 80,000+ fans? Kim was so reassuring of all of my concerns. She told me I had great rhythm, musicality and was a great dancer, everything I needed to hear at that time. I went to bed that night feeling ready to take on the preliminary round.

Preliminary Round

Falling asleep that night was close to impossible. The 5:00 a.m. alarm came way too soon, but I hopped out of bed right away and started getting ready. While I knew the actual audition process wouldn’t start until later in the morning and there would be time to fix my hair and makeup there, cameras are on you as soon as you pull into the stadium parking lot. Most girls came all made up and ready, but there were a few who came with plans to do their makeup there and quickly realized their mistake.

Check in began at 7:30, but the gates opened at 7:00. It was in between rain showers when I walked in, and because of the rain they let us wait inside instead of outside like you normally see on the show.

Waiting in line before registration was when you really start to realize it’s actually a TV production and not just an audition. Phil, the famous security guard who welcomes all the women and rolls out the numbers after prelims, had to do a few takes of his welcome speech while we were in line.

IMG_8467I checked in, got my number, 137, and headed to my seat where you then sign paperwork for CMT. The DCC staff encourage you to sign all the waivers, but make sure to let you know that you do not have to if you don’t want to. Then they handed the mic over to the CMT producer and she pretty much said sign them no matter what. You still could have said no, but the difference between the DCC staff and the CMT staff was very apparent.

After setting up my suitcase and mirror a CMT camera showed up in my face. At first they just wanted to get the shot of me and other girls getting ready and talking about the upcoming audition but then our conversation turned to other things like how I was missing college graduation to be there. The producer heard this and immediately started asking me questions and it turned into an impromptu interview.

IMG_8473I knew it was a TV show I was signing up for and I had mixed feelings about it. They feature several girls throughout the process and I was often asked how I felt about that. I always looked at it as if I made it all the way, then of course being featured would be great, but if I didn’t then I didn’t want to be featured, for obvious reasons. I do know they interviewed at least 100 girls so theres no way to know for sure if they’ll use any of my interviews, but if they do, I have every intention of embracing it.

So then we move to the famous scene of all the girls sitting in the seats listening to Kelli, the DCC director. She spoke about the process and what we could expect. She also told us we had done the hardest part of the audition already, getting there. She was right about that. There are so many women out there who dream of this, but don’t go for it for fear of failure. I can’t say I blame them, but I’m glad I did go for it.Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 8.17.16 PM

After that we moved back up to the main concourse where the auditions took place, took a short break and the first round of auditions began at 11:00 a.m. I was calm sitting there waiting. Being number 137, I was pretty far back in my row and also behind a very tall girl and couldn’t see much of the women performing. When it was finally time for my row to go, it hit me just how nervous I was.

My Freestyle Audition

I walked out in front of the floor with my group and waited my turn to take the mic. This was one of my favorite parts. I felt very confident introducing myself. I said my slate and also included that I was a college graduate as of that day. Charlotte Jones Anderson, one of the judges sitting next to Kelli and also the Cowboys Chief Brand Officer, told me congratulations with a big smile. It was reassuring, but they also smile like that at every girl.

After each girl introduced herself, we stepped back and took the floor. This is where things get blurry for me. I remember the start of the music ( Justin Timberlake, Can’t Stop the Feeling), I remember my first few seconds of freestyle, but everything else happened so fast. I had a few 8-counts made up to use if I ever felt lost in the freestyle or just needed something to pull from. I had every intention of using them because they were pretty great, but I think I maybe did half of one of the 8-counts. I talked to several girls after and they said the same thing, they had 8-counts made up but didn’t do any of them, meaning I wasn’t alone in that. I wish I had more to say about this part of the audition process, but I honestly don’t remember.

I do remember making eye contact with a few different judges and making one of the men on the back row change from a straight face to a big smile when I held his gaze for a few seconds. Making eye contact and finding a way to engage the judges other than Kelli and Judy, is so important. Kelli and Judy are well trained at keeping a happy face regardless of what they may be writing on their papers, but the other judges aren’t as good at that. If you can engage them and make them smile, you’ve likely made a good impression.

IMG_8495The music ended, we all stepped forward and smiled for the judges (hard to do because you’re so out of breath and your mouth is so dry at this point from smiling and nerves) and then walked off. This was the worst part. There was nothing else I could do to help my chances and I couldn’t even remember what I did out there. It was 12:30 at this point and we knew results wouldn’t be posted until around 6:00.

The CMT producers pulled several girls after their audition for a sit down interview with a producer. I was one of them. This was nice to take my mind off of everything and distract me from the waiting. I was also able to talk to several of the other women who were so nice.

In my interview, they asked me the standard questions like “What was it like walking out into the stadium this morning?” “How do you think you did?” “What would it mean to you to be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader?” It was fun and I felt like one of the contestants on The Bachelor being interviewed.

They pull women to be interviewed for several different reasons. They’re really looking for something that makes you stand out and will make viewers want to get to know you. Many of the girls stood out simply because they were good, some stood out because of background stories and unfortunately some stood out for all the wrong reasons. I’m hoping I stood out for being good, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever know.

IMG_8483Waiting for hours was definitely the worst part. They told us we would hear at 5:00, then they told us we would hear a little after 5:00 and they finally pushed it back to 6:00. There was a lot of tension and a lot of nerves in the air. When they announced that they were going to set us up for results, everyone jumped up so quick. We all knew a lot of days were going to be made and a lot of hearts were going to be broken.

Once outside, because the rain finally stopped, we waited forever. It took Phil a few takes to get the rolling out of the board the right way for CMT. At this point, I prepared myself for not making it. Its much easier to accept a “No” if you’re preparing yourself for it, but it’s still easy to accept a “Yes” if you’re preparing for “No.”

Phil finally pulled the cover off of the board and I couldn’t see much of anything but the top few rows of the board due to me being in the back of the crowd and standing at only 5’1″. Luckily, my number was in the top two rows!

The relief I felt was indescribable. I had to double check my number and the board at least five times. I couldn’t believe it. I called my mom, who was at my little sister’s dance recital and texted every single person that knew I was there. It didn’t even really hit me that I had made it to semi-finals until later that night. This was when I finally decided to let everyone know I was there and I was actually going for my dreams. It was a tough decision but the support I received from everyone was so overwhelming and so reassuring. I’m so glad I finally went public with it!

I IMG_8494went home that night and started freaking out about the written test coming the next day. They give everyone a written test on the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders history, NFL, current events, dance terminology and overall football knowledge.

I wasn’t worried about my knowledge of football, current events or the NFL, but I knew they asked specifics about the Cowboys and DCC history. I studied the Cowboys coaches, assistant coaches, position coaches, the owner, VPs, draft picks and their positions, what schools they were from and more. I studied DCC history, how they started, who former directors and choreographers were, how many changes have been made to the uniform over the years and much more.

I went to bed that night feeling overwhelmed with love and support and also with the importance of the next day weighing on my mind.

Semi-Finals

Another 5:00 a.m. alarm and the same routine as the day before. I get to the stadium at 7:00 and stand outside in line with all of the other girls. Everyone stood there studying their notes. Many had notebooks, binders with tabs and pages of notes and others had their phones pulled out to study Quizlet, myself included. Tension and nerves were high all around, but also excitement of being one of the 104 women to make it to semi-finals.

IMG_8498We checked in at 8:00 and most women tried to check in with others close in height because we all knew we would be performing a kick line with those in our group of five. I ended up with number 45 for semis and next to a girl not too, terribly taller than myself. We all set our stuff down and headed to our seats. From there we went down to the field.

This was my favorite part of the day. Dancing on the field was an amazing experience that I have every intention of doing again. Many people get in a space like that and feel small or overwhelmed. Seeing 80,000 seats is exciting to me, it energizes me and makes me want to dance and perform that much bigger.

We learned our routine fairly quick, eight 8-counts, and put it to music. The routine wasn’t too hard and was really fun to perform. I did have trouble connecting a few of the sections of the routine which made me nervous, but felt confident by the end of our field time. After that we learned the kick line. The kick line was simple and easy, but tiring after performing the dance so many times.

We stayed out on the field for about 45 minutes to continue practicing and after that, headed back to the main concourse to prepare for auditions. Everyone was practicing everywhere. I practiced it plenty of times, to the point where if I did it anymore I would only be tiring myself out and making myself more nervous about it. I was feeling ready and excited at this point.

We finally sit down in our chairs and the auditions begin. I didn’t feel nervous about performing until we stood up to wait in line to go. The group that had just gone came over and brought us their poms and we start running through everything on the side. This was when panic started to set in and I let my nerves get to me.

We did the same as the day before and started with introducing ourselves over the microphone and then stepped back on the floor. I remember performing in semis better than preliminaries, but not much better. This time, I tried to remember to be more present in the moment so I would be able to remember, but it didn’t work.

Like I said, I let my nerves get to me here. I know I messed up a few times in the dance which kills me now because I know it was just my nerves. We performed the eight 8-count dance four times through, back-to-back, and then moved straight into the kick line which we performed twice back-to-back. There was hardly any time to breathe through the whole thing. I smiled the whole time, and tried to not let my nerves show on my face.

IMG_8481I walked away from this round with a not so great feeling. I knew I messed up while performing and that really got to me, mainly because I knew I could do so much better than that. I do know that I did my very best that I could while I was out there considering my circumstances. Could it have been better? Absolutely. Did I give up on myself out there? No way.

Once all 104 women finished their audition, the judges went to make their decisions and we went to take our written test. I thought the test wasn’t bad at all. I knew answers to most of the questions about the Cowboys, DCC and knew all of the dance terminology. The NFL questions were easy but the overall football knowledge was tougher than I thought.

The test asked how many teams are in the NFL, 32, what division the Cowboys play in, NFC East, and who all plays in that division, Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Washington Redskins, and other similar questions. What tripped me up a little was a photo of an offensive and defensive lineup. With a word bank, I had to name each position on the field. There was also referee hand signals that I had to identify. Both of these, I knew most, but definitely not everything!

After the test (I was one of the first to finish 💁🏻), the waiting was awful and I was preparing myself for a “No.” We all waited and waited and again, they pushed back the time we would find out to a later time. Finally, they sat us all back down in our chairs and Kelli and Judy came on to the floor.

They took 48 women to Finals, and I was not one of them. I walked away from this entire experience feeling so proud of myself. I never expected it to be just as hard as it was. I knew it wouldn’t be easy and I knew I would have to work very hard, but I never knew I was going to be so proud of myself just for making it to Semis.

The hardest part is making yourself standout in Preliminaries among so many other talented and beautiful women. What got me through all of it was constantly reminding myself to not compare myself to others. I was working hard to put my best self out there, and comparing myself to all the others there would have only broken my confidence down.

No tears were shed, my heart wasn’t broken and it only made me want it that much more next year. Will I be back? My plan is yes, but it depends on where my life is one year from now. I am certainly not giving up on this dream.

Notes from the picky girl

I’m picky and I always have been. It started with food and carried over to other parts of life.

Growing up, I only ate cheerios and drank milk. Elementary school, it was grilled cheese, chicken nuggets and cheese pizza. Even in high school, my diet was limited and I wasn’t willing to try new foods. I couldn’t tell you why I had this quality, I had just learned to deal with it.

edf7e80d59911ae2a38e7e6cf689738bMy pickiness didn’t apply to just foods. It applied to boys too, and it still does. I’m surprised my family hasn’t had an intervention about how I haven’t brought home a guy from college and rarely talk about boys or dates. They probably think I never even talk to guys.

They’d be wrong if they thought this. It’s not that I don’t have guys interested or I’m not interested in any guys, it’s that I am incredibly picky about them. I’m not just picky about physical features, but their morals, beliefs, intellect, interests and hobbies. I look into how they treat others, how much they care about school and what they want to do with their future.

We could all make a list of characteristics, traits and qualities we look for in a man. We’d be lying to ourselves if we thought we’d find someone who met everything on that list (because my list is pretty outrageous).

I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a wish list for qualities in a man, or that you should abandon that wish list and date anyone. I am saying keep your standards high, but don’t eliminate a guy from potential dates because he only meets nine out of ten qualities. Pick out the characteristics and qualities you value most in a man, and hold on to those.

If he isn’t religious and has no willingness to change that, I can pass on that one because that is a quality I value very highly. But if he is a Philadelphia Eagles fan while I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan, I might be able to let that one go and give him a chance.

Who knows, there may be someone out there who meets your entire wish list. If so, I hope you find him. I hope you treasure them and never forget how great they are.

As for me, I’m choosing to be a little less picky with food and with men. I still eat Cheerios every morning, but I’ve tried sushi (gross), bell peppers (delicious) and brussels sprouts (not bad).

I continually find comfort in knowing God has someone for me. I just haven’t met him yet. So I’m not focusing on this aspect of life or worrying about it at all. It’s all about trusting His plan and His timing. I could talk for hours about how God’s plans were far different than mine, but how I am so happy to have followed His path instead of my own.

 

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Christmas List Must Haves

This is the first holiday season in three years that I won’t be working during the Christmas rush. I was really disappointed at first that I wouldn’t be making extra money, but I know spending my final Christmas at home with my family and dogs is worth much more than the money I would earn. (P.S. I’m not ready to be a real adult)

This year I have felt so lucky to be asked, “What’s on your Christmas list?” Sure, I made Christmas lists when I was younger. I would even cut out pictures of clothes and gift sets from magazines or catalogs and glue them on a poster board for my mom, but now I’m 22 and the thought of spending large amounts of money on Christmas seems scary. So this year, I’m a lot more conscientious of what is on my list.

I’m still trying to brainstorm on what I could put on my list that is not over the top, too pricey or ridiculous to ask for. I think some of these gifts are great deals and others you didn’t know you wanted! I hope these inspire your Christmas list some!

Urban Decay Naked On The Run

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Quick! This one will go fast. This all-in-one palette was a big deal last year. I refrained from freaking out like the rest of the beauty world just to spend my money on other things. Originally, this palette is priced at $54, but is on sale for $32! Find it on Ulta’s website here!  It’s a great deal considering the price of the products in it and it’ll sell out at this price:

  1. Travel size Perversion Mascara in Blackest Black .13 oz
  2. Travel size 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Stag (Deep Satin Brown) .o3 oz
  3. Full size Naked Lipgloss in Sesso .13 oz
  4. Five eyeshadows in Dive, Fix, Resist, Dare and Stun .04 oz
  5. Travel size Blush in Vibrant Pink with Shimmer .03 oz
  6. Travel size Bronzer in Medium Bronze Matte  .03 oz

Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Mat

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I’ve heard about this mat all over the place and have been dying to have one. Cleaning makeup brushes is essential but a hassle. This mat is Sigma’s newest makeup brush cleaning device. All you have to do is attach the suction cups on the bottom of the mat to your sink, run water and add baby soap or another makeup brush soap. There are detailed instructions on Sigma’s website where you can purchase this mat for $32. There is also a mini version of the mat for $25!

Ipsy!

I’ve been a subscriber for two years now and still have nothing but great things to say about the company. If you’ve been waiting to get on the bandwagon, nows the time to jump on! Read more about why I love Ipsy under the Ipsy tab at the top of the page. Ipsy doesn’t offer a way to actually gift their subscription, but these easy steps may help you out, click here!

Michael Kors Cateye Sunglasses

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I’ve never been one to want something solely for a name brand. Typically, I shy away from trendy, expensive brands like Michael Kors, but sometimes a pair of fuchsia sunglasses will make me think twice about never wanting anything Michael Kors. I found these out shopping and had to resist a $99 impulse purchase. I’ve been queen of the cheap $15 sunglasses collection for years now. Maybe, just maybe it’s time to upgrade! Find these here, they come in other colors too!

Cute and fun coffee mugs

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I don’t go a day without at least one cup of coffee in my system. It’s my favorite way to wake up and that much better when I can sit and drink it out of one of my favorite mugs! Most mornings I’m drinking it on my way to class so I’ve got a collection of travel mugs too. I’ve been eyeing this one at Starbucks all season! I love it because its black and yellow and I just can’t resist App State colors! Starbucks always has the cutest mugs! This one is available here.

Adult Coloring Books

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Everyone has been talking about these lately! I think they’re a fun way to bring back creativity to your life in your free time. A few Christmases ago, I was concussed and couldn’t look at any type of screen without getting a bad headache. The only thing I could do without getting a headache was color and it was so much fun! Don’t forget to ask for colored pencils or crayons to go with this! Find this one here.

A Good Read

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I love having my nose in a book, but I just don’t always have time. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling has been on my To Read list since April! I think she’s hilarious and really stands up for herself in a tough industry. You can find this one at any book store!

Satin Robe

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This one has been on my list for years but I always forget about it! I hate getting ready in the clothes I plan to wear that day so a robe is ideal for after a shower. I have a cozy, fleece robe, but those are too hot during summer. This one from Victoria’s Secret would be comfy all year round and it comes in several colors. Find it on Victoria’s Secret’s website here!

While it’s great to think of all the things to ask for this Christmas, it’s important to remember to be thankful for what you do have and the family you’re surrounded with. Even more so, remember why we’re really celebrating Christmas:

“Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

Right after publishing this post, my daily Bible verse popped up on my phone. I thought it was very fitting! God works in mysterious ways 🙂 IMG_6524.PNG

Why a neutral eye wins every time

IMG_5651-1While sitting on my couch enjoying my morning coffee and watching Kathy Lee and Hoda on the Today Show, I was shocked when this twenty-something woman came out wearing electric-blue eyeshadow. I had to do a double-take. This is 2015, not the 1980s right?

This is something I’ve come across a lot recently, and not just blue eyeshadow. When doing Jordan and Payton’s makeup for their dance recital when I did their Fun & Fancy Sock Buns, Jordan was shocked when I wasn’t using a pink eyeshadow to match her pink jazz costume.

She was persistent in telling me her eyeshadow needed to match her costumes, but I ultimately won our little dispute. Besides, she had a blue tap costume, a black modern costume and a purple hip-hop costume. There was no way to match all those colors to her eyeshadow. We settled on a darker brown and tan for Jordan, and a subtle grey with dark grey accents to make her eyes really pop for Payton.

It took a while to convince the two that a neutral colored eye was the way to go. I told them your eye makeup will go with anything when it looks good with your skin tone.

Eye makeup doesn’t always have to be dramatic. I always think back to that Full House episode where DJ tries to figure out how to put on makeup. Aunt Becky came in and saved the day with this line:

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“The secret to wearing makeup is to make it look like you’re not wearing any.”

Woah, right? Who would have thought? Now I’m not saying you can’t go all out and have fun with your makeup and do a dramatic eye, because I love that, but a subtle look can go a long way!

A blue eyeshadow wasn’t doing much to enhance the features of the girl on the Today Show. It made her skin look pale and her eyes stand out in an unflattering way.  Now I’m not saying colored eyeshadow has no place in your drawer, because it does (on Halloween).

I have occasionally pulled purples into my eyeshadow routine, but muted tones and only to accent my hazel eyes. No crazy colors outside of my Naked palettes. My favorite eyeshadow color is still Buck by Urban Decay. I’ll put just a little bit of that on my crease and blend it out before my 8 a.m. class to look fresh and awake. It’s the perfect, matte shade and it looks natural.

I stick to neutral colors for everything eyeshadow, even for days when I want a smoky eye. You can always create a darker eye look with browns and even pulling in some black. When creating a smoky eye, create dimension by making sure to put lighter shades on the inside and keep the darker colors on the outside corner. Don’t forget to blend! Naked eye look 3IMG_4780My current favorite look is from my Naked palette using Toasted and Hustle. I start by taking Sin (1) on the inside corner of my eye and then take Toasted (2) through the middle part of the lid. I’ll apply Hustle (3) and blend it out to the outside corner and up into my crease. I like to top it off with Virgin (4) on my brow bone to blend the crease line. 

This is an easy go-to look for when you need more of a statement eye, without it being too dark and dramatic. It’s one of those looks that instantly makes you feel really great about yourself! It has just enough to make your eyes pop without taking away from a bold lip. I wore this look to a concert over summer and put it with my favorite lipstick, Rebel by MAC.

I continually rotate my collection of neutral shades. I love neutrals because you can find a flattering makeup look that will look good with anything and everything you wear!

Boo Boo Cover Up: the Miracle Concealer

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I’m finally feeling ready for fall after my insanely busy summer. I referred to it as my “Summer of 21,” and it was so much fun. I was scrolling through all 1,750 photos on my iPhone the other day (thanking Mom for splurging on the 64 gig storage), and I was amazed at everything I did all summer.

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I hiked, jumped off giant waterfalls, traveled like crazy for cheer camps, celebrated some of my best friends birthdays, met so many new friends, helped improve a couple thousand high school cheerleaders in their crowd leading abilities (my favorite), spent time with my incredible teammates, celebrated weddings, spent spontaneous moments at concerts and white water rafting, and finished it all off with twenty-five days of non stop cheerleading. I counted all the days I spent either in a cheer practice or at a cheer camp and I spent fifty whole days doing cheerleading. Fifty. That’s a lot.

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I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s only natural to want to look good while presenting yourself to tens of thousands of fans at a game, or hundreds of cheerleaders as a camp instructor, or even just day to day life. I like to think it’s an occupational hazard as a cheerleader to have to sweat through a full face of makeup.

WIMG_4133hen it’s 25 days in a row of being required to wear makeup and  continually sweat, it only gets worse. You use makeup to cover up breakouts, sweat through that makeup, use more makeup to cover up the newly added breakouts and sweat through it all again. It’s a horrible, never ending cycle.

So what’s a beauty blogger with broken out skin, a long day of cheerleading ahead and having to look “game day ready” to do? I turn to my new favorite concealer, Boo Boo Cover Up!

Thank you again, Ipsy for introducing me to another amazing product. This one came in my mom’s Ipsy bag back in March. I don’t think she knows I stole it from her drawer (she’ll probably text me as soon as she reads this). At first I thought it was just a normal concealer with great coverage. I used it pretty regularly and loved the results it gave. Once the tube started running low, I went to check it out online to see if it was an outrageous price and worth ordering.31GbRjKiAxL._SS270_Little did I know what a great product I had been using. The formula is designed to help heal your skin while providing coverage. I couldn’t believe it either. A makeup product to cover my breakouts that will help take care of them too? It must be an actual gift from Heaven.

So, does it actually work? My skin would definitely be better off makeup free for a day or two to clear up, but if I do have to wear makeup, yes! It doesn’t fix it overnight, but it does help. I would definitely much rather use this concealer than any other makeup product. Plus, check out those dark-circle-free eyes at the Tim McGraw concert below! Getting rid of those dark circles was a life saver after more than three weeks of cheer camp!

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To minimize the amount of makeup that I wear on days my skin isn’t up to par and I have to look presentable, I use Boo Boo Cover Up under my eyes, under my nose and anywhere that needs covering up. Oh, and it only takes a little! From there I’ll blend it out and down to my cheeks and top it off with a small amount of bronzer. I always finish it off with my favorite mascara. This keeps my face looking bright and fresh with minimal makeup.

I always get a lot of compliments on my skin when I do just this quick little routine, instead of a full face of primer, foundation, etc. It’s definitely a makeup product I would recommend. To read more about it, visit the website: BooBooCoverUp.com

You can find it on amazon for $19.99 for a 10 mL tube. I received the 4mL tube in Medium from Mom’s Ipsy and it lasted for about four months, using it almost every day. I would absolutely consider this a makeup product worth the money and something I’ll continually keep in my makeup drawer. Yay for making those breakouts days look like good skin days!

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Fun & Fancy Sock Buns

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Sock buns are a great, easy way to create a chic look and can be dressed up or down.  The process is simple. Make a high ponytail, roll up a sock with the toe cut out and roll the pony tail down the sock. Easy, right? Well, not always. It takes a few tries to get it right and make sure your bun is smooth.

Of course, I had to put my own twist on the sock bun. I can’t say it’s an original idea, I first saw it onLifetime’s Dance Moms (can’t say I watch it anymore, too much drama).

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However, I did figure out how to make the picture I saw on TV come to life all on my own.

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Meet Jordan and  Payton, my two little BFFs every year around this time. We get to spend two days together playing with hair, makeup, tights and dance costumes galore in preparation for their dance recital.

It started out my senior year of high school when I was the assistant in a few of Jordan’s dance classes. She would come to me every week before her 4:00 p.m. class and ask me to french braid her hair. Next thing I knew, I was doing hair for both sisters at dance recital!

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Jordan and Payton were super excited to be my hair models for this post!

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I’ll show here two different ways to style your sock bun, one with a french twist and one with a french braid around. Both styles start the same.

Step 1:

Make a pony tail where you want your bun to sit, typically the crown or just below the crown of your head.

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Step 2:

Pull your pony tail through your sock. For Payton and Jordan, I used a bun maker. Conair makes these and I prefer them over an actual sock because they grip and hold on to the hair well. You can also use hair pins and actually stick them into the bun maker. This helps keep it secure.

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Step 3

Spread the hair out over the sock or bun maker. Use a comb to smooth the hair out and make sure it disperses evenly.

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Step 4:

Use a hair tie the color of your hair and pull it over the sock and hair. Using a stretchier or more worn out hair tie is a good idea here. One thats too tight will be harder to get over the hair evenly without messing it up.

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Step 5:

From here you have two options: french twist or french braid. For both, I always work clockwise and start at the front right of their head. Trial and error has proved starting here leads to the best results for me.

French twist: I spray a light hairspray over the hair I’ll be working with to make sure end pieces don’t stick out.

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Starting with a piece of hair, maybe 1/4 in thick, I begin twisting the hair toward the bun. I’ll then pick up a piece about the same size and twist it in with the existing piece. This continues all the way around the bun. Be sure to  keep the twist close to the bun as you’re adding more hair to it.

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As it begins to taper off, use hair pins to secure it in to the bun underneath the existing french twist. I use extra hair pins spread out across the french twist to make sure it’s secure for all the dancing Payton plans to do. For going about your normal day, securing the end with a few pins and hairspraying the hair before twisting should secure it enough! (You’ll notice in the picture below I also french twisted her bangs back:))

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Now for my personal favorite, the french braided sock bun!

Once the hair is secured with a hair tie, I start in the same place as the french twist. Jordan has thick hair so it doesn’t take much to start. It will take some trial and error to figure out just how much to start with for your own hair.

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I begin french braiding, but only picking up hair on the side connected to the bun. Continuing this all the way around, the braid will begin to flatten out around the bun. Again for this one, it’s important to keep the braid close to the bun as you continue french braiding around.

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Jordan has just about the perfect length hair for this and her braid starts to taper off as it meets where it started. I continued braiding it around and like the french twist, tucked it under the existing braid, securing it with hair pins. IMG_3414

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I finish both sock buns off with a light layer of hairspray to keep the fly-aways secure through all the headpiece changes.

Thanks Jordan and Payton for being my models and photographers! Isn’t their red hair just gorgeous? I also did my little sister, CJ’s french braided sock bun for recital (pictured at the top).

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These sock buns are a great way to make yours stand out amongst all the other sock buns out there. You can make either of these more casual by loosening the pony tail so it isn’t so tight against your head, and loosening the bun itself to make it a little bigger.

I hope you like these and try them out! I’m a firm believer that your hair shouldn’t look the exact same everyday and you should switch it up every once in a while!