7 Makeup Products I Will Always Own

I buy a lot of makeup in a calendar year. Enough that renewing my status as VIB Rouge at Sephora is not a concern...except when I consider what that means for how much I spend every year on makeup.

The point is, I have tried, and continue to try, a lot of products. In that process you will always find products that you would never pay for again, products that are so so, and products that you would lay down and die for. 

Here's a short list of products that I'll be rebuying for the rest of my life. Or at least until they are discontinued and I run around in complete panic wondering how will I ever go on?!

1. Fresh Umbrian Clay Oil-Free Lotion : $38

I have re-pruchased this lotion four times, at least. If you have combination to oily skin, I highly recommend this as an oil-free moisturizer. It smells amazing, it's so refreshing, and it absolutely does not leave me greasy. And even if you are normal to dry, I'm going to have to suggest you look into Fresh products. I have tried almost all of their products, and the quality is simply unmatched.

2. Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse BB : $34

Another product I've bought nearly a half dozen times. I've tried plenty of BBs - high end to drugstore. I have to say this is one that I'll recommend to nearly anybody. It's so creamy, and moisturizing, and light, and beautiful. The coverage is sheer - but not nonexistent. And truly this product is one I wear every single day.

3. Urban Decay De-Slick Oil-Control Makeup Setting Spray : $30

Set. Yo. Damn. Makeup. I don't understand why you even bother to buy nice foundation, bronzer, eyeshadow, and literally anything if you aren't going to set it. When you buy setting spray? Just get this one. Guys, I do my makeup at 6 AM. I work all day. I workout every night. My makeup is still on when I wash my face at 9 o'clock at night. Invest.

4. Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzer : $28

I actually won this bronzer in some online raffle hanky panky, but I've been a loyalist ever since. The color and pigmentation of this bronzer are just so good that even though I have a handful of other bronzers in my arsenal, I keep coming back to this bad boy. Also, it lasts forever.

5. Covergirl Lash Blast Volume Mascara : $8.99

Not kidding, I've been buying this mascara for six years. That's my only argument. SIX. YEARS.

6. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer : $9.99

I have some wrinkles under my eyes - the natural kind, not the age kind Thank you, Jesus. So I'm always looking for a non-creasy concealer that also covers my enchantingly beautiful damn dark circles. This does it. It does it every time. It blends well, the poof on the top makes for easy application, and it's twisty so you'll get every little dab of product in there.

7. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz : $21

I could cheerlead for the importance of good brows all day long. I'd probably do it while waving ABH brow products. Look, there are cheaper versions of this product. But the pencil is so precise, and so well made - and the spoolie is so perfect - I'll say this, if you value your brows, value them at at least $21. 

There you go, seven products I would lay down and die for 'til the end of time!

It's Been Hard

Alright, I was supposed to post about makeup, and a few other things...but a 56 hour migraine, The Heartbreaker, and world tragedies, and you know, life got in the way. 

I keep thinking things are going so good, right before things go so bad.

I keep thinking things are working out in my favor, right before things derail completely.

And I have no clue what that means. I know it sucks. I know it's hard. I know it leaves me overthinking just about everything. It leaves me with an achey breakey heart. It means I get pretty quiet. It means I zone out through most of my drive home, stuck in a bizarre circle of what ifs and whys.

I keep hoping that this time is the last time I'm left feeling so....screwed. I keep hoping that this is the last hard part, the last disappointment, the last crushing blow. And that keeps not being true. I keep getting the wind knocked out of me.

I'm sure it's all, be patient and tough, and learn from this, and trust in what is to come...but you know what? When it hurts, that's not what I think. When it feels like I'm constantly losing, you just get that burning in your chest, like oh shit this is it, this is another loss, another good thing gone.

That is hard.

It's been hard.

It has been hard to sit with this big ball of confusion and understand that the only thing I know is that I don't know or understand any of it. It's hard to get comfortable with a big hole in your heart.

I'm not good at that. Even after all this time, I never get used to that nasty pain that whittles away all the extra deep breaths, and sleep-ins, and bright spots that I've been collecting.

So, you break out the line of defenses right? You focus on gratitude. You be so damn thankful for all of those wonderful moments you did have. You be so happy that you ate well, you were warm, you weren't sick, you didn't trip and fall. You be so grateful for everything that you pray it cancels out how much all the crappy stuff burns in your chest.

And you give yourself a little room. Room to not wear makeup, eat the extra brownie, grab a third coffee, and maybe not even be sorry that Taylor Swift made you cry. (It's her own damn fault. She wrote All Too Well with the intention of ripping our hearts out.) And you just hope and you pray that that's enough to carry you through this one more time.

Because that is all you've got at this point. That is all I've got at this point.

So send champagne, hugs, and good vibes. Any good vibes. Because I'm pretty much at the point of reconciling with the idea of getting a pillow pet as my sole companion. And I'm simultaneously off the bagels/pizza/excessive carbs, and I'm super certain this bad news brigade isn't passing any time too soon.

All In

I've been saying for the last few weeks that, if I find the dress I feel like I can win in, I'll compete.

So, when I went to Glitterati on Saturday, I had one giant prayer on my heart. I knew that a large part of me wants to be on that stage in May. I've also been aware of the part of me that worries if it is the right choice to compete when I'm juggling a full-time nearly-dream-job, commuting, family, and everything else. The quick answer to that is really simple, if you wait for the right time, it'll never come.

But, when I got to Glitterati, walked through the doors and was met by thousands of potential dresses, I thought, okay, it has to be here. So I started looking. I combed through the whites, the blacks, the creams, a couple blues, even a green. I had the wonderful help of the staff there - of which I cannot speak highly enough. Once I had pulled about seven dresses I went out back to begin trying them on.

And you know the process...oh, I like this, but not that...oh, I wish this fit better here...if only it was in white...well I want more stones. I didn't lose hope, but I wasn't being wowed.

Then came the special dresses. The ones they tuck away and bring to you saying, "Here, we just got this, you've got to try it on."

It felt goood. It felt like a winner. But it didn't feel like my winning dress. So I kept going. And about two more dresses in, another dress was brought in that I just had, "to try on, even if you don't think you'll like it."

Obviously you can see it in my face, this Lilly-printed monster is perfection
Full disclosure. It did not think this was going to be the one. I thought the coloring would be all wrong. I thought it would be too recognizable. I thought, no way, but maybe if I try this on I'll be one step closer to figuring out what dress will be perfect.

Then I slipped into that bad boy.

I kid you not, I just knew.

It felt like it had been made for me and me alone. It looked like it had been tailored to not just my body but my personality. It looked like I was always supposed to be in that dress.

So, I found the dress. I'm competing.

Please don't mind my updownupdown messy hair

I don't quite know how I'll make it all work in my budget, or in my day to day, or really much else other than, I'm competing. And I'm going all in.

Oh, and if you're post-pageant life and you think you have some jewelry/shoes/something sparkly you'd like to let me borrow, I'd be just beside myself.

That is Enough

I am good at a lot of things.

I do a mean Part of Your World shower rendition. I always make sure all of the leftover pizza is gone. I'm the first to dramatically worry over things that are maybe too small to be worried about. And I can be counted on to leave my clothes inside out in the laundry basket.

I'm also very good at convincing myself that I am not enough.

This is not a new thing - for basically anybody. I think it really doesn't matter if we are talking about being enough for our dream job, or our dream spouse, or our majors, or our friends, or our God, or our plants. It doesn't matter. There is going to come a time where it washes over you and lands on your heart like a ton of bricks that Oh my God, I'm not smart/fun/pretty/talented/hard-working/faithful/diligent enough for this.

Experience tells me, we are probably wrong.

Not that we would easily know it and identify it though, huh?

The thing about not being enough, is that often times - now bear with me here, I'm only working with about 23 years of experience but, - it is as much of a decision to be enough, as it is to be not enough. Just as well as I can convince myself that I am never going to be good enough for something, I ought to be able to convince myself I am good enough for something. Like, say, singing in the shower.

Because, think about this, when you are pretty sure you're never going to find love, and no one wants to be with you, and you'll never be enough...that is a feeling. I mean, one that is burning through your heart and your tissues and your ability to maintain your diet, but a feeling. Right?

Right. Well that is where I've drifted a lot lately. I have felt very much not enough, well, for anybody.

Wait, did you catch that?

I have felt not enough.

With my commute every day I get roughly 80 minutes of quality overthinking time. Now, a lot of that time, particularly in the last few weeks has been spent thinking about why I am not feeling good enough. I go in circles. Why am I so stuck on this idea that oh, I'll never be able to get the job that I want? Oh, I'll never find someone who wants to be with me. Oh, I'll never be fit enough. Oh, I'll never be a mermaid.

I get stuck on figuring why I am feel so not enough. 

But beyond that, I'm hitting a point where I am asking, how the hell I am going to get through this?

Because, I could lay on a couch with my feet up and pay a couple hundred dollars to find out why - but more important to me, more important to the rest of my life is going to be figuring out how to get through it.

And this is what I've come up with: You just stop believing it. 

You stop telling yourself you are not experienced enough for that dream job. You stop telling yourself  you are not talented enough to win a state title. You stop telling yourself that you are not enough to find that big reach-for-the-stars, over-the-moon, World Series kind of love. 

You just stop. Because it's not helping anything. It's not making you any more capable. It's not making you any better. It only serves to make you...upset. 

It's not easy. I am not there yet. 

I'm doing pretty good on the whole not being enough for my plants business. Maybe because they are succulents. Maybe because I decided, it doesn't matter if I am, or if I am not.

The whole thing about not being good enough for some big wild true love? Yeah, not there yet.

It is work, it is hard work. It is a constant awareness of how you speak to yourself, and how you love yourself, and how you value who you are and what you are capable of.

And even though those are really big things - things that I am sure as hell not able to master in 80 minutes a day - even being aware of them, that helps. It lets you ease up on you.

I'm going to feel as though I am not enough many times in my life. Sometimes, many times a day. But giving myself the ability to get through it, to let it go and keeping working as hard and as honestly on myself as I can - that is enough. 

Psalm 116:6

I don't talk about this very often, or with very many people - so I thought suuure share it on the internet, that makes perfect sense - but an increasingly large part of my life is my faith. It has been a long, and traditionally tumultuous journey. Don't worry though, the Bible is all about crazy long journeys.

Basically, God and I took a while to get the hang of this give and take thing.

And I could talk a lot about God's grace in my life, and why I was able to reestablish my faith, and how I can work with a God that doles out depression and also had a hand in the Magic Kingdom. But maybe the most important thing that has been working on my heart is trusting in the plan.

Tellll me you haven't struggled to trust in the plan. I don't really care if it's His plan for you, or your plan for you, or your family's plan to budget, or the office's plan to promote you - I know there is a plan in your life that is sometimes just too hard.

Sometimes it is just too hard to trust that the dots are connecting correctly.

That's where I am.

I am day-to-day with His plan right now. And believe me, I try, every single day. Every day I pray that I have the strength to trust in His plan. That my heart will follow His lead, despite my downright need to go my own way and frankly - be so damn pissed when it's not going my way. I pray that I am capable of going His way.

Because the craziest thing turns out to be true... His way is better, every single time.

If you're a skeptic/agnostic/atheist/anything other than already vaguely riding the Jesus train, I've lost you by now, that's cool. But I know you've seen it on Pinterest and Instagram - the picturesque views with text overlays, making the same claim - His plan is far greater than anything I could have ever imagined for myself. "God will either give us what we ask, or give us what we asked if we knew everything that He knows." Look. I doubted it too.

Some days I still doubt it.  I'm perfectly capable of dreaming up my own big bad wonderful life.

I could be a mermaid married to Nick Jonas.

And you know what? I think God would love that.

But I also know, every single time I think I've got it figured out, He whacks me over the head with a whole new twist. He always proves me wrong. He does have a really unfortunate knack of making things so damn hard right before He brings something absolutely spectacular into my life. So sometimes even more important than my trust in the plan, is my patience. And if we're being honest here, I still burn the roof of my mouth on pizza 9 times out of 10, so I don't do a great patient.

But that has been the struggle - sit down, shut up, be patient, and trust in what is to come.

I'm still working on it.

I'm still struggling to recognize every step as a step closer to what He has planned for me. Look, I can't pray myself out of my depression, anxiety, or crippling fear of dying alone surrounded only by Cheez Itz and like a weird amount of blankets. I have passed that point.

I know though - I know - in the center of who I am, that burning little part inside my soul - no matter how low, no matter how dark, no matter how desperate and horrible and damn tragic it has been, I have made it through. And it's not just on my own accord. I actually am not always so good at taking care of me - He is though.

Every time I think this is it, I cannot possibly physically and mentally and emotionally handle anymore pain. I will simply cease to exist if I cram anymore ache into this heart - I can't say it happens always in a single moment - but every time, He pulls me through. He shows up with a plan and a way through, and every time it leads to something far better than I could have ever imagined for myself.

When you're on the other side, and you're looking at all that He has laid out in front of you, it suddenly becomes so obvious that trusting in His plan is key. It works, it lead you here, right?

But when you're in it, like I am right now, you guys, it is hard. I don't have a day where I don't want to stop and let Him know, Hey, listen, I know you think you know what's best, but I have this idea - yeah, it involves a guy - okay and like maybe a cool 2 million, but only if you can spare it - anyways this guy.... 

I'm pretty sure He always knows where I'm going with it, and I always know it's a bit fruitless. Of course I pray for things I want - love, happiness, health, safety, general good welfare for those I love - but this process has been one that forces me to look at what I want, and how I want to get there. I know His way always ends up better. I also know my way is always going to be more convincing (I usually line the bricks of my path with cold-hard-imaginary cash.)

Right now, I have no stinkin' clue where this struggle is headed. Honestly? I thought I was in the clear on this one. I thought I did my patient bit, and I waited, and I trusted that He was going to provide for me here - and I thought whambamthankyoumaam, we did it. Good job, Jesus!

To literally only my surprise, I was so wrong. Knock me on my ass for 48 hours, wrong.

So I'm regrouping. I'm working on eliminating visions of metaphorical sugar plums dancing in my head, and focusing on trusting that He knows what He's doing here. Despite my best efforts to go my own way, to hope that maybe this time it was my way or the highway, I'm sticking to trust. I'm sticking to patience. I'm sticking to taking a deep breath, and letting go, and reminding myself that, when I was brought low He saved me. (That's a Psalm. BOOM. Bible.)

Friday Favorites

It's been a good week. You'd have to be in my top five on Snapchat to really understand how good, but guys....good.

To celebrate, some favorites:

Favorite Update:
Tell me these aren't some of the best emojis of. all. time. I mean, I'm ranking these higher than some of the originals.

Favorite Moment:
I'm a sucker for an afternoon coffee. And a walk through downtown Montpelier. This Wednesday as I was strolling towards Capitol Grounds, I got to witness the sweetest act of kindness. A man that I know, only by formerly being the girl who made sandwiches, handed a Capitol Grounds gift card to a homeless man. Letting him know they had hot coffee, sandwiches, and bagels, and it was just a few paces down the street. 

It was just genuine human kindness for the sake of human kindness. 

Favorite Winter Moisturizer:
First of all, if you live in Vermont/any unbearably cold state, I hope you're stocking up on your winter beauty essentials. If you trust me, and happen to get positively precious dry skin in the dead of winter - let me tell you about this little nug: Ole Henriksen's Empower Featherweight Moisturizer.

I have a lot of love for moisturizers/eye creams/stuff that makes my skin silky and lovely. But this is a divine product. Honestly, it's so light, it smells unreal, and it's genuinely keeping my pesky chin so moisturized without breaking me out or clogging my pores. I'm buying at least three of these bad boys.

Favorite (Friday) Buzzfeed Article:
Of course I clicked on "The 50 Most Powerful Photos in American History." Of course I teared up.
Of course you should give it a look too. 'Merica. ����

The Heartbreaker & The Asshole

I think everyone needs to date one Heartbreaker, and one Asshole.

Here's the thing, no one wants to have to date either of them. Of course they don't. Who would want to have their heart broken? Who would want to have to look back and think, Oh, that asshole.

No one, duh.

But, I have a theory. I think it is these two guys that make us better, stronger, more capable, more empathetic, more in-tune with what we need and want out of a relationship. It is these two guys that help us find the right things in the right guy.

I'm talking about the guy that doesn't stand you up on your birthday. And the guy that doesn't run away - literally, occasionally to a different continent - when his commitment-phobia hits a level so high it was previously unexplored by humans.

These are the guys that force us down the road to bigger and better things.

Look. I didn't like the end of either of these relationships.

Having them behind me though, oh perspective. It is a wonderful and powerful thing.

For one, you can see him for what he is, was, and always has been. It may be simple, he might have always been a tried and true asshole. Or maybe he was someone who has a really genuine heart, and really meant well, but who downright broke your heart because of his inability to know what he wants and needs out of a relationship.

It's perspective that lets us see that it wasn't about not letting him win Scrabble. It wasn't about not seeing each other every single Saturday. It wasn't even about the fact that you just can't get behind the idea that Trailer Park Boys is funny. (It's not.)

And it is that same perspective that lets us look ahead. That is what lets us see that what is out there can be so much better. Whether that is being with someone else - who doesn't make you disappointed, or unhappy, or whatever. Or that is being on your own - and killing it.

I know, being a free agent is both incredibly underrated and incredibly hard. But it is the Heartbreakers and the Assholes that left us floating in Singleland that teach us to appreciate going to a Monday matinee by ourselves, and having too much pizza and champagne with best friends, and even not shaving our legs because, damn. 

Under no circumstances does that appreciation and perspective come easy. It's not easy. That's why he's called a Heartbreaker, or an Asshole. He is not making it easy on us. But. When we can take that time, maybe in the midst of a Scandal binge that probably includes occasionally crying (because yes, Fitz is the exception, and yes, that is the only example of a Heartbreaker and an Asshole who is worth loving) - ahem, anyways - when we can take that time and look at how this is letting us understand what we want in a guy, what we need in him, and what can't accept, we are already doing better than when we were with him.

I didn't think it was a beautiful thing to go through either of these breakups. Actually, the Heartbreaker destroyed me, to the point that I know am a different person today than when he walked into my life...my heart is different because of him. But, coming out of them, being on the other side of having your chest cracked open, that can be a beautiful thing.

Because, when you are stronger, and more empathetic, and more aware of who you are when you are standing on your own, you are far more capable of seeing the good things coming your way.

And trust me, there are good things that will come your way. There is going to be someone else. There is going to be a guy that is going to watch Game of Thrones with you, and there is going to be a guy that doesn't make you feel like you look like a gremlin when you wake up, and there might even be a guy that'll buy you pizza.

And the best part is, there will be someone that makes you forget that you ever cried about the Heartbreaker or the Asshole.

You needed those guys to get you here. To make you climb that Heartbreak Mountain, and reach the summit of Asshole Peak - because the thing is, once you're there, you can see it. You can see past all the shit they put you through, and look to all the amazing things that are ahead. And without them, well, you probably wouldn't voluntarily climb up that kind of mountain, would you?