Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Top Coat Phenomenon

I am really, really excited.

Of course, it's for a lame reason. But if you read this blog on the reg, you know that some of my excitement comes from very, very small things.

I was browsing in Sally Beauty the other day and remembered my top coat was almost gone. I typically use OPI Start to Finish (which can be used as a base AND top coat). I like it, but wouldn't describe it as anything spectacular.

Anyways, I saw this while checking out the various top coats....
"Out the Door." My initial thought was that I really hated the packaging. It looks glue. I definitely wasn't drawn to it. But if you look closely enough, it does claim to be America's #1 Super Fast Drying. Hmmm (I thought to  myself). Yes, I am now including my thought commentary. I purchased it along with a bright summer color and then kind of forgot about it. Today, I was in dire need of a new color. I had 15 minutes until I needed to be out the door. What better time to test out the "fastest drying topcoat in America?"

Here comes the exciting news... IT WORKED! I have NEVER experienced anything like this. This stuff is legit. I seriously was able to touch my nails with no denting, chipping, sticking, smearing...after ONE MINUTE. That is crazy. Seriously. Five minutes later I was out the door, digging in my purse and doing other things that would typically result in ruined nails before I even got to work.

TRY THIS STUFF. If you do your own nails, it is worth it! I paid $6.95 at Sally Beauty and I would have paid more for these kind of results! Amazing!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Blow Bar Uncovered

There are a lot of things I love about living in the Midwest, and living in a fairly small city. Countless things. However, there are a lot of things that big cities offer that I think Lincoln should have as well! One of these things is BLOW BARS. Before anyone becomes concerned, understand that a Blow Bar is defined as a salon that only styles your hair. Only. No cuts, no colors. Wash and style. But blow bars use a technique to style your hair that varies depending on what style you want. 

Anyways, I was planning to get a blow out the next time I was in Phoenix...or if I made it to Chicago in the next month or so. Then, I remembered that I was going to be in Denver this past weekend, so I did some checking, and sure enough....Denver had a few Blow Bars! I could hardly contain my excitement. My friend and I scheduled an appointment at Blow Dry Lounge in Denver for one of the afternoons we were there. 

First, let me tell you what my expectations were for the Blow Lounge. Basically, I understood that I could pick any style I wanted and they would make it happen. This particular lounge was different from the others I had researched in different parts of the United States. At the Blow Dry Lounge it was not a flat rate, it was based on your hair length (shorter hair was cheaper than longer hair). So, basically you are paying anywhere from $20-$45 depending on your length. Another difference was that any styling tool was an extra $10 (straightening, curling..etc.) This did not seem to be the norm from what I had researched, so that was disappointing. Lastly, they didn't have "style packages." It was just "a blow out," not a "look," so whatever that meant for your hair...well...that was what you got! 

I had been looking forward to this experience for quite some time so I wanted to document it and share it! Basically, I told the girl who did my blowout that I wanted a lot of volume and (since I didn't want to pay extra) I told her to just give me as much volume and curl as she could with the round brush. 

I'll let the pictures do most of the talking....

As you can see, at the end I had SEVERAL large round brushes in my hair...just chillin. It actually is not uncomfortable at all. 

And... post blow out! (Look at my friend's hair.. amazing!) 

In conclusion, my first blow out was something of a disappointment. As you can see, my hair is smooth and has some volume...but it is not nearly what I was expecting. Don't get me wrong, it was a very enjoyable experience. However, I was hoping for some MAJOR volume, like... crazy volume. So, maybe next time (there WILL be a next time) I will be VERY specific. 

Does anyone have a blow bar experience? Please do share!

And who thinks Lincoln or Omaha needs a Blow Bar!? Me too....

Thursday, June 20, 2013


My thoughts today are a little bit scattered, but I can’t get some of them out of my mind. In recent conversation with some (important) people in my life, the concept of truly trusting God was discussed. This is such a cliché topic in terms of advice giving. Basically any problem or complaint you have can be stifled by a simple “trust God!” But when I started to think about it, the honest truth is that it doesn’t always make me feel better. What started to bother me about this though, is why? Why does that not make us feel better? Why does that not take away the fear, doubt or concern that accompanies the pain and lack of understanding we encounter in life? I am not saying this is accurate for everyone, but is it because most of us do not understand God’s capabilities and love for us enough to truly give it all up to Him? Is the real problem a true lack of trust?

If you identify yourself as a Christian and are truly seeking God’s will in your life, then it would seem that putting your complete trust in God is a no-brainer. If you are anything like me, this is also the most difficult thing to do. For some unknown reason, I often times think my ideas are better. I know me, after all, so why wouldn’t I know what’s best for me? The fact of the matter is that God knows me better than I know myself. He created me. The things I need, want, desire, hope for, strive for…he put all of those feelings in motion. And not only that, but he knows how to satisfy them. When I think about God knowing me, and knowing me so intimately (Psalm 139:13-14 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well) it is comforting to me. In terms of trusting God, for myself, I cannot identify with a God who “just knows me so well that he knows what is best.” While this is true, it is a hard truth for me to grasp. What I CAN identify with is putting my life, my fears, hopes, concerns and dreams into the hands of a God who loves me more than I can possibly imagine. I have written about this before, but imagining God’s love for us is seemingly impossible. When I think about how deeply my human self is capable of loving, I can only imagine how deeply God loves us. How he created us and adores us, and wants us to give our lives (completely) over to Him so that he can work through us.

You hear it said over and over that trust is the foundation of any relationship, whether it be in the context of family, friends or romance. And this is absolutely true. For anyone who has had their trust broken by someone, this rings especially true. But God is not human, and God is not our old friend, ex boyfriend/girlfriend, or absent family member. God is our creator. He is our ultimate “lover.” He is our Father. 

 So after all of my ramblings, I have to wonder, yet again, how much I am willing to turn over to God. What if I trusted God recklessly? What if I completely abandoned my human fear and doubt and entrusted my inadequacies to a God who has already conquered them? How would that change my life?

I am not perfect. I am not even close enough to perfect to put myself in the same sentence as the word perfect. I struggle to trust God in the smallest areas of life. But each day, I become more aware of how much God loves us, and how he works through our lives when we are willing to let Him.

 In conclusion, I am including lyrics out of the Casting Crowns song “Already There,” because sometimes songs say it best!
From where I'm standing
Lord it's so hard for me to see
Where this is going
And where You're leading me
I wish I knew how
All my fears and all my questions
Are gonna play out
In a world I can't control

Oh, oh

When I'm lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory
Cause You're already there
You're already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You're already there
You're already there

Oh, oh, oh, oh

From where You're standing
Lord, You see a grand design
That You imagined
When You breathed me into life
And all the chaos
Comes together in Your hands
Like a masterpiece
Of Your picture perfect plan

When I'm lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory
Cause You're already there
You're already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You're already there
You're already there

One day I'll stand before You
And look back on the life I've lived
I can't wait to enjoy the view
And see how all the pieces fit (x2)

One day I'll stand before You
And look back on the life I've lived
Cause You're already there
You're already there
When I'm lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory
Cause You're already there
You're already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You're already there
You're already there

You are already there

Monday, June 17, 2013

Things I Should Have Mentioned Before Now...

It is a serious offense to the makeup world that I haven't talked about my love for the Bare Escentuals mineral makeup line. Serious. 

In 2008 I was visiting my aunt in Phoenix. We were doing some light shopping in Scottsdale and I wandered into Sephora. At the time, Lincoln didn't even have a Sephora (I know! Can you imagine?) Anyways, I had heard of the Bare Minerals line but I never actually used it. I purchased the starter kit box. Long story short, I have never looked back (in terms of makeup choices, of course). 

Bare Minerals is HANDS DOWN the best foundation/concealer/face makeup I have ever come across. I literally haven't changed from this product in 5 years. I have tried other foundations, even liquid foundations, and I am simply unimpressed. Bare Minerals has the amazing ability to conceal and protect your skin. It is smooth and natural looking and I "feel" like I do not have makeup on. I could go on and on and on...but the point is... it is my absolute favorite. 

While visiting Emily in Iowa City, we decided we should get our skin matched at Bare Minerals in case we were wearing the wrong shade. Emily (already a Bare Minerals user, obviously!) had previously mentioned that she had switched to the compact foundation and had purchased this amazing new precision brush to accompany it. I was a tad bit hesitant about the compact foundation. My mind reverted to the Cover Girl compact that I carried in my purse in high school, and visions of orangey powder rubbing off on all of my clothes began to surface. Gross. 

Anyways, while we were in Bare Minerals, I had them rematch my colors with the compact version of Bare Minerals.....
And they used this brush to apply it...
And... big surprise.. I loved it. This brush is AMAZING. It is so soft and it works fabulously with the compact. The compact formula is almost exactly like the regular loose foundations, except it supposedly lasts longer. I am not sure how much longer it lasts (it claims 12 hours) but I can vouch for the fact that when I have this makeup on and my face gets wet, or I am sweaty from the gym, it does NOT come off. So good, almost to a fault (but that's why I have my handy Clarisonic). 

Anyways, my ramblings have gone on long enough. I was LONG overdue for a new brush (read: I still had some of my originals and the last one I purchased was almost 3 years ago. Ew. ) If you already use Bare Minerals, definitely try the compact with the precision brush. You will not regret it. 

Lastly, if you haven't tried Bare Minerals, PLEASE. I'm telling you... it will change your makeup life. Your makeup routine will be cut in half...this is the easiest application routine you will come across. You cannot mess it up, and I'm telling you, it will make your skin look 99% better. Seriously, run into Sephora and buy the starter kit. It comes with all of the application brushes you will need and a few shades of foundation and concealer. And the lovely Sephora employees are always very willing to match your shade for you so you don't have to guess. I'm telling you... 

Ok, I'm done. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Happy Heart

I am writing this post through tired eyes... but I am smiling.
This weekend I decided to go visit an old friend in Iowa. It seemed a little ridiculous that we hadn't seen each other in SIX YEARS, and given that she is only about 4 hours away, I decided it was time.

To put this in to perspective, we met at church camp as Jr. High girls. We kept in touch with LETTERS for years. Yes, folks, LETTERS. The letters transitioned to emails, and, eventually we kept in touch through Facebook. Anyways, Emily holds a special place in my heart as she is so wonderful and dear to me.

There is something extremely comforting and wonderful about spending time with an old friend. We laughed, shopped, ate, discussed make up tips and tricks, shopped some more, LAUGHED some more, (ate some more), and just had a fantastic time.

Luckily, Emily shares my love for products and make up so we spent a lot of time "being girls."

I am so thankful for this weekend and that I was able to spend time with this wonderful person!

Emily let me borrow her SUAVE dry shampoo, and so it is necessary that I make an update to the Dry Shampoo post. Ok... this stuff is $2.50. And AMAZING. It smells SO good. I couldn't get enough. I typically don't promote drugstore  brands for haircare, but I can't tell a difference between this and a salon Dry Shampoo. I hate to say it, but this may be even better than the cornstarch alternative. We of course RAN to Target so I could purchase my own bottle.
I HIGHLY suggest this. 

Stay tuned for some of my other makeup discoveries from this weekend...