When I started this blog, I really didn’t know what would come of it. I started it at a time where I had a lot of emotions taking over me, and I thought maybe writing them down would help. It did. I debated a little bit about whether or not to make the blog public or not but decided I would because as much as it was mostly for my mental health, I thought perhaps it might inspire someone else. I also thought a happy side effect *might* be someone noticing this blog who could help me figure out a way to reach my surgery goals faster…but really, I didn’t expect it to get many followers or views and expected it to fizzle out quickly regardless of any “big plans” I had in my head.
I need to cut it out with this doubting myself crap! This blog has gone so well! I have gained followers on Instagram, Facebook and subscribers here on this blog. Everyday I am astounded by the number of new visitors and views I’m getting from all over the world!
I still don’t really know what will come of this or for how long it will continue, but I’m so thankful for the support and for this outlet. I really hope I can keep it going for all of us!
On that note, I have some exciting news to share!
I ran my first race since my injury this weekend. It was the Run The World 5k at Kent State University where my son is a freshman. This race supports the study abroad program and I thought it was a great race to participate in since my son is required to study abroad for his major. Besides that, I loved the idea of exploring his campus on a run!
I’d planned to register for this race a long time ago, but then when I sprained my ankle I put off registering because I was unsure if I’d be ready. I ended up finally registering the day before the race, so I hadn’t exactly prepared myself the week leading up to it like I normally would for a race. I babysat late the night before and got up early for the race not feeling well…but I kept calm and carried on, laced up my new Saucony Ride 10s and gave it all I had!
The race fell on a day that is pretty significant to me. One of my very best friends had a beautiful son named Tyler who was born on September 9th, 2001. Tyler lost his life when he was 7 years old to a pediatric brain tumor but race day would have been his 16th birthday. Like I said, I was not feeling well when I woke up for this race…but, I will always run for those who can’t. Especially Tyler…always for Tyler.
I felt really awesome during my run in spite of being a bit under the weather. I didn’t get a PR but considering all of the factors I thought would make it a terrible run, I was extremely happy with my time and ranks! It was also a really fun run which is the most important thing!
Something else very cool is in the works that will take me a bit more “global” as well! I was approached at a race a few months back by a lovely woman from an internet radio station who asked if she could interview me about running. I love running, but I wasn’t sure I was quite what she was looking for. I’m still a fairly new runner, and I’m not even the greatest at it. Apparently though, that is exactly what she wanted. Relatable, down to earth talk about running and what everyone can gain from it. I recorded a show with her which will air September 19th at 2pm EST and will be replayed after that.
I think it went really well, because she messaged me telling me that she spoke to a local running store and we have a meeting set up for this week to talk. She said they are interested in possibly partnering with me for a weekly show or sponsoring one for me! I’m praying about it. It sounds like a very incredible opportunity to share my story and inspire people…maybe brand myself a little for some unknown reason that God will surely reveal to me down the line! I hope you’ll tune in to hear me! I’ll be sure to link all of the shows here on the blog.
As part of my September beauty series I am so excited to bring you reviews from several direct sales beauty companies. The first company in our series is Youniqueand Rebecca Weed is the lovely consultant who provided me with these products in exchange for this review. She also did a fun guest blog postwith some great tips on how to multitask with the items in your makeup bag so please check it out!
While I was provided these items free of charge, I promised my readers and the consultants an honest review, so please keep in mind that this is exactly what you will get!
Rebecca provided me with three items from Younique and they arrived shipped from her, and not directly from the company so I can’t speak to Younique’s shipping packages. However, the makeup itself has very nice packaging overall and I will break that down more for you later.
The first product I was sent was the Younique Lip BonBons Tinted Lip Balm in the shade Red Velvet Cake which is described as “very berry”. The Younique website details the product by saying “With fruit extracts and natural oils, all you need is just a touch throughout the day to add a subtle hint of color while moisturizing and pampering your lips.”
My first impression when I opened the box was how impressive the packaging was! Inside the box is a very weighty metallic tube that is not only beautiful but feels very well made. The cap is a screw on, which I love because I can’t even count the number of times I’ve had the caps come off of my lip products in my purse or pocket. The screw on top is beautifully secure and will save many purses from disaster!
There seems to be quite a bit of product inside as well, which is good considering these run a bit pricier than your average lip balm at $22 a piece (or in a bundle of 5 for $99).
This tinted lip balm went on like butter! It feels very nourishing and moisturizing and it lasts! It was several hours before I felt the product had worn off but even then the beautiful tint and smooth lips remained.
The Lip BonBons are very subtly sweetened and scented but with names like “Vanilla Milkshake”, “Raspberry Cheesecake” I expected the scents and flavors to be more noticeable. This could be a pro or a con depending on what you like. I personally love everything to smell like a donut shop so I hoped for more noticeable flavor and fragrance.
The next product I opened was the Moodstruck Pressed Shadow single in a metallic champagne shade called “antsy”. I noticed when I opened my package that the shadow came in a plastic package along side a very nice magnetic compact that the shadow itself could be transferred into! They even included a sticker with the name of the shade to label the compact which I felt was such a nice touch. Rebecca tells me that these shadow singles retail for $18 each or can be purchased as quads for $54. Refills without a compact are $14.
I really enjoyed this shadow and in the look I created for this post I used it on my lid, inner corner and I even used it as my highlighter on my cheekbones, nose and cupids bow. When I swatched it (with and without primer) the finger swatches were very nice. The brush swatches were less impressive but that is typical for shimmers and metallics. What did impress me was the color payoff I got on my eyelids! Sometimes with metallics I don’t get the payoff I want unless I either apply with my fingers or with a wet brush but in my look, the shadow was applied with a dry brush only! I am excited to see how it looks with a wet brush in a future look. I’m sure it will be even more intense and gorgeous!
Last but not least, Rebecca sent me the Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes+ mascara which retails for $29. I will admit I had a lot of anxiety about reviewing this product because from what I hear most people either love it or…they loathe it’s very existance. I did some research before trying it and found that it’s common for there to be a bit of a learning curve and so I went in determined not to make my final judgements until I gave it a fair shot.
While I was exceptionally pleased with the packaging of the other items I was sent to review, I felt like the packaging for the 3D lashes was kind of an overkill. There was a shrink wrapped box, from that you slide out another box, lift a flap to read some details about the product, and inside that box is a fabric pouch containing the steps for the 3D fiberlash+. I really loved the fabric pouch and think it’s cute and handy. I just think it easily could have fit in a smaller box with less waste.
Younique says: Ready for a reboot? Built from the ground up, the all-new, wholly re-engineered Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes+ will boost your lash look like never before. We tossed out the old formula and started from scratch, and the result is a product that is built to last. See up to a 500% increase in average volume* with your first coat—and you don’t have to stop there. Whether you’re feeling subtle or sassy, defiant or classy, the new Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes+ will help you go wherever your mood takes you.
* Averaged results observed in independent laboratory testing, when compared against bare lashes. Two coats provide up to a 900% increase in average volume.
To see if these claims were true, I followed the instructions which were to apply the transplant gel, then the fibers and follow again with the transplant gel. The transplant gel reminded me of a typical mascara. The fibers….were weird. They are made of natural plant fibers but look just like tiny hairs and cling to their applicator like clumps of fuzz.
Regardless of how weirded out I was about these fibers, I promised to give them a fair shot so I applied the product right away. I had no other makeup on but asked my daughter how my lashes looked to which she replied “They look a little bit glumpy.” Bummer! Upon closer inspection, my lashes didn’t really appear “glumpy” to me but there were a significant amount of fibers loose on my face and around my eyes. I washed it off to try a few more times and I will say, I love how easy this was to remove! Definite pro! No raccoon eyes!
I played with the mascara quite a few more times that evening and eventually got my lashes looking pretty good. There is definitely a learning curve to determine how much of each step to apply and how long to wait between coats so if that’s not something you’re willing to work through this probably won’t be a new experience you’ll enjoy.
However, with some practice you will definitely notice a significant increase in lash length and especially volume and the outcome is a very bold full set of lashes!
I tend to prefer a more separated and wispy lash look, so at first I was thinking this look wasn’t for me but after wearing it with a full face all day it ended up growing on me and when I would catch glimpse of myself in the mirror I felt like my lashes looked quite pretty.
I’ve seen claims that this mascara was a good alternative to false lashes…and that’s a “no” from me. It’s a completely different look. It is however a very good mascara if you like a very bold mascara look.
The mascara, once I got my technique down, wore well without leaving fibers everywhere and even made it through a sweaty run!
Later in the day, I tried to apply another coat and unfortunately this time ended up a little “glumpy” so once you get your technique for coat number one down, I suppose you can work on building up!
I’ll definitely keep playing with this one. It’s not what I’d typically go for in a mascara but I do see a lot of potential and will continue to use it.
I want to thank Rebecca again for generously sending these products over to Muscles, Miles and Mascara! Please head her way if you want to try any of these products for yourself or to see all the other items she carries! I HIGHLY recommend the pressed shadow, and think the Lip Bon Bon is pretty great as well. I’m undecided on the mascara but Younique has a great satisfaction guarantee so you can pick it up and try it for yourself without risk!
Stay tuned next week as we welcome another guest blogger and review some more direct sales beauty products!
Not every woman has a designated area for her makeup. Some women have bins full of different products whereas others have a single small bag. This is what’s called, a minimalists makeup bag; foundation, blush, eyeshadow, mascara (a must!) and some type of lippie. Did you know, however, that you can create a FULL face of makeup using just those simple items? I’m talking the works-the highlight, contour, brows and even eye liner! Say whaaat??
Here is how you can use these 5 simple items to put on a full face:
•Start with your base. Every artist needs a clean canvas to start with; yours may or may not be with foundation, but for the sake of this blog, we will use foundation. I apply mine with a blending bud but you can use your hands too!
•Contour. Yes, I said it and it can be done using the products in your little bag. Can you guess which one? Right! Eyeshadow, it is the most versatile product out there. Use your finger, a contour brush (if you have one) or a fluffy brush to add some depth to your face just under the cheekbone.
•Add some color to those beautiful cheekbones! Sure there’s the blush you have in your bag, but why not try something a little different? Say you left your blush on the counter at home?? (*gasp* it’s not like you ever forget anything…*insert eyeroll*) It’s ok, don’t panic! Use that beautiful shade of pink from that lippie and just pat a touch of it onto those gorgeous cheekbones. A little too much pink? Use your blending bud or brush to blend it out.
•Your eyes need a little color too right? Right! Thank goodness for that eyeshadow (or the blush you forgot at home…)! Keep it low key, nothing bold, just a pop of color to make them stand out.
•Hmmm what will you do about eye liner? I mean, to put on a WHOLE face you have to do a wing of some sort. That’s ok! No worries, that beautiful lippie triples (yep I am going there!) as an eyeliner. It’s easy peasy and super cute, besides, who said your wing had to be black? To apply, simply put a little of that liquid lipstick on the back of your hand and use a small angled brush to apply just at the lash line and wing it out!
•Highlight girl! You deserve to shine! Again, that eyeshadow palette you have comes in handy when it has a light shimmer shade so, glow baby glow!! Rub your finger over that beautiful shade (Tender, in my case) and dab it along the tops of your cheekbones. Voila! You can now be seen from Heaven! Guaranteed pass through the Golden Gates.
•What about those brows?? Oh heaven knows you can’t do a full face and not do those brows! It’s a good thing you remembered to grab your eyeshadow! Grab that small angle brush again and lightly touch the shadow of your choice. Start outlining your brows first to get the desired shape and then fill them in. Don’t forget to blend so that it looks natural and not all Groucho Marx-y.
•Of course, your lashes have to be in check as well. Every girl has this makeup product in their bag no matter how much “makeup” she wears.
•Last, but certainly not least, your lips need love too. Tired of the same old color? Remember that blush you forgot at home (but conveniently found in your bag to do this look?)? Take your shadow brush (or your finger) and lightly sweep it over your lipstick!
Moral of the story-You don’t need to spend hundreds on makeup to paint your canvas. Improvise using your imagination. After all, that’s what art is, right?
If you’ve read my previous blog posts (and I hope you have!), you’ll know that support means a lot to me. I could have never lost 110 lbs, or gained the confidence to train for a race without some encouragement and support from my friends. I wouldn’t have a campaign to raise funds for my surgery without my friends and I definitely would not have learned to improve my makeup skills without my friends.
Many of my newfound makeup skills came from Facebook groups where some wonderfully talented women come together to share tricks, tips and product recommendations. In these groups, there are many women who help support their families this way by merging their passion for makeup artistry with a direct sales business. Some of these women have become good friends of mine that I’d love to support. Stay with me…
I know those words can scare people. Direct Sales. Sometimes direct sales can get a bad rap because, let’s face it, anyone can join these businesses and not everyone is cut out for it. Not everyone is honest and not everyone has manners. However, some of the most talented women I’ve seen in these makeup groups are using these products and loving them…loving them so much that they have started successful businesses around them and are consistently rolling out stunning looks using these products. Some of these women have become my good friends and mentors. They definitely know their stuff and they definitely are not trying to pull any funny business with me. Because let’s face it, mama ain’t got no time for funny business. *Snaps Fingers*
These are simply gorgeous, talented, hard working women who know a thing or two about cosmetics and I’d love to introduce you to a few of them over the next month!
I am doing a month long series in September where these ladies are so confident in the products they swear by that they are sending me some of their favorites to to try and honestly review! The proof is in the pudding, right?
Please follow along during the month of September as each week I highlight one of four direct sales beauty companies. I will do my own honest review of the products I’m sent and give my opinions and a representative from each company will also do a guest blog post to tell you about their favorite products and why they love them.
So stay tuned because every week in September I will be digging into these products to see what I really think and we will all get to hear from the following beautiful brand reps!
Happy Track Tuesday! I hope your workouts last week were fantastic! Did you try incorporating any of my suggestions from last week’s Track Tuesday into your running playlist? If so, please leave a comment and tell me what you thought!
Every Tuesday I will be sharing some of my favorite songs to run to, last week’s songs were all instrumental tracks, but this week I’d like to change it up and showcase some songs with lyrics I find especially motivating! Click the title to go straight to a video for each song and listen now!
I first heard this song during a workout very early on in my fitness journey. It was within the first week or so of joining the gym. The song begins with a sample of a motivational speech by Eric Thomas where he says “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.” and from that point on something in my brain decided that success would be my oxygen! That speech combined with lyrics that tell you to overcome your obstacles through hard work and dedication make ‘Keep Pushing’ a great song to run or workout to!
I’ve come to realize that I thrive on having goals. I need to have my sights set on something big and I flourish as I work towards achieving it.
I’ve gotten away from that a bit lately and I’m ready to jump back, in a big way!
My goal for over a year was to lose 110 lbs and when I reached it, I set another goal. I wanted to do something athletic and decided a 5k would be the next thing to shoot for and after achieving that, I set another goal. I wanted to get my skin removal surgery. This is where things got complicated.
I had hopes and expectations that my insurance would cover that surgery. I knew insurance wanted to see stability in my weight as evidence that I was maintaining. I had already hit my goal weight and was perfectly content maintaining if that’s what needed to happen. I enjoyed the freedom I had for awhile since eating to maintain takes so much less thought and effort than eating to lose. When insurance denied my coverage I kept the goal of one-day getting this surgery, but of course now I see that this is a very long term goal. Saving the money is going to take me a very long time…
I have been sadly complacent since then. My eating habits haven’t been awful, but I’m not proud of them. I’ve neglected to log some meals. I was running pretty regularly but wasn’t making it to the gym. Then, of course that nasty ankle sprain kept me from even running and I ate more out of panic, depression and boredom. Cheese and carbs are my comfort foods.
I decided I need some new goals to get me back on track and think that publishing them here is just the accountability that will get me there. What good is a fitness blog from a chick who just writes about her past achievements?!?
So, here it goes…
My first new goal is to lose 10 more pounds, and I hope to do this not because I’m unhappy with my weight but because I probably should have had those additional 10 pounds in my initial goal from the start. I didn’t because my goal of 110 lbs seemed impossible already, but I knew back then that I wanted to because this would take my BMI to a “normal” range. Right now, I’m still technically considered “overweight” and in 10 lbs I won’t be…but, it’s really not about that. It’s more about knowing that the only reason I left those 10 pounds out of initial goal was fear, and I’m just not afraid anymore.
My second goal came courtesy of a good friend of mine who announced on Facebook that she is looking to run a certain kind of race in the future. A certain kind of race I thought I had no interest in doing. Unfortunately for me, when one of your best friends tells you she found a great training plan and it sounds super doable you just add run a half marathon to your list of goals. Then you immediately regret typing it because now there is no turning back!
These are not going to be easy to achieve. Losing weight when you are obese is a lot easier to do than when you weigh less. These 10 pounds will be worlds more challenging than the first 10 pounds I lost. Running my first 5k was hard…but a half marathon is 10 miles more than that and I’ll be training after an injury that kept me from running for over 3 weeks.
I’m hoping all of these challenges I’ll face in my near future will at least help me create some interesting content for this little blog! Feel free to let me know what kind of documentation of this journey you’d enjoy seeing.
Now it is time for me to turn in and rest…I’ve got big goals waiting for me in the morning.
I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor to check my ankle today, and I am happy to report that I got the go ahead to slowly begin running again! *happy dance!*
I thought it might be fun to start a little something I’ll call “Track Tuesday” where each week, on Tuesday (duh), I will share a few of my favorite songs to run to! If you like them, add them to your running playlist! If you hate them, tell me why! Feel free to leave some of your favorite tracks to run to in the comments as well!
Hopefully you will find some new artists and genres you will enjoy! I’m always looking for something new to try as well.
Each link will take you to an official YouTube video for the song. Please comment on the video that you were sent by Muscles, Miles and Mascara. Enjoy!
300 Violin Orchestra by Jorge Quintera is probably my most favorite song to run to! It’s a track that has been used in trailers for action movies and in numerous sports videos. It’s a song that makes me feel strong, powerful and fast! This was the last song that came on just before the finish of my first 5k and therefore holds a very special place in my heart as a runner!
Lindsey Sterling is a name you will hear often on Track Tuesday. She is an adorable little violinist, composer, dancer, and performance artist who plays some incredible electronic classical crossover dubstep…which happens to make for wonderful running music in my opinion! Upbeat and strong!
This song makes me feel like I’m running in one of those motivational videos up the side of a mountain or something! Audiomachine will likely make a few more appearances on Track Tuesday, as well. They are a production company from California that produces some really powerful epic music.
I got my first full blown rash from the loose skin I am carrying around after my weightloss.
After insurance denied me coverage to have this excess skin removed, many people suggested I “encourage” rashes. You see, insurance companies often like a long history of rashes before they will cover this surgery.
“Almost” rashes like I typically get aren’t good enough. The fact that I need to constantly think about preventing rashes isn’t good enough. Having to figure out which clothes will not fold my skin certain ways where it will rub during a particular type of workout isn’t enough. Having to worry about making sure I can clean and dry myself promptly after sweating or risk a rash under my skin isn’t enough. Having to use anti chaffing cream and powders regularly to avoid a rash isn’t enough.
No, the inconvenience of these things isn’t enough.
They need you to have the rashes. Oh, but not just have them. Have them and suffer from them badly enough that creams don’t clear them up.
I don’t know about you, but I think that’s bullshit.
So, I refused to “encourage” these rashes. Mostly because…..ew, gross. Secondly, because I think these people who intentionally let their skin get that bad are doing a disservice to everyone else. These fabricated rashes minimize what other people actually suffer from. Lastly, I’m not a perfect person, but I try to be honest and transparent.
Therefore, I am careful to do everything I can to avoid rashes when I can. I’ve done a good job so far. I’ll see red and sore patches sometimes after I wear a certain item of clothing…or after a certain kind of workout. I just care for that sore area right away and take measures to keep the skin healthy, clean, dry and comfortable.
Despite my best efforts I’ve ended up with a rash. Its really gross. I’ll spare you from pictures. Its quite uncomfortable. It’s definitely a nuisance and I’d be much less grouchy right now if I’d been able to avoid this.
However, I have to believe that everything happens for a reason. I know I’ve spoken a lot about wanting surgery to remove this skin over the past few months. I’ve been met with doubt by a few people over these months. Many who have implied my desire for surgery was for mere “cosmetic” reasons. Even though I know what I deal with daily, some of these comments got into my head and made me question myself for a moment. Was I overreacting?
I have a follow up with my doctor today so she can check my sprained ankle. I plan to show her the rash while I’m there, hopefully get some treatment advice and I’ll have her document it. Maybe someday, I’ll suffer enough for insurance to take my need seriously.
In the meantime, at least I can take myself seriously and try to distance myself from the doubt that others want to infect me with….like an incurable, persistent rash.
I’ve always loved makeup. I admired the beautiful looks that I’d see people create. I loved to hear about different trends and products. I loved stories about how women would use it to enhance their features and their confidence. I could spend hours in the makeup aisle looking at all of the colors and finishes, even the packaging intrigued me.
I’ve worn makeup since I was pretty young. At first, it was about wanting to look more mature, but eventually it became about hiding. I didn’t use makeup in the way I admired it from afar.
I would pile on foundation, concealer, and powder. I wouldn’t add blush often because that would enhance my features and I didn’t want to draw attention to myself.
I would wear the most pale lip color I could find. Pale gold. Pale pink. Clear gloss. Nudes so nude that they merged right into the rest of my face. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself and certainly didn’t want to have to spend any more time in the mirror facing myself than neccessary! The sooner I could turn away from myself the better.
My eyes were my one feature I liked well enough. I always wore eye makeup and thought I was enhancing them but, in retrospect, I wasn’t doing myself many favors with the thick black rim of liner all around them and frosty white eyeshadow.
One day, about a year before I started my fitness journey, I happened across a makeup group for moms on Facebook. I would mostly lurk at first. Then, every once in awhile I would pipe in with advice. Afterall, I’d admired makeup for many years. However, I’d almost never post pictured because my face did not in any way reflect the passion I had for makeup. These girls were gorgeous and confident. They didn’t cover half of their face with their hair, and filter their faces into oblivion like I did. They’d face the camera head on instead of having to angle to hide their insecurities. I wanted that so badly!
It took a lot of time for me to get there, but as I began my fitness journey and learned to love myself more, it became easier to face the mirror a bit longer. To spend more time playing features up instead of applying a mask.
I’d ask for advice in the groups and spend time watching tutorials on YouTube and Instagram. I learned to actually try utilizing them instead of just admiring from afar. I learned not to be afraid of myself.
I don’t know if the weightloss made it easier for me to love and embrace myself more in order to branch out with my makeup or not. Maybe the makeup increased my self confidence more and helped with my weightloss. I’m not sure, because it all seemed to kind of happen together. I’d like to think it was all just physical manifestations of my newfound self love.
The time I spend on my makeup is really a time of self care. It’s how I show love to myself. It’s an artistic expression. It’s a time of prayer and meditation. It’s fun. It’s relaxing. It’s challenging and rewarding. It’s now absolutely everything I admired about makeup so many years ago!
I know there is still room for improvement in my makeup abilities. There is always room for improvement…I thrive on that in every aspect of my life!!!
I’m not saying that I am a better person because I can “do makeup” now. I’m not saying my confidence comes from makeup. I’m simply telling a story of a girl whose greatest struggle was once that she couldn’t face herself… and look how far she’s come!
If you tell someone you want them to be happy and you truly mean that…try listening to what they say will make them happy and support it instead of trying to change their mind about what might make them happy. You might find that just showing unconditional support could teach you both something.