In the “Limelight”

I am loving this September Beauty Series and I hope you’re enjoying it as well! For week 2 of the series I’d like to thank Jessica Gray for her guest blog contribution and for sending me some goodies from Limelight by Alcone to try and review honestly for my readers! 

Some of the items sent to me came directly from Jessica’s stock, but some of it came shipped directly from the company and can I just say… it was impressive.  Not only did it come to me quickly but the packaging was beautiful and really made it feel special. 

The items came shipped in sleek, nice quality box, all tied up with a chic black bow.
Inside the box, the items were neatly wrapped in tissue paper which was secured with an embossed metallic seal.
The items inside were equally impressive in their packaging. Modern black and white with a splash of watercolor is their signature.

The items I recieved first and began playing with right away were the 10 Years Younger Makeup Finish ($28) setting spray and the Waterproof Complete Concealer ($24). 

According to Limelight by Alcone the setting spray is said to:

“Reduce the signs of aging while holding your makeup in place! 10 Years Younger keeps makeup from setting into fine lines and wrinkles, prevents makeup from melting or sliding and guarantees fewer touchups. This ultra-fine mist is clinically-proven to prevent creasing concealer, fading foundation, and will keep colors vibrant for up to 16 hours. This product is paraben-free, cruelty-free, and was formulated for use on all skin types including highly sensitive skin.”

In regards to the Waterproof Complete Concealer, Limelight says:

“Made famous by world-renowned makeup artists, this camouflage concealer creme is considered the best professional cover up. It is long-lasting, waterproof, and opaque yet feels light on the skin. Artist use it to conceal but also to highlight and shade features. It can completely conceal tattoos, veins, dark under-eye circles, and skin discolorations.”


I went to work applying these to test their claims right away.

At first, I felt like I got a poor color match from Jessica (she matched me by having me send her a makeup free selfie taken in natural light). This concealer appeared to be a bit darker than what I’m used to and it worried me that it wouldn’t work for me to use as an eyeshadow primer, undereye concealer, and overall highlight like I’d normally use my concealers. I had read that some people use this concealer as an all over foundation so I tried it that way first since I thought the shade was better suited for that. Well, I was wrong…the color was way too light for me to use that way and unfortunately I didn’t care for the way the concealer used as a foundation looked on my skin. I have a lot of texture to my skin and it really amplified that. It might work well for someone with smaller pores and less acne scars, but it did not work for me.

Back to the drawing board! I applied my regular foundation routine and used the concealer as concealer and it was a whole new ball game! Turns out, you should trust your “Beauty Guide” (Limelight Consultants) because they know what they are doing with the color matching. It was a perfect shade for me to use as concealer, afterall! The cream formula took a little getting used to, as I normally use a thinner concealer. A little goes a long way which is great news if you are on a budget like I am, but figuring out how much to use and the best method to apply and blend was a bit of a learning curve for me. I feel in the end it was worth taking the time to play with and figure out!

I finished off my makeup with the 10 years younger setting spray and I loved how fine the mist was! No large drops of liquid, just the perfect even mist. It’s a little pricier than what I normally use, but it is a bigger bottle and with the mist being so fine and even I feel like it may go further in the long run.

I really loved how the concealer brightened my under eye area.

I put these supposed “long lasting” cosmetics to the test by not only wearing them throughout the day, but also during a 6 mile run and because I’m lazy for science over night! 

My makeup freshly applied, and the next day after a 6 mile run and a full night’s sleep.

 I was very pleased when I woke up the next day! My shadow was still pretty vibrant, my foundation stayed mostly in place, and my undereyes were still quite bright with little to no creasing. If I hadn’t had more makeup to review the next day I might have been able to get away with just a few touch ups to make it through another day of wear…for science, of course. I’d say if it can last through all I put it through, these will definitely work for anyone in normal conditions to keep their makeup fresh through a work day or night out! 

The day after I tried those items, I recieved a package from Jessica which contained Limelight’s Perfect Mascara ($20) and a single of the Perfect Eyeshadow ($12) in shade #19 “antiki bar”. 

 

I went right to work creating a look with these along with the other products! 

Once again, overall I was pleased. The mascara as claimed was clump free and went on easily. I was even able to build it up without clumping which I loved. I wouldn’t say the length it gave me was anything to write home about, meaning my lashes weren’t noticeably longer using this mascara than many others I’ve tried, but it did visually lengthen them from their usual state before mascara. It gave me the whispy seperated look I like in a mascara. If you enjoy a very volumizing mascara this may not be your top choice for your top lashes, however I think it’s probably the best mascara I’ve used for my bottom lashes in a long time so it may be worth considering just for that! 

The eyeshadow swatched nicely both with a brush and finger and it felt super creamy and appeared quite pigmented! I was excited to try it on my eyes. Unfortunately, using a dry brush on my eyes left much to be desired with this particular shade. I got very little color payoff on my lid. Shimmers can be stubborn like this and it’s usually easily remedied by either applying with your finger or by wetting your brush. 10 Years Younger Makeup Finish to the rescue! I used it to wet my brush and I was pleased with the results. It seems like an overall nice formulation but it wasn’t something that blew my mind. The shade I recieved is however stunning, honey and I will use it again especially for the fall! 

Overall, my opinion is that Limelight by Alcone, although quite new to the direct sales industry, proves that their 50 years in the stage and screen makeup industry can assure you that you really are getting a quality product. If you want to try any of it for yourself, please let Jessica be your (beauty) guide! 

 

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Running the World

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 InstagramFacebook 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! 

My blog has had viewers from all of the highlighted parts of the map!

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. 

We Get Fly With a Little Help From Our Friends

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! 

 Jessica Gray is a 34 year old mother of three young boys. She has been married to her husband for over 6 years. LimeLIght by Alcone has been her passion since March of 2016. It’s new to the direct sales field but backed by over 50 years of experience in stage and screen makeup.
Rebecca is a stay at home mom (WAHM) and wife from Southeastern Ohio. She has three daughters, all within different stages of development. Nothing could possibly get more exciting than the thrilling rollercoaster hormones of a teenager, a threenager and a “middle child”. Makeup is a passion for Rebecca, because of this; she recently discovered her love for Younique products and its amazing sisterhood.
Tegan is a 23 year old mom of 2 girls from Montana who began working with Maskcara beauty because of the freedom it gave her to work from home. She is a part time dental assistant but loves the freedom Maskcara gives her to put together two passions in her life, makeup and her girls while working from home.
 Kalyn Foggy is a 26 year old mom to daughter Clementine and wife to Derek. She has been celebrating her Mary Kay business for two and a half years. She loves that she can empower and embolden women through elite skincare products and a professional makeup line.

Goal Digger

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 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. 

Rash

Pain doesn’t just show up in our lives for no reason. It’s a sign that something in our lives needs to change.

Yesterday I discovered a nasty little surprise.  

Oozing. Stinking. Angry. Painful. Itchy. Weeping. Inflamed. Burning. Disgusting. Embarrassing. 

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. 

Running Away

Nomatter how far I’ve come, I can never run away.

Nobody warns you about this part. Ok…maybe they do, but you don’t listen. 

You don’t listen because you think it won’t happen to you. 

You think that getting fit and slim will be all sunshine and roses. You know it might be hard to get there, but in your head you think that once you’re “there” everything will be perfect. 

It’s not.

That’s not to say it’s not good. There is so much good that has come from this! 

I will say without a doubt that if I could have felt the way I feel now for just one day when I was heavier, I would have started my journey so much sooner. Being able to go up a flight of stairs without getting winded, running with my kids, having a normal blood pressure for the first time in years and perfect bloodwork (and avoiding the morbid but warranted warnings from my doctors that I may not be around to see my kids grow up!) these are all amazing things. These and many other wonderful outcomes that I’ll save for a future blog post. 

It’s not all good though. 

I’ve noticed people treat me differently. I don’t blame them. I AM different. I’m a completely different person than I used to be. Sometimes they miss the old me, but I don’t. I wasn’t happy then. I didn’t like myself then. Not because of my weight…my weight was a by-product of a lot of self-hate. So while some miss the old me, I’m begging them to try and love the new me the way I do! Unfortunately, just as they are stuck on not wanting to get to know the “new me”, I refuse to hang on to the “old me”.  Therefore, we grow apart. That’s ok. It’s life. However, just because it’s ok it doesn’t make it easy. 

My body is still betraying me. How can a body that I’ve pampered and groomed and treated with such care still go against me?  I’ve fueled it with the right foods and the perfect amount of calories and macros. I’ve taken time everyday to stretch and strengthen each muscle. I’ve rehabilitated the organs I abused for so many years. I shed 110 pounds… I’ve done everything I could to show my body that we are not what we used to be and part of my body disagrees. 

Let’s call this part of my body Ms. Skin. She’s a bitch. 

Ms. Skin tries to act like she’s on my side. She claps for me when I run. She hangs from my arms and stomach and thinks she’s cheering me on. *clap*clap*clap*

Ms. Skin doesn’t realize how much it hurts. Ms. Skin doesn’t care about the rashes that could develop because of her clapping. She doesn’t know that I hate running without headphones because I need to drown out the sound she makes. Ms. Skin doesn’t realize that the faster I try to run to get away from her the more she holds me back. 

Ms. Skin doesn’t care that tucking her into my clothes makes me appear much bigger than I am. 

Ms. Skin doesn’t understand how embarrassing and uncomfortable it is to refuse to do exercises my trainer assigns that involve jumping because of how much pain she causes me. 

Ms. Skin doesn’t care about how my 3 year old tells me my stomach is “just like a monster”. 

Ms. Skin doesn’t care about the rude comments from strangers. 

Ms. Skin just likes to cling to me, reminding me of the “old me” that I hated….Reminding me that I can change and control so much but that nomatter how far I have come, I can never run away.