Prepping Your Face For Makeup

While December means the holidays, for dancers, it also means Nutcracker Season. If I've missed a few posts over the past few weeks, it's because I've been crazy busy in rehearsals. So with big performances coming up, I need to do full makeup for the stage. And when I say "full" I mean "full - fake lashes, enough foundation to make my pores cry, and a crazy combo of de-matifying products to combat sweat but also products to give a dewy glow. Today I thought I would share a few tips for how to prep your face, so your skin will say "thank you" even with what feels like pounds of makeup on. And FYI, this post isn't just for stage makeup, it can be used as a guide for whenever you're getting ready.

For stage makeup in particular, the first thing I do is try to get my hair done. I know this may seem a little backwards, but if I'm essentially using an entire bottle of hairspray, I want to be able to wash my face after.

This should go without saying, but the first real step whenever I put on makeup (and this goes for everyday makeup, not just more intense looks) it to wash my face. Lately I've been testing out various  face washes and cleansers so I don't have a "holy grail" or a "tried and true" cleanser yet, but I will let you guys know when I officially find something I love (also let me know if you have any other recommendations).

Next, I moisturize my face. I usually do a deep or more intense/hydrating moisturizer at night, but in the mornings I apply moisturizer around any acne/dry spots. One of my least favorite things ever (ok, maybe not ever, but it's up there) is when I have acne that seems to peel/flake underneath my foundation/concealer. Applying a little bit of moisturizer, I usually use the Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Moisturizer or the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intense Hydration Moisturizer, helps minimize this and makes the rest of my makeup go on smoother.

After, I splash a bit of cold water on my face. And I literally mean "splash". I know it might be a myth but I've heard that cold water is supposed to close pores, or at least minimize their appearance. And hey, with as much makeup as I'm using, I'll do anything to help minimize them.

Next, I exfoliate my lips. The last thing I want is chapped lips so I try to use an exfoliator and then a lip balm (I only use Aquaphor Lip Repair because I legitimately do not believe anything else works). I try to do this well in advance of applying lipstick because I want to give it a few minutes to sink in.

Then, I use a primer on my face. Lately, I've been using Benefit the Porefessional to minimize the appearance of pores or Stila One Step Correct to cancel out any redness/acne on my face. I usually apply the primer with a makeup sponge over my entire face.

After, I use an eyeshadow primer. An eyeshadow primer, like the Urban Decay Primer Potion, will help add a base for your eyeshadow, take care of oily lids, and will keep your eyeshadow from creasing.

Finally, I apply my makeup as usual. I won't get into this today (that's a whole other post for another day), but I don't worry I will write a post about it.

So, here it is! Let me know if you guys have any other tips for prepping your face for makeup, I'd love to hear them!




5 Charities To Help Out This Holiday Season

Tis the season of giving - meaning to friends, family, and to those less fortunate. I truly believe that we should do everything we can, all year round, to make a difference in the world, but there's always a little extra push around the holidays. Today I thought I would share a few charities that I have found throughout the year and have really stuck with me! Just FYI, these aren't all holiday-themed charities, and I did try to include a few that I have been personally involved with, but they're all amazing charities and definitely deserve more attention.

  • Everybody Dance Now! - I actually interned with EDN! over the summer, and I am in love with their mission. As you guys probably know, dance has given me so much and I wish dance was something that everyone had the opportunity to experience. EDN! strives to bring dance classes to inner-city and under-funded areas, and a donation of $40 will provide a class for 15-30 students while a donation of $75 will fund one student's dance lessons for an entire year. 
  • The Small World Foundation - This is another charity that I was personally involved with, and again, I am absolutely in love with their mission. The Small World works to empower women and girls in the in Nepal. Any donations would be used in the homes for girls they have established or in the schools they have established. 
  • Family-to-Family - This organization works to bring sponsors together with families in need. Be matched with a family anywhere in the US, a holocaust survivor, a refugee family, or even a family in your neighborhood. Each donation will help provide groceries and other basic necessities. 
  • Toys For Tots - This organization provides toys for children during the holiday season. You can choose to donate money or drop off toys at local drop-offs locations (usually and members of the US Marines will deliver them! 
  • Adopt A Platoon - The organization works to send care packages and letters to deployed military personnel. Get involved by literally "adopting" a platoon or by donating money to help provide care packages and cover shipping costs. 

Ok, so here's my list. Let me know in the comments below some of your favorite charities and ways you're giving back this holiday season. 




Ways to pick yourself back up

I'm not going to lie, the past few months have been incredibly difficult for me. I've dealt with things I never thought would ever happen, and I've had to find my place in the mess of my life. After thinking about this for a while, I decided it was best not to share what has been going on unless it is of some use for you guys. So, for now at least, I am not going to share much.

I do, though, want to share ways to pick yourself back up. I have had SO MANY hard days where I can barely get myself to get dressed. I have so many responsibilities and things to do that I have no choice but to push through. Because of this, I have found ways to pick myself up when I'm down.

1. Find something (small) you LOVE and treat yourself- For me, this small thing is bubble tea. I LOVE bubble tea. When I really need it, I will drive 15 minutes to get an incredible tea. Not only does the tea calm me down, but I really enjoy driving as well. Other things you could do are things like getting ice cream (just make sure you won't hate yourself after eating a large cone of carvel soft serve), froyo, starbucks, coffee, really anything goes here!

2. Talk to a friend- Talking to a friend always boosts my mood. Whether they are helping me with the issue at hand or just distracting me, friends are always a go-to.

3. Listen to music- This is not the first time I have recommended listening to music- Music can change my mood in an instant! And it's something I use often to pick myself back up.

4. Go for a drive- Yes, this is bad for the enviornment, but, especially if you have an electric car, this technique can be extremely stress relieving. I love driving around and listening to music- it never fails to better my mood.

5. GET PROFESSIONAL HELP- I cannot stress this enough. If you think someone is wrong, SAY SOMETHING! The longer you wait, the worse your symptoms get and there will be more impact on your every day life.

I hope this post gave you some ideas of what you can do when you're down. Let me know what your best tips are in the comments below because I'd love to give them a try!

Thank you so much for reading, and have an amazing rest of your week.



7 Secret Santa Gift Ideas

I have a love/hate relationship with Secret Santa Gift Exchanges. On one hand, who doesn't love an extra reason to get into the holiday spirit? But on the other, it can be so hard to think of a creative/interesting/funny/not-boring gift to give, especially if you're not super close with the person. Today I thought I would share a few last minute (because honestly we're getting down to it) Secret Santa (or hidden holiday or whatever other non-denominational thing it's called) gifts.

  • Movie Kit - This is one of my personal favorite gifts to give because it is super easy to customize and change up depending on the recipient. Add a few packets of popcorn, boxed movie theater candy, and even a movie if it's in the budget (you can find some pretty cheap ones at Target), and add them to a popcorn container. If you know what the person's in to, get them a movie you know they'll love or fill up your coworkers basket with the candy they always steal from you desk. 
  • Tea/Coffee Kit - This one's simple, just add several different mini containers of coffee or tea to a mug or travel cup and call it a day. You can always jazz it up by adding a fun spoon, some delicious cookies, or even some hot cocoa mix. 
  • Ice Cream Kit - I absolutely love ice cream, and if I received this gift, I would be so happy. To a pretty ice cream bowl, add a spoon/ice cream scoop and then several mini mason jars/containers filled with ice cream toppings. I recommend adding sprinkles, m&ms, or chocolate sauce. 
  • Mini Ping Pong Set - A great gift for the person who gets a little antsy just sitting at their desk all day. 
  • Crazy Socks - I am in love with the idea of crazy socks as the perfect, personalized gift. Try Obama socks for the next Prez, avocado socks for the basic b****, or bananas on skateboard socks for the goofball. 
  • TV Show Apparel - If you know what your recipient likes, gifting TV show apparel or knick knacks is a great way to customize a gift. Mugs, tees, or stickers make great gifts and can be an awesome way to show off some #Grey'sAnatomy or #StrangerThings or #ThisIsUs or #HIMYM pride. 
  • An Inside Joke - The best Secret Santa gifts are by far the funny inside jokes. You know, the weird, awkward, or embarrassing things only the recipient will understand. 

So here you go, 7 great Secret Santa gifts! I always love these types of gift exchanges but it can be so hard to think of things within budget that aren't just bags of candy or lame hand creams. Let me know anything you're planning on giving for a gift exchange this year, I'd love to hear them! 




Why I haven't worn makeup in 2 weeks

Yes. You read the title correctly! 

It's been exactly 2 weeks since I put ANY makeup on my face (translucent powder, mascara, concealer...). Yes, this is primarily a beauty blog. Yes, I LOVE testing out new makeup. Yes, I have so much new makeup to test out. But I have my reasons for taking a few weeks off. 

You see, I have pretty bad skin. Everyone tells me my skin is fine, but I am unhappy with it. I have tried cream after cream and nothing has worked, so I decided to do a makeup cleanse. I challenged myself to go 2 weeks without putting anything but skincare products on my face and I did it! 

Unfortunately, my skin has not cleared up completely, but I do think avoiding makeup has helped with some of my texture. I also think my skin has become less oily. Since I have not used powder to absorb the oils, the oils sit on my skin, decreasing the oil production. Always a plus in my book:)

While going makeupless for the past two weeks did not help accomplish my goal (clear skin), I learned so much that I would like to share with you! 

1. I forget I am not wearing any makeup
2. It is freeing to go without makeup
3. I have cared less about my appearance when it really does not matter (ex: school)
4. When I dress up, people will notice a difference! 
5. I have at least a solid 10 extra minutes every morning.

If you are in a situation where it is possible, go a few days without any makeup and see how you feel! 

I'd love to know your experiences. 

I apologize for this crazy post, but this week has been insane. I'll explain a little more on Tuesday! Have an incredible weekend, and thank you so much for reading.


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