Wednesday, December 31, 2014


We made it through 2014. We are standing on the precipice of a new year which is exciting, exhilarating and frankly a little nerve-wracking. Most of us are wondering what 2015 will look like for us and maybe even mapping out a plan or identifying a few goals. I know I've been thinking about it, but I feel like I couldn't get much planning done without taking the time to reflect on the past year. How will I know what needs to be addressed in the upcoming year without looking at what was accomplished in the past one? As I started poking around in twenty-fourteen, what I found kinda blew me away.

Many times this year, I felt my wheels spinning but never really felt like I was making headway. You know when you are driving on a freeway with train tracks running parallel to you? And on the train tracks there is a train, but you can't quite tell if it's actually moving or if it's standing still? That's how I felt. I was doing a lot but I wasn't getting anywhere. I couldn't see what was actually changing because there was so much movement. Before I compared my year to the goals I had written, I didn't feel like I had gotten anywhere at all.

Do you ever look at my blog history? It's in the left margin of this page and sorts my post history by year, then month. My research began there. This entry will be my 109th post (for this year). One hundred and nine blog posts. That's an average of 2.09 entries a week for the past year. The topics range from my on-going struggle with weight, motherhood, career goals, beauty reviews, my new business and various events and emotions. A lot of content that I don't really see as a whole. I work on each blog post individually and once it's sent out into the universe it's rare that I go back. This post prompted me to do just that. I can tell you without a doubt if I had continued to research and found that those 108 blog posts were all I had made tangible headway on, I would be proud. That means I dedicated time and effort into my first love, writing. And that ain't no small thing.

If you haven't gathered it on your own, I had low expectations in the progress I had made this year. I'm working on a whole lot of areas in my life and everyone knows, when you do that, you tend to give less than 100%. I felt that is where I was headed. There has been a whole lot of treading water and putting out fires in the last moment, and in my mind, if you're scrambling like a crazy person you are probably not succeeding. Sure, I gave myself credit for the big steps in my professional life and the hours upon hours of homework I've done. I'll be honest, saying "it's been intense." is an extreme understatement. Plus, I'm following a passion by starting Lauriana Cosmetics (LC), which is so out of character for me. Half the time I feel like a fraud and half the time I feel like I'm on top of the world for pursuing something that I love so much. I've made myself vulnerable by daring to dream bigger and accepting any possible failure I may face. Which is huge for a girl that is paralyzed by the thought of rejection.

Imagine my surprise when I looked back at my year and realized that I'm sort of a badass.

In January, I selected a word of the year, Strive, and followed up with specific things I was going to Strive for. I tried to be as honest as I could when I wrote them and at that time, the USC program and LC weren't even on my radar. I reviewed them and gave myself a score on how I did.

Get my house in order.
3.5/5 - Our backyard has been landscaped, bookcases have been built, loads and loads of household items and clothes have been donated/sold/thrown away. We eat at home more. We clean the house more. We do our laundry more frequently. It has relieved a lot of stress. However, we still have processes to work out and routines to finalize. It's not great, but it's better.

Read at least 5 books.
5/5 - I read quite a few books in Hawaii and although I can't name most of them, I know I definitely read more than five. Part of this goal was to read two books that were out of my comfort zone. Done and done. I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and the JonBenet - Inside The Ramsey Murder Investigation written by detective Steve Thomas, a lead detective on the case. Gone Girl just rocked my world and was infuriating and the Jon Benet Ramsey investigation broke my heart and made me cry. Poor sweet girl. Ugh. Since I tend to read romantic novels with happy endings, these books qualify for WAY WAY out of my comfort zone.

Save more money. 
2/5 - If saving money means eating at home more, shopping smart and spending down your savings to pay for a ridiculously expensive program to receive my CBO certificate, I win. If it doesn't, I failed. I decided to give myself a little credit but since our savings is less than it was, well, I can't give myself a great score. This year I spent money to start a new website and business, to invest in it and to set up my school business career. The investment was worth it and next year will be about seeing those investments pay off.

Write, regularly.
5/5 - I already mentioned this, but just to really drive it home: In 2013 I blogged a total of 29 times. I mentioned earlier I blogged 109 times in 2014. That is 3.75 times more than what I did in 2013. Win, win, win!

Learn something new.
5/5 - I wrote "Take a class to learn a new skill or refine an old one." I meant take a sewing class or go to a makeup conference, but I'm pretty sure the USC School Business Management Program counts. Tenfold.

Let go.
5/5 - I let go. Let go of fear. Let go of the safety zone. I wore bright and bold lipsticks. I became a USC Trojan. I started a business. I'm working on a big project for this blog. I did it. And I'm still doing it, but I feel confident enough to call it a win.

Ask for help.
3/5 - I've definitely reached out for help. I haven't always gotten it, but I've reached out. I'm not counting it a full win because it took me most of the year to work up my courage and when out of the few times I asked I got a "No." I took it hard. Personally. I waited until I was at the final hour to ask for help and no one was there and I took it hard. I'm working on making myself ask for help before I'm drowning. I'm trying to make myself understand that hearing 'no' when I'm in need does not equal 'I don't love you.' or 'You're not important enough to help.' There is a lot of heaviness attached to that way of thinking and I've realized I need to change my inner dialogue.

Do it.
4/5 - It's hard to fight extreme laziness but I have really been trying. It creeps up now and again, but I've really been trying to adult it up. It has caused some minor issues with Bryan, because he'll want to play and go do things and I'll say "No. I'm working on the grocery list and getting a meal plan together." or "I can't I have a huge project due in a week and I can't procrastinate." It has also caused issues with me because I'm like "I just want to sit here and watch Jane the Virgin but I really need to do laundry and pick up around the house." I hate it, but taking care of shit makes life easier.

Go to Vegas, See Britney.
0/5 - Wooomp wooomp. I didn't make it to Vegas. I didn't see Britney Spears. Maybe next year?

Total Score: 32.5/45

I read those goals and started connecting memories to them and with each one I was more proud and exhilarated at what I had accomplished. All year I felt that I was spinning my wheels and yet I was actually doing big things. Great things. I saw great achievement in all of my goals! The only one that I outright failed was going to see Britney Spears in Vegas, which in comparison to the others, had an insignificant impact on my quality of life. Taking that "goal" out of the equation, I got 32.5 out 40 total points. 81%.

And, may I just mention again that at the time of writing those I didn't plan on embarking on a 13 month crash course in school business or starting a new company. That was all gravy on top. As I was researching, I could just feel the mental pat on the back. This is so, so encouraging. 2012 and 2013 were hard years on me. Life was chewing me up and spitting me out, over and over.

I was going through my secret tattoo inspiration board on Pinterest and one of them was a really pretty bow and arrow. Not something I'd actually get but it was the description that made me pin it.

"An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great." 

I followed the pin but it was a dead end (I hate when that happens.) and when I Googled it everything came up anonymous. I wish I knew. In the Christian world, it's common to hear that when you are facing struggle, it isn't that God is orchestrating it. Bad and hard things happen. It is the way of life. But God uses those circumstances to shape you. To refine your character, your resilience. He can use those experiences to be a light to others that are walking a similar path.

I suffered in 2012 and 2013. I faced personal struggle like I had never before. In 2014 I told myself to let go and Strive for more and for better. To face fears and dream big. To do the work. I began to climb a mountain made of lies I told myself. I look back now and I see the growth. I see clearly where I was and where I am.

I can't wait to share with you where I see myself going in 2015.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy Christmas!

We had a Christmas full of family, fun and laughter. Amazing memories were made and delicious food was eaten. Here are a few pictures I snapped over the past week. Shepherd and Seth were playing on our new swing set, we hosted the Vickers side of the family for Christmas, Bryan and I took a selfie, the presents were waiting in the morning to be opened (and played with), there was a calm morning after the busyness of Christmas. Don't forget to check out the small clip we took on Christmas with our new Canon camera! I am awkward in it. You've been warned.

Hope you all had a Happy Christmas and I can't wait for the new year!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lauriana Cosmetics Launch!

I've got really, really big news! 

I've started doing make-up for actual clients. I know. It's crazy. I'm completely self taught, so my prices are rock bottom. But it feels SO GOOD to be doing make-up for people. I love it. I definitely plan on going to school after my CBO program ends because this is definitely something I want to do on the side and I want to be properly trained, but for now, I'm amazed that people want me to be a apart of their special days! 

Until then, I am glad I get to do what I love while making my clients happy and confident! 

I even have an Instagramwebsite and I started another blog, just for my make-up journey. I'm excited to see where this goes! 

The weekend after Thanksgiving Denise was in town so we hung out. She asked me to do her make-up and I was happy to have a canvas on which to practice! We did a daytime look and then a night-time look. We both loved how it turned out. 

I have the product list on my Instagram if you want to check out what I used. If you know of anyone that wants a little help with their makeup for a special event or anything, keep me in mind! I'm affordable and getting better every day!



Friday, December 12, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

I loved Thanksgiving this year! I woke up, got ready and it was just one of those days where I felt fabulous. On the way to my Grandma's house, I did a little selfie session (which is extremely rare.) (Except the make-up photos I attempt to take and then give up and never post them.) (Or the ones I send Denise.) 

Don't you just love those days! 

 Bryan was SO GRUMPY though so I decided to capture it and post it on Instagram. Cause that's what the modern day wife does.

Right before dessert at my grandma's, I was getting ready to send a snapchat to Jamie, and my mom and Kari jumped in the picture. Alison turned around just as we were done and she made us go back to the same position to recreate the picture with her in it. It was highly amusing. I decided to choose the one WITH Alison to post on Instagram. Since I'm nice.

I wasn't going to see my Dad and Delia since they were at the coast, so I quickly snapped this picture of Shep and I and sent it over to him. It turned out pretty cute.

That night, we started a new tradition with Bryan's cousins on his moms side. It was so much fun sitting around the table and talking about life! I'm bummed I didn't get any pictures. Next year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Too Busy for Lipstick

* This post contains affiliate links. A small percentage, stipend or credit helps support my blog with no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Blah blah blah, school, work, family, no time to blog. Now that we got that out of the way, I've been on a search for the perfect lip stain because ain't NOBODY got time for reapplying lipstick. Amirite? I think lip stains were made for people that A. forget to reapply or B. are too busy to reapply or C. have husbands that won't kiss them when they wear lipstick. 

I fall into all three categories, THUS, my search. 

Also, rant time. Bryan can have long hair and put said hair into pony-tails or half up/half down buns and YET he draws the line at kissing me and possibly having purple lips. What. The. Heck. 

I have this entire story to tell you and I need to just get to it. A few weeks ago, I placed an order on armed with a coupon for $5 off, plus there's a sale on Revlon items so I'm stoked. I had heard great things about the new Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stains so I ordered one in the color Parisian Passion and prepared myself for the long wait for it to arrive. Ulta's shipping sucks. 

Later that week, I go to CVS and use the coupon printer there. It spits out a coupon for $5 off $12 of Revlon, plus Revlon is on sale. I pick up two more Colorstay Moisture Stains and I'm stoked because I got three for less than the normal price of two. I was jazzed.

Does anyone say jazzed anymore? They should. 

When my order arrives, much to my chagrin, I realize that when I went to CVS, I had picked up Parisian Passion. UGH! No worries, I'll just exchange it for another color. I head to Ulta last weekend and I exchange the Parisian Passion for another color, Shanghai Sizzle. I'm so stoked to have three of these because they are as good as I've been lead to believe. Check them out if you haven't already.

Imagine my complete frustration when I get home to find that the color I exchanged at Ulta is the same color as the second stain I picked up at CVS. 

So I bought Parisian Passion twice and then I bought Shanghai Sizzle twice. All that to say, I have to go back to Ulta to replace the one I already exchanged and I swear on all that is good and holy, if I pick up Parisian Passion again I'll lose my effin' MIND. 

Like I said though, these Moisture stains are great. In the pictures below, I'm wearing Parisian Passion. It's gorgeous and perfect for fall! 

Isn't his smile just so precious? This photo kills me. However, it is not an accurate representation of how Parisian Passion looks so I'm including this photo. It's a deep burgundy red and bring out the white in your teeth. 

If you have a favorite lipstain, let me know!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Me and Jack Black

There are things that happen to us that we'd rather not tell people. Maybe we did something really, really stupid once and when we recall the memory it makes us cringe, because it would be so embarrassing for anyone to know. I have a couple of those moments. 

Monday night I went to bed with wet hair, so on Tuesday, I woke up and I looked....rough. Rough is an understatement. I looked completely manic. Bryan had gotten up before me and he was brushing his teeth when I walked into the bathroom to you know...go to the bathroom. 

I stood next to him for a second and the first thing out of my mouth was... "I had a sex dream about Jack Black last night." and he just looks at me mid-stroke, a toothbrush hanging from his mouth and says, "Oh."

And that was the end of that. 

Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 24, 2014

How to Shop Smart on Black Friday

Do you shop smart on Black Friday?

A lot of people use Black Friday to get good deals on Christmas gifts. Many narrow their gaze to electronics, toys, and clothes. Did you know that this is also an amazing time to stock up on household items? 

Use Black Friday to pick up great deals on: 



Blankets, Quilts and Comforters

Underwear and Socks

Complete Bedding Sets 


Towels and Wash Cloths


What is even better is that most of these items do not have some sort of time-frame for great deals. You can shop online or in store later in the day on Black Friday and still stock your home on a yearly basis! These items are not 'forever' items and its best to save as much as you can while still 'splurging' on good quality. 

Two years ago, I got onto, bought high thread-count sheets and pillows for about $30 with free shipping and I am now ready to refresh our pillows and sheets with new ones! Something that would have cost me $70-100 was $30. THAT is how you shop Black Friday!

Next year, set up a month amount that you transfer into a savings account for Black Friday shopping. Include an extra $10 and use that $110 to stock up your house on items you use on a daily basis!

Maybe pick up a few towels and sheets so that you can donate them to a local homeless, women's or men's shelter. I bet they would really appreciate it. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Goodbye, Blondie

It's official. I pulled the trigger and went dark. I've been blonde for three-plus years and it was time to give my hair a rest and try something new. Not to mention that weaving, bleaching, toning, cutting, layering, drying and styling was just TOO MUCH for me right now. I needed to go one color, where I could pop in, get my roots done and get outta there.

School is really amping up now and so are the holidays. It's an exciting and crazy time. I took this farewell picture of my blonde hair on Tuesday before I made the change.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Day Drinker

Bryan and I haven't gone anywhere or done anything since Hawaii and my soul starts to get a little twitchy when I haven't felt the freedom of the open road in too long. We decided that getting away for a night on the long Veteran's day holiday would be enough to save my sanity and get me through the next few months of work, school, family, holiday shopping and holiday events. We are hosting Christmas for the Vickers side of the family this year, so that's added stress. We've got to get the house in order and ready for a LOT of family members... which is terrifying. We are also having our first true Thanksgiving dinner with Bryan's cousins, which I am so excited about! But it's extra work for me to cook and stuff when I have so much going on. I needed a moment to decompress before things got crazy. 

We typically take a photo before we get on the road so I had to follow the tradition. We were in line waiting for a coffee from Java Heaven, which is much of my whole happiness in a cup. 

Shepherd was starting to get antsy in the car so we decided we needed to break up the trip a bit. We hit up the downtown area of Paso Robles, which is one of our favorite little spots! In the middle of the area is a huge, beautiful park with extremely tall trees! It was freezing and windy but that didn't stop my boy from loving the play time. 

Finally, in an attempt to escape the chill, we went into the public library that is right across from the park. Shepherd got his first band-aid on his hand and he was pretty weird-ed out about it. He had scraped his finger somehow in the car, poor guy. There were tons of puzzles, blocks and books to look at, so he was distracted from his owie in no time.

We weren't able to get an early check-in at the hotel for Shepherd nap. We ending up taking a scenic drive up to Lopez Lake and that whole area so Shepherd could get a few uninterrupted hours of sleep. On our way back, we figured we'd stop at the outlets and do a little shopping. By the time we got to the hotel it was dark but Pomeroy street and the pier were lit up and it sure was pretty. We walked over to Brad's Restaurant for dinner, took a stroll on the pier and then came back to the hotel to hang and put Shepherd down for bed. 

As usual, I woke up extremely early on Veteran's Day so I sat, people watched and listened to the waves. We were so close to the beach, it was the perfect alone time to reflect on my life and what the hell I'm doing. I didn't figure anything out but it sure was nice to have an uninterrupted moment to process. 

Once they woke and we had ourselves a continental breakfast, Bryan took Shepherd to the beach to play while I got ready. I joined them shortly before a huge wave caught Bryan off guard and completely soaked them. Bryan didn't have any other shoes or pants so we had to rinse and blow dry them as much as we could and then buy him some flip flops. Luckily, we had other pants for Shepherd (always prepared for a blowout) and we found some sandals in his diaper bag. Score!

I woke up in a weird mood and I just kept doing stupid things! For example, we got a late checkout from the hotel and as we were leaving, I realized I forgot my purse in one of the drawers. So, I go back up and figure I should go to the bathroom. I take off my jacket, use the restroom and wash my hands and grab my purse. I figured I'd just leave the key cause why not? I meet Bryan and Shepherd and we walk halfway to Pomeroy when I remember that I forgot my jacket in the hotel room. I had to walk back, wait in line to get a key at the front desk, go back up to the room and grab my jacket. I don't want to wear it because the sun is now shining brightly, I'm in a sweater and hot as balls from walking all that way. I look in the car to get another shirt and I realize I don't HAVE another shirt. I only have the sweater because we packed so light. The only shirt I have is a black wife-beater shirt and I don't know the technical name so DON'T JUDGE ME. I put that on under my jacket and leave the sweater thinking maybe it'll all balance out in the end.

As I'm walking, I'm boiling hot and I'm too fat to just wear the black shirt. I meet up with Bryan and Shepherd on Pomeroy and Bryan has shoes on his feet so that's good. I go straight into a shop to buy a t-shirt. I take off my sunglasses to try a bunch of them on, pick one that is something I'll wear again but is also cheap, I pay and leave. I get halfway to the restaurant when I realize I FORGOT MY GLASSES. At this point, I'm ready to rage all around Pismo, I'm so irritated with myself. Bryan goes to get us a table and I walk back to get my glasses. I finally join Bryan and when the waitress asks me what I'd like to drink (at 12:20pm) I say "A Lavaflow, please." 

You should have seen the look on Bryan's face. Sure, I rarely drink...but I do drink now and again. Something I NEVER do is drink during the day. Ever. 

But I didn't even care. I drank that Lavaflow and got a little tipsy and Bryan drove us home. 

All's well that end's well. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Unboxing My First Sigma Order

*This post contains affiliate links. A small percentage, stipend or credit helps support my blog without any additional cost to you. Thank you! 

If you watch YouTube beauty videos like I do there is no doubt in my mind that you have heard of Sigma brushes. I've always wanted to try them but they are pretty pricey!

Luckily for me, my Dad and Delia gave me a little cash-money for my birthday and Sigma happened to have a 20% off sale a few weeks later! I did not even hesitate. I had my budget, I had a sale and I knew what brushes I wanted to get. What more does a girl need to shop? Nothing, I say. Well...maybe a coffee. Coffee makes everything better, especially shopping.

I won't say that I really had an expectation on how my items would arrive, but I was actually quite impressed by the packaging. I opened the box and was greeted with a bright, happy pink inside and a Beauty Delivery envelope.

Once I removed the card, there was a sample of their brush cleaning mitt.

At the bottom of the box was another small box that held the brushes. 

I was pleased to see that along with their sample for the cleaning mitt that there was a coupon code. Great way to entice a customer back. 

The sample card explained how the mitt worked. I used it to clean my brushes before I used them and it did a fine job. I just have a hard time paying $39 for a cleaning mitt. Maybe I'll pick one up during the next sale (which I'm sure will be in a year).

 The envelope contained a card with a makeup look and the products used to achieve it as well as a catalog of their items.

And now! The really fun part. The brushes. Each brush was in a logo'd plastic sleeve to keep its shape. There was no padding in the envelope, which I was somewhat surprised about. Not that too much harmed could have come to the brushes, but they were just rolling around in there for the entire trip.

I chose four brushes, two blending brushes, one angled eyeliner brush and a foundation brush.

The brush I knew I must get was the Sigma F80 - Flat Top Kabuki brush. This brush is probably the most popular brush in Sigma's line and I've only heard good things about it. I was extremely surprised by the size. In the tutorials I have seen, the brush looks quite big and able to cover a lot of surface area quickly. I would say it's smaller than the size of a half-dollar. I've used it only twice since I've received it and only with one foundation, so I don't feel like I can give it an accurate review. The first day that I used it though, with Tarte's Amazonian Clay foundation, my coworker touched my face and said, "Wow, Megan! You look absolutely beautiful. Like you are glowing. You're not pregnant are you?!" I laughed pretty hard at that reaction. I'd like to stay maybe it was my amazing make up skills but in all likelihood, it was probably the brush. ;) This brush retails for $24.

The second brush on my Sigma must-try list was the E25 Blending Brush. Maybe the second most popular brush? Who knows. It's a very soft blending brush that is great for the crease. Many makeup enthusiasts have multiples of these babies so they always have one clean and ready to go. I've used it already once and I must say, it took a lot of the work out of blending. It sure was nice! This brush retails for $14.

Meet the Sigma E40 Tapered Blending brush. Perfect for placing product right where you want it and then blending it out. This one and the E25 work beautifully together. Retails for $16.

I debated on purchasing a few other brushes as my fourth choice but I sure am glad I got this little number. You know how sometimes you just want a nice, thin line of eyeliner and every time you even dare to achieve it you ended up with thicker liner than you have ever worn? With this brush you have less of a chance of that happening. It gets right there near your lash-line and glides right over the eye. It's a beautiful thing really. You can actually control how thin or thick you want your eyeliner. I love it. I haven't had a chance to do a winged liner with it but I'm hoping this weekend I'll get some time to play. Retail is $14.

Over all, I'm really happy with my purchase. I placed my order on October 23, I was sent an email saying that due to the high volume of orders there would be extra lag time for shipments. It shipped on October 29 and I received it on November 6. Had there not been a sale, I definitely would've taken advantage of the Prime shipping on Amazon, 

Do you have any brushes from Sigma or do you prefer a different brand? Let me know in the comments below! 

Psst. This is not a sponsored post. I purchased these brushes with my own hard-earned birthday money (turning 27 is damaging, yo!). Okay FINE. I purchased these brushes with kizzedy-cash that my Dad and Delia so generously gifted me for turning 27. They don't know or work for Sigma. I'm pretty sure my Dad would just get confused if I told him I bought brushes to paint on my face. He's clueless. kthxbye.