If you guys watch my Instagram Stories, then you know that I have been furiously hunting for a full face of drugstore makeup that rivals my high end. Well y’all, I’m excited to say that it’s MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. And I have to be honest… I have had so much fun testing out all of these products and I have been blown away in the process by discovering how far the drugstore has come. So I have rounded up every holy grail, use-it-every-day product below and all you have to do is click on the graphic to shop them.
To be clear, if a drugstore product is listed below it means that I firmly believe that it performs equal to – if not better than – its high end counterpart. I even added hearts next to products that blew me away!
Before you get to shopping, a couple things to note – if you are going to try one thing from this post, make it Wet n Wild’s Photo Focus Foundation. It is only $5 and life-changing! I HAVE to try its stick version too because I think it’ll be perfect for touch-ups throughout the day. Also when it comes to concealer, I feel like I have tried a ton looking for a good dupe to Shape Tape and I can’t believe that NYX did it. But do not get Can’t Stop Won’t Stop confused with their HD concealer because CSWS is MUCH more full coverage and hydrating. And finally, if you decide to try the amazing $2.99 liquid eyeliner by Essence, make sure to get the waterproof version. It will make achieving winged liner a breeze.
If you know me, you know that I’m certainly not the authority to speak on organization, but we’re all feeling extra confident after a few episodes of Marie Kondo so here goes…
Let’s begin with a little backstory – I moved in to Jeremy’s bachelor pad after we got married a couple years ago. He had a bonus room upstairs that he wasn’t utilizing and relinquished it to me; which was a fabulous choice for both of us because I am able to conveniently hide all of my crap in a very low-trafficked area of the home and he’s able to retain the closet space he needs in the bedroom. But while the square footage of the room was substantial, the vaulted ceilings presented unique design and storage challenges.
I have shared my cloffice in the past (check it out HERE) and while I was happy with how the space turned out, I found myself working in other rooms of our house the more and more disorganized the space became. So, I recently reworked a handful of areas and added a few critical storage solutions and I can’t believe how much more use I am getting out of it. Come along with me as I share some easy, game-changing storage and organizational tips that will satisfy the spark of OCD in us all 😉
The KonMari Method says start with clothes so let’s do it! As a full time fashion blogger, I have clothes arriving quite often that I work to share with y’all in an expedited manner. Since this bonus room unfortunately doesn’t feature a closet, it was a necessity to purchase a clothing rack in which I could hang up outfits that I needed to shoot. I scored this particular clothing rack for under $40 at At Home, but since you can only shop in store I shared a similar option above.
The addition was great and much needed, but this little corner of my room always looked so cluttered until I invested in matching hangers. I found these acrylic and gold hangers on Amazon. A little extra, yes, but my clothes deserve it! (LOL) This is seriously the most simple little change that makes a BIG difference.
Next was tackling accessories… which just so happen to be my weakness (as evident by the photos). I began by purchasing these storage cubes to act as a television stand as well as additional storage. I make sure to keep books on display that spark joy, baskets for various smaller bags, scarves, etc., and a sunglass stand that allows me to see exactly what I have. For larger purses and hats, I added this over the door hook organizer to capitalize on the small amount of vertical space the room features.
Speaking of, I can’t say enough good things about my Glambox Jewelry Box. It is certainly an investment, but it is one that’s worthwhile. The tough thing about little baubles is that if you can’t see them, you won’t wear them. Glambox solves this problem and then some! Having a dedicated place for necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings brings about an incomparable satisfaction. Worth every penny.
Finally was my ever-growing shoe collection. It had driven me nuts going from room to room to put together an outfit, so I utilized a hidden corner of the room for heels, sneakers, and booties, and put an over the door organizer for my sandals and clutches. For OTK boots, I keep them in a neat line underneath my ottoman.
Most game-changing of the entire cloffice re-work was creating a dedicated vanity space so that my cosmetics weren’t spilling over into my work station. If y’all have been following along for any length of time, then you know that I am equally (if not more) passionate about beauty as I am about fashion. I love trying new products and am on constant hunt for the best of the best. As such, my collection has grown generously.
For over a year, I had been using my desk as my vanity, but it just wasn’t making much sense anymore. So I removed the bottom shelf off of the console table I had in the corner that served more as a decorative feature than as utility. I added an acrylic bench and voila! Instant vanity. I can’t say enough about the peace of mind having all of my makeup in one dedicated space provides. But this space isn’t quite complete yet! Since this is technically a console table and not a desk, I am planning on investing in this amazing slay station so I can continue to grow my collection and eventually begin filming some YouTube videos!
Piggy-backing off of the last topic was reclaiming my desk as a dedicated work space. When a room lacks storage, a large desk becomes a catch-all of books, bags, makeup, drinks, etc. Think of it like the token corner chair in everyone’s room that no one sits in but you throw everything onto. So once I had removed all of the makeup out of the drawers and off its surface, I was able to have a big, clear working space and have all of my papers and office supplies at my finger tips again.
To keep my business organized I not only use a planner, but also my free blogging planner printables (which you can find HERE). I always keep the Revenue Spreadsheet front and center! As a blogger working with brands, it is difficult to keep track of compensation dates because each company/agency has a different payment cycle. On top of that, companies each pay different ways (direct deposit, Paypal, check). I fill all of this info in to my revenue spreadsheet and clip a copy of the contract into the back of the planner. When payment is resolved, I highlight through the campaign.
Another fun touch to my desk space is the addition of this personalized desk calendar. I chat more about it HERE and have a discount code too, but I love having pictures of my loved ones and memorable travel in order to keep me motivated.
Thank you so much for touring my updated cloffice space! If you have any storage solutions that you swear by, be sure to share them in the comments below.
2018 sucked. It was honestly the hardest year of my life and I’ve gone back and forth with whether or not to share this with y’all because I strive so hard to keep this space positive. Heck, some of my closest friends didn’t even know the extent of my struggle and even worse, many people still don’t believe that mental health problems are legitimate. To be honest, I had absolutely no idea how debilitating they are until I was in the thick of it myself. But to keep the most all-encompassing part of my life over the last year a secret from you because of my own insecurities about it seemed dishonest. And nothing made me feel better than opening up about it to friends and realizing that some of the strongest people I know are going through the same thing. So here goes…
I developed panic disorder last January and spent the year fighting with all of my might to overcome it. In its early stages, when I was still struggling to understand it, I honestly felt as though I had slipped into agoraphobia. What I had originally thought was a disorder reserved only for the weak is surprisingly indiscriminate.
If you know me personally, you know that I’m so outgoing that I’ll talk to a wall. And I’m fearless. I’ve been skydiving twice, hung my feet out of a helicopter, and even moved to Charlotte after college not knowing a soul to pursue my dream of working in NASCAR. I have always prided myself on my fierce independence and positive sense of self. I didn’t think anything could rattle me… until this.
Before we get into it all, I want to preface this with the obvious – I’m not a doctor. These are my own personal experiences and this disorder is different for everyone. Consult a psychologist or your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms.
Jeremy and I booked a Caribbean cruise leaving from Puerto Rico at the beginning of 2018. I had been on a number of cruises, including one in the Mediterranean only six months earlier, but for some reason I didn’t have the same excitement as I have previously had for a vacation. The night before our flight, my legs were shaking uncontrollably. I knew something was off, but I blamed it on being cold.
I was fine on the flight and the cab ride to the cruise terminal. We’d booked a dinner at an Italian restaurant upon boarding and that’s when more symptoms set in. I had lost my appetite; so much so that the smell of the food made me nauseous. I blamed the stomach ache on what we’d eaten the night before, but things only escalated from there.
I woke up the next morning feeling like I needed to throw up. I couldn’t catch my breath and my heart was racing. On the off chance that the pounding subsided, I was so exhausted that I would pass out for hours. This living hell persisted for a couple of days before we made the decision to visit the ship’s doctor. After running a few standard tests, the doctor found that I was not only dehydrated, but my heart rate was sky high. He hooked me up to fluids and gave me an EKG. The fluids helped, the EKG didn’t show anything irregular, and he gave me a Valium to sleep off whatever it was that was causing the sickness.
After a couple more days in bed, I felt better enough to actually disembark the ship and explore the gorgeous Caribbean islands that I had been missing. I felt far from myself, but after a few rum punches I was able to enjoy the day. Unfortunately, the flight home presented even more symptoms. Standing in the security line, I began to loose feeling in my fingertips. My mind raced. And your mind can jump to some really dark conclusions if you let it.
Upon arriving in Atlanta, I hijacked my mom’s doctor’s appointment. I knew something was wrong and I needed to speak with a professional. I hoped that he would tell me I had a virus and prescribe me some medicine and everything would be better. But after listing my symptoms, he shot it to me straight: I had severe anxiety.
Back home in South Carolina, I found myself wanting to remain at home. I threw myself into household chores to distract myself and much preferred when Jeremy was home to keep me company. I later learned that all of these feelings are common for anxiety sufferers. But with the NASCAR season looming in early February, I knew I was going to need to muster all of my courage to head a few states away from home for the week to Daytona.
In Florida, away from my daily routine, I was overcome with the disorder. I avoided social situations, fun nights out, even Disney World! But nothing was as triggering as standing on the grid for the national anthem pre-race. As I saw the cameraman approaching, my symptoms ramped up. I knew that his footage would be broadcast live on national television. My internal dialogue was less patriotism and more about not passing out on TV. When it was over, I was exhausted. Combined with the stress of the race, I slept the whole seven-hour car ride home.
I booked a therapist appointment immediately. It was certainly a good first step, but I needed more. Throughout this past year, anxiety would sneak up on me without warning – driving down the road, getting my nails done, when I first wake up, standing in line, etc. The more I educated myself on anxiety, its grip lessened, but all I wanted was my old life back.
THE TURNING POINT
Fast forward one full year to January 2019. It was time for another cruise before the NASCAR season began and we decided on Hawaii. I had reservations about flying so far away for another cruise, but I had resolved not to avoid uncomfortable situations any longer. A week before the trip, our church did a series on prayer culminating in a week of daily targeted prayer sessions that members of the congregation could take part in. On Sunday, we were encouraged to write our requests down and leave them on the stage. As I was leaving for Hawaii in a week, I just asked God for the strength to overcome this disorder and to help heal me.
Little did I know that the trip was the light at the end of the tunnel. I woke the morning of our flight with the same sense of uneasiness. I was going to be facing my triggers at the highest level – security lines at the airport were longer than usual thanks to the government shutdown and once I was through TSA, I had a 10-hour flight to look forward to. But amazingly, my anxiety didn’t spike. I felt even more confident upon arriving in Hawaii and even more so after a couple days on the ship. This horrible scenario I had built up in my head just didn’t exist. It had just taken one major push for me to realize it. I had spent so much time avoiding what I perceived to be triggers instead of facing and overcoming them. The fear of a panic attack had kept me from partaking in a year’s worth of activities and unbeknownst to me, those activities could have helped.
Flash forward again to last week. My parents watch church online and told me the recent sermon was important for me to hear as it coincidentally centers around anxiety. The pastor interviews psychologists who break down why our generation is seeing a spike in anxiety and it put so much into perspective for me. With the introduction of social media, 24-hour news cycles, podcasts, YouTube, and more, we are constantly aware of every terrible thing happening in the world. Combine that with a near constant feed of your peers’ highlight reels and the subsequent loneliness that social media can cause – its a recipe for comparison, stress, and potential depression. It was everything I needed to hear and I immediately flashed back to that simple prayer request and how its impact was undeniable. You can listen to the sermon HERE (scroll down and click on ANXIETY) – it is a MUST-LISTEN.
THE WHY & THE HOW
I wanted to share my story because it was terrifying not understanding what was happening to my body. It’s tough to believe that so many of us literally feel like we’re dying and yet there’s still such a stigma around it. But I had been so silly to be embarrassed because more people in my life than not were struggling with the same thing. I can pinpoint major steps forward in this journey, but there were also little things along the way that helped pull me out of its grasp. Being open about what I was experiencing was beyond therapeutic.
Ridding myself of avoidance behaviors was another huge step. I had to face places, people, and experiences that I perceived to be triggering only to find out that taking trips, flying, going to concerts, standing in lines, etc. were not going to cause panic attacks. If I had gone on a cruise sooner, it might not have taken a whole year for me to move past this.
Finally, I had to cut myself a break. My doctor told me that women in their early thirties are who he sees the most about anxiety and panic disorders. There is a unique pressure on us that men or women of other ages might not understand. It had me examining my own life. In the year prior I had gotten married, moved states, changed careers, changed schedules, and began living with my husband for the first time. All the wedding planning and moving must have distracted me and it took a 10-day vacation for my mind to dump all the stress on me at once.
This all leads me to now. The NASCAR season kicked off and I knew I’d be facing the last of my triggers: being broadcast on national television for the national anthem. That little red light and a camera in my face had always caused shakiness, high heart rate, and me praying not to pass out on TV. But as the singer began and I saw the cameraman approaching, I felt at ease. Jeremy nudged me to let me know that not only were we broadcast on Fox Sports 1, but also on the Jumbotron at the racetrack. And as I looked up at myself on the screen, I realized that anxiety’s grip on my life was gone.
As I mentioned previously, I went to a therapist once last year and honestly, I wish I had gone more often. She explained to me that you are never fully cured of anxiety. Fight-or-flight is an innate animal instinct that serves to keep us alive. As such, there will be things that trigger it for the rest of my life. But with a year’s worth of education under my belt, I am feeling well equipped to kick its ass should it rear its ugly head.