I wanted to do a fun, light post about a few of my favorite things for fall. I have a lot of new segments coming up this month, so please keep coming back to my little space on the internet if you want to keep walking in this journey of life with me. These are five of my favorite cruelty-free beauty finds:
1. Jane Iredale Blush I mentioned recently that I’m obsessed with Jane Iredale makeup. Not only is it cruelty free, but it’s super light and feels good on your skin! My new favorite purchase is their blush. I wear the “flawless” shade, and I like it because it has a little bit of a brown undertone, which makes me feel like I’m wearing a tiny bit of bronzer.
2. Klorane Dry Shampoo Oh my gosh. This is the best dry shampoo I’ve ever used. Not only does it smell incredible, but it also doesn’t leave white powder streaks in my hair when I use it. I’ve tried a lot of different brands with my Birchbox subscription, but this is by far my favorite!
3. Rodan + Fields Lash Boost Yes, this is a shameless plug for my business… But the reason I became a consultant for R+F is because I am obsessed with their products, so this wouldn’t be a complete list without my favorite fun beauty buy! My lashes have become incredibly long and full (check out the way they were before I started using this product), and I couldn’t be happier with my results. I have like, six other products I’d love to ramble about, but one of the funnest ones is the Lash Boost. People are always asking what kind of mascara I use now, and it’s crazy, but it doesn’t even matter. They look great no matter what type I put on — or even if I decide to go makeup-free.
Shoot me a message on Facebook if you want to hear more about it and get a 60 day risk-free trial!
4. Pure Cosmetics Nude Collection Eyeshadow This is such a beautiful eyeshadow palette. It reminds me of a matte Urban Decay Naked palette. I — like every other girl in the world — mainly just use a couple of their colors, but they offer great options for a nice, clean everyday look.
5. Adesse New York Nail Polish I love my new cruelty-free nail polish. Everything on this list was cruelty free, as I am obsessed with little furry critters. This is such a beautiful color for fall, and it goes on smoothly and stays longer than most that I’ve used.
Tell me, what are some of your favorite products for fall? I am so excited that it’s October, and am trying to enjoy the fashion and weather while it’s still nice and crisp out. Sound off in the comments; I always love new beauty finds!
How many times have you heard someone utter the words, “I can’t wait until tomorrow,” “I can’t wait until Friday,” or “I hate Mondays?” I find myself saying this on days I feel sick, lonely, or even just bored.
Somehow the future is always more bright, beautiful, and easier than today. Nobody warned us that there would still be trials, loss, and unplanned twists and turns where you least expect them. That being said, why do we still always hope for tomorrow to come, even when we have so many blessings today? I think a big part of it has to do with boredom. It’s hard to sit still and have a mundane schedule and so much easier to “live for today” when today is exciting and great.
Getting sick with POTS really opened my eyes to the harder parts of life. One of the most difficult lessons I’ve learned is that the future isn’t promised, and some dreams may never come true. You know what else I learned from these lessons, though? That this is all okay! I learned that you have the opportunity to grow and learn from trials, and that you can always handle so much more than you realize. I learned that sometimes the hardest thing you have to go through can turn into the biggest blessing you’ve ever had, and that God’s plan for you is even better than what you have planned for yourself. Finally, I learned that sometimes all you can do is take life one day at a time, and focusing too much on the future can actually be harmful when you are dealing with a particularly difficult trial.
Instead, on the harder days I try my best to list my blessings. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve surely seen my “Five Blessings” posts. This was the most recent one:
Instead of having the mindset that life is going to be better tomorrow, count the blessings you have today. Don’t get me wrong; it can be really hard sometimes, but if you can find even just one thing to be grateful for, life quickly feels a little bit easier. Sometimes you need to just take baby steps, even if it’s just counting your blessings — one day at a time.
Update: Still trying to change my domain to KristaLauren.com, but it’s taking forever because I need technical help and it hasn’t been the biggest priority on my list. Keep in mind this site will be changing, though!
Here is something written by my lovely mother about getting diagnosed with skin cancer. I wanted to share her post because I think it’s really important for people to know more about the dangers of the sun. I hear so many of my friends say they are going to the pool to “tan,” and I understand wanting to have nice color, but it can come at a very high price. I’ll do another post soon about a few of my favorite products (self tanner, bronzer, vitamin D tablets, clothing items, and a few other things) that keep you healthy and make you feel like you have a nice, summery glow. Without further ado, though, here is my mom’s message about skin cancer.
One of the biggest fears most people have when getting a diagnosis from the doctor is hearing the “C” word, and in March that’s exactly what my dermatologist told me I had.
As a child I spent most of my summer days in our backyard pool or at the beach. My mother always insisted I wear a t-shirt over my swimsuit since I was fair-skinned, and thankfully she always kept me in a sun hat. As I got older I admired my sister and friends who could get a deep, golden tan, which is when I started using concoctions like baby oil mixed with iodine to attract as much sun as possible. My best friend and I would sit out in the midday sun when the rays were their brightest in hopes of looking like the model on the Coppertone ad.
As a young adult, I discovered that nearly anyone could get a “healthy” looking tan by going to the tanning booths that were popular in the early 80’s. It seemed like they were everywhere, and everyone was doing it. Looking back I am so happy that I only purchased one package, as I hated the strange smell and the claustrophobic feeling they gave. The beach was still my favorite place, so whenever I had an opportunity to travel I chose somewhere with lots of sun and sand.
I have always been interested in health and wellness, which is why I decided to become an esthetician many years ago. By then I knew that any kind of tan is considered sun damage. I did whatever I could to avoid having sun on my face and always used a good amount of sunscreen. My kids who were avid swimmers never left the house without being slathered with sunscreen and an SPF shirt. I lovingly nagged all of my clients about the danger of too much sun exposure and my “platform” was reinforced when a sweet young man treated his mom to a relaxing facial with me. He had driven her straight from the hospital. To my horror, when she removed her hat she had a giant scar from one side of her scalp to the other and had received the diagnosis of terminal melanoma. Her sweet son was treating her to something he hoped would make her feel better. That poor lady and her son will be forever ingrained in my mind, so you can see why this has always been one of my most important platforms when educating my clients.
This leads me to my doctor’s appointment this past March. I have always been diligent at getting my annual skin cancer screenings. It’s never fun sitting in the paper gown knowing that someone will be scanning every part of you from head to toe, but the alternative of not being checked could always be worse than the embarrassment, so I bit the bullet and went into the office. “No changes, you look fine,” the doctor said. I showed him a very tiny dry patch of skin just below my throat that I had been concerned about. “Oh that’s nothing,” he assured me, so I left feeling confident and proud of myself for being able to cross the annual appointment off my “to-do” list. A couple months later I accompanied my daughter to the same dermatologist for one of her appointments. Before the doctor left the room I asked him if he would mind taking a look at that tiny patch of dry skin again that he had dismissed as normal before, and told him I had tried exfoliating it but that it kept coming back. Again, he took a look with his doppler glasses and said casually, “Nothing!” I felt relief, because in the back of my mind I kept thinking of that poor lady and her sweet son who had visited my esthetics office some years back.
About three months passed and I went to my family doctor for my annual checkup. During the exam, I showed her the tiny patch below my throat and she said she wanted me to see the dermatologist she refers to, so I went to see him that Thursday. I showed him the dry patch and he biopsied it right then and there in the office. He told me if it was positive, someone would call me within 3 business days. Tuesday rolled around and no call. Great, I thought! I’m in the clear. Another week passed, then another. Several weeks later the phone rang. “I’m calling to tell you that your biopsy was positive for cancer,” I heard on the other end of my phone. Wait, didn’t they say they would call within three days? Now my mind was racing back to months before when I had first asked my dermatologist about the cancer I now realized had taken residence in my body! When I asked the bearer of my news why she didn’t call me sooner she simply said, “Ma’am, we have a stack of calls to make every day.” I asked her what my next step was and she said the doctor would do the surgery to remove an inch around the area. My first concern was getting these rogue cells the heck out of my body, but realizing this scar was going to be significant and unable to hide above any neckline outside of a turtleneck I said I would get back to her to make the appointment — I wanted to check with a skin surgeon I knew of who was also a plastic surgeon. Then she informed me that by law I needed to let her know within a few weeks that this procedure had been completed. Why then did it take the dermatologists’ staff three weeks to let me know I had cancer in the first place?!
Due to the busy demands of the doctor, yet another three weeks passed before I was able to reluctantly go in for the surgery. The surgeon performed what they call MOHS surgery, which is a procedure in which they take as little tissue as possible and test it for cancer cells right away. They continue to take more if necessary until it is all gone. I was so thankful that it only took one “pass” until I was told they had gotten it all. They stitched me up, put dressing on the wound, and told me they expected to see me again as most people who have these types of carcinoma become “repeat customers.” That was the last thing I wanted to hear.
Shortly after the procedure I was talking with my friend and described my cancer patch to her. She grew quiet and said she had the same kind of thing just above her eyebrow. “I’m sure you are just overly-concerned because of what I just went through,” I reassured her, but knew there was always a chance, so suggested to get it checked — just in case. She phoned me a couple of weeks later to let me know that her doctor had found bad cells!
My platform for maintaining healthy skin now feels even more important and I am asking you to thoroughly check yourself. Get on the phone and make that yearly dermatological appointment to get yourself checked head to toe. A good exam includes the doctor checking your scalp, behind your ears, between your toes and even inside your mouth. If you have a strange feeling about a mole or a freckle or a dry patch of skin that just won’t go away, get to the doctor as soon as possible. If you feel that someone might not be right about your diagnoses, it never hurts to get a second opinion. Early detection is your best friend.
My scar is healing well. A couple of weeks ago I knew that my incision was healed enough to use my needling roller to smooth out the scar. I honestly can’t believe how much that has helped! I’m guessing there will always be a small scar but I will wear it proudly as a reminder for myself and others to take precautions when outdoors, and to always get your annual dermatological skin screening.
Seeing women supporting women is one of my favorite things in the world.
Something that has made my heart so incredibly full has been all the incredible support I have gotten from friends and family since announcing my new business with Rodan + Fields. I haven’t been able to work since I got sick with POTS right after graduating college, so having a job is a really exciting thing for me. I’m stoked to have something really productive and fun to do with my time, and I want to use this business to change the world. I know how ridiculous that may sound, but as someone who as suffered with pretty bad acne for years I know just how great it is when you are able to stop focusing on that and feeling confident in your own skin. Clearing my skin might not have changed the world at all, but it changed my world and the way I looked at myself.
The greatest joy my heart feels is when I’m able to help someone feel confident, strong, and like they are a really valuable human being. One of my superpowers is seeing the beauty and strength in others, and I want everyone I meet to know that they have something beautifully unique to offer the world. I do think that each person on this earth can add some sort of value that others cannot, and people often fail to see just how amazing their potential is.
Now that I have a job that is all about lifting others up I am so excited to see what the future has in store for me and my friends. All are welcome on my team, and I want to create a special little nook of women to cheer each other on, support one another, and be there for each other. I like to think of Rodan + Fields as my own personal team of friends who are there for fellowship and to help make the world a better place by helping one person at a time. I want to build people’s confidence by giving them beautiful skin, but even more than that I want to help people build opportunities that will make their lives better.
I still think my purpose God gave me in the world is to be a cheerleader to everyone I form a bond with. I have a heart that loves to see others succeed, and even though my life changed drastically and I haven’t been able to pursue my own dreams of becoming a journalist, I have been so happy seeing my friends chase and surpass their own dreams. For as long as I live I know my heart is going to keep beating fast for others, and no matter how hard things may get I will always get joy from watching people figure out why they are so important to the world.
If you’re interested in hearing more about joining my team shoot me a message on Facebook or email me at Krista.firstname.lastname@example.org. All are welcome, and I am excited to be able to spoil and lift up all of my business partners as we go on this journey together.
Okay, so it’s been forever since I told y’all I was moving to cruelty-free beauty products, but I finally feel like I’ve tried enough to actually share some reviews. I have subscribed to a few different beauty boxes — ipsy, Birchbox, and FabFitFun — and am a VIP member at Sephora now that I have been in so many times to switch up my beauty routine.
I decided to do my review in a similar manner some of the subscription boxes do, by showing off one of my favorite makeup bags with 5 products I recommend. The reason I’m linking everything to Sephora’s website is because I joined their beauty program that lets you pay just $10 for free shipping on any order for a year. What?!
Without further ado, here are a few of my “Must Have” cruelty-free staples:
Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara Let me start off by saying I love Tarte cosmetics. Every product I have tried I’ve really enjoyed, but this mascara is thebomb.com. Not only does it give my lashes volume, but it lengthens them and gives them a beautifully full look. I really could not say enough great things about this mascara, and between the cruelty-free testing and incredible product, Tarte has a new lifetime customer.
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion I didn’t know the power of primer until I started using this baby. Currently I am kind of obsessed with bronze and gold eyeshadows, so I use my Naked palette or Pure Cosmetics shadows over the primer to create a fun everyday look. The Urban Decay eyeshadow primer makes these colors so much more pigmented than they would be on your naked eye, and sets a really nice foundation to add eyeliner to if desired.
Edward Bess Deep Shine Lipgloss Oh my gosh. The way this lipgloss smells combined with its stay-power is amazing. It takes a little bit of getting used to, as it’s a stickier formula than I’m used to, but after just a couple of wears I have become a loyal fan.
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil It’s safe to say UD is one of my favorite makeup brands, (Along with Tarte and Jane Iredale) and I was so relieved to hear that they are also cruelty-free. My favorite eyeliner color is “Perversion,” as it’s a super-basic black that can go with any kind of look. I would say it’s a bit on the heavier side, though, so use it sparingly!
Zoya Nailpolish Anyone who knows me will vouch that I always have some sort of fun polish on my nails. Needless to say I was devistated when I found out that OPI does, in fact, test on animals, and that my enormous polish collection had to be done away with. Thankfully, though, my last FabFitFun box had a beautiful subtle pink shade of cruelty-free brand Zoya nailpolish. I am in love with this brand now, and can’t wait to try other colors. It’s really reasonably priced and has incredibly trendy colors. Horray for loving animals and beauty!
What cruelty-free products do you think should be a staple in my beauty bag? I would love more recommendations, so sound off in the comments!
One of the sadder parts of having a chronic illness is when you question your own self-worth. When you’re in your twenties and chronically ill it’s really hard seeing all of the people around you traveling the world, working towards their dream job, and having fun in whatever way they see fit — whether that is going out with friends late into the night, playing sports and working out, or taking a spontaneous road trip with a big group of friends.
Some days it’s hard for me to do anything other than rest, and sometimes I have to cancel plans at the last minute because my autonomic nervous system decides that I shouldn’t be comfortable enough to do an activity. This becomes especially heartbreaking when I feel like I’ve let my loved ones down by not being able to do something that they want to. It sometimes makes me wonder why they choose me to play the special role of “best friend” or “girlfriend,” instead of someone who can be carefree and fun all the time. My chronic illness is probably my biggest insecurity.
My cardiologist must literally be an angel, as he has been so kind and comforting since the beginning of my illness. Since we have gotten to know each other, anytime he looks at my heart on an echocardiogram he looks puzzled and then says, “Krista, your heart is too beautiful for this world” with the most genuine smile on his face. It makes me tear up because I know he’s talking about something different than my physical heart — as that often beats a little too fast for its own good. He is instead referring to the core of my being. This little comment serves as a reminder that just because I sometimes feel broken or like I don’t have an as important purpose in the world as others does not mean that it’s the truth.I know other people who are sick or have struggles that make them different, and they have become even more incredible because of what they’ve been through. During times of loss, we often gain a new sense of empathy, a new appreciation for life, and a great deal of strength we never knew we had. Hardship can make us bitter, or it can be something we use to connect with others and help make them feel less alone. This is the sole reason I write so openly about my own struggles.
God puts people on this earth and lets them have hardship sometimes, not because He doesn’t love us or has forgotten about us, but instead because He wants us to glorify Him in all we do — that includes using our own heartache to lift up others. Sometimes our purpose is greater than fulfilling our own dreams.
My heart was broken. Yes, now I have an awesome boyfriend, wonderful family, and friends I know care deeply about me, but at 22 years old I had to give up my dream to live in a big city and write for Seventeen magazine and begin the fight to get my life back. Since that day three-and-a-half years ago I have chosen to push forward, even when I don’t necessarily feel like it, and never give up hope. There are a lot of things I haven’t done that I would have loved to do. I wanted to live in New York City again and I wanted to have an incredibly fast-paced, spontaneous job because that’s what I have always enjoyed so much. I love interviewing people and learning more about their stories, I love keeping up with teen trends and offering my advice to young women, and I have always wanted to make a positive impact on the world starting with our youth.
But God has a different plan for me than the one I had for myself. I can’t handle the stress or physical pressure a job in journalism has, but I can handle being vulnerable and toss aside my pride to show people that they are absolutely not alone in the world. I can handle publishing my deepest thoughts on a platform like this, even though not everyone will understand everything that I write about. Perhaps most important, though, through my struggles I have learned to love others deeply — whether or not I am their cup of tea and whether or not we have similar beliefs or values.
I still have days where I feel insecure about the way my life is with POTS, and I wonder when it will be my turn to actually live like I’m in my twenties. When I start feeling like this, though, I try to take a look at the people around me and notice how many people choose to open up to me and choose to make me an important part of their life. It isn’t because we can go out and have a wild night together or because I am able to get them into exclusive VIP parties. The people I am important to love me because of the way I love, and because of who I am as a person. There are certain “Krista traits” that are unique and special to the world. My power is that I love in a way that is irreplaceable to those who receive it. I will do anything for the people who are closest to me, and I will never turn down an opportunity to show love to those who need it, even if it means sacrificing something on my end. I strongly believe each and every person on this earth has their own qualities that are absolutely irreplaceable too.
Somehow I think a lot of people will be able to relate to this post. I think we all have our own insecurities, especially in a world where it’s so easy to compare. If I have learned one thing from having a chronic illness, it’s that people love those who are genuine and themselves. We are all so different from one another, but that’s what makes the world such an amazing place. People don’t have to have a chronic illness to be able to understand some of the things I have dealt with, such as insecurity and loss. There have been so many times where someone very different than myself has reached out to me and been able to relate to something I have written in their own very different life. We are all humans with the same basic feelings and a desire to love and be loved. Just because you feel broken sometimes doesn’t mean you are not valuable to this world and loved by so many people — some of which you haven’t even met yet. Never doubt your self-worth just because you are different. The best way to make a lasting impact on the world is often because of the differences that you have to offer.
I have the strangest story, but I also think it’s kind of hilarious and worth a small blog post.
Lately whenever I go over to Robert’s place we have a nice time for awhile, but then he starts to complain about being incredibly itchy. At first I thought it was a little funny — Robert is one of those people who kind of jokes around when he complains about stuff, so his complaints don’t always feel as real right off the bat. Anyway, he started joking that he was allergic to me because he only noticed the itchiness when I was around. After a few times, though, I started feeling a little annoyed. Why was it that he only noticed the itchiness when I was around? What if he really was allergic to me? After all, Robert had shared a story with me recently about a woman who is allergic to her husband. Maybe this was a sign that I’m setting him off and need to find a solution… Fast!
I always say I’m not superstitious, but I actually think I am in some ways. I sometimes feel like I “jinx” myself and I do think things can come up in your life for a reason. The older I am getting, though, the more I am realizing there are just a lot of coincidences in life that seem to be signs, but are just more notable than other mundane things.
Anyway, I started thinking about new products I’ve been using, because obviously he didn’t become allergic to me overnight. I get a few different makeup boxes with samples, so am always using something new. I felt really fed up when I started noticing that I was kind of itchy too. I realized that the chronic pain I have had been masking it, but I was definitely a little itchy too. I still couldn’t think of anything I was using that would make someone itchy, though. Especially someone else…
Until I took a shower and prepped my hair for my mom to blowdry it.* As I was running my fingers through my wet hair to put some product in it, I stopped and looked at the sample size container of the heat protection I had just put on my hands. Could it be?!
I flipped the product around to read the back of the bottle and I kid you not, I had a real life Slumdog-Millionaire-style flashback when I saw the word “Rose Hips” on the description.
Holy crap, this is it! I knew without a doubt that this once-amazing, now-stupid hair product was the culprit. Rose hips, after all, are used in ITCHING POWDER. I knew this because back when I was a young prankster one of my friends and I used itching powder** on her brother (Yes, some of my teenage pranks are my biggest regrets, haha). 13-year-old me was curious about what caused the itching, though, and to this day I have remembered that “rose hips” were the main ingredient in itching powder.
Why the heck would a company use something that could potentially be so itchy in their product?! My fingers moved swiftly over my phone screen as I Googled two simple words,
The top result you could click on was “Rose Hips.” I smiled, smugly. Look at you, Sherlock, I thought to myself. You’ve done it again.
I couldn’t change the fact that I had already put the product in my hair, but I threw it in a drawer and locked it away so I wouldn’t go on autopilot and use it again. Ever since I’ve given up this product neither of us have been itchy. It’s official: I, like the Olsen twins, can solve any crime by dinnertime.
*My mom often dries my hair for me, as I have chronic pain in my arms and can’t hold a hairdryer up too long without hurting myself. She is such an angel!
**As an adult I realize this is incredibly immature and mean, but as a young teen it seemed like a hilarious, harmless prank. In all honesty I don’t know whether or not it worked, as it was one of the pranks you could buy from “Five Below,” but I still encourage you to think about others before planning out a prank. Yes, pranks are hilarious (With the right people who think it’s funny too), but only if nobody gets hurt — physically or emotionally — and everyone involved will enjoy what’s going on. Robert and I both love pranks, so I don’t usually mind when he plays a joke on me, and he is always up for a funny joke at his expense too.