For the Skeptics: My Top 5 Reasons for Staying in a Social Marketing Business

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“That’s a lot for a pair of leggings.”
“I’ll just grab the wax melts from Walmart.”
“That much for a wrap?? I’ve got Saran wrap and lotion.”
“Gummy vitamins work just fine.”
“Who pays that kind of money for mascara?”
“I heard you can drink apple cider vinegar to lose weight.”
“I can find affordable jewelry at TJ Maxx.”
“Pink drink? I take gummy vitamins, I’m good!”
“I don’t need fancy cookware, I just buy the cheap stuff.”
“People are crazy for spending that much on shampoo.”
“Skincare is skincare. Whatever works!”

I’ve heard all of those things. Heck, I’ve said all of those things. I will be the first to admit: I absolutely never, ever, EVER thought I would be part of a social marketing company. I made fun of people in them and thought they were naive and annoying. If you read the first post I wrote when I started with my company, you know that already. But I wanted to share a little bit more about what I do, because I think people need to know why my perspective on this industry changed. I’ve spent too much time worrying what others think, and I’ve finally decided to quit worrying and just do my thing.

For years, I have watched people do all kinds of things to provide for their families. White-collar jobs, blue-collar jobs, chopping firewood, selling produce, flipping houses, trading guns, breeding dogs, selling handmade goods on Etsy, baking desserts, opening boutiques, taking photos, running salons, freelance writing, blogging, cleaning houses – the list goes on and on and on. And the most amazing thing is, friends of these entrepreneurs can’t wait to show their support. They share their social media posts, visit their businesses often, spend money on their products or services, and encourage others to do the same. It’s beautiful!

But what if that same person decided to to join a social marketing company?

Few likes.
No shares.
Little to no support.
Snarky comments, eye rolling, smirking, and pity.

Whyyyyyy??? 

This seems like a total double standard to me. Why are we so quick to cheer for our friend opening a new brick-and-mortar clothing store, but when another friend joins a social marketing company and chooses to start sharing the clothes she already wears and loves, we unfollow her on Facebook and start avoiding conversations with her? Where is the disconnect??

I know what part of the problem is. It’s *those* people. You know the ones – the ones who stalk you. The ones who make every conversation about their products or business opportunity. The ones who, although you are complete strangers, add you to their groups without asking first and send you awkward, pushy messages about why you should join their team or buy product from them.

Listen, I GET IT. Those people are the worst. I know, because I’ve been one of those people. I made so many mistakes in the beginning of my own social marketing journey, and if you are one of the people who I offended or frustrated, I am so incredibly sorry. People like that represent the industry poorly, and that’s exactly why I had such a bad taste in my mouth about it for such a long time. But now, after being part of one for a few years, I finally understand that not everybody is like that. Not everybody sees you as nothing more than another prospect. And it’s silly to villainize an entire industry just because a few people aren’t doing it right.

Here’s why I’ve stayed WITH MONAT.

1. I got to start my own “business” without going bankrupt. I’ve always had a tiny entrepreneurial streak, but the thought of starting a business from the ground up was intimidating. When I became part of MONAT, literally everything was done for me. Marketing, my own website, a Customer Support team, training materials, manufacturing, shipping, samples, full-size products – everything I needed was right at my fingertips, and I didn’t have to create any of it myself. It would take tens of thousands of dollars to do all of that if I was starting my own business elsewhere, and it would take a long time to start actually seeing a profit. With MONAT, I made my startup cost back, plus more, in less than two months. I don’t have to keep inventory; I don’t have to make anything by hand; I don’t have to package and ship anything; I don’t have to pay employees. Nearly all of my work takes place online or on the phone. It’s honestly perfect.

2. I would use the products even if I didn’t sell them. I wish so badly that I had taken more “before” pictures. But truthfully, no picture can tell you how healthy my hair is now. It is as shiny as a new penny, it feels weightless and luxuriously soft, and there are so many hair woes that I don’t have to deal with anymore, like dandruff, acne on my hairline, split ends, getting oily quickly, and frizz. I’ve gone back and used multiple other brands several times, including expensive salon brands, just to make sure I hadn’t talked myself into liking MONAT more because I sold it. But every single time, my old hair problems started to come back, and I felt like my hair was coated with product and weighed down by it. After the third or fourth time, I finally decided it’s just not worth trying anything else, because nothing else works as well.

3. My income has paid for some seriously epic stuff. Because of MONAT, Daniel and I got to fly one of our wedding photographers to meet us at Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska and take anniversary pictures. I mean….seriously?? We never could have done that if not for my extra income, and I will cherish those pictures forever. I’ve also been able to randomly treat myself and buy things I would normally feel guilty spending money on, like Steve Madden boots. I got to take one of my best friends on a little shopping spree, just because. And I even earned a free trip to Las Vegas and got to take Daniel with me!

4. I love the flexibility. With any other business, if you’re not open, you’re not earning. But with MONAT, it doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing or not doing; I am literally always earning residual income. Shampoo and conditioner are consumable products, which means you eventually run out and need more, which means I earn income from my client base every month because someone always needs more. The other great thing is that this gig can be as big or as small as I want it to be. I know people who joined simply to have the product discount, and I know other people who have quit their own full-time jobs AND retired their husbands because of how much income they are bringing in.

5. The “before and after” stories are one of the best parts. Getting texts from friends with before-and-after pictures and excited messages about how good their hair feels is SO special to me. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to hear their stories, and to see the results other people have had on social media. Hair is such a huge part of our self-esteem, for women and men alike, and it is an honor to have helped so many people fall in love with their hair again. Hands down, it’s one of the best parts about what I do!


I still forget sometimes that I’m in social marketing. And honestly, I think it’s because I don’t feel like a salesman. Seriously, I don’t. Sharing shampoo is exactly the same as telling a friend about your new favorite restaurant or the great movie you saw last weekend. People recommend good things every single day. The only difference is that some of us actually get paid for it.

Social marketing was never for me until I found MY company, until I found something that became a permanent life change. At the end of the day, everyone you know – including someone in a social marketing business – is just trying to do the best they can for themselves, their families, and their futures. That’s all. People choose all kinds of ways to make and save money. And maybe, just maybe, social marketing might be for you too!

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Shout out to my friend Cassidy for inspiring this post! ♥

Vegas, Baby!

Once again – I am blogging about Vegas WAYYYY too late, but better late than never! This mini-getaway was SO much fun, especially since the majority of it was free!! I earned the trip as an incentive through the hair products company I’m part of, and I’m so glad I worked my butt off and got to go. We felt like total tourists and didn’t even care, ate amazing food, and soaked up the gorgeous view from our hotel room. I will never forget walking into our room on the first night, pushing back the curtains, seeing all the lights from the strip and screaming “We’re in a free hotel room!!!” Such a cool opportunity, and hopefully not my last!

Our strip started with three absolutely heavenly things: Hopdoddy Burger Bar (with fries so good they might make you cry), Starbucks (the only place where “Daniel” is too difficult of a name to spell), and a double rainbow sighting at the airport right outside our gate.

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I love traveling, but especially when it’s with him. ♥

We had a choice between Paris and Planet Hollywood, and on the advice from several friends, decided to stay at Planet Hollywood. And I’m really glad we did. The room was huge, the hotel was modern and fun, and like I said – our view was spectacular.

For our first full day in Vegas, I spent most of the day in training, and it was AWESOME. The energy in the room; the stories that were shared; being the first to find out about new products and updates – I loved every second! Daniel had to entertain himself while I was busy, but we met for lunch at Gordon Ramsay’s burger place inside our hotel, and yummmmmm. Super good.

After lunch, Daniel told me I had to try one of the old-fashioned slot machines with the handle you pull – so I did! I put in $10, got it up to $15, and got nervous, so I cashed out. Haha!

We had some free time in the afternoon, so we decided to walk around the Strip a little before it was time to get ready for the gala that night. It felt like we were right in the middle of the action!

Watching the fountain shows in front of the Bellagio was one thing I really wanted to do while we were in Vegas. Luckily, we got to see them multiple times, including from our own room!

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After our mini walking tour, we headed back to fancy up for the evening.

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MONAT had reserved the entire second floor of the hotel for our event, and even took over the elevators!! It was so fun getting to dress up, eat dinner with my friend Juli and her husband, and then dance (and photobomb other people’s pictures) at the reception after dinner! Easily one of the most fun things I’ve done with MONAT so far.

I just love her.

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And him. He was such a good sport that night.

The next two days were free days to ourselves! We spent Thursday exploring more of the Strip and eating ridiculously good food.

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Our first stop was the Bellagio, which was right across the street from our hotel. I had read about the gorgeous chihuly ceiling in the lobby, and I wanted to see the conservatory and botanical gardens as well. They did not disappoint!

They change the displays out every season, and we got to see the fall display!I was blown away by the size of those peacocks. See all the different colors in their feathers? INDIVIDUAL ROSES.

 So. Many. Roses!!!

We also got to see the world’s largest chocolate fountain…

…AND this massive sports bar with virtually every game that could possibly have been on at that moment. (Probably not the world’s largest but still enormous.)

After taking in everything there was to see at the Bellagio, we walked over the Caesar’s Palace and wandered around in the Forum Shops. We made it just in time to watch “The Fall of Atlantis,” an animatronic show with special effects…

…like actual flames!

We had lunch at the Bacchanal Buffet inside Caesar’s (O…M…G) and then headed back to the Strip to walk off the 30 pounds of food we ate. Seriously – best buffet I have ever been to. You know how most buffets have, like, decent food at most stations and then one or two really good stations? At this place, EVERY station was the good station. They had gourmet sliders and fries, mini chicken and waffles (my fav), make-your-own street tacos, sushi, kobe beef, a dozen kinds of pasta, seafood, a crêpes station, gelato…….I truly don’t know if I have ever been that full after a meal, before or since.

Even though it was quite a walk (and once we got there, I got real depressed thinking about having to walk all the way back), I’m really glad we made it up to the Venetian. The Grand Canal Shoppes were really beautiful, and I loved watching the gondolas! Plus, we found a really cool hat shop and some giant art installments to take cheesy pictures in front of.

These next two pictures are literally just pictures we took for other people – the Holsteins one is for my family (“Holshteen’s books eez eh book shop”, lolllll) and the Transformers one is for Daniel’s brother, Isaiah. :)

Thursday night, we had dinner at this fabulous Italian place that Daniel’s boss had recommended called Scarpetta. It’s inside the Cosmopolitan and gets two thumbs wayyyyy, way up. Literally the best pasta I’ve ever had. And after dinner, we went to see DAVID COPPERFIELD!! Which I sadly took no pictures of, because it’s not allowed. Lol.

David Copperfield is a legend, and I was really pumped about the chance to see him in person. Although, I have to admit – his show felt just a teeny bit stale, almost like he was a bit bored with it. I kind of get it though. After all, he’s been doing this for decades. But still, what a show!! He did multiple things we had no explanation for, including making enormous objects appear and disappear out of thin air. Definitely entertaining!

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On Friday, our final day in town, we wanted to visit Fremont Street. I wish we could have gone at night, but it was still neat to walk around and look at all the old neon (and people watch – there are some weeeeeeirdos in Old Vegas!!).

We ate lunch at a cute little place called Therapy that had amazing deconstructed s’mores and took a walk through Container Park, an offbeat mini shopping center built from shipping containers. The playground in the middle looked like a giant tree house. We were obsessed with the atmosphere and spent almost an hour just hanging out on the terrace before we had to head to the airport for our flight home.

Probably one of the funniest parts about planning this trip was trying to figure out what to do with our free time, besides eat. I remember googling “what to do in Vegas if you don’t gamble or go clubbing” and was a little surprised by how many articles popped up about things to do with your kids in Vegas. And I was just like, whyyyy would you ever take kids to Vegas?? Who knows.

All things considered, I don’t know that Vegas would have ever been on our bucket lists, but hey – if someone tells me I earned or won a free trip somewhere, I’m gonna go!! Thanks, MONAT, for an awesome getaway! ♥

 

Did You Know?

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Did you know that when you buy something from a network marketer or small business owner, you’re not just buying a thing? You’re not. You’re buying more than a book, some lipstick, a piece of decor for your house, a photography session, or a bottle of shampoo.

You’re buying hundreds of hours of planning, failures, and experimentation.

You are buying days, weeks, and months of frustration and moments of straight up JOY.

You are buying a piece of someone’s vulnerable heart, a part of a dream being realized, a moment of someone’s life.

And most importantly of all, you are buying someone more time to do something that they are very passionate about.

MONAT doesn’t replace my income, and it doesn’t need to! I love my job, and I’m thankful to have one. I never set out to make a million dollars with this little side hustle anyway. But you know what it DOES allow me to do?

I have extra money to get a new pair of jeans if I want, or buy a bunch of fun decorations for a baby shower, or get fresh flowers to keep in the house just because I love fresh flowers. I get to contribute, little by little, to a vacation fund to take Daniel on a trip for passing the CPA. I don’t feel guilty spending money. I don’t worry about the little purchases adding up at the end of the month. AND, on top of all of that, I get to hear the sweet stories about people falling in love with their hair again because of the best products in.the.world.

I truly can’t say thank you enough to everyone who supports my business, whether you’re a one-time customer or you try something new every month. ;) You’re doing so much more than just buying shampoo from me. You’re making possible those little things that add sunshine to my life. Thank you for contributing to my joy!

Happy weekend, y’all!

Unboxed: May and June Birchbox

So guess what? I finally did it! I’ve been playing around with the idea for months, but I finally cancelled my Birchbox subscription. I quit for two reasons: (1) I just have way too many samples that I haven’t even had a chance to try yet, and (2) I’ve been getting a lot of hair product samples lately, and I don’t use them because MONAT is so much better that it’s not worth screwing up my scalp and my hair with lower quality stuff.

I figured some of you still might want to see my last couple of boxes, though, so here you go!

— MAY BOX —

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Sample #1: GOLDFADEN MD™ Doctor’s Scrub
I’ll be honest – this is one of the samples I haven’t gotten a chance to try yet. But it smells awesome and I really do like products like this. I just recently decided to try the Rodan + Fields microdermabrasion paste, thanks to my girl Charity Keller, but I’ll give this a whirl sometime soon!

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Sample #2: Davroe Ends Repair
Yet another hair product sample that I won’t be using. :(I was impressed with the size of the sample though; most samples aren’t this big!

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Sample #3: Another Oud by Juliette Has a Gun
Nope. Nope, nope, nope. Too musky for me.

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Sample #4: ModelCo Lip Lacquer Trio
THIS. This gloss is awesome. I wish I had gotten all three colors, but I think this one would be my favorite anyway. It’s a perfectly light shade of rose with a tiny bit of shimmer, and it’s moisturizing without feeling sticky! I have their lipstick trio and LOVE the pink and the red, so I had a feeling I would like the gloss too.

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Sample #5: COOLA® Classic Face Sport SPF 50 White Tea
I have liked COOLA products in the past, but I didn’t really find anything necessarily special about this one. It did smell like white tea, which I liked! But I didn’t feel like it really moisturized much. I used it right after washing my face, and my skin felt tight and weirdly dry after about 10 minutes. If I had used it strictly as a sunscreen, I probably would have liked it a little more.

— JUNE BOX —

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Sample #1: Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel – Body
I love love love exfoliating stuff, so this one was a win for me. I used a smaller version of this product before that was specifically for my face and liked it in the past, so I figured I’d like this one too! The grapefruit scent is so yummy, and it really seemed to help slough off some of the bumpiness on my arms.

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Sample #2: Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day SPF 30 UV Sun Fluid
The jury is still out on this. There’s been days that I used it that I love it, and days that I’m not so sure. If anybody wants to know what I think about it when I finish the sample, let me know in the comments!

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Sample #3: ARDENCY INN MODSTER Smooth Ride Supercharged Eyeliner
This was a new brand for me! I had never heard of it before, and I love that about Birchbox – how easy it was to learn about new brands without paying hundreds of dollars. I’ve been partial to my Eyeko liquid eyeliner, but every so often, I deviate and use an eyeliner pencil. This one draws on very smoothly, but it didn’t seem to be very long-lasting. I liked how creamy it was though; some eyeliner pencils make me feel like I’m scratching my eyelids off, and this one didn’t!

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Sample #4: Kiehl’s Precision Lifting & Pore-Tightening Concentrate
I didn’t really notice anything special about my skin after using this – but I am one of the lucky girls who doesn’t have large pores. If I did, maybe I would have noticed..? Am I the only person who wants to know why we need 27 different creams for all the different  issues we have with the skin on our face??

Sample #5: Etat Libre d’Orange Dangerous Complicity
I didn’t really like this scent, but the designer in me loved the little triangular compartment it came in – it made me think of Tiffany Newton! :) The scent smelled like fruit, but with spicy, woodsy undertones that made my nose burn a little. It was a little too intense for my taste.

The biggest reason I didn’t quit for so long was because I was afraid I would lose my Aces status and reward points. As an Ace, I got free shipping and priority with customer service, and I earned reward points for reviewing samples and spending money on full-size products. But I found out that if I ever decide to go back, my old account info and points will still be there, so I quit worrying! Thanks to those of you who gave me advice!

Happy Wednesday, people!

 

Jamaican Vacay

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I hope I never reach a point in my life when plane travel isn’t this much fun! I love traveling with Daniel, of course, but I love traveling with our families too – there’s something comforting about being surrounded by Hendricksons on a plane. :)

We spent Friday night before our flight in Thackerville so that (1) we would have a shorter drive to the airport and (2) we could leave our German shepherd named Fitz at the house so he could play with the other dogs while we were gone. (Also, he turned a YEAR OLD while we were gone! I never thought I would be sad about missing a dog’s birthday…I was wrong.) The next morning, we headed to Dallas to meet more of the siblings at the airport. And of course we got Auntie Anne’s, but if I didn’t document it, did it really happen…?

My biggest mistake was wearing jeans. I usually wear jeans even when we are headed to the beach because I freeze on the plane, but then I just change as soon as we get to the resort. Little did I know how much standing around/waiting/walking what felt like 4 miles to our room we would do. Needless to say, jeans were a bad decision and literally the first thing I did once we got to our room was peel them off and put on shorts.

To be honest, I really didn’t take very many pictures, and I don’t feel bad about it AT ALL. Like I mentioned in my vacation preview post, we came into this vacation with basically no agenda, and it was AWESOME. We spent most of our time eating, laying on the beach, snorkeling, and avoiding the random rainstorms by watching movies in our room, and aside from getting a little sick, I wouldn’t have had it any other way!

Highlights from the trip include:
– the water (the color blows me away every time!)
– cliff diving and snorkeling in caves
– eating lobster on the island
– my 90-minute massage…heaven!!
– the gorgeous sunsets
– hanging out with almost all the Hendrickson siblings

Hands down, the best part was no obligations. Setting an alarm, eating healthy, keeping track of what time it was, putting on makeup – I didn’t worry about any of it. AND, I didn’t have to cook or clean anything for an entire week!!
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Final thoughts for future beach vacations:

(1) Maybe reconsider jeans for the plane,

(2) Take more swimsuits,

(3) Never stop using MONAT because it kept my hair from drying out,

and (4) Never take a hair straightener to the Caribbean again. Pointless.

Needless to say, I’m already looking forward to the next trip on our calendar: we have another family trip planned for next summer with the Simma side!! Where are we going, you ask? That’s a secret…for now! ;)

Unboxed: April Birchbox

I swear, every time I’m seriously considering quitting Birchbox for awhile, they put something AWESOME in my box! I have this fear that I’m going to quit right before I discover something else I didn’t know I wanted until I tried it. Silly? Maybe, but there it is.

imageSample #1, 2, and 3: Davines OI Shampoo, Conditioner, and All in One Milk
Gosh, where to even start. Historically, I’ve just gotten rid of my hair care samples since I started using MONAT. But since this box had THREE products in the same line, and I had used Davines before MONAT and really liked it, I decided to give them a try. I hadn’t used any other brands on my hair for 6 months, and curiosity got the better of me: would I really notice a difference if I tried something else besides MONAT? The answer was a resounding YES. I made these samples last a full week of showers, and I could already feel/see my hair changing. My hair was soft, yes, but it also felt kind of heavy and sticky from the new products instead of weightless and soft, and it was much less manageable. I started shedding a lot and getting acne on my hairline again. It took forever to dry and style, and my color became duller and less shiny. I’m not making this up!! I was stunned by how many things happened in such a short period of time. I can’t believe I used to put up with all of that and think that it was normal.

Sample #4: The Beauty Crop PBJ Smoothie Stick
I LOVE this lip color stick. It’s like a giant crayon, only creamier. The color is the perfect pink, and it’s not too bright. It goes on matte and lasts a decent amount of time! I wouldn’t necessarily call it “long-lasting”, but you don’t need much to touch it up.

imageSample #5: Aquareveal™ Satin Bright Soft Water Peel for Face
Still haven’t gotten a chance to try this one, but it smells divine! The reviews on it look really promising too. I’m a little nervous about using a peel, but everyone says the texture and the way your skin feels afterward are both great.

imageSample #6: Juliette Has a Gun Anyway perfume
Perfume samples are probably my least favorite because I’m really picky. The last time I got a Juliette Has a Gun sample, the scent was too strong and musky for me. But this one was a pleasant surprise! So far, I’ve only used two perfumes loyally, and this one might become the third musketeer.

imageSample #7: Au Naturale Cosmetics Trio Set in ‘Lovely’
I wasn’t a huge fan of the actual colors in this set, but the texture was nice! I think I would like them better in different colors – it’s hard for me to visualize, but I did like the quality of the products.

I’ve got lots of fun content coming up this month, including my May Birchbox, a Walmart Beauty Box, pictures from our family trip to Jamaica, and more! Stay tuned. :)

 

Jamaicanspiration

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I seriously can’t stand still because our trip is SO SOON!! I’ve been mentally packing my bags since January, but now it’s actually time and I’m freaking out a little because of how much is left to do before we leave.

So far, our itinerary for the week looks like this:

Sunday: relax
Monday: relax
Tuesday: relax
Wednesday: relax
Thursday: relax
Friday: relax
Saturday: cry because we have to go home

I almost don’t believe that it’s finally time to get on a plane because we’ve known about the trip for so long. It’s been torturous I’m ready to have zero responsibilities other than soaking up the sun and stuffing my face for a week, and I know Daniel is too after months of studying for the CPA. (Speaking of – he takes his third test out of four tomorrow, so please say a prayer for him!)

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I also never imagined I would hear myself pray, “God, I just really need longer leg hair.”  The last time I shaved, I used the cream shave that MONAT created for their new men’s system, and I SWEAR it stunted my leg hair growth. Which I guess is good? But not when you have an appointment scheduled to wax said leg hair off for your beach vacation. I’m definitely using the cream shave from now on if it keeps my hair from coming back, but for the next few days, you’ll probably be able to find me googling “how to make your leg hair grow faster”.

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 One of my favorite parts of traveling is the packing! I love picking outfits to wear and figuring out how to fit a lifetime of stuff into a too-small suitcase. I’m obsessed with this compilation by Jones Design Company and definitely using it as inspiration for our week. Although I could honestly pack a couple of swimsuits, snorkeling gear, and some sunscreen and be good to go. :)

Stay tuned for a post with my outfit picks and packing tips!

Unboxed: March Birchbox

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I think it’s official that I will never post one of these during the month I actually receive it.

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imageSample #1: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser
I haven’t gotten to use this yet, but it has 4 1/2 out of 5 stars on Birchbox’s website! I’ve heard really good things about the brand.

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Sample #2: Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate
I hate the price, but I LOVE THIS STUFF. This is the second sample I’ve gotten, but I didn’t mind because it’s incredible. It’s a super-hydrating, light-as-a-feather serum that you can apply in the morning or at night, and it feels so smooth on your skin!
Sample #3: Shiseido ULTIMUNE EYE Power Infusing Eye Concentrate
Basically the same thing as Sample #2, but specifically for your eyes. I like it, but I think if I was going to purchase one of them, I would get Sample #2 and use it around my eyes too.

imageSample #4: Living proof.® Perfect hair Day™ (PhD) Fresh Cut
I know this is backwards from what I said in my last Birchbox post about getting rid of my other hair products…but I almost want to try this, just to see how it compares to MONAT! I haven’t used any other brands on my hair since October (besides dry shampoo), so I’m pretty sure I would notice a difference. I’ll keep you posted.

imageSample #5: Smashbox Photo Op Eyeshadow Trio in ‘Filter’
Smashbox has always been one of those brands that I want to try, I’ve just never talked myself into spending the money on it. I’ve only used this trio once, but each color was highly pigmented and seemed to last awhile!

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Sample #6: amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo
I can’t lie: this stuff is awesome. I really hope that MONAT comes out with a dry shampoo this year, but in the meantime, this is my dry shampoo brand. Obliphica smells SO good, and I’ve never noticed any whiteness or flakes when I use it! And if that’s not enough, it has over 48,000 reviews on Birchbox. 48,000.

Bonus: here’s a freebie review from a product I ordered separately! Remember the Arrow lip balm I reviewed in February? DO NOT GET IT. It looked great on my lips for about five minutes, but I think I had some sort of reaction to it, because it made the outside of my lips puffy and bright pink. When the balm wore off, my lips felt drier than they did before I put it on. SO disappointing.

BUT! I found this stuff a few weeks ago and was impressed by the reviews, so I bought it with my Birchbox reward points. IT. IS. AWESOME. The brand is called Lipstick Queen, and the color is Jean Queen. One reviewer described it as “your lip color but better.” The color difference is subtle, but it’s very hydrating and soft. I absolutely love it.

You might recall me mentioning that I’m thinking about giving up my Birchbox subscription. Honestly, I’m not sure what to do and I’d love your input! On one hand, I really enjoy trying out new products, and of COURSE I love getting stuff in the mail every month. I like getting reward points to use toward free full sizes. They’ve done a great job of giving me lots of different brands and products; I’ve had a subscription for three years now and I’ve only gotten a repeat sample once or twice! I’ve also found nearly every makeup favorite from samples I’ve gotten, especially my eyeliner and mascara. But that’s also the problem – I’m pretty much settled with all of my beauty favorites now. And now that I’m using MONAT exclusively, I’m guaranteed to have quite a few hair product samples that I won’t really use anymore. Pro: it’s only $10 a month. Con: I’ve still got a bucket full of samples that I haven’t used yet, and every month adds more to the bucket.

What do you think? Should I keep it, or ditch it?

30 By 30

Uh…….. I’m turning 26 in two days.

Let it be known, first of all, that I LOVE my birthday. I’ve loved every single one of my birthdays. I love my birthday so much that I kind of maybe irrationally expect everyone else to know when it’s my birthday, and if someone who knows me doesn’t wish me happy birthday, I’m disappointed that they forgot about my birthday.

That said. Turning 26 is weird.

Turning 25 felt exciting, like I became a new kind of grown-up. I felt important in a more sophisticated way. “Oh, me? Yeah…I’m 25.” (Cue the smug smile.) Turning 26 feels a little like waking up the day after you run a marathon: you’re proud of what you’ve accomplished, but also a little bit ready to just die already.

To cheer myself up, I’m taking a leaf out of a fellow blogger’s book! My friend Caitlin Boswell from Absolutely Bositively created a list of 30 things to do before she turns 30, and I’ve decided to do the same! I’m obsessed with list-making, and I like having stuff to look forward to.

30 By 30

1. Have babies.
This one makes me go “…….whaaaaaaaaa!??!?!!?!” a little bit, but it belongs on the list. :)

2. Take an Alaskan cruise.
Daniel and I have had this on our list for awhile! We loved the Caribbean cruise we took last April, but the next one we go on will have to include mountains, snow, and whales.

3. Pay for someone’s dinner anonymously.
Someone did this for us once and it was so neat! I want to make someone else feel the way I did.

4. Go on a big adventure.
I’d love for it to be some crazy awesome vacation, but I left this one vague for a reason because with Daniel as my best friend, who the heck KNOWS what shenanigans we’ll get into in the next 4 years.

5. Throw someone a surprise party.
I. LOVE. SURPRISES. SO. MUCH. And I love throwing parties, so this is pretty much a necessity.

6. Read 10 new books.
First on my list is a gift from Daniel: Bossypants by Tina Fey!!

7. Learn how to curl my hair.
I know…I know. :( I’m stylistically challenged, but my bestie got me a curling wand for Christmas, so I have no more excuses.

8. Make a complicated recipe.
You know what I’m talking about – the one you’ve had pinned for four years but never attempted because you’re daunted by the ingredients list alone? I’m gonna do it.

9. Complete the 52-Week Money Challenge.
Seems easy enough! And it’s enticing to think about getting to the end of a year having saved that much so simply. The hard part will be not dipping into it for spontaneous unnecessary purchases, like a dog sweater that Fitz would destroy before wearing it but it would look so cute OH MY GOSH.

The Color Run - the happiest 5K ever. I will do this.:

10. Participate in a Color Run.
I hate running with my whole being, but this looks really fun.

11. Deliver meals to new parents.
Because allllllll my friends are having alllllllll the babies. And also because I love to give gifts that they’ll actually appreciate and use!

12. Turn MONAT into an actual job.
This is a biggie, and I kind of scared myself by putting it on here. But this is something I really want.

13. Host a backyard dinner party.
I’ve wanted to do this for years, and now we F I N A L L Y have an awesome backyard to do it in! Come on, summer!

14. Plan a “stay-cation.”
How delicious does it sound to take an entire day off from work, dress up your bedroom like it’s an upscale hotel room, and do nothing but watch movies and EAT? Ahhhhh.

15. Take Fitz on a trip.
I’m not 100% sure that including this one wasn’t a huge mistake, considering he never stops moving right now and is a hyper terror on walks…but after all, he is still a puppy. He’ll grow up eventually and I would love to travel somewhere fun with him as a sidekick!

16. Create a new annual family tradition.
Any suggestions?? What’s one of yours?

photos from each state they visited - glued onto a giant map and cut to fit the shape of the state.:

17. Make a map of places we’ve visited.
I really like this one, this one, and this one. Can’t wait to make one and put it on the wall!

18. Take anniversary pictures with Daniel.
I told myself “Oh yeah, we’ll take pictures every year after we get married!” and that definitely hasn’t happened. Time to be a woman of my word.

19. Spend a long weekend tucked away in a cabin.
Nothing is for sure yet, but we *might* be able to check this one off in a couple weeks! Eek!

20. Update my home decor.
Since we got married, my decorating style has been a weird combination of re-purposed wedding decor, homemade gifts we’ve been given, and odds and ends I’ve bought on clearance from random stores. I’m ready for everything to go together so I feel happy and comfortable when I walk in a room.

21. Make our backyard fun.
I am bursting with ideas, and first on my list is globe lights!

22. Grow the blog.
To be completely honest, I’m not really sure what I mean by “grow” yet. Maybe it’s monetizing, or extending my reach, or writing content that goes viral. Or maybe it’s none of those, and it’s simply learning to create without apologizing for it. We’ll see!

23. Take a group vacation.
When Daniel and I took our Caribbean cruise, we kept thinking the whole time how fun it would be to go back with some of our friends. Fingers crossed that this one happens soon!

24. Give away a few blessing bags.
I discovered these via Pinterest and they are SUCH a neat idea. I hate driving by homeless people with nothing to give them. My goal is to make a couple and always keep one or two in my car.

How To Host A Favorite Things Party! | Twin Cities Moms Blog

25. Have a “Favorite Things” party.
This sounds like so much fun! I think the most complicated part will be deciding what my “favorite things” are – I have wayyyy too many favorites.

26. Visit 5 new states.
It’s really sad how few I’ve visited. The west coast is completed untouched, so this one will be really easy. Especially if we make that Alaskan cruise happen!

27. Go on a fancy dress-up date.
There’s something about a dress that really fits, scarlet red lips, and a good pair of heels that makes a girl feel sassy. We went on one in Dallas about a year and a half ago as part of a marriage retreat weekend. We were the most dressed up we’ve ever been (besides wedding clothes, duh), and we STILL didn’t feel quite fancy enough to be there. We had a blast!

28. Really establish a cooking/cleaning routine.
I’m convinced I’m the worst wanna-be housewife in the entire world. I really really want to be good at things like cooking and cleaning and scheduling, and SOMEtimes…I am! I do like to cook, and I love organization. But somehow I just haven’t mastered the art of housewife-ing. And I want to. So bad. My poor husband.

29. Publish my book.
O     M     G.
Those three words together are terrifying. But it’s honestly long overdue. I need to quit kicking the idea around and actually do it.

30. Take a road trip.
I love the idea of having an ultimate destination in mind but just hopping in the car and driving without too much of a plan, stopping whenever we want, and finding funny little things to take pictures of along the way!

What do you think of my list?? Any suggestions?

To find out how I’m doing at crossing things off, visit my 30 By 30 page.

Why I Drank the Kool-Aid

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I actually did it. I drank the MLM Kool-Aid, and I’m still laughing about it.

I used to hate MLMs. For years, I was completely over seeing a newsfeed full of marketing for products I supposedly needed but couldn’t care less about. And yet somehow, miraculously, surprisingly, weirdly…….I drank the Kool-Aid. I drank the Kool-Aid, and now I have my own hair products business.

Why did I do it? Lots of reasons! Something MONAT encourages you to do is figure out your ‘why.’ Your ‘why’ is what motivates you, something that helps you keep pushing when you want to quit, something that makes all of your work worth it. I had a hard time choosing my ‘why’ because I have too many of them. More on that later.

I resisted the opportunity at first, as I have so many others before it, but for some reason, MONAT kept coming back around. After months of back-and-forth, I finally made a spontaneous decision to do it, which was both exhilarating and terrifying! It’s all thanks to my former boss and friend Juli, an angel who took a chance on the world’s biggest skeptic.

Here’s my story, with every bit of sincerity my heart holds. Please keep in mind two important things: (1) First of all, as I said before – I’m the world’s biggest skeptic and the very last person who would ever get into this kind of business. This decision wasn’t made lightly. The fact that the company was still intriguing to me after all my research and cynicism is nothing short of a miracle. And (2) second of all, I’ve been approached by no less than 20 different people from all kinds of MLMs and even tried some of the products, but THIS is the one that finally got me hooked.

For those of you who have never heard of MONAT, here’s a few bullet points:

  1. It’s a brand new debt-free hair products company that was founded in 2014, and the only network marketing company that deals exclusively with hair care products.
  2. The product line is botanically based, pure, and toxin free (which means no parabens, phthalates, sulfates, glutens, or harmful fragrances or colors).
  3. The products work for all hair types: fine, thin, coarse, thick, dry, oily, and everything in-between.
  4. The major results of the products include crazy good shine, volume, strength, healing/smoothing, balance of oils, and even regrowth!

The company also offers the opportunity to be part of a million-dollar company in its first few years in business, which is what I did. This is a huge deal. The hair product market is already a multi-billion dollar industry because hair products are consumable: you use them up and need to buy more. Most people try dozens of different hair care lines in their lifetime and either get bored or frustrated because the products stop being effective. This happens because most products are tailored specifically to one type of hair issue. My products tackle them all.

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The first time I heard about MONAT, I didn’t get what the big deal was, and I wasn’t impressed even after trying a few samples. I never had major problems with my hair, so my first experience wasn’t all that special. It didn’t bubble up when I shampooed (which I found out was a bad indication of my hair’s health!), but because I was expecting lots of bubbles, I thought the shampoo didn’t even work for my hair. Another friend of mine had extra samples, however, and she gave them to me to try. I made those samples last for two weeks’ worth of hair washes, and by that point, I knew MONAT was something I had to check out because I was disappointed when I had to go back to my normal shampoo and conditioner. My results were very noticeable after only five washes, too good to overlook. My hair was infinitely stronger, and a months’ worth of split ends had vanished. I used to get out of the shower and wonder how I had any hair left (I shed like a cat!), and I noticed less shedding with each wash. And the SHINE. It was unreal. I thought my hair was shiny before….! No. Nothing compared to this. I was blown away by how healthy my hair looked and felt in such a short period of time.

Even with tangible, noticeable results, I still wrestled with choosing whether or not to join the business. I didn’t want to make the wrong decision, and I didn’t want money to become my primary focus in life. If I’m totally honest, my biggest fear was what people would think about me. I didn’t want to be one more obnoxious friend trying to sell something. After a few weeks of prayer, I felt confident that God was telling me ‘no.’ I didn’t want His answer to be ‘no,’ but it was. I respectfully declined Juli’s offer, and a sense of calm and relief came with that ‘no.’ I knew that even though God’s answer wasn’t what I wanted, I was still willing to be obedient and step back.

Fast forward about a month.

I hadn’t stopped thinking about MONAT. I was sure of my choice for the time being, but it was still in the back of my mind. I considered it a very likely part of my future, especially if I stayed home with kids someday. I wanted a way to contribute to our family even if I wasn’t working a full-time job, and during my year of thinking through different ideas, MONAT stood out the most. I imagined myself in the business, dreaming about the events and the networking opportunities and the fun and the financial strength I knew others were experiencing. In a moment alone in my car, I said, “Lord…I’m not sure why I’m still thinking about this. Was your answer a ‘not yet’ instead of a ‘no’?” I kept thinking about it for the next week, praying for peace. The last day of September, that peace came. I got in touch with Juli again, putting the ball in her court and trusting God with either answer – and His answer was a resounding ‘YES.’ My brain has been a wild party ever since.

Since taking that leap, I’ve learned a lot about myself. For example: I panic way too easily. I don’t like change, even good change. I talk myself out of things constantly. I give up on things too quickly. But this business commitment is changing me. In my mind, I’ve almost psyched myself out – but I’m not quitting. I’m in this. I committed, and I’m sticking with it no matter what, because of my multiple ‘whys.’

My first why? Haha…I just wanted to make my initial investment back, and I did! I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, that the opportunity was worth the time and money I invested. But once I met that goal, I developed other bigger reasons to keep working:

  • I want to be obedient to the Lord’s ‘yes’ and use my talents to honor Him.
  • I want(ed) to finish paying off our student loans (which we did!!).
  • I want to support our church more.
  • I want to send more college students to do mission work.
  • I want to buy my husband something expensive, just because I can and I love him.
  • I want to save money every couple of months on hair products that I actually like.
  • I want to go on an Alaskan cruise for our 5th year anniversary.

I have a WEALTH of reasons, and they dwarf my fear of failing.

This is NOT just selling shampoo (even though it’s really baller shampoo). It’s the chance to stay home with my kids, whenever I have them. It’s the opportunity to have financial freedom. My goal in the beginning wasn’t to make a million dollars. It was to make $500 by December (a goal that I met, and then some!). What I want is to build a team of people who want the same things I do and are willing to take a leap of faith just like I did.

At the end of the day, MONAT or not – God sustains me. God knows what I need, and He’s always taken care of me. That said, I believe this opportunity fell into my lap at a unique time, and I know He’ll use it for His glory and for my good. I trust Him with my life, and any work I do is to glorify Him, including MONAT.

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Want the healthiest, best version of your hair that you’ve ever had? Me too.
Interested in owning your own small business without going bankrupt? Me too.
Want to pay off your student loans or credit card debt? Me too.
Want to save up for a vacation or a house or a car? Me too.
Want to be able to financially give more to your church? Me too.
Let’s be honest…could you just use a few extra dollars each month to make ends meet? Me too.

If you want to kick it with me MONAT-style, I would love to tell you more about it. Here’s my website if you want to take a look, and if you have questions, just ask! If the business side isn’t for you, give the products a try! No pressure to participate, seriously. But I can promise you this: once you see the difference it really makes on your hair, you’ll never want to use your old stuff ever again.

P.S. I will mention MONAT now and then, but not to worry – it will not become the focus of this blog, as it was not and never will be its original purpose. I’ll keep the quality stuff coming. :) 

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