Self Help

29 Week Bumpdate

Natalie : June 13, 2017 4:42 PM : Lifestyle

Its that time again! It has been a few weeks but I like to keep the world apprised on how my little parasite is doing now and again.

  • They say that little one is 2.5lbs and about the size of an acorn squash.
  • Feeling a bit more movement now, especially when I get woken up in the wee morning hours by Ocki.
  • My eating is still out of control so I am trying hard to work on that. This probably has more to do with me than the baby!
  • Did the whole glucose testing thing for gestational diabetes. WORST BREAKFAST EVER. Glucose levels came out great though. Hooray!

That is about all that I can think of that seems different. If you can think of anything you’re just dying to know that I’ve left out, let me know in the comments below!

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Lets talk food: Cravings vs Hunger!

Natalie : June 8, 2017 6:07 AM : Lifestyle, Recipes, Self Help

I naturally cycle through periods where I eat super healthy for a few months then I’ll fall off the wagon and treat my body like a garbage disposal for weeks!

Being pregnant I find not just myself but others making excuses for me when I graze throughout the day. “Are you sure you’re eating enough?” or “That’s the baby telling you he needs those nutrients.”

I think that this is something that sooooo many people struggle with (regardless of pregnancy status!) How do you tell if you are actually hungry? And then the BIG QUESTION: If you find yourself eating your emotions or from boredom or because the food is there, how do you stop?

Hunger vs Craving

How much have you eaten already?

It may seem obvious but how much have you eaten already? If you had a decent size lunch an hour or two previously but still find yourself reaching for the bag of chips you might not actually be hungry.

Harder to tell is if you are a meal skipper but graze a lot. Those little snacks sure can add up! Even if you’re not counting calories it might be helpful to write down that handful of nuts you just ate. It might surprise you how much you have actually eaten.

Are you emotional? Bored? Anxious?

Take inventory of your emotional state. A hard day isn’t usually enough to derail me if I’m one of my good streaks but if I’m already mid-month-long-binge then the tiniest emotional upset can cause me to spiral deeper out of control.

Other states of emotion that can throw my eating habits into a frenzy are Boredom and Anxiety. If I’m bored I will grab handfuls of cereal and cookies just to keep my mind occupied. If I’m anxious (which I seem to be alot  :-| ) I will also grab food by the handfuls to take my mind off things.

I’m sure there are other emotions and hormones (hello period!) that can throw one off a healthy eating pattern too! What are yours?

What is it you are wanting to eat?

I’ve heard it said, “If you aren’t willing to eat a carrot stick you aren’t really hungry.” I never eat plain carrot sticks but it is true that when I am eating healthy and am hungry I love things like salads, fruits, and proteins. I am perfectly fine with skipping dessert. When I am in binge mode I can’t stop thinking about the delicious confections in the freezer or the sugary cereals stocked in the pantry.

There really is no nutritional value to be gained from a box of frosted flakes so unless you are about to faint from low blood sugar your body is probably not telling you to reach for the cookie.

 

So you’re not actually hungry. What to do?

If you’re being at all honest with yourself you knew all along that you weren’t really hungry before you polished off that box of Thin Mints. Now comes the hard part. Stop Eating. Put down the chips. Walk away from the freezer. Except that when you are fueled by emotions and are a complete hormonal mess its really, really, really hard to do that. I am still working on my perfect solution. Obviously I would have a slammin’ hot bod if I was good at this. But alas, this article is really for me most of all! Here are some tactics that I have had varying success with and that others swear by:

Distraction

Find something else to do. Read a chapter. Play a game. Wash some dishes. Or best yet — Exercise! Why not burn some calories while you aren’t eating. Plus then you’ll feel healthy, will see yourself as a healthy person, and won’t want to ruin all that hard work.

Rid Thyself of Temptation

My husband hates this one. If I am having a hard time keeping away from a batch of cookies or bag of chips I have been known to throw them away. I will avoid keeping any tempting little morsels in the home until I can get myself under control. Obviously unfair to those who have a little self control and would like a treat now and again.

Portion it Out, Lock it Up

A sort of middle ground between having a fully stocked pantry and an empty freezer. I’ve used the Kitchen Safe before. Portion out the goodies into ziplock bags then lock them up. The box only opens once a day. Get your treat out then lock it up immediately!

Also, when buying treats for Ocki, I spend the dollar or two extra to get them pre-portioned rather than doing it myself. It is a tiny bit easy not to eat them all at once when they come that way.

Write it Down

Sites like MyFitnessPal.com make tracking what you eat a lot easier as they have a database of foods that other users have already input nutritional data for. It doesn’t pass your lips until you write it down. This also helps to give you back control. You can plan out exactly what you are going to eat ahead of time and so there is no guessing.

The “NO fill in the blank” Method

Sometimes getting into writing everything down, counting calories, etc can be daunting after periods of unbridled freedom. I find that it can help to ease back into things. One of my favorites is to self-impose “No snacking between meals.” Other popular variations include “No more soda”, “No more added sugars”, “No meat”…..the list goes on and on. Identify your trouble foods and try to eliminate that food for a set period of time.

Getting to the Root of the Problem

While working on getting back on track is great it really is just treating a symptom. To make a true lifestyle change you’ve got to get down and dirty and identify the real issues that cause you to overeat. What are your triggers? Again, still working on this.

For me, a binge most often starts with eating the unexpected. I’ll be doing great and can have ice cream in the fridge for a month and not touch it even when I’ve had a hard day and am bawling my eyes out. Then an unplanned event with lots of food will come up. Or I’ll let my loved ones convince me to make an unplanned batch of cookies. To me this suggests there just might be some control issues surrounding food. One little mess up is enough to ruin months of hard work. 

I’m going to be honest. I don’t really know what to do about this. Any amateur psychologists out there are welcome to give me their input!!!

Your particular issue might be a little different but to beat the bulge it needs to be confronted.

What are your favorite methods for getting rid of cravings? What are your triggers? Lets help each other out! Give your best tips in the comments below.

 

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10 Minute DIY Chapstick

Natalie : May 27, 2017 8:16 AM : Beauty, Makeup

Last week I had the opportunity to bring you an amazing stretch mark cream and now (thanks again to Infinity Jars!) I get to come back at you today with this super easy chapstick recipe. It seriously took me about 10 minutes to whip it up.

The recipe makes about 30ml or 1oz of chapstick. That is enough to fill up about 2 of these cute little 15ml cosmetic jars. I love that the jar is glass and can be reused. Not to mention the unusual super dark blue color. Its almost black. A little mysterious I’d say :) That dark color makes the jars resilient to the effects of sunlight, keeping the goodies we’re going to make today nice and safe for a long time.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat a small saucepan on low heat and add your beeswax. I used the kind that is already broken into little bits for convenience sake. If you’ve ever worked with beeswax before you know it can be super hard! This makes it way easier to measure and melt. 
  2. beeswaxOnce your beeswax is melted add in your cocoa butter and coconut oil. Stir til melted.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in a few drops of your essential oil. I added like 10 -15 each of vanilla and tangerine.
  4. Pour into your container and allow to cool. Mine didn’t take very long at all. Maybe 10-15 minutes.

That’s it! You’re done! And can I just say that mine smells heavenly. The combo of the cocoa butter + vanilla + tangerine smells exactly like one of the chocolate orange balls that they sell at Christmas. 

10 Minute DIY Chapstick

What do you think? Easy enough, right? Let me know your results in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to stay up to date on all my fun projects and musings!

 

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Beauty Review: St. Ives Coconut Oil Scrub & Garnier Moisture Rescue Gel

Natalie : May 23, 2017 1:57 PM : Beauty

Hello everyone! I hope you are having a beautiful week, starting with your morning beauty routines! To help you out I am reviewing two products for you today. First up is the St. Ives Coconut Oil Scrub followed by the Garnier Moisture Rescue Gel in the dry skin formula.

St. Ives Coconut Oil Scrub

St. Ives Coconut Oil Scrub

St. Ives is famous for its Apricot Scrub. As someone who is fortunate to have not a lot a black heads but somewhat dry skin its never been a go-to product for me personally. That being said, it is a great product in general so when I saw their new version in coconut I decided to pick it up.

I do have dry skin that flakes up a bit sometimes so I do need to exfoliate, I just don’t need to get rid of any oils on my face. I have to say, I’m a fan of this new formula!

First off, it smells yummy. Right now I’m kind of obsessed with coconut scent. Probably because it helps me to pretend its spring in Wyoming :)

Second and more importantly, it is exfoliating AND moisturizing. I can feel the oil and my skin rejoices. So if have oil prone skin this is probably not the product for you. If you happen to have a face like a shedding reptile like I do then this stuff is awesome!

Garnier Moisture Rescue

Garnier Moisture Rescue

This product comes in two formulas, the regular which is an aqua color and one for dry skin that is pink. I got the pink :)

I have never used a gel as opposed to a regular face lotion so I thought it would be fun to try. Plus I like the Garnier line in general. They tend to have a slight citrus smell which is nice.

First thing I notice is a slight tingle. I know some people hate this feeling. I absolutely love  that feeling.

Second thing I notice is it is absorbed into the skin very quickly. Often formulas made for dry skin are a little goopy and take a while to get absorbed. Sometimes I like goopy. It can be nice to feel like your skin is being moisturized for hours.

Final thoughts are that I will stick to goopy for nighttime wear when I am going to be in bed for hours anyway. However, this is a great daytime moisturizer! It feels light and you don’t have to wait very long before applying makeup.

Have you tried any of these products? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

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DIY Stretch Mark Cream

Natalie : May 20, 2017 9:22 AM : Beauty, DIY

When I was pregnant with Ocki I got stretch marks like CRAZY!! I had gained about 30lbs all in all. Really not too bad. I guess I just have a genetic predisposition for it. I did use a fancy stretch mark cream but wasn’t very consistent about it.

So when Infinity Jars contacted me and offered to send some free bottles it really got my creative juices flowing. Wouldn’t it be a ton more fun to make my own? Plus, I get to share my experience with you.

It took a few days for the bottles to arrive. I love that they are glass and totally reusable. They are also very dark in color. I was expecting a deep blue color so I was a little surprised when they arrived and were almost black. The reason for this ultraviolet coloration is to protect your herbs, oils, and other degradables from air and sunlight. Since we’re all about aesthetics I think these jars would pair awesome with a vampy scent or perhaps something with neon coloration!

I picked 3 jars which means two more projects to look forward to in the coming weeks!!! I got the 250 ml screwtop glass jar for the stretch mark cream, the 15ml cosmetic jar for next week’s chapstick, and the 100ml spray bottle for either a homemade poop-pourri or body spray or hair detangler or something to be decided!

The best part is that from now until June 20th you can get a 20% discount from your purchase from InfinityJars.com using code INTREPIDBLISS20.

Inspired by the beautiful glass jars, I wasted no time in getting started with my homemade stretchmark cream. I started by digging into my supply of oils and butters that I have from my occasional forays into soap making. So many good ingredients!

  • Cocoa Butter: Anti aging and scar removing properties.
  • Coconut Oil: Moisturizing and can help delay wrinkles.
  • Shea Butter: Healing and anti-ageing properties.
  • Vitamin E Oil: Repairs damaged tissue.
  • Apricot Oil: Firming and toning skin.

Here we have a pretty much perfect cocktail for healing my stretch marks and preventing new ones. I also added some tangerine and vanilla essential oils for a yummy scent.

Recipe

Instructions

  1. Add the Cocoa Butter to a small saucepan on low heat. The cocoa butter is the hardest of your oils so I melted it first.
  2. Once your cocoa butter is melted add your Coconut Oil and Shea Butter.
  3. Turn off heat and stir in Vitamin E Oil and Apricot Oil. 
  4. Once is cools down a bit add in your essential oils.
  5. Pour into your container and allow to cool. Mine took over 24 hours to cool! It doesn’t hurt to put it in the fridge a few hours ;)

The consistency of mine was a bit thicker than ketchup but not quite peanut butter. You can adjust the consistency by adding more vitamin e and apricot for a thinner product or more cocoa butter if you like it thick.

What did you think of this project? What do you think I should use the spray bottle for? Let me know in the comments below.

Remember to make your purchases by June 20th for 20% off with code INTREPIDBLISS20.

 

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24 Week Bumpdate

Natalie : May 16, 2017 11:01 AM : Lifestyle

Its been a month since my last update. I’m now at 24 weeks. Here’s the scoop:

  • Still look more apple-y than pregnant. That being said, I am putting A LOT more effort into my outfits than I did when pregnant with Ocki and feel tons better about how I look this go around.
  • I can sometimes feel the little one kick, usually in the evenings.
  • One thing that I had forgotten about was the bloating! I don’t have swollen ankles or anything but I am holding onto water like crazy!!! My belly is probably more water retention on some days than actual fetus. I can gain like 3lbs in a day of water weight. 
  • The cravings! I haven’t had much by craving until the past week and a half. Now I just want to eat everything in sight. For like 3 days I wanted a specific sweet potato fry recipe that I hadn’t made in years. It tasted so good. Then I have other cravings like frosted flakes and stuff. Sorry baby, mama knows best on those types of cravings! So yeah, trying my best to distinguish between cravings that could indicate an actual nutritional need and those that I just want because they taste good.
  • Baby’s heartbeat is at 140.

I think that’s about all that has changed. Let me know in the comments if I’ve left anything out!

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5 Things I Love Best about Being a Stay at Home Mom!

Natalie : May 13, 2017 9:45 AM : Lifestyle, Self Help

You hear a lot about the title “mom.”

There’s that hot mess stereotype. You know, we’re all just frazzled Mrs. Weaselys.
That “mom” is the most important job — the way underappreciated but sometimes coddling sentiment.
You hear about moms losing sight of who they are. “Mom” becomes the whole identity, you are a shadow of your former self.

Those are the ones I hear most often and they are at times all true. But you know what? I love being Mom. I embrace it.

Here are my top favorite things about my favorite job description:

Flexibility

Duh. This one is kind of obvious but sooooo true. Being a stay-at-home mom I am able to set my own schedule. There are things that need to get done everyday but I get to choose when. Something comes up. Fine. I just move a couple things around. Bada-bing bada-boom. We’re golden. Sure, waking up at all hours of the night to take care of a sick toddler also comes with the territory but I love being able to change things up on a whim.

Fun

This is also obvious but not talked about enough. We focus a little too much on the monotony, the messes, the tantrums, blah blah blah. Yeah, these things happen more often then not but that’s not all it is. Say it with me now, “Having kids is FUN!” They are hilarious and you just love them so much. You get to go on fun outings during the day and it be totally justified. Baking cookies = justified. Finger painting = justified. Spending three hours outdoors at the park during a weekday = totally justified. None of that is justified on a Tuesday morning sitting in a cubicle somewhere.

Helping my Husband

This one may not be so obvious but I am really glad for the opportunity to stay home and get a lot of the monotonous tasks out of the way. When Dave comes homes he can focus on spending time with us. He doesn’t have to worry about making dinner, doing laundry, going grocery shopping, cleaning up a huge mess, etc. We have a pretty traditional division of labor and it works for us. Those things may not need the most technical skill but they do need to happen. I actually kind of like some of those repetitive tasks. They give structure to my overly flexible schedule :)

Purpose

My Ocki might not be very important to you but I can think of nothing that I have a more vested interest in. I want to see her succeed in every way possible and that means being the very best me I can be. I don’t know if this makes me incredibly selfish or selfless. What it does do is give my life meaning that I didn’t have before. I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up (even in my mid twenties) and now it doesn’t matter because taking care of Ocki is a pretty important job to me and my husband. Probably to her too ;)

Getting to Know this Really Awesome Little Person

This is probably my favorite reason I love being mom. Ocki is just really cool and she gets more personality by the day. It is so much fun to get to interact with her everyday. She is 16 months and already she is so happy, inquisitive, clever, kind, funny, and gorgeous. Can I count the ways I love her? Not really. All I know is she’s already a lot better than I am.

What are your favorite things about being mom? Join the conversation and let me know in the comments below.

 

 

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Kansas City Kids Fun Guide

Natalie : May 9, 2017 12:59 PM : Lifestyle

As the weather warms that means that it is a whole heck of a lot easier to get outside! If you happen to live in Kansas City then you are in luck because there are tons of fun places to take the kiddos. Here are just a few of the places that Ocki and I have visited.

Powell Gardens

This is one of the more expensive items on the list but totally worth it! Its $10/adult, $4 for kids 5-12, and free for 4 and under. The grounds are expansive and well groomed. You really could spend all day here and not be bored. They have rotating exhibits and hold regular festival events. Last year the big exhibit was dinosaurs. It was so cool. This year starting May 27 – October 22 the big exhibit is mythical creatures. Other highlights will include the Festival of Butterflies in August and Savage Gardens just in time for Halloween.

Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead

Another fun activity that is FREE Monday-Thursday! If you go Friday-Sunday the charge is $2. There are also optional activities like wagon rides and such that cost extra. This is also an activity that you could spend the whole day at. They have tons of animals to see including goats, a bison, bobcats, etc. So for all the animal lovers in your family this one is a win.

Wonderscope Children’s Museum

Wonderscope is wonderful for rainy spring days as they have lots of indoor activities including a grocery shopping area, a baby doll nursery, a ball area, a water room with rubber ducks, and a large playroom including a rock climbing wall. General admission is $8 with children 2 and under free.

Kauffman Memorial Gardens

These downtown gardens are smaller than the Powell Gardens but they have the advantage of being free as well as being close to lots of other things in downtown KC.

 

Monkey Bizness

Another good indoor place to get the wiggles out. Basically a giant indoor playground. If your child can walk its $9, if your child is crawling its $5. Parents and infants are free. Which is nice.

Kansas City Zoo

I absolutely LOVE going to the zoo. So much in fact, that we had a zoo pass. General admission is $14.50 for 12 and older, $11.50 ages 3-11, and free for 2 and under. This is another one that you really could spend all day at if its not too boiling hot.

 

Other Fun Ideas

Those are just a few places that I can think of. I haven’t been to all of them listed above but have heard great things! Where are your favorite places to take the kids? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

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Guilt Free Shepherd’s Pie

Natalie : May 6, 2017 10:00 AM : Dinners, Recipes

Coming at you today with a recipe. Shepherd’s Pie! I’ve lightened up this classic meal. Now you might be thinking, this would be delicious if it was the middle of winter. And for those of you fortunate enough to be living in warmer climes, I envy you! Now that I’ve moved to Wyoming I am told to expect snow into May!  So here I am, making a warm and hearty meal well into spring. But you know what? That’s ok because its delicious. And Octavia approved. Win-win! It takes a little time to put together but if I make it in the morning then all I have to do later in the day is stick it in the oven. I usually eat 1/6 of this at a time and the serving size is generous for only 450 calories!

Ingredients

  • 20 oz Ground Turkey (I use 99% lean)
    • Ground beef also tastes delicious, just more calories
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 1 cup Whole Milk
    • Or 1 cup heavy whipping cream to be extra delicious
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Flour
  • 1 Bullion Cube
  • 4-5 Red Potatoes or 2-3 Russet
    • If you’re in a rush you could also just pick up some frozen, shredded hashbrowns :)
  • 26 oz Mixed Frozen Veggies
  • 1.5 Cups Extra Sharp Cheddar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Chop your potatoes into 1″-2″ cubes. Put into pot of water and bring to a boil.
  2. While you are waiting for your potatoes to boil chop your onion.
  3. Add chopped onion and turkey to a skillet and cook on medium high heat. Because there is no fat you will want to stir pretty frequently to keep it from sticking to the pan.
  4. Check on those potatoes. If they are nice and soft, drain the water and mash those puppies! Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Next up is the roux. Melt your butter over medium heat with the bullion cube.
  6. Add flour to the melted butter and let it bubble for just a minute.
  7. Add 1/4 the milk to this and stir constantly. Once it starts to thicken, repeat until you’ve used all the milk. You want it to be a gravy like consistency.
  8. Get the biggest glass pan you’ve got and pour your frozen veggies, cooked turkey, and gravy to it. Mix.
  9. Put your mashed potatoes over that.
  10. Shred your cheese and top.
  11. Cover with some aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Nutrition Facts for 1/6 recipe:

Calories: 463          Carbs: 47         Fat: 16          Protein: 37.5          Fiber: 7

 

 

 

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I’ve finally done it — Lipsense Review!

Natalie : May 2, 2017 10:54 AM : Beauty, Makeup

Alright folks, you’ve read the title. I’ve done it. I’ve jumped on the bandwagon and tried LipSense.

And I love it!

I’m not selling it yet (lol) but it is absolutely the longest lasting lip color that I have come across. I’ve talked about some other stains on here before but even those have me checking my reflection every hour to make sure I don’t look like I just got punched in the mouth. You all know what I’m talking about. The dreaded red stained teeth. I could usually get a couple hours out of some of these other stains. And with a regular lipstick — forget about it! That would be all over my face in about 15 minutes. So I would only wear lipstick very occasionally. A hot night out perhaps, hoping and praying I didn’t come back looking like a hot mess.

Now the lipsense claim is that you can go all the way up to something like 18 hours. In my experience its not quite that amazing. I find that I’m good until after a meal and then a little bit comes off in the very corner of my lips (this has never ended up on my teeth however — hooray!) With lighter colors its not very noticeable and I go on with my day. With darker colors, esp reds I usually do a real quick touch up in the bathroom afterwords. And then I’m good for another 4-6 hours. Not bad! I’ve done 8-12 hours with lipsense, with lighter colors lasting longer. Now I wear lipstick 4-5 times a week. I’ve never really been able to wear color on my lips so now that I can I’m going hog-wild!

On another note. Its a bit pricier than your run of the mill drugstore lipstick and they want you to buy a special remover and gloss too. I’ve found a couple good ways to remove it.

  1.  Exfoliation! Run your toothbrush over it to rough it up and it’ll help keep your lips soft too. Then grab a drop of hair conditioner (cause its kind of oily) and rub that over your lips to get any leftover bits.
  2. Neutrogena Transparent Soap bar. This little guy will do the trick too and should last you a lot longer than their oops remover and save you a few bucks too.

As for the gloss. I’ve found other glosses work too. Right now I’m using the Rimmel Oh My Gloss in Crystal Clear. It seemed to dupe the ingredients of the Glossy Gloss for a steep discount. It’s worked great for me thus far. I’ve also just put regular old chapstick over it and its worked fine. I have heard that some ingredients in some glosses will take the Lipsense off so I say experiment with what you’ve got and see if it works.

Au Natural

For comparison here are I am with no product on my lips.

Aussie Rose

For me Aussie Rose shows up as a neutral, everyday wear kind of color with a hint of peach.

Dark Pink

For me, dark pink isn’t all that dark. Its very wearable. Where the Aussie Rose is more peach, Dark Pink is, well, more pink.

Kiss For A Cause

When I want to go a little more bold on my pinks Kiss for a Cause is where its at!

Fly Girl

I’ve got to tell you, Fly Girl is my jam. Its fun, bold, and a little sexy. And I wear it all the time, even during the day.

 

Color Selection

Now, a word on color selection. We’ve all been there. You fall in love with a color on someone else. You buy it. You look like a circus clown.

Lets try to avoid this. Often times the distributor will let you return a color that doesn’t work but that’s a hassle and its discouraging to keep trying on colors and they all look bad.

Try and find someone who sells it who has lots of sample colors. That way you know what you are getting.

If you’re like me and you don’t like dealing with people you can look up pictures of the shade you are interested in online. I looked for people with warmer undertones who are also very pale to get a good idea what a color would look like on me.

Where to Buy

If you have a friend who sells who you want to support, great!

I find that a lot of those friends are out of just about everything. Sorry friends. I want it now!

I’ve had great luck finding colors on ebay and amazon. Chances are that somebody somewhere has the color you want so I would check out those two spots.

 

So have you tried it yet? What are your favorite shades? Tips to make it last longer? We’d all love to know so leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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