At Home Pamper Sesh

It’s been a busy weekend of house cleaning, laundry, and HOA board member duties.  I spent most of yesterday checking sprinkler systems throughout the development.  I discovered that my house is the only property with a totally malfunctioning sprinkler head.  By malfunctioning, I mean that I’m totally missing a head and everytime the system runs it creates a mini pond in my yard.  Totally explains the hole that I’ve been continuously trying to fill with dirt that just keeps returning…….sometimes with houses the struggles are never ending.

It also turns out that if you ever need to impress several middle aged to retirement aged men, just show off your sprinkler adjustment skills and chat about the renovations you’re doing to your house.  If you need an ego boost beyond that, I suggest putting House Hunters on Netflix.  Nothing will make you feel more like a boss ass lady than watching helpless people turn down houses because the paint isn’t a color they like.

Despite being a boss level sprinkler adjuster, I love having my nails done.  If they aren’t done, I feel naked.  Plus there’s the added terror of maybe breaking an unprotected nail.  THE HORROR!!  I started getting gel polish manicures when I still lived out in Rapid City.  I worked at the blood bank there, and regular polish was just not getting the job done.  The vision of having a salaried position that allows me to get biweekly manicures is just not coming together for me, so I decided to buy a home gel system.  It’s easy, cheap, and let’s me update my nails anytime I want.

I bought a Sensationail brand starter kit which came with everything you need to get started.  However, the lamp will work with any brand gel polish.  I have colors from Sensationail, Shellac, OPI, Gelish, Red Carpet, and Sally Hansen.  Any brand LED or UV lamp will work, just follow the time directions for any lamp you pick.

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Things You Will Need:

  • Lamp
  • Nail Prep
  • Polishes — Base coat, color, and top coat
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Manicure Tools
  • Paper Towel

Start by removing any existing polish, and file and prep cuticles as you would for a normal manicure.  Gel will be thicker than normal polish, which is nice for strengthening nails and helping them grow, however it does come with some drawbacks.  If you don’t properly prep your cuticles and pay attention to the placement of the polish, you’ll get a ridge on the back of your nails that will more than likely catch on things and peel up.

Once nails are shaped as desired, wipe firmly with rubbing alcohol to remove any oils.  Once this is done, don’t touch your nails.  Apply the nail prep solution.  I’m not sure if this step is critical, but my kit came with the solution and I know that when I’ve had my nails done in salons, this step is always performed.

Gel polish is atleast a 4 layer process, so make sure the layers are thin.  Start with a thin layer of the base coat on each nail.  I generally do my 4 left hand fingers in a group, my two thumbs on their own, and then the right hand fingers.  I don’t like having all my nails wet at one time.  I cure my base coat for 30 seconds with the lamp I have, but again most come with directions, so just follow those.  Also, some lamps are larger which would allow you to place your full hand in at one.  Your color of choice should be applied in 2-3 thin coats.  Don’t worry if the color goes on a bit streaky.  It’s some sort of gel polish miracle, but it always levels and smoothes while it cures.  Again, be careful to stay a bit away from your cuticles, and be sure to run the polish lightly alone the front end of your nail to help seal them.  Also, because the gel dries as soon as it’s cured, it’s important to clean up any polish mistakes before placing your hand back in the lamp.  I picked up a cheap metal manicure tool for cleaning underneath nails, but I find it works really well if I happen to get any polish on the sides of my nail.  A tooth pick or orange stick cuticle pusher would work well also.

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My color polishes need to be cured for 1 minute.  Once you’re satisfied with the color, apply a thin coat of top coat.  My system has an all in one top/base coat that would only need to be cured for 30 seconds, but I cure the top coat for a full minute.  This top/base coat works with all the color polish brands I have, so don’t feel like you need to match brands or anything like that.

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Sometimes I get a bit fancy with my manicures.  This week I used a small brush to apply zebra stripes using two other gel colors.  You could apply these either directly on top of your color before applying the top coat, or you can apply them onto the top coat after it’s cured and then apply an additional top coat over the top of the design.  I tend to prefer the second option….because the color underneath has been sealed, if you mess up on the design it can be easily removed before curing and won’t have any effect on the polish color below.  Just remember to cure your hand again after you’ve applied the design and before you apply the top coat in either case.  That’s pretty much it.  Once the top coat has been cured, wipe them again with rubbing alcohol and you’re good to go.  No more dry time, or fear of easily broken nails.  I can grow my natural nails out longer than I used to wear my fake nails, and I almost never worry about them breaking.  I have broken some, but only doing atypical things around the house that most people wouldn’t subject their nails to anyway.

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You can see on my pointer finger where I got a ridge of polish on the sidewall of my nail.  If you’re careful, you can sometimes pull the polish down towards your finder pad and just that ridge will flake off.  Just be sure to do it slowly so as not to peel off too much of the color.

At $9-$15 per color you can’t really beat the price of these at home systems.  Yes, you miss out on those fabulous hand massages that come with salon manicures, and yes it does take more time and a certain level of skill and practice to get a good seal and clean edges.  However, it also allows me to spend a night every couple weeks doing something for myself while drinking wine and watching a movie.  Not that I don’t drink wine or watch movies other times, but it’s also a nice creative break for me.

In the coming weeks I’ll add a removal tutorial and a traditional polish to gel polish tutorial so you don’t feel like you have to totally abandon your nail polish collection….which is great!  I think once you try this, you’ll never go back to regular polish.

A Weekend in the West

I made a quick trip out to the Black Hills this weekend. The original plan was to bring the Main Squeeze so that he could meet my West River people, but he had a family commitment and had to stay home.   So, I got a girl’s weekend all to myself with my Lil B complete with shopping, brunch, day drinking, and new hair!!

First things first, I got to town and got to spend several hours with my hair stylist at High Maintenance salon with enough tin foil in my head to channel alien life forms!  I love getting my hair done in Rapid because I’ve been going to see the owner of HM since I was in college. She knows my hair, and she never fails to deliver amazingness.

I tend to have hair style ADHD, but she always can narrow in and find something gives me a change and a boost without being crazy and out of control.

I mean…..saying that I was a bit all over the place this time is maybe an understatement. This is why, if you’re like me, you need a stylist who can wade through all the random ideas and crap you throw at her.

I am now blonde for the summer, with a cute little shadow root so that it grows out nicely. Because let’s be real, despite the fact that the salon I’m ride or die for is called High Maintenance, I’m really pretty low maintenance about keeping my hair in its tippy top condition. I mean, you all read the blog and now I haven’t been out to get my hair done since November. That level of commitment isn’t conducive to fun fashion colors, crazy undercuts, and all the other random things I think I need.

(As I’m writing this though, my hair has possibly become more dry shampoo than hair, and I’m wondering if I can pull it together for brunch in a couple hours without looking like a total slime ball…….hmmm. Well, the blonde does always look less greasy than dark brunette, so I’ve atleast got that going in my favor!!!)

I arrived at Lil B’s cute new house, and we of course proceeded to start drinking……that’s how you make the best plans after all.  I hadn’t eaten, so we eventually decided that we needed to get food.  While Lewie’s is my go to option when I’m in Lead, Friday nights are trivia nights, and we decided it would be too busy.  So, we went somewhere new, The Roundhouse!  Well, it’s not really new at all since it’s an old train building that’s been converted into a gorgeously fancy restaurant, but I had never been there before.

We got to sit in private old rail car, Lil B had prosciutto stuffed duck breast, and I got to drink wine out of what was quite possible the largest wine glass in existence!! I desperately need a set of these glasses for my home life so that I can wander around sipping cheap wine…..in sweat pants…..with my dog while still feeling fancy as fuck!

Honestly, it was like staring into a crystal ball and finding out your future was going to come up wine. That kids, is a future I can be all about!!

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Look deep into the orb, and see your future!  Hint…..it’s Malbec!

We stopped at the dive bar on the way home but it was dead and we were exploding with food so we came home and passed out talking in the living room. Nothing screams classy like two grown women waking up in a living room.

Saturday morning started as all mornings should with coffee, eggs, and bitching with your bestie about how much you just hate all the random things!  The bitching got better when we decided that 11am was an acceptable time to start drinking…..so I whipped up a pitcher of cheap champagne with the addition of a raspberry lambic.  It’s a fun sorta spin on a mimosa only with the added benefit of not diluting your booze with juice!

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I’m not sure how people drink this as it is, because it’s really thick and tastes essentially like raspberry syrup. They make other flavors, so if raspberry isn’t your thing you can still rock out any of the flavors with a bottle of the cheapest champagne you can find.

We decided that we needed to get out of the house so we got ready and went shopping in Rapid, because let’s be honest……you can shop and bitch…..it’s like a more intense version of power shopping.

Halfway to Rapid we decided that we should also swing through Prairie Berry Winery for some fun and some free samples. Basically, we spent most of the afternoon shopping and cruising the highways of the Black Hills, and frankly that was ok by me!

We shopped for a bit.  I got some new sandals for vacation with the Main Squeeze, and some snacks for the trip down to the winery. The winery was super busy, much more so then the last time I was there with Momm and my sister, but we did eventually squeeze ourselves into the bar for our samples. I have to say I was slightly disappointed by the size of the wine glasses…I guess once you’ve had the best everything else is just sad haha!

We purchased some wine and both somewhat accidentally got signed up for their autoshipments of wine. Oopsy, well I can pick up my wine at their East River location, and more wine never hurt anyone so we will see how this turns out.  See….I need those huge glasses so that I can drink my autoship wine more effectively!!!!

After the winery, we finally hit up Lewie’s so I could get my bacon cheeseburger with jalapeños fix! Once again exploding with food, Lil B and I headed home for some Netflix and a couple drinks. This time though, we did both actually make it through the first show…..the second one, not so much!

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This morning I decided against a shower, but I did throw on a sundress and head back to Rapid for brunch with my favorite Russian and her new hubby!  It was delicious, amazeballs, and so good to see them again.  I feel like I just don’t get enough of these people that I got so used to seeing everyday in college.  The whole situation was so nice that I totally forgot to grab my credit card after I paid.  Luckily, I discovered the problem when I arrived at Philly Ted’s for my quota of cheesesteaks to bring home and freeze.  A quick trip back to Tally’s Silver Spoon got me my credit card back, and I was ready to hit the road home.

All in all, it was an amazing trip, and I can’t wait till I can find a weekend to head back, and hopefully bring the Main Squeeze along.  Now kids, I’m home….and it’s time to wash my hair!

 

Breaking Up is the Hardest Part

Literally and figuratively, my trusted foundation and I are on the outs.  I’m not sure if this is an issue that happens to people with normal skin, if my foundation is just sick of my shit, or if sometimes you just need to switch things up so your body doesn’t become too used to something.

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This…..this is all we want!  Why does it have to be so hard to achieve?!?

I’m really not sure what the problem is or where it came from.  I’ve worn the Bare Minerals powder foundation since….IDK FOREVER!  I probably started using it in high school, and it’s been my go to foundation ever since.  It was obviously working for me here, or I wouldn’t have told you it was my ride or die foundation!  Then, the break up started……  I would put my foundation on like usual, and it would always look really good to start.  About an hour later, disaster would start.  It would slowly start breaking up into chunky awfulness on my face, always just down my nose, around my mouth, and the center of my forehead.  It would start to look like I just had something sitting on my face.  It was drawn to anything that wasn’t my actual face.  Phones, my glasses, Main Squeeze’s nose…..basically it wanted to be anywhere that wasn’t my face!!  Also, it would turn much lighter than my actual skin tone and just generally looked like a hot, hot mess.

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How I look with my makeup going into oil slick breakdown mode.

I headed straight to Sephora, and I tried everything I could think of to get my old foundation to set better.  I have the larger holiday pots, so in an effort to not be wasteful and high maintenance feeling, I was determined to make it work.  I bought primers, brush cleaner, different moisturizer, tried different ways of applying it, using more, using less…..nothing was working.  Luckily, Sephora has a good return policy and they will give you free samples.  It’s a good pro tip if you want to try things or you’re having struggles similar to mine.

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No Ariel….I just want the stuff I have to work!!!  Although I did buy myself two new lip products out of sadness…..NEW SUMMER COLORS!

I did finally bite the bullet and I bought a new foundation.  I’m trying out the new Bare Minerals BARESKIN liquid foundation.  I’m actually really enjoying it, and my skin seems to be enjoying it much more as well.  Even at the end of the day, my face still just looks like my skin, but in the best way possible.  I no longer have a floating oil slick of foundation hanging out on my face.

I do still feel a bit overly dramatic about having multiple varieties of foundation, and soon I’ll have to buy another color for summer.  But, I mean your face is what the world sees and what you see every time you look in the mirror.  If spending a bit of money changes the way you feel about what you see in a positive way, then in my mind that’s money well spent.  I mean…..you know what they say, “Put your best face forward!”  I know the quote is usually feet, but my feet are huge and are always forward even if I don’t want them to be, so I decided to switch it up!

Makeup

 

 

Pop Culture Inspiration

Nothing much exciting is happening this week in my life.  School started again…..barforama to optimization techniques.  So, I’ll have to get after that this weekend while I can more beans and peppers because ya know….I’m obsessed now.

I thought I’d throw together a list of women in pop culture who inspire me.  I have plenty of strong, inspiring women in my every day life, but every once in awhile a celebrity comes along and gives you a little extra boost of inspiration.

Rhonda Rousey

Could we talk about this outfit?!?!? I want it.....gym motivation right here!

Could we talk about this outfit?!?!? I want it…..gym motivation right here!

Should you ever feel like taking the lazy way out in life remember……Rhonda doesn’t have time for DO NOTHING BITCHES!  She says that it’s a term she uses to describe

  the women my mother raised me not to be.”

 I think that’s incredibly important in today’s society.  She sets goals and demolishes them, and that’s something that any mother should want for her daughters.  We don’t all have to win fights in 34 seconds, be rolling in cash money, or become a celebrity to prove you’re worth something.  Getting up everyday and working on the life you’ve made yourself……that makes you a DO SOMETHING BITCH……and that’s the kind of bitch my parents raised me to be.

Khloe Kardashian

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Someone’s got to be the tallest one. It’s not a role just anyone can fill!

Yes yes yes….I know some of you are gonna hate me for saying I find a Kardashian to be inspirational.  Just hear me out.  I think it’s important that girls of every shape, size, color, and height have someone to look up to.  For me, Khloe has been that person.  It’s just nice to feel like you don’t have to be a stick figure blonde to get somewhere in this world sometimes.  We tall, curvy, brunette women have to stick together….after all, it can get a bit lonely up here in the clouds.

No matter what, my weight doesn’t define me.”

She’s my reminder that I can be tall and wear heels.  Who cares if I tower over people….it’s a good way for my friends to find me when we are out and about.  Also she’s got sass for days and an epic bitch face!

Nicki Minaj

Can we talk about this dress!?!? Someday I could get married in a less pink version of this!

Can we talk about this dress!?!? Someday I could get married in a less pink version of this!

I’m not generally a huge fan of hip hop music, but sometimes Queen Minaj just gets my jam!  I also think it’s nice that she stresses the importance of education to her fans.  She’s known for promising her fans that they can be anything they want to be, but they need to stay in school.  She also never hesitates to call out the inequalities between men and women.

I stand for girls wanting to be sexy and dance, but also have a strong sense of themselves.  If you’ve got a big ol’ butt?  Shake it!  Who cares?  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be graduating from college.”

I just want women to always feel in control.  Because we’re capable- we’re so capable.”

Women should be allowed to be as hardcore and sexual as we want, because men do it all the time.”

Ironically, I read on Yahoo! this morning that Nicki Minaj and the Kardashians were voted two of the worst influences for kids by parents.  Whatever, they can still be my role models because I’m not a child anymore!  This is maybe why I shouldn’t have kids…?!??!

Makeup Shaming….Could We Just Stop Please!?

I know I’ve already written a blog that vaguely addressed this issue, but since it’s become popular again I decided to revisit the issue.  I’m not sure what everyone’s problem with makeup is lately, but they should probably just get over it! People have recently started #makeupshaming on Instagram, and the other night I was bored and decided to lend my face to the cause.  The basic premise is that women can use makeup as a tool to present themselves however they want to the world.  Granted, my phone takes horrible pictures, and I’m in no way a professional makeup artists, but here’s me with and without makeup.  Equally fine either way, but sometimes you just want a contour and some fake eyelashes!

Should have maybe gone with a colored lip....but I do love me a good nude lippy!

Should have maybe gone with a colored lip….but I do love me a good nude lippy!

Just me!

Just me!

Now I understand men being annoyed about it….I mean let’s be real for a minute.  If a guy wakes up looking like butt, that’s the best he’s gonna look for the whole day.  If I wake up wearing the battle scars of the party the night before, I can fix that shit.  A little bit of concealer and some mascara go a long, long way my friends!  (I would argue that guys always wake up good looking…..it’s magic/science/voodoo that I do not and will never understand) PS- I’m not saying guys can’t or shouldn’t wear makeup….you do you boos!  Generally speaking, makeup is more popular with women….that’s all I’m saying!

....I really think this face speaks for itself....

….I really think this face speaks for itself….

Women bashing other women for running around in makeup is something I can’t understand.  We all face enough problems in life without having to deal with crap from each other about eye shadow!  Can’t we all just rally together and be supportive?!?!  If I get up and put on makeup every day I do it for myself….it’s my me time, my chance to make myself into the best self I can be that day, and my time to drink coffee and dance to Pandora in my bathroom!  If I don’t put makeup on, it’s because I slept in….or I just didn’t care….or I slept in because I didn’t care.

Don't hate the player....hate the game! #makeupshaming #samepersondifferentmood

Don’t hate the player….hate the game! #makeupshaming #samepersondifferentmood

I was told I was too vain the other day, because I showed up for a bike ride with straight hair and makeup on.  Earth to the world….I didn’t get all glammed up to workout, but I’m certainly not gonna take the time to un-glam to work out either.  I look the way I look on the daily because I wanted to look that way.  Yes, it might be because I want to make a good impression, in this case it was because we were being audited at work.  I run errands with or with out makeup…..my life is my life, and my makeup is something I use to accent that life when I want to.

On an unrelated side note….I went on a date last night….it seems promising….I’ll keep you posted! 🙂

A Weekend of (Mis)Happenings

I promised an epic blog to make up for missing last week’s.  HERE IT IS PEOPLE!!

Over the weekend I took a mini vacation to the Black Hills.  The Hills have become my preferred vaca destination over the past few years.  I went to college there, a fair number of my friends are still there, and all my preferred restaurants and bars are scattered around.  This was a quicker trip than I normally take, but I tried to pack in plenty of fun and pictures.  I’ve complied them all below in an effort to take you all along on my epic adventures!

FRIDAY

Step 1: Pack all the things! Step 2: Bribe your fur baby and leave her at Grandma's house. Step 3: Buy an XL coffee and put the pedal to the metal!

Step 1: Pack all the things!
Step 2: Bribe your fur baby, and leave her at Grandma’s house.
Step 3: Buy an XL coffee, and put the pedal to the metal!

Take a ride across the Badlands....

Take a ride across the Badlands….

A few hours and some tin foil later and I'm shorter and blonder for summertime.  Marla never fails to do amazing work, and I'm lucky to know her!

A few hours and some foil later, I’m shorter and blonder for summertime. Marla never fails to do amazing work, and I’m lucky to know her!  I’m not generally one for “Outfit of the Day” pictures, but it’s all part of the adventure!

Dinner with the original boyfriend and drinks with my Chemistry bros!  I may or may not have caused a pub crawl to end early.......oops!

Dinner with the original boyfriend, and drinks with my Chemistry bros! I may or may not have caused a pub crawl to end early…….oops!

Rainy night rooftop views of my home away from home.

Rainy night rooftop views of my home away from home.

Saturday

Can't drink all day if you don't start at brunch!

Can’t drink all day if you don’t start at brunch! Kickass Margaritas (Pineapple and Hot Pepper) give me life!!

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White gurl issues….when you try and take a selfie, but you accidentally make a video….. #selfiesaturday

Saturday night in Deadwood.  When in the Wild West, channel your inner cowgirl and get after it!

Saturday night in Deadwood. When in the Wild West, channel your inner cowgirl and get after it!

Breathe in all that open space!

……breathe in all that open space!

So many bars, so little time.  You'll notice the person with the most clothes is walking the fastest up the mountain.....men are whimps!

So many bars, so little time. You’ll notice the person with the most clothes is walking the fastest up the mountain…..men are whimps!

Found my favorite tipsy Lewis/Clark/Party Boy at the Grand.  You know it's a good night when someone has to wear the sombrero home because there isn't room in the Jeep....

Found my favorite tipsy Lewis and/or Clark/Party Boy at the Grand. You know it’s a good night when someone has to wear the sombrero home because there isn’t room in the Jeep….

Sunday

Blueberry Danish and Austrailian Iced Coffee with my lovely Russian lady!

Blueberry Danish and Austrailian Iced Coffee with my lovely Russian lady!  Multicultural breakfast at Bully Blends.

Last stop at Philly Ted's for some cajun chickens to go, and a ride back across the Badlands.

Last stop at Philly Ted’s for some cajun chickens to go, and a ride back across the Badlands.

Be the hottest thing they've seen at the Al's Oasis Arby's all day!

Be the hottest thing they’ve seen at the Al’s Oasis Arby’s all day!

Memorable Quotes of the Weekend – I’m in Italics for some differentiation….

  • “You definitely don’t have a shortage of hair.”
  • “You’re pretty, but you make bad life choices.”  “Ummm….excuse me?”  “You’re pretty, but then you’re standing there holding a PBR.  You make bad life choices!”
  • “Do I really smell like Ketchup?!?!?”
  • “You realize we are gonna start talking again, and I’m just gonna hit on you…..” “….Great….” –I got this twice, once Friday and once Saturday from the same guy from college!!!!  Ugh
  • “I’m feeling sober, can we get a drink?”
  • “Hey!  How tall are you?!?” “Hahah, not tall enough!”
  • “Hey, I’m liking your hair.” “Thanks” “You’re the hottest thing we’ve seen all day!”

I Didn’t Get This Far Just By Looking Good

I don’t remember a lot of specific details about my Dad’s mom.  I have memories for sure, I just don’t really have a firm grasp on her personal character.  She died when I was in 3rd grade after a lengthy battle with cancer.  I have several bones to pick with cancer about it’s continued harassment of my family, but that’s something for another day.  What I do have of my Grandma are the things she left behind: a gorgeous punch bowl, some fancy silver serving pieces which are sprinkled all over my new home, and Irish roots to blame my temper on.  She also left behind an odd little wall hanging that hung beside my bedroom door all through college. It looks a bit like something you might find at a garage sale, or even throw away, but it says something very important to me, “I didn’t get this far just by looking good.” Even though my Grandma didn’t live to see me graduate high school, attend college, and grow into the person I am today, her little wall hanging has stuck in the back of my mind and has my own personal mantra.

I’m always amazed and slightly frustrated when people who meet me come to the “revelation” that I’m a smart girl.  WHY WOULD YOU AUTOMATICALLY ASSUME I’M NOT SMART?!?!  Just because I like makeup and I’m pretty doesn’t mean I’m dumb.  Maybe I’m biased, because I’ve always run with the ‘smart’ crowd, but the only women I know are smart, beautiful, and strong.  None of my girlfriends got to where they are now just because they are pretty!!  Does being pretty help??  Yes..yes it does.  Studies have shown that women who go to job interviews with their hair and makeup done receive higher starting salaries.  Great…..I can deal with that I guess.  Part of being smart is knowing how to leverage yourself and your assets.  Throw on an killer bra, some good lipstick, feel good about yourself, and go get those jobs!  I support this, but what I don’t support is people thinking I’m less intelligent just because I can wing my eyeliner.

Clearly we all kicked some Chemistry butt with our make up on and everything!

Clearly, you can rock out lab reports while wearing makeup.  We can’t be the only three to have accomplished that amazing feat!

Two of the toughest girls I know.  I'm proud to call them besties even though they don't run around without makeup on.

Two of the toughest girls I know. I’m proud to call them besties even though we clearly had too much fun with the hair crimper that night!

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