5 Best Things I Ever Did for my “Get Ready” Routine

As a curly-haired gal with uncooperative skin who is prone to losing shoes, purses, and jewelry, and painfully indecisive about outfits, I have literally envied other girls for their ability to seemingly just “get up and go.” Truth is, I’ll never be one of them. But in the last year I’ve changed up a few things that have been life-savers for my routine. Hope you enjoy!

1. Learn How to Do Your Makeup

Many women who would deem themselves athletic or free-spirited scoff at the idea of makeup. I did for a long time. But inside I always wondered how certain girls in my college classes looked so ‘together’ every day. Honestly, I was averse to the idea of makeup because I didn’t want to be “overly concerned” with my appearance. Now, I see makeup differently. It’s just a tool that is meant to highlight your natural beauty and features. I like to follow the principle (usually) that less is more, and knowing what works for you is so key. In the past couple of years I’ve explored a lot of makeup blogs, YouTube Channels, and used other tools to figure out the best routine for me. Now, I know how to get a fresh look in 5 minutes, how to dress myself up for something more glamorous without looking fake, and so much more. Now that I understand how to use makeup to highlight MY unique features, I feel more confident and prepared for each day, not to mention more feminine. I’m not claiming to be an expert here, I’m just sharing what I know works for me!

  1. Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream in Light
  2. MAC Brun Shadow for Eyebrow Definition (I use this eyebrow brush)
  3. Black Eyeliner (Gel or liquid. Right now I’m using this one) and a cheap Smudge Brush from Target (I always, always blend! Watch this great tutorial to learn how.)
  4. A fun lip color to make things pop, like this one
  5. Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in Peach Satin
  6. Urban Decay Naked Palette (There’s a good reason it has 4.8 stars and 6,000+ reviews!)

2. Invest in a Quality Hair Dryer (& Brush!)

I have thick hair. Like, really thick. I bet I could predict verbatim the reaction that any hairstylist will have to my locks: “You have SO MUCH hair.” I don’t know what I was thinking for the 8+ years of my life that I was using a low-quality hair dryer. It was like driving the slow golf cart around the track and trying endlessly to win the race to no avail. Finally, I got so frustrated that I threw in the towel and went shopping. It was one of the best decisions ever! Better yet, I didn’t drop $100/$200 on a hair dryer. I found a quality (consistently well reviewed – I always check) hair dryer for $50 at TJ Maxx. Originally $150. Cha-ching! I was spending 35 minutes to dry my hair and now I usually spend less than 10.

3. Plan Out Showers

As someone who enjoys working out most days of the week, I have had so much trouble in the past fitting exercise conveniently into my schedule. And, no, I’m not one of those lucky chicks who can go to the gym, shower, blow dry my hair straight in 5 minutes, and get to work by 8am. I’ve got a mane, people, and if I “just let it go” I end up looking like Albert Einstein’s relative. Now, I plan my workouts so that they benefit my schedule rather than inconvenience ME. If I know I’m not working out in the morning, I’ll usually shower the night before and allow my hair to dry overnight. This cuts down on prep time and, as an added bonus, keeps it healthier. If I workout in the mornings, it’s usually something light OR fast. On light days, sometimes there is no need to even wash my hair and, on fast/high intensity days, the workout is usually under 30-40 minutes, so I can get regular sleep, shower, get ready, and not have to wake up at the crack of dawn! Admittedly, sometimes I do not wash my hair even on these high intensity days. You just have to do what works for you!

4. Skin Care

Great skin is IN. And there isn’t some secret potion or magic formula to getting it. I am still learning about this aspect of my health but even without a complete knowledge of what works best I can still say that it is one of the most rewarding topics I have invested my time and energy into researching. The reason that skin care helps me in my “get ready” routine is that, with great skin, you glow and hardly need makeup, anyways. This cuts down on prep time AND time spent worrying about “why my face looks so tired, broken out, etc.” Truth be told, growing up meant growing out of my acne, so I don’t have major issues with that at this time (I FEEL for you girls who do – my best advice is to research natural, dietary solutions rather than medications or chemical creams). But I still have sensitive skin that tends to look dry, uneven, and doesn’t have a natural glow. I have recently gotten into a ROUTINE of cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and CLEARING my skin of makeup each and every day. I opt for paraben-free products because my skin is sensitive, but I promise, finding a routine that works for you will significantly cut down on your “get ready time” and you’ll begin to want less makeup in the process!

5. Realize You See Things Differently

Nobody said you had to look perfect when you walked out that door – except you. I’ve struggled with this a lot, and so does every woman on the planet who comes in contact with a mirror. One of the best things I have to remember is that I am the most critical person when it comes to my appearance. It is really healthy for my mind and heart sometimes to step back from the mirror and try to see what other people see about me. It is always the good aspects. More importantly, on days when my hair, makeup, skin, body, clothes, accessories are cooperating, I remember that none of that lasts, anyways. My true beauty is internal and unshakeable, because it resides in Jesus Christ, who cannot be changed, wrinkle, blemish, or fade. When I focus on that on any day, I can walk out the door confident, feeling beautiful, and ready to work hard. Now that’s a part of my “Get Ready” routine I’ll never need to change!


Start Up Crawl Thoughts

Yesterday evening I attended Raleigh’s first Start Up Crawl downtown. In a nutshell, it was intended to connect like-minded entrepreneurs and showcase the city’s rapidly expanding innovation scene. As someone who is practically magnetic toward novelty, I thought I might like it. 

And I did. In my freelancing life I don’t get much day-to-day exposure to the outside world. Most of the time it is me, my distressed pink desk, and my water bottle all day long. With the exception of occasional email stressors, I can easily maintain a sense of security as I do my work. I set the pace, design the environment, and choose the individuals I want to interact with during the day and in my play time throughout the work week. They’re usually my friends and family.

Last night was a different ball game. It was like jumping from a safe, immobile, cozy platform into another universe. One that is fast-paced, exciting, collaborative and quietly competitive, and, for those who can see it, an incubator of stress for the insecure. It was fun but scary. Amidst the free food, whirlwinds of conversation, questions about “what” I do and “who” I am, listening to several fascinating individuals talk about their projects – and several others spew off a long string of achievements no one asked for – I could really feel the tug to put on a show and design a facade of myself than what is the true Natalie.

Man, that pressure. It makes me sad to watch people in our world cave to it because I have yielded to it in the past. Why is it so tempting in America to put our identities in work/career? My chest tightens at the thought of being enslaved to that again, because it is one of those identities that quietly sneaks behind the walls of your heart to tear down precious things we should not sacrifice: relationships, security, balance, peace, and so much more. When I put all my stock into the basket of my job, I experienced stress that became physically and mentally evident. I sacrificed relationships God had given me to work – or worry about work. I lost sleep because I was worried I would never climb the hill and my work would never be enough to qualify me in my own eyes or the eyes of other people.

I felt that environment so much last night. As a disclaimer, I am not opposed to innovation or hard work one iota. God commands us to create and develop His world, and use our skills for His world. The entrepreneurs who are bravely taking the step to create something valuable for our society impress me unlike many people can. They work hard and it shows.

What I’m really trying to say is that I am so thankful that God has given me vision about how He wants me to work that has freed me from the impossible demands that the American workforce – and myself – place on me. Since launching out and doing my own thing in freelance I have sought out answers to my questions about work. It’s my hope that these things will give someone out there the freedom to work well in Christ, and I write them out because I need to be reminded of the frequently to oppose the cyclic and heralded messages that you are worth as much as you do.

  • We are created to work. I believe that I am made in the image of God, because the bible tells me so. God began the earth with work. He is a creator God, and if I am made in His image, then therein it makes sense that I have an innate longing to work and create.
  • All work is good. Yes, all work! The plumber is equal to the Apple CEO is equal to the homemaker. None is greater in worth or stature because a) Christ is my only worth and b) even the world recognizes that individuals are uniquely gifted and skilled. I am now of the camp that just becomes a CEOs skill set may position him well for that job, the janitor’s work at his company is no less important. What would we do without clerks? Cleaners? Hairdressers? Every job that society might consider ‘second rate’? Each serves a purpose that you likely profit from. Each is good and worthy.
  • It is my responsibility to identify my gifts and skills from God, and use them in a setting that somehow benefits the world (culture and people) for His glory. This is the freedom from our churchy assumption that “the missionary” is doing more important work than “the 9-5er.” God has essentially revolutionized my view of the fallen world. He cares about it! He created it! Jobs that, much like God, use imagination, creativity, skills, our hands, (all jobs do!) to create and bring order and betterment to the world are good! This really opened up my possibilities when it came to considering what jobs were ‘right’ for me.
  • I don’t have to ‘be’ somebody in the work world. Did you read that? Read it again. Ladder achievement, secular accolade, and outside approval don’t make me worthy. Those things would be great, but because Jesus did the “work under the work” for me on the cross by dying for my sin, making me completely righteous and worthy and holy, there is no need for me to use work as an avenue to achieve a worthiness or righteousness of my own because I already have perfection in the eyes of God. What freedom! This view has taken many weeks and much internalizing to settle into my conscience. The beauty here is that, because Christ makes me worthy, I am free to work diligently and purposefully for the Lord with whatever skill set I have been given in this world. 

What do you think? Do you struggle with pressure at work? Most people who invest in and care about their jobs do. I’m curious to hear how you cope!