Happy, Cheesy, Beautiful, New Year

Recently I went to Nashville and New Orleans! Nashville is amazing, blah blah. And New Orleans? Blah blah, it was also amazing.


What’s the story here?

I hope you aren’t vegan because it is about to get cheesy.

In the spirit of being transparent: my track record doesn’t exactly make me a crusader in finding inner beauty. (The whole pageant thing, working at a makeup company, and having a blog with ‘lipstick’ in the title… need I say more?)  In light of my recent travels I was reminded of just how it feels hitting the open road makeup-free, wearing yesterday’s clothes, and having no idea what the next destination looks like. It is a kind of thrill that makes a person like me forget the the relevance of lipstick. The trip reminded me what “beauty” really feels like.

This will probably be my last post of 2015, so consider this my holiday greeting to you:

May you find yourself in clothes that need washing, shoes that are comfier than bare feet,  wind to mess up your hair, friends to pour the champagne, and food to take off your lipstick. May you feel beautiful as you are, and may you carpe the damn diem.


Cheers- to the best moments of the old year. On with the new!


Upd8 + How I Got That Article Published

Where did we leave off? Oh yeah– NYC.

I’m still slap-happy and broke after my NYC trip, but life didn’t slow down. I met a friend in Puerto Vallarta for my first trip to Mexico/Margaritaville. I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family and friends, and even had a visitor! My dear friend Zach, who I met in OR, is living in Illinois, and made the 5 hour trek to spend some time in Des Moines. Good times were had. After that I made some progress on getting some work in Des Moines, and did a massive room cleaning session — to include getting caught up on 2 seasons of Orange is the New Black. I’m sort of just floating out here having fun as I cross my fingers and row towards what looks like an island in the distance.

Just when I thought I was doomed to live the rest of my life throwing away hoarded tchotchkes of my youth, the universe gave me a little gift. I had an article published on Cosmopolitan.com!


I’m guessing if you are reading this, then you are probably my Facebook friend and I already shoved this down your throat. (Sorry about being crazy excited…. nope, actually. Not sorry.) If not, you can read it here .

What does this mean? How did this happen? Who did I bribe?


What it means? Just that my article was circulated online for all Cosmopolitan.com readers to see and I even got a little lunch money for my work. It happened because I found out about a way to freelance through Hearst while I was at the Fun Fearless Life conference a few weeks ago. I applied with a few writing samples and they accepted my material! I then worked off of a list of desired prompts and found the one that was most fitting: “I was briefly famous”. I wrote the piece, submitted my work, and BOOM. I saw my name on my favorite publication’s website. It doesn’t mean that I officially write for Cosmo or that I’ve got a full blown career going, but it did give me a much-needed confidence boost. It is a baby step, with a big ol’ baby.


Cheers! And thanks! To you, the reader. For reading my diary and keeping me motivated all the way to Cosmo.  ❤


Cosmopolitan is Amazing [Again] + 5 Things NYC Taught Me [This Time]

I just woke up from a mind-blowing 14 hour sleep after returning from a weekend with my city crush, New York City, and already I think I am ready for a nap.


My catalyst for travel was Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Fun Fearless Life conference. I attended the inaugural event last year, and found it worth another pilgrimage.


(Cosmopolitan.com Editor, Amy Odell and a conference-goer to my left. Don’t they totally look like they are dishing on an amazing outfit across the room? Lol)

Over the course of 8 hours at the Hearst Tower, celebrity speakers led by Editor-in-Chief, Joanna Coles, used their charisma to dazzle a room full of mid-twenties women hungry to get closer to knowing what a dream job tastes like. This year’s lineup of stardom included a few names such as Chelsea Handler, Laverne Cox, Aliza Licht, Stacey London, and Ivanka Trump. Each one had something quotable to say about a different facet of 21-century female ass-kickery. During breaks, Cosmo editors floated around in matching “Fearless” shirts graciously making small talk and accepting the wannabe’s business cards. Photo-op ready installations were at every turn. Maybelline makeup artists were lined up in a mock dressing room swiping powders on the wide-eyed event goer’s cheeks. The day ended with a red-or-white wine bar and sequin-clad DJ cocktail party. At this time, guests could make those last minute card swaps and maybe catch a selfie with an event speaker. ((I may or may not have gotten mine with smokeshow dating expert Matthew Hussey. Obviously. ))


Just as I was about to leave the building (or collapse in need of a slice of pizza), I stopped to say hi to a couple more of the ladies in the “Fearless” t-shirts. Once they heard I was from Iowa their eyes lit up and they said “well you have to meet one of our editors– she is from Iowa!” They called over an infectiously high-energy woman named Leslie Yazel, who I had seen interviewing a speaker earlier. We snapped a pic and chatted for a minute about our home state how I’m looking to move from IA to NYC. I passed on a business card and we hugged goodbye.  I really appreciated the gesture, and I hope the tables turn someday so I am able to do the same.

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The day was sort of dream-like in the way that it is both full of delights and full of confusion. The obvious delight was the lineup of speakers. Some of them were the best speakers I’ve ever heard. Not only did they sound the part, but they looked the part. The outfits, the hair, the makeup, oh my!  The confusion came from attending an event by myself in a room full of people I wished were my co-workers. Which people do I introduce myself to? What do I say? Are they annoyed to be working on a Saturday? Eating means I can’t talk– do I throw out this sandwich? Did that last conversation go okay? Shit, I hate that I just said that… how can I recover? I’m standing alone, who should I say hi to now? When should I leave?

At all times I felt like I was playing a game of Operation. ZZZztt!k05cve


Say what you will about NYC, Cosmopolitan, or my fashion industry fantasies, but I couldn’t be more grateful for how much I learn each time I go. I’m also thrilled I found this random and fabulous conference to lure me to the Google Flights page to make it happen. Every time I go to the city I feel like I learn more in two days than I do in two years. Some of this is because NYC runs on it’s own set of rules, and some is because I feel like I have no idea what the hell I’m doing and I am forced into learning situations.

Before I forget again, I think I better write them down. In the spirit of sharing (as always), here are The Top 5 Lessons NYC Taught Me [This Time…]: 

  1. Ask for other people’s information, don’t just give yours.  I met a bunch of people this weekend, and some gave me their card, some didn’t. Guess who it is more likely I’ll be in touch with? The ones that are in my control to connect with. I can’t expect to have impressed someone so much that they are falling over themselves to email me.
  2. Any misstep in New York City is going to cost you money. Forgot your metro card? Minus $10. Get caught up in smalltalk and forget to check the time?  Looks like you are taking a cab instead of a train to the airport. Cha-ching.
  3. For the love of God, say “hi”. Because of this little two-letter word, I was able to turn a night having a cocktail by myself into making some amazing new friends I hung out with two nights in a row, I met professionals who said they want to help me get started in NYC, and I even found out that I was sitting next to someone from Iowa. I love coincidence 🙂
  4. Know how to introduce yourself. I realized the hard way that I have a terrible elevator pitch. I don’t care what they say about sounding too rehearsed, what’s worse is when you know you didn’t rehearse enough.
  5. Embrace the word “no”. I went into 8 dry cleaners on Broadway trying to find a steamer before someone told me yes. If someone doesn’t have what you want, somewhere in that city it exists. If you keep hearing no, it is okay to change because people respect growth. In a city like NYC, everyone has to fail to learn, and even if you fail you can recover.


I left NYC with new friends, a stack of business cards, throbbing feet, a new wave of self-confidence, and a much needed reality check.

Next time I go to NYC will be on a one-way ticket.

Cheers! To thigh-high boots not made for walking, and all the lessons to be learned in the city that never sleeps.


East Coast Travel Snack: The D.C. Blog

I’ve seen a hellovalotta America this month, which has been awesome for that “do it while you can” mantra I’m trying to exercise, and mostly for making me feel like a rockstar traveler.

(Lol, just another reason to choose GPS)

After loading the car and covering the West, I quickly repacked my bags and headed for a McG family weekend with my sisters and parents in one of our favorite cities, Washington D.C. I was so excited for this reunion that before my massive road trip I even agreed to drive the distance with Mom and Dad. (Idk, maybe to be a good sport? Idk maybe because it sounded like I’d see cool things? Still not sure what I was thinking…) Well, needless to say, I am a diva, and quickly realized that was an objectively and mathematically terrible idea. Observe:

Travel time from Portland, Oregon to Waukee, Iowa by car: 25 hr, one way

Travel time from Waukee, Iowa to Washington, D.C. by car: 30 hr 42 min, round trip

Travel time from Waukee, Iowa to Washington, D.C. by car with parents: infinity

Travel time from my hand to my wallet to buy a plane ticket: .0000184 seconds

*cue me making plane noises: nnneeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrroooooooeeeeeeeeerrrrrooooo*

I took my first breath of D.C. air while tapping my phone for an Uber at Reagan National Airport, and gladly stayed the night the cozy basement apartment my middle sister is calling home while she studies at Georgetown. We drank wine with her roommate until 3 am. I think we can all agree this was a perfect way to break into D.C.

Through the weekend I spent time enjoying the shops, bars, and attraction on M Street. At the Mall, my mom and I finally got to sit down for the first cup of coffee we’d had together in nearly half a year. In Georgetown I got a peak into the exciting but challenging world of my sister on her new grad school adventure.  In DuPont Circle, I met up with an old friend from pageant-land who has a fascinating life as a political reporter. At the Pentagon, the family celebrated my sister and boyfriend completing the Army 10 Miler Race. The final hours of leisure were spent over a cocktail at the Hay-Adams famous bar Off the Record and with some silly selfies outside the White House. It was D.C. done right.

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If you gave me a one-way ticket to go tomorrow I would take it. The old stone buildings, the mass of cultures, the and, of course, the “smell of power” as one of our Uber drivers so accurately described it, were enough to make my big city butterflies are sneak up on me again…  I definitely didn’t get my fill of adventure out there yet. It was more like a snack before mealtime; it was just enough to keep me coming back for more.

Next adventure: Back to Iowa and being Maid of Honor in my best friend’s wedding. (Spoiler: it was a friggin’ beautiful day)

Cheers– to plane tickets and “the smell of power”!


Quick Diary: I’m in Iowa

I don’t have any crazy road-trip travel stories, thank God. The trip was a breeze. I’m am writing this from the comfort of home sweet Iowa after a safe and successful trip from Portland to Des Moines. Here is my account of the trip, laced in whimsy.

Less than 24 hours before, my buddy Brandon agreed to fill his backpack and co-pilot the Subaru. I realized this was probably a good idea when I drove to pick him up after my most teary farewell, and I was about 6 inches from being t-boned by a taxi cab in an intersection. Clearly I’m a blubbering idiot, and the passenger seat was a really good call in the invention of the automobile.

So it began. 1,800 miles of the Wild, Wild West moved around us in technicolor. We said “good-bye” to the signature green of the Columbia River Gorge as it turned into the triumphant, golden grass of the Eastern Oregon hills.  We met the moody purple mountains of Utah under an ominous grey sky. We stopped to take pictures of an electric orange sun spraying through the clouds over Salt Lake City. All of the instruments in the eye symphony were drawing near the climax through the red rock canyons and yellowing Aspens in the mountains of Colorado . The trees looked as if they had saved some of the bright yellow summer sun just for us. The tender resolve came over the fields of Central Nebraska, where a rainbow ushered two road-weary travelers into the heartland.

It was the kind of picture perfect that makes you want to roll your eyes and shut your locker.

Along the way we drank some beers, small-talked some strangers, sifted through radio static, and talked about our respective journeys. We stopped for a concert, took a day off for sightseeing, and flooded our instagrams. We saw my sister, and even crossed paths with an old friend.  We ate like everything was healthy. It was perfect.

After 48 hours to decompress in Iowa, I said “sayonara” to my traveling friend, and headed out for a family weekend in Washington, D.C.. No stopping yet! Another post for another day.

The feels are emoji “100”. I’m already a week behind in blogging, which is a good sign of a busy bee. I don’t feel “home” yet, but I do feel like I’m living in a hazy deja vu. I’m blushing with excitement for what is to come, and blinking away the nerves.

Holy ship, my life has just changed so much. 

Cheers! The hard part is over.


PDX –> IDK: I’m leaving Portland, here’s why.

Once upon a time in a far off land called Iowa, I pointed left and said, “take me to there!”  With a *poof* I materialized in the misty, deep green silhouette of the Cascades with nothing but a crown and a Subaru. The good people showed me the way, and bestowed upon me good fortune. I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest, and found a place to call my second home. So it came as a shock to both myself and others when I announced that I’m leaving indefinitely on October 1st.

Wait, what? Portland is great, the job is fun, and I have awesome friends! What happened to the fairy tale?! Am I ill? Did somebody pick on me on the playground? Do I need to eat something?  No, no, and yes please! My diagnosis is that I’m suffering the ailment of the charmed life. I’m feeling comfy– too comfy.

Wait, that’s a bad thing?

*cue crowd in yoga pants gasping*

Stare all you want, spandex-ed humans! While you’re at it, throw me a tube of bright lipstick and a scarf to blow in the wind!  I want to flirt with the big city. I have an address book with blank pages reserved for unmet friends. I have a passport to stamp, and a career to lasso!  I have dance floors to twirl on! 

In short, I’m ending my time in Portland because if I have one more person tell me “do it while you can” in reference to checking off my daydream to-do list, I will be the idiot who didn’t take the advice. No kids? No pets? No mortgages? Heck, can I be 24 forever?!

I won’t tell you what adventures are in the queue because that would make me a psychic blogger. Let’s agree that “psychic blogger” is not a good resume booster. What I can predict is that I’ll start by going home to Iowa to refresh and be with my family. Then, I’ll dive in on my Miss Oregon Organization projects (yes, pageant friends, that means I’m still doing my job!) and professional-y things so that I can get back on my heels and kick some career ka-toosh. Once the holidays are over and the egg nog is gone it will be time for a plane ticket, location: somewhere new.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be here. Typing a mixed refreshment of my amorphous, twenty-something philosophy and muses I find fancy and fabulous. I can’t imagine my life without Oregon, so I’m telling myself I’ll reclaim residency someday, though I don’t know. No matter what, I’ll carry with me the state motto: “She flies with her own wings”.

Cheers, friends! To “doing it while you can”!



Same Dork + More Lipstick

*puts lipstick on*

*blows dust off of laptop keyboard*

Ahhh hello you! My fingers are feeling chatty again, and the universe has been calling me back to my little corner of the internet. Thank you to those who have encouraged me to write again! Guess what, it meant a lot! Let’s get caught up.

Last time we chatted, I had just started my job as a beauty expert. Update: I’m still burning at that 40 hour workweek, and over the past few months have become a bone fide hoarder. My desk drawers, purses, and bathroom  cabinets are not enough to hold all of the makeup and skincare goodies I possess. At work I blog about products I love, lead makeup tutorial seminars, and give product advice. Of course I also have to track lost packages and process returns, but for the sake of your fantasy of my life, just imagine me calling to file a claim with the post office while doing this:

Because you are probably wondering: I haven’t found the fountain of youth yet. Please know that when I do I’ll make sure to not tell you what it is, and sell it for all of the money in all of the world.

I’m finding out that for me, 24 will go in the books as living la vida Portland. My schedule is more consistent than ever, and I live for the weekend. This summer was filled with  concerts, outdoor adventures, pageant shtuff, Pacific Northwest travels, a bit of romance, plenty of cocktails, and oodles of laughter. It felt like this:

And looked like this:

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In the words of the late James Brown, “I feel good”.

As far as chasing my dorky chick dreams, I’ve got some things stewing and brewing. I’ll be back in my little corner of the internet soon to update.

Cheers, have one last glass of summertime wine and let’s see what changes with the leaves this fall. Spoiler: it won’t be my hair color.





Hey, remember that one time I said I was going to blog every single day? Shhhhhh….neither do I… OKAY SO WHAT HAPPENED SINCE FOREVER AGO?! This happened:

December: Graduate college then much time at home in Iowa being a grown child. Sigh– the good life.

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January: Working two part time gigs with occasional doubles, asking existential post-grad questions, tending to some creative projects, volunteer stuff, and contributing the Portland restaurant economy. Also began taking recreational hip hop classes. BOOM. Still got it! Uhh sort of…

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February: Month starts out seemingly normal and then somehow revs up to 60 mph.  A gal pal walks into one of my workplaces and says “oh hey, I heard about this great full-time gig you’d be a great fit for”

“Oh, you don’t say!” I say.

“Nay, I do say,” says she. And with that I blew the dust of my resume, hovered my fingers over the parcel and did the most ferocious jazz hands I’ve ever done (you have no idea how much my life has included jazz hands) , and somehow in the midst of the dust and the sassy limb shimmy, a crazy thing happened.

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The phone rang.

I got a job. And not just any job– I got a job fit for a Dorky Chick in Lipstick. 😉

I’m the newest “Beauty Concierge” at b-glowing.com !

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This means if you call looking for beauty advice on cosmetics on b-glowing.com, I can give you personalized advice as your go-to guru for all the luxury brands seen on our site. It is a start, and one that involves figuring out what I think about the latest must-have makeup buys. All those days playing dress-up came full circle…who knew! I started the week of my 24th birthday– a fitting way to celebrate new orbit 🙂

If you’ve never heard of them, check them out! They are kind of amazing. And by kind of, I mean really! Then give me a call sometime– I’ll help you find what you need to feel as fabulous as you are. So far things are great. I’m loving getting the chance to be around women who speak my language. So much creativity and growth at b-glowing… I’m feeling luckier than a leprechaun!

Blogs are postponed until further notice (incase that hasn’t been blatantly obvious for 3 months…*facepalm*) while I desperately try to figure out how to balance this new adult schedule, go head-first into the busiest Miss O pageant season yet, and enjoy a social schedule that is at an all-time high.

Cheers! To Friday the 13th, “making beauty”, and being 24. I’ll take it.



Blearning Blog! Letter eeeEEEEEE!!!

It’s Monday, which means it is time to put new information in your head and live a fancier and more fashionable life!

BLEARNING BLOG brought to you by the letter E!

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E is for Elizabeth and James!

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You know Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen? They are the masterminds behind this hip label, which they started in 2007. Ashley and Mary Kate went from Full House to powerhouse with their fashion careers post sitcom stardom.

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Elizabeth and James is the second of two lines. It is named after their siblings, and is the younger brand to their luxury line The Row. Here are a few of my favorite looks from the Resort 2015 collection. The good news is that the following eye candy is part of the less expensive label. The bad news: you still may have to “resort” to looking and not touching, because even the midi top is going to cost upwards of a couple hundred bucks.

If MK & A hired me to label these looks, it would go something like this:

The Short, Plump Cartoon Man that Never Was

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The Playground Outfit Not Made for the Monkey Bars

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The Powerpoint Presentation w/ Gun Show Encore

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The Laundry Day Skirt Shirt

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The DIY Sharpie Lab Coat … paired with the Rejected Color Jansport

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Okay okay so maybe I was poking a little fun at these looks, but I think even though they appear to be somewhat mod and stark in the way they have been styled for the photos, there is still room to be playful in these looks because of their creative lines and unexpected pops of pattern and color. The aesthetic is supposed to be a relaxed urban with just enough of a blend of femme and structure that it looks powerful and stays relaxed. I’d wear it because it would make me feel edgy and because the shapes allow for all kinds of pizza to be consumed. I wouldn’t wear it if I wanted to feel like a polished professional or if I wanted to show off my silhouette.  If I were styling someone who had a lax, urban dress code for work, I could definitely see pulling some of these pieces for their wardrobe, otherwise I see most of these pieces as meant for the everyday casual sophisticate.

Speaking of sophisticated, when I realized that today’s Blearning Blog was going to start with “E” I immediately thought of Mini Me from Austin Powers running and squealing, and thought “oh, I should definitely put a clip in my blog of that!”  Here’s what search engines gave me:

Because I said sophisticated and I meant it….  😉  Maybe a good look for my next post?





I have a fever, and cowbell is not the cure.

Wash your hands and take care of yourself, friends! This chick is down for the count.

Dorky Chick in Lipstick will return after the Thanksgiving Holiday.