Busting the Budget: how the heck do I figure out where my money is going!?

Busting the Budget: how the heck do I figure out where my money is going!?

Okay so, the thing is… money is like, very confusing. When I graduated college, I was offered a $32k salary and I thought I had MADE IT, FAM. I was convinced that we would be living the high life on my $2000/month.

Fast forward about 3 minutes when I realized that $2000/month is not as much as I thought it is (although still significantly more than most of the world enjoys). Then fast forward a few more years and here we are with 2 kids, a house, car payments, doctors bills, schooltutionkidsclothesextracurricularscarproblemsdatenightsvacations…. just a lot of stuff. It is SO EASY to lose track. And that’s exactly what we did our first 5 years of marriage. It’s not that weren’t looking at our money… we were just watching it go in and go right back out. We weren’t tracking where it was going; we just knew it was going somewhere and it wasn’t our savings account.

After moving to Georgia, Mike found a great job and we started having more regular paychecks come in. Our money started to level out a bit. We felt comfortable again. And yet, at the end of the month we were still looking at each other like “have you seen the rest of our money?”. Because despite the increase in blessings, there was no increase in accountability. And so, we made 2019 the year that we got our shit together and started being good stewards of the monetary blessings we have been given.

I have been working on a fool proof spreadsheet now for about 6 months, and I think I’ve finally come to the point where I can confidently share it and believe that it will bless other families the way it’s blessed ours.

I have a few rules for you to follow before you download my spreadsheet. Okay maybe not rules, but definitely guidelines.

  1. I want you to realize that no matter how much money you feel like you have or don’t have, you can have genuine freedom within your family’s budget.
  2. Your worth, your abilities, and your value has absolutely nothing to do with the numbers you are going to punch into this spreadsheet.
  3. This should be a FAMILY discussion. Whatever that looks like for you. Anyone with access to your money should be part of this conversation. You cannot budget a family without the family’s involvement. I’ve been there. It’s ugly. Don’t do it.
  4. Following this spreadsheet is such a big step, and you should be proud of yourself for stepping up and taking control of your finances. It is incredible how many people choose not to do what you are doing.
  5. I like you. and you have a cute butt.

So, if you’re ready to dive in- you can click on the buttons below and download the Dandelion Puff Budget for Dummies. I will also include a link for a step by step tutorial on how to fill out your customized budget. From there, it’s up to you to keep track of it! HAPPY TRACKING!

Playing Small is a Really Big Deal

Playing Small is a Really Big Deal

img_8531I’ve been looking at my Facebook memories a lot lately and I am noticing a few trends.

  1. I was insufferable in high school. I mean I was the worst.
  2. The body I had when I thought I was fat is now the same body I would literally swallow broken glass to have again.
  3. I used to share a lot of things without realizing how wrong they were and without fully thinking about what I was implying.

As I’ve been looking through these old posts, wading through the countless #bossbabe quotes, the reach for the stars memes and the humble brags of my past, the one quote that has been coming up over and over again says something like this:

“You serve no one – not your family, not the world, not God – by playing small”

Okay. So. I remember the context of this quote. I remember hearing it over and over again at the ‘rah-rah’ rallies we would sit through. It was usually said by multi-millionaires wearing Louboutin shoes. And it was almost always followed by “make your goals BIGGER! SHINIER! FURTHER OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE!” And the crowd would cheer and we would all look at each other with big, hopeful smiles and then I would pull out my phone and share the quote because it felt so true. And I wanted other women to know that they shouldn’t play small either! They should get off their butts and do something amazing with their lives! They should be great… just like me! I remember feeling like I was genuinely helping others by encouraging them to do more than they were currently doing.

But what I didn’t realize was, by sharing quotes just like this one, I was implying that those women weren’t doing enough already. I didn’t realize that by putting out into the world all of my successes (and very few of my failures) and sharing every accomplishment I achieved… I was helping to sell the idea that only busy women deserve praise. Only women who are juggling all the balls deserve pats on the back. Only women whose houses are covered in goal posters and whose bookshelves are full of personal development and whose air pods are always playing inspirational podcasts – that those are the women who are really doing something with their lives. And when, a few years later, I found myself outside of that group of women, I realized what I wish I had seen all along; that playing it small is actually a really big deal.

When I first left my job to become a full-time stay at home mom, I would tell people it was temporary. I was just doing this until I could find my true purpose. I started a brand to help inspire women to find their #innerbadass, and while I still stand by the idea that every woman has an inner badass, I wish I could go back and tell myself that I didn’t have to try so hard to look like I was staying busy. I would sit at my computer for hours, working on my blog to try to make it more inviting with the hope that it would gain more subscribers. I started a YouTube channel. I started writing a book. I wrote a personal development curriculum. I was reaching for anything that would make me feel like I wasn’t settling for ‘just being a mom’.

I had heard other women say it before. “I can’t believe she left just to be a stay at home mom,” they would say. “It’s so sad that she won’t have any purpose,” women would comment. Whenever someone would leave the bubble we would all gather around and discuss what her life would look like. She would surely be miserable, drowning in the monotony of daily life while we all personally developed ourselves into direct sales tycoons. So, when I was the one outside the bubble, it was easy to believe that I was settling just like all those women before me. I assumed that leaving my job meant I would find something bigger and better soon. Because playing small doesn’t serve anyone.

But then the time passed. The days, while definitely tedious at times, were filled with important tasks like feeding my kids and making sure my house was in livable condition. I balanced our budget. I took our dogs to the vet. And in the midst of the monotony, I found my purpose. It didn’t look shiny or particularly glamorous. I didn’t have a goal poster with my 6 most important things on it. I didn’t even make lists unless it was for groceries or errands that needed to be done. But I felt more important than I ever had before. Those small moments – the ones I thought for sure would make me feel like a slave in my own home – they made me feel grounded. I felt more connected to my family. My marriage improved. I stopped resenting my date book – which used to be filled with a bunch of appointments I didn’t want to go to – and started to love filling it in with playdates and tasks for my family.

A year later, I haven’t found anything bigger, but I have found something better. I have found that playing it small does, in fact, serve those around you. Caring more about the little things (like playdates and snuggles) and less about the ‘big things’ (like month end numbers and paychecks) was the best way to serve my family. When I shortened my to-do list and created space in my brain, I was able to focus more on what truly brought me joy and what my kids and husband needed from me. And, in the ultimate act of irony, it has led me to discovering passions that could someday make a financial impact on my img_8531 when the right time comes along.

For now, I am happy with playing it small.


After the Party: Why I left Mary Kay.

After the Party: Why I left Mary Kay.

It’s been a year since I decided to leave my full time, work-from-home-job with Mary Kay. In that year, I’ve had a lot of time to think about my experience. I’ve reflected on everything I learned during the 3ish years I spent with the company; two of which were spent leading a unit of 100-something women as a Senior Sales Director.

I have felt for some time now that I owe it to my former customers and team members to fully explain why I left. I have gone back and forth with the idea; knowing that it would come with a wave of backlash, many Facebook unfriendings, and maybe even some real-life unfriendings. I know this, and still… I feel compelled to share. Not because I am a scorned ex-employee (I left while I was driving a free car and still considered successful in most senses of the word) or because I want to damage anyone else’s career (I still have great respect for many of the women I met through Mary Kay). I want to share because I don’t like keeping secrets, and I believe in vulnerability and transparency. With every new day, there seems to be a new wave of MLM facebook and Instagram posts, all explaining why their company is different than the rest. I can’t speak to all the others, but I can share my story with the hope that it helps someone make an informed decision before signing on any dotted lines.

So, despite what I know is sure to come, here it is. My story with Mary Kay.

I became acquainted with Mary Kay a few months before my wedding in 2013. A family member had a close friend who was (and still is) a Mary Kay sales director, and she suggested that I ask her to do my makeup for my wedding. I had seen some of her work, and she was a talented make up artist, so I agreed. I won’t go into every single detail, but that experience ended up being awkward. At my bridal party’s makeup trial, she tried to sell us product. My bridesmaids consisted of my three underage sisters, and two of my closest friends who were still in college and broke as a joke. Needless to say, she sold us nothing and we left promptly after our trial session ended. Later on, she would send multiple texts asking us to buy product- at one point even telling me she needed the money because her husband had been laid off. Can you say, “too much information”? But my wedding makeup looked beautiful, I never thought anything of it afterwards, and I moved on.

My next experience was at a close friend’s debut party on Halloween eve. I went as a favor, stayed despite the fact that it started almost an hour late, and purchased one product to be kind. I remember feeling uncomfortable, but I am nothing if not strong willed, so I did not feel particularly pressured into buying anything more than I did.

It was a few months later, that my husband and I decided Mary Kay might be a good opportunity for our growing family. I was pregnant with our first child, and I had dreams of one day being able to quit my job and be a stay at home mom. My friend- who I had an incredible amount of respect for, and still do – showed me her commission check and told me she had managed to make more in a few hours doing Mary Kay than she had in a week at her normal job. I was impressed. Mike was impressed. And we both thought, “if she can do it, why can’t I”?

So, I handed over our credit card, signed on the dotted line and BLAM, I was a Mary Kay consultant.

Fast forward a few days. I assume, knowing what I know now, that I did some kind of orientation over the phone with my new recruiter’s up-line, but it must have been quick because I don’t remember it whatsoever. What I do remember is agreeing to pay $600 for inventory, because “you can’t make money without investing money first”. A few days after again handing over my credit card, I got a call from my husband. “Why is there a $730 charge on our card? I thought we agreed to $600?”. “Um, we did. Great question. I’ll call”. And call I did. The explanation was taxes and shipping. Might have been good to know before charging my card. But, after much apologizing from my sales director (she even offered to buy part of my product back from me..), I relented and accepted the charges.

I won’t bore you with the details of my start with the company. To be honest, it was exactly what you would imagine. Parties in friends’ houses. Setting goals that always seemed to get bigger the more I accomplished. Eventually, I set my sights on directorship; in other words, I was tired of being a small fish and was ready to climb the ladder.

I was told the requirements, I was given the timeline, and my up-line was beyond supportive. All of a sudden, I was getting much more attention. I was selling more. People were signing up under me. The tactics that I had once thought felt uncomfortable with were now falling off my lips as easily as my own name.

I eventually entered DIQ, which is a 4 month period where you are expected to hit certain quotas and recruit a certain amount of team members before you debut as a director. Those 4 months turned into 7 months. The tricky part of Mary Kay (and I would assume any other MLM company) is that once the last day of the month comes and goes, you are back to zero, friend. If you don’t hit your goal, guess what? That work is out the window and you are back to square one. But I was determined to become a stay at home mom, which meant I was determined to make a full time income, which meant I needed to be a sales director. I worked my tail off. I skipped meals with my family, I lost hours of sleep calculating numbers and quotas and piecing together the puzzle that made up DIQ. It was grueling. But over and over again I heard “this is the hardest part” “you’ll get through it” “this is why only 1% of women make it to the top” “it’s smooth sailing after this”. And so, 7 months later, in December 2015, I became a Mary Kay Sales Director.

And I rested. I took a nice, long awaited, much needed vacation. Right?

Wrong. The day I debuted, I was handed a packet of how to be successful as a Sales Director and I was told “this is not the time to slow down. Don’t lose your momentum. Get back to work”.

Okay, I thought, I’ll work now and I’ll rest later. When later would be, no one could tell me, but I was looking forward to it. The company handed me new, even bigger goals, to hit in my first year of directorship and I took the challenge as a way to make even more of a financial impact on my family. I smashed those goals; debuting as the #2 sales director in my class out of hundreds of women. I made $2000 out of the possible $3000 in bonuses, I earned prizes out the wazoo and I was killing it. But “later” never came. I didn’t slow down. If anything, I worked harder. I ended up debuting another sales director under myself less than a year after my own debut. I hired an assistant. I earned a first car, and then a second car.

But here’s what else was going on behind the scenes.

I was exhausted. Mentally, emotionally, physically exhausted. I gave birth to my second child just 6 months after my debut, and didn’t even take 1 day off. I was fulfilling orders in my hospital bed- hand to God this is true. And my peers told me “good for you”, “that’s some insane work ethic”, “way to be a girl boss”. Now, when I see pictures of women bringing their newborn children to mary kay meetings, I want to shake them and say “TAKE A BREAK. YOU JUST GAVE BIRTH, YOU NEED REST!”. But I know they are just doing what they think they are supposed to do: work hard for their family, no matter what.

After my son was born, my husband left his job to go back to school full time. I became the primary bread winner for my family. At the same time, a thick black cloud of postpartum depression moved in and loomed over me. I was trying to spin all the plates. I was juggling all the balls. I was having my cake and eating it too- bread winner, stay at home mom, successful entrepreneur, leader.. whatever you want to call it.

But the truth was, I was drowning. The first of every month, when the scoreboard would go back to 0 and all of the past month’s work would be washed away, I panicked. I can still feel the sensation of my throat closing up when I would turn the calendar to a new month. I needed new customers, new recruits. A new, blank, tracking sheet. New motivational words to get my girls working (who, by the way, were incredible. I feel so blessed by the women I got to work with).

I wish I could say someone noticed. I wish I could say that I got a call from someone who told me “take some time off” or “the company will take care of you while you recover from this crippling depression”. But that wasn’t the case. Sure, I had friends who supported me. Some of them were even involved in Mary Kay with me. But when the idea of taking time off came up, the response was always “you’ll feel better when you hit your next goal”, and “Mary Kay is the only thing that will help you feel better; you don’t want to walk away now”. No one told me to breathe. No one told me to take care of myself first.

Because the truth is, that wasn’t an option. The company wouldn’t just press pause on my quotas while I figured out which anti-depressant would stop me from feeling suicidal. They wouldn’t pay me while I went to therapy. There is no FMLA. There is no PTO. And while residual  income is wonderful, there was no way it would support my family while I took some time to breathe.

>>I want to quickly insert that it wasn’t all bad. If it had been, I would not have stuck around as long as I did. The fact is, I met some really incredible people through Mary Kay. I developed some deep friendships and learned a lot about myself through that season of my life. I gained a lot of organizational skills that I still implement today. I listened to many speeches that reminded me of my worth as a woman, my ability as a mother, and bolstered my faith in God. I have many positive memories of Mary Kay. That is why the decision to leave was so complicated. I loved the people I was spending time with, but I started to resent the work we were doing. The process of leaving was almost excruciating because I had become so invested in the lifestyle of Mary Kay. It was more than a job- it had become my identity. <<

When I started to seriously consider leaving, my first thought was “when did I become so weak”? In fact, I had friends tell me I needed to work on my “emotional management”. As if the problem was my inability to manage my emotions. I was a work from home mom of two kids under two, fighting off severe postpartum depression, all while supporting her family while her husband pursued his dreams, and the problem was my emotional management? The term still makes me cringe.

I spent months believing I was the problem. If I could just manage my time better. If I prayed more. If I read more personal development books. If I woke up at 5am.. maybe 4am… maybe if I just didn’t sleep… I would have more time to make more money and I wouldn’t feel so bad. The next party will be a hit. And if it’s not, it’s because I didn’t pitch the products correctly or nail my closing speech. The next girl to sign up will be my next director. Just hold on. Just keep going.

And then, I couldn’t anymore.

I couldn’t call one more person and beg for one more sale. I couldn’t put on another fake smile or sell another woman a product I had long ago stopped believing in. I couldn’t tell my story one more time, knowing I was glorifying the good and omitting the bad. I just… couldn’t.

And then the fear came. I had heard what women said about the ones who left. They were quitters. They were settling for a sad, pathetic existence. They weren’t living up to their potential. Women who were once valued members of our “pink bubble” were now outcast. Rumors would fly. Dirty laundry was aired. I could hear what they would surely say about me at the next meeting. And I didn’t want to lose my friends. So, I tried to hold on just a little longer.

But then, I found myself sitting at what would end up being my last Mary Kay event, listening to a self-proclaimed Christian woman share how she became a Mary Kay millionaire, and I heard her say this sentence.

“Depressed people are just lazy people. If you are struggling with depression, you should get off the couch and see how much better you feel”.

It hit me like a freight train. I couldn’t believe what I had heard. And I couldn’t believe that the women around me took it in without balking. It was like a curtain had lifted and I was hearing it all for the first time. This is what we are saying to women? This is what we are preaching? We are convincing women that if they are depressed, they are lazy? That the difference between success and failure is as simple as getting off the couch? If that was true, why weren’t we all millionaires already? Why hadn’t my hours of work cured my depression already? Why wasn’t I happy, despite my free car and my handsome commission checks? And why are all these women taking in this shit like it’s straight out of the bible?

I would be lying if I said I hadn’t already had one foot out the door before that moment, but that gave me the strength I needed to walk out and slam the door behind me. I left my position as a successful, Equinox driving, Senior Sales Director. I called the company and scheduled my car pick up. I went about it the very best way I knew how. I even stuck around for 3 months after I announced my resignation to help my unit transition.

And you know what happened? The support fell away. The calls from friends became more sporadic. The advice ceased. The calls from the company didn’t feel so warm and friendly. Turns out, there’s a whole bunch of literature on how to start a Mary Kay business- but almost nothing on how to end one. My up-line even started telling women to be careful when they talked to me. As if my decision to leave made me some kind of poisonous influence. It turned into “every woman for herself”. I understood. After all, I had been that woman before. When a team member left, I would smooth over any rough edges left by their departure, and would fill the hole with a new, more zealous recruit. I would over-compensate for the loss by flashing shiny things in front of my team members’ faces. I would remind them that “haters gonna hate” and immediately discredit the ex-consultant any way I could.


I’m not proud of it, but it was all part of the job. And when I look back on that season of my life, I am wrecked with embarrassment and guilt. Oh, the guilt. The women I promised success to who never saw even 1/10th of the paycheck they were hoping for. The times I told women they were “only a decision away from success”. The countless number of unwanted texts I sent, most of which were never returned. The friends I made uncomfortable. The times I told women to use the “husband unawareness plan” to buy more than they were supposed to. All in the name of “entrepreneurship” and “the hustle”.

I have had a year to think it all over. And every time, I come back to the same conclusion. MLMs serve a purpose, no doubt. They allow a small percentage of women to support their families in a way that suits their needs. They bring women together. They give purpose to women who may have lost themselves in the chaos of motherhood. But the catch? The catch looks like the hundreds of women that don’t get that experience. The ones who come in with a “can do” attitude and leave with an “I failed” mentality. The women who were promised things they would never receive. The credit cards taken out irresponsibly. The debt incurred unnecessarily. It has kept me up at night more than I would like to admit.

To those who are still in the bubble: I see you. I know you are not in it to swindle or manipulate. I know you believe you are doing what you need to do to support your family. And I know you have the makings of an incredible business woman. I hope someday you truly go out on your own. I hope you find a way to start your own brand, own your own business, or pursue your passions in a way that won’t leave you high and dry should you ever need to step away.

To those who are ready to walk away, or have recently left the bubble: To you, I would say: remember there is a whole universe beyond MLM. There is life on the other side. You are not a quitter, you are not suffering from a lack of emotional management. You are not the problem. It is okay to walk away if that is where your heart (or husband, or most importantly, God) is leading you. Eventually the dust will settle and all will be well. After the party ends, there are plenty of other adventures to be had.

Makeup That Makes My Heart Feel Happy

Makeup That Makes My Heart Feel Happy

First of all, before I utter a single syllable about any of these products, let me just put it out there that this is not a sponsored post. No one paid me to rave about these products; they are just genuinely the products I use every single day and they never let me down.

Okay, that’s out of the way.

So, I love makeup. Like… it’s not healthy how much I love makeup. Take me to a Sephora, hand me a vanilla latte, and you can leave for a few hours and I won’t notice you’re gone. I could swatch until my entire body is covered in little half-inch swipes of color, and blending eyeshadow is one of my favorite exercises. I’m addicted to youtube beauty videos… it’s a problem. BUT it’s not a problem I plan on fixing anytime soon, so…

I want to share my absolute ride or die makeup products that have gotten me through the hardest of times. These guys are my squad, my A team, my… whatever I just love these products and I hope you do too. I’m going to do my best to walk you through my everyday routine. Most products are available at any drugstore, Target, Wal-mart, etc. I will clarify if any product can only be found at a specific store. I am not including links because I don’t make any money off you clicking them, so what’s the point. BUT I will include pictures so you can walk into any store, point at the picture and say “help me find dis”.

Let’s get started! The first step to any good makeup day is ALWAYS washing your face and moisturizing. I don’t have a current ride or die skincare routine, so I will let y’all know when I find one. But just make sure you wash your face. Don’t skip that step… That ish is nasty.

Once your face is washed and moisturized, we can start getting our base on! The products I use for my base are:

  1. Covergirl Base Business Pore Minimizing Primer– I use my finger tips to work this into my skin, focusing on the middle of my face and working towards my chin/hairline.
  2. Ecotools Blending Sponges– I use the larger sponge for my foundation and I make sure it is nice and damp before I start! I like to run it under the water until it kind of puffs up a bit, squeeze it out as much as I can, and then go ahead with my foundation!
  3. Maybelline Fit Me Matte+Poreless foundation– I love this foundation because it has a huge shade selection and it stays ALL DAY. I use the blending sponge to work it into my skin, using bouncing motions and starting in the middle of my face working outwards! Make sure you blend into your hairline and down your neck so you don’t have any harsh lines.

After my foundation is on, I move onto concealing. For this step, I use:

  1. It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye concealer– This is available at Ulta, but usually not at drugstores. I apply this under my eyes, down the bridge of my nose, and in the center of my forehead. I use the Ecotools smaller blending sponge (also dampened) to blend the concealer out until it kind of melts into my foundation. The idea is to make these parts of your face look brighter, so use a shade 1-2 shades lighter than your foundation.
  2. Coty Airspun loose face powder– this can only be found at Walmart. It smells like old lady but it is amazing. I use one of the damp ecotools sponges to pat this onto the places I just put concealer. You can leave it on for a minute for a more matte finish, or you can buff it away with a brush right away! That’s just a matter of personal preference (I tend to leave mine on for a few minutes).
  3. Maybelle Fit Me Matte+ Poreless Mattifying Powder– I use a big fluffy brush and buff this all over my face to set my foundation and to make my skin look airbrushed! This stuff is aaawwwwweessooommme. Make sure you buy it in the same shade as your foundation.

WOO. Your base is done. Let’s get some eyebrows on yo’ face. Don’t fill in your eyebrows? Ok well… you’re wrong. Someone has to tell you. Brows are important. Here’s what I use:

  1. Covergirl Easy Breezy Brow Pencil– This little guy is so small and so precise. It isn’t too waxy but it stays on all day! I use this to shape and fill in my brows. For a more thorough tutorial, I would look up a Nikki Tutorials tutorial on Youtube. She is the queen and I can’t try to even compare, so I will let her teach you.
  2. Mary Kay Brow Gel– the truth is, I don’t stand behind most Mary Kay products as being the best (sorry…. but also not sorry) but I will stand behind this one. I use this to gel my eyebrows into submission and set all the work I just did. A little goes a long way… we don’t need crunchy brows, people.


My next step is usually my eyes, although you could argue that it makes more sense to do bronzer/blush. BUT THIS ISN’T YOUR BLOG, SO. Here’s what I use for my every day eye look:

  1. Lorac Downtown LA palette– I use the tan color in this palette with a big fluffy eyeshadow brush and I just sweep it across the crease and blend until it looks soft and seamless. That’s it. The end.
  2. Maybelle EyeStudio black gel liner– I use this to add a little definition to my upper lash line. No wing, no fuss. Just an easy way to give your eyes a pop and make your lashes look thicker.
  3. Loreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara– ooohhhh bish. This stuff is the stuff. I use it every day. It doesn’t flake. It doesn’t smear. It makes my eyelashes extend to the heavens. It is beautiful. It is perfect. I WILL FIGHT YOU ON THIS. Go getchu some right now. I do 3 coats because I can and I want to, thank you.

Okay we are almost there. You are so close to being able to leave your house and look like you are wearing next to nothing even though you are wearing like, so much, makeup. Let’s finish this off. Here’s the end of my routine:

  1. Lisa Frank Bitten and Bronzed Matte Bronzer– this is a sore subject for me. It was limited edition. Lisa played me. She made me fall in love and then she took it away from me. I’m so sorry to tell you that the best bronzer in the world is no longer available. Find yourself a great matte bronzer, and sweep it right under your cheek bones to give your face an instant lift. It won’t ever look as good as mine because you don’t have the Lisa Frank bronzer, but you can at least try.
  2. Tarte “Paaaarty” Amazonian Clay blush– This. Shit. Is. Fantastic. It’s the perfect dusty rose color and it makes me look like I just made out with my husband for like an hour and I’m just flushed and adorable and in love. I wear it every day. I sweep it from the apples of my cheeks back to my hairline just above my ears.
  3. Essence Pure Nude Highlighter– got $2? Great then you can buy Essence products. They are cheap as helllll but man do they pack a punch. This highlighter is amazing and it will bless you. Sweep it on the high points of your face with a small fluffy brush (think cheekbones, brow bone, bridge of your nose, etc) and go on with your day knowing you are shining like the queen you are.

OKAYYYY so your face is looking snatched. And you’ve put in a lot of work. Let’s make sure that work stays all day so you don’t have to do this business twice in one day. Here’s my VERY LAST STEP:

  1. Maybelle Master Fix Wear-Boosting Setting Spray– spray it. Spray SO MUCH OF IT. All over your face. Until you’re like “wait this is too much”. It’s not. You need more. Spray your little heart out, and then run through a damn sprinkler because your makeup ain’t goin nowhere, friend. I am including a picture of me wearing all of these products, after doing cardio/weights at the gym for over an hour. Come at me, sweat. You are no match for my setting spray.


And that’s it! That’s my every day makeup routine. That’s how I go from creature of the crypt to somewhat attractive and has her shit together stay at home mom. And that’s how I keep my husband from telling me I look tired, or asking me if I’m sick. You can now go off, find these products, and keep your husband from saying those things. You’re welcome.

I hope this helps! Leave any questions in the comments, or DM me on Instagram (@thedandelionpuff). Have a blessed day, fellow makeup wearing queens.

p.s. I don’t wear lipstick often because it’s stupid and I look stupid in it. If you like it, you are a unicorn and I salute you.


Ask a Puff: Marriage Edition

Ask a Puff: Marriage Edition

At the end of this month, Mike and I will be celebrating our five-year wedding anniversary. Is that right? Am I doing that math correctly? I’m not old enough for a five-year wedding anniversary….

Shit, we are getting old.

In honor of our anniversary, I asked my readers to ask me anything about marriage, and I promised to give my best, most vulnerable answers. But before we dive into all that, here’s the quick back story on us, and a few pictures to illustrate how far we have come (thank god for that #glowup):

Mike and I met in high school. We lived in the same town but went to different schools so we didn’t have any mutual friends and we didn’t know a thing about one another. We met at a frozen custard store when I was 16 and he was 17. We both were dating other people at the time, but those relationships crashed and burned shortly after, and we started dating in June 2007. Mike had just joined the army reserves, so for the first 3 months of our dating relationship Mike was at basic training. He didn’t have his cell phone so we wrote letters back and forth. We got to know each other through those letters, and I still have every single one of them! I was pretty much obsessed with Mike right away. He was the strong, silent, delinquent boy that every parent has nightmares about and I looooved it. He drove a total beater, didn’t care what anyone thought of him, and he smoked cigarettes. On our first date, he wore a t-shirt that said “I’m with the band” and I’m fairly certain it had several holes in it. He wore flip flops even when it snowed out and his hands were almost always covered in grease from working on his car. Swoon. My little sheltered teenage heart could hardly handle it. He fit right into my rebellious phase. We did a lot of stupid stuff back then and while I hope our kids never do half of what we did, I cherish those memories because we were young and stupid and wildly in love.  I loved Mike right away because there was a depth to him that I had never seen in any other guy I had dated. I realize now it’s because he had already been through so much in his life, but at the time he just seemed so intriguing and mysterious and I couldn’t get enough of him. After dating for almost 5 years, we got engaged in February 2012 during my junior year of college.  In June of that year Mike left for a 9-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. He came home safe and sound in May of 2013 (best day of my life), and we got married that August. We have since had 1 miscarriage, 2 children, bought our first house, sold our first house, moved to another state, and built quite the little life for ourselves. I am super proud of us for making it to this point. We have defied a lot of odds and tackled a lot of obstacles together.

That’s the readers digest version of our story! Let’s dive into some questions.

Q: What has marriage been like for you guys?

A: This seems like a good place to start. Marriage for us has been… how do I put this…. tricky. My parents are divorced, so I entered into marriage with a really fun bag of weird insecurities and uncovered issues. Mike’s parents are, um, not exactly marriage goals… so he came into marriage with his own bag of weirdness. Put that together with some post deployment PTSD, 2 kids in 2 years, and a severe case of post-partum depression and you’ve got a really f***ed up bowl of emotional baggage soup. It’s been an incredible journey of self-discovery and learning to roll with the punches, both together and as individuals. I can honestly say that we are now at a point where I know we are built on a rock-solid foundation and we have worked out some of the bigger kinks that we struggled with early on. I am thankful that we both are believers, because I honestly don’t know where we would be without Jesus. I am also thankful for some incredible mentors who have helped us navigate through some of the darkest times. Our community is one of the biggest reasons we have made it this far.

Q: How has your relationship changed since you’ve been married?

A: I love this question because when we were dating and engaged, I honestly thought nothing would change after marriage. Bless my young heart. I think the biggest thing that has changed is our expectations. Before marriage, your partner is just your boyfriend. After marriage, he’s your husband. I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal… but I promise you, it is. If your boyfriend leaves his socks on the floor, he’s just a cute little messy dude who sleeps at your place sometimes and you giggle because it’s kinda fun to play house and clean up after him. But when your husband leaves his socks on the floor… he is a monster who is intentionally leaving his socks there to taunt you and ruin your day. You feel me? It happens to the best of us. I drive Mike crazy because I don’t put lids back on Advil bottles or close kitchen cabinets (I’m busy, sue me). It’s important to remember that no one, not even your knight in shining armor, is going to live up to your expectations all the time. So, we definitely drive each other crazy on a daily basis and we just have to remember to stay humble and roll with each other’s quirks.

Q: What was the hardest point in your marriage so far?

A: Man. This one is really hard for me. I think the hardest point of our marriage was the Fall of 2016. Noah had just been born, and Mike and I were both fighting our own mental health battles that were manifesting in some really destructive behaviors. I had become incredibly resentful towards Mike for some mistakes he had made, and Mike was becoming increasingly frustrated with my constant unhappiness and nit-picking behaviors. Yuck- that was not fun to write. We had a hard time even being in the same room, and every day felt like an uphill battle. It was really hard to look at this man who I had loved for so many years and not even want to be in his presence because I was so angry all the time. It kind of felt like we were living on two separate islands and we were shooting arrows back and forth at each other. I look back at that season of our life and I am really grateful that we reached out for help because I’m not sure we would be where we are today if we hadn’t. Actually- screw that. I KNOW we wouldn’t be here today if we hadn’t asked for help.

Q: What do you do when things get really hard?

A: What a perfect follow up question. When we were at our absolute lowest, we did a few key things that I think were crucial to the survival of our marriage.

  1. We got help individually. We both went to counseling for our own issues. We realized that unless we felt better as individuals, there was no way we were going to be able to save our marriage. We needed very different things, and there was no way to fix both of our issues in a couple’s therapy setting. So, we sought help in our own ways and really took time to deal with our own shit.
  2. We leaned on our faith. I can remember so many times being literally on my knees praying “God you have got to do something”. I remember scream crying in the car and saying “What the actual F*** God?!”. And in those moments, I felt so helpless, but now I look back and realize those were the moments I was fighting the hardest. Going to God was the most powerful thing I could do along with asking for help in the physical realm. When the spiritual world and the physical world meet and are both oriented towards the same goal, some really cool stuff happens. We went to church together every Sunday, even if we had been fighting the night before. We both pursued our relationships with God as individuals and that sort of naturally brought us closer together.
  3. We fought it out. I cannot stress enough that fighting (as long as it is safe and both parties feel respected) is so much better than silence. Silence breeds resentment. When we are in our own heads, everything gets worse. When we say things out loud, whether it’s in a whisper or at the top of our lungs, those ugly thoughts are brought into the light. Nothing gets better in the dark. We fought constantly. And yeah, it was exhausting and there were days I kinda just wanted Mike to live in a tent in the back yard (he probably wanted me to do the same). But we got all our words out. And we went to battle for our marriage. The effort it took to fight all those fights was an indicator of how badly we wanted our marriage to last. And I think we are still here because we dug down deep and found strength even when we were completely tapped out.
  4. We kept believing in us. I would write him short notes. He would text me “I love you” in the middle of the day. We would take advantage of pockets of time where we felt in love, or at least in like, with each other. We held hands and watched movies together even when we didn’t necessarily feel romantic. We laughed over diaper blow outs and we continued to work as a team when parenting our kids. We took turns fighting for each other and we did our best to support one another while we dealt with our own junk. We just didn’t give up. That’s what it boils down to. You just can’t give up. There were so many days I thought we might not make it. But I knew I wouldn’t ever be the one to leave. And while I was feeling that way, Mike was feeling the same way. Neither one of us allowed ourselves to be the one who gave up. And so, we both stayed. And we both fought for it. We are here today, stronger than ever, because we never seriously considered the alternative.

Marriage, man. It’s really hard. Like, way harder than people make it seem. I don’t think it’s possible to know how hard it is until you have experienced it yourself. When you make it past the butterflies and the giggles… when you get into the real shit, that’s when you find out what you’re made of. I am incredibly proud to be Mike’s wife, and I am proud of what we have accomplished despite what life has thrown at us. We are in a season of deep gratitude for each other and for our relationship, but I know this season will give way to a new season someday. Life is really good right now, but I’ve seen enough to know this won’t last forever.

What will last forever is us. I am more confident than ever that Mike and I will be sitting on rocking chairs someday, old and wrinkly, bitching at each other over the temperature in the house. When we said “til death do us part” five years ago, I’m certain we had no idea what that really meant. But now I know that I will be a pain in Mike’s ass until the day one of us bites the dust, and he will continue to leave his socks on the floor until we have a nurse who comes to take care of us and do our laundry.

Lastly, I want to say a few words to my husband, on our 5th anniversary…

Hey Beeb,

In my mind, you are still that 17-year-old bad boy who taught me to not take life so seriously. You are still the boy who never stops surprising me and makes me laugh until my sides hurt. You will forever be my boyfriend, but damn am I lucky to be your wife. You make me so proud. I respect you more than I could ever explain. I’m sorry for the 1000 Advil pills you had to pick up off the bathroom floor and I wish I could promise that it won’t happen again but I love you too much to lie to you.

Happy anniversary, love. You are my hero. I love you deeper than ever.

Always, M.