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As thrilling as your 20’s are they are also a time period mixed with a ton of other emotions. One day I feel completely confident and secure (chanting you got dis, in my head) the next minute I’m filled with fear because I have no clue exactly what I’m doing with my life. And so the cycle continues year 21, I have plenty of time to figure things out, year 23 I’m in a serious relationship feeling like I’m about to get engaged and planning my life with someone, year 25 I’m single, but completely happy about it, and finally and currently year 26, still single and still happy about it. This 26-year-old is about to start grad school, just got a promotion at work, and lives in a gorgeous (affordable, cause we all know that the cost of living is like) place in the bay area!

Ask me how I planned/prepared for it, I have no idea. As much as I feel like you have to work hard for what you want I very much also believe that sometimes life just happens (well not really just happens, gotta give props to the big guy upstairs) but for all intents and purposes it feels like life just happens. Last year around this same time, I was going through a rough time and having a lot of anxiety. I was struggling to get out of my crappy relationship but also trying to figure out my own life goals. I desperately wanted to go to grad school but had no clue what I wanted to major in. You see, I had this vision for my life. Career women, working in a the healthcare industry, having the authority to make necessary and needed changes toward healthcare reform, but also remaining connected to underserved populations that make up the majority of the world around us. How could I possibly know what major to choose to get me from here to there?!? The answer is I didn’t, and I still don’t. I decided to go with my passion and apply to Master’s in Social Work Programs. Don’t be a Social Worker they said, you won’t make a lot of money they said, it’s a flat career I was told. Well, guess what, it’s happening. I will be part of the graduating class of 2018 (Yes, I know. Hella long.)

The best advice that I have gotten to this day about trying to have all the answers and always have peace of mind about decisions was from my mom. She said, “Amanda, don’t invite trouble.” Pretty much meaning, why worry about it right now when there is currently nothing to worry about. Why worry about answers that I won’t have until I get there. All in all, the most important thing I am doing for my future is working hard and trusting my instincts. There is no real answer on how to prepare for your future so for now I am living life passionately, unapologetically and not following all the advice that is given to me. Sometimes you have to figure things out for yourself.  The bottom line is that I’m kicking ass and taking names all at the ripe age of 26 and I am currently progressing toward my life goals.  If I happen to make a wrong decision along the way, I’m sure it won’t be the end of the world and of it ism Kierra has already promised to hire me as her assistant with a room in her house so I’m pretty much set (for real, thanks friend.)   

amanda again

 

Don’t forget to check out the other people that participated in the linkup!

Meg Biram
Liska Monet
26 and Not Counting
soak and simmer
Knowing Kelly
Carrie Loves
Alyssa J Freitas
Manifest Yourself
Rae Loves
White Cabana
The Yuppie Files
Little Wild Heart
Life Modifier
The Not Quite Adult
Random Little Faves
Perfect Enough For Us
Always, Anita
Feathers and Stripes
Something Good
The Golden Letter
Leigh Clair
York Avenue
Sequins & Strawberries
Emilie Lima Burke
with love from ellie
rejoyce
Bite My Fashion
White Oak Creative
StyledbyKesha
xo lacey
Whitney Bangel Blog
always craving
Evann Clingan
Turning the Corner…Fearlessly!
IN THE GREY
Beauty and the Pitch
PRBlonde

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As some of you may know I’m currently in the process of buying a car. There a several ways to finance one, but your financial situation will help determine which way is best for you. I bought my first car when I was 18 years old. It’s actually kinda funny, because my parents bought me a brand new car when I was 18, but it wasn’t a car that I wanted so I went and bought another one and gave the one they bought me to my sister ( yeah I know, some of you are probably thinking spoiled brat.) Well let me start off by saying I was far from spoiled, in fact, I worked very hard for everything I had, and I knew what I wanted so I decided to get it. At the time, I think I had one credit card through Capital One- they pretty much loan money to anyone-so my credit was brand spankin’ new. I was going around visiting a ton of different dealerships trying to get approved for a car loan. Little did I know- cause no one gives you a guide to how credit works- that running your credit at multiple places actually looks really bad.

After maybe about 6 rejections I decided to cool it on the car shopping and build my credit up a little more. I went back a couple months later and that did the trick!  I was approved for a $15,000 loan through a small credit union and I bought a used 2006 Volkswagen Jetta. I kept that car for a little over a year before I traded it in for a brand new 2011 Kia Forte. This car was everything that I wanted. Too bad it was totaled a year later (by no fault of my own.)

Now back to the financing piece; because I needed to buy a new car, yet again, I decided to apply for a car loan directly at the bank because they were offering really good rates. I was approved- obvi this time I’m a car buying expert- ,and it was time to get shopping. The reason why I found financing prior to shopping was so that I would know the limit I could spend before even going in. It’s easier for me to start with the max budget that I’m approved at versus finding a car that I love and seeing if a bank will finance that amount. This way there are no surprises, however the downside is that you are more limited because you already know what you can spend.

I’m now in the process of  having to buy  yet another car because my Mazda was totaled (I know, really bad luck with cars) but prior to even shopping I secured my financing through the bank again. I belive this is the smartest way to shop, but it’s also not for the weak minded. You have to be very firm at dealerships, because they WILL tell you that you need to run your credit again “as a formality” (puhhleaaaseee) and if you see a car you like that is over your budget they WILL try to get you financed somewhere else for more money (don’t fall for it.)

Stay with what makes you comfortable and remember that they want to sell you the most expensive car they can. I don’t suggest being rude or mean because salesmen are people too, but be upfront about your financing and what you are and are not willing to do. I’ve been shopping for a car for about 2 weeks now and my experience has been okay.Nowadays majority of car lots have turned into what they call “no haggle” basically meaning they don’t negotiate on price and I’m looking for a sweet deal. What happened to the good ol’ days of bargaining? No one wants to go toe to toe anymore and fight for a great deal. Apparently, from what I’ve been told, people have reported they would rather shop the no haggle method instead of going back and forth trying to negotiate.

What do you guys think?

    amanda again

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 how to clean your makeup brushes, makeup brushes, beauty, real techniques brushes
Cleaning your makeup brushes is never anyone’s favorite task, especially when you have a large collection. I  know I would much rather reorganize my vanity than sit and wash a whole bunch of brushes. However cleaning your brushes is vital to keeping a clean and blemish free face; so I’ve come up with a more budget friendly way to do so. I personally did not want to spend $15-$20 on makeup cleaner so I decided to use some products around my house.
Ingredients:
A plate: To mix the hand soap and Olive oil together
A paper towel: to place your brushes on to let them dry
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: used to keep the birtles nice and soft
Desainitizing hand soap: Used to desensitize your brushes.
Let me preface by saying this is my first time cleaning my makeup brushes. I’ve been using them for about 5 months; some more than others so mine were extremely dirty. Looking back on it I probably should have washed them twice just to make sure that I could get it all out. 
Step One
Mix the olive oil with the hand sanitizer on your plate.
Step Two
Take your brush and swirl it in the mixture
Step Three
Take your Brush and swirl against the palm of your hand or if you have a makeup cleaning brush like this one..then use that
Step Four
Rinse and Let dry!
Aftermath: I have a mixture of brushes from different brands, Elf, Sonia Kashuk and Real Techniques; and each brand turned out differently:
My Elf brushes were destroyed. They frayed and completely lost their shape, or they didn’t get as cleaned as everything else. Honestly I ended up throwing most of them away after washing simply because the shape was so deformed.
My Sonia Kashuk brushes held up and remained nice and soft, I will say that they did fray a little. Some of my more dense brushes lost their density and some hairs were frayed on the side.
My Real Techniques brushes make up the majority of my collection and they held up the best. Which was such a relief since everything else sort of fell apart. I probably should have washed these twice because some of the more used brushes were still a little dirty afterwards.
Overall my brushes held up ok. I’m glad most of the damage was done to my elf brushes since those are so easily replaceable. I know some people say that the brushes pick up more product or apply product smoother after cleaning but i haven’t really noticed a difference.
This was my first time cleaning my makeup brushes so if you have any suggestions please feel free to comment!

kierra again

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Hey guys! Welcome to the 3rd part of our working girl series! For those of you just tuning in: this series is all about ways that we balance our everyday lives, working full time and managing the blog. Lets get started!

Last minute things to wrap up for the blog

Most people when they get off of work, go home eat dinner and then sleep. But for those of us who run a blog; we know this isn’t always practical.

Analytics: I always check my stats every night just to see if anything different I did that day worked. Most people analyze their stats weekly or even monthly and I do those things as well but I also think its important to check on it daily. Now don’t get crazy with it or too “numbers happy” where you start to obsess over it, but sometimes by end of day there may be some minor tweaks you can start using. I’m always trying to maximize the last little hours in the day to wrap up or catch up on all the things I may have missed. That comment I forgot to reply to at lunch, or submitting the posts for a blog link up etc. If my stats are low I usually will do some tweeting or Instagram promotion to drive any last minute traffic to the site. Especially since we have an audience in the UK and the US, people are usually browsing our site all through the day.

Commenting on other blogs: I try and clear my bloglovin feed every night; otherwise I end up with 500 posts at the end of the week.  Most of the people I follow are usually blog tips/tricks or more lifestyle related. I try and read a few tips a day and if I can implement them that week I will. Since I have a blogging partner (hi Amanda!); it’s easy for us to tackle certain things that could use our immediate attention.

Managing after work social life

I currently work in SF but I live in the suburbs so my social life during the week is slow (by choice! I’m usually exhausted after work!). I commute; so by the time I get home I can hardly think straight; but I make an effort to do things that aren’t work or blog related. For example today I’m going to the local farmers market with my boyfriend. Not only does this get me out the house, but it helps break my routine and can potentially be something I blog about. Same with grabbing drinks with a co-worker. You could talk about the restaurant or bar you went too; take a few pictures and do a review! Even though you won’t actually be blogging at the event; you can still use your after work social activities as inspiration and/or blog topics.

How to prepare for the next work day

Clean your space: In my morning routine I mentioned that I like to clean every morning; and the same usually goes for when I get home. No one likes to wake up to a mess. At least I don’t. I may not do a ton of clean up; but I do just enough to where you can find everything in the morning. I try and pick up any last minute clothes that I have strewn all over the place because I was rushing that morning( typical me). Most people take a shower, lay out their clothes, do some skin care routine and then head to bed. That’s not the case for me…at all. I’m always thinking about what it is I need to do for the next day. Typically I write out all the things I need to work on tomorrow for the blog. There are so many blogging scheduling tools out there but often times there is still a lot of stuff that needs to be done day off, all of which I suggest writing down.

Pack your bag: I have the same things in my bag everyday but for those of you who change out certain things or are still in school then this tip is for you! Trust me you will be better off doing it at night instead of waiting until the morning. That’s how you end up forgetting things.

Minimize your morning: This is a big one! If you need to get gas, or need creamer for your morning coffee. Do it the night before! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve literally puttered to work because I was too lazy to stop off at the gas station after work, and too rushed to do it in the morning. If you commute to work; make sure you have put your id, commuter card, and whatever else you need back in your wallet( I usually take mine out during the day, walked off and left it in a pair of jeans!). If your favorite jacket is in the dryer; go get it and put it back in your closet. All of these little things make you better prepared for the next day.

If you missed part one and part two of our series be sure to read up on them here!

kierra again

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Back with another mixer post! If you missed our little intro check it out here!

Kierra

Yay: After a month of diligently saving I finally bought my Ipad Air 2! 

Yikes: My oil light in my car came on, apparently I was due for an oil change 8 MONTHS AGO. Almost blew my engine!

Amanda

Yay: My best friend is in town!

Yikes: She’s only staying for two weeks =(

Currently on In the GREY

Did a full review on the waist training trend! See our results here!

Second part of our working girl series! Fitness routine.

Big girl purchase and major investment for our blog. New fun things coming soon!

Links we love

We’ve been trying to step up our photography on IN THE GREY and these little tips are super helpful!

Normally not a fan of bronzers; but they are a great alternative to contouring. I’ve been using them every day in my morning routine!

 These water infused drinks look amazing. Such an easy way to stay healthy!

Living in California we are at risk for earthquakes just like the one that hit Nepal. Normally we don’t talk politics on here but we felt this was too compelling not to share. Prayers for Nepal.

Oldie but Goodie

When you wear glasses the rules of makeup apply differently. Check my tips and tricks here!

Product review of my beautiful makeup train case from Sephora. My holy grail makeup container!

As bloggers we love being able to inspire other people. This experience in Mac was absolutely amazing.

XO

K + A

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