I'm a very goal-oriented person. I like to have a plan, and I like to cross to-dos off my ever-evolving list. It makes me feel like I'm being productive in life, rather than just watching the days pass by. While I try not to get too caught up in the details of what I want to accomplish within the next few years, I do like to have a rough idea of what I'm setting out to do. If you're curious as to what my five-year plan is, keep on readin'.

Buy our first home

The biggest goal of mine and Tyler's is to buy a house in the next few years. After our wedding is over ( I can't believe it's only three weeks away! ), saving for a house will become our main financial priority.

I love our apartment, but I'm ready to have a home that's 100% ours. However, I don't want to rush the process of buying a house  w h a t s o e v e r.  Purchasing a home is a huge commitment, and I want to make sure we pick a house that makes the most sense for us, our lives, and how our lives will unfold in the following years. I hope it doesn't take a long time to find the right one, but I'm definitely willing to wait.

Take a trip overseas

I was lucky enough to visit France and Monaco as a high school student ( major shoutout to my family for making this happen ), and I've been dying to go back ever since. Of course I'd love to tour either of those countries again, but I'd also love to visit so many other international destinations. The list is looooong. So, in the next five years, I'd love to go on at least one trip overseas. Plus, Tyler has never been out of the country, so we have to cross that off his bucket list, too.

Be virtually debt-free

Excluding our future home mortgage, I would love to be completely debt-free in five years. I mean, who doesn't want that? I'm not going to delve into the details of our financial situation, but I feel confident that we will be able to pay off all outstanding debts in this time frame. Financial freedom, yes gawd. I am such an adult now, wow.

Find a job I love with pay I love

I love my job. I love my job SO much. However, I do not love my salary. At all. Here's the thing: I work in the marketing department at my local YMCA, and we do amazing work in the community. I get to walk into work every day knowing that I am making a tangible difference in the lives of people in my area. But, the Y is a non-profit, and that means that budgets are tight and funds are allocated toward our members and our services before our salaries. It's a wonderful feeling to know I'm putting myself behind the good of the community, but in the long-term, it just won't work for my desired lifestyle.

Look: I'm a boujee bitch, and I'll admit it. I love shopping, I love traveling, and I love eating out at bomb restaurants. I can't do all of those things on a regular basis with the salary I have now. Plus, in the next ten years, Tyler and I want to start a family, and I want to have our financial shit straight before bringing tiny little ( money draining ) humans into the world. So yeah, I need to find a better paying job. Hit me up if you know anyone hiring for digital marketing, social media, writing, or copyediting. I do pretty good work, and I can prove it. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

Go on a Hawaiian honeymoon

I was also lucky enough to visit Hawaii while I was in college ( eternally grateful to the Nave family for bringing me along ), and just like Europe, I've been dying to go back ever since. Tyler and I are having a stay-cation style honeymoon directly after the wedding because we can't afford to take a big trip this year. We're hoping to go on a Hawaiian honeymoon sometime in 2020, so keep your fingers crossed for us! Also, if you've been to Hawaii, any recommendations or tips are welcome—I love getting an insider's advice.

Triple my digital audience

While I have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, I'm by far most active on Instagram and this blog, and that's specifically where I'd like to see the growth. I've been working on growing my audience on Instagram for about two years, and it's really challenging to do so authentically while maintaining a good engagement ratio—speaking from my own personal experience.

While I have doubled my audience in the past two years, I'm still no where near where I'd like to be. If I hit 5k in under five years, I'd be thrilled. I'd shit my pants if I ever hit 10k or more. I hope to be able to hit both of those markers, but the social landscape is so competitive! I currently have 1,600 followers on Instagram, so in five years, I'd love for that number to be between 4,000-5,000. I'm all about positive manifestation, so I just will myself to believe that I can do it!

Honestly, I could say so much more about trying to become a blogger/influencer and navigating that journey, so let me know if you'd be interested in a separate blog post on that in the comments below!

Maintain a workout routine of some sort

Maintaining a workout routine is really, really, really hard for me. I always fall out of the routine at some point, and getting back into it takes me literal months. Right now I'm kind of half-assing my routine, which also doesn't feel great. My thing is that I'm too tired to drag myself out of bed for a morning workout, and I like to get to work early so I can get off work early, so I'm working from seven-ish to four-ish, then I'm too tired after work to force myself to workout... You see my problem?

I was in a really good routine of making myself workout immediately after getting home from work, but I fell out of it about a month ago. Also, if you're thinking 'bitch, you literally work at a gym,' let me just say that the very last thing I want to do at the end of the day is stay at work longer. You know?

I'm currently doing three group exercise classes each week, but two of them aren't super challenging, so I feel like those don't really count. I'm planning on switching to a more challenging class next month to replace the dud class, but I'm disappointed that I fell out of my routine leading up to the wedding. I have to remind myself that I can get back into it at any time... It's just a motivation problem. Do you guys struggle with this too? I swear, every few months this happens to me! Vicious cycle and all that. Sigh. So yeah, it's a five year goal of mine to develop a constant, never ending workout routine that I love and look forward to so I don't fall out of it.

Keep the blog going

This is also something that I have a bad habit of falling off the wagon with! Those of you who have been following me for years will know that I had a fitness blog during my freshman year of college, then I started another more general lifestyle / beauty blog like this one toward the end of my college career, and I just never stuck with either.

Looking back, I think I was just uninspired by both of them because I didn't know what direction to take them in, and sometimes posting on the internet feels like shouting into a massive void. It's disappointing to spend hours working on one piece only to have it get nine views. HOWEVER. I am determined to stick with this blog because I feel like it's finally something that represents me accurately and because the only way it's going to grow is if I keep posting on it. If you're a real one, please hold me accountable for the next five years.

What are your five-year goals? Do we share some of the same goals, or are yours totally different? Let's chat in the comment section!
I've reached a point where I feel like I've tried enough makeup to really know what I like, what I'll never buy again, and what I'll continue to purchase for the rest of my life. Some favorites, like blushes and eyeshadow palettes, change with the seasons, but staple products like foundation, mascara, and eyeshadow primer have stayed pretty consistent for me within the past six months. If you're curious as to what all of my current favorite makeup products are, I'm here to break it down for you.


Eye Primer: Urban Decay Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion

I've been using this stuff since I started doing makeup. My eyelids get suuuper oily super quickly, so I have to use a good eyeshadow primer to make my eyeshadow last all day. I can't do that crazy concealer-powder combo some of y'all are out here doing. Out of all eye primers I've tried, the Urban Decay Primer Potion is the most reliable and fool-proof. My shadow never creases when I use it, ever.

Eyeshadow: ColourPop Cosmetics Sweet Talk Palette

This peach-toned palette is just so pretty. It's honestly probably my favorite eyeshadow palette Colourpop has ever launched. I feel like peach tones can be pulled off from spring through fall, so this is a palette I definitely have been getting a lot of use out of, and I expect to continue getting use out of it until winter hits. And I mean, can we have a moment of appreciation for the shimmer shades? So good.

Pencil Eyeliner: Morphe Color Pencil in Dark Room + Essence Extreme Lasting Eye Pencil in Silky Nude

I don't use eyeliner a lot, but when I do, it's almost always one of these two. If I need a black liner, I go with the Morphe pencil. It's super black, super creamy, lasts all day, and is easy to apply in the upper and lower water lines. If I need a nude liner, I use my Essence pencil. I like it for the same reasons I like the Morphe pencil: it's super pigmented, creamy, long-lasting, and easy to apply. Can't ask for much more.

Liquid Eyeliner: NYX Matte Liquid Liner

I use liquid liner even less than I use pencil liner. It just takes so much time and effort, you know? But, if I feel like being extra fierce, I'll use my NYX Matte Liquid Liner to paint on some wings. I like that the liner is matte rather than shiny, and I also like the brush applicator. It's sturdy enough that you have good control, but it isn't so inflexible that you have to really press into the eye to get it to apply. It also doesn't get all fuzzy and worn out after a few uses, if you know what I mean.

Mascara: L'Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara

This is another holy grail, will buy-til-I-die kind of product. I've tried a lot of mascaras; I'm a mascara ass bitch. The L'Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise is the best best BEST mascara that's ever graced my lashes. It's thickening, volumizing, lengthening, blackening, everything you could want in a mascara for $10! People say it's a good dupe for the Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara, but I've tried that one too, and I think the L'Oréal is way better. Like... Way.

Lashes: Ardell Wispies #700 + Lilly Lashes in Goddess

I love false eyelashes so much. The way they transform a face and a makeup look is so cool to me, especially since there are so many different styles that have so many different effects! Two of my favorite pairs are Ardell Wispies and Lilly Lashes in Goddess.

You can find Wispies at your local Walmart, Target, CVS, etc. for just $3. They're dramatic while still airing on the natural side, which is perfect for me. If you take care of them, you can get quite a few uses out of them too.

Goddess lashes from Lilly Lashes are like my splurge lashes. They're on the more expensive side, $20 per pair, but I can make them last for 30-50 uses if I really take care of them. They're a little more dramatic than the Wispies, just because they have a less natural structure/hair pattern, but they're still more natural than dramatic in the grand scheme of false lashes.

Eyebrow Powder: Benefit Cosmetics Foolproof Brow Powder

I used to think brow powder was ridiculous until I actually used it. Brow powder, in my opinion, is hands down the easiest way to fill in eyebrows. I love the Benefit Foolproof Brow Powder because the formula is creamy, easy to apply, isn't patchy, and the compact includes two shades, one lighter one darker, so you can get that good-good dimension in the brows. On fleek, baby.

Eyebrow Pencil: Benefit Cosmetics Precisely My Brow Pencil

Before discovering brow powder, I was a brow pencil kind of girl. The Benefit Precisely My Brow Pencil is definitely my favorite brow pencil out there. The shades are awesome, the formula is the perfect balance of creamy and grippy, and I can always appreciate a spoolie on the end of a brow pencil. And that is precisely why I use it for my brows. Que the corny drum roll, please.

Eyebrow Gel: Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel

When they say that the Anastasia Clear Brow Gel is like glue, they aren't lying. This shit will keep your brow hairs sky-high until you wash off your makeup, no joke. It's the perfect brow gel. And you know what my favorite part is? The glue doesn't dry around the top of the tube, which keeps it from being a nightmare to unscrew every time you use it, unlike the Benefit 24 Hour Brow Setter, which glues itself shut every time I use it and is a total pain in the ass to unscrew, especially when I have lotion on my hands... Is this an appreciation blurb for the Anastasia gel or a shit post for the Benefit gel? Idk anymore, but you get the point.

S K I N 

Primer: Wander Beauty Glow Ahead Illuminating Face Oil + Touch in Sol No Poreblem Prime Essence

I love the Wander oil because it's super light-weight, it sinks into the skin quickly, and it gives me the extra boost of hydration I need to keep my foundation looking skin-like all day long.

The Touch in Sol primer is totally different than the Wander oil—it's great for creating a smooth base because it acts a lot like a silicon pore-filling primer without it actually containing silicon. The texture is similar to a milky serum, rather than being thick and gelatinous like a silicon primer.

Foundation: Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Wear Hydrating Foundation

I have normal-to-oily skin, and this is the only foundation I've tried so far that doesn't ever look dry on my face but also doesn't get crazy oily by the end of the day. It's has the perfect amount of coverage, glow, and staying-power of all the foundations I've used, and I don't have to powder it. I feel great about my skin and makeup when I wear it. Ten-out-of-ten.

Concealer: Too Faced Born This Way Super Coverage Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer + Fenty Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Concealer

I love how hydrating the Too Faced concealer is because it never makes my under-eyes look dry or crepe-y. If you apply too much though, it will crease because it's so emollient.

I like to use the Fenty concealer over top of the Too Faced concealer. On it's own, the Fenty is too drying for my under-eye area, but when layered over top of a super hydrating concealer, it adds the perfect extra dimension and smooth finish to that space of the face.

Powder: Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder

This stuff is no joke. For me, it's the absolute perfect powder because it does not dry me out no matter how much I use. It sets things in place, keeps me from getting too shiny, and doesn't build up in my creases. It's expensive, but the product justifies the price. They really we're lying when they included "flawless finish" in the name.

Highlighter: Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter

I will repurchase this product until the day I die—it's that good. I've never used a highlighter that's more natural or ethereal. It gives a lit-from-within, this-could-be-my-skin-if-I-were-a-model type vibe. Aaaaand the bottle holds SO MUCH product, and you need SO LITTLE of it each time you apply it. Not saying you should use one bottle for two years, just that I wouldn't be surprised if one bottle could last for two years. If you needed a justification to purchase it, she's long-lasting af. Now go buy it.

Blush: MAC Mineralize Blush in Love Joy

I probably won't continue to use this blush as much now that fall is rolling around, but this was my favorite summer blush this year. It's the perfect blend of brown, tan, and sun-kissed tones, which obviously sounds like a summertime dream. It just makes the skin looks super bronzed and sun-touched. Plus it has the most subtle glowy/sheeny situation going on, which I love in a blush. I guess I'm just trying to say that if you want to be a sun-kissed summer goddess, this blush will do that for you.

Contour: Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour Wand

This stuff is magic. If you can't tell by now, I'm a hoe for some Charlotte Tilbury. The formula of this contour is so light-weight; it's a dream to blend out with either a sponge or a brush, although I prefer a brush for more control. It gives the perfect shadowed effect without making the skin look muddy. Again, it's just one of those "model skin" products, which is basically CT as a brand.

Bronzer: Physician's Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer

I usually prefer higher-end products to drugstore products, but I have yet to find a bronzer I like more than the Physician's Formula Butter Bronzer. I also really enjoy the Too Faced Sweethearts Bronzer, but it has a different vibe ( sheeny/shimmery ) than the Butter Bronzer ( silky soft matte ). Something about the shade, the finish, and the smell—Caribbean beach paradise, basically—makes the Butter Bronzer unbeatable for me.

Priming and Setting Sprays: Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water + Morphe Continuous Setting Mist

I didn't think that it could get better than MAC Fix+, but boy oh boy does the Smashbox Primer Water blow Fix+ out of the water. I love to use this spray as a primer ( extra hydration before foundation ), a melder ( melt products together to look skin-like ), and a refresher ( crusty-dusty makeup eliminator ). 

While I love the Smashbox Primer Water, I definitely don't love using it as a setting spray. It's just not meant for that. So what spray do I love for setting my makeup? The Morphe Continuous Setting Mist. The mister on this product is heavenly. The spray smells like a delicious man. It does a great job of melding all of the makeup together while also making it set down and last. Check, check, and check.


Lip Liner: MAC Lip Pencil in Oak

MAC Oak is my perfect lip liner. It pairs amazingly with literally any type of nude, it's a great contouring shade ( hello illusion of big lips ), and the formula is the perfect balance of creamy and grippy, which I find is a make-or-break in a lip liner. It glides on and around the lips without being too slippy or too dry. I think this is another product that will be in my makeup collection until I die—catch me wearing it when I'm Tia's age.

Lip Gloss: Fenty Gloss Bomb in Fenty Glow + Dose of Colors x Desi & Katy Lip Gloss in Over the Top

I love lip gloss. It's the best type of lip product, in my humble opinion. I'm just so over the crusty, dried out look of liquid lipsticks, so I've been obsessed with anything that makes the lips look hydrated and plump. And let me tell you: these two glosses are holy grails in the Hydrated and Plump department.

The ORIGINAL ( very important ) Fenty Gloss Bomb is some hot fire shit. The color is perfect for literally everyone, it's so hydrating that it works better than some lip balms, and it virtually erases any crease lines in my lips. I'll also be making this product permanent in my collection, til death do us part.

I just typed out an entire eulogy for the Dose of Colors x Desi Perkins and Katy DeGroot Over the Top Lip Gloss because I thought it was no longer available, but it turns out you can still buy it! What a happy surprise. As long as this is on the market, I will continue to repurchase it. It's the perfect clear gloss with the most angelic gold reflect. It has a similar effect as the Fenty gloss; I'd just say that it doesn't stay as moisturizing for as long as the Gloss Bomb. It's still major though; don't get it twisted.

Lipstick: Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipstick in Kim K

If you're searching for the perfect nude pink lipstick, search no further. I've found it for you: the Charlotte Tilbury Kim K lipstick is pure perfection. It's a stunning light pinky beige shade that pairs amazingly with MAC Oak lip liner. The formula is creamy and hydrating, which is my favorite kind of formula. To sum it up: if you want angelic pink lips, this is your lipstick.

What products are you currently loving? Do we share any favorites? Do you hate any of my favorites? Lets chat in the comments below!

I hate to say it, but I lose motivation all the time. I try to be super diligent and keep up with a whole routine of healthy habits, but at some point, I always start to burn out. It's the absolute worst feeling. But, instead of dwelling on my cyclic relationship with productivity and motivation, I've come up with a get-your-shit-together routine that gets me back on track every time I do it. So here I am, sharing it with you. Let's get motivated, baby.

Step One: Recognize and accept that you're being a slacker. I know, this step isn't fun. But let's be honest: there's a difference between taking a mental health break and just being lazy. If you need a few days to rest and refresh your mind, take a few days. But after day three or four of doing little to nothing productive... It's time to get back to it.

Step Two: You're feeling bad about not doing what makes you feel productive and grounded, so start doing what makes you feel productive and grounded. Pick one thing first. Do that one task, then bask in how awesome it feels to have accomplished it. Now pick another thing and do that one too. Then another, until you've built a routine of healthy habits that you feel comfortable and happy with doing.

Step Three: Rinse & repeat. You not only have to start doing these things, but also keep doing them. Keep doing them until it's hard to remember not doing them. If you're disciplined enough, eventually it'll just become the way you live your life. That's the ultimate goal, but everyone goes through slumps! That's why we're all here, getting our motivation back together. Squad goals.

Step Four: Spend some energy on evolving your skills and interests so you don't get bored. If you shoot photography, try new techniques. If you're a makeup artist, study areas of the field you're less familiar with. If you like to write, start a blog and write for it regularly. Don't be afraid to push yourself, try something new, change the way you do an established habit, etc. It feels really good to build on your skills, learn new things, and eventually master them if you're diligent.

How do you find your motivation when it's lost? I'd love to know what you find helpful; let me know in the comment section!
Do you know that the average cost of a wedding in America is just over $35,000? Ask Google if you don't believe me. That sounds absolutely bonkers, right? You could use $35k as a solid down payment on a house, to fund a luxurious month-long European excursion, or to buy a brand new Audi A3. Thirty-five thousand dollars is enough to cover the cost of one Diet Coke per day for EIGHTY-EIGHT YEARS. That's how much $35,000 is!

If you can afford to drop that much money on a wedding and not have to worry about the aftermath of your financial situation, that's fantastic for you. However, I personally am not in that position at this point in my life, and I know many of you might be able to relate to having a more restrictive budget than you'd like.

If you're a bride-to-be ( or groom-to-be ) trying to plan a wedding on a budget, I'm here to tell you that I planned my wedding and spent less than $10,000 on the entire thing—and you can do it too! It was hard and took a lot of time and research, but I promise it's possible. After reflecting on the planning process, I have 10 tips for anyone facing the slightly daunting task of planning a wedding on a budget.

Tip 1: Do your research 

This is an exhausting task, but it's so necessary if you're trying to adhere to a budget. It took me a lot of digging to find venues, DJs, officiants, bridal shops, etc. that were affordable but still nice. In my experience, it was difficult to find options that fit the aesthetic I wanted AND the budget I needed to stick to. If it fit the aesthetic, it was thousands—literally thousands—of dollars over our budget. If it was within budget, it tended to be a little dumpy and not at all the look I wanted to go for.

With many hours of web and book research, I was able to find an affordable option for everything I needed to book or buy while still maintaining the aesthetic / vibe I was aiming for. It's tedious, exhausting, and aggravating work, but it's well worth it in the end.

Tip 2: Accept that you'll have to compromise

You'll figure this out very quickly when you begin your research, but everything that goes into a wedding is stupid expensive. Venues are typically thousands of dollars to rent, and that's before you even factor in food and drinks. Photography packages are well into the thousands, and videographers charge just the same. Before you even nail down the bare minimum of what you need to make the day happen, you're already looking at $15,000-$20,000. It's  i n s a n e.

That being said, accept that you'll have to compromise on what you had originally envisioned in your mind for your wedding. It's a hard pill to swallow, but when you're working with a budget, you can't have that Instagram-perfect wedding you see on all of your favorite bloggers' feeds. Your wedding is still going to be absolutely amazing; you just won't be able to pull off all of the ornate table settings and incredible floral arrangements that you were dreaming of. You'll simply have to reign in how big you were thinking and pull off the same effect on a smaller, more budget-friendly scale.

Tip 3: Get creative

This is probably the second-most significant tip I have for you. We'll get to the most important tip in a minute. But for now, we're focusing on getting your creative juices flowing. It's really, really, REALLY easy to become deterred and depressed by all of the top Google search results, as those are seemingly all the most expensive options available. I went through a month-to-two-month period where I absolutely threw in the towel on wedding planning just because of this. However, the options you're looking for are out there, I promise! You just have to get creative.

Try to brainstorm venues that may seem unconventional or unpopular for hosting a wedding, how to pull off the decorations you want without spending a fortune on them, people in your life who can help you with services like photography, videography, and day-of tasks. Will it be as high-caliber as if you had spent thousands of dollars on each of these things? No. But it will still be beautiful, and you'll feel a sense of accomplishment for having figured out a way to make it all happen without going into debt.

Tip 4: Think local

This tip goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip. Thinking outside of the box AND local is how I ended up with both of our venues, our meal for the night, and our cupcakes! Move beyond simply thinking about wedding venues in your area—think about significant landmarks, your favorite restaurants, and amazing local bakeries. When I adopted the "think local" mindset, everything started to fall in place.

For our ceremony, we ended up booking the Rose Well House, a gazebo on my alma matter's campus that's actually relatively popular for weddings. We decided to have our reception at one of our favorite restaurants in town, Upland Brewing Co., because their food  s m a c k s  and they have a banquet hall for private events. We also decided to forgo a cake ( didn't want to make someone cut cake all night ) and went with cupcakes from Rainbow Bakery, a vegan bakery in town.

Maybe it was just the way I was thinking, but in my initial search, I was trying to find wedding-specific options for everything. When I abandoned that mindset, I started to find options that not only fit our budget but were also really unique. Our wedding definitely isn't going to be conventional, but that's one of my favorite things about it.

Tip 5: Cut corners where you don't mind cutting corners

When you're on a budget, you have to let go of some of the more minute details. Would it be nice to have elaborate fresh floral arrangements? Yeah, but silk flowers are cheaper and still look great. Would it look cute if the bridesmaids walked down the aisle with bouquets and the groomsmen wore matching boutonnières? Yeah, but it'll look just as cute if they walk down the aisle arm-in-arm.

Once you nail down all of your big details—venues, food, music, officiant—then you'll begin to realize that there are an obscene amount of small details that you never even thought of before planning your own wedding. As you think about these details, determine whether or not the absence of them will really impact your big day.

At the end of the day, my guests aren't going to remember that I used silk flowers instead of fresh flowers, and they're probably not going to care anyway. No one is going to look back and remember that our bridesmaids walked without bouquets because they'll instead remember how beautiful they looked. Think about the tiny things and decide if they really matter or not, because at the end of the day, every little detail adds up.

Tip 6: Use Minted Weddings for your stationary

Minted Weddings is such a cool website. Not spon; I wish. They're really just that good of a service. Minted is the website I used to design our save-the-dates, invitations, and wedding website. That's right, I created a wedding website. Should I plug it after the big day? Let me know in the comments if you want to see it.

I digress, big time.

Minted makes the entire process of choosing and customizing wedding stationary super easy. Basically, you choose a design that you like out of their catalog, then customize it with your names, wedding details, and photos ( if applicable. ) It's affordable, and as an added bonus, they usually always have a promotion going on that saves you an extra 15-20%. And if you're wondering about the quality, I can assure you that it's great. They'll even print your guest's addresses on the envelopes for you! All you have to do is slap a stamp on each invite and throw it in the mail. Boom bam.

Tip 7: DIY your decor

In most cases, doing things yourself saves a lot of money. At the very least, you're saving the cost of labor when you opt for DIYs. Spend some time searching "wedding decor DIY" and "wedding decoration DIY" on both Google and Pinterest, choose your favorite projects ( make sure they'll all look nice together! ), and buy what you need to make them come to life. Amazon and Hobby Lobby are your DIY BFFS.

Recruit your friends to help you assemble the more complicated and time-consuming crafts, and do what you can yourself. If you find yourself getting annoyed and frustrated in the middle of a DIY project, just think about how relieved you'll feel when you finish it! Plus, your guests will be impressed that you created your decor rather than simply purchasing pre-made arrangements. Saving money + creating conversation pieces = a win / win.

Tip 8: Amazon is your best friend

I bought the bulk of our wedding decorations / supplies for DIY decorations on Amazon for $300. The rest of my decor was borrowed from my work ( I'm the Digital Media Specialist in the marketing department at my local YMCA ) because we do a fundraising gala every year, so we have a whole storage area full of decorations from galas-past.

Anyways, Amazon.

I bought:
  • my wedding bouquet
  • the silk flowers for table arrangements
  • silk floral garlands to wrap around the arches of the Rose Well House
  • faux LED melting wax candles for the tables
  • DIY balloon garland kits to decorate the banquet hall

    All from Amazon. Efficient, easy, affordable. Check, check, check.

    Tip 9: Use the help of your friends and family

    It's more than likely that some of your friends and family will offer to help out with anything you need involving the wedding. Always say yes to this offer. You already have so much on your plate with planning the wedding sans the help of a professional planner or coordinator, and there are going to be things on the day-of that you cannot take care of because you'll be getting ready ( and having the time of your life; it's not the best day ever for nothing! )

    To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, I gratefully tasked others with picking up our cupcakes the morning-of, decorating the ceremony and reception venues the day-of, and chair-sitting ( I owe my wonderful, beautiful friend Daniela the world and more for this ) at our ceremony venue so no one on campus would try to be funny and steal an unmonitored chair. The things you have to figure out as a bride. Sigh.

    You should also use your friends and family as a resource based on their skills. For example, my aunt and one of my amazing bridesmaids, Kayleigh, both do photography on the side. Instead of taking out a loan to book a $4,000 photographer, they're both shooting photos for us on the day. Kayleigh also shot our engagement photos, which she did an  a m a z i n g  job with. ( You can find those on my Instagram. ) Have your loved ones help with whatever they can and are willing to help with, because for us, it meant saving literally thousands of dollars.

    Tip 10: Remember that a wedding is nothing more than a party at the end of the day

    This is my most important tip for you in planning your wedding on a budget. Beyond being about two people joining into an everlasting union, a wedding is just a glorified party. Remember that this day is supposed to be about you, your fiancé, and the love that you have for one another. That's really all that matters when the whole thing is said and done.

    Please don't put yourself into debt for a party; that's not the way you want to begin your marriage anyway. Save the money for your first house, your honeymoon, a new car, your retirement fund, your future babies, something that will improve your life. I hate to say it, but I don't think dropping $35k that you don't have to fund your wedding is going to improve your life in the grand scheme of things. Just food for thought.

    I hope you find at least one of these tips helpful in planning your own wedding! I'd love to share more about my wedding with you guys, so let me know if you'd like to see more posts about it. I can post about our engagement story, the "unpopular" decisions we made concerning our wedding, my wedding dress and the alteration process, a cost breakdown of our entire wedding along with a list of vendors ( I don't mind sharing this at all if it will help you guys! ), and what I've learned now that I'm basically done planning at this point. Just let me know what you want to see!

    If you have any questions about wedding planning, feel free to drop a comment below! I'd be happy to help out or just to talk.
    BoxyCharm coined their August box the "Totally" box, but they should have taken it one step further and called it the Totally Glowy box. Almost every single product I received in my box is shimmery / oily / dewy / glowy / everything I needed and more in my life. I love a good glow. And did I mention everything is pink? I love pink almost as much as the aforementioned "good glow." Almost.

    As much as I live for the pink packaging and aesthetic, what's more important is how the products actually work. Let's get glowing ( let me have my lame puns !! ) and break down each item that came in my August 2019  "Totally" BoxyCharm box.

    Becca Cosmetics Hydra-Mist & Refresh Powder | $38

    If you know me at all, you know that I have a lot of makeup. Every now and then, I'll get a product in a Boxy Charm box that I already have, and this month, the Becca Hydra-Mist Powder was that product.

    Becca describes this powder as being "weightless, formulated with 50% water and glycerin, creating a mist-like sensation on the skin for a smooth, silky, invisible finish."

    As I said above, I love to glow, so much so that borderline sweaty is perfectly fine with me. That being said, you can probably gather that I'm not a powder girl. Powder tends to make my skin look dry and aged. I thought, before I had ever used this product, that it was going to be my new holy grail powder since it's supposed to be hydrating to the gods.

    It's definitely unique—it's very cooling and light on the skin. When you apply it, it feels almost like you're somehow patting cool air on your skin with your sponge or brush. Sounds so weird, I know.

    After observing my makeup throughout the day the first few times I tried this powder ( prior to receiving it in my BoxyCharm box ), I came to the conclusion that it didn't keep my makeup looking smooth and made me look oilier than if I hadn't used a powder at all. Even though this powder is so weightless, something about it caused my foundation to become textured and slightly cakey-looking as the day went on.

    Now that I've revisited the powder in a soon-to-be-uploaded IGTV makeup tutorial * cough cough hint hint check out my Instagram *, my final thoughts on the Becca Hydra-Mist & Refresh Powder are the same as my initial thoughts. It feels weirdly good going on the skin, but I'm not a fan of how it works with my makeup and skin.

    Wander Beauty Glow Ahead Illuminating Oil | $42

    I was pumped to see this item in the August Boxy Charm box because I LOVE facial oils. I religiously apply my 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil by The Ordinary every single night, and I swear, the only product that's cleared my acne more effectively is the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask. They're two of my top five skincare favorites, but I digress.

    If you like a good description like me, you'll be happy to learn that this light-weight illuminating oil "nourishes and primes the skin, helps to restore the skin's moisture barrier, and provides a youthful, bouncy, glowing complexion."

    Because of my affinity for facial oils, I wasn't shocked that I absolutely love this product. I was, however, surprised to see that the oil is pink and has a noteable amount of shimmer in it. I was curious as to how glittery my face would look upon application, but neither color nor shimmer were detectable on my skin once the oil soaked in.

    As a final skincare step, this oil made my makeup-free face feel silky and hydrated all day long without feeling heavy or greasy on the skin. As a makeup priming step, the oil added an extra layer of hydration but did not cause my makeup to become oily as the day unfolded. It's a 10/10 from me.

    Tarte Cosmetics Big Ego Mascara | $23

    I'll be the first to say it: I'm not a fan of Tarte. Ever since their racially-biased Shape Tape Foundation launch, I've steered clear from supporting them as a brand. That being said, I'm always a bit disappointed whenever I receive a Tarte product in a subscription box, which, if I'm being honest, is pretty frequently.

    For the sake of the review, I'll put my personal biases aside to give you a candid review on this mascara—Tarte describes their Big Ego as having an ultra-black formula that lifts your lashes and delivers a fully-loaded flutter for up to 16 hours. It's also vegan, which something I'm trying to pay more attention to in purchasing new makeup products.

    Big Ego is... an interesting name for this product, assuming that Tarte's marketing team tried the mascara themselves or at least talked to people who did. The effect on the lashes is so underwhelming. It didn't not do anything, but it also didn't do anything significant. It basically painted my lashes black, lengthened them a smidge, and volumized them by adding the illusion of two extra eyelashes.

    Based solely on my experience with Tarte's Big Ego Mascara, I would not purchase it on my own or recommend it to anyone. L'Oréal has one of the best mascaras on the market—Voluminous Lash Paradise—for $11. Save your money on trying Big Ego and spend it on Lash Paradise instead. And buy yourself a McDonald's Double Cheeseburger and Large Diet Coke while you're at it, because you have extra money, so why not?

    Ace Beauté Glimmer Shadow Duo — Cotton Candy & Iced Latte | $25

    My very first thought upon unboxing these was that they're a Colourpop Super Shock Shadow rip-off. I say rip-off rather than dupe because you can get two CP shadows for just $12, compared to two Ace shadows for $25. You could literally get double the amount of CP shadows for less than half the value of the Ace shadows. Even though I was turned off by the uncannily similar concept and packaging of the shadows, I was happy with the shade colors I was sent.

    Ace's Glimmer Shadows, much like Colourpop's Super Shock Shadows, are described as "high-pigmented soft shadows with a creamy texture specially designed for the ultimate color pay-off. Get bold color in one swipe without fallout, creasing, or fading."

    They feel and perform pretty much the same as well at first. Super high-pigment, insanely shiny upon application, mousse-y texture. However, the shadows creased badly and stained my lids slightly ( the pink shade ), which really surprised me. It rubs me the wrong way that Ace, which launched two years after Colourpop, tried to replicate one of CP's products, marked up the price on it, and failed at matching or improving the quality.

    Moral of the story: they look beautiful and feel like the same product, but you should buy Colourpop instead.

    Steve Laurant Lip Liner — Chic | $15

    I used to detest lip liner, but now it's one of my absolute favorite makeup products. It took me a long time to learn how to properly line my lips, but now that I've nailed it, I see a huge difference in my face when I'm wearing it and when I'm not.

    Overall, applying lip liner gives the appearance a smooth and crisp lip line, plus it acts as a base for any lip product you put over it, which means your lip combo is going to last longer than if you hadn't used liner.

    I'd never heard of Steve Laurant before receiving this lip liner in my BoxyCharm box, so I didn't have any clue if it would be a winning product or not. On my lil Boxy description card, the brand describes their liners as "waterproof, non-transferable, and bleed-resistant, creating a seamless and flawless finish that lasts for up to seven hours."

    My very first impression based on sight alone was that the color is amazing. It reminds me of Mac Cosmetics' Stripdown Lip Liner, which has been sitting in my Ulta wish list for literal years.

    After using this, I can say that I definitely love the color. On my skin tone, it's a deep rose, slightly brown in color. I paired it with a milky pink nude—Marc Jacobs Sugar Sugar—and I loved how it looked. The one small complaint I have is that the pencil is not super glide-y or creamy. Compared to a Mac lip liner, the Steve Laurant one was a little stiffer and harder to guide. I had to wipe off my first attempt, but after a second go, I came out with a solid lip line. Based on my experience, I could see myself buying another Steve Laurant lip liner in the future.

    While I only spent $19 on my August BoxyCharm box, I received $143 worth of product in the mail. The overall value of the five products in my box is more than seven times what I paid for it. BoxyCharm subscriptions are a steal. I already can't wait to get my September box ( which I believe is my quarterly BoxyLuxe box, how exciiiiting ) and share it with you!

    Have a question about the products in my August BoxyCharm box, or simply want to continue the conversation? Drop a comment below!