Indie Makeup Brand Spotlight Week 2  

By: Dr. Stephanie “Steff” Garcia

More indie makeup brands this week! I’ve had such an amazing time this past month trying out all these new-to-me makeup brands! The quality and creativity that’s present within these indie makeup brands is phenomenal. These brands all began from a passion and love for makeup and artistry. I am proud to support these brands and look forward to future collections. 

Again, a huge thank you to Ariel and Adley, owners of Motivate the Earth, for helping inspire this blog and spotlight. Follow Motivate the Earth for all things indie makeup!

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdS9iSVrSUJbhcQ98Z7iGaw

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/motivatetheearth/

BPerfect Cosmetics

This Ireland-based beauty brand was founded by entrepreneur Brendan McDowell in 2013. Since then, BPerfect Cosmetics has collaborated with numerous makeup artists worldwide to bring their own unique flare to the beauty community. I was fortunate enough to pick up their latest collaboration with Stacey Marie MUA, the Carnival III Love Tahiti Collection. It was a dream to use and I couldn’t be happier with this purchase. Check out the three looks I created using this gorgeous palette at the link below.

BPerfect Website: https://www.bperfectcosmetics.com/

My BPerfect Review Video: 

Rosewood Cosmetics

I discovered this small makeup brand about a month ago on Instagram. Faith Butler, an ambitious and self-motivated black business woman from Detroit, Michigan, created Rosewood Cosmetics to give others self-confidence and a place within the beauty community. I am so proud to support Rosewood Cosmetics because I can clearly see the amount of work and effort Faith and her team put into creating these amazing products. The lip glosses are phenomenal and the highlighters are out of this world! I highly encourage you to check out this brand and buy today! 

Rosewood Cosmetics Website: https://www.rosewoodcos.com/

Kaleidos Makeup

Kaleidos is a Chinese-American beauty brand based out of Shanghai, China. Kaledios believes in fostering a culture of diversity, progression, and individuality. I recently ordered the Escape Pod Eyeshadow Palette, Space Highlighter, and Futurism III Eyeshadow Palette. Everything this brand sells is uniquely packaged and “outer spaced” themed. The shipping to the United States does take some time, but it’s well worth the wait. What I love about this brand is the creativity that manifests before your very eyes. Maybe it’s the packaging, maybe it’s the colors, but there is definitely something invigorating about Kaleidos Makeup. 

Kaleidos Makeup Website: https://www.kaleidosmakeup.com/

Indie Makeup Brand Spotlight Week 1

By: Dr. Stephanie “Steff” Garcia

I have been waiting weeks to do this blog! Back in July I decided I wanted to spotlight indie makeup brands on my social media platforms. It’s taken me longer than I anticipated to get this initiative together, but I’m so happy to finally be here sharing with you all! 

I want to say a special THANK YOU to Ariel and Adley, the founders of Motivate The Earth, an Instagram account and YouTube channel that focuses on indie makeup brands. These young, Latina women have inspired me to buy more beauty products from independently owned beauty companies. They consistently feature new beauty brands, products, demos and reviews on their social media accounts. Check them out, links are below! 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdS9iSVrSUJbhcQ98Z7iGaw

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/motivatetheearth/

This indie makeup blog will extend over the next two-three weeks. I should have corresponding videos posted over the next couple weeks as well. Hopefully you all will be inspired to purchase from more independently owned brands not just in beauty, but for everyday products too. Small businesses need our support now more than ever! 

Glamlite Cosmetics

Glamlite was founded by Gisselle Hernandez, a Dominican immigrant whose passion for pizza was parlayed into the creation of Glamlite Cosmetics. Glamlite Cosmetics launched with the Pizza Palette, an 18 pan eyeshadow palette that looks exactly like a pizza would. I’ve had this palette in my stash for a while and it is so much fun to work with. The packaging and quality of Glamlite is incredible! They really pay attention to all the fine details and give their customers an almost edible foodie experience through makeup. Check out more from Glamlite at the link below and also check out some of my YouTube videos featuring Glamlite Cosmetics.

https://glamlite.com/

Loca Lashes Co.

This Latina owned beauty brand out of California began with lashes; and lots of them! Today the brand has expanded their product offering to include eyeshadow palettes, liquid lipsticks, brow products, and more. About a month ago I purchased the Loca Lashes Co. Conchas Locas Palette and what a beauty it is! I have already filmed a look using this unique palette and that will be on my Youtube channel later this week.  Below are some photos I took of the Conchas Locas palette. If you would like to support this up-and-coming indie makeup brand, you can do so by shopping at the link below.

https://localashesco.com/

Killer Queens Cosmetics

Another Latina owned beauty brand, Killer Queens Cosmetics was founded by Kristen Lopez, who aspired to create a brand that focused on unique colors, formulas, and makeup that truly tells a story. This cruelty-free, vegan friendly beauty brand contains eyeshadow palettes, loose pigments, lashes, and more. I’ve had the opportunity to purchase a few items from Killer Queens Cosmetics and I must say the Neon Loose Pigment Stacks are definitely my favorite! I’ll be uploading a video to my YouTube channel very soon using some of my Killer Queen Cosmetics products, stay tuned!

https://www.killerqueenscosmetics.com/

Must Have Facial Masks for Your Skincare Routine

By: Dr. Stephanie A. Garcia

Facial masks have many benefits no matter what skin type or concerns you have. I frequently use various types of facial masks sometimes in the morning, but most often in the evening to improve the appearance of my skin. Today, I’ll be sharing my current, ride or die favorites that are in my skincare stash.

Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask, $68

This is a beautiful mask not just in its benefits but in its application as well. The Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask has been a staple in my skincare routine for the last three years. This is a great mask to use in the morning, if you have time. It provides many anti-aging properties such as giving a brightening effect, reducing the appearance of dark spots and uneven skin tone, and diminishing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. My skin always looks so radiant and hydrated after using this facial mask. I use a small paddle brush to apply and leave on for 20 minutes. I typically use this mask once a week. 

Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask, $26

This mask has been in my stash for many years, at least ten if memory serves me correctly. I use this beauty once a week, always at night time. This mask works to draw out impurities along with dirt and gunk that gets trapped in pores. I apply this using a paddle brush and primarily focus it on my cheeks and t-zone where I have larger, visible pores. I am a normal-to-oily skin type, and this little mask is a must have that helps keep my skin clear and balanced. 

Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask, $49

One of my favorite things to use is an overnight sleeping mask. The one I really love at the moment is the Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask. Anything with retinol is going to be of great benefit to everyone! Retinol is an amazing ingredient that helps to prevent fine lines, wrinkles, and also works to exfoliate the skin. I tend to just use retinol at night and go with Vitamin-C in the morning. I apply this mask after using all my nighttime skincare products. It is a thick cream, but that’s what you want because it needs to last the duration of the night. This can be used every night, but I limit it to twice a week. 

Farmacy Honey Potion, $38 

The Farmacy Honey Potion mask is a unique formula that warms as you work into a lather. After it warms and turns white, leave it on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse off to reveal glowing, healthy looking skin. This unique mask targets fine lines, dryness, and loss of firmness. I have been so happy with this little beauty, as I have been with all my other Farmacy skincare products. This has a clean, very short ingredient list as well. 

Good Molecules Caffeine Energizing Hydrogel Eye Patches, $18

Don’t forget about your eyes, they need lots of love too! I enjoy using the Good Molecules Caffeine Energizing Hydrogel Eye Patches whenever I wake up with tired eyes. If you battle with dark circles, puffiness, or just didn’t get a good night’s sleep, you’ll want these little gems in your stash! I keep mine in my Cooluli Mini Refrigerator and boy do they feel good when I apply them! Leave these eye patches on for 10 minutes to reveal hydrated, wide-awake eyes. 

The Perfect Red Lipstick

By: Dr. Stephanie “Steff” Garcia

A red lip can instantly up your makeup game by 1000%. It can take a neutral look to a sultry, dramatic look all in one swipe. Not all reds are created equal however. Some formulas are creamer than others, some are matte, and some just don’t last. Today, I am going to share with you five red lipsticks I absolutely enjoy wearing. 

*I want to preface this blog by stating that using a lip liner (a red one) can significantly keep your red lippie from feathering and wearing off too soon. While it is not 100% bullet proof, it does define the lip, improve wear, and overall makes it easier to “stay within the lines” when working with such a bright color.

NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment in shade Starwoman

I’ve been working off my mini size of this insanely pigmented lippie for quite sometime now. This product has some amazing staying power that will definitely get you through the work day. It is a comfortable matte formula that applies the way a liquid lipstick would. I find this to have a blue undertone that, side note, makes your teeth look whiter! This red is very complimentary to all skin tones. You can find this fantastic lip pigment at Sephora for $26.

Urban Decay Cream Lipstick in shade 69

One of my all time favorite cosmetics brands, Urban Decay, has always been a staple in my collection. Urban Decay makes one of the best cream lipstick formulas on the market. It’s comfortable, pigmented, and easy to apply. The packaging is sleek and sturdy. I have two red shades, F-Bomb and 69. F-bomb is more of a traditional red with a warm undertone. 69 is my preferred shade because it has slight pink and blue undertones. It easily takes me through my work day with minimal touch ups. I also want to mention that Urban Decay has over 90 shades of lipsticks to choose from! No matter what your skin tone is, and no matter what color you are looking for, I’m pretty sure you will find it at Urban Decay. This lipstick retails for $19 at Ulta Beauty; however, all 90 + shades are available directly from the Urban Decay website.

Huda Beauty Liquid Matte in shade Heartbreaker 

Huda Beauty is that brand you look to for full-coverage, long-lasting wear. I cannot begin to say enough great things about Huda Beauty. This brand, created by Huda Kattan, originated from her YouTube and Instagram presence. For someone like me who is on both platforms as well, supporting other content creators is a no brainer. Now let’s get into the lipstick! I’ve used the Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Lipsticks for a long time. I have four different shades that I alternate between; however, my favorite is the red shade called Heartbreaker. This is a cool toned red that lasts all day long. It stays put, won’t budge, and doesn’t feather along the edges. You can eat a meal, teach a class, or be out at the beach and this lipstick is staying with you. Pick yours up for $20 at Sephora. 

Wet n Wild Megalast Matte Lip Color in shade Stoplight Red

My ride or die drugstore makeup brand is always going to be Wet n Wild. I grew up using this brand and continue to do so at age 38. I have a TON of Wet n Wild lipsticks that I use on the daily. One of my favorites in the Megalast Matte Lip Color in the shade Stoplight Red. This formula is a comfortable matte lippie that doesn’t over dry lips and lasts for a good number of hours. I find that I don’t have to touch up this red lipstick until after lunch. This is a warm toned red, perfect for year round. At only $3 a pop, you NEED to add this to our stash ASAP! The packaging is ultra cute too!

MAC x Selena La Reina Liquid Lipstick in shade Siempre Selena (limited edition) 

Two icons teaming up again to create an amazing makeup collection. The late Tejano Music Superstar Selena Quintanilla-Perez and the OG makeup brand, M.A.C., created the Selena La Reina Collection in honor of Selena’s love for makeup and fashion. The red liquid lipstick, Siempre Selena, is stunning! Selena was known for her infectious smile that was usually accompanied by a matte red lip. M.A.C. created a beautiful, blue toned red lipstick that is sure to enhance any look you pair it with. The formula is perfect for all-day, everyday wear. Do not wait on this lipstick, it is a limited edition available right now at Macy’s for $23.

*Shop all these products by clicking on the Shop My Stash link above page.

Pixie Cut Must Haves | Five Products and Tools to Add to Your Stash Today

By: Dr. Stephanie “Steff” Garcia

Short hair is fun, easy, and sexy! Styling it should be a no brainer too! For the last couple months, I’ve enjoyed styling my new pixie using a few key products and tools. I do want to mention that if you have color treated hair, you’ll want to use products that help to enhance that color and protect it. Here are a few of my “must have” pixie cut items.

Heat Protector 

Just because you have short hair doesn’t mean it’s immune to damage. In fact, shorter hair often amplifies damage, split ends, and dryness more so than long hair. I’ve been loving the Living Proof Restore Instant Protection spray ($28), because I can spay it on my damp or dry hair. This product has a pleasant scent and a little goes a long way. I like this product because it also provides UV protection, meaning it protects my hair from sun damage. 

Leave-In Conditioner 

All hair needs hydration, no matter what the length and type. I’ve enjoyed using the Briogeo Rosarco Milk Leave-In Conditioner ($20) for at least a year now. This product contains no sulfates, silicones, or parabens. It DOES contain Argan oil, Coconut oil, and Rosehip oil to nourish and hydrate. I use this product on clean, towel-dried hair. It does not cause oiliness nor does it weigh my hair down. I use this product in conjunction with a platinum blonde color protecting spray and it works just fine. A leave-in conditioner is crucial for those of you who regularly color treat your hair or expose it to heat styling. 

Wax/Pomade

No pixie cut would be complete without an amazing wax, pomade, and/or paste. I have two that I am going to share with you. These have been my go-to styling gems for the past couple months, and I would be lost without them. Other than hairspray, these are the only styling products I use. 

First up is the KENRA Platinum Texturizing Taffy ($22). I bought this first because of its lavender color (which is good for platinum hair), and second for its claims. This was my first KENRA experience but it’s definitely not going to be my last! This taffy allows me to easily slick down the sides of my hair and spike up the top. It’s sticky, but in a good way. 

The second product I’ve been loving is the Aquage Transforming Paste Lite ($24). This product adds the perfect amount of texture to my hair to give it a soft, piecey look. If you have fine hair, this is the product for you! It also works well on medium to longer length hair. 

Hairspray

Hairspray is a must for working with short hair. Sometimes you just need those tiny pieces to lay in place or the spikes to stay up! I have one hairspray that I use on almost a daily basis and that’s the Sexy Hair Texture High Tide Hairspray ($19.95). This provides a medium hold, but gives my hair a beachy type of look (especially when it was longer). It also adds body and volume to my fine hair. I’ve used this hairspray for over a year now and I couldn’t be happier with it! 

Mini Flat Iron

I’ve had the same mini flat iron for the last six to seven years and while I haven’t used it daily that entire time, I have been using it a lot more now that I have this pixie cut. The BabylissPro Mini Straightening Iron, $34.99, has ½ inch titanium/ceramic plates and comes with a travel pouch. This is the PERFECT size for any pixie do. I use a heat protectant glove just to be able to maneuver the iron more easily through my hair. Mini flat irons are great for any short haircut and of course bangs. You can even use it to curl hair as well. This mini BabylissPRO heats up pretty quick too.

Five Mini Eyeshadow Palettes to Add to Your Collection Now

By: Dr. Stephanie “Steff” Garcia

Great things come in small packages too! Don’t be fooled by mini size eyeshadow palettes, they definitely pack a punch! Mini palettes aren’t just cute aesthetically, they are affordable, make great gifts, and easy to throw in a bag and hit the road with. Here are five mini eyeshadow palettes to consider adding to your stash.  

Natasha Denona Mini Eyeshadow Palette, $25

These five pan mini palettes are extensions of larger palettes within the Natasha Denona lineup. I have a few of them and they couldn’t be easier to work with. The Mini Nude Palette and the Mini Tropic Palette are two of my favorites. You don’t need other shades to get a complete look. All the colors you need are included in these minis. The pigmentation is great, as is the blendability. I recommend using a concealer or an eyeshadow primer with the Mini Tropic palette to maximize color payoff. There is no mirror included with these palettes.

https://www.natashadenona.com/

Music by @markkrieger_ – Tropicál via @hellothematic

Wet n Wild Coloricon 10 Pan Eyeshadow Palette, $4.99

Beauty at a bargain! Wet n Wild has always been a staple on the drugstore beauty scene. These Coloricon palettes are all you need to create a multitude of looks. For less than $5 you get a small palette packed with 10 shades. One of my favorites is The Stop Playing it Safe palette. Next time you are at the grocery store, throw a couple of these beauties in your cart, you will NOT be disappointed! There is no mirror included with these palettes.

https://www.wetnwildbeauty.com/

Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Eyeshadow Palette, $53

If you want to add a little bougieness to your day, look no further than these Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow quads. Perfectly curated to get that magical, all in one look; these little gems will leave you mesmerized. There are at least a dozen palettes to choose from, so no doubt you will find a color scheme that fits in best with your style. My favorite is the Desert Haze Luxury Palette of Mattes. A mirror is included in these palettes.

https://www.charlottetilbury.com/us

Juvia’s Place The Mini Palettes, $14

These mini palettes are slightly larger than the rest, however, when compared to other Juvia’s Place palettes these are significantly smaller. I have been a fan of this brand for a while now. This is an affordable, high-quality, all-inclusive makeup brand that infuses African culture into every product created. The two mini palettes I have in my collection are The Violets and The Berries. If you are looking for bold, wearable color, look no further than these mini Juvia’s Place palettes. There is no mirror included with these palettes.

https://www.juviasplace.com/

Dose of Colors 5-Pan Eyeshadow Palettes, $32

I first discovered these amazing little palettes from Boxy Charm. At first glance I wasn’t very impressed to be honest. They are all matte palettes and personally I like a bit of shimmer to my eye looks. Nevertheless, I picked up the Marvelous Mauves palette and started to apply. I felt the shades were so complimentary to my green eyes that I continued to use the palette for the rest of the week and that never happens! There are five different shades available in these palettes ranging from cool to warm toned. A mirror and brush is included in these palettes too.

https://doseofcolors.com/

*Honorable Mention: e.l.f. Bite Size Eyeshadow Quads, $3

e.l.f. Skin Care

By: Dr. Stephanie “Steff” Garcia

Affordable skin care doesn’t have to mean inadequate. This week on my Instagram I’m spotlighting several different skin care brands and products that are all affordable and all effective. For this week’s blog, I wanted to take a closer look at e.l.f. skin care products. Specifically, I wanted to observe and compare their two new lines of skin care, the Cannabis Sativa Collection (Skin Hit) and the Full Spectrum CBD Collection. 

The Cannabis Sativa Collection

Towards the end of 2019, e.l.f. released a new line of skin care products that was formulated with hemp-derived cannabis sativa seed oil. I did a demo and review of this line for my YouTube channel which I will include in this blog. This plant-based line includes a facial moisturizer, Happy Hydration Cream ($12); facial oil, All the Feels Facial Oil ($12); makeup primer, Puff Puff Primer ($8); and lip balm, Calm Balm ($5). You can also purchase a travel size kit (The Skin Hit Kit) with all these items included for $15. 

This collection uses the oil from hemp seeds and does not contain any THC or CBD. This means that only part of the cannabis sativa plant is used. Hemp seed oil provides many benefits to the skin that include reducing the appearance of fine lines; anti-aging; and soothing hydration. Hemp seed oil can also be ingested. As per your doctor’s recommendations, individuals are able to ingest 1-2 teaspoons of hemp seed oil per day. Hemp seed oil is also great for its anti-inflammatory properties. 

The Full Spectrum CBD Collection

e.l.f. Cosmetics released a new skin care line in the spring of 2020. The Full Spectrum CBD Collection features a facial moisturizer, the 50 mg CBD Moisturizer ($15); a facial oil, the 100 mg CBD Facial Oil ($18); an eye cream, the 50 mg CBD Eye Cream ($15); a body moisturizer, the 50 mg CBD Body Cream ($18); and a lip oil, the 5 mg CBD Lip Oil ($13). 

The Full Spectrum collection is formulated using CBD, which is made from the leaves, flowers, and stems of the cannabis sativa (hemp) plant. This collection does contain a small amount of  THC (tetrahydrocannabinol – the ingredient that is psychoactive). It is important to note that to be “legal” products must contain less than .3% of THC. The Full Spectrum line also contains fragrance in three of its five products (none are present in the Cannabis Sativa Collection). CBD, like hemp seed oil, is ingestible. CBD works well as an anti-inflammatory agent, pain reliever, and can also aid in the reduction of depression and anxiety with the guidance of your physician. 

So Which Line is Better?

After using these products for the last few weeks (some longer), I’ve been able to form a solid opinion. For reference, I am 38 years old and have normal-to-oily skin. Let’s break this down by similar products first, then move on to differing products.

Facial Moisturizer- I am going to give the win to the Happy Hydration Cream (Cannabis Sativa Line). The ingredients in this moisturizer are simple, yet effective; there is no fragrance, and it was hydrating without causing excess oil. I do prefer the packaging of the CBD Facial Moisturizer however, but I thought the Happy Hydration Cream was a better product all around.

Facial Oil – Another “hit” for the Cannabis Sativa Collection, the All the Feels Facial Oil gets the win from me. This facial oil contains jojoba seed oil, hemp seed oil, squalane, and rose-hip seed oil to effortlessly hydrate the skin without leaving a greasy feel. I also like to apply some of this to my cuticles and joints (elbows and knees). 

Lip Product – The Full Spectrum 5mg CBD Lip Oil is a hands down winner in this category. This lip oil provides an insane amount of hydration and tastes pretty good too. It is formulated with peppermint, hemp seed oil, and sunflower seed oil. I enjoy using this at all times of the day, but typically reserve it to nighttime use.

Best Differing Product – The Full Spectrum 50 mg CBD Eye Cream is definitely one of my favorite e.l.f. skin care products. This is an excellent formula that works well with other products in my stash. I’ve used this eye cream under makeup and it doesn’t not compromise the makeup at all. It is created using hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and hemp seed oil.

Overall Winner – I have to give the overall win to the e.l.f. Cannabis Sativa Collection. Not only is this line more affordable, it does not contain any fragrance like the CBD line does. It has simple, yet effective ingredients that work well for all skin types. While it does contain fewer products, I found the products in this line to be reliable and well crafted.

I do think that e.l.f. did a great job in creating two different, yet similar lines of skin care products for its consumers. I like to see drugstore beauty brands integrating skin care items into their product mix. I recommend checking out these products on the e.l.f. website or at your local retailer. 

Learn more about all these products on the e.l.f. website.

https://www.elfcosmetics.com/

*This blog post will be updated later in the week with a YouTube video on this topic.

My youtube journey-1 year in

Vol 1 Issue 1

This is the million dollar question I get asked, why did I start a YouTube channel? I am a 38 year old educator from South Texas. I have been in the education business for 15 years both at the secondary and collegiate levels. I enjoy what I do and what I teach, but I don’t always enjoy my environment. Public education is a labor of love. Ask any educator and they will be the first to tell you that teaching is definitely a work of the heart; AND let’s don’t forget school administrators, their job is DEFINITELY one done out of passion and love for the craft… believe me, I studied to become one! After I received my masters degree in Educational Administration in 2015, I began applying for leadership positions within the area I reside. If you know anything about school district employment, you will know it is not always WHAT you know, but rather WHO you know. I guess I didn’t know the right people because I never got selected after countless interviews and applications. Still, I didn’t let it get me down and kept on going. I took on additional duties at my current job to learn more about other aspects of the school. I volunteered for committees and made an effort to meet new people in the industry. Even after I completed my doctoral degree in Educational Leadership in May of 2019, I still never got my start. It discouraged me, because I knew I had a lot to offer and the willingness and motivation to learn. I knew I was capable of handling a leadership position, but no one ever took a chance on me. 

So there I was, a 30 something doctoral grad with a degree in one hand and fear and uncertainty in the other. By now I should have had it all figured out, or so I thought. I was so unhappy with my current job, not because it wasn’t a good job, but because I wanted and needed more. It’s a scary feeling to be unhappy in your career when you are all you have to depend on. About a week after by doctoral graduation, I went on a work field trip to Orlando, Florida. It was amazing! I had never been to Disney World or Universal Studios; I think I was more excited than the students were! On the trip we had an amazing tour guide named Antonio, owner of King College Tours. I had met him the prior year on our school trip to NYC (that was a winner too). On these trips we would travel around town in a charter bus, and it was usually a half hour ride or more to wherever we were going. I would use this time on the bus, to of course, do my makeup. Antonio would watch, make funny comments, but that was it, nothing out of the ordinary. Our second to last day on the Florida trip, we were visiting a local college. Antonio had such an inspiring speech for the students that was completely off the cuff. He spoke about following your dreams, and pursuing a career in something you truly loved; not one based on how much money you could earn or what parents wanted. His message was so inspiring that I felt as if God was speaking directly to me through him. I thought about his words for the remainder of the day. The next morning we all gathered in the lobby of the hotel, preparing to head to the airport. Antonio came up to me and said he hoped I would pursue something in makeup, because he knew I didn’t belong doing what I was doing. My two friends that were along on the trip, Laurie and Adrian, had also been telling me for a long time I needed to explore my love for makeup in some way, shape, or form. 

When I got home, I couldn’t let it go. I felt as though I was given a directive that couldn’t be ignored. A few days later, I texted Laurie to tell her that I was going to take her advice and start a YouTube channel, but to keep it a secret until I was ready to go live with it. Naturally she was very excited. I went on to completely transform my spare bedroom into a beauty studio. I painted the walls, got rid of things, bought new things, and completely overhauled the room. The weekend before I launched my channel, I took my family to lunch; my aunt and uncle who were visiting from Virginia, my uncle from my hometown, and my mom. I told them that after we were done eating I wanted them to go with me to Best Buy to purchase a camera for my new venture. They were all very excited and waited patiently as I chose the best camera to start my YouTube channel with. Once we were back in the car and ready to head home, everyone said a prayer for me. My aunt laid hands on the camera and prayed that it would lead me to greater things. A few days later, I launched Steff’s Beauty Stash on Instagram and YouTube. 

Filming my first video was very strange. I couldn’t get the words out the way I wanted. Once I felt I had good footage, I went to look it over and realized my microphone wasn’t plugged in! There went 2 hours down the drain. That summer I made as many videos as I could; and it was a lot! I kept posting regularly upon returning to work in the fall, trying to find the proper balance between my day job and my new YouTube gig. Your first year on YouTube isn’t the easiest. A lot of people quit during their first year because they don’t get the views or subscribers they hoped for. My goal was to always have 1,000 subscribers one year after I started. I reached my goal ahead of time on May 29, a few weeks before my one year anniversary. It was an incredible feeling that definitely helped to validate my year of hard work.

I never allowed myself to get discouraged, that is the one thing you need to know. There are going to be plenty of hard times, plenty of lows, plenty of “what if” moments. The one thing you need to always remember is why you started in the first place. I went into this knowing all my spare cash was going to be used to fund my channel. I knew that I was going to have to cut back in certain areas of my life to be able to afford the kind of things I wanted to do on my channel. I knew that my free time was going to be spent on creating and editing. I knew that parts of my life were going to be paused but that it would all be worth it in the end. I can honestly say I have regretted NOTHING! Well maybe not having started sooner, but that probably wouldn’t have been possible since I was still in school. Steff’s Beauty Stash is definitely a labor of love. I hope to continue to grow and learn all I can about the beauty community. I am even happier now that I have this website where I can blog and keep all my content in one space. 

I hope you all will continue to visit my website and social accounts so we can keep the joy of beauty going. I am honestly living my dream right now. The best advice I can give you with anything is to start ASAP, remember why you started, and celebrate even the tiniest of milestones. Nothing worth it ever came for free; it takes lots of hard work, sacrifices, and love to see  your dreams become your reality. 

Stay hydrated friends, drink your water, and I will speak to you all very soon!

–Dr. Steff