Paige - BeautyCounter Make-Up Routine


Recently I had the pleasure of doing a make-up routine photoshoot with my good friend Paige. She is currently selling Beauty Counter products - they have clean make-up and beauty products without a bunch of harsh chemicals - and we wanted to highlight her morning routine in the bathroom. 

Paige is incredibly passionate about being confident in your own skin and not feeling obligated to wear a bunch of heavy make-up. Her routine is pretty quick - our shoot took less than 20 minutes - but it hits all the important stuff. 

If you're looking for more information, check her out @paigesottek!


Reflecting on the last few months...

So the last time I wrote on this blog was February. Clearly the whole "be consistent with writing" thing died, but I figured I'd update you since a lot has happened in the past few months! 


When 2018 started, I had a overarching goal that I wanted to be more consistent with my life. I had planned to spend the year actively changing who I was into something better. And I am so incredibly proud to say that 7 months in, I have done that. Some of it has been harder than others, and I haven't made quite as much progress as I had maybe hoped, but I'm definitely on my way. I've spent each month focusing on a small part of my life (YouTube, writing, reading, going to church every week, working out, etc.) and so far it's been so incredibly helpful in keeping track of how I want to change my life. July is all about exercise - so I got a gym membership and I'm hoping to work out at least three times a week for the whole month. But, as a result of this plan, I've made a lot of nice changes to my life - I've read like 15-20 books this year, I've posted a video to my channel every week except for two I think, I finished a whole four drafts of my poetry collection, and I've been going to church a lot more than usual. 


I ended up cutting my bangs again a few months in, and I'm working hard to document as much of my life as I can. Last year it was all about photos, and this year I got a vlogging camera so I can get videos and audio of my life. It's been really a fun experience and I can't wait to share the final product with you in a few months at the end of the year!! I also included a photo of some food because I'm currently trying to be better at cooking for myself and possibly even attempt the Whole30...stay tuned on that last one haha

My photo business has been very up and down - a lot of new clients, a lot of spontaneous shoots, a lot of potential collaborators - and I'm honestly okay with it. I've done a pretty good job of making money this year (even as I keep spending it) and I'm still really proud with all the jobs I've gotten this year for my business. I got some new regulars for social media shoots too which has been nice (Love you Latrice!!).

I also turned 23 in May!! My birthday was full of friends and good movies and nostalgic food and I could not have asked for a better day. I was really sad leaving 22 behind, but now I'm wiser and more experienced and I can already tell that 23 is a year I'll remember forever.

I think at 23, it’s time to practice what I preach...and what I preach is - tell me it’s okay to be happy now because I’m happy now.
— Paramore

This year I claimed I was going to stop traveling like a maniac, but somehow that idea just bit me in the butt...because all I've done for the past like six months is travel like a crazy person. If I'm not making weekend trips home, I'm driving to Kentucky for work or flying to New York for a conference or planning a flight to Boston for a musical. I've been back home so much in the past few months, and I'm so grateful for that time, as brief as those weekends are.

I got to go to New York for BookExpo and to visit one of my best friends from high school, and overall it was a truly incredible week. My book friends always bring me so much joy, and we had so many fun photoshoots!! Laura and I spent a lot of time taking photos and going to the coolest Instagram spots we could find - plus we even ended up meeting one of the cast members of Brooklyn Nine-Nine while getting tacos!!

Okay, so now we're on to the best part of my life update. Taylor Swift. Love of my life, queen of my heart, my PERSON. The last day of my New York trip, I actually skipped BookCon and flew out to Chicago for the weekend to see Taylor perform live at her stadium tour. And it was incredible! I went with one of my good internet friends Hailee, and we spent the entire night dancing and screaming our heads off. It rained, Taylor gave a speech about Pride month, I saw her up close on the b-stage, she played couldn't ask for anything more. Until...

A few weeks later, the week of June 28th, Hailee got a message from Taylor's management company that invited her and a plus one to this special event for AT&T. And Hailee asked me to go with her. So, after driving 8 hours back to Nashville from Arkansas on a Monday, a few days later on Thursday I drove 8 hours up to Chicago to ummm MEET TAYLOR SWIFT. She threw us a private 200 person concert, played an acoustic set, and then afterwards we got to meet her and take a photo. And let me tell you, it changed my life. I won't share the full story since it's kinda long, but if you watch my YouTube channel, I'll be making a video about it soon. It's a wild ride.


Of doesn't stop there. That happened on Thursday, but on Saturday I left Chicago to drive back down to Louisville, KY with my childhood bestie Hannah and we saw Taylor AGAIN for my second round of the stadium tour. This time we were on the floor, and we actually got to watch her up close at the barricade where she walks through the crowd. She played "Mine" on the b-stage...only a few days after I specifically asked her to play a song from that album (so basically she listened to me?!!?!). We had so much fun, and I felt incredibly blessed to get to see her back-to-back. And I still get to see her one last time in Nashville in August!!!

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Going into this year, I really wanted to be that person who could relate to Taylor's song Call It What You Want where she says "I'm doin' better than I ever was." And while I still have a messy room, I'm still bad at self-care and nutrition and being consistent in all areas of my life, I feel more like myself than ever. (Part of that is probably because I finally met Taylor Swift after 10 years, but hey, who cares.) I know I still have a long way to go, and I'm desperately going to try and work hard these last few months of 2018, but I've really excited to see who I am in December. I have a good feeling about all of this. 

So that's what you missed on Glee! 

Best iPhone Photo Apps

Even though I pride myself on being a DSLR photographer, I have come to appreciate iPhonography. Sometimes the only camera you have is your phone, and you have to make that work without having a choice. More than that, I think iPhone cameras (sorry Android) can take some beautiful photos if you have the right tools! My Instagram uses both DSLR photos and iPhone pictures, so I have become a pro at mixing the two.

Today, I want to share some of my favorite photo apps that I use regularly! Most of these are editing apps, but I have a few other random apps I use when making Instagram content.

VSCO | Filters, photo editing, etc.

Everyone who's anyone uses VSCO. I have a bunch of presets that I use on my desktop with Lightroom, but somehow the mobile filters are still some of the best filters out there. I generally use this app for my iPhone photos in order to make them more cohesive and artsy. My current favorite filter is M5, and I usually will bump up the contrast + sharpening + clarity + the warm tones when I edit things.

Polarr | Desaturation, more specific photo editing

This app has some interesting filters, but I usually use it for specific photo editing hacks. It has a more professional set of features - mainly the specific color saturation adjustment which is what I like to use. It also has a cool fringe feature that I like to use when I'm trying to be really artsy. Otherwise, I generally just bring down the orange & yellow saturation in the HSL section.

A Color Story | Light leak effect, filters, coloring

I rarely use this app, but when I do it always blows me away. The filters in this app really boost your colors in a unique way. I also love using it to add fake light leaks and flares. You can get access to more features by purchasing in the app, but I just use the free version for the most part.

Huji | Disposable camera effects

I'm sure you've seen people using this app recently - mainly because it has a cool little time stamp in the corner. My friend introduced me to this after we both talked about wishing we could use film instead of just our phones to take photos. This app is basically like a digital version of a disposable camera (complete with wacky light leaks) and it's my current obsession. I love how unique all the photos look and I don't even have to edit them when they're done because they look so...old school. 

UN UM | Curating my Instagram accounts

I'm sure there are many apps out there where you can plan out your Instagram, but I was introduced to this app last year, and I've been using it ever since. UN UM has a number of features, and if you upgrade to their Elite plan you can even track your followers and posts! (I won a subscription somehow...I don't even know lol) It's super helpful if you have a theme or you want to just plot out which photos you want to post next.

The Power of the Art Journal

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I love journaling. For the past few years I've been keeping up with yearly Moleskines and it's been incredibly therapeutic for me. I fill the blank white pages with all sorts of artsy spreads over the course of 12 months, and by the end of the year I always have a lot of beautiful memories to look back on. 

Obviously journaling has changed a lot in recent years. Today it's more about making art than about keeping a written diary like when I was growing up. As great as it is to write down your day-to-day life in a journal, it's much more fun and easy to just paste things and doodle. However, I think art journaling can be just as personal and memorable as writing down your thoughts. Many of the spreads I make rely on how I'm feeling at a certain time during the year, so even if I'm not telling my future self exactly what I was doing on February 17th, 2018, I can know what songs I was listening to or what movies I had just seen. (For the record, it's "I'm Ready" by AJR + Black Panther.)

In 2018 I've been focusing a lot more on making a journal of which I'm proud to show off. I've done flip-throughs of both my 2016 + 2017 journals, but for both of those I ended up giving up for part of the year. This year I want to consistently create content I love that reflects my life and who I am becoming. I've done a lot more collaging than I did in the past, and I'm super proud of what I've made so far.

If you're looking for some quick tips on how to keep up with journaling, check them out below!


A lot of people ask me what are my "rules" for my art journal, and I definitely have some, but I don't like feeling restricted when making art. It's your art, so you have to make your own decisions about how you make it. For instance, I don't make to-do lists in my art journals & I use mine as more of a scrapbook than anything. I don't usually put in a lot of photos, but I like to make each page a piece of art rather than just scribbling random things in the margins.


It can be scary starting a journal because you don't want to make any mistakes or mess up. My Moleskines are all over 100 pages (and I try to use both sides of each page), so I have to decorate a lot of blank pages. Thus, it's no surprise that I make some ugly art and some beautiful mistakes. Once you accept that you won't love every single page, it makes it easier to get started.


One of the most difficult parts of art journaling is that it's easy to lack inspiration and feel stuck. I am giving you permission right now to use your favorite artists and journalers as your muse. My favorite thing to do when I'm at a loss for ideas is to check out Pinterest or Tumblr and try mimicking another artist's style. Obviously you shouldn't plagiarize things, but as long as you tailor it to your interests and credit the artist, it's healthy to test out other people's ideas!


I know it seems ridiculous to buy art supplies as an adult, but it's so worth it! Whether that's markers or pens or even just a printer with some nice color ink (it's expensive yikes), you will be much happier making art if you have the right tools to make it. Here's a list of some of my journaling essentials!

  • Brush pens (Tombow brand)
  • Pilot pens (the clicky kind)
  • 4-5 random magazines
  • Scissors
  • Wrinkle-free glue stick
  • Printer + colored ink
  • Watercolor palette + brush (the kind that has water in the brush handle)