Prepping for Cons! A How-To Guide to Getting it Together for a Convention

Hey, guys! Today I’ll be sharing a post based on something I really love doing-being a nerd and going to conventions!. I’ve been going to conventions for I believe 4 or 5 years now and I started out with just one convention a year, now I’m up to three! That seems like a lot but it’s nothing compared to what professional cosplayers do. Con time can be stressful for a variety of reasons and so it helps to do some major planning to help cut down on the stress. But who am I kidding, cosplay is a one-way ticket to procrastination station and crying, haha!

Now there is no written rule saying that you MUST cosplay for a convention, however, people do cosplay and/or get dressed up because a convention is a special thing. Afterall, they only take place once a year, and so much work goes into planning each convention so putting in a lot of effort and dressing to the nines can be fun. The conventions I go to are usually anime conventions but again there is no rule saying it is 100% anime only. People dress up as video game characters, cartoon characters, tv show characters, movie characters, anything, you name it! If you choose to cosplay pick something you can easily time manage. My first few cosplays were pretty simple and for a three-day con I usually only do 2 cosplays.

Because this is a budget blog, of course, I also cosplay on a budget. This means doing things like “closet cosplay”, where you take ordinary pieces of clothing and throw them together to create a character look. This is where you can also get creative and make different versions of a character. For example: instead of doing an entire sailor scout uniform you can do maybe “hipster Sailor Moon” or “punk Sailor Jupiter” (Which I’ve done). This helps to keep costs low while still having the ability to cosplay. The only con with this is that sometimes people may not recognize your character and what you’re going for. But please remember to do what makes you happy. You shouldn’t feel miserable for doing cosplay.

Thrifting helps a lot as well. One of my first cosplays was Grell from Black Butler.

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As you can see they wear a red long overcoat. This was particularly hard to find because overcoats can be extremely expensive. I had determined if I couldn’t get the coat I wouldn’t do the cosplay. By the grace of the thrift store gods, I was able to find one and I completed my first cosplay! I was truly lucky but it doesn’t help to take a look around. I would much rather spend $8 on a thrift trench coat then say $100.

Once you’ve decided if you’re going to cosplay or not, you can research what your character looks like and do inventory on what you already have on hand. Check your closet and crafting supplies to see what you can already make. This cuts down on what you have to spend money on. There are a few key things that I almost always spend money on for a cosplay and that’s wigs and shoes. I usually cosplay characters with hair that is completely different from mine so I almost always need a wig. If a character I’m doing also has specific shoes I will go out and find something similar at thrift stores or cheaper clothing stores. Other things I spend money on are things I don’t have on hand like perhaps specific colored leggings or a face mask, etc. But like I said you can always find cheaper alternatives.

Now it’s time to craft that cosplay. I would say plan out your characters about 6 months in advance so that way you can 1)change your mind if you find that maybe a character will be more expensive than another or if you want to scrap that idea altogether 2) you can plan when you need to buy things for the cosplays like “I’m going to buy one wig this paycheck and the other with my second paycheck”, 3)you have time to procrastinate. Look up tutorials on how to sew or put together a prop. Sometimes the videos you use can give you a good idea of the materials you will need and the cost. I cosplayed as Scarecrow (Arkham Asylum version) and I created the Fear Toxin Gauntlet entirely out of recycled Pepsi bottles, a few hardware pieces from Home Depot, and beer cozies from Dollar tree. The whole thing cost me about 5 or 6 dollars to make. The mask cost me about 5 dollars to make as well and I thrifted/sewed the hood part and got brown leggings for $3.97 at Wal-mart. I already had the boots in my closet so my cosplay cost me about less than 20 dollars to make!

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When you’ve got your cosplays figured out then you have to turn your attention to more important matters. The cosplay is the fun part but you have to figure out travel, accommodations, and food. If you’re going with a group of friends it can cut down immensely on what you have to pay for a hotel room. You can even stay at inexpensive motels to lower the cost even further. If there is a designated driver(s) to carpool to and from the convention center then you can even get a motel a little bit further away. If it’s further away from the city (most conventions are held in popular cities) then you will also find some cheaper options.

Speaking of carpooling, it can cut down on travel expenses. Carpooling with more people can cut down on gas. Smaller vehicles can fill up on about $20 of gas, so if you’re carpooling with 4 people that’s only $5 per person. ALWAYS plan on gas money in your budget. It’s just common courtesy if someone is driving you a possibly long distance to a convention that you give them gas. After hotel and gas, there’s food. Try and shop at Dollar Tree or cheap supermarkets for snacks and food you don’t have to cook. It’s great to bring things for breakfast like fruit, muffins, or bagels with peanut butter or cream cheese. Most motels will have a mini fridge in the room but not every one will have a microwave to cook food in. So try and keep it to simple snacks that you can take with you to eat at the con.

After budgeting what you’re spending on extra cosplay supplies, you have your hotel/motel reservation and pricing in order, and you’ve figured out how you’re traveling there, it’s time to start saving up spending money. Now you are in control of what you want to spend at a convention. I’ve spent more than $500 at a single convention before (was that a smart financial decision, absolutely not haha) but you can save as little as $200. After going to the same conventions year after year I can tell where I’m going to be spending my money the most. At Ohayocon I spend the most in the dealer’s room as it is GIGANTIC. The dealer’s room has dealer’s that have a variety of things for sale like DVD’s, mangas, games, plushies, kpop stuff, figures, etc. Artist Alley is a separate place to buy things but these are strictly for artists. Artist creations can mean anything from handcrafted goods to prints of their artwork. I usually buy a lot of prints at artist alley and cute things like buttons and stickers. If you find that an artist has prints that are out of your price range then keep moving! It’s okay to discuss with your friends that you thought an artist was too expensive but do not try to haggle or bargain with an artist to lower the price of their work. Remember their art is how they make a living. Instead, see if an artist has deals such as buy 2 prints get one free or buy 4 prints for like $20 or something like that. If they have something like

Artist creations can mean anything from handcrafted goods to prints of their artwork. I usually buy a lot of prints at artist alley and cute things like buttons and stickers. If you find that an artist has prints that are out of your price range then keep moving! It’s okay to discuss with your friends that you thought an artist was too expensive but do not try to haggle or bargain with an artist to lower the price of their work. Remember their art is how they make a living. Instead, see if an artist has deals such as buy 2 prints get one free or buy 4 prints for like $20 or something like that. If they have something like buy three mini prints for a certain price and you see that they have a sticker sheet for the same price you can ask if you can substitute a sticker sheet for a print for example. I’ve done that before. Just be courteous when asking. You can always take a business card and save up some money to buy the print from them later as well.

I always say make a few laps around the dealer’s room and artist alley so you see what everyone has to offer before making a purchase. Then you can ask for prices and figure out what exactly you want more than others. I really love artist prints, pins, buttons, and stickers. Occasionally I will buy a figure, especially if I’m really into a certain anime or game. Smaller figures can be less costly and more space effective so those are the ones I tend to go for. Bigger figures (usually like 10 inches and above) can start being like $130 each. I’ve actually seen a giant figure of my favorite character, Super Sonico, for $1000 (and yes I really want this figure). Pick and choose what you want so you can try and budget carefully. This is really important if this is your first con too. It won’t be your last so just make sure you know exactly what there is before buying.

When the money is all saved and budgeted away it’ll be time to head out for the convention! Packing is pretty key and it all starts with a list. As you’re making your cosplays write down every component of the costume. Start from the top of your head and work your way down. I even write down every makeup product I know I’ll be using especially if I’m going to make a detailed look. For example, I went to a summer convention as a summer-ized version of 707 from the otome game Mystic Messenger. My list went something like this:

  • red wig
  • white eyeshadow pencil
  • red eyeshadow
  • foundation
  • contour powder
  • setting spray
  • glasses
  • cross necklace
  • headphones
  • red tanktop
  • black shorts
  • red flipflops

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I like to bundle my cosplays together so everything is set for when I need to wear it. If you have props and they cant fit in your luggage make sure to put it in another container, like a box and let whoever is driving know ahead of time so they know how much room they will have in their car. If you’re taking a plane or bus maybe get another luggage for just your props. When you get your cosplays squared away make another list for regular items. Always bring some spare changes of regular clothes, your pj’s and basic toiletries that you will need for the weekend. Regular clothes come in handy if you want to change out of your cosplay midday or if you’re not planning to cosplay for one of the days. For the bigger conventions I go to, I usually refrain from cosplaying on Sundays. After spending the past 2 or 3 days going hard I usually don’t want to do anything else so I just wear a comfortable outfit to the convention. Lists save me from forgetting important things so i try to make as many as I can.

Planning your convention time doesnt always have to be hard. Take it one step at a time, even planning it down to the day. Make lists and budget ahead of schedule so there aren’t any unexpected finances. And most importantly always remember to have fun! Conventions are places of creativity and happiness so don’t forget to relax and enjoy your time with friends.

Happy Con-ing!

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Dream Vanity~

There are plenty of days where I dream of living in a nice house (or decent apartment, maybe even a condo) where I have an entire room just for creativity. My two main areas of creativity come from makeup and crafting. In my room currently, I have a little set up to help me keep my makeup as organized as I can get. I feel like I have a lot of makeup and to some others, it does seem like a lot. But if you compare my collection to those Youtube “beauty gurus” and “MUA’s” it’s nothing, haha! But still, I struggle with having a nice little area to set everything up in. Currently, I have a teeny little desk which now has my printer on it and a bamboo plant which believe it or not takes up the entirety of the surface area. Besides that, I have several of those plastic drawer tower organizers (you know the ones they sell at Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart, Big Lots, Micheal’s, etc) and each drawer holds something different. I like to micro-organize too so I have drawer inserts as well. If you’d like to see a full detailed list of how I organize and store my makeup, go here!

So as you can see and read, my space is really limited. But let’s pretend for a moment that I am in my nice wonderful little humble abode with a room all to my artistic self. There would be two things I would put in there instantly-a vanity and an oversized craft table. I have wanted a vanity ever since I saw my grandma purchase one many many many years ago. I remember it was all white, with a ginormous mirror. I can’t exactly remember if it had lights but I do remember it had a slender drawer (where she kept her jewelry) and a nice pull out drawer on each side. It was a really large piece of furniture but I always wanted one like it.

If I had to build my own vanity it would have to have a few requirements. First, I feel like it would need three mirrors. A center mirror and two smaller ones that angle to the side. It sounds a bit egotistical but I look at myself from all different sides when I do makeup, not to mention I wear glasses/contacts and sometimes looking at things from certain angles actually helps me see better. I’m always going at side angles and getting really close to mirrors especially when I do my eyebrows! I need all the help I can get with seeing.

Secondly, it would need to have lights. Of course, blue casting lights. When I mean by blue casting lights is that most household lamps, bulbs, and appliances, give off an awful yellow glow (trust me, every light in my house is like this). This interferes with how you see colors and how you look in pictures and videos (if you document your makeup and such). Adding almost fluorescent lighting that gives off a blue hue helps balance things out a bit more so that way when you step out into the sun you’re not surprised by something you did in indoor lighting.

The third requirement would definitely be that it need a lot of drawers. Like drawers on drawers on drawers. I love to have things organized so I would need a drawer for my brushes, eyeshadow palettes, single eyeshadows, etc. I like everything to be in their own little compartments and be easy for me to access and get to when I need it. It already takes me so long to do my full face of makeup, I don’t need to waste more time digging through piles of stuff just to get the product I need. I would like to have the drawers be similar to the plastic drawer towers I have in functionality but then that wouldn’t really leave much room for counter space.

.Which leads me to another requirement. I would like counter space because  I liked to keep my lipsticks, sponges/blenders, and most used brushes where I can get to them quickly. It seems a bit redundant but there are just those favorite brushes that you use more than the other and some things just store better when standing (like lipsticks). I think a good compromise would be a decent amount of drawers (also at a decent height) with some key areas of open counter space to put my favorite things.

In the real world, vanities are expensive but I have seen people try and DIY their own vanity space which I think is so cool! I think if I ever have a chance to build my own vanity I would definitely do it. I could even incorporate some floating shelves or something interesting like that. Do any of you guys have vanities? IF so what do they look like?! Feel free to comment below! Until then, lovelies~

 

Photo Credits:

pbteen.com

Vanitygirlhollywood.com

 

Black Friday Haul Part 1: BH Cosmetics

When you’re looking to buy good makeup on a budget, Black Friday is the best day to do it! I personally had no idea what I wanted to get for Black Friday and instead took to my makeup Instagram page (@moatb) to look at all the makeup companies and pages I follow to see who had the best sales. I tried to stick with companies that were  doing 40-50% or more from their products. I was looking to definitely get more bang for my buck and I know that a lot of companies and small businesses only do like 10-20% off, which is not a deal. 10% is nothing. This is Black Friday, step your game up.

But anyway, I went to one of my fave companies to see what they had. I think they had decent pricing. I believe it was at least 40-75% off on certain items. I managed to snag an eyeshadow palette, a highlighter palette, a brush set, and my staple foundation.

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The breakdown, cost wise, was like this:

Wild & Radiant (Highlighter palette)- $6.00

Foundation- $3.50

Wild & Alluring (Eyeshadow palette)- $7.00

Brush Set- $12

S&H- $7.95

I believe you got free S&H once you hit $50 and I had other places I wanted to buy some so I opted to pay the almost $8 instead of spending about $20 dollars to get free shipping.

I ordered everything on Thursday and BH was the 1st to get to my house on Monday or Tuesday I believe.

I won’t review the foundation because I use it all the time and I’ve featured it in several looks that I’ve done before. Brushes are also kind of hard to review before you use them too so  I’ll just be talking about the design and packaging mostly.

But first is the eyeshadow palette. I picked the Wild & Alluring palette because of course, it was on sale. Not only was it on sale but it looked very similar to the Galaxy Chic palette which is literally my absolute favorite palette (and it’s always on sale but currently it’s out of stock on the website because it was $8 on Black Friday/Cyber Monday!). The eyeshadows in the Wild & Alluring palette are also baked and are mixed colors, so each shadow has multiple colors and shades in it to give lots of dimension in your looks. Because I used the Galaxy Chic palette so much, I figured this one was no different and would hold up really well.20161130_153207[1].jpg

These colors are really gorgeous though there are a few that look very similar to the Galaxy chic palette (2nd row middle and 3rd row last by the highlighter). I really love the top row of yellow-purple shades. The palette also has a highlighter which is a nice bronze and a coral blush. Currently, I’m using a gold eyeshadow color from my Too Faced Pb&J palette, which works splendid but now I have some real powder highlighters to try!

The packaging is really cute too. It’s a simple cardboard package, mirror included, with mermaid scales all around the palette. For $7 I don’t think this is a bad deal, especially with how decently sized the eyeshadows are and how big the highlighter and blush is. I’m not a blush person myself but I could see myself wearing this shade. It’s a medium sized palette as well so depending on your bag it would do well with travel.

Now the Highlighter palette is something I’m also really excited to try. It’s maybe 1/2-3/4 of the size of the eyeshadow palette and I believe part of the same line. It comes with 4 highlighters in varying shades. The shades look a bit similar in the palette but when swatched on skin you can tell the difference easily. There is a bronze, copper, light gold, and I would say a peach gold, which I think all work great on my skin tone. They are super sparkly and nice and smooth! I cannot wait to try them out in a look. I’m so excited for these highlighters!

Swatching them and capturing them in the best lighting was a bit difficult and I’m sorry if they don’t come across as well. I promise that the pigmentation produced on skin swatches (I haven’t done brush swatches yet) were really amazing. I knew that I was going to be glowing with these highlighters! And only $6 for 4 highlighters?? You can’t beat that.

I tried to take pictures in LED lighting and without(which is a bit darker than expected. You guys might have to enlarge it) but shimmery products are kind of hard to capture perfectly. They’re super nice highlighters in my opinion. If any of these are left I would say go get this palette! The Cyber Monday sale is still continuing now.

Last was the brush set. They had cheaper sets than this one. I believe the cheapest was about $7 but only gave you a few brushes. I figured if I was going to get a brand new brush set (because I collect brushes like crazy) I would want a much fuller set. I’m not really a fan of pink but I did really like this metallic pink set. It has 14 brushes total and comes in its own roll up carrying case.

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When I first pulled the set out of the box, it was, of course, rolled up. There are two snap closures and is about the size of a longer clutch purse. It’s pretty light and easy to carry as well. It did have a kind of weird candy-plastic smell to it when I unrolled it but it’s only strong if you actually sniff it, like it did haha!.

The brushes are a normal length. The handles are black with shimmery glitter on them which I didn’t notice before! That makes it cuter! The smaller more precise brushes are of course a bit firmer and I’ve noticed the fibers are straighter. The face brushes and some of the fluffier shadow brushes kind of have a wavy texture to the fibers. I don’t think I’ve noticed that in my other BH brushes before. The fibers are still synthetic and soft though and I love my other angled face brush from BH. I’m pretty confident that I’ll like this set, though.

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I’m really excited to use my new products from BH! I do love this brand a lot and I always recommend them to others. Join their sale now and see what else you can snag! I have a few more orders coming in so I’ll be doing little haul posts for them as well. See you guys soon.

August Ipsy Bag

Finally I can say I love almost everything in this month’s bag! This month’s theme was Sugar Highness, which is right up my alley. While I don’t think Michelle Phan is the greatest artist in the world, she made two designs for the bags this month and I think they’re absolutely adorable. I got the pastel lavender one that has a makeup crown (which I think I want to try to make irl!)

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I absolutely love the design for this one and I think I will keep this one. It’s much more roomy than some of the previous bags I’ve gotten.

Now onto what I actually received!

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Symphony Beauty Makeup Cleansing Wipes- Moisturise Cucumber & Aloe Vera

Formula X Nail Polish in DollFace

NYX Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator

Trust Fund Beauty Lipgasm Liquid Lipstick in K, Bye

Dr. G Brightening Peel Gel

I was happy with most of what I received. The only thing I didn’t like was the nail polish and that was only because the color is too pale pink for me. I swatched a little on my nail and the coating is great, I’d recommend two coats but the color wasn’t working for me. I’m selling this on ebay in hopes that it goes to a good home, or someone who really wanted it in their Ipsy bag. Click here!

I liked the makeup wipes. They do have some texture to it but they’re still very soft. The smell is calming and i’ve used a wipe or two to get rid of some swatches I had tested. It didn’t really irritate my skin or anything. I like the travel size also because I always need a travel size pack of makeup remover wipes. It’s gentle on the skin and takes off most of the makeup in a few wipes. The liquid lipstick swatch I did required just a smidge of rubbing but it came off quite easily. On Amazon a pack of 60 wipes is only 9.99, which i think is a fairly good bargin especially since most makeup wipes come in a pack of 25 and retail about 5-6 dollars. I know Neutrogenas wipes are about this much. I would go the extra few bucks and get even more. While I love Equates (Walmart off brand) makeup remover wipes I think these are stronger and might get off more makeup in less swipes.

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The Nyx Illiminator is a liquid highlighter that is very shimmery but not very pigmented. It gives shine rather than color. The tube is similar to a lip gloss tube and you squeeze the product out. Coming out of the tube it looks very pigmented but once you apply it onto the skin and blend it out it becomes very sheer. I do not mind this at all. It really like how sheer it is since I’m not too crazy about highlighting. I mean I like highlighting but I dont like going overboard with it. I love NYX in general and I was super excited to get one of their products in my bag. This was the only brand other than Formula X which I had seen on Sephora’s website that I’ve heard of and used before.

 

The Dr G Brightening Peeling Gel is a Korean beauty product. ON the tube itself it says ‘instantly brighten and clarify skin by eliminating dead skin cells with this gentle and powerfully effective Vitamin-infused peeling gel.” It says to apply using circular motions and rinse after wards. Nothing about dry time or anything so I assume it more like a cleanser? It comes out like a cream and as you start rubbing it into the skin it begins to clump up perhaps as a gentle exfoliant to get rid of the dead skin cells? I’m kind of weary on this product as I’m not a big fan of Korean facial beauty products but I would like to try it.

The liquid lipstick was something I was really excited for. This was a full size product and the color swatched marvelously. However as I’m starting to learn, swatches can lie. Not the product is great itself; it goes on smooth, has a nice scent to it, nice pigmentation but again like the Formula X when I tried it on it just wasn’t the right color for me. Now I don’t think this dries matte, the website says “Almost matte”. So I assume theres a bit of drying but it also has shine, which I noticed. I would definitely try this brands lipstick in a different color especially because it’s vegan and cruelty free. Not all my makeup is but I feel a little better when I use a product that is cruelty free. I’m also selling this one in hopes that it goes to a better home. Retail price is $22. Click here!

I’d give this bag about a 3.5/5. I liked 3 of the products and the formulas of the nail polish and lipsticks. If they were in colors I’d enjoy and looked good on me then I would’ve definitely given this bag a 5/5! What did you guys get in your Ipsy bags this month? Make sure to like and comment, I’d love to hear what you think!

Behind The Blog featuring Chelsea from Makeup On A Tight Budget….

Hey everybody!Karen from ConfettiandCurves and I did a little blog post collab. I’m really happy with how it came out. Please go to her blog and check it out as well as support her!:) Thank you Karen!

Makeup On A Tight Budget

Happy Tuesday Chums,

Firstly a huuuuuge thanks to all who left such an array of blush-inducing comments on yesterday’s post The Makeup Menu: Monthly Favourites. It was so much fun rounding up my favourite beauty goodies of January and creating a single look! It would seem however that quite a few of you were captivated by the Bourjois lippy – and of course not being one to prevent a gal from treating herself just *click here* if you’d like to be virtually transported to Boots where you can buy your very own!

However, onto today’s post as I make way on the virtual sofa for the gorgeous Chelsea as she takes us on a trip behind the scenes of her cosmetic craving blog: Makeup On A Tight Budget. Now I don’t know about the rest of you gals but I for one LOVE finding a great beauty bargain, so it’s for sure…

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Giveaway Update

So I only have a few qualifying people who have liked the original post. I really want to have all my followers participate and I’m wondering If I should extend the giveaway until next friday? Does anyone have a few ideas. I’m not getting enough entries as I though I would and I really want to give everyone a chance to participate!

Remember the rules:

1.Like the original post here

2. Follow/be following my blog

3. Open to US and possibly canada

Please let me know guys! It’s a really awesome giveaway:D

GIVEAWAY REMINDER!!!

Hey guys! Just a friendly reminder that the giveaway ends on Aug.1st! Please like the original post here to count as an entry! I only have about 16 or so people entering and I’d like a ton more of you to enter to have a chance to win!. PLease please please enter!!!

What’s in my Bag : Travel Edition

So in about a week I’ll be heading to South Carolina to surprise my grandma for mother’s day. I’ll be spending two week there and doing a bunch of activities with my family  so i need to bring some makeup for the special occasions. The problem is that I overpack a lot…so I had to cut back on how much makeup I want to take. Also, it’s goign to be burning hot down South so I don’t need to take anything heavy to excessive. Finally I was able to condense everything into my tiny ipsy bag! I was pretty proud of myself. My roommate even asked me if I was sick when I showed him that all I was taking was my ipsy bag. So here’s what I’m taking!

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Okay I couldn’t pick just one lipstick so I picked 3 basic colors for every occasion. They’re all Nyx Soft matte lip creams in Translyvania, Abu Dubai, and Monte Carlo. You can’t go wrong with a nude, deep color, and red. I’m also taking my Lorac pro Mini palette, my Pixi eyeshadow duo, and 3 Nyx eyshadows in case I want a pop of color. I’m taking my bH cosemtics liquid eyeliner pen, My mini Too Faced Shadow Insurance and Better than Sex mascara (I had to cut down to one mascara can you even believe) I of course have my Nyx Eyebrow gel because I can’t go anywhere without my eyebrows. The little circle packets are actually bare mineral samples from a company called everyday minerals. You can pick 10 samples and only pay $2.50 for shipping which is really great considering that most companies charge like $5 for shipping of tiny samples. I’ve got some foundation, mineral veils, and two blushes. Which is enough for our mother’s day dinner and my mom’s birthday dinner (which we’re celebrating while we’re over there). I also have my little concealer pot that I got from Ipsy. I’m taking my Flower BB Cream for everyday wear since it’s simple and lightweight. For application I’m taking a duel ended brush and my retractable Kabuki Brush.

That’s it! I accomplished something that I thought I could never do. I’m set to go on my trip with enough makeup to last me throughout the day. I might do some updates from the airport or things like that. Also would anyone be interested in seeing any vlogs of the trip? I’m planning to go to various places so it shouldn’t be boring at all! I’ll be doing some site seeing and things like that. Let me know please!:)