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Sunday, October 23, 2016

#MakeUpMonday: Ulta My MakeUp Haven & 5 Services You Didn't Know You Needed

#MakeUpMonday: Ulta My MakeUp Haven & 5 Services You Didn't Know You Needed

I've worked a lot of retail jobs in my day: Bath & Body Works, CATO, Navy Exchange, Express. That's just to name a few. The main thing I learned from each of those jobs was that people will remember how you make them feel far more than what they paid for an item. Let me explain. When I worked at Bath & Body Works in Richmond, we received a lot of training. Corporate seemed to be at our store constantly. Managers were always sharing sales numbers, and figures with associates and their expectations. I didn't mind it one bit. It made me feel like my performance was tied to the company's success, and I didn't take that lightly.  One of the things BBW stressed a lot was making each customer feel special. Bath & Body Works figures showed at the time that 70% of customers who felt the product on them bought it. I don't think it was just the good bath products either. At Bath & Body Works in Short Pump we were taught to make trying out a product an experience. If I gave you a hand massage with a new scrub, I would not only tell you the benefits but I'd take time to learn about you. Do you have kids? Why are shopping today? Is for your someone else? I sold a lot Bath & Body Works that way, but more importantly I made connections.

The funny thing is I learned the same thing as a journalist. I was always taught at Virginia Commonwealth University, National Association of Black Journalists and the Poynter Institute that people remember how you make them feel when they watch a news story.

 Why did I start this makeup blog with all this detail? The Ulta that I frequent is the master of making customers feel welcome and warm. Associates like Jasmine, Catherine, Melissa, Amina, and Alexis do more than sell product, they make you feel special. And, you can't get that everywhere. That is why this week I am featuring their amazing store for

#MakeUpMonday. Here are the Top 5 Ulta Services You Didn't Know You Needed. 

Gosh I adore her. She slays in makeup and in life
Me & Catherine
1. Ulta Salon Services: Umm did you know Ulta has a salon? Don't worry I didn't realize the value of until this summer. The salon is in the back of the Ulta. You can get a color, trim, relaxer, eye brow wax, or a simple shampoo. They seriously have an amazing list of services. I am fond of stylists Melissa, and Catherine. Catherine waxed my eyebrows a few weeks back. A threading technician had jacked them up and Catherine shaped them up nicely. I thought the price was fair and she was hilarious. She didn't know it but her humor was just what I needed that day.

Melissa is warm, inviting and super talented. She does black and white hair. That's a gift honey. I've been told by the ladies that it is best to book an appointment in advance. You can call them. The number to the Ulta Greenbrier store that I adore is 757 424 0236 .  Click here for the list of services that the Ulta salon offers.

2. Dermalogica Service: I totally had no clue what this was until I started shopping at Ulta frequently. If you go to Ulta there is a space there where you can get facials, microdermabrasions, and skin treatments. At the Greenbrier location in Chesapeake Alexis, the licensed esthetician can do your make up, tell you the best products for your skin, and give you a super amazing treatment. The station is tucked away in the back, but it's totally worth the venture. You can get a 10 minute face lift for as low as 10 bucks. Once I stack some paper I'm totally doing it.

Alexis at Ulta
3. Benefits Brow Bar: Eyebrows are totally the thing lately. Something about having a bold, thick brow is super sexy these days. I see a lot of companies promoting their brow gels and brow liners. One of the cosmetic lines I'm loving for brows lately is Benefits Cosmetics. They recently rolled out a brand new brow line and it's amazing. I tried out their Ka-Brow eyebrow gel and fell in love. I mean the gel comes with its own brush. Well did you know in a lot of Ulta Beautys there is a Benefits Specialist that will wax your brows? Yas HUNTY! From what I gather they specialize in brows. You have to make an appointment because the Benefits section is super popular, but it's worth it. You can ask questions about the product and get a killer wax. It's a must do chick.

The time I discovered the power of 'Better Than Sex' Mascara
4. Ultamate Rewards: If you follow this blog then you know I'm all about saving money. I sign up for every free customer card and app to save dough. Ulta has an incredible reward card. Every time you make a purchase you get points.  If you spend $450 at the store in a calendar year you become Platinum. FANCY RIGHT.  Ulta will send you special coupons, money off purchases, and trial sizes of a product. Because of my Ultamate Rewards I've tried out Buxom lip creams, Better Than Sex Mascara by Too Faced, and so much more. I've also saved a ton of money on makeup. If you love makeup you're silly not to do this so go get one now. If you are a #makeupfiend like me sign up for the app so you can get savings on the go, and check your emails constantly for sales. You can slay for less. Trust me.

5.  Best MAKEUP ADVICE & Bonding : Like I said at the beginning of this blog the best retailers make their customers feel special. Ulta Beauty excels at this. Every time I shop at Ulta in Greenbrier I feel like I'm reuniting with some old girlfriends. We talk about the new products I've tried. I show them new makeup looks I'm experimenting with. They share with me the best deals, show me how to use products, and we catch up on life. I love bonding with sales associates. And, I'm here to tell you most associates at the Ulta store in Greenbrier love it too. They are always complimenting the ladies, providing a comforting ear, and reminding them that make up enhances beauty it doesn't define it. I LOVE THAT.

Thank you Ulta Beauty in Greenbrier for being fabulous and helping me find my sexy again.

These girls have done so much for me. On days where I had nothing to do but wander the streets cause I had no where to go they let me play in makeup. They offered a comforting ear, and then showed me how to cover my depression scars and sadness with concealer and love. I adore you all. Thank you for loving me in the valley and trust me dolls Lolo is coming out. This little blog is the least I can do to return the love you have shown me.

Friday, October 21, 2016

#FineFellasFriday: Mr. Optimism & Jeff Byrd, Men Who Are Motivators Part 1

#FineFellasFriday: Mr. Optimism & Jeff Byrd, Men Who Are Motivators

Sorry I've been M.I.A lately. My life is literally a Lifetime movie so it's been difficult to  update the blog. When my first book Good Girl Chronicles drops you are going to be beyond shocked at the things that have happened in my life lately. LIKE BEYOND SHOCKED.

For example an old man that let me stay with him in Suffolk, a man I call 'The Hustler', pretty much stole my MacBook charger, threatened to assault me, and admitted to housing prostitutes. Yes this is a true story. More on that another time.

This week Good Girl Chronicles honors two amazing men who have motivated me to keep moving forward, keep chasing God's love, and keep dreaming big. Thank you Mr. Optimism and Jeff Byrd. I am a better person because of your friendship.

Me during my reporting days

Mr. Optimism: I am not using this #FineFellas real name because he never likes to take credit. Whenever I try to give him kudos he says, "The glory be to God." That's just his way. So instead I call this #FineFellas Mr. Optimism because I have literally never seen this man curse or lash out in anger. He is the definition of #ironsharpensiron in Proverbs, the scripture that taught me about friendship. "Iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another."

I met Mr. Optimism at my last television job in Hampton Roads, Virginia. He is hands down one of the best photographers I've ever worked with. His work ethic, skill with the camera, and sharp eye makes him a reporter's dream.  Whenever I was assigned to work with Mr. Optimism I always knew our video was going to be framed well, lit to the Gods, and like me he'd strive hard to tell a compelling story. I am totally a better story-teller, because of him.

In television, the best reporters and photographers work together to craft a story. Mr. Optimism was one of the best. He always told me the shots he was getting for a story, asked if I needed anything else, and even listened to me read my scripts to check for errors. If you're a television reporter then you know a hard working photographer can make your story.

Before, reporting in Hampton Roads, I was a reporter for an ABC affiliate in Lynchburg, Virginia. The news was very different there. Some days I'd be reporting on the school system, a cute dog, or a car accident, but seldom was it horrific crime. Lynchburg is one of those southern cities where everyone knows everyone and for the most part it's safe to walk downtown alone at night. Hampton Roads on the other hand is a booming, metropolitan, mixing pot of military families, sailors, veterans, white, black, poor, rich.  It's a melting pot. Reporting in Hampton Roads requires a lot of reporters. You have to be quick on your feet for breaking news, strong hearted to face the ugliness of crime, and unafraid to ask the tough questions. There are long weeks, 10 hours days, no lunch breaks, and challenging stories.

Like a lot of new reporters, I started out on nights and weekends when I came to Hampton Roads. I saw my fair share of blood, tears, tragedy, violence, and crime. It wore on me spiritually and mentally. Somehow Mr. Optimism was able to handle the toughness of working nights as a new photographer with ease. I now know it's because he knows who his Heavenly Father is.

Whenever I worked with Mr. Optimism I always knew we were going to tell a compelling story, have a laugh, and somehow endure the tragedies we often had to report on. I could write a novel about all of the tough stories we worked on together and how with his calm demeanor always put me at ease. I could talk for hours about the funny moments we had in the live truck waiting for interviews, cutting video, or eating dinner. Reporters live in live trucks trust me. Mr. Optimism made work fun, and he challenged me to be better. He taught me about the beauty of photography and NPPA, something I knew nothing about before coming to Hampton Roads.

But, more than that Mr. Optimism showed me what it meant to be a real friend. Towards the end of my television career, the ugliness of news was getting the better of me. I was battling insomnia, skipping meals, and beating myself up for every mistake I made. One day, Mr. Optimism turned to me and said, "Lauren, when are you going to learn? You don't work for man. Work to glorify God."

We were sitting in the Panera parking lot waiting for our interview subject to call us back. "You don't understand. I'm trying so hard to be a good reporter, but it's never enough," I replied.

"Man will always fail you, Lauren. Always. That is why you work for God. He is always proud when we work hard," said Mr. Optimism. Such sage wisdom. I wish I would have listened, but I didn't. My depression slowly started to consume my brain with negative thoughts, and I continued to burn myself out trying to impress my news bosses. I later left the television station, after my first suicide attempt in 2014. But, I never forgot Mr. Optimism.

Live Truck Life
FAST FOWARD to JANUARY 2016 Recovering from a depressive episode is hard. It takes a lot of support, love, therapy, and time to beat mental illness. In January of 2016, I started to piece my life back together after the worse depressive episode of my life. I was on a new anti-depressant, watching Joel Osteen, reconnecting with friends, making amends, and looking for work.

Something in my spirit told me to call Mr. Optimism. I'm glad I did. It was just like old times. We talked about the news business. He shared with me that he decided to leave the news to tell stories for an organization called 'Moving Works' (check them out their work is amazing Then I shared with him the depression that almost killed me, the widening rifts in my family, and my desire to know God again. He encouraged me to read Colossians, but I couldn't connect with it. Then he said, read the Book of John. If you're a fan of this blog you know the Book of John changed my life. I found the story of the Samaritan woman a.k.a. the woman at the well. I learned that Jesus came to earth to save God's children and teach them that God's love is like an everlasting water. I learned that I praise a God that is graceful, forgiving, and redeeming. It lit a new fire into my life.

Mr. Optimism is super busy sharing God's gospel in his own way with Moving Works, but we still talk. I love that no matter how much time has passed we can pick up where we left off. We laugh, sometimes I cry, and we always pray. It's the kind of friendship I didn't know I needed. We talked yesterday in fact. To hear his voice was so comforting. I know in Mr. Optimism I have a friend who wants to listens, doesn't judge, and loves me as I am. I was overjoyed to tell him that God is doing a major work in me. I finished the Book of John, and everyday I'm growing close to Christ. 


I always took selfies before my newsroom
live shots #vanity
Like always he offered the best advice, scripture that was right on time, and reminded me that it's ok to stumble.

Thank you Mr. Optimism for taking the time to sharpen me in ways I never knew possible. I never thought the cool photog from my TV station would be my best friend in Christ. I adore you. #ironsharpensiron #keepslaying boo I'm rooting for you.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

#MakeUpMondays: Top 5 Services Sephora Services You Didn’t Know You Needed

I’ve been a #makeupblogger for six months, and I’m learning a lot about how to save money on beauty products. One of the best ways, in my opinion, is to know where to get the best deals. I primarily shop at Ulta and Sephora. Each store has major ways to save dough. This week I am focusing on Sephora.

No shade but I haven’t always loved Sephora. Before I became a makeup blogger I always thought it was one of those stores for glamorous, pretty, rich chicks. I am cute, thick, and broke as a joke so I never thought Sephora was for me. That was until I met an amazing makeup artist named Caleb. I met him at the mall and he overhead me ragging on Sephora.
Caleb, and I at Sephora. He is joker I ... ME!
Sephora Greenbrier Mall, Chesapeake, Virginia

“The girls there are so mean", I said. "Every time I visit,they act like they are God’s gift to makeup.” 

I’ve had bad experiences with several Sephoras: one in Richmond, two in Hampton Roads. It left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

“What Sephora have you been too?” Caleb responded. “Trust me, my Sephora is not like that. Come in and I’ll take care of you.”

Another Fabulous Sephora visit with Caleb. He did my eyeshadow and mascara.

Thus began my love affair with Caleb and Sephora. Like he promised, Caleb took care of me. Being the makeup God that he is; Caleb beat my face, showed me the best skin care products, and did I mention he has the most interesting life EVER? He’s kind of a big deal. 

I love going to Sephora, getting Caleb’s advice, and hearing about his crazy, beautiful life. He’s literally the only reason I shop at the Sephora in Greenbrier Mall in Chesapeake, Virginia. Ask about him. He teaches me technique, helps me save money, and is all around fabulous. I adore you boo. This week’s #MakeUpMonday is dedicated to Caleb and his amazing Sephora coworkers.

‘Top 5 Sephora Services You Didn’t Know You Needed’

  *Samples, Samples, Samples:Makeup is expensive, and I hate returning items so I love this Sephora perk. If you are interested in trying out a new foundation, fragrance, primer, or eye cream Sephora is the place to go. Here’s the trick: YOU HAVE TO ASK!  Let the associate know you aren’t quite ready to buy, but want to try it out. They will give you a sample that usually will last three to five days. They even label it so you remember the product line.

I love this perk. I discovered that I love Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation, Becca highlighters are worth the investment, and the best primers for my skin type.  The last time I went in, an associated named Vanna gave me a sample of Peter Thomas Ross primer that is supposed to minimize smile lines. I tried it this weekend so far so good.

A Sephora associate told me the company actually loves giving out samples. It cuts down on customer returns, so ask away.

*Free Beauty Advice: Have you ever noticed that all the peeps in Sephora have beat makeup? Well there’s a reason for that. The associate I talked to says Sephora associates have to go through lengthy makeup training . They learn product lines, technique, and one on one customer service. Most Sephora associates are makeup fiends too so they can tell you if a product is worth buying. My favorite Sephora associate, Caleb, is bold when he wears makeup, and his courage has inspired me to try new things. I’ve done several #makeupmondays about Caleb. That’s because he teaches me so much. So go to a Sephora near you, make friends with an associate, and get the goods on beauty.

  Free Mini MakeOvers: What a great service. Have you ever wondered how to do a smokey eye, the best blush, or contouring? Then, go in for a 15 minute makeover. Sephora offers customers mini makeovers with no pressure to buy. Just don’t go in there expecting them to beat your whole face for free. I mean really! They have to make a living. The makeovers focus on one technique or trick. Walk-ins welcome.

* *Custom Makeovers: If you have a big event or need a dolled up face for prom get a Custom Makeover. This is a 45 minute makeover and there is a $50 minimum purchase or a $50 gift card purchase. I’ve seen Caleb do several of these makeovers. They are amazing. You will walk out feeling like a brand new woman. If you want a personal one-on-one makeup consultation that is complimentary with a minimum $125 purchase. 

   *Makeup 101: If you really want to learn some stellar makeup techniques consider a Sephora that offers makeup classes. I recently discovered that free-standing Sephoras like the ones you see in malls offer professional makeup classes. You can sign up online or in store. This is more in-depth than the makeovers done inside the store. They teach good skin care, the best products lines for you, and technique. I must warn you these classes fill up fast. One of these days I’m going to get into one. Check it out at 
I It's also worth mentioning that Sephora has something called a Color IQ, Fragrance IQ, and Skincare IQ. It's basically a program that matches you with the best foudation, fragrance, and skin care based on you. It's super cool and actually works. Ask an associate about it.

There you have it, the ‘Top 5 Sephora Services You Didn’t Know You Needed’ Have you learned any cool tricks of the trade? Email me at I’d love to share them with my followers.

Love You, Love God More
Lauren Hope

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Truth About Me: The Face of Homelessness: Part Two

The Face of Homelessness

They say, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Well I’m about to burst out of this season of homelessness like a roaring lion. And, when I do I plan to live differently. One of the main ways I want to live different is helping my brother man if I can. There are so many nights when all I want is for someone to listen to me, comfort me, hug me, feed me a meal, and treat me like a human. I am blessed to say I met some incredible people strangers, people I met at bars, new Christians, and Buddhists who have done that for me without asking anything in return. Sadly, there wer many nights I walked the streets and met so many who had no one to call. A mother stopped me in the Wawa parking lot one night, and asked for a ride to church providing her shelter. I had two dollars, a stick of gum, and enough gas to get me to my office. It broke my heart to say no. I passed by veterans on the side of the road just begging for a chance to work. A gay man told me his family kicked him out when they learned his orientation. All he wanted was a few dollars for something to eat. It broke my heart that I couldn’t give. In the hospital I met women who were selling their bodies for sex to ruthless pimps. I could go on forever about my homeless, broken, hurt, angry, and tragic people I’ve met in my season of homelessness.

It is humbling me everyday. It is making me thankful for what I have, and it is pushing me harder to make my own way.

The Truth About Me: The Face of Homelessness Part One

The Truth About Me: Homeless, Frustrated, Broken, but Faithful
The Face of Homeless

I was so blind back then. I thought homelessness had a certain face. It was the face of the begging mother in the Wawa parking lot. It was the face of the dirty, grungy man who stood in 100 degree temperatures on the side of the road. It was the gay teen working the streets, because his family kicked him out. You see them everyday. You drive by them in your BMW's, you roll your eyes when they hold their hands out, and when you go back to  your safe homes you forget about them. I am here to tell you these are the not the only faces of homelessness, and if you aren’t careful one day the face of homelessness could be you.

We live in a world where nothing is guaranteed. We could lose our jobs to outsourcing or downsizing. We could lose our pensions in the stock market. We could work 40 hours a week and still be broke. We go to the college and somehow are still not be able to get a job in our profession. You could be wearing Jordan’s in one minute and be on food stamps the next. That is the America we live in. I saw it first hand as a television reporter, and even more so when I became homeless myself this year.

Yes, I Lauren Hope AKA Lauren Compton is homeless. My parents sit in a safe home in Virginia Beach. They have 4 cars, together they make over $100,000, and they want for nothing. Yet their oldest child is homeless. I have begged my family in Texas, Kentucky, and Mississippi to intervene. I am not saying this to be malice or petty. These are the facts of my life. I hide the dysfunction, the emotional abuse, and worse in my family in the name of saving their reputation. As I sit here typing this I do not know where I’ll be staying tomorrow, so I’m sorry family I will hide this no longer. We won’t pretend our family is perfect. We won’t pretend we don’t have flaws. And, I am done
pretending that I’m OK. What follows is the brief synopsis of how I became homeless, how depression destroyed my family, and how with faith I’m fighting to get my life back.

My parents took over my life in December of 2015. They demanded I move in with them because my depression was slowly killing me. They watched my spirit die and my ambition to live sliver away. I know it killed them to see their usually over achieving daughter falling apart this way. They couldn’t understand. I walked out of my high powered television job at a number one station in Virginia. I told Lyric (my ex) to continue fucking his mistress, a married woman, cause I wouldn’t stand for being second fiddle any longer. I cut off my fake friends, stopped calling television people, and I secluded myself in a world of misery. I tried cutting, pulling my hair, hanging, overdose and worse. I survived those suicide attempts, and I know now God has a higher purpose for me. I have apologized profusely to my parents even gotten on my knees and prayed.  They called me a bible thumper, told me to stop blogging, said I was a whore for dating, and worse. As much as I love my family, loving them was draining me.

My mother threatened to beat me, set me on fire, and slander 
my name if I ever told. Her behavior terrified me, and finally I couldn’t take it anymore. I called police, non-profits, anyone who would listen. May 23, 2016 I left my parent's Virginia Beach home at the advisement of a crisis interventionist. I didn’t know where I was going to sleep, eat or pray but anywhere was better than my parent’s home. I made a choice that day, and I stand by it even now.

This is the Sparknotes version of how mental illness is slowly ruining my already dysfunctional family. This summer has been the hardest few months of my life. I’ve jumped from couch to couch, bed to bed, hotel to hotel. I’ve made bad choices, trusted bad people, and been lead down bad paths. I humbled myself before my so called friends and they publicly used my pain to embarrass me on social media. I have trusted friends when they said they could help only to be humiliated over a roll of toilet paper. I am a former journalist and Cum Laude graduate, but I've slept in my Volkswagen Beetle more nights than I’d like to admit. My parents repossessed my car, ( a car they gifted to me) then told police I stole it. I have been hospitalized five times this year due to fear of blood clots and anxiety attacks. My parents slandered me to protect their cushy jobs.  My spirit is growing weary. I can no longer carry the weight of this homelessness, the shame it brings, and the judgement it sparks. In writing this I am releasing myself, from this pain. I am trusting my Heavenly Father to break me from these chains of restless nights, foreign beds, and a beggar’s life.

If you want to help you can donate to my GoFundMe at or Venmo (LaurenHope84)