5 Tips for Amazing Makeup That Lasts

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I’ve been offering makeup lessons for some time now, and when I first started, I was surprised to learn what a foreign language makeup is to some people. I’ve been immersed in the beauty community for years now, so the techniques and products and brand names are second nature. But for someone who has no idea where to start, the amount of info available is overwhelming. A hands-on lesson is always good so that you can get specific, customized information pertaining to your needs, but I’ve compiled a list of some tips that will work for most everyone.


Skin care can be a whole other lesson in itself, but we’ll start with the basics. Good makeup cannot be obtained without the proper prepping of the skin. Cleansing thoroughly, exfoliating 2 to 3 times a week, and applying a hydrating moisturizer day and night provides an excellent base for your makeup. If you feel like you get oily throughout the day, a hydrating-yet-oil-controlling moisturizer will be your best bet. When you have good skin prep, you don’t need a face primer. Let the moisturizer sink in for several minutes before applying foundation. You can work on your eyeshadow while you wait.


Doing your makeup in front of a window with nice, natural light (you’ll want to be facing the window) will give you the best idea of what your makeup actually looks like. When we apply in rooms like bathrooms, which tend to have dingy or warm lighting, we’re not seeing the true hue of the colors we’re using. In bad lighting, you may also be applying your makeup too heavily because you can’t see an accurate representation of what it’s going to look like in regular light when you’re out and about. Lighting is key! You also don’t want to sit in a window that has the sun beaming directly at you during the time you’ll be doing your makeup. If you’re having to squint your eyes while you’re applying, the sun is way too bright which is just as bad as dingy lighting.


Instead of going in with a huge amount of foundation all at once, apply in light layers to achieve the coverage you want. Applying in layers allows you to keep your skin still looking like natural skin rather than a mask of makeup. You may find that you don’t even need as much foundation as you think (and your wallet will thank you). You can even out your skin tone with a light layer and then go back with a thicker concealer to pinpoint and spot conceal the areas where you want more coverage.


I used to be guilty of bad powdering technique before I got really into makeup, and I see others doing it as well - don’t go overboard with the powder. No need to furiously dig into your compact, and no need to powder so heavily that you look as matte as a chalkboard (unless of course you REALLY love that look). It’s possible to be radiant and matte at the same time, when done with correct skin prep and application.

Use a fluffy brush that’s not too dense. You don’t want a brush where the bristles are closely packed together because then the powder will be heavily placed in just one spot and it won’t easily blend out. This makes the powder much more obvious and it’s how you can get that mask-like effect. Gently swirl the brush in your compact or loose powder. Tap the brush a couple of times to get off any excess powder in case you swirled too much, and hold the brush toward the end of the ferrule rather than right at the top near the bristles. This will give you a more gentle grip and put less pressure on the bristles of the brush, which makes for better and softer application. Then, dust it across your forehead and T-zone. If you really want a mattified look, swirl your brush in your powder and gently but firmly pat the brush in the places where you get oily. You can also use a soft velour pad for a matte look but go light with the product (we’re applying in layers, remember) and blend out with your fluffy brush for a seamless effect. For under the eyes, you may want to use a small tapered fluffy brush or even a small fluffy eyeshadow brush.


For makeup that lasts all day, get a good setting spray. You’ll spray this a few inches away from your face, and spritz it all over. Spritzing it all over typically leaves a more dewy finish, so if you do want to adjust the shine, spray it on a sponge or foundation brush and lightly pat it into your skin or spray it directly on your face first and then pat it in.

I hope you enjoyed these five tips that you can implement for a flawless finish that lasts all day! As with anything, practice makes perfect. You’ll get the feel of what works for you and perfect your technique over time.

Got questions? Want to book a lesson? Email me!

Why Does Wedding Makeup Cost So Much?

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I read something the other day on a wedding planning Instagram page that really didn’t sit well with me. This page was encouraging soonlyweds to lie to vendors and act like they were planning a fancy birthday party in order to get cheaper rates, because apparently all wedding vendors are just out to price gauge and screw you over, as though we just make up our rates for fun.

That’s not how it works. I promise you, wedding professionals are not sitting there mischievously like Mr. Burns, concocting ways we can throw in hidden fees and taking you for all we can get. There is a lot that goes into our rates, and yes, wedding makeup and anything having to do with weddings typically costs more. Why? Let’s talk about it.

molly peach photography

molly peach photography

First of all, weddings can be stressful and time consuming. There is a lot of back and forth when planning a wedding, from meetings to emails to last minute changes. The amount of time I spend communicating with clients - discussing their needs and wants, drawing up a contract, answering every question over the course of their wedding planning period, etc. - it adds up. Most people in a “normal” job don’t work off the clock, and wedding professionals shouldn’t be expected to, either. You may not see it happening or even think about it, but this behind-the-scenes office-type work also has to be accounted for when it comes to our rates. Weddings take more time: more time the day of the wedding, more time behind the scenes. Soonlyweds get very personalized attention because this is one of the biggest days of their lives, and trust me, we care as much as you do about your day and we want the best for you. We put the time in for you because we know how important it is, but we have to charge accordingly.

Secondly, contracts. Weddings must have contracts because there’s so much detail and information needed and we both need to be protected. And contracts costs money. We need to have them created by - or at least have them looked over by - a lawyer. Guess what? Yup. $$$

Of course, coming from a makeup artistry point of view, the products come into play. My kit costs are very expensive. A lot of that stems from the non-reusable items like sponges, mascara wands, and lashes. Say I’m doing a large wedding party, I can go through an entire sleeve of cotton rounds (especially if some of the members are still rocking makeup from the night before and I have to use half a bottle of Micellar Water to get it all off…). Replenishing our kits adds up very quickly, and we go through items faster when doing weddings.

We’re not just makeup artists, either. Sometimes we have to be gentle mediators (like when your Maid of Honor wants a heavy party look but you're wanting everyone to look more natural), sometimes we have to play stylist and zip up dresses or cut off tags - all of which is part of providing our clients with the best experience possible. I don’t show up to a wedding, not talk to anyone, do the makeup, and leave without a word. I do whatever I can to make the time you’re with me feel as luxurious and relaxing as possible. Part of providing such an experience is charging appropriately for it. If I charged $40 for everybody’s makeup, I honestly wouldn’t be very happy about being there. That’s not enough to cover my business expenses nor my time, and I would feel discouraged very quickly; in turn, my attitude can totally ruin your experience on such a special day. But I know you’re paying me what I’m worth to be there, and I will be damned sure you get your money’s worth!

kaitlyn blake photography

kaitlyn blake photography

Business expenses, kit costs, the experience, and time are all part of our rates. Weddings take more of all of those things, so they cost more. And usually, you get what you pay for in these circumstances. I hope I’ve cleared up some misconceptions when it comes to wedding costs. I know everyone is on a budget but maybe it can ease your mind knowing that wedding professionals are not just trying to pull one over on you.

My Journey: From Party Girl to Wedding Parties

Nashville Wedding Collection

Nashville Wedding Collection

As I sweep blush across my client's cheek, we're making conversation and she asks me the age-old question: "So... how did you get into doing this?" Well...

Short version: I saw a pretty girl do her makeup. Decided I wanted to look like that. Watched YouTube. Went to aesthetics school. Built my dream. Voila. 

Sounds simple enough in the short version. But the long version is that I was a messed up girl trying to find her way, and I failed a lot before ending up where I am now.  As cliche as it is, I made a lot of mistakes in my life but it truly did work out for the best.

It was 2014. I was an alcoholic and a drug abuser, pretending everything was okay and that I was just a fun-loving party girl. Deep down, I felt broken. But I had been this way for years at this point, so "it's just who I am," I thought. I had addiction issues, I was aimless, hopeless, depressed. That's just how it goes for some people, right? I didn't even realize that I could make a bright future, but to be honest, I was so wrapped up in destroying myself that I didn't want to make a future anyway.

This photo was taken at about 9 in the morning

This photo was taken at about 9 in the morning

Then one day, I up and decided to go to Guam. I was 24 and a friend had presented the opportunity to me. I had just started dating my (now) husband, and although he was trying to "fix" me and help me through my issues (bless him), he knew he couldn't keep me from going. I was always looking for the next wild ride, so off I went! I worked at a club on Guam for the few weeks I was there. My alcoholism got worse but hey, I didn't know anyone to get me any drugs, so I had that going for me, I guess. Everything is a bit of a blur for me during this time, but I do recall asking one of the club girls with whom I worked: "How do you make your face look like that?" Not my most eloquent moment, but what I meant was: how did she make it look so effortlessly flawless? Luckily, she didn't take offense to my weird question. She told me she was studying makeup at a school, and that I should go get a makeup lesson at the local MAC counter. Alright, cool. Wait, what is MAC? I wore pretty much exclusively CoverGirl and I didn't even know there were brands outside of the drugstore! But I made an appointment and honestly don't remember much about the lesson except that I ended up dropping $200 on makeup, and hating the makeup look the MAC girl put on me. It looked so heavy, compared to what I normally wore. This worked to my benefit though because now I keep this in mind whenever I'm doing someone's makeup. 

Okay, so fast forward a few days and cue a wild, drunken mental breakdown - alone on an island where I didn't really know anyone. I won't go into details but it was a really bad time in my life. My (now) husband ended up quickly selling some household items so that he could afford the $2,000+ flight to get me home ASAP. I was back in Tennessee on the promise that I'd get sober. My husband saved my life and I'm forever thankful.

Maybe it was fate how it all happened - going to Guam, getting that lesson, and reaching my absolute rock bottom... That $200 splurge ended up creating a passion for makeup which in turn helped me focus on something other than my newfound sobriety and how much it sucked! It gave me something to fill the void that I had previously been trying to fill with substances. I discovered the vast world of makeup tutorials and became obsessed. I learned so much, my makeup collection grew, and I decided maybe I would love to do this on other people! This could be the path for which I was desperately searching! I could finally make something out of my life. Being a two-time college dropout, it seemed I had found something that I could imagine doing forever.

And since makeup artistry is so much more than playing with fun colors, I wanted an actual education. I put my two weeks' notice in at the hotel where I was waitressing, and enrolled in aesthetics school. Best quick decision I could have made! I fell in love not only with makeup, but with skin care and the whole process of making people feel pampered and beautiful. Maybe because I was so used to being a source of chaos in my own life, it was nice to be a source of comfort for other people. My favorite thing about aesthetics school was putting clients to sleep because my facials were so relaxing. There is no higher compliment! I graduated, got licensed, and began building my freelance makeup artistry business into what it is today.

You know, it's crazy to think that was just 3.5 years ago. So much can change in a short amount of time. If I were to give any advice to someone looking to start working on their dream, it's this: don't give up. Yeah, that's cliche, but it's true. There were so many times I felt down and discouraged, like I wasn't good enough, and maybe I couldn't do this after all. I compared myself to other artists, which made me feel inferior and like I should just give up because I'll never be *that*. But guess what? *That* is not what I want to be, which is certainly a good thing. I have my own style, my own goals, my own passion. You don't ever need to compare your work to someone else's, because there are clients out there looking for someone like YOU. Focus on yourself. Take inspiration from others, but always believe in your own capabilities. You have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but you'll never find out if you don't get there first. Get yourself together, and focus on what you can do just for today to bring your goal a little bit closer. Then do that again tomorrow, and the next day. I never thought I'd go from addicted party girl to flourishing business woman. If you had told me four years ago where I'd be today, I'd laugh and take another shot of Jack Daniels.

... But this is all a bit too heavy to explain to my client on her wedding day, so I just smile. finish applying her blush, and say, "Fate has a way of getting us to where we need to be."

Now I'm a loving wife and mama to two beautiful, smart babies. Life is wonderful!

Now I'm a loving wife and mama to two beautiful, smart babies. Life is wonderful!

**If you are struggling with substance abuse, you can call 1-800-662-HELP for information regarding treatment and support groups. You CAN have a better life, I promise. I am proof! Please know that it does get better.**

Three Steps to Get Rid of Those Pimples!

Sometimes, I look in the mirror and think, "I'm 28 years old. Why TF do I still get pimples?!" And I'm an aesthetician! This shouldn't be happening, right?! 

Well, it does. Hormones, bad habits, diet, stress - all these things contribute to breakouts, and no one is totally immune to it. So when you have a pimple (or several) pop up, how can you get rid of it quickly? Try these tips for a clearer face (Note: sometimes, there are deeper issues that topical treatments can't alleviate - please see a dermatologist or your primary care doctor to check your hormone levels to see if there's something else going on).

1. Double-cleanse your face with an oil cleanser.

Not sure what an oil cleanser is? You can read up on my favorites here. Basically, this is the process: Oil disintegrates oil. If you use an oil cleanser, it can help balance out any excess oil your face may be producing. Double-cleansing ensures you get rid of all the makeup/grime with the first cleanse, and the second cleanse allows the oil to really get down to the pore and help clear it out. You can double-cleanse with an oil cleanser every day as a replacement for your regular cleanser, or save it for when you're having a rough time with clogged pores.

2. Wear a clay mask.

Go and scoop up the super popular Indian Aztec Clay, or any bentonite clay mask you can find, and use twice weekly. The oil cleanser in the previous step has loosened up and cleared away most of the oil, so now the clay mask can absorb and pull out what's left. Leave the mask on until it hardens, and then rinse off gently. You can use a gentle toner afterward, such as the Thayer's Rose Petal Witch Hazel.

3. Use a BHA.

BHA stands for Beta Hydroxy Acid. The most well-known and effective BHA is Salicylic Acid and you'll generally see that listed on the product. This acid is great for working below the surface of your skin and blasting through any grime and extra oil in your pores, so they're cleaned out and in turn, look smaller and your face looks clearer. Salicylic acid also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties so it can help heal those pesky pimples. Grab a box of alcohol-free Stridex pads and use after your mask two to three times weekly, and you can use it on its own several times a week. Let it dry and follow with your moisturizer.


And there ya go! This is a simple, quick way of fighting those blemishes. Your face won't be totally cleared up the next day (it's skin care, not magic), but you should see a major difference after adopting a steady routine like this. And of course, you can always come see me for a facial!

How to Find The One

... Makeup Artist, that is.

Nashville Wedding Collection

Nashville Wedding Collection

But seriously - for your wedding day (or any special event, for that matter!), you want to know the person you pick is going to not only make you look and feel amazing, but also that (s)he will be professional, punctual, and sanitary. So where do you start?

Well, you can start with Google. "Makeup Artists near me," or "Makeup Artist [Your City]" should pull some good results. The first few results are likely going to be linking you to big wedding planning sites like WeddingWire. Underneath those, you'll find the websites of your local MUAs. WeddingWire and The Knot are great resources, but sometimes the artists on those lists are not even in business anymore or they may not update their listings with new material. You can also search for makeup artists in your local Facebook Wedding groups. Don't count out an artist if (s)he is not in your city. Most of us travel to you, and there may not be a travel fee depending on the mileage. Even if there is a travel fee, a good artist can be so worth it.

Jon Myers Photography

Jon Myers Photography

So, you have a list of makeup artists to choose from in your area. Cool. Now take a look at each of their websites. And I mean an actual website, not just a Facebook or Instagram page. If they have a well-put-together website, it shows they are really invested in their business - it should showcase their work and provide more information very clearly so you know how to contact them. Of course, some artists in this day and age just stick with a social media portfolio and do awesome with that, or if they're just starting out they may not have a website up yet. Or they work out of a salon so they don't have their own site. I understand that and it definitely doesn't prove whether or not someone has talent. So maybe I'm old school, but for freelancers, I think having a website is crucial to showing what you offer and it reinforces that you're a professional. It also helps the client get a feel for the vibe and style of the artist.

Most states require either an esthetician or cosmetologist license in order to do makeup. I know Tennessee does. To some clients, whether or not a makeup artist has the required license is not a high priority as long as the artist is good. Most of my clients don't even know that Tennessee requires you to have at least an esthetician license. And I'll note: a license (or lack thereof) does not make someone a good or bad artist, but it does show that they have invested lots of money and time into their education to follow the proper protocol for their state. They may also know more about how to be sanitary when working on clients, although any makeup artist who takes their career seriously is going to be a stickler for sanitation. Someone with a license is likely not a "fly by night" MUA who decided to wake up one morning and start doing makeup on people. A license shows that they have put months/years and lots of money into this and have taken state board exams in order to become a makeup artist.

Website? Check. License? Check. Now how's their actual work? Their portfolio should consist of several professional photos, not cell phone pics or selfies. A good place to see before&afters or cell phone pictures of clients is on social media if your artist has one for his or her business. Your artist may just be starting out so their port won't be huge. Are you down with helping them build their business or would you prefer someone with more experience? Keep in mind, someone with more experience will (or should) charge appropriately for it.

Keep in mind, someone with more experience will charge appropriately for it.

Speaking of charging... the next step is to determine if the artist is within your budget. I know you may have sticker shock when seeing how much hair and makeup costs for weddings, but remember that how you look is going to be captured in photos for... forever. I do think hiring a quality artist is very important - and I'm not just saying that because I'm biased! Of course, everyone has a budget. You may fall in love with an artist only to discover that the rates are more than you were expecting to spend. A good artist is worth her (or his) rate, trust me. We put a lot of our time, effort, and soul into our businesses and we can't make a living to keep doing this if we don't charge appropriately for our talent, our kit, and all the fees associated with running our business. If you find someone charging, say, $30 for makeup services, really consider what they can offer by charging so low. You can't stay afloat for long or invest in a quality kit if you're basically losing money with every service you do.

Check reviews and ask around in your social circle or Facebook groups. You'll likely get some honest input from those who have used the artists you're considering. And once you're ready to email the MUA - pay attention to the response time. Do you wait days and days for a response? Or do they answer within 48 hours? Now, the weekend tends to be our busiest time so cut the artist some slack if they don't answer you until Monday or Tuesday. I try to get back to potential clients within a day, but sometimes my day is jam packed and I can't find a minute to respond right away. Also, is their response helpful and insightful? Are they answering your questions thoroughly or leaving you confused with even more questions? Communication is another huge part of the wedding planning process so you want someone who is going to show commitment and care to your big day.

I know it can be overwhelming trying to find all the right vendors to fit your needs and your budget. I hope this article helps you, and maybe even puts into perspective what all comes with hiring a real professional for your beauty needs.


I have a few dates left for 2018, and am already booking for 2019. Ready to book? Have questions?

Using Oil to Wash Your FACE?

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Using oil to wash your face? Um... sounds counterproductive, right? But yes, you can absolutely use oil to cleanse your face.

"But I have oily skin! Why would I want to put more oil on it?!"

For some people, overproduction of oil is caused by dehydration. If your skin is being thrown off balance by harsh cleansers or other improper care, the natural surface oils may be stripped, so throughout the day your skin tries to overcompensate. Ever notice you get shinier throughout the day? If you get super oily, your skin may be overproducing to try and balance itself out.

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And did you know that oil also disintegrates oil? So all those pesky clogged pores and congestion you feel underneath the skin can be dissolved by massaging the areas with oil. It will loosen up and begin to disintegrate the oil and dirt that is trapped in the skin. The oil also leaves your skin soft and helps protect against further water loss. So while you're getting rid of the dirt and clogged sebum (a.k.a. your skin's natural oil), you're still leaving behind the moisturizing effects of the cleansing oil - so your skin won't feel like it has to produce a ton throughout the day.

Mind blown, yet? 

Now, before we get into how to do oil cleansing, I want to make the disclaimer that since not everyone's skin reacts the same, you may find the oil cleansing method doesn't work for you. Or, you might find that your skin hates rosehip oil (like mine does), but loves jojoba oil. And while coconut oil is super comedogenic (which means it very easily clogs pores), it works like a charm for some people. Always patch test to check for reactions.

Anyway, let's get to the good stuff: How the heck do you do it?

To make it easy, I buy pre-mixed cleansing oils. The one I use on my clients is this one. I use this one on myself since I tend to save the luxury items for my freelance kit. 

On totally dry skin (not "dry" as in skin type, but literally dry), rub one or two pumps of oil gently all over your face. Massage and really work it into the skin. If you feel little bumps on or under your skin, pay extra attention to those to allow the oil to work its magic and break up those clogs. They won't all break up in one go, but you might feel little gritty pieces and see specks of grey or black on your fingers. These are hardened, clogged oil that have been released. 

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If you use the pre-mixed cleansing oils, they will easily rinse away. And if you wear makeup, cleanse twice (and dry your face in between). The first time, you're getting most of the makeup off, and the second time is for getting a deeper clean. Pat dry.

Note: You can also use plain ol' oils (such as jojoba or mineral oil), but those are more of a pain to rinse. You will really need to take those off with a warm, wet microfiber towel since they don't rinse off easily.

Then continue with the rest of your routine if you have one (such as applying toner and moisturizer). I will do another blog post detailing the various steps that are possible in a skin care routine, but it'll be hella long so for now we're just focusing on the cleansing portion.

So there's the lowdown on oil cleansing! I love it. It's done wonders for my skin and I hope it works for you, too!

I'm always available for lesson, consultations or makeup applications, so email me if you want some hands-on help.

3 Steps to Creating Your Wedding Day Timeline

Your vendors are booked and you're all set for the big day... except for one thing: The schedule. How on Earth are you supposed to know who needs to be where, and when?

Between hair, makeup, and photos, it's important that things run as smoothly as possible before your ceremony (I mean, duh).

First, speak with your photographer. Will he or she be on hand to capture your party getting glammed up? What about First Looks before the ceremony begins? Family pics? Wedding party photos? How much time does your photographer need if you are taking photos before the ceremony? The photographer should give you times of when (s)he is going to arrive, start taking the photos, and what the photography schedule will look like. Now, you can start planning around everyone else.

The next step is to ask your makeup artist and hair stylist how much time they allot per service. For example, for makeup applications, I save 45 minutes for each bridesmaid and one hour per bride. Hair styling times can vary depending on length of hair and type of style, so be sure to communicate with your stylist about your ideal looks for both you and your party. 

As far as which comes first - hair or makeup - typically we know how to work around each other. If a bridesmaid's hair is already done when she sits in my makeup chair, I have no issue carefully working around a beautiful hair style without messing anything up. It can actually help having the hair already done so that the client can get the whole look all at once. Have you ever done your makeup but left your hair messy or flat? Yeah, somehow the makeup can sometimes look a bit... "too much."

If the photographer is going to capture photos of the party getting ready, you need to schedule yourself in either hair or makeup usually about 20 minutes after the photographer is set to arrive. They may want to walk around and get a feel for the lighting or get the detail shots (such as your shoes, dress buttons, bridal corsages, etc.) before coming and taking your getting ready photos. Of course, if you're already done with hair and makeup by the time the photographer comes around, the makeup artist can simply act like she's powdering you or applying lipstick. And also note that it's better to already have some makeup/hair done than have nothing done at all.

You're ready to make your schedule! Simply swap out the people who are getting beauty services -  try not to have someone getting hair and makeup done at the same time. Granted, it can be done, but it's easier to do one at a time. Here is an example of how you can do the Wedding Day Timeline, with one hair stylist, one makeup artist, and 45 minutes per person (save for the bride - she gets an hour):


Okay, but what happens if hair or makeup goes over the allotted time? What if a bridesmaid can't be found when she's supposed to be getting her hair done? Try and combat these issues by emailing the timeline to each person receiving services and printing out a copy and placing it in the getting-ready suite for everyone to see. Don't forget to send it to your hair and makeup vendors, too! But things happen, and the schedule may get switched up. Of course party members can switch places on the schedule if need be, and as long as the artists know that the schedule is starting to get out of order, we can adjust our timing as best as possible in order to accommodate. Communication is key! Little anecdote: I once had a party member show up four hours late. She showed up 45 minutes before the first photos were supposed to begin. I knew it was crunch time, and I was able to finish her look in about 25 minutes. She then had to go into hair (and luckily she was already dressed for the wedding). But as I was packing up, she was still in hair... and pictures had started without her. I knew we were in crunch time mode but I'm not sure if the hairstylist knew. This is why it's so important to have constant communication about the schedule, and a timeline to guide you throughout the day. Even though the schedule got thrown a bit, we adjust and make the best out of it. She still got to be in some pictures and I hear the wedding turned out amazing.

I'm not saying this to stress you, I'm saying this to let you know that it's all going to be okay. Trust your vendors, trust your friends and family, and know that it's going to be okay even if there are small nuances.

There's a lot to think about for your big day, so I hope this helps and gives you some guidance for making your schedule. Congratulations!