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Alright friends, holsters are a big deal. They are what make you and your firearm "one" and they protect you and others from horrible things like negligent discharges. Some are more comfortable than others (not going to lie, I've been sent some gear for free and some of the holsters have been painful in less than five minutes) but once you find a style that works for you, the hard part is over.

When I'm looking to purchase a new holster, I stick to three main objectives and I've yet to be disappointed with them. First and foremost:


I'll say it again in case you were zoning out (it's ok, I zone out all the time too 😂), your holster should ALWAYS be made of a hard sided material like kydex.

The holster above is the Sirius OWB holster by Eclipse Holsters. I'll provide a link for it at the bottom of the blog post. You can use code THINBLUELIFESTYLE at checkout to save you 20%!!

When my firearm isn't on my body, it's in the above pictured holster. I use that holster for training and when I'm attending court in a suit. The hard sided material over the trigger protects the firearm from a negligent discharge- an occurrence that happens when the gun goes "bang" and you did not intend it to.

Next up on my list of holster rules:

There needs to be a mod-wing on the holster if it is being used for IWB carry.

This is my most used holster at the moment- the Vaulknut by Odin Holsters. You can use code THINBLUELIFESTYLE at checkout for 10% off. Link below ☺️

The mod-wing, circled in the photo above, serves the purpose of pushing your holstered firearm CLOSER to your body- making printing (hopefully) less pronounced. The mod-wing does need to have something pushing up against it (IE: your belt or waistline of your pants) in order for it to work.

Next on the list of necessities: The retention must be just right- not too much and not too little.

You should be able to quickly and efficiently unholster your firearm without struggling. On the flip side, your firearm should be moving freely or God forbid falling out of the holster if inverted. Notice in the photo above how I have my holster inverted and my gun stays put. This is exactly what you want.

✨BONUS✨ I love a holster that can be used for beltless carry. Yep- something I can use WITHOUT a belt.

I love that this holster uses an Ulti-Clip XL to attach to my waistband. I've used holsters with Ulti-Clips before and they work well but the XL clip really is able to grip onto the waistband and feel secure.

✨BONUS✨ I love patterns and think they look fun BUT I try to stick to fairly minimal designs. The majority of my holsters are black or neutral colors. I typically wear the same and I want my holsters to not only match but if for some magical reason my holster is showing for a split second, I don't want some brightly colored plastic popping up. A holster that matches the same color as the garment you're wearing will be more difficult to see.


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*All the photos used in this post were taken approximately 18-24 months ago. None of these are current holsters I use or recommend (on their own).

Alright, let's get this post started by saying I *USED TO* use all of these holster options when I was new to the 2A world but I have since evolved onto different methods. I do not intend for this post to bash or attack any of the companies that produce these items, I simply want to shed light on the fact that there are safer options out there. That being said, let's kick it off...

Belly band holsters, grippy or sticky holsters, and carry wear type clothing do a really great job at making women feel like concealed carry isn't terribly far out of reach when they're starting out in the CCW world. Heck- how difficult is it to throw your firearm in a small, soft pouch, tuck it into your waistband, then walk out the door? Sounds simple enough (because it is) but what it gains in ease of use, it majorly lacks in safety. I don't know about you guys but I'm all about safety nowadays- its the entire purpose of ThinBlueLifestyle. I look back at the things I used to think were safe (IE: not carrying with a round in the chamber) and I cringe. Unfortunately, using soft sided holsters is another one of my old habits that I hate to admit I took part in.

Let's talk some negatives with these quasi holster options.

-You cannot carry a large firearm (let alone really any size gun) safely. Guns are heavy. They need better retention than just some fabric that causes slight friction or a corset type material that tries to cinch the weapon in close to your waist.

-You cannot holster your weapon one handed.

-You rarely can fit anything larger than a subcompact or "micro" style gun in these pockets. You certainly could not fit them if it had any additional equipment such as a weapon mounted light or red dot system.

-There is no retention. I'll say it again: there is NO retention. If you turn your quasi holster upside down (I'm sorry but I feel ridiculous even calling some of these items "holsters") and your weapon falls out, that's a HUGE red flag.

-The worst part of all- THE TRIGGER CAN BE PRESSED WHILE YOUR FIREARM IS IN THESE QUASI HOLSTERS. Holy liability for yourself and others.

I receive a good amount of DM's from women with children who refuse to purse carry with a solid, hard-sided kydex holster, placed in a dedicated compartment of their bag because they think it's "not safe." These same women have stated they prefer carry wear type leggings without a kydex holster for their firearm. Ladies, if this is you, I do not mean to offend you but PLEASE be better. Children are more likely to cause a negligent discharge of your firearm with the way you're carrying your gun now compared to the lesser preferred purse carry. Little fingers and toes (especially if you're still carrying your children) can easily get caught up in your waistband and squish into your trigger guard- potentially causing catastrophic events. I do not say those things to be mean, abrasive, or offend anyone- I say them because I used to agree with them and after training and experience, I know that I was wrong.

As I stated above, I used to think these methods of carrying my firearm were acceptable until I learned from women (who were further along in their 2A journey than I was) that they are not. Does that mean you cannot use them ever again? No. But it does mean that you should be tweaking the way you use them. If you are going to use carry wear style leggings, use a hard sided kydex holster with a fabriclip or Ulticlip. The clip will secure to your leggings, meaning if you need to draw your firearm you can successfully do so (without taking the holster with you). Some of these clothing brands suggest to use a "credit card or your CCW card" as a "makeshift trigger guard" and I find that beyond unsafe. A friend recently told me, "I hope that company has good insurance because they'll need it one day" and she is right. There should be no "makeshift" anything in the 2A world. These tools have the power to take life away. Give them the respect they deserve with the proper gear. The 2A world is not a place to have makeshift anything.

Also, look at how far out the gun extends from my body when using a bellyband style holster. This can all be fixed by using a kydex holster with a mod wing attachment. The mod wing will push the weapon back towards my body, aiding in printing. I would recommend a kydex holster with a mod wing for this set up BUT the pockets in the bellyband are too small to let that fit AND the material in the bellyband style holster might give me a little bit of "pushback" on the mod wing, but nothing compared to what is capable with an actual sturdy belt.

These products do an amazing job at making women feel more welcome in the 2A world and like they can still be themselves, wearing their old clothing or style of clothing. While that is great and should be applauded, these products need to recognize that new shooters and women to this industry need to have the same safety standards as individuals who have been here longer. Let's start off on the right foot, ensuring that we're using proper AND safe methods of carrying. I'm not saying you need to toss all your soft-sided gear, I'm just sayin', let's be better and more safety conscious to make sure we all stay responsible gun owners and firearm carriers.

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Yes, I'm 32 and just had botox and lip filler for the first time. I have no shame about it and neither should you.

Immediately after my first ever session of lip filler, still in a state of shock from the pain😂

Alright, disclaimer time. I had my first bout with plastic surgery when I was 19. I had broken my nose 3x over the course of my young life. I had a massive deviated septum, I was constantly getting sinus infections because my nasal pathways were so tiny, my nose was crooked AND to top it off, I had the typical Italian "beak" nose. As an Italian who suffered from this injustice, I feel I can call it that 😂Rhinoplasty was something I begged (and I mean BEGGED) my parents for for years. They never gave in and I ended up getting it done when I became a legal adult. The surgery was incredibly uncomfortable but to this day it is one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Fast forward thirteen years and I had my next run in with quasi plastic surgery. I personally do not count filler as "plastic surgery" but I can see how others would interpret it that way. First things first- I take care of my skin. I neglected it until I was in my early twenties and I'm making up for it now with all my serums, lotions, calming creams, and constant collagen intake. My face has some pretty dramatic Melasma and it can be pretty temperamental. I've made it a life goal to have great skin and keep it that way while I age. I have always told my husband I don't mind "routine maintenance" to make sure I don't need a facelift by the time I'm 50 (to everyone that's had a facelift, you do you boo, whatever makes you happy 😘) and it was a life goal to make it to 30 without getting Botox.

Me, immediately before my first injection appointment. Terrified and excited, all wrapped into one nervous wreck of a ball. My Melasma is pretty intense along my hairline and upper lip so don't mind the darker pigmentation.

Let me preface this- I did a HUGE amount of research on who I chose to inject Botulinum toxin into my face (because that's exactly what it is-a neurotransmitter that causes paralysis in muscles where it is injected) because I took this VERY seriously. I also decided I was going to share my journey on my Instagram account. If you've been a friend on there for a minute, you know I'm very open and up front with a good chunk of my life. "Lifestyle" IS 1/3 of the name so why not throw in something lifestyle every now and then, right? I was blown away by 1) how many women were DYING for filler content and 2) how many women (just like me) were interested but nervous and feeling a little bit of shame regarding the topic. Like I said before- I'm a huge advocate for doing whatever will make you feel happy and confident in your own skin, and for me, it has been slight albeit minor tweaks to make sure I'm CONTINUING to love the way I look while I age.

I jumped in fully and was excited to share this journey. I could ramble on for days but here's the Sparknotes version:

-Use the numbing cream your injector offers. You'll thank me later.

-Botox is easy peasy. I'd do that any day of the week.

-Lips, not so much. Expect to be in a solid 8-9 on a scale of 10 worth of pain (and I've got a pretty high pain tolerance.)

-Lips aren't a quick "poke then done" like botox. Filler is a slooooow injection for a natural look. It's going to suck. And you're going to regret it and want to stop and not care if your lips are lopsided.

-Icing the part of my lip that was going to be injected next really helped me. I wish I realized that before I only had two shots left 😂🤦🏼‍♀️

-Eating and drinking will be rough for the first few days. You'll feel like you were punched in the mouth.

-It will be 110% worth it.

The photo on the left is immediately before I walked into my filler appointment. The one on the right is a little over a week post filler.

Seriously, lips were rough. The few amount of people I spoke to sugarcoated it. It was incredibly painful, I'm talking, "tears streaming down my face, whole body trembling, and groaning in pain" type of painful. But as soon as the discomfort from the first few days faded away, I told my husband "well, I'll be getting them done again because I'm obsessed."

My advice: find a legit doctor who specializes in this stuff. This is your face- it's not worth saving a few hundred bucks for some "botox party" coupon you found on Groupon. Spend the money on a quality injector because it's worth it. Also, start with conservative amounts. I did 20 units of botox in my 11's (lines between my eyebrows) and my entire forehead. I had two small wrinkles I was targeting near my hairline but my doctor recommended we tackle the entire forehead instead of just two wrinkles. I trusted her judgement so we went with that and the results were amazing. For the lips, she used 1/2 a syringe of Restylane Kysse. This is a relatively new option that looks more natural and has a lower likelihood of swelling and bruising. The formula also has a small amount of Lidocaine in it so it had a numbing property (which never kicked in 😂) but apparently helped a little bit with pain. I chose to get my lips done because my top lip always had a tendency to disappear when I smiled and I wished it was slightly larger. I wanted to make sure my lips did not look fake so we erred on the side of modest for those.

If you want more of a play by play, head over to my Instagram because I saved a highlight section titled "Filler" that walks you through the whole process.

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