Thursday, October 16, 2014

October's ipsy bag: Beauty Candy

Beauty Candy, indeed!

Hey, all!
It's ipsy time again! Love it! I really do still get so excited when I see that gorgeous pink envelope/package thingy in the mail. Every. Time!

This month's bag was full of winners! I loved everything in it (except one and that one was just okay). The theme of the month is "Beauty Candy" and most of this stuff certainly qualifies.

In order of favorites:

1. Jesse's Girl Mineralized Baked Shadow Powder in Esmerelda - Oh em gee!!! This shadow is gorgeous, darling! Just gorgeous! The colors mix into a beautiful metallic duo-chrome taupe.

So marble-y!

For a subtle look, the eye shadow can be used dry, but use it with a wet brush for some serious impact.  There are six shades available. (Value $3.99)

Taupe-y: Dry on the left, wet on the right.

Silvery: Dry on the left, wet on the right. (This looks more silver in person.)

2. Ayres Patagonia Body Butter - I'm not that into body creams, lotions, or butters, really. I tend to use oils because everything else seems to take too long to work into my skin and I'm lazy. For realz. For this, however, I will make an exception. This body butter really is lovely. It has a yummy herbal scent that reminds me of the good gift shops in Colonial Williamsburg, VA that sells the old fashioned soaps. Good memories. This is a travel size sold in a pack of three. There's also a large jar available. (Travel pack value $15.00, Large jar value $28.00, Sample value $5.00)

Just in case you didn't know what cream looks like.

3. Starlooks Lip Gloss in Guilty Pleasure -  I love a good lip gloss, and this is a really good lip gloss. It has great pigmentation, excellent staying power, and it smells like vanilla cupcakes. It has the same texture as MAC Lipglass and Avon Glazewear, so if you don't like that level of stickiness, you might not like this, but I loooooove it. The stickiness lets the gloss stay around for a bit longer, so fewer touch-ups are needed.

Love this color!
Guilty Pleasures is a neutral rose. A "your lips but better" kind of color. It's creamy and shimmer-free which is my favorite kind of gloss. (Full size value $12.00, Sample size value $4.00)

So pretty!

4. ECRU New York Acacia Protein BB Cream Beauty Balm for Hair - When I saw that I had received a BB cream for my hair, I rolled my eyes. I'm sooooo over the whole BB cream thing. And then I had to take that eye roll back because this stuff rocks. I used it on my air-dried hair on a rainy day and my husband couldn't get over how good my hair looked. My hair is thick and naturally wavy and it frizzes so easily. On a day like yesterday, my hair would have been huge. This BB cream turned it into a good hair day effortlessly. It left my hair soft and touchable and, most importantly, frizz free!!! And it smells so good! I would definitely buy more. (Value $12.00)

Smells so good!

5. Skyn Iceland Mini Glacial Cleansing Cloths - Okay, now we've come to the one thing I was totally "meh" about. Let's discuss the good parts first. The cloths are self-foaming. You just rub them together to create some lather. They are refreshing. They did a decent job of removing my makeup. They are cruelty free. You don't have to rinse your face afterwards.

Now for the not-so-good parts. They stung my eyes a bit and left my skin feeling a bit dried out. My skin was oddly tacky to the touch, but my face actually felt tight. I'll still use them, but probably only while travelling or in emergencies. And with a good moisturizer. (Full size value $15.00, Sample size value $5.00)

I wanted to love this.

The bag - This month's bag is a quilted style teal vinyl with a nylon lining. Teal is one of my favorite colors, so I'm pretty happy about this one.

Ooh! Shiny!
The grand total for this month's bag is $29.99 plus the bag itself. I have no way of estimating a value for the bags. I believe that was $10 well spent. If you're interested in signing up you can go to or if you want to give me points by using my link, click here.

If you already get ipsy, what did you get this month?


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Office Artwork

Whoooo are you looking at?

Hey, all!
It kind of just occurred to me today that I haven't shared the artwork I have in my office. If you watched the video of my office tour, you saw the first two briefly. My office has all white walls so I needed some color in here. Quickly.

A collaboration with my favorite artist, Zara.

Zara and I had a lot of fun doing this ghostly sunset together. I'm pretty sure there's a half inch of paint on there.

 This lovely lady lives on my desk as a coaster. I wanted it to say something, but could literally think of nothing. So "Umm...?" fits. As it does most days.

I mustache you a question.

No! My lips are sealed!


I call this my Victor/Victoria mug. Because reasons that should be readily apparent.

Zara's scratch art.

Not all artwork in my office is my own. This piece is by Zara. It's her rendering of our wedding. She's become fascinated by the photos of the wedding.

I'm a little teapot...

I really love that kid's crafty side.

Gallery wall

Zara and my niece tend to add to the wall from time to time. I've had to limit them to the side of my printer cart.

What do you do to add pops of color to your workspace?


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September's ipsy Bag: Street Style

My favorite time of the month!

Hey, all! I'm back with September's ipsy bag. This month's theme is Street Style. Oooh! Edgy! lol

1. CAILYN Art Touch Tinted Lip Gloss in Love Affair - First thing's first (I'm the realest!), can we talk about this gloss?!? This is soooo gorgeous and perfect for autumn.

A very wearable vampy color.

It's slightly sheer, but can be built up. It's not at all sticky. There's no scent and it sticks around as long as you'd expect a lip gloss to.  I really adore this and have worn it several times since getting it. (Full size $19.00)

That's my hand. I promise.

2. Crown Brush Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet Brush - This was some seriously good timing. I was just thinking the other day that I need to pick up a pencil brush the next time I'm at Ulta or Sephora. And now I don't have to. Yay!

It's two brushes in one! (And kinda tricky to store.)

This brush is pretty darn awesome. It's very soft and well-made. The larger side is the shadow brush. It's a bit fluffier than I like to pack on color, so I've been using it to blend.

Shadow side. Ooh! Fluffy!
The crease (pencil) side is perfect for adding color to my lower lash line and the inner corner of my eye. It works pretty well for the crease, but it's not my favorite tool for that. The one downside to having a dual-ended brush is figuring a way to store it. I'm storing it on the tray that holds the jars I use to store my other brushes upright. Overall, I'm very impressed with this brush and would consider buying more. This one's currently on sale. (Full price $17.50. Sale price $6.99)

Pencil perfection.

 3. Pacifica Natural Water-Proof Eye Pencil in Gun Metal - I love Pacifica. I really do. They're a vegan and cruelty-free drugstore priced brand that you can get online or at Target. I was thrilled to get to try out another of their products. This liner is very smooth and creamy. It glides on easily, but for me, I had to give it a few swipes to build up enough color. It stays on all day, but won't go on my waterline at all. It literally won't stick to it. I like to use this on my lower lash line. I tried to use it on my upper lash line, but I don't feel it gives enough definition for my tastes.

A nice, travel-sized sample.

The color itself is gorgeous. It's a true gun metal pewter and a bit shimmery, but not glittery. (Full Size $11.00. Sample Size $4.00)

It swatches darker than it shows up on my eyes.

4. Mitchell and Peach Luxury Hand Cream - The good part first: this absorbs really quickly and leaves my hands feeling very soft. Now the bad part: the smell!!! The packaging does say English Growers and Flora No. 1, but did they really need to put *every* flower in there? It's too much and the scent is more herbal than floral, but not in a good way. I'm not seeing the specific scent of Flora No. 1 on the website yet. (Full size $21.49. Sample size $10.75)

Oh, how I wanted to love this!

5. Nourish Organic Moisturizing Cream Face Cleanser - Once again, I'll start with the positives. It's organic and it didn't dry my face. The negative: the smell!!! (Noticing a trend?) In the tube it doesn't smell like much of anything, but once applied...yeah, buddy! It was strong! I was hesitant to try this because their moisturizer clogged my pores, but I bit the bullet and tried it this morning. I might keep it to wash my makeup brushes, but I dunno. I don't want my brushes to reek. (Full size $13.99. Sample size $2.33)!

One of my favorite things about this month's bag is the bag itself. It's a gorgeous pewter with studs. The bag is a very soft fake leather that I'm sure will work well as a small clutch purse. The grand total value of the bag (actual bag not included) is $53.58. $43.07 sale price.

If you're interested in signing up, click here. It's $10 per month and personalized to your tastes. There's a quiz and everything. And I get points if you use my link. Just sayin'.

If you already get it, what did you get in your bag this month? I'm being nosy!


Monday, August 18, 2014

August's ipsy bag: Beauty Schooled

Hey, all!
Another month, another ipsy bag! Woohoo! I was actually quite pleased with this one. Only one dud! Here is my list of best to worst.

1. Urban Decay Perversion mascara - For the longest time Benefit's They're Real mascara was my holy grail. I'm thinking it now has competition. Perversion gives such beautiful volume, it lengthens, it doesn't flake or smudge, and it's easy to remove. It's ever so slightly clumpy, but in a good way. It makes my lashes look thicker, but doesn't make it look like I have just four fat, spiky lashes like a lot of other volumizing mascaras.

One coat will give you very defined, black lashes. Two coats give a very dramatic effect. The brush is a densely packed bristle favorite kind. (I tend to poke myself in the eyeball with the plastic bristle kind.) Full size value $22. Sample size value $5.50

2. Coastal Scents Forever Blush - Shades Fresh (left) and Elegant (right): These tiny pans of color pack a punch! They're so pigmented and the shades are beautiful. I tried using Fresh as a contour, but it's definitely a blush. The pigmentation is so great that you have to use a very light hand. Tip: If you go overboard with blush, just blend it out with some face powder on a big, fluffy brush. 

Fresh has a matte finish and Elegant has a slight sheen. Not too shimmery. Full size value $7.95 (currently on sale for $3.98). Sample size value $2.04.

3. Absolute New York You're The Balm in Green Apple - This balm is unbelievable. It's so smooth and moisturizing. It's yummy. I just love it. Even though it's pink in the pan, it goes on sheer. It's perfect under other lip products or just on its own. I'm able to feel it on my lips a few hours after application. While the sample I received is actually full sized, this normally comes as a duo. The other flavor in this set is Grape. Duo value $5.99. Sample value $3.

4. Lord & Berry Silk Kajal Kohl Eye Pencil in Black Silk: I wanted to love this pencil. I really did. But I didn't. It didn't stay in my waterline for any time at all. It's also a bit smudgy.

As you can see from the swatch below, the pigmentation isn't that great either. I'll use it because it's not the most awful liner I've ever had, but it's definitely not the best. Full size value $17 (although their site is down at the time of this post). Sample size value approximately $4.50.

5. dr. brandt pores no more pore refiner primer- And now for the dud. You thought the eyeliner was the dud, right? Nope. This one's worse. This claimed to erase pores and to mattify skin. Over makeup, it did nothing. Under makeup, it did make my pores ever so slightly less visible. It wasn't mattifying at all. I had to set it. That's all forgivable. What wasn't forgivable was the major breakout I had after using this twice. Not cool, dr. brandt. Not cool. Full size value $45. Sample size value $11.25.

The bag itself is adorable. I love the orange polka dots. It's vinyl, so will be easy to keep clean. I think I'll use it for my brushes when I travel. I seem to have misplaced my brush roll, so this will come in handy. The overall total value for this month's bag is $26.29. Not bad for $10.

ipsy is a subscription service that is totally customized to your likes and dislikes. It's $10 per month. If you're interested in joining up and don't mind giving me some points, click and subscribe.

If  you already get ipsy, what did you get in your bag this month? (Just being nosy!)


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Thoughts On Depression

It may seem that you're alone, but help is just a call away.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

I generally like to keep this blog as upbeat as possible, but with the recent suicide of the brilliant Robin Williams, I thought I'd share my experience with depression.

I've had depression as long as I can remember. When I was four years old, I spent the night at my grandparents' house. That was something I did on a regular basis. This one night, though, I had insomnia. I laid in bed for hours after everyone else was already asleep, sobbing because Grandma was going to die one day. She's still alive and well 33 years later. That's just who I was and who I still am.

When I was seven, I had my first suicide attempt. I still have the scar from that. I took a razor and sliced down my arm. Thankfully, it really hurt. I got Dad to bandage it up. When he asked how that happened, I mumbled something about playing with the razor. That was that.

After that, I tried drowning (really hurts) and starvation (that lasted three days). I thought about it often throughout junior high and high school. I had plans that never came to fruition.

When I was 25, I married the love of my life, moved to Ireland for three years, and had panic attacks every time I had to leave my apartment. I spent nearly every day in pajamas. My husband had to tell me to go shower.

For years I was fine. And then I had a baby. My postpartum depression was so severe that I had a "really good plan" that would not only get rid of me, but would get my family a new car. Because that's what's important, right? A new car. I had so many fantasies of running away. For some reason, my fantasies had me moving out west. Not to Oregon or Washington. No. To Arizona or New Mexico! Because that makes sense. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate heat. Summers are the worst. Summers in a desert? Not a hope! So clearly, I had that one planned out well. I started feeling better when my daughter was six months old.

Fast forward a few years and I'm complaining to my doctor that I'm exhausted. I was thinking that I had a vitamin deficiency or something. Blood work all came back normal. He began to ask me a few questions. And then some more questions. And then finally, after a lot more discussion, he said he thought he knew why I was having problems staying awake and keeping focused. (I hadn't even mentioned the panic attacks at that point.) He thought that I had depression.

He was the first to diagnose my problem in, at that time, 34 years.

It all made so much sense.

I went through several medications before I found one that sort of helped. I have another appointment coming up soon. I really don't know how that one is going to go. I've had a lot happening in the last year or so and have been down again. My idea of a perfect day right now is to spend it alone in bed. But, I get up, put on a happy face and keep trudging through.

I have a lot to live for. My daughter is amazing. My husband has been so supportive through everything. I have a lot of family and friends who love me.

At 37, I know now that I never really wanted to die. I just wanted the pain and sadness to stop. It was more than I could handle and I didn't know how to cope with it. Life can be overwhelming at times. Help is out there.

I recently read a quote that said something like, "Suicide isn't an act of a selfish person. It's the act of a broken person." (If I can find the exact quote and who said it, I'll update this.)

If you or anyone you know are thinking about suicide, please, please, please get help. It may not seem like it now, but the future you will be so glad you did. It really does get better.

In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.


Monday, July 21, 2014

July 2014's Ipsy Bag

July's goodies

Hey, all!

It's that time again! This month's bag left me a bit underwhelmed, to say the least. The bag itself is adorable. I love the ultra-girliness of it, but the contents...meh.

Here's my list of products in order of favorites.

1. bareMinerals 5-in-1 cream eyeshadow in Barely Nude: The formula is amazing. It's creamy, blends out beautifully, and doesn't crease. I just really wish that this color wasn't my exact skin color. I'll be using this as a base for other eye shadows. (Full Size $18. Sample Size Value $5.40)

2. Pur~lisse pur~protect essential daily moisturizer spf 30: Fans of the moisturizer without the sunscreen should like this, too. It has the same light texture that absorbs quickly into skin. The sunscreen scent is very light, but is detectable. This works well under makeup. (Full Size $55. Sample Size Value $16.50)

Models Own in Red Sea. This is two coats over a nude polish.

3. Models Own nail polish in Red Sea (Splash Collection): This is a bright red jelly polish with iridescent/holographic glitters of varying sizes. It's definitely a statement polish. Even though this has great coverage for a jelly, I would still apply it over a red just so I wouldn't have to apply so many layers. (Full Size £5 = $8.53)

4. Pixi Tinted Brilliance Balm in Unique Pink: I have no idea why they bothered naming this color anything but "Mostly Clear". It's soooooo sheer that I couldn't get a swatch to show up on my hand. There is a bit of a sheen that is pretty, but, really, not what I want in a tinted lip balm. Pixi's website calls it "your own personal, pH reactive pink", so I must not have any pH. The balm itself is nice. It feels creamy, sticks around for a while, and has a light minty scent. The lack of pigmentation just seriously bummed me out. (Full Size $14. Sample Size Value $8.40)*

5. Clear Clinic Laboratories Vanished Clear Spot Treatment: The only reason this is at the bottom of the list is that I haven't had a chance to try it out. I have no active problems at the moment (thank goodness) so I can't really give an opinion on this other than it smells potent and I love the idea of a treatment that you can carry with you and reapply throughout the day. (Full Size $35. Sample Size Value $9.33)

My bag came to a total of $48.16 for $10. Not too shabby. I'll be giving that spot treatment a try next time face demons show up.

Ipsy is a subscription service that costs $10 a month. You get four or five products, some full sized, and a reusable bag. Each bag is customized to the subscriber via a quiz that you take when signing up. You can retake the quiz at any point and as many times as you like. Anyway, if you're interested in ipsy and would like to earn me some points, click and subscribe.

If you subscribe, what did you get in your bag this month?


*edit July 28, 2014 - Gave this to my daughter to play with and it turned a bright, pretty pink. Guess I really don't have pH. lol

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Short Rant On Why I Hate Summers

Z hanging out on the river bank. Photo by Sean O'Donoghue.

Hey, all!

Did you ever have one of those days when you rush around, get the kid dressed and waiting by the door when all of a sudden, she has to go change her clothes (three times), you have to mop the floor, a then you have to measure out more allergy medicine because the previous tablespoon ended up all over your kid and the floor? Yeah...

Reasons I Hate Summer (the season, not the cat)

1. My morning schedule is shot. There's no way we're getting anywhere on time. Ever. Definitely not in a good mood.

2. Sweat.

3. Bugs. We've been fighting infected bug bites on the kiddo. She swears she's not scratching them. I beg to differ.

4. Heat. (see also: Sweat). I can't handle heat. I get dizzy. I can't breathe. I sweat. Sometimes it even messes with my tummy. I'm not going into details. You're welcome.

5. Humidity. My hair does its best impression of Ronald McDonald during the summer. It's even less cute on me than it is on a creep clown.

6. Pools/Swimsuits. No. Just no.

7. Fewer clothes in general. So much upkeep! Constant pedicures, nearly daily leg shaving, faux never ends (until winter).

8. Breakouts. Even my skin hates summer. I can't find a sunscreen higher than SPF 15 that doesn't break me out, but 15 does nothing for the super pale. Nothing. It's fine if I'm just heading straight for the car, but if I have to spend any time at all outside...freckles and burning. Again, not cute. Or healthy. (Just to be clear, I wear sunscreen all year round, I just seem to spend more time outside in summer.) Also, my skin goes from dry/normal combo in the winter to oily/normal combo in the summer. That's fun.

Just to end this on a positive note, here's a few things I love about summer.

1. Food. Fried green tomatoes, ice cream, lemonade, grilled everything, all sorts of yumminess that for some reason tastes better in summer.

2. Longer days. The shorter days of winter makes me want to sleep constantly. I really do hibernate in the winter.

3. Sandals. They're just so cute and easy (even with the required pedicures).

4. Kids playing outside. Mine comes home after spending all day at her Mimi's exhausted, filthy, and happy. She loves running around the countryside barefoot.

What are some of your loves and hates for summer?

Have a fabulous day!


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