Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Decluttering Tips, #sampledout, February No Buy, etc.

Hey guys!  Long time no talk, eh?  I am sorry that 2014 was such a shitty blogging year (33 posts?  FOR SHAME), and that 2015 is shaping up to be more of the same.  I am hoping to turn it around though, I miss you guys!

So you may have noticed that I didn't post any resolutions this year.  This actually wasn't just more blog laziness on my part, it was because I still really feel like my priorities from last year haven't changed.  I did update the to do list, but I don't need to bore you with the details, especially since you can assume I only did about 33% of the things on last year's list so it's a lot of the same.  Even when I fail at making as much progress as I'd like, I still feel that having a list keeps me on track and pushes me to do things I wouldn't normally do if I didn't feel somewhat accountable to my resolutions.  One example is running - I did the couch to 5K again and ran in 2 races this year.  I would have hit 3 for sure, if I hadn't forgotten it was a resolution until September (ha). 

One thing I am doing differently though is to try to pick a new challenge each month to focus on, as I seem to do really well when I have a specific plan to follow.  Plus I had a lot of success with stuff like the Arbonne 28 Day Detox and the 30 Day Abs Challenge last year, that I will continue to find new things to try. 

In December, I did 33 Days of Decluttering.  I didn't get rid of 3 items every day, but (with the help of a closet purge) I hit well over 100 items, so I'm calling it a win.  Some things I found helpful in forming new decluttering habits:
  • Every time I visit someone, I think about whether or not I borrowed anything I need to return or if there is something in my stash they would enjoy more than I would. 
  • I now keep a donate bin in a fairly visible place.  The second an item is oppressing me, into the bin it goes.  The second the bin gets full, it goes into my trunk to go to goodwill.
  • If I hate something all day when I wear it, the second it comes out of the dryer it goes into the donate bin.  For some reason I have the really bad habit of thinking that maybe NEXT TIME these pants will stop showing my butt crack or these shoes won't give me a blister, even when the last 7 times have proven otherwise.  STUPID.
  • I found a partner in crime to trade stuff with.  I know an extreme couponer who has too many household items, and since I am basically an extreme subscription box addict, I traded her makeup I'm not using for basics like shampoo, body wash, and laundry detergent.  I feel like we will be doing this A TON in the future.  This would also work well if you have someone with differently spaced kids than yours. 
  • I bring stuff to work to give away to whoever wants it or to sell on the portal.  Coworkers love other people's junk, apparently.  I can get about 25% of retail value for kid stuff, which makes it a more attractive option than saving it for a garage sale I am never going to have.  The second I'm thinking about selling it, into my work bag it goes, then I keep it in my cube until someone buys it.  If it doesn't sell in 2 weeks, I reduce the price.  If it still doesn't sell, into the donate bin it goes. 
  • Kid stuff that doesn't sell well is still usually welcome at daycare.  I offloaded a bunch of bibs, burp cloths, and receiving blankets.  They love getting used toys, clothes to use as backups for kids who don't have spare outfits and plastic grocery bags as well.
  • The local Women's Shelter will take unopened household items.  This is great if you have over-couponed (or over-allure-boxed, as my case might be). 
  • The Subtraction Project (January archives here) and Declutter 365 are great resources if you like to do a little at a time.  Which I do.
  • If those two projects post something that isn't really a cluttered area for me, I just find the closest area that has been bugging me and tackle it.  The top of my fridge is something I'm self conscious about every time someone comes over, yet I never seem to have time to deal with it, so that's next on my list.  
  • I have made several friends Crappy Day Presents out of stuff I'm not using (with a couple of new things to fill in the gaps), and they were a big hit. 
  • Invite people over all of the time.  It's a great motivation to clean and declutter.  Same for hiring a cleaning person.  J thinks that cleaning before someone else cleans is stupid, but they can't CLEAN CLEAN if there is crap everywhere.  Plus having someone do the deep cleaning frees me up to do more decluttering and organization.
  • Have a "scavenge week" once a month where you have to basically eat only the things that are already in your house.  It ensure that you actually eat the stuff you pay for and it keeps your cabinets from getting overly cluttered. 
I am sure there are more, but that's all I can think of off the top of my head.  I am so ready to stop my life of hoarding, and it's nice to see progress. 

In January I have been doing another round of the 28 Day Detox and the #sampledout Instagram challenge.  I'm down 8 pounds, basically back to where I ended after the last challenge because I gained at least 5 pounds over the holidays.  I would say this is more "detox lite" though since there have been a number of illnesses keeping me from going too crazy with it. 

#sampledout was started by Instagram user @wimommandy.  Basically you count all of your samples and try to become #samplefreeby2016.  I am posting weekly pics and mini reviews if you are interested, and it's kind of cool to see what others are doing.  I have something like 588 samples to use (EEK) but got rid of 23 in week 1.  It will be nice to put a big dent in my stash so I can focus on using up my full size items. 

In February I plan on continuing #sampledout and Arbonne about 80% of the time, and will go on a VERY STRICT no buy.  As in, nowhere near as cheaty as the one I did in May of 2013.  I cancelled my QVC auto-deliveries and the two Quarterly.co boxes that were set to come in February (Arianna Huffington and Wil Wheaton), and I will skip Fabletics, so the only sub I will be charged for is PopSugar Must Haves.  It's sold out and it really is a must have for me, so it will be a cheat.  Le Metier de Beaute was pre-paid for the year and Massage Envy is under contract, so nothing I can do about that.  I will not make a single beauty/fashion/jewelry purchase in February. 

This is what I am allowed to buy:

- Groceries (healthy stuff only, no extra junk food)
- Anything that is health related (vitamins, prescriptions, etc.)
- Must have household items (toilet paper, tampons, cleaning supplies, etc.)
- Gas (should only be one tank since I have a gift card)
- New pajamas and underwear for PJs at TJs using gift cards only
- Entertainment and meal costs for book club night, 50 shades of grey ladies' night, lunch with my brother and SIL,1 date with Justin, PJs at TJ's (all of these costs must be kept to a minimum)
- Tip for my Massage Envy masseuse (try to sell stuff to make $$ for the tip)
- 3 family meals that I don't have to cook (emergency option only)
AND NOTHING ELSE.  No lunches with coworkers, no coffee, no random target trips.  If I sell stuff on the portal or scrounge up gift cards, that is free money that I MIGHT be allowed to use to cheat, but not 1 cent on myself.  Examples include Valentine's treats for the family or one extra cheap family outing.  Experiences are okay, but crap we don't need is not. 

Does anyone want to join me for a February no buy or for #sampledout?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review: Murad Age Reform Line

These products were sent to me as part of the Murad Brand Ambassador Program.  Thank you, Murad!!

As you have probably gathered by now if you follow me on Instagram and Twitter, I was lucky enough to be selected as a Murad Brand Ambassador.  I am a skincare junkie and am always looking for products that will help my dry, sensitive, rosacea-y skin, so this has been a really exciting opportunity for me.  I was invited to the program around the same time I joined Massage Envy, and had been considering getting a Murad facial there to see if the other skincare products were as good as the Murad Clarifying Cleanser I loved.  But now that I get to test out Murad at home I can dedicate my Massage Envy time solely to my sore back.  Woohoo!

I have been receiving Murad products since late summer, but I wanted to take the time to fully test them before sharing my thoughts on my blog.  I'll show you my daily skincare routine in this post, and special treatments I use as needed in my next Murad post.  Enjoy!


Age Reform (the purple line) is one of 8 Murad brands, and is comprised of 16 different products.  I have been using 4 of the products on a daily basis for at least 3 months now: Refreshing Cleanser, Rapid Collagen Infusion, Perfecting Day Cream, and Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture.  This is a good range of products for someone who is just getting introduced to the line; the only thing I would add is the Intensive Wrinkle Reducer for Eyes or the Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture for Eyes


Murad really excels at cleansers, and the Refreshing Cleanser ($32, or you can pay $9 for a mini) is no exception.  Murad products don't have much of a scent, they just smell fresh to me.  It works well alone or combined with my Clarisonic.  It removes the vast majority of my makeup; I just have to go over my mascara with some eye makeup remover and I'm all squeaky clean.  It is medium foaminess and does not dry out or irritate my skin.  Basically, it does everything Murad says it should do.  I think I prefer the experience of Murad's Clarifying Cleanser (and it's cheaper at $26), but that the Age Reform is a better choice for my winter skin because it's such a gentle formula.  A little bit goes a long way and the tube lasts forever, so I will repurchase this product or a similar Murad cleanser (gotta try them all) when it runs out.  Recommended for everyone with skin. 


Unfortunately, I really love the Rapid Collagen Infusion.  I say unfortunately because this love comes with a hefty price tag - it's $78 for 1 oz, and I went through the tube rather quickly.  However, it has that fancy push pop packaging where the little platform raises and scrapes out every last bit of product so at least I know I didn't waste anything.  If you are going to splurge on skin care, treatments are the way to go because unlike a cleanser that is only on your skin for a couple of minutes, this stuff sinks in and is on your face all day / night.  This smells even fresher/better than the cleanser to me, and the fine lines around my eyes have improved since starting this product.  More noticeably, it plumps my skin after putting it on...gotta love a product that delivers immediate results.  It is nice and lightweight and absorbs nicely into the skin.  I will repurchase this product during the Sephora VIB sale or when I have a gift card.  Recommended for anyone with wrinkles or fine lines who can afford it. 


I actually liked the Perfecting Day Cream ($49) better than I expected.  When I first tried it out, it looked really thick and white as I was putting it on, but it actually does absorb into the skin and it doesn't interfere with my makeup (a critical feature for a daily moisturizer).  It's a much lighter weight moisturizer than I expected based on the appearance.  It doesn't smell overly SPF-y; it just has that same light scent as the rest of the Murad products.  This is a nice, basic moisturizer.  I wouldn't repurchase it though, only because my favorite CC cream has SPF 50, and with my rosacea I have to be extra cautious about the sun, even in the dead of winter.  I would recommend this for people who can get away with SPF 30 though. 


I use the Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture cream ($65) as a night cream since it doesn't have any SPF.  This is a really luxurious feeling cream, I loooove it.  It smells great, it's gentle on my sensitive skin, it makes my skin feel super moisturized without being greasy.  This product is intensive enough to single-handedly combat the dry patches I get from my rosacea during the winter.  I think I am going to purchase the Perfecting Night Cream next to see if it gives me the same results (it's $51 for the same amount), but I would buy this again if that isn't as nice as this cream.  Recommended for people who like to feel fancy and pampered. 

Overall, I am quite happy with my Murad Age Reform products, and with all of the Murad products I have tried in general.  I think Murad's #BetterEveryDay motto is a good one, because I have seen improvements in my skin since starting this regimen. 

I did a little research for you guys since I know Murad is a bit pricey and you know I love a good deal...right now you can get the Younger Skin Trio which has two of my favorite products above plus the hydrating toner when you spend $50 and use the code GIFT.  I would try to hit that $50 by getting one of the kits and combining it with the $18 Youth Bodycare Preview Set (I'm testing this now and I love it).  If you get the Resurgence Introductory Kit (which ALSO has a mini Rapid Collagen Infusion), you also get a $25 Murad Gift Card with purchase, so I'd get those two kits, a gift card, and the Younger Skin Trio.  In fact, that's such a good deal that I'm probably just going to go ahead and do it.  Fingers crossed that nothing wonky happens when I try to get the gift card and use the GIFT promo at the same time; I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Enabler Alert: Style Quarterly by Pashbox

YOU GUYS.  After years of searching, I have finally found my dream subscription service.  I am actually kind of nervous to tell you about it, because sometimes when subs get too big it's too hard to keep up with demand and to get as high quality of products...I think that's what happened to Social Bliss, much to my dismay.  But I really want to share this with you because when I find something I'm in love with, I want everyone else to love it too. 

Style Quarterly by Pashbox is a really new subscription service - the December box is only their second box.  You can see the review for September here and December here.  Go look at the pictures, I'll wait.  Amazing, right? Prior to that, it was a monthly scarf sub or a monthly sunglasses sub - I checked out some past reviews and people seemed to love it, so I'm not really sure why the business model changed.  But I'm so glad it did, because the new format is so up my alley it's ridiculous. 

The packaging is GORGEOUS.  The boxes look like they are a really nice quality and they have a beautiful, unique design.  It would make a really nice jewelry storage or gift box.  There are 3-6 beauty and fashion items that also appear to be high quality.  The beauty stuff is focused on bath and body products, which is perfect for me because I already have skincare and makeup out the wazoo due to my other subs.  So far, Style Quarterly has featured small companies whose products have an artisanal feel, like Plum Island Soap Company and Elucx.  Everything seems so luxurious and the perfect way to pamper myself.  The past boxes looked so enticing that I actually just placed big orders with both of those companies because I was so sad to miss out.  I have a feeling that this box will introduce me to a lot of amazing companies I would have never heard of otherwise.

Finally, the customer service is fantastic.  When I first found out about the box, the window for ordering a December box had closed.  I was bummed, so I wrote to the company to see if they had any more December boxes I could purchase.  I received a response within the hour, from Stephanie Bruce herself.  She is the founder and Chief Experience Officer of the company and seems like a genuinely nice person who is really passionate about her job.  She didn't have any more boxes, but she gave me a code I could share with you guys (SQGIFT10), which gives you 10% off the life of the subscription.  It's good through 12/31/14.  I don't get anything out of you signing up other than the sweet satisfaction of sharing something I am really excited about with my friends. 

If this looks like something you would enjoy, go order yourself one and let me know so we can gush to each other about it every quarter!

Update:  More on the code, I apologize for not posting these details earlier!

It will be redeemable up to 75 times and good through 12/31/14. You can use code SQGIFT10 to save 10% off the life of your subscription when you sign up for our Quarterly plan. Subscriptions will start in March of 2015 and will renew on April 1st.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Updates + 33 Days of Decluttering

Update the first: I found my ring after it was missing for a full week.  Not too bad in the scheme of lost rings, but way longer than it should have been gone considering that it was definitely in the living or dining room and Lucy only had it for a few minutes.  The area in front of the fireplace always has a few games and a couple of clothing items from my dress up loving girls.  We looked through all of that stuff many times the first couple nights the ring was missing, then one day I shook the clothes out one last time before bringing them back to the playroom and there it was.  I have no idea how we missed it but I'm happy to have it back.  I am now considering resizing them and maybe getting my wedding band and engagement ring fused.  I always thought I didn't want it fused because I might want to wear the band alone, but I have done that approximately zero times in the five years we have been married so maybe it's time.  Thoughts on pros/cons of ring fusion?

Update the second: My allure box came the day after it went on sale thanks to the fact that I preordered this year's boxes.  I am more than a little annoyed that the Rusk texture spray was a travel size.  Not, like, WINTER RUINED annoyed, but annoyed nonetheless.  

Update the third: I didn't end up getting the UD black friday deal because the more I thought about it, the more it frosted my cookies that the lipstick "deal" was $40 more expensive than the year before.  I did, however, get the following at 50% off from Sedona Lace:

- The Midnight Lace Synthetic Brush Set
- The Se7ven Midnight Lacy Synthetic Brush Set
- The Vortex Synthetic Makeup Brushes (I meant to order the travel set but this was a happy accident)
- The Synthetic Large Paddle Brush
- The Synthetic Tapered Angle Brush
- The Synthetic Rounded Powder Brush
- The Brush Cup Holder

My lovely husband paid for the first 4 items as my Christmas present, which were the ones I actually planned to buy in advance (aside from picking out the wrong set).  But then since I spent $0 and I kind of wanted a brush holder to make up for the fact that the Vortex set didn't come with one and it was all JUST SO EXCITING, I got a couple more brushes.  I am really excited about this purchase because I have never actually bought a set - all of my brushes are random IT Cosmetics face brushes from QVC, tons of Sonia Kashuk eye shadow blending brushes, and a few basic elf eye brushes.  I always thought I'd get the Sigma Make Me Classy set, but Sigma never has enough of a discount to make me pull the trigger.  NOW I HAZ ALL THE BRUSHES!!!  And they all match!  And are pink and black and for some reason this is a thing that appeals to 35 year old me! 

33 Days of Decluttering: I am already dreading the influx of crap that Christmas will bring.  As you may have guessed based upon my goo hoarding and subscription box addiction, plus the fact that I have two kids, we have a lot of crap.  A lot of my fellow makeuptalk-ers are in the midst of a cycle of 33 days of decluttering, which is a concept that originates with Dawn of Minimalist Beauty.  She gets rid of 4 items the first day and 3 every day after that, with the goal of decluttering 100 things in 33 days.  You can donate, gift, or throw it away, but it has to leave your house.  I am hoping to average more than 3 a day, but we will see.  I will probably just mention it here and there and then do a wrap up post showing you all of the crap I got rid of when it's over.  If any of you want to join me we can chat about what we are getting rid of on the twitters. Just let me know.  

Hope you all had a great thanksgiving!





Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Enabler Alert: Black Friday Deals

I wouldn't be a proper enabler if I didn't give you guys a heads up on my favorite Black Friday deals.  These are just a few that have caught my eye...



Urban Decay will have a series of flash sales this week + free shipping. I couldn't get the site to load fast enough on my ipad last year so I missed out on the revolution lipsticks, and I'm REALLY EXCITED to have a second chance.  I'll probably skip the rest but there is clearly something for everyone (who loves UD anyway).  I can't figure out what time the flash sales start, but I believe it was 9am eastern last year.  I'll update if I hear more.  [Update #1: Kelly tells me the lipsticks were 6 for $50 last year.  It's still a good deal, you pay roughly 68% of what you would otherwise, but I am significantly less excited to get the exact same thing people were offered last year but for $40 more.  LAME, UD, LAME.]
 
Ramblings of a Suburban Mom has a really comprehensive list of all of the subscription services that have a Black Friday special going on.  The only one I have been tempted by isn't on her list though - there is a $10 off code for FabFitFun using the code BLACK10.  There are a number of spoilers out for the Winter Fab Fit Fun box, and it looks like it will be a pretty good one - at least $300 in value.  I was pretty happy with the fall FFF box (summer was kind of meh, and spring looked great but I didn't order it in time).  I don't have a referral link, but if you shoot me your email address I get a free box for every 2 friends referred.  Or just order directly from FabFitFun, that's cool too. 

Murad is offering $25 off any $100 purchase plus free shipping.  I am a Brand Ambassador so I have been testing out a ton of their products, and am seriously considering gifting these Skin Care Duos to some of the harder to shop for women in my life.  Who doesn't love fancy skincare, right? I especially love Murad's cleansers (the clarifying cleanser is my favorite so far) and treatments (I use the one to sensitive skin soothing serum to treat my rosacea and the lightening serum for dark spots). 

If you spend $50 or more at Sedona Lace, you get 50% off starting at 8:00 pm on 11/27 and free shipping with the code 50free.  This is really tempting to me because I have picked all of my brushes up piecemeal rather than getting a good set, and a YouTuber I really trust (LePooke) loves this brand.  I basically want all of the midnight lace sets. 

Update #2: Ooh, Ulta has some pretty amazing Black Friday and Cyber Monday palettes!  Vintage Vixen and Sultry Starlet are $12 in store and online beginning 7pm CST tomorrow, 8pm in store, and Champagne Dreams is $15 online on Monday.  Love all 3, and they would make amazing stocking stuffers.  You can see pics over at Musings of a Muse.  All Ulta Black Friday deals can be seen here (the $10 Mario Badescu kit is kind of tempting too). 

Finally, I will probably sneak out after Justin gets home from work to hit up the mall (ugh, I know). Last year I got really good deals on work pants at The Limited and LOFT; this year I will check the same stores for suits / blazers. 

What are your Black Friday plans?  Any amazing deals you want to share?


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Enabler Alert: Allure Winter 2014 Beauty Box

UPDATE:

The Allure website is up and running, now with a counter, product information, and a FAQ!  Here is a pic of the goodies:



I also updated my totals below, as I left out an item before.  The box still doesn't add up to the advertised $250, grrr...

_______

It’s Allure Beauty Box time again!  As you all know, this is my favorite deal of the year.  The Allure boxes go on sale three times a year (in April, July, and November) and are full of mostly drug store goodies.  They sell out in minutes because they are usually a great value.  Liz from My Subscription Addiction posted the spoilers and did most of the dirty work for us, but I thought it would be helpful to post my decision making process (at least my old process…I pre-ordered all of the boxes this year).

According to Liz:

The Winter 2014 Allure Beauty Box has been revealed! It goes on sale November 25th at noon EST. The cost is $44.95 plus shipping and the value is over $250.

The Allure boxes tend to get repetitive and have WAY too many hair products, but I figure that if there are enough things in the box that I would buy ANYWAY to cover the cost of the box, the rest is like a giant gift with purchase.  Super giant nerd secret – I also keep a list of all of the contents and prices from past boxes and check off the things I actually use to make sure I got my money’s worth.  This makes me feel better if I don’t use products before they expire.  I do try to give them away before that happens, but sometimes stuff gets buried and I end up using the expired stuff as shaving cream.    

Anyway, the first thing I do when I see what will be in the box is to split it up by product type.  This helps me figure out if I really NEED it…that way if I really need hair stuff (which never happens in reality) and there are 8 hair items, I get excited right away.  The two things that jumped out at me this round (aside from the fact that Allure REALLY wants me to moisturize) are that there is only 1 makeup item and 0 high end items.  I don’t mind the lack of makeup but I am definitely sad about not getting a deal on the good stuff.  I felt a little better when I listed the prices though.  Even though I don’t NEED many of the items on here, they are generally more expensive than what I would pay for when left to my own devices, so I know it’s a good deal.  The winter box rings up at a $217.09 (UPDATE: $229.08).  Past boxes have been worth over $300, but it’s still good value for something in the $50 price range. 

The next thing I do is pick out the items I’d buy anyway.  I am a goo hoarder, so there is very little I need this round.  I’m always in need of dry shampoo, hair ties, and whitening stuff, and the girls’ eczema is going haywire with the weather change so the cetaphil and curel will come in handy.  That puts me at $58.  If you add in the items I’m especially interested in trying (the Neutrogena and the sheamoisture) I’m at $86.  I assume Adriana will go bananas over the hair chalk so that’s $96 worth of stuff that will definitely get used.  The rest is just icing on the cake.

Hair

  • Aloxxi Conditioning Detangler ($20)
  • John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Colour Protecting Moisturizing Conditioner ($5.63)
  • John Frieda Frizz Ease Nourishing Hair Oil Elixir ($8.48)
  • UPDATE: John Frieda Colour Refreshing Gloss for Cool Brunettes ($11.99)
  • Not Your Mother’s Whip It Up Cream Styling Mousse ($11.27)
  • RUSK Texture ($15.99)
  • Style Sexy Hair H2No 3 Day Style Saver Dry Shampoo ($15.95)
  • Scunci Hair Emergency Kit ($5?)
  • Splat Hair Chalk ($9.99)

Face

  • Biore Self Heating One Minute Mask ($5.99)
  • Burt’s Bees Cucumber & Sage Facial Wipes ($5.99)
  • Clean & Clear Morning Burst Hydrating Gel Moisturizer ($3.45)
  • Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel ($17.90)
  • Organic Doctor Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Hydrating Radiance Elixir ($17.99)

Body

  • Cetaphil Intensive Moisturizing Cream ($7.19)
  • Curel Rough Skin Rescue ($8.88)
  • Dove White Beauty Bar ($1.35)
  • Jergens Natural Glow 3 Days to Glow Moisturizer ($7.38)
  • Sheamoisture Superfruit Complex Body Lotion ($9.99)

Makeup

  • Physicians Formula Nude Wear Glowing Nude Blush in Rose ($12.52)

Hands / Nails

  • Organic Doctor Organic Manuka Honey Hand & Nail Cream ($24.99)
  • Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure ($1.16)

Other

  • Colgate Optic White Toothbrush + Built In Whitening Pen ($15.96)
  • Colgate Optic White Platinum Whiten & Protect Toothpaste ($5.99)

 

 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Damn Threenagers

As you may have gathered from my title, Lucia is driving me insane.  It's funny because Adriana gets in trouble way more than Lucia, but when I think back on the worst things my kids have ever done, it's ALWAYS the little one who comes to mind.  I have had to paint three walls because of this kid, whereas the worst thing Adriana ever did was cut herself a surprisingly adorable little side bang.  Lucy is also SUPER SNEAKY, always hiding things behind her back and taking sips of my pop when she thinks I'm not looking.  I need to remember to cut Adriana some slack. 

Last night I was prepping 10 dinners because I'm going to this Wildtree freezer party thingie tonight (I am really excited about it actually...apparently I just LOVE ME a good multi level marketing scheme!)  Anyway, it involved touching way more chicken than any human should possibly have to suffer through, so before I started I took off my rings, watch, bracelet, and fitbit and stuck them on the dining room table.  It's not a very high traffic room so I didn't really think twice about it (but I am guessing you can see where this is going). 

Justin was supposed to be watching the girls but he came in to save me from some especially potent onions that were making me cry.  After he was done chopping we kept chit chatting in the kitchen.  The kiddos started fighting so he went to check on them and LO AND BEHOLD Lucy had snuck into the dining room and stolen my jewelry.  Adriana was wearing my engagement ring (because while she may not be the instigator, she is an excellent partner in crime...maybe I won't cut her that slack after all).  Lucia said she was wearing the wedding ring but it fell off. 

We spent HOURS searching and my ring is still missing. 

Then this morning I made the mistake of taking two minutes to myself in the bathroom, only to find that Lucy was now covered in ink.  The tops of her feet were almost entirely blue, and she had lines down her right hand and over her fingers. 

[SIDE NOTE...It just occurred to me as I was writing this that both of these incidents could have been avoided if we still had the gate on the living room door.  I had a party a few weeks ago and took it down, but maybe I just have the kind of kids who need to be in baby jail at all times.]

Anyway, I was about to put Lucia in time out, and then it occurred to me...she is right handed.  So both of the girls were interrogated, and they both kept insisting that the other did it.  I gave them a lecture about the importance of honesty, and Adriana starting crying and said "I don't knoooooooow...sometimes I forget things!  Maybe I did do it and I don't remember." 

Now this is a line that she has used in the past when she was guilty and didn't want to admit it, but something was telling me that she didn't do it.  So I looked back at Lucy and asked her again.  That little shit sweet daughter of mine looked me right in the eye and insisted that Adriana did it and that she was telling the truth. 

So we got in the car and headed to daycare.  Then I did something that I never ever EVER thought I would do pre-children.  I played the Santa card.  After suggesting that maybe a call to Santa would straighten things out, Lucia started LAUGHING AT ME and said "Sorry, Mama!  It was me!"

I told her I forgave her but that it hurt my heart that she didn't tell me the truth.  After a minute or two, Adriana also said she forgave her for blaming her, so I thought that it was nice that at least SOMEONE was paying attention to my mama lessons. 

But ACK.  I forgot how obnoxious little three year olds can be.  The constant limit testing, the rages, the lying...if two year olds are like tiny drunks, three year olds are tiny sociopaths.  Aside from tagging my walls, Lucy was an especially sweet baby and toddler, but I get the feeling that I'm going to pay for that now. 

Anyway, I'm really bummed about my ring.  Does anyone have a good lost wedding ring story?  I remember cheering when Swistle found hers, and my brother lost his saving my SIL when they were rafting this summer and she went overboard (which, if you have to lose your ring, saving your wife's life is totally the way to go). 

Update: I went back and read the story of how Swistle lost her ring and there are ZILLIONS of awesome lost ring stories in the comments.  It was a fun read...probably re-read but I have swiss cheese brain. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Enabler Alert: IT Cosmetics Your Most Radiant You

This is just a quickie post to let you know that IT Cosmetics has another great set on sale today only on QVC.  The lovely folks at IT sent me this for review.  


Includes:
  • 0.30-oz Celebration Foundation Illumination in Fair, Light, Medium, Tan, or Rich
  • 0.33-fl oz Hello Lashes! Extensions Mascara in Black
  • 0.17-oz No Tug Waterproof Gel Eyeliner in Black/Brown
  • 0.38-oz CC+ Radiance Ombre Blush in Je Ne Sais Quoi, a soft pink shade
  • Heavenly Luxe Double Airbrush Foundation Brush
  • Hello Lashes! Extensions Mascara and CC+ Radiance Ombre Blush are exclusive to QVC until 12/31/14

I have only had it in my hot little hands for a couple of days, but I can definitely say I think it's a great deal at $54.96.  
Face pics from top to bottom - bare, foundation, foundation+blush
IT Cosmetics makes the best face brushes I have ever tried, and  the Heavenly Luxe Double Airbrush Foundation Brush is no exception.  My rosacea is currently flaring up due to eating like crap the past couple of weeks, so I used a heavy hand in the pic above, but you can also get super light coverage with this light fluffy brush.  

I prefer the original Celebration Foundation to the Illumination version, but that's like saying I prefer pepperoni pizza to hawaiian.  It's still a really great foundation, I just prefer to be matte. 

The CC+ Radiance Ombre blush is a beautiful color.  I like having the option to use it as a highlighter or to just swirl it all together; it's a great multitasking product.  It also stays put a lot longer than other blushes I own.  

I haven't played with the liner or mascara enough to have strong opinions on either, but based on my first impression these appear to be just as high quality as IT Cosmetics always is.  The mascara is definitely more lengthening than volumizing.  It's a plastic bristle brush with a spiky ball deal on the end.  The liner is in "black brown".  It looks "brown brown" in the pencil, but by some voodoo magic does appear to be black brown on.  

I would say that this is a really nice basic set...nothing as innovative as you usually see from IT but still a lot of quality items at a good price.  It's well worth it for the brush and blush alone.  




Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hey, Look! A Blog Post!

Well, that was a completely unintended and unexpected vacation from Blogsville.  I don't think I have ever taken a break this long.  I don't really have a good excuse, I think I got kind of bogged down with needing my posts about the detox to be perfect, and then I got behind because of that, and then I got frustrated because I was behind, and then all of this big deal real life stuff happened. But I'm looking forward to getting all caught up with you guys and to get back to writing.  I missed you guys!

So, the detox.  I lost 13 pounds, hubs lost over 20 and kept going to nearly 30.  We have both since gained back a couple of pounds, but for the most part feel like it was a huge success.  I still plan on wrapping up those posts, for those of you who were interested.  I am also planning on doing another round in October, with the goal of shedding another 10 pounds.  I think it's a pretty easy way to lose weight, even though I'm basically cranky and tired for the whole month.  I feel like it's worth it to be able to fit in my clothes and not feel all bloaty and gross, plus it worked wonders on my rosacea.  I'm not committed enough to make it a lifestyle, but I'll do it 3-4 times a year.

My job...ugh.  Basically, the company I work for has a risky side of the business and a stable/predictable side of the business.  I was working on the riskier side, and my entire group was eliminated as part of a big reorganization.  The company found new jobs for about half of the people whose jobs were eliminated, and I was lucky enough to be in the employed half.  I have a lot of FEELINGS about this, but mostly I'm just pissed that I had a really sweet deal and now I don't.  I loved everything about my old job.  It was 3 minutes from home, I loved the work, I got to work from home half a day on Mondays, I could nap, clean, or work out at lunch...the list goes on and on.  Now I'm in the corporate office, which is probably better for my career (lots of exposure), is where all of my friends work, and I still report to my old boss, but basically sucks in every other way.  Long commute, pay for parking, no free coffee or jeans days and a HELLA STRESSFUL environment.  Everything is due yesterday and is the highest priority.  That is not really how I like to roll.  I have already had one random attack of hives, and I have definitely been feeling anxious and snappy with the girls.  I'm sure I'll get used to it, I'm just really bitter/sad about losing my dream job. 

In other sucktastic news, a good friend / ex boyfriend of mine from high school was recently diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer.  He's 35 and a father of 3 and just a really good person, and it's all just horribly unfair.  I took the news really hard, probably harder than I should have considering that we hadn't even seen each other since my wedding reception, but still.  I feel like high school people are always in my heart because we became "who we are" together.  I have been kind of re-evaluating my life and friendships and even my religious views (or lack thereof) as a result of all of this.  I'm still a heathen, but I hate when my friends are going through serious life shit and all I can say is "I'm thinking of you".  At least if I believed in prayer I would feel like I am actually doing something meaningful to help. Instead I'm sending him lame texts, making for real plans to finally get a will, and hugging the girls a little closer at night.  If any of you want to pray or send good thoughts or have suggestions for meaningful things to say when life is bullshit, it's all appreciated. 

On a more positive note, hubs and I are good.  I kind of feel like we got all of the marriage drama out of the way early so it will be smooth sailing from here.  Older couples are probably laughing at me, but whatever, we are in a nice Boring Married People phase right now.  We watch Dexter snuggled up in the couch with some wine (likely while I'm wearing a Target onesie, which was a LIFE CHANGING purchase, btw). 

The kiddos are also awesome and probably deserve their own update post, with lots of adorable pictures for you to ooh and ahh over.  I will add it to the top of my mental blog list.  Other upcoming topics include the detox update, an update on what beauty/lifestyle boxes I'm currently subscribed to, my current skincare routine, a post about workplace fashion since I had to upgrade the wardrobe for the new jobby job, and eventually a room by room house tour (finally).  Anything else you guys want to hear about?  And feel free to tell me what's up with you in the comments, because I have not been keeping up with blogs or twitter (but I do keep up with Instagram, so if I'm not following you please let me know). 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Arbonne Chocolate Protein Energy Bites

Justin calls these Chocolate Salty Balls and Adriana calls them Poopy Balls With Nuts and Seeds, but I decided it was probably better to keep it classy.  Wait, let me get something out of my system first...BALLS BALLS BALLS BALLS.  Okay, keeping it classy starting...NOW. 

 

So, as you guys know, I'm entering week 2 of my Arbonne 28 Day detox.  The fit chews are good (especially the mango ones!), but not quite enough to satisfy my hunger or my sweet tooth.  If I'm going to make it 28 days, I need something that packs a bigger punch.

I decided to whip up a batch of energy bites, something I have made many times before but never without peanut butter.  This receipe is dairy and gluten free, and it's vegan if you use Arbonne's protein. 

 
Ingredients:
1 cup gluten-free oatmeal (Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 cup almond butter (Barney Butter)
1/3 cup agave nectar (Wholesome Sweeteners)
1 cup coconut flakes (Let's Do Organic)
1/2 cup ground flax seed (Arrowhead Mills)
2 scoops chocolate protein powder (Arbonne Essentials)
Splash vanilla
Unsweetened almond milk for consistency
 
 
I didn't grind my flax because I'm lazy, but you should definitely do this for greater nutritional value.  I didn't measure the almond milk, I just poured in enough to make it sticky - probably about 1/4 cup in this case.  You really can't mess this up - feel free to substitute any of the ingredients.  This recipe is a little dry because I wanted to be able to eat them at work without gunking up my keyboard; if you like stickier balls feel free to add more almond butter and/or agave nectar.  


This made about 35 balls; you'll get more or less depending on your preferred ball size.

I popped the dish in the fridge for about 30 minutes, then stored them in a Ziploc bag (still in the fridge).  I use them as a fit chew substitution or as a "dessert" after dinner.  Who am I kidding, that should be an AND, not an or, and I have a hard time eating just one!  But if I have to slip a bit, this is a tasty way to do it!