Friday, April 24, 2015

Books!

As usual, I'm having a hard time narrowing down what books to pitch at book club (we pick 4 months of books at a time, everyone brings suggestions).  Here is my list...are there any that you would DEFINITELY stay away from?  Anything amazing you have read that I should consider?  Any books that are not really book club type books but that I should read anyway in my "spare" time?

The ones I'm considering are:
- The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt
- Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
- The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

No spoilers please!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pusher

My new Man BFF is shaping up to be a real pain in the ass.  Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy his company, but he is a pusher.  Not of the drug variety like Ms. Norbury, but of the Be All That You Can Be variety (minus the army context). 



Friending a pusher has it's pros and cons.  On the pro side, I am inherently lazy, and could certainly use a push from time to time.  God knows Justin won't do it, since it would inevitably result in the death stare and possibly a fatal stabbing.  Plus I haven't had a friend get all up in my business like that in years, so it's kind of refreshing to have someone give enough of a shit to ask the hard questions.  The cons are stressing me out though.  I had been sitting there all content with my life, and now my pusher Man BFF has me really questioning things.  Ugh.

The first area that we delved into was my career path.  As a reminder, I do regulatory work for a utility company.  It's not glamorous work, but I'm good at it, and I get to do a lot of reading, writing, and powerpointing, which are all things I enjoy.  In the 8+ years I've been here, I've worked my way to the equivalent of a staff business analyst, which is as high as you can get without being a manager or consultant (and consulting jobs are few and far between).  Justin and I make enough that we are financially comfortable - we have a smallish but nice house, we can go on a cheap family vacation every year plus plenty of fun weekend trips, everyone has enough food and clothes and money for hobbies/activities, I'm saving for retirement and two college funds (maybe not as much as I need to for the latter, but I'm not worried about it yet). 

As of right now, the girls are 3 and 5.  To me, balance is everything.  I am a high performer, but I do not have infinite time or energy.  To be amazing at work, I have to give up some home stuff.  To be amazing at home, my work suffers.  In order to "have it all" (2 Tina Fey references in 1 post!) some shit has to slide.  Maybe my house is too cluttered, maybe I have to do my makeup at my desk, maybe my kids eat ramen on the living room floor instead of real dinner some nights, maybe I can't come in early and stay late and work after the kids go to bed to get everything done and perfect.  I just can't be awesome at everything all of the time.  Which is hard, because I like being 100% awesome. 

My talent profile currently says that while the kids are little, I'm not interested in management.  This BLOWS MAN BFF'S MIND.  He is one of those people who is constantly climbing the ladder, always trying to make more money, have more power, be more influential.  Not necessarily in a bad way, he also plans to change the world and feels like constantly improving his situation is how he can best make that happen.  I just don't have that same drive right now.   I love that for the most part, I can kick butt at work from 8-5 and spend the rest of my time with my family without having anything hanging over my head.  There are times when I genuinely can't imagine taking on one more thing in my life.  I know I am a far better parent when I am not stressed out - there is basically a directly proportional relationship between my workload getting too heavy and how often I snap at my kids. If my current situation feels more or less balanced, why fuck with it?

That being said, this is likely a temporary situation.  The girls won't be little forever, and I feel like it's basically inevitable that I will eventually go into management, whether I have a large desire to or not.  I have zillions of dollars of student loans, and I'd like to retire at a reasonable age.  It's the next logical step in the game of life. 

I have been spending a considerable amount time defending this particular life choice to Man BFF and reiterating that I AM HAPPY and THIS IS TEMPORARY.  But that didn't really stop my stomach from dropping when I got an email from my boss saying it's time to update my talent profile.  My gut reaction was that maybe it's time, since the girls are going to school next year.  Pushers are the worst, uggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhh.  Can't I just keep things exactly how they are for a while longer?

The second area which Man BFF has opinions about is Justin's career.  This is a bit of a touchy subject, since it's not really about me.  Basically, hubs didn't go to college and is therefore limited in how far he can progress up his respective ladder.  I tried to get him to go to school back when we first started dating, but then he found his current job (which is a great place for people without degrees to work) and then we got married and pregnant (not in that order) and all that jazz.  I know this is probably weird since we are married and all, but basically I don't feel like it's my business what Justin does with his career, as long as he pays his half of the bills.  As I said, we are comfortable.  This BLOWS MAN BFF'S MIND.  He thinks I am "frustratingly accepting" of both Justin's and my own situations.  As far as I'm concerned, as long as Justin is happy, I'm happy.  If he decides that he wants to advance in his career and realizes that the best way to do that is by getting his degree, I will support him.  But I'm not going to be his own personal Pusher.  I didn't marry a pet project, I married a grown ass man who is capable of making his own decisions. 

The only aspect of this particular topic that gives me pause is that maybe I'm being a bad wife by not at least raising the question from time to time.  Maybe if it was more clear that J going to college is something I'd support would make it more of a viable option in his mind.  It also makes me think that perhaps I have been selfish.  As I said, there are times when I can't imagine taking on one more thing.  Justin going to school would certainly mean tradeoffs on the home front, which would further upset the life balance I so desperately seek.  I feel like I'm the 50's husband oppressing my spouse.  But then again, I think Justin would read this and laugh and remind me that he, too, is perfectly happy with our situation.

The last topic of discussion is the hardest.  Man BFF is always trying to get me to identify areas of my life that aren't making me happy (despite my repeated assertions that I AM HAPPY) and then make a plan to bridge the gap between the actual and desired scenarios.  At one point I made a comment about how I fail to see what I get out of moving up in my career, as I am not particularly motivated by money or power...I work at an electric company, I'm not going to change the world by moving up the chain.  This then led to a discussion about how I did originally want to have a job where I could help people, but certain life choices led me here instead.  

This is as close as I get to admitting that I do have some regrets.  As you may know, electric utility regulatory work was not my original career path - I was in medical school and dropped out.  My reasons for this were very complex, but I have 10 years of hindsight now so I think I can boil it down.  If I'm being 100% real and honest, I was not the most mature or driven 25 year old.  I had an opportunity that isn't offered to most people, and I blew it.  I could have been a doctor, and I truly believe I would have been a great one, but ultimately I didn't want it enough to put in the work to become one.  Quitting was taking the easy route.  I think that if 35 year old me was in the same situation, I would have made different choices, because ultimately I do regret selling out and working for the man instead of sticking with my principles and trying to help people.  At the time though, sitting in a library all day felt oppressive when I could instead be out living my life.  I hated studying because it was the first time in my life I ever had to do it.  And I thought that because I wasn't trying harder, it must not be what I really wanted.  

What has always saved me from having too many regrets was the fact that quitting freed me up to be a mom.  Not that I couldn't have been both a mom and a doctor, but I certainly would have been an older mom, and with a different guy, and therefore I'd have different kids.  And you know what?  My two specific kids are awesome.  I can't imagine having any other kids.  Having children is the most freeing thing in the world because it instantly justifies any questionable past decisions...any other road taken, and they disappear from the family photo, Marty McFly style.  

I also find some comfort in the fact that while a lot of my friends didn't go the parenting route and are contributing to society in a meaningful way, SOMEONE has to pass the good DNA on.  May as well be me.  I'm not a doctor, but at least I'm contributing to the gene pool in a positive manner.  And maybe (hopefully) the girls will go on to do great things. 

I keep getting really frustrated during these discussion because ultimately, I really do think that everything has worked out.  Maybe not for the best, because I have NO FREAKING CLUE what my life would be like if I made different choices.  But I don't see the point of playing the woulda, coulda, shoulda game when I obviously didn't and it all turned out okay.  But that doesn't stop me from having a tiny little voice that says "wait, AM I happy?" every time I assert that I am.  I think I keep coming back to yes, but the fact that I even question it a little kind of pisses me off.  I guess that's what it's all about though...I may not be pushed into a different life path, but it's good to be pushed out of my comfort zone from time to time.       

Friday, April 10, 2015

Adult Friendships, Ugh

So, I know "adult friendships are the worst" isn't the most unique topic of all time, but it's something that has been on my mind lately.

Lady BFFs

I am always so insanely jealous of the people who have had their PERSON since they met at the arts and crafts table in camp in third grade.  I don't have that person.  In fact, the summer after 3rd grade my best friend of three years ditched me for a new best friend (she was new and a twin and therefore infinitely fascinating), and I pretty much either didn't have a best friend or had a different one every school year after that.  At the end of eighth grade, there was no one I was particularly close to, so I was quite happy to move on to high school.  (I went to Catholic school, so I was with the same 45 people from 1st - 8th grade). 

If you had asked me at the time, I would have said that I didn't click with my grade school female peers because I was just different.  I was the smartest girl in my class, and I always had my nose in a book.  They were almost all cheerleaders, I was the only one who didn't make the team (and preferred soccer, anyway).  They liked rap, I wouldn't figure out that I was a 90's grunge girl at heart for another few years.  They had big hair and wore makeup, I couldn't be bothered.  Most of them were pretty and popular, I stopped caring about popularity around 5-6th grade. 

But if you ask me now, I was also a smartass with a bit of a mean streak.  I was always one of those people who would rather attack than be attacked, which I suppose protected me from being bullied for being the giant nerd that I was, but also made me kind of a bully myself.  There is one girl in particular who my 7th grade best friend and I made fun of constantly, and adult me is horrified when I look back on it.  HORRIFIED.  Ugh.  Kids are the worst. 

I was less of a bitchface in high school, and I'm still close with my core group of friends from back in the day.  It helps that even though a lot of my friends moved away, their families are still in Akron, so they visit whenever they are in town.  These ladies are awesome because even if we don't talk for 6 months, we can sit down to dinner and gab like no time has passed at all.  I wasn't able to keep this kind of relationship with my college or grad school best friends, mostly because we are all from different places and FB wasn't a thing yet when we were in school.  A few years later and I think we would have kept in better touch.  My friendship strategy in my 20's was basically to make a group of friends at whatever school/job I was in, go to a different school/job, get entirely new group of friends, never speak to the old ones again.  This is so weird to me now, but that's more or less how it went. 

So now, on to adult friendships.  Making friends when a) you work in a place whose core demographic is old white dudes b) you live in a town that everyone leaves (so so true, David Giffels), c) you are married and d) you have small children is SO FREAKING HARD.  I guess I have always had friends as an adult, and usually I'm closer to one of those friends than anyone else, but I haven't had a true "best friend" since high school.  I wish someone had told me to do a better job of hanging on to relationships back when I was in school...that female friendships are far superior than anything I had going with whatever dude I was dating at the time...that it really sucks when you have no sisters and no clear frontrunner for your maid of honor...that if your best friend is the person you married, you have no one to bitch to ABOUT the person you married, especially when marriage is hard and shit gets real...that powerful women make the greatest friends.  This is a lesson I plan on DRILLING into my kids - to hold on to their friendships, and to always be kind.  If you don't shine, I don't shine (seriously, listen to Call Your Girlfriend...shine theory needs to be part of the fifth grade you're about to bleed everywhere class curriculum). 

I was really bumming about the lack of a BFF when the girls were smaller and I felt chained to the house and super isolated, right around the time a friendship I previously treasured turned awkward, but in general things are looking up now that I can actually have some semblance of a social life.  I think the most important thing in making new adult lady friends is to say yes when someone invites you, don't be flaky / back out, to not be afraid to be the initiator, to keep lines of communication going (even it it's just a few emojis letting them know you are thinking of them), and to support them no matter what.  While I still haven't found the magical formula to find a ride or die lady BFF (yet), this strategy has resulted in me getting closer to my book club ladies and lovely coworker lunch buddies (I still don't know how to make friends I don't read or work with, haha).  Annnnd now this is a good segue into the next section...

Man BFFs

...I am also in the process of making a new man BFF (at least that is my plan, anyway).  Which, I am quickly learning, is also just as difficult to navigate as an adult as lady relationships.  Well, at least if you are married.  It's not like I have never had close friendships with a guy before, it's just that my last two serious guy friendships were formed when Justin and I had been dating for maybe a year and therefore he was very aware that if he got weird about it I'd walk out the door. 

Historically, I have had TONS of guy friends.  I think that since I have two brothers and a ball buster smartass personality, it has always been easy for me to be just one of the guys (but I was also enough of a flirt to make it clear that I was NOT just one of the guys).  I wasn't one of those "girls are awful, I refuse to befriend them" people, but guy friendships were definitely easier for me.  And more fun.  Hmm, maybe this is why I consistently fail at lady BFFs, maybe I am just better suited to have a man BFF instead?

Making a man friend now is kind of awkward.  First there is that "What is this guy's deal? Why does he want to hang out?  Is his marriage okay?  Is he the cheating type?" stuff that needs to be sorted out.  Then there is the explaining to the husband that you are now hanging out with some other guy, but not OVER explaining because apparently that means you're cheating and not just overly sensitive to the perceptions created by having a man friend.  Then there is worrying about what the heck HIS wife must be thinking, and trying to figure out how to convey that I'm not a man-stealer.  Maybe I am just overthinking things, I don't know.  Are you the same way when making friends with a member of the opposite sex, or is it just me?  Should I continue to proceed with caution, or just shut up and go with it?  I haven't clicked with someone like this in a long time, it's nice.    

Couple BFFs

As complicated as the man BFF situation can be, I am on the path to finding one of those before Justin and I achieve the holy grail marriage scenario...finding a couple BFF.  I am beginning to think it's simply not possible.  Maybe it's because he and I are two completely different people, maybe it's because SO FREAKING FEW of our friends even bother to get married, and even fewer have kids, maybe we smell funny.  I don't know, but it seems like every time we meet a new couple, one or both of us can't stand one or both of them. 

I will say, however, that we do have some prospects.  There is a couple who sometimes host game nights, and we both REALLY liked them the one time they were both present.  I (shockingly) get along with the guy half and Justin gets along with the girl half, but we both like both of them.  And there are other couples that go to their game nights that also seem like our kind of people.  But the main couple we are trying to befriend is about to have a baby, and we have to find childcare whenever we go there, so it's still a tentative situation.

Justin's best friend also has a lady friend that seems really lovely, and he now has custody of his last lady friend's kids, who are conveniently two girls that are our girls' ages.  So if he hangs onto that relationship that is a strong candidate. 

Basically, I just wish life was like a movie and we had a ton of couple friends with kids and we could all, I don't know, go camping together and drink around the fire while our kids entertain each other and get muddy and go swimming and climb trees and stuff.  But realistically I will settle for ONE other couple with kids (because our girls need kid BFFs too) and a handful of other adult friends who all like us and like each other.    

ANYWAY, that was a lot of words about BFFs, or the lack thereof.  Do you guys find adult friendships to be as challenging as I do?  Why is this so harrrrrrrrrrrrdddddd?

(PS, I'm trying to write more during my lunch hour, when I'm not wining and dining a potential new friend, haha.)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Easy Makeup for Work

This post is for my lovely reader Martha, who is also a working mom.  She is new to makeup and wanted some recommendations on the basics.  I thought it would be best to show my simplest look and give some high end and low end recommendations in each category.  The goal here is to look professional and put together, but to be able to slap in on your face in 3 minutes or less, and probably with a kid hanging off each leg (welcome to my every day).  I like work makeup that makes me look bright eyed, awake, and fresh faced.  Only the teeniest step above no-makeup makeup, to show that I made an effort (haha). 

Keep in mind that I am neither a professional makeup artist or makeup photographer, I'm just a regular person who likes makeup (and kissy faces).  This is my go-to work look:

 
To get that look, I used the following products (they are dirty because I really do wear them almost every day and they last forever)(crap I forgot to include mascara in the picture):

 
Face:  While I love the bye bye redness, it's a little too dark for my winter face.  Plus I love a good multitasking product like the It Cosmetics CC cream.  It's my moisturizer, my anti-aging serum, my sunscreen, my concealer, and my foundation all in one.  Basically, it's my everything, which is why it is so perfect when I'm short on time.  This is not for the faint of heart though, it gives a ton of coverage and therefore might not be the best option for someone who is brand new to makeup.  I currently set it with the It Cosmetics Celebration Foundation, which I prefer to the Celebration Foundation Illumination formula, but I like Mac Studio Fix better. 
 
I feel like foundation is so personal for everyone and therefore it's hard to make recommendations since I only know what my skin is like.  So instead of telling you all what to do, I am going to strongly recommend that you go to youtube and search for videos for your particular skin type.  Search best [drugstore or high end] foundation for [dry or oily or combination or acne prone] skin and see what other people like for your particular skin type.  Watch them put it on.  Before shelling out for the higher end products, go to Sephora and have them color match you.  Don't be shy about asking for samples of several different brands.  And then go to another Sephora or the same one on a different day and ask for more.  They will give you enough to try out and really know if it works for you.  I'd rather take the extra time before spending my money than wind up hate-wearing a foundation for the next couple of months.  (I never buy and return unless a product is truly defective...I know I'm weird about that). 
 
Cheeks:  I just can't be bothered to highlight and contour on a work day.  And that's definitely out of scope for makeup for beginners.  Even if you are new to makeup you shouldn't skip the blush.  I used to be extremely anti blush because of my rosacea, and I have no idea what I was thinking.  Blush is the quickest way to achieve a fresh pretty face.  For higher end, I think the benefit box blushes are a fantastic starting point for people who are new to makeup.  Hervana (pictured below) is an extremely flattering shade on so many skin tones.  I pretty much wear that or the now discontinued Dallas every day.  I don't personally wear drugstore blushes, but the Milani and Physician's formula blushes look nice and seem to get rated highly on youtube so I would start there. 
 

Eyes:  I think everyone in the world should own the Urban Decay Naked Basics palette.  I am missing the black (Crave) but you can use it to smoke out the look or as a soft pretty eyeliner, the shade on the left (Venus) is a super pretty highlight, and the 4 in the middle are soft, buttery, easily blendable shades.  This palette is so easy to work with that I don't even use brushes, I slap them on with my fingers.  My go to look is W.O.S on the lid, Naked 2 in the crease, and Venus on my inner corner and first third of the eye.  This gives me a nice bright eyed wide awake look and it only takes 15 seconds.  If you must use a brush, I like the $4 Sonia Kashuk fluffy crease brush from Target.  From the drugstore I like to use either a Maybelline color tattoo (like bad to the bronze) or a L'Oreal Infallible Shadow (amber rush, bronzed taupe, iced latte) all over the lid as a single shadow look.  Mally shadow sticks and Laura Mercier caviar sticks are great for that too. 

I forgot to show my mascara.  I'm wearing a Laura Mercier sample I don't particularly like in this pic.  My favorite high end is tarte Gifted and drugstore is L'Oreal Voluminous in the gold tube.  Mascara is totally one of those things you have to play with to find what you like though.  I really don't think anyone needs to fork out the cash for high end, especially since a tube only lasts a few months.

Eyeliner I use the Urban Decay 24/7 glide on pencils for high end and rimmel scandaleyes for drugstore.  I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend just tightlining your upper waterline with black or dark brown for work.  I leave my lower lashline bare so I don't have to worry about going to meetings with smudgy undereyes.  Once you get the hang of tightlining, it's actually error proof and makes a huge difference in your look. It's so subtle and pretty and way more work appropriate than a cat eye (at least where I work). 

Lips: I like to use anything that is half lipstick half gloss, like the Maybelline Color Whispers (the one I have on today is Ravishing Pink).  They are super easy, don't require looking at a mirror, last a long time, they aren't sticky, and they keep lips hydrated in horrid office conditions.  I like Mac and Urban Decay lipsticks, Buxom lip glosses (Dolly is perfection), and tarte lipsurgences too. 

Other tips: When you are first getting into makeup, it helps if you have a clear goal in mind.  I didn't really care about makeup until my rosacea got out of control, so the first thing I focused my spending on was finding my holy grail foundation and powder and learning how to hide my redness.  Others might focus on concealing undereyes or filling in brows instead.  Those aren't really big concerns of mine, so they aren't what I used in this look.  I've talked about concealer here before, but if I were to buy a drugstore today it would be the Maybelline Fit Me concealer, and for high end I'd pick the Nars creamy concealer.  Both seem to be universally loved on youtube and have a good color selection.  My holy grail eyebrow pencil is the Anastasia brow wiz; from the drug store I've used and liked the Revlon Brow fantasy but honestly nothing really compares to the Anastasia for me.  In an ideal world, I'd conceal and do my brows before work, but I rarely have time for that. 

What is your go to work makeup look?  I'm also curious how long you guys spend on your makeup before work...less than 5 minutes like me, or do you take your time?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Winter 2015 Day in the Life: Work Day Edition

I wasn't so good about participating in Laura's Day in the Life series last year, and my goal is to hit every season this year.  Ideally I would even like to do both a work day and a weekend day for each season, but let's not get all crazy just yet. 

I'm 35, Justin is 32, Adriana is 5 1/3, and Lucia is 3 1/2.  We don't currently have any pets or houseguests.  We live and work in Akron, OH.  Today is February 4, 2015.  I went to bed around 10 the night before (after watching John Wick with Justin, which I do recommend), and neither kid woke up in the middle of the night (WOOHOOOOO). 

I woke up at 6:00 when Justin's alarm went off, and again at 6:03 when mine did.  I had taken a shower and dried my hair the night before, so I thought I would close my eyes for a bit.  I then woke up at 6:40 when Justin turned the shower on and began mentally stressing out over the time.  Adriana also woke up from the shower noise and crawled into bed with me.  Then Lucia started sobbing "I thought you LOVED ME Adriana, why did you leeeeeeeeeeeave" and my morning officially began.

I didn't remember it was supposed to be a DITL until around 7:15 or so.  By that time I had already chosen an outfit I hate, washed my face with my #sampledout samples of the day, brushed my teeth and hair and helped the kiddos do the same.  The mornings go a lot smoother if I just let them pick out their outfits themselves, but Lucy always gets about halfway done and then starts FREAKING OUT because she hates the way something feels against her skin (usually socks, this time it was a dress and then she hated the shirt I picked).  She refused to get dressed until I yelled, then we both felt crappy.  This is basically an every morning occurrence.  3 is fun. 

We were running late so I slapped on the minimal amount of makeup I could get away with...benefit erase paste, IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness, Urban Decay lip pencil in Naked, Laura Mercier caviar stick in Cocoa, and pixi mascara.  I basically look like I have no makeup on when I'm done; I just de-rocasea-ed myself and made my eyes look a touch more awake. 

Also...check out those forehead wrinkles.  33 was the year of the crow's feet, and 35 is the year of the deeeeeeeeeep forehead lines thanks to a lifetime of eyebrow raising.  I think I might get my elevens this year too (right now I just have a one, haha).  Note to self to get some frownies when I am off my no buy.


While I was putting my face on, the girls ate some bananas and took turns crying and being cute.  Adriana bumped her arm on the doorknob when I was taking their picture, so I guess I can't say that no children were harmed in the making of this DITL.  Lucia was just being a butt about having her picture taken. 


We were on track to be in the realm of "on time", and then 1) Lucia sharted and required an outfit change, and 2) I had to search around for my keys.  We have a keyhook, I just suck at using it and then it's scramble time.  Some day I will get my act together.  Sigh.  It was 7:39 before we got in the car; the latest we can get in the car and have a chance of being on time is about 7:30.



Lucia was a grump about putting her coat on, so she used it as a blanket instead. It was 29 degrees today which is practically summer in Ohio, so I wasn't too worried about it.  Plus my car heats up hella fast. 

The girls were super chatty this morning, telling me about what they are learning at school.  It is tooth week, so Adriana told me about a story where the kids got to pick what kind of animal teeth they would want to have.  Adriana wanted shark teeth, then she told me what every single other kid in her class picked.  Then we started talking about the time we found shark teeth at the beach, and Lucia basically recounted our entire vacation in amazing detail.  Remember when we built a giant sandcastle but we didn't have any water so we had to bring a bucket to the ocean and get some water?  Remember how I ate a lot of Cheetos and they were so yummy?  Remember how I had my birthday at the beach?!!  Then we started talking about what kind of birthday parties the kids want this year - a favorite topic of conversation for Lucia, who has been asking for a clown birthday party since she turned 3.  Her teacher doesn't like clowns, so now she is thinking she might want a Cinderella party.  Then both girls thought maybe an Ariel party.  Then Lucy went back to Cinderella and Adriana landed on Jasmine and Aladdin.  Their little brains (and mouths) just never stop, haha.  I love it. 


We pulled into daycare at 7:52, but I took the time to check out some kiddo artwork.  Lucy had spent the entire car ride home last night going on and on about the hearts on her wall; she was SO PROUD of them!  Then I checked out the tooth fairy drawings in Adriana's room.  She was the only kid who wrote "tooth fairy" next to hers instead of her name.  She LOVES to write words and is always asking me how to spell things. 



The girls sat down for breakfast; waffles and milk today.  Lucy told the teacher her tummy still hurt, oops.  Thank goodness I brought in extra undies and pants, I am guessing there might be a repeat performance of this morning's sharting incident.  Hopefully I won't have to come and get her later.  Selfies and lots of hugs and kisses, then I was on my way to work.  It was 8:00 on the dot when I got in my car...if only I could teleport I'd be at work on time!

I called Justin on the drive to work since we barely talked this morning.  In fact, I think the only thing he said to me was "I have to go brush the snow off our cars" and I am not even sure if I said anything to him at all.  Funny because we are usually good at AT LEAST saying goodbye and I love you.  But we got to say both on the phone so all is well. 


I pulled into the parking deck at 8:12.  One of the things that drives me nuts about working downtown is all of the extra time it takes to get from my car to my desk.  I have to drive through 5 floors of the parking deck, walk down the stairs and through the lobby, dig through my purse to get my badge to swipe in at the security desk, stand in a long elevator line, and wait for at least 5 other people to get off the elevator before me, since I'm on the 17th floor.  It was 8:21 before I actually got to my desk.  When I think about the extra 9 minutes twice a day, 5 days a week, I get really angry.  AN HOUR AND A HALF EVERY SINGLE WEEK JUST TO GET IN AND OUT OF THE BUILDING.  My last job I'd park, walk in and be at my desk in 40 seconds. 



My cube is a mess right now, but it sure is nice to come in to some beautiful flowers!  Thanks, hubby!

When I got in my boss wanted to talk about how she felt like I should reduce the number of hours I marked as vacation when the girls were sick, since I did work from home a bit.  I love her. 


I need some breakfast before I can be productive, so even though I came in super late I fixed myself a shake before diving in.  2 scoops of Arbonne chocolate protein powder, 1 scoop of Arbonne fiber, ice and water from allllllll the way down on the 3rd floor.  I tried to take a pic of the 3rd floor vending area, but I got weird looks.


I also stopped for some bathroom selfies, as one does on DITL day.  And was totally busted by yet another coworker.  Oops.  Today I'm wearing an outfit I really hate, but it's been a while since I did laundry.  This is an Ashlyn shirt from the Limited (I hate button downs and refuse to tuck them in), elastic waistband pants from New York & Co. (which are comfy but too big and horribly unflattering in the hip and crotch area), Anne Klein wedge booties (which have salt and snow on them - I HATE WINTER), and my fitbit in it's new Tory Burch necklace home.  My work phone case is the  limited edition Nina Garcia otterbox, which I think you can buy from Best Buy still.  I started my period today and already feel gross from that, so it sucks that I picked an outfit that makes me feel so un-cute.  But that's how it goes every month, right?  It was like 8:45 before I was actually ready to work, oops. 


I settled in for a nice long conference call from 9-12.  It was this call, if you really must know.  Feel free to go read all about how Tier 1 units are compensated in PJM's markets! 

Screenshot from the meeting, so you can all be SUPER JEALOUS of my life:


I have 2 must haves for long calls...a manicure and a cup of tea.  I do pay attention and take notes and all that good stuff in between, I promise.  I am trying to not paint colors on my nails and to instead use the Nailtiques Formula 2 to strengthen them.  I have really shitty nails, they are super thin and peely and have lots of ridges.  Supposedly this works wonders, but I have only been trying it for a few days.  The Murad youth builder hand cream is also pretty new; it was gifted to me as part of the Murad Brand Ambassador program.  It smells divine and it has AHA in it, so it's something I would definitely repurchase.  As is the Julep cuticle oil.  Their pedi cream and their cuticle oil are two products that I will continue to buy as long as they are selling them - both are absolutely fantastic. 


The cup of tea is Arbonne's detox tea.  As you can tell, I am still doing "detox lite"...so not really following the 28 day detox to a T, but still drinking the shakes, tea, fizz sticks etc. in hopes of losing more weight.  I have lost 8-9 pounds in the time I lost 13 last time, and the slower pace means WAY more energy and less crabbiness on my part so it's working really well for me.  I'm using my Keepcup from the January Popsugar Must Have box, which I love. 

No buy confession...I only lasted 3 days of being unsubscribed from Arianna Huffington's quarterly box.  When we were on a conference call break I checked MSA and Liz has full spoilers for #ARI03 and I am SO GLAD I resubscribed a few days ago.  I am going to return a $100 January Neiman Marcus purchase to make up for it, and try to figure out what else I can do to restore my no buy karma.  But I'm really happy with this decision.  I am reading Arianna Huffington's book Thrive right now and I feel like everything she has to say about life balance and the importance of sleep and mindfulness just really speaks to me right now.  The no buy is going very well otherwise...

My call ended at 12:15.  Normally I either eat lunch at my desk or go walking, especially when I show up to work late.  Akron has a system of tunnels and skywalks so you can actually make it pretty far through downtown without having to go outside for more than a 15 second blast at the very beginning.  But today I was feeling crappy (thanks, period!) so I actually went home for lunch.  This was maybe the second time ever since I started this job.  I really needed it though. 



I made myself a giant plate of nachos...one of those things where you put down too many chips because it's the end of the bag, then too much shredded beef because it's the last of the leftovers, then too much sour cream and salsa to balance it all out, and at the end of it you're like WHOA.  But I ate the whole fucking thing while watching some Hart of Dixie, and it was amazing. 

New coversheets for the TPS reports

My afternoon was a blur of productivity.  I had to get ready for a 2:00 meeting, then had the meeting, then worked on action items from the meeting.  Good times. 


Around 4:45 I put together a package for the lovely Bianca Jade, then I headed to the post office to send it and the aforementioned Neiman Marcus return before picking the kiddos up from daycare.  Lucy put her coat on with no problems today, which was a lovely change of pace. 


It was about 5:20 before I got out of the post office, then 5:40 before I got out of daycare, so we weren't home until 6.  That is a fairly normal time to for us to get home since I rarely leave work right at 5. 


Thankfully we have discovered the wonderful world of Wildtree freezer meals, and Justin has been a total help with both prepping them and getting them started when he gets home before us.  Tonight's dinner was something like "Lemon Rosemary Chicken and Sundried Tomato Orzo" from the Everyday Meals freezer workshop.  I can't remember if I mentioned this here already or not, but I am now a Wildtree AND an Arbonne consultant (just for the discounts for myself and family/friends, not to make money).  So basically I love pyramid schemes. 


The kids played with their toys while I opened my packages and watched youtube (that lovely lady in the bottom right is from MakeupTIA, a recent discovery).  It was a 3 package day - I got some Crest goodies from Bzzagent and 2 items I ordered with an Amazon gift card I got for Christmas - a tweezerman manicure set and a jonathan adler zebra dish I have wanted ever since it was featured in last year's popsugar / Neiman Marcus box.  Then we all ate our dinner in the living room like heathens.  Note that Lucia is now pantsless; we all have the habit of whipping our clothes off the second we get through the door.  I typically put on leggings and a t shirt, hubs hangs out in his boxers, and the girls take clothes off and put different clothes on basically all night.  Real life, yo. 


After dinner Justin went upstairs to game while I snuggled with the kiddos.  It's pretty typical for us to give each other the night off on the weekdays (weekends are family time).  We go through phases where we hang out all of the time or where we want alone time all of the time.  We just finished watching Dexter together so we are both in alone time mode.  I get to hang out with my friend Katie this week, so this night was Justin's turn. 

I wasn't up for playing with dolls, so we watched the Boxcar Children on Netflix.  I LOVED LOVED LOVED that book at a kid, but as an adult I just have SO MANY QUESTIONS.  Why had they never met the grandfather?  How did their parents die, and why were they able to escape so easily?  What made the grandfather suddenly decide he wanted to be a part of their lives?  I don't exactly remember how the book goes, but in the movie he was just like "My bad, I hope you forgive me, here's a werther's and let's play checkers."  And, as Shalini pointed out, wtf is up with them stealing the boxcar and moving it to their new backyard?  I feel like logistically that would be a nightmare. 


Around 7:45 the girls went to the playroom to entertain themselves while I hopped in the shower.  I had a massage scheduled at 8:30 so I needed to shave my legs and pits.  Because my masseuse does PIT WORK.  Yep, that was one of the first things she ever said to me - do you mind if I do a little pit work?  It is surprisingly nice, I can actually feel tension leaving my body when she does it.  It's nice enough that I forgive her other weird techniques, like the time she PULLED THE SHEET OVER MY WHOLE HEAD AND PROCEEDED TO FLAP MY BUTTCHEEKS TOGETHER FOR 5 MINUTES.  Oh, Massage Envy, you have the weirdest employees.  But they all give great massages if you can make it through the weirdness. before the massage I did my skincare routine with all samples for #sampledout and read some Thrive in the waiting room.

I got home around 10:00 and Justin was already asleep, so I joined him.  Another 10 pm bedtime with no kid wakeups, I might actually be well rested this week!!!

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?