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!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

IT Cosmetics IT's All About You! Review + QVC TSV Enabler Alert

As you may know, I have always been a giant fan of IT Cosmetics - Bye Bye Redness changed my life!  Since that post, the IT Cosmetics PR team has sent me some products so I can share them with you guys.  I almost always end up purchasing the goodies with my own money as well, this set included.  I love this brand!

While I am disclaiming things, I should apologize in advance for the state of my eyebrows.  I'm trying to get up the courage to wax them myself and keep chickening out, so I should probably just resign myself to too thin brows and go back to my aesthetician.   Also, I totally suck at makeup photography, sorry about that! 

So!

The IT's All About You! kit is an awesome deal - for $59.96 (or 3 payments of $23.90) you get concealer, a highlighter/blush/bronzer palette, powder foundation, a brow pencil, and a double sided brush.  You can sign up for auto-delivery and get everything but the brush every 90 days for $49.54.  I usually do auto-delivery and then change out what shade I get based on the season or skip a shipment or cancel if I am not running low.  This TSV is available on Saturday, June 21. 

First up:  the Silverplush Heavenly Luxe Dual-Ended Completion Perfection Brush (omg these names kill me).  If you have never experienced the joy that is an IT cosmetics brush, you need to get yourself to Ulta and play with them.  They are the softest, nicest brushes I own, and they hold up to washing perfectly.  LOVE.

Next is the Celebration Foundation in the shade medium beige.  I have been out in the sun too much this year so this actually matches me, and it's probably a decent bronzer for my lily white winter skin.  I have only tried the Illumination formula before so this is new to me - I actually like it much, much, MUCH better.  This is one of very few powder foundations in the universe that does a decent job of covering my rosacea on its own.  I don't even wear MAC Studio Fix alone usually, at least not to work.  I am so happy someone with rosacea created a makeup line, it's like every product just WORKS for me.
 
Bare skin on the left; Celebration Foundation on the right.  Don't worry, I did my hair before I went to work.  I just always do makeup first. 
 
 
I was intrigued by the CC+ Radiance Palette as soon as I saw those little color correcting blobby things in what I initially thought was a highlighter.  That is actually a brightening, color correcting finishing powder that is supposed to go all over your skin, but I prefer to just use it to brighten key areas since it does give off a little bit of a weird cast if used on my cheeks.  The blush and bronzer are gorgeous, and everything blends like a dream. 

 
I have gone through several Brow Powers before, but this one is a little different due to the flat, wide shape of the tip (it's usually pointier, like a pencil).  The new tip is a nice touch; I can do my brows in two seconds now.  The color also seems a bit different, it looks a little more natural on me than it did before.  This is a universal pencil, so if you push hard it's dark but if you use a light touch even blondes can use it. 
 
 
Now I will make some stupid faces so you can see the makeup.  I'm only wearing Brow Power in the right pics. 
 
 
The Bye Bye Undereye is too dark for me so I'll give it to a family member.  I have several tubes of this stuff and I think it's great.  It does take some getting used to because it's a thick formula and you have to use only the teeniest amount and set it if you don't want it to crease, but it has amazing coverage so it's worth the fuss to me.
 

I have been wearing this stuff all week and one of the things I like the best is that it wears off in a really natural, pretty way.  This is me after a good 12 hours of wear.  Note that my rosacea is peeking through but definitely still masked, and that the makeup isn't patchy or broken up at all, just faded. 

I ordered this set on autodelivery, and cancelled my other IT set with the Celebration Foundation Illumination in it.  This one is definitely a better fit for me - I'm really enjoying it!

Update: To answer Nicole's question, the foundation does have zinc oxide, and all of the products have skincare ingredients in them! 


Monday, June 16, 2014

Arbonne 28 Day Detox Overview

UPDATE: Be sure to be on the lookout for my week 1 update; I have learned more about the diet (why we avoid what we avoid) from the facebook group!

Some of you expressed an interest in my experience with Arbonne's 28 Day Detox, so I plan to do this intro post, an end of week post each week I'm on it, and maybe my thoughts after it's all over.  I might review some products along the way as well.  Just to be clear, I am not trying to sell anyone Arbonne.  I am a consultant, but just because I wanted the 35% discount for myself and friends/family. 

Any posting here is just because I'm viewing this as a fun science experiment.  I am really interested to see how my body responds to the various products and whether it's worth the hype (and steep price, even with 35% off).  I'm also blogging about it because I enjoyed E's posts and all of the other posts I read - no two people have the same experience, so I figure I'll put mine out into the world too. 

My initial thoughts on the program (and it's totally okay if you disagree!)

I should probably say right up front that I think the whole concept of "detoxing" is bullshit.  I have no reason to believe that my liver and kidneys aren't doing the job for me.  I get really cringey when people in the various facebook groups (I'm in the June 2 and June 16 groups) start talking about how we are being poisoned by this or that and how all of these "toxins" are in our fat cells and that's why we have no energy and can't lose weight.  I don't know of a single credible medical professional who would agree with some of these claims. 

I am only 1/4 of a doctor (med school dropout, woohoo!), but I think that the reason this plan works is that it puts people in nutritional ketosis.  Compared to the standard American diet (which people love to call SAD, but it makes me happy - yay food!), it's super high protein (80+ grams if you work out) and super low carb (most of the allowed carbs are all fiber, and you are only supposed to fill up 1/8 of your plate with carbs). 

I personally don't think gluten is evil or that people in general have anywhere NEAR as many food allergies / intolerances as they claim.  I don't think there is a ton of benefit (to me, not to the animals) from only eating cage free animals, and GMOs or hard to read ingredients don't typically scare me.  I don't mind a little science in my food and skincare. 

It's all about moderation, people.  If you normally eat tons of crap and don't work out, and then you suddenly pay close attention to your nutrition for 28 days, you will lose weight, plain and simple.  Considering that I prepped for the detox by hitting up Five Guys, Coldstone, and Church's Chicken, I fully expect that replacing 2 meals with shakes and eating a healthy dinner is going to have a big impact on my appearance and my general well being.  I also think it will be better for my family as a whole, since it will force us to eat out less and to cook more.  I actually do make really healthy dinners when I cook, but when I get busy with work and the kids, meal prep is one of the first things that goes out the window.  I am ready for a lifestyle change.     

Finally, I am excited to see if this actually helps my rosacea.  This diet eliminates almost every single rosacea trigger, so even if nothing else works out, I will know once and for all if avoiding triggers is a worthwhile endeavor.  I did get some Arbonne skincare, but I think I'm going to hold off until after the detox to test it so there aren't any confounding factors. 

The products

Arbonne products are vegan and gluten-free, and are developed "with premium blends of vitamins, minerals, botanicals, superfood antioxidants, enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics."

  
The 28 Day Detox uses products from the 30-Day Feeling Fit kit, which is not at all confusing (omg).  The kit includes 2 protein shake mixes (chocolate and/or vanilla), 2 energy fizz sticks (citrus and/or pomegranate),  2 fit chews (chocolate, caramel, lemon, or other seasonal flavors), 2 herbal detox teas, and 1 daily fiber boost. 


You can also add the 7 day cleanse for week 3 of the program.  I got it in the name of trying to follow the program to a T, but basically I think I'll be pooping out $50.  You're welcome for that image.  Some people add Digestion Plus (probiotics) to their shakes as well, but I didn't purchase it. 

The 30-day feeling fit kit plus the 7-Day cleanse ran a whopping $272.11 after my discount, but including those pesky taxes and S&H.  The S&H on Arbonne is INSANE.  I have no idea how much I spend in 28 days for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and diet coke, but if I assume $5 for breakfast and $7 for lunch, I would have spent $336, so this may actually be less expensive than business as usual.  And I will save more money by swapping or skipping items next round; it's customizable. 

The avoid list

While doing the detox, I have to avoid dairy, gluten, soy, peanuts/PB, sugar, honey, maple syrup, artificial sweeteners, coffee, alcohol, all fruit except limes, lemons, green apples, and berries, pork, farm-raised fish, non cage-free eggs, non free-range chicken, non grass-fed beef, white potatoes, corn, nitrates, MSG, and vinegar.  Whew!

I am most worried about diet coke, but I cut wayyyy back the last 2 weeks so I didn't have to go cold turkey. 

Arbonne doesn't spend a lot of time telling you WHY you are avoiding certain ingredients, but I still think it's mainly to get you into ketosis and to see if you have food allergies.

A typical day

You are supposed to go 4 hours between meals, so I decided my shake times are 10 and 2 and dinner is at 6.  You aren't supposed to eat after 7. 

Wake up: Detox tea, fizz stick
Breakfast: Shake + fiber
Snack: Fit chew and/or 8-10 almonds or 3-4 berries
Lunch: Shake
Snack: Fit chew and/or 8-10 almonds or 3-4 berries
Dinner: A fist size of lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, high fiber carb, and a small amount of healthy fat.  The cheat sheet shows 1/2 your plate being veggies, 1/4 protein, 1/8 carbs, 1/8 fat.  No seconds. 

If I work out intensely for an hour, I can have a recovery shake in addition to all of the above, within 30 min of working out.  It's basically a regular shake + half a banana + a serving of healthy fat.  I might just eat the half banana with some almond butter on it and skip the shake if it's too close to meal time.  We'll see.

I have an Arbonne pinterest board that has a ton of great dinner options.  Some of them will require substitutions to comply with the avoid list though.  I'll be including which specific meals I eat in my weekly write-ups, since that is what I was most interested in when I was reading every Arbonne detox post in the history of the internet.  Well, that and before/after pics, obvs. 

Wish me luck!! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Enabler Alert: Le Metier de Beaute Vault VIP Subscription

Okay, so I realize I post many things on here that aren't for everyone, and this one probably has the smallest group of people that would actually be interested because of the horrifying up front cost.  But my friend Laura recently spent a butt ton on LMdB products and loves it, and she alerted me that this sub was accepting enrollments for a short period of time like the devil woman she is.  And now I'm alerting you, like the devil woman I am.   The first box ships in August, and spots are limited (and if they don't fill, they are closing them 7/18/14). 

I have only been aware that LMdB existed since they were featured in the Nieman Marcus PopSugar Must Have special edition box.  All I really knew is that it is a luxury brand sold at Nordstrom, Saks, and Nieman Marcus.  I believe it's only at Nieman Marcus now (at least online), which is a little concerning, but I know the brand has a bit of a cult following due to the cool packaging of the kaleidoscopes, so I don't think they are going anywhere.


The 2014 Beauty Vault VIP program is $348 for 12 months, which is A LOT OF FREAKING MONEY.  I wouldn't even blink if I was signing up to pay $29 a month, but asking for it up front is tough.  The smart ladies at MUT pointed out that you can use PayPal bill me later and spread it over 6 months though, which is a great idea if you are super interested but divorcing over makeup seems a bit silly. 

The idea of the program is that you are building a collection of LMdB products (mostly full sized) over the course of the year...there is a good mix of color cosmetics, skincare, and nail polish, and you occasionally get pre-release sneak peeks, lab previews, or vault exclusives.  Shipping is free. 

This is what everyone got from August through June in the first year of the program - they still have one month to go!  If you want to see gorgeous photos, check out Glamorable.  I read tons of reviews before buying, but Anastasia's were my favorite.   

Daily Refresh Tonic ($50)
True Colour Eye Shadow in Peachy Keen ($30)
True Colour Eye Shadow in Goldstone ($30)
Peau Vierge Anti-Aging Pressed Powder - most appear to have received Shade #2 ($75)
Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer - most appear to have received Light/Medium ($95)
Ultra Hydration Eye Mask Duo ($18.75)
Nail Lacquer - shades vary ($18)
Nail Lacquer - shades vary ($18)
Color Core Lipstick - shades vary ($32)
Dual Action Makeup Remover ($32)
Kaleidoscope Face kit in Cheeky Chic ($95)
Peau Vierge Lash Growth Serum ($95)
Dualistic Eyelash Curler ($18)
Dualistic Eye Pencil - shades vary ($18)
Peau Vierge Dark Spot Corrector ($125)
True Colour Crème Eye Shadow in Starry Night ($32)
True Colour Crème Eye Shadow in Champagne Shimmer ($32)
Kaleidoscope Eye or Lip Kit - shades vary ($95)
Signature Red Lipstick ($25)
Precision Liquid Eye Liner ($42)
Kabuki Brush ($85)

By my count, 11/12 of the way through the program they are up to $1060.75 worth of product.  I would say this is comparable to a box like PopSugar which is a little more expensive ($40ish) but the per box value is more consistent ($100-125ish). 

I like the variety of products they have received so far, and am impressed by the fact that so many people seem to love the program.  I also really like the packaging and the fact that they include handwritten notes (sometimes from the CEO or COO!!) - there is a very personal feel to this service.  I am super intrigued by their proprietary couches de couleurs technique, and by their unique approach to beauty.  Many people on MUT were disappointed with the crème eye shadows, but I thought the email response shared by jesemiaud on MUT was fascinating:

To answer your question, the Cream Shadows are fashion items, and they're meant to be a little slick to give the eyes a dewy, sexy, and imperfect appearance. The product should be used very lightly, only in tiny amounts. The softest touch over or under powder shadows add mystery to the eye. They are not meant to be used in the crease of the eye(where oil penetrates too quickly), or in the inner membrane, or in substantial amounts. However, the look is meant to be slightly undone.
For more long wearing looks, we use the Dualistic Eye Pencil as base, or applied over shadow. These pencils come in basic black(Noir), matte brown(Sequoia), shimmering bronze(Tamarack), and beige(Champagne). The Dualistic formula is more durable for real life, the pots are meant for fashion and fun.

All the best,
LMdB

Many people were kind of perplexed by this, but I read it and was like "wannnnnnttttt".  Slightly undone = right up my alley, as I will forever be a 90's grunge girl in my heart.  And who doesn't need more fashion and fun in life?  I always love to try stuff that is like nothing else I've tried - to me, that is the whole point of a subscription service. 

So now for some negatives...they send out things like powder and concealer in one shade.  People do not come in one shade.  Customer service was really inconsistent when people complained...people were told to "be generous and give it to a friend", while others were told replacements were on the way.  They are supposedly fixing this in the next round, but I wasn't asked any of this information when I signed up.  I also think it's a wee bit crazy that this company came out of nowhere (they have only been around since 2006) and we are supposed to buy that it's luxury (and worth luxury prices) just because they said so.  I really, really, really hope it's as good as the pricing suggests! 

That being said, what better way to decide if it's worth the hype than to try out the products for a year?  I am more excited for this than any box ever. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Latest Model

Just a quick Lucia story that made me smile...

I was in Columbus for hearings all last week, and of course the air conditioning went wonky the night I left.  Justin coped by buying this fancy fan, which he "specifically bought with me in mind" because it has little febreeze cartriges to freshen a room.  He knows I hate having air blow on me, so I guess he thought if it was scented air it would make it okay?  I don't know.  It is nice, as far as fans go though, and it does make the room smell like yummy laundry.  Just don't point it in my direction. 

Anyway, Lucy is pretty enamored of the new fan; Justin sent me a video of her parked in front of it, oohing an ahhing at the scent.  When I got home, she dragged me in the living room, tripping over her words because she was SO EXCITED. "Mama, mama, look at our new fan!  Look at our new fan, Mama, it's the latest model!!!"

This cracked me up.  Where the heck does a 2 year old get "it's the latest model" from?

It took a few days, then it suddenly hit me.  I'll throw in some spaces to give you a chance to figure it out.  (Scroll down)


























OF COURSE. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

MIL Saga: Part 9 - 2 Steps Forward, 2 Steps Back

I haven't talked about my MIL in a long time, but that's because there really hasn't been anything to tell in the past couple of years.  I think we only saw her once in 2013 (the annual family 4th of July party)...she skipped the girls' birthday party and my texts for numerous holidays, always with cute pics of the girls attached.  Justin was pretty annoyed when he found out I had been texting her, since he felt like the ball was completely in her court after no acknowledgement of any of our birthdays.  Given that I could go to her name in my phone and see about 10 consecutive unreplied to texts, I agreed to stop texting after Easter and that we would just see them at the 4th of July party and keep them on the Christmas card list. 

Imagine my surprise when she texted me on mother's day.  I was completely UNsurprised when Justin instantly called her in response.  He talks a big game, but I know he is very hurt that she doesn't make any effort with him or with the girls.  As usual, we overreacted to her effort and went all out.  I whispered to tell her that we would get her tickets to Adriana's dance recital for mother's day if she was interested, and we invited her to dinner the next weekend to pick the tickets up. 

If any of you have actually read through the MIL Saga in all of it's glory, you would know that I have planned approximately 25 meals for this lady that didn't work out.  She tends to reschedule plans at least 10 times before they actually happen, and on multiple occasions this was done with less than an hour notice.  This never really stops me from cleaning the house from top to bottom or from putting a lot of money and effort into the meal, because that's just how I am.  This was the first time that I cast aside my optimism and made something that would specifically work for leftovers, which worked out well because...

wait for it...

moments after walking through the door, MIL announced that they would be leaving to go to another family member's house in a half hour.  I mentioned before that she has health issues and tends to use those to explain her lack of interest in her kid and grandkids, but that excuse clearly didn't apply here.  It almost seemed like she intentionally planned to spend as little time with us as possible, despite not having seen us since JULY 2013.  So bizarre.  The kids were happy to see her since she came bearing gifts, and Justin was happy to see her because she asked to babysit once a month.  Maybe I'm a bitch, but this was not enough to make up for 4 years of her not caring, or even for the decision to not stay for dinner.  Because seriously, even if something was somehow lost in translation and she didn't realize we invited her for dinner, who doesn't agree to stay after realizing the table is set, the salad is out, and food is in the oven?  She and I just come from different planets. 

So anyway, she wants to babysit because parental supervision is apparently unacceptable. We had just been invited to a work thing for Justin, so we threw a date out there despite my misgivings about it.  We gave them the tickets, and said we looked forward to seeing them at the recital.

Would you be surprised if I told you we got a text that she didn't feel well a couple of hours before the recital?  Another $30 down the drain.  My mom a) also has autoimmune issues and b) had surgery the week of the recital, but you bet your ass she was there.  As she has been for literally hundreds of days in their lives.  Just sayin'. 

So this weekend was babysitting day...Justin got promises in advance that she wouldn't cancel, and she didn't.  There was one conversation that brought out the mama bear in me though.  MIL was asking about the bedtime routine and expressing disappointment that the girls were getting their bath that morning.  I could tell from Justin's end of the phone conversation that she was getting insistent about it, and my blood began to boil.  That might seem a little odd, but the thing that bugs me the most about the way she interacts with us is that when she DOES actually spend time with the girls, it's like she has this mental checklist of things that will create a "grandma moment" for her, and she always gets mad if the way I parent my kids interferes with her ability to have that moment (like me not letting my NURSING INFANT spend the night).  I just feel like she has not acted ONE BIT like a grandma, and I don't feel like I should have to alter my routine so she can check one off her bucket list and ignore us for another year.  Plus the kids have eczema and they have a complicated skincare routine, so no.  I'll bathe them myself, and you can do it after you have stayed in our lives long enough for me to trust that you do actually have one iota of maternal instinct in your body. 

It went FINE though, she didn't bathe them again or anything.  She did likely open some closed doors and look around (our bedroom for sure), but that is more of a me issue than a her issue (I am SUPER WEIRD about privacy and having people in my house when I'm not there always makes me anxious, especially if everything isn't 100% perfect).  So we now have one successful babysitting event under the belt.  Justin said if we get 5 more in a row, she stops being a free babysitter and starts being grandma.  I'm guessing it will only take 1 more for him, and probably 7-10 for me.  Not showing up for the girls' birthday was kind of the end of the line for me, to be honest.  I don't give a crap if she doesn't acknowledge mine, since there have been times I was late on hers (I lost my bday spreadsheet and J never remembers the right date).  Whatever, we are grown adults.  It bothered me a little when she missed Justin's, but mostly because it bothered him and because I'm a mom so I just can't imagine not getting sappy on that day.  But it really frosted my cookies when she missed the girls' birthday and Adriana's recital because THEY ARE JUST KIDS.  I just can't imagine being a grandparent who skips that kind of thing.  And if my illness was truly that debilitating, I would pick up a phone and send a gift.  And maybe a pony.  Because kids are awesome, and they deserve grandparents who are grandparents all of the time, not just when they feel like it.  (In case you are wondering, SFIL is present through all of this, he is just a man of few words - I really like him though). 

Argh.  I am being too harsh, right?  I keep reading this over and going back and forth between "UGH, just let her give them a freaking bath next time, you asshole" and "UGH, I am just so over this, it's too little, too late."  So if you have been with me for a while and are familiar with the saga, let me know if I'm being a dick or if my feelings are appropriate given the history.  I think I have lost perspective.  But I can tell you that I will continue to keep the door open and to keep pushing Justin to be the bigger person, because I was raised that family is family and I would never want to be the one getting in the way of her relationship with J or the girls.  Even if I'm ranty or pissy sometimes. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Eleven Things

I was tagged by the lovely Jessica (who has an adorable brand new baby!!! yay!!!), and you know I'm always up for a good meme.

1) What is your favorite type of cheese?
I love all cheese that does not have mold chunks, it is so hard to pick just one.  When I was a kid I got a zillion shots for allergy testing purposes, and my mom told the doctor to tell me that the one that got all puffy and rashy was a cheese allergy.  I almost cried, and that was a big deal because I never cried in public.  Thankfully that was the shot for "nature", not "cheese".  Whew.  Anyway, if I had to pick just one, I guess I would go with brie.  Mmmmmmm wine and brie.

2) What are you excited about?
Even though I think the whole concept of detoxing is complete and utter bullshit, I am crazy excited to start my Arbonne detox in a few weeks (I'm in Columbus for hearings now so I can't do it any time soon).  Even though the detox aspect is fake science, I think it's going to be a great way to lose weight quickly and to get me in the right mindset to start making healthier choices. I am also hoping it will give me more energy.  Plus I'm tired of thinking and talking about it and just want to DO it. I can't wait!!!

3) How did you celebrate your last birthday?
I had a really great birthday last year; people were way nicer and more generous than they needed to be.  Lots of coworker lunches all week.  The day of I went to book club like a good nerd (my friend N got me a beautiful cake!), then spent time with Justin (he got me a necklace I didn't lose or break all year!)


4) What is on your bedside table?
If I wasn't staying out of town I'd take a picture.  It's very cluttered - there are typically tons of books and tons of diet coke cans.  I am currently reading Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, since any book Elizabeth likes is sure to be a winner.  I have a gigantic Pier 1 lamp that is not really my style anymore.  I have a tray Lucy painted and a bowl Adriana painted (which Lucy smashed a bit), both of which hold jewelry, hair ties, loose change, etc.  I have a bin of my nighttime face and body products on the bottom shelf of my nightstand.


5) What do you order from the movie theater concession stand?
If I don't sneak in Five Guys like the classy broad I am, I'll usually get pretzels and cheese.  Justin and I love cherry ICEEs but the machine is broken 99% of the time, no matter which theater we go to.


6) Do you have a garden?  What's growing?
Nope.  This is one of those things I'd like to do some day, but don't have the time or energy today.  My next outdoor project will be replacing my gorgeous knockout roses that were destroyed by this year's crazy weather and power washing the house.


7) Any summer plans?
I have multiple big cases in OH and PA, so lots of travel for that.  My parents just bought a second house on Portage Lakes(!!!), so I'm guessing we will be spending tons of time helping out there and going out on the boat.  They are putting in a pool so if that is actually happening this summer we will be swimming a lot too.  I'd like to go to Kelley's island at least once.  Finally, we are going to Myrtle Beach in August. 

8) Which TV couple(s) are you rooting for?
Even though I hated Cristina and Owen from Gray's Anatomy for a long time, I was really coming around and then I think they made it pretty clear it's not happening.  I was surprisingly bummed.  I also want Zoe and Wade to work on Hart of Dixie.  The only other shows I'm really watching are Breaking Bad (we are finally on season 5!) and Bachelorette (I would have DEFINITELY been rooting for Eric, the guy who died...so sad).

9) What is the last thing you bought?
Every time I think I have broken my beauty subscription / product addiction, I get more crap I don't need.  Laura and Michelle from MMandLShow did a fabfitfun unboxing, and next thing I knew I was ordering it like the sheep I am.  I have no self control. 


10) What's one thing you are passionate about?
Surprisingly, my job.  I have really been loving it and throwing myself into it lately.  Also my family and marriage equality, since I can't pick just one thing. 

11) What are you grateful for this week?
I am incredibly grateful for my husband.  I know it's not easy for him to solo parent for several weeks at a time when I'm in the middle of a case.  His support (with the help of my parents) has allowed me to do this every single time work asks me to, and I would never be where I am in my career if it weren't for him. 

I tag the following 11 people: Erica, Erica, Erica, Laura, Laura, Kara, April, Megan, Nicole, Shalini, Sara, and Emily.  And of course anyone else who wants to do this and hasn't already.  UPDATE: oops, Megan already did it, which works out because I wanted to tag Heather anyway ;)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Enabler Alert: Sephora Sun Safety and Summer Crushes Kits

So, I have a million other posts I want/need to do, not to mention that I do actually need more sunscreen right this second, but my mom got me a Sephora gift card for mother's day (weird that she buys ME stuff, right?) and Kelly pointed out that ebates is offering 15% cash back for Sephora (and Ulta!) and here I am, buying more Sephora kits.  I want you to join me so we can gab about it and because it benefits the Skin Cancer Foundation (they get $20 from each bag, I think).  If you are a VIB, you can get both kits today, otherwise you have to wait until tomorrow for the Sun Safety kit. 

First up is the Sun Safety kit ($32), which I reviewed last year. 

This Set Contains:
- 0.06 oz Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta® Daily Glow Moisture
- 0.5 oz Peter Thomas Roth Max Sheer All Day Moisture Defense® Lotion
- 0.14 oz Too Faced® Chocolate Soleil Medium/Deep Matte Bronzer
- 0.3 oz Clarins UV Plus HP Multi-Purpose Broad Spectrum SPF 40 Sunscreen
- 0.33 oz Murad® Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15 PA++
- 0.5 oz Tarte™ Brazilliance Skin Rejuvenating Maracuja Self Tanner
- 0.23 oz Stila Stay All Day® 10-in-1 HD Bronzing Beauty Balm Broad-Spectrum SPF 30
- Dr. Dennis Gross™ Alpha Beta® Glow Pad
- 0.15 oz bareMinerals READY Touch Up Veil Broad Spectrum SPF 15 in Translucent
- 1.69 oz St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse
- 0.5 oz Origins A Perfect World™ SPF 25 Age-Defense Moisturizer
- 1 oz Supergoop! Sun-Defying Sunscreen Oil Broad Spectrum SPF 50
- 0.64 oz Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ For Face
- 0.5 oz Algenist Regenerative Anti-Aging Moisturizer SPF 20
- 0.08 oz Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15
- 0.5 oz Ole Henriksen Protect the Truth SPF 50+ Broad Spectrum UV Protection
- Travel bag
 
 
The items in bold are repeats from last year, so if you are still working your way through last year's kit, I would say this is not for you.  But if you travel a lot and enjoy trying a ton of fancy shmancy sunscreens, go for it!  The Shiseido and Clarins are particularly nice.  I am pleased to see Algenist and Fresh in here, because I LOVE both items when sampling them in the past but wouldn't purchase them on my own due to the price.  I wish they would let us try a different bronzer, I have like 5 of those little Too Faced guys sitting around.  I don't really use bronzer much, I actually end up using it in my crease as an eyeshadow more than anything, but it would still be nice to try a new brand.  I feel the opposite about the St. Tropez though - I don't self tan, but loved the One Night Only so I wish they included that one again instead.  It is perfect for weddings or special occasions, it gives a really nice natural boost and doesn't make me feel orange or get all over clothes and sheets or do any of the other things that scare me away from self tanner.  Buf if you do self tan, St. Tropez is supposed to be one of the best. 
 
 
I also bought the Summer Crushes kit ($45).  
 This Set Contains:
- 0.5 oz Caudalie Divine Oil
- 0.84 oz Vita Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 Week Tan Mousse in Medium
- Mini tanning mitt
- 1.7 oz Bumble and bumble Surf Spray
- 0.13 oz Lavanila The Healthy Fragrance in Vanilla Coconut
- 1 oz Living Proof® Restore Mask Treatment
- 1 oz Shaveworks™ The Cool Fix™
- 0.1 oz Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25 in Shea Butter & Vitamin E
- 0.33 oz Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum Broad Spectrum SPF 30 PA+++
- 0.33 oz Murad® Essential-C Sun Balm Broad Spectrum SPF 35 PA+++
- 1 oz DERMAdoctor® Shrinking Beauty™
- Travel bag


I am definitely more excited about this one than the Sun Safety kit, as there is a lot more variety.  This is perfect for people who like the concept of the Sun Safety but could not possibly use that much sunscreen.  The Caudalie Divine Oil works on face, body, and hair, so it would be great to travel with.  Even though I don't tan, I have heard a lot of good things about Vida Liberata so I'm probably actually going to try it.  Wish me luck.  I have also head a ton of great reviews of the Jack Black lip balm.  Does anyone know if it's Jack Black of Nacho Libre fame?  I keep forgetting to look it up.  If so, that's really bizarre. 

Annnnnnnnnnnnyway, I just wanted to give you the heads up if you haven't already heard, because sunscreen is IMPORTANT!