Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Winter 2014 Day In the Life (Work Day)

I missed the deadline for Laura's Day in the Life roundup, but I still want to participate since these are some of my favorite posts to look back on.  I also think I am going to start doing 2 posts per season, a work day and a weekend, since they are just so different.  Hopefully the work posts aren't too boring, ha!  I put a little more background info in this one since I'll be showing you my work day more often.  

Edited to add - Adriana (rhymes with piranha) turned 4 in October; Lucia (loo-see-uh, also known as Lucy or Goosie) turned 2 in August.  I'm 34 and the hubs is 31 (cradle robber!)

5:45ish am: I woke up after two disturbing dreams in a row.  The first one featured my high school / college sweetheart, who hasn't spoken to me since he found out I was pregnant with Adriana.  It wasn't scandalous or anything, I was just telling him he should do his hair like he did in high school, but those dreams always leave me unsettled just because I still hate the way our many-year friendship ended so completely on his terms and not at all on mine.  Then as I was getting closer to waking up I started having stress dreams about work, since I remembered that I was supposed to get comments from my boss on something that was due to be filed yesterday.  The unfortunate part about this stress dream was that it was entirely true; I worked from home yesterday afternoon and I was reading documents on my ipad instead of my work laptop.  I COMPLETELY forgot to check my work email one last time and to get back to the attorney in charge of the filing.  Oops.  I snuggled in closer to the hubs and tried to go back to sleep, but it was a no go.  

6:00-6:30 am: I had no idea if it was 3am or 6am, so I checked the phone.  Damn, 6.  My alarm goes off at 6:03, but I usually hang out in bed for a bit.  Checked twitter, my pirates, and youtube.  Is Tati really recommending putting chapstick in hair?  Why yes, yes she is.  That seems...unhygenic.  It also occurred to me while laying there that my iphone is full and I'd need to upload my pictures if I want to do a DITL today.  I rolled out of bed and set my laptop up in the bathroom while I started to get ready.

6:30-6:35 am: Of course, within seconds of me entering the bathroom, Lucy is up ("I lost boo boo puppy, mama!  I LOVE boo boo puppy!  Find him, find him!").  And within seconds of hearing Lucy's gate open, Adriana is up ("Lucy woke me up and my clock is green so it's time to get up.")(It was totally NOT green.)   I may or may not have put them in today's outfit at bedtime last night, so they may or may not have already been dressed.  I know, I KNOW, I am the laziest parent ever.  But Tuesdays are hard because Justin works late on Mondays and therefore sleeps in until after we are gone.  I was hoping they would continue their trend of sleeping until 7:15 (!!!) so I could get ready in peace, then I could pop on their coats and boots and go right out the door.  But it was not meant to be.  I brought them downstairs and popped in Despicable Me 2.  It has to go back to redbox tonight so I'm trying to squeeze as many viewings in as possible.  

6:35-6:45 am: Justin was grumbling about the light so I rummaged around for an outfit in the dark.  I thought about today's schedule and decided black jeans would work since I'm literally sitting in my cube all day.  We are supposed to be business casual but some people reeeeally stretch the casual, even on non-fridays.  I'm not normally one of them, but I was having a hard time finding anything presentable in the dark.  

6:45-7:05 am: I get dressed, do my new hair trick and then end up pulling it back in a ponytail anyway.  Makeup time!  I have new makeup storage and this is the first day with my new system of not keeping the makeup bag in the bathroom.  I now have a basket of stuff to pick from that I'll switch out on a weekly basis.  

I didn't get far before I could hear Lucia calling me and yelling that her butt hurts (she has folliculitis on her nether regions).  I grabbed her and her antibiotics and let her hang out with me upstairs.  She is SO GOOD about taking her meds, never complains at all.  She got into my EOS lip balm ("Am I pwetty now, mama?"), but at least she didn't EAT it, unlike the last time I turned my back for 5 seconds.  

We brushed her teeth, pulled up her hair, and then she proceeded to freak out as I tried to slap on my makeup.  Selfies always work magic to calm her down though.  The awkward-er my face angle the better, apparently.  She always makes me show her the last picture and then demands we do it again.  The tiny dictator also made me take my hair out for the last one.   

7:05-7:35 am:  I sent Adriana upstairs to brush her own teeth, and made a mental note to make sure I brush them extra good tonight.  After she was finished, I brushed about 10,000 knots out of her super fine hair while she called me a mean mama.  Then I rushed around, gathering up backup undies and pants for Lucy and socks / hats / boots / coats / inside shoes for both girls.    I must have been hot from all of that running around, because when I went outside I didn't notice it was any colder than usual.  I let Adriana just wear her pink blankie outside and carried out the rest of the outerwear.

Most appropriate music choice ever.
7:35-7:45 am: I was shocked to see that it was -9 degrees and actually checked my car against the phone, since it didn't really feel that different than the 20 it's been the past few days.  I kept trying to shove their hats and gloves into the back seat, but neither kid wanted to put anything on.  Adriana started crying, but the frozen soundtrack temporarily cheered her up.  Lucy loves to sing along with "Let It Go", while Adriana's favorite is "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" - she acts out the "Go away, Anna"..."Okay, bye" part every time, it's so cute.  

7:45-7:58 am: I said temporarily because Adriana started freaking out when I made her put her coat and hat on before getting out of the car.  She thought I would be nicer but I'm a mean mama.  Sigh.  Waffles + a little photo shoot with her friends cheered her right up though.  My camera loving kiddos.  Oh, and yes, they are matching again, at least on top.  We don't do this nearly as often these days, but my mom gave me a bunch of clothes she normally keeps at her house (my parents are in FL so it's all daycare all the time for the next month).  

7:58-8:06 am: Drive to work.  Thank goodness it's close.  

8:06-8:15 am: Popped in the bathroom to better capture my OOTD for you guys (LOFT black stretch jeans, brown boots, lauren conrad top from kohl's, scarf I got in a CDP from -R-) and over to the hot water machine for my breakfast.  

8:15-11:45 am: Morning work stuff.  Luckily no one had comments on that thing I forgot, so that was nice.  I worked on some research for the pricing group and putting a summary of a case I'm working on into a different format for my boss.  She appreciates a good matrix.    

Brief job description:  I work in the electric utility industry.  Certain states are "deregulated" and people can shop for the generation portion their electricity.  Ohio is one of those states.  I work for a company that sells generation.  Even though it's the "deregulated" side of the business, we have to deal with the state and federal commissions all of the time.  I do regulatory work, meaning that I have to understand all of the laws that my company needs to follow in every state where we do business, and every utility case that affects rates or operations in those states.  So I have to know everything that affects us in 6 states and 25 or so utilities, I help fight to change rules that don't allow us to effectively compete, and I help explain those rules to the sales / marketing / operational peeps.  I work closely with Legal but am not a lawyer; I'm an analyst.   

Here is a panoramic shot of the semi-organized chaos that is my cubicle.  I have a window seat, but they leave the wall up if you aren't a supervisor.  Managers and up get walls and doors.  Cubes are arranged in "pods" of 4, but one of ours has been empty since the last layoff.  Sad panda.  The 9 zillion binders are for the 9 zillion cases I am working on.  I read a lot.  

(Welcome) morning interruptions include picking squares for the superbowl, a pop and cheese break with a coworker so she could fill me in on her latest match.com conquest, another coworker dangling the gender of his future baby in front of me (not literally, that would be weird), and my dad bragging about the weather.  

Look, ma, 2 brows!
11:45 am -12:45 pm: Lunch o'clock.  Today's festivities include getting my brows did (I go to Nafisa from Beauty First, love her!), picking up lunch, and running into my house to get my charger and a fresh diet coke.  I also went to grab a hand cream and realized that the chosen location of my makeup storage units is UNWISE, as hot air is blowing on my makeup.  Ugh.  Will have to find somewhere else to put them tonight; in the meantime I took the bottom drawers out.  

12:45-1:00 pm: The coworkers were all having an important discussion about whether or not it is socially acceptable to bring taco bell in for lunch.  I vote yes, it's just that most desk eaters here either pack or get food downstairs.  If you're leaving the building, you might as well go to a real restaurant.  Plus the nearest taco bell is in an awful location.  I was done eating my lunch before everyone dispersed and my phone was charged enough to turn on, so no pics.  It was a burger and onion rings from Skyway, the less tasty version of Swenson's.  

1:00-5:00 pm: Afternoon work stuff.  I only had one meeting, a call with the IL utilities about how they calculate the customers' peak load contribution.  It was riveting.  I should also note that my coworkers carried on conversations from 12:45 until 2:50 or so, with only about a 10 minute quiet break in there.  I really like my group, but I'm more of a "chat about random stuff during the first and last hour of the day" person, and prefer quiet or work-related chat the rest of the day.  I think I'm becoming an introvert in my old age.  

I like to multitask on certain conference calls.  Today's efforts included a mani (Sonia Kashuk's Wicked Attraction), shopping (Windsor), and blog fun (Lacey's awesome 2 truths and 1 lie post).  I did actually listen to the call too (I promise!), but this one was hard to follow because it was a web presentation and our firewall wouldn't let me in.  They are sending the materials out since at least one other company was looking at a blank screen too.  Good times.  

5:00 - 5:21 pm: I left work right at 5 on the dot and made a beeline for the grocery store.  I picked up milk, buns, and a shit ton of cheater food.  I can cook, it's just not how I choose to spend my time on weeknights, plus the girls are STARVING by the time they get home from daycare.

5:21-5:31 pm: I love picking up the girls, they are so excited to see me.  Adriana did a crazy dance and Lucia showed me her kitty (it's a groundhog, heh) while babbling excitedly about playing with balloons.  I bribed them to get ready fast with the promise of a "candy bar" in the car, thinking that the fiber one bars Bzzagent sent me were granola bars.  I was little nervous when I saw it was actually a meal bar, so I split it into three.  The girls didn't mind, and might as well have been in a commercial, they went nuts over it.  I now have to find a regular granola bar that tastes similar; anyone know if Fiber one makes something like that?  The flavor is Strawberry Greek Yogurt.  

5:31-5:41 pm: Drove home to the sounds of Frozen.

They helped themselves to some nerds for dessert.

Dirties on the left, cleanies on the right.  Also the first time I saw hubs all day. 
5:41-6:45 pm:  Fed the girls and tackled the giant mess of pots and pans that have been accumulating for the past 4ish days.  Justin has recently proclaimed that he will do all of the dishes if I do the pans, and I am a little salty about it.  Seeing as how I'm the primary cook / meal preparer, I feel like pans should not be solely my job too.  Justin came home around 6:30, and we both grabbed bites of dinner while cleaning and chatting with the girls.  Re: that picture up there, he has been sick so I was trying to avoid the mouth (hence the creepy open eyes).  

Awwwwkward family selfies!
6:45-8:30 pm: We started to watch the Lone Ranger, but Justin was pissy because the girls were talking through it and I was playing on Twitter / Instagram so he switched it to Pocahontas.  At some point Lucy fell asleep on me and I started to drift off while Adriana brushed my hair, which means I got out of bedtime duties, woohoo!  Justin woke me up after putting the girls to bed, and I came upstairs, brushed teeth, washed face, etc.

8:30-bed: I am finishing this up real quick then we are supposed to watch Wolverine in bed.  SHHHHH don't tell Justin, but I have no intention of staying awake for more than 10 minutes.  I'm skipping 30 Day Shred due to extreme fatigue.  Sometimes I think I might be semi-narcoleptic; my body just shuts down out of nowhere.  Today was definitely one of those days.  Nighty night!!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

How to Tame Dry, Frizzy Winter Hair (with Minimal Heat Damage)

I have been wanting to tell you all about a new hair trick that I love, but it's hard to get a decent picture since my hair is so dark (and it doesn't help that I wear so much black, haha).  Just try it out yourself!

When I was in high school, I hated my half curly / half wavy / all frizzy hair and was super jealous of people with "wash and go" hair.  If flat irons existed back then, I wasn't aware of them, and curling it every day was definitely too much work.  More often than not I'd take my morning shower, find the nearest scrunchie, pull my hair halfway through, and go.  

I'd like to say that I've evolved since then, but I still do this on the weekends (subbing my trusty black goody elastic for the scrunchie, of course).  During the week I try to be better about going around with wet hair, but I still air dry with Miss Jessie's at least twice a week in the summer.  Winter is a little trickier, what with the polar vortex and all.  I have been searching for a way to do my hair that involves minimal heat styling since it's a bit damaged from a bad dye job last year, plus my hair is suffering from the usual winter dryness.  

I'm participating in this round's Biggest Blogging Loser, which means I'm showering every night after I work out (30 Day Shred, maybe I'll actually complete it this time).  I know you are technically not supposed to wash your hair that often, but I am a sweaty beast and there is no amount of dry shampoo that will cover up that level of gross.  After showering, I put in a small amount of leave in conditioner (I love the Redken Extreme Anti-Snap) and pull my hair back into a ponytail.  This minimizes the hair craziness, but when I wake up I still have ends that look like this:

I would normally curl or flatiron my hair to tame this mess.  Both solutions are fairly quick and make me look like I have reasonably normal hair, but both involve more heat than I'm willing to use on an everyday basis, especially when my hair is already damaged.  

Lately I have been spraying my hair with Garnier's Sleek and Shine Flat Iron Perfector, then straightening the bottom 2-3 inches with my FHI flat iron.  I figure the ends are fucked already anyway, so I'm okay with giving them full heat.  Then I VERY LIGHTLY flat iron each side ONCE, mostly to smooth the bump from my pony tail holder and to de-frizz it.  I am careful to not clamp down all the way during this step, as I am trying to keep my hair's natural wave.  I finish it off with a pump or two of the Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil, which I got in the Sephora Favorites Beauty Oil Essentials kit.  This stuff is amazing, I would seriously consider shelling out the $38 for the full size after I run out of hair oils (like 5 years from now).  Any heat protectant, hair oil, and flat iron will do, this just happens to be what I am using and loving right now.  

The end result is sort of Blake Lively beachy.  You might think that having straight ends and roots looks weird, but a ton of tutorials on youtube tell you to not curl too close to the root and to leave the ends out, so I'd say it's compatible with the current trends.  My hair is super soft and manageable when I'm done, and I just want to run my hands through it all day.  

You can customize this to your own preferences too, skipping the ponytail when you sleep and adding in some dry shampoo or root lifter if you like volume, or going a little heavier with with flat iron if you don't.  If your hair isn't naturally wavy, try sleeping in braids and then flat ironing the entire braid before you take them out in the morning.  I even do this sometimes just to mix it up since the braid waves are a little more structured than my natural ones.   

What do you do differently in the winter time?  Any products you'd recommend for dry, damaged, or frizzy hair?  I'm always looking for something that works!

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Sleep Sitch, The Bitch Sitch, and the Stitch Sitch

I don't know if you guys can tell, but I was going through a rough patch there for a while, parenting-wise.  It just seemed like an endless cycle in which the girls didn't sleep, so they would act like hellions, and we didn't sleep because they didn't sleep, so we'd yell at them, they would scream and cry, which would make us even more irritable, which would make us yell more, and ugh.  It was none good.  I felt like all I ever did was yell at them, and it was the worst feeling in the world.

Unfortunately, the shared room is probably what started this cycle of suck.  Adriana was acting out at bedtime for a few weeks before we moved them, and at first the shared room was actually helpful because Lucy's presence seemed to comfort Adriana and to keep her from getting scared.  However, I started noticing that not only did Lucy start waking up when Adriana did, but both girls were waking up a few minutes earlier and going to bed a few minutes later every day.  Then we had the evil fall time change, which made the situation worse.  Then Barfsgiving happened, Lucy's crazy molluscum/folliculitis rash flared up, and Adriana smashed her finger in a door and eventually lost her nail.  One kid would wake up crying (and wake up the rest of the family) at least 2 times a night at least 5 times a week.  It was miserable.  

We finally have the sleeping under control, but only because Lucy is now sleeping on her old crib mattress on the playroom floor.  For a while we were having her sleep in her bed, then bringing in a sleeping Adriana, but everyone was just staying up SO LATE that way.  I have also been making Lucy sleep in the dark with the door closed, because she sleeps SO MUCH BETTER that way.  This means she cries for about 5 minutes before going to bed, but I don't even care.  Adriana is still a little challenging at night, pulling out a million stall tactics but I have found that the coddling just makes things worse.  Repeatedly putting her back in bed and refusing to come out of mine to deal with her results in her falling asleep way sooner.  Every once in a while we have a night where both kids stay up too long yelling "I'm sorry, mama!!!" from their beds and then giggling, but more often than not they are both asleep within 15 minutes of me putting them down, and it's SO MUCH BETTER for everyone involved.

The improved sleeping situation has definitely helped out on the bitch sitch (both my own and my daughter's, ha).  Dance class is going better, Adriana behaved alllllmost the entire time, but got kicked out once near the very end for hitting a classmate.  Still, progress.  

My Mirena-related bitchiness is still there, but even that has toned down now that I'm sleeping better.  I do fully believe that it's not right for me though, and that the extreme swings in emotion and the extra volatile temperament are bad enough to rip that sucker out.  My appointments keep getting rescheduled though, either due to my unpredictable period or the doctor running late and needing to reschedule.  I keep threatening to just rip it out myself, but that's too gross even for me.  

This is really not related, but fits with my not so clever title so I went with it.  If you don't follow me on Instagram, you probably don't know that Lucia split her chin open last week, requiring 7 stitches.  She was at my parents' house and slipped on the wood floor while taking her coat off (so her hands were pinned and she couldn't break the fall).  Let me tell you, this kid is a CHAMP.  I always struggle to find my genes in her, but I'm proud to say she's tough like mama (Daddy and Adriana would probably scream and cry while getting stitches).  Lucy did great, not moving a muscle while they stitched her up.  Love that kid.  

This was how she looked when I got to the hospital

She was less enthused after getting the stitches, but still hanging in there

Look how wee she looks in the bed

Adriana is very protective of baby sissy (at least when she isn't fighting with her)

Uncle Nicky removed her stitches - it's healing up nicely!
  That's all for now - what have YOU been up to lately?

January 2014 Ipsy Glam Bag Review

It's Ipsy time again...I'm not gonna lie, I am just not as excited to get these as I used to be.  Perhaps time to move on?  Either that or to start stalking the makeuptalk boards again (the ladies on there are awesome and they all used to get me really pumped for my bag).  

Date of arrival: January 16.  So much for the recent progress with DHL.  

Packaging: Pink bubble wrap mailer and a somewhat cute blue bag.  The bag STINKS this month...I thought ipsy fixed the weird smelling bag problem long ago but it's baaaaaaaaaaaack.  So gross.  I forgot to take a picture of the card but the theme this month is 19 Reasons...it's sort of a new year related theme.  Lots of skincare and stuff to combat dry winter skin this month instead of makeup.

Contents and mini reviews: I got the Malin + Goetz mojito lip balm, skiin Smoothing & Soothing Eye Cream, healthysexyhair Soy Tri-Wheat Leave In Conditioner, Elizabeth Mott Smooth Shadow in penny, and Absolute! Make-Up Cleansing Tissues.

I haven't tried the makeup wipes yet, but I love getting these little sample sized ones to throw in my purse or my travel makeup bag.  I assume it will be similar to the Yes to Cucumbers ones, since they have cucumber extract.

I have been wanting to try the healthy sexy hair for months, but I always end up getting one of the bigsexyhair options instead.  Which is fine by me, as I haven't met one I don't like.  This isn't my favorite leave in conditioner in the world, which is disappointing.  The fragrance is pleasant but also slightly weird, I think due to the citronellol.  I keep smelling it because it smells EXACTLY LIKE SOMETHING but I can't figure out what.  I'll use it though.  B

I was excited for another Malin + Goetz product; I LOVE the bergamot body wash I sampled from Birchbox.  The mojito lip balm is a really weird consistency for a squeezy tube, and it's not the kind with the applicator you can put right on your lips so it's really messy.  I'm definitely going to have to keep this one at home.  The scent is nice but doesn't last for more than 3 seconds.  It does feel nice on the lips though, not too sticky and it lasts decently long.  B

I haven't used the skiin eye cream yet because I have waaaaaaaay too many eye creams I'm trying to use up at the moment.  I have never heard of this brand before, and it seems a bit questionable due to 1) the use of papyrus font (sorry, hubby!!!)(Justin has 3 tattoos in this font); 2) the 75% off sale on the website; 3) the fact that they have recently partnered with 4 beauty subs; 4) the fact that the web site only sells clarisonics and 4 actual products.  I guess questionable is probably unfair; it's likely just a new company and they are trying to get some traction via beauty subs.  Don't mind me, I'm an asshole sometimes.  But I do get annoyed when companies overprice their products and then they are constantly "on sale" and this smacks of that tactic.  We aren't stupid.  

The last product is the Elizabeth Mott eye pencil.  I wanted the pearl one for my waterline, but this one is nice enough.  When you shine it in the light you can actually see that it has pink and gold and green microglitter in it; not just copper.  This shit DOES NOT BUDGE; I swatched it last night and it made it through a shower and 2 handwashings before coming off.  Nice!  A-

Side note on Elizabeth Mott - she also makes the Lash Cards and the it's SO BIG mascara we received in past bags.  

Value: $39.72, but it feels like it's worth less.  I blame the overpriced skiin product.  B+
You can get the Absolute! wipes in a 30 pack for $4.50, so this is worth $1.50
The 8.5 oz healthysexyhair is going for $11.32 on amazon, so this is worth $2.26
Malin + Goetz lip balm is $14 
skiin eye cream is $29.95, so this half size one is (allegedly) worth $14.98
Elizabeth Mott eye pencil is $14.99, so this half size one is worth $6.98

Overall impression of the bag: Well, I will actually use all of it, so that's nice.  I was excited about two products (the lip balm and conditioning spray), was okay with getting the wipes because I'll use them, and was kinda meh about the eye pencil and eye cream but either one of them still has the potential to be amazing.  There were only two repeat brands this month, so that is exciting.  I'd say this bag is a solid B

Overall impression of the service: As I mentioned up above, I am kind of tiring of ipsy.  I just can't get excited when every bag feels so "ehh, been there done that".  I don't know if it's an ipsy problem or a me problem though.  Are you guys still excited about your bags?  I'll keep them at A- because it's probably just me and my sample overload.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Enabler Alert: New Sephora Favorites Skincare Sets

Oooh, you guys.  Sephora is really tempting me with their latest round of Sephora Favorites.  I built into my project 25 pan that I'm allowed to get these if I want them, and I am REALLY thinking about it.  I have plenty of skincare samples stocked up but there are a ton of really awesome products I've been dying to try in these sets!  The price tag seems a bit hefty though; if they were in the $30 range I would have already purchased.

Images are screenshots off the Sephora website.  

Skin Bender Vol 1, $48:
This set contains: 
- 0.23 oz Algenist Advanced Anti-Aging Repairing Oil 
- 1.9 oz Bliss® High Intensity 24-'Heaven'™ Healing Body Balm 
- 0.17 oz Dr. Jart Ceramidin™ Cream 
- 1 oz First Aid Beauty Ltd. Ultra Repair Cream 
- 0.5 oz Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil 
- 0.67 oz Korres Greek Yoghurt Advanced Nourishing Sleeping Facial 
- 0.3 oz L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream 
- 0.5 oz Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation® 
- 1 oz Origins Checks and Balances™ Frothy Face Wash 
- 0.5 oz Peter Thomas Roth CC Cream SPF 30 in Light-Medium 
- Cosmetic Bag 
Skin Cleanse Vol 2, $45:
This set contains: 
- 0.7 oz Boscia Luminizing Black Mask 
- 0.25 oz Dr. Brand Pores No More Pore Refiner 
- 0.33 oz Dr. Jart Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm SPF 25 
- 1 oz First Aid Beauty Ltd. Red Clay Deep Cleanser 
- 0.3 oz GLAMGLOW® SUPERMUD Clearing Treatment 
- 0.5 oz Kate Somerville Skincare ExfoliKate® Intensive Exfoliating Treatment 
- 0.33 oz Murad Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15 PA++ 
- 0.5 oz Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel™ 
- 0.5 oz Peter Thomas Roth FirmX Peeling Gel 
Beauty Oil Essentials, $56:
This set contains: 
- 1.7 oz Boscia MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil 
- 0.5 oz Nude Skincare Perfect Cleansing Oil 
- 1 oz Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil 
- 0.5 oz L’Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil 
- 0.5 oz josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Light 
- 0.23 oz Tarte Oure Maracuja Oil 
- 0.5 oz Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Youth Activating Oil 
- 0.34 oz Nude Skincare ProGenius Treatment Oil 
- 0.05 oz Bite Beauty Cinnamon Lip Plumping Oil 
- 0.85 oz Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil 
- 0.85 oz Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Dry Oil Mist 
- 0.5 oz Josie Maran Argan Oil Hair Serum 

I am most excited about the Skin Cleanse set - I have been dying to try Glam Glow, ExfoliKate, and the peeling gel.  I loooooooooove masks and scrubs, they are my favorite beauty treats ever.  I would also be interested in the beauty oil essentials, mostly because I don't have a wide variety of oils in my stash and it's a great way to test a ton of them.   I could probably skip the first kit because I don't NEEEEEEEEEEED it, but I'd do so with a heavy heart.  

Now that I have put some distance between myself and the zillions of beauty box subscriptions, I am really starting to think that I could be content just buying every Sephora Favorites collection and calling it a day.  I am always so happy with the brands and the size of the samples, and I rarely look back on a kit and think "ehhh, that wasn't worth the money".  

What do you think...do any of these tempt you?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Winter Wonderland Tag / Christmas and Black Friday Hauls

In case you haven't noticed, I still love me a good tag, even if no one ever plays along.  If you are reading this, consider yourself tagged and put your link in the comments below.  I'm not sure where this tag originated, but both Amarixe and Vlogwithkendra (two of my favorite youtubers) did it recently.  I realize a couple of the questions are belated, but I like the tag because it touches on some stuff I haven't talked about before.  

1. What do you like best about winter?  Pre-kids, my answer would have most certainly been "That it will eventually end."  I don't think I have ever talked about this, but I am not a winter fan whatsoever and should totally not live in Ohio.  I hate being cold, I hate driving in the snow, and I hate people who forget how to drive in the snow.  Also?  I don't even really like Christmas.  I know that's not a popular view and it basically makes me a heathen, but it's the truth.  Ever since I became an adult with a real job and financial responsibilities, I'd rather just skip the stress and use the money for things we actually need.  While sparkly lights are pretty, but 99.9% of Christmas decorations are tacky and forced Christmas music drives me insane.  I don't need a holiday to get together with my family.  Seeing Christmas through my girls' eyes has definitely brought back some of the magic though.  My favorite thing about winter this year has definitely been listening to them freak out when they find Elfie every morning.  Lucia is especially hilarious, she had a HUGE reaction and basically cackled until she nearly hyperventilated almost every single day.  

2.  Scarves or beanies? I have never been a hat person, so scarves all the way.  I have an extensive scarf collection; it's the most versatile accessory ever.  In addition to the intended purpose, I've used scarves as a hooter hider, burp cloth, headband, umbrella, blanket, bathing suit coverup, kleenex, to cover up the giant mess in my bag at meetings, and to cover my legs when I wore a skirt that looked totally fine in the mirror, but rode waaaaay up when I sat down in the hearing room.  Can't say that about a hat.  

3.  What's your favorite holiday movie?  Elf.  I'm not normally the biggest Will Farrell fan, but this is one of about three movies I actually love him in.  Plus, you know, Zooey.  

4.  Favorite winter nail polish? I love to rock plain old black nails in the winter.  OPI's Black Onyx is a good one.  

5.  Favorite Starbucks holiday drink?   Salted Caramel Mocha or Peppermint Hot Chocolate, depending on my mood.

6. What are your top three winter essentials? 1) A good lip balm.  I love stuff with a menthol flavor in the winter.  I've been using Maybelline's Dr. Rescue Baby Lips in various shades by day and Epicuren by night.  If you don't like menthol, the Kiehl's lip balms are super moisturizing too.  2) Fuzzy socks.  3) An electric blanket.  Justin got me a really nice one from Target last year.  

7. Name one item on your wish list this year.  Huh, I totally thought I posted my whole wish list again this year but apparently I didn't.  So now I'm going to use this question as an opportunity to show you all of my Christmas prezzies.  In addition to the stuff below, I got some $ from Justin's grandparents (I bought some of the makeup off my Christmas list with it - I don't consider this cheating on Project 25 Pan since they wanted us to spend it on stuff we would enjoy), $ from my parents (to go towards new carpet), a gift card to an Italian grocery store from my grandma, and a sweater and a totally awesome lightbox (for better makeup photography!) from my parents, and makeup and shower storage from Justin (I'll do a post on that after it's assembled and organized).  

I love how the top picture basically proves that I am still a 13 year old girl at heart.  The candle is from the in-laws' recent trip to Sedona, Twilight is from Justin (I loooooooooove the makeup in that movie!), and Hunger Games and the Divergent trilogy are from my SIL, who drew my name in the family gift exchange this year.  

The pile of Lorac is from Justin; he bought two of the sets that went on mega sale after Black Friday.  The bracelet is also from the in-laws (not MIL, she is still MIA), and the scarf, Kate Spade wallet, and Laura Mercier bath stuff are from my parents.  They still spoil us, I know.  You should have seen what they got the grandkids, omg.  My playroom overfloweth.  

8.  Favorite holiday song? As I mentioned in the first response, I don't really dig Christmas music.  Carol of the Bells is pretty though.  And I like that song that Zooey sings in the shower in Elf.  

9.  Are you going Black Friday shopping this year?  Not gonna lie, this question was part of the reason I wanted to do this tag.  An excuse to belatedly show you my poorly photographed Black Friday haul, woohoo!  I basically used BF as an excuse to stock up on work wear.  I wear the CRAP out of my work clothes and think $80 for a pair of pants is extortion, so I was excited to see that LOFT and Limited were both having 50% off sales.  

Here we go!

 From the LOFT - the dress in the top left was $39.75, the oatmeal tank was $3.49, the tights were $7.25, the black tank was $9.75, the blue top was $14.99, the black jean leggings and my black cords (not pictured because I had already gotten white fuzzies all the eff over them) were $29.75, two of the bracelets were $14.75 each and the pandora ripoff one was $12.25, and the sweater (in the pic below) was $29.75.  In total I spent $222.15 and saved $206.25.  
From Limited, the 3 pairs of pants were $39.97, the scarf was $16.45, the bracelets were $12 each, and the ring was $13.75.  I spent $174.93 and saved $149.83.  

I don't think I found the most amazing deals in the universe or anything, but this allowed me to retire some VERY WORN OUT work apparel.  I didn't need to get so much damn jewelry, but I feel like I need a little bit of bling on days I wear suits  to keep me from looking blah.  When I wear jewelry I feel a touch more professional because it actually looks like I give a crap about my appearance.  Or something.  

My only regret is that I didn't notice that one of the pairs of pants is Drew fit and not Cassidy.  Drew is a bitch who hates curvy (okay, fine, chubby) chicks.  Drew is not my friend.  But I'm hoping that if I get that other bitch Mirena out of my life, Drew and I can become besties.  I really like the pants.  

10.  Must have winter lip product: I know you can scrub your lips with a toothbrush, but mine are always too sensitive in the winter for that.  I can, however, get away with a gentle lip scrub.  I am still using up my brown sugar scrub from Julep, but Mary Kay also has a really nice one.  

11.  Will you be rocking an ugly sweater this year?  Yes, unfortunately.  No offense to you ugly sweater party hostesses out there, but this whole concept is just TIRED.  Can't we all agree that it was super fun the first year or two we all did this, back when we had to scour goodwill or our grandma's closets to find something appropriate, but now that there are whole ugly sweater stores it's time to find a new party theme?  Anyway, this is the sweater I got, because I keep purging them and then I keep needing to buy another freaking new one.  It's ugly but not so ugly I can't be seen in public or anything.   

12.  Have you ever had a white Christmas where you live?  Yeah, I don't really remember any Christmases where we didn't.  Northeast Ohio, Lake Effect snow, etc. etc.

13.  Favorite winter candle scent?  I actually bought a bunch of candles right after I did the Sweater Weather tag.  I have been loving B&BW's Vanilla Fireside and Mahogany Teakwood.  

14. How will you be celebrating this holiday?  We spent all day with Justin's dad side on Christmas eve.  We opened presents at our house Christmas morning, then went over to my parents for more presents and then got together with my mom's side after that.  I was too exhausted / sick to go back to my parents to see my dad's side, so we will have to get together with them later. 

That's all, folks!  Let me know if you are feeling taggy and actually do this one.  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 Word of the Year, Resolutions, and To Do List

To be completely honest, I spent much of 2013 in survival mode and didn't complete anywhere near as much of my list as I wanted to.  Every time I watch The Croods lately (which is a lot), the following line from Eep strikes me..."That wan't living.  It was just NOT DYING.  There's a difference!"  So my plan for 2014 is to not only get out of survival mode and to get shit done, but I also want to remember to actually enjoy my life.  I have no particular resolution or to do item around this, it's more of a general plan to be more present, live life to the fullest, stop and smell the roses, etc.  (You know who really does this well?  Jennie.  I want to be more like Jennie.)

Even though my 2013 resolutions and to do list were a bust, the word of the year concept was great - thanks, Emily!!    I think the reason the word of the year works so well is that it's so simple.  Just one word to remember, and you can interpret it a million different ways throughout the year.  I noted in my year end survey that the one thing I wanted in 2014 that I lacked in 2013 was "patience".  I think it's a great word because it's so relevant to my life.  The girls try my patience approximately 3 zillion times a day, and I am only human.  If I'm tired, sick, hormonal, or stressed out, I am likely to snap at them.  I hate this.  I do not want to be yelling mom anymore, I want to be patient mom.  I also have to thank Nicole for her awesome advice - I really love the idea of reminding myself that the girls are just kids.  I even teared up when I read her comment on my last post, because it's so simple but so perfect.  "They are just kids.  Have patience." will probably run on a loop in my brain this year.  

1. Be a better wife, mom, daughter, and friend. 

2. Keep a clean, clutter-free house.

3. Make healthier choices.

Related to resolution #1:

·                     Go on one date per month with Justin; try some stay at home date nights (1/12)
·                     Go on one romantic getaway weekend with Justin 
·                     Go on one family trip to a water park and one camping trip
·                     Go on one museum / zoo / aquarium / educational activity per month (0/12)
·                     Be patient with the girls; remember that they are just kids
·                     Figure out a new and improved bedtime routine
·                     Do one Pinterest-inspired kid activity per month (something messy the girls will love) (0/12)
·                     Host a [Justin's side] family game night twice; have the in-laws over for dinner twice (0/2)
·                     Host a [my side] family game night twice; have parents over for dinner twice (0/2)
·                     Make plans to see Justin’s mom at least once 
·                     Go on one date per quarter with my mom (0/4)
·                     Take a more active role in friendships; be the initiator
·                     Send at least 3 care packages / CDPs (0/3)
·                     Send thank you / congrats / thinking of you cards regularly; acknowledge all birthdays

Related to resolution #2:

·                     Purchase and install a playroom toy organization system
·                     Purchase and install shelves in basement
·                     Clean and organize garage
·                     Have a garage sale
·                     Sell / give away / donate baby gear, toys, clothes
·                     Sell / give away / donate maternity / nursing clothes
·                     Sell / give away / donate another 15 bags of my clothes (0/15)
·                     Wash basement laundry mountain
·                     Organize and dry clean suits
·                     Organize downstairs hall closet; put in shoe holders
·                     Go through 15 random crap bins (0/15)
·                     Turn closet at bottom of the stairs into a pantry

Related to resolution #3:

·                     Go on weight watchers long enough to be able to eyeball things again
·                     Make a recipe book with WW and other healthy recipes
·                     Cook dinner at least 5 nights a week
·                     Exercise at least 3 days per week Exercise 100 times (edited because I like Susie's version better) (2/100)
·                     Get a fitbit
·                     Get resistance bands and regularly do knee and ankle strengthening exercises
·                     Stretch at least once a week; work towards making it a daily habit (4/52)
·                     Take vitamins daily
·                     Drink at least 2 AGMC mugs of water per day
·                     Go to yoga at least twice a month (0/24)
·                     Complete Couch to 5K again
·                     Run in at least 3 races (0/3)
·                     Complete 1 round of 30 day shred or other fitness program
·                     Complete Fall Hiking Spree


·                     Read every book club book, past and present
·                     Replace the basement carpet (and maybe the living room if it's affordable)
·                     Find wedding photo disk; try contacting Carlos and FOLLOW THROUGH
·                     Buy a new mattress pad and new sheets
·                     Re-caulk the shower
·                     Complete living room art project
·                     Donate blood 3 times (0/3)
·                     Get 3 massages (0/3)
·                     Fix social security number on car loan
·                     Pay off and cancel Target, Barclay, and Goodyear cards; no late payments on anything else
·                     Paint over walls Lucia colored on
·                     Plan friend-iversary trip
·                     Take a photography class 
·                     Sell / give away / donate desk, dresser, and entertainment center
·                     Paint or sell childhood bedroom set                    
·                     Put together and organize new makeup storage bins     
·                     Organize jewelry; buy a statement necklace or a great pair of earrings as a reward
·                     Watch Breaking Bad and Scandal
·                     Go on a yoga retreat    
·                     Finish crocheting Lucy's blanket; start one for Adriana