Monday, January 30, 2017

Ipsy for January

January's "glam" bag was surely that! I absolutely love the color and style of this month's bag. To the point that I would probably use it as a clutch to go out with! 😊



And the goodies were great, also. I was a little hesitant on a few of the items but after using them I became a quick fan. That's the beauty of an Ipsy subscription: it lets you use products you probably otherwise would have never even thought about.

Now, on to the reviews:

SLMissGlam Blend Beauty Brush L34
I was unsure of this brush when I received it, due to it's size. But after watching a few beauty Instagram videos, I got the gist of how to use it. And now...it's wonderful. A great brush to use on the crease of the eye but also the lid. It's a pretty brush...soft...and a great addition to my slowly-growing collection.

theBalm Cosmestics Bahama Mama
I have another theBalm shadow/blush that I got in a previous glambag and I am not disappointed. This is labeled as a "bronzer" but since I'm not a huge fan, I use it as an eyeshadow. Pretty matte color and long-lasting. I actually applied it with my Miss Glam brush and viola!...quick and easy eye look for a night out!

Jelly Pong Pong Coffee + Coconut Lip Scrub
Yeahhhh, I'm not a big fan of coconut, but I thought I'd give this a try because I love coffee...AND my lips get super dry in the winter. Once you get passed the taste/smell ( simply because I'm just not a fan ) it's a great product. It left my lips nice and soft, and it felt great paired with a nice light lip balm afterwards!

Manna Kadar Cosmetics Paradise Blush
This blush is a gorgeous color and I love the sparkle. This was also a product I used on my birthday-night-out that I was very pleased by. Since I am fair-skinned, I make sure not to over-apply my cosmetics so I don't end up looking like a 5 year old playing in mommy's makeup. Less is best but it gives a nice sparkle!

TEMPTU Base Smooth & Matte Primer
I don't usually use a foundation of any sort unless I'm going out ( due to the fact that I sleep until the last possible second on work days ) so it's rare I am in need of a primer. But I do love the feeling of primer under my make up for long-lasting hold and coverage. This product is good with application of a foundation, be it powder or liquid. 

Also, with my Ipsy Points, I received:



BeBella skincare samples
Facial Essence
A nice, light gel moisturizer that I tried yesterday and was very pleased with.

Facial Cleanser
Haven't tried yet.

Hydrating Night Cream
Light facial cream perfect for moisturizing through the night.

Eye Cream
This cream is a tad heavier, but I had no issues with it. I felt like it took a tad longer to dry, though.

PROS: A nice way to try something new, didn't cost me any money, presentation was nice, the products are high-end, a little goes a long way.
CONS: All products are less than an ounce, I had a problem trying to get the caps off of every single one, the products ARE high-end and if you want to buy full-sized you're looking at around $65-$70, I broke out but I'm not sure if it's due to being "that time of the month" or the product.

I had a nice variety in my January glam bag...and I was pleased with my redeemed product from my points. A couple more months and it's time to either renew or call it quits. Do any ladies have suggestions on another subscription to try out...?


Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Dirty 30

This weekend I celebrated the big 3-0! Ahhhhh, I know...I'm old. I thought that it was going to be depressing for me, but it actually was an almost perfect weekend. 

I requested off for that Friday a few weeks ago, simply because I thought it would be nice to have a long weekend. I decided a few days later to schedule a hair appointment with our family friend Erika and, low-and-behold, the first appointment she mentioned was for Friday! What better way to kick-off your birthday celebration than with a new 'do?! So I went back and fourth for a week trying to figure out what I wanted to do...until I decided I wanted a big change. That change...was a lob ( "long bob" ) I also had highlights/balayage again to touch up my color. Here are the results:


After my hair appointment, I came home and relaxed for a bit. Nate and I finished the rest of Breaking Bad on Netflix and then went to The Silver Lake for dinner ( our local bar/restaurant and where we first met ) I had pretty awesome scallops, a few drinks and then we just relaxed the rest of the evening.

Then on Saturday, I ended up taking Haley to the vet. She has been "coughing" and grunting quite frequently these past few weeks and she did it a lot on Friday, so we were concerned. I told Nathan to make an appointment and I would take her in. Our appointment was at 10. After 2 chest xrays and some bloodwork, it was determined that poor Haley has an enlarged heart. Thankfully, we caught it at an early stage so she has no fluid in her lungs and the doctor did not hear a heart murmur. She is now taking Lasix to help her heart from enlarging anymore. She is 12 years old so it's not uncommon for this to occur. Luckily, she is very healthy aside from this and even after taking only 3 doses we can tell that the noises have lessened. So although it wasn't spectacular news, I can be thankful that it was not worse.

When we got back home, Mallory had arrived! She came in from Pittsburgh to spend my big day with me. I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do, so we flew by the seat of our pants. I did know that I wanted to do some thrift shopping ( because I know that's something she enjoys, too, so I could have a good time instead of having to go alone! ) so we headed to town and ended up eating lunch at Duke's West Shore. After lunch, we went to Community Aid where I found 2 cardigans and a nice faux-leather jacket. Then we headed to Salvation Army where I found 2 nice tops. Score!

After that endeavor, we headed home to relax a bit until we decided that we wanted to go to the Harrisburg Comedy Zone. I had never been and there was a female comic headlining. I thought it would be fun. I asked Nate to come with us, so we all got ready and headed over.


We had some trouble at first getting tickets, but luckily due to Nate being such a nice guy, the ticket guy let us in. Hallejulah! So we got our seats, some drinks and some apps and enjoyed the show!

We got home around 10:30, sat around and chatted for a bit and then we passed out.

Today, we were lazy until about 1:30, then we decided to get up and go get our nails done. Mallory was too sweet and treated me to a late lunch and paid for my nails. It was wonderful to spend time with her and it was so great of her to come into town simply to spend this day with me. She's quite an amazing friend and I am so blessed to have someone like that in my life. 

All-in-all, my birthday was great. I got to spend it with two of the best people in my life, share laughs and just be me. I got numerous texts and Facebook messages from people wishing me a 'happy birthday' and it was wonderful. I wouldn't have wanted to spend it any other way.

My heart overflows!...here's to 30! *cheers*

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Handouts

There is a big difference in needing a little help because you're truly down on your luck, and constantly making bad decisions to the point that you need assistance. This is what is wrong with the welfare system and with Gen X: everyone wants something for nothing and expect handouts. 

This especially makes me mad when I see those who make poor choices get all the help in the world, while those who really need it have to fight tooth-and-nail just for a little bit to get them by.

I am a big advocate on drug testing for welfare.

When I was in high school working at the local Walmart, there were many times where I'd have people in my line buying steaks and crab legs and paying with their Access card...and then having a separate order for their non-food items only to pay me in $100 bills out of their Coach wallets. And I'm seeing this while I'm wearing pants from Gabriel Brothers and working just to get by. Um, isn't there something wrong with this picture?! 

I didn't grow up with money. As a kid, our grandparents bought our school clothes. My dad used his paycheck to keep a roof over our head and food in our bellies. We didn't have money for any extras. I couldn't play sports because they were too expensive. But unlike some people who may have took an experience like that and aimed to have the "finer things in life" from then on out, I learned that I needed to work hard and always aim to be better so that I could have an easier life. I learned to work with what I had, live at or below my means and to make smarter decisions when it came to my finances. I didn't want to become broke solely because I'm trying to "keep up with the Jones's"...

Now, that doesn't mean I was always good with my money or bills. I mean, in your early 20s you make a decision: you either go out and drink on Saturday night or...you eat dinner for the next 3 days. I'm not saying I didn't choose the first one a few times, but it's not about that: it's about growing up and learning from that shit.

Any apartment that I had on my own was never more than $500/mo. Even if I had to search high-and-low, I refused to pay more than that.

I never had extensive cable and, at most times, no cable at all. If I did, it was the $20 basic package. Internet was the cheapest, slowest speed...or I stole Wifi from neighbors. 

I didn't buy a new car simply because I wanted to and I just tried to take care of the car I did have. I had that car for 9 years before I finally had to cave and get a new one. But even when I did that, I made sure that it was below budget and that it was an affordable monthly payment. I walked out of the dealership with a $13k car loan and payments under $200/mo. If you're only making $12/hr, you do not need to be driving a BMW for Pete's sake!

I'm a big believer of the "beggars can't be choosers" mentality. And what's the fucking point of being car poor or house poor?! No one fucking cares what you drive...and if they do, they are a pathetic excuse of a person. 

We need to stop rewarding the lazy and undeserving!

Now we are going on 30 ( or already in our 30s )...it should not be a decision of "do I go shopping and buy a bunch of new clothes or pay rent this month?" It should not be "oh, I'm short again for the third month in a row...time to ask mommy for money for bills". I didn't have anyone to help me out like that...and you know what? I grew stronger because of it. I prioritized because of it. Because if you are handed help any time you need it, you're never gonna fucking help yourself. You're always going to rely on others to support you. And that's just disgusting. Whether it be relationships, family, friends or even strangers...have some fucking pride, stand on your own two feet and be accountable for the decisions you make in your life. 

We all have that angel and that devil on our shoulders...we need to mature and learn to listen to the angel more often. 




Saturday, January 14, 2017

Windows Is Shutting Down...


In an earlier post, I mentioned that one of my resolutions for this year is to disconnect more. Clearly, the hypocrisy is that I'm writing this blog post on my laptop...but I want to delve more into this topic.

I've noticed the expanding amount of time that I spend on my phone at "bedtime". I've also noticed how much it delays the time taken to actually fall asleep. Sure, my medication is a big culprit in that situation currently, but the fact that I'm constantly finding reasons to look at my phone at night is a big downfall. When I can't sleep, I look at my phone...and then, I find reasons to search this person or look up that celebrity or read this article or do that survey. Suddenly, what I thought may take 15 minutes becomes 2 hours and 47 minutes and it's midnight and I'm restless and my brain won't shut down.

This behavior is toxic.

This computer-savvy-smartphone-era is causing so many issues with every generation. It's not even just relationship issues; it's work issues, health issues, and even confidence issues. It seems like we feel we may die if we don't have internet access 24/7 and our phone on us at all times. We always have to have the latest-and-greatest and will put off Thanksgiving dinner to run to the store just to set up our new iPhones or expect Best Buy to be open Christmas Day to set up our new computers. It's ridiculous.

When I was a kid, computers weren't huge yet. We still played outside with the neighbor kids until dark. We had Sega Genesis and the original Nintendo ( that we were only allowed to spend an hour a day playing ), played The Oregon Trail on big boxy computers in 3rd grade and only the "well-to-do" people had car phones ( we used these prehistoric things called payphones to make calls away from home... ) Now, people of all ages are addicted to the little hand-held computers we all have known as "smartphones".

People literally lease their phones simply to have the best. LEASE. THEIR. FUCKING. PHONE!!! What ridiculousness!!

Young adults don't know how to communicate with the opposite sex. They meet and date on websites and then sit there on their phones throughout the entire dinner. 

I've had situations where I've gone to someone's house to see them and all they want to do is sit on their phone. So, what am I supposed to do?...so in turn, I get on my phone. Why would I drive an hour to see someone, simply to end up doing something that I could do at my OWN damn house?

Even those in their 50s and 60s are becoming internet-addicted. Facebook, POF, texting...our parents can be just as bad as the teenagers. 

It is affecting our health, our relationships and the way we view ourselves.

...and I'm getting sick of it.

And the most disgusting part about it is that I was laying in bed last night doing whatever I could to NOT pick up my phone and look at it...and it actually made me anxious. HOW PATHETIC IS THAT!? What could be so damn important on social media that it would cause me ANXIETY if I missed it?! It makes me ashamed of myself and ashamed at society as a whole that we are so addicted to something so...unimportant!

But you know what? I laid down at 8 pm last night ( I wasn't feeling well ) and I didn't cave in...I didn't look at my phone, and I fell asleep quite fast. And then, when I woke up this AM, I didn't even look at my phone for the time...it was still dark, I fell back asleep and didn't pick that phone up until I was ready to get out of bed. That was the moment that I truly realized that I need to shut down for real. It's bad enough when your own MIND keeps you awake at night, but if you continue to stimulate it with Facebook/Instagram/Google/etc, that's not good.

So, I challenge you...to really take a look at your personal habits when it comes to technology ( phone, computer, video games ) Is it healthy? Or is it consuming your life? Does the mere thought of missing out on something cause you anxiety? Do you consume your life with what so-and-so is doing instead of focusing on your own life? Really evaluate your patterns. And change them. Even if it's just small changes: try not to get on Facebook more than 2 hours a day total...delete some apps you don't really need...set a time of night where you don't start conversations/end conversations/put your phone down...set healthy boundaries for yourself so you can start living and stop worrying about a fucking electronic device to much...

Disconnect with technology and reconnect wit yo' DAMN self, y'all! 😜

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Mean Girls

You know what really grinds my gears? Mean girls.

I had a conversation yesterday with a female who was not very nice about another female. And then she continued to judge two more females in the same conversation. Like, who made YOU God, lady? What gives you the right to say if what someone is doing is wrong or right? What gives you the right to say something about someone's ethic/weight/life choices/etc? Especially when it's someone you don't even know...?!

It's that type: the easily-offended, trigger-happy, always-wanting-to-instigate-a-fight type. 

It's drives me BONKERS!

It's especially hard when it's someone that you can't verbalize your concerns to or about, also. There's certain situations where I would've spoken up and others where I just quietly defend and say my peace. The latter was the route I took. I feel like you don't have to fly off the handle to stress your point: if a woman is saying something negative about another woman and you don't like it, politely say something to diffuse the situation and show that your opinion is different. You can stand up for someone without saying much at all. But don't, I repeat don't, allow mean girls to continue to talk poorly about everyone and everything.

I've learned that these people are toxic. I've fed into the gossip over the years and realized it's so so toxic for me to fall into. Maybe some would've said I was a mean girl. I've said mean things before, I won't lie. What girl hasn't? But I make it a point these days to not say anything if it's not nice. Sure, I'm a female, and sometimes I lapse...but I make it a priority to defend people when I feel it is necessary and to not speak ill of other women because 1) bitches talk, and 2) my opinion is not going to change someone else's opinion of someone...so what's the point? I'd much rather start a sentence with, "She made me feel..." than "That girl is a bitch!" What does that solve?

Also, girls need to learn how to phrase things. 9 times out of 10 if people always "take you the wrong way", it's because you don't know how to talk to people. "Oh, she flew off the handle when I came to her about it..."; maybe it's your presentation. Maybe...you're just not a nice person. Maybe...you are just mean!

So for me, I've learned to distance myself from girls like this and limit my interaction as much as I possibly can. I do not want to be put in a bad situation OR be made the next target. Because, I'll be damned if you're talking like that to ME, you're *definitely* talking like that ABOUT me. You cannot be trusted. You're slimy and manipulative and just a mean girl,

Unfortunately, you must always heed caution when trusting girls. It's sad, but true. So be smart when you share your life with others...you never know when it may come back to bite you in the ass...




Sunday, January 8, 2017

Now Walk It Ouuuuut

New Year's resolution or not, sometimes it can be a real bitch to get the motivation to work out/go to the gym. I deal with it, well, pretty much daily. Even though I clearly know that going to the gym actually makes me feel better, initially "getting there" is the hardest part.

The biggest thing you need to remember is that making a routine is key. It takes 21 days of doing something for it to become routine, so as long as you can get passed those first 3 weeks, you're good. But in the last few weeks I've found personal ways to help motivate myself to get on up in there and I thought I'd share them today.

Don't sit down.
I attend Red Cedar Family Fitness which actually has daily classes ( Zumba, Pound, kickboxing, etc ) that are included in my monthly fee...the downfall is that they start anywhere between 5 and 6:30. I usually get off of work by 4 pm. I noticed that it was getting harder for me to attend those classes because I'd have this lull-time between clocking out and going to classes that wasn't enough time to make and eat dinner, but WAS enough time for me to lose ALL motivation. So, I decided that I needed to go to the gym immediately after work. No excuses. I go, do some cardio for anywhere from 30-60 minutes, and THEN I can go home, relax and make dinner. So far I went on Tues, Thurs, Fri and Sat of this week and did an hour each time. I think that's pretty good. So if you're like me and lose motivation easily, go straight to the gym and do it to it.

Find a way to get through your workout.
Whether it be listening to your favorite tunes or watching a show on Netflix, try to keep your mind busy while you're doing cardio. This week I became engrossed in Leah Remini-Scientology and the Aftermath. I've been using the Sling app to watch during my workout and it helps the hour breeze by. I won't even notice when 20 minutes has passed, which is wonderful when you don't really WANT to work out. 

Keep hydrated.
Make sure you bring lots of water. Ice is always helpful, too, if you plan to be there a while. Staying hydrated will keep you from pooping out early. 

Wear cute outfits.
Not gonna lie, when I feel cute it gives me more drive. Wearing frumpy clothing to the gym does not help me want to work out. Although my body is not where I want it currently, when I wear cute gym attire I just feel better and, in turn, more motivated. Treat yo'self to some cute outfits and maybe a new pair of kicks for the gym ONLY. It may help!

Get a tracking app.
Along with my Fitbit tracking my steps, I also use a Weight Watchers app to track my food intake. You can also use apps like MyFitnessPal to help track calories, but in the past I've had the best results following the WW PointsPlus system. A few years ago when I initially lost 35lbs, I did it by counting my points and doing cardio about 4 times a week. Since it worked before, I'm trying it again. We shall see how it goes!

Some people struggle with exercise and clean eating...it HAPPENS. My "resolution" this year was to aim to workout 3-4x/week and be better about my food consumption; no beating myself up, no slacking. When you don't set strict limits on yourself, you can see amazing results. Limits cause stress and self-destruction, and that's not healthy, either. 


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

To Be A Lady...

...it fucking sucks sometimes. Once a month, to be exact.


Thanks Eve for eating the GODDAMN APPLE after God told you not to! Now we get to bleed for a week straight, get cramps so bad it feels like our insides are being ripped out and during childbirth, our insides are ripped out. Yeah, thanks a lot...

As women, we have to deal with our monthly "friend", pills to keep us from bearing children at an unwanted point in our lives and the lovely ups-and-downs of PMS. Bloating, cramping, nausea, weight gain, fatigue, moodiness...what a crock of shit!

And THEN, when we finally no longer have to deal with Aunt Flo, we get menopause; that lovely time in our lives where our vajayjay's dry up, we get so hot that we can't sleep and want to pass out, and ( again ) we get moody. 

Let's not even start with pregnancy. Not only does every inch of our bodies stretch and disfigure, but we also have the wonderful task of pushing a small watermelon out of a keyhole. W. T. F. I can't believe women used to do it with NO anesthesia...or that they are crazy enough these days to do without. And men whine for days over a GD paper cut...

The human body is quite amazing when you think about it, but to see ( and personally experience ) all the shit that women have to go through that men have no understanding of...not cool. Yes, "such is life" and all that bullshit, but bleeding consistently out of a hole in my body for 5-7 days a month is not fun. 

They told me when I started taking birth control that the cramps would alleviate. And I won't lie, they have. But the first day every month it's like someone is stabbing me in the abdomen repeatedly with a heated spike. As you can imagine, it's not very comfortable...

Sure, there are things like the shot that will only give you a period quarterly, but then you get the lovely side-affect of weight gain AND never knowing if you're actually skipping your monthly friend because of the hormones OR if you're pregnant. 

They also have SO many "feminine care" options, but they all suck. You either have to stick a condensed piece of cotton up into your vagina, you have to wear a pad that feels like you're in diapers again, or they have these crazy dappen-dish, Frisbee-esque looking doo-dads that like, catch all your gunk and then ( I guess ) you wash it out and put it back in...?! WHO THOUGHT OF THIS?! Who wants to put a cup into themselves?! Weird-ass contraptions...

As you can probably imagine by the topic of this blog, it's "that time of the month", so I found it fitting to rant about it. For reals.




Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!

Skipping all that "New Year, New Me" bullshit, I look at 2016 and feel like it flew by. Although it wasn't a very exciting year, I feel like I have quite a few things to be thankful for. It was a year that brought new-found strength, some of my lowest lows, self-reflection and change.

I've had the ability to be able to set back a nice-sized nest egg for myself, which I am highly proud of. This has a lot to do with Nathan being so generous when it comes to bills. If not for him, I wouldn't have as much as I do in savings. I learned real quick back in 2006/2007 that you really need to know that you can take care of yourself if need be because anything can happen. After a break up with a POS ex, I really made it a point to set back ANY money I could into a "rainy day fund". Since then, having some kind of savings has helped me in various situations, be in car issues, unplanned bills, vet care, etc. In 2017, I hope to only grow it larger.

I have battled the worse depression I've ever experienced this past year. Stress from the beginning of 2016 made me feel like my antidepressant was no longer working and since then, I've been dealing with the grueling task of trying different medications/dosages to find what works for me. Most times it felt like a lost cause, but lately I think we may have found the right medication to suit my needs. Although I'm still dealing with restless sleep/hot flashes, what I am on now is really helping with my mood.

I started therapy over the summer after an ex-friend's belittling comments made me really re-evaluate the "is it me or them" issue. I've been wanting to start therapy for years now but I never had any mental health coverage with my insurance...until now. Since then, I've been going every 1-2 weeks just to talk out my feelings, try to learn healthy boundaries and to learn not to continue to repeat the same mistakes in life. Some days I feel like it's a waste and it's not helping me, but other times it really does make me look deeper into the reasons why I do/think the way that I do.

I FINALLY left a job that I'd been miserable at for the last 2 of 4 years. It was terrifying...but not as terrifying as the thought of one day being called into the office ( or called on the phone! ) and told that I no longer had a job. It hurt to have to leave; I truly thought my doctor was a good man. Well, I had...until the last 6 months-year. And to hear later that he told others that I "fabricated my reasons for leaving" and that I was a "bitch" were heartbreaking. If I already had a new job lined up, WHY would I lie about my reasons for resigning? I simply could have said, "I just don't want to be here." But luckily, I was fortunate enough to find new employment in April for a wonderful oral surgeon who is not only a very kind man but also spectacular at what he does. I work with an ( almost ) awesome group of people ( hey, not everything is perfect! ) and, although I dread mornings, I never dread coming to the office like I once did. I'm truly blessed to have been hired onto such a great team.

I've been able to purchase some "adult necessities", like a new bed, dresser and a dishwasher. These are things I could NEVER afford on my own before. I've still very thrifty when it comes to shopping, but it's so refreshing to actually be able to afford things when I need them instead of just having to "do without". 

I have groceries in the refrigerator all the time...even if it's not always something I want to eat. 

My dogs, my family and my friends are all healthy. And for the most part, I am, too.

I've had a few fairly successful PetValu events supporting CPAA this year, raising a few hundred dollars. 

So, looking back, 2016 had its ups-and-downs but, all in all, it wasn't too bad. 

I didn't really set up any actual resolutions for 2017, but I do hope to accomplish a few things:

1. I want to really buckle down on better eating habits. I'm not saying "dieting" because I feel like that word only jinxes me; I just want to make better options and really be smart about portion control and dealing with self-control. I don't eat a lot to begin with, I just tend to eat small portions of bad food more often than not. 

2. I want to drag my ass to the gym at LEAST 3-4 times/week. In the winter time, especially with SAD, it sometimes takes everything in me to get myself to work out ( even though I know that it will only make me feel better... ) But that's why I want to go--and NEED to go--because the health benefits mentally are necessary. Working out truly does help alleviate my stress levels and I need to be more conscientious about doing so.

3. I want. To paint. My house. 
It needs done.
The colors are picked out and have been for probably a year now.
No more excuses.

4. I plan to continue therapy and work on myself more. Learn ways to deflate my anxiety and work through my depression. I want to be able to not let the little things get to me so much, learn to take one day at a time, and try to be a little more carefree in general. I'm so tightly wound that sometimes it just does more harm than good.

5. I want to read more.

6. I want to disconnect from electronics more.

7. I want to strengthen my relationships with family and friends and stop making excuses.

8. ...I just want to make 30 my bitch! =P

I feel like these are all attainable goals for 2017. Baby steps and patience are key, but I will try. 

But yep, that's my year in reflection...and my hopes for this year. Anyone have any good "resolutions" for the new year?