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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Makeup Clearout & Final Reviews

It's so funny, you know I think I'm good at keeping a minimal makeup collection. But even I occasinally hang on to products that I don't like, have used up, or are just plain old! I usually have good intentions; like I'll write about this someday... so now I'm making an honest person of myself.

Below are the products I've used up or am getting rid of and my final thoughts on each of them. Settle in, let's get chatting!


All The Makeup


NYX HD Concealer

Fair and Yellow

I spoke about these here. I do like these as a drugstore option for concealer, they blend well and don't cake up. But they have more of medium coverage so I find that I need a second (usually peach concealer) for my under-eye circles, which isn't a big deal, but worth mentioning. Overall a great concealer for a good price!

Too Faced Absolutely Flawless Concealer

Vanilla

See my original review here. With this concealer a little goes a long way, which is why I've had it longer than I probably should have (gross!). This is a thicker concealer that takes a little work - I warm it up with my fingers and pat, pat, pat it in. It's got a pretty high coverage and lasts a decent amount of time. Not my favorite but not bad.

Ellen Tracy Thick Stick 

(Not cruelty-free, similar here)

I picked this up from Marshall's on a whim, and as I've spoke about here I'm not a huge fan of lipsticks. So even though this color is nice, it's not for me. Also, I don't feel the staying power is as great as some other lipsticks on the market these days.

Wet n' Wild Megalast Lip Color

Dollouse Pink

Again, I tried this on in the above post and the color is not right for me. Also I felt like this lipstick sat on top of my lips funny and looked a little too painted on. So, onto the next lipstck adventure!

ELF Smudge Pot Cream Eyeshadow


I wrote about my disappointment here, but held onto the product for some unknown reason. Now it's time to let it go as I should have before. 

Wet n Wild Color Icon Glitter Single

Brass

Some days you just want to be glittery... but don't choose this for the job. It's hard to get the product out of the pan and onto the lid. I just want a gilded eyelid, is that too much to ask?!?

Mascaras


First a little caveat to my mascara reviews. I have extremely dry eyes; which means loads of eye drops and squinting. This unfortunately means I'm super tough on mascara as it usually ends up under my eyes... not good. So the below reviews are not on longevity or smudgey-ness (which they all fail) but the other properties of mascara.

Essence Lash Princess Volume Mascara


I loved the volume this mascara provided. My lashes started out beautifully full and long and black. I also really liked the shape of the brush, I had lots of control and was able to get into the corners of my lashes. 

Too Faced Better Than Sex

Waterproof

I'll just come right out and say it... skip this and get the original Better Than Sex (in the pink tube). The original is a million times better in volume, length, longevity, and staying power. Don't know how they ended up so different, but they did.

Ulta Super-Stretch Mascara 

(product no longer available)

This mascara did last longer than the non-fiber ones did, that's a plus. But the look it gave was super natural. And I need lashes you can see from space, so this just didn't wow me. Though it looks like they've reformulated and created some new options for Ulta. Shopping spree?



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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Whole 30 Challenge Accepted

After this New Year's I was feeling rundown, fat, sluggish, and just ughhh.... I also was completey uninspired with cooking and recipes. I decided I needed to make a change. I was on Pinterest searching for Paleo recipes to see if it was a diet I could do, when I came across the Whole30 plan.

It seemed interesting and doable! For 30 days you follow the plan and stay away from the food groups below and try to eat healthy, non-processed foods (whole foods).

Getting Started with Whole30


I used the following website to get started  - Whole30 Meal Plan. There is a book and and more in depth directions but I was going for simple here.

On Whole30 you stay away from:
  • Sugar
  • Dairy
  • Legumes (peanuts, beans, etc...)
  • Alcohol
  • Grains
  • Processed Foods
When I started I thought it was going to be so hard! I mean no peanut butter or frozen meals for lunches? But I found some recipes and started thinking about new foods I could eat that would be quick and simple. 

Recipes - Making it Work


For breakfast I was already eating according to the plan, but I added veggies to help me stay fuller longer and keep me from snacking.
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • Fruit (usually berries or a banana)
  • Chopped veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots)
For lunches, I mainly ate salads. I bought lots of premade ones from Trader Joes of King Soopers. Usually the ones with kale and brussels sprouts! Then I added veggies, protein, and dressing. I did cheat on dressing as I didn't make my own; but I found some vinegarettes with no sugar added and natural ingredients so I felt pretty good.
  • Pre-washed salad greens
  • Other veggies (tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, etc...)
  • Protein (smoked salmon, rotisserie chicken, deli meat)
Finally, for dinners, I tried a few recipes from Pinterest but they were pretty complicated and I just don't have time for that. I did find one recipe for Paleo nachos that I pretty much lived off of. Or I just had protein and veggies.

Paleo Nachos

  • Preheat oven to 425F degrees 
  • Slice 1 sweet potato thinly into chips, slice 1 jalepeno into rounds, and chop a handful of mushrooms
  • Lay sweet potatoes out flat in 1 layer, and on second try lay out 1 layer of mushrooms and jalepenos. Coat all with olive oil and salt
  • Roast for 10 minutes, flip and roast for 10 more
  • Either make or purchase guacamole (Whole Foods' version is by far the best)
  • Heat up and shred 2-3oz. of rotisserie chicken
  • Chop onion and tomato
  • Build your nachos, yum!

Other Paleo Meals

  • Protein: rotisserie chicken, grass-fed beef burgers, smoked salmon. sausages (natural and without sugar)
  • Vegetables: Roasted squash, brussel sprouts or okra, frozen veggies, or salad

Whole30 Results


Now to the good stuff after a month of this, how did it turn out!? Well I'd say it was a success, as you can see by the pictures and measurements below. I ended up losing a total of 7 pounds and about 2 inches around my middle.

Oh and don't mind the crazy yoga bun, I took these pictures each day before a yoga workout! :)




I lost the most inches around my mid-section (awesome, that was my problem area!), but the funny thing is I didn't lose around my arms and I actually gained a half an inch around my thighs! This is because I also started a more intense yoga routine, so I'm gaining muscles. I'm so excited, I love when I can see my muscles!

What I Learned


I went into this diet really skeptical. I've never dieted before and I wasn't sure I would be able to do it. But after a few days I got into the swing of things and really started to pay attention to when I was hungry and why and how I was feeling. 

Overall I learned:
  • I didn't really miss a lot of the food I thought I would (i.e. bread, dairy, or sugar)
  • I really missed some foods I wouldn't have thought of (i.e. beans, alcohol, peanut butter)
  • There is sugar in everything! It's in sausage, canned foods, frozen foods, dressing, etc... 
  • Which leads me to label reading - very important!!
  • I love veggies, which somehow I forgot
Now that it's over I plan on eating Whole30 for most breakfasts and lunches. Then for dinner I can be more lenient and also I can enjoy going out to eat again. I don't, however, plan on returning to my old eating habits!

I would say Whole30 has been a success for me and I'm excited for the future and continuing my journey to healthiness!



Thursday, February 2, 2017

So I Started Dating, Now What?



Last we left off with the story (read more here) of my return to the dating world... I hadn't returned. I took one look at online dating and said, "No Thank You!" 

Focusing on Myself

Then I decided I need to focus more on myself, and I did that. Probably the best decision I made! I really learned that I can have a life without a man. I reconnected with old and current friends, reinforced relationships with my family, and I think most importantly with myself. 

I think in all relationships we make compromises; sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. After 8 years with my ex, I had compromised a lot and I forgot the things I liked because for so long it was what we liked. So now I'm back! I'm me and I'm perfectly happy with being by myself. So now of course, let's add someone else. 

Dating - There's an App for That!

So I did it people, I downloaded the Bumble App (iTunes, Google Play Store) and got matching! The cool thing about this app, which is a lot like Tinder, is that women make first contact. *There is also same sex and BFF matching, but I'm not sure how that works with who makes contact.*

I won't say it's been all peaches, because it hasn't. It's a numbers game; from 40 right swipes, I may only be matched with 5, and from that 5 only 2 may answer my message, and then 1 or none of them might actually be able to converse. Tough odds people!

Getting Comfortable

But I've chatted with some nice and funny men on the app, if even for a few messages. And it's given me more and more confidence and understanding of who I'm looking for. 

It's like online shopping almost, but for men. I'm not sure it's the most conducive to a relationship. But there's always the opportunity to meet someone that you never would have in real life. I don't know about you other single ladies, but I don't have friends loaded to the gills with single male friends. So there's not a whole lot of option to be introduced to someone. This does solve that issue.

It took me a while to get over the whole meat market aspect of Bumble and other such apps. But the more I do it, the more comfortable I feel with the whole idea.


What Next?

As I've said, it's been almost 10 years since I've dated and wow have things changed! So I'm dipping my foot in to see what's up. But I have so many questions still of how this whole thing works!

I've been on a few dates with a guy; he's fun and sweet and it's been a good time. But now what? Do I still Bumble? Because even though we're not exclusive or anything, it feels hinky. What's okay to talk about when? I'm divorced, that's a thing and I tell people that, but when they ask about my marriage I get really uncomfortable... it just seems to early for that. And finally, sex?!? It was so easy when I was married, nothing was new or scary... it just was. Not that that's what I want, but we're laying it all out here.

So even though I obviously have a million questions. I'm enjoying myself and trying to remind myself that I'm having fun and that's what matters. And I don't need to worry so damn much, it's all going to be okay. 

So if you're new to the new world of dating or Bumble, here are a few tips I have.

A few things I learned about Bumble:


  • Have some pics of you smiling (this is a huge issue for me!) and enjoying life
  • Be original in your message - no one likes Hi! or How's it going? and you can be crazy with this, my 1st message is a thought provoking question. Half the guys think I'm nuts, but it's all good.
  • Be yourself - If you only want tall men or non-smokers, etc... say that! If you have a dry sense of humor, show it. You don't need to poor your heart out in 90 characters, but do give a glimpse into you.
  • Be picky but open - Know what you're looking for, but if someone is missing 1 quality or feature, given them a chance, you never know!
Have fun ladies, being single can actually be exciting if you let it!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

2 Exciting Cruelty-free Drugstore Foudations



I've been on the search for an amazing foundation, as I'm sure we all have at one time or another. I'm looking for one with light-to-medium coverage, that's a natural finish, and for all-that-is-holy doesn't look cakey. And damnit everything seems to look cakey on me. I'd spent hours in Sephora swatching my hand and found nothing that seemes interesting. It wasn't until I was at Ulta with my mom that I found 2 options that caught my eye.

On a whim I bought them both and I'm so glad I did! These 2 foundations have impressed so much more than the dozen I tested from high-end brands. 

Okay no more gushing, here are my 2 new favorite foundations!


The Everyday Foundation




This is an extremely lightweight foundation that evens out my skintone and provides just enough coverage to make me do a happy dance. Also great pluses; it contains SPF 50 (which is awesome!) and it doesn't look cakey! Also, it seems to last a good 6-8 hours on my skin, which is a rarity indeed. Score! For only around $11, I think this stuff is awesome for everyday wear. 

To use: I use mostly the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush (which I wrote about here), I just dip it in the cushion and away I go! 


The Custom Coverage Foundation



A few years ago I wrote about the Cover FX Cusom Cover Drops which I really liked but I found it hard to justify buying the foundation plus a good medium to mix it with... talk about pricey! So I was very excited to learn that NYX just launched a similar product for around $14 - which is a little expensive for the drugstore. But it's worth it, trust me. 

You can customize your coverage by using more or less drops. It blends and spreads out pretty damn amazingly across your face and provides a nice natural/satin finish. The staying power on this is about the same as the Physician's Formula, though I do find that I get a little extra shiny while wearing this. Nothing some powder can't fix. 

To use: I would suggest a Beauty Blender or Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge (That's what I have been using) for a flawless finish. I dot the drops right on the sponge and then dab it all over my face before I blend it in. I use 3 drops for a medium coverage and 4-5 for high coverage. 

Half of me wants to say shit, I wasted my time with all these other products and testing! But the other half of me says yay! If I hadn't tested all those other foundations I wouldn't have recognized the gold on face!

I hope you all find your dream foundations too! And I'd love to hear what you're loving currently in the comments below. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Dressed Up Looks If You Hate Dresses

Ok, I can't be the only one to hate wearing dresses (or skirts) can I? I've tried and tried and tried... a lot of dresses people, and I just can't find one the I love. Dresses either make me look pregnant, like I'm 5, lumpy, or way to booby. It's not a good look people, it's just not.

I've come a long way in the past few years with body confidence, but this just doesn't translate well for dress shopping. And yes, yes I know Spanx (or a version of them) would help smooth my lumps and form my ass and all of that, but have any of you wore them? Not comfortable! They make me want to puke!

So, enough bitching... I've made a decision. Women don't have to wear dresses to be formal. Now if only society would accept that, I'd be so happy.

Below are 3 outfits I would wear for a party or a night out. Not super formal, we're not there yet. But I think these pieces would replace a dress easily for ladies who like to wear the pants!


Party Outfits that aren't Dresses




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