Monday, April 30, 2018

Slot Machines and Bicycle Seats

This past weekend was a little insane. Well, for me at least. I typically have few plans on the weekends and I rarely travel a lot. However, this weekend included both. (I work Sunday through Thursday so my weekends are Friday and Saturday.)

Thursday night - Friday night
M and I left Thursday evening (well more like afternoon) and drove 3 hours from SC into the NC mountains. The next 24 hours were spent eating, gambling, losing at gambling, shopping and walking around in the quaint little "downtown" area of Cherokee

Best Parts - eating carbs (M and I temporarily suspended our keto diets for this weekend)/being with my in-laws
Worst Part - gambling (it's just not my scene and it's smoky and loud and gross)

I got up early Saturday and drove from NC to TN so that I could bike down the Virginia Creeper trail in VA. It was my best friend's birthday on Saturday and they were staying at a house just over the VA/TN line. I met them there and we rode to the trail together. The trail was a lot of fun but I haven't been on a bike in at least a decade. AT LEAST.

Best Parts - the scenery of the trail and being with my friends
Worst Part - sore butt from the bike seat (it took us about 5 hours total to do the 17 mile trail including breaks and a lunch stop)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Colourpop Makeup: Faves and Flops

Over the last year and a half or so I've really been getting into makeup. Well, starting to care more about makeup at least. Long ago, I discovered the power of lipstick and mascara for my fair skin and blonde eyelashes...however...I never really experimented or played with anything beyond the basics before.

In 2017 a coworker introduced me to Colourpop and thus my obsession with makeup was born. I know my last post talked about me not wanting to fake tan because I was doing it FOR OTHER PEOPLE. (and actually hated doing it) This is the opposite because I love makeup. I love trying new things and failing at them. Or trying new things and mastering a technique I never thought I could.

Anyway, that's your long-winded intro into my post about Colourpop. What is Colourpop? Well, despite the Euro spelling of the word "color" it's an American-made brand produced in a lab in California. It's cruelty free...which has become very important to me with makeup brands I purchase regularly. Also, it's REALLY inexpensive. But the quality is insanely good. So...let me recap: American-made, cruelty-free, inexpensive, excellent quality. Ummmm...why would I NOT love it?  In the last year and or so I've purchased quite a bit of Colourpop makeup and in case you've never heard of it or are interested in trying some items...I've summarized my faves and my flops below. Keep in mind these are what worked and didn't work for ME. For the record my skin is fair, sensitive and combination-but-leans-towards-dry. :)

Alyssa Ultra Satin Lip || Dopey Ultra Satin Lip || Nillionaire Super Shock Shadow || Set to Stun Super Shock Shadow || Snake Eyes Pressed Powder Shadow || Sea Stars Pressed Powder Shadow || Glass Bull Pressed Powder Shadow || You Had Me At Hello Palette

Alyssa and Dopey are the Ultra Satin liquid lipsticks I've purchased more than once in a year or so. That should tell you something. I found I much preferred the Ultra Satin Lip formula over the Ultra Matte Lip formula since it's less drying. I also found that for the Super Shock Shadows (which are a cream shadow texture) I prefer the glitter or metallic. Nillionaire and Set to Stun are amazing alone or over other shadows to give it a shimmery effect. Sea Stars and Snake Eyes are pretty much my go-to everyday eyeshadows. I can blend Sea Stars in the crease and Snake Eyes on the mobile lid and it's just beautiful. Glass Bull is probably my absolute favorite single shadow of all time. I'm not being dramatic. It's the most unique, interesting shadow ever. It's beautiful on it's own but adds a gorgeous green/teal/blue shimmer to the top of any other shadow with a brown or amber flip. I wear this just by itself and it's amazing! I have a few CP eyeshadow palettes but hands-done the You Had Me At Hello palette is my favorite. I've used every single color in it...which is a big deal!

Viper Ultra Matte Lip || Split Ultra Blotted Lip || Co-Pilot Super Shock Shadow || No Promises Super Shock Shadow || Sideline Pressed Powder Shadow || Tea Garden Pressed Powder Shadow || Dragonfly Pressed Powder Shadow || Mothership Supernova Shadow

As I mentioned previously, I do not love the Ultra Matte or Ultra Blotted Lip formulas. The UML is too drying and they all dry incredibly dark. The UBL is just weird. It's patchy and strange. Not a fan. I've blogged about Co-Pilot before but it's not pink on my eyelids...but a whitish pink wash. I was hoping for more of a pale pink but it also could be because my skin is sort of pale pink. :) I don't like the Super Shock Shadows in the matte formula. They just don't stay on well for me. The two green pressed shadows are beautiful in the pan but look gross on me. Sideline is basically just a weird gray and Tea Garden looks almost exactly like another CP eyeshadow I already have. It's basically an amber/brown with a pale green duo-chrome and it's just not the beautiful green I was hoping for. Dragonfly comes off more brown than purple so it looks a little dead when worn by itself. However I can use it as a base for a more vibrant purple and it's nice. Lastly, Mothership was a disaster. It's a liquid eyeshadow and until I got a different brand to try in a Boxycharm subscription box, this made me swear off of ALL liquid eyeshadows. It's streaky, chunky and not at all what I wanted. Sigh...maybe I should just cool it with green eye things huh?

Have you tried Colourpop products? If so which ones do you like?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Skin Wars

There's a clear double standard in beauty today. We all know this. We've lashed out at brands for not being inclusive in their shade ranges...cough Tarte...cough Loreal...cough IT Cosmetics. We've sought out influencers who are ethnically diverse and unique. And we've come a long way in the beauty industry at being more thoughtful about the thousands upon thousands of different skin tones that the human race has.

But a clear double standard remains. (And no, I'm not talking about the fair vs. deep debate. I, rarely, if ever, am able to use drugstore foundations because their shade ranges don't go light enough to accommodate my fair skin. However...this is NOT the same as brands just blatantly excluding an entire end of the spectrum. That's a whole other debate for another time and place.)

The double standard I speak of is how our society places value in both light and deep skin tones depending on what your ethnicity is. Why is it not the same? Let me elaborate...

If you are caucasian. Our society emphasizes the tanner (or darker) your skin is, the healthier and more attractive you are.

But that's not the case if you are a person of color. Instead, the same "society" says that the lighter complexion and skin tone you have, it's more acceptable and revered and beautiful.

So basically, if you sit at the fair caucasian side of the spectrum or the deep person of color end of the spectrum you are not an ideal beauty.


In my mind that sounds so crazy. I would never play into that. All skin tones are equally accepted and beautiful.

And then I go and slather myself with stinky, disgusting and messy orange self-tanner so that I don't "blind" people when I have more skin exposed. I spend lots of money on leg makeup and self-tanner and tanning booths and bronzing lotions and other junk to alter my complexion color.

What is wrong with me? I'm literally playing right into this idea that the skin tone I was born with isn't okay. I've had this huge revelation over the last few months as I ruined yet another set of sheets because my self-tanner transfers when I sweat. Or as I dreaded the long and arduous routine of exfoliation, shave, tanner, let it dry, don't shower for a day, worry about staining clothes, etc that happens when the weather turns warm. Or as I envied the women who only have to worry about shaving their legs when they wear a dress. Not whether or not they have applied enough self-tanner or Sally Hansen leg makeup to be considered an acceptable shade of tan to venture into society.

And then I got mad. It's not fair (pun intended) that I have to make myself look like someone else's standard of "pretty". EFF THAT.

And to be quite frank, my time is better spent on other things than the entire self-tanner routine. So, this spring and summer season I think I'm going to embrace my true skin tone and just go natural. No tanner. No stinky orange streaky mess.

And I dare a heaux to ever make a comment about my white legs again :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Reminder That Sometimes Bad Things Are Actually Not Bad

I mentioned in my previous post that we are in the process of furnishing our new house. One of the bigger purchases we needed to make was a dining room table. I originally found one at World Market that I loved. Coincidentally it was an outdoor dining table but I didn't care! I purchased the table online and anxiously awaited delivery. I didn't purchase any chairs...I figured I'd buy chairs later after the table was in place. I wanted to do mixed chairs anyway. (a few different styles) So, said dining table was to be delivered last Friday.

The day came and the delivery drivers got to the door and when I answered they said..."Um, you need to come see this."

"This" turned out to be this:

The table was heavily damaged. Not only was the box chewed up but the table itself had pretty significant damage. I could honestly have dealt with a ding or a chip or a scratch but the middle of table was splintered. I did something I've never done in my life...I refused a delivery.

Side note: You need to know I'm just THAT person usually. I never send food back. I never return clothes. I never speak up for myself. (I'm working on me.) So for me to refuse a delivery and not just "deal with it" is a big deal. Coincidentally I'm doing the same thing for one of our new couches that squeaks. I would have just dealt with it but I spoke up and they are sending a replacement. Anywho...

After the delivery truck rolled away with my beautiful new, albeit damaged, table I was majorly bummed. I was waiting on that piece to make things feel homey. My design was sort of hinging on that table. And now I had nothing.

And then I got mad. How dare they put something like that onto the truck. Clearly it was beaten up and yet they still tried to deliver it to me? NO MA'AM.

Fast forward to Saturday when M and I were out and about attempting to look at other furniture and we walked into Ashley Furniture and found THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DINING TABLE AND CHAIRS AND BUFFET/SERVER THAT WAS EVEN BETTER THAN BEFORE. Photo proof below:

And so now, here is my mildly existential take on the whole situation. Sometimes, bad things that we think are really bad are actually not. Sometimes they are uncomfortable and annoying or even depressing, but really they are a blessing. Not that I didn't love my World Market table but I love this stuff even more. Plus we got incredible deals on it and we don't have to put it together. (can I get an amen for that?!?!) This is so beautiful and farmhouse-y but timeless. I simply cannot wait for it to be delivered.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Thursday Thoughts (It's Been a Weird 10 Months)

No, you're reading this right. It's a blog post from me.

So, you may have noticed that I took about 2 months um... a long time off from blogging. A lot has happened over this period of time. LIKE A LOT. I thought I would be done with blogging for good. But lately, I've had that itch again. I just have things to talk about and what better audience than those that are still around in the blogosphere?

Let's catch up quickly over the last 10 months...

The biggest life change is that my precious mother passed away on July 29th. Things are so different now. I honestly feel so strange about it. I am still a little in shock and don't remember that she's no longer alive sometimes. She was diagnosed with brain cancer (anaplastic astrocytoma) on August 1st of 2016. Her funeral was 364 days after she was diagnosed.

Honestly, I question the "science" of medicine. I question our healthcare system. I question advice that people give me. I sometimes question God. So many "if-onlys" and "what-ifs"'s hard to really process this. Sometimes grief comes to sucker punch me to the gut and remind me of something random. Grief is such a strange thing. So far, we've been through what was her birthday, my birthday, Christmas and Easter without her. Not yet a full year has gone by and it seems so fresh sometimes. And I fully realize that many people have already walked this walk and been there but I haven' this is new for me.

I cannot control when grief decides to visit, but I can choose to remember the fond things and the good times with my mom. I don't want to remember her in pain or agitated or sad. I want to remember her when she was teaching me how to sing or when we would go to museums or on vacation. I want to remember her teaching me how to make Mississippi Mud Cake and how to throw a football.

If you care to read her obituary, it is here.

M and I purchased a home in an adjacent city/county to where we were living. We closed on the new house March 16th and have been in a little less than 3 weeks. We absolutely ADORE this new home and the new location. It's got everything we wanted and more. It's a single family home (vs. the townhouse we were in before) and it's more than double the size of our old place. Honestly, we got two couches delivered yesterday that I ordered and that is the first piece of actual furniture I have in the entire downstairs of the house. We brought our bedroom furniture and such and our living room furniture from the townhouse went into the loft living area upstairs in the new house. So...we need end tables, accent chairs, dining room chairs (table was ordered and will be delivered this week), a kitchen table and chairs and bar stools. I keep reminding myself that I don't have to buy it all at once but it's hard not to be overwhelmed with everything we still need to purchase! Here are a few pics. I hope that now since I (maybe? perhaps?) might start blogging a little more I can document the furniture purchase and decorating process.

We listed our townhouse for sale and it had an offer within and hour and under contract within 4 hours. The housing market in the Charlotte area is insane right now. INSANE!

Well, I guess those are the only two big changes since my last post. But those are big enough to warrant my "a lot has happened" comment in the beginning. I hope to keep up with this a bit more frequently but probably not nearly as regularly as before. Stay tuned! Or check back! Or something! :)