Look good for less- recent beauty buys

Monday, October 28, 2013

I'm a self proclaimed former beauty snob.
As in, I used to only buy the good stuff- the expensive stuff.

Once upon a time I thought spending $34 on a tube of mascara was perfectly acceptable. And then another $38 for my foundation, $30 for my powder, $48 for an eyeshadow quad, $18 for a lipgloss, $24 for my favorite get the idea. I wanted only the best! Working for Lancome and getting a discount certainly helped soften the blow, but I was still spending a small fortune on my makeup products every month. Yes, they were great, quality products, but were they really worth the extra money?

Spending $34 on something that goes on my eyelashes is something I'd never consider now, especially since I'm a stay-at-home mom trying to feed a family of four and not break the bank. Ladies, I'm here to tell you that  you can look good without spending a small fortune on your makeup routine.

Where I got it- Walgreens $16.49
I was skeptical about this stuff at first, but I've actually been pretty pleased with it. It's not heavy or greasy, and it goes on smoothly, providing medium coverage. It also has Olay serum in it to help with fine lines and wrinkles and to help hydrate and improve skin tone over time. I'm almost 30, so I definitely have some fine lines and wrinkles, and I've noticed that this stuff doesn't settle into them or make them more prominent.

Where I got it- Walgreens $11.99 (I got it for $6 on sale)
From what I can tell, this stuff is basically the same as the above mentioned product, but it's specifically for the eye area rather than the entire face. I dot it under my eyes to help with dark circles and brighten the eye area, and I like that the Olay serum is in this also and helps improve the skin tone and luminosity over time. I haven't had a problem with it caking up or settling into any wrinkles. Overall I like it, and would buy it again if I had a coupon or hit up a sale (Covergirl was buy one, get one 1/2 at the time).

Where I got it- Target $6
I love this stuff! I had been dying to try it but could never find it at Target, so when I finally found it I snatched it up and squealed with joy. This translucent, loose powder helps create a flawless, "soft focus" effect to the skin. It's really, really fine and I was a little scared at how "white" it made my face look at first. But after I used my blush and bronzer and everything it looked great- and stayed matte pretty much all day!

Where I got it- Target $3
This is another one of my new favorites. It goes on really smooth and is smudge proof and water resistant, so it's not going anywhere unless you scrub it off. I love it because it's really easy to do a winged out cat eye that will stay all day. My tip- wash the little brush before each use because if it has any dried liner in it, it's going to clump up and not go on smoothly.

Where I got it- Target $3
This little kit is very similar to the Wet n' Wild one I mentioned here, but it's $2 cheaper. The pigmented wax that helps groom and tame your brows, while the powder helps you shape and fill your brows in. I prefer using this wax/powder combo rather than a pencil.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick (Matte Stormy Pink)
Where I got it- Walmart $6.99
I don't usually wear lipstick, but I'll make an exception for this one. It's super moisturized and doesn't dry out like most lipsticks do. This one in particular has a matte finish,  which I love because it gives you a lot of color with a bit of a softer finish and without the shine.
I used all 6 of these products on myself before this fun little mini shoot I did with a photographer friend of mine. It wasn't until later that I realized I had been wearing all of my new products for the pictures, and it made me pretty happy thinking of how much money I've saved on beauty purchases lately. While it is normally true that you get what you pay for, this goes to show that if you shop around and do a little research you can still look good at an affordable price.

What about you- have you tried any of these?
Any new favorite products?

Bullies suck

Thursday, October 24, 2013

If you follow me on Facebook you might have seen me mention our little bully problem this week. 

It all started when my son Ayden, 9, came home upset one day. I always go outside and watch the kids walk home from the bus stop and I noticed he was walking really slowly with his head down, while usually he is running, laughing, and chasing his sister all the way home. He's a pretty cool and content kid all the time, and he's always excited to see me and tell me about his day.

This day was different.

He wouldn't look at me and kept staring at the ground, barely muttering a "hi" when I hugged him and asked how his day was. I knew something was up and I assumed it probably involved another kid at school or on the bus. So I asked him what was wrong and if something happened. He nodded and I asked some more questions- was it a kid at school? Was someone mean to him? Did he get in trouble? Did he just have a bad day? He got really quiet, so I hugged him again and told him to please tell me what was wrong so that I could fix it, and that I wouldn't be mad at him for telling me what was going on. Finally, his face crumpled and he blurted out "I think these kids are bullying me." So we talked.

He told me the whole story and this is basically it:
After school, in the bus line outside, there were two boys who were giving him crap. 4th graders, so a year older than Ayden, and they had been constantly picking on him and would mess with him while waiting for the bus. That particular day they had stolen his hat (a beanie), threw it on the ground, and stomped on it repeatedly. He kept telling them to stop and leave him alone but they laughed and kept doing it over and over again. He said he was kind of crying by that point and they laughed even more and started calling him names. Then, to my surprise, he said "I don't know...they kept saying something about how I was teabagging...I don't even know what they're talking about!" I had to turn away to keep him from seeing me laughing. (If you're unsure of the other meaning of "teabagging"- don't Google it. I'll just tell you that it's a sexual reference involving a part of the male anatomy. Enough said!) I composed myself and simply told him that I didn't know what they were talking about but that boys say weird things sometimes, and I urged him on with the rest of the story. So anyway, he tried moving away from the boys but they followed him and kept laughing at the fact that he was crying and continued to call him other names (that he wouldn't repeat) until the bus came. I asked him how long this had been going on- a day? A few days? A week? He said that it had been more than just a few days and probably closer to a week. A whole week of these kids treating my kid like crap. I was pissed.

I believe my exact words were "Don't worry honey. I'll take care of those little shits."

But really, after that I made sure to thank Ayden for telling me. I assured him that he did the right thing and wouldn't be in trouble, and that telling me what happened would help fix the situation for him. He absolutely did not have to sit and endure that kind of crap from a couple of mean kids, and I was going to make damn sure the school did something about it.

I tried calling the school, but his teacher's line was going straight to her voicemail, so I decided to email her. After all, when I had a question for her before I usually asked via email and she was always speedy with a response. Then she would have the story in writing too, which I figured might be helpful. So with Ayden's help, we fired off a quick email to his teacher, giving her all of the details (minus the teabagging part- I just mentioned a "crude, sexual remark that my son didn't even understand" and figured she'd get the point). We high-fived each other and I told him I was proud of him.

Within an hour of sending the email, his teacher responded and said she just forwarded it to the principal, thanked me for reporting it, and said she would contact me as soon as she heard anything about it. Perfect!

The next day, the principal called, and I had this to report:

The principal was awesome, and was so on top of it. She said she talked to Ayden and that she was really proud of him for how articulate and mature he was about the whole thing. She gave him a chance to stand up to the kids and tell them that he didn't like the way he was being treated and that they were not allowed to act that way to other people. Go Ayden! What a brave move. The 1 boy, the instigator, had already been in his fair share of trouble, so the principal told me that was the reason she thought he needed a severe punishment this time. He was suspended and now his parents have to pick him up in the office every day for the rest of the year. In the office- he can't even stand outside in the pickup line with the other kids! Pretty sad when you have to be completely separated from your peers, but I guess that's what you have to do to protect the other kids from these repeat offenders who just don't know how to be nice or behave. I'm glad he won't even have a chance to do this to another kid out there, and it's good to know he is being watched.

One of the great things that his principal also told him and me was that she wants to know if there is any sort of retaliation. If those boys (or their friends) even so much as give Ayden a dirty look she wants to know about it, and explained to him that it was absolutely unacceptable. They are the ones who did wrong, and if they give him a hard time about "getting them in trouble" there will be even more severe consequences. That was great of her to make that clear, because I knew Ayden was thinking about what would happen when he had to see the boy again. He said he's not worried at all anymore, so mission accomplished.

I'm super thankful to his school for stepping up so quickly and standing by their zero tolerance policy. I know a lot of schools are more on top of these sort of things nowadays, and it helps me to rest easy knowing that something was done about it right away.

I'd like to know about the parents. Where are they at with all of this? Apparently teaching your kids the basics on how to be decent human beings isn't being taught anymore- or they are just MIA and/or are oblivious to their kids' behavior, because we seem to have a generation of jerks nowadays. I would love to have a conversation with this kids' parents and see what they are like, because I'm willing to bet they are a lot like their child. The kid is 10 and is already a huge trouble maker at his school- enough that the principal knew him just by giving his first name and she had a whole file on his bad behavior. Are the parents OK with this? Do they even realize how serious this is? Or do they just think "Well, he got in trouble again." I don't know, and I don't get it.

Parents of the bullies- please step up and do your job. When you know that your kids is terrorizing other kids repeatedly, do something. We don't just need to protect the kids that are being picked on, but we also need to stop breeding more generations of mean, hateful, cruel children who lack discipline and basic moral values that should be taught at home before entering school.

I totally do not fault my son's friends (who witnessed the situation) for not saying anything or standing up for him. They are 9 years old, and were probably terrified of having the bullies turn on them. But I think we should definitely talk to our kids about stepping up and helping other kids in need if they can do so safely. My son's friends had strength in numbers and if they all came together they could have tried fending the boys off or went and got the help of a teacher. I had a good discussion with Ayden about this and he understands what to do if he ever witnesses someone in a similar situation. Kids should be helping other kids!

Thanks to all of the sweet comments on Facebook- I really appreciate it! In reading them I discovered quite a few people who have dealt with this issue regarding their own children and it makes me sad to see how common it is. And how early it starts! I didn't think we'd have any problems until closer to middle school, but I guess I was wrong. I hope anyone else experiencing this with their own kids gets the same kind of help and support from the school that I did. I hate to think of all the kids out there having to deal with this type of thing (or worse). 

Have your children encountered any bully problems at school yet?
How did you/would you deal with it? Was your school as supportive as ours was?

Weekend Wrap Up

Monday, October 21, 2013

Phew. It's been a while since I posted a weekend wrap up, but I figure it's an easy way to keep everyone in the loop while I'm still all crazed and unorganized over here since the move. I'm really really hoping things settle down soon so that I can devote more time to the blog again- I sure do miss it! We have a few more changes for us coming up next weekend, and hopefully after that I will be able to get back to my normal routine and some semblance of sanity.

Let's take a look at what happened on & off the blog this week.

I bought this new mascara and talked about how I make some of my purchasing decisions based on how the packaging looks. In my head Im all OK, I want length and volume. Conditioning would be, not waterproof. Black, not brown. OOOOH! A pretty packaging! The people at Revlon can rest assure that their marketing techniques do, in fact, work on me.

I got to see this little cutie pie- isn't my niece adorable? Loved her little tutu outfit!

These two spent a lot of time outside and loved raking leaves. I'm not about to argue with kids who actually want to do chores.

Speaking of being outside a lot- we also made a trip to a really gorgeous park in our area. I hadn't been here in a number of years and Lily had never been, so we made a family day out of it. I took a lot of pictures, so make sure to check them out!

The kids got me on the trampoline. Anyone other moms out there feel like they are going to pee their pants when they are on a trampoline?! Sorry if that's TMI- but it's a mom problem for sure #MomLife.

The kids and I were bored, so Ayden suggested a board game (not realize the spelling/meaning were different- silly kid). We played two games and I won both times. Now if only I could win at real life.

I got another Influenster VoxBox! This one is for Dr. Scholl's Active Series inserts. They are pretty awesome and help reduce the shock/injury while running or working out. I put them in my running shoes and they make my feet feel amazing! More on those later. And for anyone wanting to join Influenster- I have a few invites left! If you're interested just let me know and I can email you one :)

I have a friend who does photography and she was looking to take pictures of someone with tattoos for a specific type of shoot she wanted to do. Well, I have a few tattoos, and I've never had professional pictures done before, so I figured it would be fun. It was! Here is just one shot she showed me so far. It was hard posing and trying to look good when people were walking by watching you, but I think this one came out pretty great! I loved her ideas for backdrops and locations and I'm excited to see the rest of them. Check out her photography page here!

And book lovers- do you ever read so much that you get different book series mixed up? It happens to me all the time. I've been not-so-patiently awaiting the release of Veronica Roth's 3rd book in her Divergent trilogy, but I realized I totally forgot everything I read in the first 2 books. I guess I need to do some re-reading so I can dive into this one!

Hope you had a great weekend!
Did you do anything fun?
Linked up at:
Sami's Shenanigans

A beautiful fall day

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I love fall.

We've been having some really gorgeous, sunny days lately, and we've been taking full advantage of the beautiful weather by being outside a lot. That's not to say it hasn't been cold- it has. But the sky has been blue and the sun has been shining, so I guess I deal with it only being 50-60 degrees. I know the snow and freezing temperatures are on their way soon enough, so I'll take whatever bit of nice weather I can get right now!

Last weekend was gorgeous, so we all headed to a great park we hadn't visited in a while.

My cuties in the Japanese gardens.

The trees were so pretty. I love all of the different leaf colors together.

Lily and I in the rose garden.

Showing daddy all the different types of roses- she made up names for all of them.

I love this place.

It's looking like we'll have one more week of nice, dry weather like this, so we are hoping to head to a pumpkin patch soon. We might even hit up a corn maze- though we'll have to go during the day since I have a couple of scaredy cats.

Hope you guys are enjoying your fall weather!

A hot pink gel mani for breast cancer awareness

Friday, October 11, 2013

OK, my last gel mani was a bit of a bust. You might recall this post about how disappointed I was that one of my gorgeous new fall colors had faded to a nasty dishwater-gray. Well, thankfully I soaked those bad boys off and I went a whole week with bare nails. Oh the horror. After much deliberation, I decided that I wasn't ready for fall colors after all. I still want something bright and fun! October is breast cancer awareness month, I went back to my favorite hot pink color from Gelish.

This one is called Make You Blink Pink. It's hard to tell in this lighting, but it's the exact shade of a hot pink highlighter. It's insanely bright, and they almost "glow" when you are outside in natural light. It's a fun color, but I was still feeling a bit blah about it. I've never been big on nail art, just because I've never been that great at it, but I decided to jazz it up and try something a bit different.

Here's what I came up with:

This is all gel here. The polka dots and pink ribbon were done with another gel color called Gossip Girl (another one of my favs! Seen here in my DIY gel tutorial) They are embedded into the actual nail and then sealed with clear gel over the top, so they won't chip or wear- just like regular gels. I love that I don't have to worry about my nails when they are done. They look great every day and last for about 2 weeks! This was my first try at doing nail art with gels, and I was surprised at how easy it was when I actually sat down and did it. I don't know why I was so intimidated by it before. It was actually kind of fun!
I love showing my support for breast cancer awareness month! If you don't already know, that disease is very close to my heart- here we are at Race for the Cure last month.

So what do you think of the gels?
Anyone interested in a gel nail art tutorial? I may just have one up my sleeve.
How are you showing your support for Breast Cancer Awareness this month?

Linked up at:

A 2-for-1 deal on surgery- this weekend only

Monday, October 7, 2013

I think we can all agree that men are babies when they are sick.

So when my husband, Shayne, called me on Friday saying he thought he had food poisoning, I figured what he really meant was that he had a tummy ache and maybe felt like throwing up. Illnesses are always exaggerated with men. A sniffle or cough means they have bronchitis, and a sore throat automatically amounts to strep throat. A fever?! You must have swine flu, or possibly a life threatening super bug. Whatever it is, it must leave them on the brink of death. So when he told me he was considering going to the ER I automatically rolled my eyes and cringed at the thought of an ER bill for a tummy ache (and with no insurance, mind you). Instead of feeling sorry for him, I proceeded to nag him about the two parking tickets he got in the mail that day, and the conversation ended with him saying he didn't feel good and didn't want to be bitched at, and then me hanging up on him. I know, I'm such an awesome wife. *Insert eye roll here*

A few hours later he called back to let me know that the doctor was thinking he had appendicitis, but they were waiting the results of some sort of scan to be sure. Still, I thought he was over reacting and that he'd be sent away when the test came back showing nothing. After all, he didn't even have a fever. And I was still mad that I didn't get to finish lecturing him on the parking tickets, but if he was at the ER it could wait until later, and then I could also chastise him for wracking up a hospital bill.

After dinner, he called to let me know that he was getting ready to go into surgery and that he wanted me to get to the hospital as soon as I could. Apparently he did in fact have appendicitis, but they had caught it early, so that's why he didn't have a fever yet. I was starting to feel a little bad about the parking ticket thing. He really was sick!

I went to the hospital and just missed seeing him before he went in for surgery, which was really disappointing. My husband has never been under anesthesia or been hospitalized ever, so I knew he would be nervous and wanted me there with him. Luckily his friend Bryan was there too, and he filled me in on the details of the ER visit and what the doctor had said. I guess while they were discussing the surgery, Shayne mentioned that he had a hernia and joked that the doctor should just take care of that while he was at it. He'd had a hernia for about 6 months or so and was just dealing with it- it wasn't considered an emergency and since we're uninsured we couldn't really afford to do anything about it at the time. (Moving was really fun when your husband can't lift anything!) I laughed at the idea of hitting two birds with one stone and, but said that it would be really cool if  the doctor could do that. I guess we'd see!

When the surgeon finally came out he told me that the surgery went well, the appendix was inflamed and removed, and that he also took care of his hernia while he was in there. Call it a 2-for-1 deal, he said. I couldn't believe he actually did it! The only thing was, while he was removing the hernia with a thin, hooked needle, part of the needle broke off. So they spent an extra 45 minutes digging around to make sure that they got every fragment of metal out of his body. The doctor said Shayne would be extra sore and that his belly button would look pretty gnarly for a little while, since that's where they "went in" to get the hernia. Ouch. I was a little weirded out after hearing about the broken needle thing, but things happen- and at least the hernia was gone. What a huge relief and blessing for us!

So this is how I spent my Thursday night:

My original plan for the night was to blog, put the kids to bed, and watch Grey's Anatomy while I did my nails. Instead, I got to sleep on two cozy little hospital chairs pushed together in a room we had to share with an 80 year old man named Bill. He was there to have his prostate removed and had been there for 5 days. No one came to stay overnight with him and I felt bad- Bill was a pretty nice guy, but he snored really loudly. 

The 15 minutes of shut eye that I got didn't make for a very fun night, but I didn't want to complain since my husband had just been sliced open and was on a morphine drip. (Which, btw, I had to wrestle the morphine drip button out of his hands a few times so that I could stop his whining and just click the dang thing for him! This is no time to try to act tough...just take the meds!)

The rest of the weekend was pretty much a blur for me, as I spent most of it doing everything for everyone. I'm used to it with the kids, but with my invalid husband added to the mix I felt like ripping my hair out a few times. My butt and thighs should be looking great though with all of the stairs I did going from the bedrooms to the kitchen!

I couldn't be happier when Monday morning arrived and the kids went back to school. I think Shayne will be going back to work possibly tomorrow, and then I can get back to doing a few things for myself. I never did DVR that Grey's episode and my nails still need to be done.

Today I'm saying TGIA- Thank God for Appendicitis. Otherwise, who knows how long my poor husband would have had to suffer with that dang hernia. Now, once he's fully healed, he won't have an excuse for not helping me carry the groceries in. I better put him back to work!

Oh, and check out this cute comic Ayden made for his daddy. It's seriously hilarious!

My first gel nail problem {color fading}

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hey guys!

Errr, gals. I'm sure most of you reading my blog are female, but maybe there are a few guys out there who love to listen to a bored housewife ramble on about her cute kids and gel nails, so "hey" to you too! Whoever you are, I'm talking to you. Just wanted to fill you in on a little problem I ran into with my gels this week and I thought you may be interested.

I'm talking about color fading and/or changing after the gel has been completely cured.
Until now, I had never heard of this happening, but it seems like I'm not alone.

Behold, this beautiful mauve-y, purplish, heather-ed gray color from the Gelish fall collection.

This particularly gorgeous color is called My Nightly Craving, and the named seemed quite fitting to me because I just had to have it right away, even if it meant staying up until midnight doing my own nails after the kids finally went to bed. Which I did. While I watched Sons of Anarchy. Unfortunately, in my haste (and excitement to jump into bed and dream about being a hot biker's old lady), I forgot to get a picture of my gorgeous nails. Before drifting off  I made a mental note to get a picture the next day and quickly fell asleep.

Well, a picture the next day turned into 2 or 3 days later, and I finally remembered to snap one when I threw on one of my favorite plaid shirts. I had originally thought of pairing this polish with the plaid shirt at some point because I thought they would go so great together. But they didn't look as cute as I had imagined when I held them up against the shirt.
Were my eyes messing with me, or did the color look somewhat muted?
I figured the latter, and shrugged it off.

A few days later my mom mentioned that my nails looked like they had changed colors.
She was right. I looked down and discovered that my nails had no trace of purple left in them at all, and were in fact completely gray. I again thought that I was crazy, and grabbed the bottle of polish to put a fresh coat on just one nail to see the difference. I was blown away!
Sorry for the not-so-great picture. My camera and I are not friends right now because it won't do what I tell it to do and just take a freaking good picture. End rant.

See? Completely different color now.

I cannot see a trace of that pretty purple color anymore- just this ugly, dishwater gray that I'm left with. I'm not trying to knock gray either- I love me a good gray color. In fact, I have a really pretty gray colored gel (from Gelish) that I love and wear. But this one is not pretty. And actually, now that I really look at them up close, they seem to be turning more of a greenish, ashy gray. Not really the look I'm going for on my nails! (Or toenails- I do have it on my toes right now, and I'm afraid that if I walked around like this in the summer with my flip flops on people would probably think I had some sort of toenail fungus. Ewwww).

I'm not sure what the cause is for the discoloration. I'm no rocket scientist or chemist by any means, but I believe it is something in their color formulation or in the pigmentation of the product. I absolutely know that the product is being applied correctly- that's not the issue at all. It's not an old bottle and it can't be expired because it's a brand new collection for Fall. I also don't believe it's anything that I'm coming into contact with- like a lotion, cleaner, or chemical I'm touching or using. I did a little internet sleuthing of my own and found a few other blogs and articles where people mention this same color and a couple other pale pinks or purples that have faded or changed colors on them as well. It sucks, but I guess it happens. I am very curious to find out what the reason behind it is, and how they will correct it (or at least prevent it from happening in the future). 

I contacted the people at Gelish and they apologized for the issue and are working to figure it out. I'm anxiously awaiting their next response and I'll be sure to tell you all about it. I've always been super happy with my Gelish products so I hope to get to the bottom of this!

How about you?

Have you experienced colors fading or changing after application- whether it's with gels or regular nail polish? I'd love to hear if anyone else has had this happen to them, or have heard of it happening to others, and what brands you have experienced it with. Please let me know!

Now I'm off to soak my dishwater gray nails in some nice acetone. 
Hope to have a beautiful mani to show you guys later!
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