Planning a Bridal Shower

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Earlier this year one of my best friends asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding.  Of course I said yes, but I had no clue what I was in for.  No clue.

I’m 28 and a somewhat likeable person, so this wont be the first time I’ve been a bridesmaid.  Once I was a maid of honor even!  But the wedding was small, the bride was young and I was the only one in the bridal party… so I didn’t have any responsibilities.

Now it’s grownup wedding time, and grownup Kaily is like “well, shiiioot.”  But thankfully  there are 5 of us bridesmaids to split the work (and the cost) and things are truckin’ along.  I mean, they ought to be… the wedding is less than 3 months away!

I did volunteer myself for the planning of the Bridal Shower, though, and while it’s one of the biggest responsibilities to take on (second only to the Bachelorette party… thank God our friend GG is taking care of allll of that), I’m so stoked!  I’ve been pinning like a madwoman and I think I’ve finally got a pretty good idea of what I want to do :)

~*~ DECOR ~*~

THE OVERALL THEME IS BREAKFAST AS TIFFANY’S, BUT I LOVE HOW ELEGANT A TOUCH OF RUSTICNESS IS :)  AND THIS IS SUCH A FUN WAY TO SHARE FACTS ABOUT THE BRIDE AND GROOM!

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Image Credit: Savvy Style

ISN’T THIS SUCH A CUTE WAY TO DISPLAY PICTURES OF THE BRIDE AND GROOM!?  WE WOULD DEFINITELY HAVE TO DO BLUE AN WHITE BALLOONS INSTEAD OF GOLD AND WHITE, THOUGH.

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Image Credit: Walgreen’s

LOVE THIS BANNER.  YOU CAN BUY IT ON ETSY FOR $30 BUT I CAN TOTALLY MAKE IT MYSELF FOR WAYYY LESS.

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Image Credit: BannerCheer on Etsy

LOVE THIS AS AN ALTERNATIVE FORM OF DECOR THAT CAN ALSO DOUBLE AS A KEEPSAKE FOR THE BRIDE.  BASICALLY GUESTS JUST WRITE MARRIAGE ADVICE ON DOILIES AND PIN THEM UP FOR EVERYONE TO READ!

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Image Credit: Catch My Party

~*~ FOOD & DRINK ~*~

THE BRIDES SINGLE REQUEST WAS THAT THERE ARE MIMOSAS.  I LOVE THESE CANISTERS FOR A CLASSY WAY TO DISPLAY THE JUICE OPTIONS!

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Image Credit: The Tom Kat Studio

LOVING THESE FLORAL ICE CUBES!  WHAT A CUTE WAY TO KEEP THE CHAMPAGNE CHILLED!

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Image Credit: Martha Stewart

 I HONESTLY CAN’T DECIDE WHICH ONE I LOVE MORE BUT THIS ONE MAY BE EASIER TO DIY…

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Image Credit: The Buggy Blog

SINCE IT’S A BRUNCH, I’M ALSO LOVING THE IDEA OF SOME CUTE LITTLE FRUIT PARFAITS!

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Image Credit: The Tom Kat Studio

DID SOMEONE SAY DONUT BAR!?

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Image Credit: Wedding Chicks

AND A LITTLE FRUIT SO WE DON’T FEEL QUITE SO BAD ABOUT EATING ALL OF THOSE CARBS… (SORRY, NOT SORRY).

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Image Credit: Catch My Party

I CAN’T DECIDE IF THAT WOULD BE ENOUGH FOOD FOR A BRUNCH?  PART OF ME FEELS LIKE THERE SHOULD AT LEAST BE BACON… THERE SHOULD BE BETWEEN 15-20 PEOPLE AT THE PARTY.  WHAT DO YOU THINK?

~*~ GIFTS & GAMES ~*~

“WHAT’S IN YOUR PURSE?” – WHOEVER HAS THE MOST POINTS WINS!

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Image Credit: Elegant Wedding Invites

“HE SAID, SHE SAID” – A GREAT WAY TO FIND OUT THINGS YOU DIDN’T OR DIDN’T EVER WANT TO KNOW :)

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Image Credit: Elegant Wedding Invites

I’M NOT A HUGE FAN OF WED – LIBS ITSELF, BUT I DO LOVE HOW THEY USED MATCHING TWINE TO TIE PENCILS TO THE GAME SHEETS :)  WOULD BE A CUTE ADDITION FOR THE OTHER GAMES!

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Image Credit: Something Turquoise

“RING HUNT” – I LIKE THIS ONE BECAUSE IT’S AN EASY GAME FOR ANYONE TO PARTICIPATE IN AND YOU’RE NOT LEFT FILLING GUILTY IF YOU DON’T KNOW AS MUCH ABOUT THE BRIDE AND GROOM AS YOU THOUGHT YOU DID :-p

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Image Credit: Pinterest

QUESTION FOR YOU: SHOULD WE USE RING POPS, OR PLASTIC RINGS!?

Image Credits: MailmansDaughter on Etsy and Wedding Magazine

SO… 3 GAMES MEANS WE NEED 4 PRIZES!

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Image Credit: Dump a Day

I’m really struggling on this one.  I don’t want to be stingy with the prizes, but Bridal Showers aren’t cheap and while there are 5 of us in the bridal party to help split costs, you know there is always at least one asshole who never pays their due.  I also want to get a 4th prize in-case there is a tie.  Does anyone have any suggestions!?

~*~ BRIDAL SHOWER FAVORS ~*~

HOW STINKIN’ CUTE IS THIS!?  “MANI-THANKS” HAHA :)

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Image Credit: PonderosaPartyFavors on Etsy

 

 

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Favorites & Highlights│July 2016

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Honestly, I didn’t even realize we were 1/3rd through the month of August until I sat down just now to type up this post.  Suffice it to say I’m more than a little late… BUT, that’s okay ;-P

Beauty Favorites & Regrets

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Image Credit: Sophie’s Closet

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette

I’m not really a lover of warm eye-shadows, but this palette is something special.  The quality far surpasses anything I’ve ever tried (not even just from ABH) and the colors are just so “fun” and “Fall” that I’m totally hooked.  It is permanent so you don’t have to rush to buy it if it intrigues you, but it is 100% worth every penny.

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Image Credit: Burt’s Bees

Burt’s Bee’s Intense Hydration Eye Cream

I’ve definitely decided that this eye cream is wayyyyy to “intense” for me during the day, but if you have really dry under-eyes then it’s a must.  I’ve primarily been using this on random dry spots on my face and while that may sound strange, the results have been so impressive that once it’s all gone I plan to repurchase this JUST for dry spot treatment :)

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Image Credit: Polyvore

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer in Taupe

I love this soooo much.  It took me a few days to get the hang of it, but you can fill your brows sooo quickly with this brow pencil.  Not to mention, it’s just $2 more than that original Brow Wiz and it contains more than 2x the product!

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Image Credit: Temptalia

Lorac Pro 3

A flop for me this month was the Lorac Pro 3.  I wanted to love it, but I just can’t.  The mattes are okay and if you have fair-medium skin and like simple more natural looking eyeshadow it could still be a great option for the mattes alone (you get like 5 brownish crease shade options), but the shimmery shades are terrible (unpigmented and quick to fade); and I’m sorry but for a palette that costs $5 per gram (each shadow is 0.55 grams), I’m not okay with spending $44.  Even with the 5 matte shades that I enjoy, that comes out to $13.75 worth of product I’d actually use.  Not worth it.

Watching & Reading

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Image Credit: Amazon

Book-wise, I’m still on the Sarah J. Mass bandwagon, but I’ve moved on to her most recent series “A Court of Thorns and Roses.”  More or less a twist on Beauty & the Beast, these books detail the story of a young woman who takes on the responsibility of feeding herself and her impoverished family by crossing the border and hunting game with bow and arrow.  I know it sounds a bit like the Hunger Games so far, but trust me, it’s not.  It turns out, the young woman accidentally shoots a fairy while out hunting one day.  As a result, the fairy people demand an eye for an eye, but rather than murder her she is to live her life out with the fairy king… (I’m sure you see where this is going).

The thing I love about this author though is that while her books begin predictably, nothing ends predictably.  I can’t say more than that without giving some majorly cool stuff away, but if you like YA fantasy then check it out!

WARNING: These books are a little risque for their YA market, so just be warned that some of the more “romantic” scenes are kinda borderline soft-core porn.  In other words, you might want to read it yourself before giving it to your 12 year old.

Pregnancy & Motherhood

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Image Credit: My Uterus

As of yesterday, we are just 3 weeks away from baby Daniel’s due date!  He’s been having a ton of hiccups which are the cutest thing ever cause I can feel his little body “bump-bump-bump” with each hiccup :)  I’ll tell you what sucks though… waking up 4-5 times a night to pee cause you have a baby head on your bladder, the heartburn (which I’ve had the whole pregnancy but seems to be worse this month), and then waking up EVEN MORE with a toddler for 3 nights straight cause he’s sick :(

My husband and I were really hoping to do the maternity photo shoot this past weekend but between the nonstop Florida rain and then my poor baby being sick we didn’t.  My dress did arrive from Pink Blush though and it fits PERFECTLY.  I’ve already got a wishlist going on their site for once I get some of this baby-weight off after the pregnancy!

Lastly, it hit me like a brick in the face that Gabriel is turning 3 in just 2 months.  I love seeing him grown and being able to converse with him but all along I’ve been dreading the day when he’s no longer my baby and that day is here.  Of course, he will always be my baby in my eyes, but in his words, “I not a baby, Gabriel big boy!”  And I hate it, lol!

At the same time, though, I love it.  This child never ceases to amaze me.  Today, for example, he got up in the middle of his favorite TV show (Blaze and the Monster Machines) to run into the bathroom when he heard me sneeze and yell from behind the shower curtain “bless you, mommy.”  Haha, he’s just too sweet and if there is just one hope I have for his life and for Daniel’s life it’s that they become, remain and surround themselves with happy, kind and considerate people.

Diet & Weight Management

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Image Credit: Perfect Health Info

I’m a bit bummed because I already surpassed the 220 lb weight limit I was hoping to keep myself accountable to (we’re up to 234 lbs) but part of that has been due to the fact that our 3 year old fridge broke 3 weeks ago and we’ve been eating more fast-food than I care to admit.  Honestly, you really don’t realize how much you count on a fridge to live!  Milk?  Nope.  Cheese, yogurt and meat?  Nope.  Heck, you can’t even have cold water!

I suppose I could have been stopping at the grocery store every single night on the way home from work but I don’t have the energy or the money to buy staples every single night.

On the bright side, I’ve embraced my plus-sized body until I can do something about it :)

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I Am Plus Sized & I’m Okay With That.

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I’m currently 4 weeks away from being a new mom (for the second time) and I’ve had the hardest time finding maternity clothes that fit.  Aside from a few larger fitting maternity pieces from my last pregnancy, I’ve for the most part been living in the same pair of size 16 maternity jeans and a rotation of my husbands shirts for the past 8 months.

It’s not that I’m comfortable in them either.  In fact, I feel embarrassed both for me and for my husband when I go out to dinner with him in his clothing and the same pair of jeans that I have to keep stitching up because I’ve worn a whole in the crotch area from where my thighs rub together.  I mean, I like dressing up.  I like looking pretty.  I like fashion and putting outfits together.  I just can’t find anything that fits.

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One of my “better” shopping experiences at Target… Needless to say, I did NOT buy this dress.

I remember leaving the Motherhood Maternity fitting room at Wiregrass Mall in tears when I was just 6 months pregnant because even the largest sizes they carried were too tight.  And forget online shopping where practically everything is designed for women who are either stick thin or who at the very least aren’t larger than a size 12.  So I just gave up.  Because while the alternative wasn’t ideal, at least it didn’t involve tears and eating my feelings.

The crazy part is, it wasn’t until last week when my husband was Googling dresses for the maternity shoot he wants me to do (for those of you who don’t know, my hubby is a part time photographer) that I finally had a revelation.

So what was it that he Googled?   “Plus sized maternity dresses.”

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The Kobieta Maternity Maxi Renaissance Photo Dress – Kobieta Clothing Company

When I read the search, it hurt.  I don’t know how else to explain it other than the thought that kept echoing in my brain, “Plus sized?  Is this how my husband sees me?”  Not surprisingly, this brought on the waterworks.  Especially when I kept thinking how ugly the $95 non-refundable dress was that he found…

So out of defiance, I did my own Google search for maternity dresses.  After several hours of sifting through dresses that yet again couldn’t possibly fit me, I caved and Googled “plus sized maternity” and almost immediately found a online store called Pink Blush.

Within minutes of searching through the site a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders.  The models looked like ME.  The clothes were CUTE.  Everything was in MY SIZE.

And do you know what?  I cried.  I was so happy, I cried.

I even found and ordered a dress!

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Green Floral Sash Tie Plus Size Maternity/Nursing Maxi Dress

Now I’m not saying that my weight is healthy or that I’ve resigned myself to being this size for the rest of my life…  I mean, I’m 5’5″ and 229 lbs.  Even considering the fact that I’m 8 months pregnant, I’m significantly overweight for my height and I have zero medical or hereditary reasons for being so.

BUT.

I am a 1X.  This is not who, but what I am, and there is nothing wrong with that.

P.S. Seriously though, Pink Blush is right up my ally.  They carry both maternity and non-maternity wear and both plus and regular sized clothing, and their prices are very reasonable.  I can’t attest to the quality quite yet because I just ordered my dress (and the jewelry featured with it on the website) yesterday, but I can honestly tell you that it has been years since I felt this excited about fashion again and I am just so, so excited.

 

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Links and Loves│#7

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Happy Thursday!  I don’t know about you, but this week is dragging for me.  We only have 5 weeks left until baby number 2 gets here… and everything sucks.  Walking sucks, sitting sucks, sleeping sucks.  I’m going to be honest though, I’m so excited to see him that I’m not really THAT miserable 😛  And I do have lot’s of awesome links to share, so get to clickin’!

  1. Lead in lipstick?  Uh, you might be seeing a de-clutter from me soon…
  2. OMG, Fall is almost here!  Or at least the Dollar Tree thinks so… I might need to do a haul!  *claps hands  repeatedly like a child*
  3. Reaching the point in this pregnancy where all I wanna wear are dresses.  How comfy does this striped T-shirt dress look!!??
  4. I’ve been craving Chinese food lately.  If you love Sweet & Sour chicken you NEED to make this!  It’s been a family favorite of ours for over a year now!
  5. The Urban Decay Smoky palette is supposed to be on sale this Saturday ONLY for just $27!  I owned it once before and felt many of the shades looked the same, but now that I own the first 3 I want it just to complete my collection.
  6. Looking forward to all the cute newborn pictures we’re going to be able to take of Daniel!  My husband recently did a newborn shoot for a friend and this is my favorite picture.
  7. I have been LOVING this series by Sarah J. Maas about a human who kills a fairy disguised as a Wolf and has to forfeit her life by moving to the fairy realm because of her crime… it’s sort of a modern Beauty and the Beast, only ALL the characters have some issues and no one is what they seem.  Warning, though… the book is surprisingly a bit “dirty” at some points so if soft-core erotica upsets you, or you’re thinking about buying this for your 12 year old you might want to rethink it.
  8. Meanwhile, I did actually get scolded by my doctor last appointment for gaining 4 lbs in 2 weeks… but I honestly can’t even begin to tell you how hungry I’ve been lately!  All those pregnancy cravings have been waiting for the last 6 weeks and now all I can think about is cake, chocolate and cheeseburgers!
  9. Also, our fridge broke this past weekend.  So not only have we lost God only knows how much money in food, but we’ve basically  been living off of fast-food.  I miss toast!
  10. Trying to find some good brunch foods for a friend of mines Bridal Shower.  How stinkin’ cute are these mini parfaits!??

Links & Loves Concept Inspired by The Small Things Blog
Featured Image Originates from The TOMKAT Studio

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Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette│Review & Swatches

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I wish I could tell you that this palette is over-hyped and not worth your money (cause if you’re anything like me you need another palette like you need a hole in the head), but you may as well go ahead and bust out that wallet because this is probably the most impressive formula I’ve seen in awhile (from any brand).  Not to mention, am I the only person out there happy to see that we’ve moved on from the rosy pink trend!?

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The pigmentation that you see when you swatch one of these eyeshadows is the same pigmentation you will get when you’re applying them to your eye with a brush.  Don’t believe me?  Watch the demo at the end of my YouTube review and eat your heart out.

But in all seriousness, I did compare the ingredients of this palette to the three other ABH palettes I own (Maya Mia, Tamana and Self Made) and changes have been made.  Good changes.  The kind of changes that result in super soft, super creamy, highly pigmented, VERY easy to blend eyeshadows (that in-spite of their softness have minimal fallout).

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I’m also thrilled with the fact that this palette is practically all matte (even the shades with baby glitters look matte).  Tempera is a nice satin highlight for you medium to deep skin-tones out there, Vermeer and Primavera are the only super shimmery (creamy as peanut butter) lid shades you’ll need, Venetian Red is a GORGEOUS satin and Antique Bronze is a lovely satin with baby glitters.  Everything else is either matte or so matte looking it may as well be.

But the formula isn’t the only thing that has improved.  It’s so nice to know this palette is a permanent edition to the ABH line (cause I for one am not about that LE life).  And rumor has it, if this palette does well Anastasia will also release a cool-toned version!  Woot, woot!

Now, don’t get me wrong… this palette does have its cons:

  • like velvet packaging that gets dirty as heck super fast
  • like the fact that the brow highlight pretty much matches my skintone and doesn’t show up me
  • like the fact that Raw Sienna and Burnt Orange practically swatch the same

But overall, if you:

  • love warm shadows
  • are tired of the same, boring browns in every palette
  • are in need of a good palette for Fall

Then this palette is worth your $42.

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So is this palette calling your name, or what!?

 

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Smashbox Photo Matte Eyes Mini│Review & Swatches

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This past Spring 2016, Smashbox jumped on the matte bandwaggon and released their own all matte and all matte mini palettes.  At first, I had every intention to boycott Smashbox and their shadows after my experience with their Full Exposure Travel Palette, buttttt they’re matte which is my middle name (lies) so I just had to give it a chance.

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The same length and width of a credit card, it’s easy to see why my favorite thing about this palette is its compact size.  But with 0.17 oz of eyeshadow, you are getting more product than you’d think!

For the sake of comparison, the Urban Decay Naked Basics palettes contain 0.30 oz split between 6 shades and retail for $29 which = $3.41 per gram.  The Lorac Matte Pro palette contains 0.14 oz split between 8 shades and retails for $28 which = $7.05 per gram.  And the Smashbox Matte Eyes Mini contains 0.17 oz split between 8 shades and retails $24 which = $4.98 per gram.

So it’s not the best value, and it’s not the worst.  But it is the smallest!  And it is the cheapest all matte highend palette on the market.

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But what really makes this pocket ready eyeshadow palette special?  And why should you consider it above the many other matte plaettes on the market?

Well, for one, you’re getting strudy acrylic packaging which is not magnitized and actually snaps closed.  And for two, you’re also getting the largest mirror the size of the palette will allow (a real mirror, mind you… not a funhouse mirror many manufacturers like to include to save money).

Bonus: the mirror stays propped up!

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Furthermore, you’re getting such an eclectic variety of warm and cool browns that this palette could also service just about any brow color.  I also love that unlike leading matte palettes of this size and price, you’re getting both warm and cool transition shades in addition to shades you can use to set your primer, highlight, transition, deepen your outer V and/or create a little smokieness.  And thank sweet baby Jesus this palette is without a black!

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As for the pigmentation, I’m not going to lie to you and tell you these are the most pigmented eyeshadows I’ve ever dipped a brush into.  But I actually like that.  These shadows are soft, but they kick up hardly any product at all, are easy to build, easy to blend and have pretty good lasting power.  The only thing they don’t do is apply themselves to your lid.

So what does this all tell you?

Well, if it’s drama you’re looking for, the Smashbox Photo Matte Eyes Mini is not for you.  But if you’re into simple (boarder-line natural) looks and need something compact and/or that can double as a brow powder cause you got things to do and places to be, you might not wanna pass this one up.

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Side note, Smashbox boasts that these shadows can also be used wet for a more “intense” look, but I for one am not brave enough to dip a wet brush into anything that costs more than $5 to test that claim out.  So saturate at your own risk.

So what do you think?  Is Smashboxes’ new all matte mini a must for you, or what!?

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Links & Loves #6

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  1. Have you ever tried Amish Bread?  I have a vague memory of my mom mixing batches in our small Indiana home when I was 6 or so (maybe even a bit younger).  And while I can’t remember the taste of it, I distinctly remember the scent.  So naturally I looked up a recipe.  It’s actually really easy to make and I’m looking forward to making a batch this weekend.
  2. I’m also on a mission to finish the Throne of Glass series I began by Sarah J. Maas.  I listened to the first two books FREE with Audible and now I’m on the hunt for the last four.  Maybe I’ll stop being lazy and go renew my library card on Saturday.
  3. Speaking of Saturday, guess what’s supposed to be delivered to my house!?  The Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette!  I honestly only ordered it because so many people have been requesting a review, but it’s getting a lot of hype… and as it does I’m getting pretty hyped myself 😛
  4. Oh, that reminds me.  We hit 5k on my YouTube channel this month!  So excite, so excite.
  5. I was thinking about doing a Pinterest inspired 4th of July treats video… but seeing as how the 4th is on Monday, this one might have to wait until next year :(
  6. And while we’re on the subject of disappointments, I recently found out that some of the names in the KVD Shade+Light Eye palette are of demons.  Is it stupid that I’m so creeped out I’m thinking of passing my palette on!?  I mean, they’re just names… but still!
  7. Something I WON’T pass on (and actually need to reorder) is this balm from the Honest Company.  My baby bump loves it :)  It smells kinda bad, though.
  8. I also picked up the Blue Sky – Day Designer planner on a whim the other day (isn’t that how all Target purchases happen!?) and I’m excited to see how I like it!  Especially for less than $15.
  9. I’ve also got to admit that my favorite thing to wear right now are my husband’s Mossimo T-Shirts.  They have good arm and belly coverage without being tooooo long :)
  10. And lastly, if you already saw/read my monthly favorites then you already know I finally found a good Cruelty Free mascara from the drugstore!!!

What are some things that you’ve been loving lately!?

 

This post is not sponsored.  Some links may be affiliate links.  
Image Credit: Happiness is Homemade Blog

 

 

 

 

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Favorites & Highlights│June 2016

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Beauty Favorites

I picked up the Wet n Wild Fiber Mascara from Walgreen’s for $7.99 almost 3 months ago and it’s just been sitting in my sample box ever since.  In fact, since I hadn’t even taken it out of the box I was thinking about returning it because I never have any luck with Wet n Wild Lash ‘O Matic mascara and I don’t even like fibers so I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought it!  Then, my lovely friend Coreen recommended that exact mascara when I was sharing with her my struggle to find a good CF, drugstore mascara!  So I tried it… and I love it!

Urban Decay Ammo Palette

Beauty Regrets

Ammo Palette – After 2 months of using this palette just about everyday, I’ve quickly realized a few things about myself and my taste in makeup:

  1. I don’t like glitter
  2. I don’t like glitter
  3. I don’t like glitter

I’ve had a lot of fun playing with the colorful shades like Shattered and Grifter, and discovering that while I’m not drawn to golds (Chopper), they actually compliment my green eyes nicely!  I’ve also really been enjoying the challenge in general of trying to use up an eyeshadow palette.  But ultimately, these shadows are all chalk full of glitter and it’s just ending up all over my face.  I’m going to continue with the challenge because it’s fun, but I wouldn’t repurchase this palette and I’m not sure I’ll be investing much money into Urban Decay eyeshadows in the future either.

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Image Credit

Watching & Reading

Still watching Lost but not as much as I did last month.  I have the Overdrive app which I use to listen to audio books for free from my local library, but my card expired a few months ago and I’ve been too lazy to get it reissued.  But I’ve been trying to motivate myself to do more walking on my breaks at work so I downloaded A Throne of Glass from Audible this month (author recommendation from Ms. Stephanie and LOVED IT.  If you like YA that features  strong-willed women, love triangles and fantasy then you will love this book too!

If you haven’t heard of the Epic Rap Battles of History, you’re life is empty.  With over 13 million subscribers and several videos that have more than tripped that number in views, you’d have to watch a video or two to see why something as opposite as Rap and History mesh, but when you do… oh man!  And the video that made my month just happens to be their latest release: James Bond vs. Austen Powers.  It’s probably the best video they’ve launched in awhile too, so I highly recommend that you watch :)

Pregnancy

9 weeks to go and I’m really feeling it.  It’s primarily my fault because of my weight (I’ve gained 30 lbs so far this pregnancy), so when you add that to all of the water I’m retaining, the baby and all that comes along with him and then my swelling feet and legs, it makes for a not so pleasurable experience.  Working full time doesn’t help.  Even though I’m in an office and get to sit most of the day, I’m just always tired.  But I do see the light at the end of the tunnel and I’m super excited!  August 31st, here we come!

Motherhood

One of the things that I look forward to most each day are the times when my 2 year old claps for me and tells me that I did a “good jawwwb, mommy” (usually because I used the potty, or picked up my junk off the floor).  I realize this is because I’ve celebrated him each time he’s done something I like (like using the potty and picking up his toys), but it just reiterates to me how the words that we speak and actions we take impact the little adults that we are raising.  In the same vein, Gabriel dropped a toy in the car the other day and didn’t even hesitate when he said, “son of a bitch.”

Hey, I never said I was perfect.

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Image Credit

Diet & Weight Management

Nothing to report here, really.  I’m steadily gaining about 1 lb per week.  Right now we’re at 216.  I’ve been trying to walk a bit more, but again… I’m kicking myself for not doing this sooner when I wasn’t so large and swelling.  I don’t even walk anymore… I literally waddle.

What were some of your monthly favorites and/or highlights!?

 

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Why I Think the Too Faced Chocolate Bar is Better than the Urban Decay Naked Palette

In my opinion the three palettes that currently dominate the eyeshadow palette world (and cause the most stress for first time palette buyers) are the original Urban Decay Naked (2010), the original Lorac Pro (2012) and the original Too Faced Chocolate Bar (2013).

Had I bought in to all the YouTube hype in 2014 when I purchased my first highend eyeshadow palette, I probably would have picked up the Naked.  But because HSN was running a promotion for first time HSN shoppers to save $20 off their first purchase, I got the Chocolate Bar instead.  It’s been just over 2 years since then and the original Naked hype just wont die so about 7 weeks ago I ordered it and I’ve got to tell you, I think the Chocolate Bar is 10x better.

Now before you come after me with pitchforks, hear me out.  Before the Naked palette, if you heard the words “eyeshadow palette” strung together in a sentence, you’d think about those cheap holiday sets you’d get for $10 a Walgreen’s (you know… the ones that smelt of chemicals and plastic and had about as much pigmentation as a potato?).  So when the Naked palette showed up 6 years ago on Sephora shelves in all of it’s 50-Shades-of-Brown splendor, a makeup revolution began.

So I get why people lost their shit when it was released.  But my point is, it’s not unique anymore.  Everyone and their mother has leading neutral palettes… Lorac has the Pro line, Too Faced has the Chocolate Bars, and even drugstore brands like Revlon and Covergirl have since jumped onto the bandwagon.

All of these brands jumped on the opportunity that Urban Decay had previously monopolized and they created their own nude palettes, but instead of mimicking the Naked palette for all it’s worth, they did something that Urban Decay has failed to do in the 6 years since the Naked palettes launch… they listened to the people.

The people wanted more mattes.  They wanted smoother mattes that blended better and were more pigmented.  The people also wanted less fall out.  And for God’s sake, could someone please create a palette that doesn’t leave glitter all over your face!?   And so newer, more modern, more satisfactory palettes were born.

Which brings me to my point:

Why I Think the Too Faced Chocolate Bar is Better than the Urban Decay Naked Palette

  1. You pay less per gram (almost 75¢ less per gram)
  2. You get more eyeshadows (16 vs. Urban Decay’s 12)
  3. You have a wider range of shades and tones (the Chocolate Bar has burgundy, pink and purple shades along with some cool-toned browns vs. Urban Decays 11 shades of brown and 1 random ass silver)
  4. It works for a wider variety of skin-tones (the Naked palette is so dark that it’s best suited for medium to deep skin-tones and/or those who prefer smokier, heavier eye looks whereas the Chocolate Bar has shades to suit everyone)
  5. It has more matte eyeshadows (there by making it more versatile for those of us who are 25+ and don’t want glitter from lash-line to brow-bone)
  6. The matte eyeshadows are a better quality (they’re more pigmented and blend with more ease)
  7. There is less fallout (and thereare fewer shades with glitter in them which equals less glitter fallout)

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that that Naked palette isn’t any good, or that you suck as a person if it’s your favorite ever.  I’m just saying that I think the Chocolate Bar is a better investment for beginners because it’s a better value, has more versatility and is more user-friendly.

What was your first makeup palette?  Is it still your favorite?

 

 

 

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Update on my Cruelty Free Status│Are Smashbox & Garnier Cruelty Free?

cruelty-free

For those of you who may not know, I have spent the past 2 years trying to eliminate as many products that are tested on animals (makeup, skincare and household) from my life as possible.

If you want to know more about my reasoning behind this, you can check out my Cruelty Free FAQ’S page here.

But as my channel and my blog continue to grow, so do my thoughts and opinions.  And while my stance on animal testing in the world of beauty has not changed (I still firmly believe it is unnecessary and wrong), some of my thoughts on certain brands and their status have changed… and I wanted to share my reasoning with you today!

Smashbox

In a recent empties I mentioned that I would no longer be supporting Smashbox as a brand because while they are currently cruelty free (they do not test on animals and are not sold in countries where animal testing is required by law), they did move to the Chinese market for a time (where animal testing is required by law in order for the product to be sold there).  I had discovered this through the grape vine, and I’ll admit… I sort of went on a witch hunt as soon as I’d heard it!  I looked up every cruelty free blogger I could find and when I found one who suggested that Smashbox’s decision to leave China was financial I let my top pop.

How dare they sale to China for a profit and then pull out of the Chinese market cause they weren’t making the money they wanted!?  And I firmly stood their on my soapbox until a lovely subscriber left the following comment on one of my videos:

“I don’t like when companies sell in China, or if they ever did, but I think it is too difficult to evaluate a company for motives. It is difficult to just judge a person based on motives, but a company even moreso. That’s why I go with not selling in China as being ok…”

The reality is we don’t know why Smashbox isn’t selling in China.  What we do know is that they aren’t.  And isn’t that the goal?  Don’t we want every company who sales in China to pull out of the Chinese market!?  Don’t we “vote with our dollars” to tell companies “I support you when you do the right thing and I don’t support you when you don’t?”  So is punishing Smashbox for the sins of their past really what we want to focus on?

Don’t get me wrong, I know not everyone is going to feel that way (just as I know we all have differing opinions on parent companies and brands who say “except where required by law” even when they are not selling anywhere that requires testing by law); it’s a lot of work supporting cruelty free brands!  A lot of thought, time and consideration goes into it.  And while I’m not by any means here to shame you into supporting Smashbox or Garnier (the other brand I’m about to mention), I did want you to know where I stand and at the very least get a little food for thought :)

Garnier

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, this one will be easier.  I stopped supporting Garnier for the same reasons (even though they also are not presently being sold in China).  I have no clue what prompted the decision to leave, just that they did.  I can’t begrudge them for that.  At the end of the day, they are cruelty free, and I choose to support them for as long as that continues.

All the Same

I said all that to say this: I’m not going to boycott brands  that are complying with what I hope all brands will comply with in the future: no animal testing and no selling in countries that test.

So what are your thoughts?  Do you agree with me?  Or do you think I’m being too lax?

Featured Image Credit: Non Solo Beauty Care
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My Small Makeup Collection

One of my least favorite beauty videos to watch on YouTube is the notorious makeup collection.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really in a place to judge what people want to spend their money on when I’ve got a bookshelf full of eyeshadow palettes, but I feel like if you’ve seen one makeup collection you’ve seen them all.  And while I totally get the concept of what it means to be a collector (of anything… makeup… video games… taxidermy…) I feel YouTube, like television, can sometimes paint an unrealistic view of what we need to be or what we need to have to be relevant.

I mean honestly, before YouTube and before blogging, I’ve always been a bit of an eyeshadow hoarder, but I literally only owned one blush, one lipstick and one foundation (maybe two foundations) at a time and I dreaded the day that I’d run out of any of those things because that meant another $10 I’d need to take out of my grocery budget that week to replace them (and wouldn’t you know, they’d all run out in the same week).

My point is, after a lot of soul searching, de-cluttering and unofficial project panning I’ve narrowed down my makeup collection to an almost reasonable size and I want to share it with you today I guess just to say that while there is nothing wrong with collecting makeup (my palettes aren’t going anywhere), it’s okay if you don’t spend every dime you have on enough makeup to fill up an Alex 9 drawer.

At the end of the day, I still consider this to be a sizable makeup collection (particularly for someone who rarely wears lipstick), and it’s my hope that through more project panning I’ll be able to drastically reduce this collection even more throughout the course of the next 2 years.

How big is your makeup collection?  Do you feel like you have too much, or too little?  If you have too much, what do you think you would do with your money if you didn’t spend so much of it on makeup?

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Products I Always Repurchase

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Between YouTube, blogs, friends & our consumeristically driven society in general it’s really easy to be swept up into the hype of trying (read: buying) all of the things.  This is fine if you have the budget for it, but if you’re like me (student loans, mortgage, kids, a few credit cards you wish didn’t exist) you don’t.  Which is why today I wanted to share with you the products that just work so well I always repurchase them.

Don’t get me wrong I still like to try new things… but these just work!

Ulta Mineral Powder Foundation

I love this foundation so much that I order it in lots of 4 each time I run out and Ulta is running a sale (buy 4 get 2 free).  I know I could mix and match other products, but why would I when I just love this foundation!?  On days when my skin is extra dry or I’m feeling lazy, I like to apply it over moisturizer and it gives great medium coverage.  But most days I just apply it over whatever liquid foundation I’m wearing to set it and bump up the coverage.

Even better?  One of these will easily last me 3 months.

ELF Makeup Remover Pen

For the most part with ELF makeup, I feel like you get what you pay for.  So needless to say, I’m not the biggest fan of their line.  But the few products I’ve discovered from them that I love, I really love!  And this makeup remover pen is one of them.

Sure, you could dip a q-tip in eye makeup remover and get the same result, but for $3 this little guy is a hell of a lot more convenient to keep in your purse, vanity or to travel with and it surprisingly will last for several months without drying out.

The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector

If you’ve ever smelled hemp then it’s safe to say you know what to expect scent-wise from this product (very… natural smelling).  But if you don’t mind the scent or a hand cream that takes a little time to soak in, this one can, will and does work miracles for dry hands!

A tube will last me about 2-3 months, so for $10 that’s not bad… but I do prefer to stock up on these whenever The Body Shop is running a BOGO sale.

Batiste Dry Shampoo

What can I say?  It’s the best!  Sure, it will leave a white cast, but that’s nothing you can’t shake out a little.  And the reality is, for the price, you’re not going to find a dry shampoo that will leave your hair feeling more clean.  And you hardly have to use any product at all!

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips for Hazel Eyes

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but prior to YouTube and beauty blogs, this was the ritziest eyeshadow palette I owned (it’s like $10, but you try telling a 20 year old college student $10 isn’t a lot of money).  It’s all shimmer, but for someone with fair skin like mine the palette will give you a pretty decent amount of pigmentation.  The shadows also last all day without creasing and they are set up in trios so it’s easy to create looks if you’re a beginner or if you just want something you don’t have to think about.

P.S. This is like the 7th one I’ve owned.




Wen Sweet Almond Mint Hair Treatment

This is essentially a leave in conditioner.  Personally I find it to be just as good as the Macadamia Professionals mask, although it is more expensive.  That having been said, I would NEVER pay full price for it.  Instead, I just order it SEALED from ebay for like $10.

NYX HD Concealer in Porcelain

This is another product that I order from Ulta in bulk when it goes on sale.  It doesn’t have the BEST coverage in the world, but for $4 it is good.  It also lasts well throughout the day and doesn’t crease.  My only real gripe that a tube only lasts me 6 weeks or so… So here’s to hoping they will increase the tube size!

Wet n Wild Cream Brule Single Shadow

Like many peeps out there, I like laying a skin-toned primer down all over my eye area after my eyeshadow primer has dried a bit.  It helps to even out my skin-tone and it helps my shadows to blend better since I won’t be trying to blend them over a sticky eyeshadow base.  So, for $1, you can’t go wrong with this matte shadow!

Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation in 0.5

And lastly we have the only product on this list that I willingly spend more than $10 on… I’m naturally pretty cheap when it comes to most things (clothes, food, haircuts) but this foundation is just worth it.  It gives a beautiful medium finish that looks and feels like skin.  I use it sparingly because it’s like gold to me… but I just love it.




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