Cold Winter Must Haves

Every once in a while, I’m asked to review items from different companies. I don’t always like to do straight reviews because that’s not what this blog is about. That said, I love sharing things that I have found that make my life better in some way. The thing is, I like to write a story around the products so that the reviews fit in more with the style of this space. Sometimes though, I just can’t think of a cute antectode or experiential story to tell for some of the products that I’m asked to review. So they get used  and I keep trying to work them in, but I can’t and then I feel guilty for not sharing. Well, today I realized there are two that might not have a story, but they’ve gotten a lot of play around this house, especially in this cold weather.  I’m just going to share two of those products without any cute little story to go with it. The fact is, I’ve gotten these two, seemingly unrelated things, and I’ve used the heck out of them. So now I want to share them with you.

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New Year, New Eye Look For Day or Night

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

WalgreensL'Oreal #shop

I love an excuse to try new eye makeup and what better excuse than the new year? I always love a dramatic eye, but sometimes I feel like there are occasions to tone it down (ahem, I work at a church). That said, I always want to look put together and without eye-makeup, I simply don’t. Even if it’s just some neutral browns for a natural beauty look , this girl needs her eyes done!

ButterflyMascaraI went to Walgreens in search of L’Oreal’s new Voluminous Butterfly Mascara. Ya’ll know how much I ADORE L’Oreal’s Voluminous Million mascara because I’ve written about it here before a few times. The new Butterfly is the nearly perfect Voluminous formula with a brush designed in the shape of your lashes so that it catches each one and helps spread them out like a butterfly wing. What girl doesn’t want that?

Instoremascara #shop

While browsing the endless makeup aisles at Walgreens, I decided to go for two looks that would work for day or night but wouldn’t require a ton of work. If I had the time, I’d spend hours doing my makeup, because I love it so much. But I don’t have time, ever, so quick and pretty is what I need.

I came up with two looks using various L’Oreal eye makeup tools  and I loved them both. Check out both eyes finished.

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The right eye is  a day time look and it took about six seconds to complete. The shadow I put on with ONE SWIPE! The Studio Secrets One Sweep brush is eye-lid shaped. So, you sweep it across all three colors and then sweep it across your eye-lid and ta-dah, a highlighter, base and accent all done. Amazing right? I’ll admit, I’m usually skeptical of these all in one products but this one is perfect for a daytime look. It’s contoured but subtle so you look finished but not overdone. I finished it with Infallible Liquid Eyeliner which I loved because it was so easy to put on. Then of course the mascara and I think my lashes speak for themselves up there. This look is perfect for work because I have about 13 seconds to get ready in the morning and this works great!

Daytime Look Daytime Look

For night or for when I have a bit more time to take, I love a heavier eye. The Infallible line of shadows has really rich pigments and fun colors to choose from. On my eyes I used iced latte as a base and bronzed taupe as a highlighter. Then I finished with a double-extend eye illuminator pencil in black quartz that has a dark  liner for top and a white highlighter for bottom lids. I need all the help I can get with brightening up my tired eyes so I loved this pencil too. Then of course, the Voluminous Butterfly mascara finished it all up and almost made the rest irrelevant!  Man, I love a good mascara.

LeftEyeLook Night Time Sparkle

Two looks,  both are quick and easy, thanks to Walgreens and L’Oreal. Admittedly, each look is made perfect with the final touch mascara. I mean, check out these lashes

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they aren’t that great without a little butterfly!

Here’s some great news,  L’Oreal will be having a L’Oreal Paris Butterfly Mascara Launch Event 11am-3pm on Wed, Jan 15 at the Walgreens in Times Square. If you’re in NYC, head over and see first hand why Walgreens is a great destination for all things beauty. They’ll all have in-store makeovers so you can see firsthand how easy it is to look great, day or night!

Also, I’m giving away a L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly mascara to one of you fantastic readers. If you’re ready for a new look this year, just leave a comment below for your chance to win.

Resolutions: A Word By Any Other Name

Happier-at-Home-by-Gretchin-Rubin

Last year, instead of a resolution for the new year, I decided to follow a blog  idea and instead chose a word.  I chose Wonder, and made a pledge to spend the year trying to find the wonder in every day. It actually worked. On paper, 2013 was not our finest year. But, you know what? When I look back I have mostly positive memories and I believe that’s because of the effort I made to find the good in spite of all the obvious bad.

This year when it came time to choose a word, I was at a loss. First, I thought it needed to be focus. I haven’t felt very focused  since September. I started school and work within a week of one another and my life began a pretty quick spiral out of control. I know myself. If I don’t keep a tight reign on my schedule, I start to resemble one of those circus plate-spinning guys. You know, running frantically from pole to pole, quickly spinning different plates to make sure they never stop and come crashing to the ground. The problem with that way of life is that pretty soon you’re worn out from all the running, but none of that running is taking you anywhere. It’s just a lot of back and forth maintaining status quo. In my life, all of that running amounts to my waist getting bigger, my wallet getting smaller and me getting tired and sad because I just don’t feel like I’m doing any of it right.

I thought I need to focus in 2014. Perhaps if I could just focus on my schedule I could pull stuff together before it got too out of hand. I played around with that word in my head for a few days. While intellectually the word made sense, it also made my heart heavy. It felt punitive and mean. Wasn’t I already punishing myself enough? I mean, just the fact that I felt like a plate-spinner had to be the right amount of tough-love for one girl, right? Then I thought, just breathe. That’s what I need more of in 2014, breathing. I know, from the years studying and coaching folks in holistic health, the power of our breath. I also know, from 39 years of living in this body, that my default setting when life gets rough is to hold my breath. Literally. Luckily, I usually catch myself before I pass out, but I do  hold on to my breath, without even realizing it, during times of stress.

The last few  months I haven’t taken too many deep breaths. How sick is that? I worked myself up into such a tizzy that I have not even allowed myself time to breathe. Sheesh. But, a few more days of thinking and I just couldn’t commit to that as my word. I acknowledge that breathing is something I need to focus on (see what I did there?) but I wasn’t ready to make either of those two things my identity for an entire year.

Somewhere in the middle of all this I got terribly homesick. I use that word to describe more of a time than a place. I love my current home, so it’s not that I want to move. What I’m missing is our life in our old home in Maryland. That life included lots of snuggling and craft time and whole mornings spent in pajamas. It was me and  three little people just doing what made us feel good every day. Yes, we were broke. Yes, I was often frustrated with the lack of intellectual stimulation. But like any good mom-cliche, now that I’m out of those slow, sweet times, when all that mattered was getting three small people healthily and happily through the day, I miss them terribly. They were often boring, sometimes frustrating, but always slow and often easy, because your choices are limited when your main job is taking care of everyone else. You can’t know you’re unhappy with you if you’re totally focused on them.

I can’t go back. I can’t recreate that life because their needs are different and what they need most now is for me to take care of me. I can’t recreate my old life because the time has come to build a new one.   What I can do is stop running all the time.  I can slow down. I can take time to breathe. And I can focus, for the first time in a long time,  on taking care of me.

 

This post was inspired by Happier at Home a book by Gretchen Rubin where she writes about her  experiment to create happier surroundings in her home. Join From Left to Write on January 6 we discuss Happier at Home. You can also chat live with Gretchen Rubin on January 7 on Facebook! As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

 

 

And Now For Something Completely Different: Shopping-’Cuz Mama Needs a New Pair of Shoes!

 

modnique

I remember over the years watching those Bobbie Thomas segments on the Today Show. She’d always find incredible deals on everything from skin care to leather boots and I’d kick myself for not having the money to take advantage of the almost too good to be true discounts. I promised myself that someday I would have enough cash on hand to shop wisely-meaning I would not just be a bargain hunter, but I’d also be a deal master.

Well, my friends that day has come and darn if I’m not thrilled to try my skills out on Modnique.  Modnique is a deals and steals dream come true with crazy discounts on everything from apparel to lip gloss and most categories in between. This website has the highest of high end, like Jimmy Choo and Rolex for drastically reduced prices. What’s great about the site though is that you’re not counted out if those brands are still too steep for your wallet. Modnique also has items that are still from very high quality but more moderately expensive brands and they are still deeply discounted, which just might mean dirt cheap!

So, one might have purchased knee high leather boots for 55% off their regular price which is the lowest price she’s ever seen. I mean, I’m not sayin’ one did but… maybe.

Modnique is currently running a 20 Days of Daily Deals feature where they release new deals every morning on things like Beats by Dr. Dre, Michael Kors Handbags, the most adorable baby clothes, Ray Ban Aviators and even an 16G iPad Mini for ninety-nine bucks. Yep, I spelled it out because the deal is that damn good!

As you might imagine, these hot items on Modnique go quickly so you can check every day on their Facebook page or the Modnique blog. You can also sign up for a daily email. This is what I did because, especially with the holidays approaching, I don’t want to miss a thing. Now that I have cash in my pocket, I want to use it well and Modnique will help me do just that with crazy discounts on amazing products for me and my whole family.

 

This review is part of a Splash Creative Media campaign on behalf of Modnique.com. I  received a gift certificate to try out Modnique  for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.