Tuesday, December 19, 2017

2017 - Year in Review

Dearest Reader,

I must apologize about my silence as of late. Well, It would appear almost all of 2017. There are many times I would have loved to have written to you. I felt it was best not to. My silence has been quite intentional.

2017 was going to be better than 2016. Or at least that was the plan. I had plans to really build my brand. Start a Youtube channel geared towards my fellow spoonies. Blog more. Instagram more. Jump start my jewelry business.

Things in 2017 started off rocky in my personal life. So clearly my attention was elsewhere. Aaron left me in May and I decided to stay fairly silent on the matter. I'm sure he expected me to lash out every which way on social media. Sometimes I don't behave as expected.

I've learned number of things since my marriage broke up. A few I'm going to touch on in this blog. The first thing I learned was you find out who your real friends are real quick in a divorce. For the record, if I ask you have you heard from Aaron and you tell me no, you may want to make sure you are either telling me the truth or I have no way of verifying it. In this instance your insistent no was quickly proven out to be a lie. I was checking cell records daily. Your number was on the text logs a lot. Don't feel bad. A few people got caught that way.

As I said you learn who your real friends are. These are the friends that step up, circle the wagons with you. The friends who call more, check on you more, make sure you're eating once in awhile. I am very blessed to have a number of these amazing friends, both locally and via the internet.

I've learned you are given what you need when you need it. Almost a month after Aaron left, my friend Annie and I were out in my jewelry studio when Annie thought she heard a cat. She did some digging and found some very weak, dehydrated, flea covered kittens that we estimate were about a week old.

Annie and I quickly ran to petsmart and bought a bottle and formula and then went to Target for some Dawn dish washing soap (for the fleas). Did you know kittens need to be fed every three hours? I didn't. Guess what I ended up doing. That's right, feeding kittens every three hours for three or so weeks. I was never so happy when I was able to wean them and they could eat kitten food. So many people told me how amazing I was to do this for the kittens. Maybe yes, probably no. They gave me something to focus on, someone to help. In one small way I could effect positive change in the middle of my life being thrown out of wack. Also, you should know all the kittens found furever homes. I did end up adopting one of the black ones.

I've learned it's okay to be alone. Until a few months ago, I had never lived on my own. I got married in college. I went from having a roommate to having a husband. At first I didn't know what to do with myself. Change is scary, but it's not always bad. I've learned to embrace the solitude and the quiet. I boxed up things that weren't mine. I rearranged rooms. I made this space mine and mine alone. I turned my house into a place of peace and rest.

While I was learning how to live alone, I also learned I really don't know who I am. I recently ran across this and it made me think:

It was like somebody took a bucket of cold water and threw it on me. Talk about a light bulb moment. I'm still thinking about it and trying to figure out what to do with it.

Traditionally I try to learn something new each year to improve myself. It's typically a skill of some kind. Find something I'm interested in and take a class or read up about it. So here is what I've decided. 2018 is going to be the year I learn about me. Old baggage is going to be left at the curb for garbage collection. Toxic people no longer have a place in my life. It's time to get to know me, a balanced and healthy me.

And here is some food for thought. Despite society telling me I should be upset over the break up of my marriage, I've found I'm a much happier person. And healthier (to date I'm down 39 pounds). They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here you go!

Until next time

Friday, January 20, 2017

Battle Beauty Box December 2016

Welcome back Beauty Subscription Box lovers! Last month I covered the November boxes between Ipsy, Sephora Play, and Lip Monthly. In case you missed it you can catch up here. This month I will once again be reviewing those three with one more contender. This month the quarterly Wal-Mart Beauty Box came, so it will be reviewed as well. Let's get to it!

To review, Ipsy is $10/mo and comes with five products. This month I received a Beau Gachis concealer brush, a NYX eye shadow in Bedroom Eyes, an Aurora Intensively Precise Eyeliner in Blackberry, Hanalei Lip Treatment, and a Tarte Tartiest Glossy Lip Paint in WCW.

Ipsy December bag

Sephora is also $10 and you get 5 products plus a perfume sample. December's box included Urban Decay's All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray, Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo, Makeup Forever Step 1 Smoothing Base, Bobby Brown Smokey Eye Mascara in black, Sephora Cream Lipstain in Always Red, and a perfume sample of Elizabeth and James Vanilla Bourbon.

December Sephora Play

Lip Monthly is $13.50/mo for me (as I buy 4 month blocks for $54). This month had 4 products (you get 4-5) which included a ChapStick Total Hydration Lips Scrub, City Color Lip Gloss in Wild Child, Crazy Rumors Hibiskiss Hibiscus Flavored Lip Color, and Cougar Mineral Lipstick in Sangria. I was actually very disappointed in this month's products in that it appeared to be very cheap (ChapStick, really?). Typically the card included tells you what the value is. November had a retail value of $98. December didn't tell us. Hmmm, wonder why...

December Lip Monthly
Why aren't you telling us the value this month, Lip Monthly??

Last up is our quarterly box from Wal-Mart Beauty. This box is only $5/quarter and comes with full size products, samples, and coupons. Products include samples of Dove shampoo, conditioner, mask and body wash, a full size Cover Girl Last Blast Volume in Very Black, Ponds Rejuveness Anti-Wrinkle Cream, Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Yogurt, and Curel Hydratherapy Wet Skin Moisturizer.

Winter Wal-Mart Beauty Box

Now that I've told you what was in every box I'm sure you're wondering my thoughts on these (that's why you're here, right? I mean I don't give out cookies or anything). Ipsy and Sephora Play always crush it. Ipsy has clearly built great relationships with beauty brands over the years. I love that you get a mix of prestige brands (like Tarte) and new indy brands. Clearly Sephora also has access to amazing brands. I love that I got Urban Decay, Bobby Brown, and Makeup Forever in one box. Woo!

Wal-Mart also has the marketplace muscle to get good sample sizes of product. I couldn't go to Wal-Mart and buy the Cover Girl Mascara for $5.00, let alone the rest of the travel size samples. I do fly from time to time and having bottles on hand that are TSA approved (under 3.4 oz for carry on) is always a plus.

Now Lip Monthly...we need to have a chat. Did you run out of end-of-year budget or did your buyer just go on vacation? The Chapstick scrub at Target is $4.99. From the City Color website the lip gloss is $5.99. The Crazy Rumors Hibiskiss lip color from their website is $4.99. The Cougar Mineral Lipstick is sold in a 5 pack for $47.80 (It's a UK brand so the conversion isn't a nice number we're used to). Still that makes each lipstick $9.56/ea. Which means this month's has a retail value of $25.53 or 1/4 the value of last month's bag. I was extremely disappointed in this month's December bag. When Wal-Mart's budget-conscious box does a better job you know you've done something wrong.

So dear reader, I will keep subscribing and keep testing beauty boxes for you. Be sure to stay tuned as I will also shortly be launching a YouTube companion page. 2017 holds some exciting things for sure!

Until Next Time, XOXO