Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Stuff I Have Tried Recently

I have been intending to write this post for several weeks because I have several new (to me) products I have tried recently and I wanted to share them with my lovely readers.  I also want to hear about any new stuff you have tried recently that you have loved or hated.
erase paste
First up is Erase Paste from Benefit Cosmetics.  I needed a new concealer once I found out Prescriptives had closed up shop and I had tossed my last tube of concealer. On a trip to Ulta, I saw this advertised as one of Allure Magazine's top picks so I figured I would try it and I am glad I did. This stuff works.  I don't look like the over tired mom I really am.  My only complaint is that it is a little too creamy for my liking but I think I just need to blend it a little better.
lemon aid
Also from Benefit Cosmetics is Lemon Aid.  I have actually had this product for awhile but I forgot about it and just started using it again recently. I have really dark eye lids.  So dark that it changes the color of the eye shadow I wear.  Lemon Aid helps to offset this discoloration while acting as an eye shadow primer.  It's a win win in my book.
the POREfessional
Are we starting to sense a theme here? This product actually showed up in my December Birch Box.  I was pretty excited to try it but I wasn't overly impressed with it.  I can't say I hated it but I didn't love it.  Truth be told I couldn't tell a difference when I used it and felt like it was an unnecessary extra step in my makeup routine that I just don't have time for in the mornings.
Maybelline Great Lash LOL Mascara - Brownish Black.Opens in a new window
I was super excited when I saw this Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes mascara. I have always like Great Lash and I love the plastic bristled wands that help to separate my naturally clumpy lashes.  So I just knew this was going to be my perfect mascara.  Alas, it was not so.  The head on the wand is too small and I felt like I had a hard time reaching all my lashes.  Also, the formula of this mascara seemed different and would make my eyes itch by the end of the day.

GAH! I am really bad at this the whole posting my photo each day thing has really fallen by the wayside.  I blame it all on my nephew, Blake, being born Saturday.  He had all of us so wrapped around his tiny little finger we were too busy to do anything but hang out with him.  So here are my much delayed pictures from last week.

Day 17: Water
I will admit it.  I don't drink enough water.  That's bad I know but I get tired of drinking something with no flavor.  Crystal Light drink mixes helped with that a lot when I was pregnant.  So I knew I wouldn't have any water to take a picture of so I took a picture of the water fountains in my office instead.

Day 18: Something You Bought
Guess what! It's Girl Scout Cookie time.  I actually bought my cookies on this day so it was the perfect time to snap a quick picture of them.  Of course I got the Peanut Butter Patties and the Caramel Delights because those are my favorites.  Does anyone else remember when they were called Tagalongs and Samoas?  My coworkers thought I was crazy when I told them I remembered trying to sell cookies the year they changed all the names.

Day 19: Sweet
I took this picture for two reasons.  One because it's chocolate and it is sweet.  Two because this was part of a Christmas gift from one of my program managers at work and I thought it was very sweet of him to think of me and let me know he appreciated the work I had done for him all year.

Day 20: Someone You Love
This was an easy one although I really wanted to get a picture of Jackson, Maverick, and Chris but getting all 3 of them together proved to be impossible.  So instead you have my grumpy looking baby who hadn't gotten enough sleep that day and was fighting it at that point.

Day 21: Reflection
I snapped this picture as we were leaving Galaxy Cafe on Saturday.  We were waiting on news of Blake's arrival and when we could see him at the time and decided to get a quick bite to eat in order to kill some time.  I thought it was pretty cool.

Day 22: Your Shoes
I have a lot of shoes.  I used to have more but I have parred down the collection quite a bit.  Chris would joke that my army of shoes was going to take over and attack him.  At one point there were two of these racks in my closet full of shoes.  Not anymore.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Crappy Day Gift Exchange

This post could also be titled "Reasons I love the Internet."  

So, I mentioned about three months ago that I was attending The Blathering.  I filled out my 13 Things and I never mentioned it again.  Shame on me.  What I should have said is that while I missed out on some of the fun because I had to work and I didn't stay at the hotel, I did get to meet some wonderful women with amazing stories to tell.  I was humbled by the fact I complained so much about Jackson's difficult delivery but still was able to bring home my beautiful boy while I listened to stories of miscarriages and deaths of children.  I realized that these were women I respected because they had been through rough times and they lived to tell about it and had grown stronger because of it.  As so many said that weekend, these were my people.

Since that weekend in October, the friendships I made that weekend have grown thanks to Twitter and our blogs. I look forward to the conversations we will have each day as they help me get through the long work day.  I know I can turn to my friends for advice on how to raise my child or comfort if I am having a rough day.  I am starting to feel closer to many of these people than I do to some of my IRL friends and I can't wait until we get the opportunity to hang out again.    

A little over a month ago, Andrea posted about her crappy day gift exchange box she had received.  I had seen a post about this a while back but hadn't signed up because I didn't feel like I knew anyone well enough to participate.  I commented on Andrea's post and the next thing I knew, this arrived in the mail:
My very own Crappy Day box! I was so excited and so very touched by her thoughtfulness that I could barely contain myself.  So I knew I had to sign up for the next exchange when I saw one.  Well, that opportunity came up a couple of days ago and now I get to shop and send a gift to someone and hopefully make some of their crazy days a little better and a little brighter.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Latest from Me

So I thought I could make this a combination post with my photo-a-day pictures and a couple of other updates.  I'll start with the pictures.

Day 15: Happiness
I couldn't think of a better picture to take for happiness than one of Jackson laughing.  Chris often says that there is nothing in the world that will bring a smile to your face more than a baby's laughter and he is right.  No matter how crappy my day has been, hearing J laugh always makes me smile.  I had a hard time getting a good picture because he wiggles around so much when he is giggling.

Day 16: Morning
It was pretty dreary on the way to work this morning.  It was drizzling and it is supposed to be unseasonably warm today.  The morning already started out about 10 degrees warmer than when we went to bed last night.  I snapped this picture at the stop light outside of my neighborhood on the way to work and it turned out pretty cool.  I didn't realize I was getting such a neat shot until I looked at it on my phone at work.

In Other News
We bought a new car this weekend. The clutch in Chris's car went out earlier in the week and, upon further inspection, it was determined that the car wasn't going to last us much longer.  So despite wanting to wait until the car was paid off next year, we had to bite the bullet and take the plunge on something new (to us).  We opted for a 2011 Camry with low mileage and we are pretty excited about it although I wanted to rip the people at USAA a new one when they started giving us problems with our loan.

I've I mentioned my love for Pinterest recently?  If not, then I really should.  I have found so many wonderful recipes and ideas on that site.  I am just trying to figure out how to use all of them.  I did make a new recipe from there last night: Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti.  This is definitely one we will make again.  It was very easy with the hardest part being boiling the noodles first and made a ton of leftovers.  I made a couple of modifications to the recipe and will probably do a few things different next time.  For starters, I used full fat everything just because we don't like the way low fat/fat free tastes.  Second, I left out the onions and green pepper because those are things we don't eat.  I also used the mild Rotel to save on the spice for Sean's sake and I didn't think the dish was spicy at all.  Next time I will use my oval crockpot instead of the round since this makes so much.  It was hard to stir in the round but will work if that's all you have.  I am also considering adding another can of chicken and cutting back the Velveeta a little.  All in all, it was good and filling so I am going to play with it a bit to get it perfected to our liking.

Lastly, I have to leave you with another sweet picture of Jackson hanging out on my bed this morning while I got ready for work.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Maybe I Should Rethink This

I am doing pretty good at this whole photo-a-day thing on twitter but I not doing so a good job at posting the photos to my blog as well. So here are a few more days to get you up to date.  Maybe I'll have more luck this week getting my photos over here as well.

Day 11: Where You Sleep
Chris has been sleeping on the couch on the nights he's been home this week because his sinuses are acting up and he doesn't want to keep me awake with his snoring.  For that reason, there is one lonely pillow on my bed instead of the normal three.  Also, I am usually cold at night while Chris isn't hence the blanket on half of the bed.

Day 12: Close-up
I opted for a close-up of one of the cutest things I know: Baby J's tiny feet and toes.

Day 13: In Your Bag
Here are just a few things that can be found in my purse on any given day: my datebook that keeps track of all the important details of my life, my Alabama pen, my keys on a houndstooth key chain, cough drops, my houndstooth wallet, sunglasses (houndstooth on the side of course), my makeup bag, and a toothbrush from my trip to the dentist on this particular day.  Missing is my cell phone because I had already taken it out of my purse and the millions of receipts that end up shoved into my purse regularly.

Day 14: Something You're Reading
I just started The Help last night and I really can't wait to get further into this book.  I have heard so many great things about it and the movie.  I have had the book since my mom's stay back in September but I've had no time to read so I am working towards my "read 24 books this year" goal.  Hopefully I can finish the book instead of setting it aside and forgetting about it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Few Days Behind

Day 8: Your Sky
It was pretty dreary around here on Saturday so that's what our sky looked like.  Cloudy and overcast and waiting for the rain to come.  It was a great day to stay home and snuggle with my baby.

Day 9: Daily Routine
Here's a little glimpse at my daily routine.  I try to keep my counter this neat and most of the time it is.  I like to be able to find exactly what I am looking for without a lot of trouble.

Day 10: Childhood
I came across these little guys when I was cleaning out my closet last weekend.  This is Teddy and Leppy (OK...I wasn't a super creative child).  Teddy was the first stuffed animal I ever owned.  He was given to me by my parents' neighbors the day I came home from the hospital. My dad got my Leppy when I was about 2.  These were two of my favorite stuffed animals growing up.

Fear the Tide, Honey Badger!

So there was this little football game last night.  I don't know if you heard about it.  #1 LSU versus #2 Alabama. The big rematch.  Yeah...that one.  I have spent the last month listening to people complain about Alabama being in the big game.  No one thought we deserved a second chance to play LSU.  We had already had our chance and we lost.  It should have been Oklahoma State or Stanford or anyone other than us.  Alabama went into the game with a chip on the shoulder. They had something to prove and prove they did.

Alabama played a great game led by starting quarterback, AJ McCarron (a Mobile boy!), and the #1 defense in the nation.  LSU's offense came across as overly excited, never settling into a rhythm, while Alabama's team seemed as calm as could be given the stage.  The game ended with a score of 21-0 and Alabama had sealed the championship with the first shutout in BCS history.

To say I am proud of my team would be an understatement.  Of course I heard a  mixed bag of comments today related to the game.  But in the end the only thing that matters to me is this: We played a good game. We won that game. And today we woke up the champions again.  Roll Tide!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day 7

Day 7: Favourite
Once again, are we British?  Favourite?  OK...whatever.  So I picked my favorite Kcup and coffee cup this morning.  I'm not normally a big fan of flavored coffee but this Butter Toffee is fantastic.  And what good Alabama fan can resist the call of the houndstooth coffee mug? (I also have a houndstooth travel mug!)

Day 6

So I am a little late posting Day 6. I spent most of yesterday afternoon working on the Great House Purge of 2012.  Last weekend I tackled the master bathroom and the kitchen and bedroom junk drawers.  This weekend it is our closet.  So far it's going well.  Once I am done we will have to take inventory on our "get rid of stuff" and determine if we just want to donate it or suffer through a garage sale. But for now, back to a Photo a Day!

Day 6: Makes You Smile
Initially I planned on taking a picture of Baby J because nothing makes me smile like my baby boy does.  However, I came across my Christmas present from Chris from last year and it made me smile all over again at the fabulous-ness of this gift.  The gift was a box set of all the Harry Potter books in hardback contained in this neat box that looks like a trunk.  I love it! But Chris is upset that I haven't read the books from the set.  I keep telling him it is because I don't want to mess them up.  I want to treasure them forever.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day 5

Day 5: Something You Wore
This one was pretty easy.  I actually snapped my picture first thing this morning while I was getting ready for work.  I opted to take a picture of my wedding rings since they are something I wear everyday.  I was pretty upset about not being able to wear them through my entire pregnancy.  I had to go about 5 months before the swelling went down enough for me to squeeze my finger back into my rings.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Day 4

Day 4: Letterbox
We actually had quite the discussion over twitter about what a letterbox was.  It appears based on spelling and terminology that our challenge list was created by someone British.  A letterbox in the UK is what we call a mailbox here in the US.  So I took a picture of my mailbox.  Now we have community mailboxes here in Texas.  Each street has one or two strategically positioned so that those living on the street can get to their box.  Fortunately for me, our box is located in front of the house immediately to the right of our house so I don't have far to go.  We do, however, only have one key to the box so I always pick up the mail after I arrive home from work each evening.  The city was nice enough to put a street lamp over the mailbox so I don't have to be in total darkness when I get my mail.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Goals, Resolutions, Whatever

I have been reading everyone's posts about their goals and/or resolutions for 2012 and it got me thinking about what I would like to see happen in my life this year.  According to my company's definition, I don't know that I would call these goals and they certainly aren't resolutions.  I am thinking focus might be a better word for me.  Sort like I want to focus on these areas of my life over the next year.
  1. Money: We definitely need to be better stewards of our income this year.  2011 was rough in the money department due to having a baby and a crappy insurance decision which left us saving everything we could to cover medical bills (and that didn't even come close to covering everything).  That coupled with 2 months of disability pay has left us struggling.  So for 2012 I want us to be more practical with our spending.  I want us to cut back on the unnecessary spending we tend to do when we get lazy.   Chris and I have to both buy into this idea.  There are times when I feel like I am sacrificing things for myself because Chris or the kids need or want something.  So this is going to require more conversations between us on how to handle things financially.  Plus it is really easy for us to say we will just eat out if neither one of us feels like cooking.  We have to stop the bad habits and be smarter with our finances.
  2. Weight: Yep, I know I had a baby.   I am tired of people saying that to me like it excuses the fat I am well over my ideal weight. Having a baby doesn't mean I have an excuse to be fat.  I am not happy with my body right now and when I am not happy with myself, that carries over into other aspects of my life.  So this is something I need to work on.  I am not sure how to do it though.  I don't diet well and I have minimal time to squeeze in exercise.  So I need to figure out a plan and stick to it (and one that won't blow our budget).
  3. Read: I organized all the books I currently own that I want to read this weekend and there were 24 of them.  Perfect! That's 2 a month.  I think that should be a fairly easy goal to accomplish for someone who loves to read.  Now I just need to find the time to actually read.  This is something I have missed being able to do in recent months.  I actually read 35 pages while Jackson was napping yesterday and that felt like a major accomplishment.
  4. Blog: I am such an inconsistent blogger and it really bothers me.  I constantly have thoughts going through my head that I want to share or memories that I want to document but finding the time to actually record them has been difficult (are we sensing a theme here?)  So I am hoping to make more time for my blog if for no other reason than to keep track of Jackson's new life a little better.
  5. Enjoy: I want to enjoy my life and my family more.  Life has been extremely hectic since July when Chris started training followed shortly thereafter by Jackson's birth.  It has only become more hectic since I went back to work in September.  But Chris is finally done with training and the holidays are finally over so I am praying things settle down a bit (we say that every year).  The good news to all this is we will have a more regular schedule to work with instead of the constantly changing one we were dealing with while Chris was training.  This will make life a little easier.  And hopefully an easier life will mean I can relax a little more.
  6. Home: This one covers a lot. We have outgrown the little house I purchased 3 and a half years ago as a single woman with a dog.  Outgrown it so much so that we don't even have room in our storage unit anymore to add more stuff.  But yet those are things we don't want to part with because one day we will have a bigger house.  And rather than spend money we don't have on things we already own, we want to keep our stuff.  So that means I need to find a way to make do with the space we are in until the time comes for us to move on to bigger and better things.  This will require better organization and cleaning skills than I (we?) have exhibited in the past.  And that requires a lot of work and patience on my part.  I started this weekend by purging several of my often overlooked spaces (i.e. the kitchen junk drawer and the bathroom under counter cabinets) and it felt great.  I sorted out and tossed a lot of things we weren't using and organized the things we were in a fashion that made more sense and would therefore make them easier to use.  I'm pretty proud of myself on this one.  Now I just need to keep up that trend and carry it through the rest of the house.
So there you have it.  My main focuses for 2012.  Here's hoping I can make these things happen in a manner that will make me look back on this year and say, "Yep, I did OK." 

Day 3

Day 3: Something You Adore
OK...I'll admit this one has been a bit tricky for me. I could have taken a picture of the baby or the dog but I am sure you will see those two a lot over this month. And while I do adore them, I know there are other things in the world that I adore.  So, I headed out the door to work still trying to figure out what to take a picture of when it hit me: Houndstooth! I do adore all things houndstooth as evidenced by the fact I was wearing houndstooth flats, coat, and sunglasses and carrying a houndstooth purse and lunch bag.  No brainer, right?

Monday, January 2, 2012

January Photo a Day Challenge

So there is this thing going around Twitter and I decided (a day late) to jump on board.  Hopefully this will be a good way for me to get back into blogging more regularly.  Here is the breakdown:

Day 1: Me
I didn't get a picture of myself yesterday (although I got a couple of cute ones of Baby J) so here is a picture I snapped of myself today.  As you can see, I'm tired and I haven't worn makeup in days.  I at least showered this morning but that is as far as it got before Jackson's doctor's appointment.

Day 2: Breakfast
I can't say I had the most healthy breakfast this morning. I just needed something I could grab quickly as I tried to head out for an 8 AM doctor's appointment.  So I ended up with a Dr. Pepper, a couple of cheese straws from the Nuthouse in Mobile (thanks, Mom and Dad), and some triple layer brownies my brother made (cookie dough, oreos, and brownies). Seems like an odd combo but it's that whole sweet and savory thing that I love.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

What Made the Cut

In one of my last posts, I discussed cutting back on my makeup spending and I thought you guys might be curious about some of the products that made the cut.  I have also found out that I inspired a few of my friends to do the same.  So, I figured I could share with you the items in my makeup arsenal that I love.

Foundation: My quest for the perfect foundation has been long and expensive.  However, I have kept coming back to the same foundation: Double Wear by Estee Lauder.  I have used this off and on for at least 7 years (I can only remember that because I know I wore this foundation to my first wedding.) It covers well and lasts so I don't feel the need to touch up during the day.  I also don't feel like I am wasting my time by putting this on because I still look like I have makeup on hours after I apply it.  Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup SPF 10 Foundation Makeup

Powder:  Once again this is a product that I have used for years: Cover Girl Fresh Complexion Pocket Powder Foundation.  Not really sure how I found it but I picked it up in the drugstore ages ago and I have kept going back to it.  I love the coverage this provides. I love that I can wear this without foundation underneath and it still looks great. I do not love that I have a hard time finding it. Either the store doesn't carry it or they are out of my shade. I normally buy 2 every time I find it in stock somewhere because I do have such a hard time finding it.
Fresh Complexion Pocket Powder Foundation

Eye shadow: This is another drugstore find of mine: Revlon Color Stay Eyeshadow in Neutral Khakis. This quad is fabulous for my hazel eyes. I can dress it up or down depending on the color combination I decide to use. I even recommended it to my mom. And I am upset now because I think Revlon has discontinued this set. I can't find it on their website anymore and I am finding limited, discounted stock in the places I can find it. The only good thing about that is it is cheap right now so I can stock up without feeling guilty since I am paying $2.50 or less for the set.
Revlon ColorStay 12 Hour Eye Shadow, Neutral Khakis 315

Lipstick: My favorite lipstick goes back to my sister-in-law's Mary Kay lady days: Mary Kay Creme Lipstick in Downtown Brown. Not only is this perfect shade of brown without being too orange, but also this lipstick lasts. It requires minimal touch ups throughout the day which is a good thing since I am not one to touch up my makeup throughout the day. 
I also have Urban Decay eyeliner, Great Lash mascara, and Beauticontrol blush in my makeup kit.  These are products that I like but not necessarily ones I love.  They were what I had when the Great Makeup Disposal of 2011 happened so I kept them in favor of having to purchase replacement items. I already know I won't be purchasing the mascara again since it makes my eyes itch but I will determine what I will replace it with later.

Happy New Year 2012

2011 is officially over.  I won't say it was a terrible year.  We had some rough patches but we got sweet Baby Jackson out of the year.  So for that and that alone, I can't complain.  Every time I see that little boy smile, I realize it was all worth it.  All the pain, the stress, the money worries, the lack of sleep.  All worth having Jackson in my life.

I have pictures from Christmas and I fully intend to post about it.  However, this last week has been awful.  Starting with a 101 fever on Christmas eve and culminating in a pneumonia/hospital scare on Thursday, Jackson has been sick all week so our Christmas didn't turn out at all like planned.  Even the visit from my family didn't pan out like I had hoped because of doctors visits, a sick baby who needed to stay home, and a pregnant sister-in-law who didn't need to be around the sick baby.

So right now I am just ready to pretend that Christmas didn't happen.  I want the tree down and the decorations packed up and for life to return to normal.  I used to love the holidays but now it just brings so much stress and busyness that I am just happy when they are over.  So here's to a great 2012.  May it be the fresh start everyone is hoping for.