Buy and Buy Again

It’s rare for me to re-buy a beauty product.  Usually I am always trying new products or new brands, but the older I get, the more I value quality and product loyalty.  One of my goals by the time I’m thirty is to use all natural skin care products and basically being more educated about the things I’m putting on my face.  And while I’m not sure my makeup will ever be all natural, it helps to use quality products – there’s no reason to limit the chemicals you clean and moisturize with if you are just going to go totally cheap on makeup.

These are some of the skin care and beauty items that I buy and buy again.  They are affordable, and I’ve bought each of them at least twice.

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MAC Pro Longwear Blush (my color is Stay Pretty)

This compact lasts a long time, the color is smooth even though it’s a powder blush, and it blends easily with bronzer and illuminator.  I have pink undertones and I have never found such a perfect pink for my cheeks.  My next goal is to find a cheaper drugstore dupe for this color, but I doubt I’ll find one with such a smooth formula.

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H20 Plus Water-Activated Eye Make-Up Remover

This was a freak purchase at TJ Maxx years ago –  I saw it, needed eye make-up remover, and thought it looked nice.  I loved it so much that I used it sparingly, worried I wouldn’t be able to find it again.  At that time, even an internet search didn’t turn up anything for this brand.  Now, it’s readily available and I bought it again at TJ Maxx a few months ago.  A dollop of this gel in your hands, a dash of water, and you can rub it all over your eyes and eyelashes.  It has never stung my eyes and it rinses quick leaving zero makeup.

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LUSH Silky Underwear Dusting Powder

I already blogged about LUSH Dusting Powders here, but I’ll never stop gushing.
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e.l.f. Brush Shampoo

For three dollars, this was worth trying.  I am of the Church of Dr. Bronner’s, and have always used that to clean my makeup brushes, but e.l.f. blew that out of the water.  This gel, which is hilariously likely of the exact same ingredients as the eye make-up remover above, has similar positive qualities – it rinses nicely and pulls out color quickly.  You get a lot of bang for your buck with this, and I will definitely keep it around for brush cleaning.

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I bought a small spray bottle of this for cheap at Sephora.  I’ve always liked make-up setting spray or even a mist of water on my face after putting on make-up – it softens the blending and makes me feel less chalky and dry especially in the winter.  At Boy’s Club Prom this year, my friend Carly was talking about a spray a friend used while they were studying abroad in London.  It set their make-up so when they trekked around all day, they didn’t sweat it all off.  I asked her what it was called, and it was this same product I already owned and had used that very night!  I had never put it to the test until dancing and getting sweaty that night and it keeps everything in place.  There are a lot of make-up setters I’ve tried and never bought again – until I found this little beauty.

 

What are some of the products you buy and buy again?  Have you experienced good or bad things from the products above?  Comment below!  I want to get to know my readers!

 

xo

 

Invisible

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(Me, Bryan and Jon years ago)

Today, I watched a wonderful commencement speech by Jim Carrey at the Maharishi University of Management in Iowa.  It was funny but also wise and full of thoughts that don’t make it into enough of these speeches.  I have to say the speaker when I graduated presented the most cliche, boring, droll, low energy speech you could ever imagine.

“Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world.”  I wrote this down as I heard it, and revisited it later.  Why did this strike me in such a strange place in my heart?  It could have been because I have never feared being invisible or yearned for any spotlight.  But I do fear being a part of the status quo, especially a status quo that is failing in so many ways.  I thought to myself, maybe that’s why I never sought approval from the masses.

I’ve always known that being a part of something big, being in the spotlight, meant having to care about acceptance, because without it, you’d lose your spot in line.  Acceptance and attention equals existence when you live life that way.  We talk about over-saturation of social networking and the need to document every single thought and moment in time.

But we never talk about over-saturation of opinions – we have reached a point in this world where every possible opinion on every possible scenario is expressed, represented, fought over, reported on, gathered over, and then forgotten.  Over and over and over and over again.  It now has no meaning; to care about anything, any cause, is almost as comical as trying to champion an international charity, right?  Remember Bono everybody.

I don’t actually believe that trying to do international charity or caring about a cause is a bad thing; I would march on Washington for women’s reproductive rights at any possible chance.  My point is this: the world is too big now and opinions don’t matter.  What matters is what you do in this world and the impression you make on others.  Jim Carrey’s speech brings up good points about community and being a positive force to the people around you, because we are so inconsequential in the scope of the universe that that’s all we can ask.  He suggests dropping your fear that you mask as practicality (totally me!).  Ask the universe for what you want and put your spirit out there, take away concern from the people you love with kindness and humor.

It felt good listening to him speak, because I thought about the rich love I have in my life, with my friends and family and husband.  I thought about how free I’ve always felt and how grateful I am for that because so many take it for granted or are unable to feel free and feel loved simultaneously.

Watch the video here.

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(Friends on our way to the wedding.)

 

Never over neon

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(Neon pencil shavings)

Neon has been everywhere this past year, and I don’t know if it’s my Maui childhood or my participation in Parks and Recreation sports, envying the teams with bright jerseys, but I love this trend.  I also hate the word trend; since I live in Idaho, there’s no need for me to keep up with any expected image of what is current in the fashion world.  So when I like a trend, either it’s something I’ve always liked and/or I’ll never stop liking it and it isn’t the passing facade that it often is to those in big cities.  I pity those who think they are fashion forward because they abandon every passing fad as new ones replace old ones; to me, being fashion forward has more to do with comfort in your skin, and personal style and taste, which cannot be bought, borrowed, or stolen.

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(part of my birthday present from Connie – photo booth strips from my bachelorette party.  I taped them to my vanity mirror, so I can smile at my girls every day.)

It has been an emotional past few weeks, with Connie moving to China and two other friends getting married, I feel like I have experienced the full spectrum of emotions possible in the human psyche.  We are traveling to Beijing to visit her at the end of November, and we are finishing visa paperwork and counting down the days.

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(plucking leaves and thorns off dozens and dozens of roses)

I officiated/coordinated my first wedding, and I felt proud to be standing up there with two people so dear to me.  I learned so much and feel very secure in my future goals of running my own event coordinating business.  With every event, I know I’ll learn new lessons and be able to guide brides and hosts to make the right decisions and keep them stress free.  Riannon, the bride, was an unbelievable breeze, and she was so gracious and calm, even with the preparations the day before.  A friend of hers did the flowers, and I got to experience the amount of work that goes into arrangements, costs for bulk flowers, and the subtle tricks of the trade when presenting flowers at an event.  Basically, it was an emotional and professional and motivational and aspirational roller coaster that has really energized me for future things to come.

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(Moscow Mules in copper mugs we got as a wedding present)

We have a new bar cart that I’ll show another time, but it has really motivated me to try new cocktails.  Bryan’s mom’s friend got us copper Moscow mule mugs as a wedding present, so it’s been fun to mix ginger beer, vodka, mint and lime juice for a great drink in a cold, cold cup.

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(Bright Lab)

Check out Bright Lab, the new company of Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day.  I’ve been following her blog for over five years and knowing her wonderful taste and influences, I knew I would love any business venture she embarks on.  These are paper orb lights and come in the greatest packaging.  The best part is your involvement in assembling – all it takes is scissors to cut an opening and slip the orb over the lightbulb.  I chose one of their pre-set color combinations, but you can make any combination you want.  I’ve even gone to their website just to try a few colors together and then they assemble it onto a strand to show you what it would look like.  The picture above are my lights from outside my house looking in – they are hanging on a hook in a bundle.  But they look good in any way – you can stretch them out to create a light garland, or you can bundle it up into a chandelier shape.  They are bringing a lot of warmth to my house as it gets darker earlier and colder by the day.

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And finally, what I have been so excited to share with you all.  If you are a fan of Field Notes, then you know that when they offer a secret, unexposed color series, you trust Field Notes to send you something spectacular – so spectacular, they don’t even want you to know what’s coming.  So I bought a three pack of notebooks, with absolutely no hint or idea what they would look like, only that they were part of this year’s color series.  I got my unexposed color series Saturday.  I opened it to find this:

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WHOA!  They must have gotten the memo that I love neon, and my expectations could not have been more surpassed.  Their past color series have always been great, but this vivid, fluoro set of colors is unreal.  There are more in this color series, so I may definitely have to order another set – I wonder if they will continue with neon combinations, or release something even more eye popping.  I love all things paper, ephemera, packaging, and stationery so trust my recommendation that Field Notes is the best pocket/purse notebook out there.

xo babies!

Book of Mormon and the battle for Moscow

Slowly, the ratio in this town of good people versus horribly awful people is going off-kilter again now that the school year is beginning.  I would hate to generalize, but it’s something I noticed myself when I was their age – 18-year-olds are just so oblivious.  Bless their little hearts, I can see into each of their future’s.

That girl with the necklace, emblazoned with an engraving of the Salt Lake City Mormon Temple, she was a freshman, and when I told her I wouldn’t be in that job this spring semester, she asked me if I was retiring.  I shuddered to think how old she thought I was.  The kid whose parents are still e-mailing me for them a week before classes start – attention all parents: you should have absolutely nothing to do with a child’s college advising.  Support them, tour with them, help them with finances and financial aid, but never, ever e-mail their professors or department.  Oh and that blond girl who smelled like a baby prostitute and couldn’t remember where her audition was?  She was sweet enough, and I wished I was able to answer her questions, but her nervous energy just made me cringe, so thankful I am not that age anymore.

Basically, to sum it up, this time of year is an emotional roller coaster for me.  But Sean Astin, THE Sean Astin, as in the Goonies, Rudy and SAMWISE GAMGEE IN LORD OF THE RINGS, spoke at our University yesterday and the Marching Band performed for him.  Unprompted during an interview after, he complimented them so much, so generously and so sincerely that I was happy.  At work, that’s an accomplishment.


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Okay, rant over, drop the mic.

B and I went to the Book of Mormon and oh my, was it the funniest thing I’ve ever seen on stage.  I shuddered to think of the conservative people in the audience, the religious people without a sense of humor, or even worse, if actual Mormons attended, not realizing the play’s message.  It was well-written, funny, the songs were beautiful and the acting was perfect – as a west coaster who has to see everything off-broadway, and as a huge enthusiast of theatre, the traveling actors for these productions are so talented that I never feel like I am getting something second-best.  Plus, a colleague was playing trombone in the orchestra, so I felt close to the production in an offbeat way.

xo

Which came first?

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Today, I wondered constantly – which came first, my bad mood or the bad day? Was my day bad because I woke up in a bad mood, or did I wake up in a bad mood knowing deep down inside that something bad was coming?

Either way, wondering doesn’t matter because it was just bad.  Sleep-deprived, I tried my hardest to get through the day, but one thing after another and I left feeling defeated.

This summer has been the fastest in the history of my life.  And after today, I’ll be glad to see August go.

The beginning of the end

View More: http://alejandramariaphotography.pass.us/jill-and-bryan-wedding

(Alejandra Maria Photography)

Things are winding way down in Moscow and there are few of us left.  B takes our friend Nick to Boise tomorrow, then he’s off to Thailand in ten days.  Connie leaves for China in under a month, and Haley and Sol will move to Los Angeles soon.  We will be the last ones here come December, saying goodbye to a cold and empty Moscow.

Until then, it will be an exciting, anxious, kid-on-Christmas-Eve vibe nonstop around here.

In one month, I officiate my first wedding, marrying two of my dearest friends.  Officiating was a by-product of my real labor-of-love, helping the bride plan her wedding.

After our wedding, I felt proud of what I had accomplished.  When B proposed, there were two things I was excited about – marrying Bryan and planning a great event.  The actual wedding went by in a blur and I can barely remember the details, but we received so much positive feedback, tons of guests gushing about it being the best wedding they had ever been to.  I’ve worked in event coordination for nearly ten years now, first on the catering side of things, then on the planning side.  I know a lot and best of all, I subscribe strongly to the old fashioned values of being a good hostess, feeding friends and family, and gathering.  The act of gathering bears strong social and cultural significance, and it is something I have always been oddly and overly interested in.

When Milo and Riannon got engaged over Christmas after our wedding, I immediately offered my services to Riannon.  I told her I would help in any way she needed, and provide any and all help on the big day.  I am so honored they chose me to be the officiator – writing the vows was very personal for me and I’m so excited to stand up there with them.  Even more than that, I’m excited to take care of the details that they shouldn’t have to worry about, making sure guests are where they should be, everyone important is present for the big moments, and things stay stress-free.

Hopefully, after I help enough friends with wedding planning, I can start to do it professionally.  But for now, I’m happy donating my time for something I love to do.  I encourage every one of my friends to please get married immediately so that I’m never without a wedding to coordinate.

xoxo

 

I’m back in the land of the living

It feels good to be back in this sacred space of mine where I can escape all the woes of this world and just be me.

Where have I been?  Unfortunately, nowhere cool.  At home, mostly on the couch or in bed, mostly in a pain-pill coma, and mostly just really depressed.

I got my wisdom teeth out mid-July, and what was a routine surgery that went perfect turned into my own personal hell on earth in the following days.  Dry socket pain is absolutely no joke.  What turned into only two days off of work became a week of unpaid medical leave, which will be a whole OTHER kind of pain when I get that paycheck next week.

Since healing, I feel such an exuberance for life that can only be attained by being a bed-ridden zombie for so long.  For 10 days straight, I woke up crying, telling B that I didn’t think it would ever end, and maybe I would just have to learn to live with this pain.  He assured me it would get better, and it did.  But I learned how desperate I can become when nothing changes after days on end – I expect change.  When I’m sick with the flu or strep throat or this whole wisdom teeth debacle, I want to feel different when I wake up.  And that’s really how I am about life – I know change is inevitable, therefore I expect it, I crave it, I open my doors to it always.

So much happened over this month I’ve been gone, and I will be getting to it all.  But for now, I’m back, I’m not in pain, I’m almost caught up on the avalanche of backed up work from my absence, and I’m ready to rock this bitch.

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Quick little shout out to my handsome husband (this pic taken last weekend in Sandpoint) – he took such great care of me, put up with so many mood swings and childish fits, brought me sustenance and medicine, dropped everything to get me a milkshake when I wanted it, and all with so much love and no resentment or annoyance.  I love this man so much, it’s nauseating.

 

xo!