Friday, February 28, 2014

February 2014 Ipsy Glam Bag Review + Value

Howdy, ya'll! I received my first Ipsy glam bag in the mail and thought I'd just pop in a picture for those of you who might wonder what it is all about.

Ipsy was created and co-founded by Michelle Phan (who recently launched em Cosmetics) and is a subsciption service that costs $10 (+ tax) per month. You receive at least five deluxe samples from different cosmetic and skincare brands in a cute little make-up bag!

I've been wanting to sign up for a long time and I finally pulled the trigger last month. I was so excited when I got it in the mail! It came about a week and a half ago so I'm a little late to the party.

I received the following items:

Plump Pout Mini by pop Cosmetics (4 oz.) in Fuchsia Freesia ($16~ value)
Zoya Nail Polish in Dot ($9~ value)
'tini Beauty Eye Shadow + Base in Violet ($18~)
skyn Fresh Start Mask with Ice Age Mud [one packet] ($6.50~ value)
J. Cat Beauty False Eyelashes in EL 05 ($4~ value)

Total value: $53.50

Quick Review:

Plump Pout Mini by pop Cosmetics (4 oz.) in Fuchsia Freesia  - I like the color and wear time, hate the smell. Seriously bugs!

Zoya Nail Polish in Dot - The color is really pretty but I found it super difficult to apply. It was uneven and streaky. Maybe my bottle just needs a little bit of nail polish thinner? It dried well but it took a while, probably because of the multiple coats! I'm going to thin it just a tad to see if that helps. I was kind of underwhelmed.

'tini Beauty Eye Shadow + Base in Violet - I swatched it on my hand and it was a gorgeous color, but it didn't seem tacky enough to be a real base. I think it would be great for those no make-up days all over the lid.

skyn Fresh Start Mask with Ice Age Mud [one packet] - This is a two step mask. First you spread the mud and then you spread the gel to activate it. It felt really good going on, did burn/tingle a little bit and my skin was pretty red after. It said to finish with a toner so I used witch hazel and my skin felt really dry, like unable to move dry, so I patted some moisturizer on my face. My skin felt really smooth after but I didn't feel like it was "less dull".

J. Cat Beauty False Eyelashes in EL 05 - These look crazy intense and I have super small eyes. I think they are really gorgeous though and the price seems really good!

Overall, I'm really stoked with the range of products I received, their price points and the overall value of the bag. I know that every month won't be a hit but I think Ipsy is a solid choice for a subscription service!

Have you signed up for a subscription service or do you have Ipsy? What are your thoughts?

PS. If you'd like to sign up, use my link and I get referral points! I'd appreciate it. :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Maybe I'm Not a Christian Anymore

"I just have no desire to get right with God. If you asked me if I believed in Jesus, if I believe he died on the cross for me, if I believe God exists I would say that without a doubt I do. That said, I still have zero motivation to cultivate that relationship even though in my mind I know that I need too."

I didn't expect to say that to my sister Kari on the way back from Costco two weekends ago. It wasn't planned. I hadn't really been thinking about it at all. I had homemade baby food and a much needed diaper change on the brain as I drove us home from Visalia that Saturday evening.

We had been talking about a family that has been close to us our whole lives that is planning to move back to California after a short hiatus on the east coast. I was asking for updates and wanted to know in what city they wanted to live. I wished out loud that they would live closer to us. That I always seemed to be a better person/better Christian when I was around them.

I said I needed that. Needed to surround myself with Christian people. And then those words just floated right out of my mouth.

I haven't been silent when it comes to God and I being on the outs. I am quite aware that we are at a pivotal moment in our relationship and that I may not be responding the way I should. I have also noticed that I have been gravitating towards Christian women on social media. I notice that these women are different. They capture me and I started to notice a theme: they are Christian. Now when I find a new blogger/vlogger than I like and see a verse thrown in here or there in blog posts or casually mentioned in YouTube videos, I'm not surprised. I almost roll my eyes at myself because for a while, I thought maybe I'm just not a Christian anymore. But here I am, starting to subconsciously seek out women that have Jesus in their lives in some capacity. To the point where they mention it and it's obviously not a big deal to their readers. It casually flows, an effortless part of themselves.

Without trying, I am surrounding myself with Christian women because (as my mom always said when I was a child) who surrounds you is a reflection of yourself. I, again unknowingly, sought out women that I want to be a reflection of because they are seeking Jesus and I know I want that as well.

Obviously, this isn't something I've mentioned to anyone so it was surprising when, all of a sudden, Kari and I are having this deep conversation in the car. She told me that she had felt the same way after having her first son. We talked about my aversion to going to church and she, so effortlessly, explained why. The reason I didn't want to attend church was the same exact reason she didn't want to after having her first son. Going to church requires having an open heart. It is hard to attend church without the emotions that you have been holding back bubbling to the surface. When there are so many people loving on each other, supporting each other, singing and praising, it's hard to keep your heart untouched, especially when you are aching to let go.

She told me that I needed to find a safe place to go where I could cry. (Which, shockingly, I still haven't done since Shepherd has been born.) She said I needed to go somewhere outside of my house, possibly outside of my little town and lay it all down. To take a real look at the state of my heart and what lies within it. For Kari, it was a worship night at the church, which sounds like something that would work, except I have over a years worth of pain, frustration and heartache to go through. There is going to be all-kinda ugly crying up in there.


Anyways, the main reason I haven't been so keen on talking about it is because I feel like I'm giving everyone whiplash. It's existential crisis after existential crisis over here. Since I started blogging regularly I've been just pouring out so many thoughts, so many repressed feelings that it's just been an onslaught of emotion. If you are annoyed by it, think of how I feel!

Becoming a mother in the way that I did, having a harrowing breastfeeding experience, being in charge of a tiny human with different interests and needs than my own, working full-time and supporting my wild album-recording dreamer, losing my best friend, being there as my sweet dog got slammed into by a stupid car going way too fast, almost losing my father-in-law, watching Bryan almost lose his dad....well, I feel that there hasn't been time to deal with anything. Let alone maintain a relationship with God.

The past year, I was thoroughly broken. Every bit and piece of me feels different and I'm floundering to figure out who I am. What I'm interested in. What I want. Who I want to be. I feel like I am this blank canvas and before painting can begin, I must deal with this junk I'm clutching. I can't be molded if I'm unwilling to soften.

The plan is to take a quick overnight trip somewhere that I can heal. I'm not sure when (or where?) that will be, hopefully soon. I've also been thinking of getting a mentor, someone older and wiser that is outside of my daily life, that I can go to for counsel and advice. Someone that can help walk me through this, bounce around ideas and pray with me. How does one go about finding a mentor though?

Being back here, writing again, is so... helpful. Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing my posts. Thank you for supporting me and for your sweet e-mails and Facebook messages about my birth experience/postpartum fog. Most of all, thank you for your advice and for walking through all of this with me. I appreciate it.


Monday, February 24, 2014

No-Brainer Palette for a New Mom (or anyone, really.)

After I had Shepherd, I had a lot of days where I just didn't get ready. I was tired, struggling with pumping and healing from surgery. There were lots of sleepless nights and lots of yoga pants. Showers were scheduled when grandparents and siblings would stop by. Sometimes (I won't lie) there were a few days that passed before I had a moment to actually shower.

There is nothing wrong with this. I think all women need to cocoon themselves with their new babies for bonding. When you are just lounging around doing skin to skin, you aren't getting dirty. As long as you are brushing your teeth and washing your face you are pretty much golden. 

One thing I didn't want to do after I had kids was stop getting ready altogether. We've all seen it time and time again. New moms stop dressing up, stop putting on make-up, stop curling their hair. Obviously, I'm not going to judge you if you decide to put your efforts elsewhere. That is your prerogative and there is nothing wrong with choosing to spend your "free" time watching a guilty pleasure show or hitting the gym rather than puttin' on your face, especially when you just wash it all off at the end of the night. 

Personally, I would feel better when I was more put together. Even now, if I wake up late or just don't feel good and I skip make up for the day, I feel blah all day long. When I take the time just to put a little effort into my face I feel fresher and ready to tackle life. I don't know why, but I do!

I'm writing this for the woman that wants a low maintenance, easy routine where they don't have a vanity full of thousands of products, they can get ready fast and feel good (and possibly a little bit more human) like I am/was. I slid 'was' in there because I work outside of the home, so I have to put more effort into my appearance and it helps me feel all business-y at work (I hate getting caught in a surprise meeting when I have no make-up on!) but even still, I try to pick and choose what my make-up necessities are and balance my efforts so that I don't spend a ton time on my face every morning. Although honestly, I am spending more time than ever before because I am into make-up so it's actually fun to do.

When I first had Shepherd, I would use a light foundation or tinted moisturizer, concealer under the eyes and on any blemishes, some blush for some glow, and mascara. If I was feeling really ambitious, I would put a little light eye shadow in the corner of my eyes to look more awake. Top with a baby-friendly chapstick (cause of all those kisses, of course!) and I'd be set.

That was the bare essentials. It would always make me feel a thousand times better and I liked the idea of Bryan coming home to a fresh faced lady, instead of a torn up one. :)

I know many of you may not be into make-up. Maybe you just have your few staples and they are from the drugstore and they get you by. I happen to love drugstore make-up and there are tons of good products that I use from there. However, if I was going to tell you to invest in one product that would last a long time, be ridiculously versatile, is high quality and would suit anyone? It would be the Lorac Pro palette.

I mentioned this in the haul a while ago, and I have seriously put it to the test. This palette is $42. It contains eight matte shades and eight shimmer shades, ranging in neutrals with a few pops of color thrown in for good measure.

I tried my hardest to get good pictures with the actual colors but ya'll know that I'm not a super awesome photographer. The light colors got a little blown out. Here is the picture from the Lorac Cosmetics website:

If you were going to splurge and buy one "high end" make up item, I think this should be it. And I'm not being paid to say that. I also didn't get anything free. I paid for this palette and I would buy it again. And again. 

You can see from the pictures above that I've used pretty much every color in the palette. You can tell from the marks in the shadows where my brush has dipped in. What is great about this palette is that you can easily choose to just put one color over the entire lid for a little pick me up and stop there. Or, you can put a matte shade in your crease just to define your eyes and call it good. You can mix shimmer and matte colors. If you are going out for a date night you can put together an easy smokey eye. This palette complements any eye color and there are hundreds of variations of looks, as simple or complex as you'd like. The colors blend really well with minimal work. I seriously love it.

If you just wanted an old faithful palette to have for everyday use without a ton of fuss this is literally the perfect palette.

I wish I had had this when I was a new mom. It would have been a no-brainer. If you are still choking on the $42 price, remember this is high-end make-up. You'll notice the difference from your drugstore stuff when you try it out and you get 16 shadows. That breaks down to $2.62 a pan. Totally affordable. Also, if you wait patiently and sign up for Ulta mailers, you can purchase the palette with one of the coveted 20% coupons that come around every so often - just make sure it doesn't exclude prestige brands.

Along the same rule of thumb with clothes, there are key pieces in the cosmetic world that are worth the splurge, especially if you don't buy products all the time. I think a versatile eye-shadow palette, foundation that matches you in the summer and in the winter and concealer that does the same is worth the higher prices to get colors that show up (ie. are pigmented) and colors that match your skin. It's also worth it to buy brands that aren't full of insane chemicals!  

There are a ton of high-end brands and it can be overwhelming. If you are a new mom and want to get yourself a little something to make you feel a little more sparkly on an average day or you are a husband and want to gift your honey with something she wouldn't purchase for herself, give this palette a go. I truly believe you won't regret it! 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Instagram: Accounts I Love

I think my favorite social networking site is Instagram. I love that people can snap a photo of whatever they are doing or something funny or whatever and quickly share it with others. I decided that maybe you are looking for some fresh new accounts to follow and maybe you'll like one that I like.

1. @dresdenmade

Justin is an artist (tattoos and otherwise) who I've known for a while. He does the BEST videos on Instagram and his photos are unique too. It's a mix of family, friends, work, and play. It's great.

2. @laurenconrad

It's not a secret that if I ran in the same circles as Lauren I'd reach out to find out if a. she is really as awesome as she seems and b. be her friend if she is. She snaps great photos and even though I wish she would stop making the waistline on her dresses so dang low (hurts us curvy people, Lauren!) I love her style and her clothing lines.

3. @sprandoni

Brandon Jenner, son of Bruce Jenner, is the owner of this Instagram account. I love his posts, he does really clever and funny videos. His love for his wife Leah is super cute. Through his account it seems like he has a great sense of humor and is a really creative dude. 

4. @birthwithoutfear

January runs the Birth Without Fear blog. She posts amazing pictures of pregnancy, birth, celebrates all type of birth and mourns with women who experience loss. She doesn't tolerate any crap from rude people and is a proponent for love and acceptance. A true breath of fresh air when it comes to women these days. January has created a great community of women!

5. @rhettisadler

Rhett Roberson is a brother in the band The Brothers Roberson, is handsome, loves to read and visits a coffee shop regularly. He has great posts and is pretty hilarious.  Can't get much better than that! I started following him after he and Bryan played a show together at the Hanford Fox Theater, last May. 

6. @thecorinnemarie

Corinne is a friend of my sisters and I started following her when she commented on one of their posts. Can't remember which but I love her style, her finds from the thrift store and how on fire she is for God. She walks it and speaks it and thirsts for it in a way that is amazing to me. She is authentic and real. I love her posts and would like to be best friends with her. For real.

7. @caradelevingne

Cara is a Victoria Secret model who posts regularly and posts fun pictures. She doesn't take life too seriously. She posts amusing and creative posts along with general snapshots of life.

8. @giselleofficial

Giselle is another model, with Victoria Secret and other brands as well. She recently came under fire for posting a picture of her breastfeeding while her glam team got her ready. I loved it and I love the rest of her posts. She's funny and normal. I also love that she posts in English and in Portuguese on her pictures! I learn things! 

9. @ninezeroone

I just started following this salon on the recommendation of Colleen. They do hair and they do it WELL. So much inspiration. So doge.

10. @jamierabbits

Last but certainly not least is Jamie, who blogs at Jamie's Rabbits, and basically is awesome. She is really good friends with Katherine at Grass Stains and I am jealous when I see they get together for dinner and such. They have such great personalities, love to read, love pop culture, love God. Jamie makes amazing Cake Pops. She's such a cutie. Love her posts!

Alrighty, that's all I've got for now. I definitely have more but I have to limit it to ten this time. Go follow these peeps and while you are at it, add @meganlauriana to the mix. ;)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Weekend Recap: I Threw The Candle Away

This past weekend I was pretty productive, if I do say so myself.

I received electronic mail on Thursday that Lorac Cosmetics was on sale at Sephora in JC Penney, so I called my homegirl Colleen and we went over to check it out. They didn't have anything I was specifically interested in but they did have some Sephora liquid eyeliner on sale for $6.00 so I picked one up in black and one in purple. I haven't tried the purple yet but I figured it would be good to do a cat eye on days that I didn't want to do the whole eye-shadow song and dance. Easy peasy!

After, I just hung around at Colleen's house and her husband Jordan made us chicken parmesan. So good!

Bryan and I don't really exchange gifts for Valentine's Day, but he and Shepherd got me a card. It was adorable.

Coincidentally, Urban Decay was having their friends and family 20% off sale, so I placed an order Friday night for a little somethin' somethin' and thanked Bryan for my Valentine's Day present. I'm pretty sure that is cheating but who cares?

Saturday, Bryan had to go to the studio to work on some stuff so I hung out with Shepherd before going to get my hair colored by my sister, Kari. We played, I fed him and made a small batch of carrot baby food, gave him a bath and got him ready to go hang out with his Papa Rick. Kari and I added a bunch of blonde to the bottom part of my hair to lighten it all up. I want my hair to be quite light. Almost blonde but not totally. Here is a really horrible photo of myself!

You like those baby hairs huh? The hair that I lost after pregnancy is starting to grow back, THANK GOSH. Also, Shepherd likes to grab my hair when we wrestle and he's yanked out a ton of my hair. So sad. But I'm loving the all over lighter color of my hair and hope to keep lightening it up over time!

Kari mentioned that she needed to go to Costco so I asked her if I could go with her. It was the fastest Costco trip ever. We arrived at about 5:10 and were loading up the car at 6:00. It was like Supermarket Sweep up in there!

I got a bunch of fruit and veggies for Shepherd so I can do large batches of food for him. We are doing a modified baby-led weaning. We give him large pieces of carrot and pear to gnaw on but we also do pureed versions. He just eats a lot more that way.

We had a super busy day on Sunday! We accidentally slept in really late, so we started getting ready for Owen's 3rd birthday party and headed over there. While we were hanging out, I started to get a migraine! We got home at 3:30 and I went straight to bed.

It was Bryan's birthday and I was really starting to stress because we had tickets to go see Brian Regan perform in Visalia. Bryan's mom and step-dad give a family gift every year for Christmas and this was it! I really didn't want to miss it. I took my migraine medicine, drank some coffee hoping the caffeine would help and I slept. I started to feel better and I made it! We had a great time!

Bryan decided that Monday got to be an extension of his birthday since we really didn't have time to celebrate him on Sunday, so we went to lunch with his Dad (who he had seen only for a few minutes on Sunday at the comedy show...He had purchased tickets as well.) and that snowballed into spending the whole day together.

There was ping pong, pizza and froyo on the agenda and I started to feel pressured that nothing had gotten done in the house, so I went home to shake off some bad juju and clean up the house.

I went around the living room and put everything that didn't belong into a plastic bucket. I threw away any trash, making sure to grab that pine scented candle from Christmas. I also put away the laundry that Bryan had cycled through and laid out on the couch. After that was done, I went to the other rooms to put everything away that was in the plastic bucket. It helped me streamline because I often get side-tracked while I am cleaning. Instead of completing an entire room, I'll do like ten percent of every room. Not super effective. I made sure to jot down some items for Bryan to get done this week so that we are on the same page.

One thing I'd really like to do this weekend is deep clean and reorganize the kitchen cabinets. Everything in there is just super crazy and it works against us! It'll also help when I'm ready to pull the trigger on my freezer meal preparation.

All in all, a very full, busy weekend! I felt good about tackling some projects but made sure to just have some down time too. I want to get to the point where work on the weekends is minimal. That means doing more after work during the week so that I can spend more one-on-one time with Shepherd on the weekend and also get in a little Megan time too!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Pinterest: Pins I Love

Last week we had a whole lot of heavy. I finally confronted myself about a lot of things I do that don't make sense and aren't healthy. I'll be back with some of the ways I'm working on fixing it. For now, I'm ready for some lighter fare.

Enter Pinterest.

When it first debuted I was a huge fan. It encouraged me to do awesome things I never thought about before. It helped me decide what recipes to try, how to decorate my sons nursery, tips on make-up, life hacks, etc. Then, it kind of got to be overwhelming. I took a huge break from it but now I'm dipping my toe into the vortex and have starting pinning again.

I decided it would be fun to go through some of my boards to refresh my mind on what I have pinned, because let's face it - I've pinned stuff and never looked at it again.

Isn't this garage to die for? I imagine another wall would have all of the tools and such, but to have a work space that is easy to clean, has all the potted plant materials and small tools for fixing/crafting outdoor tchotchkes? Yes please!

My house has horizontal siding, but I thought this gray, black and white looks so great. Add in that greenery and it looks like such a welcoming home. While our house is not that regal looking, this coloring would look good on ANY house if done well!

Who doesn't love a good make-up dupe? If you are a woman on a budget this is a pretty cool list.

Love this little tray idea for shoes by the door. Looks pretty but gives people the clue to take off their shoes and where to put them when they do. Adorable! (I can't find the original post - the link is to something weird. If you know the source please let me know!)

I love this. I'm probably missing the window of my life that I can dye my hair random colors and get away with it, but I've also seen girls tie yarn in their hair and then braid it for the same type of effect.

I definitely plan on doing yearbooks now that we have a family. When it was just Bryan and I, I didn't feel like there was a serious need for it. Now that 2013 is over, I think I'm going to work on one that has from 2009-2013, then do yearly ones after that.

I have not made these but they look friggin' delicious and they are a vegetarian dessert and they are whole grain, which honestly doesn't matter to me in the slightest. I just want them in my mouth. Now.

One of the things I'm looking forward to most after being done pumping is that I'm going to get a new tattoo. I cannot wait. I'm not bold enough to do something like this because I can't imagine how it'll look when I'm eighty but I do love how feminine it looks. Totally gorgeous.

We have a sliding glass door and a concrete patio outside of our bedroom and I fully plan on switching to french doors and a brick patio. This just looks so cozy, so homey. It makes me want to jump up and start doing it now. Can't you imagine just laying there with the doors open, a slight breeze moving in and out of the room while you read an amazing book? Add a cup of coffee and it's pure bliss.

I hope you enjoyed my walk down pinning lane. Make sure to follow me on Pinterest so you don't miss any other goodies that I find on the internet!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Faking it. (Part 3)

I've had many people say to me "Wow. Megan, for being so young, you guys really have your crap together." or "It's refreshing to see such a young person handling their business."

If only they knew that I have at least five empty shampoo and/or conditioner bottles in my shower right now because I can't be bothered to take the five seconds to scoop them up and toss them away. 

Two of them I bought from a store in the Azores when Bryan and I went. In 2011. They were nearly full when we left so I brought them back with me and continued to use them into 2012. Now they are buried behind my other shampoo bottles that may or may not be empty. I'll be completely honest when I say that I have thought to throw those away. Multiple times. Yet, I shower, get out of the shower and I don't think of them again. In fact, I didn't realize they were still there until I moved another shampoo bottle and saw them at the back of the shelf and was sure I had thrown those away. 

Let's not talk about the stack of magazines I have on the secretaries desk in the kitchen that I swear I'll go through and yet... I haven't. There they sit. I won't even mention the whole laundry debacle again.

This, to me, does not signify someone that handles their business. Yes, bills get paid. Yeah, we don't have any debt other than one car and this house. Sure, we have retirement plans. What we don't have are organized kitchen cupboards. Or bathroom cupboards. Or organized anything.

Bryan called me last week and said he was frustrated because he was trying to clean but he just didn't know what to do with "stuff". He didn't know where things went. I told him, "Most things don't have a place. Feel free to create whatever system you want and we'll adjust if we need too."

He ended up cleaning our bathroom. Which was awesome, for sure. But doesn't really require creating a play-by-play. I don't blame him at all. It's an overwhelming task, trying to create a system for all that life entails. For example, the mail. I imagine that a normal family would grab the mail from the box, bring it inside and place in in a mail holder of some sort. If that person is an adult, they might sort out any junk mail and toss it, grab any ads from grocery stores and stick it next to a grocery list or on the fridge with a magnet. Another adult, maybe the one mainly in charge of the finances would go through the mail, jot down when things are due and file it in a binder. When payday comes and it's time to write checks or submit payments they go through their bills, pay what they need to, file the rest, and move on. 

In our house, one of us gets the mail. From that point, this mail can end up in the following places: On the entryway table. On the couch. On the chair next to the couch. On the kitchen counters. On the dining room table. On the coffee table. On the floor. The mail is not looked at again until whenever we happen to pick up the house. The mail is opened, junk is thrown away, ads are tossed, we can't believe that mail we were waiting for was here the whole time. THERE that bill is! Then it gets shuffled around until it ends up in my office where it is placed in a large stack of all the other papers. Generally, we don't read half of the actual pertinent mail that comes to our door. 

You would think that this causes all kinds of problems but aside from the occasional oh crap! moment we pay everything on time and stuff gets handled. The main issues that occur from such a lack of structure are the following: 

1. There are no expectations on how things are to be handled. 
2. A relatively simple task becomes one of high stress.
3. Junk is everywhere.
4. Nothing can be found at a moments notice.
5. Momentary bickering happens about how ineffective we are as adults.

However, none of these situations have actually caused us, in almost five years of marriage, to change how we do things.

I know I've written it before. Bryan and I won't agree on how to handle something so we chose to do nothing instead of A. figuring it out together and 2. appointing someone to take the lead in that matter.

This is so extremely unproductive. We get absolutely no where. No worse than we were before but certainly no better. 

At the last second we do what needs to be done and from afar it appears as though we have it all together, but take a closer look and you'll see two people who are not working in tandem. Both look a little stressed and a little rough around the edges because they are waiting for the hustle that comes as the proverbial shoe drops.  

Now that we have a son, this worries me. I think about how what we do right now affects the next generation of our family. How we live our lives and run our household will affect Shepherd and how he lives his life and how he and his future wife run their household. I want there to be the right amount of structure for Shepherd. The right balance of cleaning our house and showing pride in our belongings and knowing that at any moment we would give it all up if we had too. That owning these things do not make up a person, that we can't use it to measure our lives or our worth. I want the a healthy ratio of cleaning on Saturday mornings to staying in our pajamas for cuddles and cartoons. 

I don't want him to have our bad habits and I don't want him to have extreme habits because of our lack of them. I try to think of ways to fix this, to get better at managing life so that he will see it and know that it is normal. Sure, he'll go through the phase of not wanting to clean his room or load his dishes in the washer, but I want to make sure that when he gets out of those phases he won't think twice about dusting his house or doing his laundry because that's what you do. That's normal. I don't want my abnormalities to become his normality, so I somehow have to figure out how to overcome my inability to make a decision or process when it comes to my house. 

I have to show him what progress looks like even if progress is slow. That you can accept your oddities and overcome them. That you don't have to run away from life or even hide in a closet with a taco. 

At some point, you have to throw away the holey underpants and have faith that you'll do the laundry.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Oh, It's not that bad. Maybe. (Part 2)

They say the first step to a problem is recognizing you have it. What happens when you recognize it and you still don't do anything about it? 

I mean... Don't get me wrong. We don't live in squalor. We don't let things get unlivable. We scrub our toilets. We vacuum. Dust. Fix the pillows on the couch. We wash dishes and clean out the fridge. It all gets done, one way or another. Laundry, too.

The problem is that it is done with such... disdain. We do it cause we ought to, not because we want to. Not because we were blessed with this house, this stuff, this family, and we should take care of it. We should literally treat these as our prize possessions because they are. We don't deserve any of it. We are so rich, so incredibly rich, in the grand scheme of life. We should be praising God, taking care of the things we are blessed to buy. Dusting our Comcast box and BluRay DVD player with great joy because we don't have to have these items. But we do. 

We generally are just like crap, we have so many things, everywhere. This is not okay. I can hear my oldest sister in my head, "Here Megan, here are some piles. Just put everything in these piles away where they go."

I look at the piles and think, I don't know where this goes. For example, hats. Beanies. Gloves? Where do those go? How about gift bags? Or the tissue paper that you use to hide the contents of said gift bag? What about the packaging that the BluRay player comes in? or the manuals for the electronics or kitchen appliances? Where do you put all of the random odds and ends? Things you can't really get rid of but that you don't use all the time? 

I don't get it. So stuff just kind of gets shoved places. When that drawer/cabinet/shelf gets full and we go through it we are left with the same questions. Where, for the love of God, does this crap GO? We throw it away. A month or two or five goes by and we spend forever looking for whatever we've thrown away and end up going to buy another one. 

Not only is this a frustrating practice but it is also probably the stupidest thing I've ever heard. What a waste. It irritates me that I can keep up with a pretty chaotic day job and yet matters of the home completely boggle my ever-lovin' mind. 

I have a specific example. Want to hear it? Christmas was just here a month and some change ago and we use a fake tree. We will until Shepherd gets old enough to have the experience of picking out a tree. What you lack, with a fake tree, is that wonderful pine smell. Isn't that just the best? It is. I know. I have to have it. Enter, the pine smelling candle. Second best thing to a real tree. I have the candle, I can see it right now, from where I sit on the floor of the living room and there is inch/inch and a half or so left in jar. 

AN INCH. Give or take. 

What in Sam Hill do I do with the candle? Do I pack it up with the rest of the winter straggler stuff for next year? Do I burn it even though it's February and that's really weird? Do I throw it out? Are you reading this, wondering what the heck is wrong with me because this really isn't a big deal? 

To me, to my whacked out, totally jacked up brain, I don't know what to do with it. Honestly. So I do nothing. It's just sitting there. It has stockings on the label. 

The fact that this situation which, logically, I know is so low on the importance scale that it doesn't even warrant the time to ponder these questions and yet I choose to just leave it there speaks volumes of my mental state. Now, apply this situation to pretty much every single thing that happens in my life and you have a glimpse of what I deal with. 

I'll tell you what else. I feel sad for the candle. I feel sad for whatever stuffed animal Cali has torn apart when I throw it away. Even for the box that holds my Amazon goodies. Goodbye, box. We don't need you anymore. I genuinely feel bad for throwing away a box. 

Guys. I need help. Between not knowing what to do and having feels for inanimate objects, I think I might have mental problems. To my credit, I never stop myself from throwing away a box just because I'm sad that it has served my purpose and I'm done with it. Once I make the decision (however long that takes me) to toss something out I don't unmake it. I don't hoard. I might hold on to things a shy too long but I don't have closets full of crap that I call my friends. I'm not that crazy. In fact, when we start to clean, I'm suddenly the trash it monster! I'll just throw away everything. This lamp? I don't need this stupid lamp. GET RID OF IT. This couch? Pfft. PUT IT ON THE CURB. I don't want to keep anything. I want everything gone. Give it away! These pictures from formal 2003? TOSS 'EM. I don't know where to put them and I need less of everything everywhere. 

This can't be good. I am 98% sure that others do not think or behave like I do. I also don't know how to think like normal people. I used to think it was an age thing. 

"I'm 17. Of course my room is dirty with clothes everywhere! When I'm 20 I'll have my crap together."

"I'm 20! I change outfits like 40 times a day. Once for work, once for after work, once for cozy clothes, once for actual pajamas. I don't have time to hang them back up because I have to go shopping for more clothes."

"I'm 22! And married! A lot of mail comes to your house when you own things and there are lots of bills and twice as much laundry. I'll open these envelopes when I'm 25 and never wear clean jeans again! I'm young and in love!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"I'm 26 and I still don't open the mail or listen to my voice mail or wear clean pants because I can't."

Obviously, I do. Eventually. I'll drag my feet for as long as I possibly can and then when I know that I have to put some effort into being a normal adult I do what needs to be done. I just don't understand why it takes me so long to do it. Why do I leave the candle there when it is done serving its purpose? Why don't I deep clean and then maintain so that the next deep clean doesn't make me want to hide in a dark closet for the rest of my life? 

Why do I let things go until it gets so bad that getting up out of bed in the morning is daunting? 

I don't know how to be better. I don't know how to juggle all of the responsibilities of life. So... I just fake it.

Monday, February 10, 2014

I'm Not Good at Life (Part 1)

I've always been honest on this blog. I want this to be a reflection of me, broken, imperfect, silly. I write about things I like and things that have happened to me. I write for me. I write because if I don't, I feel weird.

Today I'm writing to say that I suck at life. 

I'm just not good at it. 

I don't like dealing with things. I'd rather do anything else than deal with anything. Does that make sense? I often shame myself into accomplishing tasks that other people do without thinking. Like... Laundry. Sure, no one likes doing laundry and if they do, well. Poor them. I see laundry and I get overwhelmed. I get anxious. I'll do it tomorrow, I say to myself. 

Original Artwork Via

Tomorrow comes and I see the laundry and I know I need to do it. I can recognize this. I know I have nothing to wear to work the next day. I know I am wearing the last pair of underpants I have, you know, the ones with the holes that are the backups of the back-up backups. The ones where, if I got in a car accident and died, these would be the last pair of underwear I would want to be wearing when they take my body to the morgue. Yet? The next day I wake up, curse myself that I didn't do the laundry and either go commando or I find a pair of underwear that I've had since high school and no matter how much I yank and pull they just do. not. fit. 

I go to work and chide myself, I need to be better! Do better! Look at my coworkers. I bet they are wearing underwear. I bet they do laundry on a regular basis. I bet they didn't pick up the shirt from the pile by the bed, smell it and figure, eh. good enough. All throughout work I'm like yes! I'm going to go home and organize my life. I can't live this way! Except when I get home I eat a taco and there is a whole lot of nope-ing happening. 

Nope, I'm not doing laundry tonight. I'm tired. Nope, I'm not cleaning up my make-up area. Nope, I'm not fixing the pillows on the couch. Nope, I'm not vacuuming or dusting.  I'm just going to stay here, in the dark, and try not to move. Or do anything. 

Unless it's fun. Oh! People want to meet up for dinner? YES. My sister wants us to stop by for a game night? Count me in! Date night? Sure! Target run? Please. I'm already in the car.

This, I've concluded, is not normal. We are gone from home more nights than we are home. We do anything we can to not be at home. Why? Because our house sucks. No one has vacuumed or dusted or done laundry or fixed the pillows on the couch in ages.

I believe this is part of the reason why I even stopped writing. I can't be creative in a house where every corner has a project or a pile. I can't use my imagination to create another world when I'm busy imagining that pile of laundry isn't in the middle of the bedroom floor.

I need to change it. I want to change it. Yet I don't. I can't handle it all. I can't work for eight hours and then come home and scrub toilets. I can't work every day of the week and then spend all weekend pulling weeds. 

It's suffocating.

Today, as Bryan and I were cleaning our bedroom I told him, I feel like I could be the kind of woman that just disappears. That walks away from it all and leaves everything behind. Bryan asked me, "Wouldn't you miss Shepherd too much?" Yes. I would. I don't think I could ever do it, really, because of the damage it would do to him. 

But that doesn't stop me from imagining the freedom I would feel as I ran. And that makes me feel like maybe... just maybe, there is something truly wrong with me. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Ulta Dual Cleansing Brush and Coconut Oil FTW

A few days ago, I posted about my haul from Ulta, Target, CVS and Rite Aid. I've had a chance to really use some of the products and there are some major surprises and upsets! One thing that I was really hoping would work was the Ulta Dual Cleansing Brush. It's an affordable knock-off of the Clarsonic Facial Cleansing Brush and I had high hopes. I bought the Ulta version for $17.50. The Clarsonic version is about $125. That is a huge difference, people.

I've been having some major skin issues. I have always had combination skin. My cheeks are always dry but my nose, forehead and chin are an oily, crazy mess. However, around my nostrils, it is always dry and flaky. I don't understand that at ALL. There is enough oil on my nose to go around for everyone and yet? Flaky skin. Can anyone clue me in on this?

Anyways, after having Shepherd, I feel like my dry skin got dryer and my oily skin got oily. It bugs. I need an easy way to exfoliate my skin regularly that won't hurt my sensitive skin. Enter the Ulta face brush. I've only used it twice but the second time wowed me enough to want to share it with you.

I don't have detailed photos of the attachments to the brush, but the one on the top is a sponge instead of a brush. The box says you can use it to deepen your application of moisturizer. I took a shower last night and noticed that I had really bad dry, red patches on both cheeks in the same place, probably from wind or something. 

So I grabbed Philosophy's Take A Breath moisturizer and patted it on, grabbed my coconut oil and patted that on. The coconut oil acts as a seal for the moisturizer. I notice a huge difference when I used the moisturizer alone and when I put coconut oil on top. I grabbed the sponge attachment, wet it with warm water and used it to buff that oil into my skin.

I woke up today and washed my face of the oil and put on moisturizer before following my normal make-up routine. My skin felt glorious. Soft and smooth! Obviously, it'll take a few times of repeating these steps to really clear those red areas, but I am pleased with the results from only one usage! 

I used the brush once as well and I don't have enough data to know if in the long run it will help or hurt my skin. I'm gonna wait and see how it goes. 

Do you have a brush? If so, do you use it every night to clean your face or is it more like every few nights? Any tips you have for a newbie? 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

February: Love Yourself

February is the month to celebrate love and in honor of that I am putting all my efforts into loving myself.

I'm just so selfless in that way.

At work, I created the Love Yourself Challenge, where we are pouring into our own selves. I truly believe, way down deep in this heart of mine, that you cannot effectively love others if you do not love yourself. Boom. Truth bomb dropped right there.

More importantly, I believe that there is a healthy way to love yourself and an unhealthy way to love yourself. Healthy ways include eating right, being active, caring for your body, caring for your soul, encouraging mental health and emotional health. Unhealthy ways of loving yourself include: changing yourself so others love you, putting any effort into being what you are not, eating to feel fulfilled, drinking to feel fulfilled, engaging in sexual activity to feel loved, chasing the thrill of a new pair of shoes, a pedicure, a procedure to feel better about yourself.

I think you ought not to do any of those unhealthy activities to love yourself before you do all the healthy ways. Getting a pedicure in itself is not unhealthy. Getting a pedicure to make you feel better about your weight is unhealthy. Purchasing a new pair of shoes (hello, Jimmy Choo??) is not unhealthy. Purchasing a new pair of shoes to make you feel better about being dumped is unhealthy. Going out on a Friday, getting drunk and hooking up with a guy because you hate your job is unhealthy.

It's not the task itself that we must worry about, it is the intent or motivation behind that task that can cause trouble. It makes perfect sense right?

This month, I have roped 14 coworkers into eating clean, exercising and by proxy losing weight. We are going to love ourselves enough to eat right. To get active. To shed the weight our bodies have been carrying.

On top of that I am going to pour into myself this month. I'm going to read books that rebuild me emotionally. I'm going to wash the make-up off my face every night before bed. I'm going to do my hair more. I'm going to shave my legs more. I'm going to encourage myself to try new things. I'm going to surround myself with people that uplift me. I'm going to let others connect to me and try to connect to others more.

This month I am going to funnel good things into myself so that I can, in turn, pour that into my family and the people I am surrounded by on a daily basis. My circle of reference, if you will.

My goal is to embrace all things good, ya know, along with the crazy. ;)

I'm really excited for this month.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

January Challenge: How'd I do?

Hey there, hi there, ho there! Sorry I'm bloggin' atcha late. I did not feel well last night and I hadn't gotten around finishing another post that I'm working on for ya. I realized last night when planning that I haven't updated you on the January Challenge. I am going to say that it was a success and a failure all at the same time.

To refresh you, Bryan and I decided to stay off social media as much as possible throughout the month of January. This included Facebook, Instagram and Reddit, which are our main time-wasters. I'm going to come right out there and say that it was hard. Mostly because it's just muscle memory. I would find myself on Facebook and not even realize what I was doing! Bryan caught me more than a few times and I would be astounded that I would brainlessly just click to open any of these sites. He didn't even believe that I wouldn't even realize I was doing it, it felt so natural to me.

Within the first week, Bryan abandoned the challenge, saying that I wasn't taking it seriously (oh, I was) but I kept going. I became hyper aware of how often I wanted to get on the apps to see what people were up too. I get notifications when I'm tagged or when my sisters update, so I could follow up on them and I didn't feel bad about that at all. I also shared some of their posts to help them out if needed. My main problem was just scrolling. I would want to just scroll through everything to see what people were saying when I had no business being on the app. I feel like by the third week, my habit to pick up my phone and scroll through Instagram or Facebook was broken. Now, it's uncomfortable to me to get on either app to scroll. It's extremely overwhelming. Isn't that so weird!

It came to the point where people would forget that I didn't know what they were talking about. I would have to remind them that I wasn't on social media and sometimes they would look annoyed that they had to reiterate their update or story because I didn't know. That was seriously weird.

A good outcome of staying off of Facebook was that I talked to my oldest sister Alison multiple times on the phone in January. Two of those times I am the one that initiated contact. You may not realize what a huge deal this is but I don't like talking on the phone. At all. I rarely call my sister and when she (or really anyone) calls me I always hesitate on answering the phone because it's so much work. Obviously, I am a horrible person. However, once on the phone I so enjoy my conversations catching up (especially with Alison) that I can talk forever. What I'm saying is, I don't make any sense.

I also talked to my second oldest sister Kari on the phone multiple times which is weird since we live like two miles from her, but hey, it works.

Now, I bet you are wondering what the failure part of my challenge was? I found other ways to occupy myself on my phone. I played Wind Up Knight, which is addicting and amazing and also makes me RAAAAGE. I followed more people on YouTube. I followed the people that I follow on YouTube on Google+. I downloaded grocery apps galore. I text messaged more, I looked at shopping apps more. In all honesty, I do think I gained a lot of time staying off of Instagram and Facebook but I don't think I put that time to good use. I still think I wasted a lot of time on my phone, although probably not as much.

I would say that the best part of limiting my phone use was that I am writing more. I've been working on my book. I've been keeping up with posts on my blog. I have started getting healthy and being active again. I spend more time playing with Shepherd and teaching him how to walk and to find his nose. I do not want him to remember me with a screen in my face and I also don't want him to be a kid that is obsessed with phones, tablets or TV.

That said, I'm going to say I passed the January Challenge. Any time saved from being on social media less is a big fat WIN!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Haul! Target, Ulta, CVS & Walgreens

One of the weird things to come out of my pseudo delivery to Shepherd is an obsession with make up. Where it came from I don't know, but I have a strong inkling that YouTube is to blame. I love watching make up tutorials on YouTube. Being home the first few months with Shepherd meant that I had some time on my hands and somehow I got turned on to YouTube make up tutorials.

Around that same time I discovered Hautelook and the ability to get my hands on name-brand make up at discounted prices. It's nice for the girl who doesn't want to spend a ton of money on beauty products that she isn't sure she would actually like. (Also, that is my link and if you sign up [which you SHOULD] I get like $10 credit on the site. Or you can click here and sign up normally!)

So anyways, I've always like drugstore make up but never really went into higher end stuff. Enter Hautelook, enter YouTube, enter the Ulta that just moved into town.

With Christmas, I received some gift cards and funds to do a little shopping. Here is what I got!

I had a 20% off coupon so from Ulta I got the Lorac Pro palette, with a sample of Lorac's POREfection face primer and Behind the Scenes eye primer. I've used the palette once and the eye primer which actually worked on me! I haven't used the face primer but so far I've been impressed with Lorac's line. The palette comes with eight matte colors and eight shimmer colors, it's super slim and has a lot of colors! I dig it.

I have heard really good things about these kinds of brushes and unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard for the over $100 Clarsonic face (and body) brush. There is no way that I would pay that kind of money for a face brush and then I started hearing that people with sensitive skin might have some complications with the brush! When I saw that the Ulta verison was on sale for $17.50 I figured, why not? I haven't used it yet but it had great reviews! It also came with the free make up wipes. My Ulta order came with three samples, two foil packets of hand cream and a sample of tea tree oil. I hate foil packets but I love a good hand cream. ;)

Finally, a few weeks ago I got the tarte foundation in Light-Medium sand, so this time around I purchased the tarte concealer in Light-Medium and with that came a free matte face primer from Ulta. Score!

From Target, CVS and Walgreens I got the following loot: CoverGirl's Bombshell mascara in brown and very black, Rimmel's Stay Matte primer and foundation in Soft Beige, Maybelline's Baby Skin primer, L'Oreal lipgloss in Berry Persistant (which smells sweet and weird and is horrible) Revlon's Skin Illuminator in Bare Light (love mixing this with my foundation for a nice natural glow), Jordana's Fabuliner in Brown, and L'Oreal Lacquer liner in Bronze.

From Target I got pixi Brightening Peach correction concealer when I apply after primer, before my normal concealer to erase the bags under my eyes. I apply it with my newly aquired Sonia Kashuk no. 205 brush.

I do like the mascara's and I am glad that I have both brown and black, although it's only because I bought brown on accident. There is some fallout but it doesn't mark the skin and is usually just at the end of the day. It brushes off easily. Not sure I like the pixi color correcting concealer because it is really think formula and it settles into fine lines. I haven't found a way to avoid that, but I do LOVE how it hides my under eye discoloration. Everything else I'm still trying out. I can say that I love the Maybelline Baby Skin more than the Stay Matte face primer so far. 

The L'Oreal liner in bronze is a really good base for a smokey eye. I apply it with the brush that it comes with (not pictured, but it is reminiscent of a lip brush) and smudge with my finger. I apply a bronze eye shadow to set it and it looks very cool. The L'Oreal lipgloss is awful. The formula is sticky and the color doesn't apply evenly.

That is my haul! I love trying new items and I definitely love catching sales. I used a bunch of coupons (look for those before you go shopping!) and used some rewards on my drugstore cards. I don't have a total for ya but it was a steal! 

Have you purchased any beauty products that have changed your life lately?