Monday, September 28, 2015

It's Time for Change

I'm not sure if you've noticed my absence last week, but I've been in a writing slump. I've been thinking a lot about the future of my blog and the direction I want to go in, plus what kind of schedule I want to keep.

I am not ready to stop writing - I don't think I ever will be, but I need this blog to become a better reflection of who I am. Right now, I'm noticing things about myself, my relationships and my life that I've haven't seen before. I guess growing up does that to you.

I've written two of my favorite posts (here and here) while in this phase but it wasn't without a lot of hours experiencing a weird sort of writers block. My blog has always been a way for me to process my thoughts and that hasn't changed - it's just increasingly hard to put what is happening in my soul into words.

So basically, it rolls down to this:

- I'm going to release myself from having any type of posting schedule. I'm not going to shoot for the Monday/Wednesday/Friday time frame. I'm going to write authentically and at will.

- I'm going to re-design the blog. I've had this same layout for a long time. I'm bored with it and I want something fresh. There may be days when the blog is down, although I hope to limit that.

- I'm going to go back to the drawing board on what I share here and how I share it. I feel like things are a bit all over the place, and I need to decide if that's how I want it to be or if I want to maybe simplify the content.

- I have some ideas for the Embrace the Crazy Facebook page, so I'm going to try to be more active there. Make sure you go like my page so you stay in the loop! I'll also post updates about where I am with this transition.

If you've been a long time reader, thank you. If you are new, welcome. I'm in a big transition phase with my family growing and big changes in my career coming up. I've been grappling with this creative block for weeks now and I realized just today that my blog needs to go through the same re-structuring as my life and my heart. It's fitting.

Thank you for sticking with me!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Hobbies and Me

I've had many hobbies over my short life.

I've been a writer, an avid reader, an amateur scrapbooker, a wannabe photographer, a blogger, a jewelry maker, a DIYer, a crafter, a makeup-er, YouTube dabbler and now, I've gotten into decorating my planner. These are only the ones I remember.

There has been a lot of self reflection in the past week and I've realized some of my 'ways'. This new hobby of mine has made me recognize a pattern that I'm not sure I like. I suppose it depends on how you look at it. 

A positive way to view my hobbies is that I'm interested in trying new things. That's awesome. 

A negative way to look at my hobbies is that I start a whole lot of them and quickly lose steam in pursuing them. 

Starting this new hobby has been really good for me. It's been a few weeks now and I still enjoy the process of building my week, adding pretty accents, keeping track of important things. I've never been good at being an adult and I feel like this task helps to keep me focused on things I would normally be scatterbrained about. Although, now that I've come head to head with my penchant of starting hobbies, spending money to support them only to fizzle out, well, who knows how long it'll last. 

As I was thinking of all of this, I started thinking of Bryan and his role in my hobbies. He's always been supportive of my writing. He built an entire library for my books and I can't even tell you how much money or time we spent going yard sale to thrift store to book store to pick up more books for me to consume. He was less supportive of the whole scrapbooking thing. When I was into being a photographer, Bryan and his dad bought me a camera, a photo printer, a ton of photo paper, various photographer supplies like a tripod and editing software. He has never tried to sensor my writing on this blog. He'll edit posts even when they may hurt him and he reads every post, even if he catches up a few at a time. I spent gobs of money on jewelry making and he rarely said a word. He bought me a light box and light kit so I could take proper photos of the items. He was not supportive of the DIYer thing, maybe because I'm not good at it in the least. But, when I had projects for him to do, he reluctantly did them... when he wanted to. He watched me etch glass and try to make wreaths and ornaments and all sorts of various projects that usually turned out horrible. 

He waited a really long time to call me out on my makeup spending. I definitely went overboard, trying to build up a makeup collection, and he was supportive. He was supportive (and still is) about Lauriana Cosmetics and I haven't lost my fire for that at all. I'm still in love with makeup and making other women feel beautiful. But when I jumped in to the business, I jumped all in. I spent a lot of money that I shouldn't have spent. He could have called me out at any time, but he didn't. He let me dive in head first. 

When he finally mentioned casually that perhaps I should curb my spending, I knew I had gone too far. With my new hobby, he's not as supportive. This one he doesn't "get". Which I understand and I'm not offended by. I put pretty stickers in a planner and track our bills and gigs and milestones. But I've been on top of everything and I think over time he'll see that it's helping me stay on track. I like that I'm putting in a little effort to make it pretty because I hope to be able to look back at my planners and see a slice of our life that week. As I began to get interested in creating content for YouTube, he helped me set up the light kit I bought and encouraged me to film. 

I think my desire to start and stop new things says a lot about me... but I think it says a lot about Bryan too. I've sunken a lot into hobbies, emotionally and financially, I suppose to try to find my thing. A few of them have stuck but as you can see, not many of them. 

Having this self revelation and tying it back to Bryan's reaction, or lack of reaction, made me feel extremely guilty. But it also made me fall a little more in love with the man I give such a hard time about everything, because he has had every reason to discourage my efforts, but instead he provided the freedom to find my "thing". Whatever it is that allows me to express myself. I felt a new level of appreciation for my guy. 

There really isn't a happy ending to this post, but I think it was an important milestone for me. I think coming to terms with the fact that I'm obviously searching for something I have yet to find is telling. I also have been more aware about my actions and I've curbed my spending in many areas. I've come face to face with not only some strengths, but some real weaknesses of mine. And I gained a new level of love and appreciation for my partner. There has been a lot of growth for me in the past year and a half. New perspectives and some soul searching. A lot of it has been great... a lot of it has been a bit...uncomfortable to confront. But in the end it's all been good. 

...Oh, I just remembered that I bought a sewing machine too. I've never used it. I'm sure I will some day.

[Sneaky message from spelling/grammar editor: I love you crazy hobby girl. Never stop exploring.]

Monday, September 14, 2015

September 2015 Ipsy Bag (& Value!)

I received my Ipsy bag late last week and finally had a chance to take pictures of the contents. They uh, didn't come out great but hey, it's what I got.

If you are still deciding whether or not you should sign up for the monthly subscription service that Ipsy provides, I can't recommend it enough. They have good products for a great price! 

This month the bag was incredibly cute. I don't typically like the style of zipper on this bag, but because its longer than the ones I've had before, I actually liked it! The color is a really pretty shimmery gold, but its extremely tasteful. Shepherd was obsessed with it and kept carrying it around calling it a satchel!

My bag had five products in it. A lotion, a concealer brush, mini nail polish, an eyeshadow palette and a nude lipstick! 

Price: $16 (set of 4, each 3mL)
Value: $5.33
Review: I haven't been able to use this yet. I'm not in a nail painting kind of mood at the moment, but I do have spurts where my nails are always painted. I think this is such a gorgeous red and I'm really excited to try it! I've seen this brand in Sephora and heard relatively good things. Great color for fall, so yay!

Product: NYX Trio (Specific for Ipsy)
Price: $6
Value: $6
Review: I've had Nyx eyeshadows before and they are hit and miss. This shadow has some really pretty colors. The lightest color on the very left is extremely light. It doesn't swatch well. I'm thinking that would be best used as an inner corner highlight and on the brow bone. The bronze shade is gorgeous for all over the lid, but while the picture shows the darkest color as a rich brown, it's actually quite dark and swatches almost black. You would definitely need to supplement this palette with a mid tone matte brown, if you wanted to do a smokey eye. The two lighter colors are shimmery and the dark brown is a satin/matte. I appreciate having the matte color to help blend things out. I can't wait to try this on my eyes! I haven't been wearing eyeshadow all that frequently because something is causing me to have itchy eyelids. I know. Totally random. I'm still trying to narrow down what is the cause, so I've been trying not to integrate anything new into my routine!

Price: $18 (Full size 12.685fl. oz)
Value: $1.77 (Sample Size 1.25fl. oz)
Review: I'm sorry to say that I haven't smelled this, not because I haven't wanted too but because I can't smell at the moment. I'm sick. However, the consistency is thin, it spreads easily and does not feel greasy. It sinks in very easily. It's not a thick hand cream but I think it would be a good every day lotion. We'll see how it works over time. Until then, I'm going to chuck this in my purse. My hands have been drier than usual because I go to the restroom so frequently, thus, lots of hand washing. The branding/packaging of this company is ridiculous. Whomever they have doing the job they need to keep them on! 

Price: $2.98
Value: $2.98
Review: Crown Brush really has some solid brushes. This one is really soft but really small. I can't see really using it for concealer, because it's too small to utilize under the eyes (that would take forever) and too large for spot concealing. I think this would make a great cream eyeshadow brush! It's small enough for the eyelid, thick enough to pack on the cream shadow and large enough to set a good base. I haven't been disappointed with a brush from this line yet!

Product: tre'StiQue - Mini Matte Lip Crayon in Nantucket Nude
Price: $28.00
Value: $14.00
Review: To be fair, I couldn't find how much product the full size contains, but it has both a lip crayon and a balm, so I decided to put half of the price as the value. That may be an overstatement on my part. Now, to the review, this is a very peachy-pink nude. The website says that it is lightweight and smooth, which I agree with. It wipes way pretty quickly, so re-application is frequent. It's a nice color, I think not super suitable on yellow/olive tones. It looks a bit funny on me.

The entire value of the bag comes to $30.08. If my memory serves, this is one of the lowest value bags I've had...ever. But it still is $19.33 higher than what I paid! I may have been generous with the lip crayon, but as long as the bags come in well over $10.75, it's a win for me!

Have you signed up for the Ipsy bag yet?!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Are you Killing their Spirit?

Most days I feel like I don't know much. I am definitely in a survival phase, coping with the busyness of life, work, home, family. Many different schedules working and flowing together (and apart) in a constant manner. It's like the hamster wheel, always rushing, always going, never feeling ahead. 

Obviously, that's not the case. Time marches forward. The marriage relationship changes and deepens. The child becomes more articulate and aware. While we are distracted with the comings and goings of everyday life, we grow wiser. Experience molds us and calibrates decisions. There is a work going on in us as we go about our individual norms. 

As Bryan and I wade into the waters of parenting - not just the keeping him alive, providing healthy foods, changing diapers and monitoring amounts of sleep - but the actual refining of Shepherd's character, walking him through tough situations, teaching him and pouring into him, I get weary. At every turn, we are correcting. Sometimes it feels we are correcting all day. 

Objectively, I know that we are addressing behavioral issues that must be reigned in, not squashed. But when, over the course of one day, I'm correcting him over and over, I wonder if it makes him feel more agitated. As though he can't do anything right.

Then the other night, as I lay in bed alone and as Bryan sat in the living room and watched TV, I thought about how it used to be a big deal to me to go to sleep with Bryan. I enjoyed ending the day together. Cuddling. It felt safe and secure. Bryan hated this. He's a night-owl by nature and he doesn't like to go to bed "early." "Early" for him is 10:30/11, which is late for me. I'd stay up as late as I could and still function the next day, just so we'd go to bed together, but that made me a nasty person the next day.

With him working nights and wanting to enjoy the nights he has off (which are my work nights), we don't go to bed together much anymore. And when we do, we are on our phones. Him on Reddit and me checking social media and my alarm clocks for the next morning. I go to bed alone more often than I go to sleep with him and it always feels so lonely. I've become accustomed to it, because he doesn't like to go to bed at the same time I do, but my feelings towards it hasn't changed. They've just re-calibrated to suit him. 

As I lay there thinking about Shepherd and how it seemed like he couldn't do anything without some degree of correction, and about myself, letting go of something that was once important to me, I wondered am I correcting Shepherd or am I breaking him? Is the arrangement Bryan and I wordlessly slipped into productive for both of us? Or did my resolve for intimacy just wear down over time in order for me not to break his night-loving spirit? 

I then thought about Bryan. What had I done, intentionally or not, to break his spirit? Over the course of our relationship, I always encouraged his music career even though it was in my best interest not to. I've actually laid down a lot of my own dreams for Bryan to pursue his. Then, a small gesture, his hair. I've never been a fan of guys with long hair. It irks me. Yet, Bryan's hair is almost as long, actually, maybe even longer, than my hair. 

As I further reviewed our history, our relationship has had difficult times and there was a season where I was less trusting of Bryan and his ability to make good decisions among his close friends and family members. Time and again I would have reservations, he'd go anyways and my fears would come to pass. I became less than willing to support these events, with good reason, but did I unknowingly, in my attempt to keep Bryan from being an idiot (and keep me from having to leave a relationship when I was so desperately in love), destroy relationships with people he cares about? It seemed a wash. Definitely a selfish component, but also an intense desire for Bryan to make good decisions. 

This made me think... in relationships, do we allow the ones we love to freely be themselves without trying to correct, reduce or adjust them? Do we do so unknowingly? Over the course of the next few days, I started to notice things people would say. I tried to hone in. At what point are you encouraging and helping the people you love to be better and at what point are you breaking what makes them unique and special? 

This doesn't have to just be in romantic relationships. Do we limit our ability to connect with others because we force them to hide the parts of themselves that we don't appreciate? I've been excited about starting a few new bible studies, but I haven't posted about them because I know I have a few friends that wouldn't appreciate my excitement. A friend recently revealed that they were involved in something that I have always been more conservative about. And for a while was flat out against. I found, through slips here and there, that it was happening and I could also feel the surprise at my lack of reaction over it. There has now been more open dialogue about it. I'm not exactly jumping for joy over the situation, but I accept that is where they are in their life at the moment and it's not my duty to change it. It's my duty to love them unconditionally and smack them if it becomes a problem, which is allowed in close relationships, I think. We all need people to smack us around.

However, I have been more aware of ways that I could overstep, especially in parenting. I've started to pay more attention to Shepherd as a whole - not just what he was doing in the moment. I've pulled back on correcting every decision Shepherd makes. In my quest to have a well behaved and kind hearted boy, I refuse to dull his light. He's a little boy. He needs to jump around, climb on the couches, fight imaginary monsters. But he needs to know not to jump in the shower, not to climb in the kitchen, not to hit his cousins or friends. My job is to teach him the difference, not to keep him from being a little boy. 

I'm also still searching for how I may have changed Bryan from the boy I fell in love with, the boy who loved Jesus and exploring off limit areas, to who he is now. There are natural changes that happen when two kids fall in love, but trying to identify what is natural in a relationship and what is overbearing is not only interesting to me, but something I want to rectify if possible. 

All that to say, as I move forward in old and new relationships, I want to be sure that I am not breaking what drew me to the person in the first place. I want to lift up and encourage the light in others - not dim it. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

It Happened at the Mall

We had a meltdown of epic proportions last Saturday. It all started innocently enough. Breakfast with my sister and her kiddos then a quick stop at the mall. My friend Colleen had a little sprinkle for her new baby girl that next weekend and I needed to pick up a few extra items for her gift. 

I told Shepherd to hang in there during the shopping and we'd get to go see the animals. He did, so we did. He was fine looking at all the animals, then we left. He asked if he could ride one of those infernal rides in the mall. I hate those things.

I told him that we could try to find three quarters and if we succeeded, he could ride it. He had been so good, so I thought I'd throw him a bone. We found the quarters and I told him when it was all done, we were all done. I made sure he understood. He repeated back to me that we would only do one ride. 

We 'drove' the food truck and he pretended to sell me hot dogs. When it was done, he hopped right down and there was no issue. 

But then, right around the time we got to Vitamin World, he lost control. He started crying and screaming that he didn't want to leave the mall. 

"I don't want to go home! I want to stay at the mall!"

My hands were full and so I told him when he was done, to come sit by me on the bench. Yes. I left him there. I'm almost six months pregnant, my hands were full and when Shepherd gets into fits, he kicks. So I waited and talked to him soothingly from the bench.

He just got worse. So finally I scooped him up. He kicked and screamed the entire way through the mall. He was completely out of control and I was filling with rage. We got to the parking lot (somehow) and he kicked me in the belly, almost fell out of my arms, tried to run into the street when I set him down to open the door, socked me in the face and then screamed the entire way home.

When I got home, I took him straight to his room and started singing "This little light of mine." Over and over. He started to calm down, so I switched to a different song. He started to resemble my little boy and not a monster anymore.

I told him he needed to stay in his room for a while and read books so that mommy could calm down. I walked into the living room and immediately started to ugly cry. I was so angry and worked up that there was nothing else I could do. If I could have ran a mile, or lift weights or even had a punching bag to utilize, I would've. But I had nothing but this intense anger and frustration that could only be channeled by crying. We had another rough hour, but Shepherd kept himself in the room (with the door open) and we both calmed down. He apologized. I explained to him why were wen't going back to the mall. Probably EVER.

These moments are hard. Parenting a two year old is tough. This was our first major public breakdown. There are times when I don't recognize my kid. He is defiant and disrespectful and we have to be on him all the time. Any kind of correction and he freaks out.

But then I remember that this is a phase. He is learning and growing and testing limits. I am learning and growing and creating boundaries. It is tough, but I know that he is a boy filled with love, joy, courage. A boy with a tender heart and a steel resolve. 

He is precious and we will walk through this together. Sometimes in tears, sometimes in separate rooms. That is real life.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

August Ulta Haul!

I've been wanting to pick up the new Urban Decay Naked Smoky palette and have been saving an Ulta gift card for months until its release! The purchase got put on the back-burner with some other things we had going on, so about two weeks ago I finally pulled the trigger and my pretties arrived! had two great promotions going on so I decided to take advantage of it! With any $25 online purchase, you got a 9-piece beauty bag and with any $19.50 Ulta Cosmetics purchase, you got a 15-piece gift featuring Ulta Cosmetics. 

I have used some store-brand cosmetics from Ulta before and they are admittedly hit or miss. But I have just watched Tati (from Youtube) talk about how she loved the Ulta Shiny Sheer lipglosses, so I picked up two. I decided to choose a pink glitter top coat (it reads champagne in the pictures but its on the pink side for sure). So this was my haul and it totaled with gift card and discounts $57.78. Pretty good when you consider that the Naked Smoky palette itself is $54!

I love the range of colors in the palette and I'm excited to get to know it. I'll have a review on my Lauriana Cosmetics blog soon! (Yes, Lauriana Cosmetics is still in full effect and will have regular blog posts coming soon! Stay tuned!)

I chose the Amethyst beauty bag and seriously, the only thing this bag is missing is foundation! You'd be able to do a full face with it and then some! I received four small eyeshadow palettes and one blush/highlighter duo. These are really great to keep as stocking stuffers, beef up birthday/Christmas gifts or makeup nights with your nieces!  

The 15-piece bag also included Mineral Lip Gloss, a full size lipstick and a mini-size nail polish in berry colors - perfect for fall! There was also a full size mascara, brow tint, a dual ended eyeliner with black and brown and three travel size makeup brushes! The blush brush and the eyeshadow brush were so soft! I'm excited to give them a try. 


The 9-piece beauty bag came with four small samples of Urban Decay lipstick (that Shepherd tore apart - sorry!) I only have the little pans to show you.  A sample of Jergens Natural Glow gradual tan lotion, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal (I'm so excited for this sample!), a perfume sample by Michael Kors and a serum from Philosophy called no reason to hide. 

Also included was the cutest bottle EVER of Dolce & Gabbana perfume (look at that flower cap! Adorable), Brazilian Bomb Shell lotion, Mario Badescu Hyluronic Eye Cream, and Ahava Purifying Mud Mask which I'm really excited to try! This baby I'm growing is definitely jacking with my skin so I've been really into masks right now!

And like I mentioned, the Urban Decay lipstick samples. I received their lip gloss samples (I think) in an Ipsy bag and I didn't like them. Hoping I like these better! The samples were Matte Stark Naked, Sheer Liar, Bang and Venom. If you've never gotten samples like this before, a lip brush is your best friend. You can also use a bobby pin to close the sample so it doesn't dry out before you use it again!

All in all, I definitely think it was a good deal. I've already started Christmas shopping (I know I'm crazy) so some of these will be added with those gifts and some I'll try out for my beauty blog. Have you tried or bought any of these products? What do you think of them?

Do tell!