Happy (Little) Gratitudes

I feel compelled to write one of these.   It goes without saying that I’m grateful for family, friends, etc.  But these are just the little things that are making my heart happy, these last few days.

Google Docs.   How did I never know this gloriousness before?  Special thanks to my friend Lyndsey who introduced me to it.  I have all of the drafts of the Fallen Beyond Salvation series up there, along with the rough drafts of my thesis chapters and my Christmas shopping list.  Seriously, being able to a) access from any computer and b) not worry about my own computer crashing?  Gold.  Pure gold.

Homemade sugar scrub.  I did this last night and my skin feels bangin’.  Going to make sugar scrubs for friends this holiday season, I think.

Teavana’s White Chocolate Peppermint Rooibos Tea.  YES.  You can pick up this liquid herbal joy here.  Jess and I bought a tin of it the other day, splitting the cost (at $40, it ain’t cheap), and that’s going to keep us from spending our money at Starbucks when we get together at her place, at least for a while.

Lancome Energie De Vie.  I got this as a 100 point sample from Sephora and I LOVE it.  It makes my skin feel incredibly soft and smells very familiar, I’m wondering if my grandmother used it when I was little, because its scent instantly transported me back to being a little girl spending the night at her house.  Of course, the full size retails for $55, so I won’t be getting THAT, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.  Much like the holiday season.

This week at work.  I have only a day and a half before I’m off for a wonderful four and a half day weekend.  I can’t wait.

Good friends.  ‘Nuff said.

Prednisone.  Lucky me has a lung infection…but at least I have steroids to clear it up.  And at least it’s not pneumonia.

90.5 completed pages of my thesis.  One chapter and 30 more pages to do between now and December 20th.  I CAN DO IT.  And then I get a month off.  Thank God.


Little Victories, Week Four

For 2013, I’m going to have a Friday post every single week, for positive victories in my life.  They may not be big things, but they will be things that I am proud of, things I did in the past seven days.  I’m hoping this will keep me focused on the positive, all the good things that are going on in my life.

Week Four:

– Had my first meeting with my thesis instructor and got the all-clear to start research on my capstone paper.  First assignment is an 817-page history book that I affectionately refer to as The Behemoth.  I am on page 85.

– Went out for dinner with Samantha and Aly and dished about boys, marriage, and the future…certainly felt more optimistic and happier about being single again after that talk, and we made plans to meet up for drinks this upcoming week!

– Ran into Marissa from Sephora again, who (sadly) told me that she was laid off after the holiday season.  But we have each other’s email addresses and we’re friending each other on FB.  She’s going to try to work for MAC, or another cosmetics department, so I hope I’ll see her again soon at the mall.

– Found the L’Occitane Rose 4 Reines hand cream that I described in this entry, and realized after applying it that this is the personal scent I’ve been looking for for years, it just screams me and makes me feel so girly and pretty and at peace.  I’ve been scent-less since I gave up wearing the B&BW Black Currant Vanilla that I wore on my wedding day (my olfactory senses are very tied to my memories), so finding something new to wear that just makes me KNOW it’s me was a nice little perk to buying a hand cream for my chapped skin.

– Made it through the horrific cold this week with pipes (thankfully) still intact, due to the efforts of my father (my landlord) yesterday.  With any luck, the cold is going to break today and everything will be all right *fingers crossed*.

– Seriously — SERIOUSLY — contemplated signing up for a study-abroad course in June.  I need to go over my finances and see if I can swing it, but for now, it’s a beautiful, glittery dream that’s keeping me going.

Items put in my 2013 jar: 2.

TGIF!  Have a great weekend!

Little Victories, Week Two

For 2013, I’m going to have a Friday post every single week, for positive victories in my life.  They may not be big things, but they will be things that I am proud of, things I did in the past seven days.  I’m hoping this will keep me focused on the positive, all the good things that are going on in my life. 

Week Two:

– Had a good counseling session with David and DS on Monday, followed by a really good dinner out at 99.  I ordered the barbecue chicken wrap, no tomatoes.  And tried not to watch SportsCenter behind David’s head.  (Unbelievable.  Ten years ago, I was the person getting pissed at my boyfriends for doing the exact same thing.  Look at my life.  Look at my choices.)

Went to Sephora at my local mall on Tuesday afternoon, made a new friend and scored $120 worth of makeup for only $45, thanks to gift cards!

– Good session with Crazy Bruce on Wednesday afternoon, not exactly productive, but he did what he does best and helped me put things into perspective, which sometimes is my biggest challenge.

Started a new knit hat.

– Got about 1/4 of the way through World Without End, the sequel to one of my favorite books, The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.  It’s pretty good, but it’s not sucking me in like Pillars did, and I’m not feeling the same love for the characters that I did with Pillars.  Most of the characters are pretty flawed creatures, which is one of the reasons why I love Follett; he doesn’t write cardboard-cutout, flat characters.  Reminds me a lot of G.R.R. Martin.  But that’s a story for another day.

– My mom actually acknowledged my anxiety disorder for the first time since I was diagnosed in 2006, and told me that she thinks I’m doing a good job of dealing with it (i.e. going to therapy and taking medication).  I’m taking that as a victory, no matter how small or how long it took her to get to that point.

Well.  In a week where I felt very convoluted, went to a wake, cried a lot, and felt fragile, there was an awful lot of good!

Items added to my 2013 jar: 2

Not too shabby!  Here’s to a good Week 3!

A Beautiful Encounter (and a Sephora Haul)

I had a very convoluted, difficult mental day yesterday, and decided to escape to the mall for some retail therapy after work.  Plus I had $75 in Sephora gift cards that I wanted to use, haha.  I figured I’d go to Sephora first, and then mosey my way around the rest of the mall.

I didn’t make it past Sephora.  Well, I did, but only back through Macy’s before leaving.  Because I ended up spending an hour and a half in Sephora.  And I made a new friend.

It took me about twenty minutes of wandering through Sephora, lost, before a girl approached me.  She had dark hair in a braid, and she had the most intense liquid eyeliner on her eyes, and black lipstick.  She said her name was Marissa, and did I want any help?

I confessed that I was just getting into makeup, and that I wasn’t sure what I was looking for.  She took me by the hand, gave me a crash course in each line (from Stila to Yves Saint Laurent to Smashbox to NARS) and explained what each line had, what “looks” they best promoted, and asked if I wanted a tutorial.  I did.  (I’ve always wanted one, but I’ve never had the money to actually do one.  Sephora doesn’t require you to actually spend money if they give you a makeup tutorial, but spending less than $50 on product after someone has given you a makeover is frowned upon in the establishment, or so I’ve heard from friends).

We spent an hour working on my face, and in that hour I got so much more than a makeup tutorial.  Marissa was only 19 (ten years younger than me, gah!) but she chatted with me like an old friend.  She was very sweet, we talked about each other’s lives, and when she was applying highlighter to my cheekbones, she noticed my facial lacerations from the car accident I was in back in 2005.

“These are awesome,” she said, “I love scars.  If I had yours I’d feel so beautiful.”

What a way to look at it.  I’ve always hated my scars, always hated people touching my face, always so self-conscious.  She didn’t make me feel self-conscious, she made me feel beautiful.

I left at the end of our session with $120 worth of makeup that I got for $45 (those gift cards really came in handy), a new friend (we emailed each other last night) and a sense of wonderful serenity.  It was the best thing that could have happened to me yesterday.

A lot of times people say to each other, “You’re beautiful, you don’t need makeup,” and this is a great thing to say to someone.  But I started wearing makeup back in September because I wanted to feel better, and when people told me that I looked beautiful, I felt beautiful, and I began to feel better.  Makeup doesn’t make a person beautiful.  But sometimes it can help you look your absolute best, even when you feel down.  And sometimes it brings two people together who ordinarily would never have met.


My haul:

Sephora Classic Angled Brush #40

Buxom Lash Waterproof Mascara

Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights in “Baked Stardust”

Too Faced Romantic Eye Classic Beauty Shadow Collection

I also have a list of other products she used on my face to buy at a later date (a BB cream, liquid eyeliner, and YSL lipstick that was so gorgeous but so expensive).  And I left with a bunch of tips that make me feel more confident (i.e., my skin is a cool, rather than a warm, shade; I should wear nudes and berries for lipstick, not pinks or reds; highlighter is better for me than blusher; etc.)

It was a great day.  If you’re ever in Farmington, Connecticut, and go to the Sephora in the Westfarms Mall, ask for Marissa.  She is the best.

Fresh Starts

It really blows my mind that I am a week away from starting school again.  When did that happen?

This was a weekend of ups and downs.  I made my 2013 jar and already put my first slip of paper into it:

The good news is I had “second Christmas” this weekend, and got a lot of stuff that I wanted.  Including gift cards to Amazon, Sephora, and WEBS (yarn store in Northampton, MA).  I have no idea what I’m going to get.  What would you buywith $75 worth of Sephora gift cards?

The bad news is that there was some major family drama involving D and me that really got bad last night, and incredibly awkward, and I don’t think either of us is really over it (though we have counseling today with DS, which is good).  And the other bad news is that my Great-Aunt Jean died, suddenly, on Saturday.  I found out from reading the paper this morning.  Nobody in my family has told me yet, and it’s been forty-eight hours.  I wouldn’t be as upset if this wasn’t like the third time that this has happened.  Back in July, my great-great uncle died and I didn’t find out the date of the funeral until about two hours before it started.

I’m excited about the football playoffs, though this weekend was the only time I wasn’t going to have my heart in my throat.  I hate that the Texans won, but it was unlikely that the Bengals would win (I would have preferred to see the Bengals play the Patriots next weekend).  And I was thrilled to see Green Bay make it past the Vikings.  Green Bay is my NFC team.  I’m going to be sick all next weekend when the Patriots play the Texans.  I don’t care what anyone says, I know we trounced ’em a few weeks ago, but this is an entirely different game, this is they playoffs and I take nothing for granted.

I am hoping this is going to be a good week.  Last one before Spring Semester starts.  Hard to believe that it’s already been a year since I went back to graduate school.  Making it count 🙂

Another One Bites The Dust

One paper down, one to go!

(Granted, this one is bigger, and more important, but it’s already finished except for the revisions, which I NEED TO WORK ON)

I don’t have that much to write about, so we’ll do bullets.

– Adult cooking.  I discovered potato gnocchi and holy hell, my life will never be the same.  DELICIOUS.  I boiled them for 2 minutes, then tossed them in melted butter and roasted garlic, sprinkled them with Parmesan cheese, and had grilled chicken with Montreal seasonings on the side.  OH MA GA.  New favorite meal ever!  I seriously can’t get enough, and I’m going to gain like 10 lbs.

This is my REALLY PROFESSIONAL picture (i.e. taken with my Samsung Stratosphere) of my dinner from two nights ago.


Could seriously eat it any day of the week.

– School is so close to being done!  At some point I have to do the aforementioned edits, but I am getting so close!  There is a bottle of moscato in my fridge AS I TYPE THIS, waiting for December 18th and the end of the semester.

– Snow.  Look, white crap.  We’re scheduled for an unwelcome visit from you and I DAGF how many New Englanders sing “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”, as far as I am concerned YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE at least until December 23rd.  This Christmas is going to be difficult enough.  Snow before or on December 22nd means that my grandparents will more than likely cancel their flight and won’t be in on Christmas, and…yeah.  I just can’t do that.  Please.  This year has been sucktastic enough.  The promise of the entire family being here for Christmas was the thing that was keeping my Christmas spirit going.  Please please please please don’t come next weekend.  Please.

The 10 day forecast says that we only have a 10% chance of snow on the 22nd.  Please stay that way.  (I feel like I can’t stress this enough)

Shopping.  I am ALMOST done!  A couple of friend presents and putting together the finishing touches on my last family presents, and then I’m set!  Pretty happy with what I put together this year.

I also got my package from Sephora yesterday!  Because of the Beauty Insider $15 off a $50 purchase, I was able to justify picking up Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector (I got a sample in my It Kit a month ago and after squeezing the last little bit out of it, realized that I can’t live without it) and the Sephora Collection Smoothing Translucent Setting Powder.

My only complaint about this is the packaging, not the product.  This is TINY.  You’d think I wouldn’t be such a moron about reading the amount in the packaging, but I am.  For almost $40, this should be a much bigger product.  The good thing is that a SAMPLE of it lasted me a month, so this should last me quite a bit longer.  It’s amazing the difference.  I don’t usually get massive dark circles but a lack of sleep (and let’s be honest, crying in the last few weeks) has wreaked havoc on my eyes, leaving them dark and puffy.  A tiny little dab of this stuff (applied with the ice-cold metal applicator) de-puffs and lightens my undereye circles.  It’s brilliant. (Rating: 8/10, mainly because of the package)

The powder was a gamble because I’ve been having issues matching face powders to my incredibly pale skin (increasing since my already-less-than-impressive “summer tan” has faded).  I decided to take a chance on the translucent powder because it was supposed to just matte-ify my face, not put color into it, and figured I’d compensate with blush.  Well, this is a winner!  It matte-ifies my face, seals my makeup, and doesn’t make me look like I’m wearing a mask.  Bonus: the container is BRILLIANT.  When you pop the lid open, it allows just a small amount of powder free into the top level for brushing.  If you need a little more, close the container, turn it upside down and then back up, and re-open, to replenish the powder.  Love it!  (Rating: 10/10!)

– Knitting.  I have two projects that DEFINITELY need to be finished, one for this weekend, and two for next Friday.  I have one more that I MIGHT do for actual Christmas, but we’ll see, since it’s not a big deal if it isn’t done, I have other gifts for the recipient.  We’ll see!  I’m going to Knit Night tonight and hopefully I’ll bang out the last few rows of the one I’m working on for Saturday!

And I think that’s all the news that’s fit to print.  We’ll see how the weekend pans out!

Friday Bullets

It’s a Friday, and I don’t really have enough going on to do a really sequential, in-depth entry, but I have the itch to write, so you get bullets.

  • Twenty-four hours from now, I will be the somewhat-proud, completely-nervous renter of my first solo apartment since that month I lived alone when I was 24 years old.  I went over there last night and began preliminary organization/assessment of space and what I need.  I also went to Target and bought a whole bunch of boring necessary things (like wastebaskets and a dish drying mat.  No matter what my mother says, I do not need a $17 toilet paper roll holder.  Ridiculous.  Those things can sit in the tiny cabinet in the bathroom.  Or on the back of the toilet for all I care.  (Yet I can totally justify a $12 cosmetics organizer.  Priorities, people!)
  • The douchebag who moved in above us has finally cured my last little bit of sadness over leaving my apartment (other than, you know, missing my husband and his cat), when he decided to obnoxiously let his alarm clock go off six times this morning between the hours of 4:20 AM and 6:30 AM.  I hate him.  Sincerely.  His roommate works with David, and I hear he is a really nice guy, but this douchebag sloth can DIAF.  I didn’t say anything because I’m leaving tomorrow and there doesn’t seem a point in making enemies when you have 24 hours to spend with these people.
  • I’m moving out tomorrow, but spending my first night there on Sunday, since I’m going to an “old people sleepover” on Saturday night.  Do I think this is a good plan?  Um, yes.  We’re going to eat comfort food and watch Netflix and knit and stay up late.  I am immensely looking forward to it.  I think it’s pretty much exactly what I need this weekend.  And I must make my mac and cheese to bring up to it.  This is critical.
  • I’m really glad that the move coincides with the busiest, most fun weeks of November.  Monday is the only day that I have nothing planned besides work and I really think I will be okay.  Tuesday I have my paper conference and tea with my good friend Jim.  Wednesday is the annual day my mom, sister and I kick off the holiday season by playing Christmas music while baking our Thanksgiving pies.  Thursday is, of course, Thanksgiving.  Friday is recuperating (I don’t “do” Black Friday) and Saturday is Drea and Sam’s annual “Friendsgiving” or “Thanksgiving the Second” or whatever they call it.  So it will be a nice, busy, occupied week, and hopefully I won’t be too weepy or miss my therapist, Crazy Bruce, too much.
  • Due to the aforementioned douchebaggery this morning, I woke up extremely overtired, with puffy eyes.  Because I am a sucker for samples, I decided to use the tiny packet of Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector this morning.  HOLY SHIT does that stuff work!  My eyes looked bright and alert and de-puffed afterward.  Sold.  Except for the part where I looked up how much it cost online for the real thing.  $39.50.  THIS IS WHY YOU ARE SNEAKY, SEPHORA.  You get in with your samples and make people fall in love with your stuff.  I can’t justify $39.50 right now.  Period.
  • I have to go through Ravelry and pick out presents for my friends for Christmas.  Yes, I knit them stuff.  They appreciate it, being knitters themselves.  I have a lot to organize!

That’s pretty much it.  I wish I had a more scintillating, cohesive journal entry for today, but that’s kind of where I’m at right now.  I’ll probably have more  later this weekend when stuff is moved in and I’m done sorting it all out.

Peace and all that.

Makeup: Why I wear it and some pros and cons

I started this blog right around the time that two changes happened in my life: my husband and I decided to separate and I started really wearing makeup.  The two things are related, though probably not as one would think.

When I was 19 years old, my boyfriend cheated on me and dumped me.  I don’t know why I did this, but I sort of…punked myself out.  Yes.  It’s embarrassing, and no, there aren’t any surviving pictures.  I wore a lot of studded jewelry, lots of black, pierced my navel and my upper ear, etc.  For some reason, I though that if I looked tough outside, that would translate to how I felt inside.

And I think the sudden foray into wearing makeup is the same way.  Do I think I look okay without makeup?  Sure.  But I feel pretty when I wear it, and I don’t wear it for my husband (who hasn’t noticed) or for other people.  I wear it for me.  I wear it so that Ifeel pretty.  I look good, and I feel good.  And that’s worth quite a lot.


So I’ve been wearing makeup for a little over six weeks now, and I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve found some things I LOVE and don’t know how I ever used any other products — and some things that are just ‘meh’.  So that’s what I’m going to put on the docket today.

Physician’s Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Loose Powder

I bought this as my first set of loose powder (I will admit that my major incentive came from not having to buy a separate brush).  I love the way that the powder makes my cheeks feel like velvet and clears up any shininess.  I don’t like the way that the powder flies every freakin’ wear in the box.  The rounded lid doesn’t help much, it just makes even more of a mess.  I think I will probably go for a flatter box with a flatter top next time.  Other than the packaging, I like the product.  Rating: 7/10

Maybelline Express One-By-One Waterproof Mascara

I wanted to love this product.  But it doesn’t separate the lashes like it advertises (also, that model?  Definitely has faux eyelashes on).  I didn’t see a marked difference from any other Maybelline mascara.  There’s also a very good chance that I’m bitter because I have terrible lashes (they’re very short and sparse).  I will use it until it’s gone, but I probably won’t be buying this product again.  The hunt for the perfect mascara continues.  I hear a lot of good things about Buxom, so that might be my next stop.  Rating: 4/10

Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Lipstick

I am usually really wary of any really cheap products (buying into my dad’s old saying that cheap is usually not worth it.  This lipstick was about $5 at CVS, but I thought, why not.  I bought it in 08 (fetching name), and it’s more of a pinkish-mauve color.  I LOVE THIS.  It goes on smoothly, and gives my lips a nice matte finish.  It also tastes a tiny bit like cocoa (maybe that’s just me though).  My only complaint is that it does rub off very easily — which may only be a caveat for me, because I have insanely chapped lips, rub them together a lot, and also apply lip balm like it’s going out of style.  But I will definitely be picking up more shades of Kate’s lipstick.  Rating: 8/10

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Glow Sheers

After a bad experience with E.L.F. tinted moisturizer, I decided to give Neutrogena Healthy Skin Glow Sheers a shot.  The color of the foundation was very close to my own skin (I am paler than I think I am), so I picked “Ivory to Fair”, the palest color, and it looks about right.  I use an E.L.F. foundation brush to apply it, and that gives it a nice even tone (I can’t believe I ever used my fingers to apply foundation, never again).  It doesn’t make me break out, it doesn’t feel heavy, oily, or itchy, and it wears very well (doesn’t come off until I remove it at night).  It goes on slightly shiny, but a layer of pressed powder brings my skin down to a more matte tone.  Love it, and I have no plans to change to another foundation.  It’s cheaper online that it is at CVS, unfortunately, but I’m going to shop around and see if I can’t find any place cheaper.  Maybe Target.  Rating: 9/10

bareMinerals Eyecolor

WOW, WOW, WOW.  This is my favorite.  I was terrible with eyeshadow until I discovered a) brushes and b) loose eyeshadow powder.  I love this.  Love it.  And I’m pretty sure it’s idiot-proof.   No plans to ever change back to pressed powder eyeshadow again any time soon.  Seriously, biggest crush ever on this product.  My only sadness is that I can’t afford to get it in any other shades right now.  I currently own Waterlily (a pale violet shade, see left) and Queen Tiffany (“tawny platinum” according to the website, but I think it’s more like a copper).  I plan to get as many colors as possible, but at $14 a pop, they’re not cheap.  My plan of action right now is to buy up the last chance selection on their own website.  Rating: 10/10

Korres Lip Butter

Other product that I have a serious crush on?  This one.  Holy crap.  I considered paying $25 to get the collection of three, but wasn’t sure if my super-sensitive lips would like them, and $25 seemed like an awful lot to spend on three products I wasn’t sure of.  So I bought one pot, in Quince (a pinkish rose, see right), and holy crap.  It’s like a lip balm and lipstick all in one.  Just a tiny bit gives my lips excellent color.  I also don’t need to use lip balm when I wear it, it’s incredibly moisturizing.  Going to get more shades of this as well.  I will be springing for the collection, which I planned in advance for (Quince isn’t a shade that’s part of the collection).  Rating: 10/10

Well, that’s pretty much a wrap.  Hope this was fun and in some way informative.  Weekend agenda includes papers, papers, and more papers, and the return of Patriots football!  Very excited about that.

Can you believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner?  I feel like the holidays snuck up on us too damn fast this year…

My massive crush on Sephora and what I bought there

Confession: Although I’m just starting out on my odyssey of learning how to use makeup, I am completely head-over-heels obsessed with Sephora.  Having a little extra money this past week (and the desire to purchase some better products that I actually enjoy using, I headed over there.

This is what I walked out with:

(Clockwise from top left: Bare Minerals Eyecolor in Waterlily and Queen Tiffany, Sephora Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner in Classic Black, Sephora Classic All Over Shadow Brush Small, and Clinique Almost Lipstick/Long Last Glosswear in Black Honey.)

Bare Minerals Eyecolor — These tiny pots of loose powder eyeshadow are deceptively tiny, but seriously effective!  I tried Waterlily (a pale dusky violet shade) first, and then picked up Queen Tiffany (a tawny copper color).  These brush on very easily over primer, and stay on all day (until I take them off with eye makeup removal).  Each is $14.

Sephora Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner — I bought this on the suggestion of a friend.  The eyeliner is like an eye pencil, but goes on smoothly without running into the corners of my eyes.  It has a tiny smudge sponge on the end, which I haven’t used yet.  It’s $12, and comes in a variety of colors.  I already would like to purchase it in peacock and maybe violet!

Sephora Classic All Over Shadow Brush (Small) — The bristles on this brush are intensely soft!  I picked it up and I just couldn’t put it down again.  Seriously, I will never use one of those spongy little applicators that come free with eyeshadow ever again.  Each is $13.

Clinique Lip Duo — Half of the applicator is Clinique’s Almost Lipstick — which is a sheer lipstick designed to work with your natural lip color and enhance it.  Black Honey appears very dark black-red, but it goes on almost completely sheer.  The other side is Long Last Glosswear, an intensely thick, shiny lip gloss in the same shade.  Both give my lips a reddish tint.  The stick was $21, but I had a 20% off coupon.

No pictures of me wearing any of the above, I spent most of the last two days getting ready for the hurricane that’s planning on slamming New England this week.  Maybe in the future!