Hello, Friends… It’s Been A While

I don’t even know how to start this blog post – I’m so out of practice!

The last time I posted back in October, I opened up and shared that my mother had become very sick with advanced liver cancer.  And I want to truly thank each and every one of you who commented with words of love and support.  You have absolutely no idea how much it meant to me.

I’m very sad to say that my mom passed away just before Christmas.  While my heart is absolutely broken over losing her, I’m grateful it was not a lingering illness that made her suffer.  She went very quickly and in peace.

And in many ways, I feel her passing has not totally sunken in yet.  Despite all the work I’m doing with her estate and such… it doesn’t really feel like she’s gone.  It just feels like I haven’t talked to her in a while…

Did anyone see J.K. Simmons’ Oscar acceptance speech?  You know, the the part where he talked about calling your parents?  I pretty much fell apart.

Me and Mom1

The last photo taken of my mom and me back in August 2014. We were celebrating our birthdays.

 

In other, happier, news – Wedding planning is going well.  I took a break during the end of Autumn and through the holidays, obviously, to care for my mom, but things with the wedding are rolling once again.

We have our venue booked (and they’re taking care off all food, beverages, linens and china).  The photographer, videographer, officiant, and DJ are all booked, and we are planning on taking engagement photos in April.

My wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses are all picked out, but I’m still on the hunt for a veil.  Remember the wedding color poll I posted a few months ago?  Well, it was super helpful in helping me pick a color for my bridesmaids.  I’m DYING to tell you all what color the bridesmaid dresses are, but I think I’m going to keep it a secret until closer to the wedding.

We’re sending out Save the Date cards this weekend, which makes everything REALLY real!  It’s very exciting.

And we have several cake tastings scheduled over the next couple of weeks.  Ah, cake tastings – that’s pretty much my idea of heaven…

The wedding is 7 months away, which feels like forever, but I have a feeling it’s going to FLY by.

 

 

So, now down to business.  Where do I stand with my blog?

I don’t know.

I think about my blog a lot.  I think about reviews I want to write, wedding stuff I want all of your opinions on…

I have logged in a few times and have been absolutely blown away by how many views my blog continues to receive even though there has been no new content in months.  It’s such a wonderful feeling.

But I don’t feel like I’m ready to come back to blogging as much as I was before.  Not yet anyway.

So I think we’ll call this a “soft” come-back.

I have a few drafts that were already in the works from a few months back that never got posted.  So I think I’ll slowly make my way back into blogging.  Maybe only once a week to start.  We’ll see.

But, overall, if feels nice to be back, in whatever capacity that is.

 

 

Call your mom, call your dad. If you’re lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call them. Don’t text. Don’t email. Call them on the phone. Tell them you love them, and thank them, and listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you.”  – J.K. Simmons

Life Throws a Curve Ball

My poor blog has been completely abandoned.

I had already been slacking on posting when I started planning my wedding, as it ended up taking up more of my free time than I anticipated.  And just as I was ready to get back into the swing of blogging regularly again, life threw a curve ball at me.

 

About two weeks ago, we found out my mom has liver cancer.  And we’ve been told it’s terminal.

So as you can imagine, my mom has suddenly become my number one priority.  She lives about 40 minutes away from me, and I’ve been driving down to her nearly every day to make sure she has what she needs.

My mom is not married, and I am an only child, so it’s just the two of us.  (And of course, my amazing fiancé has been a huge help).

 

Right now, we’re looking into possible treatments.  While it won’t cure her, treatment may give her some extra time.

 

Despite this devastating news of my mom’s health, I feel very lucky that my employer has been so wonderful and flexible about my mom’s needs.  And thankfully, I have a ton of sick time and vacation time left, so I have the ability to be at my mom’s side during every step of this “journey”.

 

When this is all over, I will have a lot to say in my reviews of waterproof mascaras.

 

Please think good thoughts for my mom, Friends.  We need all the positive energy we can get.

One of my favorite photos of me and my mom.  Taken Christmas Eve 2010.

One of my favorite photos of me and my mom. Taken Christmas Eve 2010.

Manicure Monday: OPI Don’t Touch My Tutu!

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Oh, hey guys.  What’s happenin’?  How’ve you been?  We have a lot of catching up to do, you know, because I’m the worst blogger ever and disappeared for two weeks.

My bad, guys.  I’m sorry.

 

But it’s a new week and a new month (how can it possibly be November already?)!  And what better way to start a new month than with a manicure?

I’ve been looking for a really pretty white … something kind of bridal.  Soft, sheer, and natural-looking (not a stark white).  And I think I found exactly what I was looking for –

OPI’s Don’t Touch My Tutu!  It’s a soft sheer white that builds up a bit of soft opacity with more layers.

This particular shade comes from the NYC Ballet Soft Shades Collection from 2012.  The whole collection is really gorgeous and subtle, and I absolutely love it.

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But in regards to Don’t Touch My Tutu!, I couldn’t have been happier with the color and formula.

While the color is super sheer, I was able to get the exact color pay off I wanted with three thin coats.

I had absolutely no issues with streakiness, which can be a big problem with white polishes.  But this color went on super smooth without any issues.  And I got SIX days of wear before it started chipping.

For me, this is definitely a wedding day manicure contender for sure.  Totally bridal, right?

 

What is your favorite white nail polish?

 

 

 

 

If I Had To Start All Over…

Thank you to everyone who voted in my Wedding Color Poll last week! I think I need to do polls more often – it was so much fun watching all the votes roll in!

While trying to catch up on reading a few blogs, and I discovered the very fun “Starting Over” tag on A Thunder Heart‘s blog.

The idea is, if you lost everything in your current makeup collection, what 16 makeup items would you purchase to start a new makeup collection?

I knew I had to do this tag!  I really wanted to reflect on some of my truly favorite makeup items along with some highly rated products that I haven’t tried yet, but would absolutely purchase!

I selected only actual makeup items, no tools or skincare items.

So without further ado, here are the 16 makeup items I would purchase if I lost my entire makeup collection:

If I had to start my makeup collection over...

 

1.  MAC Flash Lashes Extreme Black Mascara – Man, I love this mascara!  Length and fullness to the max!  If you haven’t tried this mascara, you really really should!

2.  Smashbox Full Exposure Eye Shadow Palette – I do not currently own this eye shadow palette.  But if I was going to purchase a neutral palette, this would be the one!  I love that it has equal amounts of matte and shimmery shades, perfect for any occasion!

3.  Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Sting Ray – These eye liners are awesome in any color, but I require a nice dark black liner that wouldn’t smudge or budge through out the day.

4.  Almay Eye Liner in Black-Brown – My all-time favorite drugstore brand eye liner.  It’s a must have.  I like this dark brown color for something a little softer than black.  And it also does not budge or smudge all day.

5.  Essie Nail Polish in Watermelon – Good gracious, it was so hard to choose nail polish colors!  I love so many!  But Watermelon is a really gorgeous shade of pink that can be worn year-round and of course, Essie is a fantastic brand.

6.  OPI Nail Polish in Don’t Touch My Tutu – I would definitely need a neutral nail polish.  And I’m not always into shades of beige, and shades of grey can get a little too dark, so a beautiful shade of soft white is just the trick!  It’s elegant and perfect year-round.

7.  Bobbi Brown Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer in Extra Light Tint – I don’t feel like my skin needs full on foundation on the daily.  But when my skin needs to be even’d out, this tinted moisturizer is fantastic!  It has the perfect amount of coverage, it’s lightweight, and doesn’t makes my skin feel extra oily!

8.  Clinique Air Brush Concealer in Neutral Fair – I don’t not currently own this concealer, butI have been coveting it for quite some time now.  Application looks super easy and the results look fantastic!  Coverage and brightening for the win!

9.  Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Sandstorm – I love this super affordable matte powder.  Keeps shine away and adds some extra coverage too.

10.  Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Fearless – A fantastic coral-y pink powder blush.  I love the Amazonian Clay blushes.  They last all day, and the colors are gorgeous.  It took me a long time to determine which color I would purchase and I finally landed on Fearless.

11.  Skinn Cosmetics Color Touch Eye, Cheek & Lip Glow in Teen Tone – Yes, I need a cream blush too!  And this one is my all-time favorite.  The texture is perfect – not super wet, and not sticky, and really lightweight.  Teen Tone is the perfect peachy-pink flush that looks so natural!

12.  Softlips Lip Balm – I couldn’t live without this product.  That is all.

13.  Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe Sheer Lip Color in Sheer Berry – I’m kind of viewing this as a tinted lip balm.  My lips feel so fantastic while wearing this product, and it gives a beautiful, perfectly pink flush to my lips.  Love it, need it.

14.  Too Faced La Crème Lipstick in Teddy Berry – I really love this creamy, moisturizing lipstick.  It’s a bit newer to my collection, but I have already learned that I can never be without it!  I like Teddy Berry because it’s still rosey, but it’s slightly tawnied, making it a bit more neutral.

15.  NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in Baroque –  I love the deep wine color of this lip product.  It’s good stuff.  Moisturizing and slightly shiny, but in a super convenient lip crayon.  So good!

16.  Smashbox Be Legendary Lip Gloss in Disco Rose – I don’t wear much lip gloss any more, but every now and then, I feel like I need one.  And this is my current favorite lip gloss.  It has great color payoff without being an opaque lacquer and Disco Rose is a fabulous shade of warm pink.

 

So that’s what my makeup collection would like like if I had to start all over!

If you decide to do this tag, please leave a comment with your link so I can see what your 16 makeup picks would be!  :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wedding Color Poll!

I know every woman has thought about her wedding in some capacity or another since she was a young girl.  I certainly have.

But the one thing I never visualized was the color scheme.  And now that’s I’m actually planning a wedding, it’s the one thing that seems to be plaguing me the most!  I love too many colors!

My wedding date is September 25 – it’s just barely into fall.  Personally, I’m not feeling the deep autumn colors (oranges, reds, mustards, etc) for a September wedding.  But I am loving the transitional colors and I think that’s the direction I’m going.

Guys, I CANNOT seem to make a decision on colors.  And then I thought, hey, I have a blog!  Why not put it to good use?

And so I created a poll!

I want to know which color option is your favorite.  Which one speaks to you?

I can’t guarantee that I’ll actually choose the color that receives the most votes (it’s my prerogative as a bride to change my mind 20 times!), but I am hoping that this poll will help me start choosing a direction, one way or another. :)

So below are my color inspiration photos.  And further down is the poll to submit your answer.  Try not to focus on the style of the dresses or the flowers.  Those will be determined later.  This is just about color.

Thanks for your thoughts, everyone!  :)

 

Navy Blue

navy blue

(Photo credit: 100layercake.com via Pinterest)

 

Raspberry

Raspberry

(Photo credit: stylemepretty.com via Pinterest)

 

Taupe

Taupe

(Photo credit: elizabethannedesigns.com via Pinterest)

 

 Plum

Plum

(Photo credit: Pinterest – source unknown)

 

Two things to keep in mind before casting your vote:

1.  My fiance and his fellas will most likely be wearing dark grey tuxedos/suits.

2.  I have three bridesmaids, and their skin tones vary significantly.

 

Thanks again, guys!  Also, if you have any other color suggestions, please let me know in the comments.  Seriously, I’m all ears!

Happy polling!

 

Lovely Lips: Jouer Hydrating Lipstick Sophia

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I think I mentioned recently that I’m starting to pull away from lip glosses and redirecting my lip love to lipsticks.  I’m really starting to prefer a softer, creamier look on the lips, as opposed to a super shiny wet look.

I’ve been wearing my Jouer Hydrating Lipstick over the past week and I’m absolutely loving it!

How beautiful and elegant is that frosted gold packaging?  I love packaging like this as it really gives you the sense that you’re applying quality makeup.

I have the shade Sophia, which was part of the Perfect Red collection.

Sophia is described as a creamy rose red.  However, I’m not sure that’s a completely accurate description.  I think there is a fairly strong orange undertone.

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Sophia is a really wearable red that isn’t too bold, so if you’ve been toying with the idea of starting to wear red on your lips, this is a great color to start with.

At one point, Birchbox had partnered with Jouer to help women find the perfect red for their skin tones.  They recommended Sophia for ladies with dark hair and a warm complexion.

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I’ve been really loving this lipstick.  The formula is really creamy and moisturizing, but not slippery at all.  It feel pretty lightweight too, so I tend to forget I’m even wearing it!

Even though it’s a moisturizing formula, I still get a fantastic wear time – more than 5 hours!  Also, while it does definitely need to be reapplied after a meal, I was surprised to discover that the color wasn’t completely gone.  Even after using napkins!

The color pigmentation is pretty darn good.  I would say it’s nearly full opacity.

Sophia is such a gorgeous color for Fall.  This little beauty is going to be worn a lot.

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Jouer’s Hydrating Lipsticks retail for $22.00, and they come in several different shades (more than 20!).  The Birchbox shop carries many shades and I think these lipsticks are definitely worthy of some Birchbox points!

Have you tried Jouer’s Hydrating Lipsticks?  What’s your favorite shade?

 

 

Lovely Lips: Tarte Butter Lipstick Plummy Rose

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I’ve been wanting to get my hands on one of the Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipsticks for quite some time now.  And back when they had their 30% off Friends & Family discount, I took the plunge and bought one!

I think we first need to address the packaging.  Could it be any more adorable and unique?  And each shade of these lipsticks has a different color and pattern on the packaging.  Super fun!

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I chose the shade Plummy Rose, which is a “your lips, but better” sort of shade with plum and peach undertones.  I like to wear neutral shades like this when I’m wearing a red shirt or dress as I often find a lot of other lip colors clash a little bit with red clothing.

It found it really surprising that Plummy Rose would be so close to my natural lip color.  So close, in fact, I had to look really hard to determine when exactly the color started to fade!

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The application of the products is super smooth, and the formula is SO moisturizing.  At some point in the future, I should do a post on my favorite moisturizing lipsticks – and this lipstick would certainly be on that list.

Pigmentation is pretty decent.  I would call it moderate color coverage.

Sadly, though, this is not a long lasting lip product.  I got a maximum of 3 hours of wear time, and it definitely will not survive a meal.

The formula provides a soft sheen on the lips, but certainly nothing too shiny.

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Overall, I definitely like this lipstick a lot, and I think I’d like to try a couple other colors.  The Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipsticks retail for $16.00.  Not a horrible price compared to some other brands, but there is definitely a good bit of money to be saved if you can wait for a promo code.

Have you tried these Butter lipsticks?  Which shade is your favorite?  I have my eye on Pink Peony next….