Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Bah Humbug?

Christmas isn't what it used to be.  Well, that's not quite true.  I grew up in a family where no expense was spared to ensure that a slew of presents was strewn in front of the lavishly decorated tree.  Layaway and Christmas Club savings accounts were the norm.  And having new pajamas to wear in the Christmas morning pictures was just as important as the gifts themselves.  So as I parent, why should I expect any different?

My first few Christmases as a parent, I also spared no expense.  I clearly remember purchasing and meticulously wrapping, at least 25 gifts for my then one year old.  However, the past few years, I haven't been as involved.  My guess is it would have to be due to the fact that my mother still spares no expense, often shipping multiple boxes of pre-wrapped gifts to my children.  It may also be the fact that the kids tend to only play with their baubles during the week after Christmas and then selectively through the year, instead being drawn to the lights of technological advances.  Thus, I leave the hustle and bustle of toy shopping to my mother.  Yet and still, the closer December comes each year, the more anxiety I experience regarding gifts.
I don't have any desire to purchase gifts, just because that is the expectation.

The more I grow, the more I respect the true reason for the season.  Regardless of your religious beliefs, I think we can all agree that the time spent with family is much more important than breaking the bank.  In light of the recent tragedy in Connecticut, I'm choosing to take this holiday season to express my gratitude for my family.  The fact that my daughter is able to give me a kiss, no matter how wet, matters more than the ring she bought me (which broke when I put it on).  Watching my son perform cartwheels and my nephews have a dance-off is priceless.  Being able to Skype my grandmother and make sweet potato pies with my daughter...those are what make my Christmas memorable.

So, I say Bah Humbug.  Not to the celebration of Jesus' birth, but to the commercialization of Christmas.  To the worshiping of Santa (to whom I refuse to give credit when I work everyday to supply the limited gifts I buy).  To the opening of stores on Thanksgiving, to the daily sale emails, to the endless commercials, and the blasted toy shopping guides.

In the next breath, I say thank you Jesus.  For my family.  For my friends.  For my job and co-workers.  For my home, food to eat, and clothes to wear.  I give thanks to Jesus for the brave teachers who laid down their lives to spare others.  For the men and women in the armed services who fight senseless wars.  For each morning that I arise, given another chance to be a better person.  For each night that I lay down to sleep, safe in my home with my loved ones.  So as another Christmas comes to a close, my hope is that each of you has taken a moment to tell everyone how much you love them.  That you hold each other tight, thankful that you still have each other to hold.  That you don't take for granted to joy of life and live each day to the fullest.  That is the Merry Christmas I wish to you!

The Lipgloss Junkie

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Prrr! It's Halloween.

Ok, so I don't usually participate in Halloween festivities, but since we're having a competition at school I thought I'd give this a try.  This tutorial was extremely helpful. I was able to use makeup that I already had, mostly my Youngblood kit from school (with MAC Graphito paint).  Now that I've tried it, I am interested to see what else I can come up with.  Check out the finished product below and let me know what you think.
The Lipgloss Junkie

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Broke Girls Beauty Digest

For anyone who knew me pre-motherhood, they could tell you the massive amounts of cosmetics I owned and the great debts I took on.  Money was no object. Nine years later, I still have a weakness for products way too expensive for me and am not always successful in controlling my weakness.  However, I am also more diligent in trying to find affordable replacement products.  For those of you who have swapped out your Prada bags for diaper bags, extravagant mall purchases for mortgage mayhem, and anyone finding themselves drifting closer to the "have nots", this list is for you.

Beauty Buys to Try under $10
  • Lipgloss:  Avon
    • Great dose of color and shine. Silky smooth lipgloss at an unbeatable price.
    • Great dose of color and shine. Silky smooth lipgloss at an unbeatable price. Although these retail around $6, most of the time you find them on sale, sometimes as low as $2.  The shades do change occasionally, so be open to trying new shades.
  • Lipbalm: C.O. Bigelow My Favorite Lip Balm
    • C.O. Bigelow My Favorite Lip Balm - No. 303
    • Sold in Bath & Body Works stores, this was the first lipbalm I turned to when I needed to cut expenses.  At only $7.50, it's not called my favorite lip balm for nothing.  With moisturizing ingredients like shea butter and vitamin E, this balm is wonderful.  If you're looking for a balm in a tin, try Lush None of your Beeswax (my new find).
  • Mascara:  Cover Girl Lash Blast
    • LashBlast Volume Mascara
    • Of all beauty products, mascara is the one thing that gets me up in arms.  There are just way too many options out there, even I get overwhelmed. On Cover Girl's website, there are 25 versions alone.  Nevertheless, I do like the fat brush and the volume this mascara delivers.  At under $7, its worth a shot.
  • Eyeshadow:  Ulta and NYX
    • ULTAEyeshadow                 LOOSE PEARL EYE SHADOW
    • I stumbled upon Ulta back in grad school.  Not only do they offer an enormous range of shades, they have decent pigmentation and you get alot of product.  And for a girl on a budget, these seem to almost always be on sale.  Currently, they are buy 2 get 2 free (you can also mix and match other ulta products).  That's 4 eyeshadows for $14.
    • If you like loose pigments, try NYX.  Surprisingly inexpensive at $3 and great quality.
    • If you use eyeliner, I haven't found a cheaper one that I like.  The few I've tried tend to feel like they are dragging across my eyelids (ouch).  Instead, you can use a wet/dry eyeshadow (some are labelled for wet use others you can try it) and an angled shadow brush.  Wet the brush, slightly not dripping, and gather some of the shadow on it to draw on a line at the waterline.  You can build this line to be as thin or thick as you like it.  You can also make it as defined or blended as you like.  Try it.  If you find an alternative, do tell.
  • Foundation:  Sorry girls?
    • This is one product where I say you may need to splurge.  I have tried Cover Girl, L'Oreal, and Revlon.  And none of them did I desire to purchase again.  I almost had a match with Revlon, until I started breaking out (they apparently don't make that product anymore).  I think there is nothing like being able to try out foundation at the beauty counter, wear it for a few hours, and then make a decision.  That way you'll know how it wears on your skin and how it looks in natural light.  If you still want a drugstore brand, there are lots of options out there...powders, liquids, mousses, the list goes on.  
  • Nail Polish: Ulta, Sally Hansen, Rimmel
    • ULTASalon Formula Nail Lacquer Hard As Nails Extreme Wear Nail ColorLasting Finish Pro Nail Lacquer
    • Ok, I couldn't pick just one.  Each of these brands is around $3.  All three have a good selection of colors and lasts a decent amount of time.  I've had a manicure last about a week and a pedicure last a month (not that I usually let it last that long).  Do use a topcoat, ensuring to cover the tip of the nail for the longest wear.  You can also buy products such as Essie and OPI, great products for around $8.  For some reason, nail polish is the one product I refuse to pay more than $3 for.  There are too many decent, but cheaper options.  If you find a great deal on the more expensive ones, let a junkie know.
The next time you're in Ulta, Walmart, Target or wherever you buy your inexpensive beauty products, pick up one of my favs and tell me know what you think.  
the lipgloss junkie

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Beauty Tour Digest: Field Trip # 2

In case you're following my journey to becoming an esthetician, here's my review of the 'trip' we took to Lenox and Perimeter malls.  Read on to find out a little about each company, some key ingredients, and some items that have been added to my ever-growing shopping list.

  1. MAC Store
    1. The MAC store has always amazed me because of the vast array of vivid colors present in their product line, not that they don’t have great neutrals.  Come to find out those vivid colors are the exact reason the company came to be.  The 2 Franks started MAC so that pigments would pop and show up in photos.  Because the staff were so helpful and willingly to share their knowledge, I was able to find out about several products.  First in the Prep & Prime line, I explored both the Skin and Lip Primers.  In both instances, one of the main ingredients is silicone, which acts as a filler of sorts by ensuring an even application of other products.  It creates a breathable and silky barrier, thus allowing for longer wear of products applied subsequently, such as lipstick or foundation.  Vitamin E was also an included ingredient, which helps to reduce water loss from the skin and also reduces the formation of free radicals.  If you’re looking for a longer wearing eye-shadow, you could use the Paint Pots.  They can be used alone or as a primer for shadow and supposedly won’t crease and last all day.  While in the store, I also found a new lipgloss to try when I receive my MAC Pro Card.
    2.  Paint Pot Prep + Prime Skin
  2. Aveda Store
    1. Aveda is a beauty company that aims to connect the environment with beauty.  They pride themselves on using plant-based products, instead of chemicals.  Their products are paraben-free (no carcinogenic preservatives).  Aveda is environmentally responsible in that they use post-recycled packaging and do not perform any testing on animals.  They also support fair trade.  In the Nourish-Mint lipstick line, you will find pomegranate, which has antioxidants and vitamin B, and is used to repair the epidermis of the lips.  It also contains spearmint oil, which according to the salesperson is to keep the lips hydrated, however, other sources indicate that spearmint could be considered an irritant in products.  In the Uruku lip pigment line, the uruku plant from Brazil is used for its bright red, naturally derived pigment.  It also contains annato oil to add moisture and smoothness.  In the Smoothing Body Polish, it contains lavendar extract to soothe and relax and kelp and aloe (water-binding agents) to moisturize.  It is meant to reveal smoother skin after use.
    2. Smoothing Body PolishUruku Lip Pigment
  3. Lush Cosmetics Store
    1. This was my first time ever hearing of Lush and I found that I was very intrigued with the concept.  Like Aveda, Lush is also an environmentally responsible company, but with less of an air of pretentiousness.  They take pride in the fact that their products are handmade and even go to the extent of putting the picture of the person who made it on some of the larger packaging (what better way to tell an employee you appreciate them).  Lush, based in the UK, was founded by a trichologist and beautician.  This store is full of intriguing products, such as the Charity Pot,  a hand and body lotion made of cocoa butter and almond oil (for their moisturizing properties), and ylang ylang (to add fragrance).  100% of the purchase price goes toward the Charity Pot fund to help charities around the world.  For the first time, I’ve seen powder deodorants.  They are aluminum-free and include essential oils and fragrances.  They are baking soda based and preservative free.  Just remember that they are a tad messy and are not anti-perspirants.  I’ll definitely be making a trip back to Lush, especially since I am loving the None of Your Beeswax lip balm.
    2. Charity Pot None of your Beeswax
  4. Bare Escentuals
    1. Appearing as an upscale boutique, Bare Escentuals is a line of mineral makeup that is ‘good’ for the skin.  The original foundation consisted of only 5 ingredients:  bismuth oxychloride (pearlescent compound that adheres to the skin well), titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (sunscreens), iron oxides (provides coloring), and mica (gives sparkle and shine).  The Prime Time primer is preservative-free, oil-free, fragrance-free, allergy tested, and dermatology tested.  Containing vitamins C and E, it is meant to create a smooth and even surface, on which to apply foundation.
    2. Prime Time Foundation Primer ORIGINAL SPF 15 Foundation
  5. Carol’s Daughter
    1. What is there not to like about an African-American owned brand that is being heralded in magazines and by celebrities?  This shop has a more cozy feel to it, as if to make you feel right at home.  The staff was very knowledgeable and took the time to demonstrate the products.  The products that stood out to me the most was the Acai Clarifying Exfoliating Toner and the Almond Cookie Lotion.  The toner contains meadowsweet, a plant extract with anti-inflammatory properties to exfoliate the skin, and witch hazel and acai, both antioxidants to tone and reduce the signs of aging, respectively.  The lotion contains sweet marzipan, tonka bean, and warm vanilla to create the luscious scent.  It also contains vitamin E to protect against aging, coconut and grapeseed oils to balance moisture, and shea and cocoa butters to moisturize.
      1. Balancing Facial Toner
  6. Sephora
  7. Last stop, Sephora is like the Target of beauty stores (a little more classy than Walmart).  It showcases a plethora of high-end cosmetics and skincare lines, in addition to its own product line.  It allows the opportunity to comparison shop, you will most likely end up with an array of shades and textures slathered across your arm/hand.  Browsing through Sephora takes some time, but it is definitely exciting.  I was finally able to touch the Nars Orgasm blush and subsequent line of products.  Now I truly understand why its the go-to blush that matches everyone’s skin tone.  I was also intrigued by the Multiple by Nars...great concept to have an all in one product that glides on like a cream, but dries like a powder.  Lastly, I did check out Sephora’s own lipgloss and was pleasantly surprised at how silky they are in texture and how affordable they are.SEPHORA COLLECTION - Glossy GlossNARS - The MultipleNARS - Blush
  8. Wrap-Up
    1. All in all, it was a lipgloss junkie’s dream field trip.  I came away with great product knowledge, an introduction to a new brand, and still had money in my wallet. Score!

happy shopping,
the lipgloss junkie

Note:  All pictures are from the respective stores websites, thus I didn't grant Bare Escentuals any awards.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Just Call Me Mom

Parents are unsung heroes.  Beyond fulfilling the basic necessities of life (ie. food, clothing, shelter), parents do so much more to ensure our children have fun-filled childhoods, are exposed to culture, and learn to appreciate and care for other people.  We make sure we sign our kids up for meaningful activities and spend countless hours shuttling back and forth to dance recitals, cheer practices, swim meets, and dramatic reading competitions.  We are constantly spending our weekends at Chuck E. Cheese or Monkey Joe's, bouncing from one birthday party to another, even though costumed grown-ups is not in our definition of fun.  We spend money, sometimes that was meant for bills, on making sure every birthday and Christmas is better than the last.  We clean crayon off walls and sometime furniture, stay up all hours of the night nursing a 100 degree fever, and still find time to play tooth fairy (who in my house, although usually stuck in fairy traffic, writes notes). We do all of this, often neglecting our spouses and ourselves. 

To those without children, we probably look crazy.  But to parents, we're only doing our jobs.  And like many jobs, we don't always get accolades.  No gold stars, no bonuses, no promotions.  But it still all pays off.  As I have been navigating dealing with a pre-pubescent girl and trying to teach her to be her best, tonight I think I had a breakthrough.  She told me that I was one of her heroes.  Her reason was because, "You keep pushing me to be my best, even when I don't want to be.  But I know, in the end, that it's for the best."  As I was driving, the tears started rolling, though I didn't let her see.  She's actually been listening to what I say.  You see being a chauffeur, when often times I just want to lay in the bed and watch SATC re-runs, has its advantages.  Not only does my child get to have great experiences with her peers, but we have an ongoing repertoire of things to talk about.  Lessons to be shared, comparisons made of how alike we really are, and discussions of how we can always be better.  So, while I am overjoyed that my daughter sees me as a hero, I don't need that title.  The title of MOM fits me perfectly.

the lipgloss junkie

Makeup Forever Wonderland

Saturday, I went on my first field trip to the Makeup Forever Road Show at the W Hotel Midtown Atlanta.  Can you guess how excited I was?  For those wondering, this was a free event meant for networking, attending classes, watching demonstrations, and of course sampling and hopefully buying Makeup Forever goods.  We were there to see a red carpet beauty demonstration by AJ Crimson.  I found it fascinating to listen to an industry professional talk about some of his tricks of the trade and to watch the transformations take place.  It always amazes me to read or hear about the different ways artists create a look.  Makeup artistry is just that...art.  Each artist has their own way of wielding their brush (or hand or sponge or whatever they're using) and using a variety of mediums (creams, powders, gels, etc.) to transform and/or beautify. Note:  While I love makeup used for beauty, I have the utmost respect for special fx artists.  Needless to say, I was in a wonderland.  My hands were covered in eyeshadow, blush, and lipgloss of course.  And by the way, the new Aqua Rouge lipstick is awesome.  It looks like a lipgloss, applies like a lipstick, but has the staying power of a stain (literally, I couldn't get it off with just a wipe).  And comes in some beautiful shades.  I also loved the Aqua Cream eyeshadows.  They are highly pigmented, creamy in texture, and long wearing.  Because they dry quickly, you would probably want to start with a small amount and then layer to get the look you want.  Anyway, I have a ton of items on my shopping list (unfortunately, I didn't budget any money to take with me...epic fail).  All in all, I had a wonderful time.  The only complaint I have is the amount I paid for parking. Doesn't the hotel know that the $11 would have paid for a lipgloss!

Red Carpet Beauty

the lipgloss junkie

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Privacy, What Privacy?

I wrote this three years ago and sadly nothing (much) has changed.....

If you've ever found yourself trying to remain quiet as a church mouse while in the bathroom of your own home, chances are you're a mom.  What is it about those few moments of solitude that drives a child crazy. As if there is something so important that can't wait until after we've washed our hands.  i am convinced that CHILD stands for Can't Help Interrupting Locked Doors.  Just recently, my one year old came screaming 'mommy' at the door of the bathroom 3 times within the five minutes I was in there.  And my daughter of course just walks right in on those off moments I forget to lock the door (I did the same thing as a child).  Yet no one ever bothers daddy when he has his moments on the throne.  And of course this doesn't just apply to the bathroom.  Even worst is those ever so precious moments of alone time with my husband.  There is nothing worse when you are trying to be sexy and intimate than a knock on the door.  Which is always accompanied by "What are you doing?"  And inevitably that whole lot of something that you were planning to do gets quickly deflated to a quickie, if that.  How parents of several children ever find time to themselves is a mystery to me.  Why didn't they tell us that children have a radar for when parents want to be intimate.  it's as if an alarm goes off.  yet my six year-old has been known to push me and my husband together to kiss (Note:  She doesn't do this anymore, she thinks it's gross).  But again, there is no locked door involved then.  Someone tell me, when will the moment come when I can stop sneaking around my own house in fear of being found by my two rugrats.  Until I figure it out, I will continue to sneak out of the room and practice being silent.  All the while, my daughter (and now my son) insists that she needs privacy....as if!!
the lipgloss junkie

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Anxiety, excitement, and facials...Oh My!

Elaine Sterling Institute
The Future Esthetician
Being in the room, one familiar face (that of the girl I saw on the way in the door), yet feeling like I'm in the wrong place.  Kinda like the feeling I had when I spent the entire morning in the 3rd grade classroom, when I was supposed to be in the 2nd grade.  These were the first few flutters of anxiety I experienced on the first day of esthetician school.  Come to find out, we were in the wrong room.  Upon getting to the right room, I find out that my cohort is comprised of four students. I found that awesome, four of us to go through this journey together, to study together, to practice on each other, and with any luck, to become friends through a shared experience.  By mid morning, after sharing my story and hearing their and filling out the necessary paperwork, I was still in la la land.  Still excited that I had actually stepped out on faith and followed my dream.  When we found out that we were getting facials (to know how it feels), I was elated.  Upon receiving it, along with a back treatment, and foot massage, I was singing in my head like Annie, "I think I'm going to like it here."  Now, I've been to three classes and the excitement is still there.  The newness and anticipation not waning.  Overjoyed to learn facial cleansing and the muscles of the body.  Putting one foot in front of the other....walking into the light of my destiny.
Smooches, The Lipgloss Junkie

Friday, August 17, 2012

It's Zentsational!

A while back, early July I think, I ordered the Total Beauty Collection.  For those who don't know, its a collection of several deluxe samples of beauty products that you can purchase for only $15.  This was my first time ordering, and while I could tell you all about the whole collection, no need to since there's a new one out now and you can't order it anyway.  I do, however, feel obliged to share with you the one highlight of the collection, at least for me.  I am sooo loving the Zents Eau de Toilette in Petal.  Generally, I have a very sensitive sense of smell and wear very few fragrances without a headache.  However, not only can I wear Petal without any headache, I find myself sniffing my wrist throughout the day because I absolutely love the smell.  When I went searching for more info, I found out that the founder of the company, Cord Coen, was in a car accident, lost his sense of smell, and upon regaining it was hypersensitive to smells (check the website for the full story).  Thus, Zents was born for all of us with overactive senses of smell.  Did I say how much I love it?  Anyway, this particular scent is described on the Zents site as "The elegance of lilies, the pure beauty of an offering, a devotion, a holding out of your hand."    Strangely, I think I get it.  One thing is for sure, my little sample vial is almost gone, as I've been dabbing some on everyday.  Guess I'll have to graduate to a full-sized product ($56).  Check them out, your nose might thank you.
PETAL eau de toilette

Chasing My Dream

On Wednesday, I wandered into Uniform Advantage, searched among the tons of options, and purchased 2 sets of gray scrubs.  While scrubs can be touted as comfortable wear and used as more than professional wear, my purchase marked the reality of my new journey.  Tomorrow, dressed in my new uniform, I will be attending my first class of esthetician school at The Elaine Sterling Institute.  I have neglected my dream for the past 9+ years and I am finally refusing to let another year go by without following the path in my heart.  I may be a lipgloss junkie now, but I'm destined for licensed esthetician and lipgloss master.  Don't be afraid to follow your dreams!

the lipgloss junkie

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pleasure "Pin"ciple

Be still my heart, Pinterest has finally released an app for Android.  Why am I so excited, you ask?  For a gal  like me, wandering the aisles of a department store and looking at the pretty things, is tons of fun.  Pinterest is like all of the same beauty and wonder bundled up in a non-debt incurring fashion.  Sure I can take some time to wander through Macy's and look at all of the new items and some old favorites at the Clinique and MAC counters (which I did today and amazingly didn't buy anything).  But pinning make-up looks, nail trends, and hot hair puts a smile on my face. It's the little things.  Check out my pins at pinterest.com/glossandchaos.  What are you pinning?

the lipgloss junkie

Monday, August 6, 2012

Plug into your Family

The other day at work, while reviewing a child's plan (I coordinate a program for kids with disabilities), I read something that took me by surprise.  One of the goals for this two year-old who isn't talking yet, was to decrease iPad use.  This made me wonder, are we failing to teach our kids the art of playing and social interaction and  instead relying on technology too much? (Note:  By no means am I trying to suggest that the child is not talking because of its use.  The child has a true speech delay.  Nor am I trying to implicate his parents, but to rather shed light on the current state of parenting in general.)

When I was growing up, I couldn't wait to get a pen pal.  Checking the mail was an exciting part of my day (for some reason it still is although I could do without the bills).  As I got older, I would stay up all night long talking on the phone to my girlfriends.  Now verbal communication and letter writing has given way to texting, emails, and Facebook.  Why talk on the phone for 5 minutes when you can send 10 grammatically incorrect text messages?  Hanging out on the porch playing cards with friends is being replaced by Words with Friends.  I'm as guilty as the rest of the world. My children know how to operate all of the electronic devices out.  The oldest has her own Nook and there are discussions of what to get the youngest.  It is nothing for my four year-old son to grab my phone and start playing Angry Birds (he's better at it than I am).   Sending my kids outside is likely to end in complaints about the heat or boredom.  Children are becoming way too dependent on technological advances as a means of entertainment.  That innate ability to play is being destroyed.

So, how can we combat losing our children and gaining a group of robots. Here's a few simple suggestions:
  1. Have dinner with the family.  Actually sit at the table (not in the car) and talk about the day.  My dinner time usually includes very corny jokes by my daughter.
  2. Plan a family game night.  There is nothing like watching my husband play Cootie with my son.
  3. Go outside.  Wash the car together. Talk a walk around your neighborhood. Play catch.  It doesn't matter, just do it together.
  4. Write letters to the grandparents (though some are tech savvy, they'd much rather receive a handwritten letter).
  5. Have a dance off with your family.  Tonight after dinner, we taught my daughter the running man and the roger rabbit while listening to Janet Jackson.  Meanwhile, she told us how old school we are and asked to listen to Beyonce.
  6. Turn off the tv, computer, tablets, etc.  Every year, in April there is a National Turn Off The TV/Screen-Free week.  It is geared towards taking back family time.  You don't have to wait until April.  With school starting soon, reduce or eliminate screen time during the week.  I attempt to limit our time to one show per kid during the week.
Now, I'm not trying to sound high and mighty.  My household is by no means perfect.  In fact, I struggle to consistently enforce some of these.  We do manage to have dinner together almost every night.  And we frequently dance together.  I know I have a battle on my hands to reduce the tv and nook use since school is starting.  But we can replace that time by playing games.  And when we do the most amazing thing happens...my children stop fighting with each other.  They start taking turns.  And we all start learning a little more about each other, simply because we're talking to one another.  Let's go from an iFamily to My Family. What other suggestions do you have?

The Lipgloss Junkie

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Lipgloss Junkie

I've always had a fascination with makeup and all things beauty.  I remember as a kid, sitting at my grandmother's big, white, vanity and playing with her many silver tubes of Clinique lipstick and admiring her Pond's cold cream.  And I shudder at the thought, when my grandfather caught me, around 12, wearing bright red Wet n Wild lipstick ( I won't tell you what he called me...use your imagination).  My first kiss occurred only after applying one of my many (this is an understatement, I swear I had every flavor they made) Lipsmacker lip balms.  And I can still smell my mom's Fashion Fair Brown Sugar lipstick.

While my beauty love started with lipstick and lip balm, I believe my love affair with lipgloss started with Oh! Baby by MAC.  And it has continued to this day. I am always looking to try new or resurrect old shades and formulas.  One could say I'm kind of obsessed with my gloss. Recently, fed up with never being able to get the last drop out of the tube, I did a little surgery.  Maybe a little extreme for some, but not for the lipgloss junkie.   What are your lip loves?

My Makeup Goodies
Typical lip selection in my makeup bag (actually this is a light selection)

The Avon surgery patient. lol. I got every drop.

The Lipgloss Junkie

Friday, July 27, 2012

Rainbow Children

As parents, do we inadvertently teach our kids to recognize the differences among individuals all while preaching that God created us as equals?  The other day while reading Ramona and her Mother by Beverly Cleary to my eight year-old, she commented "Stop reading it like a black person, they're white."  At the time all I could do was hand her the book back and shake my head (mommy faux pas # 1: missed the teachable moment).  After seeing the reactions of folks on Facebook (mommy faux pas #2), mostly in applause, and speaking with my husband, it made me reflect back on how I'm rearing my children.

A few years back, my daughter was constantly saying how she wished she had blond hair and blue eyes.  I partially attributed this to the lack of images of young (6-10yrs) black children in mainstream kids media (ie. Nickelodeon, Disney Channel).  And while it is getting better, the images we still still hardly ever look like her.  So at the time, wanting my child to understand how beautiful she is and that beauty comes in many shades, I subscribed to Essence to show her what she didn't see on tv.  I wasn't trying to purposely cause a racial divide, but to merely boost her confidence and instill some pride.  Now I wonder, did I do the wrong thing?

If you look at my family, where we come in such a vast range of skin tones and hair textures, how can you not see the beauty in God's diversity.  I'm thankful that my children aren't growing up in the segregated south of years ago, though if we turn on the news, Trayvon Martin's death tells us we aren't but so far removed from it.  I suppose the best thing I can do for my daughter and son is to expose them to images of varying backgrounds (Dora, The Cosby Show, Hannah Montana), seize the teachable moments, and teach them that none is better than the other.  We'll continue to read Essence and American Girl books and listen to Beyonce and Adele.  And as my motherly duty, I'll always tell them how beautiful/handsome and smart they are.  We are truly all part of God's beautiful rainbow of children and should be acknowledged as such.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Step by Step

You can't make progress if you don't start somewhere.  I said that it was time to make a change.  Time to clear some of the clutter that has been dragging me down.  Well, as much as I could tell you about it, I thought it made even more sense to show you.  These are the before and after pictures of my dreaded kitchen shelf.  It was so exhilarating to finally organize it.  And mostly to purge the unnecessary items taking space and draining the energy out of my house.  This took up most of my Saturday.  But for hard work there is a reward.  My in-laws unexpectedly picked up the kids, which allowed me and hubby for some overdue alone time.  We finally got to knock some of those movies off of the DVR.  And as great as my Saturday turned out, I had an even better Sunday.  I was spiritually fed by the wonderful Rachael Miller of Color Me Organized and the lovely ladies of Women Empowering Women.  I am now better armed to pursue my purpose with a passion and I am beginning with cleaning my house, literally.  No need to be ashamed when unexpected company comes, let;s be prepared.  With all the chaos of everyday life, one could ask how?  Well, I'll be honest...I'm still figuring it out.  I'm a mom.  I'm tired.  And honestly, not that well motivated to clean (I'm transparent too).  But, I am also a believer and a dreamer.  And frankly, I am better.  And everyday  I aim to make little steps with a lot of support.  You can do it too!

The Lipgloss Junkie

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Selfish Restoration

I am living the life.  I am sitting in a hotel room, paid for by work, and flipping through the channels on the television.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Ten years ago, living the life would include hanging with my girls in some far away city.  Yet, here I am in good old Columbus, GA and this is now my definition of great.  It's so amazing how when you're younger the world is your oyster, but when you get a little older you realize that oysters are kind of slimy.  Well, I guess it's just a change of perspective.  While I would love to be strolling the Seine, I am well aware that that path I chose includes more of safaris with Diego.  I love my children with every part of my being.  There's nothing like the smile on my son's face when I pick him up from school.  Or having girl talk with my daughter.  But there's also nothing like having a few moments alone.  Time to process my thoughts without any demands.  Time to remember that I was a person before a mother or a wife.  So while it may seem a little selfish to enjoy business travel for the sake of personal gain, I wouldn't change a thing.  If I didn't have a moment to step away from my ever so crazy life, I wouldn't be able to see the beauty in it.  So I'll enjoy my peaceful hotel room to renew Nicole so that Mommy can return home tomorrow.  After all, it's the little things.

Fellow Mommies:  Take care of yourselves and you'll be better able to take care of others.  Sometimes that means getting a night away and sometimes it means making a pit stop at Ulta.  I'll take both.

The Lipgloss Junkie

Monday, July 16, 2012

Everything...Except My Lipgloss

My house is a disaster.  There, I’ve said it.  As I was reading this month’s Good Housekeeping about clearing clutter, I glance around my kitchen and it was like the author was pointing a finger right at me.  It’s not as if this is a brand new revelation.  Of course it’s something I’ve always known, something that I’ve even spouted to some of my friends at times.  But for some reason, this one article made me take a look around. A good look around. 
Let’s face it, I was a messy child.  I find sentiment in almost everything or assumed value (“I could use this for…”).  My mother was always trying to get me to clean my room and then threw things away behind my back.  And sadly, this is the same thing I’ve done for my daughter.  Blaming her for not keeping her room clean, but not giving her a good example to follow (Note:  My mother actually kept a clean house, not sure what happened to me).  She even questioned me once, “Why should I clean my room when yours is a mess?”.  And I believe I gave a song and dance about “do as I say and not as I do”.  In my profession, I know that doesn’t work, but it didn’t stop me from trying to cover up my own personal flaws. 
So as I sit here looking around, I see the shelf that was purchased to keep junk off of the kitchen table.  The shelf that is covered in mail that hasn’t been opened and a ridiculous collection of reusable grocery bags.  Those bags are sitting next to a crate of plastic grocery bags, because I never quite remember to take the reusable ones to the store.  Then there’s the pile of cardboard boxes meant for recycling, however I probably only make it to the recycling bin once per month.  You can imagine how that pile can grow.  My attempts at being good for the earth are making a muck in my house.  And then there is the collection of Easter candy on top of the refrigerator.  Whose idea was it to collect candy for holidays?  Seriously, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and sometimes Christmas always produce 2 piles of candy in my home, which I never let the kids eat.  And since the economy is tight, the candy is usually the cheap kind that I don’t even want to eat.  And so it sits.
I’ve made valiant attempts to try to free myself from the clutter.  I donate clothes to Goodwill or whichever organization is willing to pick it up at least once a quarter.  It’s a great tax deduction and the kids outgrow their clothes so quickly.  Sadly the last time I had a scheduled pickup, they left some of the stuff on the porch…and it’s still sitting there. I know, trifling.  Well something has got to give. 
In recent years, I think I’ve excused away some of my clutter by knowing that I’m not completely alone.  From visiting other people’s homes for work, I can say that almost all of the homes I’ve been to over the years have been corrupted by clutter. The few that weren’t the moms admitted to either having a maid or cleaning for our visit. And those that were immaculate, only a few, I kind of got scared that the kids weren’t getting a proper developmental experience.  Go figure.  I’ve been to the homes of well to do folks and homes in the projects where roaches weren’t given a second thought.  The one thing these homes had in common was the kids that lived there.  I went from having a cluttered apartment with only my stuff to a house with 4 people’s belongings. 
I don’t have an active system for eliminating clutter, just an effort to continuously buy a shelf or a basket or new hangers to move around the clutter.  So instead of doing the same thing and buying more fancy hangers, I’m going to do as the article says and determine if we “love it or use it” and make a plan to purge.  They say “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” and right now I would probably ask for a rain check if God showed up at my door. Let’s see how much I can get accomplished in the next 3 months.  Everything in my house needs to stand before the jury to determined if it is worthy of being saved or purged.  Everything, except my lipgloss.