Ipsy Review

My September Glam Bag

I recently decided to try Ipsy, where I have an opportunity to try five trial size products every month. I’ve seen Ipsy advertisements for a couple of years now but was very skeptical because I don’t feel I use enough beauty products to need five new ones every month. However, when I realized you complete a survey so they can determine products that best suit your needs AND you have the option to skip the month, I figured it was worth a try.

The first thing I love about Ipsy is you get a new make up bag every month. Now, please understand, I don’t use them but they are cute enough to be used as stocking stuffers during the holiday season or they can be used as a replacement gift bag for small tokens. They send a makeup bag they deem suitable for the season. It is wrapped separately from the products so it arrives with absolutely no wear and tear.

The next thing I love about Ipsy is that I get to pick one product every month of my choosing. Each month I have chosen mascara because that is the beauty product I wear the most and it’s also one of my splurge items . If I rack up enough trial size products, that’s one product I can save on throughout the year.

More importantly, I have been just as satisfied with the remaining four products they have chosen for me each month. Every eyeshadow I have received has been appropriate and the colors palettes have included only the shades I use. This is perfect because none of the items I receive are being wasted. I’ve also received some of the most amazing scrubs and masks. I am happy to report Ipsy is sending quality products and the ration is more than sufficient for the cost. If you love makeup or you are still in the experimenting phase with beauty products, just as I am, I would strongly encourage you to try Ipsy. It is definitely worth the hype.

August Glam Bag
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Music Makes You Lose Control

Music has always been an escape for me. Songs allow me to experience what I’m going through. Whether I’m feeling good or bad, I’ve always listened to music to help me relax, solve problems, motivate me, and even challenge me. Having a brother that was a disc jockey for many years, I’ve had the opportunity to indulge in many genres of music. I’ve learned to appreciate the tenuous sounds that help declutter my thoughts as well as the more rigid and unyielding sounds that make me want to take on the world. While I listen to everything from trance to classical (occasionally), I have a list of favorites that are somehow rooted in every playlist I have.

  1. “Nobody Loves Me Like You Do” – Whitney Houston and Jermaine Jackson
  2. “Angel”- Jack Johnson
  3. “Deliver Me” – Leandria Johnson
  4. “Free Me” – Joss Stone
  5. “Best Friend” – Brandy
  6. “Wrong Side of a Love Song” – Melanie Fiona
  7. “I Never Thought I’d Fall I’d Love on Christmas Day” – Brian McKnight and Boyz II Men
  8. “Naked” – Ella Mai
  9. “Never Wanna Live Without You” – Mary J Blige
  10. “All I Want for Christmas is You” – Mariah Carey

While most people listen to holiday music during the holidays, I listen to holiday music all year long. Mariah Carey’s Christmas song is actually one of the songs that I listen to when working out. And once I pick a song I like, I will listen to it on repeat for at least one week straight. Well, maybe not a week, but definitely enough to annoy people that can hear my music. What about you? Do you have a list of favorites that are in all of your playlists or do you have your selections in your playlist based on genres or activities? Drop a few of your faves below so I can try to add more variety to my selections.

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Parenting: You’re Doing it Wrong

As parents, we try our best to do the right thing at all times for our children. We constantly  pray and ask for guidance in leading our children. Unfortunately, even as adults, we are still products of our past environment and continue to be influenced by the things we saw and heard as children. These things lead us in making decisions that are not always appropriate for our own children. The lifestyle that worked for us might not be the lifestyle that our children are here to live. So what advice would I offer parents?

  1. Figure it out. – As I just stated, what worked for me in growing up did not work for my son. He did not respond well to harsh criticism. He didn’t have the desire to prove me wrong if I doubted him. He did not have the mentality of, “I’m going to make a believer out of you, even if it’s the last thing I do.” You have to figure out what works for your child to bring out the best of them. It took me many years to realize that my son needed to talk through things. He needed to hear the good and the bad and process it all for himself. This led him to understanding the power in his own decision making. When he made mistakes, he would either alter his efforts or stick with the plan until it came to fruition. In the midst of all of this, we had to figure it out. I didn’t read books and I didn’t seek advice from other mothers; we created our own lane that allowed us to run our race.
  2. Set boundaries – We wanted our son to feel free to share his thoughts, ideas and even things he disagreed on. However, none of this came without boundaries. We reminded him that while we were open to hearing what he had to say and we valued his input, there were still restrictions in his approach and what he was allowed to have input on. We talked to our son about major decisions such as purchasing vehicles, going on vacations and adjustments to spending that would impact him. We gave him the courtesy of knowing he was part of the decision making process as long as he understood and played his defined role.
  3. Express your love through words and actions  – I grew up in a household where love was in the deeds but never in the words. I can’t say that I liked this lifestyle so I definitely changed it in my parenting. Every night we said, “I love you”. We made sure no matter how upset we got, our son knew our love still existed. We gave hugs, pounds, fist bumps, kisses on the cheeks, and many more terms of endearment so he would never feel he wasn’t loved. Our love was extended beyond making sure there was a roof over his head and food on the table. Even during his teenage years, we made quality time matter. While we wanted him to know they things we provided him was a part of our love, it was not the only thing that we shared to show him how much we truly love him.
  4. Provide support – As a child, the one thing I was able to say is I had the most supportive parents on the planet. They attended all of our school functions and extra-curricular activities. This was so important to me in my development. However, support can take a different turn. Support extended beyond being at all the functions. Support included addressing the teacher that suggested your son would be a first generation college student on an athletic scholarship. Support was having a conversation with the teacher that made my son’s athletic abilities a priority over his academic abilities. Support was also calling out the behaviors of my son and the adults who felt he could go through phases of life with little to no accountability. Yes, we loved supporting the glowing moments but the growing moments were just as relevant.
  5. Model the behaviors you want to see – Lead by example. In parenting we have a tendency to want to be right because we’re the adults. The biggest example we could have set was admitting we were wrong and letting our son see us make mistakes. In learning from those mistakes, we had to show him how to bounce back and transform into something better. My son had an opportunity to watch us in roles of coaches, educators, students, parents, spouses, etc. Each of these roles challenged our decision making, our integrity, our resilience and even our pride. And with Simba watching, we still had to show him how to rise above it all. This took a very conscious effort because we had to make determinations on how we would want to see him respond if placed in a similar situation. Would he fold or would he spread?

Are you a parent? What are some of the mistakes you’ve made and what has helped you become more effective as a parent? Drop some tips below.

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What’s In My Makeup Bag – Save or Splurge

Makeup artists are becoming very popular. People are traveling to different cities and even states looking for makeup artists to make them look flawless while vacationing or preparing for a nice event. In addition to more and more women using makeup artists, women are starting to spend a lot more time in the mirror applying their own makeup to allow them a perfect look. I, on the other hand, don’t have time for it. I didn’t start wearing makeup until I was in my 30s and while I’ve added more products to my cosmetic bag, I’m just not here for a two hour makeover every morning. I have a 15 minute routine that works for me and it gives me a look that’s satisfying enough. So what’s in my bag and do I spend a lot on my products?

  1. Foundation (splurge) – I use the Lancome Dual Finish Powder. This product is a splurge, costing around $42, but it is long lasting. I like the fact that it’s not heavy like other products I’ve experienced. This product really does have a smooth finish and the blending is great.
  2. Foundation (save) – During the summer months I don’t wear foundation that often and because I don’t go many places I would consider important enough to wear my “expensive” makeup, I opt for Ulta’s foundation which cost $14.00. The foundation goes on very smoothly and is also light. However, it wears throughout the day and I have to touch up if I want the look to last.
  3. Highlighter Stick (save) – I’m learning how to use highlighter so I look for products that are very affordable while I experiment with this part of my routine. I use Victoria’s Secret Just Say Glow highlighter stick. Again, I’m learning so for now this is sufficient. Once this wears out I’m not sure what I’m going to use because they no longer carry this product.
  4. Blush (save) – I use to swear by Mary Kay’s blush until I could no longer find a Mary Kay salesperson. This sad event led me to try new products but I didn’t want to spend a lot. I tried Ulta’s blush but that didn’t seem to work out. I finally tried CoverGirl Cheekers and I am in love with the quality. I tried the color Rock N Rose and I will continue to purchase this product. The blush ranges from $5.00 – $7.00 depending on where I’m purchasing the product.
  5. Finishing Powder (save) – This is another product that I purchased from Mary Kay and well, you know how that ended. I came across Cover Girl’s translucent powder and I like the fact that they one powder that matches every skin tone so I don’t have to figure out what blends and what doesn’t. The powder cost approximately $7.00.
  6. Mascara Primer (save) – Many people don’t think there is a need for primer but it is essential. It definitely enhances my eyelashes and stretches the length before I apply my mascara. I use L’oreal Voluminous Primer and it runs about $6.00 if bought alone.
  7. Mascara (splurge) – I put a lot of attention into my eyelashes so therefore I’m willing to pay for mascara products. I think it’s cheaper to buy quality mascara than it is to put on lashes everyday or have lashes applied weekly. I don’t have one particular brand that I stick to but I purchase mascara products that have proven to be quality products. Some of the mascara products I use include Too Faced Better Than Sex, Milk Makeup Kush Mascara, Laura Geller GlamLash, Buxom Mascara and Bad Gal Bang Mascara. All of these products range from $24 – $30. I am also enrolled in the Ipsy program and I select a mascara product every month for my Glam Bag.
  8. Eyeliner (save) – I use one brand and one color eyeliner. I only use NYX blue crayon eye pencil. I catch the eyeliner pencils on sale at Ulta and that covers me for about two years. These pencils run about $4.50/pencil and I catch the buy one, get one 1/2 sale.
  9. Chapstick (save) – This is definitely a save because I always get the chapstick that is available at the doctor’s office. It’s a free product you can grab when you grab your lollipops.
  10. Lip Gloss (save) – I always misplace my lip gloss so I refuse to pay a ton of money for it. Victoria’s Secret recently had their lip gloss on sale for $2.00 and of course I stocked up on lip gloss. I also but Ulta brand lip gloss.
  11. Lipstick (splurge) – I just started wearing lipstick, like really wearing lipstick this year. I have been using Mac Uniformly Fabulous and it is amazing. The product is long lasting and some days I have to use makeup wipes to remove the product. I love this product because it does not wear throughout the day even after drinking through a straw or having breakfast and lunch. Very seldom is there a need to do touch ups.

Whew I did not realize how many products I had in my bag or how many I actually use in my 15 minute routine What’s in your bag? Any suggestions for any other beauty products or steals and deals?

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Date Ideas

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With so many things going on in the state of Texas, I’ve become accustomed to the idea of being confined to my home. Many businesses have reopened with modified hours and people are starting to move about life as usual . I, on the other hand, have not yet adjusted back to my to life before Covid-19. I go to the stores for necessities and I’ve ventured out to the malls for very short periods of time on a couple of occasions, but I have not gotten back to the normalcy of life. The one thing that still makes me the most uncomfortable is the idea of dining in restaurants and sitting amongst groups. I definitely want to go out and enjoy dinner or wine tasting but large groups of people don’t sit well with me. Since I realize I’m going to stay in my bubble for an extended period, I figured I’d try to bring date night to our home. Below are some of the things I enjoy doing so I’m going to attempt to recreate these dates at my abode.

Movie Night – I honestly watch the same movies over and over so to do this at home is perfect for me. I recently bought small sectional food platters so I can organize an assortment of snacks on our trays and we can sit and eat our snacks and then fall asleep after we finish our snacks. We don’t do well with movies, but the idea of having a variety of snacks we typically save for our rare movie dates should be fun.

Backyard Picnic – As many know, I worked at home for five years. To spice up my dreadful days of sitting around the house, staring at my computer, I would often go to the park and have lunch. Fresh air revives me. We ordered patio furniture so we don’t even have to go to the park, we can picnic in our backyard.

Spa Day – I do all things spa but never on the same day. I might do a mask on Monday, bubble bath on Tuesday, foot massage on Wednesday and so on. To devote a day to pampering myself and then relaxing with a good book already sounds inviting.

Wine Tasting – I don’t know much about wine, alcohol, liquor, whatever. I like doing wine tastings but in the end I always buy the same flavor, blueberry. I recently bought a pineapple flavored wine and added pina colada mix to it. Delicious! I’m thinking I can buy different flavors and add the pina colada mix to each flavor to see what I can blend together. And in case you’re wondering, I add pina colada to so many things, snow cones, wine, smoothies, etc.

Have you guys tried date night at home? What are some good things to do? It’s been a long time since we’ve been empty nesters so we haven’t done “date night” as a couple at home in a long time.

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Officially Done!

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“When God pushes you to the edge of difficulty, trust Him fully, because two things can happen. Either He’ll catch you when you fall, or he will teach you how to fly.”

Whew! As many of you know, I started my journey to obtaining a master’s degree last year. I completed a two year program in 15 months after determining I would have my intern overlap with my classes. Going back to school after 23 years was very challenging and rewarding at the same time. During this time I was reminded of my own resilience and tenacity. I was definitely stretched far beyond the limits I placed on myself. The fear I experienced at the beginning was indescribable. While I shared this information on my blog, I only shared it with very close family members such as my husband, son, siblings and parents. I was so afraid I wouldn’t have the desire or endurance to stay the course so I kept it a secret just in case I decided to quit. The funny part is, I’m no quitter. I thoroughly think things through before I start the process. So, I knew when I started, my will to finish would power me through. But, I was still petrified. The constant thoughts of, “What if I don’t finish on time?”, “What if I decide to take a break?”; the constant what ifs paralyzed me.

Well, none of that matters anymore. I’m officially done!!! Well, kind of. I still have to take my certification exam but the most difficult part is over. Although we had a virtual ceremony, I was able to ride down to the campus and take a few pictures and then I logged in to the ceremony to watch my name scroll across the screen. Initially I was disappointed that our in person graduation was cancelled but after that last activity was submitted, I didn’t care. Nothing could stop my shine.

I write this to say to any of you that are afraid of stepping out on faith, go for it. Lots of tears, lots of prayers, but more importantly, the countless number of times I reminded myself, “Faith over fear.” Some of you are doubting your ability to do something right now, I encourage you to push past your comfort zone. “Your wings already exist. All you have to do is fly.”

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Birthday #46 – Wimberley, TX.

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This week I celebrated my birthday and like many others that have celebrated their birthday this year, I celebrated in isolation. The difference between me and most people is this is typical for me. I had a couple of parties in high school and one birthday celebration as an adult, and I found that parties are not the most entertaining for me.

As a child, our birthday celebrations consisted of us having access to the biggest television in the house all day where we could watch what we wanted, dinner of our choosing and our favorite cake. This was enjoyable and sufficient for me as a child and as I’ve gotten older I find myself celebrating more and more birthdays in this very same manner.

This year we had to drop my son off to begin his first semester of college so I was looking for a few moments in seclusion to gather myself and regroup. My husband planned a trip to a hidden cabin with no neighbors and no noise. I had a couple of days that consisted of silence, wine, and complete relaxation.

Now, I’m not downplaying birthdays. It’s actually a pretty big deal for me. But the idea of crowds, parties and parades are just not my thing. However,  I do get excited for a new year, new adventures, and new goals. So cheers to 46 years!

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God Grant Me the Serenity

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As educators, we are all moving into the state of the unknown. Everyday, something different is transpiring behind closed doors that have an impact on many families. Anxiety is building, tempers are flaring and some are falling by the wayside. In preparation for the upcoming school year, plans are changing from day to day. And while I find myself getting frustrated, I had to pause and remind myself of the serenity prayer. The most important part for me over the last few days has been the part that says, “courage to change the things I can”. I’m so glad to have reminded myself of this because otherwise I was going to go bananas. While there are many things I cannot control as it relates to decision making, there are a ton of things I can control as it relates to the way I respond to things. Those few things include:

  • My thought process – Instead of focusing on everything that’s being said and done, I only focus on the small pieces that impact me. I’m only a minute piece to the puzzle. If I focus on where I fit into the puzzle and let the pieces around me fall into place, it will all work out to create a beautiful masterpiece.
  • Boundaries – Right now everybody is on edge, but it doesn’t give someone the right to snap at others. I am willing to protect my peace at all cost in this hour. I refuse to become a scapegoat for anyone in distress during this trying time.
  • Staying physically active – I try to workout at least five days a week. I’ve gone from only working out 2-3 days a month prior to Covid, to making sure I’m spending most of my evenings getting fresh air. This is two-fold, it helps me physically and emotionally.
  • My schedule – In an effort to control my state of unease, I chose to plan day to day this week instead of planning for the whole week. This makes my schedule appear less stressful and I don’t start the day worrying about the next day. This has allowed me to be in the moment this week without the distractions of what’s to come.
  • Limits on social media – Now that I’m back into the swing of things, I need to adjust to my social media schedule for school. I’ve had a lot of screen time since March and it’s time to refocus and remove the distractions.

Today, I’m choosing to remove all diversions and be at peace. “Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm.”

 

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Motivational Quotes

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As I get closer to finishing grad school, the more difficult it is to stay motivated. It appears that many of the tasks have become redundant and we are being issued assignments to buy time until we cross the finish line. Having run out of energy and simply relying on fumes, I’ve resolved to listening to inspirational music and reading some of  my favorite quotes to keep me going. I have kept this quotes in a journal for years and I reference them often when I feel like I’ve hit a brick wall.

  • “You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out, but you have to suit up for them all.” – Everyday is not your best day. But everyday it is necessary to give your best.
  • “Those who wish to sing always find a song.” – Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Make it happen.
  • “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – You’re never a quitter until you stop trying.
  • “Whoever I am, or whatever I am doing, some kind of excellence is within my reach.” – There is some level of greatness within you.
  • “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” – Every step that moves you forward is a step in the right direction.
  • “Whatever you are, be a good one.” – No one gets to determine what you’re going to be but you owe it to yourself to be the best version of you.
  • “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” – Set your goals high. Even if you fall short, great things have still happened in the process.

Keep cheering me on to the finish line. I’m close enough to see the tape. If you have a quote or two that keeps you motivated, please feel  free to share. 🙂

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Goal Digger

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2020 arrived and revised our lives. Many adjustments have been made in an effort to keep moving. 2020 has grounded us in fear, dread and agitation. In all of my years of experiencing social media, I have never encountered so many people troubled with anxiety, stress and the pressure of the unknown. A lot of people are finding out depression is real. There are days when I struggle to do the bare minimum. Sometimes it’s because I’m overwhelmed and sometimes it’s because I’m lazy. I find myself spinning in a haze, not knowing where to start or where I should end. And in those moments. I redirect my attention back to my goals. While many have put 2020 to rest already, I am still working vigorously towards my goals and it is my desire to fulfill each of them before the year ends. Many of my goals are closely coming to fruition in the very near future and some I will work diligently to accomplish, even it it means meeting the goal on December 31, 2020. My goals for the rest of the year include:

  1. Graduate with a M.ED in Educational Leadership/Administration and pass my certification exams.
  2. Lose 7-10 pounds and stay consistent with managing my weight.
  3. Increase my Poshmark sales.
  4. Grow my blog and network with other bloggers.
  5. Pay off my credit card debt.
  6. Limit screen time when I have down time.
  7. Take another photography class.
  8. Attend a WordPress training.
  9. Learn how to understand and operate the functions of Pinterest.
  10. Stop worrying.

I know many of you are pushing through this year trying to maintain. Are you still working towards achieving your goals? Do we have similar goals that we could possibly support one another in achieving? Let me know how you’re doing with your goals. As for me and the members of my house, we have to keep on pushing.

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