Ipsy – Pros and Cons

June 2021 IPSY Glam Bag

A couple of months ago I wrote a review about a product I started using after receiving a trial size via Ipsy. I have been purchasing the Ipsy glam bags for one year now and I must say I have found it to be a very beneficial membership. In the beginning I was skeptical about trying Ipsy, simply because I didn’t want another reoccurring bill for something else that wasn’t a necessity. I was already paying a gym membership and for the use of Amazon Prime. I’m not sure what I saw, probably an ad on social media, that made me go for it and I’m glad I did. The pros of using Ipsy have outweighed the cons and I personally think the $12.99/month has been a great investment in my hair and skin care products.

The thing I love about Ipsy is the beauty preference that’s completed to help pick products. Based on my experiences, they utilize the profile sheet to make selections monthly. I can’t recall receiving any products that were outside of my selected preferences. I also like the fact that I can modify my preferences at any time. Because of this, I’ve been able to try some things I wouldn’t imagine picking up in the store, i.e. red lipstick.

Since using Ipsy, I’ve had an opportunity to try some of the best skin care products available. In all of my years I never thought about how beneficial Vitamin C and serum could be for my skin. I received several types of serum and because my skin doesn’t break out often and responds well to most products, I have been able to experience so many wonderful options that have rejuvenated my skin. I do plan to get a facial and continue with the serum to see how much the general appearance of my skin improves.

If you read my post, What’s In My Makeup Bag – Save or Splurge, you know I pay the price for a good mascara. Fortunately, I have not bought a mascara in over a year. For the first six months, I selected a mascara for my selection. And I would like to believe that because mascara was often my first choice, even when I stopped picking mascara, I would often receive one in my glam bag. This has saved me hundreds of dollars over the past year. I also didn’t know what I was missing by sticking with the more popular brands or the brands recommended by the beauty advisors. My top two have been the Benefit They’re Real Magnetic Mascara and Pur On Point Mascara with Hemp.

Like my mascara, I haven’t spent much on facial products. I’ve received masks, exfoliants, srubs, serum, and face wash. I use a basic Ambi soap at night so I’ve been trying some of the cleansing products I’ve received in my glam bags for my morning routine. Again, this has saved me lots of money and trial and error has come at a very discounted price.

While I almost zero negative thoughts or comments, I would appreciate it if Ipsy would ship the glam bags sooner. My items are selected around the 25th of each month, I’m billed on the last day of the month but it takes another 15 days to ship the bag. It seems if my products are already selected, once the payment goes through it should take 3-4 days for assembly with shipping following shortly after. Because I have a fairly decent amount of products, I’m not pressed for any items. However, I do get excited about my monthly glam bag arriving in the mail.

If you have not tried Ipsy, I would strongly encourage you to try it, even if only for a short period of time. If you love make up, facial products, and/or hair care, Ipsy is a lifesaver and you can get products while on a budget. Try it if you dare!

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Date Night Options – Houston Edition

The kiddo is gone and date nights have become more of a thing in my household. For four years, date nights consisted of track meets, drop offs to football games, supporting the beloved high school volleyball team that had been ranked top five in the nation and any other high school highlight. Following my son’s senior year, we were still smack dead in the middle of a pandemic and were not moved to engage in too many extracurricular activities. Although we still limit the places we visit, we do try to find establishments that accommodate smaller crowds in larger spaces. Houston and its surrounding areas has a lot to offer. There are a few places I love to visit and some I am looking forward to dropping by to experience brand new adventures.

First on the list is The Kemah Boardwalk. Located along the shores of Galveston Island, it is a pleasure to go outside and water watch. There are several attractions on The Boardwalk and a variety of restaurants to choose from. In addition to the fun on the premises, there are several shops and restaurants surrounding The Boardwalk. They also have a winery that offers a wine tour and tasting and sits amongst some of the most private as well as beautiful cottages around. Kemah is a great place to go if you enjoy being outdoors and can appreciate amusement park vibes.

Next is Bogies. Bogies is a little gem I stumbled across last year. It is a pub/bar that has a sizable space but never gets overcrowded. They have the jukebox, the TVs, a game room and some of the most impressive Happy Hour specials you can find. On Fridays and Saturdays they have a live band. Each time I’ve visited, I’ve found the staff to be more than superb.

Friday Night Lights! Football is big in Texas. My husband and I are both sports fans so it is only right that we drop by a football game or two or three or four throughout the season. At the conclusion of the game, we will stop by a small establishment like Taco Cabana and enjoy a soda. Simple but effective date night.

The one place I am dying to try is Seismique. I’ve seen pictures of this museum and I am completely intrigued. I’m not sure if it’s going to be a great date night option or would be better for a girls’ night out but I’m definitely interested in seeing what it has to offer.

The best date night and the most recurring date night option is at home dates that consist of us picking up dinner, grabbing popcorn from one of our favorite popcorn places and finding a comedy to enjoy together. It is the least expensive and the most effective.

What are some things you enjoy doing for date night? For us, our favorites are dinner dates, museums. movie nights and sporting events. However, we are open to ice cream dates, driving around the city and even going to the gym. What about you?

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The Power of Words

Last school year was a very challenging school year for me, the hardest I’ve experienced. This school year, I was challenged with a new task/position and delighted was not on the list of emotions I felt at the time. The first few weeks I struggled. I grappled with lesson plans, instruction, the adjustments in timing and scheduling, meeting new kids, etc.

We are now a full nine weeks into school and I’ve realized how my thoughts and words changed my life. While I haven’t fully acclimated to my position, I’ve tried to highlight the good things that happen everyday. I started telling people why the position is a better fit and that is allowing me to grow in my season of being uncomfortable. Of course, quotes that apply to me during my unique seasons keep me optimistic. Some of the quotes that are visible to both me and my students are below.

  1. “Words can inspire and words can destroy. Choose yours well.” – Robin Sharra
  2. “Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.” – Pearl Strachan Hurd
  3. “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” – George Orwele
  4. Language creates reality. Words have power. Speak always to create joy.” – Deepak Chopra
  5. “There is power in words. What you see is what you get.” – Zig Ziglar

As I move throughout each day, my goal is to change my mindset and my words. Hopefully, this will encourage those around me to change as well. I’ve found the positive in having a modified schedule. While I thought the sessions was too short to fully assess a students’ understanding, I know realize it’s enough time to teach, assess and by the time the class ends the students have reached their frustration level. This gives them time to walk away and return the next day with an understanding of what’s to come. I now have an opportunity to work with students face to face that I had only encountered online. I get to meet personalities versus people. I can truly say I enjoy my babies. The lesson plans are actually scripted if I read between ALLLLLL the lines but half of my work is done. Because I’ve changed my words, I’m not as exhausted at the end of the day and I can focus on my own well being.

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Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

Last school year, my scholars and I read the book A Big Day for Baseball. It was a very entertaining but riveting read as we had an opportunity to “go back in time” and understand the experiences of Jackie Robinson and history being made. While I have no interest in baseball, after reading this book, I was enthralled and wanted to know more.

As we were preparing to head home from our annual vacation, my husband shared one of the stops was Kansas City, Missouri. BINGO! The Negro League Baseball Museum is located in Kansas City, MO. and I couldn’t have been more than thrilled. This was a perfect time to enhance my learning from the school year. Being in the museum really made reading come to life as I saw pictures of things that were highlighted in the book.

Upon entering the museum, the first thing we came across were statues of fans/spectators dressed in their Sunday best. This was one of the things highlighted in A Big Day for Baseball. Through pictures, readings, sculptures and statues, we got a chance to see how much baseball has evolved. From the seating to jerseys to dress codes to leagues becoming integrated, we saw it all.

The exit was really fun. The exit simulated an actual baseball field with players in position. It also had an area that housed awards for distinguished players that played in the Negro League as well as those that had gone on to break the color barrier and receive honors in Major League Baseball. What a joy this was to have the Magic Treehouse come to life!

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BONAJOUR Green Tea Water Bomb

Ipsy wins again! In one of my Ipsy glam bags, I was able to snag Bonajour’s Green Tea Water Bomb. While I use the mascara, eyeshadows, eyeliners and even the body scrubs I receive in my glam bags, I’m always hesitant to try facial products. I fear my skin having an adverse reaction to something I’ve tried or a product being too harsh for my skin.

During the month of June I sat in the sun for three straight days for approximately eight hours each day. My skin was four shades darker, dry and crisp. I was at the point of not having a foundation that was a good blend and I felt my skin needed some additional protection to survive the summer. I tried Cerave’, which is actually a great product, but when sitting in the sun all day, sweating, Cerave’s mositurizer would cause a light film that I had to wash off midway through the day. Unfortunately, this left my skin unprotected. Before purchasing another product, I started searching through my travel sized products I received from Ipsy and started reading the reviews for each product. After reading the reviews about the Green Tea Water Bomb, I decided to try this particular moisturizer while sitting in the heat at my next summer track meet.

The first thing I noticed about this product is how light it is. It actually revived my skin and brought my complexion back to life. It provided the protection I needed and even during the hottest part of the day, my skin felt cool and nourished. There was no need to refresh throughout the day and it minimized the amount of lotion/moisturizer I needed to use. I used this in the morning and my skin was secure throughout the entire day. More importantly, once my skin returned to its original shade, I noticed it never changed again. Even after sitting in the sun for six days straight, my skin maintained its color and its softness.

After using the Ipsy travel size, I ordered the full size from Amazon. It runs about $16 per bottle and is so worth it. I’ve stopped wearing foundation daily as this product provides a shine and a dazzle that makes it appear as if I have a light beat. When using foundation, I use a minimal amount and it helps keep my foundation in tact without having to freshen up throughout the day. This product definitely exceeded my expectations. Two thumbs up for Ipsy getting it right once again!

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Fall Fun

Autumn

Fall is around the corner and all 2021 people have been boldly stating “we outside” and that has held true. People are trying their best to return to some sense of normalcy. People are moving with precaution but not necessarily living in fear. This spring and summer, I had the opportunity to do some of my favorite things while continuing to practice social distancing and striving to follow the rules and regulations of establishments. As fall approaches, I plan to take the time to enjoy a few more activities before going in my house and hibernating for the winter. While summer is my favorite season of the year, fall is definitely the most comfortable. Things I plan to do this fall will include…

  1. Going to the pumpkin patch – I always enjoy the pumpkin patch. I never get a pumpkin but I do enjoy the eats and treats while at the pumpkin patch.
  2. College football games – I am a proud graduate of THEE best HBCU, Prairie View A&M University and there are several games I try to attend for the culture. I went to the Labor Day Classic on Saturday and it felt great to be in the atmosphere while sitting by myself, away from the crowds.
  3. Go to the drive in movie – We did the drive in movie some years ago and the hubby and I fell asleep while the kid watched the movie. Even crazier, the drive in was showing a two for one so we sat through two movies. I want to go back and hang out in the car and walk to the concession stand for a few snacks and enjoy a movie or fall asleep again.
  4. Wine tasting – We don’t drink much but we do enjoy trying new wines. It’s an opportunity to gain knowledge about wine, meet new people and it’s a pleasant experience.
  5. Start Christmas shopping – When my son was younger, I would have my Christmas shopping done by October and by the time people were starting their Christmas shopping I was planning a birthday party.

What are some good things to try in the fall? Drop some fun adventures below.

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In The Beginning

beginning

In the beginning…

We have associated this phrase with things coming to fruition for centuries. But this school year has started in complete chaos. In the beginning was madness and it has continued to escalate over the first few weeks of school. With Covid numbers rising and masks being encouraged but yet optional in our district, doors have been revolving since the first day of school.

Teachers are already exhausted. Students are in and out of the classrooms as they are testing positive for Covid. We can’t teach from home but we have to compile lessons for students to work/study at home. We’re having to teach face to face but plan as if we are face to face and remote teachers. We’re still having meetings and now we’re having to do interventions for students that didn’t demonstrate appropriate levels of growth last school year.

Parents are receiving letters everyday stating their student was in close contact with someone that has tested positive for Covid or was exposed to someone that has Covid. They are given the option of keeping students home or sending them back to school if the student has no symptoms. Fortunately, many parents are getting their students tested before sending them back, but how long will this last before they get tired of the testing? I can’t say that I blame them when they get to that point.

Parents are coming to the school angry because their child has been exposed and some parents are refusing to pick their students up from the nurse’s office after receiving a phone call saying their student is sick. We’ve even had a parent refuse to leave campus because he was so angry and wanted some answers.

How are we supposed to deal with this madness? Why do we feel rushed to get back to a brick and mortar setting? Why is remote learning not optional this year? From the elementary school to the college level, there is extreme concern. Where is the protection? What are we to do? What adjustments has your employer made in this season? Are you back in the office or still working remotely?

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Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls located in Minneapolis, MN. is noted to be one of the oldest and most popular parks in Minneapolis. At the present time, it is experiencing its first drought in over a decade so I am glad we decided to take the time to explore it earlier this summer. When deciding to visit, we were unsure of what to expect but the pictures online made the park look very alluring. What we knew for sure is there was a waterfall and we would have a very nice hike.

Upon arrival we were turned around because we couldn’t determine where to start. We parked and stood in one spot looking until we saw a flow of traffic and a stream of water. We followed the crowd (masked up, of course) and immediately heard the flow of the waterfalls. Although we were behind the cascade of water, we could tell the view was going to be astounding. We decided to hike a short trail that would place us directly in front of the waterfall. The scenery was thrilling. We stood around with other bystanders taking pictures and watching a gentleman scale the walls in an attempt to reach the top of the waterfall.

After basking in the beauty of the waterfall, we took off on our hike to see what else was going on. My husband and son had a race to the top of some rocks, my husband crossed a small body of water using a log and finally we found the road less traveled. We were one of few families that decided to take the hike that would place us on a “beach” in front of the Mississippi River. The hike was very quiet and whole others were present, we had once again stumbled upon complete tranquility.

After listening to the flow of the water and skipping rocks on the water, we headed back to the waterfall. We took more pictures from another angle. We grabbed treats from the ice cream truck before heading to the house of John H. Stevens for a quick tour.

After hearing the latest news, I am devastated that tourists and even the residents of the city of Minneapolis are not having an opportunity to enjoy this historic park. It is definitely family oriented and gives you another opportunity to enjoy God’s creations.

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Don’t Quit

“When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.” (John Greenleaf)

As a teenager, I remember hearing and/or seeing this poem in almost every English Language Arts class I entered. As a teenager, I got tired of it pretty quickly. I would think, “Why would one quit and what are we quitting?” All we had to do was go to school, go home, do homework, repeat the cycle. It was a pretty simple process back then. Now that I’m adult, I see why this was the mantra. They were instilling things in us long before we knew we needed it. Some days I want to place myself in time just to escape my responsibilities out but I find myself quietly reciting this poem and I keep pushing forward. As I reflect my failures, I realize my success has and will always outweigh my because I refused to quit. Below are some quotes I keep posted to keep me going:

  1. “You can’t beat the person that won’t give up.” – Babe Ruth
  2. “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” – Vince Lombardi
  3. “Just because someone stumbles and loses their path, doesn’t mean they’re lost forever.” –Professor X
  4. “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can.” —Watty Piper, The Little Engine That Could
  5. “If you think you can, you are right. If you think you can’t, you are also right.” – Henry Ford

The goal in everything I do is to keep pressing forward. Finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is the goal. With that in mind, I have to remember, to get to the rainbow, I have to experience the rain.

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And The Beat Goes On

The school year has officially started and it wouldn’t be a first day without complete chaos. Ha! Honestly, first days are generally good for us, usually little to zero interruptions. However, we are returning from a year of remote and face to face learning, technically we have three groups of kindergarteners, and some parents are still in a frenzy. As a result, we had a ton of hiccups on our first day. If you name it, it happened. At the end of the day we had to take a moment to reflect on what went well and how we can improve our systems.

Getting parents out of the building to start school on the first day is always difficult. This first day was seamless. Most parents dropped their students off, waved goodbye and went home to breath a sigh of relief. They put their trust in God, the school system, the faculty and staff and ran as fast as they could. The day moved quickly with rapid and timely interventions for most disturbances and then real tragedy struck, dismissal!

Why is dismissal always the most difficult part of the day? It was a disaster. Radios weren’t working, teams were trying to talk on the same channels, parents were in the wrong pick up lines, students decided to take a different exit route at the end of the day… By the time we got every kid off the campus, our shirts were drenched in sweat and we were exhausted. No tired like first day teacher tired. Dog-tired, weary and depleted described the staff.

But the show couldn’t stop on the first day. So, what did we do? We gathered together as a team. We looked at the time we finished and made a goal to finish earlier on the second day. We high fived because we didn’t lose any students and everyone made it home safely. We came up with a Plan B, C and D so we could have options for each group instead of a one size fits all template. We printed lists, we familiarized ourselves with the kids on the lists, put names with faces because the beat goes on. Today we all walked in optimistic because no matter what day one looked like we know we have a challenge and a duty to be the best we can be each and everyday. Pray for us as we try again and again.

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