Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Products I Love: Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter

     I've always loved trying new beauty products and because of this I rarely re-buy or buy multiples of anything, however over the past year I have become a wee bit obsessed with Revlon Lip Butters. I know they claim to be tinted balms, but I feel like a better description would be that they are a sheer, moisturizing lipstick. My collection of them quickly grew from two to six and there are still colors I am itching to try.

I'm a sucker for pretty packaging. I love the quilted cases that match the lip butter's color. These have also NEVER popped open in my bag. An important quality, I think.
Colors l to r: Raspberry Pie, Tutti Frutti, Peach Parfait, Berry Smoothie, Cherry Tart, Lollipop
Starting with no lip color just for comparison's sake. This is my "no make-up" make-up for days when I don't need a flawless face, but I still want to look put together.
First up is Tutti Frutti. It's a fun orange color. I typically only wear this during the spring and summer. Not my go-to shade, but it's fun to mix things up now and then. It's also a great way to try out an orange lip. It's not so full on as a lipstick.
Here's Peach Parfait. I've never been into nude lips, but sometimes I do want something more natural.
Similar to Peach Parfait is this one- Berry Smoothie. Again, more on the natural side, but it's just a bit deeper and more rosey.
This color is Cherry Tart. It's a great way to do a more understated red since it's sheer. If you are afraid of red lips, try this!
Here's another color I typically reserve for spring and summer. It's Lollipop and it's a super fun hot pink/fuschia color.
This is one of my favorites. It's Raspberry Pie. It's certainly the most pigmented of the ones that I have. It's a deep berry color and I love wearing it with a simple face (like today) to inject some glamor into things.
     All of them feel heavenly on my lips. They definitely aren't longwearing, but I usually reserve these for around the house days or for times when I'm just running out for quick errands or for days when I'm not wearing foundation and a true opaque lip color would look heavy and out of place. They run about $7-$8 a piece, so they aren't going to break the bank. Even better if you can wait until the store is running a buy one get one sale on Revlon products. I also love that they come in a HUGE range of colors- over 20! I can easily through on my "no make-up" make-up and change up my entire look just by switching out the lip color. Wanting something warm and fun? Tutti frutti. Wanting to feel light and pretty? Peach parfait. Retro? Cherry tart. Glam? Raspberry pie. A little more edgy? Lollipop.

     I almost never have a totally naked face, even for just hanging out at home. I just always feel better when I have a small bit of glamor going on. Do you use Revlon's lip butters or something similar? Want to see how I do make "no make-up" make-up?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review: Petunia Pickle Bottom Touring Tote and What's In My Diaper Bag

     First off, let me just say that in our family you have got to be thrifty. Now this doesn't mean that you're a tight wad or cheapskate, it just means that you have to know when to make a good investment in something and how to look for deals. Last year I discovered Zulily.com and am totally in love. Every morning new "events" go live on the site and could be anything from toys, kitchen gear, home decor, party supplies, and my personal favorites- mom gear (everything from high end strollers, to diaper bags, or baby slings), clothing (for babies through tweens and for women including maternity and plus-size), and accessories for moms and little ones. Most things are anywhere from 30%-75% off retail price. I actually got most of the kids' Christmas presents off of Zulily this past season. I also couldn't resist getting a little something for myself.
     Having this many kids this close together, I have gone through my fair share of baby gear and something that I've gone through quite a few of is diaper bags. My last two bags were SkipHop bags and while I love their tons of pockets for organizing, I refused to buy another because on BOTH of my SkipHop diaper bags, the lining ripped and frayed at the seams. The most recent one did within less than a week which is just unacceptable. However, I liked it enough that I continued using it for close to two years. (Like I said, I love those pockets. I'm all about an organized bag. I don't want everything tossed into a main compartment because it inevitably turns into me frantically pulling everything out of the bag to find that one tiny thing on the bottom that my baby is screaming to get right this minute or they're going to die.) I'd been on the look out for a new bag that entire time, but just couldn't find something I liked that I could afford until one day in late November, it happened. A Petunia freaking Pickle Bottom event came up on Zulily. If you're a baby gear or diaper bag geek like I am, then you already know that PPB bags are choice and they also come with a price tag that reflects that. But now, they were on Zulily for a great deal and I took it as divine providence that I also happened to have $20 in Zulily store credit! So I snatched one up!

     They had a few different bags, but I decided on the Touring Tote in Toffee Roll. This bag retails for a steep $149 online, but I ended up scoring it for $54.99 which is about what I paid for my SkipHop of questionable quality. I love that it doesn't scream "diaper bag." It's a beautiful chocolate brown and lemon yellow woven brocade fabric on the outside and a happy lemon yellow on the inside. (If you are expecting and you've never bought a diaper bag before- a word of advice: you do not want the lining of your bag to be dark. I know you're probably thinking it will hide messes and spills, but in reality it turns you diaper bag into a black hole and you won't be able to find a thing.)

     It came with two different shoulder straps, one shorter for use as a shoulder bag, and one longer and adjustable for using the touring tote as a cross-body bag. (I prefer it cross-body to keep my hands free. No bag stays on my shoulder otherwise.) I also comes with stroller clips, a matching lemon yellow changing pad (It's a nice quality, but manages to be small, but also bulky so I don't use it.), and a black plastic wipes case with Petunia Pickle Bottom monogrammed across the lid.

     The pocket on the front is quite deep, going all the way down to the bottom of the bag. I typically keep my phone and my wallet in here for easy access.

     On either side on the outside, there are zippered pockets that are good for holding smaller or flatter objects. In one pocket I keep the shorter shoulder strap so I don't lose it along with a few packets of shout wipes, and in the other pocket I keep a pack of blotting papers, a sharpie or pen, and a pack of Colgate wisps.

     Across the entire length of the back there is a zippered pocket where the changing pad and wipes case are stored. Like I said, I feel like the changing pad that comes with the bag is a bit bulky when it comes to being able to fit everything I need in the bag and it still be able to close, so I don't use it. Instead I keep a small flannel receiving blanket folded up inside to use instead. It's soft, keeps the babies off the cold and possibly icky public changing tables, but still packs nice and flat.

     This is the inside of the main compartment of the bag. Just free in the middle I have a small yellow drawstring bag. It came with the bag holding the stroller straps and longer shoulder strap, but now I use it to hold feminine things and make-up. I also keep with me a burp rag because Nicola is a crazy messy eater, extra formula, a gallon size Ziploc bag with a change of clothes for Nicola and another with a change of clothes for Hickory in case someone's diaper leaks, they throw up, spill an entire cup down themselves, or anything else that can't be cleaned up with a wipe of some sort.

     Here's the inside once the main part is emptied. There is a bottle/sippy cup pocket on either end with an elasticized top, two big pockets on each side, and in one of the big pockets is a small elasticized pocket for holding pacifiers or any other small objects that you don't want to get lost in the bag. Right now I keep Hickory's diapers in one pocket, and Nicola's in the other on one side. On the other side, I use one pocket for Hickory's snacks (currently pouches of banana and Ritz bits), and in the other pocket I keep tissues, saline nose wipes, and anti-bacterial wipes. I always have a bottle for Nicola in one of the bottle pockets and usually I have a cup for Hickory in the other though I didn't have one when I took these pictures.

     The hardware on the bag is real metal and rather heavy feeling, and the zipper pulls are plush filled. Both have the brand's monogram and feel nice and durable and of excellent quality.

      Really quickly, I just wanted to show the stroller straps. It comes with two naturally, one for each end of the bag. They are made of the same material and have have the same hardware as the shoulder straps and attach by wrapping around the handles of the stroller and securing to itself with Velcro. I've only used them once since I haven't needed to use my stroller very much lately. You do have to unclip your shoulder strap in order to clip you bag to the stroller clips, but that's not a big deal to me. I have a pocket on the hood of my stroller that I stuck my stroller strap into and then just clipped it back onto my bag when we were loading everyone back into the van.

     All in all, I love the bag. I love that it's pretty enough to pass for a purse instead of screaming, "I'M A BABY BAG!!!" Since I'm not an over packet and only want the essentials in my bag, it works for me just fine even being used for two kids under two. If you are an over packer or a cloth diapering mama, this probably wouldn't work for more than one child. The quality on everything is exceptional and I don't think I'll be looking to replace it anytime soon. The only thing that gives me pause is the fabric. While it is beautiful, it's not the most durable type of fabric out there. Most PPB bags have a laminated, wipeable fabric outer that has a small patch of embroidery detail and I kind of wish this one was made in that way. It also would be nice if there were metal feet on the bottom to hold the bottom of the bag off the ground when you have to set it down, especially since this bag doesn't have the laminated fabric. Neither of those things is a deal breaker to me, though. At the end of the day, I would definitely recommend it as a diaper bag if you can find one within your budget. I'd never pay over $75 for a bag and really I'd prefer to keep it around the $50 mark, which I did thanks to Zulily!

     Just so you know: I do not work for Zulily. They did not pay me or compensate me in any way to make these statements, nor do I work for Petunia Pickle Bottom and they aren't paying me to say this either. I bought this bag with my own money, it was not provided to me.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

     I've been battling the flu or some type of bug this weekend, so I've been a bit tired and out of sorts. But I wanted to post a little something. Up until now, I've lived in lovely, warm, southern states where snow is scarce. Up here in southeast Idaho, it's a totally different ball game. There has been snow on the ground since Christmas and while the novelty is starting to wear off on me, it's been great fun for the kiddos.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

5 Things You Might Not Guess About Me

Sure, it's common knowledge that I'm an army wife and mother of five creative, energetic, and noisy little children, but did you know that.....

1.) I make my own hula hoops and have been into "hoop dancing" as it's called for the past several years. I don't get to practice as often as I'd like since things like moving, cold weather, and pregnancies have gotten in the way, but it is something I really enjoy. This video is from 2009 when I was first learning how to hoop.

2.) Back in the day I used to do some really crazy, fun things with my hair.

3.) I am a gigantic, geek-out over every little thing, Harry Potter nerd. I spent years and years making fun of Harry Potter and the people who were obsessive about it until the year that my husband was in Korea and the kids and I were stuck in the states. We used to get pizza and a movie out of the Redbox kiosk every week and after being dead tired of full length cartoons, I decided to get Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince since it seemed family friendly but NOT an animated film. I wasn't really expecting to be that into it since I hadn't seen any of the other movies, but it was only a buck so what did I have to lose? We rented that movie SO many times and then snow-mageden happened and at the same time ABC Family was doing a Harry Potter marathon. Since we were stuck in the house we decided to watch and I've been hooked ever since. I read through all of the books for the first time last year and I am already re-reading them. I've got all the books in e-book format so I can keep them on my phone and on my nook. I have all the movies on DVD and had the Deathly Hallows on blu-ray over a year before we actually owned a blu-ray player. Now that we do have one, naturally I'm dying to get all the movies on blu-ray. I play the video games on xbox even though I generally hate video games. Huge, huge, fan.

 4.) I am extremely particular about food. I eat meat, but I won't eat it off the bone. Something about it weirds me out. I don't put any condiments on my sandwiches- no mayo, mustard, dressing of any kind. I also prefer to eat salad without dressing most of the time, and often I would rather have spaghetti with butter and parmesan cheese than any sauce. I also eat hot dogs plain, burgers plain, and gravy on mashed potatoes just won't do. Oddly enough, I'll only eat a grilled cheese sandwich if I can dip it in ketchup. I don't eat barbeque, and even though I'm Mexican, I can't stand beans.


5.) I love research. If I am interested in something, I want to find out all I can about it. Whether it's planning a theoretical vacation or a new drugstore lipstick, a new stroller or some other type of baby gear, I bust out the google-fu and will know every single in and out of whatever product or plan that vacation that I will probably never go on to within $100. I almost never buy things on impulse and when I do, I typically end up having buyer's remorse and regretting it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Flashback Friday

This was taken in the summer of 2007 and the sweetie on my shoulder is my second oldest, Ephraim. I think he is 15 months old in this picture, which is how old my youngest son, Hickory is now. This was also taken 11 months into my husband's 16 month long deployment to Iraq. Thank you to my friend, Jen, who found this photo the other day! I could not have gotten through that time without her!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Not your typical resolutions

     I've only been to the gym a couple time since Christmas since when my husband and kids are on holiday schedules, I prefer to be spending time with them. However everyone returns to their regularly scheduled programming this morning and I know it's that it's that time of the year when my gym is going to be very crowded with a bunch of new year's resolution folks all trying to shed the pounds. The sad part is that nearly all of those people will quit by Valentine's Day. At the end of 2012 I myself had much the same ambitions. I was all, "I was this size when I came into my twenties and I want to leave my twenties the same way!" Something changed between Christmas and New Year's Day, though. My husband has ALWAYS told me that he loves me the way I am. That I'm beautiful and attractive to him just the way I am. He's supported my desires to join a gym and make better eating choices because it's what I wanted to do and they are healthy decisions, but he has never once made me feel like I am anything less than perfection in his eyes. According to the BMI plus calculator on WebMD which takes you height, weight, age, body type, and waist size all into account I'm also totally healthy. It just clicked in me one day:

     If I am healthy the way I am now, and my husband is totally into me the way I am now, then why isn't that good enough for me? Who am I trying to impress? And furthermore, what type of message am I sending to my daughter by saying that being healthy and being attractive to your spouse isn't enough?

     I know my daughter is only 4 months old and not really aware of things like that yet, but it's still something I want to be on guard about. I don't want her to grow up with me teaching her that it's not enough to be healthy. For months now, really even since before she was born, I have been telling myself that I refuse to buy any new clothes what so ever until I am at my goal weight/measurements. It's almost like I'd been punishing myself. It's like I was telling myself that I don't deserve to have anything nice and new that I really love because I'm not as small as I used to be. The funny thing about that is that when I was a size 2 I could never find clothes that I really loved because I was more of a juniors size and body type and I didn't then and don't now want to look like a teenager! It was so hard to look like the mature wife and mother that I am when I was that small. I had exercised all the curves of a womanly figure away and while I loved how fit I was and how great I felt inside, I longed for the curvaceous va va voom figure that I've always wanted. So why on earth was I aiming to make myself miserable in order to gain a body that I wasn't in love with when I had it? It's ridiculous!
     I have declared 2013 (for me at least) to be the year of "yes". Yes, I am beautiful the way that I am. Yes, I can have a new skirt, or pair of pants, or dress at this size. I am going to embrace who I am today and the body that I have right now. I'm still going to make better decisions when it comes to food, but if it's one of the kids' birthdays I'm not going to skip a piece of cake for the sake of getting skinny and then pout cause I'm missing out. I'm still going to go to the gym because I just feel better when I have that break in the day that is just for me and I can those endorphins going, but I'm not going to be trying to burn 1,000 calories every time I walk through the doors. I'm going to say yes to being healthy and happy.
     Now I know that there are some people out there who maybe do need to lose a few pounds for health reasons, and I say power to you and wish you all the best. But for the other ladies out there who feel the pressure to lose weight just because they aren't at their pre-baby weight anymore or because they aren't the size of a celebrity or runway model, I'd like to ask you to pause and see where you are getting the message that being a size whatever and healthy isn't good enough. Let's all band together and encourage each other to be healthy and love each other as the unique shapes that we are whether they are curvy hourglasses, or apples, pears, or rectangles. Let's learn how to love ourselves where we are NOW in the new year.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Downton Abbey

     Are you a Downton Abbey fan? Downton Abbey is a period drama on Masterpiece Classics on PBS. I first came across the show when season one was on Netflix when I was pregnant with Hickory. It's really not something I would have clicked on, but John thought it looked interesting, so we watched the first episode and then I was hooked! Mr. Bates and Anna who are so in love but plagued by so much strife. The relationship between Lady Mary and Lady Edith. At the beginning of season one Lady Mary seemed like such a shallow girl and poor Lady Edith was stuck living in her shadow. However, it wasn't long before I saw Lady Mary as frank and practical and Lady Edith as a conniving, witch of a thing. And The Dowager Countess of Grantham played so beyond perfectly by Dame Maggie Smith! She delivers the absolute best one liners and is hilariously funny. And the costumes and the castle!! They are simply breathtaking.

Season three has already done a complete run in the UK and I know many of my friends watched it online, but I decided to hold out until it aired on PBS and guess what folks! Sunday is the long awaited (for me) day! I don't have Netflix anymore, but I'm pretty sure seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on Amazon Prime video right now if you'd like to make it a Downton Abbey weekend and get refreshed or just start from the beginning to know what's going on in the story. Season one begins with the sinking of the Titanic and season 2 ends just after the end of WWI. Season three starts Sunday evening on PBS at 8pm here in Idaho, but you can check your local listings.

Are you a DA fan? Did you wait for season three or will you be watching it again if you didn't?

New Year, New Clothes

     It's been almost a month since my last blog post, but what can I say? December is a crazy month. It seemed like it took us FOREVER to finally shake the evil flu from the house. Luckily Nicola and I didn't get sick, but my husband and our sons were passing it back and forth for weeks. We only lasted on Truth in the Tinsel for about a week and a half before throwing in the towel. While the concept was wonderful and my kids greatly enjoyed the crafts, I feel like a project of that magnitude is better suited for either children that aren't school aged yet or for homeschooling families. My kids are in regular ol' public school and when they would come home they'd have homework and dinner and by the time we could do the day's ornament it would be a scramble to get it done before bedtime or they would end up staying up late. Plus, let's be honest, the last thing I feel like doing at 7-8pm is digging out a bunch of messy craft stuff that I'm then going to stay up late cleaning up. I'd still like to do some version of it next year, but I think limit it to just an ornament for each Sunday in Advent.
     For Christmas my mom gave me some money to spend at one of my favorite places to online window shop- Heartbreaker Fashion. I have been looking at their site for a few years now, but had yet to actually buy anything because I've been pregnant for much of the past three years. The husband and I are officially DONE having any more babies, so now I get to try and build up a wardrobe practically from scratch since it's been so long since I could buy non-maternity clothes and I don't have much that fits the way I'd like anymore. This is what I finally settled on ordering:

First I decided every gal needs some good, basic tops. I like knit tops myself. I find them more comfortable for day to day tasks of dishwashing, picking up babies, changing diapers, and other motherly things. So I decided to get the Hollie top in black, and the Michelle tee in white.

Hollie top by Mandie Bee by Heartbreaker

Michelle tee by Heartbreaker Fashion

(The model in the white tee is Angie Alamilla. Isn't she gorgeous? I love to hunt for the photos of her in the clothes because in the summer when I'm a bit more tan my skintone looks just like hers. I don't see models too often that have very olive skin like my own to gauge what a garment is going to look like on my coloring. I hope they use her to model their stuff forever. lol.)

To go along with my basic tops, I thought a fun printed skirt would be nice. I decided to get an a-line since it's easier to move in than a pencil skirt, but it won't catch in the wind on the same scale that a full circle would. I've been dying to get this particular skirt ever since it came on the site because I honestly cannot think of a print that is more "me" than this:
A-line skirt in Cosmic by Mandie Bee for Heartbreaker
Dear Lord!! It's turquoise and coral and atomic print!!! Basically all of my favorite things and would look great with my new black Hollie top in the Fall/Winter as well as with my white Michelle tee in the Spring/Summer. I think it's safe to say I am most excited about that one.

Lastly something that I deemed a necessity is a sweater. I've lived in the south my whole life so I haven't really had the need to own legitimate winter clothing. However, Idaho has REAL winters. There's been a good layer of snow on the ground for a week and today the temperature didn't climb out of the single digits in Fahrenheit! For most of today it was all of 3 degrees F. (That's -16C!!) I'm tired of just trying to put a cardigan on over things, so I broke down and ordered this bad boy:
The Graduate sweater in argyle by Heartbreaker Fashion
 It actually extends all the way to the hip, so it will look nice either tucked in or left out. I love the 1960's vibe of it. They also have a cardigan version of this if you don't live in a frozen wasteland like myself.

Something I love about Heartbreaker is that they are made in the good ol' USofA, honey! I like that I'm supporting people that are making a living wage as well as the US economy.

I think it's probably going to take a couple weeks before my order arrives since I ordered while they were closed for New Years, but I can't wait to try on new stuff! Is there ever a time that a gal stops being excited about new clothes? What do you think of Heartbreaker Fashion? Like it? Love it? Do you own any of their stuff?