Friday, November 21, 2014

Goodbye, Blondie

It's official. I pulled the trigger and went dark. I've been blonde for three-plus years and it was time to give my hair a rest and try something new. Not to mention that weaving, bleaching, toning, cutting, layering, drying and styling was just TOO MUCH for me right now. I needed to go one color, where I could pop in, get my roots done and get outta there.

School is really amping up now and so are the holidays. It's an exciting and crazy time. I took this farewell picture of my blonde hair on Tuesday before I made the change.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Day Drinker

Bryan and I haven't gone anywhere or done anything since Hawaii and my soul starts to get a little twitchy when I haven't felt the freedom of the open road in too long. We decided that getting away for a night on the long Veteran's day holiday would be enough to save my sanity and get me through the next few months of work, school, family, holiday shopping and holiday events. We are hosting Christmas for the Vickers side of the family this year, so that's added stress. We've got to get the house in order and ready for a LOT of family members... which is terrifying. We are also having our first true Thanksgiving dinner with Bryan's cousins, which I am so excited about! But it's extra work for me to cook and stuff when I have so much going on. I needed a moment to decompress before things got crazy. 

We typically take a photo before we get on the road so I had to follow the tradition. We were in line waiting for a coffee from Java Heaven, which is much of my whole happiness in a cup. 

Shepherd was starting to get antsy in the car so we decided we needed to break up the trip a bit. We hit up the downtown area of Paso Robles, which is one of our favorite little spots! In the middle of the area is a huge, beautiful park with extremely tall trees! It was freezing and windy but that didn't stop my boy from loving the play time. 

Finally, in an attempt to escape the chill, we went into the public library that is right across from the park. Shepherd got his first band-aid on his hand and he was pretty weird-ed out about it. He had scraped his finger somehow in the car, poor guy. There were tons of puzzles, blocks and books to look at, so he was distracted from his owie in no time.

We weren't able to get an early check-in at the hotel for Shepherd nap. We ending up taking a scenic drive up to Lopez Lake and that whole area so Shepherd could get a few uninterrupted hours of sleep. On our way back, we figured we'd stop at the outlets and do a little shopping. By the time we got to the hotel it was dark but Pomeroy street and the pier were lit up and it sure was pretty. We walked over to Brad's Restaurant for dinner, took a stroll on the pier and then came back to the hotel to hang and put Shepherd down for bed. 

As usual, I woke up extremely early on Veteran's Day so I sat, people watched and listened to the waves. We were so close to the beach, it was the perfect alone time to reflect on my life and what the hell I'm doing. I didn't figure anything out but it sure was nice to have an uninterrupted moment to process. 

Once they woke and we had ourselves a continental breakfast, Bryan took Shepherd to the beach to play while I got ready. I joined them shortly before a huge wave caught Bryan off guard and completely soaked them. Bryan didn't have any other shoes or pants so we had to rinse and blow dry them as much as we could and then buy him some flip flops. Luckily, we had other pants for Shepherd (always prepared for a blowout) and we found some sandals in his diaper bag. Score!

I woke up in a weird mood and I just kept doing stupid things! For example, we got a late checkout from the hotel and as we were leaving, I realized I forgot my purse in one of the drawers. So, I go back up and figure I should go to the bathroom. I take off my jacket, use the restroom and wash my hands and grab my purse. I figured I'd just leave the key cause why not? I meet Bryan and Shepherd and we walk halfway to Pomeroy when I remember that I forgot my jacket in the hotel room. I had to walk back, wait in line to get a key at the front desk, go back up to the room and grab my jacket. I don't want to wear it because the sun is now shining brightly, I'm in a sweater and hot as balls from walking all that way. I look in the car to get another shirt and I realize I don't HAVE another shirt. I only have the sweater because we packed so light. The only shirt I have is a black wife-beater shirt and I don't know the technical name so DON'T JUDGE ME. I put that on under my jacket and leave the sweater thinking maybe it'll all balance out in the end.

As I'm walking, I'm boiling hot and I'm too fat to just wear the black shirt. I meet up with Bryan and Shepherd on Pomeroy and Bryan has shoes on his feet so that's good. I go straight into a shop to buy a t-shirt. I take off my sunglasses to try a bunch of them on, pick one that is something I'll wear again but is also cheap, I pay and leave. I get halfway to the restaurant when I realize I FORGOT MY GLASSES. At this point, I'm ready to rage all around Pismo, I'm so irritated with myself. Bryan goes to get us a table and I walk back to get my glasses. I finally join Bryan and when the waitress asks me what I'd like to drink (at 12:20pm) I say "A Lavaflow, please." 

You should have seen the look on Bryan's face. Sure, I rarely drink...but I do drink now and again. Something I NEVER do is drink during the day. Ever. 

But I didn't even care. I drank that Lavaflow and got a little tipsy and Bryan drove us home. 

All's well that end's well. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Unboxing My First Sigma Order

*This post contains affiliate links. A small percentage, stipend or credit helps support my blog without any additional cost to you. Thank you! 

If you watch YouTube beauty videos like I do there is no doubt in my mind that you have heard of Sigma brushes. I've always wanted to try them but they are pretty pricey!

Luckily for me, my Dad and Delia gave me a little cash-money for my birthday and Sigma happened to have a 20% off sale a few weeks later! I did not even hesitate. I had my budget, I had a sale and I knew what brushes I wanted to get. What more does a girl need to shop? Nothing, I say. Well...maybe a coffee. Coffee makes everything better, especially shopping.

I won't say that I really had an expectation on how my items would arrive, but I was actually quite impressed by the packaging. I opened the box and was greeted with a bright, happy pink inside and a Beauty Delivery envelope.

Once I removed the card, there was a sample of their brush cleaning mitt.

At the bottom of the box was another small box that held the brushes. 

I was pleased to see that along with their sample for the cleaning mitt that there was a coupon code. Great way to entice a customer back. 

The sample card explained how the mitt worked. I used it to clean my brushes before I used them and it did a fine job. I just have a hard time paying $39 for a cleaning mitt. Maybe I'll pick one up during the next sale (which I'm sure will be in a year).

 The envelope contained a card with a makeup look and the products used to achieve it as well as a catalog of their items.

And now! The really fun part. The brushes. Each brush was in a logo'd plastic sleeve to keep its shape. There was no padding in the envelope, which I was somewhat surprised about. Not that too much harmed could have come to the brushes, but they were just rolling around in there for the entire trip.

I chose four brushes, two blending brushes, one angled eyeliner brush and a foundation brush.

The brush I knew I must get was the Sigma F80 - Flat Top Kabuki brush. This brush is probably the most popular brush in Sigma's line and I've only heard good things about it. I was extremely surprised by the size. In the tutorials I have seen, the brush looks quite big and able to cover a lot of surface area quickly. I would say it's smaller than the size of a half-dollar. I've used it only twice since I've received it and only with one foundation, so I don't feel like I can give it an accurate review. The first day that I used it though, with Tarte's Amazonian Clay foundation, my coworker touched my face and said, "Wow, Megan! You look absolutely beautiful. Like you are glowing. You're not pregnant are you?!" I laughed pretty hard at that reaction. I'd like to stay maybe it was my amazing make up skills but in all likelihood, it was probably the brush. ;) This brush retails for $24.

The second brush on my Sigma must-try list was the E25 Blending Brush. Maybe the second most popular brush? Who knows. It's a very soft blending brush that is great for the crease. Many makeup enthusiasts have multiples of these babies so they always have one clean and ready to go. I've used it already once and I must say, it took a lot of the work out of blending. It sure was nice! This brush retails for $14.

Meet the Sigma E40 Tapered Blending brush. Perfect for placing product right where you want it and then blending it out. This one and the E25 work beautifully together. Retails for $16.

I debated on purchasing a few other brushes as my fourth choice but I sure am glad I got this little number. You know how sometimes you just want a nice, thin line of eyeliner and every time you even dare to achieve it you ended up with thicker liner than you have ever worn? With this brush you have less of a chance of that happening. It gets right there near your lash-line and glides right over the eye. It's a beautiful thing really. You can actually control how thin or thick you want your eyeliner. I love it. I haven't had a chance to do a winged liner with it but I'm hoping this weekend I'll get some time to play. Retail is $14.

Over all, I'm really happy with my purchase. I placed my order on October 23, I was sent an email saying that due to the high volume of orders there would be extra lag time for shipments. It shipped on October 29 and I received it on November 6. Had there not been a sale, I definitely would've taken advantage of the Prime shipping on Amazon, 

Do you have any brushes from Sigma or do you prefer a different brand? Let me know in the comments below! 

Psst. This is not a sponsored post. I purchased these brushes with my own hard-earned birthday money (turning 27 is damaging, yo!). Okay FINE. I purchased these brushes with kizzedy-cash that my Dad and Delia so generously gifted me for turning 27. They don't know or work for Sigma. I'm pretty sure my Dad would just get confused if I told him I bought brushes to paint on my face. He's clueless. kthxbye.

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Slippery Slope

It's no secret that I have struggled with my weight for years (and years, and years) and most of the past five years I have spent fatter than I want to be. I got to a good place in 2012 and then my pregnancy, pre-eclampsia and breastfeeding threw all that hard work away.

I am a little over ten pounds less than I was at my highest weight and still thirty pounds more than I what is healthy for my frame. Bryan and I put our memberships on hold but that ended two days ago and we are going to start going to the gym together instead of going to the movies (and eating) or to dinner (and eating) when we have date nights.

My first step towards controlling my weight is always to start eating smaller portions. I think this is a easy and fuss-free first step when trying to lose weight. In my opinion, it is not always what we eat that is the main culprit in gaining weight but how much we eat that is the biggest problem. It is easy to do and if you start little by little you don't really notice you are doing it.

Tips for consuming less food range from using a smaller plate, eating half of your plate at a restaurant and putting the other half in a box, sharing a meal with a friend/significant other, Also, weighing and portioning your food, sticking to 'serving sizes' for snacks, etc. Easy decisions to make. Another easy tip is to stop drinking your calories. Drink water or unsweetened iced tea. Limit yourself to one to three sodas a week. Which reminds me, when you start to feel hungry, before eating anything, ask yourself when the last time you had water was? A lot of time your body is signaling you not to eat but to hydrate! Stay hydrated and you'll cut calories.

For me, the next phase after cutting down my portions is always chosing healthier meals. I recently heard to live the 80/20 lifestyle. 80% of what you eat should be healthy, body-fortifying whole foods. 20% should be pastas, breads, sweets, sodas, etc. I like that. I've never thought of it like that before, but it is essentially what I strive for. Instead of getting a normal hamburger at In-N-Out, I'll get a protein burger (no bread, it's just wrapped in lettuce) and Bryan and I will share fries instead of getting our own. I'll forgo a sandwich for a salad, pancakes for scrambled eggs with a little shredded cheese. Small exchanges. I'll think to myself "I'm not going to eat this cupcake right now because I really want a milkshake this weekend." Things like that. Instead of eating (another) piece of Halloween candy I'll grab an apple instead.

My typical phase three is to get moving. Sit less. Walk more. Do more stuff. Get active. Whatever that means. After a long day at work (where I sit all day) don't get home and sit. Get some projects done, go out and do something, go to the gym. Whatever.

Phasing in changes over time helps me to stay on track and not go binge eat. I can still have what I want, I just try to make better choices instead of being a vacuum when food is around.

However, and this is a big however, I have to really watch my thoughts when I start to do this. I can get extremely negative about food, eating, my body, etc. I find myself "turning off" my hunger, skipping meals, If I have a meal that is not the best, I'll get down on myself and will skip a meal to make up for it, which ends up hurting my body more in the long run. A thought will pop up "Wow, I can't believe I ate that sandwich. All that bread." And all of a sudden the meal I just ate feels like a ton of bricks weighing me down.

Don't do that. Don't be like me. Dieting is a slippery slope to an eating disorder. I kid you not. The way you view yourself and view your eating habits is integral when you are attempting to lose weight. Don't let dark thoughts cloud your mind. Stay encouraged. Look at the big picture. If you have a big meal, have a smaller one next time. If you eat a milkshake, have some veggies for your next snack.

Eating right CAN and SHOULD be about balance. Balance good foods with bad foods. Indulge sometimes and don't get down on yourself when you do.

If you are in the same boat as me, guard your thoughts. Be kind to yourself. As you crunch carrots, remind yourself that you are supplying your body with the best of the best and it'll run more efficiently for it. Last, don't be afraid to have a small milkshake here and there.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Halloween 2014

Last year, my family and I dressed up as Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Elvis. This year, we decided to do something much more simple. 

Bryan's sister, Justus, had an Elmo costume from when she was three, so we borrowed that and Bryan and I got Bert and Ernie shirts! 

Of course, I used Halloween as an excuse to have a little fun with my make-up! I took this picture to send to Denise to show off my blending skills. :)

Anyways, back to what really matters! Shepherd was an ADORABLE Elmo, and we made sure to hit up all the grandparents homes before going to Papa Rick's Halloween party, which was held at Lee's house. Bryan took most of the pictures but here is a super cute one I managed to snap of my Dad and Delia with little Elmo. 

And here are some pictures of the get together Rick hosted:

We had a great (and effortless) Halloween which is my favorite type of holiday! What did you dress up as for Halloween? 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Our Anniversary Weekend!

*This post contains affiliate links. A small percentage, stipend or credit helps support my blog without any additional cost to you. Thank you!

Bryan and I had planned on spending the weekend at Harris Ranch for our 5th anniversary, but the hotel was booked because of the horse races so the plan changed from "weekend" to "dinner". Then, it was so crazy on Friday night that I didn't want to deal with Shepherd out there on Saturday, for three hours and all those visitors in the lounge, so Bryan and I decided I would just stay home the whole weekend and we'd plan on going out another weekend.

Bryan was super bummed that we weren't going to get to spend time together, so I asked my boss if I could take a few hours off in the afternoon to surprise Bryan! I was going to go get him his gift (yeah, I'd lagged a bit) but then Bryan, Rick and Shepherd were at Round Table for lunch, so I just decided to "show up for lunch" and my lunch hour never ended! I think Bryan was pleased (and Rick was more than happy to take Shepherd for his nap and the rest of the afternoon) that we could hang out for a few hours before he left for work.

I had a coupon for a free mascara at Ulta as part of my birthday rewards, and I had a few gift cards for my birthday, so we headed there. I made out like a BOSS! I got so many things! I plan on putting up a haul/review of the products once I've used them a bit more. Stay tuned!

Then, we headed over to Famous Footwear and bought Bryan a new pair of Vans. He desperately needed them. We didn't have much time after those two errands so we headed home and continued to watch the Harry Potter series out of order, because Bryan is super weird. I went to pick Shepherd up after Bryan left for work and stayed for hamburgers and to hang out with Rick and Olivia. Shepherd had fun digging in their plant pot.

Later that evening, my sister Alison came over to hang out. We watched My Best Friends Wedding and played with my new make-up, ate popcorn, I taught her a pinterest hairstyle and we ended up painting our nails. We kept sending pictures to Kari to encourage her to hurry up and come over!

Kari, Owen and Parker joined us at about 10:00pm and then Bryan got home shortly after. An hour or so later, Adam showed up! He's been working on their new house until late in the evening so he was starving! I baked him some bagel bites and poured him a Dr. Pepper. Gotta love food like that after house projects! :) We all sat around talking and watching TV until about 12:30am.

It was so fun. I love having Alison and her family back in town. I love that I have both of my sisters and their families around to do life together.

On Saturday we slept in late, got ready and headed to the Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale. They have them twice a year and I rarely miss them. I stood in line for twenty minutes and then picked up eighteen books. FOR EIGHTEEN DOLLARS! Ahh, it's so fun. Bryan walked around with Shep and let him play in some dirt while I got my shop on.

Something that I love about the sale is that almost everyone there is so polite. We are all book nerds so we queue peacefully and move along at an appropriate pace. There is no cutting or book grabbing. Everyone is so kind and we all just end up chatting about our favorite books. It's a great community event!

I've been really into weird books lately, especially random autobiographies. Don't ask me why, I just enjoy reading other peoples stories! I already put them in my new library (yay! That post is coming!) but I'll try to remember what I picked up:

Kind of random but Kendra Wilkinson was my favorite when they had the show, and I love how tom-boy and crazy she is. I'm interested to read this. Don't judge me! :)

Yup. For all the internet to see, I picked up Roseanne (Barr) Arnold's autobiography. I couldn't put it down. That hair. That pose. She's always been pretty annoying to me but that doesn't stop me from wondering what her story is.

A complete shift from Roseanne's autobiography, but Max Lucado's In The Eye of the Storm looked really interesting, especially in the season of life I am in. I can't wait to read this one!

The Vacationers by Emma Straub looked like a good vacation book, so I picked it up. Basically, an America family goes on a two week vacation and a bunch of stuff happens. I should write book descriptions for a living. ;)

Not sure if I've mentioned it before, but I'm a HUGE Castle fan. Castle is a show on ABC that airs on Mondays. I watch it on Hulu on Tuesdays in the morning now that I don't have cable, Anyways, I knew that they released books based off the books that Richard Castle writes about his muse (and now fiance) Kate Beckett. I'm extremely interested in reading this books to see if they really feel like the Castle character wrote them.  (Heat Wave is book one, Heat Rises is book three. I couldn't find book two, Naked Heat, at the sale so I'll have to pick it up on Amazon.)

I remember when the Jon Benet Ramsey fiasco happened and how it consumed the nation. It was so sad, all around. I'm interested in reading Jon Benet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation to see where the author is coming from and what their research has determined.

This books hardly needs an introduction because I'm sure everyone in America has heard of it. But I've somehow gotten away with not reading it. Again, since I'm going through a season of growth in my personal and professional lives, I figured this book may contain some tools that will aide me in my journey!

I picked this up mostly for Bryan, since I am always on the lookout for books that he may want to read. I know that he wants The Fountainhead but I only managed to find We The Living. I still need to read Atlas Shrugged.

Again, random autobiographical books. Who doesn't like Michael J. Fox though? Seriously.

I've heard that David Sedaris books are pretty funny, so when I saw this I thought it was the perfect chance to see if I like him as an author.

I've read Barbara Taylor Bradford before and I enjoy her books. This one is about an art consultant in London with a gritty past. Playing the Game will be a perfect rainy day read.
WHAM! You didn't even see that coming huh? I picked another weird autobiography, this time from Fran Drescher, She's a pretty spunky woman and I bet she has a lot of hilarious stories.

Of course I had to pick up a Nora Roberts book! Her books are always quick reads, but are interesting and the characters are always realistic.

None of you are surprised that I picked up a Danielle Steel book are you? Cause you shouldn't be. I am a huge Danielle Steel fan and I had to add this book to my collection. Yes. Collection. I have a LOT of her books. 

I also purchased a two books for Shepherd (they were pretty picked over by the time I got there. :( ) and a Kit Carson book that I need to take to work. I couldn't pass it up! My books are a lot like my music choices - all over the place! I will pretty much read anything, I do not judge a book by its cover - or it's author! You'll never know if a book is good until you start reading it and when you buy used, you have a lot more freedom to explore authors. 

Okay, back to the weekend, so Saturday I had plans with my Mom and Larry to eat Chinese food, so Shepherd and I zoomed over to their house when Bryan left for work. I got a call about an hour later from Bryan saying they weren't going to have him play since they had customers that wanted to watch the World Series that night! He got to come home! We hung at my mom and Larry's for a little while and then we dropped Shepherd off with Rick and Lee so we could go catch a late movie. We saw St. Vincent, which was great! It was funny but with lots of feels. I'd recommend it!

We slept in too late to make it to church on Sunday so we got ready and took some bread to the park to feed the ducks and geese. Shepherd had a great time throwing bread at them and then he played on the play places there. That evening we met up with my Dad and Delia to attend their church harvest festival! My Dad, Bryan and I all took turns taking Shepherd on the little train and Shepherd got an Elmo balloon animal!

Our plans may not have worked out as we had hoped but we still spent meaningful time with each other and the people that we love. It was a great weekend!