It’s been a year, Jack.

Max and Jill

“If tears could build a stairway, I would walk right up to Heaven and bring you back again.”

Dear Jack:

It’s been a year since you’ve been gone. We thought of you on your birthday and we celebrated you by remembering all the good times and missing you more than words can describe.

A lot has happened in the past year. Your dad and I got married. We adopted two kittens, Milo and Oliver. (They would’ve loved you, by the way.) I started a new job that I enjoy. While there’s so much going on around us, we still haven’t forgotten you and how much you mean to us. In fact, your dad is running in the Pittsburgh Marathon in your memory.

I’m trying to forgive myself for not fighting for you more. It’s something that haunts me on a daily basis, but I hope you know that we did what we thought was best. You were suffering and it was beyond difficult to watch. You fought hard, though, and I’m so proud of you.

Some people don’t understand the pain of losing a pet, but you weren’t just a pet. You calmed me when I was anxious, you put your paw on my hand when I was sad, and you were always by my side. You saved me.

It’s beautiful outside. The sun is shining for the first time in days. I know you sent this nice distraction but the tears are still there. I’ll be strong, though, because I know you wouldn’t want to see me cry.

We know you’re happy, healthy, and probably chasing birds up in heaven. I hope you’re watching over us and smiling at how silly your siblings can be.

We love you and miss you so much, Jackers.

Also, Jill and Max are still waiting for you to come home.

Max and Jill

[Review] Biore Self Heating One Minute Mask

Bioré Self Heating One Minute Mask

Not too long ago, I was sent a Bioré Skincare Ambassador Box. Inside came free samples of the new Bioré Self Heating One Minute Mask and a coupon. Then I received a letter from Bioré with more coupons to share with friends.

I just love Bioré.

I’ve been a huge fan ever since I tried their Deep Cleansing Pore Strips as well as their facial cleansers, but my new obsession?

The Self Heating Mask.

What I love:

It’s a beautiful charcoal color that immediately heats your face as you massage it into your skin. Seriously, it feels absolutely amazing – unlike any mask I’ve ever used. Too many companies focus on making your face feel cool and tingly, which is fine, but the fact that this mask warms me up is awesome. I also enjoy the fresh smell and thick texture. I don’t like masks that are so thin you can barely see you’re wearing one or the ones that dry on your face. I liked knowing that after application, I massage it into my skin for a minute and then immediately wash it off. Every time I use it, my face is soft and glowing. Yes, you’ll look radiant.

What I don’t love:

Although paying $6-$8 for a 4-count is affordable, I wish it came in a bottle or jar.

All in all, I’m a huge fan and will continue using Bioré’s Self Heating One Minute Mask!

[Review] It’s Not You, It’s Me

It's Not You, It's Me

Overall Thoughts

I received a copy of the film It’s Not You, It’s Me by director Nathan Ives. There were some familiar faces: Joelle Carter, Vivica A. Fox, Erick Avari, Maggie Wheeler but other than that, fresh faces. I liked the overall idea of the movie because it’s real. People are afraid of commitment and it usually revolves around their upbringing, past dating experiences, or both. Everyone can relate to this movie in one way or another. However, I felt the movie was rushed even with so many parts dragging on.

Plot

Serial commitment-phobe, Dave, is reeling from his decision to break up with his near perfect, now ex-girlfriend. As he tries to forget her, his battling inner voices come to life and cloud his mind with conflicting desires. Meanwhile, Carrie’s own disjointed inner voices push her to move on with someone less complicated. Sensing time is short, Dave embarks on a sincere and sometimes fumbled personal journey to conquer his fear of commitment. Written by Kerith Lemon

The Good

Again, I liked the idea of the film and how crazy men and women truly are. I mean, we all know women have a million thoughts going on, but it’s nice, for once, that a man is portrayed as equally, if not more, insane. We all have a conscience (in this case consciences) that dictate our words and actions. This film revolved around finding a balance among all inner voices in order to live peacefully and happily.

The Bad

While I liked the idea of the inner voices, it was way overdone. I was getting to know Dave and Carrie but at the same time, it was as if I had no idea who they were. I didn’t feel a connection with either of them or where they were coming from. It kept switching back and forth and I was getting annoyed with the constant transitions. My least favorite character was Neil. Any time he opened his mouth, I immediately checked out. WE GET IT, NEIL/DAVE. MEN LOVE SEX. ENOUGH ALREADY. To me, everything towards the end was rushed with a cop-out ending.

Summary

I’m a woman so naturally I’m a sucker for good chick flicks. While I wouldn’t call this a favorite, I found certain parts entertaining.

>>Enter to win a copy of It’s Not You, It’s Me <<

Disclaimer: The film shown in this post has been provided by Mule Films for review. For more information, please read the Disclosure Policy.

[Review] February ipsy Bag

Feb ipsy Bag

Well, February’s bag was a lot better than January’s! Still, I wasn’t completely sold on ipsy and canceled my subscription. Oh well – on to better products and better reviews, right? *fingers crossed*

Feb Ipsy Bag Review

#1 – POP Beauty Plump Pout Mini | in Fuchsia Freesia | $16.00

The packaging is really cute. It’s petite and the black handle has a nice velvet/felt kind of feel. This color is perfect for spring/summer and honestly looks gorgeous over lipstick. I love that there isn’t a tacky or sticky feel and applies flawlessly. It’s very moisturizing and perfect for re-application. The one downfall: the smell. At first, it smells like burnt plastic but when applied, there was no odor or odd taste. I would definitely purchase this lip gloss in a different color.

#2 – Zoya Nail Polish | in Dot | $9.00

I love Zoya Nail Polish. Great quality, great pigmentation… However, I’m not a fan of this color. Like, at all. It went on streaky even with a base and top coat. I particularly didn’t enjoy applying three to four coats just to get some payoff. Even though this color was a fail, I would (and do) purchase Zoya Nail Polish.

#3 – Tini Beauty Eyetini Cordial Cream Shadow + Base In One | in Violette | 0.14 oz | $18.00

First things first, I would never ever use this cream shadow alone because when I tried, it looked like I had an eyelid infection. When used as a base, it was okay since I had other colors going over it. The best match was using the Naked 3 Palette but I wasn’t impressed. It didn’t make my eyeshadow standout. The consistency reminds me of Urban Decay’s Primer Potion – it’s creamy and a bit liquidy – not at all thick or tacky. It doesn’t completely dry and I don’t know how I feel about that. I usually like a base to be somewhat of a matte finish. I wouldn’t purchase this item even if it came in a different color.

#4 – skyn ICELAND Fresh Start Mask with Ice Age Mud | Contains 6 masks (0.28 oz each) | $39.00

I don’t even know where to begin with the awfulness. The smell of step one (the clay) was like a porta-potty. I paused during the application and wondered what life choices led me to this point. To top it off, there are these exfoliating (knives) beads that hurt. I mean, I love a good scrub here and there but something about step one made me want to just call it quits on life. Step two (the gel) was this gooey substance that also smelled but that wasn’t the worst part. It was messy and stringy to the point where I didn’t bother putting the gel all over my face. Then I had to rub that mess (step two) on top of step one until it “effervesced”. So not only did I have to endure through the mini knives once more, I was continuously reminded of the porta-potty odor. To sum it up, I would never ever purchase this item.

# 5 – J.Cat Beauty Eyelashes and Eyelash Glue | in EL 20 | $3.99

Here’s the thing, to review this would be completely unfair because I don’t wear false eyelashes because I don’t like how they look on me so! With that being said, I wouldn’t purchase this item.

February is Lovely!

February Fun

My husband and I just celebrated six months of marriage. Some people have said, “That’s all!?” Yes, that’s all because we’ve only been married for six months.

Duh.

We’ve been together for over four years so while it feels like we’ve been married longer, we’re still newlyweds.

So, we had a fabulous anniversary celebration and then Valentine’s Day, which was equally fab. I do love Valentine’s Day because you have people who love love (me!) and then there are some who love something other than love (i.e.  ‘Computer nerd’ who split from his girlfriend last year buys up every other ticket at cinema to stop couples sitting next to each other on Valentine’s Day screenings). To be honest though, everyday is Valentine’s Day in my household. The cheesy Valentine’s Day, not the massacre kind.

Annnd soon, it’s my husband’s birthday. I love his birthday. Love Love Love. We’ll go out for amazing meals and oh, the presents! I always have such a fun time picking out gifts. He tries to be vague, but I pay attention. Women always pay attention. It’s just that simple, guys.

So many events to celebrate and that’s why I can say that February is lovely!

[Review] January ipsy Bag

Jan Ipsy Bag

I heard so much about ipsy that I finally subscribed. The service is a low cost of $10.00 a month and you can cancel at any time. Sadly, I wasn’t too impressed with my first bag, but I’m hoping the second one is better. I know a lot of people say ipsy is hit or miss, but I think a lot of beauty box services are as well.

Jan Ipsy Bag Review#1 – Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Deep Conditioning Mask | 5.25 oz | $26.00

I’ve never used a hair conditioning mask mainly because I’ve never done anything to truly damage my hair. Still, I’ve been curious so this was a nice treat. I didn’t notice a strong smell, which I actually liked. Sometimes shampoos and conditioners have such a strong scent that I feel like I’m just washing my hair with straight up perfume. I haven’t noticed much of a difference but in all fairness, I haven’t been using the product for too long. I don’t know if I’d purchase this just because it’s a bit pricy.

#2 – Elizabeth Mott Smooth Shadow Creamy Eye Pencil | Pearl | .05oz | $14.99

This pencil is good for the inner corners of the eyes and in the waterline. I didn’t like the look of it placed all over the lid. The consistency isn’t as creamy or pigmented as it should be for a “creamy eye pencil”. I even tried to use this shadow as a base and it just wasn’t working out. I wouldn’t purchase this pencil because there are not enough good things to justify spending $15.

#3 Nourish Organic Lightweight Moisturizing Face Lotion | 1.70z | $21.99

“Lightweight Moisturizing Organic Face Lotion With Argan + Rosewater”

Just by the description, I was in love. Then I actually applied it on my face and thought someone was pulling a prank on me. The smell. Oh my gosh, the smell. It was a combination of old books and moth balls – lovely, huh? Also, it had a disgusting, tacky feel that made me check the label just in case it said cleanser or face mask. So, let’s do a quick recap. The smell… awful, the consistency… awful, the way it dried… painful and awful! I felt like Super Glue had been poured on my face. I would never use this again even if I was sent a lifetime supply.

#4 Mica Beauty Tinted Lip Balm | 06-Fiesta | $30.00

When I opened the balm, it was a dark, plummy color – gorgeous and perfect for this time of year. When applied, it was very bright – something I’d wear for spring and summer. Thankfully, there wasn’t an odd smell or taste that really pushed me over the edge. I know it’s a balm and should be applied with a finger, but I wish it came in a tube seeing as how it’s so pigmented. My finger was stained but at least I knew it’d stay on my lips for a while. I eventually ended up using a lip brush, but I don’t always carry one with me so, I definitely won’t be taking this product on the go. Even though I wouldn’t wear this color right now, I love how it applied. It was very light and creamy but dried to a matte finish. Using a nude gloss over this tinted lip balm is just gorgeous. I would definitely purchase this product in a different color.

#5 Proactiv+ Mark Fading Pads

So so… random. There were four fading pads included in my bag. Four. Why four? I do have hyperpigmentation so it would’ve been nice to use this product for at least a week. The smell was tolerable and while I wouldn’t say it gave off the fresh and clean scent, it didn’t smell like chemicals either. The fading pads weren’t dry so it was nice to know there was plenty of product. Since there were no directions included and I don’t believe in looking them up, I decided to use them after I washed my face. Holy burn city! I had to quickly put on moisturizer because I felt as though my flesh was burning off. I’ve used 1/4 fading pads and I’m kind of terrified to give it another go. Maybe I’ll treat myself to this chemical peel once a month, who knows. Let’s just say, I won’t be purchasing anything Proactiv related anytime soon ever.

On Facebook, I’ve seen sneak peeks of February’s bag and I have to say, I’m excited. Less skincare and more makeup, which is why I signed up in the first place. I’m curious to know if any of you are subscribed to ipsy or used to be. If so, leave a comment below with your thoughts!

Run Forest, run!

If you’re hesitant about running, here are several steps you can take to begin the worst activity of your life.

Step 1
Weigh yourself every hour. +If you’re not crying after every weigh in, stand on the scale until the tears flow like a mighty river.

Step 2
Befriend hot, skinny people. +Make sure they take you to clubs where they’ll be able to get in and you’ll have to stand next to the bouncers and also be mistaken for one.

Step 3
Buy a lot of running equipment and then throw away the receipt so you have to put everything to good use. +Although, I’ve learned that sports bras make wonderful do-rags.

Step 4
Make a chart and put gold stars on the days where you run. +This makes up for all the demerits your obesity earned you in school.

Step 5
Pay an extremely attractive man or woman to be your significant other. +Make sure they tell you that they’d love you if you were skinny. Not only will this mess with you physically but also emotionally. That’s how most relationships operate anyway.

Step 6
Sell your car and run everywhere. +This might mean you have to purchase a lot of dry shampoo and deodorant. Whatever it takes, fatty, whatever it takes.

What if…

Max in the Box

weekends were five days a week?

Pretty amazing, huh? Think about being able to do everything that never gets done in a normal weekend, being able to spend extra time with loved ones, being able to steal extra cuddles with furbabies or… real babies. :]

I can’t help but think about this every Sunday. Now, I don’t dwell on it to the point where it ruins the last day of my weekend, but enough where I wonder what I’d do with all the extra time. Annnnnd what I do with the time I currently have. (The answer is absolutely nothing.)

Anyway, what are some of your weekend rituals?

L.L. Bean BootiesI have slippers for different days of the week but these, these are meant for weekends only.

OmeletEggs. I love eggs. Oh and cheese… spinach… ham… onions… a smiley face made with ketchup. My husband makes the best omelets and in order to start the weekend off right, I need one. Or two. Don’t judge me.

FroyoFroyo is becoming a weekend tradition. I always get cheesecake yogurt with cheesecake chunks, graham crackers, AND fruit so it’s totally healthy.

Max in the BoxAnd this. I get to spend more time with my furbabies aka take an insane amount of pictures and post them on Instagram.

13 in ’13

Heart

For me, 2013 was a wonderful year. There were many high points (I got married!) and a few low points (putting Jack down). Through everything experienced, I came up with a list of…

13 Things I (Re)Learned in 2013:

  1. If you’re working a job that you absolutely dislike, don’t settle. I don’t know how someone can work for an organization/leadership they don’t support. You matter so take some time to figure out what you want and go for it.
  2. Watching scary movies will continue to be scary even as you grow older so stop subjecting yourself to that, CATE.
  3. Most vegetables are delicious once you drizzle on EVOO, salt, pepper, and throw it in the oven… and then leave it in there forever.
  4. Perfecting makeup will always require patience so think twice before snapping your eyeliner in half.
  5. Everyone (who is normal) loves gifts. Whether it’s a flower picked from a garden or a note left in a lunch bag, people appreciate the little things.
  6. When a recipe calls for ¼ tsp of salt, there’s a reason for that so don’t overlook it.
  7. Having four cats means that cat hair will be on and in everything. I mean, who doesn’t love furry lasagna?
  8. You can’t and shouldn’t please everyone.
  9. Surprises can be a good thing. Not every surprise will end up with you eating liver.
  10. Cats don’t like to be used as pillows. Or stuffed animals. Or horses.
  11. Meal replacements are exactly that. You’ll still be hungry so eat like a human.
  12. Tattoos tell a story so before judging someone for the distorted butterfly on their foot, ask about it.
  13. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19

[Review] Cake for Breakfast: A 20-Something’s Guide to Living on Your Own Terms

Cake for Breakfast

Many of you already know Ashley [Wilhite] from around the Blogosphere, but for those who don’t: She’s the creator of Your Super Awesome Life, a website devoted to helping women figure out what the heck you want to do with your life, and more importantly, to help you find the confidence and courage to actually go through with it.

Earlier this year Ashley launched a new program called Cake for Breakfast: The 20-Something’s Guide to Live on Your Own Terms. Besides being the most delicious thing ever, Cake for Breakfast is a self-guided course that will help you figure out who you are and what you want, so you can become exactly the woman you want to be.

-20sb.net

Overview:

This self-guided course is a 50 page workbook divided into three sections. Along with the workbook, there are three audio sessions that range anywhere between an hour to an hour and a half. Also, for the next 52 weeks, Ashley will email journal prompts that provide “accountability, support, and encouragement” needed to take ownership of one’s life.

What I Liked:

There are so many questions we ask ourselves on a daily basis but either forget to answer them or don’t take the time to do so. It was nice being able to get some answers down on paper because that will motivate me to dig deeper. I like that the workbook is organized and had a nice flow from page-to-page. Usually I’m not a fan of narration, but Ashley didn’t push any agenda or try to sway me in any direction. She was unbiased and offered ideas instead of limitations.

What I Disliked:

It was a long course. I mean, I wanted to give this my all and ended up committing at least seven hours. Sometimes the audio sessions weren’t great quality and I had to keep adjusting the volume. Each session had exercises that were a bit much – coming up with 100 questions that I want answers to or writing a letter from “future you”. The last section was very repetitive and I had to walk away for a little while.

Final Thoughts:

What I took away from this course will be completely different than someone who may be in their early 20′s and completely confused about life. I think this would be a great tool for someone who is unsure of themselves and their next steps. For me, I was able to reestablish my priorities instead of figuring out what I want them to be. I’m not one who likes to talk about myself but this course expanded my comfort zone and I was able to ask a lot of “me” questions. While this course didn’t change my life, I did learn about myself and the world around me.

If you’re interested in Cake for Breakfast, the course is $97 and can be purchased here.

Disclaimer: The products shown in this post have been provided by Cake for Breakfast for review. For more information, please read the Disclosure Policy.

New and Unused Makeup of 2013

New and Unused Makeup 2013

It’s no secret that I love makeup – that Ulta and Sephora are my lady jam. I watch a lot of beauty bloggers who have their fair share of expensive, cosmetic items but who also find dupes or products that are unlike any other. So, instead of spending a lot of money on makeup, which I normally do, I decided to give some drugstore brands a try. (Here’s a secret: Never again.)

1. Rimmel London Wake Me Up Concealer Corrector in Light/Medium – $4.99 (Kmart.com)

Rimmel London Wake Me Up Concealer CorrectorRimmel London Wake Me Up Concealer Corrector 2Rimmel London Wake Me Up Concealer Corrector SwatchI usually wear Light/Medium. I’m not completely fair-skinned, but I’m also not dark enough to wear medium. The shade above is… I don’t even know how to describe it. Perhaps a dark, dirty orange? I don’t know if the packaging was mislabeled, but this isn’t any Light/Medium I’ve ever seen. I have absolutely no use for this because it doesn’t blend well with my skin tone no matter how much foundation I use. A lot of under eye concealers have an orange/salmon tint to cover up dark circles but this product becomes tacky fairly quickly so if you want to take your time blending, think again. I have other Rimmel products and while they do their job, I would never recommend this to anyone. Not even to Snooki. I can’t seem to find this product in any of the drugstores I’ve gone to recently. Maybe Rimmel took a hint?

2. NYC IndividualEyes for green Eyes – $4.99 (NewYorkColor.com)

NYC INDIVIDUALEYES CUSTOM COMPACTNYC IndividualEyes ShadesNYC IndividualEyes SwatchesI don’t have green eyes, I get it. However, the neutral/warm tones drew me in. Maybe I should’ve gone with the palette that was for brown eyes, but I really don’t think any of the palettes would be very pigmented. The shades going horizontal are the primer and illuminator. I couldn’t get over the milky consistency so I avoided both like the plague. There are supposed to be FOUR shades going across my arm, but I’m sure you can only see two. I had to dig my fingers into the palette in hopes to get some kind of color. The two on the end are very pigmented but produced a lot of fallout. I really like NYC’s lip products so maybe I’ll just stick to those.

3. L’Oreal Studio Secrets Professional™ The One Sweep™ for brown eyes- $9.95 (LorealParisUSA.com)

L'Oreal Studio Secrets Professional™ The One Sweep™L'Oreal Studio Secrets Professional™ The One Sweep™ PackagingL'Oreal Studio Secrets Professional™ The One Sweep™ BrushL'Oreal Studio Secrets Professional™ The One Sweep™ SwatchesI love the idea of putting a bunch of colors onto a cheap, sponge applicator and just swiping it across your eyelids to POOF!, magically make your eyes look complete!

Sigh.

I absolutely hate this product. The colors are pretty much the same even when used individually. None of the shades are matte so my lids were a shimmery mess. There’s a tiny mirror where the applicator sits and while I like the mirror, it gets so dirty . Oh and the applicator, the painful applicator. One sweep did nothing – one sweep with force basically rubbed my lids raw.

4. Stila Daydream Palette – $18.00 (Birchbox.com)

Stila Daydream PaletteStila Daydream Palette PackagingStila isn’t a drugstore brand so let me be clear on that. However, this palette is more disappointing than any of the other products mentioned above. I’ve had this for so long and honestly, I think I purposely buried it in my makeup drawer to forget about it. What bothers me the most is that there are several shades that don’t show up even with primer. I mean, I had to use my nails to get some kind of product. I don’t know what eyeshadow brush can fit into some of these spots, but I always struggled getting product on the brush even with many swipes.

Disclaimer: The products shown in this post have been purchased by me for review. For more information, please read the Disclosure Policy.