Friday, August 29, 2008

Sinful Colors' Daddy's Girl (or alternatively titled, I <3 Friday)

Fridays are awesome. It signals the start of the weekend, and a break from work. Well, technically. One of the part-time odd jobs I am working until I find a full-time job in my field is the sort that demands my attention 24 hours a day, as if there is an emergency then I have to answer the call. Luckily, that job is done from home.

Unfortunately, the other one is in an office. Monday through Friday I have to defer to more office-appropriate looks. But come Friday evening...

Sinful Colors' Daddy's Girl.

LOL at my messy manicure. Sorry, I don't bother with orange sticks, so you'll just have to bear with me.


I could not get a good picture of this polish. It is a jelly, and even after three coats there were still some spots you could essentially see through in bright outdoor sunlight. Sinful Colors is one of my favorite lines for a variety of reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is because the formula is usually really easy to work with. This one was not, unfortunately. But it is still a really fun dark purple color with gold shimmer, and I am not in a mood to be fussy right now so it is all good.

Appropriate for a conservative office job? No way. But perfect for this weekend. Even better, it is a long holiday weekend, so I even get to have some extra wear out of it. Sweet!

Even better, the Sinful Colors line is great for the super frugal at about $2 a pop. I only know of e.l.f. nail polishes that can beat that price. I get my fix of Sinful Colors at my local Wal-greens drugstore where it is $1.99, but you can order them on their website for $2.50.

Finally, Sinful Colors polishes are Toluene, Formaldehyde, Camphor and Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) Free. If that is a concern of yours, then this is a great option.

Apparently, they have a shade called "Orlando" #187 - I want it! Orlando pride, woohoo. It looks like a glittery champagne color - too bad they don't have descriptions or larger swatch pictures on their site. I know they do not sell this one at my drugstore, so I will either have to keep an eye out or succumb to placing an order on their website.

Hope you've got great plans this weekend!

Website Crush: Daily Monster

I am completely crushing on the Daily Monster.

Watch it. He draws a monster by starting out with a splatter of ink that he blows with a straw. Watch the videos to see where it goes. Fascinating.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wedding hair trial

My wedding hair trial run went great a couple of days ago. My stylist has been doing my hair for four or five years now, and she is a curly girl herself so she gets my hair.

She's also crazy pregnant! As in, due next Monday. So I was cutting it close with this hair trial. And she isn't even officially supposed to be back to work by the time of the wedding, but she is going to come in especially to do my hair. Lisa at Salon Salon in Lake Buena Vista, Florida rocks. Tell her Victoria sent you!

Lisa and I sat down at the start of my appointment to chat about what I wanted. I brought along pictures of styles that I liked, although none of them were "it." The only thing I knew for certain was that I wanted a half-up, half-down curly style. My hair has been growing out for years, and I want to take advantage of the length by showcasing it down. However, since I do not want it to get in the way, I also want the half-up so it will stay out of my face. The Boy enjoys my hair straight (easier to touch, he says), but he is marrying a curly girl, so I am walking down that aisle curly.

We discussed curling iron curls versus my own curls, and decided to go with my own curls. They will stay nicer throughout the day since we won't be fighting my natural hair, and they are pretty nice to begin with, if I do say so myself. The plan is to wash it, throw in some styling products, diffuse it dry, and then put it into a half-up. All in all, since I am keeping it so simple, it won't take Lisa long at all to make my hair wedding-ready.

Super pregnant Lisa had to sit down while having me lean over so she could blow dry my hair. Hilarious!

Good grief, I have a lot of hair.

The finished result. The bit of orange in there is a hair toy Lisa had handy. She wants me to buy a two shiny hair toys that we can put on either side of the little twist she did in the back. Now the hunt is on to find two hair toys that will suit my hair and my dress.

And from the back.

Exciting stuff. It is very nice to have one more thing checked off the list, even if this one did create an addition to do item (find hair toys). We also confirmed my mom and maid of honor's hair appointments for the day of the wedding. Lisa will not be working on them, but two other highly recommended stylists will be instead. One is great with curly hair so she will be doing my mom's hair, and the other is known for her updos, half-updos, and so on so she will style my maid of honor.

So many other things to do... Really need to write out an updated to do list.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Ultimate Car Charger

I recently went on a little roadtrip to the Gulf Coast of Florida. It was just a two hour drive, but that was long enough for my GPS unit's battery to die while I was charging my iPhone.

If I had had this car charger with 4 USB ports, this would not have been an issue.

Serious car charger for serious people.

Pretty cool, eh? Seems to work for any device that can be powered through a USB port. I think this would be especially good for road trips with The Boy where we've got the GPS unit and each of our cellphones to keep charged up. And at only $22.99, it is about as expensive as a standard car charger that just works for one device at a time.

Thanks to The Boy for pointing this device out to me!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Engagement Story

The Boy and I got engaged on April 17, 2008.

At the time, I was living in our state capitol of Tallahassee working for the state legislature during session. I had been gone from Orlando for almost two months, and was due to move back in a few weeks. We had been talking very casually about marriage on and off for a few months at that point. While I outright told him that I knew I wanted to marry him someday a little bit before I moved to Tallahassee, The Boy had never definitively said to me that he wanted the same. I couldn't speak for what exactly he was thinking except to say that he initiated much talk about babies and living together even before I ever mentioned marriage.

We had been switching weekends in terms of visiting each other while I was living in Tallahassee, and that fateful weekend was my weekend. I arranged to get some time off from the job in order to leave Tallahassee early, and ended up getting into town around 4:30 that day. I knew The Boy wouldn't be due home from work until 6:30 or so. I sent him a text not even directly letting him know that I was there - I just asked if the laundry on his bed was clean or dirty! 15 minutes later, he was home from work.

He was so anxious, it was ridiculously endearing. Usually we just relaxed together for a good long while when I arrived for the weekend because I would get tuckered out from the drive. Plus, we're homebodies anyway. But that afternoon, he asked me if I wanted to go to Starbucks. I must have looked at him like he was crazy because we - me especially - are not Starbucks people. Despite this, I agreed to go along.

He then lived in downtown Orlando, and his apartment was only a few blocks from Starbucks. We were walking in that general direction before we started veering off towards Lake Eola, the jewel of downtown Orlando. I asked if I was just tired or confused about where Starbucks was located, and he said, "No, but I thought we would go to your gazebo first."

My gazebo! I should preface this by stating that I have a thing for gazebos. I have always loved them, and the house I grew up in had one that my grandfather built, so it should be no surprise...

This is where Rob and I first kissed.

He led me to the gazebo, but there was a couple sitting inside. We waited for a bit, looked at the lake, chatted about our weeks, and then I suggested we sit inside the gazebo even though we would have company. We did, and they didn't budge! I was tired, so I ended up rest my head on his shoulder, and I guess maybe that was too cuddly for their tastes because they finally vacated.

Rob and I started kissing a bit and getting mushy, and a homeless guy yelled, "There's a hotel across the street!" We laughed and thanked him. Good old downtown Orlando.

Then Rob told me he loves me, that he wants to spend the rest of his life with me, and then pulled a ring box out of his pocket, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
I looked at him in shock (he asked me to marry him!), I looked at the ring (there's a ring!), I looked at him (holy moley he asked me to marry him!), and then I said yes. We started hugging and kissing, and Rob eventually had to remind me to take the ring.

The ring is a funny story. He ended up going to a jeweler that I have been going to for years for things like watch and jewelry repair and small gift purchases. She has always been good to me and knows my taste to boot, and Rob ended up going to her. I saw her a few days after the proposal and she told me The Boy spent two hours looking at diamonds and settings before he picked out my ring. She said most guys just go in there, give her a dollar amount, and ask what they can get. But he spent all that time doing something he hates (shopping) in order to get me the perfect ring.

We started talking and I was still squeeing when the homeless guy walked up and asked if he had just witnessed a proposal and when we confirmed it, he offered us his blessing. Then he gave us some private time to ourselves. Eventually he did come back to ask for a few dollars, but neither of us had cash on us. Oops!

We did eventually make it to Starbucks, and then we went back to his apartment where I took a picture of the ring with my phone and sent it to everyone under the sun. We started calling our family to make the announcement, and...
Here we are today, about to get married.

Part of me still cannot believe it. I am so ridiculously happy. We got lucky with one another.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bathroom storage solutions

I feel shame right now.

That is our guest bathroom. As you can see, I conquered it - in entirely the wrong way.

The Boy and I bought our first house a few months ago, and it is an amazing house. Four bedrooms, two bathrooms, close to downtown Orlando, in a beautiful neighborhood, and has a huge yard. We got engaged in the spring, and then we were ready to officially move in together.

Well, I come with a lot of stuff. As much as part of me detests materialism, another part of me definitely enjoys the materials. Oops. I was initially taking over the master bathroom, but between the poor lighting and sharing the counter space with the Boy, that did not work out so well. I gradually began moving my make-up and eventually other toiletries into what you see here.

What a mess. I need to figure out some more aesthetically pleasing, convenient, and cheap storage solutions. Something I would not be embarassed for someone to see sitting on the counter, but I could easily stow it under the sink if I had a minute to spare. And did I mention cheap? House buying and wedding planning are expensive endeavors.

Temptalia has posted a few different storage solutions of her own and her readers. Musings of a Muse recently posted a frugal option for small storage needs, and even a collection of videos on all of her makeup storage. If you are really into MAC, Vanessa at Nessasarymakeup posted about a Container Store product that perfectly holds her MAC palettes.

I need to figure out something. Wish me luck!

Friday, August 22, 2008

My Curly Hair.

I am a curly girl.

If you are not a curly girl, then you will not understand the agony that curly girls go through. Yes, I am judging your ability to empathize with me and my mess of frizzy tangles. Granted, I will not understand a straight haired person's obsession with getting a bump-free ponytail. That just isn't a possibility for me, so I could never be bothered to obsess. I aim lower, like hoping my hair bumps look less like a rat's nest and more like I actually tried to pay a little attention to my hair. So let us agree that we are both in agony and this is why the hair care industry is such a bustling business.

My hair has been curly since it grew long enough to curl. It was fine and blonde until I was about five, then it turned into thick brown waves. Once I was into my teenage years, it had thinned out a bit and was back to being curly. I didn't know how to deal with it, I didn't know how to deal with it, I didn't know what I wanted it to look like, I only knew I didn't like it. the result was a few years of bad hair.

At some point, I figured out what I wanted from my hair - long, flowing curls - and I've been working toward it ever since. Now my hair is quite long, falling about halfway down my back.

But - of course there's a but - I get sick of it. Every time I grow out my hair, I get positively sick of it. It gets tangled, frizzy, and full of knots. It gets to be less than and more of a chore, even if I love how the final result looks. I have that love/hate relationship so many women seem to have with their hair.

A few years ago I switched to the Conditioner-Only (CO) method of washing my hair. Shampoos make my hair squeak, which means it has been completely stripped of its natural oils. My hair ends up dry and prone to breakage. My shower routine for my hair usually starts with a clarifying conditioner (such as Alberto VO5 Tea Therapy Clarifying Conditioner in Vanilla Mint Tea) which I then follow up with a heavier, more moisturizing conditioner (such as Biolage Conditioning Balm) When I do shampoo (which is very infrequently, maybe once or twice a month), I tend to only shampoo the roots.

So, where does this get me? With this:

That's some long hair, people! And it's grown a bit longer since I took this several months ago.

Anyway, it is a lot of hair to take care of, and washing - even CO-washing - causes damage. I wash my hair every few days, and tinker with my hairstyles on the days I don't wash. So expect to see some posts of different updos and other experiments on my hair.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Amazingly Organized Totally Awesome Wedding is 7 1/2 weeks away

It hit me yesterday that my wedding is seven and a half weeks away. Oh dear.

It helps that we have tried to keep everything as simple as possible. Granted, it would have been most simple to simply elope, but The Boy shot down that idea. Then I attempted to convince him a teensy weensy wedding would be the way to go - my parents, his parents, his sister, his nana, and a few select friends. But no. Apparently we are too popular for our own good, and lots more people than that want to see us take our vows and then booze it up on our dime. Sigh. The perils of being well-liked and willing to have an open bar.

All told, we expect to have about 50 guests attending, which is a lot more than I wanted and a lot less than he wanted. It is a compromise we can all live with, except my mother, who keeps asking me if I'm really, really certain that I don't want to invite so-and-so. Yes, Mom, I'm sure.

Early in the planning process I was horribly stressed. It didn't help that we were in the middle of buying a house, I was temporarily living a few hours away working in the state capitol, was preparing to move back to my parents' house in the Orlando area, shortly followed by another move into our new house, about to start my last semester of grad school, taking on an extra part-time job, and broke. Gee, no major stressors there!

Thankfully, I have lightened up a bit since then. Once we made the major decisions about the guest list, budget, and venue, everything else was just so much more manageable. There is still a lot to do and I need to get to getting, but I know it will work out.

In the coming weeks I will be posting about the decisions we have already made and the ones that we are currently muddling our way through. The parts that have frustrated me and the parts that have made me obnoxiously giddy will get their fair share of the limelight. I'll also end up posting about my Amazingly Organized Binder of the Totally Awesome Wedding of Victoria and Robert The Boy (or Robert The Boy and Victoria, depending on who you ask) because I just have an unreasonable pride for that thing. I created in a low moment of the wedding planning process, and just looking at the cover can cheer me up if I am feeling particularly flustered or frustrated. Hooray for organization inclinations!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencils

I am getting married in October (eeeeek! The wedding planning process definitely deserves posts of its own). In an effort to keep things simple, I am going to be doing my own make-up. I have mentioned here that my skin is fussy and sensitive. A friend of mine makes fun of me for calling it Angry Skin, but that's what it is. So my wedding day is not the day to experiment with new make-up lines, and even a trial run wouldn't be enough to calm my concerns about how the make-up would actually end up looking on the W-Day.

Plus, I am frugal and canot stand the thought of paying someone a hundred bucks to do my make-up. Not when I have already wasted invested so much money in make-up of own!

Of course, even though I already have a bathroom full of make-up, it doesn't mean I can't use a bit more. I would like to find a good undereye concealer, and I need a longer lasting lip color. On a normal day, my usual glosses and creamy lipsticks won't last more than a few hours. Since I don't want to be bothered with reapplying during the reception, I've been looking into some longer wear solutions.

Enter Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencils. I've never bought anything from UD's 24/7 line, but I've tested their eye pencils at Sephora enough times to know just how well that product stays on. If the lip pencil could do the same, then it might be the solution to my predicament.

Below are the lip pencils, freshly applied to the back of my hand. Naked, Heavy, Gash, Wicked, and Envious. Ozone, which is clear, is not pictured because the tester was not available. Naked is a dark neutral, Heavy has bronze shimmer, Gash is red, Wicked ispearly pink, and Envious is a berry shade. (For those curious, the reddish mark at the bottom is where I smeared Urban Decay's Lip Envy lip stain in Envious, and below that are some other lip pencil marks.)

Below you will see how my hand looked that evening after washing my hands multiple times, using make-up remover, and using alcohol. This stuff did not want to come off.

Finally, this is the next day after washing my hands multiple times, using make-up remover, using alcohol, and a shower. Barely there, but you can still see the ghost of it.

So, I'm impressed. I used Neutral on my lips, and it lasted several hours. Nothing put a dent in it until I had some greasy enchiladas for dinner, and even then it wasn't worn off. Another nice feature is that it wore off evenly, so there was no odd-looking rim of lipliner to deal with.

At $17, it is on the pricey side as far as I am concerned, but I am glad I discovered this option.

Although not as pricey as it once was, at least for a limited time. Urban Decay is offering 30% off discount until 8/28/08 when you use the discount code FFL30 during checkout. Guess I'll be making a purchase!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My favorite things when I have a cold.

I have had a cold-thing for about two weeks now. I got it from The Boy, so I reserve all rights to blame him entirely for this misery and cough in his general direction. It started out with an earache, sore throat, and stuffy nose, and it seemed to be almost gone after a week. But then I developed a cough and it has been all downhill from there.

Thanks to my graduation two weeks ago and my current state of insurance-providing-joblessness, I put off going to the doctor. But since this cough has been going strong for about a week now and I also have asthma to contend with, I think I will wind up there tomorrow. Gimme the drugs, doc! Or at least rule out bronchitis or asthma-related complications.

Although I am already on some pretty good over-the-counter drugs. When you have a cold, you are going to be pretty miserable no matter what. But there are a few things you can do to help mitigate that misery (thereby mitigating the misery you inflict on your fiance for putting you in this predicament in the first place).

This stuff has generally treated me pretty well for standard cold coughing. It's just a cough supressant, so if you don't have any other symptoms you aren't loading up your body with additional and unnecessary medications. Plus since it is a 12 hour formula you only have to remember to take it twice a day. I don't know about you, but when I am sick I really don't feel like watching to clock to see when I can take my next dose 4-6 hours after the last one.

2. Mucinex D

This is an OTC product, but they keep it locked up in the pharmacy so you have to show your ID to purchase it. Like Delsym, it's a specialist, and as Penelope Trunk says, the best way to ensure you'll always be in demand is to become a specialist (although I don't imagine she necessarily intended that line of thinking for cold medication). Mucinex D tackles sinus, nasal, and chest congestion.

3. Sleep

Isn't my girl adorable! That's my cat, Cutie. Hey, I named her when I was 12, give a girl a break.

Mmm, sleep. The terrible quandary about this is that when sick, it can be really difficult to sleep. Um. I actually don't have any tips on this one as I am currently struggling with it myself.

4. Cuddle with your kitty

My other kitty Cole. Can't go posting pictures of Cutie without him getting jealous.

Aww, well, now I am just getting goofy here. But maybe not. Articles pop up every now and then about the "Benefits of Pet Therapy for Sick People." So go cuddle a pet and feel less stressed, less lonely (which you might be feeling if you're channeling Typhoid Mary), and just better overall.

And I think that is what I am going to go do now. Time to go relax with my kitties and again attempt that thing called sleep.

Monday, August 18, 2008

OPI's Parlez Vous OPI?

This is how OPI's Parlez Vous OPI? turned out:

Cute! I thought it would be a bit more muted and lean more towards a gray hue, but it's very definitely a creamy purple. Still, I am enjoying it.

I used CND's Stickey as a base coat for the first time ever, and two days later I have a small chip on my left index finger and some nail wear at the tips on all the nails (no surprise since I spent a chunk of yesterday typing heavily and tidying the house). I used Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat, a great top coat for anyone impatient like me. It won't stop the nail polish from smudging if you whack it good in the first 15 minutes, but it does keep you from leaving a nail polish stain on whatever you just whacked. Perfect for klutzes lacking proprioception like me. Also, I credit Seche Vite with creating that high shine.

This is from OPI's La Collection De France for Fall 2008. Limited edition, of course.

A rant would be good at some point about the popular limited edition trends in the beauty world - nail and makeup houses put out seasonal collections, and once they're gone, they're gone. That puts the pressure on to buy a product NOW, IMMEDIATELY, ASAP! Before it's gone and you'll never see it again. You can try and find dupes of LE products in permanent collections, but it's never quite the same. Sigh. A rant for another day.

Right now I'm going to go cough up a lung at the gym! The cough is always the last thing to go in a cold, and by that measure I've had this cold for about two weeks now. Yeesh.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Skincare products I love, live with, and wish I had.

Skincare and make-up are expensive habits. The make-up in particular is killing me, as I've only gotten really into it over the past year or so. This fascination has been hard on my frugal sensibilities, but I have to admit it has been a fun process. I have battled acne since my early teenage years, and it has only been in the past couple that I felt like I was winning. It wasn't until then that I was at a point where I was even interested in dabbling with the fun that is make-up. So here's a skincare post for you, and I'll save the make-up for another one.

Holy Grail Skincare Products:

  • Duac Gel (Prescription) & Retin-A Micro (Prescription) - Seriously, if you've got acne, go to a dermatologist. I use the former in the morning and the latter in the evening, and they make all the difference in the world. Downside is that it makes your skin more sensitive to the sun, so I recommend upping your usual sunscreen SPF. Also, the Duac Gel is basically 10% benzoyl peroxide, so be careful not to bleach your pillow or clothes or anything like that.
  • Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser - There is a reason so many dermatologists recommend this product. It's just that awesome. But to tell you a little more about it and help you meet your daily laugh quota for the day, please read this blog post from Dooce.
  • Complex 15 Therapeutic Moisturizing Face Cream- The prescription products tend to dry out my oily skin, making it combination skin. The skin around my mouth gets especially dry, and worse, flaky. This moisturizer, while not glamorous, does an awesome job. Thankful I took a chance on it.
  • Aquaphor Healing Ointment - The best ointment ever. We have several tubes of this stuff floating around our house, as my fiance - aka The Boy - has even taken to using it. We use it on all sorts of things, like scrapes, dry skin, lips, heels, eyebrow setting gel. During the winter, my Complex 15 isn't always quite up to the task of my dry skin, so I'll put it on my face at night. Guaranteed glowing skin the next morning.
  • Clarisonic Skincare Brush - Yes, I bought one of these. Yes, I paid a ridiculous sum for it. Yes, I use it religiously. Yes, I think that it really is better than a washcloth. It's not for everyone, but it's great for my sensitive, fussy, flaky skin.

Products I use but don't love:

  • Purpose Dual Treatment Moisture Lotion with SPF 15 - Yeesh, I've been using this since I was a teen. Part moisturizer, part sunscreen, readily available from the drugstore, and not a scream-inducing price. The downside? Leaves my skin looking greasy. But I've never been able to find another everyday workhorse face moisturizer with sunscreen that I like, so I keep using this one. (I have been meaning to try Olay Complete All Day Moisture Lotion SPF 15, Sensitive Skin for ages, I really should get around to it.)
  • Clinique Moisture On-Line - Too pricey for what it does. It's a heavy-duty moisturizing cream, stronger than my Complex 15 but not the heavy-ointment quality of Aquaphor. Still, it just doesn't impress me.
  • Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream SPF 55 PA+++ - This is great face sunscreen for those that are acne-prone, and part of me feels like I should probably put this in the HG column for that alone. But it's expensive and has a flowery scent I just can't stand. Luckily, I only use it on days when I know I'm going to get more than incidental sun exposure and the scent fades after a few minutes.
  • L'Oreal Skin Genesis Eye Serum - I haven't seen any noticeable results while using this, but I have to admit it feels soothing to put on.

Products I don't have but would like to find:

  • Eye cream with sunscreen - seriously! I am not interested in paying big bucks for an eye cream, so I haven't poked around department store or Sephora much. Why can't there be a reasonably priced drugstore option for this product?
  • Undereye cream - Lately the bags under my eyes have been begging for some TLC. Hylexin is supposed to be a HG product, but it's also outrageously expensive - about $90. However, there's a knockoff product called Under EyeBryten Severe Dark Circles and Under-Eye Puffiness Formula that runs about $20 that I would be interested in trying.

I am off to paint my nails. Today I picked up Parlez Vous OPI? and You Don't Know Jacques! from the new OPI La Collection De France for Fall 2008. Fun times!

Allow me to introduce myself.

Who am I?

I'm a 20-something something. Just graduated with my Master's in Public Administration. Trying to find a job amidst a see of connections with nothing to connect with since governments everywhere are slashing budgets, so getting by on odd part-time jobs instead. Getting married in less than two months, just bought our first house a few months ago. Coping with fibromyalgia syndrome which I manage in part by telling myself that exercise is medicine and that I have to take it do it. Maintaining a weight loss of about 60 pounds that began a few years ago and leveled off about a year and a half ago (in part due to that mentality about exercise is medicine). I adore reading, and having a frightening amount of books (only frightening because I've moved them so many times - FYI books are heavy). I ride the line between Windows and Mac. I've been into nail polish for ages, but only recently starting dabbling in make-up. I love my kitties. I like to keep busy.

This is a space for me to post the things I'm trying to figure out. Which is a lot. Life is busy like that.

Figuring out the details.