15 September 2014

Treasures from Grandma's House

I don't think I put this on my blog, but my Great Grandma Settle passed away in July, just after a visit the rest of my family had made to Oregon. She was the last one of her generation on that side of the family. Since then, my Aunts and Grandma have been sorting through the contents of her house, deciding what to keep, what to sell, and what to throw away. As a part of all that, I was sent a box of little things. Aunt Abby had let me know she was sending me something and I received the box last Friday right before work. I definitely got all teary eyed going through it. The best part was, there was a letter enclosed explaining what everything was. I decided to take pictures of everything and blog it, to have a record for myself.

Two books- one is to teach your shorthand, the other is about words. 
 The books are both pretty and something I'm excited to read through.

The brush belonged to Grandma Fisher. The coin purse wasn't on the list, but contained something else that was.
These are both really cool. I haven't decided whether or not to use the brush, or keep it in it's mint condition. I probably will end up using the coin purse at some point as it's just so cute.

Military handkerchief belonged to Grandpa Granville (two or three greats), the smaller handkerchief was embroidered by Great-Great-Grandma Fisher for her mother Abigail Granville. The little rectangles that say Yale are cigar or cigarette silks. They used to come in the boxes, and apparently Grandma Fisher collected and played with them.
These items were some of the things that made me tear up the most. It's so nice to just have old things from your family. Once I get my cork boards up, I think I'm going to hang the cigar silks on them.

This fun Americana/Pin-up apron was Grandma Settle's.
One can never have too many aprons. :)

Thank you note that I sent Grandma and Granddad years ago.
 This was the other thing that made me tear up. Aunt Abby said that Grandma saved every thank you and letter from her great-grandkids. She sent me this particular one of mine.

Turtle from Grandma Fisher's collection.
 Grandma Fisher collected all sorts of little animal figurines. I have a couple with my things in Maui. This little guy came in the box though. He's adorable! And I almost missed him too. He was hiding in the packing peanuts. Thank goodness I double checked the contents before throwing out the box!

Grandma Fisher's costume pearls (blush with a gorgeous clasp) and Grandma Settle's bird brooch. 
 I loved both of these so much that I knew I had to wear at least one of them right away. I decided the pearls went best with what I'd picked out, so I wore them to work. I got one compliment in person, and then a TON of likes when I posted this picture on Instagram/Facebook.

I'll admit it, it's heavily filtered. ;)
The last two things in the box I've already gone and re-purposed.

Grandma Settle's crystal vase/cup.
Mal's Mug which belonged to my great-great-grandfather Malcolm J. Fisher.
I realized that both of these would work excellently as beauty storage. I've been needing to add some storage, but was hesitant to use more tin cans. These are much cuter and I wanted to put them somewhere I'd see them a lot.

So. Much. Stuff. But at least it's organized!
Here you can see the mug and vase in their new home. Did I mention that I can't wait to move and have somewhere better to put my make-up than my dresser?

Enclosed in the box was also a slip from the USPS saying that "The enclosed has been damaged in handling in the U.S. Postal Service." Fortunately, nothing in the box was broken. And based on the explanation of contents, the only thing that seems to be missing as one of Grandma Settle's doilies. I'll be checking with Aunt Abby to make sure nothing else fell out. The post office says they'll try and recover anything that's missing if you tell them what it is, but I have a feeling that's an arduous and somewhat fruitless process. 

14 September 2014

Budget Haul: Amazon and CVS

I mentioned in a post that I'd ordered a bunch of body butter off Amazon. Well, I finally got to pick it up from the post office on Monday. It was a box of awesome.

That's a lot of body butter!
On top is Tree Hut's Shea Body Butter in Coconut Lime. From left to right on the bottom is Village Naturals Aromatherapy Energize Orange and Grapefruit Body Butter, C. Booth Olive Oil Body Butter, and Burt's Bee's Cranberry & Pomegranate Body Butter.

Never forget, I got all this body butter for $35. Ridiculous. I've been using the Tree Hut one so far, since there are three of those, and I've really been liking it. The texture isn't super smooth and the scent isn't quite as delightful as I could have hoped, but it is by no means off-putting. And none of that really matters long once you've put it on. And it certainly does the job of moisturizing! I'll report back once I've tried some more of them.

I also thought I'd share a couple things I got at CVS today. I needed some more face wash, so I got the CVS Oil Free Acne Foaming Scrub Pink Grapefruit, which is the generic brand of Neutrogena's Grapefruit Scrub. I've been wanting to try the Neutrogena one, and CVS usually does a pretty good job at duplicating products. I also got some CVS Exfoliating Apriocot Towelettes. They seem to be similar to the ones from Target that I love, but are more convenient to go get (and they were 50% off because they were the second CVS facial product I bought). I also found these really cool soaps that were on sale for 69 cents each. The brand is Yardley. They're a UK brand and seem kind of awesome. All their soaps are paraben and sodium lauryl sulfate free, as well as not tested on animals. I have a ridiculous stock of soap already, but I couldn't resist the draw of what seemed like really amazing soaps for such a crazy price. So I picked out the Yardely Soap Oatmeal and Almond and the Yardley Naturally Moisturizing Bar Lemon Verbena with Shea Butter.

I also went and found a bunch of fun stuff for sale at Michael's, but most of that is gifts, so I can't tell you about it!

01 September 2014

Outfits of the Week!

When I was in Maui, Lilly gave me a TON of clothes. So many clothes, in fact, that I realized I could wear a new outfit every day for the first two weeks of rehearsal and not repeat anything. To that end, I took way too many selfies this week. But behold, my outfits of the week!

I apparently was not at all consistent with how far I was away from the mirror, but you get the idea! I also unfortunately forgot to take a full body photo on the first day of rehearsal, but I did take a head shot when I got home. :)

Tuesday and Thursday were both shirts I got from Lilly. The dress I wore on Thursday was also from Lilly. The shirts I were on Wednesday and Friday were actually from Mum. Sunday we went to 10 o'clock mass at the local Catholic church, so I wore one of my tried and true dresses for that, rather than wearing something new.

I may do a similar thing for this coming week since there are still plenty of new clothes for me to wear! It also helped keep my spirits up and motivated me to lay out my clothes the night before, which makes my morning just go so much better.

30 August 2014

Combating Eczema: Products I Like

If you follow my blog, you know that I battle against dry skin, especially in the winter time. It's one of the many reasons I learned how to make lotion bars (find my recipe here). It's also the reason I bought four different kinds of body butter off Amazon two days ago. And both those things are great and lovely and moisturizing. I find the lotion bar, especially, is great for extra, targeted moisture where I have actual eczema and not just general dryness. However, I found that I still hadn't found a great solution for when I'm at work, or doing stuff at my computer. Because, while they are incredibly moisturizing, lotion bars and body butter tend to be a bit on the greasy side, which is not ideal when I'm at work or touching electronics. I have also been having an eczema flare-up for the past few weeks, and on my dominant hand of all places, which is just driving me batty. So I really needed something to put on my hands multiple times a day that I wouldn't have to worry about letting soak in after I applied it. So, after a thourough internet and in-person search, I decided to buy the following two products:

First is the Up & Up Eczema Moisturizing Cream. On the package it says to compare to Aveeno Active Naturals Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream. I really like this lotion. It has an ever so slightly oatmeal scent and soaks in nice and quick. But it also moisturizes very deeply, makes my hands stop itching, and I can still feel the moisture in my hand over an hour later. I've been keeping it on my desk and using it every time after I wash my hands or whenever I feel I need more. I've also been using it at night before I go to bed and put on my lotion bar.

Second is the Up & Up Hand Cream Skin Repairing. This one says compare to Eucerin Intensive Repair Cream. It has a simple lotion-y scent and also is incredibly moisturizing, while also soaking in quickly. This one is a much smaller tube, so I threw it into my bag and have been using this one at work. I've been quite happy with it.

Sort of boring and mundane, but my hands were just driving me nuts and I was really happy to find a couple products that have been working well for me.

29 August 2014

Quest for body butter and a BOGO surprise

So I have been on a quest to find a quality, but inexpensive body butter. My favorite body butters of all time are The Body Shop body butters, but regularly priced at $20, that's almost $3 an ounce. It does go on sale, but you've got to catch it when it is. The Trader Joe's body butters (Coconut and the seasonal Pumpkin) are delightful and well priced, but they are more or a mouse than a butter. I find that they don't moisturize for quite the same length of time as the body butters from Body Shop. After a bit of research, I decided I wanted to try the Cranberry and Pomegranate Body Butter from Burt's Bees. Online, it gives the impression that CVS carries them. However, after going to THREE different locations, I can tell you that they do not have them in store! It was imensely frusterating. In the end I had to order it online. I'll let you know what I think of it once it gets here!

But since I was going to CVS anyways, I picked up a few other things I needed. My pressed powder was almost out, so I picked up a wet n wild Coverall Pressed Powder in Fair/Light. I used to buy the pressed powder from their "Naturals" line (trying to get in on the market that Physician's Formula occupies), but it seems that they're fazing it out. I'm not picky about my pressed powder, as I only use it to even out and mattify whatever foundation I've used. And since CVS was doing BOGO 50% off, I also picked up a nice Coloricon Eyeliner in 650D Purple/Violet.

I also needed to get some dry shampoo, because my Garnier Volume Extended Instant Boost Dry Shampoo ran out yesterday. I wasn't dissatisfied with it, but I hadn't loved it, so I decided to try another brand. I almost got the CVS generic one, but ended up going with the Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo. I'd read some positive reviews about it, and it was also very reasonably priced. All the Not Your Mother's products were also BOGO 50% and they had an awesome deal on the Short Order Fiber Glaze Cream, where you can send in your receipt for a rebate of your purchase price. Which meant I got the Dry Shampoo for half off and the Fiber Glaze Cream for free! The cream isn't something I would necessarily have splurged on, but it was free! I used it this morning and will report back on how I like it. If nothing else, it smells delightful. I'll also do a review of the dry shampoo once I've used it.

And finally, the cherry on top of my day was the Spearmint and Tea Tree Pit Putty Deodorant I'd ordered waiting for me at home. I was starting to get desperate!

24 August 2014

Annual Maui Pedicure

I thought I had posted this on my way back from Maui, but it turns out that it didn't upload from my phone. Every time I go to Maui, me and Mum go get pedicures. She has a girl she always goes to, named Mimi, who recently moved shops. Like, really recently. The walls hadn't all been repainted, some of the chairs were still in plastic wrap, and not everything was all set up yet. It's not even 100% clear what their name is- they were calling it Beautiful Nails, but the sign says Pro Nails, and so did the receipt. In any case, they're located at 737 Lower Main Street in Wailuku and they were really excellent pedicures! Mimi was great for Mum, as always, and the ladies who did mine were excellent as well (an older lady did the bulk of the pedicure and then a younger girl took over for the painting and nail art.) Mum asked for lots of sparkles and rhinestones, and boy did she get it! I told the girl who did mine to do whatever design she wanted and the result was so awesome! Here are mine and Mum's toes together:

Mum's tanned, sparkly toes and my white, flowery ones.
Here's a close-up of my toes:

Flower on my big toe and little designs on my other toes.
It was so much fun to watch her work. She started with the white and did the flower and the curlicues. Then she added the pink onto the flower and placed the rhinestone. Lastly, she added the little dots and did the lines on all the smaller toes. It was one of the best pedicures I've ever gotten!

05 August 2014

Summer Dye: Ion Color Brilliance Brights

Misleading photo of my Manic Panic slightly purple hair.
As may be evident, I've been trying to get some fun and interesting colors into my hair, hopefully without bleaching it first. My first attempt was with Manic Panic in Pillarbox Red. You can find my post about it here. My hair definitely turned out red, but a fairly natural red. I also tried Purple Haze over my natural hair, and the color was so subtle that I never even blogged about it. I do have one picture which showed how the purple popped a little in the right light. It was certainly not the vibrant color I was looking for either, though.

I was ready to go in and get my hair bleached, but I had to wait for the Manic Panic to all wash out before I could go. While I waited, I hit tech for Twelfth Night, and so my plans to get my hair bleached were put on hold. I happened to be browsing the Sally Beauty site and saw another of the semi-permenant hair colors they offered that had some interesting colors. It was the Ion Color Brilliance Brights Semi-Permanent Hair Color line. They have a line of traditional hair colors, but this is their "hi-fashion hair colors designed to give vivid, boldly intense results." Like most hair colors, they recommend bleaching first. However, there were many positive reviews about how well they layered over unbleached hair, and also how fade-resistant they were. At only $4.79 a tube, I figured it was worth a shot before I spent significantly more time and money bleaching my hair.

After doing a bit of research, I decided to buy the Ion Color Defense Intense Moisture Conditioner and the Ion Color Defense After-Color Sealer in addition to the Ion Color Brilliance dye. Many reviews mentioned that the dye was quite thick out of the tube and that they'd found it helpful to thin it with some conditioner. I didn't want to thin it with a cheap conditioner, which is why I invested in the Ion conditioner. Also, I figured even if I never used the Ion dye again, it would still be great conditioner to use at any point on my dyed hair. The After-Color Sealer is recommended by Ion (of course, because they want to make more money) but there were several positive review regarding its use. And, again, even if I hated the Ion dye, I could use it after other dye jobs in the future. 

The experience of using the Ion Color Brilliance dye was quite pleasant. It was very thick, but the conditioner helped get it to a nice, workable consistency. I went ahead and applied the dye the way I feel most comfortable, which is brushing it along the roots, starting at center and working first towards on side, then the other. Next is the roots in the back. Once I'm satisfied I've gotten all my roots, then I slather it on the ends, comb it through, and clip it up. I left it on for 40 minutes, which was the longest recommended on the packaging (it said 20-40 minutes). I also heated it up a couple times under my glamorous bag shower cap while I waited. I think given that it is an ammonia and peroxide free treatment, I would probably stretch it to a full hour next time.

The color I picked out was Red. I hesitated for a moment at the Magenta and the Fushia (which looks much cooler on the in-store swatch than it does online) but as I didn't know how well it would go on my hair, I played it safe (relatively speaking) with the Red. The Red is actually fairly pink, in my opinion. It comes out of the tube red, but anytime it got on my skin, towel, or other porous surface (like the poor Brita filter on the faucet in the kitchen or the door jamb in the bathroom) it looks very pink. Like bright, hot pink. It seemed quite pigmented and was pretty hard to wash out of my hair, though it didn't stain my scalp as badly as the Manic Panic did. I spent a good 5+ minutes in the kitchen trying to wash the bulk of it out of my hair before I moved into the shower. I don't think I would have noticed as much had I not been in a hurry to get to work, but in the end I'll admit I didn't wait until the water was 100% clear because it seemed like that was just never going to happen.
Ion Color Brilliance Brights in Red or Squinty smirk in the back alley.
All that to say, I am really happy with the color. I took a picture the first day to document (though I don't love the photo). I'll try and take another, hopefully better one, after I wash it for the first time tomorrow. It definitely reads more as a magenta than a true red, but as I almost got the Magenta anyways, I'm perfectly happy with that. It's not crazy in-your-face about being an unnatural color, but it's unusual enough to make me very happy and feel more me. I never feel like myself when my hair is brown. Given how well this turned out, so long as it doesn't fade crazy quick, I'll most definitely be trying some of the other colors to see if they pop as well over my natural hair. But, I would 100% try this color again. I've gotten tons of compliments on it, and zero weird looks, so I'm calling that a win!