Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Foundation, concealer, and cleanser, oh my!

Today I'm going to talk about something that I'm far from an expert on, but that I learned by necessity. You are probably aware that I have PCOS; although it does not define me, it is a part of my life that I have to acknowledge exists in more ways than I want. I love eye makeup, but I started wearing foundation and concealer because of my hyper-pigmentation left from acne breakouts. Also for another post, will be the comments that I get sometimes just walking around without makeup. My first concealer was Kat Von D concealer and I loved it! It didn't take me long to realize that it was causing breakouts, and I found out later that it is not the best for those who are prone to acne or have picky skin like me. Always google the customer reviews of things you're not sure about if you have sensitive skin. 

Fast forward to about a year ago, my friend (who is a makeup artist) suggested I try NARS foundation. Y'all, I'm not even gonna lie, $50 is expensive to this thrift store shoppin' and yard sale lovin' girl...SO I bought their concealer and found a cheap foundation elsewhere. The concealer is good, but it's not gonna work all by itself if you're trying to cover up some hard core marks like I was! I wanted to put concealer on the more recent marks, and then cover the fading ones all over with a good foundation.
Without makeup

A few months ago I went back and had one of Sephora's special skin match tests done. These things are so embarrassing for me, because I feel like they can't get a proper reading with the dark marks! I was brought two possible matches for the "full-coverage" that I had requested. One was NARS. I slathered each side of my face with a different brand, asked a few random passersby for their opinions, and settled on the NARS foundation. I can't even describe how much I love it and find it worthy of my hard-earned money! It is unique in that the instructions tell you to rub it between your hands and apply-WITH YOUR HANDS-but it does go on very nicely. I like that it isn't weird colored, you know all the shades and undertones that become even more obvious with black girl skin and brown foundations! I wanted one that had more gold undertones instead of the pink or sometimes greyish look makeup gives me. It is very light feeling and almost watery in comparison to some, but that makes layering an option if you're extra funny about every any flaws being invisible. I find that one layer works and I can wear it all day without worrying about needing to reapply.

The only problem I ran into was getting it off. It seemed like the usual cleansers weren't working, so at Sally's one day, I asked a sales associate what she had that would help. She picked up a tub of Queen Helene cleansing creme and said "This will get anything off, and it's what I use."
Dear Sally's associate, thank you for saving my skin. I love you.
With a quick application of my new foundation just to run out the house.

Does that describe well enough how I feel about it? Little tip: it leaves your skin soft and supple, but I think you should consider washing it off before you jump your butt into bed...Also sometimes I don't if I'm feeling lazy, and it hasn't caused any breakouts. So that's my makeup story. I hope that it has helped you some! If you have any tips for blush or (more) eyeshadow that you love, tell me about it in the comments! 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Smart Succulent (or any plant) Purchasing

Are you here because of those totally dreamy succulents I posted on Instagram?

Whether you are or not, you're gonna want to hear this if you like a good deal. Now, first a little disclaimer: I am not a professional; in fact, I am a reformed black thumb. The only thing that's important though, is that I am working on being a true blue gardener slowly but surely...AND that there is a less expensive way to purchase plants.

Some of the succulents I purchased and re-potted today.

You may remember from this post how I said that I started a tree seedling business for/with my dad. Well, since then, I've kinda gained a newfound interest in plant life! Seeing my garden grow from seeds might have helped as well. Secretly, I've always loved succulents, but was too afraid to try growing my own. Since a few months ago when I bought an aloe plant-which has been thriving-I became convinced that I can indeed grow them.

Agh, get to it already Elisabeth! Okay, so today I went with Momma (the true gardener) to buy some succulents, and as I veered in that direction she said, "Wait, first we need a buggy, and then we're going to the specials."
Around my house, that means something. Dirt cheap. Saving money. Pinchin' pennies. Deals. Extra ice cream money y'all! So, at Lowe's (and other places like it-so I've heard) there are shelves with plants that are not doing well. They're significantly marked down in the hopes that they will sell quickly and not be a total loss. Big stores don't have time for one-on-one plant-sitting. Usually these will be in a less obvious place, so that IF you know about the specials you'll pass all the beautiful blossoming flowers first and find them irresistible. Today, lots of plants were marked down to a dollar!

So what are you waiting for? Oh, more tips! You know me well. If you have a specific plant in mind, find out when it is going out of season, or finished blooming. They become significantly less attractive and much more difficult to sell, and will likely be marked down. If you're a succulent hunter, look for plants that have had "babies" or spread; it is fairly common, and you're basically getting 2+ for the price of one-you can separate them at home like I did. Lastly, late fall is when stores are in a hurry to get rid of their live plants. During the winter, the people that rush in to beautify their yards in the spring (inexperienced) don't even bother the garden section, so the plants will be marked down like crazy.

Did that help you any at all? I hope so. I like to pass on anything that I learn, and I would love to hear any bits of knowledge you can add to this! Lemme know in the comments! 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Bright Idea

A few weeks ago I received a text message from a friend in another state. It was unusual because we're friends but keep in touch mostly through the occasional Facebook comment. She asked me something about sewing, and I got nervous. Since I've had the chance to do custom work and it has bitten me in the butt more than once, I don't feel the initial excitement anymore.

She sent me some pictures of some pretty simple skirts, and I told her they were totally doable. We started talking prices, and then she got to the really cool part: She wants an African print skirt! As you know, Hancock fabrics closed down this week, but I was mentally going through the store trying to remember if I'd seen any of those. I was pretty sure I hadn't. Going by there, I realized I was right and they didn't have the fabric, but I did find a pattern on sale! I can't resist passing these sales on to customers and see them get excited too! 

Fast forward to a couple days ago, and I went by the discount fabric store (don't let the name fool you, seriously) and there it was! I am absolutely looking forward to this project now. My friend couldn't decide because there were three rows of assorted fabrics like the one below! COLOR!

What new (or old) projects are you looking forward to this summer? 

Friday, June 3, 2016

How My Garden Grows

Here in the South especially, so much is said through tone and facial expression. One word can hold the meaning of a sentence. With all that being said:
Seriously, I had no idea that things would take off as they did where my garden is concerned. Also, did I mention the business of selling tree seedlings? Yeah, well running that business turned out to be work, because things were selling really well!
Potato plant grown from an old potato
 Dad left me completely in charge of replying to inquiries because he was at his 9-5 and didn't have time to research the answers. I've spent almost as much time on the computer as I've spent shipping plants from Monday through Thursday. I didn't realize that I could be obsessive until now. I checked and rechecked tracking to be sure the plants arrived quickly, researched several different sources before answering questions, and looked up different plants I was considering selling.
Then the first person with a complaint emailed; he said that he thought his persimmon seedling was dead. It had only taken two days to reach him so I was skeptical, but then I researched it and realized that if the plant sat on his porch for a couple hours it could easily wilt. Reading further I found that it's just now a good idea to ship through summer, so from June 1st through September 1st I get a break! I'm using this time to reorder, and also to reconsider.
I hope that through diligent planning, I can start sewing and begin my own business before the year is over. Perhaps if I set up my schedule early, I can be prepared in advance to have time-even just a couple hours a day! As you can see, by my garden I also meant my life in general! I've just joined an Instagram challenge that starts next week. Most of the time I just feel too worn out to take "perfect" pictures and I'm hoping that the challenge will actually help me out because I would like to use Instagram effectively for my business as well!

Anyway, I'll leave you with this picture of my squash. Look over here to see what they started out looking like...And no, I haven't stopped being awestruck by them or talking to them to "help them grow". 

Monday, April 25, 2016

The love that burdens us

Mom, Dad, and I were gathered in the living room while the girls washed the dishes. After a serious conversation about some solutions to some recent difficulties with the girls, Dad suggested we pray before he headed to bed. This is not at all unusual, and so I bowed my head with some resignation. Here is where we hand our cares over to God, and it is especially necessary today of all days.
You know the feeling from when you're a child, and you can't even vocalize how tired, and upset, and overwrought you are? It was in those moments that I would go to one of my parents and just lay my head on them, because they would understand. This was me tonight. Laying my head on God, hoping he would feel sorry for me. Then Daddy said, "Thank you God for the love that burdens us."
I mentally ran that through my mind again, mouthing it at the same time. 
The love that burdens us. 
Look y'all, novels are written about love. All kinds of love. But mostly happy love. The kind that you would scale mountains and cross oceans for (to be very cliche) just to experience the euphoria it gives you.
Today I was disappointed by one of my sisters. She broke my trust, and really made me question my ability to guide her. Let's be real, I'm not experienced as a mother. I've taken over most of their training, all of their schooling, and decide much of their outside activities all by happenstance in a time of need. As my parents get older and don't like to drive, and enjoy the freedom of having grown children, it has fallen almost naturally on me. Both girls ask my permission before my parents, and the need to get this "right" is like nothing I have experienced before. The guidance of young lives is a responsibility that is indescribable. 

But today I cried in the car to Lauren Daigle's song "Trust in you" as I ate beef jerky that I'd impulse bought. I tried to analyze my feelings and decide if I was overreacting. I fought the urge to immaturely ignore her every time she spoke to me. 

True love is something we carry with us always. The love I have for these girls is a living thing. It encompasses my every interaction with them whether good or bad. The hopes I have for their futures and the kinds of people I want them to be, is all because I love them. Before them, I didn't have love like this. It's different from my other sisters in so many ways. I dissect conversations we have and question decisions I make regularly! I rejoice in their successes as if they were mine, in some ways they are! Sometimes love hurts y'all, I'm just being honest. It consumes our minds and jacks up our emotions, but I wouldn't trade it in. I just wouldn't. It never occurred to me that not just growth comes through this part of love, but joy can. The part where the love you have for someone pulls at you and causes you to do things not for the bubbly feeling it gives you, but for their good! I'm learning. I want to be able to be truly thankful for every part of love, because without the lows, the highs become mundane. I want to be able to say, "Thank You for the love that burdens us." and truly truly mean it. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Growing a green thumb

"I am not a gardener."
"I have a black thumb." 

I've heard these words so many times, and even said them myself. I was essentially saying, "Don't have your expectations too high when it comes to me growing plant life!" One thing I've always been confident in is my seed growing ability though. It doesn't require much, you basically put some seeds in dirt, water them with a spray bottle, and watch the seedlings pop up in a couple of weeks or less. This I could do. 
Transplanted yellow squash

But something changed recently. Every year Daddy grows tomatoes, as well as a few other veggies of his choosing. It is an understood fact that I will do nothing but pick and cook the fruit of his labors; I love the fact that he gets that! This year, Daddy decided that he would plant vegetables at our rental house and in the yard of an agreeable close friend...AND that he would start selling seedling trees from our backyard. After buying the dormant little trees and planting them he realized something: he needed to connect with buyers. He immediately thought of his daughter who constantly mentions things about blogs and instagrams, and Face books online (it's really like this y'all.) The rest is history.
 I bought some organic seeds and began to plant them in egg cartons to keep them from getting hit by a late (for the south) frost, and I jumped online and started setting up ebay, paypal, craigslist, instagram, and twitter accounts. With each seedling tree I listed, I had to google all about them. In the meantime my squash plants were growing quickly, and starting to lean on their spindly little stems. I called my aunt and asked her when I should plant them and she said, "Right now!". She gave me explicit instructions about the sun and soil and depth...
Basically, I found out that it isn't about having a green thumb. It's about having the diligence and care to commit to a project until it's finished. I had a black thumb before, because it didn't benefit me to check out five books from the library about every aspect of vegetable growing and seedling health--like I currently have.
 I've grown a green thumb! You can too, but it's gonna be work! Are you ready?

See what dad has going on over on Instagram if you'd like!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

This was not the plan, but HE IS RISEN!

It was confusing and frustrating. 
She had come to mourn, but someone had stolen Master's body!
They were all hiding out. What are disciples without a leader?

This was not the plan!

Or was it? 

How often in the moments of feverish rushing, of preparation, and even of living for Christ, do we forget the important details? 

Good Friday was my birthday, Saturday before Easter was so busy with errands and shopping for the girl's Easter outfits that I stayed up until almost 3 AM Easter morning cooking and finishing last minute details. I went to sleep and woke up at 6. 
I am not a morning person. My hair wouldn't cooperate, I couldn't find the list of things that I needed to remember to do before I left, my mom was still sick and was staying home, one of the girls was on punishment and I wasn't feeling too charitable toward her. I might have muttered that I hated Easter. More than once. And I love Easter. 

This was not the plan! 

Or was it? 

I arrived at church way early which proves my stress level didn't even need to be so high. I realized halfway through church that I'd forgotten my earrings, half of my Sunday School kids didn't show up,  my dress kept dragging in puddles, and the Easter lily I bought especially for the pulpit table was moved to a much less noticeable place. But I also noticed that the man who walks to church and never dresses up was wearing a full suit, and had a fedora to match. Some of the teens' mom came for the first time and seemed to enjoy herself. No one minded me taking pictures of them and everyone was happy. 

Excitement was in the air!

This is the day specifically set aside to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord! After a preparatory week of pondering his love, and the lengths he went to to redeem us through His crucifixion, we arrive at this day of victory. The day good wins over evil. Love triumphs over hate. 

He is Risen! 

Everything went exactly according to plan. It's just that sometimes we forget that.

Oh and regarding Mary and the disciples, you can read the full story at it's source HERE. I promise, it's a good one. 
Happy Easter y'all.