Spring To-Do: Starting an Urban Garden

Sustainable Living

Food, food, food – it seems like I’ve been doing nothing but food shopping, cooking, thinking about food shopping, more cooking & worrying about a food shortage for the past three weeks. I can’t get a grocery order to save my life & then when I do, many of the items that I want aren’t available & I end up having to take a trip to the store. At least I have access to food, I know that others don’t but it has started me wondering how much food I could grow for myself if things continue to get worse. As a kid, we always had access to fresh veggies because we grew them & I honestly don’t recall it taking that much effort. Obviously, my parents probably started the beds ages before I existed & I didn’t see all of the heavy lifting that went into the operation but I’m itching to try my hand at urban gardening. I have a very small deck that gets sun for probably 80% of the day time hours & I’ve been checking out some small garden set ups. Apparently, everyone else has too because the pickings are a bit slim. I think that hanging bags & grow bags are going to fit the space that I have to work with best. Grow bags are good for; tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, potatoes, root veggies & even some salad greens. Here’s what I ordered to get started, it will take a few weeks for everything to arrive & I will share my set up as soon as I can!

Root Pouch 3-Gallon BagsI chose these because they are reusable, breathable and small enough for what I have in mind. Also, I don’t know anything about gardening but the price seemed right for 10 bags!

Root Pouch

Bloem Bagz Hanging Deck Planter: I am using these for small herbs like mint, rosemary and basil I’ve had luck with growing these right on my counter top & think they will do well.

Bloem

Miracle-Gro Vegetable & Herbs: I don’t know if I believe that you need different dirt for different plants but this was on sale.

Miracle Gro

For potted plants, I ordered two tomatoes because I think that those should have already been in the ground & I’m not sure that mine will even take since I have heard that they are difficult to grow. For seeds, I chose basil, yellow squash, jalapeno, rosemary, spinach, green beans, green onion, and radishes. I am excited to get started, I still have some research to do but think that my deck is a great environment for these veggies.

Here are a few inspiration posts that I am working from:

What’s on your spring to do list? I think getting outside to do anything is keeping me healthy and feeling mostly happy. Thanks for reading πŸ’š

It’s Been a Journey, Creating a Sustainable Life

Sustainable Living

Happy Earth Day, earthlings. Mother Nature celebrated the big 5-0 by cancelling the human race, apparently. Unfortunately, this means that many trash collecting, education events and other celebrations have been put on hold. So to the morons throwing their trash out car windows, please refrain until further notice. I think this pandemic has sparked an interesting discussion around how much our impact on the planet could be mitigated if we really only traveled when absolutely necessary. What if all the jobs that could be done from home just stayed at home? If the entire human race made cuts where possible, how would that be to our advantage in the fight against climate change? I dunno, it’s just been something on my mind lately. Anyway, nearing a year ago I made the decision to move to a more sustainable/minimalist lifestyle & to celebrate Earth Day will share a bit on how that’s been going.

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Buttey Honey Regular

This has taken hold in some areas and other areas, not so much. I find myself still purchasing quite a lot of skincare/cosmetics but not clothing, housewares, things I just don’t need. For the clothing and housewares that I have purchased, they are more investment pieces that will last a long time. I’ve been couch shopping for months and just can’t seem to find one that I feel as though I will still love in 10 years or even last that long. I did recently overhaul my kitchen with bamboo dishes, green pots & pans and some new appliances. Most of my old stuff was still in good enough condition to donate but quite a bit went into the trash as well. When I cut my possessions by more than half, it was a struggle to just throw stuff away because it was so wasteful but I feel good about owning less overall.

Earth Day Calligraphy And Watercolor Flyer

Buttey Honey Regular

Thankfully, I didn’t grow up using a lot of single use plastic like baggies, food containers and straws. We reused a lot of prepackaged food containers, our milk was in glass jugs, etc. However, lots of beauty products and household goods come packaged in plastic. I’ve sought out more brands that offer refillable options or compostable packaging like Sapadilla, Humankind, Seed Phytonutrients and Dropps. There are loads of companies out there who are offering unique solutions to the human waste issue, it’s just a matter of seeking them out and finding products that work for you. I would love to see more mainstream brands that offer reusable packaging like Aveda does for their cosmetics.

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Buttey Honey Regular

Again, not hard as I was raised eating a low meat/no meat diet. Veganism can be as exciting or as boring as you make it. Some weeks it’s just sheet pan veggies on repeat and others, I’m deconstructing gourmet recipes to make them vegan. I still hate nutritional yeast and many meat replacements weird me out. I have found a really tasty sausage and an OK cheese but I think it’s easier to focus on all of the things that I can eat rather than what I’m missing. Like, a really frothy coffee creamer and perfect grilled cheese πŸ˜€

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Buttey Honey Regular

Am I a sustainable goddess who somehow managed to replace all of my beauty products with a jar of coconut oil? Absolutely not and while it felt daunting and discouraging getting started I find that it’s best to not compare my lifestyle with the Instagrammable experts. I love scrolling through beautiful photos of perfectly sustainable homes but realize that some lifestyles are not accessible to me. Maybe today I am simply choosing to use a reusable water bottle but ten years from now I could be installing a backyard compost.

I hope that you are safe & healthy & just doing the best that you can wherever you are. Be sure to let me know if you’ve found some sustainable products that you love or what tips you have for living a more earth friendly life πŸ’š

Hello From the Inside: Makeup Edition

Clean Beauty

In all honesty, I don’t think that we are in a true quarantine –Β  we are under a shelter in place order that seems a bit more flexible than what other states/cities are experiencing. Is everyone following it? I dunno, on the occasions that I’ve had to go out, there are an awful lot of people out and about. Minnesota is doing relatively good but who knows what this summer will bring. Anyway, I’ve worked from home before but under much more felicitous circumstances. The corporation that I worked for was undergoing a posh remodel of our new building and we all had to move home for 6’ish months. We also didn’t have videoconferencing capability so it didn’t really matter what anyone looked like πŸ˜› This new, depressing, shockingly invasive work from home circumstance has been a bit shocking. I feel like that I not only have to worry about looking presentable but also having my home look presentable with people suddenly being able to peer into it. It’s not like they are strangers but certainly not people who I would have over to my home. No offense to them. The first week at home, I could not be bothered to get ready because it was just a shit week. My close friend lost his salon, numerous others were being furloughed or facing reductions in income and I was worried about all of the unknowns. I’m feeling a bit better and very fortunate that I still have a job to even do at home – I also feel as though making the effort to keep my routine normal helps get through the day.

Buttey Honey Regular

I don’t really typically wear primer but I accidentally grabbed thisΒ tula brighten up smoothing primer gel the last time I was in ULTA thinking it was my face cream. Since I can’t return it, I’ve just decided to start priming again. I’ve never used a primer quite like this one and it does have a learning curve. The gel texture makes it prone to pilling, I let it warm up on my finger a bit and then press it in but only in areas where I have texture. I enjoy this product but not sure that it is a repurchase since I just don’t use a lot of primers.

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Buttey Honey Regular

I haven’t been wearing foundation because it’s expensive and I just don’t feel the need if I’m not leaving my home. My typical weekend ‘foundation’ is just concealer too, only applied to blemishes and discolored areas and then blended with a very damp sponge. I say this because I think a damper sponge gives a better blend when using a high coverage product that isn’t applied all over the face.

Buttey Honey Regular

Then I set my base with a powder foundation, this provides a little more coverage without adding more texture. I buff in a little highlighter too for a subtle glow and a little color.

Buttey Honey Regular

I’m pale already, sitting inside all day is not helping – I can’t use dark bronzers because that would look crazy so I’ve been using the Hoola Lite just on the perimeter of my face.

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And that’s about it, I might just keep doing this when we go back to the office because it only takes about 15 minutes. It probably looks that way too πŸ˜› I’m certainly wearing way less makeup than I am used to but at least I feel presentable and like I’m getting ready for the day. I’ve had a harder time keeping up on my skincare routine, my skin was a mess a couple of weeks ago and I really scaled back what I was doing. It’s mostly back to where it was sans the peeling, I’ve had to reintroduce tretinoin but can’t argue with the results.

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What am I doing with my hair? Absolutely nothing πŸ˜› Let me know how you’ve been keeping your life ‘normal’ and what helps you through the day πŸ’›

Some Spring Sprung Favorites

Clean Beauty, Monthly Favorites

Spring is here, you know how I know? I woke up with one of my eyes swollen closed due to allergies and it’s been a delight since πŸ˜› I don’t really enjoy spring but I think it’s a bummer that everyone seemingly forgot the changing of the season with everything happening in the world. I thought I would do a good ol’ favorites post for some distraction today, enjoy πŸ’›

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hello radiance illuminating serumI don’t know if there is a single tula product that I haven’t enjoyed. This serum is brightening, hydrating, texture improving – it’s just all around pretty great. It is a little on the spendy side even for this brand but 1-2 pumps is all you need for a glowing complexion.

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nude nails – I haven’t been putting anything on my nails for a bit since they are doing this weird peeling thing, probably the damage from acrylics that I am sure will grow out. Anyway, I’ve been loving nude nail polishes – not from any brand in particular but essie has the cutest little jars & the formula is decent as well.

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galaxy swirl beautyblenderI haven’t used an actual beautyblender in a long time, these just looked so sunny & citrusy that I couldn’t resist. The one I’m using is obviously not as pretty looking but look at those swirls. Are they worth 20 bucks? I don’t know, they do apply my foundation pretty well but it always takes some convincing to splurge on one…or two…

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bareminerals Endless Glow HighlighterI don’t wear highlighter in the conventional way, not since discovering MAC’s skin finish products which are pretty much just subtle highlighters. I swirl my brush in highlighter then in my finishing powder and buff it all over my face. This won’t work with all highlighters but gives an all-over glow with most of the ones that I have tried. This one is smooth, has a lovely peachy tone and doesn’t look crazy all over the face – which is key πŸ˜€ I have to say, this brand has slowly been taking over my makeup bag again and I’m not mad about it.

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Gucci BloomThis is probably the first new fragrance that I have tried and fallen absolutely in love with. It’s just one of those powdery, floral fragrances that I tend to go for. I love the woodsy jasmine scent and longevity, it’s really lovely.

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Jergens Sweet Citrus Body ButterAnything citrus has been making me feel happy lately. I think it’s the bright, clean feeling associated with it. This body butter smells like a grapefruit, wrapped in a lemon poured into a glass of fresh squeezed OJ and I love it. Not to mention, it’s super hydrating & affordable.

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peach & lily all in one moisture padsSome days I do the whole skincare thing, some days I wipe one of these on and that’s just good enough. I love most any K-beauty moisture pads, CosRX makes great ones as well. They are drenched in soothing, nourishing goodness and do wonders for an irritated skin barrier.

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Peaches For Breakfast Regular

 

 

david’s tea teas – I’ve never been a fan of loose tea but I make an exception for David’s Tea because the blends are so unique. I’ve been drinking Grapefruit Rose Starburst and Eucalyptus Mint. Both are light, fresh and perfect hot or iced.

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Greenlife Pots & PansNot only are these pans pretty, they’re awesome to cook with. I don’t know what makes them different than other pans but ceramic pans are clearly the superior cooking vessels. I mixed and matched the bigger teal set with a small pastel pink set to match my kitchen. These were a birthday splurge purchase back in January and I don’t regret it.

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sapadilla Grapefruit & BergamotSticking with the citrus theme, these cleaning products make my kitchen smell like I scrubbed it with fresh grapefruits. They are also bio-degradable, plant based and naturally fragrant. They also bust grease and keep my kitchen sparkling. Sapadilla also offers ‘fill stations’ in select grocery stores so that you don’t have to purchase a new bottle.

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thinx pantiesSo, this purchase is a direct result of COVD-19 so thanks for finally getting me to try a period panty. Here’s the deal, I can only use sanitary napkins – I’ve tried a million tampons and they just don’t work for me. Not to get graphic but they feel like you have something crammed up there all day, same thing with those cups – can’t do it. To my horror, I walked into the drugstore to find that every sanitary napkin was gone. I don’t know why suddenly everyone is using them and preparing to have their period every single day for the next year but you can’t find sanitary napkins anywhere. I started Googling alternatives, I’ve heard of the period panty but thought they sounded gross. They aren’t though, they do have to be hand rinsed after each use which means you will need to purchase quite a few pairs to start but I like them so far. They feel like thin swimsuit material, really soft and they don’t feel like a diaper. I purchased a couple of pairs of the pee-proof panties since my size was out of stock in several styles (pictured) and they are mostly the same, I can use these on light days. I’m really happy to have finally found an eco-friendly alternative to sanitary pads. These are also FSA eligible if you have an account which took some of the sticker shock out of the initial purchase.

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That’s it for my spring faves – let me know what you’ve been loving lately! I hope you’re safe and healthy wherever you are. Happy spring πŸ’›

Hello From the Inside

Life

Two months of zero posts, I was out living my life, hitting the gym, cooking meals, getting to bed on time and then BAM – mother nature intervened and I think I’m going to have a lot more time on my hands. So, welcome back to my blog πŸ˜‰ I have been at home for the past week, coffee intake is at an all time high, productivity at an all time low – I blame my cats. But I cannot express how grateful I am that my job is still intact.

I have to say that I am pretty pissed off about this whole coronavirus thing, just when the weather is good enough to get outside, we are told to stay in. Now, I think parks and trails are fine if you are still social distancing but I’m not a doctor. Also though, I work in Parks & Rec and our parks our open but be sure to bring your own sanitary wipes. Gas prices could not be any lower butΒ  who needs it to get anywhere since we’re all staying home? Actually, grocery stores outside of the metro are pretty well stocked and if people don’t stop panic buying everything in sight, I’m going to have to take a trip up north so good thing gas is cheap. Here’s what’s on my mind…

Wildest Grass

I’m lucky, I grocery shop on Wednesdays to just avoid crowds in general and I got my groceries well before things went nuts. That being said, when can I eat them exactly? Should I wait? Will there be more groceries in a couple of weeks when people settle into this new normal? Good thing I’m already fasting for Lent…Totally off topic but I saw a photo of the Pope walking the streets of Rome! Who let him outside?!

Wildest Grass

Here is something that I am struggling with, physical stores have been on the decline for the past decade in the US because of online shopping. Now we can’t seem to stay home? As a capricorn, I’m skeptical of everything but it really does make me wonder about the information we’re being fed – either everyone is out shopping or we aren’t…explain this to me. If everyone who could stay home would, that’d be great.

Wildest Grass

The social distancing strategy seems like a good idea but I would also like to volunteer to be infected so then I am immune and can go about my life knowing that I’m not putting anyone in danger. It’s hard to believe that we aren’t just prolonging the pandemic by not preemptively exposing the healthy population and getting them immune to protect the at risk. Is that totally nuts? It’s definitely going to get worse before it gets better, I think that’s to be expected but I wish we could speed it up.

I hope you’re doing well, hanging in there…let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments! If you want some light reading on pandemics throughout history, I found this one interesting and kinda comforting – the human race has survived some shit.

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One of Us Is Next: Bayview High Book II

Books, Entertainment

How’s that new blog schedule going? Terrible πŸ˜› I have just been incredibly lazy lately, I literally cannot sleep enough even though I’m in bed by 8 most nights. Well, aside from one night where I decided that I would check out the Star Wars saga and stayed up until 3 AM. I can now say that I have watched these movies at the ripe old age of 33. You heard me, I had never seen a single one but they were OK if a little light on plot. Anyway, this post was supposed to be my January To Be Read but it’s already mid-January and I’ve read most of my picks. Instead, I will share my thoughts on the wildly anticipated sequel to the YA novel One of Us Is Lying which I really enjoyed. Now, I’m almost middle-aged and don’t dabble too much into this genre because of the corny high school scenarios but the plot of both books is pretty shocking and twisted for a YA novel which I appreciate.

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This book picks up where the first left off, there’s drama at Bayview High again and this time, the stakes are deadly. The main characters from the first installment have gone off to college, started lives of their own but still share an unbreakable bond after the death of one of their schoolmates, Simon. He ran a gossip app that tormented and entertained the population of Bayview, in his absence some have tried to rekindle the popular gossip forum without much success. That is until an anonymous schemer kicks off a game of Truth or Dare exposing the darkest secrets of the students.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the author brought back some of the main characters from the first one but also fleshed out a few of the supporting characters that we didn’t know a lot about. The story is told from different points of view, the main characters this time are Phoebe, Maeve and Knox whose lives are somewhat already intertwined before they become the focus of the Truth or Dare game in one way or another. I like this narration style but it can be hard to follow each story line which is why I will most likely give this one a second read. As the story picks up towards the end, I found myself losing track of small details. The game kicks off with the anonymous texter exposing Phoebe for sleeping with her sister’s boyfriend which starts a rift between the sisters who are already under strain after the death of their father. Then Knox is exposed for an unfortunate performance during what was supposed to be he and Maeve’s first time. The game turns deadly though when a fellow classmate Brandon falls to his death after deciding to take the seemingly lesser high risk dare option. You’d think that everyone would tell their parents what was going on at this point but in true teenage fashion, they don’t. Problems only escalate when the anonymous texter tries to bomb a rehearsal dinner. Yeah, apparently high school students know how to build bombs and aren’t afraid to use them. Knox and Maeve save the day and we find out that the most unlikely student was involved with the anonymous bomb maker and Brandon’s death.

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It’s really a sad story all around, all of the kids involved have had their lives ruined by some family tragedy. There’s a weird feeling of revenge not being the answer but also thinking that some people deserved what they got. Then, when you find out who was really behind the whole ordeal, it just gets even sadder. After I read these types of books, it always makes me wonder if these things are really happening in schools or if it’s just the author embellishing the sometimes irrational actions of the American teenager. Not to get real dark here but in light of some of the violence that has happened in our schools, some of these events really wouldn’t even shock me. I enjoyed the pace of the writing, the characters are fun if a little moony at times and apparently none of these kids had any homework…or parents around to pay attention to what they are doing. Even if you aren’t into the whole YA genre (which I’m not) I would still recommend both Bayview books as pretty decent thrillers. I also like the writing style of the Author, Karen M. McManus and plan to check out her recent standalone novel.

Have you read either of these, let me know what you thought!

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Moody Monday & Bathroom Refresh

Life

I am not one of those people who dislikes Mondays but the Monday after the holidays is a terrible day. I don’t know about you but I tend to feel deflated after the merriment has commenced, the tree comes down and the world just looks a little duller. I took my tree down this weekend and even though I do leave out a few winter decorations, my apartment just looks so drab and sad. I recall seeing a comic strip when I was a kid, it was a tree thrown in the gutter to be picked up and had a forgotten ornament hanging from one of the branches – I am that tree today. Anyway, it’s weird how something like that sticks with you – I must have been 8’ish when I read that comic strip. My birthday was Friday, I skipped posting since I was out and about but will post a birthday haul once all of my goodies arrive. I did make a stop at IKEA to pick up some items for my bathroom that I had been going back and forth on. It feels complete at this point, I have been slowly collecting items for months now. At one point, I had a bright white hotel bathroom theme in mind but soon realized that hotel bathrooms are so bright and shiny because they get bleached all of the time. I kept some white elements but added in a dusty pink similar to what I have in my bedroom.

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These rugs are my favorite thing that I have ever purchased from IKEA. I’ve had them in grey in my other bathroom and those rugs are at least 6 years old but still look great even with weekly washings. The color hasn’t faded, the fabric hasn’t pilled or frayed and they are only about $9 each. The white curtain is from Target, I think but also I don’t remember because I picked up this past summer. I do recall being shocked at how much a freaking shower curtain costs. The pink and white towels were a clearance find at Bed, Bath & Beyond – they are a bit smaller than I prefer, I am more of a bath sheet person but they are nice and thick.

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I’m showcasing the fact that I now only have 6 of these plastic drawers full of makeup and not 18 that I had less than a year ago. Most of what was not expired, I was able to give away but I have pledged to reduce my collection by another 3 drawers by the end of this year.

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My vanity is pretty boring, just how I like it – the pink vase was an IKEA pick up from this past summer, the baskets were also Bed, bath & Beyond finds, the wax warmer is from Amazon and I purchased a second Echo device for my bathroom. Still loving the Echo, I can listen to the news or books while I am getting ready, it’s awesome. I don’t love apartment bathrooms because they always have a used feeling about them, this one isn’t too bad but the sink is stained and it drives me nuts. Also, the drain stopper popped off at some point in time, I cannot figure out how to get it back on but also don’t want to lose it so it just sits there πŸ˜€

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Another part of the reason that I ditched the white theme is because of this little dude. He is 8-weeks old and his name is Pluto, I had been sitting a cat for a few weeks and my cats were totally into it so I figured that they’d like a permanent playmate. Oddly, not the case but they are starting to warm up to him. Anyway, since he’s too small to be out with the big cats all of the time, he has to be in the bathroom during the day if I am not home.

Did you survive your Monday? Does anyone else feel like a gutter tree or sooty pile of snow πŸ˜› Let me know how you get through the post-holiday funk & thanks for reading!

New Year, New…blah, blah, blah…

Life

New Year’s has never been my holiday, growing up with my mother, we were always expecting the world to end. To me, the year already starts off fantastic simply because the world didn’t end. When I started living on my own I planned on sleeping through the stroke of midnight so then I would at least miss the Apocalypse – or whatever the fuck the religious zealots always say is going to happen. Is it the Rapture? Don’t we want that? I always wondered how the end of the world worked with time zones. Is it when the first continent hits midnight? Does Death just pick at random? Wouldn’t it be a laugh if the world actually ends at like 1:42 AM or other seemingly insignificant, unassuming time? Exactly where will he be riding from, are there numerous entities? How can the entire world end all at once? Won’t some countries hear of the arrival of the end of the world and be able to prepare? Always things that I wondered as a child, it was a relief watching the NYE celebration in New York because I could relax knowing they were 3 hours ahead of us and hadn’t been smote so we were probably in the clear. It’s nuts right? Thanks, Christianity. Let’s not even get into the fact that time is a man made construct and only exists because we all adhere to it and say it does. So, like I said, not big into New’s Year πŸ˜€ I don’t make resolutions, if you want to make a change then do it whenever you feel like it! Also, the world could be ending so why wait for New Year’s?! I appreciate the concept of leaving things in the past year and have some things that can stay in 2019.

Smol Kitty Boi

I’m sure that most people can relate to this one, I will jump on Instagram to see what’s happening and spend hours on the explore page absorbing shit that isn’t enriching my life. I definitely want to be choosier with how I spend my time and stay up to date on current events without the unnecessary bullshit.

Smol Kitty Boi

I have been working since I was 16, I’m sick of it and I am sick of working all of the time. I was thinking just the other day that I wouldn’t be up at 5 AM if I didn’t need to be at work, my work day starts 3 hours before I’m even there. I wouldn’t use as much gas, I wouldn’t have to waste money on work specific clothes. And no, I am not compensated for these things with my salary – my salary is for what I do when I actually get to work. How is this not talked about more?

Smol Kitty Boi

Not much to say here, I don’t like being around a lot of people.

Smol Kitty Boi

They know who they are πŸ˜›

Smol Kitty Boi

I have been treating myself all over the place, this is the year that I hope to purchase a house and should be more conservative. We won’t talk about the David’s Tea order that I treated myself to for my birthday πŸ˜€

Do you make resolutions or set goals for the new year? Let me know if you did anything fun for the holiday! Oh, and Happy New Year πŸ™‚

Best of December: Beauty

Monthly Favorites

For the new year I think I am going to try a Monday, Wednesday, Friday posting schedule which, is why this post is a few days later than I had planned. In past years, I have taken Blogmas right up to the 31st but was a bit burnt out on holiday posts and called it quits on Christmas this year. I cannot believe that Christmas has come and gone, yet again – I also cannot believe that New Year’s Eve is tomorrow already! I remember the week between Christmas and my birthday seeming like it was months away, now it’s already upon us. The weather has been incredibly horrendous, we had rain on Friday that turned into an ice storm on Saturday then more rain and now about 4 inches of snow. I don’t mind the snow but the ice I can do without. I think it will be here for awhile though since temperatures are supposed to plummet this week. I have this whole week off still but was already looking to see when the next federal holiday was because…I’m tired. In fact, I’ve had two people comment on the fact that I look tired recently and I’m like bitch, this is just my face at this point. Anyway, I had quite a few beauty favorites this month and here they are!

There was a time when I exclusively used Bare Minerals products but I couldn’t tell you what they’ve released over the last decade or so. I stopped wearing mineral foundation but when I decided to switch back to it, I was surprised at all of the new complexion products they had to offer. I decided to try their new stick foundation instead and am really glad I did, it’s a very light formula for a stick foundation with just the right amount of coverage. It claims to be hydrating and it does feel really good on the skin but it’s also long wearing. They really nailed it with this product although, I am miffed that they convinced everyone that liquid foundation was poison and then are selling that shit back to us. Well played.

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Next is a total impulse purchase that I snagged while in the Bare Minerals section. In my defense, it was in a two pack and it was 40% off. Their Lashtopia Mineral-Based Mascara is pretty awesome, it is volumizing and a deep matte black. It plumps up my lashes but leaves them so soft and natural(ish) looking. I also like how it washes off, this is the only mascara that I’ve tried that actually comes off with just micellar water. I really like it, I’m glad I snagged two tubes.

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I’m back on the Buxom Full-On Lip Creams but I’ve always loved these. I don’t know how plumping they are but I like the minty scent, my go-to shades have been a mix of Hot Toddy and Brandi.

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I have two new skincare items that have been helping me battle the winter flakiness and redness. I hadn’t tried tula until I stopped in ULTA one day when a rep was there handing out samples and doing demos. tula is a clean beauty line, cruelty free, made in the USA and packed with probiotics. I have been using their glycol toner and gel-cream along with my regular skincare and they are both great. The toner is mild enough to use everyday and has helped to clear up some of my most stubborn dry patches. The gel-cream is similar to an emulsion or serum and adds an additional layer of hydration that my skin has been needing. I am looking forward to checking out more of the brand when I use up my other skincare products.

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This next one is a beauty tool really, I dermaplane at home but this is something that I’ve been using to touch up areas when in between full dermaplaning. The Flawless Touch does really well at removing unwanted peach fuzz and stray eyebrow hairs without irritating the skin. I am curious to know how long a single head lasts, I have been using this well over a month and it seems to still be plenty sharp.

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I usually steer clear of the holiday scented lotions and body products because most of them are gross but Hempz did an awesome job with this Pumpkin Spice & Vanilla Chai scent. It’s sweet and spicy, I only picked up a couple of the small bottles because it’s pretty potent and I can’t imagine that I will wear it all year round.

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My last pick is this tinted brow gel from Colourpop that I picked up when I ran out of my Glossier Boy Brow. This gel is less than half the cost and honestly, just as good. I like natural looking brows, this gel shapes them up just enough and adds enough to tint to look polished.

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That’s most everything that I’ve been loving this month – what products have you been loving? Let me know if you have tried any of these!

Blogmas Day 25: So This is Christmas

Blogmas - 2019

It’s raining & foggy in Minnesota, on Christmas. Most of my merry making happened yesterday since that’s how we did things growing up. Christmas day was spent at Mass & eating dinner. I also spent a large portion of the day cleaning. I tried relaxing in the bath but then noticed that the tubs needed cleaning, then I decided to go through my bathroom cupboards and throw out at stuff I wasn’t using. This led to cleaning the kitchen cupboards out and then the oven πŸ˜‚ Then I watched Die Hard and had some pie. I just have a few items to take care of tomorrow before my vacation. I was supposed to post my December beauty favorites today but do you ever start something that ends up taking way longer than anticipated? That was like everything I did today. I will post them tomorrow and hopefully the sun will come out for photos. Anyway, I’ll just wish you & yours a Happy Christmas. What did you get up to today? If you don’t celebrate Christmas, what do you do on the extra days off? I’ve always wondered this, to a lot of folks this was just another Wednesday. What’s your Christmas wish? Mine is for greater understanding & empathy for others this year.

I think I’m going to get in one more viewing of The Grinch & enjoy some tea ☺️