Category Archives: Uncategorized

Arkansas-Takes More Than a Tornado To Get Us Down

Photo Credit: Randy Ashley, DVM
Photo Credit: Randy Ashley, DVM

I’ve seen it on the news in the United States, and I’ve received messages from friends in the UK, Ireland, and other parts of Europe checking to make sure I’m ok after seeing coverage of the massive tornado to hit Arkansas on April 27.

The tornado was rated a “high-end EF 4,” meaning it was just shy of being an EF 5 (the rarest and most destructive of all tornadoes).  To be classified as EF 4, the wind speed is 206 to 260 miles per hour. With it being a high-end EF 4, I imagine the winds were more in the 250-260 mph ballpark.  It carved a 3/4 mile wide path of destruction 80 miles across the state, from the southwest to the northeast.  The tornado’s path can be seen from satellite images from space. The tornado ended up killing 15 in Arkansas alone, and after seeing first hand the destruction it left in its wake, I’m amazed (and truly thankful) more people weren’t killed.  Tornadoes are just part of life in Arkansas in the Spring.  You hear about them touching down, destroying a few homes, and within a few days you go on with your normal life, the tornado merely a distant memory.  That’s the way it USUALLY works.  Not this time.

This tornado had my down in its direct path. The national Weather Channel was announcing for my town to take cover immediately and that Reed Timmer, storm chaser extraordinaire, was chasing the storm that would later produce the tornado…straight for where we live.  My family got our dogs, a few cushions and pillows, and took shelter in a small hallway with no windows or outside walls.  The safest place we could have been in the house.  Keeping up with the storm’s track via the TV blasting loudly in the living room, the local meteorologists noticed that there was a “radar indicated” tornado.  We hear this all the time, but it almost always turns out to be nothing more than a wall cloud that never drops a tornado.  We still knew it could happen anytime.  A few minutes later they said, “That’s not a radar indicated tornado, this thing is on the ground.” They could tell because the weather radar was picking up what’s called a debris ball.  That’s when the tornado is on the ground and is so big and kicking up so much large debris it can be seen by satellite and radar technology.  Looks like a storm cell with a long hook on it with a circle directly in the hook.  That’s when you know it’s a bad one.

They said it was headed toward my town, take shelter NOW, then then everything outside when deathly still.  That’s a pretty good sign a tornado is imminent.  The lights flickered multiple times, and according to the meteorologists, we had several minutes before the tornado would reach us. Being the curious (and downright stupid) person I sometimes am, I had to get a look. I left the discomfort of the shelter (try cramming 3 people, 4 dogs, and a mass of couch cushions and pillows into a 3 x 7 foot room) to get a look at what was going on outside.  It was still and quiet.  The only thing I noticed was what I thought was lightning. Then I noticed the lightning wasn’t coming from above me, but from the ground…and it was blue.  Then it registered that what I was seeing was transformers blowing and power lines being hit.  That’s when I knew this was really serious.

I ran back inside, got back in the “hidey hole” as we southerners call our designated tornado shelter spots, and waited.  The power went out. We felt it was about to get ugly. My mom was able to pull up a live stream of the local weather team talking about the storm on her iPhone and much to our relief they said the storm had taken taken a turn and was making a more northeasterly track. It appeared my town would just barely dodge the bullet if the tornado continued on its track.  Well, it did just that and once we realized we were in the clear, we emerged from our hiding place and things got real.

Through twitter, I was able to keep up with where the tornado was going and what it was doing.  I was seeing things like “Mayflower hit hard,” “3/4 of a mile wide,” and many places I see and shop on a regular basis were gone.  I tried to wrap my mind around the fact that these buildings where I shop, these restaurants where I eat, these landmarks I see every day and take for granted…simply weren’t there anymore.  I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. It was unfathomable to me.

Then they said the tornado was headed straight toward the town of Vilonia, which had been badly damaged by a much weaker tornado 3 years–and two days–before.  Mayflower was hit hard. The area it hit there missed my home by about 4 miles.  What it did to Vilonia, however, was worse.  A mass casualty situation was announced and all emergency personnel was called up.  The national guard was called up.  Most of the deaths happened in Vilonia.  The tornado that hit my state April 27 left one of my acquaintances dead and one of my friend’s homes (and her cars and all her belongings) completely destroyed.

My town was as far west as you could go on Interstate 40 for a few days (although at that particular location, I-40 travels North/South for several miles before switching back to East/West).  It’s still backed up for miles with people slowing down to look in disbelief at all the devastation.  I finally made it to Conway, the town north of where the tornado hit, to run some much needed errands yesterday.  I was blown away by what I saw.  Here are some instagram videos I took of what can be seen from Interstate 40 east at Mayflower:

Part 1
Part 2

This doesn’t even begin to do justice to what these hard-hit areas look like.  The thing that struck me most, more than the mangled buildings and cars crushed like soda cans, was something that I couldn’t get on film as it was on the westbound side of the interstate.  A business called Mayflower RV took a direct hit by the storm.  There were RVs and campers, mangled and in huge piles, strewn for hundreds of yards.  I had visited there with my family a few years before looking into purchasing one.  We met a nice man who told us about how his home had narrowly missed being hit by the tornado that hit the town of Vilonia the first time in 2011. We were there shopping a few weeks after that tornado occurred.  He mentioned how worried they were that the business had been hit that time and were so relieved when it hadn’t.  This time, however, they weren’t so lucky.

We had actually just been back there recently looking at campers again, and the very same man helped us look.  I couldn’t believe the place was gone.  As I drove by, I noticed that someone had forged through the mountain of trees, debris, cars, and campers to place an American flag where the sales building had once been.  A symbol to all who passed that they would come come back better than ever, as is the spirit of the people of this country when terrible things like this happen.

The second thing to grab my attention was, right next to Mayflower RV–just to the south–is a vacant, wooded area.  I noticed that there was an approximately 200 yard wide swath of trees that had been snapped in half.  Right in the middle of the trunk.  They weren’t blown completely over, just snapped in half like matchsticks.  And these weren’t saplings. They were 50 and 100 year old trees with trunks 2 and 3 feet in circumference.  All across the area, the trees that weren’t snapped in half or blown completely down were completely bare.  Every leaf stripped from their limbs.  Many had pieces of metal wrapped around them, showing the obvious direction the wind was coming from.  Photos, mail, and other personal items from the towns hit by the tornado were found 80 and 100 miles away.

The thing that impresses me most is the giving, helpful spirit of people since the tornado hit.  People from all over are coming in droves to help clean up the mess, take away all the remains of homes knocked completely off their foundations, cut the trees away that are blocking our roads, and bringing supplies of all kinds to hand out to families who have nothing.  It’s amazing the good that people are capable of if they would just reach inside themselves and let it out.  Neighbors helping neighbors…strangers helping strangers.  It’s a beautiful thing to witness.

Here’s a look at the footage from CNN just after the storm hit.  The reporter was not yet aware of the damage still occurring to his east.  He only had preliminary category reports for the tornado based on what had occurred in Mayflower alone.

Help is still needed.  If you live in Arkansas, there are countless donation sites.  Many churches and hotels are accepting non-perishable food items, water, and other personal items.  They are also still desperately in need of people to loan out their chainsaws, tractors, backhoes, and anything else that can help clear out debris on a scale so massive.  If you don’t live in Arkansas, you can still help by donating to the Red Cross.

Visit this website ( American Red Cross ) , select Donate Now on the right side of the page. You can be sure your money will be used to help people in Arkansas, as well as Mississippi and Alabama after they were hit by tornadoes on April 28.

 

SAG Awards, Vacation, and Other Useless Information

So, just coming off the emotional roller coaster that was the SAG Awards.  And by “emotional roller coaster,” I just mean the three times I got excited during the broadcast: Phyllis Logan and Michelle Dockery being interviewed by Giuliana Rancic and the “Glam Cam” pan of their dresses (and by “their dresses” I just mean Phyllis’. She looked GORGEOUS); The opening of the SAG Awards when Rob Lowe did his little spiel and Phyllis Logan was behind him being 500% adorable; and when Maggie Smith won the award for best actress in a drama series followed by the fictitious Dowager Countess twitter account tweeting “What is a #SAGAward?” That was pretty much the extent of my excitement for the evening.

(This also happened:

Thank you internet.)

I’m beginning to get excited about my vacation coming up in six days.  I’ve strategically made the preceding week extremely busy to make the time pass faster…because, let’s face it. Time moves slowest A) the week before a vacation and B) the last hour of a multi-hour car trip.  During my week, I have a couple of matters of business to attend to but overall it’s all VACA BABY.  I’ll be visiting the lovely cities of Nashville, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; Asheville, North Carolina; and possibly a stop in Virginia.  I will be spending most of the time gazing at sprawling mountain views from the 3 levels of decks at a rustic cabin.  The cabin does have wifi…and flat screen TVs in every bedroom…and satellite TV. That’s still rustic, right?  It’s in the woods, it’s rustic dang it!  Anyone with suggestions on places to visit or eat in those locations, shoot them my way! I’m already visiting the Biltmore estate, other than that, I need options!

I have been put on a medication that has a side effect of increased blood pressure.  To try to keep the BP down, I’m also taking a BP med and was told to avoid foods with high sodium content. Well, I can’t avoid sodium all the time!  A friend told me to eat copious amounts of ice cream to offset the sodium.

Sounds legit…

Oh, and before I go, here’s Phyllis Logan’s dress everyone is going gaga over:

Just keep looking at it like:

Oh, and Michelle Dockery’s there too…

(Gif credits:
Gif 1 x
Gif 2 x
Gif 3 x
Gif 4 is mine)

An Interview with Victoria Wilson, Author of A LIFE OF BARBARA STANWYCK: STEEL-TRUE (1907-1940)

I am very excited about this upcoming biography of my favorite actress. I’m glad someone finally took the time to write a more factual biography of Stanwyck’s life than has been written previously. The extreme fondness the author has for Tony Fay has me a bit concerned, though. I hope her fondness doesn’t cloud her judgement and her portrayal of the facts.

Backlots

By Lara Gabrielle Fowler

The life of Barbara Stanwyck has fascinated film lovers for decades. Her particular combination of sex appeal, toughness, and grit makes for an intriguing character and was doubtless informed by a private life about which she was extremely reticent. This, along with innate intelligence and a seemingly natural instinct for acting, has made her one of the most enigmatic personalities of classic Hollywood.

Though it seems impossible to fathom, there has never been a major biography of Barbara Stanwyck.

Until now.

On November 12, Simon & Schuster will publish A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True (1907-1940), volume 1 of the long-awaited first complete biography of Barbara Stanwyck. 15 years in the making and running a whopping 1,056 pages in length, author Victoria Wilson has created a colossal piece of literature covering the first 33 years of Barbara Stanwyck’s life. Comprised of tireless research and…

View original post 2,240 more words

Surgery Accomplished

I can already tell this is going to take an eternity to type from my iPad, but that’s the only source of internet I brought to the hospital so I’ll have to make do.

First of all I am glad both one and @MissRaeMcNally’s surgeries went well and are now behind us! It’s so nice to have such a frightening event in your past rather than your future.

As as for my surgery, it went as well as it could considering the problems I have.  There were no complications and the severe nerve pain that radiated down my legs as a result of pressure on my nerves from herniated lumbar spine discs is gone.  I have no more leg pain whatsoever.  That’s an encouraging sign that my surgery was mostly successful! The only pain I’m experiencing is incision pain and bone pain from where the surgeon had to clip and saw off parts of my vertebrae.  Doing that takes pressure off the nerves.  She also had to remove disc fragments that were extruded when the discs herniated. Gross stuff, but that’s how it went down.

Due to my history, the doctors are taking extra precautions with me. Most patients who undergo this same surgery go home the next day.  Since I had this procedure 3 months ago and developed a hematoma and postoperative infection, I have to stay until Monday to keep drains in the incision site and to undergo large doses of IV antibiotics to try to prevent that from happening again.  I will also go home on strong oral antibiotics.

My surgeon warned me that due to the severity of my spinal degeneration, my pain my not be totally eliminated…now or ever.  The leg pain being gone does give me hope that it will br at least improved a great deal.  The previous degeneration and new bone removal means I will probably need a lumbar spinal fusion in the future. First discussions of this put the timeframe of fusion at ten years, but with the new bone removal it puts it at more like 3 to 5 years. She is going to do all she can to help me go as long as possible without the fusion because fusions are very painful and severely limit mobility.

I’ve reached the notorious second and soon third postoperative day, so my pain is worse and will probably be bad for a few days, but I know of experience that will ease more and more with each passing day.  So that’s the story for now. I’ll post some more experiences after I go home tomorrow

Early September Update

So, I figured it was time for another update.  Yay!

First of all, thanks to all my new followers! Two more until 800!  That’s amazing!  Thank you to everyone who has been reading my blog and suffered through my ramblings over the last several months (years)!  I appreciate each one of you!

Not much to update on, as things have kind of taken a turn for the worse around here.  I may have re-injured my back through circumstances too long and boring to list…so obviously I’m not happy about that.  I see my surgeon on September 12, so wish me luck.  I really REALLY don’t want another surgery.  😦  Over the past week I’ve been unable to really get out and do anything.  So apart from that bit of crappy news, not much has happened.

I will probably be posting another blog about my findings in my genealogy research.  Found out some more about where I’m descended from!  While the people are pretty amazing, my genealogy research has proved one thing: I’m about as American as you can get!  By that I mean my family comes from various places, not just one…and part of them have been in the United States since before the Mayflower!  I mean, to find out one of your ancestors was on the THIRD BOAT of settlers is insane!  Ten years before the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock…generally accepted by most Americans as the beginning of American settlement.  You don’t hear as much about the brave folks who came before them!  Of course there were even people before them, who stayed on a temporary basis.  Some people came from England and other parts of Europe and temporarily settled along the east coast for fishing.  They would typically return home, though.  Then, of course, there were the adventurers who arrived to explore the “New World” before the decision was made to colonize.  They came to see what treasures the new land held.  Even bringing some of the natives back to England to meet the queen.  So, they weren’t the first people in the US, but they were pretty darn close!  It’s also interesting to learn the huge differences between some of my ancestors.  Some of them were actually from wealthy families and descended from both Irish and English nobility.  Others, however, were as poor as poor can be and traveled to the United States to achieve the all-too-familiar “American Dream,” and I suppose they did.  They survived and thrived here, which would not have happened had they chose to stay in their homelands.

So, thanks again everyone for your support!  If ever you have a topic you’d like me to write about, feel free to message me or leave it in the comments!  Also, be sure to check me out on twitter!  I’m there more frequently than I am here!  Click the follow button on the right side of this screen!

How My Ancestors Saved America…and other stuff.

So, I’ve become obsessed with researching my ancestry.  I had done as much as I could and decided it was time to hire a pro to help me out…and what a good idea it was!!  I’ve learned so much I didn’t know!  For example, I always thought (and so did my granny) that my dad’s family was all Irish.  Not the case!  One branch of his family was, in fact, English and another Scottish.

Some of the interesting stuff I learned about more recent relatives was that one was a soldier for the Confederacy (of course) and was captured and held as a prisoner of war at Alton, in Illinois.  He luckily survived the deplorable conditions and the dysentery, smallpox, and other vile infections that killed so many of the men there.  After the war, he returned to Arkansas and started a new life.  

I also learned two of my ancestors fought for the Continental army in the Revolution.  One was Amasa Mitchell, assigned under General George Washington and survived Valley Forge and was there when Cornwallis surrendered.  That’s on mom’s side.  And one ancestor was Captain Thomas Nathaniel Edwards, born in Wales, and was also present at the surrender of Cornwallis.  It is said he was on the front, firing one of the first shots of the battle of Camden, but of course that battle went to the British.

Of course, the Kennedy’s were from Ireland, that we know.  We even know where that part is from, roughly…somewhere in Tipperary.  Unfortunately that’s about all we know because my great grandmother didn’t talk about her past too much.  She didn’t talk about anything bad, sad, or painful.  A family trait.  We do know they were very poor.  

But then there’s the Hollands and McClanahans, a branch of the family I knew little or nothing about.  I still don’t know much about them.  Unfortunately good records were not kept of family history in Ireland, at least of the poor people.  I was informed if I wanted to travel to Ireland, I could probably take the information I have and research my family through the records kept by the Catholic church for baptisms and such.  I was also informed that, in all likelihood, my family was probably very poor, possibly even living in a workhouse, separated from one another–even the small children from their mother–for quite some time before being sponsored to immigrate.  Records are kept at these places as well, but long story short, I’d have to go to Ireland and dole out lots of money to travel here and there to discover more about them…money I simply don’t have.  So I’ll have to settle for knowing they’re from Ireland.

BUT. The cool stuff comes in now.  My dad has one branch of his family that married into the Holland family that was English (as I mentioned, some of them were Welsh).  I learned one of my ancestors, Samuel Jordan, was a member of The Virginia Company of London and arrived in The New world in 1610 on board The Sea Venture after a 14 month journey, due to crashing off the coast of Bermuda.  Once they arrived, as the third group of settlers to the New World, they found the settlement of Jamestown to be in bad shape.  Their arrival and much needed supplies saved the settlement.  He was a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses.  His home was called Beggar’s Bush near the James River.  The town of Jordan’s Point, Virginia, once called Jordan’s Journey, was named after him.

I am also descended from Sir William Wynter, Elizabethan Vice Admiral of England during the Anglo-Spanish War, son of Sir John Wynter and Lady Alice Tirrey of Cork, Ireland.  

We’ve traced the English branch of my family back to the late 1300s so far.  Thanks to their being notable people of high status, good records were kept of them and there are even paintings of Sir William still in England.  It’s amazing.  There are some other “ladies and sirs” in the line, but we are still searching for more information on them.

Makeup Haul…Part 1

Since my surgery, I have become addicted to makeup and cosmetics of all kinds.  I’ve spent countless hours online looking at cosmetics, reading up on different brands, watching tutorials, and buying mountains of makeup!  I’ve purchased so much I can’t put it all in one post!  Most of it will be featured in this post, but there will be more in a future post.  I’ve ordered so much over a period of 2 weeks, some of it hasn’t even arrived yet!  Now that it’s starting to arrive and I’m having a chance to try them out, I finally have enough info put together for the first makeup haul post!

Bowl of cosmetics!
Bowl of cosmetics!

The cosmetics I’ve purchased have all been purchased online.  They have all been either on discount websites or on the manufacturer’s websites.  I bought most of them after reading or watching reviews.

haul20

My first purchase was a Caboodles makeup organier.  This is the one item I didn’t purchase online.  I found it online, but I wanted to see it in person to ensure it was going to be big enough to hold all my makeup as well as the makeup I’ve ordered and has yet to arrive.  The original organizer I wanted to purchase was the exact same in size and brand, but the outside design was different.  The one I had intended to buy was a black lace pattern.  I purchased it from my local Target store, and had even verified that the store had the particular organizer I wanted.  When I arrived to buy the organizer, however, the one I wanted was nowhere to be found.  They did have this one, though, which is identical in every way except for the outside design.  This one is a black diamond pattern and the material is vinyl like.  Although it isn’t the one I originally wanted, I still think it’s pretty and I love it.  It holds all my makeup and will hold what I still have coming, but by the time the rest of my makeup arrives this thing will be FULL.  I will probably have to invest in another organizer!  I will probably buy a smaller version of this one to use for travel and I will just keep the makeup I use every day in that.

L'Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream in Fair.
L’Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream in Fair.

The First thing I bought online was this L’Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier B.B. Cream.  In my online reading, I learned about the latest trend in cosmetics, B.B. cream.  In my ignorance, I had never even heard of B.B. cream.  I had no idea it existed, let alone was the best thing to happen to cosmetics in a long time!  Apparently it originated in Korea–at least that’s what I read on one website–and it has many purposes.  It functions as a moisturizer, primer for foundation, sunscreen, and if you’re looking to have only a light foundation to look natural, it can even function as actual foundation!  B.B. stands for beauty balm, and I don’t know how I ever lived without this stuff!  I have very sensitive, dry skin, so moisturizing is pretty important to me.  After reading about several different brands of B.B. cream (I didn’t even look into the expensive brands, I was not interested in spending more than $15) I decided L’Oreal’s version was the best.  I can’t say for sure, as I’ve not tried any other brands, but I think my decision was right.  I love this stuff!  It is so creamy, light, and luxurious!  I have worn it by itself without applying any foundation or powder.  You can’t even tell you have it on!  Except for the fact that your skin is so soft!  It provides just enough coverage to make your face look clean and dewy.  It comes out white and once you rub it into your skin, pigmented beads release the color which matches your skin tone.  There are only 3 or 4 colors: Fair, Light, Medium, and Deep (I THINK).  You buy whichever category your skin falls into.  Mine definitely falls into “Fair” and this stuff matches my skin really well.

 

Cover Girl Invisible Concealer.
Cover Girl Invisible Concealer.

The next item I bought was Cover Girl’s Invisible Concealer in Fair.   I honestly didn’t know the first thing about makeup before my recovery.  I knew just enough to put a little on.  I’d put on some foundation, powder, eyeshadow (one color on my lid only) mascara, blush, and lipstick and head out the door.  I  never even thought about using “extra” stuff like concealer, eye liner, or highlighter.  I was honestly clueless.  My mom tried to teach me these things but I was a tomboy growing up and was pretty disinterested in makeup.  Plus, she never used those things either.  What I used was what she used.  She has always worn neutral makeup, and very little of it, as long as I can remember.  After reading about how to properly apply makeup, I realized concealer was really a staple of makeup.  I have such fair–borderline translucent–skin, so my eyes tend to keep dark circles under them.  Finally the light bulb came on when I realized a little concealer could correct this unflattering problem!  I, again, purchased an inexpensive brand.  I’m very much into the “drugstore” cosmetics.  One of my favorite things to read about are “drugstore dupes” of high-end cosmetics…not that I don’t indulge in some expensive things now and then.

haul17
Wet ‘n Wild Glitter Eyeliner

Next I found an AMAZING website, where I bought most of the items.  All Cosmetics Wholesale.  This website offers a HUGE variety of brands and sells items at dirt cheap prices.  For example, they have a huge selection of eyeliners and lipsticks for under $1!  But they sell every type of cosmetic there is.  I am a huge glitter fanatic–very much like a 13 year old girl–and am always trying to find ways to incorporate glitter into my makeup look without looking to childish.  When I saw these liquid liners I couldn’t pass them up!  They are Wet ‘n Wild brand and were very inexpensive.  They came in a set of 4 and include the colors Whimsical (Silver), Fanatical (Black), Magic (Purple), and Mystical (teal).  Despite the Wet ‘n Wild brand being called “cheap,” these liners are great quality and last all day.  So far I haven’t had any issues with them running either.  The glitter shows up very well and doesn’t flake off.  They are very good quality for the price.  I’m very satisfied with this purchase.

 

 

 

 

Cover Girl Line Exact Eye Liner Gray #605.
Cover Girl Line Exact Eye Liner Gray #605.

Next I bought this Cover Girl Line Exact Eyeliner in gray.  I had never tried the “marker” type liners, so I wanted to see if it was easier.  It is!  It’s exactly like drawing on your eyeliner with a felt-tip marker.  Makes of ease of application.  The gray color goes well with my cool color combinations.  It isn’t my favorite eye liner I’ve ever owned, but it certainly is the easiest to apply.  If you are looking for an easy to apply eye liner, the marker style is right for you.  If I had it to do over again, I would probably have purchased this in black.  While the gray is great, I probably won’t buy gray again.

 

 

 

Hard Candy Glitter Liquid Liner in Licorice.
Hard Candy Glitter Liquid Liner in Licorice.

Being a huge glitter fanatic, I bought a lot of glitter products.  Along with the Wet ‘n Wild glitter liner set I purchased, I also purchased this Hard Candy Walk The Line glitter liner in the color Licorice.  This liner shows the glitter a little more than the Wet ‘n Wild black glitter liner, but the applicator brush is bigger.  The Wet ‘n Wild version gives you a precise, thin line while this one gives you a thicker–but still precise–line.  I love the packaging, very artful.  It matches the personality of those who are most likely to use glitter eyeliner:  fun and creative.  I have had no problems with running or smudging once it is dry, but since it applies a thicker, wider line, it applies more product than the Wet ‘n Wild  liners.  Due to this excess product, it takes it a little longer to dry. So for the first few minutes of wear, be sure to keep your eyes either closed, or at least don’t open them too wide, to avoid getting your eye liner in the crease of your eyelid and ruining your makeup.  That’s the most important thing to remember about this liner:  Let it dry fully.

 

 

 

 

FLIRT! Dreamy Eyes Eyeshadow in Glamourazzi.
FLIRT! Dreamy Eyes Eyeshadow in Glamourazzi.

Next I decided to buy this individual FLIRT! eyeshadow compact in the color “Glamourazzi.”  I didn’t have many purples in my eyeshadow collection, so when I came across this one, I bought it.  It’s a gorgeous warm shimmer purple with flecks of gold.  It is light and highly pigmented, not too chalky.  It doesn’t crease and only requires a little product when applying to the eye.  The phrase “a little goes a long way” definitely applies to this shadow.  I’ve used it in some lovely spring/summer pink and purple eye looks.  It works beautifully and works together well with other brands.  The main brand I’ve used it with is Too Faced, and I can’t tell a difference in quality.  Too Faced is a bit creamer and softer, but not enough to really notice.  Flirt eyeshadow has been a win for me.

 

 

 

Elle Eyeshadow Single  #24
Elle Eyeshadow Single #24

I purchased this eyeshadow from Elle to use as a liner shadow.  It’s a lovely, shimmery black shadow that is super pigmented.  It works great as an eyeliner when I am going for a more matte finish while still maintaining a glittery line.  It only requires one layer of application, the pigmentation is absolutely perfect.  It’s a little too dark for me to use as anything other than a liner, but for those who like to wear bold looks, it would be great in a smokey eye color palette.  It’s a high quality product that wasn’t expensive at all.  And the beautiful silver glitter shows up nicely both in the photo and on your eye.  LOVE it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volturi Twilight Loose Eyeshadow in Beloved.
Volturi Twilight Loose Eyeshadow in Beloved.

This loose shadow cup is a beautiful shimmery shade of pink.  It goes on pretty sheer, giving the lid an iridescent, opalesque effect.  If you apply more layers the shadow becomes more opaque.  To achieve a rich, opaque appearance more quickly, this shadow foils well–add a small amount of water to a bit of the shadow to create an eyeshadow creme.  When I use it wet, it doesn’t crease and lasts all day, with or without eye shadow primer.  It’s a gorgeous, high quality product.  I wear it at least twice a week.  Pink is one of my signature colors in my standard color palette, and this pink is my go-to pink for a lot of my pink looks.

 

 

 

 

 

Dazzle Licious High Sparkle Lip Gloss
Dazzle Licious High Sparkle Lip Gloss

In case you haven’t already figured it out, I’m a glitter fiend.  I wear more glitter than a 13 year old girl discovering makeup for the first time.  I wear glittery eyeshadow, shimmer blush, glitter nail polish, glitter eye liner, you name it.  I have to be careful not to wear them all in one day!  I always mix my look with a combination of sparkle and matte makeup.  I wear matte foundation and powder every day, never shimmery.  One thing I do usually add glitter to on a regular basis is my lips.  Whether I’m wearing shimmer or matte lipstick, a swipe of this gorgeous lip gloss always makes my lips look like sparkling glass…and I’ve noticed my lips look fuller when I wear this gloss.  That may not happen for everyone, nor is it a claim made by the manufacturers of this gloss, but for me, it works.  It’s a gorgeous pink, but when you apply it, it becomes a subtle light pink, letting the sparkle be the focus.  It is GORGEOUS on the lips and has the smell and taste of watermelon.  I LOVE this gloss, and it reminds me of Hard Candy’s Gloss-a-Holic lip gloss, which was my former favorite gloss.  The only major difference between Hard Candy’s gloss and this gloss is the applicator brush.  This brush is smaller, making it easier to apply without getting any gloss outside the lip area.  The Hard Candy gloss has an enormous applicator sponge which can make application a bit more messy.  Finally, this gloss is a thick formula that lasts much longer than the average lip gloss without making your lips feel slimy or gummy.

haul8
Maybelline Moisture Extreme Lipstick in Orchid Frost

Maybelline’s Moisture Extreme Lipstick is just what it says.  Extremely moisturizing.  It goes on smooth and creamy and feels great on your lips.  I wear this brand of lipstick three or four days a week and I never have problems with dry, cracked lips.  It keeps your lips hydrated while adding gorgeous color.  I own numerous shades of this lipstick, and my most recent purchase was Orchid Frost.  This shade is a shimmery bring pink color.  A lot of makeup gurus are saying shimmery lipstick is out and it’s all about matte lipstick now.  I agree, I think matte lipstick is the most common and fashionable type of lipstick today, but I can’t get away from my sparkly, shimmery lip colors!  I own a lot of lipstick, over half of which is now matte, but I keep my shimmery colors in there for days I want to add a little sparkle to my face.  Typically I will wear shimmery lipstick when I go with matte makeup for the rest of my face, making my lips really pop and stand out.  I rarely ever pair sparkly eyeshadow with sparkly lipstick.  I love this Orchid Frost shade, it’s great for both spring, and summer, and I am sure I am going to even wear it in the winter.  One negative comment about the Maybelline Moisture Extreme lipsticks is that it isn’t the best when it comes to long lasting wear.  It wears off easily, but it feels so good I still buy it.  If you add a good lip primer, it tends to last twice as long, so with primer, it’s a great brand.

 

 

 

haul7
Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in Pink Plum

Maybelline’s Dream Bouncy Blush is the first brand of cream blush I’ve ever tried.  I was afraid cream blush would go on too dark and would be a bit tacky.  I found this Dream Bouncy blush is a lovely pink color on sale and decided to buy it.  I couldn’t beat the price and I figured for that cheap, it was worth giving cream blush a try.  It made a believer out of me.  It goes on light and creamy and blends more easily and looks prettier than powder blush.  In fact, lately I’ve been using this cream blush more than my favorite powder  blushes.  It’s moisturizing too.  You simply use two fingers and press them into the blush (and it really is bouncy!) and get a little product on them.  Then you pat the two fingers onto the apples of your cheek until you get the desired amount of blush on your cheeks.  Then you clean your fingers and you pat the cheeks again to blend the color into your foundation.  Works beautifully and lasts all day long.  I’m a cream blush fan for life now that I’ve discovered Dream Bouncy.

 

 

 

 

Hard Candy Tinted Lip Balm in Lovestruck
Hard Candy Tinted Lip Balm in Lovestruck

This tinted lip balm is soft and creamy on your lips.  Its light tint and sweet smell and flavor takes me back to my childhood and the days of Bonne Bell lip balms.  It has a subtle sweet taste that’s lickably lovely.  It tastes and smells great on your lips.  It only adds a tiny bit of color, so if you’re looking to use this as a lipstick, you will need to look elsewhere.  I typically use it when I am not wearing much makeup and am just looking for a little moisturizer on my lips–not much color.  I also use it to tone down extremely bright lipsticks.  It’s great to blend lipstick and town down loud colors.  It also adds a bit of shine to extremely matte colors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elle Lipstick #7
Elle Lipstick #7

Elle’s lipstick in color #7 is a lovely warm pink color.  It’s inexpensive but rich.  It lasts longer on your lips than Maybelline’s Extreme Moisture lipsticks, but isn’t quite as moisturizing.  It’s no less comfortable and light to wear.  It doesn’t smudge easily, once you apply it, it dries without drying your lips.  It is highly pigmented, which is the reason the color lasts so long.  Even when you wipe your lips the color remains.  It has all the components of a high quality, high priced lipstick–without the price.  I will definitely buy more Elle lip colors in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

haul2I also purchased these roll-on shimmer sticks from NYX–one of my new favorite cosmetic brands–in the shades Platinum and Walnut.  They are gorgeous!  You can use these anywhere you want to add a bit of sparkle:  your face, your eyes, your body.   I typically use them on my eyes.  You can either roll them directly on top of your eyeshadow or you can use them as eyeshadow by themselves.  They provide a high-sparkle glow and I think they’re fantastic.  Whenever I decide to have a shimmery-eye day, I use these.  They are a great addition to your cosmetics collection, and because they’re NYX, they’re high quality with a lowprice!

 

 

 

 

 

Wet n Wild Fantasy Makers Confetti in Glitz
Wet n Wild Fantasy Makers Confetti in Glitz

Finally, I bought this bottle of Wet n’ Wild Fantasy Makers Confetti in the color glitz.  It’s a highly reflective silver glitter useful for a wild look–for parties, costumes, etc.  It is best used on the eyes or on the corners of the eyes to make a fairy-like or princess-like appearance.  This isn’t really meant for everyday standard wear.  I love the way the silver glitter reflects every color of the rainbow.  The glitter is amazing.  I love it so much I wish I COULD wear it every day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So there you have it!  I have swatched my lip colors and glitters so you can see what they look like applied…

haul4Glitters:

1.  Wet n Wild Fantasy Makers Confetti (Glitz)

2.  NYX Roll on Shimmer (Platinum)

3. NYX Roll on Shimmer (Walnut)

 

 

 

 

haul9Lip Colors:

1.  Maybelline Extreme Moisture in Orchid Frost.

2.  Hard Candy Lip Balm

3.  Elle Lipstick Color #7

4.  DazzleLicious Lip Gloss

 

 

 

 

 

So there you have it.  Makeup Haul number 1!  Part two will come sometime in the next two weeks.  I’m still waiting on a few products, most of which I’m proud to announce are from Makeup Geek!

 

 

 

Summertime: Looking Back at My Favorite Summer Activities and Reminiscing About Growing Up

I was an unusual child.  Unlike other kids my age, I loved school.  While I didn’t enjoy waking up early to go, once I got there I almost always enjoyed my day.  I was shy (I still am!), but despite the fact I was quiet and didn’t have an over abundance of friends, I still loved being at school (I even stretched my four year college degree into a six year experience!).  While I enjoyed school, I still loved summer break and looked forward to it every May.

As a child, my parents both worked so I spend a good deal of my summer with babysitters.  When I was very young–kindergarten through fourth grade–I spent my summers with a family who lived across the street from us.  It was my best friend Ronnie’s house, Ronnie was one of the only kids who lived on my street so we spent a huge amount of time together.  His mother had two boys–Ronnie and his older brother B.J.–and his mom loved me.  She treated me like the daughter she never had and to her I could do no wrong.  We were all relatively poor in that neighborhood.  We lived in tiny two-bedroom houses which, looking back, seemed big to me.  Now I realize how tiny our home was, now that I live in a home of my own–by myself–that is substantially larger.  Money was just not something we had, so Ronnie and I–and sometimes B.J.–had to make our own fun.  Born in the mid-eighties, I was one of the last generations who were born before the age of technology.  We did have video games, but neither Ronnie’s nor my parents would allow us to sit and play them all day.  We spend the majority of our time outdoors, tearing up the pavement riding our bikes up and down Blossom Street.  We also spent countless hours playing games in our backyards.  Mostly my backyard, because we had a large shrub that leaned over, creating the perfect tunnel, which we used at our house.  Ronnie was one of the few boys I knew who was willing to play house.  Though, it wasn’t really a girly game.  And there was no one else to play with on the street so it’s all we knew.

I have memories of doing so many fun things there.  Jumping on my trampoline–being an only child, I was the envy of the neighborhood with my full-size trampoline–and playing on the swingsets in our backyards.  I even remember vividly playing some dangerous games, like shooting roman candles and bottle rockets as we held them.  My mother–and his–would have killed us if she knew we did that.

Even though we didn’t have a lot of money, my family still went on a few really great vacations.  The first vacation I really remember was our trip to San Antonio, Texas.  It was my first trip on an airplane.  I remember I had a stuffed “Littlefoot” doll from The Land Before Time.  I clutched him the entire time, and he had to go through the x-ray machine at the security checkpoint.  My parents let me sit by the window, and I sat glued to it, staring at the landscape below with wonder.  I remember seeing the Alamo, riding in a boat on the river, and a horse-drawn carriage ride through the city.  We also went to Sea World, the highlight of the trip.

Other great vacations we took included a trip to St. Louis, where we saw the Budweiser Clydesdales and spent a day at Six Flags.  Other memorable vacations from my childhood include a trip to Orlando, Florida for Disney World; a trip to Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine;  and a trip to New York City.

We eventually moved away from the tiny house in the city to live in a quieter, safer neighborhood in the suburbs.  My parents were making more money and had been toying with the idea of moving for a while.  They made up their minds firmly one evening when a gang had a party in the area and a rival gang showed up and started a fight.  Shots were fired–numerous shots–and the police actually found several of them hiding in our backyard.  Our house was for sale very soon afterwards.

Our house sold long before the new home my parents were building was ready, so we had to find a rental property until the house was completed.  I remember looking at several apartments downtown, right in the middle of the city, in a historic district.  The apartments were very unique and different from our house, but ultimately the house directly across the street from the one we lived in came up for rent.  So we packed or stuff and walked it across the street to the house where we would spend the next several months.

That house was absolutely horrible.  It was disgusting from the family who lived there before.  I had never lived anywhere but our tiny house.  The rental house was much larger.  It had a living room, a den, a dining room, and three bedrooms and two bathrooms!  I had a nice bedroom, but I never slept in it.  I was terrified in that room and didn’t sleep one night in it.  I would always end up begging my parents to let me sleep in their room, so my dad ended up moving my bed into the formal living room.  I slept better there, because it was right next to my parents bedroom.  They would keep their door open so I could even see them from my own bed.

It was a miserable time.  I was right next door to Ronnie, which was ok, but I hated everything about that house.   It could have been great.  It was so much bigger, it had a large enclosed front porch, it had two bathrooms–making it much easier and more efficient to get ready in the mornings–it had two living areas so we didn’t have to all agree on what to watch on TV, and the yard was huge.  The weird thing about it, though, was the “backyard” was actually on the side.  The backyard was fairly small, but apparently the original owners had bought the lot next to the lot where the house was built, thus making their yard twice as large.

The negatives outweighed the positives, though.  We lived very minimally in that house.  75 percent of our things were in boxes and all stacked in one of the bedrooms.  The downstairs den was large, but the previous renters left it in a horrible state, including an infestation of fleas from the two large chows that lived INSIDE the house.  It took a substantial amount of time for my parents to get that room clean and flea-free.  We still ended up spending most of our time in my parents bedroom and the living room which had become my bedroom.  It was miserable.  I cried the day we moved out of our first house, but the day we moved out of the rental I had never been so happy!

When we moved to the suburbs my life changed.  My family started going to church, where I met my current best friend.  I liked the small town life.   The town has since grown to be quite large, but when I was a child, we couldn’t go anywhere without running into someone we knew.  The people there were different, they had more money.  We didn’t have to worry about someone breaking into our house or getting shot in the street. Life in the suburbs was good.

Overall, I had a terrific childhood.  I made many memories that will last a lifetime.  I was luckier than many children.  I never had any siblings, the only part of my childhood I wish were different, but I had parents who loved me and included me in everything.  I always had something to do and never had to work for their affections.  I had numerous health problems, which required major surgeries, which resulted in my being forced to stay inside a lot.  I think it was this which helped me discover my creative, artistic spirit.  I loved to write stories, paint pictures, and pretend.  Being an only child, I played by myself a great deal of the time, so pretending was necessary.  Though I had problems and setbacks, I believe my childhood–especially the special things my family did during the summers–helped shape me into the person I am today.

Slacking On The Job

I’m not slacking on my writing I promise!  In fact, I’ve been writing up a storm.  Since resigning from my nursing job, I’ve began writing for various websites and magazines.  I am now an official contributor to NurseTogether.com, Scrubs Magazine, and Yahoo and their partner sites.  Since resigning, I’ve had 15 articles published either online or in print.  I’ve earned money, won awards, won contests, and even been interviewed and profiled.  I’m still currently searching for a job that will meet my non-lifting restriction, but I have applied to several and I’m confident I’ll be offered the job that’s right for me.

My goal is to get a job that pays the bills while still allowing me to write in my spare time.  Eventually I hope to publish more and more articles and eventually even a book.  I hope to eventually transition from nurse to writer who happens to also be a nurse!  I will continue to write here on my blog, but sadly my posts will be a little fewer and further between.  Here’s where you can catch some of my other writing endeavors:

Yahoo!Voices

Nurse Together

Scrubs Magazine

 

Happy Nurses Week!

This is the week dedicated to all the men and women who work so hard to ensure every patient has the best medical experience possible.  We are more than just nurses.  We are secretaries, janitors, counselors, teachers, writers, readers,listeners,  and sometimes a shoulder to cry on.  We’ve been peed on, pooped on, puked on, and stepped on.  We take abuse from arrogant doctors and cranky patients.  Any time, any day, morning, noon, or night there are thousands of nurses working hard–sometimes with no meal break–to ensure their patients receive the care they deserve.  I’m proud of my career.  I’m devastated I’m no longer able to work in direct patient care, but I will always be happy I made the decision to get my degree in nursing.  I’m currently unemployed, on forced medical leave to receive treatments (epidural injections) for my back injury.  I can’t really work while I’m having these injections because of the amount of time I would have to be off work to have them done and to recover.  So I’m spending my time reading and writing, and enjoying every minute of that.  When I’m able to go back to work, I’m unsure whether I will choose a nursing “desk job” or go into something completely different.  I’m looking into jobs with newspapers and websites, hoping I can go a different route and put my writing to good use.  I’m taking courses online at Writers Village University, which is loads of fun.  It’s also a great networking source to meet other writers and receive feedback on your work.  I’m taking this opportunity to put everything into perspective and be sure I make the right decisions with where I want to go in my life.

Enough about me, though.  I salute you nurses of the world, for all the hard work and dedication you put in every day.  This world is a better place and healthcare a more pleasant experience because of these amazing men and women.