Convenience is Key.

Before
One of the keys to the success of technology is the convenience we experience.  We have google in our pocket, keyless cars, and 3D printers. Or you can have anything and everything delivered to your house through amazon or ebay.  Now there is a way to automate my hair color...through Madison Reed.


The Kit!
The box arrived at my door step and I really liked that the kit fit in my mailbox.  No going to the post office for the box (extra convenient)!!  It comes with a 2 pairs of gloves, color/developer, creme to put on in case color got on your skin, 3 wipes in case you missed a spot with the creme, shampoo/conditioner for afterwards, cap and of course instructions.  The contents were extremely thorough.  The package was extremely efficient with little to no waste.  I was especially happy about the two pair of comfy gloves that didn't look like lunch lady gloves.  The black cap was nice too.  It definitely beat the saran wrap that I usually use.

In the Process...
I have hair that is quite a few inches past my shoulders but, my hair is thin...I just have a lot of it. One bottle was sufficient for my hair.  I followed the directions to a T.  The formula did not drip.  At. All.    As I began rinsing out my hair, I noticed that there was not a rush of black dye coming out of my head.  I used the shampoo and conditioner.  Every single time that I have dyed my hair at home, when I wash the dye out, my hair looks like it is full of tar.  Then the towel twist is all but dyed that color.  It takes me like 2 days to get out all of the dye.  This was shockingly not the case with Madison Reed.  Once I rinsed my hair, there was little to no remaining dye.  Thankfully, any dye on my skin came right off because of the creme that came with the kit.  I usually get the dye everywhere!  My hair color was even and my hair was actually shiny when I dried it.

Love My New Hair Color.  
Overall I enjoyed my experience with Madison Reed.  The thought that my hair dye could just magically show up in my mailbox when it is time to dye my hair is a great concept.  They also gave me a bunch of cards with codes on them for $15 off!  That's a pretty sweet deal.  

UPDATE:  It has been about a week since I have dyed my hair and the color is still going strong.  No dye rubbed off on anything.  Just silky, shiny black hair.

In the spirit of full disclosure, this is an affiliate link, which means that I may get a commissions if you decide to purchase anything from Madison Reed  . I only recommend products & systems that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands.

RAWR!

"Quality First" has become one of my mottoes as I get older.  Buying the better shoes, car and clothes are actually economically more sound than buying more things at a cheaper price.  When it comes to Quality...Goodie Two Sleeves is a cut above the rest.  

I chose the American Flag tank top because I needed something for 4th of July and the T-Rex one because I thought it was hilarious.  Now my daughter screams "Dinosaur....RAWR..RAWR..!" every time I walk by when wearing the shirt.  She is unbelievably adorable.  There are many other funny shirts that are on the site but I found the funniest is a T-Rex shirt.  These shirts are comfortable and funny.  What more can you ask for?  

Sure, it's a shirt.  You may think you can get a shirt like the ones that I got from Goodie Two Sleeves anywhere.  I beg to differ.  From the mailbox to your door, you notice the package has these drawings on them and they are just happy little pictures.  At first feel, these are soft shirts.  I ordered one size larger because I like to dry my shirts and I don't like them to be skin tight on me.  I like them a little loose.  And, I have gained a few lbs. as well and I have a small bit of a belly.  The fabric is very soft, thin but not too thin and not see through at all.  For being as thin a shirt as they are, you would think that they wouldn't be durable.  Not at All!  The fabric feels like second skin.  I could probably sleep in it.  And the colors are unrivaled on pigmentation.  


Sure it's a shirt but, it's a shirt that is soft like butter and funny enough to make yourself and others laugh.  Also....put in THREAD10 and receive 10% off your order when you order from Goodie Two Sleeves!     

In the spirit of full disclosure, this is an affiliate link, which means that I may get a commissions if you decide to purchase anything from Goodie Two Sleeves company. I only recommend products & systems that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands.

Sandals of the Season

Each year we (as in women) decide on the perfect swimsuit and with that, we have to have the perfect flip flop.  We want flip flops that are versatile enough to go with anything and our swimsuit.  I was granted the pleasure of trying a pair of flip flops from Rhea Footwear.  The name of the shoes that I sampled is Duos in Black and Gold. 

The packaging was above standard and the shipping was super fast.  The flip flops were at my door before I knew it.  At first site, these look like quality flip flops and not your average flip flops.  These would be great at the beach or with your favorite casual outfit.  Now what you all don't know about me is that I have severely sensitive feet.  As in I can almost tell instantly if shoes/flip flops will give me blisters within minutes or not.  These did not....at all.  The thin straps are comfy and stretchy.  The one thing that I really like about them is that they are non-slip.  I don't know if they meant to do this but, this is great!  This makes them perfect for around the pool or the water park.  

I cannot say enough things about the sole.  It is solid from one end to the other, non-slip.  This would be perfect for anyone but especially people who have balance problems.  The top area that is the black area is shiny and non-slip as well.  Although it looks slippery, it is just shiny.  The black area is padded and comfy for those who have sensitive feet.  I have high arches and find these are great.  

The straps are stretchy and soft.  That is probably why they do not make my feet blister like most flip flops.  And even though these are smaller straps, these flip flops stay on your feet.  

I chose the black and gold because I live in Louisiana and am a Saints fan.  These are comfortable enough to walk around the Dome or watching the game at your local sports bar.  I would highly recommend these sandals for any casual occasion or around the pool/water park!  

In the spirit of full disclosure, this is an affiliate link, which means that I may get a commissions if you decide to purchase anything from Rhea Footwear company. I only recommend products & systems that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands.

Running with the Ball

As an artist I have an eye for color.  I swear that I can see many more variations than the average person can and differentiate in between the two.  In high school my friends would bring me to the store to help them pick out makeup because I could tell even the slightest of change of shade.  I have recently decided to start a new journey as an artist and branch out to makeup.  No, I am not a trained cosmetologist but I do know a good product and business venture when I see one.

I definitely did my research.  The company is about 2 years old.  The products are all natural, vegan, paraben free and free of many other things that I forgot to list.  The prices are about the same you would spend at Dillard's at any cosmetic counter but, the quality is by far and wide very different.  

For those of you who do not know I have melasma, hyperpigmentation and some sunspots on my face.  The hyperpigmentation is the wonderful afterthought that my cystic acne gave me.  My dermatologist, Dr. Poole, straightened out my coloring so that I don't scare small children if I forget to put makeup on that day.  My melasma will never go away.  I can just make it lighter.  I will always need a hat/SPF100 on my face if in direct sun.  I have tried every department store brand known to man and the ones that I found were able to cover my blemishes but, I looked like I piled on the makeup.  In all honesty, I did but of course we all want to look natural in our makeup not cakey.  Becca and Dermablend worked really well but, it was cake city.  Then, when I saw the crazy video of the girl putting sharpie on her face and then covering it with Mineral Touch, I had to try it.  I ran out of my foundation and shot my friend, Suzanne a message.  She came over and I put on all Younique's products starting with moisturizer, primer, mineral touch foundation, mineral touch concealer.  It is amazing what a few little drops can do!!  I was sold.  I have yellow undertones to my skin and my skin is almost unmatchable.  Merle Norman had to combine 3 tubes to get my color and Chanel couldn't even match me, I know crazy right?  To my surprise, Velour matched me perfectly.  I was in love.  

Then came the cream eyeshadow.  The cream eyeshadows that I have previously encountered were pretty sheer and would crease after a few hours.  I put on Noble then I worked a 5 hour shift (I'm also a bartender).  After the 5 hours, it did not crease one bit, my makeup was pretty much exactly like it was 5 hours since then.  The mascara is just the icing on the cake.  I will admit that I had to watch a YouTube video to see how to apply it correctly.  Sad?  I know.  LOL.  The key is to let the layers dry.  Gel, fibers then let dry even use a hairdryer on cool if you want then coat with transplanting gel.  Letting them dry for about 30 seconds was life changing.

So, this new venture in my life will be a fantastic journey because I can finally be rewarded for being the person who runs with the ball.  In almost every job I have had, I dominate and I make things happen.  I love the organization, preparation and new skills I will learn starting a new business.  I love that I am with a company that rewards their presenters for their hard work.  You definitely get out what you put in and I am in this to win this!

New Year

Yes, this is going to be a stereotypical new year's post with hope for the future and all that nonsense.  But, I would like to encourage others to seek out the same goals in life to make the most out of your year ahead of you.

1. Make small goals.  Losing 50 lbs. would be great but, it might be a little realistic and unhealthy.  Attempt to move more, take the stairs as opposed to the elevator.  Park on the opposite side of the parking lot and make yourself walk.  You will find that these little changes will make you healthier individual and in turn you will probably lose weight.

2. The time is now.  And no, I didn't get that from a fortune cookie either.  I'm 35 years old and I realize I am 5 years away from the big 4-0.  I have always wanted to study journalism and possibly become a reporter.  I now write on this blog.  Technology has helped me to get my feet a little wet and my voice heard.  I want my art to be known.  Yes, I am also an abstract artist.  I plan on honing that skill and marketing my pieces to venues.  No one is going to do it for you.  No one is going to make your dreams come true.  But, you can.  Listen to that inner voice that is trying to get out and shut down the negativity!

3.  Toxicity.  Friends.  Family.  Work.  Get rid of it. All of it.  Do you have a friend that drags the life out of you and brings you down to their level?  Let them find a new friend somewhere else.  Do your in-laws or any other family member degrade you or treat you subservient?  Distance yourself from them as best you can.  If you can, cut them out completely.  I know that is pretty harsh.  I understand what I am suggesting but, if there are no other alternatives and they aren't changing anytime soon, get out and away for your health.  Tired of your cubicle?  Change jobs.  Change careers.  Change your mind and the frame of your thinking and you will find that even though it might seem scary, it will probably be the best thing you ever did for yourself.

4.  Stay Positive.  Throw the negativity in the garbage where it belongs.  Throw the negative friends out with it.  Find the silver lining in every grey cloud.  Don't make fun of people just because they are different.  Try to embrace each other's differences and find a common ground.  Understand empathy.  Try and see the situation from their perspective.  If you practice this daily, your mental health and your outlook on life will be much brighter.

5.  Gossip.  Well, there is a fine line inbetween facts and gossip.  If you can say it to their face, it is a fact.  If you only say it behind their back, it's gossip.  Don't start rumors and don't perpetuate them either.  If you hear something about yourself, go straight to the source and politely ask them about it.  Try to be the person that is a straight shooter.   The best way to deflect gossip is to call people on their words.  Ask for sources of information and point out flaws in their argument.  Try to show them the silver lining to the possible grey cloud hovering over someone.  Remember, everyone is battling someone or something in life.  We are all not perfect.

6. Be nice to yourself.  Be nice to others too but, most importantly yourself.  You have made it this far in your life without falling apart, be proud of how far you have come.  Make sure you take time out for yourself to be yourself.  Jam out to some gangsta rap, take a hot bath or just paint your toes to help you remember how badass you really are.

The new year is a time for renewal but, any day of the year can be a time for renewal.  We don't have to flip the calendar in order to make changes in our life.  Change your mind.  Take small steps and you'll get there.  Just give yourself the time.  

Cold Turkey 101

I realized the other day that it has been 3+ years since I last smoked a cigarette.  The road to my cessation has been a long and arduous one but, it has been worth it.

I was in 6th grade, my sisters were much older and smoked.  I wanted to be just like them..."cool."  My sisters smoked and my parents let them.  Well, they smoked too and it was the '90s so, the topic of cancer/COPD or oxygen tanks were not on the horizon.  It was the "cool" thing to do.  Fast forward to age 15 where my grandmother smoked 2 packs of Doral lights every single day.  The walls were a wonderful bile color that accented the kitchen where I sat with her every day for two years.  At 16, I started sneaking cigarettes and smoking them from my car.  Later at college, I would rebel and start smoking about a pack a day.  When I became a bartender, this was the norm.  You smoke because, hey you are in a bar and everyone smokes.  It was the norm.  I tried to quit and failed.  I tried to quit again and failed.  I quit for the pregnancy of my son and postpartum depression along with working in the hospitality industry made it easier for me to light up once more.  Until I moved to Nashville, I smoked about 1 pack a day/night at work.  Our move to Nashville slowed the habit but nothing major.  At this time, I am about 30.  I was up late one night, as per usual, and I saw a commercial on the TV.  It was a lady named Terri.  She showed me what it was like to get ready in the morning for her.  Those of you who personally know me know that I pride myself on fashion, my looks and vanity in general.  She proceeded to put on a wig because she lost her hair, scarf for the hole in her throat, false teeth because all of her original teeth fell out and all because she smoked. Right after the 2 minute commercial, I literally went outside and smoked my last cigarette.





No one said that the "cool" thing that I did at 10 years old would turn into a lifelong battle.  I knew that if I wanted to quit smoking for good that I would have to do my research.  I had learned that your body will begin to heal itself after your last drag of a cigarette but, I wanted to know in depth details so that I could visualize exactly when and how my body would recover and how I could do so.


My mantra during this challenging time was "You just need 5 minutes of courage and you can do anything."  Yes, it comes from a movie that I saw at the time called "We bought a Zoo" with Matt Damon.  With the above information, I decided that in order to overcome this huge impediment in my life that I would need to throw an all out assault on smoking.

Also, you need to get in the frame of thinking that your addiction to smoking is that...an addiction. So, I  researched ways in which others had quit smoking and apply them in a collage of thoughts tailored to my own cessation and I took it one day at a time.  

Week 1-Day 1 Hell Week
Throw everything away (cigs, lighters, etc...) and clean everything that smells like smoke.  Throw away your ashtrays, smoke paraphernalia and even move the chair you sat in to smoke.  If you go through the entire day without single drag of a stogie...reward yourself with whatever you are craving/wanting/etc...  My vice at the time was chocolate chip cookies, baked from my oven.  So, I did and I ate the whole tray!!

You will always have cravings.  I am 3+ years out and I still have cravings.  You just need 5 minutes of courage to let those cravings pass.   

Day 2-7
Each day that you go without a cigarette, reward yourself big!  Be aware of the behavioral part of the addiction.  Taking a break during work, kids or life in general can be what you need but, you don't have to smoke in order to take a break.  Chew gum, fiddle with a pen, do anything you need to not smoke.  Also, be sure to not put yourself in tempting situations within the first month.  This is difficult, don't make it harder than it already is.  Stay out of smoky bars, the party scene or even co-workers or friends that smoke.  Just the smell of smoke may entice you to begin again.  Don't chance it.  

Day 8-14 Heck Week
Each day continue to reward yourself at the end of the day that you do not smoke a single drag/cigarette in that day.  Chocolate Chip Cookies...New Purse...Steak Dinner...Reward, Reward, Reward!  You are worth it!

Day 14-30
Make sure everything is cleaned that once smelled like smoke.  Be sure you detail your car, throw away all of our lighters and any other smoking paraphernalia and get your jackets dry cleaned.  Keep rewarding yourself but move to weekly rewards and make them bigger.  For instance, if I make it out this week without a cigarette, you'll go to the mall and buy an outfit, take yourself to dinner, etc...  

Keep a print out of the picture above where you would normally go smoke, like out on your front porch as a reminder in case you have a moment of weakness.   

Day 30+
Continue to reward yourself weekly especially if you had a hard week.  Congratulate yourself on a great job of not smoking for one month.  Your body and mind will thank you later!

Three years later and I still have cravings.  Even after all this time, I can look back and say that I am a proud quitter.  It really came down to believing that I am worth it.  I want to be around for my children and grandchildren without an oxygen tank that I would need to roll around.

Cold turkey might not be for you.  But, I am an all or nothing kind of a person.  The patch made me sick and I feared that I would gain an addiction to the gum.  I do suggest talking to your doctor before you start any sort of regimen.  There will be withdrawal symptoms that will make you feel like you are dying but, I can almost guarantee that you are not.  See a doctor though if you are having any adverse reactions.  


Fall 2015 Rundown

Ahhh...Fall, my favorite season of the year.  Boots, sweaters and scarves, oh my!!  There a few additions to the already staples of your winter wardrobe.

Mod Dress from FrenchieYork on Etsy
The color palette for this fall/winter is a set of colors that look like the colors just have a little bit of dust on them.  Beautiful yet, that is basically how I would describe them.  The palette can be found here.  Marsala is a favorite of mine next to Reflecting Pond and Biscay Bay or Amethyst Orchid.

60's Mod Dresses are back.  I love these dresses but, they do not seem to love me...  Those of us with a few more curves may seem that these are too boxy on us and they never seem long enough.  Boxy doesn't hold much booty!

Adrianna Papell @ Dillards
Oxblood Red anything is a favorite color of mine alongside the current palette.  I'm pretty sure that Starlord brought it back but either way, I'm a happy camper.

Floral and Denim with a little Brocade is all the rage.  Denim that has floral patterns is even better.  Brocade can be uncomfortable if you purchase a cheap brocade piece for your wardrobe.  In fact, that is a rule for just about any fabric, clothing, jacket, etc...if it is cheap, you can almost guarantee that it will be itchy.  Believe me.  I have had my fair share of cheap outfits and there are middle of the road designers that put out a quality product for a moderate price.  For instance Adrianna Papell.  She can do almost no wrong whatsoever.  It's purple and turquoise...my heart be still...and brocade and midi length.   What's wrong with it?  It's not hanging in my closet right now.  That is the only thing wrong with it.
AE Hi-Rise Boho Artist Flare

High Waistlines!  Yes and double yes!  I am now a mother of 2 so, this is a huge plus for me and my unwanted poundage.  Thank you fashion world for bringing this back into style so that I can stop pulling up my pants or worrying about my underwear showing from my hiphugger jeans.  I also love that American Eagle came back with names of their jeans and not just numbers....I wish the Limited would learn the same lesson.

The one fad I cannot get behind is the poncho.  Unless it is raining or you are at a football game trying to stay warm, I cannot get behind that fad.  It looks great on others just not on me.  I feel like I'm literally wearing a tent.

Faux Suede Vegan Fringe Hobo by VelvetBrowne
Fringe!  The more the better!  I've seen it on just about any accessory right down to your toes.  My favorite has to be fringe bags!  They are fun, flirty and since they are made out of faux suede like this beauty, they are very durable and affordable.

Lily Star Top @ Dillards
Bold, bright prints are in as well as ultra feminine tops. I prefer to have my accessories do the talking so, bold bright prints aren't my fav.  The Victorian-Era-Esque tops are beautiful.  These tops are by far the most versatile staple that you could acquire from this season.  Great for the office under a suit, dressed up with a wiggle skirt and heels for a date out or dressed down with some jeans and flats for a family outing.

Overall my favorite addition to this season is the high waist jean because it is so comfortable.  Thankfully this time around the fashion Gods have gotten it right, no Mom Jeans just jeans that Moms can be sexy and comfortable!