The Busiest Month

Didn’t I say June was going to be crazy? Besides our anniversary/wedding weekend, here’s some highlights so far:

  • GG and I have been going to this weekly free outdoor yoga thing our town is offering for the summer (the weeks that we can both make it, and it doesn’t get rained out).
  • I went to Fall Product Premier in NJ (again). We didn’t have a big team there this time, just me and E (who happened to pull into the parking lot right behind me, so we didn’t even have to work on meeting up). I love everything that’s coming out for fall – this may be a problem (for my bank account)!
  • I’ve been busy with summer band concerts (the ones I can make, that aren’t rained out [actually none have been rained out, but last week’s was cancelled because power at the venue was out after a big storm the day before, and wasn’t restored until the following day]).
  • GG and I had a free Sunday, so we decided to knock a couple things off this list of “free stuff to do in Philly” that I’d put together. First we went to the Elfreth’s Alley Museum – we’d been to the street before, but hadn’t been through the museum. It was just us and one lone guy touring around with a grumpy guide. (Pro tip: the museum is not really free, there is a $5 “suggested donation.” I don’t know what she would have been like, had we chosen not to donate, since a lot of her complaints were money-related.) She cheered up once she got going, and it was an interesting tour. I’d love to come back sometime and see some of the houses that people live in today! It was pretty hot and humid by this point, so we decided to go get some lunch and cool off before making our next stop, so we went to Molly Malloy’s at the Reading Terminal. Finally, we went to the Fabric Workshop and Museum, which is totally free to tour. I’d heard of it, but didn’t really know what this place was, other than that it wasn’t just about cloth “fabric,” it was art “fabricated” from all different types of materials. They had an exhibition from the prolific and varied artist Richard Tuttle who neither of us had ever heard of. I don’t like to make fun of art, but let’s just say, some of his pieces were things I could easily make myself. (Photography was allowed for almost all the pieces, but there were a couple where photos were restricted. One was a short rope nailed to the wall at each end. I told GG, “Don’t worry, I’ll make you one when we get home.”) I checked out some reviews of the exhibit when we got home, and it looks like even the art critics were a little confused, so I didn’t feel so bad…
  • We went to see a live comedy talk show where Sasheer Zamata was appearing as a guest. We’d never been to this show before, but in honor of their second anniversary, they did some special activities, including: having a live pony (which promptly peed on stage); making waffles on stage for any audience member who asked for one; lots of games; and as a grand finale, destroying the coffee table that has appeared on set for all their episodes to that point.
  • I finally joined a CSA! Because I came in late in the season, I paid a pro-rated amount for a “small” share. Even this size share is a bit much for just the two of us (I’d be happier with more variety and less quantity), but since GG had been trying to eat healthier and more vegetables, we’ll definitely get our money’s worth. The pick-up location is really convenient, which has been one of the biggest deterrents to me joining a CSA previously. Very excited for what the summer will bring! (My first week featured candycane beets!)
  • Last weekend featured two birthday parties, each for two people, so that’s four birthdays if you’re keeping count. One of them was a one year-old, and he is adorable and did great, considering all the noise, activity, and different people passing him around! (His b-day cake was also amazing: a lemon blueberry cake!)

After the Independence Day holiday, my calendar is looking a lot more empty… At least for a few weeks!

Boxy Lady

I blame my blog friend, Product Junkie in the City, with my new found interest in subscription boxes. I’m not signing up for a ton of them, but I love reading about her experiences! I did get a couple low-risk ones recently, though. If you’ve been considering joining one of these services, My Subscription Addiction is a great resource – they have boxes listed you never even knew existed, with useful reviews of each!

Target Beauty Box
I’ve gotten this one every year for the last several years. Of course, the Summer 2015 box is already out of stock, so when you hear that the next one is available, you have to grab yours quick! For $5, it’s always a great value!

  • Olay Regenerist Luminous HydraSwirl Eye Cream: I’ve tried this for a couple days, and it definitely does brighten your eyes, because there’s some kind of pearly material in the cream. However, after noticing pearly white smudges all over my face the first day, I’ve decided to just use this at nighttime. Otherwise, the texture is nice, and it is a very generous sample (.5 oz), considering it’s just an eye cream.
  • Revlon HD Lipstick: I got a very bright red color which actually looks pretty nice, but it doesn’t last on me at all, I’ll have to stick to my stains…
  • SinfulColors Professional Nail Color: Despite my enormous nail polish collection, I’ve actually never used this brand before! I had a bottle I got as a freebie from something else, but it’s bright yellow and I’ve never had occasion to use it. The color I got from Target is a really pretty periwinkle blue, and I am loving it! Great, fun summer color, and it goes on really nicely.
  • Cutex Advanced Revival Nail Polish Remover Pads: I was actually really excited to get these, because removing nail polish is a pain. The individually wrapped pads are convenient and would be especially good for traveling. It’s a thick cotton pad that holds together well and is soaked with just the right amount of remover to do both of my hands (it probably would have been a stretch to do all of my toes, too). It is a very strong remover – you might need to open a window – but it does the job quickly.
  • Fekkai Professional Hair Care: I was looking forward to getting the dry shampoo shown in the picture, but I actually received a little tube of “Brilliant Glossing Styling Cream.” It has a nice fresh, citrusy scent, and according to the package, “a little goes a long way,” so I applied a small amount to wet hair, instead of my usual leave-in conditioner. Now, I’m not sure if it was because of this stuff, or my new flat iron, but I was outside in 99% humidity tonight (before and especially after a giant rainstorm), and my hair looked surprisingly good, with minimal frizz. I’m sure the Fekkai stuff didn’t hurt, anyway.

FabFitFun Box
The main selling point for me getting this box was that you can order it after they reveal what’s in it. The Spring 2015 box had a few things I was excited to try, and seemed like a great value! I’ve already been billed for the Summer box and I’ve seen a couple sneak peeks of what’s coming in that, so it should be along shortly. If you’d like to try FabFitFun, I’d love it if you could use my referral link – you’ll also get $10 off your first box!

  • Hello Fresh Gift Card: $40 Off First Week of Delivery: The aforementioned Product Junkie has subscribed to this, and it seems decent. I’ve been using some of Blue Apron’s recipes, but haven’t subscribed, so I’m excited to try this out! When I do, I will definitely post a new review.
  • Vow to Be Chic Gift Card: It’s a service where you can rent a bridesmaid dress or a white dress. I’ll most likely not be using this one…
  • Cosmos Creations Premium Puffed Corn: This stuff is amazing. I pretty much inhaled the whole bag.
  • OFRA Cosmetics Eyeshadow Brush Duo (#11 and #20): I was looking forward to this one because I’m always on the hunt for new makeup brushes. Well, #20 is humungous. This is for eyeshadow? You could cover your whole lid with one swipe! #11 is nice, I had another one of a similar size, but I prefer the bristles on this new one, so I’ve replaced it in my kit.
  • Sprout It App Card + Miracle Grow Gro-able Seed Pod: Guess what – I have a flower pot now! So I will be able to grow this little pod of tomato seeds! Check back for updates on my black thumb :o/
  • Rifle Paper Co. Cities Coasters Set: I guess I should have known from the name of the company, these are just cardboard coasters, like you would get at a restaurant. They are very cute, though. would make a great add-on with a gift like a bottle of wine!
  • ORLY Nail BB Creme & ORLY Nail Polish “Cake Pop”: I was excited for these, too! The BB Creme one should be great, I’ve used “almost” nail polishes like this before, where it’s something just a little more than a clear coat. Cake Pop is a very pale almost white pink, and I often have bad luck with shades like this looking streaky. This was looking pretty good after two coats, but was still just a little streaky, so I added a third. Plus, bonus: when you wear light colored nail polish, the rest of you looks more tan in comparison! [Edit: 6/16] I’ve now tried the BB Creme one, and even though it says on the bottle that it is “peach,” I see no color at all when it’s on my nails, it’s basically clear. Hopefully there’s at least good vitamins in it or something. [/Edit]
  • Merrithew 3 DVD Set “Intense Body Blast” + $25 Gift Card: I haven’t done the workout yet, but I’ll definitely use it some night where I just can’t even when I get home, and then by the time I’ve got my act together, the gym is already closed. The gift card is for the Merrithew web site, which I checked out, and they have cute yoga mats in the $30 range, so I think I’ll pick up a new one for myself! [Edit: 6/15] I ordered my mat, it was $3.99 after using my $25 gift card, but shipping is $11.13?!! Oh well, I guess I’m still paying only $15 total for what I hope will be a really nice yoga mat… [/Edit]
  • Palmetto Derma Collagen Booster and Restoration Serum: I haven’t tried this yet, but my sensitive combination skin has had some bad reactions to “serum” type products in the past. The nice glass bottle is a good size. I’ll update here if I have an overwhelmingly positive or negative experience.
  • Jules Smith Scarf in Watercolor or Modern Art Prints: I’m not sure which of the designs I got, but it’s the one with the larger patches of color, which I will assume is the “Modern Art” one. It’s not huge, but it’s a very pretty coral/turquoise/navy print on a lightweight cotton that will be great for summer!
  • Yasi Metallic Flash Tattoos: I’ve been seeing these all over since last summer. These are all different star shapes, and I bet with some creative placement you could make some cute designs. I’ll report back.

Nice Weekend for Weddings

Can you believe GG and I have been married for nine years?! Usually we try to plan a nice dinner out or even a brief trip for our anniversary, but this year GG had already made plans to play in a band with our friend A at a Relay for Life event. So we had time for a quick (but nice) dinner at home before he had to drive to the event, about an hour away.

We decided to make reservations at Seasons 52, since it was nice and close by. I guess because GG said in the reservation that it was our anniversary, they brought us a little card, and a couple free glasses of champagne. Our appetizer was amazing and something I need to re-create: blistered Shishido peppers with roasted corn, Sonoma goat-feta cheese, lemon aioli, and sumac. Apparently it’s a new menu item, and three different managers came by to see how we liked it. (We loved it! I’d just picked it on a whim!) Then I had the salad I usually get, GG had a pork tenderloin, and we each enjoyed a couple of the mini desserts :o)

Then on Sunday, we went to this wedding we were sort of accidentally invited to. So, funny story: I posted on Facebook about some cat food I couldn’t use, and a friend of mine from high school (she was a freshman when I was a senior) said she could take it, so we met up to drop it off. We talked for a while, and then she goes, “You guys are local, right?” and hands me an invitation to her wedding! My friend is Chinese, and apparently her parents were in charge of invites, and she was worried there would be “too many Chinese people” there! So GG and I ended up going, even though I was sure I would know nobody there.

It was a gorgeous day for the little outdoor garden wedding, and they did a really nice job of incorporating Chinese and western traditions (her husband is not Chinese). When we sat down for the reception, I found that we were at a table of people from my high school, but because they were all three years behind me, I didn’t really know any of them. The girl sitting next to me was actually even younger than the bride, and we started talking about how we both knew her. I shared that I was her “band mom” in marching band, and this girl goes, “Oh, she was my band mom!” So that made her my band granddaughter!

Also, I wore a very cool maxi dress, so I didn’t even need to shave my legs ;o)

May

Looking back on it, I had a pretty nice, calm May, compared to the crazy June I’m about to face! Some highlights:

  • We had our spring band concert. Nothing I was super excited to play, but it wasn’t terrible. I also wasn’t thrilled about the posters and programs I’d designed, but everyone seemed to like them, so that’s always good.
  • I took my mom and grandmom out for a really nice Mother’s Day lunch, and then afterward my brother came over and hung out and it was a very nice time.
  • We saw John Mulaney at the Merriam Theater! He’s really hit the big time :o)
  • After resuming regular orthodontist appointments a couple years ago when I had my retainers modified to be TMJ night guards, I have now officially “graduated” from orthodontia (again)! Instead of telling me to come back in a year, they said, “Call if you need us.”
  • I continued my David’s Tea obsession.
  • I also discovered this crazy vegan place in our area, Gangster Vegan. After meeting the owner at our farmers’ market and trying some of their juice, GG and I went there to pick up dinner one night, and he’s been talking about it ever since! Everything is vegan and organic, and also a lot is raw. (Did you know that vegan pie “crust” is a delicious date paste?!)
  • Had a relaxing and productive Memorial Day weekend while GG was away working. Having been an “ice cream widow” over summer holiday weekends for years now, I’ve learned how to make my own plans and keep myself occupied.
  • The TLC Block Party!
  • Hosted a ladies’ brunch/Ruby Ribbon trunk show that turned out pretty well. I might do brunches for all my parties from now on – the food is fun and easy, and you still have the whole day after it’s over! My friend L stayed after the party and we hit up the KoP Mall.

TLC Summer Block Party

Weeks ago, a friend alerted me to the fact that a TLC Summer Block Party was going to be held in Philadelphia, featuring appearances by a number of their reality stars, including the Duggar family. I talked GG into taking me and put it on the calendar, canceling all my other plans for the day. I didn’t know what it was going to be like, if they were going to perform or if we’d have a chance to meet them or what, but on the off chance that I had the opportunity to speak to them, and I had to limit myself to just one question, I had it ready to go: if they were so confident that they’d trained and educated their children the “right” way according to their beliefs, why keep them so isolated? Shouldn’t they be out interacting and sharing their beliefs with others? That’s sort of the question that all other questions would be based on.

Well, then it came out that Josh had molested his sisters, and the Duggars were obviously taken off the bill for this event.

I had my schedule cleared for the day, and GG was interested in seeing some of the little people families who were scheduled to be there. The weather was beautiful, so we still went! The event started at 12, and there was already a long line of people outside the gate when we got to Penn’s Landing around 11:30. It moved pretty quickly once the gates opened, though, and when we got inside, it was pretty empty.

We made our way down to the main stage, where the guy who was the host/MC for the day was calling for volunteers for the first trivia game of the day. GG for some reason thought I would want to participate? So the guy started interviewing us (and some other couples), asking what TLC shows we liked to watch. For some reason, besides the Duggars, I wasn’t even thinking of other shows beyond those that were represented at the event, so I was just like, “I don’t know, midgets?” Thinking back on it, I should have said My 600 Lb. Life, Sex Sent Me to the ER, I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant, My Strange Addiction, etc. Oh well. Anyway, I couldn’t get through an answer without saying “midget,” and I didn’t want to be on stage (and potentially on TV) anyway, so we passed on playing the game (with the married Roloff kids and their wives). Watching the game play later, I was glad not to be participating!

We didn’t really do a lot of the activities, but there was a lot going on. Kate Gosselin, Cara, and Mady from Kate Plus 8; Buddy from Cake Boss; Randy from Say Yes to the Dress; Monty and Lori from SYTTD Atlanta; Whitney from My Big Fat Fabulous Life; the Hamill family from Our Little Family; and the entire Roloff family from Little People Big World were on site. They all participated in games on stage, and were available for photos and autographs at various times. (It was probably actually a good thing the Duggars weren’t there – it was a hot day and there was a lot of “Nike” going on, plus if they’d done some game on stage they would be interacting with heathens and the host made jokes that would have gone over their heads.) There were also different games and activities (like face painting, balloon animals, or decorating cupcakes from the new Carlo’s Bakery that opened in Philly the same day). One neat thing they did was if you posted a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #TLCBlockParty, they would print it out and you could pick it up later.

After an hour or so, we were ready for lunch, but the food cart options were limited and expensive. So since we learned we could leave and come back, we walked a few blocks over to The Continental for brunch. Then we checked out Shane Confectionery, which we’d wanted to visit for a while, and got a frozen chocolate drink to go. We finished it as we walked back to the TLC event. It was a nice little break, and by the time we got back, the crowd had thinned significantly.

There was a tent up on a high terrace with a big “VIP” sign, and I just commented to GG that I wondered what VIP entailed, because it looked like just regular people up there. He went over and started chatting with the guy at the entrance, and next thing I knew, he was waving me over! Apparently, the tent was for the stars of the shows and the media (people from the local paper, etc.), but they actually had free reign to let anyone into the area, as long as they were cool about it! So GG and I got wristbands and went in! I got to see up-close the SYTTD Atlanta people, the Gosselins, and all the Roloffs! I didn’t talk to them to try to get pictures because I didn’t want to bother them in this area, but it was neat to see them all up close. (Kate Gosselin and Audrey Roloff are both gorgeous in person! So are Cara and Mady.) There was also a buffet of food, free drinks, and at one point they brought in some pastries from Carlo’s Bakery (we split one, they were amazing). And free t-shirts we picked up. Honestly, it was worth getting in just for the nice breeze we got up there!

The event went until 5PM, but we left just before the finale, a band coming on at 4. I think that was just long enough to be out in the heat and sun. It was a crazy experience!

Josh Duggar, You Messed Up

I guess I need to write about this, because for years, “Josh Duggar sex offender” has been one of the top search results for my blog, due to a comment someone left here in 2008. (And wow, is this site blowing up today!) As an avid and somewhat vocal Duggar watcher, I’ve been inundated for the last couple days with people sending me the articles about Josh’s alleged molestation charges, which have come back up in the news for some reason. But I really wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt because a) the story originated years ago from some very dubious sources and couldn’t really cite any hard facts or details, and b) in the Duggars’ world, “inappropriate touching” could be as innocent as holding hands before you’re engaged!

But now that Josh has come out and admitted it, I guess it’s true! (The one good thing to come from this may be that he’s resigned from his job with that hate group!)

Everything in the police report lines up with the rumors we’ve been hearing for years: Josh touching girls while they slept; the timing of the whole thing related to Jim Holt’s campaigns (“sin in the camp”); being sent away to ALERT (a “Christian program” that “consisted of hard physical work and counseling”); the part about how they were supposed to go on Oprah in 2006 but then didn’t. [Edit: 5/22] If you don’t have time to read all 33 pages of the police report, here’s a short summary and timeline. Here’s an even more detailed article that puts the events into a timeline with the Duggars’ TV shows, and asks the question we’re probably all wondering: how did Oprah, the police, the internet, and others know about these accusations, yet TLC didn’t seem to find out until this week? [/Edit]

I have been saying for years that I didn’t understand how other celebrities could say or do one wrong thing (e.g. Paula Deen’s racist remarks, Mama June’s pedophile boyfriend) and lose their shows, endorsements, etc., yet the Duggars went on and on despite all the controversial stuff they were mixed up in (politics, ATI, blanket training, etc.). Well, now here is a real scandal that really affects them (not tangentially, like the allegations against Bill Gothard). I’m very curious to see what this means for the rest of the family and the 19 Kids and Counting show. Will the Josh and Anna family just not be featured anymore? Or will the whole thing go off the air? As of the season finale two days ago, they were planning for and showing clips of what would be coming up in the “next season.” (Good thing Derick Dillard has his day job to fall back on; Ben and Jessa Seewald are kind of screwed, though!)

Also, I will note the ironic fact that the Duggars have been campaigning against measures that would support LGBT people, saying they are pedophiles and predators, and yet here their own kid is a predator…

Side note: I bet that within their own Christian circles, this not only doesn’t disgrace Josh, but in fact makes him look better. The way Josh, Anna, and his parents described it, it sounds like this great trial that he’s gone through and been strengthened by.

[Edit: 6/3] I wanted to document this – check out the hits to this blog since the story broke! [/Edit]

Nailipop Review

If you know me either online or in real life, you probably have noticed that I do a lot of fancy nail art, usually thanks to my collection of stamping plates. I’ve never had much luck with Jamberry wraps, and I’ve successfully used Sally Hansen’s nail polish strips, but once you open the package, all the strips start to harden, so it seems kind of wasteful.

Iris has been talking about Nailipop for a little while, and encouraged me to give them a try. The web site does not have a ton of info, just a single set of photos showing how to apply the strips, and a note that they are based in California. I decided to go ahead and order a couple designs – I chose multi-colored patterns that I would not easily be able to achieve myself with stamps or dotting tools.

I didn’t get any shipping notification or anything, they just magically appeared in a regular, hand-addressed envelope four days after I placed my order, which was pretty good for CA to PA. I was a little disappointed to see that the nail stickers come in generic packaging, complete with broken English instructions on the back. In fact, Nailipop even replied to a photo I posted on Instagram, saying “we know, we got these nail wraps from different countries and we have no control over what’s on the package.”

Application was pretty easy. There are only seven different sizes of stickers, which on one hand I like, because having a billion different Jamberry ones is kind of overwhelming, but on the other hand, my nails are apparently a different size and shape than they’re supposed to be, because most of them didn’t fit me quite right. I did the best I could, but the overall look is kind of janky… (And I refuse to get out little scissors and trim things like this, because isn’t the point that it’s supposed to be quick and easy?) Also, you trim off the excess by running a vertical nail file along the edge, and no matter how well I tried to pull the sticker over the tip, they all came out looking torn and pre-chipped along the tip.

Day 1: I applied the stickers on a Sunday afternoon. If these were Jamberry wraps, they would be coming off right away due to the edges overlapping my skin, and the lumpiness at the tips from trying to pull and stretch as I applied them was annoying. Immediately after applying, I washed and chopped a bunch of vegetables, did laundry, and did some other cleaning, and they held on just fine.

Day 2: Based on past experiences with Jamberry, I was worried about those loose edges when I washed my hair, but there was no problem – the stickers never harden, they remain soft and flexible, so nothing got caught in my hair. The removal method is to soak your fingers in hot water, and I did notice after getting out of the shower that one of the edges was peeling up (which was reassuring, because I always get nervous about how well things will come off). I just pressed it back on. While at work, some of those edges started flaking off a couple of nails.

Day 3: Most of the loose edges around my cuticles have now kind of worn themselves off. However, the tips of a couple nails are also wearing pretty badly. I fear they may not be long for this world :o( One other thing I’ve noticed is that the finish feels kind of tacky on a couple nails. Painting a clear top coat over the stickers is an optional step that I didn’t take this time, but perhaps that would help with the wearing and give them a smoother finish.

I ended up removing them tonight, because by the end of the day, the tips were starting to chip and look bad. I probably could have gotten another day out of them, but I would have needed to repaint my nails after, and I’m not going to have time tomorrow, so I did it tonight. Removal was a breeze! I soaked my fingers in some hot water for just a minute, and then started peeling them off. For the most part, they all came right off in a single piece, and there’s no damage to my nails, which was my biggest concern. I’d use them again, just based on how well they stayed on yet how easy they were to remove.

The HapTEAest Place on Earth

There is a new loose leaf tea shop in town, and GG and I are huge fans! DAVIDsTEA is a Canada-based tea shop that sells loose teas, drinks, and paraphernalia like mugs and steepers and spoons. They also sell really cute gift sets and sampler packs, and have recently launched a line of tea-based skincare products (lotions and lip balms). We have been longtime customers of that other tea shop (GG even worked there for a week once!), and the vibe is just so much nicer here! Brighter and more colorful and generally more happy.

I also have to compliment the staff. Every time we’re in this store, it’s like a party, and we leave with huge smiles on our faces! They are super friendly, happy, knowledgeable, and helpful. You can tell they really love what they’re selling, and want to help you pick just the right thing.

On Friday, GG and I came by after dinner to get some tea drinks. The woman making them was positively giddy about my choice and kept saying how excited she was to make this drink – an iced latte made with Forever Nuts tea, which brewed up to be a really pretty pink color.

Their teas have really unique flavors/ingredients and cute names (there is one called Movie Night that includes popcorn!), and the other products are nicely designed. I’ve given a couple mugs as gifts, and this last time I picked up an iced tea pitcher, which I wanted to get anyway, plus it enrolled me in their Summer Steeper program for the next couple months (check it out – can be done online, too!). So expect lots more “selfteas” coming up :o)

PS: This post was totally unsponsored, I just really like this store!

April

  • GG got some bad news at the end of March and April started a new and hopefully ultimately positive and exciting chapter of our lives/year.
  • We did Easter Brunch with my family at our current favorite local brunch spot (those Eggs Benedict, mmm!), followed by Easter Dinner with GG’s family, which, like most holidays, was a lot of food for one day!
  • Celebrated National Cheese Fondue Day at The Melting Pot; I signed up for their “fondue club” or whatever, and learned of a special member deal they were doing. I do love me some cheese…
  • Spent a very hipster night out in Philly to celebrate GG’s friend’s birthday – we went to Barcade, Johnny Brenda’s, and Frankford Hall. Because it was the first gorgeous weekend day of the year, these places were all packed. If nothing else, Frankford Hall totally sold me on building my own fire pit at home ASAP.
  • GG took his annual plane trip to visit friends out of state, and I stayed home and enjoyed having the place to myself for a week ;o)
  • We saw TMBG in Philly!! I know, the last time we saw them at the TLA we decided we were too old (or their new child fans were too inconsiderate and unaware), but we decided to give it another try. We actually had a decent time. It was “An Evening With TMBG,” so there was no opening act, just two long TMBG sets. They played a lot of their new Dial-A-Song tunes, but it turns out that “Glean” is a great album, and they meshed well with their other classic songs. Stage banter was fabulous – I was so glad there were no sock puppets! But I loved the phone calls from Mama and Papa TMBG (including callbacks to earlier jokes, like a warehouse full of all the rats’ asses they don’t give about flash photography). We met up with a guy GG knows while we were waiting in line, so we had someone else to chat with. There were a few annoying kids (like, teenagers, and actual kids who were there with their parents even though this was explicitly not a kids’ show), but all-in-all, it was a good night. This was my 13th TMBG show!
  • Went to a breast cancer fundraiser/fashion show with my breast cancer survivor friend J :o) It was a really nice venue, nice set-up and decor, little bar when you came in, the fashion show was fun, good raffle prizes, etc. but, we were told there would be brunch. They finally served everyone a small wedge of quiche and a handful of lettuce leaves, and… that was it. They collected our plates and there was nothing more. Everyone at our table was like, “Was that it?” (They did eventually release us for cookies and coffee/tea :o/)
  • I read Growing Up Duggar and tweeted my thoughts as I went through it. If you are a fan (or anti-fan) of the Duggars and don’t follow me on Twitter, you’re really missing out. I have a bunch of followers who basically like me just for my Tuesday night live commentary of the show.

Beauty Reviews

A few things I’ve been using recently…

Jamberry_IndulgenceJamberry Indulgence Hand Care Set: If you read my nail blog, then you know that for all the funky manicures I do, I just cannot get Jamberry wraps to stay on my fingers. I don’t have the patience to wear the same design for two weeks, anyway! So I’ve given up on the wraps, but a number of my friends are selling Jamberry now and I want to support them, so I’m trying their hand and nail care products. This is a nice kit, with four different components:

  • You start by washing your hands with the biotin-enriched Cleanse soap. It has a nice scent, but it’s a teeny bottle. Also, it’s apparently a “bonus” item with this kit, so don’t expect to have it always.
  • Next comes my favorite part, the Buff exfoliating sugar scrub. A note on the web site told me that due to the cold temperatures during shipping, the coconut oil in it may solidify, and it can be revived by running under warm water. What they don’t say is that it requires a long soak in very hot water to be able to dispense it from the tube, and it will re-solidify every time. So now using this stuff requires some planning, as I need to get it to a point where I can get it out of the tube. That said, this is the best product in the box. If they tinker with the formula, so it doesn’t turn into a solid chunk every time, I would buy this by itself for sure. Probably the best hand scrub I’ve ever used.
  • The Nourish hand cream is used next, and meh – it’s a nice smelling lotion. I have other hand lotions I like. It’s fine, but nothing to write home about. Not greasy, which is a plus.
  • Finally, you apply the Quench cuticle cream. This stuff is great, and I’ve used it on its own without going through the rest of the routine. It helps to warm it up a little, too (you can just hold it in a pocket while you’re getting ready), but it goes on nicely and really hydrates your dry spots. Definitely the runner-up product in this set.

So would I buy the whole set again? Probably not. If Buff and maybe Quench were available separately, I would probably purchase them. I’d definitely get Buff if it were reformulated so it didn’t harden in the tube, or maybe if it were packaged in a jar so you could dig out a scoop and warm it up in your hands.

ColourPop Super Shock Shadows and Pigments: I tried these based on the review of another blogger I follow, before I realized that they’d been popping up everywhere a few months earlier. I am totally hooked! They’re amazing. I am mostly sticking to the more neutral colors (Girl Crush is amazing, as are the other browns and grays I’ve tried), but I have a couple of the more colorful, sparkly ones (Rex is a gorgeous blue, and Lace is a beautiful, rich purple). The texture is fabulous, they last all day, and once you get the hang of applying with your finger, they’re easy to apply and blend. You can use a brush, too, though I would just use it to blend once it’s already on. I will say, the container is a little misleading – the actual pot of color fell out of one of mine, and it’s not even 1/4 the depth of the white container, so don’t be surprised when you reach the bottom. On the plus side, these are only supposed to last a year once opened, so I guess this will ensure that you keep them fresh.

ColourPop Lippie Stix and Pencils: I do not recommend these :o( The colors are great, and I’ve tried a few of them, but they are just a mess. I have Button (a nice nude), Lumiere (a neutral everyone raves about because it looks good on everybody, but somehow it really just ages my face), and Heart On (a gorgeous magenta that I continue to try to wear because I’m obsessed with it). They go on nicely and have a nice vanilla kind of scent. That’s where the positives end. They then smudge all over your face, slide off your lips, and look like a disaster. I have two of the matching pencils, thinking that would help keep the color in place, but I think they just make things worse. (Also, the pencils come in a plastic tube that you need to sharpen? They don’t just twist up…) My best tip is to apply a small amount in the center of your lip and then spread it with your finger.