Round-Up: March 2017

round-up: march 2017

“March shakes her icicled head / exhales Winter’s last gasp / chills clouded moisture / sheds her stinging tears.”  – John G. Lawless

March 2017 didn’t exactly fly by, but I was still sad to see it go!  It was a great month, because it was our first full-month of 2017 that we got to spend together as a family (due to Army training, etc).  It was also our last full-month in our apartment.  Our very first home. <3  But this month we got the notice that it’s time to move and so the adventure has already begun!  It might not come as a shock, but I didn’t exactly complete my monthly to-do list.  I had been doing good at the beginning of the year, but this move has thrown everything off it’s course.  I don’t mind that much.  Onto the list:

  1. Organize my makeup and lotion collection. I have purged a teeny bit, but I wouldn’t say I organized it!
  2. Stop wasting time on IG/random google searches.  My progress fluctuated.
  3. Make it to chapter 5 in my novel.  Was too busy to even open it.  Very sad about that!
  4. Write a guest post on a military wife blog.  I still plan to!
  5. Make macaroons.  We decide they were too invoveled/we were lacking in proper equipment.
  6. Enjoy a week of sister-vacay.  Sisters Fun Week was way too much fun!!!
  7. Find a new piano book to play through.  An old favorite “Music by the Masters” was my springtime jam.
  8. Get a little more done with my Google Analytics account.  Not this time!
  9. Spend one week doing something “in French” every day.  Ugh, too busy.
  10. Finish season 4 of Secret Life of the American Teenager.  But wait, managed to do this one. 🙂

This wasn’t my most productive month, if I’m looking at it strictly on the basis of how much of my to-do list was accomplished.  But as a month itself, and especially a month in 2017, it was busy and full of accomplishments.  Since it was our first time in a while that we had uninterrupted family time, my husband and I enjoyed lots of catching up with our baby.  Getting professional family (and military couple) photos taken was definitely a highlight.  So was crossing off our bucklet-list of things to do before we move.  Making plans for our future home has also been exciting, and simple days at home mean so much after so many months of training and separation.  If I’m being completely honest, March has always been one of my least-favorite months.  But this year, March was possibly the best!

I’m anticipating an equally (if not more) busy month ahead in April.  I hope you’ll stop by to read my overambitious to-do list for next month!  Since my list for March 2017 didn’t really happen, some of those to-do’s may get carried over.  It should be a great month.  Thanks for stopping by!

 

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Glam Bag Unboxing: March 2017

March 2017 glam bag

For a long time, my very first ipsy glam bag was my “most highly anticipated.”  Not because I didn’t get excited for the ones that followed, but because it’s just so thrilling to await your first taste of a subscription deal.  The March 2017 glam bag, however, broke that most-highly-anticipated-record.  Breaking that record is saying a lot, since the mermaid theme of the August 2016 glam bag was legitimately exciting too.  But when I found out the March 2017 glam bag was “French” theme, the competition was over.  French.  I was just dying to get it.  The bag reminds me of a ballet satchel-and the faux netting and suede back are just too chic.  The theme promised contents to be soft, feminine, and indulgent.  I am so pleased it finally came…and that it lived up to its high expectations!

The contents:

 

Dirty Little Secret Cosmetics blush – Kitty Pink

I was first introduced to this brand in my June 2016 ipsy glam bag–it was a baked highlighter in Bellissima that I loved using as a blush.  It was my go-to blush for a long time, and remains a summer favorite.  Anyway, I was really excited to receive an “actual” blush from this brand.  The color is a soft pink on the skin, with nice consistency and pigmentation.  I felt like blush was the perfect beginning to a French-themed bag, and so this product made me happy.  And the packaging was that adorable polka-dot print, just like last time!

ModelCo Eye Define Retractable Crayon LinerBlack

This brand was also introduced to me by ipsy, back in the November 2016 glam bag.  I received their Instant Brow Pen in medium/dark, and it was my first real brow product ever (if you can even believe that!).  I had quite an aversion to brow products before, but this one convinced me that there are some tasteful ones out there, and even ones that are user-friendly.  I’m really excited to try this liner because 1) I like the brand 2) I love eyeliner 3) I love CRAYON eyeliner 4) I love retractable crayon liner more than any other kind of liner (except of course my go-to liquid).  And of course any French bag would include eyeliner…of course.

tarte cosmetics tartest quick dry matte lip paint rose

Lip paints and really most lip pigments also fall into my category of aversion-products.  I really love lip treatments, balms, moisturizers, masks, etc.  But I’m just not a fan of lipstick and colored lip gloss.  However, I tried my first tarte cosmetics product in the ipsy December 2016 glam bag (another thing that’s hard to believe, I know) and my first impression of tarte cosmetics products is highly favorable!  Not surprising!  The deluxe maracuja oil that ipsy sent me is an amazing, silky, luxury product that I still love having in my facial spa arsenal.  (Odd terminology much?)  So, with that being said, I am setting aside my anti-lipstick bias and am looking forward to trying this product.  Plus, it’s the most classic nude and beautifully conservative color that I’ve ever held in my hands.  Again, it completely pleased in the “French” department.

 First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer

I love moisturizer.  It is one of my most favorite products in the world of beauty.  While my favorite skincare line is clinique (you can read about my obsession here) , I am always game to try a new line.  It’s a rare thing for me to encounter a moisturizer that I don’t like.  This particular moisturizer is meant for sensitive skin (yay!) and  specializes in combatting itchiness, “saving” skin, and hydrating with natural oils.  This product may not be as exciting as the others, but it’s definitely a welcome addition to my skincare family.  (Better terminology)

Beau Gachis Tapered Blending Brush

I always save the brushes for last, but this one is especially icing on the French-theme cake because it is a real-deal French blending brush.  I received the Concealer brush by Beau Gachis in my December 2016 glam bag as well, and really like it.  If these brushes weren’t labeled with the same name, I wouldn’t know they were from the same company.  The looks and feel are so vastly different–but I suppose that’s what makeup brushes are supposed to be like.  This blending brush claims to be versatile enough to handle powder as well as cream formulas, and can be used for anything from dusting to contouring.  Upon first look, I’m not sure it can handle cream formulas or contouring, but I am definitely willing to give it a try.  It is fabulous with powder products!

Bonus Item:

Hydrating Derma-E Cream

This is a product I “earned” through the ipsy rewards point system.  I review my products for rewards points on their website every month.  After a few months, I cash them in for a product.  This month, I chose a moisturizer, because I love them (see above).  This one is particularly interesting because it is intended for neck and facial use.  I had been hoping to secure a good neck cream, so I am very eager to try this out.  The consistency is fairly thick for a moisturizer–definitely on the heavy-side of night creams.  But all that means is that a little will go a long way, and that’s okay with me!

Thanks so much for stopping by.  If you received the March 2017 glam bag, leave a comment below telling me what you got!  And if you aren’t a subscriber to the ipsy glam bags, but would like to, you can follow this link.  Using my link will not provide me with any monetary compensation, but will credit my account with some rewards points.  Come back soon!

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Army Basic Training: 5 (Emotional) Letter Writing Myths

Army Basic Training: 5 Emotional Letter Writing Myths

I wrote a post a few months back about 5 practical myths you’ll run into when sitting down to write a letter to your soldier in Basic Training.  Unfortunately, there are more myths than just those 5. I even wrote about those.  The truth is, many myths aren’t all as cut-and-dry as we would hope.  There are a lot of emotional myths (welcome to life in the Army) and I’m here today to bust those.

Maybe I’m the only one, but separation and lack of communication are usually a recipe for self-doubt and overthinking everything.  It’s easy to try to shoulder the “blame” because as Army wives, we are used to (or getting used to) stepping up to the plate.  It’s a nice quality, but it has to be tempered with reason.  If you haven’t been hearing from your soldier, or you have, but communications just feel “off,” it is likely you might start pointing fingers at yourself.  Your letters are NOT to blame.  Don’t submit to self-doubt, and definitely don’t begin to believe these common emotional lies:

1. My Letters are Getting Old

They aren’t.  I know I haven’t read any of yours, but I can tell you, they aren’t getting old.  Receiving a letter at Basic Training is like Christmas morning for the boys.  You might be that girl that sends a letter once every few weeks, and to your soldier, those are gold.  But if you are that girl who writes him every day (hi, everyone!) you might be wondering if you’re letters are getting old.  They aren’t.  In fact, there is an unspoken competition among the soldiers (generally) about who gets letters and how often.  Not only will you give your soldier a pick-me-up, but you’ll stroke his ego in front of the guys.  If you’re still in doubt, ask yourself this.  Have his letters or phone calls gotten old?  Are you sick of hearing from him?  No.  It works both ways.

2. My Letters are Too Long

Imagine being in a big hospital room with a bunch of other patients and their beds…the lights stay on and there is a continual chatter of noise.  You’ve been given an hour to chill but you have nothing to do.  You have no personal belongings to entertain yourself with–except a letter that just arrived.  The longer, the better.  This is how the soldiers (can) feel.  They aren’t in hospital beds, but they are in big shared spaces with “free time” and nothing to do.  Don’t shy away from writing long letters!  It’s perfectly fine if you’re not a wordy person, just write in the length of style you’re comfortable with.  But if you can write up several pages, go for it!  Don’t hold back just because you are assuming your lengthy letters are annoying.  They aren’t.

3.  My Letters Aren’t Positive Enough, or They are Too Positive

It’s a fine line.  You don’t want to gush about how great life is for you, because you know more than likely he isn’t having the time of his life.  But you don’t want to write drippy and depressing letters because you want to boost his morale, not bring him down.  It’s a personal preference thing, but I found that honesty is the very best course.  If I was feeling down, I wrote about it.  But I tried to balance it out with a positive story or occurrence from my day, to keep the letter from being a “downer.”  Basic Training was just too long of a time span for me to “bite-the-bullet” and just push through emotional conflict.  As newlyweds, I found it was vital to be 100% honest with my husband (and I still do!) because those first few months of marriage are a tender time to build communication skills.  You can’t let Basic Training get in your way.  Be honest and don’t overthink the positivity-level of your letters.

4. My Letters Just Depress Him

So, again, I haven’t read your letters.  But do you have concrete proof that your letters are depressing him, or are you just assuming that?  Try to remember that missing someone isn’t the same as never wanting to hear from them again.  If your soldier has specifically told you that getting letters from home makes him extra homesick, then try to work on your style a bit.  (see above)  If you’ve been sending tons of “downer” letters, try to dial it back.  Or if you’ve been sending extremely peppy letters about how amazing life is back on the ranch, maybe it’s making it harder for him to be away from all that.  Whatever you do, don’t assume your letters are depressing him, unless he specifically tells you so.

5.  My Letters Should Mirror His

Am I the only person who thinks this way?  Sometimes there can be a communications-pressure to try to “stick” to whatever your soldier is doing.  If he is opening up emotionally, you should swoop in with your own emotional update. If he seems down, your letters should be equally as “ho-hum” because you wouldn’t want him to feel like you guys are emotionally imbalanced.  But I’m going to appeal to sticking with the truth again.  Don’t feel bad if he is writing super detailed letters, or sleepy vague ones, or even self-examining monologues.  Unless you talk in person identically, there is no need to write identical letters.  It’s perfectly fine for him to be writing letters that dive heavily into what his daily training is like, while you stick to some fairly round-about updates on school and your job.  Overthinking or manipulating your letters into some kind of mirror effect will only stress you out and keep you from freely speaking the truth.

Hopefully, none of these emotional myths EVER crossed your mind.  Don’t let me put ideas in your head!  But in case you are human and some of these slipped into your mind during those long Basic Training nights of separation, don’t feel like you’re the only one.  Just know that there are hundreds of Army wives/fiancees/girlfriends going through all the same Basic Training nights with you.  And there are many resources you can turn to, either for support or fellowship with people who are or have been in your shoes.

Now go write your soldier a letter!

**Are you doing it right?  Read next: How to Address a Basic Training Letter**

 

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March 2017

march 2017

“Loveliest of trees, the cherry now / Is hung with bloom along the bough.” – A. E. Houseman

A new month and one that is already teeming with aspirations and plans!  I secretly like that.  Even though I’m definitely someone who enjoys quiet days and peaceful routines, I really welcome business and tend to do better when I’m multitasking.  Anyone else like that?  This post is my to-do list of hopes/dreams/expectations/self-challenges…etc for March 2017.  I do one of these every month, in case you are new here.  (Welcome!)  And so, here it goes:

  1. Organize my makeup and lotion collection.  I have SO much that needs to go.
  2. Stop wasting time on IG/random google searches.  “I keep up with the K’s,” but need more writing time.
  3. Make it to chapter 5 in my novel.  See above.  Last month’s challenge was a bit ambitious.
  4. Write a guest post on a military wife blog.  It’s time to get that done!
  5. Make macaroons.  I have wanted to do this forever.  Strawberry lemon?  Yum.
  6. Enjoy a week of sister-vacay.  I absolutely love spending vacation time with my sisters.
  7. Find a new piano book to play through.  I’m thinking romantic era, or classical.
  8. Get a little more done with my Google Analytics account.  Always struggling with this one!
  9. Spend one week doing something “in French” every day.  I’m planning the 3rd week of this month.
  10. Finish season 4 of Secret Life of the American Teenager.  It has to be done.

This entire month will fall during Lent (I’m Catholic) and so I am also planning to do a Lenten almsgiving activity. Since Lent is 40 days long, I want to donate 40 items, whether it be clothing, shoes, household, etc.  At the end of each week I will set aside 6 items, and then once I’ve collected all 40, I will donate them to our community charity center.  Not only am I hoping to help others with my donation, but I’m hoping to improve myself with this plan.  I tend to be super sentimental and am naturally a “saver” so this will be hard for me.  So I’m hoping this program will help me grow in that aspect!

Also, every month I have been trying to do a “focus” word of the month.  For this month, I want it to be honesty.  I think if I “honestly” assessed each time I get on the internet, I would spend less time scrolling and more time writing.  And if I honestly assess my time management, I will have more time for playing piano and baking…etc.  I think honesty is a great virtue and I hope it plats a big part in my March 2017!

What are your plans for the month?  Once again, thanks for stopping by.  I hope to see you next post, for another Army Basic Training letter-writing topic!

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