Saturday, December 11, 2010

NYX - Champagne and Caviar

I've been wanting the Urban Decay Naked palette for a while, but it is so popular UD are having supply issues and it's very hard to find in stores. NYX do a palette called Champagne and Caviar that has similar colors. For $9.99 it seemed like a good deal.

The shadows are just lovely, nothing too daring but lots of very useful colors. I was a tad disappointed at the matte colors as they didn't seem quite as pigmented as the shimmers and satins and felt a little chalky. Not all of the shades are blow-you-away pigmented but you don't always want full on color, sometimes you just want blending colors and neutrals.

All of the shadows benefit from being applied on top of an eyeshadow primer, particularly the matte shadows - difinitely the pure black and white. The swatches to the left are on top of ELF mineral eye shadow primer. The swatches to the right are on bare skin.

Another noteworthy feature is that the mirror is the same size as the entire compact - no squinting in teeny mirrors here - BIG plus. The palette is compact but you get a decent amount of each shadow, 14g total.

I can't wait to create a look for you. I think these shadows will combine really well with the jumbo eye pencils as a base.

Friday, December 10, 2010

NYX Cosmetics - Jumbo eye pencils

Having heard and read (and seen on YouTube) all about NYX, I was eager to try them out. I'm not a fan of shopping online as you can't touch or swatch the products so when I found out that my local Ulta store ( stock NYX I was excited to go shopping. I started out with two (Milk and Cottage Cheese) so I could see if I liked the product.

Despite the names -I mean who wants to put cottage cheese on their eyes? eww - I just loved them. They are very creamy. They glide on smoothly and don't drag the delicate eye area at all.

Milk is a very opaque white and Cottage Cheese is a lovely iridescent white, perfect for highlighting the inner corner of the eye, giving that nice wide awake look.

Happy with the formula I went back for more... I bought Pure Gold, exactly what the name states; French Fries, a luscious bronze to use as a base for my favorite Urban Decay eyeshadow Smog; Black Bean, an intense black; and Rocky Mountain Green, a shade I don't really need but it was just so PRETTY!

I don't know how well the black will do as an eyeliner as it's very big and you might be able to see on the photo that it bleeds a little (click the photo to enlarge). I plan on mostly using them as a base for eye shadows, they make it last so much longer than normal primers and they boost the color really well. At around $4 a pop, they are a very affordable, versatile product that I use a lot and will definitely repurchase.

A little makeup review

So anyone that knows me, knows that I love makeup! Shallow as it may be, I just love all the amazing colors and the satisfaction of leaving something looking better than I found it. I'm not good at drawing or painting but makeup allows me to be a little creative without all of the raw talent!

Anyway, I was shopping at my local Ulta yesterday and realised that I keep going back to certain brands. I don't like to spend a lot of money on products so I try to search out the best value and the brands that offer a bang for my stay-at-home mom buck.

So in the next few days I'll be reviewing my top picks from specific brands that are very affordable. I hope you find it useful.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cheeky Beauty's amazing giveaway

My friend Stina has an amazing beauty blog. She frequently updates with helpful makeup, beauty and product reviews and includes lots of stunning photos (it helps that she's gorgeous!) Right now she is generously giving away some lovely products. Please check out her blog!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Awkward silences

You know when someone emails you and you forget to reply and the longer you leave it, the more awkward it is to send? You feel silly for not sending it, so you just don't send it at all and then in a few months you send a random email pretending that nothing happened and that you didn't go silent for a while? No? Well anyway.....

I bought a new purse on Sunday. It's very pretty. See?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

First day of school

Yes, yes, they're totally overdue - first day of school was a month ago. Sorry!

Max is now a first grader (actually he turned 7 today and I swear he seems taller overnight) and Lily is a brand new pre-K student! Max is so happy with his teacher, she has been teaching for 27 years and seems to have it all down. Homework is scheduled a month in advance and perfect peace reigns in her classroom - HOORAY for Mrs. Tyson!

Lily has a friend (Lucille) who rides with us to and from school every day. They are not in the same class but are happy to be at the same school nonetheless. Unfortunately Max's school doesn't have a pre-K program but the two schools are less than 2 miles apart. A typical Lily-ism "Mommy, I thought you said I would go to school to learn. Mostly we just play and eat." I pity her poor Kindergarten teacher if she doesn't learn fast enough.......

She doesn't look too thrilled in this photo but it's her "posing-hurry-up-and-take-the-photo-smile"


But she really was happy, I promise:

Back in the groove!

There has been a LOT going on since I last posted. The trip to DC took a lot out of all of us, especially considering that we got home late Sunday night, had open house at both of the kids' schools on Monday morning and then had first day of school on Tuesday! I'll be posting the first day photos - albeit very VERY late - later on tonight.

Now that we're into a good routine and the children have recovered from the inevitable germs they brought home from the first few weeks of school, business should be resuming shortly :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

DC trip - day 1

After a long, long drive (split into two parts) we were very happy to arrive safely in the country's capital. We spent the first few days at the Hilton Alexandria. On our first morning we decided to have a little adventure and take the metro into the city. We'd read that the metro is very clean and safe and the children have never taken the subway before. They LOVED it. We took it all they way to the mall - destination: the Smithsonian museums. We had initially planned to visit two that day but it was hot hot hot, the hottest day of the year so far.

We arrived at the Museum of Natural History to a packed house. It seemed like there were boy scouts everywhere! The children loved seeing all of the stuffed animals, the massive dinosaurs and the Hope diamond, the highlight definitely being the dinosaurs.

We were advised by a friendly lady that the best (and much much cheaper) place to eat was at the Old Post Office with its clock tower on Pennsylvania Avenue. So down the street we trudged only to run into a huge parade. It was the 100th anniversary of boy scouts - which explains why we saw them everywhere, over 10,000 of them! The old post office was such a beautiful building and a good place to get lunch and cool off.

After walking back to the mall (which is actually not a mall for my European readers), it was so very hot and we were all exhausted, so we decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel to swim. After working up an appetite, we ate dinner at the Bombay Curry Company. Totally delicious and well worth a visit for great, authentic Indian food.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Washington DC

We've been in DC now for a few days - we've been having a blast. I can't wait to post lots of photos, watch this space!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hotter than ever

Since the last post it's just gotten hotter. And hotter. Todays heat index was 118F GASP!!!! How on earth do you deal with that? I just can't imagine a world where poeple can walk and talk and work in that kind of heat. But somehow they do. I don't. I dream of cooler climates. With oceans and breezes. I miss the ocean. A lot.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Forgive me, it's hot

It is HOT in Georgia right now. It has been over 100F for several days now. There was a heat index of 115F today. It's like a furnace. And joy of joys, our air conditioning unit has chosen this time to die - the thermostat in my hallway has hit 90F. So please forgive me, I don't have the energy to type, upload photos, cook, play, craft or do anything that involves movement.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My nemesis - baking

It's sort of a standing joke in our house. I am a good cook, but give me a recipe that involves flour and baking powder and it always ends up with me in a destroyed kitchen and usually ends up with tears and take out.

My sister is a fantastic baker. She is patient and she measures things - apparently very handy skills to have if you want to make dessert. I am a bit-of-this-dash-of-that cook and I usually make at least 5 or 6 substitutions in a recipe. My very first attempt at baking a cake was a brick. (Horst, wherever you are, sorry for that stomach ache I gave you because you were too polite to spit it out. True story).

Anyway, we buy fresh, organic produce from our local CSA - Community Supported Agriculture - and this week we bought a case of fresh picked Georgia peaches. There are only so many peaches you can eat before the fruit flies decide to move in and they need to be used up PRONTO. So I decide that I need to make a peach cobbler. We are not dessert people, we very rarely eat it but Tim does like a peach cobbler.

Any recipe that starts with "4lbs of peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced" is deceptive. Horribly deceptive. It took me the better part of two hours to peel the slippery things despite blanching and shocking them. I should have given up at that point but the dry ingredients had already been mixed and the butter softening. Another note to self - don't soften the butter when you are making a crumble topping. It makes it sticky. As in it sticks to your fingers. A lot.

So now my kitchen is a mess, dinner hasn't been made, I have eaten gobs of buttery dough off my fingers that I'm pretty sure aren't in my calorie allowance for the day and I haven't got time to go for my evening jog. All I want to do is sit down and have an ice cold beer. And perhaps shed a little tear or two all over my chinese take out food.

Edit: it looks edible and it got a thumbs up from Tim. And the chinese food and beer was great!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Exhausted but happy!

Is there any better feeling than spending a day in the sunshine and playing hard, only to come home and feel down-to-the-bone tiredness and a big smile on your face?

Today Max had a half day of school (tomorrow is his very last day of Kindergarten) and then we put our swimsuits on and headed out to a friends' house for a end of school party! We splashed around, threw water balloons, ate pizza, cake and ice cream. We jumped on trampolines and danced silly dances. After all the fun, excitement and sugar we came home and crashed. I bet we will all sleep well tonight.

Tomorrow we're going to give the teachers some well-deserved presents. This year Max's teacher has worked very hard to bring him out of his shell. She could tell right away that Max doesn't like loud noises, being put on the spot and that he needs encouragement more than criticism and adapted to his needs. Now he's a confident little boy who loves to read and who has even taken books to school to read to his whole class. Thank you Mrs. Benson, you rock!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Crafty Kick

I have a frustrated creative person trapped inside my body and lately, she has been wanting to come out! I saw some cute little 4 inch tall coke glasses a few weeks ago and bought them on a whim. I remembered that I had some candle making things left over from a previous project (tea cup candles) and combined with some of the kids' leftover crayons, this is what I came up with

A little coke/rootbeer float vanilla scented candle. I made another batch this week that turned out a little better but of course I forgot to take photos before I gave them away.

I always wanted to learn how to crochet too, but with Mum living so far away I turned to YouTube! I found some free patterns online and then just watch instructional videos on how to do each stitch. Last year I made a few scarves and a very misshapen hat for my poor sister (sorry Nik!) and kind of got put off. But with baby showers looming I tried again and found a great pattern that comes together really quickly - using two strands at once, making a nice quilt-like blanket. Here's one that I just finished for a friend's baby shower this weekend

The finished blanket is about 3x3 ft. It's the first time I've made a flower too! My friend isn't sure if she's having a boy or a girl so the flower is just pinned on for now - just in case. Another blanket is in the works and this time I'd like to do a scalloped edge on the hat too. Any crocheting experts - please leave your top tips and links to beginner patterns below!!

11 years ago

11 years ago today, I was standing in a beautiful garden, with the sun on my face, birds singing and my heart was filled with joy.

We looked so young!

It's been a beautiful, fun and satisfying 11 years and I am happier than ever. Thank you my love.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

This week in short

Tim went on a business trip to a convention in Vegas. Usually when he goes away for a few days I like to do some extra fun things with the kids to make up for Daddy being away. My plans got slowed down for a few days by some bad chinese food but on Thursday after picking up Max from school I was feeling better. We decided to go straight from school, get some good Mexican food and go to the movie theater - on a school night! Some things are just better when they're on a whim. We watched How to Train Your Dragon in 3D. Simply put it was awesome! A really great movie, not too scary for little ones, they just loved it.

Yesterday Daddy came home, loaded with free swag from the convention. Boy was he missed! Now we are all back under one roof and all is right with the world again.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

When it's raining outside..

.. and the children are really bored - what do you do? If you've been watching YouTube makeup videos, you break out the makeup of course! I had been watching a video by the brilliant Sam of Pixiwoo do a futuristic look using stickers and eyeshadows. I tried it out on my hand and sure enough, the kids thought it was great and wanted it done on their faces too. They were very happy with the results and I think on the next rainy day we might try it again and create some all-over looks.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Family time!

Our week off was such a relaxing time. My in-laws live in California so it isn't very often that we all get to spend time together. We spent most of the week at my sister-in-law's home, the house where she and Tim grew up. His uncles and aunts live close by and the children had a great time visiting everyone, fishing at the pond, feeding the animals and just exploring.

Max impressed us all with his patience when he went fishing at the pond, standing very still and being quiet. He kept casting his line over and over again without getting frustrated. It paid off when he caught a bass!

Lily adores chickens (as you probably know from previous posts!) and hunting for their eggs. She laughed out loud every time we walked down the driveway and all the chickens would run along side us. Yesterday she and Tim went to the hardware store and saw some baby chicks - she couldn't stop talking about them. We can't wait to have chickens of our own some time in the future. Here she is with her haul.

She was so proud of the "jumbo egg." The next morning when she insisted on making scrambled eggs for everyone she cracked the jumbo egg and found that it was a double yolker! Thanks for breakfast sweetheart.

Noah's Ark

Two weeks ago Max had his spring break. Tim also took the week off so that we could all enjoy it together. His parents were also visiting and we had so much fun just playing in the gorgeous sunshine we've been having.

We went to Noah's Ark, a fantastic animal rehabilitation center. My favorite animals were the giant tortoises and the enormous buffalo, Max liked the monkies and Lily was rather taken with the peacocks that wandered around. I was hoping to find a peacock feather but we hadn't realised it was good Friday and the park was packed.

They have a lion, a tiger and a bear that have all been raised from cubs at the rescue center. They all live in the same enclosure and share a house. Unfortunately it was a very hot day and the clever animals decided to either stay inside or take shelter from the sun under the house. I can't say I blame them! Still, the bear was quite funny, lying splayed out on the porch, turning around to try and catch a breeze.

It really is a wonderful place to visit. It's so nice to see all the animals together in one place, with plenty of room to roam around. It gives us a wonderful glimpse of what the future will be like. Isaiah 11:6-9.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

When brilliant parenting ideas don't work...

When you have picky eaters you try all kinds of sneaky things to make them try new food. When I say picky, we are fortunate enough to have two children who love raw fruits and vegetables - so it could be worse - but they are not too keen on trying new things or anything cooked for that matter. My mom bought us a kids' cook book, full of fun ideas and appealing photos. I let the children choose a recipe and they were very excited about cooking their own supper.

They chose a recipe for fish/mashed potato croquettes. They cooked and flaked the fish, made the mash, formed the patties into fun shapes (dinosaur, heart, fish and a cake to be exact). I breaded and fried them and well, that was as fun as it got. After swearing up and down that they would eat every last bite, they barely nibbled the crispy edge and declared that altough it was nice they really didn't want to eat it. In other words, we think it's gross but we enjoyed cooking.

So reverse psychology doesn't always work out but at least we had a blast in the kitchen and hopefully the love of cooking will stick.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Max's school project

Last week Max turned in his 9 week project. The theme was American Symbols. Short of baking an apple pie, what is more American than the Golden Gate Bridge? Tim found some online kits - you just punch out the perforated parts, score and fold. Max did all the punching, glueing and he decorated the whole board with paint, glue and sand. He learned 6 facts about the bridge and was incredibly proud (and rightly so!) of the final product.

His teacher was so pleased with his project that it is now on display in the school library. Way to go Max! We love you buddy.

Cherry Blossoms!

The Cherry Blossom festival is here! and the trees are cooperating beautifully, they are peaking just in time for the final weekend of the festival. I don't know if it's because of the long, cold winter we've had but I can't remember the trees ever blooming so profusely. They are simply stunning. Here are a few photos I took this week. My favorite is the tree that has all three shades on the same tree, white, pink and fuchsia. (Barbara, I know you missed them so these are for you, hope you're settling into your beautiful new house).

Friday, March 12, 2010

I'm here, I promise!

Lily has been sick for a week and half. It makes my heart bleed when she's so ill and yet manages to be the sweetest girl on the face of the earth. She really is my sunshine.

Still, it has thrown a wrench in the works of what was supposed to be a fantastic and fun week. Hopefully we'll both be able to enjoy the weekend and get some photos of all the gorgeousness that is happening with all the (torrential!) rain we've had this week, the trees are going nuts!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spring IS here

Despite a few false starts (including sleet and snow on Tuesday), it looks like Spring really is here after all! We've got some daffodils in the garden and all the Japanese tulips have big buds on them. Tim says he's seen some cherry trees in bloom too! Here's a little photo I snapped with my phone on the way out the door this morning - it made me smile.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Read me, you will

Lily is a comedian. Of the very funny, 4 year old variety.

Today she held up a piece of candy shaped like Yoda and announced "Make your teeth rot it will. Hmmm"

Just one of the 1,000,000 reasons that I love her.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My new friend

(On a side note about my last post..... Spring is most definitely NOT here! We had sleet yesterday and right now we are FREEZING. Hurrumph)

I mentioned before that a new friend was blogging with me. My lovely husband surprised me with a present at the end of last year. Here is my baby:

And because he knows I love all things pink and girly he also bought a vinyl decal to cover up the blue :)

It was getting to be a bit of a struggle to fight for computer time between himself doing work and the children playing games. And isn't it funny how the best wireless connection in the house seems to be in my bed where it's warm and cosy?! I love my netbook and couldn't do without it now. Hooray for just-because surprise presents and lovely, thoughtful husbands!