Gwen Stefani UD Blush Palette Review

When I get cash as a gift, I tend to hold onto it for a while while I deliberate on how to spend it. It took me about two months to spend my Christmas money from my mom. I thought of all the fun things I could get for myself, but nothing was quite exciting enough. I finally gave in and decided I wanted some makeup, not because I needed it, but because it would be fun!

I didn’t know what to choose, but started looking at blush. I don’t usually buy blush. I have an old color that’s very peachy, and a newer one that could work more as bronzer. I have some contour colors that aren’t very good, and make my face look dirty. This year, blush palettes are a new thing, and people are liking them because you can layer and blend different colors like you would eyeshadow.

Gwen Stefani recently collaborated with Urban Decay. Her eyeshadow palette isn’t as highly regarded as the blush palette. I listened to the very positive YouTube reviews, but was actually encouraged not to get it while at Ulta because of my olive skin tone, beacuse it may not show up. She was wrong. I’m glad I got it!

Every YouTube reviewer raved about the packaging. I always thought people were silly to focus so much on that, but packaging is an important marketing strategy. If something looks cool, you’ll be more likely to reach for it, use it up, and buy it again. When I opened it, I agreed! I immediately started thinking of how I could keep this after I use up the blush. I think it’d make a gorgeous necklace holder. It’s really that pretty.
 
I swatched at the store, and saw why some people were nervous. This is not your typical blush. Its way better. It is like a blush luminizer. Very sheer, very buildable color. Colors were still pigmented and shimmery, not sparkly. 

 

Here are the colors in the palette.  

 

I did my makeup the next day just normal, with foundation, and layered on OC and cherry, used angel as a highlight over the top of my cheekbones, and I used a little bit of lo-fi in contour areas. I have NEVER, ever, loved the look of my skin as much as I did that day. It was at least the best skin day in the last 10 years. It just seemed bright and fresh, natural, and it felt good! Bravo Gwen! Might be my favorite makeup ever! Thanks, Mom!

  
 

Battle of the (eyeshadow) Brands

Today I wanted to play with my eyeshadow collection as I am sick in bed. I decided to make it more productive by comparing the brands and sharing the info. I used to buy Cover Girl and Almay, but they would totally be nonexistent on my eyelids once lunchtime hit. When my 10 year high school reunion came up, I wanted to look fab. That was my first adventure into Sephora for some name brand eyeshadows. I lucked out and bought Stila, which amazed me with the color payoff and lasting quality. Unfortunately, they have changed their formula, and I don’t love the new shadows as much.

Keep in mind that I have dry, porous skin. This means that eyeshadows do not easily show up on my skin as other people’s skin. That’s why the store brands didn’t generally make me happy. (If you have more moisture in your skin naturally, you will have a different experience. I would venture to say that your experience will just be better than mine. The eyeshadows will be more intense with less use.)

And that is how I became an eyeshadow snob. I quickly noticed how the nice brands showed up and lasted so much longer. I’m going to compare the shadows in my collection to each other, and I’ll look at things like pigmentation, texture, blendability, staying power, and water power.

Know that I have a collection. I have accumulated this over the past 3-4 years. I for sure have too much eyeshadow, because I want to try every brand! If I had only run into a post like this, I may have been able to temper my purchases. Alas, this plethora of makeup lets me do others makeup and practice on them. Best thing ever!

  

First up?

URBAN DECAY

This is probably the number one selling brand in prestige makeup. It took me a couple of years to try it. When I asked others why they like it, they would just smile dreamily and say, “it’s the best. The colors are pigmented and they last.” People tend to like the naked 2 palette the best. I bought naked 3 and it ended up not complimenting my skin very well. The rose tones are better for darker skin or lighter eyes. These swatches are from my other two UD palettes, naked smoky and ammo – a limited edition palette from the last year or two. 

  

  

The texture for UD is smooth and powdery. They aren’t as creamy as some other brands. With shadow, you have to have a balance there for blendabity concerns. I prefer my eyeshadow to be creamier with the understanding that it’ll take more effort to blend. These are very pigmented. Their sparkly shades are more pigmented than their matte shades. I use more than one swipe of shadow when using their matte shades. You should take small amounts of it and blend a bit at a time so it looks more professional. They blend very well and easily. As for staying power, when I swipe the shadows with my hand, they spread like chalk. This is a function of their blendability. However, if I wipe my arm with a wet washcloth, they don’t just wipe away. You need pressure or some sort of solvent to clean it completely. Overall, I am underwhelmed by the whole brand, but I love some of the colors. Smog (a coppery brown) is gorgeous, sin is a great neutral, and I like a lot of the shimmery shades in their smoky palette. The matte colors are not my favorite. 

 

CLINIQUE

Honestly, I have these eyeshadows because I got them from bonus time. I like their skincare, and some of their lipsticks, but not the shadows. They are powdery, pretty sparkly, and just not very pigmented. They don’t show on my skin. I would put them closer to drugstore brands, and that might be all you need if your skin is less porous than mine!

 

blended

SEPHORA

Okay, this brand is the least expensive brand in the whole store. And I am excited about it. This is my first time trying their shadows. I bought their ombré obsession palette when it went on sale, and it still is. Get it! 

 The texture is creamy powder. It is not as pigmented as urban decay, but it builds beautifully. The matte colors are just as pigmented as the shimmery shades. I like the matte colors better than UD. Since they are more creamy, it takes more effort to blend. But since they are more creamy, they do not smudge as easily as UD. They also stay on. It took considerable effort to wash off with water. Though you get less initial pigmentation, and they take more effort to blend, I think they are superior to UD! At about half the price. 

initial application
  
blended
  
smudge test
 

TOO FACED

Oh. My. Goodness. Talk about gorgeous. I’ve had this palette for a couple years now and it is still spot on. I did add two stray colors from buxom and Mac to touch on first. 

I bought a Mac shade to try because I wanted a matte transition shade to go with naked smoky. The employee was super nice, the shadow isn’t. I waited too long to take it back. It’s a matte shade similar to UD in pigmentation on my skin. Basically, it doesn’t show up too well, but maybe that’s the point? I wouldn’t know why. The buxom was a free sample. It is a brand made by bare minerals. I would call it light, natural and pretty. A lot of people look for that in an eyeshadow. It would be a good everyday color, but it doesn’t make me go WOW like the other ones on my arm… 

  

I mean, holy crap. Texture of Too Faced is creamy but not overly. Pigmentation is INSANE. They blend great. They are a little sparkly, but the matte shades go on well, too. Unfortunately, this particular palette is not on sale anywhere, but the other Too faced eyeshadows are sure to be just as awesome. On the smudge test, they stayed put pretty well, and they really needed scrubbed off!

blended

MAKEUP FOREVER

I never had a desire to try this brand. Then, YouTube happened, a blogger did some swatches, and I was in love. This is a great, forgiving brand with every shade you could imagine. They have a creamy texture and every color you could imagine. They are expensive, so I would recommend a palette to get more bang for your buck. 

I think they blend beautifully. They are a great brand  for people who don’t know how to blend very well (I’m still there). Keep in mind that they are creamier, so use a flat brush to apply. Don’t over apply, and lightly blend. As for the smudge test, they wiped around a bit and washed off easier than too faced. However, I think it is a good balance because it makes them more blendable. A primer makes them perfect.

  
 

 
KAT VON D

I promise, this is the last of it. And the best. I had a grudge against her for a while, because I’m a Sandy Bullock fan to the end. But I’ve made peace with it, and I think Sandy is better off without Jesse James. Ick. If she needs a man, she’ll have her pick. Meanwhile, KVD puts her creativity into makeup, rather than put up with JJ and his crap. Yes, I’m crazy!. But the makeup – it’s amazing. I don’t care for neutrals, but then I read the reviews, and got it on a great deal. I now use this more than any palette I own. They are all matte shades, and they work SO WELL. 

First surprise? They are not overly creamy in texture. And they still spread on like butter. I honestly don’t know how you get that. But as a result, they blend incredibly easily, have almost nonexistent fallout, and look gorgeous. And they are Browns. With no sparkle. How can a flat brown eyeshadow be so gorgeous, and my favorite? I don’t know! She is some mystical wizard. With the smudge test, they did not really disappear, and they are still on my arm after scrubbing with water.  

   

  

 

Now for a conclusion? My favorite brand is Kat Von D. The only thing is, I wish she offered more colors, but I have plenty of other brands to use instead. Makeup Forever is second, followed by Too Faced. I think Sephora is a great prestige brand for the price. I do think that some of the shades might be a different texture, but overall, the brand is pretty consistent. 5th place? Urban decay! Now, I still think they are good eyeshadows, but for the hype, they don’t measure up. I know a big part of that is because of my skin type. Finally, Clinique gets last place on eyeshadows. They are too expensive for the payoff.

If you know me, now that you’ve seen my eyeshadow stash (embarrassing), you might feel more comfortable letting me do your makeup! I also want to try some less expensive brands to see how they test. The problem is, I cannot usually swatch them at a store. If you have any brands to recommend, let me know. I’ve heard Nyx is good, and maybe Revlon? 

Thanks for reading!

Worst date ever

What a fun blog topic. When I saw this, I knew which date to pick.  

But then I realized, there are just so, many.. Because I’m awkward.

  
I had a string of dates with guys I met online. Let’s just say that online dating in 2003-2004 was scary. I tried to do everything safely, but it’s simply a miracle I came out alive, and not missing. 

In those days, digital camera quality was low, so deciding how cute a guy was online was kind of a gamble. I recall sitting in my tiny apartment room, eyes squinted, tilting my head sideways and trying to morph any creepiness into adorableness. Because all I wanted was to be liked (and that is some dangerous thinking).

One of the first guys who took me out was very nice. When I saw him, however, I knew he was not my type. He took me to a nice Japanese restaurant called Windy’s in Ogden, Utah. We pretended to sit cross legged on the floor while our legs just dangled under the table in a sort of hole in the floor. The guy would not smile. He was so nervous, and I do remember seeing the red tinge to his face, and perspiration beads on his forehead. I felt bad for him. We barely conversed, and I truly tried. I accepted a second date because I hoped he was a comedian and he would relax so I could actually get to know him. But mostly because I felt bad for him.

So, he picked me up for the second date. He was dressed up very nice. He told me to dress warm. We drove to Salt Lake City in near silence. I tried to make conversation but, it was just so awkward since he didn’t respond to my conversation. And I didn’t know for sure if he was going to take me home alive. He took me to a really nice restaurant. It was so awkward, because he still wouldn’t talk.  The awkward tension was so thick I lost my appetite. He couldn’t even look at me. He then hailed a carriage ride. We rode in a truly romantic setting, and I had no idea who the heck he was. We had to share a blanket. I was starting to panic, because was he going to ask me to marry him? I finally decided that this guy wasn’t for me, and I felt terrible for letting him take me out. We rode in silence home, and I think he got the hint.

I still feel terrible.

But I don’t know if that’s the worst date. One time a really cute guy picked me up. He was so cute online, but in person he was 4 inches shorter than I. I felt like an Amazonian. If he sat down, I felt less huge, and so it was okay. So, I allowed him to kiss me. But then he kissed me a little more. I immediately started sobbing. I don’t know why. Probably because I had never kissed a guy on the first date, and my pure mind was convinced I was headed to impending doom. He didn’t stay much longer, because I couldn’t get myself together. I think he backed out of the apartment, and then ran to his car. Oh well. He was too short, anyway.

Or maybe it was the time that I took a boyfriend (yes, one I met online) to Idaho with me to be with my family. We ended up breaking up on the trip. I had to drive him home for 4 hours in stunned silence.

Things got better. I learned that 100% of the guys I met online were not who they seemed. I believe things have become better in recent years. Nowadays, it is pretty easy to “research” someone if you’re not sure. 

I met the hero of all my childhood dreams via a roommate. After dating a bunch of strangers, it was nice to feel like we had known each other already when we first met. 

Dating is hard. I truly don’t miss it. If you are in the dating scene right now, you’re awesome. Keep at it, and realize you will probably never be as awkward as me. As a parent told me, sometimes a bad date is worth the free meal. It’s worth a shot anyway. Just try to be sure before accepting the next date so you don’t waste a carriage ride on a perfectly innocent person. 

 

Toffee Mantras

I love making toffee at Christmastime. Start to finish of a pan of toffee takes about 25 minutes. The results can be generously divided between 5-6 families (causing 5 pounds of instant weight gain). My first Christmas as a wife brought me to the kitchen of my mother in law, Laura. She had given me a book for our wedding filled with her favorite recipes. Toffee was in there, and I had tasted this. It was incredible. I have had nothing like it. But it was candy making, and there was no way in heck I was going to attempt this by myself. At a girls activity growing up, a neighbor showed us how to make butter brickle or something. She was stressed, we were stressed. It scared the heck out of me.

Fast forward 8 years. I was nervous, but wanted to learn. Laura told me that this was a secret recipe given to her by a woman in her neighborhood, who had recently passed away. This woman was reluctant to give her the recipe, and I nodded solemnly that I wouldn’t share it online or anything.

Although I won’t be able to share this recipe online, I will give you some tips. I am sure you can apply them to most any toffee recipe. I love cooking tips. I don’t usually Netflix binge, but a show caught my attention that has yet to let go: The Great British Cooking Show. It is a visual delight, yet surprisingly foreign. It is full of tips. Tip isn’t the best word. It almost makes me back away. To me these are mantras, because I repeat them again and again, when I’m hovering over a pan of bubbling sugar. Laura did multiple pans with me, and when I make it in my own home, I still hear the words take me through the task.

Mantra 1: Plan on not getting it 100% right your first batch. Even after years of doing this, I still don’t get the first batch of the year perfect. It’s either too soft, or something else happens. Trust me, the first batch will still be wonderfully edible.

Mantra 2: Get a dang good pan. Laura gave this one to me. I don’t know what it’s called. It’s thick, heavy, and it’s my candy making pan. DI sometimes has them. A pasta making pan or a sauce pan will not do.
IMG_1865

Mantra 3:

Figure 8 stirring. Constantly. I cook my toffee on medium high. I pull up a chair and settle down for the stir. Make a figure 8 as you stir to help ensure even distribution of heat to all those sinful ingredients. The picture above shows the toffee mixture just starting to boil, and the picture below shows the mixture 5 minutes later. It doesn’t change for a while, but, it will.

IMG_1866

Mantra 4: Watch… but look away occasionally so you don’t get confused. It’s kind of like saying or writing a word over and over for a while. After a bit, you’re not even sure if that’s a real word. RO-AD. LIM-IT. Anyway, I have tried timing it, and once it’s boiling it might take me about 8 minutes to get to the right color. This is about 2 minutes later, nowhere near ready, but at the same time, it’s getting there. You will notice darker streaks that you’re stirring in. OH, I can almost smell it now.

IMG_1868

Mantra 4: If you take it out too soon, it will stick to everyone’s teeth! You don’t want that. A good color of toffee is a little lighter than gingerbread…Gingerbread that isn’t burnt. 🙂

Very suddenly, as with baking cookies or bread, this can go from underdone to a bit burnt within seconds. Keep stirring. Don’t take it out too soon for fear you are burning it! Watch, and stand up from your chair (if you’re “not a stander” like me).

don’t use a candy thermometer. It may have saved me a few messed up pans, but there is nothing quite as satisfying as hitting that sweet spot and knowing that is the perfect color. The thermometer would distract me.

I was terrified to photograph and stir this piping hot mixture, but I wanted you to see how it’s balling up a little, and getting more and more streaks. The picture isn’t showing the steam. The toffee will start to puff out steam, and that’s my favorite part! Those little holes are steam holes, and as you stir them, the color will deepen and darken.

YOU AREN’T DONE YET! But so close!

IMG_1870

Mantra 5: move quickly. Here’s the color of choice for me. Don’t stop stirring. Take a hot pad in one hand, and keep stirring as you move this to a cool burner. Stir in the nuts and keep going until incorporated. The toffee will immediately start to harden, so get it to a sheet pan, but do it safely. Also – NO KIDS IN THE KITCHEN DURING CANDY MAKING! Really. They could get severely burnt.

I use a metal spoon after shaking it around to spread it. The toffee will start to stick. I then get the chocolate on top, and let it melt a minute before spreading it with a different metal spoon.

Mantra 6: Lick the spoon after you spread… mandatory.

IMG_1874

After you sprinkle more nuts on the chocolate, the chocolate just has to set. Which can take a couple hours. So, if you’re in a rush you can put it in the garage or outside as long as it’s protected from cats or wild children.

I’ve never been aesthetically picky, I just get it on there and I do my best and then I’m like, “good enough!” and hoo boy. Once it’s hardened, I take a butter knife, break it up into pieces of varying sizes, and get it to those neighbors/coworkers/family members. It’s one of the few things I am proud to make.

IMG_1876

That was my first cooking post ever! Thanks for sharing your time with me. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

I don’t have a newborn, but I do have a story

“I can’t imagine going through what you are going through,” says many a friend. 

I don’t want you to feel my pain. But I think this will help people understand me. 

The rollercoaster of simply trying for a baby was rougher than I thought. It’s hope, hard work, expectation, and reality. Over, and over, until you get it right. Family members start teasing and encouraging you to reproduce…you would like to hurt but hug acquaintances who get pregnant easily, etc..

Anyway, after a year of that nonsense, we were blessed with a MIRACLE. We were about to start infertility testing. But then, with my hands trembling, I picked up the pregnancy test in October 2008, and jumped up and down. I was pregnant. The pregnancy went well, and she is here. 

I always wanted and hoped for a large family. Once our miracle was 10 months old, we started trying. The first year of trying for number 2 passed uneventfully, but we were distracted by buying a new home. Once we hit about 18 months of trying, I had a laparoscopic surgery, because that was the only way to see if I had endometriosis. The surgery was awful. They found and removed a tiny bit that should not interfere with conception. I lost half my hair after the surgery.

I was traumatized for a while. Mike did an analysis and everything was normal on his end. We did not do infertility appointments in 2012. We just tried because, according to doctors, we had no reason to not get pregnant naturally. 

Toward the end of 2012, we thought about adoption. We went to an initial consultation. We could never get an answer through prayer on whether it was the right time to adopt. When I was about to turn in the papers, our bishop told us about a group of anonymous donors who would fund an IVF cycle if we applied, met economic criterion, and were chosen. 

So, we started applying for that in February of 2013. The anonymous Angels gave us one cycle of IVF in December, but we were first required to do 3 cycles of IUIs along with many, many, tests, and a home study visit.

IUI means intrauterine insemination. They cost about $400-$600 per try. I was given oral pills, injections, or a combination of both to stimulate hyper ovulation. I was closely monitored, and was given a trigger shot of HCG to allow 1-2 eggs to be released at the optimal time. At the precise moment, we would go to the clinic. They collected a sample from the husband, cleaned it, and used a catheter to inject it into my uterus. The first month we did clomid pills, the second month I did pills plus injections, and the third month I did injections. 

IUIs are shown to increase your chances by 10%. We didn’t fall into that category. They didn’t work.

But then, we did IVF.

With IVF (in-vitro fertilization), the woman typically starts with birth control pills. Contradictory, huh? She then gets her period, and starts injections that will cause (hopefully) dozens of eggs to grow in her ovaries. Additional injections are administered to plump up the eggs and help them mature. This part is called stimulating, or “stimming.” After a couple of monitoring ultrasounds and blood draws, if your hormone levels are perfect, you get an HCG shot to give those eggs one last dose of growth! But your body doesn’t release them, THAT would be disastrous.

In IVF, you have surgery to pull out eggs. It’s called an egg retrieval. I had 20 eggs pulled out of me during a conscious sedation. I remember crying out for pain. After that, you rest for 3-5 days while those eggs get fertilized and are watched in the lab. Each day, the number of surviving fertilized eggs goes down. Only so many eggs are going to mature into embryos, which is why it usually takes women more than a month to get pregnant. The ideal time to put an embryo “back in”, which is called an embryo transfer, is 5 days after retrieval. We put two back, and froze the rest. I call it our Apollo 13 cycle… or, the successful failure. We got pregnant, but miscarried immediately, despite the supportive drugs to prevent it. I was assured that it wasn’t my body, but a genetic of the embryo that most likely caused the miscarriage. 

ONE IVF cycle can cost from $12,000-$30,000. If you are lucky enough to have frozen embryos, putting a frozen embryo or two “back home” (frozen embryo transfer) costs more like $4,000, but that price can vary. We couldn’t have done that initial IVF without the generous help of the anonymous Angels. We definitely had to pay money to get to that point… But I digress. We did a frozen cycle in June, 2014. Once again, I miscarried. It was really confusing, and awful.

We waited a whole year to try another frozen cycle. In the middle of it, I lost the friendship of two people who I had known as long as we had been married. It was, and still is painful. Ever since IVF, I have been unable to fall asleep well. It has affected and invaded my life. It defined me, despite my best efforts. I was petrified to try again. 

I got brave, and decided to switch clinics after my doctor moved. This frozen cycle took THREE tries to even take place. It got cancelled the day of transfer because there was fluid in my uterus. After going through another period, and a new (stronger) set of drugs, it got cancelled three days before because I ovulated despite being on high doses of estrogen to prevent that. 

So, then, I got put on Lupron. Lupron is scary. It turns off the ovaries and gives you hot flashes. It has other side effects, but my body finally listened and didn’t ovulate. My body responded perfectly. The people at the clinic surrounded us with love, prayers, good science, and hope.

It didn’t work. 

This is exhausting, huh? But that’s where we are. It can be depressing to look at. Things seem bleak, but they seemed bleak for Sam and Frodo. And honestly that’s a bad comparison because doesn’t Frodo… Never mind. 

Some people wonder why don’t we just adopt? First of all, there’s no such thing as just adopting. Also, the chances that we will get pregnant while adopting are not as high as society thinks. Nowadays, adoption is more expensive than IVF. We have a hard time making decisions that are so huge, so quickly. 

What can I say? We are alive! We have a daughter and that makes all the difference in our lives. The friendships I have made and deepened through our trial has been worth gold. This is the same with cherished family. I can’t express that adequately, but I can do another post on just those people.

I often look at mothers of many children with sympathy, not envy, because I get both sides of it. Motherhood is hard, but it is an innate desire of who I am. I truly love the blog post that points out that being single is infertility plus lonlieness. I feel like there is something epic about this journey, and I’m not going to give up. Like the getting out of survival mode post, I resonate with that song she sang while team building. 

“Cause I still got a lotta fight left in me.”

Let’s just makeup 

If you know me personally, I have had a rough few years. I am not a total pro at coping. I don’t exercise or clean more when I’m upset. Usually, I cuddle with my daughter and have a my little pony MAREathon, take a healthy spoonful of Nutella, or, shop. Simple as that. There’s only so much venting about the same trial you can do before turning into a ball of bitterness. 
But, Makeup. It is colorful, it is a treat for getting your period ONCE again. It gets you out of bed in the morning. 

At least it does for me. Some mornings, I want to sit in my sweatpants all day, roll in the comfort of pet hair, play barbies with my daughter, and not be a part of the adult world. I think that makes me a better mommy to do that sometimes. But many times I look at my summertime-bored yet excited daughter and I’m like, ok. Let’s get out and experience the world. But then I have to shower? I start to hate myself, just automatically (I live with depression and chronic guilt, if you hadn’t guessed).

But, then, I remember my makeup. 

That glittery, shiny box sitting in my vanity. The colors. I want to try something new. It’s not going to pinch my feet, sausage my love handles, or damage my hair. It’s princess dress up time, just for me.

So many people ask me if I will show them how to do their makeup. The thing is, I’m not a makeup artist. I am more of a makeup collector. I try not to overbuy. I buy high quality, I usually use what I buy, but I don’t do it because I’m that great at it. I do it because I love colors and rainbows. 

The first time I tried a smoky eye, I was 20 and working at Victoria’s Secret. My coworker, a drop-dead gorgeous 18-year-old senior in high school, looked at me quizzically and said,

“Are you okay? Did you get a black eye?”

For my wedding, my sister did my makeup. It was gorgeous. I had no clue what she did. A couple of years ago, I started watching YouTube video tutorials. Until then, it was one shade of eyeshadow because I was too scared. 

Here are some things I’ve learned about eyeshadow. 

1. You almost have to have a variety of brushes to get a fancy look you want. You need a flat brush for straight application, a fluffy brush for blending, an angle brush for eyeliner, a smudger brush. If you have to choose one, go for the fluffier (but structured) brushes. 

2. When using dark colors, blend, blend, and blend. When you think you’re done, blend more. Use a very light touch and a small range of motion. Focus on harsh edges. 

3. Know your eye shape. 

  This is not my image. 

Most of us have a combination of these eye shapes. I have deep set, round eyes, which means I can’t do cat winged eyeliner unlike those with almond shaped eyes. I should put contour shadow above my crease, not in it. For hints on how to shadow your eyes, feel free to ask me, and I’ll happily give an opinion. 

4. PLAY before you buy. I don’t buy makeup unless I can touch it first. Many brown colors will not show at all on my skin. I have dry skin, so I need creamier shadows, like the makeup forever brand. Swatch the eyeshadows on your arms, and see how you like the consistency. You’ll end up looking bruised on your arm, but it is so worth it, and SO FUN. Ignore any snooty employees. People who try first are way less likely to return it. Wash and sanitize when you’re done. 🙂

5. Budget for it and don’t go crazy. I have chalked recent purchases to my fertility treatment budget, but sometimes that excuse won’t do. Try not to go into a Sephora or Ulta under the influence of caffeine, extreme emotions, or friends like me. 

Or do. I’ll try to behave myself. 

Namaste

Yoga. Pilates. Magic words to some. At 20, I decided I wanted to teach group fitness classes. I did the AFAA certification, was trained and employed. Most of my coworkers were Heath promotion majors. They were also lean, buff, and did intense cardio through the 9th month of their pregnancies.  I was a little more moderate in my fitness passion. I liked the idea of getting paid to do something I loved.  Needless to say, I was the oddball. 

Psychology teaching major here! 

I taught step, strength, turbokick, water aerobics and PiYo, a Pilates and yoga fusion class. PiYo and water Aerobics were my favorite, because the commonly middle-aged participants had a similar quality: commitment. I never had a no-show class. Unfortunately, I lacked the passion I needed to keep going. I gave it all up at 27 due to a move that made the commute unprofitable. At that point, it was just about the money. 

I still regret the abrupt way I quit. Although I wasn’t thrilled with my employers, I owed the participants a proper good-bye. I was lucky my friend Livia was able to take over for me. Through times of back pain and depression, I reach for Pilates and Yoga. Through it all, I’ve dreamed of earning an RYT title. 

A couple months ago, someone in my stake learned that I used to teach yoga. They asked if I would teach for a retreat the teenage girls were having. Haven’t had done much yoga in a while, I was nervocited. It ended up being wonderful. They asked me to do it for my ward girls, too, and it was so fun! So I decided to volunteer teach an hour every Saturday at my church. 

It is so nice to get back into it, and maybe the joy is that I am not doing it for money. The people who come are dear to me, and it is a treat to give back to them. We all love the meditation portion the most! 

Possibly the best part is that my daughter comes too. It’s so fun to see her little kid body do the moves. Some other kids come, as well. I may not be the best fitness instructor in the world, but maybe one of them will be! 

Yoga and Pilates are rad. I think everyone needs a bit of it in their lives.