A few weeks ago, Almay sent me a few products to review for them. This could not have come at a better time for me for the following reasons: A) I always switch makeup when the seasons change. My skin changes as I am outside more in the spring/summer months, so my makeup has to change, too. B) I have recently run out of my department store brand makeup, and have been contemplating using makeup that doesn’t require me to hoof it to the mall, but I was worried I would sacrifice quality.
Turns out, Almay settled both those concerns. The makeup they sent me had me a little nervous. Normally, I used a pressed powder instead of foundation make up because I find foundation to be a little too thick and “made up” looking. But what they sent was a mousse-based foundation, and it was exactly like a mousse that you eat or put in your hair (never confused those two kinds, by the way…) – it was light and airy, and provided a nice medium coverage. Perfect for when you want to look dressed up, but not made up. It went on smoothly, and didn’t feel thick or made up all day. In fact, I asked Chris after I was all done up if I looked any different, and he studied my face for a while and then said, “What am I supposed to be looking for because nothing looks different to me.” And that’s when my bank account cried out, “Hallelujah!” because Almay is considerably more affordable than what I was paying and, apparently, does just what my old stuff did.
What I loved most about this mousse foundation was that it was gray when I opened it! I stared at it and thought, “Did they send me a messed up product?” I’m embarrassed to even admit this, but I actually dug my finger down all the way to the bottom of the pot to see if there was color on the bottom! I was sure mine was defective. But it turns out that this particular foundation adjusts to your skin tone when it is put on. I have always been skeptical of make up that claims to do this, but it actually did it! I smeared it gray on my face, and by the time I started gently rubbing it around, it had taken on my own skin tone. It went on light and thin, though, and really just evened out my skin tone instead of covering my skin heavily. You could even see my freckles, which is my true test of a good makeup product. If it covers my freckles, then it’s too thick.
Almay also sent me this beautiful bronzer. I don’t know about you, but I prefer a bronzer to a blush because of the natural coverage. It just looks more “sun-kissed” than “sun-burned” to me. And as a natural redhead, I definitely know the difference! What I liked about the bronzer especially was that it stayed on all day. I checked on it at lunch and when I got home, and it still looked great. Major points for me because I have my hands on my face all day, either pushing hair out of my way or resting my chin in my hand. I’m a face-toucher, but this bronzer didn’t seem to mind at all. I liked this bronzer better than the one I currently buy because it is also a “smart shade” product, so it adapts itself to your coloring. I was really impressed with it. It looked so natural, even in daylight.
Now that I am sufficiently made up, it’s time to go find my husband and demand a date night. I never feel better on a date than when I’m wearing something new that makes me feel pretty, and it was Almay for the win this time
So, what’s your go-to date night look? Answer this question below, and each comment will automatically be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card!
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I turned 30 in December. I was actually really excited about it. I figured not much would change. Truthfully, we had been living beyond our years for quite a while, and I figured by turning 30 I was really just catching up with the 30-something lifestyle we had. And that has been true. Not much around me has changed since I turned 30. My life is largely the same as it was when I was 29. Lately, though, I’ve noticed small changes in myself. Little things that always make me stop and think, “Well, I AM 30…”
Superficially, I’ve noticed that I am 30 in my appearance. For the first time in my life, I am wearing my hair straight every single day. My whole life I have believed that because I had thick, naturally curly hair, it was impossible to do anything with it. Plus, I am pretty lazy. So, I just washed my hair and let it naturally dry. And get frizzy. And big. But a few months ago, my sister introduced me to Moroccan oil for my hair and my life has never been the same. I can now wash and straighten my hair every other day, rub a little Moroccan oil in it, and – voila! – it stays straight and smooth for days! I think it makes me look older, and bit more put together than my crazy curly hair did. I always looked a bit like a college kid who had slept past her alarm, and now I think it is a bit more polished. And that makes me feel 30 years old.
I am also noticing what other 30-something women are wearing around me and, for the first time in my life, I am not put off by it. My shorts have become a smidge longer. My shirts have become a tad looser. My shoes have become a bit more practical. Personally, I still think I look young and even cute on some days. It’s not that I have ever dressed inappropriately (except for that one time in college that I wore jeans to a meeting when everyone else was in a suit…), but I’m just not in my 20′s anymore. My clothing has a different purpose and different needs. I don’t need short shorts. I need shorts that I can get on the floor and play with my kids in. I don’t need a tank top that shows off my tan. I need a shirt that won’t bunch up or hang open when I bend over a stroller. I don’t need shoes that make my legs look longer. I need shoes that will hold up throughout a day of teaching, and afternoon of chasing my kids, and an evening of running around the neighborhood. I used to think to have those kinds of functional clothes, I had to give up the cuteness and instead had to look frumpy. But that’s not true. I can still look cute. It’s just in way more comfortable and age-appropriate clothes.
Another thing that turning 30 has done for me is opened up the “who the heck cares” side of my brain. I love to sing and dance, but I am equally as bad at both. But who the heck cares? I now sing and dance all day long in my classroom. I sing and dance while I run. I sing and dance when I’m driving my car. If I feel the need, I sing and dance no matter who’s around to see. Same goes for how often I blog. This one I have struggled with because I do loves me some blogging. But I’ve been blogging on almost a daily basis – often more than one post a night – for over five years. And who the heck cares if I don’t get a post up one night? Or two? Or even seven? The world isn’t going to end without my daily rantings. I was doing things like turning down plans with friends because I knew I hadn’t blogged the night before, so I needed to blog that night. Or I would spend almost every evening with my face in a computer screen while Chris sat by himself watching TV. Now, I sit with him and we read or talk or watch TV together. And who the heck cares? I blog and you all graciously keep coming back. And, oh how glad I am that you are here, imaginary friends! But I am willing to bet that the universe will continue if I slack up on my blogging.
Along the same lines, I am cutting myself some slack in areas where I have always been really hard on myself, and I’m learning to say no. The other day, I sat in a meeting where they were looking for a volunteer to do something really simple and I literally had to BITE MY TONGUE – for real – to keep from speaking out. But I didn’t, and I left that meeting feeling really good about that. I am learning that just because I CAN do something doesn’t always means I SHOULD do something. Taking on something new may seem easy and small, but when I take on 50 easy and small tasks, I am suddenly overwhelmed and I don’t do anything well. Same thing with birthday parties from Bean’s class at school. He gets a ton of invitations to birthday parties these days, and you would think, “Well, it’s just a birthday party…” But one birthday party means buying one present, figuring out which parent is going to stay home with Gracie and which is going to go with Bean, and then giving up at least the afternoon. And every once in a while that isn’t so terrible, but do it every weekend and it can become draining very quickly. So, now we only RSVP to parties of kids that Bean talks about at home a lot. And I don’t feel guilty about that. I mean, I AM 30, you know…
I don’t know if these things are tied to being in my 30′s now or not. Maybe it is just a shift in perspective I’ve had lately. Or maybe I’ve reach some kind of limit on my self expectations and so I’m finally giving myself permission to lower them. Whatever it is, it has given me some real peace of mind. I’m sleeping better, laughing more, and feeling good.
My Grandma is in her 80′s and is still a world traveling, charity volunteering, card playing, department store shopping, cake baking machine. We all have a hard time keeping up with her pace, and she is forever telling us, “You’re only as old as you feel.” If she is right (and she usually is), then I am loving the feeling of 30.
Well, friends. I hope you had as lovely a Mother’s Day weekend as I did. Whether you celebrated with your mom, gave thanks for being a mom, grieved the loss of a mom, were hoping to be a mom, or simply spent time thinking about the mom-like women in your life, I hope your day was full of warm, fond thoughts and surrounded by the people who mean the most to you. I know mine was.
We went to early church, like always. I love how my church celebrates Mother’s Day. It is a day that celebrates women in general, and it is lovely. About a month before Mother’s Day, they have photographers all over the church campus. They are at church services, Sunday School, Bible studies, and any kind of event the church is having, and they take pictures of mothers and women. Then, when you get to church on Mother’s Day, they have strung ribbon all down the hallways and in the courtyard in our church and attached all those pictures to them. So, you spend the morning with a cup of coffee, walking through the church grounds, looking at pictures of mothers and women from our congregation. It is really beautiful, and makes you so thankful to be part of that community and surrounded by those women.
After church, we met Sarah and her family up at our favorite breakfast place for brunch. It was Sarah’s first Mother’s Day, and I was so glad we were able to spend it together. We’ve been best friends since we were in 6th grade. I think we’ve shared just about every major milestone in our lives together, and this one was by far one of my favorites.
After lunch, we headed home and in about 3.6 seconds, we were all in our bathing suits and out in the pool. This was our first weekend in the pool this year, and it was wonderful! I absolutely love summer, and being in the pool every day is one of the best parts.
That afternoon, we all took a big, long nap, and when we woke up the whole family came grocery shopping with me. Chris reasoned that if I had to do household stuff on Mother’s Day, then they would all do it with me. Normally, I would rather get a good swift kick in the shin before we all went together, but somehow Mother’s Day made it better…
I’m thankful this Mother’s Day that I get to be Michael and Gracie’s momma. I’m thankful for the sweet husband who made me their momma. I’m thankful for my own mother who taught me how to be a momma. I’m thankful for all those women in my life who have taught, shaped, and molded me as any momma would.
Motherhood is a funny business, and the more experience I have with it, the more convinced I am that motherhood is not just about our children. It is about living a life for someone else. Motherhood is about being willing, even when we don’t feel we are able. It is about serving, even when we don’t know quite how to serve. It is about saying yes when everyone else avoids the question. It is about stepping up to the plate, and swinging the bat. It is about showing up. Motherhood is about healing wounds with love, feeding bellies with food, and filling hearts with kindness. It is caring without reason, cause, justification, or reward.
No, motherhood isn’t all about our children. It is something that is inside of us that calls us to live a life we do not deserve; a life we are not worthy to live.
Such is the joy of motherhood.
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
This morning, Chris sent me an email that said one of our best friends had been suddenly laid off from his job. I was shocked because our friend had just moved here to Orlando from New York for this job. He relocated about four months ago, had just settled into his home, had just met a nice girl, was just starting to get his feet under him. And then he walked into the office this morning, and walked back out about an hour later with a crappy severance package. He came up tonight so we could wallow with him. He ate dinner at our kitchen table, is currently drowning his sorrows with Chris in our beer fridge, and will probably crash in our guest bedroom. And in the morning, he will sit at the kitchen table again with our kids and eat Cheerios and talk superheroes with Bean and princesses with Gracie. Gary is about as much our family as you can get without being born into it, and we hurt for him as any family would.
But tonight, as I sit in my living room after a fulfilling day at my job, which I am fortunate enough to get to go back to tomorrow, I am reminded of a student who amazed me last week.
You aren’t supposed to have favorites as a teacher. I love all my students. Really. I love them. But there are some that I just connect with more than others. Students that I understand, and even some that I admire. Like Adrian. Adrian is a smaller Hispanic kid. Funny, smart, quick as anything, and still humble and respectful. He’s one of those kids who knows just how far he can push a teacher until that’s enough, and then he reins it in and gives me a break. I love kids like Adrian.
So, last week, Adrian comes up to me in the hallway before class started.
“Mrs. Brown,” he said, smiling so much that I thought he might hurt himself. “I need your help.”
“Sure. Whatcha need?” I replied.
“I need you to stop Meghan when she comes into class so I can ask her to the 8th grade dance.”
I tried not to get overly excited here because the key to staying cool to a middle schooler is to act like nothing impresses you. So, I laughed and coolly said, “Meghan, huh?”
“Yeah,” he said blushing.
“That’s cool,” I said, yawning just to prove that I was cool enough to not care too much. “I like Meghan.”
“Yeah,” he said blushing a little more. “I do, too.”
About that time, Meghan starts getting close to my classroom, and Adrian started giggling this silly, stupid, middle-school girl giggle.
“Dude,” I whispered. “Pull it together!”
“Oh, right,” he said, wiping the smile off his face and instantly looking calmer and happy-go-lucky like his normal self.
“Hey, Meghan, ” I said as she neared my door. “Can I talk to you for a minute?”
Meghan (a super fun, confident girl herself) got that panicked look all students get when a teacher asks to talk to them. But before she could get too nervous, Adrian jumped in.
“No!” he shouted, taking Meghan by the shoulders and turning her so that she faced him. “You have to face me. I’m the one whose talking.” And then he started that silly giggle again, and I shot him a warning look with my eyes that said, “Get it together, man!” He pulled himself up tall…well, as tall as short Adrian could muster… and he said, “Meghan, will you go to the 8th grade dance with me?”
I sat in my chair by the door pretending not to watch, but smiling like a big fool myself. This is the stuff childhood memories are made of, and I was witnessing one right this minute.
Meghan nervously turned to see if I was watching, and I continued picking my fingernails and being very interested in my cuticles. Finally, she turned back to Adrian and said, “Ummm… No?”
It really was more of a question than a statement. You could tell she didn’t want to say no, but that her middle school girl brain just calculated Adrian’s coolness factor against every other person ever in existence in the Universe, and made a snap judgment. “Not cool enough. Must say no.”
Meghan hightailed it into the classroom, where you could hear the entire class buzzing with the excitement of a fresh rejection. Middle schoolers smell blood and congregate faster than any other species on earth, if you didn’t know.
Adrian stood there next to me for a minute.
“Sorry, buddy,” I said, kind of laughing, pushing on his shoulder good-naturedly. “She was probably just nervous.”
He stood there for a split second longer, and then did the most amazing act of bravery I may have ever seen. He threw open my classroom door, walked into the room with his arms stretched out above his head, and announced, “WELL, GUYS! SHE SAID NO! NOW, WHO WANTS TO BE MY DATE?”
Resilience. I’m surrounded by people with inspirational amount of resilience. My mom, being chief among them. And Adrian coming in a mighty close second. People who take a minute to say, “Gosh, that really SUCKED.” And then, without fail, in the most horrific situations, pick themselves up and move forward. It’s the reason my mom is leaving for a month in Europe this week for a vacation just because she can. It’s the reason Adrian has gone on to find SEVERAL dates for the 8th grade dance. And it’s the reason my friend, Gary, went home this morning and instantly began sending out resumes.
Resilience. The ability to face the unfaceable, embrace the unimaginable, and regroup the unplanned. Of all the superpowers, that’s a pretty damn good one to have.