Friday, October 17, 2014

#iknowican + a Giveaway

What had started out as a great blog year - full of inspiration and accomplishments - has recently turned into a subpar, less than awesome one due to life getting in the way, technical difficulties and lack of motivation.  It's not just a blogging issue either, it's pretty much everything lately.  Working out, family activities, creative ventures...they've all fallen off the board and it's been putting a damper on my attitude and I don't like it one bit.

So, in an attempt to change things around, I'm kicking off the weekend with an #iknowican list plus a bonus giveaway for you all since you've been so patient with me and loyal throughout my sporadic (and mostly sponsored) posts lately.

#iknowican relax more and worry less.  Joey and I have plans to go out tonight - no kids! - and even though we're probably NOT going to party until the wee hours of the morning, I'm still really excited because it's been so long (months) since we got a chance to spend time together without our small humans around.

#iknowican jump back on the fitness wagon.  Since I got sick the other month, I haven't been doing any working out at all.  My body's crying for some attention right now because all my jeans are so damn tight, my arms look like...just ick...and since I haven't done yoga in the mornings to stretch either, my back has been killing me!  I'm also cutting back on junk food (sorta) and have started drinking water again throughout my day to clear out all the yuckiness.

#iknowican get back my motivation to create and hustle.  Now that the holidays are fast approaching (seriously, WTF!  I can't believe it's October already!) I've started planning out gift ideas and giving myself a deadline will be sure to light a fire under my ass to get it done.

#iknowican declutter (yet again) and feel refreshed.  I feel like this is an ongoing goal, but yes, I do need to declutter and organize.  My room is a giant mess again with all the coming and going we've been doing and I'm at the point where I just want to get rid of everything all over again.  I'm sure if I do a COMPLETE overhaul of my room, it'll have a huge impact on my stress levels, creative motivation, and attitude (because I'll actually have room to get stuff done).

And finally,

#iknowican bring back my blogging mojo by kicking off this weekend with a super awesome giveaway!  It's been months since the last one and my goal for this year was to have one giveaway per month so I kinda owe you guys.

You know the drill!  Enter below!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday Thoughts: I've Got a Feeling...

Well, look who decided to show up and post today!  Yeah, me.  I did have awesome post ideas planned but haven't been able to get around to them.  Last Thursday I ended up leaving work early because I was horribly sick.  Even my boss said I looked terrible.  Gee, thanks.

The weather finally cleared up over the weekend and so did my sickness and we were FINALLY able to have a glorious, wonderful, much-needed beach day.  Salt water cures everything.

Unfortunately, this week has been pretty intense and I've been trying my hardest not to strangle people, throw a fit, or bawl my eyes out.  Trust me, it's been tough.

Now, if you know me, you'd know I'm not so great at dealing with feelings.  I'm more of a keep it locked up or write it out and then throw it away kinda person.  I've never gone to a counselor or therapist or anything like that.  Even when I'm drunk, I don't get overly emotional - I do talk more, but I'm not a hot mess.

So, because of all these feelings that have been overwhelming me lately, I thought I'd share some of the terrible ways I cope and alternatives that I'm going to TRY to do instead.

How I deal with stress:  Eat.  Or don't eat.  When I'm stressed out about things that I can't immediately handle, I eat.  Everything.  Even if I'm not hungry.  I usually stuff myself with all kinds of junk food when I'm planning a birthday or trying to figure out what bills need to be paid.  But, when I'm stressed about things that I have to deal with right then and there, I pretty much starve all day until dinner.  Usually this occurs when I've got a shit ton of work to get done.  I will not eat the whole day until about 6pm and sometimes I'm so exhausted from the stress and not eating that I just pass out without eating anything at all that day.  Polly want a cracker?  Nope.  Polly's too fucking busy to eat your damn cracker!!

How I deal with sadness:  Shop.  This may not be the most practical solution, but my closet loves it.  When I'm feeling sad or a little down, I spend a little (or a lot) of green.  Most times I make sure that my purchases are worth it, but sometimes I get a little carried away and just buy random things just because I want them.  Immediately.  Joey's great because he understands my retail therapy so sometimes he'll pick out a bunch of stuff (that I actually need and will use) and buy it for me so I don't end up regretting something I got and giving it away.  Makeup is not one of the things he deems as necessary so I'm usually on my own for those purchases.

How I deal with anger:  Kill.  Just kidding...kinda.  I kill the joy in others.  When I'm in a bad mood, it's best to stay away from me.  Don't talk to me, don't ask me what's wrong if I don't bring it up first, and do NOT do anything that is going to irritate the shit out of me because I will throw that shit in your face.  Unless I bring it up and want to talk to you about it, don't try to be my counselor.  And to avoid any harm to yourself, do not do anything stupid around me when I'm in a bad mood.  I will go gangsta on yo' ass.  There was an incident where I purposely backed into someone sitting in the parking lot behind my car.  So yeah.

Now that you know all my bad habits, here's what I plan to do in order to get rid of all that negative energy in a much healthier, more beneficial way.

How I should deal with stress:  Binge on creative outlets instead of food.  Gardening, sewing, painting, reading, cooking, etc.  Okay, well maybe not cooking.  Doing something that is low-key and doesn't require a lot of thinking, planning, or noise is definitely a great way to relieve some stress.

How I should deal with sadness:  Find other (less costly) options to cheer me up.  Going to the beach, singing, dancing, hanging out with friends, and blogging more.  I mean, how can you still feel sad after blasting James Brown's I Feel Good and dancing around your house?

How I should deal with anger:  Work it out.  Yoga to calm down and cardio and HIIT workouts to let all the rage out.  If I worked out every time someone pissed me off, I'd be a frikken beast!  Come at me, bro!

Not trying to be a counselor or anything, but how do you deal with your emotions and feelings?  Do you have playlists for your emotions?  What is the craziest thing that your emotions have driven you to do?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I Jinxed Myself...and other confessions.

So remember last week's post and how I listed "Good Vibes Only" as one of my goals for October?  Well, the universe didn't get to read that post yet.  It's been one negative thing after another.

...the weekend was nice and sunny for the most part, but only because we were expecting another typhoon (Vongfong) to hit us on Monday.  Thankfully, it didn't do any damage but it meant that schools were closed for the day and other places were closed for the first half of the day, but opened up later.  Vongfong totally punked us.

...I've only just recently realized that even though some things seem like a good idea in the beginning, they don't always pan out the way you expect them to.  People grow in different directions, like branches on a tree, and you just gotta know when to cut it off in order for it to grow into a tree on its own.  Tough love.

...since the typhoon scare has delayed my inventory shipment, I've been slacking on promoting my business.  I'll be stepping up my game soon and will hopefully get some Halloween makeup looks up for you guys.


...I still haven't worked out at all.  Supposed to pick up a treadmill from my niece but...haven't gotten around to it yet.  Maybe tonight.  And then who knows when I'll even start using it.

...because of all the drilling the dentist did on that one tooth the other week, my other temporary got loose and fell out so I was forced to starve myself because I couldn't chew good.  Thankfully I got it fixed yesterday so no more toothache diet for me!

And now it's your turn!  What do you have to confess this week?  Spill it!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tuesday Tips: Write Good.

I've learned quite a bit through all my years of blogging (and it's been years) and I've realized how much I've grown and how far this blog has come.  I know I've mentioned before that the design and the "look" of your blog is really important - and it is - but that's all pretty simple once you know what you want it to look like and how to organize and make your blog easy to navigate.  The hardest thing is your content:  what you write about and how you write it.

If you've been blogging for some time now, you may start to notice that some days are better than others in terms of traffic and reader interaction.  Take a look at your most popular posts and compare those with posts that didn't get as much love and take note of the differences.  Was the popular one a DIY?  Did you write about a deeply personal experience and pour your heart out?  Was the not-so-popular one full of sponsored links?  Did it go on and on and have lots of spelling and grammatical errors and also a ton of run on sentences that may have confused some people who aren't used to your writing?  (See what I did there?)

Now I'm not saying I'm the best blogger in the world - hell, I've been gone most of the past two months - but I know what kind of posts I enjoy reading and commenting on and the kind of posts that make me cringe inwardly and make me want to delete that blog from my feed.  I'm still learning and growing as a writer just like everyone else (we bloggers are always trying to improve) so here's a few post tips that I try to follow.

Before hitting that publish button:

1.  Proofread!  Tell those spelling/grammar Nazis out there to fuck off by proofreading your shit!  It's not hard - those squiggly red lines are there to help you.

2.  Ask yourself:  Is this something I would read?  (My homegirl Helene can testify to that.)  Usually, if you yourself aren't feeling it, chances are others might not be feeling it either.  Don't half-ass it just to get something up.

3.  Give your readers an opportunity to engage by asking them a question (or two or three) at the end that's relevant to your post.  Sometimes even if you've got a great post, it's hard for readers to get involved and comment with something other than "great post" so a little nudge doesn't hurt.  It's like saying, "Well, enough about me, what about you?"  BOOM.  Blog friendship acquired.

4.  Understand your writing style.  This one is tricky since our writing styles can change every once in a while, but the easiest way to figure it out is to write it how you would speak it.  If you throw in sarcastic jokes when you're having a conversation with friends, by all means, show that in your post!  How else are we supposed to know that you have a sick sense of humor like we do?  If you cuss in real life conversation, then what the fuck - type that shit out too!  Showing your REAL self through your writing helps us to connect with you on a more personal level and makes it seem like we're actual real life friends.  I don't know how many of my conversations start off with "My friend from [insert state/country where blogger lives]..." these days because of all the awesome people I've "met" through blogging.

And that's it.  Four simple things to check before publishing a post.  Like I said earlier, I "try" to follow these but sometimes I'm in too much of a hurry to proofread or I've just got to meet a post deadline for certain sponsored posts and that's fine.  There's no surefire way to get more followers or comments or write great posts and not everyone is going to like what you have to say, but that's okay.  It's all about learning and growing, baby.  Learning and growing.

Also, I just had to take a tip from one of my favorite bloggers, Sarah, and throw this one in since we're all about learning and growing and sharing today.  Fill in the blanks and tweet to share what you write about and show off your best post!

I'm ___________ from ____________ and my best post was ______________.  #frikkenfriends

But tell me, what does your publishing process look like?  Do you have any tips to share?  What was your most popular post and why?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Makeup Monday: Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes [Review]

It's about time that I do a makeup/beauty post, right?  RIGHT.  Okay, so every once in a while I get a chance to try out a new makeup/beauty product.  Some things I get for free from sponsors to try out and review, and other things I buy on my own to try out and will provide my two-cents about it here on the blog if I feel strongly about it.  This post is the latter.

Now some of you may have heard about Younique's Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes already.  I had no idea what it was until a friend of mine posted her before and after photos on Instagram.  The difference between the photos was so dramatic that I just had to look it up and give it a try.

Those who know me, know that I'm all about the eyes.  Eyeshadow, liner, mascara, falsies - you name it, I've got it - in bulk.  I rarely leave the house without a coat of mascara on.  I believe that having killer lashes can make a huge difference on your appearance.  Long, curled eyelashes make you look much more feminine even if you don't have a speck of makeup on your face.  If you don't believe me, just try curling your lashes and putting on a coat of mascara.  Go ahead, I'll wait.

Okay, now that that's settled...I've tried and tried to find the PERFECT mascara that can make my eyelashes look like it does in the ads.  I've spent lots of money (because even a tube of mascara isn't cheap) on trying to achieve fuller, longer lashes without any luck.  I used to use falsies - but dealing with the glue every day was a major pain in the ass and also my eyes.  Plus, falsies look like exactly that - fake and unnatural.  I even used to get eyelash extensions.  They looked a lot more natural and I only had to get them done every few weeks but they ended up pulling out my natural lashes so when I finally stopped getting them done my lashes were short and sparse as hell.  I ended up having to spend more money buying serums and conditioners to get them back to normal.

After all the grief my lashes and I have been through, I'm glad to say that I've finally found the perfect product for them.  Younique's Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes are it.  The kit comes with two parts:  1) the Transplanting Gel and 2) the fibers.  Basically it's a 3-step process (more, depending on how you want them to look).

Step 1:  Curl your lashes and put on your regular mascara.
Step 2:  Apply the transplanting gel.
Step 3:  Apply the fibers immediately after the gel and then put another coat of the gel to seal the fibers in place.

I personally opt for no mascara underneath.  It clumps less without it and the gel and fibers do a pretty great job alone.  Also, I sometimes add a second coat of fibers at the tips just for a little extra length and then go over it with a spoolie (the thick mascara wand thingy they use for testers that I got from my local MAC counter) to brush out any clumps or loose fibers.

I'm going to do a tutorial video soon but just so you can see how awesome it is and how much of a difference it makes, here's a few pictures:

Bare, curled lashes.

Left side with mascara and Younique, right side mascara only.  (See that difference?!)

They last all day and overnight without smudging much.  And it can be easily removed with makeup remover.

I bought this for myself with my own money to try out and I was hooked after just a few days of using it.  It's seriously THAT good.  I loved it sooooo much, in fact, that I decided to become a Younique Independent Presenter!  I wouldn't back a product I didn't absolutely 100% LOVE so you know this one is definitely worth it.

I'm still in my first month of being a presenter and so far I'm loving it!  I get to play with makeup as a side job - definitely something I can do for the rest of my life.  If you want to find out more about it and get your own set, just click HERE or any of the other links throughout this post to get to my Presenter's page and browse all the awesome products and shop for your own set of 3D Fiber Lashes.

Go.  Now.  You'll love it, I promise!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Thursday Thoughts: Oh, October.

Well, well, well.  September came and went faster than I thought possible and I'm still sitting here scratching my head like, wait, wtf?  

I had thought to do a "September Recap" type of post but besides Aniyah turning 11, I couldn't really come up with anything substantial to write about for the month.  So, since I've been so out-of-it lately on the blogging front, and because I've bee saying that I'm going to do one of these "monthly goals" posts, here's my attempt at goal setting for the month of October:

//Work.  the.  fuck.  out.  I seriously don't remember the last time I did any kind of physical activity besides the quick '100 squat challenge' I did one morning last week.  This month I am going to try to get back to my fitness "routine" - if you could call it that - which consists of yoga in the morning and HIIT in the evenings.

//Blog more.  Well, duh.  I've been M.I.A. for most of August and September so I really need to get my mojo back and start posting and communicating with you awesome people again.  I've missed you!

//Sew.  This is another thing I keep saying I'm going to do.  This month I'm really going to do it, though.

//Clean.  The past two months have been so stressful and exhausting that I feel like I need another overhaul cleaning session to feel refreshed again.  I've also been having a LOT of retail therapy sessions lately and my closet is becoming too cluttered again.

//Good vibes only.  My stress levels have been pretty high lately and I've been turning into Manic Mary more often than I care to admit.  I think in order to calm myself down I need to reinforce the positive and push out the negative by doing things that make me happy and by doing nice things for others.  Share the love, bro.

And that's basically it.  It doesn't seem like much, but with my crazy life lately, it is a lot to accomplish.  So what about you?  What do you plan to conquer in October?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thursday Thoughts: Boo-frikken-Hoo.

Wut up, yo.  In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been missing from the blog world for most of this month.  And last month too.  Yeah, I know, I suck.  I promise it’s not intentional.  With work, the kids’ schedules, cleaning, crappy weather, my office blocking blogger, paying bills, starting my Younique company, and all my other grownup duties (cooking, driving, etc.) – by the end of the day all I want to do is relax, watch TV, and play pointless games on my phone until I pass out.  I’m sure you know what I mean because we’ve all had days/weeks/months (many times) before where we JUST.  CAN.  NOT.  EVEN.

My September calendar has been crammed full of crap and my October calendar (which I’ve only just started on) is already getting full.  I am TRYING to work out a schedule to add blog time back into my life but right now it’s kinda tough because our weekdays are always busy and semi-spontaneous.  Yesterday was a half-day for the schools and then McTeacher’s night at McDonald’s, today there’s a cross-country meet and a PTO meeting, and tomorrow is an afterschool fieldtrip and cross-country practice AND a fundraiser in the evening.  So, you see, my schedule is pretty tight.  The only way I was even able to post this was by typing it at work in WORD and then emailing it to myself to copy and paste to blogger.  Sigh…the shit I gotta do now just to blog...  #timesarehard

Anyway, so that’s my sob story for you.  Life’s been busy and being at work without even getting the chance to at least post something sucks major donkey balls.  Planning on breaking out the old sewing machine tonight to get back to work on my dream job.  At least by doing that for a living, I’d be able to blog whenever I want again.  This blockage bullshit has really put a damper on my spirits.  I haven’t even been able to read or link up to confessions yesterday!

Ugh.  Till next time.  Peace.