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A Very Merry UN-Christmas

When coming up with the title for this post, I kept thinking of the Mad Hatter and March Hare from Alice in Wonderland singing A Very Merry Unbirthday at their tea party. As upside down and backwards as the song might be it has an interesting message. Although we celebrate our birth with a party, cake, balloons, and gifts once a year, we should celebrate every day of the year, thankful that we've been blessed to live another day. We may not have all the grandeur that only our birthday can provide, but we can celebrate every other day by living it to the fullest, getting one step closer to becoming  the best version of ourselves.

These thoughts came as a result of seeing someone on Facebook say, "I won't be doing Christmas this year." I've heard this said before, but for some reason when I read it this time, it caught me off guard and I was confused about what it meant. 

Are you not putting up a tree and decorating? Are you not buying gifts? Or receiving gifts? Listening to anything and everything but Christmas music? Going out of your way to avoid seeing houses with lights? You are going to take a rain check on all family functions? What does it mean when someone says they aren't "doing" Christmas?   I'm just absolutely baffled by that statement. Maybe we have two different ideas of Christmas. 

As a child, I remember my mom wearing a pin on her coat during the holidays that said "Remember the Reason for the Season". Christmas, for me, is a time to enjoy our loved ones as much as we can, a time to be grateful for all we have and all we've been given, a time to be a blessing to others, and a time to bask in joy as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  

So when I hear someone say they aren't "doing" Christmas I really interpret it as them saying they aren't going to allow themselves to be filled with joy,  they don't want to spend time with family, and they aren't interested in expressing gratitude for what they do have in life - even if it really isn't much, we can all find something to be thankful for. Let's get real here, if you can't recognize how blessed you are, how can you turn around and bless someone else? Just by having the ability and opportunity to read this makes you blessed beyond measure.

Holidays can be rough on people emotionally and financially. I totally get it. Most of us have been there at some point and you're not alone. What I'm about to say, isn't to discredit what you're going through, what you've gone through, or how you feel in anyway. It's my own realization I've come to through sorrow and hardship. Find thankfulness in the loved ones you have and the time you can still spend with them. Find thankfulness for all of the little things we take for granted in life: roof, heat, water, food - even air to breathe! Once we focus on all the things we have been blessed with in life, joy becomes easier to flow through us as we are able to understand giving. With Christmas around the corner, I can see no more perfect time than now to practice thankfulness especially with Thanksgiving only a few days away.  We all have the ability to give something whether it is a kind word, time volunteering at a soup kitchen, services that you are talented or skilled at, some cookies or fudge you baked, or a DIY you made out of things you already have at home. Christmas is a season to recognize and embrace how blessed we are and choose to bless others in return.

I don't get why anyone would say they aren't "doing" Christmas. I strive to do Christmas everyday. I strive to be grateful all 365 days in the year and strive to bless others as I've been blessed. I strive to be filled with joy year round. So if someone really doesn't want to "do" Christmas, I will meet them there. Let's have a Very Merry UnChristmas everyday so we can celebrate the good in life.

What are your thoughts about not "doing" Christmas? How do you celebrate?

Beauty Box Battle: Ipsy vs. Birchbox

Ipsy and Birchbox are the queen companies of beauty subscription boxes and I've been dying to try both of them out! I decided to sign up for both for three months to see which one was the better option. Check out my first impression on not only the companies, but also the products that came inside. Hopefully this will help give you a better insight on which service would be better for you!

August

Birchbox

The August Birchbox had a simple yet pretty box to represent the end to summer with its shifting pink, purple, gradient sunset and silhouetted palm trees.

  • Coastal Scents Blush and Bronzer Palette: Coastal Scents generally runs middle of the road as far as quality goes. I liked the shade of blush and how pigmented it was, but on the flip side the bronzer seemed like it was lacking pigmentation.
  • Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream: I have not been using this product long enough to notice or develop an opinion. Sounds like it does all great things though to help boost moisture retention with ceramides. 
  • Marcelle City Multi-Protection Tinted Cream: I like the idea of this product protecting your skin against pollution and harmful UV rays. I'm not impressed with the coverage. 
  • Number 4 Super Comb & Protect: I noticed a difference in my hair with how tangled it gets, but without using heat I can't say how it works for that. I'm also not sure how this product compares to others like it because my hair generally needs something to help with detangling.
  • TOCCA Stella perfume: I kept going back and forth if I sort of liked this fragrance or if I really didn't like it at all. The blood orange citrust scent that I love is what had me on the fence, but I've come to the conclusion that with everything else mixed together it has an "old lady smell".

 

Ipsy

The Ipsy glam bag had the killer "good vibes only" quote on it. I thought the background was interesting with it's similarity to Birchbox so I was curious to track the similarity in designs and themes.

  • Juara Rice Facial Cleanser: I thought this was a nice cleanser and it smelled good. Long term I haven't noticed anything that makes it better than what I already use. I prefer a cleanser that doesn't just cleanse, but tones and gently exfoliates as well.
  • The Balm Voyage vol. II Kuwakaribisha shadow/luminizer: I'm a fan of The Balm so I thought this was a very pretty shadow and highlighter that you could toss in a bag for travel, but it wasn't a unique shade or formula in my opinion.
  • Seraphine Botanicals Liquid Coal Waterproof Liquid Liner: The formula was smooth and the application was nice, but it didn't last any longer than any other liquid liner I've used.
  • Yadah Silky Fit Concealer BB Cream: The formula was thinner and easier to blend, but the coverage was average.
  • No. 7 Sundays Nail Polish: I thought the color would be a really pretty peachy pink, but instead it was the same color as my nails and pretty boring. It also didn't last but a day before it started chipping terribly.

September

Birchbox

The September Birchbox was a black and white floral pattern with a gold metallic background. Loved this design! 

  • Amika Un.Done Texture Spray: I was not loving this for my hair type and style. It made my hair feel dry and coarse. It tangled and was extremely hard to brush though kind of like hairspray. It changed the texture of it by touch, but it didn't do anything for me in terms of appearance. The best thing about it was the cute design of the container.
  • Daily Concepts Facial Micro-Scrubber: This was such a great addition to my skincare routine! I normally use a skincare brush, but this is perfect for traveling to help with exfoliation and deep-cleansing. 
  • Lored & Berry Strobing Pencil: I had never seen a product like this before so it took me a second to get use to the idea. I prefer creams and powders for highlighting and strobing, but this is a nice little guy for just adding a pop of highlight onto your cupid's bow or the inner corner's of your eye that require less and are not as easy to get to.
  • Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow: At this point was pretty much BB Creamed out after getting one in every shipment so far. Average, but gave a nice golden glow sans the name.
  • Vasanti Eye Wonder 2.0 Super Powered Eye Cream: I have not been using this product long enough to notice or develop an opinion. The description really talks it up though "this eye cream uses a mix of peptides, botanicals, and vitamins to hydrate under eyes and reduce dark circles."

Ipsy

I was totally digging the September glam bag theme: #GirlBoss. The bag itself was edgy and fierce in an amazing way.

  • Colour Pop Lippie Stix in Matte X: Such a gorgeous color with a matte finish! You can't go wrong in general with the bargain steals that Colour Pop has, but when you get a full size product like this in your glam bag you know your bag was worth the money.
  • Adesse New York Organic Infused Nail Lacquer in Deception: Unsure about the color - it wouldn't be my first pick. At first, I didn't like it, but it's grown on me. It took two coats and wasn't super fast drying, but it has held up pretty good. At least the majority is still on the nail after a week of wear.
  • Luxie 207 Medium Angled Shading Brush: As a makeup brush junkie, this was a pleasant discovery! Super soft and does a good job at blending!
  • E Nature Birch Juice Hydro Sleeping Pack: I have not been using this product long enough to notice or develop an opinion. Although I can guess, I'm really not sure what it does. At least Birch Juice sounds interesting?
  • Elizabeth Mott Pop! Goes the Shadow in Gunmetal: Although pretty, it's still a standard shadow color. For having oily eyelids, I was impressed with it's durability to last as long as it did. 

October

Birchbox

The Birchbox this month had a colorful foliage/rainforest design. It wasn't my favorite design and I wasn't sure how it fit with October.

  • Eyeko Liquid Eyeliner in Black: I have oily eyelids so I'm really not sure if it's just me or the product, but it didn't last any longer than others for me. I'm not sure if it was the shape of the tip or the material, but it seemed to pull at my skin making it difficult to get precision.
  • Lavanilla Vanilla Coconut Fragrance: A very natural smelling fragrance. I could definitely smell the vanilla and the coconut. I didn't mind the smell, but my husband didn't care for it. 
  • Lipstick Queen lip pencil in the shade Nude: I loved the shade of this lip pencil and the smooth formula. Although it wasn't budge-proof, it did last a while on my lips. 
  • Embryolisse 24 Hour Miracle Cream (moisturizer): I didn't notice this specifically make a difference with my foundation like it suggests it will. As a moisturizer, it was okay. 
  • Beauty Protector Detangling Spray: I loved this product and noticed it made a huge difference! I'm not sure if it's the fact that my hair is one of the most neglected things or not because outside of dying it my hair doesn't get much TLC, but I definitely noticed a difference! The question is how does it compare to other products like it on the market? I can't answer that one. 

Ipsy

The October glam bag was a dark, red lace pattern with a cute little bat zipper pull for a Halloween touch. 

October Products:

  • DLS (Dirty Little Secret) Eyeshadow in the color Bronzed: it was sub-par to me - a pretty color that I could probably find in any neutral palette. I couldn't see what would make me choose the DLS brand over something else.
  • MDM Flow in the color Retro: I was impressed by this transfer-proof lip color! It was a super pretty shade and it really was transfer proof! However, it was not water proof and was gone after two hours of wear from eating and drinking. It still doesn't come close to outshining LipSense!
  • Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner in the shade Perversion: So creamy and smooth-gliding! Perfect for smoking and smudging! I have yet to find an eye pencil that stays on me and this one was no exception. Not sure if it's just me or the product. 
  • Hey Honey Trick and Treat Concealer: I received it in the Normal to Dry formula which is not my skin type, but it didn't seem to make a difference. It was a nice feeling formula, but it wasn't as much coverage as I'm used to.
  • Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream: The name "cracks" me up! Are you rolling on the floor yet? Ha! It has a really nice smell, but it seemed and felt like regular lotion to me. First impression doesn't make think it's anything special, but I think it's going to take more time using it to see if really makes a difference. 

Birchbox Overview

Pros

  • Shipped in a professional box
  • Personalized mailing label - a nice touch
  • Inserts that tell you about the products and how much they cost
  • The online customized profile was very detailed and easy to work around.
  • Emails telling you when it was shipped out with a tracking number

Cons

  • The products weren't customized toward my preferences even though they were supposed to be.
  • The samples weren't worth $10 in my opinion and were samples you'd get as giveaways in stores.
  • The samples were odd brands I hadn't heard of for the most part.

Ipsy Overview

Pros

  • Comes in a super cute, quality made makeup bag
  • Full size products 
  • Products that were department store brand

Cons

  • It came in a bubble mailer instead of a professional looking box, but it is advertised as a glam bag and I'd rather have the cost put into that instead of what it ships in.
  • I really liked the inserts in the Birchbox and think it would be a nice touch if Ipsy had them too.

The winner ....

I really felt like I got my money's worth with the Ipsy Glam Bag. The products were tailored toward my preferences, they were full size, and didn't just have new brands but higher end brands for diversity. It was all wrapped up in a super cute makeup bag to boot! I'm all about presentation and even though Ipsy wasn't on par with the professional quality of shipment like Birchbox was, I'm way more interested in the product I'm paying for inside and Ipsy was a winner every time for me. 

Mulled Cider Lip Scrub

Every gal needs a seasonal fall lip scrub to switch it up when shes getting her exfoliation on! Check out this recipe to D.I.Y. a mulled cider lip scrub to keep you in fall spirit or to package up as gifts for the upcoming giving season.

Ingredients:

Coconut Oil - 2tbs
Honey - 1tbs
Brown Sugar - 1tbs
Orange Essential Oil - 2 drops
Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil - 1 drop
Clove Essential Oil - 1 drop
Nutmeg Essential Oil - 1 drop

Mix it all together making sure that the coconut oil is melting. You can melt the coconut oil on the stove prior or use the friction of mixing to melt it. 

Once you've mixed it together you can easily spoon it into a little container or jar and you are all set!

Smokey Fall Eyes and Gold Glitter Cocoa Lips

I use MakeSense Advanced Anti Aging Foundation in the shade Dewy. Message me to help color match you!

Once you've applied your foundation you are going to need Candlelight, Snow, Moca Java, Mulberry, and Garnet ShadowSense. 

  1. Use Candlelight as a concealer. With it's peachy tint, it will cover up any blues or darkness in your skin especially under your eyes.
  2. Use Snow as a highlighter to brighten up underneath your eyes. This is especially helpful for any puffiness or bags to help brighten up those shadows and give the illusion that they aren't there. If you want a full contour, use it to also brighten the bridge of your knows, the center of your forehead, your cupid's bow, and the face of your chin.
  3. Use Moca Java for contouring the hollows of your cheeks, your jawline, and the perimeter of your forehead. The shape you are making is a 3.
  4. Use Mulberry on the apples of your cheeks for blush.
  5. For redheads or dark brown-haired beauties, use Garnet for filling in your brows. For blonde bombshells, use Moca Java and for black-haired babes, use Onyx. For the perfect combo, you can mix the three as needed. 

Now for the eyes! You will need Moca Java Shimmer, Smoked Topaz, Garnet, Onyx, Pink Opal Shimmer ShadowSense, and Black LashSense.

  1. Use Moca Java Shimmer in your crease and pull it out toward your brow bone.
  2. Use Smoked Topaz as the base on your lid.
  3. Use Garnet in your crease to darken it up pulling it toward the outer corner, but not as far as you brought Moca Java Shimmer out.
  4. Use Onyx to line your bottom lashline/waterline.
  5. Blend Onyx into your bottom lash line with Smoked Topaz. 
  6. Go back in with Smoked Topaz on the base of your lid to add more green. 
  7. Add a pop of Pink Opal Shimmer to the inner corner of your eyes and in the center of your lid.
  8. Coat top and bottom lashes in LashSense mascara
  9. Clean up the edges of your shadows with Foops! Remover for a cleaner look.

Apply a thin layer of Cocoa LipSense, wait 10 seconds for it to dry, apply a second and third layer waiting for it to dry in between then apply glossy gloss to cure.

For a little more sparkle, pop some gold glitter gloss in the center of your lips and rub them together.

Fall Lip Colors: Mulled Wine

This gorgeous, vampy red is everything you want. I love wearing this color on it's own for a beautifully edgy dark wine lip that has the class of a red and the boldness of a berry. Additionally, Mulled Wine is the best to layer with when you want a classic red tone darkened up and enriched. 

Mulled Wine adds color to a black ensemble without being too shockingly bright. It's a classic, romantic, and seductive shade for date nights and formal affairs. This wine color pairs well with camo greens and burgundys as well. Cheers to beautiful, lasting fall lips! Want to try Mulled Wine for yourself? Click here.

Fall Lip Colors: Cocoa

You're at your favorite coffee shop sipping on a caramel macchiato and brooding over the romance in the Charlotte Brontë novel you are currently reading. It's the weekend and you wanted to get out of the house, but didn't actually want to do something. Cocoa is your lip color of choice. It's neutral enough to not feel committed, but it's enough to make a statement and keep you pulled together. The gorgeous red undertones keep the color grounded reminding you the leaves are falling outside.

Cocoa is the missing piece to tying your outfit's ensemble together. You don't have to worry about conflicting colors with this natural, warm brown. Its red hints drive it away from being a stark, unflattering, dark brown. It's a pleasant surprise that will dress up a makeup look or add the finishing touch. Try it with a matte gloss for a completely different look! Want Cocoa for yourself? Click here.

Fall Lip Colors: Napa

Napa is a sweet, berry color that stays true to its berry roots, but is modern enough to incorporate some red undertones. Different skin tones will bring out more of the red while on others it may pull more purple. This is a must have for anyone who loves berries, but doesn't want something as dark as Plum.

I like to think of Napa as your companion on a weekend getaway to a vineyard for wine tasting. It's the kind of color that makes you feel pretty when you wear it. Fitting to be paired with burgundys, berries, and deep greens.

The lovely Napa! A very feminine, wine colored berry that still gives you a leg up on fall without going uncomfortably dark. For my eye look today I used Moca Java Shimmer, Garnet, Mulberry and Pink Opal Shimmer - and of course Onyx for liner. Click here to try Napa for yourself.

Fall Lip Colors: Nutmeg

Oh, Nutmeg ... you are the e"pit"ome of fall. A gorgeous shimmering brown with orange and red undertones. It's the mature older cousin to Persimmon that screams stylish and professional. Trendy and sophisticated. And might I add totally in season come fall. It's the pumpkin spiced latte of LipSense colors, but to share with you a secret - you can wear this year round!

You might be surprised, but Nutmeg is so complimentary that it can be worn with most colors and outfits. With an orange base, it is easily paired with other warm colors and being opposite on the color wheel of blue it will compliment by making both colors pop. Since orange is in nature related more to brown and this color contains a brown element, it still has a natural coloring to it as well making it a perfect choice.

Nutmeg pulls more red on me with my hair and with the scarf I'm wearing. Its undertones can favor orange, red, and brown and can pull toward the ones that you are wearing. Either way, the result is gorgeous! If you'd like to try Nutmeg, click here.

Fall Lip Colors: Nude

👢Nude is for sure a Kylie Lip Kit dupe. It's an opaque, matte, neutral color that is chill and classy 💁‍♀️for those days when you want something laid back and not over the top. Nude is the equivalent of a nice, warm cup of tea or coffee. It's a comfy fit for your lips.

You can wear this color with anything as it can help give you a more finished makeup look for a casual, everyday outfit and yet with something more fancy it will never overpower what you are already wearing. It gives you the ability to dazzle with your threads instead. Click here to try Nude for yourself.

Fall Lip Colors: Persimmon

If I'm being honest, I will say I had no idea what to expect when I first saw this color. It looked WAY too orange for me. I was blown away when I tried it on. It's not bright like I was thinking it was going to be. It's a muted orange so it has this vintage vibe to it and it ended up filling a cosmetic void I never knew was there. Definitely one of my favorite fall go-tos!

Persimmon is a totally underrated swiss army knife that can be super versatile. It can give you that pop of color while still being subtle. This color works great to pull out any oranges in an outfit as well as contrast against lighter and darker colors, and will pop with blues (like denim!!). I love the idea of pairing it with a casual, denim jacket and a fall, floral dress that has pops of orange in it as well as an edgy, vintage, rock tee and a black, leather jacket. Click here to try Persimmon for yourself.