New Family Member?

A few days ago, my family got the surprise of our lives. When my dad went to the farm to put the sheep up for the night, the number of sheep was wrong. Luckily, we hadn’t lost any. There was one more than there was supposed to be.

My dad’s sheep, Teaka, had another baby. When we bought her, she came with her daughter, Abby. The woman who sold her to us warned us that she might be bred, but since Dad is notorious for wrongly guessing when and if a sheep is pregnant, we weren’t expecting much.

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Here’s the new baby! She’s still wet in this picture, and she’s still unnamed. We’re thinking Lady Baba, a riff on the pop singer, but my little brother says no. Either way, she’ll be named soon, and she’ll be growing, just like our other new arrival, Frederick. He already has little horns, and he’s only three weeks old. They grow up so fast!

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My friend keeps telling me how much she looks like a Holstein cow. She kind of does! We don’t know who the father of this little angel is, so we don’t really know where she gets her pattern. We do know, however, that her older sister is a little angry at her. We had to separate the mom and baby from the big sister, because the big sister was hogging all the milk. Since Abby is more than old enough to be weaned, it’s no big deal on that front, but it is the first time she’s been separated from her mother. Teaka is taking it pretty well, since she has a new little one to baby, but Abby has been pitching a fit. Luckily she’s with her friends, Sophia and Nikolai, along with Sophia’s cranky mom.

Although we were not expecting the unnamed baby sheep, we’re happy to have her.

Hopefully this is the only surprise we get this week, as I’m headed to Vanderbilt Hospital for a rheumatology appointment, and my grandpa has recently been in the hospital. Surprise sheep? Good! Surprise costly diagnoses? Not fun!

 

 

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A Surprise Picnic

Sometimes the best laid plans go awry. That’s what happened today. My grandpa was admitted to the hospital yesterday, and everyone’s schedule has been off. I had plans with my friend, but we got delayed, and then the website we needed wasn’t working. Between me, my friend, and my husband, we were about to blow our tops.

However, a little ingenuity and a lot of homegrown tomatoes came to our rescue. We decided to have a picnic. My husband and friend did the cooking, and I did the decorating. I’ve inherited a talent for making photogenic place settings from my mother, who does it for a living on her lifestyle blog. Since my husband and I live with my grandpa, who can no longer live alone, I don’t get to use my talent often. He’s not appreciative of my efforts, and by the time we’ve listened to the local gossip channel blaring from the TV at full volume all day, I’m not feeling very creative.

Bouquet

Today, I picked some flowers from our yard and put them in an old spaghetti sauce jar, with it’s label removed.

Tea Cups

I pulled out the old tea cups I used to love to drink from.

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My husband made honey-limeade and I poured it into an old, giant mug I found.

Meal

I pulled out old plates and an old blanket, covered in whimsical florals. My husband made homemade spaghetti sauce and garlic bread- all gluten free, of course.

That sauce has housemade chorizo from a local Latino grocery!

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I even pulled out an old serving platter for our garlic bread and pesto.

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We all had a good time telling stories and de-stressing! It was nice to be able to spend time with my friend, who will be spending the next three weeks in Mexico for a class.

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Sometimes it’s the little things in life that make it good. Sometimes you just need to take a minute, do something spontaneous, and reduce those stress levels! Spending time outside in the beautiful weather with people I love, and good food, did just that.

Product Recommendation: Covergirl Bombshell Volume Mascara

In my Surfs Up VoxBox, I received a full-size Covergirl Bombshell Volume Mascara. After reading the reviews for it, I promptly put it up and didn’t pull it back out. That is, until I ran out of mascara and I was due to go out with my friends. I didn’t have enough time to go out and buy mascara, and sharing mascara is always a no-no, especially if you’ve had as many eye infections as I have.

So, sighing, I pulled out the Covergirl Bombshell Volume Mascara and followed the instructions. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

My eyelashes looked fantastic. I’m sure the mascara wouldn’t work for everyone, but for my long but somewhat sparse lashes, it was pretty great.

Mascara

Here’s an up-close. It’s normally not that clumped, but my eyes have been watering pretty bad today from some seasonal allergies. But seriously, I’d been wearing that mascara for at least six hours, my eyes had been watering, and it’s still that long and dark? That’s pretty much a win for me.

Now, the mascara does have two steps, and I’ll admit that I’m sometimes too lazy for that. When that’s the case, or when I want a natural look, I reach for my Covergirl Clump Crusher. But sometimes, you just gotta go for those bold lashes!

When I run out of this mascara, or have to toss it, whichever comes first, I’ll definitely be buying more. I think I’ve finally found something I’m adding to my permanent rotation!

ELF Baked Palette Review: Texas

When I was browsing elf’s annual half off sale, I saw a “back by popular demand” banner on the front page of the site. Intrigued, I clicked on the banner, and found myself staring at the baked eyeshadow palette in “Texas.” Of course, since it was half price, I had to add it to my cart to try out. When it arrived, I was pleasantly surprised.

The palette is a collection of shimmery neutrals, ranging from a shimmery white to a deep brown. In between are several metallic shades, including a gold, rose gold, and bronze.

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Here’s a picture of it in it’s original packaging, along with most of the rest of my haul, because I accidentally deleted all my good pictures of the original packaging. In fact, I had to retake the picture of the palette itself after spilling HD finishing powder on it, which makes it look a lot less nice than it actually is.

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I was so excited to swatch the shadows for you, I forgot to take a picture of the palette before using it. As it was, I wound up having to take a picture with a little bit of fallout. That’s going to be expected with this palette, as I got it for $5, but even so, it wasn’t extreme. The shadow fallout wasn’t enough to compromise any of the other colors, just enough to make it look a bit messy.

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That’s a well-swatches palette right there, folks. Most of the colors don’t look the same on the palette as they do on the eye, which is why I always look up swatches before buying. The Texas palette appears to be a cult favorite, because there were swatches all over the internet, along with some incredibly mixed reviews.

Swatches

The first picture of the swatches is in terrible indoor lighting from the fifties. This is probably what your eyeshadow is going to look like if you wear it to your office job. Well, if you wear it to your office job and you wear it over primer. I used e.l.f. eyeshadow primer to form a base for all my swatches.

Outdooor Swatches

The second photo is of the first five shadows (the top row) in natural light. The rose gold in this photo is probably my current favorite eyeshadow shade. I wear it for everything, from family events to doctor appointments to dinner with friends. My least favorite shade is probably the pink in this row. I don’t have much against it, because it creates some lovely looks, but I would never wear it alone.

Outdoor Swatches 2

These four are the bottom row of the palette, barring the darkest shade, because my dog got hold of my hand before I could take the photo. Although e.l.f. eye primer has staying power, it can’t stand up to the teeth and slobber of a German Shepherd/Border Collie mix who is determined to love you. The shades on the bottom row include a lovely gold, and a bronze that I’ve been using for metallic brown smoky eyes.

All in all, this is a solid eyeshadow palette. It’s versatile enough to go from day to night, with a little creativity, and the shades are fairly pigmented. I have read about people who have trouble getting the shades to show up on their eyelids, but I have not had this problem so far. At $10, that comes out to a dollar per shade, which is a bargain. If you can get the shadows during one of e.l.f.’s regular sales events, it comes out even cheaper.

The palette is small enough to tuck into a purse or makeup bag, in case you need to touch or change up your makeup on the go. The included mirror is also nice, and doesn’t distort like some of the palette mirrors I’ve seen before.

As with all e.l.f. products, this is going to be a hit and miss. Some people will love it, and some people will hate it. I’m one of the people who love it. The only thing I could wish for would be more matte shades, as I used to have a beautiful matte brown eyeshadow that would have worked perfectly on/with this palette. Since not all of the colors were metallic, a few matte shades would have been nice!

If you’re still undecided about purchasing an e.l.f. baked palette, I’ll be sharing a post detailing a date night look I’ve done with this palette, just as soon as I can get my face psoriasis to clear up!

Have you tried e.l.f. baked eyeshadow palettes before?

 

On Working From Home:

Working from home is not for everyone. In fact, it’s probably not even for me. I have horrible ADHD, and the lack of a real “boss” figure really gets to me sometimes. That’s why I find myself finishing my tasks at 11 p.m., despite having set several alarms telling me to quit playing Candy Crush Saga and get my butt in gear.

Besides my complete and total lack of self motivation, I used to love working with people. Sure, I would complain about that one lady who forced me to individually wrap 65 slices of cheese during my brief stint working in a deli- a stint which incidentally, made me incredibly sick and cranky from all the inhaled flour. But, money is money and medical bills are expensive, so you do what you gotta do, even if it does mean choking on your body’s worst poison while getting yelled at by someone who just really likes their cheese wrapped a certain way. I feel you, cranky old woman on senior discount day. Sometimes I get really upset about cheese too. Usually a lack of cheese. Like when I used the last bit of cheese on my gluten-free pizza earlier and now I’m really craving a Caprese salad. That does make me cranky.

Working

Sorry, got off topic there. Anyway, I work from home, despite the pros and cons of the position. There are plenty of pros: I wear my pajamas all day, I can eat on the job, and I don’t have to spend a lot of time standing up. My body hates standing up. The cons, other than I’ve listed above? I’m freelance, so I spend a lot of time without a steady income. I wear my pajamas all day, so if I get surprise visitors, they think I’m a slob.

Free-lance, you say? Free-lance what? I’ve styled myself as a Virtual Assistant. I’m on a looong list of other virtual assistants, fighting for jobs with popular bloggers, writing blogs like this in my spare time. Not that I get a ton of spare time, because besides my freelancing, I work for my mom in exchange for payment of my medical bills. I’m getting the better end of the deal here, because I don’t work enough to earn the thousands of dollars I cost yearly. Plus, I enjoy my job. I get to tweet, Facebook, and photograph things, along with traveling and sampling new food. That’s a pretty sweet deal on my end!

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Although it’s fun, and I do love blogging, whether for money or for pleasure, I’d still love to rejoin the workforce one day. I’m banking on an appointment at Vanderbilt’s hospital on August 4 to let me do just that, but if not, I can make the best of this. Because at least I can snack.

 

Centennial Park and CNN

While we were in Atlanta, we had the chance to visit the World of Coca-Cola. The World of Coca-Cola is incredibly cool, especially the room that has flavors of Coca-Cola from around the world. The only problem is, everyone else thinks World of Coca-Cola is just as cool as I do. So, the first time we tried to visit, there was a thirty minute wait to get tickets, and a two hour wait to get in the door.

I’m not good at standing in line, especially in the heat. In fact, I tend to get dizzy after just a few minutes in the heat. I tend to pass out after a few more minutes, and face-planting in the middle of a crowd of people is not really on my to-do list. Luckily, my family is great about taking my limitations in stride, and we decided to explore the area we were in and come back to the World of Coca-Cola the next day, at opening time.

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There are a lot of cool things to see near the Coca-Cola museum, including Centennial Park, which was designed as (basically) a tourist attraction and ode to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The coolest thing about Centennial Park- well, other than all the events that are held there- is seeing all the bricks with people’s names on them. When the park was being built, people had the chance to put their names or the names of loved ones onto bricks, that would then be displayed forever as the pavement.

I have a brick. I would not have a brick if my dad hadn’t won a contest, allowing him one brick with up to a certain number of characters. I was born then, and my brother wasn’t. So, guess who has their own personal brick? That’s right, little Brittany Nicole, who was too little for this to matter to at the time. Now, I always visit my brick when I’m in Atlanta, but back then, I couldn’t have cared less. I was like, three.

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After visiting my brick, I was overheating, so we decided to walk a cross the street and visit the CNN building. My mom has been on a tour there, and got to ride the world’s tallest escalator. I haven’t yet, so no big news about any of their tours, shows, or reporters. I did, however, get to pose with a lot of weird props and characters in the CNN lobby.

The lobby is a huge food court and marketplace, selling many different types of fast food and all the CNN apparel you could ever need. Here, you can see CNN interns coming and going with their Subway sandwiches, along with plenty of tourists, like us.

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Next time we go back, I want to take the CNN tour instead of just posing beside a news Humvee, but there wasn’t time on this trip. (Side note: see how far back my knees go? I really should be wearing my knee braces, but they just don’t GO with the dress.)

If you do decide to visit Centennial Park, there’s a lot going on besides just CNN and my brick (which is pretty much a tourist attraction in its own right, especially if I ever get famous). Nearby, there’s a giant Ferris wheel, a Civil and Humans right museum, the Georgia Aquarium, and plenty of dining options. You can park nearby for just $8, which is a real bargain in downtown Atlanta. Use the $8 all day parking to check out several of the exhibits and grab dinner before heading back to your hotel! As long as you bring plenty of water and wear walking shoes, you should be good!

Can’t or don’t want to walk far? No problem! World of Coca-Cola has a parking garage immediately across from the entrance, which is also near the entrances of The Civil Rights museum and the Georgia Aquarium. The parking here is $10, but sometimes paying $2 extra is a small price to pay for not having to drag yourself around in the Atlanta heat.

 

Two Piece Separates: The Trend.

I had always been skeptical of the two-piece dress, which felt very eighties, even as it rotated back into style. Would it make me look like a Cyndi Lauper wanna-be? Would I look like a toddler wearing one of those matching top and bottom sets that look great on little kids, but decidedly childish on adults who try to pull it off?

A sale at Rue 21 and a cute anchor print convinced me to give the trend a try. After all, with my Rue Bucks, I would be be spending next to nothing. If all else failed, I could return it for something that didn’t make me look like an overgrown toddler.

When my order arrived, the two piece dress was the first thing I tried on. And I loved it. Not only did they look great together, I could wear the top and bottom with other pieces, which expanded my wardrobe a lot- and for less than $10, once I factored in my discount!

Top and Bottom

Ignore my puffy face- I was dealing with some serious issues with my steroids at that moment in time. This is the outfit all together. It was cute, casual, and perfect for trekking around downtown Atlanta, where everyone and their mother seems to be more stylish than you ever could dream of being.

Husband and Wife

Back at the hotel, I was going for something a little more casual. The top and bottom together are undeniably cute, but it seems a but trendy for lounging around a Wyndham. Since it still was a little warm to pull on a pair of denim anything, I opted to pair my high-waited skater skirt with a mint tee shirt from Forever 21. The look was still cute, but it was laid-back enough to lounge on the poolside couches or grab a quick dinner at the onsite restaurant. Actually, I wore this outfit for several outings, including the time we took a golfcart through the McDonald’s drivethru window. Apparently this is a normal occurrence in Peachtree City, which has 90 miles of golf cart trails, but it was a new and exciting experience for my family and the rest of the people on the trip with us!

Fourth of July

As for the crop top? It went well with my high-waisted shorts and American flag shoes for the Fourth of July. I wore this outfit for a family cookout, as well as seeing fireworks at the local amusement park. The flower crown was actually used in place of a veil at my wedding, but I didn’t want to stop using it after that. The flower crown has been finding its way into a good number of outfits since then!

How do you feel about the two piece trend? Love it? Hate it? Don’t know how to wear it?

I’m not sure if I’m firmly in the love it category, but after these pieces, I’ll definitely be giving it a chance!