On Being on Steroids…Forever.

I’ve been on steroids for about a year now. I don’t have a good track record with steroids. In fact, when I was a kid, I got psychosis from a pack of prednisone and wound up crying about Easy Mac and being attacked by Geese for several hours. Another time, in high school, I was given prednisone for some kind of something, and I wound up falling sideways out of my seat in the middle of class. I lay on the floor for several minutes in dazed stupor.

Knowing all this, you probably wonder why I’m on steroids at all. When my cardiologist suggested a steroid to help me retain sodium, I looked at him like he had grown three heads. He knew my track record. He knew the nightmares I get. He knew how freaking hungry steroids have made me. However, after trying almost everything and still fainting several times a day, I finally agreed to add florinef into my daily regimen- not once, but TWICE daily.

The first few weeks were rough. There was a lot of crying, a little bit of paranoia, and plenty of times I got so hungry for carbs that I seriously considered glutening myself. Don’t judge; I wasn’t thinking clearly at the time.

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As I said at the beginning of the post, it’s been a year now. My face is pudgier than ever, a fact I have turned to makeup to hide. (Hence all the makeup reviews you guys get! So yay for you!) My stomach is a little round, as are my legs, where I’m retaining water and salt to keep from passing out.

But I feel better. I pass out less. I can actually go outside, and I can actually stand up without my heart rate spiking over 200. All in all, I’m glad I made the decision to stay on steroids.

Except for nights like tonight, when my steroids convinced me that a ten p.m. milkshake run was a good idea. And that I needed more than one milkshake. I needed a lot of milkshakes. I needed them fast.

I know that there will be nights like tonight, when the temptation to dig into some carby, cheesey food will be great. I know there will be nights when the only thing I can do to keep myself from going stir-crazy is to drive to the nearest all night diner and order as many milkshakes as my stomach will hold. But that’s okay.

It’s a small price to pay for standing.

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High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Recently, we had a chance to go to the High Museum of Art and see the “Dream Cars” special exhibit. The Dream Cars exhibit was really cool, featuring some of the best- and weirdest- concept cars ever created. We got to see a French car with a name that translates to “The Electric Egg,” which was the prototype of the modern Smart Car. Even for a non-car-buff person like myself, seeing a car made of a fabric, a car that looked like a missile, and a Buick that actually looked like something that someone who wasn’t old would drive- that was a pretty cool experience.

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However, the Dream Cars exhibit wasn’t the only cool thing at The High. My mom, a traditional art fan, was excited to see some famous works she had only ever seen in Art History books. She spent a good fifteen minutes admiring a Monet, while I snuck off into the Modern and Folk art section of the museum.

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Mom and I don’t make a good art museum pair, because she scoffs at modern art and I think traditional art is boring. However, at the High, there’s enough of both types of art that neither of us get bored. We can spend time checking out whatever we want, then meet up back in the lobby to see what’s going on out on the courtyard.

When we visited the High (and until November, if you want to check it out!) there was a really cool, interactive, free exhibit happening in the courtyard in front of the museum. It’s called “Mi Casa, Your Casa,” and is based on houses and the home. The courtyard is filled with red house frames, from which hammocks, swings, and other things dangle. Doors to nowhere stand in the middle of some houses. Some stand empty, beckoning to the performance artists and musicians who play for the kids and parents playing in the exhibit. At night, Mi Casa, Your Casa becomes a venue for artists and performers sponsored by the High. The High Museum of Art takes pride in helping Atlanta continue to be seen as the cultural capital of the Southeast.

I’m a big kid at heart, so Mi Casa, Your Casa was the highlight of my art museum trip. I joined the kids (and kids at heart) who were taking a break from city life in the brilliant red hammocks poised in front of the museum entrance.

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As you can see, I wasn’t about to leave my perch. Unless, of course, someone else wanted to use it. After all, one of the “house rules” at Mi Casa, Your Casa is to share!

Unfortunately, I didn’t wind up ceding my prime position because a little kid wanted their own turn. It wasn’t crowded, but it was raining. Sprinkles turned into a downpour, and we raced for the car. Mom and the husband were happy to have an excuse to get me to leave, I’m sure, because we had a two hour drive home.

I plan to visit the High again before the Mi Casa, Your Casa exhibit ends. I’ll probably also check out the Dream Cars exhibit again, if it’s still there when I go. Maybe I’ll even take time to look at that Monet I had to write a paper about in my sophomore year of high school. Or maybe not.

 

Less Than Glamorous.

Time for another Mostly Wordless Wednesday! Today’s photo is me, sitting in bed, using my TENS machine. Although I’m sometimes a beauty blogger, a lot of the makeup I do is to hide the fact that I constantly look tired. The whole tired thing is, of course, a side effect of being chronically ill. It’s hard to sleep when your knees have dislocated earlier in the day and are now throbbing with even the lightest touch. If my knees could hover, it would be a perfect world.

Unfortunately, they can’t,  so a TENS unit is the next best thing. If you’re unfamiliar with it, a TENS unit uses electrical stimulation to stop your nerves from sending pain signals to your brain. That’s pretty cool technology, and it’s pretty helpful when you’re debating if taking another advil will definitely cause stomach ulcers, or just probably.

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Many companies that make TENS units also make electric pulse massagers, which massage the muscle using electrical stimulation and reduce inflammation and prevent atrophy. A lot of chronically ill people, myself included, actually use both machines! They take a little getting used to, because the feeling of using them the first time can be pretty weird! After a while though, they’re fantastic. There are days I actually rush home to put my TENS unit on my legs!

Anyway- this has been a glance into the less glamorous side of my life. Stuff like this is what I’m doing when I’m not reviewing makeup or traveling to exotic locales, haha!

Sinoia, Georgia

If I had to describe myself visually, it would probably be a collage of cute desserts and nautical motifs. Luckily, no one has ever asked me to make an autobiographical artwork that was anything other than a self portrait, so this has never been an issue. However, sometimes I manage to capture a photograph that so perfectly describes my personality that I have to share it. Here’s a shot from this weekend, while I was visiting Sinoia, Georgia. There are several French markets and a bakery in town, which is where I procured the macarons! (They were delicious, by the way.)

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Cute, gluten-free desserts and an anchor skirt- what more could you ask for? Well, you could probably ask about a lot, especially since I was visiting the filming location of many famous movies and TV shows. One of the shows you might know of is The Walking Dead.

I’ll be honest here- I’m not a zombie fan. I have only seen one episode of the show, and it was gory enough to give me some weird nightmares. That’s why I had no clue why it was important to sit in this cell, below, which is one of the actual cells used on the set of whichever season of The Walking Dead was set in a prison.

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I guess that’s cool, right? Am I cultured yet?

If, like me, you’re not into the whole zombie aesthetic, the town was also known for it’s visibility in Fried Green Tomatoes, one of my favorite movies. Unfortunately our tour bus was moving rather fast so I didn’t get any pictures of the famous bride and railroad tracks from the movie! Did you know the same bridge and railroad tracks that were used in Fried Green Tomatoes were used in the tunnel fight scenes in The Walking Dead? I certainly didn’t!

The whole trip was part of my Mom’s blogging stuff- she has to write about the trip for Wyndham hotels, who planned and paid for it. I was just lucky enough to tag along so I could take pictures, tweet, and Instagram for her while she was taking notes or what have you.

E.L.F. Eyebrow Kit Review

I’m obsessed with perfecting my eyebrows. For several years now, my staple has been a brow set from Billion Dollar Brows. When I got the brow set as a gift,  I had no clue you were even supposed to do your brows.

Since then, I have tried several different brow products, but I always went back to my trusty BDB kit. Well, the kit has finally run its course,  and it was time for me to move on to bolder and better brows.

Enter the e.l.f. 50% sale. If it’s half price, and it was already a great price, you gotta buy it, right? I think so, anyway, so I snatched up the Brow Kit (a gel and a powder, with a tiny little brush) and got ready to try it out.

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Here’s my daily brow look. It’s pretty nice, I get a lot of compliments, but it could be better. It’s just a basic brow. And it’s time to move past that.

When I opened the e.l.f. brow kit, I was a little concerned. The powder side looked really light, and the gel looked really dark.

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Swatching them soothed my fears almost immediately, although it proved the tiny double-ended brush a little unwieldy. I stocked up on brushes during the last sale, so providing my own wasn’t a problem. I also realized I would need my own brow brush- my last few kits came with them, so that wasn’t really a problem either.

Here’s the swatch, for comparison to the packaging:

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The powder is on the left, and the gel is on the right. As you can see, it’s a lot more natural than it looked when I first opened it up!

Using my own brushes, and my eyebrow brush, I applied the powder first to fill in blank spots, then went over with the gel before using an e.l.f. all-over color stick (I’ve totally forgotten the name of the shade!) To highlight underneath the brow.

I’m pretty proud of the results.

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This brow look is a lot bolder than I usually go for, but I love it. It’s stayed put through playing with a dog, packing for a business trip, and a nice dinner, so I’d say it will stand up to just about anything.

Usability-wise, I’d probably say average if you’re trying to use the tiny brush it came with. If you have your own brushes, it’s much easier and the end result is better, too!

All in all, will I buy it again? Definitely! Even if it’s not on sale, it’s really inexpensive and I love the results.

Book Blogging:

I read pretty much constantly. It’s one of the few things I can do even when I’m bedbound, and it’s been one of my favorite hobbies since I was a child. Both fortunately and unfortunately,  I am a bit of a speedreader. Ever since I learned to read, a lot of my money has gone into buying books.

I’ve been wishing for years that there was a sort of netflix for books, other than the library. Because of joint issues, holding a bulky book for a long period of time- like, more than ten minutes- isn’t an option anymore. I do a lot of ebook reading, and my library is way behind the times. We don’t have the capability to check out ebooks yet! Awful, right? Practically the stone age over here.

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Well, guess what’s happened lately? Not one, but TWO major ebook subscription services have popped up. For the interest of science, I’ve decided to try the free trial of both. In a month, I’ll pick between the two: Oyster and Scribd.

Right now, I’m leaning towards Oyster, pictured, for sheer usability. I love the interface, and there are a ton of books I’ve been dying to read. Scribd, on the other hand, has even more books I want to read, but I’m less impressed with the user interface. They’re both well developed so far, and constantly adding new books.

At the end of the month, I’ll report back with which one I ended up keeping and why! However, I’ve heard that Amazon is thinking of starting an ebook subscription service, and I love my Kindle, so if they do…well, the answer may be neither.

Have you tried an ebook subscription service yet? Did you like it?

e.l.f. Makeup Haul!

e.l.f. cosmetics recently had their annual 50% off sale. If there´s anything I love, it´s sales. Especially makeup sales, which is surprising to anyone who has known me for more than three years. I was the last to wear makeup in my group of friends, but also the first to fully master it. Now, I have friends coming to me to ask my advice on various cosmetics, eyebrow techniques, and most anything else beauty or fashion related. It´s fun being the go-to, but it also means I constantly have to…okay, want to try new makeup so I can let my friends know if it´s a buy or if it´s a bust.

e.l.f. is a great brand to try new makeup techniques with, because it is incredibly cheap and most of it is good quality, at least for beginners. Add in a half price sale, and of course I had to go shopping! So, without further ado, here is my haul!

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Can´t see that? Here´s a closer look!

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I grabbed a few of my basics for this haul, but I also wanted to try some new things. My trusty Billion Dollar Brows set has seen better days, and I wanted to branch out in the brow world, so I bought an eyebrow kit. A baked highlighter and baked blush join the baked bronzer I already own, rounded out with the baked eyeshadow palette in Texas, which has excellent reviews. e.l.f.´s eyelid primer and mineral primer are two of my everyday supplies, so I restocked on those while grabbing a spf 20 BB cream!

I know, BB creams don´t really live up to their hype. However, my skin type requires only the lightest coverage, especially with a smoothing primer, so a BB cream that´s basically a renamed tinted moisturizer is perfectly okay by me.

Finishing off the purchase were a pair of slanted tweezers, not pictured, along with two brushes and a 3 piece eye set. I also bought the lip exfoliator on a whim, because I love lipstick but my lips are often too chapped to wear my favorite matte shades!

So far, I have only tried the tweezers and the BB cream, but I will be posting a review of the brow set and the Texas baked eyeshadow palette once I put them to use!

What are your favorite e.l.f. products?