MK Glam

I received the Influenster Mary Kay #MKGlam Vox Box chock full with MK products to try and review.
Untitled

In the box were: Bronzing Powder; Translucent Loose Powder; Mineral Cheek Color; Cream Eye Color in Apricot Twist; Cream Eye Color/Concealer Brush; Lash Love® Mascara; Gel Eyeliner with Expandable Brush Applicator in Jet Black; NouriShine Plus® Lip Gloss in Mango Tango.

Overall, the products are very nice. The packaging is nice and with the exception of the loose powder, very effective.

  • I don’t use bronzer, but the product was nice and went on well.
  • The loose powder was ok, a good base powder, but that’s about it. The packaging makes it a pain to get just a little and everytime I use it I wind up with too much on the brush and have to ditch some of it on a towel. I have a similar product from another company that’s packed instead of loose and it’s much easier to use. I do like the mattefying properties of the powder though.
  • The blush was great, perfect color for me.
  • The eye color was lovely, but doesn’t stay on long enough for me to purchase again, I also work long hours and sweat a lot so that is probably part of the issue.
  • The mascara was the big disappointment in the box; it was clumpy and took forever to dry.
  • The eyeliner was ok, I use a lot of gel liners and this one was one of the better ones; my main issue was smearing and not drying well.
  • Last but not least was the lip gloss, which was pretty, but doesn’t taste very good; I tend to be a stickler for lips that taste nice, so this is probably not something I’d buy from MK again.
The three brushes that came with the kit are PHENOMENAL. They’re super soft, work incredibly well and I would definitely recommend them. 
The “date night” look in the picture was a quick, easy application, which is PERFECT for me. For day and casual nights I don’t like a full-face of makeup, and this MK Glam box provided me with the tools to make a perfect, fresh-faced, sun-kissed summer look. Starting with an under eye concealer/spot corrector (I used Benefit’s Fake Up), I set it with the loose powder. I then mixed the bronzer and blush with the provided brush (which is so soft and fluffy) to hit the apples of my cheeks and dust my forehead and nose. I then went back over my cheeks with a little extra blush. I put on the cream eyeshadow first using the concealer brush just across the lid and then lined my top lashes with the gel liner and the expandable brush that comes with (this brush is GENIUS, perfect size, and the cap keeps it from drying out between uses!) I finished my eyes with a coat of the mascara, which is SUPER wet, this stuff takes ages to dry, so keep that in mind if you’re in a rush… or have to sneeze. Lastly I put a light coating of the NouriShine gloss on my lips and I was good to go! 
I’ve used this same look a few times now, and I get a lot of compliments on the fresh look and the lip gloss color. I’m not entirely sure I’d buy these products on my own yet, but time will tell. I’m definitely a sucker for the incredible brushes and the east of the cream eye shadow. And I really like the blush, but I tend to like a 3-in-one blush/bronzer/shimmer combo since I use it all over my face.
All and all, my opinion of MK has changed since receiving the vox box. I still find the products too expensive for my budget, but they’re definitely higher quality, and therefore worthwhile to invest in. Thanks MK and Influenster!
 

#RaiseYourArms

#RaiseYourArms

So I got this great full-size sample from Dove of their new Advanced Care Deodorant from Influenster. I wanted to really give it a few weeks before I reviewed it, since one of the major claims is that it helps to soften skin and “love your underarms.” Well, it definitely does. My armpits are definitely more moisturized and softer. I am pretty sure that I’m also getting a closer shave, and that it’s lasting a little longer, and who doesn’t love that?!?! Definitely helps to have smooth, soft underarms at the gym, and since I always work out in tanks and sleeveless tops, this helps a lot. My only complaint, is that it’s not a very strong deodorant. I definitely need to reapply before the gym, which is a little bit of an inconvenience compared to my last brand of deodorant. So it’s a trade off, great skin, but not as strong vs. dry, razor-burnt skin and odor protection to the max. I think I might be sticking with soft armpits… you know, they deserve some love too!

Perspective

IMG_0127

 

This time last year I wrote a (now) password-protected, explicative-filled, anger-fueled, hurt-motivated, for-lack-of-a-better-word, rant about 2011 and the shit year it had been. I was so hurt and down-trodden about the (in retrospect) character-building, struggle-filled, strength-breeding year that had just crapped all over me and my self-esteem.

For better, 2011 taught me so much and built a much stronger, grounded, inventive person. And it had nothing on 2012. At all. From questioning my marriage, to building it back up, to watching my beloved Grandma succumb to the bitch that is cancer in 4 short months, to remodeling our apartment, to having my husband question our marriage and resolve to build it back together. I left a job I hated for a job where I feel like they all hate me. I lost another 20ish lbs (the day before she died, a meager 60ish lbs, my grandma looked me up and down and told me I’d lost a lot of weight… I said, “look who’s talking.”) I kept my resolution of actually trying to look presentable every time I left the house… no one noticed. And I’m still standing.

One of my friends posted wishes for a bunch of girlfriends of 2013, and what she wrote for me took the breath right out of me:

“In my world where all wishes are granted just because I ask them, you will find perfect solace and comfort in your writing, and the guts to share it, and it will set the world on fire. You have a voice that deserves to be heard, and this year, you will claim that!”

I’ve missed writing so much. After losing my job at the paper, I felt like the wind was gone from my proverbial sails. Every time I sat down to write, I couldn’t really find the words unless they were filled with snark or anger. Only when I was incredibly emotional, borderline raw, could I really express myself like I used to. Writing had stopped being cathartic and became another piece of failure. A degree and 3-years of work wasted.

The only time I ever shared “MY” voice in my tenure with the paper was when I wrote about my dad (see the post from last year below/few posts back). I never knew how “MY” words could impact someone. I knew that my work at the paper brought closure and peace to hurting families and that I presented the lives of hundreds of people to the community, but that was kind of thankless type of writing. When I wrote about Jason, people came up to me and were truly touched, moved, inspired by what I had to say. I had shared one of the most important parts of my life.

This year, I promise to do more of that… not for anyone else, but for me. (If you’ve stumbled across my blog allow me to apologize, feel free to leave now…) I want this to be a part of me, the stupid, quirky, insane, ADD, chaotic and everything else that is ME.

My mom asked me to write my Grandma’s eulogy, and I was terrified. I was so, so afraid that I wouldn’t be able to find the words, and I wouldn’t be able to find words to do that amazing woman justice. My husband had said that I just needed to sit down and try, and they would come to me… they always did… And though he may be quiet and understated, I married a smart man. I found the words for her… and now, going forward, I’m going to find the words for me.

Bring it on ’13… I’m comin’ for you.

New Year

Happy New Year! (Yes, I know, a bit belated.) With everything we’ve had going on through the holidays, coming up with witty things to talk about has been nearly impossible.

I am going to try and stick to a goal of blogging more frequently this year, one of my many attempts to try and get back to doing things that make me happy. Along with that is sticking to a good exercise regime and being healthy.

Just before Christmas, I got the opportunity through Crowdtap to sample some of Old Navy’s active wear, which is perfect for me. I’ve lost about 35 lbs so far, so a lot of the work out clothing I purchased when I started my journey is either too big or starting to look a little worse for the wear. I’ve purchased some of ON’s yoga pants in the past, they’ve always been super comfy and hold their shape really well, but I’ve never bought anything specifically for working out in. I received two coupons, one for me and I gave the other to my sister who is the secretary at the fitness studio I go to, and we each got to pick out one top and one bottom from the active wear selection at our local ON.

My sister went with a long-sleeve, bright shirt and black pants, which she said are so comfy and wash incredibly well. She’s in work-out-wear all the time so this was a great opportunity for her, and she’s been pleasantly surprised by the quality of ON’s offerings.

I was bummed, to be perfectly honest, really bummed at the selection at the store I went to. All the active wear was shoved into a corner with hardly any room to move or anyway to find sizes. I do blame the time of year for the lack of support on the floor at the store, but there wasn’t even one person to ask for help, which was really disappointing. I had my heart set on finding some workout leggings and a great top, but the leggings were no-where to be found in a size that fit me, and the ones I did find were either fit for children (seriously, a large wouldn’t even fit up my leg, I’m a size 12, so that’s insane) or 4′ too long. ON should really take into consideration that not everyone is 5’9″ and they need to offer more lengths.

Even though the choices were limited, I found some great shirts, and actually wound up buying an additional shirt because I liked it so much. The pants I chose were the only option that I could find that fit and were comfortable. I won’t wear them as much as I would’ve worn leggings because I wear a knee brace, and I’m fairly certain the flared bottom of the pants is going to get in the way of the brace being tightened properly. Oh well.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how well the fabric wicks away moisture while working out, especially without feeling clammy afterwards. With the temperatures dropping here, it’s nice to know that I’m not completely soaked when I leave the studio and go outside.

Despite being a little disappointed, I’m super grateful for the opportunity to try the line, and I’m so in love with the tops I got. I’m always on the look out for active wear tops that are fun, cute, fashionable and still functional in a fitness setting and there were several options that offered that at Old Navy. I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on my new tops, especially at Zumba. The tops don’t get in the way, they keep me dry(ish) and they’re super fun and cute.

I’m thrilled that I get such great opportunities to give my opinions from Crowdtap, and I was also able to earn my first Amazon gift card last week for all the points I’ve earned on the site. It’s so great to know that you opinion matters and that you’re rewarded for taking the time to share your opinions with brands that you know and love. I’ve been shopping at Old Navy for years, it’s been my go-to store since I graduated high school in 2003, and I love that I can share my feedback and hopefully affect changes with the brand that help other women with the same issues that I have. It’s great to feel valued as a customer.

Fall Dresses from Old Navy

I recently received an offer from CrowdTap to sign up to sample Old Navy’s new fall dresses, and got accepted. I was stoked, looking at their fall lineup online had me anxious to go to the store and try on all the great sweater and wrap dresses they have this year.

I decided to take my sister with me to use the second coupon they offered, and we went to Old Navy at Tanger to check out the selection. I was so bummed. Tanger was a madhouse, which I didn’t expect, and Old Navy looked like a bomb had gone off. All the dresses were centrally located, but there were hardly any styles to choose from. All my excitement over the online images had been for nothing. They had one style of sweater dress, in a few different colors, but the style was so unflattering. One of the reasons I was looking forward to this sample and share was how the dresses seemed to actually have some shape this year, instead of the standard up and down sweater dresses of the past few seasons. I was out of luck, and with the next closest Old Navy over an hour away, we were left to choose from what was before us.

I did see a style that I hadn’t noticed online, a great mod-looking dress with a fantastic pattern that I was sure would look awful on me, but I grabbed it anyway.Image

And then I grabbed a mock-wrap dress in green:Image

and a black and white-striped dress with a cute little belt: Image

 

First I tried on the green dress, which I figured would look great. The dress was cute, but because I’m larger in the chest, it pulled in a really unflattering way, and left me a bit exposed unless I kept pulling at it. A tip to ON, try to make the holes for the fabric to move through a little smaller, or at least a little easier to hide. Image

Then I went for the pretty, patterned dress that I wasn’t so sure about. OMG, I love it. LOOOOVE it. For something that looked completely shapeless and straight, it hugs my curves just right. The pattern is adorable, the fabric is soft, the dress is lined (where else can you find that for under $30??) and made me feel like a million bucks!
Image

And lastly I went for the dress I liked most online, the black and white-striped 3/4 fit and flare dress. I think, had I had on some shapewear, I’d have fallen for this dress. The material was a little too clingy, and I didn’t want to go up a size and have it not fit throughout the season. The belt did give me a great waistline, and the cut was so cute, but it didn’t make me feel as great as the mod-print dress.
Image

HOWEVER, It looked fab on my little sister, who happily took it as her free sample!
Image

Despite being a little disappointed when we got to Old Navy, we both left with really great dresses. I’m not sure about my sister, but I cannot wait to wear mine on Thursday for Thanksgiving. I’m thinking I’ll pair it with my black, patent leather wedges and bring a black cardigan just in case.

If you’re looking for a dress this season, make sure you give Old Navy a visit and check out their selection. If you’re comfortable shopping online, definitely drop by the site because the selection is incredible! And always, if you’d like the opportunity to voice your opinion, make sure you join CrowdTap!

 

 

New McCormick products (from Crowdtap)

So recently my husband and I were given the opportunity to try some new McCormick products. We’re huge fans of grilling, and spend our entire summer outside, and even tend to grill as much as possible in the winter. We’ve always been huge fans of McCormick grill seasonings (i.e. Montreal Steak and Chicken, and some of the specialty varieties they’ve offered over the years.) So when we were offered the chance to sample several of their new products, while hosting a BBQ mind you, we were thrilled!

Image

We received a box of products (FULL SIZE, I might add), to try:

  • Party Booklet
  • Grill Mates® Spiced Brandy & Herb Marinade
  • Grill Mates® Slow and Low Memphis Pit BBQ Rub
  • Grill Mates® Montreal Steak Seasoning Blend
  • Grill Mates® Molasses Bacon Seasoning Blend
  • Grill Mates® Brown Sugar Bourbon BBQ Sauce

So we set out to make up a menu that used all of the new products in different ways. We made a Spiced Brandy & Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloing; Slow and Low Memphis Pit BBQ Rubbed Salmon, Montreal Steak, Molasses Bacon Potato Salad and Brown Sugar Bourbon BBQ basted Kielbasa and Pineapple skewers. OMG, everything was amazing.

Image

And after everyone was sufficiantly stuffed, and mildly intoxicated, we indulged in some of my amazing cookies (loaded oatmeal and browned butter salted chocolate chip), brownies and some s’mores of course :O)

Image

So I have to say, the entire new line that we got to try from McCormick was amazing. I’m totally addicted to their BBQ sauce and will be buying it going forward. And the same goes for the marinade, I love a dry mix that I can keep in the pantry for as long as I need to. It’s great to buy it and have it on hand without worrying that it’s going to to bad in the fridge if you don’t use it. And it packed a better punch than any of those other bottled marinades I’ve gotten in the past.

Thanks to McCormick and to Crowd Tap of course. If you’re not a member of the site, you need to join. What’s better than voicing your opinion and getting to try awesome new products in the process :O)

He may not be my father, but he is my Dad.

I miss writing, immensely. And I don’t mean writing for the sake of writing, because I could obviously do that here. I mean writing for others, writing for the paper, affecting people with my words.

The editorial below was published in the Thursday, June 18, 2009, edition of The Suffolk Times, the first and only editorial I’ve ever written. And, of all the things I’ve written/published/shared over the years, the piece I’m most proud of.

BY ANASTASIA HASSELL

My grandma always had this saying: “Any man can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad.” Maybe it’s because of that sentiment, but I’ve always believed that it takes a really unique and caring person to take on the responsibility of someone else’s children, and to love them, unconditionally, as their own. I do have a father, but when I moved to New York, he stayed in California, and cross-country relationships aren’t easy to maintain.

I met Jason when I was 15. I actually yelled at him for parking on our lawn and told him he had to go. When he came back that night to see my mom, he told me his dog, Sam, was in the truck. Sam proceeded to bite me. Not a good first impression. I’d been through the wringer with these guys, no one was ever good enough, always pretending like they wanted to be a family, and in the end they never lasted.

Joey and Lexi, my siblings, were sold on Jason almost immediately. I think Joey was 6 and Lexi was 3 and they just adored Jason. I was older and harder to convince.

He was immediately different from every other guy my mom had dated. He didn’t try really hard to impress me or force the dad thing on me. He really didn’t do anything but love my mom. And he was always himself.

And he grew on me. He helped my mom throw me a wonderful Sweet 16 party, and didn’t force me to do the father/daughter stuff that was so foreign to me. He respected that I have a father and never tried to infringe upon that. He taught me to drive stick; I’m responsible for every gray hair he has. And when he decided he wanted my mom to be his wife, he wanted me to be OK with that. I’ve always said that Jason didn’t just court my mom when they were dating, he courted us also. He wasn’t just marrying her, he was making us a family.

And our family has grown: I have a wonderful stepsister, Sara; Jason adopted Joey and Lexi several years ago; and Jason and Mom gave us another beautiful brother, Wyatt.

I think the most important thing Jason ever taught me was about roles. Just because I loved him, and I wanted to call him Dad, it didn’t mean I was giving up my real father. And if I wasn’t comfortable calling Jason “Dad,” he respected that, and he’d never try to change my mind.

I would never be the person that I am without all the lessons Jason has taught me. And my life would truly be missing a key part without him in it. He never had to be there for me or my family, but for the last 10 years he has been. And maybe that’s why he means so much more to me. I love you, Dad.

Anastasia Hassell, a resident of Mattituck, is an editorial assistant for Times/Review Newspapers.

How am I so lucky??

Because I apply/enter/register for things. Everyone keeps asking me how I win free stuff, get free samples, find awesome coupons, etc… I put myself out there. Ya gotta be in it to win it!

That being said, I was chosen to receive another (my third) sample and share opportunity with Old Navy through Crowdtap. (I’ve mentioned this before to everyone, you NEED to join this site. If you like voicing your opinion and being rewarded for it, there’s no better site to be involved with.)

This opportunity gave me the chance to sample one of Old Navy’s new short styles, just in time for Summer! Now, I was super stoked for this opportunity simply because it’s been YEARS since I bought shorts… and I do mean years. Probably 2-3 at least. After 4 knee surgeries and a thyroid problem, I packed on the lbs and was definitely not comfortable showing my legs off. Plus I have some pretty gnarly scars to boot.

This gave me the incentive to look again, and to get a pair for FREE to critique. What’s not to love about this whole situation?? With these opportunities you also get a free pair to give to a friend so they can enjoy too. This time around I chose my lovely younger sister, Sara, and made a date out of the sampling experience.

We hit up the Old Navy in Tanger and went crazy. I tried on, no joke, at least 10 different pairs and loved some and just wasn’t feeling the others. To start, I had dropped another pant size, so all the 16′s I picked out were immediately out… SWEET (this trip was already off to a rockin’ start). So armed with my many different styles, I tried to figure out which I couldn’t live without.

The theme this year is COLOR. I loooove color, so no surprise, I wound up getting a pair of madras-style plaid shorts as my “sample” along with two pairs of colored shorts: Purple and Coral. Top my shopping trip off with two coordinating tanks and I am ready for summer!

Free (YES FREE) Old Navy Dress :O)

So I finally got to wear my FREE Old Navy spring dress (courtesy of Crowdtap) to work today since the weather finally turned around! It’s gorgeous (see pic) and great for work. I paired it with a pretty purple cardi from Loft that matched the flowers perfectly. And finished it off with some patent nude wedges from Payless.

Image

You might be wondering how I got a free dress… Well, Crowdtap is an online community where you’re able to voice your opinion directly to the companies you patronize, i.e. Old Navy (with which I’m OBSESSED). They offer Sample and Share opportunities where you get a free item, like my dress, and you get to provide feedback. So I applied for the opportunity, got accepted, got a coupon and got to go to Old Navy and pick out a free new dress! Bonus! Oh, and I liked the dresses so much, I bought a second one since I couldn’t decide.

The great thing about the whole Sample and Share process from Crowdtap, is not only the free item, but also that you get to share it with a friend. I gave my other coupon to my co-worker, Stephanie, to get a dress and she picked this cute one:

Image

I have no idea why it won’t let me rotate the images, my apologies!

If you’re not a member of Crowdtap, be sure to join, and be REALLY sure to check out Old Navy’s spring dress lineup, they have the most amazing selection this year (for equally amazing prices!)

Who.Am.I.

writer . ex-writer . ex-wife . daughter . sister . procrastinator . sarcastic . confused . guarded . neurotic . micro-manager . neat-freak . lazy . book-worm . dreamer . wisher . hope-er . angry . bitter . seeker . student . singer . dancer . ex-cheerleader . overweight . handicapped . nerd . punk . brat . bitch . dimples . canvas . honest . liar . vigilant . dedicated . afraid . terrified . alone . aware . broke . paranoid . over-thinker . hurtful . anal-retentive . grammar-snob . blunt . emotional . short . adult . adult-ish . neglected . offended . begrudging . empathetic . fake-redhead . wandering . un-settled .

work.in.progress…

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.