Monday, June 24, 2013

Chronic Chiari, Dealing with People

Lately, people have been really strange.  I've had a couple of people in my life say and do some really hurtful things.  For the most part I blow these things off because typically it's their own fears that cause such things.  The thing that really confused me is that they act like their hurtful behavior should have no consequences or bearing on our friendship.  Whenever you say or do things that hurt me, I have to ask myself if our friendship is so valuable that I can overlook the behavior.  I understand that sometimes everyone has a bad day and that their tongue may get a bit sharp because of it.  But if you are truly my friend then you can find it in your heart to admit your mistake.  If our friendship is fairly superficial then it's in my best interest to put a little distance between us.  You see, we accept the behavior we feel we deserve.  We teach those around us which behaviors we are willing to tolerate by sticking around for more.  For me, I have enough pain with my body and my health to accept more pain from so called friends. 

I realize that the best thing I can do to maintain my health and manage my pain is to keep my life as stress free as possible.  Therefore, people who do nothing but add stress to my life aren't truly my friends.   My real friends understand that pain management and mental health go hand in hand.  Stress is a big contributor to my nighttime panic attacks, as well.   Those that don't understand that staying happy and stress free is important in my life cannot possibly be my friends.  I know this may sound harsh but I can't be worried about all of my problems and other people's insecurities too.  My life is too full of too many health problems for that.

 So the question is, "Do I feel like a bitch for putting my health before my friendships?"  The answer is no, I don't.  Simply because I have plenty of friends who understand my situation and they wouldn't dream of causing me such difficulties over trivial things.  When we have difficulties or problems we talk about them.  We talk thru them.  Sometimes just understanding each other's point of view can go a long way to ease difficulties.  We can even agree to disagree.  Most importantly how I treat  myself by determining how I will allow others to treat me helps me establish my own self worth.   I am worthy of friends who understand my health condition and still love me anyway.   My condition is simply part of my life; it dictates how I get through my day to day activities.  Remaining peaceful and happy is crucial to my well being.  Therefore, those people that cannot adhere to my philosophy don't get the honor of being involved in my personal life.  For the most part, my family and friends do a great job of helping me get through.  For the few that choose to create chaos in my life, I sincerely hope that they can find their own peace in life.  Obviously, they have some deep seated discomfort with something in their life since they are choosing to make life difficult for others. 

We need to remember that our goal in life is to learn how to to treat each other and how to treat ourselves.  It's only then that we can finally see the true beauty in life which is love.   True love for others can only come after you have discovered true love for self.  After all, how you treat yourself is a direct reflection of how you treat others.  Our life is a gift and by choosing not to respect that gift we are effectively saying that we do not value the gift.  I value myself enough to realize that chaos is not conducive to remaining healthy.  I value you enough not to complicate your life with a sick person while you have obvious issues with something.  Life is a beautiful amazing thing, it's too short to be miserable over other people's behavior.  It's not selfish or conceited to put yourself first; it's learning to care for the thing most valued to you. 

So I leave you with this.  If your life were as simple as Facebook, who would you delete from your feed for bringing too much chaos and negativity?  If you are the problem then you need to find a new attitude, one better suited for a long life full of happiness.  If your friends are to blame then they are obsiously not friends, they are more like enemies.  It's time to clean up your friend's list.  Start by looking in the mirror.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Real Techniques Makeup Brushes

Until recently I had not tried the Real Techniques brushes by Samantha Chapman.  Then I happened to stumble upon a Buy 1 Get 50% off sale at Ulta.  I also had rewards points to use for a discount.  I didn’t go in to Ulta with purpose of purchasing anything; alas, I don’t know that it’s possible to not purchase anything when going into Ulta. 
Fotor061921237Then something magical happened.  I saw a lash and brow groomer and the lash comb had metal teeth! I’d heard that Sonia Kashuk has one but I’ve never seen one in my Target.  So when I saw that the Real Techniques Lash and Brow Groomer has one I was mesmerized.  I hate lashes that cling and clump together.  It’s a huge pet peeve of mine.  So I have been known to use a push pin to separate my lashes.  I know it’s not the safest thing but, you know, it works!  So I knew I had to have this Lash and Brow Groomer because I could have the strength of a metal tooth with the safety of a beauty tool.  Plus, we all know that those plastic teeth just end up breaking off rendering it completely useless.
Fotor0619213148Since there was a sale on I decided to treat myself to a couple of new brushes.  I’d heard great things about the brushes and decided to try them out.  The Real Techniques Blush Brush boasts a unique egg shaped brush with extremely soft, layered bristles.  What I have discovered about this particular blush brush is that it makes using a light hand that much easier.  I am extremely fair skinned and highly pigmented blush can be difficult for me to wear. This brush makes application a dream by picking up just the right amount for me to sweep across my cheeks.  The $8.99 price tag doesn’t break the bank either!
Fotor0619213754The Real Techniques Powder Brush, $9.99,  is easily the largest brush in my collection.  I have been extremely pleased with how easy it is to dust powder all over to set my foundation.  It’s easy to tell that a makeup artist, Samantha Chapman of Pixiwoo, has designed these brushes.  They have sturdy handles and the ferrule (the copper colored part) extends beyond most.  This is important as some brushes have a problem with the handle coming loose from the ferrule.  The another common problem with brushes is shedding.  None of the brushes I have purchased from this collection have lost one bristle. 
Another brush I picked up is the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, $8.99. This brush is designed for cream and liquid foundation.  Until I purchased this brush, my most commonly used foundation application method was a toss up between my fingers and the Beauty Blender.  I don’t like getting my fingers all messy and it’s a hassle to wet the Beauty Blender.  This foundation brush has solved both of those problems.  It does a great job of applying foundation evenly and without streaks.  I will admit that I was skeptical because stippling brushes leave streaks; but this brush leaves a flawless, streak free finish!

Last but not least is the Real Techniques Lash and Brow Groomer.  The metal teeth on this lash comb are amazing.  Everyday my lashes want to group together and everyday these teeth gently separate them.  They aren’t glued together by mascara and are free to flutter.  I am free to admire each and every lash as individuals, the way they were meant to be!  The brow brush is firm but not harsh.  How can you not appreciate the fact that part of the bristles are purple.  Functional and cute.  This tool has it all!  This is by far the most perfect lash and brow tool and it’s a steal at only $5.99.  Just run to your nearest Ulta (or online if you don’t have one nearby) and buy it.  You won’t be disappointed and it won’t let you down. 
I am more than pleased with all four of my Real Techniques brushes and I look forward to collecting even more in the future.  They were a bargain by combining sales, rewards points and coupons.  For all four brushes I paid a total of $13.46 + tax.  How you ask? I purchased the blush brush, $8.99,  and the lash comb, $2.99 at 50% off, on my first Ulta trip.  I used a $3.50 off $10 coupon from their flyer that they mailed to me and used 100 rewards points for $3.00 off.   This left me with a balance of $5.48 for both brushes.  My next trip, the following day, I purchased the powder brush, $9.99, and the face brush, $4.49 at 50% off.  I used a $3.50 off $10 coupon from the key ring app on my android and used another 100 rewards points for $3.00 off.  This left a balance of $7.98 + tax.  I am completely thrilled with my new brushes and my wallet is thanking me for making such a frugal purchase.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Budget Beauty, CoverGirl Flamed Out Shadow Pencil

The CoverGirl Flamed Out Shadow Pencil is a traditional wooden pencil housing a cream eyeshadow.  Sadly, I have only one lone color as I wasn't sure if I would enjoy the formula.  I love trying new products but I have no desire to collect a drawer full of duds. So I always purchase conservatively.   The packaging is pretty basic, nothing noteworthy here.  The size is between a lipliner and a NYX jumbo pencil.  The wooden pencil requires a larger than liner sharpener which is a bit of a bummer; but, it's not problematic enough to keep me from purchasing it. 

The color of the cap and the bottom indicate the color of the shadow inside the pencil.  The wooden stick contains .08 oz of product.  It's quite a functional pencil with no fancy bells or whistles.  Try as I might to find something witty or intriguing to say about the packaging there isn't any.   It would be nice if they could switch packaging to the twist up version instead of needing a sharpener.  

So, we will move on to the real reason you're reading this post, the shadow.  I must say that this is a mystical, magical shimmery substance used to delight and decorate the eyelids! I was not prepared for the cooling sensation when I first applied the Flamed Out pencil to my lid. I was taken aback for a moment before moving on to enjoy it.  It's quite difficult to describe other than to say that it has a cooling effect.  Crystal Flame works well as an inner corner highlight but I would avoid it as a brow bone highlight as it contains micro fine glitter. 

The camera does not do the swatch justice.  Crystal Flame has a shimmery finish that my camera just isn't capturing.  I found that it glided on fairly smoothly and blended rather well.  For the most part all cream shadows can be a bit streaky and require a bit of blending to receive best results.  The micro fine glitter in the cream which gives it more a metallic feel to the shimmery finish.  You could wear this color alone  to add a shimmer to the eyes or you could build it up to full on opaque color.  

Left to Right: CoverGirl Crystal Flame, Maybelline Too
Cool and NYX Cottage Cheese. 

In comparison with Maybelline Color Tattoo in Too Cool and NYX Jumbo Pencil in Cottage Cheese, the CoverGirl seems to be more matte. However, in person it's actually the one with the most shimmer once the cream has set.  I have found that of the three the CoverGirl formula wears the longest by itself.   As an eyeshadow base all three wear all day without creasing or fading.  Overall, I am impressed with the CoverGirl formula and I'm disappointed it's not permanent.   However, the less than stellar packaging and limited color selection are a bit of a let down.

CoverGirl put a new spin on the cream eyeshadow pencil and they could do well in the marketplace with a couple of minor adjustments.  Ditch the wooden pencil and switch to the twist up version.  Add a few more colors, especially some neutrals and some mattes.  Make them permanent and they could do well. 

These products were purchased by myself with the intend to enjoy them. Please follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for your daily dose of positivity.

Ipsy, Is It Worth It? June 2013

June's theme for the Ipsy bag is 'On the Wild Side.'  It is very appropriately named with bold pops of color, sparkling glitter, and an animal print bag!  I love this theme and I love this bag.  This $10 per month subscription bag is loaded with fun products that aren't for the feint of heart. This bag begs us to answer the call to the wild side and boldly try new looks this summer. Why not?  Summer heat, summer romance and summer fun begs us to go bold or stay home.  I am looking forward to embracing the wild and trying some fun looks with this month's products.  

I am going to jump right off the deep in and go for the gusto first thing.  The J Cat Cream Palette really packs a punch.  Full of shine and sparkle this glitter filled cream palette's recommended purpose is for body art.  The swatches on top are without primer.  The swatches on bottom were swatched over the LA Splash Splash Proof Sealer which is basically cosmetic grade glue.  The J Cat Cream Palette in Suzie retails for $4.49.  The gold and copper colors are perfect for a beach bound golden goddess.  So what exactly this land-locked Okie is going to do with it? I can't say at this moment.  Please use extreme caution if using this palette around the eyes.  Apply these glitter creams over a coordinating eyeshadow for full on color with gorgeous sparkle and set with any makeup setting spray.  

Next, the J Cat Eyelashes, valued at $3.99, will enhance your eyes and bringing them into sharp focus.  These EL66 lashes are full and dramatic.  Use with caution during the day as you may get more attention than you bargained for.   I am normally not a fan of glue that come with any eyelashes.  However, I am willing to give this one a try.  I prefer black eyelash glue and am impressed with the packaging!  It is so much easier to apply the glue with a stiff stick rather than to try to squeeze the right amount out of a tube.  So far I am very pleased with the lashes and I am looking forward to wearing them.

Another fantastic eye product that I am truly looking forward to is the Cailyn Line-Fix Gel Eyeliner in purple.  With a retail value of $21.00 the stunning color of this gel eyeliner will certainly   get noticed.  The deep purple shade will work quite well with my darker green eyes.  This formula dries to a waterproof and smudge proof long wearing finish.  Since I have terribly weepy eyes, I am looking forward to putting this eyeliner to the test.  I have yet to find a gel or cream eyeliner that can hold up for hours under my bottom lash line.

Next up is the NYX blush in Angel.  Don't let the $5.00 price tag fool you, this blush is pigmented, silky and wears like a dream.  This shimmery coral color is amazing for spring and summer.  I am thrilled to have received the powder blush as it's my favorite NYX blush formula.  I don't own Angel and I am in love with this color.  It could be too light for darker skinned ladies but it suits my fair skin perfectly.  I want to run to the nearest Ulta and pick up several more shades because I had forgotten just how fantastic this formula is.  Ipsy you hit a homerun with this one!  It's awesome! 

Last but not least is the Starlooks Lip Pencil.  This creamy pencil glides across the lips without tugging or pulling.  Starlooks is a brand which is new to me and I am blown away by the pigmentation of this lip pencil.  Tipsy is a bright coral color which will look great with the NYX blush in Angel. I will say that I am a bit nervous about the color as it's much brighter than anything I normally wear.  I don't have any lipsticks that are this bright but I will fill in my lips with Tipsy before topping it with a gloss.  I will let you know how it goes! The Starlooks Lip Pencil retails for $12.00 

The value of the "On the Wild Side" June Ipsy bag is over $46.00. Well done Ipsy.  This is by far the highest valued bag I have received.  I am a bit nervous of the bright lipliner and the glitter palette but I am willing to give it a try. Even if they don't work well for me I am still in crazy about the other products I received.  I can honestly say that I adore my Ipsy subscription.  Every month I have enjoyed at least 3 of the 5 products and I love trying products I wouldn't otherwise purchase for myself.  If you are looking into just one subscription service I would highly recommend Ipsy.

These products were purchased by myself with the intend to enjoy them. Please follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for your daily dose of positivity.

Ipsy, Is It Worth It? May 2013
Ipsy, Is It Worth It? Apr 2013
Ipsy, Is It Worth It? Mar 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Impress Press-On Manicure, Nicole Scherzinger Editiion

I received the Nicole Scherzinger style of imPRESS Press-on Manicure by Broadway Nails in my Spring Fever VoxBox.  I have been curious about these for quite some time but have never taken the plunge and bought them.  Not really sure why I haven't since I love to try new beauty products; but, I haven't.  So I was thrilled to have received them in my Vox Box. 

Let me first take a minute to say that this pattern is so cute! I am in love with the Zebra tips with the colorful flower accent.  This would be my first choice if I were purchasing a set for myself.  They are so adorable.

Next, lets talk packaging.  I love the fact that they have managed to put these inside a fingernail polish 'bottle.'  It's easy to store them with my other polishes and it's just cute.  I appreciate the fact that they have given us 24 individual nails in 12 different sizes.  I have rather large hands with large nail beds. So it was great that they had the right sizes to fit me.

Application is easy.  First off you want to size them.  Without peeling the backing off, place them over you nail to find the right size for each nail.  Lay them out in order so that you can easily determine which nail goes on which finger.

Once you have them sized you will want to clean you nails of any polish and then wipe them down with the enclosed pad.  Then you will begin the process of applying each nail, saving your thumbs for last.  Simply peel off the clear backing by pulling the tab found on the bottom of each nail.

Press the nail into place, holding it firmly for at least 60 seconds. I was a little too anxious to keep the process moving and I didn't hold the first one long enough.  Consequently, within 24 hours that nail was the first to fall off.

The imPress Press-on Manicures look absolutely fabulous once applied and have a plethora of different styles and colors.  They have just cute patterns that are great for coordinating with specific outfits.  They are simple and quick to apply.  They have a flexible texture unlike press-on nails from years ago which helps them stay on.  If you were to press up against a hard object from the side they will bend slightly, just like your natural nail, thus there is less of a chance that they will pop off.   They also appear very natural.  I have received many compliments on my nails today.  If you carefully remove them you could probably get multiple uses out of them; you would just need to acquire more adhesive.

Now, for the downside. Don't rush the application. Take time to hold each nail down to ensure the best bond to the natural nail.  They feel thick on the nail and you can clearly see the added bulk they add.  My ring finger, pictured on the right, isn't showing any natural nail because I damaged my nail by smashing it in the door jamb.  It hasn't yet grown out far enough to be seen from this angle. Another issue I have just discovered is that the print is starting to chip and it's been less than 24 hours.  This morning as I was showering I discovered that there is a small gap at the bottom on the nail closest to the cuticle.  It's not noticeable until your hair gets caught in it; then, it's painfully obvious!

Overall, I am going to say that these are great for special events or evenings out and are certainly cheaper than getting it done professionally.  At $6.00 to $8.00 they certainly put up a convincing argument for avoiding the salon.  The imPress press-on manicure would be PERFECT for prom; especially since they are less damaging to your natural nails and come in such fun styles.  While I really enjoy these for specific events, they just don't work well for me as an everyday manicure. I don't feel that they last 7 days as they claim on the packaging.  Maybe they could if you were super careful; but, it's just not a realistic possibility for me.  If you are looking to dress up your nails for a special evening this is an amazingly affordable way to do so.

I received the imPress Press-on Manicure free for the purpose of review.

Please follow me onFacebookTwitter, and Instagram for your daily dose of positivity.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Spring VoxBox from Influenster

I was fortunate enough be selected to receive the Spring VoxBox from Influenster.  "Influenster is a place for culture junkies to come together and share their unique opinions of products and experiences" according to their website.  I had been an Influenster member for about a year but was inactive.  A few months ago I decided to become more active and figure out what the site was about.  It's a great place to share and discuss opinions on all sorts of products.  Within a few months of becoming active I have received several great products, most of which are new to me. I was very excited to receive the Spring VoxBox since all of the products are new to me.  Of course, I am familiar with two brands, Secret and NYC but I didn't own either of the products they offered.  Once I actually received the box I tore into it with wholehearted delight.

The TastyKake brand is new to me, I had never heard of it until I received this box.  The TastyKake Kandy Bar Kakes claim to be light and fluffy chocolate enrobed cakes with a delicious crème filling made with real Hershey’s flavors.  I received the ‘S’mores’
flavored TastyKake.  I will admit that I haven’t yet ripped into it but only because I wanted to photograph it for blogging purposes.  I know, I know, only a blogger would wait to eat something chocolate just to take pictures of it.

Secret is a brand I have used in the past but not recently.  For several years I used Ban exclusively.  But the past few months I have been trying several other deodorants.  This will be the first Secret deodorant I have tried in several years.  Secret Outlast claims to be the the clear choice for 48 hour odor protection.  I will admit that I have no intentions of testing this 48 hour claim as I put on deodorant every morning, religiously. Secret, also, claims to be LBD (little black dress) friendly.   I will admit I don’t wear my LBD very often but I do wear a fair amount of dark colored clothing and white deodorant marks really drive me crazy.    However, the true test of any deodorant is odor and wetness protection.  It’s great if you don’t leave white marks; but, if I’m smelly by the end of the day then white marks are a moot point.  Secret, I have high hopes.  Please don’t let me down or leave me stinky!  We shall see!!!! 

The NYC Applelicious Glossy Lip Balm in Big Apple Red was another product I am anxious to try.  I will admit that I only own a couple of other NYC products, the widely talked about Sunny bronzing face powder and an Ultra Last Lipwear in Sugarplum.  I love both of those so I am curious to see if I will like the Applelicious Balm.  I love the smell of this balm and the apple in the center of the product is super cute.  Of course the name of the color ‘Red Apple Red’ had me concerned since I am extremely fair and look awful in any shade of red.  I did swatch the Applelicious Balm after photographing it and it is rather sheer much to my delight! Now, I’m looking forward to trying this balm!

I was thrilled to receive the imPRESS Press-on Manicure by Broadway Nails as I have been curious about these for quite some time.  I was absolutely thrilled to have received the Nicole Scherzinger color and they are so very adorable. It’s hard to tell by this picture but they are natural colored on the nail bed with zebra striped tips and bright flowers on each one.  I put them on today and application was very easy.  I was surprised that they are flexible.  I haven’t done press-on nails in years and they were all rigid plastic back then.  I love that these are pliable like your own natural nails.  I am curious to see how long these will last.  I will do a full review in a future blog post.  So far I’m imPRESSed.

I saved my favorite for last. I am thoroughly enjoying the OSIS+ Gelastic by Schwarzkopf.  I have naturally curly hair which tends to be very frizzy.   Gelastic is the first product I have found that works on my hair whether I’m embracing my curls or I’m straightening them out. Either way, my hair is frizz free and stays in place all day!! At first I expected that Gelastic would leave my hair hard and crunchy.  It can if you use too much but used sparingly this product is amazing!  Once you discover exactly how much to use it is great for holding your style without weighing it down. I am so thankful because I have finally found my holy grail hair product.  I will never be without this miracle in a little red bottle.  Thank you Influenster for introducing me to such a fantastic product.

So far I am in love with my Spring VoxBox.  I have a couple things that I haven’t formed a full opinion on just yet; but, I am loving the opportunity to try such quality products for free!  I am also really enjoying completing the tasks based on the products in the box.  Look for future blog posts which review the above products in detail.  Please follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Chronic Chiari, What's Wrong With You?

Stupid Things Healthy People Say
Healthy people sometimes say really stupid things to people with chronic illness. Part of me wants to shout from the mountaintops, "I'm not fine. It won't be okay. It doesn't get better."  However, if I did that then I think my sanity might be questioned and it's already suspicious now. Truthfully, people are going to think things whether or not they actually say them.  They are going to think that we are faking, that we aren't as sick as we say we are, that are symptoms aren't that bad, and that we are just whiny babies.  For me personally, I think I would rather hear them say it than to just imagine what they are really thinking.  By hearing their misconceptions about chronic illness I can hopefully get them to understand that living with chronic illness is more difficult than they think.  Just because you can't see our symptoms doesn't mean they don't exist.  They also have a hard time understanding the chronic illness is, well, chronic.  It's not like a cold or a broken bone.  Symptoms may wax and wane but the condition will exist until I pass on.  I know it sounds melodramatic but it's the reality that anyone with chronic illness lives with.  We have had to adjust our lives and our thinking to come to terms with our diagnosis.  The healthy person has not been forced to do this; therefore, they just don't think about these things as much as chronically ill persons do.

Snarky Responses I Am Thinking

To a healthy person, if you can manage to walk without assistance, hold reasonable conversations, feed yourself, drive a car, and don't have any visible ailments then you must be healthy.  They just can't comprehend that people who live with invisible daily symptoms can manage to our day to day lives. They will never truly be able to understand because they aren't forced to.  So, what's the point? Why do I care if they understand.  Well, I know that they will, hopefully, never need to understand.  I hope that all my loved ones stay healthy.  But what I do hope that they understand is why I cancel at the last minute or why I don't remember conversations that they know we had.  I need them to just roll with the punches when I need to leave a movie because I am experiencing sensory overload.  Loving someone with chronic illness means that your plans get changed at the last minute a LOT! Sometimes our condition requires that we live life a little slower than most.  For me personally, if I need to cancel at the last minute I won't feel guilty if you go and enjoy yourself without me.  As a matter of fact, send me pictures that make me feel like I'm with you in spirit.  I understand you may be irritated or disappointed that I can't go but don't get bent out of shape.  This is what chronic illness really is; it's staying home when others are out having fun.  It's learning to pace our lives so that we can enjoy the things that are most important to us.

Polite Responses I Really Say

Even though it can seem forthright or even downright rude, I never want to squash the inquisitive nature of people.  It might seem inconsiderate; I choose instead to see it as an opportunity to educate them on the difficulties of living with a chronic illness. However, I will probably never be able to stop myself from thinking those snarky, rude retorts that just pop into my mind.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

AMDRO Powerflex Pest and Weed System

I was grateful to receive the AMDRO Powerflex Pest and Weed System for the purpose of review. The Powerflex I received includes a one gallon reservoir tank, the sprayer gun with foldable wand, and  five cartridges.  I received one of each of the following cartridges Lawn Weed Killer, Home Pest Indoor, Yard and Perimeter Outdoor and two Weed and Grass Killer cartridges.   

When I first attempted to use the AMDRO Powerflex, I could not get any water to spray out of the sprayer gun.  After two hours and plenty of help from my husband we were finally able to get the sprayer gun to work.  I wrote about the tips we discovered and the solution that finally worked for us in this blog post.  It's a worthwhile read for anyone who has purchased or is considering purchasing the AMDRO Powerflex. 

Once we got the sprayer gun to work, we found the product extremely easy to use and so convenient. We love using the Weed and Grass Killer for sidewalk crack creepers.  We have a large back patio that is made from several different slabs of cement and the weeds love to creep into the cracks. We received record rainfall in the month of May and when we receive heavy rainfall our backyard floods.  Eventually, the water covers the patio and the weeds just go crazy! The AMDRO Powerflex is great at helping us keep those cracks clear of weeds so that we are able to enjoy our patio to the fullest.  Application couldn't be simpler.  You merely load the reservoir tank with water, insert the Weed and Grass Killer cartridge into the sprayer gun and pull the trigger.  The difference is clear! AMDRO Powerflex killed the weeds and prevents them from coming back!


Since we live on two acres, we have plenty of multi-legged critter sneaking about this time of year. The Yard & Perimeter Outdoor combined with the Home Pest Indoor has been instrumental in controlling the creepy crawlies.  The spiders and ants would like to report that they do NOT like the AMDRO Powerflex system as it has restricted their usual stomping grounds.  I, however, am very pleased to report that I have reclaimed their stomping grounds and am enjoying the lack of creepy crawlies both in and around my house.  

I am very thankful to have been given the opportunity to try the AMDRO Powerflex Pest and Weed System for free for the purpose of review.  Other than a minor flaw which can easily be avoided, the system is great at keeping weeds and pests under control.  I love the ease of the system with no mixing and no mess!  The AMDRO Powerflex Pest and Weed System is available at WalMart and Home Depot.  The sprayer system retails for $14.99 and the refills retail for $11.99.  

Budget Beauty, CoverGirl Flamed Out Mascara

I recently came across the CoverGirl Flamed Out Mascara at my local CVS.  I am an avid couponer and managed to pick up this mascara for basically half price!!  I love my CoverGirl Lash Blast Clump Crusher but the Flamed Out is not part of the Lash Blast line; therefore, I am not sure how well it will perform.  Luckily, I won't feel too bad if it doesn't work since I didn't pay more than four dollars for this mascara.
First let's discuss packaging.  I love the bold eye catching colors on the package and the words Max Volume certainly get my attention.  I would love to find a mascara that can actually provide volume without clumps and still give me the length I desire.  I suspect that my dreams are much greater than the abilities of mascara producers.   I will admit that I am not a fan of the red and pink combination.  I am certain that this is due to the fact that when I was growing up my Mother explained time and time again that you don't wear red and pink together.  I know that this is seen as old fashioned but I just can't get my Mom's voice out of my head every time I look at this mascara.  Other than this the tube seems to be a standard no frills mascara tube. It's round, a little chubby and does it's job well.  The best way I can describe the wand is that it is shaped like a voluptuous woman with an hourglass body.  I can honestly say that this is the first mascara I have ever owned with a wand with this particular shape.  I purchased color 300 Very Black Blaze as I prefer my mascara very black in order to make my very blonde lashes actually visible.

This mascara is a drier formula.  It's not as dry as say Tarte's Lights, Camer, Lashes or CoverGirl's LashBlast Fushion.  The wand, even though oddly shaped, does a good job of distributing the mascara.  I will admit that I prefer rubber bristled mascara as it seems to help separate my lashes which love to clump together when any mascara is applied.  But this weird little hourglass shaped one manages to get the mascara on without needing excess use of an eyelash comb. 
The first time I wore this mascara I volunteered an outdoor wine tasting event.  It was a warm still evening and I did quite a bit of moving around.  I will explain that I ALWAYS have a problem with my bottom lashes smudging.  I tend to have weepy eyes due to allergies and I have never tried a mascara that didn't become a big mess underneath my eyes.  I have tried everything to keep mascara from smudging but have had little to no success.  I am extremely pleased to tell you that the only thing I applied to my bottom lashes was CoverGirl Flamed Out mascara and it did not smudge at all.  This mascara didn't flake or smudge.  I am completely surprised by this mascara.  This is now officially my go to mascara for my bottom lashes. There is only one small big problem.  The wand is too large for my bottom lashes.  I cannot get all the tiny lashes in the corner without getting mascara all over my eyes. I guess I could use disposable mascara wands.

As you can clearly see my natural lashes are so blonde that they are barely visible.  My eyes almost don’t exist when I have no makeup on.  They seem so tiny. So I need a deep black mascara that really performs well.  That being said, I really love the length provided by Flamed Out. It also does a good job of avoiding clumps.  I feel it could be a tad more volumizing. It looks good in pictures but in person it’s a bit sparse.

On the left: 3 coats.  On the right: no mascara.

There are only two goals for bottom lash mascara.  To color my invisible blond lashes and to not smudge as the raccoon eyed look is not my style.  This mascara does both beautifully. In short, I love this mascara for my bottom lashes.  I like it on my top lashes but it doesn't give me quite the volume I was hoping for.  I will definitely always have a tube of CoverGirl Flamed Out in my stash as it's the only bottom lash mascara I have ever found which does not smudge!! Thank you CoverGirl!!

I voluntarily purchased the CoverGirl Flamed Out mascara with my own funds and will continue to purchase it.