Friday, August 15, 2014

Apartment Hunting: The Last Hurrah

OK, so I took an appointment a few days ago to see yet another apartment complex.  There's no sense in me feigning interest so I'm just gonna get straight to the meat 'n' potatoes.  In fact, I'm going to run right through this one because it was pretty straight forward and (in the end) quite underwhelming.  And so begins this edition of my search for my next abode...

I went to see a bi-level loft just a little ways from the downtown area and it started off promising enough.  As soon as I walked through the door, the size of the main living space impressed me with its openness and updated kitchen - which included stainless steel appliances and a marble top island.

Towards the back were a set of doors that opened to a small patio that could comfortably fit two chairs and/or a petite BBQ grille.

And in addition to the powder room, a nice sized laundry suite completed the downstairs attractions.

Traveling upstairs revealed a narrow hallway that acted as the bridge between the master and second bedrooms.  Since the master was the one located at the top of the stairs, the sales agent and I started there.

Aaaannnd that's kinda where it ended for me, too.  The master bedroom was indeed a loft-style space with unique barn door "shutters" that you could slide open and close to monitor the amount of light allowed in the room.

The room was furnished with a decent bathroom that included a double sink...

BUT the master's closet was located INSIDE the bathroom, opposite the wall to the toilet!  I really shouldn't call it a closet because that term is somewhat misleading.  It was more like a nook with three shelves.  I mean, it was so small and dinky that the sales agent immediately - and without any prodding from me - started to explain how I could maximize the space by installing an additional hang bar across the top.  She did her best, but ultimately lost me at "install".

I took the few steps down the hallway to look at the second bedroom, which was also equipped with a modest and shallow closet, and that was pretty much it.  With that old, familiar feeling of disappointment quickly coursing though my body, I mustered a smile to serve as subtle subterfuge as I thanked the perky sales agent for her time and then skedaddled.

I have to tell y'all that I'm becoming quite disenchanted with this whole process.  I mean, it's never taken me this long to find a place - ever!  All of these misfires and close calls is seriously having me reevaluate my long term versus short term goal.  I mean, is this where I need to be city-wise or am I settling?  What do I really want; what's really in my heart?  Am I working out of faith or fear?  And am I sincerely listening to my own voice, which is the only one (besides God's) that matters in the grand scheme of things?

Or maybe I'm just simply tired.  Of what, you ask?  Of everything is my answer.  But I've got to end up somewhere.  And so my search will continue on... it must!  However, I am going to step back and fine tune some things so that I can get this train on the right track to finding the place where I belong.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sweet Indulgence

Would you pay $24 dollars for a deodorant?  Sounds crazy, huh?  What if it derived from a popular designer fragrance line?  Still not biting, I see...  Well, before you call in the "white coats" to come and retrieve me, hear me out for a second.  I have a decadent dose of "smell good" that I want to share with you.  A little on the northern side of pricey, it's Donna Karan's Cashmere Mist Deodorant and I think it's totally awesome.

Just as flirty and just as delightful as all the other offerings bearing the fragrance's moniker, Cashmere Mist Deodorant is a solid anti-perspirant imbued with the same soft, powdery scent that's inherent to the line.  But don't let the pretty smell fool you; it also packs an effective punch in fighting off wetness and odor with the help of corn starch, vitamin E as well as other ingredients.

I've been rocking this anti/deo for awhile and it has never failed me.  I love the way it smells and truly appreciate its lasting power (as well as everyone around me, I'm sure!).  It is a solid, so sometimes I rub it in so that I don't get a lot of the underarm cakiness solids are notorious for.  But other than that... no issues.

Now, I have noticed that it has gone up in price and nearly fainted from sticker shock (it used to be $17!).  Price increase aside, if you're looking for an upgrade from the regular, run-of-the-mill, drugstore variety, enjoy the smell of soft scents and don't mind indulging every now and again then I think Cashmere Mist Deodorant is definitely a splurge-worthy item you should check out for yourself.

Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Deodorant is available at Sephora as well as, and retails for $24/1.7 oz.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Reunited... And It Feels So Good

Besides owning a good share of their single eyeshadows and a fair amount of their awesome lipsticks, I do own two notables from MAC's skincare lineup as well.  I was first introduced to these years ago - one via the hype on YouTube, the other via a MAC kiosk at the mall.  I ended up buying both of them around the same time and together they remained a steady staple in my collection until I inadvertently broke up the duo by replacing the one item with another brand when it ran out.  A nervy move on my part that I failed to profit from since the replacement ended up being inferior to MAC's .  Hence my MAC excursion a few days ago to finally right a wrong.  I had to put my skincare duo of Fix + and MAC Wipes back together again.

Fix + (now called Prep + Prime Fix +) is a mineral/vitamin infused multi-tasker in a bottle.  Not only can it be used as a skin hydrator, but it can also be used as an agent to "foil" frost shadows, as a mixing medium, as well as a "finisher" to tone down powdery/cakey looking foundation.  Now, there are claims that it will set your makeup, too, and keep it in place all day, but I haven't found that to hold true for me personally.  I do, however, love that it applies as a fine mist and has a light, sweet scent - which I didn't find to be cloying or obtrusive in the least.  I have the lavender version that was offered years ago, but the current one smells just as wonderful! 

Now, when I ran out of my MAC Wipes, I tried these cucumber towelettes from the Yes To brand thinking that they would be a suitable alternative.  Well, lemme just tell you that my face and these wipes never got along.  I didn't break out or anything, but these towelettes burned my lips and eyes when I used them to remove makeup from those areas.  Yeah, I had to say NO to these and re-up on my tried 'n' true.

Not wanting to mess around, I got the bulk 100 count and I'm so glad I did!  Each cloth-like wipe is drenched in a super hydrating, vitamin E cleanser that makes light work of any and all makeup removal.  Besides it being highly proficient in its duty as a remover, IT SMELLS INCREDIBLE!  O.M.G.  Any description I offer will hardly do it justice; it's a fragrance that semi-floral, semi-sweet, but 100% intoxicating!  If you've never experienced these wipes and all of their olfactory goodness then you owe it to yourself to at least go by and take a whiff.  They usually have boxes of them posted at different stations.  And if they don't, just ask if you could have one to smell and sniff on.  Go ahead.  Don't be shy.  They won't mind...

Anywho, I have learned a great lesson and now know that I do myself a serious disservice when trying to replace items that have already proven to be dutiful gems.  I mean, I'll still be curious enough to try different things... but I gotta stick with my staples.  When you find something that simply works well on you and for you and makes you feel good to boot then it would behoove you to remain loyal.  And for me, MAC's Wipes and Fix + just work... and I'm so glad to have them reunited in my stash once again.

Fix + (aka Prep + Prime Fix +) and MAC Wipes are available at Macy's, Nordstrom and MAC boutiques.  Fix + retails for $22/3.4 fl. oz; $10/1 fl.oz (travel-size).  MAC Wipes retail for $29/100 count; $20/45 count; $10/30 count (travel-size).

Friday, August 8, 2014

Intimate Gatherings

I'm giving my wardrobe a total overhaul, guys.  Yep, it's long overdue.  I'm slowly taking it apart and getting rid of all the pieces that no longer fit, are ill-fitting and/or I no longer wear, and replacing them with items that reflect my current fashion mood: funky, sexy and sophisticated.  I'm rebuilding, starting from the inside out... starting with a massive run on some new bras.  Yeah, my brassiere situation was becoming dire, so when I saw that Nordstrom was having their Anniversary Sale, I took that as my cue to indulge.  And indulge, I did.  So, if you have a few moments to spare, I'd love to share what I bought with you.

Me and Victoria's Secret have long since parted ways; almost all of their bras have way too much padding, which I find seriously annoying and unnecessary.  I've successfully dabbled in other brands (e.g. Soma Intimates), but was curious to see what one of my fave department stores had to offer and stumbled upon this cute, convertible demi from Betsey Johnson.

Accented with tiny bows on the straps as well as the cleavage, this Betsey Johnson Stocking Stripe T-shirt bra in Pussycat Pink is such a lightweight, comfortable fit that it feels like you're wearing nothing at all.  Oh, but the support is definitely there!  Equipped with thinly padded cups and an underwire, it's a lot sturdier than it may appear.   And just as the name suggests, a stocking-like fabric covers the entire bra - a cosmetic detail that made me a little nervous as I'm prone to snagging nylons and such with my nails.  Nevertheless, this Betsey beauty is a definite keeper as it conveniently converts into a racerback bra via a hook on the back of the strap.  Two bras for the price of one?  LOVE IT!

And then I laid eyes on this gorgeous contraption and I knew I just had to have it!  Framed in a patterned lace, the ultra-feminine Natori Feathers Underwire in Café was everything I didn't know I wanted in a bra and more.  Its lightly padded cups had no problems "girding the girls" while its deep plunging "V" allowed for ample cleavage without any pushing up.  And it wears like a dream, feeling soft against the skin and über-comfortable throughout the day.  Helplessly smitten after one go, I immediately ordered three more colors: Black, Deep Sea Blue and Dragon Fruit (a bright magenta).

So, there you have it!  My most recent recruits in my quest to overhaul my wardobe.  Just so that you know: Betsey's bra fit true-to-size in both cup and band, however, Natori's Feathers ran small in cup size (as is well documented in the online reviews for the bra) and I had to order a size up, which fit perfectly.  But both are ab fab and totally what I needed to step my undergarment game up.

One mission down, so many more to go...

Betsey Johnson Stocking Stripe Bra and Natori Feathers Bra can be found at Nordstrom and retail for $48 and $68, respectively.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Field Trip: MAC

Going to the mall just ain't my thing and hasn't been since I was a teenager.  I prefer to avoid the hassle of both its inside and outside traffic, and do my shopping online.  However, I did brave the crowds recently to make an in-person visit to MAC and see if they had anymore items from their Alluring Aquatic collection as all the items have long been sold out online.  Of course, during my search I got a little distracted... but we'll get into all the details of my wanderings soon enough.

For those unfamiliar, MAC's Alluring Aquatic makeup collection had simulated water drops covering both its packaging as well as the products' individual casings.  It wasn't so much as the products themselves, but the beauty of the too cool for school 3-D texture that had me venture out and the sales associate rewarded my efforts by placing the last two pieces she had in stock in my hands: Modern Lure and Seducing Sound Lipglass.

(Seducing Sound Lipglass)

(Modern Lure Lipglass)

I gave the sparkling berry of Modern Lure and the sandy bronze of Seducing Sound a once-over, but ultimately passed on both.  They were pretty enough; however, I wanted something in a compact - of which they had none left - so I moved on.

I wandered over to their display of Veluxe Pearlfusion Shadow palettes and nodded my head in approval of the assembly of colors.  Already a fan of the Veluxe eyeshadow formula, I grabbed a palette to test the newly introduced fare.

Keeping in line with their reputation, these Veluxe shadows did not disappoint as they yielded an abundance of color and were super soft to the touch.  Very pretty...

I looked over to my left and saw a collection of compacts filled with their new Mineralize eyeshadow quads, so it was only right for me to take a gander since I was in the neighborhood and all.

The Mineralize shadows were highly pigmented and had a high shine quotient as well, which one would readily expect from a baked, mineralized product such as this.

I moseyed on over to MAC's Moody Blooms and visually drank in all the colors the collection's goodies had to offer...

... made the trip to the counter a couple of feet away to ogle at the stack of eye brushes, paying extra close attention to one in particular (I'm looking at you, #217!)...

... swung by the foundation station to feast on the new, Shea butter infused, light-reflecting Mineralize Moisture liquids...

... landing, finally, in front of the parade of Pro Lipsticks where I ended up being docked for an admitted good amount of time... salivating over the vivid hues, my mind swelling due to the incessant deliberating over the purchase of all nine in one go.  (Yes, I am lipstick fiend, y'all.)

But, alas, I calmed my beating heart and sated my impulse to buy with the purchase of two items.  In fact, these items were ones that I had been meaning to snag for a while, but just never got around to it.   So, while I didn't acquire any Aquatics, I did procure products from my "want/need" list; therefore, my trip definitely secured a spot in the #WIN column after all.  (Yay!)

I love that my recent MAC excursion ended on a high note.  (Woo-hoo!)  And I'm revved up to show 'n' tell 'n' share the fruits of my venture with you guys very soon.