Where Have You Been?!

So, funny story…

I’ve been hella MIA.

I wish I had a really cool reason, like I’ve been traveling the world or tucked away in some hidden Air BNB finishing my novel…but I don’t.

The truth is – I lost my mojo, baby. I lost my motivation, my inspiration and my control all in one swoop. I hadn’t written in months. My life swam by me in a blur. I was drowning within myself, and I was painfully aware of it. I would wake up in the morning and within two hours, be ready to sleep again. I was emotionally exhausted all the time, anxious, on edge, introverted. All things that were just…unlike me.

It’s never easy to sit down and look at yourself in the mirror and ask the question, “What is going on with me?” But I had to. I realized that life is far too short to get sucked so far into yourself that you can’t see beyond the door. So I did.

Backstory-time.

I have willingly chosen not to pursue medication for the majority of my adult anxiety/OCD journey. Mainly because I’m terrified of medicine, but also because I wanted to learn practical coping methods for myself first. Turns out, for the most part – I could, and had been, managing my anxiety and OCD on my own.

Until recently.

For whatever reason, unbeknownst to me, my normal tools weren’t working. Meditation, nope. Yoga, negative. Breathing exercises, nada. The list goes on and on with the things I’ve tried. I was falling into habits that I hadn’t done in years. I caught myself picking at my cuticles until they bled, chewing my lip until I could run my tongue along a visible swollen spot. The tipping point was when I realized I couldn’t pull myself out of my room.

I woke up on the morning of the Equality March – something I had been looking forward to for months. I knew. I knew instantly that it was an off day. My fan was so loud I swore it was a helicopter taking off when I woke up. The sun seemed unyieldingly bright behind closed blinds, even though it was a cloudy morning. My heart raced and my hands trembled when I thought about leaving the house. Fear consumed me. It consumed me to the point that I felt like walls were falling in and I couldn’t breathe.

That day – for the first day in nearly twelve years – I let fear trap me in my own home and in my own body.

I missed the march. I missed standing up for something that I have always fought for.

And I said, ‘enough’.

I talked to my doctor about everything, what I was experiencing, feeling and doing to combat all of it. There were blood tests and sleep analysis questions. Finally, the step I never thought I’d be willing to entertain came up – medication. My doctor was patient and listened and knew that I was afraid and she talked me through it.

I thought back to the march. To what I had missed, to what I could miss in the future – and I got the hell on board with it pretty quickly, and I feel confident about my decision.

I say all of that to say this – It’s okay to need, and ask for, help. 

It’s okay to not have it together all the time. It’s okay to not be okay. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or unable to manage, I promise. You don’t have to suffer in silence or try to fight a battle on your own. There are people, sometimes even total strangers, who support you – no matter what your journey may look like. Promise.

One thing I swore in the beginning was that this blog would be a safe space for all of my readers, and I felt like it would be unfair for me to not use it as mine as well.

So that’s where I have been. I’ve been healing and learning and fighting myself and repairing.

I’ve been feeling more inspired and there’s new content, series and funny stories on the way!

Thank you, lovelies. For being a community and a support system I never knew I needed until I had you!

Friday Favorites: Battle of the Reds

I wear a lot of red lipstick.

Someone once said to me, “I could never wear red lipstick. It’s hard to match, and it’s so bold.”

To which I replied, “ANYONE can wear red lipstick!”

It’s true. I used to be terrified to wear red lipstick. I had no clue how to pick the right shade for my skin-tone let alone go out and buy the right color and formula without doing a ton of research ahead of time.

I am here to help you figure it out in three easy steps.

Step 1. Identify your skins undertone. There are three different categories of undertones:

Cool Tone.

Warm Tone.

Neutral…aka…those who are both.

There are also a few ways you can go about finding out what your undertones are:

  • The Vein Check. Look at the veins on your wrist – are they blue or green? Blue veins are typically cool undertones, whereas green veins are warm undertones. What if my veins look both blue and green? Then you’re likely a combination of cool and warm undertones. You can also have someone else look at your veins, since ya know, two sets of eyes are better than one.
  • The Paper Test. Hold up a piece of paper next to your skin. Do you look yellowish in comparison to the paper? This is an indicator of warm undertones. Do you look rosy, pink, bluish-red next to the paper? That is an indicator of cool undertones. If you look grayish next to the paper, you’re likely olive toned or neutral.
  • The Tan Test. Do you tan in the sun or do you burn? If you tan in the sun, you’re more likely to have warm or neutral undertones. Whereas, if you burn in the sun, you’re more likely to have cool undertones. That’s not to say that warm undertones can’t burn or cool undertone people can’t tan – keep in mind, this is just a general rule of thumb.

Step 2. Decide what you want from a red lipstick. What type of lipstick do you want, traditional creme lipstick or long-wear lipstick, or even a lip stain?

Step 3. BUY IT AND APPLY IT.

* Side note – Just because you have warm or cool or neutral undertones should not limit to you what color lipsticks you buy! The guides above are to help you venture into red lipsticks and will help you as you’re learning what to look for and pick for your preferences!

You should always buy and wear what makes YOU feel beautiful and fierce!


Now where would the fun be if I didn’t show off some reds in my own collection!?

These are the reds that I have tried over the years and are my top ten go-to shades and brands. I have neutral undertones, but I personally tend to favor more of the blue-toned reds versus the orange-toned reds.

Left: Brand Name Right: Color Name

#1. Rich Blood, Velvet Liquid Lipstick by Jeffree Star, $18.00

This is easily my favorite long-wear red lipstick. I bought it over the summer and have already replaced it because I ran out. The thing I love most about Jeffree’s products is the quality. I can put this red on in the morning and it will last me the majority of the day (depending on what I’m doing, eating, etc.) It holds up really well and has little to no transfer. Yes, the price for this lip is on the higher end of the spectrum, but when I do a lot of talking or I’m going to be in meetings all day – this is the one I reach for.

The liquid lips in his line are ultra-pigmented and don’t require a lot of product to make your lips pop. I also really enjoy the fact that he has a huge assortment of reds. This one is a blue-toned red with hints of micro glitter. It’s a matte lip, so it dries down completely and I love the added touch of the micro glitter to that combination.

The only downfall with this one is that when it goes out of stock, you could be waiting for a while before you get your hands on it again.

#2. Coeur D’Alene, Satin Lip Crayon by Fiona Stiles, $16.00

Be still my beating heart. This is a newer find, and currently one of my faves. It comes in at a slightly lower price than the Jeffree Star lips, but it is easier to get your hands on.

This is a traditional satin lip crayon that does not dry down matte. It has a beautiful finish that lasts surprisingly well. With most traditional satin/crème lips – there is transfer. But honestly, that is a price you’re going to pay with this formula. If you want something long wear, I highly recommend you go for a liquid lip, or a lip stain.

As far as the color – this is still a cool toned red – the blue tones just work best with my skin. There are a few classic reds that teeter between cool and warm and I have to be incredibly careful – if you get too warm of a red, it can end up looking more orangey-red when you put it on your lips. This is where knowing your skin tone and the under tones of your red will help you make a decision.

#3. Missy and Fierce, Megalast Liquid Catsuit by Wet N’ Wild, $8.17

Ah. A price point at half the price and all of the benefit. I had been hearing mumblings in the beauty world about this liquid lip saying that it would rival the most expensive, long-wearing products.

And you know what – they were right.

I finally found this at Walmart. There wasn’t a tester to swatch on my hand, so I had to eyeball the lip color in the bottle and hope for the best. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and wearability of this lip. The color was SPOT on. It was a bright, classic red – and to be honest, I have found that those are sometimes harder to find, as the majority tend to lean towards a warm tone base.

But low and behold! I give this to you, my lovelies.

It has a great applicator, goes on seamlessly and feels amazing. One thing I was worried about was the drying effect. I have tried my hand at a few different drug-store liquid lips and ten minutes into wearing them I looked like I had been in the desert for two weeks.

This one is great. My lips felt good, they weren’t sticky and I was impressed all around. Securing it a top-three spot.

#4. Rock Steady, Vice lipstick by Urban Decay, $17.00

This is another crème lipstick that I love. It’s a classic blue-toned red. With any traditional creme lip, again, there’s transfer, but it holds up well. I will note with this one that if you touch it and don’t realize it, you will get it everywhere. I’ve had it on my hands, cheeks, notebooks – so you do have to be careful with this one.

But the color is a non-contest. It’s beautiful on and looks really similar to the Rich Blood color I hold near and dear.

#5. Unicorn Blood, Velvet Liquid Lipstick by Jeffree Star, $18.00

Another favorite, and also a non-traditional red. This is more of a brownish/wine red. I love this one specifically for the fall, or for a fierce look on a night out. I won’t go into too much detail on the formula – because we all know how I feel about this particular brand.

#6. Red Revival, ColorSensational by Maybelline, $7.49

I was really surprised with this one for a few reasons. A. The price is amazeballs and B. I would venture to say that this one could be used as a dupe for the Rock Steady lipstick I mentioned above by Urban Decay. It’s not an exact match, because this shade is a little bit lighter, but the formulas are comparable and I would easily pick this one up at the grocery store versus making a trip to the makeup store to grab the other.

Also, while this is technically a blue-toned red, I find that it leans more towards a warmer red.

#7. Cherry Skies, Liquid Suede by NYX, $6.99

This is another non-traditional red, and again is a pretty close match to another color on this list – Unicorn Blood. This one has more red than brown – but it’s still a close runner up. This is also a matte lip and dries down.

The ONLY thing about this one that I’m not a fan of is the actual drying of it. I find that this shade tends to dry my lips out quicker than some of the other colors in this line.

#8. Poised, Epic Ink lip dye by NYX, $6.99

If you want a lip stain – this is it. I put this on and had to use a combination of coconut oil and makeup remover to get it off – so if you’re going to commit to this one, make sure you commit to an all day red lip.

It wears beautifully, and survived eating macaroni and cheese from Panera Bread…so that’s a win in my book.

#9. Red Chili, Color is Bae by Elizabeth Mott $20.00

This one has a disclaimer. I received this one in a subscription bag as a sample size and haven’t bought a full size bottle for myself.

It is a lip lacquer, and I think that means its going through an identity crisis.

It’s not exactly a matte liquid lip, but it’s not exactly a full gloss either.

I do like the color of this one though. It’s a pin-up red and it’s one of my few warmer-toned reds. So I tend to wear this one more in the summer when I’m tanned, than in the winter when I’m pinky and pale.

Unfortunately, I haven’t decided if I’m willing to restock it once I run out. The price is one of the highest on this list for a full size, and I have commitment issues. But for now, it’s sitting pretty in my top ten favorites.

#10. Lady Balls, Melted Matte by TooFaced $21.00

This one. *sigh* I honestly have a love hate relationship with this one, but the color is so classic red that I just cannot bring myself to not wear it.

First I’ll go through the love aspects. The color is amazing and the formula is long-wearing and matte with little transfer after wear time.

BUT.

It’s really pricey. This is the most expensive matte lip I have and there are other classic reds I own that are more affordable.

The second thing about this one is that I have found it requires a lot of prep work to wear. I have to do a lip scrub to make sure my lips are exfoliated because this one dries waaaay down. If you have even the slightest chapped patch on your lips, this lip will accentuate it big time.


There you have it lovelies! My current Top Ten Red Lipsticks! I am forever changing my lip colors and my brands so I would love to hear what colors and brands you’re wearing!

Now go out and wear that red lipstick and slay queens!

This post is not sponsored. The reviews and photos depicted here are based on personal, not professional, opinion only.

 

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby.

The expanse of this blog goes well beyond coffee and parenting advice. This week I’ve decided to tackle the horizontal mambo, the dirty deed – yes, I’m talking about sex. I’m giving you fair warning – if talk of sexuality makes you cringe you may want to sit this one out. It’s about to get real, so I hope you stick around because the message is important.

I’m not going to pretend to be a sexual expert. I’ve had my fair share of experiences over the years and I would consider myself to be “sexually-sound” when it comes to giving advice or talking about it in general.

I have kids – I know how this works.

To be completely honest – I’m writing this because I have kids. Because I am a woman. Because I have a voice on the subject and because I think you should hear it and realize that you have voices as well.

I know the value of coming into your own sexuality. I know how liberating it feels to be with a partner who is comfortable and makes you feel comfortable and safe. I also know, that that is not always the case for everyone, and that truly breaks my heart.

I read an article today that made me stop in my tracks. I had to pick my jaw up off of the ground. I won’t link to it, because who am I to tell people what they can and cannot write about? Plus, I don’t agree with it.

In a nutshell, it was describing the five traits to be a perfect partner in bed – two out of the five were strictly physical traits. No clue if the person was an expert in their field, but in my humble and oh-so-honest opinion, shame on them if they are. Also, I’d like to see the study that backed all of that hullaballoo up.

First of all, there is no ‘secret formula’ out there on how to be the best sexual partner. It’s non-existent and I would challenge anyone, expert or not, who tells me otherwise.

Being a good sexual partner isn’t all about how much motion you throw into the ocean. Sex is about so much more than that, or it’s about exactly that.

That’s the beauty of it.

It’s fun. It’s messy. It doesn’t have to be serious. It doesn’t have to be monogamous. Sex is what you make it. You. You and the person you are choosing to have sex with. Not a magazine, not what your friends tell you, not even me – you and you alone are in charge of your sex-life, your body and your heart.

I do have my own list of what I think is important in a sexual partner/partnership. I say partner/partnership for a couple of reasons – sex shouldn’t be one sided and also because you don’t have to be in a committed relationship to have good sex. Yep, I said it.

Oh, how taboo of me.

So I shall share my list with you – because I think it’s fairly universal and I think people need to hear it.

Settle in kids, here we go.

The things that I think are important if I want to have sex with you, and vice versa:

  • Be open-minded and communicate with one another talk about each other’s boundaries.
  • Be emotionally supportive with your partner, and they should be emotionally supportive of you as well.
  • Have sex with someone who makes you feel beautiful just as you are, and that you do the same for.
  • Sexual confidence isn’t dependent on a specific body type, sexual preference, on and on and on – period.
  • Be attentive and responsive in your sexual and all other relationships.
  • Comfort is key.
  • Don’t ever feel pressured if you or your partner isn’t ready. Respect that.
  • Be responsible and safe.
  • Consent.
  • Mutual respect.
  • No means no, period.
  • Have fun. Seriously – it’s not rocket science.

There you have it. The milk and cookies.

At the end of the day – it’s just the hanky panky. We all got here because of it, whether we want to think about it or not.

Just know that regardless of whether you have kids, are single, married, and the list goes on – you have a voice. You have an opinion. You have the right to explore your own thoughts on the subject regardless of what anyone tells you. Educate yourself so that you can educate others.

Most importantly remember this – you are in charge of your body, no one else.

Now, go make your own list and have fun.  You do you, lovelies.

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