Saturday, August 17, 2013

Law School!!!

It has been over two months since my last blog post.  SO much has happened and I wanted to post an update...and sadly, probably a "goodbye" for at least a few months.  First, and the most exciting news of all, I started LAW SCHOOL!!!  I had written several posts before regarding this upcoming life change, but it has finally happened.  This past year has been a test of faith and a lesson in trusting the Lord and my family and friends.  I left the police department in May 2012 to pursue a career as a legal assistant, take the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) and then apply for law school admission for the fall of 2013.  I achieved all of those goals with the strength I sought in God, hard work, and the support of everyone around me, namely my incredible, loving, amazing beyond my wildest dreams, and Godly husband!  I applied for 5 law schools in December 2012, Duke, UNC, Campbell, NC Central, and Elon.  I was accepted to Elon with a scholarship, but it is 1.5 hours from our home, so it was going to be a difficult venture commuting so far each day, so that was a last resort.  I then was accepted into Campbell Law which was my second choice.  I had visited Campbell several times and met with some amazing people in the admissions office to discuss my candidacy.  I felt at home, welcomed, and loved at Campbell Law from the very beginning.  My one and only qualm about getting my legal education at Campbell was the cost...for the first time, I was to be accruing student debt and both Jordan and I were fearful about the staggering cost of any legal education, especially that of a private school.  I did not get into Duke Law (no real surprise there lol), and I also didn't receive admission into NC Central Law (which, honestly, did surprise me, but God has a plan).  Central though, was the smartest financial choice, at half the cost of UNC Law and one third the cost of Campbell Law.  I was waitlisted at UNC which really did surprise me immensely because I was almost certain I would get rejected.

To be honest, I wasn't sure I could perform satisfactorily on the LSAT, let alone, with my less than stellar undergraduate GPA, and only my work experience to show an admissions staff, gain admission to ANY law school.  I can look back and see that while I was as unsure as I had ever been of anything in my life, taking the chance and trusting the urging of the Lord to step out in faith and follow what I felt called to pursue was the best thing I could have done.  Not only was I not guaranteed a good LSAT score or admission to law school, but I had left my career in a shaky time in our economy with no job lined up to help contribute to our household.

I have worked since I was 14 (during the summers off from school, and later in high school and college, some during school).  It was instilled very early in the depths of me to work hard, earn what you have, and keep commitments by my mom and dad.  For that, I am SO grateful.  Work ethic is a fading attribute in our culture and without my parents, I fear I would be lacking in that as well.  With that being said, it was very hard for me personally to be home with nothing to do and earning no income.  I would have liked to say that I got my value from my identity in Christ and not from the fact that I was a police officer or that I was contributing well to society and my household, but the truth is, being unemployed rocked me to my core.  In retrospect, I think I was struggling with some depression during the few months between leaving the police department and finding my job as a legal assistant.  I applied for many positions, but heard nothing.

Finally, in July of 2012, after two and a half months of couch sitting and sorrow, I got an interview with a law office, a stellar one.  I nailed it and got a part-time position 25 hours a week.  I was ecstatic.  I wasn't going to be earning much, mostly because I didn't ask for much.  I told the attorney from the beginning that I planned to go to law school in 2013, and I didn't feel right asking for anything close to what I earned as a police officer with the knowledge that this was a stepping stone and I would be leaving in a year's time.  I loved my job though!  The attorney, the other assistant, and the attorney who shared office space, and would later hire me as his assistant as well and increase my hours, became a family to me.  I miss them already and have only been gone a week.  I gained invaluable experience with the, they nurtured me during unsure times, celebrated with me upon my admissions into schools, and cried with me when I didn't get in off of the wait list to UNC Law.  

All in all, God had a plan for me.  I made thousands of mistakes in my life, but He has worked them all for good.  Strange circumstances led me to become a police officer, and stranger circumstances led me leave that career to pursue law.  I feel totally in the right place at this moment an have only God to thank.  I know for sure, as evidence by so much of my life, that when I try to do it alone, I fail, but when I trust my heavenly Father, things work for good.  I am not always happy, and things are not always going perfectly, but joy pervades in my life when I follow him, and I am so thankful.

I wanted to add one more thing about the UNC Law wait list.  I prayed daily about getting in to UNC.  The school has a reputation for excellence and the cost was ideal for me.  To be honest, I really really wanted to get in.  I was so honest with God about my fears and desires, but I still wanted his way, not mine in the end.  I stayed in contact with an admissions staff member at UNC law bi-weekly, and the last time we emailed was mid-July.  I asked candidly if she thought the wait list would progress in a way that would allow me to attend UNC Law, and she answered candidly as well, (I'm paraphrasing...) "probably not." At that moment, with a single tear, I prepared myself to attend Campbell Law.  I was able to put UNC Law's wait list out of my head and start to get excited for the school that actually accepted me :)  Truly I loved Campbell Law from the start and the only thing holding me back from it being my first choice was the cost.  Through all of this, I have learned that finances are secondary, God will take care of it.  He has led me here, and He won't keep food off of our table when I get out of law school.  He provides for all of his creatures and this is no exception.  I trust him (and my wonderful husband) to lead me financially.  I feel so free and so very happy to be beginning my legal education at Campbell Law.

Orientation was this past week and it was a whirlwind!!  I did everything from hauling a rolling suitcase FULL of 1L books from my car (which was about 3 blocks away) to my locker to having the opportunity to meet the chief justice on the Supreme Court of NC and asking her how her career in law led her to become a judge.  I even got to have a conversation with a superior court judge in Wake County about his journey from Campbell Law to where he is now.  I am a little intimidated by all the talk of "you will have no free time ever again" and "1L year is the hardest thing you will ever do in your life" but I am really excited at the same time.  I know I can do this.  God has equipped me well and will lead me through this.

Today is Saturday, and while I planned to sleep in before beginning mountains (no seriously...) of homework, I woke up WIDE awake at 6:30 AM (an extreme rarity for me) and all I could think about was "oh man, I gotta start NOW."  I made a cup of coffee, and typed my heart out here, and now begins preparation for my first (real) day of classes Monday.  Wish me luck, pray for me and my family, and thanks for reading...I'll see y'all in December!!


Monday, June 3, 2013

Moscato Cupcakes

I made moscato cupcakes before using a recipe that I found on Pinterest.  They were okay and I liked them, but the sweet tangy moscato wine flavor didn't really shine through for me then.  Also, I found a few things in the recipe struck me as odd...adding vinegar when you already had buttermilk in the recipe, frosting with not enough sugar to be piped, no baking powder...etc.  At any rate, I decided to make them this past week for a summer cookout with friends because the flavor of moscato is so light and delicious and perfect for outdoors and summertime.

This time, despite being pressed for time and without a backup for the dessert I promised to bring, I completely overhauled the recipe and started wingin' it...I've been baking at least once a week with (and a few times without) recipes for about 2 years and a half years so I thought, "Hey, I know what goes in cupcake batter and what ratios work best, right?" and I just went with my gut feeling.  It turned out that I DO in fact know pretty much what makes them good, fluffy, sweet, and nearly perfect.  I wanted more wine flavor, and that is certainly what I got!!  I changed up her recipe, and I hope she wont mind, but here is my version :)


Moscato Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups of All Purpose Flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 c of sugar
1/2 c of vegetable oil
2/3 c of Moscato wine
1/2 c of milk
1/4 c of sour cream
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine and whisk together dry ingredients (first 5) in a large bowl and set aside.  In another large bowl, add oil, wine, milk, sour cream and eggs.  Beat on low, increasing to medium until combined.

Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry mixing as you go.  I add about a third at a time.  Mix until combined.  Line two and a half cupcake pans with liners and fill 1/2-2/3 of the way full using an ice cream scoop.  For me, this recipe made 30 cupcakes exactly.

Bake for 16 minutes.

While your cupcakes are baking, you can mix up this light and delicious moscato frosting:

Moscato Frosting

2 sticks of butter at room temp
4 oz of cream cheese at room temp
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
about 1/3-1/2 cup of moscato wine
4-6 cups of powdered sugar

Cream together the cream cheese and butter.  Add in vanilla and combine.  Add about 2 cups of powdered sugar and combine.  Add a few splashes of wine, and mix.  Add more sugar, and mix again.  Keep alternating between wine and sugar until the frosting is at the right consistency.  Taste test and if its too tart, add more sugar, if you can't taste the wine, add more wine.  If its too thick, add more wine, too thin, more sugar.

My frosting turned out light and fluffy and piped beautifully with a closed star tip.

I topped my cupcakes with a sliced strawberry to garnish.  Beware though, strawberries release moisture when they come into contact with sugar, so top them with the berries at the last minute before serving.

Enjoy!!  If you try them please let me know how they turn out for you!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Dinosaur Wedding

On April 27th I had the pleasure of baking 7 dozen cupcakes and a 5 layer top tier wedding cake for a lovely couple Melissa & Marcus.  I met them through a friend, Pete, who was in my Bible Study.  I make cupcakes almost weekly for Bible study because I love to bake and that is a great way for me to love on my friends :)  Anyway, Marcus' brother Pete told Marcus that he just HAD to try my cake for their upcoming wedding.

I did a tasting for them at the beginning of November 2012.  I made several different flavors for them to try; I brought everything from vanilla to cinnamon toast crunch, to almond with chocolate buttercream.  The bride, Melissa, fell in love with the cinnamon toast crunch, ordering 3 dozen, and at her future brother in law's urging, decided to get 2 dozen S'mores cupcakes as well.  She also ordered a dozen each of vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream, and chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream.  She wanted a top tier, but didn't have a flavor preference so I just used left over cake batter and frosting from the other cupcakes to create a decadently delicious S'mores cake.

I used 3 layers of chocolate cake and two layers of cinnamon cake with marshmallow buttercream in between each layer.  I iced the whole cake in rich chocolate buttercream and topped it with Melissa's original handmade toppers.  She and Marcus were to be wed in the NC Museum of Natural Sciences with all of the Dinosaur bones, so a T-Rex Groom and a Velociraptor Bride with a Sabortooth cat carrying purple flowers to represent their pet cat were a perfect fit.  I threw in a little M & M banner and some chocolate cake "dirt" to finish off the look.  Melissa sent me the sweetest message the week after her nuptials to thank me for the cake and cupcakes and said they were the highlight of her day :D what a compliment!!

In other news, I got waitlisted at UNC Law School, which is a top tier school and would be an amazing one-in-a-million opportunity for my legal education.  I am really excited for the chance to still attend there, but I am really happy with Campbell Law as well, so either way, my dreams are coming true!!  Thank the Lord for his faithfulness and guidance; trust in him, and he will direct your path like he has mine :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

It's been a while....

I have a TON to update...

First and most exciting (for me)...drumroll....I got into Campbell Law!!  It is closer to my house and although it is more expensive, I LOVE everything about Campbell from their amazing facility and location in the heart of Downtown Raleigh, to their stellar Trial Ad program...I already bought a sweet hat to commemorate Admitted Students day...I'm a total nerd...I know...


As I blogged about in an earlier post, I have been baking up a storm.  In March, I baked several dozen cupcakes (butterfinger, dirt cake, cookies and cream, [homemade]funfetti, and cinnamon toast crunch), a two tier (huge) lemon cake all covered in fondant, a 9 inch (white cake with caramel buttercream) cake cover in fondant, and a 6inch funfetti cake with buttercream and fondant details.  All of this baking was for some adorable boys and their 1st birthday parties.  Here are some pictures!  The construction themed party was my nephew's on the first weekend in March and my sis-in-law did an amazing job putting together every detail of the party.  I was SO pleased that she asked me to help!

The football cake was for my husband's coworker's baby.  She emailed me and gave me my biggest baking challenge to date...a two tiered wedding style birthday cake all in fondant with a football theme!  I had NEVER made or worked with fondant before she asked and I said I'd give it a try.  Her baby's birthday was the second weekend in March, along with my good friend Katie's baby.  

I knew I was doing a cake and 3 dozen cupcakes and an owl smash cake for Katie's little one's party but I took on the challenge anyway.  I started to experiment with fondant well before March rolled around so I was ready and didn't get (too) overwhelmed when it came time to put it all together.

Here are some of the blogs I used from Pinterest to help me with all issues Fondant:
marshmallow fondant recipe
coloring fondant to a deep hue (used the candy melts method)
tips for covering a cake in fondant


Now, something I haven't posted about in a long time, fitness/dieting...SO hubby and I bought a juicer around Christmas when all of the small appliances went on sale.  We got a TRU brand from walmart and it has been great so far.  We only used it a few times until I felt so gross from eating non stop and too much of everything about 2 weeks ago.  I asked hubby if we could juice for dinner and re-watch the documentary Fat Sick and Nearly Dead (the doc that inspired our juicer purchase from the beginning).  We did and ever since I have been juicing for 2 meals every day except Monday (we have bible study and pot luck dinner...cant really pass that up lol)  I do a fruit juice in the morning with whatever suits my tastes for the day adding spinach and sometimes carrot for extra nutrients without extra sugars/calories.  For dinner, I do an all veggie juice.  If you're interested, I'll whip up a blog post with some juice recipes and links to some helpful info (*disclaimer* I'm not a doctor or diet expert so seek the advice of your physician before following any of my advice ;) )

In the same "health" vein, I got a wild hair on Monday (April Fools day, coincidentally) and decided it would be a good idea for hubby and I to sign up for a half marathon....YEP 13.1 miles....of running....which I hate....epic....I hate running (like I just said) but I WANT to like it.  I feel like SO many people I know are getting healthy and in shape and becoming awesome runners, I want to be like them, so I signed up for a fairly near impossible task...running 10 and a half miles longer than I ever have in my whole life.  But I am proud to say that I started training TODAY and the race isn't until April 2014...It sounds far away but believe me folks, I absolutely need a whole year, make no mistake.

At any rate, it sounds like a fun race and it has been really popular all over the country and its new to Raleigh.  It is a Rock N Roll marathon where they have local bands playing along the course...I think that could be really fun. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

My Little Black Bag of Tricks...

It has been a little while since I posted so I thought I'd share some more of my makeup stuff with y'all

PS. for the cake/cupcake lovers out there, I have conquered FONDANT and will be sharing a post soon about that, but I can't reveal the birthday boy's cake until after his party this weekend ;)

PPS. I got into Campbell Law School (woot!!) So now I have choices!  Still waiting to hear from three others...

SO, I know its crazy, but in my (giant) purse, I keep a cute little black Mary Kay bag, incidently lined sweetly in powder pink silk, that is filled absolutely to the MAX with lip products. 

I thought I'd give you a peek inside my little black bag to see what I lug around with me everyday.  For whatever reason, I have never been one to put on my lip product while I do the rest of my makeup (only exception, red lips on wedding day).  I am usually the girl who is at the stoplight with her visor mirror down missing the green signal because she is still painting the perfect pout.  When I'm driving and my husband is with me it takes several descriptions of the packaging and failed attempts for him to pull out the product I want to wear because of the sheer number of different options...I can't simply ask, honey can you grab my lip gloss for me? ;)  

 Some say lip products are addicting...I can certainly say I agree.  Even when I was a police officer, I kept my Burt's Bees lip balm in my pocket at ALL times.  When my lips are naked, I feel naked.  So without further ado or distracting digressions, here are my necessary lip loves, or at least all the ones I keep in my little bag:

Clockwise from the top Left:  A trio of Lancome glosses (a gift from my friend Katie), three Mary Kay lipsticks, a Revlon lip butter, a Rimmel lipstick, a Revlon gloss, 5 Mary Kay glosses, 4 lip balms, a Mary Kay gloss, and an e.l.f. gloss.

The three Lancomes were given to me after Katie read my first makeup blog post and thought I'd enjoy them more than she has.  Well folks, I'm not sure how much Katie enjoyed them, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE these glosses.  

From top to bottom they are Beach Plum, Coral Rush, and Simmer.  The Beach Plum has a beautiful pomegranate (I think??) scent and it is glossy, but with no glitter or metallic finish.  Its a lovely plum/burgundy shade and I have come to adore it for a quick lip look that pops.

The Coral Rush has a peachy smell and slight shimmer along with its glossiness.  Its a neutral peach shade to go with any look.  The Simmer gloss has a lot more shimmer in it and the pigment is nude.  I can't put my finger on the scent, but its deliciously sweet.  I don't know what these glosses retail for because I rarely shop the makeup counters at department stores, but if its under 15 bucks, they are SO worth picking up!

My tried and true brand: MARY KAY!  I have been using their products since I was in middle school.  My mom is a Mary Kay lover as well.  When I was in the 6th grade and wanted to start wearing makeup, I had some acne and the drugstore brands of foundation were breaking my skin out pretty badly and I was self conscious.  My loving mother brought me to her faithful Mary Kay lady for a tutorial and bought me all the products I needed.  I've been adorning Mary Kay ever since!!  Not to mention, now that my mother-in-law is a Mary Kay rep, I get to look at their new book every time it comes out and she keeps me stocked up on all the moisturizer, foundation, eye products, and lip products I could ever need by texting every so often asking what I'm out of.  Man I love having another Mom...who says you cant be great friends with your in laws?? :)

Anyway, the three lipsticks I have are (L to R...or top to bottom for whatever reason Blogger wont let me post it upright lol) Dusty Rose, Shell, and Frosted Rose.  Dusty Rose is anything but dusty in my opinion.  It is an orangey pink with great pigment and a slight shimmer that makes for a really fun lip, especially paired with the MK pink pearl gloss.  My fav softer shade of MK is next, Shell.  It is a matte shade that works really well with my skin tone (fair).  The Shell color is a deep rosey-purple blush pink very similar in hue to my Rimmel lipstick (in Paradise).  Frosted Rose was my go-to shade for years, hence the obvious wear on the packaging and the fact that, while you can't tell from the picture, its about half gone.  It is great for day or night with a deep plummy pink shade and shimmer.  I love this lipstick, always have, always will.  For my mom, it was Strike-A-Pose-Rose (until it was tragically discontinued) and for me, it will always be Frosted Rose.

Next up, some drugstore favorites:  Revlon Lip Butter in Red Velvet, Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in Paradise, and Revlon Colorburst gloss in Rosepearl.  At the urging of Emily from Beauty Broadcast, I picked up the Red Velvet and Rosepearl.  Although her skin tone is much more olive than mine, we both are brunette and brown-eyed so I thought those colors would work for me too.  I was right, they are awesome.  The red velvet is a perfect red and the gloss is great too, very long lasting.  I've already blogged (and raved) about the Rimmel lipstick (and I think the Rosepearl gloss was mentioned as well...) but anyway, still love it :)

MK Glosses!!  As I said, I love me some Mary Kay...any of it, ALL of it.  Here is most (read some) of my collection of MK glosses.  (From top to Bottom as pictured above) The first is actually a liquid lip color in Raspberry Ice.  So not actually a gloss, but MK nonetheless.  Next, Berry Sparkle.  Similar in hue and shimmer to the Frosted Rose lipstick that I <3 from MK.  Then there is my peachy neutral gloss, Pink Pearl.  Love this one for a down played lip that still shines.  Its great over any lipstick or on a plain lip.  If I'm rocking a particularly smokey or done-up eye, I go to this gloss every time.  My clear gloss from MK, which is a little dingy from being applied over so many lips painted in pinks and reds, is an absolute favorite and necessity for me with its beautiful shine, without being loudly mirror finished, and yummy vanilla scent.  The tiniest gloss there is part of a holiday box set with 6 or so glosses I got from my mom a few years ago.  Its a deep burgundy rose color called Berry Tart.  The sample sized packaging is super cute with a jewel on the top.  I usually wear this out at night.  

Last but not least, my all time favorite MK gloss.  It was a limited edition that was sent to me as a gift and its the Dual Lip Glaze in Warm Coral.  It has a double chambered squeeze package with clear gloss  in the outer chamber and a sparkly deep coral gloss in the middle.  When you squeeze from the bottom, both glosses mix as it comes out onto the plastic applicator.  This gloss has a WONDERFUL pigment and feels so luxurious on the lips.  Its a little sticky, but I don't mind that (as long as my hair doesn't get on my lips and get stuck in it ;) )

I have (several, and admittedly, an addiction to) lip balms laid out next.  From top to bottom, Blistex Melon Medley, my trusty Burt's Bees, Aquafina (yes, the water company) FlavorSplash in Raspberry, and Aquafina lip balm.  Both the Bees and the Aquafina are minty and refreshing.  Both Aquafinas came in my Christmas stoking from my mother-in-law and I adore them.  They are smooth and hydrating without that waxy feel and give my lips a silky texture.  The Blistex hopped in that bag on its own accord, or my husband threw it in there because it was most likely laying around the house with no home so he thought it belonged in my purse.  Its not a go-to for leaves a waxy feel and I'm not huge on the scent.  Burt's Bees, what can I say about Burt's Bees other than that I love it, it's my favorite, and regardless of the price I will continue to buy tubes of this minty refreshing balm til the day I die.  In fact, one of my fav Mary Kay glosses has actually been layered over BB so many times (because I cant get enough of the minty tingle) that the gloss itself has become minty from the applicator transferring residual balm from my lips back into the gloss tube...its actually quite nice :)

Last but not least, my lip plumping gloss from e.l.f. in Plum Pout.  Its a little more sheer/natural in color than I was expecting, but I like the plumping effects without the cinnamony taste.

Thanks for reading (hubby) and check back in the next few weeks for the adventures in fondant work for my first baby birthday cakes (1 this week and two next week)!

Monday, February 11, 2013

e.l.f. Haul and Review

Happy February!
In January I was browsing E.L.F's website and saw that they were having a free shipping promotion.  My only qualms about buying e.l.f products before was that I would be paying for shipping, which would make the less expensive e.l.f. products essentially the same price as other drug store brands.  Without shipping costs though, I was able to get TONS for only $15!!

I ended up with some great products and a few that are mediocre...but for $15, a makeup lover with a budget is VERY pleased :)  Here is a list of products I ordered and the prices I paid:
Studio Endless Eyes Pro Mini Eyeshadow Palette in Everyday

Essential Waterproof Eyeliner Pen in Ash
Two Shimmer Eyeliner Pencils in Gunmetal and Plum Passion
$1 each
Essential Smudge Brush
Plumping Lip Glaze in Plum Pout
3 Piece Nail Polish Set in Vacation Trio
Matte Finisher Clear Nail Polish

I'll start with the products I wasn't super pleased with.  The Matte Finish polish seemed like it would be great.  

I have seen pins all over Pinterest about the trend of matte finish nail color so I was pretty excited to find it for 2 bucks.  I painted my nails after shooting these (great quality....) photos with the dark red color from the Vacation Trio then decided to try one nail with the matte topcoat.

 As you can see (maybe...sorry, used iPhone camera) the matte polish did some crazy crackle like effect on my nail.  At first I was pretty sad, but then I was okay with it and thought the texture was kind of cool, so I painted every nail like that for the texture.

I think my issue was that I used the top coat before the red polish was completely dry.  I plan to try it again and making sure its dry next time.

With that being said, I LOVED the red polish from the Vacation trio set.  the kit also came with a mint green and a lavender shade that look awesome.

 On to the next one that didn't really blow me away....the Waterproof Eyeliner Pen.

The pen has a great tip that is super small on the end.  At first, when I swatched it the color was a rich charcoal and I thought I would LOVE the product.

I've tired it several times with the same results each time.  The pen works great for the first line when I start out lining my eyes, the top lid on my right eye (where I always start) glides on smoothly with good pigment, but when I get to my waterline, it takes more effort to get color out of the pen, like it is running out.  Then when I go to my other top lid, it is nearly impossible to get it to draw.  Lining my left waterline is like pulling teeth!!  I don't really understand the problem with this pen.  It is definitely not out of ink, as the first line I draw each time goes on great.  Its really strange...I do, however, really like the staying power.  They mean it when they say waterproof.  My lower lid line on the waterline doesn't budge, which I love.  I wish it was easier to make pigminted lines each time though.  I also really like the tip.  Its small and easy to make a thin line.  I have used it to make a "guide" for black liquid liner and it does really well here since I don't really need a dark line if I'm going to draw over it.  All in all, I probably will steer clear of this one in the future, even though at the bargain price of $1, I've gotten what I paid for.

Now, the products I have enjoyed!!

I have really liked the shimmer eyeliners.  As you can see (maybe...) from my picture, and definitely from the pic on e.l.f.'s website, these pencils are wooden, but they conveniently come with a sharpener built in to the cap.  I chose the gunmetal because I have brown and black liners already.  I like darker liner but I also LOVE LOVE LOVE variety in my looks.  I would be that I wear a different eye look daily and don't repeat a look for several days.

I am a "brown eyed girl" so the plum wasn't a difficult choice for me.  I usually do a look with neutrals, purples, or greens.  I haven't used the plum yet, but I am wearing the gunmetal color today.  Its not super dark, but I chose a look today with a gold lid with rose-gold crease darkened with matte black in the v-crease and it compliments it well, allowing my dark lashes to silhouette against the bright gold in the shadow.  I am usually not a wooden pencil girl, I love twist up liners that are soft and glide on easily, but I went for these because of the price.  I love them and would definitely recommend them.  The sparkle is also great.  Like I mentioned, I love variety in my makeup options, and these are such a fun option :)
In the swatch above, the waterproof pen in Ash, then the shimmer pencil in gunmetal, and finally the shimmer pencil in plum.

Another good product from this haul that I've used frequently since my stash came in has been the plumping gloss.

It has a tingly feeling when applied that reminds me of mint mixed with Vick's vapor rub.  I LOATHE cinnamon so I was apprehensive about this gloss because all of the plumping products I have used in the past were cinnamon flavored.  This one has no cinnamon flavor! The directions on the gloss packaging recommended using the clear gloss under the colored gloss.  I love the look of these, together and separately.  They feel neat and make my lips feel plumper, even if they don't look all that different.  I like this product and I would buy it again.  The color is kind of sheer though, so if you're looking for extreme pigmentation, look elsewhere.

And now for my two FAVORITES!!
The 32 shade palette is AWESOME.  There is a big variety of matte, shimmery, and glittery shades.  I have really enjoyed the multiple looks I have been able to get from the palette.  The packaging really impressed me first of all.  The plastic is thick and durable and the mirror in the palette is large.  I expected it to feel much cheaper because of the low price.  I don't love the organization of colors, because I don't really understand how they decided on the arrangement of colors because they don't seem to flow from lightest to darkest or anything.  Otherwise, I have really loved this palette.  I have used it everyday since I got it.  

I have especially enjoyed the matte black (I outlined in yellow).  It has been great to darken my v-crease and make some night-out looks.  This is my first time actually using black shadow with any confidence and its been great.  Also, the goldish-bronze shade I outlined in green is good for neutral eye looks.  I've used it for the lid and the crease with success.  The shade right below that one, that I outlined in blue is a rose-gold shade with some sparkle in it.  I am wearing it now and I love it.  It is GREAT for bringing out brown eyes and I am sure it is a good color for any eye.  I usually use this for the lid, but I opted to use it in the crease today, and I'm loving it so far.  The shade outlined in red is a really glittery shadow.  It isn't super pigmented but it adds a TON of sparkle.  Its a neutral gold and it is unlike anything I've ever used.  The only thing I wasn't sure about at first with this shade is that there is a lot of glitter fallout, but it kind of lights up the whole eye area, and when I finished the look, I liked the added shimmer.  Last but not least, the white shade I lined in purple, is a shimmery highlight that I've used almost daily to highlight my browbone and the inner corner of my eyes.  LOVE LOVE LOVE this shade.

 Now for my other favorite, and something I've used daily since it came in the mail...The crease brush.  It is great for getting shadow right where you want it because the bristles are short and dense.  I have used this for the crease as well as putting shadow under my lower lashline.  I would have paid up to $10 for this awesome brush so for $1 is has been amazing!!

Hope you enjoyed this haul/review post.  I love makeup, so as my (limited) budget allows, I will continue to post them from time to time.  Have a great day!


Friday, January 18, 2013

I'm Gonna Be A Lawyer!!

Well I have wonderful news friends...I got in to Elon Law!! 

It is the first school I heard back from, and its a yes!! Its likely that I wont get in to all 5 of the ones I applied to, but now I know I WILL be an attorney by 2016!!! 

Praise the Lord...He has strengthened, sustained, and comforted me over the last tumultuous year as I have changed careers and decided to follow this dream. Celebrate with me friends! I am beyond excited!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

Once again, I am inspired by Pinterest, and my husband's belly rejoices!

I found this blog/photo linked to a pin and was slightly discouraged when there was no actual recipe to follow.  I thought, "Aw MAN!! I really wanted to make these..."  And then, it occurred to me that I have been cooking while intermittently (and often not at all) following recipes for 4 years.  I am not a SLAVE to RECIPES! I AM WOMAN!!...I digress...

I feel like I have a pretty good palate and according to hubby I am "horrible at making bad food." So I gave it a shot using only the picture in my head, from the picture on this blog, as a guide.

**Note: I generally loathe stuffed peppers...but enjoy sauteed peppers in fajitas, philly cheesesteaks, etc, so I figured it can't be TOO bad...and I was so right, they're not bad, these are AMAZING

Here is what I did:

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

3 Green Peppers
2 Packages of Roast Beef sandwich meat (I used Aldi's brand that comes in the tiny                tupperware container)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 and 1/2 yellow onions sliced
2 cloves of garlic
3 small cans of mushrooms
1 cup of beef broth
salt, pepper, spices to taste
a little bit of mayo (optional)
About 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
6 slices of mozzarella cheese  (You can sub the shredded for the sliced and use either 2 c                of shredded cheese or 12 slices)

First, I cut the peppers in half from the stem to the bottom, like pictured above.  I pulled out the seeds and the stem.  I sprayed a baking dish with non stick spray and placed the peppers in the pan, open side up.  Place some shredded mozzarella in the bottom of each pepper (or one slice if you're using only slices)

I sliced the onion and chopped the garlic while my olive oil was heating in a LARGE skillet over medium-med/high heat.  Once the oil was hot, I put the onion/garlic in the pan and sauteed it until the onions began to caramelize.  I like deliciously soft onions bursting with savory sweetness so I sauteed mine for about 10-15 minutes.  If you want yours firmer, lessen that time.  Don't let them burn, if they start to, turn the heat down.

I usually use fresh mushrooms, but I cook on a budget, and my favorite discount grocery store, Aldi, was out of fresh mushrooms, so I went with canned.  If you substitute fresh, you could probably go with 2 small tubs from the produce aisle.  I dumped in the mushrooms and sauteed for another few minutes to let the flavors marry.

While this was going on, I took the roast beef out of the packaging an cut it into squares/chunks.  This part doesn't have to be perfect, as long as its in bite-size pieces like a philly cheesesteak.  I put the meat in when it was cut and stirred it in.  I then added a cup of beef broth to the mixture and brought to a boil.  I added salt and pepper and a few dashes of Emril's Essence spice because I had it laying around.  If you don't, you can use steak seasoning or just salt and pepper and add whatever you like.

Once most of the liquid from the beef broth has evaporated, the mixture should look like the filling for a philly cheesesteak.  Spoon some of the mixture into each pepper, filling them to the brim.  Bake the peppers at 375 for about 20-30 minutes until the peppers are soft.

I then took the peppers out, then I spread a little bit of mayo on the tops of each pepper because my hubby likes mayo on his philly cheesesteak, but if you don't it shouldn't affect the flavor.  Top each pepper with a slice of cheese or some shredded cheese and put back into the oven for another 10 minutes (make sure the cheese is melted a bubbly).

I would suggest letting them cool a few minutes before serving...they were pretty inside when we ate them and I burned my mouth a little haha  I served the peppers with biscuits.



Friday, January 11, 2013

Makeup Post!!

So I have been watching a lot of YouTube makeup reviews and tutorials by Emily on Beauty Broadcast and Lauren on Laurenbeautyy.  I recently bought a few products and tried some of the looks on the videos, especially Emily's because she has brown eyes and brown hair like I do.  I tried Lauren's New Years Eve silver eye look (minus the glitter) and LOVED it.  Emily has several eye tutorial videos that I have really enjoyed emulating.

I went to Target this evening and picked up some e.l.f eye products, a Revlon lip gloss, a Rimmel lipstick, and two eye quads: one Maybelline, and one Cover Girl

e.l.f. Liquid Eyeliner: Black and Copper

e.l.f. Cream Eyeliner: Coffee and Plum Purple

e.l.f. eye primer

Revlon Colorburst lip gloss in Rosepearl

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in Paradise

 Maybelline Eyestudio quad in Smokey Night 

Cover Girl Eye Enhancers quad in Crystal Waters 

After having tried (almost) all of these products, here is what I think.

The e.l.f. cream eyeliners are great.  I love the texture, and the tiny brush that comes with them keeps things easy because each product has its own brush and I didn't have to buy additional tools to use the product.  As Emily says in her videos, there is a heck of a lot of packaging surrounding a seemingly small amount of actual product.  I have found however, that even though it looks like a very small amount in the jar, it doesn't take much to get the desired effect and it looks like the liner will last for a long time.  At the bargain price of $3 per jar, this liner is a must!

As far as the e.l.f. black liquid liner...I have a confession, until this week, I have never used liquid eyeliner before...*NOTE, do not use it for the first time ever when you are getting ready for work in the morning and are on a time will undoubtedly cause you to have to start your eyes all over twice and be 5 minutes late for work...OTHER than that, I found the brush applicator to be fine enough to make a good line, and the product went on smoothly.  I made some mistakes, but that's because I'm a newbie to liquid eyeliner.  I'll update when I have mastered it.  I haven't tried the copper yet because its rather eccentric and I imagine it will be a special occasion (NYE, Christmas parties, special dates out, etc) staple instead of an option for an everyday look.  Lauren's post for her NYE look featured a sparkly liquid liner, so I plan to use it like that for a look sometime as well.  I have no qualms about buying either of these to try because both were only $1 each!!  If I am going to try out something new, I might as well get a deal on it :)

The e.l.f. eye primer was a bargain as well at $1.  It has a very silky satin texture when it is blended on the lid and I have used it exclusively since I bought it.  It blends in well with my skin tone and has kept my shadow in place and crease-free.  Totally worth the price :)

I bought my first Maybelline Eyestudio quad a little over 3 months ago after seeing a video from Emily's youtube channel.  I didn't get the exact green shades she used, but I absolutely adored the Green with Envy quad I picked up.  I love the sponge applicators.  One end is thicker and the other is tiny.  I use the thick end for lids and the tiny end to add the shadow under my lower lash line.  I am usually a neutral browns/pinks/golds or grayscale eyecolor person, but I have thoroughly enjoyed this quad.  The shadows have all day staying power, are creamy and very pigmented and blend very well.

For the way I wear it, I apply the light green to the lid all over, then add the dark green to the outer corner and crease.  With a brush, I blend the crease area with the copper/gold color.  I add the white high light color to my browbone, and the inner corner of my eye near the tear duct.  I use the tiny end of the sponge tip to put a thin line of light green under my lashes and then a thin line of dark green to the outer corner right under the lashes.  I TOTALLY love this quad.  I have brown hair, brown eyes, and fair skin by the may not work for all eye colors/skin tones, but if you're feeling adventurous pick it up.

Now, because I loved this quad SO much, I wanted to get another color palette in the same formula.  I picked up the Smokey Nights quad with the brownish purple, purple, blue, and gunmetal colors.  I figured they would be good for a night out look, or a daytime look as a crease color.  I was a little disappointed at first.  The colors are not as creamy in texture and have bigger glitter chunks than the Green with Envy quad.  The first time I used the quad, I hated the look and had to start was partly because I royally screwed up my liquid liner, but I wasn't super happy with the shadow look before I went in with liner anyway.
HOWEVER, today, I used the purple in the crease with a light gray on the lid and lined with my new e.l.f. purple plum cream liner, and I'm loving the look :)  This quad has yet to prove its value of $7.94 like the green one has, but I'll keep giving it a chance.

I wanted to try a teal look because I have never had the nerve before, so I picked out the Cover Girl Crystal Waters quad.  The colors were unique and looked very pigmented.  The price was right at under $5, so I added it to the cart.  I used the quad yesterday with the mint green color on the lid, the medium teal on the outer corner, and a blend of the dark blue and teal in the crease.  I enjoyed the look, but the shadows weren't as build-able as I had hoped.  It took quite a lot of the teal to make it pop like I wanted.  Also, as you can see from my love of the Green with Envy quad, I am a sucker for sheen...the Cover Girl quad is almost matte, and I am just not used to that I suppose.  It was a good change up, but it isn't my favorite.  Additionally, I hate to buy a quad with a color I will not use, and the lightest color in this quad is more blue than I thought.  It seemed to be a white highlight in the store, but when I got home I saw that it was a baby blue, and I am not going to highlight my browbone in baby blue...maybe its just me, but that seems a little much :)

The lipstick from Rimmel, Lasting Finish Lipstick in Paradise, is probably my favorite of the products in this post (except maybe the Green with Envy quad...but it's very close)  The color is outstanding for me.  Its like my natural lip color, but just amplified and enriched.  The product glides on easily, smells gorgeous, and has beautiful pigment.  It is pretty long lasting and the color has me beaming...I will certainly try more Rimmel lipsticks in the future.  In addition to it being amazing, it was a DEAL at $3.99!

Per Emily's advice on her video highlighting Revlon lip products, I picked up Revlon's Colorburst lip gloss in Rosepearl.  I enjoy the gloss,  I just put it on and it glides on beautifully, just the right amount of product comes out on the applicator and the color is richly pigmented.  It isn't overly sticky, although I don't mind a sticky gloss as long as it looks good on my lips.  I've been so in love with the Rimmel lipstick that I haven't given the Revlon much of a chance for very long so I can't speak much on the staying power, but it seems like a great gloss, with or without lipstick underneath.  It was $6.49, but the tube is very long and seems like it contains a good amount of product.  I hope it proves worth it's cost :)

Below I have swatched all of the products I purchased


e.l.f. eyeliners

Black (liquid)

Copper (liquid)

Purple Plum (cream)
Coffee (cream)

Same order, e.l.f. liners, with flash

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in Paradise

Revlon Colorburst lip gloss in Rosepearl

Maybelline Eyestudio quad in Smokey Nights

swatched in order from left to right the same as it is in the packaging.

The first four are the Cover Girl quad in Crystal Waters.  You may not be able to see the first shade, but its on the far left of the photo.  The colors are swatched in reverse order of how they are in the packaging.
The second four are from the Maybelline Eyestudio quad in Green with Envy.  They are swatched in the same order from left to right as they are in the packaging.