Major changes- year in review

Wow- I haven't posted in over a year. SO MUCH HAS CHANGED.  In the fall of 2016 a recruiter contacted Mr. Hoozey about a job in the Atlanta area. He wasn't thrilled with current job he started in December of 2015: basically took it because it was local and got our youngest out of high school without a move. Pay was significantly less than previous job that he resigned from but he wouldn't be away from home like he had to be the previous 6 years of his career of the high paying job. Unfortunately the lower pay did not mean lower pain in the @$$ (PITA) factor. It was a 24/7 manufacturing plant with sketchy equipment and no intellectual horsepower from employees (this is a company that usually promoted through attrition: those employees that couldn't find a better job and stuck around would be promoted to levels including plant manager without education or skills for that position.) Mr. H immediately turned this plant around- record setting production & profit just because he focused on actually MAKING product (single source customer that would take all the good product that could be produced- in other words literally making product was like printing money) whereas company kept spouting efficiency. Previous guy (and other plant managers) would hike up efficiency number by shutting down lines (zero product being made) vs. struggling through change over on weekends or nights- the down time was not held against this efficiency number so efficiency was high when actual production and profit were low. Yeah, dumb but that was the culture in this business. So after 9 months of making record amounts of money but constant nonsense pushed from above, Mr. H was pretty sick of the work- especially since the higher ups kept saying how they needed more people like him, but then kept doing the same stupid stuff like pushing "programs" on already overwhelmed resources. Between the shoddy equipment and lack of talent of employees, just doing the job was more than could be accomplished most days, let alone a bunch of bureaucratic "programs" that were supposed to be implemented. So Mr. H interviewed for the job in the Atlanta area- I went with him and after several close calls on the road around there told him I didn't think I could take the traffic there. So he declined doing a second interview but started looking for other jobs because he realized he definitely couldn't stay put. I wasn't keen on staying put either since this low paying job didn't equate to just "do my 40 hours kind of work" that he expected. There were phone calls at all hours and always some "fire" to put out. A month or so later, same recruiter called again and said that CFO said "Get (Mr. H) back in here. We need HIM." So we returned in December for another interview. I had become resigned to the idea that this job was fated since nonsense at current job was just getting worse. Plus my job at an attorney's office was going away as he was appointed a judgeship and could only have one assistant.
In March Mr. H finally got the job offer (they intentionally delayed so he could get bonus from current company & there was some uncertainty in the job itself- division was potentially up for sale.) Bonus from previous company was yet another reason to "go" because even though Mr. H literally took plant from possibly being shut down to making millions $ more than budget in one year, his bonus was not a very good compensation based on results- bad results got same bonus--- where is the motivation in that? During this time, I had been doing updates to the house-- knowing that long-term I couldn't see us staying there forever- so prep for selling.
We found a home in Atlanta area on quick house hunting trip: literally house #3. House #1 was in nice neighborhood but had weird layout. House #2 was 2 doors down from where we chose. It was a lovely house but just TOO BIG for 2 adults and a bulldog since the boys still have college (& free tuition) at previous city and daughter had graduated with masters degree in chemistry and looking for job in pharmacy research. House #3 was ranch style: 3 bedroom 2 bath main level with full basement that was partially finished. Still a ton of house but more manageable than 3 story (including basement) of house #2. Mr. H said "I will look at any house this size or smaller." So that immediately reduced the #- next place ended up being a lot even though listing said "May finish." Looked at 2 other homes on other side of highway but they would have meant longer commute times to Mr. H's new job. We put in offer for house #3 and able to close very quickly on it- it had just come back on market as offer was contingent on buyer selling home & that deal fell through- we actually closed on the same day as the original offer. Mr. H came to ATL for week of work and closed on house while I continued to work on other home. (Late April)
He had a few weeks off between start of new job and worked on basement rooms- closing  down odd sized doorway in one room to fit normal double bi-fold door closet doors, installing another double bi-fold closet door in my workroom to closet where I keep most of my sewing supplies. We trimmed out the finished rooms. I painted all the new doors and trim while Mr. H started working in ATL. This made me decide to paint all the upstairs doors and trim as that had gotten a little grungy looking after 12 years. Mr. H came home Friday and helped me finish up the trim painting on main level. Boys then had a gig that weekend which we went to. Met with realtor early the Sunday morning after late night of gig and afterwards Mr. H is like "why don't we just keep this house?" By this time, I had a found a 3 bedroom/2 bath rental house for the kids (& old beagle-- thought moving him might be a little rough on the old guy) and we had moved them in there so A LOT happened in a few months. We also had to buy a vehicle for Mr. H before new job as he had a company vehicle at previous jobs and since boys commute they needed vehicle each.
So Mr. H & I loaded up the Rav4 and the Sienna with "must haves" at new house along with bulldog. I had purchased an inflatable bed for time before we could buy mattress at new location. So week one was much like camping. I had brought 2 camp chairs, bought a folding outdoor table at Target and that was our kitchen table set for a while. I also bought a loveseat and 2 "wicker" outdoor chairs at Target. We used those as our living room furniture until the sofa and loveseat were delivered from La-Z-Boy.
For the next few months we returned to KY every weekend (save 1) loaded up the van with more stuff for GA house. We had decided to keep the KY house because the sale of the division was still possible. We were able to get out of lease of rental house for kids and they moved back into KY house after a few months in rental.
We ended up buying loveseat & couch, mattress set for our bedroom, another mattress set for guest room, dining room table & chairs, and kitchen table and chairs, and a few smaller furniture pieces for our GA house. Everything else we were able to fit into the van (including twin mattresses.) When we purchased the van in 2015 we didn't really "need it"- it was basically used to take pole vaulters to track meets that spring- but this move has definitely made me appreciate the usefulness of this vehicle tremendously.
We went on vacation to Topsail NC in late June. The boys drove to GA house (daughter couldn't get away from work) the day before. (Only time they've been here-- daughter still hasn't been.) It was nice to be able to get to vacation in less than 8 hours. Meant leaving in morning rather than day before or 11 plus hours doing in one drive. Typical drive between GA & KY houses is about 5 hours. We went back almost every weekend for most of the first 4 months in GA.

Living in two states is definitely complicated- especially these days. Most can imagine the challenges- utilities for 2 homes (I have finally gotten most where they come to GA house regardless of which house it is serving) but some are more subtle like health insurance. We bought our own private health insurance long ago, long before ACA because company plan premiums were going up astronomically- literally doubling in one year- and we looked into our own plan. We got an option that is now grandfathered in as an option as we wanted INSURANCE-- major medical or hospitalization of "old days"- not "health care." Our plan has a high deductible and covers some preventative care (i.e. annual & mammogram) with no deductible but overall doctor sick visit would be paid out of own pocket. Return on investment is that high deductible was recovered in premium savings in 2-3 years. Since we rarely use insurance it makes sense- plus when we do have to use insurance we get "insurance price" vs billed amount. So when Mr. H had a $4000 ER visit & MRI it was less than $1000 for us to pay once that was adjusted to insurance price. So, changing states actually affects health insurance-- our decision to keep KY residence has been helpful in that regard as can keep current health insurance without issue.
I have also kept my KY drivers license: I had to renew in March,  so before we even knew certain about job/move. I did try 2 times to get GA driver's license. First time Mr. H & I went together early on Saturday morning. Already quite crowded. Person at door mumbles about what we needed to do-- take a number and fill out form on computers. Computers are stand at counter ones-- (I am short)- plus keyboard is under glass- so hard to see. To make it even more interesting, I was starting to get aura for migraine (get flashing lights and lose middle vision.) To take it to level of insanity-- the computer will time you out, even if you are progressing through it after a certain amount of time- even as you work on it!! I was super stressed. Our numbers got called before able to get it filled out. I was pretty amped up to say the least. Finally filled out stupid computer stuff, took another number and waited for my turn. Get to window and I am denied license because I didn't have my marriage license. Mr. H got his license because his name didn't change from birth to current, MINE did. So on try #2 I went to an office in small town west of where we live (I didn't want to attempt ATL traffic on my own during work week)- unlike license plates, drivers license offices are not in every county- so my choice was ATL or this one in the boonies. I get to counter with paperwork, including marriage license, and clerk denies me again-- my birth certificate was too torn up in her opinion (why didn't the clerk at ATL office say anything when I used the very same one previously?) So I had to get a replacement birth certificate. Since then, I have decided to hold off on getting GA license because division DID SELL in October-- so far hubby is not keen on new ownership- not what he signed up for when he took the job-- so we may not stay long-term. On the downside--KY is one of the states that doesn't do a good job of verifying it's driver's license- so if I want to fly even on a domestic flight in 2018 I will have to have passport too.
Another complication was the vehicles. Rav was bought in April right before move- still had temp tag but Sienna was due for renewal in May. Decided to get GA tags for van- but you have to have driver's license before that- so Mr. H had to meet me to get those. Also, GA charges property tax UP front for vehicle-- so getting plate was over $1000. Plus have to get emissions test for anything 3 years old (van is 2014 but their rule means 2017, 2016, 2015 models) but I had gotten that done fairly painlessly so not a big deal. Then in late September Mr H is smashed into by a semi-truck on his way to work. He got the worst of the impact (2 other vehicles also took minor damage.) Rav was totaled. After weeks of waiting out at-fault insurance BS finally got replacement vehicle. Opted for Camry as he had it as rental car during the wait and liked the gas mileage. It seemed smarter move to replace with less expensive vehicle since ATL drivers are terrible so why have something nice when you never know when someone else is going to destroy it with their dumbassery. We actually got paid out more on the Rav than what we paid for it in April: we bought used at Hertz car sales- so that kept this accident from hurting even more. The tags on the Rav were KY- and in the summer we got a notice that those tags would go bad because we didn't have proof of KY insurance- I had switched to a GA policy so had to switch BACK to KY policy (boys vehicles on that policy already)- actually cheaper but definitely complicated having one vehicle on GA policy and 3 on KY.  So fast forward to letter after buying Camry that we need to get odometer read for permanent tag. Mr. H takes a day off and we head to KY on a Friday morning to go to county courthouse to get this done. Then we go to tag office-- get told we have to pay $260 in taxes on Sienna before we can get Camry title stuff done. We MAY be able to get a refund but one clerk is pretty sure if you own the vehicle on Jan. 1 you have to pay tax regardless that we basically had already paid up until May, where we just renewed in another state. Government gets you-- GRRRR!

For most people this kind of chaos would be too much but have a few things that make this upheaval something I can bear. #1 we owned KY house outright for almost a decade so didn't have to worry about paying mortgage while trying to relocated. #2 we bought house in GA with cash. Since paying off KY house, we saved equivalent of mortgage payment and then some automatically-- life gets really easy when you learn to live on a lot less at the beginning- it was the reason Mr. H could resign VP position and take year sabbatical without even having to worry about another job or how bills would be paid. So we did not have major stress of financial worry of move. We were able to move the furniture we wanted in van rather than moving expense. Bought bigger items here, but covered by moving bonus- so financially it wasn't overwhelming. Another big reason I was able to handle this move was my oldest son, B. He is a very responsible young man- so I could trust that the KY house would be taken care of. Every time we came home, the yard was mowed before we got there- including when B was both working and full college schedule.
Recently there was an incident where we had just returned to GA after we bought Camry (2 vehicles driving back)and got a text from B that water line into house was leaking in basement (internal shut-off was after the point of the leak so that wouldn't help.) I returned to KY (with bulldog) to take care of the problem. Both boys had classes and daughter had moved to Lexington for a new job she started in Oct. Plumbers were able to dig up leak and fix it that afternoon. I spent the rest of the week "taking care of things in KY" including annual checkup. Mr H drove back for the weekend since boys had a gig that Friday night. We made return trip in separate vehicles again. Stressful but not as bad as trying to figure out how to fix something like this while being in another state. It was easy enough for me to get up when Mr. H was getting up for work Monday morning and just drive to KY and fix it rather than try to coordinate the fix another way.
Another issue was when B's truck was giving him trouble. 2000 Dakota had been a champ until spring- B tried all kinds of stuff to fix it. Eventually in August he finally decided it was time to get something reliable. Went to Hertz Car Sales again- he got 2016 Rav4 in red (Mr. H's was black) as good cargo space for most of band equipment (and better fuel economy compared to 2011 E drives.) We had paid cash for P's Corolla in Sept. 2016, she made payments to us- so did the same with B. So at one point we had 3 Ravs on one auto policy. LOL We were hoping the truck would make it until his graduation (spring 2018) but didn't work out that way. While I was fixing plumbing leak, we finally sold truck-- B & I went to courthouse to do the title stuff-- somehow I grabbed the wrong title and almost sold his new Rav to buyer for $200- had the clerk not said that taxes would be $XXX because they had to charge on at least $8000 value I would not have realized I took wrong title. She's like this is a 2016 Rav 4. I had to pay $8 to get the title reissued/fixed on that. LOL Chalk it up to old age (eyesight going) and not knowing which state I am in. (Seriously, times I wake in morning asking myself "where am I?" Oh, yeah, we're in KY/GA house today.)
When we are in KY, I try to do some grocery shopping-- getting the staples (toilet paper, cleaning supplies, coffee) and more costly stuff (meat) so the boys don't go broke feeding themselves. I also take prepared food (spaghetti sauce, soup, etc) that I've made in GA and freeze for their use later. I do know that they miss my home cooked meals as plumbing leak fix week they enjoyed my cooking for them. It's a big change for Mr H & I- when I would grocery shop for the family I would buy a large amount of a meat (whole package of chicken legs) and prepare the whole amount. Most would be eaten that day with maybe enough for one lunch leftover. Now, I buy "normal" packages of chicken and divide up into lots of 2 legs/1 breast packages- which is plenty for us. I would buy GALLONS of milk. Now I buy 1/2 gallon and hope we use before it goes bad. has made the dog food a non-issue. Old beagle and bulldog are on same food- so sometimes I have it shipped to KY, sometimes GA. I'd hate for the boys to have to buy the dog food since it's kind of pricy for college kid's budget.
Shipping of stuff has been a bit of stressor. Our usual routine- the workweek is in GA but the weekend is spent in KY. In GA, UPS is really late delivery (after 6 pm most times) so a Friday delivery on a weekend we go to KY means package outside for days. Sometimes it's easier to just ship to KY house since I know someone will be there-- that's how I did much of my Christmas online shopping.
It gets confusing at times- like I said, I sometimes don't know which house I am in when I first wake up. Recently when I was going to start my Christmas baking I realized I didn't have the butter I needed. I thought I had purchased it for KY house: ends up I had put in basement refrigerator in GA house- I didn't figure this out until I had bought more (good side was that I bought powdered peanut butter on that shopping trip which WAS needed for buckeyes) and was actually storing some truffles I'd made in that frig. Scheduling things isn't as easy. The drive back and forth gets tiring. Now we try to schedule things so we don't have to do back to back weekends if possible. Christmas is going to be in KY- P can't get extra time off from new job- so easier to have things shipped directly there and have the family all together there. New Years will also be a KY holiday- boys are playing so that's a fun reason to be there. It also allows my mom to come for the holidays to see everyone- not just Mr H & I. She came to visit in October for the first time. She broke up the trip by stopping to see P in Lexington- then drove to ATL- spent a few days here and then they headed to a vacation in mountains before returning to Ohio. She's going to KY house- celebrate with the kids there and then follow us to GA house because then they are spending a week in Florida. Eventually if we stay here, Mr. H & I will hopefully take some trips to the coast. Panama City beach is a doable long weekend trip- as is Savannah or Georgia coastline.

I miss the kids a lot. Having the bulldog to care for helps but then it also means that we are limited in where we can go- either have to take with or figure out who will care for her. Luckily she LOVES going bye-bye- so she eagerly jumps into vehicle for drives.
I've spent much of the work-weeks in Georgia painting and decorating. Something to keep me busy. I like things about both houses. Georgia house is better size for this stage of life. KY house is really big. Like the lower kitchen cabinets in GA: they have pull-out shelves which makes finding things (even for Mr. H) easy. Prefer the wood cabinets in KY as far as finish. Living room in GA is more homey feeling. Like the bathroom finishes in KY house much more too. GA has small 4x4 white tile everywhere-- looks cheap compared to ceramic tiles (& granite) of KY ones- plus shows every hair, lint ball, etc. Upside is only one jetted tub to clean. Miss the really nice shower "room" of KY house in master bath. Like no carpet of KY house, especially the basement. Basement in GA has partially carpeted and always smells a little musty-- cement floor & carpet are not a good match. If we stay longer in GA we will work on at least the bathrooms being updated and maybe eventually tile the finished areas of basement as we did in KY. I like having a completely enclosed deck in GA-- allows bulldog to outside access without worry. She tries to bolt out back doors in KY to "freedom" or at least a good chase. She seems to like having more carpet to roll around on but at least she has area rugs in KY to do this too. I miss my KY kitchen faucet that was my birthday present one year-- faucet here takes longer to fill the coffee pot than I like- one of the specs I check when I buy faucets now. I REALLY miss the bathtub faucet in KY. The one in GA master tub is SO SLOW- by the time you get a few inches of water in the tub it's already cooling down-- it's a large oval jetted tub so it's really annoying. I notice even Mr H jumps in the tub on visits to KY a lot. Like the cable service in GA better- it's Comcast but they have a button on the remote that you just talk into remote after pressing a button- like "NFL channel" & it will bring up that channel, or "Denzel Washington" it will bring up biographical info and movies he is in. Makes using regular cable guide so hard to go back to. It is also a source of entertainment. Like Mr H said "A&E" but remote heard "Annie" and brought up that movie. One time he says "F--- this" and it comes up with an apology that something is wrong. LOL

Location to shopping and stuff is pretty close to identical. A few miles from a mall, Walmart, grocery stores, etc at both locations. Miss the amazing beer shopping offerings of The Liquor Barn (or Beer Jungle as Mr. H likes to call it) in KY-- it used to be a Goody's department store- now it's wine, beer and liquor! ATL has some really good breweries locally- one of our favorites is Monday Night Brewery. They make a great blood orange IPA called Blind Pirate. Most beer is a bit cheaper in GA too.
Mr H misses his pole vault pit in the backyard while in GA but there are 2 pole vault clubs within an hour's drive. He likes that there's the perfect hill to run in GA (same perfect incline from cul-de-sac to driveway) for his training workouts & that basement has crazy tall ceiling so he can do "Bubka's" (exercise for pole vaulters) inside on new weight rack we bought for house.  I enjoy the GA neighborhood to walk- technically a "golf & country club" community so part of the neighborhood has golf cart paths. One leads into woods that has a stream running alongside of the path for a bit and then has a waterfall you can see from a hillside above. Another goes through woods and near the "lake." The terrain is quite hilly so just walking is a decent workout. Hilliness of the area is one thing that really surprised me-- for some reason I thought of ATL area as being flat but it is really hard to find flat areas. It's always a nice change to go to KY and be so out in the open (lots of trees in GA area) Miss being able to do neighborhood runs- too hilly for this old lady to do continuous running. Enjoy the community pool during the summer. Mr H loved heading to the pool for an after-workout dip in the pool and beer (allowed as long as it isn't in a glass container.) He likes it enough that next place he'd actually consider having a pool. There's also tennis courts but I don't play tennis very well. We don't golf but I do love the paths to walk through the course- it's nice way to get exercise.

Still dislike the traffic in GA. I was really ready to leave after Mr H's accident in September. Such a scary thing to deal with and very frustrating when so much of it can be prevented. You'd THINK in such a congested area, people would use turn signals- easiest way to let others know your intent-- nearly effortless yet still such a rarity. Also the "get ahead" mentality-- aggressive driving to get a single car length ahead nearly causing collisions is not helping anyone-- often times that person ends up never getting ahead yet risks so much by this behavior. ATL traffic has made us less impatient drivers- but we will still road rage at the complete idiots. Like one trip to KY, driver in "Army Wife" vehicle stayed in left lane when a huge opening in the right was available. Mr. H flashed his lights at her to get her attention. She starts pointing that he should go around her on the right! Army Wife obviously is clueless that it's AGAINST THE LAW to stay in left lane if you aren't passing (let alone that it makes roads more dangerous for everyone else because another rule is don't pass on the right.) There's on part of the drive to KY near Chattanooga that always gets me raging because people race ahead in right lane to get ahead (and make everyone else have to stop because of this behavior) because exit onto 24 goes down to one lane-- these are obviously people who know about the lane collapsing but still have to be pigs. There's also some really terrible traffic patterns- i.e. one traffic light in town has really humped up railroad track on one side (room for 1-2 vehicles between crossroad & track)-- they allow left hand turns when there is no lane for this. So traffic gets help up for all these left hand turns when it's an easy place to "go around a block" for that turn and not have danger of people on railroad tracks waiting for someone to finally make this turn. Other lights have such heavy traffic at times that you don't even get through a light even if car #1 due traffic blocking intersection. At least in KY that is usually limited to weekends and "mall traffic" near Christmas.

Overall, I guess I am happy we made the move. Mr H is definitely happier in his job (at least before new ownership)- he had a boss that gave him the autonomy to do his job. He was enjoying the work and no stress on weekends as they aren't 24/7 schedule. He had made enough impact that by the time of the sale, the original company HR guy was saying how he can expect a call on day 366 (year non-solicitation clause) and they will MAKE him a job. He was definitely miserable at the local KY job. I like the neighborhood for the most part (not the awful, racist HOA representative who "welcomed" us)-- funny to see Mr H racing neighborhood kids up the hill and their shouting "your fast, your fast" or see them at the pool and ask me if I sprained my ankle (pulled calf muscle) running the hill. Found a knitting club that meets once a month at a local coffee shop. Local Lowe's sells cement bulldog statues (I am going to paint a block "O" and "Brutus" on the red jersey already painted on the one I bought.) I may regret that we bought a house here but at least I have projects to keep me busy in the time being. It's preparing me for empty nest time coming- how to shop, cook, and clean when it's 2 adults and a bulldog-- gotta change the mindset. Last week Mr H was going to wear a shirt that normally isn't a workout shirt "to save on laundry" and I told him that I NEED more laundry-- it's hard to make loads when it's just us. I'm glad we are able to keep 2 houses as it gets E through college as a commuter and who knows the what the future holds. Maybe we go back to KY to retire? LOL 

Been forever... so much has changed

Seriously has been SO LONG since I posted and even longer since I did a makeup related blog. Last time I did real makeup blog I was wearing almost all my own mineral makeup and since the end of summer 2015 I have been wearing IT Cosmetics CC cream. I was finding that my mineral foundation even with emu oil and other moisturizers just wasn't cutting it. So I saw demonstration on QVC one day and thought maybe I should give it a try... especially liking the 50 SPF as I get melasma from sun exposure on my face. I went to our local Ulta and bought medium color in their illumination CC cream (and a CC illumination bronzer that was limited edition too.) I tried it out and really liked the feel of it for a non-mineral foundation but surprisingly too "glowy" for my tastes. I kept it and went back and bought just the regular CC cream in  medium. In today's photos, I am wearing only the regular medium with a tiny bit of the bronzer for a bit of additional color. I find that the regular CC cream is pretty glowy on it's own but most days I do add a touch of the illuminating version (50% or less.) Why I am pretty happy with this new foundation...

  • My skin is SO DRY so anything that feels a little creamier is a good thing. 
  • LOVE the SPF factor. My spring weekends are lots of hours logged outside for track meets (or doing pole vault video taping for hubby.) Really nice to have such a light feeling foundation have so much SPF. 
  • Colors tend to be on the yellower side which suits me just fine as I typically find makeup too "pink" in most brands. Shade is pretty forgiving so doesn't looks mask-like at all. 
  • While it is said to be a full coverage foundation, I would disagree with that. It's more like a  medium coverage foundation (at least with the amount I use.) If you wanted full coverage I think it would take multiple layers with letting it set in between to achieve full coverage. I don't really like looking made up so I like this not so full coverage that blurs most of the imperfections just fine for my tastes.
  • A little goes a long way. I still have at least a half full tube of the regular medium color that I bought in August and because it has SPF I tend to wear makeup more often than normal AND "while I was away" I was working part-time in a law office 5 days a week- so wearing makeup every day I worked. (In February we changed things so I only fill-in for the normal secretary when she is sick or needs time off.) Two partial pumps is plenty for a full application for me. 
  • It's easy to apply. I put a pump or two on the back of my left hand and dip my finger in. No fancy applicator needed. You can use a foundation brush or sponge but I find that more wasteful than applying with my fingers (which I wash right before makeup application.) 
  • I don't break out from this foundation and it has a pleasant smell. Slightly lavender smell that is very tolerable for my picky nose. I really don't like makeup that smells like talc or chemically. 
  • It's supposed to have skincare effects so that's a bonus. 

Another change from my old makeup is almost always using a Tarte gel blush rather than my own powder blushes. With my dry skin, the gel blush just looks really pretty and glow from within. I knew I was onto something when on a family trip (hotel lighting makeup application) by daughter said "Oh, I really like your blush." Unfortunately the color (Ambition) was only available in mini-size kit so I have bought a similar full-sized one in a color called Exposed that I use most days and then save the Ambition for special occasions. I have used Tarte gel blushes for over a decade but these recent purchases are much better. Old versions would have unique scent added to them, so "Cloud 9" was a grape smell, others may be a berry smell, etc. so you kind of had to put up with the scent if you liked a color. Now they all seem to be rose scented- real rose scented, not cheap "off" smell. Also seems like they are less tacky feeling than older version- older version took quite a while to "set up" after application. At 48 years old, these gel blushes help keep me looking much younger than my years.

Third big change in my daily makeup routine is Anastasia brow gel. I started using IT brow gel (and still use the IT brush that came with) but found IT colors to be too red-brown, even the universal Taupe was reddish brown in my opinion. I gave these to my daughter who dyes her hair red (at this point basically considers herself a redhead.) I find that Anastasia's colors are more realistic brow color on me. The brow gel I purchased around the same time as the IT foundation and I literally have barely scratched the surface. Really an awesome product. If you remember, I am kind of an all or nothing kind of gal when it comes to makeup. IF I am going to wear foundation then it means I WILL wear blush, brows, mascara and lip balm at minimum. I hate to see someone wear foundation and not have blush, and I hate to see "no brows" and hate to see no lashes.

Last big change in my daily makeup is Mally volume mascara. Previously my go to mascara was Maybelline Full N Soft waterproof but I was starting to find my lashes getting brittle (and definitely a bit hard to remove mascara) so when I saw a 6 pack for $60 on QVC I tried it out. It is not waterproof but it does give volume and length with very few coats and seems to condition my lashes. I have pretty good lashes so mostly need volume and darkening. This one works well for that. Of course now I am touching my lashes and they feel soft and supple-- not "crispy" like most mascaras feel after a few hours. My lashes seem to be longer than before I used it (maybe because they aren't getting pulled out while trying to remove mascara?) Not looking too shabby for 48 years old with these products to help =)
IT CC cream Medium
Tarte gel blush Exposed
Anastasia Brow Gel Medium Brown


Yesterday I stopped by my Sam's Club-- I don't shop there often but I have certain items that pay for my membership fees alone-- #1 being yeast for bread making.  I can't tell you how excited I was to find this in the beauty aisle (Oil of Olay offerings/razors/lotion/shampoo aisle) a 9-piece makeup brush set for $7.91!!!! Yes, I typed that correctly, 8 brushes and a case for $7.91!!!

#1- I do believe this set includes the biggest powder brush I have ever seen. I took photos with my hand in background as an comparison for size.

#2- The pointed foundation brush is exactly like the kind I have been loving lately (from Target that sells for $6.99 by itself) for my foundation/SPF pre-mixed foundation for summer. Since I mix Neutragena SPF & my foundation into a mousse-like consistency & store in hinged paint-pots (like what you get in a paint by numbers set but I buy empty ones at craft stores) this kind of foundation brush is perfect to apply my foundation mix. I then purchased another one & polka dotted the ferrel with nail polish to use for cream blush application. <---Currently been using a Hard Candy highlighter/blush combo that I split apart & melted separately & repotted (blush in MMU jar/ highlighter in lip balm stick.)  Since I am approaching 47, cream blushes seem to just look better anymore.

#3 These are NOT chintzy eye brushes--- the 2 "domed" shadow brushes are densely packed, the 2nd from left brush is nicely shaped & perfect softness/density for almost any eye shadow application. The liner brush is a little larger- so best used for smoky liner look rather than thin lining but can't complain about the price.

 #4 The blush brush is nicely domed and highly dense-- very soft. The skunk brush is same quality of much pricier brushes I have in my collection.
 Seriously I can not believe that the price was $7.91 for the entire set. They are now drying out after my washing them. Looking forward to putting them to good use.

Long Time No Post- some beauty blabblings

Howdy. I know it's been forever since I posted anything beauty-wise. So with summer in the air I will tell you a couple of things I've been doing with my makeup routine.

#1 been mixing my foundation with Neutrogena Clear Face liquid lotion SPF 55 (see post from last year about this) but changed things up a little bit for a more skin like look recently. The beauty biz recommends going lighter on foundation as you get older so on days I'm wanting a more natural look I've been using a new mix. I still use the Neutrogena Clear Face SPF but added a slightly darker golden/bronzer foundation that I had added some golden shimmer (tiny particles not glitter) to. I blended with SPF to a "tinted moisturizer" consistency- still pretty liquid and pale beige (SPF/foundation mix was more creamy consistency & fairly pigmented.) I store in "paint pots" (cut apart)  that one can purchase empty at Hobby Lobby-- remember the paint pots that came with oil paint by numbers-- you squeeze the 2 prongs & that helps pop the lid up.

So here is my makeup a few days ago with this glowy barely there mix. As you can see, it's a sheer look but better than bare skin. Blurs rather covers.

#2 Beauty magazines recommend lip balms during the summer rather than glosses because glosses can produce more sun damage to lips. So I looked all over for SPF tinted glosses and sadly there are not many available. Neutrogena has Revitalizing Lip Balms in a few tints that are SPF 20. Blistex makes Lip Vibrance (SPF 15) in one color. Wet & Wild makes a SPF 15 "Mega Lip Color" in about a dozen colors. So with my Hoozey "try anything" I bought a bunch of high SPF lip balms (like Hawaiian Tropic SPF 45) pulled out the balm & put in small pyrex measuring cup along with various amounts of lipstick (I went cheap Wet & Wild 93 centers for most of the colors) put in microwave at 50% for about 90 seconds to melt. Stirred with popsicle stick and poured into lip balm tube (from my MMU supply I have tubes but you could always reuse balm/lipstick containers)- making my own tinted lip balms. Granted they will not be SPF 45 but at least will be higher than most readily available tinted SPF balms and can make more personalized colors.

#3 I found a E.L.F. HD blush and thought I'd give a try. OMG it was INTENSE color... no way to control from going 100% clown makeup in original form. So again my Hoozey "try anything" kicked in. I took a little Nivea Soft Moisturizing Creme (I use this as a makeup remover- especially in winter with my super dry skin) & mixed into a single pump of the blush until it was diluted enough to give sheer color rather than clown-face intensity. I put this in a small container that I have from MMU supplies so now have my own moisturizing blush to give a nice glow from within look. I am guessing one $3 bottle of this E.L.F. blush will be a lifetime of color but I do like it as it's not glittery color and I do like natural look of cream blushes vs. powders.

New Footwear Obsession

4 out of my 5 pairs of Orthaheel flip flops. Love the variety.
Hoozey has a new footwear obsession. At the end of this summer I was experiencing plantar fasciitis. I thought I had bruised my heel but when I shared this with hubby he was like "Nope, that's PF. Exactly what I felt & it's really hard to bruise your heel without remembering what you stepped on to do that." I had been running the neighborhood- hard pavement- more than I've done previously. I am stickler for good running shoes, as I have flat feet, so wondered what else I could do to help with PF. One thing that is recommended is varying heel height. I have always found flats hurt- as did cheap flip flops- so the only flip flops I had were Fit Flops which I loved for many years & collected many pairs. Problem with Fit Flops is that they were basically like wearing my running shoes so one day I randomly posted on Facebook how I was wearing heels around the house while cleaning as my PF helping technique. A friend posted she too had PF & found Orthaheels as a helper for her feet. So I ordered 2 pairs from 6 p.m. (on clearance as it was getting towards the end of the season.) One Salmon pair of "Tide" & one bronzy pair with embellishments. 

At first, I found the Orthaheels a bit odd feeling- there is a lot of arch support so my flat feet took some time getting used to this feature. Soon I grew to love them and recently ordered 3 more pairs (from 6 p.m. again as I find their pricing best-- seriously cannot justify paying full price for flip flops no matter how great they are.) Love the colors and different looks. 

So why do I prefer Orthaheels to Fit Flops? 

Fit Flop arch is much flatter.
Orthaheel very distinct arch support
#1 The more rigid arch support helps keep foot from rolling in- very common for those who have flat feet. You know the look of people wearing cheap flip flops & looking like they are walking on the inner sides of feet rather than soles? I think QVC sells Orthaheels & does a demonstration of a model with lines drawn on shins-- showing how different the alignment ends up being in Orthaheels. 

#2 The footbed is less spongy/foamy compared to Fit Flops- so Orthaheels seem more durable as the footbeds will not collapse as Fit Flops eventually do. Trust me- my original Fit Flops are very flat with no arches left. 

#3 The less spongy footbeds of Orthaheels prevent my turning my ankle like I often did in my Fit Flops. Fit Flops' straps get stretched out & seem to cause me to hit the wrong part of the Fit Flop- in turn causing me to turn my ankle since the footbeds are taller than Orthaheels footbed. 

Grungy footbed even after LOTS of scrubbing.
#4 Orthaheels clean up better. One of my pet peeves with Fit Flops was that the white/light colored footbeds always got so disgusting looking. I routinely scrubbed- we are talking baking soda plus detergent plus nail brush- my Fit Flops but no matter how much I scrubbed the ground in dirt "foot" stains remained. Fit Flops offer dark colored footbeds but I notice these collapse sooner than lighter versions. The Orthaheels have harder footbeds so even with light colors they clean up better. Some even have nice sueded footbeds. 

Most worn pair of Orthaheels I have. Clean up nicely. 
#5 Orthaheels aren't so bulky so they look a little more dressy. The large footbed of Fit Flops detract from the shoe regardless of style you choose in my opinion. Some of the Orthaheels look quite sporty (Tide- salmon/grey) while others can look rather dressy. Orthaheels even makes sandals & heeled versions. Only downside is that their closed shoes are pretty hideous so I don't see myself buying any of those. LOL My 5 pairs of Orthaheels give me quite a wardrobe for my feet whereas I had about a dozen Fit Flops but only real variation was the colors. Already looking for the warmer weather to come back so I can wear my Orthaheels. 

Ideal beauty?

In my lifetime I can remember 2 times when parts of famous beautiful women were put together in a composite. Years ago in the 80s- perfect eyebrows belonged to Brook Shields. Can't remember exact parts that I saw on GMA last month but remember Jennifer Aniston was one part. Ironically both times, the "ideal" woman was not as beautiful as the individuals in my opinion. So is there any ideal beauty?

I tend to think that I am progressive about what I think is beautiful but definitely admit to certain biases. I like nice teeth- that doesn't mean they have to be perfect- I like certain gappy smiles but overall the teeth need to be relatively straight & I definitely do not like yellowed teeth. I do not like wide-set eyes. I don't know why but wide set eyes just sets off my "ugh" meter as far as beauty goes. Certain body types also set off "ugh" even though many think these body types beautiful. An example would be Kate Upton- I don't have an issue with her bustiness but find it odd paired with her thicker middle/lack of hips. I guess my mind tends to think that nature puts certain body parts together. So bust & hips go together in my beauty image rather than bust & straight down from there. 

So I tend to side with natural/healthy= beautiful. So I think slim women are beautiful but find women with thin arms & legs with a thick middle rather unattractive. I think heavier women are attractive too- I am good with curves if they are in the right places. So an hourglass shape to me is beautiful. A pear-shaped woman is beautiful. A woman with no waist is not so beautiful. 

I am concerned with this push to accept all bodies as beautiful because the fact is kids are getting fat. At 45 I am at a similar size to my high school days. In high school I considered myself not necessarily fat, but definitely not thin. I was muscular but curvy too. In the mid-80s when I was in HS, I was kind of in the middle of the weight spectrum- being only 5'2" and more busty than most made me think of myself as a bit heavier and not a petite or skinny girl. Now, at 45, I am on the thin side compared to my peers. I see photos classmates that look like the woman that ate the girl I graduated with. I know it's hard not to put on weight especially as we get older but it seems like my generation "gave up" on trying to maintain a decent weight compared to my mom's generation when in 40s. Very telling when my daughter was looking through my old yearbooks and commented "There weren't fat people in your school." I pointed out various people who were considered on the heavy side back in the day and she replied "Wow, those would be average people now." What chance do today's high school girls have when the average has gotten so much heavier? So why would we promote an even more unhealthy attitude about weight by saying "you are beautiful" regardless of truth.

I understand that there are truly those that have very little control over weight but these are really the minority-- these were the ones labeled "fat" back in my high school days. I would not say that we have genetically changed so much in one generation where everyone is now destined to be fat. The problem is that lifestyle has changed way too much. I find it sad that I have been confused for a high school girl because I am in better shape at 45 than average high school girl. The very same classmates who look like they ate their former self are constantly posting recipes or where they ate out. I see their kids on a bad path already. My daughter was a bookworm and not interested in sports until 7th grade when she joined track. She went through a phase where she was getting chubby and I told her that she needs to pay attention to what she eats- in other words she shouldn't be having ice cream and goodies as much as she had been for her activity level. That may sound like an awful thing for a mom to do, but I have always been a realist and wanted to teach my kids that there are plenty of things within their control including weight. If she had been eating "good food" I would not have said anything because then it would have just been natural weight gain but when it is lifestyle, I am going to say something. Just as it is unhealthy to promote skinny at all cost, I think it is also unhealthy to promote beautiful at any weight when we are telling young people that it is fine to eat whatever you want (mostly garbage) and sit on butt and society should still say that you are beautiful. I could not be the mother that allowed my child to continue to eat unhealthily/not exercise and turn a blind eye to it.

I do wish there was more truth in beauty. It's hard to give girls a sense of healthy weight/body image when even our most beautiful have been photoshopped to extremes. It's not just removing a blemish but taking major inches off waistlines, thighs and so forth so that we compare ourselves to these false images and wonder why we can't be like "her." How can an average woman/girl compete with the photoshopped image when even the real person can't? It would be much better to show the reality that is actually somewhat attainable. 

The same goes with plastic surgery. If you have "work done" then admit to it. I admire Sharon Stone for refusing to have plastic surgery and still looking awesome. Even though Joan Rivers' plastic surgery is obvious, I respect that she's upfront with it. It is pathetic in my opinion to have work done and then pretend like it's all natural. Maybe I am one that is too big on the truth- if someone says- "I like your hair color" I am going to tell them that I had help in that department. I am eternally grateful to my parents for getting me braces because I know how much fixing my overbite added to my "beauty" and self image. I guess I always want to help others- so if I can help someone else by giving away my beauty secrets then I will. That would especially be true if I went to great lengths like plastic surgery- I would feel guilty taking compliments about looking great if it was due to a facelift and I didn't say so.

One thing that inspires me is seeing African American women embrace natural hair rather than trying to get "white hair." I think natural hair is way more beautiful than the damaged relaxed hair or weaves. I believe in celebrating what you have that makes you different. I find it distasteful that of late so many school dress codes have banned hairstyles that target natural hair and individual style. As someone who had way too many perms, I am much happier now that I have embraced that my hair is straight & doesn't curl. So I do not waste my time on it other than coloring it. Yes, I have my vanity point of not liking the gray so I will continue to fight that battle- but at least I'm not trying to pretend that it is natural. I work hard at certain things- maintaining fitness/body weight- for which I am very proud. I am blessed with some things & count myself lucky. And if I happen to have extra help, I will share that secret. If there is any ideal beauty it is working with what you have, improving what you can, accepting what you can't, and making the best of it while being true to yourself. 

Summer Love--

Sorry for the VERY LONG TIME since last posting. Life has a way of keeping me busy so I have little time to blog. Another issue is that my favorite computer to blog from is often times taken over by the hubby (or boys) for pole vault video viewing or online chess playing (the Mr.) Usual work hours I am doing my work- household chores and sewing projects- which always pick up in the spring and seems hours when hubby is home my computer is taken when I have a bit of time to blog. Plus May always is a month that flies by because of the end of track season (both boys made it to state & older one tied for 8th place) all the males in the family birthday within 10 days, and end of school stuff. Zooooooommmmm there goes May.

Anyway, I have been dying to post about my new summer "foundation" because it's worthy of sharing this little secret. I find that my skin looks better once the weather warms up-- with such dry skin, winter isn't pretty. The return of humidity is a welcome event to me and I find that I wear less makeup BUT that comes with two new issues #1 sun makes my melasma flare & here comes spotty forehead (plus try to protect face from sun damage-- at 45 I am winning the battle as far as wrinkles and not looking my age) or #2 wear sunscreen & hats to keep "Spot" at bay and my face doesn't even come close to matching the rest of me. Think I found a perfect solution. Mix mineral foundation & a bit of bronzer into sunscreen-- one step protection and amping up of color so I am ready for the day.

The sunscreen- Neutrogena Clear Face SPF 55-- ultra light, oil free, water resistant and liquid- but when mixed with MMU foundation-- mousse like texture foundation. Mixed this up about 2 weeks ago- it's even more "mousse-like" now.  Need to mix more bronzer in for next batch as I have been out in the sun quite a bit and have to use bronzer to make things match right now.

Minimal summer makeup look- sunscreen & MMU foundation mix- bit of blush, eyeshadow, lipgloss & mascara

Amazes me how skin-like/no makeup the mineral foundation mixed in Neutrogena Clear Face SPF  ends up looking 
Protected from sun & effortless even skin-tone.
Today- bare skin (emu oil moisturizer) and just got a bit of sun on body-- face doesn't really match. 

SPF/Foundation mix plus bronzer, mascara & lip gloss. 

Plus to this SPF/Foundation- not only quick but also wears like iron. Last Saturday spent all day out in sunshine at a track meet & still perfect after entire day of heat & humidity
Love how it feels like I am wearing nothing on skin. Makes it super easy to have a makeup-less look but better because get more even skin-tone & sun protection. I notice in the summer I like a less made up look-- this allows me to totally achieve this look. Today's look was SPF foundation mousse quickly applied, Bronzer (my own matte one called Beach) mascara and lip gloss. Only thing I would have changed-- EYEBROWS. You can really tell in today's FOTD shots how my left eyebrow is lower than my right-- (right grows upward & left grows down on top of being lower.) Usually I fill in my left above the brow itself to make it match the right one more but I was in a hurry to get to blogging today. I  am definitely taking this idea to the beach with me. Usually I go bare-faced (with SPF) but I can see just using this "foundation" instead.