28 December 2012

Nicholas Christmas 2012 Photo Saga (and a Makeup Post)

Hello again, Blogosphere! How was everyone's holiday?? Did Santa bring you everything your heart desired or were you NAUGHTY ;o) this year?

Because I was a total slacker about updating during Christmastime, I have a TON of photos waiting for your perusal.  So here's the pre-Christmas line up. Tomorrow-- FOR SURE-- will be Christmas Eve!

We celebrated early with the arrival of festive packages from my parents in the Midwest. As Mom and Dad are good to their favorite daughter and son-in-law (did I mention I have two brothers and no sisters?), we were spoiled with treats. Check out Cooper scoping for the cat toys.
Remember when I mentioned how I wanted Scrooge's house for our Dickens Village? They got it for us (and without having seen my blog)!! The ghosts dance around Scrooge on the second floor of the house!

More packages arrived from my aunt-- my family rocks, btw-- and I savored every bite of the fruitcake my mom sent from the family Bakery. What do you mean you think fruitcake is gross?! I realize fruitcake is the butt of many Christmas jokes, but have you ever tried it? More importantly, have you ever tried GOOD fruitcake soaked in rum? It's a cake filled with sugary "fruit," nuts, and flavor.

Niko got us himself, the pleasure of feeding him, and cleaning up his poop for Christmas.

Another of my awesome aunts sent us two Lou Malnati's pizzas! What you're looking at in the photo is the dry ice Michael and I played with after opening the package.

While we gave up Starbucks months ago, we've been back enjoying holiday drinks (Michael is partial to the Eggnog Latte while I can't get enough Caramel Brûlée). The manager at our regular place gave us these two reindeer hand-carved by his father-in-law. Such a sweet gift!

My awesome older bro and his lovely wife got me these Paleo cookbooks so I can start my new lifestyle in the New Year. 

Our baby celebrated his fourth birthday on December 23rd. 

Finally, my incredible in-laws sent us a wonderful package of gift cards, chocolate, and makeup (for me, obvi). I received MAC blush (a container with a brush and peachy pink balls) and MAC eye liner gel (my new obsession). I decided to try this look from Pinterest using the Urban Decay Naked palette. However, the photo uses the Naked 1 and I have Naked 2 so... I improvised with similar shades.



Thoughts? I love how easy it is to create lines with the brush and gel. Seriously, OBSESSED.

Get ready for Christmas Eve tomorrow...

11 December 2012

Fröhliche Weihnachten!

This is a post I wrote in 2010 about my Top 10 Christmas Films-- I figured I'd share it with all of you since it hasn't changed!!! What do you think of these?! What's your favorite holiday film?

As of this afternoon, I have decided that I need to spend one Christmas in Germany before I die.  It's something I've considered off and on for a while, and even though I love Christmas at home with family, I would also love to see how other cultures celebrate the holiday season.  And although we Germans have a reputation for sternness and a lack of humor (though in the case of my family the latter has never been true), Deutschland knows how to do it up for Christmas.  Visiting Germany for Christmas will definitely be a highlight in my limited existence.

Top 10 Favorite Christmas Movies--

1.  Disney's A Christmas Carol - Using motion capture and some of the best talent in "The Business" today, Disney's version of Dickens's classic tale opens the world of 19th century England, creating a bigger and more beautiful story of hope and redemption than all of the other adaptations yet.

2.  A Muppet's Christmas Carol - "We're Marley and Marley. Ooooooooooo" It has Muppets. It has Michael Caine.  It has great Christmas songs you love to sing-- this is definitely a classic film to watch every year.

3.  White Christmas - The quintessential Christmas film starring Bing Crosby.  It's a must.

4.  Miracle on 34th Street - Watch the one with Natalie Wood, all others are subpar.  That is all.

5. The Bishop's Wife - Cary Grant plays an angel sent to help a Bishop struggling between godly choices and earthly concerns.  This film is clever, well-written, and has a good message sprinkled with a little fantasy.
Side Note:  There is a fairly good remake of this film called "The Preacher's Wife" with Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington-- I suggest you pop that in for viewing as well.

6. Holiday Inn - Not just for Christmas, Holiday Inn covers every major American celebration with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire's style.  This is also the film that debuted the song "White Christmas."

7. Elf - "Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color?"  "I like to whisper too." "I'm singing/I'm in a store/and I'm siiiiiingiiiiing!/I'm in a store/and I'm siiiiiingiiiiing!"  Need I say more?

8. Love Actually - Because it's British and the cast is made up of most of my favorite British actors/actresses, I fell in love with this film as soon as I saw the trailer.  Thankfully, it's an adorable Christmas film with a lot of heart and a little sadness, like most holidays. 

9.  The Thin Man - Nick and Nora Charles are chic yet down to earth newlyweds spending Christmas in New York when a murder happens. Luckily, Nick Charles is an incredible P.I. who can solve complicated cases while sipping dry martinis.  It's more of a mystery that takes place during Christmas than a Christmas mystery, but it's definitely a fantastic seasonal tradition.

10. The Year Without a Santa Claus (and other such children's Christmas specials) - Yes, this is a clay-mation Christmas special and that's what makes it completely amazing.  My favorites are the Snow and Heat Misers, their song, and Mother Nature putting them in their place.  It rocks.

Honorable Mention goes to "Santa Claus: The Movie," "A Charlie Brown Christmas," and "Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Christmas."  And no, I did not forget "A Christmas Story," I think it's a terrible movie and will never recommend it.  If you like it, good for you.

Stay tuned for my "Movies-to-watch-at-Christmastime-that-aren't-actually-about-Christmas" post......

09 December 2012

Netflix Christmas Movies: What to Watch

I don't have cable. In fact, I don't have television channels at all and while most of the year it's bearable fine, missing Christmas movies (Lifetime and Hallmark anyone?!), specials, and episodes of favorite shows bums me out. However, I do have Netflix.

The Netflix selection of holiday movies isn't great, but there are a few gems and a few more enjoyable ones that'll get you in the spirit. As I'm always on the hunt for great Christmas movies, I've watched my fair share and have categorized them for you. Obviously watch whatever you want, but hopefully this can be a guide to narrow down choices if you don't have as much time as do (and you probably don't).

Must Watch

Christmas classics or specials that imbue the holiday spirit with excellent actors, stories, and give you the warm and fuzzies.

Santa Clause: The Movie
White Christmas
Dreamworks Holiday Classics


I liked these films. They're not spectacular-- just cute-- and make you smile by the time the movies finish.

12 Dates of Christmas
Holiday in Handcuffs
Christmas Cupid
All I Want for Christmas
Snow Globe

One Magic Christmas-- I should warn you that this movie is 1980's Disney which means.... it's going to scar your kids a little for life. I assure you that it ends well and is all about the believing in Santa Clause,   but it gets dark about 45 minutes before the end. If you want specifics, message me.

Shadow Island: The Last Christmas-- This is a mystery with a rather f'ed up family, but I was hooked for some strange reason and still think it's worth a watch for people who like mysteries.

Fast Forward to get Highlights

Movies with a decent message, so-so acting, but plenty of cheese and predictability. You'll know exactly where the film is going five minutes in, so don't waste time watching every moment: fast forward (yes I do that a lot).

Christmas Angel
Crazy for Christmas
Santa Baby 2
Desperately Seeking Santa

Don't Bother

These films have Z-list actors (who are there for a reason), low low budget EVERYTHING, and terribly predictable plots. I like a good-bad film like anyone else, but these are just painful.

All She Wants for Christmas (I'm currently watching this while writing the post and I'm DYING to fast forward!!!)
Christmas Town
Holiday Engagement

For the Kiddos

Arthur's Perfect Christmas
Jack Frost
Angelina Ballerina: The Show Must Go On
Kipper: Let It Snow
*there are numerous Thomas the Tank Engine Specials
Kung Fu Panda Holiday

I hope the Netflix selection of holiday films grows in the next couple weeks since-- at the moment-- it's kind of slim pickings.  Have you seen any of these?

07 December 2012

Home for the Holidays

As promised, I will now share photos of my CHRISTMAS DECORATING GREATNESS!!! Maybe I'm exaggerating on the "greatness" part... maybe not. You decide.

Last year was incredibly difficult on many levels, so our brand new apartment (at the time) never received the "holiday treatment." It's wonderful to be in the proper spirit to celebrate the Advent Season.

Our apartment has never felt more like a home than it does this December. It's funny, every decoration I have has a story and so many people have contributed to my collection that it's actually quite beautiful how much Christmas in my home represents the community of beautiful people surrounding me.

I put snow and berries on my tree instead of garland. I have another tree that I add gold ribbon to, but that one didn't make the cut this year. Are you LOVING my Disney mug?? Check your local Disney Store-- they're half off right now!


I realize my Dicken's Village is comprised of two whole buildings-- I'm working on it!-- but two of the best buildings: The Cratchet's and Scrooge's Counting House, complete with interior scenes. Next I hope to add Scrooge's home and get a figure of Bob Cratchet and Tiny Tim.

One of my favorite books for the season!

My Disney winter stuffed animals needed some air (the "ball" on the right is Betty the Yeti).

Thanks for taking a tour of my home at Christmas!

06 December 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

I just watched The Dark Knight Rises for the first time this afternoon. Here are my thoughts.

WARNING: The following paragraphs contain SPOILERS!!! Stop now if you haven't seen the film! I bear no responsibility if your curiosity gets the better of you and you keep reading then get mad.  So there. Please come back once you've seen the film.

I'm going to add pictures to give you a buffer to leave.

First, the title of the film should be called "The Dark Knight Rises... and Falls." It's hard to get excited about Batman rising from the ashes when you know this is the conclusion to a trilogy. Why bother "rising" in the first place?

The movie begins with a bang-- a crazy airplane hijacking-- then lands us into Gotham where the city is commemorating the eight year anniversary of the hero Harvey Dent's legacy: the dispersement of organized crime and peace in the city. Bruce Wayne (and conveniently Batman) also hasn't been seen in that time. Our beloved billionaire vigilante enters the picture unable to stand without the help of a cane, a recluse in his mansion grieving over the death of his love, Rachel, while Wayne Enterprises is in shambles.

Wait, what?!

Let me get this straight, Christopher Nolan:  one of the world's richest men and brilliant minds who as a child watched his parents murdered in front of him and later exiled himself to a Tibetan (maybe?) prison, went through grueling training in martial arts and meditation to fight injustice, as well as return to Gotham to restore honor to the city and his parents' legacy is unable to cope with his grief over a woman and so he let everything his family built fall into ruin and ruin the lives of his employees? 


Then he bumps into Selena Kyle (aka Catwoman) while she's stealing his fingerprints-- I'm still not sure what for-- and suddenly Bruce is motivated to DO things again. Apparently this man is ruled by his penis emotions. BRUCE WAYNE/BATMAN WOULD NEVER ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN! I'm pretty sure the man knows how to deal with grief, wouldn't you say??

As the film continues, the plot holes become bigger and bigger until, by the end, you're left wondering what exactly you watched, why, and how everything happened. Since it would take far too long to write everything out and lists are awesome, let's start listing things that don't make sense.

Throughout the film you see aerial shots of the city as an island (like Manhattan) connected by bridges. Gotham City's population is 12 million. There's no way that many people live there.

Wayne Manor is an estate with extensive grounds... on Gotham City isle... with 12 million people... a bat cave... and several secret underground facilities. IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.

Population of 12,000,000 with a police force of 3,000. I think the math does itself here.

Who puts a prison full of 1000 crazies IN THE MIDDLE OF A CITY?!

Michael and I couldn't figure out how Bane's tiny force of men were able to hold back a city of 12 million people, as well as the military, and keep the police underground for 5 months. And do you expect me to believe that a force of 3000 or so police officers sat around in the tunnels rather than find sewers and subway stations to escape?? Bane certainly didn't have enough men-- even w/ prisoners-- to cover all the exits.

Why is Batman blamed for the murders of the people Harvey Dent killed in the second film and therefore has the police after him in TDKR? Why not blame the Joker? Or you could say that, after hearing his fiance blown up, being blown up himself and half his body severely disfigured, suffering PTSD... that Dent's grief drove him insane? Why did Batman need to disappear? 

How did Bruce hurt himself and have to go through ANOTHER set of (boring) training sequences?

Why would Commissioner Gordon send the entire police force into the sewers to stop Bane? Wouldn't at least several hundred need to stay above and... like... maintain law and order?

If your plan all along is to nuke the city, why wait until the very.last.second. and give your enemy plenty of time to strengthen and escape. It reminds me of the villain in The Incredibles: "You caught me monologuing again." One giant five month monologue.

Anyone know what happened to Selena's friend?

I love that the filmmakers conveniently left out how Bruce Wayne got out of the Middle East and back to Gotham completely undetected. He just shows up. Like magic.

Alfred would never ever ever leave Bruce Wayne. Period. Besides his love of Bruce, Alfred's greatest quality is his unwavering servitude to the Wayne family. Not to mention he's a military man! I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure loyalty is a massive part of that life. It just wouldn't happen, no matter the circumstances.The lack of Alfred was a major disappointment.

While TDKR has a stellar cast, I didn't love Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. Something about her "seductive and deadly with a razor sharp wit" character felt forced/fake. And I had high hopes. It's also hard to believe Catwoman would just hand Batman over without an escape plan for both of them-- she doesn't even fear the Joker, why is Bane different?

All of the stuff I mentioned above about Bruce Wayne... and, of course, Batman's voice.

No one says anything directly-- everyone either speaks metaphorically or needs to tell a story to make their point.
Bruce is tracking the stolen pearls and Selena-- Alfred tells a story.
Bruce wants to know about Bane-- Alfred tells a story.
Bruce wants to sacrifice his life to Gotham-- Alfred tells a story.
John Blake reveals he knows Bruce is Batman-- story.
Selena and Bruce dance-- story/ metaphor about a storm.
Bruce sleeps with Matilda-- story.
Bane captures Batman-- story.
Blake confronts Gordon-- story.
Man nurses Bruce-- story.
Bruce asks Man about mumbling imprisoned doctor (who conveniently only speaks English when he's saying something wise)-- story.
Talia stabs Batman-- story.
Gordon says farewell to Batman-- story.

A great drinking game, yes? You're welcome. Haha-- now the next time you watch the film you're going to be like "Not another story!"

Everyone on the planet (obvious hyperbole people!) knows Bruce Wayne is Batman. Blake apparently guessed it off Wayne's face one time when he was 10 (sound a little thin to anyone else?). Bane knows, therefore his crew knows. Matilda/Talia knows. Alfred & Fox, as usual. Don't forget the guy in the previous film who knew and has left Gotham. Oh, and Selena Kyle knew right from the start.

Yet somehow, Commissioner Gordon, one of Gotham's greatest cops and detectives.... has no clue.

Look at the timeline. Bruce disappears for 7 years after the murderer of his parents goes free. He returns and the Bat shows up. He hosts a party that's crashed by the Joker, disappears, and the Bat shows up. Harvey Dent dies, Batman is accused of murder and disappears, Wayne becomes a recluse. Eight years later Bruce is out in public then shortly after... you guessed it! Batman. I mean... really???

And finally.... the BIG TWIST: Matilda, aka Talia al Guhl.
One of the disadvantages of being good at predicting films is that there are hardly surprises anymore. While my brain screamed "Talia!" as soon as Marion Cotillard entered her first scene, I still think that was a great misdirection appreciated by most audiences. However, her motivation made absolutely no sense and the stories-- oh so many stories!-- didn't match up.

Bane rescues Talia and she escapes the prison, finds Ra's, and the pit is taken over by the League of Shadows. Bane has been disfigured on his face but other than that he's normal.... SO WHY DOES RA'S THINK BANE IS A MONSTER??????  The man saved your daughter from rape and torture and a living hell, and you repay him by calling Bane a monster?!


When EXACTLY did Bane and Talia fall in love?  Wouldn't Bane be 20 or so years older than Talia? Somehow he didn't seem like a man in his 40's or 50's.........

Talia left LoS because she couldn't forgive her father for rejecting Bane. Then suddenly, after he's killed, she gives a crap and begins plotting. Why? What's the point? When she's all scrunched up in the truck, Talia said her father's legacy would be complete......... Let's head back to the first film, shall we?  Ra's al Guhl went after Gotham because that city was a hub of organized crime, scum, and general deterioration of society. Film two changed that and now Gotham is peaceful. So there's no reason to "finish the job!"

Whew! That was a lot.

My apologies for any negativity. I'm not trying to start something and I have no desire to dislike The Dark Knight Rises because it's popular. I was really hoping to enjoy the film and take in the action, yet I needed to be honest.

Production wise, the cinematography and editing are stellar, performances solid, and the concept of Bane taking over Gotham is good. The pacing and intensity of the film built nicely all the way through the football stadium scene, but became choppy and made the movie feel long. I even enjoyed the Ra's al Guhl connection, and how they wound down the trilogy. Batman's motorcycle is badass. Joseph Gordon Levitt will make an excellent Night Wing and perhaps they'll bring Michael Caine back for an Alfred cameo.

Sorry, I should clarify: I realize Bale and Nolan left the Batman series, but DC and Warner Bros. will work out a new trilogy with Levitt because they want $$$. It's just smart business.  Yet that brings up more questions: won't people recognize Bruce Wayne: International Playboy? How is Blake going to keep the Bat Cave running? Wayne has specialized training and the original Robin was an acrobat: what about Blake?

Overall, these questions and inconsistencies are what frustrate me most about the film. Because Hollywood needs to remain one step ahead of the trends and keep audiences interested in their films, I have a feeling screenwriters began building a script with Joker as soon as "The Dark Knight" entered post-production. When Heath Ledger passed away, everything-- including connections to the Joker-- had to be scrapped and the story made from scratch. And of course they had to watch budget, marketing, and production schedule to keep investors and audiences happy. It's insane. So I think many of these details were lost in the shuffle of getting the project made on time. Perhaps one day filmmakers will be able to delay film releases like video games do in favor of spending a little more time making great cinema instead of a mediocre movie.

03 December 2012

The Best Moments in Holiday Films

Oh my gosh guys, it's freakin' DECEMBER! Christmas Season! Holiday Season, actually, and a time to eat, drink, and be merry with loved ones!!! (I'm excited if you couldn't tell...)

At this very moment, I'm taking a break from decorating the apartment to share my Top 3 Favorite Moments in Holiday Films. I know I know, it's short, but I've been on a weird schedule lately so I'm catching up. BUT YOU WILL LOVE THESE CLIPS BECAUSE IT'S CHRISTMASTIME AND YOU HAVE TO BE HAPPY.

And rest assured, I will be posting decor pics some time this week :)

First up, a little known film titled "Love Actually." While the scene with Keira Knightley and Andrew Lincoln is utterly romantic.... it's not my favorite. It's almost impossible to pick from the likes of Colin's trip to America, Hugh Grant dancing in the Prime Minister's mansion, and Jamie chasing after Aurelia, but I had to feature Bill Nighy who, IMHO, is Britain's Christopher Walken, and the wonderfully Scottish Gregor Fisher. This speech is just so awkward and funny and sweet and honest that it's definitely my favorite. Enjoy.

"White Christmas" is a classic with many great moments and performances, but as Danny Kaye is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE (yes, he deserves all caps), and pairing him with Bing is GENIUS, this next clip features them doing the ever-catchy "Sisters" number in drag (or as "drag" as they could get in 1954). I love that the laughter is 100% genuine.
As someone in the YouTube comments wrote" Danny Kaye. The only man who could make Bing Crosby laugh like that."

And finally-- and yes, I realize there are many Christmas movies with TONS of great moments-- our last clip is from Disney's Holiday Special "Prep & Landing." Have you seen this?!?! Hysterical, inventive, charming, funny-- A MUST for every holiday. They came out with "Prep & Landing: Naughty vs Nice" but the first one is still the best.

In this scene, the elves are preparing Santa for take off on his annual Christmas Eve jaunt around the globe. I love the holiday terms used as flight terminology, the detail in the scenes, and how the elves "rev the engine."

10 points if you can tell me where they got the name "Rosebud" for the sleigh.

What's a memorable moment in your favorite Christmas movie? Have you seen any of these films? Do you love the holidays?!

30 November 2012

Chili Dip (not poop)

Chili Dip is fantastic. 

These pictures make it look like orange diarrhea, but I assure you, the taste is far better. Not that I know what diarrhea tastes like....... you know what I mean.

The best part? It couldn't be easier or less healthy for you!!! So save Chili Dip for a special treat, holiday party, or when you have "The Munchies."

Chili Dip

1 block of regular cream cheese
1 can Hormel Chili (NO BEANS), beef or turkey is fine
Bag of Corn Chips

Toss the cream cheese and the chili into a pot. Heat over medium heat and stir until well blended. Serve with corn chips.

Some Tips--

Cut the cream cheese into chunks before tossing into the pot-- it melts faster.

While the "third less fat" cream cheese may sound like a good idea, read the ingredients. There are more hard-to-pronounce chemicals in that kind than the regular cream cheese, but I've used it and it works just as well.

"Chili" and "Chili Beans" are NOT the same thing. Trust me.

Make sure you remember where you put the extra can of turkey chili so you don't have to run out a THIRD TIME for more................

29 November 2012

Kitty Kitties

Since I don't feature my cats a ton, I thought I'd do a short post about Niko and Cooper before we dive into holiday posts (though let's be honest: I'll probably show them with antlers and what not). If you like my cat stories and photos, I will write more about them.

Recently, Niko-- the gray one-- had a collection of scabs on his forehead caused by what we thought was Cooper. So we trimmed Cooper's claws, but then noticed even more bumps all over Niko's belly. This had gone on for a few weeks, and while he wasn't itching and his fur wasn't falling out, we decided to take him to the vet to rule out fleas, ringworm, and cancer.

Niko hates going to the vet:

Fortunately, it was just an infection caused by an allergic reaction to a new food he tried. He had to get 2 shots of steroid meds and now that we know he has food allergies, we will continue him on only one type of dry food we know is safe.

We had to leave Cooper all by himself, and since he has attachment issues, this was the result when we got back:

I'm glad Niko is getting better and happy the two cats are getting along... except when Niko gets stuck on the scratching post and Cooper taunts him.

27 November 2012

Homemade Whipped Cream

Honestly, I can't believe how many years and how much money I wasted on crappy  mediocre Cool Whip or Redi-Whip. I mean, making whipped cream is SO DARN EASY!

The consistency has the thickness of Cool Whip, but it does tend to lose it's form quickly. Of course, you just need to pull out the old mixer again, otherwise make just enough of what you need that day and use it up.

Isn't it beautiful?

Because many of us are used to the chemically sweetened kind, this whipped cream recipe won't taste as sweet, but you could always toss in extra powdered sugar.

I never realized the many uses of whipped cream: toss it on pies, cakes, cupcakes, cocoa, cider, and even coffee! Plus, you can add a 1/2 tsp of bourbon or liqueur per cup of whipping cream used to make your own special flavor. Next time I want to try sweetening it with agave nectar.

Seriously, make fresh whipped cream-- you're putting less crap into your system, you'll feel an amazing sense of accomplishment, and your guests will think you're Martha Stewart! (unless one of your guests is Martha Stewart...)

Homemade Whipped Cream

1 cup whipping cream or heavy cream 
2 Tbsp Confectioner's (powdered) sugar 

Chill a metal or glass bowl and mixer attachments. Once chilled, add cold whipping and sugar to the bowl. Beat on medium speed (I used Level 3 on my cheap-o hand mixer) until the cream forms peaks.... then beat a little more to make sure it holds. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Some Tips--

Do NOT get anything low fat, you need a high fat content so the cream will solidify.

Granulated sugar won't work as it won't dissolve. If you don't have powdered sugar or all the stores in your area are out for some reason, you could make a simple syrup-- one part sugar, one part water, boil until sugar is dissolved (5 min) and chill for a few hours-- and add 1/2 to 1 tsp, maybe 2. The same measurement should work for agave nectar, but I haven't tested it yet. 

If you decide to use a liquid sweetener, no matter what kind it is, use less than what's needed for the powdered sugar, otherwise your whipped cream won't solidify.

You could add cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice for added flavor.

**This recipe comes from Food Network Magazine. Consider it TESTED and APPROVED!**

26 November 2012

I love your face: A Lush Review

In this installment of "Products I've Tried At Lush Because I'm Obsessed" we'll be looking at the products shown below:

Are you excited? No?! WELL COULD YOU GET EXCITED PLEASE?!?!?!


First up we have Jackie Oates-- a color (or "colour" if you're fancy) supplement-- Feeling Younger-- a skin tint that's basically a brightener-- and Eyes Right, the legendary mascara that's part of their new Emotional Brilliance makeup line. The only reason I even tried the first two was because I whined mentioned how I hope Lush creates a foundation & cover-up because I don't like heavy makeup. 


The oh-so-sweet sales gal convinced me I could use Jackie Oates to even out my skin tone, and Feeling Younger to brighten the dark circles under my eyes plus I could combine the two to create a lovely glow on my skin. They solved my "heavy makeup" problem because I pretty much look like I'm not wearing any! Talk about sheer coverage. I'll stick with my Smashbox foundation but I still need a cover-up that will handle more than just my dark circles. Any recommendations?

Whoever came up with the Eyes Right Mascara iodine bottle design must not wear mascara because the wand is simply ludicrous. DO YOU SEE HOW SHORT IT IS?!?! Maybe it's terrible eye/hand coordination or maybe it's the stubby top; either way: I get mascara all over my face! I had to shell out another $5 on top of the $18 price tag for a separate wand. While Lush employees will tell you the  price is "a great deal because the bottle contains twice the amount of normal mascaras," they neglect to mention that the coverage is so light you'll actually need to use double the coats... so it's basically the SAME THING.

In the two photos of me above, I'm wearing Jackie Oates, Feeling Younger, and 3 coats of Eyes Right.  

Here I am with my normal foundation and regular mascaras (yes, I wear two different ones):

Overall, I'm not a fan of all three items as I don't feel they work as well as normal makeup. Jackie Oates & Feeling Younger are great to toss on before I run errands, but for a night out or a whole day being at work, stick with a higher quality foundation from a trusted, cruelty-free cosmetic brand. Besides the reasons I mentioned above, Eyes Right comes off easily, so if you really want to try it, I'd suggest picking up lash primer. However, if you prefer a light layer, this is the mascara for you.

Next up we have a couple seasonal products:

The Jack-O-Lantern Soap at Lush is a seasonal item only available thru Halloween, usually sells out within a couple weeks of its October release, and is absolutely wonderful. It smells like a pumpkin spice latte and is moisturizing. Personally, if Lush just made these fellas into plain pumpkins, they could sell them thru Thanksgiving (GENIUS over here!! You can pay me a bonus, Lush, if you go with that idea). Put this soap on your radar for next year!

Twilight Shower Gel, on the other hand, is available through Christmas and is based on their lavender Twilight bath bomb. I know, when you (or me) read "lavender" you (me again) think "suffocating flowery scent!" but I promise the aroma is sweet and relaxing. As you can see, after I tried a little bottle, I upgraded to a giant one because I love it.

For the hair and face:

Ultrabland (the pot on the left) is a facial cleanser that doubles as a makeup remover. Seriously, if you have trouble removing that last bit of eyeliner or you wake up every morning with mascara under your eyes, you've got to try this stuff. The Lush Lady also recommended Ultrabland as a blackhead remover. Michael and I tried the method once-- use Ultrabland on blackheads, massage for a few minutes, then spray on the Eau Roma Water (toner) and wipe with a damp cloth, do this 3 times a week-- and the next day we saw an improvement. I need to get back to that.........
It's a bit greasy so make sure to wash thoroughly. I also use my regular cleanser after removing my makeup because I'm weird.

ANYWAY, I'm skipping over the Dirty for a sec to talk about the bar on the right: Fresh Farmacy. It's a facial cleansing bar that's light, smells great, easy on sensitive skin, and works well for an even, clear face. That chunk you see is a mutha f'in SAMPLE too! (Our Lush loves us) I still break out once a month no matter what I use on my face (...if you catch my meaning) but the bar even subdues pimples when they just won't be stopped.

And finally, Dirty hair styling cream, my go-to now that I'm rocking a pixie cut. The smell is addicting (is it weird that I smell it for fun?) and the hold and lift are great for using a very small amount.  See for yourself:

Overall Ratings

Dirty: 5 out of 5 hair tosses 
Eyes Right: 2 out of 5 winks
Feeling Younger: 3 out of 5 beauty marks
Fresh Farmacy: 5 out of 5 beauty marks
Jackie Oates: 3 out of 5 beauty marks
Pumpkin Soap: 4 out of 5 bubbles
Twilight Shower Gel: 5 out of 5 bubbles

**Please note that I am not affiliated with Lush, do not/have not worked for the company, and while I try almost everything as a sample first, I buy my own products.  I just love Lush that much.**