Friday, December 26, 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...Even at Work

I'm not sure how I caught the Christmas bug, because I'm the most holiday-spirited member of my family. But I love everything about the holiday season: the lights, the carols, the decorations, the festive scents, even the hustle and bustle. (I would also say the cool weather, but we don't get much of that in Southwest Florida.) While many people get stressed and overwhelmed during the holidays, I feel just the opposite. I don't have a huge family and most of my friends are spread across the country, so I don't have a ton of parties and events I have to attend. Also, news slows down and organizations don't host as many fundraisers, so my schedule becomes less busy.

The only downfall is sometimes, like this year, I have to work on Christmas. I've worked every holiday this year, except for Thanksgiving, but Christmas is really the only bummer for me. I usually take the week off and head up to see my family in Atlanta. We eat at the same restaurant every Christmas Eve and my sister and I even take the same picture in the parking garage, of all places. Then on Christmas Day we see a movie and eat at the same Chinese restaurant. It's simple, a little random and probably not how most people spend the Christmas holiday, but there is just something about the tradition of it that I love! I was sad to miss it.

Unfortunately I'm absent from the annual parking garage photo!

This year I've been enjoying a modified version of the holidays. The newsroom is quiet, and one of our co-worker's wife brought in a home-cooked Christmas Eve dinner. I got to go to midnight mass and open presents. Max even baked cookies from scratch! And I brought as much festive spirit as I could to the ABC 7 set. No matter where you are or how you celebrate, I hope you've been able to find a little wonder in the most wonderful time of the year.

Happy Holidays from the ABC 7 anchor desk!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Birchbox Review: November

 November Birchbox

1. Eyeko Fat Eye Stick -- Genius theory. An eyeshadow crayon that you can quickly swipe on? Major timesaver. The problem is this does not blend well. I envisioned using this to apply eyeshadow in the spare 10 seconds I have before going on air, but it didn't exactly work that way. If you just leave it like that, it looks a little crazy. I tried to blend with my fingers, which worked okay, but was not ideal. I'm wondering if some type of sponge or blender would work better. Also, this silver color is not what I would pick; I prefer something darker. (For eyeshadow, I'm all about deep purples - try it!)

2. Not Soap, Radio Body Wash - Joy Inducing (Lemon & Sugar) -- First of all, I had to look up what the phrase "not soap, radio" meant. If you don't know already it's a punch line for a prank joke explained here. But as far as the actual body wash goes, I liked it! It's a very lemony scent, which I love. It's also free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. I would love to try some of the other scents, but I'm not sure I would go out of my way to purchase this since it's on par with just about any other body wash I've used.

3. Rusk Texture Dry Finishing Spray -- I was quite excited to receive this sample because of the word "texture." Anything I can do to add texture to my hair! But...I can't really figure out how to best use this. It says it can be used as a hairspray and/or to add lift to the roots. I tried that and it felt a little sticky. I'm going to go back to using it as a hairspray until it runs out, but I can't say I would buy this. It has a nice "salon-quality" scent!

4. Camille Beckman Platinume Gold Imperial Repair Hand Therapy -- Loved the citrus scent and silky feel! The sample was very small, so I didn't use it long enough to fall in love. Plus, I'm not going to spend $20 on hand cream unless it's life-changing.

5. MAKE Silk Cream Lipstick & Lip Primer -- This sample was a little hard to use. I applied it with my finger, but a lip brush may have been better. The lip primer is great! The lip colors weren't my favorite- one was a little too magenta pink, the other was a little too red for every day use. Although I do think it would be nice for a party or night out. They were deeply pigmented, but a little too matte for my taste. I prefer just a little bit of shimmer. 

6. Chuao Chocolatier Assorted ChocoPod - Milk Chocolate-Covered Potato Chip -- I don't normally like milk chocolate, but I liked this; it was delicious! The potato chip part wasn't overwhelming; it added some crunch and a tiny bit of saltiness. 

December Birchbox
First of all, the box itself is absolutely beautiful! This is a whopper of a box with several products that look great. I'm excited to try the Davines Replumping shampoo, conditioner and styling spray.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Best Drugstore Beauty Buys

I rarely give in and say I've found the best-of-the-best when it comes to beauty products. But I'll go out on a limb and say that with this eyeliner. I have no desire to try another one after finding this. It's a dark brown, so the color is rich but not as dark as black. It goes on smooth and stays on forever. And it's less than $7. Use the blender sponge! I made the mistake of not using it at first, and once I did, I realized I was missing out. You can smooth out any unevenness and really smudge it into the lashline. The more you can get eyeliner almost IN your lashes, the better and more natural it will look-- best tip I ever learned from a makeup artist. 

If you're noticing a pattern, I tend to be partial to L'Oreal products. This drugstore line is just one of MANY that fall under the L'Oreal umbrella: Lancome, YSL, Urban Decay, Kiehl's, Shu Uemura and Clarisonic...just to name a few. 
This is the spray I've been coming back to on my quest to find the world's best root-boosting product.  Since my hair needs volume, something that gives "oopmh" to the roots is one of the most important items in my arsenal. Unfortunately this doesn't give me Texas Big Hair, but it does give lift without stickyness or stiffness. It's about $6 and works just as well as some similar, higher-priced products.

3. John Frieda Luxurious Volume All-Day Hold Hairspray

I have been using this for years and years. Every time I try a different hairspray, I keep going back to this one. It holds well, doesn't have a strong scent and most importantly, it's not too wet. It does not get sticky, and it's easy to brush out. I wish it had just a little bit of a stronger hold, but overall it's fantastic.

4. wet n wild Color Icon SPF 15 Bronzer in Bikini Contest
I'm assuming Victoria's Secret discontinued my beloved Baked Mineral Bronzing Powder, because I can't find it anywhere. I launched a search to find a replacement and tried several bronzers I didn't like...until I found this one. I picked it up for less than $4 at Walmart, and surprisingly, it's been a winner! It's just the right balance between shimmery and matte and is not Oompa Loompa orange. It has pinkish/reddish undertones, which works perfectly with my skin tone. I even slather it on my arms when I'm going sleeveless on air for a nice "tan." The only drawbacks: A lot of powder comes off on my brush, so it can be a little messy. I often have to blow off a little before I put it on my face, but even if I don't, it blends really well. Also, by the end of the day, it can get just a little shiny; I think that may be because of the sunscreen. 

Does Whole Foods count as a drugstore? Because that's where I got this. At about $8, it's definitely drugstore-priced. I needed shampoo and bought this on a total whim, as I actually went in for dinner, not beauty products. But we all know how a trip to Whole Foods works. Even though this is not a volumizing shampoo, it gives me great volume! This line has specific shampoos for different colors, but this is made for people with golden tones. It's supposed to bring out highlights, which I recently got for the first time in my life. I definitely think this is better for fine hair that doesn't need added moisture. I could see it being drying for people with more thick or coarse hair.

It's a little odd to blog about deodorant, but, hey, everyone's gotta use it. (unless you're Matthew McConaughey) Over the years I've used several deodorants, and I've discovered most of them don't really work that well, even the pricier "clinical strength" ones. I originally picked this up in a sample size because it just happened to be in the travel section. I started to realize it actually worked. There's not a whole lot to be said about deodorant other than that this one has been leaps and bounds better than others I've tried.