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My Favorite Everyday Lip Liner Pencils



   Although lip liner isn't talked about much in the beauty world compared to lipstick and other make up items , I feel like most us do wear it. Lip liner is defiantly a staple in my make up stash because my upper lip is basically non-exsisent without it. Not to mention, having Invisalign changes the proportion of my lips weekly. Some weeks my left side is higher and some weeks it's lower. Lip liner helps me to balance out the areas the need a little extra definition and/or fullness.
  Finding that perfect lip liner isn't always the easiest though. I like a lip liner that is creamy enough to glide on without much effort but I also want longevity. I don't want the fuss of re-applying lip liner every hour on the hour. I am also a huge nude lip lover but, with that being said, I don't want it to look like I applied my concealer to my lips so that is where a slightly darker lip liner is golden to give a little depth to my lips.

Here are some of my favorites, eleven to be exact!


1. Bare Minerals  Freestyle
2. MAC Stripdown
3. Milani All Natural
4. Urban Decay Naked
5. Urban Decay Naked 2
6. Charolette Tilbury Pillow Talk
7. Jordana Tawny
8. ColourPop Bound
9. Marc Jacobs Nude(ist)
10. Rimmel
11. Bite Beauty 022


Here are some swatches





I hope you found the round up of my favorite everyday lip pencils helpful! I know some of the swatches look like duplicates, I guess it really shows what I gravitate towards. Ha. In terms of formulation they are all a little bit different (besides the two Urban Decay pencils) I'd have to say my top two are Pillow Talk by Charlotte Tilbury and Marc Jacobs Nude(ist).

Do you have a favorite lip pencil that is your everyday go-to? If so, let me know in the comment section.



My PIT (uitary) Story.

                                                                       


  In honor of Brain Tumor Awareness Month, I decided to share my personal bout with a Pituitary Adenoma. If you are unfamiliar with the pituitary, most people are, it is known as the master hormone gland of the body. Although the pituitary gland is only the size of a pea , it is a powerhouse to how our hormones regulate throughout the body. It is located at the base of the brain, behind the eyes.
    I am sure this post probably comes as a surprise to most of you, even to my family. I was diagnosed with a 10mm functioning pituitary adenoma in 2008, yet to this day only a handful of people know that I have now struggled with this for over 10 years. I have chosen not to share it with many people for a multitude of reasons, that is a whole other post.
    Let's back up to how I was diagnosed.  In 2008, I was in my first semester of college and working full-time. I had yet to have a period (naturally) and I was 18 going on 19. I didn't think much of it because my mom was a "late starter" and I saw my family doctor about it when I was 16 and he basically said It was because I was undergoing a lot of stress and depression, which was true, so I took his words as truth and he put me on birth control to hopefully start regulating my hormones. That was one of the worst, uneducated decisions I've made to date.
  Unknowingly the birth control pills were actually increasing my prolactin ( produced by the pituitary) which caused the pituitary tumor to form. Not to mention the other awful side effects; weight gain, acne, mood swings , etc.. As you can imagine, It didn't take me long to stop taking those birth control pills.
    Now fast forward to 2008. Still no period, moody, and I just had a feeling that something wasn't "right" I couldn't explain it in Layman's terms. I just knew something was off. The littlest things irritated me, I hated being in the sun, hated the lights on, had horrible almost debilitating head aches behind my eye and the list goes on. One night when I was feeling overwhelmed I decided to google all of my symptoms. I literally typed in all of my symptoms into one search, lol. After reading through several articles and forums I made a personal diagnosis of a pituitary tumor. I just remember thinking I have every symptom, everything matched up. Now what do I do? I had no insurance and no family doctor.  I went ahead and took it upon my self, even though I was scared, and made an appointment with the doctor that I went to as a little girl.
        That Friday I went to our Church's healing room for prayer. I didn't write down on the prayer form anything specific. I simply wrote "pray for whatever God has for me". Mind you, I didn't tell anyone about my self diagnosis and it wasn't the first time I had went to the healing room at my church. As they were praying over me, one of the sweet ladies in the room said that she saw God reaching into my head and pulling something out. I immediately was in awe. A sense of hope and love overwhelmed me mentally. I didn't know if that "thing" she saw God removing was the pituitary tumor ,that I thought was there, or what it was or meant. But I felt hopeful.
   That next day, I woke up with fresh eyes. It was like someone lifted the darkness up over my thoughts and my metal state. I mentioned earlier that I was struggling with depression and that stemmed from my young upbringing. I remember Tim , my then boyfriend, and I going on a walk which I normally dreaded because of the sun but that day was different. I remember looking up at the sky and saying "that heat from the sun feels so good... isn't it beautiful out?"Tim thought I was being sarcastic. Normally, I wouldn't have said that.
   At the time I didn't put 2 & 2 together. Now looking back I realize God took my depression away. Something so dark and everyday debilitating, something that hindered the life that he so graciously gave me ... he gave back to me. I could go on and on into detail but I'll save that for another time.
     The Monday after I went to the healing room at church I had my doctors appointment. I went in explaining my symptoms and everything that I had researched. He knotted his head as I explained and said, "I think it may just be depression. I'd come back when you are married and want to have children, it doesn't seem like a concern right now". My eyeballs almost popped out of my head, I thought you have got to be kidding me! He said the prolactin blood test is $74 and I think you'd be wasting your money. I politely replied, "I think I'd like to waste my money".
          A week later I had a voicemail on my phone from the office nurse . In a very chipper voice she said, "Just as the doctor suspected your prolactin is over 900 ( normal range is 0-23) therefore indicating a Pituitary Adenoma. These are usually non-cancerous tumors. Give us a call back to set up an MRI appointment" .
   In that moment it was like time stood still. My body went into this surreal state. I was at work that day. I walked upstairs and told my boss with a blank face about the call. She asked "do you need to take time and leave for the day?". I immediately said no and walked out the front door, lol. I went outside and called Tim, my then boyfriend. His response was " what, you are going to be okay". At the time I didn't understand his response, I was looking for a different kind of compassion. But that response increased my faith in the weirdest way. I was used to my family finding out about a problem and it was the end of the world. Gossip and negativity spread through my family faster than the speed of light (or what it seemed). But Tim's faith " you are going to be okay" gave me hope. Positive reinforcement. Child-like faith.
    I thought to myself, if he can boldly speak out my result , I much rather stand with those words vs the words of defeat. I asked him years down the road why he responded that way and he said, "It wasn't questionable, I knew you were going to be ok, I just spoke the truth".
    About a month later, I had the MRI scan of my pituitary. It came back that I had a 10 mm prolactin secreting tumor located on my pituitary gland. From there I went to an endocrinologist that started me out on a medication called Bromocriptin. I ended up having little success lowing my prolactin levels with it. He then put me on a medication called Cabergoline. Both of these medications are dopamine agonists. Cabergoline seemed to be working great but boy was it expensive! I mean $1000 a month for the dosage that I needed. Even though I was working full time I was only making minimum wage and that wasn't cutting the bill. I started ordering my medication from an online Canadian pharmacy per the recommendation of my endocrinologist. Although the medicine was still ridiculously expensive it was two hundred dollars cheaper than what I was paying in the states. During this time I was humbled to my core by the outpouring by a couple unnamed individuals that were clients at my work. I had a random $100 bill on my desk  every month by someone who wished to remain anonymous. I also had a client that was a nurse and I had spoke to her about what was going on just for some general feedback about the condition itself . After our conversation , she handed me her checkbook and told me to go order my medication. I ,at the time, was extremely prideful in the respect that I didn't want anyone doing anything for me without me earning it. I was raised to work for what I had and if not, I didn't have anything. There was NO way I was ever going to be a charity case, or so I thought.
    It was in these times God showed me his grace and his unmerited favored, that I didn't have to work for everything, including His Salvation. He alone is my provider, he alone is my faith, he alone is my health, he alone is enough. I was shook to my core and  humbled. Still to this day all I can do is laugh with gratitude because the grace of God that was shown and is continued to be shown in my life. I went through so many stages in the last ten years. Denial, fear, rejection, anger, jealousy, humility just to name a few. I plan on sharing more about what my eyes have been opened to and how my relationship with Jesus has continued to blossom.
   Just for the record I don't believe that God "made me" sick but I do believe he allowed it. I believe everything goes through his hands. I also believe that he healed us all on the cross and when he said, "It Is Finished" it WAS finished. All sickness and disease. Now I'm sure you're probably confused thinking ... then why are you writing this talking about your sickness? I believe that just like getting "saved," A.K.A asking Jesus into your heart to be your Lord and Savior, is a change of mind. A change of the way you think or perceive something. I once was blind but now I see. It is simply a change of mind. That is how I view what he did on the cross. I choose daily to recognize what he did on the cross and believe what he said. Not denying the physical (symptoms)  but recognizing that God is not a liar either. I am not about to sit here and give more power to sickness in my life over the one who holds the world in his hands. For instance if the crayon is blue but yet you continue to believe its green... to you it is green. But it is truly blue. It is perception. I hope I am coming off transparent, I could go into greater detail of what I am trying to get across but you'd be reading this for the next month. Unless you're a speed reader like my Nana, ha.
      Eventually,  my prolactin platued at 430. Don't get me wrong, I was grateful that it went down but paying $1000 a month on medication and it wasn't going down further was a bit discouraging. I almost forgot to mention the side effects of the Cabergoline were almost unbearable. I talked to the doctor and he said that I could go ahead and go off the medication and see what it does and come back when /if I had symptoms that were bugging me or when I was married and ready to start a family.
   Meanwhile, the little researcher in me set out on google once again. I spent countless, sleepless  nights researching. Until I came across a blog, ihaveprolactinoma.blogspot.com,  by a woman name Shy. I instantly felt connected to  her in so many ways.
It was like finding someone who understood you without even meeting.
Her blog was filled with a timeline of her journey with the prolactoma.
She had tried traditional medication without much success and began a journey with holistic
medication (essential oils) . I was intrigued. I began researching the oils she had been blogging about and even e-mailed her with a list of questions... Way to introduce yourself right, Ha. She was extremely generous and helpful.
 A little while after that, I decided to mimmic her regime. It had been working for her so what did
 I have to lose besides the pesky tumor?
        To this day I still have a strict essential oil regime.  I am not on medication
currently. I actually just went to the doctor for the first time since 2010. I found an amazing
Integrated Medicine Physician that has been wonderful so far.
  I would be lying if I wrote that some days are not hard because they are. It's not even days more like times. I
There are times when my hormones try to take over and my emotions are everywhere but where I want them.Somedays my body physically feels like I have been beaten. Somedays I feel a loneliness that feels like my only friend. There are many sleepless nights,many. I often even feel robbed of my dreams and goals.But in the midst of those PIT moments, I continue to make the choice to believe someone greater than myself.
    I simply wanted to write this post to share a glimpse into my PIT but I am here to tell
you the PEAKS in my life far out way the PIT. I say that with gratitude. I don't have this all
Figured out nor do I claim to. What I do know is that Christ is the solid rock  in which I stand.
 I say that with confidence because I know without him... I can't stand.
      Just as the pituitary is a small gland with mighty power , so is a mustard seed and that is all the faith we need.
I wasn't planning on typing this post tonight but I hope in some form or fashion it is an encouragement to you.
        I plan on breaking down this journey and sharing a lot more in the future as I feel led.
As I mentioned above, I used to be in denial. I didn't want anyone to think something was
 wrong with me. I've since learned that was pride. I never wanted to give the problem attention.
I've since realized you have to shed light in the dark; If not, no one will notice it and will always
 be trying to find their way out.

                                                               










#graymatter #gograyinmay #prayformay #peakoverpit




How I chelate my hair | Cleanse & Tone



It's been 11 months since I started on this journey to become a blonde. If you've followed me sometime between May of 2015 and now you've probably noticed gradual change each month. Going from black to light ash blonde isn't the easiest nor the most visually pleasing experience. I'm all for (modern) brass fixtures but when it comes to hair , like most of you, I want to run and curl up in a ball every time I see a hint of that dreaded orange peek through. Each time my stylist breaks through whats left of the dark in my hair , I dreadfully go through the "ugly stage".

 So by now, I kind of feel like a self-proclaimed damage control expert when it comes to blonde hair. I'm sure I'm not the only one who scoures google for hours looking for the best methods and products  not only get the ugly out of my hair but also keep it healthy, or as healthy as it can be with 40 volume bleach every 4 weeks ( lets be honest). I thought I'd share something that has worked wonders for me ; takes less than ten minutes and almost everything you'll need is probably in your kitchen already!
   

   I actually just recently found out the technical term for this "process" is called ,  chelating.
Basically, you are deep cleansing the hair to remove build-up from shampoo, conditioners, product, oil build-up etc..

  There are two ways/times I like to do this ... right before I go to get highlights and about a two weeks after I get new highlights. When I chelate before getting my hair colored I focus on getting all of the gunk out my hair , product build-up etc , so that when I go get a fresh set of highlights my hair will be prepped so that the color can penetrate into my hair instead of into the gunk matted on top.




How to Chelate :

1. Wet/rinse hair with warm water
2. Apply 2-3 drops of Dawn ( Yes, Dawn dish soap! ) to your entire head
3. Rinse the Dawn out
4. Slice a lemon in half and squeeze both halves on your hair , leave for about a minute
5. Rinse the lemon out ( your hair will feel squeaky clean , too clean almost but it's OK..promise! )
6. Lightly towel dry your hair ( Pat dry)
7. Apply a hair mask or deep conditioning treatment ( Trust me, you will feel desperate for it)
8. Rinse hair with cool water after 5-10 ( cool water will seal the cuticle aka: lock in the moisture )
9. Let your hair air dry (as long as possible)

and wallah your hair will feel like a million bucks and ready for fresh highlights!

At the two week mark I like to, what I like to call "clean & tone " my hair. I basically like to chelate to clean my hair really good and then I add a purple shampoo to tone down the brassiness so that I can manage another two weeks before getting my hair colored again.

How to Chelate + Tone :
1. Wet/rinse hair with warm water
2. Apply 2-3 drops of Dawn ( Yes, Dawn dish soap! ) to your entire head
3. Rinse the Dawn out
4. Slice a lemon in half and squeeze both halves on your hair , leave for about a minute
5. Rinse the lemon out ( your hair will feel squeaky clean , too clean almost but it's OK..promise! )
6. Apply your favorite purple shampoo ( not all are created equal , I use THIS one)      
7. Leave on for 1-5 minutes
8. Rinse with warm water
9. Towel/Pat Dry
10. Apply a deep conditioning hair mask or your regular condition , Let sit for 5-10 minutes
11. Rinse will cool water
12. Let your hair air dry ( if possible)


I am in no way shape of form a "professional" but this has worked wonders for my hair, I would defiantly recommend at least mentioning this to your stylist, I know that some salon even  offer in-salon chelating treatments so if you're not sure about doing it at home , that might be a good option for you! Ellebangs did an awesome video showing how she does it and recommends it to her clients , defiantly worth a watch!

 If you're struggling with brass or build-up I hope you found this helpful and maybe even give it a try!

                                             
                                                                                     

”Charm” Gallery Wall


     Now that the kitchen is done, I thought I'd finish up some smaller projects around the house before I moved on to anymore overhauls. Originally, I wanted a huge leaner mirror in the dining room. Around here it is SO hard to find one though. We recently just got a +HomeGoods and I was really hoping to find that perfect mirror there, but It just hasn't happened yet. So then, I got to thinking about how a gallery wall would look there. It just so happened that I was in Wal-Mart with my grandma last week and I spotted these white +Better Homes and Gardens frames on clearance for $2 ! I literally almost peed my pants when I saw the price ( TMI, I know) but these were origanilly $20 a piece. I went ahead and snagged them all. It was exactly the amount I needed (9) ... talk about divine appointment. Now I just had to come up with something to put in the frames. I knew I didn't want actual photos of us, family or friends. I thought it would be kind of creepy having humans in pictures stare at you while you are eating dinner. Maybe I'm just weird... yea, that's probably it. Anyways, I kept toying with ideas until I thought about doing a "charm" wall. Basically like a charm bracelet only in pictures. Things, places, etc that spark our memory of good times we've had. I pitched my idea to Tim and he thought is was neat so there ya have it... a charm wall it is.
   I gathered some pictures that I had taken and used +PicMonkey to edit them.  Then transferred them  to +Walmart.COM  and made 4x6 prints. When I went online to the photo center on walmart.com a little pop-up box came up and said enter your e-mail to get 25 free 4x6 prints. I was like are you kidding me.. that exactly the size I need. So, obviously I went ahead and entered my e-mail and ended up getting them all for free. I still have 16 free prints to take advantage of!

   Since we didn't want to put nine holes in the wall we used command strips, the ones made for frames, and they worked great! I had some extras from previous projects.

This project ended up only costing us $22.50 (without  tax) I mean is that not a steal? You can barely buy a frame for half of that price these days.



             When I was laying out the arrangement that I wanted , I turned around and saw Annabelle casually lounging in the middle , LOL . It was like she was saying " Hey mom this is where you should put my face" ! So I did ;)





                           Don't mind the black fabric tabs stick out on the corners, hahaha we forgot to tuck them in...oops!

I feel like the gallery wall is much more practical for a dining room and I am really happy with the way it turned out. What do you guys think?

I hope ya'll have had a great start to the year so far... can you believe we're moving into February already?




                 




The Kitchen Reveal !



   Oh boy am I excited to finally be writing this post. If you have followed me for a while now, you would know that we've been working on this kitchen renovation since the second week of December. You can imagine how ecstatic we are to say we are finished, at last!

     We were stuck on the decision of tile for the backsplash. We 100% knew we wanted marble subway tiles. I've always been really fond of Carrara marble, in particular. The only challenge is that Carrara Marble isn't the cheapest (go figure). Also, after reading tons of reviews from tile suppliers, I notice that because all marble is different and the shades vary due to the fact its natural stone.. which was a huge concern. We finally decided to settle on Venatino Marble from +Lowe's Home Improvement which is VERY similar to the Carrara Marble that we initially wanted. To be completely honest, I actually like the Venatino a lot more now that we have it. The Venatino has a little more polish and character.


Before I start gushing over the "after" lets take a minute to appreciate where we came from, shall we..
The previous owners were kind enough to share some pictures of what the kitchen looked like before we moved in 2 years ago. They began the process of our dream kitchen without even knowing it. They added the gorgeous and humongous island , which is what initially sold us on this house. We are so grateful to personally know the previous owners of the place we now call home.  

     One of the first major purchases we had to make when we moved in was new kitchen appliances, minus the refrigerator [click here to see our refrigerator makeover] We love, love, love our White Ice appliances by +Whirpool kitchen appliances .  



Fast forward to December 2014..
The construction begins.. two weeks before Christmas! and yes, all of the Christmas festivities were still held at our house! Call us crazy.. its acceptable. 





                                                               Now for the fun part....


Sidenote; If you love the smell of fresh peony's ... run don't walk to your local target and get this limited edition hand soap by Meyers... its literally a peony in a pump! I stocked up! 
                                                     You can find the Rope Glass Pendants HERE

 I'm all about that brass...I'm sure by now, you've noticed the shiny brass addition to the cabinets. A.k.a,  these gorgeous brass pulls from hickory hardware Click HERE to see my full post on these pulls.   [You can shop the pulls HERE ]
Counter Stools | +Target 



 Just in case you were wondering if we have flowers on the counter just for "staging" ,  the answer is no! I am obsessed ( just ask my husband) with fresh blooms throughout house. They instantly lift my mood when I walk in a room. The Clearance flowers at Kroger get me every time!

The real reason it took us so long to finish up this reno is because we were stuck on deciding which tile to go with for the tile back-splash  We 100% knew we wanted marble subway tiles. I've always been really fond of Carrara marble, in particular. The only challenge was that Carrara Marble isn't the cheapest (go figure).
 Also, after reading tons of reviews from tile suppliers, I noticed that because all marble is different and the shades vary due to the fact its natural stone which is unpredictable.. and that was kind of a big deal .
     We finally settled  on Venalino Marble from +Lowe's Home Improvement which is very similar to the Carrara Marble that we initially wanted. To be completely honest, I actually like the Venalino a lot more now that we have it. The Venalino has a little more polish and character.
                                                       Shop the exact Venalino tiles  HERE

     Besides marble being absolutely stunning, we loved the fact the subway tiles are so classic and timeless. With the improvements that we are making on the house, I always like to take into consideration the "test of time" , as we like to call it, to make sure the big improvements we make aren't just "trending" ones!

      This was Tim's first time working with tile so he took his time to make sure everything was just like we wanted it. I always tell him if he wasn't such an amazing RN , he would make an awesome carpenter!

Paint Color | Walls |  Benjamin Moore Wickham Gray 

I plan on doing a whole post dedicated to how we installed molding on the top of the cabinets to make them look built-in. Be on the look-out for that within the next couple of weeks. What a difference a couple pieces of wood can make!

       There are just a few more small improvements left, like replacing a couple of the cabinets doors for glass doors and maybe making the refrigerator look built-in. The ideas are never-ending..

  Maybe now I'll learn how to cook ... but for now I'm going to relax, light my pineapple candle and munch on some chips and salsa!


We are still loving our CHALK DOOR , although I need to take a hot minute and redo it.. I like to change it up every few months with quotes or encouraging words but I smudged it during the reno and threw this up and as you can tell its not my best work , lol. 
 [I have the transformation post HERE

Oh yea, I plan on doing a whole post dedicated to how we installed molding on the top of the cabinets to make them look built-in. Be on the look-out for that within the next couple of weeks. What a difference a couple pieces of wood can make!

We are so happy with how it turned out. It has been so awesome to see our vision turn into reality. When I was younger I always dreamed of having that "perfect" kitchen and I am so blessed that we have been able to transform our 1950's house into a modern day dream!



      Thank you guys so much for coming on the journey with us! Feel free to pin any of our kitchen pictures to pinterest and/or share with friends that might enjoy some inspiration or motivation to start creating their dream kitchen! Don't forget to enter your e-mail below to get updates on future home projects!

 Now off to the next project, talk to you all very soon!

   

W o r k s p a c e Tour

                                                                   
 Desk // See Jane Work
Chair // Ikea 
PC// Dell All-in-One
Rug// TJ Maxx
                                                     
Mouse Pad // +Zazzle .com 
Lamp // +Target 
Stapler // Staples : Cynthia Rowley


 

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