Sunday, June 28, 2015

Incentivizing my day!

Hello friendships!

So, yesterday was awesome because I took Cammie with me to Jackie's house and we had our first ever doggy play date between Cam and June! After Cam jealously guarded June's toys (bully!), I decided to invest in some new treasures for Cammie so we started off our day with a trip to PetSmart (PetsMart? Pet s'm Art?) Picture time!

This is how I did my face--I did a really cool winged liner with a super sparkly glitter on the inner part of the lid, fading to purple and blue in the outer part! So fun. So, so fun!

Here is Cammie posing with June--the girls had to sit down before we would let them go in after their walk :)

And lastly, today Cammie picked out some new toys at the mart for pets, and this is her new chew toy! She is loving it, plus the toy she wanted of June's (JoJo!) and a squeaky Kong brand fox thing. It reminds me of Naruto because it has like, 4 tails. Vulpix!! Sorry for you non-nerds out there who have no idea what those references were about.

For the rest of the day today, I have loootttttssss of housework to do. I'm hoping that Cam will be occupied with her new treasures and not pee all over the place while I'm getting things done. The other barrier I have to getting things crossed off my list is that I DON'T WANT TO DO ANY OF IT! I am seewww not in the mood to clean. Thus, I will do my thing where I plan out some rewards that I can earn by doing my chores. As with my beauty bank, I'll give higher values to the tasks I really don't want to do, and smaller values for things that will be less of a pain or take less time to do. Here's m'list!

  • Laundry - each load is worth $.50, which includes folding and putting away. 
  • Mail - sorting, putting away, recycling junk - $.50 for completion.
  • Bathroom - organize makeup, vanity, clean off sink, sweep and re-stock toilet paper - $1 per bathroom.
  • Bedroom - clean bedding, vacuum, put away jewelry/random stuff - $.75
  • Plants - water and remove dead ones - $.25
  • College stuff - pick up, put away (into rightful places) - $.50 per half hour spent specifically on that stuff, as there isn't another great way to quantify finishing that.
  • Dishes - load dishwasher, run, put away, take care of jars/containers that need to be recycled - $.50.

List will be growing--it's more fun to make the list than to actually do the things on it! Argh! Time to get started :) Wish me luck. How much do you think I'll earn today?

Bye for now,

Friday, June 12, 2015

Personal Updates & How to Pay a Compliment

Hi friends!

It's been a hot minute since I posted here, huh! Last time I think I was still working for Housing at UGA, still living in Athens, still interning at Gwinnett Medical Center, and still in desperate need of a vacation! Now/today/as you're reading this, I'm all done in Athens (no job, no apartment, no classes) and living at home with Patrick (that should be in quotation marks, I'll 'splain) full-time. I'm now interning at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and have finished my first week, and I also had an amazing week-long adventure-cation with Patrick in Hawaii. Wee! Oh snap, I also didn't have a pet the last time I posted! Patrick and I adopted a sweet pit bull (mix?) from the local animal control and she is an absolute cuddle bug. Her name is Camile (Dr. Saroyan, anyone?) slash Cam slash Cammie. Her name ended up with only one "l" because Patrick is the one who got her tag made ;)

Wait, Alycia, why should you have used quotey marks earlier? Well, today I took Patrick to the airport as he is starting a 6-month stay in NYC for his new job. Don't fret, we'll be seeing each other at least every other weekend. I don't think Camile (our pup) has realized yet that he won't be walking her for a while, but Cam is part of the reason I wanted to write today about how to pay a compliment. When I was walking her in our neighborhood earlier this week, a man in his garage called out to me that I should be walking him instead of Cam. I got a whistle/shout from some guy in his car as he drove past us walking today, too. Weirdly, I've been getting commends a lot lately from men at various places. I say "a lot" because I can only recall one time while I was at UGA when someone shouted at me, and it was some college kids yelling "nice boobs!" as they drove past me. Now that I'm living at home, I have half a dozen! (Stories, not boobs.) So, once in 3 years compared with a bunch in the last month or two--it seems like a lot. One guy *persistently* asked me if he could "have my smile" when we were in a Wal Mart...I was trying to find Settlers of Catan and he was there with his kid. Another guy tried to hit on me at the gas station before we took Cam to the vet to be boarded.

Now, the guy at the gas station, maybe not so much. But some of these people who have called out to me or given me these disconcerting "compliments" (e.g., "I like your smile...can I have it? I said, can I have it?") have left me feeling uncomfortable and confused. I, of course, looked up the definition of compliment and found "a polite expression of praise or admiration". The problem with these compliments lately is that I don't think they have been very polite at all, because the intent does not seem to be to make me feel respected or to show consideration. I'm not trying to say that having a stranger comment on my appearance is universally bothersome or offensive, because I'll get super excited if someone says "wow, those shoes are so cute!" or "your hair color is really pretty!" It's not like a stranger would have the background knowledge to approach me and compliment my study habits or commitment to helping others. Instead, I feel like the men who have been speaking to me (or calling out to me, honking, or whistling) are doing something that is about them, not me. If your intention is to brighten someone's day by saying or doing something nice for them, the compliment should be something that is considerate of that person's feelings.

The guy in Wal Mart, for example, told me I had a nice smile so I said thank you. It was nice because I was wearing a new lipstick, so I was like, "wee!"  Then I went back to looking for the board game. Things got weird when he said, "can I have it?" and didn't take the hint when I ignored the question. Instead, he repeated his question louder. I think I tried to laugh it off and said something about "what, you want the lipstick, too?" and he said yes. Like, what?! Red flags, sir, red flags. Are you feeling grossed out on my behalf or would you have "had to be there"?

At any rate, I feel like there are some general guidelines that you (the collective) should follow when giving compliments to other people. Some of these are related to the weird experiences I've referenced, and some are inspired by my hobby of makeup and spending hours watching YouTube beauty gurus.

  1. Do: Take a moment to read the body language of the person you want to compliment. Does he look like he is in a hurry? Does she look like she is having a bad day? If the person looks down, it might be a great time to say something kind, but people who are already in a hurry probably don't have time for an elaborate set-up for your punch-line of niceness.
  2. Do: Compliment the person on things that are important to him or her. Patrick really likes getting compliments on his beard, and I feel happy when a girl notices my shoes. It also makes me feel great when I get compliments on the way I interact with patients because I value that a lot. It helps to know the person, of course, but sometimes I think you can just tell. Compliment people on their cleanliness, timeliness, patience, good listening, and consideration for others, for example. 
  3. Do: Realize that a compliment can serve as a reinforcer. If you compliment someone on something, and they take it well, it can encourage them to do that thing again. For example, if your significant other does the dishes, that's a great time for praise! Kids, I feel, are especially good candidates for compliments on the positive behaviors and give them a boost! You don't need to hand out Gold Stars, but you can make them feel good and show that you noticed the good things. 
  4. Do NOT: Pay compliments solely on Uncontrollables. Oops, this'll be a long one. I don't know that everything in this world is distributed normally, but I do know that there are some things that it would be really strange to compliment because the person may not have any control over it. I'll list just a couple and give my reasons. Intelligence is the first that comes to mind. While it's great to compliment a student or peer on how smart she is, I think it's a good idea to either expand what we think of as "smart", or to get more specific with the compliment. If you're thinking of brains in the traditional IQ way, can the person really control how smart he or she is? Instead, maybe compliment how hard she works on her assignments or how well he stays focused on the problem at hand. I also think this is a way to make the person feel good about how he uses the tools in his box rather than focusing on how well-stocked his toolbox is. Physical beauty is another one that's tricky, because barring Botox, plastic surgery, and accidents, the face you're born with is the face you live with. I didn't get to choose my face, my height, or my cup size, so it's awkward to receive compliments on those things. (And remember, compliments are supposed to be about how the receiver feels, not the giver.) I guess you could compliment my parents instead, or their parents, because the genetics are what they are without me having much influence. Another related example is like when kids get complimented on their clothing. Kids don't have any control over the income of their parents, so they don't exactly get to choose whether they shop at Nordstrom or wear hand-me-downs. If you want to make the kid feel good, think about his feelings first, and go from there.
  5. Do NOT: Expect the person to respond in a particular way. If you start out with the intention of getting a "thank you" or warm smile and happy conversation, you might be disappointed. Just because you've gone out of your way to be nice doesn't entitle you to a particular reaction. If you're trying to say or do something nice genuinely, it shouldn't be about how YOU feel afterwards, as long as you followed the above rules and did your best to make the other person feel good. If it's somebody you know and they seem to be uncomfortable after you've paid a compliment, you could always ask if they would prefer you didn't comment on X, or that you didn't draw attention to Y. That way you can show that you wanted to respect them and be considerate. Maybe you can even discover something they would prefer to be complimented on in the future. If you're interacting with strangers, look for a pattern. If every girl whose rack you compliment turns red and hurries away, you may be missing the mark and want to take a different tack. 
So, do I think it's hurtful to tell a girl she looks pretty or tell a boy he is smart? Meh. I think it's harmful to support a culture where compliments are twisted into making the giver feel good and the receiver feel objectified. I think it's dangerous to limit our compliments to others to things beyond their control, like physical and cognitive ability. At the same time, I think it's a nice thing to figure out ways to make other people feel appreciated and noticed. If your friend spends an hour on his hair every morning, compliment that faux hawk! If your pal blends out eye shadows like a boss. tell her it looks artful. If your neighbor is diligent in taking care of his lawn, give him a shout out. If your cashier always remembers to set aside your eggs so they don't break, praise her memory and consideration. Whatever it is, just try to be more conscious of paying compliments that will make the person feel respected and comfortable. Don't demand a response or a thank you, and don't feel bad if you get it wrong sometimes. You might catch somebody off guard or you might be misunderstood. You might have just complimented a favorite pair of earrings that was passed down from a deceased grandparent and it's the anniversary of that person's death, who knows!

Also, I would love to hear your take on this! Do you agree or disagree with my guidelines? Do you have your own strategy for when someone makes a misguided attempt at a compliment? Do you feel good or bad when someone compliments your look? Are there certain times when you do expect to be complimented? Ways you respond to others to let them know that what they said was appreciated? Let me know and feel free to disagree. Also, feel free to send me a compliment if you wish ;)

That's a wrap!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

GSHA - Tim Kowalski

Hello friends!
This is going to wind up as my first speech-language pathology related post on the blog - yaayyy!  I am going to share my thoughts and impressions based on my experience at my first-ever professional conference.

Today (2/26/15) I attended the pre-convention session at the UGA Hotel & Conference Center for the Georgia Speech Language Hearing Association's annual conference.  SLPs, audiologists, and other community members attend to either earn continuing education credits or to learn more about various speech, language, or hearing-related topics.  Today's program consisted of a 5-hour lecture by Tim Kowalski, who has his Master's degree and Certificate of Clinical Competence from ASHA.  He has a practice in Florida that is entirely comprised of individuals carrying a diagnosis of Asperger's (AS) or "High Functioning Autism" (HFA).  He represented himself as an expert in AS and has published six books intended for both children and adults.  His PowerPoint presentation was 99 slides long or something to that effect, and he whooshed through a good number of them.  Anyway, here are some nuggets I took away from his presentation; evaluate them with caution and understand that I can provide some of his sources, but not every slide he gave today cited published, peer-reviewed research.  I'm also not saying I agree with all of the information below; these are just some of the points I think Mr. Kowalski was trying to make.

  • Individuals with AS live in a world dominated by neurotypicals ("normal" people) and will be the ones who need to change to function in the NT world.
  • Individuals with AS may have trouble in the following areas that could impact their success in meeting Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
    • Theory of Mind (ToM)
    • Central Coherence (CC)
    • Executive Functions (ExFx)
    • Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
  • There is no such thing as a stand-alone test to identify issues in pragmatics (i.e., social use of language) for individuals with AS.  A standard score within or above the average range does not mean that an individual has no social communication issues or that he is "fine".  
  • When teachers say "he's doing fine in my class, I'm not worried about him", the translation is "he isn't a pain in the ass when he's in my room".  
  • "All individuals with AS have an anxiety disorder."
  • An individual can exhibit 4 levels of behavior (simplified from Temple Grandin's model)
    • 1 - typical
    • 2 - WTF [we can help this person]
    • 3 - Dangerous
    • 4 - Criminal [at this point, you're in jail...I can't really help you]
  • When it comes to social skills, it doesn't matter what you think of yourself.  It matters what everybody else thinks of you.
  • The biggest prognostic indicator of employment is social skills; those lacking social cognition had less positive employment experiences and showed more preference for solitary activities. A statistic was provided (source was not) that an employment decision is made in the first 20th of a second.
  • Most common comorbid disorders with AS:
    • anxiety disorder
    • OCD
    • PTSD
    • depression
    • paranoia

There was a lot more that happened within the five-hour talk Mr. Tim (as he is known by his clients) gave, including comments about delayed gratification, identifying times when an individual is not "in the zone" in terms of social awareness & social competency, and some of the barriers teachers and SLPs have to supporting individuals with AS.  He made some interesting suggestions about having an individual with restricted interests complete tasks to earn currency that could "purchase" time with preferred activities.  An example he gave was of a person who bicycled to power a generator that allowed him to play computer games.  This reminded me of a podcast on which Temple Grandin spoke about her belief in the value of a job from an early age for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Overall, I was interested in the comments made by both Mr. Tim and the other participants.  Some folks asked about recent research, the parents in the room asked about what to do with their child who has AS, and clinicians gave suggestions for other resources that might be helpful.  I would have liked to see more current research cited, and I would have liked for Mr. Tim to spend a little bit more time on some concepts, but really, he had five hours to go through a ton of information...his topic could definitely be turned into a full 3-credit graduate level course for SLP students.  

I'm excited to see what the rest of the conference brings and am interested to see how much of it I feel is adequately supported by evidence and not simply the words of experts and authorities who use anecdotes and emotion to sway the room into a particular way of thinking.  I'm also looking forward to the way presenters talk about clinical experience and data collection out "in the real world".

What interesting things have you been learning lately in either a course or a continuing education opportunity?  What did you think about my takeaways from Mr. Tim today? If you want to see which sessions are available for me to attend for the remainder of the conference, please click here.  I'm open to suggestions or your thoughts if you know any of these speakers!  Mr. Tim's website.

I'll be back at it tomorrow bright and early :)
Talk to you soon,

Monday, February 16, 2015

Wish List & Extra Cash

Hello beauty buddies!
I wanted to provide a quick update to say that my Beauty Bank tracking system is WORKING!!!  I have already earned $5, though none of that comes from any empties.  Instead, I've done a few days of squats/lunges and had a lot of water.  I am using a simple excel spreadsheet to track each day's progress and to log the specific activities for the sake of accountability.  Let me know if you'd like a copy of the spreadsheet!  Since I am committed to making myself work for my next beauty buy, I feel that some proper motivation is in order.  Specifically, a wish list!!!  Yaayyy!  Now that I've limited my funds, I've got to be pickier with my purchases.  It would be nice to say that this is my short list, but I doubt it'll be anywhere near short.  Please share your own craves and faves that I can consider for my list!

In a semi-particular order...

  1. eyeshadows in the colors frappe, creme brulee, shimma shimma, last dancemoondustpretentious, grandstand, and homecoming.  You could look at some additional swatches/reviews here.  There are some nice YouTube reviews/swatch videos of MUG eyeshadows, too, by KathleenLights and BaileyB.  I still recommend watching them on increased speed :)
  2. ColourPop Cosmetics eyeshadows in the colors La La, Bae, Bill, and Partridge.  I think that ColourPop gives you $5 off your first order of $30, meaning you can get a 7th product free when you buy 6.  Wee!  For that reason, I'd love to get some recommendations on colors / whether I should get the lippie sticks to try.  If so, I'm thinking I'd try Lumiere and/or Frida.  If it would look good on me, I would super want Brills!  
  3. This is the splurgiest of my wishes...I really want to try the Hourglass Ambient Lights palette!  It's only $58 so no big deal, right?  Yeah, maybe once I have a salary it'll be NBD.  For now, it'd be a major splurge!
  4. This hasn't been on my radar long, but I think this would be a nice palette to try out some Make Up For Ever shadows...I've seen some good things about this formula!  MUFE Artist Palette ~ looks pretty!  Nice reviews on, but I would definitely want to go swatch this in person before taking the plunge.  
  5.  The NARS Audacious lipstick line.  Drool.  40 shades available online, and I really love the one shade I've already splurged on.  I bought Anna, after wanting Anita and not liking how it looked on.  My beef with these was that Sephora only has a fraction of the line available in stores, so I didn't get to try on all the colors I wanted.  Want to see all the colors reviewed and swatched?  Once again, Temptalia is your girl.  I want to try on colors like Dominique, Juliette, Kelly, and Audrey.
Gosh, I thought this list would be much longer!  Maybe it's so short right now because I've realized I don't need much more at this point, since I so recently splurged on so many things!  I would like to get another lorac pro eyeliner, and possibly try out the lorac pro 2 palette.  However, these would come after trying out the new brands/products above.  

On a separate note, who else is brave enough to order online without first trying on?  I think it's probably best to try on for yourself, but if the store has a great return policy, online can be a good bet!  For anyone who has swatched/tried on in person but wants to save a little extra, especially for the more expensive items, I would recommend Ebates.  I've earned $137.87 back so far, though I have to admit I think I was too late in cashing one of my checks (they give you like 3 months, so it was my bad) and lost out on like $15!  I've purchased online from Amazon, Hautelook, Sephora, Ulta, and Nordstrom.  The cash back per site varies, but if you want to sign up, you can follow this link and I get a referral bonus!  The site is free to register and use, so I would 100% recommend it.  Especially around holidays, they often double the cash back on different websites.  For example, I'd hold out until Sephora has an 8 or 10% cash back instead of the typical 3-4%.

Anyway, please share your own wish list items and any new products or brands you think I should check out!  I was thinking of making some makeup purchases from Etsy and then reviewing various shops/product lines.  Would anyone be interested?  I think the appeal is in looking at handmade versus gigormous company.  Sometimes it's nice to support "the little guy," right?

Let me know :)  Thanks for reading, now go forth and be great.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Empties & Exercise - A Beauty and Body Betterment Challenge

Hello again!

Today's post is a manifestation of a challenge I issued to my dear sister Nicole back in December.  Coley and I both spend way too much money on makeup, but we also have far more days that are makeup-free than made up.  Thus, I hatched a plan to incentivize us to use the products we already have while "earning" new goodies at the same time.  The idea was to earn a set dollar amount for each "empty" produced, then "cash in" for new products (e.g., 3 empties at $5 a pop nearly buys a new MAC lipstick!).  Then January rolled around and I splurged on a LORAC Pro palette.  Facepalm.  Not my only splurge of the month.  Shame.

Now it's February and I just barely stepped back off the edge from making a $51 purchase on the Makeup Geek website, rationalizing it as a good purchase since the prices are likely to go up a dollar per eyeshadow this year!  It's better to buy them now, right?  Right?!  Embarrassment.  It's time to get serious and put this plan into action.

Below is the system I've thought up with rules and dollar values.  In addition to earning spending money through empties for beauty products, I've decided to add in some diet and exercise bonuses as I have not truly worked out in about five months.  Why not, right?  If you are interested in having a copy of my spreadsheet for tracking all of this, please let me know and I'd be happy to email it to you.  Add a comment or send me a message.  We can all do it together--it'd be fun!

Empties, Exercise, & Eating Right
These were the ingredients chosen to make the perfect little rewards system!


  • Makeup
    • For all full-price make up products, earn 10% of the current retail price toward your next purchase.  E.g., if you purchased the UD Naked palette when it was $52 and the price is now $54, you can add $5.40 to your Beauty Bank (BB).
    • If you purchased the product on sale, earn 15% of the current retail price toward your next purchase.  This incentivizes sale purchases as opposed to full-price splurges.  E.g., if you purchased a palette from The Balm that was originally $36, but you got it for 50% off, you can calculate your 15% from the full price and add $5.40 to your BB.
    • If you purchased the product using a percentage or dollar amount coupon, earn %15 of the current retail price.  For example, if you used a 20% off coupon at Ulta to purchase a load of goodies, remember to give yourself a 15% credit!
    • If you made a purchase combining both a sale and a percentage off or dollar amount coupon, calculate the 15% credit only once.  E.g., a product that was purchased with a $5 off coupon on top of 50% off still only counts as a credit for 15% of the current list price.
    • Do not include sales tax toward your credit.  E.g., you bought an eyeliner for $22 and paid 7% sales tax - only calculate your percentage on the $22.
    • Use the typical current list price for your calculations.  E.g., if the product is twice as expensive on as on, use the pricing from Sephora.
    • Free samples do not count toward the empties system, unless you somehow/indirectly paid for them (e.g., "free with purchase") and can figure out (honor system) how much that particular amount of product would have cost you on its own.  For example, you could calculate the would-have-been cost for a 1 oz. deluxe primer sample by dividing the full-size product's cost by its quantity.  Calculator use is fair and encouraged!
  • Hair products
    • Everyday hair products do not count toward this system.  If you finish off a regular shampoo or conditioner, replace as you normally would.
    • For all styling or salon products, earn 10% of the current retail value toward your next purchase.  Such products might include leave-in conditioners, hairsprays, hair masques, pomades, or mousses.  Consider this category to be anything you add to your hair beyond the basics needed to keep your hair clean and healthy.
    • Feel free to apply the 15% bonus rule for products purchased on sale or using coupons.
    • If you use this category to earn credits, you must not purchase hair products outside of your regular shampoo/conditioner unless you are using a credit from your BB.
  • Skin products
    • All face and skin products count at a 20% level as a bonus, since these may be used up more quickly and may be more important to replace.  This category might include moisturizers, brightening creams, and acne medications.  
    • Since this category is already at a higher return rate, there is no bonus in this category for sale and/or coupon purchases.  
    • Use your honest judgment to determine whether a product belongs across the categories.  For example, I would count a tinted moisturizer more as a skin product while a BB cream belongs more in the makeup category.  Think about the location in the store where you might find the product, though this tip could be tricky depending on the brand; ergo, use your judgment.  
  • Add to your Beauty Bank (or Booty Bank, since we're in the exercise category!) $0.50 for every 1 mile / 20 minutes of cardio, whichever comes first.  20 minutes of walking at 3 miles/hour equals 1 mile, but you could pick up a dollar in 20 minutes by running two 10-minute miles.  If you're feeling strapped for time, go ahead and take a quarter for a half mile or 10-minute walk that day, if you need to.
  • $1.00 into the BB for every 30 minutes of weight-lifting.  Breaks are allowed between sets, but no longer than 1-2 minutes for every set of 8-20.
  • $0.50 for every 20 sit-ups, 10 push-ups, or 5 pull-ups in a day.  Use good form; full sit-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups required.  Find a reasonable equivalent if modifications are needed (e.g., 40 crunches, 20 modified push-ups, or 20 weight-countered pull-ups).
  • $0.50 into the BB for every 25 squats or 50 lunges (25 each leg) in a day.  Use good form.  Dip it low.
  • Mileage/exercise must be intentional.  Walking 3 miles during the course of your day at work does not count for this category.  Bending down to pick up stray clothing on the floor does not constitute a lunge.  

Eating Right

  • $0.25 for drinking 64+ ounces of water in a day.  Juice, milk, coffee, teas, etc. do not count, but flavored waters are permissible.  Use your judgment.  63 ounces doesn't cut it!
  • $0.25 for eating 2+ full servings of vegetables in a day.
  • The weeks for this section should be consistent but you can choose your week start and week end day (e.g., Saturday - Friday, Monday - Sunday).
  • $0.25 for the week if you had 3+ servings of fruit.
  • $0.50 for each week in which you maintain your weight or lose a healthy amount.  To lose this bonus, you would have to gain >1 lb. from your previous week's weight.  Try to weigh on the same day each week in the morning, before breakfast.

I will have a condensed version of all of these sections available along with the recording sheet to monitor your daily/weekly progress.  Please let me know if you have suggestions for ways to change/improve the categories above.  I'm certainly not a health or exercise expert, so if you are anyone other than Nicole, please consult your doctor before beginning any exercise or weight loss program.  If there is a bullet point that bothered you or made you feel like you wouldn't want to focus on that, please simply ignore it.  There are no penalties in earning cash for your Beauty Bank, only rewards!  You never lose credit from the Beauty (or Booty) Bank unless you make a beauty-related purchase, and in that case, you're "redeeming" your credits rather than losing them.

If you would like to adapt my Beauty Bank program, please feel free to do so.  Everything listed above is what makes sense based on my own habits, with higher incentives for things I'm less likely to do!  To make something like this work for you, please adjust accordingly without going crazy!

Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope that if you've made it this far, the post has been helpful in guiding or at least providing some ideas for a beauty rewards system you could try out.  Let me know whether this works to motivate you to use your beauty products before making new purchases.  I'll try to post updates as well!

Good luck ;)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pro Tips & Current Favorites

Hello, interweb besties!

With all the hours I'm clocking online, stalking makeup mavens and beauty belles galore, I've figured out a few ways to maximize my time.  I want to share a few of my own PRO TIPS and current favorite YouTubers and blogs so you can share in my habit!  Let's dive right in (but go feet first in case the water is shallow).

Pro Tips:
  1. When watching YouTube videos, use the little icon that looks like a cog to choose Settings for that video.  When you do, you'll see a little menu where you can choose a speed.  I have been enjoying watching reviews and tutorials on 1.25, 1.5, and even 2 times speed.  A review or haul video that was once 20 minutes can now be enjoyed in 16, 13, or even 10 minutes!  I mean, you're welcome.
  2. Keep an eye out for YouTubers who are creating sponsored videos or providing affiliate links.  I'm not saying that such reviews are unworthy of your time, but I appreciate knowing which YTers are being paid for the business they send to a company.  It's probably a good idea to not buy a product based on one review alone, whether sponsored or not.
  3. Dual screen that mess!  If you are reading reviews on a blog and watching videos to show swatches and tutorials at the same time, you may as well split your screen so that you can see the video and read the blog at the same time.  Especially useful if you really trust the YTer but want to see still-image swatches, or vice versa.  Mute the video if desired, then un-mute if you see a product in a haul that you actually care to hear about.  Boom.
  4. Pay attention to cost per unit in addition to the cost of the product.  Some websites provide this in their reviews, but you can also compare prices in stores or by using your calculator!  Examples:  LORAC Pro palette - $42.00 for .32oz = $131.25/oz.  Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Palette - $49.00 for .56oz = $87.50/oz.  NYX Hot Singles eyeshadow - $4.49 for .06oz = $74.83/oz.  Colour Pop single eyeshadows - $5.00 for .07 oz = $71.43/oz.

Current Faves:
  1. is a fantastic resource that I'm obsessing over.  Christine is the girl responsible for the pictures, the reviews, the content, etc. as far as I can tell.  I love her approach to rating and reviewing products!  She gives reviews with a 10-point scale on product, pigmentation, longevity, texture, and a 5-point for application.  Then she averages those ratings and gives an overall rating from A+ to F.  She claims to give those ratings regardless of the price/brand of the product, so that an A+ product could cost anywhere from $3 to $71!  High prices do not mean high ratings.  There are a few things on her website I'd like to be a little different (e.g., sorting reviews both by rating & brand, swatches on different skin tones), but overall she seems to have fantastic organization and also INTEGRITY!  Let me know what you think :)
  2. KathleenLights on YouTube.  Girl is young, talented, and seems very sincere.  She is talented at applying her own makeup and doesn't intimidate me the way some MUAs (that's fancy person lingo for makeup artist) do.  I especially like that she combines drugstore and high-end brands in her reviews and tutorials.  She makes me laugh when she makes a high-end purchase "tha's esspensive".  I also want her vanity.  I'm going to ask Patrick to build me one :)
  3. MakeupGeek who is both on YouTube and her own website.  I feel like I'm late to the game with all three of these faves, but I think they're worth catching up with.  Marlena (MUG) has her own makeup line which Temptalia and KathleenLights both review.  She also does reviews and tutorials of her own.  Her eye shadows (in some colors, at least,) are supposedly comparable to MAC and she also seems like a genuinely nice person.  I have made a list of her shadows and blushes that I'd like to buy, based on swatches and recommendations from Temptalia, but that'll be a while from now based on my $0.00 budget.
Please let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions for other YTers or beauty blogs that I should check out!  I am going to spend more time watching Bailey B, EssieButton, and Kandee Johnson while I practice my own application.  Wee!

Post completed.  Aly out.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Swatchy Lips

Hello, friends on the interwebs!

This post is simply to share a video I recorded a few weeks ago in which I swatched 25 different lip products/colors.  Fun fact, I have the red squiggly underline on my screen now beneath both "interwebs" and "swatched".  For your convenience:  interwebs (n. pl.) - The Internet.  swatch (v.) - to sample the color of.

In this video, I introduce myself and my noob (there's the red squiggly again) status relative to makeup application.  I'm not sure whether I should consider myself a noob or a newbie.  In my undergraduate years, it was explained to me that a newbie is simply a person who is new to something (i.e., a novice), while a noob, in gaming terms, is a person who is no longer new to a game but who still performs at a sub-par level.  Thus, "newbie" wouldn't be an insult but "noob" could be.

Since I probably applied my first coat of mascara 15 years ago, I'm probably more squarely in the Noob Zone.  But, with the advent of the YouTube-famous beauty guru, I'm hoping to slowly and steadily work my way to a more respectable status of at least beauty-competent.  Teach me, O Wise Ones!  Bring on thy tutorials, thy sacred tips!  Filleth this empty cup of mine 'til it runneth over with loose powders and liquid lipsticks of shades most pigmented!

That could have gone on for a long time.  Please let me know if you're reading, and also if you would like to see slash read my impressions slash reviews of any of the lipsticks swatched in the video.  Product recommendations and general comments are all welcome.

Post completed.