Out with the old …

So I’ve been recovering from a concussion … I’ll explain more on that later.  Part of the recovery process is to avoid watching the TV, using the computer or smart phones.  What’s left?  Well, fortunately my Kindle 3G (third gen, with keyboard) has a text to speech option.  Sure Fifty Shades of Grey doesn’t stir up the same emotions when read by Stephen Hawking.  I found out afterwards that you can select a female voice which sounds much smoother than the male voice.  When I was well enough to feel bored, I started cleaning out my closets.  This turned into reorganizing and building up piles of stuff I no longer needed.  Of course I polled friends to see if anyone wanted first dibs.  The stuff that was left had to be dropped off to charities.

Clothes:

  • Dress for Success – Business clothes, jewelry, makeup, products, purses and shoes  for job interviews.
  • Fairy Godmother – Prom or bridesmaid dresses, purses and shoes.
  • Canadian Diabetes – They offer to pick it up from your house and also accepts household items.
  • Value Village – Clothes and household items.

Electronics/Metal:

  • Money for Metal – if you have the time and large quantities, some money is better than non.
  • Foxy Recycle – If you just want those old computers, TVs, unwanted electronics gone, make sure they don’t end up in the landfill.

Alcohol:

I’m sure it’s rare that anyone would have alcohol lying around going bad.  In my case I had made batches of home made wine that was sitting around for years.  I believe they don’t age well.  I also had bottles of wine that were given out as wedding favours.

I’m sure there are many other deserving charities that take in used items.  These are the ones that I found to donate specific items.

Hello Eyebrows!

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People have asked me where I go to get my “eyebrows done”.  I’m like,

“Huh?  My house, where else would I go?”

“What salon do you go to, to shape and wax your eyebrows?”

“I do them myself.  Why would I go out of my way to have someone pour hot wax on my face, then peel skin and hair off of it?”

Women flock to salons to pay for what might be defined as torture in the Geneva convention if it were conducted on men, while prisoners of war.  I would make a horrible advocate for aesthetics because I think it’s faster (include travel/wait time), and cheaper to perform these services myself.  The other benefit would be for you to get to understand your own face, and know what YOU like.  How are women supposed to feel confident about themselves if they rely on othle to make them “beautiful”.  If you can’t accept your own eyebrows, how can you accept the rest of yourself? I struggled with self-confidence for years.  I am my own worst critic when it comes to everything I do.  Part of my self discovery began with looking in the mirror and not liking what I saw.  I never liked my eyebrows.  When I was a teenager, I thought my eyebrows were too bushy.  When I was bored, I would sometimes pinch and pull out a batch of eyebrow hairs with my fingers.  I would pluck every visible hair from my eyelid with tweezers.  Fast forward 20 years and now I feel like my eyebrows are too thin and sparse.  Go figure.  It turns out I should have paid more attention to “shaping” my eyebrows.  If I had my time back, I would have trimmed my brows first, and tweezed second.  I found a great video about shaping your eyebrows by Katie, a makeup artist who I have grown to love.

As usual, I take advise and think of easier ways (for me) to accomplish the task since I do not have the steady hand or practice of a makeup artist.  As a beginner I prefer step-by-step instructions with pictures.  So this blog is more for my own personal preference than anyone else’s.  Things you’ll need:

  • Tape (the not so sticky kind that will pull your skin off
  • Eyeliner/brow pencil for drawing the stencil.
  • Eyelash/eyebrow comb.  I use Tweezerman’s eyelash comb.
  • Tweezers.  I prefer angled tweezers.  Whatever works.
  • If you don’t have all day to tweeze, use an eyebrow razor.
  • Cuticle scissors

IMG_0479   IMG_0481     Cuticle scissors have a curved tip so you can avoid accidentally stabbing and piercing your skin.  I happened to have one in a manicure set, but I never used it for it’s intended purpose.  You can get facial hair scissors if you don’t have cuticle scissors handy.

Step 1: Mark points for the start, arch and end of your brows with the tape as your guide from your nose.  Follow the corner of your nose, the inside corner of your eye, and draw a line with the pencil.  For the arch, trace the tape from the corner of your nose, to the outside of your pupil.  Your eyebrows should end from the corner of your nose, to the outside corner of your eye.  This may already be the case naturally.

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Step 2:  Connect the marks to create a stencil that is natural for YOUR face. IMG_0464IMG_0465 IMG_0467IMG_0466

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What you’re left with is this sexy looking template that will guide you through the hair removing process.  Don’t worry, you’ll only look like Frieda Kahlo temporarily.  I would advise doing this in private at first.  I use a Q-tip to clean up any smudges.

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They do make eyebrow stencils, but they’re more for applying powder.  I don’t see how applying a different glamorous or classy stencil depending on your mood would look good. If you have hair growing beyond the stencil, and what you have drawn in, wouldn’t that make you look like a clown?  We all have different shaped noses, eyes and faces.  By following Katie’s instructions, you will create eyebrows that suit YOUR stencil for YOUR face.

Step 3: Always trim before you pluck!  Take it from me, a real mother-plucker, if I could give my younger self some advise, it would be to put the tweezers down and watch Katie’s video!  With the eyelash comb, I push what’s left of my sparse eyebrows DOWN.  The hairs that fall below my stencil line, I trim to the line.

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Step 4: Now you can pluck outside of the lines.  I usually tweeze the rogue hairs above my eyelids, and in between my brows.  The baby hairs on the top of my brow I use the razor, and in between the brows for good measure.

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Step 5: Wash off your stencil and comb your hairs to the sides.  Marvel at your handy work.  If you have some pesky hairs that won’t stay put due to their new trim, try an eyebrow gel, or clear mascara.  I picked up Sonia Kashuk’s Brow Gel from Target when I was in the U.S. because it wasn’t expensive, and I also happened to have a coupon so it was a deal I couldn’t pass up.  When Target comes to Canada I have a feeling we won’t benefit from these coupons.  Sonia Kashuk‘s line of cosmetics and brushes are exclusive to Target, so I hope her stuff, along with E.L.F. products are part of the northern migration deal.

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Now, if you have been tweezer happy like, me and have sparse eyebrows you definitely need to fill them in.  In the hot sweaty and humid days I use Anastasia’s brow pen in Universal Light for blonde to light brown hair.  You’d think I would go for the Universal Dark for dark brown to black hair, BUT because my eyebrows are so thin and sparse I would have to go lighter to avoid looking like a freaky Frieda.  (Frieda was an artist so it was OK for her to have bold features.)  Sephora has testers giving you the luxury of trying before buying.

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In the drier months I use Anastasia’s brow powder duo in Ebony.  Knowing what I know now, you may as well save a few bucks and use a matte eye shadow that’s a few shades lighter than your natural hair colour.  What I paid for was the pretty, compact.  The mirror is barely big enough for your full eye.  This duo does allow me to customize the shade I need as my tan starts to fade from fall to winter.  I apply this powder after I moisturize my face so that the powder has a base to stick to.  I use the lighter shade at the beginning of my brow, and use the darker one to define the thinner line.  (Picture coming soon …)

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I have had this powder duo for about 2 years now and I have just begun to put a dent in it.  I do spritz it with some Beauty So Clean (cosmetic mist) to keep it clean-“er”.

The reason why I don’t have your typical plastic eyelash comb/eyebrow brush combo is because I ALWAYS manage to break the stupid tines off the eyelash comb.  It looks as dumb as someone who’s missing front teeth.  It looks so out of place with my other pretty brushes – I hate it.  When I found the folding, Tweezerman one with metal tines at Sally’s I HAD to have it.  I always had to keep the brush though cause I found that the stiff bristles helped to smudge and blend the powder in.  On a U.S. trip to the Premium Oulet Mall, I stopped into the Cosmetics Company Store.  It’s a store that I had passed by so many times because I never wore makeup.  I didn’t know how.  This time I went in with a purpose … for the perfect eyebrow brush.  The brow brush that I got from Sephora eyebrow brush was alright for applying the powder, but the bristles were too soft for my liking.  The cashier at the CCS asked me if I was looking for anything in particular.  She recommended Estée Lauder’s 12E Brow brush.

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She said she’s had it for a while, and the brushes are so stiff, it’ll last forever.  In my head I’m thinking, “Sure, tell me something I haven’t heard.  I’ll be the judge.”  I can’t remember exactly what I paid for it, but it was definitely under $20.  When she brought me towards the Estée Lauder section I thought she was gonna take me for a ride.  That was over a year ago and I admit that it IS my perfect brush and I have no intention of ever replacing.  It has firm bristles like an eyebrow brush so it does double duty as a power applicator, as well as combs the hair as I go.

Update:  I have tried brushing on some Castor Oil on my brows to try and increase hair production.  Crazy as it sounds, it actually works.  My brows have been filling in nicely, but I’m starting to look like Frieda so I’ll have to take some pics as evidence before I take my own grooming advice.

Note:  I am NOT being sponsored by any of the companies mentioned in this entire blog.  The products listed on this page were paid for by myself personally.  It is why I am a valued Sally’s Beauty Club and Sephora VIB member.

Colour Purple

Purple is my favourite colour!  If I’m buying something, and it’s available in purple, it makes my decision so much easier!  Even if it’s something I wasn’t looking for, if it’s purple, it will catch my eye.  I don’t know what it is, it’s a colour that makes me happy to look at it.  Is that weird?

I was on a cruise this past summer, and we had a stop off in the Bahamas.  I was so good not to get my Canon SD1000 wet all day.  Then at the end of the day, I forgot that I had it in my mesh, back pack.  A friend and I decided to go for one last dip in the salt water ocean….   Fortunately the SD card didn’t fry and I was able to retrieve my photos.  The camera however wouldn’t power on.  Even when I left the battery out to dry.  Months later, I’m sad to say that it never took another snap.  It has served me well for a good 5 years.  I got it on sale for $180 back in the day.  It was a good deal.  So I’ve been camera shopping for a while.  I considered a waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof – (possibly idiot proof)  camera.  I consulted a photographer friend of mine about what he thought of the Olympus TG1.  He told me waterproof cameras were over rated, and NO ONE looks good under water.  He recommended a Sony RX100.  I looked it up, and it’s a $700 camera!  As a professional, that’s his idea of a pocket camera to whip out for that great shot that’s comparable to his DSLR.  I was actually looking for something 1/6 that price.

As a nerdette, I was one of the early adopters of a digital camera.  The first one I bought was a Canon brick, that required a compact flash.  It was a necessary evil and a graduation present for myself … along with a trip to the Dominican Republic and a summer in Europe.  I dropped that one 4 years later and the LCD screen cracked.  I was still functional, because it had a view finder but it seemed like it was time for a new one.  I surfed around, and ended up with my second Canon, the SD1000 after a friend sent me a Red Flag Deals tip of a good sale.

I surfed the internet a little more, listened to a bunch of reviews on compact cameras and once again, gravitated to the Canon Elph 110HS, 320HS and the S100.  The Elphs were all in the $200 range, and the S100 was in the $400 range, and the most comparable to the Sony RX100.  Now it was a matter of waiting for a good sale.  Boxing day is just around the corner!  Emails from Amazon, Blacks, Sony, Red Flags, Future Shop, Best Buy etc. were bombarding me daily with emails.  Amazon.ca had a really good deal for the Elph 110HS at $149.90.  Future Shop had  at $159.99.  They also have a policy where they will beat any price by 10% of THE DIFFERENCE between prices.  For my $10 difference, I would be haggling for $1.  I poked around the site a little more and found the 320HS at $189.99, with the case.  Best buy had it listed for over $200.  I was pretty sure I had my heart set on the 320HS.  I was even day dreaming about blogging with pictures easier with the Wi-Fi feature.

I had to run into Costco for gas, and for grins, I decided to see what cameras they had.  Their website indicated they had the 320HS, with case and a 16GB SD card for $199.99.  For $10, the SD card would be worth it.  THe downside is, the only colour choice was silver.  It looked too similar to the SD1000 I fried.  I also know that I would be reminded of what a complete tool I was.  I mean, an electrical engineer, taking a digital camera for a swim?  :/

 

I got to the camera display, and what caught my eye?

A purple 310HS!  Then I scanned the display for a price – $79.99!  What?  It had a red “last item” stamped on the label.  I had to quickly Google 310HS vs 320HS.  It was quite a mixed bag of features.  The 310 pros: 12.1Mpixel, 8x zoom, $79.99, and PURPLE!  310 cons: no Wi-Fi.  The 320HS pros:

16.1Mpixel, touch screen, Wi-Fi.   320 cons: 5x zoom, $199.99, not purple.

So of course I come to my senses and go back for the 310!IMG_2181 case was missing the SKU and price but I found the nice guy who helped me before.  He took the camera out of the case and went to the office in search of the box.  He met up with me at the cash when another Costco employee ran up to him holding the missing label.  She said she was trying to get it for another customer but couldn’t find the camera.  He told her it was in the box.  The cashier had the box in his hand and didn’t know if he should scan it in or hand it over to the angry Costco lady.  My guy told her tough luck.  Funny how I never wanted the camera more, until someone else was trying to snatch it out of my hand.

The moral of the story is, if you see something at a price that’s too good to be true, and in your favourite colour, why think twice?  The lesser moral is, don’t go swimming with a back pack!