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When Life Throws You Lemons…Cease Blogging?!?! :)

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything here in a while. I don’t stick to a rigid schedule, but I do aim for about 2 posts per week, usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Obviously I give myself a bit of slack on that. But for the past maybe 2 weeks, I don’t think I have posted anything at all. There’s good reason for that and I just wanted to vaguely address what is happening. Basically, someone very close to me has been very ill and in the hospital. Needless to say, life has been hectic and stressful and there has just not been time for blogging. I’ve still had it in the very back of my mind, but at a time like this it’s very difficult to focus on much of anything, let alone the – let’s face it – silliness of a “beauty” blog. I have every intention to continue with this blog, but until life settles back into some sort of pattern, posts may be rather erratic. I hope you will bear with me.
It’s been a rough couple of weeks and I think today is the first day I have really had any time to just sit down and relax for a moment. To be honest, I haven’t been entirely sure what to do with the sliver of downtime that I’ve had! JSince I’ve been wanting to explain my absence, this was definitely on my list.
As far as posts go, I actually wrote a BirchBox post on time this month, but didn’t manage to get the photos edited and everything put together before the sh*t hit the fan. LOL! J I want to get that up soon. I would like to do a Favorites post sometime this week, but I’m not sure if and when that will happen. If you’re interested in what I’ve been grabbing throughout November, check out my Instagram posts (I’m MakeUpGuineaPig everywhere) because I haveoccasionally posted some products I’ve been using. I also may post random bits there more often than on the blog if you feel like following me. No promises though. I would also like to do some Christmas related posts, though I can’t say I have a lot of specifics in mind. I did manage to snag The Body Shop’s Advent Calendar this year (so excited about that!) and had been planning to post each day’s contents. I’m still going to try and do that, but obviously I failed for day 1 already. J I also have Tarte’s 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar and intend to do the same with that, though I have no idea when exactly the 12 Days of Christmas actually start! JI Googled it and it’s confusing. I’m thinking I’ll do the non-secular thing and begin on the 13th of December so that it ends on Christmas Eve. If you have thoughts on the subject, let me know. According to Wikipedia, the 12 Days of Christmas actually start with Christmas Day. Who knew? J That’s about the extent of my thoughts for blog-related content right now. As I said, there hasn’t been much time to think.
So that’s my current state of things and why this blog has been so silent. Hopefully I will get somethingup tomorrow (probably just the advent calendar to start), but I can’t promise anything. I really appreciate your patience during this trying time and I hope you’ll bear with me until I figure out how to juggle this curve ball. Life really can be a rollercoaster sometimes, but this Thanksgiving I’ve definitely had a much better appreciation for everything I have to be thankful for. Anyway, I hope you are all well and I will see you sometime…hopefully soon! J xoxo
-Christine (Why am I am solong winded?!)

All Too Aware – My Breast Cancer Story

I’m not really one for awareness months, but in case the onslaught of pink everything hasn’t already tipped you off, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If I’m going to be entirely honest with you, I never know which month is devoted to breast cancer until I start seeing everyone and their brother talking about it. I think we’re aware. I’m not writing this to remind you that we need to be aware of breast cancer. What use is that really? I’m writing this to tell you my own story…again. If you’ve been reading this blog for a few years (yup, it’s thatold), you already know my story (my prior post can be found here). Don’t worry, I’m not offended if you don’t read further (though please at least skip to the very end). Even I don’t really care about my story. Wow. How’s that to get you to read more? J

I am a breast cancer survivor. I hate hate hate that phrase. I didn’t “survive” anything, I just did what the doctor’s basically insisted, went on with my business and got lucky. That’s not to say it didn’t affect me because to this day I’m still struggling with a variety of things and I’m most certainly not back where I was when I was diagnosed. Not even close. But I suppose that’s how I’m classified at this point. Woo hoo. I survived. (Seriously I am grateful for that but I still hate the saying.)

Many, many years ago with my Grandma
So, to start at the beginning would be way too far back and not my own story to share. Where I will start is right after Christmas one fantastic year about 8 years ago – I think. I remember it like it was yesterday, but I really can’t be certain of the year. If you’ve ever heard of “chemo brain”, I am living proof that it not only exists, but hangs on like…like…well, like something that never goes away. But we’re getting too far ahead here. I actually saw a lump in my left breast. Yup, I could actually see it. It wasn’t massive, but a slight lump under the skin that I knew had to be looked at. I got to the doctor as fast as I could, but a healthy young 20-something wasn’t too high on my doctor’s list apparently. I finally made it (to be fair, it was probably about a week). What would be a comedy of errors if my doctor hadn’t guessed wrong ensued. She did tests – badly – which led to waiting longer between steps. Eventually, over a month later I got a call from the breast surgeon. The tissue she removed – I don’t remember which procedure this was because there were so many – was cancerous. They had closed up for the day, but would be waiting until my ass showed up because I needed to come in right away. You know that’s never good. So my parents and I raced right in to hear that, yes it was cancer and needed to come out right away, and – bonus – that meant a complete mastectomy!
The good ole days
So that was a fun day. Then came a fun month filled with test after test after test, each one leading to another test to prove or disprove the prior test. Hold up, then my perfectly healthy cat – the first cat I’d ever had – randomly died one night while asleep under a chair. I think that was actually the worst part of the whole year. But the vet happened to have a kitten in need of a home and she’s still with me today! But back to the negative stuff. JAfter being told I needed chemo and would lose my hair, a different doctor in the same office called to tell me that I didn’tneed chemo. Massive confusion ensued until my regular doctor called a few days later to verify that I did need chemo. The cancer was initially thought not to have spread outside the tumor, but upon closer examination, it had. Just my luck – lose a boob and my hair. Fan-freakin’-tastic.
The new kitty – Clover (aka Chloe – yes, she has extra toes)
To make a long story short and spare you the gruesome details, I had a mastectomy that March and a few months later went through chemo. It wasn’t for very long and the doses weren’t the strongest, but it was still a miserable experience and I would notrecommend it – like anyone has a choice! JAll the hair on my head fell out, my eyelashes and eyebrows thinned and some other hair that I wish never grew back disappeared for a while too. But my hair returned, I had reconstructive surgery to at least sort of resemble a breast and got a free boob job to even out the other side. I never really wanted larger knockers, but I ended up with them anyway. I wish I could say that life went back to normal, but it didn’t. It still hasn’t and probably never will. I wish I could say it changed me for the better or that something about me was altered in some cosmic way, but no. I’m just older with silicone sacks and a lot of scars.
Almost all my hair’s gone – I couldn’t bear to shave it!
So what’s my point? I’m not sure I really have one. I always feel like it’s my duty to say somethingduring Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If I had to say anything, and I actually do feel like this is important, I would say that no matter how old you are and no matter your family history or general health, CHECK YOUR BREASTS! I was lucky. I think my tumor was caught early, but it was growing rapidly – and I wouldn’t have found it if it hadn’t been so close to the surface because I certainly wasn’t doing self-exams. Clearly I should have been, but I had no idea that someone in her 20s could even get breast cancer. I’m living proof that age may not matter. Lifestyle may not matter. In fact, genes don’t necessarily matter because I am negative for the currently known linked genes. As far as I’m concerned, every month is a month for breast cancer awareness – and not in the “let’s make money off pink-tinted products and donate a tiny amount to a charity”, but in the sense that YOU need to be aware of your OWN breasts and monitor them for any changes. So I guess that’s my point. Do self exams. Visit your doctor regularly. Just keep track of things and tell someone if anything changes. Even if it’s minor. Maybe even especially if it’s minor. Don’t be afraid that something is wrong; be proactive and ensure that nothing is. And should there be a problem, don’t ignore it. Don’t wait it out. Time is not on your side. Do as much research as you can, listen to your doctors because they deal with this every day, and don’t be afraid. Prevention and early detection are your best weapons. Not only is the health of your breasts at stake, but your whole entire life is. Not just literally, but the figurative quality of life and life-as-you-know-it can be gone in an instant.
To learn how to do a Breast Self-Exam and to learn more about signs of breast cancer, you can find more info here from the National Breast Cancer Foundation, here from Cancer.org, or here from BreastCancer.org. 
If you can’t be bothered with a formal breast exam, just lift an arm up in the shower and feel the entire breast area and into the armpit on that side. If you know how that feels normally, you should notice changes. Should you notice anything different, call your doctor.
For general information about Breast Cancer, check this out from Cancer.org.
Me & My Favorite (very fake looking) Wig

Bailey Update 12 May 2013 & Happy Mother’s Day!!!

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted anything about Bailey, so I figured I would do a quick update and, of course, post some pictures! 🙂


There really hasn’t been much different since the last post after she was spayed. She seemed to heal really fast and is doing wonderfully. She is starting to slow down a bit though. 🙁 She still has bursts of crazy kitten energy, but she sleeps more than she used to.

She still loves Mini and the two of them seem to be pretty good buds. I think Mini likes to have someone to run and play-fight with again. The two are a pretty good match in terms of size right now. Bailey looks thicker thanks to her mountains of fur, but she appears to be pretty much the same size as Mini…for now! Bailey has grown so much!

Best Buds!!! 🙂

She enjoys Barclay’s company too, but there’s still that darn dog-cat language barrier. 🙂 They get along pretty well though and are slowly learning how to play together. They like to play hide-and-go-seek. Or maybe I should call it “hide-and-pounce.” 🙂

Other than that, everything seems about the same. The other cats tolerate her, but they don’t typically interact a whole lot. At least they don’t fight with her, so that’s good! It looks like she may be getting another eye infection – I hope not, but it’s watering and looks a tiny bit red. I’m keeping my eye on it and will take her to the vet if it looks like it’s a problem. Other than that, she’s doing great! She seems to be a very happy cat who loves to play, but can lounge around with the best of them as well.

Napping with Moxie

So that’s going to be it for the Bailey update. Hope the pictures bring a smile to your face because little critters always do mine! 🙂

And Happy Mother’s Day to all of you wonderful, hardworking, long-suffering mothers out there! You must have incredibly difficult jobs and thank you so much to my own mother who has been there for me through everything!!! I love you Mommy!!!!! 🙂 Happy Mother’s Day!!!

xoxo

Kitten Kisses!!! xoxo!!!

The Eventful Week in Kitten – 14 April 2013

It’s been a pretty big week for Bailey. I suppose one could say she’s now a full-fledged cat, but I don’t think so! J This week Bailey made that dreaded trip to the vet to be fixed! No babies for little Miss Bailey (which is a good thing, but they’d be so cute!). She’s done amazingly well and still runs around, jumping and playing like usual.


I had to take her to the vet the night before, because there was no way I was going to take her in at 6:00am the next morning! J Plus, leaving her with the vet the night before meant that I didn’t have to worry about her eating or drinking something too late in the night. It was so strange to be without her for the night. I may have 4 other cats to keep me company, but when something changes, it just doesn’t feel right!

I picked her up around 5 the next night (the day of surgery). The surgery went well, and she also got her rabies shot and a microchip in case she ever gets lost. She was surprisingly alert on the way home. It didn’t last very long once she was home though! J I was a bit worried how the other cats would react to her because they’re always wary of each other when they smell like a vet’s office, but everyone was fairly well behaved. Bailey settled right back in pretty quickly and did a good amount of sleeping.
By morning she was pretty much back to her old self. I tried to give her some more pain medicine, but she wanted no part of it. She was running around and even jumping on furniture with ease already! She left her incision alone, I think in part because they used glue to close the wound instead of standard stitches. Not only do I not have to take her back to remove the stitches, it has to be much more comfortable without those pointy little threads poking her every time she moves. She’s been almost completely normal since about a day and a half after the surgery! It’s been an amazing recovery and I’m so glad that she’s faired so well! J

So, it’s been an eventful week for Bailey, though it hasn’t slowed her down a bit! JAnd now, I guess you could say she’s a grown up – but I never will think of her as one!  Plus, she’s still growing and has that adorable kitten spirit and gleam in her eyes! J But, now she’s been spayed and will never have to suffer through heat or kitten-birth, so that’s a definite plus for her.

Until the next update, Bailey sends lots of warm and fuzzy kitten hugs and kisses! J

IMATS NYC 2013 Experience!!! – TONS & TONS of Pics

Well, another year, another IMATS. That’s right, I spent this past weekend at the NYC IMATS. If you’re unfamiliar with this increasingly popular event, it stands for International Makeup Artists Trade Show, and it happens around the globe at various points throughout the year (click here for more info). Since I’m not a makeup artist, I am thrilled that it is still open to the public because it means I can attend! JThere are speakers of all sorts on tons of different topics and, particularly in NYC, there are ton of vendors that are difficult to find in person, and often more theatrical in nature. It’s a really fun event filled with makeup professionals, bloggers, YouTubers and makeup enthusiasts from all over. If you ever have a chance to go to one, I’d recommend trying to go just for the experience!

This year the tickets sold out pretty quickly. Fortunately I ordered a 2-day pass relatively early and was able to attend both days! I had a great time, though it was so crowded! I’m not a huge fan of crowds and I don’t like waiting in line, but if that’s what it takes to get around at IMATS, so be it! J

I’m going to start with Sunday because I didn’t simply wait in lines all day. I left the house a bit later than I had planned and then ran into more traffic than I expected (yup, I prefer driving to NYC over a train!). The timing worked out really well though because right as I got there, Liza from Makeup Matters by LNC was just sitting down for lunch with her cousin. That made for a perfect chance to finally meet in person! JLiza’s even nicer than I imagined, if that’s possible! J So we had a chance to chat for a bit and then wandered around the Stila booth before parting ways. It was so nice meeting a fellow cruelty free blogger and, since I seem to go everywhere by myself, it was nice to have someone else to chat with for a bit.
Liza from Makeup Matters by LNC and me
In addition to Liza, I managed to stumble across a few YouTubers. I spotted Rachel from RachhLovesfrom afar because she is quite tall and thin, which tends to stand out in a crowd. I think she was waiting for someone else, but she was just standing by herself, so I decided to go say hello. I just recently started watching her videos and I really like her natural, easy, sometimes goofy way of talking. She was incredibly nice and friendly and I was quite proud of myself for saying hi. I feel pretty uncomfortable talking to new people, and I feel really awkward talking to people who have some sort of following. I know that they’re just normal people and I want to respect their privacy. I was proud of myself for overcoming my shyness though and it encouraged me to keep going!
FleurDeForce & Stefanie from EleventhGorgeous in back
Stefaine & Tracy from EleventhGorgeous
A bunch of YouTubers were gathered in that little area, I assume because they were told to use that space for meeting people. I saw missglamorazzi, but didn’t have a chance to say hi. She’s so tiny! JI also saw GlamLifeGuru, who I’m not that familiar with and TalkBeckyTalk who seems like a fun girl, but I didn’t chat with any of them either. I managed to get a picture taken with Tracy and Stefanie (did I spell that correctly?) from eleventhgorgeous and felt like a complete idiot – plus I blinked! I tend to get anxious in situations like that and I have no idea what I’m saying, so who knows what actually came out of my mouth. I’m pretty sure that they thought I had no idea who they were! J Next, I snagged FleurDeForce who is actually one of my favorite YouTubers. She just seems like a cool girl, though much more fashion-conscious than I. I actually really enjoy her blog more than her videos, though I love her videos too. Again, I have no idea what I said, but I do remember mentioning that I took my blog name from something she said once in a video – true story!  I had someone take my picture with her and her eyes are so big, that mine look like little specks in comparison! J I look really weird in both pictures, but so be it. I overcame my slight fear of approaching them, so I’m proud of myself.
Me with FleurDeForce

Me blinking with Stefanie & Tracy from Eleventh Gorgeous

Tati from Glam Life Guru
The rest of Sunday, I just wandered around and stood in a few lines again. I didn’t buy much on Sunday, partly because the vendors I went to were sold out of a lot of things! So, on to Saturday….
Wolfe Face Art & FX – so pretty!
Bdellium Tools Green Bambu (Sunday)

Bdellium Tools Pink Bambu (Sunday)
Inglot
Saturday I spent wandering around and shopping. Shopping was standing in really long lines in hopes of making it to testers, only to then wait some more to place an order! JI knew what I wanted to look at and looked around to see which booths would be easiest to navigate first. So, I started with Bdellium Tools because I love their brushes!!! J They were mobbed, but I really wanted to get there before the popular brushes were gone, so I waited and it was not too hard to find what you wanted. I tried to take pictures, but it was so difficult to get close to some of the booths that I didn’t do a very good job. Like I said, I didn’t really listen to any of the presentations, which I’m a bit mad at myself about. I saw Beauty Broadcast, or EmilyNoel83 from YouTube, but didn’t say hello. Her husband is so tall and she’s so tiny! JBut he made it impossible to miss her! She was busy shopping, so I wanted to let her actually have a chance to browse, plus there is my aforementioned fear of approaching people. JAnd that was pretty much Saturday. Bags full, wallet much lighter! J

Lit Cosmetics – stunning glitters!
Lit Cosmetics
OCC Airbrush Makeup
OCC Nail Polish
If you’re interested in what I bought, I can try to do a haul as well, but it may be pretty long! Let me know if you’re interested in a haul post in the comments. I will tell you the places I purchased things from were:
Bdellium Tools – mostly Pink Bambu brushes
Inglot – I bought a ton there and they were out of most of what I wanted to add on Sunday!
OCC Makeup(Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics)
Stila – the discounts weren’t much better than 20% off coupons at Sephora or Ulta, so I decided to wait a bit

I think that’s it! But, like I said, I bought a lot at Inglot and Bdellium.

So that’s pretty much my IMATS NYC 2013 experience in a nutshell! The highlight was definitely meeting Liza from Makeup Matters by LNC. I hope anyone else who went had a great time, and if you ever have a chance to make it to an IMATS, I would definitely recommend going at least once! It’s an interesting and fun experience. I can’t wait for next year! J

Amazing makeup looks being done around the venue:

Some stunning Student Competitors work from Saturday – Fantasy / Beauty: 

Some amazing Student Competitors work from Sunday – Character / Prosthetic

Happy Easter!!! Bailey’s Week in Review – 31 March 2013

Happy Easter to all of those who celebrate! This year I have my own little fuzzy bunny…well, kitty who looks bunny-like!

The time to have her spayed is rapidly approaching and I can’t believe how much Bailey has grown in what feels like no time! She seems to be doing well. She is still getting along with the other kitties and playing her little heart out. Basically all I have to say is just my usual weekly update! 🙂 I’m fairly certain the real interest in Bailey posts is more for the pictures than my rambling, so enjoy! 🙂

You can’t see me, right?

Bath time!

Lipstick?  Me want!

Check out Mini in the background! 🙂

Buh-Bye!