Living Like a Princess on a Cinderella Budget #2

Estee Mother's DayDo you realize in just over two weeks will be Mother’s Day?  I didn’t.  Not until I was looking at my calendar for something else did I realize how close we were to that very special day to honor all Mothers.  Don’t have any children?  Not to worry, it’s YOUR day, too!

So here’s my take on celebrating Mother’s Day, being recognized even if you have not given birth to any children.  YOU had a mom.  At some point in your life, someone gave you life, and that was your mother.  If you are a female, chances are you have some sort of mothering instinct inside you, whether it’s for stuffed animals, live pets, or Cabbage Patch Dolls.  I feel young ladies of all ages should be recognized on Mother’s Day because there’s a good chance one day they will be a mother, and they also have mothers.  There are women who would have loved being a mom and raising a family, but God had other plans for them and it just didn’t happen, for whatever reason.  Maybe you would like to celebrate the life of a woman who has been a mother-figure to you, even though she is not of blood relation.  Celebrate ALL women!  So for what it’s worth, I believe all ladies of all ages should consider Mother’s Day a day they can celebrate.

Have you been agonizing over what to get that special “Mom” for Mother’s Day?  Let me Estee Mother's Day Shadowhelp you a little bit over the next few days.  My first choice for a gift is Estee Lauder products.   Pictured above is what I have chosen to gift myself in honor of Mother’s Day.  Estee Lauder has a little something for everyone, from skin care and facial cleansing, to mascara and lipstick, and everything in between.  Right now, Elder-Beerman department store was offering a free gift with $35 purchase of Estee Lauder product.  The free gift was valued at approximately $130.  Spend $65 on Estee Lauder products and receive that free gift PLUS two additional skin care deluxe samples.  So for the purchase of $65 worth of product, you get roughly an additional $150 worth of product.  That’s my kind of shopping!

The free gift consisted of a beautiful makeup bag, Take it Away makeup remover, Advanced Night Repair, two lipsticks, an eyeshadow quad, and Sumptuous Mascara.  You can take your pick of Subtle Colors or Bold Colors.  I chose the Bold Colors.  And I am loving the lipstick shades it came with, Pinkberry and Hot Kiss!  The Pinkberry is a lovely pinky nude shade that should compliment most women’s complexion.  The Hot Kiss is a much deeper, bolder pink that would be perfect at night, or anytime you might want a bolder lip color.  The additional deluxe samples I received were the Resilience Lift Firming/Sculpting Face and Neck Crème with SPF 15 and the Resilience Lift Eye Crème.  Both are nice, silky feeling moisturizers.

Estee Mother's Day CompactNow, what to spend $35 on to get the free gift?  I chose the golden alligator compact filled with Lucidity Translucent Pressed Powder for $39.50.  It is very small, maybe 2″ across, and it comes with a felt bag to keep it in so it won’t get scratched up in your handbag.  It looks very elegant.  To me, it’s the perfect size to carry with me so it’s not bulky or heavy.  It will easily slip into a small evening purse or wristlet.  I’ve wanted one of these for a very long time.  There just always seemed to be something more important for me to purchase before, like foundation.  But the timing was right for it this time.

Another suggestion would be the Estee Lauder Five Star Favorites gift set for $35 (pictured above in the red box on the right).  It includes a Double Wear All-Day Glow BB Moisture Makeup with SPF 30 in color intensity 1.0, Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Dynamic, Sumptuous Infinite Daring Length + Volume mascara in Black, Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II for all skin types, and a small, .14oz., bottle of Modern Muse Eau de Parfume spray (LOVE that scent!)

As you may have guessed, or already knew, I love Estee Lauder products.  They are luxurious and high quality.  They make me feel like a lady who is being pampered for no reason…and that’s OK!  They also have body lotions and shower lotions in some of their most popular scents.  And when you get some free gifts with your purchase, it seems economical, too.

Beauty in my Eyes

We all have our own ideas of beauty.  What catches your eye may slip right by mine.  How do I define beauty?  I’m not exactly sure.  I know it when I see it, though.

12994311_1040268042676959_7205009825890081950_nPlanners and notebooks in both bright colors and basic black catch my eyes.  Throw in a pretty, comfortable writing instrument and I am in my element, floating high on a writer’s cloud.  It’s just paper, you might be thinking.  Oh no!  It’s not just paper!  It is the recipient of my thoughts and dreams.  It is the listening ear of my troubles and sorrows.  It rejoices with me when I share joys of the days or conversations with friends.  It is my traveling companion and my confidante on sleepless nights.  These notebooks have a heartbeat of their own, in my eyes.

No, I cannot really define my idea of beauty, but I can tell you my friends are beautiful.  All of them.  Each one in 303233_2397092091761_1825382099_ntheir own special and unique way.  Take my friend, Piccadilly the Clown.  Isn’t she absolutely gorgeous!  But be assured there is much more than what catches the eyes.  Her beauty runs deep, shares laughter, instigates smiles, and warms hearts with her love of people and God.  She is generous.  She shares of herself and expects nothing in return and that, my friends, is beautiful.

12987067_1040266269343803_264469149487097492_nMakeup is beautiful.  Oh my gosh, the colors are all over the place!  Put a pretty lipstick and blush in a bright, shiny makeup bag and I’m ready to step out the door into the light.  Some black mascara on the eyelashes frames the soulful eyes of a woman, and can brighten the sad eyes that cried the night before.  Strategically placed color on a woman’s face can change her mood from “all hope is gone” to “I can face anything!”  A little lipstick on these pale lips can mean the difference from someone telling me I look sick all day, to telling me I look like I feel better.  Oh yes, makeup is beautiful.

Have you ever sat down to eat feeling ravenous, looked at 13001267_1040268329343597_7368945132206482458_nyour food, and then all of a sudden lost your appetite?  I love salads, but if they look a mess with everything just thrown in with no thought, I don’t love them so much.  But I LOVE a pretty salad!  I love pretty food!  With each topping in its own special place on top of that lettuce, it’s a beautiful thing.  The mixture of colors, textures, and tastes can make the difference between just eating and really enjoying my food.  And let’s face it, we have to eat.  We might as well eat for the joy and beauty of it!

Certain colors are sure to catch my eyes.  Pinks and purples will snatch their attention every time.  I love bright colors in the Spring and Summer.  They make me feel happy and full of hope.  The days go smoother when there is a joyful color in them.  12990889_1038006399569790_3297011779775416156_nAnd if that joyful color happens to be on my handbag, I am one joyful woman.  A handbag is useful, yes.  It can be a workhorse, an accessory, a compliment to a pair of shoes.  But add a splash of color to it and it becomes a work of art.  Magenta.  I waited weeks for this color handbag to arrive.  It’s so beautiful I’m almost afraid to pack it with me fearing that something might happen to it, that it will become covered in grease or tomato sauce or stolen by an art thief.  But as I said, almost.  It will not be nearly as beautiful sitting on a shelf in my closet, or housed in a dust bag.  To really enjoy it, it needs to be close by, in my hands where I can touch it, and let it carry that beautiful purple cosmetic bag full of pretty makeup.  It all goes together.  Beauty builds upon beauty.  It all has its’ place.

Of all the beauty in all the world, there’s nothing more beautiful to me than my fur Maggie3family.  Maggie is beauty in my eyes.  She is warm, wiggly, sassy, and smart.  She lives and breathes beauty around me.  She is full of love and spunk and occasional treats.  Her ears have been torn and have ragged edges, but that just adds to her character and charm.  She snorts and snores and reminds me in the night that I am not alone.  She adopted me and saved my life.  There is nothing more beautiful in my eyes.

What is beauty in your eyes?  Take time today to look around you.  There is beauty in the everyday.  There is beauty in our chores and in our play times.  God has created beauty all around us, if we will only take a few moments to see it.

Blessings.

Makeup Memories

  It was late summer 1977.  I was 18, blemish covered, red faced, and makeup naive.  It was time to try to improve my complexion.  It was time to try makeup.

I had a job then.  Bringing in my own money, and being of adult age, I wanted to try and pretty myself up a bit.  My previous clear complexion had decided to go stark raving mad with acne.  Pastules and pustules and painful cystic type adult acne.  I didn’t know it then, but that was only the beginning of a lifelong battle with adult acne.  I wanted it cleared up, and I wanted it covered up.  It was so bad I didn’t want to go out in public.

I made my first appointment with a dermatologist at age 18.  Diagnosed with adult acne and rosacea, I left with a prescription for an antibiotic and cream for my face.  I was instructed to wash my face with my hands and a very mild soap in the evening, like Dove, and to use only water of a morning.  Apply the MetroGel both morning and evening.  And yes, I was allowed to wear makeup, but it had to be water based.

I headed to the drugstore to get some Cover Girl makeup.  I was still a teenager who hadn’t used makeup before.  I thought everyone used Cover Girl.  Who knew there would be so many shades to choose from?  And how was I supposed to pick one if I couldn’t try it on?  I left empty handed and more than a little disappointed.

After telling my mother-in-law my woeful makeup tale, she suggested I go to one of the nicer department stores to the Estée Lauder counter and let them help me find a shade, so I did.  Back then, there weren’t as many makeup brands on the market, but Estée Lauder was, and still is, one of the best.  It’s a brand I’m still loyal to.

The Estée representative was very nice, had her own makeup applied flawlessly, and was very helpful.  I had the works done.  Starting with the cleanser, toner, and moisturizer, she then picked out a water based foundation and found my shade.  She dotted and blended concealer over all my red spots and finished with a very light dusting of powder.  A light pink cream blush was next, then on to my eyes with neutral eyeshadow and mascara.  I stopped her at the brows.  I thought that was only for old ladies.  Then a pinkish nude lipstick finished up.  

Looking in the mirror, I wasn’t sure what I thought at first.  Was that me?  Was it too much?  I felt like a little girl playing with a forbidden toy.  And yet, I felt pretty.  I still knew my acne was there, but the makeup helped so much in smoothing out my complexion.  Maybe this would work after all.  Maybe I could do this.

The Estée rep was good at her job and I was desperate to feel pretty, so I left her that day with a lovely little shopping bag filled with cleanser, toner, moisturizer, foundation, blush, and lipstick.  I decided to wait a while on the eye makeup.

 

Christmas 2015 set.
 A few months later was Christmas.  My mother-in-law gifted me with the beautiful Estée Lauder Christmas makeup set with more eyeshadows and blushes than I knew what to do with.  And I made every application mistake I possibly could.  Too dark, too bright, too blue.  But slowly, I learned through trial and error what I liked best.  I was feeling more like a lady.

This was a time before foundation primer, eyelid primer, bronzers, highlighters, and numerous other items invented for women to spend more money on.  When I get on YouTube and search for all the makeup gurus on what and how to apply makeup, I am just amazed at how much time and product they get into.  And I wonder why we need three different kinds of concealers, three cheek products, and five shades of eyeshadow.  Really?  And their makeup “collections” of not only drawers upon drawers of makeup, but a room of makeup.  Thirty years ago I never would have dreamed that to be possible.

As I’ve aged, my makeup and skincare needs have changed.  Having rosacea, I will probably always have flare ups of pimples and redness from time to time.  I feel that’s very unfair at my age of 56, but my dermatologist says that’s life and hormones for ya.  I kind of hate that he’s not only right, but looks like he’s about 18.

Experimenting with makeup is still fun for me, and sometimes I do go all out by applying foundation primer and eyeshadow primer.  No matter how hard I try to achieve that smokey eye look, it always comes off looking like I belong in the Adam’s Family photo album.  So I mostly stick with lighter neutral shadows, usually only two at a time.  One eyeliner.  One mascara.  And a brow powder, because my eyebrows have become more sparse than they once were.  A little blush and always lipstick.  Lipstick does wonders for my pale face.

  
I’ve learned that makeup is to enhance my features, not to dominate them.  It should always be fun, and I should always still look like me, only better.

It’s really rather amazing to me all the different brands and products on the market today compared to thirty years ago.  But it tells a story about how women are always searching for products to make them beautiful, and will pay good money to get them.

How has your makeup evolved over the years?  More?  Less?  What was your first makeup brand, and are you brand loyal?

Blessings

The Search for the Miracle Cream

regenerist_micro_sculpting_cream_260x260I’ve reached that age. You know, that age that comes with maturity, menopause, and AARP membership. And with that age comes changes to my skin. This face which was once tight and smooth and an example of youth, has become dryer, droopier, and an example of mid-life in wrinkles.

My quest to find the perfect facial moisturizer/miracle cream began in my mid-forties. Having had very oily skin most of my life, I was totally unprepared for the changes menopause brought with it. That feeling of tight, dry skin across my cheeks took me totally by surprise. I remember complaining once when I was a teenager to my grandmother about how oily my face was and I found it embarrassing. She told me one day I would be glad I had oily skin, it would make getting older a little easier. She was right, though it wasn’t until many years later I knew what she meant. It’s not always easy to replace the moisture in my skin that once was there.

I’ve analyzed ads in magazines, seen dozens of before and afters,  devoured TV commercials, searched the Internet, and read hundreds of product reviews on what women thought of specific moisturizers. I’ve gone to makeup counters and requested samples and received some by mail order. It became pretty clear that what works for one woman might not work for another. No moisturizer is perfect. Some will make skin burn and/or break out in blemishes, some will feel tacky on the skin, and some will feel like they do nothing. All will claim they are exactly what you need, will give dramatic results, make your skin look younger and smoother, or will firm and lift.  Seriously, it’s going to take a lot of firming and lifting to make me look ten years younger.

And then there’s the dilemma of whether to use an anti-wrinkle cream, a 300brightening cream, with fragrance or without, one with SPF or without, for sensitive or regular skin. There are so many choices with peptides, anti-oxidants, micro sculpting, luminous, regenerating, transforming, night time, day time, cream, lotion, or serum. These don’t even begin to describe the seemingly never ending list of names and descriptions of products.

Even if I did know exactly what I needed, there’s the devastating decision of whether to buy products from a company that does animal testing or not. I’ve tried burying my head in the sand over that one. I thought if I didn’t know, it wouldn’t matter. But it does matter and ultimately I have to make a decision as to whether the product is worth fighting my own moral battle while using it.

I had to make a list of what my deciding factors would be, and those include:

  1. How the cream or lotion makes my skin feel.
  2. How it smells.
  3. Price.
  4. Texture.
  5. Results.

In addition to those, I would like to see a miracle.  I want a cream that I spend no more than $5 on, makes my skin look ten years younger overnight, and will make me look like Sophia Loren when she was 30.  I don’t think I will find any of these results, but I can dream.

I do keep coming back to my old faithful Olay products and am currently using them now.  But the quest continues.  The miracle may happen.  Or not.