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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

**REVIEW** They're Real (Push-up eyeliner by Benefit Cosmetics)

I'm so very happy that we finally have an Ulta store in Anchorage. Of course, I found this little gem at the one here in Texas! LOL

Usually, I see stuff like this and go, "Bet it won't work the way it says it will..." And, usually, I'm right. However, this stuff is excellent.

Because I am have really bad fine motor skills (I once almost put my eye out with an eyeliner stick back in high school!), the tip of this eyeliner is perfectly designed.

Now, keep in mind that the tip is not the eyeliner itself. The eyelining gel dispenses from that tip. It just sort of glides perfectly onto the lid, right where you want it to go. You know, instead of all over your eyelid or into your eyelashes (don't judge me) so that you get an even and well-stroked line.

The one thing that drove me crazy when I first opened and tried to use this was that I had to turn/click the push-up end so much. My niece actually counted the clicks/turns and it was something like 68 twists. Oh - and there is a little orange sticker thing inserted that you must remove before first use. (Yeah, I was trying to use my new eyeliner without reading any instructions..)

So... just a quickie little review in case you've seen this in the stores and was wondering if this was worth it. And, actually, the product was cheaper in the Ulta store ($24.99) than it is on Amazon ($29.40).  The Benefit site has the liner for $24.00. Also, if you want to try the brand's makeup remover and mascara along with the eyeliner, Ulta had a kit with mini-sizes of each for around $25.00

Since I do like wearing eyeliner a lot, and since I do have problems wearing it properly, this is a reasonable price - IF this lasts a while. That's going to be the deal breaker. If this ends up running out on me in a couple of weeks, forget it. I can always use a spoon to guide my regular old gel liner...


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

**REVIEW** Miss Jessie's Leave-In Condish

Yes, I know. I have had very poor results with a couple of Miss Jessie's products. Very poor. In fact, the only reason I decided to give yet another Miss Jessie's items a try at all was because I cannot believe such a successful brand is all bad.

Let's recap the instances I've had my feelings hurt, hopes crushed, and hair (and wallet) left in need:

And, by the way, falling for the lies of that dang Miss Jessie didn't teach me quite enough. I rebounded by running into the arms of Miss Jessie's less well known cousin, "Aunt Jackie". sigh.

If this were a history of my past romantic entanglements, I'd be swearing off men and entering a convent. Really. Seriously. HOWEVER... I might have a cold heart when it comes to certain men, but I'm warmer blooded when it comes to my hair. Which is why I did pick up the "Leave-In Condish".

 Also, the 8-ounce bottle was cheap. And I'm on write-cation. And I can spend $10 on a hair product when I am on write-cation and not really writing as much or as well as I thought I would be. So there.

I picked this up for about $10.00 at a Target here in Texas. I've never seen this item in Anchorage stores but, no doubt, the price would go up by two or three bucks on those shelves.

As usual, the first thing I did when I got the product was to smell it. It smells like that plain old bath bar soap that you get when you stay in cheap motels. Just so plain and funky that you automatically think that it's either really cheap stuff or that it will strip all the sebum right out of your skin and hair.

Maybe the mix of ingredients???

Of course, the smell had me thinking that I was about to be disappointed once again... But, nope. Once I got past the smell to give the product a try, it wasn't half bad.

I think I already mentioned that the air here is extremely humid. I have been calling it "no-lotion" weather. The thing is, it's great for my hair and skin but it also makes my hair resistant to styling. The only way I can get my hair to hold a nice twist-coil wave is to wash it. That's because my hair tends to dry out when I wash it (which is why I am careful about using the right shampoo).

Since the Leave-In Condish is to be used on damp (not wet) hair, I did a co-wash with the cleansing conditioner I told you about yesterday, then I let it go from wet to damp. I applied the Leave-In and waited for that to dry.

Result: quite stiff.

I then used a spray bottle to fine-mist on some water that I massaged into my hair.

Result: much better. Actually, my hair felt quite soft and moisturized.

Next, I did my twist-coils and let them dry.

The final result was not bad at all. My hair was not stiff or sticky at all, though it was a little bit over-dry. Since it is so humid here, I expected better. However, I do have very dry hair after washing.

Overall, I have to give this Miss Jessie's product a 9 out of 10. I'd even give it a 10 if not for that icky, soapy odor. (I will resolve that by adding to my water mister a touch of the yummy-smelling Pomegranate Cleansing Conditioner, or some of my Vanilla Grapefruit Fragrance.)

Also, please notice what is not in this particular product: sulfates and other no-no's for (especially) natural hair.

So, yay to Miss Jessie's for finally having a product that lives up to the labeling & goes easy on the average wallet.

At some point, I will compare the results I'm getting with products here to the ones I get in Alaska's drier climate.


Monday, November 16, 2015

**REVIEW** Sweet Pomegranate Cleansing Conditioner (by Renpure Solutions)

Just because I am on a little "write-cation", it doesn't mean that I'm not going to keep up on the reviews.

I actually picked up this product in a Target here in Carrolton, Texas. I sure do hope that I can get the Anchorage Target to order some for the future.

Renpure site also has different fragrances

The main reason I decided to purchase this (even though I had never even heard of the brand before now) is because of the delicious smell. Oh, my GOODNESS!!! This is the nicest scent I think that I have ever smelled in a hair product! When I was trying to think of how to describe the scent, I asked my niece to help. We both decided that it's like a very sweet and juicy pomegranate. Or, as my niece said, "I'd drink it." Oh-kay!

There are a lot of ingredients (not all as healthy-sounding as I prefer), but notice the things that are not included. (Sorry for the crappy photo. I'm having camera issues.)

As far as how well it works, I give it an 8 out of 10. For one thing, it does a great job of cleaning  the hair, but the moisturizing could be a smidge better. Here in this part of Texas, my hair and skin are already super spoiled by the humidity. I haven't had to use nearly as many oils for moisturizing as I do back in Anchorage. I have a feeling that this conditioner is going to need a boost from some of my other products when I use it in that drier climate. In this moist climate, it does alright, but I did have to use some moisturizing curling gel after my hair dried.

The smell alone makes this worth using (even if I have to add another conditioner) and I only used the size of three quarters to do my hair in the shower. And the entire bathroom smelled amazing afterward.

No kidding, I actually wish I could find this same exact scent in perfume or lotion.

The price was nice on this (at least at the Target down here...). I paid $6.99 (plus tax) for the 16-ounce bottle. I checked Amazon and found it as a Prime "Add-on" item for the same price. The Renpure site just sends you to other retail sites for the products.

I did have a moment of surprise when I noticed the back of the product:

Co-washing started, I thought, as a thing that black women did to protect their natural hair growth. Whatever.

I'd love to hear what women with different hair textures have to say about the product. Maybe the reason it isn't as moisturizing for my kinky/curly hair is that it wasn't formulated for this texture??? So, if someone with a different hair texture has tried this, please let me know what your results were. I bet we can all agree about the yummy fragrance.

This is a good price for decent results on my normally very dry hair. I imagine it will work much better for hair is that is less problematic.


Saturday, November 07, 2015

"He Said, She Said" (part 1 of a short story)

[This is a short story I am working on. Don't get too involved. I'm writing it on the fly and in pieces. Who knows how - or even if - it will conclude! Part 2 is here.]

He said, "You changed when we got married. You don't look, act, or love the way you did before."

She said, "You changed too. You don't say the things you did before or seem to care the same about how I look, act, or love."

Him: "How can you tell what I say? You don't listen."

Her: "I stopped listening when the sound of your voice started to annoy me."

Him: "See? You never talked to me like that when we were dating."

Her: "That's because you didn't annoy me the way that you do now."

They glared and stared, then walked off in different directions to let the silence heal the fury.

After some hours, She came into the room where He was watching television.

Her: "Are you calm enough to talk decently to me now?"

Him: "If you are calm enough to listen decently."

Her: (Taking on the suffering that she supposed being married required and managing to let this remart pass unchecked or, at least, only slightly checked with a tired sigh.) "You know, that's your problem. You're too bossy."

Him: "Well, hello there, Pot. My name is Kettle. Nice to meet you."

Her: "Is that how this conversation is going to go?"

Him: (Taking on the suffering that he supposed being married required and managing to let this remark pass unchecked or, at least, only slightlychecked with a roll of the eyes.) "I apologize."

Her: "Good. Now, first thing is, we need to get back to where we started. You know, back when you were courting me."

Him: (Having a momentary brain freeze because he had no recollection of a courtship. Fortunately, the freeze was brief. Unfortunately, the melt extended to his mouth.) "Courting you? Is that what you call your mother convincing my mother that you were such a great catch that the two of us should really get together?"

Her: (Giving Him a look that could have either started a new ice-age or melted the entire region of Siberia.) "What are you trying to say?"

Him: (Realizing that further words melting out of his mouth might cause a flood of damage that no mortal insurance would protect him from.) "I'm just trying to keep the story correct and true to history."

Her: "Well, let's stay true and correct to the fact that you obviously had no problem asking me out - not once, not twice, but three times before I even accepted." (She thought it was very mature of her that she managed not to huff with indignation at the end of this statement.)

Him: "Wait. What?"

Her: (She only bothered to answer his confusion with a patient look. Cold, but very patient.)

Him: (Almost defending his confusion with more objections, but remembering he was still without damage insurance and deciding not to write checks with his mouth that his body couldn't safely cash.) "I, uh... I just don't remember it exactly that way."

Her: "I not only remember, I can go through my journal if you want dates, times and content of the specific conversations."

Him: "Uh..." (And here is where he had to decide if he wanted to test the female skill in perfect recall of any event of romantic history - written, electronic or otherwise. He wisely chose not to.) "That's not the point, is it?"

Her:(Giving him a long and very meaninful look)

Him: (Realizing that the look is meaningful, and being a little frightened by the mystery of the possible meaning.)

Her: "Is it?"

Him: "Okay...." (He is still uncomfortable and unsure of where he might be venturing, but decides on the safest way to explore the landmines.) "So... What is the point?"

To be continued..

Thursday, November 05, 2015

"Somewhere Over Seattle" (a quick-short story)

(I've been writing some short stories. I plan to write more while on this vacation. It's hard for me to share pieces of my writing that haven't been edited and re-written and picked all to pieces by my insecurities, but that is what I am going to do here. It's going to be my own little exercise in bravery!)
Somewhere Over Seattle ©
by Trudy M. Conway

Life is made up of time, but all the things that make life real is made up of moments.

The moment that you actually hear the meaning in someone's voice, instead of just listening to the words they happen to be saying.

There are times when you lost everything you had, only because you didn't realize how important the moment was. You didn't know that you should have apologized or admitted or repented or just reached over and touched the hand that was being held out to you.

Moments of extreme joy are only revealed as joyful, sometimes, when that moment is old and faded and gone to dust.

We didn't choose our lifetime, but we can choose our moments.

The longest moments - those that seem to stretch out for eternity - are ones that make up a life being born, a future begun,  or a life ebbing away... That kiss between two people who have just made promises of loving, honoring, cherishing. The tear that is sitting in your eye and waiting to fall while someone you love is taking in the breath that will be their last. The looks between you and the stranger who could become part of the reason for your lifetime.

Moments make up lives and lifetimes.

Time means nothing to the moment. Time stops with moments.

A moment is an inhale of a question -

"What might this be?"
"What does this mean?"
"Does it really matter/"
"Who is this person?"
"Should I do this?"
"Do I walk away?"
"What now?"

- and life or a lifetime is the exhale of an answer.

Somewhere over Seattle, my soul was asking questions, and I'm still waiting to breathe.


Blogging the Travel (Leaving ANC for DFW)

I want to blog this little getaway of mine for a couple of reasons. The main one is that I'm hoping to clear my head and jumpstart my plans for the future. I've been extremely frustrated with this because I think that my situation is so misunderstood. I'll talk more about that later.

One of the reasons I have had so much anxiety about traveling is my problems with memory. For days before leaving Anchorage, I had night (and day) mares about wandering around lost in some strange airport. I'm serious.

I have made it to Dallas safely and I even mangaged to enjoy some of the travel here. I met a few really nice people and all the crew and staff of Delta was more than pleasant.

Alaska was freezing on the morning I was leaving. Nothing like last year's "non-winter" winter! The day before I left, I had 2 appointments - one early morning and one later in the afternoon. I was totally stressed out by the 2 mile drive to the first appointment just because of the icy roads and maniac drivers... I had to cancel the afternoon appointment that was clear across town. My nerves just couldn't take that.

Since I was to travel from Anchorage to Dallas, I decided to layer clothing for the plane ride.

I started with jeans, boots and a sweater over a shirt.

Went out to my car to get a phone charger and almost passed out from the wind that blew up the back of my jacket, so I added a vest!

Then, because my shirt was kind of heavy, I changed to a lighter one. Much better.

When I took this photo of myself, I stood in the mirror for another few minutes, having a random panic attack. I seriously thought about postponing my trip for a few more days. It went through my mind that I could just crawl into bed and hibernate in the dark until I had more energy. Then I went and sat in the garage and had a good cry. This is what my moods have been like for several weeks.

Everyone in the house is sleeping while I am praying and trying to get my anxiety under control. Just before I have to go and wake my niece to drive me to the airport, I check the weather. This is what Anchorage looks like:

And this is what Dallas weather was doing:

 That was motivation.

Ever since my memory and confidence got so bad, I found workarounds to help make life easier. When I drive, even around my own town, I use Google Maps. Sometimes, I have no trouble, but there are times when I can get mixed up on the way to or from a familiar place. This gets worse, depending on my stress levels. Traveling alone is extremely stressful for me, so I do a couple of things that I will share in case someone else needs to know:

Always download the app for whichever airline you are using.

I've used Delta and either United or American. I like American's app better, but Delta's was bearable. You can "check in" and even pay for your baggage before you get to the airport.

When you do a mobile check-in, you also get to bypass some of the hassles of going through aiprot security. At least you don't have to remove your shoes. That's worth it right there.

Your boarding pass will be electronic/mobile. There's no extra piece of paper to keep track of. Best of all for the nervous type like me, I can refer constantly to my travel information: flight times, gate changes, layover times, etcetera. It just feels so good to have everything right there on the phone.

Limit what you carry around.

I keep only the very essential things on my person, and any carry-on is something I can attach to myself. I use a backpack and a very small messenger type purse. This way I'm less apt to leave something behind in an airport or on a plane. I have a good attachment clip on my phone so that it's always hooked onto my clothing or one of my carry-ons. On one of the flights, someone turned in a passport they found on the floor under the seat in front of them. A passport! 

Put snacks in your carry-on

I always do a Walmart run and grab some granola bars. Thank goodness I remembered this time. For one thing, I had such short layovers that there was no time to get decent food at the airport. For another thing, I couldn't afford the food that was available. (One snack bar offered a tuna sandwhich with lettuce and some condiment packages for a mere $8.00. I'm not kidding.) I did fork out about $7.00 for a muffin and some juice at one point. I could have bought pack of six bigger and better muffins at Costco for that price. #ripoff)

Use the bathroom at every layover.

Even if you don't have to go. You probably will anyway. It gives you the chance to freshen up and check your purse in privacy. I usually rinse out my mouth and puff some baby powder under my clothes. No need not to smell somewhat fresh while sitting next to strangers in the close quarters of an airplane, right?

This wasn't a bad trip. I was so tired anyway. And I had great seatmates all the way. One of them was super-sweet and I sure wish neither of us had been so shy. Makes me want to go to Denver and look for him!

I woke up long enough to get some photos of wherever we happened to be flying over. Can't sort them out now...

I'm SO glad that I layered my clothing. The planes were always chilly so I could keep on my jacket at least, and I used my vest for a pillow at one point. When I got into Dallas, it was muggy but my niece was there to get me so...

I've got to say how proud I am of +Gabrielle B . She navigates this city like nobody's business. I just admire her for her independent spirit. It also makes me feel a little weak and silly. There was a time when I traveled the States to writers' camps and conferences, and even went solo to England before I was out of my teens. I was always so confident and adventurous. Last night, as we left the airport, found a Whataburger for dinner, then headed for Gabby's place, I kept thinking how terrified I would be out there on my own.

When Marla made me smile with her compliments about my travel-ready looks, she hadn't seen these photos!

My evil niece took this when I just passed out sleep on her couch

Lovely, yes? LOL

Notice that her puppy, Kenai, has decided that we are new best friends! If you can see him at all. He's jet black and has the most beautiful coat of hair. I'd steal him if I could. He's such a cute little booger.

"I'm gonna just rest here in the crook of her knees!"

And... I'm not looking so hot here. Around 6-something this morning before Gabby heads out to work. I'm still tired and still wearing my twist-rows. I don't even fully remember twisting up my hair before I passed out last night!

Too early to care!
That last photo is to send to my little Boo-Boo (DJ). I miss him, but, boy, it was real nice to wake up and just enjoy my coffee in peace and quiet this morning!

Since I do have time to rest my nerves and pull my thoughts together, I'm going to do some short-story writing (and maybe post some?), and try to examine my life. Hopefully, when I get back home, I will be able to go to work and sort out some of my life tangles.