Sunday, October 28, 2012

Free Stuff

OK, I know you were all expecting "Day 3," rest assured it is coming...well, as soon as I figure out how to explain my day with only using shades of red as my adjectives...well...yeah.

Anyhow, back to the free stuff.  Yes, I did say free!

So, the wickedly awesome people over at Influenster have this thing called a Vox Box.  (No this is not  a Dr. Suess type widget!)  What this is, is a box of goodies they put together based on surveys you take.  How it worked for me...

This past May my friend posted on her FB a photo of the Vox Box of goodies she received from Influenster.  Naturally, the words FREE and GOODIES had me typing frantically on my keyboard to get to their site.  Super easy this whole process was.  I made a log in, took some surveys (you get badges for doing this, which was kind of like bringing back my inner Girl Scout), and waited.  Yeah, the waiting is the hardest part, but never fear there are lots and lots of badges to earn while you whittle away at the calendar.

Honestly, I had forgotten about all this until, lo and behold, I got an email saying my Vox Box was on its way.  Naturally I squealed with joy, I mean - I NEVER WIN ANYTHING!  (The folks in my office weren't as interested in my joy, but hey, it's the little things in life, right?!) It took about a week to get my box, which I got to track its journey to my door as they were so kind as to send a tracking number with the email.  But, I'm not here to bore you with the details, so let's just get to the goodies!

My box of goodies!

My box of goodies included:

1) NYC New York Color IndividualEyes Custom Compact ($4.99) - the angle is a bit off, but this is, at least I am assuming, a "smokey eyes" compact.  Truthfully, I'm in my mid 30's, I don't "do" smokey eyes.  BUT, what I do love is the primer.  I put make-up on at around 5 in the morning, by noon, my eyeshadow has those horrible little creases and I shutter to blink.  However, with this, I didn't have that problem.  Another bonus is the illuminator...its like this fun shiny-shimmery something that added that little bit of ooomph.  (I will give these colors a go again, perhaps I'll find a way to make them all work for me, in some manner or another.)

2) Kiss Ever Pro Lashes Starter Kit ($5.99) - to be honest, my first thought was, oh my "the 80's are calling and Tammie Faye wants her lashes back!"  Though, I am quite thankful for this freebie, I can't say I will apply these.  Thank you dear Influenster folks, but I'm going to give these to my sister, my much, much younger sister.

3) Bath & Body Works Mini Candles ($3.50) - First, I must say I did NOT get a Bath & Body Works candle, much to my dismay.  (Note: I've been a tried and true Gold Canyon customer for many, many years so I have an extremely high expectation for candles.) Second, I have never heard of the brand I did get - White Barn.  Third, and I hate to admit it, but the scent I received, Mahogany Teakwood, is horrible.  It smells like a cheap cologne, a REALLY cheap cologne. Fear not, all is not lost, it has become fuel for my littlest little's pumpkin!

4) EBOOST - $28 for box of 20 effervescent powders (etc, etc) - Tang.  That's it in one word!  I really wish I'd have put this in a fruit juice other than plain water, but it reminded me of Tang.  Can't say I'd run out and buy this anytime soon, due to the cost and all, but it was good and would gladly drink it again.

5) Goody Simple Styles Spin Pins ($7.29) - I was really unsure about these.  One, I have thin hair; two, it is only a couple inches past my shoulders; and three, well I'm not THAT great at the whole hair thing.  I have tried, unsuccessfully mind  you, many times to put my hair in a bun, the result has always be an epic failure.  However, just today I decided to throw caution to the wind and give 'er a go.  First all I have to say is - SQUEEE!  This worked!  Even on my not so long, thin hair and with my non-existent hair sculpting talents!  I am definitely going to get a lot of use out of these! 

6) Not Your Mother's Kinky Moves Curl Defining Hair Cream ($6.00) - Admittedly the name of the product would have been a total show stopper for me had I seen it on the store shelves, but free is free and in the spirit of all things fun, I tried it.  First, this is not moose.  It will not leave your hair weighted down.  Second, if your curls are not naturally there regardless of what you do to your hair, this may not work.  Third, I have a natural, wave - not curls.  Meaning, by mid day, my hair looked rather frumpy.  However, I'm sure I missed a step and there is a secret to success where this product is concerned.

Finally, my favorite product of all:

7) Vitabath Fragrance Mist - I got the Grapefruit Vanilla.  All I can say is my address is .... and I will take a semi load, thank you!  This scent is fun, earthy, a bit musky (which I was thrown for thinking it would be fruity), and just AMAZING!  I don't wear many perfumes, mostly body sprays.  My favorite is Bath & Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar.  I now have a new favorite.  The only problem is finding which retailer stocks it!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"Day" 2 - Grandpa's Chair

I see him, in my mind's eye, sitting there at the kitchen table like every day before reading his newspaper, drinking his coffee, and smoking his Winston.  The radio is softly playing in the background, turned to some county station that I am sure no longer flows on the radio waves.  The faint smells from the pot of coffee brewed earlier in the morning, while the rest of the house slept peacefully.  The gentle hum of the fridge that was undoubtedly older than I was, at the time. The roll top desk nestled against the north facing wall, under the sliding window, the telephone hanging prominently on the wall to the right of it.  The desk surfaces covered in an organized chaos that only made sense to the one person who managed its contents, my grandpa.

Grandpa was a good man, strong yet soft at the same time.  He loved us all, but I find a small bit of comfort in knowing him longest.  I also weep at that fact for it made many more memories to hold.  I'll never forget the sunny day during 5th grade when grandma and grandpa got their new table set.  You see, I had stayed home "sick" that day, as I often did to get more time with grandma (she spoiled me relentlessly).  I could feel the excitement grandma had when the new oak set was delivered and how concerned grandpa was that us grand kids would mark it up with our crayons.  I couldn't wait to sit in those glossy brown chairs for the first time, it was almost too much for my 10 year self to handle. 

The years have faded those chairs now and the table is long gone.  You see, I got that set when grandpa passed in 1999.  His table and his chairs.  I have several photos of my own children playing at and on grandpa's table, but like a lot of things, time took its toll and we needed a new one.  I refused to get rid of the chairs though, but being without sufficient space had to place a couple in the garage.  Sadly, 13 years in the "out-of-doors" reduced them to kindling.  However, I still have 2 chairs.  There is the one at my craft desk, sitting there calling me to come and put forth some effort to the scrapbook layout I started a few months ago.  Regretfully, its main use as of late has been to hold up my box fan. 

Then there is this chair.  The one I sit in the most.  My favorite one in the whole house.  I think of it as the one grandpa sat at, day after day.  It is old and creaky and has been glued and fixed many, many times, but can't part with it.  Not yet.  Its my comfort zone, this chair.  It is strong and soft, like grandpa.  I sit here to type, to waste time on the Internet, to read a book, to drink my coffee and listen to the radio in the background, to watch the goings-on in my house, hoping that someday, maybe, my girls will remember this chair and have memories of it too.

Grandpa's Chair

I miss you grandpa.

Love, M

Friday, October 12, 2012

"Day" 1 - A Definition

I forewarned you that my "days" would not be literal; the fact I'm just now getting to day 1 is a good indication I was not wrong.  I didn't realize how hard this challenge was.  I mean, they seemed so easy when I was typing them in.  It is hard to unthink a "known" definition of a word.  In fact, I think it may even be easier to think of a new word altogether.  (This is something I actually do, or rather I combine random words and phrases to create utter strangeness, my bestie calls these mandyisms. I concur!) However, day 1 has been set, and the challenge I must complete.  I'm no quitter after all!

There were so many words that I tossed around for this one.  In fact, while streaming the VP debate last night I actually wrote this post and had used the word - stress.  After the debate I reread it and realized that it wasn't a good representation of me or my writing, so I scrubbed it.  Perhaps because some would call it malarky?!  (Sorry, couldn't refrain!)

Anyhow, the word I really want to re-define is blessing.

People can be a blessing, things can be a blessing, good news, extra time to complete a task, random acts of kindness, the kiss of a loved one, etc.  All of these can be blessings.  But what really is a blessing?  Seems easy enough, right?  To me a blessing is a thought, an action, a person, a circumstance, and a thing that brings peace to your day.  In fact, just today I was blessed in these ways:

Another day given to me by the Lord.

My husband ordered lunch so I could have something hot when I got home from work at lunch time today.

The fact that I got to work close to home for the first half of the day.

My littlest little telling me I was beautiful.  (She is so sweet and kind and loving and precious and...)

My oldest little helping me in the kitchen without being told,  just because she wanted to. (She's a pre-teen, the mood swings are as ginormous as the grand canyon.)

My middle little reading the instructions herself and figuring it out and then doing it. (This is HUGE, she is the epitome of drama!)

My job, the pay it brings in, and the honor of getting to go back on Monday.  (Even after 14+ years with this company I am still blessed and thankful for it.)

My husband.  (<3 <3 <3)

My Kindle.  (I have new books on there.)

Finals next week. (I'm ready to finish these classes.)

So, you see, there are so many blessings in my life. These are specific to everyone.  Actually, we all have blessings - each and every one of us.  Oh, yes, I agree sometimes we have to dig deep, really, really, super deep to find them, but they are there.  They are the things that when you  stop thinking of what isn't you realize you have had what is all along.

May you find your definition of blessing today.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hobbies and a 30 "Day" Challenge

Do you have a hobby?  Why'd I ask, of course you do!  Everyone does actually, some just don't give it that definition.  I have several.  You can read my bio for the full list.  Out of them all, I'd have to say writing is my favorite, though it is the one I exercise the least.  Why?  It's hard.  It's one of those things you actually have to engage multiple parts of your person at once to make happen.  How?  Well, the brain...nah, not going to go there.  Seriously though, writing IS hard.  This is something that leaves you a lot more vulnerable to critique than any other.  Granted you can keep it in, hidden in the journals that your loved ones generations down the line will stumble upon while cleaning out their attics, or you can be bold and put it out there where the world, should they so chose, to see.  Alas, I do both.  Today, the world won.

One of my favorite new sites is Stumble Upon.  Haven't heard of it?  Go forth and enjoy by clicking hereWait!  Finish this first, after all what's the fun in missing the end?  OK, so as I was "stumbling" this morning, well it was actually a couple of days ago, but I digress; I came upon a site that I fell in love with.  Perhaps it isnt' so much a site as much as it was a list of things to do to help break out of a writing funk.  I'm going to call it my muse.  Another stumble brought me to a 30 day challenge, of which I will not be partaking, but there were quite a few "days" that I think I want to use to break myself free from this creative rut I am in.  So...what does all this rambling mean?

Simply this:  I've got a list of stuff to help me write, a challenge to incorporate the list, and a blasted blog sitting mostly idle, but aptly named since it really does all take time!  Oh, now, now.  You didn't waste your click from earlier to get this far and wonder what the smurf this nut case was rambling on about.  I have a point and a challenge of my own!  I will commit to it with sincerity, but cannot commit to an exact timeline (i.e. one a day, one a week, yadda, yadda....).  You can take your creative hobby and figure a way to incorporate it. Please remember your hobby is in keeping true to yourself, just as much as mine is to me.  Here it is:

1. Find one word and describe it in your own way.  No Webster allowed!
2. Describe your favorite piece of furniture and why its your favorite.
3. Using only the color red and its hues, describe today.
4. Describe a recent dream.
5. Think of your favorite book or movie, what character do you like most?  Write a non-related story about them, knowing only what you know about them from the original work.
6. Deconstruct the word: Faith.
7. Describe someones hands.
8. Pick your absolute favorite song, write the lyrics and how they make you feel.
9. Take a picture, then describe what you see.
10. Share your morning commute.
11. Describe a childhood memory.  (Yes, just one!)
12. Describe the taste of your favorite food.
13. Share your dream job.
14. Describe today's weather using scientific words. (No flowy, flowery, or richly descriptive words.)
15. Write a list of words, one per hour, that randomly come to your mind today.
16. Who's your favorite super hero and why?
17. If you had it to spend, how would you spend $100,000?  (NO CHARITY!)
18. List 5 good things about both presidential candidates...Yes, this will be hard for BOTH sides! Absolutely no bad.
19. Finish this thought: If the world were only...
20. What happened at noon today?
21. Describe your best friend without stating their name.
22. Look of the year you were born and find something interesting that happened (yes, I understand your birth was interesting, but that isn't what this is about) and share it.
23. What do the colors purple, black, and green bring to mind?  Why?
24. In the jungle...
25. People watch today, describe what you see.
26. Describe love with verbs only.
27. Share/explain your biggest fear.
28. Look yourself in the mirror, what do you see.  (Be true to yourself without belittling your existence!)
29. If you had it to do again, what would "it" be?
30. Choose your own adventure.

Hope you have fun with this.  If you don't play along, that's fine only you will really know.  If you do, and you are so inclined, link this post to your blog and share with others or comment with the link to your post. 

Until next time... M