February Favorite #5: Ulta Beauty

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Ulta is one of my favorite stores. Not because I’m super into makeup but because I can buy almost everything beauty related that I want. I can get bar soap for the shower, products for my hair (I use DevaCurl), and face masks all in one place. Then I can use their points program to buy my favorite makeup, Urban Decay. And there are four different stores within driving distance of my home and work, which is helpful when I am looking for something specific.

I mentioned their points program. Do you know about it? Basically, you earn points every time you buy something at an Ulta store. Those points get turned into dollars that you can use to purchase more products. There are ways to earn extra points. If you sign up for the Ulta credit card, you get bonus points when you use it. (I use mine to book hotels/AirBnBs when we travel.) You also get double points during your birthday month. I’ve bought a lot of high end makeup with points. It’s my favorite part of Ulta.

Now, I know that some people prefer Sephora over Ulta. However, there isn’t a Sephora particularly close to my house. There is one near my work but it isn’t convenient to go to the mall it is in. And I don’t think their rewards program is as good as Ulta’s. But that is just my opinion. Where do you buy your favorite beauty products?

February Favorite #4: Dog Instagram!

I don’t think it’s any secret that I love dogs. Of course, that means I follow a LOT of dogs on social media. Today’s February Favorite will be the dogs I follow on Instagram. These are the dogs that always bring a smile to my face, no matter how awful my day has been. I hope they will bring you some happiness as well.

The dog above is Charles A. VanGogh. He is a 7-year old corgi with quite a few health problems. But that doesn’t stop him from being awesome. He’s probably most well known as the winner of season two of the Try Guy’s Barkchsler series. My daughter and I were ecstatic that he won. And now you can love him too.

This is Maple and Morty. They are corgis and who doesn’t freaking love corgis? They tend to post more videos than pictures, which makes me very happy. Corgis have GIANT personalities that need sound to really get the point across. I love them a lot.

It’s The Golden Ratio! Yes, there are FIVE golden retrievers in this house. We have Venkman (Team Chaos), Jasmine (the nihilist), Queso (who has the best face-o), Hopper T Dog (in love with GR Dad and a rock), and Maggie (the schmiegy one). The Golden Ratio mom is very active on all of the social media platforms so you will see the gang pop up again later this month. If you are looking for some dog accounts to follow, you can’t go wrong with them.

The last one I want to share with you is Blanche Shlesinger. Her owner is Iliza Schlesinger, a super funny comedian. (We saw her - and Blanche! - when she came to Philly.) Iliza has a separate Instagram account for herself where Blanche will appear occasionally, but Blanche’s Instagram is the place to be. I mean, she is literally waiting for you…to feed her chickies but she’s still waiting. Get on that.

OK. Because they are all good dogs, I’m going to throw some more links at you:
Peppers The Corgi
Atlas
Teddy

February Favorite #3: DC Bombshells

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DC Bombshells is a line of DC figurines and comics that give the female DC characters a 1940s-era look. While I haven’t read the comics, I am a huge fan of the figurines. My personal favorites are the blind box versions.

There are “Lil DC Bombshells” vinyl figurines, like the Catwoman pictured above and the Batgirl pictured below, that come in round tin cans. As far as I know, there are currently three series of them available. Unfortunately, the latest series includes Batman, Superman, and Joker. The fact that they have added men to the female-oriented line takes away from the awesomeness of the brand. There are thousands of other toys featuring the men but there isn’t a lot of merchandise featuring Black Canary, Zatanna, or Hawkgirl, to name a few.

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In addition to the vinyl figures, you can also find DC Bombshell keychain blind boxes. (Sorry, they call them ‘backpack clips.’) I think there is, currently, only one season of these. They are basically smaller versions of the figures with a ball chain attached. I hope that, like the vinyl figures, they come out with more series of them. Just make sure you leave the boys behind.

February Favorite #2: Happy Color

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Happy Color is a color by number game available on both Android and iPhone. I spend a lot of time waiting around. For my daughter to finish dance class, for my husband to finish his video game, etc. Instead of spending that time wasting away on social media, I’ve been spending a lot of time playing Happy Color. Some of the pictures are super easy but some are really difficult. Either way, it fills the time without feeding my anxiety. If you enjoy coloring, this is a great way to be creative when you are on the go.

February Favorites

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Since February is the month of love, I’ve decided to take on another monthly challenge. This time I will be sharing things that bring me joy. No, this wasn’t inspired by the Marie Kondo craze. I just like sharing things that make me happy. Every day for the entire month of February, I will share something I enjoy. It may be something new; it may be something old. The only rule is that it makes me smile.

I’d love to see the things that make you smile too! You can comment with your February Favorites or post them over on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #FebFave2019

Opening The ColourPop Mystery Bag

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On January 21, cosmetic company ColourPop advertised a mystery bag called Let’s Get Wild. For a mere $25, you would receive $55 worth of product. I am a sucker for mystery bags so I leapt at the chance. I’m going to share what I got in the bag but I’m not going to swatch the products or review them. I already know I like a lot of ColourPop’s products. I do, however, want to see if I did get $55 worth of product for only $25. So let’s rip open the bag:

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First up, the eyeshadows. I received three - two super shock shadows and one pressed powder shadow. The shades are Sequin on the top right, Party of Five on the top left, and Come And Get It on the bottom. All of ColourPop’s eyeshadows are $5.00. Total: $15.00

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I only received one cheek product. This is the super shock highlighter in Counting Sheep. ColourPop’s highlighters are $8.00 each. Total: $23.00



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Next up are the lip products. There were four in total. These two are the liquid lipsticks. On the right is the ultra glossy lip in Flying Horses. On the left is the ultra blotted lip in Doozy. The liquid lipsticks do vary a little in price. Both of these were $6.00 each, though some liquid lipsticks are $6.50. Total: $35.00

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In addition to the liquid lipsticks, there was one lux lipstick. This shade is Sphynx. The lux lipsticks are $7.00 each. Total: $42.00


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The last lip product I received was one of ColourPop’s lippie stix in Ziggie. Lippie Stix costs $5.50 each. Total: $47.50

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Finally, the last product in the bag is one of ColourPop’s new mascaras. This color is Black On Black. These are $8.00 each. Total: $55.50

Yes! ColourPop did sent $55.00 worth of products! Granted, most of these are shades that I wouldn’t have picked for myself. I tend to go with more colorful shades but if I don’t use these, my daughter will. I also appreciate that ColourPop included one of their new mascaras. (I’m pretty sure this bag was intended to market the mascara, which I think is pretty cool.) I would have preferred one of the colored mascaras but it’s not like black mascara is useless. It’s just basic.

As a whole, I am happy with the products I received. If ColourPop ever does this again, I would recommend grabbing one. You can’t go wrong with their makeup and it is a really great deal. Thank you, ColourPop!

How To: Ruin An Internet Community

Back on January 8, the world of dog Twitter was rocked. (OK, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic.) The Twitter account Thoughts of Dog blocked another dog account, Theo-sophy. Why? Because Theo frequently commented on the Thoughts’ posts in the voice of Theo the dog. I don’t really understand the reasoning behind The Block but I’m going to try to figure it out and explain why I think Matt (the guy behind both Thoughts of Dog and We Rate Dogs) made a terrible mistake when he did it.

First, I’d like to link to a blog post from Theo’s owner, Nancy, with her perspective on the whole kerfuffle. It’s over here: https://notquiteold.com/2019/01/18/overdone/ Now onto my thoughts:

My husband and I have been big supporters of Matt and all of his dog-related business ventures. We have shirts and calendars and my husband literally has the back of his car COVERED in stickers, Yes, we followed all of Matt’s accounts across social media and shared them frequently. One of the things I got a kick out of was the responses on Thoughts of Dog’s posts from “your fren Theo.” They were adorable. I’m sorry but anyone who thinks that a couple of dogs having a conversation about their inner thoughts isn’t cute doesn’t have a heart. So I was stunned when I saw Matt complain on his personal Twitter about people commenting on his dog posts as dogs. The stun was doubled when I saw Theo say that Matt blocked him (her? Theo is a boy dog so I’m going with him….I’m saying that’s Theo’s Twitter account!) on the Thoughts of Dog account with no notice. WTF, indeed.

Before people start coming at me: Yes, Matt can do whatever he wants with his accounts. I’m not saying he can’t. I’m saying this was a terrible decision, especially considering this is his main source of income.

Twitter, as a social media platform, is built for conversations. It’s not a place where you drop some knowledge and hope nothing happens. It’s a place to build a community of people. When you have an account where you are role playing as someone else (yes, Thoughts of Dog is basically an RP account), the last thing you should do is cut out other people role playing in a similar world. That is the opposite of community. The people in your community are the people that are going to support you the most. These are the people buying your merch and going to meetups.

I’m not going to pretend I know what is going on in Matt’s head. I know that his personal Twitter post said he was annoyed with people responding to Tweets in dog voices. I know that he not only blocked Theo, he also blocked people who spoke out in support of Theo - complete with an “I’m glad these people are gone” response. In my mind, what Matt was basically saying to everyone is “This is my playground. I want you to give me your money but I don’t want you to play with my account.”

How should this have been handled? Matt should have just played along and let everyone interact with each other. There is enough internet for everyone. As example of how this works well is all of the various Twitter accounts based on the The Dresden Files novels by Jim Butcher. Not only does Harry Dresden, himself, have a Twitter account but a ton of the other characters have accounts as well. And those are actual characters in actual books with actual copyrights. Another example is the Green brothers (otherwise known as Hank and John Green - authors and YouTubers extraordinaire). They decided early in their careers that they wanted their fans to be able to make art based on their famous saying “Don’t Forget To Be Awesome” that they actively decided not to trademark the phrase. They chose their community over the mighty dollar.

Another option would have been to just have a private conversation with Nancy about how the Twitter responses made him uncomfortable (for some reason) and he would like them to stop. Of course, this would mean that he would either have to make a public statement asking people to not use dog accounts/voices to interact with his accounts, which might not go over well considering almost all of his posts on We Rate Dogs are pictures of other people’s dogs (Those same pictures that he puts in calendars and sells to people for money.), or he would have to message every single user he has a problem with asking them to stop, which could take up a lot of time.

But he didn’t do either of those. He went straight for the Block User option. Multiple times.

While I’m sure this has all blown over by now and everyone has forgotten about the doggie drama, it has put a bad taste in some people’s mouths, including my own. Personally, I have unfollowed Matt’s personal Twitter as well as Thoughts of Dog because now all I can see is Matt’s selfishness. Even We Rate Dogs has been tainted a bit for me but I haven’t given into unfollowing that account because I like looking at the pictures of the good boys and girls. And I can definitely say that I don’t plan on spending any more money on his merchandise. I’d rather give my money to someone who appreciates the people who support them.

What are your thoughts on the situation?

The Downfall of Winter

Yeah, I already screwed up my goals for 2019 by not posting at all last week. I had plans to post some things but then my daughter brought home the Worst Head Cold In The Universe and was nice enough to share it with me. I mean, sharing is caring, right? So instead of spending my week writing and laughing and trying to enjoy winter (by the way, I hate winter with the passion of a million burning suns), I spent it trying to find the best combination of cold medicine that would allow me get through the day at my full time job then going to bed as early as possible to try to sleep the damned thing away.

Needless to say, I mostly accomplished those goals. I left work early one day to work from home so my co-workers didn’t have to hear my disgusting noises. But I did get all of my work done in a timely manner. That’s a check in the win column, right?

Now I am feeling much better. (Thank you for asking.) But we still have like two more months of this wretched winter. I’m hoping it won’t be too awful. Maybe if we all wish for spring (or, in my case, summer) as hard as we can, winter will just vanish off the face of the Earth, never to bother us again. Or maybe I’ll just move to Arizona. Please tell me Arizona doesn’t have snow….

Talking about snow, I was stuck in the house all weekend thanks to a forecasted snow/ice storm that was supposed to roll through my area. (Spoilers: It was a little snow but mostly rain which will now all freeze over into ice.) I took the housebound time to update the look of the blog a bit. It’s not a drastic change, mostly some different colors and fonts but I felt like it needed a new coat of paint. After all, it’s been like five years since the last update. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Why I Suck At Using Planners

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I desperately want to be one of those people that use planners. I want to have a pretty layout and use pretty stickers and be all sorts of organized. Every year, I buy a brand new planner with the best of intentions. But, every year, I fail miserably. I use the planner for a few months then it ends up getting tossed in a drawer for the rest of the year. I’m going to try to look into the ‘why’ of my planner failure. Maybe you can help me overcome it so I will be plantastic this year.

First, I’m going to say that I don’t think the problem is the type of planner I buy. I have bought a few different types of planners and they all end up barely used. A couple of years ago, I purchased a classic Happy Planner (not that specific one, though) because I liked the layout and I prefer my planners to be dated. But it was way too big for me. So last year, I purchased a mini Happy Planner so I could fit it in my purse. If I had it with me all the time, I’d me more apt to use it, right? Nope. That also ended up in the drawer. This year I bought an Erin Condren planner that I customized. Maybe if it’s more ‘me,’ I’m more likely to use it.

So why do I think I give up on planners? I think the big reason is the limitation of a physical planner. My personal life, where I maintain the schedules of three people, is entirely kept on my phone’s calendar. I use the DigiCal app to color code all of our events. I can, with the flick of a wrist, tell you what we have planned for any particular day, complete with who planned it or what type of plan it is. (For example, all of my daughter’s dance classes & events are pink but her school concerts are yellow.) Unlike my phone calendar that I can use anytime and anywhere, I have to make time to use a physical planner. I have to find somewhere I can sit with my colored pens (I like to color code things) that isn’t too distracting. Considering I spend approximately three hours per night, three nights per week at the dance studio, it doesn’t leave me tons of undistracted time.

Another possible problem is that, every time I sit down with my planner, I feel like I need to plan at least a week, if not an entire month, ahead. And I just don’t have that many ideas. It was worse when I still filmed videos for YouTube. I’d need ideas for three videos per week plus blog posts. (I think I was trying to post twice a week back then?) I’m creative but I’m not THAT creative. I tend to do a little better when I’m spontaneous. Granted, sometimes that ends up with me sitting at my keyboard with writer’s block. I’ve just never been good at planning things out.

So how do I fix this? How do I become a planning goddess? Give me your tried and true tips and tricks to planning. It doesn’t have to be writing-related. Just how you plan…well…anything!