Thursday, April 7, 2016

One Day You're In, and the Next Day, You're Out

"As you know in fashion-- one day you're in, the next day, you're out."
~Heidi Klum, every Project Runway episode ever in the history of forever.

This is important, because the fashion umbrella covers cosmetics just as much as it covers garments.

I remember going to tiny little boutique clothing stores with very cheaply made clothing in sizes that were so horribly inaccurate, and finding NYX eyeliner and small lipsticks. They used to be the cheapest makeup you could find. On par with Wet n' Wild and NYC. When people started talking about it again, I thought it was a joke.

As a contrast, I also remember going to Sephora when it used to be a fragrance creation boutique.
Remember when Sephora color coded their fragrances?
When they started adding makeup, my mind exploded... Urban Decay!! And Hard Candy!! Urban Decay boasted a gritty, grungy attitude for the kids coming into the makeup world riding on the flannel coattails of grunge. It was cute, but edgy. It was great quality, but it was affordable. 
The Hard Candy display at Sephora
Hard Candy was like the kid sister of Urban Decay, attracting a younger group, and inching into the brightly colored plastic jeweled world of ravers. They put plastic jewel rings on their nail polish! Hard Candy was one of my favorite brands of all time. The quality was incredible, it was fun, and it was all-around great brand!
I still have an original Hard Candy eyeshadow quad!
NYX has come a LONG way... and Hard Candy has fallen, well, hard. Nyx is rising to the top in every drug store out there. Beauty bloggers are singing its praises. Basically, I will be surprised if NYX isn't sold in Sephora within the next 5 years. And do you know where Hard Candy is now? Walmart. It's in Walmart.

Keep an eye on the future of fashion, because your favorite high end beauty brand could be on the bottom before you know it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The New Me

I want to start this by saying there will be some graphic descriptions of my miscarriage below.
Please use discretion while reading, and take this as a trigger warning for miscarriage.
Thank you.

Hi there! My name is Melody. I am happily married to the most wonderful man, and I have two adorable children, a boy and a girl. I have two dogs, and two cats. We own our home, and I am a stay-at-home-mommy for my babies. From the outside, my life is just perfect.


On Valentine's Day, February 14th, 2014, at 2:30am, I woke up to labor pains. I could feel my uterus contract every few minutes. After already having two children, I knew what contractions felt like. I was laboring in my back as well. I figured the safest place for me to be was in the bathroom. I sat on the toilet. Watered down blood gushed out of me with every contraction. After about 30 minutes or so, I essentially gave birth. 

Everything I could get my hands on said that a fetus at that gestational age, if naturally miscarried, would come out in pieces, and would be unrecognizable to the eye. There wouldn't be "body parts" it would just look like thick uterine lining. I even looked up images to see if I could find anything to prepare myself for the inevitable. Nothing prepared me. Nothing.

My baby came out whole. I was able to pull it out of me. It was a baby. It was tiny. It was about an inch and a half long, and it fit in the palm of my hand. I worked hard to stand up and go to the sink. I carefully cleaned my baby off. In my heart of hearts, I knew it was a girl. I was able to put her hand on the tip of my pinky finger. I cried the quietest, biggest, wettest, hottest tears I've ever cried. My head was pounding, I was weak (yet still able to lean on the sink), and I couldn't fathom the why.

There likely was a medical reason for whatever happened... my hormone levels may have been off. My body was not fit to grow another life. The baby may not have attached properly. There could be any number of reasons as to why I had a miscarriage, but none of them help me feel better. I already had two very successful pregnancies, why not this one? Why?

After about 30 more minutes, I carefully put the baby on some toilet paper, gently wrapped her up, slid her in the water, and sadly, flushed the baby down the toilet.

It broke my heart. It changed me.

For the last 12 months, I've been struggling with seemingly insurmountable depression, while still needing to be the steady and constant mommy for my little ones. While still wanting to be the wife and friend I've always been. While still wishing I could be me, the me I knew, the me I always had been.

The me I always had been isn't the me I am now.

This is the new me.

The last 12 months have shaped my life, not for the better or worst. I'm still me, I'm just in a different place. I have had experiences that have changed my life. It's still my life, I still want it, and I love it.

Yes, I had a miscarriage. But I've also helped my husband rescue an adorable 7 week old kitten from our engine! My husband and I got to spend our anniversary in Beverly Hills! We took an incredible weekend trip to Palm Springs! We got to sit just a few feet away from Paul McCartney while he performed for the first time at the Dodgers Stadium in LA in 48 years. We saw the most amazing orchestral performance of Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton, which included Danny Elfman singing his songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Our son is going to be starting Kindergarten in just a few months, and my daughter was in an editorial photo shoot. We visited family in Michigan for the first time in our entire marriage! I've made so many new friends and have developed so many wonderful relationships. 

I can't dwell on the bad times, because there were so many incredible times.

The miscarriage was a terrible, horrible experience that I wouldn't wish on anyone. It put me in a club no one wants to be a part of. But I've done so many fantastic things with the people that I love...

Who knows what the next 12 months have in store for the new me?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Way to be offensive, Target.

Hi, I'm Melody, and I love Target... even though I'm incredibly angry at them right now.

I can get everything I need for me, my kids, my husband, my pets, and my house in one convenient location! As a stay at home mom, it's really helpful to be able to go to one place and get everything I need, especially since I have to run most errands with my kids. My husband hates it because he thinks I spend too much money there... but it's only because they have e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.!!!

I'm a typical 28 year old stay at home mom... we live in Southern California, we own our home, I have a son and a daughter, I dye my hair (because gray hair -for me- sucks), and I have tattoos.

I'm all for tattoo acceptance and tolerance, among other things. So guess my surprise when my friend posted a picture of a Halloween Costume marketed towards men.

I'm posting the link and screenshot, straight from Target's website.


I'm sorry outraged, WHAT IS THIS? What is this supposed to mean? You give a guy an orange button up shirt and a set of tattoo sleeves and now he's a "prisoner?" This is a "prisoner" kit? Why is this okay? Why do you think this is an appropriate costume? Why are we still associating tattoos with "prisoners?" 

Tattoos are (almost always) beautiful pieces of art, created for the owner. They mean something to the owner, created either by them or the artist.

 I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, cousin, granddaughter, and niece. I have 14 tattoos, and every single one is so, so important to me. I've designed most of them, and a couple were designed by my artist, with a specific vision in mind. They are me, it's my heart on my sleeve

Your doctor might have tattoos. Your attorney may have tattoos. Your grandfather might have tattoos. Your best friend might have tattoos. As of 2012, one in five adults has a tattoo. In the last 2 years, it's gone up 13%, and approximately 30% of the US population has a tattoo.

It's 2014. Can we please stop judging people for having tattoos?

Haven't we made it clear that anyone can have tattoos? No...? Well here you go:

ANYONE CAN HAVE TATTOOS. 

Target, this is offensive. I hope you realize that, now. With all the other judgmental crap going on in the world, why dp you go to tattoos? Come on...

Please, stop judging people with tattoos.

Stop it.

stop it.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Guest Entry: My Weight Loss Journey, by Mike Calvert

Hi everyone!! I'm very excited to have the most important man in my life share a contribution on my blog.

Over the last 6 years, my husband has gone from smoking 3-4 packs a day, to gaining weight (up to 300 lbs!), to being medicated for the rest of his life, to losing over 140 lbs.

Last month, I had seen a few articles with the Huffington Post from other people telling their weight loss stories. I suggested my husband write his own story, just so he could have it and re-read it if he needed motivation in the future. Well, maaaybe I sent it to Huffington Post ;) There is no way this man's story wouldn't be inspirational to others, and if your story can change someone's life for the better, why not share it?

They loved what he wrote, and they published it this morning, though they compressed his story for length.

Here is the full, uncompressed story from the most amazing man I know, my husband, Mr. Michael Calvert!!

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My Weight Loss Journey


Name: Mike Calvert
Age: 29
Height: 5'11"
Before Weight: 300 pounds

I was 20 when I met my wife. I had been smoking like a chimney for almost a decade, and I had no aspiration of quitting or doing anything differently. A couple years later, when she started having allergic reactions and her health was impacted just by me smoking, I knew I had to stop.
That was probably the hardest thing I’ve mentally and physically had to do.
In 2007, as a New Year’s Resolution, I made the decision to quit, “Cold Turkey.” I started cutting back, and then in March, I threw the pack away. I was good for about 3 months, and then I relapsed.
I had a cigarette on the 4th of July.
The first time I quit, it was for my wife. She never asked me to quit, but I did it because of her, for her and her health. She helped me realize that I needed to do this for myself, and not for anyone else. This was a decision and a lifestyle change I consciously needed to make.
In March of 2008, I quit again. Cold turkey, again. But this time, I did it.

Why did I tell you that? To lead me to how I gained my weight.

How I gained My Weight:
After I quit smoking, I could actually taste. I tasted food, drinks, snacks… anything meant for consumption, I consumed, because it didn’t taste like ash. I absolutely loved food. I also didn’t have a little stick of cancer making my metabolism run through the metaphoric roof, so my body took a lot longer processing everything that I was eating. That year, I spent fully enjoying food, and the next year, my wife got pregnant with our first child, which led to sympathy weight gain. It just happened, no one really paid too much attention to it, but I went from a 26 waist to a 46 waist.

Breaking Point:
I saw a picture of me and my son and realized I hated the way I looked.
When I was 20, I was a skinny 140 lb guy, and in 2 years had more than doubled my weight to 300 lbs at my heaviest. It felt foreign, and unacceptable. I didn’t like the way I looked, and I knew I had to change.  Then, with perfect timing, during a company Christmas party a couple of co-workers suggested we participate in a “Biggest Loser” type of event, and we would add some monetary value to sweeten the deal.
I am usually a type to think things over, but at that moment, I took it. I saw it as an opportunity to change and I took it.
I put $200 in the pot.
I’m not a competitive person, I just wanted to give myself motivation. So we started week one and I weighed myself in. I started a simple diet with a simple plan of walking every day at lunch with friends who were doing it too.
Slowly people quit off for one reason or another, whether they got hurt or they didn’t want to walk at the pace. In the end there was one other person with me through the whole thing.
I stuck through and beat the competition by losing 20% and weighed in at 215 pounds.

Just like when I quit smoking and relapsed, I did the same with my weight-loss journey. I reached my goal and felt great and started eating again. But, just like smoking, I did it for the wrong reason the first time.
While the weight-loss was for myself, it was for my image, and not for my health. I wanted to look better, and I wanted people to see me differently. Work was stressful, home life was stressful, we just had another baby, we were saving to buy a house.
Within a year, I was right back up to 270.
Along with the weight gain that stress brought on, I also started having anxiety and panic attacks, only I didn’t know that at the time.
During one such anxiety attack, I thought I was actually having a heart attack. I had my wife pick me up and drive me straight to my doctor’s office. He told me no heart attack, but I had a text book definition of anxiety, and I also had high cholesterol.
He started me on Lipitor, and basically I’d have to be on it for the rest of my life.
That’s where it got serious for me.
I had an amazing wife, two beautiful children—a boy and a girl. We have a wonderful life, and I wanted to be around for everything it has to offer. My maternal grandfather had died of a heart attack, and my uncle had just gotten out of the hospital from a heart attack. Dying was literally the last thing on the list of things I want to do in life. I knew Lipitor wasn’t going to fix it, but being medicated really hit a nerve with me. It really changed my way of thinking.
Just like smoking, this was a decision and a lifestyle change I consciously needed to make.

How I Lost It:
Just like before, I started with eating well and walking. I kept a food diary of literally every single thing I ate or drank, all day, every day. I drank more water than I probably have in my entire life, and I also was very loyal to taking my vitamins.
This time I also ended up running! My wife purchased me a second-hand commercial treadmill as a surprise and it really helped to motivate me and get me going. I also joined a fitness group online to help keep me accountable and motivated. I downloaded apps on my iPhone to help me do pushups, sit ups, squats, and pull ups.
Eventually, I participated in a 5k and a 10k… what a great feeling that was! But the best was on May 4, 2014-- I completed the OC Half-Marathon in less than two hours, with my family and friends cheering me on at the finish line, wearing shirts they made for me. 


After Weight: 155 lbs

I have lost a total of 145 lbs in my journey.
My goal is to maintain my weight and gain muscle mass.
Though I have been mostly running, I’m interested in biking and swimming, and hope to complete a triathlon one day!
I am proud to be an involved, active father and positive role model for my children, happy to be a healthier and happier man for my wife, and proud of myself for doing something I wasn’t sure was even possible.

I truly love my life and value everything I have. It is worth living for.





Facing A Family History Of Heart Attacks, Mike Calvert Lost 145 Pounds, via the Huffington Post
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Friday, August 8, 2014

"Big, Bad, Scary" Facebook Messenger


I've had at least 20 friends on my facebook newsfeed show honest concern and fear with the recent changes to the facebook mobile app and being 'forced' to download the facebook messenger app. Most of them have been referring back to one Huffington Post article, "The Insidiousness of Facebook Messenger's Mobile App Terms of Service," written by Sam FiorellaPartner, Sensei Marketing; Author, Influence Marketing.

First off, let me start by saying-- this guy is obviously aware of what he is saying. He's a marketing professional, using trigger words as scare tactics to get you riled up about the big scary changes facebook made and continues to make.

Now, on to the meat of the issue. Facebook does not and will not control your phone... the app permissions are generic, and fall in line with other popular apps you may already have on your phone. All this means is that the app will control certain features of your phone when you click on them, within the app itself.

 

 

Example 1: In-App Camera
When it says the app will control all functionality of the phone's camera, it means that the camera is being used with the app, not that the camera will turn on and take pictures randomly. A lot of other camera apps share the same permission. Without the permissions, the app itself would error out and fail to work if you clicked on the photo feature.

Example 2: In-App Voice Record
When you choose to use the voice recorder, it means the app will control the functionality of the microphone of your phone, and record whatever it is you're recording, and send the recording as soon as you're done recording, without you needing to do anything else with the phone. It doesn't mean the app will randomly start recording your voice at any given moment. Other voice recording apps share the same permission.

They are very generic permissions, and a lot of facebook-change-haters are hopping on the bandwagon again, to nay-say and scare everyone out of supporting the newest change to facebook. All they do is bold the scary wording and leave out the simpleness of it all. They don't show you just how many apps are worded exactly the same way.

This is one comment that I happen to agree with, and also happens to have a reply from the article's author:


Again, you will see him using words and phrases (once you give permission, automatically, hacker) to give you an uneasy feeling. It's important to know that when you download an app and give it the specific permissions it needs to work, it is given strictly to that app and that app alone. The permissions do not carry over to other apps under the developer, the permissions are not applicable to any other app in your library, and the permissions do not allow a developer to pull your information via the app and implant it anywhere else.

Example 3: Outlook Email
Outlook is an app on your computer. It is an email service application. That app uses the information from other email services (such as your company's email, yahoo, gmail, and hotmail) to be fed through it. That doesn't mean that Excel or PhotoShop will have your email contact information. That doesn't mean I can get your information from Outlook. It just means you can use all your email addresses in one place, out of convenience.

I'm not an author or professor or licensed professional... I'm not an employee of facebook, I'm just using my head. I'm offering a common sense response to someone who is clearly trying to scare the masses of facebook, and sadly, it seems to be working.

Disagreeing with me is fine, but saying mean, rude, or hurtful things is not. If you have questions for me, I'm here. If you have questions about the app, contact facebook!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

...did my time machine work?

A music video from the year 2000 is trending on facebook right now. Why? How? What? HUH?

Yeah, I really don't even know.

The music video is "Nobody Wants To Be Lonely" by Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera.

I KNOW! I agree with you, but I still don't know why it's trending!!?!!


Either facebook is trying out something weird, their trend machine is broken, or my time machine is kinda like the TARDIS... it doesn't take me where I want to go, it takes me where I need to go.


New question: Why do I need to go back to the year 2000?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Creativity Takes Courage

I always have ideas in my mind, but I'm usually too nervous or scared to bring them to life.

I used to sew with my grandmother as a kid, but I've never done it on my own. She always helped bring my ideas to fruition, and really helped me see them throgh to completion. We made clothes, hemmed formal dresses, and made lots of costumes.

Since she passed away 6 years ago, I've limited myself and what I think I can do.

Now that I have a family of my own, I decided I needed to just get a sewing machine.

I was so lucky and got the exact machine I wanted (Brother CS6000i) for Mother's Day, from my amazing husband.

I really wanted it, but I didn't know where to start or what to do. I did a lot of research and read every single review I could find. When it arrived, I left it in the box. I didn't even want to open the box without having a good knowledge of what to do with it. I was NOT going to mess this up! I downloaded a digital copy of the instruction manual, and read it like a book before bed every night. I watched youtube how-to videos. I even signed up for sewing classes that will be starting in about a week!

I've had this machine for a month, in the box, waiting for me in the garage. I figured I should meet it before I have to sit in class with it for a couple hours every week.

Tonight, I opened it.

I took it out very carefully. I looked everything over to make sure it was just as I had read. It was like I knew it without ever meeting it before!

I set it up on my covered patio and stared at it for a little while. It really is daunting!! I was so afraid of something going wrong.

First thing's first, I had to make a bobbin.

I pulled out the spool holder, stuck my spool on the spindle, wrapped the thread around, laced it through the bobbin holes, stuck the bobbin on the bobbin spindle, and snapped it into place. The only thing left to do was push the go pedal and hold on tight to the string!

It whirrrrred away, and I watched the thread quickly spiral up and down, filling the bobbin with shiny white thread.

Oh my god, I did it! My grandma would be so proud!!

Next, I had to actually thread the machine. Spiral, down, up, down, and through the needle... wooooo! I did that, too!

My machine does have some fancy auto-thread thing, but I couldn't figure that part out. Oh well, I threaded it just fine.

I popped the bobbin in the table area, and threaded that through with no problem.

I grabbed a strip of plain purple scrap cotton fabric and decided to give it a go...

I did it! I totally cheered myself on in my head.

I folded fabric, I sewed line after line, and I even back stitched them.

I proudly showed my husband the simple lines I did and he showered me with praise. Even my 4 year old was like, "Wow! Good job, Mommy!"

I'm so excited for my sewing class to start, and I can't wait to "Make all the things!!"

It feels good to know I have the courage to be creative. I don't want to limit myself or what I am capable of, and I'm ready to keep moving forward.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My Heart's In Overdrive


There are a lot of things in the world that make me crazy. A lot of things that stress me out. A lot of things that make me feel like if they happen one more time I'm seriously going to explode or freak out or turn into Katie Kaboom or I don't know, just lose it. Whatever 'it' is, it will be lost.

I'm a mom of two kids not yet in school. My house is always a mess. My kitchen is tiny and I rarely get to cook. No matter how much laundry I do, there's always more. My dog sheds so much, I don't know how she still has fur. The only quiet time I get is after 11pm, after starting the day at 6:30am. I almost always have a headache. Something is always happening. Always.

My life is a roller coaster. Sometimes I'm giggling at the adrenaline rush, sometimes I'm screaming at the loops, it twists, it turns, I hold my breath and wait for it to drop again, going a million miles an hour, I just throw my hands up and go with it. It's fun, it's scary, and it's crazy. There are moments that rush you, and moments that take your breath away.

In all of this crazy I have going on constantly, there's one thing that makes my life just stand still for a second. It feels like those pictures where everything is moving except for one thing standing perfectly still... It's the one thing that makes me stop and shhh and wait. It pulls the stress away, it makes me breathe, it makes me calm. Except the thing isn't a "thing," and it isn't an "it." The one is my husband. My best friend. My world.

He is the best thing that has ever happened in my life.

When I met him, he was the 4th person I had been tossed to that day. We were at work, customer service for Arbonne International. It was my first day on the job with actual real-life training, but every person before hadn't been on the right time schedule, so they kept moving me around. I remember seeing him that morning and thinking he was kinda cute, but by the time I got to him, I was annoyed, snarky, and sarcastic. He was still cute, and also shy and sweet. He smelled like cigarettes and cologne, he wore clothes that were too big for him, and he had slicked back hair that sometimes fell in his eyes. He was calm and talked low, and he was so kind to the little old ladies on the phone... I can't tell you how many of them wanted to introduce their granddaughters to him.

I said something once that made him laugh... oh that laugh. That smile. The way he covered his mouth and leaned in to the laugh, holding his stomach... his eyes sparkled. It was the greatest thing I'd ever seen, and it hit me hard. I knew, even if "nothing happened," we'd always be a part of each other's lives.

After a couple days of training, early morning start times, smoke breaks (he would smoke, I just pretended), lunch hours, and overtime, I got my own desk and computer. He was down the aisle one over from me, and I had to look way over my shoulder to see him. I missed him already. I didn't know how he felt, but I'd pretty much fallen for him. I didn't know what to do, so I sent him an email. One line. No subject.

"You know you miss me :)"

I heard his quiet laugh right after I sent it, and I looked over my shoulder to see him looking up at me smiling...

We were married 3 months later, July 8, 2006.

We've struggled together, survived together, had fun together, and have grown up together. We have experienced loss and life. Friends have come and gone. Babies, pets, jobs, cars, and living situations.

For the last 8 years, this man has been making me laugh with his one liners, cry over his sincerity, fight with heart, and love with every ounce of my being. With just one look, one smile, one hug, one kiss, him holding my hand, just being with me... everything that could ever stress me out or make me crazy just melts away.

I sooooooooooo love my husband, you guys. I love him more than Dr. Pepper, Classic Barbies, photography, and coffee ice cream. I love him more than sandwiches and Disneyland and the Wedge. I love him more than red lipstick, classic cars, and tattoos.

I love him...

...k, gonna go cuddle him now.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Product Review: ALMAY Longwear & Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover Pads

Product: 
  • Almay Longwear & Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover Pads
Product Description:
  • Almay oil-free gentle eye makeup remover pads are part of Almay, the number 1 eye makeup remover brand in America, which offers a full line of makeup removers to meet the needs of your skin and eyes. Gentler than soap and water, Almay Makeup Removers condition skin while removing makeup without irritation.
Pros:
  • Removes Waterproof Makeup
  • Removes spray paint from hands
Cons:
  • Extremely oily
  • Small and thin pads
  • Awkward container
  • Difficult to take out just one pad
  • Leaves oily residue, and oil seeps into eyes
My Experience:
I got this product because I had a coupon to get it for free. I figured, hey, why not, I like trying new products, especially if it has anything to do with makeup! I like Almay's cosmetics, so I thought this would be a win. It was not. :(
Basically, there's nothing I love about the makeup remover pads. They're an oily mess. I understand the necessity for an oil-based makeup remover to get the waterproof type of makeup off... but this is probably the most oily product I have ever used, next to baby oil. At least when I used baby oil, I knew what I should expect.
There was nothing gentle about this wipe. Nothing conditioning. You're supposed to use this on your eyes, to remove waterproof eyeliner and mascara. Due to the natural flow of the sensitive skin in the eye area, everything around the eye goes straight to the eye. Yeah, that means I got eyes full of oil, and it didn't go away 'til I woke up. It's uncomfortable to try and focus your eyes on anything after using the pads.
The only good thing that I discovered was that it removes spray paint from your hands. I'm assuming the oils in it just lift the paint off your skin.
I know they make an oil-free makeup remover pad, but I do use waterproof makeup, so I was hoping this would be awesome. It really wasn't.

Bottom Line:
  • I'll keep the product for those cleaning emergencies, post-craft-time. Other than that, I will NEVER use this product on my face ever again.

Hated it!

Disclaimer: No one paid me for my review, and no one gave me the product. I received it for free with a coupon.