Monday, October 31, 2011

The Story of an Army Wife: What's in a Name?

At 23 years old, I never thought I would be married.  Not because of some deep insecurity or hatred of marriage, well may be a little.  But I honestly had a different vision of my life at 23 and the path that I am currently on is not one I ever expected to travel.

As I grew into an adult, I did the most random of things to shed myself of an identity that I didn't want or had created and felt that it wasn't right.  While I tell people the main reason I go by Kris is because people seem to have a hard time pronouncing Kristin (which is largely true), I think there was more to it than I let on to other people.

In my mind, Kristin was the girl who was the doormat.  Who got played by guys and was clueless about the world.  While people have called me Kris my whole life, it wasn't until college that it really stuck.  Kris became who I wanted to be as a kid: confident.

But when the persona of Kris became another mistake, I decided change my last name (on Facebook at least) to separate the negative things of my childhood from who I was as an adult.  Keep in mind, when this was all happening I didn't think anything about it.  Only in retrospect, do I realize how much of an identity issue I had.

Even Chrystyn in "Chrystyn's View" came from one of those identity moments I had as a kid.  When I was in school, the black kids used to make fun of me for having a "white" name.

While I still go by Kris (partially because being called Kristin throws me off sometimes),  I have started to embrace who I am now: crazy.

HAHA! Only kidding.........sort of.

Before I got married, it was a frequent conversation about changing my name.  Mostly due to the fact that I could not completely wrap my head around the concept that I would no longer be Kristin Shannon.

I have no regrets about changing my last name for my husband.  My whole life I felt like I hated my name, but now that it has changed it feels odd.  It is like no longer being a Shannon has left a slightly incomplete feeling and being Evans is the replacement that has fully adhered to the rest of my life (probably cause I still live with my parents).

When I told my husband that I would be moving to Kentucky before Thanksgiving, he texted me that this would be our first Evans Thanksgiving.  I smiled and was taken aback a little, because all I knew were Shannon Thanksgivings.  They have never been something I look back on with a smile, more like an scrunched face; however, they were apart of who I am.

This post has been random and may seem irrelevant to me being an army wife, but the reason I mention it is because of the military. My relationship with my father is a hit or miss experience but I am proud to be his daughter and all that he has accomplished (including being a General in the National Guard) was under the name Shannon.  But why do I take pride in that like I am the Shannon who did any of those things?

I see other military wives who take so much pride in their husband's success as if they are the ones who actually accomplished those tasks and act as if they deserve the same respect as a decorated veteran.  I am proud of my husband but I didn't go to boot camp and it won't be me being called for deployment. So when people say Evans.............they better recognize it as Kristin Evans because despite the last name, I am not my husband, I am my own person.  Because while I love my husband and am blessed to be his wife, I plan to make a mark on this world and I don't want to just be Mrs. Akeem Evans,  I want to be Kristin Evans.......wife of Akeem :-)

Review: Covergirl Lash Perfection Mascara

 When I ran out of my Covergirl NatureLuxe Mousse Mascara, I decided to try something else.  So while wandering the makeup aisles of Walmart, I decided to pick up the Lash Perfection.  

When I initially saw it, I thought it would be just like the NatureLuxe Mousse Mascara due to the packaging and similar brush. There is an obvious difference in the consistency between the two, but for the most part I get similar results; however, the Lash Perfection seems to give me a little less volume and a little more length compared to it's NatureLuxe counterpart.
without mascara

According to Covergirl, the brush is supposed to help coat each individual lash and give you 3 times the volume of bare lashes.

Overall, I think it is a nice mascara (a little bit on the drier side) and I would definitely buy it again.
with mascara

Lash Perfection in Very Black

Friday, October 28, 2011

October 2011 Favorites (non-beauty related)

So October has been a crazy month.  I got married this month and have started my countdown to my move to Kentucky.  While I await the day until I can move in with my husband, I thought I would start doing my monthly favorites again (beauty and non-beauty related).

This is what I loved this month:

My Husband
I won't get all sappy on you all, but of course he is my favorite (every month).  Every time we talk, I am reminded of how lucky I am that he found me, especially at a time when I was so lost.

Suburgatory
I haven't really watched network television in years.  Most of the shows I watch are reality shows or the movie channel.  So I decided to invest my interest in a new show.  Suburgatory is about a family, father and daughter, who relocate from the city to the suburbs.  It probably wouldn't be a show I would love if I didn't grow up in the suburbs, because the humor is a bit dry and slow at times.  However, I can appreciate the exggageration of suburban people, since some are not that much of an exaggeration.

Jojo's "Marvin's Room (Can't Do Better)"
I found this song on a friend's Facebook page and I have had it on constant repeat.  While I clearly am not in that place now, it is something that I can't help but sing to while I drive to work.  I always thought Jojo had a good voice, but I had kind of forgotten about her recently.  It is interesting seeing her all grown up.


Frank Ocean "Novacane"
Akeem sent me a text informing me that this was my new ringtone. Needless to say, it too has made its fair share of replays.


Starbuck's Venti Cafe Mocha
A mix of chocolate and coffee is a great way to start the day of my crappy work day.  While some baristas don't make it quite right, my local Starbucks has been doing fairly well lately.  With the weather changing, it is nice to drink it warm as opposed to the iced version i drank all summer.  Sad part is that I always have to get venti to get any sort of affect and sometimes I need an extra shot (total of 4).  Oh well, more love:-)

Turkey Spinach Wrap
Trying to break away from the usual fast food lunch break, I go to Publix deli and get a turkey spinach wrap.  While I have know science behind it, I have convinced myself that it is good for me.  Honestly the spinach wrap that I get doesn't taste much like spinach, but once again I'm convinced that their is something redeeming about it because it has spinach in it.

Check out my beauty favorites for October!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

20% Off of Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Collection

Carol's Daughter is taking 20% off of their entire Hair Milk Collection.  So go check it out!  Sale is for one day only and ends at Midnight.








Monday, October 24, 2011

EMPTIES: Maybelline Super Stay Makeup 24 HR Foundation (Caramel)

The first foundation I fell in love with was Maybelline's Dream Matte Mousse.  After many failed attempts with liquid foundation, I found love in Maybelline's mousse.  However, when I returned to liquid foundation, I discovered how to make it look like I wasn't an oily face freak.  But I avoided the Super Stay foundation because I thought Revlon Colorstay was good enough.

I was wrong...

According to the website:
Product Details


Why You'll Love It



•Stays comfortable and looks naturally flawless all day

•Micro-Flex formula provides 24-hour wear and no transfer

•Withstands heat, sweat and humidity

•Oil-free, dermatologist-tested, fragrance-free

•Suitable for all skin types



For Best Results

Apply smoothly and evenly to your face and blend with your fingertips.
 
Now with most drugstore foundations, this one is not without it's fault.  The color selection for darker woman is insulting.  I am the second to the darkest shade.  With 12 shades in the range, there are only 2 that fall under the "dark" catagory.  While caramel is not the exact color for my skin tone, it is fairly close especially during the winter months when the sun isn't baking my skin.

The staying power is amazing:  I've never worn the foudnation for 24 hours, but I would think it is safe to say that this product will last you all day. 

The biggest complaint (other than the shade range) that I have about this foundation is how much I waste.  Ten dollars may not be the most I've ever spent on a product, but it really irritates me how quickly I go through this foundation.  Due to the lack of a pump, I have to pour the substance out and ALWAYS pour too much.  I could run out of this foundation in a month!

Overall, the product was good and did it's job. But the ultimate question is would I repurchase it? And I would have to say.........

YES

I love that this foundation lasts and really adheres to my skin.  While the color leaves a bit to desire, $10 isn't a loss on this foundation.  Plus, Maybelline products are always going on sale at the drugstore. 

If you are fortunate to fall within the color range, I would definitely recommend this product.  I love it, it has definitely replaced my short love for Revlon Colorstay.

Bullying in High School..........Were You Any Help?

When I was in high school, I wasn't popular but I wouldn't say I was anywhere near the bottom of the social pyramid.  At 23 years old, I look back at high school as an experience that if offered a second chance, I wouldn't relive it.  As I scour the web and see news articles about teen suicide and see the anti bullying commercials, I am forced to think about my own behavior in high school.
My philosophy in high school was stay nice enough to the quiet kids, so that if they showed up to the school ready for a killing spree they might spare my life.  While it was somewhat of a (inappropriate) joke, I genuinely believed that a small act of kindness was a enough to a fellow student.  Now don't get me wrong, I was no angel. I had my own personal demons I was dealing with in high school.  So I wouldn't say I went out of my way to befriend the loner kid at lunch.  I usually offered my pity, gave them a small smile, and kept it moving to sit with my own friends.
In retrospect, I don't really remember any obvious bullying in high school.  I will admit, I was more focused on trying to get high school over with, so I wasn't really concerned with the well being of most of my fellow classmates.  But maybe that is the problem.  At 16 years old, you are so self absorbed and so clueless, that the idea of a fellow classmate suffering is beyond comprehension.  To make it worse, we have older, "wiser" people telling us that the kids getting picked on are going to be the successful ones; the ones who will leave us all in the dust financially.

But what happens when their next "succesful" act is their last one?

On October 22, Jamie Hubley, a high school student from Canada killed himself after being bullied for being a figure skater and being an openly gay male at his school.  He was 15 years old.

He wrote on his blog: "I don't want my parents to think this is their fault, either. I love my mom and dad. It's just too hard. I dont want to wait three more years, this hurts too much."


It breaks my heart to see stories like that and for so many reasons.  Because in high school, even if I saw a kid being bullied I don't know if I would of done much to stop it.  It is a horrible thing to say, but I have to question my mind set in high school.  Kids are stupid and inconsiderate.  When we are adults, it is automatic for us to look at stories like this and think that kids should do the "right thing" and step in or that high school is such a short period of our lives that we can get through it.  But how many of us really did step in during a bullying session or actually took the constant physical and emotional abuse of a peer?  I have no memory of doing either in high school.

Some people can argue that suicide is never the answer or carry on about religious beliefs, but that is easy thing to do when you are not the one dealing with the issue head on.  Bullying seems like such a normal part of growing up, like a survival of the fittest.  If you don't fight back, then you deserve whatever beating you get.  But it is not as simple as that.  When who you are in one small aspect of your life defines who are to the world (i.e. your weight or sexuality), it is hard to move past that when the world (high school) beats you down for it and no one comes to your rescue.

High school is such a distant memory for me (one I often choose to forget) and too far in the future for me to worry about for my future kids.  However, my prayers go out to the families that have lost their teens to suicide and to the kids that still struggle to get through high school. 

I don't think bullying will ever be a thing of the past, because that is like saying ignorance will one day go away. I hope people will learn that they shouldn't turn away when someone is being bullied and turn back when it is time to mourn, but to step in even when high school politics tell you not to and reach out a hand.  Because when someone is drowning, often all they need is one hand to pull them out.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

YAY or NAY: Black Wedding Bands

So if you hadn't noticed, Akeem and I got married on October 19th.  Due to the fact that planning was an issue the entire time leading up to the final date, I didn't receive my rings until the day of the wedding.  Also, I let Akeem pick out his wedding band.

Now, I knew Akeem wanted a black wedding band and I was against it from the start.  However, I had agreed on a black one with silver on it, despite the fact that I prefered a brushed silver or regular silver band.  To me, the black band looks like something other than a wedding band.  I feel like he needs something that screams "shackled for life" or "bitch fall back, I'm married." 

Unfortunately, I've come to realize that some women don't care what color a man's ring is and will still attempt to wiggle it off his finger for their own benefit.  While, I don't mind the ring, I just want something more obvious.  Luckily, I have an awesome husband (it still feels weird calling him that) and he will be getting it exchanged next week.

So what do you think of black wedding bands?  Is it too modern or am I just too traditional?

UPDATE (10/29/11):
I decided to let him stick with the black band:-)

UPDATE (12/22/2011):
On November 9th, Akeem actually took it upon himself to change his band.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

On My Nails: Essie Coat Azure

I've had this polish for awhile and never knew whether I would actually wear it.  On the morning that I got married, I was rummaging through my nail polish drawer and I couldn't decide what color I wanted to wear.  I didn't want a dark color and white polish is such a hassle to deal with.  So I settled on Coat Azure, thinking it could be my "something blue."

After I had painted my nails, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this color (though my mother made me feel like an ass for wearing blue nail polish on my wedding day).  The blue reminds me of the color of the walls my room used to be painted in high school.  It was like cornflower blue or something.  I must say that I love this color, it is just dark enough to seem appropriate for fall and it has a pretty light silver shimmer in it.  The Essie website describes it as a "medium blue".

My only complaint is that the color seems to chip quickly.  It may just be me, but after a day the color is chipping on the ends.  But it's okay, the color is so pretty that I don't mind repainting my nails a little more often:-)
with flash

 
without flash

The Story of an Army Girlfriend: I Got Married:-)

On October 19, 2011, I became an army wife.  Two days later, it still is weird to look at my finger and see a wedding ring or to identify Akeem as my husband.  Even as I type this up, I'm grinning hard to myself and looking around like I am writing some made up event.  But it is true, I am no longer Kristin Shannon and it is the weirdest thing for me.


Akeem and I got married at the courthouse in Kentucky and it was the longest day.  I rode up to Kentucky with my mother at 3:30 in the morning after working an almost 10 hour shift.  There wasn't much time for us to even take a moment to bask in the moment because we had to run all over Radcliff and Elizabethtown to do paperwork (which there is still more I have to do).

Even when the day was over, we were both so tired that we could barely stay awake.  The next morning, he was up at 5:23 in the morning (I remember because he told me I failed him with my alarm, which wasn't true) and left for PT.  It sucked because for the last year, it felt as if I was saying goodbye to him shortly after I just said hello.

I rode back to Georgia with my mom a few hours later and kept looking at my hand.  While the ring was not my "fantasy" ring, I smile a little harder at it after reading a text from my sister:

"...it will grow on you for sure. Plus when you realize what it really symbolizes...You like it more."
I'm not usually the sappy type or the one to share my softer side, but I look at my ring and smile all the time.  I have been through a lot in regards to my relationships with men: from my father to my husband and every guy in between.  While it sounds so cliche, I feel like my prayers were answered when I met Akeem (though I didn't think that when we first started dating).

The feeling of someone who loves you despite your flaws, who will help you grow, and who makes you feel loved is a high I could not explain and have never felt before.  At almost 24  years old, I am still learning how to process emotions that aren't immediately anger and sadness.  So it is bizarre to me to feel tears running down my cheeks as I type this post.

Akeem and I have been through a lot in our time together.  We have fought, we have broken up, and we have tried to walk away from each other.  I don't know the key to happiness or what makes for a successful relationship, but I know whatever got us to this point worked for us.


There is no true point to this post other to get out my jumbled thoughts out.  I am married. If someone would of told me a year and a half ago I would be married, I would of laughed in their face.  If someone would of told me 2 years ago, I would ever be in love, I would laughed even harder.  But they say if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.  Because 2 years ago, marriage or love was not in my plans and here I am.

While it will be awhile before I can move up to Kentucky (marriage won't pay for my two tickets and other misc. bills), I am looking forward to the future.  I finally feel like I found a path to start my life on and I am ready to see what happens next:-)

Thanks to everyone who showed me love on Facebook and Twitter!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Wedding Day FOTD 10/19/2011







Face:
Revlon Photo Ready Foundation (Caramel)
Neutrogena Healthy Skin 3-in-1 Concealer for Eyes (Medium)
MAC Blush (Coppertone)
MAC Studio Fix Powder (NC50)

Eyes:
NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base
Urban Decay Naked Palette (Smog-all over; Darkhorse- outer corner)
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Pencil (Zero)
Covergirl Lash Perfection (Very Black)
Lips:
MAC Lipglass (Love Nectar)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

YAY OR NAY: Target Lingerie

To call myself sexy would be like making a joke.  Yea, I like makeup and occasionally care about the hair products that go in my hair. Hell, I may even hit the gym every once in a while.  But to say I put true effort into being sexy would be a flat out lie.

So today, I went Target with my mom to find some random items.  Since I am going up to Kentucky to see Akeem I took a glimpse in the scattered aisle of the lingerie section.  Amusingly enough, my mom came over to me and told me that I should probably get something.  She said we have to be real, I am about to be married soon and the stuff I go to bed in isn't cute.  AWWWWW THANKS MOM!

So I saw a few things and figured why not give it a try, you know since I am on a major budget and Victoria's Secret is going to remain a mystery to me for a few more paychecks.  Once again, I was reminded that my 36D bra size (may be bigger now) does not do well with "cheap" bras.

As I tried bra after bra on, I realized that being sexy is going to require a bit of an investment on my end because these cheap bras were making me look anything but sexy. 

But what do you think?  Would you buy lingerie from Target?

Monday, October 17, 2011

EMPTIES: Make Up Forever HD Invisible Cover Foundation (173)

As a woman of color finding foundation can be a bit of a hit or miss experience.  Often, cosmetic lines only offer a few shades for darker tones.  Now I know everyone raves about the MAC foundation selection, which I will admit is nice and a easier price to swallow.  However, I was extremely impressed with the Make Up Forever HD Invisible Foundation, though I wasn't too impressed the the price.
While I had wanted to try this foundation for awhile, I just couldn't bring myself to pay the [insert wounded facial expression] $40 price tag. I mean, that is holy grail product money for a (formerly) single working class girl. However, I had managed to snag a bottle after a ex allowed for a minor shopping spree at Sephora.


What I am impressed by is that they have a large selection of colors (26 shades) and when the girl at Sephora tested a few shades, there was subtle enough difference between the colors that allowed me to find the perfect shade. For 40 bucks, I expect nothing less than perfection. I walked out of there thinking my face was too beat and all I had on was foundation. Then reality kicked me in the face...
After using the foundation for a few days, I notice I started to have small break outs.  Stubborn, I refused to believe that my new, "expensive" foundation could do wrong.  However, it was doing me so wrong. So for awhile, I put this product on the back burner.

Now according to the Sephora Website:
HD Invisible Cover Foundation



What it is:


An oil-free medium-to-full-coverage liquid foundation that covers skin imperfections flawlessly while remaining invisible on-screen and in real life.


What it does:


This long-wearing foundation creates a soft-focus effect, which is designed to meet the coverage concerns of those in the spotlight. It leaves your complexion with such a flawless finish, it can withstand bright or harsh lighting.

Eventually, I started using the product again (the thought of wasting $40, even if it wasn't mine, sucked), hoping it would be like what everyone says about MAC foundations.  If you don't know what I am talking about: I used to hear that your skin had to get used to the MAC foundations, thus breaking you out at first before it would be normal.  I personally experienced that with Studio Tech and this MUFE foundation. 

I would only use this foundation for special occasions, because who knew when I would be willing to spend $40 for a foundation, plus the way the container is, you can't see how much product is left.  That is definitely a con for me.  But after seeing the unretouched ads by MUFE, I started using this product more, realizing the full potential of this foundation.

Overall, the product was good and did it's job. But the ultimate question is would I repurchase it? And I would have to say..........

YES

This product has a great color selection and coverage.  The finish on it allows for you to get away without applying a powder, which is always nice.  While the $40 is a bit hard to swallow for 1oz of product, it is definitely a great foundation to have when you know you will be taking a lot of pictures (the holidays are just around the corner).  Plus the pump is definitely a bonus, it kills me how many foundations I use that don't have a pump and how much product I waste.

Just for reference, I am a NC45 and I am 173 (hence the title) in MUFE's HD foundation.  

Check out my review of their HD blushes!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Giving Up the Pill for My Health and Better Results in the Bed (or Wherever You Do It)

So my fiance would probably call me a bit of a pill popper.  I have taken pills to wake up, to diet, to grow my hair, and who knows for what else.  To add to my list of pills, sleeping pills are something that I have had a on again, off again relationship with over the last few years.  Between working crazy hours and having a brain that just won't shut down at the end of the night, often times it seems as though a sleeping pill is the cure to all of my problems.

Unfortunately, they could of created more problems.


My mother, who is a serious insomniac, has always been resistant to taking sleeping pills despite never being able to sleep long periods of time.  She would always tell me how addictive they are and how she's had weird responses to them in the past.  It always seems as if everything is an addiction with my mother and everything she does is weird, you know, because she is my mother.

However, after hearing Chelsea Handler frequently make remarks about the crazy things that happen when people take Ambien and my own disappointing results with various over the counter sleeping pills; my mother may be [insert deep breath, then sigh] actually right.  A mother being right?  Who would of ever thought a parent would know better than their child.



 According to Helpguide.com, sleeping pills have quite a few side effects:
Side effects. Side effects can be severe and include prolonged drowsiness the next day, confusion, forgetfulness and dry mouth.



Drug tolerance. You may have to take more and more of the sleep aid for it to work, which in turn can lead to more side effects.


Drug dependence. You may come to rely on sleeping pills to sleep, and will be unable to sleep or have even worse sleep without them.


Withdrawal symptoms. If you stop the medication abruptly, you may have withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating and shaking.


Drug interactions. Sleeping pills can interact with other medications. This can worsen side effects and be dangerous, especially with prescription painkillers and other sedatives.


Rebound insomnia. If you need to stop taking sleeping pills, sometimes the insomnia can become even worse than before.


Masking an underlying problem. There may be an underlying medical or mental disorder, or even a sleep disorder, causing your insomnia that can’t be treated with sleeping pills.
There are plenty of stories on the web of people doing bizarre things while on sleeping pills and having no recollection of what happened: sex, binge eating, texting, etc.  What is so crazy is that despite their sleep behaviors, people still continue to take it because they can't go to sleep otherwise.

So what else can one do other than take a pill to help get to sleep?  I know that often exercise is thrown around to help with sleep.  Maybe it is just me, but most of the insomniacs I know aren't the ones hitting the gym on a regular basis hence why they a looking for a sleep aid. 

Here are a few things, that have worked for me since getting off of the pill:

Sleeping Mist

Usually consisting of lavender and/or chamomile, sleeping mist is one of the first things I go for when I need help sleeping.  While lavender and chamomile don't exactly make you go to sleep, they do calm the nervous system and cause you to relax.  Often with insomnia, people have too much on the brain or are too stressed to be calm/relaxed enough for sleep.


DRINKS

Chamomile tea is also a route you could go if you don't want to spray your bed down with scent.  It will give you the same result as the spray and may even be cheaper (depending on where you purchase it).  Another option is warm milk.  I personally think it is nasty and refuse to try it, but my mother insists that it works for her and if it works for her then there must be something behind it.  According to WebMD, the jury is still out about warm milk but there seems to be a consistent belief  that it does help induce sleep.

Sleeping Masks

Lastly, the sleeping mask.  I'm sure a lot of people have seen movies of the spoiled rich girl who goes to sleep with her sleeping mask and may not think much about it.  However, eye masks can be a great sleeping aid.  According to the National Sleep Foundation "a dark bedroom contributes to better sleep. Try light-blocking curtains, drapes or an eye mask." Lights from phones, alarms, computers, and televisions can actually help prevent the brain from shutting down.  Light blocking curtains, like the ones at really nice hotels, are a little too pricey for my budget.  Therefore, the mask is a great option, they come in different materials and styles and you can buy them in the most random of places.  I prefer mine to be made of satin material and to fight snug, but to each their own.

Sweet Dreams Everyone:-)

The sleep spray pictured above is from Bath and Body Works
Bigelow's tea is sold at most groceries stores
The mask pictured is available at Shiny Shack

Friday, October 7, 2011

On My Nails: OPI Jade is the New Black and Sally Hansen Gunmetal

For a moment, I thought about painting my nails all of OPI's Jade is the New Black, but I thought that was too much green even for me, a green lover.  So I decided to use it on one nail and paint the rest a different color. 

Gunmetal and myself have had a complicated relationship since I initially bought the bottle awhile ago.  I love it in the bottle but never quite love it on my nails.  It is metalic with a heavy blue base and has small silver and blue shimmers.  Over all I like the end result.  The staying power on both are decent, but I'm always bad at judging since I try to change out my colors often.  Both are opaque enough to get away with one coat, but I used two for both colors.



(sorry for the chip on the bottle)

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