Monday, February 24, 2014

Ipsy February Glam Bag

Although I like to dig in the dirt for my garden, I also like to girl-it-up during the work week. I signed up for two sample beauty and makeup services three months ago: Birchbox and Ipsy, and so far I am really enjoying the surprises that show up at my door every month. Birchbox, from what I've found, leans more towards beauty and skin care, while Ipsy leans toward makeup. I never know what they are going to send me each month; they only use the beauty profile information I gave them in my application. There's been a few times where I was like, "Meh" on what I received, especially the tea-bags that were sent to me by Birchbox, but Ipsy had been hitting it out of the park as far as I'm concerned.

This month, my package arrived right on Valentine's Day, which felt like I was sending myself my very own special Valentine. Hubby really slacked this year, so it was nice to have something unexpected show up and brighten the day.

I got a beautiful light plum Zoya nail polish (can't remember the name), "Peony Petal" lip gloss by POP Beauty, "Ambrosia" liquid eye shadow by Eyetini, cleansing face mask samples by Skyn Iceland, and lastly a set of real human hair eyelashes and eyelash glue by J.Cat.

I can't wait to try the nail polish, as I've been hearing good things about Zoya, and I LOVE the color! Wish I could remember the name. The lip gloss is almost exactly the same color as my favorite lip crayon from Ulta named "Rocker Pink," so I was excited to try it. Although it goes on really saturated, I don't like the way it smells. It kind of reminds me of dry erase board markers!

I've never tried liquid eye shadow; however, "Ambrosia" is almost exactly the same as my favorite color by Urban Decay, "Toasted". Isn't it funny how we get excited by the colors we already like? Anyway, it was really nice going on. I found using the pad of my finger worked better than the applicator; however, the shadow did crease by the end of the day, even when using Mac's Paint Pot "Painterly" as a primer. Oh well, I'll still keep this as a travel shadow as the color is gorgeous.

Of course, I haven't tried the lashes, as I think those are really for special occasions, and I've yet to try the cleansing masks.

Overall, I really enjoyed this month's glam bag; thanks Ipsy!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dreaming of Spring

Having cabin fever during the winter gives you a lot of time to catch up on small projects around the house. In this case, hubby and I finished building our new raised vegetable garden beds for the upcoming season. The beds are 10 feet by 4 feet, and when the snow melts we will flip them over and pound the corner stakes into the ground.

Last year, we started out with 4 raised beds and then added a fifth at the end. It was definitely a learning experience. Our cucumber crop came in like gangbusters, but our tomatoes were struck by early blight from all the wet weather last year and being planted too close together. Later, the tomato plants that survived were ransacked by squirrels. Our bush beans were wonderful, but our beets were a bust from over seeding and not enough thinning (but the beet greens were great!). We planted sweet potatoes that did so-so, mostly we think from not enough sun, and the leeks were pretty successful. And onion slips rotted due to all the wet weather.

Ironically, the most challenging thing we came across from starting a raised bed garden was finding planting medium to fill them. Last year, we had to use purchased garden soil and bagged compost. This past fall, we managed to squirrel away a lot of leaves and started a second compost pile to help amend. We'll still have to purchase some bagged garden soil, but hopefully just this one time to get us started. From that point on, the beds will be amended and built up with compost, leaves, and cover crops.

So, now we have 10, 10' x 4' raised beds and we have a busy season planned. So far, I plan on growing the following vegetables this year:

Tigger Melons
Red Malabar Spinach
Bush Beans
Mammoth Melting Sugar Snow Peas
Giant from Italy Parsley
Butterhead Lettuce
White Stemmed Pak Choi
Paris Market Carrots
Supersauce Tomato
Buttercrunch Lettuce
Sugarloaf Endive
Catalogna Chicory
Black from Tula Tomato
Brandywine Tomato (Suddeth's Strain)
Atkinson Tomato
Druzba Tomato
Cossack Pineapple Ground Cherry
Corvair Smooth Leaf Spinach
Win-Win Pak Choi
Detroit Dark Red Beet
Chioggia Beet

In addition, I have a bunch of flowers and herbs that are going to be planted as well. I'm still on the fence about a fall planting. Last year, I was more than ready to put the garden to rest at the end of the summer season, but for now c'mon spring!

Friday, February 14, 2014


Valentine's Day has been a bust. I was supposed to go into work today, which we were also having a potluck, but the roads are a mess and I'm "working from home". So, what do you do on Valentine's Day when you are snowed in?

You shovel the front walk way and driveway (thank God for nice neighbors with tractors and snow plows).

You retry that Salted Cranberry Grapefruit Jam recipe.

You make a big batch of homemade chicken broth to be used for chicken noodle soup and canned chicken broth.

You bake (although I made these particular pies a long time ago in another kitchen...but you get the picture).

And then, dream of spring.


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