September & October 2017 Favorites

It's like I blinked ... and now September and October are completely over, fall leaves are winding down, and the holidays are just a few short weeks away, and just ... ahhh!!!! It's terribly scary how time flies by the older I get. 

Yet, here we are! And I'm coming at you with some favorites over the last couple months. No, I haven't forgotten. Just, you know, life. 

But before I get into it, I want to take a moment to give a few "life/blog updates" that you might be curious about! 

Remember the simple summer porch garden that was on my deck this year? I'm proud to say that it kept yielding fruit until the end of September! There are a few things I learned in my first real growing experience. First, I had too many plants together in the planter. I know this because plants were falling over on each other. Second, tomatoes need something to grow around. My tiny tomato vines got too large and long that they were falling over and had to be tied, but eventually broke out of their ties. It was sad when they were falling over and all my tiny tomatoes were falling out on the ground! Next year, I will probably put them in a pot with a cage. Third, the banana peppers TOOK OVER. I have about 30 really good banana peppers from the one plant. I have frozen them all, hoping to pickle them sometime soon! I would call it a partial success. Can't wait to amp it up next year!

Our zoo is doing well - Penelope, Molly, and Gus are starting to finally get used to living together. I am finally not having anxiety attacks because of the craziness. It's starting to become just normal life, and most of the time, I would not have it any other way. They are the most lovable creatures! 

If you remember my Fall bucket List from September, I'm slowly but surely marking a lot of items off! I'll give a full update in a future post. Another future post is will be about my Erin Condren planner. I'm trying to get down everything I want to express about the planner, how I use it, is it worth it, etc. etc. 

Without future adieu.......


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Madison Reed Haircolor

I really do not enjoy anything about the experience of home hair color - and in fact, I have horror stories from my youth of my hair turning a rusty orange [8th grade, there are pictures somewhere]. However, I've found that since I now have full-on gray coming out of my head, that frequent coloring is necessary if I want to avoid it [I'm thinking about just letting it go, but that's another post for another time!]. And since the expense of coloring in a salon is hard on the wallet, and since I usually maintain a dark hair color of some variance, then my best bet is to suck it up and dye it myself. 

I think I first saw this "customized" at-home hair color kit advertised online, called Madison Reed, and then was repeatedly assaulted with its existence from multiple ads on the True Crime Garage podcast [TCG was mentioned in my May favorites!]. I had been using the cheaper $7-ish color from the drugstore to keep things fresh, which seemed to adequately do the job. However, from every brand I tried, they also seemed to burn my already sensitive scalp pretty severely. Honestly, I'm not sure how I have hair left on my head after all I've done to it. But I digress. 

So in an effort to try and avoid any adverse consequences from another cheap color, I ordered a Madison Reed home coloring kit from Ulta. Madison Reed prides itself on hair color that is free of many harsh chemicals, and while they piqued my interest, it also made me skepticle. Would it work as well? I took the plunge and picked Positiano Black, which is a cool toned black brown. 

One thing that I noticed that I loved right away when I was using the kit was the "extras" included. It has an actual hair cap to put over your saturated hair while the color develops, and also a barrier cream to apply around your hairline and ears to keep the color from transferring to your skin. Super fancy! Also I was impressed by the glove quality, weirdly enough. The little things do count!

Otherwise, this kit works like most at-home coloring kits do. You mix the color with the developer, shake and apply, and let it sit for 35 minutes or so with the cap on. I appreciated the ease of application from the bottle nozzle, and the thick, creamy consistency of the mixture. Amazingly, this color did not burn my scalp! YAY! That is worth the extra cost to me! The shampoo and conditioner included were also nice.

All in all, the color was even, grays were covered where I had bothered to concentrate the cream, and for once my hair felt nourished and not super staticy after I washed out the color and dried my hair [does anyone else have that problem?]. I was very satisfied and will repurchase for my next coloring! 

Madison Reed also sells many more hair care and color products, and also provides you with a quiz to find the products that will best fit your needs. Visit them online here! 

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The Vanished Podcast

If you ever read my monthly favorites before, by now you will realize that I am a true crime podcast junkie! I love them - I listen to them mostly a work, but sometimes in the car. But it's so very hard to find ones that I am satisfied with. I don't enjoy gratuitous exaggerations or shock factor, I want to hear the facts and maybe have a civil conversation about theories. It's best when you can not only learn something from the case, but also that they make the victims known, and are respectful to their families and memories. 

When I first tried out The Vanished, I wasn't sure that I would like it because it's hard to listen to cases without resolution. But after listening to an episode about a girl who disappeared close to where I live, of which I had never heard before, I was hooked. The woman who develops this podcast is doing extremely helpful things for missing person cases, as she is bringing acute awareness to situations and stories that often have no exposure in the media or quickly go cold. She does lengthy interviews with people close to the cases of the vanished, usually their close family member or law enforcement official. This keeps the information factual and relevant. I highly recommended it, even for true crime podcast newbies! 

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Physician's Formula 2 + 1 Eye Booster Eyeliner and Serum in Ultra Black

I decided to try this out when I knew that my $20 Stila Stay All Day Eyeliner was running low. I had been using the Stila eyeliner for a couple years, and never thought I would ever find anything I loved as much as it. It was not only ultra black, but super long wearing and applied like a dream. But I mean, $20 for 1 pen?! It was just too much for everyday use.

My favorite Youtuber, Thataalya, was always talking about this Physician's Formula eyeliner and how incredible it was. I never thought it would be on par with Stila, but I decided to try it out. And holy crap, it's a dupe! I was beyond excited! It stays on all day, is water resistant super black pigmented, and applies as good if not better than the Stila Liquid Liner! Although it's a gel formula, it feels and applies mostly like a liquid. Best of all, it's under $10! 

The liner also contains a lash boosting serum, which to be honest, I've been using since August and I haven't noticed much, if any difference in my lashes. Which kind of stinks, because I'm sure that is intended to be its main draw. But hear me when I say, it's worth buying anyway. As long as they don't change the formula or anything on me, I will be repurchasing this instead of the Stila from here on out, saving myself some money [probably to spend on some other makeup later, ha!].

I'll be having a post coming soon on all kinds of new makeup I've been trying out and loving! 

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Fashioning Beauty Instagram Account

When you are as obsessed with makeup as I am, you are constantly wondering what's coming up next. Although I follow most of the makeup companies on Instagram, I somehow miss out on a lot of the new launches until they're already old news. A high school pal told me about this Instagram account, Fashioning Beauty, which posts pics of brand new makeup set to be launched, before it even hits the company's social media. While I really don't need anything more in my life to feed the makeup habit, I still love seeing all of the exciting products that are on the horizon! Fashioning Beauty posts regularly from popular brands and includes everything from high-end to drugstore. Follow them if you are a makeup lover like myself! 

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Count Chocula Cereal

An American favorite, this is part of the monster cereals line from General Mills, which has been a tradition for many years. Now this particular line of cereals are only available around Halloween. Apparently this stuff is like gold, because it was crazy hard to find. I was able to get it ONE TIME in September at our local Kroger, and my husband found it for me at Walmart another time and bought us 3 boxes :) 

Did I ever eat Count Chocula growing up? I can't be sure. All I know is that the second I tasted it, it brought back some kind of nostalgia - and in case you didn't know, I love me some nostalgia! It tastes exactly like chocolate lucky charms, just with bat shapes! If you ever come across a box, buy it! 

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Bourbon Butterscotch White Barn Candle

Fall candles are my favorite! The scents are usually food related or outdoor inspired, and those are the ones I always gravitate towards. I have a myriad of candle companies whose candles I enjoy - Woodwick, DW Home, Yankee - but I always end up buying at least a couple of Bath and Body Works 3 wick candles once the Fall line hits, every single year! This year was no different. 

I tried out the Bourbon Butterscotch White Barn candle and it was scrumptious! It smelled like caramel butterscotch delight. It had an amazing throw [fancy candle language], and didn't bother my sinuses. Highly recommended if you prefer warm, food-type scents in your home! 

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Stranger Things 2

This show is just amazing! I just cannot help it, and I don't want to! Stranger Things - a 2016 Netflix original series - came out with season one in 2016. The series really showcases the 1980's, and combines elements of 80's pop culture with government science experiments, the supernatural, kids coming together for the greater good, and a very scary place called the Upside Down. It sounds crazy, and it basically is, but in a good and entertaining way!

When I watched season one last year, I did not think it would be something I would enjoy. I don't like sci-fi movies or shows, and I really don't even like the 80s very much [it's just a thing with me]. But I latched on to the storyline, the characters, and the mystery element of the plot - and all the actors are amazing! My husband and I devoured season 2 in one day, and it was so good! Highly recommended if you are into binge watching, or need something to get into on a cold, rainy or snowy day. A few bouts of bad language, but otherwise suitable for all audiences! 

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Gray Pumpkins 

Did you even know such a thing existed? I did not! But when I went to pick up some pumpkins for the front of our home, there they were - a massive, long bin of gray pumpkins! I just love them! They are less fall-like, but much more demure and trendy. Gray is my very favorite neutral and so I had to have at least one, and I love it! 

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Pork Carnitas & Mission Street Taco Tortillas

You need to make this recipe! It is easy, it is delicious, and goes amazing on these Mission brand mini tortillas, that come in both corn and flour. If you love mexican food, you will love pork carnitas! 

Dr. Seuss How The Grinch Stole Christmas Wall Decor

I was just enjoying October day, perusing the hob lob [affectionate name for Hobby Lobby, one of my favorites stores], and among the sea of beautiful Christmas decorations [which I just can't even explain how much I love them, no matter what time of year], there was this display! How the Grinch Stole Christmas cartoon - ONLY the original 1960s version - is one of my very favorite Christmas traditions. So naturally, I had to have at least one of these amazing signs for my house! 

I chose the one of my favorite quotes from the story. I have a plan to go back and get a couple of the smaller pictures and make a collage, but we will see what happens! If you've never watched the Grinch, do it at least once, for the beautiful moral lesson that the story teaches. 


So there you have it, some favorites over the last couple months. Let me know if you enjoy any of these things that I have loved, I enjoy hearing from you! Wishing you all a happy and thankful November!