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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Celebrating My Favorite Season with Starbucks® Fall Blend

 
 You forgot Fall coffee, pumpkins, pumpkin creamer and fall festivals...


It's September in South Central Pennsylvania, which means cooler weather is here.  Sometimes.  Then it gets really hot, then freezing, then we don't know if we should put away the summer clothes and pull out the jackets or if we should keep the shorts, stash the swimsuits and grab the hoodies from the attic.  We never know, and that's what I love about this season and this state. 

Fall is:
Back to school (woohoo!).  This year I have an 8th grader (last year of middle school), a 4th grader (big school district changes mean a new school for her), a 1st grader (and a walker- YES!) and my little baby boy is in his last year of preschool.  Where would I be without coffee when I have to wake up EARLY for school?  I miss them like crazy but I've been working hard to live in and enjoy the moment.  So I'm enjoying my coffee in peace!




The York Fair: 
 
Image source:  http://yorkfair.org

My town is host to the oldest fair in America!  It''s a short walk from my house and therefore the best spot to park if you're family or friend.  If I go to the end of my block, I can see the Ferris Wheel, at night in its flashing, spinning lighted glory.  It's one of the only lighted rides that doesn't make me feel like I'm about to have a seizure.  If the wind is blowing right (or at all) I can hear and smell the fair.  Talk about a tease!  True to its roots, The York Fair is still a big agricultural fair, with contests for homemade foods, homegrown produce and plenty of stinky and beautiful farm animals shown by local farmers and 4-H.  Of course, what fair wouldn't be complete without a circus, carnival rides and pig races.  Every year (I think this was only recently) some amazing person creates a BUTTER SCULPTURE.  For real!  
This is BUTTER.  Butter! 
 I swear I don't live in the middle of nowhere.  
Check out their Facebook page for some neat pictures.   


Fall is FUNDRAISER TIME:  I am the "fundraising lady" at our elementary schools.  This job just became twice as big, so that I can love it twice as much.  It's chaotic but so worth the end result.  You can't put a price on a smiling kid.  During the fundraisers I typically drink an extra cup or two of coffee to get me through long days of checking and rechecking orders.  Thankfully this is a super easy fundraiser! 

This is just my first cup.
 


Fall is: Busting out my favorite hoodies, campfires, pants, warm blankets, fall festivals (there are dozens here in York and it's awesome!), pumpkin everything, changing leaves, raking (yes, I like to rake, then have my kids jump in the piles), warm drinks (coffee for me, hot chocolate for the kids) and perfect weather.  
Not a Starbucks cup, but it says coffee.

Fall is: Starbucks® Fall Blend.  When this arrived I was hoping for something pumpkin-like.  What I got was so much more.  I have tried a few delicious Starbucks seasonal blends but this was by far my favorite.  This is literally autumn in a coffee drink.  It's a medium roast, called "a cozy coffee for the early days of autumn" and the description is perfect.

To quote the bag: Welcome the season with a harvest of flavors.  Layered and full-bodied, this three-region blend offers the best of all worlds.  Sumatran beans lend the warmth of fresh spice notes while coffees from Kenya add citrusy brightness, and beans from Peru provide balance and a subtle nuttiness.

I highly recommend adding Starbucks® Fall Blend to your list of fall must-haves this season.  Stop at your local grocery store to see if they have my newest favorite coffee then head to your local Starbucks to find out if they are one of many offering this awesome deal: Buy Any Fall Drink and Get One Free from 2-6pmValid until 9/21.  And if you find an awesome seasonal mug while you're there, please let me know!  I'm on the hunt for a new one and haven't found THE ONE.



What's your favorite fall activity and fall drink?


 Disclosure:
Modernmom and Starbucks supplied me with the products to facilitate this review.  All opinions are expressly my own. 



Monday, September 15, 2014

The Moral of the Story

The other day my first grader Jonas and I read The Three Billy Goats Gruff.  It's the one where the three goats cross the bridge, from the smallest to the largest.  As each one crosses, the mean, ugly troll under the bridge tries to eat them, and each time the goats say something along the lines of "wait for my bigger brother because he's bigger and tastier".  Spoiler alert.  The biggest goat kicks the troll's butt when the troll wants to eat him.

After we read we discuss.  I asked Jo what the moral of the story was and his response was, "Don't trust ugly people." 
I'm sitting there thinking, at least he didn't say something this awful to someone this time
Out loud, I said, "Try again". 
So he says, "Ohhh!  Don't trust ugly trolls."
Almost.  

I'm not really sure we could have come out of that discussion without offending someone.  So I just suggested that one never trust a troll that lives under a bridge.  They're always up to no good.  #parentingwin      

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Get a #FlawlessFinish with Sheer Cover Studio Makeup (Review)

I was so excited to get to try out Sheer Cover Studio makeup.  I'm a makeup klutz and always afraid to try new products that might not be right for me.  The only thing I have to say is this: You have to try this stuff!  Pictures or it didn't happen?  I'm working on them.  I'm a digital dummy sometimes.  But I have them!

Here's my face history:
I don't wear a lot of makeup.  Every few months I'll go on a binge of wearing it a few times a week but mostly I wear it once a week-3 times a month.    
My skin is splotchy and my tone is uneven. 
I suffer from breakouts even at 32.  My 32 year old face isn't nearly as bad as my teenage face, but it still happens.  
I have combo skin- dry and flaky in some spots, oily in others.  
I have large pores.  They are the purest form of evil.  They don't even help me look youthful like I've heard some people say about large pores.  They just make me look gross.  In other words, I need help of the makeup variety.  ASAP.  Thanks to ModernMom and Sheer Cover Studio for providing me with some great products to test! 

Here's what came in the box: 
1.  Base Perfector Primer.  This smooths imperfections (yep) and minimizes the appearance of pores and fine lines (yep).  
2.  Conceal and Brighten Trip in Light/Medium.  This conceals, brightens and has a mirror.  The concealer comes in two shades that you can mix to get the right color for you.  It works well as long as I get the right color.  Absolutely worked better with my finger than with a brush!  But that might just be my problem!  The brightener, when applied to the corners of your eyes and your brow bone helps brighten your face.  
3.  Perfect Shade Mineral Foundation in Medium.  Loose powder foundation. 
4.  Sun-kissed Bronzing Mineral Powder.  Hard powder in three shades that you brush over your face in areas you want to highlight.  I'm not sure I was doing this one correctly.  
5.  Numerous brushes in different sizes to apply various makeups.  They did the job well.  
6.  Lash Extending Fibers.  Applied to eyelashes prior to mascara, this extends your lashes.  Might have worked a little.  I wasn't too sure I was doing a good job of applying this!  
7.  Lengthening Mascara in Black.  It's wider on the ends and narrow in the middle.  It does a nice job, my eyes looked much better with than without. 

Confession: I have no clue how to properly apply makeup.  Lipstick is pretty self-explanatory but don't ask me about lip liner.  I know what it is but I look like I'm wearing Sharpie around my lips.  And foundation?  Not a clue.  Even watching makeup tutorials online I'm thinking..."I've never heard of a whatsit" and "Why did she put foundation on her face 3 times?  Oh...that's not foundation?  Then, what is it??"  I'm just so lost and super good at doing all the wrong things.  Guess what else came with the Sheer Cover Studio products?  Instructions- yes!!     

 I was a little overwhelmed at the large group of product sitting before me when I opened the package.  What was I supposed to do with all of this?  Good thing this stuff is for dummies and makeup connoisseurs alike, or I would have been in trouble.  Those instructions were a lifesaver and really helped me get a look I've always wanted but could never achieve.   

My before and after face were definitely different.  After was much better!  I took some (terrible) selfie photos but cannot for the life of me figure out how to get them to STAY on the blog after I upload them from the phone (iphone we use as an ipod.  I'm still learning all that fancy stuff).  
My biggest triumph of this review was when I dropped off my daughter at a rehearsal, went home, put on the makeup then picked her up.  She came out and looked right past me.  Then there was a double-take and she came running over.  "Mommy, you look sooooo different!  I didn't even realize it was you.  You look...younger, you're so pretty!  What did you do?  Are you wearing makeup?"  She went nuts!  Another happy moment was when one of the kids' friends came over and said, "Ohmygosh Miss Alex, you look so pretty!".  Apparently my normal face is nothing to go gaga over.  I was lovin' the positive affirmations. 

My favorite products:
The primer is amazing.  It did what it promised and gave me the dewy look I love when I wear makeup.  It smooths and minimizes and actually works better the more you use it.  If you go days without it, this effect doesn't continue, but I looked better on day three using the makeup than I did on day one. 
The brightener does wonders.  
The powder foundation was one of the best I've tried.  It goes on smooth and you don't need to use much.  

Surprises:
That I didn't need the lightest shades.  Normally I buy the lightest or second lightest product but I went with the medium (recommended for many tones) and it was just right.       


Try it, try it, try it!  And check back for my terrible selfies.  They are laughable, but you can see the difference. 






Modern Mom provided me with Sheer Cover Studio products to facilitate my review.  No other compensation was provided.   


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First Day of School

Ack!  Where did my pictures go?  Working on this...

First day of the 2014-2015 school year was August 21, 2014.  I'm getting this done on the 27th...not too shabby!  I'm usually a few months behind.

Up first is 8th grader, Zach.  This is his last year of middle school.  I'm going to have a high school child soon, then he'll be driving, moving out, going to college and starting his own family and I'm just not ready!    
Too cool for photos.


 

4th grader, Amara is starting a new school due to a huge change in the district.  She's adjusting quite well and loves her teacher!  

My smiley, photogenic little girl.

Henry is missing all of his big siblings already.  Henry won't be starting school until next week.

1st grader Jonas was very excited about starting 1st grade.  We didn't have the best Kindergarten year but he was really looking forward to lunch and recess.  Lunch and recess at school can make a world of difference! 
This was how Jonas prepared the night before.
And here he is, showing how excited he is to be heading into the building.

Happy school year!