A few quick deals!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Buy one entree, get one 50% off - now through 2/8/11 with this coupon.

Maybelline FitME foundation
Free sample from Target.com (you don't get to choose the color - it shows #220, which is Natural Beige)

XBox Live 12-month Gold membership $39.99 + free shipping (reg. price $59.99) - limit 3 per person, sells out quickly!

Shiseido Nourishing Mascara Base

Monday, January 24, 2011

Do you remember when I blogged about my holy grail eyelash product, The Makeup Mascara Base by Shiseido? It's the only thing that makes mascara work on my faulty eyelashes.

I had a moment of panic a few months ago when I heard that Shiseido was no longer going to be available from US stores. Then I heard that they were only going to sell it from their own US store. For some reason, I was still able to get one last tube from Sephora.

Then about 3 months (?) ago, I noticed that Sephora no longer had any Shiseido products - but they hadn't taken down the links to the Shiseido page. I started scouting around for the Makeup Base elsewhere on the internet. No luck. Panic set in. Surely they weren't discontinuing my favorite product? I NEED this stuff!! What was I thinking? Of course they were discontinuing it - that's what happens to just about every product I love.

When Sephora had their friends & family discount, I searched for Shiseido again - and this time they had some Shiseido products!! No Mascara Base. Sadness. But I did see a product called Nourishing Mascara Base. The reviews were mixed - with a lot of people saying that it didn't work as well as the original. I decided to give it a try anyway.

OMG. I love this stuff!! I like it even more than the original!

I didn't save a list of the original product's ingredients, but I found this on Makeup Alley:
Original product ingredients: C11-12 isoparaffin, dextrin palmitate, polyethylene, cyclomethicone, trimethylsiloxysilicate, polymethylsilsesquioxane, microcrystalline wax, isostearic acid,  trioctanoin, phytosteryl/octyldodecyl lauroyl glutamate, tocopheryl acetate, silica, macadamia ternifolia oil, methicone, tetradecene, iron oxides, titanium dioxide, mica 
Nourishing Mascara Base ingredients (from the box): C11-12 isoparaffin, dextrin palmitate, disteardimonium hectorite, trimethylsiloxysilicate, isododecane, sucrose tetrastearate triacetate, PEG-10 dimethicone, polyethylene, macadamia seed oil, polyglyceryl-6 esters behenate, butylene glycol, water, hydrogenated polysobutene, sucrose tetrasostearate, PEG-20 hydrogenated castor oil trisostearate, trimethylsiloxysilylcarbamoyl pullulan, arginine, nylon-12, ultramarines, tocopherol, zinc oxide, polysilicone-2, silica, BHT

The cost is the same - $23 at Sephora. The brush is different - it's a really skinny brush with short bristles, as opposed to the fuller, tapered brush with the original. The consistency is also different - it's more of a thin gel now. The color is still clear. For me, this product goes on more smoothly and really makes my lashes hold the curl. Mascara is easier to apply and doesn't clump - and it stays on all day. I feel like this product may last longer than the original, too.

Definitely a keeper!!

Things I want to accomplish in 2011...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Remember the list of 10 things I wanted to accomplish in 2010? Well, I managed to accomplish 6 of them - and I think I'm okay with that. Here's the list:
  1. start a blog
  2. learn to make fancy cupcakes
  3. learn to use fondant to decorate cakes
  4. try 1 new recipe per month 
  5. reorganize my main closet
  6. go to Cedar Point (I've never been there)
  7. go to Disney World (I've never been there)
  8. turn one of my upstairs rooms into an exercise room 
  9. finish knitting my husband's afghan
  10. lose 10 lbs.
I wanted to lose 10 lbs., and I actually lost 15 - so that's good. We had planned to go to Cedar Point & Disney World, but other things came up and we weren't able to go. However, Gus & I did make it to St. Pete Beach, and I had never been there before, so that was an accomplishment. The other two that I didn't get to do - learning to decorate a cake with fondant and turning one of my upstairs rooms into an exercise room - I plan to make part of my 2011 list. Hopefully, I'll have better luck with them this year!

Things I want to accomplish in 2011:

  1. learn to decorate cakes with fondant
  2. turn one of my upstairs rooms into an exercise room
  3. repaint the main & upstairs hallway
  4. start on a little outdoor oasis (firepit, seating, plants, flowers)
  5. learn to make infused vodka
  6. make more time for me/my health
  7. get my cholesterol below 200 (last reading was 274)
  8. have a really well-stocked bar :-)
  9. revamp the IFP website
  10. ?
How did you do with your list for 2010? Did you make a new one for 2011?

Another health update...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I just wanted to let you know the latest on the health front. I had an EMG on Friday - and that was negative - which basically just means that there is no permanent damage to the nerves in my right arm/hand. If you've never had an EMG, just let me tell that that they are quite painful. Or at least it was for me. And the dr. also managed to hit blood vessels in two spots so I have a couple of really ugly bruises.

I saw the neurosurgeon after the EMG on Friday. Basically, he wants to put off doing surgery as long as possible because of my age. I already have 2 fused vertebra in my neck - if he fuses one or two more, it will really limit the forward/backward movement of my neck - and he thinks I'm too young to have that much limited mobility. So I'm going to be trying physical therapy three times/week for four weeks. They'll be doing hot packs, massage, and traction. Unfortunately, I'm still pretty limited in what I can do because it's my right arm/shoulder that is affected and I'm right-handed. It doesn't take much to trigger the pain. Hopefully, the therapy will help.

Then on Tuesday, I saw the dermatologist for my 6 month skin check. She froze three places on my face and removed a mole from my back and also from my stomach. No news is good news, so I hope not to hear from her, LOL.

Hope you all are well!!

So...where have I been??

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I don't really like to blog about my health. I figure it's like when someone asks, "How have you been?" - they expect you to say, "Fine, thanks - and how have you been?" - they don't really want to hear about all of your problems. However, since I've been MIA so much lately, I thought I'd let you guys know what's happening.

I've mentioned that I take blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering meds. I also have a history of neck problems - I had surgery for 2 herniated disks in 1989. The surgery was successful, but I occasionally have muscle spasms in my neck & shoulder. Nothing major - just annoying. About 5-6 weeks ago, I started having more pain in my neck, right shoulder, and right thumb. I saw my regular doctor and he prescribed a 4-day course of a muscle relaxant and a 10-day course of an anti-inflammatory. After a week, the pain had worsened, so he sent me to an orthopedic surgeon. By this time, I was also having weakness in my right arm, along with numbness & tingling in the middle, ring, & little fingers of my right hand. I was having so much pain that I couldn't sleep at night. The orthopedic doctor did an x-ray in the office, and based on that, ordered an MRI & physical therapy. Even though I told her that the pain was so bad that I couldn't sleep, she didn't bother to order anything for pain. I was not pleased with her at all. Luckily, when I called my regular doctor again, he ordered some pain meds for me. Since this was just a few days before Christmas, I decided to wait to set up the physical therapy, but I scheduled the MRI.

The more I thought about it, the more I became unhappy with the orthopedic doctor. I really liked (and trusted) the neurosurgeon who did my surgery in 1989, so I decided to give his office a call. I had the MRI, he looked at it that same day - and called me back to set up an appointment for 2 days later. At this point, I still hadn't heard from the orthopedic doctor - even though she was the one who ordered the MRI, and she would've received a copy of it - and she had no idea I had contacted the neurosurgeon. By the time I saw the neurosurgeon, my symptoms were even worse. In addition to all of the other symptoms, I now had weakness in my left arm with numbness & tingling in the last three fingers on my left hand. I could barely lift either of my arm and I was just exhausted.

The neurosurgeon was puzzled by my exam. The MRI showed a bone spur at the C4-5 level pinching the nerve - and that accounted for the neck & shoulder pain. But there was nothing at the C7-8 level - which is the level that would affect my arms & fingers. He ordered some bloodwork to check for arthritis, etc. and started me on Decadron (a steroid). He also ordered an EMG to check for nerve problems in my right arm/hand.

Over the next 3-4 days, I continued to get worse. It took every ounce of energy I had to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. My stomach hurt and I couldn't eat. I could barely talk because I was so weak. I almost had Gus take me to the hospital - and in retrospect, I probably should have done just that. I stopped taking the Decadron, thinking that it was the most recent med, so maybe it was causing problems. I had only been taking half of a pain pill at bedtime, but I stopped that, too. Unfortunately, I continued to get worse.

Then I started to wonder if perhaps it was the cholesterol med causing problems. The doctor had doubled my dose about 10-14 days before all of these problems started. I had problems in the past with statins prescribed for cholesterol - but it caused joint pain in my hips & legs. But I decided to stop taking the cholesterol med. After the first couple of days, the numbness & tingling stopped. After about 4 days, my arms weren't weak anymore. After a week, I was able to eat and the stomach pain & shakiness stopped. From Jan. 1 through Jan. 10, I was virtually bedridden & unable to care for myself. All because of this cholesterol med. I knew what signs/symptoms to watch for, but since they sort of went along with the disk problems, I didn't recognize what was happening.

Now I'm back to just having pain in my neck, right shoulder, right bicep, and right thumb. It's a relief really. I almost embrace this pain, LOL. I still think that I may have a couple of things going on - the cervical disk and possibly carpal tunnel (because the disk doesn't account for the thumb pain). I'm having an EMG tomorrow, and I also see the neurosurgeon again, so I should know more then. Once I get that all figured out, I need to call my regular doctor and tell him what happened. I have no idea how we're going to treat my high cholesterol but I just can't take any more statin drugs. I've tried all of the vitamins/minerals/supplements and diet/exercise - but none of that seems to help.

Oh - and I still haven't heard from the orthopedic doctor. Not that I have any intention of seeing her again - but she never even called to give me the MRI results. Thank goodness I had enough sense to take my healthcare into my own hands. And speaking of that - when the neurosurgeon ordered Decadron for me, he put me on decreasing doses with a total of 40 pills. When I picked up the prescription from Walgreens, it said to take 4 pills/day for 2 days, 3 pills/day for 4 days, 2 pills/day for 4 days - which totals 28 pills. I thought it was pretty odd that the prescription ended with taking 2 pills/day and not 1 pill daily - plus why would I have 12 pills left over? I called the pharmacy and the pharmacist (yes, it was the pharmacist) said that she thought it was odd when she filled that - and now that she was looking at the prescription, she thought it might have an additional line that said to take 1 pill daily, so yeah, I should just go ahead and do that. WTF?? Isn't it the pharmacist's responsibility to call the dr. and verify the prescription?? Now I'm seriously thinking that I need to find a new pharmacy, too.

Beware and be aware. Never trust your health blindly to someone else. Read, research - ask questions. You may be the only one who can save you!

ETA: I forgot to add that just as I started to feel better, I ended up with shingles on my scalp (for the 4th time). Most people only get shingles once, but not lucky me! Fun times, LOL!


Monday, January 3, 2011

So who else loves the Predator movies?? I do, I do!! The Alien movies were okay, but I really liked Predator and all of the Alien vs. Predator movies. Unfortunately, this one was a little disappointing to me.

From imdb.com: "Chosen for their ability to kill without conscience, a group of killers, some trained and some who are not, must endeavor the alien race of predators that have set out to target them as prey. Dropped into the vast jungle of a distant world, these human predators must learn just who, or what, they are up against, and that their ability, knowledge and wits are tested to the limits in the battle of survival of kill or be killed."

To me, there was just too much with the humans and not enough with the predators. And the little twist at the end was just kind of stupid, if you ask me. I wasn't impressed. I was, however, impressed with Adrien Brody's abs - nice, very nice - especially for such a scrawny dude, LOL.

I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars. If you have a couple of hours to kill, give it a try - but just don't expect too much from it.

Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I'm not a big fan of finishing powders - mostly because I've never really found one that did anything wonderful for my skin. Until now. I used a code to get a free sample of the new Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder (and mini fan brush) from Sephora. I put off using it for a couple of weeks because I figured it wasn't going to be any different from all the others I had tried. Wrong.

For some reason, this powder does great things for my skin! It doesn't have any spectacular ingredients - nor are there any ingredients that I haven't tried in the past. But whatever it is about this powder, it works for me and I love this stuff!

It's a very finely milled mixture of calcium aluminum borosilicate and silica. It's very white, but it completely disappears when you apply it. It seriously only takes about 1/8 tsp. (maybe a little less) applied with a fan brush to cover my entire face.

It doesn't give my face a totally matte look (but matte doesn't look that great on mature skin anyway), but it makes my pores so much less noticeable. I don't get any oily breakthrough or separation of my makeup - which has been an issue in the past with finishing powders. Another great thing is that it works for me whether I'm sporting my natural pale skintone or a light or medium tan.

A 0.4 oz full-size jar is $34 at Sephora.

Jonah Hex

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I admit it - I like the comic book movies. I'm a geek, LOL! I wasn't familiar with Jonah Hex (I'm more familiar with Marvel than DC) - but it looked like it might be an interesting movie. Gus was all for watching it just for Megan Fox. *rolls eyes* I would watch it for John Malkovich - he does crazy so well!

From imdb.com: "The U.S. military makes a scarred bounty hunter with warrants on his own head an offer he cannot refuse: in exchange for his freedom, he must stop a terrorist who is ready to unleash Hell on Earth."

Of course, the terrorist is the same man who scarred Jonah's face & killed his family - so he's happy to seek revenge. Jonah has the nifty little ability of being able to speak with the dead (if he touches them) - a skill that he acquired after his own near-death experience. Those scenes are gruesome, funny, and a little disturbing, LOL. Naturally, Megan Fox's scenes involve close-ups of her heaving bosom and/or glossy lips (just like Tranformers 1 & 2). Whatever.

It was an okay movie. I'm glad I didn't pay to see it in the theater, but it was okay to kill time at home. I'd give it 2.5 out of 5 stars.