Life in Mascara

Friday, May 27, 2016

VACATION PLANNING ON A BUDGET


With the end of the school year just a couple of weeks away, my mind is in full vacation mode. Whether you like to travel solo, with friends/spouse, or a full on family affair, things can get a little bit pricey. But it doesn't always have to be this way. Here are a few tips on how you can plan that much needed away time while still being friendly to your wallet:

1. Groupon- Once you have decided where it is you are going to be heading off to on you vacation, look into Groupon. Change your city search to your destination and see what is available. There are hundreds of cities listed so chances are you will find the one you are looking for. Remember to read the find print such as how many must be in the party, expiration date, and lunch versus dinner. This will also help you find different restaurant options and tour events.

2. Entertainment BookThese books are normally sold as a fundraiser in schools but you can also purchase them off the website. What these books are is an overload of deals to local restaurants (they are sold by city), movie theaters, entertainment centers, bowling, among other things. They either offer a great discount or have some kind of BOGO. Either way this is a great way to save on outings and to get you to try new places as well.

3. City Website- Take a look and see what is happening in the community the days that you will be in town. Most city events are free or have a minimal charge and are family friendly.

4. Flexible dates- If you are in the early stages of planning your vacation and you are able to go at any time, take a look at the airlines flexible dates calendar. I have been able to save a pretty penny simply by changing my day of departure/arrival and my flight time as well.

5. Hotel: Lux versus Economy- Some people like to splurge on hotels as part of the vacation experience. Others could care less. For me it must meet these requirements: safe, clean (especially the bathroom), and remotely close to where I want to be. Otherwise you can end up spending more money on transportation to get to your actual destination. 

Take for example our trips to New York. We have stayed at The Roosevelt and at a place in Soho. While we loved our experience of being right in the center of the city and enjoyed the hotels ritzy bar, we also loved staying at a modern hotel in Soho with all the eclectic places around it. Yes we had to commute more but since we mostly did the subway, we didn't actually feel it. We ended up planning all our evening events in Soho so as to take the subway as close to our hotel as possible and then walk the few blocks over while there was still light out. 

So again, it comes down to preference. But if saving is the end goal, then look into staying at a place that will provide for your needs but will not break the bank. Chances are you will only be there to shower and sleep and no one really needs much for that.

6. Public Transportation- If you are fortunate enough to be  traveling to a city where public transportation is the norm, I suggest that you take full advantage of that. Save on a rental and parking fees because odds are there will be plenty of those if you are traveling to a place that relies primarily on public transportation. Subway, Lyft, Uber, buses, and taxis. Use them all. Look into downloading an app for the cities public systems. That way you know the schedule ahead of time. 

7. Shopping: Don't Do It- Ever shopped so much while on vacation that you had to shove everything in your bag just so it would close? Then you prayed to all the vacation gods that your luggage wouldn't be over the 50 lb limit? While the thrill of being on vacation will make you want to be spending money left and right buying all these keepsakes, you probably will not get any use out of them. You might even end up throwing them away. Instead, opt for one (yes one!) item that you will use primarily in your home many times. That way when you pull out that lovely item you will be reminded of the time you spent away. 

I hope this gets you geared up to planning your next getaway! I know I can't wait to get on that airplane!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

WHAT ELSE DID I READ THIS MONTH: MAY


Another month, another installment of 'What else did I read this month'. Let's take a look, shall we?

1. D is for Deadbeat- Another installment in the Kinsey Millhone series, Millhone has to deal with her client's dead body being found only a few days after hiring her. But the thing is, he has a very shady past and the list of people who want him dead seems to be growing by the minute. And to add to this she still has to finish the job that he hired her for, delivering a check to one of her clients victims who wants nothing to do with him.

2. E is for Evidence- In this part of the Kinsey Millhone series, Millhone is hired by her former employee to do a freelance job in insurance fraud inspection. Little does she know she is being set up to take the blame for the fire that took down the warehouse she was sent to investigate. Things get dark when she is seriously injured and her friend is killed. Millhone now must find out who is behind all of this. 

3. Eleanor & Park- Let me begin by saying that my soul was not ready for this book. All the feels guys. ALL OF THEM! The book takes place in 1986 in high school where two unlikely matched people meet. It is the story of a first love written just as a first love is: simple and with little fuss. I actually emailed my friend about it and said:

"Think The Fault in Our Stars without cancer, dying, the stupid poetry reading, and the give me my life back moments. But more like domestic abuse, intense bullying, body image, and comic books."

Clearly neither her nor I were big fans of The Fault in Our Stars. Please no one take offense to that. It just wasn't realistic to us. Anyways, this book will make you remember your first love and all the angst you felt during that time. It made me smile while I was reading. I even hugged it. I can't explain it. It has been a long time since I was moved in this way by a book. I think it was because it took me back to a time in my life that I remember with so much affection. A time I felt was cut short because I moved states and I was absolutely gutted at leaving my friends and my heart behind. 

What else did you read this month? Any book that I should add to my list?

Monday, May 23, 2016

DRY EYE RELIEF


Around the end of February, I started noticing some red bumps on my eye lids and my under eyes. I figured it was an allergic reaction and would soon go away. They did and in their absence, extreme dry skin to the point of flaking appeared. It can be a bit tender and red and while my regular doctor had no cause for concern I still went ahead and made an appointment with my dermatologist. Three months later, I am still pending that appointment as we both had to reschedule it once each. In the meantime, here is how I am treating it.

I went ahead and switched up my face oil to something more intense. I went back to my tried and true Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil. I am going in with a couple drops in the morning and a generous amount at night. I am careful not to get it in my eyes but I do rub it into my eyebrows, brow bone, and under eye area as well as my entire face and neck. I then apply Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil all over my eye lids and under eyes. I added this step weeks into my routine and noticed a stronger improvement in my dryness right away. I actually credit the coconut oil for almost healing it. I do this only at night as it can be a little greasy but give it a bit and it does sink into the skin. I actually put a tablespoon full in a little pot and keep it with my skincare items in the bathroom. This way I am not tempted to skip this step on sheer laziness to go to the kitchen and then back. Finally, I apply Boots Expert Sensitive Hydrating Eye Cream all over my eyes. The sensitive line from Boots is perfect for anyone who has any kind of sensitivity. It is so gentle and odor free. I have never had any irritation from any of their products. This cream seems to seep into my dry skin as I am rubbing it in. You will notice very little left behind but will soon sink in.

In order to not cause any further damage I am trying to be more conscious and use my sunglasses when I am outside and gulp down tons and tons of water to plump up my skin. While the irritation has calmed down significantly, it is still there. So far I feel like I am off to a good start. Let's see what the Doctor has to say.

Friday, May 20, 2016

ARMADA BOOK REVIEW


In April, I had the incredible opportunity to listen to Ernest Cline speak. It was a real nerd moment for me and goes down in history as one of the best events I have ever attended. It was for the launch of his paperback cover release for his second novel, Armada. Funny enough, husband and I had been listening to the audio tape the week before on our trip to Houston and were finishing it up on our way to Austin. The audio tape was like watching a movie without the visuals. The sound effects were amazing! You really felt like you were in the battle scenes. 

The story line of the book deals with Zack Lightman growing up with his mother after his father died at a very young age in an accident at work. He lives in a mundane city and attends high school not being very invested in it. He dreams of a better life, something that will take him away from the monotony of it all. Something more along the lines of the science-fiction books, movies, and games that he is so fond of. It is in one of these boring days at school better spent dreaming that he spots the space ship out the window. And it is not just any ship. It is a ship he recognizes well from one of his games, Armada, in which the players are protecting the earth from alien invaders. 

It is at this point that Zack's life changes. The ship comes for him armed with members of the Earth Defense Alliance. Zack, along with thousands of great gamers from around the world, are taken and asked to join their mission in saving man kind from the impending alien attack. Zack is ready to fulfill his destiny and play the hero. That is until he starts to see things that others don't seem to notice. No one questions the familiarity of climactic episodes they all seem to be caught in. Zack is left wondering how much of this real life movie is actually real or actually a movie?

Action packed from beginning to end, Armada will take you through various pop culture references, thrilling battle scenes, and a coming of age story with a modern twist to it. Enjoy being a part of the Earth Defense Alliance and help save Earth!

*Book was provided for review by Blogging for Books. As always, all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Detoxifying Your Skin


When I was growing up, I suffered from acne. It wasn't a severe case by any means, but it was moderate and to the point that I asked my parents to please take me to a dermatologist. Years of treatment later, my acne has pretty much subsided with the occasional break out here and there but there was some irreversible damage left over from my at home antics. The area directly beneath my under eyes has been left with enlarged pores and redness that requires some extra attention in my skincare.

Washing my face with acne based products can be over drying to my already dry skin. Since my skin is still acne prone, I try to make sure that I thoroughly cleanse my skin so I don't leave dirt behind and clog my pores. One way that I am able to care for my needs is with appropriate face masks. I find that ones made with natural and organic ingredients are the best for my sensitive skin. One that I have been using twice a week is Valentia Skin Detoxifying Clay Mask

This mask contains key ingredients such as kaolin clay, hibiscus, and cranberry fibers. These help draw out impurities, improve skin tone, and tighten pores. The mask also works as a gentle exfoliater. When you are ready to remove it simply apply some water to your face and rub it in a circular motion and let the cranberry fibers remove the dead skin cells allowing for more smoother and even skin. The spirulina in it hydrates the skin and allows for tissue regeneration. My skin feel clean and refreshed after every use. 

If you want to try this mask or any of the amazing products over at Valentia, they were kind enough to offer us a discount code good until June 1. Get 35% off your entire purchase by using REFRESH35 at checkout. And don't forget to check out all that Valentia has to offer. Follow them on Instagram and on Facebook

*Samples for this post were provided by Valentia. As always, all opinions are my own.