A Fun Hangable Fall DIY

Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

            So I decided to make a more seasonally appropriate wreath for my office door after running into my rose wreath since last spring. I love my more simplistic rose wreath but this one, this one is immense. I wanted something more substantial this time and so that’s exactly what I did. I made it much more substantial.

            I also made the wreath at my parent’s house and that meant that I had to transport it from their house back to my apartment. Which was an adventure to say the least because the drive from my parents place to mine is very curvy and hilly. It made it safely though and I hung it up already. 

Materials: 

            Flowers of your choice (pick colors or flowers that will look cool together, just walk around the fake flower aisles holding all of them, it’s fun.)

            Floral hoop (can be any metal or size, mine are 14”  and from Amazon, but you can do bigger or smaller depending on your space and desired use)

            Floral wire (I stole mine from my mom, but you can buy it at pretty much any craft store)

            Pilers (just in general, own pliers) 

            Time (this took me probably 30 minutes to do so give yourself some time, listen to a podcast or some music and hang out.)

Steps (procedure, directions, whatever you want to call it):

This is going to be super similar to my last wreath post because it is roughly the same thing. I did learn some things from the original post so I will be passing that information on here. 

  • As always gather up all your materials, I had the hoops left over from last time and I bought the flowers at Hobby Lobby, I would have bought them at Michaels but Michaels is an hour away and I can’t go up as often as I would like to. 
  • Snip all of the flowers with the snippy bit inside of the pliers, I don’t know if it has a proper name but that’s what I call it. I started out with three pieces from each of my bunches and pulled out more as needed.
  • Unlike the last time I did this project, I didn’t’ strip the plastic off this time, I just wrapped and bent the stems as needed, I didn’t want to go through the process of stripping the plastic off this time because I don’t really think it helped make the process any easier the last time that I did it. So I skipped that step and just rolled with it. 
  • I spent a lot of time checking and wrapping floral wire because I wanted more on this one than the last one and like the last one I didn’t take any pictures of the wire situation while doing it, the only picture of the wire situation that I have is from when it was already hung up and after I actually wrote this paragraph. 
  • When you are happy with it, stop. I really do mean this. Stop when you are happy with it. When you think it’s done, it’s done. I made my last one a little minimalist and this one was much more involved. I love this one, it feels so fall even though it’s still like 95 degrees outside. (when I am writing this at the end of August, it’ll probably be in the 80’s by the time that this post actually comes out.) 
  • Hang it up and admire your handywork, I love this wreath and it already looks so cool on my office door. It might move but I am now used to having a large wreath on the door so probably not because if I put it anywhere else I will just spend time running into it and I would prefer not to. 

It’s really not a difficult thing to do. I might do something with ornaments for Christmas, but I really don’t know yet. You can buy stuff like this at craft stores but I like having the freedom to make my own thing because I know that something like this would have been like $50+ at a craft store. I made it for something like $20 at most. I bought the flowers on sale, that’s my tip, buy the flowers on sale. 

Well I think that’s enough for me as this is kind of a rehash of an earlier post, it’s my blog I can do what I want. Also this one is a lot more involved flower wise then the last one. It’s a lot bigger and more fun. 

I will be back with another post soon so until then I hope that every says safe, happy, and healthy. 

-MJ

August Book of The Month Review:

Title: Not A Happy Family

Author: Shari Lepena

Hey hey, it’ MJ,

         I know that some of you, if you read my Book’s So Far Part 4 post, will have seen a very short blurb on this book because I had this post coming out a few weeks later even though I read the book last month. 

         I read it in three days, I was not planning on reading it in three days, but I did. It kept me guessing from when the murders happened to the end on who actually did it. I was shocked.

         I gave this book a 4 out of 5 because I apparently like thrillers now. Who knew? I probably liked it most because it’s a murder mystery and everyone knows that I love a good mystery.

         If you are planning on reading it, skip this post because I will be spoiling like all of it. I won’t spoil the murderer, but I don’t plan on keeping all the spoilers out of this post. 

         The book is told from several perspectives, I would say roughly a dozen or so in total and that really added to the overall tension of the novel because it kept switching. It gave a full picture instead of being told by one narrator who is either a character or outside of the story itself. This was a good read and it did the omniscient perspective so well. 

         For some reason the phrase, ‘those who live in glass houses should not throw stones’ comes to mind and I cannot put my finger on why. You have an entire family that is being put through a murder investigation, all of them have secrets, and they all proceed to turn on one another. You are left wondering and guessing who actually did kill Fred and Sheila Merton.

         I cannot imagine having parents like that to be honest, but I have friends or at least people I went to school with who did have parents like that. Nothing was ever good enough for them. (My parents weren’t like that but my grandmother was, so I do get it on some level.) Competition and being measured up against your siblings builds animosity and that was a huge theme in this book. 

         Also with the subtle hints that their father was straight up a psychopath, that is proven in the book but I don’t want to spoil that. 

         You learn so much about the Merton kids, from the lies, the scandals, the problems that they all seem to be able to cover up because that is what society needs to see, that is what is expected of them. I wouldn’t want to live like that. 

         Like I said this book kept me guessing on who actually had committed the crime and I was shocked when it was finally revealed. The author throughout the book led the reader to contemplate several possibilities on who the murderer could actually be but the real murderer came out of left field and I was so surprised. 

         The ending itself did leave me with questions because it kind of goes unsolved in a way, or at least no one is prosecuted for it. I think that the Epilogue does give some potential for justice to finally be served and I would love to see that in novel form, to see the family have to live through it again after finding out who actually did it. I think that would be a really good sequel. 

         In truth, I wasn’t sure if I would actually like this book. I was wrong, I could not put it down. Because of the short chapters and how often it switches from character to character it keeps you engaged and flipping pages because you want to know if any of the suspicions are correct. 

         I cannot say that this book has a happy ending, it’s not meant to as books like this usually don’t. Everyone survives, that’s about all we get, it’s not happy, relationships and trust is broken and because the end skips a year we as the reader don’t really know how anyone is doing. We don’t know if their relationships have really survived or if they are working on their demons; it was clear in this book that everyone needed therapy. Like years and years and various kinds of therapy to get over the trauma. 

         If you like the pristine family that is really hiding like a mountain of crap, a murder, an investigation, and a whole bunch of lies folded in, this is for sure the book for you. 

         I will see everyone later in the week with another post, so until then I hope that every stays safe, happy, and healthy.

         -MJ 

Bullet Journal Comparison #2: Book Trackers

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Here we are again with another post about my Bullet Journals, I will be doing comparison posts about once a month for the rest of the year because I can! 

            Last month I did the yearly covers from 2018-2021. I have not done my 2022 yearly cover yet. I have finished all of my layout pages for 2022 and that is a huge weight off my shoulders when it comes to Bullet Jounraling. I also have figured out the themes for 2023 and I am already looking forward to it! So excited for two years in the future, I’m excited for next year but I still have some planning to do with the monthly themes. That is not what this post is about though so I am going to roll into that. 

            Today’s post is my book case comparison. Every year I put in a book case to track all the books that I read each year. I have actually marked more space out for next year because I am reading more books next year than I am planning to this year and this year I pretty much ran out of room. 

            I am also doing a book bullet journal next year, thanks TikTok. So I will do an introduction to that later in the year. It’s pretty much done which is nice because then I don’t have to worry about working on it later in the year in prep for what I plan on reading. 

            These posts might spoil some of my favorite pages for this year, but I don’t really know exactly what my favorite pages this year will be. 

            2018: My 2018 Bullet Journal was really just a mismatch of things, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing and I also read like six books in 2018 so my bookcase is incredibly empty. Also, unlike the rest of the years I did after 2018 the book case is at the front. In 2018 it was on the page before I started March. 2018 was really a year where I was learning how to Bullet Journal and a lot of it was a mess. 

            2019: My goal for 2019 was 35, I read 32 and 12 of those were in December. This bookcase I really tried to do something different form the year before. I also was only doing one book case at the time and I changed that in the coming years because this was just not a sustainable design for me moving forward. This one is for sure not my favorite because the bookcase is just a little too fussy for me. The front pages of 2019 before I got to January was what I have taken from that year into last year, this year, and next year. 

            2020: 2020 was a mess all over, we can all agree on that. This BuJo was kind of the BuJo that helped me figure out what exact system in my BuJo works for me. This bookcase isn’t full, I read 40 books last year and that was a lot of fun and I still had space. I like the little shelf decorations that I have in this one and again, I have copied this page to a certain extent for the last two years and next year as well. 

            2021: I am still working on this one because we still have like 4 months until we hit 2022 and I am still reading books. I switched the bookcases in this one from last year and I really like this style. I kept the ‘God Bless this Hot Mess’ sign because that is me as a person and I need that on at least one page in my Bullet Journal. I now regret making the M as large as I did because I needed more space for books this year and I don’t have the space now, oops. I have had to add books to this page since the beginning of the year because I decided to do Book of The Month and that means I needed more space. I also read books with my sixth graders last spring so I put them in a well, I probably shouldn’t have because I do not have a lot of room, but it’s okay. 

I like reading and seeing a filling book case in my Bullet Journal is really cool. This is one of my favorite pages to do every year because it’s progressive. I go back to it all the time when I finish another book and I love that feeling. I am so excited to do my Book Bullet Journal in the new year. 

Alright, there is post number two in the BuJo comparison posts, I will be back next month with the third installment.

I will be back later in the week with another post, so until then, I hope that everyone is safe, happy, and healthy!

-MJ

July Book of The Month Review:

Book: Half Sick of Shadows

Author: Laura Sebastian

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

         I have been thinking about doing book reviews passed my little blurbs that I write when I read a book normally. If this isn’t your scene, that’s totally cool. Also if you are planning on reading this book and you don’t want spoilers, scroll away.

         I decided that this year I have not actually purchased enough books and I have been thinking about doing Book of The Month for a few years now. I love the idea of getting a new book every month. I didn’t choose a July book, I chose one of the June books (Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian) because this book came across my Facebook feed in an ad and I loved the cover. I also really love the Arthurian legends so here we are. 

         I gave this book a 4.5/5, which is a very high score for me. I loved the bad ass ladies in this book. We all grew up with stories of King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Morgana, and the Knights of the Round Table. We all grew up on it whether it was on TV with shows like Merlin, movies like Sword in The Stone, or books like The Once and Future King. I was exposed to all of these forms of the Arthurian legend and they stick with you. Knights, swordfights, magic, and destiny. Destiny and fate are very large themes in this book. You cannot escape your fate and destiny. 

         Elaine is a Seer, I think that would be an amazing but terrible power, to see all the possibilities of the future. I would like to know the future some days, but knowing that, knowing what would or could happen to the people you care about. That would kill me. I love the character though, she’s amazing and a powerful force that sits just behind Arthur. 

         Most stories tell you that Merlin is at his hand and has been since he was a child, in this Merlin is kind of sketchy. 

         I want to visit Avalon, I want to see it, the island beyond the mist. The one where the Fey live, I think it would be cool. You know that all of the people around Arthur are young, but I think even I forgot how young they were. We think of kings as middle aged or the most part, at least I do. You can disagree with me and that’s fine, but they are all young and they have so much on their shoulders. 

         There is for sure a trigger warning in this book and that is drowning and suicide, I really don’t see it as that in this case, it’s an escape a way to change things. If you read it you’ll see, it’s done beautifully. 

         The first line of the book hooked me, “I will die drowning; it has always been known.” That is such a powerful first line and I aspire in my writing to have that kind of first line! 

         It’s tragic, it’s heartfelt, it’s obligation and duty, it’s magic and manipulation, and it’s woven together beautifully. This book blends the past, present, and potential futures together without incident and with such care that nothing feels out of place. I want more. I know that the book has ended, but it left me wanting more. I love a good happy ending and this one doesn’t have a happy ending, it has an ending that leaves threads loose. There is nothing wrong with that, I loved it, but let left me wanting more. It did end a lot different than I expected it to, but it was a fitting end. I suppose the challenge to an author is to allow people to think one thing was going to happen and then throw all of your expectations out a window. I am totally cool with throwing all of my expectations out of the window when it comes to a book that I really enjoy. 

         The writing was beautiful and descriptive, I could picture places and almost hear what was going on on the page. I can lose myself in a book like that, I have a very vivid imagination. 

         I would recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy, Arthurian legends, badass strong female leads, and learning that sometimes fate and destiny, while binding, are not the end all be all. 

         I will be back later in the week with another post so I hope until then everyone has a great start to the week. Stay safe, happy, and healthy out there. 

         -MJ 

August 2021 Glam Bag Plus Unboxing

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

         Look at us, already most of the way through August, that’s insane. Here we are again with another Glam Bag Plus post and I really am liking this one. 

         I don’t really have much to lead up to this post to be completely honest. Usually I have so much to say before I get to the post itself, but this is a monthly post and not much has changed since my last post, which if I remember correctly is about candles. 

         That’s right I now have more than one post about candles. 

The Bag:

         It’s a green alligator silk screen print and I really like the color. The drawstring bags are really growing on me and they have been doing the drawstring bags for almost a year now and I am always interested to see what the bag will actually look like. 

Products:

Skin & Lab E Plus Moisturizing Cream:

         This one was chosen for me. I like moisturizers, I use a moisturizer most days. Some days I don’t because it bothers my eyes. Some days it doesn’t, but some days it does in combination with the other products I am using. This one has Vitamin E in it and Vitamin E is so good for your skin, it also has mango seed butter. It’s K Beauty and in the last couple of years I have seen that K beauty tends to be a lot better for my skin, personally, than other brands. I am really looking forward to using this one. 

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara:

         This mascara has been around forever! I have had samples of this before, but never a full sized. I love Tarte mascara’s and just Tarte in general. The packaging on this one reminds me of high school because I think this one came out for the first time when I was in high school or college so it gives me really early 2010 vibes. It’s a really good mascara though and I am excited to use this one as well. 

Murad Sensitive Skin Smoothing Serum:

         I love Murad, that is not a secret and Murad is one of those brands that I don’t buy for myself because it’s expensive. There are a few things that I don’t spend full prince on and skin care, now that I get the GB+, is one of those things. It’s a glass bottle! I for sure have dropped it on my desk twice now by accident. It’s also from their sensitive skin line and I have found that that line is amazing for my skin concerns. It has chamomile in it, which sometimes my skin doesn’t like but we are going to give it a try.

Araceli Beauty Bella sponge Trio in Black, Grey, & Pink:

         Who doesn’t need a bunch of makeup sponges? I love beauty sponge and since you have to get rid of them every few months having extras is always a good idea. I love the colors and the packaging. I want to call them beauty blenders so much even though that it a brand name. I have only used beauty sponges to put my makeup on for like two years now which before then I never used them because I didn’t like them. I tried them again when I moved down here and I haven’t looked back. I always have several in the wings so I don’t run out of them in case one of them starts to go. 

Neogen Dermatology All Day Locking Fixer:

         I have lots of setting spray now and I am not mad about it because I always run out or get real close to running out and then I have to guess at what I would like when I get another one. I have used Neogen before in face wash and I really liked it so I am hopeful for this one. I really like the packaging because it’s just minimalist and a little futuristic in a way. I will use it when I am done with the other few that I have in my bathroom. This is another product made in Korea and again with K Beauty, I have never been disappointed. 

         Alright there we go, another month in the books for my GB+. I liked all of the products that I received this month. I chose the Neogen setting spray, Araceli beauty sponges, and the Murad serum. I am happy with my choices. 

         If you want to see what else I’ve gotten in my GB+’s this year, you can, just click on the month: January, February, March, April, May, June, and July

         I will see everyone later in the week with another post, so until then make sure to stay safe, healthy, and happy! 

         -MJ 

Non-Holiday Candle Round Up

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

         So I have an obsession with candles, I have two other posts like this, from fall and winter of last year. I feel like I have certain scents that I like and it was very clear that my scent notes for fall are: Cinnamon, Pumpkin, and Caramel. In winter they are: Vanilla, Pine, and Peppermint. There are others, but those are the predominant scents throughout the more holiday or seasonally based candles that I don’t have out year round.

         It’s also against my lease to burn candles so I just have them everywhere in my apartment. There are a few that I don’t have in this post because they don’t have labels and I cannot remember where I got them or what their scent notes actually are. 

         I have been meaning to write this post since like May and then things got in the way, oops. So here we are about two weeks before I switch out to my fall candles because September 1st is the start of fall for me even though it will still be in like the 80s throughout the month. I would like some fall weather, but usually in Northwest Arkansas it doesn’t become fall until like mid-October. 

         So candles! 

         Y’all are going to see some repeated scents and by the end you will probably know which scents are my favorites. 

         Eucalyptus Spa: I got this one on sale at At Home and I really like the smell and the jar is super cute as well. I feel like I need to say in every section that I can’t burn these, one day, but that day is not today.

         Positive Vibes: This is the last candle I bought, I got it at HomeGoods and it was either this one or one that smelled like doughnuts, and I should have gotten both. This one smells like lavender and coconut. I will probably use this more as décor anyway. 

         Cactus Blossom: This is one of my favorite scents in my apartment and it’s from Bath & Body Works. I cannot describe what it smells like outside the scent notes themselves, which are lemon, coconut, and cactus flower. It smells like something else though, maybe the Soj De Janiro Bum Bum Cream body wash even though none of the notes are the same except coconut. It just reminds me of shampoo or something and I love it.

         Bergamot Waters: Got it at Bath & Body Works, I get a lot of candles there, at least I used to. Bergamot is one of those scents that is repetitive in my collection and I love it. 

         Eucalyptus Mint: Again Bath & Body Works, I love eucalyptus and that is such a hard word to spell so having to write it more than once is a pain. It’s just a light fresh scent that I love. 

         Paris- French Daydream: Back in the day when B&BW had city candles I got this one and London, I think I have a second London one somewhere but it’s not out in the apartment because I don’t have the room. It’s very lightly scented with freesia and sandalwood and those scents are pretty unique to that candle itself. 

         Bergamot Sea: Another Bergamot candle, that makes two or three now. Bergamot and lavender is pretty much my favorite scent combination and eventually I will find a candle that combines those scents. If anyone knows of one, tell me! 

         Pineapple: I got this one at HomeGoods or T.J. Maxx, I can’t remember which one, it has a pineapple die cut out of the top and I love the scent so much. I got it right after I moved down here and it’s been out in every place I’ve lived since I moved here. 

         Chestnut and Clove: It’s a fall scent, this is the only one that kind of escaped my fall round up last year. To be honest, I forgot about it. Oops.

         Piñon: This was a gift from a family friend, she got it in a fabfitfun box several years ago and I love how it smells. I also love the packaging, I am a sucker for good packaging and eventually I could reuse these jars for something else when I burn the whole candle out. 

         Coconut Island: I bought this one a few weeks ago at Yankee Candle because it was on sale and now it’s a bookend. I for sure use candles as bookends all the time. Another coconut scented candle should shock no one. 

         Beach House: Target, I got it at Target. The scent notes for this one are unknown to me because I can’t find it online. I bought it a long time ago and now it just acts as a holder for a painting for height. I like it and it’s a cute candle, I just wish I knew the scents. 

         Amber & Moss: HomeGoods, if I didn’t buy the candle at B&BW I probably bought it at HomeGoods or T.J. Maxx, this one reminded me of the Piñon candle just for the jar itself and I love the smell. It’s warm and comforting.

         So many candles so little time and that is all of them, or at least most of them in my apartment. I used to burn candles like every day when I lived in my parent’s house, but now that I am in an apartment I don’t want to have to pay the cleaning fee for the soot. One day I will be able to burn them, it’ll happen eventually. 

         I hope that everyone has a great start to the week and I will be back mid-week with another post. I think I already have that written, I think, if not it’ll get done. 

         So until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy.

         -MJ 

July 2021 Glam Bag Plus Unboxing

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I really am trying to write posts right now, but there is just some block in my brain that is really not allowing me to do so with the frequency and clarity that I would like to. It’s just a lot going on outside of me writing these posts. I am trying and it’s just difficult. 

            I also just realized that I have not rated anything I got this month on the IPSY website and now I am going to pause writing this post to do just that. I know I am not funny, but if I don’t do it now; I will forget. I literally just rated 10 different things by saying that I liked them, not love, just like. It’s that kind of day y’all, that kind of day. I didn’t get really excited about anything I got this month and that’s okay, I don’t have to be excited about everything and some days I have to remind myself of that. It’s okay to be honest, you can like something and not love it. I feel like I am just waiting for a product to blow me away though and that just hasn’t been happening lately. I also feel really bad rating things poorly because I know how hard people and creators work on products. 

The Bag: 

            I really like this bag actually, it’s super cute. I love it. The sun with the eye in the center and the phrase Stay Golden, whenever I hear that phrase I always think of The Outsiders, ‘stay gold, Ponyboy’ and I am thrown back into middle school. 

The Products:

            This month I got six because I redeemed points last month, so there will be six this month. The first two were chosen for me, the next three I chose, and the last was my points redemption item. 

Dr. Brandt Skincare Pores no More Pore Purifying Cleanser:

            This is a repeat for me, I have gotten this product before in one of my fabfitfun boxes so this is now the second one that I have. I do like this cleanser though, I used it most of last month while I was at my parent’s house and now this one will replace it when I am finished with that one. There is some sort of residue on it, but I can wash that off and it’ll be no big deal. It’s a good cleanser though and I would recommend it. 

IL Makiage Black Card-Lift, Curl, and Lengthening Mascara: 

            I like mascara’s, this one has an interesting brush on it and it’s a silicon applicator so those are usually really nice. I am looking forward to actually using it in the future, but I do have some in the queue in front of it. Most of the mascara’s that I have tried feel roughly the same unless they are not great. I don’t spend money on mascara, because my NYX one works just as well as some $30 ones. 

Zoe Ayla Satin Pillow Case in Champagne:

             This was the first time I was offered a non-skin care or beauty item through ISPY, so I figured why not? I have heard the benefits of satin pillowcases and it seemed like a cool idea. I so have to wash it first before I let it go anywhere near my bed, I just have to figure out how to wash it beforehand so I don’t do the dumb thing and ruin it before I even get to use it. I think it might be hand wash only, so that’s going to be fun.

Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint in Uncuffed:

            This color gives off boss babe vibes and I am here for it. I also have been meaning to try Fenty since it was released and I just haven’t yet. I like the color it’s a little dark when I am not wearing any makeup, but I do like it. I also love the packaging and the formula felt pretty good when I applied it. It smelled a little chemically when it came out of the bottle, but it’s summer and product can take on a different smell. I love ethe fact that it is in a glass bottle, that is genius. I am looking forward to wearing this with a full face and actually seeing what it looks like there. 

Beauty for Real Golden Hour Mango Butter Eyeshadow Palette: 

            This palette is really pretty. I love the pop of blue shade among all of the neutrals that make up the rest of this eight pan. The pigmentation is really pretty good, which I am glad to see. I have gotten some palettes in the past where they looked visibly very beautiful but did not swatch well, or really have any sort of hold to them. It’s a 5/3 break down with five of the shades being metallic and three being mattes, that’s pretty good for a palette this size. My mother keeps telling me I need to use my eyeshadow palettes and I know I do, but I am afraid of losing my fave shades and never being able to use them again. I need to get over it, but it’s a permanence thing; I can’t even put stickers on things because I think I might hate their placement down the road and can’t change anything about it. 

The Crème Shop Mask Fusions in Rose & Gold and Coconut & Chia:

            I got a set of these masks a few months ago in my February Glam Bag, so getting a few more doesn’t hurt. I need to start using sheet masks again because I have a lot and I just need to, again it’s a permanence thing and I usually do one while I meditate and I haven’t meditated in months. I need to get back into that too, I just haven’t. I needed to redeem points because some of mine were expiring last month and these were what I chose, I don’t regret it.

            So that was my Glam Bag Plus this month, it was a pretty solid bag this month. I am looking forward to seeing what the choices are for my August bag in the next week or so, whenever they release the choices. 

            I don’t really have much else to say so I hope that everyone has a great few days until I am back with another post, I am not exactly sure when this is going up so I don’t want to say have a great start to the week or a great rest of the week because I don’t know which one it will be. 

            If you want to know what else I have gotten this year, just click on the month and you can find out: January, February, March, April, May, and June

            I hope everyone stays happy and healthy and I will be back in a few days with another post! 

            -MJ

June 2021 ISPY Glam Bag Plus Unboxing

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I feel like I need to change the title of this post series because it’s not a box anymore. It’s in a bubble mailer and a drawstring bag, not a box, but I am a creature of habit and I want to still have the differentiation between this and my regular Glam Bag posts because I do have two a month. At my present moment I am sitting at my local Ford dealership (shouts out to them) getting my oil changed, like 2,000 miles late, oops. Get your routine maintenance done y’all, just get it done. I have also been meaning to write this post for days and just haven’t because I am a scattered human being. I am not going to do a bunch of exposition because I did that I lot when I started the blog and I don’t want to continue to ramble on about nothing. So let’s just get into the post itself.

The Bag: 

            Like the Glam Bag bag this month it looks like it’s covered in stickers and I am a fan. Scrolling through TikTok I see a lot of small business sticker creators and if I had the disposable income I would buy all the stickers and then just have them in a pile to stare at because I cannot actually commit to putting stickers on anything.

The Products: 

111Skin Rose Gold Radiance Booster:

            This brand is one of those brands that is ridiculously expensive so when I see it in my bag I get very excited. I have a few of their other products and I love all of them. The brand is super boujee, but I can’t complain because it’s worth the price point for how good it actually is. This 20 ml bottle is $135 so that’s absolutely insane, but as someone who actually has seen a difference in their skin since using better products I cannot complain. I know part of that may be in my mind because I know how expensive the product is, but it’s also scientifically backed and I love that.

Ahava Active Moisture Gel Cream:

            Everyone should know about my history with Ahava by now, if you don’t you can read my GB+ post from last month because I for sure wrote a whole paragraph about it. I like their products and I have been using them on and off for over a decade now. I love a good moisturizer and I have their day cream, night cream, hydration mask, and now this so I am excited to actually give it a try. Again, in real life outside of a box it’s expensive but, I worked at a salon in high school so I have watched this brand and change over the years. 

Ciaté London Everyday Vacay Coconut Dewy Setting Mist: 

I picked this one because I ran out of setting spray, I got setting spray in my Summer fabfitfun box (that’s a spoiler because that post doesn’t come out until Wednesday) and in my regular Glam Bag this month. So now I am set on setting spray. I liked my old one but, even though it was from the same brand as my fave setting spray (which they don’t make anymore) it just wasn’t the same. So I am on the hunt for a new setting spray. I love the Porefessional one I got in my Glam Bag and I am looking forward to giving this one a try when I am wearing makeup more in the fall. 

Best Face Forward Purifying Cleanser: 

            I could pretty much do an entire skin care routine out of this bag; which is actually pretty cool. I like trying new and different cleansers because I am never really sure if the cleanser is really great unless I have like 15 to compare it to. In the description it says it’s good for blemish prone skin and that’s me so I am excited to give this one a try. Though since I have started to change my diet I am seeing less and less breakouts which is super cool. I love the packaging and I am so ready to be able to give this one a try. 

Viseart Petit PRO Deux: 

            Well Viseart is one of those brands that you hear about from influencers and makeup artists all the time and a normal 12 pan palette from Viseart can go for $80+, so when this was offered as one of my options I jumped on it. I love the shades, it’s the perfect balance of summer warm shades and I am so excited to actually sit down and swatch this palette. I know it’s a mini palette, but that doesn’t really matter to me. I can take it traveling because it would be something really small to pack into my suitcase or makeup bag and just go with it. 

            So overall my bag this month was great. I am excited and looking forward to the bag choices next month, I will find out next week what’s going to be in my August GB+ and I am hoping that I have more amazing products to share with you then. 

            I will be back on Wednesday with another post as we ramp up into the Fourth of July weekend for my American friends. I hope that everyone has a happy and healthy start to the week and I will see y’all soon with another post!

            If you want to read about what else I have gotten this year, you can! January, February, March, April, and May

            Seriously, I hope everyone has a good last few days of June!

                        -MJ

What Was in My May 2021 IPSY Glam Bag?

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well I didn’t mean to take a month off, I really didn’t, but here we are either way. I had a weird May with the end of school and waiting for jobs to be posted, I am really hoping to get into the building I was in this year as a full time teacher. I really loved teaching middle school, who knew? Seriously, when I was getting my Master’s I thought that I wanted to work with little kids; I even student taught in 3rd grade, but this long term sub posting fell into my lap and I don’t want to be anywhere else. I found a family and I would really like to keep it. 

            So on to this since it’s kind of June, oops, my bad. It’s been a time y’all, a time. Here is May, June will be up when I get it in the mail.

The Bag:

            I loved the bags this time with the two tone pink flowers, this is for sure one of my top ten favorite bags and I have probably said that a good dozen times but that list does change more frequently than I would like to admit. My parents are actually on vacation and some of the bags I didn’t want any more are going to my cousin’s kids and I hope they like them. 

On to the most important part, what did I get?

The Products: 

Skin&Co Roma Citrus Amaro Hand Cream: 

            I love Skin&Co, I have a few of their products, or I have received them in the past and I have never been unhappy with them. This will probably be the hand cream that I stick in my purse and use on the go because I am a hand cream hoarder and I have to have one pretty much within arm’s reach wherever I am. I also love citrus scents in the summer so I am excited to give this one a try. I actually put some on and I have to say this, it smells amazing (not super overpowering), it goes on and it doesn’t make your hands feel sticky, and it’s not super greasy. So I am even more excited now than I was a few minutes ago. 

Looks&Meii Cosmetic Infinity Sleeping Lip Mask:

            I’m going to confess something, I have never used a lip mask; lip scrub is a more frequent fall and winter favorite so I am excited to see how it goes when I actually try this out, it might be tonight but who knows with me at this point. I hope it’s not sticky or anything like that. I do hope it’s more like a balm because I sometimes wear lip balm to bed but it’s not a frequent occurrence in my beauty routine. It’s made in Korea so I do hope that it is K-Beauty because there is so much great K-Beauty products out there. 

Context Skin Nail Lacquer in Body Talk:

            I was a secretary at a nail salon when I was in high school and so I was around a lot of nail polish like all the time. I don’t wear nail polish anymore, only on special occasions and to be honest; I didn’t really like this product. The color is fine and I did put it on to check it out but I didn’t like the application or the coverage. I love that it is free of some of the ingredients that you see in a lot of nail polishes but it’s just not for me because I don’t wear nail polish. 

Tula Skincare The Instant Facial Dual-Phase Skin Reviving Treatment Pads:

            I chose this one and I love Tula, I used their face wash for a significant part of last year and I loved it so much. I saw this one on IPSY’s Instagram and I knew immediately that I wanted it, if it was offered to me. Tula makes some really great skin care items and they don’t aggravate my skin (one of the products I’m using at the moment is really messing with my skin and I don’t know which one it is. Or it’s just bringing all the crap out of my pores and it’s going to look better soon, who knows.) I am really excited to give these a try when I get home next week. 

Item Beauty Lip Quip in Come Thru:

            I love the packaging, I kept it just because I wanted to take a picture of it for this post. I just read the card and it said it was from a TikTok star, I have recently downloaded the dreaded clock app and I have been losing hours to it. So this is fitting. I like a lot of the ingredients that are listed on the card because they are super moisturizing and there is a slight tint to it. Here’s hoping that I like it. It’s made without parabens and it’s vegan and you all by now know how much I like those buzz words on packaging. 

            For the most part the bag was good, I didn’t like the nail polish but everything else was cool. I am looking forward to my bag this month and I know that there are going to be four IPSY posts this month but let’s be real, June of 2018 was the same way because I took most of May off then too. I just haven’t felt creatively driven and for me, that’s super difficult to deal with because creativity on some days is the only thing that keeps me going. It’s been a challenge, but I’m walking out the other side stronger than before, so we good.

If you want to check out what else I have gotten this year, you can! Just click on the month, January, February, March, or April.

            I hope everyone has a great start to the week and I will be back on Wednesday with a post I wrote a good month ago because that was supposed to be my next post in May but then I never posted it. Stay happy and healthy!

            -MJ 

Books I’ve Read So Far in 2021 Part #2

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Part two is here already and for me it’s been two months, well not as I am writing this I am still writing this progressively so right now for me it’s mid-March and I have read one book so far this month, reason for that well it’s been a cluster truck this month and also the book I am reading at the moment is super dense. It’s good but really really really dense and it’s taking longer than I expected so to catch up I will have to read some fun books next. 

            I am really hoping to make a dent in my reading list over spring break even though I doubt I actually will because I just don’t read when I am not at work where I have a break. Spoiler alert from future MJ, I didn’t read anything over spring break. I didn’t even crack open a book. I fill my time on the weekends with doing nothing in particular because I work all week. 

            If you want to read part one for this year, you can, just click the link.

            No one cares about that, so here I am posting all of the books that I have read this year. All opinions are my own, I doubt that I would ever have opinions that weren’t my own so roll with me. 

What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

            This book just kind of fell in my lap, one of the sixth grade ELA teachers got a bunch of books and she was looking for someone to read one to make sure that this was appropriate for sixth graders to read. It isn’t in my opinion, eighth through high school, sure, but not for 11-12 year old’s. There are too many swear words and things that might be difficult for sixth graders to process. It’s a great book though, I knew someone who had Asperger’s when we were in high school, we were close, we no longer speak but that is not a story for here. I also have a degree in Psychology and think that lumping all of these disorders onto the spectrum was wrong for the DSM-5, but again, that’s not a conversation for now. High school is a cruel place and that’s no secret for anyone who wasn’t popular or people thought was different. I have very few if any good memories of high school so this one hit me. All of the characters feel real though, the situations feel real, and it’s one of those books about acceptance and loss, about the insanity of high school and the expectations of the world when you are “different”. I read it in like two days just because I really enjoyed reading it and I wanted to keep reading it, it may not be for everyone but I work at a middle school and that means that sometimes I have to read middle grade or young adult fiction because then I can have authentic conversations with the students. I have been given so many book suggestions by students and sometimes you just need to read something that you would have read in high school because it’s an escape for all of the adult responsibilities that you have. Overall, I would suggest it because it shows a side of people and relationships that a lot of people don’t understand with people who are not “normal” and I don’t think that’s represented enough. 

I, Ripper by Steven Hunter

            So I love learning about serial killers as much as the next person and I wanted to read two thrillers this year and Jack the Ripper is one of those people who still strikes fear into like everyone because of what he did. Like I read this book and it took me like two and a half weeks to read because I didn’t have the time to sit down and read. Also this one was dense and a little confusing. I enjoyed it because it is a fictional retelling of the Jack the Ripper case and it closes the up the mystery even if the real Jack the Ripper has never been identified. It was really graphic which I had figured it would be because you know, serial killers. I mean, if you like this kind of thriller stuff I would suggest this book told in two voices through a memoir of a journalist and the diary of Jack the Ripper. 

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt 

            Another book that I have read with the sixth graders. It’s one of those books that somehow I missed in school at any time because it’s one of those classics now that everyone has read, there is a movie about it and everything. I did enjoy reading it and I was reading the ending out loud to the sixth graders yesterday and I had so many kids who hated the ending. I’m not going to spoil it because that would be not so nice of me even though the book has been out since the 70’s but I still won’t ruin it for you if you want to read it. It’s a really quick read compared to some of the other books that I have read this year and I would suggest it if you have a middle schooler or upper elementary schooler at home. (can I just say #teacherproblems?) It’s very much a question of; would you, if you could, live forever? 

Shot Through the Hearth by Kate Carlisle 

            So I started this one directly after finishing I, Ripper because I needed a break from that very dark book that I read. It’s a cozy and I am never mad about a cozy, which normally only take me a few days to read. I had Spring Break and read nothing for 9 whole days, I could have read three books in that time and I am an idiot for not doing it. I finished it on April 1st which is fine and I have started my next book already but I have not read enough books so far this year. I have read 12 and that’s it and we are already in April. So what was this book about though. I had no idea who the killer was until the end of the book and that is one reason why I love reading Kate Carlisle’s books so much, she keeps me guessing until the very end on who the actual killer is. I also love the title because every time I looked at the cover I thought of You Give Love a Bad Name by Bon Jovi, which I am never mad about. This book was really good though, I still love seeing the world expand and change because you get to know these characters and you want the best for them. I want to attend a conference like the one in the book, but you know without the murders. Seriously this is a series that I suggest if you like cozy mysteries. 

All is Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant 

            This one read very much like a Hallmark movie and I was not upset about it. There were parts where I laughed, parts where I rolled my eyes, parts that just made me feel all warm inside. It was a good book, I read it in two days once I really had a chance to read it. It is one of those books that make you feel good and who doesn’t love cupcakes? It’s a lot about family, chosen family, and faith above all else which is not something that I usually read. I have had this book in my collection for at least five years now if not longer so it was good to finally get it off the shelf and read it. The ending is predictable but sometimes you want an ending like there where everything is wrapped up in a bow. Sometimes those are the best stories. 

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

            One of the other teachers let me borrow this because I was reading I, Ripper and I could not put this book down. I love a good fictionized telling of unsolved true crime. Let’s just say I am going to head to Barnes & Noble at my earliest availability to pick up all four since I borrowed this one from someone else. It had me gripped from about the third or fourth chapter and kept me guessing as to who they would paint to be Bloody Jack. I was surprised but I am not going to give up the ending. I love the characters and the subtle hints of romance without being the main focus of the book. I like that the author made the main female character interesting, someone who bucked against societal norms and was following a dream and a fascination. It’s just good even though it’s YA. I am an adult, granted a still young adult, but I try really hard to not read YA much anymore, I do every once in a while just because I work with middle schoolers and I like when one of them gets really excited about a book they are reading and tells me all about it. This was a suggestion from another teacher, but either way school breeds book suggestions for me some days. I am planning on reading the next one after I read Dracula because I read another retelling of Jack the Ripper before I read this one and breaking up the series will make it last longer so that’s just what I plan on doing with it right now to not only read the whole series but also stay on my targets to get my book list read this year. 

The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett

            My second classic of the year, I know that this is for sure a book written for children but it was really good, and my goal this year is 10 classics. This is one of those books where I have seen bits and pieces of the movie but not much else. I know that it’s one of those things that gets talked about as important works of literature. I really enjoyed it and it was a quick read. I would love to have a garden like this, any of these beautiful gardens I read about in books but I can’t even keep a cactus alive and they are so easy to keep alive. I do not have a green thumb and I am totally okay with that. All I want though is so many beautiful leafy green plants, but that is not something that I can achieve. I am not good with plants no matter the kind so I am going to stick with fake plants, I can’t kill them. This story is just one of those about acceptance and friendship as well as growing up. It’s a little dated because it was written over 100 years ago, like 110 years old so of course it’s dated. I would suggest it though if you want to read a classic. 

            So truth be told I was hoping to have one more book on this list but things have been a little crazy this last week or so. I am working on Yes, Please by Amy Poehler and it’s really funny but I’m not finished with it yet and this post needs to go up now. I don’t even have my actual cover photo for this one even taken yet, hence why it’s late. It’s been that kind of week where MJ is just dealing with a lot and that means that I don’t have a much time as I usually do to actually read anything during the day and by the time I get home I don’t want to do anything, which isn’t great, but it’s how I’m living at the moment. I am hoping to get this book finished by the weekend though so that will be the first book on my next post. 

            So until then, I hope that everyone has a good end to their week and a good weekend. I will be back on Sunday with another post. 

            Stay safe, happy, and healthy, 

                        -MJ

Let’s keep track shall we?:

Classics:  3/10

Historical Fiction:  1/5

Sci-Fi/Fantasy:  2/5

General Fiction:  2/5

Memoirs/Autobiographies:  /2

Non-Fiction:  /1

Thrillers:  1/2

Free Choice:  4/15