Another Halloween Décor DIY

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I had a lot of fun with the first one so I figured why not make another. I had this image of what I wanted to make in my head because I made some “snow globes” a few years ago for Christmas and I love the idea of a scene in a small space, this is not new it’s not revolutionary like if you looked it up on Pinterest there would be thousands of them but I needed more Halloween décor not just fall décor. 

            Well here’s my problem, I went to Michael’s the closest on is an hour away which isn’t a big deal but I expected to find Halloween decorations and décor and apparently October is too late to buy Halloween things because their section was slim and they already we getting the Christmas decorations out, I sighed a lot. But I made it work! You could make something like this for really any season or holiday or just for fun. A fairy garden, a miniature scene of something that means something to you, or foe any holiday where you can get themed miniature figurines. I wanted to make a graveyard maybe that’ll be next year’s project I’ll just buy them early.

            What you need:

            Miniatures: Mine were kind of slim pickings so I got ghosts, a skeleton king/queen, I don’t know which it’s probably a king but still (I also had to hot glue it’s foot back on so that was fun), some kind of tree (The picture I took was blurry because I am an idiot and I didn’t realize it until much later), and pumpkins. 

            A hot glue gun: A DIY/crafters best friend, let’s be real.

            A container: I got a lantern, you can do it in a glass jar or anything that you want to put a scene in. Like those shoe box dioramas we did in elementary school. 

            Ground covering: I used moss like you would put in a flower arrangement, it’s messy and it got everywhere but it looks super cool. 

            Mono filament or fishing line and a 1/8 inch dowel rod: if you plan on hanging anything, I had to get a dowel rod from my dad and I used a pair of pliers with a crimper in them to cut the dowel the length I thought that I needed it. 

            Method: 

            1. Make sure everything is unwrapped, your hot glue gun is on, and you have some kind of vision in your head on what you want this to look like, I would suggest laying everything out in the space before putting the moss own to see about how much space you have to work with.

            2. Hot glue in the moss, I layered mine up a little bit on one side so it looked less flat but I think it still looks a little flat but giving that effect of a forest floor layering is important. 

            3. The first thing I glued in was the tree, I used one first and then the skeleton and then I decided I wanted the second one, start at the back of your scene whatever that may be work forward; especially if you are working in a closed space.

            4. I had to prop the second tree up with some moss between the two trees just so it would stay in place but as long as it still looks natural it doesn’t really matter, do what you have to do to make it look nice. 

            5. I glued in a few pumpkins and forgot to take any pictures because I am really bad at DIY’s for blog post purposes, I will get better I promise. I figured a haunted forest pumpkin patch with a skeleton king care taker would be a good scene since I couldn’t do a graveyard this year. 

            6. I hung the ghosts, well first I got the monofilament around their necks and knotted a bunch of times, I checked the height with the dowel rod and tied them to that as well before slipping the dowel rod into the space at the top of the lantern where it’s open between the glass and the top, the ghosts move and spin so that’s both cool and frustrating because they are on strings, though I taped their strings to the dowel rod and the weight of them keeps the dowel rod in place if it’s just sitting on a table, I will probably take them out when I store it because then they won’t swing around into the glass. 

            7. Display, I put mine because it is heavy on my entry table, I want to have a new place to put it but I haven’t built the table yet, that’s a winter project. Lights would be cool in here too I just don’t know how I would have put them in so for now it is what it is. 

            Hope you liked another foray into MJ tries DIY because I had fun with this one. I plan on doing a few Christmas ones because finding Christmas decorations is easy apparently. 

            I hope everyone has a good start to the week and I will be back mid-week with another post! 

            -MJ 

Autumn Candle Roundup

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            So my last post was all about my autumn décor and now I am going to tell you all about the candles that I own because why not? I am at this point where I am kind of drained creatively so I figured a nice fun little post. 

            I haven’t purchased a candle in probably two years because I had so many, actually that’s a lie I bought two from Target a couple of weeks ago for the season, I love candles and if I had infinite money I would probably buy every candle Yankee Candle and Bath and Body Works sell, seriously. 

            Also where I live right now I can’t actually burn candles because that is against my lease so I just have them out in places to look cool. 

            So what candles do I have for this time of year? 

            Most of them smell like pumpkin because why not? 

            I feel like this post if going to be super short and disjoined but this, this is the post I can come up with today and they can’t all be winners, so work with me. Thanks. 

            Spellbound Sangria, it’s from Target’s dollar bins at the front because I shouldn’t look in those and it’s shaped like a cauldron, it’s cute and it sits on my desk because décor. 

            Crisp Morning Air from Yankee Candle also sits on my desk because I wanted another little candle on my desk. 

            Cinnamon Sugared Doughnut, it smells so good and it’s from Bath and Body Works which I still accidently call Bed Bath & Beyond all the time because they are similar so I make the mistake. 

            Pumpkin Spice, the most basic of the fall scents and one that I have all over my apartment, this one is from Hallmark and it’s too cute to actually burn. 

            Sand + Fog Pumpkin Spice, I got this at HomeGoods (the year before last I think) and I mentioned this in my décor post, it is a fun jar and I really just like it for the ambience and it smells good. 

            Misc fall Yankee Candles for my Skull holder, they are Pumpkin Pie (which I have two of), Sugar & Spice, Spiced Pumpkin, Cinnamon Stick, and Autumn in the Park. They will be used eventually when I can make sure that putting them in the skull holder will not ruin the skull holder. 

            Pumpkin Woods, from Bath and Body Works, this for sure held up books for like a year and half, now a Funko Pop! of Smaug holds up those books. 

            Pumpkin Spiced Cheesecake, it smells really great actually, I have made a pumpkin cheesecake before and it smells similar. 

            Spiced Pumpkin, this one is also from the Target dollar stop because it’s right inside the door and there are always really great things in there that they want you to make a snap decision on purchasing. 

            It’s short and I know that, believe me I feel like writing this makes me look insane, maybe I am but at the moment this is what I can produce, my brain is addled with my fall cold at the moment and I promised myself I would try really hard not to miss an upload. This is actually switched with another post because my lack of creativity to make another Halloween DIY, I’m working on it and hopefully I will come up with something by this weekend. If not I’ll move some more things around but here I am telling you about candles because while this was going to be a post it was not going to be a post yet. 

            I would love to do a candle haul because that’s kind of this style of post but I can’t want into a lot of these stores at the moment, the scents sometimes give me a headache and with having to wear a mask the scents stick and that means that a headache is almost guaranteed, so from my quarantine to you, candles. 

            Hope y’all have a good rest of the week and I will see y’all on Sunday with another post.

            -MJ

Halloween/Autumn Décor

Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

            It’s October, how, how is it already October? My brain is still in March so there’s that but there is no way to stop the passage of time so here we are in the spookiest of months and I am excited. It’s the opening of the holiday season and Halloween is one of my favorites and I have been decorated for the holiday since early September because I wanted to feel some sense of normalcy and having a decorated apartment helps with that. The one problem with October is my fall cold, like clockwork I get a cold in the fall and in the spring when the weather starts to shift so writing this post was not at the top of my priority list which isn’t great but here we are none the less. 

            My Halloween plans this year are pretty much the same plans I have every year, sit on my couch with some candy or maybe some popcorn and watch a cute Halloween movie or two because I don’t like scary things. I don’t do the scary Halloween stuff, personal MJ story I was in 4H as a kid; it’s what you did in the corn fields of Indiana, I did girl scouts and 4H and quit both in middle school because I got tired of it, I think my mom got tired of it too but there’s that. So for 4H one weekend when I was in third or fourth grade we went to a corn maze and we were on the bus for hours, or it felt like hours to an seven or eight year old but the corn maze was fun and then at night there was a haunted maze and we had to go into it. My friend and I went into the corn maze and I don’t think I stopped screaming from the moment we walked in until we left. One of the performers who was probably in high school who jumped out at us as a zombie football player had to take his helmet off se we could see that he was just a person. Thanks dude you made my night a little better but to this day I can’t do scary things. I am pretty skittish, I jump at loud noises so in high school when all of my friends were going to haunted houses and telling me about them I avoided them like the plague. 

            None of that has to do with my decorations but I wanted to give y’all a glimpse into me because I feel like I don’t do that but the rest of the post is going to be about my décor, some of it I bought and some I made so bear with me. 

            The top of my bookcase in my office is full of pictures and stuff but for Halloween I added my cute little shadowbox DIY that was my last post and as someone who has devil horns I had to put them on my Vermont Teddy Bear that usually sports my Minnie mouse years but he gets my devil horns for the holiday unless I am wearing them. I am going to have a post about all of the fall candles I have amassed over the years but that is a post for later this month.

            Also in my office on my lower shelf I have some of my Halloween stuffed animals that I have had since I was a kid so of course they get to sit in here and hang out. 

            In my bedroom I have a tall vase full of small pumpkins and lights that I made a few years ago, I don’t remember if I ever talked about it when I was still making YouTube videos, I may go back to that someday but that day is not today, it was really simple to make and I got the idea from a magazine because they were selling something like that for a lot of money. I don’t really decorate my bedroom, don’t ask me why but I think it’s because that’s where I sleep and that’s really the only time I spend in there, I have some Christmas decorations that will go in there but I normally don’t have a lot of stuff in my bedroom.

            My living room is a different story, my table is full of things (that’s the feature picture!) and most of them are decorations, the pumpkin in the center was a DIY I did in 2017 for a video and I will eventually add more flowers to it, I did that to the one I gave my mom which is smaller but it has so many flowers on it and it looks super dope. The autumnal dachshunds I got from Target and I had to sew one of their legs back up because it was split and all of the ones they had in the store were but I love Target for holiday décor it’s always amazing. The little ‘Autumn’ metal sign should be on a wall but I don’t have anywhere to hang it so on the table it went. In front is one fake pumpkin (the maroon one) and on the left is a candle that I have never burned because I like the holder too much. 

            I also like arranging flowers, it’s a hobby of mine, at least it was for a long time and I want to get back into it but fake flowers are expensive, I mean they last for pretty much forever and I did this arrangement for my grandmother when she lived in the nursing home and she had it for a year in her room before she passed away. So it has a proud place in the fall on my kitchen counter but my kitchen is a mess and I don’t want people to see that so you get to see it atop something else. 

            All over my apartment I have pumpkins that my dad made, he likes to work with wood and has a full shop at their house and now that he’s retired he has a lot more time to actually make things for fun. I have all of them but one and the patterns are from Miesel’s if you know someone who likes to work with wood and wants to take time to make something super cute for funzies. 

            I have a bookcase in my living room that serves as a bar top as well (for someone who doesn’t drink I have bottles that I never touch and it’s…it’s a look) I have my sign board up with a cute little fall phrase and some candles because I love candles I really do and they make good décor. 

            I have pumpkins that I DIYed in my living room as well, I have one on my TV stand that says ‘One Bad Witch’ it was punny and I enjoyed it though if I could I would strip it all off and do it again because I messed up the first time.

            Next door to that I have one that I covered in rhinestones and oh my goodness I burned all of my fingers doing that and I would never do it again even though it’s so cute and I got the Maleficent dragon in a Funko Disney Treasures box when they still had control over it, man I miss those days. The squirrel next to it is something my dad made that I helped design because I made the joke of ‘desktop squirrels’, there is a bakery that has a tall one too that I helped design because sometimes we make a good team. 

            On top of the bookcase where I keep all of my trade paperback comic books (this should surprise no one) I have a little steampunk skull candle holder that I got at Yankee Candle a while back and the eyes look like they could glow in the dark, they do not which is disappointing. 

            One last place is my  entry table, I got the big pumpkin at HomeGoods last year because I wanted a big pumpkin for this table specifically. The ghost pumpkin lights up also but I normally never have batteries in them because I am terrible about even having batteries in my house let along the sheer volume I would have to have for all of my holiday décor, I got that at a little local place when I was in Indiana, and of course another pumpkin my dad made. Also because it is my entry table it also holds my house keys and one of my many masks because mask up for safety.

            There are other little bits around the apartment but nothing major and if I put in every little thing this post would be a lot longer and I think it’s long enough already. I love this time of year I love the leaves changing color and that sigh of relief that comes through the wind when the temperatures start to drop.

            I might do an updated Christmas décor when it gets to that time, which will probably be able Black Friday for me because I itch to put up my Christmas tree, though I just have a feeling that this year is going to be different. 

            Either way I will see y’all later in the week with another post! Have a good start to the week!

            -MJ  

A Fun Little Halloween Decor DIY

            Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

So we are now in this time of year where decorating your house is a revolving door and I love it so much. I love Halloween and fall so here I am telling you about a little DIY I decided to do recently. I have no idea if it’s already been done, it may not be super original but it’s here anyway. I was trying to figure something out and I was rearranging my closet and I found a shadow box that matches a Christmas one I did a few years ago and thought, hmm, I have the perfect idea for it. So I got to work finding all of the items I needed.

            So what do you need for this project, I have never written a DIY out before so bear with me. 

            What you need:

A shadow box, I found this at Michaels awhile back and I had put the words on it before I took the picture so if you buy one like this it will be plain black.

Paint pen (I used an oil based sharpie paint pen which works really well)

Spider web (I used some I found at Home Depot)

Fake spiders (I used ones from Target and I love them)

Hot glue gun and hot glue

The steps you take!

  1. I did all of my writing with the paint pen first and I found a quote I liked and put it on the front of the shadow box frame and put some little accents around it because it was a little plain with just the words, I also put another phrase on top because it seemed like I needed it there.

2. Take the back of the shadow box off and pull out the insert, I kept the pins because I used them to secure the spider web in, it has worked really well so far so if you have pins in the frame keep them, if not get a few pins to put in because it will keep the webbing in place.

3. Stretch out your web, I had to cut mine off the rest of the length of the webbing I bought because a little goes a long way when you are stretching it, use less if you want a more wispy web use more if you want a more full web. 

4, Pin the web in so it stays put.

5. Now arrange your spiders, I tried to just put them in but they were too heavy to be supported by the web alone so I had to hot glue them. 

6. I put a spot of hot glue underneath the web and underneath the spider so they had a good anchor to hang onto on the back of the shadow box frame. Let the glue dry and put the back of the shadow box back in and there you have it. A cute little décor DIY for this spookiest of seasons. 

I am hoping to do another DIY later in the spooky season but I don’t know yet because getting Halloween decorations right now is a little difficult, I know I was in Hobby Lobby and they told me that they got no Halloween decorations which shocked me so I had to search high and low for the decorations that I needed to make this. 

Any fun DIY ideas? Let me know in the comments.

Have a good week and I will see y’all later with another post! 

      -MJ

What Was in My September 2020 IPSY Glam Bag?

Hey hey, it’s MJ,  

            So getting this bag this month was an adventure, I know with COVID and everything else that’s going on shipping times are messed up which I get but my problem was that I got an update saying it was delivered after not having much to go on with tracking and so I went over to my mail box and it wasn’t there. Now this is not the first time this has happened because there is a building with the same number on the next street so my packages have sometimes ended up there when we get a new carrier. This was one of those times so I went to the post office, my local post office is great they are always really helpful (shout out to the Bentonville, AR post office!) and it was in my mail box the next morning. 

The Bag:

            Like the Glam Bag Plus this month it was a corduroy which again made me feel like I was in the nineties and I am never upset for a little bit of nostalgia, it was two tone one side the same maroon as the Glam Bag Plus and the other a mustard yellow which was giving me major 90’s vibes because I think I had a pair of pants this color in like first grade and the bag is nice and soft. Also it looks very much like Gryffindor colors so I wasn’t mad about it.

What products did I get? 

Benefit Cosmetics The Porefessional Hydrate Primer:

            This product is one of those that people swear by, I like Benefit but I don’t buy a lot of it because it’s just one of those brands that I haven’t really explored, their Roller Lash mascara is one of my all-time favorites for mascara so I know that they make good stuff. Porefessional is just one of those products that I have heard about for years just never tried, so here I get to try this teeny tiny little sample and see what I think about it. I did try it out on my hand and it soaks in quickly and that part of my hand feels really hydrated so maybe I will start using primers again because of this product, who knows only time will tell. 

Pūrlisse Beauty Youth Glow Vitamin C CC Cream in Fair:

            Normally BB and CC Creams and foundations from subscription services are a crap shoot for me because my skin is so fair so when they say fair sometimes it’s still too dark or the wrong undertone for me. This one isn’t a terrible shade match but man under the flashlight from my phone it is shimmery, it’s almost like a highlighter, I know it is a “glow” product but it’s a little much for me. Maybe when applied and things go onto it it’s better but we’ll see.

Realher Confidence in My Glow Highlighter:

            It’s beautiful, I love the packaging and the shade, I have never heard of the brand but I love it so much and I have only swatched it once. It pigmented and I love highlighters so having one that I like as much as I like this one already it’s kind of great. I don’t know what else I can say beyond that because overall the effect of the packaging and the product has absolutely sold me on it. 

Tarte Big Ego Mascara in black:

            I don’t use a lot of Tarte’s mascaras, I have used Maneater and Lights Camera Lashes and they are both great. The brush is almost as long as the tube and figure eight shaped to an extent which usually tells me it’s volumizing so I will give it a try because I don’t think I have ever received or bought anything from Tarte that I don’t love. 

P/Y/T Beauty Day-To-Night Cool Eyeshadow Quad:

            I like the fact that there is a guide and the shade names on a plastic insert, normally with quads like this you don’t get those but it’s a great addition to tell your customer where they should put the shades for a day look and a night look. Most of the shades are decently pigmented, I feel like when I swatched the shade “coffee run” I didn’t get much out of it but it is the all over color so I wouldn’t expect a hugely noticeable color pay off with that because it is supposed to blend in a little more with the eye lid. The rest of the shades though are beautiful and lovely neutral shades that I really like. 

            So that was my bag for this month, I feel like my post for this one isn’t super informative but it’s been one of those months where I have been distracted by some things and I have been waiting for this bag to show up, literally I usually have it about a week before a post like this goes up but this one goes up on Sunday, I got the bag on Friday and I am writing it Saturday morning so it was cutting it a little close to me having to switch it with my other post for this month but here it is.

            Do you subscribe? Did you get any great products this month? General thoughts? Let me know in the comments. 

            If you want to read any of my other openings for my Glam Bag this year, you can! January, March, April, May, June, July, and August.

            I hope everyone had a great week and has a great start to almost October, I’ll see y’all with another post on Wednesday.

            -MJ

Fall 2020 FabFitFun Unboxing

Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

            It’s that time of year again FabFitFun time and it’s a great time. I am pre-writing a lot of posts just because I have the time on my hands and maybe I still have some creative spark left in me because y’all the world is tiring. 

            I loved everything I got in this box, hands down one of my favorite boxes so far! I will say this first and foremost just to get it out of the way because it was on my mind, so in total you get 8 items and there were a potential of 38 items and that is a lot, there used to be a few items that everyone got and I kind of liked that, there was less choice and it was kind of nice to know that everyone got a few really cool things that were picked for everyone and there wasn’t a choice that you could have gotten instead, but things change and companies change so I cannot begrudge them changing and evolving to suit the needs of their fan base and customers. 

            Seriously though, that is my only complaint and the rest of it is amazing. They are moving to be more environmentally friendly with different box sizes and less paper and confetti that used to come in the box so again good for you triple F looking out for the planet. Also I love the box, the design and the fact that they are changing them to again be more environmentally conscious. 

My one complaint, the shipping label on the top so I don’t get the full nice box top, also I didn’t want to dox my own address so I blacked it out because, duh.

            This box was worth anywhere between $214-$544 and like usual I am not going to tell you the exact value of my personal box but it was up there so I was happy about that because who doesn’t love more bang for their buck?

            So what did I get? I will list all the choices at the end of the potential other items and let you know all sorts of things as I go because as always these are all my opinions and that’s how it always will be, so here we go. 

Botkier New York Trigger Backpack:

            I chose this one and I didn’t think about choosing anything else in this category, I love backpacks; I usually carry a backpack but sometimes it’s just too big. So having a mini-backpack to just carry around was right up my street. It’s a leather flap and an I think nylon bottom with cute little front zip pockets. I cannot wait to get around to using it for all of my daily travels (you know when we get to travel again) so this was the choice that fit my style the most. What were the other options that I could have chosen, Botkier New York Bond Tote, Foxybae 25mm Black Curling Wand, Stila Stay All Day Eyeliner and Huge Extreme Lash Mascara, Uncommon James Set of 2 Copper Canisters, Sachajuan Styling and Finishing Cream, Mila Mélange Foldable Cotton Basket. 

Soia & Kyo Woven Scarfigan with Fringe

            I chose this one too, scarfigan is just a really fun word to say and it’s so cozy and soft. I was wearing it around my apartment last night and I am already obsessed with it. I hope unlike the last cardigan that I got from one of these boxes it doesn’t shed to high heaven. It’s super cute and right now it’s sitting very dramatically on the edge of the chair in my office, I love it so much already because there was some pause about what to choose with this selection and this was the choice that just felt more right to me and I am so glad that I did. The other choices were the Beyond Yoga Hidden Pocket Infinity Scarf, Glossmetics Hair Removal Device, Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Rose Perfecting and Refining Serum, Volition Beauty Celery Green Cream, or the Erno Laszlo Pore Cleansing Clay Mask.

Jenny Bird Leana Pendant:

            This is was last thing that I chose and I was happy with this one as well, I like necklaces and this one is simple and I love it, it’s a double chain with a single silver pendant and it’s so up my street. I like jewelry but when you work with elementary aged kids their first instinct is to grab things that hang so I don’t wear jewelry very frequently and that’s okay because when I get to wear it some of the pieces I have gotten from FabFitFun are my go-to’s. Probably because they are simple and fun but also most of them I have chosen which is always a plus in my book. The pendant actually has a good weight to it and that is always good with jewelry; for it to not feel cheap and flimsy. The other options were the Jenny Bird Austin Cuff, Vitamasques Multivitamin Mask Set, Nectar Sunglasses Blue Light Blocking Glasses in Brown Tortiose, Beauty Bakerie Proof is in the Puddin’ Palette. (which I got in my winter box last year and love!)

Masontops Glass Water Bottle with Neoprene in Turquoise:

            I was hoping to get this one because I love reusable water bottles, I try really hard to not use single use plastic if I can, recycle if I cannot, and this water bottle is actually really cool. It’s also a two cup mason jar if you take the sleeve off and I love a multitasking item. There is of course a lot of sustainable drinkware out there but this one is super cool in my book. I feel like there isn’t much to say about it though, it’s a water bottle but also a mason jar and it’s as simple as that. The other options were the Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel, Skin&Co Roma Truffle Therapy Whipped Cleansing Cream, Feel Beauty Renewed Pumpkin Walnut Facial Cleaners, or the frank body Original Coffee Scrub.

NCLA So Rich Cuticle Oil in Horchata: 

            In high school I worked in a nail salon and I for sure took better care of my nails, they are a mess now and it’s fine for me, but we are getting to the time of year where my hands will dry out and my cuticles will shred themselves so having this is actually really good for my cuticles moving forward into the fall and winter. I don’t know why it’s horchata scented, it’s not a bad smell but when I think of nail products I think of essential oils, lavender and things like that, soft spa scents. I like it though and it makes my cuticles feel nice and moisturized. The other options for this were the HIP cutlery Set, Likwid Rx Stress Reliever 100% Natural Ayurvedic Hair Oil, 8 Other Reasons Runway Clip Trio, Harper+Ari Exfoliating Sugar Cubes in Juice Cleanse. (I have this one I got it in my fall 2019 box and I like them) (In brief side note, I had to look up what post that was in and man my posts have become a lot different since then and I’m not mad about it, not one little bit.)

Voesh New York Pedicure in a Box Duo-Pumpkin Spice:

            I mean, I guess Pumpkin Spice everything really is a thing, now don’t get me wrong I love pumpkin spice but for a pedicure; sure why not? Again worked in a nail salon I used to get pedicures, I haven’t had a professional pedicure since the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012, it’s been a while y’all but having something where I can do a pretty good job at home is not a bad thing in my book. Like it sounds like it has a lot of boog vitamins and stuff in it so I am excited to give it a try. The other options were either The Laundress New York Crease Release or the Spongellé Boxed Flower in Sweet Cedarwood.

Stone Candles Room Spray in Santal Noir:

            I love room spray’s, there is no secret with that I have a bunch of them but let’s be real they are Glade and Febreeze so having a more boujee one is not a bad thing and it smells good with notes of sandalwood and cardamom. It’s beautifully simple packaging makes it something you could put in plain sight and unless someone was really looking at it they wouldn’t know it was room spray. The other options were the Stone Candle Room Spray in Pumpkin Spice (which would have been cool too), NatureLab. Tokyo Perfect Repair Treatment Masque, or the Hythe Tranquility Sleep Mist. 

The Beauty Crop Glow Milk in Blind Date:

            The packaging is a little milk carton with cow spots and I love it! Also the shade is beautiful a rose gold champagne and a little really goes a long way, I know I got a little more than planned when I was swatching it and it covered most of the back of my palm and three of my finger tips on the other hand so be careful with it. Seriously though, the packaging is next level and it’s some of my favorite packaging in a while with any products so congrats, I love it. The other options were either the Beauty Papier Golden Superfood Shower Gel or the ZiGi &MARAiS Pouch with Stripe. 

            Overall this box per usual blew me out of the water and I loved it, keep doing what you do FabFitFun because whatever it is, it’s working.

Wanna check out my other FabFitFun posts from this year, you can! They are pretty fun if i do say so myself, spring and summer for 2020.

            Do you subscribe? Did you like everything you got? Any products that you were over the moon excited to receive?

            I will see everyone later in the week with another post so until then, have a great week!

            -MJ

September 2020 IPSY Glam Bag Unboxing

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Okay so let’s be honest, I still don’t know how I feel about the new Glam Bag Plus experience. I wish that there would just be a list of options that you could pick and you picked three from a larger list because this limited choice nonsense doesn’t work for me. No, instead it’s like we give you four choices like this is a multiple choice test and you have to pick what you want out of those four because sometimes out of those four you don’t want any of them. Also I went to customize right after I got the email and one of the options was already sold out. That seems like poor planning. I wanted a set of masks because I like sheet masks and they were gone already, plan ahead for all of the options because then instead of all four options I only had three and that doesn’t seem fair for something I pay for every month. I know it’s only the second month and they are still working out the bugs but it is kind of annoying to want something or get excited for something and it not be something that you can actually obtain. Bait and switch and that’s not good business practice, yes I also know its first come first serve but it should not have been an option for me if it wasn’t available to me. 

            I also feel like this is becoming more hit and miss to what I like as opposed to the “personalized” experience they hyped up for the whole month of July before the choices started in August. 

            I will give IPSY this though, they are working with a lot of vegan and cruelty free brands which is a huge win in my book. 

            Also one more things before I get into the meat of this post, I never got a tracking email for this which is irksome and as I am writing this I just got a tracking email for my regular Glam Bag that shipped a few days ago because I checked the website, it should be automatic when it ships that an email goes out, it used to be like that. 

The Bag:

            I feel like I am back in the 90’s with this, I remember wearing corduroy pants to kindergarten because it was the mid-90’s and that was a thing you dressed your children in no matter how annoying they were. But I like the pouch, it’s not even really a bag but it feels very fall to me and I am not upset about that one little bit. 

What did I get?

Nature’s Cartel Cream Eyeshadow Trio 

            The shades are Champagne Scandal, 90’s Nude, and Tan Lines from Tahiti, I am not a big fan of cream eyeshadows and I chose this one because the masks were sold out. I clicked a button and then realized too late what I had chosen so this one was an audible on my part. They are nice colors and I like them but I don’t understand from my beauty profile how this was an option for me, I really want to know how they decide your 12 product selection that you can pick from but I guess I will never know. 

Space Case Cosmetics Quad 

            I like Space Case Cosmetics, I have a few of their single pan shadows and this is my first quad, I love the shade names and in this palette they are, Not Rocket Science, Unicorn Horn, Ghost Entered The Host, and Bella Trix. I did choose this one and I wasn’t unhappy with my choice at all because I know how their eyeshadows have performed in the past. They are mostly shimmer shades which is also fine because they can be combined with the billions of other palette’s I have to create some really cool looks. 

Murad Environmental Shield Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30

            I like Murad and this was the other one that I chose, Murad makes really good skin care, their products usually don’t aggravate my skin but sometimes everything aggravates my skin so I can’t really make a judgement on it until I actually get around to trying it. This one is expensive! So getting it in a bag like this is really great for a budget. 

Context Vitamin C All Day Eye Cream

            They chose this one and the next one, lots of skin care they choose for me which is a little odd especially when it’s brands that I have never heard of, I love expanding my “liked brands” list so I am not upset about it but I wish that these products came in a cardboard carton so I could understand their benefits without going to the company’s website. The packaging is nice and simple and after Googling the website I have learned some things about it and I like what I see so I am looking forward to trying it out. 

Avant Collagen Intense Radiance Activator Serum

            This choice they made for me confused me a little because it’s anti-aging and then I looked on the website and the price for this normally made my jaw drop to the floor, I swear I had to physically close my mouth with my hand because I couldn’t get my jaw to do the work for me. I am excited to try it because I have gotten more and more into serums in 2020 so that is always a plus but for now it is going to go with the rest of my currently waiting to try skin care in my fridge. 

            I liked the bag, like I usually do I just want to complain about it for a minute because that’s how life works sometimes you just need to get that out and then you can see things more objectively. I normally don’t give a “what is my bag worth” number because IPSY for the Glam Bag Plus promises $120+ and I am going to tell you something that Avant Serum is the $120 already but in total my bag was worth $275.58 if I bought all of those today at retail price. So is ISPY worth getting? Yea, I think so you get a really good value for the money you are spending and the products are usually great so if you like makeup and skin care give it a try with either this one or the regular Glam Bag, I don’t know about the Ultimate because I don’t get it, that would be excessive. 

            Want to hear about all the other stuff I have gotten this year so far? You can, just click on the month: January, March, April, May, June, July, and August

            So do you subscribe? How do you feel about the new Glam Bag Plus customization? Let me know! 

            I will see y’all later in the week with another post so until then have a good week! 

                        -MJ

What do I use in My Bullet Journal?

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I have been Bullet journaling to various degrees of success since 2018, that doesn’t feel like it’s been that long ago but it also feels like it’s been about 30 years since then. What I would give to go back to early 2018 and warn myself of what was to come and hope that somehow my timeline wouldn’t still shift into this hellscape we are currently in, I try not to swear but man y’all 2020 has just taken me by the front of my shirt and punched me in the face; repeatedly. 

            That is not the point of this post though but I like my stream of consciousness moments on my blog because it gives all of you reading this a view into my brain, it’s a scary place sometimes. I also just had my first Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew from Starbucks of the season and I am jazzed up on caffeine! 

            I have been Bullet Journaling for almost three years now and that is so hard to believe but this year is the first year where I have actually done all 12 months and I am happy to say that my 2020 Bullet Journal (you can see it so far in updates 1 and 2) is complete.

            What supplies do I use for my bullet journal?

Medium (A5) Leuchtturm 1917 Dotted Journal:

            They make a “bullet journal” version now but I don’t like it so I just buy the normal journal they will run you like $20 at Barnes and Noble, that’s where I get mine. I have had various colors over the years my first was Berry, second was I think a shade called Nordic Blue which was a nice icy light blue, this year is green but it’s not on the Barnes and Noble website anymore so I had to look on the Lecuhtturm website and it’s called Fresh Green, and next year is Powder which is a baby pink. This was the one that was suggested to me by a number of blogs on the internet when I was considering Bullet Journaling at the end of 2017. Thank you Pinterest for getting me hooked on another thing.

Fine line Pens in Various colors:

            I bought mine at Michaels when I started and they don’t actually have them anymore but the brand doesn’t really matter as long as it is colors you like and will use in your journal. I use mine for my habit trackers, my mood tracker, and a whole bunch of various other things in my bullet journal because I love colored pens and these are fine line markers so they are great and they don’t bleed through the paper. Mine came in a set of 20 and I think they were under $10 so find ones that work for your purposes, you don’t have to buy the fancy ones to get good results. Store them tip down they least longer! Sharpie also makes a nice selection of colored Sharpie pens which I also use!

Markers in Various Colors: 

            Again from Michaels in like late 2017 so they are old but they still work for what I need them to do, I use them for covers, for mood trackers, and for a lot of my large lettering. You do not want a large tipped marker though, medium tip at most and you may want to try them to make sure they don’t go through the paper and bleed onto the other side because that’s not fun. I store these tip down as well! 

Highlighters:

            I found pastel highlighters at Wal-Mart in 2018 and have not been able to find them there since which makes me upset because if I need more I will have to order them. I got a set of six from Mild Color and I really like them because I use them to highlight important things as well as making sure I know what week I am in. I use these for more than my bullet journal but they are used primarily there. When I replace them I will probably go with Zebra brand because they also have some really nice pastel highlighters. 

Colored Pencils:

            Does not matter the brand! I have a set that I got for Christmas a few years ago after salivating over it for years but I have a set of 150 Prismacolor colored pencils and I love them. I was so afraid to use them because they are very expensive but I used them for almost every cover if not every cover this year and a few last year and I love them so much! Crayola, RoseArt, any of the regular brands work just as well but I am going to use what I have because I love them so much. 

A straight edge: 

            I didn’t use a ruler until I started on working on my Bullet Journal for next year, I don’t even use a ruler I use the edge of the card that comes with my IPSY bags, it’s folded in half but it’s the perfect size for my Bullet Journal, it makes things look cleaner and I am kicking myself for not using one sooner because it made things SO MUCH easier! 

Washi Tape: 

            I have never bought a full priced tube or pack of Washi Tape I just wait for them to go on clearance and buy them then. I use it for mostly my habit trackers to make the pages look nice but I love the fun of washi tape. 

Stickers and Things: 

            There are a lot of premade journals out there, I love the versatility of a bullet journal because I can create as I go but I always have a bunch of stickers and things at my disposal, some come from those other planners, again clearance section! Why spend more than you have to, I mean really. I love stickers and tiny note pads, I don’t use them too frequently in my Bullet Journal but I have them so I can when I want.

A Good Black Fine Liner Pen:

            This is the MOST IMPORTANT thing for your Bullet Journal, you do a lot of outlining and all of the shapes are mostly a fine line black pen, all of the habit trackers, the weekly spreads, the daily tasks, the calendars that I do, and most of the covers have black outlines or sections and I use a black Sharpie Pen. I love this pen, it is the only one I use for my Bullet Journal and I have used about four since I started Bullet Journaling, I know the one I am using right now is already half gone because I already did the basic pages and layouts for next year so eventually I will have to get out another one. The tip does wear down on this one so the lines for written words sometimes get a little thick but you can always have a second one out just for lettering, which I should but don’t. 

            You don’t have to spend a bunch of money if you want to start Bullet Journaling, it’s supposed to be fun and creative instead of buying a planner that isn’t customizable to you, I love the freedom of a Bullet Journal because there is no set standard you can do whatever you want with it. I used to buy a planner every year because I needed it for school but now that I am out of school (I still have dreams about missing work during my master’s program and I have been out of it for over two years) I have the choice to allow my creativity one more outlet. In college I swore by the Lilly Pulitzer planners and I still would if I was in college because I loved them and they were what I needed at the time. Planners have become such a big craze in the last several years and I got caught up in it. You learn with every new planner, every new year brings new challenges and insights that you learn from years past.

            You can check out all of my other Bullet Journal related posts, I will list them so you can click at will! What I did Differently in my 2019 BuJo, Some of my fave 2018 pages, Some of my fave 2019 pages, and a random update from last year.

            Do you Bullet Journal? Any tips or tricks I am missing that you swear by? Let me know!

            Hope y’all have a great start to your week and I will see you with another post soon!

                        -MJ

MJ’s Bathroom Organization

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            So truth be told I don’t have a lot of space in my apartment, especially in my bathroom, it’s kind of a mess for someone who likes skin care and everything else so I do require some space and I don’t have it so I have had to get a little creative with the organization of some of my spaces. I got spoiled with the bathroom storage space at my last apartment but things have changed since then. 

            This is just going to be my storage cabinet, I don’t utilize the space under the sink except for cleaning supplies and toilet paper so that’s not a space I go into all that often because it’s just not conducive for organization. 

            All of this is going to make me look like a hoarder and I am aware of that but when you subscribe to a few different beauty and lifestyle boxes this is what happens you accumulate things and so you have to organize things. 

Shelf One/The Bottom Shelf:

            This shelf is for short things mostly or things I use pretty often, this is where I store my everyday makeup essentials as well as some miscellaneous other things besides these two bins, all of these bins are from Walmart and I got them around school supply stock up time but I bet you could still get them in the office supply section and I have a bunch of them used for different things around my apartment because they are the perfect size. 

Bin one: 

            Bin one is body scrubs and facial cleanser plus a few other facial care items like serums and toner. Whenever I run out of a facial cleanser I can reach in and grab one which is kind of nice. I don’t used scrubs all that often but having them in one place makes me life so much easier in the long run. 

Bin two: 

            Bin two is misc. skin care that doesn’t really have another home it’s all of my body care items and some misc. other things, this was one of those bins that I wasn’t really sure what to put in because it was just what was leftover when I sorted everything on the floor of my office one afternoon in like July because I was going stir crazy, I am still stir crazy nothing has changed but at least my bathroom cabinet is organized. 

Shelf Two/ The Middle Shelf:

            This shelf is full of the tall things and the things that I need pretty easy access to, like my hair care everyday items, my dry shampoo, and my lint roller. As well as my rubber ducks, they used to sit on the counter on the sink but I had to move them and I will eventually find them a new home but that today isn’t today.

Bin one:

            This one is facial lotion and hand lotion as well as where I keep all of the non-makeup samples I get from IPSY, it’s a lot of facial lotion and again I have only gotten into really caring about my facial care in the last two or so years and that means that I have accumulated lotions. Also having services like the ISPY Glam Bag Plus can be a pain because you cannot go through a full tube of a facial lotion in one month, there is a part of me that wishes that service was every other month but I digress. My hands are always dry so being able to grab for one to stick in my purse is always really great. 

Bin two:          

            I have a lot of body lotion that I don’t use all that often I forget to do it after I get out of the shower and I need to but some days, it’s just not on my mind. That is actually all that’s in this basket which is insane to me, all of the other bins are a mix of things but this is all body lotion or cream.

Shelf Three/ The Top Shelf:

            Unlike a bar the top shelf is not the best shelf in my bathroom cabinet, this shelf is reserved for things that I don’t use very often. I also store my extra shampoo, conditioner, and deodorant up here but bin wise this is my least used shelf.

Bin one: 

            Alright this bin is all of my excess makeup that I don’t use but I don’t want to get rid of, you pay for a thing and you want to keep it but I have a feeling that this bin will eventually just be dumped because I don’t use this makeup and why keep it?

Bin two: 

            It is what it says it is, nail polish and hair care, odd combination I know but it is what it is. I used to wear a lot more nail polish because I worked in a nail salon so I was surrounded by it for a long time but I don’t wear it so much anymore because I pick at it and peel it off so what’s the point of it? It also houses all of my hair care items, I don’t like having a lot of stuff in my hair, I don’t like my hair feeling dirty and when there is a lot of product in it that’s exactly what it feels like and I am not a fan. 

Bonus: My little copper basket of my skin care routine items.

            This is one of the only things that sits on my bathroom counter all the time and putting it all in a bin really helped me organize the space or at least feel like it’s organized and having this cute little basket that was for spices until about two and a half months ago I have been actually putting things away instead of just leaving them on the counter around my sink. 

            I have for sure had to improvise with space but these bins are great, I have a bin in the fridge full of my sheet masks, I have one for my bullet journal stickers and such, and one that sits in my makeup storage that is full of my blush, bronzer, highlighters, and contour items. They are just really great bins and if you are a small space human like I am finding organization and storage that works for you is most of the battle. 

            I like organizing, it’s something that helps ease my anxiety and I can tell when I am really anxious because all I want to do it organize and reorganize because it gives me control over something so having the ability to organize my spaces does help when I am feeling anxious. Organization keeps me focused and it gets my head back in the right space.

            Any small space organization tips? 

            I will see everyone later in the week with another post, hope you have the best week you can!

            -MJ

MJ’s Writing Tips

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            So I like writing that’s not a secret to the people who know me in real life. I have completed 12 novels on my own, none of them are published which is fine but that’s a goal though. I enjoy creating worlds and characters out of thin air; it’s a lot of fun for me but I have learned a lot in the seven or eight years that I have been writing long form fiction and I have gotten plenty of advice from authors who write a lot better than I do. My tips aren’t new and ground breaking but they don’t have to be, they are just things I have learned on the way after amassing a shelf full of binders that currently house my completed books which is crazy to think because a lot of work goes into a book. I revise on a cycle so I will usually revisit most books once a year and I can tell how much my writing has changed and evolved since my first publishable (in my opinion) novel was finished in 2014.

            I have been wrestling with even posting this because that’s just who I am as a person, I don’t like to make myself vulnerable and that’s what happens with writing but I promised myself that I needed to be okay with being myself on the internet, full transparency and all that. I am just a person on the other side of a computer, like the reader. I am just a person who has a hobby and enjoys that hobby because writing allows me to be whoever I want to be in whatever world I want to be in so here I am with some of my personal writing tips. 

            These are all just opinions they are not statements of fact or personal attacks on anyone because everyone has a different writing style but these are things that have helped me over time become a better writer in my own mind. 

  1. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Your first draft can be absolute garbage as long as it exists, it is like a super power to be able to put thousands and thousands of words down on paper and have it become something, so not everything has to be perfect in that first draft. That is what revisions are for! 

2. Take breaks

I used to want to write straight through a novel, not take breaks, not focus on any other writing project but I am going to be honest that worked when I was in college and writing was a break from my studies but as I started to write more I found myself getting ideas randomly in the middle of other projects and you have to get those ideas down so you don’t lose them. Sometimes working on another project gives you ideas for the project that you have put a pin in and so for me taking breaks is not always a bad thing. 

3. Stay organized

I have a binder for each book or series I am working on at the moment. I have a binder with just outlines, major characters for each book or series, birthday’s in a calendar that I ignore the year on, and other visuals that I need for my general knowledge. The binder for each series contains the outline, characters, visuals, world building, and other important information that is just for that novel. I used to keep a more thorough outline/idea notebook but it doesn’t serve my purposes anymore because I am not writing those books at the moment so I outline on my computer and each novel or series has its own folder in my expansive folder system.

Also with this one, keep a notebook or something on you in case you get a flash of an idea or dialogue and you aren’t near your computer. I use the notes app on my phone and it has made sure that I don’t lose my little ideas or even big ideas when I am not near my laptop. 

4. Do your research

I have spent forty five minutes researching information for one paragraph. My Google search history looks insane and I know it and I know that sometimes I don’t get all the information when I need it. I make notes as I go to look things up if I am on a roll and can’t stop writing because I will lose my train of thought and then I will just lose all motivation. It bothers me when things are overlooked or incorrect or it’s clear that the person writing just pulled it out and thought they knew something when they didn’t. 

Google Search Terms when I was working on a novel last year: 

  1. Shakespearean attire
  2. Average number of pages in a movie script
  3. Provinces of Canada
  4. Airports in England
  5. How long is Hamlet
  6. Does Toronto have a plastic bag tax

That was also all for about two scenes because they were things that I didn’t know and I wanted to make sure that I was getting things correct. 

5. You don’t have to write every day

I wrote somewhere around 530,000 words last year between my own projects, projects with other, and blog posts. I have surpassed that this year just because I am working on projects with others. While I say that I will say there are some days where I write 6,000+ words and other days where I stare at my laptop and write the words “she walked” three times in one sentence because I can’t focus. It’s okay to take a day and not write, I have to teach myself that some days because I want to write at least 1,000 words a day. Some days that 1,000 comes through my fingers in like half an hour sometimes it takes all day and I still don’t hit it. It’s okay to let your creativity recharge. 

6. Read! 

I have not read enough books this year and I know that. I love reading and I always have reading as a kid inspired me to write little things, fan fictions and my first attempts at long form fiction as a teenager, and novels in college and beyond. Find a genre that you enjoy and run with it, I did this and read like 11 or 12 pre-World War I British period fictions and I have not read one since because I burned out on it even though I love that time period. I also have not written a period fiction and I don’t think I ever will. But read, it helps you as a writer. 

7. Create characters you would want to know/ don’t make them perfect

What I mean when I say this is that if you are writing something and you wouldn’t want to at least sit down and chat with the character you might hate writing them. I am talking about antagonists too, my villains I would love to sit down and have a chat with because I think it would be fascinating. Give you’re characters flaws make them more human more relatable to your readers because if they are unbelievable or static people get bored with them. I know I have put books down and never picked them back up because the characters didn’t feel real to me. 

8. Branch out

Whether that be creatively or with a community around you that supports your writing, can help you out with things you don’t know, or beta readers when you need someone to look at the word vomit you put out on a page. (I am still working on the community part.) When I say branch out creatively though what I mean is don’t just write one style, I have written books in first and third person, I want to write a choose your own adventure style in second person which is going to be complicated. Write in different genres, I have written general, fantasy, tested my hand at sci-fi, and tried out mystery because I read a lot of cozy mysteries. I have done stand alone and series, the series started out as a stand-alone series of three and now encompasses four different major groups and what will be probably seven novels when they are all completed.

9. No idea is stupid

Even if something never makes it to a book store or to the public if it’s just for you get that idea out of your head and down on paper. If it’s just for you it doesn’t have to be perfect and maybe that idea will spark another idea that is absolutely amazing. Rome wasn’t built in a day, right? 

10. Have fun with it (this one is related to no. 1)

Creative endeavors are supposed to be fun so don’t stress yourself out if something isn’t perfect, because let’s be honest perfect is impossible, messy characters can be fun as long as they are consistent. It’s okay to have stupid/ funny lines and be unapologetic about them because sometimes those are the ones that people quote for years after reading a book.

11. Don’t create statue characters (this one is related to no. 7)

Statue characters are characters to me who have almost no purpose, do not put in a character to say one line and never been seen or heard from again. Do not make your major characters static, they also qualify as statue characters, they have to grow and evolve as time goes on, you can have characters who never learn from their mistakes but do not have too many. If you are writing a character say at the beginning of college by the end they will be a different person because that’s usually how it works in real life. Don’t root them in one spot and expect everyone else in the story to support them, people get annoyed with others who learn nothing and don’t change. 

12. Don’t assume your reader knows everything/ can read minds

Sometimes explanations are necessary to get a point across or to allow someone to understand your character’s motivation. I have read books in the past where I felt like I was missing a bunch of things because things weren’t explained or they were something that I didn’t personally understand and you lose people that way. If you sit around and assume that the person reading your book knows everything that you do you might miss something and lose someone half way through, you Google so they don’t have to. 

            I think that a dozen is just about enough because it was just me rambling for almost 1500 words and that’s a lot. My tips might not work for you and they might rehash those tips of famous authors but maybe that just means a lot of authors suffer with the same issues, who knows? I am not a professional author, though I aspire to be one day, I have a goal of having a book shelf full of my work instead of just other people’s work. I might have more tips down the road because this is a post that I have been considering since last year at some point and it’s just one of those posts that I was scared to post because this is a “lifestyle” blog then I realized it’s my blog and I can put whatever I want on here because it’s what I want to put on here. 

            If you have any tips for me I am all ears! 

            Hope everyone has a great start to the week and I will see y’all on Wednesday with another post.

            -MJ