Monday, July 30, 2012

50 Shades, a Long Car Ride, and Lots of Time to Think

*This blog post is a little more risque than most, you have been warned*

This weekend I made my first long road trip, just me and Little Miss. I don't know how people made such long car rides with kids before portable dvd players were around, between Dora and the Disney princesses my daughter was very entertained! This trip, I listened to audio books from my iPod. I cannot thank Alex enough for suggesting this, it made the trip go by so much quicker! 

I decided to be a little risque and I downloaded the first two books from the very much talked about "50 Shades of Grey" series. Before you get your panties in a twist (hehehe), my daughter had her own headphones on the entire time. 

After completing the first book, I have a few thoughts:

"Oh my!"

What is it about Washington state...with people like Mr. Grey, sparkly vampires, and muscled wolves as residents, why haven't I moved there yet?!

I will now refer to Hubs as "Mr. Jefferson" because it sounds alot sexier after reading this novel. 

I can see why this book has been so wildly successful: Its one of the few times a book with this subject matter has been so mainstream. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and practices when it comes to what they do in the bedroom (or in the elevator, or in the bath tub...). In my opinion, as Americans we are kind of prudish in comparison to the rest of the world. Did you know in our country, movies with sexual situations are given a harsher movie rating than movies with violence? That is absurd to me because, let's face it, most people will be involved in a sexual situation in their lifetime. 

This book also talks about BDSM (bondage/discipline, sadism/masochism) and the power roles that go along with it. Lets consider the typical housewife that reads this novel: They spend their days running the household. They shuffle their children between summer camps, school, and/or extracurricular activities. They do the grocery shopping, they prepare the meals. They make most of the decisions, they are in charge. Their husband comes home from a long day at work and they are exhausted as well. By the time the day is over, there is not much time or energy for passion between the sheets with their spouse. 

Don't get me wrong, I am not frowning upon this or trying to make is seem so mundane. To have a family, to be able to keep them healthy and happy, this is an ideal that most of us strive for. But wouldn't a story like "50 Shades of Grey" be a great escape from the monotony that this day-to-day lifestyle can bring? To have some millionaire sweep you off your feet and take away the stress of making the decisions, especially in the bedroom? To have someone tell you how much they desire you? I'm not all about some man telling me what to eat, when to eat, and what I can wear. But a man making all the decisions in the bedroom? Well that's an idea that may appeal to women out there that are willing to relinquish some of their decision-making responsibilities.

I bet when alot of you first married your husband there were plenty of passion-filled nights. I bet there was lots of flirting and suggestive innuendo. Remember? But as with most couples, over time we fill our lives with so many other things. Not that passion isn't just as important as it was before, it just takes a back-burner to our busy lives. The novel reminds us of those lustful beginnings and encourages us to rekindle them. This story plants a seed in our minds and opens up the possibility of trying new things, maybe not so "vanilla" as we may be accustomed to. But who better to try those things out with than someone you love and trust, like a spouse?

For all of those reasons and probably a few more, I believe is why "50 Shades" resonates so loudly with women. I don't think the book is spectacularly written and I find Ana's character annoying & immature. Though her innocence and insight are refreshing at times. I just find it hard to believe that someone who's had multiple stepdad's and a roomate who has obviously had men stay over night a few times can be so naive and not at least curious about sex. Overall, the book was an interesting read to say the least. I read it out of sheer curiosity, I wanted to see what all the hype was about. Besides the kinky sex scenes, the underlying love story kept me reading. They both show one another a side of themselves they didn't know existed. Who doesn't love a story where both characters save each other?

On the news the other day, they were talking about the "50 Shades" series and about the baby boom it has inspired. Here are my thoughts: Lots of lonely ladies reading these books plus a long deployment equals a HUGE baby boom after homecoming. Looks like the delivery rooms around here are going to have their hands full! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Oh How I Love a Good Dress...

Tonight we have our adult's halfway party, which means we are on the downhill side of this deployment! I am mostly excited about the cute dress I am wearing tonight, want to see it? 

Its a Jessica Simpson dress I found on sale at TJ Maxx, the pictures show the dress in the color biscay bay. My dress is a different color called porcelain rose. Its a pinkish coral color.

Speaking of dresses, now would be a good time to start planning on a homecoming dress!

A few months back I won an amazing dress from, remember this post? I am still keeping my dress a surprise (hehehehe) but I can tell you one thing, its amazing! I chose to have my dress customized to my measurements so I am not exaggerating when I say this dress was made for me.

I just love eShakti's customization feature. When I go shopping for clothes, I always try everything on before I buy. Of course, you can't do that when you shop online. So instead of "guessing" what size will fit me, I chose to have the dress customized to my measurements. Another thing about eShakti's sizing, even if you don't chose the customization they tell you exactly what measurements are for each size! So when you buy a dress from eShakti, you know exactly what you are purchasing.

  • All styles in all sizes 0-26W
  • Customize at $7.50: made to your size, shape, and style. FREE THE FIRST TIME YOU CUSTOMIZE!
  • Ships in 5 business days, delivers in 8-12 business day including custom clothing.

Did you know that eShakti is having a huge 40% off sale right now? If that isn't a good enough excuse to shop for a dress, top, skirt, or accessories, I am able to offer my readers and ADDITIONAL 10% OFF CODE: SE24SXN! You can use this code on top of the 40% off sale, you can use this code on all regular priced items too. However, this code cannot be used with overstock items.

Here are a few of the goodies available in the 40% off sale:

Floral Eyelet Dress

Flying Saucer Dress

One Shoulder Poplin Cotton Dress

Oval Dot Mesh Sequin Maxi

Striped Pleats Dress

Color Club Wristlet (3 colors available!)

Who doesn't love a good sale? I am very tempted to buy another dress...or top...or purse...At 40% off and then an additional 10% using the code SE24SXN, it is too good of a deal to pass up!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Trying Out New Things

Since deployment started over for us last week I have been getting back into survival mode. You would think it would be easier since homecoming is only getting closer, but nope not for me. You know how when your sailor deploys like a million things go wrong? I thought we were exempt from that since we are still technically on the same deployment. Boy was I wrong. After a rough start to this week, a special delivery on my doorstep made me very happy: new makeup!

I am stuck in a rut. I have been wearing the same makeup colors for at least 5 years now. I am long overdue for a makeup makeover! I have been kind of hesitant because I don't want to spend the money then hate the product or the color looks bad on me. So when I noticed that e.l.f Cosmetics was having a 50% off everything sale I just couldn't resist. Most of their stuff is only $1 so even if I didn't like the color, I wouldn't feel as bad if I didn't use it.

I did my research and I have one friend that is raves about e.l.f. makeup, I figured I could try it out. After browsing internet reviews, the only 2 negative complaints about the makeup were there wasn't enough pigment so you needed to apply more than usual and the makeup didn't last all day. But a vast majority of the reviews raved about the product because it was of good quality and it was inexpensive. Sweet!

So here is the box of goodies that arrived on my doorstep today! This entire box cost me under $30.

-Fair Skin Collections Starter Kit $20
  • Brightening Eye Color in Nouveau Neutrals
  • Clarifying Pressed Powder in Ivory
  • Tinted Moisturizer in Light
  • Hypershine Gloss in Bare
  • Blush in Innocence
  • All Over Color Stick in Persimmon
  • Under Eye Concealer & Highlighter in Glow/Fair
  • Concealer Pencil & Brush in Fair
  • Signature Case
  • Eye Shadow Brush
  • Blushing, Bronzing and Blending Brush
  • Total Face Brush 

  • - Essential Brightening Eye Color in Ethereal $1
    - Studio Makeup Mist and Set $3
    - Studio Blush in Tickled Pink $3
    - Mineral Lipstick in Natural Nymph $5

    So I prepped my face like I normally do, and I made sure to use makeup primer. I absolutely love Smashbox's Photo Finish Primer with SPF 15, I just wish it was cheaper! 

    I applied the tinted moisturizer and it was very sheer. A little more sheer than I expected, but my goal was to find a lighter foundation to wear day to day and this was it! Then I tried out the under eye concealer. I was hesitant because I don't feel I need anything specifically for my under eye area. Also in the past when I have tried out under eye concealer I end up looking like a raccoon! So when I tried out the e.l.f. under eye concealer I was pleasantly surprised. It was very lightweight, easy to blend, and didn't settle into my under eye lines. On the other end of the concealer was the highlighter. It was a very sheer, white shimmer. I used it on the inside of my eyes near my nose and right under my eyebrows. I read somewhere that is where you supposed to apply highlighter but this was my first time trying it out. Next I used the clarifying pressed powder with my new total face brush. So this powder has salicylic acid in it and that is a total win for me since I am prone to breakouts. But, I haven't used a clarifying powder in years and I just remember the weird smell they used to have. The e.l.f. clarifying powder didn't smell like that all. The powder did its job well and as for the brush, it was okay I just prefer something with more bristles. It was soft and I didn't notice much shedding. But I still prefer my Smashbox Face and Body Brush #19 and like most of Smashbox's products it cost me way too much money...The last product I applied to my face was the studio blush in tickled pink with my new blending brush. I put on the blush and it did take a few swipes to get the color to show. I also applied the all over color stick in persimmon to my cheeks and blended it with the blush. The combo worked out really well.

    For my eyes, I always start out with Urban Decay Eye Shadow Potion in Sin. This primer will make any eyeshadow last forever. I ended up using both of the brightening eye shadow quads. Noveau Neutrals were all matte and Ethereal was pretty much identical but in shimmers. So I used some of the shimmers and some of the matte. What I did notice about the white eyeshadow is the one with shimmer, lost its shimmer as I applied it. I had little specs of shimmer on my face. Otherwise the colors were great! I applied my usual eyeliner, Clinique Quickliner for Eyes in Dark Chocolate followed by my usual mascara, Cover Girl LashBlast Volume. Oh yah, I also covered my eyebrows with Bare Minerals Brow Color in Ash Blonde.

    I tried out all 3 lip products and I still have some playing around to do. I will definitely NOT use the all over color stick in persimmon on my lips, it just was the total wrong color for my lips. The hypershine gloss in bare was a great gloss, not at all sticky or gooey feeling. The mineral lipstick in natural nymph was great too. But both colors were just a little too pale for me. Which I thought was pretty impossible but hey you learn something new every day! I think if I used my pinkish-mauve lipliner with the lipstick I will end up with a great color. I would need a darker lipcolor in order to apply the gloss over it as well so I don't end up looking so washed out. So both of them were wonderful products, just in the wrong color. I think I may order the mineral lipstick in nicely nude to see if it looks better for me!

    After getting all of my makeup on, I applied the makeup mist and set spray. Then I gave this new makeup the ultimate test: 60 minutes of Spin Intervals class! *Muahahaha*

    I know I know you aren't supposed to wear makeup to the gym and I usually don't! But for the sake of research, I wanted to test out this makeup through sweat because in case you all didn't notice it is summertime outside. Not the ideal conditions for makeup. So here are my lovely before and after photos:

    Yup, the makeup made it through my workout! I swear, I was sweating in the gym. I was even wiping, well patting, my face with a towel throughout class. But I don't drip sweat from my face when I workout either. I am a little shinier on the after shot, but that is to be expected. You can see the little shimmers from the white eyeshadow are no longer there and neither is my lipstick. Otherwise, this makeup passed the test. But you know what the key is to make any good makeup last? PRIMER. If you have a good base for your makeup, it should last. My eyeshadow didn't crease. My foundation didn't crease. Everything stayed put. That is why you need primer folks. I also believe the mist and set spray helped out too. I used a different brand of setting spray for homecoming last year, in July, and my makeup lasted through the day. I also used primer.

    My latest makeup purchases have made me very happy, I will be mixing in these new e.l.f. products with my old makeup must haves. I am very excited that even though this makeup was cheap, it looks and uses like the other pricier brands. 

    Monday, July 9, 2012

    Pillowcase Mattress Tutorial

    In order to distract myself from the fact the Hubs finally left back overseas, I dove headfirst into my projects! A few months ago, I found a tutorial on Pinterest to make a pillowcase mattress. I just *had* to make one for Little Miss. It was a good tutorial, though I still managed to flub it up a bit. But I loved the end result so much, I knew these would make for perfect gifts. 

    So 2 days ago I started gathering my supplies and looked back online for the tutorial...and its gone!! I was frantic, then my husband looks at me (like I have lost my mind) and says, "Quit nuking it Shannon, just wrap the material around the pillows." That man is a genius, but don't tell him I told you that though. I came up with this tutorial and I had to share it with everyone, I am so proud of myself!  

    3 yards of material
    4 pillows
    sewing supplies

    First, make sure you wash the fabric. You don't this to shrink after you've sewn it all together.

    Next, lay out your pillows on the fabric. I placed mine slightly off center.

     Then I folded over one side of the pillows, then the other.

    I left about 3 inches of fabric above and below the pillows, then I cut off the excess fabric from the bottom.

    I pinned over the long sides of the fabric so I could hem.

    After sewing up both sides, I laid out the fabric BUT WITH THE WRONG SIDE OUT and put the pillows in. Then I folded over both sides again. 
    Fabric is wrong side out, one side folded over

    Fabric is wrong side out and folded over the pillows
    I pinned the fabric on the top together, then did the same for the bottom.

    Fabric is inside out and the short sides (top & bottom) are pinned

    After sewing the top & bottom, then you turn the fabric right sides out.

    Turning the fabric to right sides out
     I put the pillows on the fabric again to make sure it all still fit (it does HOORAY!)

    Time to create the pockets for the pillows. Measure the length of your fabric. Mine was 72 inches long. Now divide that number by 4, which gave me 18. So every 18 inches I drew a line and pinned to make a place for the pillows. You end up with 3 rows of pins.

    One row of pins

    3 rows of pins (you may have to squint to see lol)
    After you sew along the 3 rows to make the pockets for the pillows YOU ARE FINISHED!

    Wasn't that easy? Now its time to enjoy your pillowcase mattress. Let Little Miss show you how:

    I am so proud how the back of the mattress turned out, see its a straight line!!

    Then I went a little crazy. I decided to add a bit of personalization to it.

    Did I mention this is a birthday gift for one of Little Miss's friends? I bet you'll never guess what letter her name begins with...

    In case you choose to add a monogram letter, I would suggest doing this BEFORE you create the pockets for the pillows.

    All folded up and ready to give to the birthday girl!

    This project wasn't expensive at all. For my fabric, I used no-pill fleece which was 50% off at Joanne's this week. The pillows I bought for $2.50 a piece at WalMart. Plus, this was very easy to make. As long as you can sew straight lines (or mostly straight) you are good to go!

    Sunday, July 8, 2012

    The Hardest Thing

    Some of you may have noticed my absence from blogging lately, I am about to tell you all why. I have been rather tight-lipped about the whole situation until we could figure out how to deal with things. Let's be honest here, some things need to stay private and be dealt with in that manner. Now that we are in the aftermath, I feel it is appropriate to share with everyone.

    Little Miss with PawPaw back in May

     It all began with a very early morning phone call, 6:27am to be exact. Its funny how you remember such insignificant things as the exact time when bad things happen. I was still mostly asleep and instead of answering, my fingers chose to ignore the call instead. The caller ID showed it was my in-laws calling and that is very out of the ordinary for them to call so early. My mind immediately leapt to the worst case scenario as I was returning the missed call. My worst fears were confirmed: My father-in-law passed away. He went to sleep and just never woke back up. To complicate matters, my in-laws were not at home when this happened, they were staying out of town. I tried to get as much information out of my MIL as possible so I could make the phone calls to the Red Cross and my Ombudsman, but she didn't know much yet because my FIL had not been transported to a funeral home yet (the Red Cross needs confirmation of the event so they contact the funeral home).

    I start to think of all the other phone calls and conversations I need to have then my heart literally stops; I realize I will not be the one breaking the news to my husband. He will find out from his Master Chief. I suppose I could have asked for the command to just have my husband call me so I can tell him the news myself, but imagine the situation he will be summoned into: He will be called into his Master Chief's office and told that something has happened so he needs to call his wife. I don't want my husband's mind, for even a moment, to wander and worry about all the possible things that have gone wrong. So having the chain of command break the news to him is for the best.

    Then I called my Ombudsman. Even though I am an Ombudsman myself, I didn't want to handle my own personal situation. Being on the other side of the situation, I can really see what a great service Ombudsman do for the families. I was emotional and upset when I made the phone call, I just needed someone to handle this one important thing for me while I handled all the other phone calls that needed to be made. It was such a relief to have someone to contact that could take care of contacting the command for me. Luckily, Hubs was able to call me within an hour (or two, time was blurry at this point) and he was able to begin on the emergency leave paperwork.

    When I found out what funeral home the family was using, I called them to let them know I was going to send a Red Cross message because the deceased has a son serving active duty overseas right now. I wanted to give them a heads up so they were prepared for that call. Then I was able to call the Red Cross to send the "official" message to the command.

    I didn't tell very many people what was going on, I went Facebook silent for a while. I knew word would get out soon enough because bad news travels fast on the ship, especially when it comes to a sailor getting off the ship for emergency leave. I just wasn't ready for all the questions, especially ones I didn't have answers for.

    "When is he coming home?" I don't know.

    "When is the funeral?" I don't know.

    "When are you leaving? When are you coming back? How long will he be home for?" 

    You can see how this can be overwhelming when lots of people ask the same questions. I understand why they are asking the questions, but I was emotionally drained and not ready to deal with it all. I was also in disbelief like this was all some sort of bad dream. If I had lost a parent, I would need to be medicated and locked in a little white padded room. I would lose my mind. But that is not how most men work, that is not how Hubs works. Though he has dealt with alot of loss in his life, I was not with him when it happened. I didn't know what version of my husband I would be getting from the airport.

    We were very fortunate and my husband was able to be back stateside 2 days after receiving the bad news. I made all the preparations for him coming home, like super cleaning the house. I also lined up people to come by and watch our kitties even though I had no idea when we were leaving town. Picking Hubs up at the airport was full of mixed emotions. I was anxious and nervous. Everytime I started getting excited, I felt guilty because of the circumstances surrounding this homecoming.

    Let me make this clear, I would not wish an emergency leave situation on my worst enemy. This is not the homecoming either of us wanted. I would rather Hubs be deployed for over a year than have him come home mid-deployment because his father died.

    We drove to Texas to be with the family, it made for a very long car ride both ways. And as always, when one thing goes wrong so do a million others. Our AC went out the same day Hubs came home and it took a week to repair. While we were out of town so we didn't have to deal with the heat, our kitties were here. Thankfully, I have some great friends who came over daily to check on the furry kids and make sure all was okay.

    Now comes the hardest part: Saying goodbye again. We dropped Hubs off at the airport last night. Little Miss cried and cried, we tried to prepare her for daddy leaving but it didn't help. Then about an hour after we leave the airport, I get a phone call from Hubs. Yup, nothing ever goes according to plan. There were ground delays and because of that, Hubs wasn't going to make his next flight. On top of that, there weren't any available flights to his destination until Monday. So we went back to the airport and picked up our sailor, again. Boy oh boy, Little Miss is going to be very confused when he leaves again. Goodbye #2 was harder than the first one, I can only imagine how hard #3 is going to be.

    I am hoping the rest of our deployment goes by uneventfully. I can only imagine how Hubs feels going back to work and having to deal with the loss of his father. Maybe getting back to the monotony of work will be a welcome distraction.

    I guess each day in the military life teaches you new things. Now I know first hand how the military handles emergency situations back home. Now I know how I am supposed to handle an emergency situation. I've known how to handle all of this as an Ombudsman but this time I was on the other side of things.

    I was also reminded how fast bad news travels and how wonderful some of my friends truly are. Thanks to everyone who sent texts to check in on us to see if we needed anything or just letting us know you were there for us. Those of you that have felt the need to point out how "lucky" I am to be able to see my husband, there are lots of things I would like to say to you but I am going to simply tell you that I would gladly trade places with you if it means that my father-in-law would still be alive.

    Now that this explanation is out of the way, once Hubs is back out to sea I have lots of projects to keep busy. Plus, its summertime! I need to get back to training for the half marathon too. Lots of things to keep me busy for the remainder of this final deployment.