Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Product Review: Younique Mascara

My friend Christy has been posting all over Facebook for the last several months about this ''wonder'' mascara. I was curious about this mascara that she was raving about and sharing videos of on her timeline.

Truth be told, I am not a big makeup user or wearer. My nickname isn't Messy Moose for nothing, I am not a makeup wonder more like a makeup nightmare. I have little to no eyelashes not even an eyelash curler can help me. For the last couple of years, I have been using ''They're Real'' by Benefit for mascara. I have been pretty happy with it until I saw this product online. Now some are into using false eyelashes, for me I would end up with something that could rival  an episode ''I Love Lucy''

A few weeks ago, Christy sent me a message on Facebook asking if I would write a blog for her and review the product. I jumped at the chance!! I could finally try this mascara for myself and see what its all about. Christy's mom Janeen is one of my special friends, our family's connected in so many ways and part of a circle of amazing women.

Funny enough, Christy's mom and I met through our mutual love of the Bachelor during Travis Stork, M.D.'s season. Yesterday on his show the Doctor's they did a review of the product: http://www.thedoctorstv.com/videos/magic-mascara

Needless to say, I love Christy's family so much that I would do anything for them, including sharing my Messy makeup ways in a product review.....the product is amazing, the operator not so much.

Christy sent me: Mood Struck Minerals Pigment Powder in Sexy  and Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes

Admittedly, I was hesitant about the product. I worried how would I get it off? The mascara washes off with warm water and facial cleanser. So that fear was allievated before I even put it on.

Now the first thing I did is watch a video sent by Christy to learn how to apply the product

*I am a real person with real flaws to my skin. I just decided to put myself out there flaws and all with the product standing for itself*

You can click on any product name in this review and be taken to Christy's webpage to buy the product

Before Eye Pigment Sexy only:

Step one: Use your regular mascara to create a base layer

After Step One:

Step Two: Apply Moodstruck Transplanting Gel  to lashes

Step Two Results: 

Step Three Result: 

Messy but amazing still! Remember I am non professional messy makeup girl. 

Final result after adding another layer:

I love this product. Even for a messy girl like me ( believe me, I am constantly having to re-do my under eye because I get it all over myself) it is easy to use and the end result is better than any mascara I have ever used. I love this amazing 3D mascara.

Are you ready to try the product yourself? Maybe make a better review than mine? I would love to see you try it yourself. So much better than regular mascara and false lashes. You can buy the product here in the special party for Just Jules readers

Christy's Webpage: www.lovelaughterlashes.com

They have a 14 day Love It Guarantee on their products. Even better! 

*disclaimer* This was not a paid review but Christy did provide the product for me to use and have. So thank you to Christy for the fun gift.

Happy Birthday Friend Series: Happy Birthday ''Hippie'' Melanie

As you all may know, my children have a penchant for giving my friends nicknames. Two of my friends have ''crazy'' in front of their names. My kids have taken to calling my newest sister of the heart ''hippie'' Melanie. I better take this story back to where it begins, Twitter of course....

When I was moving to Knoxville, I knew my friends Lee,Flavia and the Franklin/Burnett family. By way of one of the NKOTB fans on Twitter Lori, I was introduced to Abbie but she quickly informed me she lived on the other side of Tennessee. In one tweet she mentioned Melani and Sheree telling me they lived in Knoxville too. We quickly introduced and they shared some things about the area that I was moving to. We made plans to have lunch soon after I moved to town.

We had lunch discussing our mutual love of NKOTB, we were immediately friends from the get go. We would talk on Twitter and met for lunch a few times. One day last fall, while meeting for lunch we were discussing how we had an insurance snafu with Marty and how my schedule wasn't working out for my family. They told me that I should come apply at their employer, it would be a good fit for me and my schedule. I had heard all about the benefits of their job but didn't even know what they did! Two weeks later, I knew it was the perfect fit for me and a great career move.

Melani was there for me from day one, meeting me for lunch on my breaks and encouraging me along the way. For the past year in her corner office, we have had some great times, we have cried together, laughed together, worried together, talked about our dogs and talked about a lot of NKOTB. I think the people who work near her office wonder what we do in there?

Melani has helped me out this past year in so many ways. She has rescued me when my car broke down ( last week she drove me to work almost all week). Helped take Conner to Explorers when Marty and I were working.

Last summer when I went to a New Kids concert all by myself, Melani made sure to come check on me at every break. She and Sheree didn't want me to be alone at the show, they made sure I had company.

Melani is more than a friend, she is family to us in Tennessee. ( Sheree too)

Sometimes friendship is effortless and easy, you just click and that's the end of that. The best thing is that this summer she was able to meet some of my other SOH's in Vegas. I love that she met Lindsey, Gena and Andrea people from my life in California. How cool is that?

She and Sheree hung out with Lindsey one night in Vegas which was amazing. I love that my friends got to spend time together. Now they're friends too.

Melani has shown me selfless friendship this past year. She is a giving and loving person, I only hope to be half the friend she is to me in return. She has helped me learn the kind of friend I want to be and see selflessness in action. She has given me far more than I have given in return. Truly a blessing to our entire family.

Sometimes you move and you wonder why? I know why I ended up in Tennessee, I know why I am at the job I am at and I know my life wouldn't be the same without Melani. I thank God for her each and every day.

Happy birthday Melani, praying for a wonderful year filled with nothing but happiness. Maybe we will get to live our dream of seeing NKOTB together this year.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Book Review: Watch Out Hollywood, More Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child

Today I am back with author Maria Lennon discussing her new book ''Watch Out Hollywood, More Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child'' the follow up to her best selling ''Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child''

In the second book ( link here with title) Charlie tells a ''white lie'' that hurts her friend Marta. Charlie is torn between her own desires and wanting what is best for Marta. Hollywood dreams for Charlie and Olympic dreams for Marta are the center story line in this book.

Jules: Maria, it is so good to have you back. I cannot tell you how honored I was that you remembered our interview from last year and wanted to come back. I loved the first book so I was thrilled to hear there was a follow-up. Charlie is back in all of her tween glory learning some tough life lessons. How has life changed since the last time we spoke? What's new?

Maria: Hi Jules, I’m so happy to be back. You are one of my all-time favorite bloggers. You totally got Charlie and shared my weird fascination with 70’s Olympic Gymnasts, which is pretty random. The big bummer of the year was I broke my wrist on the way to volunteering in my son’s kindergarten class and had surgery so that meant making sandwiches for four kids with one hand. That was a major bummer. Then I met a woman in physical therapy who broke both wrists at the same time and I felt kind of lucky.

Jules: Growing up what were your favorite books? This book reminds me a lot of Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. I see a lot of Harriet in Charlie. She is off beat, has her own style and thought processes different than most girls her age. Harriet was one of my favorite heroines in my youth.  

Maria: Again you nailed it—Harriet the Spy was a huge inspiration. I loved, loved, loved watching her get mad, make mistakes, get it wrong and then discover her own path. I try to do that with Charlie—show how mistakes become opportunities for growth.

Jules: Okay Maria.....seriously....you're killing me with the Romanian gymnast stuff.  I spent from 1984 to 1988 pretending I was Nadia Comenanci or Teadora Ungreano daily with my friend Christena. Then I had a Romanian best friend in high school. My friend Flavia ( who is Romanian) tells me that I am Romanian by osmosis. Where did you get this Romanian story line?

It’s just one of those moments in time that is burned in my memory. My father calling me into his room and telling me I had to see this gymnast who was unlike anything he’d ever seen before. So we all gathered to watch the tiny, determined little Nadia on the beam, the floor, the rings doing things that looked impossibly perfect. The only other time that happened was when he said the same thing about a little kid by the name of Michael Jackson.

Jules: Speaking of my friend Christena, she was my partner in crime. I am going to send her this book because it is SO us. Alternative dressing girls who told white lies all the time. We both just wanted to be liked and be cool sometimes to our own detriment. Would you agree white lies are rampant in junior high? Did you ever tell a white lie to be liked? Charlie just wants to be liked but she also wants to do the right thing.

See, Jules, here’s the thing: White lies are the fabric of life.  Most adults tell them all the time about everything. Someone says: Do I look fat in this? No, of course you don’t. Was the meal good? Wonderful. And kids pick up on this faster than a sponge picks up bacteria. Seriously. And then we spend a lot of time covering our tracks. This is what Charlie does. She tells a lie she doesn’t think is a big deal, she convinces herself it’s not a big deal and when she learns that it is, well, she goes nuts trying to make it go away.
I’m sure I lied when I was a kid, what kid doesn’t? But I was always horrible at it. Got caught before the lie left my mouth. I’d rather rip the Band-Aid off fast by telling the ugly truth then slowly with the white lie. Plus it’s way to hard to remember the lie.

Jules: I love these books because you heavily feature the Laurel Canyon area where you live. I just think it is awesome to see a young girl growing up in So.Cal in writing. Everyone knows ''someone'' on television and wants to be in the industry growing up. I had a few friends growing up that had headshots and were always going to auditions. Does this come from your own youth or from experiences with your daughters?

Maria: Thank you. What I love about Laurel Canyon is that it is very old school LA—you’ve got the rockers, the hippies, the actors but they’re not the flashy actors like Ton Cruise. People like Joachim Phoenix live up here. Trent Reznor, and James Gandolfini had a house here. He used to walk his dog in his boxer shorts. Most of the people here are into their art and not their fame. Their houses are falling apart like the rest of ours, their kids go to the local public school and they do their best to maintain their privacy and be a part of the community. Until pretty recently flashy cars, fake boobs and lips weren’t to be seen. But things are changing. Developers are coming. I’m a third generation LA girl so I stay clear of Hollywood J But a lot of kids go out on auditions, there are casting calls all the time at the local public school (Happy Canyon) and most of the middle and high schools offer cinematic arts. We have a lot of friends who are actors and my children see how hard it is on the soul to be rejected so consistently. They have no interest in perusing it.

Jules: I noticed the ending was a bit of a cliffhanger? Can we expect more from Charlie and Marta? 

Maria: Oh yeah and the canyon and Bobby….

Jules: Have you ever thought about writing a book from Marta's point of view? I would be just as interested to see a more human side to Marta.

Maria: Yes! Yes! Yes! I love Marta and in this book I love the way she deals with being manipulated, with being hurt and ditched. I’d like her to go to the Olympics in Beijing and free some political prisoners like I Wei- Wei. She’s so funny and of course has zero tact. Not that Charlie has much tact either.

Jules: I cannot thank you enough for coming back to chat with me and for the lovely inscription in the book.  I can't wait to see what you come up with next. Thanks for speaking with me today, keep me posted on the future adventures of Charlie Cooper.

Maria: Thank you for having me and loving the characters and all that you do for kids and books!

You can buy the book on:

About Maria Lennon:

Maria T. Lennon is a graduate of the London School of Economics, 
a novelist, and an established screenwriter. She has lived in New York, 
Genova, Paris, and London and currently resides with her family in Los 
Angeles, California. You can visit her online at www.mariatlennon.com

*disclaimer: This isn't a paid review, I just really like Maria and she likes me enough to send me a copy of her book. She didn't ask me to review the book, she just wanted me to have a copy.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

MTTMB Series: The House That Built Me

The Music that Takes Me Back Series started as a way to work through my PTSD surrounding my birthday. This year, I found myself not needing to write as many of these and actually finally at peace about my birthday. For the first time since 9/11/01, I looked forward to my birthday once again.

Today is the day, I choose to affirm life, embrace life and celebrate life. As a person who lives to serve others, this is the day that my tank gets filled back up with love from others. Spurs me on to give what I receive.

The last blog in the series has been brewing for awhile but haven't had time to post it.

The House that Built Me
By Miranda Lambert

Today is the day, I wish that I could walk in this door, call out to Grandma and Gramps, walk around the corner to see them sitting at their little table in the kitchen. Then we could move to the big table so more people could come sit and chat.

A house built around love, friends and family. A tiny 3 bedroom track home that had one bathroom shared at times by over twenty people! A house that raised five children, fourteen grandchildren and three great grandchildren before it was sold.

A house that on Friday nights ten little girls laid on the floor watching TGIF eating Little Ceasar's pizza, falling asleep on pallets made of afghans while listening to the ticking of the Regulator clock. Waking up on Saturday morning, where Grandma would let us walk to the store to buy breakfast and we could buy junk, which she indulged us in. 

A house that held wedding parties, anniversary parties, bridal showers, baby showers,holidays and countless birthday parties all around a large oval table in the dining room. '' Around the table memories are made'' is a sign hanging in my house. It is so I can remember all the memories made around this table.

A house with a big pool in the backyard where little girls and boys played Mc Donald's drive thru in the spa. Where friends came and gathered around the patio while we opened birthday presents at summer birthday parties.

A bed were all the babies took naps surrounded by pillows in Grandma's room or where we went to lay with her as she watched tv in the afternoons. A bed that I now sleep in every night.

Two large custom built picnic tables that seated
the entire family during summer dinners, Thanksgivings and for parents to sit and watch the kids in the pool. It was a house teeming with life,family and love. Friends were always welcome, just walk in the door and say hello.

A house that we said goodbye to Grandma and Grandpa eight weeks apart and later that year said goodbye to the house itself. Can an inanimate object be grieved, absolutely it can. We all drive by and wish we could go in and sit for a spell. The House that Built Me

A block down, a house with the same layout, that raised a small family of three kids. The house I stayed in Monday thru Friday. Where I ate breakfast at a small table in the kitchen in naugahyde bucket chairs. Where I slept curled up in my Gramie's back after my Kankad died, running my feet across cool sheets. The house I spent sick days from school in and learned to roller skate in the front driveway. A sidewalk I rode my bike up and down endlessly. A house that I can still call home, that I can still walk into and see my little brass soldier and ballerina sitting in the window above the sink.

A house that saw much grief and sadness, death and turmoil. A house where on the front porch one of the worst moments of my life happened.

A house with a beautiful, prize rose garden lined the front walk overflowing in the summer months. The back yard with its large orange tree with oranges falling to the ground. The first address and phone number I knew by heart.

The home I still can go to and walk into the past. Another house that built me.

If you come to stay with us, you will experience the effects of those homes. How I keep house, How I host guests, the welcoming nature of opening your doors to friends.

 Thankful for the homes the built me.

The Book that Changed Me

This is an old blog, I didn't realize at the time but John Ritter would be the one to help me heal from my PTSD of a 9/11 birthday:

On my weekly trip to the library with E this week, I spotted a book on the " Just In" section and was immediately drawn to it.

With Love And Laughter, John Ritter by Amy YasBeck

A very small book written by his widow Amy YasBeck and when I say written, I mean written. She did this without the help of a ghost writer which is common practice with celebrity's writing books. I am currently reading The Hunger Games and really shouldn't have picked this up. Alas, I did and spent the next four hours glued to the book and finished it within 24 hours.

As many people my age did, I grew up watching John Ritter play Jack Tripper on Three's Company and to boot his father was a singing cowboy. As you know, my Dad and Grandpa love singing cowboys so I remember hearing a lot about this family growing up.

Amy weaves a beautiful picture of love and a great man. She shows the human side of celebrity that many don't often see. She shares the love of a father and husband who really worked hard to be "present" with his family. She shares just enough to leave you wanting more. It's not the well polished work of a professional writer but a labor of love instead. If you expect perfection this book isn't for you, skip it. If you love a great biography/love story then by all means read this book.

One of the reasons I highly identify with this story is the date September 11th is a very common thread or as John Ritter would say, "The Golden Thread of Humanity".

My birthday is September 11th and for many years since that fateful day in 2001, I have struggled to come to terms with celebrating in light of the tragedy. As the years have passed it has grown easier, yet the feeling remains. The Ritter's daughter Stella also shares my birthday, it was her 3rd birthday the day of the attacks. I will share a excerpt that will stay with me this year on my birthday. John Ritter himself said it best on Page 177 of With Love And Laughter;

"I asked him how we could do this. How Could we say "Happy Birthday" when we knew this day would always be the anniversary of the day this evil thing happened? Without hesitating, he said " Stella is proof that love still exists in the world, that somehow, we go on."

Two years later, John Ritter would die on the very same date. I remember working at the hospital on the night shift and hearing the news of his death. I was struggling to make it through my birthday without crying and that ended when I heard of his sudden death on his daughter's 5th birthday.

What a powerful statement and really great thing to think about. So this year on my birthday, which is special anyways, that's what I will be thinking.

The other part of the book that struck a cord with me was Amy's account of her grief. I really identified with parts of her grief and realized, some of the time Marty was sick was spent grieving our life before renal failure. Amy's thoughts on pages 202 and 203 respectively really hit me and are the best description of my viewpoint today.

" I would have pangs of disgust for myself-embarrassment,really- when I would flash back to a moment of frustration or sadness prior to John's death. I started to really beat myself up about time wasted or energy spent over petty disappointments and everyday aggravations." pg 202

"I would struggle to remember what made me sad before John died, and it would pale in comparison to my new circumstances but would excerbate my grief to know I had wasted time. I would think, This is what passed for a problem in those days? You know the good old days- a week ago, a day ago, a hour ago- back when I wasn't a widow."

Of course, I am not a widow but I did grieve our former life. Lucky for me, I get a second chance and now know that little things don't really matter and not to sweat the small stuff in life. Remember when life was simple and if it is simple, enjoy every waking moment.

I cannot recommend this book enough and in fact here is a link to Amazon to buy yourself a copy; With Love and Laughter, John Ritter By Amy YasBeck

I'm not getting paid to do this review, I just simply loved the book that much and wanted to share the nuggets of information that touched my heart.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Princess and I

About a year ago, I made a edit to my code on the blog and messed up my archives. I can't link you to this old post, so I will borrow some of the text to mark the date. This is from an original blog titled ''The Queen'' my review of the movie starring Helen Mirren based on the death of Princess Diana. Everyone knows of my obsession, if you don't then you really don't know me but I will tell you a bit of my story in this piece. Where was I when Princess Diana died:

It all started when I was five and my older sister got me up at 3 am to watch the wedding of Charles and Di. All little girls dream of being a princess and watching that wedding with all of the flowers,silk,tulle and diamonds I was enthralled. A real life fairy-tale and I never read another fairy-tale again. I would beg my parents to buy me Princess Di books and magazines. At one point, I had every book written on Princess Diana. For a period of two years, I would cut out the picture of the Princess Di bride doll every time my Gramie got a new Good Housekeeping or Enquirer. I knew every member of the Royal family before I knew all the presidents or states.

 I got a cabbage patch and a new book on Princess Di the same Christmas in 1984 and which one do you think I still have? My favorite birthday present of all time? When I was nine I was informed I was getting something big , bigger than a breadbox and smaller than a horse. My two grandmothers got together and bought me the Princess Di Bride Doll by the Danbury mint. I was shocked and amazed as I pulled her out of her box , smelled the lace and tulle and saw the "real'' cubic zirconia tiara! I put her back in the box and up in the closet awaiting a special case for her. She is so big she doesn't fit a standard doll case plus she has a 5 foot train and veil that make her even bigger. I would take her down and look at her every once in awhile but in the box she remained and eventually moved to my Gramie's for safe keeping.

Fast forward to 1997.. I am married and pregnant with my first child and the Princess Diana fairytale is long gone. I am adult and have seen my fantasy of Diana collapse into reality. The Sotheby's auction was that summer and I was hoping to get the auction book which was autographed. Marty's dad had passed away and I inherited his Grandma's china cabinet. So we drove over to Gram's to bring the doll home and display her for the first time. I go into the closet and drag out the black trash bag containing the box. I decide to take a peak and check her out and Marty was laughing at me.

 My Gram comes into the room and says "You better come see the news on the television. It's Diana she has been in an accident" all of the sudden fantasy and reality collided. It was real she was in Paris and there has been a wreck. I grabbed the doll went home to watch the events unfold.

I had a answering machine full of messages as I get home with people calling to tell me the news. My dad called to ask me if I had heard the news? As we were talking and he says " did you just see that?" and I said "no" and he says "She is gone".  My Dad delivered the news to me, my childhood idol was gone.

 I am a hysterical mess over someone I didn't know. I guess for me it was the same as it was for many when Elvis died or Kennedy died. I had people calling me for days offering their condolences and people at work doing the same. I wanted to go to LA to the embassy to sign the condolence book but Marty couldn't go and I was too pregnant to go alone. So my friend/co-worker Catt went with me to LA to sign the book a truly kind gesture. Days later,I once again got up at 3 am to watch the funeral and this time cried so hard from grief and sadness mixed with anger.

It's been 17 years ago today, I miss her, wonder what she would have become? People still give me Princess Diana books, when the royal wedding came along I received gifts from around the world. Princess Di still lives in my closet. She made a brief appearance in decor for William's wedding. Really can't wait for Harry to get married, I have all kinds of fun things to put up.In fact, I saw my paper cups my friend Jan gave me and thought with a sigh, ''Can't wait until Harry gets married.'' I plan on dragging my friend Andrea to London for that, we should have gone last time!

 Time has passed by so quickly just taking a moment to stop and remember....

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Product Review: Kiss Me Organics Green Tea Matcha

As a young girl, I would beg my parents to take me to Benihana's restaurant for dinner. Sure the tepanyaki cooked in front of you is fun as a kid or adult. My mind was on other things, my sole purpose was to get to dessert and green tea ice cream. I loved green tea ice cream and eating there was the only time I got that dessert.

A few years ago, my cousin Rissa told me Starbucks made a green tea latte. I had no clue, since I am not a frequenter of Starbucks. So I started drinking those on occasion to get my green tea fix. Then Haagen Daas came out with green tea ice cream as a special flavor. Of course, none of these things are healthy or good for you, definitely not something you want to buy all the time.

When Kiss Me Organics approached me to review their product, I jumped at the chance. I love green tea,baking and was curious to try their product. Organic matcha has a natural metabolism booster, anti -oxidants, UV protection which helps promote skin health. How much better can your green tea fix get?

I ordered the Matcha Powder their exclusive retailer and received my package at light speed. The first thing we set out to make was our own green tea latte with the matcha

The recipe is included in the recipe book that comes with your purchase.  Our next adventure was making green tea cupcakes with green tea frosting.

The frosting was the best part and cupcakes were super moist. They were a green tea lovers dream dessert next to green tea ice cream.

Definitely worth the price, the powder goes a long way and can be used in multiple recipes. Highly recommend Organic Matcha Powder

*disclaimer* this was not a paid review but I did recieve the product for free in order to write the review.