Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More shopping in Fort Lauderdale

I think I was very reasonable.  Yes, I did have to leave behind 2 pairs of shoes, all the hair products I purchased, my Jack Daniel's® Original No. 7 Recipe BBQ sauce, my skinny jeans for the curvy girl, additional jars of J.R. Watkins Apothecary Lemon Cream (HEAVEN! - review to come soon) and my new collection of Color Club nail polishes.  My suitcase was exactly the weight limit at the airport when I flew back: 50 lbs. I was so glad I left a lot of stuff behind.  Still, I believe I was reasonable.  Luckily, my parents are driving back and bringing back my goods this Easter Sunday :o)

And now, here is the rest of my purchases while I was on vacation (sobs because it's already over).  I got this nice summer dress for $19.99.  I thought it would be nice for the office.  Even if I do wear it with my whore shoes!   
Then I came across a little black dress.  Until last year, I only had two pairs of black pants and two blacks dresses: the cute little sleeveless black dress and the black evening gown.  I bought a Foxy Jeans black dress before the Holidays (love at first mirror sight) and now got a second little black dress.  I liked its simplicity and yet the multi layers had a light touch to it.  Like my Foxy Jeans dress and my skinny jeans, this one is a curve hugger.  I didn't buy those shoes for no reason, did I?  And at $15, the decision was not hard to make.

Speaking of shoes!  How does one resist those Puma flatsies?  Price tag was $57.90 before I received a 30% discount.  It was the last brown pair in the store.  My size.   SCORE!  I was also looking for black closed-toe shoes to wear in the office during winter; hence the pair on the right.  Simple, black leather.  Wear beautifully with pants or skirts.  Lucked out at $47.90 with (smiles proudly) the additional 30% discount. 

Last but not least, here is a picture of my Color Club set: Rebel Debutante.  I was surprised that these are supposedly professional polishes.  The red seemed to be quite streaky.  I need to try it again when I get them back.  I did not have nail polish remover (only one towelette) so I apologize for showing a different colour on each nail!  Even if the picture is blurry, the streaks from the red polish are obvious.  I swatched the colours in the collection from left to right.  I still need to swatch the last two shades on the right (pink and mauve).  I will definitely use the first one for french manicures and I just love the taupe shade!  The lilac is a sure favorite as well.  

It is definite: I am not a beauty blogger and more of a story teller!  I will post my review of the J.R. Watkins Apothecary Lemon Cream regardless.  A body moisturizer that smells this good for such a lengthy period deserves a post.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mamma's got a brand new Coach bag!

We spent Friday morning and afternoon by the pool, which means I was fully SPFed.  We had decided to have dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, conveniently located at wonderful Sawgrass Mills shopping center.  I spotted a few things here and there but decided to behave and not purchase anything until I would get my hands on my precious Coach bag!  A very special shoutout to My Cheap Girl for emailing me the discount coupon (thank you, thank you, thank you for my 20% off!).  Low and behold, price tag at $348, on sale at the outlet and with a discount coupon, I paid $126.35!  Yeah baby, mamma's got a brand new Coach bag! 

I also stopped by the Ralph Lauren shop, which is usually not on my list of stores to visit, but liked this ruffled shirt.  Paid $34 instead of $89.  Me is starting to like Ralph at this price...  At the Cheesecake Factory restaurant, I got a rash on both my arms and the itch was driving me nuts.  The shopping took the itch off my mind and eased it.  On Saturday morning, I woke up and quickly became covered with a mild case of hives: my arms, my thighs and my back were covered in rashes.  I took a Benadryl and off we went to the flea market.  The only thing I found was a nice pair of grey leggings, which I want to eventually wear with my new stripper shoes. At one point told my mom that I could not stop to sit and wait for them or I would fall fast asleep.  I dozed off as soon as I sat in the car.  The day was gorgeous; a beautiful sunny sky without a cloud in sight!  The Benadryl knocked me out until 4 pm.  I missed a full afternoon of sunshine because I am such a White girl, I had an allergic reaction to the sun!  This girl can't tan.  My calves are still beet red, although they do not hurt one bit.  The skin will eventually return to white.  We had a great barbecue outdoors with friends for dinner and hit Walmart (open 24 hours!) shortly before 10 where I bought Garnier anti-frizz bottles ($2.25 each!) for my untameable curls.  I also acquired a blend of olive and shea oil for dry hair; can't wait to try it.

Today we went to Dania beach where the waves were huge.  The water was to cold to bathe. I was worried I would get another reaction if I stayed in the sun too long and kept my t-shirt on all afternoon.  I put sun protection and got a sunburn on my arms WITH T-SHIRT MARKS.  Looks absolutely gorgeous.  I will take a pic to post here tomorrow.  We went shopping at Kohl's tonight where I bought a vanilla-coloured long-sleeved shirt and skinny jeans.  Feels funny to even type it.  "Skinny" jeans.  Nothing I wear could be skinny but that's what they call it!

UPDATE:  sorry for the delay.  I said I would post the pic the day after.  Ooopsies.  Here's a picture of my burnt arm.  As mentioned above, we spent the afternoon at the beach and I didn't want to have another reaction to the sun so I kept my t-shirt on.  I fried with clear demarcations.  Brava...  It was quite red, but did not hurt that much.  I think it hurt more because the following day, we went shopping.  My already irritated skin did not appreciate the excessive rubbing of fabrics from all the clothes I was trying on.  A week after to the day, one can't really tell I recently had a sunburn.  My skin is peeling with a vengeance.  This girl can't tan.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I am the other white meat

It's official: I am the other white meat.  I made sure to cover myself in SPF 50 before heading out.  It doesn't matter.  I am doomed.  I simply cannot go on vacation without a sunburn.  I always manage to burn a spot somewhere, somehow.  I go from white to red and back to white.  I don't tan.

This morning was absolutely fabulous. The sun was shining. I was outside shortly after 11. I previously mentioned that I was nicknamed Casper as a young adult and I even posted a picture of a sunburn I suffered from last year.

This time, I fell asleep on my tummy. I stayed less than 2 hours in the sun in total and I apparently had not SPFed the back of my legs properly. "So what are you doing tonight, MissIPP?"

-I'm applying vinegar compresses to my sunburn! What else is there to do on vacation?

The afternoon was grey so we played cards (Tock) on the balcony and drank more pina coladas. Regrettably, the car was in he shop, so no shopping today :o(  Tomorrow morning we plan to benefit from the warm sun again.  Depending on the weather, we might go to the flea market. Tonight was a stay-at-home evening, hence the vinegar compresses on my legs to soothe the red, hot flesh!

First Holiday Haul

Ok, boys and girls, I have officially gone shopping in Fort Lauderdale and so my vacation can now begin!

My dad came to pick me up at the airport at 4:45 pm on Tuesday.  My sister and my 19 y.o. cousin arrived in Florida on Sunday to stay with my parents; but only my parents knew I was joining them.  My dad suggested I hide in the back of the van and he would ask the girls to come help get stuff out of the car.  My sister looked for a bag to grab, saw me instead and started to laugh and ask, almost hysterically, "What are you doing here?!?".  I'm on vacation too, darn it!  That was a nice surprise.  It's always sweet to get a huge pop like that when someone sees my face!

It was grey and rainy yesterday morning when we woke up so we declared it a perfect occasion to go shopping!  I apologize in advance to all my fashion and beauty bloggers because I am truly not a hauler and I am doing this only while I'm on vacation!  First we went to Ross, which is the equivalent of Winners, but with even greater deals!  And with the Canadian currency being at-par with the American dollar... all I can say is: ching-ching!!!

I bought this light raincoat for $19.99 and fell in love with these sandals.  It was the only pair remaining in the store and it was my size (7 1/2).  If the only remaining pair is the exact size as my Fred Flintstone feet, it must be a sign, right?  I tried them on.  My sister told me they looked like strippers' shoes. Why, thank you!  I like the biker chic look and figured it would look fabulous with black leggings or jeans.  Do you like my whory shoes?  I paid $15.99 for them!

I discovered Havaianas sandals in 2007.  They are manufactured in Brazil and officially the country's best-selling foot gear.  I have two pairs I wear inside the house only instead of slippers, and two pairs I take outdoors.  Since I can't tell when I will travel to Brazil again, I figured that this brown pair of original Havaianas on sale for $3.99 (less than what I paid for in Brazil in 2007!) was a deal I could not miss.  Plus, I didn't own brown Havaianas... Now, I do!  I also came across this long short-sleeved knit shirt, for $7.99.  It's not exceptionally nice or different, but it fits me nicely and will go over almost anything.  Bring it on.

I went to the "Accessories" section and found very few beauty products.  SPF lotions I did not need.  Shower gels I could not really care for.  Body lotions and creams?  Always worth a look.  I noticed this J.R. Watkins Apothecary Lemon Cream jar.  You had me at "lemon".  This shea and cocoa butters body cream smells heavenly.  I haven't tried it yet because I want to apply it and really indulge in the sniffing when I do.  With four women at the condo and my dad, I don't have much time allocated to indulge in delicate cream-spreading and sniffing in the bathroom. 

It's quite sunny this morning so I'm changing into my poolside wear (SPF 50) and heading out in the SUN!  We might go shop at Sawgrass Mills tonight.  I gotta get me a Coach bag!  This girl is on a budget, but I promised myself I would treat the spoiled brat in me to at least that while I was in Fort Lauderdale.

Monday, March 15, 2010

How do they do it?

I first started reading blogs and writing blog posts in 2005, for my employer's internal corporate blog.  One of my most talked-about-at-the-office article was about... beauty.  Cosmetics, truly.  Due to a change in my responsibilities and internal decisions, the blog postings came to an end and I never saved my articles anywhere else than on the platform.  All was lost :o(

The core of the story was that I discovered makeup through my mom.  She'd let me watch her put her makeup on and, as I previously shared, my grandma was the first person besides myself that I ever applied makeup on.  To this day, my mom will not leave the house without makeup. She also doesn't leave without her rings and earrings either.

One day I was in my car, stuck in traffic and on my way to an appointment.  What's a girl to do?  Reapply!  I got my lipliner and my listick out and got down to business.  I had a funny feeling.  You know the kind of gut feeling that tells you you're being watched?  I glanced over to the left and in the car next to me were four women, staring at me (I remember one had her jaw a bit dropped).  In half a second, it hit me and I burst out laughing, tilted my head to the side and gave them a look as in saying: ''It's a gift''.

Just like I did at that moment, aren't you wondering what had them staring at me?  I had succeeded at what most women cannot achieve.  Multiple orgasms?  Not this time.  Instead of the ''Look mommy: no hands!'' moment, I had a ''Look girlies: no mirror!''  Sitting in my car, stuck in traffic, I had applied my lipliner and lipstick to perfection without even glancing at the mirror.  Contoured lips, no mirror?  Yes, baby!  My mom taught me that :o) 

I rekindled my passion for blogs almost a year ago.  A Canadian Beauty Blogger contacted me last June, requesting a lipstick she could include in her 100 Followers Giveaway.  She thought it would be sweet to offer lipcolour since her blog name was LIPSTICK Rules.  I thought about it for a moment and went ahead.  A year later, she has nearly EIGHT HUNDRED Followers.  Any regrets about sending her that free lipstick?  Nah, not really!

Then one Beauty Blogger lead to another: French-Canadian blogger Secrets I.D., Makeup Mamma's Makeup Babble; Rae's The Notice: a beauty blog; Halifax's Sparkled Beauty and Rasilla's In A Nutshell were my first contacts, of which I have many more to this day (Hello TTBM!)

I simply adore My Bloggers.  And that's how I refer to them: MY Bloggers.  I think about them when I see a product I think they'd like, follow them, read them and email them when I am worried about the fact that they haven't posted in a week.  No post in a week, can you imagine?  Most of My Bloggers are posting machines.  Not necessarily full-fledged product reviews on a daily basis, but usually a post a day.  How do they do it?  These women are employees, spouses, MOMMIES and / or full-time students and they post on (an almost) daily basis.  Here I am, with a full-time job, two kitty cats and a boyfriend who for the most part takes care of his own (well, I do spoil him a bit...) and I find no time to blog!  When I sit down to write on a week night, I feel bad that I am not reading a novel!  I can never win, I guess.  And I am back to square one: how do they do it?

So today, my hat's off to ALL My Beauty Bloggers.  Thank you for your time, thank you for your spunk (how I love my Beauty Crazed girls for that!), thank you for your energy and your friendliness.  You girls take turns at making my day.  I am always impressed to read you, to be a witness to your work and devotion.  (I am also impressed at the amount of product these girls purchase and store at home, but that's a whole different story!)  I have no clue how you do it, but you wow me.  Keep up the good work! 

On this note, yours truly is going on vacation!  I should be able to post a thing or two regardless.  I'll post a picture of my FOTD under the sun ;o)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Happy Anniversary to me!

March 10, 2000

Whoa, this dates me.  This picture was taken in  August 2000 and was then featured on the Marcelle Website.  I was first hired as National Training Manager.

I received my certification in esthetics in June 1998.  I always remained in contact with one of my teachers.  I went on to do my certification in electrolysis and worked part-time in  a salon until the end of my studies.  A little over a month after I finished electrolysis, the phone rang and my esthetics' teacher was telling me that a friend who worked for Marcelle had called her to ask if she knew of anyone who could fill-in for the Training Manager position.

There were 6 weeks of Canadian coast-to-coast training to do, in both languages, for drugstore Beauty Advisors.  There was a possibility for me to stay after the 6 weeks if the experience had been satisfactory for the employer and myself.  "But the only thing I know about this brand is that it's perfume free and hypo-allergenic and sold in pharmacies.  I know nothing about this brand!", I remember telling my teacher.  You don't understand, she tells me.  "I have talked about you and they are waiting for your résumé".  Gasp.  Ok, put fear aside, let pride take over and email that résumé!

I first spoke to the Consumer Relations' Director who was my teacher's contact and then to the person who would be my boss for nearly a year.  This was on a Tuesday.  The position required that I travel across Canada.  Was I ready to embark?  Yes.  It required that I use a LCD projector and teach using PowerPoint presentations which were already put together by the Training Manager who was still in position until the end of the week.  I had no clue what a LCD projector was and had never used PowerPoint before, except maybe to view an email I had been forwarded.  Rest assured, they would show me.  The woman who was going to be my boss could not interview me in person until Thursday.  "There is one problem", she told me.  "The Training Manager is giving his last training tomorrow (luckily - 20 minutes away from my home).  So if you want to know what the job consists of, you should attend the training session, but I can't pay you since I need to interview you first".   I went anyways!  I figured this was a time when too much information was better than insufficient information.  The Consumer Relations' Director also attended the session and filmed it for me.  The Trainer showed me how to use and plug the projector, laptop and PowerPoint presentations.  He showed me his training book.

The following day, I had to go to my interview and do a short presentation on skin and skin care.  I was officially hired on March 10, 2000 and was sent home with a suitcase full of products to try and use so I would know what I was talking about.  A suitcase full of skin care and colour cosmetics?  Love at first sight!  I spent the whole week-end going through the books and PowerPoint presentation since I had to do my first training session on March 14, less than a week after seeing the presentation for the first time!

I will always be grateful to my teacher for giving me this opportunity.  She opened a door for me and I made sure to work hard at this chance I had been given.

My responsabilities since then have changed.  I now have the privilege to work in collaboration with Beauty Bloggers.  
 Here with Lipstick Rules' Beauty Blogger

 Above, with Spiced Beauty's Beauty Blogger

The passion which I discovered for the Annabelle and Marcelle brands that year remains.   Today, I celebrate ten years working for Groupe Marcelle. Happy professional anniversary to ME!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My beauty travel kit

I was recently discussing my beauty travel kit with Halifax, who's curiosity sparked a blog post idea in my mind.  She said she'd like to see what my beauty travel kit contained.  And here we are!  It's important to know that this is my "maintenance" kit and does not contain my colour cosmetics - which I am definitely saving for an upcoming post.

While I was refilling my bottles, I realized that:
1-my bag is OLD (1998) and awful;
2-the content of my bag is a real SHAM.  Most of the containers contain a product which differs from what's written on the packaging!
I do, however; love the fact that this bag is transparent.  I lift it up and find what I am looking for quite easily.

So what is the exact content?
Left to right:
  • a small box containing a few Band-Aids and cotton pad halves.  Yes, HALVES.  Even at home, I only use halves.  I'm not sure if it's my anal side or my ecological conscience, but I have always separated those.  I use half to remove my eye make-up and another half to apply my tonifying lotion.
  • small container with silver cap that reads "Marcelle Mousse Blush" (LE) = false advertising.  It actually contains Dr. Reckeweg R30 Universal Ointment. Great on mosquito bites, but also around my sensitive mouth.  I tend to react to industrial-strength dishwasher soap (things which only happen to MissIPP).  It chaps the corners of my mouth and regular lip balm just doesn't cut it - I need medicated stuff, hence this little baby.  I usually need it the morning after going to a restaurant.
  • the yellow stuff in the transparent pot is Rawleigh's Antiseptic Salve - a remedy passed on from generation to generation in my family.
  • a blue box full of Q-Tips. And don't give me the generic brand stuff.
  • nail files
  • the unidentified white tube with the blue cap is... the NEW Marcelle Climatik Protective Lotion!  Been using it for a year now.  My new love for days spent outdoors.
  • the Marcelle Moisture Lotion bottle is a sham.  It is filled with Marcelle Cleansing Milk for combination skin!  I've had this bottle for nearly 10 years now.
  • tiny bottle of Marcelle Aquarelle Tonifying Lotion.. actually filled with Marcelle Hydra-C Tonifying Lotion!  Again, this bottle goes back to March 2000.  I use that in the morning.
  • tiny bottle of Marcelle NEW.AGE Soothing Hydrating Tonifying Lotion.  The real deal!  I pour it in my palm and apply to my face and neck at night, before or without the oil blend (see below).
  • the two small Pantene bottles (shampoo and conditioner) are actually filled with... Garnier Fructis for dry hair.
  • tiny bottle of (unidentified - but miniature version of) Marcelle Essentials Gentle Make-Up Remover for Sensitive Eyes is actually full of... Marcelle Essentials Oil-Free Eye Make-Up Remover Lotion!  This bottle is also 10 years old.
  • Marcelle NEW.AGE Anti-Wrinkle + Firming Eye & Lip Contour Cream for night.
  • Marcelle Hydra-C Eye Contour Gel-Cream for morning.
  • miniature Marcelle Hydra-C Facial Exfoliating Gel - a MUST after flying anywhere.
  • toothpaste
  • Marcelle Essentials Lip Balm
  • an extra set of contact lenses, in case, claims the perfectionist Virgo.
  • dental floss
  • my comb - very important survival tool as I do not carry a brush.  I have a lot of thick, curly hair and if I brush it, I can look a bit like Tina Turner did back in the 1980's.  I try to avoid and only comb my fully conditioned hair in the shower.
  • a razor.  Makes no sense because I wax, but I always carry a razor.  "In case".
  • an esthetician's best friend: the Precision Glide Needle to remove ingrowns.
  • small bottle of St. Ives Cucumber Melon Shower Gel is another fake.  It's filled with Fruits & Passion Eco-Spa Thalasso Shower Gel.
  • Marcelle Hydra-C 24 H Hydrating Fluid for day-to-day face and neck moisture.
  • the epitome of ultimate sexyness for bedtime moments: my mouth piece.  I tend to clench my jaw when I sleep and it causes teeth damage.  Again: SEXY.  I figured you didn't need to see it in its open case.
  • my now discontinued (sheds a tear) Sunsilk Captivating Curls Leave-In Creme.  It tames my frizzy haid and I'm freaking out because I'm on my last bottle.  I have tried a million things and nothing comes close to this very inexpensive stuff.
  • the ZipLoc pot contains... my body moisturizer.  Marcelle Dermabase blended with water and jojoba oil, for my dry skin.
  • Life brand SPF 50 body lotion. Yeah baby, effective and cheap, SPF 50!  My friends at the airport used to call me Casper in the summertime when they saw my nude legs.  I simply fry when I sit in the sun.  This is what an SPF 15 (I think I did 4 applications and stayed 3 hours in the sun) did to me last year: 

MIA in the pics are 5 precious items:
1-my personal blend of soy and jojoba oil (under the night moisturizer);
2-my night moisturizer;
3-my contact lenses' storage case;
4-my nail polish.  That's always a last-minute decision!  Must always bring the bottle to freshen up pedicured toes;
5-my Dove original Soft Solid antiperspirant. Again, I am freaking out because I can no longer find this baby!

I guess one could say that I am faithful to my brands!  Later this week, I celebrate 10 years at Groupe Marcelle!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I know Spring is coming when...

This blog post is dedicated to Ri and Rae.  

This Beauty Blogger and I have been exchanging many messages and shared a few personal stories.  In October 2009, she posted an article on tipping which showed the cutest Getty image of a squirrel.  That led me to confess my adoration of the displayed rodent and how I... grocery shop for squirrels.  She thought that was hilarious (and probably also thought I should be institutionalized and kindly omitted to mention) and replied she'd use it in a blog post; which she did (first paragraph).
I grocery shop for squirrels because they amuse my cats when they come for their feeding.  I know it's awful because that teaches them they don't have to hunt for food, but I very much prefer feeding them sunflower seeds than having them take my trash out of the can and sparingly spill it across my lawn.

I recently posted an article (Dr. DoLittle) in French about a squirrel who had come to my bedroom window to take his final rest.  I noticed a melted patch of snow when I first glanced out the window at 6 am one morning.  When I opened the blinds later on, I saw that a squirrel was resting there, in the middle of the snow.  I brought him to the vet for incineration later that day.  He'd passed away right there, not even 2 feet away from my bedroom window.  

The long story, in French, is that I am an animal lover and animals love me.  It comes naturally to me.  An insurance salesman came to meet at my place earlier this week and, after being greeted by my oldest cat, asked if I had other cats outside (no - I don't let my precious babies out and about!).  He'd seen 2 cats on my lawn.  Earlier tonight, I counted five sitting on my balcony (one is MIA in the pic).  The cats literally come to my window.  I don't know if it's to tease my indoor princesses or because they too, feed on sunflowers and my garbage like the squirrels, but they adore my home.
The squirrels come to my patio door and, if they see me, some of them will actually climb the screen door and shake it to get my attention. That drives the cats wild.  The pictures of the black and white cat is a common scene when I walk into my living room at night.  A cat that is not my own is sitting on the window ledge, looking inside my home.  It has also occured on many occasions when squirrels will do the same however; I have not been able to capture the moment yet. 

So I know Spring is coming when... the squirrels start to shed and last week, they did!  This last picture shows one of my balcony guests savoring on succulent salt-free sunflower seeds.  (I switched form shelled peanuts to dehulled sunflower kernels when a very unhappy neighbor told me "someone must have left a peanut bag nearby because they were all over the lawn".  Dehulled kernels leave absolutely no trace, hence selecting the right food and grocery shopping for squirrels!) 

If you thik I'm ecstatic now, wait until I see my first groundhog of the year!

I often feel like Snow White must have felt. I walk out to my car and squirrels follow me; stray cats come to me for a quick neck rub. You can call me Mrs. DoLittle, although Snow White sounds much more flattering.