#FrostyVoxBox from #Influenster – A Review Extravaganza!

Let me start this post by saying I got all these products super free for review and trial from Influenster. I’m not paid or anything, I just like to write about free stuff. And to get free stuff. Yayyy free stuff

I’ll start by thanking #Influenster for their site and the fun things it lets me try (and a couple less fun things, but not everything is a winner.)

So, like Brad Pitt in Seven, I be you’re wondering:

WHAT’S IN THE BOX!!!
* Ecotools Styler and Smoother Hairbrush
* Red Vines Fruit Vines Bites (Cherry Flavor)
* No 7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum.
* Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover.
* Rimmel ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner (This one made me sad)
* Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Decaf Green Tea (How did they know I was off caffeine? Spies!)
* NYC Expert Last Lip Color in Sugar Plum (Another lipstick to try. Pucker up!)
* McCormick Gourmet Thyme

20150106_214329First let’s talk about the brush I got from #Ecotools – #LoveMyEcoHairBrush – They ask we use that tag, and I like to meet expectations, but I would not if it was something I didn’t love, and I totally love this brush. VERY lightweight, about 1/5th of the weight of my Conair paddle brush. My hair is down to my belt, so I’m a very demanding hairbrush user. The handle is comfy, the brush is light, the brush gets air through it with ease, and the bristles don’t dig into my scalp. (My scalp would not dig that.) My only complaint on this item is the bed for the bristles is very soft, so it gives in easily under pressure. While that prevents me from shearing my hair from my head at an alarming rate, it also limits the resistance I can get when I really need to get a bad knot out.

20150106_140300Next comes the Red Vines Fruit Vines Bites. Not much in this world I like as much as free candy, but I’m also very picky. These tiny bites smell amazing and taste equally good. I was a little nervous about the free-ness of it cause so othen you get nasty old candy, but this was soft and super fresh. It didn’t stick to my teeth either. I took these into work to attempt to share, but got greedy and stowed them back in my purse. That is MY free candy, and I don’t wanna share! #SweetLife

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The NO7 Serum I have mixed feelings on, and will be writing into a separate post tomorrow. Here’s the thing. It’s supposed to make things less wrinkly in two weeks, but they sent a super mega tiny sample, and surely not enough for two weeks to see if it works. Gonna use it tonight, and I’ll report back tomorrow on my findings.

20150106_214446This isn’t my first rodeo, reviewing some free Rimmel Products. I really enjoyed the lipstick last time, so when I heard more makeup was headed my way, I got giddy. UNFORTUNATELY, the eyeliner pencil was open in my box and got mushed on the tip pretty severely. Now, when I worked at Eckerd at the tender age of 20, I took a class (being the only girl manager, I had to take the makeup specialist role on. But it was really fun) about makeup recommendations and precautions. Obviously, never put eye makeup that was opened by anyone but you on your eye. Eyes are delicate and precious, so let’s be safe.

Now, good news is it’s still a pencil, and I like to draw, SO I drew with the eyeliner on my hand, and I removed it with the eye makeup remover.

So I drew this little eye on my hand (fitting, right?). I waited about 1 minute, and tried the remover. Here’s what happened!
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The eyeliner went on easily enough, but wasn’t as dark a black as I was hoping for, but I reckon it’s because it’s a kohl liner? I dunno. I like dramatic eyes, so I probably would skip over the less-intense black. If I wanna go muted, I usually go with a brown pencil. It got a little clumpy, but seeing how it opened in shipping, these things do happen. It did feather nicely and I could do a cute cat-eye line with it easily.

Next comes the Rimmel Makeup Remover. It said it was gentle, but I had no idea how truly gentle it was!
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It was even gentle on eye makeup. After scrubbing at my hand for a minute I realized it was even gentle on eye makeup and I would have this eye on my hand forever, or until i get my normal eye makeup remover out. Least I drew something cute.Maybe it would work better with a better vessel, BUT it did pretty much nothing.

20150106_214416The Celestial Seasonings Green Tea in Candy Cane Lane will also be fully reviewed in the tomorrow post. But something tells me it will be good. 😛

20150106_214528Next up: NYC Expert Last Lip Color in Sugar Plum. I’ve always been skeptical of NYC brand cosmetics. Have had my share of not good with them. The lipstick smells like cherry chapstick. The pigment wasn’t very strong, and the transfer capability was something to marvel at. Comes off on absolutely everything. The Rimmel Eye Makeup Remover could actually remove it!! It can’t take of eye makeup of its own brand, but it can sure take off lipstick! Might let my little niece play with this one when she wants to get into my makeup next. Skip it.

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The McCormick Gourmet Thyme was actually pretty dang awesome. It smelled fresher than the organic stuff my mum-in-law had. Turns out most of what I cook comes out of a box, and the box arrived too late for holiday cooking, so I recruited Mary for this experiment with her yummy beef stew recipe.

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Mixed a little bit into everything, I was so delicious. I forgot to take the money shot of the soup finished. OOps!! More tomorrow guys!

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No…I don’t feel gross. Never did.

A friend of mine posted this article about “Thin Privilege”, and I clicked the link, just reading my facebook feed like a dutiful friend/artist exhausted of coloring. It was a surprisingly good read, and it touched a part, deep down inside, that I’ve been ignoring.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of body issues lately. Not like you’d expect. Usually, when a girl loses weight, they’re just so excited to be skinnier and get new clothes and stuff. Which I have been. Excited to be down a jean size. Excited my clothes fit better…I have those feelings, but it’s not the only ones that are there. Becoming the skinnier me…it’s taken some getting used to.

Since I started losing weight, back in April, my eyes have been opened to a world of truths. So many people thought I hated myself and my body, and I didn’t realize how plentiful those people were who thought this. The judgement now, once I started shedding pounds, …they don’t feel like they have to hide it…to hide they were judging me as gross, lazy, slow, unhealthy…and so much more.

When I posted my progress (closing in on 40 pounds less now – Thanks, MyFitnessPal and Charles for keeping me company on my journey), there was a surprising amount of people who came out of the woodwork, assuming I hated how I looked before. I have gotten questions like “Don’t you feel less gross now?” or “I bet you get less tired going up stairs, right?” or “Doesn’t eating healthy just feel better?” or “I thought you were gonna have a heart attack.”

Now I KNOW that several of the people who have said these things are chock-full of love and such, but it hurt. These people I care about, and who care about me, thought I was living in this shameful bubble of self-loathing, but I was never that girl. Underneath all my flubber and jiggly bits, I am relatively healthy. I have a thyroid issue, but I don’t hide behind it, as I know I eat horribly and I don’t exercise. But down 30+ pounds I STILL EAT HORRIBLY…I just eat less…and I still barely exercise.

I was talking to a friend just a day or two ago about fat-shaming and how it affected her life. She’s slimmer than me, even at my current weight, and far more active. She had these friends, an elderly couple from Syria, who she would visit and take shopping and the like. But each time, the woman would look her over and point out stuff like “You look less like a cow today than yesterday”…and she finally had it “up to here” and severed ties. The woman followed her as she left, but my friend was done. Done being judged. Done having her flaws pointed out to her.

It’s not like we don’t know we don’t conform to the standard of beauty, but she’s one of the most beautiful people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. She’s kind and thoughtful. Her smile and laugh could light up a room, and she has a way of making you feel like you belong. She didn’t deserve the way she was treated.

It’s just…seriously fucked up. But I’m kind of glad it happened this way to me. It really opened my eyes.

The screwiest part of all of this is the fact I kind of miss fatter me. I’ve been big for a long time. I haven’t been not considered a ‘plus size’ since the sixth grade. I’ve always been comfortable with me, just as I am and as I was, haters be damned. But I knew that girl, for all the ‘flaws’. I know what stresses and life choices made me go from a bean pole to a curvy girl. But as I saw it, she was me. I lived my life to be happy, and this was the result, and I was and AM comfortable with that.

I started losing weight so I can improve my chances to have kids and those kids will have better health as a result of me taking better care of myself while they’re along for the ride. Not because I hated myself. Not for any of the reasons people assumed. Why no one assumed I would do something for someone other than myself is beyond me, but I guess we’re all conditioned to believe that we all hate ourselves and want desperately to be have that supermodel body.

I don’t plan on quitting the weight loss journey. I will get used to the new me. I will get to know this girl as I knew the one who was there in April. But know I love myself. I’m healthy. I’m motivated. I have goals. I don’t think I’m gross. I think I am fabulous. I am actually sort of vain. I check myself out in the mirror and say “how you doin?” channeling my best Matt Leblanc.

I think I shall end this rant here. I have vented sufficiently.

You can’t kill me…you can only make me stronger…unless you offer me cupcakes…full of poison. Then you’ll get me. I cannot resist cupcakes. Less I’m out of calories for the day.

-J.S.

 

 

How We Do It: Leather Stuff

Very cool “How We Do It” by one of the other artists I met in the AA at Knightrokon this past weekend! Check it out!

Practical Futilities

  We love to use leather to make creations: masks, over the eyebrow headpieces, eye patches, fortune cookies, bracers, What Would Neil Patrick Harris Do bracelets, emoticons (sweat drop/pulsing vein and question mark/exclamation point), Avatar: The Last Airbender top-knot, Avatar: The Last Airbender element hair ornaments, and more.

A lot of people ask us about how we make our leather masks. Well, it’s no secret.

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For our leather work, we use what is called Veg Tan leather. It’s a sturdy, approximately 1/8″ thick hide.

First, we trace our pattern.

Then, we wet it down using a spray bottle and water (so the moisture is even). This the key to working with leather. If you don’t need the extended working time, you can also using rubbing alcohol, which will evaporate, drying faster.

Once the leather is wet, we can begin the cutting process. The wetter the leather, the easier it is…

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Knightrokon Coming Soon!

Knightrokon BannerI am excited to announce that I will be in the Artist Alley at Knightrokon at the UCF Student Union on June 7-8, 2014! You can find me at table #26!

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At the event, I will be selling prints from 5×7, 8×10, and 11×14 sizes. I will also be giving away a special surprise to my facebook followers (Are you a fan? Click here to like my page!) on the day of the event.

Lastly, I will be raffling off a limited edition print, only 1 of its kind, specifically designed for the event as an 11×17 poster! I’ll be showing a sneak peek of the design here in a few days, so stay tuned.

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Knightrokon admission is free to current UCF students, so if you’re going to UCF, feel FREE to drop on by and visit the table.

Lipstick Tease – Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick + Christy Jefferson jam!

So, I signed up for Influenster, and I got my first voxbox today, which housed a Moisture Renew Lipstick in “As You Want Victoria” from Rimmel London US.
I looked at the tone, much more…intense than I would normally wear, but hey, why not give it a shot?

I thought of a song I had grown to love from when I lived with a talented musician and singer, the lovely Christy Jefferson, at Kutztown University,a  song called “Lipstick Tease. Lipstick Tease – Christy Jefferson Myspace <~ Listen there!! It’s a sassy cabaret-inspired song that sings the praises of the power of lipstick on the surface…and a little more suggestive, not so subtle undertones (*wink*). Here’s a little lyric sample: “I love my lipstick in shades of pink – sweet, innocent, makes him weak. Nothing says ‘I’m bold’ like a strong stroke of red. Runnin’ the show all the way to bed.” Well, “As You Want Victoria” is definitely bold. The color is beautiful though. The Rimmel site doesn’t do it justice. It’s a bit warmer than they’re “try on” would imply.

Now, I’m not a lipstick girl, traditionally. I wear makeup like warpaint. It adds a bit of polish. The issue I always had with lipstick was it was icky feeling. If it wasn’t icky, it was sticky. If it wasn’t icky or sticky, it made my lips look like the Sahara Desert, parched. I have really long hair, and girls out there with long hair, you get me, I’m sure…

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Rihanna photo source: PerezHilton.com

Now imagine that hair flip with sticky lipstick…not so sexy, am I right girls? You know I am. Nobody wants to kiss hairy lips, for darn sure.

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Thankfully, Rimmel’s Moisture Renew lipstick defied it’s lipstick predecessors – It wasn’t sticky or icky. My lips looked smooth and the color was so vibrant it almost made my lips look like they were gonna jump off my face (in the good way). It was so creamy when I applied it, feeling more like lip balm than lipstick. It took very little to get the color to pop, so I feel like this one tube would last me quite a while. The tube is great too, cause the inside portion + the base are chrome-y, so you can check you look without your compact. And the outside of the tube is purple. I think purple is underused. It’s so pretty. Go, Rimmel, Go!

Here’s a little before and after for you. It’s amazing the effect lipstick can have on how you see yourself:

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The posing, the eyes, all more dynamic is a pop of red, dontcha think? I even felt a little more confident once I put it on (hence makeup being warpaint. I can take on the world!) which is a pleasant surprise.

This next photo is the back of my hand, to be clear. I don’t want my readers wondering what skin they’re seeing! Hehehe!

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There is one complaint I have: TRANSFER! Touch your lips, take a drink, sneak the hubbs a kiss on the cheek and everyone will know. On one hand, it’s kind of cute to ‘leave your mark’, but at the same time, I don’t think Charles would be ok if I gave him a kiss and sent him back to work with “As You Want Victoria” on his lips (I’m confident he could pull it off though hehehe.) On the upside, even after transference happens, the color is still just as intense.

Either way, I will definitely be wearing this when I next go out to date night with the hubbs, and I’ll be sure to go buy a nice pink or nude tone for daytime when I want a more understated look. Don’t miss out on this though, ladies (and gents, if ya like wearing lipstick. Judgement free zone here.)!

Thanks again to Rimmel and Influenster for letting me take this shade for a whirl. I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. Opinions are all mine though. I gots my own mind!! PLEASE go listen to “Lipstick Tease” by Christy Jefferson, or ANY of her work. She’s a sweet lady and an amazing artist. ❤

Coming up next: Moonie March Spotlight/Contests/Personal Update (as I know my life thrills you all :P)
~J.S.

One week away…

In just a week from today, my husband Charles,  and I will be celebrating our very first anniversary. Hard to believe a year has already blown by, but it has been pretty great.

I always thought the “it’ll be different when you’re married” saying was silly, but it isn’t entirely untrue.

Charles and I did have a few traits that surfaced that hadn’t since 2004, which is pretty astounding. But nothing that made either of us wonder “who did I marry?”, so that’s good.

One of mine was I apparently want things that aren’t mine until I have them, or once I have them I forget it wasn’t mine briefly after obtaining it. I realize that sounds bad for a woman celebrating her first wedding anniversary,  but this doesn’t apply to people or relationships. Let me explain with two stories.

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Forgetting it wasn’t always mine:

We always had our sides of the bed,  but he always took the side with the night stand.  I had wanted the nightstand side, and after I had my wrist surgery, he “loaned” me his side.

It’s mine now.  It makes sense. I have glasses, he does not. I operate the alarms, he does not. He only snoozes them. I have jewelry and such that a night stand holds so nicely…but I digress.

So the other night, he asked if he could have his side back. I was confused. I told him “that is your side”…at which point he reminded me of how I obtained it, which had slipped my mind. Oops.

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Once I get something…:

Charles always sat in the recliner on the right side of the couch, and I on the left. After a while, I started sitting in his spot when he wasn’t there. He asked me why I was there and not in my normal spot, and I said “I guess I just miss ya and I feel better in your seat. ” He accepted this, I moved, life went on.

The next time, he asked, and I said “this side is more comfortable” to which he replied “they’re exactly the same” to which I said ” the red recliner is blocking ny view of the tv there. Can’t you just sit in the recliner?”

Finally, he began sitting in the red recliner, and the coach recliner was now my spot.

Then,  one day, when he came home from work, I was sitting in the red recliner.

“No. Not this again. You always take my spot.” He groaned. “First it was my pillows, then my chair, then my side of the bed.”

“To be fair, that being my side of the bed makes sense…I have glasses and I set the alarms…and it’s more comfier!!” I chimed in.

“I would like my chair.”

“I didn’t even take your pillows. They’re the same ones I’ve always used since the night you got the new pillow.”

“I got the new pillow because I somehow ended up with all the flat pillows.”

(Skipping ahead…he had loaned me his fluffy pillow one night cause I had heartburn…and it’s been mine since. I totally took his pillows.)

So I gave him his chair back, then returned to my normal perch all pouty.

The next day, I was in his spot again. He asked why and I said “it has a massager and it’s comfier…”

“You just want it because it’s mine.” He said, sitting in my spot. He sat there the next night without complaint. And the next.

The following day, he came home from work, and I was in the couch recliner again. He laughed and sat in the red recliner and asked “so you’re back over there?”

“The red recliner is too warm. This one is more comfier…” I started to say when he shook his head. He knew where he would find me tomorrow.

He was right,  but since I’m aware of the behavior, I just steal his seat when he’s not there.

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Charles isn’t innocent in all this. He had his secret traits too that had recently surfaced. He can’t deal with one laundry pile. He leaves his shirts in the oddest places,  like over the shower curtain,  around a bed post, inside the cushions of the red recliner, behind the couch…it’s like an Easter egg hunt when I go to wash the clothes.

But there’s been positives. He is oddly good at washing dishes. Charles was surprised by me knowing how to bread chicken. I knew it before, but since I so rarely cooked before, I guess it was new to him.

Looking forward to more years of learning, loving, and infinite silliness.

Love you,  my fella!!

Visit My Facebook – Enter the Giveaway with a Like/Share

You want to win a sketchbook? How about a sketchbook with custom art on the front and the first page drawn by me? ❤

Visit Facebook and Follow the instructions to be entered.

Visit Facebook and Follow the instructions to be entered.

This prize includes a sketchbook (hard, cloth cover-pencil-lots of art space), custom medallion art on the front jacket, and first page illustration, all art by me of a character of your choosing.

Please come like my facebook page and share the post with the above image before the drawing on March 10, 2014.

First post of 2014 – Panda is BACK!

Well a very delayed Happy New Year to you all. To be fair, I totally got close to when Lunar New Year is sooooo, partial credit?

Obviously, I’ve been AWOL for a very long time. I have had an eventful few months, so let me bring you up to speed.

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– Spent Christmas together with my family and my husband. It was the first time in the entirety of our time together (since 2004) that we were in the same place for the holidays, and it was awesome. We built a tiny snowman. We missed all the really bad weather. We even drove up and back in our own car and the car didn’t die (yet).

– During December, I noticed a distortion in my vision. Turns out I had a CNVM – Choroidal Neo-Vascular Membrane, which is when a view forms between the retina and sclera (the white part) in the eye, and mine was bleeding right near the Macula, so it was near the center of my vision. Thankfully, it wasn’t anything more serious or anything chronic, but I did have to get an injection directly into my eye, which was tough.

During the month of January, I was largely out of commission online, as looking at anything backlit, like my phone or laptop, was incredibly difficult, and reading anything was nearly impossible. I wore an eyepatch when I’d do my commission work, which I dubbed “Pirate Art Hour”. I still wear the eyepatch from time to time, but it’s not required nearly as frequently.

Earlier this month, the doc said it’s clearing up, which of course I noticed, and that a second injection should not be required. I was and am a happy girl.

–  On October 15, 2013 I launched an artist facebook page to display my work, get feedback, grow my audience, and seek out more commission patrons. I have been putting a lot of time and energy in there, and we just hit 100 likes about a week ago. LINK There’s the link for the page, if you want to come join the fun. I’m hoping to launch a giveaway sometime in the coming week, so come check it out!

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– I recently entered an art contest drawing a custom outfit for Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII, and I think it came out well (LINK). I will also be entering a contest drawing Diablo characters. I think I learned from the last time I entered a similar contest, and my sketched concepts are pretty dynamite, if I do say so myself. If you know of or are hosting a contest that I should enter, shoot me a line here! I wanna get into more.

– I’ve applied to an upcoming artist alley, my first where I’m participating in more than the art show (which I did in 2001 at Otakon). I’m still waiting to hear if I got in, but I should know in March. Wish me luck! ❤

– I began working again, returning to a QA testing position at n-Space on a secret project, so my NDA prohibits me from saying more, but from the look of things so far, the game will be brilliant. First time being a part of the same team as Charles, which has not caused even a little trouble because he and I are totally PRO. We understand that man and wife can work in the same place and not be all up in each other’s business constantly or having domestics in the lunch room or anything like that.

Only one day a week so far, which will increase as the project ramps up. Not to mention, this schedule allows me time to keep doing my art stuff, running my facebook, and hopefully continue writing this blog, which I have neglected for so long.

13 - 1And now I’m tired. Haha! Got a little cold, so I haven’t felt my best. I woke up early too to help my sis (she’s almost a DOCTOR!) …so part of me just wants to curl back up under the covers. I think I shall rock some dayquil and try to make some art today.

Be seeing you again soon, I hope.
– PANDA

November Time: NaNoWriMo + B-Day + Art!

November is off like a bullet already.

As I did last year, I am participating in National Novel Writing Month, (www.nanowrimo.org), and I had been preparing for this throughout October. This year I’m a planner. Last year, I was a “Pantser” as they call it…flying by the seat of my pants as I wrote. This story has a clear trajectory, and the word count is already up to 12,122 words (My TOTAL last year was around 17k) as of the end of last night. Got some work to focus on today, but I will definitely be squeezing in some words. My goal for yesterday was 6666 words to be on path to hit my goal of 50k before the end of the month. I’m mega-excited.

I’ll share an excerpt with you next blog. Maybe I’ll introduce the characters here. There’s quite a few.

GYM UPDATE: I’ve still been a slouch. I went to the gym on the 29th. Got my 30 minutes in and a little bit more, walking over a mile at 2.0mph. I have been active lately though, definitely getting walking in that isn’t necessarily at the gym. I mean, grocery shopping and lugging them up the stairs all in one trip like a pack mule should really count as a workout. Sweat more there than on the treadmill. QQ

Commissions are plentiful at the moment, but I hope to get even more on my plate on that front. I truly hope to develop this into a business that I can do from home when I finally pop out a couple younglings, so getting a full head of steam behind this has been a major goal for me.

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MY BIRTHDAY WAS AMAZING! Slept in at the in-laws’ house before rolling outta bed to get cupcakes from SWEET! (The most awesomest cupcake bakery in Orlando) Charles’ present for me was in the car. Boy got me a new cellphone case (needed) and Sims 3: Dragon Valley (OMG WANTED). It was wrapped in the cutest bumblebee gift bag, with pink paper. He had the sweetest card. Charles and I had lunch at Graffiti Junktion, and we cruised back to our place for a while. I didn’t know why at the time, but it was waiting on a birthday gift delivery, which was apparently from his mom and dad. 🙂 I didn’t expect anything from them, for sure. It was super nice of them. Chuck and Mary got me Sims 3: Into the Future (SIM SIM SIMMY SIM SIM! – LOVING THIS XPACK) and this adorable Sailor Moon necklace, which actually was the exact same as I got my niece last year (who happens to have the same birthday as me!) We had dinner at Outback after I stopped over at Hobby Lobby for costume supplies, and Mary was nice enough to let me use her grown up sewing machine when I killed my tiny one. Good times were had by all.

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HALLOWEEN WAS AWESOME! My hubby let loose his inner artist, dressing up as the ever-inspiring Bob Ross, and I was his muse, the Happy Little Tree! I made my tree trunk dress myself. (Hence the sewing machine) I really don’t know a whole lot of much about sewing aside from minor repairs and what I learned in home ec in the 7th grade, but I am still feeling accomplished that I made it and it didn’t fall apart. There were only about 10 trick or treaters, which meant lots of leftover candy! (OMG not good for the exercising part of me…but my inner fat kid was in heaven!)

I’ll end today’s post with my latest illustration (fresh off the presses. I just drew it this morning). It was a prize for my instagram contest from October. They requested the cartoony character, so i drew him in the style presented as well as in my own. I just got this grey paper tablet. I think I’m in love. See ya next time! ❤

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