Travel: Munich & Oktoberfest

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My husband and I traveled to Europe for ten days at the end of September. We had such a blast that I thought I would share a bit about what we did and where we went. Our city has an Oktoberfest in the town square every year, typically during my birthday weekend. We go every year that we can, and the festival has grown larger each year. It's something that we really enjoy, so we decided to go to the original in Munich!

Got off the train at the Marienplatz
After long flights, layovers, and train rides, we finally stepped out in Munich at the Marienplatz. We could have taken a closer stop to our apartment, but by this time, David and I were ready to get off of the train and away from the group of rather rowdy Italians that were next to us.

Saw the Glockenspiel!
After quite a walk, we made it to our apartment building. Neither one of us had quite figured out that we needed to change a setting on our phones to get them to work in Europe. (We were extremely lucky that our cell phone provider offers free data and texting in Europe.) The train took far longer than expected, so we were not able to meet our Airbnb host. He was very understanding and left us a key under the mat on the terrace. He even sent an email with details. At this point, we still didn't know how to get the phones to work to access the email, and there was no available WiFi to steal. I see one available terrace and decide that I and I alone should be the one to investigate. My reason being that I look less menacing and would probably get into less trouble if it's the wrong apartment. Here I go through the bushes to see if I can find a rug with a key under it for this apartment. As I snoop around on this terrace, I discover that there is no rug and thus no key. Well, at least the apartment's empty right? Wrong! Someone starts coming through the terrace door. I hit the bushes and run back to the sidewalk to flee the scene. All the while, there have been two German police officers on the street corner this entire time. I was aware of them the entire time, but jet lag somehow made me brave. Thankfully, no one called the police on me, and the officers on the sidewalk could continue their casual conversation. After this exciting episode, David decides we should look around the back of the building, and we spot a terrace with a rug that fit the description and had a key! 

Marienplatz at night

After the relief of finding our apartment and not having to deal with the authorities, we set out again to find some traditional German food. Nothing like hearty food, complete with a basket of pretzels and quailty German beer, after a long journey.

After ten hours of sleep, we got up and took the train to Oktoberfest! It was quite a cold and rainy day, so I didn't get any pictures of the grounds. While planning the trip, we decided that we defintiely wanted to visit the Himmel der Bayern tent, so we started there. Both of us got soaked from walking in, so we were grateful to be inside.

I did my hair that morning, only for it to get rained on!

After taking our time with beer and pretzels at the Himmel der Bayern tent, we weather cleared up and bit, so we decided to walk around. 

Bavaria statue
We decided to go to the Löwenbräu tent next. 
The lion on the right roars and moves.

More beer and chicken!

Café Mohrenkopf for coffee

We had a wonderful time at Oktoberfest! We met a lot of nice people, had some delicious food, and of course, had some of the best beer in the world. 

If you are planning to go to Oktoberfest in the future, here's what you need to know:
  • Everything is cash only. This is true of much of Germany, but Bavaria in particular. Any time you visit, not just at or during Oktoberfest.
  • Lots of information on their site
  • The app is useful. It will tell you how full the tents are in real time and has a map. Download it if you go.
  • Europeans generally don't tip like Americans, but you should tip the servers at Oktoberfest.
Here are some helpful articles I read before going:

Have you ever been to Oktoberfest? Do you go to any festivals every year? Share below!

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Backpacks we took to Europe:


Marc Jacobs Eye-Conic Eyeshadow Palette | Edgitorial

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I was lucky enough to receive one of the Marc Jacobs Eye-Conic eyeshadow palettes courtesy of Influenster. I received the Edgitorial palette that contains golds, greens, and neutrals. This palette has 7 shades in a nice mix of finishes, ranging from matte to reflective glitter. The matte shades are creamy and blendable.  The reflective glitter shades really pop on the eyes, and I find that applying them with the fingers is the best way to keep fallout to a minimum. The shimmery taupe shade, Making A Scene, is one of my favorites for a wash of color on the eyes as a one-shade eyeshadow look. The two darkest shades work really well as liners. I have gotten good use out of every single shade in this palette! Here's my take of each shade!

Take A Memo is a matte bone shade that I use under my brows or as a base shade. 

Next Season is a glitter light gold shade. I use my finger to press this shade where I use my finger to press this shade where I want it. Glitter shades tend to get everywhere if brushed on, so I think lightly pressing it in is best. I suppose you could do that with a brush, but using my fingers seems the most convenient to me. 

We'll See is a matte medium brown that I use in the crease. I really like this shade and have been using it with other palettes, as well. 

Pleather Python is a gold glitter. It felt like a pressed pigment when I was swatching it. I love this shade. 

Like Next Season, I press this one on my lid where I want it placed. This shade is the star of the palette. 

Making A Scene is a shimmery taupe. This is one of my favorite shadows for a oneshade eyeshadow look. Apply it all over the lid and blend it out into the crease and go! 

Enviously is a matte dark green. I've used this as an outer corner color and as a liner. Not what I typically go for, but it works! 

Everywhere has a black base with gold shimmers. I've used the as a liner, and did not get any fallout from it. 

Overall, I ended up liking this palette so much more than I thought I would. The fact that it has a matte bone shade and a matte brown really makes this a grab and go palette for me. 

What do you think of the Marc Jacobs EyeConic eyeshadow palettes? Do you have any of them?

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Somebody Sage Me! Using Sage in My Home

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Hi, hello, and welcome! Long time no see, I know. I posted this on Instagram, and got a lot of response. So, I thought that maybe I would come back, blog a little, get back in the saddle, if you will, on this blog, and talk to you guys about whatever the heck I want! I decided to cleanse my house with a little sage because the full moon and bad weather had me way off of my good, high vibes. I just so happened to be inspired to share, and several people felt the same way and had questions. I do not consider myself an expert on any of this stuff. I just looked it up online, and I've only smudged my house 3 or 4 times. But, I am an expert on myself, and I know what makes me feel better. If you use sage and do things differently than I do, please feel free to share in the comments. I only ask that it's helpful and not rude. 

The first time I decided to smudge my house, I had a small bundle of sage sitting around. I had gone with a friend to Whole Foods to get the beauty bag, and we decided to split a 2 pack of sage. I had never used it before, but it sounded like a good idea. That sage stayed on my kitchen counter for days before my husband started asking me when I was going to sage the house. We had been having really strange activity with his alarm clock, and by strange activity I mean the thing was going off whenever it decided to go off and in whatever manner it wanted. The radio portion decided to come on at 3 am. The alarm would go off in the late afternoon. It even made crazy white noise. It was bizarre! We got rid of that alarm clock, but after all of that, my husband was quite interested in me smudging the house. 

To cleanse your house you need: 

  • a smudge stick - sage - I have gotten mine at Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Amazon. It's not difficult to find.
  • a lighter - I use a candle lighter and take it with me throughout the house. I have to relight mine a lot, for some reason.
  • A bowl or plate that won't catch on fire - I have an abalone shell because I'm fancy, but I didn't start with it. You need something to collect the ashes that fall from the smudge stick. DO NOT set your house on fire, okay! 
  • A bowl of sand or water to extinguish - I'll admit that I skip this step because I have a difficult time keeping mine lit. (There's got to be a joke in there somewhere!) But, do make sure the stick is completely out before you go about your day.
What I do:

  • Before I light up, I make sure all of the doors to rooms and closets are open, so I won't forget anything.
  • When I'm ready to begin, I like to state some kind of intent like, "I cleanse this space of any negative energy and replace it with love and joy." I've used other people's words before, and it didn't feel right to me. So, I come up with something that fits my situation or how I'm feeling. I encourage you to come up with your own intention to know how you want to feel when you're finished.
  • I start at my front door and move clockwise throughout my house, along the walls, giving it a good wafting and concentrating on the corners.
  • I get everything, including the closets and the garage. It doesn't take long at all.
  • I end up back where I started and extinguish the stick. 
That's what I do! Like I said, I looked up others' rituals online, and through giving it a try a few times, came up with what works for me. You can do this throughout your entire home or just one room. There's something quite empowering about acknowledging the fact that you don't feel quite your best, stating that you would like to change how you feel, and physically doing something about it. 

Thank you so much for joining me! Do you smudge your home with sage? Talk to me in the comments!

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Kenra Brightening Treatment Intense Violet Toning Masque

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I've been blonde my entire life but never really paid much attention to toning or brightening the color that I have. Over the years, my hair has gotten darker, so I have been coloring it a lighter blonde for quite some time now. My roots do tend to go brassy faster than I would like in between touch-ups, so maybe toning isn't such an inconvenient idea.

I was sent two samples of the Kenra Brightening Treatment Intense Violet Toning Masque for review from Influenster. Immediately, I noticed how dark the color of the mask is. The package says "Intense," and it's not kidding. The product is dark purples and has a pleasant coconut scent. I use this mask once a week (1-2 times a week is suggested) and leave it on for 3-5 minutes after I've shampooed my hair. The directions say to focus on the roots and work your way down, and that's what I tried to do each time. If your hair is anything like mine, then most of the brassiness will be towards the roots.

I noticed a huge difference after the first use. My blonde was much brighter. To be honest, I wasn't expecting to be able to tell much of a difference, but I really did! The picture below is from the second time I used it. I still noticed a difference, but it wasn't as drastic as the first use. I seem to get the most benefit from this mask by using it once a week rather than twice a week.
I was sent two 1 fl. oz (29 mL) samples of the Kenra Brightening Treatment Intense Violet Toning Masque, and I was able to get 4 uses out of each of them and still use a generous amount. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to sample this brightening treatment and am very pleased with how it performed. I do plan on buying a full size of this in the future.

Do you use any kind of brightening treatment or toning mask in your hair care routine?

Product was sent for review. Regardless, all thoughts and opinions are my own.



Laura Mercier Eye Art Artist's Palette

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Hey, everyone! I'm back again with another review! I got the delightful Laura Mercier Eye Art Artist's Palette for Christmas, and I've enjoyed it so much that I thought I would do a review. I love Laura Mercier's eyeshadows and have a few of the singles, including African Violet, and they are some of my most-used shadows. Typically, I wouldn't be too thrilled having an extra, but in this case, I don't mind at all.

The palette contains 12 eyeshadows with cool shades on the top row and warm shades on the bottom. Espresso Bean, Fresco, Plum Smoke, Truffle, Vanilla Nuts, and Violet Ink are the Matte Eye Colour formula. African Violet and Bamboo are Luster Eye Colours, and Guava, Kir Royal, Primrose, and Sparkling Dew are Sateen Eye Colours. 

Sparkling Dew, Guava, African Violet, Plum Smoke, Kir Royal, Violet Ink
Vanilla, Nuts, Primrose, Fresco, Bamboo, Truffle, Espresso Bean
As you can see, the lighter shades blend right on into my skin tone. Most of these are pigmented, but I wish Guava showed up a bit better. It tends to blend out into almost nothing. The luster shades, African Violet and Bamboo, are my favorites to wear on their own for a one color blend-it-out-and-go type of look. The matte shades are pigmented and blend well. I haven't had any fallout with these either, even when I have used Violet Ink and Espresso Bean as liners.

Here are a couple of eyeshadow looks I've worn using this palette. I love purples and neutrals, so it has been easy for me to pick up this palette and play with it.

African Violet on lid, Kir Royal in crease & outer v,
Violet Ink blended in outer v, Vanilla Nuts under brows,
Violet Ink used as liner
Bamboo on lid, Fresco blended out in crease,
Vanilla Nuts under brows, Espresso Bean used as liner
Overall, I'm really pleased with this palette. I appreciate that 6 of the 12 shades are matte. These colors are practical without becoming boring, and there's a nice mix of cool and warm tones. My main complaint is with the shade, Guava. I understand why it was included, but it's not pigmented enough to be useful. I wish they would have used a matte soft pink instead.

What do you think of the Laura Mercier Eye Art Artist's Palette? Do you own any of the single shadows?


Inspired Look: Princess Diana Makeup Look by Mary Greenwell

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Today I have a makeup look is inspired by the video on Lisa Eldridge's YouTube channel, THE Princess Diana Makeup Look - with Guest Artist Mary Greenwell. Mary Greenwell has appeared on Lisa's channel before, and I enjoy her light and easy approach to doing makeup. Her looks are wearable, effortless, and extremely practical. In the video, she was recreating a look that she used on Princess Diana for a shoot with British Vogue. She used the Bourjois Smoky Stories Quad Eyeshadow Palette in Over Rose, and the shades she used reminded me of my Bare Minerals Ready Eyeshadow 4.0 in The Truth. I absolutely love this eyeshadow quad, and it's my favorite for taking with me when I travel and need to pack light. You don't need this eyeshadow quad or the Bourjois. It's likely that you already have similar shades. 

I wasn't planning on photographing this look or blogging about, but I liked how it turned out and ended up with good lighting to photograph it on my face. I kept the makeup on my face light and easy and went with a more pink shade of lipstick than what was used in the video. Here's everything I used for my interpretation of Mary Greenwell's look. 

Eucerin Daily Protection Moisturizing Face Lotion SPF 30 - By far the best daily moisturizer with spf that I can find. I have been searching for a cruelty free one that matches this, and I cannot find one.  
Stila Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer spf 20 - Fair - I'm bummed that Stila's discontinuing it because it's a really nice tinted moisturizer. It gives the perfect amount of coverage to even out the skin. Currently on sale at the Stila site, if you're in the market for a tinted moisturizer.
Sephora Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer - Meringue - Currently, my favorite undereye concealer. It has good coverage and blends easily. It has been compared to the NARS concealer. I don't have that one right now, but I plan to get it and see how similar the two really are.
Giorgio Armani High Precision Retouch Concealer - 1 - I still had a little bit of darkness showing through under the inner corners of my eyes, so I blended a tiny dot of this over the Sephora concealer to cover it.
Jurlique Lavender Silk Finishing Powder - This transluscent loose powder does a nice job of getting rid of shine without making my skin look dry.
Bare Minerals Blush - Vintage Peach - Blends out easily and looks beautiful over almost bare skin. I love that it has a shimmer to it, so I don't need highlighter.
Tarte Park Avenue Princess Mineral Bronzer - One of my favorite bronzers. I've been working on this sample for quite a while, and I still haven't hit pan on it.

Bare Minerals Blush in Vintage Peach (peach poppy)
Too Faced Shadow Insurance Primer - Nearing the end of this tube, and it keeps on going! I don't think I'm ever going to run out of this. This is a great eyeshadow primer, so that's a good thing.

Top L-R: Serendipitous & Magnetism
Bottom L-R: Fate & Apropos
Bare Minerals Ready Eyeshadow 4.0 - The Truth - I started by applying Serendipitous under the brows for a subtle highlight. Then, I applied Magnetism over the lid and blended it out into the crease. After smudging a bit of liner (see below) into the lashes, I used Apropos to blend it out and applied a bit to the lower lash line.
*Pacifica Natural Eye Pencil - Jet - Mary Greenwell used a brown gel liner, but I opted for a soft black. I thought this one would work for the look because it smudges out like a kohl pencil.
The Balm What's Your Type Mascara - I haven't tried many products from The Balm, but this volumizing mascara is pretty good.
Revlon Brow Fantasy - Dark Blonde - I used the gel of this duo to keep my crazy brows in place.

Milani Easy Liner for Lips - Most Natural - My lips are so thin that liner is a must for me. I like this nude pink to cheat my lip line a little bit.
Sonia Kashuk Satin Luxe Lip Color - Blushing - I'm such a fan of this natural pink color. It feels comfortable and doesn't wear off too quickly.

Here's the finished look. I like this look because it's done without being too much and nice for everyday. You don't need a lot of crazy colors, and you definitely don't need to run out and buy certain products. It's an easy look you can recreate using what you already have.

This type of look works with using colorful eyeshadows too. I used the same steps with purple shades, and I liked the result. You can use any color. While I love the heavy and complex makeup looks of Instagram, I find this to be an easy and refreshing break from that.

What do you think? Have you seen Lisa Eldridge's video?


October Reads

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I love talking about books over my social media accounts, so it seems logical to blog about them too! There's a little bit of everything in here to get me started. I have some recent reads, a birthday book haul, and what I plan on reading next! 

Recent Read & Audiobook

The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey - I listened to this on audiobook through the OverDrive app from my public library. I had only heard of the title of this book and had absolutely no idea what it was about. This happens to be a little bit horror and action/adventure, so it was perfect for getting into the Halloween spirit. It centers around a 10 year old girl named Melanie who loves learning and her teacher, Miss Justineau. I don't read a lot of horror, so I enjoyed this because it was something different. I know I'm being vague with my description, but I'm glad I went into it without knowing anything about the plot. This book is difficult to review without spoilers. The Girl With All the Gifts was made into a movie and released September 23 in the UK. You can watch the trailer here. I probably won't seek out the movie because, while I can read horror, I don't enjoy watching it at all. 

Evelina by Frances Burney - I picked up this novel because it was recommended for Jane Austen fans. First published in 1778, Evelina follows a young girl's introduction into society. Evelina is an innocent girl who was raised in the country by a loving guardian, Arthur Villars, after the unfortunate death of her mother. Mr. Villars somewhat reluctantly sends Evelina to London where she makes makes many social faux pas and is often downright confused by the manners of the people in London society. This takes a look at gender, class, and social customs of the day in a satirical way. I thought it was delightful! The notes in this edition where quite helpful when I didn't understand what certain things were or why exactly something Evelina did was considered a faux pas.

Birthday Book Haul

I'm a huge fan of used book stores and my public library. When possible, I try to get my reading material from one of those places. Sometimes, books that I want cannot be found in either place, and they go on my Amazon list. My birthday was at the end of September, and my mother in law sent me some books from my list as a gift. I'm very grateful and can't wait to dive in!

At the top of the pile, I have How to Sit by Thich Nhat Hanh. I attended a meditation workshop earlier in the year, and this was the book that was recommended for beginners. It's a short book about mindfulness meditation. I've read three other books by Thich Nhat Hanh and found all of them to be worth my time.

Belinda by Maria Edgeworth - Another work of English literature, Belinda was first published in 1801 and is a comic look at gender and race. I don't know much about the story, but it sounded interesting because there's an interracial marriage that's treated respectfully by the author. From what I've heard about this book, Maria Edgeworth was told to change that later on, but this particular edition (Oxford World's Classics) includes that part of the story. 

The Last Summer of Reason by Tahar Djaout - Algerian novelist, Tahar Djaout, was assassinated by Islamic fundamentalists in 1993. The manuscript for this book was found among his things after his death and is unfinished. The story is about a bookstore owner who lives in a country in which a fundamentalist group has taken over and the consequences that it has on the owner and his store. 

The New and Improved Romie Futch by Julis Elliott - Set in the American South, we find taxidermist, Romie Futch. Needing some extra cash, he agrees to become a research subject for scientists to download information into his brain, and now he knows a wealth of information. It sounds strange and funny, and it's set it the South. Sounds like a must-read to me!

Application of Impossible Things: My Near Death Experience in Iraq by Natalie Sudman - Working as a civilian for the US Army Coups of Engineers, Natalie Sudman's truck exploded from a roadside bomb. This is an account of her near death experience and miraculous survival. I think I read a little bit about this somewhere, and it sounded different from other near death experience accounts. I'm curious to learn more about her experience.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski - This is a book that has a bit of a cult following, and I don't know that much about it. My husband isn't really a fan of reading fiction, but he recommended this book to me. It's about a family that moves into a house, and the house turns out to be larger on the inside than it looks on the outside and strange things happen. I was told that if I didn't like it at first to stick with it because it changes quite a bit. This book also changes a lot in the format. For example, a page here and there will only have one sentence or a couple of words on it, and some pages are formatted in columns. That sort of thing. I plan on reading this book after I finish what I'm reading now because it sounds spooky enough for Halloween reading.

Current Book & Audiobook

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury - Set on Halloween night, a group of children are meeting up at a haunted house when one of their friends, Pip, gets taken away by something. The mysterious Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud takes them back in time in search of their friend. I'm about halfway through, and so far they have been to ancient Egypt and back to the time of the caveman. I don't read a lot of children's literature, but I'm really enjoying this. The story was made into a cartoon, and I plan on watching it after I'm finished with the book.

American Gods: the 10th anniversary edition by Neil Gaiman - I'm currently listening to this on audiobook from my public library through the OneClickdigital app . This is a more expanded version of the first release of the book. I particularly enjoy this audiobook because it has a full cast. There is a narrator, but each character is portrayed and the dialogue is delivered by a different voice actor. I've tried reading this before, but I ended up having to return it to my library before I got very far along with it. I'm enjoying it a lot more in audiobook form, and I'm really loving the entire cast of actors in this production. It's very well done. If you plan on listening to this on audiobook, make sure you listen to the 10th anniversary edition. 

That's my current book situation! Let me know if you're interested in anything in my book haul stack, and I will add it to the top of my To Be Read list. I like to read a little bit of everything, and my preferences don't have much rhyme or reason to them. I just go with whatever seems interesting to me at the time. 

What are you currently reading? 

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