Lip Sense

Chances are you know someone selling Lipsense products. And I can bet that you may have been approached to attend a party, host one, buys stuff online, whatever. The fact is, I would much rather buy a product I am going to get anyway from an independent distributer. My hairstylist actually told me about this stuff. I was sitting in her chair with color on my hair passing time chatting. It was actually right when I decided to go blonde and knew I was going to have to rework my color palette. I am of the mindset that I want one go-to daytime lip color and maybe 2-3 darker colors for going out.

So, my longtime friend and stylist tells me about Lipsense and in the most nonchalant way is like, “Yeah, that stuff literally lasts all day. No joke.” She passed her friend’s contact info on to me and I actually got in touch with her. Since then I have had probably 3 people approach me to buy it.

Here’s my recommendation:

Lips of Jewels  (the girl’s name who sells it is Julie, who knows I may be biased) and I’ll tell you why.

First off, the products are amazing, Literally lasts all day, wide variety of colors, quality ingredients, etc.

But her customer service skills are on point. Anything I’ve ever ordered has arrived within a couple days. She does offer sales and promos but has never made me feel pressured to buy anything. And when I had a question about a product I bought, she immediately got right back to me and sent a video. I bought a super dark color after I had tried out a lighter one. When I first tried to apply it was streaking and looking weird. Turns out it was just my application technique. Curious how to apply a dark Lipsense color so you can rock those edgier looks?



Winter’s Descent

Finding words to measure the depth of sensory exclamation I experience listening to this band would be like counting crystals in a snowflake. Much of my taste in music has been influenced by them, since their original incarnation and over the course of the past decade. When I was 14 years old I met my husband Jerry Mulligan, lead singer, and his friend, bassist Paul Lucas. The first band they were in together materialized about five years after we met. Both had been in other projects prior to Winter’s Descent, but from my perspective, something about this one felt different from the start.

The band’s beginning was marked by their first show at 31st Street Pub, which is now sadly closed. At the time their fledgling project was without a name, so in a very systematic and scientific approach, the guys wrote ideas for a band name on scratch paper. The band chicks and I distributed hand written scratch paper ballots to audience members for their vote, and Winter’s Descent was born. Jerry and Paul are the only original members of the band as it exists today.

I remember someone once telling Jerry, “A band is a fragile thing.” Not being a musician myself, I can only understand this statement as an outside observer. But I do understand the growing pains these guys have endured, which has forged an essence in their signature sound.

John Peluso joined the group during a time when Jer had stepped out. When he re-joined the project I met John for the first time, and felt like he was already family. Watching the dynamic between John, Jer, and Paul grow as their music developed through the years has been a personally enlightening experience.

Once Nick Triangles (I’m won’t attempt to type his last name, my phone auto corrects it as Greek triangles) joined the band I knew Winter’s Descent had something special. The music produced since Nick came on board continues to surprise the audience. Their first acoustic song, “Paper Angels,” has been a crowd favorite, infusing the darker melodies Winter’s Descent is known for, with a softened edge. “Counting Backwards” and “Machine Dream” thrust the listener into more familiar territory, holding true to the tradition of Winter’s Descent’s heavier style with updated octaves.

Update: Most recently, after persevering through a long-fought battle in effort to find their 5th member, Cody Tyler joined the band. This guy brought solidarity and structure to their music, along with an energy and enthusiasm to write and perform at an even higher level of intensity than before. Jer and I were sitting on the couch one night and he started sharing some of the riffs that Cody had sent him and we both just smiled at each other. Beyond style and technique, he infuses an emotion into his music that that is catching. You can check out his contributions to “How It Ends”  live from The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls courtesy of DanGTX. “The 5th” (get it?) brings a pumping chorus with driving melodies that have come to characterize Cody’s expression within the band.

I don’t even try to tone down my enthusiasm for what these guys have accomplished, and what they have in store for the future. Check out this recent article by Lady Jaye on the guys’ big come back after Nick Triangles joined the band, and keep up to date on the latest by visiting Facebook and Instagram.

Brawl On

My Take on Brawl


In the spirit of honestly and being true to myself, this post may have a slightly different tone than others I’ve written in the “Flex” section. For all intents and purposes this is the fitness corner of my website and that means all things Barre! Perhaps I’ve never mentioned that part of why I joined The Barre Code in the first place was that I needed to shake up my routine and be held accountable. I am relatively disciplined on my own. I’ll always so some kind of activity or exercise but it’s hard for me to consistently push myself past my own predetermined limits. Just like anyone else, I have things that come more naturally to me. To be fair I am often trying to break new ground in other areas of my life so going to a studio where the classes are always challenging is refreshing because all I have to do is show up.  I consistently attend whatever 3 classes I can make it to per week, occasionally more and rarely less. Over the course of the past 2 years I have watched my body transform and my confidence increase dramatically. (I still have to eat right most of the time!)

One thing I must confess, is that I pretty much avoided going to Brawl at all costs for the first year or more that I belonged to the studio. I would take it once in a while. Every now and then I’d have an “on” day, totally rock a routine, and feel like a total badass. Then I’d go to a couple where I’d basically trip over my feet so much I’d leave wondering how I ever even learned to walk. I chalked it up as something I “just wasn’t good at” and didn’t really care because I was able to make it to enough other cardio classes that I still felt like I was getting a balance in my routine. Then my schedule changed (a couple times) over the past year or so and if I wanted to keep up with my commitment I kinda had to hit a Brawl class more often than I would have liked. At first, I just struggled through them resentfully. I tried to make myself like it a little more and then just decided I was going to make sure I planned my classes around NOT going to Brawl, which meant I had to go Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday without fail in order to keep up with my 3 days. If you’re up to date on the rest of my site, you might have an idea that my life rarely runs like clockwork. Certain habits are ingrained which keeps me grounded but otherwise I need a lot of flexibility for it all to go smoothly. Thus, I found myself back at Brawl classes.

Then one day I made it to a class that just went average. I wasn’t terrible at the routine but I didn’t get that boost I’d feel when I really nailed it, yet I got this quiet sense of accomplishment. It’s easy to do something you’re already good at and just keep getting better if you devote the time to it. But consistently pushing through something that doesn’t come naturally builds character. I never played competitive sports so getting into that aspect of fitness has always been uncomfortable for me. Not that Brawl is competitive in the sense that you have to try to out-kick your neighbor, but it definitely helps me channel my inner warrior. Plus, if I am really stressed I can typically work it out in a Brawl class. I’ve found that sticking it out with something I don’t just gravitate toward has been really empowering. Brawl helps me create balance, not only in my exercise routine, but in how I approach the challenges in my life. Even when I am struggling, the regular Brawl instructor, Ashley makes me smile and I try to keep that attitude outside of the studio as well.

Product Review by Lady Jaye

Ritual – The Instagram Famous Multivitamin for Women

    I’m extremely busy and always looking for ways to get energy without feeling like the Kool-Aid Man busting through a wall, so when I saw the advertising for Ritual vitamins that kept mentioning the energy boost, I was curious. The idea of spending $30 a month when I’ve never been able to regularly take vitamins because of a very sensitive stomach and not knowing what I really need in a vitamin made me cautious and I’m not one to jump on bandwagons anyway. I’m not a teen anymore so I’m beginning to think it’s time to try to take care of myself and I started looking into them. The idea that Ritual only has what they call “nine essential ingredients most women don’t get enough of in their diet” was nice and most of these ones I’d heard of and understood their benefits. Another rather cool thing was that they took out the guesswork of choosing between liquid or solid form vitamins. Each pill is a capsule (these are totally vegetarian by the way) with the best delivery method for each ingredient. They looked so cool in person that I sent Miss Julie Winter’s herself a photo of them when they came, lol. Cool looking photos of these little pills aside – Here’s how they stacked up to their claims:

That Mint Scent!  

    Yes, they do smell like mint flavored bubble gum. They come with a clear mint scent bar inside the bottle and if you don’t like it, you can remove it. I do like the scent, it is a nice additional thing in the morning…. It does not taste like mint and it didn’t not brighten my day like the happy glowing people in the photos wanted me to think. They don’t taste bad though, especially considering that they contain Omega 3. Turns out they use a different process that uses algae rather than fish oil and no nasty burps throughout the day either.

The 21 day challenge of making your vitamin taking a ritual?

    I got a little square numbered to 21 and stickers to place on each day. The stickers were cute, filled with little drawings of trophies and pills, and I felt that fun kind of silly adults usually don’t get in life. I mean, come on, I was using a rewards chart like I have set up for my kids!!  I’m not great when it comes to forming habits, I never take things exactly when I should without tons of alarms but I gave it my best. The stickers, chart and pills were on my desk in my home office where I couldn’t miss them. I attempted to take them as soon as I sat down each morning. I don’t know about a ‘ritual’ but I do remember to take them at some point each day and forget about the sticker part.

The claims of energy, skin rejuvenation and more….

    First, you have to understand that I’m skeptical of anything I buy off the internet and I’m kind of what I consider an intelligent idiot. Did I know I couldn’t take vitamins without food and not be sick? Yes. Did I try it with these anyway to see if the reviews were right? Again, yes. If your stomach is as super sensitive as mine, do not take these without food. I tried it the first day, and while it wasn’t as bad as others I’ve tried with food, I wouldn’t recommend it. I tried again at about fourteen days in and it wasn’t so bad but I don’t think I’ll be taking them without at least a snack joining the party shortly after.

    The main reason I bought these was for the energy and I don’t know why I expected the results to be instant. In just a few days I began looking closely at the “30 Day Free Trial” offer. Now, at day 21, I can tell you that I’m not ready to run a marathon but I am waking up easily and often before my alarm. I’m not so full of energy that I can take on the world, but I do have enough to take on those few extra things I kept putting off each day. I’m still waiting on this “Every hour is golden hour” thing I read all over the place but my head is a little more clear and I don’t feel so drained with my 6 a.m. to midnight schedule. I think they oversold that part. No birds are flying in the window to great me and pull back my covers, no woodland creatures to help make my coffee… and yes I still need coffee… but I do notice the change.

    One thing they didn’t talk enough about? The benefits to your skin! I’m 40 and I’m also a mother of four with a hectic schedule and my skin has probably suffered because of it.I don’t always have the time to take off my makeup after a show or properly exfoliate, in fact I’m pretty happy with myself if I wash my face one a day and thrown on moisturizer at some point. Lately I’ve thought about buying a product to help combat the wrinkles I’m seeing go just that little bit deeper around my eyes and forehead. I also have this odd combination skin on the rest of my body that I have to do a complicated flow chart to know if I need moisturizer or if it will make me feel greasy. On day 13 I reached over to adjust my sleeve and when I brushed up against my arm, I kept rubbing my skin for a minute. It was really soft and I remember the word supple came to mind for the first time. I can’t put my finger on how to describe the exact change but I can tell you that I REALLY LIKED IT!! A couple days later I happened to notice that those lines I’d worried about weren’t quite as deep. They weren’t gone, this isn’t the alternative to botox, but they were obviously not as pronounced and my face felt softer and more firm. I do not understand why they aren’t pushing this effect of the vitamin more!

    In all, if you can afford $30 a month, try this. I got my email notice yesterday that my new bottle is on it’s way and I didn’t think twice about if I wanted to continue getting it, I was just happy I didn’t have another thing to remember in order to keep this going. It’s not a magic pill but it is helpful to my every day, I know I’m getting nutrition I don’t usually get through food and I like the rejuvenating effect on my skin. For me, this is totally worth giving up my HBO subscription to fit it easily into my budget…. At least until the next season of Game of Thrones.