Finally, The Best Mascara

If you remember, and why wouldn’t you, it was a monumental declaration, over a year ago I declared that I would go through a giant box of sample mascaras and do an experiment on which one I thought was the best.


And as with all of my best intentions, I managed to document only three of them before I simply resorted to trying them on and then declining most of them forever. Mascara is no joke.

The mascara needs to look natural. It needs to separate the lashes, lift my short spindly genetic shortfalls, from the hovels of my face and mold the shacks of my eyelashes into skyscrapers. I want the structure to last all day but easily tear down at night.

I tried all of the mascaras in Sephora’s 2013 Lash Stash box listed here:

Benefit They’re Real Mascara (which I all ready loved previously)
Blinc Mascara
Buxom Lash Mascara
Clinique High Impact Mascara
Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara
Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara
Sephora Outrageous Mascara
Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant
Tarte Lights, Camera, Flashes Mascara
Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effect Mascara

I also tried MAC’s Zoom Fast Mascara, Clinique’s Lash Doubling Mascara, Maybelline’s Great Lash, Lancome’s Hypnose Doll Lashes, Benefit Bad Gal, and Bobbi Brown’s Everything Mascara through various samples and purchases.

It was quite a task, which is why it took me over a year to complete.

And at the end of it, I had narrowed my choices down to Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara (my old favorite) and Bobbi Brown’s Everything Mascara.

But then something unexpected happened.


I tried one of my last mascaras, Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant Mascara.


It was everything I liked about Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara without the residual clumping that is hard to remove at the end of the day.

I could not wait to order a full size of it.

That is when I ran into a problem. I was not the only one who adored their trial of Make Up Forever Mascara from Sephora (I believe Sephora gave out samples in their birthday gifts last year). And I was not the only one who had decided to jump and order the full size version. However, before I did, I read the reviews. Many of them declared that for whatever the reason, the full size version did not live up to the smaller size.

Thankfully, you can order a travel size version. And that is what I have been doing for the last six months.


So, oddly, the travel sized Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant Mascara is the winner of my mascara trials. It lengthens lashes dramatically without being too stiff. It removes easily. It stays on all day without any flaking. It separates well. It is the mascara I will and have been exclusively buying for myself. Although, my daughter received the same kit. Her heart still belongs to Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara. So, that is the brand I buy for her.

Have you tried any of these mascaras? What is your favorite mascara? Have you done eyelash extensions? Or that eyelash growth serum? Or do you ever use fake eyelashes? I have tried the fake eyelashes once. But I have not perfected it. Maybe one day I will try again.

*This post is based on my own use of the different mascaras. Your experience may vary from my own. All photos here are unfiltered to truly show the way the product looks when I first apply it and the lighting I apply it in.

Winners Of The Three Necklaces Giveaway And Cravings Gifts

The winners of the necklaces (picked from are Jo, Sharon and Lyn. Congratulations! I will get those out to you this week! I hope you like yours as much as I like mine. And thank you to everyone who entered! I will have another giveaway coming up in December!

There are a ton of things on my wishlists, but it is the time of the year where it is about buying for others. That, coupled with the fact that I also have a few clothing related posts I will be publishing later in the week if all goes as planned (including a set of reviews going up tomorrow), means I don’t really feel much like talking about clothes today. Gasp! So, today let’s talk about gifts. Here are a few things I am excited about gifting this year. I cannot post a lot about gifts here, because my family reads this blog, but I will post a few things that they know they are getting or things I can recommend for a generic gift receiver:


I always get my son the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar. It is a fun way to countdown the time until Christmas. Yes, that is Darth Vader dressed as Santa Claus! I purchased mine at the beginning of November. I cannot believe it, but it is sold out online all ready. Amazon has it for a huge markup through a third party. I think that is ridiculous so I am not linking to it. I would recommend heading directly to your local Target or Walmart (our local Target was out of them as of yesterday) VERY soon to check their stock if you want one for your kiddos (definitely before Black Friday).


This year I was able to get my daughter Benefit’s Advent Calendar from Sephora during their 20% off promotion. It gets mixed reviews, but I think it looks perfect for a teenager. I also recognize that her gift cost double my son’s. I had to seriously question the purchase of this, but she is only living at home for a few more years. I want to spoil her while I can.

I cannot wait to watch both kids get their gifts and countdown the holiday!


I do not burn candles a lot. I cook way too much to do so. I like the smell of food baking and cooking much better than any candle. The candles I do purchase are, surprise!, food based. My newest favorite scent is the Oatmeal Cookie Candle from Anthropologie. I have been on a roasted chicken phase here (I still cook when I am sick. Moms cannot take a day off. I think it is about time we went on strike), so I have not burnt this yet. But it is sitting on my counter waiting for a day when we finally get take out.


I gift and get these duvet slippers every year. They are simply the best. Like pillowy clouds upon your feet. I highly recommend them. I have been purchasing them for years.


As a little girl, one of the best parts about the holidays were the Lindt Truffles my grandmother would leave out in candy dishes throughout her home. They were not as available back then as they are now. It was a big treat. I like to give these chocolates as gifts. Right now Costco has these giant bags filled with about fifty truffles for $6.99 (for a very limited time). I may or may not have purchased four and have two left. Don’t count on these as gifts, folks. Or buy more than I did. The peanut butter truffle?! I swoon. I need to go pick up more!

What is a generic gift that you always give out? I would love more ideas. I also like to buy colorful colanders on clearance at Marshall’s, etc. and fill it with a pretty kitchen towel, and goodies (perhaps some Lindt Truffles if you have more willpower than me). Tie it with a bow around the handles and you can punch a hole through a gift card and attach it to the bow. Phew! That was quite a visual. I will have to make one up and show you a finished colander soon.

Crockpot Spaghetti (with coffee grounds)


I am usually pretty lazy when it comes to making spaghetti. I just brown the meat and toss in a couple of cans of pasta sauce. The end.

But the other day I stumbled across a recipe. This is not an odd thing to happen. But what is odd is the ingredient in the recipe. Coffee grounds. Coffee grounds? Yes. And since I love anything absurd. And I love an ingredient I have around the house for free (that I usually throw away). I decided to try it.

I am not going to post the ingredients for the recipe, even though ingredients are fair game when it comes to copyrights. This is because it is a crockpot recipe so if I post the ingredients, you pretty much know there are three steps to follow after that.


Brown the meat.


Put the ingredients in the crockpot. Cook.


Make the noodles. And stir the now completely yummy and bubbling sauce.

And that would not be fair to the creators of this recipe (Layers of Happiness). If I change a recipe in at least three ways, I will blog the recipe in its entirety, but I did not change this one except to reduce the water by a cup and double the red wine. I like to play nice. So, I definitely recommend clicking over to the blog that posted this recipe to see it there.

This makes my family of four, four complete meals. The first night, we eat what we can.


Then, I pour the remaining spaghetti sauce into two of these handy dandy freezable containers (best. things. ever. The link is an affiliate link. I bought mine four months ago. I use them for everything). Each container is a family sized serving for four. I freeze two containers. The rest, I save in the refrigerator with the leftover noodles from the first evening to eat the next day as leftovers.

This spaghetti sauce is so good. It is even better the next day.


When I am tired and I do not want to cook, I simply defrost the spaghetti sauce that is in the freezer on the counter for an hour (this is so it slides out easier). Then I pour (more like plop) the sauce into my dutch oven with 1/4 cup of water and cover the whole thing and simmer on medium low heat for thirty minutes while I make the noodles.

I serve it with frozen baguettes from Costco. Have you tried those loaves? They come in 5 packs of 2. They are my family’s favorite baguettes.

Have you used coffee grounds in a recipe before? At first I was kind of nervous about it. But then I researched it and it turns out coffee grounds are a great antioxidant (article found here). And I was sold.


It looks like I am not the only one who enjoys this spaghetti. : )

Feeding My Etsy Beast: Vintage Maxi Skirts

I posted about a Vintage Maxi Skirt that I own on Tuesday. I felt bad that I could not link to it, because it was vintage and one of a kind. I had an idea. I found some maxi skirts that I think are gorgeous in a variety of sizes being sold on Etsy. Being vintage, it makes sense that these items sell out quickly. There is only one of them. Often times buying vintage means a cost savings, as well. There are many bohemian beauties I have my eye on at retail price in chain stores, but I cannot afford them right now. Vintage can mean getting something cool for less. It means no one in your town will be wearing that garment the same day as you. It is also being green. The sizes will vary. If you click on a link and it is sold out, I am sure more vintage items will pop up soon.

I am not affiliated with the sellers of the following skirts in any way. I have always had a beautiful experience shopping on Etsy (I have purchased from over 100 sellers), but please shop at your own risk. I have had contact with each of these sellers (in requesting to use their photos) and they were lovely. I would advise reading the product description carefully before purchasing. Most vintage pieces are nonreturnable.

Suzanne, from the blog Style Files, styles vintage pieces like nobody else. She is fun and sassy. I love her style. She wrote a super helpful post entitled “Top Tips For Shopping Vintage.” In fact she has a section on her blog devoted to vintage tips. I highly recommend checking it out.

I thought it would be fun to show some pretty vintage maxis that have caught my eye lately:


Who can resist a fun green maxi skirt? This Sweet Green Floral Skirt is from Sunny Lizard. The waist for this one is thirty inches. The brightness of this skirt makes me long for days spent drinking lemonade by the pool. Great summer find.


I love this Red Eyelet Skirt from Vintage Stew. In fact, it is on my personal wishlist. The only reason I did not scoop it up was because I have a very similar short red skirt all ready in my closet. This skirt features a 28 inch waist.


I like plaid all year round. There is just somethin’ about it. This Colorful Plaid Skirt is so pretty. If only I had a twenty five inch waist to be able to wear it. It is being sold by Indie Style Society.


I saw this amazing find and if I had a 34 inch waist, I would scoop it up. I love anything sky related. This Cool Zodiac Skirt is sold from the shop Bumblebee Buck. The pattern is awesome.


Polka dots! I recently snagged a sweet white and black polka dot Free People maxi skirt at Nordstrom Rack. This reminds me of it. Except this one is vintage, so it is cooler. This Red Polka Dot Skirt has a 30-35 inch waist. It is being sold by the shop Pendulum Vintage. I love the sweet buttons on this one.


I think this skirt is the closest to my vintage find from yesterday. The waist stretches to 24-29 inches. It is the Black Floral Appliqué Skirt from Cocoandmillie. I would style it exactly as seen here. It is exquisite.


This Aztec Bird Skirt is so interesting. It is being sold from Red Hat Vintage with a high waist of twenty eight inches. I am been obsessed with pink lately. And this one is no exception.


I love this Sunshine Skirt from Brass Giraffe Vintage. This skirt sports a 26 inch waist. I love the colors. My grandma’s favorite colors were green and yellow and I have found myself attracted to that combination lately. This eye candy fits the bill.


This Strawberry Appliqué Skirt being sold from Victoria Westbury is amazing. I love the fabric with the cool design. Even though this skirt has a small fabric flaw, I think it is gorgeous. I love it shown with the red shoes here. It also has the best red polka dot ruffle underneath.


Last but not least, is this Gorgeous Green Skirt. It is just a little too big for me with a twenty nine and a half inch waist. I love the colors of this. I think this skirt worn with a black t-shirt and long green necklace with silver sandals would be amazing. It is being sold from Momo Deluxe Vintage.

Do you shop vintage? What do you look for? Do you like this feature? Are you an Etsy addict like me? I love browsing the beautiful shops.