Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Just For Redheads Mascara Voyage (& A Lengthy Update)

Many of you have been emailing/otherwise messaging me regarding my absence. I'm going to address that at the end of this post - so those who are only interested in the makeup can get right to the good stuff! (This is going to be a long post!)

As y'all know, I am a huge fan of Just For Redheads mascaras. I've used their Mascara Naturelle in shades Ginger Red and Ginger Cocoa almost exclusively for a handful of years, now. They have recently reformulated it, and I've not yet tried the new formula. They do have a couple other formulas too, and while the Naturelle formula was unavailable, I decided to try one of the others. I opted for the Voyage formula... honestly? Because it was the cheapest. Hey when funds are limited, you tend to make your choices based on price. And I knew I would not be disappointed, since I have used the Naturelle for so long I just knew it was not going to be a bad move.

First of all, I love the black and gold packaging. It just looks so sleek and sophisticated to me! Plus, being from Pittsburgh, well... you can't go wrong with black and gold. ;-)

I am not entirely thrilled with the wand; I've gotten used to slimmer mascara wands so this one being pretty "old school" it feels a little bulky to use, but that's something that can easily be adjusted to. And, it DOES to a good job of applying the product, so it's not truly a flaw or anything to complain about - simply a personal preference for me.

Now, for the formula. I kind of LOVE it! I like this formula better than the Mascara Naturelle, by a landslide! It lengthens quite well, and adds noticeable volume to my lashes. It's nothing crazy - I know "false lash look" mascaras are very in right now but this is not like that. This does what I like my mascara to do - it enhances what I already have but still has a natural look to it. It goes on so beautifully - no clumps whatsoever. I even tested out applying 2 coats, as I know a lot of you like to do two coats of mascara. (I'm a one coat and done lady myself.) It did not clump with a second coat either. I believe all the JFR mascaras are formulated to be water resistant. Note that I said water resistant, not waterproof - there's a big difference. I find these to hold up quite well. They did get a little smudgy/run a little bit under my eyes on a couple of the hotter. more humid summer days we had when I was also doing a lot of physical work and sweating up a storm, but truly, considering the circumstances, they held up fantastically. I was very impressed. And, they washed off easily at the end of the day. All around WIN! Possibly my favorite part is the way my lashes feel when using this mascara. Now, I know that sounds weird but bear with me for a minute here ok? You know how a lot of mascaras leave your lashes feeling stiff and hard if you happen to touch them (if you rub your eyes a little or something)? Does not happen with this mascara. My lashes feel soft and flexible... like I don't even have mascara on. Ok it might still sound weird. It's a little thing I notice, and I'm happy with this one!

As for the colors - I don't know which I want to say is my favorite of the two. They are both fantastic. If really pressed to choose just one though I'd go with Ginger Auburn.

Ginger Cocoa

This is Ginger Cocoa, which is the lightest shade offered by Just For Redheads. It is more brown than it looks in the picture; my camera really picked up the orange-y red undertones to it. But this does show you that it's a light color - it's like a light milk chocolate color, but it's got very warm undertones that keep it "soft" looking, if that makes sense. (I promise you it just looks light brown in person and on the lashes!) It is brown enough that I do not feel it's a very natural look on me, but I do love that it's a lot softer than black or standard drugstore brown mascara. But then this is talking about how I see it on myself - I know what my nekkid lashes look like better than anybody, so to me this is a brown enough mascara to not look natural. Other people may not necessarily agree with me.

Ginger Auburn

And this is Ginger Auburn, which is darker (obviously) than Ginger Cocoa and also more red. This gives me a similarly natural look, although I feel like despite it being darker it is more natural looking on me because of the fact that it is more red. (And yes I realize the irony of my camera wanting nothing more than to pick up on the more red undertones of Ginger Cocoa, but the Ginger Auburn it was totally fine to capture the color as it is.)

I think either of these colors would work well for blondes with light lashes who want a softer, more natural look than they can get from standard drugstore mascaras, too. So even some non-redheads can enjoy these. ;-) They likely would not do much for you if you have naturally dark lashes.

You can see more about Just For Redheads mascaras on their web site at, if you're interested in checking them out.

Now, for those of you who've been asking about my absence and my extended vacation that's not really exactly a vacation... click "read more" to continue on. ("read more" should be located to the left under the rss/reddit etc icons. It's hard to see, I know. Sorry but I don't know how to make the jump break link more noticeable?)

Late last year and early this year were extremely difficult for me. There was a lot of not too pleasant stuff happening in my life. I found out my dog, Jenna, had an untreatable form of cancer. She was in a lot of pain and I had to do the hardest thing ever, and do the only right thing for her: say goodbye. She had been in my life for over 8 years and was indeed my very best friend. I couldn't stand to see her suffer, and though she had some good days in her final weeks and she remained as happy as she could be right up to the end, she was suffering a lot and that just was not ok. I chose to be with her in the vet's office that last time. She'd been there for me through so much in our years together, there was no way I could let her leave this life with only a stranger (the vet) as her company. The vet gave me a few minutes before hand to say goodbye to her. I kept my hand on her head the whole time... but had to close my eyes when it was time for the shot that would end her pain. The vet let me stay as long as I needed to before I left. I don't know how long I stayed in that room with her. It was probably not as long as it felt. But to the contrary, it's also possible it was a lot longer than it felt. I didn't care to look at the time. I just stayed till I felt I was ready to make my way home... without my baby.

Early this year, there was some major family drama that included my oldest niece winding up in the hospital. The doctors could not find a medical reason for the "incidents" as they were referred to (she had several seizures, but of course none while she was in the hospital so they could have a better idea of what was going on, they all happened at my house) and so they could only conclude that - knowing about all the drama in the family prior to the first "incident" (boy that was fun, telling no less than ten different nurses and doctors the same blasted story over and over and over as they all kept asking about it in an effort to understand) - it was stress. Yeah... a 12 year old kid having seizures and winding up in the hospital because of stress... was not a fun time for anybody.

All this drama, more details which I am not sharing for the sake of privacy, also led to my dad landing in the hospital not too long after niece was back home again. They could not find a reason for the problems he was having. Again, attributed to stress from everything happening within the family. I wound up in a big argument with my brother, and to this day I've not seen or spoken to him since. I've no desire to, and he feels the same.

As for how MY health was holding up during all this madness? Honestly I am surprised I didn't find myself in the hospital for stress-induced incidents of some sort too. I did, however, find myself in the middle of the road, sobbing uncontrollably, while walking the dog. (Not Jenna, obviously. My other baby, Rascal.) Prior to the argument with my brother. His decision about how to handle something was so incredibly selfish and I'd already been through so much, after seeing my niece have several seizures, spending 4 days in the hospital with her (yeah, I was the one who got to deal with all this stuff...) and generally being a mess emotionally/mentally... I just could not take it anymore. There was someone else at the house with me at the time who I told to keep an eye on niece and used the dog needing a walk as an excuse to get some time to myself for a couple minutes because I was about to lose it, and I knew it. I leashed the dog, grabbed my phone, and headed down the road. (The road I most often walk the dog on is a dead-end, dirt road, the only people who use it are a couple folks who live up the hill.) I dialed my mom's phone number, and no sooner did she answer than I just... broke. That's the only word for it. I didn't even have the strength to stand anymore. I had no control over myself for a while. I just hit my knees, right there in the middle of the road... and I sobbed. Uncontrollably. For no less than twenty minutes.

Add to this some other unpleasant issues - relationship troubles, an on-going problem with someone in my life who wants to be romantically involved with me despite the fact that I've told him many many times "No" and he won't give up, and the general everyday stuff that is just normal that everyone deals with all the time that is not usually a big deal... the fact that I didn't wind up in the hospital with some problem from all the stress is a miracle. I did wind up with some dental issues that my dentist said was most likely because of the stress; it seemed I'd been clenching/grinding my teeth a lot (in my sleep, or otherwise without even noticing I was doing it) and that led to some issues that were not too fun to get dealt with. And then of course... money issues. I am STILL trying to pay off the credit card from the vet bills from Jenna's last visits and her medications and everything. And my trips to the dentist. The interest is more than I can keep up with. I'm doing the best I can but unfortunately my best is not good enough when it comes to getting these bills paid off. =(

So when I was presented with an opportunity to get away for a while... I took it. Since the beginning of June, I've been blissfully 7 hours away from my family, and all the chaos that has been this year. Well, I'm not away from ALL my family. I'm currently living with one of my uncles, in North Carolina. My uncle and I are pretty close and we're good friends more than anything. He'd bought a house that needed a lot of work done on it. (Still needs a lot of work done, actually.) With his work schedule he doesn't get a chance to do a lot of it and there are some things he couldn't do himself that he needed help with. So. He needed help. I needed to escape. We made it happen. I spent a week with an aunt in Virginia before making my way down here, and I have been very much enjoying being here.

I've no time frame for when I will return to Pittsburgh. It was thought originally that maybe I'd stay through summer. But now it's fall and I'm still here, things are still going well, and I'm in no rush to leave. (My uncle's in no rush to kick me out either. lol) I have worked hard this summer. I have torn down walls - literally - and ceilings, I've scrubbed industrial strength adhesive off the floors, I've encountered more large bugs and spiders than I care to think about. I've hauled contractor-sized trash bags loaded with drywall outside, and carried all manner of base boards and other scraps out as well. And there is still much to do, here, before this house is done. There have been unpleasant moments here and there (including running into the skeletal remains of a rat while I was removing the ceiling in one room. oh... no fun!) but overall I have truly been enjoying the hard work. It's been good for me in more ways than one. The house had been vacant for quite a long time before my uncle bought it so it was in pretty rough shape. It still is to be honest, but we've made good progress.

Honestly, I love it here. So much more than I thought I would. I wouldn't mind staying here for good. That is not an option, of course. Eventually I will have to go back to Pittsburgh... but until then, I'm in no rush for that to happen and I'm going to do my very best to enjoy every moment here. I like the climate. I like the scenery. I like the food. (Oh gosh we yankees do BBQ all wrong! lol) I just like it here. Right now I can't make North Carolina my true home. But for now, it's home. And maybe if I am lucky some day I can make it my real home. Oh there are things I miss about Pittsburgh, to be sure. But... it's nice down here in the south. It really is. I've always said I was "southern at heart". Even if only temporarily, it's nice to get to live that way. I've always said y'all, anyway. It's nice to say it and not be looked at like I'm weird. :p

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