Hey Megan! Get Yourself to Melvin’s Deli Comfort. Stat.

We all know that we love pastrami around these parts. Hey Megan (that’s what we call her now) also loves pastrami, so we made it our mission to find more excellent salted cured meats in Austin.

Enter Melvin’s Deli Comfort.

Melvin's-Deli-Comfort

Oh. My. Word. The sandwich gods have sent down angels to swelter in this little red trailer all in the name of providing Austin with amazing sandwiches. For realz. The serve pork confit and duck confit. From a trailer. Thank you Melvin’s for upping the sandwich standard in Austin.

Ok . . . here’s what we ate.

Ben refuses to order the same thing as me so that meant we had to try two different things on their menu. He got the Hot Pastrami . . . stacked.

Melvin's Pastrami

As you can see, they are super generous with their meat. We could have easily shared this sandwich. The pastrami was AMAZING. It was tender and falling apart on the sandwich. This is a very good this. The pepper bark was fantastic and the smoked flavor enhanced without over powering. The house mustard is to die for as well as the soft rye bread they use to house the whole she-bang.

At the recommendation of the guy taking our order, I had the Croque Monsieur.

Croque Monsiuer

Rich, cheesy and delectable. I would 100% recommend this sandwich to anyone. The cheese. Oh, the cheese. So melt-y and perfect. The ham was sliced to the perfect thickness and blended with all of the other flavors on the sandwich. I will say, normally I would not eat a sandwich like this in 100 degree weather, but I’ll make an exception for Melvin’s.

Speaking of 100 degree weather, they have a great little setup for eating including multiple picnic tables, a shade and fans. They also pipe out tunes to enjoy as you eat. Parking is plentiful which is rare for the trailer scene. All in all, a great setup.

Due to their commitment to quality, they sometimes sell out. The guys in the trailer told us you are always welcome to call ahead to place your order. We arrived right before the rush and I can tell you, this may not be a bad idea.

Things you need to know.

 Address: Located at the corner of 53rd and Duval Rd.

 Cost: $20 for two sandwiches and chips

 Food: Upscale sandwiches. Worth the cost for the quality.

 Kid Friendly: Yes. However, I didn’t notice specific options for kids.

 Contact: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Melvins-Deli-Comfort/329838850457293

 

GiveawayP.S. Only a couple more days for our Summer Sipper Giveaway. Don’t forget to enter!

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The One With the Skydiving

On Thursday, May 30, 2013, at about 9:30 a.m., my life changed forever. I’m sure you already read the post title, so you already know. But, yes, I jumped out of an airplane. And it was a “perfectly good one” at that!

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Now, if you know me, you know that some of my favorite things include sitting on my couch, binge-watching TV shows or sappy movies, eating junk food, and wasting way too much time on the interwebs, scanning instagram or pinterest. Nothing productive. But all the while, none of it life-threatening either (I know… I said junk food and couch sitting in the same sentence. Ok, so maybe a little bit life-threatening). And while I rather enjoy scuba diving, snowboarding, four wheeling, roller coasters, etc. as much as the next Average Joe, I just wouldn’t ever be referred to (by myself or by anyone else) as an adrenaline junkie. I get squeamish if someone even just mentions bodily fluids or bones breaking.

That said, the aforementioned skydiving was, without a doubt, THE most thrilling and exciting and breathtaking (literally) and epically terrifying thing I’ve done in my entire life.

Rewind to September of last year. I was a very new newlywed, and my husband’s birthday was coming up and after weeks of struggling with ideas of what to get him (it had to be unforgettable—it was his first birthday as a married man, after all), I finally decided on a gift certificate for skydiving. Over Zions National Park in Southern Utah. And as I was on the phone setting it up, I thought to myself, And why should I let my dear husband do this alone? I’ll get one for myself too and we can go together!

It seemed like a good — nay, brilliant — idea at the time. At the time.

Fast forward to May of this year. We decide to finally redeem our certificates. We set it up for May 30 (we were going to be driving to California then anyway, so it was perfect). About 3 weeks before May 30, we saw Iron Man 3. **Spoiler Alert** In Iron Man 3, there is a scene where Iron Man has to save 13 people who have fallen out of a not-so-perfectly-good airplane. As I sat there and watched these people fall to their imminent deaths, and saw the ground rapidly approaching for all of them, I remembered May 30. That is going to be meee……. Cue anxiety attack.

And as May 30 crept slowly closer, my anxiety levels crept slowly higher. By the time Kent and I were sitting in the little hut of Skydive Zion, watching the instructional video of the man telling us we or our family (immediate or otherwise) weren’t allowed to sue if we died and that we were going to momentarily be signing our lives away; and as I watched as a Go-Pro caught the moment when the girl whose first dive it was leaned out the door of the exact airplane I was going to be in and I saw the definite terror in her eyes, my own eyes filled with tears.

Yeah, I cried during the instructional video. What’s it to you? Let’s see you handle that moment any better. (For the record, Kent laughed at me when he saw my tears; although he did also rub my back, which actually did help comfort me.)

Once I regained my composure (or pretended to anyways), our instructor, Rick, who a little bit reminded me of Anderson Cooper, walked us through everything; told us what we were going to do and how we were going to do; told us how things work; told us he’s done over 5,000 tandem dives in his life and has never even gotten a scratch from them. I was surprised when that fact actually did help calm me a bit.

And then, there was nothing else to learn. I went first, to get it out of the way. I’m pretty selfish like that.

Rick helped strap me into the gear and then hopped into the little teeny tiny plane. Just me, Rick, and the pilot. Another person wouldn’t have fit even if they wanted to. The pilot started the propellers, shut the door that I was going to be jumping through, taxied down the runway, then took off. That was it… there was no going back! It took us about 20 minutes to get up to altitude (11,000 feet off the ground in Hurricane, but 14,000 feet total from sea level). The view from the plane over Zion’s/St. George/Hurricane was incredible!

I kept nervously peeking at the altimeter strapped to my gear. Finally, at about 9,000 feet, Rick strapped me up to him, went over everything one last time, and we scooted forward to the door. Then he opened it. The plane was going around 80 mph, so it’s easy to imagine that it felt much like opening the door of your car going full speed down the highway would. Except that when I looked down, I had 11,000 feet between me and the ground, as opposed to the maybe 11 inches you’d have in your car. Also, it was freezing. And if you know me well enough to know about my couch-sitting, junk-food-eating habits, you also know how much I despise being cold.

Once that door opened, please know that I am not even close to exaggerating when I say that my heart has never pounded so hard in my entire life. I almost thought it was going to pound right out of my chest.

Then Rick asked me, “Are you ready?!” I took a moment and a deep breath, and then I shouted, “YES!” I leaned out of the plane door onto a little plank, with Rick strapped to my back. And then we just…. jumped!

I don’t remember what my body did over the next 4-5 seconds. I know that somehow Rick turned us as we fell out of the plane so that we were looking up, and I saw the plane getting smaller and smaller and smaller. After just 4 seconds of falling, it was already impossibly far away, I thought. And then, somehow, Rick turned us so we were facing the earth. At that point, my training from earlier kicked in and I did everything as I was supposed to. Way to go, self!

We fell at 120 mph for roughly a mile or so — it was about 40-45 seconds of free fall. I could barely breath because the air was so fast! I don’t really remember all that much of the scenery, but I do remember that it was coming at me faaaast. Then, at about 5,000 feet elevation, Rick pointed to the rip cord, which meant it was time to pull it. So I did (there was no way on God’s green earth that I was missing that cue!), and the parachute opened and then I was just floating there.

All at once it was quiet—so quiet! No more rushing wind or airplane propellers or anxious-white-noise in my head. I caught my breath. I looked around and finally noticed the beautiful scenery of Southern Utah. I squealed and ooh’ed and aah’ed and squealed some more. I just couldn’t contain those darned squeals of excitement/adrenaline from making their way out of my mouth. Kent eventually told me he could hear me squealing from the ground as soon as the parachute opened.

After floating around with the parachute for around 5 minutes or so, we landed. High fives and hugs all around. I was alive and well and unscathed and, let me tell you, I. Felt. INCREDIBLE. There is really no feeling quite like the one I experienced in that moment; and I know I can’t properly explain it using words, so I’m not even going to attempt to. You’d just have to experience it for yourself.

For the rest of the day, and the rest of the week, and even still now when I think about it, I get rushes of adrenaline and rushes of memories about it. And yes, I would do it again. In fact, I plan to.

SkyDive4 SkyDive1 SkyDive2SkyDive3SkyDive5 SkyDive6

(Here’s a video I put together. These are all shots from the ground. Before the jump, I didn’t think the extra $30 a person it would have cost to have Rick take his Go-Pro along was worth it. But in retrospect, I really should’ve just paid it. That’ll teach me to be a tight-wad.)

Call the Midwife: Nearly Everything I Love About British Television

If you watched “Downton Abbey”, chances are you’ve heard of “Call the Midwife”. Advertised alongside Downton’s run on PBS, and sharing the whole “British period drama” aspect, “Call the Midwife” is just as enjoyable as its Regency cousin, although quite different. I liked it instantly, and soon plowed my way through the two seasons. (Side note: If you’re interested in recaps, do let us know. We watch an excessive amount of television ’round these parts.) It was about halfway through the first season – or series, rather – that I realized: “Call the Midwife” is a prime example of imported British television. Whether indicative of the actual TV climate across the pond or not, the fact is that the shows that gain popularity here in the US tend to have a few key characteristics, and Midwife has just about got them all. And lucky you, I’m going to elaborate on those right…………………………..NOW!

Beautiful Imagery

call the midwife

“Call the Midwife” is set in the late 1950s, in the poor East End of London. For such a homely setting, the show doesn’t miss an opportunity to take sweeping harbor shots and light every character in the most angelic way. There’s no mistaking it: this show is gorgeous to look at.

And it’s the same with “Sherlock” and “Downton Abbey”. Some moments are so stunning you simply can’t help but take notice.

Downton

sherlock 2

Normal-Looking People Falling in Love

A little random, right? But it’s true. For whatever reason, the UK is far more comfortable with average-looking folks having romance.  I’d even say they expect it.  That’s not to say that British TV doesn’t have glamourous actors – those are not in short supply, to be sure. But almost immediately in many of these shows a romantic story line is established between two people who are, well, normal-looking (see “Doc Martin” and “The Vicar of Dibley”, for example). And they don’t need to undergo makeovers to fall in love, and they don’t quietly lose weight over the course of the show’s run.  They’re just themselves.  Now, since I hate spoilers, I’ll not say which characters fall in love in “Call the Midwife”, but I will share a screen cap from the amazing “Love and Marrige” episode from “Vicar of Dibley”. That  was easily one the funniest weddings I’ve ever seen in my life – Teletubby ringbearer and all.

Vicar

Quirkity Quirk Quirkiness

Not much needs to be said about this, right? Dr.Who, The Office, Miranda, Vicar of Dibley, Doc Martin, Sherlock, Absolutely Fabulous, and on and on: the butter to their bread is quirk.  Goofy characters that are often awkward or even misanthropes.  And what’s more, they usually come from small communities within British culture – weird village folk, you see. And Call the Midwife is no different, with its parade of local charcters each episode.  My favorite? The utterly bizarre identical twins Meg and Maeve. They dislike nearly everyone but each other, and decided to simply marry one husband to share between them. Because of course.

Relentless Sentimentality

call the midwife sentiment

For all of Britain’s (well-earned) reputation for farce and cynicism, there’s some heavy representation from the opposite end of the spectrum, too. Brits have mastered sap in a way that Americans just can’t quite approach. Case in point – how many acts from Britain’s Got Talent have you seen? And cheered for? Paul Potts, Susan Boyle, Connie Talbot, Andrew Johnston (the little boy who sang “Pie Jesu” and gave you chills).  They’re internet phenoms, and not just because of their talent. Go back and watch those clips again: part of why you cried when Susan Boyle sang was her voice, but mostly it was the editing. The storytelling that happens with British shows often plays for your tears, and it doesn’t back away.  There’s a point in Midwife when one of characters scoffs, “There are no Hollywood endings here.” And I’ll tell you, I laughed out loud, because there’s practically nothing but Hollywood endings! But that’s part of the fun in these shows – tidy little melodramas where the bad guy gets their due and good triumphs and we all have a good cry.

Now apart from all of this, the stories are engaging, the people are likeable, and the writing is pretty good. In short, this show is charming, and isn’t that the most quintessentially British quality of them all? Now off to Netflix with you! And take some tissues, too.

Summer Sippers – Frozen Apple Juice AND A Giveaway!

We have two orders of business today. First up, the “Summer Sipper” of the week based on a refreshing Disneyland treat. Second, our very first giveaway. If you want to know more about it, you are either going to have to read my rambling or just scroll down to the giveaway part.

Cool? Cool.

Last fall, our family took a trip with some friends to Disneyland. We have found that our 4.5 yr old is really hard to feed on vacation. He eats a limited menu and is about the pickiest child you have ever met. However, he loooooooooves apple juice. He’d drink the stuff by the gallon. So imagine my excitement when near the backdoor that leads (Sam Earl, you know the one.) from Fantasyland to Adventureland we found a stand that sells “100% Frozen Apple” Juice. I thought that I had just scored mommy gold and my little guy was going to be THRILLED by this amazing treat I found him. I proudly purchased one and marched up to my son just waiting to be the most beloved mother in Disneyland, if not the world.

Yeah, he wouldn’t drink it.

So what does a mother do who just spent $4.19 (I looked up the price) on a beverage that her child doesn’t want? Why, she drinks it herself. And loves every sip of it. And attempts to recreate it at home.

At least that’s what this mom does.

Frozen-Apple-juice

Frozen Apple Juice

Here’s what you are going to need.

  • An ice cream maker. The type with the frozen bowl/canister/thingy. Mine is a Cuisinart and one of the best wedding gifts Ben and I received. 
  • A can of frozen apple juice concentrate.
  • A bottle of club soda. A bottle of lemon lime soda will also work. As will water. I just like the little kick carbonation adds.

Are you ready for this? It’s super hard. And by hard, I mean ridiculously easy. My 4.5 yr old could make this drink. Not that he would drink it . . .

  1. Freeze your ice cream canister according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Mine needs at least 24 hours. Otherwise you are just going to get apple juice.
  2. Pour one can of concentrate into the bowl. My juice called for 3 cans of liquid so that is what I added. In the form of club soda. Stir is up a little.
  3. Turn on you machine and let it go until you achieve the desired slushiness. This will depend on your personal taste and how cold your canister is. Mine takes about 25 minutes. Just watch it.
  4. Enjoy!
  5. Oh, and add a splash of Torani Vanilla. You thought I forgot didn’t you.

Now onto the part you’ve all been waiting for . . .

The Giveaway

Giveaway

We are just so excited for this, you guys! An epic moment in blogging history for Our Unqualified Opinion. Our very first giveaway. Theme: Summer Sippers. How appropriate, right? We think so! This giveaway will help you kickstart any summer gathering you may be having. Or, if you’re not having a gathering, just enjoy all the wonderfully cute, summery items yourself! No one’s going to blame you or call you selfish… we think.

Should you win this giveaway, you will receive two tiki tumblers (alliteration was on purpose) in which to put your summer sipper beverage—because just look at them! You will also receive an ice tray which will produce star-shaped ice to keep your summer sipper cool. Finish off your summer sipper with one of three flavors of Torani syrup (with or without sugar), because, well, why not? Sip your beverage through an adorable straw with attached umbrella. Yeah, you read that right. Just, yes. And as a bonus, enjoy some popcorn in the super bright, super cute popcorn containers. And finally, totally adorable napkins to clean it all up.

Unfortunately, the basket from the picture is not included.

To enter the giveaway, you just need to be following our blog via email or bloglovin’. Our bloglovin’ button is in the contact info to the right, as is the place to input your email address. To verify you’ve done that, you will need to enter your email address or bloglovin’ name into Rafflecopter below. Once you do that step, you will have the opportunity to receive 7 more entries, for a total of 10 entries. The giveaway will run for one week. We will announce the winner next Wednesday, July 3. Thanks for participating, and good luck!

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People We Love: Lily & Lace Boutique

lilyandlace

I think we have established that we love clothes around here. We also love to support people we know. Enter Lily & Lace Boutique.

My friend Lindsay invited me to be a fan of Lily & Lace Boutique a couple of months ago. We’re old friends. Let me tell you, their stuff is darling! Fun, bright and on-trend. To make it even more appealing, all of their clothes look ridiculously comfortable and easy, two factors that are a must for my closet. They regularly run specials and giveaways on their Facebook Page as well. If that weren’t reason enough to check it out, Lily & Lace has also offered our readers a promo code to receive 10% off their entire purchase. Simply enter the code “unqualified” and go nuts.

In case you are overwhelmed by all of the choices, here are a couple of our favorite pieces.

Lily & Lace Boutique

(1) Gray 3/4 Sleeve Striped Top // (2) Ivory Skirt Extender

(3) Fuchsia Chevron Top // (4) Jade Chevron Tie Maxi

(5) Mint Side Ruched Tunic // (6) Mint and Gold Necklace Set

 

Black & White Summer Wishlist

In informal continuation of my summer trends posts from a while back (1, 2, 3), I will be putting together guides/wishlists of trends that I love throughout the course of the summer. Today’s wishlist is about the “all-white” trend and I just about die over it! I’ve never seen an all-white outfit that I haven’t loved. They just look so clean and crisp. If I had unlimited funds, I would go buy this entire outfit right now! I If you’re brave enough (all-white can be daunting… and dirty), try out an all-white outfit for a day and let us see what you come up with (upload a picture of your outfit to instagram with the hashtag #ourunqualifiedopinion).

BlackWhiteSummer

(1) Open Back Blouse // (2) Citizens of Humanity Destroyed White Denim

(3) Michael Kors Gold Chain Watch // (4) J. Crew White Bangle

(5) Julianne Hough Colorblock Wedge Sandal // (6) Straw Short-Brim Fedora

(7) J. Crew Crystal Necklace // (8) J. Crew Black Leather Belt

(9) Olivia & Joy Blue Satchel // (10) Essie ‘Butler Please’ Nail Polish

An Open Letter to The Drive-Thru Fairy

Open Letter to the Drive-Thru Fairy
Dear Drive-Thru Fairy,

First of all, I really want to say that I’m way excited about the In-N-Out they just announced in Cedar Park. I know that was on a lot of people’s wishlists in the area and you sure delivered, so well done.

Secondly, you need to know that I know you’re real, no matter what people think. How else would you explain the fact that money can instantly appear at my driver’s side window with the swipe of a card and the push of a few buttons? Magic, I say.

And listen, I know you get a lot of requests. This is America, after all: if we can find the laziest way to do something, we pay someone else to do it that way for us. But it seems like you’ve overlooked a really big one, and I was hoping maybe you could tell me why. Why, dear Drive-Thru Fairy, are there no drive-thru grocery stores? Do you really mean to tell me when the Drive-Thru Wish Granting to-do list got made, a wedding chapel took priority?!

Do you require a trade? A sacrifice of some pre-existing convenience we already have? Because I think I could live without drive-thru dry cleaners. Apparently there are drive-thru liquor stores somewhere in this great country of ours – I hear they’ve been dubbed “brew-thrus”, to boot – and I’m obviously okay with those being put out to pasture. As long as I can stock up on string cheese and Sun Chips without having to beg my children to please stop trying to bite the eggplant I just put in the cart and please un-decide to communicate only in shrieks and please stay in the cart or at least near the cart or at least in my sight or at least within earshot or at least in the store, please? As long as I can do that, I’d very, very seriously consider giving back Taco Bell.

Really. Now you know I’m serious.

 

 

Sigh. If only, if only, no? And I know Tracey has a brilliant list of things that should absolutely be drive-thru-able. If you’re real nice, I bet she’ll share. What’s on your wishlist?

“Dirty Week” — 10 Tips for a Clean Home

cleanhouse(image from Google)

I wholeheartedly disagree with the above statement. In fact, it’s so wholehearted a disagree that whenever I read this statement, my heart starts pounding and I become embarrassingly defensive towards whoever first said or wrote it.

I am a self-proclaimed clean freak. I can’t stand a messy, dirty, unorganized space—especially if it’s a home. If you watch “Friends” just think of me as the real-life Monica. And if you don’t watch “Friends”… well, you just should.

So, in keeping with our “dirty” theme this week, I’m going to divulge my top 10 tips for keeping your home clean. Which, you know, is the opposite of dirty. (See what we did there?) And, at the risk of making you hate me even more than you already do because I willingly compare myself to Monica, I want you all to know that I was really excited to write this post… cleaning is not a waste of my life, thank you very much.

(Disclaimer: You should know two very important bits of information about me in relation to this topic. First, I am an apartment-dweller; not a house-owner. And I have been an apartment-dweller since I started college 7 years ago. Second, I have no children. I think these two facts make quite a bit of difference when it comes to keeping “home” clean. Most apartments take less time and less effort to keep clean than a house merely because of the size difference. And I think the children thing should be self-explanatory. That said, if you are a home-owner or a child-owner, then feel free to adjust these tips to fit your specific needs.)

CleanGuide

1) A place for everything and everything in its place — This is my number one rule for keeping your home clean. If this rule is not being followed, you can pretty much kiss a tidy home goodbye. It doesn’t matter where you put your stuff; but put it somewhere and once it’s there, unless you’re currently using it, that’s where it should always be.

2) Keep Clorox wipes under every sink — I keep wipes under every sink in my apartment. Anytime something spills or splashes, sprays or sprinkles somewhere it’s not supposed to be, I have quick access to the disinfecting wipes for an easy clean up. You can always do a deep clean later.

3) Organize — This relates to my #1 rule. Do anything you can to stay organized. Use cubbies; use baskets; use bookshelves; use drawers; use Rubbermaid containers. These fabric drawers are my favorite. I have about 10 of them in my closet, each holding a particular item (one for socks; one for work out clothes; one for belts; one for swimsuits, and so on).

4) Clean as you go — Don’t let messes pile up. Put dishes in the dishwasher immediately after you use them. Put laundry away as soon as you fold it. Put your shoes/purse/briefcase/backpack away as soon as you get home. I could go on forever, but I think you get it.

5) Dishes every day — Dirty dishes in the sink are one of my biggest pet peeves. If it’s dishwasher-safe, it goes into the dishwasher immediately when it’s done being used. If it’s not dishwasher-safe, I do dishes every night after dinner so that my sink is clean when I wake up the next morning, ready for the next day’s dishes.

6) Make your bed every single day — A made bed just makes the room look nicer. I know, you’re “just going to get into it again in 15ish hours anyway.” I don’t care. When my bed is made, it helps make it easier for me to be motivated to do the rest of my cleaning.

7) Dust! — I am allergic to just about everything, and dust is one of the worst offenders. So I dust. I dust every day. Especially in the living room. Things look better when they’re not caked in dust. And it’s literally easier for me to breath.

8) Vacuum (or sweep/mop) at least one room, once a week — And put rooms on a rotation schedule. Pick one room each week and vacuum it. Or sweep and mop it. It’s so much easier than doing your whole house at once. I dunno about you, but to me there is nothing worse than walking barefoot in my kitchen when there are crumbs on the floor. Ew.

9) Natural light — This may not seem like a valid tip for cleaning, BUT stay with me. I am a huge fan of natural light. Open the blinds; let the sunshine in. Sunshine helps me be motivated to get up off the couch or computer chair and do something. Plus, the light helps me see better when I am cleaning.

10) The trash/recycle can is your friend — Don’t let clutter be clutter. Throw away mail that you don’t need anymore. Throw away food you’re not going to eat as leftovers (or the “food” that’s been in the Tupperware in the fridge for 96 days now and is starting to move on its own—I promise you, you’re not going to eat that). Throw away that random, phantom hair you just found on your clothes that was tickling your arm (don’t just throw it on the floor). And, as a side note, take the trash out regularly.

Once you’re done, light a candle on your uncluttered kitchen counter, grab a cold drink from your organized fridge, sit back on a couch free of laundry, and enjoy the sights and smells of your surrounding cleanliness. And, if someone drops by unexpectedly, who cares! Your house looks daaang good.

And if all else fails, don’t sweat it. Even the best of us Monica-types have a dirty little cleaning secret somewhere:

Dirty Little Secrets — Mascara edition

“Dirty Week” continues in today’s post, but I want to lead with a confession that is vital to the information I am going to share: I am a beautician’s worst nightmare. I’m just going to get that out of the way right now… no secrets here (not this week anyway). So, if you’re a beautician, cosmetologist, make up artist, or even probably an esthetician, this post is not for you. You’ve been warned. That said, it’s really not thaaaaat bad 😉 The rest of you should stay and read.

I’m gonna show you all, arguably, my dirtiest little beauty secret—how I apply mascara. And it’s far from being a cosmetologist-approved recipe for mascara applying, but it works for me, so I’m going to continue with my sharing of it. And because, just maybe, it’ll help at least someone out with their own mascara application processes. And also, maybe because Tracey ran the idea for a mascara post by me like 2 months ago and I’m finally just now getting around to it and am Superman-like in that I’m tying it in to the “Dirty Week” them. (But that one’s just maybe.)

Anyway, I’m just gonna dive right into this. These are the products I use to do my eye make up/mascara:

mascarasecrets

Yes, I have two eyelash curlers (both Revlon brand). You may think it’s a bit overkill (my husband definitely does—he’s asked more than a couple times, “Why do you have two??”), but I actually use both of them. One works well to get my curl started and the other works well to finish it off. (Yeah… as I typed that, I realized… I’m totally crazy.) Anyway, you can use just one if that’s what you like. Or three. Whatever floats your boat. Or whatever makes your eyelashes the curliest. Whatever.

And yes, I also use two types of mascara. The first is waterproof—I put it on as a base in case I ever have a day where my eyes feel the need to leak. Or in case it rains. Or something. It’s kind of like a primer for my eyelashes, without actually being a primer. The second is not waterproof, but it’s the first and only mascara I’ve ever found that actually adds length AND volume to my lashes without being clumpy or crumbly or anything else that mascara shouldn’t be. And yes, it comes in a waterproof version, but the waterproof version SUCKS. You may be tempted to buy it, but just don’t. It’s so much more worth it to buy a separate waterproof one, like I do.

There are also two different eyeliner options in the picture above, but I only use one at a time (I know… shocking!). I prefer the roll-up pencil, but the eye shadow/brush works too if for some reason the pencil isn’t available/has run out/etc.

Eyeliner

Step One: I put eye liner on my upper lid. I get it as close to my lashes as I possibly can, and I try to keep the line from being too thick—I don’t want it to look like I’m going to a rock concert (usually).

What I Use: I only use MAC products when it comes to my eyeliner. I don’t do that because I’m a make up snob (let’s be real, I get the rest of my make up at Target or Walmart even). I do it because they truly are the best products, that I have found. They stay on the longest; they don’t smudge easily; they are easy to put on; the pencil doesn’t break. And so on. I prefer the roll-up pencil, but the eyeshadow and an angled liner brush (like this one) work well too. I get the blackest shade in both the pencil (called Graphblack) and the shadow (called Carbon).

Maybelline

Step Two: Once my eyeliner is on and dry, I use my first curler to get the initial curl going. According to everything I’ve ever heard, you’re only supposed to curl your eyelashes BEFORE you put mascara on—doing it after mascara application is damaging to your eyelashes, but I’ll get to that later. Once the lashes are sufficiently curled, I apply the first layer of mascara using my waterproof mascara.

What I Use: For the first layer, I use Maybelline Full ‘N Soft waterproof in “blackest black”. It is a great mascara—it rarely clumps and it’s very easy to apply. I love the brush—nothing too fancy, just straightforward and practical like a good mascara brush should be. I personally like my lashes to be a little darker than this mascara is able to make them, which is why I don’t stop here. But if you don’t need or like a ton of mascara on your lashes, you could probably stop after this step and be just great!

L'oreal

Step Three: Here is where it gets “dirty secret” comes in. While the waterproof layer is drying, I use my second lash curler to very lightly curl my lashes again, over the layer of waterproof I’ve already put on. (I say very lightly because, don’t push down so hard on your lashes that it cuts them in half. Yikes!) I do this against my better judgement every single day, because I know in my heart of hearts that it’s not good for my lashes (apparently it pulls them out or cuts them in half… stuff like that). But I can’t help it because the way my lashes curl while they’re still slightly wet from the first layer of mascara is just dreamy! Once the lashes have been curled sufficiently (again), I brush my lashes with my second mascara, adding a second, and even sometimes a third, layer.

What I Use: For this second and third layer, I use L’oreal Voluminous Carbon Black mascara. You’ll see the website claims that it will “separate and build lashes,” “build volume,” and make lashes “5x fuller.” I’m here to tell you that those claims are all accurate, or my middle name isn’t…. well, I don’t have a middle name. But the claims are true!

Step Four: Sometimes I skip this step, depending on my mood. But more often than not, I’ll take my “layer one” mascara (the Maybelline version, since it’s waterproof) and lightly add a layer to my bottom lashes. I think that this might be something those make up artists advise against too, but who knows for sure these days! 😉

Step Five: Touch up. Once I’m done with the first four (sometimes three) steps, I do a quick touch up. I’ll add more layers of the L’oreal mascara if I need to. I’ll use an eyelash brush (or my fingers) to separate some lashes that may have clumped in the process. I’ll do a final curl (gasp!) if my lashes haven’t held the curl from before. I just mess around until the lashes are how I like them.

Final

I hope this wasn’t too scandalous (or too long) a post for you guys! And I hope you all aren’t judging me for my “dirty little beauty secret.” It took a lot to open up and put myself out there like that 😉 If you guys wanna try this method out, let us know how it works for you! Or if you already have mascara-applying methods that work for you, share them with us. We’d love to hear about them!

As always, thanks for reading 🙂 We love you guys!

BONUS TIP: I know this is old news to a lot of you, but just in case some of you haven’t heard yet, I want to share (I’m just that kind) and you can thank me later. Do NOT pump your mascara. Just Google it if you really want to know why. I’ve already talked your ears off with this post. But honestly, NOT pumping mascara = so worth it.

Things You Need to Stop Doing On the Internet Part III: Airing Dirty Laundry

“Dirty laundry”, you see? To fit the theme of this week? Don’t fault us for inconsistency, that’s for sure.

This one’s going to be short and sweet today, because when it comes to airing dirty laundry over the public arenas of the internet, stop it.

Don’t update your status with it. Don’t tweet it. Don’t blog it.  Just don’t.

How am I defining dirty laundry? Anything that’s personal and generally negative in its nature.  The internet is not therapy and it’s not your journal.  There’s already therapy and journals for that.
I think it’s a good trait to be willing to talk about these things, I do. But do your best to talk  in person or over the phone with the people who love you and know you best.

And if that’s not an option at the moment? And the internet is there, and you want to feel better right away?

Don’t know if you’re aware, but there is a LOT on the internet that can help you put things in perspective, or maybe just take your mind off of what’s bothering you. Watch an inspiring video. Win an eBay auction. Anonymously send someone pizza. Read this hilarious and brilliant post about life giving you lemons. Brush up on your small talk by reading a few strange and intriguing Wikipedia pages.  Take a Google Street View stroll through Rome. We’re not even scratching the surface of the surface here.

I don’t know, this one feels like I’m being a little too redundant and condescending.  You probably don’t do this, and good for you.  Maybe a discussion needs to be had about how to respond to others when they choose to over share?  Do we ignore? (That’s what I do, truthfully.) Do we try to help? Do we link this post? (Subtle. So subtle.) I’m interested to hear your thoughts, mes amis.