Sunday, August 29, 2010

I tried it! Revlon Fantasy Lengths Eyelashes (and Giveaway!)

Revlon Fantasy Lengths Eyelashes

I have always been a little afraid to try putting on false eyelashes.  The glue, the risk of them falling off midway through the night, and the idea of pressing something onto my eye all really freaked me out.  So when Revlon contacted me to review their Fantasy Lengths Maximum Wear Self-Adhesive Eyelashes, I did a little research before I said yes.  
The reason I said yes?  Because Revlon's Fantasy Lengths Eyelashes are self-adhesive (meaning no glue!!), long-lasting, free of latex (so no risk of allergies), and all of Revlon's products are never tested on animals.  
Plus, the lashes look gorgeous!

So I decided to try out Revlon's Fantasy Lengths Eyelashes last weekend.

The lashes come with really descriptive directions, complete with pictures, which was REALLY helpful.  I applied the right one first (the packaging tells you which lash is for which eye - perfect for newbies like me!).  I trimmed a little off the end to make it fit my eye better, then applied it to the base of my lashes.  Revlon Fantasy Lengths Eyelashes are self-adhesive, therefore I didn't need to apply any glue.  I pressed it down a bit at the base of my lash (gently), and then applied mascara.  It was RIDICULOUSLY easy.

But then I tried to do the left, and that one took about five tries.  Luckily, the Revlon Fantasy Lengths Eyelashes have a self-adhering strip inside the packaging, so I just stuck the lash back on to the adhesion strip (which made the lash sticky again) and then applied it to my left lash.  After applying the left one, I coated it with mascara to help it blend in with my natural lashes.

I loved how Revlon's Fantasy Lengths Eyelashes made my eyes look bigger and brighter, and the extra long lashes gave me an extra dose of confidence.  The varying length of the lashes also helped them blend in with my natural lashes.  As a teacher, I can't see wearing these to work, but I will absolutely be wearing them for my next night out or the next big event I attend.  They were SO much easier to use than I ever expected, they lasted for hours (I removed them after 8 hours, and they came off easily), and they looked natural.

Self-adhesive (no glue needed)
Realistic length and material
Easy to apply
Never tested on animals

Some people may need to trim them to fit eyes

Revlon products are available at Target, Walmart, 
Walgreens, CVS, RiteAid,, and many other locations.
Learn more about Revlon Fantasy Lengths Eyelashes at!

Revlon was kind enough to send over some bonus packs of their Fantasy Lengths Eyelashes for my 2nd Birthday giveaway.  Since I didn't give them all away then, I still have some for you all to win!

To enter to win one of two packs of Revlon Fantasy Lengths Eyelashes, just fill in the form below (one bonus entry if you leave a comment here too! Just make sure I know who you are in relation to what email/name you use in the entry form).  
Thanks for reading!
Enter before Midnight EST September 13, 2010.

Featured product provided by company/PR for review purposes

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Brooke Cooks - Easy As Pie Peach Pie

Happy Saturday, everyone!!

This week has been so crazy!  I started teaching on Monday, and things are going really well.  The drive to work is long and I'm still not accustomed to waking up at 5 in the morning (which means I want to collapse in bed around 9:30 at night).  I have always been a bit of a night owl, so the whole early to bed, early to rise thing is different.  I also had another faculty dinner and a daylong training this week, plus I had to visit the dermatologist to have a few moles cut out (ouch!).  On Wednesday we celebrated Kelsey's birthday (thank you so much for wishing her a happy birthday - that was so sweet of you!!) and on Thursday I worked from 7:30 am until 8:00 pm - whew!  Next week I start my more normal schedule, since the other three courses I'll be teaching start in just a few days, so hopefully life will be a little less sleep-deprived.  This morning was supposed to be my big sleeping-in morning, but I woke up at 6:30 am feeling kind of ill; J hasn't been feeling well all week, so I think I caught something from him.  But on the upside, today I finally got my hair done, so I'll take some pictures of that tomorrow when the dark circles under my eyes have subsided a bit and I'm not looking so vampire-y.

I'm sure you all are as busy (if not more!) as I have been, so I have a SUPER easy recipe to share today.  I don't think a pie can get any easier than this (although I do have "easy" and "really easy" directions, so I guess it can it easier!).  On top of all that, this pie is delicious!

Easy As Pie Peach Pie

Easy: Dice up enough peaches to fill an 8x10 or 9x13 cake pan.
REALLY easy:  Use canned peaches, pears, or blueberries (or a mix!) instead.  Use enough to fill an 8x10 or 9x13 pan.

Easy: In a large bowl, cut one stick of butter into a yellow cake mix (just the mix - not the ingredients the mix calls for) and a touch of cinnamon.  Sprinkle over top of the peaches.
REALLY easy: Pour the dry yellow cake mix over top of the peaches.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Melt 1 stick of butter and drizzle over the cake mix.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Serve and enjoy!

*   *   *

I'm having a major sweet tooth today.  Here of some pictures of other delicious treats I've had in the past few weeks:

Mmm Blueberry Crumble ice cream (made fresh with local blueberries!), chocolate ice cream, and family.  What could be more perfect on a warm summer night?
The Cheesecake Factory's Reeses Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake (25 cents from the sale of each slice is donated to help feed the hungry).  I love everything about it except for the cake layers and the chocolate shavings on the outside edge.  Otherwise, it is sinfully delicious (and probably sinfully full of calories too!).
My cousin's adorable son admiring the brownies he helped make.  Isn't he too cute?
Thanks for stopping by this afternoon!  I hope everyone is having a nice weekend - and I hope you're finding a few moments to relax today too :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Kelsey!!

It's hard for me to believe, but my little sister turns 20 today!

Happy Birthday to the kindest, funniest, sweetest, most beautiful, and most intelligent sister ever.  I am so very fortunate to have an incredible sister like you, Kelsey.  You truly are the best.
Have a great birthday!

Happy Birthday, Kelsey!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Pearl of Wisdom for Back to School

OPI Pearl Of Wisdom

Today I wore OPI Pearl of Wisdom, a polish from the Hong Kong collection.  I used two coats for this picture, but ended up applying a third coat later on, making it slightly less sheer.  In sunlight, it is more opalescent than it appears; my camera tends to have a hard time capturing opal shades.  Pearl of Wisdom dried REALLY fast between coats, and it has stayed chip-free all day even without a top coat (yup, I forgot to put on a top coat).

Isn't it pretty?

I thought Pearl of Wisdom was the perfect color to wear today, since this morning I taught my first two classes of the semester (who doesn't want a little extra wisdom when you're trying to instill wisdom, right?).

I have been nervous - beyond nervous - about these classes.  Why?  Because I am a Grade A worrier (not to be confused with "warrior" - that I am certainly not).  As I was freaking out last night, I decided to go through my syllabus one last time.  Well lo and behold my syllabus had erased itself.  (I believe there is some law of physics that says this type of thing will absolutely happen at the worst possible time).  

Basically all the "stuff" (course content, rules, etc.) was still there, but all my assignments and due dates had completely vanished from my calendar.  I just about lost it.  All the page numbers, readers, daily lesson plans, homework, writing assignment - everything - was gone.  And to top it all off, although I had marked everything in the textbook with sticky notes, I had been offered a teacher's edition of the book on Friday, so I swapped out my sticky-noted book for that one.

I was pretty upset.  That was hours upon hours of planning - gone.  But then, after losing it for a few minutes (and then some), I turned to the lovely world wide web and began searching for ways to recover lost documents.  And, what do you know, there IS a way!  I basically involved changing some setting and telling it to "recover text from any file" - but after a little finagling, I was able to locate ALL of my lost information!  It was no longer in a calendar - it had been turned into a list - but it was ALL there.  So if this ever happens to you, do not fret too much - it could possibly be recovered.  Whew.

That minor setback aside, the first day with my new classes went great.  And, most importantly, I am very happy to have the first day behind me.  No more nerves!

So now I leave you with a picture of a very, very cute little kitten named Bella (after Bella Swan, our Twilight heroine).  My mom just rescued Bella and her brother, Dexter (also named after a rather well-known character).  More about them later!
(Visit or your local animal shelter to find out how you can adopt a cat or dog!)

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend and a fantastic Monday!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Zoya Wonderful - Fall 2010

Today I have something wonderful to share with you: Zoya's new Wonderful collection!  Something else truly wonderful?  My fabulously amazing sister, Kelsey, did all of these swatches for me because I've been so busy mapping out my courses.  Thank you so, so much, Kelsey!!  (Aren't sisters wonderful?).

Zoya Wonderful
Fall 2010 Collection

For this fall season, Zoya came out with a fabulous pair of polish collections: Wicked and Wonderful.  You can see all the sinfully gorgeous glitters from Wicked HERE, and scroll down to check out the jellies and cremes from Zoya's fall-themed Wonderful collection!

Like ALL Zoya polishes, these are Big 3 Free (meaning they don't have harmful chemicals and resins), plus they are all vegan (never tested on animals).  All Zoya polishes can be purchased at  Join their mailing list - they have tons of great offers!

Zoya Kelly

I used the gorgeous Zoya Kelly for THIS fabulous manicure.  I love how it is a chalkboard slate grey, but with some blue tones added in.  I chose these three pictures because they show how it looks in both sun and shade (the third picture shows sun on the top, shade on the bottom two nails).  It is a beautiful, beautiful color and so very "fall."  I used two coats for perfect coverage.


Stacy is a plum wine shade composed of reds, purples, and browns.  It has a nice jelly consistency and covered well with two quick-drying coats.  I think it looks awesome on my sister's nails - kind of vampy!


Burke feels so perfectly autumnal to me - it's like that color the leaves on that big tree in my yard turn at the very beginning of October.  Burke is a dusty medium-dark red that covered nicely with two coats.  This is another one that I think looks really good on Kelsey.  Burke is a cool name - I've never met anyone named Burke.


Cola is well, cola-colored.  I don't drink soda because I have a sensitivity to carbonation (hey, that's a weird fact about me you didn't know!), but I have certainly seen plenty of soda in my life.  This is a Coke, Pepsi, whatever-you-cola-preference kind of shade: mostly medium brown with a hint of red.  It covered great with two coats.  I think this is a pretty cool shade!


I have a very sassy friend named Kristie (with an 'e') and this is exactly her kind of color.  Kristi is a bright, warm red jelly that covered great with two coats.  It makes me think of chili peppers!


I LOVE Shawn!!  This is such a awesome army green.  Just love it.  Shawn covered great with two coats (the first coat was kind of weird and streaky, but the second coat looked perfect).  This is a beautiful color - pictures just don't do it justice.  It's green without being "woah, that's GREEN" - it's a really wearable color.

Thanks for checking out the new Zoya Wonderful collection - and thank you to my sister for swatching these shades!!  What do you think of this very wonderful collection?

Featured product provided by company or PR for review purposes.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Orly Plastix Fall 2010 Collection

Orly Plastix
Fall 2010 Collection

Today I have swatches of Orly's Plastix polishes from the new fall line.  All of the polishes have a satin finish that is very similar to matte but less, well, matte.  They also dried a little slower than matte polishes (I know some people get frustrated with mattes because they dry before you finish painting one nail, resulting in an uneven look).  These polishes dried fast for normal polishes, but slower than mattes, so I had no problem applying them at all.  I used two coats of each, with no top coat.

A cool fact about this collection?  They used alliteration for all the polish names!!  Purple Pleather, Viridian Vinyl, Old School Orange, and Retro Red (like Babbling Brooke!).  Very cute.

This collection is available in stores and nail salons now!  Visit to learn more.

Purple Pleather

Purple Pleather was my favorite of the collection.  It has a nice, satiny finish and it covered really well.  Purple Pleather is a grape-juice kind of purple (more blue than red).  I really like it.  

Old School Orange

Old School Orange is a funky, traffic-cone kinda orange with a cool satin finish.  It covered great with two coats.

Viridian Vinyl

What is "Viridian" you ask? (I certainly did).  
a). An (invisible) line that wraps around the earth 50 miles above and below the equator
b). A toxic gas
c). A shade of green
According to Wikipedia, "Viridian is a glue-green pigment, a hydrated chromium oxide, of medium saturation and relatively dark in value."  Apparently it was derived from the word "viridis," meaning "green" in Latin.  Surprise, surprise!

This color is certainly "Viridian" - or turquoise - and very pretty at that.  It also has a satin finish.  I like this one a lot too; I think it is really pretty and, because of the satiny finish, quite unique.

Retro Red

I SO, SO, SO wanted this one to be pink (I was hoping "retro" somehow was intended to mean "not").  From the outside, Retro Red looks totally pink (hot pink, actually), but it is actually a orangish brick red.  I am POSITIVE I don't have another color this shade - it is certainly a different red - and honestly, it does look retro.  The satin finish looks really nice on this one.  I still wish there was a pink, but Retro Red is one cool cat.

Love these shades?  How about the fabulous frosted bottles (I adore them - everything should be sold in frosted bottles).  Let me know what you think of Orly's Plastix Collection!

Thanks for stopping by :)

Product provided by company or PR for review purposes.  All photos taken outdoors in sun.  Sorry for the missed edges - I wasn't wearing my contacts and could barely see what I was doing!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

OPI Isn't That Precious?

Hello, hello!

OPI Isn't That Precious?

So I wore OPI Isn't That Precious? to my faculty dinner Monday.  I ended up smudging it a bit when, at the last minute, I changed my entire outfit.  I thought it was the perfect shade for the evening.  I tend to use my hands a lot when I talk, so I was glad I didn't have anything too bright or distracting on my nails.  I felt professional :)  
Sorry for the minor tip wear!
I'm thinking I'm going to wear another shade from OPI's SoftShades collection to the faculty dinner next week.  What do you all think?  And what color should I wear to the first day of classes?

Ahh! The blogger photo uploading platform looks different!  And my pictures don't look as clear. That's strange....

Have a fabulous Wednesday, everyone!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Certain Slant of Light

As many of you may know, I am 24 and continually amazed by the surprises that come with "growing up."  Just over a week ago, I spent an evening with friends.  One of us mentioned that we are 24, a number that made me say, "We are?"  I don't think 24 is old - certainly not by any means - but I am still surprised that I am 24, the same way my mother, each time I tell her her own age, gasps and forces me to do the math, adding the years since her birthdate to the current year.  "Weren't we just graduating high school?" one of my friends asked.  "Six years ago," another said, "And in six more years, we'll be 30."

On Monday, I attended a faculty dinner for one of the universities I'll be teaching at this fall ("this fall" being next week).

It was funny how very adult-like I felt at the dinner.  It is strange, spending so much of your life feeling like you belong to one group (child) to realize, over the course of a few years, that you are generally accepted by another group (adult).  At my age (and with my love of jeans and the junior's clothing department), I am still able to shift between the two groups somewhat.  I am quite often mistaken for a student at the college I have been teaching at, yet when I stand at the head of the class, the students treat me like an adult.  It is really dependent on two things, in my opinion: how I act and carry myself, and how I dress.  During the summer semester, one of my students noticed me walking across campus after class.  She called out to me, using my last name like students are supposed to do with teachers even though she was two years older than I am.  When we met in the path, she immediately said, "At first, I thought you were a student from far away.  A really nicely dressed student though."  When I go to the gym on campus, dressed in a ratty old shirt and shorts, makeup-free with my hair pulled back, I am consistently mistaken for a student.

But Monday evening, sitting in the faculty dinner at round linen-covered tables alongside department heads and other new adjuncts, I felt like such an adult.  I felt like I had joined a part of a community - us adults who wake up each morning and have our jobs with bosses and rules and work events and HR departments.  No one thought I was some rogue student stowaway on board for the free vegetable lasagna dinner.  I was an adult, clapping loudly after speeches by important members of the college community and accepting business cards from full-time faculty.  It is really quite remarkable to take notice of those moments when you feel yourself stepping into a new quadrant of your own life.  I couldn't help but sit there and smile.

Coloring My Hair - Need Your Advice!!

Happy Tuesday, everybody!!  I desperately need some hair color advice!

I'm planning on getting my hair cut and colored very soon.  Some of you may remember my color mishap in late June; let me start from the beginning though.  I have been highlighting my hair for years - basically to the point where I was a platinum blonde.  My hair stylist put a medium brown semi permanent color over it and I LOVED it - until it started to fade.  So I used two semi permanent colors over it, first in March, then again in May.  I couldn't remember what the color was called when I went to buy a new box in late June, so I picked up one that looked similar.  It wasn't.  My hair basically turned BLACK, which was a huge shock.  It has been fading, but it has developed a brassy, red color that I really just don't like.  I dislike the way I look with red hair (I don't even like how I look with red clothing - my skin tone is already so pink, I feel like red really clashes).  So although I have been letting it fade for two months, I'm just very ready to have a color I like again in my hair.  So I've been saving up a little money each week and I've decided I'm going to get it professionally colored.  I'm thinking I'll get a base color and highlights put in.  I've been thinking light brown or dark blonde, with highlights.  I'd like it to look more natural than it does.  I've been looking for pictures of what I'd like online, and I would LOVE LOVE LOVE any and all opinions.

Here is what my hair currently looks like:

Brassy, and fading on the top, but more red near the ends.

Here are some pictures of hair colors I like:

1 2

What do you think?  Which one of these four would look best, in your opinion?  Is there another color you think would look better?  Please feel free to include links to other pictures and any suggestions whatsoever!!

Thank you so much for your help - I really appreciate it :)
I am a terrible decision maker, especially when it comes to things that can be costly, so any and all advice is very welcome.
Have a great day!!


As requested, here are some links to other pictures of my hair:

I like these colors in my hair:

Friday, August 13, 2010

Getting Crafty: Decorating Picture Frames

I decorated these frames about a year ago.  All but the pink frame were purchased at Michael's craft store for $1 each; the pink frame is sold through Ikea (I think $2 each), but I purchased a set of 10 at a yard sale for $1.  All the paint was purchased at Michael's.  I like the buy the 2/$1 paints of the $1-1.29 ones.

For this frame, I painted two coats of pink paint.  While that was drying, I used a hole punch to punch holes through two pages in a catalog.  One page had a bubblegum pink background, the other a bright green.  Once the paint was dry, I painted Modge Podge on the frame in sections, setting the polka dots down on the tacky surface.  Watered down school glue would work similarly.
I used this same process to decorate the purple polka dot frame.

For this frame, I started by painting the entire frame light pink.  While it was drying, I cut out images of the Hope Gardens print from a Vera Bradley catalog.  You could use similar prints from any sort of catalog or magazine (catalogs selling bedding, window treatments, and clothing work really well).  I painted Modge Podge onto the frame, sticking down the images I had cut from the catalog.  Once all the images were attached, I used an exacto knife to trim the excess from the inside and scissors to trim the excess from the outside of the frame.  Then I painted an additional coat of Modge Podge to give it some sheen.

For the ladybug frame, I used a technique my friend Amy had used on two frames she gifted to me at my housewarming party.  Personally, I like how Amy did the frames she made better - next time I'd used wider stripes like she did and LESS Modge Podge because I put way too many coats on this.
I started by painted the frame green, which was pretty much unnecessary.  While it dried, I went through a number of catalogs and magazines, cutting out strips of green material.  All the horse catalogs I get really came in handy for this - who knew there were so many shades of grass?  I attached the strips using Modge Podge, then once they were dry I hot glued a bunch of little ladybugs (and one big ladybug) around the frame.
For the silvery-purple frame, I started with a purple base, then lightly painted silver overtop while the purple was still wet.  Once that dried, I glue on a small bird and a birdhouse.  I purchased all the little wooden critters at Michael's for .25 cents each.

These are the adorable frames Amy made (I stole this picture from her).

I love decorating picture frames because it is such a cheap craft.  It's a lot of fun to make these with kids (I've decorated tons of frames with the kids I babysit) or with friends.  And if you mess up, the frames are only $1, so you can always get more!
Designed by Custom Scrapbook Blog Designs