Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rebuilding and Almost Bloggy B-day

This time next week it will be my little blog's first birthday! I can't believe it. I really can't. AND, I will have a fun surprise for you :)

On another note, I've been going through a bit of a rough patch recently. I've been facing some of the more painful parts of my past head-on to really work through them and leave them in the past for good. I think sometimes it's necessary for us to do that.

Whether we plan to do it or whether something happens that pushes us to, I think it's healthy and helpful to face some of the unfinished business of our past. It's not easy, but then again, most worthwhile things aren't.

After all, rock bottom really does allow us to create a new, solid foundation. It gives us the opportunity to rebuild our lives for the better.

Do you ever take some time to assess your life? To decide which things should stay and which should go? What has helped you in this process? :) 

Fifty Shades of Etsy

It's Wednesday. Fifty Shades of Grey Day. Just kidding, because every day is Fifty Shades of Grey Day! I know quite a few people who started reading the trilogy over the long weekend so I figured I should share some of my favorite #50shades apparel with you :)

What makes this apparel even better is that you can find each of these in a store on Etsy!

Treebaubles has some adorable 50 Shades of Grey apparel

ShopJessieLam has adorable prints like this famous phrase :)
Cute idea to frame it and hang it in your room somewhere?

I adore this first set of coasters from ocdang and this second set with the book covers from myevilfriend.

AngelaService has tons of totes like this one and sweatshirts from various other books as well!

And then, of course, you can wear a classic heart necklace with Mr. Grey's name, like this one from heavenstobessie :)

I'll probably have to buy one of those cute t-shirts, even if I just wear it to bed. They are adorable and support my love for these books... and Mr. Grey! Which would you buy? Have you seen any other cute #50shades apparel?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Welcome New Readers

To all my new viewers coming over from The Crowley Party, welcome! It’s a pleasure to have you. I just wanted to take a moment to welcome you all to my side of the world.  

Life is a Sunset is my home. It’s the place I’ve created here on this huge world wide web to share a bit of my life, the things that inspire me, and the lessons I learn each day.

The truth is, in the past year I experienced the untimely death of my Mom. I’ve learned how unpredictable, how painful, and how beautiful life truly can be. It has changed my life and gives me the drive every day to never give up on my most precious dreams.

Join me during this time of re-building. I’ll be sharing stories, reviews, fun memories, favorite pictures, and pieces from my new Etsy jewelry line [which you can visit here.] Again, welcome and I hope you stay a while! 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day Treats Last Year

It's almost Memorial Day weekend, friends! Time for boats, BBQ's, and bikinis... but, most importantly, it's time to remember the fallen soldiers of the U.S. Armed Forces. I'm grateful for the ancestors, friends, neighbors, and strangers who have fought for our country.

Last year, in honor of the great Red, White, and Blue I made some tasty treats that I found over on Cupcakes and Cashmere.

What you'll need:
1. Pretzel rods
2. White chocolate chips
3. Red, white, and blue sprinkles
4. Patience

I threw in the patience because it's definitely easier said than done, for me at least! As I'm sure you can tell, the chocolate didn't magically disperse itself perfectly onto the pretzels, nor did the sprinkles, and gravity sure didn't help either. Oh well. They tasted yummy and that's really all that matters in the end, yes?

But, seriously... carefully melt the chocolate chips (on lower power in the microwave stirring small amounts together at a time), then smooth the melted chocolate onto the top of the pretzel rod (I used a spatula) and sprinkle on some sprinkles!

Then, enjoy!

Last year I was in Utah, missing some of the East Coast Memorial Day traditions (Rolling Thunder, anyone?) and this year I'll be spending half of my time out of town to visit friends and the other part of it in the DC area :) May your long/holiday weekends all be wonderful!

What are your Memorial Day plans this year? :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review | Sigma F84 Angled Kabuki

Yesterday was officially the busiest "traffic" day on my blog. Not because of yesterday's Wedding Wednesday post but because of... you guessed it, my Christian Grey post. I have been getting some great comments about everyone's casting ideas. Keep them coming!

Today I wanted to share with you one of my most-recently discovered FAVORITE products!
First, let me introduce you to Sigma Beauty. Some of you have probably already heard of them. They are an affordable makeup company specializing in makeup brushes and accessories. I have been hearing wonderful things about them for the past year or so and kept telling myself to order some new brushes. Finally, I did :)

I ordered three brushes that I can't even tell you how excited I was to get! Here's what I got:

Today my review will be on the first brush [and perhaps THE greatest brush I've ever used] the F84 Angled Kabuki Brush!

Ah, yes! Beautiful, isn't it? Well, it goes beyond just looks - let me tell you! When I received the brush, I glided my fingers along the bristles and they were as SOFT as can be! So soft, so smooth. It took a lot for me to wait until the morning to apply my make-up. Otherwise, I would have just gone and used the brush right then!

First of all, let me tell you that before I was introduced to the world of Sigma, I had been using brushes from Sonia Kashuk and e.l.f.
I was happy with them and loved the affordable price tag. BUT, I wasn't IN LOVE.

Here is the e.l.f. Studio Stipple Brush which I used to apply my liquid foundation [on the left] alongside the Sigma F84 Angled Kabuki Brush used to do the same thing [on the right]
*Please note, these brushes have not been cleaned in the picture because, let's be real, our brushes are rarely perfectly clean ;)

Now, looking at the brushes, I'm sure you can see the difference. The Sigma brush is much more full and plush than the e.l.f. brush. It is glorious! When buffing the liquid foundation into my skin, the bristles were so gentle and soft that I almost didn't even want to stop! :)

The best part - I noticed a considerable difference in how my make-up stayed on throughout the day. Not only did I feel like my foundation lasted even LONGER but it left my skin looking more flawless and kept the natural oils that produce over the day at bay. I did not change any other part of my regular make-up routine other than the use of these brushes.

I cannot say enough good things about the F84 Angled Kabuki. I'm so glad I went with the angled brush because it just feels natural when buffing the product into your skin versus the flat stipple brush.

Do yourself a favor and order this brush! You can get it for only $16 which trumps many of the brushes out there today! AND, if you're like me and order $30 worth of products, they'll send ya a free gift :) Click the link below to start shopping! Let me know what you get!

Do you use any Sigma products? Which do you love most?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wedding Wednesday | Reception Night Lighting

I don't know about you but with the warmer weather now here, I want to be outside all the time. I just want to soak up every warm night and take advantage of the way the Summer heat feels on my skin. So, Wedding Wednesday today will be all about outdoor receptions - more specifically the lighting at outdoor evening receptions.

Once the sun goes down, it still stays nice and warm (where I live at least!) All you need is a little fun lighting to create a beautiful ambiance and you'll have a gorgeous nighttime reception for you and all your guests. Here is my inspiration:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

You can choose any size light. You can string them around trees, from trees, from buildings, above water, above grass, above tables. You name it - you can pretty much make it happen with lights nowadays. 

Christmas lights, lanterns, candles, chandeliers, etc.

My personal favorites would probably have to be the candles around the pool and the lights wrapped around the palm trees :) 

What kind of wedding lights are your favorite?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Food, Family, and the Choo Choo

I love weekends. I really do. Sleep in a little, catch up on some Pinterest/TV shows/LIFE, spend time with friends/family. Why can't every day be the weekend? Sigh.

This weekend was another special one because we had a fun get-together with our close family-friends! We met up at a fun little area of town called Fairfax Corner. There are little shops, restaurants, a movie theater, and... the biggest hit - fountains for the kids to play in!

My little niece Aubrey is just the cutest peach. I can't get enough of her! There was a little train that drove around that kids could ride in and Aubrey kept saying, "choo choo" over and over until her little face got all rosy. 

We started off with a little Tex-Mex food which ended up being average, at best. I got the fish tacos. Can you believe my brother got frog legs? No joke.

Fairfax Corner is so much fun in the warmer months because it's a calm, pretty place to hang out even after the sun goes down. I used to hang out there a lot in my high school days and after college a bit so it brought back a lot of memories to be there again!

Thanks for the wonderful pictures, Aunt Linda! :) [P.S. notice that royal blue bracelet on her wrist that matches her outfit?] ;)

Then, we went to visit Ben & Jerry. Being the coconut lover that I am, I had to go with the Coconut Seven Layer Bar. It was delish!

Also this past weekend, I saw a pretty sunset, visited the cemetery, and did a lot of jewelry-making! Be sure to check out After Sunset here to see the new designs/colors! I'll be adding a bunch more throughout the week :) Here's a sneak peak! I challenged myself to see how many items I could add to my arm party ;)

There are more colors and combinations on their way as well. I'm super excited to show you all soon!

What a beautiful weekend :) It made me so grateful to be close to family and friends for the little birthday get-togethers and even just for the random get-togethers. My family and family-friends have been so supportive of my endeavors and I don't know where I'd be without them.

We missed you, Mom. We know you would have been hootin' and hollerin' at the table :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Casting for Christian Grey

If you haven't yet or don't ever plan to read the trilogy Shades of Grey by E.L. James, then you can just skip this post. It's time to be the casting director. I don't know about you, but when I read a book, I envision the characters. What they look like, their demeanor, etc. Shades of Grey starts off immediately by describing to us the main characters' physical traits and it doesn't take much longer after that to figure out their personalities. 

Now, follow me along on my "Casting for Christian Grey" journey. Here is the first guy I thought of when I started to read about Mr. Christian Grey:

Nick Zano. He portrayed a billionaire on 90210 for a couple episodes and as soon as I started to read about Christian in the beginning of Book One, I felt the same "higher than thou" attitude that his character had. Not sure if he has the star quality this film deserves though.

However, the more I read, the more I fell in love with Mr. Christian Grey and I could just not see myself really falling in love with Nick Zano. But then I started thinking about this guy...

Matt Lanter. He's my 90210 hottie and known to be the quiet, mysterious, bad boy on the show. I definitely wouldn't mind seeing his Fifty Shades because he's totally got that soft spot, just like Christian...

In case you need a few more pictures:

Let's face it - he's extremely good looking. I would not be opposed to seeing him as Mr. Grey on the big screen. But he's just missing something...

Okay, okay so aside from the 90210 men, who would I cast? Well, at the end of the day, you need more than just "the look." You need the talent. This is a deep, often dark, portrayal of a man who has unique desires, a controlling personality, but in some round-about way, just wants to love and be loved.

That said, I think this film, if casted and written well [I have no idea how they are going to edit out some of those scenes] could be amazing. I think it's going to take one of these actors to make it happen:

Oh, come on. You saw that one coming. Mr. Gosling is my man. I think he would pull off Christian Grey brilliantly. He's known for his dark roles. [Drive, Murder by Numbers, Half Nelson, Blue Valentine, etc.] However, I wouldn't put him at the top of my list. Mainly because when I read the books, I don't envision him. 

I envision someone more like my top two picks. Here they are...

Matt Bomer. I look at him and think, "Mr. Grey." It's his eyes especially. They are intense and distant and slightly disturbed. In fact, I think I might be falling in love with him. He's pretty much one of the most attractive men I have ever laid eyes on [Still love you, Ryan!] Sadly, he and I will, uh... never work out. But he'd play a great Christian!

And then... the one guy I said "no" to for a while. Everyone said, "yes, yes, yes!" and I just didn't see it. Didn't feel it. However, after much thought and studying of pictures [the best part] I see it now. *Note: I have a few rules. He's had several "looks" and these are the only ones I'd be okay with for the look of CG:

Ian Somerhalder. He just can't have dark black hair when he plays Christian. But that sideways smile... that will work. Definitely. I think he has the demeanor and darkness needed for this character while also being that drop-dead gorgeous Greek god that CG is.

Now, if you'll pardon me... it's time to go read and picture one of these beautiful men as Mr. Christian Grey himself. Sigh. Double sigh. I spent a lot of time on this post, believe it or not. Looking at pictures and then re-looking at them takes a lot of time!

Okay, let's open up the can of worms - who do YOU want to be cast as Christian Grey?