Minimal Makeup Routine


This post first appeared on my personal blog, Humblebee Home.


Ok kids, today I’m going to talk at you about how to look your best. I am seriously under qualified to do so, but whatever.

Our concept of beauty is based around stereotypical signs of good health, such as clear, radiant skin and shiny, thick hair. So it follows that if you want to be beautiful, all you have to do is be healthy.

1. Get enough sleep.
They don’t call it “beauty sleep” for nothing. Just clear your schedule and sleep off those under-eye circles.

2. Eat nutritious food.
Open your wallet and buy the good stuff, then clear your schedule and cook it, savoring every moment of the food experience. Your body will thank you for not poisoning it with Nutella anymore!

3. Drink a half-gallon of water a day.
Clear your schedule, because you are going to do a lot of peeing. That’s how the toxins get flushed out of your body, you know.

4. Steer clear of caffeine and alcohol.
Your body doesn’t need that delicious, life-giving poison.

5. Exercise 
Clear your schedule, because you need at least a half-hour a day of being sweaty and uncomfortable in order to look your best.

So there you have it! Five quick and easy ways looking great. It is SO simple–I really don’t understand why more people don’t do it.

Ha ha, just kidding! Please don’t kick me.

That stuff isn’t simple or easy at this point in my life, and I bet it’s not for you either. We’re adults with adult responsibilities, and while it goes without saying that we should all work hard to take care of ourselves, sometimes it just ain’t gonna happen.

So the only thing to do is to fake it til you make it, right?

I would “fake it” like most people do by wearing makeup…except I’ve never really been comfortable wearing it. It was verboten to me until I was in my late teens and I never got used to it. I like the idea of makeup, but if I wear anything more than the bare minimum (mascara and maybe some under-eye concealer) I get super self-conscious. Something I have learned over my adult life is that if you can’t wear it with confidence, it’s working against you.

Also, putting on makeup while toddlers are fighting over which one of your ankles they get to cling to is not ideal. 

So, with extensive makeup off the table, I had to learn to fake good health by other means.

Drumroll, please. Here are my real 5 favorite ways to make it look like I’m making an effort without actually going through the trouble of putting on makeup.

{I don’t actually use the particular brands shown in the graphic, because I buy the offest off-brands. Always.}



I recently saw this post over at In Honor of Design about how to grow your eyelashes naturally. The title was intriguing because hey, we all want longer, thicker lashes, don’t we? I was expecting a manifesto about the benefits of a South American berry, but the answer was surprisingly mundane: Hair, Skin, and Nails dietary supplements. The active ingredient is biotin, a B-vitamin that is necessary for cell growth. Wikipedia stated that the research regarding biotin’s effect on hair growth is a bit murky, but it also stated that biotin is thought to help regulate blood sugar. That would be awesome because I am allllways on a blood sugar roller coaster.

Anyway, I figured it couldn’t hurt so I got me some off-brand supplements at Kroger and waited for my long, gorgeous lashes to grow in. Alas, I’m not seeing much improvement (yet?) but my skin is in its heyday right now. It’s pretty awesome.


Remember in the 90s when no one had eyebrows? I was the worst of them. I cringe when I look at prom pictures and see my poor naked face. Thank goodness that full eyebrows are back in. I hope they get to stay for a while.

But in order to pull off the no-makeup look, I simply can’t allow my eyebrows to fulfill their Gandalfian aspirations. Full, YES. “Long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the brim of his shady hat”, NO. Hence the tweezers.

When my mom visited us a few months ago she left behind a magnifying mirror that I never mailed back to her because it made the whole depilation process so much easier. Sorry, mom. I’ll buy it from you.


By a show of hands, who else is rocking the bleary-eyed “I pulled an all-nighter” look? Hmmm, lots of you. I thought so.

There are lots of products that “brighten your eyes” but since eye makeup tends to make my eyes red and irritated, I prefer to actually brighten my eyes. Eye drops: they’ll make you look like a bright-eyed teenager.


 Don’t let the toothbrush fool you: this isn’t about dental hygiene (although that is a very important aspect of any beauty regimen, but I hope you already knew that). #4 is here to talk to you about exfoliating your lips. Here’s a wikihow article showing 4 methods of lip exfoliation, but I am too lazy to make a sugar scrub so I just brush my lips a bit with my toothbrush every morning. A couple of scrubs takes away all the dead skin and improves the blood flow to the area, which means they will plump up a bit and have better color. It’s like lipstick but…not.


I have lately started utilizing the age-old beauty trick of misdirection. I’ve started wearing earrings a lot more than I used to because when people see me I want them to think, “oooh, shiny!” rather than, “omg, does she have a wasting disease?”
(p.s. I don’t actually own those earrings, but I want to.)


I’m not swearing off makeup; far from it. Someday I hope to pull off a full rockabilly look.  But on those days when, for whatever reason, putting on the ole’ concealer and lip gloss seams like too much of a hassle, this regimen gives me the confidence to say, eh, screw it. Not putting on makeup today.

Frizzy, bare-faced, and loving it.

Seed Inventory – FREE printable!

@->->–  — Written by Emily — –<-<-@

Our Farm has been a Tundra since Thanksgiving.  Normally, in February we would be up there every weekend pruning the orchard.  This year between the polar vortex and Franz having class most Friday evenings and all day the following Saturdays we have only made it up there once this winter.  Franz walked back to the orchard to see if pruning would be possible.  As long as he stuck to the deer trail he was fine, but as soon as he stepped off the packed snow he sunk into the snow up to his thigh and he is 6 foot tall! 

Needless to say, no pruning was done this winter.  But, because we needed to do something that gave us hope for spring we took a seed inventory of everything up there and organized it into a spreadsheet so we know what seeds we will have to bulk up on before planting as well as easily reference which seeds we can start indoors and when.

seedsWe did a LOT of canning last year and have been giving lots of it away and still have produce in the freezer yet to can.  We have been getting a lot of questions regarding GMO versus non-GMO seeds and what if any chemicals we used.  We always strive to be as organic as possible, taking into consideration we can only tend the garden a few hours one day a week, since we both work and live in the city.  Last year we did not have a handy spreadsheet like this. 

Seed Inventory Picture

You can see we tracked plant, variety, brand, notes and approximate amount.  After that section we have columns April – October and tracked planting and harvesting activity for each plant according to our time zone, according to the following legend that we created.

Direct Sow D
Start Indoors I
Plant P
Harvest X

This year we will know what plants came from what seeds etc.  We hope to improve tracking of seeds and treatments each year to share with our family and friends that we bequeath produce and canned farm food.

We shared the spreadsheet with my dad who explained that the re-purposed mayo jars of bean seeds came from my grandpa’s family farm in the North Carolina.  This year we hope to learn more about seed saving so we can save the seeds from those plants before the supply is spent.

Dad also turned the water back on for the season this past weekend on his trip up, for which I am grateful.  One trip up this winter where we had to haul water in buckets from the well to flush the toilet and wash our hands was enough for me!

@->->–  — Written by Emily — –<-<-@

This post participated in several of the blog hops listed here as well as:

Disclaimers: This post may contain affiliate links. Prices and other considerations are subject to change.

Printers and Providence

@->->–  — Written by Emily — –<-<-@

Sorry for my absence over the last couple of weeks.  Life has been extremely chaotic for the past 6 months or so since I have been recruiting with a local staffing agency as an independent contractor after getting laid off last fall.  I knew it would be very long hours and very little/sporadic pay until I could get to a point where commissions and bonuses were coming in at a constant rate.  I hope for that to start happening by the end of next month.  My logic is that even if it doesn’t happen I am continuing to grow a valuable skill in my profession while continuing to look for a permanent work home.

The pay has been so little that I have given up on budgeting for the moment.  I find it hard to do when there literally isn’t enough money to make ends meet right now.  I try not to think about it and focus on my work and pray it will all come together somehow.  I hope it happens while Franz and I are young enough to still live out some of our dreams and before our kids get old enough to really feel how tight things are.

With 7 years of school about to wrap up for Franz and our daughter about to start kindergarten, I really hope 2014 is our year.

A couple Saturdays ago I was scheduled to give a talk at local club for unemployed on do’s and don’ts for the unemployed and employed alike and when I went to print my handouts that morning the printer spat them out at a rate of literally 1 page every 10 minutes.  I got one set printed before running to the meeting,hoping there was a copier on site and the other speaker was covering for me.  (They did and he was)

After a few weeks of fiddling with the printer and researching the problem on forums we decided the printer I have had since my first year of college nearly 15 years ago (oh my GOD am I really that OLD?) needed to be replaced.  We found this on sale for just over $100 at our local store and grabbed it:


We didn’t have the cash for it, we put it on the credit card – and yes I cringed writing that.  After years of being cash only I HATE that we have to put things on credit again and hope that April’s income goes as forecasted so we can go back to budgets and envelopes.

In a recent conversation with my manager I discussed having put my resume-writing business on hold while working with him.  Although I had never signed any non-competes or other paperwork indicating I could not, because of the nature of my manager’s business, I felt it was a conflict of interest.  I came out of that conversation with his blessing to continue my own work.

The night after we set up our new printer I got a call from a stranger with an interview the next morning and a request from the recruiter he was working with to turn his functional resume into a chronological resume.  Not in a line of work that requires a lot of computer savviness, he brought me his functional resume (previously written by a professional) and 4 pages of notes he typed up for me on his career history. 

Four hours later he had exactly what he needed and I had exactly what I needed to pay for the printer after setting aside money for taxes.

 How is THAT for Providence??? Hopefully a sign that things will be turning around for us – one way or the other – in April.

@->->–  — Written by Emily — –<-<-@

This post participated in several of the blog hops listed here as well as:

Disclaimers: This post may contain affiliate links. Prices and other considerations are subject to change.

Be a Good Cookie, Give Blood Today!

@->->–  — Written by Emily — –<-<-@

My grandfather was a lifelong blood donor.  At his funeral we actually displayed his certificate from the Red Cross recognizing how many gallons (GALLONS) he had donated over his lifetime.  If I had it together I would have published this last week on what would have been his birthday.  Although January is National Blood Donation month, apparently the American Red Cross is set apart from that and recognized during the month of March, so I guess I’m not too too late!

I also give regularly if pregnancy, health issues or recent travel don’t bar me from donating and last month I went in to try something new – the Double Red Donation.  Actually there are several types of donations, this one is new to me.

The card in my wallet and the incessant phone calls won’t let me forget my blood type and I belong to the group that is eligible to give a “Double Red” donation.  A “Double Red” is similar to the “Whole Blood” donation type that everyone has heard of except there is the addition of a machine that allows you to safely donate TWICE as much red blood cells and return the plasma and platelets back into your body.  This appealed to me for a few reasons:

“If you are extremely busy, committed to donating blood and an eligible type O, A negative or B negative donor, double red cell donation may be ideal for you.” 

I don’t need to tell you how extremely busy I am.  Although it takes about 30 minutes longer to donate, your donation goes further and stretches out the space between donations, saving you time in the long run – I like that!

“Feel better

You have given twice as many red blood cells but were given your plasma and platelets along with some saline, which may leave you better hydrated and feeling better than when you went in.  If you are one of those people who stopped giving blood because you always seem to get sick afterwards, you may want to talk to a Red Cross representative if this type of donation might make it possible for you to give again!

Free Gift to the World

I don’t have enough money to donate to causes, charities or even my church right now, but I can always give blood and I LOVE that!  Also, if you pay attention, you can spot promotional donation events with your local Red Cross where you either receive a gift (gift cards etc) or are entered to win prizes (sports tickets etc) and I always save them for birthday or Christmas presents and that’s not too shabby either!

If you are interested in making a “Double Red” donation bear in mind, in addition to meeting other whole blood donor qualifications, you must also meet specific criteria for donating double red cells, especially for hemoglobin, weight and height.  They also recommend you call ahead and make an appointment so they can make sure they have the device at your donation site before hand.  Call 1-800-RED-CROSS to learn more!

@->->–  — Written by Emily — –<-<-@

This post participated in several of the blog hops listed here as well as:

Disclaimers: This post may contain affiliate links. Prices and other considerations are subject to change.


A Cheaper Fireplace Cover


When we were looking at houses a few years back, we were really keen on finding a place with a fireplace. The house we ended up buying had four fireplaces, but they were all non-functioning and boarded up. Not exactly what we had in mind, but we really needed a place to live and we found ourselves compromising on a lot of our supposed “must-haves”. IMG_4388

Of course we got curious and took off the panels to see what was behind them, and it turned out that they had tiled surrounds in very good condition for being 100 years old.

Ideally we would install gas inserts so we would have our functioning fireplaces, but that would be much too costly for us to handle at the moment. Then we had some roofing problems which nixed my second plan–purchasing ornate Victorian fireplace covers. At several hundred dollars each, that was also more than I was willing to shell out.

Finally I came up with a suitable plan. 

First I cut down a length of 1″x1″ wood from our scrap pile to roughly the height of the hole to be covered. I’m proud to say I used the power saw myself. Shhhhh! No one tell my dad. He would FREAK.
IMG_4392Then I pre-drilled holes in the wood and the mortar on the inside of the fireplace (using a special masonry bit), then screwed the wood to the inside of the fireplace with Tapcon screws.

  Then I cut down a sheet of 1/4″ plywood so  it was just a little bigger than the hole and screwed it to 1″x1″ strips IMG_4398Better! But not perfect.

Then I used liquid nails to cover the wood with these cool panels I got from Lowe’s (not an affiliate link, just being specific). They look like the tin panels that were popular in the Victorian era, but they are actually plastic. Very convincing plastic, though!

After that all I had to do was scrape off the adhesive tape that a previous owner had stuck on, and then it looked way awesome! It cost only a fraction of the price of any other options, and it makes a huge difference in the aesthetics of the house. I love it!