La Bramasole

Human Interaction Specialty


‘Tween Seasons to Summer Makeup

You know that time of year, when you start getting restless. You start shopping for the darker color foundation.

You know Summer is coming. Bring on the tutorials!

This is by a new (to me) makeup artist named Monika; she is quite brilliant. I love this California girl look although personally I will not put so much shine and make it a little bit more natural.

 This is from Lisa Eldridge, tackling long summer festivals, parties and freckles! The information here (I have been told) is useful for ladies (and gents) of all skin color who have freckles and are unsure how to pick CC creams or foundation and still want to work with the freckles….don’t cover them. They are beautiful.


Now: Both ladies use expensive product. Don’t worry. There are options right in your cupboard. I like to use these videos to see what else is out there (because I’m a makeup-phile…is that a word???) and a fidgit.

But just in case, I’ve also tried to list some less drugstore alternatives. Hint: if you are unsure, look the product up on Sephora and/or Amazon. There are usually amazing reviews there which can help you make a good decision, waste less product by throwing away product which doesn’t work for you, and you will save money.

Also, purchase your “experiments” from stores which honor their return policy. WalMart, Target, Mac Cosmetics, Amazon (Prime), and Sephora are all amazing about letting you return makeup and I get to test away. Enjoy.

Note: these are options which I have personally used successfully. If you know of others, please help everyone out and leave your comments! Thank you! :)

CC Cream: Olay; Revlon Photo; Physicians Formula (WalMart; Target;

               Tarte (Sephora)

Primer (use for eye shadow base as well)

               Neutrogena (WalMart; Target;

              Murad shine control (;

              Mattifier Gel (Mac Cosmetics)


            Revlon Photo ready; almay smart shade; Boots botanics; Neutrogena; Physicians formula and PF duo                      (WalMart; Target;;

            Max Factor (


           My current favorite is L’Orelle Butterfly Mascara available about everywhere. Totally awesome.

Translucent powder:

         Neutrogena healthy skin; Physician’s formula (WalMart; Target;;

         Dermablend, Boots Botanicals mineral trans. powder (


         Find an inexpensive powder foundation which matches the natural shadow of your face; I am a neutral

         so for me I use L’Oreal skin-match N6 for bronzer. Matt, no shimmer, and skin-colored, so no Snicker bar

         look. For those with a darker skin color, Cover Girl Queen collection has great bronzer.

Lip Balm w/spf:

        Eos; Neutrogena; Burts Bees (WalMart; Target;;

       Palmers, Rosebud perfume co (

Eyelash curlers:

        look wherever you are shopping; you should find them. They are at WalMart, Target,,

           Sephora, Mac Cosmetics. It is all about how much you want to spend.

Matte lip:

       Cover Girl Jumbo gloss, Maybelline baby lips; Revlon color burst lacquor balm  (WalMart, Target,; Boots botanics lip (


      Revlon photoready blush (WalMart, Target,

      Boots botanics blush and Boots cream blush (

      Mac Pro Ready blush (


      Pixi brow pencil with gel; Wet and Wild brow kit; Elf studio brow kit (WalMart; Target;

     Boots botanics brow pencil; Ardel Brow gel; (


      Elf eye shadows; physicians formula; L’Oreal; Revlon photo ready (WalMart; Target;

     Boots Botanics quad (

     Mac Mineral quad (

     Sephora Makeup Academy (

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Age Defying Tips


Hello Dear Readers!!


I am studying very hard and getting ready for my Dissertation Defense for PhD on Monday. As I stress   prepare for this day, I found this YouTube clip helpful and entertaining. This ladies are in their 70’s!! I wish I could be like them one day.



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I have 50 Tabs Open at Once!

beautiful sunset


Hello Dear Readers

Well even though this is a very zen photo, as I get ready to defend my dissertation, I feel anything except zen.

I have approximately 30-50 tabs open at any one time, amassaed among 3 or 4 windows.

Have you ever tried to wake your computer up with all that open? Basically it doesn’t.

So I found the amazing little app. I have Google Chrome or you can just do a search for “One Tab”. It is a nice little miracle worker.


Google Chrome Store search for One Tab; it is a free app


Photo credit: @beautifulpics


$aving Money: Weight Loss

15 pounds lost


Hello Dear Readers! Happy Monday (?)

I hope your Easter Weekend (or Spring Equinox for those who observe that) was awesome.

It was freaking cold here.

But we managed to be with good food, good friends, and our spirits were high.

Then comes Monday. I weighed in and, lo and behold, I managed to maintain the 15 pound weight loss I have been working towards. Woot woot!

I have tried every trick in the book; Nutrisystem; Weight Watchers; Retrofit (which did good things but wow, was it expensive) You name it, expensive or cheap I have done it.

But because we are in a year of trying to save money and trim budgets while living abundantly, I thought I would offer some thoughts on worked for me. And it was free or cheap.

First: My Fitness Pal. This is a no-bull, awesome little website and app. You plug in what you ate, if you worked out (or cleaned or golfed or did paint ball or whatever) and you complete the day; then it tells you “If you continued like this you would weigh this much in 5 weeks.” Pretty darn simple. You can enter recipes (because we like to cook, yes we do, it is good, it is full of flavor and it is cheap!) but there are already a ton of foods entered in there that you just search and enter.

Second: FitBit (optional but helpful). This is a little bit of money but it is so worth it. It tracks your sleep, it tracks your daily movement. Just be sure you don’t wash it, it doesn’t swim well. Connect it to My Fitness Pal and watch magic happen. The two work together really well.

Third: Move. Go for walks. If you already belong to a gym, just get on the treadmill (and wear your Fit Bit) on a high incline (at least 5.0) and even if you just walk for 15 minutes, you are doing something to help yourself out. Now, if you are not the gym type, or you don’t have a gym membership, no sweat. YouTube Be Fit Channel has a ton of great workouts, stream from your laptop or phone, and off you go. YouTube Zumba is also a way to go (I personally love Zumba). No excuses.

Fourth: Get support. Find the group “No excuse moms” on Facebook. It is about 15K strong. You want motivation, there it is.

Fifth: Get a pair of jeans one size smaller than what you have (see you don’t even need a scale). Every 2 weeks, try and get in them. When they are comfy, wear them. If you aren’t at your ideal weight yet, get another size smaller and repeat. If you want a scale by all means get one. But if you want to go cheap, just do the jean-way. It works just as well even if its a bit weird.

Sixth: Food. This is the hard part. The best thing I learned from Retrofit was to get smaller plates and bowls. Then record everything into My Fitness Pal. When you eat, do the portions of 1/3s. 1/3 protein; 1/3 vegetable; 1/3 starch on the smaller plate. That should be enough for one meal. Eat about 4 meals a day  or 3 meals and a nice snack. Another way is to eat clean and even if you don’t do the workouts, the nutrition part of Jamie Eason’s Live Fit series is awesome and very do-able. If you are looking for great recipes without buying cookbooks check out Spark People Recipes or Clean Eating Magazine’s Archives.

Sevenths: Cookbooks. Every so often, Amazon will have free or cheap Kindle books. Keep up with them, and you will eventually find cookbooks if you have a specialized diet (gluten free, Paleo, vegetarian, etc). Come to that, Amazon has daily free Kindle books, so check them out and see what you can find and you can bring that to the gym to read while you are on the treadmill :)

So: cheap, easy, and fulfilling. What more could you want?


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Life After a Breakup



Hello Dear Readers

I am substitute teaching today. It is so “fun” being in a high school. Friends get together, then they get significant others, then they break up; this person slighted that other person, this freshman is a-twitter because that Junior smiled at her; some students are juggling amazing schedules full of athletics, academics and after-school activities while other students putter along and do what is necessary to graduate. All along the backdrop of prom, senior projects, graduation this amazing vortex of young life pulses and whirls around any adult lucky enough to witness several teenagers put in one place to grow up together, and, in some cases, in spite of their circumstances.

As I listened sympathetically to some students and laughed in delight with other students, I thought about my own life, my own friendships, that even adults have seasons where they make friends, and then sometimes, these friends grow apart. Significant others come together or break apart. Sometimes a work environment can come together, grow apart, perhaps come together again. Sometimes it is because of the military that some families grow apart and have to find ways to keep connected. Sometimes it is because of poor economic growth that other families find themselves living in 2 different parts of the country, figuring out how to keep their lives joined despite the geographic separation.

The question, then, is how does one navigate the regular seasons of life? How does one grow through the twists and turns that a life will present and still function in the process?

I turned to some classic literature for guidance.

“Little Woman” by Louisa May Alcott suggests that when you have a loving family, nothing can keep you down forever (enter your definition of family here; personally I have adopted and biological family and ascribe to the philosophy that it takes a village to raise a child).

“The Three Musketeers” by Alexander Dumas suggested that teamwork, confidence in one’s one identity and faith were as necessary to surviving and thriving in uncharted waters as ambition and developing a keen eye to find opportunity.

“The Last Trail” by Zane Grey describes a village, carving its existence of what was then the Ohio frontier, protected by Bordermen, nurtured by their leader and the womenfolk, and tended to by the menfolk. It describes an entire village coming together, once strangers, but later tightly bonded because of the kinship which comes from shared experiences.

Sun Zu, in “The Art of War”, describes absolute confidence in oneself as knowing how to traverse the pitfalls of adult life. He opined that in order to be fresh and full of vigor, one must also be present, mindful and open to accessing information about the environment around you. In this way, he said, you can never be surprised, but will always be prepared.

Although it is not classical literature, I have recently become a convert to the “Twilight” series. I am not overly fond of vampires, however, I appreciate the the inclusion that was evident in the series. It described how teenagers (how difficult it is to be a teenager!) can come together, across centuries and across ethnic boundaries, to support and defend very concrete concepts: family, love, friendship, and fighting the good fight for a better future.

As I reflect on my day substitute teaching at high school, I appreciate our small town more than I usually do. That it is a village, and we do come around each other in times of joy and times of sorrow. Families connect, break up, and re-connect again, just the same as in other places. However, I feel that what makes our little village so special is the knowledge that if we need a quick pick-me-up, we need only go to the store and chat with the cashiers, or go to the post office or gym and visit with other nice people. It can certainly mean the difference between a day of crippling grief and a day that became tolerable.




Photo credit: Roltirirang via Deviant Art, Creative Commons Licence 3.0

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For Sale: The Most Haunted Island on Earth



Haunted House for Sale. Any Takers?

I couldn’t believe this when I saw it in my Facebook feed. So of course I had to share it with you. It has nothing to do with psychology and everything to do with just plain fun. If you like the living crap scared out of you.

Or, maybe that does have something to do with psychology. I mean, really, what is it about creepy, crawly stuff that we love to sometimes scare the hoolies out of us?

This is an old hospital located between Venice and Lido, off the coast of Northern Italy. In the mid 400’s people ran there to escape barbaric hoards who were ransacking the land in the wake of the fall of Rome. In the 9th century it began to be populated more densely, then later, it was attacked by Genoa and taken over as a fortification.

Later it became a checkpoint for Venice after they beat the Genoans out, and apparently that is when the “hauntings” began. Two ships filled with the plague (remember back then, they didn’t have vaccine to control such things, and whole cities were devastated due to plague) landed on the island as a quarantine, and most of the people on the island died as a result. This particular plague was the infamous Bubonic Plague which was said to kill 1 in 3 Europeans. Venice sent most of its citizens who had any symptom of the plague to this island, to live or die as they would, and since most of them had to scratch out an existence on their own as sick as they were, it was the same as a death sentence.

Later the place was turned into a hospital (there are conflicting reports on whether or not it was a mental hospital or regular hospital) and was described in a Mental Floss Article as a beautiful and anything except a “cesspool of dread”.

The author of that article says that the water is beautiful, the building is fortified but it had to be being built in the 14th century when everyone in Italy was at war with each other, and although the place needs a lot of work, it is certainly redeemable.

But what about those hauntings?

Think American Horror Story as the Time article said yesterday. Italy needs money to pay some debts, and thus this island is now up for auction. It includes the plague-caused burial grounds, the hospital, original hospital furniture, off limits to the public (so it is private) and apparently ghosts of all the people who were sent there to die still roam around.

Dumping ground?

According to The Travel Channel the sick persons who were sent to die on the island are said to haunt the island. Later, when the place was turned into a hospital (for the sick or the mentally ill as it were), it is said that a doctor was doing “strange experiments” on the residents (read: botched lobotomies), and then later went crazy himself and threw himself off the bell tower.

Do you think maybe the people he on whom he performed the bad lobotomies  became zombies? And they ran him off the bell tower? Maybe.

Now it is abandoned. In need of rehabilitation. And for sale.

Oh but just one thing. It is rumored that 50% of the soil is actually human ash, at least on the surface.







Photo credit: Chris 73/Wikipedia Commons licence


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Royal Recap: Day 10 and 11 in Australia!

Here are some awesome pics of the Tour in Australia….adorable.




Photos via HRH Duchess Kate blog via Twitter via Gettys Images, @Katiemidleton, @DashRoyal, @ClarenceHouse

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$aving Money: Beauty Edition Vol. 2



Hello Dear Readers

This is a quick follow up to a blog post from last week about beauty and savings. I found an amazing website called and this website would have saved me almost $2000 by my calculations (over 10 years) trying to figure out what foundation I should use.

This is basically a website that calculates what precise foundation colors in exactly what most commonly purchased (both drug-store brand and high-end) foundations you should wear. The more you enter that you know suite you perfectly, the better the match.

If you would like to save yourself a pile of money and you are willing to invest a little bit of time, this is my best suggestion plan for you.

1. Get matched to at least three different brands. You can do this by going to a large store such as Ulta, Macy’s, Nordstrom, or Sephora and shop around (read: have fun!) and get matched perfectly. Ask to take samples home (watch the below Lisa Eldridge film) which you should be able to do.

2. When you are dead certain that at least 2 (three are better) brands match you in all different colors of light, enter them in at and you will have many different kinds of foundation recommendations for you. Everything from Revlon and Neutragena to YSL and MAC, all formulations, powder to liquid. It really is quite genius. You can purchase what you can afford, and the great thing is, when you are able to take advantage of online deals, you can be much more confident because you are almost guaranteed to be a match (reminder: check the return policy just in case).

3. Save money by repeating this process twice yearly: once in the summer and once in the winter. You will likely need two colors as your skin color changes with the seasons. As you age you will also likely need to change formulations, which can mean different colors as well. Change should be embraced.  :)


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$aving Money: Beauty Edition


When I made out my spending plan (while doing my taxes) I noticed that my “Beauty and Personal Care” line item was getting a tiny bit out of hand.

The question; was there a way to trim said budget but NOT sacrifice the quality of product.

This week there are a few star items I wanted to share with you, Dear Reader, suitable for men and women.

The first item was my shampoo and conditioner. I love Wella. Adore it. The great thing about it is that my color lasts forever; my hair is healthy, vibrant, shiny; and there is a specific product for every kind of hair imaginable. My quest, then, was to find out if there was a lower-cost product I could swap in every other washing (or even entirely) for my beloved Wella.

I have settled on Pantene (and yes, there are options on Amazon Mom Subscribe and Save which makes the savings even more substantial as well as coupons you can clip via Amazon now and then). Pantene is owned by Proctor and Gamble (which makes the odds of gaining coupons high) and is one of the most beloved brands in over 90 countries. One of the great things about this brand is, like Wella, it has a huge variety of product for many kinds of hair, and is readily available at WalMart, Amazon, Target etc.

Before buying product from Amazon (which is basically in bulk) I tried the 2-in-1 Icy Shine for colored hair and then followed with the 2 Minute Moisture Mask (I have been keeping my hair blond, so I’m beating the hell out of it). I style it with an AMAZING Pantene BB Creme which is a heat protectant/shine enhancer/fly-away tamer/softener/multi-tasker and is cheap. My hair has never looked so good.

I have also used the Pantene Color Preserve Shine Shampoo which is about $4.50/liter via Amazon Mom (with 20% discount and free shipping) and the Pantene Color Preserve Volume Conditioner which is also about $4.50/liter. So far, my hair isn’t dull (I do these combo’s every other time) and it is very healthy and happy. For comparison, the Wella is $35/Shampoo and Conditioner combo (1L each), which really isn’t bad, considering. So I am calling it a savings of $26 on the Wella and Color Preserve. I didn’t have a fair comparison for the 2-in-1 and the mask.

The Pantene BB creme ($4.15)  completely replaced the Chi heat protectant ($12) + Organix Argan Oil ($9.95) + Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum ($19) = $36.80 savings plus I gained counter space.

Lastly, I found an amazing multi-tasker that works even for my oily-acne prone skin. Murad Oil-Mattifier Spf 15 has been an amazing product. I have tried every highly rated (Read: Expensive) primer out there. And then I have to add SPF moisturizer (or just sunscreen) because I am so fair I burn very easily. I break out, and it is usually so bad, I have to go to the med spa for a facial to unclog my pores.

With the Murad product, I have discovered a texture to my foundation that I never have before. Velvet! For hours! I use either Kat Von D Foundation (a little goes a long way) or Clinique Solutions Acne Foundation (very light but great coverage and cleans those pores) and top it with mineral foundation and Boots Botanics concealer.

One thing about finding foundations that work for you: you don’t waste money with a foundation graveyard. And sometimes using slightly more expensive foundations lets you get away with wearing less makeup overall; having beautiful skin is a key goal. Everything else is frosting.

I have also discovered that having 2 different foundation types keeps me from feeling boxed in and lets me choose depending on my skin problem of the day (do I need more coverage or can I get away with lighter coverage and use the Acne Solutions to heal some of those pores).

Anyway, I hope some of this is helpful.




Photo credit: Josef Seibel

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Reblog: Emotional Vampires Part 5: On Being Stuck


Hello Dear Readers: This is a reblog; sorry for the interruption….Wordpress had an update and this post needed to be re-posted.



Have you ever felt mired in a situation with a person, place, or thing?

You move and move and move, but you realize, you aren’t really moving at all.

Could be that you have been “hypnotized” by an Emotional Vampire.

What does this mean? It means that a person, place or thing has basically replaced your free will with their/its own. And you are no longer operating by your own convictions.

Here is an example. Raise your hand if you have classic in-laws from hell issue (no small matter), and no matter what you do, you have them over for dinner every holiday, knowing it is going to take you days to recover? what if you have the friend who basically lives with you, nothing ever goes their way, nothing is every good, everything is a drama, and you feel your energy drain away on their problems instead of your own life? How about if you work in an office environment which works with values you do not hold as your own, but you keep your own opinions quiet for fear of reprisal?

It is a systemic issue, you see. This basic behavior pattern (Do what I want you to do or I will make you pay for it) is seen in nuclear families (at extreme cases in domestic violence situations), in an office situation (seen the Good Wife or House of Cards lately?), in schools with the school-yard bully. This is very common. The question is how the hell do you work through it.

I looked to our Emotional Vampire book. This is what I found applicable to this pattern.

When you feel stuck, without hope, and you feel helpless:

1. Look for the Misdirection. If you feel confused, don’t do anything until you figure out what is going on. Only when you understand the real truth of a situation should you move forward by your own value set and free will.

2. Identify why the Emotional vampire chose you to do what they wanted; identify where they latched onto you because this is the piece of you that needs to be strengthened rather than remain vulnerable. This is simply an area of growth; look at it as gaining insight rather than finding something wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with you. You are simply making yourself better than you already are.

3. Do not let yourself get Isolated. Emotional Vampires work the best when you are all alone. Talk to people who have different opinions than you. Be with people who support you. Surround yourself with books, media, music, anything that makes you feel better than you usually do. Live spherically. Live within your own free will. Don’t get the idea that the Emotional Vampire is the only thing that can help you. Lots of resources are out there. Find them.

4. Emotional Vampires thrive on Control. When you are entirely controlled, they are entirely guaranteed to feed off of your energy. Is that what you want?

5. Be open minded and be aware that you may have been sold a bill of goods. You may be stuck because you are living in an Alternate Reality courtesy of your very own Emotional Vampire. Is it working for you? Does it align with your values or your free will?

6. Be wary of “either/or” choices. This is often the False Choice. When you are put in a bind by the Emotional Vampire, chance are, if you reach out, you can connect to other resources that can help you. This is especially true for any one in an abusive situation.



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