La Bramasole

Human Interaction Specialty

1 Comment

$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

Leave a comment

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.



Abundant Easter Festival

This is a very simple, easy and elegant hair-do for anything, but I thought it would be very nice for Easter (or any special occasion). Then, because I like to be a Princess, I thought nothing less than a Repunzel-esque makeup look would do. I used the below tutorial for the makeup only.  Enjoy :)



Leave a comment

Emotional Vampires Part 4


Hello Dear Readers!

Well I hope that we have all somewhat recovered from the mystery of the Plane. This entire kerfuffle was part of the reason that Dear Hubby and I went on our recent no-electronics-allowed “stay-cation”. We simply got overwhelmed…Russia is invading the world, planes are disappearing into thin air  (with a suggestion of aliens! Really CNN?), the G8 turned into the G7 (that’s going to be interesting news)….we decided we had had it. We were done.

Why were we so done?

Because we care. We have been caring, and worrying, and been anxious about the Ukrainians and the missing passenger on the plane, and about the seniors in our small town getting ready to graduate from high school, the recent flooding from a lot of snow melting and then buckets of pelting rain and then to top it off the 2016 Presidential campaign stuff starting (already!!!)….we were exhausted from all this caring about problems we worried about but could not fix.

Without meaning to, our electronic information sources had become a kind of emotional vampire. We had lost track of ourselves as a married couple, we had lost track of the simple beauty of feeling the wind with the sun on our faces. Instead we were just hurrying and hurrying and going from one project to the next, blindly getting one thing crossed off the list and jumping on the next, scurrying like little mice.

So today, I would like to share with you the tick marks that I found in our book we study that led us to solve at least one problem: the ability to control our immediate environment, at least for 4 days. I encourage you to think about that kind of problem solving for yourself. You might not unplug…maybe you will recycle….or walk to work….or car pool…or call your mom more often….whatever it is, try and find some way to relax and create some order out of the chaos. You CAN do it. I believe in you. :)


enough of a good thing

What to do about it

Awesomely Cute hair for Girls of all ages

Leave a comment

I am growing my hair out, creating a new obsession for ways to put it up and out of my face. This is a nice, and apparently 5 minute (once you learn it) style that is cute, current (I have also seen it on Dancing with the Stars as the instructor mentions) and appropriate for just about everyone.


What Hope are you Hanging onto Today?

Leave a comment

What Hope are you Hanging onto Today?

I don’t know about you, but I hang onto the small miracle that I woke up today, I smiled at my husband, and he smiled back. We have such a gentle and kind relationship.

I hang onto the puppy who wags her tail at me, loving the fact that I am alive, that the day is awake and we can have an adventure; for her that is enough.

It was such a blessed morning that I just couldn’t turn the news on and have the rare respite of grace to spoil it. This evening is soon enough to find out which politican has dashed our hopes, which innocent person has been murdered, which criminal has not been brought to justice. For just this morning, I wanted to bask in the rare bliss of hope.

But then that wasn’t enough; I wanted more. I wanted to bring that to school with me. How naturally that fit with all the little kiddos who had been given a glorious late start because of the winter storm last night. They were fresh, pink-cheeked, happy from a weekend of being cooped up in town, families stuck at home, unable to be busy, forced by weather to stick together and amuse themselves by building snow-forts, throwing themselves down into the snow to make snow angels, starting ferocious snow-ball wars.

There is hope; sometimes you just have to look for it in places you never expected, to give thanks for storms which make you spend more time with your family in your home instead of being busy over a weekend. Sometimes you have to learn to be flexible instead of being bitter that your life has been challenged with change beyond your control. And in that learning, every so often, you find an opportunity to collaborate with faith. To find that small still voice in your heart and believe that even at the worst of times, there is still hope.

What hope are you hanging onto today?

Photo credit: Appraiser


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 613 other followers