Even though the beauty trends have heavily leaned towards neutrals, nudes, and dusty pink lip colours (such a 90’s throwback), I am still such a sucker for a bold rouge, especially at this time of year. The winter tends to turn my skin a pale, less glowy hue and a red lip can seriously pack a punch. In fact, I’ve been known to throw on a rouge lipstick in a pinch if I happen to have no other makeup on and have to look slightly more put together.
I’ve cycled through many favourites, but at the moment I keep gravitating towards the NYX Pin-Up Pout in Lucy! This cruelty free lipstick is well pigmented and doesn’t bleed or require a lipliner, which I greatly appreciate. This one is definitely on the cooler side and has a slight pink tinge to it. As I’m such a classic kinda gal, I love to pair it with either a winged liquid eyeliner or just lots of lashes without liner. Makes the red lippie the star of the show!
Grief is funny. I mean, not ha ha kind of funny, more of a complicated dark humour. We knew the day was coming. Austin died in the same way as my Nana, in a slow and steady decline that went on and on for years. Dying of old age often means that your mind or body gives out on you. For my sweet Nana it was her mind, but for our Austie boy, it was his body. Both instances were tough to witness, but also a small gift to the rest of us in a way, as we all get the unique chance to soak up extra time. The opportunity for a long, drawn out farewell. Holding on to each hug a bit tighter and making sure your love for them is known with each interaction.
My parents did not want to own a dog ever again. My brother, Tavis, and I begged for one all the time, but they’d had a traumatic experience with a pet store beagle named Sunshine in the 80’s and they’d decided, “Never again.” Of course, never was, until a kid on Tavis’s soccer team brought a litter of new golden retriever puppies to a Saturday game. My mom didn’t stand a chance. She insisted that I join her for a puppy visit at their home the next day. “Just to see how cute they are, because you’d missed them at the game. Not to take one home or anything, we’re not getting a dog” she’d told me. We arrived back home 2 hours later with a pro/con list and sales pitch to my dad about why we needed one of these puppies. What responsible dog owners we’d all be. He managed to fight us on the matter for an entire evening, but the next day, it was 3 against 1 decided. We were getting a puppy! The last one available from the litter, in fact. Tav and I came up with three name options: Atticus, Wesley, and Austin. We left the final call up to my dad, who decided that Austin best suited this blonde beauty.
Born on St. Patrick’s Day 2003, Austin was a prized 5th member of the Quan family. My mom’s ‘Golden Boy’ as she likes to call him. We were all “Austin…errr….Tavis…errr…Alicia” from that day on. He outlived both of his parents and every single one of his siblings and was with us for almost 15 years. Tough as nails, that dog. He was as sweet as sweet Goldens can be. Loved his walks and would do anything for food, or anything that he thought was food. Austin devoured many questionable things over the years. Most notably the leftover pancake breakfast incident when he ate an entire stick of butter and was covered in maple syrup. There was the time he ate a large bag of cherries when my Auntie Lynn was taking care of him, which I’m sure was a mess in every way imaginable. His favourite activity for a while was counter surfing and devouring entire loaves of bread if he was ever left alone. Plastic really didn’t seem to bother him, he wasn’t choosy with his binge eating habits. He was a suck for pets and attention, which only magnified over the years. Whenever I’d come home to visit he’d go around to each person in the room, nudging their hand with his head, instructing them to start petting him. He was simple and clever and adorable.
Deciding when to say the final goodbye was, as you can imagine, tricky. None of us were in agreement. My dad couldn’t face it, kept insisting that it wasn’t time. My mom struggled to know if he was comfortable enough to stay with us a bit longer. Tavis did what he could to support them and help out with Austin. I did what I could do help my family talk through it. How do you decide when put a dog down? My mom struggled with the procedure itself, knowing that if the vet came to the house to do it, Austin would be excited about a visitor, or if they went to the veterinary clinic to do it, he would be excited about going. “But then his last emotion will be excitement,” Tavis concluded, “Which is a wonderful last emotion to feel.” That brought comfort to us.
On the eve of my 31st birthday, while I sat on the couch in Malta of all places, my brother texted me that he was so sorry but that it was happening. Austin was in too much pain. I knew this moment was on the horizon, and yet, I was surprisingly overcome with grief. I cried for hours and didn’t sleep that night. I think it was a mix of being away from everyone and feeling a bit helpless, and of course, mourning the loss of the favourite member of the family. Anyone who has ever had to say goodbye to a family pet knows what I’m talking about.
Today, Reggie and I are going to drive out to my hometown and join my parents and brother for a walk. We’re all going to take his favourite route and spread his ashes in his favourite spot. His final resting place. And since I didn’t get the chance in person, I just wanted to say one last goodbye, my sweet Austin. We love you and miss you every day.
I had always dreamed of a bedroom that felt more like a sanctuary than a dumping ground for clothing. But, no matter how much we decluttered, it never felt relaxing, or that to adults could possibly reside there. Our big bedroom makeover has paid off in so many ways. We each spend more time enjoying the one and only bedroom in our apartment. It has been easier to stay organized and feel in control of the clutter. The improvements have also created an environment that helps us have better sleeps! A well rested family is certainly a happier family. I’ve highlighted some of the things that have made a difference in our now relaxing space below. Hope you enjoy!
I’m pretty sure it’s actually smoky not smokey, but the makeup world doesn’t seem to care 🤷🏻♀️
I roll my eyes at the guidelines for a smokey eyeshadow for brown eyes, as they always state that purple is the way to go. As though I’m going to slather various shades of purple eyeshadow on my lids and head out for the night. I think not! As stubborn as I am about this, I have to confess something to you. No matter what shade neutral shadow I apply to my lids, it inevitable turns purple! Look at my lids! We put brown and copper colours on my eyes and it all morphed into this silver/purple look. I mean, I know I’m a rule follower, but for even my skin to follow suit. I just can’t win!
Despite the colour change, it was fun to wear a more dramatic eye than usual to our girl’s night at Savio last month. Melissa came over earlier and we took some photos and did these fun makeup looks. If you don’t know my cousin Melissa, you really should. We literally talk on the phone multiple times a day, every single day LOL. She’s just getting back into blogging (it was actually Melissa who helped inspire me to originally start this site, so she’s legit an OG blogger) and she had a fun idea to do Blogmas. Which means that she’s coming out with a brand new post every day until Christmas! You should probably go subscribe and follow along, or at least give her an Instagram follow @melissa_cartier. I know she’d really appreciate it!