Monday, March 14, 2016

"Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls", The Bachelor S20 E9 Recap

 After a week-long hiatus to take in everything that wasn't was The Women Tell Nothing The Women Tell All, I'm back with another recap. Let's turn the clock back as opposed to forward (ugh!) and recall all of the steamy details from Week 9- AKA "The Fantasy Suites."

Caila, JoJo, Lauren
 Ben is in Jamaica and ready for three back-to-back nights of ecstasy with his three remaining bachelorettes. He reminds us who is still around:

  • Caila: One of the most beautiful women he's been around with a smile that lights up a room.
  • Lauren: Seeing her for the first time was the closest thing he's ever experienced to love at first sight. Could it be too good to be true?
  • JoJo: Outgoing, fun and brings out a new side to him to that's more confident and playful.
 The first date is with Caila. The couple is happy to see each other. They spend a leisurely afternoon floating along the Martha Brae River. Conversation is lacking. Awkward silences. Caila is anxious just thinking about the other two women who will also have fantasy dates with her boyfriend this week. Ben can sense the tension and asks what's wrong. "Melancholy" is the seventh grade vocabulary term he feeds to a producer type when describing Caila's mood. The day hasn't been what Ben had expected.

 The couple retreat to an island bar where a few coconut drinks provide enough liquid courage and dopamine for Caila to swing to the happy side of her personality. By the time that dinner rolls around, she's once again in a manic state good spirits. She doesn't want to have any regrets. She attributes her depressive episode from earlier to being nervous to tell Ben that she loves him. Riiiight. Caila attempts to spin and manipulate the truth by telling Ben that she "appreciates" him for noticing that she was "off." Who thanks someone for noticing they're in a bad mood? She finally tells Ben she loves him to make up for her lack of charisma from earlier and he buys it hook, line, and sinker.

  The first FANTASY SUITE card arrives. 
"Should you choose to forgo your individual rooms, please use this key to stay as a couple in the fantasy suite. Love, Chris Harrison"
  20 Seasons, 15 years and that damn card always reads exactly the same (as it should to keep with tradition!)... but the handwriting is always different. Chris Harrison has so many different styles of cursive that he would perplex even the savviest of handwriting analysts. Either that or a lowly production assistant is given the grand honor of writing out the fantasy suite cards each year. I appreciate a classic, handwritten note. I like that there isn't a printed card accompanied with sexual innuendo emojis attached.

  Ben and Caila have a late night swim in the ocean as they watch fireworks. Caila says that she could "live in this moment forever." 

 "I could wake up in the morning and know for certain that Caila is the woman for me." It's good to know what Ben is basing his decision on.

  The next morning, Caila is optimistic. "I can see myself waking up next to him for the rest of my life. We woke up as a couple. He didn't have to say he loved me back. I felt it." 

 After Ben leaves Caila, he meets up with his other girlfriend, Lauren (hopefully after a very long shower). Lauren is her usual bubbly self. "There's something about the water and sunshine." Spoken like a girl who grew up in the Portland but moved to California for brighter days. 

 Ben and Lauren will be spending their day releasing baby turtles into the wild. "We're helping turtles SURVIVE!" exclaims our bachelor. As I watch the couple bathe the adorable little turtles, I wonder if it would be possible to take one home as a pet. Calm down, PETA! This would be the ultimate souvenir. Would the turtle require a makeshift pool for its habitat- how large? Would it be suitable for city dwelling? If the turtle outlives both Ben and Lauren, will they bequeath the amphibian to the local zoo?

 Ben and Lauren both say that they've missed each other. Ben tells Lauren how much he loved her perfect family. "You're too good for me," Ben says. Lauren feels the same way. She wants to tell Ben that she loves him but the other relationships are still on her mind. 

 Ben and Lauren wind up at a local beach bar with a fantastic Jamaican band playing a song with the lyrics, "so in love with you." The synchronicity is not lost on Lauren as she smirks toward the camera. Ben is having "an incredibly fun day with Lauren. She's so good to be around." 

 During dinner, Lauren opens up more to Ben. She tells him that she's invested and feels good about what they have but doesn't know where he stands with the other women. Lauren says that all of this is very real for her and tells Ben, "You're the man of my dreams." 

 Cue the second fantasy suite card. Lauren says that she needs time alone with Ben away from the camera crew distractions. Ben tells a producer that he's "head over heels" for Lauren.

 Lauren has her own chat with a producer type. "This is the night to do us." "Put it all out there." "Let all the walls down." "Open up." "All or nothing." Maybe there was an emoji memo attached to that fantasy suite card, after all. ;)

 Lauren tells Ben that she's "completely in love" with him but these aren't new feelings. Ben breaks The Bachelor code of conduct and admits "I've known I'm in love with you for awhile as well." 

 You'd think that if the bachelor told you he loved you on a show where he's not supposed to admit his feelings that you would be the guaranteed choice but don't count your roses before they bloom. 

 Lauren says that waking up next to Ben is "a dream" and something that she wants to do for the rest of her life. Ben reaffirms his love for my pick from night one as he departs for a date with his final contender. 

 Another day, another woman. JoJo will be joining Ben for a tropical adventure. Ben admits that his heart is with Lauren but he has to sleep with JoJo "explore things" with JoJo to know for sure. 

 JoJo is ecstatic to be spending the day with her boyfriend in a serenely remote locale. After the helicopter drops them off in their own private oasis, Ben leads her to the beautiful YS Falls. I love the name because it reminds me of one of my favorite designers. As JoJo and Ben leap from a cliff (with JoJo looking smoking hot in an adorable bikini, might I add), she says it was "an incredible moment" and that she "feels safe with Ben." 

Is that a bottle of Red Stripe in your swim trunks or are you just happy to see me?
 As the couple spend time on a rock overlooking the Jamaican waterfalls, Ben probes JoJo for further insight into their relationship. "There's not a doubt in my mind that I want to spend my future with you," she says. "I do love you."  Ben shocks JoJo when he shares that he loves her as well. "What?! Are you allowed to say that?" Nope. He's technically not supposed to say anything. After 15 years, the producers have finally figured out that this is sort of a critical thing to hear in order to accept someone's proposal. Through the magic of editing, it's completely okay for the bachelor to say back those three magic words. Duh! 

 Ben doesn't know what to do. He's in love with both JoJo and Lauren but neither woman is none the wiser. I wonder why none of the finalists on the show have ever spied on the other fantasy dates. The producers stupidly seclude each of the women. That's where they're making a mistake. Think of all the drama that could ensue with a pair of binoculars and a sonic sleuth listening device.

 When dinner rolls around, Ben admits that in the back of his mind, he's having flashbacks to sleeping with two other women the previous nights before the other things he did this week. 

 JoJo is feeling confident and safe with Ben. "It was the best day of my life!" It really is tragic when you think about the fact that for part of that day, Ben was "with" someone else. 

 Ben is feeling hesitant about JoJo's brothers who weren't exactly welcoming. "If they don't support our relationship then that's a concern." JoJo says that her brothers were just being protective and that the entire situation was surreal. She thanks Ben for not running away. 

 When the third and final fantasy suite card arrives, JoJo tells Ben she would love nothing more than to spend the night with him. The couple enjoy champagne in their private hot tub before exchanging "I love yous" in the bedroom. 

 The next morning, kisses and snuggles are exchanged. Ben tells JoJo how cute she is and that they're "on the same page." JoJo is a user of the term of endearment "baaaabe."

 Ben seems to have really enjoyed himself with the exuberant brunette. "Last night with JoJo was one of the best nights of my life." And this, ladies and gentleman, is why the fantasy suites are crucial. You gotta test drive each model before you decide which is the best fit

 Despite Ben's perfect date with JoJo, he's still reflecting on the other women. When Lauren is brought up, he has this to say. "I've been enthralled by her since the moment I met her." 

 As for Caila? "For some reason, I can't get there with Caila." Hmmm. Very interesting choice of words post-fantasy suite, Ben. Caila, on the other hand, has no clue of the reality of the situation. Someone must have slipped her some uppers because she heads to surprise Ben. As she scours the hotel suite with her hands giddily over her mouth in steeple position, I can't help but remember Rebecca Sealfon, the 1997 Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion (bitch stole my title). 

 I can't handle the forced perkiness. I read Caila like a book. She's not the burst of sunshine she wants you to think she is. As she surprises Ben, he's taken aback. He tells Caila that he's glad she came over. She immediately senses the discourse is not headed in the right direction. 

 Ben tells Caila that he's in love with two women but she's not either of them. Ouch. He attempts to sugarcoat. "I just couldn't say it (I love you) back to you and I don't know why." He goes on to basically tell Caila that she's his perfect wife on paper but it's not there for him. Caila's mood quickly swings and tells Ben it sounds like he's feeding her a line. That sounds familiar. Maybe she should date one of JoJo's brothers who shared the same exact sentiment. Ben tells Caila that he really will miss her... but not before she jumps out of her escorted vehicle to ask one final question. "Did you know you were going to let me go before you slept with me?" "So, did you know this week?" Ben skates around the issue. I have a feeling Ben's not being able to get there might have had something to do with the break-up. But not really. He simply liked the other women more.

 Caila realizes that slamming Ben will only make her look like a fool (and lessen her chances at being selected as the next bachelorette!). She has a manic mood swing and goes from tears to smiles and back to tears again. I just don't trust this girl. Ben is emotionally exhausted with her as well.

 Caila shares with a producer how she's feeling. "I thought I'd be getting engaged in a week and a half. I was ready to be his wife." At 24-years-old, Caila doesn't know why she hasn't found love yet. Through tears (she's an adorable crier) she says, "I thought this was it! I didn't see this coming! I still love him!" 

 The unnecessary rose ceremony (two women, two roses) resembles a scene from Sister Wives. JoJo and Lauren seemed friendly enough throughout the season but their energy has shifted. They're now the only ones remaining, competing against each other, for the man they both love. JoJo is on a bit of a confidence trip, unbeknownst to her, Lauren is as well. Thinking that she's the only one who Ben told he loved, JoJo asks her competitor "Are you the most anxious you've ever been?" Lauren keeps a poker face and isn't really giving in to any of it. "Um, no. He told me he loved me, you hussy," Lauren thinks to herself. 

 Ben awards the first rose to JoJo and the last to Lauren. The order could be read from two different perspectives but I'll withhold judgment until after the final rose. Ben tells a producer "I could picture both being my wife." My money is still on my original pick, Lauren. We shall soon find out! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Recent Beauty Favorites, Winter/Spring 2016

Beauty Favorites Winter 2016

 It has been quite a while since I shared some of my favorite beauty products. After working in cosmetic sales and artistry for the past few years, I have skillfully navigated the land of luxury makeup and skincare. Through trial and error, I have discovered what's worth the splurge and what can be better substituted at your local drugstore. Here are a few of the products that I have been recently loving:

  • Lancome My Parisian Pastels Shimmer Cube: An adorably packaged product with a unique design. Can be used as highlighter, blush, eyeshadow or finishing powder.
  • OPI Hello Kitty and New Orleans Collections: My favorite brand of polish delivers once again with a wide range of beautiful colors including Kitty White (a shimmering white with a silvery finish), Charmmy & Sugar (a standout shade of metallic pale pink with sparkles), She's A Bad Muffuletta! (a strawberry red with pink undertones), Rich Girls & Po-Boys (a beautiful, boyish shade of blue that's somehow still very feminine).
  • Clarins Lip Oil (01 Honey), Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm, & Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector (07 Toffee Pink Shimmer): I've been fixated with keeping my lips hydrated with oil, balm and a moisturizing product. The newest shade from the Instant Light collection is my favorite out of all of them- the most beautifully natural shade of pink.
  • YSL Gypsy Opale Face Palette: The dynamite packaging is what sold me but the product itself keeps me reaching for more. A wonderful color correcting finishing powder. 
  • Shiseido Future Solution Night Cream: A steep price tag but worth every penny. The Future Solution range of skincare products has been my guilty pleasure for several years. It truly keeps fine lines in-check and hydrates beyond belief.
  • Bioderma Cleansing Water: Many brands are attempting to knock off this cult-favorite product (Simple, Garnier, etc...) that was once only available for purchase in Europe but thanks to sites like Beautylish, Bioderma is accessible to the masses and at a fantastic price. Nothing beats the original! Perfect for dry, sensitive skin. Takes makeup off and leaves the skin clean. 
  • ColourPop Eyeshadows: This brand has been one of my favorite discoveries. I adore everything about their range- affordable, cutting edge, on-trend, fun and good quality. I love all of their products but every girl needs to own at least one of their eyeshadows.
  • Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer (Ivory): I don't like to wear heavy foundation and prefer light coverage on my face. This BB/tinted moisturizer hybrid is phenomenal at delivering just enough hydration and coverage to even out my complexion without masking my natural skin beneath. 
  • Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer (Fair): I have tried plenty of high-end concealers but this drugstore find is still my favorite. I recently turned 30 but am just now starting to need coverage under the eyes. This concealer has been a go-to. 
  • Etude House Sheet Masks: A few times a year (when the Korean beauty site offers sales and free shipping), I place an order for my favorite Asian cosmetic items. These sheet masks are affordable and a wonderful addition to your skincare routine. 
  • Estee Lauder Double Wear Eyeliner (Gold): My eyeliner collection is obscene. There are a lot of terrific pencil liners on the market but this formula and color from Estee Lauder has been my favorite.
  • Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water: I thought this was a gimmick when I first purchased it. "Diamond water? Riiight." It turns out that this primer is everything. If you have dry skin that rejects foundation, this formula will agree with anything you place on top of it. It helps with the application of your makeup but more importantly, it truly prolongs its wear-time. If they ever discontinue this baby, I will be buying a lifetime supply.
  • Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream: This is terrific for day or night and a must-have before prepping for concealer. 
  • Lancome Miracle Cushion Compact Foundation (Alternate: L'Oreal True Match Lumi Cushion Foundation): My love for Asian-inspired skincare and beauty products has found its way into my foundation routine. When I need a bit more coverage than a BB cream or tinted moisturizer, I reach for these. They're still light-medium coverage and very comfortable on the skin. The downside? You don't get a lot of product for what you pay but the finish is gorgeous. 
  • Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons Eyeshadow Palette: Too Faced is one of my favorite brands- so feminine, fun and flirty. I have so many of their products and love of all of them. If Peggy Bundy ever designed an eyeshadow palette, it might look like this. 
  • Clinique Cheek Pop Blush (Nude Pop): I'm not much of a Clinique girl but this blush's cutesy floral and acrylic packaging lured me in. The formula and shade is also incredible. 
  • Chanel Nail Polish (683 Sunrise Trip): From the Spring 2016 LA Sunrise Collection, this shade looks nearly black in the bottle but on the nail, it's an original shade of royal purple with navy undertones. I'm still on the hunt for the perfect, bright, neutral-yet-wearable, neon purple (that's not asking too much is it?) but this shade will be fine until that polish is discovered invented.

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
I'm living life in beautiful Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I hold a journalism degree from West Virginia University. I have worked in television news, fashion marketing, PR, and cosmetic sales. My love for writing and sharing with the world my various passions is strong. One of my many ambitions is to be published and continue creating in the fields of digital and print media, literature and film. In my free time, I enjoy listening to music, going to concerts, reading, following Pittsburgh sports and traveling as often as possible. Some of my favorite things include beauty, style, architecture, books, tarot and astrology, thrifting and my shih-tzu, Ireland. I’m engaged to the love of my lifetimes and we look forward to starting our next chapter together. If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you!