Photo Challenge: Fiction – “A Better Life” #fiction #amwriting #writing #vegas


This past week’s photo challenge was hosted by MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie

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Credit: Nekneeraj

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The lights assault my eyes, as they blur past me. Vegas is a beautiful city at night. I had had a table with my friends at the club with bottle service. Slowly, I remember us drinking the vodka shot by shot until the girls had enough.  

 “Were done, I’m already too drunk. I want to be able to shop tomorrow afternoon,” Megan said and her friend Kelly nodded in agreement. 

The other guys and I laughed and jeered, egging the girls on to do one more shot. They refused and went off to dance. After an hour or so passed, I saw them leave the club, removing their heels on the way. 

I noticed my good friend Ryan had passed-out on the cushioned bench around the table, parallel to me. I continued drinking, sipping my vodka shots, determined to finish the little vodka left in the bottom of the bottle. It was expensive after all to get bottle service. 

A concerned bouncer who had been watching me with deep dark eyes, set two glasses of water down in front of me. “Sir, you need to drink both these glasses,” he said. 

“Umm, no. I want more vodka. I’ll pay for another bottle,” I slurred. 

The bouncer shook his head, “You need to drink these glasses now sir. I don’t want you to get alcohol poisoning and die in my club.” 

I sighed grabbing both glasses, I downed them one at a time.”Gees, I was thirsty,” I told the bouncer.

 “I’m calling you and your friend a cab at the back door entrance,” he said nodding at Ryan. ” I don’t have to, I could just throw you out. But, I get this feeling you’re running from something, trying to drink it away. So tonight, I’ll be nice,” the bouncer said. “I get it man, but you’re a grown-up and even in Vegas, you have to have limits.” 

Another bouncer came to aid the first bouncer, guide us out to the cab. I leaned on the first bouncer’s shoulder and the other guy half-carried Ryan out the door. 

The cab driver looked nervous, “I don’t want anyone throwing-up in here,” he announced. But the bouncers ignored him. 

“Where is your hotel?” The first bouncer asked me.

I had to think a moment, everything was such a blur and it was difficult to think. I was so tired and mad at her. Why’d she cheat on me after ten-years marriage? Why’d she leave me for him?

“Um, we’re at Caesars,” I stammered, then reached into my pocket, pulling out a wad of bills; I tried my best to count out $100.00 exactly. I gave it the cab driver. He nodded, “okay where too?” The bouncers shut the cab doors and the driver took off down the Las Vegas strip.

The lights of Las Vegas were beautiful, brilliant, and blurred. But they also made me nauseous. I closed my heavy lids, and opened them as I tried not to sleep. But I couldn’t stop myself and I fell asleep quickly. 

——

Ryan was shaking me. “Come on Blaine, wake up. You’re 6’4″ and two-hundred-some pounds, I can’t lift you alone. You need to help me.” 

I blinked in the bright lights at the entrance to Caesars guest reception. It would take us forever to find our rooms because the hotel was so huge and neither of us were well enough to remember where our room was specifically. 

Ryan’s hands shook and his face was pale white. He ran and threw-up in a garbage can. He apologized five-minutes later to a man near by helping guests at the front entrance and gave him a twenty, and thinking this man would have to clean the garbage can up. 

I was slowly, stepping out of the car, but my legs nearly collapsed and I groaned in frustration. I reached into my wallet and pulled out eighty-dollars. I could count money now at least, though my head felt like someone was hammering my temples. 

“Here,” I said to a couple of men upfront working for Caesars. I gave them my cash and asked,”Help us back to my room, please.” 

Two silent men grabbed the cash splitting it and they smiled at me now. “Of course sir, do you have your keycard?” I nodded, pulling it out of my pocket. I gave it to the men and they called for two other men, one whom I leaned heavily against as we made an endless journey to my room. Sometime in there, I fell asleep. 

——

It was 3:00 pm when I awoke in my hotel room. Immediately, I went and threw-up in the bathroom several times before I felt better. I took a shower and washed away the smoke and putrid smell of vodka and vomit. I called room service to put some food in my stomach and help me recover. I ordered some French toast, coffee, and orange juice –two orders –one for Ryan as well, when he awoke. 

I saw him lying on the bed and I tried to shake him awake. I thought he only needed more sleep. He wasn’t a big guy, so perhaps the vodka hit him harder than me. 

A day later, Ryan still wasn’t up and I asked my friends what we should do.

“Well, sometimes you really need to sleep it off. We’re not so young anymore, hangovers can last two-days. He’s breathing so he must be fine,” Kyle reasoned and my other friend Maison seemed to agree. We went down to the casino to play poker. 

 On the third day we asked reception to call a doctor for us. It was expensive but my friends and I were worried about Ryan. He was cold and his chest barely moved, his breathing was so shallow. 

The Doctor was tense upon inspecting Ryan three-hours later. “I’m sorry gentlemen, your friend died earlier this morning, about the time I was called to your room. If only you’d called sooner and emphasized how badly he was doing,” the Doctor chided. 

“Ryan had alcohol poisoning so badly he went into a coma. He has no heart beat and isn’t breathing as you indicated earlier. It’s tragic but I guess you’ll understand me now when I say, watch your alcoholic intake; in Vegas especially.” 

I started to cry in front of the Doctor and my friends. I didn’t know how I could tell Ryan’s family he’d passed on. He’d been the one who said we needed a boys trip to help me get out the funk of my wife cheating and divorcing me. 

I remember him saying, “Blaine you need to get out and have some fun. Come to Las Vegas with me and the guys. Forget about your problems for a while. I’ll forget about mine too,” he said. He never told me what his problems were and I never asked, I thought regretfully. 

Now my good friend Ryan was gone. I closed my eyes imagining lights blurring past me. It wasn’t only how I felt when I was drunk. It was how I felt all the time these days. As if I had no control as all the pretty lights rushed by. 

When I did have time, I made the wrong choices. The lights were my escape, but I needed to pay attention now, to move on in my life as Ryan would have wanted. I couldn’t drink the pain away. 

I vowed for Ryan, I would live my life better. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

 

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Fall Beauty Haul 2016 Part One


Happy Friday everyone. I’ve been meaning to do a beauty haul for a while for those of you who appreciate makeup and beauty products. This will be the first half of the new products I’ve tried since spring and I will do the second half either on the weekend or early next week.

In my opinion when you buy makeup, you often get what you pay for. This does not mean a $300.00 beauty cream is better than a $75.00 cream. But I do find a difference between drugstore brand makeup and skincare and higher-end beauty products one might find at Sephora or in a department store. Sephora makeup for instance, is often better quality depending on the brand and ingredients. The makeup lasts longer, works better, and depending on the product, can save you money in the long run.

However, there are always cheaper products which break the rules. And drugstore makeup products are improving in quality and have improved a great deal in quality since I first used them as a teenager around eighteen-years-ago. I do have a bit of variety in price point for products I’ve been trying lately.


  1. Kat Von D – Shade + Light Contour Quad – In Plum – Matte Finish – (www.sephora.ca)$34.00 CAN (three additional colour pallets to choose from).
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Kat Von D Eye Shadow Quad In Plum (www.sephora.ca)

I was searching on Sephora one day, for that perfect palette to create a pink and purple eye. I was concerned mainly, that the palette have a light purple-pink colour.

It’s a colour which appears great on women with blond hair and winter skin colouring. I also wanted the pink to be in a palette because individual eyes shadows alone can cost $25 dollars and up so I feel if you’re going to use even some of the other colours in a pallet, it’s usually a better deal to buy a palette.

I ended up choosing an eye shadow quad in plum by Kat Von D. Outside of her foundation, I have never tried products from her brand before. I know she is an extremely artistic woman with many beautiful tattoos and had her own tattoo show and I’m pleased with her makeup brand so far.

The pigment of each eye shadow colour in the Plum quad is excellent and there is not a lot of fall-out when you’re applying the eyeshadow to your eyelids and eye area. I also liked how the colour you are supposed to apply all over your eyelid and above, is bigger than the other eye shadows. This makes sense because you use more of that colour than any other colour.

My only problem is this bigger-sized eye shadow in the plum palette is not a good colour for me. While the other colours are more wintry colours, this shade is a fall colour and too orange for my complexion. It didn’t appear that way on the Sephora website — this is a reason its sometimes good to see the products you are purchasing in store.

Nonetheless, this didn’t bother me because all the other eyeshadow colours in the quad are colours I will use and have used a lot. I put a different lighter colour underneath which is more of a cool light-brown.

The idea of a contouring palette is that having a darker crease area and highlighting in certain places on your eye, will make your eyes pop and be a defining feature on your face. For the most part, I’m impressed with this eye shadow quad and would be willing to try other Kat Von D products in the future as they are also reasonably priced.


2. Joe Fresh Lip Gloss – In Fresh Glass – (Shoppers Drug Mart or Superstore) – $8.00 CAN aprox.

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Joe Fresh Lip Gloss in Fresh Glass – Shoppers Drug Mart or Superstore (in store).

So in Canada, are main drugstore is Shoppers Drug Mart. They carry drugstore brands as well as high-end makeup. They were bought out by Superstore a grocery store chain. This hasn`t changed anything except that brands from Superstore, are now appearing in Shoppers Drug Mart such as Joe Fresh and President’s Choice.

My local Shoppers isn’t great in terms of their variety of beauty products because it’s in a poorer neighbourhood and people tend to steal. They did, however, start carrying Joe Fresh Make Up which is inexpensive and from the women I`ve talked to,  decent makeup.

You can always use a lippy so I decided to choose a Joe Fresh lip gloss from Shoppers Drug Mart in a darker rose-pink tube. I thought the gloss would be coloured but it’s clear. In fact, whatever name or colour the tube of lip gloss was, I found they were all the same clear colour called Fresh Glass. I think it’s deceptive to name each tube a different colour and then only have clear lip gloss.

Another weird thing about the Joe Fresh makeup line is it cannot be bought online. Shoppers Drug Mart does feature the products on their website, but you have to go in store to Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada or Superstore to buy Joe Fresh makeup.

Over all, I`m pleased with this Joe Fresh lip gloss. It’s extremely moisturizing and not sticky at all. It stays on your lips a long time. I`m disappointed I couldn’t buy a coloured lip gloss but for around $8.00 CAN, I`m not complaining. It was a great purchase.


3. Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid Foundation – Waterproof and Longwear – Full Coverage – Matte Finish – Oil Free – Shade 0.5 (fair porcelain) – (www.sephora.ca or http://www.beautyboutique.ca) – $49.00

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Urban Decay All Nighter Waterproof Longwear Liquid Foundation – Full Coverage – Matte Finish – Oil Free (www.sephora.ca or http://www.beautyboutique.ca)

I lucked out finding this foundation. I loved my Make Up Forever Matte Foundation but I kept running out every month and a half. It’s not a bad lifespan for a foundation for me but the All Nighter Foundation by Urban Decay lasts much longer for around the same price.

All Nighter is a brand new liquid foundation from Urban Decay and Shoppers Drug Mart also carries it in store or online at http://www.beautyboutique.com. What’s even better about this foundation then the Make Up Forever Matte Foundation (which I would still use) is that my shade o.5 is a bit lighter than the my Make Up Forever shade and it blends into my fair skin better.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s difficult to find foundation when you’ve such pale skin but still need some coverage. Sometimes, you have to use the lightest foundation shade you can find and later upon wearing it in daylight find, it isn’t light enough or appears too orange for pale skin. For winter, this is a better foundation in for me, but I might go a shade up for in summer time.

All Nighter also lasts even longer than the Make Up Forever Matte Foundation — a full 24 hours. Both foundations are waterproof and have a matte finish so on that account, their equal. As well, neither foundation since they are matte and oil free, are better for oilier skin types and don’t make me break-out. The Urban Decay foundation sure does last longer by far.

Literally, two dots of foundation from the pump on the back of my hand and I dab the foundation over my entire face and into my neck and blend with my foundation brush. The All Nighter foundation blends even better than its Make Up Forever counterpart and I need to use so little of it. I have to be careful I don’t make the dots of foundation on my hand too big or I will put too much of the Urban Decay foundation on my face. I totally recommend this foundation, it’s so worth it and there are twenty-four foundation shades to pick from.

The only issues I see with this foundation are if you aren’t looking for full coverage foundation, this isn’t the foundation for you. Also, if your skin is dry you probably want to choose a creamier foundation, something that is has more moisture in it. You could apply more moisturizer under this foundation but I do think it is better for women with oilier or combination skin types.


4. Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil in Blonde or Cool Taupe – (www.sephora.ca) – $30.00 CAN

Since I started to define my brows, I have used the Benefit Brow pencil which cost

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Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil In Blond (www.sephora.ca)

$30.00 CAN, the same amount as the Anastasia Brow Pencil. The brow pencil shade I used was pretty much the same colour as well. However, Benefit decided to change their brow pencils and make them thinner in both options they carry. This isn’t good for me as the Benefit brow pencils are soft and in a thinner pencil, I would use it too quickly.

The lady who helped me at Sephora said Anastasia was one of the first makeup artists to care about brow appearance, beyond filling them in a bit if you had sparse brows.

While the Benefit pencil looked the same as the Anastasia brow pencil it was a much softer pencil and I used it within about two-months. I didn’t like how soft the Benefit brow pencil was at first but I grew used to it because a softer pencil meant you didn’t have to use as much product.

Since I have switched to the Anastasia brow pencil, I find it much harder than Benefit’s discontinued brow pencil. It may mean it will last longer than the Benefit brow pencil did but, on the other hand, I find I use the Anastasia brow pencil differently. I use it to fill in my brows and trace around my brows. Since the pencil is harder, it does not spread over my brow as easily as the Benefit brow pencil did.

I do need to fill in my brow to get a fuller appearing brow with the Anastasia brow pencil and then blend it with the spooly on the end. With the Benefit brow pencil I traced around my brow and blended it, no need to fill in my brow because the pencil spread easily.

I’m happy with the Anastasia Perfect Brown Pencil and becoming used to working with a harder brow pencil.  I’ll let you know if this one lasts longer than two-months. I’m positive so far, it will last longer than two-months which is always easier on the budget. The Anastasia brow pencil comes in eight varied brow shades.


5. NYX Matte Finish Long Lasting Setting Spray – MSS01 – (www.ulta.com and Shoppers Drug Mart in store) – $10.99 CAN or $8.99 on sale ($7.99 US)

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NYX Matte Finish, Long Lasting MakeUp Setting Spray (www.ulta.com and Shoppers Drug Mart in store)

This is possibly my best purchased cheap product. I’ve heard good things about the NYX makeup brand even though it is a cheaper drugstore brand. I had tried an Urban Decay setting spray earlier in the year which was about $17.00 CAN in Sephora for a small-sized bottle (1 oz.). Like he NYX Matte Finish Spray, it was oil free and set my makeup so it did’t run or come off on a pillow case (much) if I napped. Both sprays also never let my makeup melt in the day. For most occasions, using a finishing spray on my makeup means I do not need to wear a primer underneath.

A couple of other beauty bloggers I recall reading, raved about the NYX Setting Spray which is available in both Matte and Dewy finishes. As I have combination oily skin, I chose the Matte finish. Some girls who were looking at the spray in store, expressed concerns about it causing them to break-out more.

I did find I had to let my skin become used to wearing the NYX setting spray. I broke-out a tiny bit but not a lot. Now I don’t break-out wearing it at all. I bought the spray at Shoppers Drug Mart on sale for $8.99. I have had it for over two-months and there is still setting spray left in the bottle which is 2.02 oz and a much better deal than buying a small Urban Decay Setting Spray for $17.00. I have used the NYX Setting Spray daily as I did the Urban Decay one.

Urban Decay originally came out with a makeup setting spray. They have several kinds you can choose from in a larger bottle that is $38.00 Can (4 oz) at Sephora or Shoppers Drug Mart (www.beautyboutique.ca).

The smaller version they offer only lasts one month (1 oz). I would like to test to see if  the $38.00 (4 oz) Urban Decay Makeup Setting Spray which is almost twice the size of the NYX spray (2.02 oz), might be a better option if it lasts double the amount of time. It would need to last at least four or five-months.When I have some Optimum points from Shoppers Drug Mart, I might try the bigger version of the Urban Decay Setting Spray in Oil Free.

For now, I’m extremely satisfied with the NYX Matte Setting Spray for Makeup. If I can buy it on sale for $8.99 CAN, I think it’s similar or the same product as the Urban Decay sprays for a better value or less money spent at once. Has anyone tried both products and has an opinion on whether they like the NYX or Urban Decay Spray better and why?

That’s it for today’s Fall Beauty Haul. I’ll be back with a Part Two later.


©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.