Year: 2013

Nail Polish of the Month: October 2013

Happy Halloween everyone! This month’s polish pick is P2 “Classy”, which is not available in the U.S. but was very kindly sent to my by my friend Katrin all the way from Germany! Thank you Katrin!

This is a liquid sand polish, so it dries to a gritty matte glitter finish. The base is a deep slate grey with loads of blue, orange and magenta microglitters. Sadly my camera didn’t want to capture the microglitters very well, though you get a hint of them in these pictures. This polish is neither too thick nor too thin, and the brush is a little wider than the standard skinny brush, so it applies like a dream–super smooth and no need for cleanup afterward!

I like this even better with a coat of gel shine topcoat. You can still see and feel the texture (though it isn’t as gritty), but the base deepens in color and the glitters show up even more with the shiny finish. Once again I couldn’t capture the microglitters very well, but you do see a hint of them. I think this is one of those polishes that has to be seen in person to really appreciate how gorgeous it is!

Random Thursday: Let’s get spooky! Halloween faves

I’m not a big Halloween person per se, but if there’s one thing I do like, it’s handing out candy to trick or treaters. I couldn’t even say why–I think it’s because I love to surprise people and I love to give things to people, so giving little kids candy is right up my alley. Kids just have this way of getting so excited over the small things, like a handful of candy, you can’t help but smile!

I also like dressing up, just because I have a huge imagination and I love the excuse to put together something really crazy. Sadly, this year I have to work and managers can’t dress up (boo), so no costume for me. I had a steampunk costume all planned out, too. Oh well.

What I don’t like about Halloween: the fact that I have to keep the cats inside for their own safety. If you have a black cat, please keep them indoors so they don’t become the target of mischief from people with small minds and no hearts. Had to make that PSA!

Ten on Tuesday: promotions, packages, and plenty of books

1. Big drum roll for big news…I got a promotion! I’m moving up into a managerial position, and I’m thrilled. It’s going to be challenging, but I’m ready for a change and quite frankly, I was getting really bored with my old position. I need change and new tasks to tackle.

2. I had the worst craving for strawberry lemonade today, and I don’t even know why.

3. I’ve had the worst head cold all week, but I think it’s finally subsiding. I am swearing by Emergen-C–that blast of liquid vitamins does more than you’d think to keep you on your feet all night.

4. I finally broke down and ordered a vegan Conscious Box after finding a code for a free box (you still pay the shipping fee). If you want to try the code too, it’s “FIRSTBOXFREE”. I can’t wait to see what kinds of goodies are inside–with so few vegan friends (um, okay, just one!) it’s hard to get recommendations for products, and I hate buying the full size of something that I might not like.

5. Thank you Amanda for the book swap package! I’m trying to keep my mitts off the big stack of to-read’s on my coffee table until my weekend chores are done. But honestly all I want to do after my long week is curl up with tea and a book.

6. And thank you to Katrin for my birthday package all the way from Germany! I have a really cool polish to show off here on the blog, probably tomorrow or Thursday. It will probably be my Polish of the Month, it’s so pretty :)

7. I used to guzzle coffee, but lately I’ve become a bit of a tea junkie. I still love my java, I’m just really loving all the flavors and aromas of tea.

8. I read the middle installments of two different trilogies this week and didn’t like either one. Or rather, they were merely middling (ha!), but a big letdown from the first installments. I think I’ll read some standalone novels now and hopefully the next series/sequel I pick up will be much better.

9. I have realized I’m addicted to books. I credit my parents for all those weekly (or more often) trips to the library to replenish our reading stash. I’ve realized that I’m much happier and more mentally alert when I’m tearing through books rather than leafing through magazines or skimming the internet.

10. Can you guys believe it’s almost November?! Seriously, where did the month go?!

Review: Love With Food box

Today I have another subscription box to review: Love With Food, a monthly organic snack subscription box. For $12/month you get a box with eight or more natural, organic snacks; an annual membership ($120/year) knocks that price down to $10/month. The company also donates a meal via food banks such as Feeding America for every box sold. Boxes are billed on the first and ship on the tenth of the month. There are no preview or skip windows for this subscription. If you like your snacks, you can purchase them at a discount through the LWF website; you can also earn points for reviewing the products in your box, which can then be applied to product purchases.

I was lucky enough to snag a Facebook deal (no longer available) to try my first box free and pay only the $2 shipping fee. Here’s everything I got, and some thoughts on the products.

Dang Toasted Coconut Chips: This was my favorite item in the box. I think these would be good straight out of the bag or sprinkled on ice cream or cereal; they’re lightly toasted and not too crispy or sweet.

Happy Squeeze Fruit & Veggie Twist: This was just okay. The blueberry/apple/purple carrot flavor was nice, but I honestly would rather eat a piece of real fruit.

Pizzelle Crisps: These were not a hit; they tasted like chocolate cardboard. They’re low-cal and clearly meant as diet food, but I would rather have a tiny piece of real chocolate than a whole bag of these. My husband also remarked that these had a horrible aftertaste.

Mini KIND Bar: My husband tried this out (in the almond & coconut flavor) and gave it a six out of ten; I think this bar isn’t as popular as some of their other options with fruit or chocolate thrown in.

Pixo Pearls: I haven’t had a chance to use these yet, but as I understand them, they’re apple cider vinegar pearls meant for use in a salad or appetizer. Interesting, at least!

Torie & Howard organic hard candies: These were surprisingly sweet and tasted pretty good. At $6.40 per 2-ounce tin, they’re definitely pricier than traditional hard candy, but they’d make a nice gift item.

Glee Gum: This was probably the worst item in the box; the gum was rock hard and lost it’s flavor within minutes. My husband though the berry flavor tasted like cough syrup. It’s nice to see natural, sustainable snack items, but this just isn’t anything we’d ever repurchase.

Caveman cookies: Paleo and naturally sweetened, these cookies were small but quite tasty. They were really chewy though, with my husband comparing them to taffy.

My box also contained an assortment of coupons for brands or products featured in the box, along with a coupon for a free Lean Cuisine meal, which theoretically raises the value of the box (assuming you use the coupons).

Approximate value of my box:
Dang Toasted Coconut Chips: $2.90
Happy Squeeze Fruit & Veggie Twist: $1.52
Pizzelle Crisps: $1.20
Mini KIND Bar: $1.20
Pixo Pearls:N/A
Torie & Howard hard candies: N/A
Glee Gum:  $1.60
Caveman Cookies: $2.08
Total value (excluding coupons): $10.50
Overall, this was a pretty decent box–it didn’t go through the roof in terms of value, but it’s a nice way to sample organic snacks and find out what you like (or don’t) without paying full retail for a large package. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of vegan items included, but a lot of the items are dairy- or gluten-free, so if those are concerns you’ll probably find plenty of items inside that you can eat. The coupons are a nice bonus touch. I’m undecided if I’ll pay for another month or not just because I’m trimming my budget in advance of Christmas, but if you like monthly subscription boxes this is definitely one to check out, because they don’t skimp on the contents!

Sunshine Award!

I came home from work earlier this week to find that I had been nominated for the Sunshine Award by Amy from Small Budget Beauty! The Sunshine Award is “an award given to those who inspire us and bring sunshine into our lives”. Thank you Amy for nominating me, you made my day! :)

There are a few rules:

  • Include the award logo in your blog post
  • Link to the person who nominated you
  • Answer 10 questions about yourself
  • Nominate other bloggers

Here are Amy’s questions:

1. What is your favorite time of the year? Fall!

2. What do you like most about blogging? Connecting with other people who have similar interests.

3. Do you match your toe nail color to your finger nail color? Sometimes, but usually I mix it up. I wear more neutrals on my toes and more brights or nail art on my fingers.

4. What is your favorite quote? I have tons of favorite quotes, but I especially love Tolstoy’s “If you want to be happy, be.” I think we get really caught up in having things or doing things to make us happy, and forget to cherish the simple things in life. This is a good reminder to me to live in the moment and be happy with the little things in my life at that time.

5. Do you save old greeting cards and letters? Throw them away? I save some if they have a sentimental connection, but mostly I recycle them.

6. What is something about yourself that you hope will change, but probably never will? I hope I’ll become less of a worrywart. But I’m afraid it’s just part of my nature :P

7. What’s one of the scariest things you’ve ever done? Every time I’ve gone swimming in water deeper than my knees has been the scariest thing I’ve ever done!

8. If you could try out any job for a day, what would you like to try? I’d like to work in an advertising agency. I think it’d be fun to come up with print and television ads for different products, coming up with catchy photos and taglines for the items.

9. Have you ever met any celebrities? No.

10. If you had an unlimited shopping spree at one store, which store would it be? Pier 1! I could go nuts in there refurnishing the house and picking out cool gifts for everyone I know.

I am nominating these ladies, because they all had posts this week that made my day a little sunnier:

Katrin from Land of Candy Canes
Mandy from Mandy Jean Chic
Frances from Hello Frances
Elle from Elle Sees
Christine from MakeUp Guinea Pig

And here are my questions:

1. If you could travel to any point in the past or the future and spend one day there, where/when would you land and why?

2. Everyone talks about how much they love autumn–but what’s your least favorite thing about this time of the year?

3. If you could only wear one shade of nail polish for the rest of the year, what would it be?

4. What item do you have no problem dishing out serious cash for? Doesn’t have to be beauty related, could be books, food, etc.

5. What would your last meal be?

6. If you could live in another country for a year, where would you go?

7. If you won the lottery, would you still work a regular job, or would you choose to punch out for the last time?

8. If you could have any wild animal for a pet (and it would behave like a domesticated animal, of course!), what would it be?

9. What beauty routine do you secretly loathe, but follow religiously (or not so religiously) anyway?

10. What’s your “theme song”?

Busy Girl Nails Fall Nail Art Challenge: Oxblood

I missed out on the first two weeks of this challenge, but I had to jump in for week three since it’s my favorite fall polish color: oxblood! 

I used two coats of Julep Lucy. My one gripe about the older Julep polishes is that they are runny, so you have to work carefully to avoid streaks and extra cleanup at the end. Otherwise I love this color. It’s pretty dark on the nails but not so much that it looks black.

99 questions you should ask yourself: part two

Happy Friday everyone! Today it’s time to get into part two of “99 questions you should ask yourself”. You can read my friend Katrin’s answers here!

11. How many minutes do you look at your phone each day?

Not a lot, I guess. I text my husband a bit if he’s gone at work but I don’t have all the fancy stuff (Instagram, etc.) on my phone, so unless I’m talking to someone, I don’t use it much at all.

12. Do you call your parents for no reason?

Sometimes, but with our schedules it’s easier to write or e-mail. Having a calm period of time to talk on the phone with my mom is a treat!

13. Do you know the story of how your parents met?

I kind of remember it, if I think about it! It’s weird to think about one’s parents before they were parents. :P

14. What do you miss when you are on vacation?

My cats!

15. What is the word of your childhood?

I’m going to go for something random and say “snow”. Where I grew up, we could get quite a lot of snow in the winter, so those months were filled with sledding, snow forts, ice skating, etc. Now I live in an area that tends more toward cold and dry or possibly rainy, but we don’t get a lot of snow. I miss it, but I do have very good childhood memories of it!

16. When was the last time you played a game?

I don’t even remember. I’m not big on board games, honestly, and I don’t have time to get into video or computer games. Or rather, I do, but I choose to spend it buried in a book!

17. Do you think more about your past or your future?

Probably the future. I have a tendency to start worrying about things. I’m trying to change that and be more positive.

18. In which language would you like to be fluent?

Well, my German is getting off to a non-start, though I feel that if I can ask for kaffee, bucher and katzen than I have my essentials covered. I have an app downloaded to learn it but I haven’t found a lot of time to play with it.

19. Do you try not to look like a tourist when you are on vacation?

I can’t remember the last time I went somewhere tourist-y. I always try to blend in wherever I go though.

20. Do you like yourself better when you are drunk?

Well, I’ll put it this way: I don’t like other people when they are drunk, so I avoid it myself because I assume I wouldn’t like myself that way! Besides, I feel like I have so many things to do in life and so much to enjoy, and I’d rather experience those things wide awake than with through a hazy filter of alcohol. I don’t judge other people who want to drink, I just kind of prefer not to. It’s my choice. 

Part three will be coming soon! :)

Random Thursday: Fave things to do in the fall

Baking and cooking, for sure! I love to make cookies and hearty, stick-to-your ribs dishes like chili. This week we tried out Thai peanut soup, chili with Fritos, and pumpkin cranberry bread. Nom, nom, nom. I also end up drinking tons of tea in the fall–right now I’m hooked on Irish breakfast tea and chai spice tea.

I also love stocking up on fall candles. I finally splurged and got some Scentsy warmers for the house so that I don’t have to worry about the kitties catching their whiskers on fire if I leave candles burning around the house; so now the house smells like cinnamon, apple pie, pumpkin, and coffee. I think the house feels much warmer and cozier with nice candles burning, plus it’s fun to have dinner and a movie by candlelight. It feels more like a date night and less like a night of sitting on the couch in your sweats!

I love driving around to look at the changing scenery. Out here in the West we don’t get the riot of color that you see in the Northeast, but we do have some color and when it shows up against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, all the better!

I really, really love shopping for fall clothes. I hoard boots and scarves. Even if two pair of boots look exactly the same, I want them both.

Now that the weather is colder, I’m enjoying the excuse to curl up with tea and a good book for hours on end. Especially on a gloomy day, books make everything better.

What are your fave things to do in the fall?