spring

April 2017 Julep Maven unboxing + GIVEAWAY!

(Disclosure: post contains affiliate links.)

Check out my April 2017 Julep box and don't forget to enter my giveaway so you can snag some Julep polish of your own!

It feels like forever since I shared a Julep box here on the blog! Well, actually it’s been about six months…but that’s still a long time! I skipped a few boxes this winter and actually haven’t been polishing much in general because my nails have been in bad shape. But now they’re healthy again, and I had some Jules to use toward a monthly box, so I thought I’d treat myself to some new polish! Check out everything I got in my April 2017 Julep box, and make sure you enter my giveaway to win some Julep polish of your own!

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March 2016 Birchbox

See what goodies I got in my March 2016 Birchbox!

I can’t believe how fast March flew by! Before the month is out, I wanted to share what I got in my March 2016 Birchbox. This box was a little mixed for me but still had some good items in it.

The biggest disappointment for me was the Dr. Lipp Miracle Balm ($16.50), because it’s made of pure lanolin, which is not vegan and is just kind of gross in my opinion anyway! I’ve heard such rave reviews about this product and it’s nice to see Birchbox trying to include more natural, “green” products, but c’mon. I don’t want to put this on my lips, or anywhere else on my body.

I’m not entirely sure about Kiehl’s animal testing policy, since they’re owned by L’Oreal and L’Oreal and animal activists are still at loggerheads over how slow they’ve been to convert to a 100% ban on animal testing. For the record, this Super Multi-Corrective Eye-Opening Serum ($48/0.5 fl. oz.) is a very nicely sized sample. I think the great thing about eye cream samples is that you use so little, you can really make these samples last and last!

The Number 4 Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner are nice to try since I really love the results I’ve gotten from sampling this brand, and they’re vegan-friendly. But you’ll shell out $34-$72 for full size bottles—way too much for me!

I’ve never tried theBalm products but this Stainiac lip and cheek stain ($17 for full-size) looks interesting. I just hope it’s sheer and pretty, not streaky. I don’t have good luck with stains because my lips are so dry.

Finally, I got an eyeshadow duo with two shades from the new Cargo Land Down Under Palette ($34). I’ve wanted to try Cargo for a while but have just never gotten around to it, I guess. I’m not normally a palette person but this palette is so pretty and summery, and the consistency of the shadows is great. (And this is another great sample for the box, since the Cargo eyeshadow singles typically retail for $15.)

See what goodies I got in my March 2016 Birchbox!

If you’re interested in signing up for Birchbox I’d love it if you used my signup link. Each month costs $10 and you can cancel anytime. What I really love about Birchbox is that you earn $5 in points for reviewing all of your box samples each month on their website, and those points are redeemable in the Birchbox shop to buy full sizes of the items you loved, so instead of paying $10 for each box you’re basically paying $5. That’s pretty hard to beat, especially with such awesome deluxe samples.

So there’s my March 2016 Birchbox! Do you subscribe to Birchbox, or do you have another favorite monthly box? Any new products you’ve tried lately that you can’t live without? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Ethical fashion picks: May 2014

1. Britta top, $29.99, Threads For Thought. Organic/recycled materials.
2. Indian block-print sandals, $65.53, Fashion Conscience. Vegan.
3. Edenham bangle, $25, Roozt. Fair trade and made from plants.
4. Chevron zip pouch, $23, Pure Citizen. Vegan and fair-trade, supporting single mothers in East Africa.
5. Sarong scarf, $33.66, People Tree. Made by Swallows, a fair trade group working with women in rural Bangladesh.
6. Southwestern top, $19.99, ModCloth. Made in the USA.

Ten on Tuesday: school, TV, and oh yeah, books

1. I’m almost done with my sci-fi lit class and as much as I’ve enjoyed it, I’m kind of relieved. I’m ready to read books for fun again, not because they’re on a syllabus.

2. I knew I would enjoy my modern business class when the professors started referencing Dilbert and The Big Bang Theory!

3. Helllllloooo, spring time! We actually turned the heat off and opened the windows two days in a row. (Just a crack, and I’m wearing my fuzzy bathrobe, but still–the house stayed at 66 degrees.) It feels great to get that fresh air inside.

4. I can no longer claim to be “not a TV person”–I’m hooked on Boardwalk Empire. And yeah, I’m about three seasons behind, but it’s still awesome.

http://writergirlm.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/boardwalk_empire-1024x682-300x199.jpg

5. Are you going to see Divergent? I loved the first book and hated the second and third ones. I do like Shailene Woodley but overall I’m still feeling kind of “meh” about the whole franchise. And no one, repeat, NO ONE can replace Katniss!

6. I need this pin! (From Etsy seller beanforest)

http://writergirlm.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/f6e8598a8ab7f5262c44cb7469dec52b-300x219.jpg

7. So true.

http://writergirlm.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/f027f96ece4ba627fea90e0b3f7eb55c-199x300.jpg

8. Speaking of books–take this Buzzfeed quiz to find out what type of book you are! I’m a secondhand book, apparently.

9. By the way, those Buzzfeed quizzes are evil. Talk about a time suck!

10. If I buy one new pair of shoes for spring, it will probably be these. You can’t go wrong with Chucks.

http://writergirlm.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/f056d789783a60583b9dce7b4b9b7e18-300x300.jpg

 

Ethical/vegan/USA fashion picks: March 2014

I thought it would be fun to start doing a regular feature of ethically sourced, charitable, vegan and/or made in the USA fashion picks. I don’t know if I’ll do this on a monthly basis or just as the mood strikes me. For now, here are some spring picks for you, all under $100.

1. Folk Like Us cotton crinkle maxi skirt; $54 (converted from pounds) from Fashion Conscience. Fair trade.
2. Crowned Earrings; $28 from Roozt. Designer Glit-Z donates a portion of proceeds to charities benefiting autism awareness and child abuse prevention.
3. Hopeful of Life tank; $27.99 from ModCloth. Made in the USA.
4. On Deck sneaker in pink; $60 from Pure Citizen. Vegan, fair trade, recycled and eco-conscious.
5. Chinese Laundry Vegan Milk Shake Tribal Wedge; $80 (converted from pounds) from Fashion Conscience. Vegan-friendly synthetic design.
6. Ellie Bouquet Dress; $80 (converted from pounds) from People Tree. Organic and fair trade cotton.
7. Everyday Hobo; $32 from One Mango Tree. Locally sourced and stitched by Ugandan artisans.
8. Heads or Tailwinds top; $37.99 from ModCloth. Made in the USA.

(Links are provided for ease of shopping only; they are not affiliate links.)
 
 

Inspiration Saturdays: a little home improvement

So I told you guys earlier this week that I had done a DIY makeover on my deck, and now I have the pictures for you! I have seen so many other bloggers getting started on outdoor yard and/or garden projects that it really got me itching to do something about our neglected deck area.

Here’s what my deck looked like before and after. The carpet was dirty and all I had up there for planters was a line of $5 grey plastic totes whose plants had long since died. I did go to the Home Depot two years ago and buy pipes and fixtures to create a raised run on the porch to hold the planters but that was all the work I had put into this area.

I wanted to give this area a makeover for about $100, so let’s see how I did.

I started by cleaning up the carpet, then taking apart all of the piping and refitting it in an “L” shape in the corner. Then I used cans of brown and “stone” look spray paint to give the tubs a facelift. I used two cans of brown spray paint specifically meant for use on plastics as a primer/opaque base, then two cans of the textured paint over the top; this was enough to cover all five tubs. Total cost to revamp the tubs: about $20.

The tubs get lots of sun, so I found some sun-loving perennials including columbine and a bleeding heart. The solar lights were picked up on clearance at Walmart a few years ago. I also have some chives from a friend, plus Cosmos seeds from my mom that I threw in the tubs and a mixed flower seed packet that should yield hollyhocks, echinacea, daisies, some ornamental grass, and one other type of flower (sorry, I can’t remember!).

It’s true that it’s cheaper to just plant seeds than to buy live plants, but I didn’t want the deck to be totally barren, so I went ahead and splurged on a few plants just to get started. Total cost of plants and seeds: $20.

Here’s the biggest part of my project: the privacy screen. There is nothing to block the line of sight from my neighbor’s deck to mine, and the lack of privacy really bugs me. I like to be able to enjoy dinner or a book on the deck without feeling like someone can see everything I’m doing!

Building the screen was simple in theory, less so in practice. I needed to go to Lowe’s for lumber and lattice. Unfortunately, while they did cut the strips of lumber to size, I was informed that they would not cut the lattice, which left me with two options: walk away empty-handed, or tie the eight-foot long sheet of lattice to the roof of my car and pray I made it home.

Did I mention how flexible and floppy these lattice sheets are? There’s nothing more nerve-wracking than driving home with a stack of lattice sheets slapping merrily against the rear window of the car with every tap of the brakes. I don’t blame the many drivers who sped up to pass me!

Once I got home I just had to cut the lattice down to the correct length with a hand saw, spray-paint the lumber strips, nail them into a frame, and attach the lattice to the back with 3/4″ screws. Then I added hinges to create a pair of two-panel screens. Total cost: about $65.

I wanted a rug for the porch but since I’d maxed out my budget at this point, I just grabbed an older throw rug from the kitchen. The table and chairs were a housewarming gift from my mom when we first moved into this house two years ago, and they haven’t seen nearly enough use up until now because the deck just wasn’t an enjoyable place to hang out. Not any more! Now we can enjoy an evening dinner on our lovely deck.

Random Thursday: Spring Apparel

 
I don’t know that the hell is going on with Blogger today, but it let me upload all of one photo before it pooped out. This would be annoying but admittedly not such a big deal if I hadn’t spent an hour taking and editing photos today to show off my spring wardrobe. Grrrrrrr…I wound up switching into Internet Explorer to upload the rest of the photos to the post, saving it, then switching back to Mozilla to finish writing it up. Apparently I’m not the only one having this problem, and I hope Google fixes it soon!

Anyway, let’s get into the clothes! Hands-down, my favorite thing to wear when the weather warms up is a maxi dress. The print dress on the left is one of my favorite pieces of clothing ever (like EVAH).

Maxi dresses rock for so many reasons:

  • They don’t require a lot of effort.
  • They keep you cool on super-hot days, but if you go in a chilly restaurant or movie theater you don’t have a ton of skin exposed and freezing.
  • They look great on everyone. I don’t care what height or weight you are, you can rock a maxi dress.
  • You can skip shaving your legs for a day. (Lazy girl here.)

I wear lots of floral print skirts and dresses in the warmer months. If I’m going casual I add sneakers and a moto jacket, or I might wear boots. Spring in the northwest isn’t always warm and dry enough for sandals, so I have lots and lots of cute boots and sneakers on hand to wear with my skirts and dresses!

Spring also means that it’s warm enough to dress up and show some skin after a winter of being bundled under layers and layers of clothing. I like to wear lots of light, bright colors and the highest heels and wedges I can find!

Lots of people seem to think it’s odd that I wear such high heels. I’m 5’8″ but I still wear five or six inch heels if they’re at all comfortable enough to walk in. Is that weird? I’ve been informed that those shoes are for “short people”. I say, if you’ve got it, flaunt it!

When I want to go more casual, I usually just grab shorts or skinnies, a t-shirt, and my Chucks. These sneakers go with EVERYTHING in my closet and are probably my favorite pair of shoes, period. I really want to buy more pairs in different colors this summer. It’s important to carry a light jacket or hoodie with me because you don’t know when it will get chilly or start raining–the Northwest is not known for steady weather patterns.

When I’m really feeling lazy, I revert to my natural all-black uniform, but with a t-shirt and these gauchos that I made in high school. It’s like wearing pajamas, but for some reason it looks better. You can also see on the right how I wear my hair when I’m feeling lazy: in a loose twist. Simple and easy.

I can’t let you leave without a peek at my favorite spring shoes. As I said, spring means the end of ice and rain so I get to break out my favorite heels. I also love wearing ankle boots (lower left corner). When I want to wear something flat I have a ton of sneakers, sandals and ballet flats to choose from. The studded gladiators, cheetah print flats and my Chucks are always my favorites!

Oh, and scarves. I wear lots of different scarves year-round but these four are my favorite for spring: turquoise, pink, and two floral prints.

So what are your favorite pieces of clothing for spring? If you linked up for Random Thursday let me know so I can see your spring fashion show!