Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Trying to occupy my mind

So, I've been a slacker lately.  Our summers are always crazy busy, and this one is no exception, but since it's so hot I just don't have any motivation.  Most years we may see a handful of days in the 90's, and that's usually in late July/August.  This year we hit 90 in May and have seen very little rain.  I know for people in TX, 90 is nothing, but up here we're not used to it.  Add to it 90% humidity and being outside is miserable.  I needed to find something to do to entertain myself, so as usual, in comes Pinterest.

I've been a member of Pinterest a little over a year, since it was in Beta mode.  I can proudly say I have done many of my pins, mostly with success.  I mainly use it for recipes, but have done a handful of DIY projects too.  We were at the farmer's market a few weeks ago and found a woman selling handmade jewelry.  I purchased a couple bracelets from her, which for me is unusual as I don't normally care for handmade jewelry.

Here's what I got (minus the blue braided one)

While I'm happy with them, and actually do get a lot of wear out of them, I think I paid $27 for the two of them.  So after disecting them to see how she did it, I decided that I can make my own for less money.  Off to Hobby Lobby I went last night, and $50 and a ton of supplies later I'm ready to begin my bracelet making.  Here are a few I pinned that I plan on trying out:

For the $50 I spent on supplies I figure I can probably make 100 or so bracelets.  I'll update after I make some to see if it's actually relaxing, or if I'm even more stressed out because I can't figure out the difference between an overhand knot, and a square knot.

Have a great week, and stay cool!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

50 shades of huh?

Let me start this by saying I read.  A lot.  In the winter when it's cold and dark here for 6 months I can easily read 3 or 4 books a week.  If I'm on the treadmill, I have a book in front of me.  Sitting out in the sun with the mister on, my Nook is in a plastic baggie.  (Why don't they make a waterproof cover for the Nook?)  The Twilight series?  Read them a few times.  Hunger Games?  Yep, loved them.  However, there's a series that's got everyone in a frenzy that I just refuse to read.  Yes, 50 Shades of Grey. 

A friend recently posted on facebook that he didn't know what was up with 50 Shades, but it seemed like every woman he comes across is in heat.  I have to agree with him that pretty much every friend I have that reads, (and some strangers I've come across) have been all worked up about it.  Now, I don't have a problem with the adult content, the main reason I can't bring myself to buy it is because it's based on a fan fiction of Edward and Bella from Twilight. 

If you're unfamiliar with fan fiction, there's an entire world out there of people who are fans of stories, Twilight for instance, and they'll write their own story, going off of the original, of how they'd like the story to progress.  Some of these, sadly, are better than the originals.  But hey, it's Twilight, that's not saying much.

So I'm supposed to read this book and not picture Kristin Stewart and Rob Pattinson with all their horrible acting as the main characters?  That's probably not possible.  (By the way, they're not at all how I pictured Edward and Bella when reading the books, but since the movies came out I can't help it.)

What about you?  Are you on the 50 Shades train?  Am I really missing out on some great literary works?  Or is it just for the fantasy aspect?

As an aside, if you enjoy reading, and like a good laugh please check out NYT best selling author Jen Lancaster.  Her memoirs take her from fab, to almost destitute, and back to fab with everything in between.  She's extremely relatable and easily my favorite author.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June Birchbox

I finally received my June Birchbox on Friday!  If you're new to Birchbox, it's a $10 monthly sample subscription.  Each month you get a box with 4 or 5 deluxe beauty samples in the mail.  They also have a great points system, you can rack up the points easily and get free products on the BB website.  I can never wait for it to show up without spoiling the surprise though.

This was my 4th month, and the first time it was just an ok box.

First up, The Balm Stainiac in Beauty Queen.

It's a gel based lip and cheek stain.  I don't care to use cheek stains, I can never get them to blend well before they dry.  This is a really nice lip stain though, as long as I use a something on top of it to moisturize, as it tends to dry my lips out.

Next, Oribe shampoo and conditioner for beautiful color.

The thing about this, is BB had a policy of no foil packets.  They said their samples would always be big enough to get multiple uses out of.  I'll try this, but it's not something I would buy.

Melvita Rose Water to refresh and hydrate summer skin.

I'll keep this in the fridge to use after spending time outside.

Joya Âmes Sœurs Parfum - A Scent of Soulmates

I've gotten perfume every month, and this was the first time I didn't like it.  I enjoy fruity scents, and this one is too musky for me.

Dr. Jart Premium Beauty Balm with spf 45
I'll try this, but I don't usually wear all over face makeup, especially in the summer, so it'll have to be one of those special occasion things.

Last is the Cynthia Rowley Band-Aids

I actually really like these, I saw the other day they sell them at Target for $2 a box so I may pick up more.

Interested in Birchbox?  Get on the waitlist here.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's one of those mornings

I'm having one of those mornings where it's really hard to be motivated.  I'm hoping this will help,

I was thinking last night about music, and the impact it has on people.  We were watching So You Think You Can Dance, and every season I'm amazed at how these kids can feel the music.  They're not just dancing to the music, it's going through them, and comes out in their dance.

Music is a staple in our house.  If the TV isn't on, then music is.  Over the years we've come up with a soundtrack of sorts depending on what we're doing.  If we're doing any sort of work around the house, cleaning, painting, landscaping etc, then it's the Cory Heydon Band.  We discovered Cory in Key West, and bought his CD.  It's mostly covers, but we like a lot of his versions better than the original.  My Ipod is full of playlists for different things.  I have some for the gym, one for cutting the grass, one to help me sleep, one if I'm reading, an on and on. 

Gary Allan's CD Tough All Over helped get me through some really hard years. There's some songs that my husband laughs at when they come up in shuffle, but those Michael Bolton songs, and Miami Vice soundtrack remind me of being 10 years old and singing with my mom.

There really isn't a genre of music I can say I don't like.  I enjoy classical at times, and I have quite a few Zumba songs I've gotten from my sister in law that I sing right along with even though they're not in English and I have no clue what they're saying.  In my car, it's anything I can sing along with, usually at the top of my lungs much to the dismay of anyone next to me at a stoplight.  I have a love of classic rock that I got from my husband, and a new found relationship with the blues.

There are many times we'll hear a song and instantly google the lyrics, (last night on SYTYCD, I've been loving you too long), so we can add it to our music library.

My husband is a huge Led Zeppelin fan, he has the Zeppelin 4 symbols tattooed on his arm.  A Zeppelin song comes on the radio and within the first couple bars he can tell you all about it.  People are always asking him what his tattoo is, after all this time you'd like it wouldn't be a surprise, but he still doesn't understand how others don't share his love.  At the same time we've had someone see it and instantly break into the Immigrant Song.  He thought that was great of course.

I can never listen to U2, I still haven't found what I'm looking for, without crying.  It was what my mom had on the stereo when I came home and she told me her cancer had come back. 

I guess I don't understand when I hear people say they don't listen to music, or there are certain types they don't like.  For me, different types go with different moods.  For some, it's just noise or something to have on in the background.  For me, much like those dancers on TV, it goes through me.  I feel it, and it's a part of me.

(There's something wonky going on with the comments.  I was getting notified that comments were being left for the giveaway, but then they'd disappear.  I'll see if I can figure it out, if not I'll postpone it)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Slim (not so) supreme

Is the weather crazy everywhere?  Or just here?  I never remember being in the 90's in early June, let alone in May.  If it's this hot already I can't imagine what July will be like.  One of the things about being near Lake Michigan is it gets humid here.  Like, walk outside sweating immediately hair expands to 3 times it's size humid.  I'm always looking for ways to combat the humidity, mostly with no luck.  I don't have naturally straight hair, so I'm fighting the frizz on a normal day, add to it 90% humidity and forget it.

Kate over at The Small Things Blog talks quite a bit about Redken Slim Supreme.  She calls it a flatiron in a bottle.

I really enjoy her hair tutorials, and agree with a lot of the products she uses (she's a hair stylist so she knows what she's talking about).  Every time I went to Ulta they never had it though, finally this past weekend they had 1 bottle in stock so I snatched it up.

The directions say to use a pump on towel dried hair, and as needed on dry hair.  I usually use Pureology Shinemax, and MoroccanOil, so I skipped my usual regimen and slathered this on.  After drying my hair, I didn't notice any difference, it actually seemed a little poofier than normal.  I thought I would use it again after styling to really see.  The main thing I didn't care for is that it's runny, one pump was way too much, and I have a lot of thick hair.  After flatironing I put a little more on, and while it does have a nice smell, it didn't do much of anything for me.  I still had some flyaways, and my ends didn't look super smooth.  I ended up using a tiny bit of MoroccanOil (didn't want to use too much and look like an oil slick) to smooth out my ends.

I guess this is a good example of one person's favorite isn't for everyone.  It would probably be a good alternative if you didn't want to spend the $40 a bottle for MoroccanOil.  At $16.50 a bottle it's much more affordable.  I however, will be returning mine to Ulta.

Friday, June 8, 2012

High Five for Friday

I decided to try something different today and link up with Lauren From My Grey Desk  for High Five for Friday.  Every week Lauren posts her top 5 things that happened that week.


1.  I did the Color Run last weekend. 

If it comes to your city, sign up and do it quick, it will sell out!  You don't have to be a runner, there's a ton of walkers, and it's not even timed.  It's the most fun you can have while getting a little bit of exercise, trust me!

2.  We had family in from Texas last weekend, it was the first time I had house guests that I didn't want to kick out by the end of the weekend, and I miss them terribly.

3.  I got my Clairsonic Mia! 

I've only used it once so far, but I think the only time my skin has felt so good is after a facial.

4.  It was so nice out last night, my husband and I walked the bike path to the town's farmer's market for dinner.  Eating that stuff isn't so bad when it takes effort to get there and back right?

5.  I've gotten a ton of new products in the last week from Philosophy, Zoya, and essie, not to mention my Birchbox is on it's way.  I can't wait to try them all!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Macadamia Natural Oil

I'm lucky enough to have a friend who's husband works for Ulta. While for me, this means friends and family discount days, for her it means unlimited swag bags full of products.  Awhile back she brought me a goodie bag with some stuff she wouldn't use.  Of course I ripped it out of her hands accepted it graciously.  There was a trial sized Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Mask in it, for some reason I didn't give it a second thought, and tossed it in with a bunch of other random samples.  About a month ago I came across it and figured it wouldn't hurt to try it.  This is now one of my I don't know how I lived without it products.

You use it in place of conditioner once or twice a week. Put in on after shampoo, comb through, and leave it for about 7 minutes.  The first thing I noticed is that it smells amazing, and a little goes a long way.  The trial size packet can easily get 4 uses.  My hair was so soft, and it lasts!  3 washes later and I still noticed it.  In the summer my hair takes a beating, between styling, sun, chlorine, and wind, so a mask or deep conditioner is definitely needed.  Macadamia Natural Oil has an full product line, if they all work as well as this one I'll be purchasing more in the near future.

The trial size mask is $4, and the full size pictured is $33.  I'm thinking it'll last me a good year though.  The week after I bought it at Ulta, I was at Target and saw they had a buy one get one free pack.  If you happen to come across that, buy it now!  You'll be glad you did!

(I just received a Clairsonic Mia, look for a review to come soon!)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Last month I received my first Influenster box.  Influenster is a trendsetter community where you use your influence to qualify for complimentary product shipments, rewards & deals fit for your lifestyle.  The more active you are in it, the more perks you get.  I signed up in March, unlocked some badges, and honestly forgot about it.  I was on vacation in April when I received an e-mail that I was picked to received their Spring Beauty Vox Box.  The best part about it?  It's free!  You're basically a  product tester.  They send you goodies, you test them out, and review the products.  There are brand challenges you can do to earn more good stuff.  Like what you got?  Post it on FB, twitter, or blog about it.

Since this was my first box, I had no idea what to expect.  Since it was the "beauty" box, I figured I couldn't go wrong though.  After much anticipation, and some delays due to a wait for one of the products, I received my box.

A Blueberry Soyjoy bar
Bath & Body Works fragrance mist in Paris Amour
Chapstick Shield 365 spf 50
Sally Hansen Salon Effects in lace
Aveeno body wash
Dr. Scholls Ball of Foot inserts
Sheer Cover concealer (Don't see that in the box?  They didn't send it to me)

While I wasn't excited about anything in this box, I had to keep reminding myself that it was free.  Soyjoy bar? Pretty gross.  I gave the Dr. Scholls to a friend who always wears heels, wouldn't do me any good in flip flops.  The chapstick is fine, it's chapstick.  I haven't tried the Salley Hansen nail stickers, the black lace doesn't interest me.  The Paris Amour I really didn't like, it had a powdery scent that I didn't care for at all.  The great thing?  I took it to Bath and Body Works and they exchanged it for me.  Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Influester says they're going to be adding more boxes, I don't know exactly what the criteria is for getting picked for one.  You can't really complain about free stuff though.  I'll fill out my reviews, and wait to get picked for another one, but I'm not stressing over it.

Want to get free boxes?  Join Influenster here.

Pssst, Birchbox released their June box sneak peek.  Find it here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Get Naked

A little over a year ago, my amazing hair stylist told me about the Naked Palette from Urban Decay.  At first I didn't plan on buying it, $50 for eye shadow?  Then I started reading the reviews, and every time I went to Ulta it was sold out.

If it was that popular, I had to try it!  It comes with twelve neutral shadows, a brush, and a Primer Potion.  I rationalized that it equalled a little over $4 per shadow, and really that was a deal right?  It turned out that I really love this palette.  All the colors blend really well together, and UD has some serious staying power.  That primer?  I don't use it unless I need my shadow to stay for days, let's just say it works, really, really good.

I've given the Naked palette as a gift and I've only heard rave reviews from anyone who's used it.  This year they came out with the Naked 2, 5 shades are different and instead of the Primer Potion, it comes with Lip Junkie, price remains $50. 

I've seen other neutral palettes from other companies like the Balm, and Too Faced, but as far as I'm concerned, nothing beats the original. 

Last year around the holidays, they also had a Naked 24/7 eye pencil set.  5 neutral eyeliners for $32.  I was lucky enough to get one before they were gone, but hopefully they'll be returning.

Want to get Naked?  You can get yours here.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Friends with Benefit

For years I stuck to the same brands of makeup, and skincare, (mostly Origins) and for the most part the same products.  What fun is that?  It's hard to say what your favorite is when you've only tried one thing.  Awhile back though, I found Benefit.  One of the best things about it?  Most of their products come in trial size!  You know when you're standing in the checkout line at Ulta, and they have those stands with tons of travel size products?  They always seem to call to me.  I think in the last year or so they've really upgraded the products they put on them.  Instead of some Freeman face masks, now they have Urban Decay, Pureology, and of course, Benefit.  I was shopping for some travel size products to take on vacation, and came across the Cabana Glama kit.

Some kind-a gorgeous foundation faker, Hoola bronzing powder, posietint lip and cheek stain, and a neutral eyeshadow palette.  This was perfect, as I didn't need much more and the colors work great with sunkissed skin.  I see a full size Hoola in my future, and the Some kind-a gorgeous goes on really smooth and feels like a powder.  $36 to try 4 products isn't bad either.

While standing in the checkout, I came across Girl Meets Pearl liquid luminizer.

This is seriously one of my new favorite products.  It gives a great highlight to cheeks without making you look shiny.  Even though I purchased the travel size, I'll be snatching up the full size soon.

Now, I didn't really need a new mascara.  I've been using Full Story from Origins for years and had no desire to switch.  It's gel based, and never gets hard or flaky.  However, a friend of mine told me about They're Real and since they had a trial size for $10, I figured it couldn't hurt.

When I was checking out, the sales girl told me I should just skip the trial size and get the full size since I was going to love it that much.  I'm happy I decided not to do that.  The verdict?  I'll be going back to my Origins when this tube is empty.  It doesn't do anything for me that I wasn't already getting with Full Story, and it doesn't come off easily.  I wash my face in the shower, and then have to use an eye makeup remover on top of that to get it off.  While I guess that says it has some great staying power, at $22, it comes in $7 more than my Origins.

Benefit always has great little value sets like Cabana Glama.  It's a great way to try out products at a fraction of the price of the full size.  Maybe you'll find something you can't live without that way. 

Oh, and right now if you spend $25 on Benefit at Ulta, you get a free trial size Badgal mascara, Cha cha tint, and pore fessional!