Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Life Lately, Making Lemonade out of Lemons

Hello Friends!  I'm sorry it's been so long since I updated.  This break was a unexpected, but for now, my online life is on the back burner but I think everyone will understand why.

In early August, I tore my left calf muscle lengthwise.  It's about eight centimeters long so almost a complete tear.  Can't say I was doing anything especially cool or fun, in fact, I just was running down the stairs!  I should probably make up a more exciting story.

This photo was taken at the beginning of the month after I got my boot and was finally able to be out and about for more than just quick trips in and out of the doctors office.  Even with the increased mobility, resorting to the electric scooter was still the best option as my legs get tired easily.  I'm doing better and better though.  In fact, I'm already out of the boot and walking almost normally.  Things are still very, very stiff but I'm working at getting things moving easier at physical therapy.

My doctor told me to expect it to be a total of at least three months for the recovery process.  Looking on the bright side, I didn't need surgery and my husband works close by.  He comes home at lunch and helps me get the kids fed and my little guy down for quiet time.  This was an especially big help during the end of the summer, when both kids were still home.  He's a big help and I'm so lucky to have his support.  My nine year old daughter has also been a big help, I'm more mobile now but at first I couldn't do much at all so I really needed her to go grab things and help her little brother.

One of my best friends has been coming by periodically to help tackle things like the floors and dusting.  Those are two of my biggest pet peeves, I can't stand crumbs everywhere!  I'm really bummed that the last month of summer, we couldn't do more fun stuff with the kids but their friends have been really good about coming over to visit and keep them company.

Everything will be better in time, key word being time.  I just have to wait and be patient while things heal up.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Birchbox August 2015: Soak It Up!

*Referral Link Included

Hi Friends!  Even thought it's late, I wanted to hop on and share what I got in my August Birchbox, because I like it so much, starting with the cute box!  It's a swimming pool, fun for the end of summer, isn't it?

Most importantly, this month the box was an overall hit with just one miss, I think it might be the one I self selected - spoiler alert, it was the Coola product.

RUSK® Volumizing Mousse - Full Size 8 oz., $18:  I haven't used mousse in awhile, but this one worked surprisingly well.  I have naturally way hair and on humid summer days it just isn't worth the hassle of trying to straighten it out.  I liked how this gave me hold without crunchiness and leaving my hair with a wet look once dry.

Air Repair Complexion Boosting Moisturizer - Full Size, $20: I used this moisturizer at night, as it doesn't contain SPF.  Instead, it has antioxidants and humectants to hydrate and revitalize skin, and Birchbox mentions that it's helpful with minimizing how travel can affect your complexion.  I happened to go away for a quick overnight trip to Chicago so beyond using at night, I also tried it for intense treatment, sort of like a mask.  I liked both uses, as it has a light formula and clean scent.  I think it's perfect for summer, but I probably need something heavier for winter.

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil, Full Size: &25.95: This brand is a favorite of mine, love their shampoo & conditioner.  I was really looking forward to their foray into the hair oil field and it did not disappoint!  It has the same light and slightly sweet scent as their other products and works great as to protect before heat styling or as a finishing product.  Only a few drops are needed per use so this sample will last me at least a full month.

LAQA & Co. Charm School Kit - Full Size Set of 3 with Clutch $20:  All subscribers got one of the three shades in this set of lip and cheek crayons.  At first glance it's a nicely sized sample, but upon rolling it up, it's really only half a inch or so of product.  That was a bit of a bummer, but the larger sized container does make it easier to apply than if they'd sent a bitty one.

I received the shade Humble Brag and I love the color.  It is a really lovely and flattering neutral, kind of a your lips but better shade on me.  It's great for and everyday color, so I'm bummed that the sample wasn't bigger.  I would consider purchasing this shade in a full size, but Birchbox only carries it in sets and I know I wouldn't use the other ones.  I'd also have to carefully research how big the full size actually is, because no way would I pay full price for a half inch lip crayon!

COOLA® SPF 30 Organic Makeup Setting Spray, Full Size $36: This was my self selected product, chosen because I really like the other COOLA products I've tried.  Unfortunately, I didn't like the texture of this finishing spray.  It felt kind of sticky, not pleasant on the skin when it's already hot and humid!  I'm still really glad I got this, as I was super curious about it!  Nice I could try it and get several uses without having to purchase.

If you'd like to join me as a Birchbox subscriber, please consider using my referral link.  Thanks!


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Toy Story That Time Forgot on Blu-ray, Digital HD and DMA November 3rd‏

Mark your calendars!  TOY STORY THAT TIME FORGOT will be out this fall on November 3rd.  I know this is a bit early but we just love Woody, Buzz, and the whole gang around here so we're extra excited.  My four year old son really loves Buzz!

In this new Disney•Pixar's animated adventure  Join Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and the gang for an unforgettable tale packed with family fun and a must-have for every Pixar fan’s collection! During one of Bonnie's post-Christmas play dates, the “Toy Story” crew find themselves in uncharted territory when the coolest set of action figures ever turn out to be dangerously delusional. It's all up to Trixie, the triceratops, if the gang hopes to ever return to Bonnie's room.

Available for the First Time on Blu-ray™, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on November 3rd.  Will you be picking this one up to add to your collection, we will!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Back for the Summer: Nestlé® Crunch® Girl Scout Candy Bars! Featuring Our Thin Mints® Taste Test

*Samples Provided

I have something really delicious to share with you today! These limited edition Nestlé Crunch Girl Scout Candy Bars in Thin Mints® arrived for us to try last week and we can confirm they are absolutely scrumptious!  Not only us, but also my troop of Brownie Girl Scouts, agree they get two big thumbs up and are a not to be missed treat of the summer.

Our stock of Girl Scout cookies has been long eaten up, including the packages of Thin Mints we had horded in the freezer.  Happily, we don't have to wait until cookie time to enjoy my personal favorite out of all the Girl Scout Cookie flavors.  Shown above and below are the single bars, each with a suggested $0.99 MSRP.

Back for the summer only, these limited edition candy bars are the perfect pairing of chocolate and mint.  Inside each candy bar package are two fun sized bars.

They may be little but a ton of flavor is packed inside.  I "gasp" might like these even better than the original cookie because each bar is like eating an extra thick cookie for even more intense minty chocolate goodness.  Seriously - yum!

If you have a crowd to share with, or if you want to have extra on hand for yourself, try these fun-sized bars in a new take home bag ($3.49 MSRP).

My Brownie Girl Scouts snacked on these when we went as a troop to paint pottery together.  The girls loved them; we ate the entire bag!

Hey look, my mani even coordinated with this review!  Bottom line, we love the combination of the Thin Mints flavors with the Nestlé® Crunch® airy crispies that give each bar a satisfying bit of crunch.  Delicious and refreshing at the same time, the combination of chocolate and mint is perfection.

Inspired by the three most popular flavors of Girl Scout cookies, there are three limited-edition varieties available this summer:

  • Thin Mints®– Dark chocolate cookie wafers and mint chocolate crème, topped with airy crispies and a rich, dark chocolatey coating
  • Caramel & Coconut – Cookie wafers layered with coconut caramel crème and chewy caramel, topped with toasted coconut and drizzled with caramel stripes
  • Peanut Butter Crème – Cookie wafers layered with smooth peanut butter crème, topped with airy crispies and a creamy, chocolatey coating

But hurry, these yummy treats are only available through September, and when they're gone...they're gone!  Find them nationwide, wherever candy bars are sold!


Disclosure: these complimentary PR samples were provided for review, but I only accept review items I believe are a good fit for both my family and readership.  This is an unbiased review and shares our personal experience with this product.  Yours may differ.  

***I have been a Girl Scout troop leader for four years and support the Girl Scouts of the USA's belief in the power of every girl and mission of building girls of confidence, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.  

While these limited edition products are produced under license from the Girl Scouts of the USA this in no way affects my opinion of the products. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Last Nail Files: Zoya & Sinful Colors

Hello Polish Enthusiasts!  This week's mani is a homage to my son, who specifically requested Mommy wear more green polish.  That's his favorite color because the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are his very favorite thing, especially Leonardo!

Green is not really my thing, so it's only by luck that I had a bottle of Zoya's Tilda.  I spied it at one of Ulta's clearance sales for $1.97 which was too good of a deal to pass up.  My daughter picked out Sinful Color's Call You Later a couple weeks ago and the two paired really nice together.  They'll be perfect for St. Patrick's Day too.

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I'm sad to share that it's the last weekly link up over at Jennie's {insert sad face here}.  I only recently got it together enough to have something to share on a sort of regular basis but have enjoyed seeing the other ladies work each week.  Plus it's nice to connect with others that can understand how the perfect new shade of polish can make the heart beat faster ♥.


Friday, July 24, 2015

OPI's Tiffany Case, Liquid Sand

Let's just ignore the state of my cuticles and enjoy the shimmer and shine brought to you by this polish from OPI's Bond Girl Collection from way back in 2013!  I was very late to the texture bandwagon, and now I feel a little sad I didn't appreciate them more when they were more readily available.  I do have a couple Pixie Dust by Zoya, but I passed on most of the polishes from this collection numerous times, despite how beautiful they look in the bottle, because I didn't think I would like the liquid sand formula & feel.

Happily, I have discovered texture polishes can be a fun switch up from creams and give even more sparkle that glitters.  When my hair saloon discontinued Tiffany Case, I had to snap it up.  Didn't hurt that it was less than four bucks as well.  I'm really enjoying it, I thought I'd give it a quick wear for a beachy feel but I think it will be even better as a wintry Frozen mani.  It's reminds of Elsa's blue dress so much, I almost break out into "Let It Go," whenever I look down at it.

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Linking up the The Nail Files ♥


Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Disney Pocket Letter for Raya

Exchanging my first Pocket Letter was so much fun that I had to give another go.  Here is round two, this time with a Disney theme!  My swap partner Raya also works at the same scrapbook store at Kelli so it was also hand delivered.  I had so much fun going with all things Mickey, who is her favorite character.

{The Top Row}

A closer look at the dimensional Mickey sticker from my stash.  I used up scraps to make the scalloped circle and circle beneath him.  The dreams card is from a Simple Stories set and the Mickey head was made out of enamel dots.

On the middle row I included a card covered in washi tape.  I only have on Disney roll so I just searched my stash for coordinating rolls to add to it.  In the middle I hand cut some larger banners and layered a punched banner on top.  The little stickers are from a set I got at Disney World way back when.  The third slot has my swap partner's name.  I thought the black strip at the top of the red mimicked Mickey's shorts nicely.

On the bottom left I made a filler card with a Simple Stories sticker that I thought tied in nicely with the "dreams" card in the top row.  More little stickers from the sticker pack bought at the Magic Kingdom were added to finished it off.

This is my favorite part of the entire Pocket Letter.  I broke out my Fuse tool for the first time and sealed the shaker pocket shut.  Inside is a mix of sequins, seed beads, and handmade filler made out of punches.  I punched the stars and it's a little hard to tell, but the black buildings are actually of the Castle.  I got that years ago in Disneyland back before we even had kids and we were living in CA.

I'll share the awesome Pocket Letter Raya made me soon!


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Nail Files with Zoya's Daisy

{Zoya's Daisy, Spring 2015}

Yellows are not my thing.  Mainly because my complexion means it's not very flattering on me.  So naturally, I'm always on the hunt for one that looks good.  The hunt is over, this is by far my most favorite yellow ever!

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Linking up with Jen and the other polish enthusiasts!  My mani doesn't in anyway compare with the awesome sea creature she made - so go over and be amazed!


Friday, July 10, 2015

Birchbox July 2015: Beachy & Bright

*Referral Link Included

I've already got my July Birchbox!  I came on the 6th, so really early.  I selected the curated box this month, so since those all have identical contents, perhaps that helps them get sent out quickly.  Doesn't the box really fit the theme "Beachy & Bright"?  I love hot pink and aqua ♥

Since I already knew what the contents were, I knew I'd be happy this month!  Here's a first look inside the box.

theBalm cosmetics Balm Desert Bronzer/Blush (full size, $21): theBalm always has really cute packaging, even for their samples!  It's been a little hit and miss with this company but I always enjoy samples from them, because the presentation is just too fun!  This color is on the darker side of bronzers that work for me and it's a little shimmery.  The color is just so so pretty, that while I'm a little pale to use it how it's intended, it's been a very flattering eye shadow shade.

stila stay all day liquid lipstick (set of 3, $20): Every subscriber got to try one of these, the only difference is which color.  I really wanted Bella, and probably would've been disappointed if I'd gotten another color.  Knowing that this was the shade coming in the curated box, made it all the easier to hit select.  Bonus is, it's really pretty, both the packaging and color.  I love berry shades all year round and this brighter shade is a perfect seasonal swap out for the darker wine shades I gravitate toward.

JUARA Radiance Enzyme Scrub, (full size, $38): I've used this twice so far and thought it worked really well.  Sometimes after using certain pore minimizers it feels like I have to work extra hard to get it all off.  The scrub felt gentle but effective.

Supergoop! Anti-Aging City Sunscreen Serum SPF 30, (full size, $42): I've received this before and used it up while in Texas for the week.  It kept me from getting sunburned and unlike regular sunscreens it didn't feel heavy or smell funny.  It was a great substitute for daily moisturizer.  While it' might not be super exciting, it's very useful and works well.

Oribe Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray, (full-size, $38): I love beach sprays and this is the time of the year they start to show up in subscription boxes, yay!  I just finished another sample from last year and am glad to have a new one to try.  It's been getting more humid and not worth the bother of straightening my hair, and this has been helping pump up my curls and volume.  Works nicely!

Sometimes getting a curated box leads to feeling less excited, since the element of surprise has been taken away.  However, this is a terrific box for me.  It's got a great range from skin care to color and even the perfect seasonal hair product.  Since I will review each of the five products and earn back a five dollars to spend in the Birchbox store, it means I got a great box for only $5!

As always, if you'd like to join me as a Birchbox subscriber, please consider using my referral link! I'd really appreciate it!


Thursday, July 9, 2015

My Pocket Letter™ for Kelli

Yesterday I shared the bright and colorful Pocket Letter™ my swap partner Kelli made for me.  Today, I have mine to share!    This is how I packaged mine all up, using a punched doily, some silk flowers, vintage millinery leaves, and satin ribbon.  I could add these extra flourishes because I didn't have to actually send it through the mail.

Before I get too into the sharing, if you're wondering what the heck Pocket Letter Pals™  are, I gave an short explanation of Pocket Letters in my last post.  I won't repeat myself here because the best resource for learning more about this phenomenon and getting lots of ideas, tips, and inspiration is from the creator of this concept Janette Lane.  Her links are below.

Facebook Group, it's private & you need to request to join

This is what I created.  It was a bit of a challenge for me because Kelli favors more of a shabby chic look than comes naturally to me.  I set out to incorporate a  vintage floral look with her favorite colors, pink and gold.  I think I succeeded pretty well and really enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone.  It was great using up some of the pretties I've saved for years, like really gorgeous embossed K&Company paper as the background.

Here is a close of the top row.  The gold banner and pink butterflies are both punched out of a Die Cuts with a View Glitzy Pastels 6X6 paper pad.  Can't recommend that enough!  It's thin enough to easily punch and the glitter doesn't brush off the backing or fall off.  I purchased it when paper stacks were 40% off at Joann's so it was a very good purchase since I can make tons of custom die cuts and alphabets with it.

The rose sticker is from my stash and I used it along with a smaller layered rose sticker at the bottom so they would coordinate and help make the Pocket Letter cohesive even though I am using pieces and leftovers from many different scrapbook lines. The word definition is from a larger sticker, I cut out and notched the one I wanted to use, then used little Tim Holtz alphas to spell out "wish".  I felt this bit of black balanced out the darker key lock sticker placed at the bottom of the letter.

Now for a look at the how I incorporated Kelli's initials into the letter & personalized it just for her.  See that gold washi tape?  That wasn't originally supposed to be there.  When arranging the square letter Thickers I made a placement error and then ripped the label sticker when I tried to move them.  Nothing like layering to save the day!

The middle row came together the quickest.  I wrapped up some coordinating twine and decided to part with one of my horded Kate Spade gold bow paper clips, so I could add something really special.  On the far right are more vintage millinery leaves I got a few years ago at an antiques fair.  

One of my favorite parts of this Pocket Letter is my very first shaker pocket, filled with sequins and mini beads.  I thought Kelli might want to remove the sequins to use for projects so I closed the pocket with washi tape for now, but she has a Fuse Tool so if she can use that, if she'd prefer seal it permanently.  To finish it off, I staped a little Heidi Swapp transparency with "enjoy" in gold on top of the pocket.

For the bottom row I layered several bits and pieces to create a collage along the three pockets.  Elements are adhered to the paper inside the pockets and also right on top of the outside.  I repeated the banner, butterflies, rose sticker, and  a darker element from the top of the Pocket Letter here as well.

One of the few things a Pocket "Letter" wouldn't really be a Pocket Letter without is an actual letter from the sender to the recipient.  I had the perfect mini envelope to house mine in and finally figured out the perfect way to use the gold hand piece I won in a giveaway.  It added the perfect touch of extra special, I think.

Like Kelli did for me, I also included some fun goodies for her.  I raided my supplies for pink and gold and found some great stuff.  By coincidence, we also gave each other the very same Vanilla Caramel tea!

Many Pocket Letter Pals send each other things they've made, like the ribbon paper clip Kelli made for me.  I sent her one as well, some punched & stamped tabs, more butterflies, and a few one inch circles I stamped and then punched out.  It wasn't much but since this was my first time crafting a Pocket Letter it took me awhile to design and assemble it to the point where I thought it was just perfect.  I was stamping and punching these things right up until the time we had to leave to go deliver it!

Have you gotten into the world of Pocket Letter Pals?  I'd love to see what you've made!  Maybe we can even swap and be pals too ♥

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