Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Resolution Wrap Up

I've learned through the years that if I make the cliche "eat healthier," "work out more" type of resolutions, they never ever work out.  For 2013 I decided to do something different and do a more general life goal as a resolution -  I resolved to do 12 new things.

1. Took a pole dancing class with three of my girlfriends.  If the studio wasn't so far away - or I had someone to go with me regularly - I'd do this all the time; it's a super good workout.
I'm on the far right in the top photo.

2. J and I both got our first professional massages for Valentine's Day.

3. Volunteered at SXSW.  I actually wound up working Artist Check-in and got to meet Of Mice and Men, Asher Roth, Scout LaRue Willis, and a bunch of other awesome musicians.  One of my fellow volunteers outed me as a Texas Hippie Coalition fan - they were super amazing and had me take a picture with them.

4. Attended SXSW Interactive.  I've gone to the music part before, but I decided to branch out and try the interactive portion.  I enjoyed it way more than I expected to!

5.  Dental work.  Yeah...not the most fun, but in 9 years the only time I saw a dentist was for a referral to get my wisdom teeth out.  I have a massive fear of dentists, but I finally sucked it up and went in and...it wasn't horrible.  I also managed to take a selfie while I was heavily sedated and since I was too drugged to remember it, I didn't find it until a week later.

This is why I don't do drugs.

6. Ate Indian food.  I don't know how I went 25 years without putting such deliciousness into my mouth.

7. Went to a midnight release.  It was for a video game, but it still counts.

8.  Got my hair colored (bleached?) professionally.  I'm no stranger to switching up hair colors, but I've always been more of a DIY type.

9. Went to Hawaii.  One more knocked off of my "Visit every state" life goal. :)

If anyone wants to pay for me to go back, I'm open to it.

10. Rented a Car.  I mean, my parents used to rent cars when we'd go on family vacations but this was the first time I'd ever rented one by myself.  

11. Dove with Sharks.  I have a tremendous fear of deep water, but I was determined to do this.  We did a cage dive and not a scuba dive, obviously.  
[Insert Jaws theme]

12. Became an "early adopter."  I'm usually the type to wait a few months after something shiny and new comes out before finally getting it, but I actually got a Day One Xbox One.  

I also did other little "firsts" like flying without checking a bag, getting my eyebrows waxed, going to (and working) a plastic surgery trade show, and so on.  Some of my firsts were obviously much better than others, but having that extra push to step outside my comfort zone was surprisingly motivating.  Shark diving was easily the highlight of my year and I don't think I ever would have done it otherwise.  J said it was an awesome resolution for me to make since it benefited him too.  I'll definitely have to reuse this resolution a couple years from now.

December Golden Tote Review

The Box: Golden Tote
The Price: $49 or $149 (plus shipping)
The Goods:  For the $49 tote, you select one item from their monthly curated clothing selection and they choose 1-2 additional pieces to send you for up to a $200 value.  For the $149 option, you select 2 and they choose 3-5 for you for up to a $600 value.

I opted for the $49 tote this month since a) I had already overspent for Christmas gifts and b) I'm weirdly picky about clothes so I wasn't sure what to expect.  

I was pleased to see that they include outfit ideas for the items in your tote.  I would totally wear the outfit on the left.

Morning Apple Easy Owl Sweater: This was the item I chose.  Golden Tote sells this sweater for $45 outside the tote, which I feel is a pretty fair cost for it.  I have a small obsession with owls so once GT posted this on Facebook I knew I *had* to get this month's tote.

Hourglass Lily Jersey Wrap Dress:  Based on similar dresses from the same brand, I'd value this around $60.  It's pretty flattering and WAY comfy so I'll totally have to find an excuse to wear this.  Oh, and apparently J had never seen a wrap dress before so when I pulled it out and worked on untangling it...he totally thought it was a robe.

 Including shipping, I paid about $57 for the tote and I feel like it was totally worth it. When you add a tote to your shopping cart, they ask you a short questionnaire about your size and style to get a better idea of what to give you as the "extra" items.  Now that I have a little more confidence in the things they send, I'll probably go with the $149 option next time.

Disclaimer: This post contains a referral link.

Monday, December 30, 2013

December BarkBox Review

The Box: Barkbox
The Price: $29/month
The Goods: 4+ products for your dog, selected based on his or her size.

I've been putting off posting this review since Stella's been sick and she hasn't actually tried anything in the box, but by the time she's off bedrest I'll probably have forgotten about it.

 Simply Fido Reindeer Toy: ($9.99)  This reindeer only an eye on one side, which I find odd.  Stella usually loves rope toys and probably won't notice the missing eye though. ;)

Barkworthies Junior Bully Stick: ($2.63)  Stella loves the Barkworthies Bully Flakes, but I don't think I've ever given her a bully stick.  She's not a big chewer, so I'm interested to see if she'll gnaw on this.

Planet Dog Chicken & Pumpkin Pot Pie Treats: ($3.32)  These are all natural and made in the USA, which is always nice to see.  Since Stella has what seems like an endless supply of treats, these were sent to J's mom's newly adopted pup.

GoDog Yeti Mooster Toy: ($8.99)  I mean, shut up.  Look at this guy.  I love him.  Uh...I mean...I'm sure sure Stella will love him.  Yeah.  That.

Bistro Bites Peanut Butter & Applesauce Treats: ($6)  These are made in the USA too!  It's nice to see Barkbox including so many US brands.

Total value: $30.93

I'm sad that Stella hasn't gotten to try out any of the new goodies yet, but once she's gotten the green light from the vet we're going to have a "recovery party."  Basically, it will be a make-up Christmas with 100% of the focus on Stella. :)

Disclaimer: This post contains a referral link.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Elizabeth & Clarke Winter Review

The Cost: $30-$60 a season, depending on the number of shirts you choose
The Goods: 1-3 high quality tops that you choose from their seasonal collection.

The Davis: I'm not usually a huge fan of peplum, but the pleats around the neckline won me over. This shirt is super soft on the inside and way comfy. My only complaint is that it zips all the way up the back so I had to sort of contort myself to put it on for my selfies. Other than that, I love it.

The Taylor: Okay, so I actually wasn't ready when this picture was taken (hence the weird pose) but I wound up liking it better than the ones where I WAS ready.  Anyway, this is part of the "Forever Collection" so you can get it in any season.  It's a nice basic that can be dressed up or dressed down.

Elizabeth & Clarke's shirts are anywhere from $20-$30 each, depending on how many you order.  They're definitely high quality enough that $30 is a decent deal, so if you get 3 and pay $20/ea it's a steal.

Another good thing about Elizabeth & Clarke is their customer service.  I've emailed them several times with everything from dimension requests to questions about my account and they've always been prompt and helpful.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

This week, I'm doing the linkup that Jen hosts over at Ramblings of a Suburban Mom.

- Stella has been sick for the past week.  Long story short, she stopped eating her food, and nearly $2,000 in vet bills later, she got spayed and spent all of Christmas Eve in the hospital.  She's home now, on bed rest for a week, and enjoying being hand fed and fussed over constantly.

- J ruined the surprise of one of his Christmas gifts this year.  Ten days before Christmas he sends me a text saying he was about to order himself a rice cooker.  Well, one of the first gifts I had actually bought him was a rice cooker/vegetable steamer so I kind of went off.  Needless to say, he was thrilled to unwrap it but totally not shocked.

- Because of the whole ordeal with Stella, J and I didn't get to go up north to his or my family's Christmas.  Now I need to figure out how to get everyone their gifts so I don't have them hanging out in my living room for several months.

- Since we couldn't go up to spend Christmas with our families, we Skyped each house yesterday.  J's mom took a while to figure it all out on her iphone since there was no one up there to help her set it up, but it all worked out.  My uncle set it up for my grandmother, who was mortified once she realized I could see her since she didn't have her hair done. ;)

- It's J's birthday this weekend!  Since Stella requires supervision and medication so frequently, we can't go out and adventure all day, but I told him he could decide what we do at the house and we could get take-out of his choice.  Honestly, I'm just ready to give him his gifts.

I feel like I had more thoughts when I started this, but my brain is too mushy to remember it all.  Hope you all are having a fantastic day! <3

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

December Ipsy Review - Celebration

The Box: Ipsy
The Price: $10
The Goods: 4-5 full and deluxe-sample sized beauty products chosen based on your beauty profile.

This month's theme was "Celebration!"  I think this makeup bag might be my favorite one yet.

POPBeauty Naturally Bare Eyeshadow Trio: ($7.20)  I JUST busted my favorite nude eyeshadow, so this couldn't have come at a better time.  Fun fact: POPBeauty was the brand of two of my favorite eye colors in high school.

Andrea Strip Lashes - 33: ($3.99)  I don't wear falsies *that* often, but I have a friend who wears them almost every weekend so I'll pass them on to her.

 Nicka K Nail Color - Classic Taupe: ($4.99)  When I pulled this out of my bag I was far from excited by the color.  I put it on anyway and it slowly grew on me but I only managed to get a day and a half before getting my first chip.

J.Cat Big Lip Pencil - Caramel Mocha: ($3.99)  This is another shade I was not excited about until I actually put it on.  Nude shades very, very rarely look right on my vampire skin but this one didn't seem horrible.

Be a Bombshell The One Stick - Girl Crush: ($16) I haven't been impressed by any of the Be a Bombshell products I've tried, but the color of this stick is super pretty.  You can apparently use it on your lips, eyes and cheeks.

Total Value: $36.17

Even though most of the products weren't exactly Love-At-First-Sight items for me, it's not my least favorite by any means and just the eyeshadows and makeup bag are probably worth the $10 cost to me.

Disclaimer: This post contains a referral link.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

December Popsugar Must Have Review

The Cost: $39.95/month
The Goods: Hand-picked food, fashion, beauty, home, and/or fitness items.  

CC Made Pistachio Caramel Popcorn: ($4)  I haven't eaten this yet but since I like pistachios and I love caramel popcorn, I can't imagine that this would be bad.

Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel Squares: ($4.25)  I mean, really, what girl is going to complain about chocolate?

Ghirardelli Holiday Assortment: ($5) The peppermint bark is absolutely delicious.  J tried the Pumpkin Spice Caramel and really liked it, which means a lot since he isn't a chocolate person.  The Eggnog flavor is essentially just white chocolate with nutmeg.  I've never had actual eggnog, though, so I don't know how it compares to the real thing.

Lulu Frost for Popsugar Bracelet: ($110)  This is 100% not my style.  I'm quite surprised that this would retail for so much.

NCLA Peppermint Lane Nail Wraps: ($16)  I've already been plotting all of my holiday nails, so I don't think I'll use these for Christmas.  They'll be cute for summer though!

GoVino Champagne Flutes: ($12.95)  These are stemless, reusable, recyclable and shatterproof.  That last part is especially important since J just shattered one of my champagne flutes the other night.

Mixt Holiday Gifting Set: ($9)  I had already wrapped most of my gifts by the time my box arrived this month, but I'll save this for next year.

ModelCo Fibre Lashxtend Mascara: ($22)  Heh.  This picture looks like there's a hole through the tube.  That's actually a mirror, which makes this mascara perfect for travelling.

Total Value: $183.21

True, I won't wear the bracelet which is the majority of the value, but I'll put everything else to good use.  I also just realized that I've been subscribed to Popsugar for a full year now!  I can't wait to see what the next year brings.

Disclaimer: This post contains a referral link.

Friday, December 20, 2013

JewelMint 5 Piece Mystery Box Review

The Box: 5 Piece Mystery Box

The Cost: $49.99

The Goods: 5 pieces of Jewelmint jewelry

Retro Cruise Necklace: Gold-tone jewelry isn't my favorite, but the metal isn't very obvious on this necklace so I actually quite like it.  I like how simple it is, but it still makes a statement.

It's A Cinch Bracelet: I have the wrists of a child, so on the tightest hole this bracelet is a bit loose on me.

I couldn't find the names for any of the earrings I received.  This pair is MASSIVE.  They're not my style at all, but they'd be cool on someone else.

I loved these immediately.  They're fun and funky, but they're not super big or heavy.

I was kind of "meh" about these when I first opened the box, but I put them on and I think they might grow on me.

I got this mystery box when it was on sale for $25 on Cyber Monday.  Most Jewelmint pieces are $30 each, so even if I only wear the necklace and the earrings I loved initially, this box was totally worth it.
This particular box is no longer available, but you can find all of JewelMint's current mystery boxes here.

Monday, December 16, 2013

December Pijon Box Review

The Box: Pijon Box
The Cost: $29/month
The Goods: A curated care package of products for college students.  (You choose male or female.)

December's theme is "Winter Break."

Richer Poorer Hombre Socks: ($12)  I have waaaay too many socks, but only *maybe* three pairs of them are crew-cut.  The teal and purple combo is interesting and certainly not like any I already own.

Frava Peach Mango Caffeinated Juice: ($2.08)  Peach Mango totally sounds like a flavor I'd like, but can we stop for a minute and talk about the name?  Frava?  Am I the only one whose brain instantly jumps to Hannibal Lecter? 

JimmyBar!: ($2.50 each)  I'm going to give J the No Bluffin' Banana Muffin bar, so I tried the Super Hip Chocolate Chip one.  It's really nutty, but not bad.

Girls Can Tell Unicorn Notebook: ($8)  I have an abundance of notebooks, so I gave this one to J.  Yep.  He's an (almost) 27 year old guy with a unicorn notebook now.  Stop judging.

Smarty Pants Gummy Vitamins: ($7.40)  I tossed a pack of these in J's lunch one day.  Apparently he ate them without looking at the package and didn't realize they were vitamins until I told him.  That's gotta be a good sign, right?

Vapur Reflex Water Bottle: ($7.99)  We had a bottle like this a while back and I have no idea what happened to it.  I'm glad to have another one!

I don't think I would have guessed that this was the "winter break" box if I hadn't known.  That said, it's a decent assortment of items that I think I would have liked when I was in college.

Disclaimer: This post contains a referral link.