Friday, January 30, 2015

30 before 30!

Since today is my 27th birthday, I thought it was time for me to make a 30 before 30 list.  Obviously these are just my personal goals and not a "You Must Do These Thirty Things Before You're Thirty" list for anyone else to follow.
  1. Achieve (and maintain) a single digit inbox.
  2. Start a long-term savings.  401ks and IRAs and retirement funds are so beyond me right now.
  3. Pay off my student loan.
  4. Go to San Diego Comic Con. Bonus points if I can manage to cosplay.
  5. Make 2 new recipes every week for a month.
  6. Buy a new(er) car.
  7. Get at least one stamp in my passport.  
  8. Finish writing a first draft of something.
  9. Buy new living room seating.
  10. Run a 5K.  Like, actually run it.  Putting in effort.  The whole thing.  (Have I mentioned I don't run?)
  11. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
  12. Take a dance class.  
  13. Audition for...something.
  14. Go to a ballet performance.
  15. Spend a weekend camping, unplugged.  Cameras are the only exception.
  16. Clean out the garage.
  17. Finish decorating at least one room in the house.  I mean, like, Pinterest-worthy decorating.
  18. Take an improv class.
  19. Do an ancestry DNA test.
  20. Attend a music festival.  Bonnaroo or Coachella preferred, but there a few runner up alternatives.
  21. Host a holiday and/or themed party.
  22. Write a business plan for a company I'd love to start.
  23. Visit more of the US. My end goal is to hit all 50 states, but I don't think I can reach that by 2018.
  24. Begin to re-learn how to play the guitar.
  25. Complete a 30 day cleaning challenge.
  26. Figure out/land a career. AKA Get some direction in my life.
  27. Develop a taste for hot tea.
  28. Become (at least) conversational in another language.
  29. Take a just-for-the-hell-of-it course.
  30. Complete a fitness challenge.  Be it yoga, C25k, or something else altogether.
I'm going to try to blog about my progress in the future and I've decided that for every goal I don't achieve, I'm going to donate $10 to charity.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Eco Emi Limited Edition Chocolate Box Review

The Box: Eco Emi Chocolate Box
The Price: $16 (One time purchase)
The Goods: 8 chocolate items

Sweetriot Pure Mini Bites: ($1.78)  I just realized that I should've taken this picture with something to show the size.  These chocolates are tiny and adorable and the bow makes me almost not want to unwrap and eat them.  Almost.

Nature's Natural Chocolate Raspberry Candle: ($.90)  I generally don't like raspberry in any form, but the chocolate scent makes this better.

The All Natural Face Love Dust: ($10)  This adds the perfect amount of shimmer and tastes pretty good, too.  I also love how simple the ingredients list is.

Sjaak's Melk Chocolate Bar: ($1.99)  I was introduced to Sjaak's chocolate last year by Vegan Presence.  It's delicious.

Kawaii Chocolate Chip Brownie Bar: ($3)  I've been eating a lot of Quest bars lately while out and about, so I look forward to comparing this to those.

Cisse Trading Co Dark Chocolate with Cinnamon Hot Cocoa: ($1)  This is sooo good.  It's super rich and creamy and has just the perfect hint of cinnamon.  I loved it.  Granted, I rarely meet a hot cocoa I don't like.

Ek Chok Chocolate Paste with Vanilla: ($1.16)  I wasn't quite sure how to eat this, so I it on some toast.  It's grittier than, say, Nutella, but still creamy at the same time.  I didn't really notice the vanilla flavor.  Also, is it just me or is 'paste' not an extremely appetizing word?

Element Milk Chocolate Rice Cakes: ($2.25)  These rice cake are denser than what I'm used to.  They're pretty good, though - I would definitely eat them again.  My only issue is that they think a serving size is only one cake.  Psh.  PSH.

Total Value: $22.08

I mean, how can I complain about chocolate?  I feel like Eco Emi did a really good job choosing a variety of products - I was sort of expecting various different bars of chocolate but this is way better.  If they were to turn this into a monthly subscription, I would totally subscribe.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

January Loot Crate Review - Rewind

The Box: Loot Crate
The Price: $13.37 plus shipping
The Goods: 6-8 items perfect for a geek or gamer with a total value of $40+.

 January's theme was "Rewind."

Black Tie Geek Skinny Tie: Loot Crate actually sent out a bow tie in this same print in 2013.  I'm not entirely sure when/if J will wear this, so I might have to fashion it into a headband.

Comic Note Book: ($5.95)  J has actually been outlining his own comic story, so this is perfect.  It's easily the item he was most excited about.

Star Wars Issue 1: ($4.99)  This is another LootCrate exclusive cover.  Personally, I like the standard cover better since it has a more vintage-y feel to it.

8 Bit Sunglasses: (Similar, $6.98)  This is the third pair of 8 bit sunglasses we've gotten from subscription boxes.  Granted, we have a terrible track record for keeping up with sunglasses so I guess I shouldn't complain.

So Analog 10-Doh! Figure - Alien Attack: (~$10)  This is super cute!  I think I might actually try to swap for the other variations of these.

Flophouse Voltron Tee: ($28)  J is pretty neutral on this shirt, so I might actually steal it because I like the cut of it.  

Total Value: Over $56

I think I was a bit more excited about this crate than J.  When Loot Crate announced that the theme would be Rewind I thought surely they'd be sending a Back to the Future item - I'm a little disappointed that they didn't.  

Disclaimer: This post contains a referral link.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Golden Tote 2015 Mystery Tote Review

The Box: Golden Tote Mystery Tote
The Price: $60 plus shipping
The Goods:  One past Golden Tote chosen item, one Puella item, and two past surprise items.

Hourglass Lily Tunic/Dress:  This was a chosen item last February.  I *think* I like it, but I'm a little iffy on how the sleeves fit.  The ends are elastic, but it's not tight enough to make them stay put on my arm.

Puella Swing Shirt:  This is the new item made specifically for the mystery totes.  I really, really like it!  It's extremely comfortable, lightweight enough to wear in Texas's excuse for winter, and perfect with leggings.

THML Embroidered Tunic: I think that if this were sleeveless and a different color, I might like it.  As it is, not so much.

Jolie Dolman Sweater:  I actually received this back in September.  

 Extra-small and small totes are still available but the other sizes are sold out.  Even though only one or two of my items were hits, I'm actually debating ordering another mystery tote because of all of the goodies other girls are getting.  (And here I thought I wasn't much for gambling.) 

Disclaimer: This post contains a referral link.

Friday, January 23, 2015

January Wantable Intimates Review

The Price: $36
The Goods: 3-4 items chosen based on your style preferences

In case you're curious, these are my product preferences.

Muk Luks Slipper Sox: ($24)  I changed my profile to Like socks specifically so I would get these.  I do wish I'd gotten a different pattern, but I still like them.

Pajama Drama Velvet Insert Set: ($22)  I can't decide how I feel about this; I rarely ever wear pajama sets as actual sets.  The shorts are fine but the top fits a little oddly...and I'm not sure how I feel about the velvet insets.

Total Value: $46

This box was kind of disappointing.  I'm assuming that they're counting the set as two pieces to get the item count up to 3, but the value seems low.  (Does that make me sound like a brat?)  Wantable's return policy would allow me to return the pajamas and keep the Muk Luks for their retail price but I'm thinking about just returning the whole box.

Disclaimer: This post contains a referral link.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The DIY Gift That Bombed

J and I did not plan our relationship well.

You see, right after Christmas is J's birthday, then in the beginning of January is our anniversary; my birthday is at the end of January and then we fall right into Valentine's Day.  It's basically a month and a half of planning and buying gifts, so somewhere along the way we've started making a tradition of DIY anniversary gifts.  

Since I'm trying to declutter, it didn't make sense for me to craft him something that would just sit on the shelf so I wanted to make him something that he'd actually use.  I was stumped until I realized that the most obvious answer was in one of his favorite past times: baths.

I started out just making bath salts in his favorite scent.  They're pretty and all, but lacked the cheesiness factor that I prefer when giving an anniversary gift.

Side note: green bath salts in the making are disgusting looking.

I then decided to make bath bombs...with a twist.  If you're curious, here's how to make some of your own.  If you're not curious...move along, move along.

In a bowl mix together:
1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup citric acid
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup epsom salts
(optional) Cosmetic glitter!

In a smaller container, mix:
2ish teaspoons coconut oil (in liquid form)
6 teaspoons of liquid made up of scent, color and water.  The exact ratio depends on the strength of the essential oil and coloring.  (Make sure that both are bath and body grade.)  Keep in mind that it will be less strong once you get in the tub, but it's safer to be on the underscented/colored side.

Slooooowly stir the liquid mixture into the dry mixture.  If you add it too quickly, it'll activate and start fizzing.  This is bad, mmmk.  The consistency you want will hold its shape when you squeeze it together - if it's too dry, add a little more water.

Okay, so here's my twist.  I went to a party store and got a bunch of cheesy, cheap little party favor toys.  I used the King Cube ice tray I got from Popsugar long, long ago as my bomb mold.  You can also use a cupcake pan, candy molds, plastic Easter eggs...whatever you have sitting around the house.

Fill your molds half way with your mixture, add your toy, then dump the rest of your mixture on top.  Try to be a little more even and neat than I was, obviously.  Then, press down on the top of each of your bomb mold area things until it's firmly packed.  Let them dry overnight before removing from the random-thing-you're-using-as-a-mold. 

I was sick when I was trying to put these together, so I derped and forgot to take a picture of the finished tray.  (This is also why the photos I did take aren't Pinterest quality ;) ) I also stuck some sugar hearts (like for cake decorating) in the bombs before letting them harden.  

I wrote some sort of cheesy note corresponding with each toy (like this one for the bracelet that had Rockstar printed on it and "You make me smile!" for the smiley face ball) and wrapped each bomb and note up individually in aluminum foil.  You can also use saran wrap, but I didn't want the notes to show through and...well, shiny.

 I tucked all of the bombs into a box with a - you guessed it - cheesy note.

 The biggest downside of making these as a gift for someone you live with is that it sort of ruins the surprise.  J knew the house smelled extra fragrance-y, but he said he was actually expecting me to give him candles.

Cheap toys and bath products might not seem like the makings of a perfect gift for a 28 year old guy, but the bombs went over really well.  He's used two so far and apparently had been bragging to some of his friends about his "epic gift."

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

January Sock of the Month Club Review

The Price: $12/month
The Goods: A pair of socks.  Duh.

J actually ordered this for me as a gift!

 The sock of January was a brown and red herringbone style.  They're unlike any other socks that I own and I'm a fan.  They're the perfect height to wear with my combat boots and the band at the top is pretty snug so they don't move or slide down at all during the day.

Monday, January 19, 2015

January Ipsy My Glam Bag Review - Fresh Start

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

January's theme was "Fresh Start."  The bag has a cool, sort of mod look to it - it's white on one side, blue on the other, and has an orange zipper and lining.

Elizabeth Mott All Over Shadow Brush: ($9.99)  This brush is a lot larger than the shadow brushes I'm used to using.  I haven't quite made up my mind whether or not I like it.

Eco-beauty Good Day. Day Moisturizer: ($11.76)  I haven't tried this yet, but I think this is the best foil packet-type packaging I've ever seen.  More companies should start this.

Pacifica Eye Shadow - Ethereal: (~$5)  As much as I love Pacifica, I don't think I need another bronze or nude eye shadow for about 3 years.

Jouer Essential Lip Enhancer: ($7.27)  I haven't used it enough to know whether or not it conditions as well as it promises, but it does feel nice on.  I'm not crazy about the rose fragrance, though - I generally prefer mint or food scented lip products.

Bella Pierre Shimmer Powder - Whesek: ($14.99)  This picture makes it look a lot darker than it actually is.  It's actually a shimmery silver color; I think I prefer how it looks without primer, though I'm not sure how the staying power will be.

J.Cat Wonder Lip Paint - Red Potion: ($4.99)  I redeemed a few of my IpsyPoints to get this.  These always look scary dark in the tube, but it's a much more wearable color when it's on.  It is a little drying, but it's nothing that can't be fixed with a little gloss or balm.

Total Value: $49.01 (not including the Lip Paint)

My favorite item this month is actually the one I got with my points.  On the bright side, all of the products I received are from cruelty-free companies!

 Disclaimer: This post contains referral and/or affiliate links.