Friday, September 26, 2014

pain demands to be felt.

I've been pretty late to jump on the "The Fault in Our Stars" bandwagon, given that the huge hype about it mostly crested earlier this year, when it came out in theaters.  I read the book when it first came out, so I was already familiar with it, and I have a strong aversion to the majority of movies that are based on books.  In my opinion, most movies do not adequately translate the feelings of a book onto the screen.  Sure, I'm a book snob -- that's no secret.  Anyone that knows me knows that I have, at any given time, at least twenty books in my room waiting to be read, that I have way more books that I have anything else in my life (including -- shockingly enough -- clothes), and that if you spill on or fold a page of one of my books, our relationship is pretty much over.  All of that being said, I think most readers, even the casual ones, would agree with me that books are not known for translating well onto screen.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

my subscription addiction quarterly co. box

As someone who loves subscription boxes and reading blogs about those who share my interests, My Subscription Addiction is like the Mother Ship of all subscription box blogs.  Liz Cadman, the amazing woman who writes the blog, subscribes to approximately every subscription box ever known to man (aka one gazillion) and basically lives out a Christmas morning version of Groundhog Day every afternoon when she opens the door to her mailman's arms weighted down with boxes full of delightful surprises.  Those of us obsessed with subscription boxes all wish we could be Liz, or at least be one of her close friends, so we could have the privilege of being invited over to browse her enormous discard pile.  That being said, when she announced that she had been working with Quarterly Co. to release her own curated box, everyone signed up so quickly that the box quickly sold out.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

when clothes aren't just clothes anymore.

Have you ever had one of those moments where clothes just bring you to tears?  Okay, okay, we've all had those times when we see something we love and then look at the price tag and - boom - we get a little misty-eyed, knowing we can never afford it.  But that's not the kind I'm talking about.  I'm talking about the moments that you see on Oprah, the dramatical kind where the music swells and it feels like everything is right with the world and unicorns should be frolicking about on cotton candy clouds.  Let me explain.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

nature box june 2014 review

i feel like i am always so behind on my reviews!  :(  i am trying to catch up and am almost current thankfully.  somehow it seems like there are just never enough hours in the day, or that i am too tired to even think about blogging.  i also think i am going to use my blog for more bloggy type things -- more of my personal feelings and pictures, instead of just box reviews and beauty stuff.  that was my intention in the beginning, but i still find it hard to be open and honest about things that i am embarrassed about (things to do with my illness), but i think it will be good for me.  what do you all think?

anyway, this review is of a new snack box i found -- nature box.  

Saturday, July 5, 2014

health update - going to rochester

hey everyone.  on monday, i posted on my instagram that i was going up to the university of rochester hospital to see my new cardiologist about the hole in my heart.  i wanted to update you guys on how that went because i know some of you are wondering, and it's a lot to post on instagram, so i figured i would do a health update post!  by the way, i appreciate all of you who have wished me well on my way there or checked in after to see how i was, or asked how it went.  it means a lot to know that you guys care about me and have my back :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

june dottiebox review

since today is july 1st and i'm sure july's boxes will be arriving any day now, i wanted to make sure that i got this post up -- june's dottiebox review.  last month was my first dottiebox and i have to say, it was one of my favorites all month!  i have been hearing about this box here and there on some other subscription box websites and was interesting to me, so i signed up for a monthly subscription.

dottiebox is a monthly box catered to women that features high quality handmade items from small businesses and indie brands.  they have a standard dottiebox that features 4 items for $20 per month plus $6 shipping, and a dottiebox mini that features 2 items for $10 a month plus $3 shipping. they currently only ship to the US.  if you'd like to learn more, you can do so here.

since i have my own etsy shop selling my jewelry, i certainly identify with the struggle of having your own small business and gravitate towards anything that supports things like that versus big businesses.  i like the idea of the box being strictly small business and also that they offer two different options, which is great for those subscribers who are on a budget but still want to partake in box subscriptions.  my box arrived pretty quickly after i signed up, and i was extremely delighted by what i got.  let's take a look!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

social bliss the style box june 2014 review

i have been anxiously awaiting my social bliss style box this month since it is always one of my favorites, and as usual, i was not disappointed!  i am always very happy with the combination of unknown & popular brands they include and the wide variety of products that are in the box each month.  it is the most expensive box that i subscribe to but i definitely think that i get my money's worth each month and the products that are included always feel like they are a step above any other box, in my opinion.  they seem more luxurious and classy, which has a lot to do with the value of the items included (especially that one is always a high-ticket, featured item) and the packaging and presentation.  it always makes me smile and feel like i'm pampering myself, which is a nice little treat.  :)

what is the social bliss style box?  it's a monthly subscription box that includes up-and-coming fashion and lifestyle products (usually 4-6 per box) with a minimum value of $100, all for just $39.95, plus shipping (my shipping is $7.00).  each box spotlights one main item that is the highest priced item of the box by a trendy new designer, including a card about their products and their design process.  in the past, this item has been a handbag, a wallet, and a coin purse.  if you are interested in signing up, you can check out the style box here.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

ipsy june 2014 box review

hi everyone!  today i have the june ipsy box to review for you.  i'm pretty sure this is my favorite ipsy bag to date -- it's so summery and i love every item in it!

ipsy is a monthly beauty subscription box that includes 4-5 deluxe or full size beauty samples in a new makeup bag every month.  selections are based on a beauty quiz you take and can update at any time, so the bag is customizable.  the price is $10 per month plus tax with free shipping and they do ship to canada for an additional $4.95.  you can also earn ipsypoints every month by reviewing the products you received via a short survey on the website, and redeem the points for products.   there are also coupons included each month and discounts available through the website.

in my opinion, ipsy is one of the best beauty subscriptions out there for it's value and what samples you receive.  almost all the samples all full-sized, they have a good mixture of products every month from both popular and lesser known brands and also types of products, their customer service is excellent, and for only about $12 (including tax) you get a new bag and five new products.  if you're interested in signing up, check it out here!  now onto this month's bag!

Friday, June 13, 2014

fashion friday - maxi skirts

today's fashion friday is on a very versatile piece that gets a lot of use in my wardrobe: the maxi skirt!

like a lot of chronic illness sufferers, i have trouble controlling my body temperature.  i get very hot pretty quickly and it takes a lot to get me cooled down.  this makes summer dressing kind of tricky, since i like to dress nicely and not be mistaken for someone standing on a street corner, if you get my drift.  i draw the line at about a 2 to 2 1/2" inseam on my shorts, and while i mostly wear tank tops, i make sure they aren't overexposed in the front and cover me well in the back if i have to bend over.

while this is all well and good for modesty's sake, it's not always very helpful when i am extremely hot, my face is flushed, i'm feeling the oh-so-pleasant boob and middle-back sweat dripping down underneath said tank top, and there is no refuge in sight.  the last thing i want to be doing is having tight clothing against me, or jean shorts that rub against my legs and create friction that makes me feel even sweatier, especially when you have to use a bathroom that doesn't have air conditioning.  there is nothing that makes me feel more gross and sweaty on a hot day than using a hot bathroom and having to wiggle into, button, and zip up my jean shorts, and go waddling back out into the heat, all sweaty and uncomfortable.  bleechhh.

this is where the maxi skirt comes in!  while it seems like it's a lot more fabric to cover you and therefore counterintuitive, it couldn't be farther from the truth.  most maxi skirts are made from a breathable cotton or a lightweight chiffon material (my personal favorite) that allows it to move with you, and allows for plenty of delightful breezes to cool you down.  whenever i wear my maxi skirts, it almost feels like i don't even have any bottoms on, or like i'm wearing pajamas, because they are just that comfortable!  here are some style tips to remember about maxi skirts!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

a weekend on the water.

this past weekend, i was finally feeling good after being cooped up in the house all week with the aftermath of my terrible eye test!  as you all have probably figured out by now, i love being outdoors, so having to spend the week inside with all the windows covered and my sunglasses on to block out any light was torture.  all i wanted to do was frolic in the beautiful sunshine, so that's exactly what i did all weekend long!  :)

a health update.

hey everyone.  i have really been struggling with my health for the past few weeks, which is why i haven't been posting very much and commenting on blogs, or been active much online at all.  unfortunately it has been mostly centered around my migraine headaches/problems that i have been having with my eyes, which tends to get worse with using electronics a lot!  a lot of times when i am sick, i just relax on the couch and watch movies or tv, or play games on my phone.  when i am having pain in my eyes (as a lot of you are familiar with), that's the last thing you want to do or even can do, because it makes it a lot worse.  so that's why i haven't been around much.

i have never had "typical" migraine headaches, where you just get bad pain and take some aspirin or whatever and they go away.  ever since i was a teenager, my version of a migraine was where my entire left side of my body went tingly and then numb (leg, arm, face, tongue, etc.), i couldn't see out of my left eye at all, couldn't speak properly, could not think of correct words, vomited excessively -- basically like a stroke.  nothing helped them except for large amounts of sleep, around 12-18 hours, and even after i woke up, i would be in a confused fog for a day or two with severe head and eye pain before i was back to normal.  i didn't know that these wasn't a regular migraine until i started surgical tech school and found out that a "normal" migraine was more of what i considered a regular headache.  at that point, i was only getting them about once every 1-2 years, so i didn't bother going to a doctor because they weren't regularly occurring.

starting about a year ago, i began getting them again.  at first, it was just one, but it was the old kind, where it was stroke-like with all the same symptoms.  i had another one a month later, and then again three weeks later.  i started seeing a neurologist who put me on topamax, but it hasn't been doing much good.  over the course of about six months, i have been increased to taking 75mg both at night and in the morning, and i have a prescription for imitrex to take when i feel a headache coming on, but the imitrex hasn't helped at all, no matter what combination i take it (one now, then another two hours later, two now, then one later, two now then two later, etc).

beginning in march, i started getting just visual auras without a headache.  these are frequently referred to as ocular migraines, and since i have these other migraines (basilar migraines), i am more prone to ocular migraines as well.  my neurologist figured that is what they were, and because i wasn't experiencing pain with them, that was my diagnosis.  at first, they were just pops of color/light and occasionally some flashing lights, with a shimmering cloud.  i had a brain MRI, which came back clean with no brain lesions (which is somewhat unusual for someone who has had the severity of migraines i have from a young age, but i'm not complaining!).

however, in the past 2-3 months, my visual symptoms have increased to a very bothersome level.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

wantable accessories june 2014 box review

hi everyone!  i apologize for not posting in a long time.  i have been having a lot of trouble with my health, especially with my heart and my migraines.  i will be posting more about it tomorrow and what i've been up to for the last two weeks, but i wanted to get a quick post up tonight to let you all know that i'm still here!  :)

i have been getting kind of inundated with my makeup boxes lately and realized that i have enough makeup for now (yeah, yeah, i know -- my boyfriend was so shocked he made me repeat it twice! haha).  i mostly stick to my 'holy grail' products and try a few new ones every now and again, and i certainly do try out the ones i get in my boxes, but i always find myself going back to my tried&trues over and over.  so i figured, why keep getting boxes that are full of products i won't get a lot of use from?  with that in mind, i have decided to branch out to other boxes.

this month, i signed up for the wantable accessories box.  i am a sucker for accessories, because i really think they are what make the outfit.  i am always on the hunt for anything that 'completes' an outfit -- whether it be just the right scarf, perfect color shoes, a statement necklace, etc.  i have often been known to buy a shirt i love and not wear it until i have gathered the right accessories that match it just so!  i rarely leave the house without matching and without a full outfit on (even if it's just a t-shirt and jeans, i still have matching shoes, accessories, lip color, and purse), so when i go out in sweatpants, you know i'm really sick.

after reading the wonderful reviews about this box, i was so excited to give it a try and i was not disappointed at all!  upon signing up, you take a very detailed style quiz to determine your style preferences and your love, like, and dislike lists.  you will never be sent anything on your dislike lists, so choose carefully.  you will be sent mostly things on your love list, but also things on your like list now and again.  my taste is pretty wide, so the quiz was easy for me, but i love that it's so personalized!  you can always update your style profile, so if you feel like you are getting too much of one thing or are looking for one specific item, it's very easy to change so you only get that. now, onto the review!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

boxycharm may 2014

i didn't review last month's boxycharm subscription box because it came during the time when my laptop died, and by the time i got my laptop back, it had been a few weeks and the appropriate posting period had passed, or so it seemed.  but let's just say i wasn't impressed.  it was my first boxycharm box and i had high hopes because it seemed like it was a good box to get, but i just wasn't too fond of it.  it had a lip liner that was just okay, a lip gloss that was meh, a nail polish that was a color i will never wear and was already starting to separate by the time i got my box, and overall i was just not pleased.  everyone seems to rave about their boxycharm, so i was pretty disappointed about what i had gotten, but i figured it wouldn't be fair to base my opinion on just one month because all boxes seem to have an off month.

so i decided that this month would be my deciding factor whether i cancelled my subscription or not. now i'm torn i loved my box this month!  it was full of wonderful products, and i have already used and enjoyed all of them.  i am hoping they keep this trend up, because if this is how most boxes are, i definitely understand why people rave about this subscription box.

Friday, May 23, 2014

fashion friday - hats

today's fashion friday is on an accessory that i enjoy all year round -- hats.  as i'm sure many of you also struggle with, there are lots of days when i just don't have the energy to take a shower or deal with my hair.  when you're healthy, you take for granted being able to hop in and out of the shower, brush your hair, or the twenty minutes it takes to style a cute updo!  so many days my limbs just will not cooperate (or feel like they weight 50 pounds -- each) and taking a shower seems like a gruesome task, one that will leave my joints screaming in pain for hours afterwards.  so instead, i just throw on a cute hat and out the door i go!

especially handy in winter weather when they do double duty to keep us warm, hats are equally trendy in the summer.  great for the beach as an extra layer of sun protection, they also look adorable with a sundress or maxi dress, can look dressy when paired with khaki shorts and a chiffon shirt for a nice dinner, and are a great pairing for an outdoor summer wedding.  they are also an easy outfit topper for just running errands or a quick lunch with friends, and a must have for any summer concert or night out on the town!  they're so versatile and easy to match with just about any outfit, whether it's colorful and vibrant, classy black with an edgy vibe, or preppy and nautical, there's a hat for every chronic illness fighter to be able to perk up your wardrobe, look great, and save yourself the pain and struggle that comes with getting ready.  i also included a few head wraps because they are a great alternative to hats in the super hot summer months when the temperatures are soaring but your hair is dirty and a hat just isn't appealing -- these great wraps will still cover the front of your hair without making a sweaty mess out of your whole head and will keep you cute while doing it.

now... check out these awesome finds!

Friday, May 16, 2014

fashion friday.

one of the things that i find most frustrating is finding clothes that are both comfortable and fashionable.  i love clothes -- just ask my boyfriend and our overflowing closet! -- and i used to love shopping for them.... until i got sick.  now shopping for them is hours upon hours of frustration.  nothing seems to fit right anymore, and because of the pain and bloating in my body, it's so hard to tell from day to day what size i am going to be, what body part is going to hurt and can't be pushed against that day, and i never know what size i should buy.  there are days that i can wear my skinny jeans in the morning, and by the evening my stomach is so distended from the inflammation in my bladder and belly that nothing else fits but drawstring sweatpants!  UGH!!  i know i am not the only one who has this problem (and who is so frustrated and upset by it), so i thought that i would start something new on my blog.

every friday, i am going to have fashion friday, where i showcase a type of clothing that i have found is especially friendly for those of us with chronic illnesses.  i have tried so many different styles of clothing over the years (with many hits and misses) that i want to be able to share the information with you all so that you don't have to waste the time that i did, too!  this way you can find the information right here, all compiled for you so you don't have to go searching on your own.  i will include many different price points and a variety of stores so that hopefully i cover all ends of the spectrum.  and hey, even if you don't have a chronic illness, i hope you enjoy the fashion finds as well!

for this first fashion friday, i am going to be covering a new trend for the spring and summer that i was very happy to see come back: shorts with elastic waistbands!  some stores are calling them "soft shorts" this year, but either way i am thrilled they are back! they are super comfy for us without looking like we are wearing sweatpants (which they kind of are, but who is gonna tell?! not me!).  combining them with a loose tank or tee, a sandal and a chunky necklace, and we can fly out the door looking great (even if we don't feel like it inside).  it's important to feel somewhat put together on the outside, even if we aren't feeling too great inside, because it boosts our spirits a bit and gives us just enough of an attitude change that we feel like we can face more than we could if we were in our sweats.  that's why i think it's important to try to put on "real" clothes when we leave the house, and that's where fashion friday comes in.  this way, we can wear regular clothes without stuffing ourselves into something that is uncomfortable and makes us feel worse.  so without further blabbing from me, checking out these awesome shorts.  :)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

international CFS/ME & fibro awareness day

today, may 12th, is a very important day in our little (but growing!) chronic illness community.  it is international chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis & fibromyalgia awareness day.  although i have not been officially diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, i do have fibromyalgia, and there are so many similarities between the two that it is often very difficult to tell the difference.  either way, both illnesses are extremely debilitating and have a profound effect on my life and daily functioning.

a few bloggers came up with the idea for a "blog bomb", or a mass of postings by those of us in the blog world that have these illnesses, to share our stories today so that we can bring awareness to these illnesses and how they affect our lives.  so little is known about how these illnesses are contracted and how they truly affect the body, why they affect certain parts of the body and not others, and we are still so far from finding effective medications and other treatments that allow us to overcome the symptoms and live a more normal life.  not only that, but these illnesses are very misunderstood and there is such a stigma attached to them, that we are just lazy and don't want to work, or that if we just exercised and ate a little better, we would be fine -- both of which are not true!  hopefully, through this blog bomb, we can raise awareness and hopefully some progress can be made regarding stereotypes and what having these diseases is really like.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

julep may 2014 box review

hi everyone.  i hope you all had an excellent weekend!  mine was a little rainy and gloomy -- pretty typical around here for this time of the year -- but it was still a nice one.

today i have the julep may box to share with you all!  i was looking forward to this box because it is the one where they introduced their plie wand, a new nail brush technology they have been talking about for a few months now with us mavens, and this is the month they are introducing it to everyone!  i always love to try out new products and improve the way i do things, so i was looking forward to giving this sucker a try.

for those of you that don't know, julep is a monthly nail polish subscription box for $19.99 that ships to both the US and canada.  you get to pick your polishes every month, in addition to having access to special sales and discounted prices all month long.  you can learn more about it here and can use coupon code FREEBOX to get your first box for free (plus $2.99 shipping).  on to the review!

this month i chose to go with the boho glam option, which included two polishes and the plie wand.  i also added on a color from one of the other profiles, and i added two sets of plie brushes/tops.  i wanted to add the striping brush and dotting tool set, but they were sold out by the time i made my polish choice, which i was pretty disappointed about.  i made my selections on the very first day of the maven selection window and they were already all sold out by the time i picked my collection.  i do a lot of nail art so i was really looking forward to getting the dotting tool & striping brush, so i am hoping they include them as add-ons for the next few boxes so i can get them that way.

the colors this month were pretty, but a lot of them seemed similar to ones in other collections recently, and there were a lot of pinks (over half the collection).

the first boho glam polish i got is jeanne, a "jet-set blue creme".  this is an absolutely gorgeous color!  i love all of the pastels this season.  i recently got a bright robin's egg blue from julep, but this is a more muted version of it, more of a baby blue.  it is very creamy and the formula is wonderful.  it's opaque in one coat.

the next boho glam polish i got is paulette, a "golden lilac tulle shimmer".  the golden shimmer in this is what really convinced me to get this set of polishes this month, because as soon as i saw it, i knew i had to have it!  i'm a sucker for purples in general -- i probably have 20 different shades -- but nothing quite like this.  the gold is absolutely stellar in person, and it really translates well onto the nail, unlike some of the other shimmers recently that looked beautiful in the bottle and not as well on the nail.  application was a dream, very smooth and even.  it was pretty opaque in one coat, but i added another just to really bring out the gold shimmer.  i think this will be a great color to last through until fall as well, a great transitional color to go with the golds and browns of the season.  really loving this one!

from the bombshell options, i also added on laree, a stunning "golden pink taffeta shimmer".  i just had to add this color on -- doesn't this just scream summer!?  i put it on as soon as i got my box, and it makes me happy just having it on my nails!  it's so bright and fun, and the gold really shines on the nails with this polish, too, especially in the sunlight.  i had a little bit of a problem with application -- i had to use three coats to get it completely opaque and if i wasn't very careful, the precision brush would pull up the coat beneath it.  i don't know if that is the formula or if the new brush has a different type of bristles than the typical ones.  either way, it's totally gorgeous and worth all three coats!

here is how the wand came in the julep box this month.  it's nice to have it in a little storage-type box with the foam protection to keep it in when you're not using it.  i wouldn't say it's fragile -- it's made of durable plastic for polishing your nails, after all -- but it is small and has moving parts, and if you have devious dogs like i do or other small creatures that like to pretend like they're starving, it's a good idea to keep the box around to store it in while you're not using it.

i was skeptical about using the plie wand because i don't usually have that many problems polishing my nails anyway, since i do it so often.  the box came with a little direction pamphlet this month showing how to attach the plie caps to other julep polishes, so you can use the wand with any julep polish.  it also says in the instruction packet to make sure to wipe off the precision brush with nail polish remover before you use it to remove the protective coating on it.  it mentions this twice in the little packet, so i figured it was pretty important.  i don't use regular nail polish remover because i hate the smell, so i wasn't positive if it would be an issue or not (i use la fresh eco-beauty acetone free remover pads), but i just rubbed the brush with one of my pads and i could feel the bristles of the brush softening and becoming less plastic feeling, so i knew it was working.  i rinsed it with some hot water, dried it on a towel, and that was that!  it didn't affect color application at all.

i wanted to use the coral color first, so i took the regular cap off like the instructions said and put the plie cap on.  i pressed down firmly but not too hard, and i painted my nails.  i didn't notice much difference when i used the wand and shorter precision brush with my dominant hand, but i did notice quite a bit of difference when i bent the wand and polished using my non-dominant hand (my left hand).  it was easier to use, and the wand fit nicely in the crook of my hand.  the bend in the wand gave it a slight weight that tilted it back just enough to keep it in place in my hand and balance it so that the polish was easier to apply and went on more smoothly.  the shorter, precision brush was much more helpful when applying the polish as well -- i had a lot less clean up to do around my nails, and i like how the brush was the same width and length as the normal julep brush, not fatter like some shorter stemmed brushes end up being.

this is how it looks when you bend the plie wand in the reverse position, which is for when you are polishing your non-dominant hand.  i also found it useful when polishing my toenails.

i also used the wand to polish my toe nails, and it was quite helpful then as well, with the movement of the wand syncing with my hand movements so that application was cleaner and and less of a struggle.  this is where the shorter brush really shined in my opinion, because it allowed more precise brush strokes, less pooling of color on small toe nails, and less polish ending up on the skin around the nails.  even if i don't always use the wands for my fingernails, i will definitely always be using it for my toes!

i did have a problem when i tried to remove the cap from the bottle of polish, however.  even though i did not press it on very hard when i put the cap on, it would not come off.  at all.  i pulled and pulled and nothing.  so i guess it's a good thing i ordered extra brushes and tops, because my coral polish is now permanently stuck with a plie top.  it's not really a big deal since the shorter brush is good even without the wand, but i didn't want to waste all of my extra brushes on my first day.  this happened when i used another cap with the purple polish as well, so just be really careful with how firmly you press the top onto the bottom.  it doesn't click or anything to let you know it's in place and i was worried it might come off, but just one quick press down seems to be enough to keep the cap on while not being too tight later so that you can't get it off.

i am interested to know how easy it would be to use the dotting tool and striping brush with the wand, since it was so much easier to apply polish with it.  i'm still disappointed i couldn't get a set, but i hope that i will be able to next month.  were any of you able to get the extra tools?

three coats of laree with one coat of seche vite as a topcoat.  this is in artificial light.

same swatch, but this is laree in natural light.  the gold shimmer really comes out and it's beautiful!  it's even more gorgeous in person -- none of the photos really do it justice.

base coat of paulette (two coats), with jeanne used for polka dots.  i used my own dotting tools for the dots.  no topcoat.

which polishes did you pick this month?  do you like your plie wand and were you able to get the extra dotting tool & striping brush?  what do you think?  i would love to hear from you!  leave a comment down below  :)

Friday, April 25, 2014

socialbliss style box april 2014

hi everyone!

i am SO sorry that it has been so long since i updated.  a couple weeks ago, i was in the middle of a blog post about healthy eating, and my laptop froze.  when i turned it off and turned it back on, it started back up in.. (dun dun dun) recovery mode.  *gasp*  i tried to stay calm, hoping it was just a fluke, but i had that cold pit in the bottom of my stomach where you just know that something really bad has happened.  sure enough, my hard drive had taken its final gasping breath.  two miserable, computer-less weeks and a few hundred dollars later, and i'm back!  cue the applause, eh?

i have gotten a bunch of new boxes to share with you in the past few weeks, and i am going to post that healthy eating post in the new few days as well, along with an update on my health and life while i was away.  but first thing is first -- the box i have been waiting for came in the mail two days ago, and i just cannot hold my excitement in any longer, so i have to share this with you!  it's the socialbliss april style box.

the socialbliss style box is a monthly beauty/fashion box that aims to improve your style by introducing you to new, up-and-coming brands and products.  the cost is $39.95 per month ($35 if you sign up for 3 months at a time) plus a $7.95 shipping fee.  each box contains 3-6 products and is guaranteed to have a value of at least $100.  sign up for your own style box here.  :)

okay, so i have heard nothing but absolutely glowing reviews about this box.  not just glowing, exhilarating.  like, oh my god, this is the best box in the world reviews.  knowing how much i love beauty&fashion boxes, i had to give it a try.  i tend to stay away from the more pricey boxes (anything above about $25 is too much for me, except for fabfitfun because that is only four times a year), but since everyone seems to freak out about how great this one is, i sucked it up and thought that i would splurge on it for one month and take the chance.  and hooooooo boy, am i glad i did!

a few days before they started shipping, socialbliss revealed what the box for april was.  in general, i don't like surprises.  they make me sweaty and anxious, and it's not a pretty sight.  but, i figured, this is just a beauty box, not something that actually affects the outcome of my life or world peace or something, so i didn't look.  i deleted the email, thinking i could stay above it all.

but i forgot about this thing called the internet.  how it ruins anonymity these days.  how scrolling through my instagram feed, usually a simple and innocent act, turned into me seeing exactly what would be in my box -- multiple times.  blergghhh.  so, yes, i did end up seeing what would be in my box before i actually got it.  but let me tell you -- it did not make it any less glorious.  let's get down to the reveal, shall we?

this was on the outside of the shipping box, which i thought was an awesome touch.

what a great thing to be greeted with when you open up the box, no?!  a confident booster and a great way to set the tone for the box.  i love things like that in boxes that make you feel good about yourself.  the packing was simple but colorful and tied with a nice ribbon.

another great reminder!  this was the front of the product description card.  packaging really does make so much difference!

okay, first product.
girls night out nail art kit by stella  (retail value $7)

i think that this is a great alternative to a beauty box instead of the standard nail polish or nail stickers.  i haven't ever seen anything like this in a beauty box before, so i think they're great.  it's a great variety in shapes -- hearts, moons, stars, circles, teardrops, flowers, squares  -- and there are a ton of each shape, so you will get a lot of applications out of the package.  it comes with a little stick for putting them on your nails and directions as well.  i love nail art, so i'm really looking forward to using these.  a great addition to the box!

touch of sparkle cubic zirconia earrings  (retail value $50)

i would never have picked these earrings out for myself because they just aren't really my style, but i actually love them.  they are glamorous but have just the right amount of edge that i can see myself wearing them with a dressy tee for a casual dinner and also to a fancier event.  i love the shape of them, how the dangles are behind the circle, and that they're aren't super sparkly (i am possibly the only girl in the world that despises sparkly diamond jewelry).  and, despite them being cubic zirconia, they don't look cheaply made, like some CZ pieces do.  they look very high quality and like they will last a long time.  i am pleasantly surprised by these, but very happy to add them to my collection!

the little black compact  (retail value $5)

i'm a sucker for anything flower and enamel lately -- i just bought some bobby pins with grey enamel flowers on them.  i don't know what it is but they just have this retro, cool girly vibe that i'm really into.  anyway, this cute compact is a sweet addition to this box and perfect for the mascara that is included below!  this will definitely be finding itself as a permanent fixture in my bag :)

better than sex mascara by too faced  (retail value $15)

see what i mean with the compact?  a perfect fit!  i have heard great things about this mascara but never tried it myself.  i flit around to different mascaras all the time, so i am sure that i will like this one as well.  this is a strange size for a mascara.. i don't know if it's a trial size or not, but it's too short to be a full size (unless they're really that small) and too big to be a sample size.  weird.  anyway, i am looking forward to seeing what this bad boy can do!

socialite's night out bag by izzy & ali  (retail value $129)

yes, you read that right.  retail value = $129.  for the bag alone. 

let me preface this review by saying that i own probably about 20 handbags at any given time.  i like colorful bags that are fairly smallish in size, and i'm fairly hard on my bags.  i put a ton of crap in them, leave them everywhere, and generally abuse them.  because of this, i usually buy purses on the clearance rack at target, tj maxx, jc penney, or anywhere that sells decent purses at pretty cheap prices.  my most expensive purse is a $60 vera bradley purse that i rarely use because i hyperventilate when i think about getting it dirty or lost.  even then, my boyfriend bought it for me, so i didn't technically spend my own personal money.

so needless to say, when i saw that this bag alone was valued at $129, came in its own dust jacket, with the chains wrapped in plastic.... i peed a little. 

it's gorgeous.  stunning.  beautiful.  amazing.  i am in love with it.  it's a box-shaped medium-sized handbag with a chain strap.  the metal hardware on the front flips horizontal so the flap can come open.  the inside has a zipper pocket and is decently roomy inside.  it's a lovely grey with a greenish undertone.  i saw other colors that people got -- black, yellow, navy blue -- but this was the color i had hoped for.  it's very neutral and will match the most things, i think.  i love it.  part of me wants to put it back in it's dust jacket and put it in glass and just stare lovingly at it and part of me wants to wear it with everything.  including my pajamas.

did i mention i love it?

overall, everyone was right about their gushing reviews of this box.  i just got it two days ago and i'm already itching to get the next one.  the total value of the box was $206, which is a craaazy good deal since with the shipping, it was only $48 that i paid.  the only thing i was disappointed about was that some people got two pairs of earrings -- the cubic zirconias and another gold, cutout tiered pair as well.  i was bummed because i was actually looking forward to those.  they are cute and very much my style, so i was looking forward to wearing them this summer.  i guess only some boxes got those? i don't know how that works so i am curious to know how they choose which boxes got the extra pair and which didn't, but besides that i really loved my box.  you can sign up for your own by checking it out here.

how about you?  did any of you order the style box as well?  i would love to hear which selections you got and how you felt about them!  leave me a message in the comments! :)

expect a few more posts from me this week while i try to catch up on my blogging and boxes.  hope you all have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

a day at the dog park.

i was feeling pretty good when i woke up this morning, and it was beautiful weather outside!  the sun was shining without a cloud in the sky and it was almost 60 -- a delight for new york in april.  so my boyfriend and i decided to take the dogs over to the dog park and hang out for a while.

i have had zoe (my min pin/pug mix) since she was a baby, so she is very well socialized and has a friendly temperament.  she gets along with every human and dog she comes across and is especially fond of babies and small humans (maybe because they are more her size).  she rarely if ever barks at people or dogs, and i don't ever have to worry about having a problem with her at the dog park.  i let her loose in the small dog area -- though she would prefer to be in with the big dogs, because she is convinced she is the size of a labrador! -- and off she goes, running up to everyone to say hi, and running in circles around the penned area.  she is going to be six this year, but you would never guess it by seeing her at the park.  she runs at full speed around and around and around, towards you and then zooming away at the last minute, only to come up behind you and flop down on her back, panting and begging for a belly rub.  she's so adorable and is exhausted by the time we leave.

our other dog, hendrix (the jack russell), is not the same at all.  we adopted him two years ago from a local rescue and he was abused before we got him.  we think he was about two years old when we got him, making him around four, and he isn't your typical jack russell.  he does have the hyperactivity at times and he definitely has the tracking/chasing skills, but for the most part he is a pretty chill, happy-go-lucky little guy.  he blended extremely well with our family and we had no issues with the two dogs bonding.  it was like they had been together all along, and now they are inseparable.  however, we don't know the exact circumstances surrounding his abuse, but because of the way he acts around certain things, we have been able to guess that he was left confined in small spaces for extended amounts of time and that he was allowed to be bullied by other, larger dogs.  because of that, he is pretty scared of other dogs.  he started out being really scared of other people too, but we worked with him and were able to break him of that pretty quickly, and he will now go up to almost anybody with his tail wagging, and lick their hand and say hi without much prompting.  but, we still can't get him to like other dogs that much, no matter what we do.  we take him to the dog park as often as we can tolerate, but we know that it's stressful for him because he gets so upset, and it's not really fair for other people who take their dogs there that do play nice, so it's a difficult situation.  either way, he loves the hiking time afterwards so it ends up being a win-win for zoe to play with the other dogs and for hendrix to enjoy the long hikes and things to sniff afterwards.

we went on some new trails this time and i found some cool things to photograph.  we didn't get to stay as long as we would have liked, and i can't wait to go back the next time the weather is nice again.

i hope you all had a great weekend too!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

julep april 2014 maven box review

hi everyone!

i am so excited to share with you today my review of the april julep maven box!  their new products this month were a blush and bronzer, but i chose to get just the entire nail polish collection and boy, am i glad i did.  this collection has to be their most beautiful collection yet!!  it is absolutely stunning, and i was so thrilled when i pulled them out of the box.

for those of you that aren't familiar, julep is a 4-free nail polish & beauty box that lets you pick what you receive each month based on a quiz you take when you sign up.  there are four different options that you can pick from, with the three of the options including 2 nail polishes and one beauty product (ie. this month was the blush), and one option being 3 nail polishes, all for $19.99 per month (free shipping, score!).  you always have the option of upgrading to the entire nail polish collection, or various other upgrade options, and each month a secret store is available where select nail colors are available at super discounted prices (usually starting at $3).  you also rack up points to use towards purchases, and always get discounted pricing on products when you are a maven.  check it out here if you're interested in more info!

onto the review...

this month they introduced the vivid collection.  when i got the options for my box, i just couldn't decide on which polish to pick because i thought they were all so gorgeous, so i upgraded to the full collection and got them all, nine polishes in total, and didn't get the blush because i have a lot of blushes anyway.

i love that they always include a little card with an inspirational message! it always makes me smile :)

even pulling them out of the box, i was stunned by the vibrant colors!

first up is bailey.  this is described as a 'hyped cobalt sheer'.  this is a very vibrant dark, bright blue (if that makes sense).  it is always hard to find a good blue that is both dark but also maintains the brightness on the nail that it shows in the bottle.  this does that.  it is a lot more sheer than i expected, but the buildable color allows it be dark without it losing its brightness.  application was easy and it is actually really cool looking with just one thin coat -- the spotty, sheer color looks marbled.  this color is so pretty!

next is flora, an 'exotic dragonfruit with blue shimmer.'  this is the polish i was most excited about in the box, and the most disappointed with on the nail.  in the box, it is gorgeous.  as you can see, it does have quite a blue shimmer, and the picture doesn't even do it justice with how strong the shimmer is.  it is beautiful.  i was so excited to get it on, but when i did, the shimmer all but disappeared.  :(  i painted all my nails with a white base coat in order to let the neons really pop, and this color took a good four coats to get mostly solid, and even then, some spots were still patchy and a little see-through.  

this is caitlin, a 'shocking hibiscus with gold shimmer.'  this is the typical hot pink neon in most summer collections, and it definitely holds its own.  it's difficult to spot much of the gold shimmer unless you really squint for it, and out of the bottle, it's even less visible.  in my opinion, neon pinks have a tendency to be pretty watery and hard to get opaque, even over a white base, but this was opaque after one thick coat.  very pretty, even without the shimmer.

next up is mariska, a 'juicy tangerine shimmer.'  this looks more like a creme to me in the bottle, even though the description says shimmer.  i didn't see much shimmer on the nail, either, but it had a flawless application.  one easy coat and it dried beautifully.  it seemed to dry into a matte finish, which i actually really liked for the look i was working with, but it usually indicates that it's a matte finish and i didn't see anything about that.  either way, this color is flawless.  another great one in the collection!

this stunner is kayla, an 'electric iris sheer with violet sheen.'  ah, the inevitable color-shifting blurple.  i adore this color!!  it is unbelievably stunning in the bottle and just as gorgeous on the nail.  it took about four coats to get to the color shown in the bottle (it started off as a hazy periwinkle with one coat over my white base) but it is simply beautiful.  the middle picture shows the pinkish purple tilt to it, and the bottom shows the more bluish tint it takes on, depending on the angle.  this might be my favorite polish from the collection.  it's such a great shade for spring, and i love how it changes colors in the light and is so versatile.  i will definitely be using this one a lot.

this bad boy is tatum (fitting name, eh?), a 'neon chartreuse chrome.'  this color is actually more bright on the nail than it photographed in the bottle, but the shade is still the same, and i really like it.  i'm not big on green polish in general, but the chrome makes it spring-y and cool.  one thick coat and it was opaque.  i'm still not sold on this green because i don't really like green polishes much in general (they remind me of gangrene haha) but i really like it under the emerald in the saran wrap design i made.  i can see myself using it in a lot of designs, but i'm not sure that i will wear it on its own.  either way, it's a really pretty color and i didn't have any problems with it.

this bright, lovely hue is sunny, an 'overexposed yellow chrome.'  i am very picky on yellow polishes, but this is definitely going down as my favorite yellow polish.  it's not too dainty, and not too chalky or milky, either.  the overexposed chrome part of it refers to an almost frosted look that is really cool and make application a dream.  one coat and i was done.  i did a second coat to make it even more saturated, but it didn't even change the hue that much.  i'm pretty pale but it doesn't look bad with my complexion, so it seems like a good tone to complement many skin tones as well.  this will definitely be a re-purchase for me, and one i will be wearing a lot this summer!

this is phoebe, a 'vibrant jungle metallic,' and the most pain in the ass polish to photograph!! even these pictures don't do the color justice.  the ones on the julep website don't even reflect the color i got in my box, so i don't know.  the color i got is an emerald teal color, super gorgeously pretty.  i just could not get the color translated to the picture, no matter how many pictures i took.  very frustrating. however, on the nail it was gooooorrgeous, just like in the bottom!  the jungle description is so accurate -- it reminds me of the amazon or something like that.  this will definitely be gracing my nails and toes frequently this summer.  i am so in love with this color!!

and last but not least, we've got maren, an 'electric bubblegum sheer with blue sheen.'  this was a color i ended up liking a lot that i didn't think i would.  however, it was not what i expected.  it was definitely not as sheer as i had thought, or maybe it was because i had a white base on.  one thick coat made it fairly opaque.  the bubblegum description is spot-on, it's very girly and neon, perfect for summer.  unfortunately, this one also lost a lot of the blue sheen it had in the bottle once it got on the nail.  i am hoping that maybe a full set of nails of the polish will look differently, but with the design i did, the sheens were all but gone.  bummer.  :(  it was still gorgeous and another color that will be in heavy rotation this spring and summer!

instead of doing complete swatches for each color, i decided to do a fun manicure including all the colors.  there were so many great combinations that instead of only five designs for both hands,  i wanted to do one design for each finger.  i chose fun geometric and dotted designs that were fun and bright for summer.  nothing fancy, but i think they are fun and colorful.  i really love how the starburst, saran wrapped nail, and the blue and purple dotted nails came out.

what do you think?  which style did you pick this month, or did you get the full collection?  which polish is your favorite?  i would love to hear from you!  leave a comment letting me know what you think!  if you're interested in signing up to receive a julep box every month, check it out here.

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