Thursday, February 28

Wet N Wild Private Viewing Review Swatch

What can I say about this other than... mannequin hands!

Well, I have a fantastic superpower of describing things I like and making them sound really awful. So perhaps it's best you see this polish for yourself. 

What I mean by mannequin hands is that it gives your nails a natural finish. But just a bit shinier and just a bit pinker. You know how there's a thing called My Lips But Better? This is My Nails But Better. Along with Wet Cement, I am huge into collecting more of these naturally shaded nails. I can't sing enough praises. Classy, subtle, demure, polish perfection.

You guys shared some of your favorite nudes last time... tell me what your favorite subtle shades are!

Tuesday, February 26

Patty Melts, now with 50% more sriracha

So, the original recipe is from Pioneer Women. Like always, her food looks mighty delicious.  Mine does not. But my food? My food has sriracha.

Here's the story. I hate jalapenos. I can't stand the type of heat that they give. But I loooove sriracha. It's strange because I have a friend who thinks sriracha is the hottest thing ever, but eats jalapenos liberally. I'm just the opposite.

This meal was kind of made for the both of us. You can add jalapenos if you're crazy, or you can substitute with sriracha or a hot sauce of your choice. (Yes, that's sandwich bread, not a bun. Don't judge.) Other than the interesting choice of spices, there's not too much going on here. Just a meaty meal! 

Saturday, February 23

Goal Setting: When It's Okay to Say No

It's that time of year when we're setting goals or more likely, starting to lose our resolve. So, let me share this story with you. I was in a "Professional Skills" class and we were talking about goal setting. The guest speaker asked for a volunteer. A classmate was chosen and walked to the front of the room. 
via weheartit

Step 1: Identify the Goal. The speaker asked him what his goal was. He answered, to be more fit. It's a pretty standard goal for all of us.

Step 2: Major Obstacles. After stating the goal out loud for all of us to hear, the speaker asked him what was in the way of accomplishing that goal. This particular student's reasons included a lack of time due to school and familial commitments, playing video games as well as laziness. More often than not, it's not the fact that the goal itself is too difficult to reach, but that there are so many things standing in its way. One third of the battle is to acknowledge and remove the obstacles. 

Step 3: Identify the Plan of Action. The speaker asked the student how he planned on achieving his goal, what he defined as more fit. The student replied that if he could work out for thirty minutes at the gym, five times a week, he would be satisfied with himself. 

The issue here is that there's only 24 hours in a day. We have jobs, spouses, children and school. It's not possible to achieve all that we want within the confines of time. This is when the speaker asked the student what he could do differently. Would he be willing to sacrifice a bit of video game time to work out? The student replied yes. Would he be willing to sacrifice a bit of family time? Or allow his grades to suffer a little? The student was more hesitant about that. 

That's when the speaker said something that really resonated with me. If there are certain things you're not willing to sacrifice, then it's okay. Your priorities don't have to match anyone else's. Accomplishing your goals is supposed to make you happy, not miserable. Stopping isn't failure, but sacrificing things you treasure, is. 

Thursday, February 21

Printed Manicure

So I pretty much never do designs on my nails anymore. Part of it is because of time... the other part of it is because I'm trying to transition to a more work appropriate nail polish collection with more reds and pinks and less greens and blues.

But most of it is time. However, every once in a while, I still try to do those manicures that are floating around the blogosphere. You know, the ones that are so popular everyone has seen them? This printed manicure is certainly one of them. 

Now, I'm not exactly known for having the steadiest hand or being a perfectionist when it comes to these things. That's why I liked this one so much. First, I painted a coat of gold with China Glaze's Champagne Bubbles. Then I dabbed on some Wet N Wild Wet Cement using its brush. The process is even less precise than my beloved polka dots (1, 2, 3, 4). Finally, I surrounded the dots with Wet N Wild's Ebony Hates Chris, a basic black color. This part was the most challenging. If you want to be a perfectionist, you can spend hours doing this. But, if you're like me, it won't take you long at all. I used a toothpick dipped in a bit of black polish to do this step. The final result is a pretty glamorous look. 

And sorry about the cuticles. This winter has not been kind. 

Tuesday, February 19

Graze Subscription Box

So... Healthy eating. I've talked about this on my blog before. Specifically, I've talked about snacking. I love snacking. I often want a bag of chips or some chocolate ... and I just can't resist. How many times have I run out to grab a few bags of Hot Cheetos (they're on sale, you can't get just one!)? Too many for me to recount on the internet. 

But I was blog browsing when I found Graze. Graze is a website that features subscription boxes with snacks. There's a few reasons why it's awesome. 

1. It's healthy snacking. I mean, is that not awesome? It gives me snacks... they're bite sized and portioned out. They have nuts and seeds, which I don't love. They also have chocolate and dried fruit which I adore. 

2. It's a subscription box. I find these really interesting... but they're generally so pricey for what you get. I wouldn't pay 35 bucks per month for anything. Not even really awesome items. I'm horrified of having items around that I won't use. But food? Food, I'll eat. And this box isn't 30 dollars or 15, it's 5!

Currently, you can only sign up if you have a code (use ZTGD21L) and you get your first box free. 

I just got my box so I thought that I'd share a few pictures of it. 

Cookies and Creme - This was delicious. The white chocolate chips were decadent. The cookies were perfectly sweet and crunchy. The seeds were super unexpected, but somehow made a delicious snack. It took so long to eat that I felt like I was eating a lot but I probably ate less than a spoonful of seeds. The roasted hazel was strange in that it didn't taste like anything. Overall, I thought that this was a fantastic mix of stuff I would have never had. 

Apple Crumble - The combination of apples, raisins and cinnamon honey almonds were as amazing as they sound. Nothing really more to say... All the players worked wonderfully together.  

Lemon and Poppy Cake with an Afternoon Infusion - I would say that this one is my favorite but.. . I can't choose a favorite from this bunch. I will say that I'm an avid tea drinker and I really loved this tea. I ended up dipping a corner of my sweet, moist and flavorful lemon and poppy cake into my tea. All I wish is that I had more of both. 

Cracking Black Peppercorn - I saved this for last because I thought it was going to be my least favorite. Turns out, I was wrong. This was an amazing rice snack (I forgot how much I loved rice snacks). The peppercorn was a great flavor. Definitely one of those snacks I couldn't stop munching on.

All in all,  I really love it. If you want it, the code is ZTGD21L. While you get your first box for free, only the first four people can use this code... so first come first serve. If you have this too, I'd love to know what you got in your box.

Saturday, February 16

Lush Bohemian Soap Review

I got this a while ago with a Lush order. Bohemian has been on my to-try list for a while as I love all citrus smelling scents. Bohemian is has a sweet lemon scent that's perfect for those mornings when you don't quite want to get up. 

Bohemian is like a sweet lemon candy or lemonade that you know it's going to be too sweet to drink, but perfect to smell. I could try going on in my description but it's just going to be the same two words over and over again. Sweet. Lemon. 

Though it doesn't smell like too much right off the bat, the scent really opens up in the shower. Your bathroom is going to smell amazing after using this. However, the scent isn't so strong that   you can't use another scented lotion after it. Though I've always looked for soaps that linger on my skin after showering, this product really opened me to the idea that I can just enjoy the product in the shower and try something else on afterwards. ...MORE SCENTS. 

Bohemian had medium lather and I would definitely consider getting a larger size of the product. 

Thursday, February 14

Handbags for Work: A Practical Post

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Here's my reminder to load up on chocolates.... tomorrow!

Last time I just posted about handbags that I wanted. This time, I'm looking for ones in a price range I'd actually buy. I want a purse that looks great, but I also want a purse that's not high maintenance. I don't want to worry about it being stolen because of the brand or not be able to set it out on the ground. I like being able to use, abuse, and then dump my things. 

This first one is a really sleek looking bag. I worry that that straps are a bit too thin and that the interior would be unorganized but overall, it looks great. Almost reminds me of Prada. 

Merona Saffiano Tote, Target
This houndstooth tote is pretty cute. Not sure that it'd be large enough for a laptop but the print and the extra pockets on the side gives it a little something-something. 

Merona Houndstooth Tote, Target
I'll admit that I don't love the texture of this tote, but it's rare to find an aesthetically pleasing computer bag. (Right? Or is it just me?) I think I might need to bite the bullet and get a designer laptop bag. However, I have no idea what they look like or how much they actually run. 
Bueno Black Veg Tan Computer Tote, Target
While this bag is probably the best looking of the bunch, I bet it's the smallest. I always want the cutest, most structured bags the most but these are always the most expensive and not meant for throwing around and abusing. This one is an okay price, but still... 

Cissone, Aldo
This looks like a decent, practical bag. ...Meh. It just doesn't excite me. Will I ever be able to find a bag that is pretty and functional? The world may never know. Tune in next week on... Wait. I'm off track. 
Bueno Black Media Computer Tote, Target
What do you guys use? Any recommendations for me?

Monday, February 11

My Life Is Average Monday: Best of Phoenix A'fare

Luck plays a funny role in our lives. It was a friend of a friend who first introduced this event to me. There was a lot of maneuvering in order to get a good deal and after tickets were secured, the friends  who had introduced me to this event backed out. 

But basically, this was one big party. It took place at the Science Center and boasted free alcohol and food from over 60 local restaurants. The tickets were about 13 dollars. That's even less than an usual adult ticket to the science center, not to mention all the free drinks and food! It was a formal event too, with music, entertainment and dressing up. 

I tried a lot of interesting foods. To the left, some kind of open face mini-sandwich. The the right, a maple bacon doughnut. 

It was an incredible amount of fun trying to eat through three floors of the Science Center, drinking, and playing with all the fun science equipment that they left out!

Do you try to go to gatherings like this one? 

Saturday, February 9

Wet N Wild Wet Cement Swatch

With a name like Wet Cement, you wouldn't think that it's anything amazing. But it's my first taupe/greige color and I love it to death. 

I think nails like this are neutral toned and therefore work appropriate... correct me if I'm wrong? There's also a million shades of brown/neutral/beige and grey for me to get, so I doubt I'll ever get bored. While it may seem like a pretty boring and drab color, I also envision this working in some nail art!

Thursday, February 7

New Black Winter Boots

Does anyone else want to buy boots EVERY WINTER? I am ashamed to say that for someone who lives somewhere where it rarely rains, never snows and gets to be in the 50s during winter... I think about boots much too often. I think I have purchased winter wear shoes ever season now (wedges from last winter, and worn-to-death brown boots from the winter before that). 

This season, I noticed that my go-to knee length black boots were cracked and scuffed, not to mention the fact that the heel was dying. In addition to wear and tear, I just didn't like the patent texture anymore. On top of that, I was really wanting a pair of flat, black riding boots. However, the quality ones I looked at were over 80 dollars and I loved none of the cheap ones I looked at. So, for weeks, my search went on. 

Until I went into Ross one day and spotted these. For how much? 24 dollars. 

Aren't these gorgeous? These are from the Natural Sole by Naturalizer line. Like everything else in the line, these boots are lightly padded on the bottom, making them super comfortable to walk in. Unlike almost everything else in the line... these are rather chic and young looking. I love how sleek and refined they look. The ankle button detail is nice and simple... one of those goes with everything, you can dress them up and down type of shoes. They're meant to be worn with tights, but I manage to stuff skinny jeans in them anyways. 

The only thing I can pick on them about is that they're not super comfortable at the ankle. You can already see in the picture above that the ankle part is a bit wrinkled... and not quite smooth. It's near impossible to bend down in it. In fact, I've fallen down while crouching in a Forever 21. 

Other than that one detail though, I love these shoes. 

What do you love about boots?

Tuesday, February 5

Maybelline Volum' Express Mascara: The Mega Plush Review

I haven't purchased a mascara in what seems like FOREVER. For the longest time, I gave up on mascara. The one that I owned was a flaker so our relationship didn't last too long. Also, that mascara was impossible to remove. It may have been that I was trying to remove it incorrectly... but let's just say it was not on my good side. 

After a long break, I was ready to get back into the game. I opted for a waterproof formula this time, since I heard that that's what you need to keep your eyelash curl. Below, you can see the packaging. Maybelline claims that this is a gel-mousse mascara... I have no idea what that means. They also boast that this mascara is never brittle or flaky, something I was looking forward to. 

Below, you can see both the container and the brush. Both are pretty standard fare for Maybelline, I think. I don't know if I love it. It doesn't flake, that's for sure. However, it is still quite difficult to remove. It doesn't do too much for volume. I put it on and my lashes feel spidery, not full by any means. Even after putting several coats on, it still doesn't feel full. 

It smells a little bit weird, but that might only be because I put the wand to my nose and inhaled. I do have to say that this is fabulous at keeping my curl. While I've learned through this product to always bet on black stick with waterproof, I'm still searching for the perfect mascara.

Saturday, February 2

Blog Resolutions

I've done the blog goals thing. I've asked you guys what I should do... but I think a more fun activity is what we should ALL do. Here are the goals that I decided on last year. I'll reflect on how I think I did on them. If you want to, please feel free to send me some constructive criticism. 
via weheartit

1. Better content + writing: I don't think I've improved on my writing as much. At the same time, I don't think it's as important to me as it once was. As far as content goes, I think I have my moments here and there. There are writing heavy posts and then there are picture heavy posts; my blog has a mix that I'm satisfied with

2. More contact: I think I've started using my twitter a lot more and interacting with you guys. To improve on this further, I really want to start doing more link up posts and tags!

3. Leave real comments: I go back and forth on this one. I can't decide whether the comments I leave are good enough. I make an effort when I can but there are times when I can't think of anything intelligent or meaningful to say. 

4. Vlog: I made a few vlogs, but due to my lack of editing skills, I really don't think that's my medium. At least, not for now. (Possibly, not ever, because I find staring into a camera to be very creepy.)

5. Different types of posts: Last year at around this time, the food tag was much larger than any other. Now, it's an even spread between food, outfits and reviews. I think some of those reviews are restaurant reviews so I could do with adding more makeup reviews!

6. Hauls: I never buy a lot of clothes, all at once. I have this horrible habit where I go shopping every weekend and purchase one item of clothing. This is a to-be-continued work in progress because I'm still trying to take pictures whenever I purchase new pieces of clothing.

7. Career: I think I've definitely done some more career posts I'm proud of. I tweet a lot of career links, so.... I'd call this one accomplished! 

Here are my goals for the new year! 

1. Better pictures: I'm no photographer, but I think good pictures are composed of nice light, good focus, and a decent background. I seriously believe that my phone is better for most pictures than my actual camera. But with either device, I'll try taking more time to post better pictures. 

2. Put more effort into writing: Yes, this is the same as number 1 up above. It's frustrating to me that my favorite blogs have extremely talented writers behind them; their excellent writing is part of the reason why I enjoy reading so much. However, I think if I found my blog, I would be turned off by the writing. And that's just sad. 

3. More makeup reviews: And when I do makeup/skincare reviews, make them more detailed. I think nowadays, I kind of half donkey (you know what I mean, right?) it. I should analyze my reviews after I write them and consider if it would help me make a purchasing decision. 

So, I know that more than half of you have done something like this too. Feel free to link me to your posts (if I haven't read them already!)

How do you think you've done on blog goals you set last year?
What are some new goals for your blog?