Friday, September 27, 2013

Simple Pleasures


It seems like it took an eternity for Friday to finally arrive, but it showed up right on time. Here are my simple pleasures. 

Easy-Peasy Extensions
Photo from Halo Couture
I've toyed with the idea of getting extensions from time to time. The grow-out process from short to not-so-short can be daunting. While I endured the long, painful road and it's a good length now, I still wish my locks were longer. Enter, Halo Couture. They appear to be a little more secure than clip-ins, and better than the damaging process of glued-in, woven-in extensions and seemingly easy to use. A girl at the shower I went to last weekend was wearing one and I had NO idea. I NEED one. NOW.

Glass Pumpkin Patch
Photo from Girl Glass Studio
My seester typically goes to The Great Glass Pumpkin Patch with one of her close friends, but this year I guess she can't make it, so I'm going with her instead! I'm not sure why her friend can't go, but I'm pretty stoked because I've secretly wanted to go for some time! I don't plan on purchasing anything, but I'm not going to make any promises. 

A Winter Coat
Photo from Macy's
I tend to shy away from the "Puffer" coat because I don't want to feel like I'm puffy, but this one by Michael Kors just screamed my name and was super flattering. I tried it on last week and have been thinking about it ever since, so I knew when I went out shopping with my mom last night that I had to have it. Luckily, I had seen it online and it was on sale, so when the price rang up above the Internet price, they went ahead and matched it and then proceeded to give me an extra 15% off. It may not be quite cold enough yet to begin wearing it, but once the weather cools down, this will be a regularly worn item.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Nailed It.

I've talked about my struggles with keeping my manicure in tact because of how tough I am on my hands and also my lack of patience in letting it dry.

I tried the gel manicure, and while I liked how strong it was and how well it held up, I didn't like how terribly brittle my nails were after I took it off. A regular nail polish manicure (even from a professional) will wear within a day. And as much as I LOVE Sally Hanson Salon Effects for the ease of application, they too damage my nails when I take it off.

Well, I finally had a breakthrough with a nail polish that held up to my rigid wear test - Ruffian. It came in my monthly Birchbox and it truly held up. Now, I always do base coat, two coats polish, and a top coat, so it's not like I've been skipping steps, but for some reason, this lacquer was strong. So, it prompted me to buy another Ruffian polish in the nude hue, Naked. Okay, I didn't actually buy it since I used my Birchbox points and because I ordered it this month, I had free shipping! Anyway, this one has held up as nicely as Fox Hunt did, but now it's holding up even better because I have a new secret nail weapon.

It's a nail miracle. Basically, it's a way to achieve the gel nail look at home without the fancy dancy machine, without the special gel polish, and you still get extended wear and it dries quickly (a HUGE bonus for me). I even tested it's quick drying claim by purposefully dinging my nail after waiting for 5 minutes or so, and while it did indent (likely from the polish beneath it not being fully dry), it seemed to self heal and the indentation faded away. 

Within ten minutes the polish was firmly set in place and I didn't have to worry about nicking, smudging, or dinging them anymore. I stuck my hand inside of a bag to pull something out, and my nails were set like I had just gotten a gel mani from the salon. While it is a bit on the pricey side, I didn't have to fork out the dough on this one. My wonderful Nana bought the set for me as a gift for all the times I've come over to help her out with her iPad. So thank you Nana for introducing me to this AMAZING product. I don't know how I've lived without it. 


Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekend Recaptured.

This weekend was pretty fantastic.

Saturday was amazing. I couldn't have been happier that, on the last day of summer, it was pouring down rain by the middle of the morning. It eventually cleared up and it turned into a pretty nice day, but for those four hours, I was in heaven.

I had a quick meeting in the morning, stopped by Starbucks for my Chai latte, and then awaited my seester's arrival. We had big go play bingo! And not just any bingo, BLINGO BINGO.

Blingo Bingo is a little get together for Park Lane reps to show off the new line of jewelry and give away some great pieces from their other lines. Not only is there a chance to win with bingo (which riddles me with anxiety every time I get close to winning), they also have a raffle so you can pick and choose the pieces you hope to win. I focused my energies on two very specific pieces and...I won BOTH. Saturday was my day and I made out like a bandit. Not only did I win an early bird raffle (for those who arrived on time), but I got great pieces all for a $20 gamble.

The French Silk Necklace - Retail $60

The Go Glam Multi-Strand Bib Necklace - Retail $198

And of course every time I won something, I had to put it on. 

Sunday was also a fabulous day and I spent the afternoon at my friend's bridal shower and got to meet some of her closest friends. Thankfully, they were all super sweet. I can't stand when I go to a function and I have to deal with a bunch of catty bitches. I thanked my lucky stars the entire time I was there that they were a good group of girls and I wondered why more girls couldn't act like this on a regular basis. Anyway, I digress. Back to the main event... 

The shower took place at a quaint tea shop in Niles called, Thyme for Tea

The tea was fine (I'm a little picky) and the food was both fresh and delicious, but the best part was seeing L looking so happy and grown up. She dazzled in a blue dress and blue floral heels, complete with a small lace head piece and fingerless lace gloves. She looks far better than I do in this photo, but hey, she's the guest of honor! 

Her party favors were absolutely adorable, too - measuring spoons and a seriously cute teapot timer.  

I usually dread weekends that are jam packed with things to do, but this weekend was the perfect blend of activities and down time. I was exhausted when Sunday evening rolled around, but that just meant I slept like a baby last night.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Simple Pleasures

I took a few days off because I've been feeling a little blue and I didn't really feel like I had much to contribute in a positive way. Not to mention that I've been working on a post that is important to me and not something I want to rush. So, I took some "me" time, watched some TV, went shopping, played some solitaire, etc. Now, I'm back for a weekday wrap up with these simple pleasures.

A Bridal Shower
Photo from Victoria's Secret
Showers are a hit or a miss. You either love 'em or hate 'em. Or you love them until you've gone to so many that you just need a breather. Luckily for me, I've only been to a few in the past year, so I'm not burnt out on them yet. I also happen to particularly like the girl whose shower I'll be attending, so that makes it even better, and it also gives me an excuse to go shopping. Not that I needed an excuse in the first place.

iOS 7
I don't care about your Samsung Galaxy S4 or whatever smart phone you feel is superior to the iPhone. I enjoy using my iPhone. To be honest, I'm generally not one to talk via social media about these types of things, but I'm so happy with the new look, I figured I'd share my enthusiasm. I haven't upgraded in 3 years, so I'm still using my iPhone 4, but since the iOS 7 update has changed so drastically, it's sort of like I have a new phone, without Siri, the ability to take a panoramic photograph, or the finger scanner. I'm not one of those crazy people who camps out overnight for a new phone, or one who is going to shell out hundreds of dollars for the new version when I'm not eligible for an upgrade, so I'm hanging onto mine (even though I'm overdue for an upgrade). I do like how light the newer phones are, but I don't care for the size. I'll definitely be wait another year before I decide whether or not to get a new phone.

A Battery
I know what you're thinking...a battery? Really? This is called "Simple Pleasures" and really, I am so glad I finally remembered to take my watch to the jewelry store to have them put in a new battery. It's only been YEARS. Plural. More often that not I acquire a new watch rather than take in my others, which is likely why I have a drawer full of dead watches. It's silly, I know. To be honest, getting a new battery put in is kind of like getting a new watch. I've been wearing my Michael Kors virtually nonstop since I opened it two Christmases ago, but ever since I got my Betsey Johnson watch up and running last weekend, I've been wearing it whenever an ensemble calls for silver, rather than a shade of gold. It's never going to replace my versatile MK watch, but I quite like having the option to wear another one. I need to get a few more batteries replaced on some of my smaller watches and have a necklace or two repaired and I'll be set!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Versace Bright Crystal

Currently, I am hopelessly devoted to Versace Yellow Diamond. It.Just.Works. After I received my initial deluxe sample, tried it out, and fell in love with it, I actually went online and placed another cosmetic order just so I could have a second bottle to keep at work. Best idea ever. So while I have been faithfully using my beloved fragrance, I soon came across yet another offer for a Versace perfume. Since I already loved Yellow Diamond, I figured it was safe to assume I'd love this one as well. While that isn't always the case, it was with this one - Versace Bright Crystal.


While Yellow Diamond has a citrus aspect to it, Bright Crystal is all floral. I tend to shy away from strictly floral scents, but this one is far from overpowering and actually makes me want to dab on a little more than usual. This could be because it does seem to wear off a little quicker than it's cousin fragrance, but to be truthful, I couldn't care less...I love the scent. Though it hasn't dethroned Yellow Diamond from my top spot, it is definitely up in my Top 5. I think it's great to have a signature scent, however, sometimes you just need to switch things up a little bit. So far, Versace fragrances have been kind to me and I'm pleased to have a second one to add to my rotation.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Birchbox Review Part Deux

Now that I've had a chance to use the remaining items in my September Birchbox, I'm ready to finish my review.

 Méreadesso All-In-One Moisturizer
Photo from Birchbox
First impression, it was a little thicker than I'm used to. I used it for a few days before giving it my final review because sometimes you have to use a product consistently before you truly know how it works. It didn't really make me break out, but for me, it's a little heavy for my daytime use. I prefer something a little lighter since I do wear a medium coverage foundation and that feels heavy enough. However, I did feel like it was a great moisturizer to use at night after taking off all of my makeup. It says it's great for all skin types, but it doesn't say it's oil-free, which makes me a little leery when using this type of product. Verdict: For me, it's great for night use and I'll finish the sample, but at $120 a bottle, I won't be purchasing this pricey product. 

Yes To™ Grapefruit CC Cream
Photo from Birchbox
This product was a little iffy for me. CC, meaning Color Correcting, is something that will help even out skin tone, but this one just left my skin feeling sticky. Sure, sure, it helped even out, but so does my Marcelle BB Cream or my foundation. Truthfully, it wasn't something I could wear as a stand-alone product even though the light color worked fairly well with my skin tone. It didn't mattify as it dried and since I'm not a huge fan of the "dewy" look, I topped it off with a powder. Once I did that it was slightly more acceptable, but you definitely still need to use a concealer if you have any noticeable problem areas. Also, the smell sticks around for a while and I wasn't exactly a huge fan of that. Verdict: I'll be sayin No To this CC Cream. 

Well, that's it for this month's Birchbox. Just to recap on the other three products in case you missed Part Une:

 RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer in Fox Hunt - The bottle is on the small side, but it's worth the splurge. The color was lovely, it held up better than some other higher end brands, and I will be buying another bottle.

Yes To™ Blueberries Cleansing Facial Towelettes - These are so-so. Great for on the go types and those who don't wear a lot of makeup. Not something I would use every day. 

Benefit Ultra Plush Lip Gloss in SugarbombIt's a keeper. It's everything you want in a lipgloss. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Simple Pleasures

A Gift
Last weekend when I went to visit Raye at work, she gave me a bracelet to wear that she had gotten from a local jewelry maker. Then she told me I could keep it, which of course resulted in squeals of delight. I am the ultimate lover of presents and this one was completely unexpected. I've been wearing it nonstop since then. It's super versatile. The hammered gold makes it feel a little less formal as does the skull bead, which is a dark enough brown that I don't feel weird about pairing it with black.

Booked Vacation
Photo found here
Palm Springs here I come! My seester and I finally booked our vacation. Since she never got her passport renewed, we were a little limited with our travel options, but once we figured out a good location for October, we were all set. Sort of. We settled on P.S. a while ago, but never got around to booking a room. Turns out it was good that we waited because I found us a hotel with a better rate, separate queen beds, and we're still getting a pool view. Most of all, I'm looking forward to a few days of lounging by the pool with a drink in my hand, with nothing more to do than just be where I am. 

A Hair Cut
I've been putting off cutting my hair because it was finally feeling like long again, but those extra two inches that were getting a little straggly at the ends needed to come off. I couldn't bear to part with them until now. My hair is still bordering on what I like to call "Mermaid Hair" so I'm content. Although I did have a brief moment when I highly considered chopping it all off because the girl before me had the cutest pixie cut. I don't think I could pull it off that well, so I'm staying with the long locks for now and also am continuing to embrace the reverse ombré look.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Birchbox Review - Part Une

I love presents, so sometimes I buy things online just so I can feel like I'm getting a present in the mail, even though I already know what's inside. One reason I like Birchbox is because I know I'm getting a present, but this time I don't know what the contents will be. I'm not one of those people who hates surprises, so I steer clear of all of Birchbox's social media updates so I won't have any spoilers when it comes to what I'll be getting each month.

Yesterday, I was waiting on pins and needles for my 5 samples to arrive. When the mail was finally delivered, I tore it open with anticipation of the goodies that were going to greet me. They did not disappoint.

Here is this month's breakdown:

 RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer in Fox Hunt
Yes To™ Blueberries Cleansing Facial Towelettes
Méreadesso All-In-One Moisturizer
Yes To™ Grapefruit CC Cream
Benefit Ultra Plush Lip Gloss in Sugarbomb

It generally seems like there is one thing I am instantly most excited about in the box. The first one I got, it was the Marcelle BB Cream. For the second, it was definitely the Sumita eyeliner. This time, it was definitely the...

RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer.

Photo from Birchbox
I had already painted my nails two days before, but I couldn't resist trying out the RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer. The orange-red hue was brilliant against my skin tone and wasn't too bright. Sure, the color is bold, but it's a nice alternative to red and is just in time for fall. I swiped on two coats, but I could tell that if I were in a rush that one coat would have held up just fine. It seems to have some staying power because I've had it on for a full day and it hasn't even chipped. Generally speaking, my manicure begins to chip within a day. A gel manicure starts chipping within 2-3 days for me, so this stuff is holding up rather well. Not to mention that the cute little top on the brush did seem to make it easy to paint on. It was a little on the small side for a full-size bottle, but I may have to break down and purchase the nude shade as well. Verdict: On the small side, but worth the splurge. I will be buying another bottle. 

Yes To™ Blueberries Cleansing Facial Towelettes
Photo from Birchbox
The Yes To™ Blueberries Cleansing Facial Towelettes left much to be desired. While it had a sweet, pleasant smell, it didn't seem to perform well. After wiping my face thoroughly, I could feel that it hadn't taken off all of my makeup, so I used a toner immediately after. There was still plenty of residual color coming off, so I rewashed my face using my usual cleanser. While I'm not completely knocking these bad boys, they aren't earning a permanent spot in my beauty routine. They'd be great for camping when I'm not wearing makeup or an easy way to freshen after a workout or after a long flight, but not for every day use. Verdict: so-so. Great for on the go types and those who don't wear a lot of makeup. Not something I would use every day. 

Benefit Sugarbomb Lip Gloss
Photo from Birchbox
Benefit's Sugarbomb lip gloss is rather nice. It isn't too glittery, it isn't sticky, and it didn't have a bad taste. There is a slight fruity scent to it, but it isn't strong and the tint is perfect. On my lips it adds just a slight touch of color and, of course, it has a high gloss finish. This is easily going to be a daily go-to beauty product and an effortless way to add just a hint of something extra. Verdict: It's a keeper. It's everything you want in a lipgloss. 


Monday, September 9, 2013

Weekend Recaptured.

Carmel on Saturday with my seester was so much fun, and even though I forgot my phone on the charger, I found that I didn't miss it at all. We hardly hit any traffic going one way or another and the weather was brilliant when we arrived. We hit up Nico Restaurant for lunch where I devoured a delicious sandwich of grilled zucchini, avocado, red onion, and mozzarella on the freshest bread. I may have been slightly starving, but it would've hit the spot even if I wasn't famished. There were several items on the lunch menu I wanted to try, but that just means I have an excuse to venture down the coast another day! Not to mention, the blended beverage we got from the Carmel Coffee & Cocoa Bar before heading out was to die for. The Chocolate Truffle tasted as good as I hoped it would. My stomach is growling for one right now!

In between meals, we walked our butts off around town, hitting up some shops we didn't make it into last time and discovering some new ones as well. I walked away with a new pair of boots (just in time for fall!) and an adorable cardigan. Quality purchases and they were both on sale! T held tight to her money that day and didn't even indulge in a skein of yarn for me to knit her a scarf. I was impressed. The day was fantastic, even though the fog rolled in while we were having lunch and didn't roll back out until we were leaving. It was crazy weather, but it sure beat being in the heat back home!

We wrapped up our evening with a smelling party of all of my perfume samples before indulging some more with pizza and a movie. The perfect way to wrap up the perfect day.

Sunday I woke up with big plans in mind - wash my car, drive out to HMB, pick up a coffee, stroll along the beach, and head to see one of my besties at work. Then I glanced at the time and realized I had woken up a bit later than I wanted. I didn't let that deter me from giving my new baby a bath, but before I could hop into the shower to get ready, I had a bit of a hitch in my plans when this happened:

So, I had a major clean up to undertake before I could do anything else. I may have nixed my plans for HMB, but I did manage to make it up into the mountains to hang out with Raye while she tended bar. I had only intended on staying for a few hours in the afternoon, but I ended up staying well into the evening. Thankfully, I had enough sense not to drink a ton of booze and instead spread out my beverages and consumed more water than I usually do on any given day, although the heat may have played a role in my abnormal hydration habits.

Anyway, it was great to see Rachel in action (her drinks were amazing), eat some more heavenly food, and meet some of the people I've heard her talk about from time to time. The overall vibe of the bar/restaurant is fantastic and the people there were truly wonderful. The locals were friendly and the out-of-towners from across the pond were great (and I hope they conveniently missed when I broke into my own British accent). We played some jukebox tunes and I even engaged in conversation with other patrons. I know, it's a shocker, I actually came out of my shell for a while and comfortably talked with strangers. Crazy.

It was quite a social weekend for me, but I think I needed it. It felt good to get out and be around people. Now it's back to the daily grind and today was unbelievably busy. It seems a little torturous that I still have to make it through another four days of work until the weekend rolls around again. Call me crazy, but I think every weekend should include Monday in the mix. Just saying.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Simple Pleasures

The summer heat has been pretty mild, but it looks like temperatures will be heating up this weekend. Since I'll be spending at least part of it by the coast, it should be pretty pleasant outside.

Day Trip
Photo from here
I've only been to Carmel once or twice, but the last time I went, I had a blast. I'm looking forward to walking around town with my seester, picking up a coffee, perusing the shops, and maybe making it down to the actual beach this time around.

Coffee & Sand
Photo from here
I love HMB on so many different levels and it definitely holds a special place in my heart. When my parents looked at buying a house there way back when, I was giddy with excitement at the prospect of being within walking distance to the beach. I wish they would have done it, but I'll just have to settle for driving past that darn house every time I make it into town. I'm considering taking a drive out there Sunday morning, but it all depends on how tired I am from the Carmel excursion. It's been a while, but I could definitely go for a mocha at Half Moon Bay Coffee Co. and then a stroll along the beach since it's likely I won't make it to the sand and water in Carmel. We'll see how it all goes.

Giving to Worthy Causes
Photo from Facebook
I try to donate as often as I can to causes that are close to my heart. I also try to contribute whenever I see a friend working toward reaching a goal. When I was living alone it was difficult to donate as much or as frequently as I would have liked, but now that I'm back at home saving more money, I know I'll be able to give a little more than I would have in the past few years. Which is why I literally just helped my friend Tom get a little closer to his goal. There's still time to donate, so if you can, please do. You can give here.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Long Weekend

In case you didn't know, I was sick over Labor Day weekend. Needless to say, that wasn't in my plans. At all. I had a variety of things to do with friends, but I couldn't do any of them. *Sad Face* Saturday my mom was SUPER sick and by Saturday night, I was too. Thankfully, I made it through the one fun thing I did this weekend, which was an impromptu baseball game to watch the A's beat Tampa Bay. We had pretty awesome seats near the visiting team's bullpen and all I had to pay for was my dinner and beer because the tickets were FREE. 
Me and my seester! Jeff made a great photographer.
It was a great way to spend Saturday evening and to top it all off, there was a fireworks show afterward. It was SPECTACULAR. It doesn't take much to make me happy and seeing beautiful bursts of color and light is probably up there in my top 3. To make it even more appealing than it already was, the show was synchronized with Green Day songs. I was in heaven. Seriously, I was like a little kid just gazing up at the sky in awe, grinning from ear to ear like I had never seen fireworks in my entire life. If I had a bajillion dollars, I would definitely have the most spectacular fireworks at the wedding I'm not having any time soon (you have to have a husband to-be for one of those). But since I'm not, I'm perfectly content watching them at baseball games, 4th of July, or any other occasion that happens to call for them. And even though I do like to try to snap a photo or two, I'd rather just enjoy what's happening. 
See? Not nearly as pretty as it was in real life. 
Quite unlike the woman sitting in the row behind me who literally sat there and watched the show through the screen of her cell phone. No joke. I'm all for having a memory or two if you can capture it, but seriously? What you're seeing or recording through your camera isn't even remotely close to seeing it first hand. She missed out. Our seats were so perfect that each firework looked like it was coming right at us. It was breathtaking. 

So even though my weekend wasn't exactly ideal, I still managed to enjoy myself a little. Besides getting sick, being stuck in bed wasn't all that bad because it meant that I could relax, catch up on a couple of episodes of my friend's show Siberia, and one of my friends even kept me company via text. Not too shabby.