Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Boycott

In the same way that I don't believe in getting a flu shot, I don't believe in shopping on Black Friday. And, in what was dubbed "Gray Thursday," I also don't support retailers opening up their doors early on Thanksgiving. I just don't think it's right. I'm sure there are some employees who love the overtime or holiday pay, but I'd like to think there are more who would rather spend the time with their families rather than deal with the masses. So, in my great stand against stores being open on our day of thanks, I refused to go get my Starbucks beverage yesterday morning despite how badly I wanted one.  

If I am going to do any holiday shopping today, you better believe I'll be doing the online variety in the comfort of my own home, beneath a cozy blanket, in front of the fire while sipping on some tea or hot cocoa. I'll have Christmas music softly playing in the background and I will be savoring the quiet, calm atmosphere rather than the chaos and aggressiveness that the outside world holds on this dreadful day. 

Whatever you decided to do today, I hope that there were more people who got to stay home today and enjoy an extended weekend rather than who had to work. 


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Potential Christmas Wish List

With Christmas rapidly approaching, I'm finding it harder and harder to resist the urge to listen to Christmas music right now. So far I've managed to hold off, but I guarantee that I'll be jamming out to some holiday tunes while I'm helping my mom get the bread ready for the stuffing/dressing the night before Thanksgiving. It's sort of a tradition. And since it's been Christmas inside Costco since before Halloween, I think it'll be alright.

So, while I haven't had many things I've been dying to add to my life, here are some gift ideas I wouldn't mind receiving as my "big" gift for Christmas...

MICHAEL Michael Kors Coat

I already have this wonderful jacket in orange, and while I do love it, I would like to have one in a more versatile color, like black. Right now it's on sale, so that's even better. And if the price isn't as low in stores, just show them the online price and Macy's will match it. Doesn't get much better than that.

Karl Lagerfeld '7' Watch

It's pretty rare for me to leave the house without a watch. While I do switch between my Michael Kors and my Betsey Johnson watches, I do wish I had a nice gold tone watch. I used to have a knock off MK watch that I picked up from Target, but once I had the real thing, I didn't even bother to put it back on again so I passed it on to someone else. This Karl Lagerfeld watch is both beautiful and classy and at 36mm it's the perfect size for my tiny wrist. There is a larger option at 44mm, but that's far too oversized for my liking.

A Bicycle

Photo from Trek

Now I'm not planning on doing a ton of mountain biking or a ton of road biking, but I would like a bicycle so I can do something. I really haven't had my own bike since the hand-me-down Schwinn I got way back when. Luckily for me I have awesome parents who got a custom paint job to make it brand new and just for me. The color I chose? Bright green. Not unlike the color of my latest phone case or the details on this one. Anyway, I've never ridden a bike I liked more than that one, but I'm thinking I'd like one that has the best of both worlds - road and mountain capabilities. I don't need a full suspension bike, so one that's similar to this would be perfect. Well, at least I think it would be. And yes, I realize this is a man's bike and not a woman's. I prefer boy bikes.

I could be wrong, but I feel like I'm a fairly easy person to shop for. And more often than not I'm going to love what someone gets me because it really is the thought that counts. But if you're still having trouble, when in doubt, there's always some interesting ideas on Pinterest...or the guitar from last year's list. 


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Simple Pleasures

Gosh I've been slacking in the Simple Pleasures department. I start them and I don't finish them in time to post on Friday. Or I lose steam, so by the time Friday evening rolls around, I'm even more exhausted. Anyway, Sundays seem to have a lot going for them in terms of how thankful I feel about things, so here are my simple pleasures...

A "New" Phone

Don't mind the orbs...

I still have an iPhone 4. Even though I could have upgraded last year, I opted not to. I also could have upgraded this year, but I'm holding out until the iPhone 6 rolls out next year. Since my trusty cover began to break on the sides, I tossed it and fished out an older one I kept around "just in case." I wasn't too fond of it anymore, so while I was out shopping the other day, I decided to look for a new one. This is the one that made the cut. If Jessica Day can have a bunny cover on her phone, why can't I have a turtle/baby dinosaur on mine? Besides, it was $5 and it's totally fun.


Just the beginning...

Baking soothes my soul. I suppose that's why I spent the majority of Saturday in the kitchen making a big ol' mess. Actually, to be truthful, the mess I made wan't as bad as it usually is and I came out with a ton of delicious cookies. Also, I got to use the Pampered Chef mat which made everything so much easier.

A Delivery

Inside, Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish

When I ordered the full size Liz Earle face wash from the October Birchbox, I was pretty excited to receive it. That is, until I received an email telling me it was backordered. But to make things better, Birchbox gave me 100 extra points, which translates into $10 to spend at the shop. Now THAT is quality customer service. Seriously. Well, it finally arrived and I'm still just as thrilled with the product as I was when I first reviewed it. Maybe even more. Besides, getting a package in the mail still thrills me even when I already know what's inside.

Well, I hope you enjoyed your weekend! Tomorrow is Monday and I'm dreading it as always, but at least I'll get a little bit of a break with Thanksgiving just around the corner!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Beauty Spotlight

When it comes to bronzers, I instantly fell in love with NARS bronzing powder in Laguna. Then this started happening...

Every beauty lover's nightmare...seeing the bottom of the compact.

I continued to use it and tried to focus on using the right side, but eventually tragedy struck and I was left with a crumbly mess. It's still usable, but I can no longer tote it around in the makeup bag I keep in my purse. So, instead of going out to buy a new one, I decided to try one I had received just before summer in the Sephora Sun Safety Kit.

Enter my new favorite matte bronzer....

Based on the gold font chipping, you can tell it's been in my makeup bag

Too Faced in Chocolate Soleil

When I first swiped my brush across this bronzer and applied it my cheeks, I immediately thought, "Oh my gosh, this smells like CHOCOLATE!" A quick flip of the case revealed that Too Faced Matte Bronzing Powder is made with REAL cocoa. What does that mean? It means that every time I use it, I am met with the sweet scent of cocoa and it absolutely makes my morning. I am a chocoholic after all! While I thought it might be a bit dark for me, it turns out it isn't too bad when I top it off with a finishing powder that tones it down just enough to make it look more natural.

This is definitely a bronzer I will repurchase because it's officially part of my no-makeup makeup routine. It's also something I've been enjoying wearing during the fall because it's lack of sparkle makes it seem more appropriate for the current season and also for the upcoming winter. I haven't ditched my NARS bronzer completely, but for now, I'll be thinking about having a nice hot cup of cocoa every time I wear this particular Too Faced bronzer.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November Birchbox Review Part Deux

I wanted to knock out the whole November Birchbox review in one post, but I didn't feel it was fair until I actually painted my nails and used the other products again to give them a thorough testing. So here we go with the second part...

Chella Highlighter Pencil 

Photo from Birchbox

While a highlighter isn't usually a part of my morning makeup routine, I found that this one was more of a multipurpose pencil that works not only as a highlighter, but also as a concealer. I did take a few extra moments to make sure I sampled it properly as a highlighter, however, and was pleased with how smoothly it glided onto my face. I chose to use it under my eyes and down the bridge of my nose (locations typically reserved for my favorite concealer) and also on my brow bone. I certainly wasn't disappointed with the way Chella's pencil performed and I will likely alternate between using this and my concealer. I was really surprised with how a little highlighting on the brow bone does wonders for brightening the eyes. Maybe it was the contrast with my dark brows, but it just did something. And that something was amazing. The pencil also did a fairly good job as a concealer, but I will probably stick with my concealer for problem areas. 

Verdict: It's much more than just a highlighter. This multifaceted pencil works well as a concealer and is a fix-it type product. If you only have room to take one product with you for the night to brighten and conceal, this is will be your new secret weapon. 

Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator

Photo from Birchbox

I don't know about using this three to five times per week since my skin is so sensitive, but I would use it once a week, possibly twice if I felt the need. After the first use my skin did seem to feel softer (likely from the aloe) and it seemed to appear brighter as well (because that's what happens when your exfoliate!). Since my skin is currently in an overly sensitive stage, it's hard to say if it has contributed to a breakout, but I'm inclined to say it hasn't. The microderm crystals (which are Aluminum Oxide) exfoliated well and I liked that they were smaller granules than some other products I've used in the past. It didn't sting, it was gentle yet effective, and the scent was pleasant enough.

Verdict: While the product itself is vegan, not tested on animals, and is without a whole slew of other things like parabens, sulfates, and GMOs, it's still too soon to say if I'll be buying the full size product. I'll definitely continue to use the sample until it's gone and I'll revisit the possibility of purchasing once I see how my skin reacts over time. 

Color Club Nail Lacquer in Top Shelf 
from the Cocktail Hour Collection

Photo from Birchbox

I already sampled an opaque Color Club lacquer and loved it, so when this metallic beauty showed up this month, I was a little excited. Okay, I won't lie, at first I was apprehensive about trying it because it looked like it was a coppery shade my mom is particularly fond of rather than one that I gravitate towards, but after the first coat, I was hooked. It still does have a copper tone to it, but it's lighter than I expected it to be and it has a brilliant shine. While I tend to think of hard alcohol when I hear the words "Top Shelf," this one has a champagne-like feel to it that I've been searching long and hard for. I don't mean just months, I mean years. So, even though it has less sparkle and more sheen than the Raise A Glass strips I've been hoping to find in liquid form, this one is the closest I've come to a match and I am SO excited. I did apply two coats like I usually do, but I would even be content with one coat because it covers well enough and it has a semi-translucent effect that was incredibly appealing. Next time.

Verdict: Color Club comes through again with a quality nail lacquer. I honestly couldn't be happier with this metallic hue and I'll likely be buying another bottle so I'll have a backup when this one runs out. Also, I recently discovered that Color Club's products are vegan and they aren't tested on animals, so this is another purchase you can feel good about making. 

And just so you know I wasn't fooling around when I said I painted my nails, here's a snapshot.

Well, that's all the reviewing I can do for now in terms of Birchbox, so, until next time! I hope there's something special in next month's box for Christmas! 


Monday, November 18, 2013

November Birchbox Part Une

I think the mailman was surprised to see me burst out through the door on Friday after I heard the creak from the mailbox lid opening. I waved hello and tossed the rest of the mail on the table because there's nothing more important in those moments than discovering what's inside this month's Birchbox.

Photo from Birchbox
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the first thing I tried from this box was the bar of chocolate. I opened the package so quickly and took a bite that I didn't even have time to snap a photo of the pretty ChocoPod. I sure did savor the rich, dark chocolate and bursts of orange. It brought me back to those Christmases when I would get a chocolate orange in my stocking. The difference? This chocolate was at least 10 times better and the orange flavor seemed fresher. I would purchase another one of these in a heartbeat and I'd also love to try some of their other chocolate fusions. Might have to look into getting a gift set for myself! Verdict: Any chocolate lover will love this chocolate. While I can only truly speak for the dark chocolate and orange combination, I have no doubts the other flavors will satisfy your tastebuds as well. 

TOCCA Crema da Mano in Cleopatra

Photo from Birchbox
After devouring my chocolatey treat, I reached for the hand cream because after a long day at work, my hands were DRY. The cold weather has finally hit and it's certainly taking a toll on my skin. And with a scent name like "Cleopatra," this was essentially made Before I even tried it, I had high hopes. Of course I expected it to be a little on the greasy side (it is a cream after all), but it surprised me with how quickly it absorbed into my skin. For the thickness, I assumed it would sit on the surface a while, but after rubbing it into my skin, I realized it just left my hands feeling incredibly soft and smelling oh so divine. The light grapefruit and cucumber scent was delicious and clean. Verdict: I enjoyed the fragrance and the way it absorbed so quickly into my skin. It's definitely a product worth trying and I'll be using this down to the last bit. 

I'll be posting the second part of the review tomorrow. While I've tried the rest of the items, I want to give a couple of them another go around to make sure I accurately review them. Stay tuned! 


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Delivery Man Bonus Birchbox

The Delivery Man movie screening was a great way to promote Birchbox and introduce their products to people who maybe haven't tried them before. By allowing the ticket winners to bring a guest, Birchbox was opening up their potential customer base. Especially on the man's side since there were a fair amount of gentlemen in attendance. I actually wish I has asked for a man's box instead so I could have passed it along to someone who could be interested. C'est la vie. Maybe next time.

I was a little surprised to see there were only four items in there as opposed to 5, but considering the size of each of the samples, I wasn't even upset about it. I already have a sample of Folle de Joie from last month's box, but the other items I haven't had the opportunity to experience until now.

Evologie Stay Clear Cream

Photo from Birchbox

It's part of an all-natural skincare program that is free of parabens, sodium laurel sulfate, and alcohol, which is great. I've already used it a few times, but I have to say this is a face cream that I'll only be using at night. While it was fairly light and seemed to be hydrating, I did find that it didn't absorb into my skin completely and seemed to leave a film. For a night application it's not as big of a deal because I'm going to wash my face again in the morning, but when I tried to put makeup on over it in the morning, the residue seemed to start clumping and that's not attractive. A little unsettling, so I washed my face and used my regular moisturizer. I'm still giving this product a shot at night since I felt like there were a few problem areas of my skin that may have benefited from it, but I'll stick with my usual product for my morning routine. Verdict: After 8 hours of wear during the night there was less residue, so I do feel like it could have some redeeming qualities. Overall it's good for night, bad for mornings and makeup. A little goes a long way, so less is more with this product. 

Beauty Protector Shampoo & Conditioner

Photo from Birchbox

I love when I can try a shampoo and a conditioner together to really get the full effect of the products. Right away I loved the scent of them both, which made it great from the get go. The other benefits? This a vegan product that is without sulfates. I've used Pureology for years, but these two items are are a little more economical and almost seems to work better. At least that's how I felt after the first and second uses. My wet hair was not tangled at all when I ran a brush through it and as I dried it, I could feel just how soft it was going to be when I was done. Not only was my hair soft, but it was also silky and shiny. I can't even begin to describe just how hydrated my locks looked, especially the last few inches of my hair that have been subjected to two bleach washes. I'd probably still use a clarifying shampoo once a week like I usually do, but I'm already in love with this duo. Verdict: These are products worth investing in. They smell wonderful, make your hair look fabulous, and they're cruelty free. Truly a purchase you can feel great about. 

It's a little curious that I haven't tired of talking about Birchbox yet. Maybe it's because they have introduced me to so many new brands that I'm still in a state of wonderment. Or maybe it's because I like the surprise of what's inside in each month, but I have a feeling this is a company I'm going to be passionate about for a while. I'm crossing my fingers that I'll be receiving my November Birchbox in the mail today because I can't hardly wait! 


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Birchbox Delivery Man

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to attend a special screening of Delivery Man, prior to its release, put together by the great people at Birchbox.

While there weren't any Birchbox employees there like at the dinner in SF last month, there were a few lovely ladies from SutherlandGold who were looking fabulous and were also quite friendly. I had the pleasure of visiting with them for a few minutes prior to the screening. Now, I certainly wasn't going to go alone (going to the movies by myself isn't exactly the type of thing I like to do), so I naturally asked my seester to join me as my guest, and thankfully she was able to make it.

Photo from IMDb
First of all, I loved the movie. It was funny, it was cute, and who doesn't love Vince Vaughn? I was really happy with the film and I can honestly say that if I had paid to see it, I would not have been disappointed. I won't give anything away because that's quite honestly one of my biggest pet peeves, but here's the trailer if you want a sneak peek.

And of course there was the highlight of receiving a Birchbox once the film was over. I could barely stand to wait to open it...but that's the way I feel every.single.time. Anyway, I couldn't very well open it before my sis, especially since she's still waiting for the email to officially claim her subscription, so I tried to wait patiently. Once we were back on BART, people started to notice our bright pink boxes in hand, so if course I jumped at the opportunity to share with just about everyone within earshot of us about how wonderful Birchbox is. I even shared with the gentlemen around us that this isn't just for women, but there's also a little something for the men, too, with the Birchbox Man box! As a result, and with slight coercing from our peers, we opened them to display the contents. The man seated across from me even whipped out his keys to cut the tape. So what was inside?? You'll have to wait until my next post to see! Stay tuned!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Bonus Birchbox Part Deux

Alrighty, as promised, here is my review on the two remaining items of the bonus Birchbox I received from the San Francisco Birchbloggers dinner.

LA FRESH Eco Beauty Waterproof Makeup Remover

Photo from Birchbox

I'm always skeptical about eye makeup removers because I've only found one that I've ever really liked. I tried to be positive about this one, but unfortunately, it still fell a bit short. While it did remove most of the two coats of waterproof mascara I put on earlier today, it didn't remove all of it. I'm sure it does a much better job in removing stubborn lip color, or even water resistant eyeliner, but in terms of mascara, it could use some work. One thing I did like about it was that it felt fresh. Yes, I realize that "fresh" is in the name itself, but it did feel quite refreshing while I was attempting to remove my mascara. Also, it didn't irritate or burn my eyes at all. Verdict: I like the freshness, but I don't think I'll be using these regularly. They'd be perfect for travel and I'm confident they'd be great in removing lip color, but I'll be using a different product for my mascara removal.

Whish Three Wishes Body Butter

Photo from Birchbox - shown in Blueberry
Body butter is a product I don't regularly use because I don't like the overly greasy feeling that is often left behind. In the case of Whish's body butter, I didn't think it left my skin feeling much. For my hands during the day, I'll stick with my go-to lotion, but for arms (especially elbows) and legs (especially knees), this worked like a charm. Since it's officially autumn and winter is just around the corner, this will be a great product to help keep my skin hydrated. Not to mention that it smells DELICIOUS. Like almost edible delicious. And while I am thoroughly enjoying the scent, I associate pomegranate with spring and summer, so I'd like to look into the almond or lavender scents for the cooler months. Verdict: I'd be willing to use this on my hands at night before bed, but not during the day. However, I will be using this on more consistently on my arms and legs. 

And just to recap from earlier today...

Davines LOVE Shampoo - It smooths hair and makes it shine. It's apparently good for all hair types and I'd purchase the full size product. 

Color Club Nail Lacquer in Mod in Manhattan - It's a smooth polish and goes on great. I'll continue to use this shade and will definitely look into some of their other colors for future nail lacquer purchases. 

Eyeko Skinny Mini Liquid Eyeliner - This liquid liner is a keeper. It's easy to use and goes on flawlessly. It's best stored upside down so when you do go to use it, the liquid is at the tip and not settled on the bottom. 

I am really pleased with the products I received in my bonus Birchbox and while I certainly wouldn't complain about having another box of them, I really hope the November Birchbox has other new products for me to try. 


Bonus Birchbox Part Une

I mentioned when I went to San Francisco for the Birchbloggers dinner at The Cavalier that Rachel and Alta gave us a Birchbox, but I didn't mention what was inside...until now. 

Bonus Birchbox Breakdown:

Davines LOVE Smoothing Shampoo
Color Club Lacquer in Mod in Manhattan
Eyeko Skinny Mini Liquid Eyeliner
LA FRESH Eco Beauty Waterproof Makeup Remover
Whish Three Wishes Body Butter

Davines LOVE Shampoo

Photo from Birchbox

If you haven't already noticed, the Davines LOVE shampoo isn't exactly full. That's because I've been using it! It's for dry and frizzy hair, but even my nearly never frizzy, oily hair didn't mind the formula. I've never smelled Indian Fig Extract, but to me this shampoo smells a little citrusy like grapefruit. I have a tendency to alternate shampoos, so I don't use it every day, but it's always a treat when I do. A little goes a long way with this shampoo. Verdict: It's apparently good for all hair types. I'd purchase the full size product. 

Color Club Mod in Manhattan 

Photo from Birchbox

This little guy was apparently part of the Wanderlust Collection, so it's a little smaller than their regular polishes. This opaque, off-white is not a color I would generally buy, but I was incredibly eager to try it. So, paired with my Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab, it's basically amazing. One coat isn't going to do it, but I find that you generally have to do two coats of anything to get a nice, smooth, rich color. Especially with opaque lacquers. I found that when I held my hand up to my off-white blouse that this particular hue has the slightest tinge of pink, but it's barely noticeable when it's just on your fingers (or toes!). Verdict: It's a smooth polish and goes on great. I'll continue to use this shade and will definitely look into some of their other colors for future nail lacquer purchases. 

Eyeko Skinny Mini Liquid Eyeliner

Photo from Birchbox

When it comes to eyeliner, I'm a pretty consistent user; however, I mainly gravitate towards a good pencil liner. Of course, this didn't deter me from trying it because who doesn't love a good cat eye or winged liner look? It takes some practice to master these eye makeup styles, but this Skinny Mini liner makes it a breeze because it's shaped like a traditional eyeliner and you can hold it more like you would a pencil liner. The liner flowed out easily and I didn't have a single problem with it. It stayed all day, didn't flake, and came off with my favorite eye makeup remover. I loved it so much, I'm particularly looking forward to using it when I don a set of faux lashes! Verdict: This liquid liner is a keeper. It's easy to use and goes on flawlessly. It's best stored upside down so when you do go to use it, the liquid is at the tip and not settled on the bottom. 

Stay tuned...I'll be finishing up my review with the last two items later on this evening!


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Simple Pleasures

I started doing Simple Pleasures a couple of years ago to remind myself to appreciate the little things in life and also to reming myself that no matter how many bad days I've had, that life is good. Yesterday, I was having one of those days where I was feeling highly annoyed, incredibly irritated, and all around pessimistic regarding just about anything. Literally, the only thing I could possibly feel thankful for in those moments was the fact that it was Friday and the last work day before the weekend. That was the silver lining to my bad mood.

I realize I could have dug a little deeper to find things to be grateful for, but I didn't have it in me yesterday. I also realize those are the times I should really be posting because it will likely change my outlook on the day, but I was fully content in wallowing in my own displeasure.

Yes, I was (and still am) breathing and I acknowledge this as a good thing, but the second my last commenter told me to keep a positive attitude, I sort of just wanted to punch him in the face (no offense). I was having a bad day and I was fine with it. I wasn't posting it as a way for someone to try and cheer me up. I'm fully capable of doing that myself. At least while being fed up with the annoyances of the past few days I was able to find something that was positive. I wasn't being a total Debbie Downer. In fact, if I had just had the ability to withdraw from everything and everyone for a few hours, I probably would have emerged a happier, more balanced person. Today, I was able to enjoy the silence for a few hours and I can honestly say it's exactly what I needed.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Silver Jewelry Club

It may seem like a scam, but it's least not in terms of the pricing. I have yet to take the several items I've ordered from Silver Jewelry Club to see if they're authentic gems as they claim to be, but seriously, I couldn't care less. Each and every item I've purchased has been wonderful and has looked great. Obviously, for such an economical price there are going to be some differences or cutbacks like the occasional lab created gem or a back that isn't as finished as the front, but you really can't beat the price for the pieces you're getting.

Now, there have been some changes over the years. For one thing, the jewelry isn't free any longer. They used to charge just $5.99 as a shipping fee for each piece of jewelry, but now shipping is free and you pay for the piece itself at a reduced price. The prices are incredibly reasonable and if you're just looking for a little something, you really can't go wrong.

So, what's the catch? Well, you kinda sorta have to wait for the item you want to appear online. See, the format for the site is that they sell one piece of jewelry (or a set) every 15 minutes. If it's not what you want, you can wait around for the page to refresh, or you can randomly check back to see what's new. Here's an example of an item on the site that was selling this afternoon.

Accurate descriptions are given (it clearly states this item is made with a lab created ruby and the cubic zirconia), but just make sure you check out the photos with the labeled dimensions so you can really get an idea of the size. The pictures are large, so sometimes you might think it's going to be larger than it really is, but if you take the time to pull out a ruler, you won't be surprised when it arrives. One drawback? Sometimes the rings aren't in the size you need and there's not really a whole lot you can do about that except hope it'll show up in your size at a later time...or do you even have to wait?

Here's the thing. The jewelry really comes from a place called Peora. So, if you missed your item, or you'd like to purchase a ring in a different size (or a different ring altogether) than the one offered by, you can purchase it through the Peora website, but you'll be paying more for it. The above piece is retailing there for $24.99.

hile I'll probably never venture into the Peora site to purchase something at full price, I will continue to occasionally check out Silver Jewelry Club because I love the pieces I've bought and I don't feel guilty about buying them since they're so economical. So what are the items I gambled on nearly a year ago?

This Marquise Cut London Blue Topaz
Photo from Peora

This Trillion Cut necklace, but in the Green Amethyst. 
Photo from Peora

And most recently, I had an impulse buy with this Garnet and Citrine necklace, which I gave to my mom. 
Photo from Peora

Those are the website grabs, here are the first two items in real life...though the lighting could be better. 


The chain is my own, although I did "splurge" on an 18" silver chain when I bought my mom's set me back a whole $5. I really don't have any complaints. The items I bought met or exceeded my expectations and I've received quite a few compliments when I've worn them. And if you're worried about spam or having them flood your email with promotions, don't be. In the past year, I haven't received a single email from them other than a confirmation of my order (just make sure you don't check the box to receive promotions and you'll be fine). As for how long it took for the pendant to get to me, well, I didn't even have time to wonder where it was because it arrived rather quickly. It's hard to say how long it would take to get to, say, New York, but since Peora is based out of LA and I'm a mere 400 miles north, it was fast.

Another thing to mention is that when you receive the item, it does come with a box, but the jewelry inside is also in a small plastic bag. So if you're planning on giving it as a gift, I'd make sure you remove it from the bag and also take off the product number tag that is affixed to it. Well, what are you waiting for? Go check it out and see if the next item on the site tickles your fancy. 


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Cavalier SF

So I mentioned last week how I was invited to the San Francisco Birchbloggers dinner, but what I didn't delve into was how freaking amazing the food was because I felt that deserved a separate post. The Cavalier, a British inspired restaurant, has only been open a few months, but it's already secured a place in my heart and in my stomach. The bar area was cozy and quite packed when I arrived, but I did manage to secure a place at the bar itself. The blonde bartender, whose name I seem to have forgotten, was incredibly sweet and made me the perfect gin & tonic.

After leaving the bar with appetizer recommendations, I was escorted into the dining area which was decorated with dark, leather booths, a hunting scene mural, dim lighting, and perfectly "weathered" wood floors. I found the ambiance to be The restaurant even brought out complimentary champagne, though that was after we had already ordered our drinks. I stuck with gin and ordered a Bramble, which was just as tasty as I had hoped it would be. 

I put my vegetarian lifestyle on hold for the evening because I didn't want to be the person who suddenly had dietary restrictions and I wanted to be able to fully enjoy the items on the menu. Besides, I do eat meat on occasion, but those occasions are very few and far between. This was one of those such occasions. So we dined on the Hen Egg Hollandaise,  Lamb Scrumpets, Venison Tartare, an autumn salad, and the Deviled Crab and Rock Shrimp. Oh, and of course there was the quaint quail egg that was brought out on the house, which was quite exceptional. I never knew quail eggs could be so delicious.

The Tartare, which was by far my favorite appetizer. 

From there we each ordered our own entrees and while I was pretty certain I was going to order the Wild Mushroom Pie prior to my arrival, I was still thinking about the Fish & Chips. The server gave me the nudge I needed and I landed on the fish. I am so happy I made that choice, not only because french fries are one of my favorite foods in the entire world, but also because the aïoli was to die for. Seriously. Besides adding it to every bite of fish, I kept dipping my fries in them. It was that good. The fish was absolutely perfectly prepared and the salad added just a touch of tang to keep my tastebuds satisfied. I didn't even mind the presence of peas and that speaks volumes.

I wanted to eat it all, but I just couldn't. 

The food continued to get better as we ordered dessert (my favorite meal at any given time of the day) and we indulged in and shared the Chocolate Dèlice, the Double Crusted Crumble, and the Steamed Pudding. Anything with a "crumble" immediately skyrockets to the top of my list, and I have to say I liked that one the best.

I left the restaurant feeling satisfied not only by the company I kept that evening, but also from the fabulous food. It was a place I'd actually feel comfortable dining in alone. Well, at the bar anyway. The Cavalier did not disappoint and I will absolutely add this establishment to my list of favorite SF eateries.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Beauty Spotlight

I have so much fun sampling and using new beauty products, which is why I have a monthly subscription to Birchbox. Also, my well documented Sephora obsession has also proved beneficial in discovering new products. Occasionally, however, I stumble across an item I never knew I even wanted.

Like this Dior foundation brush. 

In the past I used the square foundation brush from MAC, but it always seemed to leave lines behind and never blended quite like I wanted it to. And as much as some people claim they get even coverage by applying foundation with their fingertips, I'd just rather not, so I returned to my tried and true latex-free, disposable makeup sponges from Target. They were great and they did the trick. Eventually, however, I began to feel like I was wasting foundation because of how much was being absorbed into the sponge. More than that, I was also feeling incredibly guilty by how wasteful I was being because they were a one-time use sponge going directly into the trash each day. Then, I discovered the Dior 'Backstage Foundation Full Coverage' Fluid Brush and it completely changed the way I do my makeup.

The brush is sturdy, yet soft, and allows me to evenly apply my makeup - every single time. The handle fits perfectly in my hand and allows me to have impeccable control. I squirt a small amount of foundation onto the back of my hand, dip my brush in, and apply it onto my face in a circular motion. It never fails to go on evenly and it does exactly what it claims by giving you results that, "combine a natural look with perfect coverage." Whether I'm doing my "no makeup" makeup, or using it to build up to a flawless full coverage face, this is my go-to brush. It might be a little pricey, but in the grand scheme of things, I'm not only saving myself money by not having to buy makeup sponges, but I'm also resting easier because it's reusable and I'm cutting back on wasteful products. I'm still not thrilled about cleaning my brushes, but it's something I'd have to do anyway, so why not add one more to the mix? If you're looking for a new foundation brush, I highly suggest giving this one a try. It's become a staple in my makeup bag. 


Park Lane

Remember when I went to Blingo Bingo and made out like a bandit? Well, after the event my sister signed up to host a jewelry party and of course I wasn't going to miss that. There were a few items I've been coveting for quite some time, so I figured it was now or never.

My mom and I were the first to arrive, followed by a couple of my sister's friends and my aunt and cousin. It was really nice to see my family members because I hadn't seen them since my other cousin Sara's baby shower a couple of months ago and I actually got to visit with my cousin Kacy for a while, which was nice. It wasn't a heavily attended party, but there were enough people there to make it worth while. I ended up purchasing two necklaces and my mom ended up purchasing a couple of things for herself, two items for me, and two items for my sister. With Park Lane's "make your own sale" way of doing things, it's really easy to get all the things you want for not a lot of money. I could have taken advantage and purchased another item for $12 and then received another item for free, but there wasn't anything else I was dying to have, so I passed on it. Although now I'm kind of wishing I had gotten another ring and then of course I'd have to take the free item. But for now, I'm just happy with what I'm getting. So what are the new pieces I'm adding to my collection?

The Verona Necklace in Gold
Photo from Park Lane

The Kate Necklace 

Photo from Park Lane

The Kate Bracelet

Photo from Park Lane

The Foxy Lady Ring

Photo from Park Lane

Now I know some of these items will be worn less often than others, but the fox ring was seriously too cute to pass up (and it's actually much cuter in person). The other items will get their fair share of wear in the rotation of my fun jewelry collection and I'm on pins and needles already as I wait to receive them. Now I just need to figure out a place for them...I'm running low on places to store my jewelry!


Friday, November 1, 2013

Simple Pleasures

It's been a heckuva week. Between feeling better, getting busy, then suddenly not feeling well again, I've been on a rollercoaster. I've also been dealing with this ridiculous cough that just will not go away. Good thing I like the taste of cough medicine! Yes, you read that correctly. No, I do not have a cough syrup abuse problem. So, with the weekend about to make yet another appearance, I am thankful for so many things. 

Time Change
Photo here

I don't know about you, but I sort of miss the days when Daylight Savings Time was shorter aka pre-2007. The last month really does a number on me. I can't stand waking up when it's still dark. It bothers me. I like to wake up with the sun. At 7. Or even before, but definitely not later. Now that I have coffee to look forward to every morning, I have resumed my wake-up time of 612 and roll-out-of-bed time at 630. This coming Sunday I will be happily greeting the sun (so long as it's not overcast) with the brightness that would have been at 7AM, but will now be at 6AM. That extra hour of sleep certainly won't hurt either.


I may be tooting my own horn a bit, but I seriously make the BEST chocolate chip cookies. Ever. In fact, these particular cookies may just be the only chocolate chip cookies I will ever make for the rest of my life. And that's not even an exaggeration. I recently made a batch for a certain special someone who landed a new job and then made another batch because I can't make a whole boatload of cookies and not make enough for my dear ol' dad. Besides, I know he likes to eat some of the cookie dough, too. So, I've since made two batches of cookies and I'm set to make another batch this weekend. Once I start making these bad boys, it's awfully hard to stop. 

A Flurry

I know there is some kind of scientific term for this type of sky phenomena, but I just like to call it a flurry and it's even more amazing when it happens in a virtually clear sky. It's sort of like a rainbow, but not exactly, and it always makes me smile when I see one of these. In fact, I actually saw another one after this and nearly in the same location just a few days later.