Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October Birchbox (Better Late Than Never)

Birchbox.  It's a single word loaded with potential and excitement.  It's favorite little treat that shows up in my mailbox each month and always bring a smile to my face, even when I've had a punishing day.  I have had some great boxes and some crappy boxes, it's been a really mixed bag, but I keep coming back for more. 

I was totally stoked when I received an email last month asking if I'd be interested getting a goop Birchbox.  For those of you who aren't familiar with goop.com, it's the brainchild of Gwyneth Paltrow, and features so many wonderful products, recipes, tips and articles.  I was only recently acquainted with the site by my sister, who has been a faithful goop reader for years.  The goop Birchbox was going to feature products chosen by the goop team, and it seemed like a fun concept.  Those folks have amazing (and expensive) taste!

I was SO thrilled when I got my goop box in the mail.  It even had cute tissue paper with the goop logo on it, which was a nice touch.

Left to Right:
Supergoop City Sunscreen Serum SPF 30
Kiehl's Rosa Arctica Eye Cream
Jouer Lip Enhancer
Essie Nail Polish in Lady Like
Luna Bar in Lemon Zest

I'm not going to lie.  When I first opened the box, I thought the samples were very small.  The nail polish is full-size, as was the Luna Bar, but I was hoping for more with the Supergoop serum.  I guess I'm just a greedy, greedy girl. 

So let's talk turkey about the products. 

I am LOVING the Essie nail polish in Lady Like.  It just looks prim and proper, and it's very work-appropriate.  I don't have the kind of job where I can show up with blue polish on my finger nails, so to get a polish in a color I can really wear was awesome.

The Kiehl's eye cream is fabulous!  The Kiehl's brand can do no wrong, in my book.  I used to love visiting their store in Manhattan because they'd always throw a handful of free samples in my bag during checkout, allowing me to try new products after every shopping trip.  Everything I've ever tried of theirs has been amazing, and this eye cream is no exception.  It has a cooling effect upon application, and left my skin looking and feeling smooth.  If I had one criticism, it would be that the texture is a little too thick. 

The Jouer Lip Enhancer is a nice product, but it could have used a flavor.  I will say that it is VERY moisturizing and worked well as a nighttime treatment.  During the day, I want my lip products to have a color or a flavor, or both.  I don't know if I loved it enough to buy it in the full size, but this little mini is getting some good use.

The Supergoop City Serum was alright.  I love the idea of a serum-textured product to wear under makeup, and I loved the SPF 30.  Typically facial sunscreen products are SPF 15, which just isn't enough for my fair skin.  This product isn't exactly a serum consistency, though.  It's like a runnier sunscreen, and even smells a bit like sunscreen (which seemed to bother me, but I'm not sure what I expected it to smell like).  It leaves your skin a little bit tacky after application, so I wouldn't apply a powder makeup over it right away.  Overall, eh. 

Last but not least, the Luna Bar.  I would have LOVED to have tried this Luna Bar since other flavors I've tried have been so delicious, but I made the mistake of leaving my Birchbox open on the end table when I left for work the other day.  While Mom was away earning dollas, Bella (my devil dog) feasted on my Luna Bar and tore the wrapper to shreds.  I should have posted her picture on DogShaming.com.  She was totally wired when I got home too, so apparently Luna Bars give you an energy boost.  I will have to buy a box of these and try them for myself soon.

What did you get in your Birchbox?  If you don't get them, have you tried any of these products?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekend Recap & 98Rock Halloweenie Roast

Holy smokes, this has been such a good weekend!  Now that it's Sunday night and I've had some time to reflect, this hodge-podge activities has been equal parts fun and relaxing.

On Friday night, Hubs and I had a little date night where we went out to one of our favorite hamburger joints, Square 1 Burgers, and hit the local Catholic church's pumpkin patch.  I really wanted a good pumpkin this year, and Hubs and I got lucky.  We both got gorgeous pumpkins and they were much less expensive than the prices we paid last year.  We came home, and I did routine stuff (paid bills and watched Ghost Adventures) while Hubs prepped for his weekend shifts at the radio station. 

On Saturday, I took advantage of the opportunity to sleep in and indulge in some relaxing, sleepy-eyed tv watching.  I always watch Kitchen Crashers and House Crashers on HGTV on Saturday mornings, fantasizing about hitting the home improvement lottery like those people.  I then dropped my rings off at the jewelry store for semi-annual inspection and rhodium plating, and decided to do a little shopping.  There's an Ulta in the shopping center, which is like my toy store... a dangerous, money-sucking toy store.  I proudly purchased the uber-famous Urban Decay Naked palette, and I couldn't be happier about it!  I love neutrals on my eyelids, so this will be used A LOT.  I also hit up the local Mall to use some coupons (of course) and founds some great deals on work clothes and jeans.

Hubs got home from the radio station and we immediately headed out to the Halloweenie Roast, Hubs' radio station's annual Halloween concert, at the 1-800-Ask Gary Amphitheater.  This year's line-up was PERFECT for Halloween:  Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, All That Remains, Machinehead and DJ Starscream (who also performs with Slipknot).  You're probably saying to yourself, "What the hell is this girl doing seeing THESE bands???"  I was thinking the same thing -- what the hell am I doing here??  These aren't bands I listen to, but since Hubs' radio station plays some of their songs, I am at least familiar with them.  We had free tickets and a VIP parking pass, so I had no complaints.  I'm always game for a free concert!!

Ladies, this concert was a total freak show.  The things I have seen will be burned into my brain for years to come, I swear.  The station encouraged listeners to come to the show in costume, and they actually listened.  I think I've now seen the slutty or murdered version of any costume you can imagine:  nun, nurse, cop, fireman, bride, football player, Wonder Woman, angel, zombie... you name it, I bet I saw it.  I really liked one guy who came dressed as Doctor Evil, who had a baby doll (Mini Me) strapped to his chest in a Baby Bjorn. 

Even the people who were technically not in costumes were so crazy-looking that it proved to be an exceptional people-watching experience.  Apparently the uniform for chicks at heavy metal shows is anything black, tight and exposing great amounts of cleavage any and tattoos.  I was clearly overdressed and I stuck out like a sore thumb.  I was wearing a chambray shirt, plum colored jeans and silver ballet flats, and I probably looked like the enemy!  I didn't care, though.  Hubs and I were having fun gawking at the other crazy get-ups around us.

Hubs and I then fanagled our way into the VIP area to hang with Pete's radio station co-workers.  Apparently we were supposed to have gotten All Access passes, but *someone* forgot to put them in our package.  Grrr.  Once inside, our pal Useless bought us each a Jagermeister shot, so we fit right in with the heavy metal contingency.  Until I met Hubs, I would have never taken a straight Jager shot, but he's corrupted me it doesn't even seem that bad to me anymore.

Our friend Chris then called us, and invited us to join him on the Bud Light Party Deck.  Apparently he's friends with the son of the guy who runs it for the local beer distributor, so he got us in for free.

Me and Hubs (never mind Hubs' unshaven Neanderthal look)
My passes... In like Flynn.
We hung out for a bit and decided to stay awhile longer when we discovered that entry onto the deck also means three free Bud Lights for each of us. I was driving, so I gave most of my tickets to Hubs, who was a very happy camper.  See the evidence of his fun below.

Overall, the concert had both high and low points.  The earlier heavy metal bands were fine, if you like that sort of thing.  Hubs is a huge fan of the genre and is his station's resident heavy metal expert, so he enjoyed it. 

Marilyn Manson was... interesting.  I've never really been a fan of his, but some people totally dig his schtick.  He played some songs I vaguely remember from MTV in the '90's (you know, back when they played music), but his performance kind of sucked.  It was obvious that he was drunk and was slurring his words all over the place.  I think we'll see him on the next installment of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.  He did manage to make it all the way through without much incident, but it was a lackluster performance.

Marilyn Manson dressed up like the Pope

During "The Dope Show", a large sign lit up the word DRUGS (classy, no?)
After that shit show was over, Rob Zombie came out and totally killed it (in a good way)!!  He was coherent, so that was one point in his favor, but he also put on a real, honest-to-goodness SHOW.  He had red smoke pouring into the air, pyro, old horror movie clips shown on the screen behind the band, and huge anamatronic monsters/robots milling around on stage.  Here are a few pictures from his set, courtesy of my friend Chris Fields...
Show started with a giant King Kong screen in front of the state, which eventually dropped straight down to reveal the band
Rob Zombie with some of his gigantic monsters on stage
Rob Zombie riding one of his monsters around on stage amidst a whirlwind of confetti
Rob and his band members came out at the end wearing full length gold sequined coats, where they channeled their inner Freddie Mercury.  My camera didn't get a good shot of that, but it was a nice flamboyant way to end the evening.
On the drive home, we decided that we were a bit peckish and needed some grub.  We decided to take a spin through the Taco Bell late night drive through for some FourthMeal (fast food's best-ever marketing campaign).  Never has a cheap taco tasted so good!  That sure did bring back memories of hitting Taco Bell after closing down the bars in my younger years. 
On Sunday, Hubs and I both slept in (two days in a row for this girl!!), then went to grab some food at Einstein Bros. Bagels (where I also picked up two tubs of their AMAZING Pumpkin Schmear).  We then took a trip to Michael's and Publix, then headed home to start carving our pumpkins!  
Pumpkin carving is always an event in my house.  Hubs had NEVER carved a pumpkin in his life until he met me.  This factoid totally shocks me because I assumed that everyone did this, at least as a kid.  Anyway, I love doing it and it puts me in the Halloween spirit, so we've done it for the past couple of years.  I'm a boring pumpkin carver and always do a cutesy, non-threatening jack-o-lantern face. 
Kari's Pumpkin
See Hubs in the backgroud working on his pumpkin?  That's a serious face, and he means business.  He's even got the laptop open to assist him with his design.  I just sat back and let him do his thang.  My dear, sweet, deranged husband had to do something much more evil looking than I did, so he carved a Cannibal Pumpkin.  That's right, it's a vicious pumpkin eating a sweet, scared little pumpkin.
Totally Metal, my devil horns are nearby
For dinner tonight, Hubs and I met up with two other couples for dinner at Arigato, a Japanese steakhouse, known for it's traditional hibachi-style cooking and modern decor.  I had a Groupon for this restaurant that was burning a hole in my pocket, so tonight was the night to redeem it!  I left feeling STUFFED beyond belief.  I always liken the volume of food at this place to a death row prison inmate's last meal.  You get soup, salad, noodles, fried rice, vegetables and TONS of meat.  I have no idea why people order appetizers at this place because their regular meals feed you like tomorrow's going to be your last day on Earth. 
Before we left the restaurant, I talked to one of my BFF's, Jess, about getting together to watch Twilight: Breaking Dawn before the next movie comes out in the theater.  It looks like that little party for two will be taking place next weekend (our husbands will be off at a bachelor party). 
On another awesome note for Sunday, the weather FINALLY cooled down!!!  It was in the 70's today, so I broke out my sweater hoodie and enjoyed every moment of being outdoors.  I even came home and opened up all of my windows so the cool, fresh air could run through my house.  I hope we get more of these days soon!
Sadly, my Detroit Tigers lost the World Series tonight, but my Michigan State Spartans beat Wisconsin in college football on Saturday, so I guess it's a trade off.  I'm happy for MSU, but so disappointed for Tigers fans everywhere.
That's it for me!!  Quite a weekend recap, I might say.  I hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Autumn Envy

Each year, I have mixed feelings about the coming of Fall.  It is truly my favorite time of year, due to a variety of factors:

The delicious onslaught of pumpkin-y goodness in food, beer, candles and bath products
Yankee Candle (duh)
Bath and Body Works
Shipyard Pumpkinhead Beer
College football!!
Warm colors available in clothing and accessories
Old Navy
Cooler weather
Eddie Bauer (Hoodie Central)
Trees changing color
The return of closed-toe shoes (sorry, flip-flops)
TOMS Burlap Flats
Halloween and Thanksgiving
Bella's Skeleton PJ's are perfect for Halloween

But I continue to struggle with truly feeling immersed in Autumn because we living central Florida, where the weather STILL isn't cool (it's in the 80's every day) and our trees don't change color.  Like, not even a little bit.  They stay green alllll year long.  I say booooo to that!  Plus, there's something about seeing beaches and palm trees that doesn't scream Fall to me. 

I long to live in the north, where I grew up, and see the sights and smells of the season.  The scent of burning leaves instantly takes me back to playing outside in a huge pile of orange, red and yellow leaves that were lovingly raked into a gargantuan mound in the backyard at my parents' house (thanks Dad!).  My sister and I would jump into the leaves, roll around in them, hide in them and scare each other, and make a bigger mess for my Dad to continue raking up.   It was pure heaven.  I feel bad that my future children will not experience that particular kind of joy, unless, of course, we move.  And we're not really in a position to relocate just because I miss playing in piles of leaves... Tempting, though?  YES.

I'm envious of my friends who live up north and post pictures of Facebook and their blogs of the beautiful Fall colors, their trips to the apple orchards and their hauls at the cider mills.  The pangs of jealousy are strong, but I try to remember that I get really fabulous, warm winters here.  There are some advantages to living in Florida, and I know I shouldn't complain.  And I'm not really complaining, I've just been thinking about it a lot lately.  I really am excited for everyone who gets to take part in the hayrides and drink apple cider slushies, and I wish I was there with you!

So this Fall, just know that I'm living vicariously through you and all of your fun Autumn activities.    Tonight, Hubs and I did the most Autumn-y thing we could think of in Florida:  we went to a stand that sells pumpkins, bought a couple of giant ones and discussed our plans to carve them this weekend (Hubs is making a cannibal pumpkin, whatever that is).  In case you're wondering, we don't grow pumpkins down here, but churches and vegetable markets sell them by the palette-full.  They're not cheap, but it's just not Halloween without carving a pumpkin, so we pay whatever it costs.  We actually found a couple of primo pumpkins this year because we hit the stand fairly early and we had great choices.  Last year I paid $40 for ONE stinking pumpkin because it was 2 days before Halloween and those people preyed on my desperation.  I wasn't about to let the local Methodist church take advantage of me again this year!!

I hope you are all enjoying the loveliness the Autumn season has to offer!

October Ipsy GlamBag

I can't believe I am just now posting this!  Typically I'm right on top of posting about my Birchboxes and GlamBags (it's one of my little joys), but this month is slowly slipping away from me. 

Here are the goods...

From Left to Right

Pequi Oil Treatment by Couture Color
Eye Shadow Quad by Coastal Scents
What's Your Type "The Body Builder" Black Mascara by The Balm
Onyx Eyeliner Pen by be a bombshell
Mirenesse Lip Bomb Glossy Lacquer Stain - Shade #9
Let me summarize by saying that this was not my favorite box, but it did have a few high points and surprises.  Let's discuss, shall we?
The Pequi Oil Treatment is a hair product that is used to reduce frizz and flyaways while increasing hair's shine and silkiness.  I am typically not a fan of oil treatments for my hair because my hair is oily enough to begin with, and I don't feel that adding more oil is the solution to my hair woes.  That's why I've stayed away from the miraculous Moroccan Argan Oil that everyone raves about--it's just more oil than I need.  I did give this product a try, just to see if I noticed a difference.  I put a few drops in my hair while it was still damp, and I didn't notice a big difference in my hair's texture or shine.  Then again, my hair is pretty healthy, so I didn't expect to dramatic results.  I put a few drops in my hair while it was dry, and it did smooth down some of the flyaways.  I would use it again, but only on freshly washed hair to avoid over-greasing my tresses.
The Coastal Scents eye shadow quad was a nice surprise.  I typically don't love the trial sized eye shadows that often come in these bags, but these colors were nice and neutral.  I can see myself wearing them often and have enjoyed the look I've achieved on a couple of my trial runs. 
The Balm's "The Body Builder" mascara pleasantly surprised me, too.  I didn't think I'd like this mascara because it has a narrow, unimpressive brush wand.  I typically think that bigger brushes lead to bigger lashes, but lately I've been proven wrong by two different mascaras.  This mascara doubled the length of my lashes, curled them nicely and increased their volume.  A winning combination!  I think I may purchase the full-size of this when my current mascara begins to run low.
The eyeliner pen... Where to begin?  I'm intimidated by eyeliner pens to begin with, since they usually take a very steady hand to apply appropriately... and my hand just isn't.  I saw this one, which is the size of a Sharpie pen, and I immediately thought, "Kari, you're going to make a total mess with that big ol' thing!"  Needless to say, I haven't tried it yet.
The Mirenesse Lip Bomb claims to be a "Glossy Lacquer Stain".  This makes absolutely no sense to me because I define each of these words very differently as it relates to lip products.  I had to give it a try, of course, and I was quite underwhelmed with the results.  This product goes on like a lacquer (not like a gloss OR a stain), but it looks like wall paint on my lips.  It's very pale, opaque and goopy.  The color didn't complement my skin tone at all, and just looked silly on me.  Even Hubs disapproved, and usually he's easy to please.  I won't be using this again.
The cosmetic bag that the products came in far exceeded my expectations this month.  Usually GlamBag bags are chintzy and the zippers fall apart almost immediately, but this bag was actually pretty great.  The reasons?  It's got a cute pattern, it's lined in red (love!), it has a red patent pleather pull tab on the zipper (double love!) and seems well-constructed.  Normally I pitch these bags, but this one's getting a permanent home in my cosmetic bag stash.
The verdict: Not too shabby!  There were some highs and some lows, but I still enjoyed it enough to keep my subscription for awhile longer. I toyed with ending my subscription, but I am going to hang on for a bit and see what comes in the upcoming months.
What did you think of this month's bag??

Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's Ok Thursday

So here I am linking up with Amber and Neely today for It's Ok Thursday.  Honestly, it's been a heck of a week, full of meeting new people, a LOT of talking and some pretty sweet moments with Hubs.  Can I complain?  No.  Am I glad tomorrow is Friday?  Hell yes.  We have an action-packed weekend planned and I can't wait to get it goin'!

Here we go ladies...

It's Ok...

To let 'em see you sweat once in awhile (you're human, afterall!)
To have an embarrassing issue that I'm afraid to admit to anyone, even a doctor
To politely pass when an undesirable person asks me to go to lunch
To spend my day looking forward to kisses from Hubs and Bella
To be in awe of other peoples' amazing talents and feel inadequate that I don't possess any of my own
To be wishing and hoping for cooler weather to arrive so I can bust out my hoodies
To be annoyed when my mom asks me to Google things for her, even though she regularly uses the internet and knows how to do it herself (old people are cute)
To LOVE nights when I don't have to cook dinner
To be disappointed when life throws you a curveball and things don't turn out as expected
To have fun and laugh and giggle and squeal like a little girl
To stay away from the drama, taking the high road whenever possible
To have 20 bottles of perfume but forget to put it on in the morning (oopsie)
To miss my twin all the time, even though she's just a phone call away
I hope everyone has a great Friday ahead!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Checking In After a Nutty Tuesday

Hiya there! 

Life has been sort of a whirlwind lately, and to be honest with you, I'm exhausted!  I've been meeting new people, getting more involved in charitable activities and maintaining a great marriage to Hubs.  It's work, y'all.  Great work, but still work.

I'm working on some new projects and I have a bevvy of blog posts waiting to be written... I just need to add 3 more hours to each day.  Can ya make that happen for me??  It seems like every night around 10:30 I look at the clock and say, "Where the hell did this night go?!"  I also say "I wish I could stay up to watch Jimmy Fallon" and "I wonder if the perfect make-up remover exists."  But I digress.

I'm just going to post a cute picture of my pup tonight, and I'll be back with more posts tomorrow.

Tah tah for now!

Friday, October 19, 2012


Hiya there, happy Friday!!  Can you believe it's almost the weekend, that 2-day period that we all dream about since Monday morning?  Well, I'm feeling a huge sense of relief that the weekend is almost upon me, beckoning me to two days of rest and relaxation.  Ahhh, the thought is sweet! 

The past few weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotions for me.  I'm worried, then I'm ecstatic, then I'm sad, then I'm happy-go-lucky... it's been up and down, changing practically by the day.  After all of this ish, I could really use some fun time surrounded by my favorite people.

A few words about my life lately...

In general, I'm not a moody person, nor do I spend time trying to be anyone other than me.  But lately, well, I've been made to feel like being me isn't good enough.  That stinks, right?!  I've been pressured to be like other people, meanwhile being told to "just be yourself, the best version of yourself!"  Riiiight, I am myself... allll the time... but they like the loud and crazy version best, and truth be told, that isn't the version of me that I like best.  I have come to realize that while I'm tolerant of people having their own style of doing things, not everyone else is.  They want conformists in their midst, people who use a lot of phony buzzwords and people who are "on" all the time.  They say that they want someone who speaks their mind, but they really only want that if they say the "right" things and never screw up.

Well, hun, that's just not me. 

I don't always say the right thing or tell people what they want to hear, but I will tell them the truth.  I also know when it's time to shut my trap and keep my opinions to myself because people are sensitive little buggers.  Some people just can't deal with dissenting opinions or being told that they aren't a unique snowflake.  As Thumper says, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."  And usually I don't, because I'm not trying to grow a patch of enemies.  I play it nice and stay honest, but I don't dash anyone's dreams.  Not my style.  But still, there are people who don't like that I'm this way.  I guess they want me to embrace my bold, brassy, inner bitch.  Well she does come out to play sometimes, but I use her powers with care.  She can be a harsh mistress when she goes unchecked.

The real answer here is that it's always a good time to be yourself, and be proud--no, SUPER PROUD--of who you are.  I think people can see a genuine personality in front of them and they appreciate it, gravitate toward and it embrace it.  There's so much BS in the world, and there need to be people who cut through it all with a heartfelt smile, a helping hand and genuine concern about people.  But the world is full of people who are acting out someone else's version of their best self, and they never really get to know themselves.  I don't want to be one of those people.  My genuine personality has been noticed by some very important people in my life, and it warms my heart.

While I've been going through some challenging times, I'm finding ways to laugh every day (thanks to Hubs for being my comic relief!), do things that make me smile and remember that there are a world full of people who like me, just as I am.  (That was my Bridget Jones moment!) 

NOW, let's get on to chatter about the weekend, which is way more fun...

I'm going to Orlando to visit my twin sister (plus her husband and cute dachshund, Charlie) on Saturday.  Our goal is to go to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, which I'm totally stoked about!!  I hear that it's fabulous event and I love that I'm going with a designated driver.  More wine for me, please!!  On Sunday, I'm coming home in the morning and meeting my friend Tracy for brunch before we meet up with the Tampa Juniors to work at the Stride for Strays registration booth.  Yay for racking up my community service hours!

I hope you ladies have a great weekend ahead!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall Frenzy Blog Swap!

Since I began blogging just one short year ago, I've made some great friends and have been able to participate in some super fun events with other bloggers.  I've had a blast getting to know new bloggers through link-ups, blog hops and swaps, as well as through local blogger meet-ups.  It's all about keeping up with the fun!!

I discovered one of my current favorite bloggers, Meg from Life of Meg, and she just seems like a doll!  She recently offered a Fall Frenzy blog swap, and of course I joined in.  Of course!  A swap focused on my favorite season sounded perfect, and I was chomping at the bit to see who I was paired with.  I just knew I'd have the most fun shopping for this swap, and I definitely did!

I finally got the news that I was paired with Rachel at {Simple.Little.Joys}!  What a blessing this pairing was!  I was introduced to Rachel and her fabulous, fun, witty blog, as well as to her Cinnamon Streusel Pumpkin Bread recipe.  Yum!!  Both my hubby and I thank Rachel for bringing this recipe into our lives.  It will forever have a home in our recipe box!

Rachel spoiled me by sending me all kinds of fun fall goodies.  It was actually a great assortment, and she really maximized her swap budget.  That's the sign of a swap pro!  I bet you're dying to see what she sent me, right?  Well, without further ado...

This is what I saw when I opened the box.  It was pure heaven, an explosion of fall colors and scents.  I knew this was going to be good immediately.

I opened the card (which was a sweet Halloween card, by the way), and unfurled the beautiful ruffled knit scarf in a deep russet color.  It's gorgeous and warm, which will be the perfect accessory when cooler weather comes my way.  I'm expecting that I'll be able to wear it in November (darn Florida weather!).
I found the next layer of surprises beneath the scarf.  I see baking supplies!  I see a candle!  I see candy!  And who doesn't love some glittery pumpkin decor?!  AHHH, so many fun things!
I took everything out of the box to both see exactly what was in store and admire my haul.
Here's the rundown:
Scarf by Turkoyz
Green Apple Germ-X Hand Sanitizer
Nicole by OPI Nail Polish in Deeply In Love (dark red)
Glade Maple Pumpkin Candle (4 oz)
Wilton Cupcake Kit - Halloween themed with 24 cupcake liners and 24 decorator picks
Wilton Halloween Cookie Cutter Set
Autumn Pot Holder and Oven Mitt Set
2 Glittered Pumpkin Decorations
Jack-o-lantern Skittles Twist 'n Pour
Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkin
Martha Stewart Living Magazine for Fall
I had planned to make pumpkin cupcakes next week, so the baking supplies came at the perfect time!  I'm a sucker for red nail polish, pumpkin candles and any type of hand sanitizer, so it was awesome to see so many of my must haves appear at my doorstep.  My husband says I need another pumpkin candle like I need a hole in my head, and while there may be some truth in that, my insatiable desire for all things pumpkin will not turn off.  This candle will be lit tonight!  The candy doesn't need any explanation.  It will be eaten this week!  The glittery pumpkins made their appearance on my desk at work today, and already received a few oohs and ahhs from my co-workers.
That's a ton of great stuff, right??  I couldn't be happier about Rachel's choices and she clearly has great taste.  I certainly hope that Rachel likes the box of goodies that I sent her, too.  Muchas gracias to Rachel and Meg for making the swap possible!!
Please go visit Life of Meg to see the other swap participants and the goodies they recieved!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Liebster Award!!

Hello lovies!  I am super excited because I was recently nominated for a Liebster Award by a great blogger, Jen from un.script.ed.  This award is for up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers, and the idea is that people who win the award pass it on to other bloggers who are also developing a following.  I personally love these awards and it feels great to support others in the blogging community.  Thanks for the love, Jen!!

Here are the rules, ladies:
  • Each person tagged must post 11 things about themselves.
  • They must also answer the 11 questions the tagger has set for them.
  • They must create 11 more questions to ask bloggers they have decided to tag.
  • They must then choose 11 bloggers to tag with less than 200 followers.
  • These lucky bloggers must be told.
  • There are no tag backs.

11 Things About Me

1. My twin sister and I are mirror-image twins.  This means we write with opposite hands (I'm the lefty!), part our hair on opposite sides, have worse vision in the opposite eyes, etc.
2. I live in Florida, but I was born and raised in a small town outside of Lansing, Michigan
3. I discovered sushi 4 years ago and I've had a love affair with it ever since.  I'm even becoming a bit of a sushi snob!
4. I require more sleep than the average person and would sleep for 10-12 hours per night if I could.
5. I'm the queen of cardigan sweaters and wear them all.the.time.
6. I'm a fragrance junkie, so I love scented things like candles, perfume, lotion, air fresheners, and more.
7. When I get a sandwich that comes with a dill pickle, I always eat my dill pickle first.  I want to make sure I have room for it!
8. I never thought I needed a smartphone until I got the iPhone.  Now I'm an app addict!
9. I hate when people refer to money as 'cheddar', but I don't mind if they call it 'dough'.  Maybe it's because I love carbs.
10. My favorite animal is the giraffe, and I absolutely loved getting to feed the giraffes at the local zoo and theme park.  They are just such sweet and graceful animals.

11 Questions from My Nominator, Jen at un.script.ed

1. If you could be anyone for a day (living or dead) who would you be and why?  I'd love spend a day being Kate Middleton.  She seems to have a pretty great life , impeccable style, and the perfect British accent!
2. If you could change your first name, what would change it to?  I wouldn't change it because I love that the spelling of my name is unique.
3. If you won a million dollars, what's the first thing you would purchase?  An amazing, custom-designed house with a killer kitchen and a sick walk in closet in the master bedroom.  I could really go wild on a project like that!!
4. If today were the last day of your life, what would you do with it?  I would spend it with my family, eating delicious food and reminiscing about a life well-lived.  There would definitely be cocktails involved, and perhaps a beach or a theme park.
5. If your life was a novel, what would be the title and how would your story end?  "If Life is a Journey, Let's Make it a Hayride:  The Life and Times of a Serial Adventurer" My story ends with a Happily Ever After, of course!
6. What are 3 things you can't live without?  Laptop, iPhone and Diet Coke (elixer of the gods)
7. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?  I'd stay 30.  At 30, I finally knew who I was as a person, I was happily settled in my life and I felt comfortable in my own skin.  That was such a great year for me.
8. Name 3 Songs that would be included on the soundtrack to your life... I could name a slew of songs that belong on this soundtrack, but the three that first come to mind are "Grey Street" by Dave Matthews Band, "Fell In Love With A Boy" by Joss Stone and "Closing Time" by Semisonic.  All mark distinct periods of my life that I like to reflect on from time to time.  Some memories from those days are great, some are not so great, but they've all made me who I am today.
9. What is your favorite book?  I loved Marley and Me by John Grogan because it reminded me of my relationship with my dog, Bella.  She's a gem but man, she can be a PITA.
10. What chore do you absolutely hate doing?  IRONING.  Ugh, it sucks.  I'm just bad at it and it feels like my clothes never look like I want them to.
11. What is your favorite quotes/bible verse?  Right now, I've been liking "Don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining."  Classy, right?  I blame my brother in law for that one.

My Nominees
 Meghan @ My Life as a Lawyer's Wife

Taryn @ Life, Love and the Pursuit of Chocolate

Hope @ Confessions of a Southern Belle

Please take time to check out each of these blogs! These bloggers are all witty and have unique perspectives that make their blogs a joy to read.  Some are recent discoveries, some I've been following for awhile.  I hope you love them as much as I do!

11 Questions for the Nominees

1.  Who is your hero and why?
2.  What is your beauty secret weapon?
3.  What's your favorite piece of new technology?
4.  If you could meet any celebrity, who would you meet and why?
5.  If you could pick a new profession, what would you choose to do?
6.  What is your dream vacation spot?
7.  What was your most embarassing moment?
8.  What are your three favorite clothing stores?
9.  What is one dream that you hope comes true?
10.  What are three adjectives that your best friend would use to describe you?
11.  What is your favorite scent and why?

Have fun with this girls, and enjoy getting to know some new bloggers!  Thanks again to Jen!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

It's Ok Thursday

Oooooh yeah, it's Thursday again!!  I love Thursdays because they 1.) they let me know that my favorite workday, Friday, is near, 2.) the best night of TV watching (hello NBC lineup!), and 3.) it's time to link up with an It's Ok Thursday post! 

It's Ok...
To be bummed that my best ideas for blog posts and tweets come while I'm driving...and I rarely remember them when I arrive at my destination
To think my dog's bed head is the cutest thing I've ever seen
To love clean laundry but hate folding it and putting it away in the closet
That I don't love the same trends that other people love
To think that touchless handsoap dispensers are a ridiculous invention (who cares if the soap pump is dirty, you're just about to wash your hands with all of that soap!)
To cheer for the underdog, even when chances of success are slim
To feel a rush of excitement at getting a Goop Birchbox
To not really miss soda that much (I know, I can't believe I'm saying it either!)
To hope that photos from my younger years don't resurface
To hang on to my favorite Doc Martens from high school, just for the memories
To love celebrity gossip and follow celebs closer than I follow my own extended family
To steal new work looks from the sales girls at Loft
To search endlessly for Ben and Jerry's Pumpkin Cheesecake ice cream
To be happy and laugh even when facing uncertainty
To trust that things always work out the way they're supposed to
To have lofty goals but no clear plans of how to achieve them
Hope you're all having a great Thursday!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday's Randoms

Catching up on the weekend... We did so much, y'all! 

After a super long week, Hubs and I decided that we needed to treat ourselves with yumminess from one of our favorite sushi restaurants.  We got there and we waited... and waited... and waited some more.  I seriously never thought we'd see our food, and my stomach was growling something fierce.  The server apologized for the wait, but she could have thrown us a bowl of edamame for our patience.  But no.  We finally got our sushi and it was delicious, but the length of the wait irked me.  Perhaps the Big Man is trying to teach me patience.  Later in the evening, Hubs and I got vanilla low-fat soft serve ice cream cones, which was a delish way to end the night.  When we got home, Hubs started working and I did my usual Friday night gig:  paid bills and watched Ghost Adventures. 

I slept in, which was glorious, then took my time getting around for the day.  I love a lazy Saturday!!  I ran some errands, then watched football, where saw my Michigan State Spartans come back from a 27-point deficit against the Hoosiers.  Hubs then got home from work and we got a make-your-own-six-pack of craft beers (mine were all pumpkin!) at Total Wine, hit Target, and went to one of my favorite local pizza places for some Chicago-style love.  We then visited the mall, stopped for some pumpkin cheesecake at Cheesecake Factory, and rented a couple of movies at Redbox.  We saw What to Expect When Your Expecting, and I'm glad we waited for it to come to Redbox instead of paying the big price at the theater.  It was cute, just nothing special.  Overall, Saturday was NOT a diet-friendly day, but Hubs and I got the cheating out of our systems and had a great time.

Hubs and I slept in again, then we got up and we worked around the house.  Ya know, typical chores:  cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping.  Yeah, grocery shopping is totally a chore for me, but you'd never know it considering how many times I run to Publix every week!  We watched The Goon from Redbox and it was a total renter.  It was the closest thing Hubs is getting to hockey, though, so it was good for him to get a taste.  We're still hoping that we have a pro hockey season!  Also on Sunday, I got a much-needed pedicure and used my new Deborah Lippmann nail polish in Just Walk Away Renee (a super dark red), which is perfect for Fall. Such a lovely day!

Now for a few random thoughts:
  • Rhea Pearlman and Danny DeVito are splitting up at 41 years together??  I mean, seriously, how is any marriage supposed to last if this one doesn't?  I always thought they were perfect together, but after all of those years, I suppose they got tired of each other.  Sad.
  • K-Stew and R-Patz are back together!!  Finally, sheesh, I wondered how long they were going to stay mad at each other.  While I absolutely don't condone cheating and I believe Rob had a right to be pissed at Kristin, it's nice to see them back together.  I always thought they were an adorable couple and they seemed to appreciate each others' quirkiness.
  • I finally bought an EOS lip balm and I see what all of the fuss is about.  It's so silky and the flavor is amazing!  I wish the packaging was little more compact, but the product inside is worth some extra bulk.
  • I saw a true sign of fall this weekend:  Williams-Sonoma has all of their pumpkin products in stock!!  They have mixes for cupcakes, cake pops, waffles and pancakes (which I bought!), and cookies, as well as their famous pumpkin butter.  I just kept repeating to myself, "Kari, you're on a diet, Kari, you're on a diet..."
  • My parents and sister came back from their Carnival cruise today and they had mixed reviews.  My mom is a casino snob and thought the boat sucked because their casino had dated and boring slot machines.  Really, that's how she judges cruise ships.  But she had her favorite cruise drink, the Miami Vice, in her hand the whole time, so I'm sure she was fine.
  • I bought my first Christmas gift last week and it finally arrived.  I feel good about getting a head start, but according to my Hubby, I'm late.  He starts on his shopping for me in August.  AUGUST!  Does waiting for October make a procrastinator?  Nah, it makes me normal, I think.
  • My sister told me today that through a friend of a friend, she can get me into the Epcot Food and Wine Festival for free later in October.  Um, YES PLEASE!!  I have always wanted to go to this particular festival, and I'm sure it's going to rock my socks off.  I can't wait!!
  • I'm ticked that all of the shows I want to watch are on at the same time on different networks.  It's making my DVR fill up really fast, so fast that I can't keep up with watching everything!  Oh, the problems I have.  It's such a rough life.

Ladies, I hope you've had an amazing weekend!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It's Ok Thursday!

Well, well, well, here we are again on another Friday Eve!  I couldn't be more excited that the weekend is near and I have Monday off work, making this a lovely three day weekend!!  I'll try to contain my exhuberance and enthusiasm for a moment to focus on really important things... like linking up with Amber and Neely for It's Ok!

It's Ok...
To wish every company allowed its employees to wear jeans to work every day
To be grateful for a free rental car, but loathe it's stale, smoky smell
To be jealous that my family is on a cruise without me
To worship Williams-Sonoma Pumpkin Butter
To be ready for political season to be over
To miss seeing movie trailers on TV now that political agendas have eaten up ad space
To see Hoarders and have the urge to clean and purge excess items from my house

To be scared to death of zombies (I blame watching The Walking Dead)
To wish I could freeze my dog in time so she won't get any older
To be grateful to my BFF for introducing me to the Junior Woman's Club (those are some fun girls!)
To have a bad hair day once in awhile
To feel most at home in the midst of my husband's hugs
To look forward to swimming in October
To be a tad bit miffed that pumpkin shakes are not yet available at McDonald's
I hope you ladies have an amazing Friday and weekend!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Hiya girls!  I've been so busy lately and trying my best to keep up. You know how sometimes you just work and work, but you don't seem to be getting ahead?  Well that's been me.  And man, I'm tired of this pattern!

Over the past couple of weeks, it has become apparent to me that it was time to make some positive changes to my lifestyle.  My life is always changing and I want to start a new chapter, and I know that healthier choices in all areas of my life will make a difference. So what am I gonna do differently?  Well...

#1 - Get better sleep habits!  I have had troubles with sleeping for a couple of years, but lately things are worse than ever.  It takes me forever to fall asleep and after I do, I sleep HARD, barely waking up for my alarms (yes, that's plural) in the morning. When I finally wake up, I'm in a groggy stupor for the first hour or two, barely feeling coherent.  Yikes!  It's scary stuff, considering that I sometimes drive to work that way.  Totally not safe!  To combat this, I've decided to stop drinking caffeine after 5 pm, starting to take long walks in the evening to tire me out, and going to bed earlier, even if it is just to lay in bed in the dark for awhile.  All of these things seem logical, right?  Well girl, I haven't been doing these things, and I've been paying the price!!  I've done this for a couple of nights, and I'm hoping that by making it a habit I'll see some improvement in my mornings.

#2 - Watch that waistline!  Let's face it, I haven't watched my eating habits since my wedding last year, and my extra poundage is evidence of my lack of culinary discipline.  When I think about my eating habits, I do great for breakfast and lunch everyday, but dinners and the occasional mid-afternoon snack at work are my downfall.  I just indulge too much, and I don't excerise enough to offset it.  I have decided to start cooking healthier meals and take advantage of the ideas on one of my favorite food websites, SkinnyTaste.  I'm also going back to my Weight Watchers meetings, which have fallen off in the past couple of months.  I've said it before, I know, but my commitment to get back on the horse should count for something!

So sleeping habit and eating habit changes are on the horizon, but what else? 

#3 - Wean off diet soda!  Yes, you heard me right, no more diet soda.  I say 'wean' because I don't feel strong enough to cut myself off cold turkey, but I've already started cutting back on my soda intake/habit and it's going to continue.  Hubs and I will finish the soda that we have in the house slowly, but after that I'm just not going to buy it anymore.  This is a tough thing for me since I've been a loyal diet soda drinker since I was a kid, but I'd like to see what life is like without the juice.  People say that it's easier to lose weight, so we'll just see about that!  I could use the extra help right now.

I'm proud of myself for making a commitment to better lifestyle habits, and I just hope they'll lead me to feeling happier and more energetic.  Now I have to hold myself to those commitments, which is the toughest part of all.  I've asked my husband to help keep me accountable, and so far he's been great.  I really love that dude because he is so, so supportive!

Have you made any healthy lifestyle changes lately??

My photo
Tampa, Florida, United States
I'm a wife, daughter and amazing twin sister. I'm a mom to my adorable dog, Bella. Loves: Shopping, cooking, baking, good grammar and Dave Matthews Band. I'm also a Bath and Body Works addict, a Michigan State Spartans fanatic, and an iPhone aficionado. I see beauty in simple things and little things make me ever-so-happy. Welcome to my world!

La Bella Vita

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