Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November Popsugar Must Have Box

This is my second month getting the Popsugar Must Have box, and I can say that I'm still pretty impressed.  My first month wowed me, and this month's box was pretty darn good.

Clockwise from upper left:
$30 CanvasPop Gift Card
1 Credit for StyleMint (hiding behind CanvasPop card)
La Boite Spice Mixes
Yogalosophy Yoga Workout DVD
Snow & Graham Thank You Notes
Gorjana Parker Bracelet
MOR Lip Macarons in French Vanilla
Stonewall Kitchen Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Mix
I was really impressed with the overall value of this box, just like I was with the last box.  These boxes cost $35, which is steep compared to other subscription services, but when you consider the value of what's in the box, you realize that you're getting a great deal.
I was excited about the Canvas Pop gift card since Hubs and I are looking to get some photos put on canvases for our house.  This will take the edge off our total bill, and ya'll know I love a good coupon.
The StyleMint credit is good for one $29.99 item on the website.  This is Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen's site, and the clothes are pretty much basics.  I ordered a long sleeved tee shirt with a draped neckline, and I'm hoping it's not too tiny.  If it's a tad on the small side, I may try to use my credit over at one of the other Mint sites (ShoeMint, JewelMint, IntiMint).
The spice mixes are actually really great.  There are two that are more geared to desserts and one that's good on fish and chicken.  They're interesting, complex flavors that add a little pizzazz to an otherwise hum-drum dish. 
I haven't tried the Yoga DVD because I really don't have anywhere to do yoga in my house.  Have I mentioned that our condo is the size of a postage stamp?  This may get some play when we buy our next house and have a decent sized room for exercising.
Next was the Snow & Graham thank you notes.  I cannot express just how much I love these note cards!  I'm a stationery geek anyway, but I think these letterpress cards are pretty impressive.  If you haven't purchased a Snow & Graham product in the past, you should definitely check the company out!  Their paper goods are truly gorgeous and anyone would feel lucky to get a pretty card like this in the mail.

The Gorjana Parker bracelet really excited me when I first opened the box, then I tried it on.  Well, attempted to try it on.  The bracelet was WAY too tiny!  I don't even have fat wrists, and this thing was about 1/2" to 1" too short.  I figured out that I could wear it as a short necklace if I wanted get some use out of it, but I'd prefer it as a multi-wrap bracelet.  I'm jealous of anyone whose wrists are teensy enough to get this thing clasped, because it's so very cute!
The MOR lip macarons in French Vanilla is a yummy, clear balm that did a nice job of moisturizing my lips.  I'd love to buy this in other flavors, like maybe Lychee Flower or Sorbet, Sorbet or Cassis Noir.  Mmmmmm.
Finally, we come to the Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut mix.  I haven't made these yet because I don't have a doughnut pan.  Womp, womp.  I did, however, see one on sale at Bed, Bath and Beyond last week, so perhaps I must pay that fine establishment a visit.  I just wish there was a way to make these without having to buy a special pan!
Overall, a pretty great box.  I'd estimate that this box is worth about $100, so it's a good value for the money spent.  Even Hubs agrees that you get great stuff in this box, and he's usually a tough critic when it comes to me bringing home more "stuff". 
Check out Popsugar's Must Have box if you have a chance!!  You won't be sorry.  There are even some great coupon codes out there if you're a first-timer and you're skeptical of the big price tag.  Sign up here!
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

November Ipsy Glam Bag vs. Birchbox

It's that time again boys and girls... time for a head-to-head comparison of November's Ipsy Glam Bag and Birchbox!!

I love a good compare-and-contrast session, and since there were both high points and low points to this month's box and bag, this should be fun.  Let's get on it...

L to R:
Chuao Potato Chip CocoPod
Atelier Cologne - Rose Anonyme  Cologne Absolue
Lulu Organics Lavendar and Clary Sage Hair Powder
Sarah McNamara Miracle Skin Transformer Vanish Instant Skin Imperfection Corrector
ModelCo Fibre Lashxtend Lengthening Mascara
I've got so many things to say about this box, which basically means that it was mediocre.  
I'll start with the Chuao CocoPod.  This thing is basically a single chocolate covered potato chip.  Now I totally dig a sweet/salty combination, but just one measly chip?  C'mon.  Girlfriend's gotta eat.  I liked this, but they come in boxes of 7 individually wrapped chips for $7.95.  That's far too expensive for what it is, in my opinion, but it was nice to give this a try.
The Atelier cologne is nice if you're into florals, specifically rose scents.  There are also hints of ginger and bergamot, but you mostly get rose.  In fact, if you buy this, you better really love rose 'cause this baby is STRONG!  I happen to love floral fragrances, so part of me didn't mind this cologne... but I know my husband hates strong scents, so I'm sure he would be annoyed if I wore this regularly.  This retails for $75 - $195, which is appropriately priced for a complex, hefty fragrance.
On to the Lulu Organics Hair Powder.  I have always been wary of dry shampoos because I tried an Oscar Blandi dry shampoo years ago and it did nothing for my hair except make my oily roots look chalky. Blah.  The Lulu Organics Hair Powder was different.  The product didn't make my hair look chalky at all, though it didn't do a lot to sop up the excess oil.  This hair powder actually does have a really great thing going for it with the lavender and clary sage fragrance--it made my hair smell AMAZING!!  I've always been a fan of lavender because I find it calming, and sometimes this uptight gal needs a little help in that department.  I think I'd just use this to make my hair smell nice, so I may buy this in the full size.  It retails for $30, which is no joke for a hair product that you only use on days that you don't wash your hair (which, for me, is infrequently since my hair turns into an oil slick after just one day). 
The Sarah McNamara Miracle Skin Transformer Vanish Instant Skin Imperfection Corrector (such a mouthful!) was an interesting product.  This is a silky balm (apparently infused with a serum) that you can use as a primer before applying make-up. This product goes on easily and evenly, and leaves my skin feeling soft.  It didn't, however, cover or hide some of my imperfections (i.e. old acne scars, redness, deeper wrinkles).  It did gently smooth away some of the finer lines, which was a plus.  This product reminded me a lot of Benefit's Dr. Feelgood, which is a balm that can be used under or over make-up and is meant to diminish the appearance of fine lines.  I don't know that this product transformed my skin, but it had a good effect on some of my little problem areas.
Finally, I tried the Model Co mascara, and I actually liked it.  It was great at lengthening and defining my lashes, and there was zero clumping.  Plus, plus, plus.  After I used it, I stared at my eyes and I realized that it was missing some key components: color and volume!  This is a black mascara, but it didn't make my lashes look any darker or more dramatic.  I would use this again for adding length and definition, but I might layer on a coat of another mascara (like my standard, Benefit They're Real) to get the color and volume.
L to R:
Nailtini Nail Laquer, Millionaire
Chella Eyebrow Defining Gel
Starlet Intense Eyeliner
The Balm Meet Matt(e) Eyeshadow, Matt Batali
Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lip Gloss, Dare Devil

This month's Glam Bag had some real winners!  At first I was a little bit disappointed with this bag.  It just didn't look very impressive, and I thought, another nail polish?  Another black eyeliner?  A black eyeshadow?  Reeeeally?  And then I actually tried the products and wanted to kick myself for being so dismissive.
The Nailtini nailpolish is gold with green flecks, hence the name "Millionaire".  It's much prettier in person than in the picture, and I think it will be a fun polish for New Year Eve. 
The Chella eyebrow gel was fine I suppose.  I don't have wild eyebrows or even a little cowlick that makes the hair stand up toward the middle.  My brows are fine and tame, so I won't really use this much.
Starlet's Intense Eyeliner pencil went on smoothly, but I didn't get a very "intense" effect from the liner.  It was just a standard black eyeliner pencil, but it will get used.
The Balm's Meet Matt(e) matte black eyeshadow looked a little bit intimidating. I'm not really a fan of super dark eyeshadows, but this one really surprised me!  It goes on a little more sheer than the dark pan of make-up suggests, and it created a really pretty smoky eye.  I never thought of The Balm for eyeshadows, but I might check out more of their colors after seeing how Matt Batali performed.
The Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lip Gloss was my favorite product in the bag.  Dare Devil is a darker shade of lip gloss than I currently own, but the color is beautiful!  Where has this lip gloss been all of my life??  It smells like black cherry or root beer (I can't decide which) but it doesn't have a flavor.  This is actually a good thing because I didn't lick it off in the first minute of wearing it.  Winning!
THE WINNER:  Ipsy Glam Bag!!
The Glam Bag just had my favorite products this month, but Birchbox was pretty good, too.  I hope next month has as many winners at this month!
Did you like your Glam Bag or Birchbox this month?  What was your favorite product?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Stuffed: An Ode to Thanksgiving Weekend

Schtuffed.  That was me multiple times throughout this glorious weekend.  I always eagerly anticipate this blessed occasion and everything that goes along with it:  Gorging myself on turkey and pumpkin pie, shopping and lots of family time. 

Hubs and I went to my parents' house on Wednesday night and stayed until Saturday afternoon, and we had a lovely time.  When we got there, we went to dinner with the 'rents and caught up on the latest in our lives and the shenanigans of my oven (this time, it's that my timer no longer dings when time runs out).  My twin sister and her hubby joined us later in the evening, when we enjoyed my mom's famous crab dip and my sister's ridiculously yummy chocolate chip cookies.  This is a family that knows how to eat! 

On Thanksgiving Day, we watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and my sis and I reminisced about the year that she and I went ot the parade (2002, to be exact).  We parked our butts along Central Park West, near the beginning of the parade route and watched this fantastic event.  I will never forget how incredibly huge those balloons were in person.  We then got hot chocolate in Central Park and rode the carousel, then walked down to the Hard Rock Cafe to eat a proper Thanksgiving Dinner.  We then walked from Midtown to Macy's Herald Square (this is a hike if you're not used to walking longer distances) and looked at the amazing Muppets-themed store windows.  I <3 at="at" holidays="holidays" nyc="nyc" p="p" the="the">
Back to this year's Thanksgiving.  My uncle and aunt came over to the house and we cooked a humongous dinner. 

Holy mountain of mashed potatoes, Batman!!  Yup, I made those.  I had a delicious dinner, but I didn't overeat this year.  I was pretty full at the end of the meal, but not sick or sleepy full.  I was unbutton-my-jeans full.  The only downside was that my parents had no wine to enjoy with our Thanksgiving feast, but I survived!

My Family (pardon the awful flash issue)

We dined al fresco because it was the only table large enough for 8 of us!

On Thanksgiving night, I had to go up to CVS (to buy wine and some other odds and ends), then Hubs and I gave into temptation and went to both Wal-Mart and Target.  The lines were CRAZY LONG and the people were stacked up all over the store.  I was so glad we weren't there with much  an agenda or else I'd probably have been in a tizzy.  I did manage to score some great DVD deals and a gift for my sister, so our venture was a success.  Later that night, I bought a new Nikon Coolpix camera since it was on sale online and I didn't want to fight the electronics crowds on Black Friday. 

On  Black Friday, my mom and I went out early in the morning and hit Kohl's, Old Navy, Macy's, Bath and Body Works, Beall's and Pier 1.  I got some tremendous deals!!  At Kohl's, I got a Corningware French White casserole set for $40, then I had 3 coupons, brining the price down to $22.  Then, I got a $20 mail-in rebate, which made the set almost free!  If there are two things this girl likes, it's casseroles and discounts, so I was stoked.

The Spoils

On Black Friday, we had leftovers for dinner and I made this bad boy:  a Thanksgiving Dinner Sandwich.

Why yes that is Pepperidge Farms Farmhouse bread, turkey, stuffing, jellied cranberry sauce and mayo.  It was so flippin' good!  I pretty much at this with some mashed potatoes and all of my leftover cravings were instantly fulfilled.

Hubs and I left the parentals' house on Saturday, then came home to watch my Michigan State Spartans beat the Minnesota Golden Gophers in football.  It was sort of an ugly game until the second half, but I enjoyed watching.  After that, Hubs and I got some din-din and bought a new stove on a great sale.  This new stove is going to be thebomb.com.  It's practically a Ferrari compared to my current Kia model.  I can't wait to fire it up and bake a TON of Christmas cookies in that thing!

On Sunday, my sis and my parents met me to do some shopping for my sister, who just announced that she's PREGNANT!!  I'm so thrilled for her and my brother-in-law, who have been trying for a baby for over a year.  I also can't wait to be an auntie so I can spoil this kid rotten!!  Our shopping on Sunday entailed a trip to BuyBuy Baby and Motherhood Maternity, and we had a blast.

Today has been a delightful, lazy day for me.  I took the day off to use up some vacation time, and ended up getting my bloodwork done, meeting Hubs for lunch, stopping at Starbucks, and doing a few things around the house.  I've loved having the day mostly to myself!

I'm going back to work tomorrow, and after 5 days off, it's going to be rough.  I will just bask in the afterglow of an amazing weekend that kicked off yet another joyous holiday season.

I hope you all had a fun weekend!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Greetings

Happy Thanksgiving, my dear friends!!

I cannot believe that we've already reached Thanksgiving... this year has gone by so fast!  I think I say that every year, though.  It seems like the years when I was younger passed by more slowly, and now that I'm older, I'm always wondering where time went.  I'm always trying to lasso another couple of hours here or a day there to catch up on chores or find some "me" time, and those hours and days go by in a New York minute.

Over the past few days, I've been reflecting on the blessings I have in my life.  This year hasn't gone perfectly, but I still have many things to be thankful for...

Like these two...

Hubs and Bella

Great friends...

My loving, kooky and charismatic family...

Plenty of these...

Minus the incorrect spelling of my name
Craft Beer
Michigan State Spartans Athletics (even when we're having a down year)...

'Cuz we're always going to watch the games in true Spartan style!
A profession that I love...
My lovely little home...
... and even some of this
I'm grateful that I am healthy and so is my family.  This Thanksgiving marks four years since my mom's cancer surgery, and I am beyond grateful that she's healthy as a horse today.  She is one of my very best friends and imagining life without her was excruciatingly painful.  Four years ago was a scary time, but now it's a joyous time full of love and gratitude from my whole family.  I am thankful to God that my mom is still with us today.
We are spending our Thanksgiving this year at my parents' house, where there will be 8 of us enjoying a beautiful feast.  We all have a hand in the meal:  I always make the mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, my sister makes the stuffing, my mom makes the turkey and deviled eggs.  Our guests just bring themselves and a smile (or maybe a package of dinner rolls if my mom forgets them at the store).  After Thanksgiving dinner, we all gather in the living room to watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation to kick off the Christmas holiday season.  We all end up belly laughing and sharing stories about past Christmases, and it's one of my favorite aspects of Thanksgiving Day. 

This Thanksgiving also marks my parents' 37th wedding anniversary, so we have additional happiness to celebrate.  37 years sounds like an eternity to me, but my mom swears that time has flown and it hasn't really seemed like such a long time.  That's the sign of a happy marriage, when 37 years go by so fast that you barely recognize it.  I think they've learned that they get along 95% of the time and the other 5% of the time they pursue solo hobbies to they don't drive each other nuts.  (Hubs and I will get there eventually too, I'm sure.)

Regardless of what you're doing this Thanksgiving, I hope that you are all enjoying a wonderful holiday today.  Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving and many blessings to you and your family!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekend Revisited

It's Monday, and that means that I'm back to work and reality once again.  I am going to reminisce about this past weekend, because it was so darn good! 

This past weekend represented a first for my Hubby and I:  The first weekend we've ever spent together at home, where neither of us had to work.  Seriously.  We've been together for more than 4 years, and the entire time I've known Hubs, he's had to work on Friday nights and Saturdays.  He's gotten an occasional weekend off here and there, but only for when we were going out of town and he was nowhere near the office.  Now he's mine, all mine (like, all the time).

Having Hubs all to myself on weekends was an exciting proposition, but to be honest, it scared me a little, too.  I have been so accustomed to having my "me" time on Friday nights and Saturdays to do whatever the hell I felt like.  Time to pay bills, sleep in, watch Ghost Adventures and Couples Therapy on my DVR, take Bella on lazy walks and go shopping...  Well, it's not just "me" time anymore, it's "us" time.  Truth be told, I'd gladly give up some of that "me" time to spend more quality time with my sweetie pie.

On Friday night, Hubs and I decided to celebrate our first full weekend at home together by having a delish dinner at Seasons 52.  If you're not familiar with Seasons 52, check it out here.  It is a chain restaurant that specializes in healthy meals (all meals are under 475 calories!!) with a rotating seasonal menu.  Everything I've ever had there has been amazing, including this humongous Cuban flatbread that Hubs and I shared:

Yup, it was like 2 feet long and it tasted just like a Cuban sandwich!

After our trip to Seasons, we stopped at the mall so I could stock up on holiday handsoap at Bath and Body Works (they're on sale 5 for $15 right now!).  Hubs and I then drove home, where he collapsed on the couch and fell asleep at 9:00.  So much for a romantic evening at home!  I actually didn't mind, though, because it gave me a couple of hours to work on my budget and watch my DVR'd shows.  Not so bad afterall!

Saturday rolled around, and I took Hubs to his appointment to see if he's a candidate for LASIK.  Sure enough, he is!  We scheduled his procedure for December 14, so he'll be glasses-free for Christmas!  I know how good it feels to be liberated from a pair of glasses, and I'm super excited for him. 

After the eye appointment, we went to Cheesecake Factory for a quick lunch, then shopped around for awhile.  I saw SO many pretty things that will definitely be making their way onto my Christmas list this year!  But that's another post for another day. 

While we were at the mall, we had a celebrity sighting!  We saw Jessica and Ashlee Simpson signing autographs at a Dillard's department store, where Jessica was promoting her new fragrance and accessories.  Here's proof:

They were so cute and platinum blonde!  And Jessica was looking GREAT!  You could never tell that she weighed 60 lbs more just 6 months ago.  She's my new weight loss inspiration!

On Saturday night, Hubs and I had dinner at a great little Italian restaurant and saw Skyfall.  My husband is longtime Bond fan, and proceeded to tell me everything I'd want to know about all of the different James Bonds (including why Pierce Brosnan and Roger Moore were the worst Bonds).  Oy.  I think this movie was actually pretty great, if you're into spy thrillers.  Action movies usually raise my blood pressure and leave me feeling a wee bit panicked, so they're not my typical fare.  But this one got my stamp of approval, as did the last Bond flick.

On Sunday, Hubs and I made breakfast at home and did lots of work around the house.  It was actually pretty heavenly to spend most of the day at home.  I cleaned up my closet, we did some laundry, and generally got myself more organized.

All in all, a super duper weekend!  And now we're back to the big, bad grind.  The saving grace of this week is that it's a really short week--just 3 days of work then we're off for 4 more days!  I think I can handle that. 

Hope you ladies have a wonderful week!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Been There, Baked That: Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread

Football season is one of my favorite times of the year, even when my Spartans are having a rough season.  I adore watching games, following rankings, and, of course, football food.  Specifically, the types of foods you'd take to a tailgate or have on your buffet while having the gang over to watch games on the big screen.  Tailgate food is always easy to handle and it's almost always some kind of soothing, fattening comfort food.  Why?  Because you tailgate when it's chilly outside, and who wants to eat fruit or a light salad when you're bundled up outside on a damp, 40-degree afternoon?  No, you want chili or taco dip or buffalo wings or that kind of nonsense.  The kind of food that sticks to your ribs.

Last Fall, I stumbled across a recipe for Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread.  I immediately thought that this would make an amazing football dish or a snack to take to my family's Christmas Eve appetizer buffet.  I whipped it up last year and Hubs fell in love with it!!  He's a tough critic, and since this passed his test, I knew I had to make it again sometime.  That sometime came last week.  Let's just say that I had a very happy, stuffed husband on my hands and my diet was blown.  This monkey bread brings the yum in a big way!

Is this healthy?  NO. 

Is it full of carbs and fat?  SURE IS.

Does it make you want more?  HELL YES.

What do you need to make Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread?  You'll need a bundt pan, a small sauce pan and a basting brush.  Yes, a bundt pan, that pan your mom bought you that you only break out once a year.

Here's the recipe:

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread
2 cans of refrigerated biscuit dough
1 jar of pizza sauce (part for monkey bread, part for dipping)
1 block of mozzarella cheese
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
4 tbsp butter
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
Ranch dressing (for dipping)

 In a small sauce pan, heat garlic and butter over medium heat until the garlic browns and butter melts (about 5 minutes)
Remove pan from heat and add garlic powder and Italian seasoning.
Coat your bundt pan with non-stick spray.
Cut mozzarella cheese into 3/4" cubes.
Flatten 1 round of biscuit dough and cut in half.
On one biscuit half, place 1 or 2 slices of pepperoni, 1 cube of mozzarella cheese and 1/2 tsp. of pizza sauce. 
Fold dough onto itself, making a ball and sealing the edges so toppings don't seep out.  Repeat until all of the biscuit dought has been used.  You will have 32 balls.  Place half of the balls in the bottom of the bundt pan and brush with half of the butter mixture.
Repeat, placing the last half of the balls into the pan and brushing with the remaining butter mixture.
Bake for 35-40 minutes at 400 degrees.
Pull pan out of the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before turning it over onto a plate.
It looks awfully brown, but it's not burned, I promise.
Pull biscuit pieces apart and fill up your plate. 
Use remaining pizza sauce and ranch dressing for dipping.
The inside of one of these bad boys.  Totally scrumptious.
There you have it!  Deliciousness on plate, angioplasty not included.  This will be enjoyed by men, kids and ladies looking for a culinary splurge. 
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Catching Up, or Why I'm a Bad Blogger

I feel like I've got some explaining to do.  I've been striving for the past few months to create new blog posts a few times a week, always keeping it updated with the latest and greatest in my life, my interests and my concerns.  My past week has been so stinking busy that the bloggity blog was put on back-burner.  It actually feel crappy about it because I've been working hard to keep it up.  So many great things have happened over the past week, but I haven't I'm trying to get better about keeping my commitments to myself despite the craziness.  This means blogging, cleaning, and keeping gas in my car.  I'm a work in progress.

Here are the highlights of the past week:
  • Last Friday night, I got to see Weezer in concert with my girlfriend Jess.  I've wanted to see this band live for the better part of the last 20 years.  Yes, you read that right, that means I'm getting old.  I bought my first Weezer album (the Blue album) in 1994 and jammed out to this on the regular in my first car, a little green Saturn SC2.  Ah, the memories!  I still get little goosebumps while I sing along, loudly and obnoxiously, to Undone (The Sweater Song).  I think there are two types of people:  People who get Weezer and people who don't.  Hubs does NOT get Weezer and thinks they're mediocre at best.  I happen to think Weezer is a quirky band with catchy pop rock songs that make me super happy.  Different strokes for different folks.   SO, the show was AWESOME!!  The band was chock full of energy and played every single hit song they've ever had in an hour and a half (that's what happens when you have a slew of 4 minute songs).  It was totally worth the ridiculously high ticket price.  Here are a few pics from the show:
Chillin' prior to the show

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Rivers came into the audience to play a bunch of times and was a phenomenal showman

  • Last Saturday was Hubby's best friend's wedding, and it was great to hang out with the whole gang again!  I was excited to finally bust out my new DKNY animal print dress, which I paired with black tights, cardi and shoes (because it was a funeral--just kidding!). To be honest, the most fun part of the night was all of the picture-taking we did on the back patio of the venue.  Thankfully it was a beautiful night and we weren't too chilly, so it added to the photo op.  Here's some evidence:
Hubs and I (doesn't he look handsome?)
Jess and I kept each other company (that makes 2 nights in a row)
Yes, I'm giving the statue bunny ears (I blame the wine)
This used to be red velvet wedding cake

  • Last Sunday, I went to the Junior League Holiday Gift Market out at the fairgrounds with Tracy and Tammy, and I tore it up!  I bought another bubble necklace (this time in green), a monogrammed duffle bag, a big wooden monogram to hang on our hallway wall, and some presents for my family.  Later in the day, Hubs and I ran off to our first Yelp event, Livin' La Vida Local.  We couldn't resist going because it was free food and drinks at Datz, one of our favorite local restaurants, and we finally got to see what Yelp events are like.  It was a big win!!  We had amazing food and cocktails, and I met up with a few local bloggers who are just wonderful girls.  Here were a few of my favorite sips and noshes from night:
Winter White Cosmo, hummus and veggies and the Piggy flabread
Housemade potato chips with blue cheese drizzle
Mulled Cider Martini
Chicken and waffle cones
Moi, loving the event and the great people we met
  • Hubs, a die-hard hockey fan, has been down in the dumps lately becuase of the on-going hockey lockout.  On Monday, we went to a college hockey game to help ease the no-hockey blues.  USF beat University of Tampa (my grad school alma mater) 4-2, and it was really good!  I loved that at one point there were three guys from both teams in the penalty box at the same time.  I couldn't help but snap a picture of the new JumboTron, which went from big to GINORMOUS!  It's a bit ridiculous how big it is, but I'm sure the people up in the cheap seats appreciated the Imax-like screen.

  • Wednesday night was my Juniors club meeting followed by a sushi date with my pal, Tracy.  On Thursday night, we met up again and went to the Juniors holiday shopping party.  I don't think I've ever hung out with Tracy so many times in one week!  I wound up getting some very necessary shopping done for my family and myself!  In case you haven't figured it out, I subscribe to a "one for you, one for me" holiday shopping strategy.  So far it's yielded me some faboo finds!
I'll be back tomorrow with updates on my weekend, which is turning into a great one.  I can't wait to share!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Social

Happy Sunday pretty ladies!  I've had a terrific weekend, and want to keep the fun going by linking up with Neely for the Sunday Social. 

This Weeks Questions:

What is currently on your wish list?   I've been craving a pair of TOMS ballet flats, a new jewelry armoire (with drawers that go down to the floor), and a new camera.  I could also use a new handbag, but I'm sure Hubs would roll his eyes at a mere mention of that.

Share a new iphone, droid, ipad app you have recently discovered that we all need:  I've been enjoying the Beautylish app for beauty tips, Grub Hub for take-out restaurants, and Fark for entertaining news from around the world.  You'll be totally missing out if you don't have these apps!

What is a new Fall TV show you have added to your DVR?  The New Normal, Revolution, Nashville, and The Mindy Project.  Revolution and The Mindy Project are my two new faves.  Mindy and I could be BFFs because we like lots of the same things: pop culture, makeup, shopping...

Share your Social Media links for us to follow you on(pinterest, twitter, facebook, etc) Tell us which is your favorite and why?  I'm on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (link on the upper right side of my blog).  My favorite is Facebook because that's where most of my friends are, but I've really grown to love Twitter!

What is a TV show or Movie or Song you could listen to or watch over and over and over and never get tired of…feel free to name one of each:  TV show:  LOST.  It was one of my favorite TV series ever.  Movie:  National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  Song:  Anything by Dave Matthews Band!

Have a wonderful week ahead!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

The End of an Era

Today marks the end of an era in Hubs and I's lives.  As I've mentioned before, Hubs has been working as a weekend radio dj for a local rock radio station since 2008.  He works a regular weekday job and does radio work on the weekends.  He doesn't get paid much and doesn't get many hours, but he really loves the work.  He has been doing normal radio shifts and he hosts and programs the heavy metal show on Saturday nights.  He has a strong fan base in the local area and has heavily supported the local rock and heavy metal scene.

As of today, Hubs is no longer working for the radio station because he is unable to be available whenever he is needed, like on Tuesdays at 1 pm.  As a grown adult he cannot afford to be a part-timer who gets 15 hours of work per week and is available 24/7.  He needs a regular income and health insurance.  The radio station's corporate office said that they will no longer have employees who only have limited availability, which is crushing to my poor husband.  He has poured all of himself, his heart and his soul, into this job over the past 4 and a half years, and it sucks that things had to end this way.

Hubs runs a Facebook page for his heavy metal show, and he posted a statement today about the fact that he will no longer be hosting or programming the metal show.  The outpouring of love and support has been tremendous, and his fans want him to keep the page going with a focus on the local heavy metal scene.  I know that Hubs will continue to support the music in the years to come.  Rock and heavy metal music is a passion for him, and I'd never, ever want to see him give that up.

It's sad to think that the perks of the radio job will no longer be available to us anymore.  No more free concerts, no more meet and greets with Hubs' favorite bands, and no more Gasparilla parade.  I'm sad about this, but I'm more sad for Hubs because being on the radio was his dream.  Radio has afforded him the opportunity to meet some influential people and have a tremendous amount of fun, so it's not necessarily a bad story. 

I have encouraged Hubs to seek out work with other local radio stations, but I think he's going to take a break from it for awhile.  After years of dedicating every Thursday night, Friday night and Saturday to his shows, he wants to see what it's like to spend some quality time with yours truly.  I certainly can't complain about that!!  This will give us much more flexibility to travel on our weekends without the pressures of pre-programming, finding fill-ins or feeling guilty about not being available to the company.

In all, we'll turn lemons into lemonade (or lemon drop martinis!) and make the most of the change in our life.  It is bittersweet to say the least, but I know that my husband's passion will continue on in the form of new ventures. So here's to a new chapter in life, and all of the exciting new things that will come with it!!

Popsugar Must Have Box

As y'all know, I'm a huge fan of subscription boxes.  Some are winners, some are duds, so I've been reevaluating what I choose to spend my hard-earned money on. 

My twin sister, who is a subscription box whore too, told me about a new subscription box from Popsugar.  They call it the Must Have box, and it's full of exciting full-size and trial sized products that range from books to scarves to candles to movie tickets.  It seriously looked awesome!  The downside?  It costs 35 bones a month.  Ouch.  They typical subscription box is $10 per month, so I figured that this Must Have box better prove it's worth quickly to keep getting my money.   

I decided to ditch my Cravebox subscription (the last two boxes have been awful) and give the Must Have box a whirl for one month.  Just one.  I even found a coupon for half off of the monthly price on Retailmenot.com, so it was a great way to test the waters without the big financial commitment. 

My first box arrived last week, and I was shocked at how much value you get for the money spent. 

Here's the box:

The Goodies:
(Clockwise starting from Left)
Red Flower Candle in Spanish Gardenia
Book - The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling
Pirate's Booty Aged White Cheddar Puffs
OPI Pink of Hearts 2012 Nail Polish Set
Dylan's Candy Bar Gummy Bears
Clear Scalp and Hair Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner - 3 fl oz each
I loved the variety in this box!  Not only do you get a great selection of products, but the quality of the items is really impressive.
The Pirates Booty lasted all of 3.5 seconds before I cracked open the bag and ate it (it was my after work snack).  It was so delicious!!  The gummy bears were pretty awesome too, but isn't everything from Dylan's Candy Bar stellar?! 
The ExerSocks are comfy and have little grips on the bottom to keep you from sliding on slippery surfaces.  They would be great for yoga class, puttering around the house (on our wood and tile floors) or waddling around the hospital as a pregnant lady waiting to give birth (I'm planning ahead, can't you tell?). 
The Red Flower candle in Spanish Gardenia smells heavenly.  I inhaled the fragrance for 5 straight seconds because I couldn't break free from it's hold.  I have a thing for gardenias though, and even planted a little gardenia bush outside of one of my bedroom windows so I could open the windows and smell the fabulous scent.  What's very cute is that this candle also comes with some dried flower petals that you can sprinkle in your bath or tie up in a piece of muslin to make a sachet.  LOVE.
The OPI polish set is absolutely perfect.  I've been looking for a pink sparkly polish, and was surprised when this one arrived at my doorstep.  It's called You Glitter Be Good To Me, and it's going on my toes when I get my pedi this weekend.  The other color, I Think In Pink, is a pretty bubblegum pink shade that will be perfect for Spring and Summer.\
Finally, we have Clear Scalp and Hair Therapy shampoo and conditioner.  I've actually tried these before, and they're pretty good.  I don't think they helped my itchy scalp problem that well, but my hair was always shiny, soft and managable.  While these are not full-size products, they are larger than trial size, so I'm going to save them to take on my next vacation.
I added up the value of the individual pieces.  The total value of the box is over $95, so the $35 pricetag was actually not so bad.  I'd love to get next month's box, but I want to see if I can find a new coupon code to keep the price low.  I'm such a bargain hunter that I have to try to get a deal wherever possible!
Sooooo... I just swapped out one subscription box for another, but progress is progress.  I would rather spend a little more to get something great than spend a little and feel like all I got was junk.  I have a feeling that I'll be making some more decisions soon about whether to keep or get rid of the Ipsy bag and Birchbox.  They've both had redeeming qualities lately, but I necessarily need so many of these things every month (as my husband has so sweetly reminded me).  We'll see what next month holds!

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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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