Thursday, July 31, 2014

Birchbox Review: June

Here's a look back at my June Birchbox:

1. SARAHPOTEMPA The Half Up -- If you have layers in your hair, forget about it. This is supposed to be used to do a half-up/half-down style with a bun. Yeah, no. But the directions said this may also work for a low bun for people who have hair that's not too long. I was able to get some of my hair to make a low bun, if you like a messy look.

2. LAQA & Co. Sheer Lip Lube Pencil in Bees Knees -- This goes on smoothly, moisturizes my lips and is minty-fresh. My only complaint is the light coral, almost iridescent color isn't all that flattering on me.

3. Cynthia Rowley Beauty Eyeliner in Black -- I don't wear black eyeliner, but I tried this once so I could review it. It went on smoothly; it's more of creamy pencil. It seems like it has staying power. The gold polka dot design of the packaging is adorable. I threw it in my makeup bag in case I ever want to wear black eyeliner, or I misplace my dark brown one and need to be on air in .5 seconds. (This is one reason Birchbox is great. You can throw some of the products you don't love in the bottom of your make up bag or drawer so that they're there in a pinch as a back up to your staples.) 

Okay, now to the good stuff:

4. Perlier Body Cream in Shea Almond -- Love this, love this! I am a sucker for ANYTHING almond/amaretto-scented. And this definitely fits the bill. I use it every night before I got to bed as a hand cream. It feels great and smells even better. So luxurious! 

5. English Laundry Signature for Her --I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS SCENT! It's a little woodsy, a little sweet, but not overly saccharine. If I hadn't been hoarding perfume lately and this wasn't $90 a bottle, I would buy it tomorrow!

My July Birchbox:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Weekend in the Middle of Nowhere

Some of my fondest memories growing up were made in Utopia. Yes, it's a real place, a tiny town in the Texas Hill Country that lived up to its name in country charm and peacefulness. My family and my godfather's family got together each year to celebrate Thanksgiving in the middle of nowhere, and even as a city girl, I loved every minute of it. I nostalgically daydream about the place quite frequently. I have vowed to take Max to the Hill Country just as soon as we get a chance, but in the meantime, we visited a new place closer to home called Streamsong Resort in Central Florida. It's known mostly for its golf, but Max went for the bass fishing and I went for the rest and relaxation. Here's a look at our weekend; please excuse the low-quality iPhone photos. (Yes, Max bought me a really nice camera for Christmas that I seem to forget every time I go somewhere scenic.)

Patio outside the rooftop restaurant/bar

 Poolside cabanas

Infinity pool overlooking the lake

View from our room

Nature hike

 Max getting in some extra fishing after his guided trip

Little mini bass

Dinner at Sotto Terra



Grotto inside the spa with hot tubs, rain showers and an even a very cold pool that Max (hilariously) tried out!

Relaxing inside the spa before my massage. Thank you, Max :)

Before dinner at Restaurant 59

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Five IX

Do you like creative cocktails? Do you like cool bars? Do you like funny, laid-back dudes who you'd like to have a creative cocktail with in a cool bar? Then you'll love this show!

This week I started the Pure Barre Sarasota Summer Evolution Challenge: 20 classes in 30 days!
Reviews on just about every beauty product you can imagine from Paula Begoun of Paula's Choice skincare and cosmetics. The reviews are mostly ingredient-based, not results-based. And you must take these reviews with a grain of salt since they are produced by a beauty products company, not a neutral third party. While I don't agree 100 percent with all of the reviews, I do find them fair and objective.

5. Cherries 
It's cherry season, which means this super-star fruit is more affordable and de-licious! The Pacific Northwest is apparently having a great season; the cherries are plentiful, sweet and jumbo-sized. Cherries have several health benefits, including metabolism-boosting B vitamins, cancer-fighting antioxidants, and potassium to help lower your blood pressure. Read more here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My So-Called Life...After Turning 30

I turned 30 in May and celebrated in the most perfect way possible. I spent a fantastic weekend with BFFs in Texas (would I be anywhere else on my 30th birthday?) then came back to Florida to balloons at work, a bouquet of beautiful tulips and dinner at one of my favorite restaurants with my fiance.

I tossed around all these ideas about how I would blog about the big 3-0: "30 Things I've Learned Before Turning 30," "30 Things to Accomplish over the Next 30 Years," "30 Things About Me." But coming up with 30 of anything in one sitting is a daunting task, so I scratched that and wrote nothing. And really, turning 30 just felt like another year to me; physically I don't feel any different than I have over the last decade.

But I kept thinking back to an interview I read with Claire Danes (now you understand the title of this post) in the January issue of Glamour magazine in which she talked about life in her thirties. She said:

"I'm happier in my thirties...I was always looking forward to this time because people talk about it in very romantic terms. And I think it's true. Gravity hasn't had too profound of an effect, you're a little less emotionally gangly. The twenties are a deceptively challenging-slash-painful time. I'm just glad to be out of that phase."

I couldn't agree more! I think we're conditioned to believe that our twenties are when life is fun, exciting and playful. That may be true, especially in college, but there were plenty of downsides to that decade for me. And I don't think I'm alone. There was relationship drama, painful breakups, the stress of moving about a dozen times, anxiety over GPAs and GREs, making major decisions that would forever alter the course of my life, including where to go to graduate school and how to start my career, being away from my best friends, a job with more work and less pay then I could have ever imagined, and grad school loans...oh, the loans. (I'm still paying those off, but you get my point.)

I know the third decade of my life will bring a whole new set of challenges, but I feel like I'm starting it with a sense of calm and just a little more certainty. In that same Glamour interview, Claire Danes pointed out something else about this phase of life that I thought was so simple, yet so genius:

"A lot of the mysteries of life have been illuminated...this is the man I'm going to spend the rest of my life with. This is my son. This is my city. This is my home."

We spend so much of our younger life imagining and wondering about those big "What will my life look like?" questions. By 30 we know several of the answers, but not ALL of them, and that's what makes this stage so wonderful. I can only wait and see what amazing things the next 30 years will bring!