Archive | July, 2010

So Much for Reading Rainbow

23 Jul

Apparently the only thing I learned from that show was a really cool song. IIII cannn gooo annyywhere.  Oh, and I thought LeVar Burton was pretty cool too.

So, I never thought the day would come.  I actually don’t think anybody could have seen this coming… I, a self-proclaimed non-reader, am asking for book suggestions.  Ever since the days of forced (even during our sacred summers) reading and book reports, I’ve sworn off the whole idea. It wasn’t for me, I decided.  Those people who said, “Aww, the book was SO much better than the movie”… well not if you didn’t read the book!  I always enjoyed the movie.  There was never a disappointment upon comparison for this girl.  I don’t know why I didn’t get passed down the love-to-read-for-the-fun-of-it gene from my mother.  She’s one of those who can read a whole book in a day out by the pool.  Must be a middle-child thing.

I’ve tried, over the years, many times to start reading.  I’ll go to the store, pick out a book (after judging it by it’s cover, naturally) and bring it home.  THEN, I’ll hide it somewhere deep in a dresser or closet where I can forget about it and feel a little less guilty for not reading it.  If I keep it out on the nightstand it looks at me with this “you don’t love me” sadness and I think, “you’re right, I don’t, now where did you hide the remote”.  While I have to admit that I actually DID enjoy the very few books I read because I wanted to, I just can’t seem to find the motivation to start another one.  You see, I buy them because I want to read them, but then that moment comes when I think “I shall read now”, and my brain goes into overdrive thinking about all of the other possible (mindless) things I could be doing with my life.  The enormously large collection of chick-flicks and TV on DVD start calling to me.  My computer starts craving some attention.  My bed sucks me in for a nap.  There’s always an excuse for why I can’t and a better activity on the to-do list.

But now I’m going to try, once more, to read. For fun, no less.  I live at home with my parents (aka: not with friends to occupy my time), my friends that are in town are always busy with their own interesting lives, my boyfriend lives 5.876 billion miles away, it’s too hot to be outside for more that 10 minutes at once, and there is no good TV on during the summer.  I’m bored!!  While I could be perfectly content to continuously cycle through the seasons of FRIENDS and The O.C or watch Pride & Prejudice for the 118th time, I think it’s time for something new.

So help me.  Give me some ideas for reading material.  Hey, there’s a chance I may even already own the book! I might just have to assemble a search & rescue team to find it…

(I’d prefer something outside of vampire/werewolf teen drama and romance novels, thank you!)

PEE ESS- Did you know what Reading Rainbow might be making a comeback?? I hear that Mr. Burton tweeted a little something about a RR 2.0. “Take a look.   It’s in a book…”  I’m not quite sure if the song’s really that good of if it just brings back happy memories of school when it was still fun (naps and crafts).


A Marlie Performance (or two)

23 Jul

Remember those videos of my dancing and singing niece that I blogged about a few TiLT’s ago… that you couldn’t see because they hadn’t yet been uploaded to YouTube?  No?  Oh, well here they are anyway.  My sister-in-law put them up.  Enjoy!

Things I Love Thursday

22 Jul
New York City Section-

Ok, I know it's Shia LaBeouf... but you get the idea. Hot.

  • New York City businessmen.  Yummy.  I’m in love with how snazzy the men of New York dress for your average workday.  I’m use to khakis and polos (which if fine, don’t get me wrong), but these men dress with a purpose.  And they look goooood.  I couldn’t stop gawking.  Very sharp!
  • Air Conditioning.  We literally baked on the concrete in 100 degree weather.  It was unbearable.  Air conditioning and shaded sidewalks were our safe havens.
  • Absolutely ridiculous dinner conversations with friends. Yikes!
  • Dylan’s Candy Bar. I cant help but thinking “why didn’t I think of this??” every time I visit the candyland. Dylan Lauren, you’re me hero.
  • H&M.  Because the chain has yet to see the need to open a location in Nashville (MUCH needed), I have to wait until I travel to shop here.  I love that I can get cute, affordable work clothes.
  • NOT getting migraines when I travel.  It rarely happens… if ever.

Non-NYC (normal) Section-

  • Co-workers bringing their babies into the office.  I’d like to bring them all home with me.
  • The Kotex approach to selling tampons (by poking fun at the way other’s promote their feminine products).  Hilarious, I love these!  One & Two
  • Celebrating birthdays.  There were three just today- Brother, Best Friend, Co-Worker (and friend).
  • These beautiful rental-apartments in Paris.  How perfect are they? I must must go there.  Who’s coming with me??

The BENEFIT of Frequent Shopping

21 Jul

As many of you know, I have a makeup addiction (or obsession, whatever).  Because Sephora is a beauty addict’s dealer of choice, I obviously spend a good bit of time and waaayyy too much money in there.  I’ve mentioned their Beauty Insider program once before, but I feel compelled to share again.

With every dollar spent in Sephora you accumulate points.  Once you get to certain point levels you have the option to take whatever free gift they have at the time.  They have point breaks at 1oo and 500 points.  You can pass up the 100 point perk and wait for your 500.  You could get both.  Whatever moves you.  I’ve been hovering above the 500 point range for a little while now because I wasn’t quite sold on the gifts and wanted to wait for something I’d enjoy more.  So the last time I stopped in and made a purchase, the kind lady checking me out informed me that I was at 700(ish) points and directed me to the example of the current 500 point perk.  It was a Benefit Cosmetics sampling.  I got it.

Here it is.

I love Benefit products and have used a ton of them over the years (bronzers, blushes, highlighters, glosses, mascaras, eyeliners, perfume… you name it).  And even though I had already tried and approved most of the products that came with the gift, I still went for it.  It was too cute to pass up (which is also a weakness of mine when shopping- the overly adorableness of packaging).

Here’s a few of the products in it:

Mini Full Finish Lipstick in “lady’s choice”.  I’ve never tried this product until just now (as I’m typically more of a gloss girl).  I’m not sure that the color is right for me but it goes on super smoothly and seems to be non-drying.

.  .  .

Mini BADgal Lash Mascara & BADgal Plum (eye color intensifying) Mascara.  I’ve not tried the Plum yet but I love the original BADgal Lash.

.  .  .

Mini Creaseless Cream/Shadow Liner in “r.s.v.p.”  I’ve actually purchased this product in the exact same color before and love it. Pretty light color, no creases, lasts forever.

.  .  .

Not Pictured:

Stay Don’t Stray– A primer for the eye area (including both eyeshadow and concealers).  Haven’t tried it yet, but I’m sure it’s as fabulous as the rest.

Posie Tint
– A lip and cheek stain.  I’ve used this product in this color (and the Bene-Tint color as well).  I use it mainly for my lips.  It’s great to put it on in the morning and forget about it.  You can apply a clear gloss or chapstick to keep lips hydrated, but the color from the stain lasts for hours.  Helpful hint; use a toothbrush to exfoliate lis before applying so that the color isn’t cling to flaky lips. Gross.

They change out the reward products fairly often and you can usually score some pretty awesome deals this way.  If you shop Sephora and haven’t signed up, you’re missing out.  You might as well get rewarded for you reckless spending, right?

Cheap Travels

21 Jul

One thing I love even more than traveling is inexpensive traveling.  Spontaneous inexpensive traveling is even better.  I got to spend last weekend in New York with some friends (boyfriend, best friend, and best friend’s boyfriend to be exact).  The idea of NY came up several weeks prior and due to the overpriced ($400+) airfares, was quickly dismissed by all.  All, but myself that is.  Once I get excited about something I won’t let it go until I have 100% proof that all hope is lost.  Luckily, my persistence paid off.  I found roundtrip tickets to NY for $160 (that was $69 each way pre-tax).  Take that, doubters!  The excitement was back on.  Then, to make our lives even better, Chandler’s (the best friend’s boyfriend) mom scored us a free hotel room.  So, the grand total of my travels to the city (excluding the unavoidable shopping, dining, and cabbing expenses) = $160.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

I’m not always so lucky with my travels, but I definitely do my research.  Here are a few resources that I’ve found helpful along the way:

Southwest Airlines.  I heart Southwest.  I really do.  They’re typically my airline of choice when booking in advance (at a minimum of 14 days).  They generally have very reasonable fares (check out their “Wanna Get Away” tickets for the best prices) and the planes, flight crew, etc. are all nice.  I’ve been enrolled in their Rapid Rewards program since I started my relationship with them on my first flight to Las Vegas.  It’s been quite a rewarding relationship.  The benefits of flying SW are numerous; the often joke-cracking and sometimes musical flight attendants, the $0 you are required to pay for bag number one OR two, the free drink coupons that come with your free roundtrip ticket reward,  the peanuts/pretzels that you get no matter how short the flight, and so much more.  It’s just a fun airline who allows their employees to have fun, making the whole experience that much better for the customers.  A couple of things to note about SW; They don’t advertise on other travel websites (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, etc.) so you have to remember to check the sw website separately when doing your research.  Also, there is no assigned seating and no difference of class.  All seats are basically first-come-first-serve.  Flights are boarded in groups assigned by the order in which you check in (which can be up to 24 hours prior s take-off).  A few recent exceptions to this standard include the “Business Select” tickets (which just give you priority boarding and a free drink) and “early bird Check-in” which allows you to check in ahead of the masses by paying an extra $10-15.

American Airlines.  Although I hate to cheat on my beloved SW, occasionally they leave me no choice.  When I don’t plan my trips enough in advance or I happen to plan a spontaneous getaway, I’ve learned to look at AA.  While the SW fares are guaranteed to increase as the travel date approaches (which totally makes sense in the whole money-making business, but doesn’t encourage last-min travels) I have found in the past that AA will sometimes have ridiculously low fares at the last-minute.  I’m not sure how or why they do this when other airlines are offering the same ticket for close to 3 times as much, but I definitely won’t forget it.  The trick with these tickets is to check back frequently as prices can change daily, and to look at all the dates around your travel… sometimes a day can make all the difference in price.  One note here is that these unusually cheap tickets are non-refundable, and can’t be transferred or exchanged without paying a whopping $150 fee, so make sure you’re 100% before clicking the purchase button.

Travelzoo.  A friend turned me onto this website a couple of years ago and I love it.  This isn’t like Expedia or Travelocity.  Travelzoo doesn’t overwhelm you with every travel destination known to mankind… they simply present you with the best deals of the moment.  You can go on and look at the hotels/flights/packages to a region that are currently being offered at great prices.  They take the best deals from the previously mentioned websites and bring them all to one place so you don’t have to do all the work.  In addition, you can sign up for the Top 20 email alerts.  It’s simple to do and you will receive a weekly email containing the 20 best deals of the week.  There’s some pretty great stuff on there.  If nothing else, it’s a fun reminder of all the great places out there you’ve yet to visit.

Tripadvisor.  After finding a hotel I usually run it through the tripadvisor website to see what I’m really dealing with.  I love reading the reviews and looking at the pictures.  Every hotel is going to put up professionally taken well-lit and perfectly orchestrated pictures of their location, but tripadvisor travelers will show you what it looks like in real-life.  Trust me, it’s good to see.  (Having said all this, I do realize that generally 90% of people who leave reviews on these types of sites are the people who’ve had problems.  People expect a good hotel and good service so don’t feel compelled to leave remarks unless they are seriously disappointed… but something like bedbugs, loud street noise, or dead bodies under the bed- you never know- are definitely things I want to know about beforehand).

Locals.  Locals are an invaluable assets to any traveler, especially when making a trip for the first time.  Ask around.  Ask you friends (both real-life and strictly Facebook), relatives, and complete strangers.  Some of the best suggestions come from the people who know the area the best or have had good experiences before.  Sure, you can go to various websites and look up the top restaurants/bars/shopping/attractions, but that can be so overwhelming sometimes with the abundance of information. So, when in doubt.  Ask a local.

Beat the Heat: Shine-Stoppers

21 Jul

The purpose of these paper-thin little wipes is to remove shine from your face.  They take away all that un-wanted shininess and don’t mess up your makeup at all.  It’s a genius idea and you’re silly not to use them.  Well, that or you don’t get the greasies, in which case I despise you.  Just blot, and toss.  So simple and so very convenient.  With the kind of sweltering heat we’ve been having here in the south, I don’t leave the house without these.  As soon as my face meets the sun I begin to melt and it’s not pretty.

Step 1- Remove blotting sheet from packet.

Step 2- Press the blotting sheet to shiny area on skin and wonder if this is really working or if it’s simply pulling moisture from your fingers..

Step 3- Be equally amazed and disgusted by the results.  Then enjoy your newfound matte-ness.

I can’t remember exactly who it was that introduced me to these little miracle-workers, but it’s been a fabulous relationship ever since.

These wipes come in packages of about 50.  Several brands carry them (Neutrogena, Clean & Clear, etc.) and various stores carry their own versions (Target, Walgreens, etc.).   As far as I can tell, they all work exactly the same, so go for the cheapest!  I literally carry them everywhere I go.  It creeps people out sometimes when I pull these babies out and start patting myself down, but I’ve learned to look past that.  Worth it.

‘Bronze & Protect’ Your Face With Korres

21 Jul

buy it here

I came across this little set on a recent venture to Sephora.  Going in that day I knew I really only needed one item, so I was hoping to close my eyes and have my mom lead me directly to that product, and then back out the door.  I think we all know it didn’t go quite as planned.  I got my one item… and 2 more.  Not bad for me, I suppose, but still not the plan.  I’m working on my self-discipline. (Hey! I managed to walk by almost every other shelf and not even look…because that’s where things start to get dangerous).  I knew I kinda needed some new bronzer and since this set happened to be right beside the other not-on-the-list product that was purchased, it was convenient.  I already liked the brand, I kinda needed bronzer, and this set was only $2 more than the bronzer alone… done.

What’s in it, you ask? Well there’s a ‘Watermelon Tinted Moisturizer’, a ‘Mini Face Primer’, and a ‘Monoi Oil Bronzing Powder’. (Don’t worry, I looked up what monoi oil was for you; it’s a combination of Tahitian Gardenias and coconut oil and is most often used as a skin and hair softener)

So here’s the deal; I love it.  I’ve used the Korres primer before.  And, besides being 99% natural, it smells delicious and feels great on your skin.  I’ve never really used or believed in tinted moisturizers because I need full-coverage to hide acne scarring on my face, but I was pleasantly surprised with how well this covered everything!  It’s still not perfect, nothing is so far, but it’s a keeper nonetheless.  One thing I did notice though, is that the product absorbs fairly quickly so if you don’t rub it in fast enough, you’ll have some friction.  That’s a little annoying, but I love that it keeps my skin soft, protected (SPF 30, yay), and semi-covered.  And the reason I made the purchase… the bronzer.  At first I was nervous about choosing this color (there were two options) because it looked really light.  Most of the bronzers I’ve used in the past were a good deal darker, and I was worried this wouldn’t be noticeable against my skin, even as fair as it is.  Well, it’s great so far.  It’s not as much of a contrast as previous bronzers of mine, but I guess that’s probably a good thing?  It blends more naturally into my skin and doesn’t look as “fake”.

I’m pleased with my impulse purchase.  If you haven’t tried any of the Korres products, you should definitely look into them next time you’re in a  store that carries the brand.

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