Tuesday, July 29, 2014

An Open Letter to the Man Behind the Blog on his 30th Birthday

Hold on to your horses, friends, things are about to get all sorts of sappy up on this post.  

Today is my boyfriend's 30th birthday, so I get a free pass to really layer the cheese on thick, right?

Dear Michael,

Today you turn 30.  While I know you've been tentatively fearing this day for, let's be honest, years, I don't know why.  I've had the pleasure of being by your side for the past nine years and I can say with all certainty that you get so much better with every year you turn (and more handsome, if I might add.)

I remember the day you turned 21 like it was yesterday.  We'd only been dating a month and I couldn't understand why you'd want to spend your 21st hanging out with someone who wasn't old enough to take you out for a beer.  That was the night we sat outside staring up at the stars as your rambled on about astronomy.  That was the night I first started to fall for you.  I saw your thirst for learning new things, your wonder for the world and your innate love for life. 

Nine years has brought us a lot. We moved into our first apartment together, and then quickly out when we realized our neighbor was a transvestite who was running a porno site from his - errr - her apartment.  Since then we've held five addresses together. We've become the proud dog-parents to Austin and Zoe. We've stepped foot on multiple continents together.

We watched each other graduate college.  We were each other's first call when we got our first real job.  We've been lucky enough to see pairs of best friends walk down the aisle.  We've held friend's and family's babies in our arms.  We've laughed, almost everyday together we've laughed, which makes me love you more.  We've danced and sang and had one too many margaritas.  

We've been there for hard times too.  Sitting together in dark hospital chapels and holding hands at memorial services.  Sitting across from one another in a diner booth trying to make big and hard life decisions. You were the one standing there when I got the news that my brother had passed away.  You held me while I just cried for what felt like hours.

All of our days together make me love you more.  The good days, the bad days, the hard times and the moments of total and complete happiness.  You turning 30 is just another adventure for us to have together, to add to our ever growing list.  It's a time to look back at the life we've been having, and to look forward at all the life we've still yet to live.

You are my best friend and my true love. Something out there designed us for each other, I have no other way to describe it but that.  While we are both whole in our own individual ways, you are a piece of me.  You are the most kind and compassionate man I know.  And, although you tell me  all the time how lucky you are to have me, I don't think you know how lucky I am to have you in return.

Happiest birthday, Michael. I love you now and forever.



Monday, July 28, 2014

Christmas in July Giveaway Week Four: Summer Beach Bag Essentials ($85 Value)

Well, we've come to our last week of the Christmas in July giveaway. I've had tons of fun giving away some great goodies with these fellow bloggers! Let's see what's in this last giveaway!

What you win: 
A reusable tote filled with....
 large beach towel
plastic mason jar water bottle
Hawaiian Tropic Sunscreen
SPF Lip balm
Tickled Pink Detoxifying Facial Wipes
Revlon Lacquer Balm in "Demure"
Organix Curl Perfecting Creme
Organix Argan Weightless Oil Hair Spray
Essie Nail Polish in "Rock the Boat"
 Essie Nail Polish in "Full Steam Ahead"
 Bath & Body Works "Endless Summer" Travel Sized Lotion and Body Spray
Orbit Gum

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Talks: I don't know the way

Oh, hey there. Guess you started thinking Sunday Inspirations (recently re-named Sunday Talks) would never show it's face again. Well stop being such a pessimist because here we are.  

Today's talk might sound a little blunt.  Please remember Sunday Talks are simply my thoughts and are not meant to be me preaching my thoughts to you.  We are all entitled to our own thoughts, beliefs and opinions and I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter in the comments!

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I don't believe that everything happens for a reason.  It's a nice thought, that everything will happen for a reason, to believe all the pieces will fall as they may. But, it's also kind of a depressing thought- that you don't really have real control.  It's like you don't get any credit for your work or your choices because these things were going to happen anyways.  Either that, or it's some "out," like an excuse for why something happened. I think things happen to teach us something, not simply because everything happens for a reason.

That being said leads me into my next point.  While I don't believe everything happens for a reason, I believe there is something to learn or gain or reflect on from everything that happens.  Things make us stronger, or make us think, or make us change, or make learn.  This belief, that there is something to gain from everything, helps me stay an optimist.  When something bad happens I don't tell myself "oh well, it happened for a reason," I ask myself, "what can I gain or learn from this?"

I'm at a place now, in my professional life, where I'm trying to decide "what am I supposed to learn from this?"  And, I don't know. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to learn to be strong, to keep fighting, to persevere in the face of hard time, OR if I'm supposed to reflect on my career path and reevaluate what I want.  I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be learning to fight on, or if I'm supposed to learn there is another path out there for me.

So, that's why this quote is here today, as it speaks to me at this moment in my life. I have no idea which path to follow, which lesson to take from this point in my life. But, I have to have some belief that I'll end up where I'm supposed to. Not because it was predetermined for me. Not because everything in my life is happening for reasons, bringing me down some specific road. But I have some belief my life will end up where it's supposed to because I believe in the power of my choices. I believe all my choices, when I finally make them, will lead me down the path I create for myself as I go. Down a path no one else has gone, and, likely, no one else will. And, that's why I don't know the way, because I'm making it as I go.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Review: Kiss Nail Strips

Hola my friends. Today I'm reviewing some nail stickers/strips.  The other day I was pursing the local drugstore with a specific item in mind. I wanted me some fancy nails.  

Initially had the thought to pick up a box of the Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Strips.  But, I was sorely disappointed in their selection. I found all the designs to be either out-dated, childish or just plain boring.  Call me picky, but I wanted something a little more unique and fun. 

That's when I saw this line of nail stickers from Kiss and this adorable tribal print. Now that's what I was talking about! And, they were $3 cheaper than the Sally Hansen ones. Win and win!

These nail strips, at first, appear to be like all the others I've used. You peel them off, stick them on the right-sized fingernail and then file off the excess.  After the initial excitement of this adorable print being on my nails wore off, I realized, however, that they were not created equal.  These felt a lot more flimsy than other strips I've used.  They seemed thinner and when you pressed them on, you didn't feel like they were adhering well. Additionally, after some more inspection, I realized there were all kinds of bubbles and air pockets that you couldn't avoid no matter how you pressed or applied.

I began to question the longevity of these strips, and I was right to do so.  These strips fall off the minute you attempt to do anything. I lost the first one within about a half-hour while applying makeup.  Another fell off when I washed my hands and another a few minutes later.  It's safe to say, I was disappointed.

So, quick recap? These strips come in some adorable designs and are more affordable than some of the other choices.  But unfortunately, the will likely only stay on your nails if you plan to stay inside your house motionless.

What's your favorite brand of nail wraps/strips?


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Kimono me, baby

Oh, hey. Welcome to this edition of "Blogging Made me Buy It."  This is when I hop around blogs/blogger instagrams and decide I HAVE TO HAVE something after I see it a certain amount of times.  It has prompted my purchase of such things as: fold-down combat boots, chambray tops, midi rings, dresses with cut-out backs, bright pink lipstick, pretty much every nail polish color ever and, most recently, this purchase thanks to this post by Erin of Two Thirds Hazel.

Well in today's edition I've finally added a kimono to my closet after lusting after thousands (probably not even an exaggeration) of kimonos in blogland.  And just like all other "blogging made me buy it" purchases, I don't regret it, not even a little.

*Kimono [ Caralase ]

Tank Top [ Forever21 ]

Jeans [ Abercrombie & Fitch ]

Necklace [ Similar ]

On a totally random note, these photos were taken at Michael and I's new secret cove. It's not REALLY secret, since you sometimes see other people there, but it feels like our own little cove. We discovered it about a month ago and it's just around the corner from our house!  The dogs can run off leash and splash around and swim (which is what they happily did while we took these photos). And, you get an amazing view of the town across the bay.

On another, totally random note can we talk about how red my hair looks here. Is it just the setting sun or WHAT? I feel a trip to the hair color aisle at my local CVS happening in the near future.

What items has reading blogs made you buy?

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*Items marked with an asterisk (*) in this post were sent to me free of charge in exchange for a feature. I was not compensated for this post. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.*

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Using an Epilator to Remove Hair: What is it? Does it work?

how to use an epilator

Let's face it, hair removal sucks. Besides the time your mom told you you could shave your legs for the first time, there is nothing exciting about it. What's worse is you have to do it all the time, especially this time of year.  Luckily for me, I've found a new way to remove hair from unwanted areas and I'm here to share it with you.

For the past few months I've been using something called an epilator.  The one I've been using, and the one pictured here, is the Emjoi eRase e60, which retails for about $79. I realized not a lot of my friends knew what one was or how to use one, so I figured it'd be a good lil' tool to share with you all.

how to use an epilator

So, what's an Epilator? An epilator looks like an electric razor but instead of having shears it has a bunch of tiny tweezer-like pieces.  These glide along your skin grabbing the hair and removing it from the follicles. The result is smooth skin that last a lot longer than the normal 24-48 hours you get with a typical razor.

How do you use it? (to see a demo of it being used fast forward to 1:53 on the video) First things first, you need to purchase one. They range all over from $20-$200. Like I said, I have Emjoi eRase e60 which is a great option. It's an easy-to-use size and has 60 tweezer-pieces (more than others, which makes the whole process faster.) It also can grab hair as short as 0.3mm. 

When you're using it for the first time I suggest you take a shower beforehand. The warm water helps to open your hair follicles and cleaning and exfoliating your skin helps remove excess oil and dirt which helps when epilating.  If you're using an epilator that can grab shorter hairs, it's also better to epilate when your hair is on the shorter side.  That's because it's easier for the epilator to grab the hairs and, in my opinion, is a little less painful.

To use it, you basically just pull your skin taut and glide the epilator over your skin. You do not need to press at all.  The tweezers will grab and remove the hair as it goes. I find it easiest to move against the grain of the hair (opposite to how it grows).  I make a few passes in one area and then move to the next area.

how to use an epilator

Does it hurt? I won't lie, it's not painless. But I admittedly have a pretty low pain tolerance and I can do it without much fuss. It's also important to know that it gets less painful overtime, just like how if you've waxed or used tweezers. It is like the skin gets used to it and it becomes less painful.

How long does it last? I find that the skin stays smooth between 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 weeks.

Does it irritate the skin? Epilating is actually better for sensitive skin because, unlike shaving, it isn't tugging at the hair follicles but simply ripping the hairs out.  You will notice redness/bumps for about 12-hours after your first use. Once you get to your third or fourth time using it, you'll notice it only takes about an hour for that redness to diminish.

For a slightly more in-depth overview, check out the entire video I made all about epilators!

Have you ever used an epilator? What do you think?

Leave me any other questions about epilators in the comments!

The Emjoi eRase was sent to me by a publicist. I was not compensated in anyway for this review. All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Christmas in July Week 3: $50 Victoria's Secret Gift Card

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Whoosh! I've have a crazy busy last few days, but today is Monday and you know what that means...? It's the third week of Christmas in July and this week we have another great prize for you!

YEP! Treat yo' self with $50 to Victoria's Secret and buy whatever your little heart desires! Good luck!

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