Friday, December 23, 2011

Let Them Smell Like Cake!

I'm kind of obsessed with the stuff from Cake Beauty, you guys!

I mentioned the Holiday Handful Trio in my last EdenFantasys post.  That's what started the obsession.  I rarely use scented stuff, but I was so in love with the Vanilla Snow Woman hand cream that I kept putting it on like every day.  I've since ordered a couple of other products that I'm in looooooove with!

Satin sugar hair and body powder for darker hues - Powder
First up, I got the Satin Sugar Hair & Body Powder (for darker hues).  This stuff is amazeballs, y'all.  It's a dry shampoo that you can sprinkle into your roots and rub around to soak up oil when you don't have time for actual hair washing.  I've tried a couple of dry shampoos before, but I couldn't stand the smell, so I'm SO excited that I like this one!  The product description says it smells like "baked lemon sugar", but I don't smell the lemon at all.  To me, it smells more like hot chocolate mix.  Either way, it's definitely a sweet, sugary smell.  You can also use it as a body powder, but I haven't tried that yet.  I wear hair extensions sometimes (around half the year), and when I do, washing my hair becomes WAY more of a chore.  Since only the roots really get oily, I can now rub a little of this stuff on and avoid the eighty hour hair washing fiasco for an extra day!  SCORE.  It's also available for lighter hair.

The other thing I got was this "Plane Friendly Travel Kit", which is both adorable and actually really useful.  The bag that the products come in is a zippered sturdy plastic, perfect for the things you have to get hand checked by security when you fly.  Each of the products inside are 3oz or smaller, so they're ok to have in your carry on bag.  There's a small size of the Milk Made lotion (which was in the Holiday Handful trio in the big size), which I'm planning to give to someone for Christmas since I know the scent makes me sneeze.  There's also both a body wash and body cream of the It's A Slice scent, which I LOOOOVE.  It smells like orange-vanilla, so it immediately makes me think orange sherbet or creamsicle.  It smells SO good, I can barely resist licking my hand.  AND it doesn't make me sneeze!  There's also a lotion and body wash in the Desserted Island scent.  That one is supposed to smell like coconut and vanilla, but to me it's more of a vague tropical scent.  It's not my favorite, but it's nice.  I totally plan to buy the large size of the It's A Slice products, though!  If you take my word on nothing else ever, believe me when I say you need those!

There's a sale right now where you can get 20% off your order with the coupon code MAGIC, just enter it at checkout!

This post is sponsored by EdenFantasys.  I will be compensated with a gift card in exchange for this post, but all ideas and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Target Tuesday #21

I haven't done a Target Tuesday in FOREVER, so here is my Christmassy version!

Be Merry Penguin Mug Set of 4
Penguin mug!

Be Merry Penguin Cookie Jar
Penguin cookie jar!  (Although I'm a little uncomfortable with the idea of decapitating a penguin every time I want cookies)

Penguin tumbler!  (Not to be confused with Penguin Tumblr!)

Mossimo Supply Co. Double Breasted Pea Coat - Assorted Colors.Opens in a new window
Mossimo Double Breasted Pea Coat- 'Cause Baby, it's cold outside!

20" Bright Sequins Stocking - Aqua.Opens in a new window
So shiny!

Head over to Fabulous But Evil to see the other Target Tuesdays and link up, and don't forget there are only 2 days left to enter my sock giveaway!

Sick Kitten

Oh, what a weekend at Casa Crystal.

I had to take Toes to the vet on Friday, because he'd had diarrhea for a couple of days.  The vet looked him over, gave him some dewormer and said to come back if he wasn't better by Monday.  I'll spare you guys the gory details, but he sooo wasn't better yet today, so back to the vet's we went, this time with a fecal sample.

"Merry Christmas!" I greeted the receptionist.  "I brought you a bag of poop!"

The vet knew what it was pretty much as soon as he smelled it, but ran a few tests anyway to rule out something else.  Turns out his first guess was right- poor Toey has a parasite called cryptosporidium.  There aren't really any effective medicines to treat it, it just has to run its course, which can take several months.  POOR TOEY!!  The vet put him on special intestine-friendly food and suggested a supliment we can add to help him heal faster, but for the most part we have to wait it out.  Yuck!

I feel so bad for my little guy.  He's obviously really uncomfortable, you can tell he just wants to play and be a kitten, but he feels so crappy. (Pardon the pun.)

Cross your fingers he starts feeling better ASAP!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Santa Baby, Leave Me a Pen. No, Really.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Parker Pens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
When I first received the opportunity to write about the Parker Ingenuity collection, I had one of those moments I occasionally get as a blogger where I was thinking "You want me to write about fancy pens?"  I gave in to curiosity and checked out their site, though, and actually kind of got into the idea.  Given the time of year, the first thing that came to mind was how these would work as a gift.  I'm a fan of practical gifts, but it's even better if it's a luxury practical gift- something you can use, but would probably not have bought for yourself.  Something that fits into your everyday life, but feels special when you use it.
Photos of Parker Pen
Hot dude ad?  You have my attention.
You know how wherever you work, there's usually that one really good pen that just works better than the others, and everyone tries to grab for themselves?  (This happens at other places too, right?  The places I've worked aren't just nuts?)  I have a feeling these would be that pen.  I did some poking around on the site to see what makes them special other than just looking nice, and learned they use something called 5th technology that gives them the classic look of a fountain pen with the smooth writing of a rollerball pen.
Photos of Parker Pen

Being a fashion nerd, what really caught my interest was Parker's approach of marketing these pens as a fashion accessory.  I don't usually think of pens as an accessory, but I can see this becoming a trend.
While fancy pens obviously aren't for everyone, I can see how these would make a great gift for a lot of people- your friend that keeps beautiful journals, your sister who loves little luxurious things and puts a lot of thought into the details of her style, someone starting a new business that wants to project an image of professionalism and taste.  They would also make a cool graduation gift, something that says "Have fun in college, but maybe take a break from the beer and take some notes now and then, ok?"

What do you guys think?  Would you be excited to find a super fancy pen under the tree, or would you be like "Where's that sweater I asked for"?  Do you think of pens as a fashion accessory, or do you use the same ball point pen over and over till it dies?  (My own house is full of plain white pens that you can tell I swiped from work because they have the name of a certain Florida theme park printed in gold along the side!)

For more info, you can check out Parker on Facebook!
Visit Sponsor's Site

Soooo Much Yogurt!

I was in SERIOUS need of something new and different this weekend, so I decided to check out the Orange Leaf frozen yogurt place down at the Branson Landing. I've heard so much hype about these DIY frozen yogurt places (Pinkberry, Mochi, Menchie's, etc etc.) where you serve yourself and pay by the ounce, I figured it would be a cheap, tasty way to amuse myself.

Figuring out what to put in my cup was kind of fun.  In addition to chocolate and vanilla, there were fun flavors like gingerbread, peanut butter, coffee, peppermint, blueberry, cheesecake and strawberry.  I was kinda bummed about the flavor selection, though.  The store's site lists almost 70 different flavors, and while I didn't realistically expect this location to have them ALL, I expected more than the 10 I had to choose from.  I looked up some reviews online and it looks like most of them have 16 flavors, which sounds more reasonable.  I really wanted hazelnut, caramel or cookies and cream, none of which they had at this location.

One problem I came across was that most of the flavors were white, so once you get them in the cup, you can't really tell them apart.  I started out with Cheesecake, Gingerbread and Birthday Cake, but I ended up adding a blob of the coffee flavor, just to have something NOT white to help me keep track of which was which.

The price was kinda insane.  There was a sign on the wall that said it was 43 cents an ounce, but if you're like me you have zero concept of what an ounce feels like.  (For comparison, a pint of Ben & Jerry's is 16 ounces) Plus, it's hard to get a really small quantity out of the machine!  I ended up with an amount of soft serve that would equal about a scoop and a half of ice cream from a regular ice cream shop.  It was a pretty huge amount for me, but I don't eat much so it would probably be a really small serving for most people.  I went pretty light with the topings, adding a spoonful of sprinkles, a light drizzle of caramel, one blueberry (totally didn't go with the flavors I had, but a blueberry sounded really good at the time!), one mini Reeses cup and a couple little mango-flavored things.  When they weighed my cup, I couldn't believe it came to just over $4.50!  Waaaay too much for what I got!  I was expecting somewhere around $3.  I've read that some other chains are 50-60 cents per ounce, though, so I guess it's all relative!

Here's what my final concoction looked like:

(Katie saw the pic on Twitter and said it looked gross, I think it looks awesome!)

If/when I go back, I'll definitely get less.  I ate about 2/3 of this and was WAY beyond stuffed.  Since they only offer giant bowls, it's hard to gauge the portion size, but I think I'll be able to eyeball it better next time.

I think Orange Leaf is the only DIY fro-yo place near here, but when I get back to Orlando I'd like to try out some of the others, since there are about a billion there.  Menchie's has a chai tea flavor that sounds awesome, plus Nestle Crunch pieces on the toppings bar!  Pinkberry seems to have mostly seasonal flavors (and a pretty limited selection), but I figure they must be famous for a reason, so it's worth trying.  There's also one in Orlando called Chilly Spoons, which has Georgia Peach, Red Velvet, Snickerdoodle and Green Tea among their rotation, so I'm SO THERE.  Their toppings bar sounds awesome, too, with stuff like cheesecake pieces, Nerds and cookie dough.

Have you ever been to one of these?  Awesome or overrated?  What kind of delicious/disgusting combo did you come up with?  Did you accidentally spend a week's income on yogurt?  Any suggestions?

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Home for the Holidays...meh.

I'm surprised to be saying it, but being away from Orlando for the holidays is killing me.  Yes, I am home where I grew up, and will be surrounded by family for Christmas.  Isn't that what people sing dreamy songs about?  Yes, I would normally tell you that I'd rather do just about anything other than set foot in the parks between mid-December and the 2nd week of the new year.  Yes, it's silly.  But I miss it.

I miss Hollywood Studios all decorated for Christmas, which is especially stupid because that's my least favorite park.

Sometimes, we go to parks. by
Okay, this snowman is there year-round, but I couldn't find any other Christmassy DHS photos.  I never go there.

I'm in the mood to go there to see the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights, where it basically looks like Christmas threw up all over the Streets of America.  It looks kinda like this:

(I stole this image from Flickr.)

Except it never ACTUALLY looks like that, because there's always a soul-crushing mass of people stepping on your feet and hitting you with their strollers and dropping their popcorn on you.  That looks like this:

Still, I want to be there.  I want to go see all of the storytellers in the different countries at Epcot, and eat subpar cookies and hot chocolate at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom.  And I want to see all of the cute little Christmas trees decorated for each character over in Camp Minnie Mickey at Animal Kingdom.

Just don't put me anywhere Magic Kingdom when they're filming the Christmas parade.  My poor friends that work in that park had to put up with Justin Bieber this year.  I hope Disney got them therapy for Christmas.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Giveaway Tips & Tricks!

I love hosting giveaways on my blog now and then, and I *really* love entering them!  I'm on a super limited budget, so in general if I want new clothes or hair products or whatever, winning a free one is the only way for me to get it.  It's so much fun to see an e-mail that I've won something, and getting something fun in the mail makes any day awesome!

I combined my own experiences with the tips from my Twitter followers and some great giveaway bloggers to put together these lists of tips!  If you have other suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

~*~Tips for Entering Giveaways~*~

1. READ the directions!  This sounds basic, but you would be amazed by how many people don't do it.  I was entering a giveaway last week for an EdenFantasys gift card, and the mandatory entry was to comment with your favorite product from the new bath & body section of the site.  Simple, right?  Nope.  The first three or four comments all mentioned items from different categories!  A few others just commented something like "I want to win!" or "Great giveaway!"  Taking a few extra seconds to read and make sure you understand the directions can make a world of difference!

2.  Emily of Emily Reviews suggests "Leave all the info needed for the blogger to verify your entry. If you do a facebook entry, leave your facebook name, if you enter on twitter, leave your twitter ID and the link to your tweet, etc."  If the blogger running the giveaway has a lot of GFC followers, you may also want to leave the name you follow with for that entry for clarity.

3. Check your spam e-mail folder daily!  It is pretty common for e-mails from addresses you don't correspond with regularly to end up there, and I've found quite a few "You won!" e-mails in my spam.  Most giveaways require that you respond to the e-mail within 48 hours, so checking daily will make sure you don't miss out on a prize you won.

4. Stay organized!  If you enter giveaways on a lot of sites, this can get complicated.  I have a notebook where I make little charts for the sites that offer extra entries for each of their giveaways you enter.  It's a little time consuming, but worth it!  Everyone is going to have a different system for this, of course, you may have to try a few different things before you figure out what works for you!

~*~Tips for Hosting Giveaways~*~

1. If you have a mandatory entry, don't make it too complicated.  I've seen giveaways where you are required to follow the blog, like the sponsor on FB AND follow them on Twitter just to be able to enter.  One actually required that you order a sample (which cost like $8) to enter.  Sorry, not happening.  

2. Make sure you are running an ethical giveaway.  This includes following FTC disclosure rules, but also just common sense.  I saw a giveaway a while back where the girl running it required that you "donate" an Amazon gift card to her to enter.  I called her out on the "um, pretty sure that is illegal" factor, and she gave me a snotty answer along the lines of "who cares?"  I unfollowed that blog instantly.  If you don't come across as trustworthy, I'm not going to feel comfortable supporting your blog.  In the bigger picture, sponsors that actually take the time to look over your blog probably won't either.

3. Turn captcha OFF!  Sure, typing a few letters to leave a comment is no big deal, but if I'm doing like 10 bonus entries and have to do a captcha every time, I'm going to get annoyed.  This applies to blogs in general, actually, not just giveaways.

4. Rafflecopter, y'all.  It makes entering and running giveaways SO much easier!

5. Jenna of Momma Told Me suggests making sure you mention which time zone your giveaway's end time is to avoid any confusion, as well as listing who is responsible for the prize distribution (ie will you be sending it to the winner yourself, or is your sponsor taking care of it directly?)

6. Emily also adds to e-mail your winner instead of making them check back at the end of the contest.  I totally agree!  I could never keep up with checking back on every giveaway I enter, I'd go nuts!

7. If you are offering tweeting about the giveaway as an entry, you have a few options.  Emily recommends having a pre-written tweet or a "tweet this" button to make things easy.  I usually give my readers the option to write a tweet however they want to word it as long as it has the link, but having a suggested tweet available makes things easy for those that don't want to come up with their own.

8. Please don't ask stupid questions as entries.  I go nuts when I see "To enter, tell me why you want to win!" I want to win because I like free stuff and whatever you are giving away looks cool, obviously!  Along those lines, if you do ask a question as your mandatory entry, try to pick one that doesn't exclude a lot of your readers.  I see a lot that are something like "What is your child's favorite food?"  I always reply "Shredded turkey Friskies in a can."  

I just came across a great example how to do this well.  Emily Reviews is giving away a men's gift basket, and instead of asking "Which one would your husband like?" as a lot of people would, she worded it as "Tell me which gift basket would be perfect for the man on your holiday gift list."  This works for people of any relationship status or orientation, and is something that men could answer, too!  

9. Be selective about what you post.  Is it worth your  time writing out a thoughtful review post in exchange for a $5 item?  If you have a new blog or a small following, small value giveaways can be totally worth it, since they will bring in new readers and give future sponsors an example of your style.  Still, it's a good idea to be selective.  I'd rather do less frequent giveaways for products I think are really cool than have a ton for mediocre stuff!

Do you have any other tips to add?  I'd love to hear!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Socks 4 Life Review & Giveaway!

Merry Christmas Women's Crew Socks - 1 Pair

Even though I am a barefoot or flip-flops kind of gal, I am also a "freezing all the time!' kind of girl, so Winter means socks.  The snazzy folks at the website Socks 4 Life recently let me pick out some socks to review, and I had so much fun picking them out!  I'm definitely not into boring socks, and they have some great choices if you like fun, colorful designs!  (Okay, they also have plenty if you're into boring socks, too!)  I am super jealous that those reindeer socks above weren't available yet when I ordered, by the way!  I'd be wearing them to get in the Christmas spirit!  In addition to novelty socks like these, they also carry leg warmers and slouch socks for when you're in an 80s fashion mood, dress socks, work socks, and just about every length of sock you can imagine.

The first pair I got were these Julietta Bright White Argyle Knee Socks in Pink and Purple.

It's hard to go wrong with argyle socks, and these are the perfect length to wear with Fall/Winter boots!

Fact of life: It is kind of impossible not to look a little awkward in a sock photo.

These are made to fit women who wear shoe sizes 5-10, and sell for $3.95.  They are made in China of 75% acrylic, 15% nylon and 10% spandex, and can be machine washed and tumble dried.  They're nice and lightweight, so they aren't going to make your feet sweat like crazy under your boots!  These might not work if you have large calves- mine are fairly average at 16" around the thickest part, and the top of the socks are a little tight.  I'd suggest measuring your calves before ordering the knee-high style if you're worried about fit, since Socks 4 Life only refunds up to 50% of the purchase price if you return socks that have been opened and worn.  I'd rate the craftsmanship on these a nice solid B; they're pretty well made, but there were a few loose threads and imperfections here and there.

The next pair I tried were the Yelete Bright Argyle Knee Socks in Blue/Grey.

I *almost* got the black and green ones (to the far right of the pic above), but this color combo won out at the last second.  These are also made in China, from 95% polyester and 5% elastane, fit shoe sizes 5-10 and can be machine washed and tumble dried.  One thing I like about the design of this pair is that everything from the ankle down is solid grey, so they aren't going to show dirt as much.

These seem to be a little better sewn than the first pair- there aren't any loose threads hanging off, and fewer imperfections, I'd give them an A-.  These are a little bit tighter in the calf than the first pair, and the design ends up giving my calves a slightly unflattering lumpy look.  They are pretty comfortable though- a tiny bit thicker than the first pair, but about on par with your average dress sock.

Next up are these Women's Vintage Tube Knee Socks.  These are so cute and such a bargain at $2.95 that I got both the black with lime green and aqua blue stripes, and the white with pink and blue stripes!

These too are machine washable, made in China and are made of 85% acrylic, 10% nylon, 5% spandex.  They're basically a girly, trendier version of those tube socks your dad used to wear.

I was impressed that these are long enough to really be over-the-knee on me, since I'm 5'11", so it's rare anything is long enough on me!  Thanks to the super-stretchy fabric, these may be a better choice if you have larger calves.  I'm giving these an B+, since one black sock had a couple of tiny holes and they looked a little stretched out of shape after the first time I tried them on.

I can't explain it, but I had to have the Yelete Polka Dot Knee Socks because they remind me of Beaches and Cream at the Beach Club Resort back at Disney.

I ordered the green, and they're so fun!  I haven't figured out what to pair them with yet, but I'm sure I'll come up with something.  The actual color is a little more lime green than the photo on the site makes it look (it looks more pastel in the photo, I think.)

The craftsmanship on these is nice, but the way the dots are integrated makes them look a little odd once they're on.  It gives my calves a sort of lumpy appearance if you look too closely.

You wouldn't notice this from a distance, but up close it's obvious there's a little distortion in the pattern.  A- for these, since everything else is good!

Wild Thing Women's Neon Crew Socks - 1 Pair

The last pair I got was these Wild Thing Crew Socks in Grey/Pink/Black Leopard.  I actually picked out a different design from the Wild Thing line (a cute reptile pattern that's no longer pictured on the site) , but it was out of stock and they sent me these instead.  This was after about 2 months of talking back and forth with tech support about technical difficulties trying to get my gift code to work, so I'm glad they finally got everything shipped, but if the ones I wanted were out of stock, I wish they'd given me the option to pick something else instead of just picking for me.  So with that said, this isn't a design I would have picked out for myself, I may toss them in with the items I'm collecting for a giveaway when I reach 200 followers!


Socks4Life is going to give one of my readers a $25 gift certificate to pick out whatever you'd like from the site!  Just use the Rafflecopter form below to enter!  If you have any questions about or errors with the form, just leave a comment or e-mail me to let me know!  This giveaway is open to US residents, and will run until 11:59 PM Central time on Dec 22, 2011.  Good luck & happy entering!

I was provided with sample products in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Random Catching Up

I just realized it's been forever since I posted about my actual life!  That used to be all I talked about!  It's funny how we all kind of go in cycles of what fascinates us and what we feel like talking/writing about.

So, first, it seems to be Winter.  This happened yesterday:

I'm still trying to keep up that whole not complaining about Winter thing I said I'd do, so I will say it was pretty fun to see Toes play in snow for the first time!  Even though Jasper saw snow last year, he's still a Florida kitty at heart and basically wants nothing to do with it.

Next, I heard this song on Hart of Dixie the other night, and now I'm kinda obsessed with it!

Apparently I'm not the only one!  This video had about 300 views when I first looked it up on Tuesday night, now it has over 61,000!!!

Third, why is Google making everything ugly now?  They totally ruined Google Reader, and now YouTube is hideous, too.  Bleh!

Finally, this is happening in a few days:
Pinned Image

I should totally demand two cakes like that!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Ridiculously Simple Shopping Tips

Tis the season for buying a lot of stuff you probably don't need, but TOTALLY need.  While I was trying on my five millionth shirt in a dressing room the other day, I started thinking about the little things we learn through the years to make shopping better and easier.  I thought I'd share some of my tips, and I'd love to hear yours in the comments!

*When you're getting dressed to go shopping, think about what you might be shopping for.  Try to wear whatever you'll be pairing your new items with.  For instance, if you wear jeans most of the time but wear shorts on your shopping trip, you will probably spend a lot of time squinting in the mirror at the top you're trying on, wondering how it will look with jeans.  In the same line, wear heels if you are going dress shopping so you can avoid that whole standing on your tip toes in the dressing room thing.

*The above also goes for undergarments.  If you're shopping for a sexy top to go out in, don't wear your most fuddy-duddy bra.  You'll spend all your time smooshing your boobs up to see how they will look with a good bra.

*Keep your bra and underwear simple and neutral if possible.  I've learned the hard way it is tough to judge how something looks if you have bright red straps and things sticking out everywhere.

*Keep your foundation light.  Handing a shirt back to a dressing room attendant with a big smear of beige across it is no fun for anyone.  I usually run a damp wash cloth gently over my face before leaving the house if I plan to try on clothes, not applying pressure but just letting it pick up any makeup that would otherwise rub off.  An alternate to going super light on foundation is to use a spray that sets and locks your makeup.

*The above also goes for lipstick.  Stick to something clear on your lips, or a no-transfer lip stain.

*Stick with clothes that are easy to get on and off.  The few extra seconds it takes to button up a shirt vs whipping off a t-shirt doesn't seem like much until you're doing it for the 20th time that day.  Slip-on shoes are also your friend.

*If you're shoe shopping, dress your feet accordingly.  If you'll be trying on heels, wearing tights or stockings lets you skip those weird little foot pantyhose without having that fugly moment of trying to try on heels over socks.  If you aren't comfortable shopping in heels all day, at least toss a pair in your purse or car so you can grab them if you think you've found the right dress.  If you're shopping for winter boots, wear boot socks or thicker winter socks, since what you wear underneath is going to make a difference in how they fit.

*Four words: Cell phone mirror pics.  Posting photos of things you tried on in a dressing room is a staple for some fashion bloggers, but for everyone else they can be just as important.  If I'm not sure about an item, I'll snap a pic and look at it again an hour or so later to see if it really looked as good as I thought.  You'll often find that after your initial enthusiasm over finding something cool has faded a little, you'll discover that you don't need it quite as much as you thought.  If you still get excited when you check your photos over an hour later, though, it's probably going to be an item you really do love and use.

*If you're not shy, you can do what I do and instantly upload a pic of something you're considering Twitter or FB, begging dozens of people you may or may not know all that well to make your life choices for you.  I kid, but people love to give opinions, and chances are they'll be way more honest in this format than if you're standing in front of them, ready to go out and asking "Does this look okay?"  Unless you only have 12 followers that are all your best friends, try to avoid doing this more than once or twice during your shopping day, though.

*Keep your hair simple- ponytails and messy buns work best for me.  You're probably going to have to take a second to fix it a little after each store to avoid what I like to call Shopper's Fro, so stick with something you can smooth back into shape with minimal effort.

*Check out the websites of the stores you know you might visit ahead of time.  You'll find out about any sales or specials going on, and there may even be printable coupons!

*Don't be afraid to buy out of season.  I was at a Gap outlet last week and found a bikini bottom on the clearance rack... for 97 cents!!  It turned out that everything in the store was 50% off at the time, so I ended up getting it for 53 cents!!

What tips do you have to share?

Monday, December 05, 2011

G-Rated Gifts from EdenFantasys!

I don't have a lot of spare cash for Christmas shopping, but I always have plenty of EdenPoints, so guess where I'm doing most of my shopping for presents this year?  (If you didn't guess EdenFantasys from the title of the post, you do not get a cookie.)

In celebration of reaching the landmark number of 50,000 reviews on the site, you get DOUBLE EdenPoints for everything this week!  That means adding something to your wishlist gets you 10 points instead of 5!  Commenting on a review is 6 instead of 3!  I've had a blast this morning watching them add up so quickly!  Even if you've never been on the site before, you could easily earn enough points this week to get presents for several of your friends for free!

Since not everyone is comfortable with topics like sex toys, I thought I'd put together a handy list of some G-rated gift suggestions that are available on the site, things you can feel comfortable giving your mom or sister or friends!  (Please keep in mind that although the specific items I am talking about here are G Rated, the site itself has items that are not and is thus intended for ages 18+.)

I got this Holiday Handful Trio this week, and it is AWESOME!  The Vanilla Snow Woman cream smells like red velvet cupcakes!  I think I'm definitely going to become a big fan of Cake Beauty products, if this one is any indication of what the rest of their products are like!
There are also plenty of lingerie and clothing items modest enough to wear around your family!

Ruby sequin dress - Mini dress

I got this Ruby Sequin Dress, and although it's too short to be a dress on me, it's perfect with jeans or tights underneath!  It also comes in black, which would be awesome for a New Year's Eve party!

There are also a ton of great sales and promotions going on right now, which really help to stretch a tiny holiday shopping budget!  Happy Shopping!

I will be compensated for this post with a gift card, but all opinions are my own.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Diamond Candles opportunity!

Diamond Candles is offering a review and giveaway opportunity for bloggers!  You can read more about it and find the link to apply at Quick Tattletails!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We Want To Know Wednesday, again.

I'm linking up with Mamarazzi, Queso and Crazymama for We Want to Know Wednesday!  This week is all about work!


1. what is the worst job you have ever had?
I've never had anything horrendous.  I was probably least happy selling eyeglass cleaner, because the whole sales thing is just against my personality.

2. have you ever been fired?
Nope!  It came awfully close at Disney when I missed a lot of work due to illness, but good ol' FMLA saved me!

3. what would your dream job be?
I'd love to get paid to travel and either write about or photograph what I see!  Basically, I want to be Samantha Brown, but who doesn't?

4. what did you want to be when you "grew up"?
I wanted to be a veterinarian for a REALLY long time.  Luckily I figured out that it just isn't right for me just before dropping a bunch of cash on a pre-vet major.  I'm fascinated by medicine, and I love animals, but I just am not cut out for seeing animals in pain or suffering.  I used to cry giving my horse his shots every Spring.

5. how old were you when you got your first job?
13, wasn't everyone?  (Child labor laws what?)  I worked serving beverages in the little theatre at a local theme park.  At 14 I upgraded to the ice cream/sandwich shop.

Don't forget to enter my Shabby Apple necklace giveaway below!

What to Wear for Winter

It is getting COLD in Missouri, y'all!  I have started timing my errands around what the weather forecast says will be the warmest part of the day.  I know I was here last winter, but I still feel like winter is a totally foreign thing.  I'm so jealous that as I'm writing this, it is 54 back home in Orlando, but 33 here.

I need to figure out some kind of winter style.  I keep leaving the house looking kinda scary because I just keep piling on warm things that don't especially look good together.  That, or I get into a state of denial about how cold it is, and end up freezing.  Today I went grocery shopping wearing flip-flops, jeans and a button down shirt, and it was like 45 degrees.  I froze!  I need to figure out winter style.

I'm kind of digging these two sweaters from Aeropostale.  I love the colors on the 2nd one, and that I could throw the hood over my head going from the car to the store (or wherever), but I'm not really sure I could pull off the colors.

Annnd I just realized that I am still cold weather shopping in terms of Florida cold weather.  That first sweater is what I'd throw on when it gets down to like 65 mid-winter in Orlando.  I need to figure out 30 degree Missouri winter!

What do you guys wear when it gets super cold?  Do you go for heavyweight stuff, or lots and lots of layers? When are they going to invent a sweater that's like an electric blanket you can wear?

This post was brought to you by Aeropostale, but all opinions are 100% my own.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Coming soon...

I'm thinking about doing a few posts about what it is like to work at Walt Disney World.  Does anyone have questions, or just something you'd like to hear about?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

This started out as a kind of different post.  Yesterday morning I pulled up blogger to jot down the first couple of things I'm thankful for (Katie and I started a tradition last year of posting a list of things we're thankful for on Thanksgiving.  Click here for last year's list, and read on for this year's!) before I forgot, so I'd have the post all started for today.  Then my cell phone rang.

I am not a phone person, so most people never call me and are smart enough to text instead.  On the rare occasions my cell does ring, it's usually some telemarketer/bill collector type. so I ignore it.  So, when "private number" flashed on the screen yesterday, I rolled my eyes.  For some weird reason though, I grabbed it, planning to just say they had the wrong number.

"Is this Crystal?"
"Yes?"  Oh, crap, I was supposed to say no.  I fail at lying.
"This is Officer (Name) with the Branson West police department.  Your mother was in a car accident.  She's okay, but she needs you to come to the scene."

Didn't see that one coming.

After some quick "OMG OMG OMG" panicking, I threw on some jeans and shoes and headed out.  She was only about 10 minutes away, but of course I got stuck behind a Winnebago doing 35.  Move it, dude!

When I got there, there was a police car, an ambulance, and tow trucks, one of which had my mom's seriously messed up car on the back.  The windshield was shattered, and most of the front driver's side was totally crushed.  I was flooded with the feeling that the police officer had lied to me on the phone so I wouldn't panic.  There was nowhere to park so I pulled my car off the road and ran back up to where everyone was.  The cop told me my mom was in the ambulance, so they let me climb in the back, where they had her hooked up to all kinds of monitors and stuff.

They were pretty sure she was ok, but wanted to take her in to the hospital just in case.  I stayed behind to give the police insurance info and all that, and then drove over to the hospital.  (I'm amazed I made it, I had no gas, no money to get gas, and it's like 20 miles.  And I have panic attacks driving.) Long, multi-hour story short, she did turn out to be ok.  She has some burns/rash on her face and neck from where the air bag deployed, and her neck and back are a little sore, but things are nowhere near as bad as they could be.

We don't know yet if her car can be fixed or if it will have to be totaled.  I'm just glad that she's mostly okay, because otherwise this could be a really different Thanksgiving.  So with that preamble, here's this year's list.

1. My BlackBerry!  I'm so excited I finally joined the 21st century!
2. The existence of whipped cream flavored vodka.
3. All the cool giveaways I've won this year.  So much fun!
4. My library has e-books now!
5. EdenFantasys!  I've gotten like $2000 worth of lingerie for free this year thanks to their ambassador and review programs!
6. All of my awesome blog & Twitter followers!  I can't believe I'm now over 100 and 200 respectively!
7. That this winter has been delightfully snow-free so far, and actually really decent in terms of warmth.
8. Glee.  It makes me really happy.
9. Pinterest!  How did we ever live without it??
10. Toes!  How can one kitten bring so much love and joy?  (and giant feet?)
11.  The amazing summer trip I had chasing U2 around Canada!
12. To go with #11, the fact that The Edge WAVED TO ME in Toronto!
13. Rafflecopter.  I know that sounds lame, but it has made running/entering giveaways so much easier!
14. My car is FINALLY paid off!
15. That I actually answered my phone yesterday.
16. That mom and I are about to chow down on absurd amounts of carbs today, instead of her spending it in the hospital.
17. Creativity
18. All the other cats.  They are hilarious and cuddly.
19. The way that throwing on giant dangly earrings can distract from a bad hair/makeup/face day.
20. Starbucks espresso in a can
21. My amazing viper socks from Ozone Socks.  I got one pair half off, and they sent me another pair FREEE because they love me.
22. Dalton Warblers
23. Edge's Love Is Blindness solo in From The Sky Down
24. My growing collection of superb owl rings
25. Queso
26. My comfy new pillow
27. Being freakishly flexible
28. 20/20 vision
29. Freelance Whales
30. All of the parts/systems of my body that DO work right
31. The rapidly approaching end of my 20s.  30s have to be better, right?
32. Yummy scented candles that don't make me sneeze
33. Sporcle.  I need something to knock my ego down now and then.  (Flags of the World is HARD, y'all.)
34. Guilty pleasure reality TV.
35. Any episode of True Blood that involves a mostly-naked Alexander Skarsgard
36. Any episode of Glee that involves Darren Criss in a bow tie.
37. No zombie apocalypse yet.
38. Caffeinated lip balm
39. Having perfect eyebrows
40. Less than 10k to go on NaNoWriMo!
41. The Daily Show & Colbert Report
42. High heels & cute boots
43. My boobs.  They're awesome.
44. Naps
45. Tea in a can, easy and tasty!
46. Random inspiration
47. Not having kids
48. Pumpkin-flavored holiday foods & drinks
49. That awesome Orange Julius that felt like it saved my life on a super hot day in Niagara Falls.
50. Rainy days spent reading in bed
51. Music
52. Strength
53. My awesome pink sunglasses
54. Comfy yoga pants
55. Mascara
56. Hammocks
57. My KT!
58. My mom <3
59. Other awesome friends
60. All the good things still to come

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Target Tuesday!

I haven't done a Target Tuesday in ages, seems like a good time!

Mossimo Supply Co. Juniors Grandpa Cardigan - Assorted Colors.Opens in a new window
Mossimo Juniors Grandpa Cardigan
I saw this sweater at Target last week, and I am actually kind of in love with it.  It has that middle-aged college professor vibe, with the elbow patches and all.  It makes me want to read in a comfy chair while drinking tea.  Here's my photo:

Red Velvet Cupcake
WHY didn't I buy one?  They smell so good!

Head over to Fabulous But Evil to check out the other Target Tuesdays and link up!  And be sure to enter to win a necklace from Shabby Apple in my other post from today!

Shabby Apple Necklace Giveaway!

Anyone who spends much time reading blogs has probably heard of Shabby Apple by now, and just in time for the holidays I get to give one of you guys this gorgeous Key to Wonderland necklace worth $52!

It's one of my favorite pieces from the jewelry section of the site- I love that you can wear it with almost anything, and key necklaces have been huge this year!

I had fun browsing all of the pretty, feminine dresses at Shabby Apple when I was picking out the prize! Their clothes are designed to be versatile, the kind of dress you can wear to work just as easily as you can on a date. They would also be great for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner with your family! Perfect "meeting the parents" dresses! 

For the next 30 days, you can use the code straightontillmorning10off for 10% off any order!

Want to win a Key to Wonderland necklace of your own? Just fill out the handy Rafflecopter form below!  (Be sure to read all instructions by clicking "Click for Instructions", especially for the mandatory entry!) If you have any problems with the form, just e-mail me or leave a comment. This giveaway is open to US residents only, and will end on Dec 7, 2011!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Versace for H&M

Arrgh, I so wish that I had a) money and b) a H&M nearby, because I am loving their Versace for H&M stuff! I'm sure it sold out instantly, but still, a girl can dream, right?

Dear Santa, if you happen to be good buddies with Versace, I would like these under my tree!

It's all way out of my price range, but still way cheaper than regular Versace!

Shopping Scores!

Given that I am currently living in the middle of nowhere, I don't get out much, but last week I made my not quite monthly pilgrimage to Branson to hit up Target and the shopping center around it. I can't believe I get so excited about like, Target and Kohls now. This is what the midwest has done to me. I might make out with Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus when I get back to Orlando. Like, actually cuddle the mannequins or something.

I'm super broke right now, so I had almost nothing to spend, but y'all, I SCORED! I found some cute khaki shorts on the clearance rack at TJ Maxx for $3! Shorts never go on clearance in Florida, so I guess that's one point for Missouri! They aren't the cutest shorts in the history of the universe or anything (I can't even remember what brand they are) but they fit well and are neutral enough to go with lots of things, and did I mention THREE DOLLARS? I'm pretty proud.

I was amazed that I didn't even try on anything at Kohl's. Apparently the Crystal look is out, because nothing appealed to me. I usually end up with a big stack of stuff in the dressing room there, but this time, nada. I had the same problem at Target. Other than a Target-brand (Merino, I think? What is their store brand?) v-neck stripey sweater, nothing caught my eye. I tried it on, but as much as I love blue and green as a color combo, it looked wrong on me. Fail!

I never really look at mens clothes since, you know, the only males in my life have cats, but I decided to check out the t-shirts since they sometimes have good band shirts. I did a happy dance when I found Ireland & England shirts for $2.48 each! SCORE! This is what the Irish one looks like:

Ireland Men's Graphic Tee - Green

I'm totally set for the next U2 tour now!

The main goal of my shopping day was to get a Starbucks holiday drink-- I had been planning on a pumpkin spice frappuccino, but changed my mind to gingerbread at the last second. It was pretty good, but I think I prefer gingerbread with hot drinks, like a gingerbread latte. I totally cracked up when on the drive home, I realized that the coffee was the most expensive thing I bought all day!

I had a minor freak-out on my drive home because my "you need gas, idiot!" light had been on for over 10 miles when I got stuck waiting for road construction. You know how they sometimes close down one lane and then only let a few cars go at a time? That. I sat there for a LONG time, but at least Cory Monteith (Finn from Glee) was doing Q&A on Twitter at the time, so I was kept amused. Texting in the car is ok if you are stuck sitting still!

I can't believe that a trip to Target and Starbucks is now a super exciting day for me. Send civilization, you guys.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Seven

NaNoWriMo has left me kind of brain dead for blogging, so I thought I'd do the Sunday Seven (hosted here) this week!

This week's question is: Name 7 things you'd like to get for Christmas this year.


1. a Nikon dSLR! I haven't done enough comparing/contrasting to decide exactly which model yet, but I'd be pertty happy with any of them.

2. A billion dollar Starbucks gift card. Or any denomination, I suppose, but a billion would be best.

3. The Super Deluxe Edition of Achtung Baby. Okay, I'd love the Uber edition, but that one is like eleventy billion dollars, and the Super has everything I really want in it.

I especially want the dvd of From The Sky Down, but agghh, I'm drooling just looking at this pic.

4. The Sims 3 with all the expansion/stuff packs.

The Sims 3

I'm not much of a gamer, but I've always been a Sims addict. Sims 3 came out while I was in FL with nothing but my half-dead laptop, so I would have had nothing to play it on even if I could afford it. Now I'm reunited with my desktop, so our time has come, Sims 3. Let's do this. (And by "this" I mean not notice as winter flies by because I'm staring at a computer for 12 hours at a time.)

5. Lush Veganese Shampoo

This is one of the few conditioners in the universe that doesn't make me sneeze. I lost mine when I moved, and haven't been anywhere with a Lush since. Well, that's a lie... my friend Jemma and I stood sadly outside the Lush in Toronto at like 3am as we were walking home from seeing the U2 cover band that we went to see right after we got out of the U2 concert. We made sad faces at the window, wishing they would let us in. The world needs 24-hour Lush.

6. Red Velvet Cupcake Candle

I'm not huge on scented candles, again because most make me sneeze, but I found this at Target last week and fell in looooove.

7. Benefit Big Beautiful Eyes Palette

Benefit Cosmetics Big Beautiful Eyes
My all-time favorite eye makeup, and I've been out for ages!

That's my 7! What's on your list?