Friday, December 23, 2011
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!
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, an online sex toys retailer. 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
I haven't done a Target Tuesday in FOREVER, so here is my Christmassy version!
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 Double Breasted Pea Coat- 'Cause Baby, it's cold outside!
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!
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
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.
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.
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!
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?
Saturday, December 17, 2011
I miss Hollywood Studios all decorated for Christmas, which is especially stupid because that's my least favorite park.
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
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!
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Cole Haan ballet flats
Haider Ackerman ankle boots
Jerome C Rousseau wedges
Marc by Marc Jacobs mouse ballet flats
(I love the tail at the back!)
(above pics are all from the Saks website, but their pages have much too annoyingly long urls to link to!)
These grey yoga pants from Clean Spirited. I have them in black and they're amaaaazing.
This clutch from Handbag Heaven.
Karma & Seanik solid shampoos from Lush! Mine are down to tiny nubs!
Cynthia Silvia Stout & Rehab shampoos, also from Lush. I've been out for years!
Smashbox arced eyeliner brush. Mine got lost when I moved. :( It's the best thing in the universe for cream or gel liners!
The new e.l.f. 24k eyeshadow palette
Or the 2nd Edition BH Cosmetics 120 palette!
Washed vegan leather shorts by Free People
Cutest tape dispenser ever!
My cats need this!
I may do a part 2, depending on just how much time I have on my hands. (In other words, expect a part 2!)
Thursday, December 08, 2011
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!
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
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:
I should totally demand two cakes like that!
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
*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?