Friday, November 29, 2013

Clairol Root Touch-Up Review and Giveaway

Do you guys ever have one of those moments when you're looking in the mirror and you suddenly realize that it has been WAY too long since you've dyed your hair? I'm bad at noticing that roots have been creeping in, since it's such a gradual thing, so it seems like one day I'm fine and the next day I have two totally different colors of hair!

Vocalpoint hooked me up with a free box of Clairol Nice n' Easy root touch up, a home hair dye intended to be used for a quick touch-up so that you don't have to totally re-dye your hair when roots start peeking through.

This comes in 21 different shades, but my local Target and Walmart only had about 6-8 shades each. I was a little bummed to see the lack of reds, but I went with "Medium Auburn", since that's the category that my hair colors usually fall into. (I may have considered the Light Auburn if it had been available, but my stores only had medium and dark.)



Instead of mixing the ingredients in a squeeze bottle like you would do with most home hair color kits, you mix these in that little round tray, so that it can be applied with the brush. (Don't worry, a pair of gloves are hiding inside that instruction sheet!)


I did kind of wish they'd included something other than the brush to mix with, but it got the job done!

I had more serious roots than this is really made for - it's intended to be used two or three weeks after you first cover, while I have a pretty solid 3" of roots going on. (Oops!) Thankfully, there was plenty of dye to cover my above average length of roots!


The worst roots are definitely up front!

The Good:
*The included brush applicator is awesome for getting dye right up to your hairline! I often end up with little undyed spots near my forehead where I didn't get the dye all the way to the edge, so I loved how easy the brush made it!
*You only need to leave the dye on for 10 minutes.

The Not So Good:
*I've been dying my hair for a lot of years, and I think this might be the worst smelling dye I've ever used! Even my cat left the bathroom while I was applying it!
*One of my favorite things about dying my hair at home is the awesome little tube of conditioner that usually comes with dye. No conditioner included here, though, alas!
*The area I dyed ended up super dark - as in darker than my naturally medium brown roots!. I thought that I got a decent "after" photo, but nope! My sad camera issues struck again, and I couldn't get a decent one. Sorry!

After my experience, I feel like this dye would be best for those who are using dye to cover grey, rather than someone like me who doesn't have grey and just likes changing the color up to something more fun. I'd also guess that a more normal blonde, brown or black shade would be much easier to match than my medium reddish brown!

I was sent some extra coupons, so it's giveaway time! 3 of you will each receive a coupon good for one free box of Clairol's Nice n' Easy Root Touch Up! That way you can check out the colors in store and pick out your favorite in person! Just enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. I'm keeping entries super simple this time! If you have any questions about entering, just leave a comment or email me! (Note: Since I'll be out of town most of the length of this giveaway, I may be a bit slow in replying, but I will get back to you ASAP!)


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday Tell All #3


Yeah, I should have used Giles for Halloween week, but whatever.


*It's Tuesday! And holy cow, you guys, I looked at a calendar as I started writing this, and realized that I will be in Orlando in less than a WEEK! (I leave on Monday!) And then there was a moment where I came really close to sobbing with joy. I can not WAIT to go home. It's been so long since I've seen my city and my friends and my castle and my palm trees and actual freaking sunshine, it's going to be a glorious reunion.

*I've recently realized that I have been way too serious lately. To be fair, I've been dealing with an avalanche of serious stuff, but I'm really exhausted of letting it weigh me down. I miss having fun and being fun. This trip is at the perfect time. Doesn't every responsible adult deal with their problems by running away to Disney World?

*I've been working especially hard over the past week to get things done before I leave. I have this weird thing where I like to superclean my house before I go on vacation, because while coming home from a trip is always depressing enough, coming home to a total wreck of a house is way worse. I also feel like I need to get super caught up on online things so that I don't come home to 500 emails and 5000 unread posts on Bloglovin.

*Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how every relationship is completely different. (And I'm talking everything from casual flirtations to long term, serious stuff.) The feelings I've had for one person are like a completely different species from those I've had for someone else, if that makes sense. The ingredients are the same - physical attraction, affection, etc, but they just feel nothing alike. It's fascinating.

*I have pretty much no idea what to do for my birthday celebration yet. (I'm flying home on my actual birthday, so my plan is to celebrate the night before. You know, because nobody wants to actually sleep before a day of airport fun.) One friend suggested our favorite tapas restaurant, which is a pretty solid idea, and another brought up the Greek restaurant where we did my 27th or 28th bday, where there are bellydancers and dancing on the tables is encouraged. (always fun). I'm leaning towards just spending all night hanging out near that stand in Epcot that sells the Grand Marnier slushies, but that's probably not the most exciting idea.

*I dug my suitcase out of the closet to start packing, and the poor thing is so very beaten up. It's covered in cat fur, and they also seem to have been using it as a scratching post, because it's totally frayed in parts. Don't laugh at me too much, security people.

*I am totally pathetic as a human today. The day started off productively enough, but then I took allergy medicine that knocked me out (I am weird, pretty much ANY medication makes me sleepy.) Woke up 5 minutes before my chiropractor appointment, nearly fell back asleep on the roller table thingy, came home and ate half a bag of those disgusting butter puff things that look like popcorn but are not, and am now considering going back to sleep, because I still feel gross. (And yep, still sneezing.)

*Yep, definitely time for another nap. Later, kids.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Things I Love Thursday

As I mentioned in my Tuesday post, I'm starting a weekly roundup of random things that I'm loving at the moment! And yes, this was supposed to go up on Thursday (obviously), but things got crazy, so it's going up super early Friday (Or, hey, it's still Thursday if you're on the west coast!). Close is better than not at all, right? So here we go!




*I had a $20 Ulta gift card burning a hole in my pocket (well, purse) so after pondering the entire makeup half of the store for quite a while, I finally picked up an Urban Decay 24/7 liner pencil. These things really are as good as everyone says, y'all. I'm not sure if it will totally replace my love for the combo of Smashbox's angled liner brush with their gel liner, but it's pretty great. They come in literally like 40 different colors, but I just can't justify dropping 20 bucks on anything other than black. (Although the silver is pretty damn tempting.)

*Sometimes, when Bear is asleep, he reaches a paw out to hold my hand with. This is the very best thing that there is.

*How Historic Figures Would Look Today

A cat is a cat no matter what.
*Apparently cats love boxes, no matter what.

*These Russian dating site photos are better than anything you've ever taken.

*Archer Farms (Target's store brand) makes a southwestern couscous lunch bowl that I'm kind of obsessed with. I want to eat them all.

In love with this H&M dress!

*This dress from H&M. I need it so much. You can never go wrong with a red dress, and this shape would be rockin' on my body type. MUST HAVE.

*And one last bit of love - Today (the 15th) is the LAST day for voting in the Podcast awards! I've been begging everyone to vote constantly, so if you haven't yet (or if you have, since you can vote daily!) pleeeeease head over to podcastawards.com and vote for The British History Podcast under the category of education! It only takes a minute, and you will totally make my day. Thank you!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hill's Science Diet Gourmet Cat Food Review and Huge Giveaway! #HillsPet

Feeding my cats sounds simple in theory: I usually feed them first thing in the morning when I wake up and then again in the evening, leaving out a bit of dry food for them to snack on during the day. The less simple part is that if I'm not awake at a time that they deem acceptable, they're totally up in my face doing that whole "I'm totally not snuggling on you because I'm hungry! I just think you're great!" thing. (Psst, cats! I totally see through that!)


Hill's Science Diet sent me a selection of their wet food, dry food and treats to try out. Their range of foods is created to give you a bunch of options to pick from that will all work together to offer balanced nutrition for your cats. 

We got a variety of canned wet food flavors to try, including tender tuna and tender chicken dinners.


Sorry, I'm still yet to figure out a way to photograph cat food in a way that makes it look appetizing to humans!



And just in case you're wondering, this is what happens if it takes me more than about ten seconds to take a photo of cat food for a review! EVERY time! You'd think that I would have learned to hide in a room with no cats for photos, but I never learn!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday Tell All #2

How is it already Tuesday again? Yikes! It's hard to believe that I used to blog about everyday life stuff on a regular basis, I can barely keep up with once a week now! Here's what's been up at Casa Crystal this week!

*I have learned that Honey Boo Boo will be in Orlando at the same time as me. I don't think that the internet even makes gifs excited enough to convey my excitement over this fact.



*I totally missed doing last week's "Things I Love Thursday" post. Blogging fail. This week fo' sho!

*I really, REALLY want Cory to win ANTM. I have never asked you for anything, Tyra Banks, give me this one favor?



*On that note, I am SUPER sick of Rob's comments about Cory at the judging panels. His whole "You don't look enough like a man in this shot" BS is getting super old.


Not awesome, Rob. 

*Ack, I just realized that most of this post is about reality TV so far. Just keepin' it classy, y'all.

*I will be in Florida in TWO WEEKS! I still have no idea what I'm doing most of the time I'm there, but as long as it is Florida and not Missouri, I am HAPPY. I might go to Epcot just to make out with Spaceship Earth. (And a Grand Marnier slushy drink.) I can't wait to visit all of my friends at work, enjoy weather that's above freezing, and just plain enjoy being HOME!

*I am STILL reading the Elizabeth of York book. I keep getting distracted, but I only have like a week left, so I need to get to it. That said, I'm about 200 pages in and we just got past the battle of Bosworth, so... things are moving a little slow.

*Speaking of British History, I would love you forever if you would head over to PodcastAwards.com and vote for The British History Podcast under the category of education!! I'd be more than happy to return the favor if you ever need votes for anything. Voting ends Nov 15, so speed is of the essence!

*While at the grocery store today, I discovered that Pinnacle now makes Caramel Apple vodka. I know what I want for my birthday!!



*I have amazing cat Halloween costume photos to show you guys. Must remember to post them this week. My poor cats, I have no idea why they put up with me. (Mostly my ability to open cans of food, I'd guess.)

*There are currently two giveaways going on (Old El Paso and $1000 for Black Friday!), and I'll have two new ones up this week! Hooray for winning things!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Paris Fashion Week - Part Deux!

Seriously, y'all, I get a little tingle just typing "Paris Fashion Week". MAGICAL. Let's pick up where we left off in the last post, shall we?



I adore this Jean Paul Gaultier look. The mix of a button down with the asymmetrical leather is so smart. (And just a little bit badass.)



Same collection, equally genius.


This, however, looks like something one of the Misfits would wear on Jem.




Had so much fun browsing this Junya Wantanabe collection! It was basically those techniques that we've all used to spice up an old band t-shirt applied to runway fashion. So fun! (Also, I want this headdress thing. Wait, maybe not, my cats would decapitate me.)


Ok, I take that back, too. I want this Louis Vuitton headpiece thingy! And the top. And the chance to stretch out on that carpet and take a nap, 'cause that just looks comfy.


Seriously, how spectacular is the atmosphere of this show?? I would kill to play dress-up in this stuff.


It's a long-running trend that I'm not that into the clothes from Maison Martin Margiela, but the shoes always rock. These are awesome. 


I never personally wear white (because a) I'm freakishly pale and it washes me out even more, and b) I spill stuff a lot), but I'm in love with this Nina Ricci pairing. Might have to make my own version of the coat. Although it does kind of look like she's wearing nipple jewelry. 

I still have at least one more Paris Fashion Week post to go, and then Milan! I've been so slow, it will be time for Fall again before I finish! Yikes!

Friday, November 08, 2013

Countdown To Black Friday $1000 Giveaway!

Countdown To Black Friday Giveaway
Organized by Mom Powered Media and the MPM Blogger Network.

Looking for the best contests around this holiday season? Make sure to visit SweepstakesFanatics where you can find the newest sweeps, blog giveaways and even a special section for Canadian giveaways.


I'll be in Orlando for Black Friday this year, so I'm not sure yet if I'll be doing any shopping. The shoppers looking for deals are hardcore there! Target usually has my favorite sales, but I do also love that Bath & Body Works usually does the big gift bag full of stuff that you can get for like $20! I'm curious to see what they'll be offering this year!

In honor of the fun and crazy-go-nuts fun that is Black Friday shopping, I've teamed up with a bunch of other bloggers for a giveaway that will make the winner's holiday shopping WAY more fun! (Pssst, I also totally won't tell if you want to spend the prize on yourself, too!)

One lucky winner will receive $ 1,000 Visa Gift Card or Amazon Gift Card {winner's choice}!


Giveaway ends November 29th at 11:59pm, open worldwide, ages 18+. Please note if the winner is a non-USA or non-Canadian resident, they will receive $1,000 via PayPal instead. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

I'm Escaping The Cold Weather!

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Dove. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.”

Nope, I'm not moving back to Florida quite yet, but I did manage to plan a trip to visit! I'm heading home for about two weeks, beginning the end of this month! To say I'm excited to be going is a major understatement! You guys probably know by now that I am totally NOT a cold weather person, so while it's still currently in the 50s and 60s here during the day (except today, when it's like 40!), I am more than happy to trade that for the 70s-80s in Orlando! I'm even planning a few days at the beach, even though it's not quite optimal beach weather. I'll still take it!

I've been having fun digging through the clothes I haven't been able to wear in a couple months due to the colder temps, deciding what to pack. Thanks to one of the airlines I'm flying charging extra for every bag, I need to condense everything for my Orlando time and my beach time into a single suitcase. Thank goodness warm weather clothes aren't that bulky, I guess?

Here's what's going into the suitcase so far:

Xhilaration® Turquoise Sunglasses
Important question: How many pairs of sunglasses is toooo many to take? I have these in almost every color you can think of. Do I pack light and just stick with one? Just give in and take like seven? Three seems like a sensible number, right?


Yes, I rock zebra print flip flops on the regular. I have a ton of sandals, but these are made from yoga mat material, so they are SUPER comfy. I've been having to wear actual shoes (like, with a toe and everything!) this month since it's been cold, so I'll be happy to go back to my favorites! I'll probably throw in at least one pair of heels for going out circumstances, of course, but these are my daytime go-to shoe.


Okay, kidding about this one. Mostly. But man am I going to miss my guys! I'm going to be suffering kitty withdrawls!

Ravenclaw
Fine, this isn't technically packed either, since I don't own a Ravenclaw shirt... yet. But I FINALLY get to check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal on this trip! I am nerding out in a big way. It's a shame that I am basically broke, or I would probably buy one of everything they sell. (I want Ginny's wand!)

Not pictured: I've already tossed a bunch of favorite jewelry (mostly earrings) into a little box to keep them safe. 

You know that whole phenomenon where you don't really notice something until it's pointed out, and then you can't help but notice it all the time? Ever since I wrote my other post for Dove, I keep noticing that oh hey, the skin under my arms kind of IS kind of dry! Not something I'd usually worry about in the winter, but since I'm off to the land of swimsuits and sleeveless things, I'm way more aware of it! (And shaving causes skin to lose 50% more moisture - eep! Bring on the moisturizing deodorant!) 


florida beach
Maybe they've been using Dove Clear Tone?

I haven't really tackled the packing of clothes yet, but it will probably be a lot of casual dresses (and swimsuit of course. Yay!) I still need to pick a book or two to pack for reading before bed and general chilling out. Most of what I read tends to be big and bulky, so I need to browse my bookshelf for a more modestly sized paperback that won't put my bag over the weight limit! (My kingdom for an e-reader!) I also need to load up my iPod with some excellent music and podcasts for the flight. And last (for now) but not least, I have a Publix gift card that I won in a giveaway a while back, which will be going towards contributing some wine towards whoever's Thanksgiving dinner I end up at! (I should probably get around to figuring that out?) 

Are any of you guys escaping this dreary time of year in favor of somewhere sunny?

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Tuesday Tell All #1

"Tuesday whaaaat?" you may be asking? I've decided to try out doing two new weekly posts! On Tuesdays I'll do this topic, which will mostly be a collection of things happening in my everyday life that weren't quite major enough to deserve a post of their own. Then on Thursdays I'm adding a "Things I Love Thursday" to share the links and items and other randomness that I'm currently digging. Cool? Cool.

So, here's what's up! (I should totally make a graphic for this if I keep doing them!)

Nobody likes blog posts with no pictures in them, so for absolutely no reason, here is a pic of a thing called a sloth bear. I think they are rad. 

*Are any of you guys watching Hart of Dixie this season? The first season was great, but then last season was kinda sucky. So far, this third season seems much better.

*I'm reading a great biography of Elizabeth of York, but it's taking me FOREVER because I have the worst attention span ever. I blame it on the internet. For example, if I read about a palace that her family stayed at, I think "I wonder if that still exists?" so I end up going to Google or Pinterest or something to look it up. Worse is when a person is mentioned, and I'm all "Okay, *which* Richard/Henry/Thomas/EveryoneHadTheSameNames was he again?", so I Wikipedia them up. I think we all knows what happens when you fall down the black hole that is Wikipedia. You start by looking up some dead English dude, and the next thing you know it's 4 a.m. and you're learning about the finer points of rocket science.

*Speaking of historical things, I know I already posted about this, but if you would go to podcastawards.com and vote for The British History Podcast under the category of education, I'd love you forever! And I'd be happy to return the favor if you ever need votes for something. Basically, we would be instant BFF's and I'd braid your hair and talk to you about boys and stuff. Unless that's not your thing. Seriously, though, please vote!

*I seriously need to know what kind of nail colors you guys have been into for fall. I keep walking through the beauty aisles at every store I go to, hoping to find something for my nails that feels Autumnal, but leaving with nothing. When I *finally* bought one that I thought would be awesome, it was a huge fail. (See this post.)

*I scored a giant bag of awesomeness at the thrift store's bag sale this morning! I'm considering doing a haul post, because I kind of miss doing those, and they actually help me organize my ideas. Although I should probably finish up some of my current sewing projects before I dig into new ones, but...

*Speaking of my thrifty outing today... my rear tire is now almost flat. Nope, this isn't the tire that's been missing a chunk for a couple of months that I keep worrying about having a blowout from. This is the other tire on the same side. I was supposed to run like fifty million more errands after shopping this morning, but I just didn't have the mental energy to deal with the tire, so I came home and napped instead. Adulthood: I fail at it often. (Although to be fair, Bear woke me up at like 3:30 last night, so I was running on 90 minutes of sleep. Napping was probably a good idea.)

*Speaking of Bear, I should totally blog photos of the awful costumes I subjected my cats to for Halloween. Let's see if I actually get around to doing that sometime before the end of the year!

Is that it for this week? I think so! Should we take bets on how long I manage to keep these up before getting distracted by something else?

Monday, November 04, 2013

Spooky Nail Fail!

Have you ever seen something awesome online, thought "I am totally going to do that!", and ended up with an epic fail? I'm guessing that we all have at least once, right? Here's my latest!

I saw in the weekly ad for Walgreens that they had Sinful Colors nail polishes on sale for 99 cents last week. (Score!) I remembered seeing the new collection that was made to look like leather, so being the giant nerd that I am, I did some Googling to decide which colors I wanted. "Leather Loose" (how punny!) was totally my favorite. I mean, check these out!


via Pretty Girl Science



and another from Kimber's Lacquer Korner, of the same color.

SUPER pretty and totally Halloween-y, am I right? And for the record, both sites say that this is without a topcoat.

Well, friends, I think this may be an example of what happens when bloggers have lighting and photography that is a little TOO good. Here's my experience with the same polish:

Yes, this is a terrible photo, but it's the best representation of what my poor nails looked like.

Am I missing something? I mean, I'm no expert manicurist or anything, but I think I have a pretty solid grasp on how to paint a nail by this point in my life. Remembering my last experience with this brand, I removed the polish to start over and seriously globbed it on this time. It came out... kind of better? (Weirdly enough, it looks better in this photo than in real life.)


(Ignore the mess around the edges. Apparently I am not capable of painting a nail by this point in my life.)

Calling this one a fail. I mean, they did kind of fit the Halloween theme since the glitter is much less visible in person, so my nails basically look like I've painted them with dried blood. Festive!

Any suggestions for a cute color for Fall that's not super expensive? (As in like, less than $5? As much as I love Essie and OPI and such, I just can't justify dropping 8 bucks on a bottle of polish right now!)

Saturday, November 02, 2013

New Frozen Meals From Old El Paso - and a Giveaway!

Free Mexican Food!

I guess that I have your attention now? Those are magical words! I was recently asked if I'd like to try Old El Paso's new frozen entrees for 2 and obviously I said yes, because who turns down free food? However, since it is totally mean to get you all hungry and then just leave you hanging, there's a giveaway at the end of this post that will hook one of you up, too!


I occasionally have trouble tracking down new products, since I'm currently living in the middle of nowhere, so I was pleasantly surprised to find pretty much every variety available when I hit the store to pick one up!


I am a friend of pretty much all Mexican food in general, but for me the chicken enchiladas were the obvious choice here! I'm a sucker for saucy enchilada goodness. (If there was one suggestion I'd offer to the company, it would be to add a vegetarian friendly option like a black bean and cheese enchilada! Yum!)


Sorry for the non-awesome photo quality. If you read my recent camera rant, I'm sure you understand!

So, here's the amusing thing- I did not realize until just now as I reread the photo below that I totally misread the directions on the left when I first looked at the package! I assumed they were just microwave directions, so I just skipped to the oven ones and used those. (After a quick, hungry wail of "I have to wait 45 minutes for foooood?" Told you I don't use the oven much.) If only I had actually read those micro-bake directions, I could have saved myself a ton of waiting! D'oh!





Just out of the oven! I think it's a rule that the best tasting foods look the worst on film, you know? (And yeah, I got a bit distracted and left it in a few minutes too long. But that really is mostly sauce around the edges that looks so dark, not totally burned tortillas. Still tasted good!)

As you can kind of tell from the photo above, there are 6 enchiladas in there. Good luck getting them out in anything resembling one piece though; everything just kind of mushes together during cooking. It should also be mentioned that while the package says that this is a dinner for two, it was three full meals plus one midnight snack for me. Then again, I have a smaller appetite than average. I would totally suggest picking up some rice and beans to go with the meal - although it was totally filling on its own, I missed having them as a side!

Ready to try a meal of your own? Old El Paso and My Blog Spark is going to hook one of my readers up with a prize pack that contains:
• One coupon good for one Old El Paso Frozen EntrĂ©e of your choice.
• Mexican Tile Chip & Dip Bowl and Serving Platter 
• $10 Visa Gift Card 



Awesome, right? Just enter using the Rafflecopter below! If you have any questions or problems entering, just leave a comment or shoot me an email and I'll do my best to help! 

Vote BHP!

Remember a couple of months ago when I posted about 5 of my favorite podcasts? Well, it turns out that 4 of those 5 are nominated for the podcast awards! Voting runs until Nov 15, and I would really appreciate if you guys could go vote for the British History Podcast under the category of education!


I'd be more than happy to return the favor if you need votes for anything (now or in the future!) Just visit the Podcast Awards, scroll down to the education category and select the British History Podcast! You can vote daily, but any votes are appreciated!

Thanks!