Monday, August 25, 2014

Go Sleeveless With Dove Advanced Care

“I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence Central for Dove Advanced Care Deodorant. I received a promotional item to facilitate my review.

Dove sent me three scents from their new Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant/Deodorant line, which is designed to keep you dry and free from odor for 48 hours, reduce irritation from shaving, and give you softer, smoother underarms in just 3 days.

Here's the full line of up 8 available scents:
  • Nourished Beauty - A floral powdery fragrance with notes of jasmine and rose
  • Cool Essentials - A delightful blend of cucumber and green tea (I really want to try this one!)
  • Beauty Finish - A sparkling, sophisticated scent with notes of watery florals, sandalwood and amber musk
  • Revive - A fragrance of pomegranate and lemon verbena
  • Rebalance - A scent of plum and sakura blossom
  • Shea Butter - A floral, powdery fragrance with notes of shea butter, rose, vanilla and lily of the valley
  • Sensitive - An unscented, hypo-allergenic formula (As someone who sneezes at almost anything scented, I have to say I was excited to see this one!)
  • Caring Coconut - A light coconut scent with jasmine floral notes

I received the Sensitive, Revive and Rebalance scents. I figured that the Sensitive formula would be my jam since I need unscented, but I was sad to discover that it still has some kind of scent to it, so my quest for the perfect unscented deodorant continues. I'm guessing that by "unscented" they mean that there's no added fragrance, but there still seems to be some kind of ingredient in there that smells a bit flowery and made my nose stuff up. Total bummer, but at least it gets great reviews from those with sensitive skin who usually get rashes from deodorant! (Just a note - I occasionally get lucky and find scented deodorants or other personal care products that I can use with no problem. It seems like I get lucky with certain ingredients, but no luck with others!)

I passed the Revive deodorant on to my mother, who had just commented that she needed a new one on the same day that my samples showed up on my doorstep. We compared deodorant notes the next day, and both agreed that they were moisturizing and great at keeping us dry and the skin soft!

Dove is challenging women across the U.S. to ditch their sleeves for a chance to win a trip to New York City Fashion week and a VIP styling session with A-List Hollywood stylist, Erin Walsh. You can go to to participate in The Sleeveless Summer Challenge.

A few summer style tips from stylist Erin Walsh, whose clients include Kerry Washington and SJP:

•I think it is fun to experiment with sunglasses during the summer season. Sunglasses look good on anyone, and there are so many styles so you can buy them to match your personality.

• When headed to the beach, I think it is fun to pair lots of jewelry with swimwear. Some people think it can get a bit hot, but I think it’s very chic!

• It’s definitely better to wear loose clothing in the summer. In addition, fabrics like silk, cotton, and linen are key for this season. It’s also important to think about undergarments, too. You don’t want to be wearing a lot of layers when it’s super-hot outside!

I'm all set to rock the sleeveless fashion for the rest of the summer! Are you?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

New Progresso Chili = Nom!

As a sunshine addict, I refuse to admit that summer is wrapping up. Progresso, however, is already thinking about fall and is about to release a new line of chili in preparation for chilly (no pun intended) weather!

They sent me one package of each flavor to try out - Southwest Style Chicken Chili with Beans and Smokehouse Pork and Beef Chili with Beans. (The chicken was my favorite of the two, but both are good!) They come in a pouch with a clear bottom so you can see the ingredients. The only improvements I would suggest are making the pouch resealable (it's a 20 oz package, so I had lots of leftovers!) and possibly making it so that the chili can be microwaved in the pouch. (I'm spoiled by other pouch-y meals!)

I still have a bit of the Smokehouse flavor left, so I'm thinking about making a grilled cheese to go with it! What's your favorite thing to pair with chili? 

Disclosure: The information and product pack have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

10 Things on Tuesday - Volume 21

1. Yikes, you guys! I just now (a little after 5 pm) realized that this is Tuesday and I'm supposed to be posting 10 things. Oops. Sometimes the week just gets away from me!

2. I will confess that after over a week of being glued to Twitter for live updates from Ferguson, I have become a total fangirl for most of the journalists on the ground there covering the events. I spend so much time wrapped up in it that they (as well as the local leaders and residents I follow) feel like friends, to the point that when I spot someone on TV I get all excited like I'm spotting a friend. "HEY!" I yell to no one in particular, since it's just me and the cats watching TV together, "That was Antonio helping clean up that street! HI ANTONIO!" Yeah. I'm that big of a nerd.

So, this kinda made my day:

Matt is the LA Times journalist I mentioned in my "Who to follow on Twitter for Ferguson news" post a few days ago and currently ranks just below Chris Hayes on my list of journalist crushes this week.

3. Speaking of Chris, his live show last night caused me to have a really important revelation. While he was in the middle of his broadcast, a few people started yelling at him to "Tell the real story!", and a few threw rocks through the fence around the media area at him.

Here's the really important part: Chris didn't get mad. He basically shrugged and said "There's a lot of anger." And then something really important happened: The man reporting with him (I'm so sorry that I don't know his name) took the mic over to the fence and interviewed the people. I can not tell you how quickly the tone changed. Instantly, the people who stopped to talk on air lit up. They calmly and respectfully told their side of what was up. And their faces lit up with the glow of people who were finally being listened to.

I think that one of the biggest things people want - not just in a protest situation like this, but in life - is to be heard. They want someone to take a few minutes to listen to them, to hear their story. They want the feeling, if only for a few minutes, that someone actually gives a damn about them. I'm going to try to remember that from now on, and make a real point of taking a few minutes to listen to someone's story as often as I can.

4. Okay, let's move on to less serious stuff. I am still deep in road trip planning mode! If all goes well, I'll be setting off for adventure before the end of this month. If the amount of tension my chiropractor just did his best to whack out of my body is any indication, I need a freaking vacation. Even though a big chunk of this trip will be devoted to researching some things that I really want to blog about or write about for other outlets, it will still be the closest thing to vacation that I've had in ages!

5. My current YouTube addiction is book vlogger booksandquills.She's a Dutch 20-something living in London, and has been the cause of about a dozen new books being added to my to read list!

6. Speaking of books, I just picked this up at the library despite the fact that I'm in the middle of like four other books:

Given that I'm approximately 1/3 Native American (there's some fuzzy math involved), I haven't read as much about most tribes as I'd like to, so I'm excited for this one!

7. I discovered a group called Cotton Wine this week because their songs were used in a vlog I watched on YouTube, and I kinda love them. This song is my favorite so far, even though the video is kinda sucky. 

8. As soon as I finish this post, I'm about to go curl up in bed with a book and an ice pack. My back is killing me today, even though I just got it adjusted. So oww. I need to do productive things, but the headache of doom is making it impossible.

9. My plans for tonight involve contacting some hotels on the FL gulf coast to see if I can work something about about staying there in exchange for blogging about them, because I can not imagine anything better than a day or two at the beach right now! It's August and I'm still absurdly pale. 

10. Between being glued to the news all week and trying to do a ton of work so I can afford my upcoming travels, I'm frazzled. I would love if you'd leave me a comment telling me about something awesome! I need some good news!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Giant Back To School Giveaway! Enter to win a Kindle Fire HD, $100 Target Gift Card, and more! (Ends Sept 2)

Welcome to the Back-to-School Giveaway Palooza

Sponsored by: Failing Perfect, Dibsies Personalization Station, Zazzle, Fundanoodle, and Educational Insights


Although I personally refuse to believe that summer is coming to an end (sunshine and warm weather foreverrrr, please!), kids are heading back to school already! To help fill this little chunk of time between summer winding down and the beginning of Pumpkin Spice and cute fall clothes season, we've got an awesome giveaway for you guys! One winner is going to receive a prize package worth over $430! This giveaway includes something for everyone in the family from preschoolers through college students. Here is what is included:
  • Kindle Fire HD 7" Tablet, Wifi, 16 GB  and $100 Target Gift Card from Failing Perfect (Retail Value: $269.00)
  • Personalized Lunch Box and Personalized Backpack from Dibsies Personalization Station (Retail Value: $78.00)
  • $50 Zazzle Gift Code from Zazzle
  • Hot Dots Laugh It Up! Math Vocabulary Cards for grades 1-3, Hot Dots Reading Informational Text for grades 4-6, Hot Dots Pen, and GeoSafari Jr. My First Microscope for ages 3+ from Educational Insights(Retail Value: $79.95)
  • The winner's choice of one activity kit:  I Can Bead, Lace, Rip, Trace!, I Can Pound!, I Can Build Uppercase! or I Can Build Lowercase! from Fundanoodle (Retail Value: $32.99)

Back-to-School Palooza Giveaway: The Details
  • Giveaway will begin on August 18th, 2014 and will end at 11:59 PM, Mountain Time (US) on September 2nd, 2014.
  • Open to residents in the continental US, 18 years or older.
  • One entrant per household.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
  • No purchase necessary to enter or win.
  • Winner will have 24 Hours to respond to winner notification email, or prize will be forfeited and another winner will be chosen.
  • Winner will be chosen via
  • The winning entry will be verified.
  • Sponsors will be individually responsible for prize fulfillment.

  • If you agree to the above terms, then enter using the Giveaway Form below. Good Luck!! 

    Saturday, August 16, 2014

    Here's Who To Follow On Twitter For Live Ferguson Updates

    I first mentioned what happened to Mike Brown back on Tuesday, but it has blown up so much since then that I've been wanting to say more. As I said on Facebook last night, I'm full of opinions but can't really put them together to form a post yet.

    Until I do actually know what I want to say, here's a list of people that I've been following on Twitter that have been amazing about keeping everyone informed about what's going on. I have so much respect for these people for being right there in the middle of everything and for the risks they're taking to make sure that we all have access to this information. Please keep in mind that anything that you see on the news, no matter which network it's on, has gone through some kind of filter of bias. That's why I've been glued to Twitter - when people are sharing everything in real time, there's less time to put any spin on the facts.

    We have to start with Antonio French, because he is basically my new hero. He's the St. Louis area alderman who was arrested on the night of the tear gas craziness. I am blown away by this man's leadership skills.

    Embedded image permalink

    That's Antonio on the left, holding protestors back from taunting police last night. After things settled down, he turned in for the night, but as soon as he heard that things were heating up again he threw clothes back on and raced back to town.

    Wesley Lowery and Ryan Reilly are the two journalists (Washington Post and Huff Post, respectively) who were arrested at the Ferguson McDonalds. They've continued to manage to write articles from the midst of the chaos, which is super impressive.

    I think this tweet sums up why this live coverage is so important. 

    Maria Chappelle Nadal has become somewhat famous for asking the Ferguson police chief "Am I going to get tear gassed again like I was last night? When I was peaceful? ...And I'm your state senator?"

    I don't even have words for how much I love this woman. Favorite senator FOREVER. (Seriously, if you haven't seen the video of the police chief cringing when she says "I'm your senator"... it's amazing.)

    I will confess that I have totally developed a crush on LA Times reporter Matt Pearce, mostly due to awesome tweets like this:

    I should probably pick something more profound if I'm only using one tweet per person to represent them with, but oh well.

    USA Today reporter Yamiche Alcindor has been great with updates from the thick of things, too.

    Journalist Amy K. Nelson stayed on the scene last night long after many others had called it a night. It resulted in this amazing tweet around 5 am. (Couldn't resist including my response.)

    There are dozens of others out there reporting live, both journalists and Ferguson residents, but this list is a good place to start if you want to follow along. And I really hope that you do want to, because if this can happen in a Missouri suburb, it can happen where you live next.

    Tuesday, August 12, 2014

    10 Things on Tuesday - Volume 20

    1. Sunday was my kitten Tennyson's first birthday! He's officially a cat now! I can't believe how quickly he has grown up!
    Photo: Happy birthday Tennyson! No longer a kitten, officially a cat! Calling it his cat mitzvah. (Yes, he is wearing a bow tie.)

    Yes, I made him wear a tie for his birthday photo. It's funny how much he looks like Bear here! He's still probably less than half of Bear's size/weight! I think he's always going to be a little guy. 

    2. I was totally shocked (I think we all were) to hear the news about Robin Williams yesterday. It's really sad to lose his talent and unique voice from this world. It's also a reminder of how much people can be struggling even when they show the world a different face.

    3. I've embraced the fact that my second home state of Florida is always in the news with crazy things, but this time it's my original home state of Missouri. Unfortunately it's not the kooky kind of headline Florida tends to get. Police brutality has been in the news a lot lately, and what went down in the St. Louis area of Ferguson is really disturbing, as are some of the actions of the public in protest. Here's hoping that things calm down for that community quickly, and that the investigation brings about the truth.

    4. This is my quote for this week. I think I'm ready for big change.

    5. I've written about half of this post with Tenny crawling all over me. He is too big to perch on my shoulder like he did as a baby, but he still likes me to sling him over it and let him just hang out there, so that's happening as I type.

    6. I haven't watched ANY of Shark Week yet. I need to get on that.

    7. My delayed road trip plans are coming together! It's going to be pretty epic! I'll do a post about my plans as soon as I get details ironed out, but I'm pretty excited. It's the kind of trip I've been needing in all kinds of ways. Plus it will result in a lot of really fun things to blog about! Maybe I'll even get back into vlogging?

    8. Speaking of plans, if everything goes as currently planned, my next couple of months are going to be crazy. Road trip will take up most of the first half of September, crazy city-wide yard sale will most likely suck out my soul for a good chunk of the second half, and then New Orleans in early or mid October, *possibly* followed by a quick jaunt to Orlando to indulge in Food & Wine Festival at Epcot if I have enough spare airline miles. (A pretty solid chance!)

    9. If you are a busty person, I need you to tell me where you find awesome swimsuit tops immediately. My search has been ridiculous. I'm not even that picky, all I want is something that actually holds up and covers (at least most of) my chest and is not a million dollars or hideous. Finding a flock of synchronized swimming Loch Ness monsters is easier than finding a swimsuit top. (I will have your baby if you will illustrate that for me.) (Not really, I'm not into babies. But I'll probably make out with you.)

    10. I just browsed my bookshelf for a good beach reading book and grabbed an Elizabeth I biography. I know how to party.

    Be sure to leave me your link in the comments if you do a 10 Things list this week! I love reading them!

    Monday, August 11, 2014

    Dove Is Sending Someone to NYC Fashion Week! Take the Challenge!

    I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence Central for Dove Advanced Care Deodorant. I received a promotional item to facilitate my review.

    You guys know that I follow every Fashion Week obsessively, so you can guess that I was pretty excited to find out that Dove is sponsoring a sweepstakes where you can win a trip to NY Fashion Week AND a one-on-one consultation with a celebrity stylist! How cool is that? I'll be trying out the new Dove Advanced Care Deodorant soon (and sharing my experience with you guys), and then I'm totally entering! You can find the sweepstakes and a coupon right here! Good luck!

    Sunday, August 10, 2014

    Blogger Opp: Back-to-School Giveaway Palooza Event

    Signups are now open for 

    The Back-to-School Giveaway Palooza Event

    Organized by Michelle @ Failing Perfect

     palooza button 2   

     Signups Close at 8 PM EST on August 11th.

    Event will take place August 15th - August 30th.

    Open to residents of the United States.
    One winner takes all: Amazon Kindle Fire HD, $100 Target Gift Card, Backpack full of school supplies, plus more. Free Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest Link for posting giveaway. Must promote 3x weekly on social media accounts. Additional links, host pages, co-host spots are available.

    SIGN UP HERELet them know Straight On Till Morning sent you! :) Not interested in signing up? Make sure to come back on the 15th to enter to win this awesome prize!

    Tuesday, August 05, 2014

    10 Things on Tuesday - Volume 19

    1. Since nothing starts out a blog post (or anyting on the internet, really) as well as a cat photo, here's what Tennyson looked like when I walked into the living room a few minutes ago:

    "Are you sure you're comfortable?" I asked him. He usually naps curled up in a ball on the couch, so finding him kicked back on his back, paws in the air, dreaming away cracked me up, which woke him up. I also can't believe how BIG he looks here! His first birthday is coming up in about a week, but I still think of him as my teeny tiny kitten!

    2. It's primary election day in Missouri! Was pretty psyched to get TWO stickers this year instead of one. BONUS!

    3. Speaking of the election, can I tell you how proud and excited I was to see a 26 year old woman running for my district's representative seat? Women currently make up less than 20% of congress. How is that fair representation? Hell yeah I voted for her! I sadly don't think she has a great chance, but it's encouraging just to see her on the ballot! (Update - As of almost 10 pm, 62% of votes are in and she actually has 44%! She's doing way better than I expected! So encouraged by that!)

    4. I only slept half an hour last night and grabbed a 2 hour nap this afternoon, so I'm a little bit out of it. Oh well, the blog must go on!

    5. I had a totally frustrating car maintenance experience yesterday. I mentioned taking it in to get the wipers checked last week - at that time the mechanic told me there was a brake thingy (hose, I think?) dragging and told me it would be about $250 to fix. I took my car to a different place yesterday to get a second opinion, and they said nothing about anything dragging, but that I need new rotors (among a buttload of other repairs) that totaled almost $900. After getting over the sticker shock, I started looking at the estimate a little more closely and realize that they had replacing the air filter listed at $26 PLUS labor costs. I happen to know that the air filter for my car is $12.50 at Walmart and that they'll install it for free there. They also listed a total of $117 for replacing the serpentine belt. A quick stop at the auto parts store told me that the belt for my car is $24, and it takes approximately 10 minutes to replace, if that. 

    I. Am. Pissed. I'm pretty laid back in general, but trying to take advantage of people like that is SO not okay. Knowing that they marked those two things up by more than double what they should cost, I no longer trust anything they told me. If you think nothing of charging $117 for what should be (at most) a $50 job, then why should I believe that you aren't just telling me that I need new rotors so that I'll spend a ton of money getting it done? Anyway, I found a coupon online for a free brake inspection at Pep Boys, so I might go do that tomorrow. The closest Pep Boys is like 40+ miles away in Springfield, but....

    6. There is now a Moe's in Springfield!! Moe's is one of the things that I miss MOST about living in Orlando. (You know, other than like, Disney World and all of my friends and stuff.) I'm obsessed to the point that this is one of my most treasured photos from my trip home back in November/December: 

    Yeah, I don't even bother getting a burrito or taco or anything most of the time, I just want a giant cup of queso and countless little plastic cups of salsa. I will dig into this with unparalleled joy. (I'm such a low maintenance date, how am I single?) So yeah. I am planning to drive 80 miles round trip for a) free brake inspection and b) liquidy cheese and salsa. #ThugLife

    7. Due to the car problems above, my road trip plans have to be moved around a bit! I was planning to leave on Thursday, but it doesn't seem likely that I'll have things fixed in time. And I guess that brakes and belts that make all kinds of things work and like.. tires that aren't falling apart are all important if you're driving over 2,000 miles? I'm pretty bummed because there were several things going on in the next week or so that I really wanted to be home for, but c'est la vie. 

    8. While planning this road trip (which is kind of growing to epic proportions - I really hate driving to FL and back so I've been trying to figure out routes and stops that make it more fun) I keep getting distracted by planning another New Orleans trip for this fall. There are few things I love as much as planning travel, so I'm pretty happy having a billion different hotel review tabs open at once!

    9. I did not buy any clothes at the thrift store bag sale today. I've been going every month for like 2 years now, and this is only the second time I've walked out empty handed. (I usually end up with 30-40 items for $5.) It's probably a good thing, since my "to alter" pile is still ginormous, but it feels weird. I did, however, find this gem for 25 cents!

    I kind of collect old guidebooks. Can't wait to flip through this one to see what has changed and what is the same!

    10. Are any of you guys watching Bachelor in Paradise? The premiere last night was such a beautiful trainwreck. Horrible reality TV was exactly what I needed after the crazy car stuff! I think it's going to be a giant guilty pleasure!

    If you did a 10 Things list this week, be sure to leave me the link so I can visit!