Tuesday, January 31, 2017

NOTD: FUN Lacquer How Deep Is Your Holo?

Two coats. Not the easiest to work with but the end result is gorgeous!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Hubby's Products Part 2

I thought I would do a little follow up post since my husband has tried some more products in his quest to switch over to products with natural ingredients.

First, here are weeks 4 and 5 of his beard growth; it's actually becoming a beard to speak of.

Along with the beard balm and oil I mentioned in the previous post he has started using some natural bar soaps to wash his face and body. The first one he tried was Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Soap which worked just fine. 

However he is kind of buying into the hype of certain products promoted by this YouTuber he loves, so the next soap he ordered was Grandpa's Pine Tar Soap
This soap has a very interesting aroma; instead of smelling like fresh pine needles like I thought it would, it smells just like barbecuing mesquite wood chips. A little odd to me but he likes it; I think it makes him feel very rugged and manly.
Now that his beard is long enough to comb he's purchased this nice wooden Repsol Care comb and boar bristle brush set which look really cool and are good quality. Nothing quite like a good face brushing, haha.
As for his curly locks, he's tested a few shampoos and conditioners that are free of sulfates, parabens and silicones. At first we thought we might have to order some pricy specialty hair care products online which would not be very practical or cost effective in the long run, but we discovered that Walmart's "natural hair" section actually has a decent selection. I don't know why we hadn't explored it more before; it's amazing how one can get in the rut of using the same products over and over when there could be something better out there.
First he tried  Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula but apparently the conditioner wasn't the texture he was looking for. He said it was extremely difficult to run his fingers or a comb through his hair like he normally does. It did smell wonderfully coconutty though.
Then he tried Cantu Shea Butter products and seems to really like those; he'll probably stick with them for a while.
He even made a pilgrimage to Sally Beauty to purchase shower caps for his bi-weekly coconut oil treatments, and some other various fancy combs. Of course the ladies in there oohed and ahhed over his curl. I'm pretty sure the man has more hair products than do now, but I sure think he looks great!

Thanks for reading and if we come across any more miracle products I'll let you know. Added any new products to your daily routine lately?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Recent Wax Reviews

Country Lane Keepsakes Apple Donuts- this is an older tart so I think the scent was lighter. Vague apple and bakery notes. Light throw for about 6 hours. Overall grade: C. Probably wouldn't repurchase.

The Scented Squirrel German Chocolate Cake- this smells amazing on cold; rich chocolate and nutty coconut. Throw was moderate for the first couple hours and light thereafter. I would have preferred it to be a bit stronger. Overall grade: B. Might repurchase.

Sassy Girl Aroma Candy Cane Cupcakes- a sweet mint and vanilla scent, like buttercream frosting and crushed candy canes. Another older tart with light throw. Makes me realize I need to use up the older items in my stash. Overall grade: C. Probably wouldn't repurchase.

Long Cane Primitives Pink Key Lime Noel Ribbon Bread- a warm pink sugar and bakery blend with a touch of sweet lime. An interesting and pleasant blend. Moderate throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A-. Might repurchase.

Cleanse Your Soul Hot Cranberry Tea- A wonderful spiced cranberry tea scent. Fairly strong throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

Vintage Chic Scents GG a fruity melon blend; moderate to light throw for about 6 hours. Overall grade: B-. Probably wouldn't repurchase.

Candy Panda Ro's Jam- a perfect Lush dupe. Fresh rose petals and sweet and tart lemon. Fairly strong throw for about 10 hours. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

Candy Panda Fruit Loops- Smells just like Fruit Loops cereal! Sugary and fruity. Strong throw for about 12 hours. Overall grade: A+. Would repurchase.

January 2017 Goals Progress Week 4

Wow, only a few days left in January! This year already seems to be flying by.

I'm happy to report I've stuck to my no buy. I may keep it going in February or I may make a few purchases depending on finances. I plan to order from The Scented Squirrel and Destination Wax first. There are also a few nail polishes I've been eyeing, but I'm not sure what I will get yet. The nice thing about a no buy is it really gives you time to think through future purchases; less impulse buys.

For this week's recipes I have an interesting variety.
Breakfast is a lightened up version of biscuits and gravy. The biscuits which are 
little more than flour and greek yogurt were a bit plain, but a nice fluffy texture, and the gravy was quite flavorful so it was enjoyable overall.

Lunch is homemade pizza puffs with lots of fresh veggies. I love them with red bell peppers, olives and artichoke hearts.

Dinners are a favorite pasta carbonara and a new recipe of baked chicken thighs, sausage and red potatoes.

Dessert/snack is this pumpkin chocolate chip bread. The bread itself is not very sweet; you can really taste the wheat flour but the chocolate chips save it. Nice fluffy texture though.

Have you tried any new recipes recently? Any fun new activities or purchases to share? How are your current goals going?

NOTD: Zoya Bay

This was strangely thin in comparison to most Pixie dusts and flooded my cuticles on the first coat. After 2 it looked gorgeous though so all is forgiven.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Monday, January 23, 2017

Recent Wax Reviews

Satin Suzie Afternoon Tea- chai tea and sugar cookies.
This is my first time trying this brand and I had heard good things. I was excited about the scent; it smelled yummy on cold. When melting it had moderate to light throw for about 7-8 hours. It was a vague spicy and vanilla bakery type scent, not a distinct, strong chai as I had hoped for. It was not as strong or long lasting as I'd hoped for. Overall grade: B. Probably wouldn't repurchase.

CFTKR Tropical Fruits: this is a great fruity blend, definitely heavy on the pineapple. It had strong throw for about 10 hours. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

Kitty's Konfections Victorian Tea Shop- previously reviewed.

Candy Panda Alice In Wonderland- blueberry cake donut and tea & cakes. I'm obsessed with this scent! A super sweet, non-artificial blueberry with the rich, warm bakery tones of tea & cakes.  Strong throw for 12+ hours. Overall grade: A+. Would repurchase.

Beezy Blueberry Pumpkin Patch. This smells exactly like powdered blueberry pancake mix to me. The blueberry is a tad artificial but I like it and it brings back childhood memories. I don't get any pumpkin out of this at all though, and I don't think it's a very accurate dupe of the BBW scent. Strong throw for about 10 hours. Overall grade: B+. Might repurchase.

Rainbow Melts Lemon Fluff Cake. Another first time brand for me and I really enjoyed this scent! It's an ideal sweet lemon cake scent; smells really delicious. Fairly strong throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A-. Would repurchase.

Pocket Full Of Peonies Banana Nut Bread/Butterscotch Cookie Dough. This is a pleasant scent to me. It's kind of an artificial banana, like banana Laffy Taffy and butterscotch pudding will a sprinkling of vanilla cookie crumbs. Moderate to light throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: B. Probably wouldn't repurchase.

Sassy Girl Aroma Lemon Curd Birthday. I love this blend; perfect harmony of tart lemon and creamy vanilla birthday cake. Strong throw for about 10 hours. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

Kitty's Konfections You Go Glen Coco- fruit loops VBN blonde moment. This is a super unique blend to me, I haven't smelled anything quite like it. It smells strongly tangy and fruity to me, kind of like a lime flavored boozy drink. It is tempered just a bit with some sweet creaminess. It's almost overwhelming but is definitely a fun scent with strong throw for about 10 hours. Overall grade: A-. Can't repurchase.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sephora Play Box January 2017

Sephora Play Box is a $10 monthly subscription box that contains 6 deluxe sizes samples. This is my second box and I have enjoyed the items I've received so far. 
This month's box includes:
Tarte Frxxxtion Stick- this product really intrigues me because it's like a facial cleanser in a stick. I look forward trying it.
AmorePacific Color Correction Cusion Compact- I think it's nice that they send multiple samples of this for different skin tones. Not the most exciting product but sometimes it's nice to try a new foundation.
Quai Treatment Masque- I always love a good face mask. I have a ton, so I guess this will add to the collection.
Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask- I find it a little strange that they included two masks in one box, but this one seems really interesting and smells great.
Clinique Almost Lipstick In Black Honey- I have another sample of this product already so I've used it quite a bit. It's a nice moisturizing balm with the slightest hint of color. Nothing super special, but nice.
Tory Burch Love Relentlessly Perfume- this is a nice perfume, very floral with a hint of white musk. Very "perfumey" and feminine. Pleasant but not something I'd reach for often.

For more information and product videos, visit Sephora's website here.
Have you ever tried Sephora Play Box? Any favorite products discovered through Sephora?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

January 2017 Goals Progress: Week 3

I must say, having concrete goals for my day to day life is helping me feel more grounded and motivated.

Three weeks in and still standing strong on my no buy! I even went to a large mall I don't usually frequent and while my hubby was at an Apple seminar I looked around in all my favorite stores. I found they had a Lush that I never realized was there. I would have loved some rose jam scented products but I can't really justify the price. I did have fun conversations with some of the employees and got to sniff some nice products. I also browsed in Bath & Body Works, Sephora and Forever 21 and was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't tempted to buy anything.

My food goals of cutting back on sugar and cooking more are going pretty well. I did have a cheat day where I went out for pizza and ice cream with hubby, but I think indulging every once in a while isn't bad. Have you ever tried Thrifty brand ice cream from Rite Aid? It's my favorite! Lots of decadent flavors; this one is Chocolates Malted Crunch. I'm actually pleased I only got one scoop, in the past I would often get two.

This week's recipes have been quite tasty!
For breakfast I'm doing Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal . I'm proud of the fact it doesn't have added sugar and is just sweet enough to be satisfying. I would definitely recommend this recipe.

For lunch I'm doing a long time favorite salad, Apple Feta Pecan Salad

Dinners are a wonderfully delicious and fresh Spinach and Artichoke Pasta and a not so healthy but favorite craving, Honey Walnut Shrimp.

Dessert is these under 60 calories Angel Food Cupcakes. Mine did not rise very well but they do taste yummy.

Have you tried any new recipes this week? Are you working on any personal goals?

OOTD: Celestial and Iridescent

I got nearly half a dozen compliments on my new Rebecca Minkoff bag in the past few days I've worn it. I really love it; it's such a striking statement piece.
Cardigan: J Crew
Dress: Walmart 
Leggings, umbrella: flea market
Bag: Rebecca Minkoff 
Scarf: wish.com
Earrings: countrymermaids.com

NOTD: Bow Polish Thermal- Mutation

This is 2 coats of Mutation, a teal thermal with a slight scattered holo finish. My first holo; it's kind of fun as a novelty but not the most spectacular polish. It was pretty easy to apply but surprised me that while two coats looked fine when it was dark, it looked patchy when lighter.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Real Talk About Anxiety

This post has been swirling around in my brain for a couple weeks now. Does it mean you have anxiety if the thought of writing a post about anxiety gives you anxiety? Haha. Actually, I don't mind discussing this or other difficult topics; I just worry that my words will fail me and that I will struggle to adequately convey my thoughts and feelings. If you have any interest in reading about or discussing mental health issues, please bear with me.

First of all, I would like to start off by saying that I have never visited a therapist or any other mental health professional, nor have I been officially diagnosed with anxiety or any other condition. Medical decisions should always be made in conjunction with a professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice.

I consider myself fairly well grounded in reality; I'm certainly not a hypochondriac incessantly on Google and Web MD believing I have every disease and disorder I read about. But from the bit of research I have done, I do believe I have feelings and symptoms associated with mild to moderate anxiety and possibly depression. I have spoken with my medical doctor about this during the course of regular checkups and he did prescribe me a low dose of an anti anxiety medication that as he explained it is supposed to increase serotonin levels in the brain. I have taken this for nearly a year now and honestly cannot tell whether it makes any difference or not. I don't cry or feel a sense of panic very often anymore, but I think that has a lot to do with my main coping strategy being avoiding most stressful situations and many responsibilities all together.

To backtrack a bit; before I had any idea what the term anxiety meant, I've always considered myself a worrier since I was a young child. At night my mind would race with thoughts of problems and monsters, both real and imagined, and I used a series of repetitive behaviors to try and calm and soothe myself. I would tell myself that if I lay on my stomach with the covers over my head and hug a stuffed animal, nothing could hurt me. If I couldn't quiet the negative thoughts I would listen to music, sing in my head or count until I finally fell asleep. I went through some interesting phases, one in particular where I was terrified to be alone, even for a second and would often end up going to sleep at the foot of my parents' bed. I was always very sensitive and a people pleaser and always wanted to get the best grades and have both children and adults like me. If I thought someone didn't like me, I would cry and cry about it. I couldn't stand yelling and avoided conflict at all costs. I had a couple close friends both in elementary and high school, but I wouldn't describe myself as a social butterfly or particularly popular; more under the radar. I lived way out in the country and my parents often didn't have the time or money to take me to social events. I didn't have any siblings near my age either, so I spent the majority of my growing up years using my extensive imagination and either playing games outside with my pets, reading, watching the same handful of beloved movies over and over, writing, making jewelry and crocheting, or looking through magazines and catalogs and imagining myself having those fabulous toys and clothes.
I always wondered if anyone else constantly worried about everything and I considered myself a bit odd, perhaps a something of an old soul. I had trouble relating to people my own age. I didn't understand why my peers did some of the things they did. Did people only ever think about themselves and having fun? Didn't they ever feel sad or think about complex issues? But I didn't want to be ostracized so I mostly kept my feelings to myself.
I can't tell you what a sense of kinship and relief I felt in high school when I met the man who would become my husband. He's literally like the male version of me and even though we were young we wanted the same things out of life and connected on the deepest levels emotionally. He is still my very best friend to this day and the only person in the world I feel 100% comfortable sharing anything with.
After we were married many aspects of our life felt quite rosy, but the reality of adulthood and responsibilities were settling in. We both worked and I hated my job; which was the first and only paying job I've ever had. As a very young adult I was searching for work in an extremely depressed economy with no skills and no experience and after several dozen applications I took the only position that was offered to me. It allowed my hubby and I to scrape by in a modest one bedroom appartment, but as the years went by there was no room for growth, no room for dreams, no room for children or self improvement. Both of our jobs were such dead ends and we were so miserable. I was still such a people pleaser and I worked my hardest for minimum wage, often feeling under appreciated and even harassed by my some of my coworkers and bosses. It was a very negative work environment and I felt trapped there because it was paying the rent and despite extensive searching I could never find anything else. I didn't mind the work itself but it certainly wasn't anything I was passionate about and it was very unfulfilling. I can't count the number of times I thought there had to be more to life than this.
 I tell this story because I feel this was the period where full fledged anxiety began to manifest itself. I would go home and cry, almost every day. Several times a week at least. Even if nothing bad had actually happened, I lived with a constant sense of dread; a tightness in my chest and a lump in my throat, like an invisible fist was always pressing against my heart.
Hubby finally decided to make a career move into truck driving and it was decided that I would leave my job and travel with him. I was so excited to be making a change and relieved to be leaving behind a part of my life that I hated, but the relief was short lived.
I ended up quitting my job a few weeks sooner than expected because I was in a car accident and though I wasn't hurt my car needed extensive repairs and I didn't have another way to get to work at that time. Leaving my job was very abrupt and anticlimactic and did not feel nearly as good as I thought it would considering I had to deal with many new added stresses at that time. I was extremely lonely without my husband for two months and I had to deal with handling the insurance, car repairs, my exacerbated anxiety over driving, financial worries because I had left my job early, and on top of it all my grandfather passed away suddenly during that time. I isolated myself a lot and felt sad, occupying my new free time with books and boring TV shows and packing to leave my life behind. Grief and worry were near constant companions. I've never wanted my family or friends to worry about me, or worse, judge me, so I usually tend to present a good front and hold things in, even when I'm not ok.
I was excitedly optimistic when the hubby and I were reunited and we were getting ready to start our new adventure together, but honestly it was short lived. We really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. What we once considered to be a means for my husband to gain more job skills and a chance at a more lucrative career and therefore a better future actually turned into something of a nightmare. The ins and outs of over the road trucking are very complex to explain, but suffice it to say that we had a steep learning curve with many mechanical problems and financial mishaps along the way. There were times when we barely had enough to eat, and couldn't find a safe place to rest or even use the restroom, not for lack of planning on our part because because there is a surprising shortage of basic amenities and accommodations available for truckers in some areas. The most horrific thing was the grueling schedule and the constant pressure to perform. It may not have been my job but I was certainly along for the ride every minute of it and it was my life for two years so I did everything I could to ease the burden and make it easier for him. It became my worry as much as his. A truck driver has a certain number of hours he can legally drive and be on duty during a day which in most our cases nowadays is monitored electronically. That's a good thing in theory, except when you are nearing the end of your legal hours but have no safe place to park and take a break. Despite a driver's best efforts, any number of unforseen circumstances can delay and cause him or her a world of problems. Plus you are only legally required to take a break for 10 hours every 24 hour period, and considering all a driver has to do in that time such as log their daily activities, respond to messages from their bosses, plan their trips, shower, eat, sleep and take care of any other personal needs, that is very little time. You work from load to load, basically point A of pickup to point B of delivery and then start all over again on another load. You may be required to drive at any time of day or night, in any location, in any weather condition; etc. It is a truly disorienting, grueling, and sometimes downright dangerous way of life that wrecks havoc on one's body and mind. I think the hubs and I only got through those two years by relying on each other. There were definitely times he would have driven off in a ditch and crashed from sheer exhaustion if I hadn't been there to keep him awake. There were times each of us might have lost our minds if we weren't there to comfort the other. And though we really enjoy spending time together there were even some times we got really angry with each other and were literally trapped with it for a while. Stress will do crazy things to a person. I had the only full blown panic attack I ever recall having during this time, and let me tell you, it did not feel good. I cried a lot, I yelled some, but mostly I learned more about how to be ok with being alone and how to distract myself from the endless ennui of daily reality. When I wasn't staring out the window at the scenery or taking photos I read a lot, watched Netflix even though it was really expensive on cellular data, wrote a little, did a bit of crocheting and began to retreat into social media and online communities. I talked to family probably weekly, a few select friends every few months, but other than my husband and random strangers, I was alone with my mind. I didn't have a regular routine to rely on and bring me comfort, so I had to find ways to distract myself from worry filled thoughts. I began using Facebook as my primary means of communication and source of news, discovered Instagram, and participated in some forums about interests that I still enjoy today. It got me by I suppose, but I still feel that I've never really faced or dealt with my anxious thoughts and feelings; rather I try to ignore and distract myself from them. But to this day that tightness in my chest and impending sense of dread has never really gone away.
After we had enough of that nomadic lifestyle my husband and I moved back home essentially, and are borrowing a trailer from his family and living on his parent's property. It was a blow to my pride as the type of person who's always wanted to make it on my own and has done so since age 19, but it was only supposed to be temporary. Our family is great; very supportive and helpful, not to mention they had missed us and were relieved to have us back and safe from the perils of constant travel. But nearly three years later and we are still here. I think it's beginning to wear a bit thin on everyone. My husband and I enjoyed the freedom and lack of stress from leaving that period behind us, but despite his new skill set it took him four months to find a job and the significant savings we had managed to build were depleted. I have tried to look for a job on and off in the last few years but to no avail. There are limited employment opportunities for someone with my skill level and many logistical hurdles as well, such as us living far away from any jobs and only having one vehicle. Plus I honestly don't relish the thought of working again at this time in my life. My first job experience was so unpleasant that I struggle to imagine myself being happy in a typical workplace. I spent many of my days alone now, which I'm comfortable with. I actually prefer the solitude at this point. I have family near by if I ever need anything and those couple good friends I do fun things with occasionally. For the most part every day I do some cooking and a bit of household chores. I blog and surf the internet and social media, watch TV, read and whatever else I may be inclined towards. The calmness of my routine and the abundance of "me time" certainly helps keep my anxiety in check, but I can never fully escape the thoughts that I'm now somehow a failure at life and the fears that I'm letting my whole life pass me by, by not engaging in it and doing something purposful and fulfilling with it.
Avoiding responsibility feels like giving up and I can't escape the feeling deep down that I was made for something more than merely existing and I haven't a clue what it is or how to get there.
If you are unemployed it would seem one of the only acceptable devotions of time is motherhood, and while I'm open to the idea of having children, it's always seemed a "someday" sort of aspiration. I've been married nearly nine years and those strong maternal desires have not kicked in yet. We have mainly refrained from being parents for financial reasons, but I do fear putting it off for too long and it becoming impossible due to age or other circumstances. Family is very important to me, but my anxiety messes with my confidence and I fear I would be inadequate as a parent. In all honesty I'm sure I would step up to the challenge and do the best I could if I had to, but if I'm going to be responsible for another human life I'd like to get my own self together a bit more first. So yes, while it may look like I currently lead a pretty stress free life with few obligations, it's surely not enviable. The human mind can be a beautiful landscape of ideas and dreams as surely as it can be a dark quagmire of worry and self doubt. Where do I go from here? I don't really know. But if my brief experience on this earth has taught me anything it's that nothing ever works out exactly as you think it will and nothing stays the same forever. I'm sure something will dislodge me from my current orbit sooner or later; I just hope it isn't some sort of catastrophe that sends me off in a new direction.

I hope I didn't ramble too nonsensically in this post and that you as a reader found something you could connect to. Have you ever struggled with anxiety, another mental or physical issue, or even just a lack of direction and a general sense of dissatisfaction? I am always here if anyone wishes to discuss any issues that are important to them, whether it be privately or publicly in the comments below. 
Once again, I am blown away by the thoughtful responses to my "real talk" series of posts and while I can hardly find the words to respond adequate to the things you all have had to say, I have read them all over and over again and heald them in my heart. I do find this writing process very cathartic so thanks for allowing me this indulgence.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Book Review: Love Without Limits

 In Matthew 5:38–48 Jesus says, “When you love without limits, you are like God.” 

A very inspiring story, well written with great humility. Nick's wife Kanae also interweaves her thoughts into the book which adds great depth. 
Nick starts his journey talking about his hopes and dreams and disappointments in his journey in finding his soul mate. He’d love to have a family. Then he met Kanae, their courtship, preparation for their wedding and their bundle of joy.
I love their sense of humor and how they walk out their faith walk. The authors give tips for keeping it cool before marriage. 
They had planned to travel the world together the first year of marriage. They talked about 2013 Worldwide tour of 20 countries. Nick was excited to have Kanae along for the adventure. But 3 months in this married couple learned they were pregnant and adjustments to their dreams needed to be made.

In the book, Nick and Kanae tell the amazing account of their relationship beginning with their first meeting. Continuing with their courtship, engagement, marriage and early parenthood, they share their delightful tale of how God brought them together. This would be a typical love story except that Nick was born without arms or legs. For understandable reasons, he doubted that he would ever marry. An internationally known speaker and author, Vujicic is open and honest about his disability, his struggle with rejection, loneliness, and the extra challenges. Being of mixed heritage and coming from a broken home, Kanae is also vulnerable as she shares her insights about marriage and motherhood. As a couple, they draw from their personal experiences to help those who are looking for love as well as those who are newly married and want a loving relationship that lasts.
Love Without Limits is told in humorous and heartwarming fashion. There is no doubt that Nick is a gifted communicator who identifies well with those who have physical disabilities and those who have been hurt in relationships. Because of his faith in God, and in spite of the pain and frustration he has experienced, he has made the conscious choice to maintain a positive attitude. His anecdotes about his engagement and his wedding day make the book a fairly quick read. 
One of the greatest strengths of this book is the foundational truth that marriage isn’t about getting your needs met but, rather, about putting your spouse’s needs before your own. Another strong aspect is the detailing of warning signs or patterns of behavior in a prospective spouse. Marriage is hard work even when both parties are pulling in the same direction, but can be devastating if there are pre-nuptial problems that aren’t dealt with properly and surface in unmet expectations. To their credit, the Vujicics reiterate that they are not marital or parental experts, as their marriage is still young. However, most of the advice they impart is valuable.
Told from a Christian perspective, this book is helpful for Christians and non-Christians alike. The Vujicics draw on many biblical principles as they share strategies to maintain strong relationships in the midst of life’s challenges.
Overall I enjoyed this non-fiction work and would receive it to others. I wish I had read something like this when I was a newlywed.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Target Beauty Box January 2017

This month Target had a $5 and a $10 beauty box available. I ordered the $5 box because it actually contained more products that I was interested in.

The $5 box included:

I spritzed a couple sprays of the black vanilla conditioner straight out of the box and it was a nice musky vanilla type scent. I can't wait to try it on my dry ends!
The face wipes are great because I always need more for makeup removing purposes.
I am also excited about the Mane N Tail shampoo and the Palmer's Cocoa Butter lotion as I've heard good things about both.
I could care less about the Vaseline lotion as variations of it seem to show up in nearly every beauty box I get. I normally give them to my hubby but because he is using more natural silicone free products now, he probably won't want them.
I am also interested in the curl cream because I'm always looking for something to tame my frizzy waves, but I also think my husband might like this, so I'm not sure whether to hoard it for myself or pass it on to him.
The only things I'm really wary of trying in this box is the Shea Moisture shampoo and conditioner because they are from the same line as the face mask that gave me a terrible burning reaction on my face. I'm thinking since it would be on my hair and not directly on my skin it should be ok, but that brand has left a bad impression on me overall.
Another toothpaste, yay. Good for travel but I have way too many samples and not enough trips planned; I should probably just start using them daily.

Overall I'm pleased with the contents of this box for $5 shipped and I like the fact that it is not a subscription service. You get to preview the items every month and decide whether you want to buy it, so it's never a surprise/disappointment.

Do you like Target beauty box? Have you purchased one recently? Found any favorite new products in a subscription or samplw box?

NOTD: Floral Nail Art

The This is one of my most favorite nail art manis to date! The Model City Glisten is a great off white with some sparkle and a slight gray tint. It has excellent formula; just the right thickness and only needs 1-3 coats. I love this Model City collection I won in a giveaway last year. A very underrated indie brand imo.
I also adore the OPI Hello Kitty collection and used Charmmy & Sugar.
Nail art colors are WnW Undercover, OPI What's The Double Scoop and OPI My Gecko Does Tricks.
Flower nail jewels are from wish.com

Monday, January 16, 2017

Recent Wax Reviews

Super Tarts Boy Meets World- fruit punch, sugar cookies, buttercream.
A really yummy fruity/bakery blend. Not sickeningly sweet; just the right balance. Fairly strong to moderate throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A-. Might repurchase.

SGA Absolutely Fabulous Latte- a super delicious coffee and warm bakery blend. Strong throw for a good 12 hours. Overall grade: A+. Would repurchase.

Jamianne's Wax In These Sheets- not positive of the notes on this one but to me it smells like an herbal, powdery lavender with a musky cologne. Fairly strong to moderate throw for about 10 hours. Overall grade: A. Might repurchase.

BBW Mahogany Teakwood- a strong woodsy/masculine blend with a touch of musk. Very strong throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

Live Love Wax Co Hansel's Treat- apple cider, vanilla chai tea and gingerbread house. IDK if this tart was old, but I didn't get very strong throw from it. Just a faint spice scent when melting. Some of the tarts I've tried from this brand have been great and others are a miss. The texture on this one was oddly crumbly, similar to that of Yankee tarts, which I also don't care for. Overall grade: C. Would not repurchase.

Glitterati Pumpkin SoufflĂ© Bonfire- I adore  this scent! A rich, warm pumpkin, not overly sweet with notes of woodsmoke. Strong throw for about 10-12 hours. Overall grade: A+. Would repurchase.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

NOTD: F.U.N. Lacquer Blessing

This polish is stunning and it also matches my rosemary bush perfectly. :) Seriously though, it's a super easy one coater and glided on so smoothly. The shift and holo are spectacular!

In other news, I miss the sun. Serious vitamin D withdrawals over here. :(

Saturday, January 14, 2017

January 2017 Goals Progress: Week 2

So how is everyone who made resolutions or goals fairing now that we are halfway through January already?
Things are going fairly well for me so far. I think having specific goals in mind and writing and talking about them helps motivate me. So far I have stuck with my no buy and not purchased any clothes, wax or nail polish. It's not been quite as difficult as I thought; I guess I'm just resigned to it. Fortunately I haven't really stumbled across any products or sales that would tempt me. I am definitely plotting a couple of special orders for February though.

I think my food goals are a bit more complex and I am having legit sugar withdrawals. I was good at the grocery store and didn't purchase any sweets or potato chips, but I found myself thinking about them a lot. One night the sugar cravings were so strong that I swear I think I subliminally influenced my husband! The next morning I randomly found a bag of these Ghiradelli dark chocolates in the fridge and I texted hubby like "Holy cow! Where did these come from?" He told me that he had a random craving for it and bought them, which is really odd for him because he doesn't eat candy much at all. Apparently he ate one piece and left the rest for me. I had literally been thinking about the same time he decided to buy it that I wanted to get a dark coco bar so I could indulge in a square a day since it has more health benefits than most other candy. Such a weird couple's ESP thing I guess, lol! I must admit I was so excited I ate 3 squares the first day but managed to eat just one a day thereafter. You can bet I was savoring them too.

As far as my goals to have a more balanced diet and try new recipes, I started on that this week. I've decided to generally try and make some prep-ahead type recipes and snack on them all week instead of trying to cook single portions for every meal. I will generally be doing 1 breakfast recipe, one lunch recipe, 2 dinner and 1 snack or dessert recipe per week, incorporating both new recipes and old favorites and focusing on reasonably healthy fare.
Here's what I chose this week:
Breakfast is Egg & Veggie Muffins with a side of bacon. 
The muffins were quite tasty overall but I'm going to have to adjust to not having my beloved Eggo waffles every morning. I followed the recipe fairly exact but did add a dash of garlic powder. I think it actually could have used even more seasoning; other than the egg and veggie flavors it was a touch bland. I have seen many different variations on the egg cup recipe so I will definitely be trying others in the future. One thing I learned for sure is do not trust the anti stick muffin pans and cooking spray; you NEED cupcake liners for these if you don't want to spend an hour cleaning the pan. I even left it to soak overnight and it still took a lot of elbow grease. 
That's been the one downside to cooking more; all the dishes!
Anyway, lunch for the week was a recipe I had tried before but apparently forgot I didn't really care for, oops. Chicken Salad With Avocado
The ingredients all sound really good and I do generally like chicken salad sandwiches, but something about the combinations of flavors and textures here doesn't really do it for me. It's not bad, just not delicious either. I used shredded rotisserie chicken because it's a great value for a whole chicken and it's convenient in that it's already cooked and seasoned. I also used pre mashed avocado instead of whole, and I omitted the mayo because it was creamy enough with the avocado and greek yogurt.

For dinners I did Shrimp Chowder, which once again was good but not amazing.

I've found most of this week's recipes to have a profound lack of seasoning which is an odd coincidence. I will obviously have to try a bunch of dishes to find some I really love. I followed this one pretty much to the letter.

The other dinner recipe for this week that I haven't made yet but am really looking forward to is an old favorite: Chicken Lombardy. At least I know I love this one.

Probably the most unusual but tasty new recipe I tried this week was dessert: No Bake Coconut Crack Bars.

I mixed the ingredients by hand since I don't have a food processor, but I like the flaky coconut texture anyway. For the life of me I couldn't find unsweetened flaked coconut anywhere so I ended up using sweetened and omitted the sweetener packets. These bars are pretty good and do help with the sugar cravings. Not sure I'd make them frequently though.

These are my recipe adventures and blunders this week. Have you tried any yummy new recipes recently? How are your goals for 2017 going?