Sunday, February 22, 2015

February Birchbox Review: Rent the Runway Collaboration

This was the first month for me to get one of the specially-curated boxes that Birchbox offers. If you're new to Birchbox, every month subscribers have the option of receiving the regular subscription with products chosen based on your profile or the curated box which includes items from the brand they've teamed up with for the month. 

For February, Birchbox joined with Rent the Runway to give an "all about the details" box and it was filled with some fantastic products. 

derma e Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Scrub | Full-size, $12.95 

I'm a fan of derma e products, especially their night cream. This product works fantastically, makes my skin feel baby soft. The only slight drawback is the clinical smell, which is to be expected due to its ingredients. Fortunately, the scent isn't lingering and the results are worth it. I got the formula for normal to oily skin and I have dry to normal skin. Thought it'd affect my skin and have it flake, but it worked well. 

Fekkai Blowout Hair Refresher Dry Shampoo | Full-size, $10-$20

Gives you salon-fresh hair. I've been using dry shampoo more when my hair needs a pick-me-up. I haven't yet to use it post-workout when my hair is exceptionally sweaty, but the product works well on my roots. 

Net Soap, Radio Body Wash - The Stuff that Cupid dips his arrows in | Full-size, $16

Love, love, love the packaging. The smell, not so much. The product lathers well, but the blackberry/vanilla scent is too overwhelming for me (guess I don't enjoy those pheromone inducers!). However, I am one of the few who do not like the smell of Victoria's Secret bath products and this scent is similar to those. 

Sumita Color Contract Eyeliner| Full-size, $11-$21

The blue/teal color is remarkable. Not a color I'd use everyday, but it's a little bit rock 'n roll for a fun makeup look. It has great pigment and glides on easily. I'm happy that Birchbox sent me something I normally wouldn't pick for myself, but will definitely use. 

theBalm Read My Lips | Full-size, $15

The product was a mismatch for me. Anything bubblegum pink does not work well for my skin tone. It makes it look like I have frosted makeup. The texture was stickier rather than shiny. Not a fan. 

Overall, another beauty-ful box. There will always be a few misses among all the hits, and I love my first curated box experience. 

If you have yet to sign up for Birchbox and want to get beauty products delivered to your mailbox every month, then you can use my referral link by clicking HERE

Monday, February 2, 2015

Monday Musings: Settling into 2015

Let's get real for a minute. You know how at the first of the year, your mind is brimming with all these great intentions for the new year and you get off to a running start and think, this year is going to be the BEST year? Well, I still think that, but already, I have slipped behind on some of my goals. 

Case in point, this blog. I was proud of keeping up my blogging on a daily basis, planning out a content calendar a week in advance, but then life stepped in and I was sidetracked by other things, i.e. writing for other people. So goes the work/life balance when your life is writing...but, so is your work. 

No complaints, of course. I just think January threw everything up in the air and I had to wait to see how it was going to land. A lot of things started falling into place rather quickly (after what seemed like a long time of waiting!), which left with me little time to blog for pleasure. I feel now for the start of February, the dust has settled a little and I can start a new routine. A new routine that is more balanced and more to my liking! 

One of the big things with starting a new year is getting rid of things that no longer serve you and for better or worse, that's exactly what I got to do last month. Most of the time we hang onto things because we feel like we have something left to prove either to ourselves or others, but once we just let go, it's freeing. It opens up the door for more opportunities, better opportunities.

I also STILL have not finished my book that I made such good progress on during November and December, but though stalled, I still plan to finish. Why is it so tough to just get to the end?!

January is that time to take all the excitement and zero in on what you want to achieve, but February is realizing that those goals may change or may be less important than what you initially had wanted. 

I continue to write creatively as much as I possibly can. I am still focused on doing one thing each month outside my comfort zone. In January, I learned how to samba. While most of the time, I felt like a newborn horse stumbling around, I had fun and stopped taking myself so seriously, which was the point. And, I added more walking into my life, which is so good for the soul. 

How have your goals shaped up for the first month of 2015? Have they taken a new direction? Mine have, but I'm embracing just going with the flow.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

50/50 Challenge: Books and Movies Update
Well...I've already fallen off the movie documenting wagon. This year, I was going to review every movie I saw, whether new or not, but this quickly has come to a halt. Maybe I was overreaching for this goal? 

Since my last challenge update, I've seen nine new movies, four of which I reviewed on They are as follows:

#6 - American Sniper
#7 - Blackhat
#8 - The Wedding Ringer
#9 - The Equalizer
#10 - Gliz Zii (The Uncles)

#11 - Trespass
#12 - The Boy Next Door
#13 - The Negotiator
#14 - The Life of David Gale

"The Life of David Gale" is a movie I've been wanting to see for a long time, but never took the time to just watch it. After finally checking this out from the library, I got to enjoy another deadpan Kevin Spacey performance. I was able to figure out the twist beforehand, which I credit to my TV watching of shows like Scandal, Stalker, and Scorpion. Oh hey, alliteration.

If you haven't seen "American Sniper," I highly recommend it due to Bradley Cooper's phenomenal performance. I read his Vanity Fair interview, which said that he stayed in character throughout the duration of filming and packed on something like 20 or 30 pounds of muscle. Can't say that I wouldn't be happy if he took home the Oscar.

If you're wanting a laugh, see anything with Kevin Hart. "The Wedding Ringer" isn't highly original, but it's a fun, feel-good time. If you want to cry from wasting your money, see "Blackhat" because that was one of the worst movies I've seen in some time. I think the one before that was "Godzilla."

On to books! The last two I've read are:

#5 - Lean In - Sheryl Sandberg
#6 - Eating Wildly: Foraging for Love, Life and the Perfect Meal - Ava Chin

The first one was the focal point of a good discussion at book club. I, not a true fan of the book, was fascinated by others' point of view. My big hangup with books like this is that it seems to have an "all or nothing" attitude surrounding it, which makes it a little tough to want to "lean in" all the way. Listening to others who truly enjoyed the book, it helped me not look at it with such a critical eye. Regardless of viewpoint, I think it's an important topic of discussion.

Ava Chin's book is different from anything I've read before. She discusses her life foraging for roots and vegetables in New York City. I love any stories that talk about Manhattan, as I consider that city my first true love, and her unique adventures there are an interesting perspective to a different type of cooking. The book interweaves stories of her family, whom she is close with, and also her romantic relationships, too.

I'm currently reading It Was Me All Along, a memoir by Andie Mitchell, which I'm enjoying so far. I got this one for free from Blogging for Books. If you like free books, sign up with the site. They send you one free book for each review you leave. It's pretty easy and the books are sent out quickly. This is the fourth book I've received from them since signing up. They have new selections all the time.

So, I'm off to a good start for the first month of the 2015 challenge. Let's see if I can keep that momentum. Any book or movie suggestions, send my way!