Thursday, February 28, 2013

February Favorites

Here is a list of my favorite things this February.  Most of them are new discoveries, with the exception of Vanderpump Rules, which I have been watching all season.  When I like something I tend to get slightly obsessed with it, and will play a song or watch an episode ad nauseum.  

The first thing on my list is this catchy little tune by Icona Pop.  It has been on repeat on my itunes for a few weeks now.  Like the song says, "I love it."

When it comes to cereal, I am usually a Kashi for breakfast kind of girl .  I am what is referred to as a creature of habit.  Sometimes I try to leave my comfort zone to try something new.  Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch is amazeballs!  We have gone through at least three boxes this month.

I saw a few bloggers raving about this new Maybelline stain gloss, so I picked up a tube when I was at CVS.  I really like it so far.  It applies like a glass and then dries like a stain.  I want to pick up a few more shades this weekend.  

Are you guys watching Vanderpump Rules?  I am completely addicted to this Real Housewives of Beverly Hills spinoff.  Everyone is sleeping with everyone or at least fighting with each other about it.  I am so sad that this season is already over.  

Some Blog Love!

And finally, there is a blog that I love and have recently discovered that I wanted to share with you.  It is called Haute Drop-Off, and it features daily pictures of stylish parents dropping off their children (usually at school).  There is so much inspiration here, and the author travels through different cities, so you get a wide variety of styles and trends.  You can find her on my blog roll, and go directly to her blog by clicking here.  Mara, the author, also writes a column for the Huffngton Post, which is fantastic.  I strongly encourage you to check her out.  I think you will enjoy both her writing and her pictures.  If you do check her out, I would love to hear what you think.

What are your favorite things this February?  Anything listed here that you have been enjoying as well?  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Birchbox Vs. Ipsy (February 2013)

February was a rather unremarkable month in the world of Birchbox and Ipsy.  There were hits and misses in both boxes, and the piece of Ghirardelli chocolate was probably my favorite product of all.  Here is a recp:

Inside My Birchbox:

Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel SQUARES:  I live outside of San Francisco, where Griradelli chocolate is a staple.  This is my favorite flavor.  I love to keep these around my house and  buy bags of these from time to time.  

Miss Jessie's® Original Pillow Soft Curls:  I tried this on one of my wavy hair days.  It was ok, but not remarkable enough to take the place of my staple Ouidad Climate Control Heat and Humidity Gel.  It left my hair a little crunchy and not very bouncy.  

Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator:  This was a nice little exfoliator.  It felt like fine sandpaper on my face, but didn't irritate my sensitive skin.  

LancĂ´me LA BASE PRO:  I loved this product.  I am just getting into primers, and just a little bit of this goes a long way.  I definitely used less of my tinted moisturizer, which applied much more evenly over the primer.  I recommend this product.  

Color Club Nail Polish in Wild Cactus: I am going to admit that I haven't been the biggest fan of Color Club nail polishes in the past.  While I have always loved the colors, they just don't wear well.  I have had this Wild Cactus color on my nails for three days, and so far, no chips.  See picture below for actual color.  It is kind of an emerald green.

Inside My Ipsy Bag:

Red Carpet Ready Glam Bag:  OK Ipsy, I am not impressed.  For a while you were giving us cute bags that we wanted to show our friends.  The past few months have been black and gray and boring.  I am hoping March comes with a much cuter bag.  It is the one thing that differentiates this brand from the others.   

Coastal Scents Shadow Palette Sample:  I really like the Coastal Scents eye shadows.  They are nicely pigmented and come is a great variety of colors.  If I wore more eye shadow, I would purchase this brand.  

Pixi Flawless & Poreless:  I liked the Lancome primer in my Birchbox better than this Pixi version.  It just felt like it worked slightly better (although it does have a much higher price tag).  

POP Smokey Lash Kapow Mascara:  I would describe this mascara as being fine.  It didn't do much to make my lashes stand out and this isn't something I would buy on my own, but I have used worse.  Yawn.  

MicaBeauty Gel Eyeliner:  I don't wear black eye liner.  It is far too harsh on me.  I wish these companies would ask for our color preference before sending.  I will end up gifting this to someone.  

The Lash Card:  I thought this was a great idea.  From time to time, I get mascara on my face and eye lids from over-exuberant application.   This helped me apply a fair amount of mascara to my eyes with no need to clean up after.

Overall, I would give my Birchbox a solid B and my Ipsy bag a C minus this month.  This may be the first month ever that I have ranked Birchbox higher.  It just had more useful products that were relevant to my life.  

Any products here you are interested in trying or have already been enjoying?  Are you ordering from a different box company?

Monday, February 25, 2013

My So Called Instagram Life

My work life has been pretty busy lately.  I am not getting to blog or comment on blogs as much as I would like.  I get frustrated during these times because although I want to, I just can't do everything.  Some weeks I have to choose.  I am still here and I am still reading your blogs (and I appreciate you for still coming here to check out mine).  Here are a few recent highlights from my life.

Sometimes after a long day of work, a snuggle is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Chef Martin Yan came to the campus where I work to do a demo and answer questions.  I even got him to sign a few cookbooks.  It was an unexpected experience (especially because my job has nothing to do with cooking).

A Valentine's surprise for my husband, Star Wars bobble heads.

A Valentine's surprise from my husband.

I found this dainty little love necklace at Forever 21 for $1.80.

I am in heaven when all three pups are in a dog pile.  

Some sage advice from my Life's Little Instruction calendar.

A belated birthday card from a dear friend who knows how I love anything Middleton (and happens to live in England).  I might need to hang this on my corkboard for a while.

New spring scents from Bath and Body Works; a little bit fruity and a little bit floral.  

Sweet Petunia snuggling on my lap and under my arm. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Katy's Kreek

My husband and I recently met up with some friends for weekend brunch, and I got to pick the restaurant.  I had heard a lot about Katy's Kreek, and decided we should try it out.  It has won a few "Best of the Bay" awards, which caught my attention.  These days, I am not so much game to try out new places without reading reviews first.  I love this age of social media and technology.

The restaurant is tucked away on a side street in the downtown shopping area of Walnut Creek.  Street parking was limited, but there are plenty of public garages around, which made parking easy.  When we arrived the place was packed, but our 20 minute wait seemed to fly by. It is a great location to do a little people watching.

The menu had a great variety of items to choose from, so I had some big decisions to make.  Of course, it all started with my beverage.  For me, one of the marks of a truly great breakfast place is fresh squeezed orange juice.  This was excellent.

I finally settled on the Nova Scotia Benedict, which had smoked salmon and spinach in it.  I had never tried any kind of benedict before, and I am not sure I would try it again.  I don't think I am a huge fan of Hollandaise sauce.  However, the salmon, spinach, and home fries were all delicious separately.  

Everyone else seemed to enjoy their meals.  I had a few bites of my husband's omelette, and it was really good.  I should have taken pictures, but sometimes I don't want to be the weird girl that makes everyone wait a minute so I can photograph their food (and sometimes I don't mind at all).  

Overall, I can't wait to go back.  Next time, I want to try the blintzes (which are a breakfast favorite of mine).  If you are in the Bay Area, this place is definitely worth trying.

Are you a big Eggs Benedict fan?  What is your ideal calorie-splurge breakfast?

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Carrie Diaries

If I am being very honest, I started this book about a year and a half ago.  I was a huge Sex and the City fan, and thought the idea of a book about Carrie Bradshaw's high school years was interesting.  I listened to about 15 minutes of the book, got bored, and gave up.  Recently, I saw that they had made this book into a tv series.  Thinking I would want to watch, I decided to give the book another shot.  The second time was a charm.

buy it at amazon
The Carrie Diaries takes a look at Carrie Bradshaw's senior year of high school.  It follows her core group of friends through the ups and downs of growing up and finding themselves.  It also explains how Carrie ends up in New York City and meets Samantha Jones.  If you are a die hard fan of the Sex and the City tv series, you will be notice that some of Carrie's backstory differs here.  If you can't put that aside, you will not enjoy the story here, which would be a shame because it is a fun ride.

Overall, I would give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.  It was an entertaining read, and I really liked the characters here. I wanted to hang out with them myself.  There is also a sequel to this book, which I hope to read soon.

Next up, Mommywood and Unchartered TerriTORI, both by Tori Spelling.  I am a bit obsessed with all things Tori lately, and am really loving these autobiographical books.  I will be back with reviews soon.

Are you a Sex and the City fan?  Have you been watching The Carrie Diaries on tv?  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Separated at Birth?

I have been stalking these Valentino flip flops for a little while now.  I adore the style, think they are gorgeous, and know that I would wear them a lot (I am a total flip flop girl).  However, at this point in my life I can't seem to justify the price for a pair of flip flops.  

Valentino Rockstud Flip Flop  $295

I got an email from Steve Madden the other day with their new arrivals.  Low and behold, I found pretty good dupe at a price point I felt better about.  I am off to Steve Madden to check them out as soon as I stop swooning.  
Steve Madden Jifffy   $39.95 

Monday, February 11, 2013

My So-Called Instagram Life

I am having a small love affair with all things Tori Spelling.  I will have a review of two of her books coming up soon, and I recently ordered a third,  CelebraTORI,  through amazon.  It is full of recipes and party planning ideas, along with anecdotes from her life.  She has some great ideas, plus I find her very relatable.

Petunia begging Meatball to just play with her already.

Hanging out with my niece Nola.

I adore the scent of this Yankee Candle Coconut Bay air freshener.  I feel like I am driving around with a coconut cream pie in my car.

Sweet Meatball, laying on his best buddy, Ham.

Camellias from my garden.  It seemed to be a shame not to bring them inside to brighten up my table.

Rainbow cookies, my favorite cookie of all time.  

What have you been up to lately?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Happier at Home: 21 Day Relationship Challenge (Days 9-15)

Here is a recap of days 9 through 15 of the 21 Day Relationship Challenge.  See here and here for previous weeks.  I know some of you are also doing this challenge (and even if you are not) I would love to hear your thoughts on the latest resolutions.  Some are definitely easier to follow than others.

Day 9-  Plan a Nice Little Surprise:  This resolution was pretty open to interpretation.  It encouraged me to do something unexpected.  Since after work chores seem to be a least favorite activity in our house, I did some that my husband usually does.  He was very appreciative, and made me want to continue to do this in the future.  I also picked up some silly little surprises for him for Valentine's Day, which I know he will appreciate, but would never be expecting.  

Day 10-  Follow a Threshold Ritual:  This resolution asked me to reflect upon my home and the love and warmth that surround it every time I enter or exit the front door.  With three pups waiting to greet me every time I come home and watching me go when I leave for work every morning, it is hard to forget just how much I am missed.  

Day 11-  Quit Nagging:  Yeah, this one was probably one of husband's favorites (but doesn't exactly get him off the hook).  I am still allowed to ask my husband to do things, but presentation and framing are everything.  Instead of hearing a nagging voice, this resolution suggested that I leave a note or shoot husband an email.  It also reminded me to not insist things be done on my schedule.  It also suggested that chores should be handed out based on personal priorities, meaning that I should do the things that I feel are most important and vice versa.  

Day 12- Don't Keep Score:  This resolution is so basic, but often so hard to follow.  It means no tit for tat.  Sometimes husband and I fall into this pattern (Does, "I took out the trash the last three times," sound familiar?).  This is a great reminder to keep things balanced and act from a place of love.

Day 13- Ask for a Favor:  Don't be afraid to ask for help.  Letting other people in generates good feelings and is a sign of intimacy and trust.  I am not one to be shy about asking my husband for advice or for assistance,  so this one was easy peasy lemon squeazy.

Day 14- Get Enough Sleep:  I don't.  This has been on my own happiness project resolutions before and will undoubtedly pop up again.  Maybe the real issue here is that I need the days to be longer.  

Day 15- Consider Some Hard Facts About Shared Work:  This resolution states that I shouldn't feel resentful when I don't perceive my partner as doing his share of the work. The facts state that the work that others do sounds easy.  The tasks that you do on a regular basis become expected and likely to be noticed only when you don't do them.  I you think a task is important, you are more likely to end up doing it yourself.  I should consider these things when thinking about how our household chores are divided.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Love and Envelopes Birthday Girl Club

When I was in fourth grade, our class was assigned Japanese pen pals.  We all wrote letters talking about our lives as nine year olds in America and sent them off across the ocean.  Some of the girls in my class got responses back.  I was not one of them, much to my disappointment.  Even back then, I liked the idea of reaching out to a total stranger to say hello.  I have also always enjoyed receiving mail. Two important qualities for his card exchange.

 There is something about opening an envelope that doesn't contain a bill that makes birthdays a little bit special (are ya with me?).  I joined the Love and Envelopes Birthday Girl Club two years ago, and it has been a fun experience.  Every month, I get to "meet" a new blogger by sending her a birthday card.  In return, bloggers send you cards on your birthday.  I have been giddy about going to the mailbox all week.  If you are interested in joining the next cycle, please contact April over here.

When my birthday rolled around this year, I got some lovely (and often funny) cards.  I would like to extend a thank you to the following bloggers for their sweet notes:

Niki from My Life, My Way

Pamela from Troop Petrie

Becky at GrandmaBeckyL

Have I convinced you to join?  Are you already a member? It really is a fun time!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

On Turning 37

I had a fantastic birthday.  Thank you for all of the well wishes. I can't believe I am 37 years old already.  Time really flies when you are having fun.  Here is a little recap of my day.

Husband and I have a tradition of birthday flowers and blood orange mimosas first thing on my birthday   Husband juices the blood oranges and everything.  I feel quite spoiled.

He also made me a decadent breakfast that consisted of bacon and cinnamon bread French toast with a berry compote.  It was ah-mazing.

We went to go see Warm Bodies, which we really liked.  Original story and an overall cute movie.  I am not going to lie.  I was really there for the popcorn.

Note:  When did movies get so expensive?  When I was in high school they were like $3.75 with a student discount.  Can students even afford to go to the moves these days?

He took me to dinner  at a local steakhouse which had great food. 

And really good passion fruit martinis.  I am a total cocktail girl.  No, this birthday was not low calorie by any stretch of the imagination.

A little birthday cake to wrap up the day.  Could you say no to this?  

In case you are wondering, here are a few birthday present highlights.  I am really into my jewelry and got this ultra-sonic jewelry cleaner, which I immediately put to use, cleaning everything I owned.  So far, I am really impressed with it.  I wonder if it will replace my silver polishing cloths in the long run.  Does anyone have any experience with these?  

I have been dying to try the new Naked nail polish set out.  Each color looks more perfect than the last.

Husband took me on a little detour to Tiffany's, where I received this beautiful charm bracelet (on the far left).  Husband got me my first charm as an early Valentine's Day present.  It is so beautiful, I almost can't stand it.  Almost.

I also got new charms for my Pandora bracelet, which is coming together nicely.  Does anyone else have a charm bracelet?  I was thinking of doing a post on my Pandora bracelet.  Is this something you would be interested in?  

I am pretty sure I passed out in a food coma that night.  Calories don't count on your birthday, right?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Today Is My Birthday

So I leave you with this picture of Petunia.  Really cute, right?  Yesterday she peed on a baby shower invitation I had not yet responded to.  I think it was more a reflection of her feelings about any future children I may have than my girlfriend's brewing baby.  She can be very opinionated.  She also peed on the receipt of something I was going to return. Petunia decided we were going to keep it.  I need a fun night out.  Be back soon!

I'm Erin

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Hi, I'm Erin. I am living back on the east coast after 15 years out west. Currently readjusting to humidity and mosquitos. I love to take pictures and read fashion magazines.... and to talk about nothing in particular (ok, and my dogs).

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