Monday, January 27, 2014

The Sea And Me

I was looking through my Instagram pictures, and realized that a lot of my life lately has centered around the sea.  My husband and I have had fish tanks off and on for a good part of the last ten years.  We recently decided to start one again, and made it a betta-crab-flounder tank.  This has meant lots of trips to one of my favorite places, the fish store.

This is one of my two red-clawed crabs.  I posted her picture on Instagram, and many of you noticed that she had what looks like the outline of a jack-o-lantern on her back.  So we named her Jack.  Thanks for the suggestion.

One of my favorite tanks to visit at the local fish store holds the sea horses.  This one was just about the eat the brine shrimp right above his mouth.

The snowflake eel is also one of my favorite tanks to visit.  Doesn't this guy looks friendly?  
One day I would like to try a marine (salt-water) tank.

We also had some family in town, and have been spending time outside, enjoying the unseasonably warm January (70 degrees last weekend).  I was pretty taken with these sailboats in our local marina. 

I don't think I had ever seen the Bay so calm before.  

This sweet pup kept diving into the really cold water after a ball.  


The city looked just like a painting from across the bay.

And we watched as AT-AT's  invaded the Port of Oakland. #starwars

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Visiting A Working Sheepdog Farm

I haven't blogged about our trip to Europe in a while, and I still have so many more pictures to share.  While we were in the Scottish Highlands, we visited the Leault Working Sheepdog Farm.  Watching the border collies herd the sheep was a once in a lifetime kind of experience.  So was bottle-feeding a lamb.  You have probably already guessed that I am quite the animal lover, so you can imagine the kind of heaven this was for me.  Here are some of the highlights.

This puppy was sleeping in a bed of freshly shorn wool.  

Watching the dogs work.

I am completely in my element.



Monday, January 6, 2014

On Resolutions for 2014...

I am going to admit a cold, hard fact.  I am not a great yearly resolution maker.  I find the process a bit daunting, and my list ends up looking something like this.

 The problem isn't that I fear commitment.  I love setting goals and having something to work toward.  However, saying I am going to spend an entire year sticking to a plan I made during a brief state of euphoria brought on by a two week vacation from work (and all of the stresses that come with daily life) never seems to work for me.  

Then I stumbled upon this fill in the blank list on Lauren Conrad's blog (and a similar version on Elle Sees), and really liked the prompts.  It got me thinking about what I would like to be different in 2014.   So here I am, giving this yearly resolutions thing a shot.

Dipping my toe into the water...

1) Bad habit I am going to break:  Sleeping in too late/staying up too late on weekends.  

2) A destination I would like to visit:  We haven't visited Lake Tahoe in a few years, and I would love to go back.  

3)  I'm going to work harder at:  remaining calm 

4) A project I'd like to finish: my album from our summer trip to Europe.  I am currently on page 128 (and I started working on this in September).  

5) A class I'd like to take:  Either photography or Photoshop

6)  I'd like to spend more time doing:  activities outdoors

7)  A food I want to eat more of:  My own baking.  I used to have a passion for it, but I kind of lost it somewhere.  

8)  I want to wear more:  skirts and dresses.  I say this every year, but I never do.  Maybe this will be the year.

Do you make resolutions?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

POPSUGAR Must Have Box: December 13

In November, I received my first POPSUGAR Must Have Box.  I loved it.  I got to try out some really fun products that I wouldn't have been exposed to otherwise.  So I was really excited about receiving my second box in December.  Unfortunately, this time I wasn't as impressed.  Here is what I received.

First, there was the food.  There were two bags of Ghiradelli Squares chocolate, which I do like, but they weren't anything new or exciting.  I prefer savory popcorn, so I gave the CC Made Caramel Corn to my husband.  He said it was pretty good.

The next two items were beauty related.  The NCLA Peppermint Lane Nail Wraps were a little loud for my taste.  I will either end up using them for an accent nail or giving them to a friend.  However, I do really like the Modelco Fibre Lashxtend Black Mascara.  It applied smoothly without leaving clumps, and added some volume.  The bottle also has a built in mirror along one of the sides, which I thought was a nice touch.  

 I liked the Minxt Holiday Gifting Set in theory.  

The paper design was cute, and made out of recycled newsprint, so kind of eco friendly.  However, when I used it to wrap gifts, it tore very easily.  Maybe I am just a rough wrapper, but I found this to be pretty disappointing.

I couldn't find a use for these Govino Go Anywhere Flutes.  They are shatterproof and have an ergonomic design so they are comfortable to hold, but I was happy with the champagne flutes I already owned.  I ended up gifting them to my sister-in-law, who has a curious two year old and playful bulldog (read: glass is a bad idea), and loves to entertain.  

The one piece I really did love in the box was this bracelet by Lulu Frost.  I adore the contrast of the gold chain with the sparkly silver charm.  It reminded me of a snowflake and retails for $110.  

For me, this was not a good month for the POPSUGAR box.  Although the value of the products (about $180) was great for the $40 price tag, I need to know there are going to be more things I can use in the future.   I am going to give it another shot in January and see how I feel.   If you are interested in trying out out for yourself, here is my referral link.  Also use code REFER5 to receive $5 off of your first box.

*This is not a sponsored post.  The opinions here are my own.  However, if you buy a subscription through my referral link, I may receive credit towards future boxes.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Favorites of 2013

Happy 2014 everyone!  I thought I would kick off the new year with a review of some of the products that I absolutely loved in 2013.  

Favorite Beauty Product: Beauty Blender Sponge- For the first time in my life, I have gotten into wearing foundation.  While I started wearing it with the best of intentions (to cover my rosacea, which has gotten more severe as I have gotten older), my husband started noticing that I was applying it with a heavy hand.  So after reading many reviews, I decided to give this a try, and it has made a world of difference to me.  My application is now much smoother, and I am using less product. Win!

Favorite Nail Polish:  Formula X for Sephora- This is Sephora's new line of nail polishes (I think it replaces the Sephora for OPI collection).  I first discovered it when I was shopping the VIB sale in November, and I loved the range of colors.  I ultimately decided on Light My Fire (shown below) for my first color pick, and I was not disappointed.  The formula applies evenly and has great staying power.

Favorite Hair Product:  The Wet Brush- This is the most delicate, yet effective detangling brush I have tried.  I run it through my hair immediately upon finishing my shower, and it does a great job without pulling out my hair.

Favorite Fashion Item:  The Longchamp LePliage Large Tote- I purchased this bag before my trip to Europe this summer, and I haven't stopped using it since.  It is fantastically roomy, and great not only for traveling, but for the everyday things you need to tote around with you.  It folds up into a tiny square when you need to store it.  Plus, it comes in a beautiful array of colors (mine is in Bilberry, pictured below).

Favorite Jewelry Piece:  Pandora Bracelet- I am definitely a sentimental kind of gal, which for me means that I love charm bracelets.  I enjoy collecting charms that mean something to me, representing places I have been or experiences I have had, or even my three dogs.  I got my first Pandora bracelet for Christmas in 2012, and have been adding to it throughout the year.  Just looking at each charm brings me back to cherished times in my life.

Favorite Shopping Website: Groop Delaz- I spend way too much time on this site.  It all started with the well-priced statement necklaces and then the deals from some of my favorite Etsy stores. There is a great variety from jewelry to homegoods represented here, and the price points will help you fall in love quickly.  If you haven't checked out the site before, here is an invite link.  It is worth checking out.  New deals go up at 11pm PST every night.

Favorite Music: Lorde- When I like music, I have a tendency to listen to it non-stop, until my husband gently suggests that maybe we should turn off iTunes and listed to something on the radio. This has been going on with Lorde since August.  I love her entire album, and have a hard time even picking a favorite song.  So here is her album sampler so you can listen to them all.

Favorite Phone App:  Shazam- Hold your phone up to any song, commercial, tv show, etc while using this app, and it will immediately identify it for you.  I don't understand how this magic app works, but it is definitely my most used.

Favorite Book:  The Fault in our Stars- I did a review on this earlier in the year, which I will link here. It was definitely the best book I have read in a long time.  Also one of the most quotable and beautifully haunting (meaning I can't stop thinking about it).  It is being made into a movie in 2014 (but read it before you see it).

Favorite TV Show:  Sons of Anarchy and The Walking Dead- I couldn't pick just one show here, so these are my two current favorites.  The first is about a motorcycle club in Northern California, and the second is about the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse.  The writing in each of these is flawless, and is full of little twists and turns that you never see coming.  Both of these programs are worthy of binge watching.

Favorite Can't Live Without Item:  Smart Charger- I found this at the Container Store, took it on vacation with me, and have used it on a regular basis ever since.  It is essentially an extra battery that you plug directly into your iPhone and automatically extends your charge.  It comes with a little velvet bag for toting it around, and will stay charged for a long time in-between uses.
That was a round up of my top eleven favorite items from 2013.  Let me know if you are a fan of any of these things. What are your most-loved product discoveries from the last year?

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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