Archive for the ‘talk’ Category

I’m a BzzAgent. This is the disclaimer I must give before providing you with my review… part of being a BzzAgent is receiving awesome opportunities to try new products free of charge, and give my honest opinion. The last Bzz Campaign I participated in was for Burt’s Bees all-natural facial cleanser and moisturizer for sensitive skin, and I gave my honest opinion that it was garbage (seriously, it was garbage. Stick with their chapstick, skip the rest). This time, I received a free 4lb bag of Science Diet Ideal Balance dog food – I was able to choose a large-breed puppy formula to best fit my dog’s needs.

Let me first point out that dogs are not the pickiest of eaters, so I had my doubts that I’d be able to distinguish any difference in preference between her regular food and this one. Surprisingly, there was! The smaller morsels made it easier for her to eat and within a week, I could tell that her coat was shinier. Since we first adopted her I’ve been concerned by the preservatives and disgusting corn meal found in many dog foods, so I was relieved at the quality of the food. To be honest if it hadn’t been all-natural, I wouldn’t have fed it to her. For more details on the ingredients, visit http://www.petmd.com/mybowl. Then, click on over here and look at the lower right-hand corner to get a rebate for a free bag (or maybe this PDF link will take you directly to the rebate without creating an account!).

Overall, I can honestly say that I am very pleased. 4lbs didn’t last long with our now-80-something-lb German Shepherd, but I can tell you that we’ll be opting for the larger bag next time. 🙂 Check it out and tell me what you think!

 

Meet my spiders!

Posted: December 7, 2011 in beauty, talk
Tags: ,

My sister has an amazingly talented friend (well I’m sure she has several, but we will concentrate on just the one right now), who makes darling beaded spiders! My sister got two for me… be prepared to die of adorb. The first two photos are the same spidey; he’s my fave.

 

With the end-of-year insanity at a full rolling boil, my precious blog has unfortunately gone the way of the Christmas spirit: a.k.a, completely overshadowed by the presents, maniacal shopping, and 2012 preparations/false commitments. Fortunately, the behind-the-scenes goings-on have continued: Sephora boxes arrive on my doorstep weekly, eager to fulfill their role by earning a place in my heart and a recurring designation as a beauty necessity. Just as fortunately, I don’t only shop for myself; my kiddo is blessedly opposite from me (Pisces and Virgo… oh lord) in nearly every way possible (except the smile – that’s all me!) and it’s opened my eyes (and my wallet) to a variety of products. On one head you have my hair (naturally straight, fine strands but a multitude of them, blonde, color-treated, prone to split ends, very long) and then on the other head is my small person (extremely curly, silky texture but prone to dryness and frizziness) and then in the middle is an entire world wide web of solutions.

What I’d also ask my kind readers to keep in mind is that although many of my notes tend to wax superficial, the everyday-mundane can be overwhelming when chronicled in Times New Roman (or horrifying, when in Comic Sans *shudder*). Therefore, in an attempt to avoid a) only talking about beauty products, b) espousing the rad-beyond-rad, possibly-tied-for-best-trip-ever trip to London I just took, and c) continuing to ramble, I will tell you not only about all the decadence that’s newly littering my vanity but a delicious, sit-your-ass-down-and-read-me book which has engulfed me (and weighed down my handbag).

Well, I think I reneged on point c already… but 2/3 ain’t bad, as they say. Let’s begin, shall we? And last things first.

The delicious, sit-your-ass-down-and-read-me book is: 11/22/63, the engulfing new novel from my idol, Stephen King. Whenever I’m lost inside his newest world, I’m reminded of the secret underwater pull of the written word, a glazed-over Bluety riptide that waits for you about three pages in… and this book is no exception. What IF one could go back and prevent Kennedy from being assassinated? How would world events have been altered? Would MLK have been assassinated? Would Vietnam have followed the same course? Would RFK have run for the Democratic endorsement in ’68? Would he have been assassinated as well? Unlikely, but unknown. If there’s anyone fit to tell the story it’s King, and I am his devoted Constant Reader and disciple of words. Eh, I’m giving myself too much credit… but hey, everyone starts somewhere.

Nextly, we venture back onto the Polaroid Express with a serum sure to give you the kind of hair you BEG to have photographed. My newest friend and morning routine staple is Couture Colour Pequi Oil hair treatment serum. I couldn’t tell you with 100% certainty that I am more in love with this than I am with Josie Maran Argan Oil, but they are pretty much on the same level. The smell of JM is better, but I like that the CC promises to protect my golden locks. Truthfully, I wouldn’t leave the house without one or the other on my hair! It smooths, adds incredible shine, increases moisture retention, strengthens, and just all-around guarantees a good hair day (even if all you do is blow-dry and go — which I frequently do. I consider it a fringe benefit of being blonde… most people consider “blonde” a style of its own. I can’t disagree). It does not contain alcohol, parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes, phthalates, GMOs, or triclosan, and it is not tested on animals.  Cost: $32 for 2 oz or $12 for .5 oz.

Next, the quartet that harmonized my child’s seriously curly locks. Ouidad clamped on like so many tentacles, encircling each hair from root to tip and lovingly encasing it in supple, silky protection. The shampoo and conditioner are full sized (Ouidad Curl Quencher moisturizing shampoo: $15 for 8.5oz; Ouidad Krly Kids 2-in-1 Conditioner: $14 for 8.5 oz), and the products are travel-sized (Moisture Lock Leave-in Conditioner: $9 for 2.5 oz; Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel: $9 for 2.5 oz). Combined with the new silky overnight cap I bought to preserve twisties, fishtail braids, and etc, these products ensure that kid hair is one less thing I have to worry about in the morning.

So hey. There we go, three sections as promised. Guide me with your comments and suggestions. 🙂

And since I owe y’all a few posts, I definitely want to take a moment to share a new website I’ve begun using. It’s manilla.com and if anything ever deserved to be called an easy button, this is IT. Eff logging into a million different accounts each month to pay bills and wondering if you forgot one, or if there’s anything due. Manilla.com connects to your accounts (mine is connected to the gas company, DirecTV, AT&T, cell phone, Netflix, my car loan, my auto insurance, even Groupon! I use a small electric provider so they weren’t available, but there are close to 3000 merchants connected and chances are you will find yours) and all accounts and current balances are shown on ONE PAGE in a user-friendly, simple, clean layout. Apps also available for iPhone and in the Android Market. Check it out; I hope you love it as much as I do!

Lemon-Basil Pasta
ingredients
10 oz. dried linguine or desired past
1 19-oz. can white kidney (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 of a lemon
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

directions

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding beans for the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Remove 1/2 cup of the cooking liquids; set aside. Drain pasta and beans; cover to keep warm. Meanwhile, finely shred peel from the lemon half (about 2 teaspoons). In a small skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add lemon peel; cook and stir 1 minute, or until lightly golden. In a food processor combine cooked lemon peel, basil, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the juice from the lemon half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and process until smooth. Add reserved cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency, processing mixture after every addition. To serve, toss hot cooked pasta mixture with lemon-basil mixture. Makes 4 servings.

Lemon Caper Tuna and Noodles with Alfredo
ingredients
12 oz. extra-wide egg noodles
1 lemon
1 15-oz. jar light garlic Alfredo sauce or 1 10-oz. container refrigerated light Alfredo pasta sauce
1 Tbsp. capers, drained
1 12-oz. can solid white albacore tuna, drained
Cracked black pepper, and/or chives (optional)

directions

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. Cover and keep warm. Finely shred lemon peel and squeeze juice from lemon; set aside. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan combine Alfredo sauce, lemon juice and capers. Heat through. Add tuna and noodles to sauce; stir gently to combine. Return to heat just until heated through. Top with lemon peel, black pepper, and chives. Serves 4.

Chicken and Pasta in Peanut Sauce
inggredients
8 oz. thin spaghetti
1 bunch broccolini, cut in 2-inch lengths
1 medium red sweet pepper, cut in bite-size strips
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Salt and ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup bottled peanut sauce
Crushed red pepper (optional)

directions

In Dutch oven cook pasta according to package directions, adding broccolini and sweet pepper during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain. Return to Dutch oven and set aside. Meanwhile, halve chicken breasts horizontally. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In extra large skillet cook chicken in hot oil over medium-high heat for 2 minutes each side, or until no longer pink (170 degrees F). Transfer to cutting board. Slice chicken; add to pasta and vegetables. Heat through. Add peanut sauce. Pass crushed red pepper. Makes 4 servings.

Apple-Sausage Rigatoni
ingredients
6 oz. dried rigatoni (about 2 cups)
8 oz. cooked smoked sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
1-1/2 lb. Golden Delicious apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or other blue cheese
Snipped fresh basil (optional)

directions

In a 4-quart Dutch oven cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Set aside. In same Dutch oven cook sausage until lightly browned. Add apples; cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are lightly golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in cooked pasta, whipped cream, and cheese. Heat through. Garnish with basil. Makes 4 servings.

mmhmm.

Posted: October 7, 2011 in talk
Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom. -General George S. Patton

As an extremely fair-skinned individual who has been on an unending search for the world’s best foundation, I finally slammed the brakes on that expensive hit-or-miss game. At about $40 a bottle, sampling foundations is no cheap feat, and my feats definitely need to be cheap lately. I took stock. What is going on with my face that I want to cover? Why do I need full-coverage foundation at 26? What are MY facial concerns? This is what I came up with: overall dullness of complexion, a very oily T-zone, and a lack of evenness of skin tone. “Well shit,” I thought, “foundation won’t fix ANY of that, but if I divert the money spent into quality skin care…” and here we are. Meet my muses:

First: Origins Clean Energy gentle cleansing oil. Yes, I of the oily skin, clean my face every night with an oil-based cleanser. It doesn’t strip away my skin’s natural moisture, and therefore my skin doesn’t produce as much oil. This stuff is really, I mean REALLY, magical. With about a quarter-sized bit of the oil on my fingertips, I can rub it over my entire face and it literally melts away all my makeup (waterproof, gel eyeliner, concealer, even Benefit’s Stay Don’t Stray makeup primer, which is amazing on but notoriously hard to remove) with only one wash. It’s my BFF. It’s silky and delicious and cleans deeper than anything I’ve ever used without disturbing the natural pH of my skin. Result: my skin was more evenly toned after about five days of use, and oh-so-glowy! Cost: $21.

Second: my morning cleanser! It smells like a delicious fruit pie, and since it does exactly what Origins states it does, I’ll let you read it from the horse’s mouth: “Simply swirl this lush-lathering, fruit-smoothie of a face wash over splashed-moist facial skin and let the Extract of crushed Papaya coupled with creamy cleansers dispose of dingy, dried up cells. Melts makeup, dirt and pore-clogging debris to further banish bleakness. Skin emerges fresh, radiant. Never stripped or dry.” Result: My skin is GLOWING, it’s radiant, and it has a luster that it hasn’t had since I was preggo. It’s genius and gentle and takes less than a pea-sized amount for each wash, which means the bottle lasts a reeeeeeally long time. Cost: $19.50

Last but not least (dear Lord, I originally wrote “leased…” too much work on the brain), the miracle moisturizer I told you about previously: Origins Balanced Diet lightweight moisture lotion. Never has my combination skin been so in-check. This enhances the glow and overall gorgeousness I’ve obtained by using the previous products. I thought the bottle was really small when I got it, but like the other products, you need so little that it lasts for a very long time. Cost: $26.00

Overall result: I use significantly less foundation on the days I do wear it, because I’m happier with the sheerest of coverage. On the days I don’t wear foundation (which are increasing in number), I dust on some mineral powder and call it a day. I don’t want to cover my skin anymore! It just goes to show, once you discover the root of an issue, you’re that much closer to solving it. What are your skincare miracles?

Let me get the most important thing out of the way first: RIP Steve Jobs. I’m an Android personally, but husband is a devoted iPhone fan (as are many, MANY of my friends), and even we Droids can’t forget that without Jobs, there would be no such thing as an Android, a Market, an app, or a touch-screen app-based phone. He was THE MAN. Without this guy, we might still be carrying around portable CD players. Well, probably not, but we definitely wouldn’t have anything as badass as the iPod. Anyway, a lot of the inspiration that people took from Jobs wasn’t necessarily from his products; it was his entire philosophy on living and working, his unwavering REALNESS, his sometimes sharp tongue and short temper, his you-too-can-be-a-visionary speeches that he MEANT. Steve Jobs tried to teach us that you have to like what you’re doing, otherwise you might as well not do it. We only have one life, so every day has to be spent doing something purposeful and enjoyable, otherwise you’ll wake up at 80 and wonder why you never had any fun.

As many others did, I spent a lot of time reading the many articles on Jobs churned out by American media in the wake of his passing. This, combined with my recent penchant for all things motivational, has really helped me take a critical look at my life and my career. I couldn’t love my company ANY more dearly, and I love every day I spend in the presence of my colleagues and company-mates. BUT. As much as I love the company, my current position doesn’t leave me with any lingering passion or any true feelings of having helped someone while I was at work. It doesn’t make me want to roll out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off and rush out the door with gusto. I WANT a job like that. I want to love my work life as much as I love my home life.

People who know me know where my passion lies, and which field has always had my heart and my interest. There are definitely pros and cons to entering the work force at a young(er) age than those who go straight to a four-year university after high school. I feel that my postponement of a degree has given me ample time to build a career and a network, and I have years of excellent work history and references. It’s also saved me from wasting time on tuition when, truth be told, I had no idea what I wanted to do in life. The drawback, however, is that now that I know what I want, I sometimes feel like I’m too old to put in more than four years at a university. As another pro, my babylove is already 6, so she’s old enough to understand if mommy has to go to school, too. But, as a con, my babylove is 6, so we should be making awesome and messy memories of things other than homework. The REAL thing of it is this, though: Do I want babylove to see that you can make your dreams happen at ANY age, or do I want her to settle for mediocrity because she feels like her time has passed?

So, here I am, 26 and about to LEAP! I have years of experience encouraging me and reminding me that I’ve survived every leap I’ve ever made, so I guess being an adult isn’t so bad. However, I must digress at this point because anyone who knows me also knows that I can’t be serious and insightful for this long. It’s making me itch… so for the time being, I would like to switch back to lovely topics such as skin care, or maybe tattoos. You know how I roll. Get ready to switch gears, and I’ll get you a lighter-hearted post in a jiffy!

These are very simple steps, and will greatly improve your telephone experience. Since we are rapidly turning into a text/email/Facebook/never-ever-call-me society, it’s understandable that you may be clueless to the fact that you’re a major phone asshole. It’s okay. I’m here to help.

Step 1: LISTEN. When calling any establishment, it is customary for the person answering the phone to say the name of the company you’ve reached. If the company name they give is not the company you were trying to reach, don’t start spitting out your social security number and birthday and credit card number. STFU, let your neurons register what you’ve just heard, and if it’s the wrong number, politely say that you have the wrong number. Don’t argue with people. Don’t try to have a conversation about how you can never reach Comcast, and what number is this anyway? They did not call you. They did not give you the incorrect number so that you could badger them while they’re trying to work. This is ALL you, buddy.

Step 2: CHILL OUT. Just because you’re feeling ballsy because you’re not face-to-face with the person you’re berating doesn’t mean you can act a fool. Use your words. Mind your manners. Consider this: why are you calling this place? Is it because you have an account with them? Does the person whose mere existence seems to have pissed you off SO badly that your eyeballs are about to explode with rage have access to these accounts? Or your name, birthday, social, ledger, phone number, or email? Hmm. Yes. Take pause. While no one at a reputable company will mess with any of your information, you should still keep it in mind. Slow your roll; would you like it if someone called you at your office and started wildin’ out like they had no home training?

Step 3: STFU. Don’t interrupt people. It’s RUDE. While no one at a reputable company will give you incorrect information just because you’re a jackass, they may have additional information that will make your life much easier. BUT, if you can’t hold your reckless tongue for two seconds so they can finish talking, you probably won’t get that additional information. So you asked for the supervisor’s number and got it, and then cut the rep off while they were trying to speak because you, The Mightiest and Most Important Person on the Planet, thought you didn’t need anything else. You won. Right? But then you call the number and it’s a directory-access only… and damn, you didn’t the supervisor’s name. So now you have to call back, all because you’re a rude interrupter. If you had just S’dTFU for those last five seconds, you’d already have the name and would be on your way to full supervisor access. That’s a shame.

While there are many other simple and effective way to seem as if you have manners, these are the most important. Take a breath, make your phone call, and act like a damn human. If you can’t master these simple manners, you may want to locate your nearest elementary school and take your unlikeable self back to kindergarten.

oh, hello there. just a chat.

Posted: August 22, 2011 in talk

long time. wow. i guess for once, i can honestly say that life is trying to get one over on me. i don’t think i have ever felt so… just TIRED; i feel like i haven’t had a minute’s escape from REAL LIFE in months and it just kills me. i don’t remember ever feeling quite this downtrodden before, so i’ve been doing my best to just live and hope this all passes. i couldn’t really tell you if it’s working.

so this afternoon, whilst sitting outside in a slightly muggy breeze, i have this lovely realization: i like tough guys. i’ve sometimes scrolled through the kind of men i find GIANTLY attractive and what on earth they could have in common, and it just came to me. it’s not BAD guys, it’s TOUGH guys.  smokin’. oh yeah, and a shaved head isn’t so bad, either. or patrick dempsey. or rdj. clive owen. gerard butler. ooh, or that cop from law and order something. dear god, thank you for eye candy. amen.

i had an insane dilemma a couple weeks ago when i was registering small-person for kindergarten; i had to choose an ethnicity. only ONE box could be checked, and there was no “other” or “biracial.” i couldn’t get husband to answer the phone and i’m telling you, it was a ridiculously big deal, i just COULD NOT DECIDE. but i had to. wow, unexpected life choices in the middle of the afternoon on a thursday.

one of my oldest and best friends had a birthday last week, and i’m ridiculously happy for him. i mean, this is the kind of friend i could go a year without talking to, and he’d still know me better than just about anyone. it’s a soul friend kind of thing. so anyway, he has this AMAZING fiancée who is the sweetest, loveliest, most genuine kind of woman you could ever wish for as a friend, let alone as a wife for your BFF. he had a giant birthday party and he looked so happy and was surrounded by people who love him, and it’s exactly the sort of thing you wish for a person you love.

i really wish i had something rad to share. i’m telling you, it’s this thundercloud over my head. lord. well, i told myself i would put forth at least three beautiful things, so to wrap up…