Friday, January 25, 2013

My first Birchbox!

So after hearing the hype for years now, I decided to go for it and sign up for Birchbox.
At first, I was undecided between Birchbox and Ipsy's Glambag, but because Birchbox had a waiting period, I figured it was more in demand and therefore, probably better.

What is Birchbox?
The long and short of it is this:  You pay $10 a month and get a little box filled with designer beauty products delivered to your door--usually sample/travel sizes, but sometimes full-sizes, too!  You also get a discounted rate if you should choose to buy the full-size versions of these products, and you accumulate points for your purchases and if you refer a friend.

I was pretty excited to open my January Birchbox...
 But, I felt a little disappointed when I got a look at the contents ^
I was hoping for something a little more exciting for a first box, y'know?  Something to really hook me?  And Glambag's come with little zippered pouches every time...I was kind of expecting one of those, too...

Here's what I got, from left to right...

1) Number 4 Clarifying Shampoo
2) Caudalie Vinexpert Radiance Day Cream, SPF 15
3) 100% Pure Nourishing Body Cream
4) Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy perfume
and on top...
5) Model Co SHINE Ultra Lip Gloss

Now, this might have something to do with the fact I told Birchbox that I'm a low-maintenance kind of gal.  I mean, I am...but I was hoping for some more exciting products.  Other gals got bottles of Argan oil, full-size Benefit blush...I was really bummed after looking at everyone else's spoils.  Ah, well.  The grass is always greener, isn't it?

My verdict on the products:

Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy perfume was my absolute favorite scent--about three years ago.  Get with the times, Birchbox.  I already have two rollerballs of it left over from that phase that I don't really use.  Perfume is so hit or miss, anyway.

Model Co Lip Gloss.  I was afraid this stuff was going to be sticky and goopy, and surprise surprise--it was.  I do love that it comes with a little mirror on the tube, though.  Good idea, but a poor product.

100% Pure Body Cream:  This stuff was green apple scented and let me tell you--it smelled JUST like a Jolly Rancher.  And of course, I love that it's a natural product...but I wasn't blown away by its quality.

Caudialie Radiance Day Cream...I've only used it once so far, but it didn't seem like anything special.  I do like that it's made out of grape extracts, though.  I'll give it another shot, maybe I'll grow to love it.

Number 4 Clarifying Shampoo.  THIS.  This was worth the $10 cost of the Birchbox alone--this is a miracle product! Anyone who knows me, knows that I struggle with a stubborn dandruff problem that no medicated shampoo seems to touch--one use of this stuff and I didn't notice any flakes!  And I have a confession to make--as I type this, I'm in bed with a cold.  I've been out of commission and haven't washed my hair for DAYS.  And thanks to this shampoo, my hair still looks AWESOME.  It still looks CLEAN!  I am so beyond impressed, and am definitely thinking of buying a full-size version of this.  I've used clarifying shampoos before, and none of them impressed me like this one.

So, as a final verdict I'm still unsure about Birchbox.  I'll give them another month or two to see if they can supply me with anything good, and if not, I might give Glambag a try.

This was NOT a sponsored post.  But if you're interested in trying out Birchbox, please do me a favor and use my referal link?  Thanks!

Monday, January 21, 2013

ALL.MOST.DONE.

I am officially 90 days away from graduation.
I just turned in my last draft of my senior thesis to my advisor and second reader.
Aside from some minor edits, my last semester is over.

I'm pretty damn excited.  A little scared about having to speak at graduation and give my (45 minute!!) senior presentation...but I'm sure I'll get through it.

I think I'm most excited, though, to be able to sit down with my novel on my own time.  The hardest part about this "process" has been being forced to qualify my learning, and do things like squeeze 3 books into a 3 week period and write about them.  It felt like a distraction most of the time, and while my initial research did serve to help my novel factually, the rest just seemed excessive.

Anyway, now I get to focus on the "real stuff".  Like editing.  And writing more. (There's so much more to the story that I want to tell, even though my second reader claimed the story "feels done".  I can't agree with that!)  And more editing.  And writing book proposals and summaries. And eventually, (I'm shooting for June!) meeting with literary agents.

Pretty excited about it all in general.  And I can't wait to hold in my hand the most expensive piece of paper I've ever bought...

(This photo is not actually relevant because my school doesn't do caps and gowns.  Too mainstream, I guess.  #hipstercollege.)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pinterest Attempt: Pasta with...

In keeping with my New Years Resolution to learn a few healthy new meals, I've turned to Pinterest...

My first try was pasta with tomatoes, black olives, garlic and feta.

it seemed pretty foolproof for a first attempt.  I threw in some spinach I had on hand, too, and used pasta that was made with veggies.  I wanted to make sure I got my daily veggie allotment haha, and then some.

It turned out pretty good, and I had leftovers for a few days.  Definitely a recipe I can add to my arsenal!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Movie Reboots.

I know they probably have VERY little in common (I haven't seen the new movies) ...

but there are a few previews making the rounds these days that really remind me of old movies (or at least parts of old movies) I've already seen.

Example 1:

Promised Land (2012)



Synopsis:  A salesman for a natural gas company experiences life-changing events after arriving in a small town, where his corporation wants to tap into the available resources.

Reminds me of:

New in Town (2009)
Synopsis:  A high-powered consultant in love with her upscale Miami lifestyle is sent to a middle of nowhere town in Minnesota to oversee the restructuring of a blue collar manufacturing plant.

Example 2:

Premium Rush (2012)

Synopsis:  In Manhattan, a bike messenger picks up an envelope that attracts the interest of a dirty cop, who pursues the cyclist throughout the city.

Reminds me of:

Enemy of the State (1998)


But not the whole plot--just the first 10 minutes or so, you know, when Jason Lee records a murder and has to flee on his bike with the USB in his messenger bag or something?


(I know, I very seriously doubt anyone cares about this crap as much as I do.  BUT, if you had ANY IDEA how long it took me to figure out the name of New in Town AND what movie the Jason Lee scene came from,  you'd understand why I have to post it for prosperity.)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Merry Christmas/Happy New Year!



I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday season!  Mine was pretty low-key as I had a couple trips planned that got cancelled, but it was still a fun time.

My best friend Katie came up from Florida and we got to see each other for the first time in a while--I don't think I had seen her since she happened to be in town for my 27th (was it 27th?) birthday.  It was great to see her and she gave me an awesome Christmas present (Sex and the City box set!) so now we can continually text each other about how I am such a Carrie and she is totally Miranda.

Les Mis FINALLY came out in theaters.  I feel like I had been waiting for this moment for years! Needless to say, i was there on opening night and stupidly forgot my tissues.  I didn't sob  through the entire thing, but I sobbed through most of it.  But then again, so did everyone else in the theater...

Katie and I snagged a coupon for Bright Nights and we happened to have perfect timing--there was snow on the ground and it snowed the whole time we were driving through the park.  Just lovely.  Bright Nights is definitely one of my favorite holiday traditions.

I got a ton of great Christmas presents, but the most fought-over one so far has to be my chenille blanket.  I've wanted one for years but I never knew what fabric they were--and holy crap, is it amazing.  Shaun and I play tug-of-war with it because it's that damn good.

And finally--the resolutions.  Resolutions are such a big thing for me, because for the most part when I make one I really stick with it. And yes, I know, "you don't need a new year to make a resolution".  That's completely true, and I usually add on additional resolutions during the year because of this.  Because let's face it--we're all a work-in-progress.

Here are my goals from last year.  I'd say that out of the 17, I was able to adhere to at least 14 of them, and even if I didn't follow the others to a T, I at least made an attempt.

1.  Fillings.  My dental insurance wouldn't cover all of my fillings last year, so I need to get the others taken care of.  There were only 2 I believe, not 3, and they're tiny...but still.  I should take care of them before they become a problem.
2.  Passport and travel.  I hope that 2013 is the year that I can finally see some part of Europe...even if it's only for a weekend.
3.  See Annie on Broadway.  My friend Christie and I had planned to go around Christmas time, but got held up.  I definitely want to check this one off the list ASAP!
4.  Learn to cook...I have a few standby meals at home that I usually fall back on, but I'd like to add a few more.  Pinterest is a goldmine.
5.  Pay off as much debt as possible.  This is a goal every year.  I hope this is the year I can clear out most of it with my tax return, because I have to start paying back my student loans soon since I GRADUATE in April.
6.  Officially finish novel.  I mean this by my own standards--my advisors at school are telling me that the novel "feels done", but it's a far cry from 80,000 words, and most publishers won't even consider a book that falls short of that.  Not to mention, there's so much more to the story that needs to be told.  I think I can finish it within the early months of 2013 if I really commit to it.
7.  Redo apartment.  There is so much I want for my apartment--shelving, bookcases, a washer and dryer, carpets for the living room, a sofa bed and new loveseat, new lighting...not to mention just tiny organizational fixes I want to do.  It will be a big job, no doubt, but it'll be so worth it when it's done.

What are your goals for 2013?  And did you meet your goals for 2012?