July 4, 2016

Update: 30 Before 30

Being 6 months into 2016 and over 7 months into my 29th birthday, it seems like a good time for an update on my bucket list!

Truth be told, I haven't accomplished much and a couple were a little ambitious. I've updated some and added a two to make up for it, so now I have even more to do in the next...FIVE months.

Get a massage.
Try yoga.
Re-learn to crochet. *DONE!
Take Mike to Germany. [This was ultra ambitious. Take him to Europe again is more reasonable.] *But DONE!
Master panna cotta.
Do more craft projects.
Use my sewing machine at least 5 times.
Learn French.
Reach my goal weight.
Meal plan regularly.
Be more thankful.
Journal daily.
Keep the house tidy & clean.
Buy coffee for the person behind me in line.
Throw a dinner party.
Do a wine tour.
Take a beach road trip.
Keep in touch with friends more.
Call my grandparents more often.
Take a last-minute flight to a weekend away.
Donate blood.
Take control of my career.
Be more patient.
Create a savings plan.
Embrace the gym & follow a schedule.
Reach my Goodreads goal (again) aka read more. [This goal was updated from 30 books to 12 in June. Still behind...]
Keep up with national & international current events.
Volunteer locally.
Blog more.
Host a theme party.
Dine alone at a restaurant. *new & done!
Worry less. *new*

Five months to go...

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April 5, 2016

Book Review: The Divorce Papers

For someone who "loves to read", I haven't been that good at it lately. Is there such a thing as "reader's block"? Because I think I have that. I absolutely cannot focus on reading during my new short commute, but I also find it hard to lock down time at home to just sit and read. And whenever I do finish a book, I have hard time picking up another one right after. Am I the only one? Because I feel crazy. K, don't answer that...

But as I scroll through Goodreads trying to figure out what to read next, I realized I missed reviewing so many books so I'm going to start catching up on writing & posting those. Who knows, it might help with my reading inspiration!

Here's a review of the last book I read...

The Divorce Papers The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Twenty-nine-year-old Sophie Diehl is happy toiling away as a criminal law associate at an old line New England firm where she very much appreciates that most of her clients are behind bars. Everyone at Traynor, Hand knows she abhors face-to-face contact, but one weekend, with all the big partners away, Sophie must handle the intake interview for the daughter of the firm’s most important client. After eighteen years of marriage, Mayflower descendant Mia Meiklejohn Durkheim has just been served divorce papers in a humiliating scene at the popular local restaurant, Golightly’s. She is locked and loaded to fight her eminent and ambitious husband, Dr. Daniel Durkheim, Chief of the Department of Pediatric Oncology, for custody of their ten-year-old daughter Jane—and she also burns to take him down a peg. Sophie warns Mia that she’s never handled a divorce case before, but Mia can’t be put off. As she so disarmingly puts it: It’s her first divorce, too. <via goodreads>

I've had to wait a couple of years to read this book because it was so difficult to get my hands on, but I totally loved it! I had no idea it was going to be in the format that it was, which I discovered is called an 'epistolary novel' and means "novel written as a series of documents". I've never read a book in this format and I really enjoyed it. I almost feel like I'm not sure I would have loved the book as much as I did if it had been written in a more standard fashion. The always-changing points of view kept this fresh and me eager to keep reading. Plus, I love all things legal so I was extra interested. I enjoyed the characters, and while the protagonist was not my favourite one, I still enjoyed her and was rooting for her. I like that the ending resolved some things and kept others open-ended. I now really want to find another epistolary novel to find out whether I actually enjoy this format or it was just coincidence with this book.

Happy Reading!

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March 23, 2016

Product Review: Bioré Baking Soda Vox Box

Once in a while, I get lucky enough to be selected by Influenster to receive one of their VoxBoxes. Who doesn't love to get mail with free product?*
I was super excited to receive the BiorĂ©® Baking Soda VoxBox for a few reasons: 1) I was getting low on my current cleanser and needed a new one, 2) I was considering a homemade baking soda scrub, and 3) I don't know that I would have bought this product if I'd just seen it in stores with a million other products all around.

I've been using both products for just over a month now and I am super happy with them. My skin is mostly combination, with a tendency towards dry in the winter months. I haven't had any acne issues in the past *knocks on wood* but am prone to some minor acne and red spots.
I use the Baking Soda Pore Cleanser every night with my Clarisonic to wash off my makeup and all the other junk that piles up throughout the day. It is the perfect balance of foamy & mildly scrubby and smells divine! It definitely feels like a true clean when I'm done washing my face. I've also noticed a reduction in the small outbreaks I often get. I'm really glad that I had the opportunity to test this cleanser out because I'm not sure that I would have picked it out from all the other options available in-stores. I generally don't stick to the same product all the time but I would certainly consider purchasing this again and I'm also interested in trying out their charcoal cleanser.
As I mentioned, I had just been thinking about making a homemade baking soda scrub when I found out I'd be receiving the Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub - perfect timing! And it is AMAZING! I love the way the powder turns into a paste and that you can control its consistency with how much water you add to it. It's definitely scrubby but not too rough (as I imagine real baking soda may be) and it leaves my skin so ultra soft and smooth. I use it 2-3 times a week after washing my face with the cleanser. I've always used scrubs, not every day but a few times a week, and this product will definitely replace the ones I've been using.
Based on my usage, I totally recommend both of these products if you're curious to try them!

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*Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster, but all opinions & experiences are my own.

February 25, 2016

Road Trip Essentials

Like a lot of people, I absolutely love travelling. I love exploring new cities and countries, and being completely drained when I get back home. But since I have a full time job with only a couple of weeks vacation per year, jaunts to other continents every few weeks isn't really possible. #sadface

That's why hubby and I have been chatting more and more about taking road trips this summer! I mean, it doesn't have to be summer but it's way more annoying when you have to account for winter layers and weather. There's actually so much to see and do within driving distance from us that it'd be silly not to take advantage!

So what better way to take my mind off of this snowy/rainy/sleety/slushy (yes, all in ONE day) weather than by day dreaming of packing for a road trip?!

Drinks are the most obviously road trip staple! We always have bottles of water in the car so I don't even consider that something I have to pack. Just throw in your caffeine of choice to keep you awake - energy drinks for hubby and coffee pour moi - and you're set!

Snacks are a close second - hello chips & candy! - but it's definitely a good idea to throw in healthy snacks as well. Maybe even a couple of sandwiches if you're going to be driving for a while. The more variety the better - there's nothing worse than making a zillion pit stops because you're suddenly craving plain M&Ms, not peanut ones.

Music options, and lots of them! The radio's cool and all until they replay the same song five times in one hour and the commercials become unbearable. We have totally different tastes in music so often take turns playing DJ between our loaded up iPods and mixed CDs. Oh yes, I totally still love my mixed CDs!

Don't forget a GPS (or Google Maps) because ain't nobody got time for getting lost. I mean, yes it can be fun don't get me wrong...but I'd rather not waste two hours back tracking, ya know? By the way, having a paper map in the car can't hurt because you just never know. And I'm kind of old school like my dad.

We've taken our GoPro on every vacation since we got it and I love the awesome videos we end up with. Like our California Pacific Highway road trip...I feel like nothing will ever top that but we can try!

Odds are you're not going anywhere ultra fancy on this road trip so why not wear your comfiest clothes? Jogging pants, hoody and sneakers...yasssss! Plus some shades. Totally #basicbitch but totally the most common sense choice for sitting in a car all day, amiright?

Because safety is always first, we always keep emergency and first aid kits in the car but they're especially important when you're driving long distances. Best to also bring a pillow and blanket as well, just in case. Plus, the passenger (aka me) will most likely be taking naps along the way.

OK so I pretty much can't wait until summer now, ugh. Just three...more...months...to go... Did I miss any important road trip essentials? Comment below!

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February 23, 2016

#Tweetworthy - Starbucks' new "loyalty" program

Alternate title - that time Starbucks thought their customers couldn't do math.
Another alternate - that time Starbucks confused customers with suckers.

The list goes on, really...

In case you haven't heard, Starbucks is making changes to its loyalty program. It will now be a "loyalty" program. If you're not a regular Starbucks customer, you likely don't care. It's apparently the biggest overhaul since its inception in 2009, though it has gone through minor changes. Most notably, the removal of free syrups for Gold status reward members. Little did the outraged customers know at the time, that worse things were coming...

Instead of telling you about these changes in my own words, here are some awesome tweets* from some outraged folks who do a way better (and more entertaining) job at describing how dumb Starbucks thinks we all are.

I just wanted to cap that off with the fact that I, for one, feel quite relieved. More on that later...

I definitely want to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below!

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*The tweets belong to their authors & I'm not trying to take any credit for them. They are public tweets that I thought were gems & needed to be included in this Storify & post. Please contact me if you are the owner and would like yours removed!

February 11, 2016

I'm Too Old For This Shit

As a general rule, I hate this term. The moment you tell yourself that you're too old for something, even if you aren't, you become so. If Susan Sarandon isn't too old to show mad cleavage, you're probably not too old to go out dancing with your friends once a year. #perspective

But I do like using this phrase for shit that I'm totally over. Or was always over, but felt obligated to pretend I wasn't over. If that even makes sense... I guess this could be a slight extension on this post and how I'm selfishly taking my life back.

So here's some shit I'm too old for:
  • Sleeping a fucking air mattress. Or someone's couch.
  • Sleeping anywhere that isn't my bed (or my couch), to be honest
  • Shitty coffee
  • Shitty expensive coffee
  • Bad food
  • Bad service
  • Fake people
  • Dealing with people's sensitivity
  • Doing anything just because it's 'socially acceptable'
  • Cheap booze
  • Mimosas with orange juice
  • Buying cheaply made clothes & shoes...but I'm still going to hunt for those sales!
  • Trying to change people
  • Cheap vacations
  • Pleasing others
  • Skipping dessert
  • Lame conversations
  • Lame "get-togethers"
  • Explaining my feelings or opinions
  • Making time for people who have no place in my life
  • Bad TV
  • Bad movies
  • Giving a shit about things that don't concern me
  • Generally doing anything that I don't want to do...

Time is something you'll never get back - don't waste it on shit you're too old to deal with :)

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February 8, 2016

Snapchat Selfies

I honestly don't understand Snapchat and what it's for. Why don't I just text my friends a picture? Why am I rushing them to view it within 5 seconds? Better yet, why the eff are they rushing me?! I mean, if you're having affairs with married men and want proof to show your friends, Snapchat is perfect. Not me though; I"m taking pictures of my cat.

But you know what I do really like about Snapchat? The hilarious selfies. And because I don't really know how that "Stories" feature works, I'm going to share them here. I might even make it a regular thing. Who knows...

If you have tips on Snapchat, I'm totally open. But for now, hilarious selfies it is LOL

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January 28, 2016

X-Files, Revived

The day I'd been waiting for finally came and went last Sunday - the premier of The X-Files Revival mini series - and you better believe that a year of waiting was worth it.

Little did I know when I first started re-watching the series on Netflix back in the summer of 2014, how in love I would fall with it. Hell, they didn't even know they were doing a reboot back then! Everything I'd missed out on as a kid not being allowed to watch was full filled and naturally, I fell in love with David Duchovny (aka Hank Moody) all over again.

So what did I think...?

My first though was, "Thank God this was a two-night premier because the first episode what shiiiiiiiit." For real. It was cheesy as fuck and filled with substance-less one liners.

*Mulder walks out of random car*
Scully: "Uber?!"

Right, it's 2016. We have calendars, ya know. But besides the somewhat lame sensationalism around the Internet, smart phones and social media, it was the usual Mulder/Scully banter and conspiracy theories. And I ate that shit up with a big fat spoon because there was never a doubt in my mind that I would watch & love this thing no matter what it turned out to be. Kind of like your baby - you love it no matter what.

But like I said, Monday's second episode of the series totally redeemed the previous night's premier. We were past the (re)intros, past the rekindling of the relationship and right into solving mysteries. It wasn't redundant, had just the right amount of flashback and mythology tie in, and a foundation to build more story on. In other words, perfection.

The next five weeks will be the absolute best and then I will be devastated, but I will cross that bridge when I get to it. I also read this great post about first impressions of the Revival and I'm so happy to know that I am not alone...get it? #alienjoke

In the meantime, I'll enjoy whatever Mulder/Scully action I can get!

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