Happy Birthday Sister!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

That's right. It's sister 30th birthday, well, ok, maybe not her BIRTH day. Because she was born on Februray 29th, which means that only comes once every 4 years.

But it's been tradition that we celebrate it the 28th. And by law she turns 30 this day, today. My birthday wishes are this, plain and simple. I wish for your 30th year that you find happiness, joy and passion because you deserve it. And remember, mom would be proud no matter what.

Happy 30th sister! You are now 30, flirty and thriving, enjoy it!

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February Birchbox

It's time for another Birchbox review. This might be my last Birchbox, sadly. Or not so sadly.

The past few months I have not really been loving my boxes no matter how I update my profile. And then when looking at what other people received in theirs, it hasn't been adding up to my monthly cost. Even the Christmas one that Birchbox boasted about was not all that glitzy or glam to me.

This month Birchbox teamed up with US Weekly to prepare an Oscar worthy Birchbox.

Bain de Terre Passion Flower Color Preserving Shampoo | Full Size $12

Bain de Terre Passion Flower Color Preserving Conditioner | Full Size $13.50

Giving a collective review, they smelled great. Seemed to do what they were supposed to as far as shampoo and conditioner go. But I can never tell if it preserves my color after only using it for 3 washes.

Also, another note on the Birchbox..I received another Bain de Terre sample in November. Talk about a repeat.

Juara Candlenut Body Creme | Full Size $35

This lotion was gret and had a pleasant smell. Left my skin feeling soft and nice pampering for my skin. Might be a little pricey though for my current budget.

100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara | Full Size $18

This was the best thing about my box this month. Glided on smooth and really lasted. There were no flakes to irritate my contacts and definitely provided a little extra volume. And the company must be high end if they are located in the Louis Vuitton building. Just sayin.

Harvey Prince Hello | Full Size $55

I did not personally care for this fragrance. A little too intense for my preference. But love that it has plumeria in it. 

So for my overall take on this box and Birchbox: I think it's time to move on and say goodbye. I am looking at my money sitting in a box of things I can go eh about it. With all the profile adjusting I thought it would help but it hasn't improved. As I keep watching other people's boxes really work for them, I become more frustrated.

These shampoo/conditioners are nice and high end but I would never gamble paying for them when I can't really tell how well they work in a tiny bottle.

And holy perfume samples. I clicked, I clicked, adjusted things but I keep getting them. And I'm very simple with my scents. Not fancy shmancy. 

The parts I have loved? The nail polishes and makeup. Anyone that can give me a beauty box that would deliver these to me? I'm all ears!

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Cheers not Jeers

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cheers not Jeers

I have been wanting to participate in this lovely link-up since it's inception, but alas I am just starting. But it is a great idea from the lovely Casey at The Aslan's Auspicious Albany Adventure.

She is one of my former Cara Box partners that is just experiencing her first winter on the east coast. Not the best I might say! But clearly, she has a heart of gold and great ambitions.
 She just opened up a new Etsy shop that combines her craftiness with her love of chemistry. Something her husband knows a lot about.

The idea of this link up is to spread love and happy thoughts throughout the blog world. Really give a shout out to some amazing people.

First and foremost, I want everyone to know the lovely Kate at Classy Living.

She is one of my first blogging friends..basically we are a year old. Which makes this a special occasion, apparently.

We met through Cara Box and realized we lived within an hour of each other AND were getting married within weeks of each other. We emailed back and forth about wedding plans, "you can do it!" emails and commented on each others crazy wedding posts.

She may be younger than me but I'm pretty sure this girl has things more together than me! She always has such heartwarming stories about teaching, her family and new husband. I absolutely cannot wait to meet her in person. Which will be soon.

I can't wait for next week and spread the love! Link up with Casey to show of your cheers for other bloggers. 

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Memories Aren't Kept in Material Things

Monday, February 24, 2014

After my mom passed away in 2009, my sister and I had the task of cleaning up the house and putting it up for sale. This meant going through all her things and deciding what was what. We trashed a lot. We kept a lot more.

I moved out of the house and brought more than half of it with me in storage boxes and shoved it into my spacious size 1300 square foot townhouse. It wasn't comfortable but it fit. Then, I downsized to a modest 900 sq. foot apartment with the husband and half of the went into storage and the other half is clogging up our closests and floors.

We have stuff EVERYWHERE. And I mean everywhere. Our apartment is bursting at the seams along with our extra storage unit where we keep everything else. ok, by "we" and "our", I actually mean, "me" and "mine."

This is one area where the, "What's mine is yours," concept of marriage does not apply. It's my junk and my husband is in now way responsible for it explosion. And quite frankly, he might just be ready to ship me and my junk overseas. I have heard, "Why do we have all this stuff?" more times than I would like to count. I never got it. Never really understood.

I mean, I might need that sparkly shirt I haven't worn in 2 years if I'm invited to a 16 year olds birthday party. Or i I am ever out of hobbies, that clarinet could come in handy. My favorite one is the fact that I should save that for our future home/future kids/future life.

But something else also hit me, most likely that fell out of a closet. Or I fell over something one too many times. It could also be me struggling to get our storage unit open because it's stuffed like a turkey at Thanksgiving. Enough is enough.

I found I held on to a lot of stuff that was my mom's or in our old house, just to keep the memories and the joy. But lately, these items I held onto to keep the happiness from my mom's life are actually causing me more stress. Every time I open another full closet. Every time I have to take a drive to the storage unit. Every time I think of the boxes at my in-laws.

It's time for these material things to move on from me. Let them move to a house where they will make new memories with a shelf my mom had my grandma's bells on or playing my mom's old records. My mom's smile will not leave my memory just because these "things" are. The memory of her dancing in a Disney store won't mysteriously disappear when I ship off a carton of holiday decorations.  And I will still remember the shopping trips that were made for the shirts I can't seem to say good-bye to.

Four piles of trash have made their way out the door in the past month. Another full pile has made it's way to donations. (Hello, tax deduction.) And I am finally feeling a little lighter.

The emotional weight is starting to lift and my closets are starting to look a little more roomy. Those material things don't make me. My family, friends and who I am as a person make me. It wasn't hard letting those "things" go. That's because they are just" thing." Not memories.

Have you ever held onto sentimental items? Do you live a minimalist life  and would like to share some tips?

Sunday Social

Sunday, February 23, 2014

1. Favorite breakfast food

Can I have them all?
One time I made these.

I love brunch, brinner, everything about it, mmmmmm. Get in my belly.

2. Best way to spend a free day
What's a free day? I want one!
Here it is if I have one.

Doing absolutely NOTHING.
Relaxing with a cup of coffee.
Watching all the girlie movies I can.
Tackle that Pinterest craft list.

3. Airline ticket to anywhere in the world...where would you go and why?

California. To see this lady who my heart really wants to see.

Oh, and celebrities live there.

4. You can only leave the house with one thing...what is it?

Phone of course. Everybody and everything lives there. Including all you fine people. Plus, with my anxiety I need it to make sure I'm ok if there's an emergency.

5. How do you take your coffee?

Lately, black with a little Stevia. Or sometimes add some almond milk. I love me some Dunkin Hazlenut.

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I'm Not Ever Going to Get Over You

Thursday, February 20, 2014

*I wrote this post a month ago, couldn't get myself to hit publish. But today, I am able to. 

But you went away
How dare you?
I miss you
They say I’ll be OK
But I’m not going to ever get over you.

I have touched on this subject here and there on this blog but never went into details or raw emotions. The reason I have this blog is to do just that. So as I approach the 5 year anniversary of losing my mom, I feel the need to share the story. The day my mom left us.

My mom went to heaven on January 12, 2009. I had been home the whole month previous from college. She has bronchitis the week before I came home and had gone to the dcotors and was on antibitoics. Christmas came and she became sick again.

It was the reason for me throwing money." My mom was always the cutest. She couldn't get us Christmas presents so she put some money in a bag. It was the best last Christmas I could have asked for with her.

That day I awoke and knew my mom didn't go to work because I always heard her in the morning. I checked on her and she was laying in bed and said she was feeling sick, not really telling me just how bad she actually was. I spent the day at home, checked on her for lunch and she said she would have some waffles. I tinkered around on my computer and she reminded me at 8 o'clock her favorite show was on so she would be downstairs to watch it. She never made it to watch that show.

As she came downstairs, I saw the blue on her lips and she asked for water. She then said she couldn't breathe. With the phone in my hand to dial 911 I ran to get my cousin, who lived downstairs. He came upstairs as my mom was still gasping for air and I was calling 911. They said they would be there but they never made it in time. My mom took her last breath as I was holding her hand. She had just told me, " It's ok. "

As I screamed Mom! over and over again I called 911 back in a panic as we tried to do CPR but I knew. I knew that she wasn't coming back. The next half hour was a blur as paramedics worked on my mom in my living room, the police searched the cabinets for any medicines and interrogated me.

I don't remember going to the hospital, just remember being in my worst state in a cold room, as they told me she was gone. I had none but hearing those words just drilled in my heart. We then waited for family members to come and my sister to drive there. Telling her the awful news and making the decisions no 22/25 year old should have to make about her mother. Autopsy, donating organs. It turns out my mom died from a blood clot in her lungs. That's why it was so sudden.

This is one of the first times I have been able to write these words out and relive that very moment. I had nightmares for weeks when I went back to school about this very moment. I had immense guilt that I was there and maybe could have done something. And also anger because my mom shut me out instead of asking for more help that day.

It's been 5 years, I still miss her everyday. But new memories have helped ease the pain and grief. I have a wonderful husband who supports me everyday and a great future to look forward to. I wish she was here to see it all but I know she wouldn't want me to spend all the time grieving but making happy memories.

I'm the Kinda Girl Who...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

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Love It Forward #1

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Today's the very first Love It Forward link-up with with Kenzie, Kara and Katie. Loving the "K" names, ladies!

Just a little basic description of just exactly this is. Love It Forward it just about that, love. Putting love back into the world and showing people the kindness everyone is capable of. It can be anything from making your husband breakfast to paying for a complete strangers coffee. Just a little something or something on a larger scale. Just spread the love and you jut might put a smile on someone's face that really needs it. 

Now, for this week's Love It Forward, I chose to spread the love beyond my guy on Valentine's Day.  As I had mentioned last week, Valentine's Day has always been about more than having a "valentine" but more about loving the love in your life.

I created photo card "valentines" for my best gals and sent them off to remind just how much I cherish each of their friendships and just how special they are to me.

Each one was surprised by my little "Valentine" and I know it was a welcome addition to their mailbox instead of just getting all those bills. It always feels good to send or give a little extra smile to people.And I love sending mail and cards. There is just something so original about it!

Now it's your turn

How have you spread love to others lately? Head over to Chasing Happy, As Always, Kara or Something Winnderful and link up your love!

You can also join in the fun on social media using the hashtag #LoveItFwd.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

First married Valentine's Day is in the books and it was a delicious, perfect success.

Wednesday was our "anniversary"  or as we call it around here, Valentinversary. The hubby was super sweet and made us a fancy dinner reservation at Macaroni Grill. It was a place we went to as freshmen, aka. 9 years ago.

We drew on the table, had some gluten free pasta and just reminisced about our years together. It was a very nice night out.

Yes, this deliciousness is gluten free!

AND I got a little Valentiversary gift..


Our actual Valentine's Day was pretty low key. I found out Thursday night, someone who I always called "Grammy" had passed away. So Friday was a weird day of emotions.

Woke up to this cutie looking out the window

And she got me flowers!

My husband took over the kitchen for the night. Grilled us some steaks, potatoes and broccoli. He may only end up in the kitchen a few times out of the year but he is quite good at it ;)

And in my personal opinion, I was gifted one of the best things of all...CSI:Miami Final Season!!

Gals, I love me some Horatio and I had just said last week how I never saw the last season. He DOES listen after all.

The gifts I gave to Brian were a bit different. One, a wedding plaque for his desk at work to look at me all the time, of course. Just some Xbox Live as a continuation of his Christmas present and then some things a little more personal ;)

I made some heart brownies, had some wine and curled up to watch random movies we found on Redbox Instant. One may or may not have been an old school sorority thrasher.

Sugar Free!

It was a perfect Valentine's Day. Always a nice night to look back on when we are old and gray and doing the same exact thing. Although, personal things might have a different meaning!

How did you spend your Valentine's Day?

Sunday Social| Lazy Days

Sunday, February 16, 2014

1. What is your favorite thing to do on a lazy day?
Drink lots of coffee or tea. Lounge in pants. Watch movies.

2. What is your TV guilty pleasure?

Definitely Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and New York. Can't get enough of the catiness.
BTW I really do not like Brandi.

3. What is your favorite road trip music?
I honestly love the radio. You never know what you are going to find on there and it makes the tunes on the ride exciting.

4. What are your favorite magazines or books to read around the pool or laying around?

5. What is your favorite snack?
I love rice cakes and almond butter to fit with my new healthy lifestyle. Almond butter is fantastic. Everyone should eat it.

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Embracing a Snow Day

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What's a snow day?

Like others, I am never given the fortune of hearing my phone ring with the great words of "Snow day today." I will be on the road later even thought every person on the east coast has advised it. Yea, makes sense I know. Do you detect my bitterness?

So I am asking pretty much everyone on the east coast to do me a favor. Enjoy your snow day. Do it for me.  And really, be very, very thankful you won't be in this miss that mother nature so kindly dumped on us.

1. Just enjoy the beauty. Inside or outside. And be thankful you won't be getting in a car anytime soon.

2. Have fun in it!

3. Have a shameless movie marathon. My choice would be superheroes.

4.Indulge in some crafting because you never have the time

5.Indulge in a nice adult beverage, write some genius blog posts and have a 30 second dance party to end it all.

Bonus: Pretend like you are in a topical paradise

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