OOTD, winter edition

It’s been so stinkin’ cold here the last few days/weeks. I know it’s winter, but one of the benefits of moving south was escaping the snow and cold! Of course, maybe the DC area is the happy medium. We can deal with snow … well, kind of. Adult snow days are certainly not unknown here, especially after Commutageddon in 2011. And after what happened in Atlanta this week, I’m not sure if I want to live somewhere where they can’t deal with the snow at all! So I guess the only solution is to move to Miami, ha ha.

So to bundle up for the cold this week, I wore my furry vest. I love this thing but it’s such a statement piece I feel that I can’t wear it more than about twice per winter. I also wore a short sweater knit skirt from Target and leggings from Express. Boots are from who even knows where.

This is what the vest looks like unbuttoned …

and buttoned.

I didn’t wear much jewelry with this, but I did wear my bee necklace! Not a great picture of it because the lighting wasn’t great, but you can get a decent picture.

The style of the necklace is J. Crew (sold out online) but $138 for a costume jewelry necklace is like … hell no. Mine is a knockoff. I’m not too proud to admit that.

Outfit: Faux fur vest – Kohl’s (Similar, also similar ) | Leggings – Express | Skirt – Target (similar; similar style but in print; also similar) | Top – Kohl’s | Similar boots

Hope everyone has a great weekend! This weekend I’m going to do a “round-up” of all my January fashion/accessory purchases. I spent entirely too much money this month so next month I don’t think I am going to buy as much!

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Butter London nail post

Trying to take a photo of my nails was an exercise in frustration. I take pretty much all my pictures with my iPhone because I am too lazy to use my actual camera – not that my actual camera is all that great anyway. But I just couldn’t seem to focus up close and so all my pictures are kind of blurry. Boo. I think I’ll just have to use my actual camera from now on.

This is Butter London Fishwife. It’s described as a holographic turquoise and sage nail lacquer.

I have tried Butter London polishes in the past and the color range is great and very unique. They have tons of holos, duochromes, metallics, etc. And in the bottle, they look stunning!

But they aren’t necessarily the easiest polishes to use. At $15.00 a pop, I would expect, like, full coverage in one coat, maybe a thin second coat to cover any sparse areas. In these pictures, I used 3 coats, and I can still see nail  underneath. Yikes.

But the color is great, isn’t it? I don’t think the official description does it justice. There is definitely a holo finish to this polish. The base color is a light green, but there is a flash of gold, rose gold, and blue at certain angles.

I do typically get good wear out of Butter London polishes — close to a week, and I’m hard on my nails with typing all day, doing dishes, etc. But again, this polish could have easily used 4 coats. Fortunately, the application was easy as the formula was quite thin, and it didn’t pool or go on all streaky, so layering on multiple coats doesn’t become an issue.

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Grammy fashion round-up

I did not watch the Grammys. LOL. I hate award shows in general. But of course, the fashion recaps are inevitable afterward. Overall I didn’t see much that I liked in terms of fashion, but there were some nice makeup looks. Also, I guess I’m a  dinosaur because I didn’t recognize at least half the people there. Hey you kids, get off my lawn!

Katy Perry in Valentino Couture — as usual, her makeup looks great but the hair is very early 2000s prom and I am also not a fan of the dress.

Paris Hilton in Haus of Milani — I didn’t hate this? But the back looked somewhat ill-fitting.

Kelly Osbourne in Badgley Mischka — Oh, I don’t know. I just don’t get her. I don’t think this dress needed burgundy lipstick to go with it.  But it does look like she’s wearing a cape and that’s kind of cool, I suppose.

 

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Casual weekend

First, today’s outfit! Leggings are from Kohl’s, top and sweater are both H&M, and I wore my Ugg boots. What, it was cold and snowy! I know some people hate Uggs but I just can’t hate them.

 

 

 

Did I mention how ridiculously cold it’s been here recently? Today was our highest high since Monday and it was 31. Yikes! And it will be super cold next week too. I’m over you, winter!

 

Makeup is nothing special today. My necklaces are Brighton and no name brand from Tippr. Hah. It’s great if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on jewelry though!

 

 

Finally ~ If you’re doing the 52 Week Money Challenge, how are you keeping up with it? Are you remembering to save each week, no matter if you started from $1.00 or $52.00? I transferred $49 into my savings account today, so I’m up to $202.00 saved this year! Woo-hoo! New purse at the end of the year, maybe …?

Food review – Aunty’s Steamed Puddings

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty obsessed with World Market. We can walk there from our condo and that’s dangerous. In addition to having really interesting kitchen supplies, home decor, accessories, jewelry, furniture, beer/wine … they also have a bunch of food. And every time I go in there I see a bunch of interesting-looking food and drinks that I just have to try.

 

I found this in the post-Christmas clearance section last week. No they were not $3.99. I’m not made of money, hah. Like I said, clearance.

 

 

I thought … STEAMED PUDDINGS?! I need that! So it made its way into my basket.

 

The puddings came in two individually wrapped plastic cups covered in foil.

 

 

You just take the foil off and microwave for about 40 seconds. Super easy. You could also make them in the oven or in a steamer basket, I think, but who has time for that? After you microwave it, the top layer of the pudding puffs up like bread and splits in the middle. It’s actually really cute.

 

 

So now it was time to try it.

 

Mmmm, delicious!

 

 

As you can see, the top part is bread-like, and the under-layers are, um, kind of syrupy? So there was nothing about this that was like American pudding. But that’s ok, I wasn’t really expecting that anyway. Here’s what it looked like when I stirred it around a lot in its cup.

 

 

Since my husband is a lot smarter than I am, he actually flipped his pudding out onto a plate.

 

 

The bread part was sweet. The syrup/caramel part was REALLY SWEET OMG. Overall the whole thing was a huge sugar bomb. I would not recommend this if you have sensitive teeth that ache when you eat anything too sugary because this was all sugar, all the time. But I happen to really love sugar, caramel, and whatever sticky toffee is I’m sure I like that too, so this was perfect for me. I couldn’t really taste the dates that were mentioned on the packaging, though.

 

The pudding was heated all the way through (in fact, it was a little too hot) after only 40 seconds in the microwave, and once I was able to stir it a bit, the “sticky toffee” sauce mixed well with the bread-like layers. Portion size was on the small side, but with something this rich/sweet you almost don’t want a huge portion of it.

 

Overall I would say it was worth the few bucks (less than $2) that I spent on it. So yay World Market and your weird food. I will be back to try more weird food items in the future!

 

What’s your favorite type of dessert? Would you try pudding from the clearance food section? 😉

January 2014 Birchbox reviews

I’m sure you all know what Birchbox is by now, but just in case you don’t, it’s a monthly subscription system where you can get anywhere from 4-6 samples of mid-range to high-end beauty and lifestyle products. The samples range in size from single use pouches to about half the size of a normal product, and in some boxes one of the samples may be a full-size product. If you don’t already have a subscription, you can sign up here.

Here is my haul from this month’s box!

I received Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish starter kit, an Under Armour braided headband, Ruby Wing color-changing nail polish, Nelson J Argan Oil hair mask, and Camille Beckman hand therapy lotion.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish: This kit contained the cleanser, which was a decent sized sample and will probably last me a few months with occasional use. It also contained a muslin cloth, which was kind of like a thin washcloth. This is a different kind of cleanser, because you actually apply it to dry skin, and then use the cloth dampened in hot water to rinse off the cleanser. It was pretty good at removing makeup without leaving my skin super dry, but I did feel like I needed to go back over my face with toner or eye makeup remover afterward to get rid of all my makeup. In the mornings that’s obviously not an issue at all!

Under Armour braided headband: It holds hair in place but I felt it was a little tight. Maybe I just have a big head, lol. I think it could work for working out but it did leave a “dent” in my hair.

Ruby Wing color changing nail polish: I have to say, I … didn’t notice a color change? I wonder if that’s because I used my normal Sephora Pro X base coat and Seche Vite top coat. The color change is supposed to be due to exposure to UV rays outdoors and with top coat over it, maybe the UV rays couldn’t reach? Maybe? I’m just making things up here. Anyway, I actually did like the formula. It was on the thin side but I still needed only the standard 2 coats for full color coverage. The color is a fun hot pink/magenta. I would use it again despite not noticing a color change.

Nelson J Argan Oil hair mask: I didn’t try this. OOPS. I just got my hair cut and since it’s much shorter and healthier now, I don’t feel that I need a hair mask. In fact, I just went back into my beauty profile and took “dry hair” out of my profile. I mean, I’ll probably use it eventually but not this month.

Camille Beckman hand therapy: This stuff really works! I have major dry skin in the winter and this lotion is very hydrating without feeling greasy. It absorbs quickly into skin so that’s why there’s no greasy feeling. 🙂 Also, the scent is great. It may be a little too strong for some but I really like the scent and it’s very long-lasting.

All in all, this was one of my better Birchboxes. It seems like every other month is really good and then the off months are kind of … well, off. Hah. But for $10 a month I’m really happy with it. The Camille Beckman hand therapy might be one of the best lotions I’ve ever tried, for real.

Do you subscribe to Birchbox? What was in your box this month and what did you think? I love to hear about all the different options available each month!

Disclosure: This post contains referral links.

Snow day? Snow day!

We did (eventually) get a snow day today — a half day early dismissal from work. Hurrah!

 

One thing I have noticed since moving here is that snow days are taken very seriously in the south (and yes, we’re south of the Mason-Dixon line so I would consider it, broadly, The South — it’s certainly more southern than where I’m originally from in Ohio!) I don’t think I ever missed a day of work due to weather when I lived in Cleveland. And I missed college classes once, and that was mainly because it was right after a long weekend when many students were off campus anyway and having trouble getting back in town.

 

Here are some pictures of the day! It is still snowing as I am writing this at 6 PM, but it’s starting to calm down … I think … it’s too dark to tell and I’m all bundled in on my couch so I don’t want to get up and look, LOL.

 

Outfit pic from this morning. Due to the snow we had an unexpected casual day so I wore jeans. Side note, I tend to like soft, romantic tones for winter. Cream and pink, and in my face pic you can see my gray necklace.

 

 

I wore my glasses today because this dry weather has been making my contacts extra dry during the day. I also chopped about 6″ off my hair this weekend and had it colored very dark brown. No big.

 

I took these pictures around 4 this afternoon when we had a brief moment where it wasn’t so windy. Honestly, to a Clevelander like me the temperature wasn’t that cold. According to our digital thermometer it was about 26, but it was definitely windy so that made it feel a lot colder.

 

 

You can still see the grass under this tree, but just barely.

 

Baby ducks in one of our neighborhood ponds! Awwww …

 

 

This is my street. Now I certainly don’t live on a main road, but people do use our neighborhood as a cut-through (which is super annoying, but anyway …) You can see that the road had barely been touched by the plows.

 

 

Snow depth on a picnic table. This is the fluffy, powdery snow.

 

 

Another shot of the duck pond.

 

I saw this when I was walking around and I cracked up! It’s a … snowman? Well, an attempt was made I guess.

 

Closet organization

Hope everyone had a great weekend! It seemed so short … and I have to work tomorrow during the holiday so I don’t even get a 3-day weekend!

 

Part of the Apartment Therapy January Cure has been to organize your kitchen cabinets and your closets. It’s taken us a little while, but we both did a lot of organizing work in the kitchen and in the bedroom closet (and by the bedroom closet, I mean my bedroom closet haha). Side note, it may seem that I’m monopolizing all the closet space, but we also have a standard-sized closet in the bedroom, and my husband keeps all his clothes in there and in our dresser from Room & Board. (When we finish our collection with another night stand and another dresser I really want to post a picture of our bedroom furniture! It looks amazing! We already have the standard-sized 6-drawer dresser, but I’d like to compliment it with the tall 5-drawer dresser. That way, I can get rid of the old dresser I have in the closet right now. It’s also a 6-drawer dresser but it is super small and the drawers are extremely shallow so it’s hard to store anything in there.)

 

We’ll start with the closet first:

 

This is what you would see when you first come in. My closet is off the bathroom.

 

 

I hate how they did this closet in terms of the way it is set up, but we’re renting so what can we really do. These shelves contain my handbags and some of my shoes. Underneath this I hang shirts. The top shelf is a little weird because it’s where we store the box for my computer monitor, but that’s a good place for it in terms of where it fits so it’s OK I guess.

 

More shoes! These are hanging over the door.

 

 

This is my makeup and jewelry organization! My jewelry is in the jewelry case, and in terms of my makeup, my nail polish is in the clear drawer at the very bottom; and in the 3-drawer chest, the lowest drawer contains bath and body products, the middle drawer is all eyeshadow, and the top drawer contains all other products. They’re divided up into different areas like lipsticks, blushes/powders, eyeliners, face makeup, etc. using little plastic boxes I got at the Container Store. I will take a picture (someday!) of my nail polish organization because the drawer is actually sub-divided into smaller compartments so I can organize by color family and have a separate divider for treatments and base coats etc.

 

 

Oh — And these are all the clothes and shoes I’m donating!

 

 

Yes! That’s two bags worth. Holy crap.

 

So I still have more organizing to go in here, but it’s a lot better now that I’ve gotten rid of extra clothes and shoes. That bag of clothes is FULL. It may not actually close, LOL. And there’s probably 7 pairs of shoes in the other bag.

 

I only wish I had some before pictures because there were like, books on the floor, shopping bags, clothes, shoes everywhere, it was a huge mess.

 

I do also have some cabinet pics from our kitchen and dining area, but I will post them later in the week.

OOTD Casual Friday edition

Hope you all had a great Friday! We have casual Friday at work, which means jeans are allowed, but today I elected to wear cords.

 

Today I am wearing my dark blue-gray Bobeau cardigan (with a black tee underneath). I wasn’t sure on the size on this because in so many cardigans I end up having to size up if I’m in between sizes because my back/shoulders are the widest part of my body, and if you’re wearing something underneath it you don’t want the cardi to pull across your back. This is a size small and I think the fit is appropriate. It doesn’t pull at all but it also doesn’t feel loose in that area.

 

My khaki skinny cords are Banana Republic, boots are old from Kohl’s, and pearl bracelet is Forever 21.

 

Oh! And can you see my bright pink nails? My nail polish is Ruby Wing Color Changing nail polish which I got in this month’s Birch Box! But I put my normal Seche Vite topcoat over it, and I’m not sure if that did anything but now I don’t notice a color change. It’s supposed to change from pink inside to reddish-orange outside due to UV rays. Well, regardless, it’s a really fun pink color which applied easily. So that’s not so bad.

 

Makeup pic. Nothing too special today! My eye makeup was Bare Minerals Ready eyeshadow duo in Epiphany. Other than that, it’s my standard BB cream, concealer, mascara, etc.

 

 

And I’m getting my hair cut and colored tomorrow so it should look a bit different! I just need to get some length cut off the ends and to cover my grays around my roots. Yes, I have these tiny, wiry gray hairs that pop out every so often. It’s just lovely. 😦 Hah …

Recipe post – Potato leek soup

As I may have mentioned before, we get a weekly crop share through a local business here. In our last box, we got a bunch of potatoes and a bunch of leeks. Fortunately, I looked on the crop share blog and saw this great-looking recipe for leek and potato soup!

But … of course I couldn’t just make it the way it said. So along with the leeks, I also chopped up 2 sticks of celery, which I cooked along with the leeks. I think that’s why my soup turned out much lighter green than the photo in the recipe that was posted. I was really just wanting to use up this celery, plus I was kind of afraid of all those leeks! I thought it would be mega-onion-y but it was not at all. 🙂

In addition, I added some garlic powder for flavor at the same time that I added the other spices (bay leaves and chili powder).

In the end, the soup was … good. It was surprisingly plenty creamy even though the only liquid used was water, I guess due to the pureed potatoes. But it was lacking something, and I’m pretty certain that something was bacon. Luckily we have plenty of leftovers, so I think we will refrigerate them and this weekend, I’ll cook up some delicious, delicious bacon and add it into the soup.

 

 

PS — How good does this sound?

 

Now if you want to get fancy, and you’ve availed yourself of the aforementioned Black Truffle Salt, you can whip up some garlic truffle oil in advance to drizzle on top of your soup for an added luscious kick.  Just heat 1 Tbsp of minced garlic in oh about 1 cup of olive oil, throw in some Black Truffle Salt and let that simmer away on low heat for about 30 minutes.  Strain out your garlic, and bottle up the oil for future use.  I added a sprig of dried rosemary to my bottle, because the essence of garlic and black truffle was just not decadent enough.

 I guess I’ll have to get out to the Spice & Tea Exchange at some point and get some of that black truffle salt!