Showing posts with label IMHO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IMHO. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

An overload of cute

I have a new show obsession which almost killed me. I was at Steve's house flipping channels and saw on Animal Planet the new show Too Cute. I thought I was going to have a seizure. Fricken, KITTENS!!! And PUPPIES!!! Just parading around! All floppy-like and helpless! Holy frick, you guys! The first episode I saw featured three sets of kittens. The second episode I saw featured three sets of puppies, the first of which were PUGS OMG!!! I believe many of you know how much I adore pugs. All smoosh face dogs, really. But pugs especially, thanks to my darling God Pug, Dave.
I luff his face. 
My almost death happened at my parents' house. My dad has a television that is high def and literally bigger than me. I was waiting for my nieces to come over and flipping channels when Too Cute came on.

Kittens. Kittens three feet tall. In HIGH DEFINITION. It was too much. I couldn't breathe. Cuteness was overwhelming my system. Then my Hannah ran in and saw what I was watching and GASPED and reaffirmed how much I love that kid.

And that is the story of how I almost died of acute cuteness.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

May the odds be ever in your favor

I bought the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy a few months ago on a whim at Marshalls. When I got home, I settled down on the couch and started reading. I didn't sleep that night because I couldn't put it down. I read it cover to cover in one night and needed more. I went to three different Marshalls stores the next day in search of the last two books but only found one so I paid FULL PRICE for the last book in hardcover (which is unheard of, for me).

I finished the series in record time. The story was engrossing, original, and thoroughly enjoyable. I loved and felt for the characters. I needed to know more about them. And when I heard that there was going to be a movie made based on the books, I was so excited to see it!

On Monday (almost a week ago!) I was talking to Anne and realized we both wanted to go see the Hunger Games, so why not double date at the Dine In theater? (Check out Anne's blog! She wrote a great review of the Dine In experience! :) We went online and saw that the showing we wanted to go to was already half filled. We decided instantly to buy tickets and STILL couldn't get four seats together.

Fast forward almost a week to today. Excitement levels have peaked. I did my nails for the occasion.
Ring finger on FIRE!!!
I was so excited, and the movie did not disappoint. It satisfied those who loved the books and was still accessible to movie goers who hadn't read them. I loved it. It's rare that a movie lives up to its literary counterpart, and I believe that this movie succeeded in that. The last time I was this excited about a movie/book franchise was when I read the Harry Potter books.

I can't wait for the next two movies. Now I have to go re-read the books!

Monday, February 27, 2012

High Tea at Ana Beall's Tea Room

I've recently become obsessed with Downton Abbey. I've always been obsessed with aristocratic English life. Formal dress. Butlers, footmen, and lady maids. Beautiful sprawling manors. But mostly tea time. I LOVE tea time. Even as a kid, I loved tea time. There used to be a tea shop near the Liberty Village outlet shops and whenever we went, I would BEG my mom to take me there for tea and scones.

This weekend, my mom gave me a Groupon for High Tea for Two at Ana Beall's Tea Room. I made a reservation for Steve and me for 2:30 on Sunday. The tea shop is located in Westfield across from the train street in a little house. It feels like you're going to someone's home for tea. We were seated on the second floor in cushy seats and given our tea options. I chose English Breakfast and Steve chose Pomegranate Hibiscus. With High Tea, we had the option for soup or salad before our finger sandwiches and scones. We both chose the salad over the spinach vegetable soup.
I loved that the sugar was natural unbleached brown sugar cubes. And Ana Beall's is serious about their tea. It's all loose leaf tea in long sleeve tea bags (that's what's peeking out of the back of the tea pot) that are easily removable after it has steeped long enough.

Our scones and sweets arrived moments after our salad plates were cleared away.
Tower of noms
The top tier held two scones, white chocolate cranberry and cinnamon sugar, with strawberry jam and cream. The middle tier had finger sandwiches: two each of egg salad, chicken salad, red pepper humus, and cucumber goat cheese. The bottom tier had various desserts including crumb cake, a shortbread cookie, some kind of rainbow almond cake thing, and two other things I couldn't identify but were yummy.
We enjoyed the tower of noms. 
Overall, it was a lovely experience. It made for a great Sunday afternoon date with Steve. The environment was bright and cheery and conductive to conversation. There was a back room on the second floor where a large party was celebrating something. (I couldn't tell what.) And when we got there, a baby shower was just wrapping up. I could definitely see having a bridal/baby shower there.

I will definitely go there again!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Movie tragedies. Real life.

I was on the radio today. I've never called into a talk radio show, but I did today. It was New Jersey 101.5. I was driving to my parents' house and flipping radio stations when I heard the talk radio hosts, Deminski and Doyle, talking about the new Tom Hanks movie "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." The movie is about the son of a man who died on 9/11. Apparently, the sister of someone who died on one of the planes on 9/11 believes that the filmmakers are exploiting the tragedy for commercial gain and is calling for a boycott of the movie.

I have complicated feelings about this. On one hand, I also freaked out when I saw the trailer. I don't like being reminded about that day. Whenever it is referenced and there are news clips that show the towers on fire, I cringe and have to look away. Even 10 years later. Every time I take the train into New York and I see the skyline that's missing two very important pieces, I'm reminded of that awful day.

On the other hand, it's part of our history. It happened. We can't pretend it didn't. Movies are made all the time about historical tragedies. One of the biggest movies of all time was about an tragedy. (Titanic, if you couldn't guess.) And it's not the only one. Pearl Harbor. Schindler's List. Hotel Rwanda. All about tragic events. All recent enough that people still living would remember it and be affected by a movie about it.

When I called in, (I was Aliah from Plainfield. Haydia is hard to say) I pointed out that there had already been a film made about 9/11. They had no idea what I was talking about. It was called "World Trade Center" and starred Nicolas Cage. No one remembers that movie. There was also a film called "United 93" about the people who brought down that plane in PA. So this film isn't new. It's just another in the inevitable slew of films that will come to be made about that day in September.

My advice to that lady who called for a boycott? Don't go see it. Change the channel when the trailer comes on. It's tough. It will probably always be tough. But 9/11 is a part of our cultural history. And pretending it never happened is not the way to go. Plus Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock are in it. If anyone can be trusted to be gentle with that sacred material, it's those two.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Wen Hair Care follow up

It's been way over a month since I've been using the Wen hair care system so it's time for my post mortem.

I didn't love it. The promises it made just didn't come to fruition for me.

Things I liked:

  • It was an all in one. I didn't have to shampoo and condition separately.
  • My hair was initially shinier and fuller.
  • The leave-in conditioner was wonderful. My hair was incredibly soft after one use and definitely made the cost of the starter kit worth it. 

Things I didn't like:

  • My hair was a oilier than I am used to.
  • I had to use a LOT of product. The instructions said 8 pumps or more for long hair and I usually ended up using more. The instructions made a point to say that you can't use too much product, which felt like a self serving instruction. It felt like they were saying "use as much as humanly possible so you can buy MORE!!!" which didn't sit too well with me. 
  • After a few uses, I didn't notice a difference in my hair. I expected softer, fuller hair, but although my hair was softer, it was flat.
  • Ordering the product online or over the phone meant being forced into an automatic shipment plan. Because I wasn't interested in having additional products shipped to me automatically every month, I called as soon as I received my package to cancel the automatic shipments. I had to repeat to the person on the phone over and over again that I had absolutely no interest in the automatic shipments. They were hellbent on keeping me on file. 

Between the intensive leave-in, the styling balm that I gave Steve, the wooden wide tooth comb that I still use daily, and the daily leave in conditioner, it was worth the initial trial. My biggest problems with the Wen Hair Care System were with the way the product was sold and how customer service is handled, not the product. I've heard that people with different hair types from me have had wonderful experiences with Wen, but I wouldn't buy it again.

On to the next product!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A love letter

Warning: sappiness and gooey love within. You have been warned. Read at your own peril.

I am in love. I never thought I would be. I hoped for love. I dreamt of love. I thought I knew what it would be like. I thought I knew what he would be like. I thought I knew what it would feel like. I was so wrong. It's even better than I thought it could be.

When I was younger, I thought that the man I would spend my life with would be my other half. He would be my knight in shining armor. He would sweep in on a white horse and solve all my problems and we would live happily ever after and life would be complete once he was in my life. Now that I'm older, I know that love doesn't solve your problems, but having someone who loves you makes your problems easier to bear.

The man I love brings me joy. He makes me stronger. He makes me laugh. He understands me. He has seen me at my best and my worst. He's my best friend. He's the first person I want to talk to in the morning and the last person I want to talk to at night. He knows me better than anyone else. He sees my weaknesses and doesn't judge me for them, but allows me the room to grow and become a better person.

Babe, I can't give you the world for Christmas. I wish I was rich. I would buy you iPads and mixers and cars and guitars. But I can't. You have been so amazing to me and I want you to know how much I love and appreciate you. I used to hate Christmas. Now I look forward to sharing this season with you. You've turned me into one of those sappy, lovey, gross, happy people! I love you. Merry Christmas.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Product review: Wen Hair Care

I was watching television with Steve late one night recently, and I saw a commercial for a hair care product called Wen. I was intrigued.

It claimed to replace traditional shampoo and leave your hair soft and healthy. Well, that sounds great! I'll try it! Steve, being awesome, said he'd get it for me if I wanted to try it, as he's a proponent of me looking good.

It arrived today. I opened it up, and unpacked the box. It contained:
Wen conditioner
Intensive Hair Treatment
Styling Creme
Texture Balm
Wide tooth comb

I gave Maya the box, and took the comb and conditioner out.

Here's me before my shower:

And here's me after my shower and several hours later at Steve's house:
Sorry it's so dark. My face is being lit by the light of his PlayStation. 
I used the styling creme on my wet hair before I blow dried. First impressions? I had to use A LOT of the conditioner. Like, way more than I thought I would have to use. Twice as much as I would normally use if it were a regular conditioner. It cut down on my shower time since I didn't have to shampoo separately. I put the conditioner on first, before body washing and face scrubbing, then washed it off last. That was a plus. My hair wasn't as soft as it promised it would be. I'm hoping after continued use it will do as promised. I'm not completely sold on it yet. We'll see.

I haven't used the intensive treatment or the texturizing balm yet. I will use the intensive treatment this weekend and report back. I had intended to use it today, but my primping time had to be cut short because Steve and I are meeting up with some friends at the Corner of Chaos haunted hayride and corn maze. That's why before and after are in two different locations. I'm so excited!

In case I don't blog before Monday, Happy Halloween everyone! Be safe!


I was asked some questions, so I thought I'd give some more information.

I definitely think it's worth checking out. For $30, you get a lot of product. A friend recommended the Fekkai Shea Hair mask, but at $30 for 7 oz, I think I will stick to the Wen system for a little longer. If the intensive treatment lets me down, I may splurge on Fekkai.

Also, Wen claims to be a natural hair product which is definitely a plus. Modern shampoos are very harsh on your hair, so I've been on the lookout for alternatives for a long time. I had tried solid shampoos and conditioners before but they left my hair dry. This is only day of this system, so I am still optimistic.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Target is magic

I just came home from a shopping trip at my local Target. It was my first trip there since they revamped and added fresh foods and an expanded grocery section. If you know me, you are aware of my love affair with Target. My reason for going today was to exchange the Ninjago Ice Dragon that Steve and I had bought for my niece's birthday for the Ninjago Earth Dragon because someone had already bought the Ice Dragon for her. (She is obsessed with dragons. My niece is awesome.) Unfortunately, the Earth Dragon seems to have disappeared between last weekend and this weekend. There was no trace of it in the store. Not even on the little cards on the shelves. So I ended up getting her the Atlantis Angler Attack because she was an angler fish for Halloween a few years ago and she is, as previously stated, awesome.

With mission "Hannah's Present" accomplished, I was free to wander the store. This is a rare treat since Steve doesn't have the patience to wander Target. He likes to focus. In and out. That's not how you Target! (Yes it's a verb now.) Especially after a redesign!!! I have to take in all the newness! Stuff is in different places! There's new stuff to be seen! I wandered around texting Anne for about two hours. It was glorious.

Highlight of the night: the frozen section has the new LED lights that dim when no one is in the aisle. So when you go through after no one has been there for a while, it's MAGIC!!!!!! You know how in the Billie Jean video, when Michael walks down the street and the sidewalk lights up as he steps on each block? Just like that. It made me ridiculously happy. Some woman ruined it for me the first time because I was just starting to bask in the amazing-ness when she barged ahead of me and lit up the rest of the freezers. Jerk. I waited for the freezers to turn off then RACED down the aisle with my cart. I told Anne about the excitement (via G Chat.) Her response? "You need to get out more." She may be right.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Natural face exfoliator

I am starting a new series where I try things out so you don't have to. It will be my human guinea pig series.

Today, I am testing out a simple natural exfoliator.

The recipe:

1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon orange juice (freshly squeezed)

Mix and apply generously to the face.

Haydia before. Please note that I have not showered. Don't judge me.

I used a soy sauce bowl to mix everything in. 

All mixed! You'll have way more than you need. If it gets too thick, add more orange juice, and vice versa.
Tingly!!! I left it on for 20 minutes. 

This was taken right before I got in the shower to wash it off. Maya wasn't budging. Sorry. 
I wet it before I washed it off and gave my face one last scrub. You could feel the baking soda scrubbing your face.  

Done! After I washed it off, I moisturized as usual. My face is still tingly, super soft, and slightly pink. I can see a difference in the way my skin feels and looks. I will definitely be doing this one again. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Boys, look away. This one's for the ladies.

I've decided to come clean with all of you. I don't use tampons or pads. THERE! I said it. (I feel so much better now.)

For about 7 years, I've used a menstrual cup to deal with my period (the Diva Cup, specifically.) I've always felt that there is a stigma around girly products and periods in general, and no one talks about it. But this cup is too good to keep to myself, so I'm sharing.

A menstrual cup is made of silicone and you insert it. The difference between the Diva Cup and tampons? You only have to empty the cup once every 12 hours or so, and it's reusable. I haven't bought tampons or pads in 7 years. SEVEN YEARS!!! It sits low in the vagina and forms a seal to capture any fluids. And because it's made of silicone, it warms to your body and you can't feel it. I've had only 2 accidents since I've been using the Diva Cup.

Some cons:
  • You have to be comfortable with your body. Insertion is INSERTION. You have to be all up in your junk. But it gets easy after a few tries. And shouldn't we all be comfortable with our bodies? (That's total bs, btw. It took me LOTS of tries to be totally comfortable with it. But it's SO worth it!)
  • It takes practice. I got the hang of it after 2 cycles. But after that, I didn't need backup pads.
The pros!
  • You can wear it anywhere: swimming, running (like I run. HA!), and overnight, without worrying about leakage. Once it's been inserted properly, it won't leak unless it's full. (The cup holds about 1 ounce of fluid, and the average period is 3-4 ounces over the entire cycle. The cup is usually less than half full in 12 hours.)  
  • It's the Ron Popeil Rotisserie Oven of period gear. Set It, and Forget It! I've actually forgotten I've had it in before. 
  • You NEVER HAVE TO BUY PADS OR TAMPONS AGAIN!!! I can't stress this point enough. It's environmentally friendly!
  • It's also very cost efficient. It costs about $25-30 up front, but you save so much more than that in the long run. The website says to change it yearly, but I've read testimonials that say they've used it safely for 10 years or more. I'm on my 7th year with the same one. I boil it between cycles and I've never had a problem with it.
  • You can wear it longer than tampons. I empty it once a day. THAT'S IT. I don't have to remember to bring tampons with me, or change it during the day. I clean it out in the morning, and again at night before bed.
So that's my take on the Diva Cup. They have a long FAQ on their web site if you want more information, and it is available for purchase online or at Whole Foods.

Monday, June 13, 2011

All about eyes

Hi friends! Today I want to talk about eye makeup. I have bought, tried, and discarded TONS of mascaras and eyeliners. Here are my favorites.

I currently have three go-to mascaras. One for everyday use, one for special occasions, and one just because I love it.

My everyday mascara is Maybelline Full 'N Soft. I've used this since high school and it's never failed me. I don't like my lashes to be hard and spider leg-like, and this lives up to its name, giving me lots of volume while leaving my lashes soft.

My special occasion mascara is Maybelline Falsies Volum'Express Mascara. It gives me major length and thickness, but I only use it when I really need to add drama because it tends to flake off. It lasts FOREVER, so make sure you remove it thoroughly before going to bed or you will get serious raccoon eyes. It also lasted through tears at a friend's wedding. Bonus points!

My splurge mascara is Urban Decay Big Fatty. It works just like the Full 'N Soft, but it goes on much faster and smoother because of its huge brush. I've tried it in a few colors, but the basic black is the best.

I've searched and searched for eyeliner that won't smudge under my eyes. After years of testing, I've found a few that work for me.

My current eyeliner is Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On eye pencil in black. Application is smooth and it lasts all day. I use this on my upper lash line.

For drama, I use Smashbox Jet Set Eyeliner. This eyeliner comes in a pot and is applied with a brush. (I use the MAC ultra thin angled eyeliner brush.) I like how versatile this eyeliner is. It goes on much easier than liquid liners, but you can get the same effect. I used to use MAC Fluidline Eye Liner Gel and loved it, but I like the feel of the Smashbox better. I've also tried the Maybelline Eye Studio Gel eyeliner, which is half the price of the Smashbox eyeliner and comes with its own brush, but it doesn't go on as smooth.

For my lower water line, I use Hashmi Kajal, which I don't recommend for everyone. This is the eyeliner that I don't leave the house without. I usually buy it through eBay or Amazon, since I can't find it in Edison. It's a bit tricky to apply, but it puts color on both the upper and lower inner eyelid once you get the hang of it. It is smudgy, and gives you the smokey eye look with very little effort. I was going to make a how-to video for this, but there isn't enough light in my house. Sorry.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Product review: OPI Black Shatter

I went to the mall today to spend my $20 Old Navy Groupon. I failed. There was nothing there I wanted. As consolation, I wandered over to Trade Secret, hoping to see if the rest of the Pirates of the Caribbean Collection from OPI was in. I have Planks A Lot on my nails right now. I wanted Mermaid's Tears. They were sold out. :(

They did, however, have Black Shatter, which I have been wanting to try but has been sold out EVERYWHERE. So I got it.

These are my most recent colors:
From left to right: Black Shatter, Y'All Come Back, Hear?,
Do You Think I'm Tex-y?, and Planks A Lot
I am currently wearing Planks A Lot on my hands. It's a soft, fresh color for spring. I don't love it. (But my 3 year old niece complimented me on it. And she always has her nails done. That isn't sarcasm.)
It's a bit too pastel for my tastes. I usually go for bright, bold colors, but wanted to try something different. I added the Black Shatter.
Much better. The Shatter was easy to apply, goof proof, and dried quickly. I like how it quickly and easily transformed a color I didn't love to something bold and unexpected. As you can tell from the photo, I'm not the neatest when I do my nails, but the edges cleaned up easily after it was dry. I LOVE the effect. It definitely needs a top coat to seal the effect in and add shine. The Shatter also served a dual purpose in refreshing my week old (and starting to chip) manicure. I didn't have to start over from scratch! I'm definitely going to experiment more with this.

Since pushing the publish button, I have changed both the color on both my toes and my fingers. I was itching to try the Texas colors.

The orange Y'All Come Back, Hear? is now on my toes. It took 4 coats for it to really show up. I suspect if I had lighter skin, it wouldn't have taken as many. It's a pretty color, but not very well suited for my skin tone. I may like it better in the daylight. I left it on. It may grow on me. If I add the Black Shatter, it will be perfect for Halloween.
Please disregard the messy-ness. Also, my camera was acting up
so these aren't very clear. You get the idea, though.
I put the very pink Do You Think I'm Tex-y? on my fingers. I love this color. It's bright, happy, and bold. Exactly what I wanted for a summer color. Like Y'All Come Back, it needed additional coats to really stand out. This may be my go-to for the summer. It will also work really well with the Black Shatter.
Again. Messy. It will be fine after I shower. That's how I roll.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Adventures with Lush Caca Noir

I had a Twitter request to post the details from when I dyed my hair with Lush's Caca Noir Mama natural henna hair color. Since I'm thinking about repeating the process, I thought this would be a good time to put it up. Apologies to those who already saw this on my Facebook page. I'll have something new for you very soon. :)

This is my hair pre-henna, freshly washed with no product in it.

The henna comes in blocks of 6. I used half of the total. To use it, I broke off the portion I needed and grated it into a powder using a box grater. Another option would have been to use a food processor to grind it up, but mine isn't big enough. (Nail polish: OPI Plugged in Plum :) )
After it was all grated, I added hot water to the powder until it was the consistency of pudding, then placed the bowl in a small pot of hot water on the stove to keep it hot and pliable while I applied it. I wore gloves and applied it by hand. I did the application in the kitchen next to the stove to keep the henna warm. (Spread newspapers or old wrapping paper on the floor to catch any spills. It can get messy.)

This is me looking ridiculous with plastic wrap on my head. I wrapped it to keep the heat in, which activates the henna. The smell of the henna is very earthy, but not too bad. I had the windows open and it didn't bother me too much.

I kept it on for 6 hours total; 3 hours wrapped, 3 open because the indigo needs air to develop. The henna dried into a SOLID MASS. At this point, the hair clips were totally redundant. I took this picture right before I washed it out.

I washed it out in the shower using a cheap shampoo. I washed it 4 times to make sure it was all out, then conditioned once. This is me right after washing and drying it.

Next morning! It is already darker, and continued to get darker over the next few days. In addition to the henna and indigo, Caca Noir also has cocoa butter, which left my hair super soft and shiny. I also woke up with no tangles, which is rare!
I'm definitely going to repeat the process soon. It took most of a day to do, but it was totally worth it. I'm so glad I found hair color that is natural!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fixing the skin you're in

I am a girl. Sometimes, I am a girly girl. I have an unhealthy addiction to Sephora. Ridiculously expensive mascara? Yes please. OPI nailpolish? Oh goodness yes. I bought three new colors yesterday. (OMG THE PIRATES COLLECTION!!!)

I recently bought some products from Bliss. I purchased the Steep Clean Pore Purifying Mask, and the No "Zit" Sherlock collection. I've been using the No Zit collection daily, and have used the mask twice. I adore them.

The mask is a dual formula (mix in hand) mask that you leave on for 15 minutes. When I washed it off, my skin was super soft. I've used it twice so far (once per week) and have no complaints.

The No Zit Sherlock collection (cleanser, serum, moisturizer) has been working so far. I tend to have mini breakouts every once in a while, but my skin has been clear since I've started using this. (For spot treatments, I've been using Burt's Bees Targeted Spot Treatment. I've had overnight success getting rid of pimples using this. Let's not get into my Burt's Bees addiction.) I expected some dryness since I'm using a whole slew of products, but I'm happy to report that my skin has been fine.

The correcting serum claims to correct dark spots from old pimples. This was a major selling point because I have some discoloration from past breakouts and want them to go away without resorting to chemical peels or anything more drastic. I like being able to go out with minimal makeup on. (Minimal = eyeliner, mascara only. I feel naked without eyeliner.) Having scrutinized my face since buying these, I haven't really seen a change in the discoloration, but it's only been two weeks. I'm keeping the faith on this.

These products are on the expensive side, but Bliss has an excellent reputation for skin care. And I had a gift card.