Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pillsbury Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

As I mentioned in an earlier blog today, I made pink lemonade cupcakes this morning.  I didn't have to spend the day in the kitchen to do so either because Pillsbury now makes Pink Lemonade cake mix and frosting.  They are AMAZING! 



Now, I am not afraid or opposed to baking from scratch, but who wants to do that in the summer heat.  These were quick great Saturday treat.



 I always fill the pan too high and never end up with enough batter to fill both cupcake pans.



To make canned frosting lighter and more spreadable, I also beat it for about 2 minutes before I frost.  This also makes yoru fosting last longer.

These might be my new boxed cake favorite!



Julep Maven

Julep Maven is a subscription service that costs $19.99 a month, in which you receive over $40 worth of Julep products.  When you sign up you take a quiz to determine what kind of "beauty" you are.  Your products are then customized to your beauty profile and consist of 2 bottles of Julep polish and a 3rd item which is usually some kind of Julep beauty product.  (One beauty profile box contains 3 nail polishes rather than the 3rd extra item).

Each month you can log onto Julep.com and view the boxes for that month.  While you are defined as one style, you can change your style for that month based on which polishes you would prefer getting or you can skip that month and not be charged anything.
I have been a Julep Maven since January of this year.  I signed up for the service because I had a $5 coupon code and wanted to see what it was all about.  I have way too many nail polishes already so I usually find myself skipping each month.
According to my beauty profile, I am an American Beauty.  Julep defines an American Beauty as  charming and traditional all at once, this look is the grown up version of the All-American girl-next-door. You enjoy making heads turn in your best cocktail dress and heels, but also love nothing more than relaxing in your favorite tee and jeans. Elegantly simple at times but unafraid of a little indulgence, your wardrobe glows with bright and vivacious hues. (Because that SO clearly fits me).
In addition to your monthly Julep Maven box your subscription always gives you:
  • 20% off all purchases in the Julep Maven Boutique
  • Free shipping on all orders in the Maven Boutique
  • Extra discounts and bonus treats all year long
  • Easy exchanges and returns
  • No commitment. Skip any box and you won’t be charged that month. There’s no limit to the number of months you can skip. You can also cancel your account at any time.
Julep also offers a referral program.  For every 2 friends you refer you will earn a free month.  I had a credit for a free month for referring 2 friends, so I decided to use it on the July Julep box.  I switched it up and chose the Bombshell box.  This month boxes contained a 4th product, an extra nail polish. 
Here is my July box: 



The Bombshell box contained 3 nail polishes (America, Kate, and Chelsea), a lipgloss (in Zinnia) and 3 Atomic Fireball candies.
Nail polishes (left to right): Chelsea, Kate and America (two coats each)


Lip gloss in Zinnia
While I did pick my box, I am not 100% crazy about it. I adore the nail polish in Kate.  I have been really liking white polish and this is a great opaque white with just a hint of pearlescence making it not white out white.  I will definitely get a lot of use of this summer.  I am about 96.7% sure I won't get any use out of the other two polishes only because I am not that big on glitter polish.  I may wear the lip gloss, but I usually go for a lighter nude or pink gloss.

Overall, I think Julep Maven is a great service for anyone wanting to try new polish colors or expand their collection.  Personally, I am just too plain with my polish preference and have way to many colors to begin with.
Julep polishes can now also be found in select Sephora stores and on Sephora.com.  I believe the monthly colors are new releases and may not be available for individual sale through Sephora. 
If you are interested in joining Julep Maven, you can do so by clicking HERE.

All Things Awesome This Week

My blog is a week old today!  To celebrate I made pink lemonade cupcakes this morning.  (well the cupcakes really had nothing to do with blogging, I just REALLY LIKE cupcakes)   Next week is a short week with our Nation's birthday smack dab in the middle of the week.  It's going to really throw me off as I'm off Wednesday, back to work on Thursday then I took next Friday off to spend with mi amigas. 


Anyway, here's the things that made my world this week.  (It obviously doesn't take much!)


Brazil Nut Body Butter - Body Butter
  • The Body Shop's Brazil Nut Body Butter - I love the Body Shop.  Not only is there stuff amazing, but when they have sales you can save some serious cash and stock up.  The Brazil Nut Body Butter is my all time favorite.  It smells AMAZING!  I have been using it for close to 10 years. 
  • Starbucks Trenta Iced Coffee's - I'm not a mornign person.  Most people won't deal with me until my first cup of coffee in the morning.  Since it's summer, there is nothing better than the largest iced coffee imaginable. Who says 31 oz is too much coffee? 
  • My father's iPhone - My sister and I got my father an iPhone for father's day this year.  While we have quickly learned that despite him asking for it incessantly, it's not a good idea to give a 69 year old man with no technicalogical prowess an iPhone.  He barely mastered his old flip phone.  The purchase was against our better judgement and we have regretted it since, BUT it has provided us with hours of amusement for the last 14 days.  In addition, I no longer have to duck when his phone rings in public as his ring tone is no longer a recording of me telling him to answer his phone. 


  • I am obsessed with orange tic tacs.  I was the happiest girl in the world when I found this super sized pack at CVS last night.

  • J.Crew Canvas Tillary Tote - Even though I bought it a couple of months ago, due to it's red, white and blue colors, I am making it a favorite in celebration of the Fourth of July. (And I toll be toting it around all weekend!!)

  • ABC's the Glass House - I am a big fan of Big Brother, and with just a couple weeks until it comes back for the summer ABC's Glass House is very BB-esque.  It won't replace Big Brother but with nothing much on television this summer, I'll definately Tivo it.
  •  
Something didn't rock my world this week - My beloved General Hospital moving to the 2 pm time slot in September.  Since I watch it on Tivo it really shouldn't matter, but I am keeping my fingers crossed hoping that it doesn't mean that ABC is going to be looking to cancel it anytime in the next 50+ years.

What were the places, faces or items that rocked your world this week?
     
     

     

Friday, June 29, 2012

Are you as productive as you could be?

Funny Workplace Ecard: I know I'd be far more productive at work if Bradley Cooper was my coworker.
I often feel that I am not as productive as I could be at work.  With so much going on on the interwebs and my morning routine of checking all my favorite blogs, I can sometime waste close to an hour before I dive into my day.  I recently attended a seminar on productively where the speaker suggested turning off your email and internet for 15 minutes each morning and each afternoon and focus on one high priority project.  After 3 weeks, do the same for 15 minutes twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon.  You would then have spent 1 hour a day/5 hours a week on pure uninterrupted work.  Think of how much you could get done in that time. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

3 Months with the Clarisonic Mia

I am a little apprehensive about high-priced beauty gadgets. They can often be a lot of money to shell out without really knowing what it is going to do for you. You can read reviews and get reccomendations, but who is to say that what works for one is going to work for another.  Needless to say, my decision to buy a Clarisonic Mia was not easy.  In fact, it took me about 6 months to finally take the pludge and I only bought it when I did because I had a 20% off VIB coupoin at Sephora.

I first heard about the Clarisonic from my sister who has been using one for quite some time now and raves about it.  Since we have completely different skin types (her skin is basically perfect with just some dryness while I have "problem" skin), I disregarded her suggestions to try it out. 

Up until my early 20's I had perfect low-maintenance skin.  Never wore make-up, never had to fuss with certain products; I was pretty damn lucky.  Around 21 I started developing acne.  It was nothing major that I couldn't maintain on my own, but it was far from the perfect skin I had in my youth.  Because of the acne I have also developed hyperpigmentation. While this is not a review on Proactiv, I have found that it is the only product that clears my acne.  I have tried to use other producst over the last 10+ years but whenever I use something else I experience breakouts.  Because of the benzoyl peroxide, I often experience moderate dryness.

I bought the Clarisonic after reading reviews from others with acne prone skin.  I also figured it would help exfoliate the dry spots.  After using the Clarisonic for 3 months, my skin looks better than it has since I was 20 year old.  I still use Proactiv but I have been able to reduce my usage from twice a day to just once.  (I use Proactiv at night and a Aveeno Positively Radiant Brightening Cleanser in the AM).  I no longer get dry spots and my hyperpigmentation is practically nonexistent. While I was originally on the fence about purchasing and even had a touch of buyers remorse after, the Clarisonic Mia was definately an investment in my skin and my sanity (as I no longer stress about my skin).

It is reccomended that you replace your brush head every 3 months, but I replaced mine about 2 months in.  I am currently using my Mia with the acne brush head.  I haven't noticed too much of a difference from the brush head that came with my Mia, but according the Clarisonic's website the "extra-plush bristle gradation (of the acne head head) helps to provide ultra-gentle cleansing for sensitive and acne-prone skin."  The replacement brush heads retail for $25, or you can get a double pack for $40. If you purchase directly through Clarisonic, you can mix and match and get 2 different brush heads for $40. 

I bought the Mia in Mandarian Tango.  It retails for $119, but with my 20% off coupon, I got it for $95.20 before MA state sales tax. 



 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

iPhone Cases

I have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with iPhone cases.  I think because there are so many options to choose from, and since everyone and their great father seems to have an iPhone, it is one of the only ways to make your phone physically unique from everyone elses. While I have probably a dozen different cases to dress up my phone, here are my personal favorites form my collection.

Marc by Marc Jacobs 4G Croc iPhone Cover in Rain Slicker


MARC BY MARC JACOBS 'Metallic Stardust' iPhone 4 Case in Rose Gold

Kate Spade All Eyes iPhone Case
Leather iPhone 4 case
J.Crew Leather iPhone 4 Case in Cerulean Blue 
Xtreme Mac Microshield Style ofr iPhone 4 in Black Ostrich
Next on my list to buy is this Natasha Couture 'Skull and Crossbones' iPhone 4 & 4S Case

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

OOTD: Black and Brown

As someone addicted to Pinterest, I am often repinning others' Polyvore collages.  Today, I decided to try the site for myself and let me tell you, I AM ADDICTED!  Think paper dolls for adults.

For my first collage, I decided to recreate my outfit of the day.  I don't usually wear black and brown together, but the right brown can really add some dimension to an all black ensemble. 

I couldn't find my cardigan on Polyvore's site, but this one is similar.  (Mine is the long and lean cardigan from the LOFT in light heather brown and is more of an oatmeal then the one posted).  My jewelry is also slightly different, but a pretty close match.

Black and Brown

In addition, I also added a pop of color with this  turquoise beaded bracelet I made myself.


If you haven't tried Polyvore yet, head on over there . . . but I warn you; it is highly addictive!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Scarves

I've never really been into scarves until this past winter.  Now I just can't seem to get enough of them.  Even though its summer, there is no need to stop wearing these fun, comfortable accessories. Light weight summer scarves are a great way to layer up during the summer.  They are light enough not to add any extra bulk (and heat) and provide warmth from the air conditioning.  Here are some of my favorite picks.


Lulu Bright Stripe Sheer Scarf - Nordstrom's Juniors department is a great place to shop for light weight scarves.  They offer many sizes and patterns to suit your taste, and at only $18 you won't have to dip into your summer vacation fund.


Xhilaration® Magenta Giraffe Print Scarf.Opens in a new window
Xhilaration® Magenta Giraffe Print Scarf - I picked up this scarf from Target months ago and it has took me from the spring into the summer.  Every time I wear it, I get tons of compliments.  The bright pink is right on trend with summer.  It currently out of stock on Target.com, but I bought it for about $12 when I got it.

Free People Tattered Flag Scarf - I don't this scarf as every time I go to buy it, it is sold out.  At $38 it is a little more than I would typically spend on a scarf, but I love the colors and wrapped around the neck, its a bit of a surprise that it is actually an American Flag (in mint and blue)

Anthropologie Spun Star Loop - Infinity scarves are great to loop around your neck with no fuss.  This one is light weight and in one of the years hottest colors - $38.

Old Navy Women's Printed Polka-Dot Scarves- I was quite surprised when I saw this was form Old Navy and at $14 none the less.  It comes in both coral & white and black & white.

printed Summer scarf
J. Crew Printed Summer Scarf -  I love hot pink and leopard. This scarf would look great with a hot pink tee or tank, or a white top and pink shorts.



How Was Your Weekend?


This pretty much sums up how I feel about the dreaded "how was your weekend" question.  Is it bad that I am really not interested in sharing what I did over the weekend with my coworkers?  Nor am I at all interested in what they did?  Nothing bores me more than a play by play of a colleagues Friday afternoon through Sunday evening adventures. 

I'm such a people person . . . . .

Just Another Manic Monday??

Most people hate Mondays.  The weekend is over and it's the start of another long work week.  I never really minded Mondays.  I feel like Tuesday's are twice as hard to get over.  Every other day in the week has a purpose, but Tuesdays not so much. 

On Monday you are fresh and relaxed from the weekend really to take on another week. Wednesdays you have reached the middle and  its kind of smooth sailing ahead.  On Thursday, its may be the last day of the week you need to dress in stuffy work clothes with a casual work day tomorrow so getting out of bed isn't that big of a deal; Friday you are sliding into home base and ready to claim your reward of another great weekend.  Tuesdays . . . . ehhh; I just don't really like you.

Today's not Tuesday though; it's Monday.  And I may be the only person not really caring its Monday.  It's a fresh start to do all the things that I didn't get to do last week.  I like to start my Mondays coming in a little early and tidying up my office (let's face it you'd not hanging around on Friday afternoon to do that) and creating my to do list for the week.  I go through all the files on my desk, putting away the ones I don't need.  I scan my email deleting the messages that do not need my attention.  Then I grab a fresh cup of coffee and tackle me work.  Something about Monday's and getting a fresh start excites me. (and it's doesn't hurt that my boss is taking all Mondays off this summer - yay me!) 

What do you love/hate about Mondays and how do you start your work week?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

June Beauty Buys

Even though there is still a little less then a week left of June, there are already so many beauty finds that I am loving this month, so I thought I would share my faves before the month is up.
Sara Happ Almond Creme Lip Scrub-1 ounces
  • Sara Happ Almond Creme Lip Scrub - They use the tag line "wonder how you ever lived without it" on their website and you really will wonder.  I had looked for a long time to find the perfect lip scrub to exfoliate my lips and never found one I would repurchase until I try Sara Happ's lip scrub. I have the Almond Creme, though I think that flavor may have been discontinued as it's not listed on the Sara Happ website, but can be found HERE for $24.
Too Faced - Lip Insurance Lip Primer


  • Too Faced Lip Insurance Lip Primer - I bought this several months ago on a whim and threw it in a drawer and never touched it until this month when I used it once and fell in love.  I have been using it every day since.  I put it on in the morning, let it dry, and my lip gloss/stick will stay on for at least 5 hours, which for me is a long time!  Beware not to apply too much because it is mattifying and will dry out your lips. 

  • Jouer Essential Eye Clarifier - I can't wear eyeliner.  I don't know if it is because I have oily eyelids or what it is, but every time I try to wear it within minutes I end up raccoon eyes.  The Jouer Essential Eye Clarifier is an oatmeal/nude color that when applied to the waterline it gives the appearance of wider, whiter eyes.  Its great for summer when you want to keep your makeup light and not fuss with heavy dark eye makeup. 
Garnier - Miracle Skin Perfector - Light/Medium
  • Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream - BB Creams are very popular now, and I normally don't like to give into the hype of beauty trends, but this trend has merit behind it.  I have been using the Garnier BB Cream since it first hit the shelves earlier this year.  Why it is a June favorite then?  Because I had the opportunity to try a couple other brands this month, particularly higher end brands, and it made me realize how much I really like the Garnier.  Interested to try one of the Korean brands, I bought a sample of the Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25+.  I really wanted to like it, but the coloring was way to light for my skin.  I also tried the Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30, but it broke me out.  The Garnier is a good size for a fraction of the price of the higher end brands (you get 2.5 oz for around $12, compared to 1.4 oz of the Clinique for $37), it gives decent coverage with a dewy/fresh finish, gives the benefits of a BB Cream, and comes in two colors.  The Light/Medium will suit most, while Medium/Deep will work great with tanner complexions.  For the price, I didn't hesitate to buy both colors to blend  to match my skin.  As the summer progresses, I can adjust it to match a tan.
  • Pangea Organics Facial Mask (with Papanese Matcha Tea with Acai & Goji Berry) - When the seasons change my skin freaks out. And when it freaks out, it breaks out. I don't know exactly what this mask is supposed to do, but I find that it pulls all the impurities out of my skin and gives it a more healthy and fresh appearance. As with anything that is going to pull the impurities out, it does purge the skin causing any pimples that are under the skin to show, but once that's done the results are amazing.
Clinical Protection Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant, Skin Renew
  • Dove Clinical Protection Clear Tone - I know, it's not really a beauty product, and normally I would agree, but this is a must have for summer tanks, sundresses and bathing suits. Underarms can often get irritated by shaving causing dark marks.  Dove Clinical Protection Clear Tone reverses the dark marks so you can keep going sleeveless all summer long.
  • Koh Gen Do Cleansing Water Cloths - I got these in my birchbox back in March, but just got around to trying them.  While they are a bit on the pricey side (3 packs of 10 will run around $39) they are very refreshing and removed all traces of my makeup.  Cleansing cloths are a must for summer beach bags and I like how these come in 3 smaller packs of ten so you can stash one in your beach bag, one in your desk and one in your vanity. 
Gold Bond Ultimate Softening Foot Cream
  • Gold Bond Ultimate Softening Foot Cream with Shea Butter - I never gave Gold Bond a second thought until recently when I was looking for a new foot cream and saw this on sale at Walgreens.  I will never use another foot cream again.  After one use of this my feet were completely moisturized.  As someone how would rather be barefoot than wear shoes, my feet get especially dry in the summer from flip flops and walking around the house barefoot all summer long.  This product is a most have to keep your feet presentable in sandals and at the beach.
Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain, Sweetheart
  • Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain - Except for my lip insurance, these are the only other lip products I have been using all month long.  As a balm they are super moisturizing, yet as a stain they have great staying power.  I have 4 colors from their lineup, but so far sweetheart, a fuchsia pink, as been my absolute fave.  It's bright enough to fall in line with the bright colors that are very popular this season, yet not to obnoxious to wear during the day.
What were your favorite products this month?

     


Sunday Lusts

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There are always so many things that I NEED to have.  Although  the list is constantly changing, there are two things that remain the same; its always long and its always full of items beyond my reach.  Since this is the first in hopefully a weekly series, today's batch of items will consist mostly of my absolute wants.  While some of these items are things that I will never own, it's fun to pretend.



No. 7 Square Multistone Bangle, Hendri Bendel

I am absolutely loving gold lately.  I have stayed far away from it since the early 90s, but find myself buying more yellow and rose gold then I am silver.  These bracelet would love great with my Fossil Rose Gold Stella Watch.







Rococo 22-karat gold-plated corundum ring by Kevia
Rococo 22-karat gold-plated corundum ring

This ring looks so regal with the blue stone, gold, and the crown accent against the stone.


'sunset' medium tote with hand stitching and large studs with engraved interlocking G.
'Sunset' Medium Tote with Hand Stitching & Large Studs w/ Engraved Interlocking Gs

This is just one of many Gucci totes that I LOVE. 


Judith Ripka 'Evil Eye' Pendant Necklace

This Judith Ripka "Evil Eye" necklace has been on my wish list for some time now.




Celine Luggae Tote


My holy grail hand bag (right after a Birken) would be the Celine Luggage Tote in Medium.  I would take any color, but the lipstick red would be my first choice. 







Chanel Cerf/Executive Tote Profile Photo
Chanel Executive

If you haven't noticed, I have a bit of a hangbag addiction.  I love the classic simplpicity of this bag. 



15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display

I will have a MacBook someday and  hopefully within the next 7 months, although it is very likely that it will not be the MacBook Pro with Retina display.  It would be great to have, but not for the price tag.



Michael Kors Women's MK5464 Runway White Watch

I love watches.  For a while it seemed that they were dying out since everyone can easily tell the time from their cellphone.  I love the combination of white and rose gold on this Michael Kors watch.  It is a great summertime, accessory.