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Some Columbus Fun

August 29, 2013
It is so rare that I get a Saturday off from work, but a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to not have to work, so I made plans with two of my close friends who live in Columbus.  I headed down there to meet my friend at Northstar Cafe, which is pretty well-known in Columbus.  Their veggie burger is mentioned a lot on reviews for the restaurant, so I thought I'd try it out for myself.  It's made with rice, beets, and black beans, and tastes a little different from any other veggie burger I've ever tried, but I really liked it.

Right after enjoying our meal, my friend and I headed downtown because we had booked a Segway tour through SegAway Tours.  The tour itself is 2 hours long and we got to go all through downtown Columbus.  I've driven a lot through the downtown, but I never really stopped and looked at the different buildings.  We got to see the Statehouse, the old post office, the Santa Maria, Northbank Park, and Victorian Village, just to name a few of our stops.  

We actually had to have a 20 minute training session on the Segway before we began our tour.  I really needed that!!  I don't think I could have participated in the tour if we didn't get time to practice, because it took me some time to get the feel of the Segway.  When I first got on the thing, I felt like I had no control, my hands were shaking, and I really thought I was going to injure myself.  The biggest obstacle for me was that I expected it to be perfectly still when I wanted it to be, but it was constantly moving and it took some getting used to.  I was so worried that I was going to run someone over or get too close to the curb and wipeout.  Eventually I got the hang of it and felt much more comfortable after the first bit of the tour because we had practiced moving ourselves around, gliding around pedestrians, and crossing the street.  By the end of the tour, we were weaving in and out of things like pros!

Everyone got their own helmet with a speaker so that we could all hear the guide when he talked.   I learned a few facts about the city of Columbus...like that the original name of the city was going to be Ohio City and that there is a shop in the Statehouse that sells goods made in Ohio only--how perfect for regional gifts! The tour was a lot of fun because we learned some history, visited some sights, and got experience the Segway.  Many people honked, waved, tried to high-five us, or asked us questions about the Segways, so that was kind of cool, too. I would recommend doing the tour at least once, but if you do ride a Segway, be sure to wear some shoes with support.  I wore flat sandals that I got at Target, and my feet were so sore by the end of the tour.  I also didn't know that the Segway had a little pouch that we could put stuff in, and I would have brought water if I had known.  I was pretty dehydrated by the end of the tour because it was hot out the day we went.

Here are a couple of pictures from the tour!  Just a warning, my friend is 5'1" and I am 6'0" and also pulled up a bit closer than she did, so I look like a freakish giant.

Afterwards, I met up with another friend to go to the Columbus Food Truck Festival.  After walking around and scoping everything out, we decided to get some Mexican food.  I opted for some tacos and my friend had quesadillas.

Truthfully, it was nice doing something a little different and just sitting in the grass chatting with my friend.  I don't really have that many friends left in Ohio because I just fell out of touch with a lot of them, some moved away, and the friends that I made when I lived overseas live far away, so I really did enjoy this opportunity to meet up with two old pals in a day.  For dessert, we stopped at the cupcake truck and I tried a creamsicle cupcake--can I just say YUM?

I love trying to find "different" things to do rather than just the same old.  What are some cool things you've done in your town lately?

August Cara Box Reveal: Seasons of Life

August 28, 2013

I had so much fun this month participating in the Cara Box Gift Exchange started by Kaitlyn @ Wifessionals.  For the month of August we were paired with bloggers based on age/stage of life.  (Stage of life=single vs. married, kids/no kids.)

Last month I was paired with Suree who blogs over at Tucker Joy, and she bought for me.  This month, it was my turn to send her a gift.  It was nice to be partners with Suree again and I enjoyed getting to know her even more.  She really is a sweetheart!  To see what I got Suree, click here.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Jasmine who is a funny MBA student from Chicago.  It was fun being paired with her because she blogs mostly about beauty related topics, and that is also an interest of mine! Check out her blog, Green Eyed Monster, for some great beauty tips and for some book reviews.

The reveal:

Jasmine knew that I am not allowed to wear nail polish at work, so she got me some cuticle cream and other tools to help my nails look great without polish.  What a thoughtful gift!

She also added some Naughty Nautical polish for when I can sneak some on or for my toes. :)  This was an item that I had posted on my Summer Beauty Wishlist.

She put in a candle to "help light" my way since I recently graduated with my Master's in Education.  I'm onto a new stage in my life since I am no longer a student and will be subbing and eventually looking for a full time teaching position.

This cute little magnet was also included.  It is handmade from Chicago, where Jasmine lives.  

Jasmine recently started making some changes towards leading a healthier lifestyle, and so have I, so she included this recipe for Baked Tilapia.  I cannot wait to try it out...I never have good ideas for recipes, so I was thankful that she included this.

Finally, she put in some locally made soap from Evanston, Illinois.  I love homemade items!

Like last month, I was lucky to be paired with two amazing gals!  I hope this trend continues next month when we will be partnered with someone from the state we live in, exciting!!

Beauty Box 5: August

August 27, 2013
My friend told me that she forgot to cancel the Beauty Box 5 subscription she got me for my birthday, so another box of goodies would be arriving for me this month.

I received:

Be a Bombshell Eyeshadow
Swissco Nail File
H20 Plus Aquafirm + Micro-Collagen Moisturizer
Bask Heavenly Silk Daily Skin Lotion
Nubar Nail Lacquer

Be a Bombshell Eyeshadow- I'm excited about this shadow because I love the shade of purple I received!  I have a Chanel palette with a similar color of purple shadow, and it is getting very low, so I'm glad that I got this color and it's nice that it is full sized.

Swiss Co Nail File- I don't use nail files that often, but this one is pretty fun looking, so I'll be sure to save it to replace the one I'm currently using when it's all worn out.  I might keep it in my purse in case I end up breaking a nail while out and about.

H20 Plus Aquafirm + Micro-Collagen Moisturizer- I use moisturizers daily, but this one is supposed to make your skin more firm and "plump."  I kind of find it funny that they used to word plump, but I will give this a shot because it is a moisturizer and not really because of what it promises to do.  

Bask Heavenly Silk Daily Skin Lotion- If you don't already know this about me from my blog, know that I have a lotion obsession.  I love little bottles like this because there is never a time when I'm not toting at least one lotion around with me in my purse.  I can't stand to have hands that look and feel dry!

Nubar Nail Lacquer- This mini polish is a vegan polish and does not contain formaldehyde.  I got the hot pink version of this polish.  I can be bold when it comes to polishes, so luckily it is not too wild for me--in fact, it is similar to a color that I already own, so I might be giving this away.

I'm pretty pleased with my Beauty Box 5 this month.  Would this be a beauty subscription you would be willing to try?  

Weekly Wishes

August 26, 2013
I'm linking up again with The Nectar Collective to share my Weekly Wishes with all of you.  Last week my photograph was selected and added to a cute little collage of participant artwork.  Check it out here.  It really made my day when I found out my photo was picked!  :D

My wishes last week were to:

1) Find the time to get my car into the shop.  
I did actually do this, as big of a pain as it was, but I'm so glad that I did because my car had a bunch of problems.  I needed new belts, a fuel injection, a tune up, new spark plugs, two new tires, new brake pads, and rotors.  The guy that worked on my car told me that my brakes were so worn down that it was practically metal on metal.  I don't know a whole lot about cars, but that sounds dangerous, so I'm glad I got it checked when I did.  Also, the owner of the shop is a friend of my boyfriend's family, and he charged me WAY LESS than what a dealership would have.  I told him to just take care of everything so that I wouldn't have to worry about it anymore.  

2) Finish Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  
I did finish the book, and now I'm onto reading Roses by Leila Meacham, though I am not far into the book at all.  

3) Enjoy the last few weeks with my co-workers.
Well, it turns out I'm going to be transferring to a different building later than expected because I am supposed to train my replacements and I am unable to do that until their background checks go through.  I'm guessing I will now be switching over at the end of September instead.

This week's wishes:

1) Cook at least two healthy meals.  
I am not that great of a cook and I must confess that I don't try cook or try out new recipes very often, but I figure that if I make it a goal of mine for the week, that I will stick to it.  I think just two meals in a week is an attainable goal, don't you?  

2) Get my subbing license figured out.
Since I graduated so late, I do not currently have a teaching job, so subbing it will be which I am okay with.  I need to figure out which schools I would like to sub for and get my name on those lists so that I can start getting some sub jobs soon.

3) Update my work wardrobe.  
Luckily, what I can wear at one job as a manager also works perfectly for when I will substitute teach.  I became a manager about three years ago, and bought a whole bunch of blazers and suit jackets, but the ones I still have are looking a bit worn out.  Additionally, I'm down to only a few pairs of work pants that fit!  I would like to get another blazer, some more pants, and some shirts to wear underneath my blazers, too, especially because I will be transferring/subbing in various schools and want to look polished and professional.

Hopefully I am able to accomplish what I just listed by the end of the week! 

Limerance Body Oil, Face Cream, & Lip Balm

August 24, 2013
Limerance, an independent company that specializes in skin care products, sent me three products to review: body oil, face cream, and a lip balm.

Here is what I received:

Here are a couple of shots closer up:

What I like about this company is that the products are made after an order is placed, so they haven't been sitting around forever when you receive them.  My products really seemed fresh and another plus is that Limerance stays away from synthetic ingredients, opting for natural oils instead.

Limerance Facial Cream: "What makes it so great? It is the only cream that embraces your skin with over 79 minerals, Vitamin C, MSM, Astaxanthin, and exquisite oils.  When you use it, you know."

The facial cream is unscented, and the formula works hard to repair damaged skin and to treat wrinkles.  At first I used the cream in the day before I applied my makeup, but I found that I really prefer to use it as a nightly treatment instead so that the product has time to work its magic and be absorbed into my skin rather than mixed up with my makeup during the daytime.  I did notice a nourishing effect after using the product regularly, probably because the cream provided needed moisture to my skin overnight.  I don't typically use creams at night, and always sleep with the fan on, so sometimes I wake up and parts of my face are dry...Maybe it's time I change my beauty routine.  This product will probably be even more beneficial to me in the winter when my skin gets even drier!

Here is what the cream looks like:

I did have to mix it up a bit when I received it because some water had collected on top, but, according to the Limerance website, this is not unusual. 

Limerance Lip Balm: "A wet kiss of Sweet Almond Oil for your lips." 

This lip balm is totally natural, made with sweet almond, honey flavor, peppermint, tea tree, and black cherry oils.  The formula wasn't sticky at all and left my lips nice and soft, and I like the smell of almond oil so of course I liked the smell of the lip balm.

Limerance Body Oil: "Wow! Words defy the experience.....pure citrus essential oils, penetrating MSM and Pressed Peach Kernel Oil."

I used this right out of the shower, and like that it is in a convenient spray bottle.  At first I thought this product was going to be greasy, but it is surprisingly light.  The smell is also light and not overpowering.  The sulfur minerals found in the oil are supposed to be very good for your skin.

Some other good things to know about Limerance is that they have a money back guarantee and only American suppliers are used.

Are there any indie brands of skin products that you love?

Cape Town: Two Oceans Aquarium, School Visit, & Boulders Beach

On a very rainy Sunday in South Africa, we were given some free time.  Since the weather was terrible, we decided to visit Two Oceans Aquarium on the V&A Waterfront because it was something we had been wanting to do, anyway.  The aquarium was right across from our hotel, and we could see it every morning when we had breakfast.  We watched the sharks being fed, checked out some weird sea creatures, and overall just had a relaxing day.  One of my favorite parts of the aquarium was the part that housed the penguins because each penguin had a little biography written up about them.  It stated where they were found, what they were like, etc.  I thought that was really interesting and would try to read the bio and find the penguin it described.

The next day we went on a school visit, which was interesting to our group since we are all education/literacy majors.  We got to visit a whole bunch of classrooms and talk to the students.  One teacher even opened it up for Q&A, which was my favorite part because it was more interactive.  A lot of the children in the early grades sang to us in Xhosa and English.  One of the problems that was apparent at the school was that most of the students spoke Xhosa as a native language, yet parents of these children wanted them to be educated in English.  We visited a first grade classroom with one teacher who speaks English and Afrikaans only, but all of her students besides one or two were Xhosa-speaking.  I tried to communicate many students in English, and one of the very few students who spoke English said, "They can't understand you.  They speak Xhosa."  There is a Xhosa-speaking aide, but she has to rotate to several classrooms, so she was only in the 1st grade classroom two hours a day. 

We sat with the administrators of the school we visited and had tea.  They talked to us a bit about their school, and then my professor asked if they had any items that the students made for sale.  In the past, the school raised some money by selling some artwork created by the students.  I bought a clock for about $5, and hope to put it in my classroom one day.  

For lunch, we stopped at a place called Obz Cafe.  My professor and her husband used to eat here when they lived in South Africa.  The roasted vegetable salad I had was delicious!

Later that day, we went on a library visit and then had dinner and watched a show at The Baxter Theatre.  The play we watched was called Long Street Nights, which featured a diverse group of characters and provided glimpses into their lives.  Each character's story was based on a real life story from someone living in Cape Town.

We woke up early the next day and headed out to Boulders Beach, but first we made a stop to see some sea lions!

Boulders Beach is famous for a colony of penguins that live there.  I never realized how cute and entertaining penguins are--I could watch them for hours!

What animals are you interested in seeing when you travel?