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Bath & Body Works Haul

December 31, 2013
Every year for Christmas, I ask for a Bath & Body Works gift card so that I can take advantage of their semi-annual sale.  During this sale, I just stock up in bulk on items that I will use in the months to come.  It gives me the chance to try out new scents that I probably wouldn't otherwise buy at full retail price.  This year I didn't buy as much as I usually do, but did end up with:

3 Anti-bacterial Deep Cleansing Hand Soaps in Island Breeze, Berry Sangria, and Sicilian Lemon
1 Passionfruit Fig Gentle Foaming Soap
2 mini body lotions in Sexy Dahlia Rush and Sweet Peony Dream
1 Shimmer Bomb in Cashmere Glow
1 Full sized body lotion in Capri Seaside Citrus
1 Full sized bath gel in Capri Seaside Citrus
3 Creamy Body Washes in Pink Chiffon, Twilight Woods, and Carried Away


Paying full price for these items would have been:
$5.50 x 4 for the soaps= $22.00
$5.00 x 2 for the mini lotions= $10.00
$14.00 x 1 for the shimmer bomb= $14.00
$11.00 x 2 for the bath gel and body lotion= $22.00
$12.50 x 3 for the creamy body washes= $37.50

Total price: $105.50

I only paid (with tax) $26.75 for all of these items since they were all marked down and I had a coupon for $10 off a $30 purchase.  The best part was that I used my BBW gift card to pay for $20 of the $26.75, so I just paid the $5.00 and then $1.75 in tax for all of those items.  Wahoo!

The only purchase I'm kind of uncertain about is the Cashmere Glow Shimmer Bomb.  I thought it was a type of sparkily bath gel, but I think you just put it on your skin to make it shimmery.  Oh well, I'm beyond happy with my savings and with the other items!  I didn't even know BBW carried creamy body washes, so I'm excited to try those out.  They were on sale for just $3 each yesterday.


 Will you be stopping by Bath and Body Works for their clearance sale?

Things I Don't Like Getting Asked

December 30, 2013

Recently, I read about how Rachael over at Pretty in Pink spent her Christmas and she mentioned that she was happy that no one asked her why she was single.  Her post made me think about questions I do NOT like getting asked, so I thought I'd blog about them.

1) Can I borrow your...?  No, I am not greedy and of course I don't mind sharing, but I just have had bad luck when I let people borrow my belongings.  I've found that there are different types of borrowers.  There are those that borrow your stuff and then return it in a timely manner and say thank you, but sadly, even lending things out to my friends is hardly ever this simple.  Most of the time I find that the borrowers hold onto what I lent them for an abnormally long period of time and then I have to awkwardly ask for my stuff back which is always something I dread doing.  It gets even worse when they forget to bring it and I have to ask a second or a third time just to get my own things back.  There are also the borrowers that return your things to you, but in a worse condition...unwashed clothes, bent books, etc.  Finally, there are those who just never return what they took period.  I hate getting asked this question because if I say no, then I seem like I don't trust the person trying to borrow something and feel bad!  If I say yes, then I just worry about whether or not my items will actually be returned.

2) Do you play basketball?  I'm pretty sure every non-basketball playing tall girl hates this question.  Most of the time when I tell people no, they just ask, "Oh, then did you play volleyball then?"  I'm not especially good at sports and just think it's annoying that people think I am a basketball player only because I am tall.  Do I go up to short people and ask them if they're all gymnasts?  NO!  Do I go up to old white men and ask them about golf?  Don't think so!  I guess it wouldn't be so bad if I heard this once in awhile, but I have been asked this throughout my life numerous times and am tired of answering it.

3) Why aren't you engaged yet?  Yes, I have been with my boyfriend for almost five years, so I guess some people just wonder, but I don't even know how to really answer this question.  I don't think every relationship is destined for marriage, and I don't like how when some people ask me this, it is done in almost an accusing way.  This question along with other rude comments got even worse when I was the Maid of Honor in my two younger sisters' weddings in the same summer.  "Lisa, you're next!"  "Your younger sisters beat you!"  "When are you getting married?"  "What, no summer wedding for you?"  Seriously, people!  I just find it stupid how some people make the whole getting married thing into a contest.  I am truly happy for both of my little sisters because they found love and someone to share their lives with.  Maybe one day I'll get married because *I* am ready to, not because I'm pressured to do so by society.

4) Can you hang out with me this weekend?  Unfortunately, working at a movie theater means that our busiest times are when everyone else has time off, so it's very important that I have a good weekend and holiday availability.  I always feel so bad because most of my friends have 9-5 jobs they work Monday-Friday and so it makes sense that they would want to spend time with me on the weekends, but most of the time this just isn't feasible for me.  Sure, I can request days off, but I like to only request off when it's a big deal so that I can be sure to always get the days off that I need.  Plus, usually when I ask for a weekend day off, I just get scheduled less days period.  When I get asked this question, I usually just have to tell my friends no.  I've done it so often that I think some of them have given up on trying to plan something with me during a weekend.

Is there anything that you don't particularly like being asked?

Ipsy Glam Bag December 2013: Celebration

December 26, 2013
I received my December Ipsy Glam Bag in the middle of the month, so even though this is a bit delayed, I still wanted to post about what I received.

The theme for the month was Celebration, and I felt that the products I received aligned with the theme.  The sparkily polish, shimmery shadow, and false eye lashes would be perfect to wear to a New Year's bash.

I received:


* Pop Beauty's Eyeshadow Trio in Naturally Bare
* The Big Lip Pencil by J. Cat in Caramel Mocha
* Starrily Bzzz Bzzz Polish
* Be a Bombshell The One Stick in Sunset
* Ardell False Eyelashes


The actual bag itself (not talking about the contents in it) is one of my favorites.  As you may or may not know, I am a big fan of black and I love the way black and red look together, so I was pleasantly surprised when I opened up the bag and saw that it had red lining.  I am going to make this my go-to makeup bag for my purse.

Pop Beauty's Eyeshadow Trio in Naturally Bare- I'm loving this mini palette and am glad I got the naturally bare version.  I know that some people received smoky eye colors, but I just feel like I would use these colors more.  Even without primer, these three shadows had good color payoff, as you can see from the swatches. 



The Big Lip Pencil by J. Cat in Caramel Mocha- This lip pencil can be used as lipstick or lip liner.  When I first saw it, I thought it was another red lipstick which bummed me out because I had just received a red lip color in a previous Ipsy Glam Bag.  Once I had a closer look, I saw that it wasn't bright red at all.  While the shade looks lovely when swatched, when I applied it I couldn't help but feel that it would be more suitable for someone with a warmer skintone than my own.  It certainly doesn't look bad on me, but it's not something that is super flattering either.  The product is creamy and went on smoothly, but the drawback is that it will need to be sharpened eventually.  I'd like it a lot more if I could just twist it up as needed.  


Starrily Bzzz Bzzz Polish- This is a clear polish that contains pieces of black and gold glitter, which I liked because it reminded me of my Pittsburgh upbringing.  Black and gold were also my school district's colors.  I would not wear this polish alone because when I painted one of my nails to test it out, only a few pieces of glitter appeared with one coat.  I would wear this over red polish (I'm thinking Essie's Forever Yummy) and use multiple coats so that more glitter can be dispensed with each extra stroke of polish.


Be a Bombshell The One Stick in Sunset- I like the idea that this stick is a three in one product, but I don't particularly care for cream blushes that much and only wear cream eyeshadows once in awhile.  I feel like this would be awkward to use on my eyelids because of the shape of the product and that I'd have to use a brush to apply it properly.  I will probably just stick to using this on my lips and will not be using it as an eyeshadow or as blush.



Ardell False Eyelashes- This is the second time I received false eyelashes in an Ipsy Glam Bag, and while I was excited the first time, I'm not overly thrilled this time because I haven't even used my first pair of lashes yet.  I will have to try them when I get a day off from working because if they bother me, I don't want to deal with a gluey mess while I'm teaching or dealing with a customer.  I'm planning on trying these out tomorrow, so we'll see!  I'd love to have fuller lashes, so this could potentially be a great product for me.  With that being said, I do have sensitive eyes, so hopefully that is not an issue.


Have you ever used fake eyelashes before?  Got any tips for me?

This past weekend I...

December 24, 2013

This past weekend I:

* Got to hang out with my sister who came down from Michigan to visit.
* Had an early Christmas celebration with my family on Friday and enjoyed a nice, home cooked meal courtesy of my mom.
* Played wayyyy too many board games and card games--my sister is obsessed!  She did teach me how to play Hearts, though and I had never played before.
* Did some last minute Christmas shopping...I just had to pick up a couple of things.
* Worked all day on Sunday, but at least I had Friday and Saturday off.
* Wrapped a lot of Christmas presents.
* Received an awesome gift from my sister.  She got me a three month subscription to Fair Treasure monthly subscription box.  In the box, you receive handmade gifts crafted by artisans from around the globe.  The money we spend on the box goes back to the artisans so that they can make a fair wage.  I have looked at some reviews of this subscription box, and I don't think that there is a single item in any of the boxes that I would not like to own.
* Watched Elysium and two episodes of Once Upon a Time.
* Wore my new dress that I received from Oakleigh Rose for free since I won Kallie's giveaway.




How did you spend your weekend?

Heath Bar Coffee Cake

December 17, 2013

My mom made Heath Bar Coffee Cake a great deal when I was growing up, and whenever I have to make a treat to share with others, I usually opt to bake this recipe.  In my experience, not a lot of people have tried this, so when I bring it, they usually rave about what a great baker I am, which is not the case at all...They just haven't ever experienced the deliciousness of Heath Bar Coffee Cake before.

The recipe:

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter, softened (no substitutes)
2 c. plain flour
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chopped Heath bars (We buy the 8 oz. bags of crushed Heath bar, but you could also crush the bars up yourself.  You would need 5-6 full sized Heath bars if you're going to do it that way.)
1/4 c. pecans

Instructions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.
3) Mix all of the ingredients together except for the crushed Heath bars and chopped pecans.
4) After everything is blended together, scoop out 1/2 cup of the mixture and put it into a small bowl & combine with the crushed Heath bars and chopped pecans.  This will be the topping.
5) Spread the mix into the pan, making sure to cover it evenly.
6) Sprinkle on the topping.
7) Bake for 30 minutes @ 350 degrees and enjoy!



Secret Santa Swap



www.talesofatwentysomething.com

My Secret Santa gift arrived yesterday!  While I was at work, my boyfriend texted me that there was a package for me with no return address, so I figured it must be this.  I couldn't wait to run home and open it up.


I love the personalized ornament and can't wait to try those cookies!  It took all my willpower not to try one before taking the picture. :)  Thank you, Secret Santa!!

I found out that my Secret Santa was Samantha @ Busy Sweet Life.  I had  Jenn @ Party of One who was one of the hosts & if you would like to see what I got her, click here.

Weekly Wishes: Love

December 16, 2013

The last time I linked up with Melyssa for Weekly Wishes, my goals for the week were to:

* Mail out my Pay-It-Forward gifts.  I was able to mail out all of my Pay-It-Forward gifts for 2013, and I'm sort of glad that is over.  Last year on Facebook I commented on a friend's post that said, "2013 Pay-It-Forward.  The first five people to comment on this status will receive from me, sometime in the next calendar year, a gift-perhaps a book or baked goods, or a candle, music-a surprise!  There will likely be no warning and it will happen whenever the mood strikes.  The catch?  Those five people must make the same offer in their FB status and INBOX me their current address."  I got sort of irritated at this whole thing because not everyone I sent gifts to paid it forward or posted this as their status, which sort of defeats the whole purpose.  Oh, well, I did my part and I'm glad that everyone liked their gifts.

* Start Christmas shopping.  Amazingly, I am almost done Christmas shopping!  I accomplished a lot in a short period of time with this.  I just have to pick up some more things for my boyfriend and get something else for a friend and after that I think that I am pretty much done.  :)

* Take 10,000 steps a day.  I have been trying to walk more and I exercised twice this week and also will tomorrow, so that has to count for something...The thing is I haven't been wearing my Fitbit.  I don't mind wearing it when I have long sleeves to cover it up, but I don't really like for it to show, and I have been wearing a lot of blazers with three quarter length sleeves.  I wore it a couple of days, and on those days I did make my goal.  I wish I could wear it on my ankle and have it not show, haha...

* Schedule appointments.  I am not going to do this until next year.  I'm not trying to be political here, but I am just stating that because of Obamacare, I am unable to keep my current health insurance because apparently it does not meet the minimum requirements.  I don't think the insurance I have now is actually that bad, but I don't have any major health problems and don't go to the doctors that often.  I went maybe three times and all three times I only had to pay a co-pay.  Since I am being forced to switch my health insurance, I want to just wait until I get my new insurance in January before I deal with scheduling appointments.

* Finish reading Allegiant.  I am further into the book for sure, but for some reason I just haven't been in a book reading mood lately, and I'm not going to force it.  I've been much more into reading blogs and magazines.  

The photo theme for this week's Weekly Wishes is Love, so I decided to pick an old picture of when my younger sister Denise and I first met my sister Melissa in the hospital, right after she was born.  My sisters really are my best friends, just like my mom told me they would be one day.

  
My goals for this week are to:

*Spend some quality time with my family.  My sister is back in town visiting from Michigan, and she is in school for speech pathology, so she can't make it back to Ohio that often because of her busy schedule.  I got to hang out with her almost the whole day today and did request to not work on Friday so that my family can have an early Christmas celebration with her before she heads back to Michigan.

*Make plans with my friends who are visiting from out of town.  A couple of my close friends are coming back to visit their families over the holidays, and I am dying to see them!  One friend lives in California, and I'm glad her family still lives nearby so that I also get the pleasure of seeing her.  

*Finish up my Christmas shopping.  I definitely don't want to be out doing this on Monday the 23rd, but I think I'll be okay if I go over the weekend.  Like I said, I am almost all done so it shouldn't be a problem.

Another goal of mine is just to make it through tomorrow and Wednesday!  I have to work until 2:30 AM on Tuesday, but forgot that I did, so I said I would sub on Wednesday.  I will get 3 and a half hours of sleep max...then on Wednesday after subbing for eight, I have to work eight hours.  I totally did this to myself (on accident), and tried to get someone to switch me shifts at work, but they couldn't.  I am going to be one tired gal on Thursday.  I am one of those people who is very affected by sleep, too...some people can sleep just 3 or 4 hours a night and be fine, but when I get little to no rest I am out of it and can't function like I usually do.  I am really grateful for work, but next time I will be consulting my planner before making commitments like this!

I hope that you all have a lovely week!

2014 Goals

December 13, 2013

With this year winding down, I'm already thinking about 2014 and what I hope to accomplish by the time the year is up.  Last year I just made a list of my reading goals, but this year I wanted to make a general list of all of my goals.  I figured that I shouldn't wait til the new year to get started on these, and wanted to go ahead and think of them now.  Why wait until January to start when I can start right now?   



1)  Find a full time teaching position.  Since I had to delay my graduation until August and then because of my university messing up when I got my degree, I missed the boat on applying for a lot of teaching jobs over the summer.  As anyone who is a teacher knows, sure, you might land a job at any point in the year, but summer is the PRIME time to apply because schools know by then which teachers didn't renew their contracts and what positions will be available in the fall.  I was able to apply to two teaching jobs, but didn't have any luck, though supposedly I am on a school's list for immediate hire.  In my county, I have been looking and so far haven't found anything to even apply to due to lack of openings, which is pretty frustrating.  There just aren't many jobs available, which means I might end up moving to another city or even state.  I knew that I would probably have issues with finding a full time teaching job this year, and I'm okay with just subbing and working my current job this year, but by next year I really hope to find a permanent teaching position.  This is my most important goal for 2014 because teaching is what I went to school for, and I'm at the point in my life where I want to start a career.  Subbing is fine for now, but I am eager to get my own classroom!  

2) Start a new savings account.  Being enrolled in grad school and a year of prerequisite courses before I could even start graduate school really took a toll on my financial situation.  Now that I'm done with school, I need to start saving again.  At my current job, I was told that I could break up my paycheck and get certain percentages direct deposited into various accounts, so I'm thinking of putting about 15% of every check right into my savings account that I need to open ASAP.

3) Visit my sister in North Carolina.  My sister bought a beautiful home and has only asked me...oh...a thousand times to come and visit her in it.  I just have not been able to because of school, and the last break I had we both decided it was more important to visit our grandparents than for me to visit her in NC.  I'm tentatively planning a trip to visit her this spring...It has to happen!

4) Learn how to cook five new meals well.  Okay, five meals doesn't sound like a lot to those of you that like to cook, but I can promise you that this will probably be the hardest thing on my list for me personally!  I am not talented in the kitchen and might have to cook a recipe a few times before it ends up tasting decent.

5) Read ten new books.  I may end up reading more, but I want to read at least ten that I haven't read before.

6) Go on a road trip.  I haven't been on one in awhile, and thought it would be fun!  

7) Become more active.  I'm not going to say that I need to lose X amount of weight, but it sure would be nice to be able to fit into my old jeans again.  I have a beautiful closet full of clothes that I haven't been able to wear since I gained weight, so there is some incentive for me!

8) Make five DIY things from Pinterest.  This would not only be neat to make, but then I'd have some items to decorate my room with, though I do want to make some sugar scrub too.

9) Plan and go on a trip to Costa Rica.  I would like for Costa Rica to be my next travel destination, but a lot of this depends on what I am doing for work.  I wouldn't go for anything less than two weeks, so I hope I can get the time off and save the money for it.  I'm sure going to try, though!

10) Attend a local event.  I guess by "local" that also means attending an event in Columbus or Cleveland since my town doesn't have a whole lot going on.  One thing that I've always wanted to do but have never done was to go to the gallery hop in the Short North in Columbus.  The last time I planned to go there was a huge storm, and I just never got around to going again.

11) Try a new kind of ethnic food.  I'm a big fan of Korean and Indian food, but I'd like to try something I haven't had before...like something from South America!

12)  Visit two states I've never been to.  This probably ties in with my #6 goal, but I'd like to keep this open and have this be more spontaneous rather than something I plan out for a long time.

13) Keep a gratitude journal.  It's easy to lose track of all the positive things going for us in life when we are striving for something better, but even though I don't have my dream job, I still have so much to be thankful for and I don't want to lose sight of that.

14) Start a new holiday tradition.  This would be for next year, so I do have a whole year to think about it, but some of the ideas that pop into my head would be to do a Christmas cookie or ornament exchange with my family.  

15) Do something adventurous that I've never done before.  I'm keeping this one ambiguous because I don't know what types of opportunities might present themselves to me in the new year, but adventure is something I constantly crave and can never get enough of in life!

16) Invest in a designer purse.  I used the word "invest" because it sounds so much better for justification purposes than if I just said "buy."  I'm thinking Coach or Kate Spade.

17) Host a party.  Again, this largely depends on my living situation, but I haven't hosted a party in so long...though I am trying to get my boss to give us a Christmas party.  He said if I planned it, we could have one, so my friend and I told him our ideas and he has to get approval for it today.  

18) Go on another blogger meet up.  I'd actually like to do this a couple of times depending on when they are offered/my availability.

19) Surprise a friend or family member.  I'm not talking about sending a card in the mail or anything like that...I'm talking about a huge surprise!  I hope the opportunity presents itself, but I think it will.  :)

20) Get my tattoo redesigned.  You know how Angelina got several of her tattoos re-done?  That's what I need to do because I want my tattoo to be a work of art and something I am proud of.  I'll blog about my tattoo experience sometime in the future, hahaha...you're in for it!

Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette

December 12, 2013
When I saw the beautiful rose colored shades in Urban Decay's Naked 3 palette, I knew that this was something I would be putting at the top of my wish list.  This palette has a lot of shades that are lighter/mid-range, which is great for me since I have such fair skin.  Sometimes I wear dark eyeshadow for a dramatic look, but the lighter/mid-range colors are the ones that are going to be more practical for me to wear at work and in the classroom.  Also, I love the rose gold colors--I feel like rose gold is very "in" right now, and pinks always tend to look good on me.  I was going to hold off on buying this palette for myself since Christmas is coming up and I have plenty of other expenses, but when Sephora sent me a promo code for $15 off a purchase for being a Beauty Insider, I knew I was sold!  The free shipping also didn't hurt.  I also got to order it before it became available in stores, and received mine in the mail yesterday.

Included in the palette are 12 new shades and a dual sided brush.  Inside the box, I also received samples of four kinds of Urban Decay Primer: Original, Eden, Sin, and Anti-Aging.

Product description: "Get ready to experiment with 12 totally new (and insanely beautiful) rose-hued neutrals, all exclusive to this set.  Choose from every finish imaginable: ultra-smooth mattes, gorgeous pearls, and glimmering metallics.  From the palest, shimmery pink to the deepest black matte with red micro-glitter (aptly named Blackheart), these neutrals will make you want to get Naked all over again."




Colors Left to Right are: Strange, Dust, Burnout, Limit, Buzz, Trick, Nooner, Liar, Factory, Mugshot, Darkside, and Blackheart.

Swatches:




1.  Strange
2.  Dust
3.  Burnout
4.  Limit
5.  Buzz
6.  Trick
7.  Nooner
8.  Liar
9.  Factory
10.  Mugshot
11.  Darkside
12.  Blackheart

I can't wait to experiment with all these new colors that are now in my collection!  What is your favorite color in the Naked 3 palette?

Beauty Box 5: Naughty and Nice December 2013

December 11, 2013
In my Beauty Box 5 this month, I received:

*NYX Cosmetics Love in Rio Eyeshadow Palette in Sway With Lola
*Body Drench Baily Moisturizing Lotion
*Ofra Cosmetics Sultry Lipgloss Plumper
*Clean & Clear Morning Burst Hydrating Gel Moisturizer
*Exfoliating Facial Cleansing Pads with Microbeads from Jean Pierre Cosmetics


After last month's pot of green glitter and deodorant, I lowered my expectations for Beauty Box Five significantly.  Maybe that's why when I opened up my box this month, I thought the contents were a little better than previous months, but after testing out some the products, I'm still not overly impressed. 

NYX Cosmetics Love in Rio Eyeshadow Palette in Sway With Lola-  

Product description: "Seriously pretty, this trio can be as sexy or as subtle as you want.  Perfect for fans of matte shadows and the slightest shimmers, it's easy to dress your eyes up or down.  Bonus: One side of the dual applicator is more narrow for fun line work and precision."

 
My take:  This item was my favorite item in the box...before I swatched it.  At first glance, I liked that I received this palette full of three very different colored shadows that could be used together create a colorful look.  Unfortunately, when I swatched the products the first time, I could barely see anything.  I went back over them three times and used plenty of the shadow, and this is all I got:


As you can see, this is not a product that I am very thrilled with.  I was surprised at how faint the colors appear when applied, so needless to say, this is not a winner for me! 

Body Drench Baily Moisturizing Lotion- 

Product description:  "Moisturizer and aroma therapy in one? We'll take it! With a silky, emollient rich formula, this fast-absorbing lotion is the perfect way to end your night, or the first step to seize the day."


My Take: I thought of this as another uninteresting item thrown into the mix, but after trying the lotion out, it does last longer than what I have been using.  My hands get disgustingly dry in the winter to the point where I can see dry spots appear literally just a few minutes after applying lotion that works fine for me in the summer.  It's funny how this item was my least favorite when I opened the box, but now I think it is the best one.  I still don't think it is super exciting, but it's a lotion that keeps my hands moisturized longer and that pulls some weight with me!

Ofra Cosmetics Sultry Lipgloss Plumper-

Product description: "Winter is the perfect time for vampy, dark lips, so why not let out your inner vixen?  This perfectly pigmented gloss is sure to add a little romance to the holidays and fullness to your pucker with a slight minty flavor and touch of plumper."




My take:  This product is pretty thick for a lip gloss, and the color (Sultry) works well for me.  When I first applied it, it sort of hurt though.  I could feel my lips throbbing, and when I looked in the mirror, I could actually SEE my bottom lip throbbing.  That kind of freaked me out a bit...I don't really use lip plumpers, so if you use them a lot, please let me know if this is normal!  Others have said that this product didn't make a difference in the fullness of their lips, but I did notice that my lips were bigger than they usually are.  After maybe twenty minutes, they went back to their normal size, so it did work, but not for very long.  I don't know if plumpers are something that I am very interested in using period since I have read that the chemicals in them are typically unsafe.
  
Clean & Clear Morning Burst Hydrating Gel Moisturizer-

Product description: "Let us introduce you to one of the best moisturizers on the market! This product is water-based and great for all skin types, so it feels light, but keeps you from getting oily or drying out. Gentle and refreshing, it also contains cucumber and green mango extract."


My take:  Hmmm...another item that I've seen a million times in drugstores.  If I was that keen on trying the product out, I would have bought it already by now.  I have tried other Morning Burst products, but not this particular one.  Who knows, I might be pleasantly surprised with this one like I was with the lotion sample.  On the bright side, at least if I do like this product it is easily obtained!

Exfoliating Facial Cleansing Pads with Microbeads from Jean Pierre Cosmetics-

Product description: "Get an easy, deep clean! Use these alcohol-free, hypoallergenic pads to cleanse skin, tighten pores, and remove makeup--even pesky waterproof mascara.  No H20 necessary!"


My take:  I have used a lot of makeup remover wipes and find them to all be about the same--convenient for when I'm on the go, but not as effective as if I just washed my face.  At least these pads are a little different than the wipes I have used previously since they are supposed to exfoliate your skin.    


Overall:  Although I will use a lot of these items (maybe not the plumper again though!), I didn't really find any of them overly special and certainly didn't feel wowed by any of these products. 

What's your take on this month's Beauty Box Five?  

Cleveland Blogger Meet Up

December 9, 2013
I was scrolling through my Bloglovin' feed, and happened to have seen a post by Jessica @ Anchored in Cleveland announcing a blogger meet up in Cleveland on Saturday that she was organizing with Rachael @ Pretty in Pink.  I got super excited about the possibility of going and immediately messaged my friend Courtney @ Permeating Purpose to see if she would like to join me for the meet up.  She informed me that she was already going, so I drove to Cleveland and met up with a bunch of other Ohio bloggers in Ohio City.  We got to know each other, talked about what other bloggers we follow and what swaps we like to participate in, and chatted about sponsorships and giveaways.  It was great to meet other ladies who speak in blog...haha.  This was the first time I ever did anything like this, I am thankful that Jessica and Rachael set this up!

Bloggers that Came to the Meet Up:

Jessica @ Anchored in CLE
Rachael @ Pretty in Pink
Ashliegh @ The Darling Prepster
Courtney @ Permeating Purpose
Kate @ Call Me Trouble
Mike @ Icing on the Lake
Margaret @ Life After Athens

I hope you'll check out these other great bloggers from Ohio...you won't be sorry! :)

L to R: Kate, Mike, Jessica, Rachael, Ashliegh, me, Courtney, and Meredith


We had coffee, lunch, and made a trip to the West Side Market, which I have never been to!  Courtney knew her way around in there and showed me a place that sold different flavored cannoli.  Cannoli are one of my favorite desserts and I had never tried them in peanut butter or pistachio before.  I'd like to head back the next time I visit Cleveland.



Talking about blogging with other bloggers made me reflect a lot about my own blog and think about what steps I need to take to improve my blog in its current state.

*My About Me Section- I have to re-write it soon because I took the easy way out and just answered some questions about myself, survey-style.  It doesn't really do a good job at describing who I am, and judging from my page views, this tab actually gets a lot of traffic.

*Google Analytics- Speaking of traffic, I tried to set up Google Analytics once, but it didn't work.  I just never went back and tried to fix it, but now I feel like this would give me a better idea about who is reading my blog, where they are "coming" from, and I'd know which views were legitimate as opposed to which ones are from Spam sites.  I don't really have any idea how many "real" views my blog is getting!

*New Blog design- Eventually I need to take the plunge and do this.  I notice now that some of the colors used in my current design are pale and hard to read...especially words that I hyperlink within a post.  I also want to change my tabs at the top of my blog.  Plus, I just want a change!

*Instagram-  I think not having one is really a bigger deal than I thought it was.  I downloaded it onto my phone, but deleted it because it made my phone lag.  Rachael really encouraged me to create an account, and I didn't participate in the recent Cara Box exchange since the new requirement is that you must have an Instagram.

*Twitter Conversations- I don't really jump in and have a whole lot of conversations with other bloggers that I don't "know."  Not going to lie, when I heard about Twitter, I thought it was the stupidest form of social media, ever!  I only created one because I thought it might be beneficial for my blog, and that was very reluctantly.  Now that I have used Twitter for a few months, I have to say that I surprised myself because I like it much more than I thought I would because it helps me stumble upon other blogs to read.  I know that if I'm finding blogs to read through Twitter that others might be finding my blog that way as well.

*Publishing Posts- I rarely ever schedule a post to be published unless it is for a link up like Weekly Wishes or something.  I know that publishing my posts at certain times affects how many views my post gets, so I might want to start scheduling more posts rather than just publish posts as I write them.

*Replying to comments via e-mail- This is bad of me, but so far I have not been sending e-mails to bloggers when they comment on my blog.  I have only replied on my actual post, so I know that some bloggers are not even seeing what I write since they might not stop back and read the same post twice.

Have you ever met up with other bloggers in real life?  What is something that you would like to change about your blog?

Burt's Bees Pomegranate Products

December 6, 2013
I've used Burt's Bees products for years, ever since my former roommate suggested I try out some of her Carrot Nutritive Day Creme. Since then, I've tried out a ton of Burt's Bees products, and have been pretty satisfied with most of them! A draw for me is that they are mostly natural products, they work effectively, and most products can easily be found at Target. My friends quickly learned that I am a fan of Burt's Bees and I was given this pomegranate set for a gift, so I thought I'd go ahead and review it.

Burt's Bees Cranberry and Pomegranate Replenishing Body Bar- 


Product description: "This replenishing French-milled bar soap is infused with the antioxidant goodness of cranberries and pomegranate seeds and provides a rich, natural lather leaving skin smooth and rejuvenated." 


The verdict: This doesn't smell like cranberries and pomegranate at all.  I'm not saying that the soap smells bad or anything, but it just smells exactly like regular soap.  I have read other reviews about this soap, and reviewers have commented on the fruity smell, but I promise that my soap smells nothing like fruit.  I don't know how typical this is, but it may not be the best choice if you want a scented soap.  I would recommend smelling it in the store before purchasing so you know what to expect.  The soap did lather nicely, and the seeds in the soap helped to exfoliate my skin without being too rough.  I used this after using Burt's Bees Cranberry and Pomegranate sugar scrub, and my skin felt fabulous afterwards.  This is a great product to use in the winter to help skin stay smooth.

Burt's Bees Replenishing Lip Balm with Pomegranate Oil-

Product description: "Give your thirsty lips a whole lot of love with our lip balm with antioxidant-rich Pomegranate Oil.  100% natural, it happily hydrates and revitalizes your lips with a hint of color for an even, beautifully toned appearance."



The verdict:  I already have a tube of this lip balm and love it!  I used it a lot last winter and a little over the summer, and it is almost all gone.  The first thing I noticed when I opened this lip balm is that it does not smell at all like the tube I currently own.  That's when I looked on the back at the ingredients and saw that Burt's Bees changed the formula of this lip balm.  I have to say that I much preferred the original formula and don't really care for the smell of the new version.  The old kind smelled sweeter, while I feel the newer kind smells more medicinal.  I don't get why companies have to mess with a good thing!!  The newer product still works well, but I'm going to be sad when I'm out of the good smelling kind.  

Another issue I have with this is that on the Burt's Bee's website, the product description mentions how this lip balm has a hint of color to it, but I would not describe it like that.  To me it seems clear! Here is a swatch so that you can be the judge:


What?  You don't see any color?  Neither do I!  I am okay with colorless lip balms, but don't think products should be advertised as having hints of color when they go on clear. 


Product description: "The ultimate sugar scrub fix.  Exfoliating crystals mingle with pomegranate oil, cranberry seed, and Shea butter in our body scrub to gently polish and condition your skin leaving it feeling healthy, smooth, and beautifully glowing.  It's the sweetest kind of clean!"


The verdict: Now this is a product that I would write home about!  I LOVE it!  It is the only Burt's Bees product of the three pomegranate products I'm reviewing that actually smells fruity.  The scent is super sweet and smells like pomegranate and cranberry candy.  I wish the lip balm and soap also smelled this divine.  The scrub itself worked so well and was the perfect consistency.  The last sugar scrub I tried from Lush was way too harsh and caused me pain, but this one has a nice texture.  It got the job done and I have to say that my legs haven't felt this soft since the summertime!  I would recommend using this scrub first and then using your soap/body gel because some of the seeds get left behind and will need to be washed off.  I really think that this is one of my favorite Burt's Bees products now.

Are you a fan of Burt's Bees?  Out of curiosity, do you know if they changed the formulas for other items besides just the lip balms?
*This post contains affiliate links for which I will receive a small amount of compensation if you click on the link at no extra cost to you. All opinions are my own.