Monday, March 30, 2015

Birchbox Review

As a die-hard lover of miniature things, sample boxes appeal to me in a very visceral way.  It's like a present, full of small, pretty things, that comes once a month just to delight you.  Tell me, what could be better.

I started my subscription to Birchbox in September. The first step in the process is to fill out a fairly extensive profile on your skin and hair, current beauty routine and preferences.  Personally, I'm in a pretty good skincare rhythm, so I opted out of products related to that, but did request face masks (which I enjoy regardless of whether or not they do something) and in general despise fragrance samples, so that was out too.  Since filling out my profile, I generally get about 1 skincare product (mostly masks) per box, and have received 2 fragrances total (both of which I loved, go figure).

Pictured above is my March box - I got a tinted moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner, a mask, hair oil and a chubby lipstick thing.  The hair oil was a sample that I got to choose (they give you a few options to pick between before your next box), which is fun.  Overall, everything I got I will/have used, which is true for all of my boxes, save for maybe 3 products.  I've even found a few new must haves - a gorgeous Paula's Choice toner, the hair oil I chose in March, a super heavy duty lip balm.

Overall, Birchbox is definitely worth 10 of my dollars every month.  Even if I don't love every sample, just seeing the box in my mailbox feels like a present, and I get excited to try everything out.  Plus, Birchbox gives you points for every sample you review on their site, and I've earned enough cash to buy a few of my favorites.  It's a nice little system.  And bonus, the boxes the samples come in are always adorable and I end up repurposing all over my apartment (next month is a Rifle Paper co box, I can hardly wait).  It might seem a little ridiculous to spend money on samples, but the little indulgence makes me wicked happy.

If you're interested in trying Birchbox, you can sign up here

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Project 365 // March 23 - March 29

March 23

March 24

March 25

March 26

March 27

March 28

March 29

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March Budget

Someone was feeling a bit spendy this month... I blame good sales, duty-induced exhaustion and a quick trip to my parent's.  I am thrilled with both pairs of pants I got this month - they double my work-appropriate pants wardrobe and I think the red color will be pretty fun for the spring.  My family and I are headed to Ireland in May, so I'm planning on April being a light shopping month, especially because I picked up a few of the things I needed for the trip this month (rainboots, hello)

1 // Hunter Boots - $150*
2 // Old Navy Khakis - $20
3 // Old Navy Wrap Dress - $20 (worn here)
4 // Old Navy Pants - $20
5 // Loft Top - $23
6 // Loft Skirt - $23 (worn with the top here)

1 // Rifle Paper Co Phone Case - $35
2, 3, 4 // Charming Charlie's Necklaces (3 of 6 purchased) - $65

Total // $206

* The Hunters came out of my personal savings, where I stash any rollover money to cover bigger purchases

Once again, I'm linking up with Fran and the other Budgeting Bloggers here

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Project 365 // March 16-March 22

March 16

March 17

March 18

March 19

March 20

March 21

March 22

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

ThredUP Experience Update

Womp.  Unfortunately, most of my fears about ThredUP's selling experience ended up coming true.  I received an email from them last week, saying that they had processed my bag.  I was thrilled, because it was a full 12 days before they had predicted getting through it.  The payout was higher than I had expected for the clothes, and they offer a paypal payout option, which I'll probably end up going with.

I didn't, however, see either of the purses I sent in listed. I emailed their support team and asked if I was missing.  Samantha emailed me back about 18 hours later to say that no, I was right, they hadn't accepted either one. The Vera bag I could understand - it wasn't in the best shape, but the Coach bag wasn't accepted only because they already had bags like it and weren't sure it would sell.  This was hard for me, because they didn't accept it for their own reasons, not because anything was wrong with it.  Because I didn't pay the 13 dollars for return assurance (which is 100% on me), they kept the bag.  Many of the reviews online suggest that this happens to A LOT of customers.  It was crazy disappointing and left a pretty bad taste in my mouth.

Overall, I would say that my buying experience with ThredUP was fine. Shipping times were long, but the prices and selection are awesome.  Selling, on the other hand, isn't something I'll do through them again.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Irish Soda Bread

Saint Patrick's Day is my favorite non-Christmas holiday.  I look great in green, think leprechauns are delightful and LOVE boiled dinner. Which is ironic, considering I don't eat meat and therefore, boiled dinner is mostly carrots.  Carrots and soda bread.  Mostly soda bread.  For the first time ever, I attempted it myself.  The first go round didn't actually work out (womp) and the second was better, but still not perfect.

Luckily, I'll be home for my Mama's soda bread next weekend, so my pale comparison only has to work for a few days. She and I both make this recipe.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Project 365 // March 9 - 15

Big fail on getting this up on time - sorry!
March 9

March 10

March 11

March 12

March 13

March 14

March 15

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Book Review // Station 11 and The Bone Clocks

2 more books down on my quest to read 50 this year!  Station 11 I read at the urging of one of my mom's best friends, who made the semi-drunken demand that I read this book and then move to Manhattan. Bone Clocks I read because it was the first book I put on hold to become available.  Both are dystopian/sci-fi-esque/futuristic, but the similarities end there.

Station 11 is a post-apocalypse novel with rotating protagonists that overlap in increasingly complicated ways. I found the beginning of the book a bit tough to get into - I kept wondering what the actual plot was, or if there would be a central conflict/thing.  It did pick up eventually, but I never found myself super engrossed. I felt like I was sort of betraying the literature community in not falling in love, but this book never really grabbed me.

Unfortunately, the same was true for Bone Clocks. I actually googled the book after about 100 pages, because I was sure that it was the second book in a series and I had missed something.  Not true, it's just an overly complicated story. Each section is from a different person's point of view, and there seems to be two separate plots - the actual character interactions and then the occult weirdness.  In general, I like books like that, but I felt like the two plots didn't overlap enough to keep me engaged. Instead, I kept forgetting the made up names and who went with who. Every 50 or so pages, something would happen that would remind me about the sci-fi thing and I'd have to go back and remind myself.  Towards the end, it did all come together and was pretty cool, but the majority of the book was a slog for me.

Hope no one was blinded by those glowing reviews... On to the next read - Still Life with Bread Crumbs

Monday, March 9, 2015

Lust List // Midi Skirts

Midi skirts have been 'a thing' for ages now, but I've never dipped a toe in.  To be honest, I'm not even sure why, because they look great on people with my shape (classic hourglass).  Last week, I just decided it was spring, weather be damned, and therefore needed a new skirt.   My list of requirements was that it be flattering on my shape, have enough black that I could wear them with tights in the winter and be a print. I've gathered up my favorites from around the interwebs.  This one is perfect for all my favorite librarians.

one // two // three // four // five 

I ordered this one last week, but I'm a little apprehensive about the granda-couch-crazy-lady print, so we'll see!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Project 356 // March 2-8

March 2

March 3 (an awful picture of a roll that looked like an angry boulder)

March 4

March 5

March 6

March 7

March 8

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Puppy Update // What I Actually Needed

When I first got Tallulah, one of my main concerns was getting dog bedding and food bowls that matched my apartment... I had been around puppies enough to know that her being in my life made a much larger impact than just on my home decor, but still, I wanted yellow bowls and a gray bed.  6 months later, I realize that I should have been much more concerned with stocking up on extra socks and leashes, and less on color schemes.

1 // Crate - Tally spends my work day in her crate, and it is a 100% necessary item for the health and well-being of my dog and of me.  I got lucky and inherited a crate from my parents, but it would have been money well spent to invest in a high quality one

2 // Multiple Leashes - My dog was and is a chewer, so when she chewed through the only leash, it really sucked.  I ended up making an emergency run to Petco because I didn't have any way to take her out. Lesson learned - I now have a backup.

3 // Kongs - When I leave for work, the puppy princess gets a peanut butter Kong, which keeps her busy at least long enough for me to sneak out without her noticing.  It's also a life saver when I need to get things done on the weekend (uncooked beef bones are a close second, only because I feel weird leaving animal parts around my otherwise meat-free apartment)

4 // Dog Treats - Pretty self explanatory, though I will say that buying tiny treats, as opposed to big, Milkbone style ones, has been a big help

5 // Booties/Coats - I am partially ashamed to admit this, but my dog require winter apparel.  The poor thing was too little, and the winter too fierce, for her tiny body to manage.  She's gone through a few iterations of clothing, but her current is a Kong coat that I don't love...

6 // Trash Cans with Lids - Something I did not think through before getting a puppy - she gets into EVERYTHING.  All of my trashcans now live on desks, except for the magical ones with lids.  Would have been worth the extra 5 dollars to have trashcans on the floor.

7 // A Good Vacuum -  Puppy girl sheds like a monster, and my delightful Shark is pretty much my best friend.

8 // Lots of Socks and Underwear - Unless I put my laundry towards the bottom of my tall hamper, Legs McGee will suss it out and chew through it.  She's been very helpful in helping me purge my underwear drawer...

Things I did not need - fancy bedding or yellow dog bowls.  They're cute, but super not necessary...

Monday, March 2, 2015

Home DIY // Bathroom Update

I spent most of this weekend trapped in my apartment, slave to the needs of 26 high school girls. In order to escape the insanity, I hid in my bathroom, painting and purging. When I moved into my apartment, most of the walls were neutral enough that I didn't feel the need to change it, but the bathroom was a bright green, and the person who painted it did so using a brush and one coat... Noottttt such a good look.

Sorry for the terrible picture quality - rocking the iphone pics today

I had originally wanted to paint it a light yellow, but the paint turned out a bit more tan/peach/yellow, though I don't mind.  It still looks a lot better...

This is actually the last room in my apartment that I hated enough to want to immediately paint (the kitchen was my first priority.  Next up is my bedroom, though I'm going to hold off until the summer, when I can sleep in one of the dorm rooms instead of living in a fume den.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Project 365 // February 23 - March 1

February 23

February 24

February 25

February 26

February 27

February 28

March 1