August 2016 Favorites

I have a bit more time on my hands these days so I figured I’d take a break from the usual tech tips and try going back to sharing some of my favorite things each month. Let me know if you like it would like to see more.

App: Forest ($1.99)

IMG_6720 IMG_6719I’m not sure where I found Forest, but I’m glad I did. It’s a timer app, designed to help you focused by planting trees in a forest. You pick a time, and as the time runs out, a tree grows. Leave the app while the timer’s still going, and the tree dies. (No one wants to kill trees.) There’s a lot more to Forest than that though. It has tags so that you can track different types of focus, a social component with achievements so that you can have friendly competition with your friends, and even a store where you can buy new trees like an adorable Kitty tree (each tree you earn for focusing also gets you coins for the shop). You don’t realize how often you’re on your phone until you actually stop yourself from using it, and this app has been great at keeping me from using my phone.

Podcast: Science Vs

8.-FACEBOOK-Profile-Picture-160-x-160-pxI feel like I’m always on the lookout for new podcasts. I subscribe to a ton, but still find myself running out of things to listen to on a regular basis, so I was happy to find Science Vs, a new podcast from Gimlet. Wendy Zukerman’s accent and quirky personality are a joy to listen to as she explores the facts behind controversial topics like fracking, parenting, and guns. If you like learning and podcasts, this is a good one.

TV Show: Orphan Black (Seasons 1-3 Free with Amazon Prime)

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I’ve been catching up on a backlog of shows, and my latest binge has been Season 4 of Orphan Black. For those who don’t know, Orphan Black is a series about clones that airs on BBC America here in the US. The story line is fascinating on its own, but seeing Tatiana Maslany play nearly every character in the show is mindblowing. The way she manages to make every character seem so totally different is unbelievable.

Movie: Minimalism ($20)

maxresdefaultAfter my local screening for this movie fell through, I finally decided to splurge a bit and buy the Minimalism documentary. I’m no where near being able to live in a tiny house, but since moving out on my own, I’ve been adopting more and more minimalist practices (0pting for quality over quantity, experiences over things, etc). The documentary was well received and I can see why. After watching it, I had a renewed sense of purpose in my life, and it was incredibly cool to see people I’ve actually met in person like Patrick Rhone on my TV. I was also relieved to see that the pre-order promo of 6 hours of additional footage was also still being included in the $20 price.

Purchase: XL Cat Litter Trapper ($39.95)

91+1QOfnfTL._SL1500_I have three cats, who for many years were toilet trained (yes, Meet the Parents style toilet trained). It was great. Over the past few months however, my oldest cat decided that he had enough with hopping up on the toilet, so much to my dismay, the litter box has returned, bringing litter everywhere with it as well. I keep the litter box right next to my shower so I needed to find a litter mat that wouldn’t be affected by water. It may not be the prettiest thing in the world, but it works. It’s HUGE. It doesn’t hurt to walk on. It’s easy to empty, and it’s waterproof.

May 2014 Favorites

Happy Thursday everyone. I’m back with my favorites for May. To my surprise, a lot of my favorites this month unintentionally helped me simplify my life which happens to be great considering that’s my goal for this year.

Skincare Addiction Reddit

Seriously where has this been my entire life? The advice in this subreddit is priceless. I can’t remember the last time my skin was this clear. The best part, I didn’t need to go out and get a ton of expensive products. Everything I’m using is affordable and I can get it just about anywhere. Not only am I saving money, my skin’s loving it. The best thing I’ve learned – Stop using St. Ives Apricot scrubs.

Cowashing

Yet another Reddit find, but this time in the Hair Care Science subreddit. I know you aren’t supposed to wash your hair everyday. It’s awful for your hair, but let’s face it showing up to work with greasy hair isn’t great either. I have incredibly long, fine hair that was greasy by the end of the day, and dealing with an adjustment period of oily hair was just not an option. Then I stumbled upon cowashing (conditioner-washing) and Reddit changed my life once again.

Now I wash my hair with shampoo and conditioner once per week. On the other days, if I even wash my hair, I just use Suave Naturals Conditioner. I coat my hair with it after I get in the shower and work it into my hair and rinse it off a few minutes later. Not only is Suave Naturals ridiculously cheap ($1.50 a bottle), I also save myself some time in the shower. A month later, my hair’s not overly oily. I can even go a day without washing it. It’s softer and shinier. Even more suprising, it has more volume and body than ever.

Bare Minerals Ready Foundation

I used to use Maybelline’s Mineral Power Powder Foundation in addition to many others in my old super complicated makeup routine, but it’s gotten increasingly hard to find, and I believe they discontinued my shade anyway. I splurged on some Bare Minerals foundation haven’t looked back. Thanks to Bare Minerals and the Skincare Addiction reddit mentioned above, I was able to replace a lot of the foundations I was using for various reasons and wear a lot less makeup in the process. Instead of using powder to just set my makeup, I’m using the Bare Minerals as my normal foundation. With my simplified makeup routine, for the first time in a long time, I actually ended up being the first one ready. Being able to wake up and be out the door with a bit of mascara and foundation make waking up on the weekends for breakfast or an impromptu road trip much more enjoyable. One thing I do want to point out is that if you’re looking at this thinking pressed powder will be less messy than loose powder, think again. Lightly touching this powder with a brush is enough to get enough on the brush.

CARROT Fit App

This app is a trip. Each morning, I do a mini-workout just to wake myself up. I’d been using the LOLO 7 Minutes app, but switched over to CARROT Fit because why not get yelled at by a hilarious robot in the morning too. Now instead of doing T-Stand pushups, I get to do Dragon Mating Dances and instead of a plank, I get to do Extreme Lying Down. It kicks my butt just enough to wake me up and it’s silly enough to keep me laughing.

Country Music

I’ve been on a real country music kick lately. Who knows – maybe I’m finally embracing my lifestyle. Afterall, I do live on a dirt road, have a tractor, and know how to drive it. There really is nothing better than a road trip with the windows down and some country music though, and it doesn’t get much more Summer than chilling outside with good friends, food, drinks, and music. If I had a truck, lived on a farm, and wore cowboy boots and had my hair in a braid, I think I’d fit right in. Now to find a cowboy… I’ll save that for another day…

Signature Update

 

April 2014 Favorites

It’s nearly May, and I cannot wait for summer. In any event, it’s time for April favorites!

 

1. WeMo

Oh boy. I’m addicted. In fact I bought a WeMo Switch and ended up buying another one the next day. For those of you who aren’t familiar with WeMo, it’s Belkin’s line of home automation devices. You can connect various devices and control them via your phone. I’ve been having so much fun with mine that I’m already planning what else to connect. For now, I have the lamps behind my bed and the LED strips behind my TV plugged into my two Switches. With Belkin’s app, I’ve created a rule that turns my lamps behind my bed on when I wake up in the morning and off around the time I leave. {No more stumbling out of bed in the dark every morning… well most of the time provided I don’t trip…} IFTTT also has a Wemo Channel where you can set things up like when I wake up (with my Jawbone Up) turn on my lights. I even have my lamps blink 10 minutes before I need to leave in the morning. The LEDs behind my TV is more of a convenience thing at this point, but I’m enjoying having them connected with WeMo. I may set up an IFTTT rule to turn the LEDs on when it rains. I have them set to be blue after all.

2. LocateTV

Somewhere along the line, I developed a weekly habit of checking the local TV listings to see what movies I wanted to watch on Netflix were coming on TV. It’s great in theory. I’m not spending money on movies I could see on TV, but every week, {and yes this makes me sound crazy, I know} I would open up my Netflix queue and search for every movie in the list on DirecTV’s site. It was a pain, and I searched high and low for a website that would just say “Hey! A movie you want to see is coming on TV!” Well after way too much searching, I’ve found LocateTV. It lets you add movies and TV shows to a “my picks” section and then shows you if and when they come on TV. You can hide channels you don’t get, and my favorite part, it’ll send you an email weekly too. Problem solved and a lot of time saved.

3. Taco Bell Breakfast

I don’t get out of the house before noon on non-work days too often, but when I do, you can be sure I’m stopping somewhere to get breakfast. My go-to breakfast has usually been an Egg McMuffin combo with orange juice from McDonalds, but I decided to try out Taco Bell’s new options this month instead. I ended up getting a Bacon AM Breakfast Burrito combo and the Cinnabon Delights. I was pleasantly surprised. The Cinnabon Delights are like heaven. Think warm cinnamon sugar Dunkin Donuts Munchkins with the amazing Cinnabon cream cheese icing inside. The best part, they serve breakfast until 11. That gives me a whole extra 30 minutes to get my butt out of bed and ready for breakfast. I’ve managed to do it twice in the past few weeks. Go me! 🙂

4. Back to Work podcast

I may be a bit addicted to listening to Merlin Mann speak. Where do you even start with Merlin? He’s probably best known in the internet world for Inbox Zero and 43Folders but now a days he’s not all about productivity. In any any event, he’s a bit of productivity, a bit nerdy Mac user, a bit person who tells it like it is, and a whole lot of random hilarity. If you’re looking for something random to listen to I highly recommend Back to Work.

 

5. Wireless Whiskers

If my LocateTV rant didn’t make you think I was crazy, this one will. This puts me in crazy cat lady territory. Wireless Whiskers is an insanely overpriced, not very great quality, solution to an absurd problem. I have three cats. The oldest is overweight and will eat everything in sight only to immediately throw it back up. Another is incredibly timid and will wait until the others have eaten everything before she eats. For years, I decided I would never be one of those cat owners who could just put a bowl of food out all day. So every morning and evening, I’d go on the inevitable search for the cat scoop I never remembered to put back, nearly tripping over 3 meowing cats anxiously waiting for food. I wanted nothing more than to save those 20 minutes spent frantically searching and tripping over cats to feed them every day. So what’s a girl to do? The obvious solution was to get one of those self-feeders, but the fat cat would eat until he was sick over and over like the people at the party in the Capital in the Hunger Games. I could get one of the timed self feeders but again, he’d eat it all and the other cats would starve. So get ready for nerdy crazy cat lady mode… enter Wireless Whiskers, the intelligent self-feeder. Every cat/small dog gets their own tag (up to 8 I believe). The bowl has a wizard mode that calculates how much each cat eats. Once it’s done analyzing, should fat cat decide he wants to eat and eat and eat, it will shut doors over the food if he’s exceeded his allotted food for the hour and then reopen when he leaves so the other cats can eat. Even better, you can choose to reduce a particular cat’s food allotment should you want them to lose a few pounds. There’s even a mode to keep the doors closed all the time unless an animal with an allowed tag comes to the bowl which is handy if you have dogs that like to eat kitty food or if you have a cat that has a special diet. Again, this is totally unnecessary but I’ve gotten a kick out of watching all the pets jump at the doors closing. I’m also appreciating not having to find that silly cat scoop or clean up after the fat cat who ate all the food in 2 minutes.

UPDATE: Shortly after writing this review, I noticed the part that holds the food for this bowl was cracked. After a long battle with their terrible and snooty customer service, they agreed to not make me pay to have a new plastic tube shipped for the product I’ve only had for a little over 3 weeks. They likened their support to better than Apple at which I had to laugh at. I imagine their customer base for those interested in this product is pretty small because the$150 for a cat bowl is utterly ridiculous, but they seem uninterested in keeping their few customers happy and do not seem to stand by their product even insisting that defects like the several I had are to be expected. I would avoid this company at all costs.

So there you have it. My favorites for April.

Signature Update

March 2014 Favorites

Monthly Faves March

Happy Friday lovelies!

It’s been a while since I did a monthly favorites post, but I’m back today with a bit of a nerdy, tech-centered list of faves.

First up, we have the UP24 band by Jawbone ($149.99). For those of you who didn’t know, the Fitbit Force was recalled due to a nasty rash that it was causing people. Despite using it for months with no issue, I was one of the unlucky people who eventually got the rash and I was forced to stop using it. I was offered a refund or my choice of other Fitbit trackers, but I didn’t necessarily want to downgrade back to the Flex. In the end I opted to go with the Up 24 band which has a lot of fun features like idle notifications and insightful tips that I’ve been enjoying.

Next up, is a terribly addicting game available for iOS and Android, Threes ($1.99). I downloaded it on a whim because it was popular. 12 hours later… I was still playing it… I’m not sure what it is about stacking cards to make combinations of 3s, 6s, 12s, etc. that is so addicting, but I’m sold. It’s a great way to pass the time, but given my 12 hour stretch, I’m always mindful of the time, because clearly I lose track quickly with this game.

My third favorite is BusyCal ($49.99). I have to admit this one is a bit unexpected. For years, I’ve had a Fluid app running Google Calendar on my Mac. I know I could have used iCal, and that would have been my preference, but I make changes to events frequently (e.g. when a student is late for a shift), and I hated that iCal didn’t allow me to make changes without sending an email to anyone attending. It does way more than just that though, so if you’re looking for a good calendar app for OS X, check it out. BusyCal has solved so many of my calendar issues, and I’m kicking myself for not giving it a fair chance sooner.

Here’s where it starts to get nerdy. My fourth favorite for the month has been Keyboard Maestro ($36). I’m a firm believer in the idea that computers should make your life easier. If I find myself doing something on my computer more than once, you can bet I’m going to start looking for a way to have my computer do it. Keyboard Maestro is one tool I’ve added to my toolkit to save me time. I’m still playing with it on a regular basis to tweak and add things, but for now some of my favorite “macros” are the ones that get my computer set up for my day at work and close programs before I leave for the day. My latest addition has been a macro that draws a red circle around my mouse when I hit a certain hotkey because having a 27″ display and my 15″ display on my MacBook Pro equals plenty of room to lose my mouse. {First-world problems…}

And last but not least, we have TextExpander ($34.95) and its iOS counterpart, TextExpander Touch ($4.99). Seriously, why did I not buy these sooner. Working in tech support, I’m constantly typing the same thing over and over. Our support knowledgebase has reduced that significantly because I can now just send customers links to our articles, but there are still things I type constantly, for instance, the links to those articles. I also use it to generate emails I regularly send to people. Another use I’ve found is remembering required information. When we hire an employee, I have a snippet that inserts the list of required information I need to submit to our payroll preparer which saves me having to find the email that has the information in it. One of my most used snippets is my gratitude snippet which gets filled in and logged each night before bed. I briefly described how I use it here.

Signature Update

 

October 2013 Favorites

Can you believe it’s already the end of October?! Seriously, where did the last 10 months go?

October was a busy month for me, and with training demos, applying to a new masters program, and interviewing and hiring new employees, I came across quite a few interesting things to keep me sane.

  1. Real Techniques Brushes – I’m not a beauty guru by any means, but I do wear makeup on a regular basis, so decent brushes are a must for me. I honestly didn’t really start getting into makeup until recently. Before that, I wore it but didn’t really pay any attention to how I was applying it. I had acquired a collection of random brushes from cheap sets off Livingsocial, random brushes from Walmart, and a few here and there from other stores, but truthfully, they all sucked with the exception of maybe one really old Kabuki brush from Walmart which has been well worth the $5 I spent on it. Anyway, back to these brushes. I love them because they aren’t that expensive, but they feel like much better quality than the brushes I had. My only downside is their super wide bases do not work so well in my Sigma Dry n’ Shape. My favorite brushes are the Expert Face Brush, Blush Brush, and Base Shadow Brush.
  2. Cinnamon Toast Crunch – I really have no idea where this one came from. We had a box in the cabinet, and I decided to have some for dessert one day. I think I’m on my 3rd box this month. It’s bad.
  3. Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Frappuccinos – I know I’m late to the game on this one, especially as Gold card holder, but I tried my first Pumpkin Spice Latte and Frappuccino this month. I’ve been back six or so times this month already. Even my dogs are addicted {not that they get Starbucks}. When anyone in the house mentions “Starbucks” or “Wanna go to Starbucks?” they come running {which is super handy when trying to get them inside}, and don’t even try to drink a Frappuccino with them around. You will have an 80lb dog with an extra long tongue in your lap in seconds.
  4. 7-Minute Workout (High Intensity Training) app by lolo Thankfully, I’ve countered all my Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Starbucks runs with some actual exercise. I’ve mentioned a few times I love Tone It Up and Blogilates, but I’d be lying if I said I actually consistently followed either of their schedules. After a long day of work, who actually wants to work out for 40 minutes when you could put on some sweat pants and sit down for once? Not this girl. BUT, I can workout for 7 minutes, and I’ve done so consistently for over 2 weeks now. 7 minutes a day with this little app has gotten me into ridiculous shape considering I’ve been chowing down on fast food and lots of other unhealthy things. I have gotten as much muscle tone if not more from the 7 minutes a day over the past 18 days as I had gotten from the 40 minutes of TIU or Blogilates I was trying to do, and I even lost a couple pounds {not that I was trying to}. Oh, and the best part, it’s free!
  5. Hoop Dance –  Last winter, I went on vacation and ended up meeting a girl who hoop danced. I left with the crazy idea that one day I’d be one of those awesome hula-hooping chicks. In July, I finally received my first hoop, and it was incredibly crappy. {Word of advice, do not buy the Hoopnotica Travel Hoops. Unless you want an incredibly loud hoop, there are much better alternatives on Etsy.} I learned the basics of hooping, and earlier this month decided it was time to graduate to some nicer hoops. Three to be exact – one from DanceHoops and two from TreeHuggerHoops. I don’t think I’ve ever really stopped hooping for more than 24 hours this month. I even take it downstairs with me so I can hoop on the deck while making food. I’m far from being an awesome hooping chick, but I have managed to get the basics down including the usual waist hooping, hip hooping, walking around, turns,  and halos. I also recently learned I can hoop on one leg but not both. Leg/knee hooping and chest/shoulder hooping are what I’m currently working on. It’s so much fun, I only stop because I’ve gotten bruises or because I have to do things like go to work…

    hoop

    From left to right, Travel Hoop from Hoopnotica, Collapsible Snow Queen hoop from TreeHuggerHoops, Pink Trekker hoop from DanceHoops, and Across the Universe hoop also from TreeHuggerHoops

Signature Update

September 2013 Favorites

September’s almost over, and the last time I even did a Favorites post was back in April. I really am a terrible blogger. I hope no one was waiting for my next Favorites post. If you were, I’m so sorry.

{Disclaimer: I purchased all of these products on my own and was not paid or asked to review any of these items.}

So what have I been loving this month {and over the past 5 months…}

PicMonkey Collage copy

#1: iOS 7

Of course as an Apple fan, I feel almost obligated to say something about iOS 7. To be completely honest, I was prepared to hate it. The colors, the icons, all of it made me want to go, “What was Apple thinking?!” Parts of the new OS like the new look for Messages are still a bit too much for my tastes, but overall, I’m surprised at how much I love it.

Control Center has to be my favorite new addition by far. Thanks to quick access to a flashlight, clock, calculator, and camera, I’ve knocked 4 icons off my home screen. I also use Do Not Disturb mode a lot more know that I can access it easier. Another welcome addition is the ability to create folders with more than 12 apps. All my Apple apps I don’t want, including Newstand, can fit in one folder!

It really is like I’ve gotten a new phone. I find myself using my phone more, and I’m anxiously waiting for new apps to update their designs every day.

#2: The Gnarly Whale Beach Waves Spray

A lot of people comment on how I’m blessed to have straight hair. I actually find it to be a bit more of a curse.  When it’s short, I might as well be a frizzy poodle, hence why I keep it long, but when it’s long, it just falls flat no matter what. Whenever I had to get my hair done for dances, you could bet, I used a whole can of hair spray before I even left the salon, and another 2 cans at home before the dance even started, and my curls still fell out. To keep the frizz at bay, my only option up until now has been to blow dry it every single day. {My hair’s too fine to be one of those people that can get away with washing their hair a few times a week.} It’s not healthy for my hair, and it’s a pain to have to blow dry my hair every day too!

That leads me to the Gnarly Whale’s Beach Waves Spray. I had read a review on a blog {I apologize for not remembering which one} and the writer mentioned that this added a bit of waves to her hair which never held a curl. I adore the beach wave look, so I knew I had to try it. When I went on vacation over the summer, I didn’t even pull out my blow dryer. I just sprayed some of this on after the shower and jumped on our scooter or headed to the boardwalk. Easy.

When I got back, I actually started using it more and more. It’s a perfect way to be lazy when I’m going to the store. It is fantastic when I’m moving a bit slowly in the morning before work too. But I’ve even been using it on days when I do blow dry my hair straight. I spray it on the lower half of my hair and it gives my hair just enough weight so that it doesn’t turn into a flyaway mess.

I’ve tried other sprays and they leave my hair greasy looking, or feeling coated in salt. I’ve been using the Thai Coconut scent, but I can’t smell many things, this being one of them. With that being said, no one has complained about it yet. I ordered another 3 bottles of this stuff, and I hope they keep making it. I highly recommend it. {By the way, I’m sorry I don’t have a picture at the moment. I’ll try to get one in to show how it actually works with my hair.}

#3: Sim City 2013

Nerd alert here. I’m addicted to Sim City. I’m not really sure why, but it’s one of those games you can really get lost in. BUT… it runs like absolute crap on my Retina Macbook Pro {as with all Sims games…}. This one is a bit worse than the others though. If you play it for too long, it actually stops reporting stats and replaces them with an unknown value error. Another issue I’ve had is that the cursor disappears after a while. In any event, I’m still addicted to it, and I usually just take the glitches as a sign that it’s time to stop playing.

#4: Face Masks

At some point in the last few months, I got in the habit of applying a face mask on Sunday evenings. For some reason Sundays are like the only day a routine has ever really stuck. So once all my laundry is done and put away and my clothes are picked out for the week, I usually put on a face mask and watch some TV. Lately I’ve been using up some of the samples I’ve gotten in previous Ipsy bags and Birchboxes, but I also use one of my standby faves, Origins Out of Trouble mask on days when my skin is particularly bad.

#5: Netflix Originals

I finally sat down and watched House of Cards and actually paid attention this time, and liked it a lot more than before. Once that was over I switched to Orange is the New Black, which I absolutely adored. I loved the cast, and also loved that Regina Spektor did the theme song. I also watched Netflix’s latest series Derek which was a bit quirky. It kind of reminded me of the Office with the way it was shot, but also had a bit of an IT Crowd feel to it as well with the characters. Overall I enjoyed it, but the last episode was a bit of a downer honestly.

So that’s what I’ve been loving this past month {or months…}. What have you been enjoying in this lovely month of September?

Signature Update

April 2013 Favorites

Hi guys! I’m back with April’s Favorites post. As usual, it’s an eclectic mix of things that I really enjoyed over the month.

{Disclaimer: I purchased all of these products on my own and was not paid or asked to review any of these items.}

Image from Sephora.com

# 1 on my list, Clinique Acne Solutions Clear Skin System, $54

I’ve tried A LOT of products that claim to give clear skin – Proactive, Murad, the many drugstore varieties, and prescription creams and face washes that were like $90 a bottle. None of them really did the trick 100%. The prescription creams and washes my dermatologist provided were the best though (and they should be considering their price) so I continued using them with my Clarisonic and just dealt with the dryness they caused every so often. I picked this stuff up on a whim from Sephora and I’m sold. I only bought the small travel size bottles to start, but I’m definitely getting the full-size ones. I stopped using all my prescription products and have been using this with my Clarisonic twice a day. For spot treatments right now, I’m using Kate Somerville’s EradiKate. I’m not entirely sold on this product, but it works. I’m going to try the other Clinique products rather than repurchasing it though.

Image from Amazon.com

#2, Winix WAC5500 True HEPA Air Cleaner, $199

I’d be lying if I said this thing didn’t help tremendously with my allergies. I’ve never EVER been one to suffer from seasonal allergies, but this year absolutely killed me. I didn’t have the sneezing or runny nose or anything, but every morning, I’d wake up looking like I’d been punched in the eyes. For a couple weeks I couldn’t wear my contacts and had to resort to glasses. {Sidenote: walking in contacts is a lot different than walking in glasses, and I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to that.} When I bought this thing, I was terrified. It has this feature that regulates the air flow based on your air quality. Sounds cool, but it was really worrying for me. Keep in mind we have 2 dogs and 3 cats. I just sanded my room, so on top of it’s normal overly-dustiness, it was covered in a layer of white powder. Oh and I have a terrible habit of vacuuming once a month or less. I had this fear that when I turned it on, it’d say my air was like ridiculously toxic. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case, but it works well enough that I don’t get the usual “Are you painting your nails?” comments nearly as often, and I’m not sneezing because of dust every day. Money well spent in my opinion.

#3, L’Oreal Total Repair 5 Hair Care Line 

Image from L'oreal

Image from lorealparisusa.com

You know how awesome your hair feels after you get it washed at the salon, that’s how this makes my hair feel. I’m hesitant to try new shampoos because my hair is incredibly fine and it’s also oily by the end of the day. Because it’s so oily, I have to wash it every day which wrecks the ends of my hair. In addition to that, I’m cursed {or blessed depending on how you look at it} with hair that does absolutely nothing but fall straight. No matter how I style my hair, it’s just going to be straight at the end of the day. No curls, waves or any sort of body for me. This line somehow works miracles for my hair. It’s soft and shiny without being oily or weighing my hair down, and finding a line that does it all and doesn’t cost a fortune is a great find in my book. I bought the deep repair mask and the dry oil spray you see in the picture as well. I use the mask once a week and occasionally to touch up my ends if they are looking dry. The dry oil works miracles at making my hair easier to brush when I’m blow drying it in the morning. One last additional side note is that since using this, I’ve stopped using hairspray. One less step for me, and one less way to pollute the environment.

#4, Kindle Paperwhite, $139

kindle-paperwhite

Image from Amazon.com

Yep this guy’s not going anywhere. I still recommend this to anyone who is considering one. One thing I’ve noticed though is I rarely turn the brightness higher than the lowest setting. It’s enough light to read at night, and during the day, you can see the screen fine too, so why waste the battery. I can’t imagine ever needing to read it at anything brighter.

Well that’s it for April. Have you tried any of these products? Did you have any products you loved last month? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

Signature

March 2013 Favorites

Hello everyone! Just like before, this post is going to be all about the products I loved this month, but it’ll be a bit more brief than last month’s.

{Disclaimer: I purchased all of these products on my own and was not paid or asked to review any of these items.}

kindle-paperwhite

# 1 on my list, the Kindle Paperwhite.

If you’d asked me a year ago, whether I’d buy a Kindle, I’d have probably said no, so it’s pretty surprising that this is on my favorites list. I like to read, and up until this past month or so, Kindle apps on my iPad, iPhone, and Mac have been working out well. So why the Paperwhite? Warm weather means my lunch breaks and free time will likely be spent outdoors, and my iPad  and laptop don’t like the sun. I bought the Paperwhite without special ads and no 3G, and so far it goes everywhere with me. It’s small enough to take with me wherever I go. It’s light enough so that it doesn’t bother my wrists when holding it for long periods of time. The e-ink took a bit of getting used to. I have to remember it’s not an iPad with Retina display, but overall. I love it. The battery life is fantastic as well. My favorite feature by far though has to be the “Time to Read” feature. I love being able to see how long it will take me to finish reading a book or chapter. I picked up Amazon’s leather case in Fuchsia as well, but the jury’s still out on this one. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a WONDERFUL case. Probably the best quality case I’ve ever owned, but I’m not sure I want the slight added bulk it adds. Then again, I tend to not like using cases anyway so it’s not at all surprising to me.

baby-lips

#2 – Maybelline New York Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Balm

In one of my very first Birchboxes, I received a LipFusion Balm Lip Conditioning Stick by FusionBeauty. Ever since, it’s been my go-to lip product. I’m not one to remember to put lip products on, so my lips end up pretty chapped during the winter. The LipFusion balm is fantastic, but the price tag of $22 for a clear lip balm isn’t. That leads me to Baby Lips. For less than $3, I can get something pretty similar, with a bit of sheer color too. I picked up the Pink Wink shade which is a really light, sheer, pink shade. Turns out it happens to be a limited edition shade. I plan to go get some other shade though. I really love this product.

#3 – Novaform 14″ Gel Memory Foam Mattress from Costco

I purchased this on a bit of a whim to replace my 12 year old mattress. I actually got this one on sale for $399 which is pretty darn cheap for a mattress. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this mattress based on the price. I just didn’t want to be rolling into the middle of my sagging mattress anymore. The first few nights on this thing were a bit rough. It seemed too firm. I tossed and turned. It’s not because it was a bad mattress, I just wasn’t used to it. It’s really hard to not fall asleep in it immediately now. Every day I wake up a little more rested, and I’m truly glad I purchased it. The thing that put this mattress on the list was the quickness of how I got rid of the back pain I had from shoveling snow. Silly me decided it would be a great idea for my small self to shovel the driveway, deck, and sidewalks. I followed that up with a 40 minute workout and 10 minute stretch. The next day I felt like I needed a walker to lean on where ever I went. Climbing into bed that night was such an amazing feeling. All the pain I had had all day vanished, and I woke up feeling fantastic. The only downside is that I now have to be mindful of what sheets I buy because most standard sheets aren’t deep enough for it.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Philosophy Hope in a Jar Night – I purchased this on a whim. I’ve been using it nearly every night. I’m not entirely sure whether it’s this product or my new day time moisturizer, or this product, but I have noticed that my skin has gotten noticeably clearer over the past month despite not using prescription acne products or my Clarisonic as often. The big plus is that my face isn’t peeling off making me look like a zombie.
  • First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream – Another product I purchased on a whim. I have a few prescription acne products that periodically dry my skin out to the point that it burns. Applying any kind of moisturizer ends up being a terribly painful experience. I got this in hopes it would help, and it did to the point I haven’t really had to use it again since.
  • Viactiv Multi-Vitamin Soft Chews in Milk Chocolate – I’m not a vitamin person. I’ve tried different brands because some actually make me nauseous, and in the end, I never end up taking them like I should. These taste great, they don’t make me sick, and I actually look forward to taking one each morning.

As I said, it’s a much shorter list than last month, but I really didn’t have many new favorite products.

If any of you were missing yesterday’s post, I had planned to have post on the cats, but I just didn’t get around to it. This week my head’s been a bit frazzled and my mind has been elsewhere. I hope to have it posted by next Wednesday.

Did you have any favorite products for March? Have you tried any of these products? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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February 2013 Favorites

Hello everyone! This post is going to be all about the products I loved this month. It’s a fairly random list of things including everything from makeup to apps to pet products.

{Disclaimer: I purchased all of these products on my own and was not paid or asked to review any of these items.}

Make Up, Hair & Nails

  • Gel Eyeliner by MicaBeauty – This was my first time trying a gel-based eyeliner. I was always too afraid that I’d screw it up, but it turned out easier to apply than I had anticipated. This stuff was awesome for my nights out when I wanted to give my eyes a little more {well a LOT MORE} oomph.

  • Pixi Flawless & Poreless Primer – I typically use Too Faced’s Primed & Poreless primer, but this was another Ipsy product I enjoyed using. I think it’ll be a toss up between what primer I order now. The Pixi primer is available at Target for $29 or through Ipsy with a 20%  , but I typically shop at Sephora so I’ll likely reorder the Too Faced primer.

Mac/iPhone/iPad Apps

It seems like more and more lately I’m replacing the stock apps on my phone with other third-party apps.

Sunrise Calendar App

{Image from Tech Crunch}

  • Sunrise – This app is a wonderful calendar app that really took me by surprise. It as a great look to it. It also has Facebook integration which is wonderful for wishing your Facebook friends a Happy Birthday which some of you may remember is one of my goals for this year.

  • Mailbox – This app claimed it would revolutionize the way you used your Gmail accounts and boy did it. I feel like I waited an eternity for this app, and almost deleted it because I was tired of waiting in line. I don’t necessarily agree that the idea of downloading the app to “reserve your place in line” to get to use the app was the best roll out method, but I’m glad I waited. I have a few coworkers that like to send out emails at 9pm, so being able to mark those emails to return to my inbox later when I’m at work is great. It did take a bit of time to reconfigure my Mail app on my Mac so that everything worked together nicely, but I decided to take the time to do it and clean up my folders in the process.

  • Jasmine – I watch a lot of YouTube videos if you hadn’t caught on to that from my “My Week” posts by now. Watching them on my iPad or iPhone is one way that I catch up on them. I tried a lot of Youtube apps and this one is by far the prettiest. It does have some glitches at times, but this is still the best in my opinion.

  • Pocket – I had this app on my computer for a while, but never actually used it. I subscribe to a lot of RSS feeds that I read on my iPhone, iPad, and Mac using my favorite RSS reader, Reeder. I typically run through the feeds and star what I want to read so that I can come back to them. Pocket seemed redundant until I started using it. Now I typically send things I want to read straight to Pocket. When I’m reading, if I find a link to something else interesting, I save that link to Pocket and continue reading. This works wonderfully for Webfinds. I open up the Philofaxy post, and save all the finds to Pocket and I can read them later.

Pet Products

  • PetGuard Leaf and Flower Organically Grown Catnip – I got this from Petflow’s Spoiled Rotten box. I’ve since unsubscribed from it because I don’t think the products were  worth the money, but my cats did enjoy everything in the box. One of their favorites was a tin of organic catnip. Only my two younger cats are usually affected by catnip, but this time even Abu joined in on the fun. Within minutes, they were acting crazy, and at one point they were following me around excited like I had canned cat food for an oil filter I was carrying to the garage.

Stationary & Such

  • Schedule Stamps from Etsy – I picked up two sets of stamps from the Etsy store, bysiuc. The first set was weather related. The second set contained various events like date night, movie, etc. It doesn’t look like the event type stamps are still available, but there is one left of the weather related ones, here. {Check back Monday for how I’m using them in my Filofax.}

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