Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Decisions from graduate schools are starting to roll in and it's looking more and more like I will be going back to the states after this summer to get my graduate education underway! I am really excited about the future and I hope that everything continues along the current path. 

However, my husband and I will be faced with months of separation in different countries if I make the move and I feel like I am always saying good-bye to him. 

Just another perk of a military spouse’s life.  (Insert sourpuss face here)

Not ones to dwell on the grim spots in life my husband and I decided to take a last getaway vacation before we spend the better part of a year apart.

And that is the HARD PART, friends! We have no idea where to go! Our top choices are Palau, Thailand, and the Philippines. I was set on Palau until it looked like all there was to do was dive...I have this about sharks eating me and so I am deathly afraid of diving. I blame countless Sci-Fi channel Sharktopus movies. My husband on the other hand seems to be a long-lost relative of Jacque Cousteau.

Have any of you been to these places? Where did you go? What did you love? What did you EAT?!

Can you tell that I am just a teensy bit worked up about this? Any thoughts would be appreciated in this vacation stand off! :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: Birchbox

I haven’t done a product review in a quite a WHILE, and I am back with a bang! This week I will be reviewing Birchbox’s amazing service. Birchbox is a wonderful service that delivers high-quality beauty, lifestyle, and amazing odds-n-ends that I would otherwise not have the cash to indulge in. I signed up for Birchbox sometime ago and was thrilled when I got my spot to join the service, and I have been waiting to tear into my first box ever since.

Because I have an APO address there is a delay in the service so I am nearly 2 months behind on the box that I get. Bummer, but I am just happy that customs is letting my boxes through. ;) My first box was unbelievable! Even my thrifty husband was impressed with what I got for 10 bucks. 

Here are my items for the December Box (better late than never, right? ;))
ModelCo SHINE Ultra Lip Gloss in Berry Pink: Great color and quality with a handy built-in mirror. I really liked the shine and consistency of the lip-gloss because it didn’t leave my lips feeling sticky and the color was really pretty with just enough shimmer to be appropriate for an evening out if you wanted. Also, it had a faint but pleasant strawberry taste and scent my husband immediately picked up on…needless to say I was giving out kisses shortly after trying this gloss out. ;) Something really awesome about this was that I was given a FULL size of this lip-gloss and it retails for16 bucks by itself, which made my Birchbox SO WORTH IT!

Fresh Citron de Vigne Perfume: The perfume is really clean and fresh smelling and is a convenient size. I like the scent for days that I need a little pep in my step! I felt sophisticated and oh-so French with this perfume. It is a departure from my signature scent Marc Jacobs Daisy, and while it won’t turn into my go-to scent it is still a nice addition to my scent collection.

Nuxe Masque Creme Fraiche de Beaute: All I can say about this masque is....WOW, WOW, WOW!! It is pretty much the greatest thing that I have ever put on my skin! It is amazing how soft and hydrated it has left my skin after just a short time of using it. The great thing is that you don't have to put very much of the masque on to feel that it is working AND it's a no-rinse masque which shows just how gentle it is on skin. If you have painful dry skin then this is your product! This product is such a great addition and definitely an item that I wouldn't have had the chance to try on my current budget. 

12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair Treatment: The hair care product is an ABSOLUTE gem and it left my hair feeling healthy, hydrated and under-control without feeling greasy or heavy. I just spritzed and worked this through my hair before blow drying and my fly-always dropped big time! I have been locked in a war of attrition with my bangs as they grow out and this spray has been a godsend.  I’ve already got this little baby in my checkout basket and will be adding it to my daily routine.

Emily’s Chocolates Chocolate Covered Fortune Cookie: Who doesn’t love a good cookie? When I saw the package I was like….rats….It has been in there since December, but my husband wanted to eat it so I gave it to him to munch on. I saw his face and then stole the other half that he hadn’t managed to get into his mouth yet. Oh, yea, I stole that cookie good! The fortune cookie was so yummy! It was peppermint chocolate dipped and after all that time sitting in customs the little Christmas themed cookie was still delicious.

Out of all the products that Birchbox sent me in my pretty little box the 12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair Treatment is my ABSOLUTE favorite item next to the Nuxe hydrating masque. I am already picking up my full size of the hair product because of the great condition it has left my hair in, and the masque has visibly changed the overall appearance and feel of my skin.

I would definitely recommend Birchbox to any Cosmo girl on a budget! For just 10 USD you get a sweet little box packed full of stuff that you might consider frivolous in favor of paying off those student loans, can I get an AMEN? The best thing is that you can pick what kind of items Birchbox sends to you with the interest survey that you fill out concerning the types of goodies you want. All of the items were generous sample sizes and I even got a full-size item like the really great lip-gloss that I scored.  For all of us on a budget do yourself a favor and get on the Birchbox Bandwagon! Just because you are on a savings plan doesn’t mean that you can’t add some glamour and pampering to your life!

Here is a link from my account that you can use as an invite to get on the Birchbox list!

Have a great day and I am so excited to be back home and blogging! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

My Favorite Object: My Music box

I did this little post for my friend Emily for her charming blog, The Object Enthusiast, and I loved it so much that I decided to share it on the blog as well. :) I chose my favorite object for Emily's favorite object series, my music box that my grandmother gave me when I was little. I hope that you all love this post as much as I do!
I'm not sure how old I was when my grandmother gave me my music box, but for as long as I can remember I have always had it. It isn't an expensive, elaborate, or especially beautiful music box; still it is one of the most treasured items I own.
My music box is a simple and light wood affair from Japan whose only decoration is a book page of a young girl feeding chicks from her basket. I can't count the number of times that I used to make up stories about the girl in the red handkerchief and her chicks. Sometimes she was going to the market to see the chicks and lost her nerve, or maybe she had found them and was taking them home, or better yet, she was little red riding hood and the chicks had been in her basket on the way to grandmother's house.
When I open the music box I am instantly a little girl, safe and warm in my grandmother's arms. I can hear her voice in the soft music that it plays and see her smile every time I open it. I have never been without my music box and it has become a favorite hiding place of my items. I used to store my social security card in it until my husband made me stop :)However, when I moved to South Korea the music box was broken. Somehow a couple of screws came loose and now it is silent. I have been too nervous to take it into a repair shop because I don't want them to tell me that it can't be fixed. I remember taking it out of the box and cranking it to hear nothing, my heart broke and I cried. 

My music box is one of the few things I have that remind me of my grandmother. She died when I was 19, nearly 9 years ago, and recently I have begun to forget what her voice sounded like, or what she smelled like. The music box always reminded me and without it's music I was scared I might forget her presence. My husband being the kind man that he is made me realize that the music box didn't have to work for me to remember her, and that she was with me no matter what, and that the music box is just a good reminder not the measure of my memory of her.
Even though the music box is now silent I can still see my grandmother clear as day when I look at it. I love this little piece and I think a trip to the repair shop in the near future is in order.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Airplane Must Haves!

I have been fairly silent on the blog and I am more than a little annoyed at myself for not keeping new content coming in. A mini-resolution for my 2013 had been to make sure that the blog stays fresh and continues to grow. 


Well, here is a little something to share! Tomorrow I will be hopping on a plane and heading to America! Hooray.  :)

I am so excited for a small trip home and even though it is only for a week I cannot contain my excitement. My husband only recently returned from a work trip that lasted a couple of weeks and so I am reluctant to leave him just yet, but this trip is a very important one!

I got invited to visit and meet with faculty at a graduate school that I am VERY interested in. I am keeping my mouth shut about the visit because I am one of those people who is a little TOO superstitious and I don't want to jinx it. I will blab all about it as soon as it all goes down, but until then mum's the word! ;)

As I am sitting here packing (or procrastinating about packing according to my husband, haha) there is a small army of MUST HAVE items that I am pretty sure I will implode without during the 14 hour flight back home (longer when you count the domestic transfers, booooo).

I wanted to share my must haves since I am being secretive about my final destination for the trip. Here is the basis for my sanity when shuffling between planes on particularly long airplane trips.

Here is a little about why I NEED these items...
Downton Abbey Dvd 1: Okay, so I am FINALLY getting into this show and I predict that as long as I have a power source the hours of layovers will just slip on by!
Taylor Swift Notebook: One of my bestfriends just sent me a care package with a Taylor Swift notebook in it and I plan on writing in it constantly during my trip. All thoughts must be worthy.
Kashi Honey Almond Flax Bar: Helps me cut down on eating random junk on the flight and in the terminals. So yummy!
Burt's Bees Lip Balm: I carry an endless supply of these little babies because I am constantly misplacing them and chapped lips are like a death sentence when traveling.
Iron Man Earbuds: These earbuds are the earbuds to end ALL earbuds! I wear them when I run and workout, and after trying about 5 different brands these are the BEST! They are super comfortable and great at keeping out noise. Perfect for traveling. :)
Toms: Comfy and slip-on. Need I say more?!
My beloved Macbook Pro: I would be a hot mess without my baby.

What must have items do you have when you travel? I hope you all have a wonderful week and maybe I will squeeze in a little updating, too. :) Wish me luck!