Sunday, November 27, 2011

Time to Get Moving

Good Afternoon Lovelies! 

In an effort to avoid the long "to do" list i've complied due to the up and coming end of semester, I've been browsing some of my favorite blogs. 

Doing so, I read a post by a lovely health and fitness blogger, who writes Rachel's Fit Health. In her guest writer's post, she asks for her followers to volunteer something that has helped them personally, and could benefit others. 

I've always been a pretty active person. I participate in a whole host of outdoor activities, but have always had trouble sticking to a daily exercise plan. I've always had some sort of motivation, but recently, I've recognized two somewhat short term motivating factors. 

1. A trip to florida and the bahamas with my boyfriend and his family for Christmas.

2. A skiing trip with my family in early march. 

Ok, So #1 is quite obvious. Even in the winter, my trips to the bahamas involve bathing suits. Everyone would love to look great in a bikini right?

#2 on the other hand, is a whole different story. My dad is an adaptive skier, meaning he ski's on a monoski due to a physical disability. 
A monoski is basically a chair that has a ski on the bottom. The skier has two small skis on the end of their poles, called "outriggers". 

Here's my motivation:
I've been skiing almost all my life. I'd like to think I'm pretty decent at it. My dad has been a monoskiier for just about six years. (but was a pretty avid downhill skier before is accident).
He can kick my butt. 
He's  ruthless. Races. Technique. Endurance. 
Ok, so sometimes he cheats... but still. It's just not right. 
So here it is...
My goal:
Improve strength and endurance and [hopefully] have a shot at holding my own on the hills. 
I know that's in no way specific, or any sort of plan, but it's a start. 
...This morning's run couldn't hurt either.

What is your motivation for eating right and exercising?
For more information on adaptive skiing and a little motivation-
or to volunteer with Michigan Adaptive Sports

Friday, November 25, 2011

Meeting the family: What to wear

Hello lovelies!
As you may know, I'm spending the holiday season with my boyfriend's family. 
You can read up here.
Well... yesterday was the first of these holidays. P.s. Happy belated Thanksgiving!
I took the opportunity to review my "what to wear" guidelines. 

All I was told about the feel/dress code for the event was that it was "casual". 
Helpful. Right?
If your significant other is like mine, you may not get any more than this to go by. Still, there are things you can do to ensure you are dressed properly. 

-If you have met any other (preferably female) family members, it is helpful to casually ask their advice on family event dress code. (facebook makes this easy as pumpkin pie)

-When all else fails, dress safe and adaptable. A dark pair of jeans and a cute top can be dressed up or down with accessories and needed. 
This is what I wore. 
Top and Scarf: H&M
Jeans: Abercrombie and Fitch
Shoes: Toms

Ring: Handmade
Nails: Essie Hot Cocoa

This outfit ended up being perfect for the event, though the picture's don't do it justice, as this was taken upon arriving back at home, after the six hour drive, and the event. 

I will also be spending Christmas and New Years (2 week trip) with his family, and will be sure to update what to bring on an extended (his) family event. 

What was your most memorable "meeting the family" moment?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Holiday Hostess Gift

Good morning gorgeous! 
With the holiday's coming up faster than I would like at the moment (very underprepared), I thought it would be the perfect time for an update on my holiday madness. 

If you haven't been following my little situation, you can see that here. The short story: I'm spending the holidays (thanksgiving, christmas, and new years!) with my boyfriend of three years, for the first time. The stories are about getting ready, how to's, what to do's, and likewise. 

Near the end of last week, I managed to pull some "hints" out of my reluctant boyfriend. Thanksgiving will be celebrated at his aunt and uncles home in northern Michigan. If you've ever traveled here, you know it has a very distinct flare. Very rustic, outdoors-y, and home-y. This gave me the perfect springboard for my hostess gift. 
I wanted something simple, relatively inexpensive (college student budget), but something cute and useful. 

That's when I found this handmade candleholder at Eastern Market in Detroit. It is made from natural materials and smells lovely. Not to mention, it fits perfectly with the northern Michigan decor. 

The item was bought from the young woman who made it. There were three sizes for sale, ($10, $8, $6) I chose the medium, which is pictured. 

What is your "go-to" hostess gift for the holidays?

stay tuned for my "what to wear" post. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Eastern Market, Detroit

Hello my lovelies. 
I hope you've all had fantastic weekends
My weekend was spent traveling back to the Detroit area to visit family. 
While I did enjoy the sunrise from my car, I couldn't wait to get "home" for a weekend of shopping, spending time with family, and getting ready for the holidays. 

The big adventure of the weekend was my first trip to Eastern Market, which is an outdoor market selling fruits, vegetables, meats, clothes, many detroit products, and other booths selling miscellaneous items (sunglasses, belts, and such).
You would think living so close and being somewhat obsessed with farmer's markets and local businesses, I would be a regular, but sadly, no. After visiting, I really wish I would have ventured down here sooner. 
The market is huge, covering a couple blocks in downtown detroit. It is nestled between other business selling everything from fresh fish, to ethiopian food, to the best pistachios this side of anywhere. One exciting highlight was all the festive holiday items. I have never seen so many wreaths, centerpieces, and other evergreen items. It smelled like a christmas tree farm. Just amazing. 
 The market is mostly outdoors, which made for quite a chilly morning, as I was no where near dressed for the weather. It is, however, open year round, and I am looking forward to a summer or fall visit. 
I don't know much about the market, but from what I hear, most food items coming to michigan go through here before heading to their respective supermarkets, shops, and other venders. One great quality of the market though, is the price and quality of everything. Everything was so fresh and so cheap. 
I wish I could have spent the entire day exploring, but alas, it was cold and I had a long to do list for the weekend. 

On a side note. I found the perfect hostess gift for thanksgiving at a small stand in the back of the market. I promise a picture next post, when I continue my holiday survival stories.

Now that you've listened to my raves about eastern market, I'll leave you with a question. 
Are farmer's markets in your area, and do you shop them?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Almost Homemade Soup (in under 5 minutes)

OK. Not that impressive. Almost homemade? Yeah... I know. 
Not that impressive. 
But you haven't tasted this soup. It's simple, healthy, and budget friendly. 

Black Bean Soup
2 cans black beans, and about 3/4's of a can of your favorite salsa
(maybe a little cheese and cilantro, if you want to put in a little extra effort)
Oh. and a food processor. Or a blender.

-Rinse the black beans thoroughly. 
I used a can of rotel instead of salsa, as I didn't have any on hand. 
(rotel is basically canned salsa- tomato, peppers, and such)

-Put one and a half can black beans and the salsa in a food processor/blender. 
-Turn on. High. About 45 seconds.
-put mixture in pot with remaining black beans. 
Serve topped with shredded cheese and cilantro. 
So easy! 
No final photo. Let's be honest. Black bean soup isn't all that pretty. 

Heats up quick, and uses your favorite salsa, so you're bound to like it!

What's your go to recipe when you've only got a minute?

Monday, November 14, 2011

November Birchbox Review

By now most of you have heard of Birchbox. Incase you haven't- Birchbox is a monthly subscription program which sends product samples (4-5/month) to your home for $10 a month.
The program provides free shipping, the box is small enough to fit in the mailbox, and there's no need to sign for the package. It's really quite simple. 
This month's box was somewhat disappointing. Previously, I have seen some great products from birchbox, but November leaves much to be desired.

In the box:
-Jouer Lip Enhancer-
The description boasts, "This product hydrates, plumps, and conditions lips". While it did provide a nice shine, it wore off quickly. the enhancer did hydrate some, but I didn't notice any plumping, and no conditioning. 

-Kate Spade New York, Twirl-
I always love receiving perfume samples! They're just so nice to keep in your purse and it's always fun to try a new sent. That being said, this one wasn't for me. My boyfriend noticed the new sent and liked it- not in a "that should be your new sent" kind of way, but in an "it's new and not bad" kind of way.

-Thymes Eucalyptus Body Lotion-
This was a really great lotion in the sense that it was light, absorbed well, and left my skin feeling amazing for hours. The downfall- the sent is overwhelming, and lasts for hours. It's not an unpleasant smell- I actually enjoyed it- it's just overwhelming. 

-Zoyna Nail Polish in Noel- 
This polish was wonderful. It went on smoothly in one coat, though I applied a second for good measure. The color wasn't something I would have chosen myself- it is a teal with silver shimmer- but I like it none the less. Now I'll just have to find something to wear it with...

-Alex and Isabelle Classic Hair Ties-
Let's be honest, this is a piece of stretchy fabric tied in a knot. While it didn't leave a dent in my hair like many ties, or snag, I wouldn't spend the money to re-purchase. 

Overall, this month's birchbox was nothing special. The products, while having some good qualities, didn't impress. 

Do you subscribe to any monthly sample programs? How do you feel about them?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Clinique Seven Day Scrub


It's an important step in any skin care routine. While I have to admit, I rarely ever exfoliate daily, I always make sure its a frequent occurrence. This crucial step helps to remove dead skin cells, smooth the texture, helps with the renewal of cells, and brightens the skin.  
Sample size pictured. 

Clinique produces a number of quality skin care products. The seven day scrub is exactly that. It's a scrub intended to be used daily. The scrub has a very fine grain, and a creamy consistency. The product is definitely gentle enough to use daily, and is suitable for sensitive skin which other, more coarse exfoliants may irritate. Seven day did feel wonderful during use, and left my skin feeling smooth, moisturized and looking quite nice, if I do say so myself. Also a plus, a little goes a long way- I had the full size for quite some time, and the bottle still seemed full. 
The concern, however, would be that it is a little too lotion-y (for lack of a better word) for me. It seemed there was a slight residue left on my face after use, which was actually great when my skin was dry- not so much when it was oily. (My skin is very indecisive, but generally pretty good). 

Overall, I did like this product, but am not sure I will repurchase as I do not believe it is suitable for my skin type.

Have you tried any of the clinique skin care products? If so, have a favorite?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Meeting the Family

Good morning lovelies! 
Today, as I woke to find that my puppy had snuck into my bed, hogged the comforter, and pushed my head off the pillow in favor of his own, I couldn't help but think it would be a great day. 
Last night was the first snow, here in michigan, which I celebrated by dressing up and adventuring out on a wonderful date with an equally wonderful man. We got to talking about the holidays. This led to him inviting me to spend thanksgiving with his [extended] family. 
For a little backstory, my relationship with Mr. Right has been quite an adventure. We are both a little crazy, and a lot of fun, tending toward the side of adventure when it comes to... well, life. We've dated three years, and in this time he has spends nearly every holiday with my family and me, as we're in town and his family is spread around the country and beyond. I've spent holidays with his parents, but have never attended a "family gathering" with his extended aunts and uncles and all family. 

So my question to you is... what to do?
I'll be attending the event, but seeing as I don't know anyone, or the culture of the family, and it is out of town, how would you go about finding out the what to do's?

-What do you wear? Assuming, as is the case, he has not even hinted at the culture of his family gatherings (formal vs. informal) even under direct questioning. (He did mention "They're not like yours" which I took to be a good thing)
-How do you choose a hostess gift that's not too generic, not to personal, but lovely?
-And lastly, to ad another layer, one family member will be celebrating one of those "monumental" birthdays while at the gathering, gift or no gift?

I've always been great with families, an pretty successful hostess myself, and a generally social butterfly, but he makes me nervous... in the cute, huge smile when you think of him, kinda mushy makes other people disgusted kinda way. 

Just for a little perspective, this is [part of] my family

So now that you know the story, stop by. I'll be updating on my quest to master the holidays with some resemblance of success. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

EOS Lip Balm

The weather has taken a turn for the worse here. Rain for the last couple days with temperatures dropping faster than I can pull out my winter wardrobe. With the weather comes a whole host of skin concerns. I've already pulled out my winter moisturizing products. Which is sad... as it's only november. On the bright side, my obsession with lip balms has payed off. I've found a favorite.
Enter Evolution of Smooth {EOS}
As you can see, mine are a little beat up- luckily they can handle the abuse.
This cute little sort of huge lip balms are, first of all, larger than most, ringing in at 0.25 oz of product, compared to the average 0.15 oz. The website boasts the products best qualities, 95% organic, 100% natural, none of the bad stuff we've come to avoid. It's even gluten free, and never tested on animals.

-But beyond that, it's just nice. and fun. The little spheres are so easy to find in my purse! They maybe be the only thing I can consistently locate. Even better, the product is so soothing and smells great. If you're someone who goes for the no sent no flavor balms, this is not for you, but for anyone else, I'm giving it five stars. 

- The balm comes in a variety of flavors: summer fruit and honeysuckle honeydew (pictured), strawberry sorbet, sweet mint, lemon drop (spf 15), and tangerine (medicated to prevent bacterial contamination- how cool!). 

Now that I've raved, what is your go to lip balm for when the weather turns ugly?