August 31, 2011

this n' that

Today and the rest of this week is being spent cleaning out closets and getting ready for some home improvements and (possibly) a garage sale. I haven't yet committed to the sale, as I know how annoying they can be to put on. Guess we'll see how much stuff I want to get rid of and then decide whether it's worth all the trouble.

As I was getting hungry for lunch, I couldn't see anything in the kitchen at first. I have some of my favorite hummus from Holy Land, but eating that with only veggies seemed too boring. I don't have any pita or chips... but I do have a ton of leftover corn tortillas! It's not too hot today, so I decided to fry some chips up in vegetable oil on the stove. Nothing like fresh tortilla chips, delicious!

I had this with my new favorite drink that I think of as "mock soda". I'm trying to stay off sugary drinks and eat better, dang-it! While it hasn't been easy to give up my favorite fizzy beverages, I learned this one from a friend and it's been a good substitute. Also kind of feels like I'm treating myself to a cocktail. :)

Mock Soda:
Fizzy Mineral Water (Mendota Springs/San Pellegrino)
Pomegranite Juice (Just a splash to taste. I use the regular POM Wonderful, but the flavored versions would be good too)
Squeeze of Lime juice

And now, back to cleaning out my closet. The hardest part is the honesty! What doesn't fit quite right, or hasn't been worn in a year, or I just don't particularly love is getting the boot. Onward.


August 12, 2011

my amazon wishlist runneth over

Well here we go, yet another lovely sewing book is available for pre-order!

I've only just discovered Colette Patterns, but I'm truly impressed. Their designs are completely adorable and inspired by classic, retro styling. Still best of all the patterns are created for new seamstress' (like me)! Topping it all off, I love to support a Portland, OR based business.

They even have a couple of free patterns available on their website; hopefully I'll get a chance to complete the Sorbetto top before summer's over. My chosen fabric for that project is in the mail, courtesy of Ebay!


August 10, 2011

not your average monthly visitor

Early this year I learned about a company who offers a new and exciting kind of beauty service. It's Birchbox; providing a monthly shipment of at least four deluxe, personalized beauty product samples in lovely reusable packaging. I'm so glad to have found them! Since my subscription began in February I've been consistently pleased with and even surprised by the quality and variety of the samples. In the past, I've stuck with the same cosmetics I already know and love, so this has been quite a departure. I'm so glad to have taken the leap an now I'm inspired to post about them too. You can learn more about the service on their website, but I wanted to share my experience since I'm so impressed with this company.

Here are a fraction of the samples I've received during my seven (7) months as a subscriber:

As you can see I've gotten a good deal of variety; everything from hair, skin and nail care, to perfume, makeup, edibles and even a fabulous toothpaste. (See the bottom of this post for a full list.)

Here though are my biggest surprises... I've received two FULL SIZED products within my monthly shipments!!

The blush is fabulous, and happens to be worth $29.50 (greater than 3x the monthly fee since I subscribed for 1 year.) This lip balm (my new favorite) retails for $12, at 30% more than the monthly fee.

The value is truly incredible and I don't know how they do it.

This next image represents a few of the "Extras" I've received:

Each Birchbox promises four to five deluxe samples. As you've seen, that is certainly true! Add to that, each box also includes an 'Extra' item. Sometimes the extra turns out to be my favorite thing in that month's box. (New style of pony-tail holder anyone?) Fabulous!

Lastly, I want to share some info about the point system and ordering full sized products. Here are the ones I've sprung for:

Regarding points, there are two ways to earn them.
1) By making purchases (including your subscription cost!)
2) By reviewing the products received in your monthly shipment. Each product review is worth 10 points.
This system is great because once you reach 100 points, you're able to redeem them for $10 toward full sized products.

I've found that Birchbox rewards subscribers with regular anniversary specials in addition to the points. It pays to check your email and their blog/facebook page prior to placing a product order. At both the three and six month marks, I received a 20% off coupon code toward product orders. Beyond that, they occasionally offer a free gift with purchase; When Cynthia Rowley collaborated with them, they offered a ring designed by her (w/minimum $25 purchase). Other freebies have included designer tweezers, hair feathers, and right now they're offering Skullcandy earbuds- cute!

Just in case it's not already clear, I'm super excited about my Birchbox subscription. Yet as with everything, there are a couple of "gotchas" that I also feel compelled to share... while the company does a great job of profiling new clients in order to customize their samples, I have received two things that didn't quite fit my needs. (e.g. hair serum for curly hair while mine is stick straight.) Additionally, food allergies don't seem to be a consideration at this time. Among all my shipments I've gotten two edibles, one of which included nuts. This was fine with me but wouldn't be for everyone, so I wanted to point it out. Surely I have a curly haired or nut eating friend though, if I can't tolerate a sample here or there.

Well that's all folks! If you decide to try out Birchbox, I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I have. It's a lot like receiving a birthday gift every month. So please do let me know if you decide to take the leap like me!


This is not a sponsored post.

Following is a full list of products pictured, from top to bottom:

Seen in all Images: Birchbox packaging (reusable gift box with tissue paper)

Products in first image:
Redken shine flash 02 glistening mist
Oscar Blandi Olio di Jasmine Hair Serum - Travel Size
DDF Wrinkle Resist Plus Pore Minimizer Moisturizing Serum
Zoya Intimate Spring 2011 Nail Polish Collection (in Dove)
NARS Orgasm Illuminator
Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Primer
June Jacobs Papaya Purifying Enzyme Masque
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse® / Multi-Usage Dry Oil
Ouidad Climate Control® Heat & Humidity Gel
sweetriot Dark Chocolate Covered Cacao Nibs
Pangea Organics Toner for Normal to Combination Skin
LIV GRN C2C Fragrance Collection Natural Eau De Parfum
Zoya Touch Collection (in Pandora)
Befine Night Cream
Shaveworks™ The Cool Fix™ Targeted Gel Lotion
Marvis Classic Mint Toothpaste
Cargo Lash Activator Mascara

Products in second image:
Laura Geller Baked Blush-n-Brighten
Pangea Organics Lip Balm

Products in third image:
AHAVA Dermud Enriched Intensive Foot Cream
tinyprints Greeting Card
Twistband Hair Tie

Products in fourth image:
Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint
Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair Eye Treatment
Zoya Remove Plus Nail Polish Remover
Cynthia Rowley Resin Bow Ring (Limited edition free with purchase)

August 1, 2011

LOL Lust

Eeeeeeep!!! I just came across this on Color me thrilled! Can't wait to get my hands on this lovely, fabric covered book. Liberty of London's first!

Hopefully by the time it's released this October, I'll be able to acquire some of Liberty's coveted fabrics to use. Either way I'll surely be posting my projects. A list of included patterns is available in this sneak peek.

*Update on 10/28/2011
The book has arrived and it's just lovely! Wanted to mention though, that it is not in fact fabric covered (as I'd thought). That must be only for the UK version of this little treasure. Oh well, it is still bound with a fabric replica and will make a fantastic addition to my pattern stash and my coffee table.