Sunday, February 26, 2012

The perfect little pillbox

It's really hard to remember silly little details like whether or not I took my vitamins for the day. I struggled to keep that at the forefront of my mind for years. I think one bottle actually passed its expiration date before I used it up. So sad. But, my favorite thing about a weekly pill box is that I'm reminded of it and it keeps me on track with practically zero effort from me. You know, besides the once a week refilling. There's just something about the simplicity of this contraption that does the job. I highly recommend you getting one if you want to make multi-vitamins a part of your daily routine… as you should. =)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fantastic Fantasia!

My hookah shisha collection is coming along nicely. I've got some great shisha from India, Italy, and Turkey. But the bottom line is that I'm a huge fan of America's own Fantasia Tobacco. Yup- I said it. 

The flavor availability is phenomenal! Cotton Candy, Strawberry Daiquiri, Raspberry Lemonade!!! I haven't tried a flavor that I didn't like. They are super sweet, very intensely flavored, easy going buzz, and they produce gorgeously thick smoke. I appreciate how the tobacco lends itself easily to blending flavors (try orange and mint, yum!) and all though many people might not like quick expiring tobaccos, I actually do. I get bored easily and I don't like sitting around a hookah for 6 hours. Fantasia tobacco is great for quite nights at home for 1-4 people. A small bowl usually lasts about an hour of nice and constant flavor and smoke. 

I'm curious to know what you're favorite hookah shisha is. Leave a comment below!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hydration on the Go

I drink lots of water throughout the day. Usually when I'm out and about I try not to panic because I know my water supply is limited to the stores I visit (and in Italy, what time of the day it is because everything shuts down for lunch and nap time). But,  thanks to my favorite water bottle I don't have to worry too much. 

Reusable water bottles are fantastic for staying hydrated while running errands. This particular water bottle happens to be insulted so it keeps my water cold for an extended period of time. I've gone through several water bottles (including the aluminum and I can't stand the metal taste it gives off…) and this one is my favorite because it actually fits into my cup holders in my car due to the slim design, it doesn't sweat like other waters bottles do, and it's white and yellow- two of my favorite colors! 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A week's worth of workout favorites!

I know I totally fell of the wagon last week regarding my daily posts. But to be fair, I had a lot of stuff going on. It seemed like one thing after another kept popping up and the minute I had one second to breathe I had to regroup because another time consuming project was screaming at me to get done. Finally, however, it is Saturday and for the first time in a long time I really have nothing to do today. Which is kind of untrue since today is the day that I have to catch up on my blog and deep clean the house! I've been meaning to go over some of my favorite fitness related things. I workout every day and it only makes sense to talk about the things that are essential for a great workout but also the things that make it enjoyable as I'm sweating buckets. So here we go!

Old Navy Fold Over Yoga pants. My absolute favorite item of clothing to work out in. The fabric is so soft and rather high quality. I've had it for 5 months now, washed ridiculously frequently and hasn't started fading or breaking down (as some materials that contain lycra and spandex can) These pants are not necessarily moisture wicking but it does seem to absorb moisture and then dry up quickly so that's awesome. I especially like these pants when I have to make a quick stop after the gym because they look fantastic and not like 'gym' pants. Yuck. This actually reminds me… I have to order another pair exclusively for non-gym wear. 

Champion Vented Sports Bra. I've got a larger bust and any high intensity cardio exercise makes me dislike the girls simply because it hurts with all that impact. I've spent quite a few dollars on trying to find the right sports bra to fully support them and cut down on the movement but on the days when I get to skip cardio or jumping jacks I don't want to feel so confined, especially during yoga. This sports bra has been wonderful for those light to medium impact routines. There is still support without compression and I also enjoy all the fantastic colors they come in! 

Gymboss PINK Interval Timer. My favorite type of workout is a hight intensity interval routine. I like it because it gives me purpose and I'm not just lolly gagging allowing my heart rate to drop. Before I got my Gymboss it was almost impossible to do these types of workouts. My cell phone only had a single timer that had to be reset every time I wanted to start another exercise and it took like 20 seconds to do which was hugely inconvenient since the resting interval is only 10 seconds. So then I started using an online interval timer which was great but I was stuck working out in my den (we only had a desktop computer at the time). With my Gymboss I'm able to focus entirely on my workout anywhere I go and I don't have to worry about little things like when I'm supposed to start or stop. The settings are fantastic (it's got a vibration mode which is perfect for when guests are sleeping in the next room, I definitely couldn't do that with my computer in my den). 

Ader Sandbag. When I first got serious about getting fit and healthy I was terrified of working out. I wasn't able to hold plank position for 10 seconds, I broke a sweat walking from my house to the mailbox (about 500 feet away), and the thought of weight training made my head spin. For about 9 months all I did was body weight exercises and I hit a plateau, naturally. I decided to give weights a try and the cheapest and most convenient way to do that was with this sandbag. Right now it's got 30 lbs of sand in it and it's the perfect amount of resistance I need for my workouts. This particular bag holds up to 50 lbs so the versatility is another key factor in why I chose this one. I'm stoked that one day I get to say that I completed my 300 rep squat challenge with a 50 lbs sandbag! I know I was on cloud 9 when I did it with 'just' 30!

Dove Cucumber Body Spray. I sweat. A lot. And although I don't think I smell when I sweat, I'm sure there are people out there that think otherwise. So for everyone else's sake (the people at the post office, the baggers at the grocery store, the guy who pumps my petro, etc.) I've invested in this body spray just for you! And it's wonderful. It's got a very nice and refreshing scent to it without being overly perfumey- or sweet. Which is even worse than just the stench of sweat but when you try to cover it up with cotton candy body spray… vomit. Sometimes I even spritz this on after my shower just to add a nice cool summer smell to the cold winter nights because I like it that much!

So I finally got up the courage to workout at the gym. I mean, I primarily do cardio at the gym. There's just no substitute for the elliptical or the treadmill (running outside in this temp is beyond me). While I'm there I've found that I need more stimulation to stay focused on the task at hand. I'm slowly starting to enjoy it [cardio] but I still need something to help push me along for that final stretch… for that final half mile. My iPod is more powerful than my willpower on some days. I can stand there on the treadmill and scream at myself to keep going but I usually end up stopping because I'm weak some days, but when my iPod is dishing out song after song that has meaning and intensity behind it I can go until I get blisters on my feet (true story actually). My iPod is my best and favorite workout partner!

Dakine Purple Paisley duffle bag. While Husband was in Hawaii he picked up the most awesome bag ever. I use this bag any chance I can get because it's super cute and it holds EVERYTHING I could ever need. I've adapted it to be my gym bag recently because it's got a huge compartment (big enough to hold my knee hight boots, and wool trench coat… at the same time) as well as a smaller compartment so I don't have to go digging through the giant part of the bag for my keys, iPod, or cell phone. Besides the fact that it's super cute it's super functional and I really dig that about this bag! So thanks Husband! =)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Nutty over Kukui

Day 9 of my 28 days of Faves compilation and I find myself battling with which products to post before others. I'm trying to make these posts fluid and cohesive but I just get so excited over these things that I want to share them with you when I'm absolutely pumped about it. That's why yesterday's post was random and about candles when it should have been about this awesome body cream made by Alba Botanica. 

Although I'm a huge fan of scented candles, when it comes to scented lotion products, I'm a little put off. I am so picky when it comes to how my lotions smell that most of the time I get something that is either completely unscented or scented with real ingredients (unlike "endless love" from VS, I don't know how you can smash "endless love" into a lotion and what is "endless love" anyway??? Can I find it growing in the forest somewhere??? Nope, I can't. The thing is, I use so much lotion that I like the idea of having a more natural (even organic if I can afford it) option to slather all over me multiple times a day. 

I've searched for weeks until I found this little gem. It lasts me about 2-3 weeks which isn't a long time but it's organic and the scent is absolutely heavenly. Instead of applying lotion multiple times a  day I can just do one application after my shower and I am moisturized all day, and I smell fantastic too! I can try to explain what it smells like but I know I won't do it justice. So pick up a tub for yourself and let's get nutty over Kukui Nut Body Cream!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Colonial Candle, my new favorite thing.

I'm a candle junkie.
There's no denying it.
I've gone through thousands of dollars worth of candles over the years and it's shameful and rather pathetic but the bottom line is that I like scented candles so much that I'll continue to spend wicked amounts of money on them without even batting an eye.

Here's why:
I believe it's in my personality. It's literally who I am. I'm a Leo; it's a fire sign; ruled by the sun. So, without getting into what I can spend hours talking about let's just point out the fact that I am literally drawn to fire and warmth. In a semi related super diminished scale I am drawn to candles. =)

At any given moment I can have at least a dozen candles anchoring key points around my house. I am usually drawn to warm, cozy scents mostly found during the winter months. I've posted about a favorite candle brand of mine a while back click here to read about it but I had to find a candle that offers immediate gratification since I can't just pop into a Kohl's anymore.

I've tried the Yankee candles and although they are a fantastic brand, I feel like they really charge an extraordinary amount for their candles. And yes if I were an occasional candler burner I wouldn't mind dishing out that kind of dough. But, when you go through as many candles as I do it's in my pocket's best interest to find a cheaper brand.

Imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon these wonderful candles at my local department store. They were on sale which made the risk of trying an unknown (to me) brand even easier. I am so glad that I took that chance because these candles are exquisite!

I'm rather terrible at describing scents unless I can link it to a food item but (un)fortunately neither of these scents possess edible scents so the only way for you to know what they smell like is to pick up a couple for yourself!!!

I highly recommend this product!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

NO NO Nails

I actually discovered these nail polishes not to long ago at my local Italian mall. I'm usually very skiddish when it comes to nail polishes because most of the time I spend a good $5 on a bottle and it turns out to be a royal disappointment. Now I know I'm going to sound like a total snob but I really enjoy OPI polishes because they come in so many brilliant colors and finishes and they don't chip which is really all I ever care for in a nail polish. But with their ridiculous price tag I couldn't keep throwing my money away. So I traded my OPI polish collection for much needed Bare Essentual products before moving here.

Well, after settling in and realizing that I only have ONE nail polish color (OPI Black Cherry Chutney) panic started to set in. I rushed to my local department store and ended up with Wet n' Wild's Megalast nail color. I now understand why it was on sale for 97 cents, because it is crap. Sure, the colors are decent but the quality is rather poor. Since I don't want to turn this post into a bash fest, I'll just say that I was reluctant to try another brand of polish because I was kind of [insert less dramatic word for 'traumatized' here].

Finally, after several weeks of the same boring by now nail color (Wet n' Wild Private Show ) I decided it was time to search for something better. I figured that OPI is a very popular brand so they 'have' to be at a cosmetic store around here somewhere. That kind of thinking landed me in 4 different cosmetic stores about ready to cry after 2 hours because I was slowly coming to the realization that I would have to go back home empty handed and faced with another week of the same old boring played out nail color. 

Then at my very last store (as usual) I spotted this gorgeous deep navy blue nail polish in a discount bucket tucked behind the register, a color I thought was very similar to OPI's Yoga Get This, so I made a bee line for it and decided to live spontaneously. I've never heard of this brand and it was on uber discount and so what if my last discount nail polish turned out to be super lame this color had to be legit. 

THANK the cosmetic fairies, this nail polish line by Deborah Milano rivals that of OPI. I know, I know, don't get all crazy pants on me. I'm a die hard OPI fan and I'll chose them over anything if I had the choice but in the mean time DM is my go to polish. I don't ever remember seeing this brand stateside but if you happen to stumble upon it I highly suggest it. 

Colors for left to right: Galaxy Queen, Anthracite Stiletto, Turquoise Something, Navy Blue Jean

Monday, February 6, 2012

3 days worth of eye products

I completely forgot to post this weekend so today I'll be talking about three awesome eye products that I've come to rely on every morning.

These products are all new to me and I'm a converted fan now. 

First let's start off with one of two awesome eyeliners, it's the Master Drama eyeliner by Maybelline. I have searched high and low for the 'best' eyeliner out there and I don't quite know if this is it but I really like it so far. I have dark brown eyes and so I picked up the ever classic black and also a fantastic color for brown eyes, dark blue. These are automatic pencils which means you don't have to sharpen them so I guess that's cool. They are a bit pricey for being eyeliner but I think the quality is worth it. The color concentration is fabulous and the staying power is impressive. I do have oily lids so I do see a little bit of smudging at the end of the day but it's not as intense as other eyeliners I've used in the past (ahem Covergirl). All in all, these eyeliners are great.

For the past several weeks I've been denying the fact that my gel eyeliner from Ulta has completely dried up. I've been spending more and more time every morning trying to warm it up by stirring product around the jar with my eyeliner brush which is just sad and totally terrible for my eyeliner brush. So I did a bit of research and decided to give Revlon's Color stay Liquid eyeliner a try. Mind you I haven't used liquid eyeliner in about 7 months so I was bummed at how that skill goes away if you don't practice. The cool thing about this eyeliner is that it's not waterproof so you have time to fix your mistakes and for me there were many at first. Although it isn't waterproof it does last throughout a good portion of my day without flaking or fading. The tip is a semi-stiff felt tip that tapers very thin which allows for precise application- super awesome tool for a signature cat eye. I'm definitely impressed with this liquid eyeliner and I wouldn't mind repurchasing when the time comes.

Now for mascara. I have tried countless brands of mascara over the years thanks to my ridiculously short and super straight Asian eyelashes. For me, having to choose between mascara formulas that offer long lashes OR full lashes pretty much makes me want to cry. Why can't I have both???? As a long time devoted fan of Maybelline's mascaras, particularly their waterproof Great Lash formula I was excited to try their Colossal Volum' express mascara after reading tons of reviews about how awesome it is. I have to say that after 3 months of daily use I am a fan! I don't get as full eyelashes as I want or would expect from something that offers "colossal volume" but then again I don't really have a lot of lashes to work with. But the mascara seems to do me pretty well even with my sparse eyelashes. (Just as a little side note, one of my girlfriends has gorgeous, long, beautiful, naturally full eyelashes and she uses the non-waterproof formula and it looks like she's got two sets of full faslsies on! So if you're one of the lucky ones with already decent eyelashes this mascara might do wonders for you!)

And lastly on this gigantic 3 day post mash up, an incredible eyebrow pencil. This one that I've fallen head over heels for is by Maybelline and it's called Define a brow. This is also an automatic pencil and it has been an absolute life saver! It has such a tiny tip that delivers super fine strokes that mimics the look of your eyebrow hairs. It makes filling in the brows such a breeze and it doesn't produce those heavily drawn on type of brows- which is really what we should all be striving for. =P I'm one of those girls that hardly ever rocks the au naturel look but if I'm ever in a time crunch I'm perfectly capable of running out of the house just as long as I have EYEBROWS, eyeliner, and lip gloss. This eyebrow pencil can make me look totally put together because the color is so natural (I have a lighter shade pictured here because I can pull off medium brown during the winter since I'm not as tan but in the summer months I've gotta rock the dark brown) and it's almost fool proof because of how thin the pencil is. I think my most liked quality about this product is that it is long wearing. After a cardio session at the gym and endless swipes of a towel across my forehead I still have eyebrows when everything else has partially melted away. So thanks Maybelline for making awesome eye products! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Eye spy something awesome...

Wet n' Wild Eyeshadow Trios

My new favorite eyeshadows cost less than $3. You really can't go wrong with that. If you're just breaking into the world of makeup (or like me and breaking back into it) these eyeshadow trios are an affordable way to do so. Wet n' Wild pallets have improved exponentially since the last time I've purchased one (probably 10 years by now) and the quality that you get is even better than some higher end drug store brands. 

Why I like it (and why you should pick up a few):

- Reasonably priced

- Fantastic color and finish selection 

- Super pigmented

- Blends easily

- Doesn't crease

- Long wearing (with primer)

I also like how I can take colors from different trios and they still go well with each other which means that I can create a variety of different looks without having spent a small fortune. 

Have you tried Wet n' Wild eyeshadows? Tell me what you think.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Kissable Lips

Today I thought it would be ok to continue with yesterday's themeand talk about another current cosmetic favorite. 
Lip Balm!!!!
I used to live in Phoenix and the winters there are very mild (like high 50's) so the need for really good lip balm never surfaced for me. I got away with using lip gloss all throughout the year which was great because I had (and apparently still have) an affinity for them. 
Funny story, the other day I was searching through my bag for a lip balm and instead I pulled out SEVEN lip gloss tubes… SEVEN! Ridicouloso. 
Anyway, Italian winters are serious and my lips need real protection from the harsh winter winds. I wasn't armed with any kind of lip balm so I would just steal swipes from Husband's. But then panic set in when we realized that his ONLY tube of Burt's Bees lip balm is at its end and there was no replacement anywhere in this house. I actually searched frequently at our local grocery store with no success and then out of no where there was this tiny little display of these holiday gift packs tucked away behind the shampoo and body lotion and Husband heroically snagged a couple of tins for us. Rest easy people, our lips are saved!!! 
Burt's Bees lip balm is absolutely incredible. BUT…. if you're anything like me and desire just a hint of color I suggest you give my new fave lip product a try. It's Revlon's Lip Butter (this particular color is called Sweet Tart). They have the consistency of a moisturizing lip balm with a very nice saturation of color. Do be warned though, that because of the awesome texture that it has it is possible to pile on the product without thinking which will result in a very pigmented lip. Which I guess is great for those of you who might be looking for a lip stick that isn't so drying. 
Leave a comment below telling me your favorite lip product for winter.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

28 Days of Faves

I would like to take the month of February and share with you my current favorite things since I can't help but think of Valentine's day and what it's universally known for: "Love."  I wouldn't say that I "love" whatever it is that I talk about this month since I love people and not things… (whoa tangent… reel it back in lol) but I definitely want to cover everything from makeup, clothing, music, food, and lots of stuff in between. 

To kick off the month I want to share something that I start my morning off with every single day: it's the Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer. I've had this 4 oz. bottle since October 2011 and it still has about 1/3 of the bottle left. This product is fantastic for combination skin like my own. One pump is the perfect amount of product and it covers my entire face as well as my neck. It is non greasy and actually moisturizing. I have noticed that my skin seems more supple since I've started using it. It's a definite fave and a must have. 

Leave a comment below if you've tried this product and dig it like I do (or not- explaining why you're not a fan).