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Geek Chic – Unboxing April: Birchbox

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I’m not going to lie to you guys, I seriously contemplated canceling my Birchbox account a month ago because I was getting some not good things in my box. I was getting lotion and just weird stuff I didn’t particularly care for, leaving me just sad after opening the boxes. This happened 3 months in a row. I realized that the primary reason I was getting, in my opinion, such shit samples was because I hadn’t updated my profile since I joined Birchbox. My style, interests and wants had changed quite a bit since then and made sure I updated it and gave it a few more chances before I pulled the plug on my beloved account that I had grown so fondly over. I’m a lot happier with my box now. Now unto my unboxing for the April 2014 Birchbox box!

This month’s box gave me a sample of Madison Reed Nourishing Color-Enhancing Shampoo and Conditioner, Cynthia Rowley Beauty Eye Pencil  in Silver, Color Club Art Duo Pen in Black, KIND Healthy Grain Bar in Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt, and idea #31 of Birchbox’s 52 Bright Ideas for a Rainy Day.

love the shampoo and conditioner I got. I washed my hair last night with it and the whole bathroom kept the soft scent for a good 10 minutes after. While most of the scent is gone now (probably partially due to my smoothing serum and straightening and blowdrying), I still can’t get over that little surprise. I’ve never received a sample that was so strong in scent, but not in the way where you think the smell is going to kill you. It’s more like the type that seeps into your significant other’s smell and becomes your scent. It also left my hair with a shine that I haven’t been able to get in a long time from just a shampoo/conditioner duo. There is a very good chance I will be purchasing the full size bottles of this set in the near future.

Tip 31 of 52: Browse art for sale online – it’s more affordable than you think. Some great options to get started: Artsy, Artspace, and the Tappan Collective. These art e-stores have a great selection of pieces to view and chose from, but very high out of my price range. Normal priced for what they should be, though. Maybe one day I’ll find one for a steal?

I’ve never taste one of KIND’s bars before, but I’ve always had a mild interest in what they must taste like. Pretty bad ass that they’d send us a full-size bar to test. The more of the bar I ate, the more sea salt  could taste. However, the maple aspect of it was kind of hard to spot. I really liked the bar overall, though. I can see myself packing a box of this stuff for my Disneyland trip in a couple of weeks. Have a couple in the car and throw a few in my backpack to help keep my energy up and appetite at bay while running from ride to ride.

Overall, I think they did very well with this box. I still haven’t had a chance to test out the eye pencil or the nail polish, but being very familiar with those brands, I have no doubt that I’ll love them to pieces. This box definitely came with more seemingly full-sized products than normal, and for that I’m thankful. My only wish would be for the shampoo and conditioners they send last me a little longer than 1-3 washes, but that’s more because I have ridiculously thick, long hair and a personal complaint than anything against them or the manufacturers.

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Geeky Stuff – Unboxing April: My first Lootcrate

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Guess who got her first Lootcrate! ME. Just in the nick of time, too. With the stress of a job position change, getting my store back up and running, planning blog posts, photo gigs and general living, I’ve needed some presents to make my day a bit brighter. I got my Birchbox and Lootcrate boxes yesterday afternoon and it was killing me having to wait until I got home to open them!

First, let me say that Lootcrate freaking wins at packaging. From the inside box design to the monthly pins to the little booklet they provide in every box, it’s totally $20 well spent (minus the $3 coupon code they provided for the first month). The booklet that came with the box is more like a mini magazine. They gave us a history lesson about dragons, had an interview with Trade Chat from YouTube, went in depth on Elder Scrolls Online, and all of the included pieces had a page to themselves with detailed descriptions. These guys don’t miss a step. (Except in their choice of jerky.)

I found out late last week that the them of the box this month would be dragons and I hoped SO hard that a little figurine of ANYTHING would be in the box. It’s been a while since my collectibles had a new addition. You can imagine my surprise when I found out there were TWO figurines in mine. I scored a Direwolf (House of Stark) in my Funko Mystery Minis box for Game of Thrones. Having recently been sucked into the world, this was a great surprise. The box also came with a small Nord figurine from the Skyrim series. Though I haven’t played the game yet, I have very much been wanting to dip my hands in it.

This month’s box also came with a plain 20-sided die (mine was black) and a 20-sided die stress ball with the Lootcrate logo on it. Win guys. Win. Though I haven’t had a chance to play for a while now, I know for damn sure this will come in handy the next time I’m in game. Can’t yet decide if I want it on my home desk or my work desk. Too many choices. The last of the the dragon loot was a “Dragon Slayer” dog tag necklace, a Dragon Shield screen cleaner (guys, keep these because they’re always super handy) and dragon jerky.

Yeah, I said it. Freaking dragon jerky, you guys.

I mean, it’s really just beef jerky, but they did a good job making it look like something else. I just wish they were larger, more solid pieces, rather than tiny little kibble. Dragons are massive. Why are the pieces so small? Have I tried it yet? Yes. It’s beefy jerky with some weird green flavoring fuzz stuff you can’t really taste on it. Not bad for free-ish, but I probably won’t go back for me.

Tomorrow, I unbox this month’s Birchbox.

 

Disclaimer: I was not endorsed by Lootcrate to write this post. These thoughts are of my own and the box was paid out of my own pocket.

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Minty Fresh Breath of Spring

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I’m kind of tired with the way the weather has been acting. It’s like Mother Nature is pmsing and throwing a weird temper tantrum. One day its warm and sunny, then next its storming upon us like we should have built an ark.

Sims has taken over my life. Along with Supernatural. I’m only on the 3rd episode of the series, but I’m hooked. I’ve been alternating between the two and have successfully escaped the stress of holding two job positions at one time. Sometimes, the best way to let go is to lose yourself in someone else’s life. In this case, it’s the adorable character I made in Sims whose life ambition is to be an evil genius and the crazy adventures of Sam and Dean. Ahh the nerd life. So many escapes from reality you provide me through these busy times.

 

This Outfit:
Jacket – sashimi (thrifted)
Dress – One Clothing
Tights – Xhilaration (exact)
Shoes – Seychelles (exact)
Purse – Coach (last season)
Sunglasses – Target (exact)

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Lovely Shades of Purple and Red

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Its getting to the point where if I don’t purge my closet of all the clothes I don’t wear anymore, I’m not going to be able to find anything I do wear. I feel like cleaning out your closet is one of those things you know you need to do, you have the desire to do it, you even have the time to do it, but something else always seems more enticing. For me, it’s making sure the 1 bedroom/1 bath loft my Sim character has is nicely designed before she starts her journey down the path to becoming an evil overlord and start creating her minions family. I just bought the World Adventures and Generations expansions and have been obsessing over it. It’s a nice break from Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

For those of you who don’t follow my Twitter (@thejoeyroberts), I recently left my position as graphic designer for the company I work for and am now taking on a new role in the company. I’m super stoked about the transition because it’s going to mean putting my tech and training skills to good use and helping out with a major software change that will be implemented company wide. It’s a little crazy right now because I’m still finishing up projects from my old position while also trying to start this new position, but who wants things to be easier right?

Me. I would like that. Oh well. I tried.

Additionally, I’m still trying to power through getting the inventory and product pages of October Rose done. I’m hoping to get the first round of products up this weekend so I can still make it for my April 1 reopening, but we’ll see. In the meantime, I sort and sort and sleep.

 

This Outfit:
Top – Collection Costa Blanca (thrifted)
Pants – Mossimo Supply Co. (thrifted)
Shoes – Seychelles (exact)
Purse – Poppy Coach (old)
Sunglasses – Target (similar)
Scarf – Unknown (gift)

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Happy Hangover Day!

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Hey guys, remember that time it was St. Patrick’s Day and I forgot to hit publish on my post and then EVERYTHING I wrote became instantly irrelevant and had to start from scratch?! Yeah. Me, too. *facepalm*

I hope you are all recovering well today from drinking last night. If you’re like me and you’re lame and didn’t drink because you didn’t want to feel like ass the next day at work, I hope you didn’t laugh too hard at your peers. Although I might not always participate in the drinking aspect of the Irish holiday, I always wear green. I made the mistake of not wearing green once in grade school and was so traumatized from the experience that I never forgot to wear green again. Which, let me tell you, was quite difficult going to a junior high school that had uniforms that didn’t include green. But I made it happen! And you better believe that I will pinch you if you are in my presence and not wearing green. Unless I’m severely outnumbered by people not wearing green, in which case I will be lazy and not pinch anyone but feel slightly smug for remembering. I love holidays. Probably too much.

 

This Outfit:
Jacket – Target (thrifted)
Top – Forever 21 (old)
Pants – Forever 21 (old)
Shoes – ModCloth (similar)
Sunglasses – Target (similar)
Purse – Coach (old)

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Splashes of Grey and Blue

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This weather has been all over the place. Central Valley weather can get pretty skitzo, but this is just ridiculous. One weekend we’re getting beautiful sunny weather, the next its nothing but crazy winds and downpours. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve stopped trying to dress for the weather because by lunch it’s different than when I woke up, and different again by the time I get off work. *shrugs* Now, I just go with it. This skirt’s been pretty good to me this past year. I stay cool in the summer time, and relatively warm in the late winter without the need of tights or knee-high socks. I scored this baby during my thrift store shopping trip with Kristen last February at this adorable boutique, French Cuff Consignment, in Sacramento. The colors are great because I can pair the skirt with so many different items in my closet, and pattern gives every look an interesting visual. It also kind of reminds me of the sky over head right now; random tiny rays of sunlight on occasion through the thick clouds. Been plugging away pretty hard at revamping October Rose Boutique. There’s a lot of things I haven’t been able to accomplish since the launch, more than I had originally thought. A little nervous about being able to meet my April 1st reopening, but I’ve got a great support group backing me up in the fight. Hopefully, I’ll have a more exciting update soon!

Also, dat necklace, guys. Robots. Win.

 

This Outfit:
Sweater – SONOMA life + style for Kohl’s (old)
Skirt – Vivienne Tam (thrifted)
Shoes – xhilaration for Target (exact)
Necklace – Evangeline’s (old)

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In Remembrance of Roses

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Last Friday marked my Grandma’s one year death anniversary. If you were wondering why the past week has been quiet, that’s why. We had a small gathering of friends at my parents’ house that night. It was pretty nice seeing the house full of that many people all coming to remember the wonderful life she lived. I did pretty well until a close friend of the family asked me to show him and his wife photos we had of her. Afterward, I grabbed a piece of AMAZING apple pie and sob into it in her old room. As weird as this may sound, it felt pretty good. When it was time to calm down so I could go back out and interact with the remaining guests, I made a quick phone call and was good to go. It’s nice having people in your life that can make you smile in the worst of moods.

Since her passing, I’ve noticed an increase of rose paraphanilia popping up in my closet and home. I buy bouquets that have at least one rose, and the other day I bought this pair of skinny pants from Ross. And this goes beyond the fact that I have an online secondhand shop called October Rose Boutique (named after her birth month and favorite flower; reopening on April 1st). I’m not really one for roses, personally, unless they’re the kind that grow in bush form and not the kind people buy during Valentine’s Day. The thing I love most about this pair of pants is that the design looks almost cross stitch when you look closely at it. They’re also ridiculously comfortable, which rocks.

 

This Outfit:
Jacket – Katherine Barclay (old)
Shirt – Forever 21 (thrifted)
Vest – Rampage (thrifted)
Pants – Shinestar (Ross)
Shoes – Blowfish (gift from Kristen)
Sunglasses – Target (similar)

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Craft Time: Cross Stitch Logo

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I finally finished my first cross stitch project about a week ago! I’m so happy with how well it turned out. I think the only thing I would change is having an extra shade difference between the two purples. It’s a little hard to see the shading, even in person. I used a 14 Aida white canvas, a 3″ hoop, embroidery needle, and DMC 211, 208, 3873 and 310. It’s been years since I last attempted a needlepoint project and was very nervous going in. I knew the basics of how to do cross stitch, but had no idea what type of needle and canvas would be best to use. Thankfully, there’s a ton of resources on Pinterest that I was able to click through an get a better understanding of how to go. I know once I’m super comfortable with doing cross stitch, I’ll have a solid understanding for the best needles and canvas sizes to use. For now, though, I’m having fun with it.

I didn’t really create a pattern to work from with this piece. Luckily, I made my logo by the pixel and the number of squares was still fresh in my mind. From there, I lightly marked the basic outline with a pencil and did the black (DMC 310) first knowing I’d need my perimeters set up before getting too deep in. Next, I did the light purple (DMC 211) highlights because I wanted to get the easiest steps out of the way. I would say doing the medium purple (DMC 208) and the dark purple (DMC 3873) was the hardest, primarily because the shades were too close in color and I was working in pretty poor lighting.

At one point, the thread in the back became a jumbled mess that took me nearly an hour to untangle. If you’re working with a particularly long strand of color, be mindful of what’s happening in the back because you might end up getting tangled and losing half your length. I originally wanted to have the full URL at the bottom. I realize now I could have achieved this if I had done a simple straight stitch instead of the cross stitch, but didn’t want to risk it not coming out legible. Instead, I went with just the letters PNG. To get the curves on the letters I did a half cross stitch.

Overall, this project took me about a week to complete, but I was only working on it for maybe 5-20 minutes at a time. If I was able to give this my full attention and complete in one sitting, I would say this would probably have only taken me an hour or so. The total cost for this project was about $15-20, and that was for the hoop, canvas, embroidery floss spools, embroidery scissors and pack of embroidery needles with a case. The thread I already owned for a different failed project (friendship bracelets). I still have a TON of canvas and spools left, so really this project probably only cost about $4. I got this particular set of supplies at my local Hobby Lobby and saved with a 40% off one item coupon from their app.

I’ve already started on my next project which is Bulbasaur from Pokemon. He’s so tiny on the medium sized-hoop I bought, so I’m thinking about having his evolutions layered behind him and stitching “I choose you” at the bottom. it’s for a set of Pokemon ones that I’m doing based off the initial Pokemon I’ve chosen for each of the version I’ve played. Bulbasaur just happens to be my favorite of all the Pokemon, despite having never really chosen him as a starter. He’s just so cute and cuddly looking!

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Geek Chic: Who’s ready to science?!

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So, I attempted to put together an outfit that was inspired by Winnie the Pooh. After everything was thrown together I quickly realized I resembled more of your classic stereotyped nerd from an MTV original series. My brain then went immediately to Bill Nye and the natural order of things told me to slap on my 8-bit bow pin that I made a couple of months ago. That guy has some pretty shnazzy bow ties, am I right? I’m actually please with how this brightly colored outfit came together.

Did you know that an asteroid passed by Earth on Monday night? One large enough to kill a large number of people? I was so stoked to catch the live feed of it on slooh.com all day. After taking my video game back, all I could think about was making a quick dinner and playing some more Pokemon White that I had completely forgotten about it and didn’t jump in until 56 minutes in. Still, seeing science history happen and on the one-year anniversary of the asteroid hitting Siberia last year was pretty thrilling! I can’t wait to catch the total lunar eclipse happening in less than 55 days!

 

This Outfit:
Jacket – Zara (thrifted)
Sweater – Splendid (thrifted)
Shirt – Liz & Co. (thrifted)
Skirt – Old Navy (old)
Belt – Unknown
Tights – Target (similar)
Shoes – Brash for Payless (old)
Pin – handmade

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