• February 8, 2017

    Manly Valentine’s Ideas

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    I don’t know how your man feels about Valentine’s Day, but mine hates it.  It’s not that he doesn’t love me or want to show it, but the idea of being made to spend a ton of money or make some grand gesture just for the sake of a holiday makes him crazy.  He’s not really a sappy kind of guy… very sweet, but not sappy.  This is a little unfortunate because I like the idea of a day dedicated to thinking about love and the person you love.  So, to help you ladies who know what I’m talking about, I’ve come up with my top 5 ideas for a Valentines Day that is romantic, and manly, enough to please everyone.  *grin*

    1. Steak Dinner

    Food is the way to every man’s heart and what could be more manly than a steak dinner?  Of course, if he’s a vegetation or doesn’t enjoy steak, you should probably think about substituting this with whatever his favorite food is.  Whatever you choose, you can make a special meal yourself (or, even better, together!) or you can reserve (in advance!) a seat at a favorite restaurant.

    2. Gift basket with his favorite beer/cider and snacks

    Remember how food is the way to a man’s heart?  Well, I’m pretty sure snacks and booze are a close second to an all out meal for most guys.  Ideas for things to include: a bottle or two of beer or cider, a growler with a coupon for a fill, and snacks (jerky, cookies, mixed nuts, dark chocolate, etc.).

    3. Massage

    Pretty much everyone I know enjoys a good massage – whether you send him to a professional (or go together with him as a date) or give him a more intimate experience yourself, he’ll enjoy being nice and relaxed!

    4. Something from his favorite movie/show/book/comic

    If you’re looking for something a little more tangible – something you can actually wrap up and give to him – you might look to his fandoms.  Search for artwork, Pop Figures, or t-shirts/hoodies that reflect his favorite characters.  Etsy is a great place to find this kind of gift.

    5. Something to support his hobby

    Look to what he spends his time on.  Things like art supplies, games or game accessories (eg: headphones, miniature figures, manuals, dice, etc.), gym stuff/sports gear, and fishing/hunting supplies will be a big hit.

    The most important thing about Valentine’s Day is to pay attention to your fella and do something nice that reflects his interests.  I don’t know any men who love red and pink hearts or fancy, overpriced flowers… so rather than getting wrapped up in the commercial side of the holiday, get wrapped up in things that will show you’re genuinely supportive of him and his stuff.  And if he’s any kind of decent guy, he’ll happily do the same for you!

    <3

  • August 24, 2016

    Top 5 Bath & Beauty Products

    Life seems to be getting away from me lately.  Between summer activities, house projects, washer/dryer threatening to go out on me, and some really tough cases at work… I haven’t had much time for self care, let alone any writing or picture taking!  It’s been so sad for me too, because I’ve really been wanting to share this one with you!  *grin*

    Here are my top 5 favorite bath and beauty products:

    Natures Gate Shampoo/Conditioner

    Natures-Gate

    I really love the way the herbal ones smell!  Ugh, it’s SO good!  And it leaves my hair shiny and healthy without the use of gluten, animal product, parabens, GMOs, Soy, etc!  They are cruelty free and eco-friendly too!  It’s amazing to have a product that is ethical, safe, and works really well too!

    Physician’s Formula Mascara

     

    Physicians-Formula

    I have always struggled with mascara – it usually makes my eyes teary and crusty and yucky if I wear it too long.  Recently, a friend of mine mentioned that there might be gluten in the one I was using – who would have thought?!  Turns out, it’s really common and it’s actually really hard to find on that is gluten free!  No wonder I had issues before!  This Physician’s Formula mascara is easy to apply and doesn’t hurt my eyes even if I wear it every day!  Not all of their mascara’s are gluten free, but they label them very clearly on the packaging so it’s easy to find safe ones.  This particular one is not waterproof and I have found it smudges if you aren’t careful, but it’s a trade-off I am willing to make!

    The Body Shop Hand Creams

    The-Body-Shop

    A work friend gave me the strawberry hand cream for Christmas last year and I fell in love!  It is so smooth and absorbs very quickly which is a must for me in a hand cream.  They come in great little travel size tubes so I always have one in my bag and use it constantly!  The price may seem a little bit much for a tiny tube, but you really don’t need much when you apply it so it lasts a long time.  Also, The Body Shop has pretty frequent sales, so if you watch the website and buy a bunch when they are on sale, you can get a really great deal!  I think the last time I bought these, they were 3 for $10 (and when one tube usually costs $8… that’s pretty amazing!).

    Lush Bath Bomb

    Lush

    A beauty love list wouldn’t be complete without Lush Bath Bombs!  I don’t do baths too often, but when I really want to spoil myself, I love these products!  My favorite so far is Butterball.  The natural and safe ingredients leave my skin so soft and lightly scented.  It’s truly relaxing and peaceful while also being really good for my skin and they are ethically sourced too!  Ahhhhh-mazing!

    Lancome Juicy Shaker

    Lancome

    And for my grand finale, and truly indulgent beauty product: Lancome’s Juicy Shaker!  I struggle with lip colors and never feel like they last or look right and they always leave me feeling sticky and icky, but not so with this!  It is a little bit sticky at first, but leaves lips soft and comfortable after a bit.  The color is so nice too – I got the red colored vanilla pop and was a little afraid of it being too dark on my pale Irish skin, but it’s totally not!  Plus, it smells so good!  *grin*  The only downside (and why I only have one) is that they cost a whopping $21!  Ouch!  But, it’s good to spoil yourself once in a while, right?

    I hope you’ve enjoyed this little journey into my bath and beauty loves!  I’d love if you would share with me in the comments what products you love and what makes them so wonderful!

  • May 18, 2016

    Top 5 Things to Love About Spring

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    Spring is such a wonderful time of year, don’t you think?  There is always so much to do, but there is also so much to love!   I’ve managed to narrowe it down to my 5 favorite things about springtime!  I hope you enjoy my photos and feel inspired to get out and see some of your favorite spring things.  *grin*

    1. Everything is new!

    Duckies

     

    Lavender

     

    2. It’s nice enough to go outside!

    Geese

     

    Walking-Ollie

     

    3. Iced coffee!

    Iced-Chai

     

    4. Garden planning!

    Pots

     

    Herbs

     

    5. Breaking out the spring and summer wardrobe!

    Dresses

     

    Scarves

  • April 20, 2016

    Top 5 Ways to go Greener Right Now!

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    Happy Earth Day!  I love this day so much!  It’s an important day and a good reminder of the fragility of the earth and our part in that.  It’s an opportunity to search out new ways to use resources wisely and conserve what we do have.  So, I’ve compiled a list of 5 really easy ways we can make the world a better place and care for our home.   Now, go forth and challenge yourself to do these things on a regular basis!

    1. Use reusable cloth shopping bags

    This is a no-brainer!  Nobody needs hundreds of paper and plastic bags floating around their homes, so opt for reusable cloth bags instead.

    2. Frequent local businesses – grocery co-ops and farmers markets

    Shopping locally isn’t just good for local businesses!  By purchasing locally made items, you cut down on emissions from transporting things across the country and world.

    3. Ride a bike or take the bus

    Again, you can help cut down on vehicle emissions in your area.  If you bike, you can also get in some good exercise!

    4. Turn off lights, electronics, and faucets when not in use

    This is another no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t take this simple step!  If you already do this, take the next step and unplug things you’re not using!  Use a power strip with an on/off switch and shut things down when you go to bed every night.

    5. Bring your own travel mug on your coffee runs (some shops even offer discounts for this!)

    This can’t always be pre-planned for (I usually end up at coffee shops on a whim, not out of habit or planning), but if you do have a regular habit of going to out for your coffee, it’s totally do-able!

    Park

    If you already do some of these things, way to go!  You’re conscious of the Earth’s fragility and you’re making a difference!  Sometimes, though, we’re limited with what we can do (for instance, I live in a place where the bus doesn’t run and it’s too far to bike, so I have to drive to work), so I’d love to know what other things you do to live a green life!  Please, share your thoughts and strategies in the comments!

  • February 24, 2016

    Top 5 Apps for Android

    It’s time for another Top 5!  This time, we’re going to look at my favorite apps for Android devices (many of these apps are also available for ios, but I don’t know anything about that so… Android it is!).

    Gmail

    Ok, my number one app is actually a combination of apps an you all probably already use them, so it’s not terribly groundbreaking.  However, I feel that Google’s apps bear mentioning because I use them heavily and love their function.   I plan and write first drafts of the blog on Drive; I use Calendar to plan meals every week and keep track of everything else that is going on; I use Keep to remember things I hear on the radio, make quick notes about ideas for the blog and other things.  Maps and Gmail, of course, get lots of action as well.  Maps I use more for work than play, but I definitely rely on it pretty much whenever I go somewhere new.

     

    Podcast Republic

    My second app is Podcast Republic.  This app allows you to stream and download podcasts from tons of different sources.  Among my favorite podcasts are NPR (with several subcategories: Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, Hidden Brain, TED Radio Hour, and Fresh Air), several podcasts from HowStuffWorks.com (Stuff You Should Know, Stuff Mom Never Told You, ), The Art of Manliness (not just for men!), Dear Hank & John (from Hank and John Green of YouTube fame), Ear Biscuits (from Rhett and Link also of YouTube fame).  If those don’t interest you, just peruse the lists that include everything from religion to sports to politics to videogames and hobbies.

     

    WineSecretary

    The third app I love is called Wine Secretary.  This is a simple, easy to use app that allows you to track and rate the wine you drink.  I think my favorite feature is that you can take a picture of the label to help jog your memory and to help you find it again later!  There is also a feature to keep track of the wines you have in your collection (I don’t use this so much since I don’t keep that much wine on hand).

     

    Audible

    Number four is Audible.   If you aren’t already familiar, this app allows you to buy and listen to audio books.  My husband is currently using it to listen to Dutch language lessons while he runs, but we discovered it when we took our road trip to Canada and needed something to listen to!  You can set up a monthly subscription and get one book free a month and discounts on any additional books you want to get as well.

     

    CamScanner CamCard

    My fifth app is actually two similar apps: CamScanner and CamCard.  I use these more on my work phone than in my personal life, but they have been pretty helpful so far.  CamScanner allows you to take pictures of documents and will update the image so your documents are the only thing in the picture and makes them more readable (printable, even).  CamCard is similar, only it is designed for importing contacts directly from business cards.  I have found that this function is a little spotty and I almost always need to update the contact information by hand later due to wrong letters being entered and so on.  I still like this app, though, and have hopes that it will improve with time.

     

    TwoDots

    Finally, since my first favorite was sort of a generic cop-out, I think you’ve earned a bonus app!  TwoDots is a beautiful, addictive puzzle game.  I started playing this in January when I was sick and laying on the couch all day, but I have continued to play during breaks at work and down time at home.  The home screen artwork is adorable, as is the music.  The game play is pretty straightforward and seems simple, but the puzzles get increasingly difficult and the objectives change with every level, so it keeps you on your toes.  It’s defiantly worth a look if you enjoy causal game play.

    I hope you’ve enjoyed my favorite apps and maybe even found some new favorites for yourself!  What are your favorites?

  • November 25, 2015

    Top 5 Thanksgiving Themed Episodes

    By now, I think it is safe to say that we are all familiar with the Friends episode (S5E8 – The One With All The Thanksgivings)where Joey gets a turkey stuck on his head, right?  Classic Thanksgiving hilarity!  But, that episode has been out for nearly 20 years now (goodness, really?  I am getting old!), they show it pretty much every year, and it’s getting a little overdone.  So, to help you mix things up a little, I’ve compiled my top five favorite Thanksgiving episodes of shows for  you to enjoy this year!

    How I Met Your Mother: S3E9 – Slapsgiving and S5E9 – Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap (Marshall torments Barney with the idea of being slapped from their ongoing slap bets)

    How-I-Met-Your-Mother

    How-I-Met-Your-Mother-Episode

    Gilmore Girls: S3E9 – A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving (when Rory and Lorelai try to make it to 4 Thanksgiving dinners and Lane has her first kiss)

    Gilmore-Girls

    Gilmore-Girls-Episode

    Scrubs: S1E9 – My Day Off (JD gets appendicitis on Thanksgiving and Elliott tries to be nicer to her patients)

    Scrubs

    Scrubs-Episode

    New Girl: S1E6 – Thanksgiving (Jess invites Paul, her crush, to Thanksgiving dinner with the guys, but none of them have any idea what they are doing in the kitchen)

    New-Girl

    New-Girl-Episode

    Will and Grace: S2E7 – Homo for the Holidays (Will and Grace discover that Jack never came out to his mom and encourage him to have that conversation, but Jack learns the truth about his father when he talks to her)

    Will-and-Grace

    Will-and-Grace-Episode

    And, if all else fails, you can always enjoy the Parade in NYC, the AKC Dog Show, or A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving!

  • October 28, 2015

    Top 5 Halloween Movies for Weenies

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    Halloween is upon us and for many, that means scary movies, sugar overload, and intentionally frightening everyone around.  For many others, though, all the blood and guts and monsters is just too much.  Not everyone likes to feel scared or creeped out!  For the rest of us, there are still ways to get into the spirits and be a little creepy without actually being scared!  Check out my top five (ish) favorite Halloween movies:

    1. Anything stop animated by Tim Burton: Corpse Bride, Frankenweenie, Nightmare Before Christmas

    Corpse Bride

    Frankenweenie

    Nightmare Before Christmas

    Tim Burton has a knack for making creepy movies that stop just short of being too creepy.  His stop animation is beautiful and can absolutely be enjoyed simply for their artistry.  Another similar film (not by Tim Burton) is Coraline.

    2. Harry Potter Series

    HP1

    HP2

    HP3

    HP4

    HP5

    HP6

    HP7.1

    HP7.2

    Not technically Halloween movies, I know, but there’s magic and mystery and suspense throughout the series – especially in the later films – so, I say they still count.

    3. Shaun of the Dead

    Shaun of the Dead

    This is my favorite Simon Pegg film!  It’s a take-off of Dawn of the Dead and is actually pretty hilarious.  Definitely a good starter zombie film – even my Mom watched it!

    4. Classic horror movies: Frankenstein, Dracula, The Blob

    The Blob

    Dracula

    Frankenstein

    The great thing about really old movies is that you can totally see the strings and the makeup is terrible and the stories aren’t really all that scary.  It’s fun to step back into the way things were and think about how different the world must have been.

    5. Sweeny Todd

    Sweeney Todd

    If you are ready for a tiny bit of scariness and don’t mind musicals, this is totally the Hallo-weenie (see what I did there?) movie for you!  *grin*  There’s buckets of blood, but it’s all pretty fake looking and the music really drive the scenes.  So good!

    Have a happy, safe, and only-slightly-scary Halloween everyone!

  • July 15, 2015

    Top 5 Things on Etsy

    As you may or may not remember, my birthday is coming up at the end of this month and I am super excited!  I generally try not to get too overly excited about these things, but I’ve gotta say, my grown up birthdays have been way better than most of my childhood birthdays.  So, let’s just say I’m making up for lost time!

    Anyway, if you’re looking for something awesome to get me for the big 2-8, here is a list of my five favorite things on etsy right now.  ;)

    First up is this amazing corgi t-shirt by yayforfidgetart:

    Corgi TShirt

    yayforfidgetart

    It looks so soft and comfy, plus there is a very classy looking corgi which I find amazing and hilarious.

    Next up is this print with one of my many favorite quotes from the I.T. Crowd (if you haven’t seen this series, drop everything right now and go watch it!):

    Damn Good

    The Geekerie

     

    And now, some more prints!  *grin*  I couldn’t choose just one to represent Ben Byrd’s artwork, so here are three of my favorites:

    Hagrid

    Hagrid and his new dragon

     

    Cutepunk

    Cutepunk Octoship

     

    Walsh

    Wash flies Serenity. He is a leaf on the wind

     

     

    I am becoming a big fan of this style of jewelry.  I love the raw edges and bright colored stones!  It’s a perfect balance between polished and natural that makes me really happy.  *grin*

    KmichaelStyle

    KmichaelStyle

     

    And last but not least is this beautiful papercraft of Totoro from Will Pigg:

    Totoro

    WillPigg

    I love the perfect detail he puts into his pieces – every cut creates texture and movement that you wouldn’t ever dream could come from paper!  He must be the most patient man in the world to create what he does!

     

    So, there you have it!  My top five favorite things on Etsy!  Now, get shopping!  ;)

  • May 20, 2015

    Top 5 Travel Tips

    Guess what, guys?  It’s almost summer!  And you want to know what that means?  It’s vacation time!  It’s travel time!  It’s get off the couch and out of your house time!

    Now, I know that isn’t always so easy, so I’ve gone ahead and made a list of my top 5 travel tips for you to ponder and hopefully put into practice very soon!

    Number 1: Research the place you’re going ahead of time. 

    Going somewhere new means you get to explore and discover, but you should definitely do a  little of that ahead of time.  Look at places that will be interesting (museums, parks, restaurants, etc) and make reservations at those places if needed.  A lot of times, you can also get discounts for buying tickets early or buying a day pass that includes several attractions.  When we went to Canada last fall, we saved a ton by booking our ferry pass with our hotel and the museum that we went to all at once.  Check Groupon for similar deals and passes in  your destination area.  Just be careful that you don’t pack your day so full you don’t have time for adventure too!

    Number 2: Use apps to help you navigate your destination. 

    I like Navmii (navigation for different countries where you can’t connect with google maps) and Duolingo (start learning the language most commonly spoken in your destination).  If you are leaving the country, be sure to double and triple check your cell phone carriers rules for phone and data use where you’re going.  If you mess up, you could end up with a cell phone bill of several hundred dollars.

    Number 3: Plan your budget ahead of time. 

    Figure out how much money you can afford for each day or week (depending on how long you’ll be gone and how tight your budget is) and do your best to stick to it.  It can be helpful to use a cash/envelope system so you can clearly see how quickly you’re burning through your dough.  Keeping this in mind, it is also important to leave room to splurge a little – being on vacation is all about having fun and letting loose a little, so plan to splurge and keep a little splurge fund separate from your normal daily fund.  Another important money tip is to keep boot money on you at all times.  When I say boot money, what I mean is that you should keep cash hidden on your person at all times just in case you get separated from your purse or wallet.  I usually literally keep money in my shoe, but I just discovered the FlipBelt on Pinterest and am starting to think that’s a really freaking good idea.  *grin*

    Number 4: Pack light.

    Choose clothing that you can easily mix and match tops and bottoms.  For even greater success, try to keep everything within same color group so you only need a couple pairs of shoes that will go with everything you have.  If you’ll be staying at your destination for a longer amount of time, consider doing laundry while you’re there so you can recycle your outfits.  There are also lots of things you can just grab at a drugstore when you’re there (shampoo, toothpaste, etc) rather than lug it around in your bag while you travel (this is probably more practical for flights and longer stays away from home).

    Number 5: Get off the beaten path.

    A lot of people seem to think they need to stick to what the travel guide book says or join up with a tour or resort, but I say put yourself out there!  Meet local people and eat local food!  Get out of your comfort zone and try something different!  Find out where your tour guide likes to go for a pint after work and go there too!  Forget the touristy and chain places and see what the local life is really like.  This is significantly more educational and way more fun!  Plus, the local places are probably a lot less expensive and much more authentic.

    So there you have it, my top five tips for travel.  I mean these tips for both local and international travel – no matter where you go, the same principles apply.  But probably the most important thing is to be safe and have fun!  Vacation is meant to be fun and relaxing and rejuvenating for your mind and soul

  • February 4, 2015

    Top 5 Valentines That Won’t Make You Sick

    This time of year every store is covered top to bottom with red and pink.  There are hearts everywhere and cheap, ugly stuffed animals abound.  roses cost twice as much as normal and jewelry stores prepare for the rush.

    I kind of hate it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love being loved and I love telling people I love them.  It is great that there is a holiday designed just to encourage love.  What causes me to struggle with Valentine’s Day is the cheapness of it all – It just feels so meaningless, you know?  So, this year I set out to find Valentines that wouldn’t make me feel queasy and sick inside.

    I hope you’ll agree, these Etsy Valentines won’t make you sick either!

    Your Face

    EuclidStreetShop

     

    Cute Butt

    RowHouse14

     

    Charming

    CheekyKumquat

     

    I Choose You

    Memeskins

     

    Hate Everyone

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