Monday, May 30, 2011

History of Memorial Day

Memories are funny. Sometimes out of the blue you remember a little moment in time that comes back with such clarity that you can't believe this wasn't always at the forefront of your brain. I was about 5 or 6 and my mom and I were heading out of the grocery store and there was an older gentleman with a funny hat and suit with a tiny red flower in the lapel. My mom gave the gentleman some money and he reached for the lapel and plucked out the flower and handed it to me. Oh I had no idea what the transaction was about, but I knew I had a pretty red flower. I kept that flower on my vanity for weeks!

From the time we started school we knew about Memorial Day, even if it started with us just knowing it was a day off of school. As we went through the years we learned that is was a day that we remember those that were killed and fought for our country. It's a day of remembrance, a day of honoring and a day of being grateful for having what we have because people fought to get us here.

Did you learn how this all started? Red Poppies

Update: a post from the NY Times to round out the education!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday favorites!

I have just joined Pintrest and I love it! It's so much fun to post pictures of cool and interesting things you find on the web and then share them with friends and strangers. It's like twitter, but with pictures and less about you and more about the picture. I find it neat to see what other people are into and I have come across a few awesome craft ideas (I plan on posting a few of my tries at being crafty soon). It really is fun to have a place to keep all of the amazing things you find on the web and see what others have pinned that you may have missed! This week I noticed that I pinned a ton of shoes. I love shoes so much that when I bought my condo the first thing I did was purchase a closet system and most importantly a shoe wall. Yes, a wall for my shoes. Sad fact is the wall is too small for all my shoes. I am sure I could find room if a new pair magically appeared, but alas I always find awesome things when I am trying not to spend money. No new shoes for me. Getting back to the point, currently Pintrest is invite only so shoot me an email or catch me on twitter if you want an invite.

So all this pinning got me to thinking about starting a little portion of this site dedicated to the things I love, may or may not have, and most definitely want. It could be anything from kitchen items, books, recipes and clothes to unique and pretty things I just happen to find along the way and want to share. I hope you enjoy the things that caught my eye this week and don't forget to drop me a line if you want to join Pintrest!

Have a great memorial weekend everyone!

Seriously am I the only one that thinks this is GENIUS!?
via Southern Living

This looks like an awesome idea for a summer night.
Creative idea via Weddings Fresh

I actually see this brighten up a black suit or add glamour to the LBD.
Exclusive to Nordstrom!

I need to wear this dress and it can be tailor made!
Made by Dig For Victory
I love this color! Perfect for Summer and into Fall
DvF Zia at Nordstrom
This is obviously just an amazing idea.
Etsy is the best!
Cheers and have a happy and safe long weekend!
photo via The Knot

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bollywood Dreaming

My newest obsession is India. I have always wanted to go and funny enough my BF goes frequently for business, but I have yet to accompany him there. Soon my friends it will happen, mark my words! Until then I am at least able to have some great Indian food available to me here and watching Bollywood movies that are filled with bright colors, flowers and beautiful clothes that the Indian women wear. 

The other day I received the new Anthropologie catalog in the mail. It was filled with the beautiful views that I imagined India would be like (I know it's never like the movies or the catalogs, but still I can dream). As pretty as the pictures are the clothes, shoes, accessories and home items are amazingly bright and scream summer from the first page to the last. Since I am on a strict budget none of these will be bought from me until they are on sale, but there are a few items that I would love to get in my closet sooner! Here is a link to the online catalog, I think you will enjoy it.


This swimsuit is a must have!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Everything is illuminated

Have you ever woke up tired and not your best? I am not talking about just when you spent the night out prior partying like you were 21, but also the times that you watched a sad movie and may have cried. Or how about the time that you didn't drink enough water and woke up crazy puffy? I could go on and on, but the end result is your complexion is pale, your eyes look sad and you can't fathom how you are going to take you meeting today looking this way. I have been there, bought the t-shirt and then tried to return it because I bought a size too small trying to fool myself into the dream size. As a result I have found two quick and super easy solutions that can give an instant shine and boost to your face and to your day. This one was a hard one to try and decide on since both have the same overall effect, but are not the same type of product. I can't pick a favorite so I have both on hand depending on what I need.

The first one up is the Smashbox Photo Finish Luminizing and seriously the first time I tried it I think I did it wrong. It didn't seem like it did anything to my face, but like the beauty trooper I am I kept going and second time was a charm. It was so awesome that once I saw the change from my sallow complexion to ahhhhhhhmazing that I had to admit to Nordstrom on twitter that they were right (it was their recommendation). I tell you the mother ship is never wrong. I just need to do it right! Since this is a primer it goes on prior to the foundation, powder or whatever other items you are using and you just want to make sure to blend it well and only use a little. I have found that it helps conceal minor imperfections and gives you a bit of a glow without looking like your got hit with stripper dust, so good for day and night and age appropriate. The bonus to this one is the fact that this is also a primer it can help keep your make-up on longer and can reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines, so you get a two in one. The one recommendation would be if you purchase this, get the travel size. Since you apply such a small amount this will last you a long time and there are some reviews about the standard size turning runny.

Next is NARS Orgasm Illuminator. Besides it's cheeky name it is actually a lovely addition to my arsenal of beauty. This one is not a primer, but more of an enhancer illuminizer that goes on top of your make-up.  This has a little bit more versatility in the sense you can apply it before going out the door and add it when doing a touch up to your make-up during the day or before you go out at night. I suggest starting out with just a little and then add a little more until you have the look you want to achieve. It is easily put in your purse and off you go. Both products in the tube/bottle have such a dark color that it can seem intimidating, but trust me the both go on sheer, as long as you don't use half the bottle in one use!

Both products can be found at a department store or Sephora. I received both of these as samples before purchasing the product and I suggest going to a department store near you to test these out before purchasing as well. Hitting the make-up counter and checking out new and fun products is a great rainy day activity. Also, I know a lot of department stores have beauty events that are fun to attend and usually offer some great deals on products.

Happy Monday!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Stay. just a little bit longer

So finally the trip that led to the first post is happening and my first experience at the Stay. hotel in New York City. I have had the great opportunity to stay at some of the fancy and lovely hotels in New York and some of the not so great. You can always tell who was paying by where I was staying! So I have seen the highs and lows of the NYC bed scene and was excited to try the Stay. hotel. It looked hip and modern by way of the web site and the reviews were pretty good overall with the only caveat being the rooms were small. As I have traveled in Europe on the cheap I can tell you I have seen small rooms, so I was ready to be surprised at how much bigger they really are or shocked at how small they were for two people.

The hotel when you walk through the door appears small, but once you pass the fish tank in the front you realize that it is a modern boutique hotel with white furniture, floors, and stainless steel finishes. There is a bar and a dining area on the opposite side of check in and in the back. The elevators, hallways are not for the claustrophobic, but then I also think that New York as a whole is not. When I booked a room on the website I chose a king bed room and sent in a request for a room with a closet since I had read on one review that not all rooms include a closet. So I figured it can't hurt to request and sure enough we got a closet! This is not to say that the room had space for a meeting, but I could comfortably walk around the bed without tripping over anything. The bathroom was not very wide, but long and I felt was more than adequate for what we needed. So score for the hotel! While I wouldn't host a party in the room I had no problem with hanging out, watching TV and resting in the room.

The staff is friendly in the New Yorkers way and overall my experience was great. If you are looking to stay in Midtown it's a great location. If you have been to New York a million times it may be a little close to Times Square, but if you like me needed to be in the area, it's far enough off 7th that you can walk out the hotel without getting run over by a million tourists. Overall this is was a great little hotel that had real windows for fresh air, green bath products, and environmentally friendly initiatives. Not too bad for the price either! Worth trying out the next time you happen to be visiting NYC.

Also I finally saw Jersey Boys. Loved it!!!


Green products from the Stay. hotel. Love the soap, they don't make it a full soap to cut down on waste!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

No scrubs

Twice a week I exfoliate followed by an enzyme peel and then a moisturizing mask like clockwork. That is unless I have other plans that get in the way of such things. Then I see the bad things that happen to my skin. Like right now. As in today. Totally sucks. I have sensitive dry skin that hates the changing of the seasons and right now my skin is in full freak out mode. This particular 'at home facial' mixture of products works really well for my skin, but I have learned through trial and error that the exfoliate process is one of the most important things especially if I forget to do my routine and only have a few minutes. My secret product allows me to skip the other steps at least once a week if I absolutely have to miss the full experience. After years of trying different types I found my Holy Grail of facial exfoliates, Eminence Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant.

Seriously this is one of those OMG moments the very first time I tried. I happened to come across this product as a recommendation from one of the Sugar Sugar goddesses, Tobi. She said and I quote, "Your skin will feel like butter" and I swear on my wine glass that it did! It's a light exfoliate that gently (and I truly mean gentle, my boss has the most sensitive skin known to man and can use this stuff) removes the layer of yuck on your skin and leaves nothing but soft, pretty looking skin. It also uses a super small amount so the cute milk container looking jar lasts forever! I swear I should be running out by now, but it still keeps coming. Besides all of the rest of this wonderful things it does this is a truly organic product. So you can feel confidant about what you are putting on your skin won't have crazy effects on you or the environment! Oh and did I mention that is smells AWESOME? Well it does.

The entire Eminence line is pretty darn amazing. OK so I can't say I have tried every single thing, but I have tried a lot of their stuff and I have not come across anything that hasn't been lovely on my skin and my dog likes the blueberry masks a lot. He seems to think my face mask is a snack, while it isn't he can actually eat it as there is nothing to hurt him or me included in the ingredients. We call this winning and not in a creepy Charlie Sheen way.

You can get Eminence products in more places now online then ever before and if you live in Seattle I know Sugar Sugar carries the vast majority of the line. Keep in mind all of the products contain no water so you use less and the product lasts much longer so in the long run it is very affordable!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Public Service Announcement

I was going to post something else today, but prompted by someone that I saw on my drive in to work today I feel the need to spread a little PSA.

Leggings are not pants. They are thin and I can see through them, which means if I can, everyone can. If you want everyone to see your underwear super, but if you think we can't you are mistaken. Please cover your ASSets and wear a tunic or sweater. Might I suggest this or this. Both of these options cover the bits accordingly and are super cute.

If you are in question about what you have placed on your legs and if they are pants or not BuzzFeed has provided a handy little diagram to help you out: Am I wearing pants? This also made me laugh out loud.

Thank you,
Shannon

PS - I think I might be in love!

They do not go with leggings!

You can find them here, but they will easily cost you a vacation.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sweet Tooth

Summer is right around the corner. Really I swear it is! See if you live in Seattle like myself you truly would not believe a word of this. Every time we get a great and glorious Pacific Northwest day, the next day it is cold, gray and raining. The good news is that even if the sun doesn't shine we can always hop a plane to somewhere nice and sunny and most importantly WARM!

Regardless of where you get your summer we all have the same issue of hair removal and while some of you do this year round, some are more selective. We don't judge and completely understand. However you do it we all appreciate you doing it and realize the pain, suffering and expense that goes with it. If you are just a brow and bikini girl or if you are shoulder to toe kind of girl (or boy) I am sure you have heard about every type of hair removal; Wax, threading, laser, prayer, even just a little bleach to hide it. I have tried it all and can honestly say that I have truly found my end all be all solution. Today we are going to talk about sugaring. Yup sugar and seriously that is exactly what it is. I used to get my brows waxed every three to four weeks and for years I never had any issues other than 24 hours of pink on my forehead,not ideal, but no biggie. Then IT happened. I opted for a bikini wax at a very good waxing spa since i was going on vacation and I thought it would be so much more convenient to not worry about these things and just have a good time. Let's just say that I believe that I left a huge chunk of my skin there as well as hair. Not cute and/or sexy. Beyond super painful, it was damn near a doctor visit afterwards and trust me it was the end of waxing days. Isn't the point of a bikini wax, to be super sexy in your bikini? I was not super sexy with my wax.

So what's a girl who couldn't tweeze her way out of a wet paper bag to do? Well let's just say the Internet is my friend and while I had heard of sugaring I had no idea what it was. My dear friend, Internet, not only told me about the process and reviews it also told me about locations near me, which lead me to the girls at Sugar Sugar, located here in Seattle. I was so lucky because I found Michelle there, who was a good listener and understood that I was going to work my way up to the bikini and need my brows tested for months before heading south. Let's just say since my first visit I vowed to never put wax on my body again and so far I have not. I have shared my sugar experiences with my friends and co-workers (who are all rolling their eyes right now), but it seriously was a total body care changer for me. I would rather wait an extra week for a sugar appointment than go wax. I do not kid my friends, not when it comes to hair removal. The pros of sugaring are vast and numerous, but here are some highlights; less pain (I swear it is so and I don't mean there is zero pain, but it sucks a little less than other methods), due to the nature of sugar you can grab smaller hairs so less grow out is needed, the pinkness lasts about 1 hour and not all day, organic, less wasteful (no papers, sticks and such like with wax) and seriously do you need more? Call your local sugaring place and give it a try. Worst case scenario you can leave me a nasty comment. Best case scenario you can send me a bottle of wine.

If you happen to live in Seattle I do highly recommend Sugar Sugar in Green Lake. I love all the ladies there. They do super work and I know you would be in good hands. Also, you need to check out their organic products and items in the store. FABULOUS. I will be posting about that in the super near future!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wen, Lose or Draw

Hair care is very near and dear to me. I was not blessed with a dancers body (and to be perfectly honest I haven't exactly worked towards one either), but I did get a pretty decent head of hair in the gene lotto. The only issue is if I don't do the exact right thing to my hair I pretty much have limp, oily, dirty looking hair for the day. Everything from what I wash it with to what products I put on after the shower have a major effect on how it's going to behave. I have tried every shampoo, every shine serum, every hairspray known to man and while I may not have found the golden ticket, I have at least managed to find more good hair days than bad. Full disclosure I have long, semi thick, wavy brown hair. I would love to say it looks like the Duchess of Cambridge's hair, it's not that good, but close and getting closer every day.

I have already admitted that I watch QVC and now I must admit that I get up early on Sunday mornings and watch something worse. I can't help it, no matter how hard I try to sleep in it just doesn't happen and once I am up I need some back ground noise. So other than cartoons, can you guess what comes on at 6:30 am on Sunday? That's right infomercials. I have seen all and wanted most of it. Everything from the egg wave (had it), Windsor Pilates (have it), to pajama jeans (want it. Please pajama jeans make long lengths!!) and finally to the fabulous Wen hair care. If you have seen the infomercial you may have had your interest peaked. I mean when you have Jennie Garth, Finola Hughes and Alyssa Milano telling you that their hair has been drastically changed by a product you have to at least take a second look. So after about 6 months of seeing this on TV and reading reviews and information on it, I broke down and purchased a starter set. The starter set comes with cleansing conditioner, styling creme, and intensive hair repair mask, texture balm and a shower comb.

First impression was that the cleansing conditioner was in no way, shape or form going to clean my hair. It seemed way to much like conditioner and not enough cleanser. Wrong. My hair was super cleaned. OK, but I am used to using two different products in the shower, so my hair won't be soft. Also wrong. My hair was fabulously soft after the first use. OK, well there is no way that it will help reduce the frizz to my hair. All right so this one took three days before I truly noticed a difference, but it did work. So in short I love the cleansing conditioner. Only thing is that I do need to wash my hair everyday, but it looks and feels fabulous so not a problem in my book. Over the last few months of using the Wen cleansing conditioner the texture of my hair has changed to a non frizz, less course and super shiny mane. My scalp is not dry, but does become a little oily if I don't wash it everyday. My ends are healthy, my scalp not itchy and overall I would be sad if my cleansing conditioner was taken away. The pros of every day hair health far out number the cons of washing everyday. So give it a whirl, they do have a money back guarantee, so what do you have to lose?

As for the other items they didn't really work out for me, but my boss loves the texture balm (she always gets compliments on her hair when she uses it) and my mom really like the styling creme. I have a favorite texturizer (Lanza Powder Up) and a super awesome styling spray by Blow (which I found via BirchBox) so I am pretty set and wasn't looking for a replacement. I did find that you can actually purchase the cleansing conditioner on an individual basis on QVC (instead of the every 90 days they sign you up for at the WEN site). So you can give it a go without the worry of having to cancel the next shipment if it doesn't work for you. 

I think maybe I should stop with the QVC pimping or my friends are going to stop talking to me. You can't hide the truth though QVC has come in handy AND if there are no good infomercials on you should totally watch Isaac Mizrahi on QVC, he is hilarious. When I saw him on it he went from talking about a tote he was trying to sell, to picturing himself in Central Park with a coffee and then we were off to Paris in his head. Oh a day with him would be so much fun! Shiny objects are my favorite and I believe he is the shiniest of the shiny.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Champagne taste on a beer budget

I love samples! Maybe not food samples so much, like at Costco. The whole body checking someone to get to the free quarter size sweet and sour sample before they run out is just a little to crazy for me. Although the free cheese samples at Whole Foods always convince me to spend $10 on a sliver of cheese that while it is fabulous, lasts about 5 seconds once I get home. With that said I think there is something to samples, which brings us back to me loving samples and I am talking about beauty samples. You know the ones that you get at the department store or at Sephora with your purchase or if you are having a particularly slow income month you slowly go up to each counter and start playing around with items, until the sales girl or boy notices you so you can get your chat on with them to get samples in your pocket. Then can't wait to get home to try them out. Whether they work or not, trying them out is the best part! Those are the kind of samples I love.

Beauty products for women are constantly flowing in and out of popularity. There seems to be a new and better product every time you just get settled in with the last product that changed your 'life'. So how do you wade through all the product? Why with some help of course! There is a genius idea of a company that has found a way to not only help us with finding great products, but also a way for companies to track how the samples turn in to sales. While you may not care about the latter the deluxe size samples from this innovative company, BirchBox, are pretty amazing if I do say so myself. With BirchBox each month I get a selection of products ranging from make-up to nail polish to facial masks and cleanser and even once tea (which was super good by the way). It's like receiving a little gift each month and I swear my box always shows up on days when I could super use a little pick me up. The cost is $10 a month and it includes shipping, so it really couldn't be easier. Just think this could keep us from hitting overload on how many different facial primers from different companies we can collect. Seriously is that the go to sample? How messed up are our faces without primer? I won't know until somewhere around 2024 based on the current number of samples in my drawer. Anyway, BirchBox does try to cater to your needs, based on the questions they ask you on sign up so if you aren't into a certain type of products I believe you can indicate as such. Seriously give it a go. For $10 you could get a sliver of cheese or some awesome samples, I think I will continue with BirchBox and skip the cheese section this month.

**I just want to be super clear on everything. I started this blog recently to share with people things I find interesting, fun, useful, needful or just plain awesome. No company or product has been given to me nor am I being compensated in anyway. This is my opinion on things I personally like. If I don't like it, I don't talk about it. So there. Questions? Ask 'em!
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