Small Businesses Etsy Haul

Recently, I’ve been in the mood to shop but I haven’t been able to find everything I wanted in local stores so I went on an Etsy shopping spree. Check out Etsy Haul below: 

Art from Zeppelin Moon

If you follow me on insta you know I am obsessed with Zeppelin Moon’s cartoons. She is able to marry comedy and the complicated emotions of life with animals. I’ve now purchased quite a few of her pieces and not only are they perfect but they are so well priced. I’m partial to the sloth prints myself but I do have a soft spot for the manatee as well.

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Bear on the right truly resonates with me.
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Sloth is bae

Headbands from TwistsandTopKnots 

I am also getting super into headbands via TwistsandTopKnots. Cheetah, Baby Pink and Emerald Green. I love the look of them but they do run a little big (or I have a small head). I’ve been able to adjust them by pulling on the knot on the top to make them work which is amazing because I love the look of them (and so does Herman). 

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Herman loves a mother & son matching look.

Jewelry from shopEphemera 

I’ve gone down a gold jewelry deep dive and I have no regrets. I’ve got quite a few longer necklaces and wanted a couple chokers to balance them out. So far I’ve been loving these three and they have yet to turn my neck green so I consider that a win.

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My new gold chokers.

Crystals from Auramore 

Now that I have gone all in on all things occult and witchy I decided I needed to up my crystals collection. Thanks to this Etsy haul I now own a chakra set, amethyst, clear quartz and a rose quartz. I’m loving the chakra set for meditation on the go and the others for my home practice.

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My chakra set
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My beautiful amethyst & quartz friends.

I love shopping locally and supporting small businesses, but they don’t always have everything I need which makes Etsy the perfect place to fill in those gaps. Know of any other websites that allow small business owners to sell their items OR of any Etsy shops I should know about? Let me know in the comments! 

Booksmart was the Best Movie of Summer 2019

I left the theater after seeing Booksmart and immediately texted my best friends from High School that I loved them.

Booksmart is a film that as soon as it’s finished, you immediately want to watch again. It is raw and honest commentary about the harsh reality of being a teen in today’s world and the importance of having a solid grasp on who you are. Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is a beautiful balancing act between the pain and humor of being an overachieving teenager. Wilde’s selection for the stars of the film, Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, deliver an unbridled, honest, look into the life of Type A students and best friends. At first glance the plot appears to be about two high school seniors who were all work and no play utilizing their last night in high school to let loose; but after the opening scene it is revealed that this is more than a movie about high schoolers realizing they should have partied more. It’s about the importance of female friendships and how our self-judgement affects our relationships. 

Booksmart highlights the negative impact of holding other people to our standards without their consent. Beanie’s character, Molly, is self-assured, brilliant and wickedly funny but she lacks the ability to comprehend life from any point of view outside of her own. Kaitlyn Dever’s character, Amy, is her trusted bff, through thick and thin, who has dreams and goals of her own that she is afraid to share with Molly. On the very last day of school Molly learns that all the students she wrote off as dumb or partiers were just as successful as she was at getting in to good schools. Molly decides to correct this narrative by going out to the last day of school parties, and like it or not, Amy is joining her. 

The girls stumble through multiple parties, strange cab rides, adventures with their favorite teacher and high school level awkward situations. The highlight of their adventures is the omni-present Gigi. Wealthy, wishy washy, very abrupt and unpredictable – Gigi is the human embodiment of a triple Aquarius; weird in all of the best ways. Billie Lourd delivers Gigi as the alien of the high school, who can only cause a little harm, and serves as our protagonists’ sherpa on their adventures. 

I don’t want to ruin the rest of the movie for you if you have not seen it (idk what you are waiting for, STREAMING NOW!) but it is undeniably the best movie of Summer 2019.  It is not your average teenage makeover movie. There is not a dressing room montage scene (though there is a getting ready scene that involves blue jumpsuits). There isn’t even a magical hair style redo. Booksmart is a high school film that focuses on the power of female friendship, the importance of knowing who you are and allowing others to do what’s right for them. I IMPLORE you to go see it. If you already have, let me know what you think in the comments! 

I’m a Gamer

Okay, so I lied. I am not a huge gamer, especially when it comes to single player games, but recently I’ve fallen in love with Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee! on the Nintendo Switch.

As I mentioned before, I’m not good at playing alone. If I am going to do a solitary activity it is usually passive. My favorite solitary activities are reading, taking baths, watching Youtube and scrolling through Instagram when I should be doing something else. Doing something interactive with a computer is not usually my jam I would much rather hang with humans (or Herman).  

Normally, when I play video games I get stressed. The gamer life is not ideal for my anxiety ridden self. Having to make real time decisions in a virtual world is overwhelming; isn’t it bad enough we have to do that in reality? As a pacifist in reality and virtual realities, I would much rather watch someone play a fighting game then play it myself.

But lately, this has all changed. I’ve become a Pokémon addict (dare I say, MASTER). Granted, I think a lot of my enjoyment comes from the sense of nostalgia since I loved watching the show as a child. But within DAYS of purchasing the game I had spent well over 24 hours with my Eevee. In true gamer style I struggled to put it down. I managed to find the game relaxing, entertaining and methodical much like the old Pokémon games we all played on Nintendo

What makes this game so calming to me is that battles are all turn based, meaning that I have time to plan my next move instead of just pressing random buttons and hoping I manage to hit my opponent. I find the story, especially the time spent exploring the cities and talking to other characters, engaging and exciting. My favorite part of the game is going on mini adventures to help townspeople in the places my Eevee and I visit.

There’s also a charming method to the game. In every city Eevee and I visit, we explore, go to the Pokémon gym and get a new Pokémon. The method to completing the game is very intuitive and it is literally impossible to do it wrong.My favorite aspect is that you can PET YOUR EVEE and it will give you presents. It’s like having a tamagotchi that doesn’t need to be fed or a furby that doesn’t yell at you to rock it to sleep in the middle of the night. I named my Eevee Herman, after our dear sweet corgi boy, and nothing brings me more joy than simultaneously petting Herman irl and Herman the Eevee at the same time.I will note that this game is designed for children which makes it the most fun for adults like myself who are not well versed in the video game tricks.

I am absolutely loving this game and struggle to put it down each night. I highly recommend this game to anyone who wants to try video games but isn’t ready for something fast paced. If you’re in possession of a Nintendo Switch and want something mellow and enjoyable give this a try and let me know what you think. Now I got to go, Herman needs some virtual pets!

But Really Though Tries- Pilates with the Reformer

While visiting B’s family in Southern California for Christmas (a fate I would not wish upon my enemies WHERE ARE THE SEASONS SOCAL?) we were invited to try a Pilates Mix class on Christmas Eve. I jumped on this opportunity because I have always wanted to play with the pilates machine (formally known as the REFORMER, sounds scary doesn’t it?). Prior to this, my only pilates experience has been through Cassey Ho or the tragic time my mother asked me to help her with WindsorPilates at home VHS (she still hasn’t forgiven me for taking her request to straighten her leg so literally). So you could say I was walking into the class blind.

The studio was doing a free 8 class pass so we bought the passes online (for a $5 initiation fee smh) which seemed reasonable enough if you were a local and able to use the pass in its entirety. Pilates rule number one is apparently that you have to wear weird little toe socks so I borrowed a pair. After we got set up, we set foot (well butt actually) on the reformer. The reformer is the most fun I’ve ever had using a machine in the fitness world. It may look intimidating but it’s really just a flat slide. The machine itself is a lot of fun and seems like it would lend itself to some crazy intense workouts.

The instructor was nice but it kind of felt like she was phoning the class in (in her defense it was Christmas Eve and she probably pulled the short straw to be there). Usually, when I try a new fitness class the instructor spends some time asking about fitness levels and explaining the machine but she had us just hop right on.

Even though I was most excited to try the reformer, my favorite part of the class was actually with a different piece of equipment called a springboard. This is literally just a board on a wall with numbers and springs to use for resistance. See image for a better idea of what it is and how it works.

Unfortunately for B and I the class we chose was a little calmer than the usual pilates class. We left with tight cores but definitely not sore. It was a lot of fun, but it was only 50 minutes which wasn’t enough time to work up a sweat with the movements chosen for that class. I would definitely take the class again but I would probably try for a different instructor or a different style of pilates. I like my workout classes to feel like they kicked my butt.

Have you ever tried pilates? What are your thoughts on the reformer? Do you think I can by a springboard somewhere? Let me know!

Flirtations in Fitness: Trying New Workouts

I’m bored. Not with my job, friends or life – no, I’m bored with my workouts. My boredom has lead to a lack of fitness motivation that nearly rivals my former lifestyle choices with my main man Dom(inos).  

Luckily, I haven’t let this boredom completely deter me from my running/lifting schedule but it has made waking up in the morning to get my workout in damn near impossible. Because of this consistent boredom I decided to shake things up. Over the last month I have tried out multiple public and home fitness programs. I’ve officially gone from bored to sore. Below are my thoughts on the programs I’ve tried.

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Image belongs to barre3.com

Barre3

Barre3 is a cardio and strength building class that takes place in what looks like a ballet studio. Since I assumed, from the look of the room, that this class would be mostly ballet with some mat work I decided to take this class on a lunch break. Barre3 is nothing like ballet. Barre3 is the hardest cardio class I have taken to date. The entire hour is filled with upbeat pop music. I started sweating about three minutes in and left drenched. The lunchtime class crew was beyond friendly. The instructor took the time to make sure I understood the moves and it was the most enjoyable cardio I have ever done. The downside to Barre3, like most workout studios, is the price. Even though the class was $22 I will definitely be taking advantage of their new student deals and buying myself a class pass.

 

 

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CardioBarre

I walked into my beginner CardioBarre class thinking it would be a lot like Barre3. Once again, my assumption was amiss. CardioBarre is taught by former dancers, making it slightly lower energy and insanely more difficult on my calves. The relives killed me!  The studio is carpeted but beyond that is the same as a true dance studio. The CardioBarre studio I went to had a slightly less fun loving attitude about it than Barre3 but what it lacked in energy it made up for in strength training. I would highly recommend CardioBarre to any former dancers, like myself, who want to get a good workout in while triggering nostalgia of their dancer days. The only negative about CardioBarre is that the beginner class was insanely difficult; I would be terrified to try the advanced class. Or I am horribly out of shape. It’s probably the latter.

 

 

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Don’t these abs inspire you? They inspire me!!!  Image from Pao’s Fit World. 

SSBM by Paola Marquez

SSBM is an acronym for “Strong & Sexy Body Method” a guide by Paola Marquez. I have Paola’s guide as an ebook on my phone and there is only a one time fee of $69.98 to purchase the book.  The pro to the ebook is that you can click on the assigned moves from the workout and watch Paola demonstrate the moves. The workouts vary between HIIT training and light weight training. The plan is for 6 days a week with 5 days of planned workouts and a sixth day of LISS cardio. This workout plan is good for those who want to start light weight training and need help on where to begin. The workouts are succinct and definitely work, but by week 3 I was beyond bored of the workout style. I still use these workouts to supplement my usual routine and for days when I don’t want to lift heavy.

 

 

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Actual footage of me trying to keep up in CardioBarre and Barre3 – at least I’m having fun! 

I’m insanely proud of myself for turning to new workouts instead of the couch. Its super important to love your workout, or at least enjoy it, to stay motivated. This little experiment has reminded me that I do really well in group fitness classes and I am more likely to challenge myself when I feel like people are watching me. My competitive side has come back out along with my new love of Barre classes. Although, this former ballerina is still getting her ass kicked in them.

What are some of the ways you get out of a fitness rut? What are some of the fitness classes you’ve tried?  I’m thinking kickboxing may be next on my list. Self-defense and a workout in one sounds like a bargain!

 

What the Funk is Up With Natural Deodorants

I love natural products. I’m attracted to anything with “organic” or “all-natural” stamped on it and if a beauty product is listed as “vegan,” I’m all about it. The problem with natural products is that they don’t always work in the same way as their not so natural counterparts. This is particularly true with deodorants. For the last three years I have been on the hunt for a natural deodorant as my everyday smell prevention. Unfortunately, this has resulted in quite a few smelly days. Below are my findings so you can protect your body from the potential dangers of aluminum without being the smelly person at work.  

The first deodorant I tried was a crystal ordered on Amazon. With crystal deodorants you dampen them with water then rub them in your underarms. The one I bought doesn’t have a scent which seemed like a pro originally but alas, my scentless savior did nothing for my smell. By the end of an eight hour work day I smelled horrible. I give crystals a 1 out of 5.

For my second attempt I went with a household name, Arm and Hammer. This deodorant went on like a normal stick deodorant. The scent was a musky gender neutral but still fresh scent. I bought their natural, aluminum free formula but be sure to read the ingredients; their deodorant with aluminum has very similar packaging. I wore this through a regular workday and reapplied at lunch. I made it through the day smell free but had I not reapplied I wouldn’t have smelled so sweet at the end of the day. I give this a 3 out of 5.

My third deodorant was another household name in all things natural, Tom’s. This deodorant also went on like a regular stick deodorant and did not leave much residue on my clothes. The scent I picked up was Lavender but they had a couple others to choose from. The scent was lovely, but unfortunately only lasted for about an hour. By lunch time I smelled like I hadn’t bathed in the last week. This did nothing to prevent me from being the gross sweaty person in the office. I give Tom’s a 1 out of 5.

After my failed attempts at drugstore deodorants I went back to the internet. A friend turned me onto the company Meow Meow Tweet and I ordered their grapefruit scented deodorant without baking soda and the lavender scented  deodorant with baking soda. The formula for this deodorant is a little bit unconventional. It must be scooped from the jar and applied with your fingers. At first this seemed like a con and a great way for me to get deodorant on all of my clothes but in practice it works really well. Both deodorants worked pretty well throughout the workday. I prefer the formula without baking soda it doesn’t dry out the skin in my armpits. Works at the same level as the arm & hammer with a better scent. I give this a 4 out of 5.  

While I was, and still am, impressed with Meow Meow Tweet I wasn’t thrilled about carrying a jar around in my purse with me on days I knew I would want to reapply. Recently, I discovered that my favorite makeup brand, Tarte, makes an all natural, aluminum free, vegan, stick deodorant. Tarte Vegan Natural Deodorant is a godsend. I got the trial size and immediately fell in love with its adorable packaging and baby powder scent. This deodorant is packaged like a normal stick deodorant, the only exception being that it is in a round container. It is adorable, fits in my tiny purse and it WORKS. It works the best out of all the ones I tried. It doesn’t 100% hold up in a workout but it makes it through a stressful day. Tarte killed it on this one! Rating 5 out of 5.

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In conclusion, Tarte takes home the gold, with Meow Meow Tweet at silver and Arm and Hammer with bronze.

Have you tried any natural deodorants/beauty products? What are some of your favorites?

Keeping Calm with CalmBox

On my journey to self-love and gratitude this month I decided to show myself a little self-love by trying Calm Box. Calm Box is a subscription box for peaceful moments.The box is supposed to cultivate tranquility and a sense of calm in my life.

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Tranquility has arrived!

Calm Box comes packed with “mindfully curated items” and is $35 a month. I love that the website states that a portion of the proceeds go to charity (it’s much better than nothing) but I did not see a lot about what charities they supported. Regardless of how their company allocates their money I decided to investigate and see if the items alone were worth the price.

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I CANNOT stop eating these.

Item One – YumEarth anti-oxifruits organic vitamin C drops

These are fucking amazing. Wow. The have so much flavor, are so delicious, and they are allergen free. These hard candies are perfect. They are free of tree nuts, peanuts, gluten, dairy, eggs, soy and high fructose corn syrup. On top of being safe to eat, they’re so delicious. They come in four fruity flavors that resemble pomegranate, strawberry, raspberry and a mixed fruit flavor. The pomegranate are my favorite. I would highly recommend YumEarth to anyone with food allergies. I’m going to try their licorice next!

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Item Two – Cuccio Somatology Balancing Lotion

I had never heard of this brand but this lotion smells amazing. I think this lotion is for yoga studios or massages but I’m very excited to create a spa like environment in my own bathroom with this. The smell is very mild but it smells like rose, camomile and lavender. This lotion is extremely oily which makes it perfect for at home massages or dry skin.

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Yogi tea gives me life!

Item Three – Yogi Relaxed Mind tea

I’m a HUGE Yogi tea fan. I love that every tea bag has a quote to promote gentle lifestyle.I could drink their ginger tea all day everyday. This tea is caffeine free and claims to promote tranquility. While this tea isn’t my favorite from Yogi, I do enjoy the boysenberry and sage combination. It brings me good vibes. I’ve been drinking this before bed and placebo effect or not it helps me sleep.

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Yes, You will probably receive on of these from me if we ever meet in person.

Item Four – Yes, You Cards

These are cute little cards to hand out and make peoples’ days. While I think this is a very cute idea the odds of these spreading beyond my friend group and coworkers is slim. I might put them in a cute tray on my desk at work with a take one sign to brighten anyone who needs it day!

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OBSESSED with this spray

Item Five – Cuccio Somatology Yoga Elixir in Lavender & Cardamom

Hands down, this is my favorite thing from the box. I have read a few articles and blog posts about the benefits of using a relaxing bedroom spray before bed and I was itching to try one.  I had looked online but was a little timid on purchasing one due to their prices. I’m thrilled that this spray came in the box. I would have never known about this brand on this scent. The spray smells like lavender, mild citrus and rosemary. It smell like my dream spa. The smell is not overwhelming and does not affect my asthma.  I’m fucking OBSESSED with this new spray.

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Item Six – A String of Wishes Bracelet

This is a simple string with a Buddha head on it. The card it comes on says to tie it on and make a wish. I have yet to successfully tie it on my wrist but I’m sure a quick google search will help me.This is a super cute reminder to be patient with our wishes and goals, they do not happen overnight.  

 

The six items I received are adorable, practical and made me smile but I think this box was a one time present. I do not think this would be a box I would want to receive every month. It did expose me to some exciting new brands to try like YumEarth and Cuccio. This would make an excellent present for someone you know who is looking for a little peace in their chaotic life.
Have you ever tried a subscription service and if so, what was your favorite? Let me know if there is one you want me to review next!  

Food Arrives at my Door but I Still Have to Cook it? A Hello Fresh Review

Greetings humans!

 

Today I am going to talk about one of my favorite things in the whole wide world, food!

 

Odds are you love food too. Not only does it keep us alive but it’s pretty fucking delicious. I love eating, I really love eating good food, but I SUCK at making food. I remember being around 5 years old and watching my Granny cook and wondering about the day when I too would just know how to make things.

 

Fun fact, that day never came.

 

Luckily, I am a strong independent woman in these modern times so instead of cooking I can get take-out delivered to my door. Unfortunately, takeout is expensive and often lacks nutritional value, so now I am saying goodbye to Postmates and hello to Hello Fresh.

 

Hello Fresh is one of those nifty food delivery services that lets you pick your meals for the week online and then sends you the ingredients and instructions. You can chose how many meals you get and what allergens you want them to avoid in your meals. As someone with a million food allergies, I find this super helpful. I love the idea of not having to worry about what’s in the food because I made it! B and I opted for the 3 meals a week for two people with no nuts and anxiously awaited the arrival of our first box.

 

Below is my kitchen illiterate review of our first week of Hello Fresh.

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THE BOX!

The meals arrived in one of those weirdly eco-friendly yet heavily packaged boxes and B and I were stoked! Not only were we going to learn to cook but we also didn’t have to worry about buying weird ingredients that are super necessary for making food with flavor (like herbs, how I am supposed to know which one is which?) We unpacked the box, pulled out our handy dandy recipe guides and got ready to cook.

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Meal 1 in all of its glory. Yes, I suck at plating.

Meal 1 Salmon and Lentils with Brussel Sprouts and Carrots

We started with the salmon because it had an eat first sticker on it. Apparently fish goes bad first and Hello Fresh knew I was slightly too stupid to know this. The meals come in difficulty levels, one through three and this was a level one. Starting off simple! Preparing and cooking the food wasn’t too difficult and the meal only took us around 45 minutes to make. I was a bit anxious when we sat down to eat it but we managed not to give ourselves food poisoning. Day one was a success!

 

Meal 2 Honey Mustard Glazed Chicken with Baked Veggies

This meal was the best! Not only was it easy to make but it also had wonderful flavor and seemed easy enough to replicate in the future. The sweet potatoes complimented the marinade for the chicken and I learned how to pan sear chicken. So far we were two for two and our confidence was through the roof. We began brainstorming recipes for our Master Chef Jr. applications.

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This is not the risotto I know, but it was still yummy in my tummy.

Meal 3 Ultra Creamy Risotto

We saved the risotto for last since it was a level two. We knew we were dealing with heavy stuff and thought it would be best to make this meal on a weekend just incase it required extra time, or if we fucked it up and needed to run to Whole Foods to replace an ingredient. We made the meal with no snafus, but it was somehow lacking. I thought the rice and cheese combo would be a hit…but this was our least favorite meal. Still better than the time I tried to bake my own cookies from scratch though.  

Woohoo! We successfully made all 3 meals. Not one finger was chopped off and only a tongue was burned. We got to buy new cool tools for our kitchen and now think we are ready for Master Chef Jr. If you want to try Hello Fresh with us you can use my discount code EMILYBR for $40 off your first week.

 

Let me know if you have ever tried a service like this and your thoughts on them!