Thursday, February 28, 2013

I'm a Winner! Sweetheart VoxBox 2013.

I never win anything. Seriously - I'm not trying to be cute or dramatic, but I was just born without the lucky gene.

Not once did I win one of those "guess how many Skittles are in the jar, and the closest to the actual amount wins them all!" kind of contest in elementary school - which was definitely the greatest prize ever (though looking back - do you really think anyone actually counted out 287 Skittles?). Every Hanukkah and Christmas my brother, cousins, and I get scratch off lottery tickets. One year Patrick won $60, my cousins both won $10, and I won $0.

The teachers in my building constantly pool their money and go in on the Powerball lottery when it goes up to $200+ million, with their dreams and hopes of being able to quit their jobs and retire in Maui with endless drinks being served to them in coconut shells while they're fanned by palm leaves (because seriously - teachers can knock those drinks back more than any other). I don't even bother, because I've never had that "it could happen to me" mentality.

I feel you Bad Luck Brian, I do.

My luck has changed though - since signing up with Influenster, I was picked to receive my very first VoxBox, which made my little Grinch heart grow three sizes. If you're not on Influenster, the gist is this - you get an invite (if you want one, leave a comment with your email address and I'll send you a link to join!), and through your prescense on social media sites (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, etc)., you become an "expert" in certain areas. It's very painless - you write reviews on various brands, answer questions, take little surveys, and you gain an opportunity to potentially get exclusive looks at products and possibly even win these boxes, filled with products.

When I found out I was selected to receive a 2013 February Sweetheart VoxBox, I was beyond excited. You don't know what will be in it, but Claire and Courtney both have written about how awesome they are, so I was very excited to receive mine.

My box included the following: a SkinnyGirl Daily Greek Yogurt blueberry bar, an Olay Shine Minimizing Cleanser and contour cleansing brush, Not Your Mother's texturizing sea salt spray, and Secret Clinical Strength Stress Response deodorant.

Olay Cleanser and Brush:
Honestly, I have really bad skin. I still get frequent breakouts, which I'm very self conscious about, and I get really particular about products that I'm putting onto my face because I'm constantly nervous something will trigger a breakout. I've only been using it for a few days now, but I'm thrilled with the brush and cleansing system. I use it after the gym and when I wake up in the morning, and even after a few days, I'm really pleased with how soft and smooth it's making my skin. The color of the cleanser is also a really pretty silver and it smells amazing - with skincare products, I'm really difficult to please, so this is definitely coming from a really honest perspective.

Skinnygirl Daily On-the-Go bars:
I'm very skeptical about meal replacement or protein bars. Usually they're LOADED with processed ingredients and added sugars and a little bar ends up accounting for up to 35% of your total fat consumption for the day. No thank you, I'll take my cupcake. So when I saw the Greek Yogurt Blueberry bars in my box, I was kind of "meh" about it. However, I am now a convert. These are low carb, low sugar, and the total saturated fat is 11% DV. I ate mine before going to the gym, and it was the perfect boost. Plus, these are only 180 calories, but I promise you, it tastes like you're really treating yourself.
I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All reviews are 100% my opinion and I'm not being compensated in any way for them!

Secret Clinical Stress Response:
Here's the deal - I work in a building that is from the early 1900's on the fourth floor. No exaggeration or joke - the other day, it was 98 degrees in my classroom (and was 31 outside). As a teacher, I'm faced with some stressful situations, especially working in an inner city, where students are NOT afraid to get in your face. These are not great conditions and I consider myself lucky that I do not have sweat pouring down my body on the regular from working here (I know, I know, I'm the grossest). On top of that, I'm a Bikram yoga fan (hot yoga), so I get pretty disgusting. Secret Stress Response smells amazing - this is my fourth day using it, and even my water boiling level classroom is not making me sweat. It smells amazing, and is extremely long lasting - remember, I'm not getting paid for these reviews, but I'm seriously beyond impressed by Secret on this one and will absolutely be buying it after the fact.

Not Your Mother's Texturized Salt Spray:
Another winner - first of all, it smells like a beach vacation, but not in an overpowering way. I've been using this all week since I'm in between haircuts and seriously need to protect my hair from constant blowdrying. I spray on the product on my damp hair, and can then style it accordingly. It creates these really pretty, very beachy waves and I have no greasy residue left in my hair after and it doesn't feel weighed down. Another product I'm seriously thrilled with.
The only negative is that I now want to wear a bikini and drink pina coladas.

Have you used any of these products before? What are your thoughts/favorite products?

Happy almost Friday, lovers! xox - next post I'm going to have BIG news for you all (about moi though, so don't get too excited).

Currently listening to: Rattle (Original Mix) - Bingo Players

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Put on Mascara (and your party dress).

It's been a rainy, miserable week in New Jersey. When it's not gross and rainy, it's so incredibly windy that any hopes of your hair staying put is lost the second you step outside of your door.

This has translated into a lot of down time to me - which basically means a lot of post-gym nights in, with a bottle of Pinot Noir (or Malbec, which I housed last night), just listening to music while grading endless amounts of papers.

Clearly Pandora knew the inspriation I needed to get away from the depressing, frigid weather - and the recipe for that was more cowbell.... orrrr, lots of Lana del Ray to keep me company while correcting a mistake in your/you're for the twelve thousandth time this year.

To say I have a girl crush on Lana would sum it up pretty well - her music isn't just perfect on rainy days, but really any day, and her style is just beyond. I've said it so many times - I love when someone looks even more beautiful and put together when they're photographed in the street than when it's been airbrushed for an album cover or magazine. It also blows my mind when there is such a vast difference between red carpet style and personal style - I like when people keep me guessing, which Del Ray is notorious for.

She's already had a Mulberry bag named after her, so clearly I'm not alone in finding her unique retro/vintage style inspiring. Plus, I get instant jealousy from anyone who can pull off a ton of different hair colors and still look ridiculously beautiful.

She's a mix of total badass, but while still being a lady and she just exudes confidence and sexiness in all of her pictures. My mom mentioned to me that she looks like a pin-up, but not in a trashy way since she's usually extremely covered up - it's something about how she carries herself.

If you look closely, you can see her signature talon-like nails (even in a Polaroid!).

With my boy A$AP Rocky.
 In Mulberry.
In Joseph Altuzarra.

Simple street style (that, in case you are a student, is an example of alliteration).

Are you a Lana del Ray fan? Whose style inspires you?

Currently listening to: Born to Die - Lana Del Ray

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

You are Loved.

Valentine's Day is a tricky one - for some people it's blissful, for others it's a reminder that they don't have a significant other...

But listen - each and every one of you is loved so dearly. 

You're loved by friends, your family, coworkers, your pets... and most of all, during this holiday, remember to love yourself because you really are worth it.

So no matter what your stance on the holiday is - whether you see it as being totally about true love or something made up by Godiva and Hallmark (but seriously, a friend of mine works at Godiva and she said they mark EVERYTHING up 20% during V-day).. take time to reflect today (and always!) on the people in your life, and how very amazing you are.

So here are some Valentine's images that hopefully has a little something for everyone, no matter what your relationship status is.


Can we please talk about how this is RICK from THE WALKING DEAD? Love Actually, more reasons why you are my favorite movie.


So really, have a glass of wine or champagne and toast to yourself - whether you do it solo or in the company of those you love and who love you right back.

You know I love you all - and I'll be toasting along with you in spirit!


Currently listening to: Amos Lee - Sweet Pea  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

New York, I Love You (and my friends).

My friends and I go pretty hard when we're celebrating. Birthdays become events - multi-day events that include getting hotel rooms and taxis to get around, and New Year's Eve was absolutely no exception to this rule.

It started in October, for my dear friend Kristine's birthday. She, myself, and another friend Cyn had a girls' night a month prior in New York, where we basically drank our weight in vodka sodas, Kristine high-kicked a pervert who wouldn't take no for an answer, and we watched a woman fall down and pull a table and chairs down with her - twice. While at our epic Girl's Night Out 1.0, we discussed Kristine's upcoming birthday, where we'd repeat our travels to New York (state, not city), get hotel rooms, pregame, and then dance the night away.

J. Crew cardigan; Madewell tank; Tiffany & Co. jewelry; Michael Kors watch

Picture 20+ twenty-somethings gathered in three hotel rooms, an endless supply of beer/vodka/rum, knowing that there are cabs to take us wherever we choose to go, and blaring hip hop/EDM music, and that about sums it up.

Kristine put this conversation we had on Facebook before her birthday. Fitting.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.. in this case, better make it two thousand.

Birthday girl!


And then these types of pictures happened, which means that no one was able to properly work a camera.

For New Year's Eve, there was no exception. The game plan was the same, except this time some of us chose to get to our hotel room early (because neither of us ever need an excuse to get dressed up), order a lovely cheese pizza just for us (someone please get that reference), and pregame.


We ended up being in two different hotels, so we braved the cold (and I broke my feet in my fabulous shoes) and the ice, and walked all the way to the hotel where our other friends were staying.


Oh hey, girl.

I still do not know how my mouth moved this way.

To say this was the best New Year's Eve of my life would be a complete and total understatement. There were about fifteen of us, and we just had an amazing time. No drama, no problems, no fights - just all of us together, drinking and dancing (and wearing glitter covered New Year's hats that seriously ingrained the glitter into our scalps). Again, we spent the entire night dancing off all the calories we had consumed, laughing, and waiting for midnight kisses (and then the cycle repeated).


The next morning was a rough one - since for $40 you could buy a wristband that entitled you to four hours of open bar... and we all piled in together to go to a diner - Rob with glitter shaking out for every surface of his head/face from his New Year's hat, Edwin wearing snowboard goggles because the lights hurt his eyes, and the rest of us a million shades of hungover - but it was the best (and most Jersey) way to start off 2013.

And then we headed back home to sleep off the rest of the first day of 2013 (and drink lots and lots of water). I'm pretty sure every single one of us had Facebook statuses that said, "Never drinking again." Two days later, a friend's said,

"Me after New Year's: "I'm never drinking again." Five minutes ago: "Is four glasses of wine too many on a work night?"

So no matter what 2013 throws our way, we started it off with a bang - and I'm a firm believer that the way you start the year sets the tone for the duration of the year. 

How did you spend New Year's Eve? Is anyone else as behind on these posts as moi? Oops (though technically I'm still waiting for half my friends to post their NYE pictures up as well).

Currently listening to: Blood Bank - Bon Iver