It’s National Cocoa Day! I know, I know — there’s some kind of national something-or-other-day for all 365 days of the year…but it’s cold AF in Chicago right now and only getting colder, so it seemed like a good time. Also, I’m taking the lead of Kaleigh over at klghdaily and following along with her 12 days of Blogmas posts. Day 1’s topic is drinks, so this seems preeeeetty relevant.
I got a lil hot chocolate from Starbucks today. Lookin’ festive here with my USB Christmas tree.
I actually went to Starbucks today in celebration. There are two things I like at Starbucks: Hot chocolate and iced black tea/lemonade. Coffee is too bitter for me, and caffeine puts me to sleep. Seriously. I’m that weirdo. (It’s genetic, too, apparently — I did one of those genetic test things after getting my DNA test from Ancestry.com and it legit recommends right in the analysis that I should drink caffeine to combat anxiety.)
Anyhoo, seeing as it’s cold out and today is NCD (already giving this day abbreviations), I picked me up one of these little guys. I also got the opportunity to hear someone order a “grand-ay” sized drink and watch a dude eye his “green tea latte” suspiciously upon delivery for a full minute like it didn’t belong to him. Your name’s on it, dawg. All good. (I then crossed paths with him a second time near the elevators in the building, holding the cup up and looking at it in the same way. He ultimately decided to head back in the direction of Starbucks.)
As delicious as this hot chocky is, though, I wish I could get a little afternoon pick me up. I’m about ready to get one of these ostrich nap pillows right now (#giftguide?):
Ostrich pillow. (I’m an Amazon affiliate, so if you buy this, I might get a little cash money. Dolla dolla bills, anyone?)
Honestly, could anyone get away with this at work? Or is this some kind of home office? Actually that doesn’t make sense. If you were working from home you could just turn the damn lights out and nap in your bed. So set the scene — just flat out, face down, head and arms in a pillow on your desk. Post-it on the back of your head that says “I’M ON LUNCH”. Can someone get one of these and let me know how it goes over at the office, please? Thank you.
Back to National Cocoa Day. Let’s talk. Hot chocolate drinker? Mallows, or no? Coffee? What kind of insane Starbucks drink have you concocted for yourself with a non-fat flat steamed chocolate white latte cream foam? Also, have any of you tried those new flavored Starbucks hot chocolates? I saw they had a snickerdoodle one but chickened out when I got to the counter. Are they any good? Hit me up in the comments/on social media.
Sticking with my subscription box theme, I’ll present to you my next recommendation for a gift — a Julep Maven Subscription.
As a quick note, this post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. But I wouldn’t recommend something if I didn’t think it was awesome and totally worth it!
Straight up, this one’s mostly for the ladies. Julep is a beauty subscription box, and they offer skincare, makeup, and nail care/polish products. I joined way back when in the days when they were nail care only, but have enjoyed all the products of theirs that I’ve tried (including eyeliner, eyeshadow, cuticle oil, nail files, polish remover, and even dry shampoo). Their nail polish is also cruelty free, 100% vegan, and less toxic than other brands, which I’m all about.
This is actually my longest running subscription box. I’ve been with Julep for a few years now and love love love it. I like having my nails done, and used to get regular manicures. I wasn’t particularly great at doing my own nails (just ask Damon, he has had to clean off just one nail many, many times), and am still not perfect. But they have tools that will help a lot, like the Julep Plié Wand.
Here’s a video so you can see how it works:
They also do this fantastic Freedom Polymer Top Coat that dries in 2 minutes under direct light, or 5 minutes in normal circumstances. I mean…what more can you ask for? The boxes come with a small extra inside — sometimes candy, sometimes nail stickers, and always a cute little card with an inspirational quote. I may or may not have some of them hung up around my desk (hint: I definitely do).
Once you subscribe, you’ll answer a series of questions that helps them determine your style type. This will give them an idea of what products you might like each month. Then they set up a monthly box for you, and on the 20th of every month you can easily pop in and swap products out to get exactly what items and colors you prefer. You can also skip your box if you have too much polish, which I have definitely done!
Right now, they’re doing their 12 days of YAY promotion. Each day for 12 days they’ve got a special promo going on over on their website, so go check it out! (Today is a free Coveted set with a $30 purchase. 12 adorable holiday mini polishes! Oh yeah, did I mention that you can buy any of their items from their site at any time? Helpful when you run out of top coat mid-way through the month.)
Questions about quality? Posits about polish? Inquiries about eyeliner? Hit me up on social media.
I’ve already started Christmas shopping this year — and in fact, am nearly finished — so I’m pretty happy to have gotten the jump on gifts this time around. But, if you’re like me every other year and are still trying to decide what to get the people you love (or like, or…well, let’s hope you’re not getting gifts for someone you don’t even like; that sounds awful), I’m going to be sharing some gift guides over the next couple of weeks.
As a quick note, this post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. But I wouldn’t recommend something if I didn’t think it was awesome and totally worth it!
I subscribed to this for the first time 3 months ago, and am in love. I adore subscription services, but really only have a select few that I’ve stuck with. This is one of the boxes I’ve really connected with. Though I write fiction, I tend to read mostly non-fiction via either Kindle e-book or Audiobook. And the truth is, I’ve missed reading great books, and I’ve missed that awesome book-feel you get when you turn paper pages.
I think part of what can feel daunting about finding new fiction books is that I’m not sure what books will be good. Most of the stuff I’ve read in the last five years was either an author I’m familiar with (a la JK Rowling) or a recommendation from a friend. And that’s exactly what Book of the Month is like — a recommendation from a friend.
This is my first-ever BOTM box. Cute tote, a box of mints, The Wonder, note from the curator, and a bookmark.
Book of the Month has curators who find the best books suited to a few genres, and then they decide based on your preferences what you might like. (They also do guest curators — last month I chose a book recommended by Anthony Bourdain, and this month Abbi Jacobson selected an option!) Then every month, you get to check out the 5 recommended options — and if you want to choose something different, you can. You know you’re going to end up getting a book that’s interesting to you (or, if you’re not feeling any of the selections, you can skip — but I haven’t done that once…in fact, this month, I ADDED two books to my box). If more than one of the books look great, you can add them on for a small fee.
For the quality of curated hardcover books you’ll be getting, these prices are pretty solid. I highly recommend this as a gift for the readers in your life. Or even for yourself, if you’re considering a fantastic New Year’s Resolution like reading one new book a month😉. If you get a gift subscription for someone else, you can get a one-month free trial for yourself! Because let’s be honest, you know some of the shopping you do in December is for yourself. I totally picked up a few gifts for myself. It happens.
Hit me up on social media if you have any questions about my experience with it or if you just want to talk about the books you’ve received. Always happy to talk about a good book (and take book recommendations!)!
Let’s be honest — the majority of us do a ton of shopping online these days. You can buy pretty much anything you want online without ever having to leave the comfort of your best sweatpants. And to top it off, the mail carrier brings you a package you get to open, like a present to you from you. It’s kind of the best.
Being the coupon-obsessed person that I am, I’m constantly looking for ways to save money. And after years of perusing the web for the best money-saving techniques, I’ve put together a short list of the best and easiest to use. With just a few clicks of a button — you’ll be saving cash in no time!
Ebates is probably my favorite of all the sites listed here. I’ve used it the longest and made the most money from it. They give you cash back on purchases — all you have to do is click through Ebates’ link to get to the store you’d like to shop at. Clicking through their link opens up a “Shopping Trip” to that site. Once your purchase is complete, Ebates records it. Then, once a quarter, you’ll get a PayPal payment for the cash back that you earn. (You can also have a physical check mailed to your address if you prefer.)
As you can see in the photo above, they regularly have special deals of double cash back, so it’s always a good idea to check here first! They also often have a list of available coupon codes for the shopping site.
In addition, I highly recommend installing the browser extensions they offer. I use Google Chrome, but they also offer them for Firefox and Safari.
If you’re searching Google for a store, the browser extension will show if Ebates currently has a cash back offer available.
Or, if you head straight to a store’s site without going to Ebates first, you’ll get a little drop-down in the top right-hand corner of your window.
Oh, hai cash back!
All you have to do from here is hit the big red button. The little “E” icon for the extension will get a green box around it showing the Shopping Trip is opened, and you’re good to go!
Note: If you’re a tab shopper like me (i.e., you tab out items that you want to look at), you’ll want to be certain when you do check out that the tab you’re on is active for cash back (this is another place where the extension comes in handy). Also — if for some reason your Shopping Trip doesn’t show up in your account on the site within a few days, you can send a request to Ebates. Just go to the site and click the big green “Help” button in the bottom right. Then choose the “Where’s my cash back?” link. From there, find your open shopping session, and they’ll have you paste the contents of your purchase confirmation email. Then Ebates will add your cash in right away, no questions asked.
Honey is a bit newer onto the scene. As you can see, Honey is dominated by coupon codes. If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent a ton of time Googling “(insert store name here) coupon codes” when shopping just to make sure you’re not missing anything. Honey will do that for you.
To use Honey, you can either search their site, or install their browser extension (do this). Check out this video — it explains the concept far more simply than I could!
With just one click of a button, Honey runs on its own once you get ready to check out. You don’t have to do anything other than click the button, and it scans all available coupon codes for a site. A lot of these are user entered, so if you have one, share it with the community!
This takes so little effort and really does work. And of course, you can use this in combination with Ebates. Set up your cash back through Ebates first, then once you’re at the checkout page, hit your Honey extension and let it get to work.
Paribus works a bit differently than the other two sites — it relies on your credit cards’ price protection agreements. You have to register for Paribus through your email address, and then Paribus scans your email for purchase receipts. It doesn’t work for every single retailer, but does work for a lot of major ones — and they’re continuing to expand. (These are mine — shoes for my Eleven costume, a book I’m checking out, a new dog bed for Honey and a good ol’ probiotic. Gut health FTW, y’all.)
In order for Paribus to make sure that your cards offer price protection, you have to log your cards in through the site. It’s secure, though. All good. Then, as you can see on the right hand side — Paribus tracks prices for 30 days (the length of most price protection programs) to see if the price goes up or down. (Check out those Chucks on Amazon!) If the price goes down, Paribus (no work needed by you) will reach out to your credit card company to get a reimbursement for you. Then, the money goes straight back to your card.
Basically, once you’ve signed up, there’s nothing further to do here. All you need to do is make sure you keep your credit cards and email address updated. Then, just sit back and wait for the dough to roll in.
These are my three favorite ways to save money when shopping online. They all require very little action on your part — if you install the browser extensions for Ebates and Honey, they’ll prompt you when savings are available. And Paribus just works in the background. So you can shop like normal, but save tons of money.
So…since I helped you find these — when you get your Scrooge McDuck-style vault of gold coins set up, can I go for a swim?
Phew, what a week! I spent the first four days in a training in the Carr Workplaces on the 51st floor of the Aon Center (amazing views!) to get a certification for some software for work. It was fun to have a little break and be in a class again — it’s been a while. I’m a mega nerd so I asked a million questions, but I also learned a lot. I get my test scores back Monday but am sure I passed, and I’ll get a fun little certificate to hang up at my desk.
When I got back to the office today I had some mail to pick up, and lo and behold, my new HOVR had arrived! I ordered this thing months ago off of Indiegogo when I went through a phase of pre-ordering a bunch of cool techy things, and had kind of forgotten about it until today.
Here it is in its new home under my desk. Those are cardboard Jon Snow’s feet in the background.
So far, I’m loving this thing. Being short (and being someone who is on the long torso/short legs side of the spectrum), my feet don’t touch the ground under my chair at the office. Now, it’s true, I could lower my chair, but then my arms would be too low for the keyboard. Ergonomics, yo! Most average work desks are not designed for people of my height. So, firstly — this is working wonders on my lower back, because I’m not stuck trying to get my feet onto the wheels of the chair for comfort.
Secondly, it has exercises with it to help you burn calories throughout the day. Fan-freaking-tastic. Now I don’t have to feel quite so bad about the fact that I spend the majority of my workday firmly planted on my rear-end. I’m currently sitting at my desk, feet a swingin’, and loving every minute of it.
I’m really pleasantly surprised that this turned out well. This is the first time I’ve ordered anything from Indiegogo, or Kickstarter or the like. As I mentioned before — I went on kind of a spree earlier this year and have a few things on order I’m pretty excited to receive — I’ll follow up about them once they’re here. I even have another item I ordered from Indiegogo that arrives this month, the Wristocat. I’m going to have the most comfortable desk ever very soon.
Have you ever bought anything from Indiegogo or Kickstarter? How’d it turn out, good or bad? Let me know in the comments.
Well…it’s over. After what feels like two long years of reading the news, the r/politics sub, and watching coverage for hours, it’s all over. The United States has finally chosen the person who will be its President for the next four years.
And that person is…Donald Trump.
Yeah, this guy. (image from BusinessInsider)
The guy that no one thought would win. The guy that no one thought could win. And yet — here we are.
I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m not particularly pleased about the results of Tuesday’s election. And to be completely honest, I’m not entirely sure it’s set in. Perhaps it will on inauguration day. Or perhaps I’ll spend the next four years kind of floating through my days in disbelief. Who knows.
Early last summer, I had chosen the person that I wanted to vote for for President, and that person was Bernie Sanders. I think, in some ways, I felt a much greater sense of loss earlier this summer when he ended his campaign. I felt far more connected to him, far more invigorated by and excited about his campaign. I never had that same love for Hillary Clinton. But I hoped, at least, that his platform would make it to the White House, giving Bernie something to work with from his senate seat.
Heart eyes. (image from YouTube)
Not so. By far, though, the most devastating remnant of this election isn’t just the policies for the economy that I disagree with, or the climate change denial — no, it is the pure, unadulterated fear I see in the eyes of many of my POC, LGBTQ, Muslim and Jewish friends. They fear for their lives and their safety, and they have every right to because of things like this. The US is supposed to be a country founded on freedom. They deserve to live freely and without fear.
It is that, more than anything else, that leaves me nauseated and upset. Frustrated and disappointed. Disgusted and distraught.
Even as a writer, it’s difficult to fully put my thoughts in to words, or to organize them in any way that feels like it make sense. I feel like I’m rambling even now, trying to put paragraphs together that don’t seem to fit.
What I can say though, is — I’m not over it, and I won’t be. I will donate and take action for organizations like the ones listed here. I will continue to fight for human rights. I will stand up for people who are oppressed or mistreated. I will stand by your side in the streets. I will be a shoulder for you to cry on. I will hold your hand and we can cry together. I will use my privilege that I know exists as a white woman. I will speak up when I see racism. When I see sexism. When I see bigotry. And in two years, I’ll fight like hell to put progressives in to congress. And in four years, I’ll fight like hell to see a progressive in the White House. The fight isn’t over. And I won’t give up.
Welp, it’s done. Damon and I finally got around to early voting today. We were able to do it at a gym just down the street from our apartment. The lines were actually a lot longer than I’d expected — we were at our polling location for over an hour. Fortunately, they were organized, and moved us through as quickly as they could.
But, we made it! And we got our wristbands (I like these a lot better than the little oval stickers):
Prior to voting, I spent about an hour this morning on the BallotReady website prepping. I expected there to be some elections I didn’t know too much about, but I couldn’t believe how many different positions there were on the ballot we went through today. There must be 50 different judges as well as multiple referendums. It was crazy helpful to get a handle on what to expect and to read candidates’ positions, endorsements, and general info (because all you see when you get into the voting booth is their name and party affiliation). I can’t recommend the site enough. You can make your own ballot guide and print it out or save a PDF (I emailed ours to myself and Damon) and use your phone to go over it when you get to the voting booth.
After Bernie’s campaign this year, I made a promise to myself that I would never again skip voting, and never again vote uninformed. Prior to this election cycle, I’d voted in only Presidential elections, and had been pretty cynical about the whole process. Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely still a level of cynicism there — but I’m doing my best to do what I can with what power I do have. I’m not sure how any of these elections will turn out, but I did my part.
I was rewarded for it by getting to watch a fat little squirrel eat garbage afterward.
Damon was hungry so he made me stop taking pictures of him, but did take me to Sonic for cheese tater tots and a giant strawberry limeade. So, I guess I can’t really complain.
Anyway — get out there and do your civic duty. We’ve only got 3 days left. And then this whole thing will finally be over, and we can all go back to holding our elected officials accountable for their actions and watching chubby squirrels eat trash.
Today, Vine shared some important news: their mobile app is being discontinued in the next few months.
I can’t believe it! I’m kind of…okay, really sad about it. I’ve spent hundreds of hours watching those looping videos, sometimes just sitting on my couch at home and laughing so hard I think I might pee. They say they’ll be leaving the site up, at least for the time being, so we can watch them to our heart’s content. So, that’s what I’ve been doing.
On Twitter, lots of folks are lamenting the loss of our looping love. (Super proud of that alliteration.) There are some pretty solid compilations out there already, from Deadspin, Slate, and (surprise!) Buzzfeed. But, since this is my blog — here’s a link to my Vine account; and below is a compilation of some of my favorite vines.
Beautiful music. 🎵
That stair chair, tho.
This will probably be me and Damon someday.
Damon and I quote this to each other constantly.
Referencing music that came out while I was in High School is a big win.
Picture this: We’re only 12 days away from Halloween, and you haven’t got a costume yet. You’ve got a huge party to attend and everyone is going to be there. What’s a girl to do? Well, I’ll tell you — grab the sexiest costume you can find and you get your ass to that party!
There are plenty of sites out there showing you all the sexy costumes available, but I’d like to submit a few alternate suggestions for the feminists out there.
As a quick note, this post contains affiliate links. That means if you buy some of the items I’ve linked here, I might get a small commission from your purchase. Thanks in advance for supporting my lifelong dream of someday wearing a pair of sweatpants until they physically disintegrate.
What’s sexier than a powerful woman who has worked incredibly hard to advance her career?
There’s a few parts to this costume: first up, a nice pantsuit from Nordstrom’s. Mostly covered, with a fun hint of ankle peeking out from the bottom of your trousers to show everyone you have a playful side. Next, a comfortable pair of Dr. Scholl’s loafers. You can walk up and down the halls of your office as much as you need, and still go to a PTA meeting (that is, if you chose to have a family, which you can absolutely do…or not). An iPhone, so you can answer emails at any time of the day or night. And one both free and invisible costume item: Impostor Syndrome. You’re qualified for this job…right?
What’s sexier than an intelligent woman who spends her days with da real MVP, science?
This costume is relatively simple. Either grab some of these sweet scrubs from Amazon or wear something comfy. Next up, cover those clothes up with a lab coat. Then, fill your pockets with some test tubes and get ready to correct anyone who thinks you’re a doctor by making sure they know you’re a scientist, but you’ve also got a PhD. You’ll also want to add a touch of Impostor Syndrome — and for some couples fun, ask your partner to check your math because you just don’t trust yourself with these calculations on your own!
What’s sexier than a woman who can control a hulking metal machine at 550 mph?
For this costume, you’ll need a white button down top and some blue trousers. Then, just pick up something like this Pilot Costume Accessory Set from Amazon (yeah, there’s only a picture of a man wearing it) to put a few finishing touches onto the costume. You can also scrounge up a pilot’s hat to make it fully clear that you are a pilot and not a flight attendant simply because you are a woman. And as always, good ol’ Impostor Syndrome. Sure, Sully saved all those people by gliding to safety on the Hudson. But could you?
Sexy President of the United States of America
What’s sexier than being the leader of the free world?
Start this one off with a nice black blazer, but toss a bit of design in there. Throw it over a nice dress that comes down to at least your knees. No free shows here, Putin. You’ll also want some fancy gold pens you can use to sign bills in to law. Optional costume piece: a Blackberry. You’re the President now, so you can use whatever cell phone you want. For a fun couples idea, have your significant other dress up like a Secret Service member and follow you around whispering into their sleeve all night. And last but not least, Impostor Syndrome. Maybe it would have been better if your husband were President. Have you made a huge mistake?
Hope these costumes help you come up with an idea! What sexy feminist costumes have you created? Is it just you, in your every day clothes? 10 points to Gryffindor.
We’re smack dab in the middle of the month — just 16 days away from the SPOOPIEST day of the year, Halloween! TBH, Halloween is actually my least favorite holiday of the year. Mostly because I don’t like being scared. I have plenty of memories of getting the bejeezus scared out of me when I was just a wee little geek gal in my batman costume (read: pajamas with cape), strolling down the street with my cousin who was wearing witch hat and a glued-on witch chin. Ah, the 90’s.
For some reason, this year I’m actually excited for the holiday. It’s probably because I have the best costume of my life in the works (I’m going as Eleven from Stranger Things — I linked to it here on Netflix, because if you haven’t watched it yet, literally drop everything and spend the next 8 hours doing so).
MFW I win the costume contest at work
I’ve gotten everything in so far except the dress, which I chose to have custom made from FrenchieYork on Etsy. She says it’ll make it here in time, so here’s hoping it shows up next week!
The rest of the costume I put together from Etsy and Amazon — the jacket, the wig (which is fantastic, by the way), the shoes, and the socks I had left over from a costume Damon and I wore a few years ago when I was a cheerleader and he wore a wrestling singlet. (We scrounged up the outfits at Belmont Army.)
Couple o’ knuckleheads
That was still one of my favorite couples costumes ever. As it turned out, it was a good thing I had the ol’ American Apparel socks laying around, because they’re sold out EVERYWHERE. I’ll be sharing pics of the completed costume on social media, so check back on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram in a couple weeks!
I’m so excited for Halloween this year that I actually decorated. My Halloween decor consists of themed Beanie Babies & Beanie Buddies I’ve had for ages. Look at these cuties! It’s a Pumkin Beanie Buddy and the matching Pumkin Beanie Baby.
Yeah, these are from my ~*personal collection*~. Sorry fellas, I’m taken.
I also have the matching set of Batty and Spinner Beanie Baby & Buddy. I’ve had these things for years, since back when I was an insane Beanie collector back in the late junior high. Of course, I’ve sold off most of them now but I kept the decorative ones and a couple of my favorites. (Would have been a great college fund if I hadn’t sold them off in the late 2000s, when no one cared about them any more…and I’d already graduated college. Ha.)
This afternoon I’m shopping for more Halloween goodies from Modcloth while I watch Cutthroat Kitchen’s and Guy’s Grocery Games’ Halloween Specials. Just look at these lovelies:
Ugh. I’M OBSESSED. They’re about to wrap up a sale over there too, for 25% off $100. And I’m gonna be honest, it’s taking everything I have right now not to get at least that jacket. Alas, we have a wedding to pay for, so…maybe just the jumper and socks.
Anyhoo…I’m off to pin all my ModCloth loves on Pinterest (Come hang!) and eat my skull & bone Halloween SweeTarts under the orange and dark purple Hue lights (we LOVE these things — I’ll discuss them more later in another post) in my spoopified apartment. BOO!