My June Subscriptions: A Love/Hate Relationship (but mostly love!)


Twice as Nice!

As many of you know I have recently fallen in love with subscription boxes. Currently I have Birchbox and Ipsy arriving monthly, and I am resisting (and my bank account is resisting!) adding more. Ahhh, I love samples too much! When I subscribed I told myself I would give both Ipsy and Birchbox 6 months then decide which one I like better to keep for the time being. But I love them both, and I am approaching six months soon! What to do, what to do? At the moment I can afford the extra $20 a month so I guess I’ll keep them both! I can easily spend $20 on junk at Walgreens, so I might as well get these surprise packages of happiness each month instead.

I feel pretty happy about my subscriptions this month, despite a few (HUGE!) misses. I can’t wait to share what I got with you, so I guess I’ll start with Birchbox, since they were the clear winner this month. The theme was Wanderlust, which I love!


One of my favorite things about Birchbox is that you get points for reviewing each item in your monthly box. Every review earns you 10 Birchbox points, and 100 points equals $10 to spend in the Birchbox shop! Essentially you can earn $10 every two boxes. Also if your order gets messed up or if you receive duplicate items they will usually reward you with points! Because of backordered items I received a few extra hundred points, which I used to buy myself a gift subscription of 3 months in addition to my main subscription. So for three months I get 2 boxes! You have to set up another account but it is so worth it.

My first box from my gift subscription was a “welcome box”, which is mostly their most popular items from past months. Since I forgot to take a pic of my welcome box I won’t take the time to do a full review. I did get their Beauty Protector Spray, which has rave reviews but I thought was just ok, and a Sumita eyeliner sample in a dark purple, which I loved enough to order a full size. Sumita is definitely my new favorite liner pencil! Nothing else really stood out, but the Welcome Box was pretty good compared to some of the other boxes I’ve received.

But on to my main subscription box. I’ll come back to my gift box in a second.


June Birchbox, main subscription account

This month every box received a Color Club nail polish from the Wanderlust collection, an exclusive kit of 4 neon pastel polishes made just for Birchbox ($8 for all 4) to celebrate their Global expansion, since you can now get Birchbox in England, Spain, and France too! In my main Birchbox I got a neon pastel mint color called London Calling. I immediately put it on my toes and I really love the color, bright but not too over the top. I read quite a few reviews of Color Club polish and a lot were not entirely favorable, but I think it is pretty good! I got a free sample with a Birchbox order of a great emerald color and it held up fantastically, lasted a week or so while working with horses without chipping, which was pretty impressive! Those ponies take a toll on your nails, let me tell you!


Color Club in Wild Cactus after a week of wear, and working with the horses! It is a really pretty emerald, even though it looks dark teal. And please ignore my old-lady hands!

I also got a box of Tweezerman Matchbook Itty Bitty Nail Files ($5). I got these in my welcome box on my gift subscription too, and I was a little “meh” about it then, I don’t really use nail files that much and certainly won’t use 24 minis.  This was listed as a lifestyle extra in the box, but I could still review it for points, so at least there’s that. The box it came in is really cute though, so it will make a good gift.

The other three samples I got in this box were all pretty sweet, and after looking at all the other variations of the boxes this month this box was definitely in my top 3 wished-for boxes.

Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk ($18 full size): This is a decent size and I love dry shampoo, so I will definitely use this. It doesn’t weigh my fine hair down and smells nice, not too perfumey. It seems to add a bit of volume too, which I always need!

SW Basics Lip Balm ($15 for set of 4): Man, I have so many different lip balms scattered throughout my life. I wasn’t very excited for this at all, until I tried it. It has a lovely cinnamon flavor/smell and it is made with only 5 ingredients (cocoa butter, coconut oil, beeswax, cinnamon oil and cardamon oil). It feels so great on my lips and adds a nice gloss. If it had SPF I would consider buying all 4.

Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser ($32.95 full size): This foaming cleanser and exfoliator is gentle enough for my sensitive skin, foams up nicely, and smells amazing! I would compare it to a lemon pie. A little goes a long way, so I hope to get quite a few uses out of this. It’s a little pricey but I like it so much I might use some points for a full size!

So this box was great, but I really liked my gift subscription box even more! Before I got my two Birchboxes I looked online and couldn’t resist the spoilers posted that listed what was in each box variation. There were a lot of variations that I would have really liked, a few I REALLY didn’t want (gum, really?) and a lot that were just ok. The box I really wanted was #18, and that’s what I got on my gift subscription!*

*I let the super-sleuths at figure out the magic formula to preview all the box variations. Those ladies are amazing, I love stalking the Birchbox and Ipsy forums for spoilers!


Some repeats, but I got the pink lip color, yay!

So as you can see I got some repeats from my main box, but since I love the Suki and Klorane so much I was quite ok with this! At least the nail color was different. I received a color called Mod in Manhattan in this box, which is an off-white color. It’s not really neon at all but its pretty. I like a nice white or bare nail color when I am tan, so this is perfect for summer. It will look great under chunky glitter or used for nail art too.

I also got a Twistband from the Birchbox Nautical Hair Tie Collection ($14 for 6) in this box. I know some people really hate Twistbands but I personally love them and almost always have one in my hair or on my wrist. This is really cute, although I would have loved an anchor-patterned or striped version. This starfish pattern is pretty too though, just not as nautical as I would have liked.

My favorite thing in this box was the LAQA & CO Lil Lip Duo ($16 for 2). I only got one of the duo in my box but that was ok. It is a nice bright pink called Lambchop that goes on smooth and looks amazing with my pale skin. The only problem was it came all mashed into the cap so the tip was smooshed. I emailed Birchbox about it and they are sending me another one! I love their customer service, it wasn’t unusable but it would be nice to have a nice sharp point to apply it.

Both of these boxes also contained 5 postcards. The first one had a printed note from Birchbox about travel dreams and their 4 global offices in New York, London, Paris and Barcelona. It also had a code for extra points when you spend $35. The next four were colorful graphic designs of the 4 cities. I saw online someone had framed them in a 4-way frame and it looked great, so you could use these for framed wall art too. I love quirky notes to send to friends so I will definitely use these.


So as you can see Birchbox killed it this month. A few repeats between my two accounts, but they were repeats of products I love so I am pretty happy about it! Definitely worth the $10 I paid out-of-pocket. On to Ipsy!



On The Wild Side

This month Ipsy’s theme was On The Wild Side. Sounds great, right? Except I can’t really see how my bag lives up to that theme. Except for maybe that darn glitter. Oh, the glitter. But we’ll come back to “Glittergate 2013” in a bit.

Ipsy changed up their profile questions last month so it is supposed to be a little more customized. However I feel like it would be impossible to customize this for everyone so there has been a lot of grumbling in the Ipsy community about this. I guess it worked for me though, since I got the lesser of two (or three or four) evils this month. There was nothing I was really excited about to begin with, but I did get some things I am surprisingly really happy with.


There were quite a few variations of the Ipsy bag this month too. Some are happy about that, some are not. My Ipsy last month was awesome (sorry I got too busy to post it!) and it introduced me to Pacifica, which I love. So this month was a hard act to follow, as my expectations were pretty high for my 3rd Ipsy bag.

There were a few things that came in every bag this month. First was a blush by NXY Cosmetics ($5). This is a new brand to me but I like it so far and it is reasonably priced. There were cream, powder, and mosaic options for this blush, and some colors were more like bronzers. I got the powder blush in Sand, which I could honestly use as a bronzer even though it is a little shimmery. I was a little bummed to get a “brown” blush in my bag but it actually looks really lovely on, it makes my cheekbones pop. This might not be a winter blush for me, as I can’t see it working on pale skin without looking dirty, but I plan to use it this summer. I was hoping for a cream blush since I’ve never tried one before but I am happy with what I got. I just recently started occasionally wearing blush and I’ve tripled the amount of blush I own in the last 3 months with my subscriptions (which mean I now own ummm….3 different blushes!). I wouldn’t have experimented with blush at all if it wasn’t for my subscriptions, and I like wearing it more and more!

The next thing in every bag was a lip liner by Starlooks ($12, although it looks bigger on the website than the one in the bags). There were some really pretty bright colors in a lot of the bags but I got the color Bare. Or Corpse, as I like to call it. It has a purplish hue to it and it makes me look dead. Soooo gross. Maybe for Halloween I can pull it off, but most likely I will toss it. I did try it as an eyeliner and its not as horrible, but I have so many pretty eyeliner colors I would choose over Dead…I mean Bare. It does have a nice texture though so I bet in the right color I would have liked it.

The last thing included in all the bags was a glitter palette by JCat ($4.49). This looked so pretty in the package, but I am a grown woman who does not wear glitter. Ever. Also there was A LOT of controversy with this. First, it looked like it was meant for eyes. Then people started receiving it, used it as eye glitter, and…..oh no! Chunky glitter in the eye! Under contacts! Scratched corneas, ahhh! The Ipsy Facebook page blew up, and Ipsy backpeddled hardcore and started commenting on posts that this was body glitter, NOT TO BE USED NEAR THE EYES!!!! They never officially posted anything and never sent out any statement via email to subscribers who do not follow facebook/ Not that I would have used this product anyway. But I do have a few issues with this whole situation:

1. There was clearly an applicator included with this palette that looked exactly like something you use with eyeshadow.

2. This was listed under “eyes” on the JCat website. At least it was until this Ipsy fiasco, when their website mysteriously shut down. It came back up a short time later and the palette was listed under “sparkle” and removed from “eyes”. I call shenanigans.

3. After this started blowing up Ipsy posted some really kindergarten art style “tattoo” photos of their staff, starring the awful glitter as body “art”. Obvious panic mode, “oh shoot, what else can we use this for, we thought it was for the eyes!”.

I will pass this along to a friend who loves glitter with a warning about not using it near her eyes. Unless she likes the pirate eye-patch look. There are so many better items they could have included from JCat, but after this I will not be purchasing from them!

So there were a few options for the last two items in this bag. There was a fake eyelash option, and a dry shampoo option. I wanted neither, and if I got them this would have been a total bummer of a bag other than the blush. But I got the other two options, which I wanted, so my bag was redeemed!

1. Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter pencil ($18): I was intrigued by this, and excited to try it. I’ve used it a few times and really like it. It doesn’t have any shimmer which makes it more versatile. I’ve been using it on the inside of my eyes and on my waterline to brighten my eyes. It’s not as severe as white liner to wake up my eyes and it blends well if I use it under my browline as well. I’m pretty sure this is full size and it should last me forever!

2. Cailyn Linefix gel eyeliner in Iron ($21): I’ve never tried a gel eyeliner so I am excited to try this when I have an extra 30 minutes to play around with. I have serious trouble applying liquid liner so this might take some practice to master. I am really excited to try it out. There was also a purple option, but I like that I got a nice neutral grey that will go with everything.

Overall the value of this bag was high, even totally discarding the glitter crap. I don’t really see anything “wild” in this bag other than the bag itself, which was a cute leopard print with neon zipper. Not really my style, so I will pass it along to my glitter loving possibly pirate eyed friend along with the glitter.

Overall I was really happy with my subscriptions this month, and I can’t wait for July! Do you have any favorite subscriptions? Or do you have any questions about Birchbox or Ipsy? Make some comments below!

To Beauty,


Relaxation Station


Slightly unfortunate placement of grass : )

I recently made one of the best purchases ever. In anticipation of our fall trip to Hawaii (still saving for plane tickets, but I am optimistic!) I bought a huge floppy sun hat! I am not a hat wearer, I don’t think I’ve ever even worn a baseball hat, but since I live in sunny Colorado I figured it was a justifiable purchase. My last day off was a perfect sunny day to sit outside and drink some Redneck Mimosas (recipe to follow) aka BO-J’s while reading and wearing my wonderful Audrey Hepburn-esqu sunhat!


Channeling Audrey Hepburn in my new hat and striped dress

I found this dress with nautical stripes and cinch waist at the thrift store, and I think it goes perfectly with the hat and shades! I added a thrifted rope belt for more of a nautical feel and black rouched wedges (from the thrift shop as well!). I’m ready for the yacht club now!


Rope belt, $3 at thrift shop.


Yikes, those legs need some sun! Black rouched wedges, $3 at thrift shop

My most recent book was Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. This is an epic story about one woman’s journey on the PCT, solo. It was a pretty quick read and totally sucked me in. However It did NOT make me want to strike out on this trail that runs basically from Mexico to Washington state. I can hardly handle a 10 mile hike, let alone 2,663 miles! No thanks, it’s not in my DNA. I’d much rather sit in the sun, drink some beertails and read about it! 


This book was great, and the beertails were even better!


So about those “beertails”. A few years ago my friend Brett introduced me to the BO-J. I know, it sounds a little dirty, but it basically is beer and orange juice mixed together. It is similar to a Brass Monkey (malt liquor and OJ) but is much classier. Brett’s version consists of Corona, which you drink down to just below the neck then add OJ to the top. But like most recipes I had to put my own spin on it!

BO-J (or Redneck Mimosa)

Bud Light

Mango Lemonade

Mason jar

1. Open can

2. Pour in Mason jar

3. Add Mango lemonade

4. Drink up!

I use about 1/2 cup lemonade, but use more or less depending on your taste.


The recipe of the summer!

This is a wonderful refreshing drink on a nice summer day, and perfect for a backyard BBQ! You can also use other juice, I’ve made it with an orange, mango, and pineapple juice before and it was awesome! Do some experimenting and let me know what you come up with! Maybe you’ll hate it, but give it a try. People always look at me like I am crazy until they take a sip. Even my manly husband likes it!

So this is how I am keeping it classy in Colorado. What’s your go-to summer drink? Read any good books lately? Leave me some comments below!




Isn’t it pretty?


It’s In the Bag!!!

I have a dirty little secret. I get great pleasure out of reading US Weekly, InTouch, and People magazines. Yes, I know it rots my brain. Yes, I am ashamed to support the paparazzi and other scumbags. And yes, I love seeing that celebrities are just like us! They pump their own gas! They go to the ATM! They buy orange juice! But seriously, my favorite ‘article’ is the “WHAT’S IN HER PURSE???” feature. So when my fellow blogger over at Beauty and Lifestyle of A Broke College Girl posted her unbagging and invited others to do it too I thought “why not?”? Check out her bag here, and keep reading to see all the junk I keep in mine!


This Patagonia shopper contains: water bottle, purse (bag #2), sunscreen, book, headphones, keys, moccasins, and a slightly dirty fork.

So like my friend at Broke College Girl I also carry a purse within a bag. Recently I started throwing my everyday purse into this Patagonia bag so I can carry my usual things in addition to what I want to bring to work that day.

This week the boss has been gone, and since flip-flops/open-toed shoes/sandals are normally not allowed we have all been taking advantage of having little supervision and been airing out our toesies. But just in case I’ve been carrying my favorite (thrifted!) Minnetonka moccasins. Honestly these provide little more protection than my Volcom ankle wrap sandals (that I sell in my shop and could model daily), but I digress. I also carry a water bottle from a Dragon Optics clinic this winter (with a Nirvana-esque Sabre sticker from my friend Sam), my keys (my shop key wears a little plastic knit hat that my mom sent in my X-mas stocking, I love it!), a somewhat clean fork for lunch, sunscreen from Julep, Bose headphones for my bus ride to and from work (lately I’ve been listening to Royksopp Pandora station or Justin Timberlake’s newest album The 20/20 Experience), and a book, since working in a snowboard shop in the summer can get a little sloooooow. My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding is my newest library acquisition and it sounds like it will be right up my alley, can’t wait to start it tomorrow!

I also carry my teal faux leather Roxy purse (thrifted of course!) within my Patagonia shopper. This is the main bag I carry when not headed to work, and it also contains many things that are vital to my daily life….or so I think anyway!


My main bag contains all my life essentials, from money to coupons to the makeup I put on during the work day because I am too lazy in the AM

I realized that I carry a lot of stuff in my purse when I decided to photograph it all. I won’t lie, this post became the perfect push to clear out my purse of what was not essential- so gone are the multiple lip gloss, receipts I’ll never need, and random recipes I’ve jotted onto scrap paper. So this is what was left :

My mint polka dot wallet from Target

Dakine wallet filled with coupons for my next grocery trip

Grey Goody brand headband that I got in a 4-pack for $1.50 on manager special at City Market

Sample of Rock Star hand cream from Julep and Boss Nuit perfume by Hugo Boss

Cupcake tissues that were also a gift from my mom

Chevron Ipsy bag from May filled with:

Juice Beauty lip gloss from same bag, Covergirl concealer, Coola sunscreen from May’s Birchbox, Revlon Just Bitten Kissable balm stain in Sweetheart (my favorite!), eyelash brush and curler, Rimmel London soft kohl liner in Jungle Green, Limited Edition Maybelline Great Lash in Totally Teal, and Garnier BB Cream in light/medium

Pacifica perfume solids in Tahitian Gardenia and Brazilian Mango Grapefruit. These are only $2 each on their website, and free with a $25 purchase. There are 17 scents to choose from! Use this link to get $10 when you make your first purchase! Disclaimer: I also get $10 when your order ships, so win/win.

Listerine breath strips

A pen from the Ride Snowboard clinic this winter (it’s like a nudie pen, but it goes from a dude wearing a unitard to a Borat-style thong)

A tire pressure gauge I am not entirely sure how to use that my husband gave me.

What’s missing from these bags are my phone, because I use it to take the photos, my sunglasses because they are usually on my face or on my head, and my other water bottle and coffee mug,  because I tend to forget to put them in either bag when they are empty and then lose them at work/in my car/ at home for days on end. But here’s a photo anyway:


My must-haves. Colorado/NH water bottle, Beaver Creek Junior Patrol coffee mug, and my polarized tortoise shell Experience II Dragon shades. Always have the shades, but the other two always get misplaced, it’s so frustrating!

So there it is folks, all the junk I carry on a more or less daily basis. What do you carry every day? Are you more of a wallet-only type, or do you carry the whole kitchen sink? Go visit Broke College Girl’s post to link up your own unbagging or comment below. And if you know how to use a tire gauge feel free to give me a brief tutorial!

Thanks for reading,


PS. Many of the things in my bag came from my subscription boxes. If you are interested in these $10 per month boxes of joy I would love for you to use me as a referral. I get points, you get easy access to great subscription programs and other perks, and everyone wins! For more information I really like the Ipsy and Birchbox forums over at, go there to see if these subscriptions would be right for you- they are so much more fun than magazine subscriptions!

If you are interested in signing up for Ipsy click here to access my referral link. If you are interested in signing up for Birchbox click here to access my referral link. Thanks, love you!

Spicy Honey Almonds


Roasted almonds with honey, cayenne pepper, and salt. Yummmmmmm!

I should really start playing the lottery, because I love having days off so much! This week my days off included disc golf, reading outdoors, cooking and thrift store shopping (of course)! I am still trying to figure out a way to photograph my thrifty finds with you, my loyal followers, but in the meantime I will share this wonderful recipe.

I got some almonds today while shopping. It took me a while, mulling over the the various flavors, to pick out what I wanted. Not as awkward as picking out a cucumber (hehe), but still I was standing in the produce section for a long time. Smoked, honey, roasted, plain?? All the fun flavors were a full dollar more! Finally I picked out some honey roasted almonds, and then had an “ah-ha!” moment- I can make my own! I threw some roasted salted almonds in my cart- the cheapest option- and I was on my way.

I went immediately to my friend Pinterest when I got home, and she returned many great recipes for honey roasted almonds. For those who are living under a rock Pinterest is the kitchen-sink of all great things you can find on the Internet. Recipes, crafts, photos, tattoos, decorating and more! You can find it all on Pinterest! I found this recipe from Lemons and Anchovies. As soon as I saw ‘spicy honey almonds’ I knew this was the recipe for me. I love spicy food!

So here’s the recipe. Omit the cayenne if you don’t want heat with your sweet and add cinnamon instead!

Spicy Honey Almonds

2- 2 1/2 cups raw almonds  (I used roasted and salted and cut down on overall salt in the recipe)

1/8 cup turbinado sugar ( I used some homemade vanilla sugar instead, since that’s what I had)

1/4 cup honey

3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3/4 teaspoon salt ( I used 1/2 tsp Hepp’s Salt Co. Aussie flake and sprinkled some Hepp’s truffle salt on at the end)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. I used aluminum foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Do the same if using parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine salt and sugar. Set aside.

Heat honey over low-med heat. Add cayenne and stir together with almonds until coated. Spread in single layer on baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool slightly, then toss with salt/sugar mix. Pour almonds back onto parchment/aluminum foil placed over cooling rack, sprinkle with truffle salt if desired, and let cool completely.


Delicious almonds chillin’ out!


This jar will not last long, these nuts are awesome!

Store in an airtight container and try not to eat them all at once. WARNING: THESE ARE ADDICTIVE!

While it is back to work tomorrow. At least I have an awesome ( and I like to think fairly healthy) snack to get me through the day!

What is your favorite snack to get you through a long day?

Nuts to the Nutty,


RAWR…A Vacation with the Dinosaurs (and a Tomatillo dressing recipe!)



If I was a dinosaur I would be an Allosaurus! Wall of Bones, Dinosaur National Monument

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. We just had inventory at work, which involves a lot of prep work, and both my coworkers have been on vacation/daddy leave. But finally it was my turn to vacation, so C and I took a little road trip to Dinosaur National Monument in Northwest Colorado/Northeastern Utah. There are two entrances to this park, and both are beautiful. 

We took our time on the 4 hour drive, and my wonderful husband even stopped at two thrift stores in Craig, Colorado! Among our treasures were a copy of A Clockwork Orange, a book on conversational German for my father-in-law, a coral pink button up with a subtle bird print for me, and a pair of leather Sperry Topsiders, new! Sperry is one of my favorite brands but unfortunately these were a full size too small. But for $3.50 I couldn’t pass them up and I will try to sell them at the local consignment shop!

It was a bit rainy, and C’s back hurt from being in the car for hours, so once we got to our destination we decided to get a hotel room. Score! We never stay in hotels and camping in the rain was not very appealing. Our stay also included breakfast, double score!


Dino outside our hotel in Vernal Utah

While in Vernal we discovered Cafe Rio. This is comparable to Qdoba but so much better! Located in 10 states this ‘good food quickly’ eatery focuses on fresh ingredients, and it shows. C got a pork burrito, made with their homemade tortillas that are cooked in front of you, and I got the shredded chicken salad. It weighed at least 2 pounds, and in addition to chicken and lettuce it had rice, pico de gallo, guac, and the most wonderful dressing! All served on their tortilla. Tonight I recreated their tomatillo dressing, following a recipe I found from Chef in Training. Follow the link for all sorts of great Cafe Rio-inspired recipes! 

I have never cooked with tomatillo, but this is a dressing I will whip up often because it is so good! I could almost take shots of it I love it so much. But enough gushing, here’s the recipe!

Cafe Rio Tomatillo Ranch dressing

I packet dry buttermilk ranch mix (I used Simply Organic brand ranch mix)

1/2 cup mayo

1/2 cup 0% fat greek yogurt

1 cup buttermilk

bunch cilantro, chopped

2 tomatillo, husked and diced

1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced

few shakes of garlic powder

juice from 1 lime

Blend mayo, yogurt, dressing mix, buttermilk, and garlic powder until smooth. Add tomatillo, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime juice. Blend until smooth and creamy. Chill for at least 30 minutes.


But I digress. Back to the dinosaurs!


The Wall of Bones


The Wall of Bones


View from the Wall of Bones

After a restful night sleep at the hotel and a (subpar but free) breakfast buffet we headed into the park. There is a large building built around the wall of bones, which is pretty impressive. I’m sure I would have learned a lot from the Ranger if it wasn’t for the 30 or so preteens on a school trip having a great (loud) time. Needless to say we didn’t spend much time gazing at the bone wall!


We continued on our way driving through the park. The scenery was amazing, and there were lots of petroglyphs along the way. There is also an old homestead at the end of the Utah side of the park, where in 1913 a woman built a cabin and lived alone for almost 50 years. She must have been a pretty strong lady!





After exploring the homestead it was time to be heading back to our homestead. But first we drove the 30 miles or so on Harpers Corner Road to the Colorado part of the park. No fossils on the Colorado side, but we saw a lot of antelope, some amazing scenery, and only 2 other people! We took a nice 2 mile walk out to a beautiful vista at the end of the park. It was a great way to end our visit to Dinosaur National Monument!


Harper’s Corner Road, Dinosaur National Park. Dinosaur, CO. My dear husband made me take my sunglasses off, I couldn’t see so I look a little squinty!


Harper’s Corner Road, Dinosaur National Park. Dinosaur, CO.

While we didn’t have much time to really get into vacation mode we were able to see a lot and spend some quality time together. I love exploring new places with my husband, and can’t wait for our next adventure together!

Where have you been lately? And where are you going next?

Enjoy your adventures,


AAAH, a T-REX!!!! Oh wait, it’s just a bunny. I had a moment with this little critter, I just love bunnies so much!

Family Ties (and no, we are not talking about Steve Urkel!)


I stole this from my sister’s Facebook. My nephew Gavin waves as he leaves for Afganistan.


I have been thinking about family a lot lately. My oldest nephew has just been deployed to Afganistan, he’s a helicopter mechanic that in my mind is still such a young boy. I can’t believe he is 22, it makes me feel so old. I did have the absolute joy of spending time with him this winter while he was doing some high altitude training here in Colorado. He went snowboarding for the first time ever, and we had dinner. It was so fun to spend time with him and his crew. Here are a few pics from our time together:


Gavin’s first time snowboarding. Auntie J works at a snowboard shop, so he got a good rental and a lesson!


Matt, Gavin, myself and Jay at Moes BBQ, Eagle, CO.



My thoughts and prayers will be with these boys, and I hope yours will be too! I am so thankful that I have family giving so much for our country, and I appreciate all the risk they take to keep our country safe. Love you Gav, stay safe!

I also got an email today that made me think about my grandmother. I received an email from about Mother’s Day, listing some great gifts. The first thing listed was a Lily of the Valley perfume from C.O. Bigelow. While this didn’t make me think of my mother it did make me think of Grammy Dot, who passed away last year. My Stepdad’s mom, Grammy Dot was my real Grandma. Even though I was a granddaughter by marriage and not blood she never treated me as less than my cousins who were related by blood. Even my friends called her Grammy Dot. Every day after school we would go to the farm to feed the horses and cattle and visit with Grammy D. She always had cookie jars filled with oatmeal cream pies, swiss cake rolls, and donut holes. And she had candy dishes with Canada mints, those pink wintergreen candies. Usually we would find her doing a crossword puzzle and sitting with her beloved cats, and after I visited with my horses I would spend an hour or so with her and my cousins, Aunt, Uncle, and Dad Dave. Those are some of my favorite memories of childhood.

Grammy always smelled like Lily of the Valley, they were some of her favorite flowers. My Mom grows them in her garden, and would bring Grammy bouquets occasionally. Whenever I think of Gram I think of Lily of the Valley. When she passed away a little over a year ago, after a thankfully brief illness following a stroke, I went home for her funeral. My cousin Travis spoke at the funeral about how he would always remember her smell, and I feel the same. She always wore a great Lily of the Valley perfume. While visiting her house after the funeral I found the perfect thing to remember her by, a Lily of the Valley candle that was on her mantle. I smell it and it reminds me of Gram. I haven’t been able to burn it, because I want to hold onto her smell forever.


Gram’s Lily of the Valley candle


When I got the email from Beauty Sage today I immediately got out my credit card and placed an order. I can’t wait to get my Lily of the Valley perfume, and I am sure I will tear up as soon as I smell it, just like I do with the candle. Grammy Dot was such an amazing woman, and she will always be missed. I just hope wherever she is that she is surrounded by Lily of the Valley, and that she is playing with her kitties. She is greatly missed down here, although her laughter will never be forgotten!


Ok, I am such a facebook thief. This is from my Aunt Louise Roy’s photos, and it is one of my favorite photos! Grammy’s hands and autumn leaves.




This is another favorite photo of me and Gram, taken by Aunt Louise.

 What are your favorite memories of loved ones? Leave me some stories in the comments below!

love and lily of the valley,


Beauty Sage Deluxe Boxes


Clockwise from top left: Oil You Need box, The Look Younger Box, Beauty Sleep Box, and The Clear Skin Box

So lately I’ve discovered the joy of subscription boxes. These little boxes of beauty come once a month and bring wonderful new products to try. I try to keep them a surprise but tend to cheat with my Ipsy (see my review of April’s box here) and Birchbox subscriptions. I always find spoilers before the boxes ship! Since a month is a looong time to wait for new beauty products I have discovered a new company to supplement my boxes between months. Beauty Sage offers deluxe boxes for $10 a month, including shipping. They currently have four different boxes to choose from, and since you know what is in each box it is easy to choose the box you want. Or like me you might want them all, in which case I fully suggest ordering all 4, you won’t be disappointed!

My first two boxes were the Oil You Need box and the Beauty Sleep Box. My skin has been angry with me lately, very dry and red and icky, and since I have always had a hard time sleeping I felt like these two boxes were meant for me. Here’s what was in them:


Oil You Need box, Beauty Sage


The Oil You Need Box:

Kahina Giving Beauty 100% Organic Argan Oil ($36): This oil is actually in 3 out of 4 boxes, and I am not upset about that! It makes my skin feel amazing, and my husband said my porcelain skin looked better than normal after I applied it. The company says it “gives supple, radiant skin”, and it does! The sample is a decent size too, I’ve been using it daily all week and still have some left in my first sample. I expect the 3 will last me all month, yay!

Joya Travel Roll-On Composition No. 1 or No. 6 ($28): So I am not sure what No. I got, but it’s not a favorite. They state that it “adjusts to your body chemistry”, but for $28 I think I will pass on the Joya and stick with my normal Love And Toast roll-ons. This sample is a little small, but I don’t love the scent so I’m not too disappointed.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Usage Dry Oil ($46): This is my favorite of the box. It is a dry oil that works on face, body, and hair and it smells fantastic. I used it on my husbands sand-paper hands tonight and it worked miracles. He even loved the scent, and it contains “6 proven plant oils” that softened his skin. It is a huge sample and a little goes a long way, always a bonus in a sample box!

Shea Terra Argan and Green Coffee Around Eye Serum ($38): This sample promises to “send bags packing”. Well, I don’t really feel like I have bags to send packing despite my normal lack of sleep, but it makes the skin around my eyes feel good so I figure it can’t hurt. Any anti-aging products I put on now will hopefully make my skin look great for the long haul of life.

By Nieves “C” Perfect Skin Serum ($35): I have not used this little vial of serum yet, but it is “proven to tighten and brighten” so I look forward to trying it soon. It seems like a fairly small sample, but I bet you don’t need much. Each sample should contain 4 uses, but I bet I can get at least 5!


Beauty Sleep Box

The Beauty Sleep Box:

This box, curated by Prevention Magazine, is right up my alley. I’ve had sleeping problems for as long as I can remember, it gave me pretty intense anxiety as a child and I currently use melatonin pills to help with this lack of slumber. These products are pretty awesome, but they haven’t really changed my sleep patterns. Still, I’m pretty happy with this box!

Lotus Wei Quiet Mind Mist ($40): This smells amazing and according to the pamphlet that came in the green mesh bag along with the sample it contains lemon, geranium, and coriander. Surprisingly it does not contain the typical “hey you should go to sleep” lavender and chamomile, which is a nice change. I’ve been spritzing it on every night and I have been feeling pretty relaxed. I also have been fighting off a cold and have felt exhausted lately, so it’s hard to say if this spray has made a difference but I love the scent, so it really doesn’t matter if it helps me sleep or not! I would love to try all the Lotus Wei scents, especially Pure Energy (grapefruit, coffee, and cinnamon) and Joy Juice (blood orange, davana, and marigold). It comes in a decent size spritzer bottle too.

Goldfaden MD Wake Up Call ($80): This moisturizer that contains CoQ10 and a nourishing retinol is said to plump up your skin “so you wake up looking like you had a facial”. Well, I’ve never had a facial (my first is scheduled for next week!) so I don’t know if that’s what it looks like, but my skin did feel pretty good in the morning. I really like this product a lot and the sample should last me a few weeks.

Shea Terra Around Eye Beauty Serum ($38): See the review above, it also came in the “oil you need” box.

Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Hair Mask ($29): The card in the box says to ” spot apply this dry (split ends, frizzes around your hairline), let it penetrate all night and rinse in the am”, and so that’s what I did. It smells great, and it made my dry, color-treated, overwashed hair feel soft and silky, and my hair was super shiny. This also is a huge sample that will last a while, since a little goes a long way in my thin hair.

By Nieves The Balm: This is a great multi-purpose sample. Cuticles, dry spots, and chapped lips are all soothed with this amazing balm. It comes in a pretty big pot that should last a while too!

Also included in this box is a card for a year long subscription to Prevention magazine, which is at least a $10 value. Can’t wait for my first issue!




Since I loved the first two boxes so much I had to order the next two, The Look Younger box and The Clear Skin box. Since I have entered my 30’s my skin just isn’t as luminous as it was in my 20’s and is giving me more trouble than it did as a teenager! These two boxes contain products that will hopefully make my skin behave itself again.

The Look Younger Box:

Suntegrity “5 in 1” Tinted Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen ($45): This sunscreen “conceals, perfects, and protects”. The sample comes in a light color, which is perfect for my pale skin and is SPF 30, which is awesome since I live close to the sun in the mountains of Colorado. Now if it would only stop snowing so I could try it out. I currently use Garnier BB cream (which is comparable) so I look forward to trying this out, although it smells kind of icky. I do like that it is vegan, non-greasy, and non-toxic though.

Kahina Giving Beauty 100% Argan Oil ($36): See my review above. I love it!

One Love Organics Brand New Day Microderma Scrub & Masque ($39): This powder “polishes skin with fresh pineapple enzymes”, and although I have not yet tried it I love it for the smell alone. It smells like pineapple and although the sample is pretty small (and easy to spill everywhere!) I hope I can stretch it out for a few uses. My dry skin is always in need of exfoliation!

Christopher Drummond Beauty Blush Alluring in Pink ($28): “Get a youthful rosy flush!” Well, wine does the same thing for me. This color is amazing on my hand though, which is the only place I’ve sampled it so far. It is a great pink color with a little shimmer to it. I very rarely wear blush though, so I guess I’ll save this sampling for a special occasion. I also can’t figure out how to get a brush into the pot to use it effficiently without wasting it!

By Nieves “C” Perfect Skin ($35): Another double from the Oil You Need box, see my review above. Well, see my thoughts since I haven’t tried it yet.


The Clear Skin box


So this last box is honestly the most appropriate box for me right now, since my skin has been uncooperative lately despite the homemade facial masks I have been using. My love of wine in the evening isn’t helping, but my goal in the next few months is to drink more water and less wine. And to keep taking my vitamins!

The Clear Skin box:

Clarks Botanicals Deep Moisture Mask ($72): This can be used as a mask or a moisturizer and since this sample is pretty small I most likely will use it only as a moisturizer to make it last longer. My skin feels smooth and hydrated when I put it on although it is a little too perfumed for my taste in skin care. 

Kahina Giving Beauty 100% Argan Oil ($36): Yep, still love it. See my review above!

By Neives Face Fix ($32): This doubles as a mask or scrub. I am intrigued by this powdery sample and hope there is enough to try it both ways!

Shea Terra Authentic African Black Soap ($8): This is honestly one of the only samples that is in my price range for a full size sample. It makes my skin feel squeaky clean and is a proven acne-fighting powerhouse. I’ve heard quite a bit about black soap lately, so I am so excited that I finally get to try it out!

One Love Organics Easy Does It Foaming Cleanser ($29): I love a good foaming cleanser. This smells pretty neutral and is a pretty small sample so I’m not sure I’ll really be able to get a good idea of what this product does. 


Overall I am super happy with all the boxes I received from Beauty Sage. I will use everything in these boxes, which I can’t say about my monthly subscriptions. Now I just hope I don’t fall in love too much with the products, since most are a little out of my price range. Although the prices are not so outrageous that I can’t budget it in if I reeeeallly love something. Also you can earn points with every purchase on Beauty Sage just like you can with Birchbox, which is a nice perk. I can’t wait for my first issue of Prevention too, and I hope Beauty Sage will release some different boxes soon!

Now for what YOU can get out of reading this long review! I have a few discount codes that came in my boxes. Comment below for a code to receive 10% off full size versions of the samples reviewed above ( I have 4 that expire in about 6 weeks). I also have 2 codes for 10% off your order, expires 5/24/2013. First come first serve!

You are all beautiful,



Waste Not – Making Chicken Stock



As I mentioned in my Thriftin’ and Chick’n post a few days ago I like to make homemade chicken stock from the leftover carcass of a roasted bird. Sure, it’s so easy to grab a can from the cabinet, but what fun is there in that? And have you ever really looked at the stuff coming out of those cans? It’s really gross, with bits and pieces of mystery substances floating in it. I’d much rather make my own. Not only is it healthier but it also makes use of the whole bird so you don’t waste a bit. Well, other than the innards shoved in the cavity of the bird. I forgot I was making stock and threw those away. 

After you roast a bird and enjoy a succulent chicken dinner there tends to be a lot of meat left over, at least in a household of two. Once the chicken cools I pull as much meat off the bones as I can and put it in the fridge for chicken salad, stir fry, soup, etc. Then the fun begins! Ok, so it’s really not that fun or exciting. But it is easy and makes the house smell wonderful! Just make sure you’ll be able to stay near the stove for a couple hours. You don’t want to burn the house down for a few cups of broth!

What You Need:

– Carcass of 5 lb chicken, including skin and innards (if you remembered to keep them and they don’t gross you out)

– 1 onion, quartered. I like to leave the skin on, it gives great color to the stock

– 3 ribs celery, cut into large chunks

– 4 carrots, cut in large chunks

– 3-4 cloves garlic, smashed

– 3 sprigs parsley

– 2 bay leaves, pepper, any other spices you like- I add about 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, because I add them to everything! *

– 8 cups cold water 

*traditionally salt is not added to a stock, since it can make soups or sauces too salty  

What You Do:

Add carcass and chicken bits, vegetables, spices, and water to a large stock pot or dutch oven. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Let it simmer for at least four hours. Enjoy the smell of Thanksgiving in your house.

Now from here you could strain all the bones and other bits from the stock, let it cool, and throw it in the fridge to use as you like. Or you could cool it to room temperature and pour it into ice cube trays to freeze for future use. However I do it a little different. After I simmer it for about 4-5 hours (I’m a night owl so it’s easy to do) I take it off the heat, let it cool, and put the whole pot in the fridge overnight. I feel like this lets the flavors blend together even more. Then the next day I put it back on the stove, bring it to a boil and simmer for another hour or so. THEN I strain all the solids out of it and store it in a jar in the fridge. I feel like this yields the best results, but it could be in my mind and this extra step is probably not necessary.


….And After! No more canned chicken stock for me!

Now once the stock starts to cool you’ll notice a layer of fat floating on top. I put it in the fridge like this and just skim the fat off after it solidifies. 

After this has been refrigerated for 12-24 hours you should notice it has thickened up and become gelatinous. Basically it will look like chicken jello, which would be pretty gross when you think about it. But this just means you did it right, and you did it well. When you simmer the bones long enough you extract collagen, which has many health benefits and makes for a gelatinous stock. Once it is heated it melts back into a wonderful liquid stock. For more information on stocks in general check this out!

And that’s it. If you have about 5 minutes to chop up some veggies and a few hours to babysit the stove then you can make this nutritious base for many meals to come!

What ways will you use your stock? Please share your recipes in the comment section below!




When life gives you lululemons….


Lululemon Ice Queen top, retails for $88. I got this limited edition blue stripe top for $5.

So I have a problem. Other than the fact I need to visit the thrift store every week I feel the need to purchase just about every piece of lululemon clothing I come across. The company has been in a bit of hot water lately over their see-through yoga pants (check out this article from the Boston Globe) but that doesn’t deter me. I find a certain satisfaction in paying less than $10 for athletic wear that retails for $50-$180. Even if it’s not my size. I have thrifted lululemon clothes in sizes 4-10 that I can’t seem to part with. The top pictured above is actually a size 4, which I am definitely not. However it fit ok, a little tight but it provides motivation to lose a few more lbs. And it has elbow patches, which I have been looking for all winter! It will be a great layering piece, and If I don’t wear it I am sure I can sell it and make some $$.

I also found a dress by Evan-Picone today. According to the Vintage Fashion Guild Evan-Picone started in 1949 and provided the wardrobe for the Mary Tyler Moore show! I’m not sure what era this dress is from, but it is a great sheath dress in a colorful Ikat-like print that hits at the knee, and unlike the lululemon top it fits perfectly. And it’s a size 8! I can’t wait to wear it somewhere special, although I might try to dress it down for work. We’ll see. I found some great pointy black ballet flats to go with it too (new with tags!) and they are so comfortable!

I also found a pair of sage green “paper bag” shorts and a chambray button up with stud detailing. I actually saw this shirt last week and tried it on, it was a little tight over the bust so I passed it up. Then I kicked myself all week for not buying it, since I can always wear it unbuttoned. All women’s clothing was 1/2 off today so I couldn’t pass it up for $4! And it has the name Wanda written in sharpie on the inside of the collar. Is there a rock and roll cowgirl named Wanda somewhere? Did she bedazzle this shirt herself? I like thinking about this shirt’s history with Wanda!


Clockwise from top: Wanda’s shirt ($5), black flats ($6), paper bag shorts ($3) and Ikat sheath dress ($10)

So once again I thrifted some great things! Oh, and I had a spa consultation before my thrifting adventure, how could I forget! I have a gift certificate for a facial and wanted to talk with the professionals about what I might need for my aging skin. The facial lady (spa-tician?) told me I have great skin, although lately I haven’t thought the same. But I have an appointment in a few weeks for my first facial and I couldn’t be more excited! Jennifer also used some weird light thing to zap my blemishes (for free!), she was great and I know I will leave her looking my best in a few weeks!

My two days off have left me feeling refreshed and ready to face the long boring week ahead. And as always I will be looking stylish in my new thrifted threads!

Happy Hunting,


Thriftin’ n Chick’n


I love days off! After a few painfully slow days at work it was nice to have a day to entertain myself. I enjoyed a (late) morning cup of coffee while watching “What Not to Wear-Biggest Meltdown” episode (it was awesome) then took the dogs out for a wrestle in the snow. There were elk all over the hillside! Ollie gave chase but soon gave up, since running up hill in the snow is hard!

Then like every Thursday I visited the local Thrifty Shop. I usually spend about an hour looking at every rack and trying a lot on. Today was no different. I found a great grey Converse sweater that is loose and comfy, and looks almost like a poncho. And I love a good poncho sweater! They also had all women’s short sleeves on sale so I was able to snag a black and white wide striped tee and a white Bongo tee for about $10.

I also noticed a few short sleeve tops with tags still on, brand new, and bought those as well. The two sporty black polo shirts and coral colored flower embellished tunic/dress I bought retailed for over $300! They were immediately brought to the consignment shop so I hope I can at least make back the $22.50 I paid for the three!


After working up an appetite shopping I decided to roast a whole chicken for dinner. I usually make one every month, it’s cheap and the leftovers make great chicken salad or soup for the next few days. I also like to make my own chicken stock from the bones, which is pretty easy to do but rather time consuming. That will be a lesson for another day!

I looked at some recipes on line before settling on the Pioneer Woman‘s roast chicken recipe. Click the link for this entire recipe and more! I used only one lemon zested into the butter (I only used 3/4 stick) and added about 1/2 tbsp Herbes de Provence in addition to rosemary and thyme. I then rubbed the butter on the skin, under the skin, and into the chest cavity. I added a shallot and three cloves of garlic into the cavity as well. I put the bird in a roasting pan with some carrots, celery and one medium shallot and roasted at 450 for about an hour and a half. It came out with delicious roasted skin and nice juicy meat.


Totally delish! But I think what made this meal special was the sides I made to go with the chicken. Carrots boiled with some shallot until crisp-tender and some mashed potatoes really made this dish sing! My mom made these carrots pretty often when I was a kid, it was a recipe she got from my Grandma Lena. It makes me think of home every time I make them!

*Again, I am kind of estimating my measurements since I tend to cook by taste. Tweak the amounts of seasonings until it suits YOUR taste!

Brown Sugar Carrots with Onions and Truffle Salt 

2 cups carrots, cut into rounds

One shallot, diced

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp brown sugar


truffle salt and pepper to taste.

Boil carrots and shallot until carrots are tender but still crisp. You could also steam them, I just don’t own a steamer (my mom would even cook them in the microwave sometimes). Drain the water out and stir in butter and brown sugar. Add salt and pepper. Sprinkle on some parsley and think of Grandma Lena, the greatest German lady who ever lived.

Mashed Potatoes with Horseradish and Boursin

4-5 Red potatoes, diced but not peeled

2 Tbsp butter

Milk, enough to get texture you desire. I use about 1/2 cup.

1/4 5.oz box shallot and chive boursin cheese

1 cup sharp cheddar

1 1/2 tsp prepared horseradish

salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes in lightly salted water. Cook until fork tender then mash with butter and milk until smooth. Stir in boursin and cheddar until melted. Add horseradish 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until desired flavor. Add salt and pepper. You could add some bacon too if you are feeling sassy and want a true calorie fest. Just do not stir the potatoes too much or they might get a little gummy.

So this might not be the healthiest meal, considering the amount of cheese and butter needed to create the amazing flavors, but it is the ultimate comfort meal on a cold wintry Spring day. You could healthy it up, but sometimes you just have to splurge!

Anyway, thanks for spending my day off with me. Let me know how your chicken turns out, or just make a meal out of Lena’s delicious glazed carrots.

stay hungry,