July 2015 Favorites

Music

I’ve been digging Spotify’s new discover weekly feature, and many of the songs I added on my July playlist were songs I found that way.

Some of my favorites:

Third Eye by Florence + the Machine
Peaches by In the Valley Below
Golden by Parade of Lights

TV

I rewatched Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt this month when I was feeling kinda down. I have to admit that I wasn’t as charmed upon re-watch. . . but that’s okay, I still enjoyed it anyway.

Beauty

I am a fan of the tried and true red lipstick, but lately I’ve been mixing it up a bit and playing with some summer colors. I’ve gotten really into coral pink lately, and one of my favorites is the Wet’N’Wild megaslicks balm stain in “coral of the story”. I love when the least inexpensive brands(Wet’N’Wild, elf, etc.) come out with hits. I actually tried one of the red balm stains from Wet’N’Wild before and didn’t like it(the color faded to pink after a few hours), but I’ve had much better luck with the coral one.

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Formula 10.0.06’s Pores Be Pure Skin-Clarifying Mud Mask has been getting some use around here lately. The summer heat is always harsh on my skin, and I love how COOLING this mask feels too. I’ve been really enjoying using it generally twice a week. Plus, it has strawberry + yarrow in it, which smells really good.

poresbepure

I have wavy-ish hair, so I tend to use sea salt spray all year round to take my hair from wavy-ish to actually wavy, but in the summer it’s definitely an every day thing. Since I started using a sea salt spray, I’ve always gone with the Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturing Sea Salt Spray. It’s affordable, it works, and it hasn’t let me down yet! I’ve gone through about three bottles. And it also smells great as well.

nym sea salt spray

Books

I did not succeed in as reading as many books in July as I normally do, BUT I did read a book I loved. For my book blog, I read an advanced reader’s copy of The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow, and I LOVED it! It’s YA sci-fi, and I absolutely loved how it took overused conventions and turned them on their head. There’s a snarky AI, some serious thrills, and a lovely theme. The Scorpion Rules

Food

I mentioned Sahale snacks in my I Do Voxbox review , but I really love this flavor and have purchased these grab & go packs a few times since then. I’ve only tried the cashew + pomegranate and vanilla flavor. I always consider branching out, but I just love this flavor so much I can never make myself do so!

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As far as eating out goes, I don’t do it much in my small town, but a new Firehouse Subs opened up in a neighboring town and my family has really been enjoying eating there whenever we have to go there for shopping purposes. I always love a good sandwich, and their Italian is one of my favorites.

Other

I started listening to the Call Your Girlfriend podcast, and I LOVE it. Smart ladies talking about everything under the sun gets an A++ in my book. I listened to about fifteen episodes in two days, I think? And they’re not short!

That’s all I have for my July favorites. I didn’t think of doing this post until halfway through the month, so next month I’m going to try and keep better track of the things I’m enjoying so I don’t have to scramble to remember everything I’ve liked in the past thirty days.

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I Do VoxBox Review

I received the I Do VoxBox from Influenster complimentary for testing purposes(this is no way affects my final opinion of these products). If you’re unfamiliar, Influenster is a product discovery and product review site. This is how Influenster describes the platform on the about page:

Influenster.com is a product discovery platform and review site that helps members find new products to try and get advice so they can make informed purchases. We help our members compare products and guide them on how products can be integrated into their life. We inspire a love for products and encourage conversation, discovery, and reviews.

Influenster also sends out VoxBoxes to certain members, which are boxes that contains complimentary products for testing purposes. Sometimes these VoxBoxes are just one item, and sometimes they’re a handful of items centered around a theme. The I Do VoxBox was full of goodies for a wedding day–whether you’re the bride or just attending. Since I’m 24 years old and a graduate of a college that definitely had a “ring by spring” kind of culture, I get invited to/attend a LOT of weddings, so I was quite excited to be selected to receive this VoxBox.

First Glance

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mostly boxes. . . hmm. . . let’s investigate.

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Looks like I wasn’t the only one excited about my box! 

My VoxBox contained:

  • Skinnygirl Tasting Nutrition Bars(Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor)
  • URGENTRX Ache & Pain Relief
  • Sahale Snacks Grab & Go(Cashews with Pomegranate & vanilla)
  • Indeed Labs nanoblur
  • Covergirl Outlast Stay Luminous Foundation
  • Covergirl Outlast Lipstick
  • Neutrogena Hand Cream(unscented)

Now on to the fun part–what I REALLY thought about each of these!

Skinnygirl Tasting Nutrition Bars(Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough)

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This was just okay. It didn’t really taste like chocolate chip cookie dough to me, though it was sweet. It almost had a peanut butter-y aftertaste in my opinion, even though it doesn’t contain nuts. It was filling and I liked the taste, but I could NOT get over the texture. It was soft and chewy, but in a chalky, crumbly way. I wish there had been some variety in the texture, like a layer of something crunchy? It was hard to get through. Also, not really a fan of the brand name, but not much you can do about that. I don’t think I’d buy *this* particular product, but I did see there was a lemon swirl flavor, and I think I might try that in the future. It wouldn’t be at the top of my list, however.

UrgentRX Ache & Pain Relief

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This is the only thing in my box I haven’t tried because, well, it’s medicine. Not exactly the kind of thing you want to test unless you need it! This is flavored, and I got the lemon-lime flavor. Not sure if there’s more. I didn’t realize what this was at first. I initially thought it was a single dose packet with pills in it. Then when I figured out it was a powder, I thought you mixed it with water. Nope! You apply it directly on your tongue. It remains to be seem how it will work, but the concept is great. It’s easy to carry and not having to have water with you to take it is a huge plus in my book.

Sahale Snacks Grab & Go(Cashews with Pomegranate + Vanilla)

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OMG I LOVED these. I was so surprised because I like cashews just fine, but I mean, they’re cashews. Not exactly exciting. These were delicious and I will be looking for these the next time I go to the grocery store. The dried fruit provided a nice hint of sweetness, but what I really loved was how strong the vanilla was. I love vanilla, but so often it seems to become a background flavor. Not so here. I will also be looking up the other flavors too.

Indeed Labs Nanoblur

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I have to admit I didn’t know what this was when I saw it in my box. I thought it was a primer, but nope, it’s a blur cream. My first thought upon learning that was “What the heck is a blur cream?” So I consulted Google, which told me that blur creams are meant to be used on top of your foundation to “blur” out imperfections. My skin is still young, so I don’t have any wrinkles to blur out or anything, but I used this a few times and I DID see a difference, mostly in how it minimized pores.

I tried this both over my makeup and on a day where I didn’t wear any makeup. The result was that over foundation, it was helpful. I noticed it made my pores look smaller and basically just gave my face a more “finished” look. I could see why you would want it on days when so many pictures will be taken. On the day I didn’t wear makeup, I didn’t really see *that* much of a difference. There were a few spots where it helped slightly, but it wasn’t really worth using in my opinion. This was an interesting product, and I liked it. I’ll definitely remember to only use it on days I wear foundation, though, and I don’t think I’d use it every day.

Covergirl Outlast Stay Luminous Foundation

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I’m actually impressed by how well of a color match this was! Influenster sent me this in “classic ivory”, which is pretty spot-on for my skin tone. I do like how this looks on my face. I understand why they called it luminous–it does seem to have that glow-y, summer look, and wearing the nanoblur on top of it gives it a nice finish. However, I find it much harder to apply than a normal liquid foundation? It’s strange. No matter if I use a sponge or a foundation brush, I feel like I’m just moving it around and it doesn’t “set” properly without a lot of tugging and pulling. I can’t say I’ve ever had that experience with other foundations before. I’ll have to experiment with it a bit more, but I do like the product itself.

Covergirl Outlast Lipstick

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I’m kinda eh about this. The formula of the lipstick itself is okay. It’s not my favorite, but it does what it’s supposed to do. It’s not as creamy as I’d like, which means it can be more difficult to apply evenly. I received this in the color “pink shock”(I think there were two colors sent out and the other was more of a berry color). I think the color itself is gorgeous. . . but not necessarily on me. I do like it better with a clear gloss on top, which is the only way I’ve worn it for any length of time. The information card that was sent with this box says this lipstick retails for $9.80, which seems kind of high for this product, considering I have other lipsticks that are of higher quality that retail for around $5-$6.

Nuetrogena Hand Cream

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LOVE this stuff. I was so skeptical because I actually HATE the way lotion feels on my hand(which is a pain when you have dry skin, let me tell you), but this doesn’t feel like a lotion. It’s thick and clear, and it doesn’t make my skin feel oily. Instead, it just feels like my skin. . . only more hydrated and soft. I also love that it’s the perfect size to toss in your purse. The hashtag for this product on Influenster’s social media marketing buzz is #justadab, and after using it several times, I can see why.

LET’S CHAT: Have you tried any of these products or snacks before? What did you think? What would you like to try?

A Blog Resurrected

A Blog Ressurected

I started this blog back in 2010, five years ago, during my freshman year of college. I would post off and on, often times going several months without posting and then posting a bunch all at once. Sometimes I wrote great, insightful post that I’m still proud of, but just as often it was more of a personal diary than any kind of blog.

Then in 2012 I decided to start book blogging. I created Book.Blog.Bake. and never looked back. I still love book blogging, and have no desire to stop any time soon. But I missed having a place where I could talk about anything under the sun. I try to incorporate a lot of personality and my interests into Book.Blog.Bake., but it’s not quite the same.

And so, this desire led me to signing back onto Stormy Speaks for the first time in two and a half years. I do want to start blogging here again, but it’s going to be different. I’ve learned a lot about blogging in general through book blogging, and I’m going to approach this blog differently.

This blog is about: my life, music, things I love, pop culture, thoughts, writing. Or in other words, a little bit of everything. I’ll be starting a master’s program in the Fall, so I’m under no illusion that I can post on my book blog 3x a week AND this blog 3x a week, but I AM going to aim for posting here one a week. Four times a month sounds doable, though there may be times(especially in the throes of finals!) where weeks get skipped now & again.

I’ve also updated my about page. 

And. . . away we go on this blogging journey once again!