March Birchbox!

Before we get too much closer to the end of March, I thought I should post a little review of what came in my March Birchbox. Here's February's review if you're interested.

Ta-da! I love this moment after I lift off the lid and see everything packed in there so sweetly.

First up, a packet of massage lotion and a bottle of shower cream from I Coloniali. I haven't used the Deep Massage Body Cream with Myrrh yet - mostly because it says that the cream will "complement [my] significant other's kneading, chopping, and de-knotting efforts." Pssst Birchbox - next time include a significant other in the box.

The Tibetan Shower Cream with Rhubarb I have used, however. The smell is different, in a good way - spicy and interesting. Not an everyday sort of thing, but a girl likes to have options when she gets in the shower, am I right?

This tube of Miss Jessie's Original Quick Curls styling cream smells fantastic.

BUT. The directions on the tube say to use a tablespoon of product - a tablespoon! 1 Tbs! I had my doubts and should have heeded them because that was way, way too much for my hair. It obliterated my frizz and left me with heavy, gummy hair. The next time I used much less, probably more like a teaspoon.

I think for girls like me who have a frizzy, curly/wavy texture that isn't terribly thick, a teaspoon is the way to go. I had defined waves, minimal frizz and still felt like I had some volume.

Bottom line: I like this product but feel like I've used less expensive stuff with similar results.

I was quite excited to see this little gem in the box (pls forgive blurry focus).

One Love Organics Skin Savior Waterless Beauty Balm. I've been wanting to try a BB for a while now and lucky for me, one came to my door! You can use it as a cleanser or a moisturizer. Or - get this - you can mix it with a mineral powder for a customized foundation or even broken eye shadow and powdered blush!

So far all I've done is use it as a moisturizer, but I'm excited to breathe new life into old eye shadows for sure!

These little packets of WEI Pomegranate Buffing Beads had me confused and a little underwhelmed at first. But then...I read the instructions and they're actually pretty neat.

You mix a packet with your face cleanser and instantly you've got yourself an exfoliating face wash! I tried it with my tried-and-true Clinique Mild Liquid Facial Soap and was left with seriously smooth, glowy skin. Here's what I like - I can still use my favorite cleanser without having to find another one for when I want some exfoliation. Hmmm...perhaps a purchase is in my future.

And lastly I got a little bottle of Color Club polish in Jackie Oh!

I love. This polish.

It's bright, practically neon pink (though the photo below makes it seem a little watermelon-y) and is perfect for hopping on the neon trend-wagon without actually committing.

I loved how it added a certain something to my outfits for the whole two weeks I had it on. Catching a glimpse of it on my fingers throughout the day made me happy. And that, I think, is what all good nail polishes should do.

I'd say March brought a solid box. No stickers, everything's a product that I can use, etc. I was really hoping to pull out a full-sizer based on what other Birchboxers found in theirs, but alas, this was not my month for that. Nevertheless - I really liked my box!

I'm a loyal user of Clinique's skin care regimen (Mild Liquid Facial Soap followed by Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion), but I want to know - what works for you?



Disappointment is disappointing. You know?

You start to run scenarios through your head of your future awesomeness, you start to question where you are and get hopeful for something better and then.

Then...you don't get it.

It doesn't happen.

It feels like someone told you all about this delicious meal they were preparing for you and then ate it all before you could sit down at the table and try any of it.

And worst of all - your pride is hurt for not being good enough to get it. For wanting it in the first place.

Know what helps? Chocolate chip cookies. They are everything that's good, reliable and scrumptious in this world.

They are even better when made with a brand-new KitchenAid mixer you received free after your first one started grating metal shards into your doughs and batters. (Rock on KitchenAid customer service!!)

All brand-new mixers should be christened with chocolate chip cookies.

Know what else helps? Knowing that we have all these beautiful promises (promises!) laid out for us in scripture, promises made by the very One who can keep them. Who will keep them. I'm holding on to those. And two chocolate chip cookies.


Totally Hypothetical

Do you ever have hypothetical conversations in your head with boys? No? Maybe it’s just me. Since I’m not in a position to say some things out loud, I have to say them in my head. I can get pretty sassy in my head, too.

For instance. An undisclosed amount of time ago, I created this one-sided conversation in my head with an undisclosed guy friend and actually wrote it down, as like, a therapy I guess.

"Listen. If you’re going to date me, you actually, like, have to date me. We can’t just go out, just the two of us, and do things and have fun doing them. We can already do that. If you want to date me you have to hold my hand. And kiss me.

"I’m not going to call you every day or insist that you check in with me.

"But you have to tell me important things, like about Jesus. And your mom.

"And you have to listen to me tell you important things. About cooking. And about my mom."

I thought the “conversation” went very well.


The Big Island, part 2

For part 1, click here.

The Kilauea volcano on the Big Island has been continually erupting since 1983, and so naturally, there's a state park inside it for visitors to drive and hike through in search of lava flow and other volcano-related nature. We got there and found a massive cloud covering everything.

We still hiked around along some trails and through a lava tube, looked through the museum and stuck our faces in some steam vents, but no lava-sightings for us. After we left that evening, we heard that the cloud finally lifted and people were able to get some glimpses of glowing red.

But we had to get to our lodging for the evening - a lovely little craigslist find called "Hawaiian Retreat," nestled deep in the beautiful jungle of Puna.

This place was unreal. The proprietor shuffled about in her holey clothing, wafting pot fumes with every gesture during our initial tour. She made sure to point out the library and the musical instruments we could use to occupy our time before we decided to hit the sack. 

The shelves were filled with books on Palmistry, Buddhism, Astrology, Tantra, Magnetic Therapy, Energy/Light, Dowsing, Herbalism, Ayurveda...and so on. Kelly and Scott pulled down a couple that looked interesting.

Following a night filled with roosters crowing on our porch, we took our hostess's offer to "stay as long as you like" and left as soon as we paid the next morning. We had waterfalls to explore! But not before we made a stop at McDonald's to remind ourselves that blessed civilization existed. ;)

At Rainbow Falls in Hilo, a massive Banyan tree spread out behind the falls. 

It was hard to capture just how sprawling this thing was. So Kel and I thought it better to just take a picture of us.

We got our fill of waterfalls and decided to head back to the other side of the island. Kelly and I had reservations to stay that night in the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, so the goal was to get there by check in at 3 p.m.

Instead, Amy and Scott's poor Jeep lost its power steering as we careened down a steep winding hill, coming to a stop on the side of the highway. Scott pulled out the shredded serpentine belt and called AAA, who informed us that a tow truck would be by in two hours and could only bring along two passengers.

Our hopes for making it to the resort were dwindling, but by a miraculous turn of events, Kelly, Alisha and I made it to the resort while Amy and Scott stayed behind to take care of the car.

We immediately went down to the pool to do some evening lounging and hit up the pool bar for the most expensive mai tais on the island.

We did pretty much the same the next day.

And look who finally showed up!

That evening we all piled back into the newly water-pumped and serpentine-belted Jeep and headed to secluded Makalawena Beach to watch the sunset and drink some delicious Kona beers (they distribute to Kentucky!).

It was a perfect way to spend our last night in Hawaii. The next morning, we lounged by Amy and Scott's pool in their apartment complex before taking Kelly to the airport. Then off we went to another beach to get one last bit of sun and to play in the ocean. My flight left at 10:30 that night, so we had plenty of time to come back, shower and have dinner before it was my turn to say goodbye.

What an amazing week!


The Big Island, part 1

Right, so I went to Hawaii last week :)

It was amazing. I think I was there all of one day before I decided that I'd be coming back.

But anyway. On with the photo montage!

Before I actually got to Hawaii, I had to deal with a seven-hour layover in L.A. Based on the suggestions of some of my former-California-resident friends, I grabbed a cab right away and headed to Manhattan Beach, a cute little beach town only a couple miles from the airport with shops and restaurants and ocean views galore. The cab rides to and from the airport ended up being around $25-$30 each way, but I figure that was money well spent to stretch my legs and walk about in the Cali sun. Plus, now I can say I've been to California!

I stopped in at Wahoo's Fish Tacos for a bite and then whiled away the rest of my time sitting in the sun before the ride back to the airport. Pretty decent way to spend a long layover, I'd say.

On to Hawaii!

The first couple days were spent just lounging by the beach with Alisha and exploring Kailua-Kona while Amy slept and Scott worked.

Then we packed up the Onwellers to move to their new apartment and did some snorkeling at Kahalu'u Beach while we waited for Kelly's flight to get in.

It was my first time, and I was just a tad overwhelmed with the face-in-the-water-yet-still-breathing phenomenon. But, oh man! Snorkeling is super fun. Look at all the little friends I made!

The next day Kelly, Alisha, Amy and I headed out for a day of exploration. First we hit up the Greenwell coffee plantation for a free tour. It was a pretty dang good tour for being so free. 

Kona coffee can only be grown at a certain height on the slopes of the mountains in the Kona District of the Big Island, about 30 square miles. And the coffee cherries are all hand-picked. So that makes it crazy expensive. But it's also renowned as some of the best coffee in the world, so I was excited to try it. Luckily our tour ended with a tasting. I may or may not have ended up with a $19 bag of coffee.

After our tour we hiked down to Kealakekua Bay and the Captain Cook Monument for more snorkeling.

I was much calmer this time.

The hike back up from the bay was...difficult. We had to go home and shower before a luau, so we climbed 1,500 feet up a mountain during the hottest part of the day. I nearly died.

The luau was awesome though. And the food, fantastic - specifically the pork cooked in an underground oven and the Hawaiian macaroni salad. I could not get enough of that! The bottomless bowls of mai tais weren't terrible either.

Oh and of course the entertainment was fun, too!

In the morning, after a scrumptious breakfast that included bacon and mimosas, we piled in the car for a road-trip around the island. The mimosas also came along.

Our first stop was South Point, originally so named because it's the southern most point of the U.S. And it was breathtaking! Cliffs and bluffs and crystal blue waves crashing on black lava rock. 

It's so windy at South Point that the trees grow sideways! (click on the picture below) See?

Since we couldn't go any further south...heheh...we headed north along the coast, stopping only for sweeping vistas of sky and sea. (A little TPG writing coming out for ya there.)

Our next stop: the volcano!

(More to come!)

For part 2, click here.


Jet. Lag.

Folks, I'm back. I'm here. I'm jet-lagged.

Holy cow.

For the last four mornings I've been asleep so hard I've either completely slept through my alarm or somehow reached over and completely shut it off without waking up. Every morning it's like I'm coming out of a coma as I rush fumble around trying to get out the door so I'm not late for work. No time for makeup, no time to make a lunch, no time to assemble a cute and seasonably appropriate outfit. I look like the wreck of the Hesperus, with a tan.


It's worth it. Last week I got to spend almost every waking minute looking at things like this:

More to come!