Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Party in the Woods

If you want to see an adorable, well thought out party with a theme that makes actual sense, go here and see Lacey's party for Charley (awwwwww).  I'd like to blame my lack of ability to do a pinterest-worthy party on life events, but I really am just not good at that sort of thing.  My mom failed to pass her awesome party planning creativity to me, and now Adriana and Lucia have to suffer.  Boo.

As I mentioned previously, I secured a shelter in the woods for the girls' joint birthday party.  It was a really crappy overcast day, but the rain held off for the most part.  The kids had fun playing with balls, frisbees, and cornhole in the field near the shelter.

I wanted each girl to have their own theme, so neither one would feel shafted by the joint-ness of the party.  Adriana's theme was a no-brainer...she LOVES the Disney fairies, specifically Fawn, and had been requesting a Fawn party for months.  Lucia is only one, so theme-picking was up to me.  I hadn't been getting a lot of sleep, so my brain went "The party is in the woods.  Fairies are in the woods.  Owls are in the woods.  I like owls.  OWLS!"  

This led to some awkward homemade (but dirt cheap!) invites.  

And an awkward (but pretty and deeeeeeeeelicious!) cake.  

Akronites: You haven't lived until you've had West Side Bakery cake. 
I hit up the party supply store for some orange and blue tablecloths, plates, forks, cups, balloons, a tinkerbell birthday banner, etc.  Some pop, cheese, fruit, and Barberton chicken (White House all the way), and we were in business.  

This is a dark picture, but I was pretty pleased with the goody bags.  I was going to put some fairy stickers on the flower bag, but I kept thinking "Stop making owls and fairies happen! It's not going to happen!" in my best Regina George voice.  

My coworker Ashley agreed to photograph the event and take some awkward family photos, and then refused to cash the check I gave her despite the fact that she spent 3 hours with us AND edited the 60 best pictures from the day.  Thoughts on an appropriate gift for a stubborn photographer?  I thought she did an awesome job, it's not her fault it was cloudy and my kids have a 2 second attention span.  

I make a lot of stupid faces.


More stupid faces.

Attempt #1 at a decent family shot (fail)

Attempt #2 at a decent family shot (better, but fail)
The smash cake portion of the day was pretty hilarious.  Colin, my nephew, picked his smash cake up with two hands and couldn't get it down his throat fast enough.  Adriana was more hesitant on her first birthday, but eventually dove in once she realized that sugar is amazing.  Lucy, my baby who eats EVERYTHING, wanted nothing to do with her cake.  I eventually made her taste some frosting, and she proceeded to gag for the next 5 minutes, before getting pissed and wiping frosting in her hair.  It was pretty hilarious.  

I'm gonna do it too! (quote anyone?)

This birthday is horseshit! (I'm very quotey today).

The aftermath.

I'm sorry I made you eat cake, baby.

Adriana was less traumatized by her cake experience.
Next up: Trying to keep two kids under 3 focused on opening presents for more than 10 seconds at a time.  It basically involved each of us keeping a kid in the death grip while my brother and SIL brought over presents.    

Adriana was a big fan of her new bike.

Lucia was a big fan of the bow.

All in all, it was a good party.  Casual, the kids had fun, and it wasn't at my house so we could just dump our shit in a trashcan and go home.  Yay!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Diniwilk Stew

Let's talk about things that are not nail polish!

  • Without being spoilerish, I have to say that the Bachelor Pad finale was full of awesome, America got it right in So You Think You Can Dance (shockingly), and the person who lost  (well, came in second) Big Brother made his or her self look like an asshole, and would have won hands down if they would have spun things differently.  I HATE when that happens - the person has it in the bag and then completely says all of the wrong things to the jury.  SO ANNOYING.
  • Would you believe that I'm still not all the way though the Couch to 5K program?  I started it on July 2, but I'm only on Week 6, Day 3.  Injuries and life stress keep making me miss weeks, and then it's like I'm starting all over when I get back into it.  So frustrating.  Yesterday's workout was a 10 minute run, 3 minute walk, and another 10 minute run.  I almost died afterwards.  I think this whole stopping and starting business is the fatal flaw of the program.  If I had just ran a mile for a few weeks, then bumped it up two and stayed there for a few weeks, and so on, I would feel a lot more prepared for running 5.5 freaking miles next weekend.  FIVE POINT FIVE...I AM SO FAR IN OVER MY HEAD IT'S RIDICULOUS!!!
  • I don't really care that I didn't do it in 8 straight weeks, I am so counting this for my 101 in 1001 list.  
  • Hmm.  I should update that list.  I have actually made some progress.  Not ENOUGH progress, but certainly enough to warrant an update.  
  • They are laying people off from my company again.  I won't know whether or not my job is safe until early November.  I THINK I'll be fine, but you never know.  And it's always shitty when good people are let go.  
  • Adriana is going through a cute phase again.  Her little face is SO EXPRESSIVE, it kills me.  I should record her talking for like 10 minutes to capture it.  The other day, she spent like 5 minutes arranging the chairs from her little table so they were facing each other.  She then put some of her favorite toys on the chair, looked up at me, and said "This?  Is going to be AWESOME!"  and then...stood on the chairs with one foot on each side.  I don't know why, I just thought it was hilarious that she was so amped to stand on some chairs.  I also told her that her feet were stinky when we were on the couch, and she immediately rearranged herself so her head was snuggling into my side and her feet were under a pillow.  "There you go, mama, now you don't have to smell my stinky feet.  Because you're my best friend!"
  • Lucia is going through a not so cute stage.  I actually specifically remember this with Adriana - 13 months is when your previously adorable and easy baby turns into a little asshole.  Okay, asshole is strong, but dude.  It is not the end of life as we know it if I set you down.  And stop throwing yourself backwards in a fit every time I take MY iPhone away from you.  It's all drama all of the time, from a kid who NEVER used to cry.  I am seriously worried she is going to split her head open with the throwing herself backwards thing.  Gah.  
  • I have to lead book club tonight, and I am only halfway through the book (Gone Girl).  Think if I keep buying pitchers of margaritas no one will notice?
  • Other weekend plans include shopping with my mom for the girls' fall wardrobe and catching up on laundry.  Thrilling.  What are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

September 2012 Julep Maven Mystery Box Review

I arrived home yesterday to find a box that looked suspiciously like the box from the end of the movie Seven.  Perfect for a human head.  The only packages I was expecting were the three Product Lover's and one Polish Lover's box from Julep Maven's September Mystery deal, so I was instantly intrigued.  Did I get one of the $200 boxes and the other three are on their way???

Nope, all 4 boxes were in there.  Dang.  On the plus side, these boxes are perfect to reuse for future packages.  Yay!  All four boxes had the goodies packed into the Julep tote bag from August.  Note that this bag goes for $5 on the Julep website. but I'm not including that in the value of the box, because who doesn't have a million bags like this?

The first box I opened was the Polish Lover's box:

This box was worth $56 with the .27 oz nail polishes going for $14 a pop.  Hmm.  Aren't we supposed to be getting at least $60 value?  Ah, yes, the tote bag.  Sneaky sneaky.  

I received Sasha, Sienna, Renee, and a "mystery color".  I have mixed feelings about this, because I already have the first three colors - see pics of Sasha, Sienna, and Renee from past posts.  However, they are actually 3 of my all time favorite Julep colors.  I may never get through my Sasha and Renee so I'll probably give those away, but I will definitely use the extra Sienna - it's GORGEOUS.  

Now let's talk about this so-called "mystery color".  Julep claimed in the mystery box email that there was a chance of receiving a "never before released" color, and this mustardy-yellow guy is one of them.  I am wondering if these colors were meant to come out in past collections and didn't make the cut.  The reason I say this is that they have the old labels on the bottom with no name (Julep used to put the name sticker on the lid, and people complained).  Plus, and this TOTALLY BREAKS MY HEART, the brush was all sorts of wonky.  Julep had a problem with this in the past, and actually sent out new wands in the box right before I signed up.  

Ugh, this brush!  If I used one side, the polish was way too thin and I'd need a million coats.  Flip it over, and the polish poured off the brush crazy thick and super chunky, even when I thought I didn't have too much on there.  I think the tube that the brush hairs come out of was hiding extra polish, and it all slops out when you use the brush or something.  I have never seen anything like it.  I am pretty sure I am sporting a manicure that would have been better done by 12 blind monkeys: 
I actually have to go home at lunch to take this monstrosity off (when will I learn to not paint my nails at work?!!)  The image doesn't capture it here, but it's also all sorts of streaky.  This may be a case of a formula issue too, but the brush was so screwy I couldn't tell.  Too bad - I really do like the color.  It's not as bright as the picture above, more of a mustard.  

The next box was the one I was most excited about:

Yay, cuticle oil!
I received an Age Defying Hand Brightener ($32 for a 3 oz bottle),  a glass nail file ($6), fast dry topcoat ($14, .27 oz) and the cuticle oil ($18, .28 oz).  A $70 value.  I am excited to see how the fast dry top coat compares to my beloved Seche Vite (LOVE), and my haggard cuticles are begging for some oil.  And, let's be honest.  I'm no spring chicken - I should probably be paying more attention to my ever-aging hands.  Sigh.    

The other 2 Product Lover's boxes were exactly the same, but instead of the cuticle oil, I got 2 more mystery colors (so those boxes were $66).  I was hoping those would only be in the Polish Lover's boxes, because I'd obviously rather have the products.  The other two colors are a You Don't Know Jacques-type mushroomy brown cream (but darker) and a peacocky shimmery blue.  Pretty enough in the bottles; hopefully they don't have the wonky brush from hell.  If all 3 do, I will be calling Julep and requesting more brushes.

All in all, I am pretty happy with my September Mystery Box experience.  I obviously didn't need to get 3 Product Lover's boxes, but then I might not have received the cuticle oil, which is something I really wanted to try.  And I will definitely USE everything I got, so that's cool. 

I am going to have to look around and see what everyone else got.  If all of the product boxes were just like mine, I'll be kind of disappointed that they didn't make more of an effort to mix it up, and will be less likely to play along for the next mystery box round.  Okay, that is a total lie.  I will get one, but won't order more than that without first checking out what everyone else got :)       
Also, the October colors came out today...crackle polish.  Good for Halloween I guess, but don't we all already own it from OPI?  I think I'll stick with American Beauty to get the orange crackle (useful one day a year!) and maybe add on Kiera and Caroline, the two vampy reds.  Because, you know, I don't own enough of those (hoarder hoarder hoarder).  So I'll end up with polishes 4, 5, 9, and 10, plus the fast dry drops.  [Update: Hey!  You can also add on Sofia, the glow in the dark top coat, which isn't pictured here.  Adriana and I will have so much fun with that!]

Did YOU get a mystery box?  What did you get???  Which box are you getting in October?

The mystery boxes are no longer on sale, but if you like the idea of a monthly nail polish subscription service and want to help a hoarder out, you can use my referral link (details below). 

[Like what you see?  Learn more here.  If you want to use my referral link or enter code 2669282 and contribute to my nail polish addiction, I would be forever grateful.  I don't know if COLOR2012 or MAVENINTRO will still get you your box for a penny, but MAVEN50 should get you half off.  I recently saw $9.99 for the intro box and 2 colors by using the code FREEGIFT, so try that one before the MAVEN50.]   

Friday, September 14, 2012

September 2012 Julep Maven Product Lover's and Polish Lover's Mystery Box

Hi everyone!  I know I have been absent from the blog and twitter lately.  I am going through some major life drama but things are getting better and I will be back soon.  Thanks to everyone who has checked in on me, you guys are amazing.  

In the meantime, I just wanted to point out that Big Julep is watching me...in this post, I said "Dearest Julep, would you please consider doing an all product mystery box?  That would be amazeballs."

And look!  A product lover's box!  THANKS, JULEP!!!!  I ordered 3, and one polish lover's box.  Hopefully I get a big one this time!  The boxes are still for sale if you want to play along.  

Also, Julep is having a 2 for 1 flash sale on polish if you use the code 2FOR1NY, today only. 

Like what you see? You can sign up for Julep Maven using my referral link here (use the promo code MAVENINTRO and get your first box for ONE PENNY).  I am going to whore this out until I get my two free years, not gonna lie.  But I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't stand by the product 100%.  Julep Maven is for reals my favorite subscription service, and TRUST ME, I've tried a ton.