Monday, March 25

Sugar & Spice VoxBox

Colgate Optic White: Mouthwash, Toothbrush & Toothpaste // A- 

I'd been meaning to buy a whitening kit as soon as I got paid... Lucky for me, this turned up! I was surprised by how much more of my mouth the toothbrush seemed to reach - I thought my old toothbrush was doing a good job, but I think this was undoubtedly better. The toothpaste seems like regular toothpaste to me. The mouthwash... Well, if you've ever done a home whitening kit, you probably know that almost sour, harsh taste in your mouth. The mouthwash has a definite taste of that. 

The product promises whiter teeth in 7 days... They must be doing something right! I definitely saw whiter teeth! I'm not sure I'd invest in the toothpaste again. I'll buy the mouthwash, and the toothbrush was nice, but I'll have to see.

Spenda Nectresse // B 

I like to use real sugar or Stevia when I'm at J's house. However, this was free, no-calorie, and apparently all-natural. They basically boil down this monk fruit and get the sugar from the natural sugars of the fruit. I used it a few times last week in my coffee and was happy with the sweetness. I also used it in my oatmeal last week, but couldn't really taste it. 

Does it sweeten? Absolutely. Does it sweeten better than Stevia? No. Will I probably buy it after these packs are gone? Probably not. If you like Splenda already, this could be the product for you! 

Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer // A

I'm a little lazy when it comes to lotion. Guilty as charged. When I used this for the first time, I had J feel my legs. I asked him, "When was the last time you remember me putting lotion on anything other than my elbows or hands?" He couldn't remember. That's because it's a hassle for me. Usually the only time when my body's exposed is when I get out of the shower, and I don't want to spend 5 minutes lotioning everything up; I want to get WARM.

This was practically heaven-sent for me. All I have to do is spray myself down, rub it in a little, and I'm done. It absorbs super quickly and I really like the smooth, soft feeling afterwards. It's basically like putting on sunscreen. I have time for that, and at the very least I can spray my legs in the mornings! The rest of my body might be a rough mess, but my legs are going to remain silky!

Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel Towelettes // A

I wasn't so sure of these when I first got them. The "Witch Hazel" smell is really strong, and I wasn't sure if I loved it or hated it. J, however, knew immidately that he loved it. These aren't great at getting eye makeup off, but as far as wiping your face before bed, on your way home from work, or in the morning, they're wonderful! When I use them in the morning, I found that my face wasn't nearly as oily during the day.

I have some Neutrogina face wipes too which work really well, but if you lick your lips afterwards or happen to kiss your boyfriend, it has an awful taste. I had to stop using them before bed because I got so sick of licking my lips and tasting the makeup remover that's probably on them. Dickinson's Towelettes have passed what J and I called, "The Kiss Test." Meaning, after I used one, I had J give me kisses all over my face (POOR ME) and then see if he could taste anything. He couldn't, and my face smelled like Witch Hazel. Basically, these are boyfriend approved.

belVita Cinnamon Brown Sugar Breakfast Biscuits // B-

This was my first time trying these biscuits, and after seeing all my friends commenting and posting about how much they love these, it looked like I was the only one who hadn't eaten them before! As far as taste goes, I thought they were good. They tasted almost exactly like graham crackers, which I got a little too excited about when I finally pinned down what they reminded me of. They have grains in them that you can see, which was nice.

Honestly, I just wasn't thrilled by them. They were fine. Each biscuit was about 57 calories (if you care), so it wasn't a super high calories breakfast by any means. However, I wouldn't feel comfortable calling these "healthy." They had a lot of ingredients that I couldn't pronounce, and while I don't mind that in snacks sometimes, it's not my preference. The biscuits are not a balanced breakfast, and by "sustained energy," I'm pretty sure they just mean, "carbohydrates." Are these yummy? ABSOLUTELY. Would they be a fine snack during the day? Sure. Would I eat these to start my day? Maybe, if they were around. I'm not sure I'd go out and buy a box.

Have you tried any of these products before? Would you try them after my review? Do you disagree with anything I've said? Can you see the difference in my teeth?

Thursday, March 21

Healthy Road Snacks!

Since I've been trying to eat healthier, I've come across a "problem" over and over again: What are healthy foods that are easy to take on road trips? Here are just a few that I've put together:

(1) Larabars: They have a pretty high fat content, but they're delicious and made with all-natural ingredients. So at least if you're eating a Larabar, you know it's a natural (yummy) fat!
(2) Annie's Cheddar Bunnies: I will never eat Cheese-Its again. Ever. They're also all-natural and totally addictive. Good when you're craving carbs and/or bunnies. :3
(3) Babybel Light Cheese: Super easy to bring with you on a trip and very delicious! If you're a cheese lover, go buy a net of them!
(4) Terra Original Vegetable Chips: Not the healthiest option, but a lot healthier than regular chips! Plus they seasing is to die for and they're satisfyingly crunchy!
(5) Granny Smith Apples: Portable, mouth-watering, and perfect.
(6) Carrots: I prefer a bag of petite carrots, but to each her own! I find them perfect for snacking and it nice to get that juicy crunch on the road from something healthy!
(7) Sugar Snap Peas: If I can get past the price of sugar snap peas right now, haha. Seriously, these are so delicious when they're raw. I love the crunch that these have too!

This isn't to say that all of these are the healthiest things for you; obviously the chips are still, well, chips. But as Catherine from, "Rabbit Food For My Bunny Teeth" pointed out when she made Kale Chips:
"Baking kale chips or any vegetables for that matter reduces some of the nutritional properties of the whole food, so it is suggested that you use a dehydrator to preserves the nutrients and enzymes that help with energy and digestion... Don’t be afraid of losing some of the nutritional value during baking if you only have access to an oven… Kale Chips are obviously a much healthier option than greasy potato chips!"
Basically, all of these are healthier options than stopping at a gas station and buying Gardetto's (which I still do from time to time, NO SHAME).

If you're going to be flying, some of these ideas probably won't work. Last time I flew, I brought two boxes of Larabars with me, a can of almonds, and a box of Annie's Cheddar Bunnies and got through security just fine. Plus it was great to have healthier options to snack on at the airport. I think even just knowing that I had food if I wanted it helped!

What other travel foods would you suggest? Are you as obsessed with Gardetto's as I am?

Thursday, March 14

Meet James & Leif

Leif // Orange Tabby // Heavy & Solid
Personality: Leif is one of the sweetest cats I've ever met - J and I joke that he's actually a dog because he loves everyone! If you pet him, he loves you. He's easy-going and LOUD. He's a big meow-er and will howl like a dog if he thinks you aren't listening. Leif's super clumsy and uncoordinated. Whenever he jumps up, he either doesn't make it or almost falls back down. When he jumps down, he thunks.

Loves: Being petted // Rubbing his head against your hand // Warm places // Sleeping // Sleeping on my computer // Sitting on my computer // Sleeping in uncomfortable places and positions // Rolling around in the bathrub // Feather & mice toys // Playing with things moving on the ground // Moving his tail for James to play with // Bread // Cat food // Being groomed by James

Hates: Showers // Running water // Being alone in a room // When James bites him // The smell of dogs // The sight of dogs // Being hungry // Being rubbed near his legs // Being picked up and held like a baby even though it's super cute

James // Grey & White Tabby Manx // Light & Soft
Personality: James has two emotions - loving you and wanting you to go away. When James is cuddly, he is CUDDLY. He wants to rub against your face and your head and your body and be as close to you as possible. It's adorable and heartwarming and makes me want to cry with happiness sometimes. James is very clear when he wants his personal space. He tolerates most people, but has a special place in his heart for J, me, my friend Kelsey, and Jeanna's husband, Phil.

He's ridiculously graceful and light. If he jumps down from somewhere, you won't hear it at all. You won't know he's around unless he's wearing a jingle collar, he meows (which is super rare), or you see him. James is just a quiet guy.

Loves: Having his tail nub scratched (he has one vertebrae that raises up) // Having his back legs scratched // Climbing on people // Sitting on shoulders // Climbing up as high as he can // Heated mattresses // Sleeping on my chest // Sleeping on his back // Watching // Chirping at birds // Drinking out of the sink // Feather toys // Playing with things in the air and jumping for them // Playing with Leif's tail // Wet cat food // Bread // Cheese // Apples // Grooming Leif // Randomly attacking Leif // Running water // Having his belly rubbed (sometimes)

Hates: Showers // Everyone, sometimes // Having his belly rubbed (sometimes) // Introductions to new animals // When Leif came to live with us

Despite what it may sound like, James actually loves Leif. They're basically best friends/brothers at this point. Sometimes he's a jerk to Leif just to be a jerk, but besides the first few days they've gotten along amazingly well. They love sleeping next to each other and each other's company. It's gonna be hard on them when James and I move for law school.

J and I both love Leif and James desperately, but there are some drawbacks to having cats:

  • Both the cats scratch things (not just the litter) when they're about to go or just went to the litterbox. It's super loud and incredibly annoying. HELP PLEASE.
  • Decorating = Child-proofing. And when I say "child-proofing," you know very well I mean cat-proofing. I can't have all these dainty detail-oriented things around because cats can and WILL knock them over. Plus sharp objects are a "no."
  • In a small room, the cats jump on the bed and run across us ALL. NIGHT.
  • James drinks out of water glasses, and if he thinks the water is too far down for him to get to, he just knocks the whole thing over and leaves. Doesn't even drink the spilled water.
  • James is also very picky about how clean his litterbox is. If he thinks it's too dirty, he WILL pee elsewhere. Be prepared to find your pee-soaked scarf/shirt/pants on the floor the day you want to wear it.
  • Cats fart.
  • Catsitters. Sometimes they're needed when you go out of town and your "regular" people can't watch them. Thankfully, I've learned that most catsitters can be paid with tequila and sushi.
  • Too much cuteness. Cuteness overload. Wanting to cry because your cats love each other. Too many snuggles.
Honestly, despite the things that are annoying or suck about having cats, I wouldn't change my life at all. They're SO much easier to care for than a dog, and I think cat's personalities are a lot more distinct and individual. I proudly claim the title of crazy cat lady even though I'm only slightly more of a cat person than a dog person.

Are you a cat person or a dog person? Do you think you would get along better with James or Leif? Do you know how to stop cats from scratching other things when they use the litterbox?

Tuesday, March 12

Home Sweet Home (Vacation, Part 2)

1. Butterbeer truck because it's beautiful // 
2. The conductor guy and my family in front of the Hogwarts Express // 3. Me in Dr. Seuss Land
4. Spiderman and I are BFFs // 5. The biggest lobster I have ever seen // 6. breakfast
7. Urban Outfitters // 8. Chase in his new tank top // 
9. Watching SimpCo women's softball kick butt in Orlando!

1. Me in front of the park // 2. Kicking shark butt // 3. Burning bras
4. My new dress // 5. Back to Harry Potter!!! // 6. Trying Butterbeer with Chase!
7. Packed up for Hilton Head // 8. 5-hour drive back to HH // 9. Kichon on the ride home

When we got back home, Joe and I had a day to relax before we flew out early Sunday morning. Have I mentioned that I HATE "springing forward?" Like the rest of America (minus Arizona and Hawaii).

It was nice to have a day to relax, but it was even nicer to finally get home again. J picked me up at the Des Moines airport in a suit, God bless him. We stopped by HyVee to pick up some bread for the ride back since I hadn't eaten lunch, and I saw my friend Mallory! I hadn't seen her in ages, so it was great to talk to her, even if only for a few minutes.

We got back to Iowa City and relaxed and napped for a few hours before I drove to Carlos O'Kelly's to meet two of my best friends, Hannah and Kelsey. I realized earlier that it had been almost a YEAR since I'd seen Hannah, which is ridiculous... But I guess that's what you get when all your friends live in different states across the U.S... Figures, haha. 

But seriously, margaritas with these women was just perfect and I loved showing them Jeanna's house and my cats. James is obsessed with Kelsey and we can't figure out what spurred this. He really loves her. He even gave her a love bite, haha.

Yesterday was my first day back at work since J and I moved, and I've gotta say that I'm glad to be back. I have a lot of stuff to get done this week and, truth be told, I missed the structure. As much as my 30-40 minute commute to work every day is a bit of a pain, I like being in an actual office and knowing what I'm doing every day. It's nice to work from home sometimes and I like occasional spontaneity here, but when you've been travelling and moving and living in chaos, some structure can feel reeeeally nice.

Also, on a more random note, I'm in a Modcloth contest! Check out my outfit HERE and pleeease like the picture if you like my outfit. Or you just love me or something. Or you feel like making me feel good, haha. :)

What did you do for Spring Break? Do any of your animals randomly love someone? Do you prefer a spontaneous job or a structured one?

Saturday, March 9

My Southern Vacation, Part 1

1. Wake up call at 4:30am, Friday. // 2. My airplane outfit. // 3. Quiche from La Mie.
4. Lotus tea at La Mie. // 5. Mama at breakfast at La Mie. // 6. Myself at breakfast at La Mie.
7. Finally in Hilton Head with Kichon. // 8. Cooking in Gma & Gpa's new house. // 9. Gpa and Chase

1. Current vacation read. // 2. Pre-yoga with my mama. // 3. The most perfect yoga tank.
4. The most perfect salad ever. // 5. Glamour shotz. // 6. Maxi dress outfit.
7. On our way to Orlando. // 8. BOWIE. // 9. My room key = meant to be.

1. Bruce Springsteen watches me sleep. // 2. Lena. // 3. Margaritaville was full of margaritas.
4. The Harry Potter sign in the hotel. // 5. DIAGON ALLEY // 6. Inside Durvish & Banges
7. HOGWARTS. // 8. Chase and I outside of Hogwarts. // 9. MY NEW WAND

This was just Friday through part of Monday or Tuesday, I can't quite remember! 

It's been such a crazy week. I'm back in Hilton Head now with my family and Joe, a family friend. Today's my last day here before I fly back to Iowa, and I definitely have mixed feelings about it. One one hand, I don't want to go back to the snow and ice and cold. Bleh. On the other hand, I've missed J and my cats something awful. I'm ready for cuddles with my man and my babies, you know?

I'm also ready to go back to work, as weird as that sounds. I have a list of things I need to do, which I hope I'll be able to get done before this next weekend. I even had a dream last night that I was working on this stuff. I think that means I'm ready to go back, right?

Have you ever been to Orlando and the Harry Potter Theme Park? What did you think of it? Where are you going to Spring Break? How do you know you're ready to go home?