Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Meals: cravings without the carbs

At this point in the Lent game, I was under the impression that the cravings would have subsided and I would be ready to live a sugar and grain free existence for the rest of my days.

Except not at all. I miss carbs every day. How do people do this for forever? Gah.

But, we are so close (right? RIGHT?) so its just like another three weeks and then waffles All. Day.

Anyway - right now, I am trying to dodge free donuts and savor all the fruit (and wine) that I am allowing myself to eat as "treats."

And I am trying to figure out ways to eat the things I love leaving out the bready-goodness.

Here are three thoughts on some standard craving foods:


Chipotle bowl-style that business. No rice, no shell, and just all the good stuff. You can put it all on a bed of lettuce and call it a "taco salad" if you are feeling really fancy or just give yourself some extra guac and cheese and go to town.


I have been relying on this one a fair amount recently. I basically am making turkey sandwiches with cheese instead of bread. The best kept secret of not-sandwiches-sandwiches is to take a piece of the meat and the cheese and roll them up with a slice of avocado in the center. WHAT? You're welcome.  Also, add pickles to things. Just like, eat pickles all the time.


This is a little bit harder, but I was pleasently surprised when I found this recipe for eggplant pizza. I made it last night and it was stupid easy and delighfully delicious. Its important that you let the eggplant sweat for half an hour or so before cooking them. Also, bonus opportunity to play "How does the boiler work?"

It'll be fine! We are going to get through this. We can take away our bread but we can never take away our dignity or our cheese.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Dodging donuts

I was accosted by free donuts twice already today. TWICE.

Once at the in-the-train Dunkin' where they were like begging people to eat free munchkins and once because someone brought Dinkle's Donuts (my kryptonite) for Friday treats.

I did not eat the donuts. I DID NOT EAT THE DONUTS.

Oh my stars will this week just end already?!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The adorable secret (a love letter to Zooborns)

4 otter

Guys, I have found the secret to positive and successful professional relationships at work.

Pictures of baby animals.

Anytime someone does something nice for me, or I do something nice for someone else - I find a reason to send them a picture of a baby animal.

It is solid gold in the professional development co-worker winning over department.

It may be that since I work in an office of predominately women, I have an edge over all of you Wall Street types. But we work hard and we are stressed and tired about 115% of the time and there is something to be said for an adorable baby otter making it all better even just for a moment.

I could not do this without Zooborns. And you shouldn't try it either. Zooborns is my go-to baby animal pick-me-up picture provider. You cannot go wrong.

Zooborns has been keeping me from crying at my desk since like 2010. Thank you for three years of adorable stress relief.

Happy Thursday, baby Otter, we're almost at the weekend.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

On the day off

Tuesday was my "day off," which I have discovered is a fairly meaningless concept. A day off is just a hole that quickly needs to be filled with a million other things.

When I got home at 8:00 last night, after being gone since 9:00 a.m. I had a bag that was stuffed to the gills as it always is.

The large longchamp bag was one of the best investments I ever made because it was no problem to fit all this inside:

My day off found me:

At the doctor for blood work. With the book I cannot seem to finish no matter how I hard I try.
At Trader Joe's picking up cheese to go with my lunch turkey and a fizzy lifting drink.
Quickly eating a lunch of strawberries, granola, turkey and cheese while waiting to pick up my good friend, Young J at school before an afternoon of playing and naps and then stuck with some empty tupperware.
A wallet a little bit heavier after making some extra babysitting bones #dowork.
The case for my old phone and the box for my new phone. After 3 years, I said good bye to my iphone 4 and hello to a baby blue iphone 5c that matches Boyfriend's baby blue eyes.
My new Gap dress, because you can't just return something to the gap, you have to buy something to replace it.
My clothes that got traded out for my yoga clothes which I lazily always wear home from upside-down yoga.
A clementine and an apple because I know its a good day when I pack more food then I end up needing.

While its cold still, I will keep myself busy on these off days, but with any luck when the sun starts to shine and provide warmth, I will have a day of just reading and naps, but until then, I am grateful for a bag that keeps up (and everything) with me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Truism(ish) the Fourth

Sometimes we sit completely silently.

Just typing and drinking coffee.

No TV. Just ever rising sunlight.

These moments never last long enough.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Meals: Spags Squash

Now that we are very well acquainted with quinoa, lets explore a new substitute for things you love and eat all the time.

Spaghetti Squash! Yaaaay!

Spags squash is my favorite carb-void filler. It is easy enough to roast and then you can be fancy and make some thing delicious to go with, or you can be lazy and pour a jar of store bought sauce and it is just as delicious, and you can eat dinner before 10 p.m. Wheeee!

I prefer to roast it but it requires some he-lady knife skills.

How to Roast the Spags squash:
First preheat the oven to 375.

Then slice that monster in half, long-wise. It will be intense. So be cool.

Fun fact, my newest addition to my hand-scar collection came from me pushing too hard on the back of a knife. This is not a joke.

Once its cut, scoop the seeds out ala a Halloween pumpkin.

Once the oven is preheated put the halves in a baking dish (not a cookie sheet, something with a rim) - make sure you put them skin/rind side up (innards side down).

Then cook it for 35ish minutes (when it starts getting brown on top, you can call it).

How to nuke the Spags Squash:
If you are feeling SO.Lazy - you can microwave it and/or you can keep it whole when cooking.

If you keep it whole, poke a fork in it at least 10 times all over the place so it doesn't explode.

If you microwave it (which you can do whole or halves or quarters, whatever) - put a little bit of water (1/4 cup or less) in a cooking dish (I just use a bowl that is big enough to fit the piece I am cooking) and then cook it for about 5 minutes per half, or 10 minutes for the whole thing. It will be squishy when it is done.

Done Cooking?:
Use your oven mitts to flip one half over and take a fork to it to make sure the noodle-y bits come out easy. That's how you know it is donezo.

Then let it cool for a while otherwise you have a one-way ticket to ouchy-burn town. And then use a fork to scrape it and create your noodles.

Then you'll have noodles. Boom. Make this yum yum alfredo business. Or this taco-y version. Or just throw some jar sauce on it - maybe some protein if you are feeling crah-zey.

We're halfway through Lent! My breath apparently smells terrible from the lack of carbs in my diet (we self-diagnosed a little bit of ketosis), I am going to try to drink about a zillion times more water and chew some sugarless gum, but this party might end/change slightly for me if this butt-breath thing does not work itself out.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Victory Doubled.

I DID IT! I beat 2048.

Apparently if you do something all weekend, you will succeed at it.

I want a cupcake so bad.

I will settle for some chicken sausage, roasted carrots, and a pamplemousse.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Weekend Plans. doubled.

What are you doing this weekend? Playing 2048? Yeah. Us too.

We are so stupid obsessed.  I waited as long as my curiosity could hold out before I started playing and now, its non-stop. We sit at home and we push boxes around instead of folding laundry, eating dinner, doing taxes, really anything that could in some way benefit society.

It is this. And Breaking Bad. All day long.

Boyfriend is really the one who needs to put it away. I could totally stop anytime I want. I just feel like I do not really have anything else to do. Like, if I wanted to stop, I could just never visit the site again. But he is addicted. He is dangerously addicted. I am worried about him. He is such a sweet kid, and he has such a bright future and he is going to throw it all away on these blocks. Why is he so obsessed? His parents loved him, he grew up in a good home and studied hard, but once he started with these blocks it was like nothing else mattered. Poor kid. So misguided.

Happy Friday, may your weekend involve at least a couple of 256 blocks.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Upside Down Gun Show

Tonight marked five days of Air Aerial Fitness class aka "upside down yoga," in a row. It's probably been about three years since I worked out-worked out five days in a row, and probably since high school that I did it in a way that didn't make me angry and bitter at my dismal metabolism and genetics.

I am not going to lie - I am pretty proud of myself. I am proud of how much stronger my arms are, how much more consistently flexible my hamstrings feel, and how quickly I am catching on to some of the tricks.

To be honest - upside down yoga is a bit of a misnomer- it is yoga...and cardio and conditioning and circus tricks (I can't stay away, I guess I just really like being upside down). My entire body feels good but sore at the end of each class.

It is a workout that makes me happy, but I think the fact that it is not so far from work (meaning I don't have to leave early to get there on time), and doesn't require me to haul around a yoga mat or sneakers or anything besides leggings and a t-shirt makes it that much easier to convince myself to go every day.

And since I only bought it for a month, I wonder if the time limit makes me want to go more. Going 20 times in 30 days seems almost doable because at the end of 30 days I move onto the next thing, eventually if I was doing it forever, it would become like the gym or yoga where I feel like I get some health benefit just by giving them my money every month.

But even with all those pessimistic footnoots, I am still happy when I leave, frustrated, but happy. My goal is to go seven days in a row with a celebratory backtoback class on Saturday. Also my goal is for it to be warm enough for me to wear sleeveless dresses so everyone can see my new sweet guns.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

10 nice things about today

Most of today was pretty terrible. I was consistently unimpressed by how this Wednesday treated me. But, since I am trying so gd hard to be happy, here are all the good bits.

1- I sidecoached baby brother into cooking up this amazing, healthy meal with bonus quinoa.

And he gave us the recipe for his secret sauce.

2- I played hooky for an hour to go to Target with some of my work friends even though I had not actually done any work yet.

3- I ran into 20-MelEvans at Target because, apparently, she only exists in physical form inside of Chicagoland Target stores.

4- I got to see both of my favorite far away babies in real-time pictures today. They are the most adorable far away babies and they make my heart so happy.

5- 'Bear had her first grown-up job interview today!

6- I had no shame about eating all the toppings and cheese off of my pizza and leaving the bottom and crust. I am absolutely #sorrynotsorry

7- I had a nice chat with a lady who has all the dollars. She was the nicest.

8- I got mail!

9- It was raincoat warm, but chilly enough that I could still wear a perfect fuzzy scarf without looking weird. If it's the best we can do, I will take it.

10- I entered my very first work March Madness tournament. Seven years of full time work and finally I work in a place big enough and competitive enough to place bets on 19 year olds!

It helps. Take time to think the nice things.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Just started breaking

We can blame it on the fact that Homeland season 3 is not on Netflix right now.

Or the fact that we had one free Saturday in the past two months.

Or maybe we just are gluttons for punishment.

Whatever went down, we are knee deep in Breaking Bad and there is no turning back.

I waited until it was all on Netflix before I even suggested it, although it turns out that it would not have mattered as we're only averaging one episode a night these days.

Gone are the nights where we would watch a show until practically dawn. Is it because we're old? Is it because we have jobs we care about? Is it because I cannot watch too much of this show without getting kind of queasy at the yucky bits?

Whatever the reason, while it won't take us five years to watch this, it will probably be well into July before we are done.

And it's good. As long as we stop dropping ATMs on peoples' faces, its going to be a solid, enjoyable experience for everyone.

I need a chaser though. Something funny and light (and preferably half an hour) that I can watch in between particularly brutal episodes to cleanse the palate. Let me know if you have any recommendations.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday Meals: Fill that empty chips hole

March is just draaaaaaagging. How has it only been Lent for two weeks? It has gotten maybe 2% easier since last week, but just barely.

Meals are getting easier but where things fall down is snacks.

I know baby brother loves him some snacks.

I have been trying to switch out fruit for my 3:00 p.m. Hershey's minature dark chocolate bar but when salty cravings strike, I have been scrambling to find something to fill the void that popcorn/potato chips/pretzels normlly do.

The secret is chick peas, my friend.

Here's how you make a quick and easy carb-free salty snack.

-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
-Open and drain a can of chick peas (aka garbanzos, jic you are confused), rinse them if you feel so inclined.
-Put them in a bowl with some olive oil.
-Add salt and your favorite spices. This can be as simple as some Old Bay, or another all-spice type jam. Or you can get real fancy with multiple spices: cumin, chili powder, go crazy. Whatever sounds good. Make sure you have some salt.
-Mix it all up real good. Add more spice or olive oil if you want (but don't feel pressured, just do what feels right).
-Spread all the little chick peas on a cookie sheet.
-Cook them for 30 minutes or so.

Let them cool for a hot minute and then gobble them up. Nom nom nom. So salty and delicious.

If you need some recipes for inspiration, here are one, two to get you started.

Friday, March 14, 2014

In Flight

I cannot stop with the stories about Malaysian Flight 370.  Airline crashes are one of my weird obsessions (we all have them, don't judge). I can endlessly wikipedia hop through stories of various crashes and hijackings, any time I find an article about how to best survive a plane crash I read them six or seven times - doing everything I can to memorize them.

Despite all the flying I did last year and the multiple trans-Atlantic flights (including clocking 20 hours to and from South Africa) I have been on, I still get dread panic sick as we take off and land. And everytime I hear of a plane falling out of the sky in mid-air, I must read everything about it in some weird twisted way of trying to convince myself that it will not happen to me.

So I'm reading The New Yorker, The Washington Post (clutch graphics, bro), The New York Times and (no joke) Popular Mechanics.

I am not sure why I do this myself. I twist with worry about people who I do not know in a situation I cannot control. It is the most impractical way to spend my time, but its like a drug. Why, why, why does reading about these terrible things become a thing I cannot stop doing before I go to bed? In the long run, I cannot imagine it is beneficial, but neither is crack and yet - that's a thing people do.

If you are like me and find strange, sick enjoyment in reading about terrible flight drama, my favorite college professor, Jenefer Shute wrote a pretty great book, Free Fall about a (fictional) plane crash and how it affects the people who survive. Anytime something like this happens, I find myself drawn to the book.

Also, Popular Mechanics (once again) has a great article on Plane Crash statistics.

I am happy to spend the next month or so on the ground.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

TBIF: In mah belly

This week's find I actually discovered in real life (which sometimes happens).

I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the best minds in the world in my job. Not only are the people I see every day amazing, but the people who we support are making some inspiring discoveries and it is awesome.

This week as part of a conference, I got to hear the very dreamy Jack Gilbert talk about the microbial communities in our bodies and our houses and everywhere. It was super facinating and its exciting to know that he is just scratching the surface of all the things there are to discover on our insides and on our tables and door handles and how they affect our weight and brains and everything.

And, as we stand on the very brink of the future, one of the ways he is funding his research is crowd sourcing with American Gut. For just a few dollars, you can get a swab and then in a few weeks, you can know what your microbiome looks like. Compare it to other peoples. Put it up on your wall. Whatever.

Science, guys. It is the real deal.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spring Swing

There might be snow on the ground, but I have quite the hankering to spend my entire tax return (note to self: do your taxes) on spring and summer dresses. Dresses for work are the best because they don't require me to put together an outfit, just throw it on with some wedges. Boom. done.

After almost a year, its fair to say, I've gotten a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn't in the office and when I am on the go. My goal is to find classic pieces with a bit of fun to them that are work appropriate.

Here are some of the dresses I'm eyeing for this summer.

Real quick, this Stripe Pocket dress from Gap is exactly what I mean.

So easy and so adorable. Plus comfortable! And hella versatile. I will absolutely wear this on your patio, drinking beer on a Saturday afternoon.

My love of Modcloth is not a secret and here's why. Without even trying that hard I found four dresses that are perfect for work and play and sunshine.

In case you have also fallen in love with any of these dresses, they are (from t-b, l-r) Dilly Tally Dress, Inlet's Get Together, Book Exchange Brunch (which will need a cami for sure), and A Whole Neutral Outlook

If navy or stripes ever go out of style, I am totally screwed (and they won't because everyone will always romanticize the sea, so that's convenient). 

I think a work dress is something with a classic waist (ie, your waist. It is so bonkers how much skinner you actually look with a belt at your natural waist), and either a classic pattern/solid or a classic neckline. You should be complimented but people shouldn't wonder if you're going to a little kid's birthday later.

Of course, these rules were made to be broken for the very fashion adventurous among us - but if you're like me and dread the thought of having to put four pieces of clothing together in semblance of an "outfit," these rules will do you good.  Play with fun patters in a simple shift, or do a crazy cowl neck with a gorgeous charcoal. 

And here's a favorite from Loft (the Loft? Ann Taylor Loft? I have no idea). A store I used to make fun of my sweet friends for shopping at, but 10 years later, I find myself wearing my newest LBJ from there, at least once a week.

This guy is so simple and perfect. Which is all I want out of my clothes, things things that are easily cute. This floral cutout dress fits the bill.

How many times am I going to beg for summer this year?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I can now build a snowman

I was super embarrassed to admit this for most of the winter, but now I can come clean:

I finally saw Frozen.

It was one of those things where I didn't get the memo early in the game and then it was the holidays and I was 29 and then it seemed like everyone had seen it already.

I will admit that I have a serious codependency issue but seeing a Disney movie all alone sounded really sad and slightly creepy so I just kept waiting.

Then the music started popping up on my "Book of Mormon," Pandora station and I was getting sliiiiiightly obsessed with the songs. Then on Saturday night while getting ready to go out, I found myself on the floor of my closet, half dressed with my laptop in my lap just listening to it all over and over on Spotify and I realized I had a problem because I had no idea what this music met.

Thank goodness, Cousin K was in almost an identical boat and we made plans to see it assoonaspossible.

And that was tonight. It was a fine Disney movie, slightly over hyped, full of really ridiculous plot holes and unanswered questions but my main beef was the dress they put Elsa in when she became the snow queen.  Why'd they dress her up like Jessica Rabbit in blue? And after so many lovely, elegant costume choices it was like, "I'm doing my own thing...and I am going to dress kind of skanky about it."

I mean, she is doing her own thing, so it is fine, but I just feel like we could have conceived of a more practical dress for life in an ice castle.

Also? Turns out Let it Go doesn't actually mean what I thought it meant, and its kind of sad. So I'm going to stop using it as my power anthem.

But I love the movie for its very heartwarming message of family over boys if you are really looking for some examples of true love.

And I want a reindeer. And as Chicago gears up for its seven billionth snowstorm of the winter, I can finally ask with all sincerity and understanding, "Do you wanna build a snowman?"

Sunday, March 09, 2014

An introduction to Quinoa

I gave up carbs/sweets/breads/starches/all that is good and wonderful in this world for Lent.

There was a part of me that was thinking I was making a bid deal out of nothing.

Five days in and I am going through what I can only imagine is a heroin-esque like withdrawal. I think about bread all the time. I want cookies, I want chocolate, I would give up my entire family for a half dozen cupcakes and a loaf of french bread.

But I've stayed strong, because I am quite the stubborn little mule and impressively enough, my baby brother is still in it to win it too.

Since he is just getting started in the carb-alternative game, this post is for him.

Why quinoa is your new best friend.

Quinoa is rice's better for you, more yummy cousin. It takes the same amount of time to cook and can be eaten with anything. Anything. All the benefits. None of the carbs. Plus bonus protein, iron and fiber (mmm, you love fiber).

Tonight we ate it with some cuke, red bell pepper and feta cheese. Easy Cheesey. Here is a list of some other things you could mix with it and make a crazy delicious side (or main course):

-sweet potato, kale, and chicken
-avocado, black beans, tomatoes
-bell peppers and lemon juice
-carrots, edamame, and cranberries
-spinach, pomegranate seeds, and walnuts (with bonus steak if you're feeling crazy)
-strawberries, goat cheese, and arugula
-broccoli and cheese

Mix and match any of these things or literally anything you want. When making a bowl of food, add this. If oatmeal is your jam in the morning, switch out the oatmeal for this, add in some brown sugar, a few nuts and berries and a banana if you are playing like a champion - and BOOM, breakfast. Bye.

Also, I checked and Price Chopper totally carries quinoa. So no complaints about it being too fancy for your neck of the woods.

Some reminders:
-always, always rinse it in cold water before cooking
-let it cool for a minute and then put it in a bowl before making it all fluffy with a fork. It will stick together if you leave it in the pot/microwavable bowl.
-a cup of dry quinoa makes a shit ton of cooked quinoa so plan on throwing it in everything for a couple days. You won't regret it and it will make you miss rice that mich less.

One week down, six to go.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Number 23, please.

My love affair with football has been well documented here and on other parts of the Internet.

While I think that this love would have grown with any batch of players on the field, I cannot help but recognize that my first year of Bears was also Devin Hester's. He made our hearts beat faster. 

So to know now (or to assume based on what the Internet has told me) that he will no longer be a Chicago bear fills me with sadness and so much nostalgia.

You might say that the Indianapolis Colts were the winners of 2007 Super Bowl, but I stand by the fact that D. Hest. won that game in the first 10 seconds. The rest of the game was a nightmare but I would not trade the win for that kickoff return (I mean if I did, Rex Grossman would probably still be the QB, big picture here, people).

And to know that he might break the return record with another team? Fairly irrational devastation. You're going to get so close to this moment with a player and then just shrug and move on. Clearly, I am not thinking so much as a football coach, but a very sentimental little girl - which is why they don't let me make choices.

This Friday I raise my glass (that is currently full of earl gray tea) to number 23. I will never hear the Soulja Boy song without thinking of the time that I saw liveandinperson one of his returns. It was magic.

I have never created a meme in my life, but the fact that this didn't already exist made it necessary.

Bear Down.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Sorry to let you down.

Today's blog is preempted by Fancy Pants wine, strawberries, very serious talks - with special guest appearance by soy sauce.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

No Panem for me, thanks.

The month of Be Happy Go Upside-down conveniently ended up coinciding with Lent this year. So it's going to be a really good month for shedding extra winter blubber and a really bad month for me being a fun person to be around.

This year for Lent I decided to give up bread and sweets. At first it was just "refined sugar," but people started questioning my methods for determining what contains "refined sugar," and once someone suggested cutting wine out of my diet, it was clear I needed to be more specific. 

This might be the most insane challenging thing I have ever done. Bread is my comfort food. Sweets are my reward. And while I know this will never stick past the 40 days (I am not a cave lady) - it is a chance to really think about what I am putting in my body for the next 5 and a half weeks. 

I so often just eat and eat without considering if I needed that extra crab puff. And let's be real - yes, I always do need that extra crab poof, but I don't always need four cake pops, and a cupcake with the crab puff.

Of course, the real challenge is getting past the, "but I want it," hurdle. This morning there is a giant array of bagels in my work kitchen. All the bagels telling me that they are going to help me get through this morning. And they would and that might be the heart of the problem.

There are a lot of delicious things I will be enjoying this month: bacon, avocado, fruit (can't kick this 2-a-day clementine habit #sorrynotsorry), and wine and those, I hope, will be enough to get me through the rough spots.

Since my baby brother, Buttmunch has also decided to attempt this journey, I am going to be posting lots of recipes and cheat codes for eating less carbs.

Also, at some point we will discuss why I let this religious event that I don't actually believe in be in control of my decisions every spring. 

If you need me, I'll be eating lettuce and hummus with my motivational team.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Be Happy 2014. Ate well and now going upside down.

February was delicious. There is no such thing as too delicious, but I am deliriously stuffed.

These are just a taste of all the amazing things that I said yes to this month. The problem is, while I love the food, I do not love the way my jeans are fitting now.

So! This month is a little bit harder because it is not such an immediate happiness. This is about being happy for a few months, even if it means some bruised wrists and frustrated evenings in March.

This month is about exercise, but not running or even run of the mill yoga or Zumba. This month is going upside-down to get fit. I bought a Gilt city deal for Air Aerial Fitness. I took my first class today and it was not as fun and easy as I magically thought it was going to be but I feel like I worked hard and so I will go back tomorrow (and the next day, and the next, and the next until April 1). I have always loved going upside down and so I am hoping that the fun of that will keep me happy as I try to make my belly smaller.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Kisses, and Masks, and Tea, oh my! J'adore Vox Box Review

I love trying new things and I especially love trying new things that I get sent in the mail.

When Influenster said they were sending me the J'adore Vox Box, I was basically counting down the minutes to that box of goodies arriving at my door step. It did not disappoint.

February is so bleak and terrible, it was so fun to have a whole box of fun new things to enjoy.

First things first: the candy.

Boyfriend and I have a terribly-wonderful sweet tooth and there is always candy around. I really love Hershey kisses, because they're so colorful and fun to decorate with:

Mason jar + Hershey kisses = instant happy.

I have been battling some sort of gross sinus-y, cold blechness for what feels like 400 years and have been mainlining tea all month. We have become tea snobs as of late, but there was no shame in the Red Rose Tea game. Sweet enough without milk or sugar and perfect for on the couch, under blankets, getting stuff done.

Over this weekend, I took on the 3 days of straight hair challenge with this John Frieda 3 Day Straight spray.

I was delightfully impressed with how straight my hair stayed all weekend. I would throw it up in a ponytail to shower, and then just finger comb it out and that wasy it. So simple, which is ideal because I am incredibly lazy in the "doing my hair in the morning" department.

We were running around all weekend which made this even more perfect of a product. I did not even manage to snap a picture until bedtime on all three nights but all weekend my hair was straight and not greasy or chunky or weird at all.

This morning I took advantage of a lazy morning off and had a little bit of a #snowdayspaday and tested out this Boots Beauty botanics mask.

It was way more liquidy than I was imagining which lead to mask all over my bathroom floor, but once I shook it up a bit and squeezed a little more carefully, I managed to get most of it on my face.

It dried nicely and came off with just some warm water and left my skin feeling clean and free of impurities (I am assuming that is what the feeling was). It left it pretty dry, so I threw on some extra moisturizer and I was ready to go.

I haven't had a fun opportunity to break out the eyelashes yet, they'll get their own post, but this box is so much fun to play with and luxuriate in until Spring.

Influenster sent me this box of goodies for free, which was cool, right? But I was honest about my feelings about all of these things even though they sent to me for testing purposes. If you want Influenster to send you fun, free things to try go here: Influenster Invite

She's pint-sized and amazing.