Month: June 2015

At June’s Close

Holy cannoli, can you believe today is the last day of June?  My summer is just flying by!  With the Fourth coming up, at least I’ll get to enjoy some time off!  As always, here are some of my favorite June moments in instagram form:

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[1] workin’ on my summer reading with a distinctly YouTube theme [2] finally cut my super long hair! [3] rockin’ the polka dot Keds [4] my cousin Chiara visited Boston from Italy! [5] obsessed with these lip stains from Sephora [6] catchin’ a Red Sox game with the family [7] anchors aweigh! my weekend bag packed & ready to go [8] my favorite place, the Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island [9] Paint Nite with my favorite blogger babes!  More on that soon.

 

What are your favorite June memories?

Anything you’re looking forward to next month?

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Pretty in Pearls

Before June is over, let’s talk about my favorite birthstone: June’s pearl.  June technically has three birthstones including alexandrite and moonstone, but pearls have always been my favorite.  No offense to my garnets, but the association with the sea gets my every time.

Now, I’m not a preppy girl and you won’t see my rockin’ a stand of pearls.  It’s just not my style.  You will, however, see me decked out in pearls in other ways.  Actually, I wear three pairs of pearl studs every day in my second, third, and fourth earlobe piercings.

Bauble Bar always has such fun pearl jewelry!  Here are my favorites:

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 12.21.26 AM[1] Pearl Bar Pendant – A different kind of pearl necklace.  How cute would this be for layering?!  Order now on BaubleBar.

[2] Pearl Arc Ear Jacket – As if I don’t wear enough pearls in my ears!  This is actually the piece that I am currently waiting for to arrive.

[3] Double Pearl Earrings – An interesting twist on a classic pearl!  Though not currently available on Bauble Bar, I picked up the same pair at a local boutique.  Be on the lookout!  They’re around!

[4] Pearl Wraparound Ring – Another piece that is sadly not available anymore.  I’m hoping this pops up again soon.  Similar here.

[5] Petite Pearl Cuff – This delicate bangle is available, and will mix & match well with other bracelets.  There’s also a larger piece, the snowball pearl cuff, that’s more of a statement!

[6] Gemini Pearl Ring – While stalking the pearl wraparound ring elsewhere on the web, I came across this ring also gone from Bauble Bar.  Similar around though!

 

Any favorite pearl pieces in your jewelry box?

I tell you, I’d be a stand-of-pearls girl if someone wants to buy me some Mikimotos… I’d love you forever!

MasterChef: TV Dinner

You know what I love about MasterChef?  No theme song to sit through until we get to the show!  You know what else I love?  Mystery Box challenges!

For some reason I feel like this is our first true Mystery Box– the first set was different for each home cook and the second was like, Christina’s choice?  I don’t know how those themes invalidate them, but in my mind they do.  This week’s Mystery Box had a fun theme: breakfast!

This box includes sausage, bacon, smoked salmon, eggs, tomato, asparagus, banana, berries, and English muffins.

This box includes sausage, bacon, smoked salmon, eggs, tomato, asparagus, banana, berries, and English muffins.

Before the home cooks get to work, Gordon Ramsay announces that they’ll be cooking with a chef they could learn a thing or two from: Graham Elliot!  While the home cooks have one dish to make in 30 minutes, Graham ups the ante and decides to whip up three– one for him, one for Christina, and one for Gordon.

Graham's dishes on the left; top home cooks' dishes on the right.

Graham’s dishes on the left; top home cooks’ dishes on the right.

The top three plates that the judges taste are Nick’s breakfast three ways, Katrina’s blood sausage frittata, and Derrick’s expertly plated breakfast trio.  The winner of the advantage in the elimination challenge is… Derrick!  Aside from not having to cook, he heads into the pantry to determine the fate of all other home cooks.

In the pantry, Christina, Graham, and Gordon show him some creatively packaged TV dinners to chose from.  The home cooks must elevate this dish.  From Christina’s salisbury steak with broccoli and mac & cheese, Graham’s meatloaf with mixed veggies and potatoes, and Gordon’s turkey with gravy, green beans, and mashed potatoes, Derrick picks…

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Salisbury steak with mushroom gravy, broccoli, and macaroni & cheese!  Olivia is embarrassed to admit that she doesn’t know what salisbury steak is.  She’s not alone– Hetal, the vegetarian, doesn’t know what she’s making either.  Somebody must tell them, though, because everyone secures their ground meat for the task at hand.

There’s another twist before they start cooking, though; Derrick gets another reward in that he can target a home cook of choice that has to stand idle for 15 minutes while the rest start.  Derrick selects Christopher, who only gets 45 minutes to cook while his competitors get the full hour.  Here are the results:

L to R, top to bottom: Nick, Christopher, Veronica, Hetal, Jesse, Shelly, Olivia.

L to R, top to bottom: Nick, Christopher, Veronica, Hetal, Jesse, Shelly, Olivia.

  • Christopher may not have had time to remove his ring mold from his mac & cheese, but his dish is both delicious and beautiful enough for Gordon to suggest they take 15 minutes away from him on every challenge!  He compares himself to both Jesus and Godzilla, and he’s become my fan favorite.
  • Hetal comes up to present in tears.  “Don’t eat it; it’s so bad.”  Hetal not only couldn’t taste her own beef, but she also had a mushroom allergy preventing her from tasting her own gravy.  That distracted her and ruined her whole plate.
  • Olivia’s plate goes over very well– a punch in every component!
  • Shelly’s seasoning is “Jamaican” Graham go crazy.
  • Veronica completely missed the objective.  She plated hers like TV dinner, despite being told by the judges not to.
  • Nick’s Italian twist on the dish goes over very well.  I laugh when he says his grandmother’s secret is to add parmesan… nah dude, that’s just how you make meatballs if you’re Italian.
  • Jesse’s looks bizarre.  The venison is extremely dry and bright white in color.

The top two are announced: Nick & Olivia!

The bottom three are Hetal, Veronica, and Jesse.  Sadly, both Veronica and Jesse are sent packing.  I’m glad to have Hetal still here; I like her!  Let’s see how Nick and Olivia do as team captains next week!

Ultimate Straight from L’Oreal Paris

My first Influenster Vox Box came a week or so ago full of products promising the straightest of hair.  Even as someone who considers her hair very straight, I still need to use a heat tool to achieve truly straight hair– a purposeful look, rather than my hair just looks like this.  The Ultimate Straight collection from L’Oreal Paris was the answer!

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I received the following:

  • Full-size Smooth Intense Ultimate Straight straightening shampoo
  • Full-size Smooth Intense Ultimate Straight straightening conditioner
  • Full-size Smooth Intense Ultimate Straight straight boosting pre-conditioner
  • Full-size Smooth Intense Ultimate Straight straight perfecting balm
  • Sample-size shampoo, conditioner, and pre-conditioner

If you happen to catch my unboxing video,  you may have noticed I was a bit confused about how I’m supposed to use this four part system.  I’ve never used a pre-conditioner before, though it very obviously falls between shampoo and conditioner… I just wasn’t sure of the practicality of the whole thing.  Luckily, there were instructions. (more…)

Summer Reading 2015 [part 1]

Well friends, last summer I managed only ten books. Considering that I only read on weekends, (my job is super demanding) I guess that’s not horrible… but it doesn’t really sound like me. I’m hoping to blow that out of the water this summer. Or at least surpass it. Here’s what I managed to accomplish thus far:

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The Rule of Four – Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason

This was marketed as Dan Brown meets Umberto Eco meets F. Scott Fitzgerald. I was into this. And it delivered as such! This was a quick but seemingly fulfilling read, weaving historical fiction into college adventure into real world danger. It was fun and interesting. The ending, however, I found to be a disappointment. I like it when books end and this kind of… hung there. It’s definitely worth a read, despite the many lackluster reviews I read on Goodreads. I liked reading it.

Shadow of the Night – Deborah Harkness

This is the second book in the All Souls trilogy. I read the first, A Discovery of Witches, during last summer’s reading project. I was on the fence with it, but thought about it enough afterward that I decided to read through the series. It was a similar experience to reading the first– the beginning is easy to swallow, bordering on historical fiction and magical fantasy, then things get a little too Twilight-y. I’m still up for reading the last in the trilogy, which you can look for on my list later this summer.

I, Justine – Justine Ezarik

I have loved ijustine for years. She was my first exposure to the world of YouTube, and she’ll always be my favorite. Now, Justine Ezarik is not a prolific writer. This isn’t a behind the scenes, earth-shattering tell-all. It is really interesting, especially for those of us who have been watching her videos for the better part of the decade. There’s that element of nostalgia for the days of hey hey you can ask IJ! It’s genuinely in Justine’s voice, and there are some tidbits that we’d never have known– like Justine once went to Hawaii with a boyfriend who didn’t want to be on camera so it looked like she went alone. All and all, this is a super quick read and a MUST for iJustine fans! I finished with a smile.

Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison – Piper Kerman

I’ve meant to read this for the last two years after finishing the latest season of OITNB. This year, I finally got around to it! I knew that there would be differences in the Netflix series and the actual memoir, but the differences are greater than expected. I tried to match up characters– I thought everyone was Morello, who is clearly a composite character. Red was an easy match to the woman Piper Kerman called Pop. The memoir’s Delicious became Taystee of the series. Though there is a Pennsatucky in the memoir, the character in the series is a composite as well. Reading this, you’ll recognize many scenes taken from it for the Netflix original, but ultimately, the story is different. Piper is different. I guess the main thing is that this book is about Piper, while OITNB really isn’t anymore. Quick, interesting read, though!

In truth, since I’ve written and photographed for this post, I’ve got another book under my belt… but you’ll have to wait for part 2 for that!  What are you reading this summer?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 24

I knew this was going to be one of those annoying episode in which we return to a battle already in progress but do no finish the battle before the episode is out.  There is a reason I binge-stream TV and it is to avoid these such episodes!  Regardless, I was pretty involved waiting for the oncoming arc resolution.  Here’s where we are:

Black Lady is creepily kissing her father and literally no one has a problem with it.  In fact, it kind of calms Sailor Moon into tapping into her power.  All joking aside, this is the great thing about Usagi/Sailor Moon as a character: she is capable of such empathy.  In Black Lady’s attempts to destroy the world, Sailor Moon sees a loved one in pain.  She sees the errors of her own ways.  She sees someone who needs her help.  She activates her Legendary Silver Crystal that isn’t supposed to work in the future by way of the Legendary Silver Crystal of the future and she fights.  The same can’t be said for her friends.  The inner senshi, have been quickly subdued by the evil eye Wiseman lent Demande.

This evil eye also lets Demande see through Wiseman’s hypnotic suggestions.  He quells his brother Saphir by, I believe, killing him.  He tries to unmask Wiseman.  Turns out the cloaked figure is just a corpse prop; the real Wiseman is fused with the planet of Nemesis itself and it crushing the Crystal Palace.  Sailor Moon is holding steady, though.

Meanwhile, at the door of space-time, Pluto is in turmoil.  She knows the senshi need her help and so badly wishes to fight beside them.  Her oath to always guard the door keeps her in place.  What a sweetheart, but come on girl, just go!  Diana arrives to do one of the only useful things the felines have done in SMC and relieves Pluto of her duties at the door.  Diana stands guard while Pluto joins the fight.

kitten cuddles and a killer top knot.  could Pluto be any cooler?

kitten cuddles and a killer top knot. could Pluto be any cooler?

Only Sailor Moon can’t hold out much longer.  Demande might be convinced of the power of the Legendary Silver Crystal, but Sailor Moon doesn’t think she can stave off Nemesis.  She just wants Chibiusa back and doesn’t want to live in a world without her.  She tells Black Lady her life is hers if she wants it; the Silver Crystals are hers.  Tuxedo Mask snatches her Silver Crystal from her and kind of whacks her with the Cutie Moon Rod.  Something has changed within him, though… the hypnosis is wearing off?

Black Lady gets her hands on both Legendary Silver Crystals only briefly, as Demande snatches them from her.  In a sudden, but admittedly predictable, utterance, Pluto reveals that touching the two crystals together will destroy the world.

Cool.  So, with high stakes, I’m expecting something heroic from the senshi!  What do you all think?

Clone Club Catch-Up: New BFFs

Today blog post title comes from Ferdinand, who single-handedly managed to make me not hate him with that line.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say “History Yet To Be Written” is the best finale we’re seen yet.  The original, Kendall Malone, is secured and genetic samples are taken.  A deal is struck, then terminated last minute, but things actually work out for the group!  Sure, I’m still a little confused about the science… what was that mechanical bug that came out of Nealon’s mouth?  Neolution is back in the mix, and apparently the root of all evil (for now.)  The supposed (we never can tell, can we?) death of a main character definitely put a damper on things, but all and all, I think this was an amazing episode.

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Clone by clone, as always, one more time this season:

Rachel wakes up not with the perfect copy eye she was promised, but with this weird bionic eye.  She also has no idea where she is and nobody’s answering her stammered calls.  The answer to Rachel comes at the very end, a great cliffhanger for next season: Charlotte walks in followed by Susan Duncan.

Helena gets a nice surprise from her brother-in-law Donnie, Jesse of Jesse’s towing!  “You found my boyfriend,” she smiles.  Life’s finally coming together for her.  Her assassin skills are now being leveraged to the group’s advantage.  She fights Rudy to the death.  He’s already glitching out, but y’all know she could’ve taken him anyway!

Alison wins School Trustee!  She celebrates with Donnie, Art, Sarah, S, Cosima, Helena, Felix, and Scott.  Sarah notices some of them are missing, and they toast to Beth.

Krystal‘s identity is discovered basically just in time.  Delphine realizes that the Rachel they have in Dyad is not actually Rachel.  She’s assumed safe, and hopefully she’ll be joining the Clone Club next year.

Cosima attempts to reconcile with Shay, but backs off realizing she can’t possibly let her in on who she is.  Delphine visits Shay, after being told she won’t live to see morning, to try to put things back in order for Shay and Cosima.  I love Ksenia Solo, so I kind of want this to work out, but I really love Delphine.  Delphine gives Cosima one hell of a goodbye kiss before she’s shot.  Is she dead?  It seems that way but this is the kind of show that you never know.

Sarah is the one who brokered the deal with Ferdinand, the lesser of two evils when it came between Topside and Castor.  She had the upper hand, knowing they weren’t handing over Kendall Malone, just samples.  She and Fe also pay a visit to Gracie and Mark, recruiting Mark into their plan.  Mark lures Coady, and Coady’s shut down by Ferdinand’s people.  When Sarah receives the call from Delphine revealing Ferdinand to be a pawn in a Neolutionist agenda, Ferdinand flips sides and eliminates his Neolutionist companion who was prepared the take the samples.  We also learn how Sarah ended up with S– we’ve known it was purposeful for quite some time, but knowing this adoptive mother-and-daughter are actually blood related is just perfect.  Finally, the very end sees Sarah reunited with her flesh and blood, Kira.

A happy ending for most, with just enough of a cliffhanger to keep me dying for next season.  Though Delphine is a blow, I’m not Game of Thrones upset here.  What did you all think of the finale?!