How Does Your Garden Grow?

Happy Monday! This Motivation Monday is dedicated to anyone who feels like they are falling behind, can’t keep up, or feels like they are struggling while everyone else is all sunshine and roses. I am here to tell you, the grass isn’t always greener — often it’s not.

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It’s really easy to feel like you have to work twice as hard as others for the same results. It can also be easy to feel like your accomplishments are celebrated with a whisper while other’s are trumpeted with resounding excitement. I think everyone wants love, support, and achievement in their lives and I think it takes a lot of hard work to earn those things. So, if you don’t have those and are giving it your all, while others have it made in the shade with half of the effort, just know their grass isn’t necessarily greener. It could be fake.

It’s really easy to be the center of attention, can-do-no-wrong champ when you put 100% of your effort into maintaining that. At the end of they day, it’s exhausting and it isn’t real. The real grass…it’s imperfect, patchy, maybe it looks like it’s been tilled, but guess what? That’s your investment and that’s where you’ll see the most flowers grow. Flowers are better than boring patches of grass anyways.

Happy Monday! xox

Battle of the Beauty Bags: ipsy vs Play by Sephora

BeautyBagOffSubscription beauty bags are all the rage. Half of the people I know are using ipsy, but being a brand-faithful beauty buyer (I love Urban Decay everything) I did some googling to find out what was really out there. As it turns out, Sephora has a subscription box they call “Play”. I immediately signed up for the waitlist and this is the first month I got my Play box. Being that I have been using ipsy for a year I was excited to compare and contrast, so here it goes…

ipsy

Once you sign up for ipsy it take you about a month to get queued up, from what I can tell they rely a lot of peer to peer and work of mouth marketing to promote their products. They will email you teasers of what will be in your glam bag and give you points for more products, but only if you comment through the ap to post on your social media sites. Being in marketing, this drives me a little bit crazy because I think anything that seems like a “hard sale” or shameless promotion via social media is icky, so I usually just wait to get the “hey your bag is in the mail and here’s what’s in it” email. You can click through to a personalized link where you can view what’s coming in your pink pouch and you can rate your the products to get a more personalized bag that fits your needs/faves.

Here’s what came in my bag this month:

  • Eva NYC Get Glossed Hair Syerum (sample size)
  • Em Cosmetics Lash Gallery Dramatic Volume Mascara (full size)
  • Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer (sample size)
  • Vasanti Cosmetics Professional Eyeshadow Brush
  • Skyn ICELAND the Antidote Cooling Daily Lotion (sample size)

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Once you sign up for ipsy, you take a quiz that defines your skin type, style, and what your generals are. For example, I have fair skin so unless I am getting an out there Glambag, they probably aren’t going to send me a dark brown lipstick. Typically, there are always 5 items in a bag and the subscription is $10/month including shipping.

Play by Sephora

The set up by Play for Sephora is similar to ipsy, but there is a waiting period because Play is in such a high demand and they are in their infancy of rolling Play out, I think it’s only been around since last December. So, you can sign up for the waiting list here and wait for your email inviting you to subscribe. To get my email probably took 5 months, so it’s quite a wait, but hopefully the longer they are up in running the more they can accommodate.

Once you sign up you can view past boxes, special Spotify playlists, and videos about specific products. You can also go to your local Sephora to get tutorials and how to’s, which is cool if you need application lessons. Similar to ipsy, once you get the email that your box has sent you can see what has been sent in the box. It arrives in Sephora’s trademark white and back stripes and your product comes in a bag.

Here’s what came in my Play box this month:

  • Blotterazzi Beauty Blender
  • OUAI wave spray (sample size)
  • NEST Fine Fragrances: A Ray of Citrine (sample size)
  • Smashbox Photo Finish Primer (sample size)
  • First Aide Deep Cleanser (sample size)
  • Too Faced Bronzer Haute Chocolate (sample size)

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I did take the quiz that accounts for my hair, skin, and eye color, and talked about my problem areas (fine hair, dark eye circles, etc.). There are always 5 times per box, plus a fragrance sample, bonus! The subscription is $10 plus tax, including shipping.

ipsy vs Play by Sephora

ipsy Pros: 

  • I know what is coming in my bag and I can continue to personalize it based on rating my products. I also get bonus points for rating products sent to me.
  • Most products sent to me are cruelty-free/vegan/organic.
  • $10 is very affordable and I get some of the staples I need. (I haven’t had to buy mascara since I got ipsy!)
  • Introduced me to brands I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.
  • Full sizes! I have received a lot of full sized items, whether it’s hair products or mascara!
  • Lip products are always top. The shades I have received have been exactly my style and look great.

ipsy Cons:

  • The social media marketing pressure is real. In order to get “early access” to your bag they want you to share comments for bonus points via social media. If you are cool with that, great, but I am not into exposing my network to promos that I have opted into.
  • I’ve missed out on some cool stuff. You can see what other people got in their bags and I have missed out on some really cool stuff and brands. This may be because I haven’t rated enough products, but I missed out on some Urban Decay eyeshadow (wahhhh! my fave!).
  • Monochromatic eyeshadow. All of the shadows I have received have been in the same family of color (and in some cases almost exactly alike) with the exception of this weird red eyeshadow from benefit.
  • 50/50 for nail polish. Of the nail polish I have received, I wasn’t so much keen on quite a few of them. The only ones I have really liked were this bronze and bright red. I guess I can save the purple for halloween!

Play by Sephora

Play by Sephora Pros

  • Like ipsy, Play is super affordable and you get 6 items instead of just 5!
  • Generally, many of the items are cruelty-free and higher end.
  • Hardly any “filler”. Sometimes I get items from ipsy like masks, brushes, etc. that I get pretty frequently. I think I’ve gotten 3 brushes so far—where as I got a blender from Sephora which I feel like is really on-trend right now because everyone is contouring.
  • Video and in-store tutorials help you master the products you receive.

Play by Sephora Cons

  • The wait is substantial. I had to linger on the waitlist for months and months and once they send you your invite you only have a few days to respond before you get passed over. I was trolling my inbox for what seems like forever.
  • I’m not sure they “get” me. Granted, this is my first box and I feel like everyone basically gets the same thing, but I am pale and I am not so sure that a chocolately bronzer will ever work on me–we’ll see.

All in all, I would say that, as of right now at least, I prefer Play by Sephora to ipsy, BUT they are both so affordable I think I will keep them both for awhile! What about you, which to do YOU prefer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soup in the Summer: Spicy Thai Curry

thaicurrysoupI must confess, if I could eat soup everyday for dinner I would. I am pretty sure I ate a bowl of tomato soup with noodles for dinner almost every night in college. The only problem I have with finding recipes is that generally, a lot of soups call for animal stock. I try to maintain a vegetarian diet so this isn’t super ideal, however I have found that curry and coconut milk-based soups often call for veggie stock.

Honestly, I don’t know why I made this…it’s hotter than hell outside, and this soup is spicy…but alas, there are only so many salads you can eat in the summer. It’s a nice change to pace, super hardy, and has a lot of good veggies in it. Bonus points for the fact that you can make it vegan!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 tbs. minced garlic
  • 1 tbs. ginger (chopped fine)
  • 2 tbs red curry paste
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 bunch of baby bok choy
  • 4.5 c. veggie broth (or chicken if you wish)
  • 1 sweet potato (cut into chunks)
  • 1/4 c. shredded carrots
  • 13 oz. can of light coconut milk
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbs fish sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 c. rice noodles
  • 1/4 red onion (optional garnish)
  • 1 lime (optional garnish)
  • sriracha (optional garnish)
  • sprouts (optional garnish)

Directions:

  • In a pan, on medium heat, add the oil, garlic, and red curry and cook for a few minutes until mixed.
  • In a soup pot, mix the veggie stock, ginger, sweet potatoes, carrot, red pepper flakes, and the stalk of the bok choy (chopped up, leaves separated). Add the garlic curry mix and set to boil. Once the mix has boiled for a few minutes, set to simmer until the potatoes are soft. This usually takes about 20 minutes.
  • Add brown sugar, fish sauce (if desired), and coconut milk and stir. Let simmer a few minutes.
  • Add the rice noodles to the simmering pot and allow them to cook until the noodles are soft.
  • Pour soup into a bowl and sprinkle juice from a lime wedge on top. Add sprouts, sriracha, and onion to the top and enjoy.

Free Printable Father’s Day Cards For Nerds & Moms!

FathersDay (1)I used to celebrate Father’s Day. I would give my dad small things I made in school, cards, little trinkets. One year in college I got him sea monkeys. The kind that you grow yourself, they become little creatures and you keep them on your desk. I thought that presents were bandaids and reasons to be happy, which is what you think when you’re a kid.

I have a new reason to celebrate Father’s Day, I have in-laws who are funny and nice and I have my husband who will one day be the best father, but every year I celebrate my mom on Father’s Day, which is why I have included a card just for moms. There’s a reason, which you can read all about below, but for now here are some printable Father’s Day cards for nerds and mom’s who play the role of dad and mom:

 

Why I Celebrate My Mom on Father’s Day:

It wasn’t until around 23 when I realized there was a reason for my father’s actions. It’s never easy to admit yourself or anyone that your parent has a mental illness/personality disorder, it’s embarrassing…but you know what…so is being dragged up the stairs by your hair and your t-shirt because you got a B- on a paper, so is spraining your wrist playing softball and having your dad tell you to suck it up and that you were embarrassing him as you fight off tears and then your coach calls the school administration because she is concerned, so is finding pictures of women who aren’t your mother on your family computer and having to try to explain it to your 7-year-old sister, so is coming home from school to a old trunk with a note that says “you’re going to military school” because you got a B in math, so is standing in line at the Bursar’s Office because your father has sworn up and down that the college you worked your ass off to get into was paid for with your college fund, but he actually spent it on women who weren’t your mother.

He told me that I was his least favorite, I was a failure, I was worthless, and my mom got even worse. It wasn’t until I was in the car with my father and he sped up his car to pull into a gas station just to stop short as he unbuckled my safety belt and I flew into the dash, that was the moment I gave up completely. Many nights I slept with a knife under my bed because I didn’t feel safe. Sometimes I dared him to hit me in the face instead of just toss around and accost my mom and I, that way I would have evidence and could call the police, forcing him to leave. I knew I had to leave and I did. Then my sisters and my mom did as well. Now, he only calls to tell us he will never ever talk to us again, that he hates us…or he calls to tell us that he’s going to kill himself or find my mom and hurt her. I learned at a young age that you can literally kill everything you are trying to save someone else. I don’t think that’s a lesson you should have to learn at 23.

People will tell you “it could be worse” and it can–but that doesn’t make your pain any less substantial. People will tell you to get over it, but what they don’t realize that your most powerful relationships (or the lack there of) shape who you are as a child into adulthood, and finally (and arguably, most disgusting), people will attribute your toxic parent’s attributes to you, they will tell you that any disagreement or conflict you have with them can be written off bad “behavior” and that you use your childhood to as an excuse. They are dead wrong. Stand your ground, if “bad behavior” is standing up for yourself and that is finally something you can do after years of not being able to, do it…and make no apologies. Especially because people that have something to say about your family and childhood when they know how challenging it was, are terrible, disgusting people to begin with.

Over the winter, I saw a Pantene Pro V commercial that featured NFL players doing their daughter’s hair. They insinuated that girls that have present fathers that spend time with them grow up to be better in all kinds of ways. I completely reject this notion. Maybe our moms just worked that much harder! I am not the only person in the “no/not great dad” club, countless people are, including the President of the United States. My sisters and I all have degrees, we are all with great, driven men, and we all work hard and continue to advance in our careers. In fact, I just got an amazing new position that is a huge, HUGE step up for my career and my family. This is because of my mom; she took the worst of it from my dad so that we didn’t have to. She is responsible for all of my best qualities–her compassion, her drive, her work ethic, her unrelenting nerdiness—these are all things that inspire me.

So, if you don’t have a father for whatever reason this Father’s Day, know I’m thinking about you. Also, celebrate your mom today if she is in your life. She deserves it.

 

5 Easy Ways to Kick Off a Healthier Lifestyle

Healthier.pngAs someone who loves veggies and tries to eat mostly vegan, I think about health a lot, but sometimes it’s the things you aren’t doing that can contribute to an unhealthy or less healthy lifestyle. The good news is, fixing this is super easy, even for the laziest/busiest of people.

Because I don’t eat meat and I rarely eat dairy, I am always worried about getting enough of my iron and vitamins, especially because I tend to have low iron anyways. I eat a lot of beans, seeds, and veggies, but until I started using My Fitness Pal, I didn’t realize all of the nutrients I wasn’t getting.

I have made some really easy adjustments and not only do I feel great I have lost 10 pounds without even really trying! My husband has lost weight too, all his shirts are too big! What? I know, right! Anyways, here are some tips and adjustments to things that you may or may not already be doing in order to feel good every day.

START USING MY FITNESS PAL: This is one of my favorite apps, hands down. It keeps you on track with calories, water consumption, but most importantly—nutrition. I had NO idea I wasn’t getting enough Vitamin A, B, C, protein, and iron. You can also log in calories burned from working out. A lot of the meals are pre-loaded, so all you need to know are the portions you eat. You can log in via the web and your phone to log in your meals and snacks so there’s no excuse to not use it, because it’s that easy. My macros look great, but I was not meeting my daily nutrition goals, which I have adjusted and I feel great!

20160524_144011DRINK MORE WATER: This is what I struggle with big time. I would go from coffee to maybe a glass of water during the day and then I would have some water with dinner. There’s NO WAY that’s enough. I have a method now. If you have to drink 11 glasses of water a day, I know that I need to fill my water bottle at work 4 times and then drink a few glasses of water at home.

In order to stay on task I write goal times down on a post it note (11:30 a.m. , 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m.) and I know by those times, whatever they may be, I need to have had a bottle of water. I always add lemons and herbs to make it more interesting. When you get enough water there’s less headaches, you have better skin, you loose weight, and my acid reflux is so much better. Also, I hardly ever drink pop, but I love bubbles so I drink La Croix instead—my fave!

VITAMINS & NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS: Because I have dietary restrictions and I take daily medication for reflux I am lacking some nutrients. When you take a proton pump inhibitor daily it can deplete your magnesium, vitamin D, calcium and can lead to weak bones. I am not trying to have a hip replacement in my early 30’s so I take magnesium, calcium + vitamin D, in addition to vitamin B12 (for energy), COq10 (for heart health), folic acid (to help alleviate cramps), 5-HTP (for anxiety), and turmeric (for joint health/inflammation). That’s a long list, but I take a few in the morning and a few in the evening and I am confident that my bones will not break, I am getting the vitamins I need, and my cramps are 50% better than they used to be!

20160613_183856EAT MORE: Wait for it…veggies! Literally, 65% of my dinner and lunch are veggies. This might be more challenging to some, but I have never met a veggie I wouldn’t try so it’s easy for me. For example, tonight I roasted some cherry tomatoes, brussels sprouts, peppers, onions, and squash and I ate it with some soy “chicken”. Because my plate was mostly veggies that were filled with fiber and vitamins, it was filling and didn’t make me feel like garbage after I ate! Try spicing them up with some garlic, herbs, and red pepper flakes, yum.

WORK OUT WITH NOISE: I have never understood how people can run on the treadmill or work out in complete silence (unless it’s yoga), but even then I need some noise. If I make a certain play list while I am working out in my home “gym” aka my elliptical, bike, and treadmill, I know how far a long I am by what song is on and I know if I want to finish strong I need to push myself during a certain song. I also know what I need to start cooling down. Let’s be honest, I’m the girl listening to something fun and poppy like Passion Pit while getting into a deep thoughtful yoga pose (I’m not great at finding my center—yet!), but this is how I am able to stay on task and motivated while working out.

See…super easy! What are your simple tips to a healthier you?

Hustle Hard, Girls.

Start the grind, it’s Monday y’all and I. am. excited! This week, I am signing a contract for a really amazing new position. It’s a HUGE step up in every way possible; compensation, work-life balance, benefits, opportunities, everything. It’s been a really long process; multiple interviews, a 15 page marketing plan, presentation, group interviews, the list goes on.

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And…I’m batting 100–I’ve still never gone in for an interview and not received an offer for the position. So, keep at it…whatever you’re working on and you’ll get there, just hustle hard and run wild with success. Happy Monday.❤

Backwards & In High Heels

So here’s the thing, no matter what you believe or who you support, you have to admit it’s pretty cool that for the first time ever a woman is competing on on behalf of a major party for the highest office in the land.

I remember being super young and asking my father why Barbara Bush was always on TV when she wasn’t the President. Then I promptly asked why she wasn’t the President. He replied, “Women don’t have those jobs.” and then I asked him, “Does that mean I can’t ever be President?”…to which he replied, “Women just don’t have those jobs. The President has always been a man.”

Needless to say, I was super confused. I come from a family of all girls, my mom is a proud feminist and we were always taught to not let gender be an excuse for anything or to accept that girls just aren’t good at certain things…like math, science, sports, etc.,. As I grew up my heroes were Mia Hamm, the Notorious RBG, and Tina Fey, but the notion that a women couldn’t be President remained, rationalized in my six-year-old head by concluding that some things were just impossibilities.

Then, Bill Clinton became President…and his wife, who was always on TV (much like Babs–except Hillary was talking about more than just reading and staying off drugs), became a senator. Hillary Clinton was a petite, blonde lawyer with a short hair cut and a pants suit–a spitfire, with an unfaithful husband and mountains to climb, just like my mom (except my mom at the time was a Republican—which she has since reconsidered).

Now, my mom is the happiest she’s been in a long time and last night I saw an impossibility become incredibly possible. I am so excited to be here to witness this and I am so excited that when my eventual future daughter asks me if a latino, black, asian, disabled, gay, trans, woman or man can be President I can answer her with a resounding “yes”. I simply can’t wait…

“The match has been lit and my fire burns bright, but I cannot do this alone…

Forward together.

Not one step back.”