7 Products Next Door (Under $25!)

Friday, January 30, 2015

One of my many qualities is I'm easy to buy for. You know how every year you're like "what do I get for _______ that is new and different, and something s/he won't return?" I can guarantee you I'm not _______. At least not to the people who have known me for more than fifteen minutes. A short list of the things I like in pretty much every form:
  • Anchors
  • Cozy socks
  • Fancy candles
  • Funny phone cases
  • Grey crewnecks
  • Note pads
  • Wrapping paper
  • New beauty products
  • Different brands of Cheetos
  • Wine
For this write-up, though, I've chosen to focus (mainly) on products - most of which I got for Christmas, from more than just my mom. And sorry for the janky photo editing - I have an old laptop and no Photoshop, so...yeah. 

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7  

Harrison wanted to tint and moisturize his lips, too. He tried to get my little Fresh Sugar tube, but thankfully I got it away from him before he completely ate the top.

1. One Line A Day Memory Book: My BFF got me this journal last Christmas and now that I'm in year two, it's so fun to see how much a difference a year really makes. I love reading to Raz what we were doing on this day last year. One year ago today, I went to happy hour with my former coworker and manager. I wouldn't have necessarily remembered that if it wasn't for this sweet little thing. It puts so much in perspective. I've taken it traveling a bunch, too, so it's super beat up. I flew over 50,000 miles last year, and I'm impressed the book isn't more beat up.

2. Rifle Paper Co. Bon Voyage Travel Journals: These came in a pack of two and my mom ended up getting them for me for Christmas. Since she travels a ton and I do, too, I've decided to write my speech for her wedding in it. More to come on that. I love most everything Rifle does. They're so smart and cute and full of whimsy. 

3. Formulary 55 Candles: I got these on sale at one of my favorite Seattle boutiques a few weeks ago, and am OB-SESSED. I'm a little bit elitist about what candles I burn (and I burn them constantly, so it's a pretty expensive habit), but I blame my dad walking through the perfume section at department stores and always saying he got a headache from too many smells. So, anyway, these guys smell a little sweet, but not too much, and a little earthy, but not too much, and everything good in a candle, but not to much. You know? So they are my current bedroom rotation. I have a lavender honey one burning right now.

4. Lather Yuzu Sugar Cane Body Buff: I don't even know where to begin with this stuff. It was another Carlovilla find (thanks, mom!) and it came at the perfect time. My mom also gave me hand, mouth and foot disease in December and after it went away, my hands peeled like nobody's biz. Once I started using this, it scrubbed off all the embarrassing dry skin, moisturized my sad hands and smelled phenom. Lemony and delicious, but not too lemony and delicious. Now I stare at it in the shower wanting to use it and also wanting to save it and sometimes just smell it. It really is a struggle. My mom and I are in this constant competition to get each other addicted to new beauty products and I think right now she's winning. 

5. Fresh Sugar Berry Lip Tint: THIS STUFF IS THE BEST. It was a gift from one of my gfs this Christmas and I've been savoring every bit. I'm a huge Vaseline person. Like I have it in every beauty bag and in my night stand and in travel size and everywhere. I live and die by it. During the work week, I put Vaseline on to start the getting ready process and end with some kind of bright red or pink lipstick. But on the weekends, I use this. It adds the perfect amount of stain to my lips and doesn't peel or get creased. I don't have to worry about looking like a weird clown in the middle of convos as it wears off, and it's just all around amaze. I'm gonna go get every other color they have because it's that good. Super moisturizing, too. 

I'm telling you, Mr. Harrysonos was really into it. I had to remove it from him. Multiple times. 

6. Bliss High Intensity Hand Cream: Another Christmas gift, this time from one of the managers on my team. If you haven't gleaned it by now, I'm a picky smells person, and this is another "smells amazing, but not too amazing" lotion. I still have a few little HM&F spots on my fingers that need deep moisture and this stuff does the trick every morning. My beauty products bill is quickly adding up. I know they have Bliss products at W Hotels, so I might have to take myself to one and load up, haha. JK...half.  

7. ban.do YEAH Phone Case: I know you're thinking two things: "She still has a 5?" And "How many phone cases does she have?" So, yes, I still have a 5, and I need that to change soon, but I've never been called an early adopter by any means, so I'm giving myself time (even though my storage overflows every day). And, I'm not sure how many phone cases I have, but it's a lot. I just had to have this one because it was at the Rack and it reminded me of my grandma. Whenever I would say "Yeah" to her, she would look at me and respond, "What you mean to say is 'yes, Grandma.'" It's like in Miss Congeniality when the coach guy is like "Always yes, never yeahhh." It's my little wink of rebellion.

What are your fave products and things right now? Share with me because Melanie got me addicted to beauty YouTubers and I'm about to be doing a lot more of these random roundups.


Friday, January 16, 2015

It's quite possible I heard it wrong, but the other night someone said what I heard as "Soul Rich" and I thought it was a really cool term, so I adopted it. And #hashtagged it.

I'm reading this book about brain cancer that pulls at the pit of my stomach and also makes me laugh. It's called Shrinkage and it was written by Adam Corolla's right hand man, @BaldBryan, about surviving his glioma. It gives me crazy insight into what my dad must have gone through while he was sick, and while it's awful reading it sometimes because I watched my dad hurt and I don't really want to relive that, it makes me feel connected to him in a much more real way. Constipation and all.

What's weird about losing a parent as you're pouring the foundation of your adult life is there are so many big moments he hasn't been able to be present for physically - and they feel like they happened all at once: our engagement, our wedding, two kitten adoptions, our first home, all my friends having babies and many melodramatic life crises I would have asked him to talk me off the ledge of if I still could. I never dialed his phone number after he died. I didn't want to listen to his voice mail. It was all too much.

I think about him almost every second of every day. I love telling stories about him so Raz knows him through my remaining family. My heart swells when Raz says "I really would have liked Doug." Raz knew him in the depths of his disease. He didn't know my pre-cancer dad. He didn't know my dad in his full anal neuroses, kicking the tires of my car every time he came by, making me spaghetti and removing my plate fewer than thirty seconds after I finished.

And when I think about my life, even though it's not with my dad anymore, it is so, so #SoulRich. I'll lock our front door as I head out for work and think about what a cool thing we're building within those walls. I'll walk down the street and get myself all choked up with the anticipation of being warm in my home with the little family I'm creating. I'll cry hot, happy tears appreciating the love my friends and family have showered on us these past few years. Because they really don't have to. And because I'm much more tuned in than I've ever been. I'm glad for that. The tuned-in-ness.

We built these soul riches, and we worked hard. We'll never stop working.

Because I don't have him anymore, I get it all on such a different level than I ever have. I look at boats like my dad and I used to together and I know my life is full and my soul is rich. Rich in love, rich in happy, rich in family, rich in everything that cannot be measured. And because of that everything will always be okay.

So, here are some boats. We took these photos on New Year's Day in Edmonds, a cute little town slightly north of us.

I hope you know how to make your #SoulRich, and that loving your people hard always pays off, whether they're here or not.

The Baby Shower Next Door

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

We were on our honeymoon when my favorite Francofile told us that she was expecting. I know what you're thinking and, yes, there is WiFi in Tahiti! She was my former roommate, one of my bridesmaids and, the nosy bunch we all are, had been noticed not drinking during our reception. Since I was the bride, these observations were shared with me later: "I KNEW something was up with her!" my seven other attendants said when I relayed the news.

Fast-forward to an epic group text conversation with my other former roommate and I asking her every possible question about babies, timelines and emotional state of mind and you'll get to the point where we forcefully gave her no other option than to throw her a baby shower. We left nothing up to chance. When your family is 5,000 miles over oceans and continents and your husband's family is in the Bay Area, you get to let us adopt you. Besides, we kind of owe her since we made it our mission to find her an American man to keep her on our soil. More on that another time. 

I've always remembered that part in Stepmom where Julia Roberts is driving around trying to pick up her bf/fianc├ęs kid from a birthday party and doesn't know which house to go to. She's on the phone with Susan Sarandon who's like "Just look for the house with the balloons." I had to be that house.

Raz's and my new home has a great big family room in a converted two car garage. It's huge. Like we had to get inches added to our custom sectional set to arrive at the end of the month huge. Once Raz and I moved in, we decided we'd be having lots of parties in that room, so we were thrilled to host. 

My co-host (and aforementioned former roommate), Katharina, and I decided on a blue and gold theme. From there, she got busy finding baby shower cookie cutters and I went nuts at Target and Hobby Lobby. We also worked with our honoree's husband to surprise her with a maternity photo shoot in the meantime.

April from Ribbon & Lace Photography did such a great job with the surprise maternity photos. 
Did I mention they wanted a couples' shower? 

I'd never ordered balloons before and the chick at Safeway I called the day before did not appreciate my Stepmom story as much as I needed her to, but I forgave her because she's young. It's getting to the point where I'm really starting to age myself. 

Harrison was thrilled to see his first balloons. He has had quite an exciting few months of wrapping paper.  
Aside from my outside-the-house directional balloons, I had to put my creative genius to work on the 21 remaining helium beauties. 

Clearly having a hard time keeping the balloons off my hair. 
My great grandmother's buffet is our favorite piece of furniture. We decorated it for Christmas and had fun with it for this event, too. 

Two words: MIMOSA BAR.
I put the nice champs in the bucket. Cooks was in reserve. You never know how wild these things are gonna get, especially when your husbro is knocking back beers with the other dudes in attendance. 

Kat knows how to emboss. I need to add this skill to my resume.
Classy and fab. Photo via Katharina's Instagram page.

For being our first, the shower went off without a hitch. Do I want to host a bunch of boys again? No. I want tea cups and happy tears and pretty things. But I did enjoy this new take on an old tradition and loved celebrating a person who deserves it so fantastically. 

My life is one big baby shower right now, so my gold and blue party fixings (including blue fluffy balls we hung from the ceiling that just did not photograph well at all. Yes, blue balls) will likely get reused sooner than later. And, for the first time in recent memory, I don't hate it. We're, like, basically adults now. 
Can't have a shower without a diaper cake. Thanks, CWoomie!
Babies! Everywhere!

Also, TBND has been alive for a little over a year now. Thank you to everyone who has followed and supported. The journey is ever-evolving and I appreciate your openness to my major stream-of-consciousness storytelling/ranting/life journaling. 

Watching Raz Cook - Hot and Spicy Buffalo Shrimp Dip

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New year, new recipes! Raz and I hosted our first Christmas dinner and while it was certainly different sitting around my great grandmother's table at our first home (!!!!) instead of at the kids' table with my cousins (yes, there's so many of us, I still sit at the kids' table and it's amaze), having Christmas dinner at our house brought with it some unique benes:
  1. I didn't have to be a slave to turkey - my fam really loves turkey for all holidays. We had prime rib and the men at Costco were hyphy when we were shopping for the perfect cut - turns out it's a dude's club when it comes to the Costco beef section
  2. We got to incorporate some of our favorite traditions while we created new ones (nice to see you again, broccoli casserole...goodbye grandma's Folgers coffee)
  3. We watched Suprima and HJP have one hell of a time with all the Christmas wrappings (and their millions of new toys/rats). Pray for our actual human babies. Two weeks later, we finally cleaned up the rat battleground that is our empty living room and had to have scooped up at least a dozen
And after all that, we tried for a little more routine. Since we're really embracing our old age/place in life (I was made for sweatshirts and cat phone cases), we're doing a lot more dinners with our couple friends and spending much less time drinking in the cold and paying for cabs home. Not that we were really doing that anymore, but still. Like we're considering joining wine clubs and have VARIETAL PREFERENCES. We are becoming adults. It's like I'm finally living my truth again for the first time since I was 15 and emotionally abusing my parents for making me move to Idaho but really spending all my weekends with them on the couch eating ice cream and watching movies because they were still my favorite people even if they did inadvertently ruin my life.

SO, BEHOLD. Raz's latest, which was a huge hit - hot and spicy buffalo shrimp dip, adapted from Skinny Taste/Raz's mom.

Hot and Spicy Buffalo Shrimp Dip
Serves: 9 (Per usual, four of us ate almost all of it) 

·         Cooking spray (We used Pam)
·         4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened (we didn’t soften ours enough – leave it out on the counter for a half hour before you start, at least)
·         1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
·         1/2 cup Franks hot sauce (we used his buffalo version – def recommend)
·         1 tsp white wine vinegar
·         2 cups (12.5 oz) cooked peeled large shrimp, diced
·         3/4 cup reduced fat Sargento Mexican blend (we used Tillamook extra sharp cheddar)


Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly spray an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 baking dish, or even a pie dish with cooking spray.

Combine the first 4 ingredients together and 1/4 cup of the cheese; mix until smooth.

Add the shrimp; mix well and put in a small oven safe dish.

Bake in the oven until hot, about 20-25 minutes.

You can serve with veggies like shown here, or you can be fat kids and get the Fritos scoops like we did. And if you haven't had Fritos in a while, they taste like the best part of middle school aside from blow up chairs and Roxy tees. Also, rationalize it by all the football games on TV. It is the "skinny" version, after all. Random aside: Remember chili cheese Fritos? I will be searching those down next.

Happy New Year, everyone! I am choosing to forgo resolutions in favor of a 2015 vision board. More to come.

All photos skinnytaste.com (we didn't take any because we were too busy eating).

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