December 19, 2013

Velvet and Felt Hangers

The new year is coming up and that means one thing. Well, two things. My favorite shopping season of the year - the post New Years Eve sparkly clothes discount season - and resolutions. I know, I'm being aggressively, disgustingly early by discussing New Years when it's not even Christmas yet. I'm like a department store that puts trees out before it's even Halloween. Just wait for it - I promise, I'm here to help you.

Resolutions can sometimes put a damper on even the best of things, like the spoils of sparkly clothes season for amateurs coming to a close. New years are second only to new school years for reinvention. THIS is going to be the year. You're going to get organized and get fit! You totally won't need that glass of wine every night anymore! It all seems impossible to fuck up on January 1st but you've totally forgotten about it by mid February. I've been resolving to lose 30 lbs every year since my sophomore year of high school. I only accomplished it once and that's because I had gained an addition 30 lbs the year before. Maybe you could say I accomplished it this year, as well. Sure, it's because I gain 2 lbs every week, panic and then lose them the next week, but I have definitely lost a collective 30 lbs. Let's not argue over logistics, here.

It's a lot easier to take on organizational projects if you're looking to not fall into that 88% of people who fail to complete their New Year's resolution. They usually just require some kind of small investment rather than any kind of real effort to better yourself. I don't know about you, but I'd definitely rather full on burn a $50 bill than actually confront all my shortcomings head on and work to change them. Plus, organizational projects give you the illusion of bettering yourself. The tiniest of purchases at The Container Store always make me feel like a real grown up even if I'm wearing a Minnie Mouse sweater and eat Pop Tarts for dinner afterwards. You can also target specific things rather than make an umbrella "get organized" kind of resolution. Instead, you can say you want to "organize the junk drawer" or "organize my office". This gives you less room for failure and allows any residual organization to be a sort of happy accident. It's no longer "God, I am THE WORST, I said I would 'get organized' but my purse is always a mess and I haven't cleaned out the fridge in months! My mom is right, I am a loser!" It's "I am totally on top of keeping my rock collection organized! Come to think of it, I've been keeping my car super clean, too! I'm going above and beyond here! I am truly a treasure."

Resolve to "organize the closet" this year. This can be your feel good resolution because it's practically fool proof.

This was my closet about 6 months ago. It was decently organized but, to quote Cher Horwitz, an overwhelming sense of ickiness had set over me long ago. I had beef with my closet and that beef was with my hangers. Combining possessions with a significant other can be really great - my book collection has doubled and I have so many mens shirts to steal - but it's an eyesore when it comes to hangers. Blue hangers, black hangers, darker blue hangers, wire hangers, white hangers, bigger white hangers, purple hangers, errant pink and yellow hangers - my closet was like a Republican presidential hopeful's worst nightmare for a voting base. Just way too much diversity.

You can see I was really chasing a dream in those photos. I was doing my best to make an organizational system by color coding the hangers. I tried to hang things starting with skirts, then dresses, then sweaters, then cardigans, then tops and have a color corresponding to each group. This plan was a flop. I tried to hang my dresses on the purple hangers and often 4 crammed on one single hanger to make it fit. I was layering cardigans over tank tops because I just plain didn't have enough hangers but then either a cardigan or a tank top would end up in the wrong section of the rack. Even the hanger colors that were actually the same didn't work together. The white hangers were all different - some were big and chunky and others were smaller and had those little indents to keep clothes from sliding off. I always had to hunt for the latter if I was trying to hang up a strappy shirt and would inevitably come up short.

This seems petty to type out but this situation was just giving me bad vibes. My closet is really big. It's more of a walk through than a walk in. It's literally like it's own little room in my studio apartment - you have to walk through it to get to the bathroom. There's no closing the door to this closet. You can't have an out of sight, out of mind approach to this kind of closet. I wanted to have enough hangers for all of the clothes, I wanted the clothes to sit securely on their hangers and most of all, I wanted it to look organized.

My initial solution was to buy 60 white plastic hangers. It seemed like the most cost effective way to handle things. I already had a lot of white hangers so I figured I'd just throw some more into the mix. I ordered 3 20 packs and was horrified when they finally arrived from Wal Mart (I know, I deserved this). The hangers were weirdly sized and this dingy, off white color. They looked gray and small next to my other white hangers. Of course, I had made the problem worse with my solution.

Just when all seemed lost, I found the real solution by accident in Nordstrom Rack - felt hangers. Maybe they're velvet. I can't be sure.

I had a lightbulb moment when I saw them. Just, of course. Of course, I should buy felt hangers. Felt hangers will grip all of my clothing. They'll hold onto my boyfriend's dress shirts and my silky tops and my strappy dresses. And they will look damn good doing it. I bought every pack Nordstrom Rack had in stock. I hesitated at first because oh my god, do I want these in pink. I want these in pink so badly. I restrained myself and got black instead because 1. I can get my boyfriend matching ones which is the whole idea of this anyway and 2. I wasn't about to buy pink hangers only to never find that specific shade of pink ever again. I'm not going to live my life with 25 hot pink hangers and 25 slightly cooler toned bright pink hangers. That's not happening. I'm done with keeping track of what hangers are allowed to go where. Dunzo. I don't want to run the risk of buying new clothes and having to buy new hangers for them only for those hangers to make my closet look like a sloppy mess once again. I can buy black felt hangers cheaply at Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx and Target and they're all going to look similar enough for me. Black is a hard color to fuck up. Pink is way too unpredictable.

Would you look at this after picture? Can you believe how much space that saved? My entire summer wardrobe fit into half the space it took up with plastic hangers. AND that's even after giving every article of clothing its very own hanger. Almost everything was doubled up before and still took up significantly more space.

This is a photo from this month. I've pulled things out of drawers and storage to hang because I'm just rich in closet space now. These skinny minnies of hangers solved problems I didn't even know I had. I also bought a 3 pack of purple, three tier, felt pants hangers (one for every size of pants I own! "fat pants", the size I really am and my "it's never going to happen" size) and a 2 pack of pink, felt scarf hangers. I've even bought additional packs of the black hangers and who can tell the difference? I love when things are useful in addition to looking great and that's what these hangers are. They pretty much clean for me. My clothes stay put. Nothing slides off onto the floor. Nothing is holding on for dear life by one sleeve while the rest of the garment dangles off. I put the clothes onto the hangers and that's where they stay.

My boyfriend is not yet on board. I threaten him about it all the time. "One day you're going to come home and those shitty plastic hangers will be GONE. You won't get to say goodbye and you'll never see them again!" I am 100% not kidding. I will probably buy packs of 10 at a time and do it slowly, starting from the very back, so he doesn't even realize until it's too late.

Organizing your closet is literally as easy as felt hangers. You can get them for a lot cheaper than you might think. Check your local Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack - whatever kind of those markdown stores you have. I can pretty much guarantee that they have packs of felt hangers there. Don't pay more than $6 for ten of them. Any more than that and you're getting ripped off. A pack of 25 should put you out $13. Hang your clothes up. Maybe throw in any kind of sembelence of a system. Group like clothes together, arrange your clothes by color, whatever. You're done. Your closet is organized. Your clothes will stay in place, you'll save a ton of room and your whole life will seem more together. Only the most well adjusted people could have sleek, adult, matching hangers and you are now one of those people.

You can have this resolution accomplished by dinnertime on January 1st and take the rest of the year off. You've done enough.

December 15, 2013

Review: GLAMGLOW SuperMud Clearing Mask and Gift Sexy Gift Set

 GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment

My skin is a real Sensitive Sally and has way more acne related issues than it should after 23 years. A full year ago I decided to take a break from the medication I take to keep my acne in check. It was a mistake of epic proportions. I took several Photobooth pictures that will never see the light of day just purely to remind myself to never do anything like that ever, ever again. I literally looked like I had chicken pox - my face was entirely covered in deep, painful cysts and patches upon patches of acne. It actually hurt to lay my face against my pillow at night. Even with my medication, I have to take extra care to prevent breakouts. I use Cetaphil cleanser with cold water every morning and night and apply Cetaphil moisturizer at night. Anything stronger and my skin will both develop patches of acne AND dryness - half of it will be peeling off in chunks and the other half will be oily and zit ridden. But this gentle cleanser + moisturizer + medication cocktail keeps my breakouts in check.

A problem that I haven't figured out how to combat is blackheads. My pores are apparently really hospitable hosts for dirt and bacteria. Blackheads just camp out all across my cheeks and nose like some kind of horrible, uninvited house guest who just sits on your couch all day and hogs your cable and food. I've tried everything to rectify this - pore strips, exfoliaters, those metal blackhead extractors, drugstore products, high end products, prescription products - they either yield jack shit or yield jack shit AND dry my skin out. I don't know how the gunk manages to burrow so deep and hang on so tightly. You'd think I had flawless Barbie skin if you were to look at my used pore strips but staring me plain in the face tells a very different story.

I believe that bettering your skin is the best thing anyone who is committed to beauty and makeup can do for themselves. What's the point of slathering the perfect shade of $42 foundation all over yourself if the canvas you're working on has pores that are visible from space? Makeup can only do so much. You eventually have to confront your skin issues head on and with a vengeance and don't feel that this is hyperbole or anything. You absolutely have to go up against acne like you're going into battle, especially when it's insisting that it still wants to be a part of your life past your awkward teenage years. I would probably bathe in the blood of slain virgins if that's what it took to give me flawless skin - like, maybe Elizabeth Bathory had the right idea. I'm certainly not going to pass judgement against her for trying.

Luckily, it doesn't take virgin blood to give you good skin nowadays. Like most things, it just takes money - namely, dropping a small stack of cash on a measly looking 1.2 fl oz of product. The beauty committee has been abuzz over GLAMGLOW masks for the past month or so. The SuperMud Clearing Mask has received a lot of praise and I decided to try it out. The $69 price tag was pretty alarming but Sephora is currently running a BOGO sort of deal with their GLAMGLOW Gift Sexy gift set.

 GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment

You pay $69 for both 1.2 fl oz of the SuperMud Clearing Mask and 0.5 fl oz of the YouthMud Tinglexfoliate Treatment. The regular size of the later is 1.7 fl oz and retails for $69 so you're essentially receiving a free sample size along with a full priced full size amount of the Clearing Mask. I picked up this gift set as a gift to my skin. I'm indifferent towards the exfoliating treatment and haven't used it yet but an add on is an add on.

 GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment

 GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment

 GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment

 GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment

I was barely home from Sephora for a full two minutes before I was ready to try out the SuperMud Clearing Mask. I used an old foundation brush to paint the mask onto my skin, after removing my makeup, of course. I made the mask way too thick on my first try. A thin layer yields better results and, luckily, wastes less product. Trust me, if I'm paying more than $50 per fl oz of something I'm going to guard that shit like I'm a dragon guarding gold.

 GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment

 GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment Before During Review
Initial application and crazy eyes. Sorry. I look like someone who just found a camera and accidentally took a selfie, surprising myself in the process.
 GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment before during review
As it dries

 GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment before during after review

The mask initially goes on as a very dark gray and fades into a light gray. It has some chunkier particles but goes on very smoothly. Again, a little goes a long way. Apply it, let it work it's magic for about 15 minutes and rinse off with cold water. Now here's the money shots. As a warning, these shots are close ups of my disgusting pores. What you're about to see may shock and disturb you.

See all those little dots? That's oil. That's the contents of my pores that have been pulled out by this mask. These little dots will appear anywhere your face is hoarding dirt and oil. My problem areas with my pores are definitely the sides of my nose, my cheeks and the tip of my nose. As you can see, these areas are covered in dots because all the nasty shit has been pulled out.

 GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment before during after review

For best results, take a hot shower to open up your pores and then apply a thin layer of this mask. I've used this mask three times since I've purchased it - once in a too thick layer, one in a properly applied thin layer and once more after a shower. The difference it has made is astounding. My pores are normally visible. When you're looking at me, you're looking at gaping pores on my nose and cheeks. Now, my pores look like pinpricks. My skin actually feels like real Barbie skin when I apply my foundation. Everything just feels and looks smoother and tighter. I've kept the rest of my skin routine as is and I haven't even experienced any kind of flaking or dryness. My pores just look purged of all the crap they've been holding onto for years. A literal three experimental uses of this mask and my pores are seemingly empty.

This mask is probably going to ruin my life. I could honestly quit my job and all my hobbies just so I could apply this every hour and watch it work. Seeing all these dots of oil appear in the mask is addictive. It's great if you're a disgusting human being like me and take sick pleasure from popping zits. You literally watch your pores empty before your eyes as the mask dries. You can see that the packaging promised "fast results" and it wasn't fucking around. You're purging your skin of all this shit in less time than it takes to watch 3 chapters of R Kelly's "Trapped in a Closet".

 GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment before during after reivew

 GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment before during after review

You can use this all over your face, as a spot treatment to suck the excess oil out of zits or just keep it contained to your problem areas like I did. I almost don't even know why I'm writing words right now. I feel that the pictures do all the talking. This mask visibly pulls dirt and oil out of your pores and then you wash it off your face like it was no thing to begin with. I haven't checked the ingredients list but the first one is probably "sorcery" because I don't know how this works so well otherwise.

They also make a "for guys" version which is exactly the same, except with blue packaging so men don't end up, like, totally demasculinized by the color pink. I almost shit myself when I was playing around with the box my products came in - if you pull open your already opened box, it turns into the "for guys" box. So, really, exactly the same product. Literally.

I'd recommend this mask for guys - they can use it as a spot treatment if the idea of a full mask brings fluffy robes and cucumbers over their eyes to mind. This is really an acne treatment at its core and acne is like the ultimate social justice warrior - it doesn't discriminate due to gender or sexuality or race or religion. Men are getting acne. I mean, People's Sexiest Man Alive is the goddamn face of Proactiv - even allegedly hot guys are getting acne. I applied some of this mask to my boyfriend's nose and the results were nothing short of amazing. He spent about 10 minutes hunched over my magnifying mirror, staring at the oil dots forming all over his nose. He says that the GLAMGLOW Super Mud mask is a "miracle product" and that dermatologists' treatments have never made his skin look as good. My boyfriend knows next to nothing about beauty and skincare so this testimonial should mean a lot to you. Why would he lie?

Buy this mask for yourself or as an extravagant gift for someone you love. It's fun to you and amps your skin up to levels of beautiful you never knew were possible. I've been trying to find something to unclog my pores for about 7 years now and this mask did it in 3 uses. I've taken these gross photos of my nose so you can see for yourself and better your life immediately. Don't let it be in vain. Buy the gift set here.

December 12, 2013

Christmas Themed NOTD

China Glaze Phat Santa, Party Hearty and Mistletoe Kisses

There was not and never will be a better Christmas glitter than Party Hearty. That China Glaze 2010 Holiday Collection (Tis The Season To Be Naughty And Nice) was full of Christmas staples.

December 11, 2013

Totally Bamboo State Cutting Boards Revisited

See this cutting board displayed as art has had my brain working overtime. Why am I excluding myself from owning the New Jersey one? Who am I to prevent myself from greatness?

I'm going to make sure the New Jersey version makes it's way into my life at some point. I have a number of potential plans for it when it does:
  • Decoupage it with photos of Bruce Springsteen circa the 1980's, particularly the Born in the USA era
  • Add on some other Jersey icons like Meryl Streep and Jason Alexander, maybe.
  • Cover it with Mod Podge, dunk it in high quality silver glitter and cover it in Mod Podge again
  • Write a list of reasons why New Jersey is great all over it and use it as a New Jersey shaped slab of wood to smack people around with when they say untrue, hateful things about the state as a whole
  • Use it as a palette to mix nail polish colors for my nail art endeavors
I've been really limiting myself by taking these cutting boards at face value. These are bamboo cut outs of states that can become anything that you want them to be. I really want you all to know that because that information was almost lost on me. It's a whole new world.

December 10, 2013

Anthropologie Gift Ideas for Under $20

There are some inexpensive gems you can find at Anthropologie that would make great, unique gifts for the holiday season. I especially love the idea of giving these items as host/hostess gifts for whomever's home you'll be visiting for the holidays. Really, I love the idea of gifting Anthropologie in general because I think the best gifts are ones that are too frivolous and impractical for someone to buy for themselves. Here are four solid gift ideas, all for less than a $20 bill.

  Anthropologie gift ideas celestial coaster blue rose

I've already blogged about these coasters. They are have to see them to believe them level beautiful. I invested in two of them during a trip to Vegas earlier this year which, in retrospect, was a stupid idea. Who buys two coasters? Just two like you're Howard Hughes and never have guests over who might want to put their drinks down too? I quickly realized my error and scoured the stores for more turquoise coasters to match mine. I came up short every time. I considered purchasing online but, as I've said before, this is a purchase you really want to make in store so you can pick and choose the best ones from the bunch. Every coaster is unique and I didn't want to get stiffed with a crappy one. I was also constantly lusting after the other colors in the stores but I didn't want to have random, unmatching coasters like I'm some crazed hoarder who can't control myself from buying things just because they're pretty. I don't want guests knowing that about me.

I found my solution in the comment section of Anthropologie's website.* Someone mentioned that a salesgirl suggested buying all different colors so that guests could remember where their drink was. That's so obvious and so genius at the same time. Why didn't I think of that in the first place? They match each other because they're all colorful, geological coasters. It's actually better that you go buckwild and get whatever colors you want. I picked up the following two with that in mind:

  Anthropologie gift ideas celestial coaster blue rose
  Anthropologie gift ideas celestial coaster blue rose

I love that dark blue one. The design reminds me of something you'd see swimming across the screen on a documentary about the deepest parts of the ocean, like something bioluminescent in the inky, dark water. These coasters would make a great gift simply because of how different they are. Where have you seen coasters that look like that, ever? It's also guaranteed to be a unique gift just because no two coasters are even the same. They'll be eye catching just sitting on your recipient's coffee table. They come in sets of 4 for $32 on the website but I'd go to the store and buy individual ones in different colors for $8 each instead.

 Anthropologie gift ideas monogram coffee tea mugs S V

You've probably seen these mugs already because they're ubiquitous in the blogging community. I feel like everyone with a lifestyle blog has one of these initial mugs, usually filled with colorful pens on their desk. It cracks me up because I've had my V mug since 2008 and that's not bragging about my taste at all. I didn't pick this mug out. My mom saw these mugs and thought they were adorable and bought the V mug for me 3 full years before they started popping up all over the internet. She's even bought them for any roommates because she thought it was cute for everyone in the household to have their own initial mug. Look at that photo. My mug is so old that it's significantly larger than the ones they've been selling since 2012. My mom has a great eye and really good taste, honestly. She would be a good blogger, especially if America ever goes through a major 70's revival.

The regular version of these mugs make great gifts, especially for roommates (significant others count as roommates in this case) or coworkers since it also gives you an excuse to buy a matchy present for yourself. They're also understated, which makes them a safe gift option - no one is going to tell you that they hate typography or their own initial or a plain, black and white mug. If they do, cut all ties with that person immediately because they have a personality worse than wallpaper paste and I'm willing to bet there's at least one human head in their freezer.

However, if you're like me, the word "understated" makes you gag and this option is way more attractive.

The same mug, except with metallic gold detailing instead of black. I'm a very ostentatious person so I love the Wayne Newton living room-y combination of white and gold. These mugs cost $10.00, $2 more than the regular black and white version, and are limited edition. Your best bet is to order these online, especially if you're looking for an initial that's even slightly unusual. I haven't seen a gold V in my Anthropologie even once and you better believe I've checked upwards of a dozen times. You know I'd get down to brass tacks when it came to finding a metallic mug with a V on it. So, if you're a V or an X, Y, Z or something similar, stick to online shopping.

I don't own this little giraffe catch all dish but I have it on good authority that all that's about to change by December 25th. My review comes from seeing it in the above photo and once in the actual store. It just looks adorable and again, I love that white and gold color scheme, especially with the polka dots. You could probably lie and tell visitors that it's Kate Spade if they see it on your dresser and they'd believe you if you got really defensive about it. I have no idea how Anthropologie manages to make a color scheme like white and gold look demure and only moderately glamorous instead of outright tacky but the proof if right before your eyes.

I am a woman possessed by zodiac items this year. It would probably be better at this point if I was talking about the serial killer that terrorized California in the 1970's instead. I want almost everything that features some kind of astrological print. This scarf has been in my bookmarks for weeks and weeks and I'm truly afraid that I'm going to crack one day and actually spend $70 on it. I don't know what about all this zodiac stuff is so appealing to my eyes but who am I to fight it? These notepads are only $7 each, colorful and fun. Plus, everyone always needs a notepad for grocery lists, transcribing your thoughts and dreams or meth fueled religious scribblings.

*Honestly, I feel people who review things online are the real heroes. The ones that are really candidates for sainthood are the ones who review everything they buy. Everything. Me, I'm the kind of person who can't bring themselves to make a Yelp profile because I know I'll only use it to give one star reviews. Of PF Changs, because that's the only place where I've truly eaten a 1 star meal. But I would not be objective and write middling reviews. I would only be moved to log in out of pure rage or ecstasy, not after a standard customer service experience or a sushi joint that was simply average. Yet, there are people who do exactly that. They leave 2, 3 and 4 star reviews of sunglasses on Forever21 and coffee machines on and shampoo on They order something online that is okay, not great, does it's job and has no noticeable defects and they let me know that from their little corner in this world, all so I can know if it's worth it for me to pay $3 for a black tank top. That's so altruistic when you actually think about it. I deeply appreciate this kind of person because I rely heavily on product reviews when I online shop. I never, ever write them myself which is mad selfish of me. I can't really say for sure that I'm doing something more valuable with my time that could be spent writing online reviews. I try to make up for it by really respecting the people who use their time that way, though.

December 9, 2013

Totally Bamboo State Cutting Boards

Let me begin by saying I take 0 credit for finding this product. A friend of mine posted the New Jersey cutting board on my Facebook wall which I very much appreciate for obvious reasons. I'm a loudmouth with killer nails and I've very convinced that Bruce Springsteen music reverberates in my actual soul. To paraphrase The Times, I never met a Jersey stereotype I didn't love to death. It warms my heart when people think of New Jersey and then think of me and I really mean that. Of course I want a cutting board shaped like New Jersey.

However, I don't cook. I'm a fuck-up of colossal proportions in the kitchen. I pretended I could until around age 20, at which point it was time to come to terms with who I am as a person. That person is someone who is sitcom level "I even burn cereal!" bad at cooking. I'm not going to get down to the specifics of it because, honestly, it's not something to be proud of but I'm completely at peace with it. I don't want to cook. Handling raw meat grosses me out and the whole process is just way too time consuming. I'd rather order take out like the good lord intended. I used to live alone and I would make myself toast with peanut butter for dinner every night and I was totally fine with that. The only recipe that I have ever created is mixing ranch dressing and some kind of red spice with boil in a bag brown rice. I have other strengths and I don't worry about. Can't turn a ho into a housewife and all that. I'm the last person who should purchase a cutting board for themselves, even if it is shaped like the best state in the union.

However, my boyfriend is Italian and makes the best non restaurant food I've ever eaten in my life. He has his own signature red sauce that he makes from scratch and doesn't even have it written down anywhere because he just instinctively knows how to add ingredients so that it ends up tasting just right. There is a half eaten plate of these ricotta and prosciutto hors d'oeuvres things in the fridge as I type this that he made for us today. He's the one who cooks for us not only because I'm hopeless but because he's fantastic at it. I am no longer allowed in our kitchen because I move things around and then he can't find his measuring cups or oregano. The kitchen is where I keep my tea and fruit snacks and where I operate my coffee machine. It belongs entirely to my boyfriend in all other instances. I would literally never enter the kitchen if we were rich. I'd just have an office or something with my own mini fridge and a bar cart. That would be something we would both wanted. That's neither here nor there though because Wolfgang Puck is my private chef in my elaborate me as a rich person fantasies and I would have no time to even worry about the food with a shirtless Tom Hardy as my personal waiter.

Anyway, in the here and now, my boyfriend cooks our food. I decided to be thoughtful and order the cutting board in the shape of his home state, New York (specifically Long Island). I was put off when saw that the New York cutting board didn't include Long Island. I felt like that would be like giving me a supposedly thoughtful present in the shape of South Jersey. Almost, but not quite. Technically the same, but not culturally the same. That would be assuming that I live in the wilderness, say things like "water ice" and root for Philadelphia sports teams. Likewise, I don't think my boyfriend has ever been to a Stewarts in his life and probably doesn't even know what SPAC is. Sure, that's the shape of his state but they left out where he lives. I didn't want him chopping vegetables on such an inconclusive representation of New York.
 Luckily, I was shopping in Bed, Bath and Beyond on Black Friday and stumbled across a Long Island shaped board. I bought it on the spot. My boyfriend liked it so much that he decided he wants to hang it up in his kitchen rather than dirty it up with chicken and tomato juices. That's probably for the best because some of these cutting boards won't be the most functional investment for your home. A lot of states have very impractical shapes for this kind of thing. You come out on top if you're from one of the homogenously rectangle states or somewhere like Montana or Kansas. Then again, it also means you're attached enough to a place like Montana or Kansas buy things in it's likeness. No one wants "it makes a good cutting board" to be the selling point for their state.
Wyoming looks like you got a normal cutting board for a few bucks off because you noticed that it was cut kind of wonky on one side and the store manager said it was defective.

These cutting boards would make a great novelty gift at just $19 apiece. They're good for any cooks, people who have recently moved into their own apartment/home or people who identify too heavily with a specific region of the United States. They come in almost every state (sorry Hawaii) and even include Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and Long Island. There's even a continental United States shape if you're indecisive. As the name implies, they're made entirely of bamboo and even have a predrilled hole if you want to use them for decorations. Get them here or at Bed Bath and Beyond's stores and site.

Freedom is being able to chop up an onion on a bamboo cut out of your state. God bless America.

December 8, 2013

Gift Ideas for Guys

 I feel like someone asks me every year what to get their boyfriend. Maybe not me specifically. But every year someone complains around me that they don't know what to get their new boyfriend for Christmas. I feel like I'm a seasoned pro at this so here's a pretty varied list. Almost all have been gifted and approved of by guys in my life. Buy them, gift it and take all the credit for the idea. I got you.

Jaybird Wireless Headphones
This is a good gift for a tech obsessed guy or pretty much any guy who has a smart phone. He can leave your phone in your pocket and take calls via these bluetooth headphones. Even better, he can listen to apps like Spotify without getting tangled up in some wire connected to his back pocket. This would probably be especially good for the gym. I'm just assuming. It's not like I go to the gym. Available in both over the head and earbud styles.

J Crew Broken In Tees
These tees are available in every color of the rainbow and then some. They're a great basic that fit pretty much any guys style and look nicer than a 5 for $10 Hanes white tee. They're also super comfy and soft so you can be sure that whatever guy you buy these for will actually wear them.

Bleu de Chanel
This cologne is more like a present for you because it smells incredible (both citrus and woody at once) so this is kind of cheating. However, we live in a world where men buy their wives and girlfriends impractical lingerie as gifts so I'm the last person who is going to side eye you.

Whiskey Stones
This is only if you've gotten to the point in your life where you've realized that you're better than dating frat bros whose homes constantly reek of Natty Ice. These will keep drinks cold without watering them down.

The Sriracha Cookbook
I'm sure there's a guy in your life who puts this on everything and is always rifling through his kitchen, looking for the next thing he can concoct solely in the name of putting hot sauce on it. Enter this cookbook to give some kind of method to that madness.

The Walking Dead Graphic Novels/Video Game
What is it with guys and zombies? Seemingly all of them are into the idea of a zombie apocalypse. It's kind of worrying. Why do none of them realize there would be no more internet and their moms would probably be dead? Whatever. Check to see if your guy has played The Walking Dead video game or read the graphic novels if he's into the immensely popular AMC show. You can buy the first 8 volumes in one shot.

The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin
You're probably safe in assuming that your guy loves Teddy Roosevelt if he's at all into history. Get him a cool, new book about arguably the most badass president there ever was.

A Framed Picture
The average straight guy is pretty hopeless when it comes to decorating. They buy novelty shower curtains and hang flags on their walls. I've seen them use cardboard boxes as furniture. I like to think that they just don't know where to begin and that their moms are unable to help because they don't realize how bad it truly is. has a massive selection of prints and posters that you can pair with a cheap Ikea Ribba frame. Boom, something he can hang on his wall to make his disgusting bachelor pad a little homey. Search for photographs of the city he studied abroad in during college if you're in doubt about what to get. They even have generic close up prints of basketball nets and golf balls. It seems foolproof to me.

When all else fails:

Anything Sports Related
Duh. I feel like you're home free if your boyfriend, brother, dad, father in law, grandpa, cousin, whatever is into sports. It doesn't matter what he's into: football, college football, basketball, college basketball, baseball, hockey, you get the picture. Browse his favorite team's online store and just load the cart up. I do this when I know my boyfriend needs something specific, like another pair of sweatpants. Wouldn't he like them more if they weren't just sweatpants but Brooklyn Nets sweatpants? That's just what I assume and it hasn't steered me wrong yet. You can also find unique gifts this way. One of the things I'm most looking forward to getting for my boyfriend is a cutting board modeled after the Barclays Center court. You can give all sorts of useful gifts to guys by disguising it with a favorite sports team. When in doubt? A jersey will probably do the trick. I jumped on a new KG swingman jersey as soon as they were released over the summer for my boyfriend's birthday (as much as it pained me to do as a Celtics fan). He was complimented on it at a preseason game and was pretty much the only person who had one at that point which I'm hoping made him feel kind of spesh. For something extra special, check out Olympic jerseys -you could strike gold with this if your guy is a hockey fan.

That's all I got. Good luck.

For Your Christmas List: Sephora Favorites Superstars Set

image via Marie Claire
Make a note to pick up this gift set. I don't know if it would be best suited for your significant other or your best friend or your mom or your mother in law or you yourself but I do know that someone you know needs this. The value is out of this world, in my professional makeup hoarding opinion.

I saw this set during a recent trip to Sephora and I was honestly kind of put off by the $75 tag. $75 is, sadly, a pretty standard amount of cash to drop at Sephora a time but it's still enough to give me pause. $75 is about 10.5 Chipotle burritos (I always measure dollar amounts in Chipotle burritos). $75 is enough that you'd look at your bank statement in about 6 months and be like, "God, me, what the fuck is wrong with you? Make more responsible decisions and be a bit smarter with your money." $75 is a lot to part with in exchange for one product.

But, that's the thing. This isn't one product. Buying this set is kind of like legally stealing from Sephora. This gift set includes 13 of Sephora's best selling beauty products from 2013 and has something for everyone - hair, makeup, skincare, nail and fragrance products. The best part is that most of the items are full sized, not sucky little travel sized inclusions. So, you could spend $75 for 13 items OR buy only 3 of the products separately and pay $80 and not get 10 extra products for free.

That's a real price comparison there. This set includes:
  • Bumble and bumble. Surf Spray (1.7 oz) - $15.00
  • Urban Decay Eyeshadow Duo in Sin and Mushroom (1.5g) - $18.00
  • Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in Cleopatra in New York (0.5 oz) - $19.00
  • Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil (0.5 oz) - $14.00
  • Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Rollerball (0.33 oz) - $29.00
  • Too Faced Better Than False Lashes Mascara Base Coat, Top Coat & Nylon Fiber Extensions - $35.00
  • NARS Blush and Bronzer Duo in Orgasm and Laguna (5g) - $41.00
  • NARS Lipstick in Dolce Vita (3.4g) - $26.00
  • Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream (0.5 oz) - $30.00
  • Anastasia Brow Gel (0.085 oz) - $10.00ish
  • Stila Stay All Day Liner in Black - $20.00 
  • Smashbox BB Cream SPF 35 in Light (1 oz) - $39.00
The Bumble and bumble. surf spray and Anastasia brow gel are the only sample sized items - literally everything else is full size. Look at those prices! What the fuck?? Sephora has been drinking or something. You're literally paying for 2 or 3 items and getting everything else for free. I have no idea how Sephora can live with themselves for this.

I can't talk up a lot of these items because I haven't even tried them but the ones I have? I could fillabuster for days about how great they are. I could write epic love sonnets about them.

Any beauty blogger worth their salt will tell you Urban Decay makes the best eyeshadows in the game. The color payoff is unbeatable and the formula is always smooth, buttery and blendable. I have never seen a true dud of an eyeshadow come out under the Urban Decay name. So the full size duo of Mushroom and Sin is guaranteed to be amazing. Sin is a beautiful, frosty color that's perfect for a highlight or an all over lid color and Mushroom is an Urban Decay standby, a cool, gunmetal that's beautiful on almost every skin tone. This would cost $18.00 on its own. I am vouching for that $18 right here.

NARS is another beloved beauty brand, especially for their blush and bronzer. NARS Orgasm is such an exceedingly popular and versatile shade that it's spawned a lipgloss, a cream blush and a nail polish. NARS crams this blush shade into almost every set or palette they come out with because it's sparkly, coral shade is just plain that flattering and popular. Likewise, Laguna is their most popular bronzer that's a good bet for matching most white girls. I'm too pale for Laguna but let's be honest, my level of paleness is kind of an anomaly, so I would also vouch for this duo. This has a $41.00 price tag, making it the most expensive item in the set. We're at $59.00 when you add that to the Urban Decay eyeshadow duo and you're essentially getting 4 separate products at this point.

Deborah Lippmann's Cleopatra in New York has been on my nail polish wishlist for awhile and is the reason I was drawn to this set. I was looking at the singular $19 bottle in the Sephora and had it in my hand to purchase when I noticed this set by the checkout line. That was when I realized I'd have to be on glue to spend $19 for just the nail polish when I could get the nail polish and so much more for $56 more. I have a love/hate relationship with Deborah Lippmann and the hate is entirely about the $16+ price point for all of her polishes. However, I can justify it for her glitters. You trust me with glitter recommendations, right? Deborah Lippmann makes the chunkiest, sparkliest glitters possible and that's worth paying double the price of an Essie or an OPI to me. Now, maybe it's not worth it to you, and in that case Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure has a polish called Midnight Glitz that's as close as a drugstore polish is getting right now to duping this. By "as close" I mean it's like Cleopatra in New York's inferior, second rate, third cousin. Cleopatra in New York is hunks of gold glitter in a black base and would be perfect for New Years Eve if you're a demure kind of person and perfect for a typical Tuesday if your style is similar to mine. You're $3 over the price of this whole set if you add it's $19 onto the aforementioned $59.00. You're getting part of a Deborah Lippmann glitter polish for free along with everything else.

The last thing I'll really go hard in the paint for is the Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Rollerball perfume. I have one of these already as well as a miniature Flowerbomb perfume and their biggest 3.4oz size bottle. I'm on my second 3.4oz bottle and it's one of the only perfumes I've purchased twice (or rather asked for for a birthday gift twice). I first heard about this scent back in 2008 from a former friend who said it was her signature scent and that she was always on the receiving end of compliments. Naturally, the idea of everyone fawning over how luxurious and delicious I smelled was very appealing to me and I kept the name of her perfume at the top of my brain. My former best friend and I both purchased the perfume and our two closest friends in college did the same after smelling it. Four people just smelled this perfume and were like, yes, okay, definitely need to drop over $100 to smell like this and definitely need to do it now. I'm not shocked that this perfume has since blown up in recent years. It's very floral, just as the name suggests, but not in an old lady way. It smells warm and sensual, like chocolate scented flowers or something. You could almost eat yourself after putting it on. This rollerball is a great way to test this rightfully hyped up scent out on yourself and see how it works with your body chemistry and lifestyle. The rollerball is also great if you already own the full size version. I kept mine in my purse for the days I forget to apply perfume or just plain end up smelling gross. This could also come in handy if you bump into that special someone and want to give them the illusion that you naturally smell like orchids and freesias at any given moment. You're at $70, just $5 off the price of this set, just with this and the NARS duo alone. Ridiculous.

I've heard some great things about other items in the set, as well. Too Faced is allegedly killing it with their new mascara releases so I'm looking forward to accentuating my eyeballs with that. Anastasia is almost synonymous with "great brows" at this point and honestly, if something is good enough for Oprah then it's good enough for me. Did you know Oprah would fly from Chicago to California just to get her brows done in the Anastasia salon? Thought you knew. The only dud in this whole set for me is the Smashbox BB Cream because I feel it's kind of wasteful to include a foundation that caters to one skin shade. It for sure won't match my pale skin and I'm sure most WoC are shit out of luck, too. I won't lose sleep over it, though, because I'm not even paying for it.

This set seems to be sold out online, with good reason. Hunt this down in your local Sephora. This is something that could be worth it to end up on a news segment re: how out of control and bloodthirsty Christmas shopping has become. I would never recommend this to anyone but me, personally? I would probably head butt some other savvy shopper and snatch this out of her hands if that's what it took. I don't even think I'd lose any sleep over it but, if I did, I'd have a free $30 Origins refreshing eye cream to hide it. Worth it.

December 7, 2013

Revlon By Marchesa 3D Jewel Appliques - The Sequel

Revlon by Marchesa 3D Jewel Appliques Silk Rosettes and 24K Brocade Nail art stickers
 LOOK WHAT I FOUND! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? I wrote extensively on how I went to almost every drugstore in the DMV to look for more packs of these. Almost ALWAYS cleared out and NEVER had these two styles - 24K Brocade and Silk Rosette. I'm astounded that I found these because I feel like I used up enough luck to last me the next 5 years on the DvF dress. Again, I wasn't even looking for these and just stumbled upon them because I turned down the wrong aisle in an Ulta on Long Island while searching for a replacement brow eyeshadow. There were probably 12 packs in the store but I restrained myself and only picked up four - 2 Silk Rosette, 1 24K Brocade and 1 Evening Garnet. I did buy all the Silk Rosettes and 24K Brocades because they were both even more stunning in real life than they were in pictures which didn't seem at all possible. I even got them on some kind of Revlon Black Friday sale in Ulta and I literally could not tell you how much I saved on them because I was just drunk off finding them and not paying attention at the register. Maybe I didn't even get the sale and signed away my first born child for them without realizing it - STILL WORTH IT.

Revlon by Marchesa 3D Jewel Appliques Silk Rosettes and 24K Brocade Nail art stickers
 Can you stand it? Look at that detail. That will be gorgeous over a cool toned nude polish or a silver.

Revlon by Marchesa 3D Jewel Appliques Silk Rosettes and 24K Brocade Nail art stickers
This is now my hoard of Revlon by Marchesa strips. I don't know if I'll ever be able to bear to use any of them because I love them so much. Just the boxes themselves are visually orgasmic. I'm addicted to the image. I don't know if I'd use them if I had hundreds. I would probably just staple them to my wall and look at them everyday.

Now, I say this because about 3 people read this blog: the Ulta where I found these is one of my best kept beauty secrets. It somehow always has highly coveted, rare items that are sold out everywhere else. I found OPI Mad as a Hatter there a full year after its release and there were TWO of them. I still kick myself for not buying both because I could have sold the extra on eBay for five times the price. There's probably a bottle of Clarins 230 somewhere in the stock room. For any Long Islanders, I got you - it's the Ulta by the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, next to the Pier 1. This is sacred information and I hope you use it wisely.

December 6, 2013

November Spoils

My birthday bouquet from my family, slightly after some wilting occurred. Yes, that button does say Vote for Vodka and I hope you take the message to heart.

Additions to my earring collection. The first are Givenchy and remind me of more grown up versions of these crystal Guess earrings I wore to prom and then sub-sequentially the entire weekend down the shore afterwards and for six more years after that. The middle pair is Nordstrom brand and I consider these wire and bead types of chandeliers to be my casual earrings. The last ones are my absolute favorite earrings, ever, from my boyfriend's mom. Can you believe White House Black Market made them? I guess that means you could be a First Lady in those earrings. I use them as a departure from my normal Jersey trash earrings and have received compliments on them from both a 3 year old boy and a Sephora saleslady. The appeal is obviously universal.

A very generous birthday gift from my boyfriend's mom. It's a weekend bag and I'll actually be inspired to pack light for once or twice in my life so I can use it. Or maybe I'll just use it as luggage for my beauty products. That's a better idea.