Orlando Premium Outlets Get the Best of Me

Oh my goodness. By far the best outlet mall I have ever been to, the Orlando Premium Outlets totally blew my mind on full day #1 (Sunday) of this trip, when I was still feeling super under the weather. I was determined to not waste a SINGLE day in Orlando though. If I couldn’t enjoy premium eats, I could at least enjoy premium shops!

FAVE purchase of day.

JUST KIDDING about the above. This was a serious for-sale dress at the Papaya Outlet. Would make a great slutty college girl Halloween costume. Hey, I’m not judging. I’ve been there…

Junior year, 2010.


Purchased the above two necklaces at Charlotte Russe, 2 for $10 and then got 15% off for having a college ID, score!

Two more necklaces from Ann Taylor Loftbuy one, get one 50% off. They look kind of weird all folded up in their cellophane bags, but I like how the cashier placed them in there and stapled the bags shut, so I’m keeping them there until I can unpack them at home.

Lighting makes this J. Crew dress look more coral, but it’s actually bubblegum pink and has one of those exposed zippers in the back. I tried to find a more telling photo online but couldn’t!

This necklace was only $5 and J. Crew has a student discount too!

Ahhhh Vera Bradley outlet!!! I used the opportunity to purchase several Vera items I’ve always wanted but haven’t been able to justify purchasing – another notebook for school, sticky notes in assorted sizes, a calculator for my desk at work, and a luggage tag. The outlet prices were an additional 20% off!

As if I need any more shoes, right? I got some Toms look-alikes at Pac Sun, because I am in love with the ones I got in Boston but too cheap to pay $54 for another pair. I am more in love, though, with the pair on the right that I got at Journey’s. I have been wanting black and white 20’s-inspired shoes for awhile and am so happy to have found some that were reasonably priced – and I got 15% off from a coupon!

At Pac Sun I also got the above cloth leopard-print tank dress. It’s so comfortable and such a simple cut. The design also has a cute criss-cross back that’s unexpected if you just look at the dress from the front! I like the leopard print – I can even dress it down if needed with a black cardigan. I’m also excited about the bikini I got because I’ve always wanted one with a “sculpted” triangle top!

Ann Taylor was having a BIG sale, 40% off everything in the store, and my madre was kind enough to buy me the clothes I picked out there for my birthday (March 22). I love the above sweater and the gold buttons adorning it, and the tank is so cute and simple. Until it warms up, I can wear it under sweaters. I also am a bit obsessed with the 3/4-sleeve dress on the right. If I wear a tan or black cami underneath, I can wear it to work, and the longer sleeves mean I won’t be freezing my butt off like I always am in dresses. This will be paired with heels – obviously 🙂

I really like the prints that Ann Taylor comes out with every season. I have always been a fan of prints over solids (though there’s a time and place for everything!) and now that I have the above three tops, my next mission is to find some of the amazing colored ankle-length pants that have been all over the fashion mags lately.


Drumroll please, my biggest and most ridiculous/spontaneous purchase of the day – and ever.

I am a watch addict, so strolling into Fossil on a whim (I originally was headed to Auntie Anne’s, but alas, the damn line was out the door) was probably a big mistake. I immediately spotted several watches I’d had my eye on for awhile. Okay that’s a lie, two of them I’ve had my eye on, one I just saw and became enchanted by it. It reminded me of, oddly enough, birthday cake.

Do you see what I mean? That teal face (it’s more green in “real life light”), those colorful rhinestones. This is a total birthday watch!

My sister got the above watch for Christmas, and I was instantly jealous. Now I can say I have my own!

I saw the above watch, brown with a rose-gold stripe, online several months ago. I fell in love! It was even more beautiful in person.

Yes…I bought all three watches. AHHH. I was so afraid that the salespeople were judging me – ha! I was nervously chatting with the girl who helped me try on the watches, trying to make sure that there were people out there who had bought more than three at once before to calm myself. I am never this spontaneous and I don’t do things like this often…and I’m pretty excited about my watches…but it’s safe to say I won’t be going shopping again for awhile.

So all this shopping definitely cheered me up a bit, but I still went into the evening feeling sick, especially after being on my feet at the outlets for about four hours straight! My dad and I picked up takeout from TooJay’s and I was able to eat some of it (see above).

What’s the most spontaneous purchase you have ever made? What do you think of my purchases? What’s the best outlet mall you’ve ever been to?

February Foodie Pen Pals

Don’t forget to read last night’s post about Daily Feats, a new social networking rewards site that helps you meet your goals AND earn bonus points to use towards rewards and/or charitable donations. The post contains a code good for 50 free bonus points at (also free) registration!

And you can find out what I got my foodie pen pal, Halley of Blunder Construction, here!

Not only do I get a Birchbox every month, but I also get an even better kind of box – from my Foodie Pen PalLindsay of The Lean Green Bean has taken on QUITE the project – she now has over 200 participants! Bloggers and blog readers alike can participate (just last month, a reader without a blog did a guest post for me so that she had somewhere to share what I sent her).

This month, my pen pal was Julia of A Girl with a Stethoscope. She is a new graduate nurse with a love for running and eating. One of my favorite things about this program is the way it connects me with other bloggers and their blogs that I may never have found! I really like her blog AND her taste in food…check out all the goodies she sent me!

First glance inside…ooh…

  • Celestial Seasonings Honey Vanilla Chamomile Herbal Tea: YES I am so excited to try this! I adore honey vanilla teas and the fact that this is decaf will make it perfect to enjoy in the evenings. I have loose leaf herbal tea but to be honest, have not made a single cup because I have been to lazy to prepare loose leaf! Maybe I’ll start drinking tea more often now that I have a bagged variety.
  • Rhythm Superfoods Sweet Potato Chips: I was super psyched to try these out, but they weren’t exactly my cup of tea (wrote that and then realized that phrase would fit better in the above bullet) because despite the fact that these are the Sea Salt variety, they weren’t salty enough! However I’m sure someone in my house who isn’t as hopelessly salt-addicted as me will end up polishing these off. The whole bag has just 100 calories!
  • Kaia Foods Sprouted Sunflower Seeds: I know many bloggers out there are addicted to sunflower seed butter, and sunflower seeds themselves. I honestly haven’t tried the butter and have not had plain sunflower seeds since I was a picky elementary school kid who only ate Wonder Bread and buttered pasta. SO, what I’m trying to say here is, I’m very excited to try these because a) I’m way more open-minded now and b) these are a Cocoa Mole flavor! I think that these sunflower seeds would go GREAT in a plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese snack.

  • Barbara’s Snackimals: Funny story, I remember seeing these in Whole Foods when I was shopping for my foodie pen pal this month, and being curious about them. How convenient that Julia got me a snack bag! Another great mix-in for Greek yogurt/cottage cheese messes, or something nifty to keep in my cubicle for those emergency hunger situations. The vanilla flavor is definitely what I would have chosen myself.
  • Nature’s Path Love Crunch Granola: And the snack ingredients keep on coming! Love the Dark Chocolate & Red Berry flavor…it reminds me of chocolate covered strawberries! I bet adding some chocolate syrup on top of this granola would be amaaaazing, maybe on top of a berry crisp…ooh, my recipe mind is churning!
  • Justin’s Nut Butters: I saved the BEST for last! I have always wanted to try Justin’s nut butters and finally can. Julia was kind enough to send me several varieties! Even though I’m more of a PB fan, I am pleased to announce that I have started with the Classic almond butter variety and have been enjoying it on bananas. I don’t think I’d ever have it on something like bread, but paired with a sweeter component like fruit, the roasty salted almond flavor is definitely better to me than the last time I tried almond butter.  I’m sooooo excited to try the chocolate hazelnut butter too. I think I’m going to save it for last!

This month’s foodie pen pal package was great, and I already can’t wait for March. I also can’t wait to find out how my pen pal, Halley of Blunder Construction, likes her package – I think it’s the best one I’ve ever put together. Thanks again to Julia for going above and beyond, and sending me some fab goodies!

A little blurb from Lindsay herself to get you motivated to sign up: If you’re interested in participating for March, please send  an email to Lindsay at theleangreenbean@gmail.com and include the following information:
-Your full name
-Your email address
-Your blog name/address
-Your twitter handle (if applicable)

Have you ever tried any of the products I received?

Daily Feats

I was contacted a couple of months ago by Monique of Daily Feats, a new-to-me site that helps users do “small, positive actions, every day” that “add up to big change”. I’m completely in support of using challenges, mini goals, and game-like methods to reach goals. Sites like Daily Feats can make lifestyle changes fun and break them up into steps that don’t seem so scary!


The site is completely free and registration is super easy thanks to ability to link your Facebook and/or Twitter accounts. Once registration is complete, users get started by choosing specific feats to aim to accomplish. Instead of general, vague goals like “eat better” or “work out more”, cute badges sound off more specialized choices like a complete breakfast or stretches at your desk.


Even if you’re already at a point where you’re fairly happy with your healthy living lifestyle and commitment to it, Daily Feats can still be used to spice up or relax your life by committing to trying new activities or taking care of your mental health.


Visiting an art gallery…that’s something I’ve never done! And after reading Steve Martin’s latest book, I’ve been dying to do so.


I drive 30-45 minutes to/from work each day, and the above badge can certainly apply to me many a week.

To be honest, looking through the Daily Feats badges as I wrote this post inspired me to try many new goals I didn’t even know I had!

If you’re more into an overall challenge or aren’t sure where to start (I like specific goals, but some people may want to have specifics chosen for them), then go for some challenges that contain certain specific feats that follow the same general theme.


Whatever way you choose, feats or challenges, you will earn points after you complete each a certain number of times. Then the best part comes in – redeeming your points for rewards! OR, you can turn your points into a donation for a nonprofit – how cool is that? Don’t worry, no judgement if you redeem points for prizes – I probably would do that first. And do you know what’s AMAZING about the rewards? You can type in your zip code and find places to redeem near you – rewards that support local businesses are as good as it gets!


I honestly have not been as active as I’d like to be on Daily Feats since signing up. It seems that the more social networking sites I sign up for, the less time I spend on each one! But writing this post has actually inspired me to revisit my chosen feats and get to work on those that are new-to-me.

Monique has done Cait Plus Ate readers a solid and has hooked you all up with a code for 50 extra rewards points! So if you have a chance, head over to Daily Feats and open an account. It’s free, you have nothing to lose, and if you enter caitplusate100 by 11:59PM on Thursday, 3/1/12, you get those 50 bonus points to get you moving towards rewards and/or charitable donations.

What do you think of the idea behind Daily Feats? Is this something you’d be interested in?

Disclaimer: I was not compensated by Daily Feats for this post, but was approached by them initially. This is simply information and a deal I wanted to share with my readers after I learned more about the site.

Vacation Days Turned Sick Days

I have the worst luck, huh? Less than two weeks after getting over a stomach virus, I was hit with another one upon waking Saturday (yesterday) morning. I felt iffy, yet was experiencing no actual symptoms, so I still went to the gym and completed 30 minutes of HIIT on the StepMill. Looking back this was probably a bad call – I should have let myself rest. I wasn’t very hungry all day but managed a tiny breakfast and lunch. Luckily I was still doing OK on the plane ride to Orlando. However, my luck ended there.

This certainly LOOKS lucky – amazing dinner cooked by my dad. The place we’re staying is a timeshare so it’s more a condo than a hotel room. I was actually feeling very hungry for this dinner and it tasted fantastic to me. So fantastic that I ate myself silly!

Baked potato with salsa in the skin, medium to medium-rare filet mignon, and veggies dipped in Publix garlic hummus. Went back for more steak and also a turkey burger in spicy yellow mustard.

It all tasted so delicious, but I felt way too full afterward. I took a water bottle and went to sleep. And woke up a couple hours later in SO much pain, lots of stomach cramping, my body was VERY mad at me. I shouldn’t have let my guard down! But I did and I spent all day Sunday (today) feeling pretty darn crummy. Twitter was a lifesaver as usual – thanks to all who wished me well and gave me advice on how to tame my tummy!

Picked some of this good stuff up. Includes ginger!

I was way more cautious  and though I had a couple of moments of meh feelings, I am feeling better tonight, OK enough to VERY slowly eat some rye bread and turkey pastrami from TooJay’s, a Florida go-to. I refuse to miss out on this trip! I also had WAY too much success at the Orlando Premium Outlets, by far the best outlet mall I’ve ever been to (upon recommendation from the lovely J of J’s Everyday Fashion), which cheered me up. I will be sharing my purchases soon!

Our hotel room is also gorgeous! Again, more like a condo, kitchen included. That’s how we’ve been able to stay in for a couple of nights – and no one is fighting over TVs that’s for sure! Here are some pics for you all – gotta run 🙂 I’m gonna read my amazing book and hit the hay in a few. Here’s hoping I wake up feeling better!

My room, will be sharing with grandparents for a couple evenings.

My bathroom, the wallpaper is cute!

Despite the fact that we have a washer/dryer room, I did NOT pack light.

Living room and dining area.

Clearly the rents don't plan to use their jacuzzi for anything other than a suitcase stand.

What’s the best hotel room you’ve ever stayed in?

Have you ever gotten sick right before or during a vacation?

Quick Friday Hello!

Oh my goodness…last night’s dinner at J. Gilbert’s was SO delish! I took photos and can’t wait to share with you guys whenever I get a chance to write up a full recap. Here’s a Twitter pic of my meal for a little preview:

Ahi tuna, asparagus, baked potato w/pico de gallo.

I’m so ready to go to Group Step tonight after work!  Yesterday I did a few yoga stretches in the morning but other than that it was a rest day, so I’m definitely feeling energized and anxious to get my cardio on, especially after sitting at my desk job/in class today and yesterday. I’m having takeout black beans and quesadillas from my favorite local Mexican place, Loco Perro, after my workout. Then my Nana Connie and I are off to the Bushnell to see The Addams Family Musical!


One of my family’s favorite movies to watch over and over again is Addams Family Values, so I am anxious to see this musical. I love talking to other people and finding out what their “family’s movies” are. I feel like everyone’s family has those one or two movies that they quote endlessly and never get sick of. It’s hilarious how one family’s treasure can be another person’s “WTF?” (like when I was told by my friend Kim that her family’s movie is Meet the Parents – big confusion on my end).

Tomorrow morning I’ll be back to the gym for a morning workout, hanging at Daybreak for some amazing coffee and homework/blog work, and then hopping on a plane with a healthy salad packed lunch for ORLANDO!! Good thing too, because I awoke this morning to an (unpleasant) surprise snowfall. This was the view outside my kitchen window this morning:

Thanks to Nana Connie for the pic!


Do you have a movie that you can watch over and over again with your family and quote endlessly? Does it bring about any special memories?

What are your plans for tonight?

Wednesday’s Workout and Whole Foods Goodies

Yesterday my first guest blogger feature was published on LoziLu Mud Run’s website! Check it out for some easy, tasty ideas for a girl’s night in. You can also explore the rest of their site to find a Mud Run near you – I hope to attend the Boston run on 7/7/12 and would LOVE to make a blogger meet-up out of it!

Good morning friends, and happy Thursday. We are ALMOST to Friday which means I am ALMOST hopping on a plane to Orlando (Saturday afternoon is when we depart) with my mom to reunite with my wonderful grandparents, who I haven’t seen since December, and my dad, who has been on travel abroad for the last couple of weeks (and I miss him like crazy).

Yesterday became a very busy day at work and I got out late, so I was ten minutes late to spin class, but it was all good because one of my favorite instructors was teaching. Not only did she step her game up with her music this week (the last few weeks on Wednesdays it’s been like spinning to the Guitar Hero soundtrack…this time there was some fun mixed in like Carrie’s “Cowboy Casanova”) but she also put us through a REALLY tough workout that involved a three-song hill – OUCH, my quads! The 50-minute cardio session left me feeling sweaty and awesome, so I decided to keep the vibe going and head to the weight room for a quick upper body workout session.

I really like to make my upper-body weight lifting similar to a Group Power (like Body Pump) class. I’m not a big fan of lifting heavy weights and then resting in between sets – though I know this is good for building strength! Usually when I do that, I try to do abs in between while my upper body is resting. My favorite way to lift upper body though, is to treat it like my own individual Group Power class and do varying moves back-to-back of one muscle group during an entire song. Then for the next song, I switch it up to another muscle group. By the end of the song, my muscles are always burning and shaking! Last night I rocked Kanye’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy“, one of my favorite albums of all time, for some shoulders, abs, and biceps. I did them in that order because my arms DEFINITELY needed a rest after doing shoulders before I could move on to biceps. I forgot how LONG those Kanye songs are!

Grilled chicken/turkey burger with spicy yellow mustard, black beans, baked potato with pico de gallo.

I came home and refueled with the amazing dinner above. I also had the inside of the potato, but it’s in a bowl off to the side, and looks pretty bland in photos anyway! The black beans were from Moe’s and I could’ve eaten an entire pot of them – I just love black beans so much. I’m grateful to be living at home with a mother who is always up for making me healthy, delicious meals!

I’m going out to eat tonight to my favorite restaurant, J. Gilbert’s, to use a $20-off coupon I got back in December. It expires while we’re away next week so it must be used! Joe and my wonderful Nana Connie (she arrives today to take care of my brother while we are gone in FL – I’m so glad she is coming!) are going to join my mom, brother, and I for dinner. I also plan to order one of their wine flights – I have never tried theirs and will definitely be craving some vino with my meal!

Joe and I at dinner this past Saturday night at Grant's in West Hartford.

I’m going to end today’s post with some random photos that I took during my December Florida vacation at the Palm Beach Gardens Whole Foods salad/hot bars. I never got a chance to share them and I love seeing what Whole Foods locations across the country have at their food bars –  does this make me a nerd? No, I think it just makes me a foodie 🙂 Enjoy!

LOVE the colors in this photo.

DOLMADES! Was so excited when I saw these.

FL Whole Foods locations always offer some kind of great seafood salad like the shrimp salad above!

The colorful lettuce-less Greek salad in the middle was so good, but the onions were STRONG!

Plantains make my heart happy!

Have you ever noticed differences in Whole Foods location offerings across the country? Any of the items above look familiar from your local Whole Foods – OR completely foreign?

What’s your favorite way to lift upper body weights?

Anyone else have exciting Thursday dinner plans?


Rambling and Photos

Hey guys. I feel like I haven’t done a really good, this-is-me-writing-what’s-on-my-mind post since last week. Probably why I’m having the urge to just write whatever is on my mind! But I also have photos from my trip to Boston a few weekends back that  I never got to share – I ducked into Barrington Coffee Roasters quickly so my friend Ken of Pete & Gerry’s Eggs could grab a coffee, and was impressed by the cafe’s use of space and simplistic, clean decor. I had to take photos and really want to show them to you all, so I’m going to borrow a tactic one of my favorite bloggers, Danielle, uses and just disperse the pictures of the coffee shop throughout my rambling (hence this post’s title).

So what’s up with me on this Hump Day? Well, I’ve been having great workouts lately. This past weekend included a Grammys-themed spin class, tough StepMill HIIT session, and some leg work. Monday I got out of work on time to attend my favorite high-intensity Step class, and yesterday was an active rest day in which I utilized a My Yoga Online trial membership (ended today – sad :() and completed a 40 minute video called Grounding Yoga Flo that was really the perfect mix of flow and quad-burning poses in the beginning, followed by relaxing balance and twist poses (like eagle – I LOVE that one, so fun to try and stay stable) til the end.


Work has been going well – last week was pretty busy but that made it fly by. This week things have slowed down and I’m glad, though at times finding myself looking for more to do. I probably just jinxed myself…

…but even if I did, no big deal, because next week is my first official big-girl-job vacation and I am leaving this Saturday afternoon for ORLANDO! Despite the fact that we have been blessed with the warmest winter since the year I moved here (2001-2002 winter), I am still so ready to fly South and also see my grandma and grandpa. I have already done a TON of restaurant research for my trip and my parents and grandparents are ready to let me plan all of our evenings – I have impressed them in the past with my restaurant choices, and I’m always in charge of picking places during trips!

I definitely want to get my shop on in Orlando, and Jeanette of J’s Everyday Fashion was kind enough to provide me with the Top 5 Places to Shop in Orlando. I pretty much want to hit up every. single. one. but don’t know if that will be possible! My priorities, in that case, are on the Premium Outlets (hello, deals) and Park Avenue in Winter Park (because I want to eat at a BUNCH of places there too). Downtown Disney is probably happening anyway – I love walking around there with my parents!

Just writing this has gotten me even MORE excited for vacation, if that’s possible. I cannot wait to lay by the pool reading magazines each day. I ADORE magazines and I have a huge stockpile of them that I’m packing, because reading a magazine inside in the winter sucks, so I save them all for outdoor reading. Does anyone else do this?

I’m off – I feel like I’ve sufficiently rambled and photo-shared enough for one post. Not sure what will be on my workout agenda tonight, depends on when I get out of work (either Interval Training class or Spin), but either way it’s gonna get me sweaty and leave me feeling awesome.  I also have to share with you guys the FANTASTIC dinner I had last night (which ended with a complimentary dessert) at one of CT’s only vegetarian restaurants, It’s Only Natural in Middletown, CT. I’ll get on it!

What do you think of the decor of Barrington Coffee Roasters?

What was your best recent workout?

Have you ever been to Orlando? Do you LIVE in Orlando? Shopping/restaurant recs are welcome!

Wine Battle: Sharpe Hill vs Jonathan Edwards

Please welcome Richard, the Editor of Connecticut Food & Wine, as he shares with us the second edition of his Wine Battle series!

Welcome to the second edition of Wine Battle! This week I chose two more local wines right off the shelf from an excellent wine shop called Seaside Wine & Spirits in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Sharpe Hill Vineyard’s 2008 Chardonnay came in at $14.99 and Jonathan Edwards 2009 Connecticut Chardonnay (an important distinction since they also produce wine in California) came in at $21.99. The challenge was to find two wines made from the same grapes, from two different local producers, that are also found in the same wine shop for sale- and put them to the test against each other.

First I opened both bottles and let them breathe at room temperature for about one hour. Some people prefer to drink white wines slightly chilled, but in order to really taste the character and subtle differences it is essential to taste at room temperature as the coolness dulls some of that complexity. Sharpe Hill is located in Pomfret, Connecticut and is the state’s largest and most award winning winery, earning over 250 medals in international wine competitions. Opening it’s doors in 1997, the vineyard is set on one hundred scenic acres and features an excellent restaurant on site.


Their 2008 Chardonnay has 12% alcohol by volume or ABV, with a pale straw yellow hue and a slight haze. Take a sniff and you will find a wonderful toasty buttered popcorn aroma wonderfully crafted by the right handling in oak. The taste is smooth, creamy full mouth feel with a little sour apple on the attack, and a beautiful caramalized sugar flavor on the finish. This is like Halloween 1992 with a huge amount of buttered popcorn ball in the glass (do they still hand those out on Halloween?), but in a very good way! This delicious gem is our winner!

Jonathan Edwards is set on a beautiful piece of property in North Stonington, approximately 40 miles south of Sharpe Hill. They produce wines both with their Connecticut grapes and also with fruit they harvest from vineyards whom they have long term contracts with in Napa, California. Of course, I chose the appropriate CT variety to battle against Sharpe Hill.

This bottle from 2009 has an ABV of 12.5% very slightly higher than the competition, and was priced a hefty $7 higher. With much less oak, this Chardonnay was crystal clear with a lighter color hue and a very aromatic fresh crushed pineapple scent. A really wonderful citrus peel blast in your nose with a sweet, light body with crisp acidity. This is a totally different style of wine than the Sharpe Hill Chard, and is more of the new world approach aligned with what is popular today regarding wine making styles. Not everyone is a fan of the butter-ball oak monster, though Sharpe Hill executed extremely well.

Overall, based on how well made both of these wines are, it was very difficult to choose a winner because it’s almost like comparing two completely different wines that are both excellent in their own regard. However, everyone in our little tasting group over at Connecticut Food & Wine were all blown away by the Sharpe Hill Chardonnay.  I just visited Jonathan Edwards on Sunday the 19th, and will have an exclusive article with more tastings, photos and fun, coming up this week on our site!

Thank you Richard for the post – his tasting descriptions blow any of mine out of the water! Based off of each one, which of these two wines do you think you’d prefer?

February’s Birchbox

Yes, another month has passed, and it’s time for me to share what I got in February’s Birchbox! A quick explanation – for $10 per month, you can sign up to get a little box sent to your home each month, with a random sample of beauty supplies. You don’t know what you’re getting until the box arrives on your front step – the most fun aspect of this, in my opinion – and questions you answer during sign-up help Birchbox determine what you are sent. I believe right now there is a waiting list to get a monthly box, but I suggest signing up for it so that you can get started on receiving boxes sooner. For $10, a little box of beauty surprises each month is totally worth it!

You can check out previous boxes I’ve received in: November, December, January.

This month’s theme was about self-love and putting the spotlight on YOU by indulging and pampering – very appropriate for a single-lady like me in the Valentine’s Day month! The packaging was adorable as always.

Let’s get to the goods, shall we?

  • colorscience pro glow and go Travel Puff: A really nifty travel packet of a powder bronzer available for sale in full-size (at the link). I don’t use anything on my face normally except concealer, but I can see this coming on handy to take on a sunny vacation for use in an emergency sunburn situation. The travel packet makes the vacation use even more fitting.
  • dermalogica Daily Microfiliant: I love trying out different face washes, especially exfoliating ones, which always leave my skin feeling extra-clean and refreshed. This one is made with natural ingredients like rice bran. It starts in powder form and becomes a cream when mixed with water. I can see that making a mess at the sink, but I wash my face while in the shower, so I’m not worried about that.
  • Eye Rock Designer Liner: I’m honestly not sure if I will use these, but this is not normal eyeliner – it’s stick-on adhesive liner, and the sample packet I got comes with one of each of four different designs. The idea behind this is to get intricate eyeliner designs on your lids that do not differ in size between sides or waver  from shaky hands. Yes, a sound idea, but I’ve had so many bad experiences with fake eyelashes that I’m wary of whether or not these would actually stay or how easy they really are to apply. There’s only one way to find out, but I’m not sure when I’ll try them out! Sometime when I have lots of time to get ready and am going out to a bar perhaps.
  • Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint: I actually thought this was a lip gloss until I started writing this post and took another look – it’s a sample of a moisturizing skin tint with SPF 20. The SPF is cool, but not sure if the color they sent me will go with my skin. Since that was one of the questions I answered when signing up (skin tone), I’m hoping it will. Again, I don’t use much on my face at all except some concealer on my chin, but I’ll probably give this a shot.
  • Nail File: The heart-shaped file is so cute! I don’t ever file my nails so I kinda want to tape it up on my file cabinet at work as decoration 🙂
  • Digital Download: I’ve been so into finding new music lately, and although it isn’t at all beauty-related, the download code I received for seven free songs by an indie band called Green River Ordinance was very welcome. I already have put the songs on my iPhone, but haven’t had a chance to listen yet (as they haven’t come up on my ginormous Recently Added playlist’s shuffle today). I’ll probably be tweeting what I think whenever I do listen though, so keep an eye out. If you want to find out for yourself, the link to their site actually has three of the songs available for free download for anyone!

Overall, I am pretty satisfied with this month’s Birchbox, though last month’s still remains my favorite (the Larabar in there probably is a source of extreme bias since I found it to be so delish).

Which of these products would you most want to try?

Getting Better

In case you missed my Twitter announcement yesterday: I have been published on CT Food & Wine, a great online magazine about all things local! My article is a restaurant review of Hidden Vine Wine Bar in Newington, and even if you aren’t from the area, I think you will enjoy the post for the yummy eats and drinks I share, so check it out!

Boo. Being sick stinks! Especially when that sickness is of the stomach variety. Glad you guys still enjoyed yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday – I think the food and drinks spoke for themselves! I was certainly envious of my own adventures as I munched on popcorn, a banana, half an English muffin, white pototo…yeah, I’m falling asleep so I’ll spare you the details. I DID manage to eat a bite of chicken at dinner! PROGRESS!

I was supposed to meet up with some friends/former co-workers last night at a Happy Hour benefit event, put on by Whole Foods, at It’s Only Natural, one of the only vegetarian restaurants in CT. We rescheduled for dinner there next week, but we each paid $15 for tickets we didn’t use – bummer! At least the money benefited a good cause, the Whole Planet Foundation.

But the good news is I’m feeling quite good today – the day of rest at home was what I needed, along with last night’s sleep, in which I slept straight through the night (not even getting up to pee) for 10 hours. I felt pretty glorious this morning actually, and woke up 20 minutes before my alarm well-rested!

I’ve got fun stuff going on this weekend – dinner and margaritas with Kelly at Plaza Azteca to use a SaveNowCT deal on Friday, dinner at Grant’s in West Hartford with my mom to use a gift certificate she’s had since forever, quality time studying and blogging at my favorite cafe, getting back to my usual cardio group fitness classes, and hopefully seeing “The Vow” at some point. So even though I’m still feeling a bit blah, I’m trying to stay positive and look ahead! Soon when I’m feeling 100% I can get back to the things I love.

Like this amazing $11 bottle of wine that I tried a few weeks back and never got to share! BUY IT NOW.

Or surf n' turf to pair with that wine!

Above photos were taken a few week’s back at Joe’s brother’s house – never got a chance to post them 🙂

How amazing is their newly renovated living room?

Hope you all have a good Thursday. I’ve got catching up to do at work today after being out sick yesterday, Innovation Management class tonight, then home to rest up for the weekend.

Are you able to try to stay positive and look ahead when sick, or is it hard to see anywhere beyond the crappiness you are currently feeling?