February 24, 2016

Confessions

Lately, my blogging game has been anything if not off. Honestly, whatevs. I've been around this block enough times to know that blogging is like the tide - it comes and goes. Inspiration and motivation come and go. And right now, mine is on its way out to sea. In any case, it's Wednesday. I don't know about you but I absolutely love this link up. Let's get to it.


+ Even though I love it I don't always join in because sometimes I just don't have anything good to confess. #boring

+ The above is mainly due to the fact that I come home from work, put on sweats and then play with my cats for the rest of the night. #noshame

+ You know those Goodreads giveaways we all enter? Well, a few weeks ago I was chosen!



+ I've decided that I am worthy of having a set of Beats headphones. So what if they're $300, I want them. Now... do I get black or space gray, to match my phone. #importantdecisions



+ I've pretty much come to the indisputable fact that I am an introvert. I feel like this change has been in the works these last 6 years. I know for certain that I was, at one point, an extrovert. Or maybe I was only an extrovert within my introverted circle? Either way, I'm certain that...






+ Last month I pretty much ate out for lunch every day. I feel like I've forgotten how to bring food from home. And cooking? What is that?  #whatishappeningtome


+ I'm still using my Stylebook app to log my outfits every day. The thing is, when I go in the closet, I still stand there thinking that I have absolutely nothing to wear. 


+ Tell me a Netflix Treadmill isn't an amazing idea?! Someone really needs to get working on that so I can put it in my online cart, debate about actually buying it for several weeks, bite the bullet and buy it, impatiently wait for it to arrive, open it, use it, talk about how awesome it is and how motivated it makes me, and then 3 weeks later think about using it...


February 17, 2016

Goings On

Happy Wednesday peeps! I know it's confession day but since I don't have anything juicy going on, here's a little bit of what I've been up to.



+ I went to yoga on Sunday to be part of Alyssa's first class and sit in on her YTT class. Can I just say doing 150 minutes of yoga, half of it hot yoga, on one of the coldest days of the year was absolutely amazing? The best part? I did my first yoga headstand. #awesome

+ Sunday's episode of TWD was, in my opinion, the best episode I have ever seen. It had everything

+ On Saturday, I spent the entire day on the couch drinking tea and reading books. I actually finished 2 books that afternoon. It was beyond glorious. Friday night was equally perfect.


+ Sunday morning between yoga classes I went to a diner across the street. I was on a yoga high and feeling incredibly zen. As I was finishing eating I decided that I was going to leave a 100% tip. It felt amazing to do and I'm glad I did it.

+ I typically am annoyed by people who text and walk because they never take the time to look up. On Sunday, I was that girl. I was walking towards the Shop n Stop entrance and there was a curb. Of course I wasn't paying attention so rather than step up, I tripped. When I attempted to step with my other foot, it too was too far behind the curb so I tripped again. Needless the say, I ended up on all fours on the ground. #dumbass.



+ I've been completely reminded about why I will never be 100% Team Apple. I typically back up my phone via iCloud. I decided to do a backup to my laptop and then sync some things. Of course everything that was in iTunes - all my music, movies, etc. - is missing.

We're just going to stop there because iTunes pisses me off to inhuman levels. Sync this, restore that, How about yuo just work and do what I want?!

At least I'll be seeing Pretty in Pink tonight...

February 10, 2016

My First Haircut

Would you believe me if I told you I've never had my hair cut? My first haircut was at 12 years old and my mom did it #confession I have never sat down in a salon chair and lived that experience... until this past weekend.



I was super excited to have a real "girl moment". At the same time, I was equally nervous because I don't let anyone touch my hair.

For quite some time now I've been tossing around the idea of getting a haircut. I knew I wanted to go to a professional, and I knew it needed to be someone who would know what to do with my hair type. This is the only thing I envy about you straight-haired girls, you can literally go anywhere and it will be okay.

I debated going to DevaCurl or Ouidad but for a cut starting at over $100 that was out of the question. While walking through my town last fall, I noticed a place called Jersey Curl. I immediately took to Yelp to read reviews and check out their website. Fast forward to January and I find myself getting off the bus from my evening commute, walking in the door to their new location - the bottom of my block! - and scheduling an appointment. 

When I sat down my hairstylist Iris asked me what I was looking to do and if I had any styles in mind. We chatted about my curl type, what products I should stay away from (anything with sulfates read: everything I own), and how I can get the look I want. 

They use the Deva style cut here which basically means that my hair is cut dry and then washed after. Iris snipped about in sections and I started getting teary-eyed while she was cutting #confession 


After the cut, we washed. You guys, I totally get the joy of having your hair washed! Leaning back in that sink, having someone else wash your hair and massage your scalp is pretty damn heavenly! #confession Deva products were used, which smell amazing by the way, total aromatherapy in the shower. She had me feel my hair post shampoo/conditioner and my hair was incredibly soft and silky. 

Then it was time for styling. She only used 3 products which I liked. Simple is definitely for me. To give me volume at the crown, something I want more of, she added pin curl clips and then placed me under the dryer. The dryer... Sweet Jesus you guys, how do you do this!? It's like, really fucking hot. Okay, not lava hot, but I felt my face getting tight so I kept making weird scrunch faces because my face felt like a dried up river bed. 


Finally, it was time for final touches. She cut a few more layers in here and there and then I was done. My response? I absolutely love it! I realize I had "salon hair" so the chances of duplicating this at home wasn't promised. You know, since I don't have a salon dryer in my house, let alone an actual hair dryer. But I walked out feeling absolutely amazing.



I can't lie, I was really excited to see how the other half lives. This was an amazing first experience and I'm certain that I will be back in 6-9 months. I think I'm becoming a real girl #confession




February 09, 2016

Booked Vol. 7

Since the last link up I made a concentrated effort to read more. I'm always complaining talking about how my TBR pile is constantly growing. Although this is true, it's mostly because I flag books I want to read, or buy them, and then never read them. This year I'm really planning to read all the unread books in the house. Although, for some reason, I haven't been motivated to pick up an actual book. Audiobooks to the rescue! Books are books amirite? Here's what I've been reading/listening to, and at the end, a little Goodreads How-To!

Loved
Brooklyn on Fire / Lawrence H. Levy
I was excited to read the second book by Levy after reading Second Street Station this summer. This is the second book by the author and I still love that it's a historically based thriller with characters including John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Ben Franklin. I like that it's a "local" historical mystery with some real-life elite name dropping. In this book, we find Mary continuing to work towards her detective dreams. She even has a small office space. When she's hired by a woman to look into the death of her uncle Mary finds herself tumbling down the rabbit hole of the elite and corrupt. I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

If I Stay / Gayle Forman
As always, I'm late to the party. This book was so heavy and yet light at the same time. I enjoyed the characters and embarrassingly enough, it took me a little longer than it should have to realize what was going on. But once I did, I could understand Mia's struggle. Stay... or go. Heart strings tugged.

Leaving Time / Jodi Picoult
This was first Picoult book and it was amazing right from the beginning. Like, A M A Z I N G! My God. What an incredible book. Elephants, psychics, a little mystery... This books had everything for me. Read it. Just read it. 

Jenna hires both a psychic and an investigator in attempt to find her mother, who has been missing for the past decade. She doesn't give up and does what she needs to do in order to locate her. But when she comes to terms with some realizations, it changes everything she thought she knew. 

On a separate note, I learned SO much about one of my favorite animals. Elephants are such magical creatures and some of the passages were hard to listen to and hurt my heart. But it just makes me more aware of the necessity of protecting them.



Passed the Time
Lucky / Jackie Collins
I was at work in The Center a.k.a. Purgatory, and decided I'd pass the time listening to a book. This was a quick 3 hours so I thought it would be a good choice. Unfortunately, it was definitely lacking. The book was read by the author, which was fine, but the book itself just didn't pull me in. I had no idea what was going on. New characters were introduced and you were flung into their baby mama drama. I felt like I was listening to a soap opera.

Nighttime is my Time / Mary Higgins Clark
This book was decent enough. As its category depicts, it passed the time just fine. Typically I read her books but since this was available as an audio, I went with it.

The Book Stops Here / Kate Carlisle
Apparently this book is part of a series, but I don't think those need to be read to keep up with this one. As this was a mystery book about books, I was pulled in right from the beginning. Plus the reader did an excellent job. I felt engaged and as if I were watching a mini movie play out in my head. If you find it I'd recommend it.

How to be Single / Liz Tuccillo
With the movie coming out soon, which looks hilarious by the way, I figured I'd give this a listen/read first. It was read by Judy Greer, who I like, and she made it fun. The book itself was just ehh. I mean, I didn't hate it, but it was very clearly SATC inspired. A group of women, all single or newly divorced, who are all from different walks of life, who are frustrated by their love lives, one of which who is writing about the single life, where they all happen to vacation overseas? Let's hope the movie is good.


Skip It

FU, Penguin / Matthew Gasteier
This book is based on the popular blog by the same name. I've never heard of, or seen, the blog before but this book was rough to get through. The pictures and their titles were funnier than the text portions. This was the funniest page in the book. 

#D E A D

The Last Witness / K.J. Parker
This was my first Sci-Fi book. It was one of those books that you're not really into but interested in just enough that you want to know what's going on and what's going to happen. I only picked this up because it sounded good and was very short.... and yet I couldn't even finish it because it was so boring. I kept waiting for it to get to the point and it just never got there.


*     *     *
Before you leave, I thought I's share something with you. I've had mine set up since sometime last year but after seeing others "wish it could be possible" I knew this needed to be shared. Thanks to Kelli for reminding me!

We all love and use Goodreads. We all love our beloved books. But what about those books that you juts can't get through no matter how hard you try? Where do you put them? You certainly didn't read them. DNR shelf to the rescue!

The DNR shelf is the purgatory for all those books you couldn't bring yourself to finish. It doesn't count towards your Goodreads goal, since that only counts Read books, and you'll know what you tried in case you ever want to try again I'm looking at you, Jane Austen....

If you're in need of a DNR shelf here's what to do:

Go to My Books > Bookshelves (top left) > Edit > Add a Shelf > DNF (or whatever you want to call it) this is the important part Once the shelf is created check the exclusive box This is what separates it from your Read /Currently Reading/TBR shelves.

You're welcome!


Life According to Steph

February 05, 2016

Kids and their KitNip

I received this box at a discounted price in exchange for an honest review. This post contains referral links.


It's no secret that I'm a fan of subscription boxes. Any day you receive a package with your name on it filled with goodies is a good day. It's also no secret that my cats are my children. I openly embrace the concept of crazy cat lady. Presents for the kitties? Yes, please!

A few weeks ago I reached out to KitNip because I was interested in trying out their boxes. I placed my order and was happy to see that it would be shipping the following Monday. It arrived 3 days from the date it was to be shipped out. 




That tan and white little cat toy was practically ripped out of the box as soon as I set it on the floor for them. I hadn't even taken the paper out. Paw went in, toy came out. It was the coveted toy for the rest of the evening. 


I absolutely LOVE the yoga cat calendar. It's super cute and perfect for any cat lover. I was really surprised by these treats. Usually, whichever treat I buy someone doesn't like, but these, all three of them loved. SUCCESS!!


KitNip Box is a subscription box for your cats. Each box comes with cat toys, all-natural treats, and other fun cat products. What I especially love is that they donate a monthly portion of their proceeds to  animal welfare organizations such as Brooklyn Animal Action, Stray Animal Adoption Program, and the San Francisco SPCA, to name a few.



Signing up is easy. If you have fur kids, or are a really awesome fur-Aunt/Uncle, simply visit KitNipBox, enter your information and you're all set. If you use my code CTAM15, you'll save 15% on your first box. 

February 03, 2016

The Interview

   Her coffee cup slipped right out of her hand and smashed into a thousand pieces on the kitchen floor, startling her cat, Maxwell.

"Dammit", she muttered. Today was not starting out the way she intended. She had hoped to wake up early, sit down with her coffee, and just settle in before she needed to begin the day. Instead she woke up late, stepped in a hairball, and spilled coffee all over, breaking one of her favorite mugs. Maybe it was stress. Maybe she was just distracted, either way she knew she needed to get a grip. 

"Get it together!", she scolded herself, "today is a big day for you". 

   And it was a big day, she had an interview for her dream job. When she read the job listing she was hesitant, doubting her skills and experience. Then she remembered something her mother had always said, the worst they'll say is no and then you're no worse off than before. And with that sage advice she had submitted her application. 

   She waited impatiently for three weeks before she started to give up hope until two days ago she received a call asking if she was free to come in for an interview. At first she thought they had the wrong number yet the more she listened she realized that this was a reality. They were calling her! She was going to be interviewing for her dream job!

   After cleaning up the mess and changing her clothes for the tenth time she was finally ready to head out the door. It was now or never. She wanted this job so badly. It was everything she was looking for - the salary, benefits, commute. 

  While waiting for the train she tried to stay calm and collected, recalling all of the reasons why she was the best candidate for this job. She hadn't graduated with Honors, no, but she certainly wasn't at the bottom of her class either. Her resume spouted her experience and although none of them were the job for her, they gave her the knowledge, and confidence, she needed. 

   Staring out the train window hope was starting to replace fear. It was going to be hers. She never let herself believe in anything so foolish, but this time, something about it—she just couldn’t quite shake the thought that it just might be real….




Photo by Usman Khan on Unsplash

February 01, 2016

Game Day Ready

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GameDayGlory #CollectiveBias 

Like most of America, I will be stuffing my face, judging commercials, and watching a football game this weekend. Every year K and I go to his sister's house for the Big Game. Each guest brings a fun snack and every year I always try to outdo myself. 

These bars are super easy to make. All you need is an egg, sugar, vanilla, sandwich cookies, and a little butter. The best part is they taste amazing!


SNICKERS® Cheesecake Bars

Print Me!

Ingredients:

5 Tbsp. melted butter20 sandwich cookies
16 oz. cream cheese, softened1 large egg1/4 c white sugar3 tsp. vanilla14 fun-sized SNICKERS®, chopped
Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8x8 baking pan or line with foil or parchment paper. 
  2. Pulse cookies in food processor until crumbly. Add to a mixing bowl. Add butter and mix. 
  3. Pour crust into baking pan and spread evenly.
  4. In a large mixing bowl cream together egg and cream cheese until smooth and creamy, 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add in sugar and vanilla. 
  6. Fold in chopped SNICKERS®.
  7. Spoon cheesecake mixture over crust and bake for 30-35 minutes until cheesecake has set and edges are lightly browned. 
  8. Allow bars to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature. Then chill in refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Overnight is best. 
  9. Lift foil/parchment out of pan, and cut into 12 pieces. 
  10. Store any remaining bars covered in fridge for up to 5 days.
ENJOY!









My go-to stop for all my party supplies is Walmart. They have everything I need at great prices to bring a dish to an awesome party. I was able to pick up Skittles®, SNICKERS®, Pepsi, and TOSTITOS® chips and salsa, all for less than $50. 


Don't forget to go VOTE in the MARS Big Game Sweepstakes for your chance to win a $100 Walmart eGift card OR an Xbox One. If you're feeling up to the challenge you can create and post your own snack stadium on Instagram. Make sure you use the hashtag #gamedayglorysweepstakes


What are your plans for the Big Game?