2014 ~ { Boho Vanity }

December 23, 2014

In your hands winter
is a book with cloud pages
that snow pearls of love.

- From Angel of Earth Days and Seasons by Aberjhani

December 11, 2014

Firmoo Eye Glasses Review Model F038
Firmoo Eye Glasses Review Model F038

I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that for a good while now I've been overdue in purchasing an updated pair of glasses. The ones I've been wearing for about three years finally snapped (and weren't holding well with pieces of electrical tape wrapped around the frame), so I knew it was time to go for an eye exam and pick out some new specs. Recently I was contacted by the online eye glass company Firmoo to try out their basic single vision, 1.50 index lenses with any frame of my choice. I went with the full frame acetate F038 model in the unique blue, brown shade which has a clear calico type of pattern. I loved the subtle cat eye shape to them and thought the angles would flatter my rather round face without overwhelming it. I also like how the frame color is muted yet eye-catching and compliments my brown eyes and the red tint in my hair. I find the larger lenses made me feel like a bit of a nerd from an 80's movie at first, but after some time passed I realized that they were great to wear while working and put a lot less strain on my eyes since I wasn't having to adjust them as often compared to my old pair which were much more narrow.

As for the quality of the glasses, I can say I am genuinely impressed and my expectations were surpassed in terms of what I expected from a $36 pair of glasses. The frames are lightweight yet sturdy, and have kept their shape and a tight fit to my head so far. My only true complaint about them is that the lenses tend to show smudges and dust easily, and it's hard to completely wipe off film without the official Firmoo cleaning cloth. Since the company ships from China it can take up to three weeks to receive your package, however with express shipping mine arrived in less than a week's time. Ordering online is easy as the site offers a lot of guidance and only requires your prescription and pupillary distance which is information that can be obtained from your optometrist's office.

Overall I am very happy with my new glasses and will definitely be buying spare pairs. I love the quirky pattern of the F038 model that makes a statement and the fact that the lenses are so clear and wide, improving my vision in style. From experience I know that an eye wear package of prescription lenses and frames can be very expensive, especially when you may need certain corrections and additions or are limited in selection. You can save money by using Firmoo's The First Pair Free Program as well as checking out their selection of generous sales that continue all year long.

How often do you purchase new eye glasses?

November 27, 2014

The day you have everything
I hope you remember
When you had nothing

- Rupi Kaur

November 12, 2014

On mornings where I can muster up the inner strength to roll out of bed a half an hour early and wipe on some makeup before work, I reach for a consistent group of products that are simple to use and will endure a long eight to ten hours through sweating, dehydration, and general wear during an active day. Besides what I put on when I wake up, I keep a touch up filled makeup bag inside my locker with chapstick, a brown eyeliner pencil, an eyebrow spoolie, oil absorbing sheets, and a pressed powder compact to freshen up on breaks.

A good moisturizer is the perfect base to keep the skin hydrated and smooth all day long, preventing any dryness that can occur especially if I get behind on my water intake. On a freshly washed face, I first like to apply a nourishing serum like the tarte maracuja oil, then layer it with a lightweight SPF such as the Simple Skincare Protecting Light Moisturizer. Since I have an oily skin type, my best defense against a greasy look is to use a face primer like the Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser as well as a mattifying yet breathable foundation like Revlon ColorStay for Combination/Oily Skin. Setting the liquid with a powder locks in the product and enhances the staying power even more, and just a dusting of Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder keeps the shine at bay until I can later touch up with my NYC Smooth Skin Pressed Face Powder. I typically use a concealer like the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser to brighten and hide my dark circles and lightly layer it with a bit of Physician's Formula Mineral Correcting Powder to further camouflage and avoid any creasing.

I usually keep my eye look simple with a sweep of neutral brown eyeshadow on the lid and crease, a shimmering pearl highlight on my brow bone and inner corner, as well as a deep brown or grey gel liner on the lash line and just below the waterline. For an extra boost, using a flesh-toned eyeshadow base like the Urban Decay Primer Potion helps to prevent creases or fading on oily lids. Sometimes I even pat a bit on my under eye area or on my brows to help other makeup stay put as well. For the top and bottom eyelashes, I prefer to use a waterproof mascara like the tarte lights, camera, splashes 4-in-1 as I tend to get unsightly smudges and flaking towards the end of the day.

I only wear lip balm or a moisturizing tinted lip color like the Burt's Bees Lip Crayon as they are no fuss, easy to swipe on without a mirror, and prevent any dryness or cracking.

What are your favorite makeup products that endure a long day at work?

October 28, 2014

You work so hard, just to end up at home crying yourself to sleep;
remember you're trying, you are moving mountains that have plagued you
since you were young, and you're trying so hard.

Keep fighting, fight until you have won.
Fight until you have found your way home, until the sun comes back
and your heart learns to love the mornings again.

- T.B. LaBerge

October 23, 2014

I recently ventured to the local Salvation Army with just the intention to have a peaceful day off of work and a fifty dollar bill in my purse. After browsing around for a few minutes I thought there wouldn't be much I'd be interested in, but as soon as I discovered my beloved homeware section my cart quickly filled up with treasures. If it's not apparent, I'm into the quirky, mismatched decor style so anything random I stumble upon that I adore will eventually find it's way into some nook or cranny in my home. The delicate little bowls are now sporadically placed around each room holding coins, keys, candies, and other homeless trinkets. I updated my kitchen table with the pretty floral napkin holder and the vintage pair of Italian salt and pepper shakers reading Sale and Pepe. One of my favorite finds was the coral colored stone coasters which add a beautiful pop of color to my natural, earth tone theme. The handmade Mexican tapestries came in a set of four and will make for vibrant place mats, or simple accent fabric.

Do you shop at second hand stores?

October 14, 2014

Meet Boss
My favorite...
Nicknames? Wee Man, Mr. B, Buss.
Place? Wherever my dad is.
Things? Warm laundry, when my family is home, and making messes.
Toys? Empty protein powder jugs and ropes.
Food? Venison.
Activity? Swinging from a spring pole.
Human? My dad, Ryan.
Sleep position? On my back under a soft blanket, all paws in the air.
Trick? Howling.

Meet Lucky
My favorite...
Nicknames? Ducky, Pork Chop.
Place? The park.
Things? Naps, sunbathing, and eating my kibbles.
Toys? Tennis balls and basketballs.
Food? Dog treats.
Activity? Chewing and prancing around the yard.
Human? My mom, Jordan.
Sleep position? Curled up on the bed.
Trick? Shaking my paws and high fives.

Do you have any pets?

October 07, 2014

Autumn Fashion Wishlist

As the coziest season of the year is upon us, it's a simple switch to stylize comfort with rich jewel tones, walkable slip-on wedges, and soft fabrics. Layer prints and textures with scarfs, tights, leggings, and jackets to amp up sophistication without sacrificing warmth during the brisk days and chilly nights of autumn.

What is your favorite color to wear in the fall?

October 01, 2014

What I loved this month...

Getting ready on chilly mornings wrapped in a warm blanket
Eating late night pizza with family
Fresh, bright paint on the walls
Pay day after a long work week
Finding a Dunkin Donuts on a road trip for pumpkin swirl iced coffee
Sleepily listening to podcasts before bed
The feeling of autumn
Cozy cloudy days
Catching up on YouTube videos
Planning for the future
Growing personal and professional relationships
The feeling of peace and harmony even in times of distress

How was your September?

September 24, 2014

All Natural Banana & Nut Butter Ice CreamAll Natural Banana & Nut Butter Ice Cream

This ice cream recipe is the base for a healthy dessert that at minimum requires three natural ingredients and a decent blender. Although I'm never afraid to indulge in spontaneous cravings, this homemade partnership of bananas and peanut butter satisfies my sweet tooth just as well as any sugary treat. I've tailored the measurements for a single serving but it can be easily doubled or tripled and stored in the freezer if you prefer to make bigger batches.

First take a medium to large size banana and chop it into half inch thick coins. Put them into a bowl or on a plate and then chill them in the freezer for a few hours until they're frozen solid. When you are ready to eat or prepare the ice cream, take out the banana pieces and plop them into the blender or a Magic Bullet type of device adding in two tablespoons of a nut butter of your choice, my favorite being an all natural, smooth texture peanut butter. Then take any kind of milk you prefer (chocolate, almond, rice, etc.) and pour enough to cover the other ingredients, about a cup or so, using more if you want it creamier like a milkshake. Add in a little bit of vanilla extract, brewed coffee, honey, or cocoa powder to jazz up the recipe if you wish, however I find the mixture flavorful enough on it's own. Blend everything together for a couple of minutes until completely smooth and pour it all into a bowl to enjoy. If you find it is not quite solid enough to be ice cream, simply add a few ice cubes and blend again or store it in the freezer for a few hours until it hardens. Drizzle some extra nut butter or caramel on top or sprinkle on some chopped nuts, coarse sea salt, toffee bits or whatever topping suits your fancy.

Simple Banana & Nut Butter Ice Cream
Serves one to two

1 medium to large banana, chopped into coins and frozen solid
2 tablespoons of nut butter
1/2 to 1 cup of any type of milk

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of brewed coffee
2 teaspoons of honey
2 teaspoons of cocoa powder
A handful of crushed nuts, toffee, or other candy
1/2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt

Blend the bananas, nut butter, milk, and any extras until smooth.
Scoop into a bowl and sprinkle on toppings, or enjoy just as it is.

What is your favorite healthy, homemade dessert?

September 18, 2014

Yesterday, I spent 60 dollars on groceries,
took the bus home,
carried both bags with two good arms back to my studio apartment
and cooked myself dinner.
You and I may have different definitions of a good day.
This week, I paid my rent and my credit card bill,
worked 60 hours between my two jobs,
only saw the sun on my cigarette breaks
and slept like a rock.
Flossed in the morning,
locked my door,
and remembered to buy eggs.
My mother is proud of me.
It is not the kind of pride she brags about at the golf course.
She doesn't combat topics like, "My daughter got into Yale"
with, "Oh yeah, my daughter remembered to buy eggs"
But she is proud.
See, she remembers what came before this.
The weeks where I forgot how to use my muscles,
how I would stay as silent as a thick fog for weeks.
She thought each phone call from an unknown number was the notice of my suicide.
These were the bad days.
My life was a gift that I wanted to return.
My head was a house of leaking faucets and burnt-out lightbulbs.
Depression, is a good lover.
So attentive; has this innate way of making everything about you.
And it is easy to forget that your bedroom is not the world,
That the dark shadows your pain casts is not mood-lighting.
It is easier to stay in this abusive relationship than fix the problems it has created.
Today, I slept in until 10,
cleaned every dish I own,
fought with the bank,
took care of paperwork.
You and I might have different definitions of adulthood.
I don't work for salary, I didn't graduate from college,
but I don't speak for others anymore,
and I don't regret anything I can't genuinely apologize for.
And my mother is proud of me.
I burned down a house of depression,
I painted over murals of greyscale,
and it was hard to rewrite my life into one I wanted to live
But today, I want to live.
I didn't salivate over sharp knives,
or envy the boy who tossed himself off the Brooklyn bridge.
I just cleaned my bathroom,
did the laundry,
called my brother.
Told him, "it was a good day."

- Kait Rokowski

September 11, 2014

Birthday Trip to Frankenmuth, MichiganBirthday Trip to Frankenmuth, Michigan

A few weeks ago my thoughtful boyfriend took me on a surprise adventure to celebrate my birthday together in the Germanic town of Frankenmuth, Michigan. It was the first time I had been there and upon our initial drive through downtown I completely fell in love with the historically stylized buildings, abundant greenery, and the inviting Main Street culture. Our relaxed day started out with a stroll around places like the famous Bronner's Christmas Wonderland and  many of the must-see tourist hotspots such as the Cheese Haus, Fudge Kitchen, Rau's Country Store, and also some tucked away gems like the earthy herberies Healthy Habitz 4 Life and Those Nature People, and several family-owned patisseries. I wish I had photographed more of what I saw but at the time I felt more focused on absorbing the beautiful day and enjoying my boyfriend's warm company. He spoiled me with a few small gifts throughout our trip which I saved and photographed to explain in lieu of scenery shots, and also to simply document for memory's sake.

All of the baked goods we purchased didn't quite make it to the picture as they were devoured rather quickly, but included on the naughty list were chocolate covered cherries, sea salt caramels, a vanilla frosted cupcake (which he lit with a candle and we shared on my birthday night) pistachio fudge, assorted fresh taffies, and a mini loaf of apple raisin bread. We also picked up some other edible treats that we fancied like a smoked jalapeno cheese spread, a block of chipotle colby cheese, old fashioned candies, some of our favorite flavored aloe waters, honey sticks, and natural root beer. I was graciously gifted my first Alex and Ani bracelet from the Abby's of Frankenmuth boutique which is called the lotus blossom charm bangle, appropriately representing strength in relationships, eternal bonds, and the beauty of femininity. At the Bavarian Inn gift shop my love also insisted that I pick out a pretty sterling silver ring that is decorated with tropical flowers and dainty crystals. A bit later as we browsed around the outdoor craft festival at Zehnder Park we ended up purchasing handmade paracord bracelets and a festive orange spice cranberry scented candle by JD's Country Scents. For the last stop on our little shopping spree we went to the Covered Bridge & Leather Gift Shop and bought a turquoise zipper wallet and also an assortment of Wild Berry brand incense in mystical scents like Fairy Dust, India Moon, Patchouli, and Tibetan Orchid.

We ate a late lunch at a busy local bar and grille called Tiffany's where we ordered salad and seafood for a light, yet filling meal. After a short while we found the Harvest Coffeehouse & Beanery where I sipped on a whip cream topped mocha frappucino which turned out to be the perfect chilled chocolate treat I was craving. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Frankenmuth and would recommend a visit to anyone living in Michigan or planning a trip in the central area of the state. I've been told it looks even more beautiful in autumn after the leaves turn or a bit later in the year when the holiday spirit is in full swing. Throughout the whole day everyone in town was so pleasant, from the cashiers wearing flower-laced milkmaid braids and Oktoberfest style clothing to friendly tourists and patient locals. The only money spent was on gas and shopping as parking was free and nothing else we visited charged admission, even with the perk of generous free samples. It was just enough of a single day vacation to leave me feeling refreshed and fulfilled, and we didn't even get around to seeing everything there is to see. I haven't stopped dreaming of our next trip since we left and look forward to taking family there for the charming experience.

Where did you visit this summer?

September 04, 2014

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.

Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean--roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin--his control
Stops with the shore;--upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man’s ravage, save his own,
When for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.

His steps are not upon thy paths,--thy fields
Are not a spoil for him,--thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields
For earth’s destruction thou dost all despise,
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
And send’st him, shivering in thy playful spray
And howling, to his gods, where haply lies
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth: —there let him lay.

-Lord Byron

September 01, 2014

Summer Beauty Favorites

Where I live in Michigan there wasn't much of a traditional summer with temps barely reaching eighty degrees just a handful of times with lots of rainfall and chilly nights in between. Regardless of the mild weather, I embraced the sunshine and also a more natural approach to my makeup style as I spent most of my days too sleepy to bother or at work for long shifts. The carefree attitude I was feeling led to a repetitive cycle of using the same effective beauty products which made both getting ready and choosing favorites a breeze.

I love keeping a packet of Palladio Oil Absorbing Rice Paper Tissues in Natural inside my purse for easy touch ups when I am out and about. Each thin sheet has a dusting of tinted rice powder which does a nice job of soaking up oil and sweat to blot the face and deposit color all in one action without a coated, cakey appearance on the skin.

The Anastasia Brow Pen in Universal Deep is the ultimate brow base that clings to my oily skin better than anything I've ever tried before. It's great on it's own or layered with powder to quickly fill in sparse areas, angle the arch, or draw on a precise tail.

The MAC lipstick in Naked Bud is a shiny neutral nude that goes well with every eye look and adds just the right amount of color to complete a natural face. I picked it up from the limited edition A Fantasy of Flowers collection released this past spring, but if you happened to miss out try the Revlon Lip Butter in Creme Brulee or Dizzy Spell by Marc Jacobs Beauty for a similar undertone and finish.

The beautiful L'Oreal Paris Extraordinaire by Colour Riche in Nude Ballet is my most worn liquid lipstick/lip gloss hybrid as it goes with everything and feels so lightweight on the lips. 

The drugstore favorite NYC Bronzing Powder in Sunny has been my summer staple for sun-kissed skin. It creates a subtle warm glow without pulling too orange and easily blends into my pale complexion. I like to use it as a light contour for definition and some added color, especially when using a deeper self tanner. The matte finish creates a nice balance to shimmery blushes or highlighters and also allows for the most natural finish on the skin.

The L'Oreal Paris Silky Sheer BB Face Lotion is my go-to sunscreen as it protects my skin from harmful rays while providing a natural tint that evens out redness and other imperfections for an awakened, fresh effect.

The dupable NYX Blush in Apricot is one of my most adored blush colors. It gives the prettiest feminine flush with just a hint of shimmer and an ultra flattering peachy pink tone to compliment bronzed cheeks. 

The NYX HD Photogenic Concealer Wand in Fair has a blendable, pigmented formula that hides my dark circles well and gives a flawless finish. It brightens up the skin for a subtle highlighting effect which is perfect for the dark under eye area and shaping eyebrows.

I grew to love the Julie G Nail Polish line with it's unique color selection and wallet-friendly price point. The lasting power stands up against more expensive drugstore brands and the formula is always creamy and easy to apply. My collection so far includes 9 to 5, Butterflies and Rosebuds, and Love Potion.

The Herbal Essences Color Me Happy Cleansing Conditioner is a curly girl's best friend in the summertime as it cleanses the hair of dirt and oil without stripping it like a shampoo or weighing it down like a conditioner. It leaves my locks looking fresh and smooth with a lingering perfumed rose scent.

On days where my hair feel a bit too clean or silky to withstand the humid weather, the Verb Sea Spray helps to create tangible texture and body that holds all day. The effortless beachy wave vibe is so easy to pull off this time of year with the help of this mist which holds curl and polishes the look. 

The Target exclusive scent Purple Seductia by Sonia Kashuk is a sexy, yet earthy mix of pomegranate, rose, and patchouli. I like to layer this scent under my pulse points to deepen an eau de parfum and extend it's wear.

What have you been loving this summer?

August 29, 2014

One quirky fact about me is my sincere love of good smelling hair, so when I was offered the fitting opportunity to try out the new Fresh Scent Technology Collection from Head & Shoulders I was excited for the experiment. Their revamped line offers their famous clean, dandruff free scalp guarantee with the added benefit of a water-activated fragrance boost. All of their shampoos and conditioners are color safe with a gentle, pH balanced formula which includes invigorating scents like Green AppleOcean Lift, or the more specifically targeted Smooth and Silky for frizz control, and Damage Rescue for repairing and reversing dull, dry locks.

received the Classic Clean scent which is similar to what I remember using when I was young, only it's now amplified with a potent fresh linen scent. I love how silky and clean my hair looks and feels and also how wonderful it smells all day long, even when layered with other styling products. The formula worked well for my naturally curly hair and maintained a proper balance, leaving it neither too stripped or overly moisturized. In the photo above I created my favorite, easy twist hairstyle by parting my wet hair to the side after washing and conditioning with the Head & Shoulders pair, then taking the front and braiding two half inch pieces together, each time gathering more at the base (similar to French style). 

I wanted to share their current sweepstakes for a chance to meet the vibrant face of Head & Shoulders Sofia Vergara at an upcoming advertising shoot. Her family as well as mine has been using the brand for years with consistent results and hair that is healthy from the source. The simple rules include following @HeadShoulders on Twitter and posting a picture of your gorgeous, flake-free hair with the tags #PartofOurFamily, #sweeps, and @HeadShoulders. You can enter until Monday, September 1st so snap and share as soon as you can to be eligible to win

Which scent or formula are you excited to try from the Fresh Scent Technology Collection?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

August 12, 2014

August 06, 2014

And kid, you've got to love yourself. 
You've got wake up at four in the morning, brew black coffee, and stare at the birds drowning in the darkness of the dawn.
You've got to sit next to the man at the train station who's reading your favorite book and start a conversation.
You've got to come home after a bad day and burn your skin from a shower.
Then you've got to wash all your sheets until they smell of lemon detergent you bought for four dollars at the local grocery store.
You've got to stop taking everything so goddamn personally.
You are not the moon kissing the black sky.
You've got to compliment someone's crooked brows at an art fair and tell them that their eyes remind you of green swimming pools in mid July.
You've got to stop letting yourself get upset about things that won't matter in two years.
Sleep in on Saturday mornings and wake yourself up early on Sunday.
You've got to stop worrying about what you're going to tell her when she finds out.
You've got to stop over thinking why he stopped caring about you over six months ago.
You've got to stop asking everyone for their opinions. Fuck it. Love yourself, kiddo.
You've got to love yourself.


July 31, 2014

I say most empathically that being a lost 20-something in the midst of an arguably arduous time to be alive in this world stretches our instinctual roots to a far back place in our minds to remain distant and forgotten. I myself often become too tangled up in the advances and stresses of modern life where it's easy to gloss over the natural beauty in each and every day and neglect my true purpose. I feel so spiritually fulfilled and refocused on my ever-winding path when I reconnect myself with the Earth and practice living more organically to appreciate and bask in the balance of indulging in innovation and submerging in simplicity.

July 25, 2014

Gillette Venus Embrace Sensitive Razor & Satin Care Ultra Sensitive Shave Gel
Gillette Venus Embrace Sensitive Razor & Satin Care Ultra Sensitive Shave Gel
Gillette Venus Embrace Sensitive Razor & Satin Care Ultra Sensitive Shave Gel

The skin both on my face and body is labeled as sensitive, which can mean a vast variety of descriptions such as easily irritated, translucent, temperamental, delicate, allergy-prone, photosensitive, and more. I had the opportunity to try out and review the new Venus Embrace Sensitive Razor as well as their Ultra Sensitive Shave Gel which when used together are an ideal hair removal pair for smooth, soft, skin. Being the frugal person I am, I always go for the cheap generic brand razors and shave cream when I shop but like with many things lacking in quality, I typically end up with some red razor bumps, irritation, and that dreaded prickly feeling shortly after a shower. Especially in the summer months when more skin is bare, investing a few extra dollars for a nice razor makes all the difference as it can allow a closer yet protected shave for optimal results.

The Embrace Sensitive Razor in particular has a pretty mint handle and a five blade head surrounded by an aloe moisture ribbon, complete with an included refill cartridge and a convenient suction cup shower hook. I use the Embrace mostly on my legs and underarms and it was easy to push and glide around contours, resulting in no nicks, cuts, or razor burn. I found I would get a closer shave if I put more pressure on the handle and also if the moisture ribbon was properly flattened down as the blades are so compact and close together. In use with the dye and fragrance free formula of the Ultra Sensitive shave gel, general irritation is minimized and shaving is made quick and comfortable without fuss or having to be too careful. If you have the extra cash to spend on the initial kit, the upkeep of a quality razor especially on sensitive skin can prevent unappealing effects and be a gentle alternative for easy maintenance, less time in the shower, and an overall pleasing experience.

What type of razor and shave gel do you use?

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