Our first Halloween

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It’s our first Halloween as homeowners and you can tell by the massive bags of Sour Patch Kids we gave out (along with Rice Krispy Treats too). The Sour Patch Kids were a hit with pretty much ever kid who came to our door. I think we had a total of twenty-some-odd visitors over the course of about half a dozen doorbell rings. A mostly quiet night, but that’s probably partly due to our neighborhood still being new and many condos still standing empty. It wasn’t easy to tell whether people were home and/or living in each unit, plus with our condo style, the doors are down a sidewalk between the walls of our buildings. The other style condos in the area have the front doors all along the front facing the street, so it’s easier for the kids to run from one to the next.

We made sure to turn on our front door light and we lit up fairy lights in one of the windows facing the road. Inside the front door, we lit up the tiny pumpkin I got from my recent HelloFresh box. Panda originally wanted to shine a light on it to cast a shadow like the bat signal, but the shadow was either too small or too blurry, so we decided to light the mini pumpkin instead. Next year we’ll have to make sure we carve a pumpkin and light it up out by the end of our sidewalk to get more people to our door. It also took use some time to hop off the couch and run down the stairs, so maybe we can read books on the stairs or something to be closer to the door.

Overall it was a fun Halloween, not too crazy, but it had its moments (especially at work). Here are some highlights:

laughing girl dressed up as waldo for halloween blending in with whiteboard with red stripes drawn on

This idea for Where’s Waldo sounded much better in our heads, but still provided for some great amusement today.

halloween trio dressed up as lumberjack with axe, shark, and waldo

In no other scenario would you find a lumberjack axing a shark attacking a Waldo. What fun!

mini pumpkin held in the palm of the hand

Fits in the palm of my hand.

light shining on mini pumpkin inside window by door

Our makeshift lighting for the “pumpkin signal” that didn’t quite work.

mini pumpkin inside window by door lit up by lamp

From the outside, I think you get the idea that we’re open for business, right?

cat chewing on bag of candy in basket of halloween candy

Smokey tried to dig in as soon as the kids were gone and the doorbell stopped ringing.

Love With Food Monster Mash October 2014 review

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This box was better than the last, though it still didn’t blow me away. The graphics for the card were cute as always, but I found many of the snacks to be ho-hum.

Love With Food is $12 per box (or as discounted as $120 for an entire year, with an option in between) and comes with 8 or more snack products. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program that earns you points towards products or boxes.

contents of october 2014 love with food box including eight snacks info card with details for october 2014 love with food snacks back of october 2014 love with food box info card(click to enlarge and read messaging)

I didn’t feel like the treats were particularly monstery or fallish, but whatever. I don’t need them to have a theme. My favorite so far has been the Calbee Snapea Crisps that were surprisingly easy to power through way too quickly. Before I knew it, the whole bag was empty and then I saw them at Costco and decided to get a bag. I might get sick of green peas after that, but I liked the light crunch and saltiness of this snack. The Surf Sweets jelly beans were very sweet. Veeeery sweet. I can probably eat only 3-4 at a time. The flavors were nice, but I could have done with a less concentrated sugar taste. I’ve also tried the Flamous Falafel Chips, which are strangely salty – just a hint – and then not. My taste buds were confused. The J&M Cheese Straws were not the sort of taste or texture I like. They reminded me of shortbread, yet were strongly cheesy. I couldn’t finish the bag.

I’m very hesitant about the rest. Justin’s Honey Almond Nut Butter and Chocolate Almond Nut Butter hit a bunch of things I’m not usually a fan of: almond anything, nuts, and [insert nut] butter. Sooo I’m not even sure if I should try them. Perhaps I should give them to a coworker and have a taste, since I at least like honey and chocolate. The Clairesquares Buttery Shortbread Square looks super dense and heavy. I feel like it’d be great for when I’m starving, but boy does it look rich. I’ll have to tread carefully. Finally, the NutryVitta Bananinha bar combines two other things I don’t generally eat: bars and bananas. I might try it for breakfast one of these days when I’m really hungry, or for an afternoon snack. I doubt I can eat more than one or two bites at a time though.

I’m glad there were no repeats of products again. I definitely discovered at least one treat I’d eat again, but the rest have proven to be a bit of an adventure for me. What’s your favorite from this box?

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I'd be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box at the special offer price and wanted to share what I got!]

What I love about the iPhone 6 & iOS 8

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It’s been well over a month since I’ve had my new iPhone 6 and I’m very happy with it. Since this came with iOS 8, some of the new features might actually be from the operating system, so older iPhone users can update to iOS 8 to also get some updates functionality. Not only is it physically more comfortable to hold and use, there’s a lot of other things that make this iPhone better than ever. Here are some of my favs:

-touch ID – easily the thing I most looked forward to ever since it was introduced for the iPhone 5S

-easier on the eyes (larger screen really helps!)

-double tapping the home button brings down the screen for easier one-handed use

double tapping iphone 6 home button brings screen down for easier reach with one handed-use

-new calendar (probably an iOS 8 thing) includes option to use current location for calendar entry location, add travel time, and great view of month and upcoming events of the day on single screen

-camera video options now include slo-mo, time lapse, and timer

-native keyboard options allow you to change the default keyboard to a third party one! I installed Fleksy and Swiftkey – so much better, though I wish the shortcuts I set worked with them (learn how to set your own shortcuts)

iphone 6 with swiftkey keyboard third party keyboard installed natively

-battery usage shows me which apps suck the most energy on my phone!!

iphone 6 battery usage summary in settings

And other ones to note:

-location-based lock screen app suggestion

-email notifications (get notified when there’s a reply to an email thread)

-hiding email drafts (pull the draft down and keep working, then tap New Message below to resume drafting)

-AirDrop (not even new, but so useful for sharing files across devices quickly)

-scan a credit card to enter the info rather than typing it all yourself

-Siri taps into Shazam so you don’t have to pull up the Shazam app to figure out a song

-messaging details now include options to mute, share location, and quickly browse media you’ve sent to a person

-all kinds of photo editing options and even the ability to hide photos

Beauty Box 5 October 2014 review

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A much better box for me! I never thought I was a fall girl, but I’m starting to find I like fall clothes, skincare, and other trends and habits. Maybe I like colder weather more than I realize? This tool is a great new item to have and I look forward to using it on my next product that’s nearly used up.

Beauty Box 5 is $12 per box (or as discounted as $99 for an entire year, with an option in between) and comes with 5 cosmetic products. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. You also have the option of buying it as a gift your box to a friend. They offer a referral program that earns you points towards products or boxes.

october 2014 beauty box 5 contents beauty box 5 october 2014 information card beauty box 5 october 2014 ad inserts

Chapstick Hydration Lock: This is great! I like the dual head and the formulas offer lip protection much like a standard chapstick. The day side is the type of lip product I’m used to from them and the night side offers a lovely tangy scent that I just love. I like to layer them both just for fun and this is a cool new take on a familiar product that I appreciate getting to try.

Bellapierre Cosmetics cheek and lip stain in Pink: I’m still debating if I’d use this often enough to justify opening it or if I should just trade it. It’s a pretty deep pink and could work well to offer that flushed look without looking like there’s all this makeup going on. I have so many other products I might not get around to that would achieve similar results, so I don’t know if I’ll try this or swap it.

Extend Your Beauty cosmetic tool: Again, it’s the tools that I love most about these boxes. This handy tool will help get every last drop from the bottle, which will help a lot since I try turning my nearly-empty products upside down, but it doesn’t always work out so well. This will be a lot faster and more effective for sure.

Nanacoco Nail Polish in Romantic Cruise: This is a nice polish and a shade I’d use, but not super often. I do have similar shades, so I’ll have to compare and see if they’re too similar. I do like blues, especially the pastel ones. I like the thick formula so it doesn’t drip much.

Lashem Picture Perfect instant wrinkle reducer: I can’t say I have wrinkles to worry about yet, but the tip about using this a primer is helpful so I might give that a try. I don’t mind helping keep wrinkles at bay either, if this can help with that. It won’t be an issue for me for quite some time, but better safe right?

This box’s theme was “effortless allure” which works for me. While I would have looked for a more sultry nail color, the products sure work towards a simple look that isn’t too overstated. What do you think of the items in this box?

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I'd be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Julep October 2014: The Black Magic Collection review

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I got this box before my vacation, but it was missing an item. I reached out and requested they send me an extra product too since this isn’t the first time this has happened. I received those while away, so now I have the review ready! I knew right away I wanted the night mask, so that narrowed down my choices. I happened to like both shades offered in the Classic With A Twist box, so I opted for that. For the first time, I also loved a ton of their add-ons, so I got an extra polish, nail decals, and the lip crayon.

Julep ranges from just under $20 to $40 per box and comes with combinations of nail polish colors, skincare products, and beauty products (depending on your style profile choice). They offer plenty of upgrade and add-on options too. Boxes are sent monthly unless you choose to skip (skips are earned every six months for subscribers Dec 18th, 2013 and later). You also have the option of gifting your box to a friend. They offer a referral program that earns you $15 store credit per referral.

julep maven october 2014 black magic collection box contents

October’s Classic With A Twist Black Magic Collection box with add-ons

set of julep polishes in casper, logan, deann, catrina, and karmen

Polish colors in Casper, Logan, DeAnn, Catrina, and Karmen.

I had to get Casper because it’ll glow in the dark! Logan and DeAnn came with the box and the last two were bonuses for ordering three add-ons. I already have Catrina from another box, so I’ll trade that.

julep plush pout lip crayon in aurora pink

Plush Pout Lip Crayon in Aurora Pink
I wanted this back when they first offered it, but didn’t like the box selections. Now I have one and it feels good (smells great), but that shade is way bright for me!

julep night shift sleeping mask

Night Shift Sleeping Mask
I’m a fan of this one for sure. It’s super hydrating and soothing.

julep black cat nail decals and bag of candy corn

black cat nail decals and candy corn
The decals were missing originally, so I had them send me two sets. So cute, though I wish some cats faced the other way too.

julep black magic collection card, discount offer card, quote card, candy corn info slip, and bonus card

The Black Magic Collection cards.

julep new mascaras sneak peek card

A sneak peek at their new mascaras.

julep night shift sleeping mask info card

Info card for the Night Shift mask.

This was a fun box that I liked putting together. I paid just over $40 for it and got a ton of stuff! I’m excited to do some glow-in-the-dark nails with cats. Those decals will work great in other situations too, especially for this cat lover. :)

Join as a Julep Maven to get polishes and/or beauty products sent to you monthly! Use code FREEBOX or FREEMAVEN to get the first box free (you pay shipping).

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I'd be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

The curse of jet lag

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I’ve learned a lesson to not plan international trips so tight. Ever since returning from Hong Kong Sunday morning, I have been tired, sleepless, and borderline unwell. I either fall asleep right after dinner or I can’t get to sleep all night. I’ve been waking up around 4-5 in the morning, then struggling to sleep again. I went back to work Monday, with no other recovery time or buffer to help adjust back to Eastern time.

It’s been tough. My appetite has been limited and anything too heavy or creamy doesn’t sound appealing at all. I wake up in the middle of the night starving and I nearly went crazy from the intense burning of indigestion Thursday morning. It was the first time in my life I took Tums. All I want now is light, soothing broths and noodles.

My poor body has been beat up by my inability to readjust and I get migraines constantly. I really should have allowed an extra day or two where I could sleep in and try to return to a more normal sleep pattern. Thank goodness it’s the weekend now! All I want to do is sleep and eat.

Homegrown Collective olive oil & vinegar infusion project

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I’ve been meaning to share the infusions I did from the May Homegrown GREENBOX, so here they are! This was a simple project that wasn’t super messy and didn’t require too many components – mostly just time. I chose to do the cold infusion method since it’s easy to let things just sit. I didn’t read their instructions online, so I missed the memo on the apple vinegar at the end, but I still like my results!

olive oil and balsamic vinegar infusion project ingredients

First, I laid out all the ingredients.

balsamic vinegar infusion project ingredients

I decided to infuse the vinegar with the japones peppers and rosemary.

balsamic vinegar infusion in jar with japones peppers and rosemary

I hope I put enough in there!

olive oil infusion project ingredients

I chose the lemon peel and basil leaves for the olive oil.

olive oil infusion in jar with lemon peel and basil leaf

Everything floating happily.

olive oil and balsamic vinegar infusing in jars by window

Infusing time! I let it sit for over three weeks.

infused olive oil and balsamic vinegar with extra flavor in jars

All ready and in their brand new jars. :)

The olive oil flavor is more subtle and doesn’t appear too much different, especially when I’m using it as part of cooking. The balsamic vinegar was definitely stronger due to the peppers! Overall I’m happy with the level of infusion for the vinegar and I’d do a second round of infusion for the oil next time to get a stronger flavor since the ones I chose were milder to begin with. This was a nice project and I’ve been using these as my go-to items when I need these ingredients for cooking.

Quickie in Korea

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On our way back from Hong Kong, we had a long layover in South Korea so we decided to take a quick trip to Seoul. No point in staying cooped up in the airport, right? We weren’t prepared for the cooler weather up there, so we didn’t stay out long. Just a quick walk from Seoul Station for a few blocks and a failed attempt to buy street food before returning to Seoul Station for breakfast. (When I tried to ask about the street food, the guy didn’t know English and eventually told me “no” and gestured for me to go elsewhere.)

reading glasses at incheon airport

Upon arrival, they even had reading glasses to help folks fill out customs forms.

view of sunrise from arex airport express connecting incheon airport to seoul station

AREX takes you straight from the airport to Seoul. As we headed out, the sun began to come out.

map of seoul station and surrounding area

Taking pictures of maps helped us get around.

sungnyemun gate

Sungnyemun gate wasn’t open yet (at 8 – another hour to go).

sungnyemun gate and surrounding area with large buildings in background

History among the growing modern surrounds.

namdaemun market with flags strung overhead

Entering into Namdaemun Market. The city was just waking up.

korean shoe stall at namdaemun market

No time to shop!

bottles of ginseng wine in korean stall

Fancy ginseng stuff. I didn’t realize it was wine until just now.

storage closet in underground walkway with supply of gas masks and other relief supply goods

Get your gas masks here.

plastic columns of red and green baskets outside of seoul station

Columns made of plastic baskets, outside of Seoul Station.

soap on a stick in korean bathroom

I thought I had to squeeze the blue thing to dispense soap. Turns out it WAS the soap.

korean tofu soup and sides for breakfast at seoul station

Tofu soup breakfast! Exhaustion made it hard to eat much.

button on restaurant door to open them

Buttons to enter!

buying arex tickets from seoul station back to incheon airport

We were in Seoul for less than 2 hours before we headed back to the airport.

money tray for collecting tickets and money

At first I didn’t know what those trays were for. Turns out that’s how you complete transactions, instead of handing money and tickets directly.

view from arex airport express train from seoul station to incheon airport

I could barely stay awake on the ride, but managed to snap this as I noticed water.

lounge room in incheon airport near arex airport express

Back at the airport, we explored its many amenities. By this point I managed to lose my wristlet – didn’t realize it until hours later!

airbus a320 double decker plane at gate

Our Airbus A320 from Seoul to LA. We got to sit on the second floor!

hallway in tom bradley international termina with colorful bands

Whoa, Tom Bradley looks quite different.

It was a whirlwind trip to Korea for the first time, but I’m sure we’ll be back for a proper visit. I learned that I have trouble telling the difference between Korean and Japanese. They both seem to have a lot of syllables and softer sounds. I’ll know next time to bring some key phrases with me so I can interact with the locals more. And I should definitely visit in the summer months or I might not want to go outside!

Hong Kong McCafe review

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Whoa, time flies when you’re out all day walking and exploring. Here’s a quick post about an interesting discovery abroad!

dessert case at mcdonald's mccafe in hong kong with cake slices, macarons, and drinks

Did I really just see macarons in the McDonald’s?

boxed set of mcdonald's macarons in five flavors: raspberry, chocolate, passionfruit, coffee, and mango

We got a mixed set to try.

slice of mcdonald's earl grey cake and chocolate macaron

I got the Earl Grey cake and a chocolate macaron to myself.

The cake was light and sweet with that tea undertone. There was a bit more frosting than I would have liked, so I left some on the fork. The macaron was totally different from what I expected. Most macarons I’ve had are light and crunchy but this was chewy. I actually liked that texture a lot! It reminded me of other snacks I enjoy that are soft, moist, and chewy. I plan on getting more before I leave.

Pepper Lunch HK review

laelene Post in lifestyle glimpses, reviews
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We got a chance to eat at a Pepper Lunch in a food court on our trip since I’d been wanting it for ages. The only one in the US is in NorCal and I haven’t been for at least a year or two. This one didn’t offer the selection that I’m used to from the US and Singapore ones, but I enjoyed the strong cracked pepper flavor and corn. I added an egg this time too!

pepper lunch sizzling plate with beef, rice, corn, and egg emptry pepper lunch skillet with spoon after meal has been eaten

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