Naked without my ring

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For the past couple of days, I was without my ring and it felt like my hands were naked the whole time. I found myself hiding my hand from anyone who might notice that there wasn’t a ring on it (yeah right). It was silly, but I was certainly missing an integral part of my life for the past two years.

Why was my ring missing from my possession? Well, I decided it was time to get a wedding band made to go with it. I went back to the jeweler who made my engagement ring for me and they needed to keep it to do some precise measurements so my band fits properly. The lady who runs the shop knows just what I like and already had some ideas in mind. She knew right away I’d want diamonds on it, so I’m excited to see what she makes. I trust she’ll do an awesome job.

purple sapphire engagement ring on hand

Welcome back, my precious.

My ring has a bit of an odd shape, so not just any ring will work with it. I always knew it would have to be custom made and now I’m ready to get that (along with a proper ring for Panda, who’s been using a cheap placeholder). After the measuring, a CAD drawing was produced and then a wax mold created to show me the general size. Pretty much the same process that went into making my engagement ring. Being involved in the process is so much fun. :)

Now my ring is back with me and I look forward to getting a band to go with it. Panda’s going to decide on the look he wants and we’ll get that made as well. What a thrilling little journey this will be!

Treatsie June 2015 review

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With the hot summer months upon us, it’s time for some snacks that won’t melt in the heat. There’s a good variety in this box.

Treatsie is $15 per box + $4.95 shipping and comes with artisan candy from 3-4 brands. That means about 6 or 7 different flavors of treats. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral link program to earn store credit. Use my referral link to get your first box FREE!

treatsie june 2015 box contents with salem baking moravian cookies, the art of caramel artisanal caramelized popcorn, and nutwhats confection crunch treatsie june 2015 info card

Salem Baking Co Meyer Lemon Moravian Cookies: Mmm, the fresh lemony taste of these are a nice, light treat. Plus, the cookies are super thin and crunchy! Definitely a nice summer snack to have. I’ve never heard of Moravians much less their cookies, but I’ve learned that it’s a style that comes from those belonging to that church.

The Art of Caramel Artisanal Caramelized Popcorn in Vanilla Bean Cocoa NibBananas Foster with Dark Rum: I don’t care for popcorn much, but I did try the Vanilla Cocoa one, which was a somewhat strange combination of flavors for me. I’ll pass on the other since I don’t particularly like bananas or rum. Luckily, I’ve got plenty of mouths willing to eat my snacks at work.

Nutwhats Peanut Butter Crunch & Almond: I’ve got to say, smothering nuts in sugar is one way to get me to like them! I enjoy the crunchiness of these treats and the uber sweetness too. They’re rather addicting and can be quite dangerous once you get started.

The popcorn was meh for me, but the rest is all delicious! I really liked trying out a new style of cookie. Which snacks do you want from this box? To get Treatsie, sign up with my link and get your first box free!

[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!]

Petit Vour June 2015 review

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With summertime in full swing, it’s great to see some products to help with my skin. I’ve gotten some odd tiny bumps scattered over my cheeks and nose, which flared up in the past few days. I’m hoping I can calm down my skin soon.

Petit Vour is $15 per box (or as much as $30 for international subscribers) and comes with vegan beauty, skincare, and other personal care products. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program that earns you points towards free boxes (email contact@petitvour.com to say I referred you if you sign up!).

contents of petit vour june 2015 box with meow meow tweet spot serum, jacq's organics scrub & masque, 100% pure facial cleansing brush, fior minerals vegan eyeliner, and info card with bright eyed and fresh faced theme petit vour june 2015 box info card with item details

Meow Meow Tweet Spot Serum – I’m really glad I got the spot serum, because that’s just the type of thing my skin needs. I can’t seem to avoid breakouts, even when I use medication, so I sure hope this can help reduce some of the insanity on my face.

Jacq’s Organics Green Smoothie Scrub & Masque – Am I putting food on my face? Haha, that’s what this name makes me think of. I love masks so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one. I like the dry formula, which saves on a lot of space.

100% Pure facial cleansing brush – Alright! As a tool junkie, this was the first thing that grabbed my attention. It’s very soft and such an adorable little size. This might be a good way for me to cleanse my face when I’m not in the shower. I hate getting my hands wet and having water dripping down my arms, so I think this might be a lot less messy.

Fior Minerals D’Fined Lines Vegan Eyeliner – I’ve started to use eyeliner here and there and I found that the brown shades are great for a more subtle look. I’ll add this to my lineup for future use.

This was a great box that really fit my preferences quite well. I’ll be using all of these things! Which of these do you want to have?

[This post mentions a referral program. Signing up and emailing contact@petitvour.com to say I referred you 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!]

Shrieking kids in public

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What are your thoughts on children who are playing in a restaurant, running amok and hollering at the top of their high-pitched lungs?

That’s what a good fifteen minutes of dinner was like for me last night. Exacerbating the fact was my exhaustion and stress over everything I needed to do after getting home. I already have no patience for children as it is, and I was not pleased that neither the parents nor the waitstaff said a thing. My friend and looked at each with eyebrows raised, cringing with each piercing shriek that filled the otherwise empty room. A boy of about eight was chasing around a boy of about three and the young one was having a grand old time challenging our eardrums.

The mother quietly spoke in Vietnamese as the other two adults ignored the situation. Perhaps they were used to this behavior, or perhaps they were mildly deaf (they did seem rather elderly). The kids paid no attention to whatever the mom said and that was that. Meanwhile the staff (only two were out) looked on and stood awkwardly with no sign of at least attempting to create a more pleasant dining experience for my friend and me.

I don’t know if it was because the place was Asian or maybe they knew the family, but I’m pretty sure a Western restaurant would have said something. I kept looking at the adults and the staff until I got tired of waiting. Then I resorted to my usual tactic: I stared solemnly at the children. Whenever kids are acting up in public, making a scene where it is disruptive to others (at least when I feel that way), I stare them down. If they catch my eye, they generally stop. Sometimes they might just be startled to realize someone is looking. Sometimes they figure out that they are being annoying. Whatever the case, it tends to be effective in getting them to stop yelling.

This time, the older child noticed me and then began to tell his brother to quiet down. They happened to be leaving at that point anyway, but I was glad for the noise reduction even before they made it out the door. Too bad the one causing a ruckus never saw me staring. Maybe then he’d learn to keep his play to louder environments or to more appropriate situations.

Would you ever be like I am and look at kids until they stopped screaming or crying? Or would you be even more straightforward and go speak to them or their parents? Maybe you’re like most others who sit and bear it with teeth gritted?

Fabletics Spur Outfit (Delamo Jacket + Salar Legging) review

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I seem to be months behind on these outfit reviews all the time. They’re still relevant though, since the clothes are still being offered (if not in the same combos). Now I’ve really gotten time to field test them for results!

Fabletics is just under $50 per outfit credit and comes with a 2- or 3-piece set of athletic wear. Each month, three outfits are selected for you to choose from at the 1 outfit credit price point. You can always get other outfits at their VIP pricing of $50-80 (2- and 3- pieces available) or buy any individual item separately. Outfits are sent monthly unless you choose to skip (which is very easy to do). They offer a referral program that earns you money towards free outfits.

Get your first outfit for half off with my referral link! All fitted Fabletics items are chafe-resistant and feature four-way stretch for comfort and movement.

collage of front, back, and sheer shoulder of fabletics delamo jacket in black

Delamo Jacket in Black

I had my eye on a shirt with thumb holes and this one turned out to be perfect for my needs in the cooler months. I like that it has somewhat sheer panels on the shoulders so you can release heat. The pockets in the front zip up to prevent anything from falling out. I could easily practice yoga in this to stay warm and not feel like I was overdressed. It’s soft and comfy and you don’t have to use the thumb holes if you’re just looking for a regular jacket. The retail value for this is listed as $69.95.

collage of front, back, and hidden pocket of fabletics salar leggings in plum

Salar Legging in Plum

My favorite color is purple, so I just had to select this color. Based on the picture, I expected a black band along the waist, but they turned out to be a solid color, which I’m fine with. I do have another pair of leggings in this design, but they’re coral so you’d never mistake them. I think I’m going to go for more colored ones now that I have a bunch of neutrals. As always, it’s very soft and has a little hidden pocket for putting your key or ID in. The listed retail value for this is $64.95.

This is another outfit that I’ve put to good use in yoga class. I like that the style and colors are something I can wear out and not look too out of place. Want an outfit for yourself? Sign up for Fabletics to get your first outfit for as low as $25.

[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 outfit and wanted to share what I got!]

Hello Fresh October 1 Delivery review

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Back to catching up on these reviews… it feels like I just made some of these meals a few weeks ago, but holy cow, it’s been 8 months?! I’ve brought back some of these recipes on my own, which has been fun. (Interested in trying Hello Fresh? Use my referral code to get $40 off your first order: 9CAMJS)

Hello Fresh is just under $70 per box and comes with 3 meals of 2 servings each. That’s less than $12 per meal serving. Boxes are sent weekly unless you choose to skip (which is very easy to do). They offer a referral code that gives $40 off to the person you referred and $20 off your next order.

collage of hello fresh new box design

The exterior box changed to a new design.

collage of hello fresh taste of italy info card

The theme of the month was Italy, with dishes inspired from different parts of the country.

collage of hello fresh steak tagliata with roasted tomatoes and potatoes recipe card

We went for the steak first and I found that I really like roasted tomatoes!

collage of hello fresh steak tagliata with roasted tomatoes and potatoes ingredients and meal being made

Tons of herbs and drizzles of oil in this.

hello fresh steak tagliata with roasted tomatoes and potatoes finished product

Delicious final product that I quite enjoyed.

collage of hello fresh emeril's catfish with glazed carrots and rice pilaf recipe card

Then it was time to try a recipe by Emeril.

collage of hello fresh emeril's catfish with glazed carrots and rice pilaf ingredients and meal being made

Pretty simple meal with minimal ingredients, but a bunch of flavors.

hello fresh emeril's catfish with glazed carrots and rice pilaf finished product

I like fish and rice, so this was good. I probably would try more veggies though.

collage of hello fresh alexis' chicken tortilla soup recipe card

Finally, it was tortilla soup time. I’m a fan of soup and the taste of chunks of avocado inside.

collage of hello fresh alexis' chicken tortilla soup ingredients and meal being made

Soup is fun since you get to throw a bunch of things in the pot. Forgot to take a picture of the final product, which was a little more watery than I would have wanted.

collage of hello fresh tnt show info card

Apparently there’s a show so that’s why one of the recipes was Emeril’s.

All in all, solid dishes that I’d tweak a little do my own thing with. I’ve already done more roasted tomatoes, since they’re so simple and I quite enjoyed that.

[This post contains affiliate codes. 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!]

An iPhone exchange mistake

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It’s been a good nine months with my iPhone 6 and I only had one minor issue with the earpiece that required a replacement of the screen a few months back. While the physical hardware seemed to be ok, I was having a lot of crashing issues with it. It would sporadically restart when I was using it – sometimes when using an app, sometimes when trying to update a bunch of them. This Friday it happened again and since it’s been occurring almost regularly now, I decided to go get my phone checked out. I made an appointment for the Genius Bar after lunch, backed up my phone to iCloud, and went off.

A diagnostic couldn’t pinpoint what it might be, so I was offered a new device in case it was a hardware issue. If the problem persists, then we know it’s probably a software issue. I felt pretty confident swapping out devices since I’d done it so many times before. As we were setting up the new device, I remembered some photos from lunch that I had not backed up, so I made sure to do that. Once I felt good about it, I relinquished that device and went back to the office.

The rest of the afternoon I let my phone restore from backup. By the end of the day, the apps were all there and everything looked like normal. Except… why were my photos not syncing? I figured it would take more time. Later at night I checked again and not a single old photo was there. That’s when I realized that my iCloud backup didn’t back up photos. Since we only get 5 GB for free, I didn’t have room for them. I was so rusty when it came to this process that I hadn’t made a backup via iTunes (rookie mistake).

Luckily, I had done the photo backup to Flickr and Dropbox, so the photos are available, just not the way I want (in my Camera Roll). However, with more digging I found that some videos I’d taken last weekend were not backed up. My Dropbox had run out of space and Flickr doesn’t auto backup video files. Sad times! No matter what I did, I just couldn’t recover them anymore. It’s unfortunate and I’m not happy about it, but it was my own oversight.

Lesson learned.

From now on, I will be sure to back up to iTunes. While this is inconvenient, there’s not much I can do. The last iTunes backup I have is from December! It feels like too much lost data along the way if I restore using that version. So while I am happy to have a brand new device, I mourn the loss of the media that got lost in the shuffle.

Homegrown Collective May 2015 review

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What a cool theme! Focusing on an area of the body allowed them to really include a nice variety of projects this time. I’m super excited about these, some which are totally new and some which are familiar.

The Homegrown Collective GREENBOX is $39 per box + $9 shipping (or as discounted as $429 for an entire year, with options in between) and comes with fun and easy projects to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program you can apply to join.

inside of above the neck homegrown collective 2015 box with the info sheets on the inner lid contents of the homegrown collective may 2015 box with above the neck theme

Project #1, DIY rosewater tonics: I have a bottle of rosewater sitting on my counter, which I use to lightly mist my face from time to time. I like that this time they also offered a toner option, which I’m totally going to try. I definitely need to use toner!

the homegrown collective may 2015 project diy rosewater tonics info card the homegrown collective may 2015 products for diy rosewater tonics

Project #2, DIY makeup remover pads: I’ve already done this one so I can try them out this week. I generally use facial wipes, but I’m happy to make my own makeup remover pads to use instead. I love how simple and easy it is.

the homegrown collective may 2015 project diy makeup remover pads info card the homegrown collective may 2015 products for diy makeup remover pads

Project #3, DIY activated charcoal mask: I’ve seen both these projects in previous boxes before, but I think it’s the first time they’ve been offered together. I just started trying a teeth whitening toothpaste, so once I get a chance to see how that works, I’m curious to try the charcoal and compare.

the homegrown collective may 2015 project diy activated charcoal mask info cardthe homegrown collective may 2015 products for diy activated charcoal mask

Project #4, DIY coconut oil pulling chews: I also went ahead and made these to try first thing tomorrow! It takes me a good half hour to get to work, so I might chew these on my drive. I’ve never heard of oil pulling before, but I figure it couldn’t hurt. I made half peppermint and half cinnamon to see which I prefer and future batches will probably be one or the other.

the homegrown collective may 2015 project diy coconut oil pulling chews info card the homegrown collective may 2015 products for diy coconut oil pulling chews

I couldn’t quite figure out what the loofah was for, but I’m happy to have another one. Is it weird that I love the unique jars, molds, and containers they send? I just love that stuff. I’m also really pleased with this box. I’m trying to be better about doing them right away or else I sort of don’t get around to trying them…

Want your own? Subscribe to the Homegrown Collective start getting projects too!

[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!]

Yogi Surprise June 2015 review

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It was pouring rain when I got home and found this box on the stoop. It got pretty wet, but everything inside was okyogi

Yogi Surprise is just under $36 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – use my referral links from this post) and comes with yoga gear, skincare, food, and other lifestyle products. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program that earns you free boxes.

contents of yogi surprise june 2015 box with info cardyogi surprise june 2015 info card with product details

Natural Fitness hemp yoga strap – This is a nice strap that feels soft and thick. It’s strong and long, with very sturdy metal buckles. Between this and the other yoga strap we got, I’m all set for classes! I will also use them to help with stretches at home.

Mind Over Lather yoga mat spray – What a refreshingly clean scent! Perfect for cleaning off my mat. It’s a really large bottle too, so it’ll last me a good, long time. I might transfer some to a smaller bottle so it’s not quite so heavy to carry around.

Yoga Gangsters Truthful Mist – I don’t quite get this energy mist thing, but I sprayed and inhaled it as recommended. I think it’s nice for being a face mist of sorts. This particular scent isn’t my ideal, but it’s different so I think it’ll offer a nice change of scenery from the usual lavenders and citruses I have.

Gaiam Super Grippy yoga gloves – Fascinating product here, which certainly helps make it easier to keep your hands in place. I would like a pair of similar socks to use and then I can practice yoga on any smooth floor!

Bearded Brothers bar – I’ll be saving this for before or after a workout when I feel like I need a boost. Today I ate a bar before running and thank goodness! I probably would have passed out otherwise.

Jade Tree of Life bracelet – Aww this is cute. I like the delicate pendant hanging off the bracelet. I wear a solid jade bracelet, so I might try pairing them together. I can also use it for meditation like meditation beads. :)

Another box I’ll make good use of for the most part. Some items are more of a novelty sort of thing, but others are really practical. What do you think?

[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!]

A walk around Macau

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Last year, when Panda and I went to Hong Kong, we also got a chance to swing by Macau! His mom had spent some time there as a child, so it was pretty special. I don’t remember much from the time I went myself, so it was good to visit again. Check out some of the random things we saw, starting with some guys feeding the sea creatures at the MGM Macau. I want to do that!!!

fish tank feeding frenzy from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

fish and ray swarming diver from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

second diver entering tank from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Over at the Wynn, we watched a random show about the Tree of Life. The ceiling opened up, a tree came out of the ground, and there was some epic music. After some storytelling, the tree went back down and the ceiling closed up again… I vaguely remember seeing this the first time I was there.

Macau casino ceiling closing from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

And I got to witness a lady making treats! It’s like a crepe cookie wrapped with dried pork and seaweed. What a strange combo.

making handmade Macau treat from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

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