Posts Tagged ‘home’

Winter break

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , , , , , ,

Ah, inertia. Ever since Thanksgiving break, I’ve seen a noticeable decline in motivation in all my classmates. We sort of just didn’t want to get back into things after our first real break.

Now that we finally got through the rest of classes, finished up finals, and are on winter break, all I want to do is lounge around. I don’t want to check emails or read books as I thought I might have done. I don’t like watching TV, but for boredom’s sake I’d turn something on just to have it going in the background.

This is reminding me of the spring break I had once where I was one of the only people on campus and I basically watched a dance competition show nonstop. I completely messed up my sleep schedule that time, staying up until 7 or 8 am and sleeping through until 6 pm. At least this time I’m keeping somewhat normal hours, though I’ve lost all sense of what day it is.

I’ve only got two more weeks at home before leaving and I want to maximize my time doing nothing and hanging out with the cats. So that’s the plan.

I got my husband back!

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , ,

It’s been 5 long weeks since Panda left me and I finally have him back again. I will never agree to such a long work trip again. It was far too much. I managed to stay relatively sane the first three weeks, but the last two have been much harder. I even gave up on eating properly and didn’t feel like anything, so I ended up resorting to instant ramen, mac & cheese, and frozen pizzas.

Now that he’s back, things are more lively again and the nights aren’t so lonely. I get to enjoy having food prepared for me and having someone to talk to after work. Even the cats get to have someone else to rub up against and spend time with. It’s nice to settle back into home life for awhile, before everything gets uprooted and I move to wherever I need to for my MBA.

I find it interesting that everyone asks me about my husband moving with me (and no, he won’t be). When I tell them, they are all shocked at how we will pass two years apart. I guess it’s more normal for Asian cultures to handle being apart for long periods of time. My parents do it all the time and much of my childhood was spent away from one or both of them. I wonder how many married MBAs go without their spouse. It seems like I will be the exception.

Anyway, I’m excited for the next couple months, where I’ll have a last chance to live this schedule before being engulfed by school. Soon enough there will be trips, orientation, classes, and so much more. I look forward to the change of pace. Turns out I get bored of a regular work schedule and I crave more unpredictability. Until then, I will appreciate having Panda back at home, being a complete family with our cats. 🙂

Prospurly October 2015 review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I saw this box from an email I got from Conscious Box and I couldn’t resist. From previous boxes, I saw fun things like a desktop garden kit and mule mugs that caught my attention in particular. I could hardly wait for the first box to come!

Prospurly is just under $45 per box (with code for 10% off your subscription – use my referral links from this post) and comes with artisan foods, bath & body items, home products, and other sustainably crafted items. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program that earns you free boxes.

orange prospurly box with white words

It came in an orange box stuffed quite full.

prospurly october 2015 box inner lid with info card

The info card is stuck to the lid, which you can then remove to read.

prospurly box inner lid with info card removed

Once the card’s removed a cute little graphic shows.

prospurly october 2015 box open with products showing prospurly october 2015 info card with product details

Honey Girls paleo chocolate chip cookie mix – You can’t quite tell from the picture, but the jar feels rather empty. It’s just a little over half full from the look of it and I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be the portion size, but it seems a bit small. Still, I look forward to trying this and comparing to all the other cookie mixes I’m used to using. It’s expensive for my taste though.

benescentials aromatherapy spray in Fall Into Winter – Ooo, this is a lovely scent of fall that is just wonderful. It’s very unique compared to most aromatherapy I’ve tried and so perfect for the season. I like how on their Etsy listing, they list how each ingredient is supposed to make you feel and what the intended benefits are. All aromatherapy is quite soothing to me but I like knowing if it’s more energizing or calming so I can plan to use them at different times.

Skin Nutrition from nature with love pumpkin lotion – I’ve never had a pumpkin lotion before and I love the warmth with a hint of spice that this one gives. I feel like I’m in a kitchen that’s making pumpkin-flavored everything. The lotion feels great and is really moisturizing. This little bottle will be perfect to keep at one of my various lotion spots: in the car, at my desk, by the bed…

Valentina’s Home-Brewed Protection Magickal Mineral Bath Salts – I have bath salts in another scent from this brand and I’m happy to try out a different variety! I like that these are basically single-use packs, though I’ll probably use just half at a time. Looks like I’m going to have to draw up a bath in the coming days, just so I can try this out.

The Suds Cafe pumpkin spice goat’s milk soap – First of all, this bar of soap is fun to look at. I love when they do layering with different textures and colors. I feel like it makes it more fun to use that way! I just recently opened up a bar of soap to use but I might swap that out for this one since this would be a great time of year to smell like pumpkins.

Bliss Pharm Harvest Moon hand sanitizer – You know, I don’t think I’ve really used hand sanitizer sprays. I’ve had wipes and those gel bottles, but I’m liking this misting action. Plus it smells so much better than those “clean” scents that just make me think of bathrooms. I’ll have to keep this bottle handy with me – I know I’m going to enjoy using it all the time.

Skin Nutrition from nature with love pumpkin spice lip balm – Cool, pumpkin spice lip balm! If it’s anything like the lotion from this brand then I’m in for a very sweet treat. I’m debating if I should open it up since I have so many lip balms in use already. For now I’ll keep it sealed and try to use up the ones I’ve had for longer.

Tin Pony Soap House Cinnamon Whiskey soy candle – Whoa, I wasn’t sure about the whiskey part but I do like the scent of this candle. Unfortunately, Panda does not and claims that the cats wouldn’t either (they didn’t seem to mind when I left it open). I might have to burn this in a room that he won’t be going to, or gift it to someone who can burn it in their home. I love the jar and I’m happy it’s a soy candle.

Cool, my first box from them and I’m quite pleased with the very seasonal products that fit “The Harvest” theme and definitely feel like locally crafted fare. I do hope for more unique home items in future boxes, since I’ve got plenty of candles. The upcoming theme is The Gift of Gratitude, which I’m sure will have some Thanksgiving-esque items. Maybe a small cornucopia? A desktop turkey? I hope it’s something that really impresses me. What do you think of these products?

[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!]

My cats love plants

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,

To sniff and eat them, that is. Not just catnip either, though I do have that for them. Missy’s more interested in grass most of the time.

My new plants have been growing in a planter I got this summer. I have catnip, various wildflowers, poppies, and a smattering of other flowering type plants. I hope they make it through the colder weather coming up! I’ll have to find a place inside the home to place them later in fall. I recently planted tomato seeds and Panda saved pepper seeds from the last pepper we ate. I’d love to have my own little garden someday, though for now I don’t have a yard so my options are certainly limited.

cat laying on porch sniffing catnip plant in planter cat standing on planter eating plant

My new compost tumbler

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , ,

This weekend, I received the compost tumbler that I ordered online! I wanted something compact that I could keep on my porch and put my food scraps in. The tumbling kind is perfect because you can rotate the mix around and distribute it more evenly for better “cooking” in there.

tumbling composter box with cat sniffing corner tumbling composter parts in box tumbling composter parts assembled tumbling composter stand partially assembled tumbling composter in progress brand new assembled tumbling composter inside compartment of tumbling composter

It was pretty easy to figure out once I tried out the components. There were a ton of screws to put in! There are some ventilation holes that can’t be sealed so I can’t pour straight liquid. I hope it decomposes well and doesn’t leak!

DANI Naturals: a hard case to crack

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , ,

For secret santa last year, my pledge bros and I did a long distance exchange. Most of us are distributed around the world now, so it was a fun way to reconnect and send each other gifts. I got a lovely bottle of DANI’s lemongrass lavender reed diffuser. When my most recent reed diffuser ran out, I eagerly opened up the box for this one. Little did I know how challenging opening it would be! Since Panda and I don’t drink, we don’t have one of those wine bottle openers that might have helped with the whole process. Instead, this is what happened…

First we tried using pliers and other tools to grip the stopper and wiggle it out. It was the soft rubbery kind though, so it would just bend out of shape and wouldn’t budge. Eventually it started to break apart so I knew we needed to try other methods.

dani naturals reed diffuser bottle with paperclip trying to move stopper

So then I got a paperclip and started shoving it down the side of stopper. It was so tight I couldn’t get any sort of hook shape going.

dani naturals reed diffuser bottle with paperclip inserted at two points to leverage popping out stopper

I tried putting in the other end to leverage them against each other.

dani naturals reed diffuser bottle with nail trying to release stopper

After bending the paperclip until it was near the breaking point, we decided to get a nail and screw it in the top.

dani naturals reed diffuser bottle with nail to slowly move stopper

After MUCH wiggling, we saw progress! The dirty part is where we’d tried pliers and such. The bit of clean below that is how much slowly came out.

dani naturals reed diffuser bottle with stopper finally pulled out

I had to keep screwing the screw back down since it would start ripping out, but eventually we got that satisfying ‘pop’ of freedom!

tools used attempting to open dani naturals reed diffuser bottle

Can you believe it took all these tools and a good half hour or more to get this silly thing open? They really need to redesign the stopper.

At least now I get to enjoy the lemony smell of my reed diffuser!

Homegrown Collective June 2015 review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ooo I’m all about exfoliation! In fact, I think I probably go too crazy with that, but I just love envisioning the dead skin sloughing off leaving behind freshness. Sugar, salt, ground up nuts – I’ve tried’em all and love’em all!

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 salty & sweet homegrown collective 2015 box with the info sheets on the inner lidcontents of the homegrown collective june 2015 box with salty & sweet theme

Project #1, DIY lavender bath soak: Ah, what a nice easy soak to put together. I enjoy baths with lovely scents like this, so I’ll be trying this with one of my next baths.

the homegrown collective june 2015 project diy lavender bath soak info card the homegrown collective june 2015 products for diy lavender bath soak

Project #2, DIY eucalyptus sea salt scrub: Now what is the difference between these types of salts? I’m not really sure, but I’m happy to use them. I guess epsom is good for soaking and sea salt is good for scrubbing. Oh, and the glove is so cute!

the homegrown collective june 2015 project diy eucalyptus salt scrub info card the homegrown collective june 2015 products for diy eucalyptus salt scrub

Project #3, DIY sugar & lemon scrub: I had no idea sugar helps draw sugar to your skin, but I did know there is a difference between using sugar scrubs vs. salt. Still, I like them all and will use this when my skin is feeling dry to hopefully revive its moisture.

the homegrown collective june 2015 project diy sugar & lemon scrub info card the homegrown collective june 2015 products for diy sugar & lemon scrub

All these are just up my alley and I’m excited to have them to try, among my many other exfoliant products. The last sheet explained more about exfoliation and the benefits of it all over your body. Good stuff. 🙂

the homegrown collective june 2015 diy salty & sweet exfoliation info card

Want your own? Subscribe to the Homegrown Collective to 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!]

40 minutes

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , ,

Panda and I (try to) have a tradition. Every night before bed, as we’re winding down for the night, we have our “40 minutes.” It’s time for us to talk about our day and share our thoughts before sleeping. It started when he had first moved out east and we’d sit on Skype, both doing our own thing, occasionally talking. I think it started off as 20 minutes and it’s fluctuated back and forth a few times. The point is to have time to each other; we don’t need to accomplish anything from it and we don’t have anything specific we need to say. It’s sort of like when you sit down to write and sometimes you just write your stream of consciousness.

By talking, we end up covering important issues some nights. Sometimes it’s an experience we want to share, sometimes it’s our life philosophies. I think it’s a nice way to put time aside for each other and be able to exchange ideas. However, it almost never goes so smoothly. Just in trying to enforce our “tradition” we often end up debating when we should have started and whether sleep is more important. Panda’s always trying to sleep early, but unless he announces 40 minutes, any talking is just normal conversation and not our special time. I’m weird like that.

And so the night continues, we us spending as much time talking about whether we should do 40 minutes as we actually do “doing” 40 minutes. It’s silly, but it’s a part of how we close out the night. It’s hard to close out distractions and I’m starting to think maybe we should have topics or questions to discuss so there’s a little less ambiguity around it. But I like to go with the flow and see where our thoughts take us. It just feels better to me.

Do you have any strange traditions in your family?

Smokey’s adventures

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s been a busy night, so I’ll share a quick set of videos with you of life with our cat Smokey. She’s a finicky girl with some adorable quirks! First she enjoys climbing in one drawer and popping out another, second she tries to escape the scary sound of a dog after surgery on her tooth, and third she tries to walk off the anesthesia from the vet visit.

cat hiding in drawer from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

cat hiding from dog in kennel from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

cat walking off anesthesia from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Yogi Surprise May 2015 review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m seeing some familiar brands! There are some nice reusable items too, that will last a long time to come. Let’s get ready for summer with this box…

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 may 2015 box with info card yogi surprise may 2015 info card with product details

Luv Superfoods almond beegan-bites – These look like fun little chocolate cups, though I’m hesitant to try them because they’re raw and vegan so I’m not sure about their flavor. I will definitely eat them though, since they should really pack a nice punch of energy.

Moon Valley Organics Peppermint Foot Rub – Much like the Rejuvenating Rub that came a few months ago, this is a minty tube of cream that smells great. It melts with your body temperature and just a little is enough to cover a lot of skin. I don’t quite feel the mint on my feet so I would have liked more of the cooling effect, but it sure does leave my feet nice and soft.

Star Essence Yoga Mind Mouth Mist – Haha! I had just mentioned the mouth mist I’d gotten when we got a different spray from this brand in my very first Yogi surprise box. So now I have another one, which works since my original is back at my parents’ home.

Tea Tibet Harmony Spiced Tea – Oh yay! Definitely excited about this tea since I don’t usually have spiced ones and I enjoy tea of all kinds. I’ll take this to work to drink since it’s always cold there and I end up drinking a ton of hot water or tea throughout the day.

Tibetan prayer flags – These will be a nice decoration to put up in one of the rooms. We don’t really buy things to put up or on display, so this will help spruce up the place.

Yogi necklace with Om pendant – I don’t typically wear large pendants like this, but I’ll try it out and see how I feel. I can always gift it to someone!

I’ll try to make good use of all the items here. We’ll see how it goes – I can always share if I’m not a fan.

[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!]

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