Posts Tagged ‘winnings’

On My Mind, episode 12: winning

laelene Posted in on my mind,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

It’s the first day of my last two weeks on the job and I’m not yet ready for the change, though I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been on a streak of good fortune, which has been nice.

It started when I got an email about potential roommates. I had wanted to split a 3-bedroom to save on costs, but wasn’t sure how to begin. I’d looked at some apartments and that was it. As luck would have it, one of the girls I met at admit weekend reached out to me – she and another girl had secured an apartment and needed a third roommate. The place is in DTLA just like I wanted and it looks fabulous. It’s a quick and easy drive down to campus. The rent cost is less then the $1400 max I was hoping for.

So there I was, with an opportunity in my lap. The other girl happens to live in DC, so we were able to meet up after work last Tuesday to chat and make sure we were a good fit. I’m pleased to say that everything went well and we’re going ahead with getting me added to the lease! How easy was that?

Then last week we had an internal testing event to try out the new app we’ll be rolling out. For our participation, we were entered in a drawing for one of three $150 Amazon gift cards. I was the very last name drawn, how exciting!! What a nice parting gift to get. 🙂

As if that wasn’t all good enough, I noticed a message in my Instagram account. I don’t check often, but it happened to catch my eye. I had won a contest for a free Lilee box, courtesy of Beauty Box 5 and others hosting a Sunset Shop Giveaway. Yippee! I don’t enter contests as much anymore, but I’m glad to see I can still win them from time to time. I’ve found that I usually have a 1-1.5% success rate.

And hey while I’m at it, I’d like to celebrate the fact that I opened a Capital One 360 Savings account and found out they have a pretty awesome interest rate of 0.75% APY. Certainly better than the other accounts I have open elsewhere. My mom says that Discover has a great one too, so when I see a good offer for new accounts, I’ll have to set one up.

Finally, it is the start of the end for me and in a way, that’s worth celebrating. I’ll miss my friends and aspects of working here, but I really look forward to learning new things, meeting people who are as excited about business as I am, and setting my career on the track I’ve wanted for some time now.

Conscious Box July review

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

With this third Conscious Box, I got all the boxes for my first 3-month subscription prize. Now I’ve redeemed the second Conscious Box giveaway I won for another 3-month stint! I’m really glad I won two giveaways because I feel like I’m just getting warmed up with these and I’m not ready for them to end.

Conscious Box is just under $20 per box (or as discounted as just over $203 for an entire year, with options in between) and comes with many samples from about a dozen brands. Choose from their Classic, Vegan, or Gluten-free box. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral link program.

conscious box july inner box with card

This month’s theme is a pretty blue starry look and is based around the idea of “nature’s fireworks.” This is the first time I received an info sheet and I’m pretty sure they just started doing this, which is great. Sometimes with all those samples you don’t quite know what to do so a little bit of info is helpful!

collage of conscious box july info sheet front and back

As always, the contents of the box are wide-ranging and mostly sample sizes. Click on the picture to get a larger view and zoom if you want to see the details. If you want to watch the unboxing, I show you each product one by one as I take it out.

conscious box july contents including clif bar, adonia self-tanner, bambooee towel, totlogic lotion, kidslac probiotics, eco-gecko spoon, kios stomach relief, ecover dishwasher tablets, mdm hydration factor, last round hangover support, good nature tea, epic dental mints, clean ethics bottle bright cleaner, similasan eye drops, ancient minerals lotion

When I first saw the drink, I thought it was a DreamWater, but it’s actually a hangover cure. I’ll be passing that on to someone else since I don’t drink. My favorite item is the Bambooee towel, which I have been meaning to try. The Clif bar is going to Panda since he likes peanuts and whatnot and I don’t. I’ve never tried self-tanner so that will be interesting. I think the Kidslac probiotics will be good for both Panda and I – it’s not just for kids, right? Same deal with the TotLogic lotion; I don’t see why adults can’t use it too. I’ve gotten Ecover samples before and really should try them out – I’ve only used the dishwasher a few times in my life so it’s a hard habit to get into. The Bottle Bright tablet will be great for those hard-to-clean water bottles! I’m really curious about the Ancient Minerals lotion with melatonin… could it really help me sleep better?!

I knew a few of the brands presented this time but haven’t actually tried them so I’m looking forward to that, plus I’m learning so much about all these other products I had no idea existed! Did you get a Conscious Box too? What do you think of everything in it?

In the mail: a prize, skincare, and a ton of trades

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday was an excellent day for my mailbox. I received my July Ipsy bag, a reimbursement check, and two trades I set up last week! Before I started sending and receiving packages, I never knew how good a Monday could feel. Let me recap the items I’ve gotten in the past few weeks:

a magicalmom box giveaway collage

Even Missy wanted in on the box!

This box I won from Leigh of Whimsical Adventures of a Magical Mom. It was originally supposed to be a CraveBox, but then they shut down! Leigh was kind enough to put together a nice box for me anyway, one that is similar to what I might have gotten from CraveBox. Thanks lady! I absolutely LOVE that card – it is so beautiful. As you can see, the box is filled with some great items in the bath, body, and beauty departments. It’s so nicely packaged too!

origins skincare samples collage

I think I saw an ad for the Origins Top 10 Skincare Sample Pack, or maybe I came across when I was just browsing their site. I’ve always been interested in the Origins brand and got to try their A Perfect World face wash for an Earth Day trade a few years back. I also purchased a face moisturizer and used that all up. When I came across this sample pack, I decided it was a good deal because I get to try a bunch of their products to see which I might want full sizes of AND I get a code to use for $10 towards my next purchase, so I basically get to test these for the $0.50 in tax that I paid. That’s a pretty awesome deal! I’d share a link with you, but apparently they are no longer offering it. Sad times.

juice beauty 30-day skin-clearing kit collage

Another brand I’m super interested in is Juice Beauty. I learned of them sometime in the past year, from all the bloggers sharing their subscription boxes. When I got a chance, I did a trade for the Juice Beauty lip gloss and hydrating mist. Still, I coveted the Green Apple Blemish Clearing Peel so when I found the 30-day skin clearing kit I sprang for it. Major bonus that the kit includes a super soft bamboo washcloth – face towels are awesome! I didn’t realize at first that this signs you up for a subscription to get it sent monthly, so I’m going to have to cancel that until I’ve tried out this set and seen what it does for me.

collage of various trades including zoya polish, earth therapeutics foot scrub and lotion, butter london lacquer, lash food, cailyn eye liner, julep dd creme, lip gloss, nail polish, bliss and korres samples

What I got from the trades.

Finally, trades 5 through 9 that I haven’t shown before. A Zoya polish in Neely (from a previous trade) for the one in Julie (purple) that I really wanted. The Cailyn gel eyeliner in Iron for the one in Purple (from Ipsy June). Jane Iredale lippies (from Yuzen spring box) and the glitter palette (from Ipsy June) for Butter London nail polish and Lash Food. A Bath & Body Works lotion and Nivea lip balm for the Earth Therapeutics foot scrub and lotion. L’Occitane Hand Cream, Island Girl Hawaii cuticle oil, Pangea Face Mask, Bath & Body Works medium candle, and three Bath & Body Works small candles for Julep DD Creme, lip gloss, nail polish, and samples of bliss incredi-peel & Korres yoghurt facial.

collage of items traded for swaps including island girl hawaii cuticle oil, bath & body works candles in small and medium, pangea face mask, jane iredale lippies, bath & body works lotion, and l'occitane hand cream

Some of the items I traded out.

I’m about to set up trades 10 & 11 now so I have even more to look forward to! So now that you’ve seen what I’m getting, tell me: what have you been getting in the mail?

Conscious Box May & June reviews

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

Remember when I won those Conscious Box subscriptions? Well, I’ve received two of the three-month subscription and I’m expecting that third one any day now. Then I’ll be redeeming the second subscription I won for three more months of boxes! So let’s take a look back at what I’ve gotten so far:

conscious box inner box lid with signature window and image peeking through

Conscious Box comes with an inner box with a “window” that has a pretty design peeking through.

first glance at contents of conscious box may 2013

Upon opening the two layers of boxes, a beautiful card greets me!

conscious box may contents with yesto spf lotion, herbamare, dream water, somersaults, earthpaste, ecover, healthy hoohoo, mrm relax all, healthy kids drink, zukay kvass, bija tea, ultima replenisher, mac n mo's treats discount, and ethical electric code

Everything that came in May all laid out. They sure to know how to jam pack the box!

Conscious Box is just under $20 per box (or as discounted as just over $203 for an entire year, with options in between) and comes with many samples from about a dozen brands. Choose from their Classic, Vegan, or Gluten-free box. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral link program.

The box is pretty heavy and they pack it very well. It’s amazing how they stuffed so much into that box! I like right off the bat that I’m seeing products spanning all categories: snacks, drinks, personal care, supplements, household, skincare, etc. Check out my unboxing video for this to see each item.

I drank the Healthy Kids drink right away and I think it’s a great way to get kids to consume more healthy stuff. I like the vanilla taste and it’s something anybody could enjoy. I tried the small Earthpaste in lemon and I’m not sure how I feel about it so I’m scared to open the giant tube. The texture and consistency is quite different from the toothpastes I’m used to and I feel like it’s not cleaning as much because I don’t get that minty aftertaste, but really that just psychological. Still debating if I’ll sell/trade the large tube, at least until I finish my current tube.

I got Dream Water in another subscription box previously and I didn’t want to use it until I needed it so I’m still holding on to it! I do have trouble sleeping but that’s because I have all this stuff I try to work on at night. At this point I don’t have to get up at a certain time, so I’m not too worried about staying up late – I can always sleep in to make up for the sleep! I do look forward to trying this and seeing how well it works.

I’ve gotten a bunch of the Somersaults in various boxes now and I’m just not into sunflower seeds. I’ve seen plenty of people who like them, but I’m not very excited about them. I do love their extra crunchy texture but I’ll be passing this off to someone else in my household.

As for the smaller samples, I’m looking forward to trying everything out! I’m a hoarder so it will probably be some time before I actually get through them all… meanwhile they will be saved for a good time!

Overall impression: I enjoyed the variety of the box and I definitely found some new brands. I’m not sure I would have wanted to pay the $19.95, but I’m glad that I was able to try out this stuff for free! (Who wouldn’t right?) 🙂

conscious box june contents including molly muriel soap and shampoo bars, cloud star pet wash, sneakz veggie drink, flavrz drink mix, natural vitality calcium drink, son shave cream, earth friendly products hand soap, skout trailbar, nakedwines gift card, greek island labs joint mud, and stationery card

Everything that came in the June box laid out. Got too excited and didn’t take pictures of the boxing this time.

And then there’s the June box! Another well-packed box with products in many categories. I got so carried away with getting a picture and videotaping the unboxing that I don’t have any other pictures. I was most excited about the Molly Muriel bar soap and shampoo bar because I love detoxifying soaps AND solid shampoo bars. I’m currently testing a new facial care regimen and working to finish off a shampoo bar, so I haven’t tried them just yet, but I already want to buy more! I also think the Son will be great for my fiance – he was pretty happy there was a product for him!

Once again I tried the drink right away and this one was harder to get down. It had a sort of chalkiness and I don’t know if it was just in my mind, but I felt like I could tell it had veggies packed in. I made it through the entire thing but I would not be able to drink this on a regular basis. I don’t have a kid to test it on though – perhaps their taste buds are less sensitive and the chocolate is good enough for them! The other thing I’m not so excited about is the Skout bar, because I generally only like cherries fresh. I might have Panda try it if he likes that sort of thing.

I love the small travel size of the hand soap – perfect for bringing along on a trip. I’m a sucker for travel size items so of course this made me happy. I’m super curious about the Joint Mud, but I don’t have joint pain so I will have to wait to find someone who does or try it later. I find the card to be super cute and just the kind of thing I love but never buy… so maybe I will now. Cards like that are so much more fun than the ones you find at a checkout stand. That $50 gift card is no use to me (or Panda) since neither of us drink, so let me know if you’d like it. I might give the dog thing to a friend since my cats would hate to be washed.

Sorry if my thoughts are random and all over the place! There are so many small items I kind of just did a stream of consciousness thing instead of having 15 two-line paragraphs. My overall impression of this box is once again good, but still shaky on the $19.95 value. I really enjoy everything I’m getting but I also can’t see myself paying for Conscious Box. It’s a dilemma!

What did you think of these two boxes? Did you get either of them or are you getting the July one?

Seabuck Wonders Facial Cleanser & Cream review

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

seabuck wonders facial cleanser and cream boxes

I mentioned my awesome win with these Seabuck Wonders products (Sea Buckthorn Exfoliating Facial Cleanser & Sea Buckthorn Facial Cream) a few weeks ago and I wanted to write a more in-depth review of them both. I’ve really enjoyed using them so far and I love how unique they are! Seabuck Wonders products are vegan and free of parabens, cruelty, dairy, wheat, and gluten.

seabuck wonders exfoliating facial cleanser bottle and sample dropFirst is the exfoliating facial cleanser, which has small beads in a yellowish clear mixture. It come with a pretty standard pump head and you barely need to press down to get enough to use. It was a challenge to get it to work at first – you might have to unscrew the cap and pump a few times like I did. The consistency is somewhat runny, if you can tell from the photograph. It has a light fruity sort of smell – not as sweet as strawberry or peach, but not fully citrusy like lemon or lime. I can’t quite place it, but it smells nice and soothing. All you need is a teeny tiny drop! That drop on my fingers is probably twice as much as I needed. I really like how this cleanser is slippery so it spread over your face well. As you massage, it will foam a wee bit, but probably not something you’d even notice so don’t expect to see bubbles. Everything glides so smoothly on your face that it takes a few extra splashes to wash it off. Personally, I enjoy that since I can feel exactly where it was and I know it covered my whole face. However, if you like more goopy and less slimy cleansers, you may not enjoy the tactile experience.

Would I buy this when I run out? Yes, probably (after I use up some of my other cleansers).

seabuck wonders facial cream bottle and sample dropThen there’s the facial cream, which is a milky yellow/orange hue. I love this little bottle, which has a super cool dispenser! Once again, a tiny little push gives you plenty of product to work with. The amount shown in the picture is probably double what’s needed for your face and neck. This one smells less sweet and has more of a citrus with some other element I can’t identify. I’d say it’s more masculine-smelling than the facial cleanser. It is very hydrating and absorbs well into the skin, but it not meant for controlling oil so you may need some shine control afterwards if you’re prone to oily skin. I don’t have wrinkles or visible sun damage, so I can’t speak to how the cream may help against those, but I’ve heard great things about sea buckthorn so I would definitely try this when I need help with wrinkles or sun damage.

Would I buy this when I run out? Probably not for awhile, since I have somewhat oily skin and I’m more interested in a moisturizer that controls oil. However, this could be great for the dry winter months.

In the mail: kitty toys, free stuff, and the SunVoxBox

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In addition to the subscription boxes and trades I already mentioned receiving, here’s what’s been filling up my mailbox!

powerbank backup battery in boxI did a review of this external battery and charging accessories I got from nomorerack so you can read more there. When I first got this I was concerned whether it’d be some knock-off brand that is shoddy work that won’t last, but I’m happy to report that while the packaging is “meh” the item itself and its performance are great.

cat feeder and toy collageSince I was given an Amazon gift card as part of a focus group (mentioned in this post), I decided to splurge on my cats and get them these fun toys. One is a feeder where the cats need to paw around through the holes to push the food so it falls through the holes in each level until it is caught at the bottom. I’ve included a video below at the end of the post so you can see Missy at work! She really enjoyed it at first but I think both cats are lazy now and just wait for their daily wet food feeding to get them through the day. Maybe if they are desperate enough they will learn to use this properly. At least I know they aren’t overeating now, right?

The other item is a pretty standard track with ball that you can piece together in many configurations. Once again, this is something Missy has enjoyed and will play with, but Molly kind of just looks at it and walks away. Alas, Molly is like 14 and declawed, so it makes sense she wouldn’t want to play with this. At least Missy likes it!

sample of pad, l'oreal revitalift miracle blur, and pampers sensitive wipes
I got a couple of random samples that I had requested from various sites, including a sanitary pad, L’Oreal’s Revitalift Miracle Blur finishing cream, and Pampers sensitive wipes. I’m always on the lookout for free samples to help me find products that I want to adopt into my life! That’s probably why I love subscription boxes so much. 🙂

physicians formula bb powder and letterA long time ago, I entered to receive a free BB powder from Physician’s Formula. This was similar to the first contest I entered (which I wrote a tutorial about), but suddenly there were a lot more people contending. When I went to submit the form, it froze on me and I never got a success message, so I crossed my fingers hoping I was one of the lucky 1000, but I didn’t count on it. Then just a few days ago, what shows up in my mail but this?! I was pretty thrilled since I’m obsessed with trying BB creams and I’ve never seen a BB powder. Can’t wait to test it!

trade with skin, hair, and body products

I already wrote about my previous trades, so here’s just a quick look at the last trade I got. A bunch of lovely samples that I am looking forward to trying. I sent over some L’Occitane stuff and a set of Angry Birds lip balms that I had in exchange for these.

influenster sunkissed voxbox

And finally, my Influenster Sunkissed VoxBox, which I’m sure I will write about coming up. I am very happy with everything I got and I am so thrilled to try them out!

cat eating from food maze from Mary Qin on Vimeo.


In the mail: a sample, a splurge, and some winnings

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Just like my first “in the mail” post, these are all items I received in the past month or so. Most were free, but some I paid for and each package was just as exciting as the next. I especially love when I’m not sure what is in a box because I wasn’t expecting it. It’s like a mini celebration each time. 🙂

cat eating purina one smartblend healthy metabolism out of bagI received this very generous size sample of Purina One SmartBlend in Healthy Metabolism (a new variety that just came out) from Walmart. They were offering it for awhile but have since moved on to promoting dog food. Missy, as you can see, loved it. Molly, the other cat, doesn’t eat it though. I doled it out to Missy slowly and only as a snack aside from her normal dry food and made it last about a month! I have since bought a bag of it because she enjoyed it so much and maybe it’s my imagination, or is her little belly less flabby? Maybe her metabolism is healthier now.

zoya nail polishes in harley, zuza, crystal, pandora, skylar, ziv, sienna, and bottle of nail polish removerThese are the polishes I chose for the Earth Day exchange (missing: Penny, a coppery shade – it was sent later since it was backordered). In order, they are Harley, Zuza, Crystal, Pandora, Skylar, Ziv, and Sienna. Since my order was over $30, I got a cute little bottle of nail polish remover as well. The box included some brochures and “spoons” with samples of some of their other colors. I have never bought this much nail polish at once, but I figured since I’m swapping out my old ones I’d do a few more.

lumnique deluxe candle set with candle, card, matches, and fancy boxI won this really cool Lumnique deluxe candle set from Monica of Creative Me. This is a very unique brand that allows you to customize your own candle creation – check them out! It was really fun going through and picking out an intention (something to be mindful of every time I light it), a color (my favorite), and a scent (this was hard with so many great choices!). I ultimately went with the Good Luck intention “to remind you that impossible situations can become attainable miracles,” the Royal color “representative of intuition, idealism, honor, royalty, spirituality, nobility, transformation, wisdom, enlightenment,” and the Green Tea Lemongrass scent “like savoring a cup of relaxing green tea with invigorating lemongrass, this citrusy scent renews, refreshes and restores balance and harmony.” I love that it came with a cute box of matches too!

klorane bag with dry shampoo bottle and facial wipesThis set of Klorane products was a SheKnows giveaway that I won… except that I won the Citrus Pulp Giveaway offering the Klorane Citrus Pulp Shampoo and Leave-In Spray. But what they sent me was the prize pack for their other Klorane giveaway offering the Klorane Eco-Friendly Essentials Earth Day Kit with a reusable pouch, dry shampoo with oat milk, and biodegradable make-up remover wipes with cornflower water. While this kit is cool, I was really looking forward to trying the leave-in spray so I was a bit disappointed. When I emailed them to say they sent me the wrong items, they got back to me with the reply I predicted: they substituted my prize. I wish they had at least thrown in something else to make the value  of the prizes the same – my original prize was worth $30 but this one is only worth $20. Oh well, winning is still better than nothing!

seabuck wonders himalayan sea buckthorn exfoliating facial cleanser and himalayan sea buckthorn facial creamAnother great win from Creative Me! This set of SeabuckWonders products is my current skincare routine and I’m loving it. If you’re not familiar with sea buckthorn, it’s a bright orange “superfruit” found in the Himalayans (so exotic) and because of the harsh environment it grows in, it has a ton of defensive mechanisms that translate to all kinds of health benefits of us humans. You can consume things made with it (and presumably eat the fruit directly if you’re lucky enough to have access) or use products made with it to get some of those benefits. One of the most unique things about it is its Omega-7 property, which is rare, though I have no idea what Omega-7s are good for. I love how both these products feel and that they will last me a long time since such a little amount is needed each time.

sibu beauty sea buckthorn balancing facial cleanser with box and brochureWhat great luck that I was also able to win this Sibu Sea Buckthorn Balancing Facial Cleanser! I will have to try this out to compare with the SeabuckWonders one. I could see myself using both since one is exfoliating and one is not. I like to switch it up! I previously got Sibu soap in a Yuzen box and it was the first time I’d heard of sea buckthorn. I am now obsessed with that special berry so I love it when any of my beauty products incorporate it.

Naturopathica skincare regimen

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

Awhile ago, I mentioned the Naturopathica skincare set that I had won. I got the products for normal to oily skin, since I’ve been dealing with breakouts for quite awhile. It includes the Oat Facial Polish, Rosemary Oil-Reducing Moisturizer, Aloe Cleansing Gel, and Plant Stem Cell Serum. The first two you use in the mornings and the last two you use at night. All of these products are really soothing and gentle on your skin. I haven’t been following the regimen strictly, but nonetheless I’ve seen impressive results!

naturopathica holistic health skin care regimen kit for normal to oil skin

naturopathica oat facial polish, rosemary oil-reducing moisturizer, aloe cleansing gel, and plant stem cell serum

First is the Oat Facial Polish, which I actually got a deluxe sample of in my Yuzen Spring box. It is smooth and creamy, with bits of oat and jojoba beads to gently exfoliate your skin. It feels very moisturizing and I swear I can feel it seeping into my skin to hydrate it. After washing my face with it, my skin feels so soft and supple. It’s quite refreshing!

naturopathica rosemary oil-reducing moisturizer swatch on fingerThen there’s the Rosemary Oil-Reducing Moisturizer that is a nice light formula. It also absorbs well into the skin and feels rather healing. It’s apparently an astringent blend, but it doesn’t sting at all! I never knew astringent and gentle could coexist in one product, so this is great. I love the light feeling and how it’s not oily at all – perfect for my combination skin. I use this to prevent my face from overproducing oil and it definitely calms things down.

naturopathica aloe cleansing gel swatch on fingerMy absolute favorite product of the set is the Aloe Cleansing Gel. At first, I didn’t really pay attention to it. It was just a soothing face wash that was calming and gentle on my skin. But then I noticed that I was about to break out one day and after washing with the gel, nothing happened. I have NEVER found a face wash that does that. Amazing! Since then, I’ve been washing my face with it exclusively, since I always seem to have a new breakout about to happen. Now I can actually prevent breakouts with a sulfate-free cleanser. It’s my new holy grail.

naturopathica plant stem cell serum swatch on fingerRounding it all up is the Plant Stem Cell Serum, which is a bit richer and thicker than the moisturizer. It’s organic and meant to slow down the signs of aging. At this point I don’t exactly have wrinkles, age spots, or other signs of aging, so I can’t tell if it’s working. All I know is that it, like all the other Naturopathica products, is smooth and gentle on my skin. It absorbs well and feels great! I feel confident that I’m giving my face some great preventative care when I apply it.

All in all, I am SO glad I was able to try these products. I probably wouldn’t have thought to buy the kit for myself, but now that I’ve tested the products, I am definitely going to be a Naturopathica customer as my current products run out. I’ve got my eye on some of their other items that I’d like to try as well!

On My Mind, episode 3

laelene Posted in on my mind,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

(Linking up with Jennifer of Ramblings of a Suburban Mom for Thursday Thoughts again!)

I was just thinking that perhaps On My Mind/In My Life would be slightly more appropriate for these posts, but that title’s too long, eh? You get the point, right?

gogobot cartoon bear with sunglasses

Gogobot bear!

~Some totally awesome things have happened lately!! For one, I was happily surprised to find that I became a Gogobot Pro 2013! I only joined the site in late February so I certainly didn’t expect that so soon. Granted, I did spend a ton of time ramping* up my reviews past 100 so I could get that free swag I shared previously. As a Gogobot Pro, I get even more awesome stuff, which is on its way, yay! Can’t wait to show you what else I get AND to plan a trip to take advantage of it all. 🙂

~Sometimes you get what you want just by holding out hope and having some luck. That’s what happened with a recent eBay auction, where I bid around $2.50 and the ultimate winner of the auction bid around $7.50. I was not willing to pay that much, but I held out hope that I’d eventually get the product at the price point I wanted. AND THEN I got a second chance offer! If you’re not familiar with eBay, sellers can choose to give a “second chance offer” to any of the bidders who didn’t win the auction. As long as they have more product (or the auction winner doesn’t pay up), they can extend that offer to you if they feel your highest bid price is acceptable. I got a pretty great deal.

glass jar with fold over elastic band hair ties

source: lilblueboo

~Wondering what I got for that eBay auction? Well, it’s some foldover elastic – which may mean nothing to you – and it’s what you use to make those hair ties you probably know as Twistbands. I was certainly not about to pay $2 for ONE hair tie, but I do want to try them to see if they’re more effective. Once I figured out the “technical” term for them, it was pretty easy to find on eBay. My long, desperate searches in the aisles of Joann’s, Michael’s, and Walmart are thankfully over. I’m excited to make my own!

graze box congratulations welcome screen

The coveted welcome screen.

~As of last night I FINALLYYYY got a working code for Graze! Thanks to a lovely reader posting on Jennifer’s Ramblings of a Suburban Mom Facebook page, I have signed up for my weekly snacks. The default is every other week, but with just four snacks per shipment, that’s not enough for my snacking habits so I increased the frequency.

~If you’ve never won anything, let me just say that you just gotta try a lot and set your heart to doing everything you can to win. So many people complain that they never win… and you know what? They never even enter. Beyond that, you can still win at times if you don’t give up and stay positive! Check out the time I won a $150 UCLA rug because I tried really hard.

~So for the past two or three weeks, I’ve been having this strange thing happen to me; whenever I eat small bits of food, inevitably one piece will get stuck in this extra space in my throat. I swallow and swallow to no effect, but a rush of water usually flushes it out. Is this normal?? Shouldn’t my throat be one straight tube? Maybe these pieces are somewhere in middle ground between “throat” and “windpipe” territory. :-/

~Last week it was reeeeeally windy! I seriously thought that a palm tree might come crashing down into the house. Thank goodness they’re sturdier than the more “branchy” trees. I believe these are the Santa Ana winds, which I first learned about when I arrived to SoCal 10 years and read a passage in English class, telling me that these winds cause scenes in which “Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks.” Talk about mildly traumatizing. I didn’t get it then and I still don’t get it now, but it sure did stick with me all these years.

hotel maya guestroom restroom

With a toilet paper holder between the toilet and sink, how am I to reach back there??

~And finally, a pet peeve of mine: why do so many places put the toilet paper holder in an inconvenient location? I don’t want to have to do some sort of contortionist act just to reach it. I know that due to the design of the space, sometimes that’s all that works, but you’d think they might take that into consideration when drawing up the blueprints. I guess I could retrain myself to get the toilet paper first, but old habits die hard.

*as a side note, I realized the way I work is in “binges” – more on that in a later post

On My Mind, episode 2

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(In case On My Mind is not self-explanatory enough and you want to learn more, check out my post explaining what inspired it.)

screenshot of giveaway tools final result: mary q. won 3-month conscious box subscription from just another new blog~I won!!! I’ve been trying to win a bunch of things, but in particular is a 3-month subscription to Conscious Box, which tons of bloggers have been giving away. AND I ACTUALLY WON! I was just going through checking up on the giveaways that had expired to see if they announced winners and what did I find? My name! That is probably the most exciting thing in the world.

~Last week I went to the DMV because I wanted to renew my license and update the photo. Why can’t I just send in a picture like I can with a passport? I’m assuming it has to do with that special shade of blue they use for the background, which then begs the question… why that color??

~I tried to book an online appointment for the DMV but the earliest appointment was two weeks away! If I didn’t need to drive in the mean, I totally would have gone that route to save the time at the DMV. Unfortunately I didn’t have that luxury this time, so I was stuck standing in line. It took nearly 3 hours (and there were only like 15-20 people in line in front of me!). Luckily, I was smart and got a book to read before going. I was the only one.

~My mom and I went to Best Buy because she had some reward money she had to spend – all told, we spent $0.30 on a bunch of random pens for her and a cool whiteboard/blackboard for me! We didn’t know what else to buy with her $20 credit. And it took us over an hour to figure it out, lol. Granted, much of that hour was spent waiting for an associate to help me locate the board at another store. The one they had was missing the crayon box and what’s a board if you can’t write on it?

5 sets of pens from best buy

Ignore the cat paw. 😉

crayola dry erase board dual-sided black and white with set of dry erase crayons and wiping cloth

Comes with dry erase crayons!

~I’ve been reading a bunch of books like Buyology & The Zappos Experience – great source of learning and very useful lessons for my future business attempts. I’m trying to apply everything I learned to the Kickstarter I’m developing. I sure hope it’s successful!

~So when I went to get some of those books I’ve been reading, I discovered the cool new library self-checkout! My fancy little library has this system where you put the stack of books (up to like 7 or 8 at a time) on the counter and it can check them all out for you. No more scanning one by one! Nifty. I should also note they have a conveyor belt thing behind the wall when you return a book, complete with video so you can watch your book get dropped off into some bin at the end.

~Remember that Influenster campaign I mentioned last time? Well, yay I got in! Turns out it’s for an Aveeno product, which they’ll be sending to me shortly. 🙂

~This week I got to hang out at the Hotel Maya in Long Beach. It’s right on the water and I really enjoyed working in the cabanas and other similar areas. It’s great to have a fabulous view, a slight breeze, the warmth of the sun, and the option of shade all at once. If it weren’t for my reflective laptop screen, it’d be perfect for working all day.

outdoor couches at hotel maya in long beach

I spent most of the days here.

view of waterfront from hotel maya in long beach

~Since I was at the waterfront, I spent a lot of time (sea) bird watching. Totally fun! There are the ones that bob around on the water and dive down for fish, disappearing for minutes at times. Then there are the fliers that dive down to the water from high above, making a nice splash. There are the little ones that flit about quickly and the larger ones that almost seem like they’re gliding in the air. In the morning, they were most active and by noon, many of them had settled in for a nap. By the afternoon, they started waking up again and as the sun set, I lost track of them.

~I also caught a glimpse of a seal! Actually, I think a pair of them. So cool!!! Next time I need to find a beach that they hang out at. I’d love to seal watch.

(Here you can hear how excited I am to see them, even though I didn’t get to see much.)

seals at Long Beach from Mary Qin on Vimeo.


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