Sunday, December 21, 2008


This may be the time of year for holiday cheer but it also happens to be a time for nasty colds. There have been about three times this season where I felt a cold creeping up on me, the aches, the stuffy nose, the sinus headaches-you get the idea. But thankfully I was introduced to Cold-Eeze this year!

Cold-Eeze shortens the length of the common cold and reduces the severity of symptoms. Sounds too good to be true doesn't it? Well I have used it three times this year when I felt a cold creeping up and it stopped the cold dead in it's tracks each time.

Cold-Eeze is all natural and uses zinc as it's main ingredient in fighting colds. (Be warned, the zinc can make your tongue feel a little numb for about ten minutes after you suck on the lozenge) Some people say that it may be the placebo affect in action and I say if it is then I don't care. But I honestly believe that cold-eeze works and I invite you to try it the next time you are feeling the symptoms of cold coming on.

(You can download coupons, get more information, and find out where you can buy cold-eeze at their website here.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Britney Spears: Circus

She's baaaack.
Ladies and gentlemen, Britney Spears is back!
Today Britney releases her sixth studio album. This album, Circus is different than the rest because it is her official "Comeback album". Last year she did release "Blackout", a surprisingly good attempt at jump starting her career again, but due to personal issues, it never really got the attention it deserved.

Circus, appropriately named after the type of year she has had, does not disappoint. While Blackout was a manic (and incredibly sexual) attempt at a comeback, Circus sounds as though each track was carefully selected.

My Fave Songs on Circus:
-Circus: Really catchy chorus and makes me want to shake my bootay.
-Kill The Lights: Fun, sounds similar to Pussy Cat Dolls.
-If U Seek Amy: I am not sure what this song is about, but it is so dang infectious. Oh wait I get it "IF U SEEK AMY"...say it slow, clever Britney, very clever.
-Unusual You: Not quite a ballad, not a fast beat-but somehow it works. Very mellow, sounds very different from the rest of the album.
-Blur: With lyrics like, "Can't remember what I did last night, everything is still a blur", I have to guess this is about that time in Britney's life that we all wish we could forget. Again, this one is mellow, very mid-nineties Madonna sounding.
-Lace and Leather: This is a funky song, funky in the good way-like funkay.

Songs I Could Have Done Without:
-Out From Under: This ballad kinda killed the momentum of the album.
-Shattered Glass: It's just okay, and the chorus will stick in your head in an annoying way. Trust me. Like shattered glaaayyaasss, glaaayaaass
-Mmm Papi: This song is just bizarre and her voice sounds really forced and annoying.
-Mannequin: It's just okay, not great, not bad.
-Baby: Not.another.ballad

Overall not bad at all. I could have done without any of the ballads. I probably don't need to say this but ballads are not Brit Brit's strong suit.

If you have long been a fan of Britney, you will be pleased by her newest cd. If you have never been a fan, you could probably find a few songs that will compliment your work out play list perfectly. And if you haven't picked it up already I suggest picking up Blackout to compliment the comeback effort.
Images courtesy of Google Images.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

OPI Nail Polish, Excuse Me I Mean Nail Lacquer

Lately I have been obsessed with painting my nails. It's like I don't feel fully dressed without some nail polish. I went for a manicure a while ago and they used OPI nail laquer, a color called "Aphordite's Pink Nightie". I really liked the way the color popped on my nails and how thick the color went on, oh and the cute name didn't hurt either ;)I went for another manicure months later (I don't get manicure's very often) and I chose another color called "Tropical Punch". This color too went on thick and vibrant-this is when I decided to invest in some OPI polishes myself.

I have
Big Apple Red
Magala Wine
Tropical Punch
The less than desirable thing about OPI polishes is that they are a little hard to find. If you know of a local salon that sells the polishes then you are in luck; if not you might be searching for a little bit. Luckily there is a great OPI vendor locator on their site (you can access it here)
One other thing that I wish was different about hte OPI polishes is that they have an "extra wide brush" Which I think is something they pride themselves on but I think it makes it a little tricky to paint your nails with.

But other than that I absolutely recommend OPI nail lacquers. Whether it is the gorgeous colors, their quirky names or the great price ($8-which may seem like a lot but the lacquer is a very high quality), you can't go wrong!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Timbuk2 Laptop Bag

Before going to BlogHer in July I quickly realized that I needed a laptop bag to carry around my new computer. I wanted a something cute but functional and that is harder to find than you think. Jon directed me to the Timbuk2 website, where he bought a messenger bag a couple years back. I browsed the selections and found the Marina Computer Laptop Bag.

I loved it's unusual shape and flashy colors (I got yellow). It arrived less than a week after Jon ordered it for me. It was slightly more bulky than I had imagined but I still loved it. It had plenty of storage places and a safe little area for my laptop.
The inside of the bag is a soft, thick, felt like material. The bag has a pocket on the front that zips shut. The front pocket also has a cell phone holder and pen holders. You can fit quite a bit in this trendy little bag. The only negative thing about this bag is that the handles are very thin and made of strong material. Normally this wouldn't seem like a problem, however when the bag is filled completely the weight of the bag will pull the straps down onto the shoulder, thus digging the bag into your shoulder-ouch!

If you are interested in this bag you can find it here, and guess what it's 50% off!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Honey Lust by Mac

I am not really a make-up girl. Growing up as a dancer I was slathered in makeup from a very young age so I didn't ever have that pubescent urge to put on make-up during my off time because I had been doing it for shows for years already.

This can prove to be a little tricky for adult Sarah because I can't really get away with walking into work without a stitch of makeup on. People might think I was sick or something. My day to day makeup routine is very simple with very few bells and whistles.

When my friend Serina suggested I buy MAC eye shadow in the color called "Honey Lust" I was skeptical. I usually bought my eyeshadow at the local drugstore or Target. But I bought it anyway and tried it out the next day.

To my pleasant surprise the Honey Lust was the perfect addition to my make-up regimen. I love the way the flecks of gold are picked up in the light making me look all goddessy. It works great as a highlight to other eyeshadow or on it's own for a summery look.I appreciated the fact that I didn't have to reapply, because if I did I wouldn't have done it anyway. But most of all I love Honey Lust because it is the perfect color to go with any outfit; if I am feeling lazy I just whip on some of this eye shadow and I am ready to go!
As you can tell I recommend this eyeshadow!
You can get it here for $14.50

Monday, October 27, 2008

Spicy Red Kitchen Grips Oven Mitts

So I have a little issue with obsessing over decisions that really don't matter.

Picking out an oven mitt was one of those things that don't matter that kept me standing in the oven mitt section for somewhere around 35 minutes. 

I am trying to get better at this but you see it's hard especially when it is your first apartment and you want everything, including the oven mitt to be just right...well at least it was hard for me.

Moving on. 

I knew that I wanted a red mitt because that was my chosen  "color scheme" for the kitchen. I also knew that I did not want the olden timey cloth mitt because it just didn't seem safe.

So I settled on the Spicy Red Kitchen Grips oven mitts. I liked it because one side is made of black grippy rubber and the other side is like wet suit material. 

(Excuse my messy mitt, they obviously get used a lot)

Once I got them home I loved using these oven mitts because they covered my wrist so I wouldn't have to worry about things splashing on my arms. Splashing also wasn't a problem because they are water resistant as well! The  black grip side proved to be very helpful for not only grabbing hot stuff, but for opening stubborn jars etc. I have had them for about nine months and they are in heavy rotation at our house.

The downside to these oven mitts is that they lack finger dexterity because the material can be a bit rigid. This cumbersome material proves to be a problem when you are trying to grab a pan or pot by the handles because it can be hard to fit the finger area in the handle.  Another down side to these mitts are that the two different materials are stitched together and if you grab something at the wrong angle the stitching can separate slightly and burn the fingers behind the stitching. I had this happen once and it was a very unpleasant surprise!

Overall I do enjoy these Mitts regardless of the negatives. Even though the Kitchen Grips do have some down sides, their upsides make up for it all.

You can find them here or at your local Bed Bath and Beyond
They are $30 for two mitts.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Shopaholic By Sophie Kinsella

When I went on my trip to Memphis I wanted something fun to read that would keep my attention on a five hour flight.  I had heard some good things about the Shopaholic series and I had seen some previews for the movie coming out and I was intrigued.

Shopping is one of my all time favorite past times so I was excited to read about the story of Rebecca Bloomwood, self proclaimed Shopaholic.

The book starts out as many "chick lit" books start out. You get to know the character, flaws and all. The book doesn't skip a beat in explaining how deep of a hole Rebecca Bloomwood's shopping obsession has gotten her in.  She can't avoid a sale, fabrics, price tags and credit card balances fill her thoughts when she should be have her mind on her work. Oh and get this she works at a finance magazine!

Rebecca is a loveable character but she becomes increasingly frustrating when she can't stay out of her own way when it comes to controlling her finances.  If Rebecca should go left, she goes right; time after time. While these frustrating fiascos can get a little old, the ending of the book will make all right in the world.

If you are looking for a well written, easy read, this is the book for you!

Rating: Peach

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The iphone

Dearest iphone,

I just thought I should let you and everyone else know how much I love you. I am not afraid to show it either.

You go above and beyond the role of a normal phone. I don't know how I ever managed with my old Razr cell phone.

I love how if Jon has  a mathematical question as we drift off to sleep (which has actually happened), I can grab you off the night stand and find out the answer in no time flat using your handy dandy calculator.

I love how when I am getting dressed in the morning how I can press your weather button and instantly know the weather forecast, therefore knowing what to wear for that day.

I appreciate how my calendar is at the touch of a button and you sync with my computer. Oh the simplicity of it all.

Your camera takes surprisingly great photos for a camera on a cell phone; but that's just it, you aren't your average phone you are so much more!

Because of you I can twitter at all hours and not need access to a computer. I can write down a quick note when I don't have a pen or paper handy. I can even find a great restaurant within my price range with a shake of your "urban spoon" application. And iphone you can always show me exactly where I am and how to get home when I am lost thanks to your GPS feature.

Oh iphone, you are so much more than a phone; you are a technological wonder that lives up to the hype. I would recommend you to anyone that is intrigued by your powers.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ocelo Sponges

There is nothing worse than a scummy, stinky sponge. In fact the smell of a nasty sponge is indescribable and oh so unique. As you can tell I hate that smell so I invested some time into finding a sponge that wouldn't make me gag. Picture me in the "sponge isle" in Target for a good fifteen minutes up to my elbows in sponges.

And then I found these:
The Ocelo sponges claimed to resist odors so I was wiling to try. At $2.49 for four sponges I was more than willing to give them a try. I put one by the sink, used it to clean off a bowl that wasn't dishwasher safe and some other odds and ends throughout the week. At the end of the week, when a normal sponge would be reeking, the ocelo sponge didn't smell at all! I kept the sponge in rotation for a couple more weeks and still, no stink!

Another thing I love about the sponges are that they are self drying. You just squeeze the excess water out of them when you are done and they are bone dry within a half hour.

As you can tell I recommend these sponges.
You can buy them here or at Target and there is a coupon for them here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Suite Francaise

Suite Francaise is a moving novel about the German occupation of France during WWII. The book looks at this time in history from many different perspectives which is why I enjoyed it so much. 
One specific point in the book that touched me was the moment in which the Parisians realized that they must leave their homes in order to stay safe. I found it interesting how people were forced to pick and choose which belongings they were going to bring with them. Often times there was not much room for many belongings but pepole would still focus on those things that they couldn't fathom leaving behind.
Full confession: I didn't finish this book. My main reason for not finishing this book is that I am working at my internship right now and I hear a lot of "heavy" stuff all day and it was hard for me to read about something so serious at night when I was relaxing. But otherwise, this is a beautifully written book that, for as far as I read it, totally recommend.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Zivio vs. Motorola-When Headsets Collide

Another lovely give away at Blogher was the Zivio Bluetooth headset. California has a new law in which all drivers must wear a bluetooth headset if they want to talk while driving so I was so excited when I found out I would get one for free. The Zivio has a neat little extendable arm so that the microphone comes up to your mouth-thus cutting out on the outside noise.

The Zivio was really easy to set up on my phone and it everyone said they could hear me clearly-perfect right? Not so fast. Well the extendable arm started to have some trouble after about a month of extending and retracting it. Sometimes the little arm would fall completley out of the headset and dangle by its wires next to my face. Needless to say this was really frustrating.

About a week after the dangling act the wires started to fray and the headset stopped working all together. So I trashed the Zivio and traded up for a Motorola H12 Bluetooth headset.

I loved the retro look and the sleek design of this headset, plus it came with a bunch of accessories like a protective traveling case and a charging dock (above). The motorola headset may not have the fancy extendable arm but the quality is so good that it doesn't need it. Sure there are less buttons, bells and whistles than the Zivio, but it makes it easier to use.

Overall the Zivio is a no go but the Motorola gets a thumbs way up!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sensibly Sassy Interviews Richard Murphy

Richard Murphy, author of Confessions of a Contractor was kind enough to give me a quick online interview the other day. And now for you reading pleasure my interview with Richard Murphy:

1. How much of Henry comes from things you have actually experienced?

That’s a popular question. The book isn’t a memoir; it’s fiction that was inspired by my experiences. I encountered a lot of strange things working in other people’s homes over the years, but I was also very respectful of my clients privacy. I should probably just leave it at that.

2. Is there more in store for Henry-as in a "sequel"?

That depends on how well the book does. I’d love to follow Henry around on another adventure, but right now we’re just trying to get people to read this one, which has been challenging because as you said in your review, some people think the book’s cover is misleading. I suppose if enough readers and bloggers get behind it there’s always a chance for another installment. That’s the great thing about a book. Readers have all the power.

On another front, CBS has acquired the rights to this story, so right now I’m writing a one-hour pilot based on the book.

3. How did you make the leap from contractor to author? Was it a difficult leap?

Yes, very. I’ve always written. In fact, unlike my lead character it was the reason I moved out here. But it took me fifteen years just to get a literary agent to call me back, so while I was waiting for the phone to ring, I renovated houses and apartments. After I finally got an agent to sign me, I wrote studio films for about four years. While I was incredibly grateful for the opportunity, most of them got dragged down in development, which caused me to step back and stock in my life. That’s when I decided to approach this story as a novel.

4. What was it like to walk into a book store and see your book on the shelf?

Surreal, yet incredibly rewarding. Seeing something I wrote on a shelf other than my own gave me a sense of completion that has eluded me for years.

5. Do you have another book in the works? If so can you clue us into what it is about?

Yes. I’m starting to outline another novel now. I can’t really say what it’s about, other than it centers on three very different relationships, and how those relationships are all affected by the same decision

Monday, September 15, 2008

Confessions of a Contractor by Richard Murphy

I picked up the book "Confessions of a Contractor" at Blogher as one of the many books we were given for free. The bright red cover and the slinky lingerie immediately made me guess it to be sensationalized fluff. And as I quickly read through the first fifty or so pages, well let's just say it starts with a bang.

After reading this particular "scene" in the book I figured this book would be appropriate for a bubble bath read. So I placed it in a stack of books to read and forgot about it for a while.

After having a stressful week I decided I needed something light to read  so I grabbed this book off of the stack.  A couple pages past the hot and heavy beginning the book actually surprised me. No longer was this book a Desperate Housewives deja vu, but a very well written story about a contractor, named Henry.

As salacious as the opening pages might have been, the rest of the book proved to have more to it. Murphy had a way of expressing Henry's thoughts in a way that sort of snuck up on you. Henry's thoughts were deeply personal and unexpected which really packed a punch to the reader when you didn't see it coming.  Murphy beautifully expresses how the things that we believe make us who we are, are also the things that may hold us back from truly becoming ourselves.Many of the paragraphs led me to setting the book down on my lap and really thinking about my view of Henry's predicaments (which ranged from women, money, family ties, pets and even deportation). 

Like I said, looking at the cover a reader probably expects something with little substance. And while there are some very racy scenes in the book, there is so much more. This book was a very well written and quick read.

Oh and P.S. this book has a really fun website check it out!

Official rating: Watermelon!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Trudeau Pot Clip Spoon Rest

My journey through all gadgets fit for the kitchen continues with the Trudeau Pot Clip Spoon Rest. This may sound silly but on the rare occasions that I would cook or bake when I lived my parents I would always be agitated by the mess that placing the spoon in the average spoon rest would leave. Sure, the average spoon rest is handy because most pots do not necessitate constant stirring and you have to put the spoon somewhere...but on the way to the spoon rest you leave a trail of drippings (it's the worst when your spoon is covered in spaghetti sauce).

The Trudeau Pot Clip Spoon Rest comes in and saves the day! The pot clip is part metal and part silicone (I just love silicone cooking products) and attaches to whichever pot you may be using at the time.

This way there is no commute for your cooking utensil and no messy trail showing where your spoon has been. I was a little worried that the spoon could teeter off of the spoon click-but nope, it just stays put right where you want it.

At $6.95 this is one gadget that is worth every penny! You can find them HERE

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Friend Cindy

Since all things kitchen are new to me I really enjoy bringing a little fun into the un-known with me. I would like to introduce you to a little lady I like to call Cindy, also known as a "Vigar Scrub Brush by Brite"

I always thought that scrub brushes were a little un-necessary; that was until I moved out and  realized that dishes really do need to be scrubbed before being put into the dishwasher.   
Go figure.
This little lady has a cute little face and a scrub brush for hair, and I thought I had wiry hair.

Here she is in her holder that sits by our sink:
From the side:

She didn't want you to see this, but she did some nude modeling before she struck it big:
Here she is in action:
Before I received this sassy little scrub brush as a gift I was using some run of the mill, palm held scrubbers. With the other scrubbers I had to re-scrub stuck on food before putting it in the dishwasher. With this girly scrubber I am able to get stubborn food off in one swipe.  It might be because she has a sturdy handle or because she has really thick bristles atop her head; or maybe it's the perfect combination of both. Either way this scrubber has accomplished the task of being both cute and functional.

The scrubber can be purchased at Sur La Table. It isn't on their website but I have seen it in their stores. And since it was a gift I am not completely sure on the price but I am confident in saying it was under twenty dollars.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

HerRoom Underwear

One of the many things given to me during BlogHer was a coupon for free pair of underwear from Her Room (Lingerie We Buy For Ourselves). I picked up these boyshort briefs in black. The undies didn't take long to get to me and I instantly tore open the package-I love free stuff. What I didn't love was the excess of packaging; the underwear were wrapped in layers of tissue paper which was a nice touch but pretty wasteful. Also included in the package were different pamphlets and various papers which I wasn't too keen on-let's conserve people! I kept looking through the packaging for the rest of my underwear...they were microscopic.

I just started laughing uncontrollably, there was no way these Barbie sized "cookie covers" were going to cover one cheek of my back side. I decided to give the ole college try anyway. But when they were snug around my calves-well that is when I really lost it.
But I soldiered on and the underwear magically stretched over my derriere and no, there will not be any pictures of that step in the process. But I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did the underwear fit but they were incredibly comfortable! 
As I wore the underwear I noticed that I forgot I was wearing them, they fit like a second skin.I have what I call a "hungry butt", which means that my butt likes swallow whatever fabric is in the vicinity (tmi?) which results in very uncomfortable wedgies. Luckily, these undies stay put regardless of my butt's appetite. They surprisingly cover all the essentials and they...erm, "breath" in all the right areas.
While I was wearing these undies I exclaimed to Jon, "I want to buy a lot more of these!" And he said, "And that's why they sent you a free pair."

Totally recommend this pair of underwear for that "barely there" feeling.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Women And Money

I discovered Suze Orman by way of her tv show. I never know exactly when it comes on but if I see it, my remote will stop dead in it's tracks. If you are not familiar with Suze, she is the guru of money management, the czar of saving money, the president of punctual payments-she is one smart lady when it comes with financial advice.

Up until recently I was not very comfortable with all matters surrounding money, if someone would mention a 401 (k) my eyes would glaze over, the difference between good debt and bad debt would make my stomach churn, and trying to understand what  a FICO score meant made my head hurt. I was not money savvy and I didn't really care. (red flag!)

When I stumbled upon Suze's show I realized that I owed it to myself to be educated about my own money-after all it is my money! Even though I had her support, I was still scared to demystify the task that is figuring out my finances. Luckily, her advice takes a blame free approach; meaning that she let's our past money mistakes or naivete be a way to learn and become stronger in our future.

The book Women and Money discusses head on how women are making more money than they ever have in history and yet they know just as much about their personal finances as they did say, 50 years ago! Suze also discusses her personal mistakes with her own money as well as mistakes her friends have made. This part of the book not only soothes the readers anxiety but also shows the reader that they don't have to stay in the dark about money.

Suze includes the "5 month save yourself plan" which acts as a very encouraging and non threatening outline to getting your finances on track. At the beginning of the "save yourself" chapters, Suze discusses the stepping stones to financial security and get this, you feel like you can actually do it! None of the things she asks you to do feel as though they are out of line, un-attainable or far fetched because she gives you easy step by step instructions. 

To me, the idea of this book seemed like it is throwing a lot of information at you and boy howdy is that overwhelming-but here's the catch it isn't! The more I read of this book, the more I felt empowered and educated. 

And here is the best part, Suze gave away this book on Oprah's website because she doesn't want women to spend more money. The book has since been taken down from the site but I still have it saved on my desk top, that means if you want a copy all you have to do is e-mail me at and I will send it to you.

I do not hesitate in recommending this book-it is a very valuable resource for women of all age!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sensibly Sassy Does Travel Tips

This past weekend was the first weekend in which I was able to sleep in my own bed in three weeks! Thanks to all the "jet setting" I have been doing I was able to compile a little list of travel hints that have helped me stay sane while traveling. Hope they help!

Pack Light, Pack Bright:
I know, I know you might think I am smoking crack with the whole "pack light" tip. But hear me out. Even the most idyllic vacations can be dampened by excessive packing.  When I was on dance team we would have intensive dress rehearsals so we knew exactly what to pack once we were on the road or air. We would have to have each detail set in stone, from the size of our false eyelashes to the laces on our shoes. Now you don't have to be so intense but I suggest you do a "mental dress rehearsal" at the very least. I think that packing "options" is where many people (mainly women) go wrong. These "options" may seem as thought they are helpful, but are hardly ever used. And if you decide what you are wearing before you leave you will have much more room in your suitcase for things like new clothes!  (Another way to save room: Roll your clothes instead of folding them; it not only saves room but it prevents wrinkles!)

Pack Bright:
Packing bright is helpful for those moments when you are standing at the baggage carousel looking at the fifty millionth black suitcase, wondering if it is yours or not. Having colorful luggage also prevents bag theft. Believe it or not there are creepy people that troll airports snatching luggage. This task will prove harder when your luggage is one of a kind.

Dress For The Weather You Are Going To:

(Excuse my nobby knees) 
Luckily, I had this idea before leaving for Arizona. When Jon and I left for Arizona it was a cool 65 degrees out (or somewhere around there) but in Arizona it was a blistering 101 degrees. Planning ahead I wore a dress on the plane and brought a sweater just in case it got chilly on the plane. Once we landed in Arizona I was able to stash the sweater in my bag and not have to sweat through jeans and a t-shirt. It may sound so simple but believe me, it will help.
Also, take a hint from my picture above, nowadays they make you take your shoes off, do yourself a favor and don't wear complicated shoes. 

Choose Water:

I know I know, the tiny alcohol bottles are tempting to calm your nerves or "enhance" your flight but choosing water will truly start your  vacation out the right way. Dehydration is a pretty common issue for travelers. Between checking your bags, finding your gate, and boarding the plane there is very little time for hydration. Do yourself a favor and make sure you arrive at your destination well hydrated. Dehydration can lead to headaches, drowsiness, nausea, now I don't think that is any way to start a vacation.

Make Sure To Keep Your Medication In Your Carry On:
This is an often overlooked detail while traveling but so so so  important. For obvious reasons, if your luggage gets lost that could mean you are without some very important medications for a couple days...big uh oh. Even if your bags get there safely, the temperature underneath the plane can get ridiculously hot, causing the potency of some medications to lessen or become inactive. Yikes!

Learn Your ABC'S ASAP!
Another good habit for international flying is to learn your abc's. Deep Vein Thrombosis  (clotting of the veins in the legs) may occur when passengers are cramped and do not move their legs enough on long flights. Other than getting up to use the restroom you can trace the letters of the alphabet with your feet to keep the blood circulating. The risk is rare but I did witness a case of this on one of my Contiki trips and I cannot express how uncomfortable and painful it was for this traveler.

Oily? Use A Toilet Seat Cover:
Full Disclosure: I get really oily when I travel; maybe it's the close quarters or the recycled air but I always come off the plane looking like I am a heavily greased pan. My secret is that I go into the airport bathroom and pat down my face with the rougher side of the toilet seat cover. They are made from similar material as those face blotting pads you carry in your purse. I know it might seem gross, but when you are in a jam they work perfectly.

Free Samples Are Your Friends:
I have always been a proponent of taking the small lotions and shampoos from hotels. Some people think it is taboo and almost like stealing. But think of it this way, if they can use it again once it is used then it is stealing. But once the shampoo is opened they can't reuse it right? Stock up on these little samples because they are really helpful and portable when you are staying somewhere in which samples are not readily available (camping, staying with friends). Also many hotels are getting swanky and using really nice name brands for their free samples (Ex: I have snagged Bulgari products, Neutrogena to name a few).

Get In On The Act:
I know it can be second nature to stay behind the camera when you are seeing the sights, but make sure to get in front of the camera with the landmarks. Anyone can have this picture:

But getting in on the action not only proves you were there, but it makes for a very sentimental souvenir.
Do you have any travel tips to add?

The Virgin's Lover

In The Company of the Courtesan follows the story of  Fiametta Bianchini (the courtesan) and her dwarf companion named Bucino (her pint sized pimp). The story unfolds in Venice of 1572.  Fiametta and Bucino have just escaped from a very turbulent Rome (where Fiametta is savagely beaten) and are forced to start their lives over.  Bucino enlists a blind healer named La Draga to help Fiametta regain her beauty. Before long Fiametta is back to her regular tricks (pun intended) and life is back to normal for the courtesan and her pimp.

I would love to give you more details but I don't want to spoil it and well, the details left to tell aren't all that interesting. Characters are made to look incredibly important and then they are suddenly out of the story-without explanation-imagine how frustrating that was. The book ended with a very large un-answered question but not in the way that makes you intrigued, but in the way that makes you horribly confused.

The odd thing is that I really liked the two main characters. I wanted to know more about Fiametta and Bucino but was distracted by the revolving door of lesser characters. Overall I was pretty disappointed by this novel. Sarah Dunant is a wonderful historian and a great writer and it seems as though there were a few errors in editing with this novel. If you are interested in Sarah Dunant I highly suggest her novel, The Birth of Venus.

Fragonard's Perfumery

I have a confession: I am obsessed with perfumes. I have a collection of about 9 different bottles and some other body sprays. I just love smelling good and associating a scent with fond memories.

As luck would have it the two times I visited France, the tour group stopped at a great perfumery called Fragonard. Fragonard is perched high atop charming little cliffs and overlooks the sea. Honestly, you could just sit me in their parking lot and I would be a happy camper for life! But once you go into the perfumery it gets way better! Below I have reviewed the products that I have purchased from the lovely little French perfumery.

These are six little tubs (similar to a tub of chap stick) of solid perfumes. They are waxy and go smoothly onto the skin. They fit in the size of you palm-small enough to slip into a purse or even a pocket! Each of the scents are classic and soo yummy smelling that I have been tempted to taste them. (okay not really...okay maybe a little bit). These would make great gifts for the ladies in your life. They are also a great way to sample the full size spray perfumes in the same scent.

Speaking of the full size scents: On the website you can get the scents come in either glass or aluminum bottles. I have the vanilla (which is absolutely amazing!) in a glass bottle. The negative part about the glass bottles is that the scent will change over time due to exposure to light. They warned me at the perfumery that the aluminum bottles will preserve the scent for far longer. So learn from my mistake, buy aluminum.

VRAI Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream $38: I bought this face cream to use after washing my face in the morning. It has SPF 15 (?) and is lightly scented and not in an obnoxious way. I remember when I ran out of it I scrapped as much as I could out of the tub it came in. It made my sensitive skin feel much softer and smoother.

Essential Care Face Cream $30: Jon actually bought this when he and I went to Fragonard together. Again, it is lightly scented with a hint of almond. Jon loved this product so much that he would often say "I am so glad I bought this!" This face cream is from their product line that uses natural extracts. The rest of the products in this line are realistically priced from $11-$14.

Concierto $34:

The first time I visited Fragonard's the tour guide said "If anyone is buying something for a male in their life, BUY CONCIERTO" I was skeptical and Jon is very particular about the colognes he uses. But when I smelled it I was drooling. I hate when men take a good cologne and douse themselves in it so you can't focus on how good it smells but on a way to find fresh air! Concierto is a subtle smell that even if you wanted to douse yourself in it you couldn't. Therefore all you smell is pure goodness. I know it is hard to buy cologne/perfume without smelling it first, but take my word for it, you will not be disappointed!

Lash Blast Mascara

My biggest beauty hurdle has always been my eyelashes. They are thick plentiful, dark...and stick straight. I have tried many an eye lash curler which will temporarily curl my lashes (meaning they won't stay curled long enough for me to finish applying the rest of my makeup). 

I figured that if an eyelash curler couldn't do the job than it must be the mascara. I tried thegreen/pink mascara tube that everyone uses. I wasn't impressed by the all. Mainly because it caused my eyes to swell shut for three days! I looked like Quasimoto! After that traumatic experience I was a little gun shy of mascara for a while.

When I decided to give mascara another try I chose Lash Exact. I liked it because it was hypo-allergenic (which means no swollen eyes), it didn't clump and it was safe for contact lensewearers like myself. However, it did not help my eyelashes stay curled. But I stayed with it anyway, more out of habit than anything else.

But then I saw the commercial for Lash Blast mascara with Drew Barrymore. I figured, "I like Drew Barrymore why the heck not?!"

So I picked up the bright orange tube at my local Target, made sure it was safe for my sensitive eyes and brought it home.
I tried it the next morning and I will be honest I was not expecting much. My eyelashes are THICK and do not bend for anyone. But to my surprise I applied the mascara and curled them and they stayed for longer than five minutes...they stayed curled all day! I was so pleased with the results that I wanted to review it right away for you guys. But I waited just to make sure it wasn't a fluke. So for the past week I made sure the results were consistent. I am pleased to tell you that Lash Blast mascara gets my Sensibly Sassy Seal of Approval. Totally worth your money!

Sigg Water Bottles

As we all know, Green is the new black. I saw an advertisement for "eco-friendly car paint" right after I saw a commercial for a green version of cleaning product. Yesiree, our country has finally caught on-our earth needs our help, and we can do so by making better choices. I am not going to lie though, sometimes it makes me nervous because I feel as though going green has become just another American fad. I hope I am wrong but I don't want people to forget that making good choices for our earth is something that never goes out of style (there you have it, I have just met my cheesiness quota for today).

But lets face it folks, plastic is a huge problem these days. For instance, did you hear about theGreat Pacific Garbage Patch? Guess what it is made of ? Plastic, mainly plastic bottles. Here is where my product review comes in.

Erin introduced me to the Sigg water bottle when I realized that my plastic Nalgene bottle was sloughing off plastic into my water. As soon as I received her endorsement I headed to Whole Foods and picked up my very own Sigg.
I have this one:

I love my Sigg for so many reasons. Mainly because it prevents the use of pesky plastic water bottles. I also love how it keeps my water cold, holds not too much/not too little amounts of water. The size that I got was somewhere around $20-some say this is expensive but I don't think so because it is re-usable. And don't worry if you want a Sigg you don't have to get one like mine, they have plenty other sizes and colors to choose from.

The only thing that I don't like about my Sigg is that if you leave the top on it for, say overnight, and there happens to be water in it, well it will end up smelling like a swamp the next morning. They are also a little tricky to clean because you can't put them in the dishwasher. But if you put some warm soapy water in it it will smell right as rain.

I really do recommend Sigg water bottles over any other water bottles out there, trust me I have tried them all!


Now you may be a little confused about my choice to include a movie review with my book review.  Well I hadn't anticipated including a review for "Click" in the same post as my review for a book like "Wherever You Go There You Are" but after watching the movie last night I felt compelled. Let me explain:
*Spoiler Alert* Stop reading here if you don't want to know what happens.
Click is about a middle age man, Michael Newman, (Adam Sandler) who never seems to have enough hours in the day to spend time with his family, finish his work, or take care of his health. That is until he happens upon the ultimate universal remote. 

This remote allows him to skip through the mundane moments in life and get ahead in business. At first this is just what Michael needs. But soon the remote begins to save his "preferences" and act on instinct. This means fast forwarding through family dinners, disagreements with his wife and in his place is a man that appears to be non-responsive to those around him.

Even though the universal remote helps Michael earn more money at work and not have to deal with the occasional cold, he is missing out and quickly realizes that no amount of money can make up for these lost moments. His life is fast forwarded to his final moments in which he comes to terms with the idea that the moments he manipulated for personal gain are the moments that taught him the most and made his life worthwhile. Luckily, Michael awakes to realize that it was all just a nightmare and he sets out to change his life and cherish his life, as is.

Jon and I sat on the couch for a few moments after the movie ended because we the movie we had just watched was drastically different from the one we had set out to watch. But we both really liked it,  in fact we were both a little wowed. While the movie was not the slapstick comedy that Jon and I had anticipated, it did a wonderful job at shaking the viewer awake and reminding us that this moment is all we have and we should appreciate it without pre-tense or agenda. This moment is who we and those we love, are right now. If you have ever watched a child grow you realize how time keeps on truckin' with or without our consent. 

Wherever You Go There You Are

I was introduced to Jon Kabat-Zinn when I took a stress management class two quarters ago. We read his book, Full Catastrophe Living (FCL) for the class. 
FCL was more of a manual and a lifestyle plan for living mindfully and different steps to take in order to do so. After taking the class I was lucky enough to see Jon Kabat-Zinn speak at my school. He had me mesmerized for the entire hour and a half. I sat there slack jawed as he said things like, "When you were born your parents saw you as perfect and you still are that perfect being, the only thing that has changed is your view of yourself". (I know right?)
Needless to say I walked out of his talk with a grin on my face and an urge to live even more mindfully; that is what lead me to Wherever You Go There You Are (WYGTYA).
I love this book for so many reasons. Where Kabat-Zinn's first book gave me an outline for living mindfully, WYGTYA, helped explain the rest. For example, where his first book showed the reader how to meditate, the second book not only fine tuned my meditation practice but also helped me incorporate a calmer, and less judgemental way of looking at myself, others and situations-outside of meditation. Kabat-Zinn does his best to make a mindful way of life seem attainable by all readers.
 One of my favorite parts of the book were his everyday suggestions for living mindfully. An example of one of these tips is to look at the way in which you meet obstacles with harshness instead of curiosity. This was a big lesson for me because I had somewhere along the line become accustomed to meeting adversity with anger. As Kabat-Zinn explains, obstacles are not always negative, it is often the way in which we look at them that makes them a source of difficulty in our lives.
I am a little sheepish of my review of this book because there is so much more endorsement that I could give this book but I feel like experience is the best way to really appreciate the nuances that this book holds. If you have ever wanted to give living mindfully/meditation a shot this is the perfect book to help you get into the mindfulness groove.
I felt that Click really embodied the message of Jon Kabat-Zinn's book "Wherever You Go There You Are", in a powerful and albeit unconventional way.

Copper Moon Apothacary

My mom bought me this amazing soap from our local farmer's market.  The woman that makes the soap was incredibly friendly and she told us that her Italian grandpa used to say that women were like a mysterious fig...I am not really sure what that means (and neither did she) but it sure is one great smelling soap!
I used it in the shower tonight and my skin is so soft and smells "mysteriously" sweet. It lathered really well and it was gentle enough to shave my legs with. I can't wait to go back to the farmer's market and try some other scents from the Copper Moon Apothecary.
My mom and I finished off the day with lunch at Pasta Pomadoro and browsed the local pet 

The Geography of Bliss

I picked up "The Geography of Bliss" on a whim. The tag line "One grump's search for the happiest places in the world" had me hooked-tag line=mission accomplished. I love traveling and I figured that this book would be good insight into where I would fit in best because I am a generally happy person.

Even though the book is was written by a self proclaimed grump I really enjoyed how each place was highlighted for their strengths and done quite well I might add. There wasn't one place that was visited that the silver lining didn't become apparent. Speaking of places visited, it was quite a list that included: The Netherlands, Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar, Iceland, Moldova, Thailand, Great Britain, India and America. As you can see happiness is found in some very unique places.

Another thing I loved about this book was that it included many studies that support how humans find happiness and how bad we are at really knowing what happiness looks like to us. For example, did you know that the more choice we have regarding mundane things the less likely we are to be happy? Being a psych student this really floated my ferry. I am not sure how the non-psych reader would take all this information but my best guess is that the way in which it is slipped into each chapter isn't all that annoying and actually pretty interesting. Weiner (hehe) wrote the book in a really easy to read way, almost as though he is having a conversation with the reader.

Overall I recommend this book to kick off your summer reading for those of you that want a little more meat than a chick lit and a little less cerebral straining that some of the classics may give you.

The Ped Egg

As you may or may not know, I really enjoy "As Seen On TV" products. They are usually pretty cheesy and don't always work right but there is always that chance that you may find one infomercial product that actually does what it says.

Well folks I have found one that works...behold the Ped Egg!

The Back story:
I was sitting at home and I saw this advertisement on tv. Naturally I was intrigued. It is common knowledge that dancers have pretty nasty feet-I am no exception. Whenever I go get pedicures they never sand down my heels enough. (Ew that last sentence grossed me out-sorry about that).

So back to the Ped Egg.

I exercised some restraint and did not order the Ped Egg (gasp). But then as fate would have it, Erin bought the Ped Egg and raved about it. I then decided that I must have one! Erin offered to buy one for me because they had them at the Rite Aid by her work.

A couple weeks later Erin and I met up in the Whole Foods parking lot and I said "You got the stuff?" Erin nodded and handed me the Ped Egg in a plastic Rite Aid bag. It felt like we were doing something scandalous, but then I tossed the Ped Egg in my car and we went into Whole Foods and had some lunch-so much for walking on the wild side.

So anyway....(it's hard for me to focus this morning).
You know when you get into bed and your feet are rough and scaly and they scrape on your sheets? Just me? Well if you have the same problem the Ped Egg solves it! My feet have never been so soft! And what's even better is that I can do it whenever I want and not have to pay for a pedicure.
I would have posted before and after pictures but I didn't want you guys to get grossed out.

My only negative comment about the Ped Egg is that you might want to do it alone because it will absolutely gross the bystander out. I sat down and started to use the Ped Egg and I thought that Jon was going to barf on the carpet; "oh that is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen! Please stop it you are literally grating your feet like cheese!"
So spare your loved ones and use this foot grater by yourself.

Update: No, it does not hurt to use.
Aaaand the Ped Egg can be yours for the low price of $9.99!!

Do you have a Ped Egg?
Have you ever bought an infomercial product?

I Love Everybody And Other Atrocious Lies

Laughing out loud (LOL-for the cool kids) is one of my greatest pleasures in life. I try to hang out with people that induce side splitting laughter, I watch tv that makes me chuckle but I have never met a book that made me laugh out loud.

That is until now.

The book of short stories, "I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies)" not only fed my appetite for a well written book but it also made me guffaw in agreement-many times.

Laurie Notaro is probably the funniest writer I have everencountered. Being a (part time) loudmouth girl myself, I can appreciate her frustration at some everydayoccurrences, such as people that walk in the middle of grocery store isles at the pace of snails. However my loudmouth moments are usually awkward . Luckily for Laurie and her readers, her loudmouth moments result in overwhelming hilarity.

I recommend this book for everyone that enjoys laughing (that should be all of you no?). Really, truly, do yourself a favor and pick this book up.

Blik Decals

Our apartment had a huge bare wall that was too big for a picture to be hung and for quite a while Jon and I had been wondering what we could put there. He found some wall decals on a website for a company called BLIK
They have many fun styles and seemed really easy to apply and were fairly inexpensive-score! So we placed our order and about a month later we received our decals. Even though we were pretty peeved that the decals took forever to arrive we were still really excited to put them up on our wall.

We thought the responsible thing to do would be to draw a diagram of where we wanted the decals to go. The top drawing is mine; we obviously have different visions of what we wanted.

I decided that since Jon had found these amazing decals we should go with his "vision". (He's so darn cute I can hardly stand it sometimes)The first one took a little bit of time but once we got started we were on a roll.
The handy decals can be compared to a large fake tattoo. Once on the wall they look as though they have been hand painted!And when you are ready to take them off they peel off just as easy as they were put on!
And then viola!!!