Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I moved!

Well, I haven't gone anywhere, but my blog has!

Please visit my new blog at: http://theoutofboxexperience.wordpress.com.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Subscription Box Mayhem: FabFitFun Winter Box 2013

When I saw a Spoiler pic of the Giving Keys necklace that would be in the Winter FabFitFun box, I knew that I had to have this box. This is by far the best subscription box I've ever received because I have a use for every product.

Here's a quick peek inside the box

This was the product guide explaining why each item was put in the box. I love how detailed it is because it shows me that a lot of thought when into each piece. Even if I don't like something per se, I know WHY it was chosen.

First product was the Lorna Jane bracelet with a 20% off code for Lorna Jane's website. I was initially pretty excited about this, but I put it on for a few hours last night and I've decided it's not really my style. I'm going to gift this to a friend. I've also read that these were special edition bracelets that are no longer made and only sold in Australia. I couldn't find them on their US website, so there may be some truth to that ($30 value)

I couldn't believe that these headphones are valued at $40, but I guess fancy earbuds are pretty pricey. Yowza! I'm not keen on the colors--in fact, I was hoping for either of the other color combos that they make, but I won't complain. I also love the fact that there's a sound splitter on it so you can have a friend hook into them. They'll be great for plane trips so my husband and I can watch a movie.

I've never heard of this company but I'm all about pampering, especially in the winter. This is a face mask that boasts of making your face smooth and helping to fight aging. I also recently turned 30 and have a huge desire to use anything anti-aging, so this will get used probably today :-) ($19 value)

Me Undies! Oh my gosh. This was a great bonus for me. I've read on other blogs about this company and have been wanting to try them for awhile. I've already scoped out the site and can't wait to order something. Undies are $20 and they offer free shipping, which means FFF gave us a free pair of undies! Score. ($20 value)

Now, it's time for my favorite piece! The Giving Key. This is the greatest piece of jewelry ever. Seriously. They are made by people transitioning out of homelessness, so each purchase is giving back in so many ways. The keys are also meant to be a karmic piece, in that you're supposed to give it away when you find someone that needs it more than you. Thinking of parting with this beautiful piece gets me misty-eyed, but you can bet I will give it away when the time comes. Mine says "strength" ($55 value)

Since this is considered a fitness box, there has to be some kind of fitness in here, right? There's a postcard with a unique code to redeem 5 classes from Physique 57. I love this more than anything. The winter for me makes me extremely lazy, so this will be a good way to get my lazy butt moving. ($25 value)

Ooh lip gloss! What girl doesn't love lip gloss? This one has a mirror and a light in it to make it even more desirable. I haven't tried it out yet but the color is pretty. ($22 value)

For the same reason I was excited about the mask, I'm excited for this eye cream. I have a fear of wrinkles around my eyes from all my years of squinting instead of wearing glasses. It also has a nice light smell and doesn't smell too chemical-y. ($45 value)

There were some complaints online about these two "drugstore" products in the box, but they are considered bonus products. I have tons of cleanser around the house, but it'll get used up eventually. The colors are a little daring for me, but I think they'll be perfect for New Years Eve. (Nyx- $8 value, Simple $7.49 value)

I love this subscription box so much and almost wish that I would have ordered an extra one to give to a friend. I think you already know, but the winning piece for me?

I can't even put into words how much I LOVE this! I want to go to their website and order more of them already.

The total value of this box was $271. I'm always more about the "did I get my money's worth" than what it would cost to purchase these items. I paid $44.99 (with a coupon code) and yes, I definitely got my money's worth.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Subscription Box Mayhem: PopSugar Must Have December '13

I feel like subscription boxes are a sick disease. Once you get one, you want all of them and you want all of them every month. Curse the day I ever started one! I've tried quite a few of them, but instead of sticking with the same one every month, I usually like to mix it up and try a few of them.  I have a love/hate relationship with all of the different boxes because for the price point, I figure I can usually pick out better stuff for myself.

So without further ado, the December box.

This is the description card that comes with each box. It gives you information about every item, and also gives you the website in case you love the items so much you have to buy them. I usually just throw this to the side and hardly read it, so I can start ripping into the box.

My yorkie, Owen, was immediately on the scene to help me investigate the box. I'm guilty of peeping the spoilers so I knew what was coming. I was already prepared for my little furry friend to try and eat it.

The first item I took out of my box just so happened to be my absolute favorite item and the one item I completely forgot about. YAY! This BaubleBar necklace was for new subscribers that entered the promo code at checkout. 

Let me be honest with you. I'd read the spoilers for this box on makeuptalk.com and was severely disappointed when I saw the pictures of the boxes that everyone received. I didn't think it was worth the money and I knew I could have gone to Target and picked out something better with the money. However, after getting the BaubleBar necklace, my tune has changed and I'm happy with the box. BaubleBar is a great company that has awesome quality jewelry. I'm super happy about this and it's my official Christmas present to myself!

The Lulu Frost bracelet is valued at $110. I've never spent that much on a bracelet before and I don't think I would anytime soon. I still love the bracelet and can't wait to rock it with my new necklace, but the $110 price tag seems high to me.

You can tell from my previous pictures with wrapped presents as props, that I'm a huge fan of wrapping paper and Christmas altogether. This will get used up right away.

I happen to be the worst nail painter alive. My left hand always looks amazing but the right hand looks like a hot mess. Nail wraps are God's great invention to bad nail painters like me! They are super easy to apply and they last for just as long as a coat of nail polish would. I have a few sets of nail wraps around the house though, so I wasn't too enthused, but I can't deny that the red color will be great for the holidays.

I always buy my mom Ghiradelli chocolate for Christmas, so this will save me a trip to the store. I would have loved to try something different or unique though. This was the item that received the most complaints though since it's widely available in stores. I can't say I disagree. I love these subscription boxes to try out new companies or places I never heard of. (Maybe I'm just going light on them because I'm still freaking out about my new BaubleBar necklace?) 

I have braces so caramel corn is out for me for at least another year. However, I'm in the process of making a food and wine basket for my mother in-law, so this gift goes perfect. The basket isn't done yet, since I still have a lot more to buy, but this is how I'll be gifting it. I also think it's freaking awesome that my initials are CC and this says "CC made" My in-laws will think I made it and personalized the label, although they know I'm not that crafty.

I was originally pretty excited about these since I thought it would go with my food and wine gift, but they're plastic and not aligning with the classy theme I'm aiming for. I'll probably save them for when I'm too lazy to do dishes and need something quick.

Ipsy is my all-time favorite sub box that I NEVER cancel. So I have tons and tons of makeup--in fact, I recently got two mascaras from them. Even though this looks a lot nicer than the samples I've received, I'm still not that ecstatic on this.

The winners in my book: the necklace + bracelet. I'm the accessory queen and I can never get enough! Thank you PopSugar and BaubleBar for making my week awesome.

This box had a value of $180 and I paid $42. Did I get my money's worth? Yes. Would I purchase half the stuff in here? Probably not. I'm calling it "money well spent" since I gained two gifts for family and a few keepers for myself.

If you want to sign up for PopSugar MustHave, use my referral link: http://popsu.gr/kKnt

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Internet is a Cruel Place

We've all seen those pictures, maybe we've all shared them and we've definitely all laughed at them (me included.) You know the pictures I'm talking about - the ones of a person either ugly, fat, in a compromising position, passed out drunk, etc with a funny caption disguised as a meme or labeled just as a "funny" pic.

I don't share these types of pics often, but I know I'm not blameless either. I see them on a daily basis though. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I think of the person in the picture and wonder if they know they are the subject of ridicule. I saw one in my news feed today of a woman with crooked drawn-in eyebrows. My immediate reaction was laugh and of disgust at how horrifying she looked. But that humor, immediately turned into disgust for MYSELF. I was a person that was always harassed about my looks, so aren't I just as bad for judging another person by their looks? Have I gone from the 'bullied' to just another mean girl?

Then, everything clicked for me after reading this article today.


Please read the link - it really is powerful, but to summarize: a woman, Caitlin Seida, shared a picture of herself in a Lara Croft Tomb Raider Halloween costume. Since she's overweight due to a medical condition, the picture was labelled 'Fridge Raider' and shared on various sites (including Reddit) without her permission.

First off, this is a scary lesson about internet privacy--check those privacy settings, people! But more than just that, my heart breaks for this woman. This could have happened to me and it could have happened to someone I love. Scary thought, right? We don't always think about the human in the picture because in the back of our minds, we feel that the person is subject to such ridicule because they put the picture out there for the world to see. But what about the people that DIDN'T put these pictures out for the world? What about the ones that have the pictures taken from them because they wanted to share a moment with their friends and family?

I frequently tell my husband that I'm glad I grew up during the 90s. The bullying was bad enough to handle at school but at least coming home was my safe haven and an escape from the abuse. I'm so glad I didn't have to come home to girls harassing me online, putting up pictures of me, and telling me that I should kill myself. But even still, the bullying from ADULTS is just as bad, if not worse because we should know better. I sometimes post on different message boards and blogs and I'm always surprised at the cruel words that people type while hiding behind anonymity. Did our common courtesy--"If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all"--just go out the window or is it just that our filter has lessened because we're so exposed to this cruel, "say anything" type of universe that the world wide web has become?

I, for one, don't want to be a part of this world. Maybe it's naive, but I like to see the positive. I like to think about the paying it forward, the nice words that people say, and the true love that still exists today. Although Caitlin had to learn a very painful lesson, I want to thank her for teaching all of us a lesson too. Maybe if we all start to think about our individual online presence, we can make the web a beautiful place once again.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I'm comparing myself to everyone else around me.

I never grew up in an environment where I was encouraged to love myself for who I am. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't like I grew up in a family that felt the need to constantly point out my flaws, but I was never appreciated for my strengths either. I think the biggest problem was being the middle kid with a brother and sister with disabilities. There were problems that were way bigger than my self-esteem and whether I loved myself or not.

I can't point to a specific moment when this started happening, but I can't think of a time where I didn't do this either. From a very small age, I've always felt like I wasn't enough. Whether it was because we were poor and my clothes were cheap, not being beautiful enough like the popular kids in my school, not having enough friends or social status, whatever it was--there was always a reason that I felt so small. I haven't spent my entire life miserable. There have been times where I've looked at myself in the mirror and saw something I liked but it's never been enough to make me feel whole.

I still don't feel like enough and maybe I never will. I still look at people on the street and imagine how perfect their lives are and how imperfect mine is. This comparing thing has gotten better for me since meeting my husband. He always builds me up by telling me how beautiful I am and how much he loves me for me. I know I have lots of flaws, but whenever I ask him what I can improve on, he tells me I'm perfect and I shouldn't change anything. (I know he's full of it but I love him for lying to me.) He understands why I have my low days and why I sometimes feel inadequate but he doesn't allow me to wallow or bask in it. He's so good at making me feel as complete as possible.

I hope that I can have one day in this life, where I don't compare myself to every actress and model on TV and where I feel like I AM beautiful and I AM enough. I don't know if it will ever happen for me, but surrounding myself with wonderful people like my husband is a good place to start.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bringing It Back

"A lot has happened for me in the last year."

I always hate when bloggers write this. It's just some crappy excuse for not writing. Truthfully, I have no excuse. I'm on the computer every day for work--although as of late, I haven't had much time to browse the web at work. I've made time for other hobbies, so I decided I needed to make time for blogging again.

So, what made me want to start this blog last year anyway?

I was tired of being a 20-something working in a corporate environment, making stuff up as I went along. I hoped to help people with my blog and sadly, I don't think I achieved that. I got discouraged with the number of followers and how I didn't have enough. Sounds like life huh? We find a passion and then it's not perceived as something that's worth doing, so we give up. Lesson learned.

Recently my job has changed hours. It's been somewhat of a nightmare and somewhat of a blessing. Our hours are 6 AM to 3 AM -- basically we only close for 3 hours a day. The downside is that when I work the 6 AM shift, I have to be up by 4 to make it in time. The good part about it is when we work the late shift, we're able to work from home. I wanted to write today's post about tips for those that telecommute.

Tips for the Telecommuter or those that work from home

1.  Turn a room or even a free corner into a home office. Since I live in a one bedroom apartment, I don't have the luxury of a free room, however I'm working on turning a part of the dining room into a nice work nook. That way, I have a space that I can have my computer, mouse, keyboard, etc set up in a quiet place.
       -DON'T:  Use working at home as an excuse to lay in bed. This is still your job and you need to remain productive. I don't know about you but if I lay in bed, I get sleepy. You want to remain alert and focused. Do it in a space that doesn't scream NAP TIME.

2.  If you have kids, they should still go to day care or have someone come over to help you with them. When I worked at an insurance company a few years ago, they were converting to a work at home business.  The only stipulation was that you needed to behave as you were in the office. That meant, your kids needed to stay at daycare. The 8 hours while you're working, your primary focus should be on the job. If your kids are older or are pretty dependent, you may be able to get away with keeping them at home. If you have a toddler or a baby that require a lot of attention, you may find you're not getting a lot of work done.
       -DON'T: Make the job second fiddle. During work hours, you are an employee first.

3. Get dressed every day. I learned this one after two weeks of working from home and wearing the same pair of sweatpants and stained tee shirt. Sure, there may be the days where you don't feel like getting ready and that's absolutely a benefit of working from home. BUT to maintain some sort of normalcy and to act like you're still a part of society, change your clothes and shower once in awhile. Your spouse can thank me in advance for this one.
       -DON'T: Become a shut in! Working from home is a great privilege, but you are still a person with family and friends. They still want to see your beautiful face once in awhile.

4. If you don't have a hobby or work out, consider taking it up. Being on the computer 8-10 hours a day for work, then shifting over the couch to watch TV for the rest of the night can get really depressing pretty fast. Consider finding something to get your body and mind active.
       -DON'T: Become a couch potato. Just because you work from home doesn't mean you can't get outside and experience the fresh air once in awhile.

5. Work, work, work, work, work. My job is great because I do have some of the down-time where I can hurry up and vacuum or load the dishwasher-- luxuries that I wouldn't have if  I was stuck in the office. Maybe some of you will have that freedom or maybe every minute of your time will be monitored. Either way, make work your primary focus. It's easy to get distracted when you're at home by the telephone or the TV. Don't take advantage of working from home.
       -DON'T: Make work your last priority. Work IS the priority. If you get a chance to cook or get other things done while WFH, that is a benefit.

Does anyone else out there work from home? If so, what are your tips for new telecommuters like myself or what would you like to add to the list?

Thanks for bringing it back with me! I can't wait to add more in the next few weeks.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Week 1 Update

This is an update from my last post. (If you didn't read it, make sure to catch up to speed: http://sore--thumb.blogspot.com/2012/06/money-why-i-have-none-and-how-i-can.html)

It's been over a week into my journey (almost two actually.) To say it's been hard is an understatement. Every radio program, every TV show, every billboard is advertising some kind of fast food. Every email I open is a coupon or an advertisement for some kind of restaurant. It got me to thinking, why as a society are we so addicted to fast food? Is it that we're looking for something convenient and the fact that it's readily available or is the food itself in someway addicting? I think they put some kind of addictive additive in the food to keep us all coming back.

I started this personal challenge as a way to save money. I quoted that we spent over $500 on eating out in May. Today I've been trying to figure out more details about our spending and I found that including groceries, we spent almost $1,000 in groceries throughout the month of May. Maybe this sounds normal for a family that has children, but it's just me and my husband.

We are making a personal goal to cut our food spending down to $200 every 2 weeks (or $400 for the whole month.) Once we make that goal, we are going to try to cut our food bill down to $200 a month. Is this even possible?  I'm not sure---but I'm going to try my hardest. My plan to tackle this goal is by couponing, meal planning, and also to make enough food that we can have leftovers. So far, we are at $209 that we've spent on groceries for the month. We have $191 to make it for the rest of the month.

Readers, what do you think? Can we do it? Stay tuned for another update soon!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Money: Why I Have None and How I Can Change It

My husband and I both make decent money. We're not rich by any means, but we shouldn't ever find ourselves running out of money. In fact, we've had the same fight too many times. "Honey, where did all of our money go?" Last night, we decided we're sick of having this same fight over and over again. We need to really sit down and analyze what's happening and where our money is going. We both commute an hour to work, so we spend a ridiculous chunk of change on gas and tolls. Unless either of us decides to quit our jobs and work closer to home, that's not going to be something we can cut out.

I'm almost embarrassed to say, when we sat down and analyzed our money, most of it goes to food. Since we both commute, we don't really ever feel like spending another hour cooking or preparing lunches during the week. I told my husband I bet we spend $200 a month on restaurants and eating out alone. Here comes the cringe worthy part. I totaled it up and found that in the month of May we spent $515 on eating out (this number doesn't include groceries.) That is an INSANE amount of money that included frequent Starbucks/Dunkin Donut runs, breakfast on the weekends, Subway/Chipotle/Jimmy Johns lunches, Chinese food takeout/pizza for dinner.

So I proposed this idea to my husband last night and it wasn't met with as much hesitation as I assumed it would. "Honey, how about we make a conscious decision to not eat out for the next 30 days? Do you think we could do that?" He immediately said he could do it (without cheating) and I said I think I could do it too (and only cheat once or twice.)

I woke up in a good mood today. My husband made us tuna sandwiches for lunch but he forgot to pack anything besides a sandwich, which is making me a little antsy thinking that I have to survive all day on just a sandwich. (Where's the chips and cookie I would get if this was a Subway order?) The first email of the day that I got was asking me if I wanted some Jamba Juice. Oh my--Jamba is my weakness...this is going to be harder than I thought.

Followers--give me some moral support here! Tell me something that you know you spend too much money on, how you deal with cooking meals in the midst of business or a time when you made a challenge for yourself.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Do All You Can Do

I've been thinking about my career and where I want to be in a few years. I have my days where I get in a funk and wonder if it's time for a change of pace. I have been extremely involved with my volunteer work lately and wish I could do it full-time or find a (paid) job for the ASPCA. But, in the meantime, I know I'm in a good spot and I love the experience I'm getting at my job in the Social Media field.

All of this has got me thinking that unfortunately, no job is permanent anymore. A few years back, my friend and I had a conversation about how our jobs were 'steady' and we were the lucky ones to have such secure jobs. I kid you not--a few weeks later, we were jobless. That experience was definitely an eye-opener for me. Moral of the story: no job is permanent anymore. Don't ever stop bettering yourself and adding experience and job skills to your resume. You never know when you will have to pop that resume out again.

That being said, there are always factors our of our control that could leave us in a situation of unemployment: outsourcing (in my case), the company goes bankrupt, job elimination, etc BUT there are factors we can control. I have a few things that I've always tried to do to be all I can be and I'd love to hear other suggestions from you too.

Show up on time.

Doesn't sound like a hard concept, right? I've always been a punctual person, so showing up on time has been a relatively easy concept to master. If you're a perpetually late person, give yourself an extra 30-60 minutes in the morning to make it there.

Don't call off.

Another tip that sounds so simple, but I've been amazed over the years at co-workers that were really good workers that had crap work ethic. Sure, there are days I'd love to call off, stay home and cuddle with my dog or go to the beach, but the fact is: I have a job that I am committed to. If you start getting in the habit of calling off without a legitimate reason, you may start calling off too often and lose the dedication to your job. Unless you're sick or there's an emergency, just go to work.

*Try to* stay out of the office politics.

This one is the hardest for me. I've played the office politics game before and I can tell you, it gets you nowhere. You end up being labelled as such and no one takes you seriously or trusts you anymore. It's okay to have a few work friends that you vent to or tell things to, but be very careful who you trust at work.

Work hard. Get things done. Then do more.

I consider myself successful because I haven't done JUST what's required of me. (Side note, this makes me think of the scene in Office Space when Jennifer Anniston's character tells her boss that she only wears the required amount of flair and if he wants her to wear more flair, then he should ask her to wear more.) I always try to come up with new ideas to make our team better and ask for additional responsibilities when I can. This makes you look like an A+ employee that's trustworthy and a leader.

There you have it: my simple list of things you can do to be the best employee you can be. You may encounter situations where you end up jobless, but at least you can pride yourself in knowing that it was through no fault of your own.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Why hello out there! I am so sorry I have not posted in awhile. I have been feeling extremely discouraged lately and I know that's not who I want to be. A lot of things have happened in the last few months and I've really let it derail me from where I want to be in life. I feel like I'm getting everything back on track and so here I am.

I wanted to talk a little bit today about volunteering or working with a non-profit organization. We all have causes that we really believe in and want to fight for. We may not all agree on our causes, but that's what makes us all unique. I am really involved and passionate about animals. I have always loved animals but after I adopted my dog about 7 years ago, I found out that there are really cruel, heartless people out there that abuse the poor, defenseless pets. My little princess, Britney was kicked and beaten by her previous owners.

I found out about a Pit Bull rescue group in my area and while I've never owned a Pittie in my life, I know people that have and I've heard so much about the breed over the years. It makes me so upset to know that one breed has been labelled as being destructive and vicious animals. Does that bother anyone as much as it bothers me? It's like labeling a certain group of people.

I decided to start volunteering with It's a Pittie Rescue and I've been doing it for about two weeks. I thought by doing it, I would be making an impact in these abandoned dogs lives, but I never realized that I would be the one that would be impacted. The first day I went there, I was a little apprehensive. I would hand the dog a toy, but make sure my hand was nowhere near it JUST IN CASE. I never imagined that these dogs would be better behaved than my poodle. After a few times of visiting, I realized that these dogs just want someone to love so bad and are so grateful for the walks and the play time.

(Me and Annie after a long, exhausting walk)

I think sometimes we get so involved with our own lives (myself included), that we forget there are organizations out there that just need you to give a few hours of your time for the greater good. I encourage my readers to do something for someone else this week. It could be for a cause you believe in or how about you offer to do something for a neighbor or an elderly relative? Even if you don't want to make a long-term commitment, even doing just one thing outside of your comfort zone will make a world of difference.

Tell me in the comments where you have volunteered in the past or where you plan to start volunteering. I'd love to hear from you guys and see what kind of causes we have represented.