loves & latest: April 23, 2018

monday musings

Loves

Reads

Finished the Veronica Speedwell mysteries and now I’m in that weird space where I can’t find a book that lives up… In the meantime, I’m trying to find the time to read Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick by Maya Dusenbery (because as a woman who has been dismissed, misdiagnosed, and chronically sick, I want all the support I can get).

Beauty

A follow-up:

A few posts ago, I gushed about how much I love the Ilia lip conditioner in Pink Moon, then I started to suspect it was causing some irritation. I stopped using it for a few weeks and wore it again last week. Suspicion confirmed, it makes my lips look like I’ve been out in the cold too long. Really dry and red around the edges. I’m debating whether I should return to Sephora or give it away. It had such promise.

Other things I’m loving:

My InstantPot! My mom gave me a mini and I’m loving the speed and efficiency it provides. Even just using the saute function speeds up my meal prep and saves me the extra time and heating costs. (Old Florida apartments were not made for climate change temperatures. My apartment is hot and the kitchen heats up like you wouldn’t believe. Needless heat? No thank you.)


Latest

Podcast

Minisode 8.5: Final thoughts on Star Wars/Spaceballs (and even Howl’s Moving Castle), favorites, and an announcementbluestocking-circle

In other news: The podcast is now available on Spotify!

You can find the episode on Podomatic, Apple Podcasts, or Google Play.

Video

April Update

All the things, and where have I been?

 

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project use it up: March empties

project use it up-2

Happy Easter! Here’s what I used up in March.

March 2018 empties

  • avatara wipe out nose pore strips: first time using these and it was quite a nice experience. I picked them up at Target and definitely noticed a difference.
  • elf Ultimate Blending brush – Probably my favorite elf brush, but I had it for years and it gave up the ghost
  • Juice Beauty SPF 30 Tinted Mineral Moisturizer in Sand – One of my favorite sunscreens. It just matches my skin tone without turning orange. Currently using the un-tinted one in an effort to simplify my makeup look.
  • fresh Rose Face mask – sample from Sephora. Just a lovely mask that leaves my skin feeling soft and refreshed. I’d be willing to buy a trial size in future.
  • Dr.Bronner’s Pure Castille Soap in Peppermint – a classic. This is a trial size because I like to rotate the scents and even the small size goes a long way.

March 2018 empties

  • Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides – My favorite collagen supplement for skin and joints, but it’s pricey and I can’t always justify the cost. I splurge when my knees are feeling particularly achy, or I want a skin boost.
  • Rainbow Light Just Once Iron-Free – The best multi I’ve tried and one I continue to purchase.
  • Jarrow Formulas Femdophilus – Probiotics for ladies. ’nuff said. I can’t say I noticed a difference, but it was on sale and I thought it worth a try.
  • Gaia Herbs Quick Defense – This is one of those products that I try to push on people. I keep a bottle on hand for colds and flu and it WORKS. It speeds up a cold like you wouldn’t believe.

March 2018 empties

  • A pen – Because every pen is a success.
  • Re-Boost decongestion spray – picked this up a few months ago and it’s come in very handy. It’s a natural product that actually works to clear things up.
  • Nature’s Bounty thrive blend – It smells strongly of clove but I like to think that it works to clean the air during cold season. At least it helped when I was stuffed up last month.

review: VienneMilano thigh highs

I’m very selective about PR that I’ll accept, but when VienneMilano reached out to me to try a pair of luxury thigh highs, I was intrigued. As a fan of tights in general, and thigh highs in particular, I was curious about the brand and selection. VienneMilano is an Italian, luxury hosiery brand headquartered in Boston. Their products are made with high quality materials and lace, and they look and feel like they will be well worth the investment. As they note, “Only love can last forever, but VienneMilano stockings will last quite a bit longer than ordinary hosiery.”

You can definitely feel the difference when you wear these. The knit feels like silk and the band reaches way up, high on the thigh and stays there. I wore these out on a humid afternoon and they stayed on without slip. Can’t wait to see how they wear over time. They come in two sizes, and their website offers an easy guide. I requested mine in large and they fit just right (I’m 5’6”, 150ish lbs, and all legs – as the boy would say)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

I am loving my purple thigh highs, and am currently eyeing a couple of pairs in Mustard and Olive (I love brightly colored leggings with a black dress for work and play).

Watch the video for more of my thoughts and to see my awkward strut as I try to show them off.

 
I am wearing a limited edition, Claudia pair in purple, but these are pretty similar.

For more information on the brand, visit viennemilano.com

 

Disclaimer: I received a pair of thigh highs in exchange for an honest review.

video: something different, a chatty GRWM!

I wanted to do something different and totally unlike my usual fare, so I recorded a simple, classic “Get Ready with Me” to start the 2017 video series 🙂

Just an everyday makeup look on my last day of winter break.

Check in next week for a peek inside my bullet journal, and be sure to subscribe for updates!

See below for products.

Continue reading “video: something different, a chatty GRWM!”

life: 2016 recap, life changes

The time has come for yearly recaps!

I already went over the good things that happened this year (let’s not speak of the bad again), but today I wanted to talk about the changes I’ve made; these include health, life, and wellness in general, but also little changes, like taking the time to play with the cats every night, or just learning to enjoy the moment.

This year, I completed 3 Whole30s (I’m in reintroduction mode right now). I’ve never followed a health plan, and I have my doubts about some of the methods out there, but the Whole30 just made sense at a time when I was feeling adrift with my health (see my original post, video, and initial reintro). I love the program. It works for me and it helps me reset when I’m not feeling my best. I am currently reading Melissa Hartwig’s Food Freedom Forever and it just makes me feel all kinds of YES!

I started journaling on a regular basis (stay tuned for a journaling update this Friday). Just taking the time to reflect on my day has improved my mental state when dealing with stress (and there has been a lot of that this year).

I dove head-first into minimalism as a serious lifestyle goal. I became intrigued by the idea of the KonMari method when looking to help my mom with her own excess, but I fell in love with the idea of a light, joyful lifestyle that relies on conscious consumerism and intentional living.

These are the big ones, and I look forward to sharing my progress into the new year.

video: using things up… Empties #2!

In an effort to make better use of the things I buy, I give you my second Empties video 🙂

Lots of products mentioned here, including health stuff, bath stuff, and some general lifestyle bits. I intended to list them all, but life happened and I lost track of time. So just watch for details and feel free to leave any questions in the comments. 🙂 I’m happy to share my thoughts on all and any products mentioned, or feel free to leave a recommendation.

Apologies for video quality issues, I noticed some blurring as I was editing, but I recycled all the products before I watched the video. Lesson learned.

review: tieks by Gavrieli

Because I finally caved.

I have been looking for a good, investment shoe for a while. I wanted flats to replace my pink Tom’s Camila flats (no longer available, a tragedy), but I wanted something that would be comfortable, sturdy, and long-lasting. I’ve purchase cheap shoes and I’ve purchased mid-range shoes, but I’ve never purchased something as expensive as these.

They came!!!! #tieks

A post shared by Gricel (@emperatrixx) on

I did my research. Soooo much research. I watched countless videos, read dozens of blogs, and I vacillated between getting them now or getting them later. In the end, now won out.

I’ll post a review after a few weeks of wear, but my first impression is this:

  • These are sturdy shoes. The construction is solid. The leather sole under the rubber heel and toe is surprisingly tough, and the rubber is really strong too.
  • I watched a few videos on half-sizing (I’m ideally a 10.5, but rarely find shoes in that size). I followed the suggested sizing and went down to the whole size, and they fit just right. Toes are spacey, heel is not strained (we’ll see how they wear).
  • The color is really fair. I went for the ballerina pink and they look just like pointe shoes. Love it.
  • I was a bit concerned that the teal sole and stripe would be too showy, but they aren’t as obvious while worn.
  • The hand-written note is actually a nice touch (I didn’t think such things would sway me). My mom was really impressed, so that’s a thing.
  • And the flower is black and really pretty. But that’s just the icing on the cake.

I wore them at home for an evening (they have a really generous return policy according to reviewers), but they felt right so I decided to take them out this morning.

We are taking them out. #tieks #ballerinapink #iloveflats

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Enjoying them so far :). Just wanted to add my own review. I paid for these, so this is an unbiased opinion, but someone who has issues with shoes in general.

the view from Sunday: in which I am a toxic mess

Friends, I am sick. Stuffed up, drippy, wet, sneezy, sick. It was deceptive at first… I thought it was just good ol’ PMS, but all signs point to cold. Way to ring in the season. What I’m saying is, I’m a mess and my brain is in a bad, spacey place. Bad enough that I started editing the wrong draft… at least I caught myself before I saved it. My skin is also not happy. My whole body is rebelling. No bueno. I’m comforting myself with tea and Zarbee’s and a mad wave of decluttering to clear out the air. And youtube. Lots and lots of youtube.

The piles are getting smaller…
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And only two pieces from the wardrobe… the shirt is a little too worn and just doesn’t fit well anymore, and the skirt just hugs my hips the wrong way. So long.
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Reorganized the last of the TBR books…
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And trimmed one of the houseplants, therefore, new greenery in the bedroom 🙂
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video: sparking joy – working on conscious consumerism

I’ve been thinking about the things I buy — the things that add to my life and the things that make me cringe at the waste (mostly of space and money). I’ve been making a concerted effort to shop mindfully and really think about the things I bring into my life. Where will they fit in my home? How will they add to my state of being? Will they last or will I regret the purchase in 6 months? It’s a challenge, particularly because I have no one to answer to but myself (part of the reason I decided to document this process in the first place is to hold myself accountable). I’m learning and growing. There are some things I’ve purchased recently that I should have checked myself on, but I bought them anyway. I’ll try harder next time.

Now that I’ve rambled long enough, watch the video to learn more about the things don’t buy anymore and the things I’m working on as I move towards a more conscious lifestyle.

5 things: wishes (and delayed gratification)

5 things I'm wishing for

 

I made this collage a few days before the accident. These were the things I was craving, coveting, and yearning for… some are big purchases, some are simple pleasures, all are now on hold for the foreseeable future. Life is like that sometimes.
The tieks and the laptop are the biggest investments, and will likely need to be made regardless of the car-buying situation, but I’ll continue to make do with what I have for the time being and continue my research.