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

A post shared by Gricel (@emperatrixx) on

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…
 photo 16454B35-08E9-4558-91FB-03CF65F37234_zpsuotbnsbn.jpg

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.
 photo 68CF8828-BA3B-4E8A-B4B9-80C9F7C801EE_zpsx1hgg5hw.jpg

Reorganized the last of the TBR books…
 photo 1B61C52F-8EDC-493A-8726-1622C183B14B_zpssr0tzvq6.jpg

And trimmed one of the houseplants, therefore, new greenery in the bedroom 🙂
 photo 42C92842-4F1F-4630-A4DA-651EB485FAE5_zpsso9k0lnl.jpg

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.

video: sparking joy – in my bag

I recorded this before the shiz hit the fan… so I give you *dun dun dun* a minimalist’s what’s in my bag video 🙂

Next week may be a little off-kilter. I’m starting the claims process and things may get a little rough. Enjoy and let me know how you handle your bag situation.

5 things: fall edition

5 things: fall edition
When I think of fall, I think of autumn hues and new things to write. Of course, Fall means NaNoWriMo and all things writing. I’m still debating whether that will mean a new story or a rebellious revision, but the season of the pen is among us!
Bold red lips (or very pale nudes) are also a big fall factor for me, as well as mustard-colored everything (starting with a brand new cardigan… because, hello, librarian here). A new notebook and some new scents round off my musts, and while pumpkin is the scent du jour for most this season, I find that ikea vanilla candles always send me to my happy place.

5 things: summer loves

Saying goodbye to summer by sharing some of my summer loves and faves (though it’s still hot as ever in Miami, there’s a sense that the season is changing).

5 things: summer loves


First up, my KeepCup! I have the saffron colored one and it makes me so happy. The color looks like a little baby duck and my barista gets a thrill every time I bring it in for a refill.
InkJoy gel pens. Total impulse buy from the campus bookstore. Mine look slightly different because they are a newer model than the ones shown above, but they are amazing. Love the inks, very bright and thick lines. I have the hot pink and neon green ones.
Marimo moss balls. I wanted something different for my home and I was inspired by More Melody’s video on Marimo Moss Care. Easy to care for and they look like little green pets.
RMS Buriti Bronzer. Even though I was less than thrilled when I first received my sample, I soon learned that I just needed to play with the application to get the right color. It has become a total staple in my routine and will probably continue into the autumn for a nice flush and coppery lids.
Lancome Juicy Shaker in Apri-CuteThis has been my color of the summer. It’s not green and it’s not cruelty free, but it has been a total guilty pleasure. I may use it on top of a darker lipstick, but will probably be returning to it next Spring.