Friday, March 16, 2018

Look Who Turned One Last Month! The Disney Balloon!

Okay, admittedly this is pretty sad.

I'm amazed I kept this balloon for over a year.  During the first week of February, 2017, my Mom and I took two of my nieces to Disneyland for a week.  Loads of fun.  Crazy times.  Two little girls for a week, but it was good.  Usually when I go to Disneyland I want to get a balloon, but never do.  This time I finally got one and wanted to see how long it would last.

Air stayed in the balloon for over a year.  Pretty good.  But every time I looked at it amusement grew to sadness, so the pink Mickey balloon had to go.

I popped it and with no fanfare it ended up in the trash.

Pink Mickey Balloon, it was fun.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Ups and Downs with New Years Resolutions

"To live greatly, we must develop the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and triumph with humility." ~ Thomas S. Monson

How are you guys doing with your New Years resolutions?

There are some I'm doing okay on and some I'm not.

But that's okay.

Sometimes I feel like I bite off more than I can chew, as the saying goes.  Setting myself up for failure.  But I think goals are important, regardless.  We need to aim for something and keep trying when we fall.

Writing a poem each week is something I've definitely faltered on, so I'm reevaluating that.  Overall I want to increase my writing in multiple writing fields, maybe even get myself published professionally.  That would be amazing.

I've already reached some of my walking goals.  With the Hogwarts Running Club they have the base six medals and a challenge medal at the end of the year that can represent any miles you wish.  Quidditch was a big theme last year, and a year ago this March they did an in house Quidditch match where I walked 60 miles in a week for the Gryffindors.  For the 2017 Challenge medal, in the shape of Quidditch goal hoops, I wanted to repeat this success.  At the end of January I did it, walked 60 miles in a weeks time.  Exhausting!  But all that walking does feel good.

And I'm over 100 miles for my 1000 miles goal, and have lost 6 1/2 pounds since the start of the year.  Not a huge weight loss, but it's something, and I'm refocusing my goals.  I need to get back to walking; I've slacked this last month. 

So don't give up!  Keep trying!

Everyday is a good day to start a new resolution, New Years or not.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Spring 2018 FabFitFun Subscription Box Review


I've subscribed to FabFitFun again.

Took a break, but decided to go all in and got a year subscription which is $180.  So yes, a major splurge.  A regular box is $50, coming four times a year, each box representing a Season.  With the year subscription each box comes out to $45, and you get to select which items you want.  For instance, if there's mug options, you choose which mug you want and so forth.

Paying upfront and getting this option makes it all worth it.

Plus, being a member (which you can also be if you're getting box to box) you have access to exclusive exercise videos, cooking videos, meditation, and other cool stuff.  Also, with each box there are add-ons you can get at a discount in addition with the box, and they all ship together, items such as makeup, skincare, spongelles, jewelry, face masks, bags, etc.  Add-ons are addicting and awesome, and one of the reasons I got back into fabfitfun was because I can get Spongelles at a discount.

 Rachel Pally Reversible Clutch in Bloom, Zahara, or Paradise

As an annual member I got to choose which clutch I got, which was nice.  Granted I'm not a clutch using person.  I like body purses, allowing me freedom to use my hands and not accidentally leave a clutch somewhere if I set it down.

I've seen on forums some people wanting to use the clutch as an insert in a beach bag or a large purse.  I'm thinking of using it as a makeup bag, as the bag I've using is quite small, so that will be nice.  I wasn't terribly excited to see this item in the box, and I think this was suppose to be "hero" item of the box, which was a mistake on FabFitFun's part.  But it is a cute bag, and there are ways I can use it beyond what it was originally intended.

Free People x Understated Leather Starry Eyed Travel Eye Mask

I love sleep masks, and I love the fact that this one comes with a cooling insert.  The information paper that came with the box recommends using the cooling insert to help deep puff the eyes.  Great idea.  Also nice would be using the cooling insert to help with headaches, specifically migraines.  (I had a migraine last week. They're awful.  Any help is nice.)  There is a chance of three colors: Peach, mint, and cream.  As a select annual member I wasn't able to choose the color, no one could, but I was very happy to receive peach.

 Physique 57 Massage Roller

Another item that came in a variety of colors that could not be pre-selected: Lavender, orange, blue, and gray.  So happy I got lavender, which is what I wanted.  I have a foam message roller, but I'm very happy to have this as I love the pokey bumps.  This is small enough to travel with.

 Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion

I've never heard of Murad before, but on the forums a lot of people seem to like this brand.  Apparently this moisturizer is apart of their acne line, but anyone can use it.  This helps "minimize the appearance of pores, refines texture, and soothes redness and irritation." Yes to all the above.  I have a moisturizer I love, but I'm happy to try this out and see how it works.

Anderson Lilley Sunset Collection Candle
in Manhattan Beach, Fresh Linen, or Super Bloom 

Select annual members got to select which candle scent they wanted; for everyone else the candle received is random.  I choose Super Bloom as it seems particularly Springy.  The scent is light and fresh, but not very strong.  I was surprised that the candle is only filled 2/3rds full.  In the picture the wax goes to the top of the copper colored cup.  I do like the copper cup, and it's nice that the wax is coconut with a cotton, lead-free wick.

 Korres Guava Body Butter

This is an either or beauty choice.  I choose the body butter, but the other option was the KNC Beauty All Natural Collagen Infused Lip Mask.  That sounds nice, but I didn't like the reviews I read on the product (big, slips off, messy), so I went with Korres.  I have a ton of hand creams, but not a good body butter.  The scent is very summery.  love it.

 Maya Brenner Designs LOVE Bracelet

There was four choices for the jewelry item: 2 tassel earrings by Ettika in peach and black, and 2 Maya LOVE bracelets in white and rose.  I choose the rose LOVE bracelet.  The tassel earring/jewelry trend is one I'll never understand nor get into.  I was worried the bracelet would be too small, but I'm surprised by how nicely it fits and how comfortable it is.  I didn't think I would like it, but this bracelet is quickly becoming my favorite item in the box.  It's dainty.

ISH Lip Statement Palette

This item has been getting mixed reactions, but I'm honestly excited to play with it.  I'm very unadventurous when it comes to makeup colors, and these 11 shades are really beautiful with the ability to mix for new shades.  The colors are very pigmented, enriched with rose extract, shea butter, jojoba oil, and aloe vera.  ISH is apparently FabFitFun's personal makeup brand, and I'm impressed with the quality.  This will be fun.  There's a color for everyone.

 Dermelect Cosmeceuticals Makeover Concealing Ridge Filler

I'm a little meh about this item, but it could be nice.  I don't need a ridge filler, but it seems like a simple, basic shade.

Dove Exfoliating Body Polish

Sponsored item

A small sample size.  Wish it was larger, but it's enough to try.

It seems this box is getting very mixed reactions, but I'm really liking it.  There's a good variety of items between beauty, fitness, home, makeup, jewelry, and relaxation.  Apart of the reason why I might really like it is the fact that I got to choose so much of the box before hand.  In the past I liked the surprise that these boxes would bring, but I've gotten to the point where I like controlling what I'm getting in the box, and I'm glad Fabfitfun allows the option to choose if you wish.

Friday, March 2, 2018

What Is This Madness??!! Girl Scouts Cookie Cereal

 Girl Scouts Cookies!!

Sugary Cereal!!

In One!!!

I found these limited edition Girl Scouts cookie cereals at Walmart: Thin Mints and Caramel Crunch.  Thin mints are pretty iconic for Girl Scout cookies.  The caramel crunch is modeled after Samoas, yummy caramel/coconut cookies, which are my favorite G.S. cookies.  Man, I can down an entire box of Samoas without thinking, which makes them very dangerous.

 So, in the name of science I tried both cereals this morning, for research . . . and fun.  They weren't as sweet as I was thinking they would be, which is a good thing.  I don't like overly sweet cereals.  The flavors are mild, yet still good.  Really, I like these cereals simply for the novelty factor.

Girl Scouts Cookies! 

(And I'll practice great self-restraint this week . . . ;0)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

January 2018 J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World by LootCrate subscription box review

Trouble, Harry Potter's got trouble,
Right here in Lootcrate City!
With a capital "T"
That rhymes with "P"
And that stands for . . .

Yeah . . .

This is the January, 2018, J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World by LootCrate, which is a month late due to an item that got delayed at the factory, or so forth.  The November box was a month late as well.

 This box features 5-7 exclusive and officially licensed items.

I underlined that last bit on purpose, because they state it on the website. 

Price for this box, plus shipping, is $44.99, a price increase of $2.  The price increase, which was added to the March box (which will hopefully ship in March), was added for shipping.  What's interesting is how small the January box is.  I put it next to the November box, which is ironically smaller than its previous months.

The info card shows the size of the box.

Along with being late this box only came with 4 items, instead of the advertised 5-7.

Everywhere I've been reading on the net people are not happy.

I'll detail my thoughts after going through the items.

 (Box Theme)

 Hogwarts House Tie

 This is a nice tie.  It's 100% polyester.  I'd value it about $15-20, from what I was seeing online.  Hot Topic has a 100% polyester skinny tie for $12.90.  The Universal Studios Harry Potter online shop has silk ties for $31.95.  I like the lion, makes it more unique, but as my Dad pointed out it's a little off center.  But it is still a nice tie as I don't have one. 

 Black Family Tree Tapestry Shawl/Scarf

This is a nice long scarf. Really nice unique item that I'd value between $20-$25.  I love genealogy, and it's fun to see Sirius Black's complete family tree.  The scarf looks nice rolled up.  All the faces blacked out our family members who have been disowned, aka turned good.  Love the medieval tree feel.

 Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem Pin

This pin is really nice, my favorite pin thus far.  Love the little stone and jewel details.  Value $10-13.

The Wand Collection Book

This is a smaller paperback version of the book that came out last November.  I looked through one around Christmas at a Barnes and Nobles.  The Hardback is so much nicer.  I can see some people not happy with this item simply because they may already own the nicer version.  The pictures are very nice, and I've always found the different wands in the Harry Potter universe to be interesting.  What would have been nice, and this is a critique of the book overall, is if full descriptions of each wand was included: Length, wood type, and core material.  That would have been so nice. Value $13-18.

So the box . . .

I do like the quality of a few items.  Like the tie, scarf, and pin.  The book is nice to have, and I'm glad I didn't already have one.  But there are only 4 items when a minimum 5 was promised, late a month, with a price increase.  If this box is going to continue Lootcrate needs to get it together.  Find a way to get on track with the shipping, and be more transparent with their costumers.  I'm getting this box through May, as May is my B-day month.  May cancel after that.  The next box has already been charged, so I'm getting that regardless.  Guess we'll see how March goes.

Overall personal value for box is low end $58. 

(This blog post wins an award for the overuse of the word "nice".  Oops.)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Midnight Winter Wonderland, and My Mom Runs Out of Gas, sort of . . .

Have you guys been watching the Olympics?

I've been following Ice Skating.  It's the only sport I legitimately keep up with, on and off Olympic years.  Grand cup series through US Nationals, Four Continents, Worlds, etc.  And just so you know Ice Skating is a real sport, because they dance on knifes, on ice, while throwing themselves in the air and spinning with multiple G forces.  (And ice skating for real scares me.  Ever since I toe picked and flew forward back in 2013, getting hurt really bad--my wrist and arm still hurts at times even now--I haven't skated.  Fell off the horse, never got back on, and I'm okay with that.  I appreciate seasoned Ice Skaters all the more because of my injury.)

Anywho, I was up pretty late Sunday night watching Ice Skating, without realizing how much is was snowing.  I looked out the window just before midnight and was greeted with this most incredible snowy scene.  Sky lit up from light reflecting off snow, bright and wondrous.  This whole season has been pretty dry.

(This year I finally got complete darkening window curtains.  Moved to Utah in 2001, what took me so long??!!  Blackening window curtains are a must on snowy nights.)

Just a couple weeks ago we had above normal temperatures around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.  It was wonderful!  Now it's freezing and I've got a bad case of Spring Fever, which has caused me to Spring clean.

In other news, yesterday my Mom and I had a day mixed with exasperation, frustration, and slight amusement.  I ran into the grocery store while my Mom stayed in the car listening to music.  When I came out the car wouldn't start.  Several attempts, no success.  The gas warning turned on right when we got to the store so we thought we would be fine.

Thankfully the parking lot had a lube doc and a gas station.  We walked over to the car place and asked if we could barrow a gas can, they had one, and then walked to the other end to get the gas.  My Mom was exasperated because she had never ran out of gas.  I laughed the whole time because the whole situation was quite amusing.  We were lucky that there was a gas station and a lube doc within close walking distance.  It was so cold while we were walking.  26 degrees F.

So we get back to the car, put the gas in, tried the ignition again, and nothing.  Didn't work!  A call to AAA, 1 1/2 hours of waiting (in which I got to peruse a Seagull bookstore while my Mom waited in the car), and the tow guy arrived to check the car.  It was the battery!  The funny thing is, after he charged the battery for over 5 minutes, the battery showed 100% with each test.  He said it was weird and didn't understand why the car had problems in the first place since the battery was testing so well.  Ah well.  C'est la vie. 

Lessons I learned: 1, check the tempurature before leaving the house, as I only brought a sweater, and 2, don't forget gloves!  Other than that "ride with the flow," as life likes to throw random bumps at us now and then.

(BTW, I'm listening to Spotify, the Japan Top 50 list.  At #1 is this song called Changed by One OK Rock.  Never heard this song before, but it's really catchy.  Listened to it on loop while writing this post.)

And I just realized that the sport I follow is technically called Figure Skating, not Ice Skating, because that what all the guides say.  I don't care enough to go back and fix it. Heh.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Blank Page, an original poem

Blank  Page

What do I write?
I wonder here,
staring at a page completely bare.
The possibilities that one can do,
Ideas and joys and all things new.

But in my mind I'm overwhelmed,
So many thought I should dispel.
Focus on one and make a start.
Stick to the point,
stay true to my heart.

There's so many ways that I can go,
These rambling words seem to know
That as I write I avoid a choice,
Meandering through I've lost my voice.

But these are words I'm writing here,
And now this page is not so bare,
Though I feel as if I've gone nowhere,
Writing these words without a care.

So now I'll go,
I'm done for now,
There's more blank pages,
 and I do vow,
That what I write next will be worth your time,
(I don't even know what to do with this line),
And I know I'm writing too many rhymes,
Yet somehow I know we'll all be fine.


~ Sarah Stufflebeam

(My first poem in over a year. :P)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

New Year's Fresh Starts and Things To Accomplish Before I'm 40

I remember remarking a year or so back that New Year's resolutions are silly and that resolutions should be made all year long.  Though I do agree with this sentiment, partially, there is something nice about a complete fresh start.  The last week in December I've been figuring out how I want to deal with New Year's resolutions for 2018.  Weight loss?  Ah, yes.  Learning new languages? Kinda sidestepped last year, will be better focused this year.  Music goals? Still a ton.

Also during Christmas and News Years I binged the last 2 seasons of Fuller House on Netflix.  Grew up on the show and it's been fun seeing what the Full House gang is up to.  The character DJ pulls out a vision picture board of all the things she wanted to accomplish by 40.  What a cool idea!  And then I realized I'm going to be 40 in 4 1/2 years . . . 0_0

Also a while back I once did a 101 goals in 1001 days.  It was fun, but I accomplished about 15%.  15% is better than 0%!!  Just throwing that out there.  My 40th B-day is a little over 1500 days from now in 2022. 

So now I'm coming up with some goals, my by 40 bucket list.  And every New Years I'll reevaluate and base New Year's goals on where I am each year with my bucket list.

One thing I do want to do this year is write a poem every week starting this week till the end of the year.  I haven't written a poem in over a year!  A poem that's not tied to songs I'm working on.  That part of me needs to come out more.  It wants to; I keep stifling it.

Other things I want to do this year is start tapping again.  As in Tap dancing.  Get a portable tap dance board and follow along with lessons on YouTube.  Highland dance is another thing I need to start taking seriously.  Goal: get a dancing kilt and full outfit by the end of the year.  Then there's learning French, Japanese, and Irish.  I've got Duolingo and book goals with these languages.  Start uploading music on YouTube again.  Haven't done that in a REALLY long time.  And get comfortable composing game songs and jazz songs.

The last major goal, or goals, is to get virtual reality games uploaded on Steam with my siblings.  We're finishing up a game next week, and it takes a few weeks approval from Steam.  (I don't really know what that all means; that's what my brothers have told me.)

Oh!  And I did sign up to do a 1000 mile challenge this year from I Love To Run along with my Gryffindor team at Hogwarts Running Club and Companion Team on Whovian Running Club.  Multiple accountability.  I did 27 miles last week.  And this week I'm aiming for 30.

But mostly I want these goals to be a good variety.  Some easily attainable.  Some beyond my wildest dreams.  Self improvement.  Adventures.  New Skills.  Health.  Etc.

A lot can be done by 2022.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, mini movie review

Rating: B+

In 1995 we were treated to Jumanji, starring the amazing Robin Williams, a movie about a board game that comes to life.  If you don't win you die, for real, and each turn a player takes can have dire consequences.  This movie was fun and innovative.  My middle-school self loved it, but was freaked out at the same time.  Thank goodness board games aren't really like that!

Fast forward to 2017 (the movie came out over Christmas; I finally saw it), and the game has changed, literally.  Who plays board games these days??!!  (A point the movie makes, but we all know board games are still very cool.  Go check out same of the indie/international games that have come out in the last couple decade.  Awesome stuff).  Anywho, who plays board games . . . ?  Video games are where it's at, and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, to remain devilishly relevant, must reinvent itself.  Gone is the board game with a game cartridge in its place, old school style.

A group of four High Schoolers find themselves in detention.  These aren't your run-of-the-mill trouble makers--that's too cliché--these kids have potential, they just have a little something to learn.  While in detention Jumanji, the video game, is discovered, and to avoid work they decide to play while picking avatars.  Suddenly they're zapped into the game where they become the avatars they've chosen, bringing about opportunities and laughs.

And that's where the spoilers end.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is great fun.  It really is.  I laughed so much throughout.

I love how this movie is a stand-alone extension of the original movie.  You don't need to see the first movie to enjoy this new film, though the 1995 version is still great, but this new movie is its own entity.

In the middle of the movie my Dad leaned over to me and said, "This is dumb enough to be good."  I agree, though not so much dumb as just silly and fun.  Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle doesn't take itself seriously, yet it's still a solid film.  The action is great, the pacing good, with a lot of humorous moments.

If you want a fun movie that's a true escape film go see Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for adventure action, suggestive content and some language.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Passing of a Prophet, Thomas S. Monson

This morning I woke to text messages from family and friends about the passing of President Thomas S. Monson last night.  I was saddened by the news, but not surprised, as he's been suffering from health issues as of late.  Now he is with his beloved wife and at peace.

Early this afternoon, as I've been nursing a migraine, I decided to open up the BYUtv app on my Kindle to find shows to stream.  (Wonderful app, btw, and entirely free.)

I saw the category "Devotionals."  It's been such a longtime since I've watched one, and decided to find a devotional from when I attended BYU.  Newest to oldest first I went right to 2006, and there I found "Three Gates to Open" by Thomas S. Monson.

This speech, talking about the three gates (preparation, performance, and service) is beautiful.  Everything I love and miss about President Monson is there: His love of storytelling, wit, ability to tie lessons to life experiences, etc.  His talks are always wonderful, and thanks to technology we will always have them to watch over and over.

Honestly, I have no idea if I was there in person watching this devotional.  Wish I could remember!  I'd be surprised if I wasn't, just can't remember.  Ah!  But back in middle/high school sometime president Monson came to Central California to speak at regional conference.  I was in a small choir that practiced in Visalia, and on the Sunday he came we all drove up to Fresno to sing and hear him speak.

This was such a special experience.  He spoke in a sports arena of some sort, and in the back there was a banner hung up that read, "Be a Good Sport."  He saw that and based his entire talk on being a good sport.  And then before leaving he turned to us choir members and gave a wave.

I will always love President Monson.  What a wonderful, beautiful life he's lived.  He will always be missed.  But time is sort, and though parting is such sweet sorrow, this life is but a moment.  When this moment has passed we will once again be with those we love.