Thursday, December 31, 2015

December 2015 POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review and Thoughts

 This has been a crazy month!  I love the Holidays, but I'm so excited for 2016, which is only a few hours away.  Crazy sauce.  I also got my box just before Christmas, so they were sent a little late this year.  Honestly, though, I'm a little lukewarm about this months Popsugar Must Have box.  My Mom got her box a couple days after I got mine, and having seen my box contents, her box sat on the counter top a few more days until she finally opened it.  Maybe this box will improve with time.

 POPSUGAR Must Have is a monthly subscription lifestyle box for gals.  The cost is $39.95 a month, free shipping, but it's cheaper when you subscribe with a 3, 6, or 12 months subscription.  On any month you can receive goodies for home, a book, fitness, snack, makeup, pampering, fashion, etc.  You never know what you're going to get, only that it will be fun and worth around $100, give or take a little.

 The information.

The spoilers leading up to us getting this box hinted at a jewelry item. It seems the last couple December boxes had a little bling, and I loved 2013's bracelet, which I converted into a gorgeous necklace, and the 2014 crystal necklace.  I'm disappointed with this 2015 bracelet.  The clasp is cheap, and it's not my style.  The three tone metal choice is interesting though, but seems like it was trying to please everyone, though if it was a solid color this bracelet would probably be even more boring.

I'll give it a try.  It's modern, and I tend to go for simple and pretty, which is probably why I'm not too stoked about this.  It does look better on, and it has a nice weight to it.  It's not worth no $65, though.

These are really cute and the small size is handy.  I never use full size lipsticks, anyway.  The colors are really nice.  This is the first time I've tried this brand and I'm impressed.  Easily my favorite item in the box.

This was one of those items where I thought, "hmmm, what do I do with this?"  I go to one of those specialty olive oil places, and I was hoping this quark top would fit one of those bottles, but it doesn't.  It has a nice weight to it, and it looks all modern fancy, but I have no use for it at all. 

I used this tape to wrap Christmas gifts with, and I didn't care to much for it.  I would have loved if the silver stars were on transparent tape.  That would have been really cute!

I'm making this tonight as my final 2015 treat!  I'm going on a 3 month no processed sugar purge (which I've done before and was successful, but fell back into bad habits, but I still allow myself wheat, beans, dairy, and potatoes/carrots, just no cupcakes, cookies, ice -cream, etc.)  So, I hope this is good!!!  I'll report tomorrow how it went.

This is a nice little box.  It's a Must Have exclusive, and it's well made.  I really like the color.  I've been thinking about retiring my jewelry tree, because it's looking like a whispering willow (side note: I always thought it was "whisping willow"!  Thank you internet.)  My only complaint is that there's no compartment/sections for organization.  But it's still a nice box that will get used.

 It's made with a soft blue leatherette and suede interior.

Tiny Prints Gift Tag Stickers, Special Extra Item

This was our special item, and nothing about it seems special.  I did use them on my gifts, because it was handy, but I wish it had color, or better yet gold embossed!  That would have been cute.

So, we'll see how next month goes.

I LOVED last month, November!!  But there's still nice items in this box.  It's natural not all items, every month, is going to work for me.  It's a surprise subscription box after all, and everyone has different likes and dislikes.  Par for the course.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Someone Wished Too Hard for a White Christmas . . .

 So, is the magnitude of our little white Christmas in northern Utah due to a single person wishing too strongly? Or a conglomerate amount of wishers getting carried away?

I, for one, didn't join in the wishing this year.  Last year was magical enough.  In 2014 we didn't get our first "stick on the ground" snowfall until Christmas Day, and it was beautiful.  This year, as predicted by farmers almanac, we're having a wetter, colder season, and with that more snow.  We've been "hit hard" a couple times already, though after last Friday I'm redefining "hit hard," though if I lived in Alaska or Canada or Norway or Greenland I would probably scoff at our latest snowfall as mere flurries.

Still, when I heard on the news we would be getting snow on Christmas the child in me got excited.  When my Dad looked at weather predictions on his phone during our Christmas Eve feast, announcing we would be getting about six inches, the adult in me who hates driving in snow got nervous.

We didn't get six inches.  I think we got about a foot of snow.  Sundance Ski Resort got around 19 inches.  Merry Christmas to all those people who skid uncontrollably to the side of the road.  Thankfully I remained safely home-bound on Friday.  White Christmas's are romantic and all, but they're not without their perils.

 The snow wouldn't stop falling Christmas Eve through Christmas Day.

The above photograph was taken just past midnight.  It was so bright outside I didn't need a flash to take the picture, simply letting in natural light.

 And this picture was taken around 2:15 am.  I didn't want to sleep.  Presents were wrapped the night before, so that wasn't keeping me up, I just wanted to look outside.  The World looked so peaceful and calm.  "All is calm: All is bright."  Watching snow fall is really quite hypnotizing.

 Really beautiful.

(As a note, I don't know why it's so bright when it snows.  I assume it's light pollution bouncing off snowflakes, illuminating everything.  It's a phenomenon I haven't gotten use to.  My brain freaks out at 2 am when there's so much outside light flooding into my room that I mentally think it's 7 am.)

 So. Much. Snow! 0_0

The nice thing about living where it snows is that the great outdoors become an icebox.  I put our party drinks on the snow to chill, saving room in the fridge.  Though, heh, I waited too long to get these Sprites.  They had completely sunk down, and I wasn't thinking and fished them out with my bare hands.  So cold!  I just left them on the pavement, not wanting to brush off the snow.

Friday, December 25, 2015

A Merry Christmas To Us All!

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” Scrooge on Christmas, Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol.

I hope everyone is having an amazing day with friends and family, and is safe.  Last night it seems we got at least a foot of snow, and it took my brother and sister-in-law 1 1/2 hrs. to drive into Salt Lake this morning.  Sundance Ski Resort got about 19 inches of snow!

P.S. My Mom couldn't resist putting this jingle bell collar on The Olaf Cat.  So far he hasn't taken it off!  Though his reaction after having it first placed on him was quite comical.  Looking behind him with a jump every time he walked, but he seems used to it now.

Merry Christmas! :0)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve, mini movie review

Rating: 2.25 out of 5 stars

In Christmas Eve, the latest movie by (The Other Side of Heaven) and produced by Larry King, six groups of people find themselves trapped in New York elevators during a power outage on Christmas Eve.

There's comedy, romance, angst, drama, intrigue, new revaluations, etc.  Everything you would want in a movie.  Only in Christmas Eve there's a little too much of everything.  Each plot is spread thin as each character competes for screen time.  This movie boasts an impressive/fun cast, including , , , among many others.  The cast overall is quite large, and with them spread between six elevators there's only so much that can be done in terms of quality of plot.

In some ways this keeps the pace moving.  As soon as the goings on in one elevator begins to wane the movie jumps to another elevator to "catch up."  But also, because there are so many elevators we're watching, and because some elevators are more interesting then others, I would at times get bored with what was on the screen, wishing to see what was happening on another elevator, only to not see said elevator for quite some time.

And, in conjunction with the above statement, there are so many story lines and characters being thrown at us, so many plot points never get tied up.  Quite a few plot lines or character motivations are never explained.  For instance, what is the back story with the mermaid tattoo, hinted at but remaining a mystery throughout the end credits?  Why did the character played by Jenny Oaks Baker, an incredible violinist, not want to play Silent Night, first playing it in staccatos, only to then play the song with full power and emotion?  A great musical interpretation of a song with the hinting of a deeper plot, but no real follow through.

There's a lot of "no real follow through" with many plots, and with that comes many missed opportunities.  Sure, the realities of life wouldn't tie everything up in a nice little bow, regardless of the Christmas season, all in one night.  So the problem truly lies in how over stuffed this movie is with no room to breath.

Christmas Eve has the amazing actor Patrick Stewart, one of my all time favorites.  His plot finds him trapped in an elevator, up in a high rise, alone.  His elevator is on the outside of the building, completely exposed to the elements (which, by the way, how did he not get hypothermia?).  His role is incredibly undervalued, and contains some of the biggest loose threads when the film is over.

Were there good moments?  Yes.  I laughed and cried.  And some of the Christmas themes touched my heart.  I enjoyed much of the film, but it left me wanting.

Christmas Eve is available on Digital HD and On Demand, including iTunes, GooglePlay, Amazon Instant Video, Dish Network, Direct TV, etc.

MPAA: Rated PG for some peril, thematic elements and language.

Monday, December 21, 2015

How to Have the Very Best Christmas Ever

"If we are to have the very best Christmas ever, we must listen for the sound of sandaled feet. We must reach out for the Carpenter’s hand. With every step we take in his footsteps, we abandon a doubt and gain a truth."

~ President Thomas S. Monson, 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Tokyo Skytree, Seeing Tokyo City in the Most Amazing Way, Final Stop on Day 5, Japan

On October 8th my brother Michael, sister-in-law Krista, and I spent a wonderful day visiting Meiji Shrine and Asakusa.

Our final stop on our last full day in Japan was the Tokyo Skytree.

The Skytree is so incredibly tall.

On our first day, just after landing in Japan, I remember quite vividly seeing the Skytree as we took the bus which ran along the Ocean.  Even at that distance the SkyTree stood tall and magnificent.  It's hard to explain just how tall it is, like a giant tooth pick.  That's what I thought.

When we got to the tower the elevators going up were closed due to wind. They were letting only a few people go up.  The line to buy Skytree tickets was about an hour standstill.  We contemplated not going up at all, because there was a chance we would get stuck up there, at least from what we gathered. All the announcements were in Japanese.

Finally the line started to move and we went for it.  We bought the tickets and I'm so glad we did.  The view was magnificent.

We saw a brilliant silhouette of Mount Fuji, aka Fuji-san.  It was amazing looking over Tokyo, seeing what we visited verses what we couldn't, like Tokyo Tower.  And down below was Asakusa: clear, vivid, and small.  We watched daylight turn to sunset turn to dusk turn to night.  The lights of the city slowly turning on.  What an incredible sight.  What an amazing way to end our trip.

The Halloween decorations next to the ticket line.

Getting ready to go up!

I was so amazed at how smooth the elevators were.  I didn't even realize we were moving until I saw the screen display our height.  And the ear popping from the quick pressure change!!  I forced myself to yawn nonstop to get my ears to unplug.  Next time, if I'm able to go again, I'm chewing gum.

More Halloween decorations.

The Buddhist temple we were at in Asakusa just a few hours before.

The amazing silhouette of Mt. Fuji.  I'm so glad we got to see it!

I remember driving by that giant Ferris wheel all lit up on our first day, which means I went over that bridge.  It really was fun experiencing the Tokyo highway system.  There were so many toll sections we had to pass through!

Looking down!

The city at dusk.

Tokyo Tower in the distance.

Asakusa with the lights coming on.

Heading up to the top observatory deck.

Taking in the last amazing views of Tokyo.

(Photos by Michael and Sarah Stufflebeam)