Monday, August 18, 2014

Ye Olde Moving Day

Yesterday was sorrrrrt of a rough day for me. I ended up moving into my apartment on Sunday instead of Saturday, thanks to a slight delay in the arrival of my belongings in Massachusetts from Seattle. Once my stuff arrived and my father and I packed it all into his truck/trailer in Western Mass, it was a completely law-abiding pace the entire drive east to the Boston-area. One can never drive too carefully when there's a demi-precarious trailer full of my entire life bouncing around behind one's truck.

Once in Medford, my rock star of a father helped me move everything as only dads can, while my new roommate and her boyfriend both also earn co-MVPs for helping me move in ALL of my things without my even asking them to!! Seriously, so nice of them.

The big hiccup in the move-in was when several tenants in the apartment building took turns yelling (no, really, yelling) at me because apparently a) one of the two elevators was broken that day, and b) there is a rule against moving in on Sundays. Of course, if I'd known that, we certainly wouldn't have been bogarting the sole elevator for 20 minutes or moving in that day - I'm not an asshole, as you guys hopefully have picked up on - but they were livid. LIV-ID. No amount of my apologizing calmed them. In fact, we've even been promised a fine for our misdeeds. So... Welcome to the building, Bail! Ugh. Apparently there are a lot of rules in this apartment building that I need to study.

... But the reason that I think everyone is so serious around here is because this building is pretty freaking nice. There's a gorgeous lobby, a community party room that can be rented out by tenants, a pool, and even a little gym. My apartment unit has a balcony, a washer/dryer, hardwood floors in the main area, and I even get my own bathroom. (Oh, and the apt also comes with a seemingly very nice roommate with an equally kind boyfriend.)

After my dad left (which, I was told later, he did NOT want to do), I spent the rest of the evening opening boxes and slowly putting things away. Between the symbolic (dramatic) drive east to Boston, getting yelled at by strangers, and unpacking alone in a room that's now just my bedroom... not gonna lie, I cried more than a few times. In fact, for most of the day I was feeling like little more than a helpless, emotional clusterfuck.

But as the hours went by and my belongings became less and less scattered around the room, breathing became a little bit easier. I started to notice how rather pleasant the steady rush of traffic sounded, down in front of my building on the parkway. Then as it became darker outside and I readied myself for bed, I could hear crickets begin to chirp from the nearby river banks.

It wasn't the most brilliant series of pleasant thoughts of all time or anything... but they helped me end the night with a little more peace of mind than I'd had all day.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Fuchsia and Mustard Nails

I'd personally like to pretend that my last blog wasn't so depressing and somber and just move ahead with this nail blog like it's any other Friday. This change has been difficult already and it's only been a few days. Tomorrow, if all goes as planned (and for the love of god, I hope it goes as planned), I'll be moving into my new apartment with the help of my Dear Ol' Dad. Thank you to all the people who sent me messages and left me nice comments on Monday - that was really nice of you and it helped me feel a little less alone.

Now, ugh. Nails, I guess? Sure, let's show off some bright nails. Those are always cheerful. I picked out this polish pairing before my move and have kept these bottles safe in my carry-on bag so that they were easily reachable for today's polish post.

Pink and yellow nails

I wanted to use my wonderfully mustard Essence Little Miss Sunrise polish again, after having not used it since last fall. But rather than use it with other jewel tones and autumnal tones, as I have in the past, I wanted to pair it with something really bright and summery. Enter Sally Hansen's Fuchsia Power.

Fuchsia and mustard nails

Annnd that's pretty much all there is to it. Fuchsia Power only needs two coats for opacity but Little Miss Sunrise needed three. By the way, one of my other nail polish looks that used Little Miss Sunrise has been a pretty big hit on Pinterest. Feel free to refresh your memory of that mani here.

Alright bitchessssss, wish me luck tomorrow. And everyday after that. Thanksss. And in case you were wondering... yes, I've had Dunkin Donuts twice this week. #PraiseJesus.

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{Linking with The Nail Files and Beauty Buzz}

Monday, August 11, 2014

Big Changes on the Horizon

So I've been totally putting off writing this blog post for as long as possible because... well because honestly it sucks and I'm still having a pretty rough time digesting it myself. Nevertheless, it needs to be addressed, and that's got to happen sometime. I'll try doing it now.

Earlier this summer, Dave made the decision to end our relationship of nearly 7 years. I'm not going to go into the details of it all because I'm not a teenager and this is not a diary, but one of the most important things to know is that we have been best friends for a long time now - and that hasn't changed. Not yet, anyway. I'm heartbroken, but I'm not angry. Well. Maybe a tiny bit angry. But I imagine that just makes me more of a human than a robot.

With that massive "uncoupling" news in an itty bitty nutshell, there are going to be some big changes coming up for my life in the coming weeks.

Those changes will start with a cross-country move back to Massachusetts, which means - among many other things - a new home for me. For this, I took to Craigslist to look through the listings of Boston's many suburbs for a suitable apartment in which to embark on my new life path.

I've never lived alone before, but it was a pretty serious consideration for me for my "next step." I always thought I'd live alone at some point in my life, and there have been times over the last decade or so that a small wave of disappointment has washed over me upon realizing this had never come to fruition. Unfortunately, as my search for a Boston-based apartment escalated, it became clear to me that I could only afford to live alone if it was in a relatively crappy apartment or neighborhood, or somewhere so far outside Boston that it would be difficult for me to get into the city.

After some re-structuring of my expectations, my search began to include apartments with potential roommates - roommates I would not know, roommates who I would not meet in person before moving in, since my apartment search was happening from Vancouver. Luckily, I have some of the best friends in the entire world, and my friend Kara (who lives in Cambridge, MA) offered to check out any apartments/roommates in person for me. (By the way, it's become clear to me over the last month that there is no shame in asking for help from people right now.)

Eventually I found an apartment listing that was in my price range, looked big and clean, and had a great location a short walk from a T station (the Boston subway system) and a small reservation land. The apartment building also boasted a pool and a gym, and the young woman living in the apartment (my future roommate) is a professional who certainly seemed nice and polite when we Facetimed as Kara checked out the apartment.

Long story short - I'm moving in to my new Medford apartment this weekend with my new roommate Helen.

Today is actually my last day in Vancouver - a city which, as you've likely noticed, has won me over completely over the last 22 months. This is my favorite place that I've ever lived, and I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to call it my home. The stunning mountain views, endless hiking opportunities, palm trees, beaches, English Bay, bald eagles (my goodness, all the eagles!), restaurants, shopping, huge ships, gorgeous flowers, enormous trees, friendly and inspiring blogging community... I have to keep reminding myself that this was all going to end soon anyway. Our permits for being allowed to live in Canada were to expire at the end of December 2014 when Dave's schooling is to end. But obviously, this isn't the way I'd prefer to be leaving.  

Nevertheless, it's happening. We drove a car-load of my belongings down to Seattle this weekend to send them off to Massachusetts via Amtrak... now I just have to send myself. And there's a one-way ticket with my name on it for a red-eye flight tonight.

So. That's the big news with me and my life right now. Huge and somewhat abrupt life changes like this are never easy, so I'm giving myself permission to say without shame that it mostly sucks. It's going to be excruciating to no longer see David everyday and to let go of all the hopes/plans/expectations I had for the two of us... but I have to believe it will become easier with time. Wish me luck and please forgive any lapses in posting over the next couple of weeks as my life in Massachusetts begins to fall into place. Look forward to pictures and stories from a new city here on my blog.

And now..... just so you know I'm still "me" even though my heart is broken and I'm feeling terrified, here is a nice caps lock hashtag from The Bright Side:  #DUNKINDONUTSHEREICOOOOOOOME!!!!!!!!!!

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Pastel Nails: Dreamer and Lacy Lilac

Oh heyyyy, Friday. Sup girl. I'm still battling the shoulder pain that I was fussing about on Sunday, so it's been a bit of a Debbie week for me. There's been a lot of whining going on around here... as well as a lot of cursing, icing, medicating, stretching, and sprawling out on my back in the middle of the living room floor. Nothing is easing the stinging, battery-on-tongue pain that's darting around my whole left shoulder and lat area. I'm considering amputation. Yes, amputating my entire left upper torso.

Anyway, enough betching. This week's nails are simple and sweet - a pairing of a pastel blue and a pastel purple.

Dreamer by Revlon and Lacy Lilac by Sally Hansen, nail polish

I've shown Lacy Lilac before (here and here) - it's a shimmer-free springtime-Easter-lavender polish from the Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme line.

Dreamer by Revlon and Lacy Lilac by Sally Hansen, nail polish

The blue polish is Dreamer by Revlon, which I haven't showcased since way back in 2012 when my blog was still a baby! Remember my argyle nail fail? You probably don't. You can see it here. Or don't, because it's a huge bird-poop fail.

Dreamer by Revlon and Lacy Lilac by Sally Hansen, nail polish

Both of these polishes are typical pastels - super streaky and troublesome to work with. I applied 3 coats of each, and tried to wait till each coat was pretty dry before applying the next coat.

What are you guys up to this weekend? I have to head down to Seattle tomorrow for a day trip so hopefully traffic isn't wretched. Wish me luck!

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{Linking with The Nail Files and Friday's Fab Favorites}

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Recent Acquisitions: Thrift Store, Forever21, LUSH, The Body Shop, and More

It's been awhile since I did a round up of some of the deece purches (um, that's decent purchases for anyone NITK) (that's "not in the know," for all of those who weren't in the know) that I've been making over the last couple of months, so UM let's do one of those, EH?

(That wasn't a genuine "eh," I confess. I was being facetious.)

Here we go!

Shoppers Drug Mart:

Maybelline Color Show Gilded Rose nail polish - $3.99 (for .23 fl oz)

I showed off pictures of this polish in last week's nail polish post, plus a description of its fabulousness. Go there to read more.

Maybelline Color Show Gilded Rose nail polish


Big solid conditioner - $12.34 for 124g (in the US, it's $9.95/3.5oz) 

Alright, this stuff is a bit weird to use, but I can't argue with the fact that it leaves my hair feeling nice and soft. The idea of a solid conditioner was completely new to me, so I made sure to get a full run-down of how to use the damn thing from one of the friendly LUSH store employees. There are a couple different ways to use this: 1) Moisten the bar a bit under the warm shower water, then apply the product directly to your hair by running the bar down the length of your strands. Massage the conditioner into your hair well, then rinse. 2) Break off a small bit of the conditioner bar and rub it between your hands, then use your hands to coat your hair. I prefer the second method, because the first method results in the conditioner bar being covered in stray hairs, which is just not attractive.

I've been using this conditioner in conjunction with the Davines Mellow Shampoo I bought back in May as well as my Kevin Murphy hair oil (both products are spotlighted in this blog) and it leaves my hair feeling lovely for days.

Lush Big Solid Conditioner

Here's what the LUSH site says about the product:
Big conditioner livens up dull, limp and fine hair with a jolt of volume and shine. It carries with it the beautiful fragrance of the vanilla, jasmine and tonka absolute to perfume hair while the sea salt goes to work building body. Extra virgin coconut oil and toothed wracked seaweed infusion soften and condition hair without weighing it down, while a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh lime add even more shine.

Blue flannel snap-button up - $23.80

I'm a sucker for a good flannel button up! Especially with autumn approaching, this one was a must! Makes me wanna throw on some torn jeans and hop on a hayride.

Blue flannel snap-button up from Forever21

Lacy mint bralette - $6.80

is the cutest damn thing. It's a super soft and thin bralette with a goose-bump style fabric detail and a lacy trim. Perfect to wear as a pajama top on these hot summer nights. The one pictured is obviously pink, but mine is in a pastel mint.

Bralette from Forever21

Hooded jacket: $41.80

This jacket is so me! It reminds me of something I would have owned in elementary school. It's lightweight, and isn't as doubly layered as it appears. The entire jacket isn't lined in the grey sweatshirt material - only what you see. There's a rope around the waist for cinching and snap buttons on the front, pockets and sleeves. So "fall in New England"!

Hooded jacket from Forever21

Floral Sunglasses - $6.80

When my colorful turquoise sunglasses fell into the English Bay last month, I needed to run out to Forever21 for a replacement pair (... or two). These floral glasses have been on my face everyday since then!
Floral sunglasses from Forever21
Mint square sunglasses - $6.80

Big, mint, square and FABULOUUUUUSSSS! No seriously though, these bad bitches are actually maybe a touch too fabulous for me. They're pretty serious, size-wise!
Mint square sunglasses from Forever21

Green and grey baseball style burnout tee - $9.80

Suuupuer comfy, this shirt has been a nice one to throw on for an evening walk or to run out for a quick errand. It'll obviously transition perfectly into fall as well.

Green and grey baseball style burnout tee from Forever21

The Body Shop:

Moringa Hand Cream - $10.00

I'd never been to The Body Shop before, but I heard from a couple of my local Vancouver blogging buddies that the Shop was having a pretty good sale, which made it seem like a fairly attractive time to check it out. I sniffed several of their hand creams before deciding to buy a small 1.0 oz tube of this handsomely floral smelling lotion. Made with cold-pressed seed oil from hand-picked moringa pods, this cream is lightweight and absorbs quickly. The scent is pretty potent though - and a little goes a long way.

Moringa Hand Cream from The Body Shop

Cocoa Butter Body Butter - $6.00

I've never really been a purchaser of body lotions or cocoa butter products, but the term "body butter" is pretty inviting, right? For $6, this seemed like a low-risk way to try out another product from The Body Shop, so after sifting through their bin of 1.69 oz body butters, the Cocoa Butter scent emerged triumphant. I've been using it sparingly on my shoulders, elbows and some stretch marks on my hips. Of course I'm not exactly expecting any magic to happen on those stretch marks, but the lotion most definitely leaves my skin feeling soft, without an overpowering smell.

Cocoa Butter Body Butter from The Body Shop

Cocoa Butter Body Butter from The Body Shop

Salvation Army:

You guys know I love a good trip to my local 4th Ave Salvation Army here in Vancouver. If you're in Vancouver and don't frequent this thrift shop, you CERTAINLY can't blame me. Ok, now bear with me here because several of these items are now no longer available for me to photograph because I've packed them away into boxes in preparation for an upcoming move. (I'll also explain that last sentence soon.) We'll start with the items I do have pictures of:

Thin brown belt - $3.99

Not too much to say about this should-have-already-owned-one closet basic. I needed one. Now I have one. And it fits perfectly.
Thin brown belt from the local thrift shop

Flower painting - $3.75

All photos were 25% off that day at my Salvay, so I took advantage of that sale and browsed through their awesome photos and paintings selection for a good long while. This painting is reminiscent of all the cherry blossoms that are all over Vancouver, which is why I liked it. I'll probably try to paint the frame white, because the salmon color isn't really working for me.

Painting of cherry blossoms from the thrift shop

Tiny brown ceramic pot - $1.99

You can never have enough small ceramic pots, I always say.

Small brown ceramic pot from the thrift shop

Thrift shop purchases that I can't photograph because they are packed away:

  • blue knit poncho/shawl (imagine this, except human-sized and only covering the chest/shoulder region)
  • fuchsia, retro-looking sundress (which I might need to either alter in some way or re-thrift)
  • book with healthy smoothie recipes
  • random purple athletic t-shirt with sweat-wicking fabric (should be perfect for hikes)

Well I hope you've enjoyed this virtual trip down Shopping for Shit Lane. Any of these items make you wanna go spend some money on things you may or may not totally need?

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Kayaking, MORE Fireworks, and My Workouts of the Week

It's been a challenge for me to want to get to the gym this week - or even out to do too terribly much of anything - because I've been stricken with an excruciating muscle pain within my left shoulder blade that makes me want to do little more than sob in a corner. It's a rather relentless pain that only lets up when I'm lying flat on my back, so general discomfort has been a big part of this entire past week for me. 

This exact shoulder issue happens to me about once a year, can last for weeks, and is most likely brought on by falling into poor posture while working long hours on a computer. It's the best (albeit the most painful) reminder for me to maintain good posture while I'm working and to keep my core and upper back muscles strong with specific exercises to target those muscles. Having actually gone to physical therapy for this shoulder blade pain in the past, I've thankfully learned some good exercises for just that purpose - some of which I did just yesterday afternoon (see below for 8/2 arm workout).

After the gym yesterday, Dave and I went kayaking down in the English Bay. We rented kayaks from the same beach-side kiosk that we got those paddleboards from a few weeks ago. Paddleboarding had been a tentative part of our plan for Friday evening, but the water was a bit choppier than I would have liked (especially considering my weakened left arm) so we passed and went for a long walk into the city instead. Kayaking was a great alternative for us for yesterday:
View of Downtown Vancouver from a kayak in English Bay

View of Downtown Vancouver from a kayak in English Bay
.  hey look, that's me  .

Kayaking in English Bay in Vancouver

Kayaking in English Bay in Vancouver

Last night was the final night of the Celebration of Lights fireworks competition in Vancouver, with Team Japan putting on a pretty good display of pyrotechnics. 

Vancouver's 2014 Celebration of Lights, Team Japan

Vancouver's 2014 Celebration of Lights, Team Japan

That'll probably be the last you see any fireworks on my blog for quite awhile; I've got no more random celebratory fireworks displays in my near future.

And on that sad and low note, here are my workouts from the past week:

7/27 (mostly upper body)
6.75-mile walk into the city
5 mins elliptical
3x:  12 chest press on exercise ball, 12.5 lbs each hand
3x:  12 overhead press, 10 lbs each hand
3x:  12 rear fly, 7.5 lbs each hand
3x:  12 bent over rows, holding 20 lbs
3x:  12 deltoid raises, 7.5 lbs each hand
3x:  12 tricep extensions on exercise ball, 7.5 lbs each hand
12 seated leg press, 40 lbs
12 seated leg press, 50 lbs
12 seated leg press, 60 lbs

7/28 (lower body)
5 mins elliptical
3x:  13 sumo squats, holding 30 lbs
3x:  40 diamond clamshells each leg
3x:  40 calf raises, 25 lbs each hand
3x:  40 bridges

7/29 (core)
2x:  30 weighted v-sit twists, holding 15 lbs
2x:  30 cobras
2x:  30 Russian get ups, holding 5 lbs
2x:  30 alternating weighted side bends, 20 lbs each hand
2x:  30 lying overhead raise + double crunch, holding 5 lbs

7/31 (cardio)
16 mins biking
15 lat pulldowns, 30 lbs
15 lat pulldowns, 40 lbs
15 lat pulldowns, 50 lbs

8/2 (upper body)
30 alternating shoulder raises on exercise ball, 5 lbs each hand
3x, prone on exercise ball:
   - 15 M, 5 lbs each hand (prone row)
   - 15 Y, 5 lbs each hand (wide front raise)
   - 15 chest press on exercise ball, 12.5 lbs each hand
   - 15 close grip chest press on exercise ball, 12.5 lbs each hand
   - 30 alternating chest flys, 5 lbs each hand
   - 15 overhead tricep extensions, 5 lbs each hand

I slept in later today than is typical for me - I didn't get up till 10:15! Normally I'm up an hour or two earlier than that on the weekends. Hopefully it's not setting a lazy precedent for my entire day. The sun is shining and I should probably be outside! Actually this weekend kicks off Pride Week here in Vancouver, which draws hundreds of thousands of people to the city each year. The Pride Parade is this afternoon downtown, so if we can make it down there in time to catch some of it, we will!

I hope you've been having a great weekend! What are you up to today?

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Rose Gold Glitter Nails

Sooo it was about 6pm last night when I realized that I hadn't yet written a nail polish post for this week! WHAT. Apparently my brain has been elsewhere this week. So these nails were sort of thrown together last minute. Hope you don't think they suck!

I used two new-to-me polishes from Maybelline's Color Show line - a neutral called Neutral Statement and a glittery rose gold called Gilded Rose.

Maybelline Gilded Rose nail polish

This was one coat of Neutral Statement on each nail, topped with 3 coats of Gilded Rose.

Neutral Statement is a super milky nude with the most subtle of iridescent shimmers to it. Its formula is a bit wet, #IFYEWASKME. I probably should have used two coats of it for more opacity.

Gilded Rose from Maybelline Color Show nail polish

Gilded Rose is a crazy polish to describe. Allow me to attempt:

This glitter polish has a nearly-clear-but-slightly-rosy base, with (from what I can discern) four different types of glitter inside it:  1) ultra microscopic purple glitter, 2) ever-so-slightly larger gold holographic glitter, 3) small rose gold/copper round glitter, and 4) larger rose gold hex glitter. All together, the effect is... pretty good. And shiny.

Rose gold sparkly nail polish from Maybelline

While Gilded Rose, too, was a bit wet, it actually had better coverage than I expected it to. Each brush stroke seemed to deliver a nice mix of all the different types of glitter.

Glittery nail polish, Gilded Rose from Maybelline

Does anyone else own any of these Color Show polishes? I'd be curious to hear which ones you guys have tried and how you liked them! Perhaps you recall that I showed off another polish from this line last week (Clearly Spotted).

Dave and I might go paddleboarding again this afternoon, if the water is calm enough. I'm hoping to be way better at it my second time around, but I probably shouldn't speak too soon. Tomorrow night is the third and final night of Vancouver's Celebration of Light fireworks competition, so that should be awesome. I've been loving watching these displays. The second night was this past Wednesday, with Team France putting in a pretty good show. Not as good as Team USA from last weekend, but I might be biased ;)  You can actually check out the Team USA display in this YouTube video (all 25 awesome minutes of it), if you're interested. You can watch Team France's display here, too.

What are you rocking on your nails today?
Any outdoor aquatic activities in your near future?

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{Linking with Beauty BuzzThe Nail Files and Friday's Fab Favorites}