Friday, January 31, 2014

Radiant Orchid Nail Polish - Sally Hansen Royal Romance

Last Friday I insisted that I'd be brief, but then I totally wasn't at all.

Well this time I mean it! I'll be traveling allllll day today to get back to Vancouver from Massachusetts. The time here with my family has been awesome, but the trip back west is going to be grueling. Wish me luck!

Today is the final post in my series of Radiant Orchid inspired nail polishes. This is a darker version of the orchid shade - a Sally Hansen Diamond Strength polish called Royal Romance.

Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Royal Romance nail polish

Royal Romance is sort of a plummy-orchid color, filled with super fine grains of silvery shimmer throughout.

Royal Romance by Sally Hansen, a dark Radiant Orchid nail polish

When it settles in the bottle, the shimmer looks like sand art:

The formula on this one was just so-so. It wasn't a nightmare, but I'm not looking forward to using it again.

Here are all of the orchid polishes that I swatched over the last month...

From left to right: Luminous Tulips (Sally Hansen), Orchid (Revlon), Orchid (Love & Beauty), Preamp (ORLY), and Royal Romance (Sally Hansen).

They were all shimmery polishes. I feel like I should get at least ooone matte/non-shimmery orchid polish to add to my stash. Any recommendations?

So since I made you power through 5 weeks' worth of orchid-ish nail polishes, you deserve a prize. I'm going to do a giveaway (open to people in US and Canada) of a bottle of ORLY's Preamp and a bottle of the Revlon Top Speed Orchid. #Sewprize. To enter, use ye olde Rafflecopter below. I'll announce the winner next Friday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Recap of Justin Timberlake's Vancouver Concert

So as I HOPE YOU REMEMBER, I went to see Justin Timberlake perform in Vancouver on January 16...

...Where, oh, where do I even start?

Do I start by gushing about the incredible, high-energy, flawless vocal and dance performance?  Do I begin by telling you about the amazing setlist and light show? Do I launch into describing the energy in the entire arena that night?

OH I know. How about I begin this recap of Justin Timberlake's January 16th Vancouver show at Rogers Arena the same way that MY night began that evening - WITH A MASSIVE, MAGICAL, UNBELIEVABLE, "IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?" SEAT UPGRADE. The upgrade to end all upgrades, guys. And I didn't do a single thing to deserve it.

Dave and I (yup, definitely made Dave be my date) were just making our way into our section at the show when an usher who worked for the arena asked to see my tickets, evaluated them for a moment, took them from me, and handed me a new pair of tickets, saying, "You just got upgraded." I was all "Whaaa?" and my first instinct, of course, was to fight this guy over the fact that he just took my Justin Timberlake tickets out of my hand. I mean, clearly he didn't know who he was dealing with. One doesn't simply take my JTim tickets from me. Though I was slightly incredulous about this alleged "upgrade" we were receiving (in the back of my head I was hoping that that guy really was a Rogers Arena employee and not someone who had just stolen my tickets), we changed course and walked down a set of stairs to get to the lower level of the arena. From there we walked, and walked.... and walked.... goodness we were walking a long way from where our original seats were. What was going onnnn? We located our new section, an usher directed us to our new seats.... and THAT is when it sort of - sorrrrrt of - hit me:  Our new seats were almost on top of the stage.

Rogers Arena in Vancouver
There was actually a particular section of the stage that jutted out laterally into the crowd mere feet from where we were sitting. I wish I could have seen a video of my series of facial expressions as I fully realized where we were and that I was ACTUALLY going to see Justin Timberlake from about 6 feet away.

No, no... I can tell that you don't fully understand the weight of this situation, so let me repeat:

I was going to be within 6 feet of Justin Timberlake. Justin Timberlake whom I have been swooning over and obsessed with since I was 14. The performer who it seemed I was destined to never come into any real close contact with, having put in a solid 15 years of raging fandom and never so much as getting a front row ticket.

I was about to watch his show from nearly as close as could be... at eye level... with a section of the stage practically touching my face

Dave didn't really "get it" either. He was just sort of laughing at me as I breathlessly repeated, "JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE is going to be RIGHT. THERE."

 We were moved from section 316 to section 120:

Vancouver Rogers Arena concert seating chart

Ok, so now you might "get" how incredible the seats were. But obviously, the location of our seats wasn't the highlight of the night - the SHOW was!

So remember that time that Justin Timberlake won the Video Vanguard Award at the 2013 VMAs, and he ended up putting on a performance at the award show that was literally 15 minutes long? Like, longer than anyone else has ever performed on an award show? And remember how everytime you thought he was wrapping up his set, he was really just gearing up to perform a million more songs?


I was exhausted by the end of it!!!!

He sang soooooo many songsss - this is not the exact order of the setlist because there were too many for me to remember an order... but here's what he performed (um... don't read this if you're going to see his show in the future and don't want any spoilers, I guess?):
  • Pusher Love
  • Mirrors
  • Strawberry Bubblegum
  • My Love
  • Love Stoned/I Think That She Knows
  • Drink You Away
  • Take Back the Night
  • Sexy Back
  • Like I Love You
  • SeƱorita
  • Rock Your Body
  • Tunnel Vision
  • Till the End of Time
  • Cry Me A River
  • FutureSex/LoveSounds
  • What Goes Around
  • Summer Love
  • Don't Hold the Wall
  • That Girl
  • Let the Groove Get In
  • Suit & Tie
  • Gimme What I Don't Know (I Want)
  • Not A Bad Thing
  • True Blood
  • Cabaret
  • TKO
  • Only When I Walk Away

"Bonus" songs included bits of all of the following:
  • JT's opening verse/chorus from Holy Grail by Jay-Z
  • Poison by Bell Biv DeVoe
  • Pass the Dutchie by Musical Youth
  • Human Nature by Michael Jackson
  • Jungle Boogie by Kool and the Gang
  • Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis

Other highlights of the show:
  • The surprise moving section of the stage that was built upon an impressive hydraulics system. The stage actually lifted up and drove over the entire center floor section of the arena, towards the back of the arena... coincidentally ending up right around the place that my seats WOULD have been in if we hadn't been upgraded. 
  • The dude in the row directly in front of me who seemed to think he was starring in some sort of feature film about hand-dancing. He was absolutely hysterical and semi-distracting to be seated behind because he was seriously singing/dancing/gesticulating as if he was being filmed for a music video. It was very dramatic, but made me giggle (much) more than once throughout the course of the evening. Just as an example, if Justin sang the word "you," this guy would point straight ahead at an imaginary person, as if to express "you" through hand motions. Or if Justin sang the word "stronger," this guy would make a muscle and point to his bicep. You get the picture. Imagine that happening for every word of every song. That fake sign language interpreter from the Nelson Mandela memorial had nothing on this guy.
  • The number of guys in the audience who were definitely there because of their girlfriends... but who were definitely all having a great time nonetheless. JTim delivers, people. Everyone loves him. 
  • The laser light show that popped up to say hello throughout the evening. I normally don't give a crap about the light show at concerts, but the lights/lasers at this show were actually pretty captivating and unique. 
  • Justin played piano and guitar during a few different parts of the show... and of course it wouldn't be a JT show without at least a littttttle bit of beatboxing! (Anyone else remember the "Prepare yourself - it's the human beatbox!" part of 'NSync's old No Strings Attached tour??) (I DO.) (Maybe because I saw that show live three separate times, as well as owned the VHS of the Madison Square Garden concert that was taped for HBO? Maybe?)
I took some videos during the show, as well as plenty of pictures. If you're a fan of him, perhaps you'll be interested to see those. If you're not a fan of him... well then I commend you for your dedication to reading this far into a blog about something you don't care about. Seriously.


You'll notice that the video is shaky as shit, but please read on for my eventual thoughts on that topic.

Justin Timberlake performing at Rogers Arena in Vancouver

Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids performing at Rogers Arena in Vancouver

Justin Timberlake, Rogers Arena, Vancouver, BC
.  oh hello, mr. timberlake  .

Sidebar - I realized during this show just how difficult it is to take a photo with a digital camera when one is being inundated by bright, flashing lights that are constantly changing the lighting situation. 

Justin Timberlake, Rogers Arena, Vancouver, 20/20 Tour

Justin Timberlake, Rogers Arena, Vancouver, 20/20 Tour
.  you lookin at me?  .


Justin Timberlake singing Summer Love in Vancouver

Justin Timberlake singing Summer Love in Vancouver, January 2014

Justin Timberlake 20/20 Tour in Vancouver, January 2014

Justin Timberlake in Vancouver, January 2014

The moving stage:

Moving stage on hydaullics at a Justin Timberlake show

This moving stage went over the whole floor section!

Justin Timberlake Vancouver, BC

Justin Timberlake 20/20 Tour Vancouver, Moving stage

Justin Timberlake 20/20 Tour Vancouver


I don't really need to tell you that I was just pleased as punch about the entire evening. What an amazing birthday present! {Smushing David's cheeks!}

And just a note about my shaky videos... it was actually kind of a bummer trying to film instead of just enjoying it and dancing. I don't know how these kids do it these days. Or, more accurately, I don't know WHY these kids do it these days. Ironically - sometimes you can miss a lot while you're trying to capture everything. So basically that's why all of these videos are unabashedly shaky. Kiss my butt if you think I should have been more focused on "keeping him in the frame" than on STARING AT HIS SKIN IN THE FLESH!! ;)

Guys, if JTim is coming to a town near you - you've just blatantly got to go see his show. You'll have such a good time, I promise. Even if you don't get an amazing seat upgrade.


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Friday, January 24, 2014

Radiant Orchid Nail Polish - ORLY Preamp

Pardon the brevity of this nail polish post today! I'm still in Massachusetts soaking in the gloriousness of my family, and since my trips home are only happening about twice a year now, I'm #NotTryna spend the whole visit on the computer trying to be witty for YOU folks. Well I mean... I will still try to be witty for you, just not in a super verbose manner.  AND YET HERE I AM RATTLING ON. #BitchesBeTALKIN, am I right?!

Alright so straight to the point (in a curved line, apparently). Today I have another Radiant Orchid-inspired nail polish swatch for you, to celebrate Pantone's 2014 Color of the Year. This is one of my favs! It's ORLY's Preamp, and I had to search high and low for this polish in order to scoop it up last year. It was totally worth the treasure hunt. Check out how gorgeous this polish is:

Radiant Orchid nail polish, ORLY Preamp

Preamp is a beautiful purple-ish pink with gold micro shimmer throughout:

ORLY Preamp is a gorgeous pink-purple with golden shimmer!

I have no complaints about this polish. It applies beautifully - opaque in 2-3 coats (depending on thickness) and not streaky. 

ORLY Preamp nail polish swatch

I love that all of the gorgeous shimmer you can see in the bottle translates so well onto the nails themselves. It's like golden fairy dust!

ORLY Preamp nail polish swatch, Radiant Orchid Color of the Year

ORLY Preamp nail polish swatch, Radiant Orchid Color of the Year

How does this Preamp polish make you feel, deep down in your heart? Let's talk about it.

Also, I've wanted to mention this for the last several Fridays because I feel like it's the (tiniest little) elephant in the room:  I nubbinized the bejesus out of my nails after reading a guide for how to choose the right shaped nail for your nail bed. The guide recommended that I file my nails into an oval shape - not rounded or squared or "squared with round edges."  With this current shape, my nails are super short but at least they're strong and the edges aren't snapping off at unfortunate angles like they were when I tried to rock them longer and square. Some people (and by that I mean "me") just aren't able to keep their nails long. IT'S SCIENCE PEOPLE. PHYSICS, SPECIFICALLY.

Next week will be the last of this Radiant Orchid nail polish series. I've got one more Sally Hansen polish to show you before I'm all orchided-out. Have you had a favorite so far? I'm curious to know!

See the other orchid-inspired polishes I've swatched here, here, and here.


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Monday, January 20, 2014

All of My 2013 Favorites!

Greetings from beautiful Massachusetts!!!!! I am back in Ye Olde Bay State for a visit with my family and friends, and I'm probably basking in the warmth of some of my favorite Boston buddies as you read this. I hope that's what I'm doing right now anyway... I wrote this last week ;)

So I know we're getting armpit-deep into January at this point, but FORGIVE ME because I haven't yet finished reflecting on 2013! One "bonus" aspect of keeping a blog is the ability to look back at and reflect upon what the past year has brought me. Here are some of the things I loooooved throughout 2013:


- Justin Timberlake. Y'all. JT came back with a vengeance in 2013! After not having released an album since 2006, he released not one but TWO albums last year. The 20/20 Experience, Parts 1 and 2, were both such fantastic additions to my 2013.  And to keep that theme rolling into 2014, I just got to see him in Vancouver on January 16! (If you're new to my blog, I highly recommend that you acquaint yourself with my long, storied history with Justin Timberlake here.)

- iTunes Genius. My homeboy iTunes Genius helped me further appreciate my music library this past year by pulling together playlists that make me say UHHHHHH. If you're not familz, Genius is a free feature in iTunes that acts like Pandora, except it uses your own iTunes library to build its playlists. So you choose a song in your library (preferably a good one) and Genius creates from your music a list of songs that are similar in style/sound to the song you've chosen. It's brilliant, really. Guess that's why they call it Genius.


- Forever21 sports bras. If you've got big boobs, this will not apply to you, sawry. But if you've got a less-substantial chest that doesn't require a ton of support, the selection of sports bras that Forever21 started releasing in 2013 are SO CUTE.  I've got a handful of these low-impact sports bras in all different colors - they're all super bright and cheerful, and they make me feel extra sassy when I wear them on a hike or to the gym. They're only about $10.80, to boot! So if your fitness routine needs a boost with some boob swag, try these sports bras.

- My Nike In-Season TR2 sneakers. Just like the fun-colored sports bras, buying these trainers in February 2013 just made me feel a little bit more put-together at the gym. They are more stream-lined in their design than the bulky Nike running sneakers I'd been wearing prior to these - not to mention they're better on my knees when I'm strength-training.

- These mountains! Fitness doesn't really get more fun or fulfilling than hiking up a mountain or through a beautiful forest... or doing both at the same time. I got to do it a TON in 2013! The mountains around BC/Vancouver offer endless possibilities for trails and adventures.
.  click for a larger view!  .


- Chicken tacos from LOCAL. LOCAL is a neighborhood bar and grill - just a stone's throw from my Vancouver apartment. Its proximity makes it a go-to on nights that we are feeling lazy and don't want to cook. The chicken tacos at Local are BONKERS, guys. So good! They use crispy chicken tenders, shredded cabbage, a DELICIOUS pico de gallo, sour cream, and finish it off with a lime wedge. Just delish. I'm a little embarrassed at how often I'm at LOCAL for a pick-up order of chicken tacos...

- Ben & Jerry's Phish Food Ice Cream. Dave got me into this one. I've obviously always been obsessed with ice cream in a sort-of-problematic type of way, but Phish Food was never a go-to choice for me. That's all changed - we definitely pick up a pint of it once every few weeks now. Here's the description from the Ben & Jerry's site: "Chocolate Ice Cream with Gooey Marshmallow Swirls, Caramel Swirls & Fudge Fish." The fudge fish are the best part, if you ask me! #NOM!

NAIL CARE & POLISHES (I thought these deserved their own section!)

- Beware by Pure Ice. If you've been following my nail polish blogs for awhile, you might have noticed that I use Beware a lot. It's a wonderfully glittery silver polish that goes great with/over so many other polishes. You can use it as a silvery top coat, or make it really opaque in 3-4 coats for a totally blinged-out look. I'm actually running low on mine and need to find a place around here to buy Pure Ice polish - stat!

- Snow Me White by Sinful Colors. This is my go-to white nail polish. I love it because it's got no shimmer in it whatsoever - just straight up white, no bull. Sometimes I go through long periods of using white polka dots in my nail art (like here, herehere, here, here, here, and here), and sometimes I need a nice white to use as my base when I use neon polishes. Snow Me White is super helpful for all of these things, and I recommend that you keep a few bottles of it on-hand yourself.

- Revlon Cuticle Softener. I picked up this blue bottle back in the spring and am running out of it at this point. It helps to soften up my cuticles before I push them back, and it's just a nice start to my weekly manicure routine.

- Sally Hansen Cuticle Cream. I bought this waxy "cream" during the same shopping trip as the cuticle softener. It's been a nice enough product that there's been no need for me to try another brand yet, and I'm finally hitting pan on the bottom of this tiny pot as well. This particular cuticle cream was a great help for me in 2013, as I learned how to take better care of my cuticles. I consider it my "beginner" cuticle cream because it was so accessible and affordable. If you have a favorite cuticle cream, I'd be interested to hear about it below!


- Davines Mellow Anti Breakage Lustrous Conditioner.  I first posted about this conditioner in October, but I actually tried it much earlier in the summer of 2013 after receiving a sample of it from my hairdresser. Guys... this stuff is my new secret weapon in hair care. It makes my hair smooth, soft, touchable, shiny, healthy and - MOST importantly - hydrated! Before buying this conditioner, my hair was really shitting the bed. Super dry, breaking, dull. NO MORE. This conditioner was definitely worth the $30 price tag - especially since I only use it once or twice a week, so it's nowhere near being done yet. Get some yourself. Right now.

- Maybelline's The Rocket Volum' Express Mascara. The Rocket became my everyday mascara in the latter half of 2013. While it is a bit hard to remove, the chunky shape of the brush makes it a decently clump-free mascara. This product made it onto a LOT of people's favorites lists in 2013... I'm definitely not the only one singing its praises!

- Revlon ColorBurst lip gloss in Sunbaked. This gloss was in my swag bag at #blogvancity in September, and it's a standout product from that huge bag of goodies. (I wrote more about it here). It's a flattering, natural-but-better color on me and makes my entire face look more "put together" when I wear it. The formula is creamy and nicely pigmented, and I'm also a fan of the doe-foot applicator.

- St. Ives Green Tea Scrub. There might be mixed reactions to this because some people swear that any type of St. Ives exfoliating scrub is going to rip up your delicate skin with its harsh/sharp exfoliating grains. However, I've found this particular scrub to contain much smaller/finer exfoliating grains than the other St. Ives scrubs, so it's become the go-to exfoliating scrub for my fragile little face. As a bonus, this green tea scrub also contains salicylic acid for blemish control.


- Sony CyberShot DSC-WX50 16.2 MP Digital Camera. Technically I got this in late 2012 (a birthday present from David!), but I used the bejesus out of it in 2013. My little digital camera comes with me just about every time I leave the house nowadays, and it's a great tool for helping me improve my photo composition skills. It's got lots of different settings to help you take juuuust the right kind of photo - whether it's landscape, food, water, snow, black & white, hand-held, low-lighting, moving/action... If you're like me and aren't savvy enough to have a DSLR, this CyberShot camera is a nice way to get a grip on your photography game.

- FaceTime. Living across the country from my family and best friends, I'm ultra super thankful for FaceTime. It's infinitely more reliable and user-friendly than Skype, and it's allowed me to chat with my young nephew and niece in Massachusetts much more frequently. My sister Mallory probably gets irritated at the amount of times she sees an incoming FaceTime request from me, but being able to see and hear the kids has really made it a bit easier for me to be so far away from them.

- Hola app for Internet browsers. My coworker told me about this and it's been a serious game-changer the last month or two. Yeah that's right - I learned about it at the tail-end of 2013, and it STILL made a 2013 Favorites list. That's how amazing this is. Hola is a browser add-on that allows you to change your browser's "country," so to speak. For example, here in Canada there are a ton of websites that don't allow us to stream certain content. You know the old "The uploader has not made this available in your location" type of problem. Hola allows you (in most cases) to bypass that block - essentially allowing you fuller access to the Internet. It's opened up all sorts of options for us, including way more streaming Netflix options!


There are a ton of blogs that I enjoy thoroughly and read multiple times a week, but I've noticed that my very favorite blogs are the ones that stimulate my creativity - the ones that inspire me to think outside of the box, to notice the beautiful things around me, to create something myself. The ones that make me wish I owned a house and a bottomless bank account to make all of my creative dreams come to life. The ones that inspire me to purchase Photoshop or cover a canvas with thick, dimensional acrylic paint. The ones that make me want to compose better photographs... and maybe even be in front of the camera more myself.

- A Beautiful Mess. This blog (and the next one) are not "news" to anyone, really. They're staples in the "amazing, successful blogs" category these days. Emma and Elsie (and their expanding team of contributors) do not live the same life that I live - they don't do the same things or drink the same drinks or eat the same food that I do. They're two of the most adorable hipster sisters you'll probably ever find, and (most importantly) they've got quirky handwriting. Everyday is a new creative adventure for these two, and I'm happy to tune in to anything they pull out of their Internet hats... even if there's no chance in hell of me being able to ever bake/cook/host a party like they do.

- Young House Love. You don't need to own a house in order to find this family lovable and inspiring. Injecting some life and love into each house they live in, John and Sherry Petersnik have vision, people. They can somehow look at a space that's covered in old rugs and retro blue trim (SO MUCH BLUE TRIM)... and see all of its potential for beauty. You've GOT to see how they've been renovating/re-envisioning the house that they moved into mid-2013. I'm perpetually astounded at the improvements that they can make to their home with some white paint and some careful saving. Please, please, please - for the love of god - go look at what they're doing. Spend a few months with these guys and you'll NEVER be able to walk into an old house and look at it the same way again.

- D E S I G N L O V E F E S TI found this blog quite late in 2013, but it's quickly become one of my favorite visual stimuli. It's like color juxtaposition pornography. Every single thing that gets posted on this blog is just... beautiful and creative and so inspiring. It makes me want to study design more seriously... and be friends with everyone who is involved in this website.

- The Nail Files. This is actually a linkup party, not a blog. I participated in this Friday nail polish linkup for most of 2013 and intend to continue participating until someone pulls the plug on the thing entirely. It's helped me to meet some really lovely women across the Internetz - like Jennie (the hostess!) and Joey - and kept me on track with posting a nail polish blog every single Friday - come hell or high water.

PHEW. Well we got through it, guys! Those are all of my favorites from 2013... or at least all the ones I could think of.

Did any of your favorites make the list?

Do you ever look back at your old blogs to remember and reflect on all of the things you were up to a year ago?

If any of the above items tickled your fancy or piqued your curiosity, you can browse through them here:


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Friday, January 17, 2014

Radiant Orchid Nail Polish - Sally Hansen Luminous Tulips

First of all: Yes, the Justin Timberlake show HAPPENED last night and I am a giddy, giddy teenybopper today. Actually the show didn't end until midnight, so I am really more of a sleepybopper this morning. Honestly the entire concert was just bonkers-incredible, and our seats were even UPGRADED TO RIGHT NEXT TO THE STAGE. I'm still processing all of it, so don't expect to hear too much more from me about the concert quite yet, but I did take video and pictures and will share them when I can. You won't be sorry.

Tomorrow morning, at the butt-crack of dawn, I'm actually setting off for a 2-week trip to Massachusetts to visit my family and friends. Traveling to see them during the holiday season would have been about 3x more expensive (like a $900 plane ticket in December vs a $300 plane ticket a month later), so January/February has become my "holiday" visiting season since I moved to the West Coast. If my blogging becomes a bit more sparse between now and the beginning of February - that's why. Have no fear! Unless you have a terrible phobia complex. In which case... Have some Valium!

Today I'm swatching the third nail polish in my series of Radiant Orchid inspired polishes, in honor of Pantone's 2014 Color of Zee Year. This one is a more pink-leaning member of the orchid family - a Sally Hansen Diamond Strength polish called Luminous Tulips.

Sally Hansen Luminous Tulips nail polish

It's definitely a rosier raspberry-esque color than the other two orchid polishes I've swatched so far (here and here), but I think there's still a place for it at the Orchid Table, right?

Luminous Tulips nail polish from the Diamond Strength Sally Hansen Line

These swatches are with 2 coats of Luminous Tulips plus a top coat. (I've been using Sally Hansen's Double Duty base and top coat lately, if you're curious.)

Luminous Tulips nail polish from Sally Hansen

You can see in the pictures that there's a subtle shimmer throughout the polish - I can't tell if it's silver or if it's a soft blue color. After two coats on my nails, the frost isn't incredibly noticeable.

Orchid inspired nail polish

Radiant Orchid inspired nail polish
Orchid inspired nail polish from Sally Hansen

Now I know what you're thinking: "Bailey... that is not really very orchid, is it?" To that I'd say... when it's by itself, you're right. It doesn't look like it fits in with the Radiant Orchid color. But when it is together with all of the other polishes in this series, I think you'll agree that it definitely has a place in this roundup! JUST TRUST ME.

I've got 2 more nail polishes to show you in this Radiant Orchid series - one of which is also in this Diamond Strength line of polishes from Sally Hansen. It's brand new, so I haven't even tried it yet!

Do you have a favorite polish so far in this series?

Are there any travel plans in your near future? Anyone else like me and need to wait till after the holidays to visit your family back home (wherever "home" is for you)?


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Thursday, January 16, 2014



Remember when I told you about how David got me Justin Timberlake tickets for my birthday back in November, but I lamented that I'd have to wait till January to see the show?


AHHHHHHH! I haven't seen Justin Timberlake in concert since the summer of 2003, when my hopes and dreams of getting front row tickets were dashed after not winning a radio contest that, by all accounts, I was supposed to win. (Please feel free to read about that heart-breaking moment about ⅔ of the way down this post.) Failing to score those front row seats that I WAS PLANNING ON getting for free meant that I had to concede defeat and buy some scalper's tickets outside the venue that night.

But not this time! #ThanksDave!

I'm not sure if I should be embarrassed about how many times Justin Timberlake comes up as a conversation point on my blog... But I mean... #TrueLifeImAJTimSuperFan. Sawry.

There is a part of me that's terrified that somehow something will happen to thwart this concert from happening tonight. I'm keeping my fingers crossed so hard that he doesn't pull a Kanye and cancel for some reason. I DON'T KNOW IF I'D BE ABLE TO TAKE THE DEVASTATION IF THAT HAPPENED.

But if all goes as planned, my evening is going to be better than yours. Sawry again.

In honor of this special occasion, I'm sharing my Top 10 Justin Timberlake Songs to help YOU ALL get into the same mood that I'm in right now! Hoozah!

My Top 10 Justin Timberlake Songs

10. Drink You Away (20/20 Experience Part 2)
9. Gimme What I Don't Know (I Want) (20/20 Experience Part 2)
8. Another Chance (All Over Again) (FutureSex/LoveSounds)
7. Summer Love (FutureSex/LoveSounds)
6. Pusher Love Girl (20/20 Experience Part 1)
5. My Love (FutureSex/LoveSounds)
4. You Got It On (20/20 Experience Part 2)
3. Love Stoned/ I Think She Knows (FutureSex/LoveSounds)

2. Like I Love You (Justified)

1. Cry Me A River (Justified)

It was really difficult for me to put those into a hierarchy, so take their exact order with a grain of salt. Several of these favorites are on his latest CD, which is kind of cool - he can take 6 years off of making albums and still come back with some goodies!

I hope you guys all have a great day, but, again, I'm sorry that it won't be as good as mine. Give it your best anyway! Tomorrow is Friday, after all! (That means nails tomorrow!)

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Morning Hike On Brunswick Mountain

I took a bit of an unintentional break from hiking for a little while there, and then all of a sudden I got to go on five different hikes in a few week's span! HOOZAH for fitness and fun at the same time! But seriously - my muscles knew I'd taken a break from uphill hiking... my calves/hamstrings were SO SORE after these hikes. It was a good incentive for me to get back to a good workout routine - which I have, by the way ;)

One of those aforementioned hikes was a quickie but a goodie - only about 2 hours total - up some of Brunswick Mountain in Lion's Bay.

Brunswick Mountain is a pretty steep hike in Cypress Provincial Park and is the highest peak in the North Shore Mountains.

At the tail end of December, David and I bopped out of Vancouver and up into Lion's Bay - a village on the Sea-to-Sky Highway between West Vancouver and Squamish:

Driving from Vancouver to Lion's Bay to hike Brunswick Mountain

We didn't bring crampons or snowshoes - on purpose. It was sort of a "We'll take our chances" type of deal, knowing that we'd do what we could and turn around if we found ourselves in any icy conditions for which we weren't prepared.

We parked at the trailhead, booted up, and began our hike up a steep logging road. It was much steeper than a typical trailhead, so I was sweating within minutes and had to stop to layer down. I actually had to stop and layer down a couple more times as we wound our way up the dirt road - until I was down to a tank top!

Eventually we came to a fork where the logging road took a right-hand turn towards The Lions, and a wooded trail continued straight ahead. Here we jumped onto the wooded trail to head towards Brunswick Mountain. I'm always happy to be in the woods when we're hiking - I definitely prefer it over hiking a logging road.

Hiking towards Brunswick Mountain in Lion's Bay, BC
Not long after we began on this wooded trail, we had to cross a little creek... 

Crossing Magnesia Creek on the trail towards Brunswick Mountain

It was a bit deeper than it looks in these pictures. I like to take extreme caution when crossing even small rivers, because I've made the mistake of falling knee-deep into a cold river before and #LEMMETELLYA it's a quick way to ruin the rest of your hike.

Crossing Magnesia Creek on the trail towards Brunswick Mountain

Here was the view looking up the mountain from the creek:

Magnesia Creek on the trail towards Brunswick Mountain
.  bit of a mangled mess!  .
You might think that all woods around here look the same, but they don't really. These woods were particularly interesting because if you looked through the trees, it looked like a disaster zone - countless trees were knocked down in every direction. These pictures don't do it justice...

Hiking through the woods towards Brunswick Mountain

Fallen trees in dense woods as we hike towards Brunswick Mountain

Fallen trees in dense woods as we hike towards Brunswick Mountain

There were also lots of these interesting overhangs above us on the trail, where land has eroded to expose tons of beautiful roots:

Exposed roots on a woodsy hike

The higher we walked, the more we encountered patches of snow until eventually we were walking over a completely snow-covered trail beneath us:

Trail towards Brunswick Mountain

A frozen rain drop on a branch in the woods.
.  frozen droplet  .

At first the snow wasn't really a big issue for us because the trail wasn't so steep that we were having any trouble without crampons. But just after a particularly steep portion turned into a flattened out field with a nice (albeit foggy) view of Howe Sound below...

Howe Sound from Brunswick Mountain

Foggy pictures of Howe Sound from Brunswick Mountain

View of mountains from Brunswick Mountain

View of Howe Sound and islands from Brunswick Mountain

View of foggy Howe Sound and islands from Brunswick Mountain

... the terrain turned steeper, narrower, rockier... and icier! Even if we'd successfully make it UP further, it would have been a real biatch getting back down. So we conceded that we'd probably come as far as we could, and we turned around.

We were able to sit on a log in that field to enjoy the Subway lunch that we'd packed, as well as some deliciously warming peppermint tea and a Mars bar. Can't go hiking without chocolate, I always say.

Tree rings on Brunswick Mountain in BC
.  ringseses  .

I really liked how close this hike was to Vancouver, compared to so many other hikes we've done. Sometimes Squamish seems foreverrrrrr away, so Lion's Bay was nothing compared to that drive.

This was certainly not the most involved or exciting hike that I've done since moving to Vancouver, but it was challenging in that it was quite steep. If we'd made it further along, we would have encountered a section where we'd have to do some scrambling before reaching the summit... which would have been cool. Maybe another time when we've got crampons!

Have you gone on any cool hikes lately?

Do you know what tomorrow is??? You'll have to check back tomorrow to find out!

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