BoxyCharm | September 2016

by Lisa on Saturday: Oct 01, 2016

Spoiler alert: I have one thing to say about the September BoxyCharm…

It was the best box ever!

BoxyCharm September - Contents

This month’s theme was “Camp Glam” and included some amazing products that I will be using regularly from now on. BoxyCharm has always been my favorite beauty subscription box, and this month really proves why.

As always, I am not sponsored by/affilated with BoxyCharm in any way.

BoxyCharm September - Hairgurt and Butter Nail Polish

Project Beauty Hairgurt Smoothing Yogurt Hair Masque
We’re starting off with a giant hit right here (and it’s not even the biggest hit in this box!). I gave this a shot in the shower the day I opened this box. I used it in place of conditioner and crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t regret skipping that step (my hair would be unbrushable without conditioner of some kind in it). Well, I didn’t have anything to worry about because this transformed my hair into something so smooth and soft I barely recognized it. This may have to become a staple for me in my hair care routine.

butterLONDON Trend Nail Lacquer
I’ve never tried butterLONDON nail polishes before, but I have heard that the formula is very high quality, and the price tag matches this claim. This is a nice fall color that I will try out as soon as I’m ready to take off the polish I’m currently wearing. I’m excited to finally give this brand a try!

BoxyCharm September - Lipstick and Eyeliner

Hikari Cosmetics Eye Liner
I haven’t cracked this eye liner open just yet because I have such a large backlog of eyeliners to get through. I am always happy to have backups of the things I use regularly, so this will be well used once I get to it.

PUR Cosmetics Lip Lure
This is the only product in the box that I have some doubts about. As I mentioned in last month’s review, dark lip colors aren’t really my thing, but this one seems like it might be more wearable if applied with a light hand. Will I ever reach for it? That remains to be seen.

BoxyCharm September - Palette

Studio Makeup “On-The-Go” Palette
We’re both starting and ending this review with a bang. This is the absolute star of the box.

BoxyCharm September - Palette Colors

BoxyCharm has included several palettes in the past, and while they were good, they were never of the “OMG I love it” variety. Well, this one is. The formula is so creamy and blendable. I was able to do a really nice look with it without much hassle (and I’m definitely not an expert when it comes to applying eye shadow). This is now my go-to everyday palette! I just can’t put it down.

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If you’re looking for a high quality beauty subscription box to try out, BoxyCharm has my vote as #1, even over Sephora. It’s my favorite package to get in the mail every month!

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Have you tried out BoxyCharm?

What’s your favorite subscription service?

Thinking Out Loud Thursday

by Lisa on Thursday: Sep 29, 2016

Today I’m linking up with the weekly Thinking Out Loud blog hop for some random thoughts from the week.

Thinking Out Loud

  1. This week I finally went ahead and ordered my 2017 Erin Condren Life Planner. I’ve been using one for the past two years and just love their style and functionality. I was waiting for some kind of sale, and I eventually got 15% off, so I decided to jump on it. Their shipping times are notoriously slow so I didn’t want to wait until too close to the end of the year. It should be arriving soon though, and I’m very excited!
  2. The weather here has started to cool off finally. We had a very hot and humid summer and went many weeks in the 90s with very high humidity. It feels a little strange to have days that don’t even surpass the high 50s in temp. While it’s nice to not be as sweaty on my walks, it’s a little sad to know that winter is on the horizon.
  3. I don’t know about you, but when fall hits, I kind of go into “winter nesting” mode. I start stockpiling things for the house, doing a ton of cleaning and making sure I’m ahead of schedule on things that need to get done. It’s kind of a subconscious thing, but I guess it makes sense since winter weather can hit at any time starting in October, and it can really throw things off.
  4. On the plus side, this has led me to do some much needed deep cleaning of the house! Things had really piled up in the lead-up to the wedding, and I really haven’t spent much time undoing the damage.
  5. One exciting thing that’s happening this fall: I will be hosting Thanksgiving for the first time ever! Now that D and I are married, it makes more sense for our families to celebrate together instead of us running around from house to house trying to fit in visits with everyone.
  6. This means that I will need to learn to cook a turkey. Yes, you read that right. Lisa the Vegetarian is going to be cooking a turkey. While I won’t be eating it, I know my guests will be expecting their traditional Thanksgiving meal, so between D and myself we will figure it out. I wanted to do a practice turkey a few weeks in advance, but I’m not sure if we’ll have enough people to eat it all. Wish me luck on this!
  7. But on the flip side, I will also have the ultimate freedom to create as many veggie dishes as I want. If you read my post last year about “how to survive the holidays as a vegetarian”, you’ll know this is a great thing.
  8. If you haven’t checked them out yet, catch up with some of my latest posts: My September Sephora Play! Box Review and Vegetarian Meal Highlights from Tokyo.

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Have you every hosted a holiday? Any tips for a first timer?

Has the weather cooled off where you are yet?

Play! by Sephora | September 2016

by Lisa on Tuesday: Sep 27, 2016

It’s time again to discuss the Play! by Sephora subscription box.

Sephora September 2016 Box

The theme of this month’s Play! by Sephora box is the “Unbasic Basics”, and I’d have to say they did a pretty great job of nailing the “basics” of beauty in here.

Sephora September 2016 - Unbasic Basics 2016 Box

Every box comes with one of these cards that you can bring to the store to have 50 beauty points added to your account. Be forewarned though, not all of the cashiers know what to do with this. I’ve had some instances of confusion when attempting to cash one in. Also, as of a few month ago, all the products are delivered inside a cute dust bag with a beauty-inspired saying on it like the one below.

Sephora September 2016 - Bag

As always, this post is not sponsored or affiliated with Sephora.

Sephora September 2016 - Eyebrow Gel and Perfume

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel
Anastasia Beverly Hills is a brand I hear talked about time and again on youtube, and for good reason – they have some quality products. I was excited to try this gel, and on first impression it did a good job of holding my brows in place without being too heavy.

Atelier Cologne Sud Magnolia
This is the second Sephora box in a row that’s had a great perfume sample. Usually the ones they send are way too strong, but this was subtle enough that I could wear it to the office on a daily basis. It’s not something I’d run out to buy the full size of, but I like it enough.

Sephora September 2016 - Living Proof and Ole Henriksen

Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation
I’m always a fan of getting skin care samples in subscription boxes to try out new brands and formulas. I find that they usually last me a good few weeks, which is pretty awesome for a tiny container. This one is no exception. It’s lightweight and absorbs quickly into the skin. I’ve been using it before putting on makeup in the morining.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Perfector
I am a huge fan of the brand Living Proof. Their shampoo, conditioner and leave-in hair products have done wonders for my hair. I’ve tried this hair mask a few times and while it did help with the smoothness of my hair, I didn’t find that it did anything magical. I’m going to keep trying it though and see if my opinions change.

Sephora September 2016 - Lipstick and Tattoo Liner

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper
This is the first time I’ve seen a duplicate in one of the Sephora boxes – we got this same liner in March. However, despite what I said in that original review, the Tattoo Liner has since grown on me quite a bit, and now that I’m more used to using it, I really like it. I’m still working through the original, but I’m happy to have a backup once that runs out.

Sephora Collection Rouge Shine Lipstick in Love Spell
This shade is beautiful! Not only that, but it’s not too dark of a color for me, so I will actually end up using this.

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Overall, I’m very happy with this month’s box. I plan on using every single one of these products over the next few months – not one dud in the bunch!

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When was the last time you went to Sephora?

Last beauty/makeup product you bought?

Vegetarian Meals in Tokyo | The Highlights

by Lisa on Wednesday: Sep 14, 2016

It can be tough to be a vegetarian while visiting Japan. The cuisine there is known to be chock full of meat and fish, and in general the vegetarian lifestyle is not widely recognized. I’ve written about my experiences specifically at the Tokyo Disney Resort where there is 1 restaurant in each of the parks with exactly 1 dish that is vegetarian.

The rest of Japan is even harder to navigate when it comes to food. However, despite this, I was able to have quite a few meals this time around that were pretty delicious and all vegetarian. Here are some of my vegetarian meal highlights:

Lunch at the AKB48 Cafe
The AKB48 cafe is a must visit for fans of the J-Pop group AKB48. For those not in the know, AKB48 is a wildly popular group in Japan consisting of 48 girls. The cafe is something akin to dining in a movie theater as the group’s live performances and music videos play on the big screen while you eat.

AKB48 Cafe

Aside from the fun ambiance, I was able to find an equally fun vegetarian dish to try out (after a quick check with the waitress to make sure it didn’t contain any meat or fish).

AKB48 Cafe - Spicy Pasta

As the drawing on the mozzarella indicates, this pasta was SPICY! In fact, it was the most spicy thing I had eaten in recent memory and that’s saying a lot for me. The sauce was delicious and the cheese was a nice touch. As a pasta lover, I was happy to find something like this to eat for lunch.

Breakfast Buffets

During our stay in Tokyo, we had the opportunity to dine at two separate breakfast buffets. The first was located at the Keio Plaza Hotel where we were staying and took place at Jurin All Day Dining. The restaurant was upscale and the all you can eat breakfast buffet was much nicer than your typical American buffet experience.

One of the stars of the buffet was the scrambled eggs. I don’t know what it is about the scrambled eggs in Japan, but they are extremely creamy and have a much more orange color to them than American eggs. At this buffet, they were served alongside ratatouille (delicious!). I also was able to get a side salad, potatoes and much more.

Jurin All Day Dining - Breakfast Buffet

Of course, if you’re not a vegetarian, there are plenty of unique options – like this squid and shrimp marinade. D was a fan!

Jurin All Day Dining - D's Squid and Shrimp Dish

The second buffet was at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel where we spent one night while exploring the Tokyo Disney Resort. This breakfast buffet was even more varied and fancy than the first with many dessert options offered as well. I also partook in a danish and a serving of mango pudding, which were very nice to round out the meal.

Rice Omelettes
Rice omelettes are always a dish I’m relieved to see on a menu whenever we’re visiting cafes. This trip I had two such occasions: one at Eorza Cafe (a Final Fantasy XIV themed cafe) and the second at Maidreamin (a maid cafe). Of course, when visiting Maidreamin, the waitresses draw cute pictures on your omelette with ketchup:

Maidreamin Rice Omelette

But the one at Eorza Cafe was more standard:

Eorza Cafe Rice Omelette

Either way, this is a tasty dish and is at least somewhat Japanese.

Duo Fourchettes
Another great find was Duo Fourchettes which was billed as a French/Italian restaurant, though I found that most of the items were decidedly Italian. This was one of my favorite meals from the trip, and yes it is another pasta dish. It was filling and tasty.

Duo Fourchettes Pasta

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It may seem like my highlights here are ignoring the traditional Japanese cuisine, and it is true that most of the meals I ate were not Japanese. This is because it’s very difficult to find any foods in that category (it is difficult while in Japan – vegetarian Japanese food in America is not that rare) that do not contain meat, fish or some kind of meat or fish stock. As this is my third trip to the country, I’ve learned to stick with what I know I can eat and on the rare occasion I do find a Japanese option with no meat, I will give it a try.

D, on the other hand, ate up a very wide variety of Japanese foods including ramen, sushi, curry, takoyaki (fried octopus dumplings) and various types of fish.

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Coming soon… Stay tuned for my vegetarian meal FAILS while in the country! That’s a fun post 🙂

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Have you ever traveled to Japan?

What countries are on your wish list to visit?

Thinking Out Loud | New York City Edition

by Lisa on Thursday: Sep 08, 2016

This past weekend my husband and I headed down to New York City for the long weekend. We had a great time and I’m going to do the recap Thinking Out Loud style.

Thinking Out Loud

  1. The main reason for this trip was to see the Perfume concert. Perfume is a J-Pop group that we’ve both been fans of for several years. They specialize in electronic-style pop and add in a lot of cool technology to their shows. The show was amazing and well worth the trip. I don’t know how they’re able to dance in those high heels for two hours straight!
    Perfume Pic from Gallery
  2. Perfume was playing at the Hammerstein Ballroom on 34th street, and this was the second time we’ve seen them perform there.
  3. When we went to their concert last time, we stayed at a hotel that was literally next door to the concert venue. Because of the extreme convenience, we decided to stay there again. The hotel is the Wyndham New Yorker, which unfortunately isn’t my favorite. The rooms are very tiny and they don’t really have many amenties, not to mention the age of the hotel makes it feel a bit rustic. I’ve found that it’s quite difficult to find a nice hotel room in the city in general, so we take what we can get.
  4. The first night we were there we had a nice Italian dinner at Casa Nonna which was a few blocks from where we were staying. I found it randomly while searching nearby restaurants on Google maps. I had a spaghetti dish with marinara sauce, tomatoes, basil and garlic. Delicious!
    Casa Nonna - Vegetarian Dish
  5. On day 2 of the trip, we had reserved tickets to see a small gallery exhibit that was featuring Perfume for the weekend. The gallery was displaying all sorts of fashion featured in Perfume’s music videos and concerts as well as some of the technology they use as well. It was a nice complement to the show.
    Perfume Gallery Dresses
  6. Threats of Hurricane Hermine followed us the whole weekend. On the drive down, it seemed like we were heading directly into the path of the storm, and every few hours a news alert would be issued on my phone from Weatherbug. However, we didn’t see a drop of rain the entire weekend. Definitely a false alarm.
  7. On the second day, we decided to just go wandering a little further uptown, so we meandered through the streets of Times Square and slightly north of the area. I’m not sure what was going on there, but it seemed to be some kind of Brazilian festival. There was some awesome live music being played and tons of food tents and vendors selling hand made goods. It went on for blocks and blocks. It was cool to stumble on something like that!
    NYC Times Square Brazilian Festival
  8. In the evening after we finished our exploring and dining, we settled into the room with some wine and watched random movies on TV. This trip, we happened to catch the two most recent Muppets movies. They were surprisingly funny!
  9. Another very New York thing we ended up doing: eating $1 pizza slices on the side of the street! We had walked by this pizza shop earlier in the trip, and the food just smelled amazing. It was kind of fun to just stand up at one of the outdoor tables and watch people walk by as we ate. New York pizza is the best.
  10. The drive to New York generally takes us about 4.5 hours, which used to seem like a long drive, but now goes by pretty fast. Thankfully D is okay with doing the city driving when we arrive (we usually drive to our hotel and then keep the car in a lot until we’re ready to go back home). I’m a fairly nervous driver as it is and I can’t imagine navigating the streets of NYC in a car myself!

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Have you ever been to NYC? What’s your favorite thing to do there?

What destinations are within driving distance of where you live?