Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: Wantable - makeup and jewelry subscription service


Monthly subscription services by mail are becoming more and more popular because they allow you to try new products or get new things for a lower price. I'm excited to introduce a new monthly makeup and jewelry box service, Wantable! Wantable sends you box full up makeup or jewelry each month (or just one-time). All pieces are full-size and not sample size, like some other subscription services. I got the chance to try out the makeup box and my first impression was the fancy-looking packaging (pictured below).

Before ordering from Wantable, you take a pretty extensive style quiz that asks for your eye color, skin type, etc. and also your makeup preferences (there is a style quiz for the jewelry box too). I really liked this aspect because I was able to say what kind of makeup I do and don't use and what colors I like to wear. For example, I said that I love nail polish and eyeshadow but don't use blush. I could also pick my favorite color palettes for each type of makeup. The quiz is great because I'm not going to get a full-size makeup product that I won't use.

The box came with five full-size make up items (total retail value of $86):

29 Cosmetics D'Vine Mascara - This mascara came in dark brown which is perfect for my complexion. It not only lengthens lashes but also contains vitamins to nourish lashes promoting strength and natural shine.

FACE Stockholm Cream Lipstick Leva - I don't wear a lot of lipstick but the color of this one is subtle enough for me to want to wear it. It gives my lips a nice natural color and softness.

KnockOut Cosmetics Flatte Polish Libery - I'm all about mint everything, including my nails! This nail polish is a great color and dries very quickly. I got plenty of compliments on it!

Apothederm Firming Serum - This serum should be applied to the face and neck after washing and contains botanicals and other advanced ingredients to help refine skin.

Lise Watier Glamour Rose Eyeshadow Gold - I like glimmery (but not showy) eyeshadows so this one is great! I used it on the base of my eyelids with a darker color on the outside corners and it really made my eyes shine.

Overall, I give Wantable a positive review and I'm actually going to order a jewerly box on my own because I want to see what's in it! I probably won't get the makeup box every month because I really don't use that much makeup. The good thing is that you can easily pause the subscription. Let me know what you think if you decide to try it out!

How it Works
Go to Wantable and select makeup or jewelry. Then, take the style quiz. You can select to get one box for $40 or a box each month for a  monthly subscription fee of $36. The monthly subscription can be paused or cancelled at any time. Shipping is free and you can also return the box if you don't like it (some boxes are eligible for partial returns). Also, check out Wantable on Facebook and Twitter!

Disclaimer: Wantable did not sponsor this post but they did send me the makeup box for free to write a review on my blog. All text and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Vacation to Calgary and around Alberta

I apologize again for my lack of posts recently but I really have been travelling a lot!! Unlike my other two trips this month to California and Atlanta, this one was purely vacation and not work-related. I didn't bring my computer and I barely touched my iPad. I visited one of my best friends from college, Kim, who now lives in Calgary with her husband and adorable new baby. I was really delayed (and rerouted to Edmonton) when I arrived last week because there were huge storms in the area that consequently caused major flooding in southern Alberta. 65,000 people in Calgary were evacuated! Luckily, Kim lives on a hill so we weren't affected but our plans to go to Bamff and Lake Louise (like in The Bachelor!) were not possible because of road closures. The damage to the area is pretty severe and I hope the community can recover soon.

We had to do a little driving but I still got to see Dinosaur Provincial Park in the badlands of Alberta and Waterton Lakes National Park near the Montana border. In terms of health and fitness, it was easy to stay active on this vacation because we did a lot of hiking. Although, I didn't do any actual running (don't worry, I'm back on marathon training this week). We didn't eat out very much and made food at Kim's house or packed sandwiches for the road, which is always healthier than restaurant food. Kim was a great host catering to my complicated diet. We all even ate an almost vegan meal one night! Anyway, here are some pictures from my trip!

Kim and I at Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta. This is one of the largest dinosaur fossil sites in the world and you can even find them just walking around!
The view from the campsite at Waterton Lakes National Park in southern Alberta.

The view of upper Waterton Lake as we were hiking up the mountain. This lake extends all the way to Montana!

What's your favorite place in Canada?

Do you prefer beach or mountain vacations?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Atlanta Kick CrossFit

I was on the road again this week (and leaving again tomorrow!) so I got to check out another CrossFit box. I did a quick 2.5-day trip to Atlanta for some meetings at a conference and to hang out with my old roommate from Purdue, Grace. After a year of living together and watching me do CrossFit, I finally convinced her to start after she graduated from Purdue. She's 8 months into the program and has really changed her body through both fitness and better eating. Grace loves the community of CrossFit and is now addicted like me!

Grace took me to her box, AK CrossFit, on Monday morning. The workout was pretty hard with 3 7-minute AMRAPs including front squats, push-ups, shoulder to overhead (push-press/jerk), air squats, squat-cleans, and double-unders. I'm definitely sore today!

AK (Atlanta Kick) CrossFit is in the Buckhead area on the north side of Atlanta. They have a full facility and great community, as experienced by Grace. She said she feels comfortable there as a beginner and that the trainers  push her to work hard. The coaches are knowledgeable and excited about expanding the gym physically and in membership. Drop-in rate for existing CrossFit members is free for your first class and then $20 after that. Free is awesome! (All boxes should do that.) Check them out if you're in the area!

Grace and I at AK CrossFit

What's you're biggest fear about starting a CrossFit program?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Lauren Conrad's book signing!

When Lauren Conrad announced her book tour for Infamous I was really excited that she chose to come to Chicago! Well actually, Naperville, which is closer to where I work anyway. I've been a fan of Lauren ever since her entertainment debut on MTV's Laguna Beach circa 2004. I followed her through her journey into the fashion industry on The Hills and I would say that I'm even a bigger fan now that she has a fantastic website/blog and an affordable fashion line at Kohl's. Lauren has been my fashion icon for a long time because of her feminine and classic style. I love wearing dresses and own nearly every single one from her Kohl's collection. Lauren's website also has great advice on fashion, beauty, health, fitness, careers, and everything in between. I'm often inspired by her website for content on this blog. This cauliflower pizza crust recipe is from her website.

Most importantly, I'm a huge fan of Lauren because of her success as an entrepreneur. Of course her reality TV fame boosted her career but I think she is a great role model for young women like me that want to make something of themselves. I look up to her even though we're the same age and I can only hope to be as successful as her one day.

I don't meet famous people very often so I was starstruck when I finally got through the line to meet Lauren! The picture is blurry but they weren't letting us pose for photos. Lauren really is so beautiful in person! She was also really nice and asked me how I was doing. And I got a chance to tell her about my blog and her assistant even took my business card! So cool!

Here's my new Infamous book and Lauren's signature inside :)

Have you ever met one of your favorite role models?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sprout salad and how to grow sprouts

Ever since Karyn's raw detox back in March I've been trying to eat sprout salads for lunch as much as possible. Instead of the usual base of baby spinach or romaine, the salads are actually based on sprouts. Sprouts are seeds (including beans) that have been germinated and begun the growing process. The benefit of eating raw sprouted seeds versus the seeds themselves is that all of the nutrients in the seeds become bioavailable and digestible during the germination process. The seed contains all of the nutrients required to grow a plant but the nutrients are dormant until water is introduced to start the growth process. Once the seed starts to grow, all of the vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids, enzymes, etc. are activated. It is in this form that our body can best derive all of the great nutrients from the seed. Besides seaweed, sprouts are the best food to eat in terms of nutrient density (including high digestible protein content). I definitely feel more energized and satiated after eating a sprout salad than I do after eating a regular salad. Learn more about digestive enzymes and sprouting on the Thrive Forward website.

You can buy sprouts at the grocery store but it is best to grow them yourself. It doesn't take much work but does take planning. You can sprout buckwheat, amaranth, beans (all kinds), sunflower seeds, lentils, quinoa, chickpeas, and more. My favorites are sunflower seeds and chickpeas.

Chickpea sprouts that I grew myself

Steps to Sprout
  1. First, make sure that you have the seeds/beans in  their raw dry form (bulk section at Whole Foods or
  2. Place about 1/2-3/4 cup of the seeds in a jar and fill the rest with purified water.
  3. Let soak for 8-12 hours or overnight.
  4. Rinse the seeds with water and place back in jar.
  5. Cover jar with cheesecloth or mason jar sprouting lid.
  6. Place upside down in a bowl or sink to allow extra water to flow out of jar.
  7. Every morning and night for a couple of days, fill the jar with water and spill it back out right away just to keep the seeds moist.
  8. You should see sprouting within 24 hours, but let sit until you reach the desired length of sprouts or until all of the seeds have sprouted. 
  9. Rinse your seeds/sprouts one more time before eating.
  10. Sprouts will keep for up to a week (uncovered) in the fridge.
Sprouting takes some planning because it will be about 2.5 days before you have some good sprouts. I'm not good at planning my food so I tend to buy sprouts sometimes, especially when I'm traveling a lot. 
Sunflower sprouts (purchased from Karyn's Raw in Chicago)

Sprout Salad

Making a sprout salad is easy once you have the sprouts...just add fresh chopped vegetables and good dressing. I always add dulse flakes, red bell pepper, and cherry or chopped tomatoes. Pine nuts, chopped cucumber, green onion, and baby spinach are good too. For dressing, I use a mix of apple-cider vinegar, olive oil, and lemon juice.

Sprouts with lots of tomatoes
Preparing my sprout salads for the week

Have you tried sprouts?

What are your favorite salad ingredients?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

California beach, Crossfit Monterey, and oyster shucking

Hey friends! I apologize for my blogging absence in the past week or so, I was in California for work and then spent a long weekend in San Francisco with my best friend. I was having too much fun to think about blogging! So, here are some highlights from my travels (which you may have already seen on instagram):

When I landed in San Francisco last Sunday, I drove down to Monterey via the coastal highway (US 1). The slightly longer trip was definitely worth it. I'm used to the Florida coast and love the cliffs and unkempt beaches of California. The 3-hour drive was beautiful.

My friend Grace happened to be in Monterey the same time I was so we checked out CrossFit Monterey! The box was very welcoming and it seems like they have a great 6:00 am crew. Check them out if you're in the area! Drop in rate is $15 for 1 class or 3 classes for $36.

Sunset over Monterey Bay!

Bonfire on the beach with some new and old friends from the class in Monterey.

I ended my trip in San Francisco visiting my best friend Antonella. We spent Saturday oyster shucking with a big group of people for another friend's birthday. We drove north of San Fran to Tamales Bay and went to a picnic area on the bay where the oyster farm is and then bought a big bag of the fresh oysters. I've never shucked (opened) oysters myself before so it was a little tricky at first but then I got the hang of it. These were the best oysters I've ever had, obviously because they were straight out of the bay. There was a grill but I ate them most of them raw with some lemon and hot good! We spent all day there in sun with friends and wine, it was perfect!

Have you ever been oyster shucking?

Do you check out other gyms/boxes while you travel?