Monday, January 23, 2012

Bex Loves...Adventurous Kate

My first dedicated blog shout-out post has to go to Adventurous Kate.  I have been reading Kate's blog for several years now, but got incredibly excited when she quit her job and began traveling and blogging full-time in October 2010.  She began with a six-month trip backpacking around Asia, and since then has worked her tail off to build up her business and make traveling and writing a full-time gig.  What I love most about Kate's posts is her enthusiasm.  I think she tries to find something she LOVES about every location, and it is infectious.  After reading her posts about Jordan, "I want to go to there," and I never would have thought twice about that destination before.

While Kate is currently based out of the U.K., she really is a global citizen, with adventures in Buenos Aires, Asia, Mexico, and all over Europe.  Plus, the fact that she is a Boston girl makes me love her even more!

In fact, the first travel recommendation I took from Kate was in Boston!  This past summer, due to lots of life events, my girlfriends and I didn't take a huge girls trip, but opted for a few smaller trips instead.  For my friend's birthday in August we decided to opt out of a quick jaunt to New Orleans, Vegas or New York and had a "stay-cation" instead.  What did we do?  Well, we basically followed every recommendation Kate gave about the rooftop pool at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston.  We got there early, staked out some great lounge chairs, plied ourselves frozen John Dalys, and gorged on yummy poolside snacks.  By the end of the day we wanted to move into the hotel.  A fantastic day, thanks to Kate's idea!

Kate's posts aren't all crazy and fun though, one of her most compelling and scary adventures is when she got shipwrecked in Indonesia.  When most people would have thrown in the towel and headed home, Kate learned from her misfortune and moved forward.  Kate's mission is to inspire and inform women about solo travel, and through her experiences abroad (both good and bad) she has very valuable tips to share.  Giving up is not an option.

In addition to writing about all her amazing adventures on her blog, in December 2011 Kate launched a calendar store, using photos from all over the world.  I am hard-pressed to pick a favorite, as any of them would give you a serious case of wanderlust, but I have to say that the Bali calendar is probably the one that makes me want to pack my bags the most.

With over 2,000 "likes" on Facebook, and over 6,000 followers on Twitter, I know I am not alone in my girl-crush on Kate.  Plus, if you ever need a mini-vacation at your desk some dreary winter day...hit up her Pinterest boards.  Seriously.

Do you have a favorite travel blog?

I have no affiliation with Adventurous Kate.
All opinions are completely mine.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bex Loves...Rosebud Salve

Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of posting...I caught this plague last week that is *just*now* letting up.  Seriously, it was so bad I think I gave it to my cat (is that possible??), she was sneezing all week along with me.  Thankfully, after copious amounts of Ben & Jerry's and massive bowls of spicy Pho, I'm pretty much recovered.

However, while I was sick I relied on one of my all-time favorite beauty products, Smith's Rosebud Salve.  This stuff is literally magic, I use it pretty much all over my body.  While I was sick, and my nose was a faucet, I would put it on my upper lip and around my nose to combat the awful dry skin caused by blowing my nose 7,498 times a day.

Other uses?  Well, chapped lips, obviously.  I use it for:
  • cuticles
  • dry hands
  • rough elbows
  • ashy knees
  • winter heels
Also, another magic use for it is blemishes.  When you feel a pimple or zit coming on, I know it seems like you should dry it out, but I have found by blasting the zit with moisture actually makes it go away with less damage to your skin.  I'll put on a bit of the salve every hour or so until the blemish just like a charm!

The best part, it is only $6 at Sephora.  So you can have multiple pots of it all I do.
 On my desk at work, in my purse, in my nightstand drawer, on my dressing table...

What is *your* go-to beauty product??

I paid full-price for all 8,000 pots of Rosebud Salve I have purchased. 
All opinions are completely mine.   

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bex Loves...Twig Terrariums

I got married over the summer, and one of my husband's coworkers, who was unfortunately unable to attend our wedding, sent us the most unique gift, a Twig Terrarium

The Brooklyn-based company (owned by two friends) "create[s] moss terrariums and other small worlds in antique, vintage, and new glass containers, apothecary jars, science glass, kitchenware, and any odd glass objects [they] find on [their] travels." 
The terrarium we were given has a little old couple on a park bench, with the man sneaking a smooch from the woman.  And I absolutely love it.

The upkeep of the terrariums is pretty easy (even for a plant-killer like me), all you have to do is spritz them every two weeks or so with a squirt bottle -- probably more in the winter when it is dry and less in the summer when it is humid.  If we see condensation in the jar, we put off the spritzing for a few days.
There are various pre-made options you can choose from, there is actually a wedding scene, a fun swimming themed one, and my personal favorite, the yogi in the park.  If you can pick up the terrarium at their Brooklyn location or live in NYC, there are other options available, as well.

Another option?  Well, my mother recently had a milestone birthday (ahem...50...) and I could not think of *one*thing* this woman needed.  My husband suggested we get her a Twig Terrarium for her house.  After perusing the website, I found that I could customize a terrarium, and the wheels started spinning.  My mother LOVES having family photos taken, so I decided to have a terrarium customized with our entire family.  I emailed the lovely ladies at Twig and requested the Medium Container with figurines depicting my mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, niece, twin nephews, me and my husband.  I told them our ages and hair colors and this is what they sent:

I love that my "dad" is holding my "niece," as they are totally best buds in real life -- and the stroller my "nephews" are in looks like the real one they have.  We almost died laughing with the depiction of my "mom," as it actually looks almost exactly like my grandmother (her mother-in-law).

Which Twig Terrarium do you like the best?  Would you like to receive this as a gift?  Would you give it as a gift?

I paid full-price for Twig Terrarium I purchased.  The other I received as a gift from friends.
All opinions are completely mine. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bex Loves...Jar Salads

I have recently become addicted to Pinterest.  Like, super addicted.  (If you need an invite, let me know!) A lot of things I find on there I am saving until I have the bathroom of my dreams, or until I have a closet the size of my current condo, or until I have kids to entertain, get the point.  The things I *am* finding useful now, however, are the myriad of recipes and food ideas -- simple and complex.

One of my first finds, and what I just *knew* was genius the second I saw it, was Salad Jars.  For the past few months I have had a dual goal of saving money and eating healthier, and this idea helps me achieve both.  The basic premise is that you take a mason jar and fill it with your salad ingredients, putting the dressing on the bottom and the greens on the top -- this way the lettuce doesn't get soggy.  I layered my middle ingredients from wettest (starting at the bottom) to driest (moving towards the top).

In this one I started with dressing on the bottom, then chickpeas, followed by grilled chicken (I figured the chicken could use some marinating in the dressing), then cooked quinoa, cherry tomatoes, celery (LOTS of celery...I am a weirdo who loves celery), and then I crammed in as much spinach and spring mix as I possibly could while still being able to put the lid on tightly.

The best part?  You can make a bunch at a time -- they can last for up to four days.  Here I made two with Italian dressing and two with homemade balsamic vinaigrette, so I wouldn't get sick of one kind of dressing.

I start back at school on Monday (three nights a week...ugh...but my *LAST* semester...YAY!) and I think this will make getting my daily vegetables (and NOT eating dinner from the 7-11 across the street) super easy.

You do need to make sure that you have a good sized bowl or plate wherever you decide to enjoy your salad though, as eating out of the jar is not really that easy.

What is your most ingenious food find in Pinterest?  Or do you have any ideas of your own for eating on the go?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Bex Loves...Spending Time With Family

...and therefore, posts will resume later this week!

I hope you all have wonderful and safe holidays!

Much love!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bex Loves...Me Two You

If you are anything like me, it seems like EVERYONE you know either has a baby, is pregnant, or BOTH!  And hopefully you are like me and all these babies you know are born to absolutely wonderful parents and need very little.

Unfortunately, not all babies are born in such circumstances.  A newly developed company, Me Two You, aims to help those babies and children in need, while also offering you a luxurious gift for the babies in your life.

According to their website, Me Two You was founded on a simple idea:  for every baby blanket purchased, they will give a blanket to an orphaned child.  How amazing is that?  The blankets look so soft and snugly, I kind of want one for myself!

Everyone knows a baby who has everything, why not start showing them at a (very) young age how wonderful it is to give back to those who have less?  I have a few new babies in my life and a few more on the way, and plan on purchasing each one a Me Two You blanket.  I also think this would make a wonderful and thoughtful Christening gift.

Me Two You blankets are made in the USA and are available in pink, blue or yellow.  Plus, as the company was founded and is run by three moms, the blankets are created with child safety standards in mind.  The blankets are formaldehyde safe and are in full compliance with the regulations for childcare articles.

Everything about Me Two You warms my heart, from supporting a local (Massachusetts) small business run by women (and moms!) to helping orphaned children get a little bit of comfort to giving the children in my life a gift that will also teach them a meaningful life lesson.  This may be my new go to baby shower gift!

I have no affiliation with Me Two You.
All opinions are completely mine.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bex Loves...Lollipops by Mihow

A few weeks ago I went on a bit of an etsy shopping spree and bought a few things I have had my eye on for quite a while.  No real reason, most likely I was having a bad day and needed a few pick-me-ups.  One of my purchases included some Lollipops by Mihow.

I have been reading Michele's blog for years now, I think I started reading while she was pregnant with her oldest son, Emory, so that would make it around 2007-ish?  I think what first struck a chord with me was the animal lover in Michele, and how, over the years, and two kids later, her cats are just as loved and cared for as her children.  I also very much appreciate Michele's raw honesty on various topics, from postpartum depression, to infertility, to aging.  (And hey, Tuesdays with Murray only make her blog eleventy billion times more fun!)

But!  This post is about her LOLLIPOPS!  I mean, how can you not want to try lollipops with a tag line of "corn syrup-free, handmade and awesome?"  My order included 6 red wine pops and then a sampler box, which consisted of Tingled Pink, Chai, Zesty Fennel, First Snow, First Trimester and Pepper Pop.

Guys.  These lollipops don't lie -- they really are awesome.  I shared the red wine pops with some coworkers and they all went insane and wanted to know where I got them and how to order them.  I kept all the sampler box ones for myself, and gave myself a treat each day while studying for finals.  I can't pick a favorite.  They were all so amazing and the flavors, while odd, were so perfectly blended I wondered why these weren't mainstream lollipop flavors. 

I could have so much fun planning parties around these lollipops as favors, too.  Having an 80s themed party?  Order up The Double Dog Dare, cola flavored with Pop Rocks!  Hosting a baby shower for your best girlfriend?  Do her a steady and buy her (and the guests!) some of the First Trimester (lemonade and ginger flavored) or better yet, The Due Date (wintergreen and fennel) to pack in her hospital bag.  Invited to a hip and fun brunch?  Why not bring some of the Rise and Shine (maple syrup and bacon flavored), and don't worry if your host or hostess are vegetarian...the "bacon" in these pops are "guilt free according to Peta!"  Michele also does custom orders and flavors, so if you have a weird combo you think would taste great wrapped in all natural sugar, give her a shout.

The best news?  If you act fast (as in by noon today) you can get 5 lollipops for 5 bucks as a special "stocking stuffer" deal Michele is holding.  Similar to the sampler box, the 5 you get will be of Michele's choosing, but you'll definitely get one or more of The Double Dog Dare, Sweet Tea and/or Rise and Shine.  Check them out -- I promise you won't be disappointed.

I paid full-price for the lollipops I purchased from Lollipops by Mihow.
All opinions are completely mine.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bex Loves...Little Leaf Photography & Design

The very first "Bex Loves..." has to go to the wonderful woman who designed this blog, Ashley at Little Leaf Photography & Design

I have been reading Ashley's blog, Our Little Apartment, for over a year now and, at the risk of sounding a tad scary and stalker-ish, feel like we should be great friends.  Ashley has a refreshingly realistic outlook on motherhood, marriage and life in general.  Plus, her adorable son, Gabriel, makes my heart smile.

When I decided to actually go ahead and start this blog, I immediately knew that I wanted Ashley to be the designer.  While I knew I would really like whatever she created, I never expected how incredibly easy it would be to work with her or how she would just "get" my vision.  I started by creating a Pinterest board of colors I loved, patterns that caught my eye and designs I have used in that past (for wedding invitations, etc.).  Ashley took a look at my ideas and came back with several header ideas, and while I loved them all, the one you see atop this page was exactly what I was looking for.  From there we worked out the general layout of the website, tweaked a few sidebar issues and we were done.  So easy!

I couldn't be happier with the outcome.  The design feels clean, fresh, modern and...well, me.

My only regret?  That Ashley doesn't live closer so I could utilize her photography skills as well -- seriously, check out her portfolio if you are in the Northeast Ohio area.

From the price, to the service, to the quality, to Ashley's overall friendliness and eagerness, I can't recommend Little Leaf Photography & Design enough.

I paid full-price for the services from Little Leaf Photography & Design.
All opinions are completely mine.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bex Loves...Blogging

Hello, hello, hello!  Welcome to What Bex Loves!

The idea for this blog has been growing in my brain for quite a while.  There are so many things I just absolutely love, from nail polish to websites to restaurants to books to experiences to...well, check back frequently and you'll see! (Or, better yet, subscribe to my RSS feed or like this page on Facebook!)  I have blogged in the past and often felt at times it got a little too personal for me (and probably those who know and love me), so you probably won't read about every little thing about my husband that annoys me, but you may read about any magic tricks I found to stop his snoring.  

My general philosophy about this blog is basically this:  because there is so much negativity out there on the interwebs, you will never read a bad review or negative thought here.  (Feel free to email me to see if I have an opinion on something not seen here though!)  You may hear me bitch and moan sometimes on twitter...but I promise I try to keep that to a minimum.

I have a huge list of things that I already love to blog about, and can't wait to share them with you all.  Want a sneak peak?  Check out my boards on Pinterest.  (Not a member yet? Need an invite?  Let me know!)

Enough social media schilling...I hope you enjoy what you see here, and if you have thoughts, opinions or ideas for me, please let me know.