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?