Tag Archives: Products

Review: Kindle 4

25 Jul

I was totally shocked when I opened up my three year anniversary gift to find a Kindle 4 from my wonderful boyfriend. Shocked, and slightly concerned. As much as I used to hate to admit it, I’ve never been much of a reader. I have this awful habit of starting a new book, then abandoning it halfway in for a new craft or to watch the entirety of “30 Rock” again on Netflix. Right now I can name four books sitting in various places across mine and Alex’s homes that need to be finished.

So I was concerned, mostly because I didn’t want Alex- who has this amazing way of finding the most creative and surprising gifts- to see this new toy go unused like I feared it might.  I’ve also been a fan of the actual book (as a print reporter I kind of encourage paper-based reading as much as possible). Tucked away on book shelves, rows and rows creating pretty new color schemes. I just wasn’t sure if I’d be on board for the e-reader movement.

I couldn’t have been more off base.

So far I have read six books in a little bit less than a month. That’s about as many as I’ve read in two years. It’s just so easy! I have this little library about the size of a piece of mail, and at any time I can grab it for a quick and easy read. No tabbing pages, or finding where you are if you’re lost, or carrying a bulky and sometimes heavy book with you. People aren’t grabbing you while you’re reading to ask what your book is about, because it’s pretty discreet. No strangers scanning the back cover while you’re in public. It really gives me no excuse not to read.

The Kindle 4 is currently my favorite piece of technology that I own. It’s small and incredibly lightweight, which means I can hold it in one hand and throw it in my bag without ever knowing it’s there. It’s got a great screen for reading that doesn’t tire my eyes out like a computer screen. And you know how they’re always flaunting that it isn’t hard to read in intense sunlight? Yeah, that’s a lot more exciting when you see it in person. The brighter the light, the easier it actually is to read.

Most importantly to me is that it’s really affordable, and Alex saved money buying the version with ads, which only pop up when I put it on sleep or at the bottom of my home page. They go entirely unnoticed and I don’t know why anyone would waste fifty dollars on the ad-free Kindle 4. Most library have e-reader rentals for free that last up to two weeks, and Amazon runs deals on all of their Kindle e-readers. I got my first book, The Hunger Games, for $3. So far I’ve payed maybe about $5 for books.

I really dig the lack of a touch screen. There are two buttons on each side of the e-reader, with a larger one to turn the page forward on both sides and a smaller one to go back just above. Engineered perfectly, so they don’t turn a page if you move your hand the wrong way. Then there’s a few small keys at the bottom as other guides. This isn’t designed for typing, so why make it annoying with a touch screen? Plus, in the month that I’ve had the Kindle 4 I have charged it once. I use it at least 3-4 times a day, about 3 hours a day, and I have only had to charge it for about 3 hours once a few weeks ago. It’s beyond convenient.

And the best part about the Kindle 4? It is nothing more than an e-reader. A fabulous, tiny little e-reader. Sure you can buy books on the Amazon site when around wi-fi, and when you’re done reading a book you can post a tweet that says you finished it, but there isn’t a Facebook notification popping up every time someone posts a new picture of them at a bar. It doesn’t vibrate every time I get a spam e-mail from some Nigerian prince. I am disconnected, and still able to access my own collection of reading. And let’s face it, who my age really needs a tablet? I mean how many tweets are you reading that are so urgent that you need to constantly be connected all day, every day. My Kindle pulls me away from the constant noise of social media for a few hours a day. I really can’t explain what it does for my mind. It feels like one big, long, giganticly refreshing sigh.

I absolutely love my Kindle. I would be so bored and boring without it. I tell everyone I know to go out and buy this instead of a bulky iPod. Just read!

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Not Worth the Money: China Glaze Magnetix Polish

31 Mar

A month or so ago I found this really interesting nail polish in Ulta from China Glaze called Magnetix. Basically it was advertised as a nail polish that, when met with a special magnet, would create really unique patterns on the wet nail polish. I instantly though, “oh yeah, I want that,” but it was $10 for the polish and an additional $10 for the magnet and I didn’t feel like spending that much on a product I had never heard of before. So, being the frugal style hound that I am, I went trolling on the Internet for a good deal.

I found the polish for $4 and the magnet for about the same price, but with shipping it came to a whopping $15. And then I played the waiting game.

Don't mind the cuticle mess, I was rushing!

When I got my Magnetix polish and magnet I was so excited that I ripped open the package next to my dad and tried it out on my already-painted nails. The first two fingers I did (see the photo on the left) worked! Basically what you do is paint the polish on and then quickly hold the desired pattern over the polish for 10 seconds. I did the starburst and the kind of chevron pattern thing, and while I did hit the first nail with the magnet I still saw really interesting patterns.

Naturally my next move was to run upstairs, wipe all of the polish off my nails, and paint all of my nails with a pattern, which I decided was going to be the starburst. I was already planning on what I would say on here, how much I loved it and how great it looked. But then I started hitting snags.

The next round didn’t work at all. They all remained blank. Then I realized that hitting the magnet against my nail had become an actual issue with every nail. You couldn’t really avoid it, and it was so frustrating.

I tried over and over again over the course of a few days, but never got a matching pattern that worked for all of my nails. So I’ve ditched it into the bottom of my polish box to come across another day.

Overall I wouldn’t suggest this product to anyone. It’s really expensive and doesn’t give you a really great result. Plus, the colors are super glittery and all very dark, which don’t really work for someone like me who has to show up to work in an office with a bunch of adults 5 days a week. Once I get over my frustration of it I might try applying it to one nail and leaving the rest neutral, but it’s definitely not my style for a full set. If you’re up for spending three hours painting your nails, give it a try, if not, don’t waste the money.

My Must-Haves for Spring

20 Mar

Happy Spring everyone! I have been waiting and waiting for the spring to arrive. It is one of my favorite times of the year: bright colors, amazing dresses and skirts, flowers everywhere, sun and no-jacket weather. I go nuts.

Since spring is officially here I have decided to list my favorites for the upcoming season, using pictures pulled straight from Pinterest, since that is my latest complete and utter obsession. Enjoy!

Nude
The color (is it a color? I don’t know) is my latest addiction. I’ve got my nude nails painted right now, and I have been day dreaming about nude heels for about a year, since I saw Kate Middleton rocking the crap out of them so many times this summer. Since Kate Middleton is legally perfect, I knew I had to follow her lead. When the nasty, stupid winter rolled around nude went away, as did my quest for the perfect nude heel.  When I’m bored at work my instant reaction is to online shop, and through my journeys I found these beauties at Target. Cheap, not too high, and with a nice broad heel that is great for long days walking around. I am way too excited for these to arrive at my house. Nude is classy, plain and simple, which is why I need it for this spring.

Rose Gold
I didn’t even know rose gold existed until I made my Pinterest (yes that’s my page and yes you should follow me! I feel no shame in my self-promotion). It’s this fantastic light gold color, with just a tiny bit of pink to it. In my opinion it’s made for spring. When paired with colors like dark blue, pink and turquoise it completely transforms, but it still stays pretty timeless and classic next to diamond or, in my case, rhinestones.

I’ve seen a lot of designers making rose gold watches, like this gorgeous Michael Kors watch. A nice, classy watch makes a professional woman instantly look like an executive, like she is so damn fancy that you shouldn’t even be walking down the same street as her. Plus, I have a crazy amount of respect for any person that refers to a wrist watch as opposed to a phone when looking at the time. Yeah you bet your butt I want one.

Pastel Jeans
Colorful jeans are everywhere right now and I am totally on board. I bought a pair of Old Navy skinny jeans in red a few weeks ago, and now I’m just sitting around trying to register the accurate amount of wait time acceptable before I buy the exact same jeans in another color. Lets face it: pants have always been too boring! Black, khaki jeans… and you’re done. I love this extra splash of color, and the pastel screams spring time.

These jeans I found on Pinterest are the color I really want, a nice salmon-pink. And they’re capris which make them even spring-ier. Pair that with a beige shirt and some rose gold accents, or maybe some baby blue and white, and you’ve got the cutest little outfit imaginable. There’s nothing like brightening up a room with your outfit, especially when the entire world around you is blossoming and bright.

High-waisted Skirts
I embrace the high-waisted skirt on an almost-daily basis. I think that tucking your shirt into any outfit makes it instantly 100 times classier, and embracing where your real waist is creates a totally class look and still gives a woman a great shape. Plus, since I’m short, normal length skirts make me look stumpy, but when I raise it up a few inches and throw on some heels I instantly look a little bit taller. Now that it is spring I can grab some brighter colored skirts and pair them with nice breezy shirts for an easy, comfortable and classy look. Love the high-waisted skirt. It will be your best friend. This fabulous Pinterest find comes from an even-more fabulous blogger named Kendi Everyday. In my personal opinion, vintage dresses and skirts are the reason the sun rises every day. They are flawless. And look! She’s got the nude heels. Perfection.

Fruity Beers
It’s time for bright colors and bright flavors. Oh I know, boys will judge you if you like fruity beers, but I’m a lady, I can’t resist something a bit pretty!

I can suggest some great fruity beers: Dogfish Head’s Noble Rot and of course Strongbow Cider are up there, but one particular seasonal beer makes my spring and summer complete: 21 Amendement Brewery‘s Hell or High Watermelon. A light and airy tasting watermelon wheat beer that is pretty much the spring and summer in a can. It’s one of those beers that you crave on a hot, sunny day while stuck at your desk at work (yes, I’m talking about today in my case)

Product Review: Sally Hansen Salon Effects

14 Mar

I have wanted Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects nail polish strips since I’ve discovered them. I have this bad habit of painting my nails at night, then accidentally falling asleep while waiting for them to dry so I wake up with once-pristine nails covered in smudges and lines where my hair has pressed against them. These stick on nail polish strips could solve that problem. They dry instantly leaving you with a really neat design you could never do yourself.

The problem? They are pretty expensive. I couldn’t bring myself to spend $10 for a product I would only end up using once for maybe a week. So I got savvy this weekend and went clearance hunting at Ulta where I found markdown nail strips from Valentine’s Day styles. A lot of them were tacky hearts and “Love” in comic sans over and over again, but I did find a sharp mix or red, pink and plum color blocks for $5, and I snatched them up really quick.

I was so excited about these things that I peeled all of my nail polish I had on completely off on the drive home. I feel like it’s pretty hard to mess up putting the strips on, you stick them on and press them down,then file off at the end of your nail. Trust me, I’m a total klutz and it was easy for me so you know it was good. When I put them on they looked cute! I was excited to have a really cool design that I didn’t have to spend 2 hours on. Plus at the end I had 5 extra stick-ons to hold onto, which would look cute on a single finger with some nude or red polish on all the others.

And then I went out.

I was heading to my friends house for a party, so I stopped at the liquor store and then sat in the car with Alex for 45 minutes on the way to her house. In that time I managed to get three big chips on the tips on my nails. By the end of the night, which consisted of a lot of sitting around with some beers catching up, not arduous things like building a new house or something, all the nails on my right hand had some chip or another. Frustrating? Oh yeah.

At least with real nail polish I could go ahead and touch it up, but this was different. As the days wore on I realized how much I missed real nail polish. The Salon Effects stick-ons are much shinier than polish and end up looking much more artificial, pretty much like stickers on your nails. I was starting to be a little embarrassed, too, at how obviously fake the design was. It just looked lazy. What really drove me crazy was the edges around my cuticles. They all sort of buckled up a little bit, just enough for a person like me to notice and sit around pulling at all day.

I kept them on my nails for five days. That way I figured I was getting $1 use a day out of them and it wasn’t a waste. But today they ended up in a nice little pile of sticker paper on my desk. As cute as the design was, and as easy as it was to use, I don’t think I’ll end up buying these again, and I definitely won’t pay full price for them. Maybe if I had a special occasion, but I’m not going to any balls or weddings or anything anytime soon. If you’re like me, and you can’t help but pick at your nails when your bored or nervous, these are torture. It’s easier just to set a half hour aside and paint your nails yourself.

Drinking Like a Lady: Dogfish Head’s Noble Rot

28 Feb

My sweet tooth is bigger than any bone in my body. I love a nice, fruity beer and even ciders, which always leads to slack from my male beer-drinking friends. So imagine my surprise when everyone reacted so enthusiastically to Dogfish Head‘s new Noble Rot.

The first line in the description online is “Hmmm. We wonder if anyone will buy a beer with the word ‘rot’ in the name?” I honestly almost didn’t buy it because of that reason. When I hear “rot” I instantly think of weird smells and colors that I shouldn’t be drinking. Luckily, my boyfriend trusts Sam and the rest of the crew at Dogfish whole-heartily, and picked up a bottle for dinner after its Jan. 2012 release, because I did not want to miss out on this beer.

Listed as a “saison-esque project,” Noble Rot is a unique combination of two different kinds of wine grapes combined with pilsner and wheat malts. Mashed together, you get a really unique, beyond interesting beer… no wait, wine… no wait…?

I kind of wish I had payed more attention to the description of Noble Rot before I went through the process of drinking it, because I would have appreciated it much more. The beer drinks more like a wine, with a sweet, champagne-esque bite that overpowers the hops and malt. Were I to have sipped this drink a bit more slowly, I don’t think I would have been so overpowered by the taste, which was so delicious. Through all these new flavors, I can’t help but appreciate that distinct Dogfish taste that you get at the end of a sip. There’s a familiarity amid this strange, wacky brew, a taste that inspires me to buy Dogfish beer in the first place.

If you are just starting out in the craft beer world, it takes some refining. I wouldn’t expect someone who’s lived on Natty Light and Franzia to dive head first into a Double IPA anytime soon, but Noble Rot might be a good start. There’s a balance of flavors that doesn’t make it overly-hoppy or bitter, which can be kind of abrasive when adjusting to the craft beer scene.

One of the great things about craft beers is that each brewery has their own little signature, a taste or flavor that always ends up hitting home and making you say, “Hey, I know where this is from!” I’ve got to love Dogfish’s absolutely off-the-wall approach to beer, it’s what keeps me coming back.

Are you a fan of craft beer? Follow me on UnTappd and share your favorites!

Hey! Look at this cool thing I bought!

6 Feb

There are few things better than a brand new pair of flats from Target. They make the best flats, and they have really outdone themselves this time.

Ladies, I present to you my new favorite shoes in the whole wide world…

Yes, they are champagne-colored flats completely covered in rhinestones. And they look awesome. I actually tweeted a picture of them while on my way to meet a friend for dinner on Saturday (don’t worry, I wasn’t driving), and got a bunch of texts asking about them.

I have been looking for a pair of nude-colored shoes for months. It’s such a great, versatile color. And most of my wardrobe is pretty pattern-less, so these add a little bit of excitement to a more simple outfit. My only problem now is not wearing them everywhere. Seriously, I had at least three moments this morning where I turned around to put them on to replace the black flats I’m wearing now, but I stood strong! I cannot wait to wear these on Valentine’s Day. They are made for the holiday. Perfection in footwear form.

The Post-Grad Gifts That Now Totally Rock

4 Jan

So the holiday season is over… bummer. I seriously go nuts for the holidays, and this year was definitely a great one. I got to spend Christmas and New Years Eve at Alex’s house with his family, and I got to spend Christmas Eve and New Years Day at my house… perfect fit.

Being a college grad, I also found that those gifts you used to get as a kid that weren’t too great ended up being totally frickin’ awesome. I guess this year I ended up appreciating gifts so much more since I’m so broke and desperate for help! Either way, it made me realize how totally obnoxious I was in the past in not appreciating what I got from people that cared enough to buy me something.

So here’s my top 4 list of gifts I receive on a yearly basis that were so much more awesome and useful since graduating from college and being an entry level employee.

1. Scented Clean People Stuff
Every year I get a stack of body washes, lotions, soaps and scrubs in those cute little Bath and Body Works kits from all different friends and relatives. Usually they stack up in a pile under my bed or get re-gifted to a friend or coworker, but this year they were, like, the optimal gift. If you haven’t gotten the gist of it yet, I’m poor, and I started running out of a lot of supplies I bought this summer before my student loans started kicking in. I realized what a great Christmas this would be when my friend, Shana, gave me a body wash and loofa and I yelled out “Holy crap!! I really need this!!” I’m psyched to feel like a normal part of society again, with wonderfully-smelling soaps and shampoo that doesn’t smell like that pink bathroom soap from public schools.

 
2. Socks
The biggest gag gift in holiday history has become one of this year’s best gifts for me. Seriously, I could go on for a couple of sentences about the different kinds of socks I got and how badly I needed them. Big thick wool ones for my new Uggs, sweater socks for bed and just average black and white ones… I’m in broke girl heaven! Socks are just one of those things that I have found I always need but never have time to run out and buy, and even when I do I have so many other things I want to buy instead. I love my new socks way too much, and I’m already dreading pulling open the dryer to find an odd number of socks in my laundry.

 

3. Books
Finally, something new to do that is free! This Christmas I got some awesome new books, Mindy Kaling’s “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?,” Brahm Stoker’s “Dracula,” Steve Job’s autobiography, and Bakerella’s Cake Pop cookbook. If I were to run up to my 10-year-old with my stack of new books, I’d totally give myself a wedgie or something, but I’m one of them adults now, I live a life of class and sophistication and books without pictures. I’m really into memoirs and non-fiction, so with the exception of “Dracula” these are all up my alley and since I’m planning on moving out hopefully sooner than later and they would be a lovely addition to my future living room shelves! Not to mention they are free entertainment, and I’ve exhausted pretty much my entire Netflix spread… I might even be able to cancel my account. Look at me, saving money… Thanks books! You totally don’t suck anymore.

 

4. Calendars
In the past, calendars meant nothing to me. I would hang them up in my room or something then either never take the time to flip to the next month or just leave them on the ground to collect dust once they fell. I mean, it’s not like I had a schedule or plans or public space to display one. But look at me now: I’ve got meetings and interviews, and a brand new office with a lot of blank space. I’m slowly filling that space, but I need to look more fun at work, which is why when I opened up my gift of a vintage travel posters calendar from Alex’s sister I totally flipped. Now I’m more interesting! And I won’t look like a weirdo when someone asks me what day it is and I have no answer! If having a general idea of the time and date isn’t maturing, I don’t know what is.