Influenster #DLVoxBox

Influenster #DLVoxBox

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I just received my first box from Infuenster!

This one is the Dean’s List box and is focused towards women in school. I received a couple of seriously awesome products complementary to test/review!

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(A nice shot of all the products I received) 

Here’s a rundown of the products I received and completely honest/blunt/unbiased thoughts after reviewing:

  • Airheads Bites: If you love the originals, you’re going to love the bites! They’re easy-to-eat and great tasting fruit and berry flavors without getting your fingers sticky like the originals.
  • Pilot FriXion Clicker: The idea of an erasable pen is revolutionary. I am an avid daily planner person and I hate when I have to change already written dates, since I like everything to look neat and orderly. This pen is a perfect solution for unsightly cross-throughs!
  • SinfulColors No Text Red: So, I loved the color, but not the quality of the nail polish itself, since it chipped almost immediately (even after a clear top coat). I have a nail polish obsession and, therefore, have tried virtually every brand. I have found brands that are wonderful and, unfortunately, I will not be purchasing this brand.
  • KISS Looks So Natural Lashes: I am a firm believer that false lashes can enhance and highlight the natural beauty of your eyes. This product definitely does that and are so comfortable to wear!
  • Softlips Cube in Fresh Mint: SO. RIDICULOUSLY. AMAZING. This Softlips product has become my go-to lip product and I plan on buying each flavor available. After application, your lips instantly feel softer, smoother and more hydrated.They are available in Pomegranate Blueberry, Fresh Mint, and Vanilla Bean.
  • Playtex Sport Fresh Balance: What can I say? I have always been a loyal Playtex Sport customer and this new version lived up to my great expectations. Play On.
  • Luden’s NEW Watermelon Throat Drops: How amazing is it that I received my #DLVoxBox and this product on the same day I woke up with a sore throat? Talk about perfect timing! My scratchy, sore throat was instantly relieved while the delicious tasting throat drop dissolved. The new throat drops are also available in Blue Raspberry!

Overall, I am so happy with these product and so grateful to receive them!

Tried any of these products yourself? Share your thoughts in the comments 🙂

Moving On and Starting Over

Moving On and Starting Over

Well, I’ve been living in St. Louis for three months now! While I never thought I would end up in Missouri, I can really see why people fall in love with this city.

When Vishal announced our new destination, I was beyond nervous and had no idea what to expect. I had never visited the area before and the only background knowledge I had on STL was that it was home to the Arch. That’s it. But, with only two weeks to pack up and move out of our place, I was more worried about how I was going to fit all of our stuff into my sedan (not an easy feat), than how life would be in our new city.

After a few weeks here, an overwhelming feeling I had when on my own was how cut off from my familiar world I felt. After living in my college town for the previous four years, having friends all around me, and always having someone to call up to hang out with, I began to realize that growing up sometimes means leaving the familiar behind. It was also hard that I used to only be a three hour drive from home and was accustomed to seeing family just about every other month. It was all just very comfortable. That comfort is what made it so hard, yet so easy, to leave. It is a shocking and in-your-face type of thought, but I’ve realized how necessary this experience was for me. I was able to reevaluate myself and given the chance for a period of introspection to better understand my wants and my needs, discover what’s important in my life, and where I want my life to lead me. If there was any a time to experience something like this, the time was now. This is time before there is anything holding Vishal and I back from being truly “free” in the we-have-no-real-responsibilities way.

A few things I have discovered during this new journey:

1. You realize who the important people are in your life. I cannot tell you how much I wish I could be just a short drive away from my family and friends.

2. You get away from the drama you always had to deal with before. Sometimes, when you’re around your friends and peers and just those various groups you end up interacting with, you get pulled into or are around negative people. When you move away, you get to leave all of that negativity behind and just focus on the people who matter!

3. You can start over fresh and have the chance to reinvent yourself. You have left the people who have formulated concrete perceptions of you, so if there is something you want to change about yourself, you can without being nervous of people’s reactions. You have the chance to make a new impression on the new people you’ll meet in your new city.

4. You discover how valuable hanging out with friends you’ve known since elementary/middle/high school is. It was a strange thought I had, but there is an interesting comfort in surrounding yourself with people who have known you through various stages of your life. You realize the relationships and friendships you form with people in your adult years are in a separate league than ones from your childhood, teenage, and college years. This is not a bad thing, it’s just something about growing up that makes those older friendships even more special and meaningful.

This experience has been amazing, scary, exciting, anxiety-enducing, but overall so important and valuable. So, take the leap, jump in with two feet, and take advantage of new experiences while you have the chance. It is the best opportunity for self-discovery and I urge you all to take that next step towards a new adventure.

With Love,

Steph

A Vegetarians’ Guide: Walt Disney World Resort

Dating a vegetarian has opened my eyes to the daily difficulty that comes with trying to find somewhere to eat. Having dietary restrictions makes this even harder when traveling and trying to please multiple appetites. You would think that with all of the people that visit the Walt Disney World Resort, “Mickey” would make sure that there were plenty of options, besides salad, for his friends with special diets, but that is simply not the case. Below I have listed out the best restaurants, both quick service and sit down, around the Disney property that offer vegetarian dishes or that I have experienced can facilitate special requests. Keep in mind that most of these restaurants only offer one, maybe two, entrees that are vegetarian, so if you have a picky eater, check out the menus available on the Disney Dining site for full descriptions! Also, most of the quick service options only offer Quinoa burgers, which I have experienced to come out VERY greasy to the point that my boyfriend could not eat it without getting sick and some offer just Portobello Sandwiches (a no-no for mushroom allergies).

Downtown Disney
T-REX: MY FAVORITE! If you have special dietary restrictions, the chef will come out to the table to fully understand your needs and, in our experience, has created fully custom dishes to satisfy our needs and taste buds!
Crossroads at House of Blues
Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe
Bongos Cuban Cafe
Rainforest Cafe
Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restuarant
Portobello Country Italian Trattoria
Planet Hollywood
Fulton’s Crab House
Earl of Sandwich

Magic Kingdom
Tony’s Town Square
Crystal Palace
Cinderella’s Royal Table
The Plaza Restaurant
Be Our Guest
Liberty Tree Tavern* (lunch only)
Columbia Harbour House (Lighthouse Sandwich and Vegetarian Chili are a must!)
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
The Diamond Horseshoe
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe
Pinocchio Village Haus
Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant (two pasta dishes you must request without meat and Alfredo sauce may be made with chicken stock so ask to be sure)
Tortuga Tavern (Vegetarian Burrito!)

EPCOT
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
Coral Reef Restaurant
Electric Umbrella
Katsura Grill
Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe
La Cantina de San Angel
Le Cellier Steakhouse
Liberty Inn
Lotus Blossom Cafe
Nine Dragons Restaurant
Restaurant Marrakesh
Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room
Sunshine Seasons
Teppan Edo
Tutto Italia Ristorante
Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria

Disney’s Hollywood Studios
50’s Prime Time Cafe
ABC Commissary
Backlot Express
The Hollywood Brown Derby
Hollywood & Vine
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
Pizza Planet Arcade
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
Starring Rolls Cafe

Animal Kingdom
Pizzafari
Rainforest Cafe
Restaurantosaurus
Tusker House Restaurant
Yak & Yeti Restaurant

Continue reading “A Vegetarians’ Guide: Walt Disney World Resort”

Cave of the Winds

Cave of the Winds
During my trip to Denver, CO, the boyfriend and I decided to trek down deep into the earth at Cave of the Winds in Colorado Springs- technically Manitou Springs. About an hour from Denver, this attraction was definitely worth the drive.
You can pick from two different tours, the Discovery Tour (more suited for families) and the Lantern Tour (for the more adventurous). We decided to toughen-up and go on the Lantern Tour. So worth the extra $10.
A bit of a disclaimer, the Lantern Tour is not for the faint of hearts. It is a pretty long trek with lots of almost crawling, ducking, steps, and some slippery floors. You can really feel it, especially with the altitude and temperature change, but it is obviously doable.
We did have to wait a bit before our tour began, but there is plenty to do and see until then! The building has two decks that overlooks an absolutely beautiful mountain and valley, so we just posted up in the rocking chairs admiring what Florida is seriously lacking in appealing landscape.
The tour started with pictures at the entrance of the cave before we made our way to the grand cavern (If you’re a picture person like I am and its a slower day, they’ll let you retake it at the end of the tour until you’re happy). Our tour guide, Chris, was wonderful. Very informative and funny. He gave the group a brief history of the caves, which were discovered in 1881. I love learning and hearing about the past, so I was all about this tour. There were so many interesting tid-bits we learned about the caves themselves, their discovery, the man who discovered them, and some “ghost stories” that linger in the caves.
After completing the majority of what the Discovery Tour covers, we moved onto the sections that were exclusive to the Lantern Tours. This involved going up a few more flights of stairs to another make shift entrance. Before going in deeper, we were all given hand-held, gas-and-wick lanterns (so cool!). We explored more passage ways, cool illuminating rocks, and experienced total and complete darkness after putting out our lanterns. During the darkness phase, Chris talked us through the sensations our eyes were going through trying to adjust through the darkness. It was a really interesting experience.
The trip wraps up as were taken back through the caves. After working our way through different passages and witnessing so many other holes in the walls, I can only think about how many other passages that have yet to be discovered!
Oh and there is a section of the cave where previous visitors have left personal mementos to mark there trip to the caves permanently, so be sure to bring a business card or old school ID with you! I wish I had known that before, but I’ll just have to go back next time I’m in town!
Extra bonus for those of you who experienced Greek life in college and were lucky enough to know brothers of TKE:

No idea how it got there, since it’s about three stories up, but how cool?! Try and find it on your visit!

Overall, the Cave of the Winds tours are a definite to-do attraction when in Denver or the Colorado Springs area. You’ll experience history, folklore, cavern passages over hundreds of years old, and it is an experience that the entire family can enjoy.  Plan in advance and purchase tickets online for a discount!
Anyone else experience Cave of the Winds? Let me know what your favorite part was in the comments!

Hey, where’d you get that…?

Hey, where’d you get that…?

Picture this: You’re walking down the street and see someone wearing something that you just absolutely love. An internal struggle commences on wether to walk up to her and ask where she got it. You think to your self, but isn’t that weird? You go on to saying you don’t need it; you did just buy that couldn’t-live-without pair of shoes, after all. But, then decide you have to have it and you’re going to be that girl and go up and ask her where she got it, all while complimenting her style to make the request flow a little easier. You turn around to catch up to her and ask, but too late. She’s gone and so is the hope of finding whatever it is she was wearing.

This is my life on a weekly basis. Chalk it up to my poor-spending habits or a little too much use of the retail-therapy excuse, but there is something about clothes/accessories/makeup/whatever that has me hooked and I am always that girl who asks random people where they got their stuff from.

Here’s a few problems I’ve found with that scenario: sometimes people forgot where they got it or they got it like two years ago (good luck to you on trying to find it) or they’re gone before you even have time to ask. Oh poo.

But, wait! There’s hope!

The (MEGA) genius solution: Style Thief.

Style Thief is the twenty-first century solution to finding other peoples’ style must-haves. This handy-dandy app I found on the iPhone App Store lets you search for coveted fashion apparel you see on the street, TV, internet or anywhere else! You have two ways to search: take a picture of the items and upload it or just type in a description of what you’re looking for in the search bar and poof, you have multiple choices that you can buy instantly.

I have never heard of an app like this before and pretty sure this is, currently, the only one out there. I have had it on my phone now for about two weeks and it is AWESOME! I have been looking for a olive, utility styled jacket ever since I saw Chloe Bennets’ character, Skye, wear it on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for months and with this app, I just uploaded a photo of her and there were all of the choices I could ever want. All in under a minute.

So, thank you, Style Thief, for facilitating more beautiful additions to my closet!

Getting Older

Getting Older
Just a few months ago, I celebrated my twenty-second birthday. I couldn’t help but realize how  strange it was- feeling like it was just yesterday that I was sixteen and a junior in high school dreaming of college and the places after that. Now, if only I was sixteen again and wasn’t worrying about  getting older and trying to get most out of life as possible.
On my birthday, people kept asking me the typical “do you feel older” question. I just laughed it off, as does anyone who doesn’t really know the best way to answer a question, But no. I didn’t feel older. I don’t think anyone ever physically feels older on their birthday…except for maybe for the twenty-first birthday when you can legally do more, but for twenty-two, no. It is just as pointless as twenty was. But, one thing I did realize: although I did not feel older, I came to the mental realization that I am getting older. It is a completely different feeling and brings on a completely different set of emotions, and possibly a few “quarter-life” crises.
I am getting older and life around me is making even more aware of that. Going back to the time of my birthday, graduation was growing near, I was packing up my student apartment, and watching my younger friends pick out their class schedules for the next year. I was officially getting into that “real-world” adulthood phase that was always looming around the corner and now it has finally crept up on me. It all seems so final.
Life during college seems to go by SO much faster than my high-school years and I feel that these quick years will become the norm. With everyday being close to a cycle and planning dates throughout the next year in my planner, it is no wonder how people get into this never-ending cycle in life and before we know it 2015 will be here in a blink of an eye.
So, with everything I have just typed out for the world to see, I am making a pact: a goal to treat everyday as bringing me something new, to pay attention to the small things throughout my day that I might not have noticed before, to wake up positively, to do my best to try new things, make spontaneous decisions, and to, overall, find my passions in life and pursue them. Because after college, there is no longer that sense of “I can do everything and try everything because I am a student taking classes with no rent, real responsibilities, or anything holding me down”. Life suddenly gets real.

Fashion-forward fitness gear? Yes, please!

Fashion-forward fitness gear? Yes, please!

In this day in age, I believe it is impossible to not reference or think about something diet, exercise, fitness, or health related on a day to day basis. It’s a hot topic and since we live in a high-tech world, there is always some new technology that comes out to help us keep track of our fitness goals. One that has always been on my radar, but that I haven’t pursued is from FitBit. In case you’re not up-to-speed on the super successful brand that basically has a cult following, Fitbit boasts a line of small, wearable trackers that record your steps taken, distance, calories burned, active minutes, and some even track your sleep patterns. Those stats also syncs with your computer and select smartphones. No doubt, it’s a cool piece of hardware.

While this handy, dandy tracker would great to own, I have just never made that leap into purchasing one. Mainly, because I wasn’t sure how much I’d use it due to its athletic appearance. I’m a girl who loves to look put-together when out and I don’t think a tracker strapped to my clothes or wrist would compliment my office attire very nicely. So, there was that…until now.

Fitbit has just made the “Tory Burch for Fitbit” accessory line available for pre-order.

Now they have my attention.

Tory Burch for Fitbit is an accessory collection debuting fashion-forward pieces to fit the Fitbit Flex and they are exactly what Fitbit needed to gain my business. There are four pieces featured in the line: the Metal Hinged Bracelet, Metal Fret Pendant, and two Silicon Printed Bracelets in navy and fuchsia.

My favorite from the line (and, unfortunately, the most expensive) is the Metal Hinged Bracelet priced at $195. It is sleek, simple, and chic; perfect for going to work, a night out, or lunch with friends. I really like that is in the same form as the actual Fitbit Flex. It’s still worn on your wrist, so the accuracy should be on point with the normal Flex band. Unlike the bracelet, I feel that wearing your tracker in the Pendant accessory would compromise the accuracy of the stats since necklaces tend to bounce around during typical movement not necessarily when just walking (any thoughts on this?).

A more price-friendly option are the Silicon bracelets, priced at $38.

Overall, I am in love with this collaboration and I am scouring the internet now for any deals for the Fitbit Flex. After that, next on my shopping wish list is the Tory Burch Metal Hinged Bracelet!

Do you have any thoughts on this collab? Does it make a difference in your likelihood to purchase the Flex or-if you already have the Flex- any of the Tory Burch accessories? Let me know in the comments.

With Love,

Steph

Rambles from the Past: “Graduation and Life After It”

Below is a recount of idling thoughts I scribbled into my notebook in the days leading up to one of my biggest accomplishments: College graduation.
Thirty-six. The daily countdown has officially commenced. In thirty-six days, I will be walking across THAT stage in cap and gown and with that (hopefully) graceful walk, I will end my days as an undergraduate student.
That sentence seems so foreign to me.
College student is the only title I’ve gone by and all I’ve known in these past four years. Even crazier thought: I have been a “student” for the past seventeen years (since kindergarten). And with that Walk, it will be over. That chapter in my “Book of Life” will close and it will be time to start a new one. One that will include joining the real, and somewhat scary, adult world. I will soon have to find a “real” job, start paying my own bills, and ultimately adjust to living life without the safety blanket that is college. I will leave the friends and family I created here for a fresh beginning- one that will hopefully take me to the west coast. I have begun to realize what matters, who matters, and who will realistically still be someone close in my life. I think back on all of the memories-some bad, some good, some so crazy that it leaves me thinking how did I ever do that- and just get consumed with happiness, because I know I didn’t “waste” my college years. I did incredible things, took advantage of wonderful opportunities, and made the best friends I possibly could.
Scary as it may be, it is also a ridiculous exciting time with what seems like endless possibility. Think about it, come graduation, I will be a young, smart girl with a degree and nothing holding me back from starting a new life. I can move across the country, even across the world, and start MY life. One that I will define however I want. While the job-search seems daunting now, I know I will land a great job somewhere and have even started applying out of state. I cannot wait!
Mostly now, the thoughts that fill my head are mainly concerned with my career path. I feel like the first job you have, will greatly define where you will go in life. Yes, there are “career-changers”, but frankly, I don’t want to be one of them. I want to find something I am completely passionate about and make that my job. I want to love what I do, so that I never feel like I’m working. Because, as you’ve probably heard a million times before: “If you love what you do, You’ll never work a day in your life.” That could not be more true. Over my time in college, I have completed five different internships. Some I absolutely LOVED, and some I absolutely did not. That’s what makes doing internships so great, you basically get a first-hand test run of the job without being committed to it. Then you can find what you love and cross out the options you didn’t love. Cause, believe me, when you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you will be miserable five days out of the week for everyday you walk into work- and who wants to live like that?
It’s honestly crazy to think, in a mere thirty-six days I will have an entirely different life from the one I’ve known for the past seventeen years.
If only I could make blogging, traveling, and just experiencing all opportunities in life my full-time, paying job. That would be amazing.

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods
One of the most beautiful places I have been to: Garden of the Gods. Wonderful and picturesque. This is a place you definitely NEED to visit. It is a free public park and National Natural Landmark located in Colorado Springs; about an hour drive from Denver. Stop at the visitors center for a map and the volunteers who work there are a great resource for special sightings around the trails.
View from the Visitor Center observation deck)
There are designated trails, all featuring something special. You can start wherever you’d like, as each trail as easy and accessible parking. We started off with the scenic paved trail. It was beautiful and there were tons of people enjoying their morning there that day, some with their dogs (made me really miss my Simba back at home). Throughout the entire park, you enjoy amazing dramatic views sandstone rock formations towering 300 feet above you and sights of Pike’s Peak (another favorite of mine) in the background. There were plenty of opportunities to explore unpaved paths, which the boyfriend and I took complete advantage of. We climbed, explored, and found the coolest areas that you otherwise wouldn’t see. Finding all of the different famous formations like the Kissing Camels, Balanced Rock, and the Window Rock, where our favorite activity. I highly suggest visiting the Window Rock. It is a rock formation with a hole in the middle that perfectly frames a sight of Pike’s Peak through it.
 Garden of the Gods is a great place for easy hikes, biking, and horse trails. I swear we could have spent the entire day in Garden of the Gods, if only our trip wasn’t so short.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

In one of my last senior leadership classes, we discussed Maslow’s Heirarcy of Needs and its application in the workplace as well as in our daily lives. Maslow developed this model to understand what motivates people. One of the questions we had to answer was which two of the five needs are the most prominent for us at the current time. There are five different needs: Self-Actualization, Self-Esteem, Belonging, Safety, and Physiological.
After much thought and reflection, I realized my two most prominent motivational needs at the current time were belonging and love. With graduation right around the corner at that time and so many possibilities at my footsteps, I felt a lot of upheaval in my life due to the unknown after. More than ever, I had been relying on that feeling of belonging in my personal and work life to maintain some balance. Feeling of belonging is important, because one will want to feel that they have a safe and secure place, whether it is in the workplace or in their personal lives, as well as the reassurance that they are wanted. If there is no feeling of belonging, one might feel outcasted or not welcome, which is never good. Second, love has been important to me because one always wants the secure feeling of having someone always there for you, whether in a time of need or just for fun. With that same feeling of upheaval, it was now more than ever, important to me to feel loved and supported by friends and family. Graduation meant leaving the safety-net that is college and going into the real world, which -you could imagine- is a big transition.
It is a very exciting time, but it’s also been a time for me to reflect on my years in college and realize everything I am leaving behind.  To be fully responsible for ones’ self after living a mostly carefree life is truly and utterly scary. It means leaving one frame of mind that is familiar and known for the unknown and strange. But, I guess this is what I and the rest of my graduating class had been preparing for the last four years?