Last Minute Valentines

As I’m sure you probably know, Valentines Day is this weekend, (also known as Single Awareness day to those of us who aren’t currently in serious relationships). But Valentines Day doesn’t have to be about romance, it can just be a day for showing the people in your life that you love them. I decided this year to get gifts for my mom and nieces, and I have to say, shopping for them was alot more fun than dreading a romantic holiday! So, whether you’re a guy who stumbled here somehow (hi!), or you’re looking for gifts for your mom, sisters, nieces, etc. here are a few ideas that you can pick up this weekend besides the standard flowers and candy.

Birchbox – Obviously has to be the first on my list. I’ve been a member for a couple of years now and I love getting makeup and skincare in the mail every month. Reviewing the samples you get earns you points to spend in the shop, meaning that I’ve been able to get alot of full sized products very cheap or free. They have coupon codes and sales, frequently let you choose one of your samples, you can get free shipping on full sized products from your box each month, and if you reach Ace status you get free shipping all the time and exclusive sales, deals, and perks. The main reason I recommend it as a gift is because you can order it at the very last minute and have an email sent to the person that lets them fill out their own address and profile. They won’t get their box for another week or so if you go that route, but you can set the exact date they get the email if you want that to arrive on Valentines day so they get something that day. You can give subscriptions for 3 months, 6 months, or a year. You can even have their first box sent to you to give it to them in person, but it wouldn’t arrive before Vday. I’ve given subscriptions of this at least four times and everyone seems to love it. There are many other beauty subscription boxes out there, but I haven’t found one yet that has as many perks and as much value as Birchbox. They have great packaging and really helpful customer service as well.

Giftcards – I know, it seems a little impersonal to give someone a gift card. But if you’re stuck for the right thing to add onto a gift, or you just waited too long and need to send something fast, egift cards are always a good solution. Personally, I love to shop so I am always thrilled to get giftcards. For Valentines day I would suggest Sephora, Victoria’s Secret, or even Amazon. Nordstrom can be a nice option as well because they always have free shipping. If you’re going to send a giftcard, it’s nice to think ahead about the potential shipping they may have to pay. You don’t want to send a $15 giftcard to a store that will take $7 in shipping. Even QVC has lowered their shipping prices recently on beauty items and some other things. Dooney & Bourke has giftcards too, if you’re thinking of getting someone a nice purse but aren’t too sure of their style.

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette – What’s better than chocolate? Makeup that looks and smells like a chocolate bar. You can find this one reviewed online and sold through stores like Sephora and Macys. While you may not have time to order this online, there is still time to go out and pick one up.

Nail Polish – Nail polish can be a great gift for friends, nieces, co-workers, etc. Plenty of brands have nice sets, but if you can’t find one it’s easy enough to buy them individually. Grab some red, pink, and white shades and throw them together in a little basket or container. For a nicer look you can stick to one brand, but it’s not necessary. Check out Ulta for brands like Zoya, China Glaze, and OPI. Or if you’re pressed for time or cash, just check out the grocery store or Walgreens and such.

Candy – Okay, let me start by saying that I’m not a fan of those heart shaped candy boxes that they sell for Valentines day. I love chocolate, but I do not love chocolate stuffed with mystery goo. That is not to say that LOTS of people don’t love those boxes. The thing to remember here, is to know what someone likes. If the person enjoys those boxes it can be a great gift. If they don’t, then check out other options like those giant hershey kisses, or just grab a few oversized candybars that you know are their favorite. Once when I was young, a friend got me a gift and instead of tissue paper inside the giftbag, the bag was filled with Jolly Ranchers with the present hidden under them (those were a favorite at the time). Thoughtfulness can make any gift special.

Gadgets – Ipads, Ipods, Kindles, and other tablets are obviously great gifts for people who like gadgets. The Kindles are all on sale right now too. Also check out things like bluetooth speakers that can be fairly inexpensive and connect to your ipod, laptop, etc.

Jewelry – A classic Valentines option. If you’re in doubt, go for more simple designs. There’s a reason why diamond stud earrings are popular, they’re classic. Sterling silver hoops are also nice.

For Kids – If you’re shopping for kids it gets simpler. Teddybears and candy are the easy options, but be aware of allergies if you’re giving food. I found hot pink stuffed chihuahuas for some of my nieces. Notebooks, bracelets, pen sets, stickers and small toys are good too, just make sure it’s right for their age. You could even put together something similar to an Easter basket with a Valentines theme. I saw some light up heart shaped pillows on Amazon that looked cute too.

For Men – I always feel like men are very hard to shop for, at least the ones in my life. Never underestimate the value of baked goods here, whether you make them yourself or order them from a bakery. (Again, watch out for allergies!) Birchbox has a mens version if your guy is into products. Cologne can work, but it’s better if you know he likes a particular brand. If you have an outdoorsy guy, Coleman has a lantern that has snap off panels which is pretty cool – and it’s red!

Hope that gives you guys a few ideas at least. The most important thing is to choose thoughtful gifts. I always hate when people say that Valentines Day is a commercialized holiday about making money. It doesn’t have to be that at all. It’s just a day to set aside to show people that you love them. You don’t have to buy a single thing! Plan a picnic on the living room floor, plan an activity, or make something by hand. You can even find apps that will let you make a little video or collage, send ecards, or write emails and letters telling people what you like about them. It’s all about showing people that you care, and there’s a million different ways to do that. Check out Pinterest if you need more ideas! Enjoy your holiday! ❤

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The Closet Story

It seems like warmer weather brings out the urge to clean, remodel, and organize. Now, that doesn’t mean we I always follow through on that particular desire, but it is there. I guess that’s why Spring Cleaning is a thing, although now it’s more like summer cleaning. Anyway I was checking out Pinterest and saw some cool closets, and I was thinking about how happy I’ve been with my closet since I remodeled it. I’m certainly not handy around the house, but I had some help and was able to completely transform my tiny closet in a short amount of time without spending too much money. So even though it’s been over a year since I did it, I thought I would write about it in case anyone out there is struggling with a small closet and is looking for some tips.

First of all, my closet is very small. For years it was dark, dusty, and majorly cluttered. It wasn’t that I wanted it to be messy, I simply had alot of stuff, a small space, and no organization to speak of. My closet was in the exact state it was the day I moved in, and that was definitely not impressive. The walls were white, but showed their age. The hanging bar was one thick metal round bar with a wood shelf directly above it. The shelf had a tendency to collect dust  and was too high to be very practical, even though I’m tall, so I resorted to laying out a beach towel on it and stacking/tossing rarely used items up there. The floor was the same beige carpet the bedroom had (that was the next project) and the inside of the closet door was dark brown wood. The lighting fixture was just a lightbulb with a string because who doesn’t want their closet to look like it belongs to an unemployed character from The Sims?

For a long time I left the closet untouched other than the occasional cleaning, because I thought it was too small to do anything else with. Boy was I wrong. If that’s your excuse for not fixing up your closet, throw it out the window right now (the excuse, not the closet). Even the tiniest spaces can benefit from a little touching up, and making it look nice will at least improve your mood a little when you look at it.

As I mentioned, I am not handy with tools and that sort of thing, so this is just meant to explain what I did, not really to be an instructional guide of any kind. If you start a closet project you can find great instructions on the internet or at the home improvement store.

Step 1 – Garbage Bags. Oh, how I hated to do it. I’m a pack rat, you see. I always have that feeling that as soon as I throw something out, I’ll need it or find a use for it. We all know that’s probably never the case. Alot of sites say that if you haven’t used or worn something in two years or more, you probably won’t. I’m sure there are some exceptions though, so just give yourself a rough estimate and work from there. Special occasion clothing can be one of those exceptions, but there is no reason you should still be holding onto a t-shirt full of holes from eight years ago unless it has DEEP sentimental value. So throw out that Nickelback shirt and call it a day, unless you got married in it – and if you did… please tell me that story. Anyway, so I cleared out the clutter, got rid of what I didn’t need, and then took everything out of the closet. Now, when I say garbage bags I’m not telling you that you have to throw everything you don’t want into the trash. Obviously you can give things away, donate to charity, have a yard sale, etc. And no, I never had a Nickelback tshirt but I did have a few Evanescence shirts because one of my siblings worked at a music store for a while. Do I really need a tshirt with a picture of Amy Lee kissing a crow? Lets go with probably not.

Step 2 – The pole. No, I am not talking about dancing on one. It turns out that the bar hanging in my closet, and even the shelf above it weren’t exactly quality construction. In fact, they were both easily removed in a few minutes. Apparently they were the result of someone else’s do it yourself project, way back when.

Step 3 – The only thing left in the closet then was the carpet. In this case having a small space was a benefit because taking the carpet out was fast and fairly easy. I had to go back and pull alot of staples out of the floor and scrape some areas where the carpet padding was stuck.

Step 5 – I painted the inside of the closet, including the ceiling and inside of the door, with bright white paint. Since it had always been small and dark, I wanted it to look as clean and bright as possible. I used a couple of coats of paint and the difference was striking. I wish I had painted it YEARS earlier. I had no idea it would change the look that much.

Step 6 – I got a new light fixture and a white wire closet organization system. It was about $90 or so for the closet system and it came with three bars and a bunch of shelves, and all the hardware needed. I absolutely did not install either of those myself, but I supervised! 😉 That’s when it comes in handy to have men in your family. The system I picked had several different ways to configure it, so I looked at the clothes I had and planned out what I needed and where I wanted to put it. This is important because you want to be sure you’re setting up the space where the things you use most often will be easiest to get to.

Step 7 – Once everything was installed, I got some peel and stick linoleum floor tiles. Obviously you can leave carpet in the closet but I have allergies and the carpet was old, so I wanted something that wouldn’t hold on to dust as much. The tiles were really easy to install, I did it by myself and they turned out nice. Again the small space worked in my favor for this project. I put a bit of white wood trim around the edges just to make it look a little better.

Step 8 – Admire closet for a while. Then I got to the final and most important thing I ever did to my closet.. I organized it. I don’t just mean that I bought a few baskets or tupperware boxes, I mean that every single thing I put back into the closet had a place. The bar on the left side at the top is easiest to reach, so that’s where I put all of my tank tops and tshirts since I wear those daily. The bar below that is for long sleeved shirts, blouses, and light jackets. On the other side is a bar for longer hanging items, so that’s where all my dresses and skirts go, and at the front of that bar my coats are hanging. There are various shelves above for extra blankets, purses, and whatnot and a shelf in between the shirt bars where I keep some folded items like shorts, pajamas, and sweaters lined up in stacks. I have another cabinet outside of the closet for jeans and things that the closet doesn’t have space for. including drawers for lingerie and a basket for socks.

Step 9 – It’s not crazy. Everytime I tell someone about this part, they think I’m crazy. Each section of my closet (shirts, dresses, etc) is organized by color. On the lower hanging bar I have both shirts and jackets, so each of those ‘sets’ goes by color also with all the shirts on the left and all the jackets on the right. Yes, it does seem obsessive compulsive, but honestly, it’s amazing. If you’ve never considered doing this, try it! It’s aesthetically pleasing. When my closet door is open and the light is on, it looks so bright and clean and organized and having the colors all together adds to the effect. It goes from light (white) to dark (black) so it gives a nice look. Aside from being pretty to look at, it’s AMAZINGLY practical. I never have to waste time searching for clothes or wondering if something is clean. If I’m going to wear a black skirt and need a red shirt to go with it, I know exactly where to look depending on if I want a tank top or long sleeved top, and I know that if it isn’t in it’s place with the red shirts that I’ll need to wash it. This also helps for when you have something that you wear so rarely you forget that you have it. Once you set your closet up this way it’s very easy to keep it organized and it saves so much time and stress trying to sort through racks of clothes. I don’t think I could ever go back to having my clothes hanging up randomly, it just makes so much more sense to do it this way. (If you’ve seen my nail polish rack, it’s also organized by color. Maybe it’s the artist in me but it just looks prettier that way and I love being able to find what I need quickly and move on).

So that’s all. For a little bit of money and some effort I transformed a small closet I always hated into a space I absolutely love. Now that everything is organized I can fit much more into it than before and it still looks great. I was so surprised at how fixing up this one little area made such a difference and continues to make me happy on a daily basis. Never talk yourself into thinking that small improvements aren’t worth the effort; fixing up a cluttered space can have such a positive effect and brighten up your mood.

The Pets

SmokeyInBed1Smokey went to the vet today (for the rest of his vaccinations). This is him when he got home, chilling in the sun. He’s normally not this still but they said he’d be a little tired for the rest of the day. And also he had just won a wrestling match with a squeaky mouse and a napkin… anybody would need a break after that.

petseditThe pic on the left here is from one night when Smokey was once again hanging out in my closet. I love his ridiculous expression like, “my fort, no girls allowed!” On the right are my doggies, the ones this site is named after (dachshunds… doxies.. glamdox… it makes sense in my head, ok? You can’t tell in the pic but they have leather colors – a pink one and a purple one, that spell out their names in rhinestones. Glamorous!) Those two literally have five beds to choose from so they never share, but one night it was really cold and I couldn’t find them, pulled back the blanket and found them snuggled together like that. Awww. 🙂

That’s all for now, just thought I’d share some cuteness since I didn’t have any makeup stuff to talk about today. Oh, and I finally was able to order that Limited Edition Birchbox, so I’ll have pics of that when it arrives. Yay.

All The Pretty Things

Maybe the title of this post is a little misleading, because if I posted ALL the pretty things, we would be here until next Tuesday. And even that would only cover the pretty things in my general vicinity or that I have seen in the last three hours – point being, this is just a post about some stuff I like.

What am I even rambling about? I don’t know but it’s probably the reason that I shouldn’t post at 3 in the morning. First up I want to show you guys a jewelry rack that I found at Bauble Bar because it’s adorable and I think I need it.

A mini wardrobe for your baubles: This stand features a row of hooks for dangling pendants and bracelets, as well as a small drawer in the base to stash earrings, rings and cuffs.

It has nice little hooks to hang necklaces from and a drawer at the bottom for rings and such. Cute! It’s $32 and Bauble Bar has free shipping, points, referrals, and nice packaging. Sounds pretty good, no? If anybody owns this or orders it, please comment and let me know how you like it. I have a stand up jewelry box (that is, one with many drawers, not one with an honest reputation) but you have to lift the lid to open the sides where necklaces hang. This results in me stacking things on top of said jewelry box and not bothering to open the sides, so I keep alot of necklaces in old Birchboxes. Did I really just complain that my jewelry box was too much effort for me to open? I think I did. But I also have it located in a spot where the doors don’t open easily, so it’s not just my laziness to blame, for once. Anyway, if you decide to do some shopping on Bauble Bar, they will give you 15% off your first purchase if you sign up for emails, and you could be extra sweet and use my referral code here. I know it’s probably tacky to post referral codes all over but it’d be silly of me to not use them when I’m writing about this stuff anyway.

Next up is something glorious I found on Pinterest.

shoe closet

Is that cute or what? I love shoes and I want one of these, scratch that, I want three. That looks so much more glamorous than my current solution of a plastic and metal ‘over the door’ shoe rack hanging outside my closet. Plus it would relieve my fear of spiders wandering into shoes and napping there. Beautiful and practical! I bet that’s how Marilyn Monroe stored all of her shoes, that’s how pretty it is. And then when you have guests you can be all, “why yes, I do store my shoes behind glass… doesn’t everyone?” Boy, the man who gets stuck with ends up with me is going to be one lucky fella. We will store his shoes in the garage or something, they can’t be found mingling with my fabulous shoe cabinetry. Actually I do store all of my black and white heels on their own separate shelves because they are too smug to hang on the shoe rack, maybe I will post a picture of that one day.

fe167435-929f-4ca5-b0a3-ac35fb1876bb.jpg

This has nothing to do with pretties. It’s just a smiling cat from Sulia and it makes me laugh.

Lastly there is a new Limited Edition Birchbox full of drugstore products. My first reaction to this was kind of, eh that’s okay, but the more I looked at it the more I wanted it. Because hello, products, and also it’s a really good value. It has mascara, nail polish, frizz ease, and various other things. If you have some spare points shaking around in your account, this box is $18. (If you aren’t doing your Birchbox reviews, you are throwing away money, my friend). I tried to order this box all day today and my order would not go through because Birchbox doesn’t love me anymore and didn’t want me to have it, and they just laughed and laughed and said “Only fancy tea for you!” Just kidding, but I really couldn’t get my order to go through. I emailed them and will try again tomorrow. Also the bbshop coupon code for free shipping seems to have expired, even though it was supposed to be good for another few days according to the coupon sites. If anyone has a shipping code for Birchbox, (other than their usual free shipping over $50) let me know please!

While I’m pimping out referral codes, here is my Birchbox referral code. On the Birchbox facebook page, some people were saying that using a referral code will let you skip the waiting list, but I have no idea if that’s true. I will try get the review for my February Birchbox up soon, I’m still suspiciously poking those packets of fancy tea and trying to decide if I’ll taste them or give them away.

That’s all for now, have a great week.

This And That

Hey guys,

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I had some computer problems for a while there, and just as soon as I got those resolved, I got sick. Anyway I’ll try to get caught up a bit here soon. I’m also thinking of changing the theme or making some other updates around here, I’m a bit bored with the layout.

In the meantime, I thought I would rant a little bit, and you may have seen me post about this on Twitter recently…

What is the deal with beauty bloggers who use their Twitter feed to post photos of total strangers, simply for the purpose of mocking their outfit? For starters, if I follow you on Twitter and I see something like that, it’s usually an instant unfollow. I don’t have time for your catty negativity. Now, I get it, we all make jokes and sometimes nudge a friend and say “omg look at what that person is wearing!” But there is a very big difference between a comment to a friend, and a post that goes out to hundreds if not thousands of followers. Just think if that person happened to be a follower as well. I know with alot of the popular YouTube beauty bloggers, they have alot of young girls who really look up to them. How would that make them feel to see themselves mocked by someone they admire? And I know that seems unlikely but people are always posting about running into followers while they’re out at the store or random places. I’m really not even talking about the kind of pictures where someone is accidentally in the background, or facing the other way and someone posts a pic of their shoes or whatever. I guess what really ticked me off about this is that recently one of the people I follow posted a picture of a girl on the subway, and used one of those apps that puts several photos in one little collage, so there were 3-4 pictures of a total stranger, clearly showing her face and her outfit and she had no idea she was being photographed. (I no longer follow this person as a result). Are we turning into a culture of amateur paparazzi? It’s ridiculous. The defense that I always see about this is, “well, they were out in public dressed like that, so it’s okay.” As if we don’t all have bad hair/outfit days? I’m sure the people posting these things have run out to the store in a hurry, or sick, or on laundry day or for whatever reason at SOME point looking less than perfect, and would they want strangers lurking around every corner posting photos of them? Who gave you the right to judge everyone anyway?

I don’t know why this irritates me so much. Other than that I feel like it’s really invading someones privacy to do something like that. They didn’t ask to have their picture taken by you, or to be posted on your page. At least blur their faces, or if you want to make fun of a trend, find a magazine photo of it or an ad, not some poor unsuspecting person just trying to get to work. It’s like our society is stuck in a High School, Mean Girls mentality and nobody seems to mind. None of us are perfect but we can try to at least have a little respect for eachother and ourselves. Grow up, show some class, and try being prettier on the inside as well as the outside. What do you guys think, am I taking this too seriously? Would you be okay with total strangers posting photos of you without your permission to judge your hair/clothes/makeup?

Anyway, sorry for the rant. In more relevant news, I’m waiting on six new Zoya polishes to arrive from their recent BOGO deal (yay). I’ll be sure to post a picture when they arrive, they’re all pixie dust shades because I just couldn’t resist. And in case you didn’t know, Zoya is doing a Twitter game called Tune Tuesdays now where you can win polish. They also have a new website with bigger images, and it’s very pretty.

That’s all for now!

Things I’ve Learned From Pinterest

Do you use Pinterest? If not, you’re really missing out. It’s kind of like YouTube in the sense that you will start looking at one thing and two hours later you’re looking at cute animal photos and wondering where your day went. However, there are also alot of useful tips, manicure ideas, hairstyle tutorials and household hints. Rather than hundreds of disorganized bookmarks, you can make boards and easily find things again. You can also download the app, which I keep on my ipod so that when I’m getting ready I can quickly find some hairstyle or makeup inspiration. Overall, it’s really cool and I thought I’d link you guys to some of the neat things I’ve found there. I haven’t tried all of these so any of the household tips and such should be used at your own risk/discretion, and all of these links are credited to their respective owners, not me. And with that, here’s some that I enjoy. If you’d like to follow me on Pinterest, my name is Raayn.  I’m linking to the pins themselves, some of them you might need to click again to get to the actual site they’re from.

Household Tips:

My Favorite Pinterest Nail Designs

How To Correctly Apply Nail Polish

Hair

Makeup

That’s all for now. Do you have a great board on Pinterest? Leave the link or your Pinterest name in the comments! And if you’ve tried one of these looks or tips, comment about that too!

Summer Reading

I thought I would take a little break from the beauty reviews and write about some of the books I’ve enjoyed lately, in case you’re looking for some light summer reading. I considered making a whole page of the site devoted to book reviews, but I think it would just end up overlooked. So for now, it’s just going to be a quick list of some stuff you might want to check out this summer while you’re hanging by the beach or wherever it is you go to relax. Keep in mind that I consider ‘summer reading’ to be enjoyable books that you can get through fairly quickly. You won’t find Pride and Prejudice or things of that nature on this list, and that’s not because I haven’t read it (I have!) it’s just that this list is less about literature and more about passing the time with something fun. I’ll try not to put anything that would count as a spoiler in my descriptions, but if you see something I should omit let me know.

Deviants: The Dust Chronicles – This was a book that I wasn’t even planning to read, but my mom had read it and enjoyed it and she loaned me her kindle so that I could read it too. It came a big storm one night so I settled in to start the book. By the next afternoon, I had finished it. I didn’t mean to read it so fast, I just couldn’t put it down. This book is in the Young Adult category I believe, and the best way I can describe it is The Hunger Games meets X-Men. The main character is a 16 year old girl, Glory, who lives in a post-apocalyptic dome in a strict society of rules, poverty, and starvation. Sounds a little bleak, right? The story begins with her orphaned, struggling to feed herself and her brother who everyone believes is dead. There are some in this society that have developed special abilities, and they are hiding all over the city to avoid being discovered and thrown out of the dome to savage creatures that exist in the dusty, unbreathable air outside.  I don’t recommend reading the Amazon description of this book because I feel that it gives a little too much away. There’s alot of action in the story and a little bit of romance without it being over the top sappy.

Compliance: The Dust Chronicles – This is the sequel to Deviants, and I think there is going to be a third at some point. This one I started the day that I finished Deviants, and I was done with it the same night. This story focuses more on Glory trying to help others and being torn between who she can trust and who she can’t. If you liked the first book you will most likely enjoy this one too, though it ended a little sooner than I would’ve liked.

The Hunger Games – I’m sure that most people who read this type of book have already read The Hunger Games ages ago. If you haven’t, you really should check it out. Seeing the movie definitely doesn’t count. The movie does a really good job adapting the story to film, but the books have alot more depth to the relationships and the story. Obviously, there’s only so much they can put in a two hour movie. The next movie is coming out this fall, so do yourself a favor and read all three books in the series if you plan to see it (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay). I think those three books are probably my favorite series ever so I had to include them.

Heir Untamed – If you’re looking for a fairly quick beach read, this is a pretty decent choice. It’s about a photographer who is about to lose her apartment, and is suddenly offered a job to travel to another country and live for a few months taking pictures of royalty. She moves into a castle, is charmed by a prince, and meets another handsome, rugged man who works for the family. Someone is out to get her from day one so there’s a little mystery thrown in as well. It ends a little abruptly due to the fact that this is book 1 in a series, but there is enough resolved to feel like it wasn’t a waste of time. This is a good choice for when you just want something light that doesn’t require alot of thought, but still throws out a surprise or two. A castle, a prince, and a sexy outdoor type guy… not a bad story indeed. ; ) The kindle edition of this is free, so that’s mainly why it makes the list and why I read it in the first place.

That’s all for now. Maybe soon I’ll post a summer playlist as well. Would you guys like more book related posts? Let me know if you read any of these, I’d love to hear what you thought! Enjoy!