Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thankful Thursday #6 - Halloween Edition!

Source: 7429

This week's Thankful Thursday is a special one celebrating HALLOWEEN! I hope you all have a happy and safe night filled with lots of sweet treats!                           
My Halloween Thanks:
  • Hats
  • Candy
  • Witches
  • Pumpkins
  • Costumes
  • Black Cats
  • Broomsticks
  • Hocus Pocus
  • Party Music
  • Nice Weather
  • It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
 Have a great day, you guys!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Steps to self-education. Part 1

Source: Pinterest

I have been out of school far longer than I care to admit but one thing I miss most about those days is the easily accessible source of knowledge I was given. I didn't really pursue a higher education (ie: college, university) as it was much too expensive to go into without a set goal in mind. I didn't want to gather a degree for a career; I wanted to learn, to explore, to open myself to new ideas and discoveries.

Which is basically what this post is about - taking knowledge into your own hands. There are so many different ways I gather information on my interests and maybe you can take one of these away to use yourself. Always be curious. Always learn. Teach yourself if others cannot. The moment you stop, you waste away. Your very being exists to grow and gain experiences and knowledge. Don't waste that!

Read books that interest you.
This is the non-fiction sort, of course. When I was 16 I stumbled across Tudor England. You know, King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. And to this day, I still have such a strong passion to read everything I can about this period of English history. What interests you? A particular time in history maybe? Feudal Japan? Ancient Egypt? Colonial America? Or perhaps it’s more in the science area! You can find anything about subjects ranging from Forestry to Astronomy to Psychology. Take a day to visit your local library and browse the aisles until something catches your eye.

Watch documentaries.
This is an easy one! You can find such a range of topics on Netflix or even YouTube. I recently watched Pompeii - The Last Day and Happy. Animals, earth, emotions, culture, society... you can find a documentary on probably anything you might be curious about. And this would be a great place to start, especially if you aren't a reader by choice.

A puzzle a day.
There are so many apps you can download for your tablet or smart phone. As I posted just recently, I play a lot of word games. This helps my vocabulary. Every day I come across a new word and I like to find the definition of that word so I can challenge myself to use it in a sentence. Sudoku, word finds, hidden objects, tangrams... anything that keeps your mind active and on the ball helps you in the long run. There have been studies about this!

Learn a new word.
Open a dictionary and find a word you aren't familiar with, then challenge yourself to use it at some point in the day. I have a horrid memory so I often can't retain all of these words as I don't use them often enough but the simple action of this ritual opens new ideas and ways to think. And I do remember quite a few of them! It gives me pride to know I taught myself something as simple as a single word!

Talk radio.
Ok. This can be a boring option for some people. I know quite a few that have confessed to talk radio making them sleepy. But I love it! I now have the habit of listening to NPR on the drive to and from work. Sure, they give regular updates to the daily news but many of the programs they offer are very educational! I especially love Science Friday and StoryCorps. This summer I listened to the NPR Cities Project. It really opened my eyes (and ears) to things I never took account of!!

These are just a sample of ways you can grow your brain! There are many more ideas that I use for self-education. Which I will have to make a follow-up post about! I’m excited just for writing these down. Yay for learning! 

Do you have any habits of self-knowledge? Share them in the comments below! I love to find new ways I can open myself to knowledge.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pumpkin Carving

Last night, after our magical trip to the pumpkin patch, Husband and I went about carving our pumpkins! It was such fun and a great end to a perfect day. We listened to a Halloween party mix (yay Rocky Horror!) and I had yummy coffee.

Our pumpkin family.

 Brom wanted to join the fun.


Hello in there!

My owl template.

Husband's Decepticon.

Pumpkin seeds for roasting!

My finished product!

Decepticon and the Owl. Obviously the owl is the winner!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A trip to the pumpkin patch.

Husband and I went to a local pumpkin patch today. Such fun! This pumpkin patch is an activity farm of sorts. They have many games geared towards the kids such as barrel racing (with wooden stick horses!), steer roping, milking a (wooden) cow, tricycle races, water duck racing, a bouncy house, horseshoes, and more. They also have a corn maze, petting zoo, pig race, live band, face painting, bonfires for smores and "general store" that sells cheap novelty Halloween items. You take a hayride on a covered wagon pulled by a tractor out to the pumpkin patch, pick your favorite out in the field, and have a nice ride back. While the whole thing is made for families, Husband and I had fun with it just the two of us. (And his pig won every race! Cheat!)

 They had Snoopy!

 And oh-so-bad-for-you food!

 The petting zoo was nice!

Pig races! Green kept winning.

 My pumpkin! I love the stem.<3

Friday, October 25, 2013

Favorite Apps : Games

Every person that owns a smartphone or tablet has at least one game on there. It's a fact. Games are a great way to pass the time while on the go or just doddling around. There are a few games that I've had for quite a while that I love to play when I have a free moment or as a way to wind down after a long day. I thought to share these games with you! Maybe you've heard of some of these, maybe not. Either way, I hope you find this list usable! (And by the way, these are all FREE!) Happy gaming!

Word Wall 

Available on Android and iTunes

Bubble Shooter

                                                                      Available on Android

Panda Picnic
                                                                        Available on iTunes

iAssociate 2
Available on Android and iTunes

Guess The Brand
Available on Android and iTunes
Smurfs' Village
Available on Android and iTunes

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thankful Thursday #5

  • Socks
Alas, the days of running carefree and barefoot are at an end. With Autumn making itself known, I have needed socks to keep warm. While I will miss running about without socks, I am thankful to have them. Especially when it's 40F outside and my toes turn to ice. Egads!
  • Books
I have been gobbling books up this week. Finished three (which means more book reviews!) and I have a pile that I can't wait to dive into. I have such a passion for books. To see them, hold them, smell them. One of my greatest thanks is that I have access to books and reading material. It's all there, knowledge and characters and feelings and questions just waiting to be discovered.
  • A New Niece (!)
Born October 22, she is the sweetest thing I have ever seen. I am so thankful that she's here finally, safe and healthy. Adorable!
  • Lights at the End of the Tunnel
I'm sure everyone has had those moments of feeling stuck, as though they aren't moving forward with anything in life. Well, I have had that feeling for some time, especially with 3 major things. And this week I have had signs or opportunities, or whatever you want to call it, that one or two of those might be getting better. Just when I was feeling at my lowest, God gave me a sunny sky.
  • Showtunes
Secret? When I'm upset, I listen to showtunes. Musical numbers just pick me up like nothing else can. (Much to the woe of Husband who has to listen!) Because of the season, I have been listening a lot to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It's astounding... time is fleeting...

What are you thankful for this week? Please share in the comments below!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

13 Family Friendly Halloween Movies

Halloween is just around the corner! It seems I have been posting quite a bit in celebration but I have just one more to share! With excitement brewing around the house, my family has been watching our favorite Halloween movies and I thought to share these with you! I am not a "scary" Halloween fan with blood and poltergeists and the like so all of these are family friendly. No matter what the ages of the ones in your household, I can bet you'll find something here that everyone will enjoy!

 It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Rating: G
Length: 25 Minutes

The Peanuts gang celebrates Halloween, with Linus hoping that, finally, he will be visited by The Great Pumpkin; while Charlie Brown is invited to a Halloween party. 

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
Rating: G
Length: 68 Minutes 
Two Disney animated adaptions of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "The Wind in the Willows".

Rating: PG
Length: 100 Minutes

A young girl meets a lonely ghost when her ghost therapist dad is hired to rid a home of its supernatural inhabitants.

Ernest Scared Stupid
Rating: PG
Length: 91 Minutes

The loveable lunkhead Ernest is in for a devil of a time when he accidentally unleashes an evil demon from its sacred tomb, causing the awakened foe to go on a devastating rampage.
The Witches
Rating: PG
Length: 91 Minutes

A young boy stumbles onto a witch convention and must stop them, even after he has been turned into a mouse.

Hocus Pocus
Rating: PG
Length: 96 Minutes

After 300 years, three sister witches are resurrected in Salem Massachusetts on Halloween night, and it us up to two teenagers, a young girl, and an immortal cat to put an end to the witches reign of terror once and for all.

Rating: G
Length: 84 Minutes

On her 13th birthday, Marnie learns she's a witch, discovers a secret portal, and is transported to Halloweentown - a magical place where ghosts and ghouls, witches and werewolves live apart from the human world. But she soon finds herself battling wicked warlocks, evil curses, and endless surprises.
Corpse Bride
Rating: PG
Length: 77 Minutes

When a shy groom practices his wedding vows in the inadvertent presence of a deceased young woman, she rises from the grave assuming he has married her.

Monster House
Rating: PG
Length: 91 Minutes

Three teens discover that their neighbor's house is really a living, breathing, scary monster.

The Nightmare Before Christmas
Rating: PG
Length: 76 Minutes

Jack Skellington, king of Halloweentown, discovers Christmas Town, but doesn't quite understand the concept.

Hotel Transylvania
 Rating: PG
Length: 91 Minutes

Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count's teen-aged daughter.

The Haunted Mansion
Rating: PG
Length: 99 Minutes

Workaholic realtor Jim Evers, his wife/business partner Sara and their two children are summoned to a mansion. When they discover that the place is haunted, Jim discovers an important lesson about the family he's neglected as they attempt to escape.

The Addams Family
Rating: PG-13
Length: 99 Minutes

When a man claiming to be Fester, the missing brother of Gomez Addams, arrives at the Addams' home, the family is thrilled. However, Morticia begins to suspect the man is a fraud, since he cannot recall details of Fester's life.

Are any of these movies on your "Must Watch" list this Halloween? Or perhaps you have one that I didn't list! Either way, I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

Monday, October 21, 2013

90s Fashion Trends That I Miss

The majority of my childhood happened in the 90s. There were some great things during that era - TV shows were better, boy bands, toys, Lisa Frank, movies.... BUFFY. It got me to thinking about fashion and, while I wasn't trendy back in the day, there are a few things that I miss and wish that I could still pull off.

{1} Babydoll Dresses
Source: Forever 21

I think these may still be cool! At least, they are still in shops. YES! To be the ultimate 90s child, you had to have one with a floral print or hints of denim. These dresses were so comfortable and fun. And I usually ruined the cool factor by wearing them with cowboy boots.

{2} Mini Backpacks

I had a mini backpack that I used for close to 10 years. It was hunter green and fantastic. I still remember the sad day when I had to discard it, having worn it to shreds. I used it first at school until it graduated to a purse of sorts. I would still use a mini backpack over a handbag any day. Just throw that sucker over your shoulders and go! It stays in place and doesn't keep falling off .

{3} Chokers

Source: NewLook

Chokers were my 90s stable. I loved them and still have a few for nostalgia purposes. I would wear the tattoo ones, which would make me feel super cool and grownup (which meant a teenager), to the the ones with little charms dangling off. Oh, those happy days.

{4} Scrunchies 


Who lived in the 90s and didn't have a pile of scrunchies? I haven't yet found anything that can match the power of a scrunchie when it comes to holding your hair in a neat bun. They were magic. And the prints! The colors! You could have a scrunchie for every occasion. Keep the dream alive, Hilary! They will return one day.

{5} Body Glitter
Source: Birthday Express

Oh yes, I said it. Glitter for your body. I wore this one out! I would slap it on my eyelids, my cheeks, my collarbone... anywhere I could find a patch of skin. I was a glitter fairy! I used the pots, the tubes, the roll-on sort... I had quite a collection. I didn't care how old I was. Sometimes even now, for holidays, I will quietly put a bit on and remember. -sigh-

{6} Chunky & Platform Heels
I think I miss these most of all. I had a pair almost exactly like the ones above, just without the star. I wish I still had them. This trend was important to me because, being all of 5 feet, I could slip on a pair of these and be a normal height. No more petite jokes! I walked as high as the rest of them! They were also comfortable. One day I will own a pair again. One day I will be tall once again! One day...

What were some of your favorite 90s trends? Could you see yourself wearing any I posted? Share in the comments below!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Bookworm's Report (#2)

Book Review for...

Secrets of the Tudor Court: The Pleasure Palace

Kate Emerson

Summary: Eight-year-old Jane Popyncourt travels with her mother from France to the English court of Henry VII. She is raised with the royal children, teaching them French. When her mother dies unexpectedly, Jane is left with no money, but becomes a favorite of Princess Mary, whom she serves. Learning since childhood the treacherous ways of court life and the temperamental nature of the Tudors, she strives to please those around her until a French prisoner captures her attention. The Duc de Longueville, a handsome married man, stirs Jane. She starts an affair with him to the dismay of her friends and the delight of the new king, Henry VIII. He uses Jane as a spy, a mission that causes friction, but a role that also may help her solve the mystery of her mother’s death. Emerson creates a riveting historical novel of the perils of the Tudor Court, vividly fictionalizing historical characters and breathing new life into their personalities and predicaments. 

I love Tudor England and have read dozens of books, both fiction and non-fiction, around this time era. I enjoyed this book for the different view it gave me into the world of the Tudors. The title seemed rather misleading and, I think, silly for what the story is really about.

Jane was a bit difficult to figure out. The book was through Jane's eyes and through this we were able to glance into the world of the early Tudor court and the politics surrounding this royal family. However, I would have liked to know mre about Jane. The book spent so much time observing the other characters that it didn't shine very much light into Jane's feelings or personal life. Which left her feeling hollow and paper doll-ish.

There was just the righ dash of scandal and intrigue to keep you from wanting to put the book down. When reading historial fiction, I have become used to the stretch authors take to keep the story entertaining but I feel that Kate Emerson might have stretched too thin to come up with her neat and tidy ending, with events that made me want to roll my eyes!

Again, I love Tudor England so I read this through and enjoyed myself. Emerson adds great details to capture your attention which makes it easy to just fall into the story and never want to leave. A very enjoyable book!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Birchbox // October 2013

Birchbox is a monthly subscription box. Each month you will receive a box filled with 4 to 5 beauty and hair samples. Sometimes they throw in 'lifestyle' samples. The boxes are usually a mix that are based off of your profile which you fill out at time of signup. The box costs $10 a month.

Birchbox offers a great rewards program. Every 100 points you earn counts towards $10 in the Birchbox shop. You can earn these points buy purchasing from the shop or earn 10 points for each review you leave for products! 

In the past, I have enjoyed maybe 1 of the 5 products I've received. The others are usually so-so but not something I could see myself using much. After tweaking my profile just a bit, I am so much happier. This box was a lot better in  fitting what I like or would use. 

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser With Muslin Cloth
{Counts as two items.}

I've been using the cleanser for about a week now and it's rather nice. The muslin cloth is nifty, as I have never used one as part of my beauty routine. The cleanser seems to leave my face with a faint glow. What's definitely noticeable is how soft my face feels. I have really sensitive skin and just about anything can cause my face to break out but this has helped keep stubborn acne at bay!

ChapStick Hydration Lock
Normally, I don't use ChapStick. It leave my lips feeling a bit sticky and I seem to reapply more often than I should need to. This though, this is really nice! It's very moisturizing and stays put for a while. I really have been enjoying this one.

Miss Jessie's Original Creme de la Creme Conditioner
I have gotten a lot of Miss Jessie's products in my Birchbox and I wish that I wouldn't. The products are effective but the scents are a turn off! This conditioner had that chemical smell I often associate with color treating my hair. Meh.

Folle de Joie eau de parfum
Ooooh, we're getting fancy! This is a really nice smelling perfume. It's sort of woodsy and the best I can describe it as is slightly girly with a seductive siren afterthought. Hah! At $98, I don't like it enough to purchase but the sample was a nice size and will last me a bit.

POP Beauty Aqua Lacquer
My sample (which was a nice size!) was for the color Floating Rose. I really love the color! I'm more for softer, subtle looks than bold so this works for me. This lacquer though... meh! It was really sticky and just awful! The top had an applicator which was a flat stick and the lacquer would leave this sticky, slime-like trail from the container to stick. Very odd.

I believe this Birchbox is my favorite so far! I will use every item and enjoyed the majority.