Top Shelf Faves from Beauty Boxes

Megan and I record at least one beauty unboxing video a month. For me, many of the products quickly get pushed to the back of a drawer or buried at the bottom of my makeup bag. I love this idea to donate unopened beauty products and samples to women in need, but I open and try most of the items that come in the beauty boxes. So, sadly, they end up in the trash when I decide I’ve had enough of the clutter.

I have had a few stand outs graduate from clutter to top shelf. Here’s a few of my favorites (some of these links are affiliate links): Yes To Blueberries Age Refresh Cleansing Facial Wipes, One Love Gardenia + Tea Body Serum (love, love, love!), Luxie Beauty Tapered Blending Eye Brush (this is second to my number one IT Cosmetics Eye Brush but I still grab for it often), NYX Butter Gloss in Strawberry Parfait, CoverGirl Super Sizer Mascara and Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Bronzer.

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Speaking of beauty boxes! The Target Beauty Box is supposed to be released online today. The rumor is this is going to be a monthly subscription. This box has quickly become my favorite box because it has products I am familiar with and can get at my local store. I’m still annoyed about a highlighting blush I fell head over heels in love with from an Ipsy bag and months later it’s still sold out on the brand’s website. It can’t be found anywhere else.

Watch our last Target Beauty Box unboxing. We’d love for you to click the red subscribe button and become our next YouTube subscriber!

Project Mc2 #SmartIsTheNewCool

My daughter likes many things but has a real interest in science. I admire her curiosity for the subject and try to encourage her to explore her passions (remind me I said that when I’m helping with her science project over the holiday break!).

When I saw Netflix was releasing a live action miniseries called Project Mc2 I knew it would be right up her alley. Project Mc2 is about four teenage girls who are recruited into a spy program called NOV8. Their assignment is to help protect a celebrity prince and find the threat that might jeopardize his space shuttle mission. They use a mix of reasoning, chemistry and hokey gadgets to help solve problems.

What I loved about Project Mc2: I really appreciate that each girl had their own individuality but were all equally smart, pretty and quirky. The characters didn’t fall into stereotypes (the smart one, the dumb blonde, the mean girl, etc.).

What I didn’t love about Project Mc2: Girl(s) save boy. It feels too easy. I would instead like to see these characters try to solve larger global issues plus tackle everyday problems kids and tweens often face at school or in life.

Thanks to Netflix for sending us some super fun science experiments and for allowing me to be part of their #StreamTeam this year! Check out my Pinterest board where I’ve pinned similar science experiments for your kids to do.

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If your kids enjoy science and adventure and fun, definitely check out Project Mc2 because #SmartIsTheNewCool.

Mt. Hood Roasted Tomatoes

Earlier this month we were in Oregon visiting family. It has become one of my favorite places to visit and we try to go at least once a year.

There is so much to see and do. This year we stayed on the coast for a few days followed by a few more days right outside of Portland. I’ll share more in the coming weeks. Megan just so happened to be in Oregon the same time we were so naturally we’ll have a vlog over on Long Story Short documenting the whole trip.

Two summers ago our annual trip included a visit to Mt. Hood. We have some close family friends who have a gorgeous home there. On their property includes a beautiful garden. My daughter and I spent an hour each day picking blackberries, zucchini and tomatoes amongst six-foot tall sunflowers.

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Our hosts made the most delicious roasted tomato “jam” – for lack of a better description – while we were there. I like tomatoes but they certainly aren’t something I always opt for. Slow roasting tomatoes totally intensifies their flavor and it was so super delicious. We ate this with crackers and a freshly sliced baguette.

I will always equate Mt. Hood with roasted tomatoes.

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To make this wonderful Mt. Hood Roasted Tomatoes recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Place whole cherry tomatoes in glass dish or sheet pan.
3. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper.
4. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft.
5. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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This mostly dairy free girl has been craving goat cheese lately and this roasted tomato and goat cheese sandwich keeps popping up in my Pinterest feed. I just wish I had a tomato plant to pick.

Did You See the Bacon Soda Taste Test Video?

Happy Monday!

In case you missed it, last week over on Long Story Short with Megan and Wendy, we published a solid week of taste test videos plus a bloopers reel.

We have no idea how one random taste test video morphed into a week-long series. Honestly, we flip back and forth about continuing to make these kinds of videos but then we get emails and tweets from viewers who beg us to try the new limited edition whatever. And I simply can’t resist grabbing a bag of gross-sounding chips or bacon flavored soda. Yes, bacon flavored soda.

Last week’s videos included the Lay’s #DoUsAFlavor chips (those ones fans create and are voted on — we have a CLEAR winner), the very new and very THIN OREO cookies, the limited edition Chips Ahoy! Banana cookies (go home banana chip cookies), IKEA’s new bulk candy, and a bunch of international snacks and candy from MunchPak.com.

Watch the playlist of videos

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Top 5 Favorite YouTube Channels

If you would have asked me two years ago what I watched on YouTube I would have told you that I didn’t watch YouTube at all. Why would I want to watch cute cat videos or kids playing video games? It wasn’t until I wrote this post about makeup that I learned about haul videos and beauty tutorials.

Megan and I just published our 100th video last week over on Long Story Short and we love what we do. We have our fingers crossed for exciting things in the coming year.

People are always asking what I watch so here are my favorite YouTube channels.

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Tati from Glam Life Guru
If you want to learn anything about makeup, this is your channel. Tati uploads videos Monday – Friday with tips and tutorials, hauls and product reviews for both drugstore and luxury makeup brands.

Essie Button & Essie Button Vlogs
Estee Lalonde has two channels that she regularly publishes on. Essie Button is beauty tutorials, hauls and favorites. Her vlog channel is more about life in London with her boyfriend and dog.

LeighAnnSays & LeighAnnVlogs
Another beauty and makeup YouTuber. Are you seeing a trend here? Her vlog channel is fairly new and it chronicles what she does on the weekend. She’s young but I think she’s really funny.

MamaKatTV
Love her weekly Pinterest drink videos. Love more when her friend Marci sits in on a taste test. Plus, she’s just really good people and supportive of our channel.

Claire Marshall from Hey Claire
Incredible editing, incredible content. Claire create beauty and fashion videos but shares so much more than that. This video about her mom was heartbreaking.

Leave me a comment and let me know if you watch any of these YouTubers and what you think. You should know that there is much more on YouTube than beauty videos but these are my current favorites.

I Went to VidCon and All I Got Was A Lousy T-Shirt

Megan and I attended VidCon 2015 last week in Anaheim, CA. It was a no-brainer that we should go since the conference exists for YouTube creators and fans. Plus, we are local so we could both attend without committing to major travel.

But, I went to VidCon and all I got was a t-shirt.

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It pains me to write that I didn’t really enjoy the conference because there were definitely moments of fun and laughter and making new friends. But, our intent in going was to learn. VidCon added a new creator track this year and its purpose was to be educational. However, every session we attended turned into a Q&A with a panel of successful YouTubers that satisfied the fans but fell flat for those of us really wanting concrete tips or advice.

Watch our VidCon 2015 Vlog

We ended up attending very few sessions overall.

The highlights were meeting up with our friend Jessi from SHUGGILIPPO.  I throughly enjoyed our hallway chat on day two where she shared advice and her experiences. I also really enjoyed that she got us into a pretty swanky party where we day drank and shared the same air as John Green and Grace Helbig.

I loved meeting Deva from My Life Suckers and Hollie from Baby Gizmo. Both were lovely, transparent and engaging. Megan and I also made a collab video and lunched with Marianne and Julia from HGTV Handmade.

Watch our Green Tea KitKat Taste Test with Marianne & Julia

Will Megan and I attend VidCon 2016? Never say never but for now I’ll just enjoy my new sleep shirt.

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Tig Notaro Documentary on Netflix

I had stumbled across a fantastic documentary just days after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was like divine intervention. Something had willed me to sit on my couch that morning and mindlessly scroll deep into the channel guide. The documentary followed a young woman through surgery and treatment and it totally and completely altered my perception of what I had anticipated for myself. I was and am still so thankful for that documentary because it left me hopeful.

I felt the same way after recently watching Tig on Netflix.

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Tig Notaro is a comedian. She has a very distinct style and voice that I like very much. I had first learned of who she was last summer after it was announced she would speak at a blogging conference I had planned to attend. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to attend her keynote at the conference but by then had learned about her story and the groundbreaking stand-up set she performed in 2012 where she opened with telling the audience she had cancer.

“Good evening. Hello. I have cancer.” Tig Notaro

I settled in earlier this month to see what the Tig documentary had to offer.

I laughed at her unique way she tells a story. I cried for her loss. I felt empathetic for her struggles and understood her desires. My heart broke all over that documentary and I learned that her story is so much more than having had breast cancer. Tig is about love, loss, fear and hope.

I highly recommend Tig for both my friends who have experienced cancer and for those who have simply been thrown a curve ball in their lives.

Tig is available exclusively on Netflix.

Disclosure: I am part of the Netflix #StreamTeam and gladly share my honest thoughts and opinions on their service each month. Netflix has provided me with a free subscription and device to stream their incredible content.

What Up, Wednesday?

I like blogging prompts and easy ones at that. Thanks to Megan for sharing the What’s Up Wednesday meme. Check out what we’ve got going on this week and what we’re looking forward to in the coming month.

1. What We’re Eating this Week

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2. What I’m Reminiscing About

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3. What I’m Loving

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4. What We’ve Been Up To

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5. What I’m Dreading

Nothing, really. Maybe summer ending because I really enjoy lazy mornings and being schedule free.

6. What I’m Working On

Megan and I are gearing back up  for regular video days again over on our YouTube channel Long Story Short with Megan and Wendy.  Even though we’ve published new content all summer long, we haven’t recorded new videos on any kind of regular schedule since the kids have been out of school.

7. What I’m Excited About…Summer Travel Plans!

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8. What I’m Watching or Reading

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9. What I’m Listening To…Podcasts

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10. What I’m Wearing

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11. What I’m Doing This Weekend…Summer Fair Food

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12. What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month

I’m committing to three new posts per week here on the blog during August. Remember, I’m not great with schedules.

13. What Else is New?

Stay tuned and you’ll see.

Linking up with Mix and Match Family.

The Cure for the Afternoon Summer Slump

A few years ago, I had a friend declare that her household was going screen-free for the summer. My reaction was one of horror. There is just absolutely no way our family would make it through three months of summer days without a little TV down time.

Admittedly, we make it most of the morning and early afternoon without the television on. I have my favorite weekly podcasts and YouTube channels I like to listen to or watch as we putter around the house getting ready for the day. My daughter might watch one or two episodes of her favorite shows in the early morning or during breakfast and then we are out the door.

But then comes that dreaded afternoon slump. We’re usually hungry and tired and just need an hour or so to chill out with a snack and something good to watch. Thank goodness for Netflix! My daughter and I can find something to watch together or we can sit on opposite sides of the couch with our iPads and watch our own shows.

Here’s what to watch on Netflix this summer plus don’t miss our new go-to favorite afternoon snack below.

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Family Friendly or Movies Mom Can Stand Watching, Too

Bad Hair Day
12 Mile Road
The Muppets Take Manhattan
Bug Off
House Arrest
High School Musical 2

Mom’s Side of the Couch (with Headphones!)

Pretty Little Liars
Orange is the New Black
Wentworth
Chasing Life
Cake

Little One’s Picks

Bindi’s Boot Camp
An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars
A Second Chance
Monster High 13 Wishes
Cupcake Wars

Our go-to snacks include kid-friendly pizza muffins, apple nachos, salty-spicy popcorn and watermelon pizza. The watermelon pizza is so easy to make: slice watermelon into triangles and top with any sliced fruit and shredded coconut. Easy and healthy, perfect for a mid-afternoon snack.

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netflix disclosure Thanks to Netflix for providing me with a subscription and device to stream content. All opinions are my own. You can find me on the couch.

Peek Inside What’s #NewAtTheCube

In 1998 I worked in Santa Ana where on one cloudy morning the company’s CFO suggested we take a walking field trip to a museum ground breaking event happening near our office. We were up for anything that wasn’t work so we went. However, our walk was immediately cut short as soon as we crossed over the parking lot lines. VPOTUS Al Gore was the speaker at the event and the area had been secured by secret service and sharp shooters. Back to work we went.

We have been to Discovery Cube Orange County a ton of times since 1998 because my daughter loves the hands-on science exhibits. We’ve been anxiously awaiting the expansion of the museum and were lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the brand new exhibit earlier this week.

The remodel offers tons of new permanent exhibits including a virtual helicopter tour of Orange County’s Irvine Ranch, a water gallery, an inspector training course, an inventor’s workshop and more. The brand new 10,000 sq. ft. theater will hold visiting exhibits where the International Exhibit of Sherlock Holmes is now on display.

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The museum also built a new Bean Sprouts for kid-friendly, healthy eating. They offer everything from sandwiches, pizza, salads and a coffee bar. They use allergy-free ingredients and work in a peanut-free kitchen.

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Discovery Cube Orange County is giving away a family membership! Enter to win using the form below and good luck!

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Thanks to Discovery Cube Orange County for hosting a fun night!