Last Minute Gifts

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Oh my gosh! Christmas is right around the corner. I like to think I am a thoughtful person but this Christmas I haven't felt like it. I've been very last minute and have forgotten to think of other friends gifts outside my immediate family and boyfriend.

Since I'm such a jerk this year I've compiled a list of last minute gifts I can scramble when someone says they got me something. (Friends - If you see your gift on here... I'm sorry. You can give me shit for the next year!)

1. Birchbox
Gift a subscription to Birchbox where 5 personalized samples are delivered to your mailbox every month. I have been a member of birchbox for 3 years and I still love it. It's really fun to get mail that isn't catalogs or bills!


2. Hulu Plus
I love Hulu Plus. I don't have cable so this is the only way to catch up on my favorite shows!

3. Netflix
Sticking with the TV theme, Netflix is a great way to give the gift of unlimited movies. Netflix also have exclusive shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black which are my ultimate favorites. I'm currently obsessed with Scandal and binge watching that show. It's amazing!

3. Soul Cycle
Give the gift of endurance with a class or a few classes to Soul Cycle. It's a 55 minute high intense cardio workout that includes weights and amazing upbeat music to keep you pedaling. Don't forget a cute water bottle and to grab a seat pad in the front of the room!

4. CorePower Yoga
I love CorePower. It's an amazing yoga studio filled with friendly instructors and extremely clean! Give the gift of meditation and relaxation to anyone. They have classes for every level. You should even buy yourself a giftcard and join your friend!

5. Pressed Juicery
Gift a loved one with a cleanse or a juice subscription. Have them be your partner in crime as you both kick the new year off replenished and detoxed!

Hopefully these ideas get you out of a pinch!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a have a warm winter!
xColl

Mai Tai

It's been a while since I've posted anything. I've been preoccupied with work and with the holidays. A few weeks ago my family went to mass to celebrate my grandfather and then to dinner at Trader Vic's. I tend to lean towards fruitier drinks because, frankly, they are delicious and you can't taste the alcohol. Since Trader Vic's in Oakland  has the claim to fame for creating the Mai Tai, I just had to order it. I ordered the 1944 Mai Tai fully expecting the cherry and slice of pineapple to turn this drink into something I can quickly gulp down.Well, it was not sweet and was actually quiet strong! The Mai Tai got it's name from the word "Maita'i" translating to "good". When the trader first made this drink back in 1944 to serve to his friend from Taihiti, exclaimed " Maita'i roa ae!" Literally translating into "very good!" Thanks to that friend, Victor named the drink the Mai Tai.

Want to make a Mai Tai for yourself? It's easy!
2 oz of Rum
Shaved Ice
Lime Juice
.5 oz of Orange Curacao
.5 oz of Simple Syrup
.5 oz of French Carnier

Shake Vigorously
Add a spring of Mint and the Lime shell

P.S. This year is Trader Vic's 80th year is business! If Mai Tai's aren't you thing, there are plenty of delicious tropical drinks on the menu.

Rain Rain, Come this Way

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Well this Wednesday the Bay Area is due for some rain. We're expected to get roughly about 3" of rain with 60 mph winds! I began to think about what I used to do during the rainy days. It took me a while to think of this because; one, California is in a drought and two, I used to live in LA where I think it rained like 7 times all 5 years I lived there. So during the storm of the decade I have stocked up on food, one flashlight and pulled out my multiple candles. I'm a little nervous that the power will go out, but hey, it might be fun! I have my books, candles, and rain boots all laid out for Thursdays rain... now to find that umbrella....

Do you have any rainy day traditions? Staying on the couch all day having a Harry Potter movie marathon, catching up on crafts, snuggling with a favorite book, making hot cocoa, or simply just sleeping? I'm a little bummed I'll be at work that day but maybe this storm will linger until the weekend!

Bay Area Date Nights under $50

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My boyfriend and I have a weekly standing date night. Through the chaotic work week we dedicate Wednesdays to being with each other.  We find that though this day is in the middle of the week, it's pretty much a sure bet that we will both be available. Often times weekends are full, chaotic, or we're out an exploring. I  know these days and after you are with someone for a while getting dinner and going to the movies doesn't become a "date" it's just something you do. Lately, we've become bored of the usual cooking and watching a movie together and are trying to figure out fun ways to spice up our Wednesday nights and turn them back into "dates". I've been exploring ideas of cute and fun date ideas for a midweek date.

 Exploratorium - Thursday nights from 6-10 you can roam the museum with a drink in hand. Best part about this night is that its adults only! You get to be a kid without being around kids, and sometimes that is a blessing.

California Academy of Sciences - Thursday nights from 6-10, explore the rainforest, check out the albino crocodile. Want to know what it felt like during the 1989 and 1906 earthquake, then come here! Each Thursday has a theme; tickets are only $12 and there are themed signature cocktails available too.

Trivia Night - San Pedro Square Market - Trivia is Monday nights at 7, get there early to grab a seat, drinks and some grub. This is a perfect place for a double, triple or quadruple date too... if you dare. Be sure to brush up on all knowledge, there are 6 rounds of different topics!

J. Lohr - Want to go to Napa but want to skip the 2 hour drive? Head over the J. Lohr for some wine flights. They have cheese and chocolate parings too!

Bowling - Seems like an outdated date night activity but

Sports - Living in the bay area we are fortunate enough to be close to some amazing colleges. Check out your local university for tickets. Support some less popular sports like volleyball, basketball, lacrosse, and rugby. Stanford Athletics Cal Bears USF  SF State St. Marys Santa Clara

Movies - Instead of going to a megaplex, check out your local historic theater. I absolutely love the Grand Lake in Oakland, the marquee is absolutely gorgeous and its just screams art deco! If you have the courage ask to speak to one of the managers and ask if you can see a projection booth. You'll probably have to wait until all the movies start but I am sure they'd love to give you a tour. (P.S. I've never asked but I used to work at a movie theater.) Castro has an amazing theater!


Cyber Monday

Monday, December 1, 2014

Eek! I've been super busy these past two weeks. Thanksgiving was a blast and I was able to relax during the much deserved 4 day weekend. Now, I'm back at work and browsing Cyber Monday on my lunch break. While I can't divulge what I am purchasing, because it is for other people... I will let you know where I am getting things.

Madewell - 25% off your purchase
Kate Spade - 30% off your purchase, purses, shoes, glassware oh my!
Loft - 50% off your purchase! I definitely stocked up on some winter essentials!
Pretty Smitten - 25% off your purchase. Can we say monogrammed iPhone cases?
Tory Burch - Up to 25% off! Check the exclusions
Nordstroms - Price matching deals so you get points with your Nordies card! Not everything is on sale but yay!
White Elephant Designs All items marked down. Lucite and monogrammed, how can we say no?
Target BOGO 60% off! On for someone special and one for you!

I think thats all... happy shopping!

Why I Stopped Telling my Friends I Loved Them

Thursday, November 13, 2014

It all changed over 3 years ago... I used to end every phone call with "love you bye" then click. I ended up overusing the phase to a point where it had no meaning. Did I care? No. We all did it. (We meaning my friends) Then that one fateful day, I was at work, probably 4 months into my internship. I was at the point where I was feeling really comfortable with the company. I had made friends to eat lunch with, people would come by my cube to chat and laugh. People loved me; I was the young vibrant co-worker who's youthful insight was found to be hilarious. I was loving it.

Then one day, I was on the phone with my Project Executive. He was answering some work question when I made a little joke as we were wrapping up the conversation. He laughed. I laughed. He made some joke and ended his sentence with a rapid "oh... I gotta go". I, still chuckling, said "Oh! Okay! Love you bye" and I hung up. Probably 15 seconds passed by when I realized what I had just done. Mortified, I stood up with my phone in my hand and was frozen. "Do I call him back?", "Do I pretend it didn't happen?". I decided the best thing was to call and explain, to avoid the awkward encounter. So I did. He didn't answer. The anxiety started to build up in my chest. I was frantic. "Oh God," I thought, "What if they fire me?!" (You already know I am a worst case scenario person, so yes, I went there).

For what felt like an hour, but was actually 5 minutes, I finally got the phone call back from my boss. "Hi" I said
"Yes?" He said inquisitively
"Uh. I. Oh.... mumble mumble mumble." I stuttered like an idiot.
He began to chuckle, "It's okay, my daughters do that all the time."
Can you feel my sigh of relief?!

So that was the last time I ever ended a conversation with "Love you, bye."



101 things in 1001 days

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Last Updated: 1/5/14

I've been compiling this list for a few weeks now and have finally mustered up the courage to finish and post.

I've seen various bloggers compile their lists, and felt like I should do the same. I have 1,001 days  to complete 101 (102 I can't find one to delete!) tasks or goals, basically a short term bucket list. One of the reasons why I had such a hard time posting this is because unlike my other posts, I feel like my dreams and goals are more intimate than my ramblings and experiences. I have broken this list down into categories to make my accomplishments much easier to track and frankly, to follow through!

So here we go...
Starts: November 11th, 2014
Ends: August 8th, 2017

PERSONAL (0/30)
Go two weeks without eating out.
Educate myself on the art of making and tasting wine
See 4 concerts (I'll be seeing the Grateful Dead in June!)
Go to the movies alone
Go to dinner alone (This is freaking scary)
Unplug for 24 hours (TV, phone, computer)
Invest in reliable luggage
Beat my 1/2 Marathon PR Time (Currently it's 2:50:54)
Lose and keep off 10 pounds
Drink 80 oz of water a day for 1 Month!12/18/14
Try three new foods... and blog about them
Finish the Whole 30 Challenge
Pay off my Student Loans!!!
Watch the sun rise in NY, watch the sun set in CA
Create a signature dish/meal
Make my apartment my dream apartment (decor wise)
Update my signature scent (old is Magnetism by Escada)
Put 15% of my salary into savings
Hold a Plank for 2 minutes
Practice Swimming
Compete in a Half Ironman
Take a Bartending lesson/class
Run a 7 minute mile
Read 10 Best Sellers ( Yes, Please by Amy Poehler / Not that Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins)
Workout for 30 minutes in the am for 2 weeks (3/13/15)
Finish a 30 day ab challenge -
Read for 30 minutes a day for 1 month
Dye my hair dark red/brown
Don't go to work on my birthday! (3/19/15 - skipped work for a interview, which I nailed!)
Get a Desk for my Apartment

PROFESSIONAL (0/12)
Learn how to do a take off
Learn the basics of scheduling
Redesign my Blog
Have 50 loyal blog followers
Buy a Professional Camera
Find a Mentor
Be featured in an Article
Start Business Planning for my own construction company
Volunteer for 15 hours
Get business cards for my blog
Have my apartment be on The Everygirl
Write for The Everygirl

FAMILY AND FRIENDS (0/15)
Host a Kick Ass Dinner Party where I decorate and cook everything!
Go on a trip with just my two sisters
Send my parents on a vacation
Make a calendar with Birthdays
Compile Addresses (not in my iPhone)
Take a loved one on a surprise vacation and don't tell them where we are going
Send 50 thank you letters - (4 down, 46 to go)
Send  birthday cards
Send 10 snail mail to friends for no reason
Spend a day with each sister doing what they want, paid by me.
Throw a surprise party
Host a blind wine taste testing party
Throw a Scavenger Hunt Party
Host a St. Patrick's Day Party
Take my Dad to Gary Danko

TRAVEL (0/16)
Travel Europe with the Boyfriend
Spend 5 days on a Beach Vacation
Visit Mary in Dallas
Visit Portland
Go back to the Hampton's
Visit Oklahoma
Visit St. Louis
Eat Crabs in Maine
Visit Nantucket
Visit Chicago
Camp for 3 days
Road Trip to the Grand Canyon
Go to Yosemite
Take a snowboarding lesson
Have a Guinness in Ireland
Drink coffee in Seattle (February 14th, 2014)
Visit the Redwoods (drive through that tree)

JUST FOR FUN (0/29)
Give Starbucks $50 to buy people their drinks
Watch the Sunrise
Make a Sushi
Take a Calligraphy Class
Take an Art Class
Master the Yoga Headstand
Learn how to blow glass
Hold a 5 minute conversation in French
Be someones inspiration
Invest in a Burberry Coat
Invest in a timeless watch
Splurge on some killer designer heels
Buy myself a Louis Vuitton/Prada bag or something that is timeless
Stay home and watch all Harry Potter movies on a Rainy Day
Save $25 for each Goal Attained
See a 49-er game
Try SUP Yoga
Learn how to Knit
Buy a strangers meal
Master Crows pose (hold for 15 seconds)
See two movies in one day, sneak into the second one
Create 5 variations of a Moscow Mule and blog about it
Post about my OOTD on my blog
Learn how to do a fish tail braid
Make Ice Cream from Scratch!
Do 5 real push ups
Go to The French Laundry
Go Overboard by decorate my apartment  for Christmas (tree, lights, ornaments, candy canes etc)
Make a snow-man and tie-dye him with food coloring


Happy Halloween

Sunday, November 2, 2014

{Late Halloween Post}

I didn't get into Halloween too much this year, October kind of blew right past me.

Tonight I plan on laying low with close friends and passing out candy. For dinner I am going to attempt to make spicy chicken tortilla soup. I've never made soup before (I am NO domestic goddess), but I'll be sure to document my attempts on the blog.

As it sit here waiting for my ride to the company party, I begin to think about my favorite memories as a kid. While I was in grammar school, we had a school wide parade, ate candy and other sweets in class, and watched movies. I loved dressing up and going to school. It was such a fun way to embrace Halloween and overindulge on sweets. 



A few more traumatizing Halloween memories involves my mother.
Halloween 1996 - Dressed up as Jasmine with Barney and Baby Bop (my sisters).
Halloween 1997 - Spent, no joke, 4 hours trick-or-treating all around Piedmont with my cousins and uncles. I honestly had 10 pounds of candy. My mom picks me up the next mourning at my aunts house and I run outside with my candy bag. She looks at me and says "Leave it".... I just stop in my tracks. "Leave the candy here." She repeats herself. I don't really remember what happened next except that I didn't get to keep the candy and I learned a lifelong lesson. Whenever you have candy, eat it all, and eat it all really fast before you mom takes it away.
Halloween 1998 - My mom is getting a little more cleaver, she creates the "Halloween Fairy". The said Halloween fairy is supposed to magically trade all my candy for a present. That year I got a soccer  ball... because I played soccer. I thought that this was a bunch of BS and I am not doing this again.
Halloween 1999 - My mom, the CPA, decided this is a good time to learn about money and negotiating. This year my mom bought our candy from us. Trading nickles, dimes, and quarters for our good. I was okay with this because I didn't have to sell it all... just most of it.
Halloween 2000 - I wised up. I didn't want to sell my candy this year but I had to. My mom was and is a  fan of almond joys so I up-ed the ante to buy those, knowing she wouldn't want my smarties, reeses or skittles. 
Halloween 2001 - I was going to be a punk rocker or something to that extent but I think I probably lied to my parents so I was grounded and stayed home. womp womp.
Halloween 2002 - I was a legit punk rocker with a short skirt. I looked good. Well judge for yourself.

I probably should have mentioned that sugar turned me into an extremely hyperactive child (I have ADHD and hella proud), and this is why my mother proceeded to torture me.

This year, I am dressing up as a blind mouse, with two others, creating the group costume of 3 blind mice. This is work appropriate and completely thrown together at the last minute. Tonight I might stick with the same costume, or not costume at all. I can't wait to devour some reeses, sour candy and some old school ones too. I do miss the day of trick or treating but am very excited to see the little ones enjoy themselves.

I hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween! 

p.s. Drinking game-  Take a shot/sip etc for ever Frozen costume you see!

The Most Important Item in your Home

Friday, October 31, 2014

When I began to stock my house full of what  I thought were essentials, I didn't realize the most important thing I need in my house until one fateful day at the Dry Bar. I was thoroughly enjoying myself; I had sparking limeade in hand, Legally Blonde was on the TV and I was flipping through the pages of Vogue all simultaneously getting my hair blown out to look gorgeous! Then, this girl came out of the bathroom with this panicked look on her face. She stood there awkwardly, blocking the door yet trying to get someones attention. She found the manager and embarrassingly tried to explain the situation in the lowest possible voice but without too many gory details. "The toilet... clogged... I didn't.. It won't flush... overflowing..." The lady politely told her it's fine she'll handle it and the girl sauntered back to her seat, trying not to draw attention to herself.

I thought to myself how I would handle the situation. I came to the conclusion that I would plunge that mother until the situation fixed itself, or I would run far far away. Then I thought, what if I was at someones house, and the toilet was clogged, what would I do. It's very embarrassing to let someone know that you clogged their toilet and you need help. Essentially showing them what you just did in private. Awkward!That's when I realized the most important item you have in your home is a plunger, it will save you and your guests from some quite mortifying moments.

What do you think the most important item in your home is?

xColl

Renter Insurance... Is it worth it?



I moved into my post-college apartment almost a year ago in December. I was eager, nervous, and excited because this was going to be the first time I had an apartment all to myself. Having some interesting roommate situations, I thought it was best to take the chance and skip the Craigslist stranger. The day I was supposed to move into my apartment my whole family and I headed to my storage unit to begin the moving process. We park the moving van, climbed out and headed to my storage unit. With pure excitement I rustled through my bag to find my keys and am ready to unlock my lock but the storage unit that I thought was mine, didn't have my lock on it. So I tried a few more locks just in case I was crazy and was at the wrong unit. Still didn't work. I headed to the management and said there is another lock on my unit. I sat there antsy, signing papers to authorize someone to cut the deadbolt. Asking why there is another lock on my unit. This man with bolt cutters escorted me back to my unit where he proceeded to chomp away at the lock. He took off the lock and I rolled up the door and my heart stopped beating. Everything was gone. Absolutely everything. I, of course, immediately burst into tears and ran to the office. I shouted that everything was gone, and asking a million questions. Did you foreclose my unit? I've been on auto-payment. Wouldn't you have contacted me? Everything was stolen and I wasn't getting it back. This extremely nice police women informed me that are "professionals" (more like horrible people) who do this for a living. They steal from others because they think they deserve what I worked extremely hard for. I was heartbroken and felt absolutely violated.

 I never understood why I had rental insurance until later that day. I have an amazing mom who always thinks, plans ahead and is very organized. Turned out my mom never cancelled my renters insurance and it covered the loss of items in a storage unit. I was able to replace almost everything that I has accumulated over the years in college. The $500+ a year I was paying for renters insurance covered $10,000 worth of the stolen property. I was able to purchase the necessities, like a bed, table, kitchen supplies to get me on my feet, but unfortunately some personal items like pictures etc were lost.

Here are some tips to protect yourself in the future when storing items;
1. Buy Renters Insurance - I know this is obvious - worth the money ten-fold.
2. State the Replacement Value - When buying insurance and you are asked what the value of your items are, be sure to say the replacement value! Not the depreciated value. - For example, if you bought a bed for $800 5 years ago, say it is worth $800 even though if you were to sell it you would only get $200  because to get the same bed it would cost you $800.
3. Document prized possessions  - I never thought taking pictures of my cat would be so beneficial. Most people rarely take pictures of their couches, dressers, tables etc. When trying to document what was stolen, I searched though all of my pictures and because of that stinking cute cat I had pictures of my bed, my dresser, my desk, my bookshelves, my table, my expensive upholstered chairs etc. Also, thanks to instagramming photos of my food, I was able to document my dinner plates! After you get settled into a new place, or currently living somewhere. Take date stamped photos of your possessions, and make a list of documented items, and save them to a cloud. This can come in handy if there are any disasters or theft.
4. Keep prized possessions close - Growing up with 2 sisters, I was very territorial about my stuff since it seemed to disappear and re-appear on them two weeks later. When I was packing up my room before storing it at the storage unit, I actually thought "what if my stuff gets stolen" (I always watch Storage Wars and often play worst case scenarios in my head). I packed up all of my electronics, most personal mementos, and all jewelry or anything extremely expensive.
5. Take a Photo of what is in your storage unit.
6. Minimize the clutter and items you would store
7. Pay a friend to store your items (up to 6 months seems appropriate).

To this day, I believe renters insurance was and is a great investment. After this eye opening experience, I am happy I had myself covered.

Do you have renters or homeowners insurance?

xColl

image via

Maple Water - The New Coconut Water?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I just recently hopped upon the coconut water train after a few previous experiences temporarily scarred me. Now with the fad is in full force in my fridge, my ears perked up when I heard about maple water. As you may know, I am a sugar addict and I am not biased when it comes to what type of sugar item I am being offered - I will accept them all. The thought of maple water doesn't sound appealing to me. Maple syrup? Yeah, I am guilty of pouring some onto a spoon when I have a  a sugar craving. I also will eat a spoonful of sugar, but that's a side note and yes I know, I have issues.



After researching Maple Water this is what I found out, when you tap a maple tree, maple syrup does not come out. I feel pretty stupid because I expected to one day go to Vermont and open my mouth under a spile of insanely fresh maple syrup and thoroughly enjoy myself. Turns out that dream is now crushed.  What actually comes out looks a lot like water but is actually a more thinner/liquid sap. In order to change the thin liquid sap to the delicious pancake topper, one must boil down the properties to remove the excess water concentrating it into a syrup. 

How does the water and the sap get mixed together and why doesn't this happen to other trees? The tree harvests its water from the ground and brings it up. All trees produce sap and that usually occurs when the tree is injured (like when you stick a spile into it) or pruned. However, not all sap is sweet, but some sap can be used for beer!

I really wonder what the health benefits are do drinking diluted maple syrup. People claim that thyroid, bone strength, anti inflammatory, increase absorption of vitamins and magnesium are some of the benefits. Do I really believe them? No. 

I think it's safe to say this fad is just a fad. Until I see other studies showing the benefits of maple water, I'll  continue to drink plain water and coconut water.




Daytime Travels to Point Reyes Station, CA

Monday, October 27, 2014


My boyfriend and I were in North Marin one weekend when our previous engagement ended early; it was one heck of a trek to get here and we decided we needed to make the trip worth it. After a turning down my multiple requests to go wine tasting we decided to drive to the Lagunita's Brewery and go beer tasting. Unbeknownst to me, I happened to get us lost, like really lost. We opted to get some local fair at the closest town.

After a half hour of driving we ended in Point Reyes Station. Our first stop was to get him a beer (to cope with my bad sense of direction) at the local, oldest, and only bar; The Old Western Saloon. (Other places in PRS serve alcohol, but they also serve food; so to me, it doesn't qualify as a "bar".)

Front door, hasn't changed for years.


 This bar was full of characters, relics of rowdy nights, and pieces of history. Did you know (probably not, why would you?) that Prince Charles came to this pub with Camilla? I like to think we sat in the same seat, but I tend to be delusional. Check out this old register! When stopping here, chat with the bartender for some old history about the bar and the area. Don't forget to order a local IPA!


Our next stop was an absolute mandatory and frankly a staple in my house; Cowgirl Creamery.

Holy smokes this cheese is amazing! Go up to the cheese counter and ask for samples (there is no limit, but you may need to take a number and wait). They have all sorts of cheeses ranging from goat to cow, from hard to soft, from stinky to not stinky. Whatever your preferences are, they have it! My favorite is Mt. Tam but Red Hawk comes in at a close second. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
I'd like to take all of these home, please!

Point Reyes is a great place to bring the family and spend the day. Fun activities, fun places to see and great history. You can even head over to the light house! It's a little bit of a hike but the view is worth it. We didn't go this time but I have gone in the past with my family. You'll love it! Find all the information about visiting here!

xColl

Nekter Juice Bar's 4th Birthday

I love to celebrate birthdays, the fun, excitement, happiness its all contagious. Today is Nekter Juice Bar's 4th birthday and they are celebrating their birthday with a discounted 1 Day Cleanse! I know a juice cleanse can seem a little daunting but it really isn't that bad. I have already completed Pressed Juicery's Cleanse and it was a breeze! The day after I felt slimmer, healthier, and my skin felt amazing!

The downside to juice cleanses is the affordability factor. I can't justify spending $50 for 1 day's worth of juice; that is 1/3 of my grocery budget for the month! 

I can't tell you how ecstatic I was to see that Nekter is putting their 1 day cleanse on sale for $40! I mean, it's still expensive, but it's more reasonable.

For $40 you get 6 juices, you can either choose the classic cleanse or the advanced cleanse.
The classic is meant to reset your body, remove toxins and curb the sugar cravings, the advanced uses beets to clean the blood and ginger lemonade to remove even more toxins. Your caloric intake does not vary as much between the two cleanses, but you are sure to feel like a new girl the next day!

Still nervous about cleansing? Check out these links;

Head over to Nekter Juice Bar and use code "Nekter4" at checkout to receive the discount. Can't wait to buy mine!




{images c/o Nekter Juice Bar}

6 Ways to Manage Work Related Stress

Have you ever been so stressed out at work where you feel like you kind of just want to quit and walk dogs all day? Lately, I've had my fair share of work blues. I'm exhausted, occasionally unmotivated, incredibly stressed, and dropping the ball on some tasks. Granted, one of the reasons is attributed to the fact that I cannot say no, but I've been working on it. I decided to share the top 5 ways I have, and am currently using to battle these work blues.

1. Talk to your Boss
I know this is hard, especially if you are not close with your boss. I work far too many hours to not be close with the people I work with. Frankly, I wouldn't enjoy my job if I didn't like and trust the people I work with. When I am too overloaded, I explain what I am going through. I actually cried once, haha, but I explained what I am feeling. Usually, if approached correctly, they are very receptive. I explained that I feel like I am not crossing anything off my todo list, and that incredibly frustrates me. I like to work on a task and get it done, and cross that off my list. That accomplishment is a great feeling, however, I often get sucked into the 200 e-mails that come to me before 4pm.

2. Prioritize
Some stressful and hectic days, I make my list and prioritize. Once I do my own prioritizing, I run it by my boss and see what he needs and adjust my list from there

3. "Treat yo self"
My usual lunch spot is at my desk. Pathetic, I know, but I feel like I need to stay in and get it done. Which, I guess can be honorable, but there are many days where I don't go outside from 6am to 5pm. It's not healthy and really gets me down. I started to treat myself to a walk to grab a latte, a trip to the mall (I try not to buy anything),  grabbing lunch with co-workers, and even sometimes massages etc. I know those add up but sometimes you just need that mental break!

4. Have Fun
I am pretty sure people would categorize me as someone who is pretty much upbeat a majority of the time at work. Laughing at work usually helps reduce stress and makes me enjoy being there. I often like to listen to funny clips, watch a youtube video or two or just joke around with a coworker.

5. Don't Take Work Personally
Do your best, don't take it personally. I struggle with this but I tell myself this constantly.

6. Find an Outlet
I find that if I workout 3 times a week, I generally can regulate my emotions and feelings a lot better than when I am stressed. This really helps me stay sharp and awake so I can tackle any task!

{image c/o huffington post}

Water Challenge

Day 1
Now that the fall is officially here in the Bay Area, I have started to notice that my hands are drier than usual. While I have found an amazing hand creme (found here), I realized I need to start nourishing my body from the inside out. I decided to take a challenge to drink at least 85 oz of water every day for the next month. Not only will this help with my weight-loss, but the theory is that it will help benefit my skin in ways I've never experienced before.

Now I don't want to change too much in my routine, as to limit the variables that could possibly contribute to  beautiful health skin but my action plan is as follows. 
1. Aim for being half way done with daily intake by lunch.
2. Find great alternatives to just plain water (infused or tea)
3. Limit the alcohol intake as that will only dehydrate you
4. Take before and after pictures
5. Note changes in my body, skin and mood
6. Be Positive!

I'm a little nervous as this may require me to have access to a bathroom at all times which can be hard on a construction site, but I can do it!

I'll post photos later this week. I can't wait to see the difference!

xColl

12 Weekend Habits of Highly Sucessful People

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Wow, I love this article. Usually articles that contain lists don't have much substance but I think everyone can take a few things from this article.

Next weekend, I'll get up early and be active. I'll see if I can knock out all 12 and start making them my own habits in the next few weeks.

Find the article here!

Benefit Advent Calendar

The Christmas season is rapidly approaching, I am beginning to think about Christmas presents, holiday fashion and the countdown to Christmas morning. I'm a big fan of advent calendars, as a child I was often deprived of a daily chocolate because my mother felt that I was too hyper without the small piece.

Benefit came out with an alternative to the traditional chocolate countdown, and this made me even more excited for the holiday season!

In your advent calendar you will find;

- 0.25 oz “That gal” brightening face primer 
- 0.25 oz the POREfessional pore minimizer 
- 0.08 oz Benetint cheek and lip stain in Rose 
- 0.08 oz High beam liquid highlighter 
- 0.08 oz Chachatint lip and cheek stain in Sheer Mango 
- 0.08 oz Posietint lip and cheek stain in Poppy Pink 
- 0.04 oz Stay flawless foundation primer 
- 0.1 oz They’re real! mascara 
- 0.22 oz Ultra plush lip gloss in Dandelion 
- 0.22 oz Ultra plush lip gloss in A-lister 
- 0.22 oz Ultra plush lip gloss in Fauxmance 
- 0.14 oz BADgal lash mascara 
- 0.08 oz Stay don’t stray concealer and eye shadow primer in Light/Medium 
- 0.1 oz Fakeup concealer in 02 Medium 
- 0.1 oz It’s potent! eye cream 
- 0.3 oz Total moisture facial cream 
- 0.08 oz Ooh la lift eye cream 
- 0.08 oz Watt’s up! highlighter 
- Beauty sticky notes 
- Doodle pad 
- Heart-shaped paperclips 
- Pinky, polka-dot hair tie 
- Elastic hair band with bow charm 
- Metallic silvery hair tie


Purchase here!

The TMI Blogger

1: What are you wearing? Skinny Jeans and a purple T
2: Ever been in love? Yes
3: Ever had a terrible breakup? Ha only one, but it was terrible.
4: How tall are you? "but only if she five-three." - sir mix-a-lot
5: How much do you weigh? Just as much as I should.
6: Any tattoos? nope
7: Any piercings? One in each ear.8: OTP? (one true pairing) - uhm pass 
9: Favorite show? I Love Lucy and The Office
10: Favorite bands? Frank Sinatra, Spice Girls, Beach Boys to name a few
11: Something you miss? My grandpa

12: Favorite song? "Baby Got Back"
13: How old are you? 25
14: Zodiac sign? Pisces

15: Quality you look for in a partner? Someone who makes me laugh, pushes me to be a better person, and is a constant support.
16: Favorite Quote? "There are no strangers, just friends we haven't met."
17: Favorite actor? Reese Witherspoon and Lucille Ball... Probably forgetting someone
18: Favorite color? Pink, duh.
19: Loud music or soft? Depends on the mood.
20: Where do you go when you're sad? My bed and watch The Office
21: How long does it take you to shower? Probably 10-15 minutes
22: How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? 30 minutes to an hour. Depends how slow I'm moving. 
23: Ever been in a physical fight? Not really.
24: Turn on? Humor

25: Turn off? Rudeness and liars
26: The reason I started a blog? Creative Outlet
27: Fears? food poisoning
28: Last thing that made you cry? Work!
29: Last time you said you loved someone? 10 minutes ago
30: Meaning behind your Blog Name? My family Calls me "Coll" and I couldn't think of a creative one.
31: Last book you read? Meh, does a picture book count? I know I gotta step it up.

32: The book you're currently reading? I've been "currently" reading "8 Ways to manage stress" for 8 months.
33: Last show you watched? The Office

34: Last person you talked to? My boyfriend 
35: The relationship between you and the person you last texted? I've known her since I was 5
36: Favorite food? Pizza, Thai, or Sushi
37: Place you want to visit? Ireland
38: Last place you were? The market
39: Do you have a crush? Dating him.
40: Last time you kissed someone? 10 minutes ago
41: Last time you were insulted? Not sure.
42: Favorite flavor of sweet? Vanilla or Watermelon
43: What instruments do you play? I used to play the electric bass and the piano.

44: Favorite piece of jewelry? My diamond pave cross over ring from David Yurman and my 1/2 marathon Tiffany necklaces.
45: Last sport you played? Marathon-ing.... does that count?
46: Last song you sang? Title by Megan Trainor
47: Favorite chat up line? I just start talking
48: Have you ever used it? Nope

49: Last time you hung out with anyone? Right now!
50: Who should answer these questions next? Anyone!


Post links to your answers! I'd love to get to know you better!
xColl

Nike Women's Half Marathon

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Well folks, I did it. I ran my second half marathon. I was really worried about the race this year because I didn't train as much as I wanted to. When I first got the notification that I would be running, I was stoked. I immediately went for a 3 mile run, mind you, I wasn't running before I got that e-mail. So true to what happened last year, I got shin splints again. I took 6 weeks off to recover and focused on yoga. Unfortunately, shin splints are a b!tch, are incredibly painful, and take a long time to go away.  I believe mine were attributed to;
1. Not stretching - as I get older I found that I need to stretch more, the young muscles aren't as elastic as they once were. Still, I don't like stretching.
2. Dramatic increase of mileage - Since shin splints are common for me, I really should have taken my time with the increase in mileage. Just because I can run 3 miles, doesn't mean I should. Kind of counter intuitive but oh well.
3. Bad shoes - I got these custom insoles and I think that really attributed to the pain I felt while running.
4. Running on pavement - I should have occasionally ran on a track or grass as the hard surface isn't always ideal.

How I survived the race
I am crediting the success of the race to my KT Tape. This tape worked wonders! I taped my shins and calves prior to running and I have to say, oh my gosh did it help! I am not 100% sure about the science of this KT tape but rumor has it it slightly lifts up your skin so more blood can access the muscles. Regardless of how it works, it just works! I also like to thank my corral 10:00 to 10:59 for pushing me to keep running! Without people running past me, I would have kept walking.  Lastly, I would like to thank my body, I knew we had the endurance to run 13.1 miles but way to go legs for getting me up the hills and not giving up on me!

How I Feel
During the race I had a few pains, one being my hip flexor. I often stopped along the race to stretch that out, which REALLY helped. I don't feel sore in that area anymore. My three middle toes on my left foot sometimes get a sharp pain, not sure if its a stress fracture or plantar faciitis, but I am still watching it to this day. I was really lucky this year when it came to blisters. I felt a blister at mile 4 and got mole skin at mile 7.5, which was probably too late. Right now I am still in some pain as that blister is kind of on the ball but underneath my foot. Definitely no fun! The socks I bought specifically for this race really helped me as they were very cushioned.

After I got home from the race I took a cold cold ice bath. That was painful but I really think it helped my muscles recover. Also, Tiger Balm for the win! Still using it each day before I go to bed to help relax my muscles.

It's been 4 days since my race and my calves are still pretty tight and sore. I haven't started running yet, but I think today I'll muster up the courage to go on a nice walk after work. Moving around really helps!

With this experience being better than my last half marathon, I am already thinking about signing up for my next. I am planning on signing up for Oakland's Disneyland's and Sonoma to Napa, but we'll see what happens!

My Finishing Time!

Golden Gate Peaking Out at Marina Green

My Friends and I Before the Race

My Results!



Urban Hiking in San Francisco

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Over Labor Day Weekend, I was up in San Francisco visiting my friends. I don't get to play tourist that much, or, if at all especially since I grew up on the other side of the Bay Bridge. Prior to this past weekend, I had never been on a SF tour bus, only been to Alcatraz twice (first time was at age 13), have only ventured to Angel Island once, and have never even walked across the Golden Gate. I went through a point where I was sick of San Francisco and just needed to get away. The "hype" was over for me; most likely attributed to the 1:30 round trip commute to SF to just go to high school. Since I have moved back to the Bay Area (a year and a half ago), I definitely do not take the Bay Areas beauty for granted. I can't wait to explore more.

I've spent this past summer going on urban hikes through the city. My friends and I even went on that duck boat tour! It was a little corny but still fun.

Here are some pictures from my urban hikes and some must stops spots if you decide to take your own. I'll be sure to add more to this series so you can continue your exploration!


View of the Bay Bridge from Coit Tower

Coit Tower

The original Irish coffee at The Buena Vista

View along Marina Green 


Old Archway leading to a park

Ferry Building and Coit Tower


Old ship deck where they repair ships

U.S.S 

"A Rebel Within"  from Wolves and Craftmans! Best Breakfast Ever!

More Adventures of San Francisco Urban Hiking to Come! Check out my other Bay Area posts!
Let me know if you have other recommendations or requests of cities you'd like to see!
xColl

Tory Burch Watches

Monday, September 22, 2014

Oh. My. God. Did you just hear my scream? The almighty one, Tory Burch, is coming out with a line of watches. I know I am beyond biased as I am one of her biggest supporters, (I would probably get a TB tattoo if she told me too) but these beauties are chic and classic, with a twist of modern. I mean most of us ladies have Mark and Michael in our jewelry boxes but now we get to add Tory to that collection. Alright, well here are my favorite watches and feel free to send me one since all of these are now on my Christmas, Anniversary, Birthday and Easter list.

I am just so excited. Since I am having a very hard time trying to pick a few watches to preview on here so check out these watches here.

Watches come out October 1st.

Booties

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I don't know if this is just me but I don't feel like booties look good on me. Maybe it's just my insecurities about having larger than desirable calves but to hell with it. I'm going to sport some of these bad boys and get over my insecurities. Here are some of my favorite booties and at least one will join my closet this fall.





rag + bone // kate spade // tory burch // jimmy choo

Equestrian

Sunday, August 24, 2014

I was five when I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had my heart set on riding horses, and taking care of my favorite horse Star. This enthusiasm can be credited to the summer camp my parents sent me to when  I was 4. Yes that seems like a young age, but I was ready to go off on my own and make friends. (First day of camp my mom cried and I didn't say goodbye, just hopped on the bus.)
This summer camp not only had sports, fishing and swimming but also Horseback riding - which became my favorite thing to do. When we would arrive at the stable, we would run to grab a helmet and stand in line for which ring we would be in. Once the other riders tied up their horse and left, we had to walk slowly to the horses, which admittedly was very hard for any 5 year old. My favorite horse was Star, named because of the white spot on her forehead. It's been 20 years, I still remember her name. Then the camp counselor would boost us  up onto the horse, and as we got older, we were able to do this ourselves - clinging onto the railing and shimmying over the horse. I can remember that at an older age, we were taught to stand up on a horse and were even allowed to saddle and unsaddle the horse. If we were lucky enough to have horseback riding at the end of the day, we could brush the horses! Talk about exciting.

As I recall these fond memories, I need to give credit to the one whom spurred my trip down memory lane -Tory Burch. Burch just recently came out with an "equestrian" line that is awfully cute. I stumbled upon more equestrian inspired items that are just to die for. Most of these are out of my price range so don't be thinking I can afford these, but a girl can dream!

Listen - Equestrian - U.S. Royalty I saw the U.S. Royalty at this cute little bar in Los Feliz a few years ago and became obsessed with this song.


Skin Protection

Monday, August 18, 2014

I think by now, most of you have seen that viral video of the UV camera lens showing sun damage to many different faces. This got me thinking, how many people out there add SPF to their beauty routine? I personally, wearing 30 SPF everyday. I am 50% Irish, and a mix of Hungarian and Scandinavian countries, my fair skin does not do well in the sun like it used it when I was a child. Since skin cancer runs in my family and effects 1 in 5 people in their lifetime, I believe that sun protection needs to be an essential part of everyone's day to day.

I don't want to get into the depression facts, I'd rather speak about great beauty products that makes sun protection an easy step in your daily beauty routine. There are many benefits to using SPF everyday; you protect your skin, prevents early aging i.e. wrinkles, prevents skin discoloration, reduces red facial veins and many others.

Here are a few of my personal favorite beauty products with SPF's higher than 30!



 1. Josie Maran - Argan Daily Moisturizer $32 SPF 47
2. Kate Sommerville - Illumikate CC Cream $48 SPF 50
3. Coola - Face SPF 30 cucumber moisturizer $32 SPF 30
4. Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer Broad Spectrum $12.35 SPF 30 - what a steal!


What is your favorite sunscreen to add to your daily beauty routine?