Taking Back My Twenties

Twenties

Heading Home + Dirty Products

Posted on Jun 10, 2014 | 11 comments

It’s a short week for me because I’m heading to Baltimore to visit my grandma tomorrow! After that, I’m traveling home to NC for a wedding. It will be the first time I’ve gone home since I moved to Texas, so I’m pretty excited. I can’t believe it’s been a year. I’m pumped to see family and do some celebrating with friends.

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I wanted to post about cleaning up my beauty routine because I think it’s an interesting topic. Since reading this post on my sister’s blog and this blog, I’ve been trying to clean up my products. And boy is it hard! Partly because it’s difficult to find affordable products and partly because switching products means breakouts and bad hair days in the process. I also didn’t want to switch everything at once, because that would simply be too expensive, so I’ve been slowly trying samples of things. I made the mistake of trying a bunch of stuff at once, and my skin got really irritated and dry, and then I didn’t know which thing was causing the problem! Same with greasy hair (my hair is just blah in general these days – might be time for a big cut).

Anyway, this is what I’m using as of now:

Paula’s Choice Resist Ultra Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum – I’m liking this so far, although it stings my face at times, so I’ve started using it every other day.

Paula’s Choice Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser – Love this!

Paula’s Choice Hydralight Lotion – I’m still having some dry skin, but I think I like this. My skin craves my old Aveeno some days and I give in and put a little on the dry spots.

Alima Pure Luminous Shimmer Blush (Leigh) – I like this a lot so far, although it might be a bit rosy for me – there are lots of colors though.

Acure Moisture Repair Shampoo and Triple Moisture Repairing Conditioner – I love the price point for these ($8.99) and love that I can get it at Whole Foods. I really like the conditioner, although it only feels like it’s working when I comb though my hair in the shower. I’m not crazy about the shampoo, simply because I think my hair looks dull when I use it. And I’m not a fan of the smell!

Finding a better shampoo and a foundation with sunscreen are next on my list.

I’d would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations!!!

PS: here’s a Paula’s Choice referral link if you want to get $10 off – I used my sister’s link to buy my first samples and that’s how I got hooked!

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Finally

Posted on May 4, 2014 | 8 comments

Thanks for your sweet comments!

I was sick all week long and spent a lot of time on the couch watching Dawson’s Creek, eating pancakes, and sleeping. But the whole time I was smiling! After 61 cover letters and interviews for 13 different positions, I am finally done. I have accepted the role of Learning Specialist at an independent school! The position is brand new, so I will be spearheading the development of policies and procedures surrounding the academic support program, coordinating support services for students with learning differences, and acting as a resource for parents and teachers. My role will be similar to what I was doing last year as a school psychologist, except that I won’t be testing students to determine special education eligibility (because I.D.E.A. doesn’t apply in private settings), and I’ll be working in ONE SCHOOL! I am pumped for this challenge, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be working with an amazing group of professionals. I substituted on Friday and only got more excited to be back in a school setting with the kiddos. I don’t start until the new school year, so I will continue working at Equinox in the meantime.

Needless to say, Matt and I celebrated this weekend.

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We popped open a bottle of Prosecco that’s been in my fridge since December.

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We drank it in the park by our apartment while the sun was setting and then ordered Thai takeout. It was a wonderful evening.

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Saturday morning, I was finally feeling up for some exercise afer 4 days off – I took Matt with me to a spinning class and then tried out the steam room for some relaxation afterwards. Felt so good to sweat!

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Matt let me pick our Saturday evening dinner destination, and I went with Komali because of the incredible Mexican-inspired menu – seriously my dream menu. We walked to dinner in the glorious 80 degree temps.

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Cheers! I ordered a tamarind margarita with a spiced rim and it was amazing.

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For appetizers, we ordered the goat cheese with morita chile and piloncillo,

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as well as the PEI mussels with pasilla chile flakes, cilantro, and tequila – whatever crema was on the toasted baguette was out of this world.

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For entrees, we ordered the pan seared scallops with cauliflower poblano rajas, apple compote, and ancho chile glaze,

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and the poblano pepper stuffed with beef tenderloin and dried fruits & nuts with toasted walnut sauce and cilantro.

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And lastly, the pumpkin tres leches with candied pepitas and cinnamon whipped cream.

Everything we ordered was amazing – I’m kind of in love with Komali now. We definitely went all out, and the dinner made for one hell of a celebration!

Hope y’all had a lovely weekend.

PS: thank you for the continuous support this year and for bearing with me during these past couple of crazy months!

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Scenes from the Weekend

Posted on Apr 28, 2014 | 24 comments

I’ll leave you with snaps from my wonderful, low-key weekend because I’m too tired from work and being sick to write a full recap. I have a cold/cough and found out I also have an infection – the antibiotics are already destroying my stomach:( Plus, I’m too excited to focus on writing a post right now because….

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I GOT A JOB. I GOT A JOB. I GOT A JOB! Wooohoooooooo. I just found out a few hours ago and am beyond excited!

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Beauty & The Beast with ScoreBig

Posted on Apr 24, 2014 | 1 comment

Gosh I love Dallas. Now that the weather is warm, I’ve been taking more walks and soaking in the sunshine. Last night, I had the opportunity to walk downtown to see Beauty and the Beast!

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ScoreBig contacted me about trying their website to buy tickets to an event and provided me with $100 towards the tickets. Woohoo! If you aren’t familiar with ScoreBig, the site offers tickets for sports, concerts, theater, Broadway, family shows, and attractions. I found the website really easy to use – I typed in my location and all the available tickets popped up! In Dallas, it looked like most of the tickets were for sports. There were tickets for shows and concerts, but the dates were pretty limited. However, it seems like the availability can change quickly, and you can set up alerts so that you are notified as soon as tickets become available. Anyway, I picked Beauty and the Beast because it’s a classic, but also because I’ve been wanting to check out the AT&T Performing Arts Center downtown.

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Once I picked my event, I had a couple of options for tickets, based on seating. There were 2-star, 3-star, and 4-star seating options and each had a list price. I originally wanted to buy 2-star tickets, but by the time I got around to purchasing them, they were sold out! I went with the 3-star seating, which had a list price of $100 per ticket. Now, the cool part – I got to make an offer on the tickets based on what I wanted to spend! By choosing a seating area rather than an exact seat, the ticket providers can offer better deals (if you buy multiple tickets, the seats will be together). Once you type in your offer, there’s a little indicator that tells you the likelihood of your offer being accepted. I offered $55 for each ticket, and found out instantly that my offer was rejected:( BUT, on that same screen, I had the opportunity to buy the tickets for $64, so I did! The nice thing about the pricing is that there’s no fees and free delivery is included, so I didn’t have to pay any service fees after that. I entered payment information and got an email confirmation indicating that my tickets would be at will call. Pretty simple!

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I thought $64 was a fair price for a musical, given the list price. I must say though, after I saw how empty the theater was, I’m not sure I got that great of a deal. I think I’ll definitely browse the site in the future though, because I bet the 2-star tickets (list price $50) would have been more reasonable and the seats almost as good. The seats were up pretty high in the balcony, but were in the first row.
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As for the show, it was awesome!! I had forgotten how good of a story it is! And I knew all the music so well that I just wanted to break out into song and dance with the actors.
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I sipped wine too, which was fun. I’ve been 21 for a while now, but for some reason I’ve only gotten a drink at the theater once or twice before!
Thanks to ScoreBig for the tickets! Definitely check it out the next time you’re in the mood for entertainment but don’t want to pay full price!
Happy weekend eve.
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Vegas

Posted on Mar 17, 2014 | 14 comments

Vegas is intense! I can’t believe how many people were there – I arrived and was like, oh, this is where everybody has been all these years!

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I got to our hotel just as the sun was setting on Friday night! I was the last to arrive and it was glorious to walk into a hotel room of friends! My friend Emily was our host for the weekend and she did an amazing job planning everything and getting us on lists so we could skip the lines and the cover charges! She also works for the Las Vegas Sands, so we got a ridiculously low rate at the Palazzo.

We listened to an epic playlist while getting ready and then headed to the lobby for dinner at SushiSamba. I’m not a sushi person, so I never would have picked this on my own, but it was amazing!

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We had wonderful service, excellent cocktails, and delicious food!

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Highlights included the fried plantains and the sea bass skewers!

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And a complimentary cocktail tower!

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After dinner, we headed across the street to the XS club at the Wynn.

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The club was giant and had an awesome outdoor area.

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I had no idea it was going to happen, but David Guetta appeared as the DJ at 2am!!

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He was awesome, and we made our way to the pit to get a better look!

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Most of us east and central time zone people couldn’t sleep in so we grabbed green juice, hit the gym, and got some lunch at the pool. It was a little too chilly for bathing suits, but I enjoyed a nap under a towel in the wonderful sunshine.

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Saturday evening we got all dolled up for our second night on the town (I definitely could not have handled a third night!).

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Our destination was the Cosmopolitan hotel, where we had drinks in the Chandelier bar. Bourbon for me!

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We had dinner at a fantastic restaurant called Rose.Rabbit.Lie at the Cosmopolitan. The menu was all small plates, so we shared a bunch of dishes, and every single thing I tried was phenomenal. The above brussels sprouts with crispy chicken skin were maybe the best I’ve ever had. The coolest part about dinner though, was that our table was backstage and we dined while a show was happening on the other side of the wall. All the performers would come through the dining room, warm-up with a small act/performance, and then enter the stage door.

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We saw so many interesting things, like this upsidedown man!

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Our main event for the night was the Marquee nightclub. One of Emily’s [INCREDIBLY generous] friends got a table for us! It was wonderful to be able to have drinks (and water!!) right there and be able to sit and relax if we wanted too.

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We spent a large portion of the night debating if the man in the black suit in the left-ish part of the picture was Paul Rudd. If it wasn’t, he was an exact look alike!

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We had [too much] champagne and I loved the girls with sparkers who would bring out the bottles. They even changed outfits each time!

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Needless to say, it was a magical night!

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We ended the trip with brunch at Bouchon Bistro.

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I enjoyed a spiced doughnut and a glorious corned beef hash in honor of St. Patrick’s day. I was super impressed with the food in Las Vegas, and I told matt we are going back just to eat.

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A gigantic thank you to my friend Emily for totally spoiling us and bringing us all together!!!

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Celebrating in New York

Posted on Oct 22, 2013 | 11 comments

Where do I even start? NYC is just so amazing. And the food, oh the food!!

I arrived on Thursday and was able to meet Matt for a quick lunch in Hell’s Kitchen. We dined at a Thai-French fusion cafe called Breeze and scored a little table right on the patio/sidewalk.

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The spicy duck salad and peanut curry shrimp were both tasty and lighter than your typical thai food. Perfect lunch!

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Matt had to get back to work, so I walked the afternoon away. Starting in Hell’s Kitchen, I walked down through Chelsea, and stopped in the market, and then walked through the West Village.

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I eventually made my way to the lower east side and stopped into Babycakes for nourishment. The bakery is gluten free, vegan, and soy-free, so I was really curious to try something. The apple cider donut was absolutely amazing! I took it down in about ten seconds. I saved the cupcake and split it with Matt later that day, but it wasn’t very good (dry, with a weird taste). I want more donuts!

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For dinner, I met a bunch of college friends at Empellon Taqueria in the West Village. The restaurant was dark and intimate, but the loud music made it a bit hard to converse. It was great to catch up though, even if we had to yell:) We enjoyed spicy margaritas, guac, and tacos. My three tacos – chicken verde, wild mushroom, and pastrami were all delish. It’s hard to beat Dallas when it comes to tacos though.

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Friday was my actual birthday, so I slept in and took myself out for a day of exploration. I started with a run along the river and ended up back in the lower east side to pick up a cake.

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I stumbled upon this incredible juice bar and had the best almond milk chai latte of my life. I may move to New York just for this latte.

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I picked up lunch and met Matt in Bryant Park. The weather was 60 and sunny and was just gorgeous birthday weather:)
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We shared a pumpkin sandwich, a quinoa salad, a ginger beer, and a grasshopper cookie from Peacefood Cafe. T’was lovely.
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I spent the afternoon shopping, although everything was too expensive, so it was more like looking. It was just fun to be out and about!

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Once Matt got off work, we kicked off the evening at Gramercy Tavern. We sat at the bar and had the most wonderful service! The bartender comped our first round simply because Matt had to stand up while I was sitting at the bar. Nice! I started with a little bubbly and the moved on to a fall bourbon special.

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Since my favorite restaurants typically involve small plates, I picked ABC Cocina for dinner. It was exactly the vibe I wanted and all the food was fantastic.

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We shared the olives with poblano and mint pesto, which I de-pitted and ate on bread, because that’s how I learned to like them on the honeymoon:)
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Glazed short rib tacos (amazing),
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pepper and potato empanadas,
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maitake mushrooms with fresno pepper vinaigrette, and un-pictured brussels. LOVED this restaurant experience so much!!
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And then, after a 20-block walk home, we got to eat this:
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It’s a carrot cake from Peacefood Cafe, which some reviewers claim is the best carrot cake in the city.
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It.was.so.dense.
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This is definately not your typical carrot cake! There’s pineapple inside! I’m still thinking about it now. We couldn’t even eat a fourth of it on Friday night, but were able to finish off the whole thing by Sunday night.
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Matt got us tickets to see Big Fish! We slept in on Saturday morning, and then went to the matinee show in the afternoon. The costumes and set were wonderful. I loved seeing this because I’m a big fan of the movie.
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Saturday evening was chilly, so I had to layer with random tops! We went to The Ginger Man and warmed up with pumpkin beers after the show.

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And then we had dinner at Craft. The atmosphere was beautiful, although I felt a little out of place at such a nice restaurant. The waitress didn’t help that feeling, as she became annoyed when we only ordered four things. The food was all very unique and perfectly prepared. The portions were really small, although we didn’t care because we knew we had more cake waiting!
Above is the pork with egg and jalapeno and below is the pumpkin ravioli.
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We also had the red snapper in a pepper sauce,
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and more mushrooms (I’m obsessed).
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We declined dessert, but enjoyed mocha marshmallows on the house. The hostess also sent us home with fresh muffins to enjoy the next morning, which was a nice touch.
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I’m sad it’s over, but so, so thankful for a perfect weekend. And so another year begins!
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