Saturday, November 16, 2013

I Have a Problem...

Oh hey, guys! I'm back. And this blog post is going to rock your world. That's right. This one has been rolling around in my brain for a while. We'll see how it all works out.

See, I have this problem.

I can't seem to find a chap stick that I like. Once I do, I can't find it anywhere anymore.

After going through so many of these, I have managed to concoct a list of characteristics that I need to have a successful relationship with my chap stick. First, let me explain what has been wrong with each of these.

Ah, Burt's Bees. HONEY lip balm, no less. Everyone swears by this stuff. I thought for certain it had to be good. I haven't tried this in a very long time. I gave up on it after a few applications of it. From what I can recall, I don't like the way it goes on--kind of rough at first. And after using it, my lips felt dry. It created a need for more chap stick. That is not what I want. I don't want a product that makes me need it! Customer manipulation, people! There's also kind of a weird aftertaste to it. I do like that it has natural ingredients.

Next, Hawaiian Tropic Vanilla Mint. To be honest, I actually do like a few things about it. The flavor is good. It has SPF in it, which is great. But it also makes me want to save it for the summer. If I can recall from the last time I used it, I have to apply this one too frequently. I like the way it goes on--super smooth. It might also have made my lips feel dry after wearing off. Again, I can't handle the need to use more.

Hawaiian Tropic Aloe Vera. This one is a winner, all except for one thing: the flavor. Let me be clear when I say flavor. I don't mean I lick my chap stick off, OK? I mean when you put it on, or when you breathe in, or smack your lips, you get a hint of your lip flavor in your mouth. You know what I'm sayin'? So this one has SPF, goes on smooth, and makes my lips feel better. BUT I don't like how it tastes.

All three of these ChapSticks are going to go together, because the problem is the same in all of them: ChapStick makes me need more ChapStick. That is not OK. I love the flavor of the mint one, and the way it rolls on. I am not a fan of the cherry flavor. But about 30 minutes later, I need more ChapStick. Lose.

Yes to Carrots. I found this stuff at Wal-Mart on my way out. I thought I'd give it a try because A) it's mint, and B) they called it lip butter. But really, it's made for hippies like me with natural ingredients, paraben-free, and no petroleum. I like to try natural things. I used this one for a day, and never used it again. Last night, I pulled this one out of my purse on accident, thinking it was a different chap stick. I rolled it on, and soon realized something was wrong. It didn't feel right. An hour later, my skin felt like it was falling off my lips. Flaky and dry. I needed more chap stick. People, that ain't right. This stuff destroys my poor lip skin.

Eos mint. This one was recommended to me at the beginning of the year by a friend's date. He said he liked it. I like it too. But we have a few issues. One is the cost. This stuff is pricey for me. I'm cheap. Another problem is the size of it. I don't like how big it is, and how much room it takes up. I can't just slip it into my pocket. Another, and this sounds shallow, but the color of the case makes it prone to get dirty. I mean, just look at the hand dirt all over my chap stick! This one is flattened out and basically not usable now because of that. Since you're supposed to "pucker up" to apply it, it makes it useless toward the end.

Eos strawberry. I bought this because I liked the Eos mint enough, and thought I'd try another flavor. I love the flavor of this one. Strawberry has been my go-to lip flavor since I was an adolescent. But I used this before I went to bed one night (yeah, that's what I do), and woke up with dry lips the next day. So for whatever reason, the ingredients in the strawberry flavor don't match the ones in the mint, and this one makes me need more chap stick.

Nivea Kiss of Moisture. I don't know why I haven't tossed this yet. It's basically gone. I really like this chap stick. I feel it is worth the money (a little more than average price). It hydrates my lips, and I like the texture as I put it on. However, I don't like the flavor. It's not fruity. It's not medicated (which is good). It almost is like "unscented" lotion, how you feel like you want to put on a fragrance after using it. I want to have a flavor in my mouth after putting this one. So I love it, but haven't bought it in years because of the flavor.

Vaseline Lip Therapy. I used this because it came highly recommended by my lovely friend Whitney. Plus, what a cute little container, right? The tiniest little Vaseline you ever saw. I liked what this stuff did for my lips. I liked the smooth Vaseline texture. But then I had two problems. One was the flavor (yep, just like Nivea and Hawaiian Tropic), but the other is that after a couple of days using it, I started to break out around my mouth. Thus, I haven't used this one in a very long time.

Aromatic Spa. I got this for free at a hotel back in 2011. I love, love, love this chap stick. Here's the problem: I got it at a hotel back in 2011. I will not drive to Park City to buy this stuff. I won't do it. In desperation, I have used my nail to scrape the remnants out of this chap stick. Seriously. Look.

What? I wanted to make it last for as long as possible. Now, I will mention that the flavor of this was not great. It has a hint of peppermint, and is made with essential oils. I think the "therapy" aspect of it made it tolerable. I only used it before sleeping, and my lips always felt great the next morning.

Strawberry lip balm. I purchased a set of two lip balms out of desperation, hoping that these might work. I got them at the Dollar Tree. And if you know Dollar Tree, you know their stock is pretty inconsistent. So chances are, I will never be able to buy this stuff again. Too bad, because I really like it. It makes my lips feel better, and I don't need to use it. I have a small complaint about the almost too-natural strawberry scent of it. I'm not sure how to describe it. It's not bad enough for me to stop using, though. I will until it's gone. The size isn't pocket-worthy on this one either. Finally, I have to use my pinky nail to dig this stuff out. I prefer a stick that I can glide on. All of this can be overlooked due to its performance so far.

I purchased the Perfect Peppermint lip balm a few nights ago because it was included in a 5 for $5 special at Ulta. I like the flavor; mint is always good. It does have a strange aftertaste/aroma about it. It's kind of like some other scent, like a lotion fragrance. I like the application of it. It hasn't dried my lips out or made me need more of it. It isn't made primarily from natural ingredients, but so far, it's pretty good. It has a seasonal design, which isn't ideal. But I'll probably use it until it's gone.

After all of these strikeouts, you should probably be informed as to how I'm measuring these. This is my favorite chap stick in the entire world.

That's right. I picked this bad boy up at Big! Lots a few years ago (like, in 2010), for $1. I went back shortly thereafter and bought 2-3 more because I loved it so much. Naturally, it hasn't been back at the store since, and I have since used all of my beloved Maui Mike's Pina Colada lip balm. If I had known the repeated chap stick failures that lay before me at the time, I probably would've bought many more. I had no idea the journey to find a decent lip balm would be so treacherous. 

Since this one set the bar so high, let's make a list of its qualities: the qualities of a perfect lip balm. 

My perfect lip balm:

1. Glides on smooth
2. Has a good flavor, without an aftertaste
3. Has SPF
4. Can slip into my pocket; small in size
5. Moisturizes my lips as a permanent fix, without making me need more
6. Inexpensive
7. Natural ingredients like Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, and bees' wax
8. Stick form (not having to use finger or nail to get it out)

And this, my friends, is why I've put this obscure chap stick on my Amazon wish list. I am secretly hoping to get several of them for Christmas this year. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

So You Think You Can Dance

So I have this love in my life. It's called "So You Think You Can Dance." It's on Fox. It is my favorite. Seriously. I don't watch a lot of TV shows. I don't like feeling obligated to finish things. Because then I have to. And I don't like when enjoyable things turn into things I have to do. Which is what happens with TV shows for me.

Anyway, I had my cool friends Kristen and Julie record my show on their DVR this past season. I seriously feel like I cannot live without it. I look forward to it every year, and when it's on I look forward to it every week!

Kristen decided to text-message the surprise to me yesterday morning: she would be taking me to see the LIVE SHOW. Fortunately, I had no other obligations for Friday night. She already bought the tickets. And she said, "Happy early birthday!" Three months too early, but for real? No complaints when it comes to this.

My mom and grandma wondered what my #sytycd business was all about on Instagram. So in all my excitement, I decided that I would just show them why I love the show. No matter who I am talking to about the show, I can't seem to avoid showing them all my favorite dances. I did it to Kristen. I've probably done it to you, too, if you're reading this.

If not, I'm about to. Here are some of my favorite dances from the show.

1. Mia Michaels' Addiction Dance

This one is so emotional for me no matter how many times I watch it. Kupono plays the demon, or the addiction itself. You can see how he weaves his way into her life. She becomes dependent on him. And he wraps his darkness around her. It's just beautiful and emotional, and hits really close to home.

2. Twilex Get Outta Yo' Mind

This one is even more impressive knowing that Alex is a danseur who is impressively keeping up with a professional hip-hop dancer. For real? It is amazing.

3. Bleeding Love

I am pretty sure Nappytabs can do no wrong. This one is both fun to watch and also emotional at the same time. Lyrical hip-hop is great. End of story.

4. Mia Michaels' Mercy

This one is just really clever and entertaining. I never get tired of it.

5. Mia Michaels' Cancer Piece

I love that Mia isn't afraid to do personal pieces. She does such beautiful choreography.

6. Mia Michaels' Around You

I've loved this dance since the moment it happened. I think it is extremely emotional but also insanely sexy. I loved Lacey and Kameron's chemistry. The music is bomb, too. (Favorite moment at 1:30)

7. Mia Michaels' Hometown Glory

To be honest I had forgotten about this one until just now. But the assisted running at around 1:12 is AMAZING. Classic moment on the show.

8. Travis Wall's Wicked Game

This is from this season, where Travis Wall repeatedly ripped my heart into pieces. The man is brilliant, and this is beautiful.

9. Joshua and Katee Bollywood

First Bollywood routine on the show. Best Bollywood routine on the show ever, in all the seasons. So good.

10. Fik-Shun Solo

Not because this is one of my favorite dances, but because he's probably the one I am most excited to see tomorrow. This kid is so talented, and such a hard worker. Such a good attitude. You can't help but love him.

It's hard because I've been watching it for so long that I am sure there are SO many amazing dances that I was "wowed" by a long time ago but cannot remember now. I have loved so many dancers, and so much choreography. Some of my favorite choreographers are Sonya Tayeh, Napoleon and Tabitha, Mia Michaels (could you tell?), Mandy Moore, and Travis Wall. They've done so many pieces that have moved me in one way or another. This season didn't disappoint.

I am so excited to go tomorrow! Thanks, Kristen!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sunshine Award

I have one of those chicken or the egg questions for you. Did I stop blogging because I thought no one read my blog? Or does no one read my blog because I never write on it? Really, I think about blogging all the time. I even have a notepad on my phone full of blog topics and ideas. I just never sit down and actually do it.

So you can only imagine my surprise when the awesome Danakin Skywalker nominated me for the Sunshine Award today. I read her blogs regularly, and was just going through her post this morning, and saw a link to my blog on her blog post. What the? I was so surprised and had to reread to figure out why I was being mentioned. So this was a day maker, ego boost, whatever you want to call it. Thanks, Danica!

This award is "to notice and encourage positivity and sunshine on the Internet." I never have considered myself to be an especially sunny person. Especially when one of my first thoughts on the road this morning was, "Wow. The only thing worse than a PT Cruiser is a PT Cruiser with flames painted on it." (No offense to any of you PT fans.) Nevertheless, I humbly accept the nomination as a reason for me to write a blog.

Here are The Rules:

1.  Include award logo in a post or on your blog.
2.  Link to the person who nominated you
3.  Answer 10 questions about yourself that the person who nominated you asks.
4.  Nominate 10 bloggers to receive the award. (make sure to link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs letting them know you have nominated them)

So here are Danica's thought-provoking questions (including a Harry Potter one which excites me because look what I bought just barely):
  1. If you could only listen to one band/musical artist for the rest of your life, who would it be?
    Ah geez. I'm trying to think of someone who makes me happy no matter when or how often I hear them. I think Death Cab for Cutie is in the running. They make me feel so many feelings! Joshua Radin makes me happy. Ingrid Michaelson is good for singing along. Imogen Heap is so creative and unique. So there that is. I'll go with DCFC, Danica, but this question is just cruel. Thankfully, I'll never have to choose!
  2. Which Harry Potter character are you and why?
    I don't think it will surprise anyone when I say Hermione Granger. Stinky little know-it-all. I totally was like that in school. However, (don't mind if I pat myself on the back here) she is also incredibly thoughtful and cares deeply about her friends. She's very prepared, organized, and studious. I fancy myself a holder of these qualities.
  3. What winter fashion trend are you going to be trying this season?
    I'm trying infinity scarves. I bought one at Wal-Mart, and one at Payless Shoe Source in the past couple of weeks (don't judge me). I've never been into fashion like I wish I could be (I'll find my millionaire one day). But honestly, reading Danica's blog in the past year has inspired me to make more of an effort. So I've been stocking up on scarves. I bought my first boots and first skinny jeans last December and have loved wearing them. I feel much more attractive when I make an effort.
  4. Who was your best k-12 teacher? What made them great?
    Oh man, this one is hard. I had so many good teachers, and that's why I became one. I had Mrs. Whittington for 1st, 2nd, and 4th grade. Sadly, she passed on from cancer, but I loved her for how fair she was. She was good at acknowledging and praising my abilities without setting me apart (take note, Colonel Graff). Mr. Guggino was awesome for his passion about all things nerdy, especially Shakespeare. He had great rapport with us and was more like a friend. Mrs. Wilcox was a fantastic grammarian with amazing dry humor. Dr. Davis was my 5th grade teacher, and he pushed me harder than I ever wanted to be pushed. He gave me special permissions and had me do projects because I would get so far ahead of the other kids. He was hilarious and so fun. I could go on and on, but those four came first in my head.
  5. Favorite secret/unknown/under-the radar restaurant in Utah?
    I don't know how under-the-radar Red Ginger Bistro is. They have 1/2 off sushi all the time, and it is my fave. (Please note: don't expect awesome service at Red Ginger.) I also happen to love Johanna's in Sandy. Their scones? It's become a problem. I'll leave it at that.
  6. What awesome holiday tradition should I be starting with my fuzzy little family this year?
    My mom always buys our dogs bones for Christmas. We also open up a present on Christmas eve. I also do a lot of Christmas baking. Take your pick.
  7. Do you have an inspirational quote or saying you look to when things get tough? Share please.
    I love a lot of quotes.
    - When I feel like I am just bombing a workout, I like to tell myself, "You're lapping everyone on the couch."
    - When I'm feeling ugly or inadequate physically, "Love your body for what it can do instead of what it looks like."
    - When I'm feeling negative or like bad things are happening, "If it wasn't this, it would be something else."
    - I also like, "You were given this life because you were strong enough to live it."
    - And for my job, "No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world."
    For real, I could go on and on and on...
  8. What phrase should I be using to shut up the people asking me when I’m gonna “pop out a baby”?
    I'm sure any of your responses would be much cleverer than mine. Tell them, "When I grow a hole big enough to do so." That's bound to offend someone.
  9. What are you going to ask Santa for for Christmas?
    All I want is workout gear, seriously. Just workout clothes. New running shoes. OK, maybe a couple of movies. And some vinyl records. But I'd be happy with just workout clothes. Did everyone get that? Mom? Workout. clothes.
  10. What is something your readers don’t know about you?
    I'm in a long distance relationship. But it's soon to be short-distance! Yay! 

OK, my 10 nominees are:

  1. Rachel, for her always amazing use of .gifs that will unquestionably make me laugh. 
  2. Camille, because she posts so regularly, and her energy is always through the roof. Her zest for life is awesome. 
  3. Whitney Wilson, because she cracks me up, but I also love how open she is about her life. 
  4. Bri, because her kids are so dang cute. That's the same thing as sunshine, right? 
  5. Ashlee, because she is so good about finding joy in the small things. Her insight to parenthood means the world to me. 
  6. Larissa, because she writes about a variety of topics in a way that's open and thoughtful and positive. 
  7. Aunt Lisa, because she seeks to provide encouragement and inspiration on her blog and off. 
  8. Eileen, because her cynicism and snark make me smile. 
  9. Whitney Ingram, because she is a real, funny, cool mom, and I like her blog. 
  10. Melea, not that I know her or think she'll do this blog post but because she posts deals and freebies every day, and deals and freebies make me super happy!

My 10 questions for you ladies are:
  1. What movie can you watch repeatedly and not get sick of?
  2. What shampoo and conditioner do you use?
  3. Name 3 pet peeves (make 'em good. What makes you want to say curse words?).
  4. What's your favorite way to stay fit or favorite type of exercise? 
  5. What personality trait do you wish you had (or had more of)?
  6. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? 
  7. What is your favorite food (one that you wish had no calories)? 
  8. What job would you love to do if you could? 
  9. What is your favorite instrument to listen to? 
  10. Tell me your favorite joke.