The Christmas Haul

Yesterday morning I was awoken bright and early by my sister texting me to let me know they were opening gifts.  I got on Skype and it turns out that they had already opened theirs, except for the ones I gave them.  So it was more like they sat in front of a computer staring at me while I opened their gifts.  I got some pretty awesome stuff though.

Every year, my mother insists on purchasing me either a new set of pajamas or a new pair of pajama pants.  This year, it was the latter.  I actually love them.  They are very comfortable, and I should know since I took a glorious nap in them earlier today.  She also bought me some fancy coffee because she knows that I rarely splurge and buy the good stuff for myself.  I’m definitely looking forward to that, although I am trying to cut down on my caffeine consumption.  I got a few other practical things, like new sheets and a comforter for our bed.  But there were lots of fun things as well.  I received season 5 of Boy Meets World. I’m slowly collecting all of the seasons before they bring it back (!!!). I also decided that it’s time to invest in all the seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, because I’ve been watching that show so much recently.  (In this instance, “investing” means I asked for it for Christmas, and my mother got it for me.)  Right now I only have the first 2 seasons (thanks Mom!), but that should keep me busy for a while.

New pajama pants!

New pajama pants!

 

And my two favorite Christmas gifts have to be my NARS Alhambra duo and my Sigma brush kit for eyes.  This is actually my first Sigma brush set and I’m already in love with it.  The brushes are dense but soft and work extremely well to distribute whatever product I’m using.

NARS is a funny word.

NARS is a funny word.

They’re beautiful colors, and they’re very pigmented.

I don’t think I’ve ever posted a picture of my brush storage. These are my new Sigma brushes along with some other brushes I already had.

I thought I would throw this in, just so you could see how I store my brushes, pencils, lipgloss, and lipsticks.

I spent most of the day with Daniel’s family.  Daniel’s uncle Richard and cousin Paula visited and went with us, Daniel’s parents, and Daniel’s sister Nicole to see a matinee of Les Miserables.  I really liked it.  Daniel hated the cinematography, which was distracting at times, but I still enjoyed the film quite a bit.  In continuing with the Jewish Christmas tradition, we went out for Chinese food right after the movie.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and got to spend some quality time with their family.  I know I had a great time with Daniel’s family, and I’m so happy that I got to participate in their traditions this year.

Tomorrow is Christmas!

Hi!  Tomorrow is Christmas which is very exciting.  I finally get to open the gifts sent from my parents.  My mother sent me home with a few gifts back in November when I visited, but then a few days ago she also sent a gigantic box to Durham full of even more gifts.  She went a little crazy.  I think she misses me.

Daniel and I have had a busy couple of days.  We went back to Taberna with his parents on Thursday, and we all shared some of their amazing bacon wrapped dates, flamenquín, gambas a la plancha, and paella, with their molten chocolate cake for dessert.  It was phenomenal.  Again, I highly recommend it.

Today, we went to see The Hobbit.  Daniel and I sat through The Lord of the Rings trilogy a few months ago, which was fine except for the fact that I really can’t stand Elijah Wood.  I might have discussed this before, but I just feel like they are movies that appeal more to males.  Here’s the thing:  I am a girl that loves action movies.  Give me any Die Hard or James Bond film, and I’m all in.  But with movies like The Hobbit, it’s a lot of fantasy and sword fights.  Also, there’s dragons, and over the years I’ve realized that dragons just ruin movies for me.  I don’t know why, but if there is a dragon involved, I’m probably not going to like the movie.  Maybe it’s because my dad tried to make me sit through Reign of Fire at 13 or 14 years old, and that is a bad movie all about dragons.  Despite the fact that it starred Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, and Gerard Butler (in this instance, a sexy trifecta full of rippling muscles and bad acting), I could not even make it half-way through.   Anyway, The Hobbit was actually good, it’s very entertaining, but I certainly felt every minute of that 3 hours.  Okay, fine, to be fair, it was only 2 hours and 40 minutes, give or take.  I will definitely try to finish watching the rest of this trilogy, although I am having a very hard time understanding how they could even remotely have enough source material to make 2 more films.  We will see.

We also went to his parents’ house this evening to watch It’s a Wonderful Life.  It’s a great movie, but watching James Stewart running around in the snow didn’t make me miss Upstate New York even a little bit.

I hope everybody has a Merry Christmas.  I will share what I got on Wednesday.  I’m also hoping to have a post up soon about some scarves I’ve made recently.  :)

Weekend Recap

I usually post these on a Monday but, as you can probably tell, I’m a little behind with my blogging.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I made Daniel stuffed shells for dinner on Friday for his Hanukkah gift.  That night was kind of quiet for us because we both had to work on Saturday morning.

On Saturday night, we went out for dinner to a new tapas restaurant downtown.  It’s called Taberna and  their tapas are fantastic but what really knocked my socks off was their paella.  If you’re ever in Downtown Durham looking for a new place to try, go to Taberna.  The service was amazing and the prices are very reasonable.  You can try a huge variety of great food and it’s a really cute restaurant.  Daniel and I can’t wait to go back.  That was sort of our belated anniversary dinner, since we both forgot about it earlier in the week.  It was Hanukkah and his dad’s birthday on that same day, so we just ended up hanging out at his parents’ house to celebrate those.

After dinner at Taberna, we drove to the new apartment of Forest and Fran.  Forest is one of Daniel’s friends from high school and Fran is his girlfriend.  They just moved out of Forest’s mom’s house and into an adorable apartment near Southpoint.  We drank beer and wine and watched trailers on Youtube for some of the worst movies every made (including The Room, Enemy Mine, and Tiptoes).  It’s always a pleasure to see to them.

On Sunday we went to a small Hanukkah party with delicious food and good company.  Everyone brought a “white elephant” gift, which is kind of like a gag gift; basically, it’s something weird or random you might find laying around your house that you don’t want.  My brother recently gave me a bag of some of the most random dvds ever, so Daniel and I chose 3 of those, wrapped them, and I think Daniel’s parents finally ended up with them.  We came home with a silver picture frame.  Honestly, I’ll probably re-gift it to my mother.  She would get some use out of it.

On Monday while Daniel was at work, I went out to a craft store to buy more yarn for the fluffy infinity scarf I’m working on.  I also stopped at Bath and Body Works to pick up some of their candles because they were having a 2 for $20 sale.  The sale might still be happening.  I bought a Japanese Cherry Blossom scented candle, which is a really classic scent from their signature line, and I bought one of their holiday candles called Snowed In.  I’m burning that one as I type this and it smells great.  I wasn’t sure about it at first but I’m glad I bought it.  I was bummed that they didn’t have any of their 3-wick candles in Sea Island Cotton, which is one of my favorite scents, but I would never wear it on my body.  I just think it’s a perfect candle scent.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

The Final Haul

Hanukkah is over, so I can officially give my final Hanukkah haul.  We left off at the glorious new iPad that I can’t stop using.  (So many apps, so little time.)  Since then, Jessica came home from Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, so we had to exchange gifts with her.  She bought me and Daniel two video games:  Halo 3: ODST and Arkham Asylum.  Daniel has been loving the Arkham Asylum, which is great. She also bought me a gift card to Starbucks (yes, another one).  Daniel bought me some crochet supplies, including a book with tons of patterns and different stitches, new hooks, and yarn.  I’m already half finished with an infinity scarf.  Pics to come when it’s all done.

Daniel also bought me the first 3 seasons of CSI: Miami.  I admit that I absolutely love that show.  I already had the 4th season because that was when I first started watching the show on tv.  Now we are starting a CSI: Miami marathon and I could not be more happy.  I’m easy to please, right?

For the last night, Daniel gave me Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii, which apparently got rave reviews and I’m so excited to play it.  First, I need to finish a few other games I’ve started, including Hey Ice King, Why’d You Steal Our Garbage for the Nintendo 3DS and Super Paper Mario for the Wii.

Oh, and I made Daniel stuffed shells on Friday!  It would have been a fantastic success had I not forgotten to put the spinach into the ricotta mixture.  I was completely bummed about that, and still kind of embarrassed that I forgot something so crucial, but the dish wasn’t all boring.  I did make a great red sauce with sausage mixed into it, and everything still tasted great.  We will be eating those leftovers for quite some time.

Happy Hanukkah!

I’m kind of bad about posting lately because things have been so hectic here.  There’ve been a lot of exciting things happening so this is probably going to be a long post. First, Happy Hanukkah! This post is coming to you from my new iPad, which is really exciting.  Daniel’s parents bought it for us which was very nice of them.  I can already tell I’m going to be using it a lot.

Let’s recap what’s happened during Hanukkah so far.  On the first night, which was Saturday evening, we went to Daniel’s parents’ house to open gifts.  Nicole bought me two bottles of nail polish and some eye makeup.  She knows me so well.  I also received my annual gift card to Starbucks from Adrienne.   We spent the majority of that night eating latkes and chatting with Wendy and Andy, who are good friends with Ken and Adrienne.

On Sunday night, Adrienne handed me a gigantic gift bag full of Doritos.  She knows me pretty well, too.  As one of Daniel’s gifts to me, he made me a delicious dinner consisting of chicken bacon roulades, green beans, and homemade bread courtesy of Ken.  It was amazing.  We’ve only had that dish once or twice before, so it was a nice surprise.  I had expected risotto or something like that, so I’m glad he surprised me.  I only guessed what it was after we went grocery shopping together earlier that day.  From me, he opened The Orange Box for the XBox 360, which has Portal, Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episodes 1 and 2, and Team Fortress 2.  He was very excited about it.  And I’m looking forward to playing through Portal again on an actual console.

Our beautiful and delicious dinner!  Thanks Daniel.

Our beautiful and delicious dinner! Thanks Daniel.

The full table shot.

The full table shot.

On Monday I opened a chocolate orange and a gift card to Target, both from Daniel’s parents.  Daniel gave me The Avengers on DVD which I was thrilled to see because I love that movie. (You can read all about that here.)

But Tuesday was the most exciting day. Daniel called me around noon to tell me that he had received a job that he only just interviewed for on Monday.  As you may know, he is currently working a temp position at Duke, but his new job will be a full-time position at Duke that will start the same week that his temp position ends.  How perfect!  Last night we celebrated by going to Bull McCabe’s for some drinks and good Irish fare.  And then…we went to his parents’ house where they gave us an iPad. Ohmygod.  I love it.  AND we also went to Best Buy to pick up our new TV, which was also a gift from Ken and Adrienne.  So right now we have a lot of new toys to keep us busy for a very long time.  I can’t even express how excited I am right now, about all of it.  Daniel will finally be able to sleep now that he has full-time work, and I am so proud of him.  I have a fancy new gadget that I can’t get enough of, and we’re only half through with Hanukkah.

Our new TV.  Daniel is playing Skyrim.  He wanted me to take the photo so that it looked like he was doing something cool.

Our new TV. Daniel is playing Skyrim. He wanted me to take the photo so that it looked like he was doing something cool.

The iPad.

The iPad.

If anybody reading this has any suggestions for cool or interesting apps, let me know.

November Favorites!

I can’t believe it’s December already!  This month has gone by so quickly, and now it’s almost 2013.  I’m pretty excited for this coming month, but first, here are my favorites from November.

TV Shows

This month Daniel and I have been watching a lot of a Bob’s Burgers.  I’ve talked about this show before.  We just think it’s hilarious.  It’s about a guy named Bob who owns a burger restaurant with his family.  His wife Linda reminds me so much of my mother, but Linda is much more funny.  His 3 kids, Tina, Gene, and Louise, help to run the restaurant.  Gene reminds me a lot of Daniel, and Louise is very similar to Nicole, but more evil.  If you want to know more about it, check out my previous Bob’s Burgers blog post, which I’ve linked above.

We’ve also caught up on New Girl.  I actually started watching this show when it premiered, then made Daniel watch it, and now I think he’s more addicted than I am.  We love Schmidt.  I don’t care much for Zooey Deschanel, but the male characters are absolutely worth it for me.

Books

This month, I finished Habibi, a graphic novel by Craig Thompson.  All of his work is just incredibly heart-wrenching, and Habibi is no exception.  If you’ve never read anything by Craig Thompson, then I would recommend starting with Goodbye, Chunky Rice.  It’s not as daunting (length-wise) as Habibi or the semi-autobiographical Blankets, but the story-telling is amazing, and the art is stunning.  All of his lines are so fluid, and it looks beautiful.  The word “Habibi” means “my beloved” in Arabic.  The book is set in the Middle East, and it’s about two people who are doing the best they can to survive under the circumstances.  They are trying to live “off the grid” as much as possible, since they essentially ran away together as children and became fugitives.  Eventually, they are separated for many years, but their feelings for each never fade.  Instead, their feelings grow stronger, and eventually they find each other again and begin their long overdue romantic relationship.  Since Daniel hasn’t read it yet, I’ll leave my brief synopsis there, and he can read it and explain to me all of the Islamic symbolism in it, since he’s the Religion major in this relationship.  It’s a wonderful, exciting, tear-inducing book that should definitely not be overlooked simply because it’s a “graphic novel”.

Movies

Since Daniel and I saw Skyfall earlier this month (on our date night), we’ve been on a huge James Bond kick, and because we have all of the 007 movies, we’ve been trying to watch them sequentially, starting with Dr. No.  At this point we’ve only watched the first three, but now that I’m back from Unadilla I’m sure we will be resuming our Bond movie marathon.

Nail Polish

This month I really only wore two colors.  The first was a Sephora by OPI color.  Now, a lot of people have had problems with these polishes being streaky and difficult to apply.  I do find that the formula is a bit thick, but once the polish dried there were no streaks on my nails, and it looked great.  I’ve been wearing “Three Way Mirror”.

The second color was a nail polish from Avon that I’m sure I must have stolen from either my mother or my sister.  I believe it’s called “Mosaic Plum”.  It’s a gorgeous deep purple color with gold micro-glitter.  However, I wouldn’t really recommend Avon polishes.  I currently have two, and I have the same complaint about both of them.  They chip pretty quickly, even with my amazing Revlon ColorStay Base Coat and Top Coat.  Also, at least with this purple color, it didn’t come off with nail polish remover very easily at all, and when it did finally come off, it wanted to take the top layer of my nail with it.  That’s not a good look for anybody.  So, while I adore the color and would love to wear it again, I really don’t want to go through the slow and messy process of removal again.

Pretty colors.  You can really see the gold flecks in the purple nail polish.

Pretty colors. You can really see the gold flecks in the purple polish.

Makeup

For this month, I feel like I have more makeup favorites that I usually do.  I’ve recently discovered Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind Eraser for Dark Circles.  I’ve heard a lot of positive chatter about this, and it has not disappointed.  It doesn’t have to be used only for the under-the-eye area; it definitely can also be used as an all-over concealer.  It works like magic.

I’ve had Mac’s Cranberry eyeshadow for almost a year now, but I’ve hardly worn it because it typically made me look like I had a black eye.  I think this is a common problem with eyeshadows that are a deep berry or purple color.  I finally figured out how to wear it so that it doesn’t look like a bruise, and I’m absolutely in love with it.  Plus it’s very festive to wear an eyeshadow called “Cranberry” to Thanksgiving.   Cranberry looks great on the outer half of the lid and outer “v”, with Wet ‘n Wild’s “Nutty” placed on the inner half of the lid and Urban Decay’s Buck (a light brown matte shadow) in the crease.  And you only need a tiny bit of the Cranberry shade, because it’s very pigmented, and will quickly start to look like a bruise if you really build it up.  I’ve also been using my Wet ‘n Wild Comfort Zone pallet a lot this month.  You can do so many looks with this pallet, the shades are great quality, and for $4.99, you cannot beat the price.

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Mac’s Cranberry Eyeshadow

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Wet ‘n Wild’s Nutty, which is a dupe for Mac’s Satin Taupe (so I’ve heard). I hit pan on this quite a while ago. This is my go-to everyday shadow.

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Urban Decay’s Buck Eyeshadow

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The Wet ‘n Wild Comfort Zone Pallet

For lipstick, I’ve recently purchased L’Oreal’s “Blushing Berry”.  I definitely needed a good berry color for this season, and this one is beautiful.  I’ve also been wearing Maybelline’s “Born With It” lipstick, usually layered with their lipgloss of the same name, for a very light pink, shimmery lip.  For a more neutral look, I’ve re-discovered one of my favorite lipsticks, Maybelline’s “Nearly There”, which I have heard is a dupe for Mac’s Viva Glam V lipstick.  And “Nearly There” looks great when paired with Mac’s Viva Glam V lipglass.

Blushing Berry, Born With It, and Nearly There

Blushing Berry, Born With It, and Nearly There

Top: Mac's Viva Glam V lipglass, bottom: Maybelline's Born With It lipgloss.

Top: Mac’s Viva Glam V lipglass, bottom: Maybelline’s Born With It lipgloss.

....and swatches!  Left to right:  L'Oreal's Blushing Berry, Maybelline's Born With It lipstick, Maybelline's Nearly There, Maybelline's Born With It lipgloss, and Mac's Viva Glam V

….and swatches! Left to right: L’Oreal’s Blushing Berry, Maybelline’s Born With It lipstick, Maybelline’s Nearly There, Maybelline’s Born With It lipgloss, and Mac’s Viva Glam V

Random Things

Since this is my first fall/winter in Durham, I’ve been loving the weather.  And for the next week, it’s supposed to be in the 60s and 70s.  It is December, right?  I can honestly say that I don’t plan to spend  another winter in Upstate New York, if I can help it.

I’ve been really, horribly addicted to watching beauty gurus on Youtube this month.  It was bad before, but this month has been really bad.  Currently, my two favorite Youtubers are Amarixe and Missglamorazzi.  Allison (Amarixe) gives great, honest reviews, interesting makeup tutorials, and always uses a mix of drugstore and high end products.  I’m all about that.  I also have a link to her blog in my Blogroll, to the right.  Ingrid (Missglamorazzi) is just adorable and I love her “Get Ready With Me” videos.  She seems like such a sweetheart, and if I’m in a bad mood or if I’ve had a rough day, I try to watch one of her videos and it kind of cheers me up a little bit.

Depending on what day you ask, I actually really enjoy holiday shopping.  Sure, it sucks fighting with some grandma over the last cinnamon scented candle that you want to buy for your sister-in-law (I just made that up, that’s never really happened to me), but it is an awesome feeling when you find the perfect gift for a certain person.  It’s a good feeling when they open it and you just know that they like it.  My nephew Gavin was so excited about his Dinosaur Lego set that now he wants the rest of the sets that go with it.  And even though Lily didn’t like it at first, eventually she wanted me to read the book to her over and over again, and loved the cute little necklace that came with it.

What were some of your “November Favorites”?

Wrapping Up My Mini-Vacation in Unadilla

I’ve survived this week in Unadilla and tomorrow I head back to North Carolina.  I’m so excited.  I’ve missed Daniel, and I’ve missed the warm weather.  It’s supposed to be in the 60s and 70s for most of next week, so I’m pretty anxious for that.  I spent the afternoon packing up my stuff and taking the time to clean out my childhood room, since I never really did that after I moved out a few years ago.  And when I wasn’t packing or cleaning, I was fighting with the puppy.  She really likes to grab socks, and then run away.  She also likes bras, apparently.

Yesterday I took a trip to my brother’s house in Herkimer to visit him and his family.  His kids are adorable.  Gavin is already 7, but he’s really tall.  Tall genes run on both sides of his family.  He’s also pretty smart and is all-around a really good kid, just a pleasure to be around.  I can’t say that about a lot of 7-year-olds.  For Christmas, I bought him some Legos, which he put together immediately.  He was very happy and played with them for the rest of the evening.  Lily is much bigger than when I last saw her.  She loves when people read to her.  I actually bought her a book for Christmas that is about a ballerina named Lily and came with a necklace in the shape of ballet slippers.  Her reaction was to try to hide the book in between the couch cushions and yell, “No, I’m Lily!”.  It was pretty cute.  After she settled down, she let me read it to her (twice) and she really liked it.  I bought Paige a stuffed giraffe, but since she is not even 1 and 1/2 yet, she didn’t really care either way.  Oh well.

I drove to my sister’s apartment earlier this evening so we could exchange gifts.  She was a little drunk, so I don’t know how much she really liked her gift, but she got very excited at the time.  I bought her a Plants vs. Zombies conehead zombie figure.  She loved it.

It's kind of cute.

It’s kind of cute.

She bought me a new scarf and a Starbucks gift set that included some coffee, a ceramic mug, and a travel mug.  I do plan to buy her at least one more small gift and just send it to my parents’ house for my mom to wrap (thanks Mom!).

It’s been a pretty good week, and I’m really happy I got to see my family.  It’s definitely the last time I will get to visit with them for the rest of this year.  I hope I can plan something early next year.