Beauty Review – Bath and Body Works: Sweet Summer Kiss (shower gel)

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Brand: Bath and Body Works

Scent: Sweet Summer Kiss

Notes: Blushing Jasmine, Apricot Nectar, Driftwood Musk

Release: ??? 2015?

Type: Shower Gel

I enjoy Bath and Body Works shower gels. They smell good and lather well. The scent doesn’t last too long, but that doesn’t bother me because I usually apply lotion after showers anyway.

The scent on this was a sweet musky smell. I didn’t really smell any strong floral or fruit, just a sweet (non sugary) scent. Very neutral and light. Not dying to buy again, but I did like it.

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Candle Review – Carolina Candle Co: Cinnamon Cookie

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Brand: Carolina Candle Co

Scent: Cinnamon Cookie

Notes: ???

Release: Holiday/Winter 2016

Description: 14.5 oz 3 wick candle, white wax with brown frosted glass

This was given to me as a gift, and it was my first Carolina Candle experience. I have since checked out their website, and it looks like they have a good selection for a decent price.

This was a pretty good candle. It threw well, and the scent was true to the name. It’s definitely a spicy scented cinnamon, not a sweet bakery scent. It burned evenly and lasted about the same as my Bath and Body Works candles. I wasn’t in love with it or anything, but I would definitely try the company again.

Candle Review: Bath and Body Works – Holly Berry Balsam

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Brand: Bath and Body Works

Scent: Holly Berry Balsam

Notes: Winter cranberry, snow kissed citrus, blue spruce, fir balsam

Release: Holiday/Winter 2016

Description: 14.5 oz 3 wick candle, green wax with clear glass

I normally don’t go for balsam scents, but the notes on this one made me want to give it a try. I actually ordered this online during a sale, so I didn’t smell it before buying. It was okay. It just smelled like Christmas tree, I didn’t really get any fruity smell from it. Though perhaps it had a bit of sweet edge to it, it wasn’t a sharp or woodsy balsam scent. The throw was good, but similar issue as previous B&BW candles with more difficulty burning towards the end.

 

Beauty Review: Bath and Body Works – Sweet Summer Sunset (Cream)

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Brand: Bath and Body Works

Type: Ultra Shea Body Cream

Scent: Sweet Summer Sunset

Notes: juicy pomegranate, golden amber, wild plum berry, summer lychee, sunkissed woods

Release: ??? (Has been in my stash for a while)

Don’t mind the squished looking picture, I review my empties and I squeezed the last bit a little too hard! I’m a big fan of B&BW body creams. I prefer them to the lotion because they are thicker and feel better on my skin. I usually use them in the evenings after I shower, so since I’m asleep I don’t really keep track of how long the scent lasts. This scent was pleasant enough. Not really sure if it met the scent notes though. It was fruity (but I wouldn’t say strongly a particular fruit) with something else kind of musky – maybe the amber or “sunkissed woods”? Not a must have, but didn’t dislike.

 

 

2017 Goals

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1. Take more pictures

2. Get in better shape (cliche I know)

3. Get pregnant

4. Work through video game backlog

5. Cook more, eat out less

6. Use up Bath & Body Works stash

7. Limit unnecessary spending, save more money

8. Read more books

9. Get more organized with household cleaning and chores

10. Blog!

 

 

 

Candle Review: Bath and Body Works – Snowflakes & Citrus

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Brand: Bath and Body Works

Scent: Snowflakes & Citrus

Notes: Frozen lemon peel, fresh squeezed tangerine, winter white mango, sugared snow crystals

Release: Holiday/Winter 2016

Description: 14.5 oz 3 wick candle, white wax with frosted blue glass

I originally bought two of these candles, because the cold sniff was so good. On cold, you can really smell the citrus and it was a very pleasant scent. However when burning, it takes on more of a cologne smell. I still like it, just not as much. I definitely don’t smell mango or anything sugary. It burned well until there was 1/3 left, then it struggled to keep a strong flame, which has been happening a lot with this brand. To be fair, I don’t practice good candle maintenance and let it burn for a long time. I gave it a break and then it burned down until there was about 1/4 inch left. The throw was pretty good. I probably wouldn’t buy it again, but I didn’t dislike it.

December Deals

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I went a little crazy buying PS4 games between Black Friday and Christmas. The deals were so good, I just couldn’t resist. I started following Cheap Ass Gamer on Twitter, and browsing PS4 Deals on reddit, and it was not beneficial to my wallet. So now my backlog is a mile long, but I’m so pumped!

Here’s what I got:

  1. Knack for $9 at Gamestop – I’ve started playing this and it’s actually pretty hard for a “kid’s” game on the higher difficulty settings!
  2. Batman Arkham Knight for $25 at Gamestop
  3. Far Cry 4 for $22 at Gamestop
  4. The Evil Within for free at Gamestop with the buy two get one free deal
  5. Uncharted Collection for $27 on Newegg
  6. Fallout 3 for $10 on Amazon
  7. Fallout New Vegas for $10 on Amazon
  8. Bloodborne for $20 on Amazon
  9. Until Dawn for $20 at Best Buy
  10. The Wolf Among Us for $10 at Best Buy
  11. Murdered: Soul Suspect for $3.75 at GoHastings
  12. The Sly Collection (vita) for $6.50 at GoHastings
  13. Dying Light for $20 at Gamestop
  14. Saints Row IV: Re-elected for $10 on PSN
  15. Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell for $7.50 on PSN
  16. Wolfenstein Old Blood for $5 on Amazon

Wow, writing it all out like that is kind of shocking. But really that’s 19 games (counting 3 in Uncharted Collection and 2 in Sly Collection as I bought it used and can’t get Sly 3) for $205.75, which averages to $10.83 a game, which is pretty awesome. I won’t be needing games for a good long while!

Video Game Review: Ether One

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Title: Ether One

Platform: PS4

Personal Trophy Completion: 100% (Platinum)

Rating: 7/10

 

I have never felt so conflicted about a game before. This was a free PS+ download, and it is one of my favorite genres: first person exploration games. I like being able to wander and piece together a story, without worrying about time or enemies or anything. I like puzzles, and I like mysteries. This game was all of that, with a mind blowing attention to detail that you can’t quite appreciate until you’ve finished the entire thing and reflected. However, the game was incredibly buggy. I actually played it AFTER the supposed fix, and still had trouble. At one point I thought I couldn’t load my auto-save and had lost most of my progress, but then I read online that the loading takes extremely long and just wait it out. Eventually, it worked (pro tip: NEVER fast travel between locations). Some of the puzzles were a little buggy as well. At one point I had to restart a section because a box wouldn’t open once I had solved the puzzle, and therefore I couldn’t access a piece I needed. Once I started over I did the exact thing over again and it worked. So that was frustrating. Additionally, the puzzles were extremely complicated and difficult. They are not necessary to finish the game, but I’m a completionist, so….. At the time I played it, there were very few full complete and *accurate* walkthroughs out there (even for the computer version), so I was forced to cobble together guides to find solutions that worked. There was a lot of trial and error and frustration.

BUT THE STORY, MAN. You are employed as a “Restorer” who is tasked with restoring memories of a patient with dementia in order to cure her. You physically enter the memories and can interact with almost everything in the environment. You can bring items back to the home base area to save for later, and explore tons of buildings and houses. The locations to explore include a mine, an extensive village area, and an industrial center. The only progression requirement is to collect 8 memory fragments in each area, but if you want you can also complete the aforementioned puzzles to gain even more background. There were so many things in the environment that I was like “why is this even here?”, but as I got to the end, everything makes sense and means something, and it was so damn ingenious that I can’t even describe it without giving away the main plot twist. The whole concept is just ridiculously clever, and I really enjoyed that aspect. It would’ve gotten a higher rating if it hadn’t been so buggy. This is absolutely a unique game that you will enjoy if you can put up with the technical issues.

Summer 2015 Goals Recap

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At the beginning of the summer, I decided to track the amount of new books, movies/TV, games, and recipes I had completed during my first summer off as a teacher. I initially set a goal of 5-10 games, and 25 of everything else. As you’ll see, I didn’t quite reach that, but I’m still satisfied with what I accomplished, considering the time I spent with friends, family, on vacation, and at the gym.

 

Books

1. The Master Magician – Charlie N. Holmberg

2. The Ghost Bride – Yangsze Choo

3. River Secrets – Shannon Hale

4. Forest Born – Shannon Hale

5. Pioneer Girl – Laura Ingalls Wilder

6. Etiquette & Espionage – Gail Carriger

7. A Slight Change of Plan – Dee Ernst

8. The Will of the Empress – Tamora Pierce

9. Jackaby – William Ritter

10. All American Girl – Meg Cabot

I ended up reading 10 new books this summer. This was way lower than I anticipated, but I ended up also rereading quite a few books, so in a way it makes sense. The most notable new book I read was Pioneer Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder. That book on its own took up a huge chunk of time, being so lengthy and stuffed with detail. I loved Wilder’s Little House series, and this was her autobiography intended for adults. I won’t say much more because I intend to make a blog post out of it, but it was great. Additionally, I had grand plans to attend book club this summer, but it never happened. The Ghost Bride was for one of the book clubs at the library, but I ended up having a schedule conflict and couldn’t attend. It was actually a good book though, and I’m glad I read it. I probably wouldn’t have if not for book club.

 

Movies/TV

1. Rear Window

2. A Streetcar Named Desire

3. Orange is the New Black Season 3

4. It Happened One Night

5. Gossip Girl Season 6

6. Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

7. Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

8: Tron: Legacy

9. Property Brothers Season 1

10. Annabelle

11. The Fault in Our Stars

12. West Side Story

13. Property Brothers Season 2

14. Taxi Driver

15. House Season 7

As you can see, I watched a lot of Netflix this summer. I also watched a handful of movies on the AFI top 100 movie list, as we continue to make progress towards our goal. Numbers 7 and 8 were rented while babysitting my husband’s little brother, and 10 and 11 were new releases from the library we hadn’t seen in theaters. Nothing much to say about this, other than I was so pumped about Orange is the New Black S3. It was pretty good, even though I know it got a lot of criticism for being less intense than previous seasons. I still hate Piper.

 

Games:

1. The Swapper (PS4)

2. Never Alone (PS4)

3. Okami (PS3)

4. Ether One (PS4)

This category was a little disappointing. I spent a TON of time on Okami, and ended up getting the platinum, so that was a major accomplishment that I really enjoyed. But it caused me to get a bit burnt out on gaming, and so I didn’t play as many as I had planned. My backlog is getting huuuuuge. The first two were decent but unremarkable PSN games that were free with PS+. Ether One on the other hand…. It was another free PSN game, but oh my god it was both brilliant and horribly frustrating. I am planning to write a review on that as well.

 

Recipes:

1. Kale, Barley, and Feta Salad with a Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette

2. Chicken Merlot with Mushrooms

3. Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup

4. Kielbasa, Pepper, Onion, and Potato Hash

5. Healthy Kung Pao Chicken

6. Philly Cheesesteak Grilled Cheese

7. Asian Salmon in Foil

8. Tomato Bacon Spinach Quiche

9. One Pan Mexican Quinoa

10. Spicy Thai Noodles

This category I am proud of, considering all the time we spent eating out and traveling. I tried quite a variety of new recipes, and I’m pretty good at choosing them, because quite a few of them made it into the regular rotation. The majority were pretty healthy as well. My husband liked them all, and ate plenty of leftovers. I even took two weeks to make nothing but new recipes, which was an adventure! I definitely plan to keep this up throughout the year. Definitely check out some of the links.

All in all, this was a fun project for the summer, and I enjoyed logging my accomplishments. I probably will not do a play by play of the new things I read/play/watch/cook during the school year, but as always check the text on the right side of the blog to see what I’m currently up to!