Sunday, January 25, 2009

Photoshopped Pics, Meet Photoshop Interface

"Messing with ads in subways is becoming an artform, but this "Photoshopping" of ads in Berlin takes things to the next level by creating a Photoshop interface with stickers. This is pitch-perfect adbusting right here."
--Gizmodo, Jan. 13

(The above picture is of a vandalized poster in a Berlin subway. Click on the Gizmodo link to see more pictures.)

I have a certain affinity for well-done mashed-up music and mashed-up subway art, and I think this is a pretty clever stunt. If it was done in a magazine or as a picture on the Internet I'd probably find it more boring, since it's easy to drag-and-drop the different elements on a digital screen for the sake of social commentary. (We all already know these pictures are 'shopped...)

But the fact that the artists got large-scale reproductions of Photoshop windows and physically pasted them on to posters - that shows ingenuity, that's kind of interesting.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Free B&BW Shower Gel w/Online Purchase

I've been lusting over radiant powder spray ever since the Muse blogged about Guerlain's Sublime Radiant Powder back in early October. It's a beautiful atomizer filled with shimmering silver powder that is part of the high-end line's limited edition holiday 2008 collection. But at $82 it was not in my budget.

So I was stoked to see her post again in December about a similar product from Bath and Body Works -- limited edition Radiant Powder Spray. I tried it in the store and really liked it, but still couldn't bring myself to spend $24.50 on it.

I finally decided to take the plunge on it though! While it's no longer available in local stores, the product is still stocked online and was recently reduced from $12-something to $9.75. I decided to pick up two, one for me and one for a friend.

Additionally, if you use the promo code WELCOME113 at checkout you can get a free Signature Collection shower gel (up to $10.50 value) with any purchase of $10 or more.

Adding this to my cart did increase my shipping charge, but since the gel I picked was already reduced to $6 it only pushed shipping up by a dollar.

According to the coupon site I found it on, the promotion expires on Feb. 11.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inaugural Nails

I searched "red, white and blue nails" and found this picture, which inspired me to create my own patriotic nails...

I'll be working Tuesday but hopefully watching the ceremony online or on television. At least it will be warm indoors...I went to G.W. Bush's second inauguration four years ago and it was really, really cold. (Hours of standing outside, frozen toes, and that celebration was no where near as hyped as this one.)

It's amazing to think about all that has happened during the brief history of the United States, and I just find it exciting to be witness to another groundbreaking chapter. Happy Inauguration!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Good For My Skin and My Peace of Mind

I've been cutting down on my impulse buys lately. But after trying The Body Shop body butter sample that Maayari sent me a few weeks ago, I felt compelled to get a bigger tub of that stuff ASAP.

I haven't cared for my skin the way I should since getting sick (read: cared for it at all) and that, combined with the bitter cold spell sweeping the nation, has resulted in me being dry and itchy all over. I tried the Mango body butter sample Maayari sent me by running a comparison test: post-shower, I put the body butter on one leg and on the other, a Bath and Body Works lotion that I've been relatively content with in the past.

There was no contest. The next day both my legs were softer than they'd been before application, but the body butter side was as smooth as when I put it on. It stayed that way through the afternoon (and when you want to touch your leg to feel its softness while at the office, well, I think that's a sign that a product is working).

The body butter is thicker than regular body lotion. It comes in a tub and you use your fingertips to scoop a little bit out, which will go a long way. I make sure my hands are clean enough that I feel comfortable rubbing anything onto my body before I put my fingers in the tub, so the hygiene aspect doesn't bother me too much of using the exposed tub versus lotion from a pump/tube. And it's thick enough that unless it melts, I don't think you'd have a problem with the content spilling all over.

A day or two after the comparison test I picked up body butter in Vanilla Spice. Normally the 6.7 oz tub costs $20, but this seasonal merchandise was on sale for $7. (Mmm smells good.)

So far I find it lives up to its tagline of being "indulgent, spicy and festive all-over creamy moisturisation." That's probably because its main ingredients include soy, sesame and babbasu oil and cocoa and shea butter.

In addition to nurturing my skin, I like the fact that The Body Shop has a social conscience. For example, the company is against animal testing. (There's some controversy over this, especially in light of the company being bought by L'Oreal, which does animal testing...but The Body Shop founder left all her money to charity when she died in April so I'd like to see some good and think that the company sale wasn't out of sheer greed.) Anyway, in the case of items like cosmetics, I'd rather buy products with minimal animal testing because these items are superfluous to my life. It's not always easy to get around testing all components of a product without animal testing, but science is making leaps and bounds on that front.

Another cause The Body Shop supports is community trade. This issue came on my radar after writing about fair trade a few months ago, and though I don't know first-hand whether The Body Shop lives up to all its goals (since I'm not auditing the company's actions), I think creating awareness of and setting goals for community trade is important. The mission of community trade is to work with laborers in underdeveloped locales to stimulate economic growth, provide livable and stable incomes for the workers, and promote environmental sustainability.

Even though my budget is tight as a young professional, I'm starting to think more and more about how I can do a little part to support causes I believe in with minor alterations to my life and my wallet.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lovely and Not-so-lovely

Turns out I had strep throat and mononucleosis. (No, I don't think I got it from kissing! lol.) Antibiotics for the strep kicked in and I feel a lot better - ie: can swallow without wincing - though I'm still worn down and easily tired.

I also think being sick is affecting my motor skills. Seriously, I put the sheets on my bed on crooked the other day after washing everything because of the strep. And the past couple of days I've parked really poorly. And dropped things. Maybe just a clumsy coincidence??

Okay, so, last night I went on a shopping excursion at Eddie Bauer. Not for me, as the best purchase of the night was this handsome leather jacket that was 50 percent off:

The store is having big sales and the one I went to is going out of business, so everything is being cleared out. In between looking for menswear a pretty skirt caught my eye, and what would you know? There were two left, one in my size (including 'petite'!) and 60 percent off.

So lovely!

But on a not-so-good note (though comical), I broke the button on a pair of corduroy pants today at work. They're inexpensive juniors pants I've owned for a couple of years now and the button has been a bit messed up for a bit....then today, the top of the button just cracked off the base. Lame!

Anyone know how to fix that?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Gifts from Maayari!

A few weeks ago (what feels like an eternity) I entered Maayari's Winter Challenge contest. Though I didn't win, she sent me some lovely gifts as a consolation prize and a very cute holiday card.

The stuff:
From bottom left:
-Lancome remove-all deep cleansing oil. Saving this for a day when I feel like pampering myself.
Green tea soap. Mmm smells so good.
Mango body butter sample from the Body Shop. I'm going to clean my room a bit, cook some green beans, hop in the shower and rub this on my legs tonight!
Eyeshadow sample (le mystere #78) from the mineral makeup site See swatches below. It's a very sparkly slate color that picks up the blue in my eyes.
Rouge sample (sweetheart) from Pretty bubblegum pink with pink sparkles. Guess someone's gonna be playing around with loose pigments...
Wild and Crazy eyeshadow in 3150 Lily Song. Pale like me. :)

Thanks Maayari, and best of luck starting the new phase of your life in Philly!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Everything Old is New

Hey hey....Once again, sorry I'm so behind. As soon as the wedding passed and I was getting better from the virus, my throat became very sore. After frustrating few days of throat decline exacerbated by having to smooth out issues with my new health care plan (oops, never picked a primary-care doc so no one would see me or accept my insurance!) I finally got things worked out and my throat checked out. (Note: I hate throat cultures. Sigh.) My tonsils and the glands under my neck are more swollen than I've ever seen them. I looked so bad my boss sent me home from work. Restful sleep has been almost impossible to achieve. And on top of it all, I'm writing this month's cover story for my job. Awesome timing to be hit by everything, right? :)

Thankfully I had some good emotional support (even though I'd just left my mom's home to go back to work and the group house where I'm currently living)...and a hot plate in my bedroom so I can make tea whenever I want. I just started taking antibiotics four times a day for a week, plus ibuprofen for the pain and I feel like I'm getting better. I also got very lucky to come across a very nice medical practice and am going back Friday to have my throat reexamined. And my story seems to be going okay at work, so it's all good. (Done whining.)

Anyway, a very relaxing activity while I've been sick is crocheting. For those of you who aren't super familiar, knitting is done with two needles, whereas crocheting is done with only one hook. I've been shown how to knit but I don't do it on my own. Maybe one day. With crocheting, though I've worked on fancier things like doll t-shirts, hats and blankets, I like to fall back on the classic scarf. I promised a friend of mine I'd make her a teal one, so when I can't sleep, that's what I've been working on.

Once you pick it up, crocheting can be relatively easy and a real stress reliever. It helps me clear my mind and focus on one thing. Plus, it's nice to see the fruits of your labor at the end.

I originally started this project using the dark teal and white yarn, and crocheted about a foot worth of the scarf but took it out because I didn't like it. That was a few hours worth of work, in and of itself. But if the project didn't look right there was no sense in finishing it. This scarf though looks nice in person and I'm excited to finish it up and give it to my friend. Hopefully by the time I get to the end I'll be all better too. :)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year!

Wow, it feels like forever since I posted. Thanks for the words of encouragement! Unfortunately this past week I got very little done that I set out to do while taking a vacation from work. I'm at home (my mom's house) in New York, but spent most of the time being sick. Blah. Just some virus I probably picked up at the office, but it was bad enough to prompt me to go to the doctor, which I really dislike.

Anyway, I pulled myself together in time to go to my college roommate's wedding on Jan. 1.

It was absolutely fantastic. They are so cute! The affair took place in Connecticut, so the morning of the 3 p.m. ceremony I hopped in my car wearing my dress, sweatpants, an athletic jacket and sneakers. It was almost a three hour drive so I wanted to be comfy! And the zipper of the dress gets stuck in the material -- despite the fact that I got the original zipper replaced -- so once my mom and I properly zipped it up in N.Y. I figured I wouldn't take any chances with a wardrobe malfunction at the wedding hall...

Wanting to make sure I got there on time, I went straight from my house to the reception, not to the motel where I was planning to crash with my friends later. The venue was pretty empty when I arrived around 1:45 p.m. Then, out of the blue, the groom and his best man pulled in next to me. The groom is also a friend of mine so I got out of the car to chat with him and give him a huge hug (while looking like a mess with my sweatpants and sneakers under my dress, no makeup, my hair all screwed up and that long-drive glaze, lol). Not like my appearance really mattered, since he was was so excited for the big event! This day was a long time coming -- the two of them had been dating for four years, even though we're all so young...just 22 and 23 years old. It was nice to chat with the groom for just a couple of minutes, then he was called inside and I gathered my things to do a quick change in the bathroom. ;)

I bought them a futon cover from their Bed Bath and Beyond registry and brought a little gift to the reception: A silver-plated fortune cookie in a decorative box, in which I put a hand-written 'fortune' that said "To good health, good fortune and a great life together!"

I also made them a card (though forgive the crappy photography).

Another card I whipped up recently was this holiday-themed one, which I included in a care package to my best friend who is a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia.

Another not-so-stellar photo. I could have put something really classy or professional-looking in the middle, and toyed with a bunch of options, but ultimately I just grabbed a crayon and wrote that. In this case, I felt like it was a more personal throw-back to days past in our friendship. We've been best friends since seventh grade. Plus, sending funny cards is sort of our inside joke. I know this, with the glittery paper, the presents and the 'wooting' heart-person, will make her burst out with a big smile!

So that's what I've been up to while not sleeping or vegging in bed. Now I'm finally off to see my dad for the first time this week, and then....who knows what adventures await.