Monday, January 19, 2015

Tea Bags of the Celestial Kind

Well over a month ago, (bad habit about to reveal itself) I was sent a sample of Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Green Tea.  Today I will tell you about it and show you my faves and ask about yours.

This might be more fun as a vlog but I've already taken photos and started typing so here we go...

Oh my delicious!  
I just tasted this and I'm kicking myself that I have to wait until next Christmas to buy it again!!!

Wow!  I sweetened it with a bit of Stevia and after the first sip I was instantly transported back to Solvang, CA where Brian and I spent Christmas.  I can't wait to get this stuff next year.  

Okay, how is this relevant to now?  Well, because Celestial Seasonings was so kind as to send me this delicious sample with a coupon for more tea, I am asking you what your favorite flavors are.  So, what are your favorites?  Feel free to tell me in the comments.  

The Fruit Tea Sampler comes with Raspberry, Peach, Wild Berry, Blueberry and Black Cherry Berry.  I usually add these to a black tea bag when I'm brewing iced tea.  It adds a little bit of flavor to my sweet tea.  

I haven't tried many of the Herbal Teas which is why I picked this box to buy with my coupon.  I'm looking forward to the Honey Vanilla Chamomile.

I do love some SleepyTime Green Tea and the plain old fashioned SleepyTime.  I have been drinking those on sleepless nights for nearly 18 years!

Here is a link to a recipe from way back which I made with the True Blueberry Celestial Seasonings. 
Blueberry Mojitea.  Funny, I just skimmed the page and saw that I would be posting 12 consecutive weeks of mocktails.  Spoiler alert... I didn't.  

Thanks for reading and thank you to Influenster and Celestial Seasonings for the samples and idea for content!  I was given this to sample and obviously, all opinions are mine. 

Good Witch or Bad Witch

I'm trying to decide if I have more good habits or bad habits.  Or rather, if I'm a good witch or a bad witch.  

I'd like to think that I'm not a witch at all.  I would like to think that I have found balance in my life but after an adult lifetime of uncertainty as an artist, I am finally coming to a point where I know I have to create more good habits.  

I cannot just be messy anymore.  I used to be able to drop food on the floor and my faithful dog would follow behind and clean it up.  I rarely rinsed the dishes before I put them in the washer because, once again, my faithful pup did that for me.  Now that she has moved onto a higher plane of existence, or doggie heaven, the farm, whatever you like to call it, I am now in charge of taking care of those things.  Sometimes I find myself in the habit of just putting the dishes in the sink and not washing them.  Somewhere in the wish factory of my mind I assume dish fairies will come in the night and take care of them for me.  But they never do.  Lazy dish fairies.  

I am also amazing at starting new diet trends.

Then I habitually forget and go back to my bad eating habits.  I hope I don't put all my effort into cutting into this pineapple only to find it in the back of my fridge in a month.

This year, 2015, I have decided to finish things I begin!  I have a long list of posts I should have written and I didn't last week because I was sick and because I honestly just didn't want to.  This is the story of my life.  I have great intentions but a serious lack of follow through.  I'm willing to change that and humbly willing to see my flaws.

Tomorrow I'm getting my hair done, next week I have an appointment to meet with an acting coach then following that I have promised myself new photos and a venture back out into the sea of actors.  I also have to give my ideas as to how I would redesign the bar I work in and will be making a list of our drinks with photos for all the new employees we will see when tourism season begins again.  

If I look at it all at once, I see too much of the picture and I want to hide under my blankets and wait until it goes away, but since I have become a mom, I realize, life doesn't go away.  Life is this great big wonderful thing and I am lucky to live it!  So yes, bring on the work and yes, bring on the life experiences!  I will find a way to balance my good habits with my bad and learn not to beat myself up over the bad and honor the good. 

Hometown Buffet

Brian had the day off since he is a federal employee and today we spent the day doing family stuff.  On the outside it may look boring, but to me, it was actually pretty fun.

We started out the day at Bed Bath and Beyond.  I have been writing about habits this month and I was able to fix my bathroom counter.  Now hopefully I can get into the habit of putting my products back into this thing.

Before we got this tower, all my stuff was cluttered around the sink or overflowing out of drawers.  Progress!

Then we headed over to my favorite thrift store to scavenge.  I found this dress for $8.

I love new old stuff!

And finally, the most exciting part of my day...

I introduced my family to one of my guilty pleasures!

Where else can you get room temperature food when you want it in L.A.?  I once went here while pregnant and told Brian to stay home because I didn't want him to see what I was capable of.  You do not want to sit across from me if you dine here.  I hoover my food and I use my arm to wipe my face because I cannot slow down to use a napkin.

 Course 1

Course 2 
Let's call this a salad since it has a vegetable on it.  

 Course 3
Unfortunately the ice cream machine was broken or that brownie would have been at the bottom of a sundae!

Baby eats fish sticks!

Yes, there you have it.  I have let you into my world of guilt.  Miles of restaurants stretch out across this great expansive land known as the city of angels and I sit my tail end down at this establishment because I truly do love the place.

I was not paid to write this.  This is truth.  No endorsement.  In fact, looking at my own photos makes me want to go there but I think they are closed right now.  To the right of the brownie, you are looking at a Cinnabon.  Mmmmmm.  Until next time Hometown Buffet....

Youth Express Vitamin C

As I get older, skincare begins to take an important role in my life.  Living in Los Angeles can also trigger the need for extreme skincare because the elements here are not in my favor.  I'm dealing with pollution, eternal sunshine and a dry environment.  Through blogging I have discovered a wonderful brand.

Lately I have been using InstaNatural's line of various skincare products and I have been getting more compliments on my skin.  I have been told I look like I'm glowing, that my skin looks dewy and also that I look radiant.  I feel that having skincare that works for my skin and living a life I have fallen in love with are both contributing factors.  This tale is about skincare so I will only discuss that right now.

Here's a little breakdown of InstaNatural Youth Express Vitamin C Serum and Moisturizer.  I'm a sucker for serums so I love to use these products together.

InstaNatural was started as a small business in Florida.  They are sold exclusively on Amazon and at some upscale salons across the United States.  They are certified organic, not tested on animals and packaged in FDA certified packaging facilities.

The key ingredients of the Vitamin C moisturizer and serum are:
  • 20% Vitamin C
  • 5% Niacinamide
  • 5% Hyaluronic Acid
  • Plant Stem Cells
  • Peptide Complex
So there is some background of the company and some science, here is how I felt about the product.  What I really like about this is that there is no waxy feeling.  The moisturizer actually goes into my skin instead of sitting on my skin.   Therefore I don't have that weird waxy buildup on my makeup brushes and my actual makeup. 

The Vitamin C Serum sinks directly into my skin so I don't wait very long for it to dry at all.  It's fresh and smells like citrus.

The Vitamin C Moisturizer is a wonderful moisturizer, which like I said, leaves no heavy buildup or waxy feeling.  My skin feels like it took a drink after I finish this routine.  

I recommend this product if you are looking for something to help your skin look and feel smoother.  Also, the smell of the citrus in the serum and the lack of smell in the moisturizer leave you feeling fresh and clean instead of heavily perfumed with wax face.

This is a sponsored post powered by BrandBacker and InstaNatural.  I received these products to test out and offer my honest review.  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Unrealistic Expectations

I took a break from my blog last week to be sick.  It wasn't fun.  I got behind on my writing assignments and now I'm playing catch up while trying to watch all the SAG Award nominated films so I can vote.  As I type, The Theory of Everything is playing behind me and I am writing in short spurts.

I have found that I have a habit of setting unrealistic expectations of myself and then I get very hard on myself when I don't meet them.  I suppose, if I could find the ability to make it a habit of meeting the high expectations I set on myself, I might find some balance between want and do. 

For most of last week I was sick but toward the end, I began experimenting with BulletProof Coffee.

In the photo above you can see the unblended beginning of what looks like a very gross concoction.  In that cup you see butter, coconut oil, stevia and coffee.   And underneath that is cake because cake is important. 

Here it is, blended, frothy and in my cup.  Believe it or not, it's delicious.  I found that after drinking I have a focus throughout the day that I don't have with just regular coffee.  

I stay engaged with my activities throughout the entire day and I am hoping that this will help me get through the hump of creating a list of expectations for myself and actually meeting them this time.  I will keep you posted.  I am a week behind and will try and cram two weeks of reviews and blog posts in order to catch back up.  

I have been asked to be a contributor to an online publication for Moms and I'm going to be working on that as well and for whatever reason I keep getting outside work piled on me with my job on the pier.  I have entered the point where the more I do, the more is expected of me and I have a habit of quitting when I get to this point and my goal this time is to create the habit of follow through.  

Does anyone else do this?  Is this the problem with Gen X perhaps?  It didn't seem to hit my husband.  He has followed through with two degrees, served in the U.S. Army and keeps the house clean.  Meanwhile, I make lists and take naps where I have big dreams that sometimes I fall short of in my waking life. 

NaBloPoMo January 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My Frosty Box

At the end of 2014 I received my first Influenster Vox Box.  I know, I know, it was a frosty box and it's already January, we have successfully made it through the holidays...yet, I'm still going there. 

This is a picture of the inside of my box.

I am finally trying some of these awesome products.  Tonight I used the McCormick Thyme in my lentil and a few nights ago I snarfed down the Fruit Vines while watching Boyhood.  

Tonight I will try the sample of No7 Serum and will post about it this weekend on YouTube.  I am currently using a few serums and I'm really liking the way my skin has been looking lately.  If this goes well tonight I will add it to my night routine.  I usually just use coconut oil at night.  It's amazing if you haven't tried it yet.

Tomorrow I will post the review of my NYC Lip Color on Facebook.  I no longer have a Facebook Fan page.  I always forgot to update it and I am good with only one page.  

Wednesday I will write a blog about my Celestial Seasonings flavors and explain some of the ways I make tea.  I love tea and we drink it often in the Little household.  I will also link back to an old blog where I use Celestial Seasoning in my Blueberry Mojitea.

Thursday I will be posting my EcoTools review directly to Facebook.

Friday I will write a Rimmel blog and let you know if their eye makeup remover really works or if it sucks as bad as pretty much every other makeup remover I have tried.  I'm also trying out their eyeliner and I'm very excited about it.  It's deep black and goes on oh so smooth.  

I should have a few coming after that I will share with you but this is my upcoming week's schedule of reviews.  

If you would like to receive your own Influenster Box that goes with the season, go to their website and sign up.  It's all totally free!  No catch.  I'm serious.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Path of Least Resistance

Since I'm discussing habits this month, I would like to discuss a habit I picked up about five years ago.  It's my habit of least resistance.  This may sound weird as many of us like to complain and buck against the system.  It may also sound like I'm spineless, but I can assure I am not.

It's all about picking your battles.  It's all about the path of least resistance.  Nowadays the only battles I pick are when I have had a few too many coffees and feel like a keyboard crusade in favor of my view of a current affair will do the world some good.  It rarely does.  It rarely does anyone any good at all.

Sometimes I forget, when I get burned out at work or tired from mom life.  Sometimes I forget my habit of least resistance, but for the most part, I have stuck with it pretty well.

Here's how it works.  It's about peace of mind.  It's about sidestepping the annoying things instead of fighting against them.

The first time I tried it was when I lived in Valley Village.  I wasn't allowed to let my dog pee on the grass inside the complex.  That's a tough one when you live in the back and the only other way out is through a very long parking lot.  The apartment manager was angry one day when he caught me and it didn't feel good getting disciplined in a place I was paying a high amount of rent.  So, I took a breath and asked myself what was more important, being mad at this seemingly unfair predicament, or just walking out the back way and letting her pee on the concrete if necessary.  I went the back way after that day and every day moving forward.  Even as other dogs began to populate the place, I didn't really care.  I respected the original rule and did the right thing.  That was also the only apartment I have lived in that gave me every single cent of my deposit back.

The practice of least resistance works in the workplace as long as you aren't letting yourself get taken advantage of.  Most certainly you should stand up for yourself, but if you are being asked to do something trivial that will only take a moment of your time, just do it, it's easier to do this than deal with the repercussions.

I also use this in my marriage.  Not always.  Sometimes it's annoying living with someone all the time.  Tonight was one of those nights.  So, instead of swallowing my discontent and taking the path of least resistance, I decided it would be more fun to annoy my husband by bouncing on the bed and laughing like a maniac as he tried to go to sleep.  It didn't annoy him too much as we both ended up laughing about how bratty we can be.

But sometimes, when your mate is doing something that annoys you, take a breath and ask if this tick is going to last forever.  If it's not, let it be.  Let yourself be annoyed for a night.  As long as you are in a healthy relationship, it's normal and understandable.  I hate my husband's shoes.  He knows this.  I take the path of least resistance by not throwing them in a lava hot burning furnace.

Life is too short to argue.  I love my habit of least resistance because it has put me on a journey of happiness.  People who have known me for a long time notice the difference.  It can happen with our parents as we age.  If something bothers you about your parents, let it be.  It's quite likely you have the same weird annoying behavior and they are just mirroring something to you that perhaps you haven't noticed in yourself, but it's usually there.  Deeply rooted in your psyche.

Be happy friends and try this for a week.  Just a simple adherence to annoyance instead of arguing against it or fighting for your right when it's actually just a petty fight.  We are all human and we are all pretty weird.  When we learn to really look at each other and begin to accept we may see small changes and in terms of change I like to think about the elephant saying.

When forced with a giant task, you know, a task the size of eating an elephant it goes like this...

How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

(Please don't actually eat an elephant.) 
NaBloPoMo January 2015

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Failure to Break a Habit

This month I will be discussing habits.  The good, the bad and the ugly of it all.  Today I want to tell a tale of a childhood habit that I failed miserably to break until one broke itself.

Most of my life I have practiced gymnastics.  In my early days I was competitive, as an adult, I did it for fun.  I formed some of my worst habits during the early years.  One of the things I just couldn't get a handle on was this weird belly beater thing we did on the uneven bars.  Nadia Comaneci does it correctly in this video, it's one of the first moves she does.

When I did it, I would bash my shins on the bar as I came up.  I just couldn't clear the low bar, perhaps my back didn't have enough strength.  This led to severe bruising of my shins.  The bruising was so bad I was forced to speak to a counselor at school because they thought my parents were doing it.  Ahhh, the Broken Arrow, OK school system.  I do not look back on those days fondly.  The counselor was so adamant about my parents abusing my shins she would not let up.  She was almost in tears trying to get me to turn my parents over for the shin beatings but I kept explaining they were my fault.  Her response, "it isn't your fault!"  Ugh, I had to explain the move several times and they still called me in to talk about it...several more times.  If anything, I now had more pressure to break the bad habit so they would leave me alone at school!

I finally got the move down at the end of the competitive season.  At that point the USGF had ruled it unsafe and they took it out of the routines.  I don't follow gymnastics now so I don't know if that rule still stands.  

That was a horrible habit that I couldn't break.  Because of that habit and the fact that gymnastics shattered my heart and demolished my soul, I hope Cora isn't interested that sport.  I hope she's interested in science or that she can be happy just being a kid. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

The very dirty, very bad thing called ~ Habit

We all have them.  Some of us have great habits.  I have some good ones.  I also have one horrible habit in particular that I have chosen this year to shine a light on.  By shining the light, I mean, shining a spotlight into the stinker until every dirty corner is illuminated and I have to see all the nastiness peering back at me.

My dirty habit is being dirty.  No, not in the perverted sense, although, I do have that on lock when I want.  My habit is just plain sloppy behavior in the home. Now that I'm a mom, I don't want to be that way anymore. 

This blog will not have photos.  This is just an honest, straight forward admittance that I have a serious problem with clutter.  Today, because I'm in the process of letting go of things that no longer suit me, I threw out two empty shampoo bottles.  TWO. EMPTY. BOTTLES!  Seriously?!  I know in my twisted little brain I thought, "I will save these for when I make my own shampoo."  Well, that never happened and I held onto those bottles for a long time.  I also threw out the shampoo I bought a couple of years ago at the 99 cent store.  They smelled so pretty but wreaked havoc on my hair.  I kept them, you know, in case an earthquake hit and I needed some shampoo.  I think that excuse works. 

I save really weird things.  I don't even know if I should mention the giant bag of baby food jars I have accumulated this year.  I have them.  I think I can sell them on ebay.  I will let you know when I get to that corner of the unexplainable clutter. 

So, there it is.  In all it's ugly honesty and candor.  My entire life I have struggled with disorganization.  Case in point, we have a coat rack by the door and my coats lay in a mound underneath.  I'm not lazy.  I'm just weird in this way.  I developed the habit of disorder at an early age and I haven't been able to shake it in my adult years.  I'm afraid I may be turning my husband to the dark side so I need to get a handle on this quick!

This week I have decided to focus on my bathroom.  I will post an after photo but will not dare show you what I'm working with now.  I have managed to make it neat, now I'm in the process of shopping for a shelf to organize all my toiletries.  I can't wait to see how this all turns out!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Christmas Recap

Christmas of 2014 I was a bad blogger or maybe I was a good blogger.  I took time away from the computer and focused on being in the now with my family.  Next year I will probably do the 25 days of vlogmas and spend more time blogging.  But, as this was our first Christmas together as a family of three, I just focused on us.  I want to mention that Brian has a daughter from a previous marriage, and I often find myself sad that she lives so far away and can't be with us on big celebrations. 

Here are some photos of my Christmas.  Brian and I are in none of them! 

Candy Cane Lane:

Cora's first Christmas:

After we opened presents, we drove to Solvang and spent the night because Los Angeles does little to give you that Christmas feeling:

Organic Matcha

Recently, I had the wonderful experience of reviewing Organic Matcha Culinary Grade Green Tea Powder from Kiss Me Organics.  I'm going to give it a thumbs up and tell you about my experience with it.

This is me and my bag of tea.

I would like to say that since I have become a mom, I need energy.  I had even considered calling my doctor to prescribe me some ADHD meds.  I was fearing the worst.  I couldn't cook, clean, take care of baby, work 2-3 shifts per week and be a decent wife to my husband.  I couldn't muster the energy to do anything except take care of baby Cora.  I now know, this is probably okay.  As my first year of being a mom progresses, I feel my energy coming back ever so slightly.

One thing that is helping is this Matcha.  It's organic and it tastes nice on ice.  The first time I tried it was actually pretty horrible.  Brian and I decided to drink it hot.  We added a teaspoon to 6-8 oz of hot water and zoom, we both took off.  It was extremely uncomfortable, like the time, if you had a time, when you first tried some sort of stimulant, whether it be a cigarette, diet pill, energy drink, hard drug (it that's your thing), or something that took you out of normal.  It was horrible.  Then we both got brain splitting headaches.  

Well, not wanting to give up, I thought, maybe I try this stuff on ice, with lots more water and see how it works.  I did.  It's wonderful.  I want this in my pantry at all times!  It's more important to me than coffee right now.  

The way I prepare it is I use a little bit less than a teaspoon and add it to a tiny bit of water.  I then shake that condensed solution and add ice.  Once I fill the glass with ice, I fill the rest of the glass up with water.  Once I get halfway through I fill with ice and water again and drink the remaining liquid.  It is the best energy feeling I have ever experienced.  It beats Red Bull, coffee, brewed tea, all of it.  Of course I haven't tried Bullet Proof coffee yet but it's on my list.  

If your interested, check out their website here:
Or any of these links:
Their Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder provides:

- All day energy and focus
- Calorie burning booster
- Excellent for baking, lattes, and smoothies
- 137x the antioxidants of brewed green tea 
This product is great.  This was a sponsored post.  All opinions in this post are mine.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Is it possible to actually be resolute?

Every year some of us vow to be better.  Some of us succeed, some fail, but at least for those few days we all have hope and excitement for something greater of ourselves.  But how do we sustain this past two weeks?

I have heard it takes 21 days to make or break a habit.  I'm not sure if this is true as I have never really tested out the theory.

The truth is, I'm kind of messy.  I used to make a resolution to stay tidy but I never seemed to make it through the first 21 days.  It's day 2 of the new year and I still haven't attacked the clean out my closet plan I so cleverly hatched last month.

So, perhaps this time I actually give something my full effort.  It's not too late to make a resolution.  I have already set my goals, now maybe I try a resolution of cleanliness, again, for about the 20,000th time.  But where do I start?  I seem to have amassed a certain amount of clutter that I have a tough time letting go of.  I had an idea to let go of one thing that no longer serves a purpose in my life per day. 

I have a box of "important" files sitting in a closet.  I haven't opened it since we moved in nearly two years ago.  I think I will start with that, in fact, I will dig through it as I blog.

Important Box

 Mystery Files

 I will keep the greeting cards.

 Headshot mailing envelopes.  I shall toss.

 An old waiter book.  Tossing it.

 Sentimental value.  I will hold on.

 My first SAG letter.  Keeping it.

 Empty.  Clearly didn't follow through on this!

 No longer have this phone.  To the trash this goes!

 Those were some fun days!  Tossing it.

 Hard to let go of Bailey's vet papers.  She's in my heart.  I don't need papers to remind me.

 Call sheet.  Tossed it.

 I guess this casting director liked me.  Or she was just being nice. 

 Empty events to attend folder.

 Script from the first movie I was cast in.  Keeping it.

 Tossing it.  

 My amazing brother did this.  He sent me every review he found for The Flight that Fought Back.  I still don't have the courage to read them but I'm saving them. 

 Call sheet for my first Hollywood film

 Thank you letter from my first Hollywood film.

And this.  

I saved enough to fit into one file folder.  I am tossing the box after I finish this post.  For the next 21 days I will start the habit of letting go of things that are taking up space in my life that have no reason to be there anymore.  It's a liberating feeling.  I suppose when you clear out old things you provide space for something new.  I look forward to keeping things fresh!

NaBloPoMo January 2015