Monday, 17 March 2014

#JadoreVoxBox from Influenster

I've started a new job. Well, I've had it for a while but I'm now just telling you. :) It's third shift so it has really turned my life upside down. Third shift isn't new to me but it is hard to focus your entire existence around sleep, of all lame things. I'm working in a microbiology lab so the bulk of patient work has to be done overnight. Being a productive member of society feels good and the steady income is definitely a welcome sight to the sore eyes of my bank account.

Of course I haven't been getting normal sleep so I've kept procrastinating on telling you about the AMAZING surprise I received in the mail!

I received an Influenster VoxBox!!

Okay, the details: is a fantastic website that I've been a member of since September. Basically it's a product review site where users come together to rate various goods and services. People write reviews about everything from American Airlines to Twizzlers Candy to Burt's Bee's lotion. As you write reviews you are building up credibility with other users and increasing your personal "influence" (provided your reviews are helpful!). As you increase your influenster score, your reviews carry more weight and your reviews matter more. Make sense? 

Anyway, I reviewed so many products that I built up my score enough to receive a VoxBox. It's a special program Influenster develops to test and advertise products. They trust the high scoring Influensters (like me!) to use our social media presence to let everyone know what we think about the products... so they send a box full of goodies. I was not paid for any of my opinions or time but was provided the products free of charge. Pretty awesome, right?
Enough of the chatter, let me show you what I got!

My first item is KISS eyelashes. They look beautiful but I haven't found quite the right place to wear them. I've never really fancied fake lashes but these ones may change my mind. They retail for $3.99 so they're definitely a steal for that night on the town. I'll definitely be sharing the details when I do use them.

And then I received a FAMILY size bag of Hershey's Kisses in honour of Valentine's Day. Do I need to say anything? I don't know anyone on the fringes about a Kiss. Really now, they're a nice size and wonderful for baking. I've been savouring them for a few weeks now but am saving some of the package for peanut butter blossom cookies. (I'm dying to try this recipe. She makes cookies look so trendy.)

I've been a fan of John Frieda products and was therefore delighted to receive a bottle of his Flat Iron spray haircare product. Frizz Ease really does help with those nasty flyaways and uncooperative curls so you can believe that it did wonders as a flat iron spray. A quick warm blowdry and an even quicker run through with my straightener landed me straight glossy hair without retracting my volume. This product claims to retain hair straightness for three days (without washing) and found it was true to its word after two days. 

John Frieda Frizz Ease straightening spray after two days

The J'adoreVoxBox didn't forget about the man I adore and included several questions about him in the pre-box survey I completed. They sent a fantastic bottle of Vaseline's new spray lotion for men. Ladies, you need to get this for your guy. Justin has never used lotion in his life but found this so easy to use because it sprays. Go figure. Vaseline did a great job with the scent and absorption speed. Justin is still using this even after my imposed mandatory use time frame expired. It's that good.

As soon as I opened my VoxBox, my eyes lit upon this face mask by Boots Botanics (and I immediately slathered it all over my face). Coincidentally, the day before the package arrived I purchased Boots Botanics facial toner to try out so I was quire excited to use the sister product as well. I'd never seen this brand before but have been loving it so far. This mask is cooling and leaves my skin soft and bright. It does dry the skin so I smooth some marajuaca oil on after my mini spa treatment.

My face as I'm writing this post

Finally, my favourite item of the entire VoxBox... TEA! Pittsburgh has accelerated my casual enjoyment of warm drinks into a vital necessity. A cup of tea is a priority placed somewhere into my schedule every day. The arrival of two new flavours of Red Rose tea excited me greatly and did not disappoint. Créme Caramel and Lemon Chiffon provided a wonderful touch of elegance to my tea time. The Lemon Chiffon is definitely my favourite. The lemon flavour balanced nicely with a gentle sweetness to eliminate any bitterness from the lemon. A touch of cream and sugar really made this tea feel indulgent! I will be buying a box as it is a great springtime taste.

Thanks, Influenster, for the fantastic experience of my first VoxBox!

Have you tried any of these products?
Which of these would you want the most?

Find out more about these products:
Hershey's Kisses
Frizz Ease
Boots Botanics
Red Rose Tea

Sunday, 23 February 2014

A Chilly day in Pittsburgh

Until a few days ago, Pittsburgh was one huge ice block. I'm not a fan of ice. I don't even like ice in my drinks. I finally realized that all of my wishing, pacing, and sighing wasn't going to change the frigid temperatures and adopted a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" attitude. We dedicated one Saturday to exploring the beauty of Pittsburgh's winter scene.

Beautiful cappuccinos and apricot strudel warmed the soul and tummy before adventuring out into downtown.

Two cappuccinos with pastry

I heard about an outdoor rink set smack dab in the centre of the city so we scouted out the prospects in Market Square. The Canadian in me could not resist a skating opportunity! The rink was beautifully situated among the castle-like PPG Place. Little guys were learning to balance while hockey players showed off in front of openly impressed girlfriends. Families chatted together and groups of friends raced backwards. The whole place felt grand and was spiced with laughter and the occasional snowflake. 

PPG Place ice rink in Pittsburgh

Kristina ice skating in Pittsburgh

Justin donning blue ice skates

Kristina at PPG skating rink, Pittsburgh

Justin skating at PPG Place, Pittsburgh

All that exercise worked up an appetite! We found a Thai restaurant a few blocks into the Cultural District that didn't seem to have unreasonable waiting times. Neither of us thought to book reservations anywhere! We've learned our lesson but happily lucked out with a table at Nicky's.
The restaurant is nothing special from the outside but a walk through the entryway leads you into a small piece of Thailand. Exotic smells accost you from all sides while the decor brings a smile to your face. Silly me forgot to take photos!

For starters we tried the crab rangoon and were blown away. Friends, make a trip to Nicky's simply for this. Order five dishes of it. You'll be impressed.

Crab Rangoon at Nicky's in Pittsburgh

Justin at NIcky's restaurant in Piitsburgh

See? He was impressed. I was more of the sleepy type of impressed.

Kristina at Nicky's restaurant in Pittsburgh

Tamarind curry and pineapple fried rice provided an array of colours and flavours appealing to all senses. I wasn't thrilled with the curry's taste but the presentation was spot on. However, the fried rice really did us in. Justin and I fought over it all evening. We continued to lust after it while we ate a delicious dessert of sticky rice and Thai custard.

sTamarind curry at Nicky's

Pineapple fried rice at Nicky's

We left with bags of food, happy tummies, tired legs, and smiling faces. And I'll admit, the cold wasn't so bad once we were busy having fun. Pittsburgh shone through my gloom. Thanks for a fabulous day!

Justin and Kristina at PPG ice rink, Pittsburgh

P.S. Congratulations to team CANADA on winning gold! We're proud of you! 

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Necessary reacquaintance

It seems like you're going to have to get to know me again. My life has changed again since the last time we talked together, you and me. Don't worry. It's been good. 

November brought me three jobs and the worst bout of the flu ever. Justin nabbed a fantastic job for a good company. Zoey started to adjust to cooler weather. 

In December I quit two jobs and worked hard with my temp agency. Justin was progressing with his position, leading us to buy another car and begin apartment hunting. Christmas was more fantastic than expected and was completed by some snow on the ground. Also, I dyed my hair. 

And then came Polar Vortex. Um, what? I know I'm from canada but I'd never felt anything colder than my freezer before. I now know what it's like to breathe in frozen air. More than once I cursed this place wishing for Grenada. Or anywhere that didn't have negative 20 windchills. Zoey hates all this just as much as I do. We did roast chestnuts. It felt more authentic with the snow outside. 

January did have the positives of Justin's promotion and iPhones! I'm excited to use the wonderful iPhone 5c camera for blog photos! (Confession: all these photos are from my iPhone. I'm post-dating photos because I'm writing this in bed. I'm not ashamed.) Apartment shopping in the city was a welcome change to my country circumstances. We made a weekend trip to SC to collect our stored belongings in preparation for a new place. 

February we bought at apartment! I'll share photos when we get ourselves together. We're still living out of suitcases as we don't have dressers or drawers of any kind. On a weirder note, someone drove into my car mirror, found me in a cafe, but doesn't have insurance. Still need to get that fixed. Justin is on a weeklong business trip and I've been hired on as a full time employee at my company. Zoey is getting used to the snow and will finally potty outside. She's been a trooper thru all these moves and weather changes. 

So now you know. I have a bunch of new things I want to share with you. But it was only fair to bring you up to speed. 

You'll hear from me soon. 

(I'd love to hear from you in the comments box below. And share this post on Facebook and Twitter to let people know I'm baaack!)