In Part I of the vacation recap, I promised you beach photos. I had so many from the entire trip that I just pulled a few of my favorites into a single post. I took a morning walk nearly every day and a sunset walk many evenings. The beauty of Isle of Palms, SC left me speechless. In fact, I’ll let the photos do the talking and I’ll be back with Part III tomorrow to share our Savannah, GA adventure and a few other things.
I’m finally done with Jury Duty (YAY!) and I recently went on vacation (DOUBLE YAY!), so I’m just now getting back into blogging again. I completely underestimated jury duty, and wasn’t able to blog as much as I was hoping (or at all!). Then I went back to work for a few weeks before taking 2 weeks off for vacation. Things have been a little crazy, the vacation was so needed…and completely incredible. I’ll be doing recaps this week, part I is below so as not to completely overwhelm you in one blog post. Warning: these will be picture heavy posts.
Note: I’m still trying to catch up on emails and blog comments…please forgive me if I haven’t gotten back to you yet. I will be responding, it’s just taking me some time to work through them all. Sorry.
First off…I received a bunch of questions from people asking about jury duty. Questions ranged from how jury duty works in California, what case was I on, why was it taking 3 months, do I get paid…and so on. I’ll try to briefly answer a few of these below.
I get a jury duty summons almost every year…they can call you once every 12 months and they get me every year (lucky me). The general rule is one day or one trial. Every other time I’ve been called, I’ve been done in just one day. This was the first time I had ever been seated on a jury trial. I’m not going to give out the defendant’s name, so you won’t be able to Google the case (sorry), but I will say that it was a Death Penalty Murder trial. I couldn’t share that before, so you can probably understand why it was so long. In fact, it took them a whole month to fully seat the jury, then it took another 2 months to complete the guilt and penalty trials. We found the defendant guilty on all counts, and sentenced him to Life without the possibility of parole. The entire experience was exhausting and emotionally draining since I was hearing and seeing things that I never wanted to see/hear. However, the penalty deliberations were by far the worst. Obviously when you’re talking about the death penalty it’s going to get personal as your dealing with people’s morals/values. I expected that; however, there were some jurors that just took it too far. They got very personal and lashed out at others. During the course of deliberations, many of us felt personally attacked and it was particularly draining for me since I hate confrontation. I’ll just say it was rough.
Given all of that, while I would prefer to not do another capitol case, I would gladly be part of a trial again. Not only was the process fascinating at times, it truly did feel like an honor to be part of the process.
Oh…regarding pay. The court pays $15 a day and some mileage; however, I’m VERY lucky that my company pays unlimited time off for jury duty, so I was paid my regularly salary while I was out.
Ok…moving on to a far more relaxing time…VACATION! My brother turns 40 this year so the family got together for a week to celebrate and spend some time together. We have a small family, but we don’t see each other often…so this also acted as a mini family reunion.
So near the end of October I hopped on a plane, along with my parents, for my first trip to the South! We flew from San Diego to North Carolina, then drove to South Carolina where we spent a week in Isle of Palms. It was heaven!
Side note: Starbucks treats are required while travelling. Have you tried the Chocolate Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks…amazing!! My usual Starbucks drink is a Cafe Mocha with 2 pumps Chai, but the tea version was really good. I hope it lasts longer than one season.
After I let this cup sit on the counter for a really long time, the Barista said this was mine…but, who the hell is Timmie??? I’m used to my name being misspelled, but this is the worst so far…funny, but not even close.
After spending a night in Charlotte, NC, we started our drive to Isle of Palms. We stopped in Columbia, SC on the way and toured the State House.
I loved the architecture of this building.
…and saw beautiful churches along the way.
We also drove down to the Canal and walked around. It had the most beautiful running/walking trail for locals.
Then we arrived at the beach…cue the sound of angels singing! The ocean is by far my happiest place.
This was the house we stayed at during our week in town. Beautiful…with a freakin’ elevator! This was the first time staying at a rented house as opposed to a hotel and I would go this route again in a heart beat (if only they all looked like this). For the large group we had, it was perfect, and everyone had their own space. I mean I love my family…but WE ALL need our own space from time to time, am I right?
[yes, I am]
View from deck…but we’ll get back to the beach shots in the next post.
On our first full day, we did a culinary tour in downtown Charleston, SC and would highly recommend it. The guide took us to 3 restaurants around town where we ate a ton of delicious food, and gave us a tour of the area during our walk in between eats.
The Southend Brewery was my favorite and our first stop.
I had my first taste of Shrimp & Grits which was delicious, and fried green tomatoes (which I sadly did not photograph).
This vegetable risotto was incredible, I need to recreate this ASAP!
The whole experience was unique and much more than I ever expected. The chef’s did an amazing job catering to us, and the presentations were deliciously beautiful.
Seared Tuna with Lemon Pepper Beignets & lime ‘caviar’. Not my favorite dish since I don’t like tuna, but I still tried everything.
We even cooked out own steaks on a 700 degree hot rock. Delicious and fun.
Not gonna lie…this was the best ending. Carrot Cake Donuts!
A few more shots of our tour around town.
I’ll be back tomorrow with Part II…prepare for a barrage of beach photos.
I’ve been really sick lately (pardon my disappearance), and I’ve been doing a whole lot of nothing. Although, I did get the office repainted before this cold kicked my ass to the couch. Luckily I’m FINALLY starting to feel like me again (thank goodness!) so I’ll be back with posts soon. In the meantime I found this infographic of tips to stay inspired. Since I’ve been out of court and back at work for the week, I’ve particularly liked the ‘Plan Your Day’ section.
That project I tried to do a few weeks ago is finally DONE, and I LOVE IT!
Actually, I’ve been wanting to do this project for about a year since I’ve had these pretty containers sitting empty for about that long. If you recall I had a little bird mishap a few weeks back, but I finally got around to cleaning the containers and buying new succulents.
I picked these up at Homegoods but I wasn’t sure at the time what I wanted to do with them. After the success of my DIY Succulent Terrariums, I figured these would work the same way. The novelty of a giant pear and apple in my house was just too perfect, I couldn’t help but buy these.
These suckers were tough to clean though, they are somewhat heavy glass and have only the one open spot (just big enough for one hand), so it was a struggle. They look much cleaner in person, but the camera picked up lots of lint.
If you want step by step instructions, check out the DIY Terrarium link above…I followed the same steps. I started out with some small rocks. I think these actually came from Hobby Lobby for less than $3, and it was enough for both planters.
Next, I topped with Cactus Soil. It allows for better drainage than potting soil.
Then add in small succulents. I picked mine up from Lowes, but their selection was lacking so I didn’t have much variety in these. I plan on swapping out the plants for more colorful options when they get more in stock.
I never used to be a cactus/succulent fan, but they’ve seriously grown on me. I love having these little setups all over the house. They are simple, but so beautiful and require little work for them to live.
I love reading these types of posts and I recently finished off a bunch of beauty products so I thought now would be a good time to put up my first Beauty Empties post. This is similar to the favorites posts, but in these I’ll share products I’ve completely used up and offer my brief review on them. For fun I’m calling this series, Studs & Duds, since I’ll share which products were worthy of a repurchase [Studs] and those that didn’t work for me [Duds]. There may also be some ‘Eh’ products listed that I found rather average. For ease, the Duds are all listed at the bottom in their own section. In the other sections, I’ve listed whether I would repurchase.
Also, I should point out that I don’t go through this many products each month. I recently made a point of trying to use up some of my nearly empty products, so I have more than usual in this first post.
Alba Hawaiian 3 in 1 Towelettes: [Repurchase: YES] While I rarely use face wipes on my face, I do use them to get any makeup off of my neck. Like most people I blend my makeup/bronzer down my neck and then I find that I don’t wash my neck when I wash my face at night. So I use a wipe to remove makeup and any daily pollution from my neck and chest. I really like these ones, LOVE the smell – they smell like Pineapple. I still like my Pacifica Coconut Water wipes, but these will go into rotation.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser: [Repurchase: YES] I use this EVERY SINGLE DAY as my second cleanse at night and often when I wash my face in the morning. I’ve been using it for 15+ years and still love it. I buy these in the massive packs at Costco to get the best deals.
Boots Expert Sensitive Gentle Refreshing Toner: [Repurchase: YES] Oddly enough, I don’t actually use this as a ‘toner’. After I use the cleansing wipe on my neck and chest, I go back over the are with this toner on a cotton round. It’s refreshing and gentle, I also find that it removes the last bits of dirt and makeup.
Tarte Amazonian Clay Double Detox Mask (Sample Size): [Repurchase: YES] I picked up this trial size as a 100 point perk from Sephora a while back. At the time it was only available in a 5 tiny tube pack, meant to be a 5 week system. I wouldn’t repurchase it for $38 for 5 little vials. It was difficult to get all the product out of the little tube. However, Tarte is now selling this mask in a larger size and I would buy that in a heartbeat. I really did love the effect it had on my skin.
Benefit Total Moisture Face Cream (Sample Size): [Repurchase: YES] I picked this up as part of a sampler set of benefit skincare products. It’s a simple moisture cream, nothing fancy and no SPF. I prefer my face cream and SPF separate so this works for me. I’m currently using something else, but I did like this sample enough to consider purchasing it in the future. I liked that it wasn’t too heavy to use in the summer and soaked into my skin quickly.
Clinique All About Eyes: [Repurchase: YES] Another product I’ve been using for 10-15 years. A definite favorite that I keep going back to when I need an eye cream I can rely on.
Fresh Rose Face Mask: [Repurchase: YES] I love this refreshing face mask, mostly for the smell. I find it hydrating and a bit decadent since it has bits of rose petal in it. The full size is really expensive (~$55) but it lasts a while so I would buy it again when I run out of the one that I already have in my medicine cabinet.
Aquaphor: [Repurchase: YES] Great all purpose healing cream. I use it as a lip balm, on my elbows, dry skin, etc. I always have a tube nearby.
Carmex Lip Balms: [Repurchase: YES] I’m a lip balm fan, since I don’t wear a lot of lip color. Carmex is thick, but not greasy and it lasts a long time so I don’t have to keep reapplying. I like the Cherry stick version best, although I’ve picked up a few other fun flavors lately like Vanilla and Lime.
TIGI S Factor Silky Smooth Moisture Serum: [Repurchase: YES] My hair stylist/colorist work for TIGI so they (obviously) recommended their own line to me when I started going to them about 6 years ago. I LOVE the S-Factor line, the smell is AMAZING. This serum is more of a lotion texture instead of an oil, which I really like, and it keeps the frizz at bay.
Ojon Full Detox Rub-OutDry Shampoo: [Repurchase: No] I don’t know where I got this, and I’ve had it tucked in cabinet for years. It’s not my favorite because it leaves a noticeable white cast in my dark hair. So while it does work well, it’s really pricy and I’ve found drugstore options that I like better. I wouldn’t repurchase.
Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil: [Repurchase: MAYBE (I think I’ve found something better)] I featured this in a favorites post a few months back and have finished the bottle (in record time too). I have two other brands that I’m using now (and really liking), but Essie’s was great and the smell wasn’t too ‘chemical-ly’. I also liked that it soaked in quickly so I could go back to my computer work immediately.
Johnson’s Baby Oil Gel (Aloe): [Repurchase: YES in a different scent] I use this product primarily in winter, when my skin is super dry. After I shower, but before I dry off, I slather this stuff all over my body. Then I towel off, removing the excess. It traps in the moisture, leaves my skin super soft, and toweling off after application means that I’m not left with the oily residue. I wouldn’t repurchase the ‘Aloe’ scent again, I just didn’t like it. They have a Cocoa Butter scent that I like much better.
Boots Mango Body Butter: [Repurchase: YES] LOVE this product! Definite favorite, I’m buying the full size soon.
Jergens Hydrating Coconut Milk Crema: [Repurchase: No] Not a bad product, a good cream that has a texture between lotion and body butter. Because I like the Boots Body Butter better, I wouldn’t repurchase this in the future.
Vaseline Intensive Rescue Repairing Moisture (Fragrance Free): [Repurchase: MAYBE, PROBABLY NOT] I would classify this an an ‘Eh’ product. It was my favorite for a while, but I’ve been finding it too watery lately. I’m not sure if they’ve changed the formula, or maybe mine are old. I do like that it’s fragrance free so in the event that I’m looking for a fragrance free lotion, I would repurchase, but it’s not something that I could use in the winter – it’s just too watery.
Let’s be clear up front, I’m not saying these are BAD products, I just found that they did not work well for me. I would not repurchase any of these products and I’ll explain why below, but you may love them and if so, that’s GREAT!
Herbal Essence Heat Protection Spray: My problem with this product isn’t that it didn’t work, it seemed to do the job. However, the only thing I smell is alcohol and my hair felt very dry when using this. I can’t be sure my hair was dry due to this product, but I recently started using something else that is working much better.
L’Oreal Elnett Hairspray (Trial Size): Oh the smell…I can’t stand the smell. I know a lot of people love this hairspray, but the smell triggers terrible allergy like symptoms for me and I just can’t handle it.
Smashbox Eye Primer: Didn’t work, simple as that. My eye shadow creased within 2 hours every time that I used this.
Almay Smart Shade Smart Balance Powder: Has anyone out there used this product? I couldn’t get any of the powder to apply, I even tried scraping off a layer and still I couldn’t pick up any powder on my brush (or any type of applicator).
Elf Eyelash Curler: The top metal plate on mine was too sharp and it started slicing into the rubber pad. As you can imagine if it cut into the rubber pad, it also started cutting through my lashes. I’ve never had this happen before but I wouldn’t take the chance again with their eyelash curler since it caused so much damage to my lashes after only a few uses.
Elf Studio Eye Primer and Liner Sealer: I tried this when my Smashbox version failed on me, but this was a total bomb. Perhaps mine was just dried out, but the texture of the primer was terrible. I couldn’t barely get the product to swipe onto my lid and I had to push so hard that it actually hurt my eyelid. I can’t say whether the liner sealer worked. I use a liner that lasts all day on me, so the sealer didn’t seem to do anything extra.
Simple Radiance Face Cloths: My fault, I shouldn’t have bought these. I should have realized that a ‘radiance’ product would contain some sort of exfoliating texture. These were just far too scratchy for me, and irritated my skin.
*this post contains affiliate links. However, none of these products were provided to me, nor am I being compensated for this post. The products were purchased by me for my own personal use. All opinions are my own.
It’s time to officially swap the flip flops for high heels, because I’ve been assigned to the jury case. I can’t go into any detail, but I can say it’s a criminal case and it’s expected to go on for quite some time.
There is a part of me that has let out a sigh of relief because I finally know. It’s been frustrating each day, not knowing what’s happening the next. It also means that I am forced to regroup at work and hand off my workload to others. I’ll still be able to check in with them each day and help out when I’m not in court, but I finally get some HELP. Oh and I get to dress up and wear heels again, which I’ve actually missed since I started working from home.
As much as I joke around about shoes, I’m not in any way saying this will be easy. I consider this an INCREDIBLY serious responsibility. So please understand if you ask questions, I cannot answer them until after the trial. Even then, I’ll have to see how I feel about sharing my experience. I will say that I feel like it’s an honor to be part of the process and I wish more people wouldn’t try to get out of jury duty; although I completely understand the inconvenience it can cause for everyone involved.
I do not intend to stop blogging and I plan to keep posting as I have been. Though I may miss a day here and there, depending on how busy I am between court/work/personal…etc. I hope you understand.
Just wanted to stop by and share the news. Hope you are all having a great week!
Another Wednesday…Another Food Log!
Before we get into the eats…I’m thinking of getting another little furball. And by little, I mean…
Awwww, aren’t they cute! There are actually three little ones in that sleepy pile. When I was junior high, I wasn’t allowed to have a dog so I got a hamster instead. I named her Muffin…she was my bestest little friend, I took her everywhere. These little ones look exactly like her and I’m smitten. I want to go get one so bad. I’ve already picked out a name…which is a probably a sign that one will be coming home soon. I’m just waiting to find out about jury duty first, but Baxter might have a little sister soon! (Not to actually play with of course…he’d probably eat her on accident. Who am I kidding…she’d scare him silly, he’s a big baby).
Ok, now on to the food.
I’m not much of a cereal fan, but I’ve recently found one that I actually like. Kashi shredded wheat in Island Vanilla is absolutely delicious! It’s healthy and just slightly sweet. It’s perfect with a bit of Organic Milk and a bowl of blueberries.
Did you know that some Panera’s are being built with a Drive thru? It’s genius and today I was able to pick up half a Caesar salad and a Turkey/Bacon/Avocado sandwich without getting out of my car. I could tell Baxter wanted to take a car ride, so that’s why we went through the drive thru…
Oh who am I kidding, he didn’t really want to go…I went their because I was hungry and didn’t want to change out of my yoga pants. The epitome of delicious laziness.
Today is a very long work day. In fact I’m writing this after midnight because I just finished work about 30 minutes ago. I’m going to be in court all day tomorrow so it’s like preparing to go on vacation every single day and I have to clear out as much work as possible in case I have to be in court all week. I broke around 8 for a comfort dinner and made a big bowl of Spaghetti and (frozen) Turkey Meatballs.
Unpictured: a few pieces of chocolate before bed, my eboost and many glasses of water.
I don’t know why, but I’ve been incredibly productive lately. Even with work all day, I still managed to get a workout in and start a few other things around the house. Whatever’s gotten into me…I hope it sticks around.