Friday, November 30

Favorites: November 2012

Can you believe we're nearly all the way through November already? The holidays are fast approaching! This is a new feature to Apartment 54, and one that I happen to really like when I subscribe to a beauty guru channel on YouTube.

The premise is simple: At the end of each month I'll post what my favorite products for both the home and beauty are so you can see what I loved that month and maybe get a few ideas about things you can incorporate into your life.

November 2012 favorites
Loreal Power Volume Collagen mascara in black/noir 
Jordana FabuLiner Liquid Eye Liner in 01 Black ($1.99-2.99 at Walgreens)

Smith's Rosebud Salve ($6 at Sephora)
bioinfusion Hydrating Conditioning Balm ($6.99 at Walgreens)

Loreal Paris Magic Lumi Concealer ($12.99 at Walgreens and also CVS)

Suave Kids Detangling Spray in Double Dutch Apple ($1.88 at WalMart)
CVS Purifying Mint Masque 

Turkish Peach candle ($5.99 at World Market)
Mirror Mosaic Pillar Platters Collection ($2.99-6.99 at World Market)

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Daily Inspiration, November 30, 2012

Wednesday, November 28

The Giving Girl's Handmade Hair Ties (Review & Giveaway!)

Shop The Giving Girl on!
If you're unfamiliar with these popular knotted hair ties then you're in for a treat. I'm kind of obsessed with them after seeing the plethora of colors and styles they come in. I'd heard about these and seen them on wrists once in a while but surprisingly never saw them in any store. I don't often look at the hair section of a drugstore because I find a lot of it to be generic. And apparently you can find these at more upper-end department stores like Nordstrom, but I'm telling you know you'll be overpaying for something almost as generic as what you might find at the drugstore. These are anything but.

They are made in a variety of colors and styles, including a very festive candy cane style!

Not my hair, but isn't it cute?
The owner and creator behind The Giving Girl herself, Jennifer, through our mutual love of all things JewelMint, asked if I would review her handmade hair ties and offer a giveaway just in time for the holidays. Having never done a giveaway before here on Apartment 54 and always on the lookout for something pretty to add in my life, I immediately said yes.

I've had mine for about a week now and I have hardly used anything else in my hair. What I find they are perfect for is securing my hair for bed every night without worrying that it will damage my hair. I like to brush my hair back in a braid and then tie it off with one of these so that it doesn't pull my hair or leave that ugly dent. That's another thing these are great for: not giving you that ugly crevice of a dent in your hair should you happen to take out your ponytail in the middle of the day.

Perfect dainty wrist accessory
I've seen some girls wearing these on their wrists like a bracelet but honestly my wrists are not dainty enough for that without looking almost like a sausage. And while that may not be good for my wrist self esteem I find that I don't care. I don't ordinarily wear anything on my wrists (though I need to invest in a good watch) so I'm not really missing out. But they're perfect for keeping handy in a makeup bag or in your purse. They get a bit folded over after use but if you just wrap them back around the packaging or around a bottle (I wrap mine around the top of a canister of Dove dry shampoo) they get back into form easily.

While these can be color coordinated if that's something you're into, I find you can just pick one and it will look good. Of course, that is all based on your preference. I have Jennifer's Etsy shop open in another tab right now and I love looking at all the colors they come in, especially these tie dyed Marleys, the Lilacs, and especially the Pink Giraffe set. Since they're super inexpensive I can pick up all of these for a great price. I can't wait to see what she comes up with for Valentine's Day!

Win your own set of The Giving Girl handmade hair ties!
As I mentioned earlier I was given an extra set of hair ties to give away to a lucky reader of Apartment 54. Entering (and winning) is super easy and I wholeheartedly encourage you to give it a go. One lucky winer will win the two sets you see pictured above. The first is a lovely holiday pack of red, green, and a glittery red/gold combo. The second is an every day collection of (cornflower) blue, lilac/pink, white/black, a brownish gold, and maroon.

Rules to Enter:

  1. Like The Giving Girl on Facebook at
  2. Leave a comment on this post telling me how or where you would wear the handmade hair ties (be sure to comment with your current email address)
  3. 18+ years old (or have parental permission)
  4. Resident of the U.S. (not an international giveaway, sorry)
The giveaway will be open for the next week and a half, ending Friday, December 7th at midnight (PST). I will contact the winner at closing of the contest to collect mailing information. If I do not hear back from the winner within 48 hours an alternate winner will be chosen and notified.

Good luck!

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Tuesday, November 27

Review: Bath & Body Works Candle in Leaves

Product Description:
A fragrance that embodies the richness of fall - with all of its colors and pleasures - featuring notes of golden nectar, ripe delicious apple and red berries. 

I really like this scent, and it is one I had heard really positive things about. It is really fresh and smells so homey. This is one I would definitely repurchase in the larger, 3-wick size and I can definitely see why so many people love it. I think I even tweeted that this was the candle I carried around with me from room to room so I could have it with me at all times.

Is this one of your favorites, too? Let me know in the comments! And be sure to check out my previous B&BW candle reviews: Autumn Day, Eucalyptus Mint, and Fireside.

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Daily Inspiration, November 27, 2012

Sunday, November 25

Crap Trapped in the Closet

Walk-in closet equals free storage unit!
I don't know why, but Jeff has brought out random boxes from the closet and is going through them. This (ugly bright) green bin is full of cords and other technological crap. We did find two point and shoot cameras, one which takes really beautiful photos that I refuse to throw away. I'm thinking they'll end up as "art displays" on our bookshelves. 

I'm so glad he's going through this stuff so that I don't have to. Technically I'm sitting next to him and engaging in conversation, so it's just as if I were working on it myself! Yes, we'll go with that.

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Daily Inspiration: November 25, 2012

Friday, November 23

Black Friday

What great deals did you find today on Black Friday? I made an order on my favorite office supply store, Poppin, and got a free box of pens, which I was looking at anyway for a friend. I also discovered the joys of!

What were your great deals? Let me know in the comments!

Review: Bath & Body Works Candle in Fireside

Product Description:
A cozy blend of cedar wood, leather and rich deep amber that warms your spirits like an evening by a crackling fire on a dark winter's night.

You know that sensation when someone walks you and you can just smell how much perfume/cologne they're wearing and it practically assaults the inside of your nose? That's this candle. I can barely stand to even smell it in the class, unlit. When lit it is just as bad, if not worse. I don't know what particular scent it is that is so over powering but it is just awful. And unlike the Eucalyptus Mint candle this one dispersed the scent very widely.

I just don't like it. At all. I burned as much of it as I could but it's not completely done and I think I'm just going to toss it in the trash. Definitely will not be repurchasing this one!

Have this candle? What do you think of it? Also be sure to check out my other reviews of Autumn Day and Eucalyptus Mint. Next review: Leaves.
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Daily Inspiration: November 23, 2012

Wednesday, November 21

Review: Bath & Body Works Candle in Eucalyptus Mint

Product Description:
Fresh eucalyptus, spearmint and a dash of citrus create an exhilarating fragrance that evokes the beauty of a brisk walk in cool mountain air.

Well, I don't know about all of that. It smells great in the glass but didn't really perfume the room. Again, it was only a mini version (so only one wick) and that may have contributed (or not) to the scent dispersal. Maybe this would work nicely in a small room, such as a bathroom? I really wanted to like it but I just couldn't get enough of the scent in my home to really judge if it's good or not.

Have this candle? What do you think? Let me know in the comments. Also check out my review for the B&BW candle in Autumn Day. Next candle review: Fireside.

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Daily Inspiration: November 21, 2012

Tuesday, November 20

Unboxing: Birchbox November 2012 +Discount Code!

I was so excited to received my very first Birchbox in the mail today! I've been chatting Jeff's ear off about it and after he brought it to me he even stayed to watch me unbox it. How cute is that? I'd watched a few unboxing videos on YouTube so I kind of knew what I was going to get in advance but I was still happy and surprised. Thankfully my box was not a dud.

Instagramming it: my very first Birchbox!
I knew the box was small because of how many unboxing videos I've watched but I was still surprised by how truly small it is. That's a great thing though because it fit in our small mailbox.

Here is how it looked when I opened the lid. The cardboard was very stiff! But it opened and I was happy to see what I got. The theme of the month is "Give" and the purple box is intended to be a little gift pouch you can give to someone special for any reason.

Here is what I received:

  • Juicy Couture | Viva la Juicy La Fleur (full size, $25-$70)
  • ModelCo | FIBRE LASHXTEND Lengthening Mascara (full size, $24)
  • One Love Organics | Aromatic Body Serum (full size, $39)
  • Oscar Blandi | Pronto Texture & Volume Spray (full size, $25)
  • LIFESTYLE EXTRA: SOYJOY | Cranberry Snack Pack (5 bars, $6)
The ModelCo mascara is a full size product so there is worth of the $10 subscription and more! I've never tried a SOYJOY bar before but on one unboxing video I watched it didn't seem too tasty. I'll likely pop it in my purse and save it for when I need it. 

Oh, there was also a card featuring a discount code for CHROMATICgallerie. Take $15 off a purchase of $88 shoes. They don't carry shoes for my hobbit-sized feet (fail on their part) so I'm just going to put the discount code here so you can take advantage of the discount (should you so desire).


One Love Organics | Aromatic Body Serum (full size, $39)
I was pretty excited for the One Love Organics Aromatic Body Serum when I first heard about it/saw a video about it. According to the product description it is: Made with pumpkin seed and sea buckthorn oil, this fast-absorbing oil keeps skin supple and hydrated. Bonus: it has aromatherapy benefits! My sample says it is in "rose" but I just sprayed it on and it smells nothing like roses. So I'm not sure what's going on there. 

I believe it will work best after showering so I'll give it a try tomorrow morning and see how it works out. I'm not really a fan of putting oils on my skin but I am open to possibility! 

Note: I used soap and water to wash this stuff off my hands (a little bit of oil leaked in the packaging) and I can still feel it all over my skin. And it doesn't feel great at all. I think I'll literally have to swipe a cotton ball of alcohol over my Macbook Pro keyboard. Ew. 

ModelCo | FIBRE LASHXTEND Lengthening Mascara (full size, $24)
Product description for the mascara: Falsies without the fuss. This innovative mascara uses tiny lash-extending fibers to give you a lengthy fringe. Tip: rotate the wand inside the bottle to pick up the fibers.

I don't think I'll be getting to this one for a while because I already have two mascaras open and in use (Physicians Formula Organic Wear and Loreal Power Volume with Collagen) and two more unopened in my drawer (an impulse buy but for a ridiculously good price!).

"Fibers" kind of sounds like something that might end up on my face. But we'll see!

Oscar Blandi | Pronto Texture & Volume Spray (full size, $25)
Product Description: This light, nonsticky spray gives dry hair a voluminous, sexy, tousled look. Spray from ends to roots for best results. It's great for updos, too!

It says it can be used on clean or second day hair, so I think I'll give it a try tomorrow (second day hair) and Thursday (clean hair) to see how it works. I've actually been meaning to look into something that will put some volume in my hair so I hope this works. $25 isn't too awful for something that works. 

Juicy Couture | Viva la Juicy La Fleur (full size, $25-$70)
Product Description: This modern scent is a feminine blend of wild berries, mandarin, and waterlily.

This is kind of nice. I've been wearing a gardenia scent exclusively for the past few months but I did say in my Birchbox survey that perfume is a beauty item I would splurge on. The scent is very light and nice. There's a deeper note in there that is really pleasant but I don't really know what it is. My sample was really small so I'll try it out for a couple days and see how it works out!

SOYJOY | Cranberry Snack Pack (5 bars, $6)

Product Description: Be the first to try these new gluten-free bars made with real cranberries.

Well cranberry is a great fruit for fall, obviously. Like I said I'm just going to tuck this into my purse and save it for when I need it.

I don't know how I feel about there being food in the Birchbox. I know it is for the "lifestyle extra" but I'd much rather receive beauty/makeup samples instead of food. Although if it introduces me to something I end up really liking then that's not really a bad thing, right?

Alright well that is it for my November Birchbox! I'm looking forward to trying some of them out and I'll do separate reviews for them if they're especially good (or not). I've heard a lot of people saying that Birchbox has been very disappointing the past few months but I have high hopes for Christmas/New Year and Valentine's Day. We'll see how it goes!

The only other subscription box service I'm a member of is the Pop Sugar Must Have box and I'm getting my first one in December. SO EXCITED!!

If you liked what you saw and you're interested in getting your own Birchbox subscription you can follow this link to get all the important information! If you're already a member let me know what you got in your Birchbox this month. What did you like or not like? What other boxes do you subscribe to? Let me know in the comments!

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Daily Inspiration: November 20, 2012

Thursday, November 15

Daily Inspiration: November 15, 2012

Just A Touch-up & Some New Features!

Same cute theme, slightly different layout. And I like it much much better. You may notice there are some tabs up top ^ and some new features! Beauty Must Haves is my selection of products I cannot live without. Stuff like lotion, lip balm, and wipes for my glasses (so I can see clearly). Beauty Wishlist is the same idea but products that I've tried and fallen in like/lust/love with and want to purchase in the near future.

There is also quick access to my Pinterest, which is just over flowing with hundreds of pins I've obsessively collected and saved to my Macbook. No, seriously. It's a problem.

I've got a whole list of new features/ideas/posts that I have in the works, so be sure to keep coming back to look for them!

What do you think of the touched up layout and new features? Let me know in the comments!
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Tuesday, November 13

Television Shuffle

A short time ago we somewhat impetuously purchased a new television. The TV we've had for a long time is the one Jeff bought off of Craigslist in undergrad, and it's a 55" rear projector that was a near disaster to move into our upstairs apartment. It's held up great over time but we were starting to notice some digital wear and tear. So I randomly spotted a sale for a TV in Target for a really great price, and when we went to one of our Targets that night we found another TV that was also a great deal but on a better TV. It had a better refresh rate, was LED instead of LCD, was slightly bigger, and originally much more expensive. Even with the sale price it was more than we had anticipated purchasing. So we signed up for a Target Red Card to take off an additional 5% and bit the bullet.

And then we came home and realized we had nowhere to put it.

Since the weather started cooling down, and because I tend to need more space than my desk has, I'd been using the dining room table as my work station/office. However that afternoon I had cleaned the desk up and was preparing to move back to it so I could have some peace and quiet again.

Well, plans change. The new TV went on my desk in the bedroom and when we realized how stunning the picture on it was, we started to forget about the old clunker sitting in our living room. Soon we came to realize that we were using one more than the other and that it was more difficult to sit and watch movies/shows on our bed than it was on our couch, and so began the great TV migration.

Yes, this was actually my idea. And to be honest, I didn't really think Jef would go for it. But he did.

Thankfully the TV is on wheels so it was easier to slide it into the other room. There was a tough corner to navigate but that went surprisingly smooth. 

The couch became the temporary home of everything in the living room. I have never appreciated that sometimes you have to make a mess before you can clean. 

The new TV in the old place. Once we got the big one out we saw just how spacious our living room is. When this TV (which is 40") was in the bedroom we were so close to it that it seemed huge. Now in the living room, with us sitting on the couch several feet away, it seems really small. But now it has the Bose sound system installed with it, and it's pretty kick ass.

Trust me, you don't want to see what the big TV looks like in our bedroom. It's a black hole that sucks all the light out of the room. And I don't even think it is plugged in right now. We're discussing ways to get rid of it so that we don't have to move it ourselves once we move next summer. It was a ridiculous feat to get it upstairs in the first place and short of taking it out piece-by-piece, we have no idea how it's going to move out. I'm thinking a piano moving service, or selling it on Craigslist with the caveat that the buy has to move it him/herself. We shall see.

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Daily Inspiration: November 13, 2012

Saturday, November 10

Review: Bath & Body Works Candle in Autumn Day

Autumn Day was the first of the Bath & Body Works mini candles I purchased a couple weeks back that I have used up completely. I've only been doing one at a time so I can get a feel of what the scent is like and not confuse it with the other 8.

Product description:
A crisp, autumn medley celebrating the changing seasons and the beauty of the harvest with notes of fresh cut cedar, juicy fig, and sandalwood.

The woody layers are the most notable and memorable. In a lot of ways it reminding me of walking past an Abercrombie store in the mall with that super permeating smell of cologne. Only this isn't nearly as annoying. I think there is definitely something masculine to the smell, but also a feminine note that blend really well with the masculine.

As it was a mini candle it didn't scent my entire apartment, but it was nice to keep close while I was reading on the couch or just hanging out in my bedroom. The mini candle is only 1.3 ounces so it is pretty tiny. I actually didn't know how small they would be when I bought them but they were 2 for $5 so I guess it's a pretty good deal. I would definitely repurchase this candle in a larger size and enjoy it during the colder months.

The next candle from my Bath & Body Works mini candle haul will be Eucalyptus Mint, which I'm actually burning right now and should be done with soon!

What is your favorite candle scent this time of year? Let me know in the comments!

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Daily Inspiration, November 10, 2012


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