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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Cleveland Rocks! (and is wet!)

 I flew up to Cleveland a few weeks ago to spend some time with a friend, see the sights, and visit Cedar Point. 

This photo pretty much sums up the trip.
Yes, that would be me holding my shoes underneath the hand dryers in a bathroom, in an attempt to dry them off. Fortunately, there are no photos of me holding my Pikachu socks under the dryer before this. 

Seriously, y'all. SO. MUCH. RAIN. What gives, Ohio?!

Okay, okay, it's not fair to blame Ohio, is it? But really. I flew up on a Wednesday, and that was the ONLY day of my trip that there was no rain. 

Despite this, it was an amazing trip! Because of the rain, we ended up doing a few things that were unplanned, and re-working some things on the fly. More on this later. 

This post is going to be pretty photo-heavy, so be warned. I may do some separate posts later focusing on specific places/restaurants/etc, but for now, here's just a brief overview. :)

First view of Cleveland! I was really impressed with how pretty the city was - in my opinion, it was a very clean city, very open and airy. And big.

A view of Lake Erie behind the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  I was a fan of the lake at this point.

Outside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This was my first visit here, and I already want to go back. There was so much to see! 

 This was probably my favorite section of the whole place. I could have spent so much time here. 

 THE drums....*sighs*. 

We had made plans to visit Westside Market on Thursday, but found out the night before that it is closed on Thursdays. Gah! This is why you read websites and stuff very carefully. So we decided to go to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History instead. It wasn't something we planned on doing originally, but it ended up being a fun way to spend the morning!

 I even made a new friend! 

We then went to see the house from A Christmas Story. It was pretty random, but interesting? It's just a house in the middle of a quiet neighborhood. It's so weird, you drive along and its just random houses and them BOOM. Christmas Story House and museum. And then the neighborhood continues. I wonder how the other residents feel about it, actually.

The worker at the museum recommended a few 'rainy day' activities for us. He recommended driving through Playhouse Square, where they have the largest outdoor chandelier in the world. It actually took us a couple tries to find it, but it was pretty neat!

Please ignore the rain splotches on all these photos. >.<

Cleveland had some really cool architecture. I would love to visit again in nicer weather to see more of it up close.

 One of the unplanned things we did was visit Lakeview Cemetery. Visiting a cemetery may sound odd, but it ended up being one of my favorite parts of the trip. 

One of the main 'attractions' (that sounds so wrong), was the Garfield Memorial.

It's dedicated to President Garfield, who is actually laid to rest inside the memorial with his wife. The inside of the memorial is gorgeous with lots of mosaic/tile work, and a beautiful statue of Garfield. 

Unfortunately, taking these photos and looking around sent my head spinning (yay, vertigo!), and so I didn't venture down to the crypt to see the President. Maybe next time. 

The cemetery also has a memorial to the Rockefeller family, who are buried there. 

 There are several 'famous' people buried in Lakeview. One of whom is Eliot Ness (who I demanded we find, because he was an epic man, for a lot of reasons).

There was much more to the cemetery, but for length's sake, I'll save it for another time. :)

Friday was the day we planned to go to Cedar Point. 

Aaaaaaaaaand it rained. Horribly.

I was no longer a fan of Lake Erie after a venture down Cedar Point road (so much flooding, massive waves crashing over the road/cars, general scariness..)

We ended up staying only a short time at the park because it was wet, cold and miserable. 

However, it ended up working out okay, because we were able to visit Westside Market! 

I LOVED the market. There were so many great stalls with various foods, and I ate sooo much. This was where I used the hand dryers to dry off my shoes and socks, so I'm pretty fond of the place for that as well. 

But the food was the main draw.

And that's pretty much it. It was just a short trip, but I feel like we packed a good amount of adventures into the time we had.  And while a lot of the things didn't go exactly as planned, we ended up visiting some places that were well worth the while. So that just goes to prove that even if your plans don't work out, you can still find ways to have fun! 

As I said, I plan to do a few more detailed posts later on about a few of the locations we visited (like the Cemetery!), and the restaurants too, so be on the lookout for those in the very near future! 

One last photo, because I love how clouds look from above. 

Until next time! :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

App Review: Clawbert

I am a huge fan of casual, cute games for my phone. Something I can simply play when I want to, to relax or de-stress, and something that I don't HAVE to log in to everyday. 
Most games I've found that fit into this category are 'collection' games, where the main portion of the game is to collect X items to move on/complete the level/etc. I'm currently playing Neko Atsume (Kitty Collector), which sort of fits this idea. 

Another game I tried (and ultimately lost interest in), was Kleptocats. It's produced by Hyperbeard Games, which is how I wound up finding the game I'm going to review today - Clawbert. 

Clawbert is, according to the game description, a lonely claw who would like to find friends.The machine fills with a mixture of eggs, coins and gems, and you 'grab' the eggs to hatch them in order to find Clawbert friends. 

Here's what the basic gameplay screen looks like:

The controls are incredibly easy. You use your finger to manipulate the crane control until Clawbert is hovering over the item you would like to grab, and then hit the 'grab' button. Clawbert will descend (letting out a happy "WHEE!" as he does). What item you grab determines what happens next.

The eggs are placed into slots (seen in the bottom left hand corner), and will hatch in a set amount of minutes. The green eggs seen here are the basic, common eggs. There are other eggs that show at random. The other items in this set are coins and pigs (which give large amounts of coins when you tap on them after they are 'grabbed'). 

You can speed up the process of hatching the eggs using coins.

The amount varies depending on the type of egg, and sometimes even on the amount of time left on the timer. 

Eggs will either contain coins or a friend for Clawbert.

The friends are adorable, and have super cute names, too.

The machine loads a certain number of items every few hours (from what I'm able to tell), and if you clear all the items before it resets, you can either pay gems to reset it early or just wait for it to happen when the timer runs out. I wait, because I am a gem-hoarder already.

The first world has 109 friends to collect. After so many (50, I think), another world will unlock. But I prefer to try to COLLECT ALL THE THINGS before moving on.

The game allows for Clawbert to wear different hats (which you can unlock with the daily checklist tasks or purchase with gems). Some are also offered as free items using codes found on the social media sites for Clawbert (my Clawbert is wearing bunny ears I received using a code!).  These are input into the "spell word" item on the menu.

The daily checklist is various tasks to complete during the game, like "clear the machine". If you complete all the tasks you win a prize, and you also receive a prize for completing the tasks individually.

All in all, it is a super cute game, and I've been enjoying it immensely since I downloaded it. It is incredibly simple to play, which some might dislike, but it is perfect for casual play, which is exactly what I wanted. 

Clawbert is available for IOS and Android
(Click the links for the appropriate pages!) 

Give it a try, and let me know what you think! Also - do you have any similar games that you enjoy playing? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

DIY Shoe Deodorizers

These shoes - a simple, unassuming pair shoes - are some of my absolute favorites.

They are insanely comfortable, even when worn all day, and while they're a bit on the casual side, they still look okay enough for office attire.

I've paired them with dress pants, leggings, skirts, jeans...pretty much anything and everything.

There's just one problem - after awhile, they began to stink.

A lot.

Like, so much that when I took them off after the workday, the smell lingered in my room for quite some time. I tried a few different sprays/powders, hoping that would kill the scent and whatever odor causing issue there might be. It would work for awhile, but then the smell was right back.  

I actually debated just buying another pair of shoes, and downgrading my current pair to a lesser shoe status. But then I started thinking, and decided to try making my own shoe deodorizer, and see what happened. After all, what was there to lose?

Here's what I used:

Coffee filters ($1)
Rubber bands ($1)
Baking Soda ($1)
Coffee (prepackaged sticks were 5 for $1, the can was $3)

I purchased the majority of the items at the dollar store, and it was after making the first batch that I realized the coffee 'sticks' (the prepackaged amounts you simply add to water) were just not going to be enough. So I went back to the store and purchased a larger can.
(Also, I grabbed a box of baking soda that said "do not open top". Don't tell me what to do, baking soda. >.<)

From here, it's pretty simple. Take two coffee filters, add some baking soda and coffee to each, twist closed, secure with rubber band, and boom! Done.
I used roughly two spoonfuls of baking soda and coffee in each of the deodorizers I made the first time, and it was a bit much. The second batch I used about a spoon and a half, and it worked much better.

I did find that the darker roast coffee, having a stronger scent, works much better for deodorizing. It is pretty strong, though, and it will make your shoes smell a bit like coffee, so if it's too strong, feel free to use a lighter roast. It will still work.

Once your deodorizers are made, just pop them into your shoes and let them sit. I usually leave mine in overnight, at the very least.

I've been using these for about a week or so now, and can tell a HUGE difference in my shoes already. There's a very faint smell still, but I'm pretty confident that it won't be around much longer. My shoes smell more like coffee now than anything...and that's definitely not a bad thing. :)
Hope you enjoyed! 

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Story of Ser Sandy

This is Sandy. 

Well, his FULL name (in the style of Game of Thrones) is Ser Sandy Phineas D----, the first of his name, eater of foods and crier at windows.  
But generally we just stick with Sandy. 

In September of last year, this little furball just randomly showed up at my workplace, looking quite pitiful. He was so skinny you could see his ribs, and you could tell he'd been on his own for awhile.

My coworkers and I quickly decided that we couldn't let the little guy go hungry. 
So naturally, he began to hang around more. He'd come by a few times a day to visit and grab some food, and then he'd vanish. 

There was initially an on-going debate about whether or not the cat was a male or female, which is how I suggested calling him Sandy, since it would work either way. 
And the name stuck!

We started letting him inside the office to roam around, and even started letting him stay in the basement when it started getting colder (the boss was completely on board, by the way!). He started filling out, he was getting attention, and all seemed to be going well.

We had hoped to make him a permanent office cat, but Sandy..well, he's loud. Very loud. And when he wanted to go outside, instead of hanging with us, he made it very well known.
Not only that, but the other resident office cat, Sally, absolutely detested him. 

So ultimately, the boss decided that Sandy would either need a home, or he would be going to the Humane Society. And I was crushed. 

But! As it turns out, my parents took pity, and agreed that I could bring the little furball home.

Napping in my office
Sandy was happy enough when I brought him home, and he got along great with Pepper, my dog. I let him stay overnight in the basement, and then because he was so determined to get back outside, I let him out. 

And he promptly vanished. 

For almost three days. 

I won't lie, I was devastated. I was terrified something had happened to him, or he'd run away, or something equally as horrifying. I looked for him every day, and left food out, hoping he would find his way back. 

And then, one night I went outside to check the bowl of food, and there was a bit less in it. I remarked that something had been there to eat, and I heard it. A faint little meow from the yard. I went running back outside and there was Sandy! He was sitting at the edge of the yard looking quite pitiful, but he came running as soon as he heard me. 

I kept him inside for a few days after that, until he got more adjusted in his new home. I still let him outside, of course, but I stayed with him each time and would bring him back in with me.

The good news is that he hasn't run away since then. There's been a few nights he's stayed out, but he's never been gone as long as he was that first time. 

But there's been an interesting development. Sandy has now decided that he prefers to stay INSIDE rather than out!
And rather than crying to get out...he now cries to get in. >.<
"Hooman pls."
Sandy typically comes inside at night to eat, and to lounge around in the basement, where his bed and all his toys are. That's likely part of the reason he doesn't want to go back outside, because the inside has all the good stuff, haha!
He's a big fan of cuddles. And selfies.
His favorite spot is on my lap. As soon as I sit down he plops himself down and purrs SO loudly. He's the most affectionate cat I've ever had!

And I've discovered he is a huge fan of catnip spray.
"Heyyyyyy hooman..."
As you can tell from the photos, Sandy has filled out considerably since September. He's even got a little tummy pooch going on now, but it's adorable.

He knows what time I get home from work, and he's usually waiting for me somewhere around the house when I pull in. Most of the time he'll come to greet me (and to try to sneak inside, too). 
He was on the roof of my car here, and stuck his head in my car when I opened the door.
So now you've all been "officially" introduced to Ser Sandy, the crazy little stray cat who showed up out of nowhere and somehow became a very special part of my life. 

I've already shared a few photos of him here prior to this post, but you can definitely expect more photos and stories of this little furball in the future.

I'll keep you posted on whether or not he ever learns to open doors. ;)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Review: Angel Glow Ring Hair Mask

I may have a new addiction. Korean beauty products. 
And how, you might ask yourself, does a gal in rural North Carolina end up addicted to such a random thing? 
I've recently gotten into watching a YouTube channel of a husband & wife who lived in Korea, and are now living in Japan. (Simon & Martina, if you're curious). She reviewed a few products by Etude House on their channel, and my interests were piqued. 

I wound up buying some Etude House products from Amazon, and fell in love. THEN, I discovered that Ulta stores carry the TonyMoly brand (although its crazy expensive there), and the addiction began.  Most (not all) of the products are way cheaper on Amazon, so I highly recommend buying them there if you can. However, some things aren't available, or the shipping takes forever. But if you can find one for a good price with decent shipping - win! 

On a recent shopping trip with my cousin, we visited an Ulta that had a great selection of TonyMoly products, and I couldn't resist buying a few that I hadn't seen before. The Angel Glow Ring Hair Mask was one of them. And at $4.75, it wasn't too expensive of a purchase. 

I gave it a whirl whilst snowed in last weekend, and thought I would share my thoughts on it here.
 So here we go! 

The packaging on all the Korean products I've bought so far are an added bonus - it's all just so cute!

There are two steps to using the mask. After shampooing your hair, you massage the 'hair treatment' (located in the smaller portion of the 'wing') onto your hair. Its a very thick conditioner with these weird random gold specks in it. I should have gotten a photo of it, but trying to get it out of the package and onto my hair...was a bit messy.  

I should probably mention - I cut the two sections of the package apart for easier use. It helped, but not much. 

The treatment cream smelled nice, but VERY strong and VERY perfume-y. That was a bit of a turn off, honestly. I expected it to have some scent, but it was extremely strong.  

The next step is to put your hair in the cap, which contains 'essence', and massage. It was pretty comical, trying to get all my newly treated strands INTO the cap, but I managed!

So super sexy.

Let me pause a moment to say this - this hair cap smelled kinda bad. I'm not sure if it was the essence or just the cap itself, but it had a weird smell. It smelled even worse when mixed with the perfume-y treatment cream. 

But I soldiered on! 

I massaged my scalp like the instructions said, and then left the cap on for about 20 minutes (the instructions said 15-20). Once the time was up, I rinsed my hair well (the treatment made some very interesting bubbles in the sink!). 

After combing through my hair again, I could already tell a difference. My hair felt smoother and softer, even when wet. There also seemed to be less frizz action. The smell lingered, much to my dismay.

I let my hair air dry for about an hour or so, and then used a blow dryer to finish it up. I could tell a huge difference in my hair then. It definitely felt softer, and there was a noticeable difference in the amount of frizz. My hair was also a bit less 'poofy' than it normally is after blow drying.

Yes, this is the less poofy look.
Finally, I used my flat iron, just like I would on a normal day. It took much less work to smooth out my hair, and actually, I probably could have either skipped the flat iron altogether, or just focused on the ends. But since I was snowed in anyway, that was neither here nor there.

However! My hair was super soft, even if it did sort of smell like a funeral home.
(Have I mentioned I didn't like the smell yet? XD)

It was so soft I couldn't stop touching it all day. 
And just so you're aware - the smell lasted all day too. 

I washed my hair as usual the next morning, and the mask seemed to have some lingering effects. My hair still felt softer and smoother, though much of the heaviness (and the smell!) had gone.

My final verdict? 
I liked the mask process (pampering yourself is fun!), and the effect it had on my hair (so soft!). I would do a few things differently, should I do it again, but overall I enjoyed it. But the scent was a massive turn off, and I don't think I would be willing to pay for this product again, knowing that the scent is so strong and stays all day. 
I would definitely be willing to try another TonyMoly hair product, however, based on the results of this one. 

Have you used this mask, or others like it? Leave me a comment describing your experience!
Also - did you enjoy this review? Would you like to see more? Let me know, and I'll write more reviews of my TonyMoly and Etude House products!

Thanks for reading!