To Sparkle Punch...

That is the question

High Five for Friday: July 29

JessComment

I feel like I've been sleep-walking through this week and have no idea how it's Friday, but I'll take it! Here's what put the sparkle into my week:

  • The ever-elusive Tuxedo Cat made an appearance last Friday! I first spotted him sprawled out on the sidewalk by his house, casually bathing himself with one white leg sticking up in the air (seriously), but as soon as I got closeish to him, this happened:
Master of disguise

Master of disguise

He went directly into hiding! What an adorable jerk! He's basically this guy IRL: 

I have no idea why he's holding a spoon??

I have no idea why he's holding a spoon??

  • On Saturday, I popped into Ulta and what song comes on but Whitney's version of "I'm Every Woman." I recognized it immediately and was like YASSSSS Ulta Dance Party! #ChakaKhan
  • Fun fact: I have a terrible sense of balance. So, of course, that's something we've been working on in physical therapy, and this week, I was actually able to do a full set of kicks (10 to the front, 10 to the side, and 10 to the back with each leg) in this contraption without stumbling!! Hooray! All excited about my accomplishment, I hopped on the leg press, and that felt damn near impossible! Afterward, my physical therapist casually said, "Oh, did you notice I bumped up the leg press for you?" Huh, I had no idea! haha At least I'm not getting weaker!

 

  • One of my July Goals was to get an EZ Pass for my car, and I did it! It arrived last week, and it is SO NICE to just breeze on down the highway without having to stop for a ticket or to pay the toll (which inevitably takes forever). I never ever thought I would see the highway as something that I could "breeze on down" all chill, but wonders never cease!  

 

  • So the DNC is here in Philly this week. (WHAT?! NO WAY.) I didn't check out the festivities in person because crowds  + traffic = HARD PASS. (Pops and his group did busk on Wednesday, though, and were apparently photographed by the New York Times!) I'm not into politics, but I do like the Obamas and was disappointed to miss Michelle's speech (and the Bachelorette *gasp*) on Monday because our power was out. UGH. Luckily, I read up on both on my phone and kept Pops informed of the latest developments:
Note my profession of love for the EZ Pass here too LOL.

Note my profession of love for the EZ Pass here too LOL.

I did get to see Obama's speech on Wednesday, and I really enjoyed it. While obviously relevant to the "big picture" of the election, his call to reject fear and cynicism resonated with me so much in my own struggle with anxiety and dysfunction. I was like, "FOUR FOR YOU, POTUS! YOU GO, POTUS!" And then seeing the first female presidential nominee in US history speak the next night? Damn.

 

Hey, it's the weekend! Hope it's a good one! xo

 

July 2016 Budget

JessComment

I felt like I spent a ton of money this month, but apparently, that's because I dropped like $70 on the Athleta semi-annual sale, and then didn't keep any of the items I ordered. #winning

I also bought a few things to replace products I had used up (such as Make Up Forever Sens'Eyes and DevaCurl One Condition), and I'm unsure how to count them in my shopping budget. The goal of my budget is to track and limit higher-end and frivolous purchases. So if I used drugstore make-up remover or conditioner, I wouldn't even think to count them against my budget. And as they are two unexciting necessities, I'm annoyed that I have to spend money on them at all. My thought process when I realized I had used up all my make-up remover was literally NOOOO UGH NOW I HAVE TO GO TO SEPHORA AND SPEND MONEY ON THIS STUPID CRAP, as opposed to being all giddy at the prospect of getting a new fun thing. Because I already know I like these products, the thrill is gone. That's great in terms of taking the emotion out of shopping, but it's problematic for my budgeting style, since "exciting" (and usually impulsive) buys are the ones I originally set out to track.

It also feels like a cop-out not to count higher-end beauty products, since I would definitely include them if they were impulse buys. Arg. Maybe I need to break my budget down into categories, like impulse buys vs replacement items, and then include all of them in my monthly spending total. Hmm. It's a work in progress, so if you guys have any tips for further budget breakdown, let a sister know!

It's probably a sign of growth that I'm even thinking this way and counting MORE things against my budget, as opposed to finding loopholes so as to squeak under budget with a ton of purchases. I would be under budget this month whether I counted the replacement items or not, so woo hoo!

Anyway, here's the fun, the frivolous, and the annoying things I got this month:

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  1. Aerie Real Soft Legging Tee (American Eagle): $25
  2. Gilligan & O'Malley Fluid Knit Pajama Legging (Target): $15

Replacement buys:

  1. DevaCurl One Condition (Ulta): $23
  2. Mini Make-Up Forever Sens'Eyes (Sephora): $12

Not pictured:

  1. Classic Cotton-Blend Legging (Forever 21): $4

Total: $79 (Not too shabby! Having a car payment definitely takes from my potential shopping money, and that's not a bad thing.)

 

I LOVE the Aerie top. (I mean, it's purple and long enough to wear with leggings, what's not to love? The tag on the inside even says, "Just add leggings." DON'T MIND IF I DO!) It's also super soft, just like the Gilligan & O'Malley leggings. I've worn them IRL and don't even care that they're really "pajamas" because they're so comfy and look as presentable as leggings can look. (And are perfect for physical therapy!) Speaking of comfy things, I was at American Eagle in the first place because I needed some new undies (TMI?), and their Seamless Boybriefs are super comfy and go great with leggings! (Someday, I'll wear real pants again... maybe...) If you're in the market for some new underpinnings, they might be worth checking out, I'm just sayin'... ;)

Linking up with Fran's Budgeting Bloggers! 

High Five for Friday: July 22

JessComment

TGIF! Let's see what put the sparkle into this uneventful week:

  • On Saturday, I went to Target for the first time in awhile and miraculously spent less than $50! Among my purchases were some cute things from the Dollar Spot and a few travel size items. (I'm always impressed with Target's travel size selection. I know that travel size things aren't very economical, but I like them because they're a low-commitment way to try out new beauty products!)
A mini micellar water?! What is this sorcery?! Also, I really like the Pond's moisturizer so far. It soaks right in and doesn't feel greasy, which is ideal in the summer humidity! 

A mini micellar water?! What is this sorcery?! Also, I really like the Pond's moisturizer so far. It soaks right in and doesn't feel greasy, which is ideal in the summer humidity! 

  • Another highlight of this lame week was cleaning my room, especially organizing my nail polish collection and weeding out a ton of polishes I don't like or use. (I swear this is more minimal than it used to be!) There's a box of pinks/purples/reds, a box of blues/greens/other colors, a box of textured glitter polishes, a Caboodle (!!) of Sally Hansen Triple Shines (they have my favorite brush and so are my go-to when I can't decide on a polish), and finally, a container of top coats and base coats. Whew!
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  • On Tuesday night, I had the house to myself, and all I wanted to do was eat ice cream and watch a show with pretty boys. (That was seriously my thought process.) Hellooooo Supernatural!
She's got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends...

She's got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends...

OBSESSED with this flavor (and these single-serve cups!) lately. 

OBSESSED with this flavor (and these single-serve cups!) lately. 

  • Remember our pinky-purple hydrangea? Well, part of it is still lavender, but the other side is now BLUE! Like, what the what?! FLOWER MAGIC. 
Jess and the Amazing Technicolor Hydrangea!

Jess and the Amazing Technicolor Hydrangea!

  • And finally, a moment from Grey's season 10 that made me legit LOL:
NICE ONE. Although I guess McDreamy does need to be a sharp-dressed man since Obama is courting him for his brain-mapping initiative!

NICE ONE. Although I guess McDreamy does need to be a sharp-dressed man since Obama is courting him for his brain-mapping initiative!

Have a fantastic weekend! xo

What's in my bag?

JessComment

I don't think I've written one of these before, which is shocking because I love What's in My Bag posts! (I'm so nosy!)

More specifically, this will be What's in My Current Work Bag, the Kipling "Sansa" (eee like Sansa Stark!). I've had this bag for awhile, but I only recently started using it again, as having a car (aka a place to leave stuff and hide from the elements) has allowed me to downsize from my (massive) Longchamp Le Pliage Neo. The Sansa is nylon, light-weight, has lots of pockets, and comes with a crossbody strap that I detached.

So, with no further adieu...

Ta-dahhhh!

Ta-dahhhh!

Here's the main interior pocket (complete with awesome hot pink lining!). It's not a huge bag, but you can still fit a lot in it.

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Here's the essentials that I keep in the front zip pocket:

*Extra long iPhone cable and plug *Mongo Kiss Lip Balm in Peppermint *L'Oreal Colour Riche Lip Gloss in Rich Pink *Advil (natch)

*Extra long iPhone cable and plug

*Mongo Kiss Lip Balm in Peppermint

*L'Oreal Colour Riche Lip Gloss in Rich Pink

*Advil (natch)

There's also a slip pocket right behind the front zip pocket, and that's where I usually toss my phone and keys, even though there's a very convenient key clip holder thingy in the main compartment. (There's another slip pocket on the back of the bag that I always forget about and thus don't keep anything in!)

How pretty is my phone case?! (It's from Paper Source and under $30 which is basically inconceivable!)

How pretty is my phone case?! (It's from Paper Source and under $30 which is basically inconceivable!)

The two side pockets in the main compartment are where I keep my beloved Skullcandy ear buds (which I've raved about before), and a million pens that I clearly need to have with me at all times. (Can you see why the large Longchamp Le Pliage was once necessary? Ha)

I wonder what my favorite colors are... ;)

I wonder what my favorite colors are... ;)

And then these are the things I keep in the main compartment. I usually have a plastic bag or two with me in case, you know, I have a few extra things to carry... or I get sick in a public place... (It's been a year+ and I'm still not over it!) ~insert see no evil monkey emoji here~

*Vapur Shades Water Bottle *Leuchtturm1917 Medium Hardcover Dots Journal (aka my planner) *Paper Source Mint Foil Confetti Journal (which is apparently sold out, but is still available as a planner) *Wallet *Weekly pill organizer (which all of the day labels have conveniently rubbed off of!)

*Vapur Shades Water Bottle

*Leuchtturm1917 Medium Hardcover Dots Journal (aka my planner)

*Paper Source Mint Foil Confetti Journal (which is apparently sold out, but is still available as a planner)

*Wallet

*Weekly pill organizer (which all of the day labels have conveniently rubbed off of!)

So that's the stuff I carry around on a daily basis! What are the things you guys can't live without? What is your go-to purse? I'm nosy, remember? ;)

High Five for Friday: July 15

JessComment

I actually had a pretty exciting week, for a change! (And I didn't even play Pokémon Go!) Let's see what put the sparkle into it:

  • Who needs Pokémon when you've got real cat sightings to freak out about! Calico Pinky tends to keep a low profile, so I legit started squealing incoherently in my car when I spotted her on Friday night! She's just so flippin' adorable.
Casual Friday. But seriously, how pretty is this darn cat?!

Casual Friday. But seriously, how pretty is this darn cat?!

  • On Tuesday night, I went to the Paul McCartney concert in Philly!! I can hardly believe I've seen a Beatle twice now! This time, I got to see him with my college roommate, Paulina! (Anything Beatles-related was in heavy rotation in college... so much so that Paulina and I were basically the only two people PSYCHED that Paul did "Temporary Secretary" on Tuesday haha!) The show was absolutely amazing. I have a hard time being present, but there were times at the concert when I was totally swept up in the music. 
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I'm not a huge fan of "Live and Let Die," but it's really fantastic live. 

I'm not a huge fan of "Live and Let Die," but it's really fantastic live. 

  • Being reunited with Paulina was a great treat! I tend to do things by myself because being around other people can stress me out, but spending time with Paulina reminded me how fun company can be. In addition to Macca Night, we also watched a lot of HIMYM and saw Pops and his band play in South Philly!
We were often mistaken for each other in college, so of course my neighbor promptly thought Paulina was me!

We were often mistaken for each other in college, so of course my neighbor promptly thought Paulina was me!

  • Real talk: 95% of my Instagram feed is cats and bunnies. So a bunny + ANTM reference is just perfection. #Smize #WeWereAllRootingForYou
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  • And finally, To Sparkle Punch turned 2 this past Wednesday! I'm so glad I've stuck with this blog--it's a great creative outlet, and it's brought me some delightful friends (like Mattie, Nicole, Ashley, KatieTif, and Mica, just to name a few!)! Thank you to anyone who has stopped by over the past two years! You've all added some sparkle to my life! :)

Happy Friday erreybody!! xo

High Five for Friday: July 8

JessComment

Thank you, four day week, for getting Friday here so quickly! :) Here's what put the sparkle into my week:

  • I had no plans to do anything especially "Fourth of July"-like, but Pops and I did happen to stumble upon a great vantage point for fireworks in the Giant parking lot on Sunday night!
Stay classy.

Stay classy.

  • Over the weekend, I found out that neighborhood celebrity Ike has a new home! We hadn't seen him in awhile and had begun to fear the worst, but it turns out that a new family had taken him in and moved him around the corner! (I picture him packing up his bowls and heading for greener pastures!) Well, once I knew where to look, I had no problem finding him again! He came right over to me AND let me pet him for awhile! He must really be losing it! 
I'm a model, you know what I mean...

I'm a model, you know what I mean...

  • I've been working on my July goal of reading and even took it outside over the weekend! I'm now like 100 pages into GoT book one and am very impressed with myself! :)
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  • Does anyone else remember the Looney Tunes cartoon "The Three Little Bops," starring the Three Little Pigs as a swinging jazz trio and the Big Bad Wolf as a lame trumpeter that wants to sit in? It's so clever, and way more hilarious now than when I was a kid! Pops is a musician, so he especially loves it! 
  • I had to do some new exercises in physical therapy this week, including using a leg press! Eek! When I first saw the machine, I was like, "Uh yeah, that ain't gonna happen!" but I was able to do twenty leg presses! I felt so strong and bad-ass! Actually, doing the leg presses turned out to be easier than doing kicks in this contraption! 
HALP.

HALP.

Here's to a good weekend! xo

July goals

JessComment
Not only is our hydrangea alive, it is also ridiculously gorgeous these days!

Not only is our hydrangea alive, it is also ridiculously gorgeous these days!

I haven't done a Goals post since April. B and I broke up at the end of April, and the thought of coming up with goals for May (let alone actually doing them) made me want to stick a fork in my eye (or something thereabouts). So it's for the best that my only "goal" for May and June was "self care" haha! But lately, I've been feeling a bit aimless, which makes me think I'm recovering from the break-up and ready to take on a few small goals this month!

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1. I keep meaning to look into getting an EZ Pass, since the Turnpike is the quickest way to get to work, and I take it almost every day now that I'm driving.

2. Get back to reading--largely a provision to keep me from spending half of my Saturday watching Grey's on Netflix (and then staying up too late watching Grey's before bed during the week. I'm up to season 10, you guys! It's officially a problem.). 

3. Having to get up at 6 AM and take four modes of Septa gave my mornings (and nights, since I had to get up so early) a lot of structure, and I generally do well with structure. But having a car (and a super-flexible job) means that I can now get up and go to work whenever I want--so my old morning and night routines have gone out the window. Time to create some new routines! (Hence goal #2, to avoid staying up too late watching Grey's!)

What are you guys working on this month?

Linking up with Nicole at Writes like a Girl!

 

High Five for Friday: July 1

JessComment

I spent most of Thursday thinking it was Friday, so it must actually be Friday if this post is now live, haha! Here's what put the sparkle into my (apparently confusing) week:

 

  • On Saturday, I drove to Reading for the first time, my longest drive ever! (Ok, it's only a little over an hour, so it's not that much longer than my drive to work BUT it's on mostly unfamiliar highways/roads so I had to rely a lot on Google Maps. Eep!) I planned to take a route that avoided toll roads (getting in those cattle shoots kind of stresses me out), but I must have hit the wrong option in Google Maps, as it directed me onto toll roads... and everything was totally fine. I guess I'm getting better at handling whatever driving throws at me! *confetti horn emoji*

 

  • On Sunday, I got to see my dear gal pal Timmi, which was delightful as always! Even though there was a pretense of "making flower crowns" at her little gathering, she took the liberty of making them for us! What a champ. Getting to be a pretty princess with zero effort on my part is truly living the dream! :)
Snapchat filter IRL.

Snapchat filter IRL.

I want that boo to be me, I want me to be that boo...

I want that boo to be me, I want me to be that boo...

  • I also made a new friend at Timmi's! Her pup Biene just burrowed in my lap and thawed my icy, cat-loving heart a bit. She's pretty adorable! (As long as she's not climbing over me and giving my internal organs an unwelcome massage, that is!)
Such a precious pupcake.

Such a precious pupcake.

  • I don't even know what to say about the GoT finale, other than "that shit is bananas B-A-N-A-N-A-S." I actually watched it on Sunday with Timmi and her fam, and then rewatched it on Tuesday with Pops, who legit freaked out when I told him he'd have to wait until April 2017 for the next season, haha! ("But you have five other seasons to catch up on in the meantime!" "Oh... yeah...") In total nerd news, I a.) actually made Pops a chart showing the relationships of all the people who would be in the finale and b.) finally bought the first book! (I had gotten like 300 pages in before returning it to B.) NERD ALERT!
Sam is a square like me... no wonder I love him!

Sam is a square like me... no wonder I love him!

  • Speaking of huge TV moments this week, The Bachelorette. OMG. First of all, Wells was by far my favorite prospective Future Mr. JoJo, thanks to him being brunette and vaguely dorky and looking like he's at least ten years younger than he is. I was bummed he was eliminated this week, but we all saw it coming--Wells isn't enough of a bro to win JoJo's heart. He's too good for this world!
Like, come on. <3

Like, come on. <3

Luckily, I was able to console myself with the second half of the episode, which gave us all the treat of a lifetime. As soon as I recognized "Don't Cry for Me Argentina," I started hyperventilating, shrieking, and laughing all at once. So yes, this montage made me lose all control of my faculties, in the best possible way (if there IS a best possible way for one to lose control of one's faculties).

I can't believe it's the 4th of July already! Hope you all have a lovely holiday weekend! xo

June 2016 budget

JessComment

Remember how I was cutting back on shopping in order to save for a big purchase? Well, shortly after my last budget post, it finally happened: I bought a car! And although having monthly car and insurance payments for the first time in my life has me more stressed about budgeting than ever, I actually bought more in June than I did in February through May. Whoops! I blame the newfound ability to go places. ;) At least my clothing/shoe purchases were limited, thanks to physical therapy! (My wardrobe choices these days are largely dictated by "ease of movement while riding a recumbent bicycle"--hence picking up the Target shirt below to wear with leggings!) But of course that didn't stop me from buying other things, so here's what I got this month:

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  1. Pur Cosmetics Correcting Primer Redness Reducer (Ulta): $33
  2. Hobo Briar Crossbody Bag (Nordstrom Rack): $228 on sale for $110 - 25% off for Clear the Rack = $82
  3. Portico Petite Convertible Necklace (Chloe + Isabel): $48 - party-hosting credit = $0
  4. Faux Stone Tassel Necklace (Forever 21): $6
  5. Mossimo Supply Co. Drapey Knit Sharkbite Tee (Target): $15
  6. Pave Curved Bar Necklace (Chloe + Isabel): $42 - party-hosting credit = $0

TOTAL: $136

It was totally love at first sight with the Hobo bag, and then I spent a week agonizing over whether or not to keep it. $82 is a lot to spend on just one thing!! But I had been looking for a roomy but smallish crossbody bag with a front flap for MONTHS, and this one is perfect.  Plus, it's real leather, so it should hold up well, AND it has a cell phone pocket in the back. For someone who wears leggings as pants way too often and thus doesn't always have access to pockets--GAME CHANGER.

I also went a little necklace-crazy this month! I'm intrigued by every blogger's pretty Kendra Scott necklaces, but I am not ready to spend that much on a long necklace. (I have a few long necklaces and definitely wear them less than others.) But a dupe for $6? SOLD! And I had never spent the $100 C+I credit I earned last fall because I could never commit to anything until now! (So.many.items have been in and out of my shopping cart in the past eight months!) I love the two dainty yet architectural pieces that I got, especially the Pave Gold Bar Necklace--it's like a more understated version of the C+I Geovista Collar (which I also love).

With makeup, I'm always looking to cover up my natural blotchiness, so we'll see how this green primer from Pur works out. I'm not sure that it does a whole lot, but it feels really nice and satiny when applied, and according to the lady at Ulta, it should improve my redness over time. Here's hoping!

Linking up with Fran's Budgeting Bloggers!