Monday Morning Ramblings

I know it isn’t a link-up, but I’m borrowing from Jen over at Ramblings of a Suburban Mom.

As is evident from my disappearance, things have been crazy at work with the departure of the girl under me… simultaneously with my direct report going on maternity leave. This last couple weeks have just been exhausting (for lack of better terms). I’m finally getting caught up.

It’s amazing how much I miss writing as well as reading other people’s blogs. On that note, my favorite three: Ramblings of a Suburban Mom, Subscription Maven and MommySplurge.

JewelMint Untamed Earrings Chain of Honor Necklace

JewelMint makes me happy. I have so many reviews I’m sitting on and can’t wait to share all the goodies I’ve bought from them. Great stuff! I’m realizing how much more polished and professional I look with some sort of makeup (even as basic as mascara, concealer and blush) and nice earrings. On that note, the above photo isn’t necessarily representative of a professional look as much as edgy. Heh. Also, in my defense, the above photo has no makeup other than a swipe of green eyeshadow. In the picture are JM Untamed Earrings and JM Chain of Honor. Both of which came from a JewelMint Mystery Box (I received FIVE pieces in my JewelMint Birthday Mystery Box).

Thanksgiving is around the corner! As a kid, it was my favorite because it was essentially the only holiday we celebrated in some sort of capacity. There was no activities or festivities, but a great family meal.

Candy corn M&M’s are not a good choice.

Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe Joe's

Candy Cane Joe Joe’s from Trader Joe’s on the other hand are a great choice.

November 2013 Birchbox Eyeko Black Magic Mascara Drama & Curl

The November Birchbox nailed it with Eyeko Midnight Black Magic Mascara. Hands down, best mascara I have used, even moreso than my beloved Benefit BADgal Lash Mascara.

Okay, I better get back to work… despite being four hours early this morning! 😉

 

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own and not sponsored in any way.

Fantasy Friday + Code

Generally, on Fantasy Fridays, I list my fantasies of things I want and desire. Sometimes it reads a little like a to-do list; other times it is just things I want to buy or experience.

-For my professional life to simmer down a little. My partner at work goes on maternity leave in a week and a half… and the person below me just put in her notice. My three person team is now solely moi. We are launching a search right away for another person below me, but that takes time away from my actual responsibilities. Not to mention that I can’t feasibly do the job of three people PLUS train someone else. The sheer workload is staggering.

Ambitious in LA JewelMint Shore Thing Necklace

JewelMint Shore Thing Necklace. I know, it’s a touch over the top… but soooo pretty. I have spent too much money this month, but may pick it up next month. I love the length and think it would be great with any little black dress.

-Get caught up on all my favorite blogs. No kidding, I haven’t read a SINGLE blog all work week. Work, eat, sleep. Repeat.

-Survive the weekend. The bar I work at on the side is closing this weekend, which equates to all hands on deck. After getting through my normal 12 hour commute/workday, I’m heading into the bar for roughly another 6 hours. Then my typical Saturday night shift (our last night of true business) from 5pm-3am. Then our closing party that is technically 12pm-8pm, but I’m going to be there before and after cleaning up. I may drop dead.

 Ambitious in LA Easy Halloween Manicure

-Hoping my nails hold up this weekend. (And, yes, that would be more JewelMint jewelry. I may be addicted. They have the prettiest stuff and the best surprise candles!)

-Take Monday off. Well, technically, I already am. But, there is a sneaking suspicion I might still end up coming in to work.

 Ambitious in LA Diamond Candles Candy Corn Ring Candle

-Speaking of candles, I couldn’t resist purchasing one of the Diamond Candles Candy Corn Ring Candle. They are sale right now and I ADORE candy corn. It was meant to be. Hopefully, it arrives in time for Halloween! If you use my link, you’ll get an additional 20% off the candle PLUS the sale price, which brings it down to $12.

 

What are you fantasizing about on this lovely Friday?

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, but all my opinions are my own.

Graze Box Review October 2013 + Invitation Code

Graze Nibble Box Review October 2013

 

Graze is a snack subscription box that has recently expanded to the United States and is only $5/order. I was very impressed with my last order and was excited to see this shipment arrive. For your first Graze Box free (and fifth now too!), I have a limited number of Graze Box invitation codes. Please leave a comment below with your email and I will reach out (or of course, you can email me directly).

Graze Box is offered in two varieties: NibbleBox and LightBox. NibbleBox (this review) offers you the full selection of their 90+ snack choices, while LightBox has 50 snack selections under 150 calories. Also, they have two delivery options of either once a month or once every two weeks. I won’t lie… I went for every two weeks. Having (reasonably ) healthy Graze Box snacks stocked in my office prevents me from running to the liquor store for a much more caloric snack.

October 2013 Graze Nibble Box Review

 

I’m a big fan of the packaging and branding.

Graze Box Review October 2013

As promised last month, I took photos of the individual Graze snacks. I’ve listed them below along with the correlating rating I gave them on the site. On that note, Graze Box has to have one of the must user friendly websites.

Graze Box October Review Bonnie Wee Oatbakes

Graze Bonnie Wee Oatbakes – Wholegrain oatbakes with caramelized onion marmalade. The oatbakes have a great hearty flavor to them, while the onion marmalade grew on me. Like.

October Graze Box Scrumptious Blueberry Swirl Review

 

Graze Scrumptious Blueberry Swirl – blueberry yogurt raisins, raspberry cranberries and blackcurrants. Great blend of dried fruit with blueberry yogurt raisins. Like.

Graze Nibble Box October Fruit and Seed Flapjack Review

 

Graze Box October Fruit and Seed Flapjack Review

Graze Fruit and Seed Flapjack – rustic rolled oat flapjack with mixed seeds and dried fruits. These were B’s favorites and while tasty, a bit dense for a snack. You can easily break them up into three servings. Try.

Graze Box October Banana Fosters Review

 

Graze Bananas Foster – banana, fudge, honey almond slivers and pumpkin seeds. Not a hit. A little too sweet and too dry/chewy. Trash.

Adore: Love the variety and while you don’t get to pick which ones you get every order, you can rank them on what you would like to see more or less of. It keeps the surprise element in tact while giving the customer some control. Great user friendly website. Delicious snacks that vary between sweet and savory. Reasonable prices.

Dislike: Nothing. Well, the fudge pieces in the Bananas Foster were just not good.

As mentioned above, for your first Graze Box free (and fifth now too!), I have a limited number of Graze Box invitation codes. Please leave a comment below with your email and I will reach out. Thanks!

 

Disclaimer: No affiliate links are used in this post. All opinions are my own and this box was purchased by moi.

October 2013 Birchbox Review

Ambitious in LA October Birchbox Review

 

The October Birchbox was another success this month. The skinny: They are $10/month, and a little less if you opt for a full year. There are no Birchbox promo codes for the Birchbox subscription box that I can find (there are some for purchases from the shop, including if you download the Birchbox app you get a code “Mobile20” this is good for 20% purchases of $50 or more in the shop).

It took five days for Birchbox to ship again and it arrived a day earlier than anticipated (like the previous months). Birchbox ships internationally to Spain, UK and France.

Ambitious in LA Birchbox October Review Open

I received Box #40 this month. For a great explanation on how to find out what numbered box you have (and to see all the other varieties that went out to other people), Jen at Ramblings of a Suburban Mom broke it down in her August Birchbox Review.

Ambitious in LA October Birchbox Review Information Card

 

The theme for the October Birchbox is “Beauty Buzz” and pays homage to the award winning, cult favorites, celebrity endorsed, and just all around favorite products.

Ambitious in LA Birchbox October Review Products

Every Birchbox has a card that outlines what is in the box along with the full size price.

In the box:

October Birchbox Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish

1. Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser + 2 Muslin Cloths  ($12.50 value) – The packaging on this is just beautiful. Who doesn’t love anything that comes in a box resembling Tiffany? I’m already happy with my Clarisonic brush and will skip the muslin cloths, but the cleanser will get put to use. Well, that’s if I don’t gift this. So pretty!

October Birchbox Review Pop Beauty Aqua Lacquer

2. Joie Folle de Joie eau de parfum ($1.75 value) – Nice floral, light, feminine scent. Not too floral either (which can remind me of 409).

3. POP Beauty Aqua Lacquer in Flowering Fuchsia ($14 value – FULL SIZE!) – A full size product is always appreciated. The applicator through me for a loop as it is actually a soft paddle. The jury is out on whether I’m a fan of this or not– it’s a bit tacky for my taste.

Birchbox October Review Miss Jessie's Original Conditioner

4. Miss Jessie’s Original Creme de la Creme Conditioner ($2.50 value) – We know how I feel about hair products. Alas, the epically long hair I’ve been rocking is in need of a hydrating treatment and this sample will get put to good use.

Birchbox October Chapstick Hydration Lock Birchbox Find

5. Chapstick Hydration Lock  ($3 value – FULL SIZE) – This is a Birchbox Find item aka a freebie bonus. It got immediately thrown in my purse to go to the office. It’s super hydrating despite the weird flavor/scent.

Total value: $33.75

Adore: The value of this box was killer. All of the items will either get put to use or get gifted. Also, two full size products this month!

Dislike: As mentioned last week, I wish Birchbox had a way to opt out of hair items.

I was super impressed with the box this month… even moreso than their anniversary box last month!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. The box was purchased by myself and all opinions are my own.

Thursday Thoughts

Thursday ThoughtsLinking up with Jennifer over at Ramblings of a Suburban Mom.

Ambitious in LA Cat With Hair Tie

Ambitious in LA Gingerbread Man

Gingerbread is a hair tie fiend. Seriously, they all disappear. I’ve seen him digging into my purse to grab one before. The above are photos of him kicking it at the foot of the bed just gleefully playing with a hair tie.

There were soooo many boxes waiting for me when I got home yesterday. I feel like I super scored with this month’s Ipsy and Birchbox!!! I am looking forward to my JewelMint Birthday Mystery Box that should arrive tomorrow. *squeal* There is something so exciting about getting stuff in the mail. Growing up a Jehovah’s Witness, I didn’t celebrate holidays… so I get overexcited about getting any sort of present-like item in the mail.

A very well known comedian is going to be here at my company’s office in our test kitchen all day tomorrow. I can’t really give details. But, erm, it’s for something that will be eventually aired. Have I mentioned how much I love my job? It sounds like I may get to critique the comedian’s food.

 Artisanal LA Gindo's Spice of Life

Usually, hot sauce isn’t one of my favorite accoutrements, but I picked up some Gindo’s Spice of Life Fresh and Spicy Pepper Sauce (the special island one that you can’t find online) at Artisanal LA… and it has been going on top of EVERYTHING. Chicken… hot sauce! Roasted veggies… hot sauce! Chips… hot sauce! There’s a strong chance I’ll be picking up the rest of the line. I really want the original Gindo’s Fresh and Spicy Pepper Sauce & Jalapeno Poblano Pepper Sauce. It’s really popular with a number of acclaimed Chefs here in Los Angeles. Early Christmas gift to myself? (This is not product placement of any sort. I’m just hooked!)

 Ambitious in LA Breaking Bad Brew Beer

A friend brews his own beer. For all you Breaking Bad fans, this photo is for you.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

SO WHAT! Wednesday

So What Wednesdays

This week I am saying So What If…

I keep missing the cut off to order from Blue Apron (Wednesdays). I’m on it today!!!

Doing two events back to back over the weekend + bartending thoroughly exhausted me. I’m only young once and should do as much as I can before I start having kids. The amount of photos from Artisanal LA and BeWell expo are overwhelming, along with all the materials.

I may or may not have baby fever. Seriously, if I was in a time and place to be able to have children tomorrow, I would. Facebook is the bane of my baby fever as I can’t help but continually look at my friend’s adorable children. It must sound crazy to want children so badly when I can physically have them, but am just waiting for the right time.

Christmas is coming up and I don’t know what to buy B or my male friends. I really don’t want to buy all of them shaving type kits again. Whiskey stones seem good for my male friends, but B has specifically said before that he doesn’t understand the point of whiskey stones as actually likes having an ice cube to temper off the strength of the whiskey. Help?

My car is a royal mess. Driving 3-4 hours a day will cause that.

JewelMint has not gotten back to me on the email I sent them last week regarding how to properly clean off the wax on the leather wrap bracelet I got in my JewelMint Surprise Candle. I still ordered another Surprise Candle (Apple Harvest) and that arrived yesterday, but missing the free weekend gift (a wallet). Looks like I’ll be giving them a call today.

What are you saying SO WHAT to this week?

 

Disclaimer: This post has an affiliate link. All opinions are my own.

Musings on Blog Content

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the direction I want the blog to go. Granted, this blog is all baby fresh new, and, I had a feeling I would find my way once I started writing.

Going forward, I plan to focus a lot more on:

Los Angeles Based Companies -This city is wonderful and we have a lot of very unique companies based here. The artisan movement is booming in LA and being at Artisanal LA yesterday really inspired me to start focusing a lot more on highlighting the great products you can get here. You have to be seriously ambitious to start your own business and I admire the people that do so!

Living and Surviving in Los Angeles– To live in a big city takes a lot more time and planning than most realize. With all the interviewing in my day job, I often come across people moving to Los Angeles or have just done so and are adjusting to the culture shock. We don’t have the best transit system, so you better plan on driving a ton. Not to mention the cost of living is significantly higher, whether it be rent, buying groceries or gas. Budgeting is a way of life for me and to survive in this city you have to. Essentially, city-living in general. You have to have some drive to make it in this city… or even just live here.

Ambitious in LA Subscription Box Services

Subscription Boxes / Subscription Services – Looping in with the above, subscription services are just about the greatest thing ever for a young professional like myself. I don’t have the time to go shopping nor do I want to deal with weekend crowds. Have you seen Trader Joe’s on a Sunday? Let alone a Target. Egads. I dread the days I have to run errands. Let alone, trek out to a shop I have never been to for a specialty item. I rather use subscription boxes to try out and find products I can order online. That’s actually a photo B just sent me of all the boxes I received today (and that isn’t counting the Birchbox I had sent to the office!).

Enjoying Los Angeles – Living here may be tough, but we also have a wealth of wonderful resources at our finger tips. Amazing restaurants, fantastic spas, and fun events. I absolutely want to do some more coverage on local spas/salons and the events I go to. Because I work in the restaurant industry, I’m liking going to avoid covering too much of that stuff, unless it is an event (because who doesn’t love a big party where you eat and drink?).

To my lovely few readers, I certainly welcome your feedback via comments or email! Also, shout out to whomever is the regular reader from France. It makes my day to see foreign countries pop up in StatCounter.

Artisanal LA & BeWell Expo – Sneak Peaks!

This past weekend was a complete whirl wind between the BeWell Expo 2013 and Artisanal LA Fall 2013 . I wish they hadn’t fallen on the same weekend, because you really need a full two days to explore Artisanal LA. It was such a great weekend and I had so much fun at both. I plan on doing dedicated full posts (with tons of photos) for each, but here’s a sneak peak below:

BeWell Expo 2013

 BeWell Expo 2013 Chrome Girl Nail Polish

Chrome Girl is a nail polish line based out of here in Los Angeles. They are 5 Free and have some great colors.

 BeWell Expo 2013 Feeling Smitten Bath Bakery

Feeling Smitten Bath Bakery had one of the best displays at the BeWell Expo. All of their products were just adorable and perfect for presents. I’m seriously regretting not having picked up some items.

 BeWell Expo 2013 Mindful Minerals

Mindful Minerals had one of the silkiest moisturizers and gave me a sample to take home. Yay!

 

Artisanal LA Fall Show 2013

 Artisanal LA Fall 2013 Bon Puf Cotton Candy

How cute are the colors on this Bon Puf booth? They are a mobile cotton candy cart.

 Artisanal LA Fall 2013 Plush Puffs

The above is an action shot of toasting a Gingerbread Plush Puffs Gourmet Marshmallow.

 Artisanal LA Fall 2013 Spicy Manda Roll

I was mesmerized by the origami balloon lights and particularly this tree of lights by Spicy Manda Roll. I really want one…

 

Keep an eye out for future longer posts on both Artisanal LA and BeWell Expo.

 

Disclaimer: No affiliate links nor compensation for this post. Ticket to Artisanal LA was purchased. BeWell Expo was kind enough to provide a press pass. All opinions are my own.

September 2013 Taste Guru Box Review + Code

Taste Guru Box September 2013

The Taste Guru Box is a  new gluten-free subscription box that will no doubt be a pleaser with the gluten-free Los Angeles crowd. They are $37/month, but you can generally find promo codes for Taste Guru and they run deals as well. Currently, you get two Taste Guru Boxes for $24 with the promo code: 2FREE. I was able to get my September Taste Guru Box for $12 off on LivingSocial.

Normally, I do the whole run down on how long it took to get a box, but I feel it was a little different going through LivingSocial and don’t want to misrepresent Taste Guru shipping times.

As you can see from the photo above, it comes in a fantastic sturdy box that my cats adored.

Taste Guru Box September 2013 Review

September 2013 Taste Guru Box

Open box sneak peak. Minimal packaging.

September Taste Guru Box Toufayan Gluten Free Wraps

Toufayan Gluten-Free Wraps ($3.30 value) – I couldn’t actually find the price of these anywhere, but saw it on another reputable blogger’s site… so, erm, yeah, we’ll go with that. This is one of the few items in the box I haven’t gotten to try yet.

Taste Guru Box  Sea Fare Pacific Chowder

SeaFare Pacific Smoked Salmon Chowder ($7 value)- Part of what took me so long to write this review is that I really wanted to try some of these items. This chowder was consumed at lunch today and had a great flavor. Super creamy chowders aren’t my favorite and this had more of a broth, so it was right up my alley.

Taste Guru Box Review Glutino Bars

Glutino Breakfast Bars in Strawberry ($4.80 value) – Not a favorite. I’m not sure what I’ll even do with the rest of the box.

Taste Guru Box September CookSimple Tamale Pie

CookSimple Tamale Pie ($5.60 value) – This was by far the best item out of the box. It was very easy to make with simple instructions on the back. It turned out really tasty and was great as leftovers too. I plan on making tamale pies more of a staple in my household after this.

Taste Guru Box September Rocky Mountain Popcorn

Rocky Mountain Popcorn Company – Butter ($1.25 value) – This disappeared pretty quickly during an episode of Walking Dead. Popped corn isn’t something I would think to normally eat… but man, I devoured this.

Taste Guru Box September Viviana Fettuccine

Vivianna Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Fettuccine ($7 value) – B is pretty excited about this. I’m thinking to serve it with chicken and vegetables? Maybe a light pesto on it. Does pesto go with sweet potato?

TasteGuru Box Card and Recipes

There were also some odds and ends like recipes, a gluten free explanation card in English and French. A business card. A Gluten Free Living Magazine subscription card (not free or included with this box).

Total value: Just shy of $29.

Adore: For someone who is gluten-free and looking to try new products, I’m sure this box would be a win. The value considering I paid less than half is fantastic. Also, it was fun to try things I would have never bought on my own. It also forces me to cook rather than eat out (always a win). Taste Guru would also make a great gluten-free gift for someone in your life with those dietary needs!

Dislike: Those bars. Egads. Otherwise, nothing else!

 

Disclaimer: No affiliate links are used in this post. All opinions are my own and this box was purchased by moi.

Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts

Linking up with Jennifer over at Ramblings of a Suburban Mom.

–          Traffic hasn’t been a topic much lately as it is has actually been surprisingly hit or miss, rather than just horrendous  all the time. Consider me grateful.

Ambitious in LA Tuesday Traffic Los Angeles

–          Speaking of traffic, I love looking at license plates and noting the out-of-staters or vanity plates. Today, I saw “SAZERAC” again (seen the same car at least twice on the commute before) and there was one other unique one that I’m forgetting. Curses. I did black out the plates because I do feel sensitive to people’s anonymity.

Ambitious in LA Marukai Chirashi Bowl

–          One of my coworkers brought to my attention there is a Marukai Japanese Market less than half a mile from work. Walking distance! (Okay, I’m not going to walk in my heels.) Please note the amazing chirashi bowl above. It did originally contain tamago (egg) but my revulsion to egg is enough that I tossed it immediately before realizing the photo should have been taken before. This Japenese market has EVERYTHING! It’s amazing. I’m in wonderland. The above chirashi bowl included clockwise from bottom left unagi (eel), tuna, salmon, unknown fish, ebi (shrimp), scallop (yum!), more tuna, more salmon, spicy tuna, crab and in the middle is salmon roe.

–          Only in Los Angeles will rain last exactly one day. Hopefully, more will be coming soon.

–          Lots of boxes are expected in the next week: JewelMint, Ipsy, Birchbox, Out of the Box Sampler Box, Graze Box. Possibly my Bulu Box replacement? I think Goodies too.

–          There’s going to likely be a lengthy Volupties post coming up soon; I just have to say how impressed I am with them as a company and their customer service. Not to mention, there’s a special place in my heart for companies catering to plus-size women.

Ambitious in LA Iced Coffee with Soy Milk

–          Officially, my mild lactose intolerance is seriously full-blown. Sad face. I can’t even use cream in my coffee anymore! Iced coffee with soy milk for Ally.

 

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own, of course!