more february photos

just wanted to share my latest photos from the february photo-a-day challenge:

i also wanted to share a few photos from the past few weeks: a birthday celebration, a very fun wine tasting in the city, and my first bulls game since michael jordan was on the team ;) (also my first time at the united center):

hope you all are having a great start to your week! 'til next time...

my february birchbox

i finally received my second birchbox in the mail last week. this is what was inside:

1. beauty blender - i've been wanting to try out a blender like this for a while, so i was excited to see it in the birchbox. i haven't tried it yet, but i think it'll work great for applying cream blush.

2. orofluido elixir - this hair oil smells great. i'm a big fan of hair oils. my hair is getting pretty long now and this stuff keeps my ends moisturized between trims. it's also great to use before drying my hair, it adds a layer of protection from the heat.

3. jouer luminizing moisture tint - i like tinted moisturizers, especially in the summer when i need to speed up my makeup routine and get out of the hot apartment. i was a little disappointed in the size of this sample, it's so tiny! oh well, hopefully i can squeeze a week's worth out of it :/

4. voilent lips temporary lip tattoos - really? when am i ever going to use these? a little disappointed in this selection too. i guess i'll save them for halloween :/

5. heart shaped nail file - as an extra, it's not too bad. i think i'll keep it in my purse, i've found the need to have one at work but i always forget to bring one from home.

6. eye rock designer liner - i did not receive this in my birchbox, but my coworker did in hers, and she graciously gave it to me (she had no use for them). again, not something i would usually wear, but maybe for a big night out, or for my trip to vegas in may... anything goes in vegas ;)

overall i was underwhelmed with this month's selection, so i'm hoping the march birchbox is stellar :)

i also wanted to share a few new beauty products that i'm currently obsessed with right now:

1. carol's daughter tui leave-in conditioner - since my hair length is almost to my elbows (crazy!), i NEED to use a leave-in conditioner post shower. and this stuff is amazing! my hair gets pretty tangled  b/c of the color damage, and this stuff makes brushing it a breeze. and it smells so good! it's a little pricey for a leave-in at $12, but it works so well for me that i'll continue to buy for sure.

2. smashbox photo finish foundation primer - a friend recently raved about this product, so i made sure to grab a sample on a trip to sephora. and yes, it is awesome. you just need to apply a little bit all over before applying foundation, and it leaves your skin feeling so silky. super easy to apply makeup after using this. 

3. hydrating orofluido conditioner - i was able to snag this conditioner for free with my ulta points, and i love it. it smells so so good.

til next time,

february photo challenges

when i saw several IGers participate in the january photo a day challenge from fat mum slim's blog, i knew i wanted to do the february challenge. below are my photos from days 1-10.

also, i have been participating in allison's phone photo set challenge over at her blog show & tell. below are my photos from week 1 & 2. be sure to check out her blog to see everyone's amazing sets.

like i've been saying, i WILL be back with my california photos soon! i took a ton, and i'm still editing a few, but i'm really happy with them :) i posted a few to my flickr, if you'd like a preview.

hope you all had a great weekend! 

oh strumpets! valentine craft swap

the wonderful becky of oh strumpets! recently hosted another fabulous craft swap for valentine's day. i was paired up with jen from frazzled five (mom + dad too). after getting to know each other through email, i received this fabulous package early this week:

seriously, so awesome! i love the color combination of the heart piece, and the tote is so cute! thank you so much jen!!! be sure to check out her blog post about the doily tote... i might have to make a few for gifts. such a cute idea :)

and this is what i sent her way, an owl cozy & a purple rosette headband (here are a few available in my shop).

i recently started crocheting the cozies, and they might be my new favorite thing to make :) if anyone would like a custom cozy, be sure to let me know!

~ steph

my favorite new (iphone) lens

for christmas my parents bought me the easy macro cell lens band from photojojo and it has easily become my favorite phone accessory. it's a tiny plastic macro lens attached to a rubber band that goes around your phone, and what i really liked about it - you don't need to remove your case to use it. win! when i was testing this bad boy out christmas day, i was really surprised at how well it works, and it's only $15! 

1. blackberry // 2. gold christmas ornament // 3. california flower // 4. red & yellow christmas ornament

you have to get really close to your focal point in order for the camera to focus, like, an inch or so away. so be careful if you're shooting anything liquid! haha. it can be a bit challenging to get a shot without motion blur, so i recommend holding your phone in a way that keeps your hand(s) steady. but i got used to it pretty quick. the lens does a great job with depth of field too, so you don't have to "add" the blurred edges later in instagram or another app.

here are some macro shots from my trip to california:
1. sea shell on the beach // 2. tiny pink coral in the sand // 3. algae!!!

another bonus of the lens only being able to focus inches away from your subject, you can achieve awesome bokeh shots. i need to explore this more, but i really loved how our christmas tree looked from a few feet away. 

seriously, the best $15 iphone lens i've seen. my dad even got one for himself and one for his boss for christmas :)

i have a few things i want to share soon, like all my photos from my la jolla & san diego work trip, and my birchbox goodies (which will get here after the 10th), and photos from the oh strumpets! valentine's craft swap (i'm just waiting for my partner jen to receive he package... i got mine yesterday and it was awesome!).

til next time! xoxo