The Man Crates Challenge

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a company called Man Crates to take part in a “create your own survival kit” challenge. I had never heard of Man Crates before, but the challenge sounded like a lot of fun, so I decided to check them out.

Um, y’all…this company is awesome. I for one am terrible at coming up with creative gifts–especially for the men in my life–so to see a website 100% dedicated to putting together fun, creative, and original gift ideas for men was really neat. They have so many great crates–everything from super stereotypical manly-men gifts, to a crate for the crazy sports junky, and even a survival kit for new dads. Plus, each crate comes packed not with “ribbons, fluff, or wrapping paper,” but with a laser-etched crowbar. Haha my husband thought that was awesome. And not gonna lie…I did too. I know he has his eye on The Clean Shave Crate, but I was absolutely salivating over The Bacon Crate. I know they are all marketed towards men, but seriously who doesn’t like bacon?!

Anyway, Brinton and I thought it would be fun for each of us to put together our own “survival kit.” Obviously this is a fun activity and not an outline for what would actually go in an emergency kit…although we might actually include the bacon. Ha, I’m kidding. Kind of.

Brinton’s Man Crate Survival Kit

Brinton's Man Crate Final


One. Cheerwine is this man’s obsession. We can’t get it here in Hawaii (it’s a southern thing), but he misses it so much. He doesn’t even drink soda that often, but when he does…it’s gotta be Cheerwine. Here he drinks Dr. Pepper instead, but it’s just not the same. Two. Bacon. Does this one really need an explanation? Three. Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm. Brinton ALWAYS has this in his pocket. I’m not even kidding. He doesn’t leave the house without it, and uses it all day long. It’s probably an addiction. It is my staple go-to stocking-stuffer for him at Christmas. Four. Ever since Brinton has switched to a safety razor, he has been so much more comfortable when he shaves. He has really sensitive skin, and the safety razor allows him to get a super close shave (which I love) without getting all bumpy and irritated (which he loves). It’s a win-win situation. Five. I’ve mentioned before that my husband is a heathen and loves Duke basketball, but he also loves playing basketball. This just seemed entirely appropriate for him.

My ManCrate Survival Kit

Maria's Man Crate Final


One. Cheeseburgers are my favorite food. I’m pretty sure of it. I don’t know if I’m ever not in the mood for a cheeseburger. I’m sure at some point I’m not craving one, but especially since being pregnant I could eat a cheeseburger pretty much any day any time. Notice this one has bacon on it. I’M JUST SAYIN’. Two. This Sephora crystal nail file is my go-to file. It never gets dull and makes my nails look awesome. Plus it comes with this cute case. Adorable. Three. Continuing with the nail obsession…this wouldn’t be my survival kit without some kind of nail polish in it. My favorites are still the Sensationail polishes, although I see now that the new movement online is Jamberry nail wraps(which I have not tried yet). Perhaps I’ll have to check them out. Four. Our Canon Powershot G15 camera is awesome. It’s not too hard to me to figure out how to use, and it’s small enough that I can take it with me places without feeling weighed down. Ever since the baby was born I just can’t get enough of that little face and I am taking pictures constantly. Five. Remember that post where I said I love to organize things and color code my lists and stuff? These are my current favorite pens to do that with. They don’t bleed through paper and they are bright and happy colors…love. Six. Blistex Lip Medex saves my lips all the time. I have crazy dry lips which I inevitably end up picking at–I know, I know–but putting this on at night helps me wake up with refreshed, smooth, happy lips in the morning. Seven. I think a good pair of sunglasses are essential. For me, I always have prescription sunglasses, and I prefer to have them polarized with a nice anti-reflective on the lenses. But that’s just the optician in me being obsessed again.

Well, I was only supposed to pick four or five things for my crate…but it wouldn’t really be my crate if I weren’t completely indecisive and had to over pack it. Story of my life, you know?

Wasn’t this fun?! I had a blast with this. Thanks Man Crates! You guys are awesome.

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Disclosure: This post was inspired by Man Crates, however I was not compensated in any way and all opinions are my own.


High Five for Friday

Ever since I started doing these H54F posts the weeks really seem to breeze by. I hope all of you have had a great week like I have! As per usual, let’s get right to it.

1. I’m working on making my blog a little more user friendly and designing a simple, clean layout. Mind you, I’m doing all of this on my own and trying to learn the coding along the way, so if things seem to look a little funny around here every now and then…I’m working on it!

2. For some reason commenting with OpenID has been totally messed up for me for the last two weeks or so, which is really frustrating because most of the blogs I follow are Blogger blogs and now I can’t comment on them. It makes it really difficult to connect with all of you wonderful people out there when I can’t leave a comment on your blog! Also to all the link up people…I know the rules are to visit other blogs and leave comments–believe me, I’m trying! If anyone knows how to fix this issue please let me know. From what I can tell it seems to be a common problem out there.

3. My husband and I both have the whole day off together today. Since we work opposite schedules trying to make sure someone is always home with the baby this is a pretty rare occurrence, and I am thrilled that he is sitting here by my side today (and helping me figure out blog stuff…I love this man so much!) And yes, we did take this picture just now, because we are awesome and super fun. Anyone who knows us in person will attest to that, haha.Image4. I was messing around with my manicure this week and came up with this kind of wacky, really fun design. When I was mixing nail colors for last week’s manicure I loved the swirled look as the colors were coming together, and this week I figured I would try to “mix” colors directly on my nail, and it worked! So fun!

Lavender and turquoise nails5. Brinton’s first Father’s Day is Sunday, and our anniversary is on Wednesday! I’m looking forward to a great week next week…I can’t wait for all the celebrating! I’m also really excited for his Father’s day gift which Evan and I made for him together. I’d show you all a preview, but since the hubs reads the blog (and is sitting next to me as I type this) you’ll just have to wait and see!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Linking up with Lauren ElizabethFive on FridayFriday FavoritesAmanda’s Friday FavoritesConfessional Friday, and Friday Blog Hop!

High Five for…Saturday?

Haha, well…it’s Saturday already. I had every intention of posting yesterday, but sometimes things just don’t happen how you plan them. Oh well! I still wanted to share highlights from this week though, so here we go!

1. I spent three days this week as a leader at girl’s camp, and we had a really great time! I think I like our own ward’s girl’s camp a little more than stake camp, but we still really enjoyed ourselves. I feel so lucky to be able to work with such an amazing group of leaders in our presidency. You ladies are some of my closest friends and I look up to all of you!

2. I think we have finally gotten through Evan’s stand up and scream in his crib phase that I mentioned last week. It lasted about a month or so…but for the last few days he has been really good about settling himself back down and going to sleep on his own, and his sleep patterns are finally back to normal–including some seriously awesome naps. This is such a relief! I’m really glad we made it through that rough patch, because by the end of last week I really was losing my mind a little!

3. I’m still going at it with the Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 program and I really like it. Last week when I talked about it I had only done the workout once, but this week I did it Monday, Wednesday, and I’m going to be doing it later today. I was going to do it yesterday but between my work schedule and when Evan napped I just didn’t have time. The first time I did it, I mentioned how I was only able to get through the first 25 minutes or so, but by the second time I did it I was able to complete the entire workout, and the next time I was able to push even harder. I don’t see much of a physical difference yet, but I feel better when I do it, and right now I think that matters more to me. I don’t expect to be “ripped in 30” because I know I’m not doing it according to her schedule, but this is all about me being healthier and not so much about having rock hard abs. I’ll get to that down the road (haha…maybe…) but for now I’m aiming to be able to do it Monday through Friday next week and take my rest days on the weekend. I’ll let you know how it goes!

4. This has been my manicure for the last week, and it has been really fun to wear! I did it using Sensationail (which I have talked about quite a few times before), but I didn’t have a blue color that I liked, so I mixed a few together and came up with this. I love the color and wish I could remember everything I mixed to make it!

Beach themed nails

5. My husband and I just started watching Scandal last night, and I kind of love it. I know, I know…we are way behind the bandwagon here (apparently there are already 4 seasons?), but we don’t have cable and generally we like to start watching shows when we can watch a whole season (or more!) on Netflix or HuluPlus and don’t have to worry about how to watch the next episode. We have only watched two episodes so far, but I’m pretty sure this is our new show. Yay!

6. Hooray! A bonus highlight! Haha. I finished a second DIY bead necklace this week and I think I might like it even better than I did the first one I made. I’ll be sharing both of them with you next week! They really are so easy to make, I might even made another one today.

Okay. nap time is over, which means my time is up. Have a great weekend!

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth!


High Five for Friday

Another week has flown by! I don’t completely understand how my days seem so long sometimes, but my weeks seem so short. Funny how that works, isn’t it? Anyway, let’s celebrate the weekend, shall we?

1. I am working on several DIY craft projects right now and I am super excited about them. It has been way way WAY too long since I have had the opportunity to be crafty and I am having a great time allowing myself to take the time to work on some things that I love. A lot of the projects I’m working on are kind of an experiment and I’m learning a lot by trial and error, but I feel like that’s the best way to do it sometimes. I can’t wait to share some of my successes (and probably the failures, too!) with you all. Here’s a small preview!


2. Since Evan was born in August, I have taken over 9GB worth of pictures and movies of him…just on my phone. In the last week or so I have been getting notifications that I can no longer send/receive text messages, download new apps, or take any new pictures or videos because of the limited space. Even though I keep all of my photos backed up to Google+ photos, I have been really nervous to actually delete them from my phone. Those pictures are Evan’s whole life! My wonderful (and very patient, haha) husband took the time to physically move all of the files from my phone to his computer too so that I would know that they were in a few places and not just in the cloud, and then finally deleted them from my phone. So, hooray to receiving messages and emails again! Sorry if I haven’t responded to you in the last few days friends…I’ll catch up tomorrow!

3. I am working on an awesome, nay, an epic cake for a co-worker this weekend. I am really excited about it and I hope it turns out. Either way…you will see pictures. Because it is either going to be so ridiculously fabulous that you will be crazy impressed with my skills, or it will be such a failure that we can all have a good laugh. Either way…stay tuned on Tuesday!

4. Last week I was looking forward to some “me-time” to do my nails and I’m happy to say I was able to pamper myself after I put Evan to bed. I love this mani…super simple, but still perfect for spring and classy. Plus it looks good on short nails! You can see my post all about Sensationail and why I love (at home!) gel manicures here.

5. Remember that Yoga Challenge I said I started a few weeks back? Well…I did start it. And that was it. I did day one. Haha. The second day I was supposed to do it was crazy, and the exercise for day two was focusing on positive, happy energy and I was just in a bad mood and didn’t feel like doing it. So, last week I re-started the challenge (much more successfully might I add), and I am really enjoying myself. I definitely have a long way to go as far as how flexible and strong I am, but I feel like this is a nice low impact way that I can ease myself back into an exercise routine…because if I’m being honest, I really haven’t done anything to get off my butt and back into shape after Evan came along. I dropped all of the baby weight a few months after he was born, but it’s time to get toned again. I’m nearly 9 months postpartum…I have no more excuses! Do any of you have any suggestions for a workout program or plan? I’d love to know!

Okay…it’s time to go bake a cake. Fingers crossed this turns out well!

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth!


I love manicures. But two things I don’t like (or didn’t like) was paying to have my nails done, and how quickly they would chip! For that very reason I hardly ever got my nails done at a salon–it just wasn’t worth the price tag to me when I could do my own nails at home. That way, when it did chip, at least I had only spent a few dollars on a bottle of polish rather than half my paycheck on someone else doing it. 

Two summers ago before I went to Europe for three weeks, I decided to treat myself and get my nails done. I had heard a lot about shellac manicures, so I splurged, spent a little bit extra, and decided to go for it. It claimed that it wouldn’t chip or peel for two weeks, and I figured if I could have nicely manicured nails for the majority of my trip, it was worth the cost! I had tried acrylic nails around the time of my junior prom and they totally ruined my nails (probably because no one told me how I would need to have them removed) and I didn’t want to venture back down that road. I tried the shellac polish, loved it, and it lasted through my whole trip. I mean, it was super grown out and had begun to chip in the last week or so, but I was sold. 

I was not sold on the price tag, though. I started to look into at home systems, which ended up being mostly gel polish. I had heard a lot about the Sally Hansen line that was just coming out at the time and had it in hand, ready to purchase when I saw a system called Sensationail. I put the Sally Hansen one back on the shelf, went home, did quite a bit of research including watching as many YouTube videos as I could find (which wasn’t many at the time because it was so new), and went back to the store to purchase that one instead. I am so glad I did! I could not be more pleased with my investment. 


Image from Sensationail, and is linked to the starter kit page!

A Sensationail starter kit retails for about $60, depending on where you buy it from. (As a side note, things are always more expensive in Hawaii…so prices may be a bit different on the mainland or internationally, although I imagine it would only be a few dollars difference, if anything.) They offer the starter kit in four different colors, including Pink Chiffon (light pink), Scarlet Red (bright red), Raspberry Wine (a deep wine color), and French Manicure. I personally purchased the Pink Chiffon color. The starter kits include the LED light, a color polish, a base/top coat, the gel cleanser, the gel primer, lint-free wipes, a double-sided nail buffer, a manicure stick, and an instruction booklet. So, while it is kind of an investment up front–the cost of one to two manicures–in the long run it is way cheaper than going to a salon. Individual color polishes retail for about $9-12 dollars (again, depending on what store you buy from and what state/country you live in) and their color selection is amazing! The colors are so nicely pigmented and I can usually achieve the look I want in two coats. In fact, the number of colors they have to choose from is one of the reasons I ultimately decided to go with this system over others. 

The process is simple: lightly buff the natural nail and wipe it clean with the lint-free wipes and gel cleanser, and prime the nail. Then apply the base coat and cure with the light for 30 seconds, apply one coat of the color and cure for 60 seconds, apply a second coat of color and cure for 60 seconds, and apply the topcoat and cure for 30 seconds. Wipe the nail with the lint-free wipes and gel cleanser to remove any tackiness, and that’s it! Completely dry, super shiny, ready to go gel nails that last for up to two weeks. On average, mine last for about 10 days before I start to see peeling or chipping, but I have had several manicures last quite a bit longer. Other than the polishes themselves being on the pricey side, I have pretty much no complaints about Sensationail. Overall, I am very impressed and this is the only way I do my nails anymore. Why bother with regular polish and wait for it to dry only to chip a day later?

Here are just a few of the manicures I have done since becoming obsessed (and I really am…just ask my husband). I get most of my inspiration from Pinterest, but I’m working on coming up with more of my own designs. In fact the four pictures on the right are all my designs, and the four on the left are inspiration from Pinterest or other Sensationail lovers that I follow on Instagram. I’m extremely amateur, but not too bad for having almost no artistic skills whatsoever. Haha.


And this one, which is what I am currently wearing. It’s such a happy spring manicure!


PS, this is not a sponsored post and I’m not getting paid to talk about how great Sensationail is. I just found a product I love and couldn’t help but share it! If you have mani/pedi ideas, share the inspiration down below!

Coral, Glitter, and Striped Nails

For the last few weeks, I have been wanting to do a coral and gold glitter manicure on my nails, but I’ve been lacking inspiration as to what I actually wanted them to look like! I scoured Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube to try and find a nail design that I liked, but nothing really grabbed me. I know choosing a nail design shouldn’t be such a dilemma…if you don’t like it just take it off, right? But my nails usually last two weeks because I use an at home gel system called Sensationail, which means I want to make sure I’m going to like what I’m painting on there!

I knew I wanted to try the falling glitter look, and I wanted to throw a splash of turquoise in there too, but even when I sat down to paint my nails, I didn’t know what I was doing yet! I think most of my inspiration came from Janelle who I have been following on YouTube for a while now, but I did end up switching things up a bit, and I am loving the finished look!

I’ll be posting a complete review and how-to of the Sensationail system next week (I said the same thing last year, but I mean it this time!) Until then, here is a pictorial how-to if you want to achieve the same look…gel nails or not!

1. Base Coat 2. Coral on all nails except ring finger 3. White on ring finger 4. Apply two coats, should look like this 5. Add glitter to the base of the nail 6. Using fan brush, spread glitter until it looks how you want it 7. Close up of nail after glitter is spread 8. Add two lines, one thicker than the other 9. Add gold stripes around thicker line, and a coral stripe on top of thinner line 9a. Close up 10. Add a line of gold glitter on top of coral stripe, add top coat on all nails. Finished!

1. Base Coat 2. Coral on all nails except ring finger 3. White on ring finger 4. Apply two coats, should look like this 5. Add glitter to the base of the nail 6. Using fan brush, spread glitter until it looks how you want it 7. Close up of nail after glitter is spread 8. Add two lines, one thicker than the other 9. Add gold stripes around thicker line, and a coral stripe on top of thinner line 9a. Close up 10. Add a line of gold glitter on top of coral stripe, add top coat on all nails. Finished!

Hope you like it!