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What’s in a Box?

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Who has heard of Influenster? What in the world is it all about? An acquaintance introduced me to the site after she shared reviews of some samples or test products she received to try and review. Interestingly, most of the products she tested and tried were full sized samples. Curious, I joined to see what the deal was.

Influenster is a social media site that collaborates with companies to have people like you and me try and test out their products in exchange for honest reviews about the products. It serves mainly as a database for anyone to search for reviews on almost anything and everything under the sun. You’re encouraged to link your social media accounts to build a presence on Influenster and increase chances of earning a VoxBox, or specially curated box of samples from various vendors to sample and review. Every product in the box has challenges or tasks that one must complete in order to earn badges for their profile or to gain more experience points tied to their account. In turn, this helps bolster your account’s credibility and increases your chances of earning another VoxBox in the future.

Trying out products for free in exchange for sharing candid opinions? Sounds like fun to me! I answered a few questions about one potential VoxBox (these come as surveys which vet which individuals will receive the VoxBoxes) and received an e-mail from Insfluenster saying I was chosen to receive the Daisy VoxBox to review.

The VoxBoxes ship via USPS and typically arrive within a week from the date you are selected. You need to select the option to ‘Check in’ your box once it’s received on your account. All of the items in the VoxBox pictured above were complimentary.

The Daisy VoxBox seems to focus on healthy pursuits, hence the SkinnyPop sample, coconut-based Live Clean Shampoo and Conditioner, Yes to Charcoal face mask, Nature’s Bounty Probiotic Gummies, sample of Always Pads, and coupons for Dannon’s Light and Fit Greek Yogurt. So far I’ve only tried out the gummies but the rest of the box seems pretty interesting!

Interested in joining up and offering your opinion? Check out their site at my link here.

The Floor Sounded Better than Sleeping Next to the Enemy

A short drabble I wrote recently while taking the train home to visit family. Is it purely fiction or is it all real? Maybe parts of it, but I’ll leave that up to your imagination.


“Did you just stay up and party about our win?” I asked as Carson walked up.

He scrunched his face and shook his head. “Unnnnnngghh…tell ya at Starbucks,” he muttered as he pointed to hotel lobby. He stifled a yawn as we dodged families and couples checking out, exiting through the sliding doors and walking behind the hotel shuttle to reach the street.

“You room with anyone from your section?” Carson asked.

I shook my head and explained that I worked out an arrangement with a friend from colorguard. Carson sighed before he muttered that I was lucky.

“Senior perk,” he grumbled, “why do I have two more years until I’m there?”

“Oh stop whining,” I replied with a roll of my eyes, “She didn’t have a roommate for this trip and I asked the right coordinator. We thought we’d have to find two more people, but turns out we didn’t have to.”

Carson rubbed his eyes, his glasses lifting slightly off his nose. “At least you got the person you wanted.”

I stopped short and turned my head. “You knew you could pick anyone to room with for this trip, right?”

He snorted as he crossed his arms, fingers digging into the soft flesh of his biceps. “No Yinee, I didn’t. I actually agreed to room with Taj and Bryce a few weeks ago – then we got stuck with Christophe!”

“Then you should have asked someone else so you didn’t get a random assignment!” I replied, shaking my head.

“Let me rewind a bit,” Carson corrected, “no one assigned him to our room – Bryce asked him, but I’m pretty sure it was out of pity for him. I mean, Bryce asked if Taj and I were cool with it, but what was I supposed to say? ‘Yeah, Christophe can’t room with us.’ I’d be a jerk then, right?”

I nodded as I pressed the Walk button, keeping my eyes on the sign.

“So, they wanted to throw a big party in their room after the tournament and you tried to sleep through it?” I guessed.

“Who’s in the roller coaster group again?” he asked.

My head snapped in his direction at the question.

“Walk sign is on!” the disembodied voice announced from across the street.

Carson stepped down from the sidewalk and began to cross at a brisk pace. I followed, turning my head to cough.

I should take one now, I thought as I reached the other side. I dug around in my purse for the bottle of Zycam, pressing the heel of my hand against the cap.

“Ew, you’re sick Old Lady?” Carson asked as he nudged the button for the opposite side. He inched away and hugged the pole, casting a wary glance in my direction.

I tapped out a single melt tablet in my other hand and tilted my head back as I dropped it into my mouth. My lips twisted into a grimace as the fake orange flavor met my tongue and started to dissolve.

“Not contagious,” I corrected him as I threw the bottle back into my bag. “This is Day 6 – I’m just congested now.”

“Uh huh, sure…” Carson said with a sharp nod. “Sorry, but who’s in the amusement park group today again? Is it just us?”

“No, you, me, and Wilson,” I replied. “I almost thought we’d have my friends from the saxes, but they were just being trolls on my post. Figures, I always thought one of them was full of –” I trailed off, holding back the word threatening to slip out.

Carson relaxed, dropping his arms to the side. He mumbled something about being happy it was just the three of us and I turned my attention back to the tablet in my mouth and trying to finish it up before we reached the coffee shop. Next time I’m checking the other flavors.

Once the sign changed, we stepped off the sidewalk, walking side by side in silence.

“This is disgusting,” I announced as the final nub of the tablet dissolved. “I mean, it works but why did they think orange was any better than cherry?” I shook my head and sucked my saliva, trying to get the orange taste to go away. “Hey, you didn’t tell me why you look dead.”

“Cause I slept on the floor,” he replied with a pointed look.

I frowned and stared at him in disbelief. He had to be kidding me – this guy managed to get conned out of a comfy bed after the final tournament? While I didn’t know his roommates very well, Bryce would always stick out in my mind as the guy who covered his case in stickers from In-N-Out and couldn’t get enough of their Animal Fries. Taj was smaller than Carson and incredibly sarcastic, but not rude. As for newbie Christophe, he rarely was spotted without a smile or joking smirk on his face.

“Seriously? All right, who do I need to smack for kicking you to the floor?” I demanded as I crossed my arms.

Carson held his hands up and shot me a surprised look. “Whoa, easy there Old Lady! I know it might not sound normal, but I actually asked for the floor!”

I scanned his face and Carson nodded several times.

“No really, I asked for the floor.”

“Then why are you complaining?” I asked. “Please tell me someone at least gave you a pillow and a blanket.”

“Oh yeah, no I got those,” Carson added. He shoved his hands in his pockets and glanced around the strip mall we were near. “Look, it was either that or share a bed with Christophe! I mean, you’ve seen the guy right? He’s a giant – he pretty much needs the whole bed!”

I snorted and dropped my arms to the side. “Carson, you’re exaggerating – the kid’s not that tall!”

“I say he is!” Carson shot back.

“Well, how did he take it?”

Carson shrugged his shoulders and began walking toward Starbucks. “Oh hard to tell. He seemed surprised but I told him he should just take the bed – no big deal. He let me have the other pillow and the top blanket. You know, it actually wasn’t that uncomfortable if that makes sense. Did you know Bryce snores pretty loudly?”

I bit my lip as I followed him across the parking lot, looking left then right for cars. “No, I didn’t and I probably wouldn’t have known that,” I replied as I zipped my jacket up. I reached out to grab the handle but Carson beat me to it, swinging the door open and standing to the side, making a mock bow.

“After you, Old Lady,” he said with a smug smile.

I rolled my eyes as I slipped through the door and joined the long line, standing on tiptoe to see the bakery counter. Carson walked up behind me and leaned to the side to see the drink menu ahead.

“What are you getting?”

“A bagel and a cup of water,” I said. “You?”

“I think…I’m gonna have that chocolate chip Frappuccino drink and something from the case,” he announced before straightening up.

***

“Can’t stand him!”

“Who?” I asked as I spread a thin layer of cream cheese on my second bagel half.

Carson’s eyes darted from the window to the line, checking to see who else was here that we knew. I followed his gaze and noted that there were mostly strangers, maybe a few of the popular kids from band tucked in the corner of the cafe. A large group of them from various sections stood up at that moment and walked past us to toss their trash. One of the guys raised a hand in my direction before following the group out the door, coffee cup in his left hand.

Carson watched them leave before turning back to me. He leaned in and lowered his voice, “Christophe.”

I raised a brow at him and he huffed as he leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms.

“Am I missing something or did he empty his spit valve on your shoe when I wasn’t looking?” I asked.

He shook his head. “Just gets on my nerves. He acts like everyone’s his friend and he’s annoying. I swear he thinks life is one big laugh to him.”

I took this moment to take a big bite of my bagel, trying to chew quietly as I listened to Carson lay out his reasons for hating this kid. It seemed a little unfair to the poor guy but then again, it was like the old saying from grade school – you’re not gonna like everyone and everyone isn’t gonna like you.

Yeah, it was definitely good that it was just the three of us taking on the biggest, baddest coasters at Six Flags today…

These ARE the Ice Sculpts You’re Looking For

Impressed? I know I am. These were carved in Belgium – its incredible to see the amount of detail in the vehicles!

It’s There Somewhere in the Mess (An original poem inspired by Mockingjay)

Inspired by Peeta Mellark’s struggle in Suzanne Collins Mockingjay novel, I present to you my original poem.

There are faces in my line of sight

Screams of agony engulfing me

And a thousand voices in my head

 

The memories I held onto

As beacons of hope

Are broken and jagged like shards of glass

 

Voids created and details lost

Friends, family, foes

All the same

 

The one face

That stands out

The braid, the grey eyes, and the golden pin

 

I think she’s a threat

But others say otherwise

I’m trying to remember

But it’s a mess inside

 

Insta-jealousy (An Original Poem)

I was inspired by the rapid, somewhat flashy scene of Instagram and the fact that when pictures or videos are posted, a single post can result in admiration, curiosity, and jealousy. Personally, I’m not a user on the app but it’s been interesting seeing people post pictures with filters, comments, and liking various media from friends, family, and strangers.

X followers, XX,XXX following

New photo posted, 1 minute ago

One like, Six likes, the rest flood in

First one to comment! someone boasts

Follow me plz! (Insert username here)

 

New photo posted, caption: Hangin’ with mah boy/girl at our favorite haunt. #TGIS #LoveYouSoMuch

OMG!

Who’s that girl/guy?

I hate u, u btch!

Back off username, we all know they belong to me

Cool it username, he/she can like whoever they like

 

Dining out tonite! #wesofancy #sushilove

Where’s tht at?

OMG gimme!

Plz, plz follow me! I luv u!

Save me some!

 

A sneak peek at a new project I’m working on. #art #workinprogress

Oooh! Is that (insert character/film/TV show name)?

I NEED THAT!!! Where can I get it?

Oh noes, the (insert character/film/TV show name) bug got to you too. Whhyyyyyy?

Cool art, please check me out here!

Siblings Will be Siblings (Coalite Side Story)

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Thank you to everyone who has been reading my original story Coalite that I’ve been posting on here from time to time. This is a character analysis if you will about Tarico Sussex (Ari) and his sister Myrai. Something different for me to try – please enjoy!

Warning: There is some language, drinking, and implied sexual encounters.


“Bartender hit me with a stiff one,” the young woman barked as she slid into a bar stool. “When I say stiff, I mean it. And make it quick.”

“Someone’s in a hurry,” the bartender muttered under her breath as she began measuring out the amount of gin needed for the woman’s drink. She looked up to see the young woman’s face inches away from hers, green eyes glittering.

“Keep talking like that and you can forget about getting your damn tip,” the woman spat as she dug her pointed nails into the bar counter.

The bartender recoiled and began apologizing as she added the shots of gin to the mixer along with dragon fruit juice and lime. The woman smirked as she settled back onto her stool, crossing her arms over her chest.

The bartender slid the completed drink to the woman as soon as she finished pouring the concoction into a glass and the woman pushed a $50 her way. “You can keep $2 from the change,” the woman said as the bartender went to the register.

“Thanks m’am,” the bartender said as she punched in the amount for the drink. She counted out the change and kept $2, handing the rest over to the woman.

The woman put the change into her top and downed her drink in two long sips. She placed the glass down and sighed contentedly before snapping her head towards the door and rolling her eyes.

“Can I get an Execution with extra pepper juice and no vodka?” a male asked as he took the stool next to the woman.

“Sure thing sir,” the bartender said as she began pulling the ingredients for the drink.

The woman snorted and leaned on her elbow as she glanced over at her seatmate. “Seriously Ari? You’re old enough to add the freaking vodka for Lucifer’s Sake!”

“Not feeling it tonight,” Ari said as he watched the bartender make his drink. “I see you’ve already had your poison  – what’d you do this time Myrai?”

Myrai flipped her hair over her shoulder and stared at her new manicure – crimson acrylics with black arches painted above her nail bed, every nail sharpened to a point. “Bagged a guy and he was a disappointment. And I thought for a guy that badass, he had to have the same attitude in bed. How wrong was I?”

“Wow I think the world might come to an end,” Ari replied as he pulled out money from his pocket. He paid the bartender and told her to keep the change.

The bartender did a double take when she noticed that Ari had paid for his drink with a $20 for something that only cost $5. “Thank you very much sir,” the bartender said as she went to the register. “Hope you have a good night.”

Ari flashed the bartender a winning smile and ignored the gagging look that Myrai was doing. He took a sip of the drink and stared straight ahead. “I’m sure there’s other ones out there – always will be, right?”

Myrai turned towards Ari and laughed, slapping her thigh hard. “I…can’t believe…that my little brother actually said that,” she hooted. “Do you realize how obviously green you sound right now?”

“Least I’m not earning a rep as the town slut,” Ari shot back before he took a longer sip.

“Puhleeze Ari,” Myrai said as she yanked the drink out of his hand. “You’ve been drinking the stuff that Mom brought home for you since you were born and never, in the years I’ve been in this family, have I ever seen you go out and seduce your own food. Don’t ya think its time to stop crying to Mommy Dearest?”

Ari’s back stiffened and he wrenched the glass out of Myrai’s hand, ears turning red. He finished the drink in one gulp and swallowed hard, letting the pepper juice scorch his throat. “I’m done,” Ari said as he pushed back his stool. “Good luck finding your next conquest or whatever.” He shoved past other customers, one of them being a burly biker guy.

The biker guy put a hand on Ari’s shoulder and Ari whipped his head around, eyes burning fiercely and his teeth gritted in a way to show the sharp ones off. “Back. Off.” Ari growled.

The biker guy released his grip and backed away as Ari stormed out of the bar in a huff.

Myrai giggled, pleased with her work. She slid off the stool and sauntered up to the biker guy who confronted her brother. Score, she thought.

The First Time an Accident Happens is the Scariest

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Sorry for the absence readers! So much has happened to me this past month!

My mom recently fell and broke the bone above her elbow and she’s in pain. It will take 3 months for her to get as close as back to normal as she was before the break.

Speaking of incidents, I happened to be cleaning my serrated knife and the blade nicked the knuckle of my right pointer. Ouch. Scary? Yes. But it’s like what someone told me: the first time something like that happens, we assume it’s going to be frightening. After that, we know what to expect.