Books, Fashion, Uncategorized

Geekdom Love!

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My ‘I need my quiet time to read and drink tea’ mug.

I’m about to set out on a grand camping adventure (a geeky adventure to be explored at a later date) which meant days of errands for me.

Enter, the Northridge Fashion Center.

I needed boots so before hitting DSW, I wanted to check out smaller, cheaper stores so ended up spending an hour or two wandering the mall when I stumbled on my new favorite gem:

Box Lunch

Think recent fandom shift in Hot Topic but much brighter and with more room to move. Add a touch of book/tea nerd and science lover and here you are.

I had a huge case of “shut up and take my money!”

I ended up buying a nerdy girl mug, a father’s day book (I won’t name this because of a possible audience member!), and a candle, but I have a whole list ready from running shirts to chemical diagram jewelry and everything in between.

I’ve been trying to save money but the thing I love most about this store and why I don’t mind spending money here is that they are charity inclined.

For every $10 you spend in the store, a meal is donated through Feeding America. At the register, you can also donate as easily as rounding your purchase up to the nearest dollar.

While charity shops and the like have a slight edge in the giving back without creating extra waste as their merchandise is used and donated. However, with Box Lunch, you don’t have to worry about their being only one of something and not in your size because it’s all built.

So yes, love, love, love, and that’s all from me.

  • Taylor Gallagher
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Books, Uncategorized

A truth universally acknowledged….

That a summer of Austen is just what the doctor ordered.

This year, I took part in the 5th grade 40 book challenge. This is a school year long challenge wherein 5th graders are challenged to read 40 grade level or challenging books across a variety of genres.

I have loved this challenge even though I’ve only managed to get 25 books under my belt – my choices did tend to exceed 600 pages or so, therefore, that number isn’t shocking.

I have completed series started a decade ago, fallen in love withnew authors, and revisited books I’d rushed through before but have now learned to really appreciate.

It’s been absolutely amazing.

But now I’m looking forward and planning an equally daunting but less page heavy book nerd challenge: a summer of Austen.

My recent trip up north had me wandering bookstores and in one I found a copy of The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler and couldn’t stop myself from buying it.

Therefore, it is going to be the start of my summer book challenge; reading all of Austen.

For the sake of my starter novel, I’ll most likely go in the order that the book club read unless I’m persuaded otherwise.

While I have read Pride and Prejudice in high school – including tutoring a friend on the novel – I fell victim to the density of Mansfield Park and stopped. Since then, I’ve discovered webseries which make me hopeful that I’ll manage to complete another attempt.

Speaking of, I’ll probably be watching everything Austen I can get my hands on – film, web and miniseries adaptations, everything, not to mention rounding out with some adaptation novels.

If anyone is interested in this challenge or has any advice, let me know! I am also down to send you my suggestions on best adaptations – seriously, transmedia webseries! I did my dissertation on these and they are amazing!

But for now, read on booknerds!

  • Taylor Gallagher
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Uncategorized

Summer Skin….

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Look at that Aloe! Summer 2016.

As we approach summer, there are a whole lot of skin issues we’ll all have to work with. Wether you are dealing with changing up your skin routine, you make up color pallet, or your health plan, remember your skin is one thing you will always have to live with and is less durable than most of us care to admit.

You should be applying sunscreen – at least to your face – all year round. Not applying can, at a minimum, cause red, painful sunburn which is as attractive as it is fun. Much larger issues ranging from pre-mature aging, skin pigmentation issues, skin cancer, low sperm count, anemia, vision problems and the list goes on. Protect yourself! Always put on sunscreen, reapply regularly, limit exposure, and wear head and eye protection! This goes double for little kids.

When it comes to taking care of your skin in cleaning and makeup, think light. For makeup, you’ll want to go light but bright as you’re layering over sunscreen – a double duty SPF and concealer like BB Creams works great for this! I pull in bright corals for my cheeks and alternate lip balm and bright lipsticks. It will brighten up your whole face, keep up a sunny, summer glow, but also keep your skin hydrated.

It’s hot. Do yourself a favor and avoid layers of makeup you’ll be sweating off later especially at the beach! Swap your make up routine for tinted sunblock, a floppy, hollywood-glamour beach hat and a pair of your favorite shades.

When it comes to taking it off, take all of it off. Your face needs to breath so put on any face medication you need and be finished. If you find your skin drying out from the elements, add a moisturizer to balance you out overnight.

In all cases, increasing your vegetable intake can also help balance your body and your skin. It will heal more quickly and glow with all the added nutrients and your body will delight in the easy and cold refreshing salads and veggies you’ll have to snack on!

But my real summer goto is my fresh aloe vera. Wether dealing with attack of the pimples or sunburns fresh aloe can do wonders! A quick google search will give you all you need to know on storage, uses, and how to extract aloe the right way – blending was the best one I have seen.

You can buy aloe at any store, however, this will contain alcohol which is fine for pain management but just dries out your burn. Natural aloe is cool to the touch so feels great on burns without the alcohol issues. If you are worried about pain management, take some aspirin and that should mellow you out.

My plant was a small $3 pot two summers ago and now we’re about to move it to a pot I can fit into. As a succulent, any cutting from these plants will grow more if planted correctly and by cutting sparingly, your plant will supply you with protection for a long time to come.

My favorite investment as a SoCal most definitely.

So go out, enjoy the summer, and take care of yourself. Until next time…

  • Taylor Gallagher
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Uncategorized

Tea to My Heart….

I will say it here: I have found the love of my life…. And it’s a tea company.

A few weeks back, we were lucky enough to hit the ren-faire for the second time in one season which meant a smaller group, slowing down and getting a chance to really explore.

On these wanderings, we came across a tea seller called Spice Trader’s Teas.

Now, I love tea. I have always loved tea and since moving to London that love has only increased. However, being away from London – back home – has also meant moving away from loose leaf teas and some of the fresher variants – not to mention away from some of the variety.

But then we stumbled on Spice Trader’s Teas.

Walking past this booth, I felt pulled in by lovely, vibrant smells and the calls of the three charming vendors. Once they said tea, I ran over!

The booth displays tons of glass bottles filled with tea leaves in an assortment of types. Whether you are a green tea person, black, herbal, spiced or looking for something special and unique, you really can’t go wrong here.

At the booth you are encouraged to smell as many teas as you want and each helper knew what was in each but also what notes they hit and what ailments they may help with – they mentioned a ‘shipwreck’ tea is always popular for those working the faire for a morning pick me up (it helps with anything to do with nausea!).

I was all ready to purchase a green – my current light go to – when I noticed a canister labled “Women’s Blend”. I instantly picked up the bottle and gave it a sniff – it was light like a green but a little flowery like a herbal.

I quickly asked what this tea was for and was told that it is exactly what it sounds like. With a mix of rasberry leaf, vitex berries, nettles, linden flower, lemon verbena, lemon peel, cinnomon, rose pettles and some stevia for sweetness this tea helps with cramps, bloating, aches, and a meriad of other symptoms that crop up for women every 25-27 days or so.

The tea turns a little green but as a herbal, you don’t have to be too worried about over steeping – again, I’m a green girl so I tend to keep to a 3 minute time table. I used it at work this week and not only loved the taste but I never reached for a redose of my midol! My menstral cycle makes it hard to concentrate on nearly anything between the aches, cramps and exhaustion even with medication (especially in the early days) so this tea was a godsend.

The head vendor said that this tea is so popular, she has a whole back order log to fill – yes, it is that good!

While I shopped for medicinal uses, my sister decided to go with a dessert tea: “XOXO”. This tea has a black tea base paired with rose hips, hibiscus, apples, strawberries, rose petals, rasberry leaves, dark chocolate and stevia. She said it was strange having chocolate tea but it really did taste like chocolate strawberries. Her warning, however, is to watch your steeping! Black tea is a 5 minute brew – longer means bitter, not stronger!

Anyway, I know have a whole shopping list for Spice Trader’s Teas and encourage you to go check them out!

  • Taylor Gallagher
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