April 2016 / Carmen Varner // Lifestyle Blogger & Social Media + Blogging Coach


A Mother's Day Gift Guide for Moms, Grandmas, Aunts, & All Mother Figures

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Picking out a Mother's Day gift doesn't have to be difficult. Focus on her finest qualities then tailor the gift to fit her & her needs. Your mom has worked so hard & done so much to get you where you are today. She deserves the world. Browse this Mother's Day gift guide to see which present is the best fit for your mom.

mother's day gift ideas

Cute Treats* - For a mom who is sweet as can be, get her Malvi Mallows. This is a unique treat that anyone can enjoy with its variety of marshmallow flavors. They're cute, neatly packaged, & best of all, extremely delicious. Get the Malvi Original Sampler so she has a nice range of flavors to try. My favorites are Raspberry Hibiscus & Vanilla Salted Caramel.

Body Exfoliation Set* - For the mom who deserves some pampering, give her the gift of a spa treatment without the one time certificate. The Body Exfoliation Set by OSEA includes their Salts of the Earth Body Scrub & Anti-Aging Body Balm. She'll feel rejuvenated & silky smooth, leaving her with a healthy glow.

vinebox, wine subscription box

Wine Subscription Box* - For the mother who gets more intelligent & beautiful with time, get her wine. VINEBOX offers the convenience of wine to your doorstep with the added bonus of three various viles to try out. If she likes something she can choose to order a bottle. She'll discover new wines without having to leave the house.

lip stain

Lip Stain* - For the mom who loves makeup, have her try something from Lip Ink. This lip stain is highly pigmented, long-lasting, & smear proof, but be sure to follow all the directions in this video to maximize its potential. They have a lovely variety of shades to choose from & they truly do stay on a long time.

mother's day gift ideas

One of the biggest things you can offer your mother is love & appreciation for all that she's done for you. Gratitude & a gift can go along way. Here's wishing a happy Mother's Day to all the moms, grandmas, aunts, & anyone out there who is a mother figure to someone. You are appreciated.

Which of these Mother's Day gifts looks like something your mom would like? :]

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* Disclaimer: Everything was received complimentary as PR samples. All opinions in this guide are 100% mine aka Carmen's. Learn more about my disclosure here. :]

My Last 5 Google Searches

Monday, April 25, 2016

You can tell a lot about a person based on what they search on Google. In fact, I learned about myself. I looked back on my Google search history to see what exactly I searched for recently. My Google searches were so random that it genuinely made me giggle. Here's a bit of insight into what I'm thinking out on the average day.

california sky

Vegetarian Poutine 

Although my cousins live in Canada & I visited them a couple times, I've never tried poutine (until this weekend at Coachella)! I was actually looking for poutine or vegetarian poutine in the San Diego area but ended up finding a bunch of recipes. 

John Leguizamo

I was driving in my car in the early morning & listening to the radio. They had a game where listeners would call in & answer trivia questions against John Leguizamo. I had no idea who he was so I investigated it. Turns out he's an actor & comedian. I learned something new.

Indio Weather

As you may or may not know, I headed to Coachella for the second year in a row, so I wanted to get a feel for how the weather & temperature would be during my stay. I was shocked that the temperatures were estimated to reach  95 to 100°F. Yikes. It was a scorcher, y'all.

Gustavo Breaking Bad

Boyfriend & I are officially on season four of Breaking Bad. I had to Google more about Gus because I felt like he magically developed some sort of accident. When I searched him I found out that his character was born in Chile. Now that explains why he spoke Spanish so well, but I swear his accent got stronger. Maybe it's just me.

How Does Papaya Grow

I'll be honest: I'm not a fan of papaya. Fred & I were discussing the fruit & I had no idea how papaya grew & felt compelled to look it up. Does it grow on a tree? On a bush? On the ground? Here's the answer: papayas grow on trees.

There you have it. Those are my last five Google searches. This was a whimsical reflection to learn about myself & I'm totally going to continue this series. Check your Google history & write down the answer in the comments! Hope you have a great day.

What were your last five Google (Bing, Yahoo, etc.) searches? :]

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BRB: Currently at Coachella

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Coachella here I come! It's finally time for Weekend 2 of the highly anticipated arts & music festival. Follow me on my journey because I will be updating this post LIVE throughout the fest! I will do my best to keep this going throughout the three-day experience. Check in on the blog every few hours to see what updates I've made.

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coachella 2015

Related reading: Coachella Outfit Ideas

Thursday, April 21, 2016

+ 3:02 a.m - I'm up. I'm groggy but up.  Final packing moments then we're off to Indio!
3:51 a.m. - We're leaving San Diego!
+ 3:53 a.m. - Never mind. Now we're getting gas.
+ 4:10 a.m. - En route to Indio! 101 miles to go.
+ 5:51 a.m. The sun is starting to rise! I love those cotton candy skies. Just a few miles away now.
+ 6:10 a.m. We're in the car camping line! Yay!
+ 6:24 a.m. Just heard a girl ask her friend "wanna start drinking after I put my makeup on?" I'm too old for that. Haha.
+ 8:12 a.m. - The car camping line is moving; waiting to get checked by security. It's hot already.
+ 10:06 a.m. - We are almost done setting up camp. Our next-door camp mates offered us a nice cold beer which we accepted gratefully.
+ 11:23 a.m. Fred & I have been drinking water because it's already nearly 90°. Currently checking out the information booklet they gave us upon arrival. Free blowouts & updos at the Beauty Bar & Barber Shop y'all!!!!
+ 1:24 p.m. - Woke up from a much-needed nap & now walking & exploring the camp area.
+ 2:26 p.m. - Some girl rode past us on her bike saying "I hate you. I hate you. I hate you." & then squirted us with her watergun.
+ 6:48 p.m. - We just woke up from a second nap. It's been brutally hot so most of the day has been spent finding shade & drinking water. 
+ 8:18 p.m. - You have no idea how much more comfortable it is now that the sun has set & it's cooling off. Night & day difference. Literally. Currently making chili Ramen & we finally cracked open a beer.
+ 10:51 p.m. - Just found out about the recycling program on the campground so we might take up the offer of collecting cans & water bottles. We went to the activity center & charged our phones but now we're back to the campsite to wind down.

Friday, April 22, 2016

+ 12:35 a.m. - Enjoyed a couple hours with our neighbor & had some Jamison. Bedtime. 
+ 8:48 a.m. - We woke up & rejuvenated ourselves. Now eating breakfast which is eggs, veggie sausage, & broccoli with cauliflower.
+ 11:41 a.m. - We took an amazing shower using a bucket of water & soap.  It was so refreshing & necessary to rejuvenate ourselves after a very hot first day. We turned in our cans, so far we have 96. Currently getting ready to head out for the day.
+ 12:04 p.m. - Just entered the fest.
+ 12:43p.m. - We made it for Sheer Mag's set. I found an AIR CONDITIONED bathroom which was heavenly. Got Afters ice cream: Cookie Monster Milky Bun. Amazing.
+ 1:38 p.m. - Jackfruit nachos are a thing & they're delightful. Currently at the Frances show; she's lovely live.
+ 3:40 p.m. - All right all right all right. We saw Lapsley & she seriously rocked! Wow! We just finished watching the HEALTH set from up front at the barrier! Currently making a pitstop at our camp site to re-up on ice cold water & have our first beer of the day.
+ 11:59 p.m. - Oops time passed. We saw Foals, ASAP Rocky, Ellie Goulding, & LCD Soundsystem. We had lavender Earl Grey & double blueberry donuts. I told Fred I didn't think they were worth the price but he disagreed.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

+ 8:50 a.m. - We put our canopy back on. Hopefully, the wind won't be as terrible. We certainly saw our fair share of dead & damaged canopies. We're tidying up our tent & campsite. Fred's allergies are flaring up with all the dust & black boogies are definitely a thing for everyone. Our dry ice has been a miracle worker & kept our water & food nice & cold. Highly recommend.
+ 1:28 p.m. - We made some breakfast of eggs, refried beans, broccoli & cauliflower, veggie sausage, & a crappy homemade version of sorbet to cool us off. We took another campsite shower, bought some ice, & now we're trying to stay hydrated. It's 84° but feels much hotter.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

12:36 a.m. - I apologize for the lack of updates on Saturday but I was just enjoying the moment. Some of the highlights were: catching part of Deerhunter, AlunaGeorge, Vince Staples,  a bit of Grimes, vegan Jamaican food, Guns N Roses, Ice Cube who brought out Dr. Dre at & Kendrick Lamar. Such a good day.
+ 6:19 a.m. - Someone's alarm went on & hasn't been turned off in several minutes. Woke up & went outside. It's a joy to have some brisk temperatures in Indio, if only for a moment.
+ 7:38 a.m. - Hello from the Connected Lounge. I'm updating this on an ancient laptop; it should be in a museum. Charging our phones here as well.
+ 11:08 a.m. - We took a refreshing bath/shower this morning & made some breakfast. I got a piña colada smoothie & Fred💖 got an iced coffee from one of the camp vendors. Our next-door neighbor campers left this morning because their tickets were invalid because they were scammed. Very unfortunate.
+ 4:14 p.m. - Started off the day with De Lux then PRAYERS. Both were great. We caught Joywave then ate a churro.  Now Wolf Alice.
+ 7:48 p.m. - A wave of exhaustion hit me, so I'm back at the tent trying to take a little nap before Sia.

Stay psyched & read my Coachella posts from last year:

Revamping My Spring Wardrobe with thredUP

Monday, April 18, 2016

Here's a fact about me: I love a good bargain. You've probably heard me say that a countless amount of times, so it really shouldn't be that much of a surprise. But seriously, I'm all about functionality & affordability. That's why I was pretty excited when an opportunity to partner with thredUP* came about. ThredUp is an online store with like-new clothing from brands such as Michael Kors, Free People, Kate Spade, & more.

* Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. :]


I have to say, I was pretty darn thrilled to get six items for $60. Here's what I got: Zara Basic Casual Dress, High Sierra Short Sleeve Button-Down Shirt, Kohl's Kimono, Mustard Seed Casual Dress, Carrie Allen Long Sleeve Button-Down Shirt, & Erika Short Sleeve Button-Down Shirt.


I waited patiently for the polka dot box to arrive & when it did, I strolled excitedly to the mailbox, gently picked it up, ran home, & opened it immediately. Everything was packed carefully & quite cutely, I might add.


As with anything in life, some of these pieces fit me like a glove & others not so much. That's just what happens when you buy clothes online. I've come to accept that not everything is going to look spectacular on my body type. However, I can already tell which of these garments will be on high rotation in my wardrobe. 


The Carrie Allen Long Sleeve Button-Down Shirt called my name ever since I first spotted it online. I tried it on & fell in love with it even more. The palm tree embroidery & embellishments are nothing short of amazing.


ThredUP mixes cost-effective, like-new clothes with the added convenience of never even having to leave your home. That sounds pretty swell to me. I'm so happy to have some new versatile items to add to my wardrobe. Stay tuned for upcoming outfit of the day posts!

Get 21% off your thredUP order when you use promo code SKP21.

Have you heard of thredUP? Which is your favorite piece? :]

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* Disclaimer: I received compensation from thredUP in exchange for writing this post. As always, all opinions are 100% mine aka Carmen's. :]

The Tale of The Cellar in San Clemente

Friday, April 15, 2016

"Save room for dessert." Those words haunted me, tormented me. That foreboding phrase mocked me for weeks. Let me tell you the story: I entered The Cellar* & saw immediately spotted a hefty collection of wine perched on a wine rack as well as a refrigerated case of various cheeses. My boyfriend, Fred, accompanied me, so we found a seat & took a look at the menu.

the cellar, san clemente

We came in for lunch, served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., & eyed the menu for available vegetarian options. We took note of a couple items of interest. On the bottom of the page in a bold sans serif font read "Save room for dessert..." I didn't pay much attention to it at the time.

the cellar, san clemente


The Cellar is an American eatery & wine bar located in the coastal city of San Clemente, California. With adorable outdoor dining & an onsite cheese shop, the restaurant offers a friendly environment & unique view point for its guests.

the cellar, san clemente


The Cellar was pretty packed with most tables occupied. The exposed wooden ceilings & concrete tables supplied an industrial interior design vibe. There was a constant buzz of people chattering but not so loud that you had to ask your friends to repeat themselves.

the cellar, san clemente, latte art


I got a mocha to start off. It was perfectly chocolaty in a true cocoa powder way. It wasn't too sweet & I chose not to add any sugar. The mocha was delightful, although I found the enormous mug without a handle hard to drink out of. It felt like I was slurping my mocha out of a bowl.

the cellar, san clemente,cold brew iced coffee

Fred's cold brew iced coffee was slightly sweet, nice & creamy. It deceptively looked like a Coke with ice until you poured in the cream. A good old cold brew is the necessary pick-me-up for your morning or afternoon slump.

the cellar, san clemente

Holton, one of the chefs, personally brought out a cheese soufflé topped with chives & course salt for our tasting pleasure. Oh my gourd that thing was just a piece of heaven. The gooey cheese spread for a mile before it broke.

the cellar, san clemente, grilled cheese

We got the aged cheddar, gruyere, & sourdough grilled cheese with tomato soup. The cheese crusted on the edge of the bread, which I absolutely adore. The grilled cheese came highly recommended, but it wasn't a stand out for me. The roasted tomato soup was mildly sweet, somewhat reminiscent of marinara sauce.

the cellar, san clemente, gem wedge salad

Next up: the Gem Wedge salad with red onion, pickled egg, blue cheese, tomato, & green goddess dressing. What's green goddess dressing? I have no idea, but it was miraculous & enhanced the salad. The Gem Wedge was quite large, exploding with flavor. Fred said it was a lot better than he was expecting (he's not usually a salad fan).

the cellar, san clemente

As if that wasn't enough, we decided to go for the small cheese plate with three cheeses. It doesn't matter which size cheese plate you get, anything is a winner. They harmoniously paired cheese with a small complementary snack. My favorite was the d'affinois cheese with raw honey & almonds — a euphoric combination.

the cellar, san clemente, wine rack

Once we were on the brink of spontaneous combustion, a cook in white kept sneaking by & saying "get the dessert, get the dessert." Now I have the biggest sweet tooth — or sweet mouth, as it truthfully is — but we were so stuffed, the thought of one atom of dessert was too much to endure. I asked if I could take something to go but apparently it was served in a glass jar.

the cellar, san clemente

To this day I dream of their dessert, the fact I didn't try one. If only I had listened to the foreboding phrase of "save room for dessert" at the bottom of the menu. If only, if only. Maybe one day, maybe one day.

the cellar, san clemente


The Cellar is a hip place to grab a bite to eat with friends or family in San Clemente. I recommend starting off the morning at the farmer's market then heading to The Cellar for an early lunch. Begin with a mocha, which is perfectly acceptable at noon. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Share the small cheese plate & Gem Wedge Salad. Then make sure you save room for dessert.

You may find The Cellar: 
156 Avenida Del Mar
San Clemente, CA 92672
(949) 492-3663

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* Disclaimer: Everything was received complimentary from The Cellar. All opinions are 100% mine aka Carmen's. Learn more about my disclosure here. :]

The Very First Makeup Product I Ever Had

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I'm glad I was a child in the 90s & grew up in the early 2000s because so much has changed with the prevalence of social media. There's always the opportunity to compare yourself to others your age or in your field of work — beauty-wise, body-wise, success-wise.

When I was young I wasn't into makeup. I remember being a high schooler & I only occasionally dusted my visage with face powder because that was my idea of makeup. However, my first real genuine makeup product was given to me by my aunt. It was a slim black nameless tube of mascara. I have no idea what brand or what kind, all I know is that she brought it over from France. 

makeup product, california lifestyle blogger

I was quite intimidated by it too. I had no concept of mascara or how to apply it. It looked like an oddly shaped stick coated in thick, black goop. "I'm supposed to put this near my eyeball?" It seemed like something I would more than likely poke my eye out with.

It took me at least a couple months to finally utilize the scary thing, applying it with extreme caution & precision to my batting lashes. Although I likely applied one wimpy layer, it made me feel good. It made me feel grown-up, like an adult in charge. 

My first bout with mascara likely stimulated my ever-growing love of the stuff. I continue to search for that holy grail item. I recall contemplating why my aunt would supply me with such a gift, but I'm glad she did. She helped me venture out of my comfort zone, if only for a couple steps.

How about you? What was your very first makeup item? How did it make you feel? :]

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My Birthday Weekend + Thoughts on Turning 26

Monday, April 11, 2016

26. Yesterday was my birthday; I made it to the ripe age of 26. It's not as thrilling of a milestone as 18 when you're legally an adult or 21 when you can legally drink alcoholic beverages or even 25 when you can officially rent a car. As I mentioned in this post, aging is a blessing because it means that we're still alive, we're still kicking, we're still existing. Turning 26 is exciting & I wouldn't turn around the clocks or go back in time for anything. 

I had a fun & relaxed weekend. On Friday I joined my boyfriend & his coworkers for dinner at the Truckstop in Pacific Beach. Then we went on a romantic boat cruise on the Bahia Belle around the bay. We saw minnows & jellyfish & looked up at the cloudy, slightly starry skies. It was wonderful.

pink rose

On Saturday I felt a bit tired because we stayed up until 1 a.m watching The Food Truck Road Race the night before. Apparently, I'm getting old because I paid for it the whole next day; I was super fatigued. We started our Saturday at the gym then spent the day in bed — my favorite thing to do on a gloomy day. 

I sipped some coffee, got under the covers, & watched Netflix. Ah yes, pure bliss. We ordered pizza & had some beer to round off the night. Fred got me a gift card to Lush which was literally what I asked for. 

california lifestyle blogger, yellow deli

Then on Sunday, my actual birthday, we made some brunch with coffee. Fred's mom gave me a gorgeous bouquet of pink roses & we went to late lunch with my parents to the Yellow Deli. It was a partially cloudy afternoon with the bright blue sky peeking out in the background. We sat on the outside patio under the umbrellas, & it was a delight. 

All in all, I had a lovely weekend with loved ones. Sometimes we get caught up in birthdays or expectations or aging, but I found myself focusing on the joy of life & living. Here's to age 26 & what the rest of the year will bring.

How was your weekend? :]

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Debris || A Short Story About Expectations on Life & Careers

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Debris, debris, nothing but debris. Anna Rose's life felt like the streets after a California storm. Everything everywhere; nothing as it should be. Branches in the road with a haphazard pile of leaves on the side — a strange but alluring mess.

Anna Rose questioned her life choices. She wondered, she pondered, she thought. Some of life's biggest decisions aren't as easy as the adults had made it seem years prior. "Go to college. Get a job. It'll all work out." It wasn't that simple. It never is.

There she was two years after her graduation, working part-time as a server at a bustling restaurant & part-time doing freelance graphic design work. It was a beautifully dysfunctional marriage, graphic design & her, but the rest was frivolous. 

She arose every morning & poured herself an enormous mug of coffee, only to trek to work to serve coffee to someone else. Her life reminded her of the line that Rachel said in Friends: "Everyone I know is either getting married, or getting promoted, or getting pregnant, & I'm getting coffee!"

chevron floor, chevron pattern,

Time wasted, time thrown away, time that vanished like a puff of smoke in the air. Gone. With every passing day, Anna Rose felt increasingly restless. Every moment she spent at the restaurant, was a moment she couldn't focus on her goals: her dream of running her own graphic design & consulting company.

Debris, debris, debris. Anna Rose worried that her life was off track. Her inspiration lacked while her desperation grew more than a mass of mold in a long forgotten cup of tea. She felt like the weight of the universe hung heavily on her shoulders, but she put the pressure on herself.

Anna Rose took a moment to breathe. She was 24. She didn't have to have it all figured out. Vera Wang didn't begin her career as a designer until she was 40. J.K. Rowling was 32 when she first penned Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone. Amy Poehler began her comedy career in her late 20s. Anna Rose exhaled with a sigh of relief.

There is so much potential & hope out there; she just has to find it. Not everyone has their life figured out the moment they finish college & some never figure it out at all. Anna Rose let out her final tear of frustration & wiped it away.

Today she was going to pursue her vision & she wasn't going to let her age or her fear of rejection or her expectations on life & careers get in the way. Baby steps toward her goal. That's what she needed & that's what she did. It was never about finding the answer, it was about finding the path. 

Is your life how you thought it would be when you were a kid, a teen, a college student? Can you relate to Anna Rose? :]

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5 Things I'm Loving Right Now ♥

Friday, April 08, 2016

Why hello! It's another Friday which means it's another round of 5 Things I'm Loving Right Now ♥. I encourage you to delve deep inside your soul to see what you're loving. Something big? Something fun? Something seasonal? Join me. Let's spread positivity, light, & happiness!

california lifestyle blogger

Pure Joy

In the hustle & bustle of our daily lives, it's nice to just have those moments of pure joy. Sometimes it's the relief of finally catching up with your best friend or the moment of bliss when you try a really delicious dessert. It's extremely important to be aware of these moments because they are fleeting.

bird's nest cupcake

Bird's Nest Cupcake

Easter has come & gone but its pastels remain with us. I couldn't help but share this charming bird's nest cupcake I received. Isn't it delightful? I especially love the chocolate eggs with the crispy inside. Yay! Love those things.

spring blooms

Spring Blooms (Again)

Yes, yes. I know I mentioned spring blooms in my last 5 Things post, but I'm just so obsessed with them. They're everywhere & they're absolutely remarkable. I admire nature & the beauty she brings to the world.

lavendar candle, bblackbox

Lavender Candle*

As you probably are aware, I'm a fan of candles & equally as obsessed with lavender. Although I burn through candles relatively quickly, this adorably petite bblackbox lavender candle smells just as its name describes. The bits of genuine lavender help it stand out from the crowd.



I've been vegetarian for just about 10 years now & the vegetarian options have progressed miraculously over the years. When I spotted a sale on some of my favorite vegan-friendly faux meat alternatives, I couldn't resist stocking up on some Gardein products. I mean it; I really stocked up! Two products for $5?!?! That's unheard of. I like to add these to meals as a source of protein when I'm feeling like I need a little pizzazz.

What are you loving right now? :]

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* Disclaimer: I received the lavender candle from bblackbox as a PR sample. All opinions are 100% mine aka Carmen's. Learn more about my disclosure here. :]

7 Crime Dramas to Binge Watch on Netflix

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Brief weekends, those blissful few moments after work, or unfortunate sick days make for the perfect opportunity to spend hours binge watching crime dramas on Netflix. That's what I do anyway & I recommend for you too!

Crime dramas to binge watch on Netflix

Crime dramas open a new realm in the brain, causing you to think critically, analytically, & carefully. Who did it? What was their motive? If you're a crime & mystery lover like me, take a look at these seven crime dramas to binge watch on Netflix immediately.

1. CSI: Miami

I love the tropical, sunny scenery of this crime series set in Miami, Florida. This is probably due to the fact that it reminds me of San Diego & of course, most of the filming went on in Los Angeles. Fun fact: one episode was filmed at my alma mater Cal State Fullerton. CSI: Miami follows the Miami-Dade police department's Crime Scene Investigation unit, led by Lieutenant Horatio Caine. There's drama. There's romance. There's betrayal. There's murder.

2. Law & Order: SVU

Law & Order & its array subsequent spinoff series are obviously a very popular choice. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is my favorite other than Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Netflix leaves you out to dry because it begins the series on season 13, leaving you with a million questions & a lot of catching up to do. If you're like me, you just start watching season 13 anyway. The series picks up just as Detective Elliot Stabler left the show but Olivia Benson stars throughout the series.

3. Criminal Minds

These elite FBI profilers play their funky mind games in order to catch serial killers. They profile a criminal rather than the crime itself. The show is primarily set at the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico, Virginia. It's an engaging, engrossing show that you'll probably end up binge watching.

4. Bones

What's a crime drama series without Bones? Dr. Temperance Brennan is a forensic anthropologist with the ability & experience to read clues from victims' bones. Her skills come in handy once law enforcement asked her to help with investigations, pairing her up with Special Agent Seeley Booth. Love & humor & bones & crimes. Bones will give you a chuckle as well as satisfying your crime ridden sweet tooth.

5. Dexter

I was really into  Dexter back when I was still in university but lost my thunder due too its gruesome, repetitive brutality. Dexter Morgan is a Miami-based blood spatter expert. Not only does he help assist in solving murders but he commits them too. Dun dun dun! He considers himself a maker of justice for those who can't seem to get any.

6. Lie to Me

This is one of my favorite shows, & I blasted through everything Netflix had to offer. If anything, Lie to Me leaves you feeling slightly more knowledgeable with its emphasis on studying facial expressions, body language, & tone of voice to determine if a person is lying. It's a cool premise, unique compared to other crime dramas out there.

7. Numb3rs

Two brothers, a veteran FBI agent & a genius mathematician, use their skills to crack cases in Numb3rs. The series focuses equally on the brothers Don & Charlie Eppes as well as their father, Alan. Everyone pools their skills together to solve the crime, but Charlie's mathematical skills are the glue that holds the team together.

There are a million & a half crime dramas out there. This isn't an exclusive list, but it should get you through some weekends or sick days or generally lazy days. Cheers to fighting crime from the comfort of your own bed — you still get a thrill without having to get dressed. Now that's a perfect date to me.

What are some of your favorite crime dramas to binge watch on Netflix? Have you seen any of these? :]

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My Gingivectomy Experience & Recovery

Monday, April 04, 2016

I'm drooling, lying on the couch, eating a liquidy black bean soup, watching CSI: Miami on Netflix while the left side of my mouth is completely & utterly numb. How did it get here? What's going on? Well, let me fill you in.

DAMN YOU WISDOM TEETH! There I said it. Some of you may have experienced a wisdom teeth extraction. It's a pretty standard procedure to get them taken out since many of us don't have enough room in our mouths to keep them. If you do, you're lucky! The wisdom teeth are technically your third & final set of molars; they usually pop up in your teens & 20s. 

I got my wisdom teeth removed about three years ago. I had three of them. My recovery was relatively easy. Of course, there was a bit of discomfort & some aching. I slurped on some soft foods & liquids, relaxed & let it all heal. There were no issues. Now fast forward three years.

What is a gingivectomy? 

The gums where my wisdom teeth were & my current molars are decided to heal up stupidly, causing infections & other issues. My dentist recommended getting the extra gum tissue removed. So I did. The surgery is called a gingivectomy, where excess gum tissue is removed to reduce diseased tissue & pockets that trap bacteria. I split the gingivectomy into two procedures because it was more most cost-effective through insurance. I already did my right side a couple months ago. Now for my left side.

Gingivectomy Survival Kit

You'll need:
- Neosporin
- Q-Tips
- Face Ice Pack
- Soup
- Advil &/or Tylenol
- Reading pillow
- Aura Cacia Chill Pill essential oil blend


Day 1

The procedure took about an hour. They applied a topical numbing cream & then injected me with something to ensure my gums were totally senseless. All I felt was a slight pinch. I was awake during the procedure & kept my eyes closed most of the time. It's pretty freaky to open your eyes & watch people with a scalpel hack away in your mouth. I could feel the tension of the scalpel on my teeth as they removed excess gums.

Now I'm lying in bed eating soup & avoiding chewing anything on my left side. My mouth is still numb but the feeling will go away in a couple hours. Today is all about icing my mouth & just resting & recuperating.

Day 2

For the first 24 hours after the operation, I'm supposed to ice my left cheek with an ice pack for 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off. I didn't strictly follow this. Every four to six hours, I took two Advil & a Tylenol as ordered. I followed the pain-relieving guidelines after my numbness subsided & the aching came through. At night, instead of taking the Advil/Tylenol combination, I took two Tylenol PMs. Always read the label!

Oh my lord. My jaw is sore. I can open barely my mouth to a third of its capacity.

FYI: During my first procedure I received a cut right at the corner of my mouth/lips during the stitching part. Apparently, this is called angular cheilitis; thanks for the info Google. Any movement seemed to open the wound & keep it cracked. My advice to you is to specifically request for them to lubricate your mouth & lips to avoid this error in the future. I asked for Vaseline twice during my second procedure & this absolutely helped.

Since I woke up with an incredibly sore mouth, I did the Advil/Tylenol combination & iced my cheek. I felt better after a couple of hours. Today I'm supposed to do a warm saltwater rinse instead of the 15-minute icing intervals. I did a rinse in the morning & in the afternoon.


Day 3

I didn't take any pain medication today. I'm a little sore but nothing I can't survive. I'm sticking to mashed foods, soft foods, & soups because I can't chew on my left side.

Day 4

My gums are doing well. I did a saltwater rinse. Even though I'm not actively trying, I can feel the stitches in my mouth. As ordered, I've been using the Peridex solution every day & night on the gums rather than brushing them. Other than that I brush my teeth as usual, simply avoiding the affected area.

Day 5

My mouth & gums barely hurt at all! Yay! I can somewhat chew.

Day 6

My stitches are coming out. My jaw feels funky though. I think it's a bit sore from being open during the procedure & having to exclusively eat with my right side.

Days 7 - 10

Everything is almost back to normal. There's only a mild sensation of awkwardness in my jaw & gums.

Day 14

I feel back to normal. I visited the periodontist today & he said everything looks great. There's a bit of swelling & healing left, so he wants me to come back in two weeks. My tip to those who are getting a gingivectomy: if you're healing well, schedule your checkup 3 - 4 weeks from your initial procedure to allow time to heal, so you don't have to keep come in multiple for a 5 minute check up. 


Day 21

I came in again & my periodontist said everything looks great & my gums are healing appropriately. He wants me to visit for a final check-up in six weeks. 

Day 32

I went to the dentist today & the dental hygienist could tell which side was most recently done. I obviously can't see that far into my mouth. It's interesting that although I don't feel any particular discomfort, it's evident that the tissues inside my mouth take time to recuperate 100%.

Final Thoughts

I hope this helps anyone who's considering a gingivectomy. At the time, everything felt sore & achy & I couldn't wait for that feeling to go away. Now I can feel a big difference in my mouth & know it's going to help my gums & teeth in the long run.

Have you had your wisdom teeth removed? :]

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March: My Month from A - Z

Friday, April 01, 2016

Well, well, well. Here we are. It's April — my birth month, the epitome of spring, the fourth month of 2016. As each day passes, I approach turning 26. I've come to enjoy birthdays. They're nothing to be afraid of. It's an honor to age & to be alive. There are people I went to school with or worked with who did not make it to the same age as me; they perished before being able to do so. Here's to relishing life as it comes & to remembering March!

View my January & my February.

Avocado - Avocados are simply a miraculous fruit. They're hearty, healthy, & so versatile. I'm currently loving avocado toast or even a couple slices of avocado with dinner.

Birthday - My boyfriend's birthday was in the beginning of March. It's exciting to look back over the years to see what's changed & how to keep moving forward.

Cinnamon - I put cinnamon on & in almost everything, especially my morning oatmeal. It gives food a little bit more pizzazz. 

Dogs - Dogs are the best. They're fluffy & friendly & some of the best beings on this planet. They always give me the biggest smile because they love unconditionally. Yay for dogs!

birds in the sky

Exploration - The act of going somewhere a new, investigating a place you've yet to explore is an experience unlike anything else. You don't even have to go far. Simply walk outside of your house & see what's around. It's that simple!

Farmer's Market - I mentioned farmer's markets in my last 5 Things I'm Loving Right Now ♥  because I'm really digging them. From all the comments, it seems like you guys do too!

Gifts - Out of nowhere, unexpected gifts are seriously so heartwarming. That's all I have to say about that.

carlsbad flower fields, california lifestyle blogger, california fashion blogger

Hats - Alright, so the Southern California sun is ready for its appearance. The days are warmer & the clouds freckling the sky are less frequent. Hats & sunscreen are especially imperative as spring & summer arrive.

Ideas - It seems like I'm brimming with ideas but don't have enough time to execute them. Oh life.

Jellybeans - I rarely have jellybeans or anything of that nature, so it was a bit of a fun & unique experience to have a bit of a jellybean tasting with my friend. Pear is the best!

Keepsakes - I am a sucker for souvenirs & not even the ones that you buy. Sometimes I collect little notes or mementos, a present from different experiences like a pressed flower from my trip or a bottle cap from my first beer in Belgium.

Laughter - At the end of a long & stressful day of social media strategy, meetings, planning for events or posts, I need a little bit of laughter. Laughter throughout the day is even better to lift my spirits.

Mascara - Aside from lipstick, mascara is one of my go-to makeup products. I feel that much more complete after I put a coat or two on.

happy spring

Nowruz - The Persian new year just passed in celebration of the start of spring. I went to a gathering with my family & enjoyed lots of Persian food & Persian music. It reminded me of my younger days when I used to attend events like this every year.

Oil Change - My little car needed an oil change & the wait was about four hours. This definitely wasn't the most exciting moment of my month but it was part of my month nonetheless.

Pastels - With the arrival of spring comes the prevalence of pretty pastels. I'm loving a light lavender at the moment. So lovely.

Quality - The older I get the more I'm into quality versus quantity — quality of clothing, quality of blog posts, quality of friends. I wish I understood this when I was younger.

Rosemary Garlic Bread - Nothing beats a freshly baked loaf of bread, except buying one that you didn't have to labor over yourself. The rosemary garlic bread had gargantuan pieces of garlic, which seemed intimidating at first but ended up tasting superb.

San Clemente - You can read all about my various San Clemente endeavors here & here; I had a great mini vacation in the cute, coastal town.

carlsbad flower fields

The Flower Fields - I am so thrilled about the Flower Fields in Carlsbad. If you're in the San Diego area during springtime this is the place to visit. The flowers are ridiculous.

Uniform - I'm narrowing down my closet & sticking to pieces that are extremely versatile, pieces I can get a lot of wear out of. A capsule wardrobe sounds more & more like a good idea. 

Vocal - Don't be afraid to voice your opinion. Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself or for what is right in your mind.

Water - Shout out to water — the life force of all humans, animals, & beings on earth (& possibly elsewhere).

hotel bed

Xenodocheionology - What the heck is xenodocheionology? The definition is: the love of hotels, motels, & inns. I love the peacefulness & intrigue of staying in a hotel. I'm adoring it more since I find myself yearning for getaways.

Yes - Just say "yes" a little bit more often. Say yes to things you normally wouldn't do — events that you're scared of, trips that seem too far, interviews that intimidate you. You'll see the growth once you start saying yes more.

Zitella - I did a bit of vocabulary searching to make sure my months from A - Z was complete & found the word zitella, which means a woman who's not married. That's me!

How was your March? Are you a zitella? :]

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