A goal I set for myself during the 100 Happy Days Challenge was to reach out to other bloggers in the community. I’m not the best at making new friends, but luckily for me, the blogger community is a welcoming, amazing place for people from all over the world to meet and share their lives. Finding time to comment, tweet, and post as much as I’d like has been tough, but it’s so nice to know there are other bloggers out there who go through the same lulls.
One blogger I’ve gotten to know a little better over the past few months is Mariko Budziak of Budziak Beauty. She was one of my first readers, and her blog was one of the first I started reading on a regular basis when I started my own blog. Her blog is a great resource for beauty reviews, especially for those of us who are on a drugstore budget! I’ve gone back to her makeup reviews over and over again, especially when I don’t want to drop too much money on new trends. She also posts some fun DIY projects (like this Kate Spade-inspired vase), recipes, and office-friendly OOTD posts!
So, in an attempt to open up to other bloggers out there, Mariko and I decided to do a gift swap. We set the budget at $20, though I’m not sure either of us stuck to it (we tried!). I had a blast putting together my package for Mariko – I kind of forgot how much I like gift-giving!
I started out by finding this adorable tote at Target to hold everything. It’s the perfect size to carry a few little things to the beach, or take shopping. If I were a smarter woman, I would have gotten one for myself!
Since we both decided to fill our packages with things that make us happy, I decided to keep mine in the theme of my perfect evening at home. So I filled the bag with my favorite bedtime beauty products, like the cutest rose-scented Vaseline jar ever created, Maybelline Color Show nail polish in Pink Shock, Organix Penetrating Oil for hair, and Neutrogena Hand Cream. These are all things I have sitting on my nightstand, and have been using every night for the past few months. I also threw in a lilac scented candle (my favorite scent), jasmine green tea, a good girly magazine, and some Cadbury Creme Eggs because a good night isn’t complete without some chocolate (and it was close to Easter when I mailed this out). Again, I’m an idiot and didn’t get any Cadbury eggs for myself…haha…but if I remember correctly I picked one up at the grocery store later that week. 🙂
A few weeks later, a package arrived at my door on a particularly cloudy and rainy day. I was so excited to open it up and see what was inside, but it showed up right as I was leaving to spend the evening with my nephews – so I had to wait to open it until the next morning. That whole evening was pure torture, let me tell you!
Mariko is far better at wrapping things than I am – it’s like my birthday came a couple months early this year! I’m such a nerd about opening gifts – the more packaging, the more fun!
Let’s start off with the beauty products. I’ve had a chance to try them all out, and I have to say they’re all amazing. My favorite so far is the lip color, which is the perfect rosy pink shade…and it lasts forever, which is great for someone whose job involves hours of talking, and not much time for touch-ups! The one I was most surprised about was the Lush bath bombs. I’ve never tried these before, and I’m not much of a bath person – but the smell of these was enough to change my mind. I used the smaller one, and it made for a nice, relaxing bath – until the bathtub started leaking (sigh…apartment living). So while I’ll have to hold on to the bigger one until we move to a place where I can take a shower without it leaking into the laundry room…I have to say I was impressed at how smooth my skin was afterward! Mariko has gushed about the BB Cream before, and I was curious to try it out as well. It’s a tad dark for my face now (I’m super, super pale), but I think once I can get some sun it’ll be perfect – not too heavy, and the coverage is pretty good.
Of course, no package of happy things is complete without some candy! Mariko is half Ukrainian, half Japanese, so she sent me some of her favorite Japanese candy. The Gummy Choco was pretty much gone the first day I had it (they’re so addictive), and the rest of it was a great treat over the next week or two. I haven’t had Pocky in many years (I used to get it when it was in the store in college, which wasn’t often), and it was a great throwback to my younger college days!
Continuing on, Mariko also sent me some adorable post-it notes, which is perfect because I’m an organizational freak (she gets me). The pineapple drink mix has been in heavy rotation lately, too, especially on very hot days! I haven’t tried out the grow kits yet, but that’s because we’re moving soon and I think I’ll wait until later to bust those out. They look easy enough for me to handle, especially in an apartment!
By far my favorite thing was the last one I opened. Remember how I said Mariko did a DIY post where she made her own version of a gold-dotted Kate Spade vase? She made me a coffee mug using the same pattern!
Since it’s not dishwasher safe (and I don’t trust D. to remember that), it houses candy on my desk. It’s so pretty, and I might try my hand at making some of my own for friends and family for gifts in the future!
Thank you so much, Mariko, for sharing your favorite things with me! This has been the best part of the challenge so far!
If you haven’t already, definitely check out Mariko’s blog, Budziak Beauty. It’s one of the best drugstore beauty blogs out there!
You can also check out her blog post about the Happy Packages gift swap here: http://budziakbeauty.com/happy-package