Sam's Ramblings

Due to my personality, I love supporting small business and women owned business. I found Switch2Pure ,an organic beauty retailing compan...


Due to my personality, I love supporting small business and women owned business. I found Switch2Pure,an organic beauty retailing company , through their pop up store in the River Oaks District (located in Uptown Houston). I did some research and the company is founded by a woman with the mission to providing organic beauty solutions and a wellness approach to life. Many of the products, I found, are reasonably priced. Just like any other store, there are higher priced items that might not be budget friendly, but my focus for this post is a few of the more budget friendly items that I am trialing. If you are looking for organic beauty products, this company's site is definitely the place to check out. 




ECO.Face Vitamin C Serum



It should come as no surprise that I'm trialing a vitamin C serum since vitamin C has been known to help with pigmentation issues and overall brighten the skin. I struggle with acne scarring on my face so I asked what would be the best product to try and was pointed to this. 

Product Type: Serum 
Product Price: $26.00
Product Promises: "A powerful Vitamin C serum filled with rich antioxidants and natural anti-aging ingredients like rosehip, milk thistle and sea-buckthorn-that also help reduce pigmentation and redness, while boosting elasticity, hydration and cell rejuvenation, leaving the skin more even-toned, smoother and glowing."
Product Usage: 15 Days
Product Findings:  My skin definitely feels hydrated, even after just the first two days of usage, so I would say that promise is verified. As for pigmentation and redness reduction, I would say it's a work in progress because I don't think there is anything that works for pigmentation in under a month's time. I will say I've noticed my skin overall looks healthier so the serum is doing its job, just needs time to work. I'll check back in on my thoughts in another few weeks.






After my first purchase of the above vitamin C serum, I began looking online for other items that might be budget friendly but useful. I had just run out of The Body Shop's tea tree oil so I looked for acne solutions. I found this little gem which has tea tree oil as part of its mix. The next time I was at the District I picked this up. Check out this brand's products here.

Product Type: Serum 
Product Price: $10.00
Product Promises: "Hello clear skin good-bye blemish. This mild but effective roller ball calms the break out and helps prevent scarring."
Product Usage: 9 Days
Product Findings:  My skin was pretty much clear when I got this but a few days after putting it on some problem spots that had started to go away, three new problems popped up. I have to say this doesn't sting like pure tea tree oil does so that's a plus. It's been calming my spots but I cannot attest to its ability to help fight scarring because it's too soon to tell if it has done anything in that regard. Overall, if you have sensitive skin, this might be something to try. 


Honey Belle Detox Mask (Coconut Rose)


I love face masks! I think I own over five at any given time because I use different ones for different problems. I also use face masks frequently, at least three days a week! The struggle of having problematic hormones and skin is so very real. While I was browsing the popup store I came across this and figured why the heck not. 

Product Type: Mask
Product Price: $14.00
Product Promises: "This Detox Mask is a fun DIY way to keep your skin looking young. SP2 loves that the mask leaves the face with a glow and bentonite clay has been used for centuries to help pull out toxins from the skin."
Product Usage: 9 Days (used twice)
Product Findings:  I have used this product twice and both times I noticed this doesn't leave my face feeling stiff. That's a big change from other clay masks I've used. It should be noted that this is a powder and requires you to add water and mix it before using. I thought that was kind of fun and different since all my masks are usually pre-made and I'm just applying them. Overall, I will continue to use this mask but I didn't see a major, oh my God difference in my face after two uses. I will see how I feel in about a month's time. 

Since June of this year I've been paying for a Spotify subscription. I started this because a lot of the songs I was listening to on Sp...

Since June of this year I've been paying for a Spotify subscription. I started this because a lot of the songs I was listening to on Spotify I didn't have downloaded into my phone and I was headed to Italy on a long plane ride. I also like being able to skip songs and play specific songs at any given moment regardless if I'm using my computer, my iPad or my phone. No, I'm not getting endorsed by Spotify, I'm just relaying how I tend to listen to my music-especially at work. 

The songs below are from varying countries, languages, artists and genres. I bounce around on what I'm listening to but I've been listening to a lot of K-Pop lately. I hope I inspire you to listen to some new stuff and maybe you'll fall in love with some artists you didn't know prior to reading this. 

 As a side note, here are my two most used playlists on Spotify if you want to see other music I didn't list here! 






Eric Nam
  • I Don't Miss You
  • Don't Call Me
  • 4 AM
  • Good For You - International Version
  • Honestly
  • Float
  • Body
  • Lose You

Blackpink
  • Really
  • Kiss and Make up (ft. Dua Lipa)
  • Stay
  • Boombayah
  • So Hot

Red Velvet
  • Dumb Dumb
  • Bad Boy (English Version)

Henry
  • That One
  • It's You
  • Monster (English Version) 

Jay Park
  • Dank
  • V
  • I Don't Disappoint
  • Demon
  • Sexy 4 Eva
  • I Got This
  • Me Like Yuh
  • Give It To Me (Ft. Crush, Simon Dominic)

NCT (127, U)
  • Regular (English Version)
  • Baby Don't Stop

DEAN
  • I'm Not Sorry
  • Put My Hands on You 

EXO
  • Baby Don't Cry
  • Universe 
  • Call Me Baby

Charlie Puth
  • Dangerously
  • The Way I Am
  • Patient
  • If You Leave Me Now (Ft. Boyz II Men)

Cash Cash
  • Finest Hour

J Balvin
  • Familiar (Ft. Liam Payne)
  • X (Ft. Nicky Jam)
  • Machika
  • Mi Gente 

Luis Fonsi
  • Calypso 
  • Despacito
  • Echame La Culpa

Juanes
  • Pa Dentro
  • Es Tarde

Drake
  • MIA (Ft. Bad Bunny)
  • In My Feelings

Halsey
  • Eastside
  • Without Me

Email is the communication method of choice in the business world. Anyone who blogs, works in any business environment or has attended any k...

Email is the communication method of choice in the business world. Anyone who blogs, works in any business environment or has attended any kind of school understands the importance of the almighty email. I'm going to share some funny email fails I've noticed since starting my job in Houston 1.5 years ago. I hope everyone laughs but also takes away a very important thing, read through every email you send out before sending it to avoid having an email fail!



1. Wrong Name? - On the receiving end, I have sent emails to vendors and clients alike with my signature clearing writing out my name as Samantha to get a response with them calling me "Stephanie" or some other S name. This shows the person wasn't paying much attention and can cause someone to feel offended. You didn't take the time to read who sent you the email before responding? Was the email that unimportant to you? Make sure you use the correct name when responding or sending an email and spell it correctly.

2. Asking What Was Already Answered - This is where I use "As per my last email" more than not. If you have questions about the email you're reading, read through it at least three times because most of those questions will be answered once you are able to process the email instead of just trying to respond and get it out of your inbox. Now, if the email is really confusing or leaves room for questions, definitely ask them.

3. Wrong Person? - Have you ever meant to send an email to someone but sent it to someone else? Yeah, it happens. This actually happened to me when I was sending an in-office email to alert the office that I had brought in cookies. One of my vendors has the first name as one of the office staff and I didn't check which email my Outlook contacts grabbed before sending the email. Luckily, it wasn't anything serious like trade secrets and my vendor said she'd stop by to grab one. More times than not, we have so much going on we forget to double-check what we are doing and it could end badly unlike my situation.

4. Misspelling Gone Wrong - This can go both ways with misspelling. There are people who use the wrong "your" and then there are people who misspell something that still makes a word but makes for an awkward email. For instance, before my assistant left, she was responding to an email of someone who's last name was Dickinson. Instead of writing Dickinson, she Dick. While I laughed, it was really embarrassing for her. On another note, I've seen lots of emails flying between vendors and my company where someone using the wrong "your" or "there" and it messes up the entire email. It takes me a minute to realize the person used the wrong one and then I have to reread it. Remember to reread everything before you hit send. It really can save you a headache, from embarrassment and from someone viewing you as less than professional.

Birth control is such an interesting thing because more than half of the population that can use it doesn't really understand it. This c...

Birth control is such an interesting thing because more than half of the population that can use it doesn't really understand it. This comes from several dozen reasons including religious beliefs, family structure, societal pressures and misinformation all over the internet. I figured it was time I put my two cents into this topic to hopefully give some thoughtful insight, especially for those who are considering the usage of it. 



Types 

  1. Pill - Everyone has heard of the pill form of birth control. It's probably the picture that pops into most people's head once they hear the word birth control. There are loads of brands and types of birth control pills. The standard structure is to regulate the menstrual cycle which helps with avoiding the issues of pregnancy. There are pills that have low dosage hormones, high dosage, mixed hormones and just pure "female" hormones as well as pills that offer only four times a year menstruating.  
  1. Ring - The ring is a low dosage form of birth control that is inserted by the user, similar to using a tampon. The ring is low dosage and requires it to be refrigerated until use. Note that is can "come out" during intercourse but, if you place in far enough inside, you shouldn't have any issues. If you're used to using tampons, you won't even notice while you have it in and it doesn't impact you doing intercourse but minimally, if at all. 
  1. Shot - For a three month effective usage, there is the birth control shot. It works much like the ring and pills but requires a doctor's appointment and one shot lasts three months. 
  1. Implant - The first implant option gets implanted into your arm by a doctor. This, like an IUD, is a longer term solution as it can be effective for up to five years. 
  1. IUD - The final birth control option is the IUD. This has two options, a hormone option and one without hormones (copper). Both options require a doctor's visit as the doctor is the one who needs to insert it. On average, the hormonal option last three to six years and the copper option last five to ten. 


Uses


  1. Stabilize Hormones - Since almost all birth control options have hormones, it makes sense that adjusting and stabilizing hormones would be a use for it. People who suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome use birth control for this purpose, myself included.
  1. Prevent Pregnancy - The main reason everyone thinks over 50% of women are on birth control, to avoid unwanted or unexpected pregnancies. It is an awesome perk because, let's be real, why can't women enjoy sex, too?
  1. Lighten Periods - Many people experience shorter and light flow periods when starting birth control, any kind. I am a living example of this as my period would normally last six to seven days and the first five days I would bleed like someone slit an artery. Now, after using birth control, my period lasts between three and five days and only day one is heavy. 
  1. Ease Menstrual Pain - It would be logical to think if the flow of the period is lighter the pain is less, yeah? Birth control is known, but it's not a guarantee, to ease cramping pain. Personally, it's made mine bearable so I don't need strong prescription drugs anymore to tolerate it. 
  1. Combat Acne - Acne tends to be a direct result of hormones rather than having a dirty face and/or body (yes, body acne impacts people, too). A few of my friends would get cystic back acne and once they started birth control, that went away. 
  1. Regulate Menstruation - Some females suffer from "sporadic" or not consistent periods from timing to length. Birth control restructures that and gives you one every month, unless you take the four times a year kind, and makes it a consistent length. It's nice for the people who were never regular.

Side Effects 

  • Weight Gain/Loss 
  • Acne 
  • Smell Sensitivity 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Headaches 
  • Vaginal Discharge 
  • Very Serious Issues (Blood Clots, Stroke, Heart Attack)

Misconceptions

  • Pregnancy cannot happen while taking or on birth control.
  • Birth control is only for avoiding pregnancy. 
  • Women who are on birth control are sluts/whores who just want to sleep with a lot of guys without having babies. 
  • Birth control is not essential to leading a healthy life. 

Spending two weeks in Italy was intense but I'm glad I was able to go. Not everyone has the luxury to travel for such an extensive lengt...

Spending two weeks in Italy was intense but I'm glad I was able to go. Not everyone has the luxury to travel for such an extensive length of time, especially to European countries when coming from the States. I thought it would be cool to share my views on what I liked seeing and eating. 



Florence 
Favorite Sites - Piazzale Michelangelo and Pitti Palace 


Favorite Dish - I had the best pesto pasta I have ever eaten in my life while in Florence. I was so excited and pretty much inhaled all the pasta. 

Venice 
Favorite Sites - St. Mark's Square and Rialto Bridge 



Favorite Dish - Honestly, I'm going to sound like an alcoholic but the Hugo Spritz was the best thing ever, I even learned to make it once I landed in the States. This drink and the Spritz originated in Venice.



Naples
Favorite Sites - I saw so much that it was hard to narrow down but I found seeing the volcano that would ruin thousands of lives from the coast of Naples was probably the coolest thing ever.



Favorite Dish - The spaghetti bolognese was amazing. Naples has the richest and most potent red pasta sauce, in this case gravy. This is what I'm used to eating and I was in heaven. Get red pasta sauce or gravy while in Naples, it's to die for. 



Rome
Favorite Sites - Rome is literally like walking through history which is probably the coolest part about the city. It has old and new mixed together so seamlessly it's insane. My favorite sites include the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Fountain on Piazza di Spagna. The Arch of Costantine and St. Peter's Basilica were right up at the top, as well. 


Favorite Dish - I spent the most time in Rome so I had plenty to choose from but the best dish I had while in Rome was the meat ravioli. I don't care for ravioli normally but this place made really good meat ravioli so it takes the cake for best dish I ate while in Rome.


Herculaneum 
Favorite Sites - Herculaneum is the smaller of the cities that was destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius. Pompeii has songs and movies written about it but poor Herculaneum gets ignored. The cool part is how small the city is, you can walk it all in a day, and how well preserved it is. I can say I've been inside of ruins of a city that is almost two thousand years old. It's crazy to put that into perspective and I highly recommend seeing Herculaneum instead of Pompeii. 
(On my Instagram)

Does anyone remember being 12,13 or 14 and thinking how great being an adult is? The idea of being an adult was something amazing and...


Does anyone remember being 12,13 or 14 and thinking how great being an adult is? The idea of being an adult was something amazing and incredible but, as an adult, I've seen a different reality at times. I've come up with a short list of all the realities of being an adult that really can make it suck. 

1. Bills - Do you know what's fun about bills? They come every month. They don't stop, unless it's like a credit card which stops when you pay off the balance. Most bills like rent and car insurance don't ever stop so that sucks. It literally feels like you just paid that bill when it's time to, yet again, pay it next month. It's a vicious cycle really. You make money but you watch it go towards bills. 

2. Responsibilities - This ties to bills but as an adult you're responsible for everything that involves you. You have to make all your doctor appointments, pay for your health insurance, handle leftover balances for what your insurance doesn't cover, budget appropriately to go out/on vacation/shopping and remembering to pay all your bills on time. Responsibilities grow as you are in a relationship (whether that means living together and/or marriage), have children and/or have animals. These pile up and sometimes they really do suck.

3. Making Friends - Do you remember your schools days? It was relatively simple to make friends. As an adult it's almost like meeting a unicorn. The place you spend the most time is work but making work friends is hard because so many people are not genuine and will use anything they can to get ahead. I think making friends is probably one of the hardest and most irritating things about being an adult.
 
4. Working - The one thing I miss about being in college is the breaks! Summer and Winter break don't exist unless you're a teacher or work in some type of education institution. That makes up less than 45% of the workforce, in case you were wondering.   

5. Dating - As an adult dating can really suck because you spend so much of your time working which means meeting people you don't work with is hard. You can turn to online dating but many of us have seen and heard the horror stories of Bumble, Tinder and even Match. High school and college were the best times to date and find a good partner because you're constantly socializing and meeting people. As an adult you have to try and "schedule" time which results usually in nights in or meeting partners more interested in one-night stands that actual dates and conversation. 

It's no secret that I have a sweet tooth so I figured, while I'm out and about in Houston, I would keep tabs on spots to share! I t...

It's no secret that I have a sweet tooth so I figured, while I'm out and about in Houston, I would keep tabs on spots to share! I think I'll start a series of food posts about Houston with regards to other dessert places, bars and restaurants. I love food and sharing good food is always a plus in my book. 


(On my Instagram)

1. Stacked Ice Cream - There are two locations, Katy and Sugar Land. I went to the one in Sugar Land. The Sugar Land location is near the University of Houston's Sugar Land location.
The loves: awesome flavor options, great creative and traditional options and reasonable price.
The dislikes: NONE!
What I had: One scoop of birthday cake remix and one scoop of jasmine milk tea on a waffle cone with rainbow sprinkles.
Rating on a scale of 1-5: 5
Pricing: Average (It won't break the bank)


(On my Instagram)

2. Honey Art Cafe - There is only one at the moment and it's located on Shepherd Drive. 
The loves: The ambiance, the decor, the taste of my purchase. 
The dislikes: Somewhat limited menu.
What I had: Egg waffle with vanilla ice cream, chocolate pocky sticks, bananas and a macaroon (honestly, I don't remember the flavor but it tasted good).  
Rating 1-5: 4
Pricing: Average (It won't break the bank)



3. Mango Hut - This only has one location and it's off of Highway 6 in Houston, near Sugar Land. 
The loves: The taste, the options and location. 
The dislikes: NONE!
What I had: I had an original egg waffle (you can pick from original, green tea and chocolate) with green tea ice cream, strawberry pocky sticks and sprinkles. 
Rating 1-5: 5
Pricing: Average (It won't break the bank)


(On her Instagram)

4. The Ice Barn -This only has one location and it's in Old Sugar Land off of Alternate 90.
The loves: The almost insane amount of flavor options, the price and the taste.
The dislikes: The closing time. This is only open until 8 p.m.! 
What I had: Passion fruit ice.
Rating 1-5: 4
Pricing: Cheap (Think like 90s prices for things, amazing!)


(On my Instagram)

5. River Oaks Donuts - There is only one location and it's on Westheimer in the Galleria area. 
The loves: The assortment of donuts, the taste of the donuts and that everything is made in the shop. 
The dislikes: The closing time, it is only open 6 am - 2 pm. I crave donuts at like 3 pm and end up signing. 
What I had: White frosted donut with fruity pebbles 
Rating: 4
Pricing: Average 





It's no secret that I enjoy reading, but I also enjoying watching interesting television shows. Lately, I've been pulled towards ...


It's no secret that I enjoy reading, but I also enjoying watching interesting television shows. Lately, I've been pulled towards Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean Dramas. This is a list of what I've thoroughly enjoyed watching.



1. Scarlet Heart Ryeo (Korean) - This show walked me into Period Dramas and made sure I fell in love with them. The actors all did well in portraying their characters which is a major plus because some of the villains were so easy to absolutely hate thanks to the great acting. The lead male and female couple has incredible chemistry and I ended up liking the male lead actor so much I watched several shows just because he acts in them. The drama is a roller coaster of emotions which attests to the acting and script.

2. General and I (Chinese)- This is a Chinese Period Drama which is based on a novel. The female lead is a brilliant military tactician who ends up falling in love with the "enemy." The story has some of the best lead characters I've ever watched. Both are extremely intelligent, crafty and loyal. The show spans over 45 episodes so there is a lot of movement, action and some serious angst.

3. The King's Woman (Chinese) - This is yet another Chinese Period Drama but it's based around a Chinese emperor who sought to unite the kingdoms in China and was known for being a coldblooded killer. The show gives this emperor a multi-dimensial platform to where it is clear he is ruthless and cunning but also capable of genuine feelings, as well. The female lead is, as I've noticed I'm drawn to, emotionally and physically strong and capable. This isn't a fluffy tale but I promise it's extremely interesting.

4. The Bride of the Water God (Korean) - I saw many reviews on this show which were not so good but I'm glad I ignored them and watched the show. The male lead, the Water God, is from Scarlet Heart Ryeo. This is originally why I even considered watching the show because I liked the male lead's acting ability. This storyline centers on the Water God who is arrogant and believes humans to be less than him and a human who is from a long line of servants of the Gods. The show is comical because of all the mishaps, misunderstandings and clashing of personalities. There is depth given to the show so it isn't what I would call a light-hearted romantic comedy but the angst level isn't a 10/10, either.

5. Ice Fantasy (Chinese) - This is a Fantasy drama which is based off of a book. All of the actors are fantastic, the one male lead is the same lead from Prince of Lan Ling. This show has action, drama, magic and romance. The major plot line runs along the Fire Tribe's hatred of the Ice Tribe and all the Ice Tribe's princes must do to ensure peace among the realms and stop the Fire Tribe. Each character has a strong presence and depth which makes the show even more interesting to see.



6. The Princess Weiyoung (Chinese) - Without a doubt, this is one of the best shows I've ever watched. This Period Drama made me cry more than I should ever cry over a television show. This is a bittersweet show where there is happiness sprinkled into the mix of angst, tragedy and sadness that makes up The Princess Weiyoung. The lead female actress and male actor are superb. I've seen them in other shows and love almost anything I watch with them because of their acting abilities. The female lead is cunning, loyal, giving and one of my favorite female characters of all time. The story line follows the female lead from her birth to the birth of her own child which spans over 19 years of life. It's a story of survival, revenge and love.

7. Prince of Lan Ling (Chinese) - The story focuses on a prince who is known for his military accomplishments and genuine leadership and a young priestess who learns of his fate as a child and later in life falls in love with him. As with most historical stories, there are elements of fantasy and power struggles. The male lead is one of the most genuinely good and self-sacrificing characters I've ever run across. The chemistry between he and the female lead are realistic and work so well. The female lead is wonderful and her character is strong yet soft which I enjoy. I would say this is definitely worth watching, especially if you find yourself fond of historical stories! 

8. My Secret Romance (Korean) - This is a romantic comedy set in modern day South Korea. It's cute, witty and fun. The male and female leads will make you giggle, sigh and want them to work through it all. As with many Korean Dramas, this is on the short side with how many episodes but it's entertaining and definitely a nice change of pace from a lot of the heavy and emotional Dramas I have on this list. 



9. Lost Love in Times (Chinese) - First and foremost, I have to say I LOVE William Chan. There's just something about him that I love. A lot of people find him to be a weak actor and all of that but I genuinely enjoy watching him on screen-I've seen him in other Dramas. Now that I've said that, we can focus on the historical fantasy that is Lost Love in Times. The beginning few episodes feel rushed because the Drama crams the love affair into them to set up the rest of the show. This show is very emotional, as tends to go most historical stories, and has many moving parts. If you're a sucker for love winning out in the end, this is definitely one to watch.


10. Faith (Korean) - Most of this show takes place during the last years of the Goryeo period in Korean history. A modern-day doctor is taken back to ancient Korea by a warrior in order to save the Queen. While it should be simple, the story quickly gets more and more complicated while love seems to find a way. The ending is sweet, the story moves well and it's definitely something to watch. 



11. Moonlight Drawn by Clouds (Korean) - Yet another historical story because I have a thing for them, okay? This is set during the Joseon period of Korea's history. The prince is playful and known to mess about rather than take anything too serious. He is the male lead who matures and grows throughout the show and it's super easy to adore him. The female lead ends up disguising herself as a male and enters the palace unwillingly with the help of the prince. The characters grow together and thus a love story is born. You'll notice a romantic nut so, yes, all of the stuff I watch has some type of romantic line somewhere! 

12. Attention, Love! (Taiwanese) - This is a modern-day high school Drama set in Taiwan. The story gets emotional at times and has enough quirks to keep it interesting without being boring. There is character growth and development, amusing comments and moments and a happy ending. Overall, I really enjoyed watching this and it kept my attention. 




14. Fall in Love with Me (Taiwanese) - Aaron Yan is the male lead in this show and he's absolutely gorgeous! He's probably my favorite Asian celebrity on this planet. Fall in Love with Me is a modern-day Taiwanese Drama about an advertising guru who needs to find his inspiration and a struggling advertising agency that is owned by the female lead. Through many twists, the leads fall in love but the male lead is living a dual life which starts to catch up with him. This can get really emotional at times but there is definitely a lot of laughter and comedic relief! Honestly, I watched it just for Aaron Yan but ended up really enjoying the show. 



15. Descendants of the Sun (Korean) - I have to start off by saying I saw the male lead in another Korean Drama and just liked him so I looked up other shows he's done and chose this one. I do not regret choosing this Drama because it was, without a doubt, one of my absolutely favorite modern-day K-Dramas I've ever watched to date. It's about an upper level special ops military guy who ends up falling for a doctor and their lives become intertwined even when they don't plan on it. The struggles between the two involve internal factors such as personal views on life and duty and external factors such as the male lead's career forcing him to disappear and become injured. The series is about average length, only 16 episodes, but it will bring a lot of feelings to you and really move you-at least, it totally moved me!