Miley Cyrus Concert and 1st YouTube Video

25 Feb

Hi everyone! I’ve figured out more ways to keep myself busy. I really do enjoy being productive so I am always figuring out ways to fill my time. I have a full-time job and I recently took a small side job requiring writing. I’ve tasked myself with updating this blog every Tuesday and Thursday. AND NOW…I’m making YouTube videos every Sunday! Below you will see the very first video I made to kick-off my channel. If you are interested, please subscribe and stay tuned!

I decided maybe I’ll do more of the product reviews and beauty talk there so I can really focus on writing about the serious things I’ve been wanting to express here. For today I just wanted to give a quick update. It’s been a busy week already and over the weekend I went to the Miley Cyrus Bangerz Tour concert at the Staples Center. I took my sister for her birthday and two long time friends joined us for the fun. Tomorrow is my sister’s 25th birthday! We’re just a year and a half apart from each other so we have always been very close and shared so much. Happy Birthday Jessica if you are seeing this!

A protestor at the Staples Center before the Miley Cyrus show.

A protestor at the Staples Center before the Miley Cyrus show. Sign reads “She loves your money and hates your soul. You don’t know it yet but Smiley Virus will wreck your life.”

Say what you will about Miley, I really think she has business savvy and knows what she’s doing out there. She is well aware of what her brand used to be and is successfully re-branding her self as that outrageous party-music maker. She’s doing the same thing that every other pop-teen star ever did. Britney, Christina, Madonna–they all went through the same phases of changing up their brand and doing things to shock and surprise and get people talking about them and ultimately buying their albums and concert tickets. Guess what, it worked! I am not someone who would normally purchase the latest Miley CD but because my sister really wanted to go to this show I found the album on Spotify for free, listened to it a lot and bought concert tickets. Miley you win!

A dark, grainy picture of me trying to do the Miley-tongue-out-look.

A dark, grainy picture of me trying to do the Miley-tongue-out-look at the show.

Miley definitely knows how to put on a show, totally got my money’s worth. So many interesting and surprising visuals plus talented dancers. I’m fairly certain there was minimal lip synching from Miley because she was not running around the stage and twerking like crazy. She actually sat on a lot of different stage props, or walked back and forth on the stage or even just stood still. That tells me that she was not out of breath the whole time giving her room to actually do what we came to see – SINGING!

Anyway, I was absolutely entertained and I would compare the theatrics to a Vegas-style show. What’s the most memorable concert you’ve ever been to?

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Getting Over Friendship Break-Ups

20 Feb

Okay, so my last post about Julep was very “fluffy” but I have a list of topics going that I want to cover. I’ve read all over the place that blogs should have a theme, specific subject matter…blah…Well this is my blog and I get to write whatever I want! So if one day I want to write about pretty nail polish and the next day I post about having a drug addict mom, that’s my prerogative! And I’m not stating this because anyone is complaining. It’s actually pretty quiet here, I don’t really get a lot of feedback on my posts. I’ll get a few encouraging Facebook comments from a couple people that read my blog regularly, and I appreciate that!

Getting over a friendship Break-up by Monique Is Blog

Anyway, on to the meat of this post. I want to talk about getting over friendship break-ups. It’s something you don’t hear too much about but the end of a friendship can be just as heartbreaking as the end of a romantic relationship. I unfortunately experienced a few friendship break-ups in a row during 2012 and I still feel the reverberation from that time today.

Friends are great, they are people you connect with, confide in, share secrets with and sometimes you find friends in unexpected places. Some friends are short term. The connection fades and the relationship slowly fizzles over time. Some are long term, you meet as kids and grow up together. Sometimes it’s good and healthy for certain friendships to end and sometimes it’s just a heartbreaking experience.

There were two friendship break-ups that really hit me hard. The first was with someone I’d know since childhood. I think we both knew that we were only friends because of time. We were like sisters, and you don’t just stop being sisters with your sister because of a few personality issues. After having someone in your life for practically your entire life, it’s hard to just let the friendship fade away. There was a moment in time where we didn’t talk. But we got over it, reconnected and the friendship continued into adulthood. The way this friendship ended was sudden and disappointing.

It was over a misunderstanding. After over 15 years of friendship…

She un-friended me on Facebook.

And I knew it was the end of an era. But it still hurt. I was angry. I was sad. I cried. I still have dreams about her… Big milestones in our lives happened and we are not part of each others experiences anymore. Really though, it wasn’t so sudden. There were warning signs that our lives and personalities were no longer compatible. We chose to ignore it and forced ourselves to keep in touch.

The second friendship that really threw me for a loop was with someone I met in college. I quickly bonded with her (maybe too quickly?) and found we had so much in common, similar ambitions and interests. Then one day she gave me the cold shoulder. Wouldn’t return my texts. Wouldn’t LOOK at me. I did something to her, I still to this day as I write this post have NO IDEA what I did to make her turn cold on me. And it hurts. It gave me terrible anxiety. The type of anxiety I hadn’t felt since my first major adult relationship ended. Gorilla on my chest, vise grip on  my heart, stomach in knots anxiety. I cried a lot. I questioned and doubted myself. I felt like a shitty horrible person that didn’t deserve to have friends.

There was another person who was part of that experience, someone I bonded with and shared some very personal details with…but she still at least talks to me here and there over social media and gave me a chance to apologize for my blunder. But that friendship is nowhere near the same. I don’t know if we can even say we’re friends. We don’t talk like we used to…we are just friendly towards each other. Friendly in the way I am with other people I went to college with.

So… how did I get over these break-ups?

1. Well, as with all heartbreak time is key. Time heals all wounds. I kept pushing forward with life and slowly, very slowly as time went on I stopped focusing my mind on the pain. I focused on all the many positive things happening in my life. Career. Marriage! My beautiful niece.

2. I strengthened my bonds with current friends. I looked around and saw who my true supporters are. My best friend since middle school who I’ve always had a happy, healthy and honest relationship with. My newer bestie, a person I became friends with unexpectedly that I always know I can count on. My crew of friends from my hometown that have always been in my life and we’ve built up a good, positive history with each other.

Kyle and Monique Abrahamsen Wedding Friends

A great supportive group of long-time friends

I listed two steps, but it’s been a struggle. It’s never easy to heal a broken heart. It’s 2014 and I’m just now really putting this down in words on my blog. These relationships ended in 2012!

Have you ever experienced a friendship break-up? How did you deal?

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Review: Julep Maven – New Subcribers Use Promo Code FREEBOX

18 Feb

Julep Maven Review Monique Is Blog

One of my hobbies is painting my nails and for almost a year now I’ve been a Julep Maven subscriber. For $19.99 a month I get a box valued at $40 mailed to me with new nail polishes and sometimes beauty products. Since I am an older subscriber I have the option to skip each month if I don’t have the budget or the products don’t interest me. New subscribers “earn” a skip every 6 months. The thing that hooked me in was that the first box was free!

You can see the newest Julep nail polish colors here.

My February box included a free nail polish called “Love” sent as a thank you from the owner and CEO of Julep, Jane Park. I also had the option to add on a new cream eyeshadow called “Julep Eye Sheen” so I chose one in bronze. I paint my nails once or twice a week so to me it is worth it to update my nail polish collection frequently.

October 2013 Julep Maven Box Monique Is Blog

When you first sign up to be a Julep Maven you first take a quiz to discover your style profile. You can either be an It Girl, Boho Glam, Classic with a Twist, Modern Beauty or Bombshell. All the boxes come with 2 nail colors and 1 beauty product except for It Girl, that box receives 3 nail colors each month. Since I’m all about the nail polish I’m an It Girl! Each month they release brand new colors and beauty products that match each style profile. If for some reason you don’t like the selections for your style profile you can switch to a different style. You also have the option to add-on more nail colors or beauty products.

You also earn Jules, once you reach 2000 Jules you can redeem it for a free box! Each time a friend signs up using your referral link you get 1000 Jules. You earn 300 Jules each time you take a monthly box, 200 are given on your birthday, 500 given to you on your anniversary month, and 750 when you pay to upgrade your monthly box. Jules do expire after two years.

You also don’t have to wait to save up your Jules, you can redeem 750 to get a free polish. Julep customer service is pretty great too. When I tried the DD Creme it caused an allergic reaction so I called them and they gave me some Jules and I used that to get myself a free nail polish.

Each month on the 20th they open a “window” where you can see what the next month’s box will be and you make your selections. At that time you can choose a different box, select add-ons or if you have the option, skip. The window closes on the 24th so you have to make sure you visit their website and make your selection! Otherwise you will be charged and will be sent whatever is in your style profile box for that month. You can also opt to send your box to friend as a gift.

They also have mystery boxes, a secret store and other special promotions throughout the month. Anyone can shop the Julep website but Julep Mavens get special discount pricing. They sometimes even have special promo codes for additional discounts and free products. You can only shop the secret store when you take a monthly box.

If being a Julep Maven sounds like something you’d be interested please go through my referral link, just click here! Your first box is free when you use the code FREEBOX.

Monique is Blog Signature Disclaimer: I was not asked to review Julep Maven Subscription, I paid for all the boxes myself. This post was written purely out of my own enthusiasm for Julep Maven!

Lake Tahoe Honeymoon

13 Feb

When trying to settle on a honeymoon destination there were few different ideas we thought about. First, a cruise seemed like a good idea. Then a road trip seemed fun. To Utah! To Colorado! To Canada! Finally, we decided that a mini-road trip to Lake Tahoe would be our best bet. We love the outdoors but still wanted some luxury accommodations and didn’t have a lot of money to spend. Lake Tahoe seemed to fit all those requirements and it’s a place I’d never been to and Kyle never visited during the summer.Honeymoon at Lake Tahoe

We were able to enjoy the outdoors by taking hikes, jet skiing, swimming and riding the gondola to enjoy the scenic views. Then we also stayed at a nice little hotel with a fireplace and hot tub in the room. We enjoyed a sunset dinner cruise around the lake and a nice dinner at a casino. It was the perfect blend of outdoorsy fun and “typical” honeymoon activities. We spent a full week in Lake Tahoe and really took our time to explore the area and take time to relax and unwind as a married couple for the first time!

We enjoy taking road trips for the most part because it gives us time to bond, we play music we like and delve into conversation. We like checking out the scenery and ask each other questions. Also, thanks to technology if we wonder about something we pass by on the road we can Google it!

Kyle and Monique Abrahamsen

Newlywed and snapping a selfie at a desert rest stop on our way to Lake Tahoe.

We stayed at Secrets Inn, a small hotel just a short walk from the lake and casinos. The perfect location! We love this hotel and I would recommend it to a friend. You can find my full review of Secrets Inn on Yelp just click here. On our first day out we went jet skiing. We had a blast! I admit I’m a bit of a scaredy cat and didn’t want Kyle to go too fast but we did end up falling into the lake at one point and it was FREEZING cold!

jet ski Lake Tahoe

Snapped this right before jet skiing on the lake.

We enjoyed a casual dinner at State-line Brewery and Restaurant. This was a short walk away from our hotel so we took our time tasting different local brews and really enjoyed our vacation. And yeah, it’s located right on the Nevada/California state-line heh heh…

At State-line Brewery and Restaurant

At State-line Brewery and Restaurant

Next day we took a ride on the Heavenly Gondola where we enjoyed scenic views and a challenging hike. Heavenly is the name of the main ski resort in South Lake Tahoe. We were right across the street from the main resort so we got to enjoy the resort without paying resort prices!

Selfie in the gondola!

Selfie in the gondola!

Monique Is Blog Hike Lake Tahoe

Taking pictures during our hike

Lake Tahoe is so beautiful!

Lake Tahoe is so beautiful!

I believe we hiked 3-4 times during our week long stay. We really stayed active during the day and treated ourselves at night. I was so proud of myself being able to do so much activity and not feel tired. I worked hard the months leading up to the wedding to be in good shape and good health for the wedding and this trip.

Honeymoon Lake Tahoe

This photo is from a different hike on a different day. This is a view of Emerald Bay.

One place I’d like to return to is Sugar Pine Point State Park. First, the park ranger was a sweetheart, he saw all the “Just Married” scribblings on our car and let us in the park for free. Second–it’s absolutely gorgeous! I would love to come back and camp there. The trees are SUPER TALL and the water is peaceful, not too many people around so you can have a little piece of the lake all to yourself if you want. We also saw a couple touring the grounds to plan their wedding!

Kyle Abrahamsen Sugar Pine Lake Tahoe

Kyle next to the SUPER TALL trees at Sugar Pine Point

The sunset dinner cruise on the MS Dixie II from Zephyr Cove to Emerald Bay was amazing. This was one of the “luxury” things we really wanted to do. There was a band and dance floor and they played typical cheesy cruise type music, like Jimmy Buffet songs. It was fun! We were absolutely the first couple to hit the dance floor and one older lady told us we were the “bravest” couple on the cruise. I think we just exuded happiness and positive energy!

Yet another selfie...this time on the sunset dinner cruise.

Yet another selfie…this time on the sunset dinner cruise.

Another luxury type thing we wanted to experience was a show at one of the hotel/casinos. We found out comedian Whitney Cummings was performing so we bought tickets and laughed the night away. Again, very short walking distance from the hotel so we both enjoyed drinks and laughs and walked back to the hotel safely. We were really in a great location.

About to see comedian Whitney Cummings at MontBleu Hotel and Casino.

About to see comedian Whitney Cummings at MontBleu Hotel and Casino.

So that’s how you honeymoon in Lake Tahoe on a tight budget! I will be honest, monetary wedding gifts helped make this honeymoon complete. We made sure to send thank you notes to each person that helped make this an amazing vacation. We really experienced the best of both worlds.

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Some Things I Learned About Weddings

11 Feb

In writing this post I don’t want to come off as mean, bitchy or ungrateful. Let’s face it–wedding planning can be super stressful and a lot to manage. Aside from the fun parts of trying on dresses, tasting cakes and looking at flowers there are difficult parts of planning as well. For me the most difficult part was the guest list. This caused the most stress, pain and worry in the whole process! I’m writing this post now because we are so close to Valentine’s Day and a lot of people get engaged around that time. This might help future brides and grooms and their potential guests!

When you get engaged you’re excited, elated and you want to share the good news with everyone! Then it comes down to planning details and the biggest thing to consider is your budget. Money is everything especially when you don’t have much to spare. We planned our wedding on a very tight budget and every guest counts. Each person equals $$$. That’s just the honest reality.

I was put into many awkward situations and I hate to disappoint people and have a hard time saying no. I never want to be perceived as mean, or heartless. As a wedding guest or person who knows an engaged couple, here are a few things you should keep in mind.

1. Don’t ask if you’re invited. Especially don’t ask over social media. Like on an Instagram comment. That puts the couple in a very awkward situation because if you are not invited they then have to very carefully tell you “no”publicly. And then everyone feels bad. And awkward. Also, don’t ask over text. Just don’t ask. Be patient and wait for an invitation, if you don’t get one that unfortunately means you are not invited. Don’t take it as an insult. The couple most likely has certain constraints whether it be budget, venue capacity limits or even other financial contributors having a say over the guest list.

2. RSVP ASAP. Once you get that invitation respond as soon as you can. One of my friends didn’t even let the RSVP card go inside her house. She immediately opened the envelope, took a pen out of her purse, checked the appropriate box, sealed the return envelope and dropped it back in the mail box. Done. Easy. I know this because she told me. I know not everyone can know right away as soon as the invitation is in their hands like that but as soon as you check your calendar and know if you can make it or not, send that card. A proper invitation should include a response card and self-addressed stamped envelope for your convenience. It is very stressful for the couple to have to hound their invitees for a response. And the couple needs to know exactly how many guests are coming about a month before the wedding so they can tell the venue, florist, caterer, bakery, to make favors etc. You are very important, so respond quickly!

3. Don’t ask to bring extra people. Again, it’s awkward and difficult to say no. Then you decide to bring extras anyway. Or you didn’t ask ahead of time and just brought extra guests anyway. There are a certain amount of people invited for a reason. If you are allotted 1 guest then that’s all you get. Don’t decide to show up on the wedding day with three guests. That is a real thing that happened at my wedding. I noticed. Again, each guest = $$$. There are capacity limits or budget limits. Please be considerate to the bride and groom and their family. For each guest accounted for there is a chair at the ceremony and reception reserved. Plates, glasses, certain amount of cake and food. Certain amount of centerpieces ordered for each table. The reception is set up a certain way to accommodate a certain amount of people. You are asked to RSVP a certain amount of people for a reason.

4. If you are only coming to the ceremony state that in your response. A few people only came to the ceremony but  did not tell us ahead of time that they could not stay for the reception. So the chair, food, cake, drinks, silverware etc. that was paid for especially for you? Potentially wasted.

5. If you RSVP yes, do everything in your power to make it to that wedding. Again, preparations were made and money was spent for you to be there. Because you said you would be there. Don’t just randomly decide not to go just because you don’t feel like it. If something comes up and you suddenly can’t go because of work, illness or some other serious issue — that is totally understandable.

Overall, I think our wedding was wonderful, a really good day and it ran smoothly. I think the people who didn’t come made up for the unexpected extra guests. We didn’t go over budget and I don’t think anything was wasted. We had an amazing time and it flew by! It looked like our guests were having a lot of fun. I got comments from people after saying they had a blast. And that was the point. To celebrate our union with family and friends and just have good time.

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