Monday, June 16, 2014

German Chronicles

So I've been hiatus again but I am back! This time for good I promise. I have a lot of new material to review and share my experiences with all of you and I decided to kick off my return to retrospectip with a series about my trip to Germany! In this I want to share with all of you the places I went, the things I did, the things I ate but more so an insight for all you travelers out there.

So I am approaching my senior year and my last year was spent in preparation for that but this summer I was able to go to Dresden and Berlin as part of a program at FSU known as Beyond Borders. Beyond Borders differs from a study abroad program because it involves more of a cultural exchange. My group hosted German Students for 3 weeks and they did the same while we were in Germany.

To apply you must submit a formal application and go through an interview process. The total cost of the program is $3500 but it includes airfare, accommodations, activities and most meals. Which to spend 3 weeks in Germany is a STEAL. The only thing the program didn't cover was the 4 days we had spent in Berlin and any other items we had wanted to purchase.

Each day I will go in-depth about the activities we did and the things I experienced. I hope this will give you a better insight on not only Germany but Dresden. Dresden is often unmentioned and unknown in comparison to other German cities but it is honestly a gem.

Above is a picture I took which gives you a taste for the beauty these 3 weeks unfolded. Again I apologize for the break I took from blogging. I hope my German experience and guide will make up for it!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wantable Box!

I'm really one of those girls that's into subscriptions and subscription boxes. I like the idea of a flat rate fee accounting for a box full of surprises and goods from month to month and it also gives my an opportunity to try things I might not typically find or reach for.
Prior to trying out Wantable I had heard about them through users on instagram. One in particular would always complain about her Wantable box and I was very nervous to try them. I already had an impression of them and I was excited to form my own opinion by working with them. The company has a range of different boxes including makeup and intimates. I already own plenty of intimates and am pretty stuck to my products and don't try a lot of indie brands so I went with the jewelry box.

When I first received my box (which I did complimentary) I immediately appreciated the aesthetic of the box and it's packaging. I am really into minimalist appeal and I kinda enjoyed the simple white box with the W on it. It was also packaged very well. The inside had black paper which held the contents of all the items I had received.

My first immediate impression upon opening my box was disappointment. I looked down at the items I got and thought "They totally missed the mark none of this is me." I got a very simple chevron ring, a leopard scarf (made out of a very silky type material) and a mixed material necklace with gold, tortoise and emerald embellishments. When I looked a the paper insert and saw the retail prices of these items I was honestly in disbelief. 18 for the ring, 32 for the scarf and 38 for the necklace? You're joking right? In terms of the retail value and the price of the box, when considering those two factors, it is pretty sensible. I'm paying 40 and getting items worth double that.

Well I still decided to give these items a try. I didn't want to discard the idea of them before I really got to try them. I started with the ring. It really did grow on me and I like the small design of it. It's a very simple and elegant piece that I wear all throughout my day. It doesn't have much to it aside form the arrow like design but it doesn't need much more because it adds something to my finger without overly drawing attention. After wearing it for 3 days however I noticed the metal becoming tarnished and now it is more of a rose gold color. This was kinda of disappointing because something that costs this much shouldn't be made out of the crappy metal it is. But still I wear it.

It is getting pretty chilly in Tallahassee so I decided to try the scarf next. I loved how soft it was. The design to me wasn't something I was crazy over but I liked that it wasn't a traditional brown leopard/animal print. I liked it's grey component and the small rhinestone looking pieces it had on the end. It didn't really keep me warm but was a very cute piece that also grew on me. I can see myself using this as a wrap more than a scarf or bringing this baby out in the spring time. But nonetheless as the scarf grew on me I could see it's versatility a bit better and appreciated it more.

The last piece that I had trouble bringing myself to was the necklace. In the packaging it just looked cheap and not like a 38 dollar piece. Once I finally overcame my impression of it I decided to take it out and actually noticed it was made of pretty good material. I also began really liking the pop of the emerald color with tortoise and it also was the final piece that grew on me. I could not only see it's versatility more and a lot better but actually liked wearing it out and got a lot of compliments on it's uniqueness.

Upon first impression I hated this box but it really did grow on me quite a lot. I didn't get the watches or dramatic rings or sunglasses I was hoping for but all my pieces were nice and versatile, even if I didn't see that at first. I think Wantable really was able to find pieces that I like that I didn't even realize I would like. Which is pretty cool because it opened me up to a new world of accessories but also made me realize I needed to be more open minded. At it's given price point, as a college student, I don't think this would be a monthly service I would subscribe to but maybe one I would treat myself to every now and then.
1. Really stay open minded about fashion and accessories. You might not like it at first but probably because it isn't something you normally reach for. Give it a chance, wear it out and then decide how you feel. I learned that through trying all these pieces and giving them a change.
2. Look out for subscription services. They are a great way to get a range of great products (or not so great ones) for one rate and is a great way to gift yourself.

Have you ever tried Wantable? What other services have YOU tried?


Nile Restaurant

I was fortunate enough to be able to go to the makeup show and visit Orlando! I didn't want to indulge in the overpriced restaurants at the Peabody Hotel and International Drive (in Orlando) is known for it's range of foods and is the mecca of tourist travel. Researching the area, I didn't want to stick with any of the classics like Chilli's or Friday's because these are all flavor profiles I am familiar with. I decided to treat myself to some Ethiopian Cuisine at a restaurant called "Nile." 

I have been fortunate enough to sample Ethiopian food a number of times in Atlanta and Washington D.C. I don't know if it's the eating with your hands that brings me back to memories of my youth, where I am accustomed to doing so, or the complex flavors that leave me stuffing myself. I can't complain about the portion sizes either. The amount of food is served family style which is more than enough for a whole herd of people.

It wasn't very difficult to locate Nile because it seemed as though it was the end of a large strip of restaurant locations. From the outside I was a little concerned because there wasn't much to look at. It was secured next to a wedding chapel and didn't seem too warm. Upon closer inspection I noticed some men in the front eating and smoking hookahs. Walking inside was a whole other experience. There was Ethiopian decor embroidered all over the walls and the tables were decorated with a hand made basket where the large portions of food usually go. The waitresses were dressed in what I am to assume typical cultural garb and there was fitting music playing in the background. 

Our waitress was very kind and patient with us. She answered all and any questions I might have had about the menu and choices. To get the most out of my money and have the opportunity to try numerous foods I decided to go with the mixed special which features a mix of vegetarian, beef, and chicken dishes. The food was out fairly quick which was great because I was starving. The waitresses showed my table how to eat the food with their hands and using the soft spongy bread that was provided. I was kinda worried because the group I was with were very picky eaters. Well to tell you how the dinner went we polished off the plate of all food. It was some of the best foods I've ever had. The meat was coated with a rich tomato based sauce and had a hint of sweetness to it. The bread didn't really have a flavor but was more a utensil for consumption rather than for taste. The cabbage based meal with carrots had a sweet smokey flavor and was really succulent.  My personal favorite was the chicken. It had a hint of spice to it and was shredded so it was easier to eat. It had a vegetable based sauce and was really well balanced. When I say it had a hint of spice I don't mean it was necessarily spicy, rather, it incorporated many flavors and spices well to create a very delicious dish.

The amount of food we got was incredible and it was only $30! At the amount of food we were given it was a steal and I know I wouldn't have gotten the same experience from any where else on that particular street. I can best try to explain my meal as "comfort food" sure it isn't the classical american comfort food we might associate to but it evoked the same feelings. It just brought a long a lot of happiness because it was so tasty and after I felt as though my stomach was just hugged by delicious food and lots of love. It also is an actual experience eating family style and with your hands and is a great way to connect to people and have conversation. So would I recommend Nile restaurant? A million times. I cannot brag about Ethiopian food enough and Nile did not disappoint.

1. Try something new. You never know and you could be very well surprised. Life is short try as many things as you can and have as many experiences as possible.
2. Don't stick to the same boring restaurants you are accustomed to. Sure the Chilli's menu I have indulged on a thousand times is probably gonna still be good but why not try a cuisine you never explored before.
3. Always check urbanspoon and yelp. Just because you're exploring cuisines doesn't mean you should go to a crappy restaurant.

Have you had Ethiopian food before? What's you think?
Love you all,

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

BJ's Brewhouse! - Tallahassee

My first BJ's experience was in Houston, Texas. I was about 11 years old and my cousin dragged me in to get this insane dessert called a pizookie. I remember loving the laid back environment and the simplicity of the food. So you can only imagine my excitement when I saw a BJ's being built in Tallahassee.

For this review I have been to BJ's on two different occasions and my experience was pretty consistent both times. I went during lunch and I expected it to be packed but the amount of people there was overwhelming. Everyone from the capital area flood to the restaurant for lunch. But I can't even blame them. The food portions are very large and the lunch prices are great.

As soon as I was seated it took about 10 minutes for someone to come on by and greet us to get our drink orders. Our waiter was very kind but not really informative on the menu. The menu itself is about 10 pages long so it's hard to digest and I wasn't really wowed by her knowledge and support for the menu. Either way I decided to place my order all at once so the time would not be as long. The first time I went I got spinach stuffed mushrooms and the half flat bread for lunch. My friend, who accompanied me on this journey, ordered the southern fried chicken.

The appetizers came out fairly quickly but with no utensils or plates. We waited another 15 minutes just for someone to notice us and come on over. Luckily the spinach stuffed mushrooms was home run! They were sprinkled with lemon juice and had the most exceptional sauce over them. Also the entire appetizer was light and didn't feel too overbearing. The food came out a whole 45 minutes later. We attempted to wave down waiters for some hot sauce for a good 10 extra minutes. My flat bread was okay. I got one with steak and blue cheese and the flat bread was tasty but nothing exceptional. The steak did not taste like it had much seasoning on it and I ended up drowning my meal in hot sauce to add some sort of flavor. I enjoyed the freshness of the blue cheese, it added a nice bite to the otherwise bland flat bread. I really enjoyed the dressing on the salad more than my actual meal. It was tangy but sweet. I would have loved to drown my food in it!

My friend enjoyed her southern fried chicken very much however. Which was great! I had a bite and I immediately hoped I had ordered that instead. The mash potatoes were so soft and fluffy and everything was spiced perfectly without being to overwhelming. The chicken itself was deep fried but the coating hadn't been overcooked so it perfectly protected the white meat on the inside. The gravy also was a great compliment and lacked that meaty taste gravies usually have but was just FULL of flavor.

Of course we had to end our meal with a pizookie. We decided to get half peanut butter and half triple chocolate and that took another 45 minutes to come out. While I can appreciate the freshness of the food it was a good thing I wasn't on a time crunch! The pizookie was absolutely delicious. So soft and rich and not overwhelmingly sweet. I loved how warm it was. The peanut butter side was not as great. It lacked more peanut butter and had random peanuts scattered throughout which gave it a weird consistency.

I don't know if I would go back anytime soon... I definitely would have to wait until I had a huge time gap in my schedule. I have to say it is worth the trip for the dessert if anything!

1. Lunch can mean rush hour.... try calling before you go to a restaurant to see how packed it will be.
2. Check out the menu for a restaurant before you go.
3. Check out reviews on restaurants and attempt to find some specialty items. The pizookie in this case was a winner!

Have you ever been to BJ's Brewhouse? What is your favorite type of lunch time restaurant?
Let me know below!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Glitter Cup!

Can we take a minute to talk about how beautiful this cup is?
No but seriously? Can you just look at it?
Glitter, Coffee and Bling? What more could I ask for?

While browsing instagram I came across "XOGlitterBarbie." Immediately I was stunned at how wonderful these cups were. I have been a Starbucks fanatic for a while but could never commit $24.95 to a cup I didn't really like. The issue I have with Starbucks cups are what they contain is stability they lack in appeal and for years I had been searching for a cup that was me.

Well it couldn't have gotten any better than this. Not only did I find her page during a sale time and the cups had been marked down to $10 but I was able to experience her amazing customer service. She was able to answer all my questions in a timely manner and was very patient no matter how many I had. My cup also arrived days later packaged so elegantly in pink tissue paper and ribbon and with proper care instructions.

Best part? I still get the Starbucks discount for having a reusable cup! The only downside is that my cup features a screw cap and straw portion which isn't always the best when drinking hotter drinks but I make it work. I can easily house a tall in my cup size which is perfect for me because that is usually my designated coffee size. If you are a more avid drinker I would opt for one of her larger sized cups. The cups also come in an array of glitter colors, styles, and even patterns. I am totally digging the leopard pattern on these and she is very happy and willing to accommodate what you want! If this is something that seems to appeal to you I would definitely find "XOGlitterBarbie" on instagram and tell her rabiyaj sent you! or you could always email her at and for you readers that are super high tech ... go ahead and KIK her at xoglitterbarbie!
1. Don't be afraid to check out different avenues for purchases. Mine happened to be instagram but ebay is another excellent one.
2. Sales are your friends! You can get a great product for a fraction of the cost.
3. Don't be afraid to ask questions. I probably emailed the seller a thousand times and she was helpful and sweet each time. 

How often do you drink coffee? What's your favorite drink for the fall?


Xtreme Lashes!

It's been a crazy month over here at retrospectip! But I have so many new opportunities and companies to review. I am so excited to share with you guys.

So last month (September 28th to be exact) I was given the opportunity to attend the Makeup Show Orlando! It was honestly one of the best experiences of my life and staying at the Peabody Hotel is indescribable. I will have a post flooded with pictures of the hotels and my wonderful experiences there very soon. But in the mean time I want to talk about an exciting company I had the opportunity to work with for the makeup show.

I was contacted by Xtreme Lashes to have a full set of lashes applied and be a model for the show. I was honestly so humbled and excited because I love everything about false eyelashes and a set of permanent ones that I can leave on for 3 weeks sounds fabulous to me!

* My lashes right after my application

So Xtreme Lashes was founded by a wonderful woman named Jo Mousselli which I had the opportunity to meet. She is so sweet and bubbly that I was excited to have met her. Just by being around her you can sense the excitement and love she has for her company and product. The wonderful part is Jo is also a nurse so there is a certain level or trust with her products and you can tell safety is really important to the company. The lash stylists could not stop praising her and Xtreme Lashes!

Xtreme Lashes is not simply eyelashes applied to your eyes but an experience. They use a super strong glue that takes 48 hours to completely bind and allows the false lash to bind to your natural lash until the remainder of it's life cycle. Instead of clumping lashes together Xtreme Lash stylist individually apply different length of lashes to provide you with a dramatic but natural look.

I arrived at 7am to the booth and was greeted by my lash stylist Karinne and a few other stylist. I don't know if it was just southern hospitality but these Texan women were so sweet and helpful. They answered all my questions and more. Karinne sat down and really spent time getting to know me and the type of lifestyle I have and the lashes I wanted. I was asked to have no makeup on (which was a killer considering I'm at the makeup show) and relax. The issue with me and relaxing is that I'm very restless. The procedure is time consuming and I had to battle the lengthy procedure but good things come to those who wait right?

Karinne applied a mix of thin and thick lashes (in width and length) and also focused many of the longer lashes in the middle. She explained that my eye shape creates a downward shape and by putting most lashes in the center it creates a natural lift in the eye. She was so knowledgeable and helpful and patient regardless of how much I squirmed in the 4 hour time span. The lashes usually don't take that much of a time commitment I was just informed that show lashes take longer to apply. You pretty much cannot touch your lashes at all for the next 48 hours including showers. It wasn't a huge deal but just a small thing I would like to note. So get those sponges out for the sponge baths you will be taking!

I was surprised at how weightless the lashes were on my eyes. I have battled the feeling of eyelash extensions before. Feeling the actual strip and getting over the learning curve of using my eye with a strip of hair on it. But I could seriously NOT feel these lashes. Not only were they super weightless but the drama they caused were so beautiful I could not believe that those were my eyelashes with no mascara at all!

I honestly cannot say enough good things about Xtreme Lashes! While the process is pricey and can be time consuming it is absolutely worth every penny and minute spent. For me Xtreme Lashes are so luxurious that they added a level of confidence and comfort. I am able to wake up every morning with beautiful lashes and that just makes me feel x10 beautiful! The people were an absolute joy to work with and the love they have for their company really adds to the experience. I am so grateful to have been able to work with them!

*My look once I could wear makeup again (no mascara!)


How do you feel about eyelash extensions? You guys are honestly the best readers. I could not have had this opportunity without you!
Thank you so much for your love and support!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Zoya Winter/Holiday 2013 Collection!

Harmonious Cosmic Color for Winter/Holiday 2013
Enter the color cosmos with this new collection of six perfectly harmonious nail polish beauties by Zoya.

ZP689 - Seraphina: Polaris Silver Metallic. Full Coverage Formula (bottle shown above).
ZP687 - Cassedy: Celestial Pewter Metallic. Full Coverage F Formula (shown above).
ZP678 - Belinda: Cosmic Purple Metallic. Full Coverage Formula (bottle shown above).
ZP688 - Payton: Galactic Cranberry Halo. Full Coverage Formula (shown above).
ZP686 - Dream: Deep Space Blue Halo. Full Coverage Formula (shown below)
ZP643 - Mosheen: Astro Ice Blue Topper - great for layering over other hues (bottle shown above).

Ultra long-wearing, nail lacquers by Zoya are BIG5FREE - all formulas are completely free of harmful industrialchemicals such as toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) that are known to cause cancer and birth defects.

Find over 300 stunning Zoya colors on Each and every color has a name as unique as the women who inspired it.

Zoya Zenith Collection
$8.00 ea. (US)
Available on