Beauty Bests: September

I really need to stop introducing new blog series! I can never seem to stick with them for long.

Another thing I’m struggling with is my blogging mojo. Life is busy — I work 40+ hours a week, and in the next 3 weeks I only have 5 days off of work (including today and tomorrow, my normal weekend). And right after that stretch I’m embarking on my first solo flight to visit my best friend in Salt Lake City…which I am super pumped for! And also nervous — I’ve been reading everything possible about airline travel. Not that I’m scared of flying (I actually love it) or that I haven’t flown much (I generally fly once or maybe twice a year) but that I’ve never flown without someone with me, whether my family or a big group so I hope I have everything I need. I’m traveling carry-on only for the first time too and I hope I’m not bringing too much stuff for my small bag. Do any seasoned solo flyers have tips for this newbie?

Enough travel talk (for now), let’s talk beauty. I am NOT a low-maintenance kind of girl when it comes to beauty products, but I don’t like to spend too much on makeup or hair stuff. With that being said, here are some of my favorite finds this month.

Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick Duo (Sephora, $12)

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Purple lips AREN'T weird, trust me!

This stuff is life-changing, y’all. Before trying it I hadn’t found a lipstick/lip stain that stayed put and didn’t feel too heavy. This is the answer to my prayers! First of all, it’s basically like getting two for the price of one, because it has one shade on each end. Second, the shades are perf…I absolutely love the bright magenta and fuschia hues. They’re the perfect pop of color that works for all seasons. And best of all, it stays on for most of the day. Trust me. I went for a run while wearing it (hey, it was after work!) and it barely faded. It will last through eating and drinking, too.

Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara (Sephora, $10 for mini)

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Minis are cuter anyway!

Another incredible product that will probably become my go-to mascara from now on. Not heavy or cakey like a lot of mascaras and it comes off easily with makeup removers or warm water. It gives me the length and volume I want without looking all spider-y. It comes in a full-size version, but I tried the mini because A) I’m cheap B) I wanted to make sure it was worth it and C) It works better for traveling (see above). I am stocking up on more before my trip!

Julep Bare Face Cleansing Oil (Julep.com)

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Looks like pee, but smells great.

Full disclosure: I got this as a freebie with my first Julep box (they mostly sell nail polish). But this stuff smells good and works well. I usually use makeup removing wipes, and lately I’ve been getting into more natural brands like Burt’s Bees, but this oil is less harsh on my eyes (it’s good for contact users like me) and it makes your skin soft. You only need a little bit, which is even better. Just lather up a little on your face and wash away with warm water.

Bobby Pins (any drugstore)

You know what bobby pins look like (I hope)! These suckers are extremely cheap, since they usually come in packs of like a million, so when you inevitably lose some, it’s okay. Since I’ve started doing the top bun thing more often, they’re a lifesaver for those little frizzies that stick out. And I also use them to do that little bouffant thing with my bangs now that I’m kinda sorta probably growing them out.

Tidy Detangling Comb (Sephora, $8)

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Have to buy it if it's pink.

I used to brush out my hair after a shower with an actual brush. Bad! Then I realized a comb would be better for my hair, so I switched to this because it’s bigger than those cheap-o combs they give you on picture day in elementary school and it said it would keep my texture intact, which I was thrilled about. I’m all about leaving my hair natural (aka wavy) when I can and this comb absolutely keeps that in check. Now I also use this comb to detangle my ends when they’re dry and yep, still works wonders. Plus it’s pink, which means I had to get it.

What are some of your (cheap) beauty favorites? Any solo traveling tips?

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Friday Faves (August 17)

Wow, where has the week gone? I feel like I’ve been running around like crazy for most of the week and I’m not getting a break anytime soon! I got back from vacation on Sunday, left right away for FoCo for a job training session on Monday morning, came back home and started unpacking stuff from vacation, shopped for school supplies and repacked for college! I’ve just got this weekend before it’s back to the daily grind of school. I can’t believe the summer’s almost over, but I’m pretty pumped for this school year!

Favorite Change: New hair (color & style)

I desperately needed a trim and recoloring!

I think the last time I had anything done with my hair was over spring break…which was almost 6 months ago, yikes! It’s really hard to fit in hair appointments when I’m usually up at school but I’m just glad I got it done before I go back. My bangs really needed to be reshaped and cut and my color needed refreshing. Now I’m all ready for a new school year!

Favorite First Time Breakfast: Tropical French Toast

Alvarado Street California-style sprouted toast topped with fresh pineapple, Bear Naked Fit vanilla almond granola and organic maple syrup (side of frozen mango).

This might sound crazy, but I don’t think I’d ever had French toast before a couple days ago. I know, who am I? Obviously this was a veganized version (meaning no eggs) but I think it turned out delicious, especially for my first time making/eating it. And being the pineapple lover I am, I went for a pineapple upside down inspired version.

Tropical French Toast (vegan, can be gluten-free)

1 or 2 slices sprouted toast or gluten-free toast (like millet or rice bread)

1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

cinnamon and ginger, to taste

vanilla stevia drops, to taste

handful small pineapple chunks

In a small pan, heat up some nonstick cooking spray or coconut oil over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together almond milk, spices and stevia until combined. Dip both sides of the toast in the milk mixture until it soaks in. Place toast on pan and heat on both sides until golden brown and crunchy. Before flipping, add pineapple chunks to top side of toast and then flip to cook. Serve French toast with granola, coconut butter, maple syrup, fresh fruit or whatever you want. Serves 1. 

Favorite Late “Birthday Present”: Alejandro

Meet Alejandro, my ‘new’ baby!

As I’ve mentioned several times before, I didn’t have a car at college the past two years. With the job I have this upcoming semester, along with my off-campus housing, my parents realized that I do need a car. Over the summer, we were considering getting me a newer model used car, then a brand new car, then they finally decided to let me have our red 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. It has a lot of miles on it for its age (because of my mom driving back and forth from home and my college town on weekends) but I really love it because A) it’s red and B) I’ve driven it a lot, especially this summer. I really love the look and feel of the car and I’m already used to it so it’ll be no big deal to take it up to school with me. And because I love him so much, I named him Alejandro (like the Lady Gaga song)!

Favorite Addiction: The Newsroom

I really need to get all caught up on this show!

I am so glad we moved to a new house back in June, because DirecTV gave us three free months of HBO…meaning I get to watch The Newsroom, which has become one of my new fave shows. I just watched the most recent episode and I’m hooked for part 2! I love how crazy and action-packed the show is.

What TV shows are you addicted to? Have you ever had “exotic” French toast (anything out of the ordinary)?

Saturday Seven: Good Things Come in Threes

Hi everyone! So here we are again at the end of another week…and it’s almost halfway through April! I feel like I’ve said this a million times before, but time is really flying by! It’s almost kinda scary, considering how much stuff I still have to finish before I can say adios to this semester. Oh well, that’s pretty much the status quo for the end of any semester.

I haven’t done a Saturday Seven in…um, 2 months?! Yeah, let’s fix that right now!

1. The countdown is SO on!

I'm hoping this doesn't happen (photo from here).

As the title of this post suggests, there are only 3 weeks left in my semester. Technically, there are 4, but I only have one real final (the rest are papers or projects, which I kinda prefer) so I’m planning on peacing out the weekend before finals and just popping back up here on that Thursday to take that final. This is the first time I’ve ever had only one final in my college career so I am definitely going to appreciate it! Plus going home a few days early is always a plus.

2. I have a shopping addiction…

Obviously I suck at being creative!

Online shopping, that is. It’s where I get all these new-to-me food products that I never seen in stores or that are a little too expensive when I do see them. The latest purchases are from Amazon, where I got some Vega vanilla almondilla shake and go protein powder, xanthan gum and liquid vanilla stevia, all for under $40 and free shipping! I’m really excited to try the Vega powder because I’ve been on the hunt for some good, fairly inexpensive vegan protein powder that is free of soy protein, and this fits the bill! The xanthan gum is something I’ve been wanting for awhile, after seeing everyone post amazing-looking, super thick smoothies. And the stevia I’ve had before, but now it’s in a bigger bottle so I’ll get to use it more.

3. I’m actually being creative with my hair

I'm lovin' the side ponytail lately!

I almost never, I repeat NEVER put my hair up. But three times in the past week, I’ve put it in a side ponytail. Who am I? Twice this last week, it was curly (and in a side pony one of those days), then it was wavy for two days and finally straight for two days (once as a side pony). It’s actually been fun switching up my hairstyles, because I used to only have it wavy or straight, and down. I’m going to experiment with a side braid next.

4. It’s supposed to SNOW this weekend

I'm not looking forward to this again!

I already know that Colorado is a bizarre state, after living here for 17 years of my life. But this unusually warm spring has thrown me for a loop, and now I’m expecting it to continue to stay warm until October. Yeah, too bad it’s still April, one of the snowiest months here. We don’t get spring showers, we get spring blizzards. Luckily they are usually short-lived, and warmer temps return the next day, but snow is still no fun.

5. I’m becoming a Larabar lover

My second-ever Larabar...almost as good as the first.

I used to say I wasn’t a fan of Larabars–not sure why, as I’d never tried them before a couple of weeks ago. But I actually do love ’em…a lot! So far, I’ve tried the cappuccino (mmmm!) and the chocolate chip brownie, which reminded me of a chocolate brownie Pure bar, except with the addition of fair trade chocolate chips. It was good, but I think I’d stick with the Pure bar version in the future, since it has more protein. That’s my only complaint–most Larabar flavors have barely any protein. But I think some of the more unique flavors might be worth the lack of protein, and a few actually do have 5-7 grams, so it’s not too big of an issue. I just love how simple they are, yet really tasty!

6. I’m really missing the food at home

One of my favorite lunches over spring break: curried sweet potato pinto burger, kale chips, fresh mango.

Yeah, dorm room food isn’t cutting it anymore. Every time I go home for the weekend, I remember how much I love being able to cook for myself. And no, the microwave and blender don’t count. This is another big reason why I’m so ready for it to be summer–I can finally cook again. Plus I love summery foods, like berries, asparagus (okay, this is more springy but whatevs) and grilled veggie burgers so that makes cooking even more exciting.

7. I’m all ready for next semester

Registering for classes is always really stressful, but it wasn't too awful this time around.

Next semester is going to be SO different than my past 4 semesters have been. Mostly because I’ll be living off-campus for the first time, and I’ll be taking the bus everyday to classes. So I’ve gotta learn the bus routes and schedules. I also tried to schedule my classes in a way that would either give me big breaks (so I can catch a bus back to my apartment) or really small breaks so I can stay on campus in between them. I’ll definitely have to do more meal planning, even more than I already do with my current schedule, but I’m excited for a change. I think I’ll feel even more independent than I currently do.

Do you like to change up your hairstyles? What’s your favorite or least favorite Larabar flavor?

Saturday Seven: Do the Kale Hail

Heeeeeeeeeeeey guys! So did you make it through the week? Honestly, I almost thought I wouldn’t! I had a 4-day week because I played hooky from classes on Monday since I was still at home, so that was nice, but it was kind of hard diving right into things on Tuesday. Especially because I had two tests this week, a huge essay to write and all the usual assignments, plus a random floor meeting and a meeting for work both on the same day. Needless to say, I was super happy for this week to finally be over. Next week isn’t looking too crazy, which will be great, plus I’m headed home again next weekend and it’ll be busy busy but fun. I’ll let you all know what’s going down latah!

For now, let’s get right into another edition of Saturday Seven. I’m on a roll with these lately–I’ve done one every weekend I’ve been on campus since December!

1. Homemade is better than store-bought

You were delicious, but too expensive!

At least when it comes to kale chips. I mentioned that I ordered some Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale chips a couple of weeks back, and I finally got them a week ago. I also happened to make my first batch of baked kale chips that same day. Verdict? I loved my homemade ones more (even though they still need some tweaking). I’m blaming in on the particular flavor I got of the chips–they’re natural nacho, and they’re a little too strongly “cheezy” for me, especially since I haven’t had real cheese in a few years. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t bad, just not quite what I was expecting. I love their crunch though. I would like to try another variety, like the Vampire Killer or Nasty Hot, but for now, I’ll be sticking with homemade. They’re so addicting!

2. T-minus 3 weeks…

I met Dory last year on my spring break...

Til spring break, of course! I don’t have any huge plans, but getting a 9 day break from school will be ah-mazing! Last year, I did end up doing a few fun things, like playing tennis, going to the aquarium, shopping and recipe experimentation (like a delicious vegan Philly “cheesesteak” sandwich) so hopefully I can do some of those things and more this time around. Actually, I really want to make at least one new recipe every day of break, so we’ll see how that goes down!

3. Small things are the cutest

These are brand new, and they look delicious!

I’m a huge fan of Gardein products because they’re quick and easy, pretty healthy for faux meat, yummy and vegan! When I saw these little guys on their website, I was sold. I’m not even that big on products that imitate beef, but their beefless veggie burgers are one of my favorites. Plus sliders are just adorable, and each one has 9 grams of protein–score!

4. Apparently I like to recycle…

More than just a holder for delicious coffee.

I liked my Starbucks Valentine’s cup so much that I washed it out and decided to use it as a pencil holder on my desk. Way to get creative while being green, right? Plus it just looks cute.

5. I’m still learning how to text on my new phone

I absolutely love the case though!

I got my new phone at the beginning of January (a T-Mobile MyTouch, in case you were wondering) and I’m still struggling with the texting. I had a touch screen before this one and I also have an iPod Touch, so I thought it would be easy to learn, but not so much. I guess I’m trying to text as fast as I used to so I end up hitting the wrong keys. I’ll get it eventually though, and besides, I really love the phone. It’s an Android so it has web service, so I can check my email/the weather/Twitter during class. Oops, did I just say that? 😉

6. A hair waver can work as a straightener

Wavy one day, straight the next...all with one tool!

I usually either straighten my hair or use my hair waver to enhance my natural waves. The other day I discovered that I can do both with the hair waver. Who knew? Now I don’t have to lug home both appliances on the weekend!

7. I’m so done with winter

It may look pretty, but I'm sick of it!

This winter has been pretty sucky here. At least compared to recent winters. January was actually alright and unseasonably warm for most of the month, but February hit and well, it’s been awful. For one thing, it’s been cloudy a lot, and that is really not normal for Colorado. I’m so used to sunshine year-round that it’s been kinda depressing. The cold and snow are another story altogether. February is usually in the 40s and sometimes 50s, but it’s been in the 30s and 20s most of the month, which is freaking freezing! I know some parts of the country have it worse, but I feel like we’ve just gotten the worst of the winter weather this year. I cannot wait until March and I’m hoping it comes in like a lamb, aka warm weather and sunshine! I miss my sandals, shorts and dresses!

What’s something you prefer homemade over store-bought? Are you looking forward to spring?

Random Ramblings During Finals

Heeeeeeeeeeey all! What is up? I’m so glad the week is over–I’m ready to spend this weekend chilling at home before heading back up for a couple days of finals and what-not. I’ve already got one of of the way (yay!) with just 2 more left next week and a take-home one. I lucked out this time with finals for sure.

I basically have no brain cells left, and no motivation (thanks, school!) so my next few posts before break might be kinda sketchy. And by that, I mean pretty random. But random is good, and I hope you think it is too because that’s what I want to post!

A lot of people have shared their site stats in the past and I thought I’d jump on that bandwagon because I have some pretty hilarious search terms just within the past week or so. I’m not sure which one takes the cake for being the weirdest–I’ll let you decide that for yourselves!

  • Little girl leggings. Okay, you guys, you caught me. I do shop in the kids section (basically just Abercrombie Kids) sometimes…
  • Ultra nerd. You knew that already though.
  • Scrawny Christmas tree photos. Ummmm, what?????
  • Hummus myths. What, that it tastes awesome? ‘Cause newsflash, it actually does! That’s not a myth!
  • Good. Pooped out and ready for my weekend break haha. You? I feel ya. And thanks for asking.
  • Naked Hollister model. As yummy as that sounds, let’s keep it PG, ‘k?
  • Foodies love Medjool dates. Yes. Yes they do.
  • Why did I born. Obviously not to be an English major.
  • “Gun show” brides. I would actually really love to know what this is.

Yeah, okay, some of those were just too bizarre to even comprehend.I’m just gonna wrap up this quickie of a post with a few of my favorite fashion/beauty inspirations from Pinterest. But first, a little thank you to Abby of iHerb! She saw my mention of their great services on one of my posts and now she’s sending me a little package of some free stuff. Can’t wait to see what I get (and review it, of course!)

I want sparkly eyeshadow so bad!

My obsession with tights/boots continues with these cute patterned version.

A hair bow made out of...hair? Yes please.

These booties are so fierce!

I love the boots/leggings/long sweater trend for winter.

Who could pass up a Santa mani just in time for Christmas?

What is the weirdest search term you’ve ever had for your blog, or from the ones I shared? Anyone else a Pinterest addict?

WNTITOW (What New Things I Tried Out Wednesday)

It’s time for another addition of… WIAW!!!!!!! Except this time, I’m not going to be showing what I ate today or yesterday (mostly because I forgot to take pictures 😉 ). Instead, I’ll be reviewing new products I recently bought and let you know what I think about them. So here we go!

Peas and Crayons

BEAUTY/HOME

Maybelline The Falsies Volum’ Express Mascara (Target)

No, the computer was not included!

Verdict: It was okay, I thought it would actually give my eyelashes a false lash effect but I’m starting to realize that it’s probably physically impossible for a mascara to do that. I think I’m gonna stick with my Maybelline XXL Pro Extensions mascara in the future.

Jewelry Tree (Target)

Ignore the random stuff in the background haha

 
Verdict: Perfect! I used to store all my jewelry in the cute little cloth bags they give you at American Eagle when you buy jewelry and it all got tangled up. Now I have a pretty decoration that keeps my jewelry organized. Plus it was only $10!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rimmel London Eye Crayon (Target)

I love pink, but I'd like a silver crayon better...

 Verdict: I love how easy it is to apply and that it’s so versatile (it works as eyeliner and eyeshadow!) It’s less messy and sticky than cream shadows but it does smear a little in the creases. Now I really want to find a silver one…
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray (Walmart)
 

Haha love the shower curtain in the background

 Verdict: I love this stuff! I’ve been looking all over for a sea salt spray to enhance my natural waves and give me a beachy look. This smells great, works great and is a lot cheaper than most other sea salt sprays.

FOOD/RECIPES

EVOL Mini Veggie Fajita Burrito (Whole Foods)

It's such a cute vegan lunch!

Verdict: It’s so little, so it makes a perfect snack or part of a small lunch (like I did). I love that it’s vegan and the tortilla is soooooo good! I just wish it was easier to find in other stores.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Kashi TLC Zesty Salsa Pita Crisps (Target)

Kashi makes pita chips? Say whaaaaaat?!

 Verdict: I love almost anything Kashi, so when I saw these at Target, I had to snap them up. I tried one yesterday and I loved the flavor. The texture wasn’t quite as crispy as a pita chip but it was still good. 

Freeze-Dried Mango Crunchies

Crunchy mango? Yes please!

 Verdict: Ummmm, can I marry these? Lol, just kidding but these are SO good and I love that they are just made of freeze-dried mangos with no added sugar or anything. I’ve probably eaten half the bag already and I just got them yesterday. They are crunchy, so if you aren’t used to that, it might seem weird but they’re so good.

Raw Brownie Recipe (adapted from here)

Note: I cut the recipe in half and then in half again since I didn’t have enough almonds on hand (sad!) so it didn’t make a lot. Next time I would just halve it once and see how it turns out. Plus I found another raw brownie recipe with a banana chocolate ‘frosting’ I’m planning on trying! I didn’t take a picture, but the verdict on this is that it’s extremely yummy! I licked the spatula and it was sooooooo good. I haven’t had a full one yet but I’m sure it’ll happen sometime tonight… 😉

1/4 cup almonds

1/4 cup walnuts

1/2 cup chopped dates (I used California pitted dates)

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (if you love dark chocolate like me, PLEASE use Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder!)

1/2 tablespoon rel maple syrup

Pulse almonds, walnuts and dates in a food processor until mostly combined (add 1/4 cup water if needed). Mix in cocoa powder, maple syrup and sprinkle salt until mixed. Spread raw brownie batter (don’t worry, it’s safe to lick the bowl 😛 ) into a foil-lined pan and refrigerate a few hours. Slice into 5 slices and enjoy!

Q: What’s the best new thing you’ve tried lately?