Friday, August 23, 2013

Inspiration, or How I Got Out of my Makeup Rut

For the past few months, I haven't had much inspiration for this blog. Quite frankly, I didn't have much inspiration to do anything except get up, put on my ugly uniform, and trudge into work. I pretty much stopped wearing makeup to work, and the only thing gracing my face on the daily was SPF and my Baby Lips in Cherry. Moving has given me the boost I needed to get out of my makeup rut. I'm excited to get up and get ready in the mornings again, and it shows on my face. I wanted to share some of the products that have gotten me out of my rut and back into doing fun daily makeup, because let's face it, we all could use a little pick-me-up now and then. Hopefully you can be inspired too!

1. The Naked Palettes 

I know, I know. Everyone has them. But there's a reason! Seriously, I forgot how much I love these things. You can do everything from a sweep of light color across the whole lid and brow to a heavy smokey look out of one palette, and I find that having the darker colors right in front of me encourages me to have a bit more fun with my day to day makeup. If I'm just grabbing individual pots I'm more likely to play it safe and stay with light-to-medium colors. 

2. Laura Mercier Creme Liner in Espresso 

I've been a Bobbi Brown Gel Liner fangirl for over a decade now - I actually remember wearing the violet color for the first time to a high school football game when I was 13 (nightlife for a middle schooler) and my friends complementing my liner. Since then I've been smitten, but I think there might be some competition in town. LM's formula seems a bit creamier and smoother. Regardless, I forgot how much I love drawing on the thinnest line of liner and flicking out a tiny wing - so much more flattering than a thick smudgy line of pencil on me! I have a jar of Bobbi Brown in my drawer in black that hasn't been opened yet, and I may have to do a comparison post to settle the matter on the differences once and for all! 

3. MAC Brow Pencil in Lingering 

My brows have fallen by the wayside the past few months. Every once in a while I would get close enough to a mirror to see my brows and be ashamed that they had gotten into such bad condition. I normally pluck a few stray hairs each morning before my makeup, but no makeup meant I had forgotten about plucking! I've started using a brow pencil every day and it adds so much more definition than tinted brow gel on its own. Plus defined brows make me feel fierce, and you can't go wrong with that! 

4. MAC Pearlmatte Powders from the Baking Beauties Collection 

I told y'all you'd be hearing about them. I love 'em. They're beautiful to look at and gorgeous on the skin - how could you not love them? These 2 are enough of a reason to get out of bed in the morning and sit down at my vanity.  I am particularly fond of the pink one - it is very similar in color to my favorite MAC blush, Well Dressed, and I've been pairing them together almost every day.

I'm curious to know how you guys have gotten out of makeup ruts in the past - has there been a product that's inspired you to change up your look or that has made makeup fun again?

XOXO Samantha

Monday, August 12, 2013

My Other Love

I like to say I have three passions in life: Books, makeup, and food.

My career choice, which I've mentioned before, shows the first. This blog is more than enough proof that I love makeup. But I don't know that I've really talked about food on here.

I love food. There. I said it. I don't love food in the "I'm going to eat my feelings and shovel as much in my mouth as I can at once" kind of way that so many Americans these days seem to be guilty of. I love food as art. I savor the way flavors meld together in my mouth, delight in making something with the perfect texture, and drool over pictures of delectable morsels. I make almost everything from scratch, and I get a satisfaction from this kind of food that I can never get from even the tastiest frozen or takeout foods.

I've only been in my apartment for 3 days, and I've already taken the kitchen by storm. I missed having a kitchen that was just mine, after the past year of stepping on my mom's toes whenever I was in the kitchen. (I will say she was quite gracious about having to share with me!) I wanted to share with you a few of the things I've made so far:

1. Homemade Spaghetti Sauce - the addition of a bit of brown sugar over white plus a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end really make this sauce special.

2. "Mexican" Scrambled Eggs and Bacon - I mix salsa right into the beaten egg mixture, and then sprinkle in some Cheddar or Mexican blend cheese when the eggs are about 75% set. This is one of my go-to breakfasts, but I did breakfast for dinner for me and CDBP the night I moved in.

3. Baked Oatmeal with Strawberries and Bananas - This is absolutely DIVINE. I use cinnamon instead of the Chinese 5 Spice and replace the normal milk with unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I also left out the nuts and the orange zest since I didn't have those on hand, but this is the kind of recipe that is soooo flexible. You could totally use dried fruit in the winter or other fresh fruits (peaches would be AMAZING).

4. Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes - These are a longtime favorite of mine, and CDBP requested them as a (belated) birthday dessert. I used to make them practically every other week when I was in college. I didn't have a single friend that didn't love them, and I'm pretty sure these babies were what made the guys I lived with a few summers ago put up with me so well!

5. Corn Chowder - Oh my what. This stuff was SO. FREAKING. GOOD. Topped with crispy bacon and sprinkling of cheddar cheese? DROOL. It's super easy to make but does require a decent amount of chopping (and grating a potato). I chopped all the veggies in the early afternoon that way when I went to make it that evening everything was ready for me. CDBP ate like 3 bowls of this stuff last night, and when I asked him what he thought of it all I got was a muffled "Mmmmmm" between shoveling spoonfuls into his mouth. I think he might have liked it ;)

Are any of you fellow foodies? Share your favorite recipes and blogs down below!!

XOXO Samantha

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I Swear I Didn't Die and How I Came to Hate my HG Mascara

Oh my.

I swear I didn't mean to stop posting. Really. I thought about this blog a lot, usually in the middle of the night during panic attacks about all the things I had to do that I wasn't doing. I realize that all of 10 people read this, but this has developed a special little place in my heart, and I felt like I'd let myself down by not writing.

I'm moving in exactly 2 days. Terrifying, huh? This past year at home has been a blessing and a curse, and as much as I love my family there is a reason 20-somethings shouldn't live at home! I have my shiny new apartment and a shiny new library job and a shiny new MLIS program and a shiny new graduate assistantship and not-shiny-or-new-but-still-awesome Captain Doctor Boyfriend Person waiting for me. I'm pretty sure the last time I was this excited about something was before I started college, which is a long time to go without giddy levels of excitement. I'm liking all these happy endorphines; they make my insomnia more pleasant, at least.

In other infinitely more important news, I am devastated to announce that I no longer adore DiorShow Blackout. I used this mascara - alternating with plain ol' DiorShow - for YEARS, and I loved it. It was better than any other mascara I'd ever used, and I swore that all the money I shoveled out (even with my discount) was worth it. I had decided earlier this year to play around with some drugstore mascaras to see if I could find something more affordable to tide me over during my broke grad student years. After a few that I didn't hate but didn't love, I bought CoverGirl Clump Crusher. At first, I was highly disappointed - why were people raving all over the internet about this? And then I found the magic trick: this mo'fo' takes two coats to unlock all the wondrous rainbow unicorn magic contained in that green tube. I've always stuck to one coat of mascara, so this discovery was a shocker to me. Absolutely no clumps on a second coat, which I've never been able to do with a mascara before. This stuff is magic makeup crack, guys.

Ooooh, aaaahhh, mascara magic!!!
In my mind, I still held DiorShow as my top contender - the mascara that nothing could live up to. CC was awesome, but the tube of DiorShow from my latest haul would totally still knock it out of the park. Right? RIGHT? Unfortunately, Clump Crusher finally died last week after I had broken my only hard and fast makeup rule about only using mascara for 3 months so that I could milk an extra 3 weeks out of it. I was only consoled by the waiting tube of DiorShow Blackout in my vanity. I was actually prepared to hate CC after reusing DiorShow. Ha. Haha. HAHAHAHA.

And so I used it... aaaaand I was disappointed. It was way wetter than I remembered it being, so maybe things will get better in a couple of weeks as it naturally dries out a bit. I can't remember the last time a mascara smudged on me, but every day this week I've had faint grey smears under my eyes from this stuff. It is clumpier and less defining, lengthening, and volumizing than Clump Crusher, and even at half off DiorShow was still over double the price of CC. I honestly don't know what happened, but I can tell you right now I am never shelling out the money to buy DiorShow Blackout again. I may try another tube of the normal formula of DiorShow down the line (maybe I'm insane, but I swear this stuff was awesome all the years I used it before), but I cannot wait until the 3 months are up and I can go back to using Clump Crusher. (For what I paid, I'm not tossing it.)

Let me know what your HG mascaras are down below and if you have ever been this sorely let down after returning to an old favorite product before!! I can't be the only one who's realized their old HG now sucks!

Hopefully you'll be hearing from me soon. If not, know I'm hiding in a box fort in my shiny new living room having a mental breakdown over assembling Ikea furniture.

XOXO Samantha