Friday, June 28, 2013

here's to a much-needed weekend!

I don't know about you guys, but I'm worn out.  This weekend couldn't come soon enough for me!  Here are a few links to launch it:

I predict I will be spending some time on this site.

These are neat!

A handy tool.


My brother can draw like this!

Uh oh, this site might become addicting....

All right, get some rest and meet me back here on Monday!

salmon + quinoa salad

I love this salad.  It's crammed with all sorts of wicked healthy stuff, and it tastes!  Oh, and by the way, it's pronounced "KEEN-wha."  Best of all, this recipe is free of allergens and fermented soy products, so it's safe for anti-candida diets!

  • Lettuce (Romaine is the best)
  • 1 small packet of salmon
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Tri-color quinoa
  • Red bell pepper
  • Onion
  • Liquid aminos (I use Bragg's)
  • EVOO or grapeseed oil
Just toast a handful of quinoa over medium heat in a dry non-stick skillet while you wash and dry your lettuce.  I recommend covering it with a lid, since the quinoa will pop, kind of like popcorn!  Chop up onion and red pepper to your liking and add that to the pan with the package of salmon.  Squirt in some liquid aminos.  Cook until the onions are transparent and the salmon caramelizes a bit.  When you're all set, pour it over a bed of lettuce, drizzle on some oil and maybe a little more aminos, and enjoy!  Perfect for a summer day, or like any other day really.  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

good stuff #2

1. Hay Day, an adorable game on my phone...

2. +Panera and thrifting with my birthday bro...

3. This incredible 50-year-old typewriter we found in perfect condition...

4. Nabokov's ridiculous genius...

5. This incredible song...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

june ipsy

This month came with a sturdy leopard-print bag and some awesome products!  It's also calculated up to about a $65 value.

  • NYX Cream Blush in Tea Rose - I love this blush already.  It blends perfectly and is a wonderful color!  
  • Starlooks Lip Pencil in Tickle Me Pink - I'd never used a lip liner before, but I've been wanting to try it.  I like this color a lot, and the texture is perfect!  
  • Cailyn Cosmetics Line-Fix Gel Eyeliner in Iron - Been seeing people rave about this all over the place!  It's a dark grey, so it's actually quite subtle.  I like it.
  • J.Cat Eyelashes and Eyelash Glue - These are pretty intense, and I haven't tried them yet.  I don't wear/need false eyelashes, but I think these will be fun to try for a special occasion.  Maybe I'll cut them up and use them more like individual lashes.  
  • J.Cat Sparkling Cream Palette in Volta - This product was the only dud, and I don't even care because the rest of the bag was phenomenal!  It's like a body glitter, I suppose, because you can't use it as an eyeshadow... Awkward.  I'm no clubber, but I might try mixing it with a clear nail polish to make my own glitter polish?  We'll see.  If it works, I'll put up a diy!  
All in all, I'm super happy with what I got.  When I saw the lists of products that were possible, I knew what I was hoping for and I got it!  Ipsy continues to impress.  *golf clap*

Monday, June 24, 2013

on writing and trying

This is a sot of an answer to this post.  I found my resolution in the form of a final talk by one of my greatest heroes and mentors, Dan Schwabauer.  Now, I have a lot to think about still on the subject, and on other writing-related subjects.  Hopefully some of that will flesh out here over the next few weeks and months.

To begin with, I wanted to share my notes.  Here are some basic points:

The question is, how do you write when you feel like nothing you come up with is going to be good enough?

We're going about this all wrong--we've allowed the world to completely shape our perspective on writing.  The world wants to shape your identity as a person into only the thing you do best.  We become human doings, not human beings.  We think if we're good at one thing, that is the one thing we ought to do, and we shouldn't waste time on anything else.

As an aspiring renaissance-person, I always bucked at this.  It's why I quit writing and switched to math.  Math was a challenge.  GK Chesterton said that what makes a man is not just his best thing...but also his second best thing...and his third best thing.

Lie: In order for something to be worthwhile, it must be technically good.

Lie: In order to be good, it must be beautiful.  Ugly things (true things, sometimes) are bad.  This one is especially prevalent in Christian publishing.

Lie: I am qualified to judge the technical merits of something that's only been imagined.

He made the point that nothing we imagine matches up with the finished product.  The idea of the project and the actual output of the project are never exactly alike.  Sometimes it's better than expected...often it's worse...but if it's not predictable, why do we think we can dismiss an idea that's not been manifested yet?

Creating and analyzing happen separately.  Creativity requires risk.  Creativity takes faith to put effort into a dream without knowing how it will pan out.

A friend's sort-of-motto is this: There is no such thing as good writing.  Only good rewriting.  Now, I don't always agree!  I find editing very difficult, and my work tends to be a once-off and then some polishing.  But it's good to keep in mind.

Being an artist means making the imagined real first...and making it good second.  God made every aspect of Creation real before He evaluated it.  Did you ever notice this?  God created x, y, and z, and then He saw that it was good.

Finally, he reminded us that your writing will help someone (even if that someone is you).  Writing, and rewriting, orders the mind, stretches the skills, teaches us love, dedication, humility.  I was looking for something to make this fight worth it--and this is exactly what I needed to hear.

PS: having a couch buddy as cute as my puppy definitely helps!

Friday, June 21, 2013

here's to a reading weekend!

It's turned into a busy week for me!  I'm getting over a virus of some sort, so I'll be spending the weekend reading some of the four books I've got on my plate at the moment!  What are you doing for fun?

Oh yeah.

Books you should read this summer.  Start this weekend!

This is so cool!

This artist still boggles my mind...

This is nifty!

Have a good one, and see you back here on Monday!

how to grow out a pixie cut - step two

Try the sleek minimalist look.

I like to wear my hair up and out and all over the place when it's really short, but once it starts growing out, I try to avoid the troll doll look.  I've been wearing it parted at the side with very little texture, all the while keeping the back trimmed up!  The nice thing is, my hair is super fine and straight, so it baaaasically wants to do this in the first place.  If your hair has a little more personality, you may need quite a bit more gel than I do!  I've been using TRESemme Ultra, which I got at Kroger when I was still in Tennessee.  I wouldn't say it's a fantastic product or anything, but it works for this. 

Cut-wise, I did have it trimmed up the back when I got home from school, in the last week of May or so.  My hairdresser "stacked" it up the back like you would if you had an A-line bob, which lets the top hair kind of "catch up" with the bottom hair.  And, thank goodness, avoids the mullet look.  Still going strong and not even craving a trim yet!  It's been 12 weeks total since I started growing it out from this length, with 2.5 trims in the back and nothing done otherwise.

A final (and optional) part of this look is to start tucking your wispy-sideburn-things behind your ears.  I prefer to keep them growing as long as possible without trimming to avoid any semblance of mulletness later.  It also helps the haircut start looking more like a bob and less like an awkward mess. 

If you're just joining me, see step one!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

good stuff #1

Little things making my week....

1. My little Bamboo pen tablet... Years old but still going strong, and just what I need to work on a super-fun web design project!  (which will hopefully soon be ready to see)

2. +Panera with a friend (cherry limeade has +Sonic beat!)...

3. A beautiful view at my boyfriend's house...

4. Two good books I'm currently reading: The Lost Horizon and Ada, or Ardor...

5. This nail polish, Pure Ice in Home Run...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


The peak!

These are aspens.

Sangre de Cristo mountain range, visible from Pike's Peak.

Garden of the Gods.

Went back to see the old place.

Oh hey, Cleo.  Made me miss Belle.

Is this the best sign or what?

It's always the worst feeling having to leave Colorado.  I think it's the most beautiful place on earth.  Can't wait to go back!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

how to repair pressed powders + press loose pigments

If you recall from this post, sometimes compacts don't survive shipping in one piece!  This morning, I decided to tackle a mini repair job.  While I was at it, I wanted to try pressing a loose eyeshadow pigment, since it was just too messy for my liking in its original state.  Here's what you'll need: 

  • Rubbing Alcohol (70% Isopropyl)
  • Stuff to repair or press!
  • A separate container to mix in, if needed
  • A Q-tip
  • Cling wrap

First of all, if your product has broken into larger pieces, place some cling wrap over it and break up all the bits.

Add a few drops of alcohol, just enough to wet down the product so it will stick together.  I stirred with a Q-tip, but I should have pulled the cotton off the tip first.  It was all right for the blush, but I did have to remove the cotton to stir the eyeshadow.  

Dump the dampened product into the final container.  Try not to waste too much, though it is impossible to get all of it!

Lay down a barrier of cling wrap and press down the product.  I just used my fingers, but you could use the bottom of a container to create a smoother surface.

Now just let it dry out!  The alcohol will evaporate out, leaving you with a repaired pressed powder.  

I did the same thing with this Mica mineral eyeshadow.  The only difference was pulling the cotton off the Q-tip (which I recommend) and mixing it directly in its container.

I consider it a success since it is now significantly easier to work with!  What do you do with your broken pressed powders and loose pigments?

Monday, June 17, 2013

on writing and mediocrity

I used to write novels, you know.  In fact, a lot of people would say I was really good at it, especially for a 13-year-old.  I placed in a few contests, I got the nicest rejection letter ever from a Zondervan editor....and I fell out of the habit.

I'm trying to remember what made me quit, somewhat abruptly, at exactly the three-quarter mark of a book I was pretty fired up about.  I'd had a few duds after my initial successes, and I thought I'd found something that would break me out of the rut.  Elated, I told my friends, "I just knew all I had to do was go back to the sea and a gorgeous ship!" The Forewarned, she was a beauty....

But I stopped, and my best guess is that school and work and other pursuits took my time.  Mostly school.  I  said I didn't have time, I said it wasn't as important to me anymore, and I took up photography.  Pictures are to novels as microwave popcorn is to a seven-hour leg of lamb.  Focus, shutter, download, edit, save, upload, ding! Your instant gratification is ready.

These days, I wish I could write again.  I would love to devote my free time this summer to a productive, tangible, living and breathing creation.  I would love to take the worlds out of my head and put them down on paper--but I've forgotten how.

"Just write something!"

I joke, "Unfortunately, now I have good taste.  Nothing I come up with is good enough to warrant the effort."

"Then focus on the execution and not the actual plot."

Mm, I don't think so.  You may start with a diamond in the rough, but it better still be a diamond, and not a lump of lava rock.  What motivated me and inspired me to try when I was younger?  The characters.  The beautiful little people who needed their story told--it was all for them.  Where are they now?  No insistent little voices follow me around anymore.

"You hear them talking in your head, don't you?" my writing teacher asked me, one of the first days of our class.

I did--but no longer.  Exorcised by a fear of social ineptitude, of escapism, of not being "present," of being called crazy....  Can I get them back?  Some days I feel some sort of a swelling and I think, if I could just launch myself somewhere into the middle of it all, I could find my feet, ride the bicycle again.... But on days like today, my laptop turns out to be dead, and by the time I've charged it, the itch has passed and nothing I think of seems good enough.
If I could go back and speak with my high school self, I would say, "Keep practicing."  Keep your foot in it, somehow.  Because now, years later, you will find yourself without your element, feeling an opaque haze in your own mind, without your bearings, and your fear of mediocrity will drag you down into the fog of not-trying.

I'm going to try now.

Friday, June 14, 2013

here's to a childhood-memory-filled weekend!

Get down with the colored pencils this weekend!  It saddens me how many people completely forget how therapeutic and creative a good coloring book can be.  I recommend this doodle book that I have!

This made me laugh.  Kids my age and younger don't really have pre-Internet brains.  I was probably 8 or 9 years old when I started sneaking down to plumb the depths of my curiosity (via Google) while my mom napped!

A good reminder.

Two of my childhood heroes combined wonderfully here.  You thought that was going to be all deep and profound, right?  Nope, I was an artistic Jedi.

This is John Green's advice put into beautiful cartoon form.  Let's be honest: I can't get through a weekend links post without mentioning something Nerdfighter....

Also this one.

A little riddle for you.

In the spirit of childhood memory crossovers, I present Star Wars Disney Princesses.  My favorites are the Ventress-esque Ariel and Dark Side Snow.

food-sensitivity-friendly homemade latte

I think the springtime pollen has my immune system working overtime!  At any rate, lately I've felt worn out, and a lot sleepier than usual.  Or maybe that's the end-of-semester crunch time talking.  Either way, sometimes I just need a shot of caffeine to get me through a long day.  I love making my own lattes, despite trying to stay away from things I'm sensitive to.  Here's how I get the best of both worlds:

Caffeine isn't the best choice for your body, but if I'm going to drink it, I try not to exacerbate any other problems!  I use Melitta because their coffee beans aren't processed with yeast and malt like everyone else's.  If you react to coffee, you might test your reaction to yeast and malt.  I'm super allergic to yeasts, and I believe that's what I reacted to in my old coffee grounds!  Start with a superfine grind, and use two rounded half-teaspoons for each largish shot of espresso.

Skip the dairy and use some kind of alternate milk.  This is soy milk, although I also love using almond milk.  Don't use rice milk because it foams like water, and we don't want a miniature bubblebath in our latte!  Unfortunately, I haven't found a dairy alternative that creates a really good microfoam, but at this point, we're not too picky, right?

Definitely do not ruin your health-conscious coffee by putting a processed, refined sugar in it! Stevia is all-natural and doesn't behave like sugar in your bloodstream.  Plus, a little goes a loooong way.  No, seriously, go easy.  Too much Stevia can turn your latte bitter.  I put it straight into the cold milk before steaming.

I always steam/froth my milk first, in a stainless steel pitcher.  You can find lots of tutorials online, but the gist of it is: Stick your steam nozzle just under the surface of the milk and open the valve to full blast.  Keep the nozzle at a level below "splatter noisily" but above "completely silent" to generate a foam.  Large bubbles will collect on the surface of a non-dairy milk, but these will start to disappear if you tap the pitcher sharply on the table top.

Pull your shot(s).  I wish you could smell this!  Heavenly.

Combine your milk and shots into a mug and enjoy!  Regret-free energy boost and comforting morning ritual.  Well, weekly ritual.  I still try not to drink coffee very often.  It makes it that much more enjoyable when I do!

Do you love coffee?  How do you make it?