Sunday, March 30, 2014


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two quick reviews

Have we discussed my love for +Walgreens?  It's the most humane store on the planet.  Sometimes it moves me to singing an ode.  Don't worry, I'll spare you.

Anyways, on my last Walgreens run, I picked up a few things and I figured I'd just mention them here:

+Maybelline Baby Lips in Peach Kiss.  I'd heard good things about this over a longish period of time...and I can attest to the fact that it smells amazing.  It's pretty moisturizing and isn't sticky at all, so all in all, I'm a fan!

Yes to Cucumbers Soothing Eye Gel.  I've been having some trouble with dry and irritated skin around my eyes due to allergies, and I wanted something to treat that.  I can't say anything about this gel's effect on dark circles because I just started using it, but it feels fantastic, smells great, and my sensitive skin has no problem with it!  I'm also a fan of natural ingredients.  Plus it's on sale right now!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

starter make-up for young teens

I believe it was back in January, while I was at home, that my younger sister Hannah mentioned wanting to get into a little bit of make-up.  I pulled a little bit of a Popular and "simply haaaad to take over" her induction.

I'm a big fan of keeping make-up minimal while girls are younger.  In fact, I think my mom had to drag me into using some mascara.  Plus, Hannah has pretty much perfect skin, so she really doesn't need much!  See below what I recommended for her, and months later, she's still a fan!

1. +COVERGIRL concealer for any redness or problem spots.  We both use the Neutralizer shade, since we're super fair-skinned.  I personally prefer the Rimmel Hide The Blemish concealer, but that can be harder to find. (Hint: Walgreens)  I use the Covergirl one right now anyway, and I think the only difference is it's a bit dryer.

2. +Rimmel Stay Matte Powder for any shinyness.  We both use this minimally, but it's great for the T-zone or setting your concealer.  Again, with super fair skin, we use Transparent.

3. We picked up the Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal liner.  She wanted a good brown color that didn't have too much red in it.

4. Hannah's favorite mascara is +Maybelline's  Volum' Express.  I actually want to get my hands on that now...

5. When she came to visit last week, she brought her new +e.l.f. Cosmetics eyeshadow palettes.  She's definitely very light on these, and like me, probably only uses any eyeshadow on Sunday.  These are nice neutrals, and since she has blue eyes, she leans toward bronze-y shades.

I think that's about all a teenager would need to get started!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

how to write a paper (without going crazy)

I don't think I know anyone who really enjoys writing assigned papers for school.  Writing is great and all, but when you're doing it for a grade?  Unpleasant.  Needless to say, I have a big paper to do this weekend.  While I'm off working on that, here are my tips for staying sane!  (Hopefully they'll work on me...)

Find Your Motivation Sweet Spot
Okay, I know most people would just say, "Don't procrastinate!"  And that's probably smart.  But I also have an appreciation for the clarity of thought a looming deadline provides.  There's a fine line between that and tearing out your hair the night before!  This is what I take into account:

  • Subject interest.  If I don't like what I have to write about, I start early, because eloquent, passionate thoughts are not going to flow from my fingertips.  
  • Time to "ferment."  I let my ideas sit in the back of my head for a few weeks, if I can, to gather up inspiration, develop my thoughts and beliefs, and capitalize on any relevant information I may come across.  For example, when I'm thinking about my paper a long time in advance, I'll often hear quotes that I end up using...but if I hadn't even given it a thought until the week it was due, they would have gone in one ear and out the other!
For me, this means getting an idea of my topic a few weeks early, and then getting down to work about a week before it's due.  

Maintain Your Outline
Keep a running list of your main points as you solidify your idea.  A week before the paper is due, finalize that outline.  Try to make sure your points flow from one to the next, and that similar points are grouped together.  For example, this paper is going to be talking about ambiguity in devotional poetry.  I'm talking first about its relationship with the writer of the poem, and then second about its effect on the reader.  Then, while writing, keep your outline open alongside your paper, to help you stay on track.

Make a Schedule and Stick to It
My schedule looks like this: 
Day 1: finalize outline
Day 2: find quotes, sources, examples
Day 3: take a break
Day 4: write write write
Day 5: write write write
Day 6: proofread, edit
Day 7: turn in

Read Out Loud
You may get some funny looks from your roommates/family, but it really will help you find any place with awkward or choppy flow.  It will also help you develop your writing "voice" in a way that's true to your style. 

I hope these tips help you out!  Now I'm off to finish my paper!

Friday, March 21, 2014

throat cure

Spring is in the air.  Literally.  Those blooming trees are the bane of my existence!  My throat is killing me, so I've been treating it with this and this!

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (the real thing)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • dash of lemon juice
  • dash of cinnamon
  • drop of peppermint essential oil (optional)
Just boil some water while you get all those things together in a mug.  Fill it to the top with hot water, stir, and drink!  It kinda tastes like a hot wassail drink or something... anyways, it works wonders! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

dorm decor

I apologize for the lateness of my posts this week, but the homework train never stops and I need sleeeep!  On the upside--it's Wednesday, which means tomorrow is Thursday, which means the next day is Friday, which means WEEKEND!  Hopefully after some much-needed sleep and alone time to recharge, I will be back to my normal self.  And, you know, my self whose mouth-filter is working properly.  (Yes I did make a comment about naked Presbyterians in class.  Don't ask.)

I thought I'd show you a few things I have on my walls here at school.

The first is my photo wall, which is comprised of two disposable-cameras' worth of film photos.  These were taken on campus, on a trip to Colorado, on a trip to my roommate's grandparents' farm, and on a trip to Gulf Shores.

The second is a string of seashells from the beach, coupled with some Bible verse memory cards I made.

How do you decorate your bedroom?  Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

how to make coffee with an aeropress

Note: Due to the excessive amount of homework that I have this week, I'm pulling this never-before-published post from the past drafts archives!  It's never too late to learn how to make a good cup of joe! 

Dad's Father's Day gift was this Aerobie coffee press, which makes an espresso-like coffee that is fantaaastic!  He graciously made me a shot while I took pictures of the process.  I apologize for the quality of the shots, but it was quite dark and gloomy out.  Anyways, here's how to use an aeropress!

This is what came in the kit: the press with plunger, a stirring stick, a measuring spoon, a year's worth of filters (if you drink one a day, I suppose), and a funnel (not pictured).

Place a filter into the little strainer and wet it down to stick it in place.  Screw the strainer onto the press and place it over your coffee cup.

 Measure out two level scoops of coffee grounds into the press.  I recommend a fine grind, but not an espresso grind since it will be hard to push the plunger down.  My Melitta coffee is pretty much perfect.

Bring your water almost to a boil, and then let it sit for about two minutes.  You want a temperature around 190 degrees F.  Slowly pour the water into the press up to the 2 mark.

Stir the grounds around a little bit to enhance the "bloom."

Remove the press and you have your shot of pretty-much-espresso!  You can add a little more boiling water for an Americano, or steamed milk for a latte.

 My dad says this is basically the best cup of coffee he's ever had, and a cut above places like Starbucks for sure!  It's super smooth.  I might need to get my hands on one of these aeropresses in the near future!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

diy conditioner

So I ran out of hair conditioner this week.  Awhile ago, I made a semi-resolution that when I ran out of various stuff like that, I would try all-natural at-home diys instead of buying a new one.  So, in a travel bottle I had lying around, I mixed about 2/3 warm water and 1/3 organic lemon juice.  I keep it in the shower, and after shampooing, I just squirt it on my hair and let it sit for several minutes.  Rinsing with cold water gives you bonus shine.  Now, my hair is somewhat dry, so post-shower, sometimes I run about a drop of macadamia oil through it.  For the record, I have super-fine, ultra-straight hair and not much of it, so it's not frizzy, but it does knot up pretty bad.  Part of the shinyness is just natural, but I really like the lemon juice rinse so far!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

earl grey shortbread cookies

 I made these for the first time awhile ago, with the very same totally rad friend as these heavenly pretzels.  But last night, I thought to myself, "Gee, those were really good!  It sure would be nice to have those with my tea tomorrow...."

However, it is an obvious fact that one simply cannot make such phenomenal cookies all by oneself.  So here's a simple version.  I believe the recipe we used the first time was this one.  And I highly recommend it, though we added some orange zest because we were inspired.  But in the event of a home-alone Friday night and wanting to make a smaller batch with few ingredients, here's what I did this time:

  • 1 stick of softened butter (1/2 cup) 
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • Earl Grey black tea, 1 tea bag's worth
Mash your butter into your sugar.  Mash away.  I added the tea leaves at this point as well.  Make sure all the clumps of butter are beaten out into a nice, creamy mash.  Add your flour about a half-cup at a time and stir.  Feel free to use your hands there at the end.  Shape the dough into a cylinderish shape and roll it up in cling-wrap.  Refrigerate for maybe a half-hour.  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Slice your dough roll to create snazzy little round cookies...let's say about 1/3 of an inch thick.  Lay them out on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the edges are just barely browned.  These guys toast up quick, so keep an eye on them.  Let cool a bit on pan before removing.  Makes about 16 cookies.  Store in an airtight container for a few days, if they don't get eaten immediately.  (Riiiiiiiiiight.)

Dip them in your coffee, I dare you.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

recipe for a weekend baking sesh

Listen up, folks.  There's a lot involved in making this rad time go down in the history books, so pay attention!


  • 1 totally rad friend
  • All this stuff 
  • 1 episode of House
  • Any number of updates from home and funny stories about your amazing boss and horror stories about private tutoring experiences
Step 1:  Gather ingredients.  

Step 2: Start making the pretzels.  Deliver the update about your brother's new relationship status entirely in a Russian accent.  Make pun about how you were worried your parents would think you were "russian into things" with your own relationship.  Laugh uproariously.

Step 3: Let the dough rise.  Express concern about dough rising.  Drink a bottle of kombucha and deliberate over House episode.  

Step 4: Watch a House episode in which he is snarky, semi-legal, semi-ethical, and very rude.  (Hint:  This is not a difficult task.)  Discover that House is probably your sarcasm soulmate.  But not your actual soulmate because he is really a jerk.

Step 5: Shape the dough into pretzels.  Boil them, brush them, salt them, and put them into the oven.  Make more hilarious jokes.  

Step 6: Check on pretzels in the oven after 7 minutes.  Start screaming about how amazing they look and how brilliant we are.  Okay, again, but with more oomph this time!

Step 7: Finish the pretzels and eat some.  Dance around freaking out because they turned out perfectly.  Take a lot of pictures with your phone for Instagram.

Step 8: Chill out the rest of the evening swapping tales and raving about your mad baking skillz.  

Monday, March 3, 2014

snow day!

I feel like I should be all, "Ummmm yeaaaah, I'm gonna need you all to increase your carbon footprint and cause some global warming..." (Lumbergh impression anyone?) but I cannot tell a lie (George Washington impression anyone?) because I love snow.  And snow days.  And anything that involves not sitting in class all day.  And it's so pretty!

Chances are you're under the same ice/snow storm if you live in the midwest/sort-of-south area.  Are you sick of winter?  In my opinion, if it's going to be cold, it better snow, and then I'll be happy.  But once this snow melts...we better be going straight into spring!

Meanwhile I'll be here drinking coffee, reading a few books, smelling daffodils, and not changing out of my leggings!  How about you?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

new (and old) inspiration

Well, as you know, I took a long hiatus from the blogging world.  And I mean the whole blogging world.  It wasn't until January, I think, that I started reading them again.  I scaled down my follow list to select favorites and slowly got back into bloglovin'.

Psssshhhhhhh moderation is for the Ancient Greeks!  Here are a few blogs I've added to my growing follow list!

1.) BLEUBIRD.  Just discovered this blog before I came back to school.  I may or may not have haunted the archives for a full week.

2.) Seablanket.  Chelsea moved to a snazzy new website, so I had to update my list!

3.) Emmadime.  I just found this one a few minutes ago and it looks really promising!  I love good knitting and design.