Go Through My Stuff: Adults Carry Too Much

Guys, I’m one step closer to being an actual adult. I recently started an internship at police headquarters, where I’m functioning as a research assistant. Which is cool. Which also means I can’t drag a backpack full of everything I own with me everywhere. So I sat down and figured out what things I actually need on a day to day basis, and realized, Why do I have all this stuff and why do I need it so much?!

Bag overview

Surprisingly, it all fits into my bag, and it’s not too heavy either. Maybe I’m a reasonably competent adult after all.

Here’s the goods:

Updated what's in my bag

You guys remember my penchant for organizing things into rectangles, right? Well, look what I did. I didn’t number things this time though,so you’ll have to figure that out on your own.

In the top left is my planner. I’ve had one since elementary school. I need to write things down to remember them. I can use apps like Wunderlist and Tiny Calendar to plan out things in advance, but I do better when I can physically writing things down.

Underneath my wallet is a little clear pouch I keep things like bandaids and medications. I also keep lens cleaning wipes in there, to clear off my glasses and phone. Next to that are my glasses, as well as sunglasses.

In the top right, I’ve got my compact mirror from the dollar bin at Forever 21, as well as the lip stain I wear all the time. I like really dark reds lately. And then there’s my phone and keys.

That little pouch with the hedgehogs on it was a gift from my friend Anna, who is well aware of the fact that I love hedgehogs. I use it for pencils and the like, since I’m constantly writing things down.

That little round pot is my favorite lip balm ever. I know I’ve mentioned it a million times, but it’s Love & Toast’s Gin and Lime lip balm, made with olive oil. Then headphones, sweets because I’m a little old lady, and some purple mints that are surprisingly good.

The notebook is the most important thing I carry. I write down basically everything, including ideas for blog posts, to do lists that’ll take a few weeks, and things for my master’s thesis.

And finally, I’ve got hand sanitizer, an eye roller, and a hand cream. You can read more about those in my winter skin care post.

What I forgot to throw into this picture because it was actually sitting in my backpack at the time is my Anker powercore, which is a handy little (very heavy) backup battery charger for my phone/iPad/whatever I have that needs a charge.

How do you guys like this Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule I’m trying to stick to? I’m tentatively having a proper schedule, I’m thinking food and recipes on Mondays, beauty products and clothes on Wednesdays, and lists of things on Fridays. We’ll see how that works out, it’ll probably involve me planning ahead and prescheduling posts instead of hurriedly writing at 11pm on a Friday just to stick to my own schedule. Oh adulthood, you really crept up on me.

As always, you can find me on Twitter, Instagram, and by email, thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com.

Have a great weekend!

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Spinach and Leek Hummus

I know, I know, two recipes in a row. Bear with me, I’ve been working more than usual. This one is quick and easy, I promise.

When I was a junior in high school, my Arabic teacher took us to the school kitchen and taught us how to make hummus. I remember thinking it was remarkably easy, and she mentioned how you could add basically anything to the base recipe. And since spinach is so versatile, and I add it to pretty much everything, today I decided to add it to hummus. And it was fantastic.

Green hummus

Don’t let the bright green color fool you, you can hardly taste the spinach. And the recipe is so simple.

You need:

1 can (14oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

30g leeks, chopped

80g fresh spinach

5g (3 cloves) garlic, roughly chopped

2 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp olive oil

First, heat the olive oil and lightly roast the leeks and the garlic. What I like to do is let the oil heat completely, and then toss in the garlic and leeks, immediately turning off the heat. Everything will sizzle nicely while you do the rest, which means you don’t have to actively watch it.

While that’s happening, put the chickpeas and tahini in the blender, and pulse it until it’s mostly pureed. You might need to add water, do so a tablespoon at a time until it’s the consistency of peanut butter.

At this point, take the leeks and garlic off the stove and put it in the blender, getting as much of the olive oil into the blender as well. Blend it up.

When that’s all smooth, slowly at the spinach until it’s all incorporated. You can add some salt at this point too, I needed about a teaspoon. I also added a touch of paprika. Chili powder would have been ideal, but I didn’t have any.

Once everything is blended and there are no chunks, you’re good to go. Serve with pita chips, tortilla chips, on toast, whatever floats your boat.

As always, you can find me on Twitter or Instagram, and by email at thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com.

Kale Chips are Wonderful

Here’s something fun: my mother’s last name is Kale, like the vegetable, so whenever I cook something with kale in it, I make the most ridiculous cannibalism jokes. She pretends she doesn’t enjoy them, but she laughs.

Today I realized I had a whole bunch of kale in my fridge, which was going to be for kale and quinoa salad but I still have some left from the last time I made it. So instead, I decided to make kale chips. And after a quick search on Google, I realized it was easy.

kale chips

Literally all you need is a bunch of kale, some olive oil, and some salt. You tear the kale into vaguely chip sized chunks, toss them in a little bit of olive oil, spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake them for about half an hour at 275F. Then you sprinkle them with salt to taste. You can add other flavors too, but for the first try I stuck with just salt. I did need to prop the oven open with a wooden spoon for the first ten minutes, that seemed to help them dry out so they turned out crispier.

As always, you can find me on Twitter, Instagram, or by email, thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com.

 

Winter Skin Blues

With Winter Storm Jonas wreaking havoc on the east coast and the air getting all dry and sharp, I figured I would make a really quick post about keeping your skin healthy and hydrated when it’s cold out.

It doesn’t snow much in Texas, which is a good thing, because last year the two inches we got in February shut down the city for a week. I had to laugh, because I grew up in Ohio and didn’t get a snow day unless there was three feet of snow and a windchill of -15. Even so, it gets cold and windy here, and I recently discovered that I am really prone to windburn. Which sucks. You’d think spending three years in Oklahoma would make me less susceptible to wind, but it didn’t. Curses. So I’ve accumulated a small arsenal of things to protect my already sensitive and delicate skin from any more stingy pain.

winter skin

First things first, I put on this Bliss Grapefruit+Aloe Body Butter. It’s so thick and moisturizing, but not greasy in the least, which is super important for me. I got this one at Nordstrom Rack last winter, and I’m not even halfway through the tube. It’s giant.

Then on my face I use Garnier Nutritioniste Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel Cream. It’s a super light gel that absorbs really quickly, so if I need to put makeup over it, it doesn’t make me all sticky and greasy. And the best part is that it soothes existing windburn.

On my lips I use my favorite lip balm, by Love & Toast. It tastes like gin and lime, and it’s made with all natural ingredients like olive oil. I like it so much that I bought one for Desiree in Vanilla Chai and drove five hours to give it to her. Okay, I was heading up there anyway, but still.

Next to that in the green tube is a Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller. It helps get rid of under eye bags, which happen when I rub my face because my skin hurts.

My hands get pretty dry in the winter too, because I don’t like wearing gloves. So I picked up this Pacifica Hand Cream in Tuscan Blood Orange. It smells fresh, but not overwhelmingly citrusy.

And finally, I make myself drink lots of water to keep my skin hydrated from the inside. This water bottle is made by Apana, which is a company that makes yoga related things, I guess. It’s called the Sweety Water Bottle. It’s glass with a silicone sleeve, and fits in my purse. Also the hearts are super cute.

As always, you can find me on Twitter, Instagram, or by email, thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com.

Stay warm!

Apps I Love (that aren’t social media)

I seem to be making a lot of lists lately.

I am practically attached to my phone or iPad. Makes sense, at this point practically my whole life is in there, especially since both my classes are online and I get constant emails from the university. And my friends live far far away from me (ahem. Desiree.) so the texting, FaceTime, and Skype is a continuous thing. Thank goodness for unlimited texting plans, right?

These apps are not social media. They’re more productivity/keep me from being bored on airplanes/photo editing apps. Some are games, some are calendars, some are fitness related.

Tiny Calendar

IMG_0742

This calendar app integrates all your Google calendars and the built in calendar on my phone. I like how I can edit my calendars on my computer, and it syncs with the app on my phone and iPad. It also lets me color code things, which is great for differentiating travel, course assignments, and other deadlines just from the little dots. Since it’s the beginning of my semester, I don’t have too many dots floating around, but later on I can already tell when I’ll be busy.

Wunderlist

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This is just a fancy to-do list app. But the cool thing is, when you have multiple people working on the same project, you can make a collaborative to-do list and assign everyone tasks, and this app keeps track of everyone. You can also set up reminders, so it warns you when something is coming due. I don’t know how many notebooks this has saved me because I make to-do lists all the time.

Shopkick

IMG_0748

This is an interesting little app. All you really have to do with it is open it when you walk into a participating store, and you get points for being there. Eventually the points add up, and you can cash them in for gift cards to places like Starbucks and Target. It’s pretty cool, especially if you end up running a lot of errands.

MyFitnessPal

IMG_0740

You guys know what this one is, right? It’s a fitness tracker, and I find it really helpful. It tracks calories and nutrients, and also weight, exercise and water consumption. It’s pretty great. It also syncs up with apps like Fitbit to get a better picture of your habits.

Spotify (Premium)

IMG_0743

Spotify is like Netflix for music. It’s pretty fantastic. And I highly recommend the premium version. It gets rid of the ads every three songs and lets you save songs to play offline, which is great at the gym or while travelling. For Desiree’s wedding, we realized the morning of that we had no music so a few of us made a collaborative playlist and used that. It was pretty nice, since we could have a variety of music to appeal to everyone. And yes, we played Boomer Sooner. It was Bedlam day.

Aviary

IMG_0741

Aviary is a pretty great little photo editor. In addition to the lighting and color balance and cropping you can do on Instagram, Aviary lets you edit out little blemishes and even whiten teeth. It’s like a very light version of Photoshop right on your phone.

Adobe Post

IMG_0747

I am in love with this app. It lets you add text to images. Yes, that sounds super simple, but you can pick either your pictures or others that are free to use (but you’re responsible for making sure the copyright allows it), and it provides color palettes and a variety of fonts that make things look so professional.

Two Dots

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This game is so calming. All you have to do is connect the dots to fulfill the little challenges at the top. And the music is so sweet and gentle. It makes me happy. It’s pretty simple, and really fun.

1010!

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This is basically tetris. But on a grid. And the shapes aren’t dropping. You just get three at a time, and arrange them so they make rows and columns, which then disappear. You keep going until you have no moves left. I like playing it when my brain gets itchy and I’ve already cleaned everything in the house.

Twist

IMG_0745

This game is so infuriating. All it is is tapping the screen to make the little ball hop from platform to platform. It even turns for you. All you do is tap the screen. And some platforms are shorter, some are longer, and the pattern varies. Sometimes the color changes. All you have to do is tap the screen. Easy, right? No. If you tap too soon, or too late, the damn ball hops off the platform and falls into the abyss and you lose. See how I’ve played 428 goddamn times and only made it to 116 platforms? Infuriating.

 

I hope you enjoy some of these apps. Hell, try them all. They’re all free. Except Spotify Premium. But Spotify not-Premium is free. So there.

Remember, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, my other Instagram, or email me at thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com.

Things I Liked Putting on My Face in 2015

I know, I know, monthly favorites is the trend around here, but let’s be real, I am a creature of habit. I don’t try new things, and when I do, my skin breaks out or I pout the whole time. So instead of giving you guys a list of the exact same thing every month, I decided to tell you about the things I kept reaching for for an entire year.

fave products 2015

See? Simple creature. Told you so.

The first thing I liked a lot is my Clarisonic Mia 1. I use it every other day, and it’s really been helping with my acne. Along with this, I use Aveeno’s Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser. It hasn’t got any exfoliation on its own, so using it with my Clarisonic is great. I also just use it on its own on the days I’m not using Clarisonic.

Makeup wise, I don’t like wearing a lot of things on my face. At 24 years old, I’ve yet to figure out how foundation and concealer work. And don’t get me started on contouring. Seriously, don’t. I wouldn’t know what to tell you. What I do wear every day is eyebrow gel. I like Benefit’s SpeedBrow. It’s a lightly tinted brow gel that sets pretty fast.  When I do wear other eye makeup, I use Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion. Even if I’m not using more than a little eyeshadow, it keeps my eyelids from looking oily. Which is a thing that happens, apparently. My favorite eyeliner is Maybelline’s Eye Studio Master Precise liner pen. I love the tip on this thing. It’s so thin, and I can do the most perfect little wings with it.

Above the eyeliner is Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara. It makes my eyelashes look all full and soft, and doesn’t clump at all. And my favorite eyeshadows are in the Too Faced Matte Eye palette. They’re great for a pretty natural look.

To the right there is Love & Toast’s Gin Blossom perfume, both in the bottle and the rollerball. It’s been my go to scent. I also like Love & Toast’s Gin and Lime lip balm, but was all out so it’s not pictured. I need to grab another pot of it.

Finally, I’m loving basically every lip product NYX makes. Pictured above are the Simply Red Lip Cream, Matte Lipstick, and Soft Matte Lip Cream.

Whew. Favorites. Done. All the links go to Ulta, or to the Love & Toast website. Sometimes L&T is at Ulta, sometimes it’s not. Depends on the store, I guess.

As always, you can find me on Twitter, Instagram (and here!), or you can email me at thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com.

Kale and Quinoa Salad

Kale is a funny little vegetable. For the last decade or so, it was primarily used as a decoration for salad bars, providing a pretty green backdrop for its friends spinach and romaine, and the ever popular iceberg lettuce. And then someone decided to eat it. Kale has a bad rap with people who like bashing on healthy food. And sure, it’s tough, and fibrous, and makes you gassy if you eat too much, but come on, it’s good for you. Right?

Kale.jpg

Kale is having a serious moment though. Kale chips make up like half the aisle at Sprouts, and it’s move beyond just salad bar decorations and into the salad itself. But it’s nasty and gross raw. Sorry, kale. It’s true. It feels like eating plastic.

So you have to cook it. Cooking kale makes everything better. It’s suddenly tender, and delicious, and you can add quinoa and strawberries and homemade garlicky dressing and it turns into something like this:

Kale and Quinoa Salad

Which looks a lot more palatable than the sad salad bar trim it used to be.

This salad is easy. There’s a lot of waiting around for things to boil and season and whatnot.

You need:

2 teaspoons salt

300g kale, raw

2/3 cup quinoa, uncooked

250 g strawberries, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic

First, bring a large-ish pot of salted water to a boil. While that’s heating up, remove the leafy bits of the kale from the stalk and tear them into reasonably bite sized pieces. Wash them, and once the water boils, turn off the heat and put the kale in, leaving it for about ten minutes.

While the kale is cooking, wash the quinoa. The reason a lot of people think quinoa leaves a bitter aftertaste is because of a natural coating on the grains, called saponin, which tastes like soap and is a defense mechanism the plant uses against little animals. So you have to rinse it a few times, draining and re-rinsing, until the water stops looking sudsy. Put that on to cook until the water (should use 1.5 times as much water as quinoa, so in this case, one cup) is mostly evaporated and the quinoa is cooked.

At this point, the kale leaves should be bright green, like something Robin Hood would enjoy wearing. Drain them, and let them sit in the strainer to cool.

Chop up the strawberries if you haven’t done so already. You could replace them with dried cranberries, but fresh strawberries have less sugar.

Take the olive oil and heat it in a little saucepan. Once it’s almost boiling, turn off the heat. While it’s cooling a little, chop up the garlic as fine as you can get it, and then carefully put it in the oil. It’ll bubble and sizzle, but should not be frying. Once that settles down, you’re good to go.

Mix everything up in a big bowl, coating the garlic olive oil over everything. Heating and cooling the oil makes a difference in how it tastes, I promise. I’m not crazy.

  • Makes four servings. Each serving has:
  • 218 calories
  • 14.9g fat
  • 31.5mg sodium
  • 430.4mg potassium
  • 18.5 carbohyrates
  • 4.4g fiber
  • 5.1g sugar
  • 5.1g protein
  • 149.9% DV* Vitamin A
  • 219.2% DV* Vitamin C
  • 13% DV* Calcium
  • 10.2% DV* Iron
  • *Daily Values based on a 2,000 calorie diet. 

 

Garlic Roasted Broccoli

This is the most delicious thing I’ve ever made. I know I say that a lot, but this is really good. It’s broccoli. With garlic.

roasted broccoli

And it’s one of those super quick twenty minute recipes you can put together at the last second when you want a side dish, but let’s be real, I just eat it as a meal.

You need:

1 head of broccoli, chopped into bite sized florets

3 tsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 pinch salt

1 pinch black pepper

4 tsp grated Parmesan (optional)

The first thing you should do is put the garlic in the olive oil and let it sit. Also preheat your oven to 400F, with one rack about five inches from the top heating element. Once you’ve got the broccoli chopped up, toss it with the garlic and olive oil, making sure it’s evenly coated. Spread it on a foil-lined baking sheet, and slide it into the oven for about fifteen to twenty minutes, until the edges of the broccoli are nicely browned. Pull it out and toss it with the Parmesan.

Isn’t it great?

Sorry I’ve been MIA for a while. Lots of things happening, not all of them fun. You can always reach me on Twitter, Instagram, another Instagram, or email me at thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com.