Hair Products I am Obsessed With.

Do you guys remember this post I made a while back about hair care? Well, since then my hair routine has changed just enough that I felt I needed to make a new post. And in the summer, Texas gets super humid, so my focus goes from moisturizing to frizz control.

I wash my hair maybe every two or three days, depending on how greasy it’s gotten. Since it’s curly, the oils hang out near my scalp. I use Redken All Soft Shampoo and Conditioner. I forgot to take a picture of it, oops. It’s really helped get my hair from dry and brittle to really soft and silky.

Now, here’s what I use afterwards:

hair lineup

This isn’t an every day thing, since I don’t wash my hair every day. But I’m really enjoying how the Redken shampoo has eliminated the need for a lot of the serums and products I’ve been using.

Coconut Oil:

coconut oil

Every two weeks, I use coconut oil as an overnight hair mask. I get this Vatika Enriched Coconut Hair Oil from the Indian grocery store, but it’s cheaper on Amazon. It’s really moisturizing, and once I wash it out, my hair is noticeably more hydrated.

Redken One United:

redken one united

This stuff is seriously magic. I use it when my hair is damp but not nearly dry, just to detangle it and brush it out. It’s Redken’s One United All-In-One Multi-Benefit Treatment,  and it’s a leave-in conditioner and detangler and hair treatment all in one. It’s so wonderful. And it smells amazing.

The Redken is a little pricey, but Not Your Mother’s Way to Grow Long and Strong leave in conditioner  is really nice too.

CHI Iron Guard:

chi spray

I’ve been avoiding using heat on my hair unless absolutely necessary, but after a bad haircut I’ve been straightening the ends so they lay flat instead of poufing out. I’ve been using the CHI Iron Guard for years and years, and it does a great job. I really saturate my hair with it before using my flat iron or curling wand, and so far I’ve been fine.

Not Your Mother’s Volumizing Hairspray:

nym hairspray

I’m not a huge fan of hairspray. I feel like it’s heavy and sticky and makes my hair crunchy. But this one, Not Your Mother’s She’s a Tease Volumizing Hairspray. Also it smells pretty nice too. It holds my hair down without making it too stiff or crunchy, and if I sleep on it it’s not horrendously misshapen and plastered to the side of my head like with other sprays.

I wish this post was more detailed about exactly what I do to my hair, but really, I’ve been trying to make my life more simple and less overwhelming.

Also, all of these links lead to Amazon, where I have an Affiliate account. Buying something from one of my links would let me collect a few cents for every dollar, but really, all the opinions are my own, from products that I’ve already gone and bought myself.

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

 

 

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My favorite lipsticks for when I’m feeling a touch melodramatic.

Remember last week how I made you a list of my favorite red lipsticks? Well, last summer I went on a quest in search of the perfect dark, vampy purple. And I found a few that I really really liked, and I’m finally starting to branch out from my standard reds.

purple swatches

Now, these aren’t all drugstore like my reds. A few of them are fairly pricey, especially if you’re not gonna wear them every day. I’ve provided links to Amazon*, but I’m sure that you can find most of these at your local Ulta or Sephora.

At the very top is a lip stain, Revlon’s Just Bitten lip stain and balm in Beloved/Adoration. This is a fairly sheer (at least on me) raisiny-brown purple, which looks pretty natural, so this is what I wear if I’m not wearing any other makeup, or if I’m doing my eyes super dramatic and don’t want to do super dramatic lips as well. It’s very versatile. Now, there’s a balm on the end of it that’s supposed to either make it stay for a while or to make your lips softer, but I really don’t use it.

The wine-y color underneath is NYX’s Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen. It goes on so soft and velvety, and dries matte, and lasts seriously forever. This perpetuates my obsession with NYX. I know Desiree loves one of their Soft Matte Lip Creams too, I think it’s called Aspen, it’s a neutral nude shade, and looks perfect on her.

That perfect dark vampy shade underneath it is also by NYX, it’s a Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Vintage. I do have to warn you, it’s cheaper at Ulta than on Amazon. But it’s so perfect and lasts for so long that the Amazon price really isn’t that bad.

Alright, now to the more expensive things.

The next one is Smashbox’s Be Legendary Lipstick in Plum Scene. It’s a nice raisin purple, with just a hint of a shimmer. And it stays on for a while. On me it looks almost wine colored, but in the tube it looks much darker, so it’s fairly buildable.

And finally, is my 23rd birthday present to myself, MAC’s Gunner. This one was part of a limited edition collection, so it’s not available from MAC’s stores or online, but they’re selling it via their Amazon account. It’s the bluest of these purples, and I on;y really wear it if I’m feeling melodramatic and it’s nighttime.

That’s all I’ve got today, maybe next week I’ll show you my favorite pinks.

I think I do have a problem with lipsticks, lol. Comment below with your favorites!

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

*I use affiliate links, so I would get a teeny bit from each sale using my referring link. However, the opinions are totally my own, and I really do love these lipsticks.

My favorite reds (that are under $10!!)

According to some (cough cough Desiree cough cough), I wear a ton of red lipsticks. So much so that instead of just listing them all, I had to choose five. So I guess Desiree was right. Don’t tell her though.

Red swatches

Okay, I guess that is quite a few reds. But a little old lady at a nursing home I did an art show at told me red was my color and who can argue with a sweet old lady who tells you you’re pretty?!

The best part this, these are all drugstore brands, for less than $10 each. I’ve provided links to Amazon* for each one. I know I didn’t add numbers, but since I love lists so much, I’m going from the top down.

The top red is a Covergirl Outlast lipstain, in #440 Wild Berry Wink. It’s a pretty bright red, and since it’s a stain, lasts for such a long time. It’s the pinkest of the reds, but I’m still counting it for Team Red.

Just under that is NYX’s Simply Red Lip Cream in #02 Knock Out. It’s the sheerest, but also goes on the smoothest, and is super buildable. I’m really loving NYX in general, the formula is really great for all of the products I’ve tried, and the packaging is nice too.

Third on the list is one I’ve had for a very long time, Revlon’s #655 Scarlet Velvet. Unfortunately, it’s been discontinued, but Certainly Red seems like a match. I think this was my first red lipstick.

Next is another NYX lipstick, NYX is my latest obsession. It’s one of their matte lipsticks, in Alabama. It’s a bright orangey red, perfect for daytime with light makeup otherwise. I like wearing it with super thin eyeliner wings and one coat of mascara.

Finally, my all time favorite red that lives in my purse because it’s perfect and goes with me everywhere is my Covergirl Outlast lipstain in #450 Saucy Plum. It’s a deep dark red that makes my teeth look white and since it’s a felt tip applicator, so easy to apply when I haven’t got a makeup wipe to do touch ups with. And it’s a really lightweight formula, so it doesn’t feel tacky or sticky on my lips, which is why I steer clear of glosses.

I’m trying really hard to branch out into different colors, so far I’ve taken a teeny baby step away from strictly red and ventured into dark burgundies/purples. Yeah yeah, they’re basically the same color family, but I am a creature of habit. I’ve found a few I really like, so look out for a post about them in the future.

Tell me what colors I should try next in the comments!

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

*I use affiliate links, so I would get a teeny bit from each sale using my referring link. However, the opinions are totally my own, and I really do love these lipsticks.

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

IMG_0746

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

IMG_0739

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!

IMG_0253

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.

Urban Decay | Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette: First Thoughts

Yesterday was my birthday (holy shit I’m 24) and as is our little tradition, my mom took me shopping, since I am notoriously difficult to shop for. We went straight to Ulta, and I made a beeline for the Urban Decay shelves, because I had my eye on the palette that Gwen Stefani had created for them.

GS Palette outside

And it’s so pretty! I’ve been going through a phase where I love anything that’s black, white, and gold, and that’s Gwen Stefani’s favorite color theme, so this palette is just wonderful.

GS Palette Shades.jpg

Inside, there are fifteen shades, most of them neutral, which is great because I don’t really use wildly colorful eyeshadows anyway. I like keeping makeup simple and natural. And unlike Urban Decay’s Naked palette series, a decent proportion of these shades are matte, which is great for people who don’t do a lot of glitter.

GS Palette texture closeup

And look at those textures! All of the eyeshadows are so incredibly smooth and pigmented, even the glittery ones. I was going to do swatches, but had to run to work so use your imagination. But I will say, my skintone is an awkward caramel-tan so I have a hard time finding good colors for it, and all of these look great.

GS Palette open palette

And look at that giant mirror! This palette is very solid. An issue I had with my Naked 2 palette was that the casing felt flimsy and I was afraid that the shadow trays would pop out of the plastic.

Overall, I really like this palette. A lot. I’ll update in a few days when I’ve used it for a while.

 

I Am Obsessed With Candles

I even have a Pinterest board devoted to candles I want. My mother thinks I’m ridiculous. Whenever we go to World Market or Pier 1 or really anywhere that sells candles, I have to smell them all and maybe buy a bunch. I’ve recently forbidden myself from buying more candles unless I burn up a good portion of the ones I’ve already got. As I’m doing so, I’m making a list that I really enjoyed, and am planning on buying again.

This one is from the World Market Destination Candles line, and the scent is Saigon Passion Fruit. I think it smells like candy. It’s sweet, but in a fruity (obviously) way. I’m not so much a fan of baked-good-scented candles, so I can’t stand things like vanilla or almonds or whatever my mom’s got hanging out in the kitchen. I do have to note that it’s very strong, so I keep it in its box when I haven’t got it lit. The only thing I’m not 100% on is the violent pinkness of the packaging and the jar. I’m not a fan of pink, but let’s be real, this candle smells great.

Saigon candle

The next candle is also from World Market, from the Apothecary Candle line. I got it about two years ago, and I don’t think they carry it anymore. Well, maybe. I saw one while I was at World Market a few weeks ago but they aren’t online so I’m not able to give you guys a link. It’s definitely fruity, and burns slowly, and even when it isn’t lit, I can leave the lid off and the scent still permeates the room.

passion candle

My newest candle is the Peach Prosecco scent that I got from Target, part of the Signature Soy collection. I think it’s another discontinued one, because I can’t find it online, but here is the rest of the Signature Soy collection. I did find the Peach Prosecco in the Target nearest me, so there’s that. It’s lightly fruity, but not overly sweet. It reminds me of summertime, hence the sea shells in the photo, which I got on a cruise.

peach candle

I also like a lot of the Bath and Body Works candles, because they’re super scented and there’s a million scents, but I haven’t gotten anything on hand to show you. I managed to burn through my stash sometime last month.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I spent way too long taking pictures of candles in a makeshift photo studio which is really a white sheet draped over my brother’s desk. Remember, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Email me with collab ideas or just say hi at thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com. Hope you liked it!

I don’t know how I survived winter without this. 

So in the winter, my skin gets super dry. Not cracked, but uncomfortably tight. And I hate how greasy lotion makes me feel if it doesn’t absorb right away.

And then I went to Nordstrom Rack with my mother, and found this massive tube of magic.

It is a super-sized tube of Bliss Lemon+Sage Body Butter Maximum Moisture Cream, and it is wonderful. It’s super thick but absorbs surprisingly fast, and the scent is very light. I think it’s a little too heavy for using on my face, especially since I break out easy, but for the rest of my body it’s great.

I don’t really like traditional “wintery” scents like  vanilla and other sugary stuff, and around this time of the year that’s all that’s in stores. However, I really like this candle that I got in Bath and Body Works a few years ago but never burned, called Snowed In.

I don’t know if they make the scent anymore, and if they don’t I kind of regret buying the tiniest one. It’s almost completely gone. It smells vaguely like men’s cologne, not like Axe but a very subtle masculine sort of smell. When I was in college, the girls living down the hall bought a spray bottle of Febreeze called Warm Winter Comfort or something, and after smelling it we promptly dubbed it Sexy Man Febreeze. This candle smells like a more subtle version of that. But it might just be more subtle because we’re not spraying it all over the place.

In addition to the lotion and the candle I am wrapped in a quilt, next to the space heater, wearing the cutest booties (more on those later) taking a study break and spending my snow day knitting a sweater (that’ll also be another post).

Stay warm! And remember, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @vrishalimk, tumblr at gradschoolblahg.tumblr.com, and for collaborations and Go Through My Stuff submissions, email me at thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com.