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.

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Books are like new friends.

Does anyone else have the unfortunate problem of buying new books before you’ve finished the ones you’re currently reading? I do that all the time and it’s such a wonderful problem. I’m trying to stop though, because I don’t want to get overwhelmed with all the books to read. And since I’m heading to Chicago soon, I’m going to try not to buy anything to read at the airport, and take along a book I’ve already got. But let’s be real, I’m going to have to grab a fashion magazine or two, because that’s what I do at airports.

books

This is what’s on my reading list currently. I’ve been on a nonfiction kick lately, and I’ve branched out from the books about doom and gloom and terrorism that I usually end up reading. I’ve provided links to Amazon* to make it easier if you want to grab one or more, but I bought these at Barnes & Nobles.

The one I’m actually reading right now is Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life by Lisa Chaney. It’s a biography of Coco Chanel, and her advent into the fashion industry. It’s really fantastic so far.

Another one I’ve read a little bit into is Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee. It’s the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, which is one of my favorite books of all time. I first read it in high school, and Scout definitely reminded me of one of the kids I babysat.

When I picked up the Coco Chanel biography, I also grabbed The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank. I’ve never read anything by this author, but she’s supposed to be pretty great. I might take this one with me on my next flight.

Today while I was at Barnes and Noble, I grabbed Jhumpa Lahiri’s latest book, In Other Words. I really enjoyed her previous books, and this one is a non fiction memoir written in both Italian and English. So one page of the book is Italian, and the opposite page is the English translation. Even though I can’t understand Italian, the dual language format is really interesting. Kat took Italian all through university, so Kat, you might enjoy this.

Finally, I picked up a copy of Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while. I’m fuzzy on the exact details, but it’s basically about a bookstore that’s more than it seems. This one might need to come to Chicago with me too…

I should really hold off on buying more books until I finish what I’ve got so far, but let me know what else I should read in the comments!

As always, you can find me on Twitter, Instagram, and by email, thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com. And now, you can also find me on snapchat, my username is VrishaliMK, as usual.

DIY Date Night

Valentine’s Day is on Sunday. My plans include nannying most of the day, so the parents of the munchkins can have a long overdue date night. However, I figured I would put together a quick and easy collection of links for things to put together a reasonably inexpensive Valentine’s Day dinner.

All of the recipes I’m featuring can be found in my recipes section, plus more, in the sidebar to the right.

IMG_5097

I figured an easy snack or appetizer would be pesto, since it’s like four ingredients and two minutes in a blender. I like it on toast, you could cut a baguette into little rounds and top them with the pesto.

 

 

 

butternut squash soup

Then you could do a butternut squash soup, which can be made in the slow cooker in the morning. This recipe is vegan, but you could substitute the coconut milk with heavy cream.

 

 

 

 

 

roasted broccoliAfter the soup, I suggest garlic roasted broccoli. Since the soup is actually pretty filling, I didn’t want to include a heavy side dish. Usually when I cook I just make one thing, not a whole meal. Because y’know, there’s just one of me.

 

 

 

stuffed peppers 8As a main course, or rather, the only main dish I’ve chronicled, try the stuffed peppers. I personally can’t have bell peppers anymore, but my dad and brother like them.

 

 

 

 

 

DSC_0085And finally for dessert, I highly recommend masala chai macarons , on the left, if you’re feeling extra ambitious, or flourless peanut butter cookies, below, which are so quick and easy.

 

 

DSC_0047That’s all I’ve got, I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Eat lots of chocolate. As always, find me on Twitter, Instagram, or by email, thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com.

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.

How to work from home and not hate yourself.

When I’m not chasing a toddler and teeny baby around and basically getting paid to play all day, I mostly work from home, since both my classes and thesis work are online and I work on blog posts from my kitchen. And I tend to get off track a lot, so I find myself two days before a deadline, panicking and hating myself for putting it off for so long. So I decided to make a list (because apparently I love making lists, no joke) of ways to work from home and not end up hating every decision you’ve ever made so far.

Have a set schedule.

Make sure this includes the end of the work day. It’s tempting to just work all the time or into the night, especially if there’s a deadline to meet. I found that sticking to a routine is helpful, which includes dragging myself out of bed at around the same time every day. For me, since I’m not much of a morning person, this is around 9:00am, and I’m at my desk by 10:00am. Now, since I nanny during the day, I’m not working straight through until the evening. I have to leave my house by 11:30am, so I work for a solid hour and a half, and then when I come back around 1:30pm, I have a solid chunk of three to four hours until I have to leave again. This seems weird and difficult in print, but it works for me because my attention span is mostly non-existent, so I get to pause and change what I’m up to every so often. This way, I can bang out a blog post in the morning, then do schoolwork and shoot pictures for the next blog post in the afternoon. I end my workday when I get done with nannying in the evenings, usually around 6:30 or 7:00. I go straight from the family’s house to the gym, and by the time I get home I’m exhausted enough to start winding down for the day.

Get dressed for the day.

This sounds silly, but when you stay in your pajamas all day, you work like you’re in your pajamas all day. At the absolute least, change from pajama pants to sweatpants. You don’t need to get all made up and business casual, but the physical act of changing from things you sleep in to things you work in helps change your mindset to “I’m at work now.”

Treat it like you’re not home.

For me, this means holing up in my study and not coming out unless it’s a set break. It’s like I’m working anywhere else, I can’t just get up and wander. I also don’t let myself keep other crafts and fun things on my desk unless I’m “officially” not working, because I get distracted so easily.

The most important thing about this is don’t let anyone use your time. Don’t let anyone say “but you’re home all day anyways!” and expect you to make appointments and run errands for them. That is a waste of your time. You are working. You are not a personal assistant, you are not someone’s errand boy/girl, you are not just sitting on your ass watching Netflix and eating cookies. You’re trying to get shit done and that can’t happen if you’re running all over town for someone else.

Make a to-do list.

This varies from person to person, but I like having a physical piece of paper with everything I need to get done sitting right on my desk. I make it as detailed as possible, with titles of blog posts I’m going to write and subject matter of emails I have to send. It helps me plan out my day, and keeps me on track in the limited amount of hours I have on my desk. Crossing things out also helps keep me from feeling like I’m stagnating at home, because I am very clearly getting shit done.

Hopefully this list helps, I know people work differently and somethings that work for me may not work for someone else. As always, you can find me on Twitter and Instagram, and by email at thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com.

 

Honey Lemonade

Guys, I’m sick. I had to call of work today and yesterday because I nanny and don’t want to get the little ones sick (even though they got me sick) because it’ll be a never ending cycle of bouncing germs back and forth because the baby likes putting his forehead against mine and staring at me cross eyed.

Honey lemonade is one of my favorite drinks when I’m sick, because the lemon helps if I’m feeling nauseated, and since there’s honey instead of granulated sugar, it’s easier on my throat. And it tastes fantastic when it’s hot.

honey lemonade

All you need:

Water

Honey (1 tablespoon per two cups of water)

Lemon (I used one and a half, for one medium saucepan of water)

Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat to low, to keep the water hot but not boiling. Add the honey, stirring so it integrates. Then add the lemon juice. You can play with the amounts until you’re happy with the taste.

You can serve it hot, which I like, or iced. It stores well in the fridge, you just have to shake it a little before you pour.

Sorry I haven’t been posting regularly, I’ve been sick and off my game. As always, find me on Twitter or Instagram, and by email, thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com.

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!

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!