A Beginner’s Makeup Kit

Getting into makeup is hard. Especially with trends like contouring or strobing or baking or whatever the kids are calling it these days. So I figured I would put together a quick list of things to look for when you’re just starting to use makeup.

basic kit flatlay

Don’t let the picture fool you. That’s actually not a lot of stuff, and a lot of it is optional. Now, I don’t have much drugstore brand stuff, but I’ll include links to Amazon* to products in a variety of price ranges.

Eyes

basic kit eyes

I figured we would start with basic eye makeup, namely eyeliner and mascara, because that’s what I started with. At the top I have Smashbox’s Full Exposure mascara. It retails for about $18 a tube at Ulta, and it’s seriously so great. It’s not super thick or super clumpy, and makes my lashes look so full. A decent drugstore brand is Maybelline’s Great Lash, which has been a cult favorite for years. Under that I’ve got a liquid eyeliner pen, Revlon’s Color Stay Liquid Liner Pen in blackest black. I’ve been using this pen or Maybelline New York Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner for as long as I’ve been using liquid liner. I somewhat prefer the Maybelline pen tip to the Revlon, because it’s thinner and slightly more flexible, but Revlon is alright too. For absolute beginners, however, an eyeliner pencil might work better, since they’re easier to control. This is the classic Wet & Wild eyeliner pencil,  which is a first eyeliner for a lot of people.

Beyond eyeliners, I like at least using a gel to keep my eyebrows in place. I use Benefit’s Speed Brow, but I know e.l.f. makes a good one too. Finally, I wanted to mention Benefit’s They’re Real Tinted Lash Primer, which I use in place of mascara when I want to do a super natural look.

I haven’t included any eyeshadows, because I never used them when I was just starting out, but if you want to use any I suggest a super neutral palette.

Face

basic kit face

I don’t use much on my face. Because I am lazy. So I’m not super into foundations or concealers or any of that. But when I do need to do full on makeup, like when Desiree got married, I used that Smashbox Photo Ready Powder Foundation, which I got in a Try-It Kit, which includes a primer and BB cream as well. Before this, I would use a Maybelline powder foundation,  but again, I rarely used foundation. I still barely do, since I nanny and the baby likes pressing his face against mine all the time.

Blushwise I’m really really enjoying this Too Faced Love Flush 16-Hour blush. I have How Deep is Your Love, and it’s such a great corally pink that’s very pigmented, and really buildable. On me it looks super natural, which is great because I don’t like super prominent makeup. A cheaper alternative is the e.l.f. blush in Candid Coral, however, the color is not an exact dupe. e.l.f. has pretty good quality makeup, especially for beginners.

And on the left I’ve got Benefit’s Hoola bronzer, which, just like the blush, is pretty pigmented but buildable. I really like that it’s matte, because I tend to get oily so the less shine on my face the better. I don’t really have a comparable drugstore brand here, because I was never into bronzer before I got Hoola.

Now, for anyone who wants to try contouring but doesn’t want to drop a ton of money on makeup, I’ve heard great things about NYX’s contour palettes. You all know I love NYX in general, but I’ve never actual tried the contour palette. However, I feel okay recommending it, because I’ve loved absolutely every other NYX thing I’ve tried.

Lips

basic kit lips

Speaking of NYX, it’s a great brand for beginners in general, because while everything is reasonably cheap, it’s also really good quality.

So for a beginner makeup kit, I recommend having at least one lip stain, because those are super easy to apply and they’re pretty sheer, so good for if you’re younger and not really allowed much makeup, especially at school. As I mentioned in my post about my favorite reds, Covergirl lip stains are so fantastic. They’re buildable and last for ages, and look super natural the whole time. However, if your lips are dry, stains will make that super evident. So apply a balm over it if you need to, and stay hydrated!

On to lipstick, which is so often the first kind of makeup anyone starts with. Those two NYX matte lipsticks are the most wonderful thing. The dark one is called Goal Digger, and the red is Alabama. I feel like every beginner makeup kit should have one more dramatic shade, like a red or purple, and then a more nude shade. My first lipstick every was that Revlon cream lipstick, it’s a very classic red that’s called Scarlet Velvet, but it’s been discontinued and I’m constantly on the hunt for something similar.

Nude lipsticks are tricky, because they vary based on your skin toned. The one I’ve got pictured is an Estee Lauder that my aunt gave me, but Desiree really loves NYX’s Soft Matte Lip Cream in Stockhom, which I’ve been meaning to buy.

Speaking of NYX, I’m really loving their Liquid Suede lipsticks, the one I’ve got pictured is called Vintage. I feel like for beginners, liquid lipsticks are so much easier to apply neatly than regular lipstick. And the NYX ones are so inexpensive that you can grab a few to experiment with different colors.

Brushes

basic kit brushes

Okay so this is a little tricky because up until about two years ago, I wasn’t really into brushes, and I still don’t have a set of expensive brushes. I’ve had my eye on It Cosmetics brushes,  but currently I’m using a set I got off Amazon. I’m not sure what the brand is, but they’re super soft and don’t shed, so that’s great. And brushwise, you don’t need much. If you don’t use your fingers to apply eyeshadow, which I admit I still sometimes do, you need a rounded fluffy brush, like the one on the way right, to get the shadow all over your lid, and a brush to get into your crease, like the one on the way left, and one to blend it, like the center brush. And that one second from the left is what I use for blush, and obviously by the sate of the bristles you can tell that the one second from the left is my bronzer brush. Now, disclaimer, that might now be the technical name or use for that particular shape of brush, but that’s just what I personally use it for, and it’s what’s been working for me.

Eyelash curlers look scary, and the first few times you use one is terrifying, but they do wonders for you eyelashes. Curling my lashes makes me look awake and interested in things, even if I’ve just driven an hour for a twenty minute long meeting. I got mine from Sephora, and it was fairly inexpensive. It even came with extra cushions.

Primers

Basic kit primers

Primers help a lot, especially if like me, you have super oily skin and your makeup tends to disappear after a few hours. I can’t really recommend any other primers, because these are the only ones I’ve ever used, but they last for so long that I feel like the price is justified for both. On the left is Benefit’s Porefessional , which is for your face, and on the right is my beloved Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. This stuff is seriously wonderful. It keeps my eyelids from looking and feeling oily, and keeps my eyeshadow in place right up until I take it off myself. I usually put it on even when I don’t plan on putting on eyeshadow.

So to summarize, all you really need in a beginner makeup kit is an eyeliner you’re comfortable with, a mascara that won’t clump on you, a brow gel if you need it, blush, bronzer, and foundation if you want it, one neutral lipstick and one fun one, and maybe a primer or two. Brushes are highly recommended but completely optional, well all of this is optional I guess. That’s the fun part about makeup, you can pick and choose what parts you like. I have a hard time shopping for clothes, but makeup always fits.

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

*I’m in the Amazon Affiliates programs, so if you click on one of the links I’ve provided and end up buying the product, I do get a very small amount from the sale. However, I really do love and honestly recommend all of these products.

Something exciting.

So as some of you (two of you) knew already, towards the end of last fall semester and beginning of this spring semester I was putting together my application packet for the criminology PhD program at the university I go to. And this morning I got my admission decision.

I’m in! I’m starting in the PhD program this fall, upon completion of my master’s thesis over summer. I’m so excited, and a little scared. But mostly excited.

“Ballerinas don’t eat Popsicles,” and other ways people have told me I’m fat.

When I was four, I wanted to be a ballerina. I was freaking obsessed. I would twirl around everywhere, and even demanded a ballerina costume for Halloween. I would tell anyone who would listen how I was going to be a ballerina when I grew up.

Until someone reasonably important to me said I couldn’t. Because I liked to eat Popsicles. And ballerinas were thin, which I wasn’t, even at four, and obviously that meant they didn’t eat Popsicles. And since I liked to eat Popsicles, I couldn’t be a ballerina.

I’ve been heavier than I should be since I was a toddler. Around three is when my weight started “exploding,” apparently.

In elementary school, it didn’t seem like a very big deal. I was running and playing with all the other kids, and no one said anything about my size. Intermediate school was the first time I actually felt different, and it wasn’t because we had just moved to a new school district, of which I was the entirety of the Indian student population. I sat next to this kid in my advanced language arts class in the fourth grade, and we had those planners where you wrote down you height and weight and eye color. Even then, I knew to lie, so instead of putting my actual weight, I decided on a “safe” number, which was two digits instead of the three I hit in the third grade. I settled on 99. This kid who sat next to me glanced at my planner, saw my weight, and laughed, going “Really?!” in that derisive way only ten year old boys can do. It stung. Clearly still does, it’s been fourteen years and I’m still thinking about it.

Middle school I definitely felt different. All the rest of the girls were thinner than me, could fit into cute dresses for the eighth grade dance, and I had to get something from the women’s section at Dillards. It was black and shapeless and had these awful frills on the shoulder.

And of course high school was rough. We started learning about BMI’s in health class and every time the teacher mentioned overweight, I caught that barely concealed glance. From not just the teacher, the class in general. Whoever was stuck sitting next to me would shift uncomfortably. Like fat was contagious. And the dances sucked. My mom made my dress for freshman homecoming, because no matter where we looked, we couldn’t find one that fit me and that looked cute enough for a very picky fourteen year old. The dress was pretty, but it didn’t matter, I didn’t have a date. I spent that dance and every other one until prom sitting in a corner fiddling with my bag until the lights came up and it was time to leave.

But high school came with a diagnosis, of Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, of which weight gain and difficulty losing weight was a symptom. That didn’t make it any easier, and literally the only way to control PCOS is to lose weight, but the PCOS makes it hard to lose weight. There’s no winning there.

University was different. I was away from home and could actually control exactly what I ate. Which turned out to be a blessing and a curse. Because while I loved eating fruits and vegetables and could buy and eat all of the fruits and vegetables that I could possibly want, I could also restrict as many calories as I wanted. This spiraled to a nasty point my third and last year at school, where I was limiting myself to less than 500 calories a day, and dropping five pounds every two weeks, and hating myself every single day, but really, no one could tell, because hey, I was still fat.

I had a series of strange conversations that I don’t want to revisit from various people in my life, who all felt the urge to remind me that I was fat, and also, apparently I would never date anyone/be in a relationship unless I lost a significant amount of weight. And while so far that’s held true, that’s not really something I needed to hear at any point, in that sort of accusing tone like I was being fat on purpose.

And I’m still the fat girl at the gym, getting weird looks from the stick thin girls on the elliptical. As if a prerequisite of going to the gym is to be small starting out. It’s heartbreaking and I hate going but I know I need to because the only thing that runs in my family is heart disease and diabetes and like hell I’m going down that path. I’m better about eating now, but I still have days where I have to essentially force myself to eat something, even though I feel horrible and my brain is trying to convince me I don’t deserve to have breakfast. Going to the gym is a terrible, horrible exercise in hating everything, but luckily I have Desiree to send whiny texts to before and after I work out, about that weird middle aged dude who wears too much cologne and collared shirts while working out or the crazy cat lady who tries dancing on the stairstepper.

Adulting is hard.

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.

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.