Winter Skincare Routine

I turned 25 yesterday. I feel old. I am officially in my mid-twenties, not that my skin is aware because currently I am fighting a breakout that should have happened a solid ten years ago. So while my skin is misbehaving, I decided to show you all my winter skincare routine, which, turns out, is exactly like my summer, spring, and fall skincare routine, because I am lazy.

winter2016-skincare-routine

Morning

I don’t shower in the morning, wrangling my post-shower/humid bathroom hair would add a whole half hour to my already rushed morning, so I wash my face with Clinique’s Acne Solutions cleanser bar. It costs just as much as the liquid, but lasts so much longer, and since it’s a solid bar, I don’t have to decant anything into a smaller container when I travel.

I follow the cleanser with Pacifica’s Cactus Water Micellar Cleansing Tonic. This gets any remaining oil and gunk off my face, and is so super gentle that I can even use it around my eyes. It smells wonderful, and as a bonus, it’s cruelty free.

Then I moisturize. I don’t like feeling oily or like I have anything heavy on my face, so in the mornings I use a dab of Garnier’s Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream. It sinks into my skin pretty fast, and is so light. It’s also kinda cold, no matter where I store it, so it de-puffs my skin.

Around my eyes I use Benefit’s It’s Potent! Eye Cream. It’s very hydrating without being heavy, but one thing I will say is that it makes my eye area feel a little delicate after I put it on, so I do all this before I’m out of my pajamas so by the time I need to put makeup on, it’s worn off.

Finally, I put on Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm, which is SPF 25. I like it because it dries matte, and isn’t overwhelmingly flavored or scented. I guess that’s because it’s marketed towards men and heaven forbid a macho manly man has glossy lips.

Also, throughout the day I use various hand lotions, my current favorite for dryer weather is this Bliss High Intensity Hand Cream. It’s not overly scented, and a little bit goes a long way.

Night

I shower in the evening, about an hour before bed, because it helps me relax and unwind, and I don’t like taking all the dirt and grossness of the day to bed with me. When I get out of the shower, while my hair is still wrapped up and out of the way, I put on Bliss’s grapefruit and aloe body butter. It’s super thick and smells so nice. I put it on first so by the time I’m ready for bed it’s absorbed into my skin.

Once my hair is brushed and put up in a big giant bun, I wipe off my face (that I washed in the shower) with the Pacifica micellar cleansing tonic again, and let it air dry. When that’s happened, I use a bit of Mario Badescu’s Seaweed Night Cream. This absorbs into my skin really nicely, and doesn’t feel greasy at all.

My eyes get Aveeno’s Absolutely Ageless eye cream, I put it in my under-eye area, on my eyelids, and between my eyebrows, because I’m already noticing that vertical wrinkle (maybe I scowl too much?), and crepey eyelids run in my mom’s family. So that’s what I’m trying to avoid.

Finally, I slap on a lip balm, my current favorite is this Brambleberry Rose lip balm by the Rosebud Perfume Co., which are the same people that make the cult worshipped Smith’s Rosebud Salve. It’s basically the same thing, but I like this smell better. And it lasts for years.

I know I haven’t been posting much, but y’know. Grad school. I’m going to try to stick to a reasonable schedule now. As always, you can find me on Twitter, Instagram, or by email, thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com.

Disclaimer: All of the links are Amazon Affiliate links, which means if you click on them and buy the thing, I get a (very) small commission. But, I really do use and love all of the things mentioned, or else I wouldn’t recommend them to you.

 

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.

 

 

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.

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!

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!

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 Carry Less Stuff in the Summer

Now that my semester is over, I find myself hauling around a lot less crap. However, I did realize that when I carried a bigger bag, I carried more stuff. But I didn’t need more stuff. And I didn’t want to carry a big bag. So after a couple hours of babysitting, I had saved enough money to buy this super precious bag. After a few hours of intense debate with Desiree over whether or not this bag would be totally ridiculous (we decided it would not be), I skipped off to Francesca’s to buy it, because they were having a sale on handbags.

Look at how perfect it is!
Look at how perfect it is! It’s called the Limon bag, and the little girl I babysit reminds me that it’s shaped like a lemon every time I see her.

The thing is, this bag is tiny. Well. Tiny in comparison to anything else I’ve carried. So I seriously have to focus on keeping it tidy and make sure I’ve only got what I need in it.

summer whats in my bagThis is basically all I can fit into my bag.

1. My wallet

This is the biggest thing in my bag. I actually had to switch to a smaller, soft wallet to get it to fit into my bag. This cute studded one I got from my cousin for my birthday.

2. Hand sanitizer

This is one of the seventy million ones I’ve got stashed away from previous Bath and Body Works excursions. I’m trying to get through my stash before I go buy more. This Fresh Picked Strawberry scent is one of my favorites. I was so excited to find it in the store that I bought maybe five, and also three or four of the strawberry scented foaming hand soaps.

3. Lip Balm

This is Love & Toast’s Gin and Lime lip balm. It’s made with extra virgin olive oil and a variety of good-for-your-skin butters, and it’s surprisingly light and not greasy. It absorbs quickly, and keeps my lips soft and nice even when I’m all dehydrated. I like it so much that I bought Desiree a matching one in Vanilla Chai, and drove five hours to give it to her. Well, I was going to see her anyway, and stopped at Ulta on the way, and ended up stuck in traffic for an extra two hours. But still.

4. Lip Balm/Gloss

This is a Yves St Laurent Volupte Sheer Candy Glossy Balm in Succelent Pomegranate. I picked it up from Sephora a while ago. It’s a balm, but tinted. Very sheer, very not-sticky. Tastes like candy.

5. Mascara

This is my favorite mascara ever. I keep the smaller size in my purse in case I need it, which is rare. Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara. I like it because it’s not too heavy, and doesn’t make my eyelashes clumpy or thick-feeling.

6. Notepad

Even though I keep track of a lot of stuff like hours I’ve worked and blog ideas on my phone, I like having some kind of paper with me to jot things down, like grocery lists or driving directions because I don’t want to have my phone out while driving. This is one of those that you can find in the bins at Bed Bath and Beyond or TJ Maxx/Marshalls. Super cheap, like a dollar or two.

7. Pen

This is a super cute pen. I got it from the dollar bin at Target, for a dollar (duh). It came in a pack of two, the other has pink stripes. I also bought a pack for Desiree and sent it to her in her birthday box. It’s got black ink.

8. Mirror

This is the same mirror from my previous post about what’s in my bag. Just a basic mirror from Forever 21, with little flowers and crystals on it. I think it was a dollar or something. Just from the bins by the cash register. I got it months ago. It’s one of many floating around in my various bags.

That’s all I’m letting myself carry for now. As the school year starts or if I travel I’ll have to move to a bigger bag, but for summer when all I’m doing is running errands and babysitting, this is all I need.

PS: That letter tray everything is arranged in is a semi-DIY. Post on that later.

Want to submit a post of your own? Email me What’s In My Bag posts or other collab ideas to thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com. Remember, you can find me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Tumblr.

Have a great day!