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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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!

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.

 

Skulking Around Starbucks

I was feeling super antsy this afternoon, and when I’m antsy I start spiraling into this weird mental place where nothing can go right. So I decided to get out of the house and somewhere I could work on one of my finals, which is going to be a fifteen page behemoth. Well. Minor behemoth. I miss when fifteen pages was an extraordinarily long paper. So I skipped over to Starbucks, and have been skulking in a corner behind my laptop ever since, trying to feel productive.

Dec 9 2015

I’m not wearing leggings today, look at that! Although, those are ponte (apparently pronounced pon-tee) pants at the top, and they’re basically leggings disguised as real pants. Those I got at Kohl’s, they’re Simply Vera by Vera Wang and I have them in three colors, navy (pictured), grey, and black. Super comfy. The shirt is a soft v-neck from Old Navy, and the shoes are also from Old Navy. Got them off the clearance rack in the middle of summer, before I went to India. Great to travel in.

The Starbucks I’m in is slowly being overrun by teenagers taking selfies with their coffee cups and talking about Instagram drama. I need an adult.

Happy finals/reading week!

 

Nanny Life

I have the best job ever. I get to run around and play with the cutest little toddler. Today we played in her toy kitchen, and ran around chasing bubbles, and took a long walk, and crunched acorn caps.

And even if it’s December, Texas is weird, and it’s currently 70 degrees out. So no need to grab a jacket today.

Dec 8 2015

I chose a light jersey knit (?) tshirt, that I got from TJMaxx. It’s super soft and super long on me, so I can wear it with leggings. Surprise. I chucked my wallet and keys into this soft faux leather crossbody bag from Target, which leaves my hands free to chase after a wayward toddler, and wore these colorful Converse sneakers. All the better to run around on the playground. Finally, I have my favorite sunglasses. They’re super lightweight, Oscar by Oscar de la Renta, found at Marshall’s for fairly cheap.

Today is a low maintenance day. Yesterday I wore the exact same thing as this post, because I had an exam and a presentation and I just wanted to be cozy. I did slap some eyeliner on, so we can call it dressed up.

I would say stay warm, but it feels like Spring/Summer outside so…go out and enjoy the weather. Unless it’s cold by you. In that case, stay warm!

Keep in touch with me, through Twitter, Instagram, (and another!), or you can email me at thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com with general comments or collab ideas.

Layered to Make an Onion Jealous

Texas is weird.

Just in general, but also with its idea of late fall/early winter weather. I grew up in Ohio so I’m used to snow in October and not seeing grass until April, but this state shuts down at the sight of a single snowflake. Not even kidding. This past February, I got four snow days in a row due to two inches of snow. That melted by noon. Whatever, I’m not complaining.

So layers are key around here, since it’ll be cold in the morning, hot during the day, and downright freezing once the sun goes down at 5. By the end of the week, my car looks like a rolling closet, and I can just take a laundry basket out to the garage to gather a washload of clothes.

Dec 5 2015

Excuse the white-on-white and harsh lighting. My stepfather was hanging out in the room I usually shoot in so I had to improvise.

Is anyone really surprised that I’m wearing leggings again? These are another pair of black capri length Spalding leggings, that I got off Amazon last year. So comfy. And on the right, that’s a plain black cami, from Target, and the blue (w0w! I’m wearing a color!) cropped sweater is also from Target. I got it years ago, I don’t know if they carry it anymore. If they do, I need to buy more colors. It’s fantastic. Kathryn bought the exact one, so there have been days we meandered out of our bedrooms at OU wearing the exact same grey tshirt, dark jeans, blue sweater combo. She is also the sort to have just three colors in her closet. She calls it minimalism.

The white top is this longer high-low cut tank I got from Nordstrom Rack. It’s got a cute little palm tree and triangle design on it, and the toddler I nanny loves to shriek “Bitali look at all the triiiiangles!” whenever I wear it. She calls me “Bitali” because she can’t say V’s, R’s, or SH’s. She’s cute.

For once I’m not wearing my combat boots, although since I haven’t left the house yet, who knows what may end up on my feet. These are some soft Rocket Dog sneakers I must have gotten from Famous or Payless, they’ve been sitting in my show rack for ages and I don’t remember ever wearing them.

And as usual, I’m wearing my Alex and Ani bangles, as well as this fake leather and chain wrap bracelet, probably from Forever 21. Who knows at this point. I hate shopping.

My Friends Keep Me Warm

I was running out my door today, heading to campus because I needed to play with this very expensive and persnickety piece of software that’s only in one computer lab in one building for the whole university, when I realized that almost everything I was wearing had been given to me by someone I cared about a lot.

Dec 3 ootd.jpg
Also, nothing makes a cat want to sleep on a thing like telling him not to sleep on the thing. 

Also I was very lumberjack-ish today. I think Texas is rubbing off on me. The boots and leggings I got off Amazon, boots from mom, leggings from dad, thanks to my wishlist. But the flannel I got from Desiree, whose wedding was this weekend. It’s an Old Navy flannel, but she got them monogrammed for herself and the bridesmaids. My initials are VMK, as you can tell. The scarf I got from sweet Kathryn, who wrote this post about what’s in her bag for me. She was in the Philippines around this time last year and brought it back for me, because I love scarves and have a million already.

I’m not sure I’m into the whole Outfit Of The Day thing, but this is what  wore today/am wearing as I write this. My finals are next week, and I’ve got a paper due before then, as well as a presentation to worry about, so bear with me while I try new things/drop off the face of the earth more so than I already have.

If you miss me, my Instagram and Twitter are in the box to the top right, and you can email me at thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com.

Stay warm!