Lychee Berry Chia Jam (It’s Vegan!)

Recently, I decided to go vegan. Not for any moral or ethical reason, but that’s a nice bonus. I can’t really process meat well, dairy makes my skin break out, so really all I’m giving up is eggs, which I’m not too fond of anyways, so…no big life changes here. But I did start a new Instagram, because I figure I’m more likely to make healthy dishes if I can take pretty pictures for the internet, and I didn’t want to spam everyone on my personal Instagram a million times a day with pictures of food. The new, vegan food based Instagram is here. I’ll post recipes on this blog every so often, but a lot of things are really simple (because it’s summer in Texas and I don’t want to be in a hot kitchen) so they don’t need recipes.

Also, I’m not a real big fan of jams or jellies in general, because I feel they’re way too sweet, so being able to control the sweetness for this one was a big help, and I like it a lot.

berries.jpg
Look at all those fresh berries. I used strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries, but really you can use any fruit you like, the recipe is really flexible. 

Lychee Berry Chia Jam

350g strawberries, quartered.

100 g blackberries, cut in half

150g raspberries

1/4 cup lychee juice/nectar 

4 tbsp chia seeds, divided

3 tbsp light agave nectar

First things first I took 3 tablespoons of chia seeds and put them in the lychee juice to soak. Save the remaining tablespoon for the end, you may or may not need it.

Next, chop up your berries. You’ll be smashing them later, but chop them roughly how big you want them to end up. I found that chopping the strawberries and the blackberries at least was best, the raspberries smashed easily without being chopped. Put your berries in a medium saucepan and heat them, on low to medium heat. They’ll release their juice and cook down. After they get soft, turn the heat as low as you can, take a potato masher or fork, and mash them to however chunky you want them.

Your chia seeds should have absorbed all of the juice by now, so add that to the saucepan and mix well. The chia thickens the jam so you don’t have to use pectin.

Add the agave nectar, and taste (blow on the spoon, this is hot), adding more if you prefer your jam sweet.

Turn off the heat, and if you feel you have too much liquid, add the remaining chia seeds, and stir so they absorb it.

Let the jam come to room temperature before you put it in a jar, it’ll set some more, and then put it in the fridge.

One serving is about two tablespoons, and this recipe makes sixteen servings. Each two tablespoon serving has 44 calories, 0.9g fat, 8.4g carbs, and 1.1g protein.

jam
This is my jam. 

I like having it on crackers, and it’s especially good with chocolate hazelnut butter.

As always, you can find me on Twitter or Instagram, by email, thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com, or now at my new vegan food based instagram, PickyEatersInternational.

 

 

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Adulthood 101

I’m starting a new series, about that weird transition time between graduating university and being a real adult. This is a time where people my age are getting their first real adult jobs, or are in their first grown up relationship, maybe moving in with their significant other. I figured that sharing these experiences would benefit everyone involved, making the process easier for someone just starting out. Now, since I haven’t done most or even half of the things on the list, I’ll be featuring guest writers, and am actively looking for volunteers to guest write posts for me.

Things I’m featuring in Adulthood 101:

How to get into grad school

How to get an adult job

How to rent an apartment/house

How to buy healthy groceries and plan meals

If you want to write a post for Adulthood 101, email me at thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com, and let me know what you want to write about. And if you can think of something that you’d like featured, please email me or mention it in the comments. I’m always looking for new ideas.

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.

“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.

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.

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.

 

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!

Apps I Love (that aren’t social media)

I seem to be making a lot of lists lately.

I am practically attached to my phone or iPad. Makes sense, at this point practically my whole life is in there, especially since both my classes are online and I get constant emails from the university. And my friends live far far away from me (ahem. Desiree.) so the texting, FaceTime, and Skype is a continuous thing. Thank goodness for unlimited texting plans, right?

These apps are not social media. They’re more productivity/keep me from being bored on airplanes/photo editing apps. Some are games, some are calendars, some are fitness related.

Tiny Calendar

IMG_0742

This calendar app integrates all your Google calendars and the built in calendar on my phone. I like how I can edit my calendars on my computer, and it syncs with the app on my phone and iPad. It also lets me color code things, which is great for differentiating travel, course assignments, and other deadlines just from the little dots. Since it’s the beginning of my semester, I don’t have too many dots floating around, but later on I can already tell when I’ll be busy.

Wunderlist

IMG_0746

This is just a fancy to-do list app. But the cool thing is, when you have multiple people working on the same project, you can make a collaborative to-do list and assign everyone tasks, and this app keeps track of everyone. You can also set up reminders, so it warns you when something is coming due. I don’t know how many notebooks this has saved me because I make to-do lists all the time.

Shopkick

IMG_0748

This is an interesting little app. All you really have to do with it is open it when you walk into a participating store, and you get points for being there. Eventually the points add up, and you can cash them in for gift cards to places like Starbucks and Target. It’s pretty cool, especially if you end up running a lot of errands.

MyFitnessPal

IMG_0740

You guys know what this one is, right? It’s a fitness tracker, and I find it really helpful. It tracks calories and nutrients, and also weight, exercise and water consumption. It’s pretty great. It also syncs up with apps like Fitbit to get a better picture of your habits.

Spotify (Premium)

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Spotify is like Netflix for music. It’s pretty fantastic. And I highly recommend the premium version. It gets rid of the ads every three songs and lets you save songs to play offline, which is great at the gym or while travelling. For Desiree’s wedding, we realized the morning of that we had no music so a few of us made a collaborative playlist and used that. It was pretty nice, since we could have a variety of music to appeal to everyone. And yes, we played Boomer Sooner. It was Bedlam day.

Aviary

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Aviary is a pretty great little photo editor. In addition to the lighting and color balance and cropping you can do on Instagram, Aviary lets you edit out little blemishes and even whiten teeth. It’s like a very light version of Photoshop right on your phone.

Adobe Post

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I am in love with this app. It lets you add text to images. Yes, that sounds super simple, but you can pick either your pictures or others that are free to use (but you’re responsible for making sure the copyright allows it), and it provides color palettes and a variety of fonts that make things look so professional.

Two Dots

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This game is so calming. All you have to do is connect the dots to fulfill the little challenges at the top. And the music is so sweet and gentle. It makes me happy. It’s pretty simple, and really fun.

1010!

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This is basically tetris. But on a grid. And the shapes aren’t dropping. You just get three at a time, and arrange them so they make rows and columns, which then disappear. You keep going until you have no moves left. I like playing it when my brain gets itchy and I’ve already cleaned everything in the house.

Twist

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This game is so infuriating. All it is is tapping the screen to make the little ball hop from platform to platform. It even turns for you. All you do is tap the screen. And some platforms are shorter, some are longer, and the pattern varies. Sometimes the color changes. All you have to do is tap the screen. Easy, right? No. If you tap too soon, or too late, the damn ball hops off the platform and falls into the abyss and you lose. See how I’ve played 428 goddamn times and only made it to 116 platforms? Infuriating.

 

I hope you enjoy some of these apps. Hell, try them all. They’re all free. Except Spotify Premium. But Spotify not-Premium is free. So there.

Remember, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, my other Instagram, or email me at thisisnotaquickstory@gmail.com.

Things I Liked Putting on My Face in 2015

I know, I know, monthly favorites is the trend around here, but let’s be real, I am a creature of habit. I don’t try new things, and when I do, my skin breaks out or I pout the whole time. So instead of giving you guys a list of the exact same thing every month, I decided to tell you about the things I kept reaching for for an entire year.

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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.