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When I created this blog, I had every intention of making it a beauty/lifestyle blog, but so far, it has turned out to be more of an outlet for my random writes and thoughts.

Today, I’m finally putting out some beauty content! *cheers*

I’m hard to please when it come’s to makeup and skincare. Before I try anything out, I do my research and find out what’s in it, what it claims to do, and what other people like about it because my skin is temperamental, and it will absolutely freak out if it doesn’t like something I put on it. At this point in my life, I think it’s safe to say I know what my skin reacts well to, and what it absolutely hates. Lavender, for example, makes my skin so incredibly irritated and itchy. Fun fact: Lavender is TERRIBLE for your skin. It smells wonderful, which is why a lot of products have lavender oil in them, but it damages skin cells and slows collagen production. WRINKLES.

Moving on. Here are some tried-and-true products I’ve been loving lately:

1. Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Cream- $21

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I think the name can be a bit misleading, because this is definitely more of an emollient balm-like product. Think: Aquaphor or Vaseline on steroids. This stuff is magic for soothing and healing chapped lips or skin and when used on your lips, it doubles as a gloss because it’s super high-shine. It claims to be fragrance free, but it definitely has a subtle menthol-y scent. I LOVE this stuff.

2. Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer- $47

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I love hydrating products and this moisturizer is very hydrating without feeling greasy. It sinks into your skin nicely and although it’s for very dry/dry skin types, I love it on my combination/oily skin. I use it morning and night because despite this being a night cream, there are no ingredients in it that make it unsuitable for day-wear; just layer sunscreen over it during the day. There is a day version of this moisturizer, however, it comes in a jar which is less sanitary because you have to stick your fingers in the jar, and the antioxidant properties in it (which come from tons of good-for-your-skin plant extracts) diminish over time when exposed to open air. The night version works just fine for me and does what it claims to do; my skin feels hydrated, plump and soft.

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue SPF 30- $29 and the Smoothing Face Brush- $28

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BB and CC creams are all the rage lately and until this one from Bare Minerals launched (mid January/early February, I can’t remember) I hated every single one I tried. They claimed to do spectacular things and never delivered, gave little-to-no coverage, and they never lasted. And then this one came along to save their sad little reputations. I promise that though I work for Bare Minerals, I’m giving you my unbiased opinion: this stuff is good. It claims to be a tinted-hydrating-gel-cream (an unnecessary mouth-full) but really, it’s a just a cross between a BB (beauty-balm– moisturizer, sunblock, primer and foundation: all in one. *rolls eyes*) and a CC cream (color-correcting cream– same as a BB cream, except it corrects skin discolorations and redness *rolls eyes again*). BB and CC creams claim to do A LOT and honestly, they’re tinted moisturizers with a little more coverage that yes, can be worn as a day-time moisturizer without a primer or sunscreen. I however treat this like any foundation and still wear a moisturizer and primer underneath. This one is great because it stays on, offers a sheer to medium, build-able coverage and dries to a satin finish (my favorite part). Usually BB/CC creams have a tendency to look super shiny after a few hours, but if you set this one down, it looks great all day. Also, this hydrates your skin with water-binding emollients that keep your skin moisturized all day without the greasy look and feel. Apply it with your fingers or with the duo-fiber brush it launched with and you’re good to go. I wear Shade 07-Tan.

Makeup Forever High Definition Micro-finish Powder- $34

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Every makeup artist needs one of these in their kits because it’s just the best finishing/setting powder ever. It’s translucent which means you won’t have to worry about shade-matching, it’s super finely milled so it photographs wonderfully, and it minimizes the appearance of pores. My favorite part though, it that it keeps my skin shine-free for a good portion of the day. Apply with a big fluffy brush, paying special attention to places where you get the shiniest, and VIOLA!

Benefit Gimme Brow Medium/Deep- $18

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It’s no secret that I like a good, strong brow. Brow’s frame your face and the days of McDonald arch eyebrows are hopefully FAR behind us. To get a good brow, I fill mine in where they’re sparse and finish them with a brush of this wonderful stuff. Gimme Brow has tiny little fibers that adhere to your brow hairs to make them look fuller. Brush it through your brows lightly and your brows will look fuller, tamed, and stay in place all day. BOOM.

Nivea A Kiss of Moisture- $3, Revlon Lip Butters- $6, Clinique Chubby Sticks- $17

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I’m a lip product junkie. I have way too many balms, glosses, and lipsticks. I’ve been really reaching for these lately, though, because my lips have been a little on the dry side. My favorite lip balm is Nivea’s a Kiss of Moisture; it just gets the job done. My lips get hydrated, they feel soft, and that’s really all I want from a balm. Revlon Lip Butter’s offer some color and feel like a lip balm. I layer mine over a regular lip balm for added hydration. There’s a good range of colors, so I’m sure you’ll find a few you like, but this one is in the shade Juicy Papaya, a subtle coral. Clinique Chubby Sticks, the product that started the chubby stick craze, are another favorite of mine. They are really hydrating and the colors are vibrant, pigmented and so, so, pretty. This one is in Mighty Mimosa, another coral.

I loved writing this, and I’d be happy to write more posts like this one, but I need to know what you want to see!

Like this post and leave a comment below if you’d like to see a post about something in particular, or if you have a question, and I’ll get on it!

Sorry, I’m not sorry.

Today a fairly large, husky looking man bumped into me at school. He was rushing past me in a semi-narrow walkway and bumped my shoulder. So you, reader, can get a better picture of how this went down: I’m about 5’3 and he was easily 5’10-11. And like I said, husky. I almost lost my balance from an innocent shoulder bump. That’s not what this is about, though. He bumped into me and I apologized. He bumped into me and I apologized. He wasn’t rude or anything; he quickly mumbled a “no, really it was my fault. I’m sorry.” and walked away.

As I continued to make my way to my car, I remembered that Pantene ad (the shampoo, yes) where all of the women are apologizing for stupid things and then they stop apologizing and they sound powerful and assertive. I don’t really know how that has anything to do with shampoo, but it’s a good ad and I’ll link it below. Anyway, it dawned on me how often I apologize for things that are not my fault, or I’m really not sorry for. When I don’t understand something, I say “I’m sorry, what?” or if I fall asleep mid-text conversation, I’ll respond the next morning with an “I’m sorry I fell asleep last night”. What? No, I’m actually not. I lost interest in our small talk and decided that dreaming was probably more riveting. Or, I was actually tired (If I’ve ever fallen asleep on you mid-text convo, let’s go with the latter). I’m not sure how somewhere along the line, apologizing became an act of politeness instead of an acknowledgement of offense. I’ve somehow started using “I’m sorry” as a synonym for “excuse me”. That ends here; I’m sorry.

Fair warning to any self-proclaimed “meninists” out there (oh, yeah, that’s apparently a thing now) this is about to get feminist-y.

Not long ago, I rejected a guy who wanted to take me out for coffee. I not only lied and told him that I couldn’t go because I had a boyfriend (I’m as single as single gets) but I also apologized for it. In a lengthier way I said something along the lines of “Sorry, can’t. Taken.” I’m SO mad at myself for it. First of all, I just didn’t want to go out with a guy who thought because he was nice to me, I owed him a date. Ladies: you don’t owe a man anything for being a decent human. I did not owe him a date. ALSO, he thought I didn’t notice it when he copied off of my tests in class. I noticed, homie. I noticed. Point is, in case you needed an, as Oprah dubbed it “ah-ha” moment like I did, here it is: you don’t have to feel sorry for not doing something you don’t want to do. And you certainly don’t have to lie about it. Because if you wanted to grab coffee with a guy and you’re happily in a relationship, you can do that. And if you don’t, then don’t. Don’t ever use another person as justification for why you can’t do something.

Unless that person is your parent. Because who hasn’t lied to a friend and said that they can’t go out because mom said no? You know you’ve done it.

Be free from the meaningless sorry, friends.

Let go of the oppressive lady crutch.

Easy Ramen Noodle Pad Thai

In a stir fry pan:
1) Heat veggie oil and put in garlic, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, french
green beans, carrots, mushrooms, hoisin sauce, terriaki sauce, siriracha hot sauce, worcestershire sauce, and peanut butter.
2) Let it simmer until all of the veggies are super tender and saucy.
3) Cut up a cooked chicken breast and toss that in. (Steak or
shrimp would probably be good too.)

In a separate pot of boiling water:
4) Put in two packages of Ramen and cook them only until the noodles unravel.
5) Put them into the pan with the veggies and the sauce.
6) Toss it up to coat the noodles with the sauce.
7) Set aside.

In another pan:

8) Scramble two eggs until they’re fluffy.
9) Once scrambled, toss the eggs in with the rest of the Pad Thai.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and chopped peanuts and enjoy ☺️ IMG_6398.JPG

WO•MAN

figiris

Woman: /ˈwo͝omən/
1 a : an adult female person b : a woman belonging to a particular category
2: womankind: of distinctive feminine nature; a sweetheart or paramour.

For a small moment, I’d like to think our image representation is spot on. In a magical world, we all live oh so perfectly, dazzled in dignity and anchoring ourselves in who we are. The peak of ideality would be that this generation does a tremendous job at matching the word to it’s definition. Instead, we find ourselves at the bottom of this dreamy cinema, in mere hopes of somehow climbing up to our desperate expectations.
Let’s flip to the page of reality, bring you down from Cloud 9, and welcome you to the brokenness of what we call “women”.
What happens to a world that has yet to seek out the definition of a woman? To a generation that has…

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Upon my word.

I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.


I have a deep infatuation with words. The way they melt together rhythmically to make art and tug at your heart strings has always fascinated me. Songs, poetry, books, letters—all composed of words. I feel intertwined with words the way people in love are intertwined with each other. This is both a blessing and a curse because words can be equally full of expression and passion as they can be empty. They are slippery things too often wasted in mindless babble. A word can bring love to life and wake desire, but at the end of the day, it is simply a word. It is an empty vessel until you fill it with meaning.

Words are potential.

As I see it, here is the problem: we too often squash the potential words can have by using them irresponsibly. Society has become comfortable with speaking, writing, and reading words that lack truth and substance. It has become acceptable to use the building blocks upon which our society was built on to tear people down. Instead of using words to uplift, we use them to oppress in the name of logic and realism. We speak them nonchalantly knowing they are desolate. We disrespect them and use them to disrespect. We use them to deceive instead of to illuminate. How can we be so bold to defile something of such immeasurable importance?

I think the best example we have of anyone who did right by words is Jesus. He said what he meant and he meant what he said. The words He spoke were truth and they were always thoughtful, kind, enlightened and graceful—quite literally, full of grace. Since Jesus, we have done a rather unsatisfactory job in making our words count for something. Of course, people like Shakespeare and Voltaire have bestowed their lovely words upon us, and once in a while people say or write things that leave a mark on the world or in our hearts. But mostly, words have lost a certain zeal they used to have. An ability to stick to your bones and ignite a fire within you that water cannot put out.

I can only hope that I have used my words wisely. I hope to do right by words and use them to express love. To inspire. To encourage. To irradiate. I know I have failed in doing this more than once, and I will fail in doing it again. It’s human nature. But, humans, let’s try to make our words count for something.

Fill your words with value and raw honesty. Potency.

The words we speak, the words we believe to be true, and the words we choose to listen to are woven into the fabric that becomes us. If the words that help define our being are barren and careless, where does that leave us?

Words matter.

Words, regardless of intention, always have some kind of effect.

Make it a positive one.

 

 

|Proverbs 16:24|

You are here.

Have you ever been lost at a mall? To find your way to where you would like to go, you find a mall directory and figure out where you are. In bold lettering, there is usually a red sticker marked “you are here”. This sticker aids in figuring out where you are and where you are going. I think that people, myself included, often forget to first assess where they are before they start planning for where they are going. Knowing and understanding the person you are is the biggest key to confidence. If you are unsure of the person you are, trying to plan for who you are going to be and where you are going to go is a strenuous task.

I went to a work conference today (I work for Bare Minerals, a cosmetics company) and the theme was building courageous confidence. Confidence by definition is a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities. Because this was a work-related seminar, we of course discussed ways you can build and exude confidence at work. As it often does, my mind went elsewhere. As I sat in the conference room of a Hilton hotel, I began to ponder over what courageous confidence means in terms of my own life. I’ve always thought of myself as a rather confident person, and I have my parents to thank for that. From a very young age, I was told that I could be who I wanted to and steer myself in any direction that I wanted to go if I was willing to put my heart and hard work into it. My personal confidence is undoubtedly rooted in the fact that I am privileged enough to have grown up in a home where dreaming is encouraged, support is always given, laziness is not tolerated, and love is a verb. For this, I have the utmost gratitude. But, as time goes on, lines have a tendency of getting blurry and our childhood imaginings of becoming great and mighty rulers of the world are diminished. All of the sudden, you are twenty years old and unsure of how your present is correlating with your future. If you have never been in this sort of early-life crisis, I want to applaud you and ask that you impart some of your wisdom upon us all. But mostly, I think you’re lying.

In the middle of a lengthy ramble about approaching customers with confidence at work, I decided that I needed a life-check. I needed a “you are here” sticker. What are you doing, Alex? Why are you doing it? Where do you want to go? What steps are you going to take to get there? Are you currently the person that you want to be? Can you be better? A lot of tough questions to ask yourself whilst pretending to listen to a semi-motivational speech, huh? They are 100% necessary though.

Van Gogh said, “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of plan, in which we must fervently believe and upon which we must vigorously act”. Sure, you’re not going to know all of the answers to those questions right away. I have a hard time trying to figure out what I want for lunch for crying out loud. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to start considering them. Probe yourself with inquiries about what it is that you want and the steps that you need to take to get there. Take action. Nurture and develop your strengths. Tell yourself that you can do it. It’s possible. It’s tangible. Work hard for it and do not for one second believe that you will get anywhere if you don’t. Reflect.

YOU ARE HERE. Now, where are you going?

Lipstick and Dynamite? What?

Lipstick and Dynamite. My sister snarled at the name of the blog I created today. “What does that even mean,” she spat. I stared at her, bewildered at how blatantly she shot down what I thought was a clever name. I’m unsure of whether or not it’s clever now, because obviously my sister didn’t catch on. But it isn’t meaningless. It’s girly and strong. Feminine and rugged.
This is a beauty and lifestyle blog: created because I love all things pretty, and frilly. And mostly because I can’t go into a Sephora without walking out $50 poorer. Beauty. But I’m also a 19 year old girl (am I still too young to be considered a woman?) going to school, working, and living out life. And life isn’t always as glitzy as my makeup. In fact, it rarely is. It’s complicated and wonderful and unpredictable and ineffable, mostly. Dynamite.
When life isn’t as sparkly as I’d like it to be, I have a few things that cheer me up. One of those things happen to be makeup (mac n’ cheese usually does the trick too). I mean, have you ever swiped on some red lipstick and had a bad day?…okay, maybe. But you can’t say it doesn’t perk you up a little.
Lipstick and dynamite. An odd pairing, sure. But it’s also kind of perfect. For me at least.

So there, sis.

 

 

 

 

 

P.S.—My sister’s really supportive of this blog and it’s name (now).