Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Makeup Review: Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue

I am very picky about my face makeup.

While I have a favorite lipstick, and eyeshadow, I will use just about anything once.

Not so with foundation.

Some of it is too heavy, or has a weird smell. Some I can never quite get the right color.

But I've found my Holy Grail of foundations.

The Bareminerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel.

I've even made y'all a video about how much I love this product! 

Please ignore my wet hair, my ridiculous lighting, and my general awkwardness.

So basically I love this stuff. Here's what I look like with a full face of makeup, using the Complexion Rescue.

This is the day I made the video, with everything else done too.

(And wearing an adorable kimono top from Francesca's. Seriously - I'm living in kimonos and flowy tops this spring. So comfy!)

A couple of weeks ago, when I used the foundation on my mom as well. She's even pickier than I am and she loved it!

This was also the day she made me this cake: 

Yes it's the cake the fairies make in Sleeping Beauty. 

Because she's the best mom in the world. 

So, overall, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this foundation. I think if you have dry skin, it's worth a shot. If you have oily skin, or combination, it may be too hydrating, but I still think the formula is good enough that everyone should try it. 

Plus, Memphis ladies, we have a Bare Minerals store here! It's in Collierville, in the Carriage Crossing mall, and they are super nice and wonderful and will help you - go visit them!

Thanks for watching my video!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Recipe: Potato Soup

So here's the thing. 

I really really really love potatoes. 

My mom says, "I never met a potato I didn't like."

I mean, they're so versatile.

Tater tots, fries, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, potatoes au gratin, cheesy potatoes, baked potatoes, potato soup.

I'm the Samwise of potatoes. 

Boil em. Mash em. Stick em in a stew.

And this is one of my favorite ways to eat potatoes - potato soup!

There about half a million ways to make potato soup, and everyone has a favorite. I like mine sort of...well...oh hell. 

They're really glorified, acceptable to eat for dinner by themselves, mashed potatoes.

This is not soup.

It's happiness in a bowl.

Here's what you'll need:

(Loosely adapted from this Country Living recipe)

5lbs-ish potatoes, peeled
1 package bacon (yeah it seems like a lot but this makes A LOT of soup), cooked until crisp
1 tbsp salt
16 oz sour cream
1 1/2 sticks of butter
2 cups milk
Green onions, sliced
Grated sharp cheddar cheese
Salt, pepper, Cavender's, and cajun seasoning (I use Tony Chachere's) to taste
Large pot or dutch oven

Start by peeling and cutting your potatoes into 1/2 inch or so cubes - the important thing is that they're all the same size so they cook evenly

Rinse potatoes, then put into your large pot or dutch oven

Fill pot with water, just to cover the potatoes

Add 1 tbsp salt

Bring to a boil and cook potatoes until fork tender - about 30-45 minutes

While the potatoes are cooking, fry or bake your bacon until it's at the desired crispness - I like mine a little floppy still, but you want it to add some texture

Cut bacon into pieces, and set aside on paper towels to drain

When the potatoes are fork tender, drain them and return them to the pot

Mash the potatoes until they aren't in big chunks anymore

Add the butter

Add the sour cream

Mash all this together

(And ignore my totally gross stove, sorry y'all!)

Turn the heat to very low and add the milk

(You may want to add the milk in increments, or add more, depending on how thin you like your soup)

(I like mine just thick enough that the spoon stands up and then starts to tilt. Like I said..."soup.")

Stir the milk in, and add the salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning to taste and stir in

(I clearly like a lot of pepper. And have a crazy pink alien hand.)

(For those of us who like it a little hot.)

(Cavender's. A must.)

I like a lot of spice. You don't have to add this much. Don't add this much. Or if you do, don't hold me responsible.

But if you do, you can make a little swirled galaxy of spice!

I'm a weirdo.

Simmer this, without letting it scorch, while stirring often, for about 10 minutes, making sure to get rid of the big lumps, and allowing the butter to completely melt

Turn the heat off, dish it up, and top it with cheese, bacon, and green onions (or whatever you want I suppose!)

(Or you can not be lazy and grate your own.)


This is basically me.


And more pepper!

Because I'm crazy!

This is a really warm, comforting soup, and perfect for the cool nights we're still having!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Beauty: Pretty Spring Makeup

Like I mentioned in my Spring Style post, I'm so so so so ready for Spring to be here. 

I'm especially excited about seeing the new, live-action Cinderella, starring Lily James and Richard Madden, with Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter - I love the original Disney Cinderella, and I'm absolutely thrilled about the romantic, ethereal look of the new one. 

Plus, Richard Madden is a fox and Lily James is one of my favorite actresses on Downton Abbey - I can't wait to see them in a film, when I love their respective TV shows so much!

I actually own all of the items I'll talk about today, some of them from a couple of seasons ago, with the exception of one - the MAC Cinderella lip gloss. It sold out almost immediately, and I can't find it anywhere in Memphis. If anyone can find one, or has one, I will pay for shipping and buy it from you! I'm desperate!

But other than that, these are all old and new favorites that just scream romantic and dewy and pretty makeup, like Lily James', to me!

Spring Makeup

I'm absolutely, head over heels in love with this BareMinerals Complexion Rescue foundation gel. It's super hydrating, and, while my color match was a surprise, it's the best foundation I've ever used - like a mix between a CC cream and a satin finish foundation. Full review coming soon!

This Nars illuminator in "Satellite of Love" was part of their "Glam Rock" collection a couple of years ago. It's great for my cheeks, as eyeshadow, and to add a little bit of glitter!

I'm all about Nars blush, and the Multiple, in "Orgasm" is as good as it gets. It's supposed to make you look flushed like you've just...you know...and it adds a dewy finish with great pigment.

The one MAC Cinderella piece I did manage to find was this face powder - it's sort of like an illuminator, but less pigmented and sparkly. I like to put it on after everything to just add some depth and sparkle.

I've only used it once, but this Makeup Forever Eyeliner is fantastic. Kirby got it for me for my birthday in a set with powder, makeup remover, and lip line corrector and, while I don't usually wear purple, because it makes me look tired, this is dark enough that it's almost hard to tell it's purple until you really look, and then it's a fun surprise! Plus it goes on so smooth!

I'm doing a full review next week, but the new Benefit Roller Lash mascara is a game changer.

I know I'm late to the party, but I just found Clinique's Happy Heart - I've worn Happy for a long time, and Heart is just a warmer, less citrusy, more romantic version. Perfect for Spring!

But seriously - someone please find me that lip gloss!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Memphis Style: Spring Style Trends

I *think* it might FINALLY be Spring in Memphis!

A couple of weeks ago it looked like this outside:

But it's started warming up, and it's still rainy, but I think it might actually be almost Spring!

And now I'm ready to dress like it's Spring - goodbye boots and coats, hello colors and skirts and pretty things!

Since I'm on a grad student budget, and because I love this bag, I'm sticking to my year old Fossil purse in mint:

But I think a few key, inexpensive pieces can really refresh a wardrobe for spring - especially after this unbearably long winter!

Basically all I want to wear are pastels. And pretty colors. And flowy tops and skirts and lots of chiffon and tulle and comfy things. 

Preferably while reading lots of romantic English novels and sitting in a window seat overlooking a green lawn with sheep and a babbling brook while I contemplate love and social calls and my lack of responsibilities.

But. Alas.

At least my clothes can be right, even if my dissertation and rainy Memphis and a lot of stuff to do (and a distinct lack of sheep) aren't quite up to my fantasy.

Spring Fashion

I'm LOVING kimonos this spring, just like I did last year. This floral print from Forever21 is affordable ($18) and will look great dressed up or down. The chiffon top from Maurices is going to be a staple, and that Victoria's Secret sweatshirt is lightweight, oversized, a pretty color, and great for running errands or snuggling up on chilly nights.

Coral is apparently really in this season, and these pants are a fun pop of color, especially for someone like me - I own a lot of grey and black, but these are instant happy.

And finally, because I basically want to dress like Cinderella, this Lauren Conrad for Kohl's skirt (on sale now for $48 - and you can get an extra 30% off with a new Kohl's card!) is going to be a nice dressy element. I'm thinking of wearing it pulled up high, with a black sweater tucked in - I'll post pics of how it turns out!

Anyone else lusting over new spring pieces on a budget?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

30 by 30: How Did I Do?

Last year, right after my 29th birthday, I made a 30 by 30 list - basically 30 things I wanted to work on or do before I turned 30.

Well, last Thursday I turned 30.


So how did I do?

1. Go to 3 new American cities.
I went to Boston, Worcester (MA), New Haven, Farmington, Hartford (CT), DC, Las Vegas, and Laughlin (NV).

2. Travel to another country, bringing my total to 6 in the past 4 years.
I didn't take an international research trip this year, and didn't get close to either Canada or Mexico. Well, I guess I got close to Mexico, but I was in a rental car and didn't have my passport. So not a good idea.

3. Eat something green (that's not gummy and shaped like a bear...) every day.
I don't know about *every* day, but I've done so much better at eating veggies this year. I love all fruit, so that's never been a problem, but I don't like a lot of vegetables. But this year I found some ways to really love them (roasting helps - so does dipping them in hummus!) and feel good about my progress.

4. Really pare down my closet.
Well, never really done, but I've probably taken 3 carloads to Goodwill, given away a ton of stuff, and really gotten down to basically what I consider the stuff I really love.

5. Write 3 chapters of my dissertation.
I'm turning in my 3rd chapter draft this month. So progress!
(Anyone wanna read drafts?)

6. Start a savings account.
I have money saved up to live on this summer (Memphis doesn't pay its grad students during the summer - and no one wants to hire me for 2 1/2 months - so I have to save money/cobble together odd jobs during the summer) but that's it. Working on this, probably for a long time!

7. Go to the gym regularly.
I kind of fell off the wagon, but I am much more active, and my FitBit makes me really competitive (in a good way!).

8. Volunteer for a charity/charitable organization.
I've done a ton of stuff for school, but I also volunteered for the Friends of the Library this year.

9. Run a 5K.
Kirby and I ran an 80s 5K last April!

10. Get an article published in a peer-reviewed journal.
But I am published, and I'm making good progress on my diss. That's probably a project for fall, or while I'm in between turning in a draft and getting feedback.

11. Be better at writing thank you notes and follow-up letters.
I sent thank you notes to all the places I researched last summer, and to a lot of other people. Plus I got to buy some really cute stationery. :)

12. Learn to accept a compliment.
I've been being really conscientious about this, and I think I've finally got it. Saying "thank you" to a compliment is getting easier and easier!

13. Go a week without complaining about anyone/anything.
I'm complaining less, but I can't avoid saying anything negative. And that's okay - I don't need to bottle that up!

I definitely don't want Summer Roberts style rage blackouts.

14. Eat breakfast regularly.
Maybe not every day. But almost every day! And not just coffee!
Plus on my birthday I treated myself to this breakfast - yum!

15. Read 25 new books.

(Anyone got a source for this? I can't find one, but I love it!)

Actually I read 26 new books! Plus I reread the entire Harry Potter series, the Outlander series (by Diana Gabaldon), Fifty Shades of Grey, and Deborah Harkness's trilogy (The Book of Life, Shadow of Night, and A Discovery of Witches). And a ton of books for school. Certified book nerd here. Check out the full list on my 30 by 30 page.

16. Get my French back to conversational level.
I overheard a conversation in French the other day that was clearly meant to be private, and understood about 90% of it. Now whether I can converse back is the question.

17. Learn enough German to have rough conversational skills.
I can find my way around, talk a little about the weather, and read some documents. I'll take it.

18. Make schnitzel.
But I did find a really good recipe, so soon!

19. Make magenflaster like my gramma.
Just didn't get around to it. Plus frying things is generally a bad idea for me...I'm a disaster.

20. Finally figure out how to use my "grown-up" camera.
I'm probably about halfway there on really being competent, but I'm noticeably better, so that's progress!

21. Take a spa day - with no phone!
And this makes me very very sad.

22. Visit all the museums in Memphis.
I've been to the Dixon, the Brooks, the UofM art museum, Graceland, and the Pink Palace (and the Bible museum in Collierville because, why not?). I didn't make it to the Metal Museum, the Cotton Museum, the National Civil Rights Museum, the Belz Museum, or the Children's Museum.

BUT I'm going to try to go to those, and I did go to all the Smithsonians and a ton of other museums this year. So I've at least gotten plenty of culture this year!

(Mary of Modena at the Yale Center for British Art. An early modern bad ass bitch.)

23. Blog at least twice a week.
Life gets in the way sometimes, but I will do better!

24. Work on my faith.

25. Take a trip to the Gulf Coast.
But I went a lot of other places!

26. Try a new hair color.
Well, by "new," I mostly mean that I went back to my natural color. Yep - no highlights or anything. First time I've seen it since 2002!

27. Find the perfect pair of jeans.
My American Eagle jeggings are perfect, and I found a great pair of jeggings from Maurices!

28. Make at least 3 projects for myself with the sewing machine.
I made a bunch of knit items, but I didn't do much sewing, unfortunately.

29. Start (and maintain) a book club.
But I'm still interested!

30. Stop letting people take advantage of my kindness.
I do think I'm getting much better at telling people no. MUCH better. Now I just need to work on being consistent about it!


I actually really enjoyed having goals to work on, even though I didn't accomplish them all. Should I do a 31 by 31, or maybe a longer-term 40 by 40, with some big life goals?