Month: August 2013

Random Thursday: I can’t wait to see this TV show…

I’m not usually one to get excited about a new season of TV, but when I saw this trailer I knew right away I’ll have to get this show on DVD when it comes out. After all, it’s from some of the same guys who did Fringe, and I was hopelessly hooked on that show.

What fall TV shows are you excited about? Anything I should look for?





Ten on Tuesday: too-skinny skinny jeans and stubborn curtains

1. I have just not had an appetite all week. Nothing tastes good, not even chocolate! You know there’s a problem when chocolate is unappealing.

2. Anyone know where to buy vegan candy corn (if there is such a thing)? The harvest candy displays at the grocery store are driving me nuts, because I know I’ll want some by the end of October. It’s kind of a traditional snack, you know?

3. At Scarlett‘s recommendation I’m going to be picking up Night Visions (from Imagine Dragons) this week. I’ve got it queued up on Spotify now and I love it.

4. I’ve realized that I’m more fluent in sarcasm than English. This may prove to be problematic.

5. Am I the only one who really struggles to find skinny jeans that fit in the calves? I’ve always had problems with jeans that don’t fit through the butt, hips or thighs, but this is just ridiculous. I went on a jean spree with a girlfriend last week and I could barely get these pants past my ankles. I wasn’t sure if I should take this as a compliment that I have nice curvy calves or just throw the jeans across the dressing room in a fit of pique.

6. This and every week, in a single image.

7. I was flipping through the back of the September issue of Lucky and they have a special discount code for 30% off all NCLA lacquers through shopncla.com, good all the way through October 7! You can use the code “luckybreaks1” at checkout to save on your entire order of vegan and five-free lacquers and nail wraps. I’ve never tried this brand but Tashina from Logical Harmony raves about them all the time on her blog.

8. So for everyone who watched the VMAs–did the NSYNC reunion live up to your expectations? I missed it, BTW, so I have no opinion to offer, but I’ve heard from a few people that Justin Destiny’s Child-ed his old bandmates. (Clunkiest phrase ever, that.)

9. Has anyone seen The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones yet? Yay or nay? Worth reading the book?

10. So I tried to hang up curtains this week, and apparently there’s a heavy-duty frame around the window that prevents me from drilling fully into the wall above the window. I can drill in about half an inch, but no more, which means I can’t put in the wall anchors and screws to hold the curtain rods in the middle of the window–and it’s too long to just stretch a single rod all the way across (seriously, about nine feet). Any ideas?? Right now I’m thinking I may have to suspend the curtains from the ceiling to get what I want!

Sunday Confessions: rolling my eyes

Once again it’s time to link up with Alyx for Sunday Confessions! This week I confess that my week has been one big series of eye rolls.

Someone at work (may or may not have been a boss) started talking to me about how hard they had been working all night, and I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes so hard they got stuck in the back of my skull.

I really roll my eyes at magazine companies and other businesses that urge me to switch to paperless billing to “go green!”, but send me junk mail at least once or twice a month, urging me to purchase new services or whatever.

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Oh, and then there are the people who come up to you and say things that are just so “Whaaaaaa…”-inducing that all you can do is sit there and look at them like:

I’m sorry. If you were going to make a mountain out of a molehill for the express purpose of throwing yourself a pity party, you should have sent out RSVPs so I could decline to attend. I really believe that if you walk around looking for things to offend you, you will find them, so have fun with that.

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And as much as I really, really love my friends, when one of them asks, “Can’t you just stop being vegan for a day?” they get a really big eye roll. That’s like telling someone to stop having allergies for a day and just eat the peanut butter.

 Okay, I know I’m not the only one who rolled my eyes at this: Ben Affleck as Batman.

Yeah, he wasn’t my first choice either. Zack Snyder, you are no longer on my Cool People list.

Let’s all have a collective eye roll for this:

And for this, which is from earlier in the month, but which (for some reason) I remembered this week and so rolled my eyes over it again just for the heck of it.

I give bonus points to the last comment. She made my day. (If you want to take the survey yourself, you can find it here.) Also, I am not sure what these answers say about me and my friends. Kanye, Taylor and JT? Halp.

If something made you roll your eyes this week, tell me about it!

Mediterranean food!

Happy Saturday everybody! Today I just have a short random post about the Mediterranean food we ate this week. It was too yummy to not take pictures and share!

The pitas are stuffed with falafel, cucumbers and red pepper hummus. We actually found vegan-friendly pitas and the hummus in the Walmart deli, of all places. The falafel and the couscous came from the natural/health section of the grocery store. And of course cucumbers, olives and dates are easy to find at almost any grocery store.

(I suppose you could also call this Middle Eastern food. But I promise it’s not all that spicy, unless you add lots of spices to it!)

Favorite posts this month!

Wow! I haven’t done one of these posts in a full month, so you know it’s going to be a big one! I have been a lazy blog reader this month but I did see lots of posts I liked, so I wanted to round them up and share them with you, in no particular order. I did try to break these down by category to contain the madness.

Beauty/fashion

You’ve still got a few days left to enter Brittany’s Secret‘s giveaway for an Urban Decay Naked palette!

The Polish Hideout featured swatches of the Zoya Fall PixieDust lacquers, in case you’ve somehow missed them (shame on you)–see Tomoko, Chita, Dhara, Arabella, Sunshine, and Carter! Beauty Redefined by Pang has more colorful swatches for you, of neutral cream shadow (here) and blue/teal eyeliners (here).

I really love this bold look from Fun Size Beauty, based on an Allure Russia cover. This ombre nail art color combo from Small Budget Beauty is so bright and happy! The Freckled Fox has been posting tons of awesome hair tutorials lately, but I think my two favorites are the rope braid and the braid-wrapped bun.

Glamorable has a look at the new Bondi box, which may very well just give Julep a run for their money. Land of Candy Canes has the vegan version of the Conscious Box and MakeUp Guinea Pig unwrapped the new Vegan Cuts beauty box, both of which look awesome. Christine also reviewed the NYX Eyebrow Shaper, which sounds like a miracle product if ever I’ve seen one (I have perpetually misbehaving brows).

I just love the colorful clutch in this outfit from Wendy’s Lookbook! Not that I would ever get a giant owl tattoo…but isn’t this one cool? (From Tattoologist)

Food

How about homemade pancakes from Sew Much To SayDancing Branflake has a killer sweet potato taco recipe here! Karla’s Closet has a granola recipe that could easily be veganized if you swapped agave nectar for the honey. Sugarpuffish has a recipe for a vegan cake in a mug that you can make in the microwave (say no more!).

Lifestyle/home/DIY

I love this Shakespeare quote, shared by Cocalores. I really had fun reading through this post from Sew Much to Say about all the things she’s learned from her list of things to do before her 20th birthday–I had never really thought about it this way before, but as she points out, you can learn just as much from the things you don’t check off as you learn from the things you do check off the list! Also: a cute picture of a chipmunk and her Liebster award. Because who doesn’t want to see a picture of a chipmunk?

I didn’t think it was possible to love Norman Reedus any more than I already did, but I was wrong. (Link from Land of Candy Canes.) Oh, and check out Katrin’s recommendations for good crime writers–I have some new books to add to my must-read shelf now. Is it just me, or do European writers turn out better crime novels than Americans? They don’t seem quite so obsessed with happy endings!

Here’s a great tutorial from Artangel on transferring print to a mixed-media art piece. This is definitely going on my list of things to try this fall. I also liked the tips from Rosalilium on food photography, since I’m starting to include more recipes on this blog and goodness knows I need all the tips I can get!

I laughed at this post from The Daybook about her son’s first haircut. “Mullet killer!”

Be Quoted had this great piece on dating advice for single ladies, which I think is a must-read whether you’re a single gal yourself or have single friends who might need some pointers. She’s also got this post about the perks of singledom and then just some all-around good advice for anyone approaching thirty.

Speaking of dating advice, Dancing Branflakes shells out a few tips for finding a good mate that she says she would give to her daughter, but I think they’re true for anyone.

I love this post from Real College Student of Atlanta about being in competition with yourself instead of others. Both personally and professionally, it really struck home for me! She also posts about a few things younger people don’t “get” when it comes to personal/professional success.

Beauty Product Mama talked about having “no excuses” when it comes to taking care of your health.  Another sorely-needed reminder, since I’m very good at making excuses to take a nap instead of fixing dinner or exercising!

Travel/nature/photography

Dancing Branflakes has multiple posts this month featuring some really lovely photography from her summer hikes and road trips–check out her hiking and waterfall photos here, lakeside photos here, wanderings through Virgina here, and a road trip in California here.

I love pretty much everything from Chestnut Mocha and these posts (here and here) about Glacier National Park are no exception.

The Rain Girl had so many awesome photos from New York City this month, but you can find some of my favorites here…and here…and here…and here…and here…and here…and here…okay, I’ll stop now. :) Also be sure to go check out her Society 6 shop, she has a lot of really interesting art prints up for sale there.

Whew, what a roundup! I need to make myself do these posts on a weekly basis just so they won’t be so darn long! What have you been reading lately? Anything you think I should go have a peek at?

Random Thursday: A place in my city I love

There are actually quite a few places in my city that I love, but I don’t have pictures of them (boohoo). I guess I could have grabbed the camera and biked around taking pictures today, but I was in a mood to be lazy and lounge around the house eating grilled cheese sandwiches and watching Game of Thrones. I’m allowed to spend the last few hours before the workweek being lazy, right?

Anyway, here are some of my favorite spots, in no particular order:

  • The best darn Thai restaurant ever. Not only because their food is delicious, but also because the interior is crazy-cool (must post pics sometime), they will veganize almost anything for you, the waitstaff is super-friendly, and they’ll prep orders for carryout if you call ahead.
  • The library. Oh, shocker, you say. Yeah, it’s kind of obvious, but what makes this library extra-nice is that when they expanded into a new building they made sure to include plenty of reading nooks and spots by the windows, so if you need somewhere to hang out, it’s a nice place to do so.

Oh, and this place, of which I do have a picture (yay!). This is a local hiking spot with great views of the lake and the mountains. It used to have a huge parking lot at the trailhead where you got two hours of free parking and the rest of the day at a cheapie rate, provided there was even someone at the parking booth to take your money. Half the time the booth was empty and you got to park all day for free. Then someone who probably couldn’t appreciate natural beauty if it kicked him in the teeth decided to buy the parking lot and raze it to build tennis courts for the tourists. You can still park to go use the hiking trails, you just have to do it in his conveniently located (expensive) parking garage. I’m pretty sure he would have bought the hiking trails from the city to build something there too, but they’re too hilly. Because what this world really needs is more building and less nature!

Okay, rant over. One more spot that’s actually a ways out of the city, but is too gorgeous not to include.This lake is freezing cold year round on account of being very deep, but it’s a wonderful place to swim, hike, picnic, and of course–take pictures.

What are your favorite places in your city?

Product review: Hard Candy All Lid Up Creme Eye Shadow

Another product from my birthday haul! I have wanted a budgeproof teal shadow for some time now and thought I would check off two objectives by also trying out a new product: a creme shadow from Hard Candy. Read on for a full review and swatches.

The product: Hard Candy All Lid Up Creme Shadow, $5; shown here in Tidal Wave. Available at Walmart stores.

The claim: From their website: “Vibrant, long wearing crème eye shadow lights up and enhances eyes. Our groundbreaking hybrid formula has a soft cushion texture that allows it to be worn as eye shadow or eyeliner. This crease proof, stay put formula is blended luminous, multi-colored pearls that provides glamorous evening looks. Available in 10 gorgeous, vivid shades!”

Ingredients:  Isodocane, mica, polyethylene, tribehenin, isohexadecane, polysilicone-11, isobutylmethacrylate/bis-hydroxypropyl, dimethicone acrylate, copolymer, dimethicone, silica (in gold and green shades), C13-15 alkane, phenoxyethanol. May contain: titanium dioxide, iron oxides, manganese violet, ferric ferrocyanide, carmine, ferric ammonium ferrocyanide.

Ingredient notes: Hard Candy products are not tested on animals and this appears to be vegan. These products are made in the USA. This is chock full of strange chemical names, but most seem to have a fairly low toxicity.

I tried it: The packaging is a basic small plastic jar with a screw-on lid–nothing fancy. This shadow is incredibly dry, which I did not expect. I had to use a cotton swab to dig it out of the pot and apply it on the lid, and then used my fingers to blend it out. In my opinion a brush just won’t do the job. You’ll also want to use a cotton swab to shape and blend the edges of the color very quickly before it sets, because once it does, it’s budge-proof. I think the drier texture–while a total pain in the butt during application–helps it last longer with out creasing or slipping on my oily lids.

Here is the look I put together using this shadow for my main allover lid color. I used my mini Hard Candy Meteor-Eyes baked shadow in Bad Reputation on the inner corner, around the outer corner of the eye and up across the crease to soften the edges of the teal shadow, and then along the lower lash line. I used a pop of peachy shadow under my arch. I lined the upper lash line with the Milani Ultra Fine Liquid Eye Liner in Black Vinyl and lined the lower lash line with my Urban Decay 24/7 pencil in Zero. I’m wearing Hard Candy Flat to Fab black mascara in these pics, and if it’s starting to look a bit droopy–that’s because I was wearing it all night!

This shadow is pretty vibrant. It works best if you apply a thin coat and then possibly a second to build up the color, or top it with a matching powder shadow (though I don’t own any powder teals). Despite gripping your lids all day, it does remove fairly easily with waterproof eye makeup remover, and does not stain the skin. Because it’s so budgeproof, it works great as a liner.

My final thoughts: This shadow is just kind of “meh” to me. I guess I like the overall end result, and it’s hard to find cheap, vibrant vegan shadows, but I just wish the texture wasn’t so dry and difficult to apply. I think I would possibly consider purchasing more shades in the future, but I’m not rushing out for more at the moment–I’ll be looking at some other brand options first.

Hard Candy minis review! Nine items total

Get ready for a big post! I decided to do a big review of all the Hard Candy mini items that I picked up this summer. Where possible I’ve made ingredient notes and I’ve included swatches so you can see how the colors look out of the tube. Later I may try to do some full FOTD type posts with these products, but there were so many here that I wanted a way to quickly and tidily go through them! All of these items are available through your local Walmart.

First up, the Sheer Envy face primer ($8/1.6 oz.). As far as I can see this is a vegan item, and it also contains no parabens. I’ve heard good things about this primer and I think for the price it does an amazing job of blurring my pores and keeping the shine down so my foundation doesn’t slip away by lunch. It’s a good balance between mattifying and being too dry, but it would probably not be suitable for terribly oily skin–for that I will stick with my Nyx Shine Killer primer. I would repurchase this.

Next is the Eyeshadow Primer. I’m not totally sure, but I don’t think is sold as a solo full-size item. It also appears to be vegan but contains some parabens, unlike the face primer. It has a much slipperier texture than typical eyeshadow primers and while it smooths out my lids a bit, it doesn’t seem to do a lot to intensify the color of my eyeshadow or make it last any longer than usual.

I have two minis of Glow All The Way, in “Glamzon Bronze” and “Doll Face” ($8/4.8 oz.) These would appear to be vegan, though the packaging says they “may” contain carmine. These are super-shimmery and a little goes a long way, as you can see from the blended swatches. Glamazon Bronze would be an excellent accent for legs and collarbones if you have a tan; Doll Face would be pretty on the cheekbones and browbones. I would probably repurchase these, though I’m scratching my head over the fact that Hard Candy apparently isn’t sure which ingredients made it into the finished product! I’ve seen major vegan bloggers refer to products like this as 100% vegan, so I’m not sure what to think. :/

On to the eye products. The two Take Me Out glitter liners ($5 apiece for the full sizes) are “Wild Child” and “Notorious”. They are waxy and not as glitter-packed as I thought they would be; the color payoff seems excellent and they do seem to stay put well, though. They stain a bit and you’ll definitely need a waterproof eye makeup remover to take them off. They do contain beeswax, which is why I would not consider repurchasing them.

The silvery shadow is a mini of the Meteor-Eyes Baked Shadow in “Bad Reputation” ($6). As far as I can tell this is a vegan product. It’s a soft satiny silver with moderate pigmentation and staying power, though like most drugstore shadows, I think you’ll want to use primer and you’ll need to reapply partway through the day. It’s a nice accent color but I just don’t see myself purchasing a full-size silver shadow. :)

I also have two mini mascaras, Lash Tinsel in the shade “Spellbound” and a tube of Flat to Fab, and I believe both of these retail for $7 for the full-sized tubes. I think all Hard Candy mascaras contain beeswax, so they are not vegan. For some reason I thought their non-waterproof formulas were vegan, but when I double-checked that is not the case.

Lash Tinsel is not the glitter-packed formula I thought; it’s clear with a small amount of glitter, so it actually adds a nice accent to lashes without turning you into Ke$ha. Here I’m wearing it over bare lashes on the left and over black mascara on the right. Obviously the beeswax makes it a no-go for me going forward, as 2013 is my year of transitioning from vegetarian to vegan cosmetics.** However, I will keep a more open mind about glitter mascara from here on out–it’s actually quite pretty! It just takes a bit of work to remove.

The Flat to Fab mascara was weird and I’m not sure how I feel about it, beeswax aside. For starters, the brush is huge and fatter on the ends than in the middle, so it can be hard to evenly coat the lashes as you would with a standard spoolie. I also felt that using a lash comb was necessary to avoid clumps. That said, the pic series below was taken after a ten-hour shift at work, and I had zero flaking or transfer–this stuff did not budge in the least! It did seem to help hold my lashes in a curl and it did a good job of volumizing and lengthening. It’s just one of those products that requires a bit of elbow grease to get the desired beautiful result.

So there are all my Hard Candy mini reviews! Do you like Hard Candy? Have a favorite product? Never tried them? Leave me a comment and let me know!

**If you’re curious about the difference between vegetarian and vegan cosmetics, I have a post here that explains it all! You can also leave me a question in the comments or e-mail me–remember, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. :)