Monthly Archives: August 2015

field guides

Field Guide To: A Minimalist Makeup Routine

August 26, 2015

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I’ve experienced quite a few life changes in the past few months, and the single most important thing these changes have made me focus intently on is my surroundings. As I’ve written before, I went through a colossal purging night with my sister, coasting on the information that I was moving within the year. Consensus: I had too many things, items I didn’t even know I had clogging up my room and my life, and I couldn’t in good faith move in with my boyfriend while pulling all of that awful energy behind me. So I began purging, and I haven’t been able to stop. Clothes, shoes, books, toiletries, hair ties, I left no stone unturned.  At first, it was awful, and I became extremely mad at my sister, for how dare she suggest that I actually get rid of that sock that has no mate, or that tube of lipstick that, well, doesn’t actually have any lipstick in it? 

It was a process that became easier to do the more I did it, and I’m still doing it. I still have things to go through, especially my hair products (this one is a doozy because I rarely have to buy any of it; oftentimes I win shampoos and conditioners at work, so they tend to pile up!), but one group that was especially alleviating to go through was my makeup. Mind you, I had quite a bit of tubes and palettes that I accumulated from school. More eyeshadows and creams and blushes than one person needed. Since my far-reaching goal is to eventually downsize everything I own to just what I need, and only what love, I threw most of that makeup away. What I decided to keep is what I use for my makeup routine every morning.  I can get three different looks out of a handle of products, and you know what? That’s enough for me!

Honestly, if my career didn’t require that I put out all the stops for my make every day, I’d probably keep less than what I have now. I wasn’t always a makeup hoarder and then I went to cosmetology school and felt that I needed to keep everything, because, “What if?”. At some point, I forgot to care that I didn’t have that cream concealer anymore that didn’t even match my skin tone; I’ve managed to streamline my routine, and cut down the cleaning on Sundays, and let me tell you, I’m less stressed because of it!

My philosophy when putting my makeup on in the morning is this: if it takes longer than 15 minutes, then I’m doing it wrong.  I don’t know about you, but I like to spend my mornings leisurely sipping my coffee and playing with my cat. I also like to sleep in…but I digress. 15 minutes is the perfect amount of time to get that perfect cat eye and your foundation spot on.  My makeup arsenal includes foundation, powder,  blush, eyeliner, a bold lipstick and it’s matching lipliner, mascara, and two eyeshadows.

Most of the products I use come from Walgreens. My foundation is Maybelline Matte and Poreless Foundation in Porcelain. I’ve tried a lot of drug store brands, the biggest reason being that some brands lightest tones were still to dark for me. This one is a dead ringer for my skin tone, and, I’ll be honest, definitely helps to blur the pores!

For my powder, I use Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder in Translucent. This is a once-in-a-while product that I use, usually when it’s dreadfully hot outside and I want my foundation to last beyond the noon hour.

The mascara I have right now is something I bought just recently. Mascara is my #1  product. I have little blonde lashes that need every extra boost I can give them! I don’t mess with false lashes because I can never open my eyes when I use them, so mascara needs to be top of the line. L’oreal Paris Voluminous False Fiber Lashes does the trick for me. Two coats of it and I don’t need to put anything else on my eyes because my lashes are out to my nose at that point!

If I’m wanting to do a softer eye one day (i.e put the kibosh on my eyeliner and just use mascara) I’ll make sure to upgrade my chapstick to a bold lip. My favorite lipstick for this is M.A.C Lady Danger. This is the item that I can’t get at the drugstore, and it’s my one splurge. Lady Danger is described as a coral-red, and it’s a bit of a show stopper. It transitions well from season to season, and it suits many different skin tones!

The eyeliner that I use is from the Cat Eye Collection from Physician Formula.  This one is gentle enough on my eyes that they don’t water and the application of it is very smooth and stays on my entire work day.

The eye shadow that’s working for me right now is actually the last vestiages from my school collection. The colors, however, are super simple to find. For my crease I use a neutral taupe to create depth, and to highlight my brow bone, I use a shimmery shadow in what I would describe as being the color of a bone. Pretty light but with a shimmery base to catch and bounce light.

Last but not least, is my blush. It is Maybelline’s Dream Bouncy Blush in Peach Satin. I prefer the cream based blush for better blending, and what’s even better is that this product lasts for a long time!

So, how do I incorporate all of these products every day? The short answer is that I don’t. For example, while my blush is an everyday product, my foundation isn’t. If I’m wanting to use my lipstick, I’ll nix my eyeliner in favor of my mascara. If I’m going bold on one feature, I’ll tone down the opposing feature, simply because I don’t like to wear a bunch of makeup.  My favorite look and the one I wear the most is my mascara/lipstick combo. It’s classy, only costs you a minute to do, and is easy to touch throughout the day.

Quick question: my single most important product is my mascara. What’s yours? Let me know in the comments!








Weekending: Cast Off!

August 23, 2015


Some of you dear readers may know that two months ago I broke my wrist exercising in the gym. After two splints within the first three weeks, and two casts spanning five more weeks, I finally, finally, was able to get my cast off…and into another splint. This one is completely removable and I’ve been encouraged to do so by my doctor in order to do my exercises for rehabilitation. It’s been awfully weird to actually be able to use my hand again, and I often forget that I really can’t use it 100% just yet, but I’m super pumped to say that I did a haircut at work today for the first time in two months…I’m definitely ready to jump back into the swing of things, beginning with a brand new gym membership!

While I was convalescing, I spent a lot of time on the internet, and reading, not to mention binge watching shows on Hulu and Netflix, so I’ve managed to stumble on some terrific gems for your Saturday blog perusal!

Kicking things off is this article and the admission from myself that I fancied myself an archeologist when I was a small kid (I mean, didn’t we all?) and could get pretty nutty about Stonehenge, the Olmec, and various other mysteries and civilizations of our ancient world. Reading about the newly discovered artifacts related to the lost colony of Roanoke definitely woke up my erstwhile dreams of solving that mystery (my ten year old self has total faith in our ability).

This site is a wonderful place for all of your DIY needs. Seriously. They actually send you the supplies that you need for any project featured. Two words: Christmas presents!

Go back in time with this video showcasing fashion throughout the years from HelloGiggles!

And this book. Beatriz Willams is my new favorite author. Read her novels and prepare to run through the gamut of emotions. Don’t begin without tissues!

Have a terrific weekend!





in the kitchen

inspiration in the kitchen: chayote squash

August 19, 2015

Chayote Squash

While visiting my granny in Colorado this summer, I made several trips to her local grocery store. I love grocery stores. I love the bright, vibrant colors in the produce section, and I love happening upon new things in grocery stores I don’t usually go to. At this particular market, I noticed a bright green, funky looking squash called a chayote squash. It’s a little cactus-y in shape and color, and also reminds me of Arnold’s grandma from Hey Arnold! (Comment below if this late 1990’s/early 2000’s cartoon was one of your faves!)

While also spending time in Colorado, my cousin Carrie introduced me to the best taco shop I’ve ever been to–Fuzzy’s. I think I had their tacos three nights in a row, during my mere seven day stay. Their vegetarian tacos were by far my favorite, and during the 15 hour drive home, I kept imagining recreating the simple, flavorful taco and adding the chayote squash to learn about the ingredient.

Vegetarian Tacos

This easy summer dish is gaining popularity in my house because our favorite weeknight meals are those that require easy prep and little measuring!

Chayote Squash Veggie Tacos

makes 6 tacos


1 chayote squash, peeled + diced
1 medium white onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small bag of shredded carrots
1 can of black beans, drained (or you can be awesome and cook dry beans!)
1 lime, sliced into wedges
1/2 vegetable stock
2 tablespoons olive oil + some for brushing the tortillas
6 corn tortillas
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
fresh cilantro and feta for garnishing


In a dutch oven (or a small pot), heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When its warm, add the cumin, chili powder, onions and garlic, sauteing until soft and fragrant. Add the shredded carrots, black beans, salt, pepper, and vegetable stock. Cover and let it simmer until the carrots are just a little under cooked. Add the squash and continue cooking until all of the veggies are tender.

Just before serving, brush the corn tortillas and brown both sides in a skillet. Spoon the veggies into the tortilla. Top with a little cilantro, a sprinkle or two of feta, and finish with a little lime juice.

SO easy and so good. What’s your favorite summer dish and where’s the best place for tacos in your city?



Weekending: Let Yourself Rest

August 14, 2015

Book nook


I just don’t have any words at all. At the end of my first week of teaching I am exhausted yet energized. Thrilled, but also sad that it’s over. My kiddos are so kind and bonkers excited to learn. I can’t wait to see the community they develop in their classroom over the next few months.

This weekend will certainly fly by. Saturday is for lesson planning for the week, Sunday is for napping. That’s it. Here’s some interesting bits from around town.

I tried this once and it didn’t really work for me. Should I try again?

This is a must read for busy gals who want awesome hair. I want awesome hair, but I can’t ever seem to get it.

That’s a cute pillow, that’s a cute pillow, and I just nearly bought this one but was able to refrain because Wes gave me a stare.

I constantly have this regret.

A local favorite. Springfield is so stylish!

Did you notice a theme?



in the library

Women of History: Elizabeth of York

August 12, 2015

Elizabeth of York

WHO SHE WAS: She was the daughter of Elizabeth Wydeville and Edward IV, the first born, although at that time a woman ruling England as queen regnant (ruling in her own right)  was unheard of and there would have been no thought to her ascension. That of course, would come years later, with Elizabeth’s granddaughter Mary I!

HER PLACE IN HISTORY: Like so many royals before her, she was still a political piece to be played to ensure that an alliance was made with Henry Tudor. This plan was put into action by Elizabeth’s mother and future mother-in-law; Elizabeth Wydeville knew that if Henry Tudor defeated Richard III, it would give Elizabeth of York a place on throne as queen consort through her marriage to  him.

INTERESTING BITS: As I’ve mentioned before, her marriage to Henry Tudor meant the end of the rift between the houses Lancaster and York. The War of the Roses left so many of her family dead, either by battle or by order of authority, so I like to imagine that perhaps the end of the turmoil would have brought her joy, knowing that she could finally live in the relative peace of the time. And as a queen to boot!

Elizabeth and her husband, Henry VII, had eight children in total, four of which survived infancy. Most notably, Elizabeth of York was the mother of Arthur, Prince of Wales (and the first husband of Catherine of Aragon) and Henry, Duke of York, who would later become Henry VIII.

Elizabeth died in 1503 when she was 37; after giving birth to her last baby girl, both Elizabeth and the baby passed away shortly thereafter.

Henry Tudor won the crown by right of conquest when he defeated Richard III in battle, but Elizabeth still had a stronger claim to the throne. Henry’s coronation took place shortly after the last battle and before his wedding to Elizabeth to solidify his position as a king through conquest and not through Elizabeth. Henry VII and Elizabeth were the first king and queen of the House of Tudor, a dynasty that put an end to over 300 years of Plantagenet rule.

If you’re interested in further reading, my main non-fictional account is Elizabeth of York: First Tudor Queen by Alison Weir and for a bit of historical fiction, check out Philipa Gregory’s The White Princess, a book that is part of her series about the Cousin’s War.

Happy reading!