Sunday, December 4, 2016

Blogmas Day 4: November Favorites

One of my all time favorite guilty pleasures is binge watching beauty gurus on YouTube. There is a giant network of predominately rich, young, white girls talking to their fans how to apply makeup, dress up skinny jeans, and spend money with expertly crafted brand deals that seem totally genuine. There are a few beauty guru tropes that every who's-who in the biz has done time and time again: the "What's in my Bag?" video, the "Get Ready With Me!" video, and the "Haul" videos prominent examples. But none of these come close to the popularity of the Monthly Favorite videos. They're pretty much exactly what they sound like: the beauty guru in question gets in front of the camera and raves about products they've been loving for the past month, generally broken down into categories. For some reason, I love watching these videos, and I've always wanted to do my own. But I'm not a YouTuber--I'm a blogger--so today's post is going to be a second rate version of a favorites video, in written form. I'll link sites where you can purchase these items if you're intrigued; some of these suggestions might even make good gifts, if you're struggling to buy for that one girly girl on your list.

On with the favorites!

Beauty Products

1) Lorac Mega Pro 3 palette

Photo courtesy of Temptalia. It's an Ulta exclusive, and unfortunately it's no longer online, so call your local store ASAP if you want to get your hands on one!

This palette was love at first swatch. The dangerous thing about working at Ulta is how easy it is to sample and play with products when the store is slow, which is how I came to discover this beauty. It's a good mix of matte and shimmery colors that blend like a dream. If you're new to makeup or want to try to get into eye shadow, I recommend this guy: it has every color you need to create any look, from demure to dramatic. My favorites to dip into are "Pecan" (third from left, top row), "Maple" (third from right, second row), "Cider" (third from left, third row), and "Dark Roast" as an eyeliner (third from right, bottom row). I apologize to all my other makeup palettes, as they're not getting as much love as of late.

2) Mario Badescu Facial Spray

Photo courtesy of Ulta.com. Purchase here!

Another purchase made after frequent use while working at Ulta. Especially this time of year, my skin has a tendency to feel dry, tight, and dull. This spray, at only seven dollars, has been a lifesaver. I've seen an improvement in the texture and overall look of my skin, and as this is the only major change I've made in my routine, I can't help but think this is why. I spray it on my face in the mornings before moisturizer, during the day to freshen up my makeup, an a heavy helping at night before sleep. I know it's working for my skin, but even if it wasn't I would keep using it solely for the calming and cooling effect it has on my face and the nice, light smell. Confession: I haven't even had the four ounce bottle for one month, and it's already half gone.

3) Kylie lip kit in "Lovebite"

Photo courtesy of Kylie Cosmetics. Purchase here!

Y'know that song that goes "I hate you, I love you, I hate that I love you"? That's how I feel about Kylie Cosmetics. Kylie Jenner is 19 and already has more money than myself and my entire immediate family will have in our lifetimes, combined. I really didn't want to give into the hype of her coveted lip kits, because I figured they couldn't possibly be that special, that I could find something similar, if not better. This shade in particular--a cross between a brown and a mauve, a shade straight out of the late nineties--wasn't anything I was finding in stores. I read articles and bought throwaway lip colors in search of dupes, but eventually I knew I just had to break down and give $30 of my hard-earned cash to the youngest member of the Kardashian matriarch. I wish I could say I was disappointed in my purchase and the product sucks, but it doesn't. It's not exactly an everyday shade, but when I do wear it I get lots and lots of compliments. My mother also happens to hate the way it looks on me, but don't let that sway you.

4) Benefit Rollerlash

Photo courtesy of Benefit Cosmetics. Purchase here!

Anyone who has stubby eyelashes that can't hold a curl, this mascara is going to be your new best friend. For a while, Benefit's They're Real was my ride or die favorite mascara, but after receiving a full-sized tube of Roller Lash in a gift box, I was sold. It's great for those days when you want a "natural, no-makeup" makeup look, but can also be built up to give your lashes a lot of length and curl without looking clumpy. But take my words with a grain of salt, because I'm usually one of those girls who says "if you're spending more than $10 on mascara, you're an idiot." And I'll level with you: if I didn't get this in a set, I wouldn't have bought it at all, but now I'm (regrettably) sold. But if you're on a budget, Covergirl's Clump Crusher works almost as well at only one-third of the price.

Music, Movies, and TV

1) Music

This month, my taste is music has kind of been all over the place. In the fall and early winter, my taste generally mellows out to match the nippy winds and falling leaves. This month, my Spotify playlist was pretty representative of that, with a mix of girl group pop and John Mayer slow jams. 




2) Movies: The Edge of Seventeen

Photo courtesy of Amazon. Buy a ticket here!

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me I looked like Hailee Steinfeld, I'd probably have enough money to, well...be Hailee Steinfeld. But to me that's a huge compliment, as she was phenomenal and transcendent in this move. The Edge of Seventeen was compared to The Breakfast Club and Juno by reviewers, and I can see why. I think it'll be one of my all-time faves for the next foreseeable future, as the humor, pacing, and heart of the story resonated with me so much. This film captures exactly what it's like to be seventeen, with no cringe-worthy thought or feeling left unexplored. Needless to say I was laughing and sobbing in cyclical fashion, leaving the theater ready to sit down for an another screening.

3) TV: RuPaul's Drag Race

Courtesy of TV Series Finale. Stream here!

Not only have I spent the month of November binge-watching Drag Race, but convincing every human I come into contact with to do the same. For any fans of reality TV or competition-style shows, this is an absolute must-watch. It's essentially America's Next Top Model, but with drag queens as the competitors. But to be totally honest, saying that kind of doesn't do it justice, as the queens on this show are way more talented than any of the girls on Top Model (sorry, Tyra). I mean this genuinely when I say I admire the well-rounded set of skills and tricks these queens have. They have to be comedians, they have to be seamstresses, actors, makeup artists, dancers, singers, and possess a certain je ne sais quoi. If you're not already watching, you need to be, and the holidays are the perfect excuse to lay in bed and finish an entire season in one weekend. Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything...

Random Favorites

Beauty gurus always have a few items they've been loving over the month that don't really fit into any category: kind of a miscellaneous pile, if you will. In honor of that, I've also been loving...

1) The book "I Am Not Myself These Days" by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

Photo courtesy of Amazon. Purchase here!

This book is a re-read for me, though it's been years since I picked it up for the first time, so it's almost like I'm starting it fresh. This choice is 195% inspired by my addiction to Drag Race, as the story follows Kilmer-Purcell during his drag queen days. Working in advertising during the day and drunkenly performing at gay bars at night, his memoir is both hilarious and harrowing. Kilmer-Purcell is a strong narrator with a clear vision and voice, making it hard to put the book down when it's time to go to sleep. His work deals with the mature topics of drugs, abuse, sex, vulgarity, and addiction, so it might not be the right read for the young or faint-of-heart. But for those that aren't afraid of a story with a little grit, I can't recommend it enough.

2) Coffee with Chrachel

Photo courtesy of iTunes. Download from the iOS Podcast app or stream here!

Podcasts are a new love for me. Whether I'm driving a long distance or have mundane tasks to complete around the house, they make the time go by much faster. My favorite as of late is Coffee with Chrachel, an hour-long chat between Chris Hubbard and Rachel Whitehurst (get it, the title is their names put together), a Seattle-based couple. The tone of their podcasts are pretty clear given the title: it's just like you're going out to coffee with your friends, talking about internet memes, how awful Donald Trump is, and everything in-between. Because Chris and Rachel have been together so long, their chemistry and conversation is seamless, with witty banter and serious topics woven together without awkward pauses or forced transitions. Plus, every so often you'll hear little mews or rustlings from their two cats (lovingly referred to as "the chunks"), adding their own personalities to the mix.

3) This. Fucking. Vine.





Calling this 6-second video one of my "monthly favorites" seems beyond dumb, but I don't consider it the holidays until I've watched it about 100 times. Modern performance art is really the only way to describe it.



And on that note, I'll talk to you guys tomorrow.

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