Monday, March 31, 2014

I Made a Mistake

I second guessed myself at the last minute.  I always do this.

I went shopping with some friends yesterday to use my 15% off at Sephora.  I really wanted to get the YSL Teint Touche Eclat foundation that both my friend recommended as well as Teckie from Werner Beauty who does incredible makeup, and walked over to check it out.  A sales associate was doing a woman's makeup right in front of the display and the place was packed; not wanting to be a pain I figured I'd browse around and wait.

I came across the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid to Powder Foundation.  I tested out a few colors and found what I thought was my match.  Maybe this will be just as good, I thought.


Before I could grab the color I thought was good a sales associate offered to help match me.  Sure, why not?  She matched me to what I later discovered by looking online was the lightest color available.  Now, I know I'm pale but if I'm the lightest color in the spectrum then I don't know what tons of other people do.

I used it this morning.  My skin is matte, feels tight and dry, and I look so white.  I had to use a ton of bronzer to fix it and I am not happy.

Why did I try something else?  Why didn't I just get what I went there for?  I hate my overanalyzing sometimes.

So, tomorrow during lunch, this guy is going back and (hopefully!) the YSL Teint Touche Eclat is coming home with me.  Or maybe Guerlain Lingerie de Peau.  Or Givenchy Photo'Perfexion.  I don't know now... I did a lot of browsing and am feeling unsure.  Anyone have any input for an oily skinned girl whose main concern is staying power and not looking like a bald eagle in pictures?

I'd ask the Sephora sales associates but I've just gotten some seriously bad recommendations before (come on, stick foundation when I was complaining about super-oily 17 year old skin???) and now, a really bad color match.  It's a shame though because I know people who've had an incredible job done on their makeup there so it's really just luck of the draw.

Anyway, here's what I wore yesterday to the mall, even though I was mid-blink.  Or I've developed lazy eyes.  One or the other.

sweater: j. crew tippi in heathered caramel || jeans: rich and skinny coated || shoes: boutique nine yendo loafer || jacket: burberry brit || bag: fendi colorblock chameleon

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Why You Should Have a Drink Before Dyeing Your Hair

I will never claim to be anything resembling an authority on hair.  Until a year ago I had never dyed it, save for the really unfortunate Sun-In experiment that I performed, against my mother's wishes the summer before sixth grade.  My punishment was having to grow out the bright orange hair the resulted, which was not so bad at first but was really unfortunate by the time picture day rolled around because the orange ring began right around mid-ear.

Last year I ombre-d it using the L'Oreal Feria Wild Ombre kit.  It came out fine; my then best friend and I did it together and as she is applying to med school we joked that if a future doctor and an engineer can't figure out how to dye hair, then our problems are a lot bigger than my soon-to-be screwed up hair color.  Fortunately we ditched the instructions and thought it through, starting by putting the color at the very ends and then gradually going up a little more rather than just brushing the color on at chin level and working from one side to the other rather than root to mid-shaft.  It came out fine, and grew out without any issues.

This time, I was on my own.  She was always the more daring one in our friendship and without her pushing me to do it, my stomach was going nuts signalling me that this was really a bad idea.

It came out okay once, what are the odds it will come out okay again?  Knowing my luck, that first time was pure fluke.

I bought the L'Oreal Preference Ombre Touch kit for dark hair.  It purported to offer a more subtle look but really I just liked the girl on the box's hair better than the one on the Wild Ombre box.

I thought about calling her even though we haven't spoken in quite some time.  Gloves on, squirt bottle of bleach in hand, little tiny finger comb on my index finger, I blanked and totally forgot what we did last time.

So I tried to figure it out all over again, and it was fine.  I sat back on the couch with my hair now doused in bleach and started freaking out again.  What if it came out terribly?  What if there was a big stripe around my head followed by the lighter color, like back in the sixth grade?  What if I missed some spots?

that's a serious anxiety face

Anxiety pushing me, I washed the dye out after the bare minimum of 25 minutes.  I excitedly dried my hair and kept looking in the mirror just to see that it was the same.  It looked the same as before.  What the fuck.

Oh well, I consider it a blessing because I'd rather it be super duper subtle than glaringly obvious; my disappointment with it looking the same is nothing compared to the disappointment I'd have if it was orange.

So this is my cautionary tale: make yourself a nice big glass of a tequila drink before you get started and be sure to have your inhibitions lowered so when you see the slightest hint of lightening you won't freak out and immediately wash the dye out.  I promise it will make it more worth your money.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Hopefully this is the last day below freezing for a long time (until next year?) making it one of my last opportunities to comfortably wear some lined, wool pants.  Actually, that's a lie since my office is kept borderline frigid year round so it's always wool-weather in here, but the walk to the car in lined pants and a heavy sweater during the summer is not a pleasant one.

Our office is split into up with one big section for the sales side and a smaller section for the engineering side.  The thermostat for the engineering side is located in a closed office on the sales side, an office with a wall of windows that gets unusually warm.  As a result, the engineering side of the office is freezing because the guy who controls the thermostat never turns the heat on.  Everyone comments on it when they walk through here to get to the bathroom, and I often have to wear my company issue fleece sweatshirt to avoid having goosebumps nonstop.  My coworker, who was not offered a fleece sweatshirt, usually wears his coat all day.  If you've read along you know I had to switch desks because I was next to an intolerable cubicle-mate who would open the window all throughout the winter because he is always, inexplicably, disgustingly hot.  When people pass by and ask me how I can stand it I have to be dismissive of their remarks because otherwise he jumps in and tells them to go back to their side because he doesn't want it any warmer.  Cold office, cold's tough sometimes.

At least I remembered to close my window before I went to bed last night so I was able to crawl out from under the covers before my absolute "you must get out of bed right now" last call time of 6:15.  I still didn't leave myself nearly enough time to get ready, but I'm working on it!

top: max mara boatneck sweater || pants: st. john diana straight leg trousers || bag: louis vuitton damier neverfull mm || necklace: monet chunky chain || shoes: steve madden clydee pumps

Tomorrow's mission is to only hit snooze on my alarm once.  I'm feeling determined.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Watchlist Wednesday: The Whites

Part of successfully saving money means NOT LOOKING AT THINGS TO BUY.  Usually I have no intention of buying anything but just do some online window-shopping to waste time and end up with a cartful of items that, in my mind, are too good to pass up.  Repeat until you are getting packages in the mail every single day and conclude that the madness needs to stop.

I went cold turkey not looking at anything for about two weeks and have gradually started looking at items again in the past week.  I feel less tempted to buy things and more like I am just getting ideas this time around, although if I ever have 6 packages to carry upstairs in one day again I am going to have to check myself.

I love the look of white and ivory clothes and am excited to start wearing them more again!  I never really subscribed to the idea of winter white but all whites and ivories and nudes are so easy to pull off in the spring. 

  1. Tibi Carey Lace Blouse size 6, sold by ajmfashions; currently $36 and retails for $265.  Ends 3/26 at 7:19 PM.
  2. Tibi Ivory Ambrose Mohair Open Knit Racerback Tank size M, sold by ajmfashions; currently $15.50 and retails for $198.  Ends 3/27 at 6:44 PM.
  3. Mother The Looker Bump in the Night Ivory Skinny Jeans size 29, sold by ajmfashions; currently $10.50 and retails for $210.  Ends 3/30 at 5:33 PM.
  4. Joie Ivory Silk Pocket Blouse size M, sold by BHFO; currently $10.50 and retails for $158.  Ends 3/27 at 6:11 PM.
  5. Gregory Parkinson Blue and White Tie Dye Shirt Dress size M, sold by ajmfashions; currently $11.50 and retails for $225.  Ends 3/27 at 8:51 PM.
  6. Paule Ka Faux Wrap Knot Top size 40, sold by ajmfashions; currently $11.50 and retails for $455.  Ends 4/1 at 10:11 PM.
  7. L'Agence Butter High-Low Blazer size 8, sold by shopdfwh; currently $34.95 and retails for $549.  Ends 3/31 at 12:00 PM.
I want that first Tibi blouse SO BADLY, but at $36, even though it's still an amazing deal and nearly 90% off, I don't really need it.  I think.

What is everyone else excited to get from the upcoming season?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I Can't Keep this Spending Ban Thing Up,

certainly not with 15% off at Sephora starting Sunday.

My friend texted me last night about the VIB Rouge event this coming weekend, expressing her desire to attend the closed-door shopping event.  I was relieved because not only was I way too embarrassed to ask someone to come with me, I would have been even more embarrassed to attend alone.

I haven't bought any makeup in a while.  For a long time, I spent way too much on makeup and amassed a collection so large I could never successfully finish any part of it (hence the VIB Rouge status).  I'm still using eyeshadows from 4+ years ago and blushes of the same age.  The only things that have changed really are my mascaras, because that would be gross, and my foundations, because those get used up and I rarely have more than one bottle going at once.

Alas, my beloved Sheer Glow is running low and rather than repurchase for the umpteenth time, I've been getting antsy to try something new in a lot of categories so I'm checking out my options beforehand so I have plenty of time to read way too many reviews on anything and thoroughly confuse myself.  Plus, at 15% off, why not?

1.  Yves Saint Laurent LE TEINT TOUCHE ECLAT Illuminating Foundation, $57

photo via Sephora

Reason I want to buy:  This friend I mention is quite the makeup connoisseur, so when she told me she had tried out this foundation and loved it, it really piqued my interest.  It appears to come in a ton of fair to light shades which is great for me as the pinky undertones of most light foundations don't really work with my coloring and make me look orange.  I'm a sucker for anything that claims to be illuminating and this is no exception.

Reason I haven't yet bought: it has SPF 19 sun protection which you'd think is a good thing, right?  Wrong.  This is typically what makes foundations flash white in photographs giving you a ghostly appearance similar to a bald eagle, and with my face always being lighter than the rest of my body (it restores to factory settings every night) this is a serious concern for me and not a good look.  Also, I thought Sheer Glow was expensive at $44 but $57?  I'd hate to fall in love and be repurchasing this all the time.

photo via Sephora

Reason I want to buy:  Since discovering the beauty and real-life photoshop effects of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting powders, I have really been into trying out more of their products.  Their Mineral Veil primer is one of the few I even bother to use (and I have lots to choose from), as it goes on super smooth and makes makeup application a breeze.  I imagine their foundation is similarly heavenly, especially if it calls itself immaculate, and am excited by the "liquid powder" description.  My skin is super oily but I'm not a fan of powder foundations because they're a mess to apply and take a long time, so it would be nice to have something that doesn't slide around on my face or make me look like an oil slick by 4:00.  Nars Sheer Glow has been good about not doing this but I have noticed that if I am going out after work I always need to reapply on my T-zone and chin (is the chin in the T-zone? I forget) because it all just fades away.

Reason I haven't yet bought:  I don't like looking too matte because it's just unnatural and mask-like, so this needs to be tried on in person to ensure that that isn't the case.  Also, the color description online make it seem like there are 4 shades that would be a potential match and at $55 I don't feel good about just buying a shade to try out and then returning it and letting it go to waste.

3.  Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush, $35

photo via Sephora

Reason I want to buy:  Like I said, I'm on an Hourglass kick, and since this has the amazing Ambient Lighting powders blended in with the blush, I am inclined to think it's a great product.  The Ambient Lighting powders aren't quite highlighting powders but offer plenty of dimension, so mixing them with a blush seems like a great idea for giving you soft focus color that blends well and highlights what I think it the most important area of your face.  Cheek color helps you look alive and awake and happy and (counter-intuitively) keeps you from looking like you're wearing a lot of makeup.  There has been much hype about these blushes (as there was for the original Ambient Lighting powders) among beauty bloggers and I would love to see the kind of glow these offer in person.

Reason I haven't yet bought: I have read online that they aren't very pigmented, which is annoying in an expensive blush because it requires you to waste a lot of product to get the desired look.  I have also had a tough time picking out a color because in many swatches online, they all come out pretty similar in appearance.  Plus, I already have the Ambient Lighting powder in two shades and plenty of blushes I like; couldn't I just use both to get the same effect?

4.  Lancome Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector, $89 for 1 oz.

photo via Sephora

Reason I want to buy: I've talked about this stuff before.  It was a find from my sample drawer and I think it is now time to buy the big one.  I love it and it's one of the few skincare products that has made a noticeable difference for me.

Reason I haven't yet bought: That price.  Ugh!  Why is skincare so expensive?  It's hard because I think this has made a difference but what if the difference just happened to be happening simultaneously and it wasn't a result of this?  I wish there was some really good cheap alternative.

What is everyone else planning to get with their 15% off?  I'd love some eyeliner recommendations but I use it so infrequently I just have no idea what to look for!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Things I Miss Out On

I don't have a Facebook.  I did for most of college, but then I deleted it about three years ago after a breakup (how do you move on when 4 years of history are staring at you all the time? 4 years worth of accumulated pictures, mutual friends, constant reminders... it's awful) and haven't really missed it.

The discrimination I've experienced as being a part of this non-Facebook having population has been palpable.  I can't enter contests, I can't get 10% off my meal at my favorite restaurant, I can't get the big cup that they keep refilling with $5 drinks just for liking the bar on Facebook.  It's been tough, but I've managed.

As a result of checking Bloglovin' frequently, I am now kept abreast of some of the things that pass around on Facebook.  I remember hearing about girls posting the color of their bras, for cancer, but I didn't get to see it for myself.  Now, girls posting pictures of themselves without makeup, for cancer, has crossed over onto blogs.

Can someone please explain to me how this helps those with cancer?

I've long been a vocal opponent of so-called charities that aim to promote cancer "awareness", like LIVESTRONG and Komen for the Cure.  I refuse to donate to any entity whose executives make upwards of $500,000 a year - my donation is to help people, not to pay someone's exorbitantly high salary.  What is "awareness" anyway?  Are you aware of cancer?  Okay cool, mission complete.

What in the world does you not wearing makeup and posting a picture of this publicly have to do with cancer?  Really, I don't get it.  I can take a picture of myself without makeup on and post it but I won't pretend that it's about anything other than me posting a picture of myself without makeup.

This is the problem with the so-called "Facebook Generation": they make everything about themselves.  Forget about those suffering cancer, tell me how pretty I am without makeup!  Let me post "red" as my Facebook status, presumably to help victims of cancer, so a bunch of guys can comment "lol hot".  That gets a lot done.

I wish people could just do some good without having to post an account of it or post pictures of it every time.  It's nice to help people, but it's even nicer to do so without making it all about you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Opening my email earlier this week, I was excited to have been invited to Interphex 2014, the biggest biotechnology and pharmaceutical technology convention of its kind.  It was just as exciting as you'd expect.

I was definitely outnumbered by men, and by a lot.  There were two girls in teeny tiny club-type dresses teetering on 6 inch heels handing out cards advertising something.  Someone at my job's booth asked me where my dress was.  I laughed a little but suddenly felt keenly aware of my presence being a novelty.  I wondered if the girls worked for one of the pharma companies or were hired, like how Budweiser girls hand out crappy Bud Light keychains at bars.  Either way, I did get a kick out of all the men caught gawking at them and then, as their gaze came back to me, visibly being ashamed for me having caught them.

One booth was playing Caddyshack on a TV screen right next to their name.  It's an interesting marketing technique but I'm not sure how many customers actually looking for integrated automation systems it attracted.

The whole thing was a display of the gluttony and extravagance in the pharmaceutical industry.  Where financial institutions have been criticized for publicly showing off their excess in the wake of the economic collapse (that they directly caused, mind you), the pharmaceutical industry has continued to thrive without nearly as much of the stigma.  It's a lucrative business and there was no shame here in showing off.  I saw a holographic woman discussing her company's recent initiatives and many, many big cool looking tanks filled with liquids that changed color or had holograms appear in them without any other purpose explained.

There was also this racecar simulation thingy, although I'm not sure what it was doing there.

I considered stopping to get my shoes shined but held back.

It was an exhausting day full of small talk and introductions and making sure I held my coat in my left hand so my right palm wouldn't be sweaty when I needed to shake someone's hand.  While I appreciate the change of pace from my regular workday, the sensory overload here was intense.

Plus, I didn't even get to talk to the people at the GE booth about my broken refrigerator!  Next time.

Check out that comically large badge.  Picking out something to wear was tough and I was glad to see people at the convention apparently had the same problems: people in full suits stood next to those in t-shirts and jeans and I was happy to be somewhere in the middle in a silk tee, cashmere cardigan and skinny ponte pants with flats.  

I forgot how much I missed walking everywhere, and fortunately for me the convention center was a nice, long walk from the nearest subway.  

Passing this art on the way home reminded me why I'm glad to be in science, even if it means spending a day pretending to be excited by tablet presses and online process analysis.  I know this is art of some kind, I just don't get it at all.  Can anyone help me out?

I'm happy to be home and winding down with a Hemingway Daiquiri at a newly opened and really, surprisingly good restaurant dangerously close to home.  Maybe I'll be off my tequila kick soon and move on to making different kinds of daiquiris - another drink I used to always drink frozen but have discovered that I love sans the blender.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


I have put myself on something of an unofficial spending ban lately.  Sometimes I find myself shopping and buying new things just for that initial adrenaline rush of something new and not only is it indicative of a deeper issue, it's not good for my wallet.  It's just wasteful and pointless and I don't want to be wasting money on frivolous things.

Not buying a lot and the swelling of my bank account as a result has made me start to lust for more expensive things, "investment pieces" as those in the fashion world would call them even though they're a terrible investment (find a good startup instead!).

I want a Fendi 2Jours so bad that it hurts.  Any time I spot someone with one I feel like it makes their whole outfit look infinitely more put together and classy.  I am currently scoping out the olive green, scarlet, and dove grey shades but honestly I would take anything.  I just love everything about it and wish they were just a teensy bit less expensive (i.e. under $2000) so I could convince myself it's not a crazy amount to spend on a bag.  When did bags get so expensive anyway?  I guess it's to add to the desire for exclusivity that a bag like the Birkin offers but I certainly can't justify spending the equivalent of a mortgage payment on a purse right now.

Another beauty I've had my eye on is the Yves Saint Laurent Cabas ChYc Tote, which comes in just under $2,000 at $1,895.  I wanted this bag for a long time but then decided against it because of the lack of a longer strap (really, the 2Jours is perfect) but I'm really into the look of it again lately.  It is slightly less expensive but even spending $1,895 on a second choice feels insane.  Plus, who knows if I'll even be satisfied if I get one of them!  The problem with looking at fashion blogs, which I have been doing a lot of lately, is that it makes you so friggin' covetous of everything, and envious of other people's positions in life where they can have all of these nice things.  Maybe one day I'll be able to just buy them all without a second thought, but for now I'm saving up and hoping that this intense infatuation passes.  

It's really very, very intense right now.  I've Googled and ogled these bags more than I did my boyfriend when he still didn't know my name yet.  If this was 2002, I'd have an AIM alert set to notify me when the 2Jours signed online.  If the 2Jours had feelings and autonomy, it might even be afraid and take out a restraining order against me.  It's bad.

Warming Up (Just not Outside)

Well this week I was hoping to cut out drinks and dessert but I'm off to a bad start.  Our fridge broke which you would think isn't a huge deal but somehow the temperature is climbing like crazy despite us not opening it and this morning both the fridge and the freezer had reached 63 degrees, room temperature.  This means everything is ruined and we have to start from scratch.

As a result of the stress of dealing with repair places (screw Sears by the way, we pay money every year so they will service our appliances when we need it and they said they didn't have an appointment for four days, wtf??), my mom desperately needed a drink last night.  Okay fine, just a drink doesn't hurt.  Then I remembered all the cookie dough in the freezer that was about to go bad.  Can't just let that go to waste, right?  It was a bad day, but considering the stress of everything I guess it's understandable.  This morning I even got to bring fresh pastries to work since the Kouigns Amann we love from Trader Joe's were about to go bad so they had to be baked off too.

All this and I am still not used to getting out of bed in the pitch black yet.  I know I'm being dramatic but I don't remember it being this hard in the past!  I wake up and just curl myself into a ball and shop on my phone until it's the absolute last second possible and don't have time to do much other than throw on clothes and brush my teeth.

sweater: kenneth cole crew neck || skirt: theory boucle pencil || bag: balenciaga black RH city || bracelet: j. crew enamel striped bangle

I'm determined to get the hang of this soon.  I haven't had trouble waking up since back when I couldn't sleep at night from all my anxiety about the things I wasn't doing, seriously years ago!  When I started back in school I was so determined to get up and go to class and not let insecurities and anxiety keep me from getting shit done that I started forcing myself to go to bed by 9:00 PM and wake up by 6:00 AM, whether I needed to or not.  It was a good habit to get into even though I can never sleep in on the weekends anymore, but I feel like Daylight Savings Time has just thrown me so off my game.

I realized I never updated on my weekend baking.  I went with those warm butter cakes and my advice: don't bother.  They were easy enough to make and tasted good but a vanilla cake just isn't complete without some buttercream, and the whipped cream on top of these did not make up for that.  They were good and don't get me wrong - I nearly finished mine which was supposed to serve two people - they were just not terribly satisfying, which is typically what I'm looking for when I go for dessert.

Now, if you happen to not like buttercream (you're crazy, for the record) and like cheesecake, these might be up your alley.  They have a cream cheese layer so the top tasted kind of like cheesecake (not my favorite) while the bottom was super buttery.  I used this recipe from Sublime Sweets although I did not have a torch to brulee the tops and I didn't even both to take them out of the bowls because after cooking for 50 minutes I just wanted them right then and didn't want to have to wait.

Next time I'm going with my gut and doing the cupcakes.  I was silly to think anything else could satisfy me when those have been on my mind for so long.

Monday, March 17, 2014

I Forgot to Wear Green

But that's okay, I celebrate being Irish every day with my name.  When I was younger and super into tanning and being tan, I would go to pick up prescriptions or do other things where I needed to give my name and people would always say I wasn't what they expected.  I guess in their heads a little redheaded leprechaun would be showing up.

For years, we always had corned beef and cabbage to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  My dad loved his boiled meat and it was a tradition, so we just continued to do it even after he passed away until one day, while eating a heaping pile of corned beef, I lamented to my mother that I didn't even really like it.  She responded by saying she didn't like it either but thought I did, and so we both found that we thought we were doing a favor for the other person by eating this meal neither of us even enjoyed.  I've seen lots of corned beef in the supermarkets but have to say, I don't feel bad about not having any this year.

I did have some (a lot of) Irish Soda Bread though, so I haven't totally dropped the ball.

shirt: j. crew wildcat crepe blouse || pants: vince ponte ski pants || shoes: saks fifth ave black label randi flats || bracelet: kate spade pyramid lock bangle 

I love this shirt from J. Crew.  I think the sleeves are supposed to be full length (at least based on the pictures from all those J. Crew shopping blogs out there) but I like them this length on me.  This shirt was how I finally determined, definitively, that J. Crew Factory is a total rip off.  I saw a shirt that looked exactly like this one and got annoyed that I could have gotten it for way cheaper at the outlet had I just waited a bit, but when I felt it it felt nothing like this one - the material was thin and cheap feeling, even though the cut and print were the same.  On the tag, it showed the MSRP as being the same as this shirt's was, even though it was obviously totally different and much more cheaply made.  It was being sold at 30% off so people probably gobbled them up thinking they were getting a great deal but there's no way the shirt as it existed in the Factory store would ever be sold in the real J. Crew store, so really they were paying for the label and the look but none of the quality.  

It reminds me of how J. Crew does their "In Good Company" collaborations and then brands each item with a "for J. Crew" and marks up the price by 20%.  I fell for it once - I bought really cute Minnetonka for J. Crew moccasins that I then saw at ShoeMania or one of those other shoe stores around Union Square that always are having huge sales without the J. Crew branding being sold for $30 less.  Fool me once...

Speaking of J. Crew, they're having an extra 40% off final sale items with code EXTRA40.  Stock and colors seem to be pretty limited but these sales are always great for stocking up on basics like the always chic Tippi sweater and the summer staple Vintage Tanks.  Also, loving this sweater in the sand/yellow color.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Dulce de Leche

Well, my warm butter cakes are in the oven.  I kind of have a bad feeling about them but that's okay because I have like 3 different kinds of cookie dough in the freezer right now calling my name.  Not that the batter and stuff wasn't delicious because it was, I mean anything with more than one stick of butter in it is going to be amazing, it's just this feeling I get.  Maybe I communicate with dessert psychically now, I've certainly had enough.

It was super windy by us on the water today which made pictures tough.  Someone else came to see our house so we had to clear out though, and it was a good excuse to get out of my pajamas.  Our real estate agent keeps saying we can stay when people come but isn't that super awkward?  I'd feel so weird looking around someone's bedroom with them in it.

pants: ag adriano goldschmied black corduroys || jacket: andrew marc brynn || shirt: t. babaton black scoopneck || shoes: saks fifth ave black label randi flats || bag: louis vuitton neverfull mm

I threw that last one in there for your enjoyment.  This is probably one of the last times I'll be wearing corduroys before retiring them for the winter, I definitely won't miss the stupid noise they make when you cross your legs in them.  This jacket is from a few years ago and I haven't worn it in forever, I'm trying to put it back in the rotation.  I was obsessed with it when I got it, I wore it all winter (and obviously nearly froze to death because it is not a winter jacket at all) and probably made myself sick of it.  Hopefully now I've learned moderation but based on the cakes I have in the oven I'd say I probably haven't.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Are There Desserts that aren't Chocolate?

I think I've done it, I think I've finally made myself sick of chocolate.  The last bunch of desserts I made have been heavily, richly, decadently chocolate filled (with the exception of one I didn't eat much of) and so non-chocolate items have been catching my eye lately.

I feel like a traitor.

It's not that I would ever turn down a lava cake if you put one in front of me, believe me.

I just don't feel like going through the process of baking with chocolate: setting up a double boiler, having those extra pots and bowls to clean, spooning large quantities of cocoa powder out of a container that's definitely not made for that purpose and ending up spilling it everywhere, getting out the scale to weigh amounts... it's just a lot of work.  And it's normally worth it, but I just want to try something different for once.

These are the three recipes I have my eye on for this weekend:

1.  Spiked Rice Krispie Treat Shake Shooters from How Sweet It Is

photo via how sweet it is

I have been into Rice Krispie treats so much ever since I got one from The Crispery in my PopSugar Must Have box for October, so my eyes lit up when I saw this.  I also love boozy milkshakes, so this is really just the perfect combo for me.  The major downside (or maybe upside, depending on whether or not you're my doctor): I can't just eat them all in one sitting and really enjoy them because they're so small and I'd feel super guilty if someone walked in and saw me sitting on the couch, TV remote in hand, with six empty shotglasses next to my feet on the coffee table.

The summer before my freshman year at NYU, during Orientation Week when we all came in for 3 days to ostensibly map out our futures but really just pick out whatever classes sounded cool, my orientation leader took me to Magnolia Cupcakes.  I had never had a gourmet cupcake before, just the ones from supermarkets and bakeries that sat in the cases for days and the ones I hastily made using boxed mix and canned frosting for basketball team bake sales.  I was so not prepared for what I bit into - this cupcake was absolutely heavenly.  The vanilla cake was moist and the vanilla buttercream tasted like butter and vanilla and it was just the right amount of sickeningly sweet and the texture, it was just so different and so much more substantial than anything I ever had before.  The chocolate buttercream tasted like actual chocolate!  It was incredibly and truly a life changing experience, probably even more than orientation itself was (my priorities were fucked).  I remember I went back the next night to get one to bring home to my mom because I thought she just had to try these, and she loved them as much as me and even bought me the magnolia cookbook the next Christmas.

Anyway, looking at these cupcakes takes me back to the way I felt when I took that first bite of a good, homemade cupcake.  They look perfect and they make me feel happy inside and even though they may not compare to that Magnolia recipe, they sound like they'll be excellent in their own right (plus, they use vanilla bean paste, so how bad could it be?). 

photo via Sublime Sweets

My job is located in something of a desert if you like decent food.  The few things that aren't chains or fast food are generally pretty bad, and those that are good are also obscenely and extravagantly expensive.  Going out for dinner after work with a friend and faced with these options, we chose The Grand Lux Cafe, a chain derivative of The Cheesecake Factory (and they have basically the same menu and exact same decor so I don't get why they're different) at a mall nearby.  Typically here I order my favorite dessert which is an oversized slice of super chocolatey fudge cake, but since I was splitting with someone else I let him decide.  He picked out something called "Warm Butter Cake".  It sounded like a vanilla lava cake so I agreed.

It was so good that I might feel tortured about which to get the next time I go.  It was so buttery and heavenly and went down so well with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream that by the time I was done with my half, I wanted to sneak my fork over and into his (I didn't of course).  The edges were chewy and somewhat crisp, almost like a chocolate chip cookie, and the middle was warm and gooey and oozing with buttery vanilla flavor.  This recipe is imitating a cake from a restaurant in California but I have a feeling it's going to end up tasting the same.  Even if it's just a little bit close, I'll be ecstatic.

So what to do?  I'm trying not to eat much dessert but I am a firm believer in indulging once in a while because otherwise I'd go crazy and just be in a bad mood all the time.  There was a time I ate dessert always, even eating ice cream for dinner, and never once had to worry about my weight.  I never thought I'd say it but I miss the stress of college, at least it kept me from needing to diet.

Black and Blue

I can't tell if I'm really that thrown off my game by the time change or if I'm just having a really unlucky week with pictures.  Probably a mix of both.

This is my first time wearing this top since I bought it, as it hasn't been warm enough to wear alone and I feel bad covering up the chain detail around the neck and the arms with a sweater or jacket.  Lacking in other ideas, I decided today was its day and called it up from the minors.  I like how it falls and flatters even a less-curvy figure like mine, even though I got approximately 0 successful photos of it.

top: diane von furstenberg leila novelty tank  || jacket: diane von furstenberg paulette blazer || pants: theory nabiki trousers || bag: balenciaga two tone papier flap 

So the past few weeks I've been working on writing this test spec for a system we are building.  This morning we decided to do the first dry run with the customer.  It's a 24 page spec, and in 2 hours he and I got through literally 2 pages of it.  We'd do a step, he'd tell me a related story from his last job or about his wife or whatever else for 20 minutes, we'd do a step, he'd have to sit there and think quietly for 10 minutes, we'd do a step, he'd have another long story for me.  This is going to be a very, very long afternoon, I can feel it.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bergdorf Goodman Has Some Suggestions for Me

And look at that, they're all black and mostly leather!

Pretty good sign it's time to branch out, huh?

I guess spring is as good a time as any though, what with all the brights and lighter colors in stores.  Time to build up my collection of blush tones, if you ask me.

The Three Beauty Items I Thought I Didn't Need...

...but was totally wrong about.

If you haven't noticed, I'm very frugal about things that aren't on sale.  I love makeup but it never ever goes on sale, so I rarely opt to buy things that are expensive and not tried-and-true for me.

These are all things I had other versions of so I thought I could skimp on the good stuff and be the same.  After all, a makeup sponge is a makeup sponge, right?

Wrong.  Getting good versions of each of these things has totally changed my beauty routines if not my life, and I'm so glad I finally decided to splurge.

I've tried the cheap versions.  They were okay, but it was just a sponge.  I don't know what it is about the real thing but it just gives incredibly flawless makeup application with so little product.  Where I'd normally be caking foundation on to get coverage over redness, the Beauty Blender easily helps just a tiny bit spread far without losing all coverage, blend into your skin without just sitting on top.  It really has made my morning foundation routine so much quicker and more efficient, and I just love the airbrushed final effect.

$41 at Sephora, Photo Credit: Sephora

I have had tons of highlighters in my time and I thought I knew all they could do for you - brighten a bit, add some depth, wake up your face, but I had no idea how well they could do it.  Yves Saint Laurent's Touche Eclat handily beats out Benefit's Girl Meets Pearl, Watts Up and High Beam, generally considered to be the contenders for top spot, as well as all the powder highlights that I thought were superior.  The first time I used it I was blown away by the difference it made - it wasn't subtle brightening around my eyes, it was an all over appearance of being awake and alive.  It also doubles as a fantastic concealer, something I wouldn't dare do with any of my other highlighters.  Shade No. 2, Luminous Ivory, is my jam but I highly recommend getting the sample set at Sephora that lets you try out three shades to find yours.  This stuff was so life changing that when I finally got the full size I passed along my extra samples (remember, I'm a hoarder) to a fellow makeup addict friend so I could share the wealth. 

$47.99 (down from $139.99) at, Photo Credit: BaByliss US

For those of us with mostly-virgin hair, drying can be a real pain.  It takes forever, it's never even really fully dry, my arms hurt by the end, and I end up just flipping my head over and doing a half-assed job like that because I just don't have the patience.  I went through my Con-Air CVS bought dryers until they died and would just buy a new one.  I didn't think there was any difference between a cheap dryer and a good one since they all do the same things, but it was incredible how much faster I was able to dry my hair with this BaBylissPRO hair dryer.  I got it because it was on sale and I'm a sucker for a sale and when I turned it on it sounded like a jet engine.  It was heavy enough to give me a good arm workout while drying my hair but cut the time it took easily in half.  I shower at night now because of my work schedule but I can't believe that I used to shower in the mornings and blow dry my hair before work/class without using this thing.  No wonder I was always rushing to class to avoid being late.

I was fine before all of these things, but the addition of them has really made my life as it pertains to beauty products so much better and in many cases, easier.  What are some products you've tried that seriously changed things for you and convinced you of their worth?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What's the Deal with Daylight Savings Time?

Sometimes I feel such a strong kinship with Jerry Seinfeld that it frightens me.  As a 25 year old ostensibly socially functioning girl, I probably shouldn't relate to his peculiarities as strongly as I do.

Now typically I would try to hide these similarities and pretend I'm not really socially awkward and don't go as far out of my way as humanly possible to avoid hugging people "hello" and "goodbye", but this one I really don't get.

What's the deal with Daylight Savings Time?

Why do we do it?  Why should I be happy about now waking up a full hour earlier, in the dark?  How does this benefit me in any way?  Why do the powers that be assume I would prefer getting out of bed in the dark, getting dressed in the dark, driving to work in the dark over it being dark around the time I normally go to bed (8:00 PM for those of you wondering)?  It makes no sense to me.  

Time is confusing enough as it is.  I've long been a proponent of the gradient time zone system, where as you go progressively west the time changes by minutes to reflect the difference, as opposed to it being one time in one town and then a whole hour later the next town over.  These hour changes don't make sense.  Couldn't Daylight Savings Time be a month long process where we change 2 minutes every day to give us some time to get accustomed to this?  My boss showed up at 9:00 on Monday totally oblivious to the fact that he was late - for people who don't pay attention to things, this is all really a hassle.  Even better, I left 15 minutes early and he thought I was leaving at 3:45 and didn't even ask why or say anything.  Guess he thinks highly of my work ethic, huh.

I think we should put a stop to the madness.  Stop changing the damn time, give me back my hour of sleep, and let me please drive to work when it's light out in the morning - people being annoying and shining their brights at you while they tailgate the shit out of you because you're leaving a car length between you and the person in front of you is really a lot harder on just-woken-up eyes than anything else.