Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mixtape #9: Best of Australia

I swear that eventually I will post something that is NOT an 8tracks mixtape, but for right now that's all I have time for.

Cover art for Tame Impala's first LP, Inner Speaker

This hasn't been the best semester for me personal-life-wise, but school is going well (seven more weeks!) and I'm enjoying my internship with Battleground Texas (the field organizing branch of Wendy Davis' campaign for governor).  So for now I'm trying, not always successfully, to stay positive and focus on the good things in my life.  Just keeping it real ;)

Anyway, I'd been planning on sharing this playlist for a while.  It occurred to me one day that I just have an awful lot of music by Australian bands.  I would love to visit Australia not just for the amazing natural beauty, but also to get to see some of these great bands that never or rarely make it to the states.  I did get to see Tame Impala last October here in Dallas, but I wish it had been at a better venue.

I might also need to do a Best of the United Kingdom playlist...  Another day!



Friday, December 13, 2013

Mixtape #8: Best of 2013

Just sharing a quick playlist with y'all today because I'm studying for finals.  I was looking at NPR's Top 100 Albums of the Year article earlier and it got me thinking about my favorite CDs and songs of the year.  I somehow narrowed it down to ten songs.

I actually got to see one of the bands, Local Natives, in concert here in Dallas at the House of Blues a couple months ago. A friend of mine that works for Radio UTD got me the tickets!  Wild Nothing was the opener and it was such a great concert.  They just had great energy and you could tell they love doing what they do. Definitely check out their album "Hummingbird," you won't regret it.

Local Natives at Dallas House of Blues, Oct. 8 2013

I found out about CHVRCHES because their lead singer spoke out about the harassment female singers face every day, and why it's not something we should just shrug off as "the norm."  I am always happy to support someone doing good work for feminism.  I try not to talk about that kind of thing too much on here because that's not the purpose of this blog, but between her and Grimes it was a great year for women in music.

Also speaking of awesome women, I'm so glad my Aunt Melissa let me burn her copy of Kacey Musgrave's debut CD.  I'm still kind of in disbelief that there's a country singer who sings about kissing girls.  We've come a long way, baby (Gloria Steinem really should trademark that phrase...).  Plus Kacey is a native Texan :)

Hellogoodbye came out with their third album this year and they seriously just keep getting better and better.  It's so different from their early emo-pop rock, but I love it.  Plus Forrest Kline seems like such a nice guy and his house is awesome.

And of course I had to close it with an M.I.A. track, because who doesn't love M.I.A.?  She is fearless.



If you too are studying for final exams, best of luck!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Autumn Mood Board

Here's a collage of some of my favorite images from my Autumnal board on Pinterest...

Autumn Mood board photo AutumnMoodboard_zps98616e97.jpg

...and a great track from Camera Obscura's latest album:


Hope you're all enjoying the cooler weather!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hibernating

The good news is that it's Thanksgiving break for school and I really needed a break from homework and tests!  The bad news is that I didn't pack nearly enough warm clothing and it's unexpectedly cold this week.  Even inside the house with the fireplace going I'm still cold.  So this post is a manifestation of my warm clothing longings :P

I'm on a reading binge lately.  I finished The Cuckoo's Calling the night before I came back to SA for Thanksgiving break and man, I seriously don't think people give J.K. Rowling enough credit!  I have loved all of her books, the HP series most of all of course, but definitely her adult novels as well.  The ending totally surprised me (though maybe that's because I don't usually read mysteries and I'm not trained to guess the killer yet?  haha).  And frankly I think her books are great because they are just plain funny!  That was always one of the things I loved about HP, all the great comic moments.  I also just finished Bridget Jones's Diary.  It was both hilarious and horrifying.  My not-so-inner feminist (it's very outer haha) was cringing for most of the book, but I did laugh a lot.  It's nice to read fluffy books sometimes, you know?

I hadn't been on my Goodreads page in a while so I had forgotten all about my yearly reading goal of 25 books.  I'm only about 52% there!  How pitiful; it's not like 25 books is a lot.  Maybe if I counted textbooks my count would be higher...

But anyway, I got some new literary magazines at B&N the other day (which totally count as books in my opinion) that I'm really excited about (one is published in Austin) and the short story collection pictured below.  I have about five a half weeks left and I am determined to still make my goal!

I've also decided that I need to just shell out the $25 for a B&N member's account.  Free shipping, coupons, discounts... and I'd definitely make up for the $25 through savings in no time.  I was just telling my mom the other night that if B&N went bankrupt like Borders and had to close, I'd be severely depressed.  There is just nothing more relaxing for me than spending an hour or two in the bookstore leisurely picking out some new titles and enjoying all the beautiful covers (maybe that's just the marketing major in me).

I do have some school homework/projects to take care of this break, and I'm working a few days at the La Cantera Anthropologie again (including Black Friday.  Yay?  :P), but otherwise I will be wrapped in a blanket reading the rest of break.  Here are my dream picks for optimal cold-weather comfort:
 photo Cozy_zps6cf3daac.jpg

Casado Cardigan by Saturday/Sunday at Anthropologie
Snowflake Boot Socks from Eddie Bauer (they don't bunch up in boots, they're great!)
Pommed Peak Beanie also from Anthropologie
Ex-Boyfriend Flannel Shirt from Madewell
Classic Banded Sparkle Sweatpant from Aerie
Sunchoke Soup Recipe by Happyolks (really want to try this)
Indigofera Monochrome Blanket via the Dreslyn
Holiday Mercury Candle in Creamy Chai from Anthropologie (smells divine you guys!)
Pumpkin Spice Brulée Tea from Teavana (Mom and I are hooked on Teavana now)
Bobcat short stories collection by Rebecca Lee (currently reading)

Seriously kicking myself for not bringing any of my sweatpants home with me.  Especially my comfy lounger pants from Anthro :(.

Also digging this week:
The Anthropologie blog.  I know I'm biased because I work there, but... yeah :P
The baby blanket in this post is responsible for me caving and creating a baby board on Pinterest.  It was just too cute not to pin.
This Kat Von D liquid lipstick.  It lasts forever, even through eating and drinking.  I wear it to work :)
This Sufjan Stevens Christmas cover (I got his Christmas songs boxed set!):


Stay warm, friends!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Clarisonic Plus Review

I have been neglecting this blog pretty badly the past couple months, but no more!  Tonight I am taking a break from homework to write this long-promised Clarisonic review!  Lots of text coming y'all's way, so brace yourselves.  I also overshare a bit in this post, but that's okay, we're all women here am I right?  Just kidding, guys are welcome too.

I had heard about the Clarisonic system a long time ago but I was always wary of it.  I just figured the brush heads would be a breeding ground for germs.  Well, I was persuaded to give it a try by one of the sales associates at our local Sephora, Marlen (if you go to La Cantera's Sephora, always ask for her!  She's great.).  My mom wanted to treat me to a makeover for my birthday, and she'd had a makeover from Marlen before for a special event and highly recommended her.  At the time I was really frustrated with my skin because I was having pretty bad acne breakouts (this is a real talk zone by the way :P), and I couldn't seem to find a good foundation or concealer to help deal with it.  Marlen not only gave me some great recommendations for makeup, she also helped me figure out a new skincare routine that was perfect for my VERY sensitive skin.  I've been following it pretty faithfully since the beginning of August, with just a few modifications.

Marlen told me that she always starts her makeovers by using the Clarisonic to cleanse her client's face. I was hesitant at first, but she explained to me that the brush heads actually stay perfectly bacteria-free as long as you rinse them with water daily after use, and massage clean with soap once a week.  The brush heads are good for three months and then you replace them.  I say brushes plural because the Clarisonic system is very customizable depending on your skin concerns.  I'll talk more about that later.

So she tried the Clarisonic out on my face and I was very impressed.  It was very mess-free (keep in mind I was sitting at the beauty bar in the middle of Sephora and was having my face washed, basically!), the brush circulation felt great, and honestly, my skin did feel better after just that first use.  It felt truly clean.  She followed the cleansing up with a toner from Caudalie (all the product details will be provided later on in this post of course).  I honestly had never used toner, so she explained to me that it helps to balance the skin tone and reduce redness.  Or at least the one she recommended for me does, anyway.

As luck would have it, there was a rep from Clarisonic at Sephora that day and he was super helpful in explaining the different options available.  I ended up going with the Clarisonic Plus which has three speeds (and you know I leave it on the fastest speed all the time!).  I mean, I am serious business about managing my acne.  It's a pain (sometimes literally) and even though I try to keep my self esteem up, it used to really bum me out.  I mostly get breakouts when I'm stressed, so... all the time when I'm at school.  The Clarisonic system has been a huge help.  It seriously does clean your pores out.  I mentioned earlier that this post is a real talk zone, and I'm going to get very real with you:  it can be kind of gross watching a spot that you thought was a freckle forming get cleaned out after a few washes with the Clarisonic.  But at least it's a clean pore afterwards!  They aren't kidding when they say it cleans deep into the pores.  All of this talk of pores is making me think of Quinn Morgendorffer, but anyway...



The very kind Clarisonic rep gave me a free acne brush head to try.  It's got the softest texture out of all their brush heads, which is funny because I would think firmer bristles would help more, but I guess it's just one of those things that is counterintuitive.  I also got a deep pore cleansing brush to try as well.  All of the base models (Plus, Aria, and Mia) come with a sensitive brush head, which is really good for all skin types.  I know they also have one made for men's skin, and the new luxe brush head that's got very soft, long bristles for delicate areas like the mouth, sides of the nose, and under the eyes.  The Plus that I got came bundled with a body brush, a cleanser, exfoliating body polish, a nice brush extension for scrubbing your back/feet/harder to reach areas, and a bronzer (which I gave to my mom, because I embrace my paleness), all pictured above.  Plus a cute little waterproof bag that I use when traveling to hold my Plus and any brush heads I feel like bringing on the trip!  It's pretty roomy.  Of course they sell just the base models and brushes separately, as well.  Since the Clarisonic rep gave me a free acne brush head, I also go the travel size acne cleanser that it came with, which I have tried and is definitely great for fighting acne, but a little too drying for everyday use.  The Plus model comes with a nice charging dock as well.  I can't remember how long you can go without charging it, but it's pretty long.  The Clarisonic also has a built in timer, so it lets you know when to move on (the standard setting is 20 seconds for chin and nose, 20 for forehead, and 10 for each cheek, with pulses in between each interval).

I will acknowledge that Clarisonics are pretty pricey.  It's easy for me to say how great it is because I received it as a gift, but I do think that the price is definitely fair if you think of it as an investment.  The brush heads themselves are not expensive, and you only have to replace them every three months (I still have a couple weeks before my first replacement).  And I cannot emphasize enough how dramatic of an improvement I've had in my skin.  I can't eliminate breakouts entirely because I cannot eliminate the stress in my life from my college classes and such, but when you use the Clarisonic every day, breakouts never get that bad.  You're nipping it in the bud, so to speak, and it becomes manageable and over time, hardly a problem at all.  And you can use pretty much any cleanser you want, as long as it doesn't have hard exfoliating beads (apparently there is a difference between cleansers with soft beads and hard beads), so if you have one that's already done wonders for your skin, the Clarisonic will just take your skin to the next level.  My skin has been softer, smoother, more evenly skin-toned (I used to have pretty uneven skin tone), and more vibrant.  I mean, it sounds ridiculous, but it's been true for me.

So that, in a nutshell, is why I am a total Clarisonic devotee now.

I'll do a roundup of my favorite skincare and makeup products tomorrow (homework allowing :P).

Also digging this week:
This Nars Ride Up to the Moon eyeshadow palette.  The green is killer.  I've used it as a liner and shadow both.
The best product ever from Vera Bradley, a TSA-approved clear case for your liquid travel needs.
Mom and I discovered the joys of Teavana today (I'm in SA for the weekend).  Pumpkin spice brulée tea!
The trailer for Wes Anderson's upcoming film, The Grand Budapest Hotel.  Now with more Voldemort Ralph Fiennes!
File this beaded top under Impractical Things That Working at Anthropologie Has Convinced Me I Need.
Also related:  My Newfound Candle Addiction.  I got the Snow on Cedar scent and it smells like Christmas and happiness.

Speaking of Christmas, I am going to make a real effort to do some gift guide posts in November.  I love Christmas so much.  It is seriously my favorite time of year.

On a final note, it is finally fall in Texas!  And by that I mean it stayed below 80 degrees for a whole week.  A whole week!  All is well in the world.

If  you have any questions about the Clarisonic system, drop them in the comments!  If you made it this far in the post, you are great and I appreciate your readership :).



Sunday, September 15, 2013

Nashville: 12th Avenue South

This post is a couple weeks late, but school has been very busy!
My mom and I took a trip Labor Day weekend to Nashville to stay with my aunt and uncle.  They have a drum shop, Fork's Drum Closet, on 12th Avenue South, and every year they host a concert that they call Fork Fest at their farm in Springhill.  My uncle's band The Midnight Riders played, as well as another band from Clarksville.  It was a very fun and relaxing weekend, and I got to see some of my family, so that was nice.  We also did a little exploring around the 12th Ave S area.  Here are some of my favorite places we checked out:

The Frothy Monkey
As cozy as it looks!
This was a sweet little coffee shop a few doors down from Fork's.  It had a great atmosphere (we walked in to hear Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You" playing, so I was sold immediately), a nice selection of organic teas, bakery items, and coffee, and an interesting clientele.  I always joke that 12th Ave S is hipster central, but Nashville hipsters are very different than, say, Austin hipsters.  I like to people watch :P.  I had a cup of their seasonal tea blend, and Mom had the turtle latte, which she let me sample.  Delicious!  We'll definitely be back at our next visit to Nashville.

Sadly the dog was not there the day I visited.
I'm sure you've heard of this store from another blog already, but if you haven't, it's a denim company that makes all of their jeans in the USA (mostly regionally) and will custom tailor them to fit you in-store.  The day I went in I tried on the high-waisted jeans but they were out of my actual size, so I'll have to try again when we go back in December for Christmas.  But let me just say, they were a true high waist!  You don't see jeans like that very often.  The dark wash that I tried on was beautiful.  Imogene + Willie also has home goods in the store, and they are a showroom for Warby Parker eyeglasses (and sunglasses).  I tried on a few pairs that caught my eye, and since Warby Parker will send you five pair to try on for a week, I think I'll be testing them out at home soon.  And only $95 for prescription glasses!  Plus they give one pair of glasses away for every pair sold.  
Warby Parker "Crane" eyeglasses in Mallard Green shade
One last funny thing about our visit to Imogene + Willie:  the sales associate that helped me with the jeans was named Peggy Sue.  Can you believe that?

Located down the block from Fork's, I can easily see why this is my relatives' favorite lunch place.  Burger Up sources all of their ingredients from local farms for a seasonal menu that beats any other burger place I've ever been.  There are large communal tables inside and small tables on the patio, where we sat.  Since this was our third time there, we knew we needed to get the cheese plate.  Mom and I shared the patty melt, but I've had their regular burger too and it's great.  They also have a lot of salads and vegetarian options.  I wish there were more places like this where I live in Dallas that cared about environmental sustainability.  

We also spent some time in downtown Franklin, about halfway between Nashville and my aunt's farm in Springhill.  It's a really quaint city with lots of boutiques and antique stores and, most importantly, a new Anthropologie!  I looove my employee discount...

I already can't wait to go back in December.  My family will be joining a bunch of our relatives in Nashville for the holidays, and this time my boyfriend will be coming with us.  I can't wait to show him around!  

A couple bonus Nashville-related links:
-Local painter and blogger Rebekka Mann Seale just opened a new online yarn shop, Camellia Fiber Company.  She dyes all the yarns by hand with natural dyes!  I have my eye on the Sea Glass and Spanish Moss yarns.
-The Gulch is the next up-and-coming neighborhood, according to my aunt and uncle.  We had lunch there at the Whiskey Kitchen before they dropped Mom and me off at the airport.  

Do y'all have any favorite Nashville spots?  I'd love to hear about them.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Back to School!

I have not abandoned this blog!  I have just been very, very busy.  

Mostly with my new job at Anthropologie (and yes I am taking FULL advantage of the employee discount), but also because I am getting ready to go back to Dallas for my final year of college!  To say I am excited to finish these last two semesters is an understatement.  Not that I have any idea so far what I'll be doing after graduation (maybe law school?).  

I whipped up a fun, little playlist that's perfect for listening to while you're packing or cleaning or moving in.

Speaking of playlists, because I am ever so slightly OCD and love making playlists, I've been compiling one of all the songs I hear in Anthropologie that I own.  I started this long before I began working there, actually.  It just so happens that whoever makes the playlists for the stores and I have very similar taste in music!



Speaking of playlists, because I am ever so slightly OCD and love making playlists, I've been compiling one of all the songs I hear in Anthropologie that I own.  I started this long before I began working there, actually.  It just so happens that whoever makes the playlists for the stores and I have very similar taste in music!

Also digging this week:
The new Marc Jacobs Beauty line at Sephora.  Love.
This beautiful smelling candle from Anthro.
Super comfy looking sweatpants from Gap that would be great for lounging/studying/etc.
A recipe for homemade funfetti cake!  Can't wait to try this.
Pretty much everything from the new Madewell collection, but especially coveting these skinny jeans.

Hopefully after I get moved in I'll be back to regular posting.  Keep a look out next week for a peek into my makeup bag, and a review of the Clarisonic brush.

Send positive packing vibes my way, because I've barely packed anything at all and I'm leaving Friday.  Yiiiiikes.