Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Make Up Review: Lash Genius by Anastasia of Beverly Hills

I was sent this brand new product called Lash Genius from Anastasia of Beverly Hills. What it is is a top coat which waterproofs your favourite mascara so you don't have to worry about looking like the girl from The Ring after a rainy day. I don't usually wear waterproof mascara for two reasons: it's always flaky and difficult to remove. Thus, I don't find it practical for everyday use and never bother buying an extra tube for those occasions when I know I'll cry (i.e. funerals, graduations, weddings, viewings of Forrest Gump, finding out I got an F on my midterm, etc.). So when Anastasia of Beverly Hills asked to send me a tube of their newest eyelash elixir, I wasn't too excited. It really just meant that I'd have to find an excuse to cry in order to test it out. Keep reading for some way-too-close-up photos of my face and also what I thought of the product.

The topcoat is gooey and semi-opaque when it comes out of the tube, but it goes on & dries perfectly clear. It isn't too sticky (meaning, my eyes didn't get glued together) but I wasn't ever really sure that it was on my lashes and covering them fully.

I wore it out to see the new movie Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, anticipating one of those romantic-comedy-drama-tear jerkers. Not a single tear was cried and I left the cinema bone dry. In desperation to get some moisture in my eyes, I ran on home and plopped in front of the TV to watch The Cove. I think it's probably a good sign when you can't find anything to cry about except a heartfelt movie, but yet in this situation, I was desperate! The Cove did the trick and I started tearing up almost immediately. For those who have not seen the documentary, grab a tube of Lash Genius and check it out!

After the movie ended and I watched the credits all the way through just to make sure my tears were spent, I ran to the mirror to check out the damage. Na-da! My face, though red and blotchy, was free of the usual streaky black and my eyelashes weren't stuck together. Yes, a success!
Before I settled into bed, I splashed the shenanigans out of my face with water, both hot and cold. My mascara didn't budge. I started to get worried that my "natural" make up removers (Vitamin E Oil, Jojoba Oil, or Olive Oil) wouldn't do the trick to get this stuff off, and I'd need to run to the store and buy something commercial. I squirted a bit of Vitamin E onto a cotton ball and started scrubbing away. Nothing. I kept working at it and eventually mascara started rubbing onto the cotton. Removing the mascara wasn't as easy as usual and I had to rub quite a bit, working the oil into my lashes. Once in the shower, the rest of the mascara slid off with some water.

(Yes, these work as make up removers! Even for Lash Genius!)

Overall, I'm really happy with the product. It worked a charm. In the future, I won't be quite so panicky about my appearance after a public break down. I think it will also be useful this summer if I head to the beach (unlikely) or get pushed into a pool (likely). You can find Anastasia of Beverly Hills here. Thanks for letting me try out Lash Genius!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Guest Post: Writing is universal.

Writing is universal. If you are taught to write, you can write, and it's as simple as that. Everyone can be a writer as long as they've been taught to write in their respective language. And that's an important thing to remember if you've ever considered the possibility of being a writer, yourself. Think of it this way: have you ever had to tell a story to someone? I don't care what the story is. It can be about that one sleepover you had at so-and-so's house, or that wacko that almost ran you over with their car, or that teacher that you just CAN'T STAND. Have you ever had to tell that story to someone else? I'm betting the answer is yes, at some point, you've told some type of story.

One big gripe by people whom want to write but choose not to (and there are lots of excuses for not writing) is that they don't know where to start. If you've ever had an interest in writing ANYTHING - be it a blog, a poem, a short story, or a novel - I'm here to give you some super general tips to get started. Note that I said general, and I mean general; I won't get into too much depth, again, I don't want to bore the pants off you. If you want more though, drop by my YouTube page, where I host informal little video-lectures about creative writing. Anyway, onward!

Just Write

I cannot emphasize this enough. Just write. Do it. If you can write a comment on this blog post, you already have EVERYTHING that you need to start writing, and if you have ever said to yourself "I am bored and have nothing to do," you have all the reason in the world. The best thing for someone who wants to get started but doesn't know where to begin is a daily journal or blog about your day. Just yammer about what happened. You're not trying to impress anybody. You're just trying to tell things about your day, and make it sound interesting.

The key to writing is practice, and as cliché as it might sound, it works. The more you write, the better you get. The more you say, "and then I did this," the more it will annoy you that you're repeating the same phrase/word/sentence repetitively, and the more you'll (ideally) seek that lexicon of yours - chock full of vocabulary words you thought you'd never find a use for - to express yourself. Daily writing is like exercise for your brain. Spill some thoughts out, and try to write them as if you were trying to tell the story of your day to a friend. Do this for awhile, make it a habit, and you'll start finding that you write faster and more creatively as time goes on. Lord forbid, but it might actually be fun.

Assume whatever you write will be awful

One of the biggest pitfalls of new writers is their fears of not being good. And that's OKAY. It's okay to be worried about being good. But think of any book you've ever read, or any poet you admire. I can guarantee that they did not barf up those magical words onto the page on the first try. Writing doesn't work like that. In fact, good writing is found in the revision stage. You dribble out words like an incoherent drunk; then you come back, read that insane crap, and say, "What the hell was I thinking?" and fix it.

Are you worried that you don't know enough about grammar? Terrified about not having a big enough vocabulary? Frightened that you won't be able to get stuff "just right?" Don't be. The sooner you stop worrying about how bad you are at writing, the sooner you'll realize how good you are at writing. The best writers know that whatever they write will be total crap on the first time through. As for grammar, there are some things you do need to learn. But you'll never learn if you never write. So get started!

Start Simple

Now the big question: what should you write? The key here is to start small. Trying to divine a huge master plan straight from the ether is not something easily done... And at the end of the day, you can take pretty much any story or piece of writing apart, and be able to find one part where everyone can point at and agree "that's why it was written." You'll want something that you're passionate about; something that really makes you smile and think; this is usually why writing a daily journal works out well for beginners. Another option could be retelling your dreams, which offer up a goldmine of possible stories. Sccribbling down your dreams in the morning just after you wake up will not only give you an opportunity to write every day, but will also increase your retention of dreams, and give you a nifty insight into your subconscious whenever you go back to read it.

Challenge Yourself

Let's face it: writing is a pretty basic skill, at the end of the day. It's not always terribly exciting, and if you're just getting started, it can be very tedious and time consuming. But after you feel like you've mastered the basics of writing decent stories, and are able to tell stories fairly fast, start to challenge yourself and your own writing. Attempt to retell a story from a completely different perpective. If you went bowling with a friend, try and see things through your friends eyes. Or better yet, tell it through third person perspective, as if a magical person floating overhead was retelling the story as they saw it.

Other ways you could challenge yourself are by changing the names of people and places. Try retelling stories that have already been written. Or if you want to take the final step in creative writing, create a story from scratch, with your own characters, setting, and action. It may seem daunting. But as you continue writing, you'll begin to see that telling a story is as easy as retelling the story to anyone.

Share your writing

There is one truth you should never forget about writing: writing is meant to be read. That being said, learn to start sharing your writing. If you think you wrote something particularly nice, show it to a friend, and ask them what they think. Blogs are especially handy, since they are generally meant to be public. If you begin with a blog, then you've already got the sharing business out of the way, and there shouldn't be any nervousness. If you want to be private, of course, nobody is going to judge you! Just make sure that you read your own writing, so you can see for yourself which stories are better and worse, and why they weren't as interesting or exciting as others.

There are limitless ways that you can encourage yourself to write. My personal favourite is the website If you sign up, you're given a free and private space to write, which not only saves whatever you write, it also automatically analyzes the content of what you write, telling you what mood you were in when you were writing it, how many words you wrote, and loads of other useful information. It's definitely something worth checking out. So find your muse and get started writing!

Chris Fox is a novelist living in Fort Worth, Texas with his cat, Toby. He enjoys vegetarianism, Tumblr, bike culture, and feminism. You can find his Writer's Bloc series on Youtube here. He also keeps a personal blog to document all things beautiful, nerdy, and political here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

you're smarter than you think

Hello everyone and welcome Spring! Today is the first day of Spring, and it's sure been feeling like it. Okay, okay, I seem to always start my blog post off with the weather. It's the Minnesota in me! Let's skip over that and onto better things, like these shorts! My plan for spring break was to sew the entire time. Of course this, ahem...didn't really happen. I was bedridden (& watching Harry Potter) most of the week and spent my "healthy" bits either at work or chasing the butterflies. Thus, these shorts are the only product of this planned week of sewing. I'm pretty proud of them, though!

The best part of these shorts is that you can fully see Charlie's hat! I have so many shorts that cut just his hat off, which causes some head scratching about whether or not I have a tat of Hitler. I do not! The shorts were pretty simple to make. I had the fabric already, which I had bought at Treadle Yard Goods a couple summers ago. It's a very thick, sturdy fuzzy fabric, almost like courdoroy but not. The shorts only took a yard of fabric - even better! The pattern was an old pattern from the '60s for some very loose, flowy shorts. This purple stuff isn't the right fabric for that of course, so I altered the pattern a bit. Furthermore, the pattern was for a size too big, so I already had to nip it in a bit. All in all, I love the shorts & cannot wait to wear them this summer!

They bring out my inner pin-up! I am also wearing my favourite shirt, my favourite heels (Steve Madden, Raleigh booties), and a bowler hat which I found at H&M for cheap. Hats add so much to outfits. Why don't people wear them more? And I don't mean those cheap pinstripe fact, please don't wear those!

I'm such a bad winker!

Now that spring has sprung, school feels like it should be winding down (but it's not) and so I've started yet another "spring resolution" list. I seem to do this every year when the weather gets nice. Last year my springtime resolution was to start running (Remember that?!) but that didn't go very far, except for a new collection of cute running gear. Working out is still something that I'm trying to cram into my schedule but I have several new spring resolutions. But that's a different matter for a different blog post (wink, wink).

I've checked out My Week with Marilyn to watch tonight, and also have a Design Thinking essay due (guess which will come first?) so I better scurry on. Don't forget that I'm newly registered for Pinterest and am, of course, obsessed! Follow me here and I'd love to check out your boards as well. Toodles xx

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ulyana Sergeenko and pop culture

I've decided to dedicate my 200th blog post to the on-the-rise Russian designer, Ulyana Sergeenko. Her debut collection for F/W 2011 left me speechless and her most recent S/S 2012 collection is no disappointment. I've selected some photos from both lookbooks and have also collected some photos of some of the cultural references they remind me of. Victory rolls, prairie grasses, complementary colours, and dusty florals are streamlined into billowing skirts, impeccable tailoring, and the delicate balance between modesty and sexiness. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing much more from Ms. Sergeenko.

Monday, March 12, 2012

What I Did - March 2012

My spring break started on Thursday and I started it out right - with some shopping! Local boutique Primp was having their spring trunk sale with 10% of proceeds donated to a local animal rescue. So I broke out the wallet and spent the night shopping with my sister. Everything in the boutique is $100 or less and I walked out with 4 new items (uh oh, I broke my No Shopping Till April rule).

I'm not much of a ring person (small hands) but they had some great accessories (see below). There're 3 belts there that I have my eye on, as well.

I love the studded cluth, yum!

I had Saturday off, and given that it was unseasonably warm for Minnesota (in the 60s!) I headed to the zoo. The polar bear exhibit was also housing two brown bears and a grizzly bear that had been left stranded from floods in North Dakota. I don't know where they were housing the grizzly, but the two brown bears were playing friskily on their side of the exhibit.

After the zoo, a muffin and some reflecting by the melting lake shore ensued (I sound very poetic & romantic sometimes, don't I?) (Just so you know, I'm not too much, really.)

And Sunday night meant bowling! After this big party weekend (ho ho!), my health has taken a toll for the worse. I work Tues - Fri, so hopefully I'll regain my strength for that. Today, my final day of freedom before heading back to the time clock, I went downtown to eat at the restaurant that my mum works at.

I wore this new top that I'd gotten at Primp (it's so lovely, just wait till summer!) and these old booties which I was addicted to last spring. I found them within the depths of my closet and thought they'd be a good choice since I usually wear heels.

Anyways, this is all I have for now! Hopefully I'll have something exciting for the next post, as I noticed that it will be my 200th! I also have a guest post coming up, written by a good friend of mine, on how to be a better writer.
Oh, also, I've joined Pinterest! Click here to follow my antics and general pinnings.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

life without technology

So, after it took more than a week to fix my laptop, I get it back (yay, I could do homework again!) only to have the internet go out. And so, I have been far from the computer or any of my files for quite some time now. You may be asking, "What does an 18 year old blogger do with her time when, gasp, there is no internet?!" Well, I started out with cleaning my room, which came to a screeching halt when I reached the corner of my room which is jam packed with old magazines. I used to be good about clearing out back issues of magazines, but I eventually became too lazy... And so, I have issues of magazines dating back to 2007 (the stone age!) and they are slowly taking over my life/bedroom. So here I am to show you what I did with all this "junk"...

It seems a waste to just recyle a few hundred magazines which I'd been carefully stowing away for so many years. So I began painstakingly going through each periodical and tearing out any photos, articles, etc. which I liked. This seemed like a good idea at the time, but after I had filled several shoeboxes with these clippings, I realised I had a whole new problem on my hands. And so, I started a fashion scrapbook! It's similar to just a fat magazine, except free of Covergirl advertisments and trends which I don't like.

This is the inside of the front cover, a work in progress.

Using editorials from Vogue, ad campaigns for Burberry, Urban Outfitters catalogue photoshoots, and even some runway photos which I painstakingly (this word shall arise a lot) selected and printed out.

I categorised pages mostly by trend, colour, or season. This here is my "high chroma blue, purple, and pink" page.

A work in progress: my punk page....mostly plaid punk.

"Oranges taste just like it!"

So I guess I just wanted to let you know that, yes, life exists outside the internet realm! I'll keep working on this scrapbook and hopefully share this with you more... I think it's an excellent way to cultivate your tastes and try out some new trends. If you have your own fashion scrapbook and have a link to it online, I'd love to see it and gather further inspiration for my own!