Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Currently loving #6

I took a break last week from the Currently Loving link-up to be, in a word, lazy, but it's a new week, and I'm feeling at least 15 percent less lazy at the moment, so let's talk about what we love this week.

1. This wonderful hater's guide to the Williams Sonoma catalog, which is apparently as insufferable as an Anthropologie catalog.

2. This make-up look from Jaclyn Hill. How easily she blends her outer corner is a beautiful LIE and you will never be able to do it yourself.

3. The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette. Because of course I had to include something from Sephora. It's just SO pretty and I WANT it.

4. This photo of my cat plotting to murder me. (With a cameo from The Happy Type.)

5. The latest F-Word link-up posts from The Lady Errant and She is Fierce (and several others!) on sexism in the media. Combining my favorite topics of feminism and pop culture is all I need for some good reading.

6. Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Hulu. Oh wait, SHUT UP I meant Coven on Netflix.


So tell me one thing your cold, unfeeling heart has been into this week.

with The Happy Type

Monday, December 15, 2014

The real reasons we have best friends

It took some new bangs and a whole office full of coworkers who couldn't be bothered to comment on them (Ed. note: Are we still on the fucking bangs?) to remind me why I appreciate my best friend so much.

She knows my vain ass self wants to hear that a however seemingly small change I made to my appearance looks good. And I mean, bangs are kind of obvious aren't they? It's not like I'm asking people to notice the new way I've been getting rid of my mustache (Ed. note: okay, we're done).

So since it's the season of giving back, I thought I'd write an ode to best friends. Without further ado, the real reasons we have best friends (in the, uh, event you need it spelled out for you):

1. Best friends notice your dumb bangs. And the almost indecipherable hair color change you made. And that your upper lip is looking less hairy. (Okay but seriously, I don't know why anyone uses painful creams anymore when these babies exist).

2. Best friends know all your stupid opinions and still somehow think you're an intelligent, worthwhile human being.

3. They know when you're just ranting and don't actually want help solving anything. You never have to think, "Oh my god, I wasn't looking for advice. Oh my god stop giving me advice. Dear god why are you still trying to give me advice?"

4. They let you make bad decisions. Not like dangerous, somebody-needs-to-stop-you decisions, but the harmless so-I'm-really-into-spandex-right-now decisions. I'm so sick of the idea that best friends are "the best" because they're brutally honest. Uh, no. Best friends let you date that idiot or wear that awful outfit and they aren't totally insufferable about it.

5. Best friends don't need to be impressed. Don't you hate meeting new people and you feel like you have to be on your best behavior and only talk about the coolest things you like? Yeah, me too. Let's undo our top buttons and watch Lifetime instead.

6. They know when you're being sarcastic and that when you start a statement with, "I love when..." you're not actually about to mention something you love.

7. They don't judge that "Story of My Life" is one of your favorite songs from 2014.

8. Or that your last meal consisted of three different fried entrees from Sonic.

9. They make fun of you to your face, not behind your back.

10. Best friends appreciate Boston Market as much as you do. And isn't that the most important reason of all?

Monday, December 8, 2014

And so, it's back to bangs

Who was I kidding for the past year living without bangs? Life was always a little sadder, and now I know why. The bangs. It always comes back to the bangs.

They've been my best friend since 15 and then I decided to grow them out and my forehead has just been all open and sad and exposed for months now. Pimples had no convenient cover and you could always see the burn marks near my hairline from when my curling iron got too close.

It was a rough time, but it's okay guys--I'm seeing the light now. Sure, I'll complain every morning about their maintenance but I'll get over it, because now when I see a photo of Taylor Swift rocking her own bangs, I can just think, "yeah man, bangs are awesome," instead of, you know, falling over from the weight of my own jealousy.

If you've never gotten bangs, just be warned, they're hard to quit. Unless they look like shit on you, and then they're probably pretty easy to quit.

But it was a hell of a lot easier for me to quit these things:

1. Coke. As in the drink. (No that wasn't supposed to be cute or clever). I had a Coke every day of my life, basically, from my tween years til 25. It was a serious relationship. Now, I only have Coke when I go on road trips (because I can't drink wine).

2. Nashville. Sorry Hayden Panettiere.

3. Philosophy's Hope in a Jar moisturizer. It was hard, but spending $30 on not moisturizer was easier.

4. Vanessa Carlton. Sorry I quit 'Be Not Nobody' once I graduated high school, but the angst just wasn't there anymore. Also, I always hated that album title. Even at my angstiest.

5. Thong underwear. Just kidding, thongs weren't hard to quit. Thongs are the worst. Who even wears them anymore except contractually obligated models?

6. Bailey's liquor. I loved you but you know what you did.

7. Turtlenecks. I used to really be into turtlenecks. Like, really into them. I don't know why either.

8. My love for Ryan Phillipe. No, I'm not talking about Reese Witherspoon's ex. I'm talking about Sebastien from Cruel Intentions.

9. My love for the name Sebastien. You were a great name.

10. Shaun White. I don't know, we had a special moment during the 2010 Olympics, okay?

Point is: Glad to have you back, bangs. You'll probably be here for awhile.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Currently loving #4

It's Tuesday--let's talk about the things we love this week. I'd start off with the Walking Dead because I just watched it, but like after last year's mid-season finale, we're not really speaking right now.

What am I loving, however:

1. The return of Masterchef Junior.

Only the cutest contestant ever. (via)
Judging by how many episodes are available on Hulu, I'm clearly a little late to the game, but we just installed Hulu Plus onto my boyfriend's Playstation, and it's like a whole new world has opened. Last year, my boyfriend and I both rooted for Alexander but this year we're split. I'm going for Abby (because she's cute, duh) and he's rooting for Logan because they share the same name. I mean, seriously, that's it. Like I said, we're behind. Don't tell me if one of our dreams are already crushed.

2. Abigail Breslin's foray into music. 

Who doesn't love when actors venture into music? It's my favorite.

3. This recipe. I always trot it out this time of year because it just seems like the right thing to do.

I'm so healthy, just eat all of me. 
4. Real Housewives on Hulu Plus.

5. THIS. I mean I don't even need it. I have plenty of eye shadows in those shades and a blush I already like, but oh my god it's compact and cute and organized and it's all in one little palette. Just give it to me.

Hosted by The Happy Type

Monday, December 1, 2014

How to send a care package that actually shows you care

You might think sending a care package is only about compiling a bunch of things you think the recipient would like into one box, but as a lifestyle blogger I'm here to make it complicated.

The thing is, I kind of consider myself to be an expert on care packages (it's all I have, okay), and in my expert opinion, creating a good care package is basically a science.

First, you need to pick who of your friends and family actually deserves a care package (or you know, who lives far away enough to warrant one). I only send care packages to my long-distance best friend as an attempt to buy her love and make sure she doesn't forget me.

Next, you pick the goodies. I try to give Crystal goodies as awesome as she is, which takes some brainstorming.

Obviously, the items included will depend on the recipient, so no, I'm not suggesting you go out and buy all these things for your next care package. Stop being so damn literal. (Kidding, love you.)

But what I do recommend is remembering this sacred formula:

25% Real Gifts + 50% Fun but Useful Gifts + 25% Oh-My-God-These-Are-So-Useless-but-So-Adorable Gifts.  

[Real Gifts= the gifts you'd give on their own if you didn't commit yourself to a care package. 
Fun but Useful Gifts= the cheap gifts you know they'll use that keep the care package interesting.
Oh-My-God-These-Are-So-Useless-but-So-Adorable Gifts= the shit they didn't even know they needed.

Are you thinking the 'real gifts' should make up the majority of the package? Yeah, I was playing around with that too, but to me, the best care packages are a wide assortment of goodies, and typically the kinds of gifts I'd give on their own also cost the most, which would quickly blow the budget.

Keeping the majority of items to fun, useful and inexpensive allows you to get creative and provide something they'll enjoy while also not breaking the bank.

To send my best friend, I settled on:

The real gifts:
1. The hand-made friendship bracelet. Because now that we're a long-distance friendship, other would-be BFFs need to be informed she's taken.
2. The feminist t-shirt. Because she mentioned wanting one with that same message.
3. The Tarte Skintuitive lip tint. Because it's like Puppy Surprise for adults. Will it make your lips bright pink, soft pink or have no discernible effect (i.e. the equivalent of the puppy with only three pups)? IT'S A DELIGHTFUL MYSTERY.

The fun but useful gifts:
1. The ice bag. Because she's really into exercise and has to get sore sometimes, right?
2. The hair ties and head bands. Because she, uh, puts her hair up sometimes and, hello, they're cute and sparkly.
3. The Hello Kitty magnets. Because everyone needs more magnets on their fridge and she loves Hello Kitty.
4. The stationery from Papyrus. Because bloggers are supposed to love stationery and I just want her to fit in.
5. The treats from Trader Joe's. Because everyone loses their shit for Trader Joe's.

The useless, but oh-so-adorable gifts:
1. The Hello Kitty jump rope. Because it was in the dollar aisle.
2. The sprinkle nail polish. Because it's adorable, but who really has time for that shit?

Did my arbitrarily chosen scientific formula work out? Uh, yeah, let's just say it did. But since you won't be sending these exact things, my general tips for filling a care package are:

--Give yourself some time to create the package. Care packages are fun because they're a medley of items, but they can add up quickly if you're buying everything at once. I sent this as a Christmas gift (and by Christmas, I really mean special January gift) and it took me more than a few months to finish because I wanted to budget buying what was inside. You also want to give yourself time so you're not filling it with completely random crap just because you're in rush to get it out by a certain date.

--Don't spend more than $5 on anything you know they won't actually use or you're only buying because it's cute. Just say no to Papyrus' section of adorably overpriced office-related goods. It's not worth it.

--Hit up Target's dollar aisle and TJ Maxx to find fun, but cheap items.

--Send care packages sparingly--unless you're Ms. Moneybags or something, in which case send them for every holiday, including Arbor Day. This way, you can make them thoughtful and spend a little more on them.

--Always include a card. You might as well send an anonymous gift otherwise.

--Include a variety of items, even you have a theme, so it's like a NEW and EXCITING surprise with each item they reach for.

And for the cherry on top?

I didn't actually pack anything that needed to be delicately wrapped, so take this suggestion with a grain of salt, but my new favorite thing is to use fake flowers in the place of packing peanuts as a cheery, little surprise.

You can get really cheap fake flowers in the clearance section at Michael's, or you can, like me, be taken in by the fake daisies (which never seem to be on clearance) and get a bunch of those. The point is, you shouldn't spend very much at all on the flowers because they will probably be thrown away by the recipient fairly quickly unless they're crafty or something and were desperately in need of fake flower heads.

I think they're a fun touch, but you can think it's stupid if you want.

It'd be preferable if you got a box that is more to the size of the number of items inside it, but my local Walgreens only believes in too big and too small. You could also individually wrap all the items inside in oh-so-cute wrapping paper, but I mean, I don't care that much*

*Just kidding, Crystal, don't kill me.