Thursday, November 27, 2014

the editorial | giving thanks

Today marks the first Thanksgiving I have been confined to my bed since I was very little. I'm surrounded by pillows and cough drop wrappers and can hear the comforting buzz of football from the den. While I lie here in fleece pajamas in between puffs of albuterol and throat lozenges, I can only think how very fortunate I am to be where I am today.

You see, if I weren't ill, I'd be helping Mom in the kitchen with the turkey and sides or watching football with my grandpa or playing video games with my little sister. Later today, I'd be setting up the Christmas tree.

I have a good life, and I am thankful for that. I am thankful for my sweet dad who brought me a plate of food and for my dogs that know when I need some puppy love. I'm thankful for my university. I'm thankful for my experiences, even within the last year. I'm thankful for Nashville, my home away from home. I'm thankful for those committed to justice and peace, even in the face of oppression. I'm thankful to live in a society that can change for the better. I'm thankful for a God who hears the cries of the downtrodden and who cares for us.

And you who read this—I am thankful for you, too. Let's spread some beauty throughout the world today.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

the edit | autumn 2014

The transitional months between winter and summer and summer and winter have always been my favorites. I love watching the earth burst forth with new life in the spring, and I adore the blazing leaves of autumn. Hence, you'll find me much more interested in beauty, fashion—in short, everything—to do with autumn and spring than in that of summer and winter. That's not to say that I despise any season: I simply like my crisp mornings and bundled-up evenings. This is, as Keats puts it, the "[s]eason of mists and mellow fruitfulness," of comfortingly itchy sweaters and burrow-worthy blankets.

In the beauty world, this typically means trading summery sheer reds and pastel polishes for berries and smoke. If the trees change colors, why wouldn't we? Now is the autumn of our richer shades, our plums and russets. I, for one, thoroughly enjoy the shifting of shades, although there are some areas of my routine that remain the same.


Not much of my eye makeup changes from season to season. My favorite look to this day is a cat eye, which I wear year-round. I do like a bit more smoke during colder months, though, so I break out the cotton buds and smudger brushes, like the one I got in a set from Tarte about two years ago. Tarte doesn't make any more of this particular model, but just about any pencil or smudging brush will suffice. I simply line my lashes somewhat messily with a pencil and go to town with the brush, sometimes adding a bit of eyeshadow to alter the shade of the liner.

I typically keep at least two lip colors with me in my little makeup bag—one "my lips but better" shade, one bold. My most conventionally autumnal colors for either option are Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Matte lipstick in Touch of Spice, that ubiquitous drugstore nude-plum, and MAC Satin lipstick in Rebel, a famously lovely hue with an unfortunately less-than-amazing formula. I normally shy away from shades with any hint of brown, but Touch of Spice has enough pink and plum to balance everything on me. Its scent isn't exactly pleasant—think very artificial fruit—but it fades quickly, and the comfortable matte formula more than makes up for it. Rebel, however, does not have a particularly lovely formula. It's very waxy and tends to cling to dry patches. With a lip primer and some patience, though, it's a beautiful pink-based plum. I probably will not repurchase it, but I will certainly finish it.


My skincare routine is constantly changing. I know what works for me in general, but I like to play around a bit. A good moisturizer, though, is key to any decent routine, and La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra fits the bill. It's an inoffensive, emollient last step in my routine that keeps my skin happily soft. If you have dry, sensitive skin, this is worth a test.


I'm not one to switch fragrances with the seasons. I love trying new things, but I'm prone to scent-related headaches, so I'm quite particular. I tend to favor citrusy green scents with jasmine and/or rose—no patchouli. I recently received Firebird perfume oil in Pomegranate Basil in a reddit exchange and have been thoroughly enjoying it! It features notes of tart pomegranates, juicy red currants, and heady basil, all of which I love. Its deeper fruity tones make it an excellent twist on autumnal perfume.


As you can see, I'm quite a fan of nail polish. It takes a bit of time each week, but I love the results. My favorite shades include pastels, reds, nudes, and berries, but the latter two categories feature prominently in the autumn. Granted, I wear nude or neutral polish at all times of the year, but it seems especially appropriate with the grayer weather. I recently purchased the Nails Inc. NailKale polish in Westbourne Park Road, a gorgeous lavender-gray with hints of pink. I could not care less for the supposed benefits of kale extract in nail polish, but I can confirm that the formula and brush of this polish are among the best I have ever tried. On the other end of the spectrum is the Clinique A Different Nail Enamel in Black Honey, a deep, blackened red that goes on nearly opaque in two coats. It's unlike any other color I own, and I'm glad to have it in my collection.

What are you adding to your routine this autumn?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

the exchange | /r/indiemakeupandmore autumn 2014

I am assuming that most if not all of you are familiar with reddit, that site of intrigue and lols. I have been a redditor for nearly two years and, thanks to the lovely users over at /r/Indiemakeupandmore, have discovered the world of indie cosmetics. /r/IMaM is a very friendly community of both makers and consumers. Shop owners, like Christine of Hello Waffle, interact with customers and share their own favorite products from other shops. Think of it as the social counterpart to Etsy.

This autumn, /r/IMaM held a global makeup exchange, and I signed right up! I've previously participated in an exchange on /r/MakeupAddicts and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was paired with a woman from Australia, and she sent me the loveliest assortment of things!


As you can see, I received a sample and a full-sized fragrance, both of which smell divine. Haus of Gloi's Olde Cider Haus is autumnal to the nth degree—tart apples and magic. Firebird's Pomegranate Basil, however, is a lush, herbal fruity concoction with a touch of currant. As I typically use parfum or cologne, I enjoyed a different vehicle for the scent. Both oils melt right into the skin without the harshness of alcohol.


I have wanted to try Femme Fatale Cosmetics for months now. The Australian-based brand carries beautifully complex eyesahdows, and The Masquerade in particular caught my attention. My exchange partner also sent me eyeshadows in Moonstone, Wildvine, and Umberhowl, all of which are multidimensional duochromes except for gorgeously shimmery Umberhowl. Love. She also included a blush sample in Radar Love and eyeshadow samples in Heroic and Crystalline Scale.


Candy is one of my favorite things to include in exchanges, so I was definitely excited to receive some. I haven't tried all the taffies, but I've liked the ones I've tried so far. The musk sticks to the far right are so bizarre! They taste like slightly fruity, perfumed marshmallow-taffy. Tim Tams are possibly my favorite sandwich biscuits. If you haven't tried them before and are a chocolate fan like myself, do yourself a favor and locate some Tim Tams.

bonus bunny

My lovely exchange partner also made me a bunny! It is one of the sweetest, most thoughtful gifts I've received. I know my partner put a lot of time and effort into the little guy, and I am so chuffed with it!

Thank you so much to my lovely exchange partner. Have you ever participated in a makeup exchange? What are your favorite online beauty communities?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

the editorial | why i'm not participating in no makeup november

Ah, November. A month full of playing in autumn leaves, celebrating Thanksgiving, and shaming young Christian women for wearing makeup.

Wait, what?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with No Makeup November, it's an outreach program of sorts offered by RAVE Ministries, which caters to young women, particularly in the United States. I personally know people who either currently work or have worked with them, and the overwhelming impression that I have from them is a good one. Let me be clear: I believe that RAVE has made a positive impact in the lives of many young women, but No Makeup November, while well-intentioned, makes a moral issue where there is none.

Obviously, we live in a very façade-centered culture. We are bombarded day in and day out by advertisements calling us to spend more, look more, be more, and we often succumb. We women are told that our worth comes from our appearance and that our "flaws" are shameful. The Apostle Peter addresses this in his call to the women of the Church:
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
—1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV
True beauty comes from within, an adage that we have heard again and again—but it is indeed true. If our worth comes from "outward adornments," then there is a problem, just as there would be one if we based our worth solely on acceptance from others.

The biggest problem that No Makeup November, then, is not its focus on true beauty, but that "say[ing] YES to God-given beauty" is synonymous with abstaining from makeup. It reminds me of how smug I felt this time two years ago, sensing a sort of solidarity with the other girls who showed up to class barefaced. I convinced myself that I was somehow morally superior for not applying mascara or concealer, when in reality I had made a moral issue of something superficial at its core and was mentally congratulating myself for a nonexistent ethical victory. I had removed artificial enhancements to my physical beauty but, in doing so, had inhibited my inner beauty. By November 3, I was back to wearing makeup, stepping away from judging my peers and toward cultivating a gracious spirit.

If you are excited to participate in No Makeup November, then I encourage you to do so. For some young women, it can be a time of remembrance. For me, though, it reminds me how much further we have to go to stop shaming women not only for our "flaws" but also for concealing them.

Regardless of where you stand on No Makeup November—if you even have an opinion on the subject at all—I wish you a month of joy and peace and thanksgiving. Let us all be gracious to each other, loving each other beyond the façade, whether literal or figurative.