21 June 2017

Summer Makeup Suggestions for Pale Skin

As I've mentioned in previous beauty posts, I have very fair skin that always burns and never tans in the sun. This means that bronze-y makeup popular for summer doesn't flatter me, so I use peach, coral, and copper hues to achieve a warm glow that looks natural on my peaches-and-cream skin tone. For those who are also pale and looking for some summertime makeup suggestions, here are some of my favorite products and how I like to use them in my summer makeup routine:

Face


Bronzer only looks natural on deeper or tanned skin, so I never use it. Instead, I use peach-toned blush to add warmth to my complexion in the summer. My particular favorite is the Shell Beach All-Over Glow from Coastal Classic Creations, a mineral powder which can be used as a light blush or an alternative to bronzer for fair skin. I use it as an everyday blush, a subtle eyeshadow, and occasionally dust it across the bridge of my nose for a slightly sunkissed effect.

Eyes


I've used a variety of peach, coral, and copper shadows in the summer, but this year my favorites are NYX's Prismatic Shadows in Golden Peach and Liquid Gold. I would say that the first is more of a coral shade than true peach, and the second is really more copper than gold, but both have a nice sheen that's not full of chunky glitter. My eyes are fairly hooded, so I like to apply these shades in the crease and blend them a little onto the brow bone to add a sort of warm halo glow around my eyes.

For eyeliner, bold makeup can look a little intense on fair skin, but I find using a bright color on the lower lash line adds a pop of fun to a summer look without being overpowering. My favorite summer shade is aqua blue, which complements peach tones since they're opposites on the color wheel--I typically use Almay's Shadow Softies in Seafoam, as it has an almost creamy formula that applies nicely with a liner brush and stays in place.

Lips

All of my favorite lip colors are from Burt's Bees, since they're easy to find in drugstores and come in a variety of formulas and hues. For a natural, everyday look I use the tinted balm in Zinnia, which is a true coral that applies semi-sheer. For an opaque shade with a soft sheen, I like the new gloss crayon in Santorini Sunrise, a natural peach. For a bold, opaque look I like the matte crayon in Niagara Overlook, a bright coral pink.


02 June 2017

Storytime: A Shoe Connoisseur with Poor Taste Stole My Credit Card Information


White Shoes by Eva Gonzales

I never thought that I'd be the type of blogger to have a bizarre real-life anecdote to share as a storytime, but here we are.

A little over a month ago, I discovered through a handful of unauthorized transactions on my bank account that someone had gotten hold of my credit card information.

Someone who had a taste for expensive shoes.

Particularly, someone who had poor taste for expensive shoes.

I'm not sure how the security breach occurred, since my physical card was never lost. There have been a number of recent high-profile compromises at various retailers, both online and brick-and-mortar, so it could have been from something like that. The odds are that I'll never find out.

What I do know is that near the end of April, I got an e-mail notification from my bank reporting a transaction of several hundred dollars. Now, I never spend that kind of money unless I'm paying school expenses, of which I was fairly certain I had none. I thought perhaps it was some kind of technical hiccup, that either my bank had misreported the amount or I had made a legitimate purchase that had somehow gone through multiple times. So, I logged onto my account to get more details, and saw that the purchase was from someplace called http://goat.com.

My first reaction was that I had somehow been charged for one of those charities that sends livestock to families in need--even though I've ever contributed to one of those particular charities, and presumably a goat costs considerably less than the transaction that had been made. So I went on said hircine retailer's website to investigate and found that it was, in fact, an app selling very expensive sneakers. Then I saw a charge on my account for Uber, a service I never use, and knew that my card information had been stolen.

I immediately canceled my card and contacted my bank, who were quick to respond and refund the charges. I thought the matter was settled until I went to activate my new card, and saw that there was yet another unauthorized charge on my old card from after it should have been deactivated--this time for almost $200 from Saks Fifth Avenue, a place that I never shop from. I contacted the bank again and learned that this transaction had apparently been pending at the time and had been mistakenly overlooked. They sent me more paperwork, and reassured me that the matter should now be taken care of.

But the day I discovered the third charge, I received a package in the mail. It was a batch of craft supplies for my Etsy shop that I had ordered from Joann Fabrics, but the odd thing was I had thought the package had already arrived a couple of days prior. Being busy with end-of-semester work, I hadn't had a chance to open the package yet, so I fetched it and had a look inside.

PLOT TWIST: it was the package my credit-card-information-thief had ordered from Saks Fifth Avenue. Nearly $200 was spent on precisely one pair of shoes, and they were a pair of hideous rubber pool slides. Rubber pool slides with a designer Italian label, granted, but rubber pool slides of peculiar atrocity nonetheless. Charging as much as they did was highway robbery on the part of the designer--and I had been the victim of this highway robbery secondhand thanks to the careless and apparently tasteless thief.

I'm not sure why the package got sent to me instead of the thief, but after contacting my bank yet again and e-mailing Saks, I sent the shoes back as a regular return for a refund. I'll be using 1% of my refund to get my own pair of rubber flip-flops from Old Navy--and honestly, I think that's all those awful pool slides were worth to begin with.

22 May 2017

Dreams and Encouragement in Muppet Movie Songs


Rainbow Connection

Have you been half asleep, and have you heard voices?
I've heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors?
The voice might be one and the same.
I've heard it too many times to ignore it:
It's something that I'm supposed to be.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, 
The lovers, the dreamers, and me.

Movin' Right Along

Moving right along,
Footloose and fancy-free.
You're ready for the big time--
Is it ready for me?
  

Can You Picture That?

Beat down the walls, begin, believe, be, begat.

I'm Going to Go Back There Someday

Sun rises, night falls, sometimes the sky calls.
Is that a song there, and do I belong there?
I've never been there, but I know the way.
I'm going to go back there someday.

The Magic Store / Rainbow Connection Reprise / Finale

You're burning with hope,
You're building up steam.
What was once juvenilish
Is grown-up and stylish--
You're close to your dream.

Then somebody out there loves you,
Stands up and hollers for more--
(More!)
You found a home at the magic store . . .


Why are there so many songs about rainbows?
That's part of what rainbows do.
Rainbows are memories,
Sweet dream reminders:
What is it you'd like to do?

All of us watching and wishing we find it--
I noticed you're watching, too.
Someday you'll find it,
The rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers and . . .


Life's like a movie:
Write your own ending.
Keep believing,
Keep pretending,
We've done just what we set out to do,
Thanks to the lovers, the dreamers, and you.

14 May 2017

Recipe: Fat-Free Vegan Doughnuts

Note: I'm not much of a chef or baker, but there are a few quick, simple recipes I like to make. Please keep in mind that these recipes reflect only my own experience, and that if you choose to follow them you do so at your own risk!


Doughnuts are typically considered an indulgent treat, but believe it or not they can be made relatively guilt-free. These doughnuts are completely free of added fat but have a moist, springy texture like a cross between cake doughnuts and traditional fried doughnuts. The chocolate glaze uses a surprising ingredient--maple syrup--to achieve a wonderfully thick and shiny finish without butter. Both doughnuts and glaze are vegan, so they're safe for those avoiding animal products, and together clock in at around just 1 gram of naturally-occurring fat per doughnut!

Doughnut Ingredients

- 7/8 cup einkorn flour*
- 3/8 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

* Einkorn flour is made from an ancient variety of wheat and is naturally moister than all-purpose flour. If you substitute all-purpose flour, you may need to add 1-2 extra tablespoons of water.

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a small piece of baking parchment paper and 1/4 teaspoon olive oil or other vegetable oil to lightly grease a nonstick standard doughnut pan that makes six doughnuts--you can skip this step if you prefer not to add any oil, but it will make the doughnuts release a little more easily and adds a negligible amount of fat.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

3. Add the almond milk and almond or vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and stir to combine, making sure no dry spots remain. (A few small lumps in the batter are fine.)

4. Use a teaspoon or a dessert spoon to fill the doughnut pan with the batter, carefully spooning around each ring. Lightly tap the pan on the counter to level out the batter, and use a damp paper towel to wipe any drips on the pan.

5. Bake the doughnuts until they are springy and lightly golden, about 20 minutes.

6. Place the doughnut pan on a wire cooling rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Use a dessert fork to gently loosen the doughnuts from the sides of the pan, being careful not to scratch the nonstick finish. Pop the doughnuts out of the pan with the fork, and let them cool completely on the wire rack before glazing or sprinkling with powdered sugar.

Makes 6 standard doughnuts

Chocolate Glaze Ingredients

- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup pure dark amber maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

1. In a small mixing bowl, sift together the cocoa powder and powdered sugar.
2. Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract to the dry mixture and stir until the glaze is smooth and shiny.
3. Spoon and gently spread the glaze over each doughnut, allowing it to drip down the sides.

Makes about 1/2 cup, or enough to glaze 6 doughnuts

01 May 2017

Birthday Books 2017

Books always number among the birthday presents my family gives me each year, and this year I was lucky enough to receive an extra bountiful batch. As usual, I thought I'd share my book haul here on my blog as reading inspiration for anyone who happens to be in search of a good book!

First, children's books! I love books for readers of all ages, and even have a website and magazine-style anthology series entirely devoted to children's literature. One writer whose work features many times in the anthology series is Robert Louis Stevenson, but until now I've never had a physical copy of his children's poetry collection A Child's Garden of Verses. This version is illustrated by Tasha Tudor, one of my favorite illustrators, and I adore her detailed depictions of the poems.

I also love the work of Jane Hissey, whose book series about Old Bear and his toy friends features intricate, almost photorealistic illustrations that somehow retain a beautifully nostalgic quality. I've read an Old Bear story or two before in mixed anthologies, but the Old Bear Stories collection includes five full books, all of which are sweet and lovely.

One of the reasons I have such a fondness for Old Bear and friends is because they remind me of A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh stories, which are my absolute favorite children's books. Positively Pooh is an amusing and surprisingly helpful compilation of quotations from the Pooh books paired with life advice--the design of the pages inside, with E. H. Shepard's black ink illustrations placed on pastel-colored backgrounds, is quite striking.

The two books written for older children I received are completely new to me. Although I've read and loved all of P. L. Traver's Mary Poppins books, I had no idea that she wrote other books for children like I Go by Sea, I Go by Land. And The Clockwork Sparrow is a relatively new book by an author I'd never head of, but it's an entertaining mystery story with a setting that will appeal to fans of the ITV/PBS series Mr Selfridge.

Finally, of the adult fiction I received, two are in favorite series and one is by a new-to-me author. The books in Miss Read's Fairacre series are always cozy and comforting reads, and Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street series is like the perfect lighthearted television show in book form, with its serialized episodes and ensemble cast of characters. E. M. Delafield's Diary of a Provincial Lady has been intriguing me for a while, so I'm excited to finally give it a try--I hope it'll be something like Angela Thirkell's books and E. F. Benson's Mapp and Lucia series!