Monday, November 17, 2014

Tuna, Trees, and Bill Maher

This Saturday we had a family outing — we went to our new favorite Japanese restaurant, Wasabi, and to see Bill Maher. 

The food was delicious. Wasabi has the best tempura of any Japanese restaurant I have ever tried, and I’ve tried a lot of them in various places. Still, the best thing on the menu has to be the tuna tataki. It was so amazing. They’ve decorated a little early, but the Christmas tree made for such a pretty, bokeh-inspired shot that I can’t complain.

Bill Maher is a love-him-or-hate-him figure, I realize, so you may or may not want to backspace away from the blog right now. I don’t agree with everything he says — who agrees with everything anyone says? — but when I agree, I agree

He was especially hilarious this Saturday, and I think we pleasantly surprised him, too. He said several times “I will be back,” and considering how shocked I was to learn he was coming to Jackson in the first place, I think he actually means it. Alas, photography and filming weren't allowed, so I have no pictures from the show. Oh, well.

All in all, it was a fantastic night. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Mississippi Burning

Everyone likes to talk about how backwards the state of Mississippi is — and I freely admit I’ve made plenty jokes, too — so it’s nice to be able to brag when I’m impressed. 

Today the Mississippi ag museum — that’s the Agriculture and Forestry Museum to non-residents — lost at least three of its buildings in a fire of unknown origin. Instead of running away from the fire, employees ran toward the buildings to rescue the pigs, horses, and sheep housed there. 

Firemen arrived on the scene to save even more. As of right now, there have been no reported animal deaths. 

Well done, guys!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Splenda In the Grass

I’m a die-hard tea and coffee drinker. I love the stuff. I literally wait for the return of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte the way religious fanatics await the second coming. Sadly, they have yet to make a sugar-free PSL, but I will happily gulp down a venti as a meal and write it off as an indulgence. 

We all know sugar isn’t the healthiest thing for us if for no other reason than the calories, but recently a study published in Nature claims that no-calorie sweeteners are as bad as sugar. They supposedly cause glucose intolerance, which causes the inability for the sugar taken from the blood stream to properly interact with cells. (Glucose intolerance is also a precursor to Type 2 Diabetes).

Say what now? Basically, the sweeteners were altering the bacteria found in our guts, which affects the metabolism and the ability to process insulin. What does this mean? All of the wacky stuff happening with the bacteria have reportedly made people more intolerant to sugar... so when we eat anything containing sugar, our bodies have trouble digesting it, which could one day lead to Diabeetus.


Not so fast! Here’s the deal. It was one study, and they had an extremely small test group. Additionally, the amount of sweeteners ingested by far exceed normal daily allowances. You would have to drink at least several hundred sodas per day to ingest the same amount of artificial sweetener. 

So the gist of it is the same thing everyone has been saying for years: everything is fine in moderation. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Go Clear

I’ve been sick lately, so, as usual, my skin has been freaking out like nobody’s business. I still have a massive spot right above my cupid’s bow, and wow, that’s a lousy place to have a zit. Smiling, talking, drinking… all ouchy right now! 

I recently finished up another bottle of my Earth Science cleanser, and since I was already broken out, I figured it would be safe to test out the Go Clear Clarifying Cleanser AM/PM. What’s the worst that could happen, right? (Well, I could have broken out worse or had an allergic reaction, but…)

This stuff is genius! It’s improved my skin in a matter of days without stripping my skin and leaving it overly dry. It has tiny little beads, so it also exfoliates, but there aren’t many of them, and they’re very smooth, so they won’t scratch the skin.

The cleanser was given to me by my aunt, so I had to look up the price. It was apparently once stocked by Sephora, but now I can only find it on Amazon. It’s alcohol, oil, lanolin, and propylene glycol free. It also contains no artificial dyes or fragrances. At $26.99, it’s in the same price range as most Origins cleansers, and I’d say it has a comparable performance. 

I’d definitely recommend giving it a try if you have problematic but sensitive skin.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Restaurant Review: Wasabi

One of my biggest complaints about Jackson, MS has always been the lack of decent Japanese food in the area. Nagoya tried to kill me with partially-raw hibachi shrimp, Hokkaido used to be brilliant, but now the quality has tanked, and Kyoto is absolutely flavorless. 

We’ve heard good things about Wasabi, but until last night, we’d never gotten around to trying it. Now that we have… there is good Japanese food in Jackson!

They literally have the best calamari I have ever eaten. It wasn’t at all greasy, and it was cooked to perfection. I gave their Pad Thai a go, and I won’t be doing it again, but if you like your Pad Thai on the sweeter side, you’ll love it. 

The decor is beautiful, too. The downside is the construction going on downtown. It makes getting there — and finding a parking place — a bit tricky, but it’s definitely worth it. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Color Analysis: Hit Or Miss?

Thanks to the lovely ladies at Invent Your Image, a website that offers style consultation packages and color analysis, I was typed as a Dark Autumn. 

What does that mean? Apparently, that any of the colors shown on my swatch are my most flattering. I've never really gotten the hang of the whole "seasons" thing, to be honest, so I was happy to have an outsiders objective opinion. Some of my favorite colors are on there, but there is also an awful lot of pink, and I tend to look strange in pink.

But it’s not an exact science, and if you’re one of those people who, like me, feel most comfortable wearing all black, all the time, it’s worth checking out! 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Bombay Bicycle Club: So Long, See You Tomorrow (Album Review)

I discovered Bombay Bicycle Club thanks to Kate, and I'm so glad I took her advice. They didn't sound like my usual genre at first. "Bollywood-infused indie rock electronica? What? Guys, seriously, pick a genre!" But I gave the album a listen, and after the initial "WTF is this?" wore off, I really, really loved it. 

Singer-songwriter Jack Steadman (who also produced the album) has a very sweet voice. By that, I don't mean saccharine. I mean that he sounds kind. I don't know anything about the guy personally, but I like to imagine it's true. 

I first heard So Long, See You Tomorrow when my mother was suffering from a then-undiagnosed illness and going in and out of the hospital, and I was still mourning the death of my sweet doggie. In short, this album came into my life when all I wanted to do was curl into a little ball and never leave the house again. 

I'm not saying that a London-based indie-electronica band is a good substitute for an antidepressant. I am saying that their music made things seem less bleak. Music has always had a tremendous impact on my life. One of my earliest memories is of sitting in bed, wearing a lilac sweatsuit, watching the music video of Paul McCartney's Pipes Of Peace. (Totally dating myself there, but whatever...) 

My favorite tracks are Luna, Come To, and Feel, but I think the album sounds best when it's played all the way through. Give them a chance, especially if you feel down in the dumps! 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the NO

I was listening to the radio online, and, I kid you not, they played Where Are You, Christmas? It’s the first week of November! Seriously? Can we have Thanksgiving before we have Christmas?! Please and thank you!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wednesday Wants #15

I was browsing Anthropologie — they have a sale going on, and I’m not 100% done Christmas shopping yet! — when I stumbled upon this beauty. 

I used to be the queen of all things ornate. The more it looked like it was stolen off the set of Underworld, the more I loved it. Now I’ve gone in the opposite direction, and I love minimalism. This is the perfect mirror. It’s a mirror with a little shelf. No muss, no fuss. 

Not that I want to look into a mirror any time soon. That’s right, people. Still sick!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Organix/OGX Moroccan Argan Oil

Dear Sickness,

You can really leave me alone now. Seriously. I won’t miss you at all. Not even kidding.

No love,


…all sarcasm aside, I still feel pretty crappy, which sucks. What does not suck is that I’ve discovered a hair oil that rivals the famed Moroccan Oil… and it costs $7.99. 

I bought the Organix Moroccan Argan Oil (the brand is also called OGX, and the packaging is otherwise identical) about a year ago, pitched it in a drawer, and forgot it. Then I rediscovered it during a cleaning spree, and when I ran out of my It’s A 10, my Moroccan Oil, and my miniature Ojon Oil, I decided to test it out. 

When I’m sick, everything suffers. My nails will break off, my skin will break out, and my hair will turn into a frizzy ball of WTF Is On Your Head? My nails have broken, my skin is mottled… but my hair is smooth and soft without being a greasy mess. And it's not tested on animals, which always makes me happy.  

One out of three ain’t bad. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Blah... And Also Yuck

If you are reading this, then I’m dead.

Well, not really, but it means I’m still sick, whiny, and feel too shitty to delete this little scheduled post and actually write something entertaining. 

This sucks.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Tag! The Fall Edition

1.) Favorite fall lip product?: I love it year-round, but I especially adore MAC’s Russian Red during the cooler months. It just seems to get prettier when there’s a chill in the air. 

2.) Favorite fall nail polish?: L’Oréal’s Owl’s Night. It was released with their 2011 Project Runway collection, and it’s the most perfect brown-green-bronze in the universe.

3.) Favorite Starbucks fall drink?: Duh. Pumpkin Spice Crack, of course. 

4.) Favorite fall candle?: Anything spicy, pumpkiny, or woody. I can’t pick just one, but I love my new Bath and Body Works candles.

5.) Favorite fall scarf or accessory?: My green Burberry scarf. It’s the prettiest shade of green, and it keeps me so warm.

6.) Haunted house, haunted hay ride, or haunted corn maze?: I’ve never tried any of the others, so… haunted house.

7.) Favorite Halloween movie?: Nightmare Before Christmas! Is this a Halloween or a Christmas movie? I don’t know, and at this point, I’m ashamed to ask.

8.) Favorite candy to eat on Halloween?: Mini-Butterfingers. They always seem to taste better on Halloween.

9.) What are you dressing up as for Halloween?: Since I’m sick, I shall skip a costume and simply clam my rightful place as Queen of the Undead.

10.) What is your favorite thing about fall?: The “fall smell.” Either you know exactly what I mean, or you’re going, “Huh?” If you’re in the latter category, I am so sorry you’ve been deprived of the most wonderful scent ever. 

I tag… anyone who wants to do this? It’s kind of late now, going up on Halloween and all. Happy Halloween, guys!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Better Than A PSL?

Guys! If any of you are as obsessed with coffee as I am and like to make your own lattes and cappuccinos at home, my cousin stumbled upon a recipe for a pumpkin spice latte on WikiHow, thought it sounded doable, and swears it is better than Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Crack. 

I haven’t tried it, but it comes highly recommended, so I thought I’d share the love. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October Haul

Disclaimer: I did not buy all of this at once! I’m not made of money, people. Also, two of the items were on sale, and another two will last me a very long time, so chill. 

1.) Philosophy Holiday Spice Rack: Three delicious shower gels that are almost the size of a full-price shower gel. Philosophy has the best scents, and I won’t be needing to buy shower gel for a very, very long time. 

2.) Turbie Twist: Regularly $9, I got this on sale for under $6 at Walgreens. My old hair towel died a nasty death. Not really — the elastic snapped, so it just wouldn’t stay put on my head anymore. Plus, it had stopped soaking up as much moisture. Has that happened to anyone else?

3.) Jack Skellington Mug: Also found at Walgreens, and look how cute! I’m a huge Nightmare Before Christmas fangirl, so when I saw the last little Jack mug sitting there looking so lonely, I had to take him home. 

4.) Owl iPhone Case: I actually got this to use as a second wallet because I have too many damn cards. It says $9.99 on the little tag, but for some happy reason, it rang up as being $7.99… without a sale tag being on it. I guess it was meant to be.

5.) Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm: This itty bitty pot costs $32. But! I do not use it as a cleansing balm. That thing would be gone in, what, five uses? I get nasty eczema patches during winter, so I use a teeny-tiny amount of this to cleanse the burning/itching/peeling areas because everything else hurts. The first time I ever tried this, I had a tiny sample jar a friend with similar skin depotted for me to try, and that lasted me an entire winter, so I can justify the cost. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ebola And You (Also, Lions)

I still feel like death warmed over, and now I seem to have pinched a nerve in my shoulder to add insult to injury. Good times. 

I tend to spend a lot of time looking at cute animal pictures when I’m feeling badly — okay, I look at them all the time — so when I came across this one, I had to share it. Guys, remember that there is more to Africa than Ebola. Ebola is a disease. Diseases do not have nationalities. African Lions, on the other hand, do. Look, pretty lions!

Traffic in the Nairobi National Park in Kenya was halted for ten minutes while these two sweeties head-butted and rolled around in the middle of the road. 

Okay, back to Ebola. You cannot catch Ebola if you are walking down a crowded street, and someone in the crowd has Ebola. You cannot catch Ebola if you go to Starbucks and the guy who sat in your chair an hour ago had Ebola. 

Ways you can catch Ebola:
- coming into contact with The Icky Ps (by that, I mean puke, poop, pee, and phlegm). One of the aforementioned must come into contact with an open wound or mucus membrane — eyes, nose, mouth.
- droplet aspiration (This means if someone coughs or sneezes directly into your mouth, you could catch it. It does not mean if someone sneezes six tables away from you that you should panic. It’s flu season, guys).
- blood — self-explanatory.
- bow chika wow wow. People! Do not swap spit or otherwise get your freak on with someone you suspect could have been exposed to Ebola, and you will be safe from it. I make no promises in terms of other yucky things. 

Chill out. This is not Contagion or The Walking Dead. The number of people to die from Ebola in the United States? One. Around five thousand have died in Africa. Get your damn flu shots. The flu kills almost forty thousand people every year in the United States alone. 

Flu shots! Get them!

(Source: my uncle is a pathologist, and a friend works at the CDC).

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Squee

Because I have chills, fever, body aches, a sore throat, and haven’t been able to breathe through my left nostril in over a day…

Have a puppy! Puppies make it all better, and I don’t want anyone to feel as lousy as I do. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

His Name Was Nathan Cirillo

I’m in a state of shock right now. It doesn’t seem right. Who attacks Canada, honestly? Instead of focusing on the shooter, let’s not give the bastard a second of notoriety. Instead, let’s focus on Nathan Cirillo. Here he is posing with a tourist from California. (Credit: Sarke1 of Reddit).

Here he is at work. (Credit: nemisis84).

And with his dog. (Credit: da_corn).

This handsome man was murdered today in a senseless act that left Canada — and the rest of the world — reeling. I will never print the shooter’s name, nor will I speak it aloud. Men like that are attention-seekers. They want remembrance. They want their names listed alongside Timothy McVeigh and Mohammed Atta. If we give them what they want, they’ve won, and that would make this tragedy even more heinous. 

Each October 22, I will think, not of the shooter, but of Corporal Nathan Cirillo of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, killed just before ten yesterday morning at the National War Monument in Ottawa. He was twenty-four years old.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday Wants #14

Thanks to a play on my name, my uncle nicknamed me Calamari. Out of respect for my awesomeness, he later amended it to Calamari, Dark Lord of the Squid People (I was actually paged this way over the Target intercom. Everyone turned to stare, and I just took a bow). Because I’m definitely a squid lord. I don’t want none of that “lady” bull. 

I was trolling ModCloth looking for Christmas presents when I saw this cute little thing. Isn’t it adorable?! Sadly, it’s sold out, or it would be on the way to me. Bring it back, ModCloth! Your squid lord demands it!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

More Sunscreen!

Because I'm a broken record!

Guys, I don’t know if it’s everywhere or just my local store, but I found a massive tube of Vichy Capital Soleil SPF 60 Soft Sheer Sunscreen Lotion at Walgreens for $10. It usually costs over $30. Happy shopping!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Trust Me On The Sunscreen

In case it’s escaped anyone’s notice, I am a super-pale gal of Celtic descent. That means, come rain or shine, I do not leave the house without my sunscreen on. It’s something my aunt has drilled into my head since my teens. (That and eye cream, which I will probably talk about at some point).

Like many of you, I also have acne-prone/sensitive skin. I can’t just say, “Oh, a new sunscreen. This will work!” It’s more like playing Russian Roulette with my face. Sometimes it pays off. Sometimes… Well, I’ve ranted about that before

Fortunately, I’ve found a few sunscreens that work and don’t cause breakouts. 

1.) Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream SPF 55 PA+++: This has been my everyday sunscreen since I first purchased it barring a few days when it was dark and gray, and then I switched to something lighter. It’s a bit heavier than I usually prefer and leaves a slightly dewy finish, but some powder takes care of that, and it’s worth having the higher SPF and dealing with being a little bit shiny. 

2.) La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF 60 Paraben-Free Facial Sunscreen Fluid: What’s with the long names for these products, guys? I don’t even know. This stuff was a dream to apply, and once I run out of my Shiseido sunscreen, I’m going to repurchase this one. It’s one of the only two sunscreens I’ve ever used that actually dries down to a matte finish without having to slap on a layer of powder. I’ve recommended it to several people, and they all agree that it’s completely non-breakout-causing.

3.) MDSolarSciences Mineral Cream SPF 50 Broad Spectrum UVA-UVB: Again with the names. Ahem. The second of the matte finish sunscreens, this is thicker and definitely a traditional cream rather than the liquidy La Roche-Posay. It has no scent despite its thickness, and I never found it to be drying even in the dead of winter. 

4.)  Andalou Naturals Oil Control Beauty Balm Untinted SPF 30: Yes, this is the same product I trash-talked not too terribly long ago, and I stand by everything I said at the time. When it’s hot out, it melts from my face and leaves me disgustingly oily. However, now that the temperatures are dropping and I’m less of an oil slick, it works quite well on cloudy days. I’d still consider this a better choice for someone with drier skin, though. 

What’s your go-to sunscreen?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Weekly Favorites #1

It’s too late to do my September favorites — not that I had many considering how crazy the month was — and too early to do my October favorites, so I thought I’d do a weekly favorites instead. This may or may not become a thing. I don’t know.

1.) Glade Pumpkin Pie Diner Candle: I picked this up at Kroger for the exorbitant price of $2.99. It’s not as amazing as my new Bath and Body Works candle and doesn’t have much throw (that’s the term for how far away from the candle you can still smell it for those who don’t know, which I didn’t until the other day), but when I burn it on my nightstand, it smells absolutely delicious. And, hey, three bucks. 

2.) La Roche-Posay Rosaliac Skin Perfecting Anti-Redness Moisturizer: I’ve had this stuff for ages, and it’s still going. I have several moisturizers, so I don’t use it on a daily basis, but still! You’d think I’d be out by now. It comes out green, but don’t be worried about looking like the Hulk when you put this on. The green vanishes immediately, toning down redness. It doesn’t cover it all, but it helps, and it feels amazingly soothing.

3.) Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD: Being a nerd, I’ve always loved the show, but this season is really good! This week’s episode was especially entertaining. Fitz is finally bonding with the guys, yay! The May vs. May fight was hilarious, too. I’m a little leery of how they’re going to handle Mockingbird, but I’m definitely going to keep watching to find out.

4.) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: I’m that annoying person who figures out the ending of a “mystery” within the first twenty minutes of a movie (or the first few chapters of a book), so while I can’t say the big reveal surprised me, I can say that I really enjoyed how it played out. It’s definitely not your run-of-the-mill thriller. I’m glad I finally got around to reading it!

So that’s what I’ve loved this week. It’s nice not having something lousy to rant about mixed in with the raves!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Gone Girl + Thanks

Until recently, I was one of maybe fifty people in the universe who hadn’t read Gone Girl. Now that I’m almost done with it, I have to say… 

Also, huge thank you to Kwanhyun for the BB cream and the samples! I can’t wait to try them, and you can expect a little pressie in the mail soon. Trying things from other countries is so cool. I’m wondering if I should do some kind of swap or even a giveaway for the upcoming holiday…

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday Wants #13

This is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Camera. Isn’t it adorable?! It’s essentially a Polaroid, just not from the Polaroid company. In the age of digital cameras and Instagram, it’s not exactly the most practical camera in the world, but it’s precious, and it gives you the instant satisfaction of holding a picture you took in your hand just moments after taking it. 

What is it about autumn that makes me so nostalgic?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Mini Candle Haul

Living with big dogs and skittish cats can lead to problems, but one of the more irritating is the staleness of my room. I keep the door closed to prevent the dogs from coming in and my cats from going out, so sometimes it can smell… a bit stale. 

And, by a bit, I mean I’m not the only one who’s noticed. To combat the smell, I use air fresheners and sprays, but I mostly love candles.

I’m usually a Yankee Candle girl, but after hearing so much about Bath and Body Works’ Mahogany Teakwood, I had to try it. I also grabbed pumpkin caramel latte, which sounds delicious. I can’t wait for them to arrive!

Monday, October 13, 2014

I Belong In The Zoo

Yesterday we went to the zoo, and I turned into an animal-crazed child and ran around squealing over how beautiful everything was. I watched a mother tiger play with her cub — sadly, they refused to hold still long enough for me to take a picture — and saw two adorable red wolves hiding in the shade. Precious, but I wish I’d been able to photograph them!

I asked a macaw if I could take his picture, and I’ll be damned if the bird didn’t say “no.” He didn’t like me much, but the otter played with me through the glass and wanted to show me his toys, so that was nice. The youngest of the cougars was also especially playful. 

It was a blast spending a few hours in the fresh air with the animals. I highly recommend it!

Friday, October 10, 2014


Dobby remains a free elf! 

My mom was able to avoid another hospital stay, which is awesome. Now I need to get her well, head to Bourbon Street, and we’ll celebrate by eating so many Café Du Monde beignets we can’t move! Maybe not. I’ll settle for wellness. 

But I did almost die yesterday, and Mom and I got to take part in a Buddhist memorial service, so there was some excitement, after all. 

I almost died when the valet at St. Dominic’s “parked” and got out of the car. The car? Yeah, not parked. As I moved to get in, seatbelt caught under my arm, the car began to move and dragged me along for the ride. I wriggled free, flung myself away, and was so startled I just laughed. This is my natural reaction to extreme pain or fear. Just ask my uncle, who watched in horror while I stood with my hand under the Instant-Hot faucet, turning my fingers tomato red, cackling maniacally.  I thought I was about to be pulled under the car, so… yeah, there was a good amount of panic involved. I’m sore and stiff, but I don’t have any broken bones, so there’s that.

Then Mom and I had lunch at Thai House, which was technically closed because one of the owner’s neighbors lost her mother, so the Buddhist monks came in from New Orleans to pray with her. It was a lovely and warm, informal ceremony, and I feel so honored to have been allowed to be part of it.