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. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Grumpy Cat Hates Hospitals... So Do I!

Today is the day we go back to the doctor and find out if my mom’s white blood count has dropped enough to keep her out of the hospital, so I may vanish for the next few days. I don’t know yet. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, though.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday Wants #12

What I want today is inexpensive and easily accessible, but I just haven’t ordered it yet. After my recently placed, multi-book order, I don’t want to get too greedy. But seriously, this book looks like it’s exactly the kind of thing I love to read. In addition to being a book nerd in general, I'm also a science nerd. For example, I have a collection of books on quantum physics just because I love reading about that sort of thing. 

So, yeah, this will be a new addition to my ever-growing book collection. Help. I have a problem. I can't stop reading!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Winter Beauty Tips From Chemist Direct's Paloma Sridhar

For today's post, I've teamed up with the awesome ladies of Chemist Direct just in time for some helpful advice to get us through the colder months. I'll let Paloma take it from here!

Top Winter Beauty Tips and Advice

Summer months have come and gone, and now it’s time to set our sights on the subject of winter. Aside from the changes that the cold brings to your daily routine, eating habits and style of dressing, winter living isn’t always easy on the hair, nails, and skin. While Daenerys Targaryen can still look like quite the bomb through the ice and snow, most of us are just not as lucky. Our usually perfect hair is subject to constant hat-static (I know you can relate!), and split ends from the dry air. What was glossy, sunkissed skin in the summer becomes dry and chapped with the constant cold in the winter.

Interestingly, both summer and winter have a changing effect on the skin and hair, but the effects of winter are usually a bit harder hitting since we’re not as prepared for protecting our beauty from the cold. So before the cold air has a chance to strip your hair and skin of its summer glow and make bad hair and skin days a bit too frequent for your liking, I thought it’d be good to break down a couple simple tips for healthier hair and skin this winter. Endure twiny hair and parched skin no more, people! 

  • Don’t lose the moisture in your skin and hair to long, hot showers. Most of us are hooked to that long, hot shower at the start of the day (Or, is it just me? I dunno…), but during the winter, over exposing your hair and skin to hot water can strip it of moisture. If you can, try to shower with lukewarm water instead. 
  • After showers, return the moisture to your skin. Moisturising your skin with a creamy lotion ten minutes after your shower can also help to return moisture to the skin before it has the chance to get too dry. Natural body oils work great as a skin moisturizer as well, since the skin needs more oils to stay glossy and supple during the cold season. 
  • Aim to treat your hair once a week with a deep conditioning treatment. I usually use Dove Intense Care Conditioner or Schwarzkopf Gliss Total Repair Conditioner, but other brands like VO5 and L’Oreal have intensive conditioning treatments that work just as well depending on your hair type. Hair serum is another thing that comes in handy during the winter and can help to keep your hair looking quite shiny and healthy in spite of cold winds. 
  • Cover your skin and hair right after sealing in your moisturizer. To go with my last point, I find it’s really important to cover your skin and hair pretty much right after you’ve applied your skin moisturizer or hair serum. Avoid giving your skin and hair a total cold wind blowout, and wear a scarf, gloves, and a hat to prevent overexposure to cold air. The same holds true for your feet during the winter. Once you’ve done your pedicure, you're certain your nail paint is perfectly dry, and you’ve applied moisturiser to your heels, it’s time to put on your socks. Don’t wait too long for the cold air to ruin your perfect pedicure efforts. 
  • Keep your body hydrated internally by drinking enough water. All of the above will help your skin and hair to stay hydrated from the outside in, but don’t forget the importance of keeping your body hydrated internally. Not drinking enough water can often be the cause of stringy, dry hair and parched skin. 

On a final note, it remains to be said that your hair and nails aren’t only for looking pretty. That too, but they also play an important role in the health and protection of your entire body. Your hair helps to protect your head from the cold, and your skin is the biggest protective organ in your body. Taking care of these assets will help keep your body from discomfort and sickness during the winter.

Author Bio: Hey there! I'm Paloma Sridhar, resident writer at Chemist Direct. I specialise in blogging about all things DIY, health, beauty, and happiness. My writing is personalised with entertaining personal accounts, anecdotes, world history, humour and, of course, relevant and exciting information.  

Monday, October 6, 2014

Book Haul

I have a confession to make. I am a book addict. I guess I should call myself a reading addict since I also love magazines, comics, graphic novels, and humorously pithy comments sometimes found on food and beverage packaging. 

It's "I have Kindle and Nook apps on my phone, but I still carry my Nook almost everywhere I go" bad. 

So... while I was doing some Christmas shopping (don't panic! I start shopping early. It's still October), I indulged a little and downloaded several books everyone keeps telling me I have to read right now. I love holding a copy of the book in my hands, but to be honest? I'm running out of room. Plus I can start reading right away if it's an ebook instead of waiting for them to arrive.

Anyhow, here's what I got. And if you want to leave some recommendations, I'm always looking for more to read.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Smooth Moves

(Full disclosure: this post is a collaboration between SheSpeaks, Aveda, and myself. All opinions are my own.)

A few weeks back, the lovely ladies of SheSpeaks asked if I would like to test out Aveda’s new Smooth Infusion styling product, and as a long-time fan of Aveda products, I said yes. 

To start off with, my hair is mental. Some days, it’s mostly straight. Others, I wake up with Nicole Kidman-esque ringlets in my hair. For the most part, it’s wavy, especially if allowed to dry naturally with only a fine mist of leave-in spray added after my shower. 

That’s exactly what I did here, and this is how my hair turned out.

Aveda’s Smooth Infusion Naturally Straight promises to keep your hair straight for up to three days after use, and — get this — gradually straighten your hair overall. 

I feel straight hair suits me better than bouncy curls. It’s less precious and fussy. I see myself keeping it straight for a few months, so I was willing to give this a go and see if they were full of it… or if Aveda knocked it out of the park again.

I trusted the product would keep my hair straight a day or two after I washed it, and it performed exactly as expected. No surprises there. What did surprise me was that my hair began to stay straighter even if I went to bed with my hair still damp and with zero products in it. 

Here’s my hair on day two after showering, when the curl usually returns, and without a single styling cream coating my strands. There is only the faintest hint of a wave returning, and I live in a humid, frizz-inducing climate. I have also tested the product by running it through damp hair and letting it dry naturally. It doesn't have quite the same glossy shine as when I blow dry, but if you're pressed for time, it does straighten the hair to a good degree.

It smells wonderful, too, and it doesn't weigh the hair down or cause any unsightly greasiness. 

Thanks, Aveda! I loved testing this, and I'll definitely keep using it. Naturally Straight can be found online here and at Aveda salons.