Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday # 23: California Autumn



Look, it's the first Sunday of fall.  Please tell Southern California this because it is 95 degrees Fahrenheit outside right now.  Biking to lab today was akin to moving through an invisible blanket of heat. 

5K.  Yesterday, we decided to walk 5k in San Marino in lieu of working out.  While my boyfriend played Pokémon Go, I opted for taking pictures as we walked.  Believe it or not, I've completely stopped playing the game, a change that seemingly occurred overnight.  The photos in the post are all from our walk, where I took snapshots of a neighborhood far wealthier than our student salaries can afford.  I honestly struggled yesterday.  At times, I think I'm getting much better at photography, but there's so much more to it than the technical.  I wish I had more people who I could photograph, more moments and stories to tell. 



FAB.  I bring her up constantly so you all may as well know I'm on a huge JoJo music kick right now.  Some of it is because of pre-teen nostalgia, but most of it is because she's a strong, intelligent, and unapologetic woman who makes great music.  She released FAB this week (you can figure out the acronym) and I've had it on repeat.  I hear you, girl, I do. 

SISTER.  My boyfriend's twin sisters are coming into town next week so we've planned an overnight trip out to Joshua Tree.  It's been almost a year since we've been there and almost all the campsites are first come, first serve as peak season starts next weekend.  I'm excited to be out there again though I'm sure I'll be sweating and complaining when I'm going on the hikes.  I always do.  It's my MO.  I also haven't taken a vacation this summer so this will be a nice respite from my days around here.

READING.  Let's make this a new weekly feature.  I'm currently reading "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed which is about her experience hiking the Pacific Coast Trail alone.

-CLICK-

• I've always loved Marianna's style.  Her home is a beautiful and inspiring space.
• A bit of nature's beauty and placidity over at WorshipBlues.
• Alex from On Serpentine Shores recounted her experience before her wedding.  As always, the writing is honest, open, and a refreshing read.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Essie Polish Favorites: Reds for Autumn

essie nail polish, fall red nail polish, wicked, forever yummy, shearling darling, bahama mama
Essie nail varnishes (left to right): Wicked, Shearling Darling, Bahama Mama, Forever Yummy.

I love a good red nail polish.  If it looks like a blackened, bruised, or bloody red, I'm in.  The bloodier looking, the better.  There's a beauty in colors that are rooted in nature.  Now that fall's just around the corner, I have an excuse to break out my deepest, darkest reds that have waited patiently in my bin of nail varnishes. 

Just kidding!  Let's get real: I wear dark reds all year round, even when it's not "fashionable" to do so.  I'm a fan of wearing the darkest things I can find until the scorching heat of California summer makes it unbearable to cover myself in head-to-toe black.  In a perfect world, I'm a vampire who lives out all of my inner Goth kid aspirations.  Since vampires aren't real, I'll have to settle for vampy (see what I did there?) nail varnish instead.  Here are a few of my favorites from Essie!

Wicked.  A blackened red jelly.  Polishes of this color always have slightly patchy application.  Takes about three coats for complete opacity.  I wear two coats for laziness.  Good for birthday parties or gatherings where you want to emanate cheerfulness.

Shearling Darling.  A deep red creme that leans very brown.  Goes great with a heavy sweater and a pumpkin spice latte.

Bahama Mama.  A creme that is more fucshia and berry.  The color that can't decide whether it wants to be purple or primary red.  Good for when one's only feeling 70% vampire that week.

Forever Yummy.  A classic red creme that's close to Chanel's Dragon polish but at about 1/3 of the price.  I own both and wish I'd never spent my money at Chanel.  Looks a little bit like Christmas on the fingertips.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday #22: Paint



It's a sleepy sort of Sunday today, brought to you with this photograph from my front porch.  The light outside was just perfect one day and I photographed the first object I saw.  Now, on with the post!

FITGAINS.  I managed to get my butt to the gym five times this week which hasn't happened in month!  It's easier to keep going once I build up the momentum, but the activation barrier to exercise is still high.  I've found some positive ways to motivate myself to work out; I'll be sharing them soon!

STRANGER THINGS.  Have you watched Stranger Things?  No?  Get on it!  My boyfriend and I finished it this week and it absolutely lives up to the hype.  Fantastic imagery, cinematography, and acting (except when Winona Ryder's character is supposed to be sobbing, but THERE ARE NO TEARS ON HER FACE). 

MEETUP.  Liz brought me as her plus one to a drawing Meetup where artists in the are gather to draw.  It was nice to meet people outside of the academic bubble that we both work in.  I also realized that, despite having a lot of interests, the activation barrier to do them is still pretty high.  Having a dedicated place and time to draw means I actually did it.  I was also really inspired by the other artists I met.  It also highlighted my own creative limits; I need to expand outside of realism and portraiture, even if I love drawing people.

Works in progress.

PAINTING.  I went to an informal paint night on campus and touched brush to canvas for the first time in about ten years.  On the right is my dabbling on paint night.  Afterwards, I decided to buy myself some paints, brushes, and canvases.  On the left is a painting I started with my new materials.  Painting seems a lot harder than I remembered it.  It may be because I'm older and far more critical.  Creative goal: to write, paint, and draw with the reckless abandon I had in my teenage years.  Gosh, do I sound old.

-CLICK-

•  Deasy's blog: fantastic aesthetic and photography.
•  Kandice did great work on photographing her friend Lemon.  Love her vintage, old-film aesthetic.
•  The zibaldone was the 13th century version diary and scrapbook.  Pretty good inspiration for how to fill Moleskines. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Blooms of September




Autumn is a week away, but there are still flowers in full bloom here.  The pink flowers are on the way to the university.  The white ones line the hedge that separates my driveway from that of my neighbor's.  I shot these on the 50 mm lens attached to my camera which I have begun to carry around again.  These photographs are a reminder that beauty exists in the every day, if I only stop for a moment to look for it.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Review: Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation



Long lasting, radiant, and natural.  These are the qualities I look for in a foundation.  Long gone are the days where I could put any foundation on my face and call it a day.  As I've gotten older, my formerly oily and acne prone skin now leans on the dry/combination side.  It's easy for makeup to look caked on.  My idea of a perfect foundation is provides good coverage, is lightweight, imbues radiance, and hydrates while wearing all day.  That's a lot to ask out of one product!  Even with the myriad options, it's challenging to find the perfect fit.

Well, Bobbi Brown's Skin Foundation comes pretty close!  It imparts a natural glow and is the most comfortable foundation I own.  The only drawback is that this foundation retails for $50.  I use a lot of drugstore beauty and skincare products daily, but I've had a harder time finding a more affordable foundation that I love.  With my summer skin tone, I wear Natural Tan 4.25 (I'm an NC25/30, for reference).  It's still a little light for me, but I think that will ease the transition into my paler winter skin as I'm extremely tan right now.

I typically apply rosehip oil, moisturizer, facial sunscreen, and a hydrating primer before my makeup.  While it's nice that this foundation comes with SPF 15, I don't rely on it for sun protection since too little is applied to be effective.  I find that one pump of this base is more than enough for my face.  Once I buff the foundation into my skin, it's fairly undetectable (my boyfriend can notice even the slightest bit of cake-face).  It's hydrating and lightweight so there isn't a feeling of tightness after long hours of wear.  I don't notice it fading much during the day though I wear it for nearly 10 hours, one of which is spent sweating at the gym.  If it wears off, then it does so naturally.   Pretty good in my book! 

Have you tried Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation?  What's your favorite base?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunday #21: Visuals



This Sunday is brought to you by Stella waiting forlornly for her owner to come home from a hike.  My front porch has a pretty good lighting situation going on, doesn't it?

VISUALS.  I decided to take some new visuals for my blog and social media.  I want them to be an honest representation of who I am and what I look like on a day to day basis.  If someone bumps into me, I don't want them to say, "You look nothing like you do on your blog!"  Moreover, I've been reluctant to take photos since I've grown about 4" all around since I start lifting.  I know I've gained a lot of muscle, but growing bigger is never easy to deal with.  However, I've been working on adopting a healthier mindset about it and I think that's translated in these photos.  I look happy and relaxed.  Most importantly, I'm smiling, which is so rare in pictures!



THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS.  I read The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman this past week in anticipation of the movie.  The novel is set in Janus in Australia where a man, who takes care of a lighthouse, and a woman start their married life.  It starts out lightly enough, but descends slowly and steadily into emotionally heavier material.  I haven't been moved to tears by a book since reading Where the Red Fern Grows as a kid, but the last chapter of this book had me ugly crying.  Highly recommend it if you're a person who gets really invested in a story.



STUCK.  I'm feeling a little stuck in terms of creativity.  Recently, I decided to dip back into things I once loved doing: drawing, painting, and writing.  Surprisingly, the activation barrier for creativity is pretty high.  You would think that if you like doing something, it'd be easier.  I seem to feel most inspired when I'm supposed to be doing work.  Go figure.  Anyone have tips on getting out of a creative rut?