Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Since last year I discussed what I was thankful for (the bigguns like M, my family, and friends), I thought I’d discuss the more trivial things I’m thankful for that make life a little bit nicer.
Pinterest – Hours of time wasted pinning beautiful clothes I’ll never buy and recipes I’ll take forever to make, because who wants to read? (Just kidding, I do, but books are not stupid).
Trader Joe’s Vanilla and Cinnamon Black Tea – My favorite grocery store only sells this tea during the holiday season, so when it hits the shelves, I stock up like an apocalypse is coming and I need to fill my Doomsday Preppers-esque bunker. Basically, it’s a really tasty black tea. And it has a cute little lemur on the box with Christmas lights tangled around him.
Pictures of cute animals – Because they instantly make me feel better, even if I’m already in a great mood.
Reddit - Despite having some rather… unsettling corners, Reddit is a bit like Pinterest in that it serves as a good time killer. Plus I can learn about all sorts of new things and commiserate with other pasty nerds.
Netflix – Netflix has been on fire lately with its original content. House of Cards and Orange is the New Black were binged through in short order. Plus it allowed me to watch Shame with Michael Fassbender and he is so, so pretty. I’m also thankful for Michael Fassbender.
Cloth headbands - Because I don’t like getting my hair in my face while I’m exercising and bobby pins leave dents in my hair. I told you this was a list of stupid things.
Vidalia Chop Wizard - THIS THING IS AMAZING. My mother-in-law bought me one a few years ago and it makes dicing and chopping things so much quicker. I used it so much that I broke it and bought myself a new one awhile ago. Plus is comes with this comb-like thingy to clean it with and I think that’s really fun because I’m weird.
Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay - It makes my skin look amazing and is fun to wear because you look like a scary alien.
Boots - They keep my feet warm and look great on everyone. Mostly I’m excited because Mom just bought me an amazing pair as an early Christmas present. Mom is the best. So are boots.
This bag - Because obviously.
If you can remember all the way back to June, you might also remember me discussing my favorite cheapie beauty buys at length. As much as I love a good bargain, I like indulge now and then and feel sometimes the heftier price tag is worth it for the awesome results/scents/whatever that I get. Read on my recommendations…
Urban Decay Naked and Naked 2 Palettes - These palettes are quite simply the best eyeshadows I’ve ever bought. They are super pretty, come with matte and shimmer colors, and can create a wide variety of looks. These palettes sell out constantly and I was lucky to get my hands on them when I did! The third palette in the Naked line is coming out soon and I AM SO EXCITED.
Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash - I love big, black, thick, curly eyelashes. I was born with straight, blonde, short ones, though. Enter MUFE’s Smoky Lash! It’s super dark and gives me the lush, dark eyelashes I so covet without the bother of fake ones. It also doesn’t flake off during the day and leave little black mascara flecks on my cheeks. Bonus!
Koh Gen Do Soft Gommage Spa Gel - This stuff is seriously amazing and appeals to the gross skin-picker deep inside me. After applying a small amount to your face, you gently massage in circular motions and little balls start to form – balls of dead skin and debris! Gross! And totally cool! This exfoliant works wonders and leaves my skin super soft and glow-y.
Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey - I’m not a lipstick person, despite what the inside of my makeup bag will tell you. I do, however, like to punch it up once in awhile, and when I do I reach for Black Honey. It’s a shiny and moisturizing, and the color is sheer enough that it looks good on everyone! It’s such a cult favorite that Clinique has expanded the Black Honey line and added lip gloss, lip liner, eyeshadow, and nail polish.
Dermablend Smooth Indulgence Concealer - I have extremely pale skin and was born with what I consider pretty dark under eye circles (thanks, Mom!). No concealer had been able to cover them to my liking until I found Dermablend. The company makes makeup for covering up tattoos, port wine stains, and dark scarring, so I figured this would have to work on my circles. And it did! Yay!
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil - Finding a good pencil eyeliner is a challenge. You don’t want one that’s going to rub off after 5 minutes, but you don’t want one that’s too hard to smudge or is painful to apply. Enter this pencil – it’s smooth, creamy, and super blendable for up to 30 seconds, but then sets for a super long time. It also comes in a number of beautiful shades and can be used as an eyeshadow base, if you’re so inclined.
Urban Decay All Night Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray - Urban Decay again! These guys really know what they’re doing when it comes to makeup. I am not a big fan of powder, as I don’t love the way it feels, and I think it makes me look cake-y. Not pretty. But I do like my makeup to stay put all day without touching up (who has time for that noise?). This setting spray is like hair spray for your face – it makes every stitch of makeup last and last and stay fresh. I used this on my wedding day and it held my makeup together through tears, sweat, and a long day and night. Winner winner!
Lollia In Love Shea Butter Handcreme - I stumbled across this lotion while waiting in line at Anthropologie a few years back and instantly fell in love (Hey! That’s the name of the lotion!). It’s not every day you find a super moisturizing hand lotion that also smells totally out of this world incredible. But I did! It combines Macadamia and Avocado oils to smooth skin and Apple Blossom and Jasmine in the scent. It is lovely and in just about every bag, drawer, and shelf in my life.
MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack - I love this eyeliner. I am a big fan of liquid eyeliner, but it has a tendency to not be super waterproof, and I sometimes get watery eyes or see that Sarah McLachlan sad pet commercial on TV and burst into tears. Fluidline is just as intense in color as liquid and when applied with a fine liner brush can give you the same thin line or cat eye flick. Plus it lasts forever and comes in some really nice shades.
You know how in Friends the group discusses celebrities on their freebie lists? You know the list I’m referring to – the one that lists the celebrities you’re allowed to have relations with while in a committed relationship, and your significant other isn’t allowed to get upset. I have a list like that. Only M doesn’t want me to have a list, so it’s really just a list of people I’d hug real tight and giggle at nervously (Oh by the way, I have this great bridge to sell you).
You might find it a little odd for some of these fellas to be on this list, but that’s just how I roll – oddly. It’s a veritable potpourri of men and I want to stick my nose in there and take a great big whiff.
Clint Eastwood - Mr. Eastwood will forever be at the top of my list. Young Clint, old Clint – I don’t care. He’s just so good looking, you guys! And a wonderful actor and director to boot. I used to watch his spaghetti westerns as a little girl, so my crush took hold early and has yet to release me from its craggily, rugged clutches.
The rest of my list is in no particular order. But Clint is always first. ALWAYS.
Michael Fassbender - I first laid eyes on the stupidly handsome Mr. Fassbender when he played Burton “Pat” Christenson in Band of Brothers and thought, “now there’s a handsome fella.” Then I saw him again in Inglourious Basterds, Jane Eyre, and Prometheus. So many movies! I decided it obviously meant he was stalking me via movie roles and was in love with me. Duh. Michael Fassbender is a super talented, super strapping (see his role in Shame for exactly how strapping), AND super sexy with his unique Irish/German accent. More, please!
Leonard Nimoy - It appears I might have a thing for geriatrics. Whatever. Anyway, the nerdy fangirl in me emerges a bit with this one. My love for Nimoy started when M sat me down to watch the original Star Trek series and I fell hard for Spock. He’s so smart! And logical! And those ears! I got to meet the man himself a few years ago at Emerald City Comicon and could barely speak, but I did shake his hand and say hi and smile like a maniac. That’s the same as smoothly sweeping him off his feet, right? (P.S. Zachary Quinto has nothing on my man).
Jon Hamm - I saw Jon Hamm before in films such as Kissing Jessica Stein and Space Cowboys (starring my main squeeze Clint), but he never really caught my eye until he played the charming cad Don Draper on Mad Men. Oh, Don Draper… You’re such an utter piece of shit, but you’re so damaged and sexy, I forgive you. Now come give me a great big, sloppy hug. And in real life he’s been with his girlfriend for years and years and he is rocking a major beard at the moment. AND he seems super nice and amazing in interviews. I just want to be BFFs with him. Sexy BFFs.
Ryan Gosling - Who doesn’t love this guy? He is totally adorable and has some serious acting chops. Unlike every single other female my age in the history of ever, I was not a fan of The Notebook. I thought it was utter garbage. Despite my disdain for what is considered to be his breakthrough role, I still have THE FEELINGS for Ryan Gosling and quite enjoyed his other movies like Crazy Stupid Love and The Ides of March. He can hey girl me anytime.
Henry Cavill - In the new iteration of Superman, Mr. Cavill plays the titular character and he knocks that shiz out of the park. I mean come on, just look at him. He’s super in every single way (except apparently he likes The Big Bang Theory, which… no). A dude at my gym told me to check out Tudors because apparently in the first episode you see his tushy. Duly noted, gym guy. (It’s been added to my Netflix queue since that conversation, obviously).
Eion Bailey - Another Band of Brothers alum! Eion hasn’t has many more big roles, but he did play a PTSD-suffering war vet in an episode of Law and Order: SVU this past season and he looked as dreamy as ever. I’m beginning to think I have a thing for dark hair and blue eyes.
Vincent d’Onofrio - Oh man, VdO. I really, really like cop shows and the Law & Order franchise is no exception. After binging through every. single. episode. ever. of SVU a few years ago, I gave Criminal Intent a try. IT WAS AMAZING. Maybe even more amazing than SVU. And part of that amazingness came from the wonderfully talented Vincent d’Onofrio. As soon as I saw him, I was hooked. He was just so dreamy and weird! My crush made me a crazy woman – I looked up every movie and TV show he’d been in and watched as many as I could, including The Cell (which no one should ever watch for any reason) and episodes Miami Vice and The Equalizer. He’ll forever be a better Thor than Liam Hemsworth, too.
Christian Bale - I fell in love with Christian Bale when I saw him play Laurie opposite Winona Ryder in Little Women. Since then he’s become a wildly successful actor after he took his turn as Batman in The Dark Knight trilogy. But I really, really loved him as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. He was perfect as an egomaniacal yuppie turned serial killer and I ate those shirtless scenes right up with a spoon. A sexy, psychotic spoon.
Ian Harding - So one of my guiltiest of guilty pleasure TV shows is Pretty Little Liars. It’s on ABC Family, it’s not very well written, and there are plot holes you could fly a plane through. But Mr. Fitz, played by the adorable Ian Harding, is in it and he’s a charming, bookish English teacher with a thing for younger gals and I LOVE HIM SO MUCH I WAS SO MAD ABOUT THE LAST FINALE OH MY GOD. I don’t know if Ian has been in anything else, but look at those cheekbones and pretty eyes… What was I talking about?
Cobalt was a great big trend this spring, and I gotta say: I way prefer it to that season’s usual neons and pastels. Lucky for like-minded cobalt fans, the trend is continuing into the fall. If I’m being really honest, though, what really drew me to cobalt initially was one of M’s figurines of Sonic the Hedgehog. Go figure.
Cobalt is great because it goes with everything. It looks wonderful with neutrals, but is particularly striking with other bold colors such as fuschia and orange.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about my generation – The Millennials/Generation Y. Namely that we’re entitled, egotistical cry babies who serve no purpose but to irritate everyone with our whining about how life isn’t fair while living in our parents’ basements rent-free. This may be true of some people, but it certainly isn’t true of me, my friends, my family members of the same age, or, I’m betting, the majority of my peers.
At the forefront of all this badmouthing are authors such as Mark Bauerlein, who wrote The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future and articles with titles like “Generation Y Bother” and “Millennials: The New Office Moron.” Thanks, media. As obnoxious as these books and articles are, the phenomenon of older generations stereotyping and trivializing younger generations is nothing new. Baby Boomers did it with Gen X, and the Silent Generation and Great Generation did it to Baby Boomers. Socrates even did it in a famous rant about the corrupt youth of Athens. The amount of attention millennials are getting for our perceived flaws is pretty new, though, and as much as I know I shouldn’t take it to heart, it pisses me off. Not only are generalizations about Millennials offensive, they are categorically untrue. Read on…
- Millennials are lazy slackers. In every age group there are going to be lazy people, so surprise – its not just people ages 18 – 30. Most of us have a strong work ethic and work our butts off. The technology many take for granted nowadays has helped how we work in a number of ways (i.e., making it faster) and while older generations may not recognize it as how they did/do things, we are getting just as much (if not more) stuff done. I promise.
- Millennials are weak. Many of us grew up being told we were unique and special and older generations feel this has made us soft. Look, almost every parent thinks their kid is special and just because we were the first generation where it was generally looked down upon to smack your kid doesn’t make us wimps, it means we were brought up in loving, healthy homes. Homes that strived for higher levels of self-esteem and confidence in our skills (attributes employers want in a worker). True, some of us are entitled jerks, but guess what? So are some old people. That’s just the way the world works.
- Millennials are entitled. This relates to #2. Being told you’re special and great is generally wonderful, but it can certainly have adverse effects on some people. Having gone to a private art school, I was surrounded by my fair share of entitled bozos. But as soon as the real work started and the harsh landscape of secondary education and no-nonsense professors kicked in, entitlement problems were promptly squashed. And any of the aforementioned bozos who squeaked through graduation were summarily bitch-slapped into reality when it came time to find and keep a job in the real world.
- Millennials are irresponsible. Oh puh-leez. Having been told we’re so fabulous during our formative years, we have big, big goals and the drive and ambition to go out there and achieve them. This means being able to get a job, pay our bills, live on our own, and generally be functional and (gasp!) contributing members of society. Social responsibility is huge for my generation, as well, and ofttimes we’ll rally to help those of us who aren’t as fortunate. We grew up watching horrific events like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, which helped to shape our moral compasses and develop strong senses of social responsibility.
- Millennials don’t respect previous generations. I take great issue with this one. While I don’t feel that just because someone is older than me they automatically deserve my respect (Hitler is older than me. Just saying.), I don’t think discounting my elders because they are so totally un-hip or out of touch or whatever is a smart choice, and I think many of my peers would agree with me. Older people, having lived longer, have (duh) experienced more than I have and can pass down to me their wisdom, thereby shortening the learning curve. Teachers, parents, and mentors are treasure troves of wisdom and tips and can provide a unique perspective on a wide variety of things. Like I said, though, I don’t respect someone just because they are older – respect is something to be earned on both sides of a relationship. That said, when someone from an older generation earns a Millennial’s respect, that respect is powerful.
While certainly not a comprehensive list, these are the top five complaints I’ve heard lodged against us Millennials that really exasperate me. Being able to address and recognize these issues, though, can help us stand up against the mounting marginalization we face on a daily basis. And if all else fails, just remember that we can put all the complainers in substandard retirement homes in a few years.
In another installment of The Brownie Face-Off, I will be testing out the Deep-Dish Brownie recipe from Food Network Kitchen’s How To Boil Water. The book was gifted to M and me by M’s mom when we moved into our current house. It has lots of good, basic information, as well as a bunch of easy recipes. I haven’t tried any of them yet, except for this brownie recipe. Because obviously.
Anyway, this brownie recipe, while fairly basic (and, as it turns out, almost the exact same as The Joy of Cooking‘s, so I won’t be making those), is pretty tasty. I’d score it 3rd after The Supernatural and The Baked (which are tied at this point and continue to vex me – which one is best? WHICH?). It is moist, pretty chocolatey, and easy to make. They’d be great for kids’ bake sales and parties, as this recipe has no fancy/weird/hard-to-find ingredients that one might find offensive.
Deep-Dish Brownies adapted from How To Boil Water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
Position rack in the lower third of the oven and heat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with foil or spray with Pam.
In a double-boiler, melt the chocolate and butter.
Stir in the sugars, salt, and vanilla into the chocolate mixture with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs and beat vigorously until fully incorporated. The batter should be thick and glossy. Add the flour and stir gently just until it disappears into the chocolate.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean, 40 – 50 minutes (I found 40 minutes to be perfect for a bit gooier brownies).
Cool the brownies in the pan on the counter or on a rack if you have one.
Let me be clear: I do not like spiders. At all. I think they’re gross and annoying. This summer the heat brought them indoors and M and I had to grapple with what seemed like an infestation of GIANT eight-legged monstrosities.
You see, they had broken my (very generous) rule: spiders can live in my house as long as I never see them. If I do, they are subject to any number of deaths, usually being squished in a tissue and flushed down the toilet (and flushed again, just in case they are super-spiders and crawl back up the pipes. It happened once, I swear.). So I killed a bunch of spiders this summer and into the fall.
I became their queen. Their evil, evil queen.
With that in mind, and with Halloween coming up, my lust object this month is the spider! Whee!