My Favorite Beauty Brands

2019 is the year I get into makeup, baby! I mean, I’ve been saying that for ages, but now that I’m almost 30 (haven’t even hit 27.5, I’m just dramatic), I feel like skincare and makeup are suddenly important. I’ve always been one for mascara and lipstick, but I’m not sure I knew what a serum was until, like, yesterday. Getting a beauty box subscription helped me branch out and try a bunch of new things. These are some of my new faves!

Glossier

I’m sorry (I’m not sorry). I know this is such an eye-roll-y brand to be into, but fuck if I don’t love their products. Glossier rocks. It’s a great price point, and I have yet to be disappointed in a single product. Little by little, my entire cabinet is being taken over. I have the Perfecting Skin Tint, Zit Stick, Stretch Concealer, Boy Brow, Super Bounce Serum, Solution, and I’m getting Glossier You (the solid and the spray) soon (it smells so freaking good). In addition to selling kick-ass products, their packaging game is so strong. The pink pouch has become iconic, and they always add some fun stickers.

BITE Beauty

I’ve been #blessed to receive a bunch of BITE products as free samples with cosmetics and in my FabFitFun box (that will come up quite a bit in this post). I have their Amuse Bouche lipstick in Meringue & Chai, two Matte Creme Lip Crayons, a Lip Pencil, and a set of Amuse Bouche Liquified Lipsticks! Needless to say, I’m a super fan.

PÜR, Be Your Selfie eyeshadow palette

Thus far I’m loving this palette that I got in my FabFitFun winter box. It’s a bunch of great neutrals with just enough sparkle for the holidays. I love it so much that I look forward to checking out what else the brand has to offer!

Too Faced

I’m new to Too Faced (I got their Melted Matte lipstick in Queen B as a sample), but I just snagged their Better Than Sex mascara in full- and mini-sized. I can’t wait to try it out. If their mascara is half as good as their lip products, I’m in good hands!

Juice Beauty

This one’s hardly a surprise—Juice Beauty is a pretty popular favorite beauty brand. I’ve used a bunch of Juice samples (thanks to my awesome friend, Gilly, who hipped me to the skincare game), but I’ve never actually owned a full-sized product until this season’s FabFitFun box (I added it on for a fraction of the retail cost).

HAN

HAN’s cheek and lip tint is possibly my favorite product ever. It’s super versatile (and clean!) and I use it almost every day. If you blend it, it’s such a subtle touch of color. I also have their eyeshadow in either Golden Glow or Chocolate Bronze (forgive me, I’m away from my arsenal of goodies). It’s super pigmented and perfectly shimmery.

OSEA

OSEA is a skincare and wellness brand that uses bioavailable organic seaweed in it’s nontoxic formulas! If you’re not obsessed already, I can personally vouch for the Essential Hydrating Oil, which I got in my Oui Fresh box. Plus, it smells amazing! Take their skincare quiz here!

Johnny Concert

Vegan. Cruelty-free. Amazing. I have their eyeshadow in a super-bright platinum white (I think it’s Skull? It came in the October Oui Fresh box.) Typically this whole aesthetic (the Kat Von D thing, Suicide Girls, fetlife.com, lol) makes me puke, but this makeup is actually pretty legit. I’m looking to make sure everything in my life is cruelty-free (except my Madewell bags, don’t @ me), so I dig any brand that’s committed to this. Plus, most eyeshadow is honestly garbage, so finding an awesome, pigmented one is a clear sign from the cosmos that a brand is good.

e.l.f. cosmetics

Yeah, that’s right. The stuff you can buy at CVS. It’s good! And it’s so GOSH DARN CHEAP. e.l.f. is my starting point for trying anything new and adventurous. Remember when gel eyeliner was a thing? My first ever primer was from e.l.f. All of my makeup brushes are e.l.f. (why pay more than $3 for something I barely know how to use?). When you’re a makeup neophyte, it feels good to be able to try out a trend for a few dollars rather than investing, say $20 in a Kat Von D Tattoo Liner (which, incidentally, rules, but she is an anti-vaxxer, so…) Pro tip: check out their actual website—there’s a way bigger selection there than at your local Target.

Pacifica

I’ve used a lot of Pacifica products before (I love their nail polish!). The Kale Detox face wash is excellent, their spray sunscreen is amazing for the price point, and their Aquarian Gaze mascara does the trick in a pinch (I’m still looking for a clean mascara that performs as well as conventional). As mentioned before, I love a brand that is vegan and cruelty-free, and this one is available at Target! They also have a fragrance line, if that’s what you’re into!

Thrive Causemetics

Another FabFitFun find! In this season’s box, I got a Brilliant Eye Brightener, and I absolutely love it! I suffer from the very serious ailment of dark circles, so anything that helps add some brightness to my dead-eyed stare is a huge plus. I love highlighting under my brows and in the corners of my eyes! It’s adds a tiny bit of shimmer to my usual mascara-and-lipstick only look.

Make Up For Ever

Make Up For Ever is a Parisian brand (I don’t think anyone’s surprised that I’m a Francophile) that I just discovered by a mild Sephora spree. I snagged this super fun eyeshadow palette that I can’t wait to use for all my holiday events! I’ve never really branched out with eyeshadow before, so it should be a trip!

Stay tuned for another roundup!

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Sunday Kind of Love xvii

I know what you’re thinking—did she die?? I mean, kind of. I got back from Europe and immediately started a full-time management position working for a huge corporation. It’s not as glamorous as it sounds, and I won’t name-check it, but trust me, you know this place and you probably love it. So my limited free time has consisted mostly of sleep, meditation, and NY Times crossword puzzles.

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the ivy brasserie in bath, uk

So, as an apology for my absence for like, two months, I’m doing a mega-post of favorites!

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rock star // dress // bag // glasses 

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Today is Primary Day in Massachusetts! Get out there and rock the f***ing vote! Find out more here!

I saw The Book of Mormon at the Boston Opera House and it was AMAZING. Buy the original cast recording here!

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Casually met Stacy King aka Sucré at Great Scott the night before my birthday. NO BIG DEAL, SHE’S ONLY MY IDOL. Get her newest single, In Pieces, and while you’re at it, buy “Inside,” Loner, Absentee, and A Minor Bird too.

I started using a tongue scraper and honestly, it’s the best thing that’s happened to me in my adult life. I use this model (it came in the Oui Fresh July Beauty Box!). I recommend copper because it’s a bacteria-resistant metal—and aside from that, it’s cute as hell! My mouth feels so much cleaner and the mouth is the first stop for overall health, so it makes sense to take good care of it, right?

Dear Coquette is back. That is all.

I read Call Me By Your Name and dear god. It’s perfect. Plus, Armie Hammer narrates the audiobook so *salivating emoji*

Just bought a Girlfriend set of this bra and these leggings, because being the cutest girl at the gym is extremely important to me. Next pay cycle I’ll be grabbing the same in Jade (hopefully the Paloma bra will be back in stock!) I currently have this set: bra (in powder blue)/ leggings. I’ve also been rocking this ban.do yoga mat, which people at yoga class think is a riot! Although I will say that in terms of functionality, my lulu mat is far superior.

Younger‘s Season 5 is done, so binge that shit! Catch up on Hulu.

I just read Guy Branum’s My Life as a Goddess (available wherever books are sold), and it was incredible. I couldn’t put it down. It’s smart, hilarious, and moving. I’ll probably break down and buy the audiobook for my eventual re-read—hearing Guy perform it sounds like such a dream. Watch him slay on Conan.

I am currently reading Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. I’m really enjoying it so far, and I can’t wait to see how they’ve interpreted it for the film!

I’m listening to Kate Nash’s Yesterday Was Forever while writing this post and I’m loving it! Stream it via this link, but also, y’know, purchase it to support our girl!

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the gates at kensington palace

Lykke Li put out an album this year?? I had no clue, but as soon as I found out, I listened to it obsessively. so sad so sexy is just full of bops!

Today is release day for Erin Gibson’s Feminasty! If you don’t know Erin, she’s the co-host of the incomparable Throwing Shade podcast with Bryan Safi. I pre-ordered this puppy on Audible—it was a tough choice between the book and audio but since I’m used to listening to Erin & Bryan every week on the pod, audio won out!

Sherri & Max Bemis launched a Kickstarter! This comes on the heels of Max announcing that Say Anything is no more—some exciting changes are in the works! Pledge to support their dreams and help them keep creating art! Bonus Lucy & Coraline content, too.

JK was sponsored by FabFitFun on I Seem Fun so I finally caved and got a box. I’ll report back once I receive it—I’m excited! I love a subscription box because I am the bougiest.

Just discovered Mitski and I’m so mad none of you told me about her.

Alone Together is one of the best written shows on television right now. I’ve watched the entire series twice—I watched it and then immediately forced my husband to watch it (he loves it).

Have I talked about American Vandal on here yet? I’m way late to the game but American Vandal is a perfect, perfect show. I’m obsessed. Who drew the dicks??

Y’all know I’m obsessed with Madewell, but I went super nuts for my birthday. I got this bag, this bag (monogrammed), this clutch, this wallet, this hat, these jeans, these jeans, and probably way more that doesn’t even immediately come to mind. Take my credit card away.

I started a Depop shop. I’ve tried (and been successful with) Poshmark in the past, but I’m trying something new! Buy my designer stuff! I’ll probably upload these items to Posh as well (I’m open to offers!)

Can’t wait to read In Intimate Detail by Cora Harrington! If you don’t know Cora, you may have seen her viral Twitter thread on thin privilege.

I discovered Fopp while I was in England. If you live in the UK you must go there. I bought 6 books for £3!

I’m sure it’s basic as hell, and I’m a wine peasant, but this Dry Riseling never disappoints. Pro-tip: always make sure to buy dry Riselings, not off-dry (demi-sec), otherwise you’ll basically be drinking sugar-water.

Marmite is GREAT and we need to start using it in the US!

The Lindbergh Candle Co. shop is open for pre-orders! This is my favorite candle company (their reed diffusers are incredible—I have one in my bathroom and I get so many compliments!) I love supporting small businesses (this one’s out of Atlanta, one of my favorite places).

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wadham college at oxford

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Okay. I’m exhausted. That was a lot. I hope some of this tickles your fancy! I’ll just be in my office, diffusing some Stress Away, and enjoying one of my very rare days off.

Adieu!

-c

It’s a 12-Month Wrap-Up!

Rap- rap- wrap-up!

2017 is over and frankly, BYE GIRL. What a rough year. I went from severe election depression, to a Mexican vacation, to not knowing WTF I was doing with my life, to going to grad school. The transition was rough, but not just for me. This year has also, obviously, been an actual trash-fire for the entire country.

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But apart from praying for mercy from our overlords, there were a few enjoyable things about 2017. I went to Cancún and Atlanta for the first time, and got to spend two weeks in L.A., which I proudly yet undeservedly consider my homeland. I dove even deeper into my comedy obsession, and turned it into a final paper on feminism and comedy writing (in which I got to use the quotation “Men are a cancer! God made a mistake!“). I binged so much TV that it should be considered a crime against (my own) humanity. I started therapy and got back on meds. Actually, if it weren’t for the backdrop of constant nuclear panic, 2017 might have even been a good year.

Luckily, even in the darkest timeline, artists gonna art, so there was a barrage of dope shit released this year. Here are the things that really stood out in my 2017:

Roxane Gay, Hunger

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image from the chicago tribune review

Literally everything Roxane Gay has ever written is perfect, so it was a no-brainer that this incredible book would be on my “Best Of” list. This book is so powerful and emotional; I cried reading it. Hunger is, genuinely, a memoir of her body—unlike so many other books written in a similar vein, this one has no self-help aims or “happy ending.” It is a raw, honest rendering of past and present traumas, and though Ms. Gay’s journey is unique to her, her writing speaks to the universal truths familiar to all those who inhabit bodies and navigate the world. For six months, the words of Hunger have stayed with me, like a haunting presence.

Hillary Clinton, What Happened

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image via slate

I haven’t finished this book yet, so no spoilers! (lol)

Part of me loves this book so much merely because I love Secretary Clinton and want to push back against the haters that think, for some reason, that it’s unacceptable that the first female presidential candidate of a major political party should write a book chronicling her experiences. I know this about myself. What I didn’t expect, upon beginning to listen (I’m checking out Audible this season), is how deeply First Lady Clinton’s words would affect me. She gets pretty real about her journey, and doesn’t shy away from being honest about the present danger in which America finds itself. But it’s never sad. In What Happened, hope eclipses sadness and darkness at every turn. It doesn’t hurt that Senator Clinton is funny as hell, either. Listening to What Happened is like inspiring meditation for all of us who were deeply hurt last November.

So, if Popular Vote Winner Rodham Clinton wants to hit me up for a glass of Chardonnay, just DM me @highwaytochel, bby.

Just realized I keep switching up her name! I guess she just has so many accomplishments that I’m not even sure what to call her!

Matt Bellassai, Everything is Awful 

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image via ew

This list was getting pretty heavy, so I had to turn up the levity to 11.

Matt Bellassai is a national treasure. I first heard of him on Throwing Shade, so I’m a bit of a late adopter, but as soon as I heard him on TSPod, I sought out his podcast Unhappy Hour, which led me to his book, which I scored, again, on Audible. I knew the book would be funny, but I didn’t think it would be laugh-out-loud-like-a-maniac-alone-in-my-car funny. The writing is so, so good. He has such a clear, distinct voice that it’s shocking he’s only my age. It’s so powerful, in fact, that I find myself relating on a deep level to a chubby, sheltered, Midwestern, gay, cis-male child, most of whose adjectives don’t describe me at all! I rarely advocate for audiobook over real book, but hearing Bellassai’s delivery is the icing on the cake.

Check out his popular Whine About It videos on Buzzfeed!

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

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Amy Sherman-Palladino has blessed us once again! The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (which Jen Kirkman consulted on, nbd) is my favorite new show of the year! I’m not even that bitter about the fact that the lead actress, Rachel Brosnahan, is the same age as me!

The MMM tells the story of Midge, a 26-year-old mother of two in 1958, going through a separation following her husband, Joel’s, infidelity. Joel had been fervently pursuing a stand-up career (i.e. plagiarizing one), but it turns out that his wife is the real natural. Coached by Susie, played by the incomparable Alex Borstein, Midge begins to perform, to varying degrees of success. Oh, and Lenny Bruce is a character.

In true ASP fashion, the dialogue is fast-paced, joke dense, and sensational. If there had to be an heir to Gilmore Girls, this is indeed the one. I just watched the series but might start it over and force the huz to watch it with me. 10/10

Get Out

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Is Get Out the best movie I’ve ever seen? Strong possibility. Give Jordan Peele and Daniel Kaluuya and Betty Gabriel all of the Oscars!

I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t know it would be that good. I only just watched Get Out this fall, since I am horror-averse to the extreme, but I already know it will be one of my life-long favorites. Unfortunately, to write pretty much anything about it would spoil the majesty, and for once, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. I was shocked, despite waiting months to watch it, and I wouldn’t take that experience away from anyone.

Jordan Peele is a genius. The film is aesthetically gorgeous, socially aware, hilarious, and terrifying. It’s a horror film, and a comedy, and a documentary.

P.S. I had the unique privilege of writing one of my final papers about Get Out, which I’m submitting to conferences!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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If you didn’t like this movie, please eject yourself from planet Earth. I won’t spoil it for anyone (it was spoiled for me by my brother), but it was a joy and a pleasure. I gasped in surprise or glee multiple times, and I got to experience the entire thing sitting between my husband and my best friend—best combo ever. I’d write more about how much it rocked my world, but I’m busy going to see it again.

#FeelTheDern

Hallmark Christmas Movies

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christmas in the air (2017)

I finally discovered the true, unadulterated joy that is Hallmark Christmas movies. I watched Christmas in the Air*, which only made me thirst for more**. These things are a bright spot in an increasingly dismal world. Plus, where else will you experience the true joy of a 49-year-old, childless female lead? Hallmark doesn’t even know that it’s feminist!

*I will say, specific to this film, that it espoused one trash value, which is that messiness and imperfection is acceptable. You should have let her clean your office, dude. You’re not a creative genius—you have untreated ADHD.

**There’s an upcoming one starring Candace Cameron Bure and Marilu Henner!

St. Vincent, Masseduction

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I. Love. St. Vincent. I finally got to see her in concert last month at the House of Blues! I’ve liked her for years, but I have to admit, when she started getting super high concept, starting with Strange Mercy and continuing even stronger with St. Vincent, I really became a superfan. Masseduction doesn’t disappoint for a second—it’s got killer visuals, tight tunes, and her sexiest sound yet. Go purchase this album with human currency!

Highlights: “Los Ageless,” “New York,” and “Pills.”

The National, Sleep Well Beast

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image via pitchfork

As if The National could put out a bad album. I’ve been waiting for what seems like decades for new Ntl jams, and finally, my prayers have been answered. Sleep Well Beast is everything I dreamed it would be and more. It has more tech-y, electronic-y moments (please, don’t be intimidated by my vast knowledge of music) than previous releases, but it works. Get on this album, my dudes.

Highlights, for me at least, are “Day I Die,” “I’ll Still Destroy You,” and “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness.”

Taylor Swift, reputation

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I know. I’m going back on years of hating on T. Swift. I can admit I was wrong! In my hour of darkness she was standing right in front of me, speaking words of wisdom, so let her be.

Reputation is bops for days. I adore it. I’ve listened to it more than the previous 2 albums combined, which severely deducts cool points from my street cred. But I don’t care. I even like “Look What You Made Me Do” which was pretty much universally panned. Highlights are, for sure, “Endgame (feat. Future & Ed Sheeran),” “Ready For It,” and “I Did Something Bad,” but basically every song is great so just go listen to it? T. Swift redeemed.

Put Your Hands Together

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image via twitter

Guys, I got to actually go to PYHT in Hollywood! It was probably the craziest night of my entire life—maybe I’ll share the story someday—but it was an amazing experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. The whole drama is recorded on the podcast, so if you’re a listener, you may know what I’m referring to. It was definitely a…teachable moment.

Cam & Rhea, thanks for being the moms we all need, and being genuinely the warmest and best people I’ve ever met.

Oui Fresh Beauty

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My ABM ladies started a natural beauty line! Lipstick, lip gloss, and essential oils, oh my! I am obsessed with clean beauty products (#backonmyhippiebullshit), so these gems were a total godsend. I took advantage of all of the launch and holiday sales, so I, of course, have the full lip collection. They go on smooth, hydrate, last, and bonus: the lip gloss smells like yummy vanilla!

The lipsticks and lip glosses all have ’90s namesakes like Blossom, Kapowski, Pink Ranger, and As If! They even have a natural beauty subscription box, à la Birchbox, which flies off the virtual shelves every month. I subscribed in December, and got an amazing box of goodies! 10/10 would recommend!