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Monthly Archives: March 2015

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I never usually think months fly by but this one definitely did. I can’t believe that by the time I’m writing next month’s favorites, I’ll be done with my undergraduate career! Where is time going?!

Favorites are easily my favorite posts to write so let’s get to it!

Stella by Stella McCartney Eau de Parfum – I actually only have the rollerball of this right now because I do not need to buy more before I use up a few bottles (perfume is easily my Achille’s heel) but I know I’ll need to invest in the full-size soon. The smell is very up my street – rose, rose and more rose. But not like…gross ol’ powder-y rose. It is really feminine (a lot more feminine than I actually usually go for) but it also has amber notes which brings in a touch of muskiness. It is just SO good. If you’re anywhere near a Sephora, you need to check it out. I especially love it because I’ve already associated the smell with Hialeah (don’t worry, everyone else thinks I’m weird for saying that, too) and just home in general. I miss home.

Herbivore Botanicals Hydrate Facial Toner – My dream of finally owning a spray toner has been realized! I ordered this off of Birchbox last month and, because I had a bunch of points saved up, I thought why not try something new? It is so refreshing to spray my face with this as soon as I remove my makeup and cleanse my face. And, best of all, I have noticed that my skin feels significantly softer and hydrated all the time! Ahhh, skin miracles!

Dr. Jart Ceramidin Oil Balm – I also bought this during my recent Birchbox haul. These two items have been my only changes to my skincare routine and I have definitely noticed a huge difference. Subtle brag: the other day, I touched my face and thought “oh my god! I need to take my makeup off” …but my makeup was already off. My skin has been feeling and looking so even, hydrated and soft that I literally thought I was still wearing foundation. The combination of my new toner and this oil has been game changing. I’ve long been a fan of Dr. Jart’s Ceramidin line but this addition has truly stolen the show. I’m still coping with dry patches once in a while (they have significantly lessened since I removed argan oil from my routine but now I think they may have something to do with my hormones? I’m not sure) but this oil clears them right up. It is so comforting to know I can put a bit of this on before bed and be able to wake up the next morning feeling pretty good about my bare face.

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat – I messed up. I’ve spent so much of my life thinking that this stuff was all hype. I was wrong and, now, I’ll never go back. This top coat is amazing! I’m someone who repaints my nails constantly mostly because I’m always messing them up (usually because I can’t sit still long enough to let them dry) but this top coat has changed all of that. I no longer have to wait forever just to hope my nails are dry. I don’t know if this necessarily keeps my nails from chipping longer but that isn’t really my concern (because, as I said, I repaint them so much that it isn’t an issue) – all I know is that I’m never going back.

Brussels Sprouts – I love brussels sprouts. A lot of people make fun of me for it (mostly my family and mostly because I make the whole house smell like them when I roast them). I’ve actually never tried them not roasted so I literally have no idea what anyone is talking about when they say brussels sprouts are gross. They are just…so good. If I could eat slightly burnt roasted brussels sprouts for every single meal I would…oh, I would. This month, my love has been really, really real. I think I ate them every single day for a full week and then almost every other day after that for the next two weeks. Just give me all of them, please.

Out of Range by Brand New (maybe?) – This is a bit of a weird one. Rumor has it, about a year ago (maybe longer? maybe more like two years? I don’t know) this song surfaced and was assumed to be a previously unreleased track recorded by Jesse and Vinnie of Brand New. There were arguments about all of the details but all I know is that I’ve been loving it recently (especially because I’m feeling more than ever the huge “Brand New needs a few album” void in my heart). I’ve been listening to it on repeat all month and have no plans of listening to just about anything else.

Traditional Medicinals Organic Throat Coat Tea – There were quite a few times this month when I thought I might be coming down with a cold. Through a combination of Vitamin C, lots of water and this tea, I was able to avoid it. This tea has my favorite ingredient any tea could have – licorice. Weirdly, I don’t like licorice but licorice tea has quickly become one of my favorite things. This tea isn’t really as “tasty” as other licorice teas I’ve tried but it is definitely soothing. I definitely don’t want to get sick but I actually can’t wait to try a cup of this out next time I actually have a cold.

And that’s that! What have you been loving this month?

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Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

I read this on Vanessa’s recommendation after she heard about it on The Daily Show. With the seal of approval from not only Jon Stewart but also Goodreads (where the book has some pretty great reviews), I knew I had to read it. Although it has now been about a week since I’ve finished reading Just Mercy, I still find myself thinking about it, in some capacity, every single day. The book follows the real-life situations, cases and encounters of its author, a lawyer who now heads the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama and teaches at NYU Law. For decades now, Stevenson, along with his colleagues, have worked tirelessly to not only save the imprisoned from their unfair and unjust death sentences (often for crimes they did not even commit) but also to prove that the system we put so much faith into is more than coming up short. In the book, Stevenson closely focuses on one man’s overarching story but also dives into shorter anecdotes (like lifetime sentence mandates of minors and the imprisonment of the mentally and physically disabled). I think this book would be an especially inspiring read for anyone who is interested in learning more about current incarceration practices in America but, above all, I think this would be an important read for everyone. We all have something to learn and Just Mercy is a step in the right direction.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

I am someone who recently discovered that I do not really like Mystery/Thriller books, even though I’ve always thought that I really, really did. I like wondering “whodunnit?” and looking for clues sprinkled throughout the text…but, as I’ve started to realize, those clues don’t usually exist (maybe I’m reading the wrong books). I know, I know – it is just a book! And the author has full creative control! But that’s kind of my problem (and maybe why I’m starting to love True Crime even more): these books don’t usually have those clues I love looking for. It’s a mystery and it’s meant to stay a mystery until the end and, I mean, that’s cool, but not as much fun for me, problem-solving extraordinaire.

Despite all of this, I actually really did like The Girl on the Train. Yeah, yeah, it’s been compared to Gone Girl but put that all aside (especially because I personally much preferred Girl on the Train). There’s really not much to say about the plot of the book without diving into the story and then diving into each of the characters and their crazy lives. The book is incredibly popular right now and I think it does live up to its hype.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Hi, hello, are we friends? If so, you probably already know what I’m going to say about this book.

Mindy Kaling is just…everything. From The Office to The Mindy Project to this book to her taste in everything, I love the woman. Everyone has their dream celebrity BFF and mine is definitely Mindy (and Emma Watson – wouldn’t we be the best trio you’ve ever seen?). If you love Mindy already, you will surely love Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? because the book will make you love her even more. I’ve read a lot of the recent celebrity memoirs (particularly the ones from female comedians) and I think this one is my favorite of all. There’s a real humor there that comes from more than just recalling funny moments in her life. I know it is so overstated that Mindy Kaling is “real” (like “Celebrities – They’re Just Like Us!” real) but this book really seals the deal. From detailing her beautiful, personally-crafted home office space and later admitting she’s worked from it once and actually writes in bed to talking about her teenage after school hang-out-seshes at The Cheesecake Factory, I spent almost the entire book laughing out (really) loud. Even if you aren’t (yet) a fan, I’d still recommend the book. I’m sure you will thank me.

thegoods

Podcasts

  • Instead of road raging whilst changing the radio station every five minutes during my ten hours driving this weekend, I listened to a lot of podcasts . I listened to old Double X Gabfest podcasts from late last year. I especially liked the Three Sexy Witches Edition which fostered a really interesting discussion of #GamerGate (it still confuses me). It also took a look into Kelli Stapleton, a woman who tried to kill her violent autistic child, which posed a lot of debate about how to best help children like hers. It ended with the history of witches and their symbolism, which I enjoyed after reading primary and secondary sources on it for a class last month. -Vanessa
  • I also listened to Working, a podcast about what people do for work and how they go about doing it. I listened to old episodes, but I specifically liked the Stephen Colbert episode and the episode about a Virginia pastor. I liked the Stephen Colbert episode for obvious reasons; I always find it interesting learning how “the sausage gets made,” especially with TV shows I really like. And the pastor one was incredibly interesting because I am not particularly religious and had no idea how long his workday is and the types of cultural details he must pay attention to (not drinking wine when he is out, leaving doors open when talking to women in his office, etc.) -Vanessa

Television

  • I’m not sure if it fits here, but I don’t think it’s our M.O. to talk about sports, but it is also TV-related: March Madness. I filled out a bracket for the second time this year and joined an actual pool for the first time. I actually think I’m doing worse this year than last year, which sucks, but the upsets are still fun to keep up with. My pick to win, Virginia, defied me (and the nation) yesterday. So, I am in full despair now. -Vanessa

Internet

  • Like Amanda mentioned in her last post, I have also been enraptured by everything The Jinx. We’ve been discussing the ethics of this show in the apartment, I’ve been discussing it with professors, and I’ve listened to a lot of opinions about it online. These conversations are fascinating, so here are some of my favorite: The New York Times interview with Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling (which discusses how they falsely–for narrative–presented the arrest in front of Douglas’ stoop as happening before the second interview), a look into the timeline of the show on Gawker, and discussion on podcasts like Grantland’s The Hollywood Prospectus-Vanessa
  • I am obsessed with Pinterest. It took me some time to get used to it but now I’m absolutely addicted, especially when it comes to finding new recipes. Since making more at-home healthy meals a 2015 resolution, I’ve been pinning like mad. Recently, I’ve been loving this Triple Berry Spinach smoothie and these really simple Black Bean, Grilled Avocado & Goat Cheese tacos. But, best of all, I’ve been crazy about these Lentil Stuffed Peppers! They’re amazing! –Amanda

Shopping

  • I have been loving Gilt City lately. If you aren’t familiar, it is kind of a fancy Groupon-esque service. They have deals (sometimes even free ones!) that allow you to get tons of things for amazing prices. Just this week, I used their “pay $100 for $200 in credit” for Solstice Sunglasses and ended up buying my mom a new pair of sunglasses for less than half of their original price! I also bought their “pay $50 for $100 credit” for Space NK and was able to buy a ton, essentially getting everything half off. It keeps me (and my wallet) very happy.  –Amanda

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Friends Seasons 8, 9 & 10 – I finally finished Friends! I was so sad to reach the end but also excited to know what ended up happening with the whole gang. I’m also really happy, at long last, to no longer be the only person who has never seen Friends. I really loved the show (I actually recapped/reviewed the first seven seasons) and I’ll definitely miss it.

I want to keep this post as spoiler-free as possible but I’ll just say this – I love Rachel and I love Joey. I like Phoebe and I like Chandler. Both Ross and Monica…ten seasons and they never grew on me. Especially Ross. I never forgave him for “being on a break.” What a punk!

Broad City Season 1 – I’ve recently realized I have Amazon Prime yet I never utilize their Instant Video Service. When I finally got around to checking out what they have, I was ecstatic to see the first season of Broad City. I cannot believe it took me this long to watch this show. I mean, I watched the whole season in one sitting. I really love it. I actually can’t think of one thing I don’t like about the show (besides Season 2 not being available on Amazon). Abbi and Ilana are absolutely crazy nuts yet I still want to be half as cool and funny as they are. I’m sure that’s not the intention, they probably (nay, definitely) are not meant to be idolized in any way. But, at the risk of taking it all too seriously, I love that the show depicts two girls in outrageous but also kind of real situations. They are gross, they fart, they have sex, they have to deal with creepy dudes – they push boundaries but not in a way where it seems like they’re outright trying to push boundaries just for the sake of proving something, if that makes sense. Side note: Ilana is my new style icon. I’m ordering high-top converse and lots of tall socks as we speak.

 

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 1 – This show unquestioningly wins the award for the best theme song of all time. I watched this over a week ago and I still find myself breaking out in song multiple times a day. If you’re a fan of 30 Rock, you’ll love The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The influence/Tina Fey-ness is really apparent, and in a completely good way. The parodic humor is key in this show and you have to be aware of that when you watch it (I’ve seen a few articles from people bashing the show for certain jokes when the jokes were clearly meant to come across as ironic or sarcastic). There’s also a ton of familiar faces scattered throughout the show making it even more fun to watch. The entire season is available now on Netflix so there’s really no excuse for not gettin’ on that right this instant.

 

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst – I’ve been debating writing an entire post about The Jinx but I’ve ultimately decided against it – simply because I don’t think I can really add much to the overwhelming amount of conversation currently going on. Even if you haven’t watched the show yet, you’re probably well aware of all of the recent hype and real-life implications the show has brought on over the past week. While I do think the show was incredibly interesting and well-done, there were particular parts of it that irked me. It’s actually kind of funny – I decided to watch The Jinx after seeing a ton of people recommend it for people who loved Serial. While I see what they mean, I actually think the two are worlds apart…yet the same sort of thing bothered me about both of them. It is really weird to me how we’ve brought these real people and their real cases and tied them to new ways of telling stories, I don’t know how I feel about it. It makes me slightly uncomfortable to hear a podcast host or miniseries producer play detective. While I actually ended up siding with both Sarah Koenig and Andrew Jarecki when it came to their personal feelings towards their respective cases, it just feels a bit odd for all of this to be aired out to an audience as a form of entertainment. Obviously I don’t think it is necessarily wrong – a. this is mostly all public information and b. I, of all people, have chosen to become extremely interested in both Serial and The Jinx – but it just feels strange. I think my weird feelings are actually associated with the fact that the individual cases are only now getting attention due to their successes in entertainment. The evidence and help brought on by the producers of entertainment are sometimes doing more to bring about justice than the actual legal system ever did, or at least that’s how it seems to be depicted within the shows themselves, as well as in the media. After all of this time, people are finally interested in looking into Adnan’s case…and after all of this time, Durst was finally arrested. Just…strange, I guess.

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I’m also keeping up with a lot of my favorite shows including The Mindy Project (no spoilers but wow – cannot believe how much is happening this season), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (hilarious as ever), Catfish (has there ever been a better show?), The Blacklist (the only show I never miss), and Modern Family (I absolutely love every episode with Andy the Manny).

And, as usual, I was heartbroken when the current season of Portlandia ended last week, it is undoubtably my favorite comedy currently on television.

Within the next month, I’m hoping to manage to watch the rest of Broad City as well as finally getting around to the new season of House of Cards. I also want to knock a show off of my “to-watch” list but I’m not sure which one it will be (The Kroll Show? The Fall? Orphan Black?).

What have you been watching lately? Can you recommend anything you think I’d love? Let me know!

thegoods

Podcasts

  • I started listening to NYT’s The Ethicist and I really like it so far. I know Vanessa wasn’t as crazy about it as I was so it probably isn’t for everyone. In short, it consists of the presentation of a handful of ethnical issues and how each of the three “ethicists” would approach the problem. Interesting! –Amanda

Life Stuff 

  • I just bought my ticket for the Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta! Woooo, more Brand New! I’m so excited! –Amanda

amandafebfavs15

Another month down! 2015 is flying. In exactly two months, I’ll be graduating from college! I can’t believe it.

I wasn’t into too much this month. Instead, I chose to completely obsess over a handful a handful of things.

Nails Inc. Nailkale Illuminator – I wrote about this in the second Lust List post. Coincidentally, I actually bought it immediately after that post went up. My nails are always painted which isn’t necessarily always a good thing for the quality of my nails. As a result, I’ve invested in my nail care over the past few months. This lil guy is my new go-to polish when my nails start to look a little stained or weak. The color is a milky-bluish pink (if that makes any sense at all) that looks great even when it starts to chip. My nails always look better after I finally remove it so I’m a happy camper.

Toni & Guy Leave in Conditioner – My mom actually got a tube of this stuff in her Glossybox a few months ago. She let me use it while I was home for Christmas and I loved it. When I went back to school, my hair was just not working out the same without it. I ordered my own tube and life has since been very good. My hair is a knotty mess after the shower – no matter what I do. Luckily, this stuff makes everything a little more manageable.

Deep Steep Rosemary & Mint Sugar Scrub – One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to take up and stay consistent with moisturizing. I’m the QUEEN of constantly moisturizing my face but I never really bothered with body creams. I’m only 22 but I am getting older so it was time. Along with that, I decided I definitely needed a body scrub as well. I searched high and low and finally found this one on Vitacost. It smells soooo good and sooo clean. It’s got a pretty oily base, too, so it helps to not only exfoliate but also to moisturize. Plus, it will definitely not break the bank.

Yogi Egyptian Licorice Mint Tea – I tried Teapig’s Licorice and Mint tea recently after getting a sample in my Birchbox. That tea was…unreal. I absolutely loved it but couldn’t necessarily justify spending so much on tea. I looked for similar teas and came across this one by Yogi. It isn’t the exact same at all, but it still has the really nice natural sweetness and minty-ness I was looking for!

Nerdist – I started listening to the Nerdist podcast this month and I absolutely love it. To be honest, because there are so many episodes, I’ve only been listening to the episodes with the guests I already know/love/am interested in. The podcast is a really easy and hilarious thing to listen to as I’m cooking or cleaning and its so cool to learn new things about some of the celebrities I really admire. My favorite episodes so far definitely include all of the ones with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Nick Kroll as well as the first one with Jason Schwartzman (haven’t listened to the second one yet!), Billy Eichner, and Josh Groban.

Drake’s If You’re Reading This Its Too Late – Drake is just so…yes. That’s how I like to describe him. I’m not sure I can add much more to the waves of praise about this besides that I think Drake is great and I would listen to and probably love everything he does. I scream “RUNNIN’ THROUGH THE SIX WITH MY WOES” like 8 times a day, too, so it’s just like…a thing, or whatever.

Hans Richter’s Ghosts Before Breakfast (1927) – I’ve spent the last four years of college studying film and, without a doubt, 1920s Avant Garde has continued to reign supreme for me. I watched Ghosts Before Breakfast this month and totally loved it. I’m already trying to figure out how I can manage to write one of my film finals on it this semester. Its very short! If you’re interested, watch it here.