Monday, February 13, 2017

Music Monday: Yellow Days

I love the feeling I get when I discover a new artist whose talent is so palpable that it sends electricity coursing through my veins. It doesn't happen very often but this sense of musical euphoria is one of the reasons my ears are always receptive to new music.

When I first discovered Yellow Days, lesser known by his birth name, George van den Broek, the 17-year-old phenom out of England made my heart soar. The power behind this young man's voice evokes a bygone era that neither he nor I were alive to experience. It's raw emotion like this which makes me a music lover. His debut EP, Harmless Melodies, is out now along with a more recent release that can be heard below. 


Go Home

Gap in the Clouds

Your Hand Holding Mine

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Flick Pick: Frank & Lola

I recently bit the bullet and administered an ad-blocking program to my computer. As an avid YouTube watcher, it's one of the best digital decisions I've ever made. But when I'm on my mobile device, I still suffer through those pesky commercials. While most ads are no more than time thieves, when properly executed, they occasionally deliver inspiration and guidance. Enter the promo for Frank & Lola that ran before a vlog I watched from a Wiccan medium who lives in DC (shout-out to Psychic Bob).

Deliciously described as a 'psychosexual noir', Frank & Lola delivers in the form of fast-paced suspense and erotic romance. Viewers are taken inside the scattered lives of characters whose worlds are divided between the bright lights of the two very different cityscapes of Las Vegas and Paris. In his feature debut, writer-director, Matthew Ross, enchants with seedy cinematography that perfectly sets the tone. Fans of similar movies within the genre such as Manhattan Night will enjoy this film as well. 7/10.

Frank & Lola is available for rent or purchase online.

Now Playing: "Weird Fishes / Arpeggi" by Radiohead

Friday, February 3, 2017

2017 Makeup No Buy Update: January Temptations

January Temptations

We've all heard of the term 'Sober January'. In my case, I didn't put down the booze but the beauty products. I made a resolution this year to not buy any new makeup items...well, who am I kidding? I knew that would be nearly impossible given my level of addiction. Rules were made to be broken, after all. I will, of course, make concessions for limited edition releases that I would regret not adding to my collection and I'm sure I will partake in a few major sales. But for the most part, my cosmetics consumption will be drastically cut! I'm talking a 90% decrease in purchases! This is a lot for someone who freelances in the industry and is constantly surrounded by the lure of new releases at a discounted price. One of my favorite hobbies is watching YouTube beauty videos which is also infiltrated with temptation.

January was a "no exceptions" month meaning there were no loop holes for me to jump through. Not only did I give up shopping for makeup this month, I hardly bought anything at all! I kept track of every dollar I spent regardless of how big or small the purchase may have been. I limited my consumption to basic entertainment necessities (concert tickets for future dates that I didn't want to sell out, birthday dinners, etc.). As they say, "spend time, not money."

I've been keeping track on my Pinterest Wish List board of the things that I normally would have splurged on. It will be interesting to see how many items are added but not purchased by the end of the year. If anything is still on there that I'm severely lusting after by the holidays, I may treat myself a bit after Christmas. I won't go crazy with buying though because that would only negate the progress made all year. But a girl deserves a little reward now and then. Without further ado, here are the products that I was tempted by during the first month of my makeup no-buy:

Clinique Happy Gelato Body Cream in Sugared Petals, $35

I'm not including skincare in my makeup no-buy but because January was a month that I tried to refrain from purchasing most things, I withheld picking this up. The scent is lovely and the adorable packaging makes me so happy. It reminds me of something the Korean beauty lines would produce. I will treat myself to this for Valentine's Day.

Chanel Spring 2017 Blush in 370 Elegance, $45

I freelanced for Chanel in January so of course the new Spring collection caught my eye. Chanel knows how to make a blusher and this beauty is no exception. It's the most natural shade with just the right amount of warmth and as its name suggests, elegance. I need to clear out my blush collection but I have a feeling this one will be on my mind for months. If it weren't for my no-buy, I definitely would be using birthday money to procure its place in my collection. I believe it's limited edition. The temptation is real.

Clarins Limited Edition Skin Illusion Blush, $21.50

The packaging sold me. I adore a lot of my Clarins makeup but I prefer the range for what they're known for, skincare. I have some gift cards so this might be a Valentine's Day cheat. Put a heart on something and I'm sold.

Clarins Limited Edition Lovely Energizer Lip Balm, $20

Along with its accompanying blush, this limited edition lippie has tempted me. Because it won't be out for long, I might have to treat myself to this with a gift card. Not only does this product hydrate but it also leaves behind a beautiful pink tint that matches to your body's chemistry. I have similar products in my collection but the packaging is too cute to pass up....and it's technically skincare. ;)

ColourPop Moonwalk Eyeshadow, $5

This is a gorgeous shade of goldish-green that I absolutely would have purchased if I weren't doing my no-buy. I have too many ColourPop eyeshadows. This I know. I will step away from the shadow. If it's still available at the end of the year and I'm still thinking about it, Moonwalk will be mine.

Tarte Shape Tape Concealer, $24

It wasn't until the past year or so that I felt I even needed to wear concealer. I don't like to collect them or foundation but this product seemed to be on everyone's best of 2016 list. Concealers don't excite me like other products but this one definitely sparked my interest. If I freelance for Tarte at some point in the year,  I will be sure to play around with this. Maybe an end-of-the-year purchase or VIB sale splurge if I like it.

Chanel Bronze Universal, $50

A cult classic that seems to be having a resurgence in popularity. I've always thought this bronzer made fair-skinned people look orange but many of the lighter ladies I follow keep mentioning it. I recently made a sample of it when I worked for Chanel. I'll put it on my maybe list. I tend to not like the feel of cream products on my skin but the way that this is whipped is very light in texture. I think the ColourPop cream bronzers helped to ease me back into the notion.

Chanel Rouge Allure Ink Matte Liquid Lipstick in Amoureux, $37

I just got rid of a ton of liquid lipsticks. I just don't care for the way they look and feel on me. I think the trend is so tired and unflattering and wish it would go away once and for all. But this formula isn't bad and I love the feel of the frosted glass container. This particular shade, unlike most liquid lipsticks, is subtle, natural and complimentary. I'm not tempted much but it's on the list.

Chanel Tinted Top Coat Nail Polish in Black Metamorphosis, $28

I'm not necessarily including nail polish in my makeup no-buy but I am trying to keep my spending to a minimum. When you have as many bottles as I do, there are few colors that get released that you don't have a dupe for or something similar. Black Metamorphosis is unique in that is deepens and darkens the color of whatever polish you have on. It can also be worn alone for an interesting grey hue. I think I'm going to hold off on this for a couple months. If I'm still thinking about it in the Spring and it's still available, I might let myself get it because it's unlike anything I've ever owned.

ColourPop Pressed Eyeshadow Palette in Lo-Key, $18

When I set out to do my makeup no-buy, I knew the one thing that would tempt me more than anything would be if ColourPop released regular pressed eyeshadow or traditional tubed lipsticks. Within days, this little gem was released. I asked for it for my birthday. Loop holes. The last thing I need is another eyeshadow palette (especially a warm-toned orange one) but as a ColourPop afficionado, I had to have this in my collection.

Dior Lip Scrub Sweet Exfoliating Balm, $33

When I freelanced for Dior a couple weeks ago, I was sure to try this out before I even considered buying it in February as a birthday/Valentine's Day treat. It's skincare, okay? It works very well and leaves behind the loveliest pink tint. I've been on the hunt for the best lip scrubs and this is a very gentle one that instantly works and can be used on the go. No mess. Highly recommend!

MAC Lip Scrubtious in Candied Nectar, $16

Speaking of lip scrubs, I was excited to see these in person. I'm glad I was able to experiment because the Candied Nectar scent surprised me as my favorite. It smells divine! I will be getting this with birthday money. I have been disappointed by the past few lip scrubs I've tried so hopefully this will surpass my expectations.

While I do get a substantial discount on these brands and always use Ebates to get cash back when I shop online, the total retail value saved from not purchasing these products would have been over $350! 

All in all, I'd say that January was an easy month. I only freelanced a few times so many products were out of sight, out of mind. With the holidays just over and my birthday at the start of Feburary, I tend to not spend a lot in January as it is. There weren't a lot of releases that tempted me. I know that as Spring approaches, things will become much more difficult when the collections start to launch and the sales pop up. May the force be with me!

Items I 'shopped from my own stash' this month:


Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit, $40

I haven't reached for this in quite some time. I usually let my bronzer do the contouring job but on days when you have the extra time, this is a handy little kit.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Brightener, $7

I love the Age Rewind Concealer but I initially wasn't a fan of the Brightener. I thought it was too pink. But if you use it in conjunction with the concealer and immediately blend it in, it works fairly well.

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette, $49

I love my Too Faced palettes. They have an incredible eyeshadow formula and such sweet packaging. But I have admittedly put them to the side in exchange for some of my newer purchases. I enjoyed using my Chocolate palettes this past month. I have no desire whatsoever to get the Peach palette. Enough is enough!

Chanel Le Volume Mascara, $32

I had several samples of this mascara and decided to give it another shot. I really liked the way Le Volume paired with the Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara. I find Le Volume to be very thickening. While Better Than Sex purports to also be a volumizing mascara, I find that it also delivers very well in the lengthening department.

Inglot Gel Eyeliner in 77 (Deep Black), $15

When it comes to eyeliner, I almost always prefer pencil over liquid. Gel? Rarely. It just seems like an extra step with a brush that isn't necessary and can produce a less than natural result. But when you want a little extra va va voom, this gel liner delivers a sultry, long-lasting line. It is a very deep shade of black that somehow does not look harsh and it won't budge. The price is reasonable, the quality is fantastic and you get a lot of product. Definitely a cult favorite for a reason!

Now Playing: "People" by Yellow Days
*Just discovered his music and I'm loving it!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Music Monday: SOHN

SOHN is Christopher Taylor, an English ambient/electronic musician and producer, based in Vienna, Austria. His latest album, Rennen, is out now and can be purchased here.

In his own words:
"I'm not really working in the same way that a lot of electronic producers are; I'm working with instruments."




Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2016 Music Favorites: 20 of My Most Enjoyed Albums

Favorite Albums of 2016

I prefer to have my yearly favorites posted sooner but I started off 2017 feeling very under the weather (not to mention a brutal phase of Mercury Retrograde). I wanted to make sure I was in a clear frame of mind when I reflected back on which albums I enjoyed listening to the most. I hesitate to call these albums 'the best of 2016' because it would be impossible to say that with any level of certainty. It's a challenge to rank music as it's such a personal thing. I am a hardcore music lover but I would have to devote every waking minute of the year to listening to new releases to truly get a feel for everything. I tend to listen to music regardless of its freshness or relevancy. I also find my music organically and am not influenced much at all by critics or the blogosphere. This list is simply me sharing what I liked, in hopes of connecting with other fans or to someone searching for new sounds who may not be as familiar. In no particular order, here are some of my favorite releases of the past year...

Empire of the Sun, Two Vines. October, 2016.

I've been a major fan of this group for many, many years. Their music makes me happy. I have yet to see them perform live but hope that changes in the near future.

High and Low:

Two Vines:

Kanye West, The Life of Pablo. February, 2016.

Personal and professional antics aside, his music is still good.



Angel Olsen, My Woman. September, 2016.

I really like her vocal style and enjoy listening to her music when I'm in a relaxed, but somber mood.

Heart Shaped Face:

Frank Ocean, Blonde. August, 2016.

The most-anticipated album of the year, Blonde, (or is it technically Blond...?) exceeded many expectations of a sophomore slump.


White Ferrari:

Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Getaway. June, 2016.

Hipsters will tell you RHCP aren't cool but I admittedly love the older stuff. Their most-recent albums have been very disappointing but this one was somewhat of a pleasant surprise. It's far from my favorite but Anthony Kiedis can still get it.

The Getaway:

Dark Necessities:

Leonard Cohen, You Want It Darker. October, 2016.

Farewell to a legend. What an artist. What a man.

You Want It Darker:

It Seemed the Better Way:

Kristin Kontrol, X-Communicate. May, 2016.

The debut solo project from the lead singer of Dum Dum Girls. I really like this new direction.


Smoke Rings:

James Vincent McMorrow, We Move. September, 2016.

Fans of Bon Iver will enjoy this release from the sultry Irish crooner.

I Lie Awake Every Night:

Get Low:

David Bowie, Blackstar. January, 2016.

2016 was a year surrounded by the loss of countless musicians. David Bowie's final studio album, released on his 69th birthday, left fans with one last parting gift just days before his untimely passing.



Glass Animals, How To Be a Human Being. May, 2016.

Glass Animals has an incredible sound that's all their own. It always gets me going. I'll leave it at that.


Poplar St:

Gallant, Ology. May, 2016.

Gallant was my favorite discovery of the year. I adore his voice and really loved the style of songs on this debut release.

Talking to Myself:

Weight in Gold:

Radiohead, A Moon Shaped Pool. June, 2016.

A band that needs no introduction, this album managed to make me love them even more.


True Love Waits:

Bon Iver, 22, A Million. September, 2016.

Bon Iver has produced some of my favorite music of the past decade. I was eager to hear the new sounds but much of its overproduction fell short of my very high expectations. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed some of these songs. Even when it's not my absolute favorite style, Justin Vernon creates innovative music. He is easily one of the most talented artists of my generation.

33 "GOD":

8 (circle):

St. Paul and The Broken Bones, Sea of Noise. September, 2016.

This was the first year that I took notice of the southern soul group who hails from Alabama. Stunning vocals and glorious instrumentation, this album is for fans of Motown looking for a modern take on classic oldies.

Midnight on the Earth:

Burning Rome:

Sturgill Simpson, A Sailor's Guide to Earth. April, 2016.

I'm not a major fan of country music but after attending college in West Virginia, I definitely picked up an affinity for certain sounds. If you're open to the genre that blurs between alt, rock and country, Sturgill Simpson is your man. Even if a twang isn't your thing, a true music lover recognizes talent when it's blatantly obvious.

In Bloom (Nirvana Cover):

Brace for Impact (Live a Little):

A Tribe Called Quest, We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service. November, 2016.

With the exception of the title's atrocious grammar (of course there is a celestial, unknown meaning behind it), this album was a welcomed surprised. A Tribe Called Quest takes me back to my youth in the most simple yet remarkable of ways.

We The People...:


Mac Miller, The Divine Feminine. September, 2016.

Despite Mac Miller being a hometown kid, I never fully connected with much of his music until this release. I really enjoyed the way these songs were produced. And if you've ever seen one of Mac's interviews, you can see that he is not only hilarious but also has such a loving, gentle soul that you really get to hear come through on this album.

Dang! ft. Anderson .Paak:


M83, Junk. April, 2016.

M83 holds a special place in my heart so I am always receptive to a new album. This one wasn't my favorite but there are still quite a few tracks that won me over.

Do It, Try It:

Sunday Night 1987:

Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam, I Had a Dream That You Were Mine. September, 2016.

I've been a fan of The Walkmen for a long time so it's no surprise that I really appreciated this album. Gorgeous vocals and lyrics accompanied with a haunting production, this was definitely one not to be missed.

A 1000 Times:

In a Black Out:

Michael Kiwanuka, Love & Hate. July, 2016.

I have loved this man's voice for a few years and was excited to finally hear what his second album would sound like. It's filled with so much beauty. All of the feels.

Cold Little Heart:

I'll Never Love:

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
I'm living life in beautiful Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I hold a journalism degree from West Virginia University. I have worked in television news, fashion marketing, PR, and cosmetic sales. My love for writing and sharing with the world my various passions is strong. One of my many ambitions is to be published and continue creating in the fields of digital and print media, literature and film. In my free time, I enjoy listening to music, going to concerts, reading, following Pittsburgh sports and traveling as often as possible. Some of my favorite things include beauty, style, architecture, books, tarot and astrology, thrifting and my shih-tzu, Ireland. If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you!