Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Handling University Alone

Summer's over, which means the new school year and the imminent winter months are approaching fast. That thought alone is enough to make anyone miserable. For me, the main reason why I don't look forward to school anymore is because I don't have friends to share it with. My friends and I all embarked on separate paths going into university, so school days can get quite long.

My first tip on making the school year more bearable is to find a good spot that you're comfortable in, and that you can go to during your breaks. I personally don't like secluding myself in the library because I find it a bit depressing, so I pick the atrium in my building because it gets plenty of sunlight. People cycle in and out so there's some commotion, but it never really gets too noisy. If it does, I have my trusty noise-cancelling headphones with me anyway. Sometimes I sit at a table in the atrium for hours on-end because my train schedule unfortunately does not always coincide with my school schedule, so I usually arrive early and have time to kill.

During down-times, I make sure I have plenty to do. First and foremost, I get school work done. If you're in university chances are you have plenty of class reading. Staying on top of your readings will make you more at-ease when it comes time to prep for tests and essays, and you'll be able to keep up better in class. If you have a lot of time, taking notes on readings is a good idea because it helps you digest the information better. Personally, I need near-quiet to stay focused on readings so this is when noise-cancelling headphones really come in handy.

If by chance you don't have noise-cancelling earphones, I recommend downloading some ambient music that won't distract you from your studies, but will drown out the people around you. I use an app called Songza and type "studying" into the search bar, and the first option that comes up is "Studying (no lyrics)" and "Reading". From there, you can choose from 6 different playlist options.

The easiest and most common time-killer during long breaks is browsing social media, but after you've scrolled through your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr feed, you'll need to find something else to do. I like to save social media for my train journeys to and from school because I can access it on my phone anyway. Personally, I prefer to be productive during my breaks.

What I mean by that is I like to be producing material, be it by typing up class notes, or even writing a blog post. After typing up a lengthy document I always tend to feel more accomplished. Getting organized is also a way to be productive: making to-do lists, writing due dates into your calendar, or putting together a reading schedule.

That said, I have to admit that as the semester goes on I tend to feel more lethargic. On those lazy days I equip myself with a tea or a latte, put on an audiobook, podcast, or even some music, and just relax. If you spend the majority of your school days without much social contact like I do, having an audiobook or podcast to listen to is amazing because it's like having someone tell you stories for potentially hours on-end. It's also really handy if you take public transportation trips that are more than say 20 minutes long.

That concludes my tips on handling university alone, but I should probably throw this in: make friends if you can! I can't deny that making friends is a good idea, but if you end up spending most of your time alone, try your best to make the most of it. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Why Big Brother 16 is a Flop

Any die-hard Big Brother fan can see, plain and clear, that this season is a flop. From my perspective, the main reason for BB16's failure is production tampering with the game.

All of the twists this season did not make the show more exciting. They actually had the opposite effect: they made the show more predictable. The fact that the HoH could not retain their safety for the week, and the fact that FIVE houseguests could be nominated (including a replacement nom after PoV), meant no one had the confidence to make "big" moves. Makes sense, because that would be potentially four houseguests coming after the HoH with a vengeance the following week! I wouldn't want to make big moves either if that were the case!

So of course, Victoria, Jocasta and the likes got nominated time and time again. Donny said it best when he nominated Victoria for eviction: "your blood is on everybody's hands and now it diluted onto mine". What makes people confident to make bold moves on Big Brother is the degree of certainty in knowing that what they want to happen, will happen. That degree decreased a ton with this twist. It's no surprise, then, that the only ounce of excitement we got was on Double Eviction night where Hayden was blindsided. The chances of him leaving were greater, so they had more confidence that they could pull it off.

The two HoH/Battle of Block twist also made it easy for the women to become targets. They didn't feel safe with one another because of the uncertainty of it all, and were not able to ban together, making them very easy targets for the men to pick off. Show any signs of dissent or even express the desire the make a "big move" and you're a goner. That's exactly what happened to both Brittany and Amber.

Another reason why this season is a flop is because of the bad casting. The problem is because the vast majority of the houseguests are unfamiliar with the game. The only applicants who were familiar with the show prior to being cast were Donny, Christine, Derrick, Frankie, Jocasta, Nicole and Zach, which means over 50% of the houseguests were recruits/applied knowing nothing about the show. It looks as though CBS is more concerned with having a good-looking cast rather than one willing to play hard. Because seriously, how many alpha males and models do we need?

In the end, while I do think this specific batch of houseguests were weak-minded and bland, I blame the majority of the predictability of the season on the stupid twist. I have to suggest that for the next season of Big Brother, they cut it out with the twists all together. Bring it back to basics. No advantages, no Team America, just regular old Big Brother. And as for casting, they should take a look at both BBCan2 and Survivor 28 for tips. Both of those seasons were chock full of strong-willed players, willing to do anything to make it to the end. Enough with the recruits, I say! Or, if they really want to give us BB fans a nice palate cleanser, just bring on All-Stars 2 already!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

July Favourites 2014

I haven't done a favourites post in SO long which is a shame because I love making them and since I have some time off work/school, I thought I'd write one up. Let's get started!

My first favorite is the Tarte Lip Surgence in "Energy". This has been one of the only lip colors I wore throughout July. It's supposed to adapt to every person's lips differently, but from what I've noticed it usually turns into a bright pink color. Really pretty!

Orly Bonder base coat is a-mazing. If you have trouble with nail polish chipping, I highly recommend this base coat because it seems to glue the nail polish to your nail and it makes it last much, much longer.

White nails have always been a staple for summer, and my all-time favorite one is OPI Alpine Snow. It does need 2-3 coats to get it opaque but once it's on, it stays on for days and the color is a great, crisp white.

My next favorite is this mini version of the Kiehl's "aromatic blend" in the scent Fig leaf & sage. I think it blends really well with my natural scent and I catch myself getting whiffs of it throughout the day so I know it lasts a while. It came in the above package with another 4 assorted minis.

Next I have an amazing neon/rose gold chain necklace from Persunmall that I got a little while back. It adds a pop of color to basically any outfit and I've found myself wearing it a lot.

My book favorite of the month is Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I was originally reading the Hunger Games series as Collins was releasing the books, but when Mockingjay was finally released, I read the first ten pages and was instantly confused because I couldn't remember what had happened in Catching Fire. BUT since the Catching Fire movie has been released, I thought I could finally read Mockingjay and understand it. I have to say I really liked it. I thought it was gripping and interesting to read, and it got me really pumped up for the movie which I believe comes out in November.

Annabelle Big Show mascara has been my favorite mascara not only for July, but for the past like, 6 months. I just think it's absolutely great. It reminds me of Benefit BadGal without the ridiculously huge brush.

EOS lip balms have always been a hit/miss for me, but I've found a way to love them. I think they work most effectively if you apply it consistently/every day. My lips have been super smooth lately and it's thanks to this! I keep one in my makeup drawer and one in my bag. My favorite is the green one (I think it's melon flavor?).

Marc Jacobs "Gatsby" is a really beautiful nail polish. It's a coppery-rose gold color and I think it's super unique and fun to wear.

I love wearing bright necklaces in the summer (and year-round too but mostly in the summer), and this is one I have loved for ages. I got it in 2009 at For Love 21 in Los Angeles and have worn it non-stop since. It makes any outfit instantly more exciting.

My favourite summer blush (and it has been for many summers prior) is Mac Pinch 'o' Peach. It's a peachy pink blush that I find really flattering and I would recommend it for anyone with a light-medium skintone.

Because I'm such a sucker for iPhone games, I have to admit that my favorite app of the month is Kim Kardashian Hollywood. It's just so much fun!!! I love any kind of Sims-esque game, and all you have to do is complete photoshoots and other career opportunities in order to gain fans. Above is an event I'm working on at the moment, and you might notice my arch nemesis Willow Pape is there (ugh).

My number one television show of the month is hands down Orphan Black. It's a sci-fi thriller which admittedly is not my favorite genre, but it's just. so. good. All the friends I've made watch it have loved it as well. It keeps you on your toes, and the main actress Tatiana Maslany is brilliant. There are two seasons out already and you can find them online and on Norway Netflix. If you start it, be sure to watch all the way until the final episode of season 2 because your mind will be blown.

Of course, Orange is the New Black season 2 came out on Netflix and you know I loved it. I thought it was just as great as the first season and I can't wait for season 3. I'm really pleased with Piper's character development because it seems as though she's becoming less flippant and more well-rounded (or is it just me?). Anyway, love it.

And last but not least, the guilty pleasure of all my summers, Big Brother. I won't say too much about it because I've already written an in-depth post about it, and I do plan on discussing it some more in coming weeks. It's on three nights a week, it's the epitome of stupid/mindless television, but I love it.

That concludes my July favorites! Let me know in the comments what you've been loving :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Big Brother 16: Thoughts So Far

Hey everyone! You may or may not know that I'm addicted to Big Brother. I follow the show very closely, watch the live feeds occasionally, and am constantly up-to-date with spoilers. I thought it would be fun to track how my thoughts on each person evolves as the season goes on!

For non-Big Brother watchers, the show is difficult to understand. The situations change as the wind blows and allegiances flip flop often. For those who manage to stay updated, it's an absolute blast. It's only been on for two weeks so far, meaning you have 7 episodes to catch up on if you so please :)

So here we go. BTW, THIS IS SPOILER-FREE! (Except for at the end when I mention who has been evicted so far)

I'll start with Zach since he's a big fan favorite this season. I think people must love his personality, because he is playing a sloppy game. He calls out the houseguests when they suck, and he makes himself stick out like a sore thumb. He's constantly backpeddling and regretting his actions. Hopefully he can get it together because he seems pretty cool.

Brittany is one of my favorites this season. Unfortunately, she plays a similar game to Zach. She keeps it real with everyone and calls out the people who do her wrong. What I like about her is that she seems to be in-tune with what's going on and she's feisty. She refuses to let anyone step all over her. If she gets HoH one of these days, she is going to be a force. The above gif is her blowing Devin a kiss after he nominated her. Iconic.

Frankie was an absolute favorite of mine at the beginning of the season. He seemed to have his finger on the pulse of the house. He was socializing left and right, and everyone seemed to like him, but as the days went by we began to see what a control freak he is. As soon as someone throws a wrench in his game, it's like he loses the ability to cope. Hopefully he can calm down a little because I actually like him a lot.

Unfortunately, if you don't watch the live feeds you do not know Caleb Reynolds. CBS is giving him a spectacularly kind TV edit, when in reality he is a huge a creep. He has a crazy obsession with Amber and she continues to reject him, but he does not give up. He's being portrayed as a wounded puppy, when he should be getting the GinaMarie edit. He needs to be booted out soon because he's actually very scary.

Cody also seems to be a fan-favorite this season, but having seen him on the feeds I find it difficult to like him. He's playing a decent game but his personality sucks, in my opinion. You can tell he's been handed everything on a silver platter his whole life. He flirts with every girl in the house and then slanders them behind their backs, he's incredibly materialistic, and he even boasted to Zach about driving drunk. He's like, the broiest of bros and it sucks.

DONNYYYYY. I love this man so much it brings a tear to my eye. He is a precious gem, the kindest, sweetest player to ever be on Big Brother. For some reason the houseguests have it out for him, but he continues to be a competition beast! It's fantastic. He also has the best one liners, some of them being "I didn't vote out my buddy, so you shouldn't have to vote out your buddy... but is your buddy really your buddy?" and (about Caleb) "I would like to buy him for what he's worth, and sell him for what he thinks he's worth." GE-NIUS. Love this guy. Can't say it enough.

Amber is one of the houseguests I have mixed feelings on. On one hand, she's a huge pushover and makes moves to please the houseguests as opposed to doing what's most beneficial to her game. On the other hand, some of the girls are targeting her out of jealousy, and that makes me root for her. What I hope for Amber: that she gets a backbone and starts playing more selfishly, that she tells Caleb to back off once and for all, and that her demise is not at the hand of Nicole/Christine/Victoria. Above is her singlehandly evicting Julie Chen, host of Big Brother, in what is one of the best bloopers of all time.

I think Hayden is pretty cool. For the most part, I like the way he's playing the game. He comes out to compete, he gets involved with game talk, and he's selective about which alliances he joins. What I don't like about Hayden is that he partakes in Amber bashing with Nicole and Christine, and that he seems to want Donny out, which is not cool in my book.

For me, Nicole is one of the most frustrating players in this game. She's constantly flip flopping between wanting to make big moves, but not wanting to be on anyone's radar. She picks a stance and then regrets it almost immediately. Her indecisiveness is almost painful to watch. She walks on eggshells in the house, is uber sensitive, refuses to talk game with certain people, and gossips incessantly with Christine. Nope. Not a fan.

I want to like Christine. I really do, but she makes it so difficult. I guess we'll start positive here: I think Christine is in the best position right now. She's on good terms with everyone. All the girls like her and all the guys want to be aligned with her. My issue is her constant crap-talking! She literally cannot. stop. bashing people. She's said she was bullied all her life so this attitude might be remnants of that, but it's really becoming unbearable.

Devin is absolutely terrible at Big Brother. His ego is the size of Mars, he talks down to the women of the house, and he speaks over everyone. The hole he dug for himself is so deep he cannot even try to climb out of it at this point. Devin is also probably the least self-aware person in the history of the show. He can't seem to accept any criticism, and I don't see him staying much longer. Note that there are no gifs of this guy because no one likes him...

Derrick is one of my favorite players to watch. He has clearly emerged as one of the most dominant and manipulative players in the game, but none of the others seem to have caught on to that. He's really great with his words and I love listening to him strategize because he has good insights. Some people don't like that he throws his allies under the bus, but that's how the game works, friends.

Victoria is vain and catty, but she's incredibly insecure and I find that endearing. I don't love watching her on the feeds because she's very dull and predictable. Her gameplay is practically non-existent, but it's still early in the game and she has the potential to get better. What I don't think she realizes is that she is an easy target in the house because no one will feel bad about getting rid of her. I hope she sticks around for a little while because I think she has potential.

I am absolutely indifferent towards Jocasta. I'm not convinced she even really wants to be in the house. She will float until the others pick her off eventually and I am so unimpressed with her.

Evicted: Joey and Paola. I thought both of these girls were relatively entertaining, but they were easy targets. The twist this season favors the strong players and those who do not perform are in danger, and that is exactly what happened to them both. That is also the fate I foresee for Victoria and Jocasta, and perhaps even Donny (although undeservingly).

Let me know in the comments if you're up-to-date on the season, and whether or not you agree with me!

Monday, June 30, 2014

The One and Only TAG

Hey everyone! Back to beauty stuff for today's post. I had this tag saved in my drafts for a while and I thought it was finally time to give it life. I got it from Coffee and Cosmetics, and it's called "the One and Only Tag".

The idea is simple, you just have to answer the same question for all categories: If you could only have one ____, what would it be and why?

Primer - This is easy. The only face primer I have ever used and absolutely loved is the L'Oreal Magic Perfecting Base. I've said it again and again, but nothing else I've tried even compares! It's on the more expensive end of drugstore products (around $20 in Canada), but it's still cheaper than Sephora brands. I don't know why, but my face really responds well to it! Definitely try it out if your skin tends to get oily throughout the day.

Base Product - Also easy. My number one foundation has to be the Marcelle Hydra-C Foundation. I'm still so dumbfounded that they've discontinued it. I'm on my last bottle and I'm super bummed about it. The shade I use, Natural Beige, is the perfect match for my skin, and it's full-coverage without feeling too heavy.

Blush - I tend to vary my blushes a lot, but one that I constantly gravitate towards is the MAC blush in Pinch O' Peach. It's one of the only pink-toned blushes I use, and what I like about it is that it's quite sheer so it doesn't come on too strong, but it still shows up on your cheeks. If you're new to makeup I would recommend this one because it's very easy to manage.

Highlighter - MAC Soft & Gentle is pretty much the only highlighter I use. I've tried out liquid highlighters in the past, but they don't really do it for me. Soft & Gentle is subtle, but noticeable in the sunlight, and the champagne-y shade doesn't look too harsh. I find whiter/pinkier highlighters tend to be too much against my skintone.

Eyebrow product - My eyebrows are naturally quite thick and dark, so I can definitely go without filling them in, but what I do love to use is a good brow gel to keep them in place throughout the day. I've been using Maybelline Great Lash clear mascara for as long as I can remember, and it definitely does the trick. I don't think I could ever justify buying the Anastasia brow gel, because the Maybelline clear mascara is inexpensive, but effective.

Mascara - Mascara is definitely something I like to switch up in my makeup stash. I'm currently loving one from Annabelle, but my all-time favorite has to be Benefit They're Real. The formula is perfect, the wand separates the lashes incredibly, and nothing gives you the "false lash" look quite like it (...aside from wearing false eyelashes haha).

Concealer - I have to say, concealer is something I tend to struggle with. It's only as of recently that I found one I really enjoy, and it's the NARS creamy concealer in Vanilla. I think it blends really nicely and can be built up for maximum coverage. My only issue is that it's not a color that works all over my face... It covers up the redness near my nose, but if I use it close to my chin/jawline it looks too orange. Still, the formulation is great and it's the best concealer I've used thus far.

Powder - My all-time favorite powder is Rimmel Stay Matte in translucent. It's just the best. It's cheap, it works, and I haven't yet found myself craving a higher end setting powder at all. It works well enough to keep me satisfied, and I feel incomplete without it in the morning.

Bronzer - I've tried a few drugstore products in hopes to find a match for it, but NARS Laguna remains the best bronzer for me. If you go back in the archives of this blog, I'm pretty sure you'll find that I was using and loving Laguna since the very beginning. It's the perfect shade, and it has a slight shimmer that doesn't look crazy, but gives you just the right amount of glow. Really perfect product.

Makeup brush - A brush that I absolutely love using every day is the Real Techniques Multi Task brush. I personally use it for blush, but it can definitely be used for setting powder or bronzer as well. I think it's the perfect density for just about every face product - not too fluffy that it lacks precision, but not too thick that it applies product heavily. It's just great.

Eye shadow - If I had to pick a single eyeshadow it would be "Naked" from the Urban Decay Naked palette. I sometimes just swipe this all over my lids and it gives them just the right amount of depth for a simple every day look. I even used it to fill in my brows (before I got my hands on the Anastasia brow pencil). It's a really good, multi-purpose shade.

Eyeliner - My favorite eyeliner remains, to this day, the Lancome Artliner. I've always preferred liquid liner over pencil or gel, because I feel like it gives me a precise line most efficiently. The black one is really good, but they also do an eggplant shade that's a nice alternative to your standard black eyeliner. It is pricey, and the Maybelline Stiletto liquid liner is a close match to it, but the Artliner lasts much longer than the Maybelline one.

Lip gloss - I'm not much of a lipgloss gal because I find them a bit fussy, but one that I actually like very much is the Buxom lip gloss in "Dolly". It's a great nude shade for my skintone, and it has that tingly sensation (not for everyone, but I like it). If they made a lipstick version of it, I'd be all over that because I love the color.

Lipstick - I don't wear lipstick very often and I change it up too much to actually have a favorite, but if you made me pick I would go ahead and say MAC Plumful. It's super versatile; you can sheer it out or build it up.

I hope you enjoyed this tag! If you do it yourself, please leave me a comment below as I would love to read your answers.