Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April Favorites

Hello, everyone!

It’s good to be back after a few days away from my blog.  I’ve been typing my fingers to the bone since The Lexicon Devil’s rebranding and my health had caught up with me.  A few days away from Blogger was just what the doctor ordered.  Now that I am fit as a fiddle, I thought I would share some of my April favorites—today is the last day of the month after all.

(1) Time with the Foosa: Because I work more than fifty hours a week and take classes, I don’t get to spend as much quality time with my fur baby was I would like.  Since last week was my school’s Spring Break, I was able to catch up on some quality time with my little lady.  Selfies were taken.  I.  Have.  No.  Regrets. 

(2.) Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer (SPF 25): This has been my base product of choice this month.  It’s a light formula, provides a decent amount of coverage for a tinted moisturizer, and managed to sort out my face after my NARS debacle earlier in the month.  If I had to get rid of all of my other base products tomorrow, this would be the one I would immediately repurchase.  They also say the Duchess of Cambridge is a fan too (biting my style, AGAIN Kate?).

(3.) First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intensive Therapy: When I the NARS Tinted Moisturizer left me looking like Freddie Kruger’s bastard child, this gentle moisturizer with colloidal oatmeal flour helped calm my inflamed skin and bring me back to normal.  If you have eczema, you can also use this nourishing moisturizer on other parts of your body.

(4.) Mossimo Crewneck Boyfriend Tee: These shirts are fabulous and are perfect for S/S wear; since I live in California, that’s eleven months out of the year.  You can wear them by themselves or under a button up or light sweater and style them up or down depending on what you are up to.  To date, I have the shirt in seven different colors and have worn them to bed, out and about, and to work under a chambray button-up.

(5.) Iggy Azalea: If Rebel Wilson, Missy Elliott, and RuPaul were genetically recombined into a white girl rapper you’d have Iggy Azalea.  Check out the video to her new single, “Fancy,” which is a riff on Clueless and also have a listen to “Murda Biznezz,” it’s a TUNE.

(6.) The Foosa got a raincoat!

(7.)  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: I placed this book on my April TBR and managed to get through it this month.  It was incredible.  I will have a review on it as part of my April TBR wrap up.  Watch this place!

(8.) Rainbow Rowell: I finished both of Rainbow Rowell’s YA novels—Fangirl and Eleanor & Park—this month and ADORED them.  Again, they were both on my April TBR so I will have a review on them in my April TBR wrap up post which should be up this weekend. 

(9.) The Foosa got a sun hat!

(10.) The Lexicon Devil Blog onTumblr: It was going to happen eventually: I made a Tumblr.  I apologize in advance for all of the Morrissey Memes.  If you don’t follow me on Tumblr, you really should.

What’s been ticking your fancy this month?  Let me know in the comments.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Accidentally On Purpose: How to Hind a Sunburn

It’s that time of year again: the California sun is (on most days) shining bright and if you can’t feel the heat, you’re not outside.  Around this time of year, I crack out my heavy duty sunscreens and rely less on the sun protection built into my cosmetics.  While there is nothing wrong with relying on the sun protection in your makeup, especially when your base product has a high SPF, there is a problem if, like me, you get lazy when your routine changes.

You see, last Sunday I didn’t wear any makeup and . . . I forgot to put on an SPF before I left the house.  I think you can guess what happened next.  Needless to say, Elmo chic isn’t in for S/S 14 so make makeup bag this week is in damage control mode. 

For fair skinned ladies like myself, the key is not to hide your sunburned mug, but to downplay your uncanny likeness to Zoidberg from Futurama.  This week, I am skipping my morning moisturizer and starting with MAC’s Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50 which acts as both a high protection sun cream and an oil-absorbing primer; I also make sure to take the product down my neck and around the back of my jaw line and ears.  For foundation, I am using my favorite base product of the moment, Laura Mercier’s Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer (I wear the color Nude), to provide a light coverage, sun protection, and moisture to help sooth my burned skin. 

I then use the Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch concealer in radiance to highlight and cover my dark under eye circles and the Origins Plantscription concelar in light on the broken capillaries around my nostrils and a couple of small blemishes here and there.  It’s important to not use concealer to mask any lingering redness that may come through your foundation; it doesn’t matter how much product you pack on, it isn’t going away.

Next I set the base with my beloved MAC Studio Fix powder in NC20.  It is important to use a yellow-toned powder to lightly set your makeup because the warm pigments in the product will help to color correct the redness of your sunburn.  Even when I’m not sporting a burn, I opt for a yellow-toned product to counteract my genetically rosy cheeks (I’m naturally about an NW18/ NW20, for reference). 

Once you’ve set your base, you should no longer look like a burned mess  . . . just especially bronzed.  Your last steps will be to use an illuminating blush that doesn’t have any red tones on the apples of your cheeks and add a light coat of mascara.  Since you have a lot going on complexion-wise, you want to keep it light everywhere else.  Now is not the time to test out your bronzed smoky eye skills. 

When you’re done, you should look pretty(-ish) not painful!

What are some of your tricks for downplaying a sunburn?
Monday, April 21, 2014

Good Intentions: On Starting a New Healthy Lifestyle Regimen

When you work with teenagers, you grow a thick skin very quickly.  I have been called every name under the sun in about a dozen languages and at this point, it doesn’t even phase me.  There is one pejorative that sticks in my craw however: fat. 

Fatty.  Fatass.  Lardass.  Lardbutt.  <----- Those bug the fuck out of me.  I’m chubby.  I’m fluffy.  I’m curvy.  I’m a lot of things besides overweight and I’m certainly not a lardass.

The last thing any chubby gal (or guy!) wants to be told is that they are fat (we know) or that we need to do something about it (we will if we want to) and if we don’t do something about it we’re worthless (we’re not and it’s none of your business if you don’t pay our insurance premiums). 

While I undoubtedly have some major chubby swag (I’m fluffy and fabulous, y’all!), I do want to have more energy and be healthier—and dropping some weight is the way I can achieve that goal.  When you drop even as little as 20% of yourbody weight, you can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, andstroke.  Research has also shown thatworking out can also work as a biochemical pick-me-up for folks with thedepression.  Heck, why wouldn’t I want to commit to a healthier, more active lifestyle?

So, here’s the deal: every week I am going to write a blog post updating my readers on my weight loss, mood, and how I felt emotionally throughout the week. Going into this little project I already know that there is a connection between my mood and my food, so it’s important I document that relationship and find healthier ways to deal with an emotional drop-off.  When I am not blogging about my journey, I will be writing in a print journal a couple times a week to document how I am doing and what I am feeling; I’ll summarize these notes on the Lexicon Devil on Wednesdays. 

Have you ever started a new healthy lifestyle regimen?  Do you have any health tips for me?
Sunday, April 20, 2014

This Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore: On Breaking Up With Morrissey’s Autobiography

At first blush, you would think we’d be the perfect pair.  Me: a bookish Smiths and Morrissey fan, with a mirthless disposition and a jones for buying books on import.  Autobiography by Morrissey: a book by Morrissey about Morrissey.  Really, we should have eloped to Switzerland and have had miserable book babies by now (that makes absolutely no sense, I know, but you know what I mean); but alas, alack, anon, it wasn’t meant to be.

This.  Book.  Is.  Terrible.  TERRIBLE!

Try as I might, I couldn’t get more than a dozen pages in the book before I developed a serious migraine, a migraine of the “Oh, crap!—I forgot to take my meds this morning!” variety.  For starters, it appears as though Moz has an aversion to complete sentences and a morbid infatuation with circuitous Germanic-style ones.  What.  The.  Fuck.  

I am willing to forgiven quirky grammar if I am reading James Joyce or Emily Dickinson.  You know what, I will even allow Kafka and Mann their insane run on sentences.  But I cannot, nay, I will not, stand the indignity of watching one of my idols prattle on like he’s writing a LiveJournal entry in 2003 and not a long-awaited autobiography.  In fact, I would have rather the book to have never been written or be written in Laotian than be readily available . . . but with an irritating style that rejects the sacrosanct conventions of written English. 

This is like finding out that the person you have been dating in an unashamed Beliber.  I may need to make an emergency appointment with my therapist. *sob*

In the interim, I have picked up a copy of Tony Fletchers A Light That Never Goes Out, a more objective and readable version of The Smith’s story and I’ve added it to my TBR.  And Autobiography?  Well, I’ll be using that as a d├ęcor item for the foreseeable future.

And to think it all started out so well.
Saturday, April 19, 2014

One in Every Color: The Boyfriend Shirt

While I experiment a great deal with my makeup, I’ve always been more conservative with my attire.  Once I find a style I like or a flattering silhouette, I remain loyal to what is tried and true. 

My latest fashion discovery is the Mossimo Crew Neck Boyfriend Tee (currently on sale at Target for 3/ $24), the perfect light basic you can dress up for dress down for the warmer months. I bought six of the traditional crew necks in light heather gray, ebony, cool breeze blue (a light heathery blue), gray stripe (the stripes are a neon yellow-green), April blush (an orangey-peach), and water slide (a light teal). 

As with most of Target’s junior apparel, busty ladies will need to size up in order to maintain the garment’s relaxed fit.  It’s also worth noting that the shirts are lightweight and sheer; in order to maintain your modesty, you may have to layer.

You can also text “APPAREL1” to TARGET to get a $5 off of an apparel purchase of $25 or more sent directly to your smart phone.
Friday, April 18, 2014

10 Books Every Incoming English Major Should Read Before College, Part V

For the past week the Lexicon Devil has been devoted to all of the soon-to-be English majors. I’ve amassed a list of ten books you should strike off your TBR before classes begin in the fall.  

Our last two recommendations are texts you will not be able to outrun.  In fact, if you’ve gotten this far in your education, you have probably read one, if not both, of these novels.  Even if you have read them, they are worth a re-read before you enter the hallowed halls of academia.  

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Forget what you have learned from Boris Karloff movies, Mary Shelley’s gothic novel is nothing like the lumbering green monster from 1930s cinema.  Frankenstein (the name of the dude who made the monster, not the monster himself . . . he’s just called “the monster”) is about the dangers of scientific inquiry that is left unchecked.  Humanity, Shelley argues, should not play God; some of the universe’s mysteries are best left unexplained and unharnessed.

In many ways, Frankenstein is a version of the Faustian bargain, wherein a curious individual makes an unholy deal for forbidden knowledge . . . only to have their life quickly fall apart.  While the Faust legend had been around for hundreds of years, Goethe’s retelling of the story had been published about a decade before Frankenstein; so, the story was poppin’ in the early nineteenth century.  As an English major, you really should have a “deal with the devil” story under your belt and this is not only the easiest to read, but the more frequently alluded.  

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Last but certainly not least, Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre is probably as close to the perfect novel as you are ever going to get; it has romance, mystery, action, adventure, and redemption.  Quite honestly, Jane Eyre is the Target of classic novels, it has everything in one place.  

The novel is a grower and you’ll probably find yourself struggling to get into the novel for much for the first third of the book, but once the action picks up, Jane Eyre rivals the best (of the worst) soap opera or Bravo reality show.  More importantly, however, Jane Eyre has become the yardstick by which novels written before and after it are judged.  My recommendation: don’t check out a copy from the library, by your own copy and make copious marginal notes-- you’ll need them.

This concludes “10 Books Every Incoming English Major Should Read Before College.”  If you have any additions you would like to add to the list, feel free to list them in the comments.

Happy reading!
Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Review Struggle: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturize

It was bound to happen at some point; I have notoriously sensitive skin. 

I break out into hives is someone looks at me sideways.  My skin turns an angry, blotchy red whenever there is the suggestion of sunlight on the horizon.  Why, oh why, did I ever think I could experiment with so many cosmetics without it ending in tragedy?

For well over a year, I have been reading glowing reviews of the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer (Get it?  Glowing?  Radiant?) and I finally buckled down and bought myself a tube two weeks ago.  In theory, the product was a good match for me: light, satiny finish, covered my blemishes without concealer, and the shade “Finland” was a good color match for my finicky skin.

Soon after my first application I knew something was wrong.  Within minutes of wear, the product went patchy and I began to see what I believed to be my high redness start to show through my base.  Since I have long loved the brand’s Sheer Glow foundation (I wear Deauville in that product, for reference) for a while, I chalked this patchiness up to a bad skin day.  On my first round with the Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer I only managed to wear the product for about three hours before I washed my face. 

Unwilling to give a $45 product the boot after one use I tried it again on two consecutive workdays.  Yet again, I noticed the patchiness and high redness rising through the base within minutes of application.  When you have oily skin like I do, however, you are more willing to chalk a funky look up to your skin’s failings rather than the product’s.  Masochist that I am, I gave the product one last trial on a Wednesday and It.  All.  Went.  Terribly.  Wrong. 

I gave the tinted moisturizer one last trial last Wednesday. If the damn thing continued to look funky, I promised myself, I would return it to Sephora the next day. Needless to say, it didn't take long for the shit to hit the fan. Almost immediately my skin felt itchy and sore.  I tried to persevere though my face felt like it was being consumed by fire ants.  Beauty is meant to be pain, right?

Finally, 2/3 of the way through my work day, I couldn’t stand the itching and the pain any longer.  I looked in my compact mirror and saw that my face was BRIGHT PINK— like horrific, Nicki Minik wig pink.  In a blind panic, I some fragrance free lotion one of my students had on her to remove my face makeup and some bottled water to scrub off whatever traces remained. 

Needless to say, as soon as work ended, I hightailed it to Sephora and returned the thing.  I then had to use my store credit to buy some items to help sort out my painfully enflamed skin.  One week and $65 later my face is almost back to normal. 

What is nagging me, however, isn’t the reaction per se, but what caused the reaction.  I’ve never had a problem with NARS products, even their Sheer Glow Foundation, so I was puzzled as to why I had an anaphylactic meltdown this time.  Though I cannot be certain, I believe the “mineral rich sea water” that is added into the product to refresh the skin may be the culprit.  I’m allergic to sea food so maybe I am allergic to the sea.  Who knows?  In any event, I’ll be sticking to MAC Studio Fix foundation powder and the Laura Mercier Oil-Free tinted moisturizer for the foreseeable future.

What beauty products have given you allergic reactions?  What do you do to treat allergic reactions on your face? 
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

10 Books Every Incoming English Major Should Read Before College, Part IV

For the past week the Lexicon Devil has been devoted to all of the soon-to-be English majors. I’ve amassed a list of ten books you should strike off your TBR before classes begin in the fall.  

Our next two recommendations are, for lack of a better term, about madness. However, if you are going to read a couple of books about people who’ve gone nucking futs, these are the ones for you.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
If I had to pick a desert island book, Kurt Vonnegut’s magnum opus, Slaughterhouse-Five would be the one.  Slaughterhouse-Five is the mind-bending story of Billy Pilgrim, an upstate New York eye doctor who becomes inexplicably “unstuck in time.”  Without a moment’s notice Billy can travel to different parts of his life, shifting between the evening of his daughter’s wedding, to his time as a POW in Dresden, to the day his wife died.  Billy’s time travels are made all the more peculiar by the appearance of a race of highly evolved aliens who keep the unperturbed Pilgrim and Montana Wildhack, a “blue movie” actress in a habitat on their planet for study.

As mind-bending as the novel is-- time travel and alien abduction and all-- at its core, Billy Pilgrim’s take is a story about trauma, or as Vonnegut terms it, the impossibility of “making sense of a massacre.”

When it comes down to brass tacks, the reason you should read Slaughterhouse-Five is simple: the book is the gentlest introduction to postmodernity you could possibly receive.  Once you start your undergraduate work, it will already be assumed that you have familiar with postmodernity and have at least one (or more!) postmodern text under your belt.  I am not going to lie, Slaughterhouse-Five is difficult to follow at times, but Vonnegut rewards the tenacious . . . and their are illustrations.  ILLUSTRATIONS YOU GUYS! 

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
In Annie Hall, a movie you will probably see at least once if you minor in Film or have an overly earnest boyfriend, Woody Allen’s character, Alvy Singer, tartly observes, “Sylvia Plath, whose tragic suicide was misinterpreted as romantic by the schoolgirl mentality.”  As glib as that comment may be (and it certainly is glib) it does have a ring of truth: Plath has been hijacked by generations of well meaning fans who wish to turn the poet and novelist into a victim or a spirit animal for the depressed.  

Neither is true, actually.  

Sylvia Plath was a woman who has serious mental health issues and didn’t have the intrinsic or extrinsic resources to handle her life when it started crumbling before her eyes.  To be frank, were Plath not a gifted writer and an attractive white lady, her story would be relatively unremarkable.  That being said, if you can contain your urge to mythologise, you really should read The Bell Jar, Plath’s only novel.  In contrast to many books about young adult madness (including The Catcher in the Rye, sorry to burst your bubble), The Bell Jar has stood up well over time.  

Plainly put, The Bell Jar is about Esther Greenwood, a Seven Sisters undergraduate, who gets a summer internship at a woman’s magazine, experiences some personal and professional disappointments, and tries to commit suicide.  The novel documents Esther’s downward spiral as her slow recovery.  Many events in the novel mirror Plath’s life; however, I would caution readers to refrain from reading the novel as an autobiographical text and instead view the plot in relation to the evolution of women’s gender roles.

Come back Friday for installments 9 and 10 in the series!