Fashion, Uncategorized

My Lipstick Jungle.

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Smashbox, Be Legendary Lipstick

Today a lot happened: I forgot the keys to let me into work and had to have my sister drive them down to me; I ran around trying to catch up on my late start; I broke the top of my porcelain tea mug which fell, bounced and sliced my leg up in the process; I sat for a minute or two and cried about it before driving home with blood running down my leg.

So, yes, today was a crummy kind of no good, horrible, terrible, very bad day.

But, in spite of all the tea, the lunch, tears, and all the tension, My lipstick stayed red and you have no idea how much that picked my day up every time I looked in the mirror.

I will never tell anyone that they need lipstick – that’s never my right nor do I enjoy it (and not everyone – or anyone – needs it!), but for me, whether it is going for an interview, a besties-date with my best friends, going to my random volunteer work days, or (sometimes) just going out to the grocery store especially on a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day.

I love all shades and all brands – I have many and with them I make even more options through very special color mixes. Some have shine and other are matte, some are light and others dark; some on the pink scales, the red blue scale, and the orange scale; and some are longer wear and others aren’t quite as sturdy.

This is one of the issues I have with many of my lipsticks – with many brands, I feel like I have to sacrifice color if I wanted staying power. All my reds would stay but they tended to pink out on me – I even have oranges that start vivid but end up (strangely enough) pink!

That’s why I have been so happy this week with my new purchase of Be Legendary Cream Lipstick from Smashbox. I bought Bing – a beautiful matte red which does not turn pink! – and Fireball Matte – an orange that is deep and bright at the same time so it stays far away from neon. I love the brightness of these which brings attention to your face and livens it up but are also reserved enough  for places like mass or work without seeming like you are going out to party after.

This lipstick has some staying power but not nearly as much as others I have worn (you know, the ones that pink out!). My first time wearing Bing, I ended up eating a burger and, thanks to the bun, I lost quite a bit of lipstick to the bread. The next time, I let it set a little longer before eating and ate avocado, humus, and quinoa salad toast and the color hadn’t moved at all (and the same with oatmeal this morning!).

But more than staying power,  even if eating took some off (applying lip liner to whole lip can help stop the removal!), all the lipstick stayed the exact color with was supposed to without any kind of color fade. If you love vivid color, This is the one for you!

Finally, at $21 each paying for all the confidence and energy that these colors give me, these were very, very worth the cost. My only problem now is that I want more colors!

  • Taylor Gallagher
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Books, Uncategorized

Back to School: Planners Revisited

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So I posted at the beginning of the calendar year about my new planner and how much I was loving this tool to keep track of my life. 6 months later and I can honestly say that I am still loving it.

I’ve had a busy 7 months being home filled with events with family and friends, interviews, work schedules, meet ups and the basic goings on in my life and this planner has taken a beating but has been with me every step of the way.

I can reiterate all the reasons why everyone should get a planner from my last post on planners – everything from forgetting to schedule something on your phone (like while on a phone call!)to the benefits of detail memory retention (which comes with writing things down!) and showing off (or working on) that amazing penmanship for anyone you write notes to! – but you can read that yourself.

So why am I talking about planners again?

While I am now out of the July/August to June year schedule that comes with student and teacher life, there are many out there – and four in my family! – who this schedule rules their lives. I have one more sister still in school and three teachers/staff working at the middle school level so while they could use a calendar year planner like I have fallen in love with, their year would be bisected by a planner change.

This lead us once again to Target – they really do have the cutest and best designed planners I have ever see and with enough variation to suit everyone’s personal styles.

I love my small and very open plan planner but my sister – who has become a planner convert – is a huge grid and lined paper fan so the Blue Sky Day Designer is perfect for her. It has all the areas to create check list and notes but with lots of organized lines and days organized with hour by hour segmentation. She’s the sister that is still in college and with year she’ll be doing all her classes as well as looking for work, serving as a bridesmaid in a friends wedding, is in two fraternities (one social and one academic) and serving as the groups secretary in one, so she has a lot going on. This also means she’ll be using a backpack so this larger planner which affords her more space to schedule things in is perfect for her.

Funnily enough, my other younger sister who works as a teacher’s aide and is the mother of a 6 month old, picked the smaller version of this same July 2016 to June 2017 planner. She needed to smaller book that she can throw in a baby bag or purse and run out the door with. She ups her organization using color coordinated highlighter pencils and her advice from today was if you want your planner to look nice and get stressed out with changed plans – that are out of your control – always use pencils; blacked out pen scratches look messy and can get distracting!

For me, It’s a matter of what I have on hand though plans that are more obscure definitely stay in pencil! Also, if you are looking to organize the rest of your paper and office life but with cute flair, there are tons of super cute choices from giant ‘oops’ erasers (I definitely bought this!) to desk globes and chalkboards galore.

So, if you are school bound (whichever way this applies), I cannot recommend buying a beautiful (cause you will use it more!) but useful planner enough.

  • Taylor Gallagher
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Fashion, Uncategorized

My Summer Hat of Choice.

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Recently, H&M has been an amazing stop where I’ve found all my recent favorites. Two weeks ago I talked all about my new favorite (and go-to) dress and now it’s my go-to hat.

I will definitely admit that this piece was an impulse buy, but I haven’t regretted it for a second.

I was watching TV and surfing pintrest on July 3rd and came across a great photo – closely followed by a whole feed – of a girl wearing a boater hat. All I could think was that the next day was the 4th of July, we were going out to a barbecue, and that hat was undeniably perfect.

So, yes, with two hours before the mall closed, my sisters and I sped over and did a marathon jog in and out of all the stores that looked to even remotely have the kind of straw hat I was searching for.

We started in H&M but where I found the collection of hats, there was only a few with the correct brim length – the feature that is probably the most important part in my decision making process – but with a much deeper cap than I really wanted.

At our mall, the only other place that had an equivalent was Hollister. Their choice, however, hat the proper height but a wider sun hat brim and as mentioned the brim was the most important part!

Luckily, after deciding that getting the first hat was worth  buying even if the height wasn’t quite right, I noticed another section of hats and buried under the top few was this hat. 

What I love about it are the proportions. It’s short brim works perfectly with the shallow height making it perfect for both top and back of the head placement. I tend to lean for a further back look which is why I needed the shorter brim. The halo – the shape and size of the brim that frames your head – feels much more proportionate to my head and face rather than over powering.

I can pair this hat with curly hair or straight and it doesn’t clash with most outfits. I love it with summer dresses but a lot with my recent white shorts and shirt combo. Then again, ankle hemmed skinny and a t-shirt are amazing as well!

The one thing I am having issues pairing this hat with are my favorite striped tops – especially in primary colors. This feels way too stereotypical Parisian (like the bad tourist version!) when it’s all put together. I am working on this look because I really love the idea of it, but for now it’s on the back burner.

But until then, I love playing with this beautiful boater hat and hope you will too!

  • Taylor Gallagher
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Uncategorized

Light, Bright Summer Salads

 

Last week, I talked about my new favorite recipe for chicken and mentioned how amazing this recipe is over a bright summer salad and in the pretty constant scorching heat of LA, most nights a salad is the only thing I want. I’ve written a lot in the past about how great veggies are for your skin as well as your health and I’m on a budget so eating out is rarely an option and again cooking just increases the temperature inside the house.

The key I’ve found to making a bright summer salad is color.

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Summer Salad with garlic potatoes and pesto chicken.

I love a bright mix a greens to start off – I’m a baby spinach, arugula and baby kale (this is a much less work intensive kale!) girl. The positives of this mix is the major influx of vitamins A and C. They also have a nice balance of bitter and sweeter greens. There are times I go for iceberg or romaine lettuce but this is really just when I go out – dinner salads really don’t give you much choice – not when I make my own as the nutritional value is pretty much nill.

I pile on some a lot of veggies -recently this has been diced tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, celery, diced cauliflower, corn, peas, mushrooms, avocado and pretty much any other veggie I can find in my fridge. Mostly I look for whatever color I can find – veg is a whole lot of green but that gets boring. I love baby sweet peppers because you get a whole lot of reds, oranges and yellows without throwing off any balance. I also love the mix of textures that these veggies give.

Then I top this off with some feta and/or blue cheese crumbles. You can pretty much add any cheese to salad and have it tastes delicious but they can seriously take away any benefits you gain from choosing a salad over a burger (or alongside your burger!). I lean toward these cheese because they have a sharpness and distinctness that makes it hard to over do them without throwing it all off so overindulging isn’t an issue! I know a lot of people go for fruit – a bit of pear or apple but be careful about sugars (fruit has a lot more than any vegetables).

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Summer salad with tater-tots and spiced roasted chicken

For some protein I add in my chicken (or sometimes diced lunch meat/cold cuts for a quick lunch version) and/or some nuts or seeds. Last night I did two variations n my chicken – one garlic barbecue and the other a garlic pesto which have both been great hot and cold. Again, lunch meat and cold cuts  are amazing when they are good quality without the chicken preparation time. Pumpkin seeds have been my absolute favorite and I really lean toward on type at a time – again it’s a balancing act!

What really makes or breaks a salad, however, is the dressing. I’m as big of a fan as anyone of salad dressing – I’ve grown up eating Ranch – but having this on the regular in the amounts we all put on our salads pretty much makes as much sense as only eating cheesy pizza.

So instead of topping my salads with extra sugars, added fats and salts, and everything else that is stuffed into store bought dressings, I have made a variety of my own. Most recently my summer go-to has been a splash of apple cider vinegar (ACV) with a pinch of pepper. The vinegar has tons of health benefits but the best part is the extra brightness it brings out of the greens and veggie mix which most other dressings just overpower.

For an arugula based salad, a mix of olive oil and lemon juice is great for balancing the greens bite and if I have a thick protein base – a turkey patty or chicken breast for example – and for a stronger flavor, I throw ACV in with some pesto and mix before adding to the salad.

Again, I love making these salads either as a side or as a main dish especially in summer. My final bit of advice is to build your salad in a large lidded bowl or Tupperware – this is the easiest way of mixing your salad.

  • Taylor Gallagher
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