About Me

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be. Shel Silverstein

Friday, April 29, 2011


This blog is going to be long, so bear (bare?) with me. Also, I am nearly shaking with excitement as I type this and I might be all over the place.

First, let's go back to my junior year of highschool. I had just spent a couple weeks of my summer at debate camp. The topic that year was about how to increase public health assistance to Africa. My partner and I's topic was on female genital mutilation, which was one of the horrific things I studied day after day and debated over weekend after weekend. Others included things such as black market abortions, child soldiers, and sex trafficking. I found my heart absolutely breaking as I learned more, and I found myself desperate to do something. I tried to attempt a massive event on my own, and unfortunately when I hit some obstacles, my 16 year old idealistic self was left defeated. The summer between my junior and senior year, I found myself specifically attached to sex trafficking. I read books, did research, and realized that God had put this pain on my heart for all the victims trapped in the underground world of brothels and forced prostitution. My heart aches for justice for these women, and that desire lead me to pursue pre-law so that one day I can really make a difference through international law. I have been in college now for two years, for a total of about 20 different classes, in which almost every single one of my research papers and presentations have been over something to do with sex trafficking. I am in no sense an expert, but I know enough after four years of research to break my heart every single day.

Let's go back even further to whenever I was little. I adored painting, drawing, sewing, sculpting, and making jewelry with my grandmother. At the time it was just something fun to do, but little did I know that it sparked a passion for art in my heart. My mom gave me an old polaroid camera when I was little and I would go take pictures of my friends, simply because I was in awe of the process of instantly printing images. I was by no means creative with my child photography, but it's still something I can look back on now and see how I ended up where I am today. I took art all through highschool and was so very close to going to college for art and photography. My senior year, I learned just how much I love painting and really developed. I wasn't outstanding or anything, but I grew a lot as an artist that year. Unfortunately, once college started, I simply did not keep up my creative outlets. The only thing I continue to do is photography, if only because it's not as time consuming as painting or drawing. I want art back in my life!

Okay, back to the present. I am part of an incredible small group for college students and young 20-somethings that is affiliated with an incredible church in south Austin. I am nothing less than incredibly blessed. Our small group is uniquely talented, filled with artists, photographers, musicians..all who have a huge heart for Jesus. Our church has a partnership with an organization in Haiti called HELP or Help End Local Poverty. Our church as a collective helped to build an orphanage and sponsor every single child in that orphanage. And that's awesome and incredible, but God's work isn't finished. There's the issue of older children that grow out of the orphanage being at a huge risk of being sucked into the human trafficking monster. So, what we are now doing is helping to build homes for these at-risk youth, sponsering them until they can get jobs, and even providing some jobs in the process. Each home will hold three people and a "house mom" and the best part about it is how affordable it is! One home only costs $5,500. That's a tiny $1,800 to save one child from being bought and used and tortured for who knows how long.

Well, our small group of around 12 twenty-somethings have made the commitment to build one of these homes. After the home is built, we will be able to see the house on google maps, visit the youth who live there, and develop relationships with them over time.

The first thing, we as a small group have decided to do to raise the money is by organizing a benefit. We are having a silent auction at Domincan Joe's on June 4 that will showcase awesome artists, including art from the artists in our small group. Every single penny spent will go towards the house. We will have a band there, organized by the worship leader of our church. We will (hopefully) have the director of HELP, all the way from Haiti, there to talk a little bit. Domincan Joe's offered to donate a percentage of the proceeds from the night. Wow, I am so blown away by how this is all coming together and how generous everyone has been helping out a group of young kids. God really is great, and will help you when you do His work!

I am not positive on all of the artists that will be featured there just yet, but I do know one who has been EXTREMELY generous and great with giving us not only priceless advice, but is donating a couple of his own pieces that are truly collectibles. I also know that from my small group, Bethany and Levi, Marie, Taylor, and myself will be donating two pieces each. But I am sure you guys would like to hear more about Ty Clark.

I totally encourage you guys to go look him up and learn more, but I will give you a short synopsis. He currently is the founder of Veritas, an apparel brand worn by Ed Westwick (Chuck of Gossip Girl) in the December issue of Cosmo, Sophia Bush, and other celebrities. Here's their project statement and some of their apparel that I personally like!
The Veritas Project is created to support humanitarian efforts across the globe. At the heart of Veritas is a deep burning passion for culture and community. We believe that in every form of art there is healing for the soul. Veritas gives 20% of our profit to support a number of humanitarian causes.


Ty is also an outstanding artist that I would love to have a collection of his pieces. I am not going to try to explain them, because I surely would do his work a great injustice. To find more of his work, look him up under his artist name "SAMO4PREZ" Take a look..
and my personal fav...

I am beyond honored and excited to have my own work displayed in the same benefit as his. Wow...

Anyways, that is just ONE of the artists donating pieces to be auctioned off for the home in Haiti. I'll do another post whenever I have a solid list of all the artists.

I am going to be totally transparent right now and let you guys know how special this is for me personally. I started crying whenever I talked to Ethan about this, but this cause, this specific benefit.. it really is everything that I am passionate about wrapped up into one cause. God, Justice, Service, Community, Art. He absolutely will use you and your specific gifts to honor His Kingdom if you put your whole heart into it. Even if you put your half heart into it, He'll spot you the other half. I have spent the last two years of my life going back and forth wondering if I made the right decision to not pursue art, but I realize that I was wondering the wrong thing. I should have been praying, asking God to show me how to use all of my passions as a tool for His Glory. 

Now I just need to finish finals and start my pieces... (and do my part of the organization of the benefit!)

Ephesians 2:10

 "For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
1 Corinthians 15:58
"So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless."
Romans 12:2
"Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

over and out.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Beyond Excitement.

Okay, I am beyond excited, but I am also beyond exhausted so my awesome news is going to have to wait :)

I will give you guys a hint though.... it involves art, music, coffee, and eliminating sex trafficking in Haiti.

I'll be posting details tomorrow :)

over and out.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Plan: Packing Smart

Okay, so I am a little addicting to shopping, but other than a few things from Forever 21 the other day, I have not shopped at all since I started saving for France. I almost feel silly shopping now, since I don't really need any more summer clothes, and I need to pack very deliberately for France. Instead of shopping, I decided I would kind of come up with a tentative To Pack list of all the things I think I will need when I go to France. This list has rules though. They must be already owned, inexpensive, or absolutely necessary for the trip. They must not take up too much space in luggage. They must be versatile. And, I must be able to ride my bike or walk long distances while wearing it. The last rule isn't necessarily a rule, but something to definitely keep in mind. French people dress up way more than people in the U.S., therefore the clothes I take need to look nice and like I spent time putting together an outfit. I put together a grouping of clothing basics that should end up being what I pack. I used Zara and H&M (inexpensive trendy clothing stores available both in the U.S. and Angers) as my sources.

Not pictured: Some basic white, black, brown, gray, and navy shirts and cardigans. Also, multiple pairs of black, dark gray, and white tights and socks. Also, obviously undergarments and PJs.

Dresses/ Jumpsuits:

Dresses and jumpsuits are going to be my best friend both in packing and picking out outfits in general. You get an entire outfit in one garment which takes up way less room in a suitcase than a multiple pieced outfit. I already have quite a few dresses, but I'll probably use some of my pre-departure shopping fund to get a couple more. These will be great on days when I am sick of wearing basics and want to feel a little more dressed up.

I basically live in jeans, but unfortunately they are the most bulky of all every day clothing items. Realistically, I should only need one good, simple, dark pair of jeans to get me through the semester. I think that having a non-jeans pair of pants are essential. Especially a pair that are a little more comfortable than skinny jeans. The last thing are black leggings. The perfect alternative to sweat pants and nike shorts, these will get me through the "I want to wear my pajamas to class" days. These three basic bottoms will match all of my neutral tops and cardigans.

The weather in Angers is going to be quite different than here in Austin. It will be pretty in the fall, good for dresses and cardigans. But, as winter approaches, it will get chillier faster and stay colder consistently. A nice basic coat is definitely an essential. Also, apparently it can get pretty rainy in Angers, and since our means of travel will be walking, biking, and waiting for buses, a good raincoat with a hood is needed. Unfortunately, this is something else I will need prior to going (or something I should buy there). The coats I have now are all cheap and not sufficient for consistently cold weather. I also do not own a single raincoat.

I have way too many shoes and as a result, I rarely wear them all. The shoes I tend to wear over and over are my brown sandals, black flats (great with the tights and leggings), and my brown leather boots. I will need a good pair of rain boots as well as a simple, everyday winter shoe. (The white lace ups) And, no, I don't think I will be bringing any heels. I do not wear them regularly enough now to justify the space they would take up in my luggage, and if I find myself really needing a pair, I am sure I can find an inexpensive option in Angers for the occasion.

 I also have quite a few bags, but to be honest, I only use two on a regular basis. A small brown over the shoulder purse and a larger carry-all type bag. The small one holds all things important, wallet, keys, etc.. and the larger one can carry my school books, my groceries, etc..


 These are the things that are usually the least expensive and take up the least amount of room in a bag. They also happen to be the things that make an outfit fashionable. Something as simple as a pretty scarf or a cool belt layered over basics adds another dimension to an otherwise flat ensemble. To relieve my fashion itch without breaking the bank while I am in France, I'll probably allow myself to purchase these types of items, providing some French trends to my wardrobe. Also, jewelry is something I think of as unessential to a great outfit, but also something I could find while traveling for good prices.

All in all, this adds up to being about 30-40 pieces. This isn't bad at all for a four month trip and can easily be packed in a large suitcase a long with a blow dryer, straightening iron, and curling iron. I am currently planning on buying all my toiletries locally, especially since Lush in Europe is even less expensive than in America (even after converting from euros to dollars). 

over and out.

La vie en France

So I have written about this before, but I feel like every couple of days, especially with this semester being almost over, I remember that I am going to France next semester. Then I get excited all over again and want to know something new about Angers that I have yet to learn. Today was one of those days and I decided to do some research on what Angers as a city has available to do on any given day. Through my research, I found that Angers is just the town for me! A nice sized, yet laid back city with lots of nature incorporated (like Austin!) There are plenty of outdoor activities, music, museums, and restaurants. As well as some nice, trendy, yet inexpensive shopping. I found all the information below on the St. Edward's France website. Enjoy!

Life in Angers

Angers is located in the heart of Loire Valley, on the banks of the Maine River, and about 300 km southwest of Paris. It is both a cultural and agricultural hub in France. You can enjoy some of the best foods, visit several of France’s most famous chateaux, and wander through beautiful, meticulously landscaped parks. Angers has a vibrant nightlife of dining, sightseeing, music and other activities.

There are also numerous outdoor activities to participate in, such as rowing, running, kayaking, hiking, and swimming. And being just 90 minutes from Paris via the TGV, it’s easy to visit the capital city.
Here are some more details about what’s available to students in Angers.


Music & Film

Magasins (Shops)
over and out.

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011


    Okay, so I am going to complain a little bit. I know, I know that I am supposed to be thankful for my education. And I am, I promise. But why, why must we cram the most important projects, essays, and tests of the entire semester into the last two weeks of class? My professors are all trying to do us a favor, giving us our finals before finals week, but the problem is that ALL of them are doing it. Therefore, instead of a lengthy two week finals period, its going to be crammed into two DAYs next week. Woohoo.

    This Thursday: French Test
    Next Tuesday: Business Speech final, Research policy paper, Art history quiz
    Next Thursday: ANOTHER French Test, Art History project, Social Issues final

    Sometime in the next week: French Oral, and Art History Final

    I am sure that next Friday, I will be thankful to be done. But as of right now..... :(

    I'll be needing this:

    1 Peter 5:7

     Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 

    over and out.

    Sunday, April 24, 2011

    A different kind of Easter service.

    Tonight, Ethan and I joined our church for its Easter service. Instead of the traditional Easter church service, our church instead chose to have a huge grill out for all of Austin's homeless. We worshiped in the middle of downtown Austin in a parking lot and shared communion with the most diverse group of people I have ever been a part of.


    Some of the incredible things I got to witness:

    A homeless man in a wheel chair, standing up and raising his hands in worship

    An extremely kind older homeless man prayed out loud, thanking God for all of the volunteers taking time out of their day to do this.

    A homeless man giving his peers new shoes to replace their worn out ones.

    I heard multiple people talking about how full they were.

    I saw children of members of my church throwing a football, having fun, with a couple of guys from the streets.


    This guy's name is Bruce Steen (maybe Stein), and he introduced himself as Bruce Springsteen. He is quite the character. He loved watermelon and ate a TON of it. He was one of the ones who received a new pair of shoes. We offered him a chair to sit in, and I have never seen anyone so genuinely excited for something so simple. One of his friends asked him when the last time he was so spoiled was, and he said he didn't know how long. He wanted his picture taken in the chair, and whenever I offered him a polaroid, he put in safely in his bag and told me how he was going to show it to all of his buddies. 

    You guys, there are so many homeless in Austin. And so many of them are such sweet, awesome people who don't need much to feel loved on.  One lady told me I was a blessing because I found her a plastic bag to carry her stuff in. A plastic grocery bag, that I have tons of in my pantry. A couple of guys felt totally spoiled because they got to sit in lawn chairs. How many of you have foldable lawn chairs in your garages that you don't use? 

    Jesus died and rose again for me, for you, and for every single person on this earth. He died and left us as Christians with the duty to extend Christ's love to those who are usually forgotten. But a funny thing happens when you do that. Sometimes you find yourself getting some love back :) This certainly is an Easter I won't forget.

    James 1:26-27 (The Message)

     Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

    over and out.

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    10,000 Eggs and a Really Long Day

    This is probably going to be an all-over-the-place post because I am more exhausted than I have been in a really really really long time. I woke up this morning at 5:00 A.M., yes that's five A.M. on a Saturday morning to go help out with an easter egg hunt put on by Habitat for Humanity in east Austin. It was so much fun watching all the kids pack their baskets full of eggs, sometimes more than once! There were 10,000 eggs!

     Then Ethan and I grabbed breakfast at Juan in a Million. It's an Austin favorite for breakfast tacos, and has even been on Man vs. Food! 


     Then we went to a little music festival to support some friends who were playing, and I took a couple of pictures...

    Kyle from Gatsby

    Sophie from Gatsby

    Greyson from Gatsby

    Spencer of Dead Swagger

    Go on facebook and support them by "liking" their pages!!! 

    over and out.

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    What can your soap do for the enviorment?

    So I am still working on finishing up The Tangible Kingdom, but in the meantime, I thought it would be cool to show you guys the environmental policy of the store where I get all my beauty products (except makeup). The environment is something I find myself worrying more and more about lately. I am currently in a class called Dilemmas that is basically a pre-senior thesis class where you write 15-20 page paper throughout the semester on a social dilemma. We have to research the dilemma and what caused it and why it hasn't been solved, discuss the differing viewpoints and their arguments, and then present a policy based solution. My paper is over carbon offsets and through my research, I have found myself way more interested in where and how the products I use are being made. Now, I am far from using only animal and earth friendly products, but I think I am progressing in that direction well. If you read my blog, you know that I am recently obsessed with Lush. These products cleared up my skin, are all natural, AND they are taking the global intitative to be environmentally friendly as both a business and encouraging their consumers to be as well. Watch this!

    over and out.

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    You Are More

    I am currently in the middle of reading Tangible Kingdom. I got to meet the authors of the book and I blogged about that here, and now I am reading the book. I am loving it so much that it is taking forever to read due to all the notes I have been taking. I have this little rule with myself that whenever I am reading a book that I know I want to dedicate a nice, in depth blog post about, I won't blog until I finish reading it. (Kind of a personal accountability program) So instead, I thought I would share a song that I have been loving lately, not necessarily for its musical technique or song, but for its message. (But speaking of music, Arcade Fire, Explosions in the Sky, and Beirut are playing in Austin soon!) Anyways, this song never fails to make me feel uplifted, no matter how bad (or good) my day might be going.

    You Are More by Tenth Avenue North

    There's a girl in the corner
    With tear stains on her eyes
    From the places she's wandered
    And the shame she can't hide

    She says, "How did I get here?
    I'm not who I once was.
    And I'm crippled by the fear
    That I've fallen too far to love"

    But don't you know who you are,
    What's been done for you?
    Yeah don't you know who you are?

    You are more than the choices that you've made,
    You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
    You are more than the problems you create,
    You've been remade.

    Well she tries to believe it
    That she's been given new life
    But she can't shake the feeling
    That it's not true tonight

    She knows all the answers
    And she's rehearsed all the lines
    And so she'll try to do better
    But then she's too weak to try

    But don't you know who you are?

    You are more than the choices that you've made,
    You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
    You are more than the problems you create,

    You've been remade.

    You are more than the choices that you've made,
    You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
    You are more than the problems you create,
    You've been remade.

    'Cause this is not about what you've done,
    But what's been done for you.
    This is not about where you've been,
    But where your brokenness brings you to

    This is not about what you feel,
    But what He felt to forgive you,
    And what He felt to make you loved.

    You are more than the choices that you've made,
    You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
    You are more than the problems you create,
    You've been remade. 

    What's your favorite inspiration song right now? Why?

    over and out.

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    The Financial Tales of the Shopaholic:

    Well, if you are a dedicated reader of my blog (hey mom!), then you know that I will be studying abroad in Angers, France next semester. I am beyond excited, but am definitely overwhelmed with preparing for the trip. Thankfully, I already have a passport from whenever I went to Italy in high school, but my to do list still freaks me out a little.

    To do:
    1. Pack up my apartment and move back to my parents.
    2. Clean my apartment to avoid any extra costs.
    3. Cancel my cable and internet services and drive the cable boxes and modem all the way to the Time Warner office (boo!)
    4. Somehow survive my two remaining weeks of classes and finals.
    5. Get rid of 75% percent of my stuff.
    6. Apply for and obtain my student VISA.
    7. Purchase airline tickets simultaneously with Ethan and my friend Izzy, who is also going.
    8. Figure out a way to transport my essential belongings to Angers.
    9. Start and finish my training in Quick Books so I can work more hours.
    10. And last but not least, somehow save all the money I will be spending abroad.

    Everything is definitely doable, but #10 really freaks me out and has been a huge stressor in my life since my decision to study abroad has been made. I am currently battling my addiction to shopping and at the same time, saving a large sum of money for the first time in my life.

    I decided that the amount I will be aiming for is $2500. I came up with that number by averaging the amount a previous Angers student claimed they spent abroad, the amount I would be making if I kept the job I have now in the states, and also the monthly recommendation of money for studying abroad made by the government's student Visa website. Also, the fact that the ratio of euro to dollar does not weigh in my favor.

    WOAH, I have never seen that much money in my bank account at one time (mostly because I spend it before I get anywhere close to that amount). But honestly, I think that since I do not have a choice but to save this money, I am being forced into cracking my addiciton while at the same time learning how to budget and save my money (something I am glad to be learning now, instead of later).

    Current Budgeting Plan:
    1. As soon as I get my weekly paycheck, I put all but $50 into my savings account. That $50 has to last me through the week: all of my meals, shopping, everything. (I am very thankful that Ethan's meal plan still has plenty of money in it and can support both of us during these last few weeks of school. I am also thankful that Ethan has been helping me save money by offering to pay for meals on dates and telling me that I don't need things when I want to buy them (haha). I am also so lucky that my parents cover my apartment and bills, and part of my pay for my work includes my gas. Thank you parents and boyfriend!)
    2. If I have something I need to purchase that requires me to spend more than $50 in a week (key word: need), I can transfer it from my savings. The effectiveness of this strategy is that I can only do that six times a month, so I really have to think about it before I transfer it over.
    3. So far, in about a month, I have hit the 1/7 of my goal mark!

    Summer Plan:
    1. Since I will be living with my parents and working more hours, I will have the opportunity to earn more and spend less. My weekly allotment will probably still be $50, but I have a feeling that I might not even spend all of it in any given week.
    2. About a month before I leave (August), I will evaluate where how much I have saved and make a trip budget. I will be alloting my money in six basic categories: pre-trip essentials, travel means (train and bus) and expenses (hotels, hostels), food, groceries, entertainment, and weekly pocket money.

    Dans le plan de la France:
    1. I will have my credit card for emergencies only.
    2. I will have my debit card, but mostly I will...
    3. Use my budget to plan how much cash I need on a weekly basis and use an ATM to withdraw that money weekly. That way I will only carry small sums of cash and won't risk losing my debit and credit cards. (I would much rather lose a week of funds than have no money and have to go through canceling all my cards while abroad).
    4. Potenially scope out a job in a local cafe or something for a few extra euros here and there.

    I think that hardest thing about saving currently, is as the money in my savings account slowly grows to amounts of items that I have wanted to purchase but have yet to afford, its just a little weird. I feel broke based on the number in my checking account, but technically I have enough to buy a new IPhone 4, and pretty soon I will have enough for an IPad, and by the end, I will have enough for the new MacBook Pro I have been wanting for a while. But, as weird as it is, the learning process, as well as the experience of studying in a new culture is beyond worth the monetary value. Also, after accomplishing this, I will have learned and experienced the discipline needed to save up for things if I really need them.

    I apologize for the boring budget post, but its all that has been on my mind and its nice to organize and type everything out. Also, if anyone has any advice, please send it my way!! Also, another book review should be coming up soon :)

    over and out.

    Saturday, April 16, 2011

    A Book Review: The Road

     Austin, Ethan and I's college small group leader and friend, loaned me a book to read this weekend
    on my road trip to Oklahoma this weekend (Thanks Austin!). While in the car on Friday with Ethan's family on the way to see his sister and brother-in-law (awesome weekend, P.S.), I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy in its entirety in one sitting. 

    The Road is a bleak, dismal novel. A father and son are traveling south on a road in a world utterly destroyed by a cataclysmic event that occurred years prior to the novel's setting, possibly caused by nuclear warfare. The plot consists of a few basic activities: walk, forage, starve, rain, sleep, starve, and walk some more. The whole world has been reduced to ash and gray snow; the only sustenance that remains are canned goods hidden away in long-abandoned homes. The narrative is simple; it is as if the father and son do not have enough energy to utter more words than the practical and essential.

    They looked at each other.
    One more.
    I dont want you to get sick.
    I wont get sick.
    You havent eaten in a long time.
    I know.
    Okay. (p.141)

    In this world, negative contractions are laid bare without their apostrophe's, and quotation marks are extinct. I wonder if the apocalypse burned all of the punctuation, or if this style is consistent in McCarthy's novels? 

    One theme that particularly stood out was the reference to the father and son "carrying the fire".

    We wouldnt ever eat anybody, would we?
    No. Of course not.
    Even if we were starving?
    We're starving now.
    You said we werent.
    I said we werent dying. I didnt say we werent starving.
    But we wouldnt.
    No. We wouldnt.
    No matter what.
    No. No matter what.
    Because we're the good guys.
    And we're carrying the fire.
    And we're carrying the fire, yes.


    You cant. You have to carry the fire.
    I dont know how to.
    Yes you do.
    Is it real? The fire?
    Yes it is.
    Where is it? I dont know where it is.
    Yes you do. It's inside you. It was always there. I can see it.

    What is McCarthy's meaning? At first, I thought it meant that the young boy was a symbol of the continuation of the human race. After finishing the whole novel, I'm more inclined to think that "carrying the fire" refers to never losing hope. If you always carry hope, you will survive. I like this interpretation, it creates a positive note in one very depressing book.

    Another interpretation that I lingered on is how the words of the father to his child are so similar to the words of Jesus to His disciples. I have yet to settle on how that fits into the meaning of the book, but I am still trying to figure it all out. Also, the child, born into the post apocalyptic world has the compassion that seems to have gone extinct in the world. His actions and emotions seem to allude to Jesus. I am still lost as to how to puzzle the book together into a meaning, but I can kind of make out how the pieces fit.

    The Road also introduced some vocabulary unfamiliar to me. McCarthy must be a walking dictionary. Here are a few examples:
    Gryke (p.11) - a deep cleft in a bare limestone rock surface.
    Gambreled (p.17) - A grambrel is a two-sided roof, usually symmetric, with two slopes on each side.
    Laved (p.38) - to wash or flow against.
    Soffits (p.106) - the exposed undersides of any overhead component of a building.
    Gelid (p.136) - Very cold; icy.
    Bivouack[ed] (p. 168) - temporary encampment under little or no shelter
    over and out.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Review: LUSH

    Alright, so I have read lots of absolutely wonderful things about the brand Lush, a company that makes fresh handmade cosmetics. And by cosmetics, they mean all things skin care. I had been interested in trying some things by them because I have recently been in a skin care kick and their products are usually vegan and do not contain any of the scary ingredients found in drugstore and department store skincare options. As I was browsing their website, I looked where some stores were, wondering if one was nearby. And guess what?! One just opened two weeks ago on 6th Street right in the middle of my favorite part of town by Whole Foods and Book People. Last night after our weekly "Whole Foods Monday" trip, Ethan, Sam, and I strolled across the street. While they were in Waterloo Records, I decided to go check out the new Lush store. I am obsessed. The products range in prices, anywhere from super cheap to around $50. Since I am trying to save money for my semester in France, I have allotted myself very limited funds to just shop for fun, so I only bought two things (both under $7) and got two free samples. I am so impressed with these products that I decided to share!

    Lush Ultra Bland:

    This is one of my free samples, but I have a feeling that when I run out of my current cleanser, I will be replacing it with this. The common theme throughout my use of these products is feeling a little uncomfortable with using things that aren't foamy and don't leave my skin feeling super squeaky clean, but no need for me to have feared! This was a strange product to use; you use it dry and apply it straight to a face covered in makeup. You rub it in like a thick body butter and it literally melts the makeup off your face. Then you take a dry cotton pad and remove as much as you can, then get another cotton pad damp with warm water to remove the rest. No splashing your face with water here. It got everything off my face, and left my skin feeling pretty moisturized actually! I still followed up with my usual moisturizer though.
    Ingredients: Almonds oil, Rose water, Beeswax, Honey, Fresh Iris Extract, Glycerin, Rose Absolute

    Angels on Bare Skin:

    This is one of the products I did purchase, but the best thing about it is that in the store, its basically a huge log of product and you tell them in dollars how much to cut off. I asked for a $7 amount, but I could've gotten less or more depending on what I wanted to spend. Also, another common theme amongst Lush products is that a little tiny bit goes a long way. This is because if water needs to be a part of the process, you add it yourself instead of it taking up room in a container like most drugstore and department store products. This is another cleanser, but unlike Ultrabland,  it is better to use this on clean skin since it won't remove your makeup well. I used Ultrabland at night and then Angels on Bare Skin in the morning. You put a little dime sized amount of product in your hand and mix it with a little warm water and make a paste to apply to your *dry* face. It has crushed almond meat in it so it also acts as a gentle exfoliator. Then you can either remove it with a damp wash cloth or just using your hands and warm water. I loved this product as well; it does exactly as the product claims, so I will post that!

    "Our best-selling cleansing roll is perfect for all skin types. Made with finely ground almonds and heaps of balancing lavender, a pea-sized amount will gently scrub away the day. Ground almonds help to gently exfoliate the skin, clearing away dirt and dead skin. Rose oil and lavender oil are wonderfully toning, while the gentle exfoliation of the almonds helps to keep the skin clear and improve the texture of the skin. Lavender is extremely soothing for the skin."
    Also, this product left my skin feeling clean, soothed, but also soft and moisturized.. a feeling I am not used to after using a cleanser.

    Ingredients: Ground Almonds, Glycerin, Kaolin, Lavender oil, Rose Absolute, Chamomile Blue oil, Tagetes oil, Lavender flowers

    BB Seaweed Fresh Face Mask:

    This is the other item I purchased ($5.95) and is probably my favorite and most fun of all the products. This is the one Lush item that you have to buy in store (not online), because it is made of 100% fresh ingredients with no preservatives. It has to be refridgerated and has a self life of only three weeks. The amount they give you in the jar is enough to use 10 thin masks or 4-5 thick masks, so plenty to use in three weeks, but not too much that you will waste product. I have already used two thin masks within 24 hours, that is how much I adore this stuff.

    I went to a Mary Kay party the other day and it was very fun :) but unfortunately the skin care line is not from me and made me break out. This was frustrating to me because I had just gotten my skin to be consistently clear for a month or so. My breakouts were inflammed and irritated and not painless at all. This calmed my face, both from being chilled in the fridge and the calming ingredients in the mask. You put it on your fask and let it dry (about 10 minutes) and then wash off with warm water. This left my skin feeling incredibly smooth, moisturized, and calmed (all redness disappeared). This morning when I woke up, my breakouts had already healed most of the way (AMAZING), and I decided to do another quick mask to finish the process. 

    "Relaxing and reviving, mineral-rich mask to cleanse, soften and beautify all skins. This blend, inspired by the sea, contains fresh and nutritious seaweed and seaweed absolute. Cleansing kaolin, antiseptic honey, calming aloe vera and rose absolute make this a great mask for everyone."

    They have a handful of other masks that serve other purposes, and the one I would like to try next is the Catastrophe Cosmetic mask that apparently soothes your skin and evens out your skin tone flawlessly, leaving no traces of red. Which would be so perfect for the summer after getting too much sun (also how good would putting a cold mask on a sun stung face feel!?)

    Ingredients: Lime Tree Flower and Sweet Violet Leaf Decoction, Kaolin, Honey, Glycerine, Ground Almonds, Toothed Wrack Seaweed, Organic Aloe Vera Gel, Millet Flakes, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Bentonite Gel, Fresh Rose Petals, Rose Absolute, Patchouli Oil, Rosemary Oil, Seaweed Absolute

    And oh yeah! Lush does not test on animals! :)
    over and out.

    Friday, April 1, 2011

    Fat Free Cupcakes:

    Well, almost fat free... only 15 calories from fat per cupcake! Here's a photo-recipe of how to make it :) Also, continue reading after the recipes for some lessons learned from my first try at this!

    You need:
    1 box of cake mix
    12 oz (1 can) of soda
    Candy center (optional)

    First: Go to any local grocery store (we actually went to the Dollar Store)...On the way we got distracted by a pet store and went to play with some ducklings!

    Anyways.. pick up any variety of these ingredients.. 
     Put the mix into a mixing bowl (obvs..)
     Pour in the soda...

    Watch it fizz...
     Stir until well incorporated (it will be lumpier than you're used to)

    Grease the pans (see lessons learned below...)
     Fill up 1/3 of the way...
     Take fun sized candy (optional)
     Cut candy into smaller squares..
     Stick in center of batter...
     Oh yeah! Pre-heat your oven to 350*F
     Put them...
     in the oven...
     And cook 10-15 minutes until the center of the cake does not depress with a light touch...

    After you take them out of the oven, let them cool and enjoy a very light and fluffy, nearly fat free cupcake!!

    Lessons learned:
    1. Buying 12 ounce cans of soda instead of 20 ounce bottles allows you to avoid measuring the soda.
    2. Diet sodas would make this recipe even better.
    3. Because there is no oil in the batter, they stick.. like crazy.. even Pam didn't prevent them from sticking. Next time I will definitely be using cupcake liners.
    4. Other flavor options Ethan and I think would be yummy (although the options are endless) are...

    Cherry-Coke and Chocolate
    Dr. Pepper and Red Velvet
    Sprite and Lemon Cake
    Sunkist and White Cake

    What combos would you like to try?

    over and out.