Saturday Musings + Coffee – Late Starts

Guys, I woke up at 2:30 pm today.

Part of me really loves late starts to the day, and another really part of me really hates the fact that it means I never get anything done. I’m probably going to wind up with a really late night now doing the work I didn’t do during this morning…but it’s fine. I work better late at night anyway!

Or at least…that’s what I like to tell myself.

It’s Moms’ Weekend currently for my dorm, but unfortunately, my mother’s not here. It’s okay — we both decided it wasn’t really going to work out for this weekend, especially with my schedule, and especially given the fact that she’s going to be on campus in a month to help me move out.

Besides, even though my mother’s not here, other people’s mothers are here, which means I’ve been treated to like three free meals in the last few days. I feel kind of badly continuously going out to eat and not paying but like…free food. I’m not going to say no to that ever.

In other news, the baby cactus I mentioned in my last Saturday Musings post is doing well! He grew his first a little spine, and I am a proud mother. I’ll keep you updated on his progress — probably less because anyone other than me is interested, and more because I’m just really excited about plants right now.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Saturday Musings + Plants – No Coffee Today

I’m a plant person now.

I started this Saturday Musings series with the intent of getting to post blogs with content other than outfits, and I’m definitely liking this format. Still, it gets tiresome posting photos of my laptop, planner, and a cup of coffee – sometimes, I want to switch it up, you know? So today, instead of my coffee,  I thought I would photograph my plants.

I love my plants. I was not at all a plant person before I came to school, but my roommate, Mariana, was. Seeing her with all of her plants made me want to get into gardening, so over the last few months, I’ve been accumulating more and more.

This prickly pear cactus was my first plant. I’ve had him for at least a year now, since before I came to school. My mother mainly took care of him at home, and she did a good job. He’s a lot bigger now than when I first got him from Home Depot, and he’s grown a lot over the time I’ve had him at school too.

My next plant was this African violet. I got her just before spring break, when I went to the local farmers’ market with my dorm. She was struggling there for a while, but I think I’ve finally got her in a good place now that I’ve put her in a bigger, better-draining pot. She currently has three buds, so I’m hoping I might get some flowers soon.

My chicks-and-hens succulent is next. This little guy came first from my grandmother’s garden, and then my parents’. He’s a hearty little dude — he had no problem flying with me in a plastic bag on my way back to school after spring break. I’m wondering if he might sprout some baby succulents soon.

Then, I have some plants that I’ve been growing from seeds. First up are these tiny oregano seeds that I grew from a kit I got at Walmart. I’m not sure how long it’ll take for them to mature, but they’re looking very good for being only being a few weeks old.

I also have been trying to grow some cacti from seeds. So far, all I’ve got is this little red sprout. I also have a bunch of these weird little sprouts in the same pot where I planted my cactus seeds, but I don’t think they’re cacti. I don’t know what they are. Any ideas?

Then, I have some sunflower seedings. I didn’t really intent to throw these, but they accidentally got sowed along with my cactus seeds, and they started sprouting. I don’t really have any place for them at home, and I can’t keep growing them in this tiny teacup, but I’m not ready to throw them away yet.

These two succulents are new too. They were in the dining hall for decoration during the Easter buffet, so I snatched them up because I figured they were probably just going to be thrown away away after. I’m not sure what kinds of succulents they are, but they’re looking really good for being store bought.

This spider plant is my most recent acquisition.  I took him as a clipping from a mature spider plant in the art building, and I’m trying to get him to root. I’ll let you know what goes on there.

And that’s all the plants I’ve got right now! They’re so much fun to care for and watch grow. Do you have any plants? If so, let me know what kind in the comments below!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

REVIEW: BareMinerals Bare Pro Concealer

Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Look at me! Doing more beauty posts and using my blog as a platform for testing and reviews products!

The thing I love best about doing Influenster reviews is that I feel no pressure to have an opinion, one way or the other, about the products I receive. While I do try to always provide my own opinions and thoughts for the other complimentary products I’ve received for promotional purposes on this blog, it would be a lie to say I don’t still feel some pressure to emphasize the positives over the negatives. With Influenster, since the products are being sent to me via a third party rather than from the brand itself with the stipulation that my only role is to review the product, that pressure is gone.

This is my second Influenster VoxBox (the first one being the L’Oreal Color Crave Hair Makeup and Semi-Permanent Hair Color), and with my experience so far, I’d definitely be happy to get more of these in the mail. They come packaged so cutely in these colorful boxes, and they always provide helpful instructions for what to do once you’ve received the box. If you’d ever like for me to review Influenster as a service for bloggers on LEDJ, leave me a comment below and let me know!

Anyway, the product I got from Influenster this time around was a little stick concealer from BareMinerals from their Bare Pro line, which claims to have 16 hour coverage. I received color 05, which seemed like a pretty good fit for my light-medium skin with neutral undertones.

Now to be honest with you, I don’t typically wear concealer. I much prefer to simply use a BB cream all over my skin, and then dab it on in a little more concentration on problem areas. If I do wear concealer, it’s probably because I’m running late to class and I don’t have time to do a full face of makeup, and I just want to cover up some pimples. Very rarely do I ever do concealer and BB cream/foundation — only special occasions.

So the look I’m sporting here is, in truth, more makeup than I typically wear. I have on both a very light coverage BB cream and the concealer over top of a couple of pimples and scars scars I have on my temples and cheeks, as well as a little discoloration beside my nose. Otherwise, I don’t really have any huge problem areas right now (bless), so I didn’t need to wear it anywhere else.

I was pleasantly surprised with the blendability of the concealer, as its texture is harder and more chalky than some of the other stick concealers I’ve used, like the Revlon Photoready concealer. A few dabs with my ring finger, and it smoothed right in.

I think a large part of the easy blending is just how well this product matched my skin — I don’t typically find products that match me perfectly, as things tend to either look too pink or too yellow, but this concealer really fit my neutral undertones. Especially since I didn’t get to test this product in the store and selected it based off of some sample images I saw on the Internet, I got pretty lucky.

As for its claims of 16 hour wear, I did not get to test this, and I honestly don’t really care to. Who wears makeup for 16 hours straight? It’s not something that’s currently a part of my lifestyle, so whether it wears for 16 hours or not is truthfully not important to me as a consumer. Its staying power did seem pretty solid though for the full 12ish hours that I wore it — nothing spectacular or life-changing, but still serviceable.

Summary:

Pros:

  • Perfect color match (for me, an Asian with light-medium, neutral undertone skin wearing 05)
  • Blends easily
  • Paraben, sulfate and phthalate-free
  • Wears well (for an average 12-ish hour day)

Cons:

  • Costly at $25
  • Still not completely “all-natural” — though what really is?
  • Average to above-average quality

In the end, I liked the product. It’s no Holy Grail for me, but I found it delightfully average, and even a little above average in terms of color matching. Is it worth it for the $25 price tag, when you could get another perfectly serviceable drugstore concealer (Revlon Photoready and the Sonia Kashuk quads are two of my favorites) for half the price? That I guess depends on your views of BareMinerals’ ingredients — they do claim that this concealer is paraben, sulfate, and phthalate-free, and that its natural ingredients (though not all natural — there are definitely some chemical-y ingredients that I have never heard of on the label) “nourish” the skin, so if that’s something you care about, maybe it’s worth it for you.

Have you tried the BareMinerals Bare Pro Concealer? Or do you have any suggestions for your favorite concealers? Let me know your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Art Rat

Fun fact: I’ve been in Subway since noon today. It is now 6PM.

Honestly, I don’t even mind. It smells like bread, it doesn’t feel isolating like the library does, and I’ve gotten some good work done. I mean, I haven’t made nearly the dent in my work I probably should have, but I also didn’t totally waste my existence, so I call it a win.

I’m on my second iced coffee now, and I can feel it. I’ve gone to the bathroom way too many times in the last six hours, and my fingers are a little jittery even as I’m typing here. It’s probably time to lay off.

I’ve spend a lot of my afternoon working on my sketches for my next art project in my Drawing class. This is so far my favorite one. The project calls us to draw inspiration from another artist, so I chose James Jean, the guy who designed the cover art for my favorite album, My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade. That’s probably the most emo reason I’ve ever decided to do an art project, which is saying something because a lot of my high school art looked pretty emo.

In the meantime, some of my other homework has kind of fallen by the wayside, as I accidentally ended up paying way more attention to my art than the other things I should have been doing. Oh well. That’s what Sundays are for.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Saturday Musings + Coffee – It’s Not Saturday and There’s No Coffee

Happy Sunday from me and my empty coffee mug!

You know, I do rather like to do these Saturday Musings blogs because they keep things interesting and more diverse than if I just did OOTD posts (plus that would be a lot of OOTDs to do), but sometimes, I don’t actually drink any coffee on Saturdays.

For example, yesterday, I swear I was so busy packing and going grocery shopping with my parents and then going to dinner with my friends, I don’t think I had time to really sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee. I didn’t even time to post this blog on Saturday like I was supposed to, haha.

Anyway, 24 hours, and it’s back to school again.

These breaks seem to go by so quickly — to be cliché, I swear it was just yesterday that I was flying home from Midway (after having sat in the airport for three hours, of course).

My spring break wasn’t the most dynamic experience I’ve ever had, but it was pretty relaxing, and think that’s what I needed. I got some good sleep (including sleeping for nearly an entire day on Monday!) and ate some food that wasn’t from the dining hall, and I was pretty satisfied with that. Going to the beach might’ve been fun, but that also would’ve been exhausting, and I was already pretty exhausted come midterms week.

Plus, I don’t much like the sand. It’s coarse…and it gets everywhere

Anyway, looks like my flight back to Chicago is about to board, so I ought to go. Can you believe that I actually got here at a normal time and only had to wait a very reasonable one hour at the airport this time around? Wild.

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Ready For Takeoff

This is like, my third time flying home through Midway airport from Notre Dame, and every time, I forget that there’s a one hour time difference between South Bend and Chicago.

My flight’s at 1:45, and so, not realizing the time difference, I figured I’d get the 8AM bus from campus, get to the airport around 11AM, and have plenty of time to make it through security and find my gate.

Welp, I do have plenty of time, because I actually arrived at the airport at 10AM local time, and then realized I had pretty much three hours to kill before I would even need to think about boarding.

Better early than late though, I guess. I hate the process of getting through security and all of that, but once I’m actually in the airport, I find it fine. Midway’s not my favorite ammenties-wise, but it’s significantly better than that one time I flew through Atlanta, got stuck for nearly two days, and had a battle with a cockroach in the bathroom at midnight. 

Anyway, I’ve been chilling here for a while, trying to muster up the energy to write this blog — or better yet, get caught up on some reading for class. Traveling kind of sucks the motivation to do productive things out of me, though, so mostly I’ve just been sitting at the gate and looking at baby animal GIFs on Reddit.

I’ve almost made it — a few more hours and I’ll be back in Louisville, which isn’t quite home but it’s close enough. Assuming my plane doesn’t get delayed and I don’t do anything stupid, it should be smooth sailing (flying?) from here.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Let’s Gogh

Shoutout to Google for always being there for me when I need some kind of dumb pun to title one of these blogs with.

Getting back into art again after having pretty much done none at all during the entirety of last semester hasn’t been quite as easy as I had hoped. I wouldn’t really say it’s been difficult, by any means, but there is a little bit of extra thinking I’ve had to do when I draw. How would I accurately portray that? How do I get these two lines to be symmetrical? That sort of thing.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m considering a minor in studio art, and I think I’m going to keep with that intention for now, assuming I do alright grades-wise in this drawing class I’m in now.

I guess my biggest complaint about the class I’m in now is that there’s very little creativity in the work we’re doing. It’s an introductory course, so we’re starting with the basics – still lives, color wheels, gesture sketches, the like. The thing is, I was doing still lives and color wheels and gesture sketches way back in early high school and middle school – which isn’t to say I don’t still have a lot to learn about how to draw accurately, but I feel like I’m in a place where I can do that without having to draw the same apple again five times.

In one of our most recent sketchbook assignments, we were tasked with using colored pencils to portray simple objects in unnatural colors, which I found to be a lot of fun in that it offered a chance for more creativity than usual. Hopefully, as the class goes on, we’ll have more opportunities like this.

In the mean time, I’m just going to do my best to stop working in the art building so late into the night that I fall asleep there and have to be woken up by the cleaning lady who comes in at 7AM. That happened once, and it was quite awkward.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Generally Lacking In Musings and Coffee

I’ve barely had the time to muse on anything or drink coffee today.

Midterms are slowly but surely making its way towards me, and with them, all of the work that they entail.

With my liberal arts concentration, I, luckily, don’t have many actual exams to sit for – just one in my required science course. Instead, I’m saddled with a ton of papers and projects, which, for better or worse, means I have to begin working on them well before actual midterms week when they’re due.

Thus, instead of a “midterms week” I have something more like “midterms weeks” or even “midterms month.” It’s particularly lousy because, unlike finals week, we’re required to continue attending classes while the exams are all going on. With finals week, classes end a few days before exams even begin, meaning it’s actually a significantly less stressful experience.

Anyway, as you might notice from my planner, I’ve got a lot of things to do, which I like to distract myself from doing by writing blog posts and making my planner look pretty.

I’ve been hanging out in the library for a good portion of the day today, which I really only do when I have legitimate work to do. In terms of study spaces on campus, the library is one of my least favorite because it’s cold and quite ugly on some of the upper floors (though there is an excellent view if you can snatch a window seat) , but it has white tables, which makes it excellent for flatlay photography like this.

I should probably get back to work, so I’m going to cut this short here. Pray for me that I’ll get everything done, would you?

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Gung Hay Fat Choy

It was surprisingly difficult to find out the best way to say “happy Chinese New Year” in Chinese.

First, you have to sort through the different spellings in Mandarin and Cantonese, and then you have to figure out what’s the most appropriate way of saying “happy new year,” depending on whether you want to wish someone prosperity or good luck or any other number of well-wishes.

I opted for “gung hay fat choy” for this blog post’s title because I figured that would be what was what most Americans would know, but I went for a more “authentically Chinese” 新年快乐 (meaning literally “happy new year”) for my Instagram post.

Back home, my parents and I would always celebrate my heritage by going out to eat at a Chinese restaurant (and an authentic one, at that – none of that take out Panda Express stuff), but here, there wasn’t even really anything to do. They didn’t even have any Chinese food offered at the dining hall, which I thought was pretty sad considering they’d served cajun food just a few days ago on Mardi Gras.

Granted, it is lenten season, which, seeing as this is Catholic School ™, is something that is taken very seriously, to the point that they don’t serve any meat on Fridays at all. It sucks.

There’s a small celebration going on in the ballroom of the student center tomorrow, which I’m definitely going to try to go to, but somehow I doubt it’s going to be a huge deal. Maybe I’ll at least get some good fried rice out of it – it’s not Peking Duck, but it’s better than nothing.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

REVIEW: Clairol Color Crave Semi-Permanent Hair Color in Orchid

To read part one of my Clairol Color Crave review, click here!

Welp, I’ve gone and done it – I’ve dyed my hair purple.

My best friend has declared that I look like a high school band kid, but she usually has some complaint to make whenever I change my hair. I think if it were up to her, I would have maintained the platinum blonde hair, but with the texture of my non-bleach-damaged hair forever. Wouldn’t that be nice.

The reality is that I can’t be spending hundreds of dollars a month to have my hair chemically altered every month, so I have to make do with what I have. What I had was a short, slowly-growing-out brunette pixie cut that left me feeling a bit unsatisfied with how average it was. What I wanted was something practical and affordable that could change up my hair a little and remedy my sense of monotony.

That’s where Clairol comes in. In my latest Influenster VoxBox, I was sent their Semi-Permeant Hair Color in Orchid. While I hadn’t necessarily been thinking of dyeing my hair purple beforehand, I decided to go for it when the opportunity arose.

I have a lot of experience (well, not A LOT – not as much as some people, but more I think than the average 19 year-old) with various hair dyes. I started by getting my first set of highlights way back in sixth grade, before progressing to all-over color my freshman year of high school, then bleach blonde by junior year, then a semi-permanent grey and finally a brunette pixie cut just this year. My hair’s been every shade of brown under the sun, as well as jet black, blonde, platinum, grey, orange (on accident), and now, purple.

The first thing I noticed when I openeed the box was that there was nothing to mix – just the tube of dye. I don’t know if I’ve ever had any hair color products were no mixing was needed, so that was neat. In addition, the kit came with two pairs of protective gloves and a small brush.

As application goes, it was as easy as it gets – just squeeze the purple goop out of the tube, apply, and then rinse out. I guess it also helps that my hair is shorter now that it’s ever been, so I had no worries about making sure I got all my hair covered. I ended up using the whole bottle, though I probably didn’t really need to, with hair as short as mine. If you have long hair, I’d definitely buy two.

The directions said to leave the product in for 20 minutes, or 30 for a bolder look. Given the darkness of my hair (the root growth that is), I opted for 30 minutes.

To be honest, I probably could have left in in for shorter. The color didn’t really show up in my dark hair, and it showed up too dark in my bleached hair. Not that I really expected it to make much of a difference in my dark hair, because so little ever does, but I was hopeful for a little bit of a purple tinge.

(Me after applying and rinsing out for the first time)

That brings me to my biggest complaint about this product – it didn’t really come out as the same color on the box, at least for me. I think that’s partially due to the fact that part of my hair is bleached, which explains just how vibrant it came out, but even so, I don’t even think the color I got is even close to the color on the box. The girl on the box has a medium-tone red purple, while I what I got was a very dark (almost black!) blue purple.

On the plus side, I don’t mind a blue purple – it’s just not really what’s advertised here. If you have bleached hair and you use this product, I would definitely suggest leaving it in for much shorter than 30 minutes, maybe even 15, if you’re aiming for the orchid shade on the box. Another plus is that after three washes (one week approximately), this stuff is still just as vibrant as it was when I first put it in. It’s a semi-permanent dye, which means it should wash out in a few weeks, but I’m surprised it hasn’t at least started to fade for me.

Summary:

Pros:

  • Vibrant color payoff
  • Easy application
  • No mixing required
  • No fading (within first week)

Cons:

  • Color is more blue-toned than what box shows
  • Color comes out much darker on bleached hair
  • Color doesn’t show up at all on my dark hair

In the end, I like my purple hair. It’s not quite the medium lavender I was hoping for, but regardless, I’m happy with what I got. It’s more exciting than the brunette I had before, and that’s all I was really looking to get out of it. I would definitely recommend it for the easy application and vibrant color payoff, but I would just be careful with how long you leave it on in lightened hair, and don’t expect to get the same color as the girl on the box unless your hair is naturally her hair color to begin with. As for lasting power, it’s only my first week with this color, but it hasn’t yet faded, which seems to be a good sign.

Have you tried the Clairol Color Crave Semi-Permenant Collection? Or any other kind of semi-permanent dye? Let me know your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.