Thursday, February 25, 2016

Blogging Break

Hey y'all! I feel so terrible I've been neglecting my blog lately. Grad school has really taken over my life lately and it's affecting a lot of my life outside of school. Just to give you an idea, here's everything going on just in school right now:

1. I have a review paper due on Friday. It's not too hard - I just have to actually write it.
2. I print two posters for a conference on Monday. I'm presenting these so they have to thoroughly summarize my research. I'm making sure I've done all the experiments I was supposed to but of course I forgot to do something so I'm rushing to set it all up and get it done in time!
3. I'm giving a presentation in journal club on Wednesday. This course isn't that hard but it's just sitting down and taking the time to do it and setting aside time to practice a couple times (but probably only once).
4. My original research proposal abstract is due Wednesday. This is the big one that's causing the most stress in my life. It's only a one-page summary of my proposal (the whole proposal will be written in the next month) but I have to have my project pretty well planned and outlined. Just saying that doesn't make it sound hard but you have to come up with a project that has never been done before! And other scientists are likely out there doing what your project is about - someone published a paper doing my project just this year. And I only found it on Sunday. That means I had 9 days to make my project different. Hence the incredible amount of stress.

Between all of this, trying to maintain a semi-social life, and not go completely crazy, I've had to put some things on the back burner. I've missed blogging lately, but it's just something that I don't feel like I can keep up with while I'm working on this proposal. (If I haven't mentioned, it's an actual exam. More specifically an oral exam. Eventually I'll write the 10 page proposal and present it to my committee who will either pass or fail me. If I pass this, I'll be a PhD candidate meaning the only thing between me and that PhD is writing and defending my dissertation. Crazy right?!)

If you want to still keep up with me during this time, follow me on Instagram here or on Snapchat (aerichardson...expect lots of cat snaps!). I'm not totally giving up social media, but I am going to pull back from blogging. I was finally starting to get into the habit of posting twice a week, but that likely won't happen for a while. I know I'm so bummed! I love doing Birchbox reviews so I'll definitely keep up with those (even though they're only once a month!). Of course the next question is how long will this last? Great questions. Best case scenario is life is back to normal by mid-April. Worst case scenario is mid-May. I'll definitely still let y'all know of new posts on Instagram and my Facebook page (check it out here) so check those out every now and then!

I appreciate any prayers y'all may want to throw my way, but the Lord is good and as rough as grad school is, I still feel like this is where I'm supposed to be. 


Saturday, February 20, 2016

How I Curl My Hair

I've always loved doing my hair. And when I've found a styling process that is easy and always looks great, I stick with it! I probably curl my hair about 90% of the time because I can do it in under 10 minutes and like I said, it always looks great (not to toot my own horn or anything haha). So keep reading to find out exactly what I do to my hair to get the curly/messy look I typically rock.

First, I wash my hair before bed and let it dry overnight. My hair is super fine and won't hold a curl if I blow dry it first. My hair is also naturally wavy, so air drying it brings out the natural texture. I apply a small amount of curling gel to my wet hair. I love TRESemme Curl Gelee. It doesn't make your hair hard or crunchy. I also use Dear Clark Volumizing Tonic to give my roots that extra boost.
In the morning, my hair usually looks like a hot mess. It's bedhead to the extreme some days! I start by spritzing my hair with L'Oreal Color Vibrancy Dual Protect Spray. It protects my color but also protects against the heat I expose it to.

I bought two curling wands from Bombay Hair with an awesome coupon code (total price for both was $60, normally they're $120 each!), so keep an eye out! I found my coupon code through Sadie Robertson's Instagram (I'll admit it, I love her!). When my hair is longer I use the 32mm wand, but now that my hair is short, I use the 25mm wand. BUT, right now until Sunday at midnight, the 25mm wand is only $40!! I love this wand and it's completely worth the investment.

I always wrap my hair away from my face. I alternate between wrapping the whole piece of hair and just the bottom half (usually three times around versus two times around). I've recently started using thin sections (less than an inch wide) and only holding them on the wand for 5 seconds. I also only do the top layer and maybe a couple sections underneath because I have so. much. hair. The last time I curled all of my hair was probably in show choir. The underneath is when I let the natural texture be free.
Once my hair is curled, I add volume to the top. I live by the saying "the higher the hair, the closer to God." I just take the top layer around my part and place the wand right under it next to my scalp (not touching it - you don't want to burn yourself) for about 5 seconds. Even if I don't curl my hair, I always do this because I love volume!
Now that I've curled and added volume, I run my fingers through my hair to separate any ringlet-looking curls. Finally, I use hairspray. My favorite hairspray is by TRESsemee Perfectly Undone Hairspray (they have great styling products) because it doesn't make my hair stiff, but holds everything in place. I think I've gone through three cans of this stuff.
And that's it! I do this every other day (after I wash my hair). On the second day, I clean it with dry shampoo and just let it be.
Do you style your hair the same way every day? Or do you change it up more often?


Friday, February 12, 2016

February Birchbox: Unboxed

Woohoo!! My favorite time of month! Let's just jump right in to what I thought about it:

1. L'Artisan Parfumeur Mure et Musc Eau de Toilette ($100) // Part of my wants to stop requesting perfume because I feel like lately it's been more of a miss than a hit. This perfume has notes of blackberry and rich musk and wood. Personally I can't smell the blackberry - all I smell is musk and wood. I wasn't a fan.

2. amika Bombshell Blowout Spray ($24) // One of my favorite hair styling brands! I used this last night before I went to bed and I definitely think it gave my hair extra volume. I'm too lazy to wash my hair in the morning, but hopefully soon I'll get the chance to try it out when I straighten my hair. As for the price, considering I love this brand so much I would totally buy a full size bottle.

3. Hey Honey Take it Off! Exfoliating Honey Peel Off Mask ($29) // This mask is supposed to brighten and clear your skin as well as reduce wrinkles. Unfortunately I can't comment on that after one use. It definitely made my skin feel soft, but I think I would need to use it multiple times before I decide if I would want a full size.

4. ARROW REVIVE Cooling Cheek Tint - Pink Punch ($18) // This is a Birchbox exclusive brand. It's like a liquid blush but what I was so impressed with was that it was actually cooling! This stuff would be great to put on after a workout. My skin gets super red when I workout, but then goes super white once I cool off. This stuff I could throw in my gym bag and put it on before meeting up with friends after. I would totally buy a full size bottle of this!

5. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar - Strumpet ($15) // This is a cruelty-free matte lipstick. They aren't kidding when they say a little goes a long way! I was hoping that because it's more of a stain it would last longer, but by the time I had eaten dinner, it was gone. I think I'll stick to my other tried and true lip stains.

Overall, it was still a great box! I love the exposure to brands I would probably never spend the money on or brands that I would probably never hear about. 

Here's the Lip Tar (before dinner). The color is great, the lasting effect, not so much.

This is the cheek tint. It's super subtle, but totally buildable if you want more color!


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Valentine's Lips and Tips

Valentine's Day is almost here and I couldn't resist throwing in an extra post this week about some of my favorite lipsticks and nail polishes that are perfect for this holiday! Whether you have a date with your sweetheart or are celebrating Galentine's Day, who doesn't love an excuse to wear lots of pinks and reds? Read on to see my favorite, tried and true colors that I wear over and over.
3. Revlon Colorstay Overtime in Unending Red
4. LAQA & Co Cheeky Lip in Humble Brag
7. Revlon Colorstay Overtime in All Night Fuchsia

How fun are all of these colors?? First, always start with a fresh and smooth lip! I love e.l.f.'s lip exfoliator - it's wonderful!! If you're looking for more of a sheer color, try 2, 4, or 6. The others are more hardcore stains, but they last all day long!
1. Essie, Marshmallow
3. Laura Ashley (this was a gift and I can't find it online, but it's such a sweet pink)
5. OPI, Pompeii Purple
6. OPI, Miami Beet

I love painting my nails, and I always tend to gravitate toward pinks and reds more than anything. Of course a purple always makes its way in every now and then! Number 7 is definitely a true red. It's my favorite red I've ever owned - and it's cheap!! I've gone through two full bottles of it, and now I'm on my third. It's the best.

Do you have any big plans for V-Day? Anything must have lip or nail color for this holiday?


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Desk of a Chemist

Growing up, my mom would tell you I wasn't the most organized kid at home. But at school, my desk and locker were always neat and tidy. The same holds true today. My apartment has a tendency to get a little messy, but at work my desk is always in order...unless I'm writing a paper or putting together a presentation. Then there's journal articles everywhere. Also, I just want to say that just because I work in a chemistry lab does not mean my desk is dull and boring. I have (fake) flowers, lotions, a candle, and pictures on my desk. I recently reorganized everything and I absolutely love this layout. 

I'm so thankful for a large desk! (insert praise hands emoji)

Because when you're a chemist you have lip gloss, hand sanitizer, and a column sitting together.  

This is why people say I smell good. 
I use this all. the. time. (The periodic table, not the sweet notes from friends and family, but those are great!)

I wouldn't survive without my agenda!
I love a good lab selfie.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Weekly Outfits

Because I'm so terrible at putting together individual outfit posts, I think I might try putting one big outfit post at the end of every week. Some weeks it may have lots of outfits, other weeks it may have a couple (because I'm in workout clothes the rest of the totally happens). I'm trying to be intentional about going back to posting my outfits since that was my reason for starting this blog. Bear with me as I still try to figure out how I blog best! (Also if you want to share any insight, please feel free!)


It's rough being a chemist. It's even more rough being a chemist who likes to look fashionable but still be conscientious about not wearing anything too expensive because acid holes will appear out of no where. However, I definitely have my favorite outfits to wear in lab. Each piece is something that I didn't spend an obscene amount on. It's also easy to take off a layer if I'm running around and getting warm or add an extra layer if I'm sitting at my desk getting cold. This week all of my outfits look pretty similar because they're all jeans and a t-shirt, but honestly what more do you need?

Jean jacket // Top // Jeans // Shoes // Similar necklace
Okay this was actually my outfit for church on Sunday but this is where the weekly uniform began.

Top // Jeans // Shoes // Coffee mug // Watch
I found this top on Sunday at JC Penney. It's amazing!! I mentioned it on Instagram earlier this week, but seriously I'm obsessed. I wish I had bought one in every color. They're light, but not see-through and they're longer than most fitted t-shirts. (Shhh I drink coffee in the lab!)

Jean jacket // Top // Jeans // Shoes
I've been all about the jean jacket lately. Especially with these super dark wash jeans (okay they're jeggings but still). It's a classy way to rock the Canadian tuxedo.

Cardigan // Similar top // Jeans // Shoes
I found this top are Target on Sunday as well. It's such a fun print! I couldn't find the pattern online, so you'll probably have more luck in the store. Also, the shoes I linked are the exact same style, but they don't carry this color online. I'm sure as spring starts rolling in they'll have some fun colors/patterns out!

Jacket // Top // Jeans // Boots // Watch
I will definitely be wearing this top next week as we get closer to Valentine's Day! Since it was colder today, I decided to go with riding boots to keep my feet warm.

It's finally Fri-yay so what better way to celebrate the joy of the end of the work week than by wearing yellow?

If you can't tell, I have one pair of jeans that I really really love and I have no shame wearing them all week. Maybe one day I'll buy a second pair and just rotate through...maybe. As it gets warmer, my wardrobe expands just a little but mostly this is my daily uniform. It's easy and nothing I wear costs an arm and a leg so if I do end up spilling something on it, I'm not going to feel like I just threw all that money away.


If you work in a lab (or even if you don't!), what's your favorite outfit to wear to work? What makes it your favorite outfit?


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Valentine's Day Gifts for Her

Valentine's Day is just eleven days away! I feel like Christmas was just last week. January definitely flew by! But it's now February which means the only thing on everyone's mind is L-O-V-E. (Anyone else singing the song now?) My big plans for Valentine's Day will likely be grabbing dinner and drinks with a girlfriend and going home to cuddle my cat. Whether you have a sweetheart or you're buying something for your momma, here's some ideas to help you out this holiday. 

The following two pairs of earrings are from Charming Charlie. I love that they both just scream "wear me on Valentine's Day!"
Charming Charlie, $10
Charming Charlie, $13
What better gift to give your sweetheart than to give her a necklace with not only her initial, but the phrase "one in a million" on the back?
Kate Spade, $58
Because who doesn't want a red purse on the day of love?
Charming Charlie, $39
Of course a red, lacy, bra made it on the list. But really quick I need to tell you about Adore Me. It's kind of like those subscription sites where you can either buy something at the beginning of the month, or skip that month (think Fabletics or JustFab). They have the cutest bras and lingerie! Plus, they have a super wide range of sizes. I love it, even though I've always been a loyal Victoria's Secret customer.

Adore Me, $39.95 (VIP price)
How sweet does this scarf look? It's so soft and beautiful
Charming Charlie, $12
For those kissable lips!
Nordstrom, $15
These are cult faves for a reason. How timeless are these colors? And they're perfect for V-Day!
Ulta, $13.95
One of the most loved blushes of all time, NARS Orgasm. I've tried it only at stores and it's honestly beautiful. Especially if you love to use highlighter on your cheeks, it's basically built in. Plus I've heard it looks great on a broad range of skin tones.
Nordstrom, $30
Eyes are the window to the soul right? Why not play them up with this palette?
Ulta, $54
Every woman deserves new and beautiful makeup brushes.
Ulta, $50
I'm not sure how long Sephora has been carrying these, but I need one or 10 now. Get this for you lady especially if she needs to relax.
Sephora, $4

What are your big plans for Valentine's day?


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