Cigs and Pine // Scotland

Cigs and Pine // Scotland

12 October 2013; 8:23AM

Cigarettes and pine is what Scotland smells like. Nat and I got off the £13 MegaBus smelling like sweat and lack of sleep after 9 hours of attempting to sleep in an upright position.

The bathroom was our savior at 8 in the morning where we wiped down our skin with baby wipes I kept in the sides of my bag and dry-shampooed the sides of our hair. I watched as Nat meticulously put on her MAC Russian Red, fluffed up the sides of her hair before shaking her head and shoving her orange beanie over her blonde hair.

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Cigarettes and pine. What an odd smell.

It was too early to check in with our Couchsurfing host and the light was just coming up in the Medieval town. The dark stones echoed under our boots as we made our way to the city centre to find wifi and coffee.

Costa.

After sitting in Costa for nearly an hour, we found food and the bus to our home for the weekend. The place was weird with a bunkbed in the living room and two couches. A Spanish couple mumbled something to us as we walked through the door. A South Korean boy nodded as he grabbed tea from the kitchen. Another boy from the Philippines asked us our names while our host locked the door behind us. A cat walked around my legs.

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I’m Natalie and this is Mackenzie.

We took another bus. We had no idea where to go. The Docs were too expensive, so we ended up looking at bargain priced items from Misguided and looking at old Cathedrals. We walked up the streets and down the streets and through old churchyards where graves have been since the 1600s.

The city built on top of another city.

We were tired and decided to see The Elephant House, where JK Rowling wrote those books on a napkin. I had a coffee while Natalie read which bands were going to be playing at some festival sometime soon in the local paper that happened to be laying on the table next to us. There was graffiti in the bathroom.

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This way to the Ministry with an arrow pointing down into the toilet.

Across the street was Nandos where we stuffed our faces with peri-peri sauce and a nice cheeky chicken sandwich before walking to a local Tescos at night. Edinburgh Castle was lit up in the sky like some kind of beaconing force lighting our way forward to aisle 4 to pick up cheap red wine.

We sat outside in a hotel parking lot next to a movie theatre and popped open the bottle of wine. Stumbling out of the bars next door were girls in short dresses and heels waiting for their boyfriends to slip their arms around their waists to take them home. After a half hour, we had a buzz going and bought tickets to see a movie. I fell asleep in the movie. There wasn’t a happy ending.

We took the wrong bus home.

Glasgow from a train is beautiful. Fast, wild and free. It is full of bacon butties and IRN-BRU. When we got out of the train station the air was full of feathers in the square. It looked as if they just had a pillow fight and everyone was laughing.

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We walked to another Cathedral where people were checking the “vibes” of the spirits in the place. I was really hoping there wasn’t anyone there as I stepped on a gravesite to get the perfect picture for Instagram. Sorry.

I found my own personal TARDIS. I found signs outside bars that I identified so well with. We had pizza and white wine and talked about boys and walked through a fun fair watching children screaming and eating candy floss by the fist full.

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Two hours later, we were watching Children of Men with the South Korean, the Spaniards and the Filipino and sipping Soju.

The next morning we almost snuck out through a window since the doors were locked but we made it to the train station in time all while Nat wore her dollar sign socks.

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Top Rated Essie Colors

*Disclaimer: I apologize about the weird lighting in the photos, my camera is on its last legs.

My obsession with Essie started only two years ago. I had a friend introduce the brand to me after I told her that every time I bought an OPI nail polish, it would start to flake right away. Now, I had always been an OPI girl and never once strayed from them until Essie’s “Bahama Mama” was thrust into my hand and it was love at first sight. Or polish, should I say?

Today, I have quite an extensive collection of Essie. And by that, I mean I have over 30 different colors. However, each of them get used a lot. I change up my nail color at least once or twice a week because I get bored and like having my nails done, and I detest when they are chipped.

Below are my top favorite colors of the collection that I have. A few colors that aren’t listed that I am in love with are: After School Boy Blazer, Wicked, Stylenomics, and Bahama Mama.

Fashion Playground : mint green (or as the website says “pistachio green”)

Lilacism : lilac (duh)

Topless & Barefoot : perfect nude (for my very pale skin)

Petal Pushers : from the new Essie Spring Collection; a slate blue color that somehow, for me, brightens up those rainy days — like today.

Chinchilly : I call this color “stone gray,” Essie calls it “sleek granite gray.” Whatever the color is, I adore it.

  

Chills & Thrills : I quite surprise myself by enjoying this color on my fingers, but I love it. It’s a vibrant, almost, neon cobalt blue. If you’re feeling fierce, I highly recommend.

Garden Variety : from the new Essie Spring Collection, teal blue and again I surprise myself by being so obsessed with this color, but I think it’s gorgeous.

Geranium : my all time favorite Essie color. I wear this color all year round, but feel it is more spring/summer color. It is an orangey-red that works perfectly with girls who have red undertones in their skin.

Forever Yummy : blood red or “Creamy Tango Red” like Essie claims; whenever I want to feel like I could kill a man with a look, I wear this color. 

Secret Story : a gorgeous spring color, is “orchid pink” a color because I’m making it one.

  

Should we get the “ew! feet!” comment out of the way? And, yes, I know my big toe is horribly painted. I love nail polish and love having painted fingers and toes, but I’m awful at painting them. Boo.

Fall in Line : a nice forest green; I believe this is from the Dress to Kilt Collection which produced a number of my favorite Essie colors.

Flowerista : from the new Essie Spring Collection, a gorgeous plum that is so easy to apply and extremely vibrant.

  

Et, voila! My top-rated collection. What are some of your favorite colors and which ones do you think are “must haves?” Let me know in the comments!

Christmas (New Years Eve) Party Hop

Christmas (New Years Eve) Party Hop

I haven’t figured out my exact make-up look for Christmas just yet. Usually in the morning, I just pick up the first couple things that I see and whack that shit on my face. However, I think I’m going to actually try to pick out a lip color (obviously red), but the eyes, I still have no idea. My favorite blogger/vlogger that constantly inspires me is Emma Pickles, so it is her YouTube channel that I turn to for some looks. Below is one of my favorite Christmas inspired looks from Emma that I hope to recreate in some fashion for the day of family fighting, eating, and (sadly) no drinking.

As for New Years, my friend Caitlin and I have a tradition which includes Chinese and watching lots and lots of TV to ring in the New Year. It’s a holiday that I’ve never particularly understood the hype around. However, us girls like to dress up when we grab Chinese and I always like to do my make-up in a fun way, so below is another Emma Pickles video I hope to recreate.

As for outfits, I have a bit of an obsession with dresses. For family events, I like to make sure that I can still move around and it won’t get me made fun of tooooo much when I’m around the family. This year, I’m thinking of doing a mid length (for Grandma’s sake) white dress I bought from Target with fleece lined tights, black Steve Madden chunky heels, and my leather Topshop jacket. I want to keep it casual and have the bold lip be the focal point of the day.

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On New Years I’m thinking of going pretty, pretty casual. I love this Urban Outfitters “school girl” style dress that I have. The back of it has a nice open slit. The fleece lined tights are going to make a reappearance paired with my ASOS platform shoes and my Topshop maroon coat.

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My nails are very minimal with the beautiful Essie “Forever Yummy” and some OPI Katy Perry edition sparkly nail polish on my ring fingers.

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What are your plans for the holidays? And what type of outfit/make up looks are you going for? Leave them in the comments!

Two days to go! AHH!

On The Fence Products

On The Fence Products

Not a lot of people discuss the products they’re currently on the fence about. Probably for a reason, but I like to know what products people aren’t completely sure about. That’s weird, right? Right. I decided that I’ll start the conversation and discuss the products that I think I like, but I’m not completely sold.

NYX Eyebrow Pencil: my eyebrow pencil ran out and I didn’t have time to run to Sephora to grab another. I have liked other products by NYX and when I went to Target, I decided to pick up their eyebrow pencil. The thing I really like about this pencil is that the texture is smooth and glides easily. However, it rubs off easily and doesn’t seem to last all day.

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Kevin Aucoin Curling Mascara: the packaging on this mascara is gorgeous. I don’t know why I love it so much, but it’s sleek, compact and red. And everyone knows I love me some red. This mascara does the job. It stays in place for the day, buuuut, I hate the way it comes off. I think it has a gel like texture and will peel off the eyelashes. Some people may find this nice, as it is easy to take off, but I didn’t enjoy it and found it kind of gross. Yet, it is a good mascara…

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Être Belle Liplift Peel: my lips get super dry in the winter months and peel like crazy. I’m one of those gross individuals that has the layer of visibly peeling lip skin (grossssss). I thought this might be a different alternative to my Lush lip treatment. It glides on like a lipgloss. Once applied, you’re supposed to rub your lips together and leave the peel sit on top of your lips before you wipe it off with a warm cloth. I noticed after using I see a slight difference in the texture of my lips and my lipsticks stay on longer throughout the day. On the other hand, I don’t like the feel of the product and it’s kind of expensive. I think I’ll stick with Lush on this one.

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Anatomicals Puffy the Eye Bag Slayer: okay, so I think I really like this one, but I’m not totally sold. The other week I woke up with two swollen eyes and I popped these underneath to help the process. After thirty minutes, I took them off and noticed a difference in the puffiness. My skin felt smooth, but slightly too tight as if my skin had been dramatically stretched. I’m going to give these babies one more chance, and perhaps try other products by the brand since their packaging and marketing are so fantastic.

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Redken Iron Shape 11: I’m horrific with my hair care and I have been trying very hard to get better at hair maintenance. Heat protectant before and after, I’ve heard, is super beneficial to the hair, so I picked this travel size Redken up to test out. I love the smell of the product. I think it’s easy to work with, buuuuuut, I feel as if it hardens the hair after use. Strands of my hair seem to group together almost as if I used hair spray, which I hate the feeling of. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll repurchase this product, but it was an okay one to use for awhile.

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What are some products you’re currently unsure about?

A Love Letter to London

A Love Letter to London

It’s the brisk walk through Regents Park to make it across the road along Baker Street, walking quietly, quickly between the tourists on their phones taking photos of 221B. It was the Baskin Robins where the guy was aggravated that I came in right before close. It was Tesco Express on the corner where I ran in to grab Poptarts, ice cream, and popcorn, a classic meal that I hid under my bed. It was the bakery in the tube station and M+S and the entrance into Boots that warned you of the step that I tripped over every time. It was the blue Oyster card and standing on the right side, the silhouette of Sherlock Holmes on the tiles of the station as you jumped on the Bakerloo, Jubilee, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, or Circle lines. Gray, brown, yellow, and red arteries spilling out to new destinations.

It was the Boots on Baker Street, my Boots, where I ran in to grab extra toothpaste, cotton buds, face wash, discovered new make-up I’d never had back home and Batiste dry shampoo, the one that I never wanted to live without, the new tights, cheap tights, because mine got snagged on the spike at the top of the fence. It was hating the birds because they were always around and shit everywhere on the ground. It was the Nandos that I couldn’t ever get enough of, the Peri Peri sauce or the Pizza Express that we waited forever to get and Emma wanted her money back but never asked. It was leaving school through the main entrance and walking past the white flats, the churchyard, and along Marylebone High Street where I spent the majority of my time walking at night, wondering how I got here, the place that most felt like home.

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It was the Cath Kidston, the Aesop with the lotion outside the store, filling my hands with an orange scent, the coffee shop on the corner and the bar with the chalkboard outside that exclaimed “FREE wifi, cold BEER,” and Daunt Books that I walked into and bought more books that I’ve bought in the past four years in four months. It was wondering who was doing a book signing, and thinking out loud that the book looked boring, it was running into the author of the book who overhead my exclamation and him telling me that it was rather boring, it was Jeremy Paxton. It was that Waitrose that Emma and I grabbed wine and sweets and “Half Baked” Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, waiting in line and hearing the number of the cashier that you need to go to. It was the Nordic Bakery, the place with the best cinnamon rolls, on the street across from Starbucks and The Kooples that is too expensive, the Cancer Research UK where there were never any clothes and keep walking, keep walking until I reach Bond Street which turns into Oxford Circus and my whole body is pushed from side to side by all the people milling the sidewalks. It is the three level Topshop, H&M, Zara, Boots, Urban Outfitters, J. Crew and the people on the street where I got so much inspiration from and wanting their clothes and finding their clothes and collars and chelsea boots and petticoats, those pretty, pretty petticoats. It’s Tinseltown on the street past Miss Selfridges, where they make the best milkshakes and hot dogs bigger than your face. It’s Regents Street with the Apple Store I saw Karen Gillan with Alex and bought two new phone chargers at an outrageous price, and further down it is Liberty London where Caitlin and I met Alexa Chung, Daisy Lowe, and Henry Holland. It’s where my love for LUSH went out of control because of how much cheaper it is.

It’s talking to Emma for the first time, complimenting her eyebrows and ignoring Catherine’s class again and wanting to watch the Breaking Bad finale and meeting up later to take two buses to Shoreditch without a working phone to go to the Translate bar that had a Breaking Bad themed drink called “Hey Yo, Mr. White.” It’s getting drunk on two drinks because I forget that there is a higher alcohol content. It’s watching Kris hold the singer’s iPhone since she forgot her own lyrics and meeting Nathan from South Africa and linking arms with a girl I’ve known for hours as if we’d known each other for years and seeing a Banksy and almost falling down the steps as the bus flies down the street. It was Saturday mornings at The Breakfast Club with Emma and the yellow building so bright against d’Arblay Street. The french toast and banana and bacon and tea and coffee and the competition on Pancake Day.

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It was going to Walkabout on Thursday nights so Maria could sing karaoke while the girls tried to get laid. The purple dress, the black Frye boots, the thigh high socks, and his hand on the small of my back. Going home early and wondering what happened to him. It was the student boat ride on the Thames with Caitlin and seeing London at night. Seeing all the buildings with the name “Wharf” and making up a background story of a Wharf family. It was the chilly night and the firework show and the bad beer and the even worse dancing. Sitting in Trafalgar square and eating sandwiches from Pret and having some guy sit and walk and talk with us for hours about his kickstarter. It was those mornings walking through the park when I had nothing to do and seeing a Guy Pearce film being shot and all the roses that I picked and my fingers got pricked with thorns and watching the boys play soccer, sorry, football in the park and it was being jealous of that girl’s story and her writing ability and eating chocolate pops every morning and Propercorn every night. It was waking up early to explore and head to Primrose Bakery where a black cat always greeted me that I named Luna before heading to Primrose Hill to read High Fidelity.

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It was Caitlin introducing me to Nat and Alex and Hope and Mary. It was instant connection. It was pure friendship. Fast friendship. Natalie sitting across from me at breakfast, inviting herself on my trip to Columbia Flower Market. It’s the joy I felt that she did. It’s Halloween night and freaking out all day about my PR presentation and getting an A. It’s meeting Leanne at Baker Street tube station and introducing her to my other new friends. It was a night of firsts. It was waiting in line for two hours to get inside and getting annoyed people were trying to shove forward. It was guys thinking they are charming but actually are dickheads. It’s pre-judging people before I end up really liking them. It was graffiti and peeing between two cars and finally getting inside The Book Club and getting a phone stolen and waiting 45 minutes for a bus that doesn’t want to seem to come and friend’s puking and people yelling and everyone dressed up in different costumes. It was American accents and Leanne, the polite Canadian, sleeping on the floor. It was meeting Ashley in the morning with Nat and wishing I had more tattoos and that I was an experienced traveler whilst listening to their stories and wishing that I had my own cool stories to tell too.

It was watching Doctor Who and getting annoyed people were talking through the Christmas episode and nights out in Camden and the 80’s night we went to once where they played the good music and old movies on the screens and visiting the Camden Markets on the weekends where I would get overwhelmed by all the people and not know where to look and it was Emma introducing me to a new bookstore and seeing the “before I die” chalk wall I always saw in pictures and buying a tapestry for a wall and eating vegan food and bringing Natalie back some sweets that she could eat too. It was the Christmas lights and decorations and endless nights of make-up and sharing Barry M nail polish and hearing people Skype in the halls and wondering why my connections never went through and MAC Russian Red and eyebrows.

It was Southbank and going to the Globe Theatre with George and eating at the outdoor markets where they always had the best Chinese food. It was heading to Brick Lane in the heavy rain, getting lost and finding back alley goods and vintage shops and trying to find Doc Martens that wouldn’t cost a fortune. It was Hyde Park at Christmas time and the fake snow falling from the sky and Pimms and sneaking cake away from the refectory and making friends with Hugo or some other H name and he’d save the best food for me. It was the Doctor Who convention and seeing Matt Smith and the best night with Leanne walking around on Strand to see the Christmas lights and eat Nandos and watch the ice skaters and wishing I knew how to ice skate and the sign proclaiming Sheffield Road and wishing there was enough time to go. It was Emma and I trying to find our way to the Feminist Film Festival and walking in a giant circle and drinking and watching videos about a woman giving birth and laughing the whole way home, trying not to fall asleep on the tube and bundling up against the cold.

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It was going to the National Gallery for the first time and seeing Van Gogh’s flowers in person and thinking that I was in that scene in Doctor Who, Vincent and the Doctor, and having a moment of self-reflection because I was here and seeing them in person and how cool is life sometimes? It was walking along the Southbank and having days to myself to explore this massive city. It was going to the Tate Modern and seeing Rothko and crying and having a spiritual experience in front of strangers who thought what a weird girl crying in the presence of squares and it was seeing more work by Gerhard Richter and sobbing and my make-up smudged and the guard just looking at me and smiling like he knew. He knew. It was seeing Bill Burr live in Camden by myself and calling Brandon on my way home and feeling the closest that I’ve felt to him and meeting a girl outside of Brixton for tickets to see Jake Bugg and waiting 11 hours playing cards with three 16 years olds to be front row for Arctic Monkeys at Earls Court. It was surviving the day on crisps and Oreos because that’s what they thought Americans ate.

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It was Covet Garden and Piccadilly Circus and the Comedy Store and Trafalgar Square and our last day where we went to the Odeon in Leicester Square where Emma and I saw Philomena and ugly cried the whole way through and Haagen-dazs where we saw a girl and her dad and Emma cried because she missed her own and I smiled because that was so nice and everything was so nice and I just felt full. I felt whole. I felt complete.

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What’s on my face?

What’s on my face?

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about our make up routines in the morning. After I told her the list of products I slap on my face in the morning, she looked flabbergasted.

“But you don’t look like you have that much make up on!” She leaned forward, looking at my cheeks, my eyes, my brows. “Why do you put so much make up on?!”

It hurt a little bit to have that question asked in such an outraged tone, but I thought about it. Why do I put this much on? Why do I spend so much money on the products that are collected in a box in the corner of my bathroom? Because I love it. It makes me feel pretty. I have more confidence when I have defined eyebrows and my cat eye eyeliner. I love that make up can transform a face. Make eyes brighter, cheekbones higher, lips fuller.

However, this isn’t the first time that I’ve had this question asked to me. Out of all my friends, I’m the one who gravitated towards painting my face and buying that new mascara by Tarte. Is there a reason that we’re now shaming girls who like to experiment with make-up? Because even though I didn’t “wake up like this,” I can make my make up look super natural and as if I did in fact just wake up like this. But, you know, better.

Also, please check out this article about make-up bullying. It’s an interesting read and made me feel better about the number of products I put on my face.

That being said, here is the list of things that I have been loving putting on my face at the moment:

Pond moisturizer
Pore-fessional primer
Origins tinted moisturizer mixed with MAC BB Cream
MAC Pro Long Wear Concealer
MAC powder
MAC Haute and Naughty
Naked 2 Chopper (all over the lid)
Eyeko Alexa Chung liquid eyeliner
Maybeline eyebrow pencil
NARS Orgasm blush
MAC illuminator
Rimmel London Kate Moss 107

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