My Blogging Experience

I had such a great time blogging this last semester. Dale mentioned in lecture that blogging is a passion project and I learned exactly how true that is. Keeping a blog about music and makeup/skincare reminded me how important it is to dedicate some of your time to things you love. Music is just about my favorite thing in the world so having an outlet through which I could share my thoughts was wonderful. The blog reviews throughout the semester were my favorite assignments to work on.

Honestly, I didn’t implement as many of the WordPress tool as I should have. I got a lot of use out of connecting my Twitter to my blog so my new posts were automatically publicized through Twitter. However, I wish there was a way to have each promotion on twitter automatically include the title of the post and a couple hashtags. Instead I had to go and manually edit each promotion tweet. I had a few problems with the “add media” feature. A few times I had trouble uploading my photos to my posts and kept receiving an error message.

In the future I would like to organize my blog a little better. My topic was music and makeup/skincare, but I didn’t even mention the makeup/skincare aspect until my last couple posts because I got so absorbed with the music aspect. I would also like to include more photos or videos from concerts or festivals that I attended. I would like to be a music journalist one day, so keeping a blog about music would be a great thing to display my skills and add to my resume. The automatic twitter promotions would be a great feature to utilize professionally. I could share my blog posts to my business twitter. Tags and categories would be another great tool to use professionally. I noticed that tags really helped my posts gain views so adding tags to posts could help me build a greater audience.

I had a couple weeks where I had a large spike in visitors and views. The week of February 6th I had 14 views and 10 visitors. The week of April 24th I had 14 views and 12 visitors. My “Welcome to my blog!” post had 12 views which was the most I ever received. I believe this is because I used several popular tags. This could also be due to other bloggers hoping to gain a follow or some kind of interaction from my blog. I got 8 views on my “Currents by Tame Impala review” post which was a little surprising to me because that week wasn’t one of my most popular weeks. However, after some thought I realized this could be because I sent the link to that post to my mom and dad because I was proud of it. My Twitter promotions added to my blog traffic just a little bit. I had 1 view that was because of a twitter referral.

 

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Favorite LUSH Products

If you read my last post about my makeup routine, you might have noticed that I raved about LUSH’s Gorgeous facial moisturizer. I am a bit of a LUSH fangirl; I want every product they sell. However, since LUSH can be on the pricey side, I am going to put together a list of all of the LUSH products I absolutely can’t live without. Now y’all don’t have to spend obscene amounts of money to figure out the must-have products (like I did!).

moisturizer pic

  1. Gorgeous Facial Moisturizer

This one goes at the top of my list, obviously. I have been using this moisturizer for about a couple months now. My skin has never looked better. My skin is acne-prone and combination/oily (depending on the weather) and lately I’ve been noticing how supple and smooth my skin feels and looks. Recently, I tried out some new skin care products that unfortunately caused me to break out in large, under the skin blemishes on both my cheeks and I’ve noticed that using Gorgeous about twice a day (morning and night) has really helped bring the redness and swelling down. However, the one downside to this moisturizer is the crazy price. A 1.5 oz container costs $87.95. In my humble opinion, Gorgeous is well worth the $90.

2. Damaged Hot Oil Treatment

This hair treatment did amazing things to my hair. After I rinsed all the product out and washed my hair, I noticed my hair instantly felt smoother and stronger, but I felt like there was still a little oily residue in my hair which wasn’t great because my scalp already produces more oil than I would like. However, the next day my hair had absorbed all the oil, leaving my tresses feeling softer and silkier than ever before. To be fair, I already have very healthy and soft hair, but I imagine it would help someone with very damaged hair even more than it helped me. One drawback to this product is that it’s a little bit of a pain to apply. You have to melt the wax down and apply it with your hands to your locks, then leave it on for about half an hour. The long process is well worth the end result! Damaged is much more affordable at $10.95 for a one-use product.

3. Big Shampoo

I swear by this shampoo. I have thick but really fine hair so I can always use a volume boost. This is my favorite shampoo that I’ve ever used and it gives me the most volume and keeps my hair silky smooth. The container is fairly small, 11.4 oz., but you only need a small amount. I recommend using less than you think you will need and working that into a lather and adding more if necessary. However, this shampoo does contain sulfites so if you have colored hair, it will make the color fade. Big is a little bit on the pricey side; 11.4 oz costs $27.95.

4. Silky Underwear Dusting Powder

I first received this product as a gift and I honestly had no idea how to use it. However, after some Internet searching and asking around, I found out that this product has many great uses. The main way I use this is to dust between my thighs to prevent chafing and irritation. Silky Underwear can be used on any part of your body to keep your skin (or hair!) smooth and smelling yummy. This product is on the cheaper end at $9.95 for a 2.1 oz. bottle.

To Wrap It Up

I love pretty much all LUSH products that exist, but these are my must-haves! I hope this post helps you skip the trial and error I had to go through to create my favorite products. Maybe this post will get LUSH to sponsor me. Please.

Everyday Makeup Routine

I know I haven’t talked about makeup at all on this blog so far, but I am going to mix things up a little. This first makeup related post is going to be a step-by-step of my everyday makeup routine. I do this really simple, minimal look pretty much every time I wear makeup unless it’s a special occasion. This look consists of mainly face makeup, brows, lashes, and sometimes eyeliner if I’m feeling like going all out. First, I am going to just give you a walkthrough of some of the products I am going to use, then I’ll go step-by-step and explain the process.

Step 1: Apply moisturizer to face and neck.

The first step to every makeup look should be moisturizer. Gorgeous facial moisturizer by LUSH is my favorite that I have ever used, but it is pretty pricey at about $85. I really think moisturizer is worth the investment; you get the quality you pay for. I generally just use my fingers and palms to apply moisturizer.

Step 2: Apply foundation, concealer, and set.

I like to use Maybelline Matte + Poreless liquid foundation in sun beige. This is one of my favorite drugstore products because I have oily/combination skin so this really helps reduce shine. I use a stipling brush to apply my foundation, but a beauty blender works just as well. I like to dot it all over my face, concentrating on the areas where I want more coverage. Then I blend and make sure that I blend out really well at my jawline and and hairline. Next I apply some concealer with a beauty blender for extra coverage on any problem areas, under my eyes and on my eyelids for a sort of makeshift eyelid primer. I like to use bareMinerals Bareskin concealer. Finally, I set my foundation and concealer with a light dusting of the powder version of Maybelline Matte + Poreless foundation in natural beige.

Step 3: Fill in and define brows.

My favorite product to use on my brows is Benefit Precisely, My Brow Pencil.  I start by brushing my brows into place with the spoolie end of the pencil. Then , using the pencil end, I define the bottom of my brows and fill in sparse areas going from bottom to top. I try to use short strokes to make it look more natural. Next, I brush out any harsh lines with the spoolie brush.

Step 4: Add highlighter and blush.

Next, I apply blush to the apples of my cheeks with an angled brush. I use Covergirl blush in rose silk, but honestly I’ve had it for so long, it’s probably time for me to find a new blush. Then I apply Too Faced Candlelight Glow highlighter with an angled highlighter brush on my cheekbones and blend up toward my hairline. I add just a little highlighter to the tip of nose, under my brows, and on my upper lip. Then I make sure to find a clean brush and bend, blend, blend.

NOTE: My makeup routine generally stops here because eye makeup is usually way more effort than I’m willing to give. However, if I’m feeling like trying especially hard, my routine might include some of the rest of these steps.

Step 5: Apply eyeshadow and eyeliner.

I always use one of the Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow palettes, usually Naked 1. I dust on a little light pink or gold on my lid, like Sin or Half-Baked, and put a slightly darker color, like Buck or Smog, in my crease. Next I apply eyeliner either in a really thin line hugging my lash line or I do a cat eye. I like to use Benefit They’re Real Push Up liner to create the general shape of the liner and then I use Kat Von D tattoo liner to make the wing sharper and to darken and define my lash line.

Step 6: Apply mascara.

My favorite mascara of all time is Better Than Sex by Too Faced. I also really like to use Urban Decay Perversion mascara. Better Than Sex gives my lashes the most length but Perversion makes my lashes look very thick and dark. I like to do one coat on my top lashes, do a super light coat on my bottom lashes and then go back and add a second coat on my top lashes once the first coat has dried to avoid clumps.

There you have it, my easy-peasy makeup routine. If I do all 6 steps this takes me about 30-45 minutes but if I just do steps 1-4, I can be ready in 15 minutes.

“Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit” by Courtney Barnett Review

Background Info

I got really into this album when I was visiting Colorado Springs, CO a couple summers ago. I remember laying on the couch in the damp basement listening to “An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)”. Courtney Barnett is one of my favorite artists; she seems like a normal girl, like someone who I could cultivate a relationship with. I particularly love how unique her vocals sound. Her voice is really deep and at times it sounds like she is more talking than singing. Barnett has a talent for writing deep and relatable lyrics in really simple words.

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Courtney Barnett via Bruce
https://www.flickr.com/photos/theholygrail/8599117267/in/photolist-e6SHYx-e6SHHk-e6YmYs-oYtr8j-FBkKeE-k82uez-rnBLiM-k83Bm7-pBWdUk-k81DXz-pBDXKF-pBDZSr-pzTu1b-pkrrjh-pBUcCo-pBUgkU-k81cJn-k81N2R-pkrb8h-GuwG7m-GuwESN-FBkLr9-FBkPrh-Gr37KF-FBkPey-FBkNku-FBx8yr-k7ZZ9T-k82S9M-k82dbx-k81qiv-k81YTR-k85dmq-k82oui-pzTrAm-rCprx5-nbiv3a-nbkmuq-rCANsZ-pkr5Dw-nbkjo1-nK95Ug-nbiumv-nbifez-nK94We-nZAdno-o2ktHB-o2kt7B-nKa4UX-rJZ29U

Songs That Stood Out to Me

An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)

The guitar in this song is what made it stand out to me instantly. It has a really great sound that just sticks in your head. This song is about Barnett thinking about her love interest and how she goes about her day. It’s relatable for anyone who’s ever had a crush on anyone. There is a line about halfway through the song that goes, “Wondering what you’re doing, what you’re listening to,”  and I think that line is a great example of Barnett’s talent of  connecting with her listeners through simple lines that mean a lot.

Depreston

I feel like this song really highlights Barnett’s aversion to doing things outside of her comfort zone. This song focuses on a Barnett looking into maybe buying a new house. The lyrics suggest that she’s uncomfortable with the idea. At the end of the song, she delivers a great line that goes, “If you’ve got a spare half a million/you could knock it down and start rebuilding.” I love how casually she sings about a spare half a million because she knows that pretty much no one has a spare $500,000 lying around.

Aqua Profunda

The guitar and bass riff throughout this track is what caused it to make the list. It’s sounds so groovy and her voice flows along to the beat so well. Besides the sick guitar/bass, I really enjoy the lyrics to this track. She sings, “it’s a curse, my lack of athleticism,” and I love that because of how that connects with people everywhere. Im sure everyone has a story where they were trying to impress someone they liked and failed because of a lack of athleticism.

To Wrap It Up

Barnett has a unique talent for making every single one of her tracks relatable. I really wanted to review both of her albums, this one and “A Sea of Split Peas: The Double EP” because they both include some incredible tracks but I had to narrow it down. However, I think the song “Don’t Apply Compression Gently” from “A Sea of Split Peas” deserves an honorable mention. That track is so good and the lyrics are too relatable for me. I digress, Barnett is one of my favorite artists and I appreciate her vocal and lyrical talent the most but the guitar in her songs is always spot-on.

 

Panic! At The Disco at the Frank Erwin Center Performance Review

 Background Info

Last night, I attended a Panic! at the Disco concert with my sister and my sister’s friend. The show was scheduled for Sunday, April 2nd at 7 p.m. and took place at the Frank Erwin Center. P!ATD had two opening bands, Saint Motel and Misterwives, so they didn’t come on until about 9 p.m. P!ATD is touring for their 2016 album, “Death of a Bachelor”. Brendon Urie recorded that album right before his wedding, so the title is fitting. I was really into P!ATD when I was 13, which was 6 years ago so I was futilely hoping Urie would play more of their older stuff, but of course the show was focused on Death of a Bachelor. That being said, Urie can put on an amazing show. Even though I wasn’t familiar with a lot of the tracks played, I had an amazing time.

Highlights

Nine in the Afternoon

This was my very favorite track that Urie played because this was the song that got me into P!ATD. Urie disappeared for a moment when the lights went off after the track that came before Nine in the Afternoon. He reappeared emerging from a compartment under the stage, sitting at a big piano, playing the opening notes to one of my favorite songs. It was a great moment and my throat hurts from screaming in excitement. Urie played the track really well and it was like my middle-school dreams were finally a reality.

Miss Jackson

I actually wasn’t familiar with this song at all before I attended this show, but now I have it on repeat. Urie once stated that this song is about a girl that he sleeps with having sex with all of his friends. Another reason this song is so great is because the lyrics are fairly simple so by the end of the song, I was singing along to the chorus with everyone else.  P!ATD has changed it’s sound so much over the years, but the album this song is from, “Too Weird to Live, Too Young to Die” is one of my favorites because it’s just such a fun album to sing and dance to.

I Write Sins Not Tragedies

I couldn’t not mention this classic P!ATD jam. Urie played this close to the end of their set. He prefaced the song by saying, “This one’s for you. It’s a new one,” which was adorable and hilarious because IWSNT is obviously one of the oldest hits P!ATD has ever had. Another amazing Brendan moment was in the very first verse when he sings “the groomsbride is a whore,” he didnt sing the word whore, but let the audience say it. He then interjected very quickly, “you said it, not me.” His commentary during this song was honestly my favorite part of the concert and reminded me how in love with Urie I was and still am.

To Wrap It Up

I loved this concert because of all the nostalgia. Because P!ATD has been around since 2005, Urie and his band have become really great performers and they know how to put on a show. I expected to not enjoy all of the concert because I wouldn’t recognize the majority of the songs, but I was wrong and enjoyed every song they played. Another great part of the show was Urie’s tribute to the LGBTQ community. He played his song about gay rights, “Girls/Girls/Boys” and held up a pride banner. Afterwards, he gave a short, passionate speech about how there is a revolution coming and how he will be right along side us.

 

 

 

Currents by Tame Impala Review

Background Info

I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since this album was released. I remember sitting in my car listening to the full stream of Currents on NPR before it was available on iTunes. I was so excited for new music from Tame Impala and Kevin Parker did not disappoint. This album is so indicative of Parker’s personal growth and coming to terms with his fame. It contrasts starkly with Parker’s last couple albums, titled Innerspeaker and Lonerism. Even the titles suggest Parker’s desire for isolationism. Currents doesn’t suggest that Parker is no longer lonely, just that he is accepting it and handling it the best he can. This is the breakup album to end all breakup albums, in more ways than the obvious literal breakup. This album is the end of the guitar as Parker’s primary instrument and the idea that Kevin Parker is the only one behind Tame Impala is made abundantly clear. I would really like to go through and dissect every track on this album, but I’m going to do my best to narrow it down to a few of my favorites.

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Abby Gilardi via Tame_Impala-3712
https://www.flickr.com/photos/abbers13/18818811386/in/photolist-eQyG95-8NnAHo-9FoWjq-9Fm21a-9FoXqb-9FoVaq-9Fm1jH-9FkXsF-9FkYwv-9FkZd6-9Fm2GM-pYNRbQ-p5aEW4-p57Sqy-9CEtcP-uEXjZh-uEVGj5-pJzd1m-pJw2tU-h8AvTz-dQ7f9x-gj6TbU-q1JHRF-9FkYar-drQYhp-abEmZd-gj6Shj-cVka6q-gj6SHj-gj71Kx-9CHoV5-9CHpaf-9CHoyC-drR8j7-drR8kY-drR8pY-drR8tJ-drR8rJ-5MG8ne-m1v38K-m1v41X-f97uNn-9CHoL3-zgi422-5MLuvu-5MLpTh-cVjN5S-9DrC1u-5MLrWu-h9Qjhz

Out-Standing Tracks

Let It Happen

Of course Parker chose to open with this seven minute masterpiece of a song. Let It Happen deals with Parker’s acceptance of his fame. Even the title makes this obvious. Let it, as in his rise to fame, happen. However, he does voice some reservations about being consumed by this new world he has found himself in with the line “If I never come back/ tell my mother I’m sorry.” The repeating drums in this song is what makes it stand out to me. It’s just so much more dance-y (excuse my made-up word) than any of the songs on his previous albums. Personally, I think the 3-minute drum/guitar interlude that starts around 2:40 improves the song because the riff is so groovy. However, I think many people that aren’t die-hard Kevin Parker fans would find the interlude too long and get impatient with it. To prove that point, the radio version of this song cuts that instrumental only part, which, to quote Leslie Knope, is “a tragedy on par with human trafficking. Slight exaggeration.”

The Less I Know the Better

You know I had to mention this track if only for the sick-ass bass. Side note, when Tame Impala performed this song at ACL they did NOT turn up the bass enough and that was disappointing. Anyway, this song is so groovy and it has become the popular song off of Currents for good reason. Parker is an absolute savage throughout this song which is first illustrated by calling out his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend by name with the line, “She was holding hands with Trevor/not the greatest feeling ever.” Despite Parker seemingly being cold and harsh towards his girlfriend, he makes it clear that he still wants her back. The saddest part of the song to me is how his ex-girlfriend says “It’s not now or never/ wait 10 years we’ll be together,” and Parker’s heart-breaking response is, “better late than never/ just don’t make me wait forever.” The music video for this song is very interesting and weird; check it out.

‘Cause I’m a Man

Parker has faced criticisms that this track is sexist but he has stated that was never his intent. This song deals with how men do terrible things and try to make excuses but the truth is they are just pathetic and have no self-control. Take that how you will. Parker’s voice in this song in particular is so beautiful and calming. His voice accompanied by the drums and guitar that start the song remind me of waves in the ocean gently washing over my body. I love this song so much and I definitely see how some people would consider it sexist, but I see it as more of a very truthful way of looking at relationships. I think it has a really intimate vibe. It reminds me of past relationships and betrayals I’ve faced. It actually makes me very emotional; sometimes I skip this track for that exact reason.

Nangs/Gossip

Nangs and Gossip are super short songs that serve the purpose of transitioning smoothly into the next track. Nangs leads us into The Moment in such a nice way. There a few vocals “but is there something more than that?” but this track is centered around some electronic noises. Fun fact, nangs is Australian slang for whippets. Gossip leads us into The Less I Know the Better. The subtle guitar and electronic noises that sound similar to the ones in Nangs lead us perfectly into the pounding bass of The Less I Know the Better. The tiny 3-note guitar riff at the very end of this track is amazing. Parker’s genius is really demonstrated in the tiny details of this album.

To Wrap it Up

Currents is the best album in the whole world and I stand by that bold statement firmly. I know that’s a huge thing to say but this album really affected me personally. It makes me think of a very specific time in my life and how I’ve grown since then. I love every track on this album and narrowing it down was very hard. Currents demonstrates Parker’s personal growth as well as being an amazing break-up album. I will never get tired of this album and I can’t wait to see what Tame Impala does next.

Pitchfork Music Blog Review

I couldn’t resist the opportunity to review Pitchfork because it is such an influential music blog. Pitchfork is actually what made me interested in music journalism and I’ve said on multiple occasions that working for Pitchfork would be pretty cool.

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http://pitchfork.com/best/

The Good

I love the best new music tab. Anytime I want to find some new music, that tab is my first stop. Being able to choose either best new tracks or best new albums is super convenient and allows me to pick exactly what I want.

Another thing I really appreciate about Pitchfork is the inclusivity of their music choices. They review every genre of music, from rap to experimental. Pitchfork definitely has the hipster vibe going on so my first thought was that they wouldn’t review mainstream pop artists like Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift. However, I was wrong and they review quite a few artists.

OVER/UNDER. I love it so much. Over/Under is a video segment that Pitchfork produces. They feature an artist and have them rate various things as either overrated or underrated. It’s usually pretty hilarious and interesting. I like how it lets me see my favorite artists as real people with specific mannerisms and opinions.

The Bad

I really only have one major criticism about Pitchfork and it goes back to the hipster vibe. Many of their reviews have a very pretentious attitude. Occasionally I get the feeling the author is really into themselves and very impressed with their own music taste. Portlandia did an episode where they made fun of Pitchfork and the way that Pitchfork thinks it is God’s gift to music and it was very accurate and hilarious. While they do post reviews of mainstream artists like Justin Bieber, the reviews are pretty harsh. Check out what they said about JB’s new album, Purpose.

To Wrap It Up

As you can see, I mostly have great things to say about Pitchfork. I love Pitchfork and I’m a frequent visitor to the site. Luckily, the pretentious reviews don’t scare me away because sometimes my music taste is a little uppity as well.