Makeup Monday : Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick

by lauren atkinson

This is a love-hate relationship, in more than one way.

I love the colors, names, and packaging of these lipsticks but I hate the packaging and texture of these lipsticks as well. 

The colors are absolutely stellar. The pigments go on exactly as they look and have some true staying power. By applying, blotting, and reapplying, you can achieve a color that last hours. Pretty impressed by this. 

The formula smells similarly to MAC. Only more cupcake-y and fragrant. That's exactly what these lipsticks smell like. MAC + Vanilla frosting. Not sure if this is a complaint or compliment. Certainly took some getting used to. 

SUPER cute packaging. However, not sold on the thin plastic caps. 

Here are a few of the shades I picked up. 


A notable pet peeve is that the colors that include shimmer in them have a weird texture. Gritty and glittery are not a fond trait for a lipstick. They apply effortlessly, however during application they have an odd sandlike texture. The color looks great, though, once you get past the texture. Here's Lullabye for a look:

 Lullabye on my lips. No liner. No image re-touching or filtering. Taken on iPhone 6. 

Lullabye on my lips. No liner. No image re-touching or filtering. Taken on iPhone 6. 

One serious complaint and compliment: the packaging. It looks beautiful and edgy yet lacks the depth of the former Kat Von D lipstick lines. What I loved about the Painted Love Lipsticks was the density and weight of the packaging. It was creative and beautiful but felt heavy and really, expensive. The new Studded Kiss line is a light-weight plastic. Which, would be fine, except for one huge flaw: the lipstick lid pops off CONSTANTLY. I ended up with a purse full of hot pink lipstick one day: it was not pretty.

So overall, lipstick pouts all around but make sure you purchase a lipstick caddy for your purse.

 <3 Have you tried out any of the shades? Any loves? Any complaints? Would love to hear below! 

Pen Pal.

by lauren atkinson

It's really no secret that I love cards. The more mail sent through snailmail, the better. And every single card I get ends up on the refrigerator for a time. Because I love receiving cards and letters, I tend to assume others like this too.

I try to be diligent about sending the people that I care about a card or handwritten letter whenever I think to. There's something about getting a handwritten letter that feels so personal. I'd like to think that the biggest factor is the time spent to sit down and write on a card that was selected just for that person, or a postcard you saw in a shop and thought "I'm thinking of this person."

Because the last few months have been crazy hectic with the start of a new job and really settling into life in the Bay, I haven't taken the time I normally would to send my loved ones the amount of mail I'd like to send. So I'm challenging myself: everyday during the month of May, I'd like to send a different person a letter. If it becomes a hit, then maybe I'll start a penpal program: we can consistently send mail to one another and eventually trade our penpal with someone else!

If you're interested in joining, please comment below! Or you can email me at
Let me know if you'd. Just like a handwritten card or if you're interested in doing a penpal swap!


My Beauty Favorites of 2013

by lauren atkinson

2013 was the year of my all time favorites. 

Sure, every year I have items that I keep returning to throughout the entire year, but this past year was the year where I kept revisiting favorites from my past. I did a have a few items that were new and became beloved beauty-finds, but for the most part 2013 proved that some things you just can't get rid of once you fall in love.

Some of the new items on my list included some lipsticks. This fall I was really digging MAC's retro matte lipstick in "Ri Ri Woo". If you follow me on my instagram, then you know I love a bold lipstick. But what really sold me on Ri Ri Woo wasn't just the color: it was the texture. Because of the extreme retro matte finish, the pigmentation almost stands out even more and the color seems to hold longer. Plus it makes the color buildable: you can start with a soft dusting of the lipstick and blot away any excess for just a pop of red, or really pack a punch by adding a few layers. Plus: the packaging is absolutely beautiful.


Another favorite that came to me towards the end of the year is MAC's "You've Got It" which is a soft, cool-toned, shimmery nude-pink. When I saw it, I KNEW I just HAD to have it. The only problem was that it was sold out both online and in stores. Luckily, I have a super savvy best friend that was able to hunt it down for me just in time for 2013 to come to an end. BUT IT COUNTS because I wore it every day until the end of the year: it looks beautiful layered on top of just about any shade. It gives a bit of shimmer and shine to your lips and softens any bold tones. In some lights (like below) it registers a bright gold, which I loved for the holiday season. 


To revisit some of my all-time favorites, you already know my love for MAC's VIVA GLAM I. I wrote a whole post about why I love it here, so I don't think that needs to be spoken about again. 2013 brought the color back into my life, and I wore it at least once a week. 

Another lipstick favorite that is a part of my 2013 list is definitely one I add to my favorites list each year. It is YSL's Rouge Volupte in "1" or "nude".  YSL rouge volupte is easily my favorite lipstick (I now have every shade) outside of MAC's line, but this color is by far my favorite color. It's a wearable pinky nude that looks great year-round. Smooth, supple application and sheen finish. There's a reason why this is my third tube. 


Other beauty favorites include the GK haircare line. OK, maybe it's a little daunting to say an entire product line is my favorite, but it really is. Every product I have touched from this line has been magic in my hair. It has been a lifesaver since I have color-treated hair that has become quite dry. I love the way the products smell, and none of them are too heavy in my hair. 


These products truly feel weightless, in the best way. And now that I've converted all my haircare to the brand, no other brand will do!

Other favorites that I swear by this year are my Coastal Scents 88 Original Palette and my brush set which is also from Coastal Scents. When I needed to replace my brushes, I was a little strapped for cash and worried that these would not hold up. The price is deceiving: yes, it is affordable but that doesn't mean the product is cheap! After multiple washes, the brushes are still in beautiful condition. And as far as the palette is concerned, I've been absolutely pleasantly surprised by the beautiful colors and deep pigmentation of the shadows. What is also great is the texture of the shadow is soft and powdery but doesn't leave much fall-out when applied. Truly a great deal!

One surprise favorite was something I had picked up on a whim. After reading many reviews and seeing multiple blogposts for L'OREAL's Magic Nude Liquid Powder, I decided to give it a shot. Let me just say, this is the best drugstore product I have EVER purchased. What's great is that a little REALLY goes a long way with this product. Using it as a foundation AND powder, the formula is lightweight yet still full-coverage. When applying I only need less than a dime sized amount, which I pour on the back of my hand and dot with my fingers from the opposite hand. Instructions on the bottle say to blend with your fingers: I agree. This product blends best when using the clean pads of your fingertips and softly blotting and brushing into the skin. The product absorbs in a powdery finish that never feels wet or heavy. (If it does, then you've used WAY too much!) 


Overall, I've had some pleasant surprises with beauty products this year that I've added with continued favorites. I look forward to using this products more this year and am excited what new things I come across next! 


What are some of your 2013 favorite beauty products? What things could you not leave behind in the store? Anything new I should try? 

Vegetable Lentil Soup

by lauren atkinson

Blame it on my trip back to metro Detroit for Christmas or the chilly Bay Area weather, I haven't been able to shake the craving I've had for comfort food: heavy creams, hearty potatoes, and warm soup. As I'm attempting to shift back into clean-eating mode in order to shed the winter-weight I gained from Christmas cookies and hot toddys, I've been making a lot of soup recently. I've also been trying to slip in extra greens into everything I cook, to add a little more nutrition in order to keep myself feeling full and energetic.

This soup is hearty and warm, but still quite healthful. Think, a minestrone without pasta and lentils instead. A subtle tomato base with a kick of cumin and dill: kind of a combination of a classic lentil soup with a tomato base. 



-5 garlic gloves, minced
-1 cup chopped red onion
-1 tbsp olive oil
-3/4 red lentils, rinsed & drained
-3 1/2 cups kale salad (bought from Whole Foods- or: 3 cups kale, chopped with stems removed and 1/4 cup shredded carrot and 1/4 cup shredded red cabbage)
-1 sweet potato, skinned and cubed
-16oz crushed tomatoes
-1/2 tbsp dill
-2 tbsp cumin
-1/2 tbsp thyme
-4 cups water
-salt to taste


In a large pot, heat olive oil on the bottom of the pot, adding garlic and onion as the oil begins to warm on medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add kale salad and sweet potato. Continue cooking for 5-7 minutes on medium. 

After 5-7 minutes, the sweet potato should yield to soft pressure and kale will have wilted a bit. At this point, reduce heat back to low and add the rinsed lentils. (It is important to reduce the heat otherwise the lentils will start to burn as soon as hitting the pan since they are wet) Stir ingredients in the pan for about 3 minutes. At this point your ingredients will be well combined and lentils will have started to change color. Add in spices and cook for a few minutes until your kitchen is becoming fragrant and all of your ingredients are well coated in the spices.

Once well-combined, pour in water and crushed tomatoes and return temperature to medium heat. Bring the soup to a boil. Add salt to taste. The soup is ready to serve once hot and lentils cooked until soft. 



(Note: you can change the consistency from soup to stew depending on how much water you add and how long you boil. For a thicker, more stew-like consistency add 1/2 cup less water or more. For an even more soupier broth, add 1 cup or more of water)

Pantone's Color of the Year 2014

by lauren atkinson

The great thing about the holidays being over is that everyone gets back into the spirit of fashion! Sometimes during the holiday seasons, heels are traded in for comfy socks and slippers and great looking denim is swapped out for sweats. It's not about being lazy: the holidays have more important things going on, like spending time with the family and cooking delicious meals. Sure, there are still ways to make lounge look chic :D

But after the holidays, there is the precedence to start thinking about the new year. New Year's isn't just a time to reset life goals: it's also a time to set the tone for the year fashion-wise! And what better way to do so then to check out what colors will be "in" for the entirety of 2014?!

Pantone recently announced their Color of the Year for 2014: Radiant Orchid. When I first saw what it was, I must admit I was a bit skeptical. If you step into my wardrobe, you'll notice lots of dark tones and neutrals, so the idea of something vibrant and near-flourescent rattles me a bit. And then I started hunting through my cosmetics. And guess what, I guess "Radiant Orchid" isn't so bad after all. . . I found plenty of the color family in some of my favorite products. Plus, cosmetics and accessories are the perfect way for someone that is leery of color to incorporate it into a look! 

photo 1.JPG

So what am I eyeing now that I've fallen for this purple-pink hue? Of course, lots of makeup and bags! If I were to purchase any of these items, how great would they look along side a grey skirt or black pants to add a bit of warmth and color? 

 (Clockwise from top left) 1.  'Venus' Satchel  by Furla, $548 2.  MAC Pressed Pigment  in 'Amethyst', $21 3.  Clear Conscious Clutch  in 'Transparent Noir', $37 at Karmaloop 4.  Illamasqua Nail Varnish  in 'Jo' Mina', $24 5.  Vivi Indexer  by Vince Camuto, $78 6. MAC Tropical Taboo Cremesheen Glass  in 'Narcissus', $21 7.  DUDU Wallet  in 'Garnet', $93 8.  Illamasqua Nail Varnish  in 'Stance', $24

(Clockwise from top left)
1. 'Venus' Satchel by Furla, $548
2. MAC Pressed Pigment in 'Amethyst', $21
3. Clear Conscious Clutch in 'Transparent Noir', $37 at Karmaloop
4. Illamasqua Nail Varnish in 'Jo' Mina', $24
5. Vivi Indexer by Vince Camuto, $78
6.MAC Tropical Taboo Cremesheen Glass in 'Narcissus', $21
7. DUDU Wallet in 'Garnet', $93
8. Illamasqua Nail Varnish in 'Stance', $24

What is so appealing about this color is that it really would look chic year-round. In summer it'll be the bright shade in a floral-printed top and winter it'll be a great addition as a scarf alongside a classic peacoat. 

In what ways might you use this color in 2014? 


Holidays for All: Gift Ideas for the Coffee Lover

by lauren atkinson

If you've spent a day in the Atkinson household, you were probably at some point offered a cup of coffee. We take our coffee VERY seriously. But we aren't the only ones we know that are like this: We have a few friends we'd probably refer to as coffee aficionados that love a cup of fresh coffee.

Coffee really is a special thing and people that take coffee seriously aren't going to appreciate a bag of generic coffee. What they really might love, however, is a bag or two of incredibly fresh beans or even a coffee subscription. In our household, we really love Tonx coffee. Our Tonx gets shipped to us every other week and the bag sent arrives a day from when the beans were roasted: meaning we are getting some really awesome coffee. In our home, the only way we brew is by aeropress and occasional french press. 

If buying for a coffee lover like the Atkinsons, here's some suggestions:



(From top left, clockwise) 
Tonx offers a gift subscription and you can select options of how frequent you'd like to send the recipient coffee. You can even set it up in a one time delivery and choose to give a gift bundle with an aeropress and mug for $69, which really is a great deal. 

Coffee lovers also love a great mug. And what better way to personalize it than with a monogrammed mug from Anthropologie. What I love about these mugs is the weight of them and how great they look on a counter. I've given these mugs as gifts a few times now and believe them to be an absolutely great gift. 

Four Barrel coffee in San Francisco is truly special. Their beans are fresh and delicious. Share the goodness with a friend! For a 24-week subscription at $175, you'd be spending less than $8 a bag, which is a really great option. Four Barrel offers smaller subscriptions as well. 

A french press is a great option for a gift because it allows the coffee-fiend to make more than one coffee at a time. Plus it is great for the coffee-lover that loves to entertain! 

Do you love coffee? Tell me more about your subscriptions or coffee gifts you've given in the past! 

Holidays for Her Part One: Stocking Stuffers and Secret Santa

by lauren atkinson

The Christmas tradition of stockings has always appealed to me. For some, this is the part of Christmas morning where they are getting the items that they need in addition to gift cards and smaller items. Whenever I'd sift through my stocking on Christmas morning at my grandparents' home, I'd pull out an orange, a bag of mixed nuts, candies, and generally a five dollar bill. As a kid I never appreciated the stocking as much as unwrapping the larger gifts, but as an adult it's a tradition I have grown to miss. 

There's something that feels so thoughtful about getting the things you needed but don't necessarily think about, and a bunch of small items that you'll definitely use and love. I know that's supposed to describe Christmas (getting thoughtful gifts from family and loved ones) but sometimes with large, frivolous gifts the heart is sometimes missed. 

That's why when I am attempting to purchase stocking stuffers or secret santa gifts for friends and family, I sometimes get a little stuck. For purchasing small gifts, I like to pick out items that cater to that person's interests but also to their needs. How thoughtful is it to open a small candle that just happens to be your favorite scent? Or have a tin of tea in your stocking that you can't wait to brew and enjoy while you open your other gifts? When your loved ones give you hints that you need to relax, just don't deny it!

For the few short weeks leading up to Christmas, I am going to offer some ideas of gifts that I love and ones that I have picked out for possible gifts for my loved ones. Maybe a little inspiration will help you out, too! Plus, all of the items listed below are under $50, so some might be great for a Secret Santa party! 

Here are two sets to start off. They both appeal to relaxation: we all need to treat ourselves sometimes! 

This first set is for the person I find trickiest. She's a little rough-and-tumble but still girly. She loves tea and candles, but nothing too fruity or floral. I see her as kind of practical but still wants to relax, and darn it, she should: It's Christmas after all! So the scents I've picked for the candle err on the masculine more rustic side, and the tea is sweet like the holiday but not fruity. And the wine soap? Well, she loves wine (and who doesn't really?)

 1. Gingerbread tea from  DAVIDsTEA , $16 2. Tobacco &amp; Patchouli candle from  PaddyWax Apothecary&nbsp; , $19 3. Summer Crisp Chardonnay  Wine Soap , $9

1. Gingerbread tea from DAVIDsTEA, $16
2. Tobacco & Patchouli candle from PaddyWax Apothecary , $19
3. Summer Crisp Chardonnay Wine Soap, $9

The second set of gifts is for the girl that loves beauty products. Some of these finds are really great bargains and especially fun for the holidays due to their packaging! I mean, nail polish in christmas bulbs and a bath bomb shaped like Santa, who can resist? 

 1. Real Techniques  Sam's Picks Brush Set , $30 2. Macadamia Oil  Deep Repair Mask , $16 3. LUSH  "Ho Ho Ho" Bath Set , $14.95 4. Ciate  Tree Trinkets Polish , $21   

1. Real Techniques Sam's Picks Brush Set, $30
2. Macadamia Oil Deep Repair Mask, $16
3. LUSH "Ho Ho Ho" Bath Set, $14.95
4. Ciate Tree Trinkets Polish, $21


The brush set is great since it is from one of my favorite brush manufacturers. The brushes last a while and the bristles are soft and plush, yet dense. Plus this specific set gives you a variety of brushes that are great for daily use! 

This set of gifts really is about pampering yourself. The Macadamia Deep Repair Mask is great for moisturizing damaged hair, but it's not greasy so it is great for extra moisture for regular hair as well. To continue the pamper-session, dissolve Santa's face in your bath: The Father Christmas bath bomb is citrus-y and turns the bath water from Christmas red to a lush green with a bit of white bubbles. Top of the relaxation with a festive Ciate polish: your nails will sparkle. 

What are some more great small-gift ideas? Anything you've been eyeing? 
Be sure to check back here on Friday for more Holiday gift ideas for "her"!