13 Tips For Cooking Meals In College

Becoming an adult entails many, many things: filing taxes; doing your own laundry — those things. But we’re going to take baby steps here and backtrack to something that we should know how to do in life: cook meals. Cooking meals when you’re an on-campus resident who actually doesn’t have a kitchen just outside their bedroom door can be pretty difficult. As someone who has taken to cooking often, but does so in the communal kitchen in the basement, trust me, I know the struggle. But I think I’ve gotten pretty freaking amazing pretty good at cooking meals in college, so I’m going to give you some pointers that’ll put you on your way to cooking meals in college like a pro. You’ll completely forget that microwaveable meals even exist!

  1. Search for recipe inspo. Gathering utensils and ingredients and walking all the way to the kitchen can seem pretty annoying, so find amazing recipes for delicious looking food to motivate you to actually cook! I like finding recipes and how-tos from BuzzFeed’s Tasty on Facebook. Because of Tasty, I’ve made garlic bread meatball sliders, fajita stuffed chicken and more! They definitely put creative (and even tastier) spins on meals, so they’re fun to make. Plus, you don’t need to be a world class chef to create their recipes; everything is easy to follow. 
  2. Assemble a ‘kitchen kit’. No, I don’t know if kitchen kits are actual things; that’s just the term I’m using to make myself sound more like a pro with tips. In any case, assembling your dorm room kitchen kit will help you keep all of your cooking supplies and most of your ingredients in one, tidy place, so your roommate won’t find bread bags on the floor, and you won’t have rice in your underwear drawer. The easier it is for you to gather your utensils and ingredients, the easier your cooking experiences will be. 
  3. Be prepared to wake up early to make breakfast. Don’t expect to have homemade toast, scrambled eggs and potatoes for breakfast if you aren’t willing to get out of bed and get things started! Cooking really does take time when you don’t have a kitchen at your fingertips, so you need to allow yourself enough time to make it down to the kitchen with everything you need, cook, cleanup and go back up. Also, be cautious of cooking in between classes and/or events. This past weekend, I thought I’d be able to make five pieces of stuffed chicken breasts in between taking a trip to Dunkin’ Donuts (for cookie dough iced coffee) and meeting with a friend to see Deadpool. Let’s just say I only had enough time to fully cook just one piece of chicken…
  4. “All-in-ones” are typically a good purchase. You’re probably thinking, ‘what the hell do you mean ‘all-in-ones’?’ Quick story: This past weekend I wanted to make fajita-stuffed chicken (thank you BuzzFeed for making this my goal) and when I went home to do grocery shopping, I brought everything I needed back to my dorm, but realized when it was too late that I had forgotten all of my seasonings at home. Now, I’m not a fan of bland chicken, so I had to take a trip to grocery store to buy seasonings. I was looking to buy garlic powder, chili powder, cayenne, black pepper, and the like, which would’ve meant purchasing like four different bottles. We should all know by now that our daily goal is to make the best use of what little space we have in our dorms, and creating a collection of seasoning bottles on my desk just wasn’t happening. Lucky for me, I found a bottle of Trader Joe’s “21 Seasoning Salute” which includes, well, 21 different seasonings in one bottle! Purchases like these are a great way to save space and money while still getting exactly what you were looking for.
  5. Mix your dry ingredients at home. If you insist on never, ever buying boxed brownie mix and instead baking explicitly from scratch…you might run into a few walls. I adore baking from scratch, but in college it’s hard because you’ll have so many ingredients to find a place for in that (once again) small dorm room. If you go home every so often, you can buy your ingredients and mix all the dry ones together and seal them in one container that can be taken back to college with you. Ta-da! It saves space and will still satisfy your made-from-scratch ego (it’s ok, I know I have one too). 
  6. Remember to defrost things (if they need to be defrosted). So the day I had planned to make the chicken, I went to Trader Joe’s in the morning and completely forgot to take the chicken out of my freezer to defrost. I returned to my dorm around two and had planned to start cooking in a couple of hours. Oops. Forgetting pre-preparation preparations like this can set you back big time. My fix was pretty quick (stick the chicken in a bowl of hot water) but it could’ve been worse if I didn’t remember in time! 
  7. Know common substitutes for things you don’t have or can’t buy. No eggs? No problem; use oil instead. Don’t have cornstarch? You can substitute flour. Sometimes recipes call for items that, in college, you don’t have ready access to, or just don’t want to accommodate for in your mini fridge. Cooking a meal shouldn’t cost you a finger and an arm, so using ingredients that you already have is a money-saving option so that you can still cook your favorite meals without creating clutter. 
  8. If it’s going to take a while, bring your work with you. I promise you will get bored standing in front of the stove, staring at your pot of pasta. There’s probably some type of homework or reading you can squeeze in while cooking, so use this time to be more productive. And if you’re cooking alone and need to run back up to your room to grab your books, TURN THE STOVE/OVEN OFF FIRST. Never leave a flame unattended because everyone will hate you for setting off the fire alarm in the middle of their nap or shower. Not to mention the fact that you could potentially start a fire in the kitchen. Better safe than sorry! 
  9. Always have dishwashing soap. I was running dangerously low on dishwashing soap, but then I was able to purchase more to wash my dishes. I know that not everyone uses soap when cleaning dishes, but it does help you get out those tough grease stains better — more so than water. Science fact of the day: soap has both a polar end and a non-polar end, where as water is only polar. This is why soap can fight grease and oil stains better than water can. So you don’t have to struggle to clean your dishes, which leads me to my next tip…
  10. Always wash up after yourself. Okay, who else will eat food and then leave the dirty dishes on the table to basically rot for a week before they decide to wash them? Yeah, I’m majorly guilty of this. Try to break out of this habit by cleaning up after yourself as soon as you have dirty dishes. That’s because first off, when you need those dishes again, you’ll feel like washing them even less. Second, clean plates = clean conscience — yes, those dirty dishes can be rather haunting. And third, it’s common courtesy to whoever you live with; I doubt they want to see moldy plates on the table. Also, don’t leave dirty things in the kitchen because the people in your building will think that you have no home training. 
  11. Always have utensils on hand. When you need something the most is when you never have it, so make sure you always have forks, spoons, knives — even plastic ones, because you never know when you’ll need to dice peppers *ahem, me this past weekend.* 
  12. Be courteous to other cookers. The kitchen is for everyone to use, so don’t be rude and hog all the space! Always ask fellow cookers if they need you to make room, even if you don’t think they do because it’s common courtesy. Your cooking experience will be much better if you’re nice to people. Courtesy also includes not accidentally dropping pasta sauce on the counters and then leaving it there! You wouldn’t want to come down to the kitchen to find a mess when you’re about to cook, so down go down to the kitchen and leave a mess when you’re there. 
  13. Stock up on resealable bags and/or tupperware. When I didn’t have enough time to cook all five pieces of chicken in one go, I had to pack it all up and refrigerate/freeze it all again. Thank goodness I had resealable bags (because I certainly didn’t have tupperware!) You never know when you might have to pack it all up and postpone cooking for another day, so be prepared with methods of re-storage! 

Do you have any tips for cooking in college? Let me know in the comments! 

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The Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Happy Almost Mother’s Day! So this upcoming day of celebration and thankfulness for the love of the prominent women in our lives raises a big question: what gift should I get her??? I know, I know. One can spend many, many days pondering over what Mother’s Day purchases should be made, and it can be especially hard on a budget! But don’t worry, to help, I’ve got quite a few fabulous gift ideas all in one, big blog post from someone who knows the struggle of buying gifs for loved ones all too well.

gift guide fashion

Infinity scarf. No, not the super warm, crochet-styles ones made from wool; I’m talking about the pretty, light, flowy ones that are perfect for the spring. Help your mom channel the springtime vibes all in one piece of apparel. Scarves often pull together otherwise plain outfits, and there are tons of beautiful designs to pick from, not to mention the gorgeous and inspiring color schemes. Plus, scarves are typically very inexpensive, so you won’t find yourself breaking the bank. 

Flats. With all the running around your mom does for you — trips to the grocery store, picking you up from soccer practice, working hard so you can be happy — she might like a new pair of shoes so she can run around in style. With the spring season, there are so many pretty flats from stores like Forever21 and Charlotte Russe. If your mom isn’t the ballet flat kind of person, you can get her some other kind of footwear: sandals; sneakers; heels. Shoes are a well-appreciated gift that will certainly be put to good use. 

Jewelry. A gift guide for women wouldn’t be complete without jewelry! There will always be jewelry for everyone’s taste, so you’ll never worry about finding the piece that’s just right.

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Glamulet is a great site for pretty pieces of arm candy. Plus, you can pick out your own charms for a bracelet (be prepared to stare at the charms all day because they are beautiful!) And guess what, you could potentially spend $0 on a gorgeous bracelet for Mother’s Day! Check out Glamulet’s campaign page  and share your favorite charm on your social media profiles to be entered for the chance to win one of 100 free bracelets. Since I love all of my wonderful readers (y’all are truly amazing) I’ve actually got a present for you: take 15% off your Glamulet order of $70 or more using the promo code: BB-MOM How awesome is that!? You better act fast, though, because Mother’s Day is approaching and this offer ends on May 9th. #love #childoftheyear

A New Wallet. You know when you just know your wallet is in need of a major makeover? Well, there aren’t any wallet makeup artists that I know of, so the best solution is to buy a new wallet, which is why it’s a great gift idea for Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it). I was able to buy a Nine West wallet from T.J. Maxx for less than $25. Plus, just like footwear, wallets can be used daily. 

A Pretty Dress. Does your mom have that brunch with co-workers coming up, or a company party to attend? Maybe you’re planning a family trip together. This is the perfect opportunity to buy your mom an outfit for such events. She’ll be able to look fabulous while showing off her Mother’s Day gift! 

gift guide spa day

Bath salts. Everyone loves a good day of R&R. Hell, even a few hours of R&R can be greatly appreciated. Greatly. A gift of beautiful-smelling bath salts is a great way to get your mom on her way to indulging her senses in comfort while taking a well-deserved break from the world. Places like Bath & Body Works have a great selection of salts for you to choose from. This is an inexpensive, yet thoughtful option. 

Scented candles. I’m not sure what it is with me and scented candles, but they’re wonderful. My mom loves buying nice smelling candles to emit a beautiful aroma around the house. Scented candles would also be great additions to your mom’s spa day — just like people do in the movies when they want to relax. You can buy several mini candles or a few big ones for low prices. 

Lotion sets. Anything fragrance related is usually a safe option. Bath & Body Works, The Body Shop and Victoria’s Secret usually have sets that include shower gel, lotion and perfume, plus there are many collections to choose from that sometimes come packaged in a cute travel bag (if you purchase travel size) or some other cute case that can be used for storing makeup and small knick-knacks. 

Facial masks. First of all, facial masks can easily become an obsession. Second of all, there are so many to choose from, especially since lots of stores and companies come out with a new kind of mask, more exotic than the previous one. But if the recipient of your gift isn’t too big on wilder mixtures and scents, stick to classics like seaweed and honey & oat masks. The great thing is that you get a fair amount of product in the tub that will definitely last a while because masks aren’t meant for everyday use. 

gift guide food

Chocolate covered strawberries. Chocolate is everyone’s favorite way to dress up fruit (unless you’re allergic to chocolate!) As long as you’re very well aware of a person’s culinary likes and dislikes (and potential allergies) food is a pretty safe gift idea and chocolate covered strawberries should be one of the first ones that pop into your head. You can even make them yourself and add sprinkles and toppings! #diy. 

Macarons. Let’s be real. Macarons are a great gift because we think they’re wildly sophisticated and they come in pretty colors. I always stare longingly at the macaron packs at kiosks in the mall and in bakeries, but I know I can’t have them because of my almond allergy. Pick up a pack of this sweet treat, especially if your mom has a sweet tooth! 

Cupcakes. Bakeries tend to sell Mother’s Day-themed cupcakes and goodies at this time of year. Plus, you can bake an entire batch of cupcakes yourself if you have an inner baker. There is so much room for creativity with cupcakes. You can bake your mom cupcakes that are representative of her favorite sweet tooth satisfiers (cinnamon roll cupcakes, snickers cupcakes — yes, they exist!) 

gift guide beauty

A neutral eyeshadow palette. Okay, I know we all have really cool moms, but chances are, yours isn’t as willing to wear neon blue and bright orange eyeshadow as you are! I’d adore the gift of the Urban Decay Electric palette (which I ended up getting for my birthday) but my mom wouldn’t be into that. So if you want to get eyeshadow for the female figure in your life, stick to neutral palettes with soft colors. They’d be more appreciative of this because these tones are workplace friendly. There are a number of subtle palettes out there, too. 

Healthy skin kits. Eye creams, wrinkle creams, vitamin-infused serums — these are everyday products that many older women tend to use. A Mother’s Day Gift can be as simple as getting her something she already has a need for every single day. My mom loves using products from Olay’s Regenerist line, and would definitely love their serums as a gift. Consider helping your mom re-stock her collection as a great gift. 

gift guide home

Mugs of love. After you say how much you love your mother, you can give her a mug that says it too! Like many of the other ideas in this post, mugs are great for everyday use. And if your mom is like mine and doesn’t actually use mugs, she’ll use it as decoration in her china.

A good book. With the trials, tribulations (and rewards) of everyday life to tackle, our moms may hardly find the time to go out and buy a good book, but now you can coax her into reading by buying the book for her! And if your mom swears up and down that she never has the time to read, having something to read will urge her to find a little bit of time — even if it’s right before bed. Never underestimate the power of a good book. When I was a kid, I received books as presents for birthdays and christmas all the time — that’s how I began writing and eventually became the writer and blogger I am now! 

A picture frame. Who else’s mom loves decorating the walls with family pictures and baby photos, and photos of you when you were missing your two front teeth? There are probably plenty more milestones that your mom would love to adorn the walls with. Get her pretty picture frames to do just that! You can find nice ones from places like Target and Michael’s (in love with Michael’s!) 

Bedroom slippers. Who doesn’t love warm, fuzzy slippers? They’re great for wearing for an early morning trip to the bathroom when the floor is cold, and they go perfectly with some hot tea, a good book, and a recliner! 

Did you make it this far? Good! Hopefully I managed to ease the stress of finding Mother’s Day presents! And if you actually don’t have a mother figure in your immediate family, remember that you can still celebrate the other wonderful women in your lives — aunts, grandmas, mother-in-laws. Happy Mother’s Day, and don’t forget to comment below and tell me what your favorite gift idea was!

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Note: This post is sponsored by Glamulet and powered by BrandBacker. As always, all statements and opinions are 100 percent my own — I’d never lie to y’all! Thank you for supporting brands that make really cool posts from Macarons & Mascara possible!

The Ultimate Somewhat Mini Concert Checklist

With all the lights, people screaming song lyrics into your ear, and let’s not forget the thought of being under the same roof as one of your favorite artists (or under the same sky if you’re outdoors), concerts can be really fun experiences. Maybe just a tad bit intimidating if you’re a first-timer who doesn’t know what they’re doing, but nevertheless the fun. If you do have some concert jitters and aren’t sure what to bring, what to wear, or where to go (but hopefully you know where your venue is come concert time) then I have some helpful hints and tips for you in this amazing (if I do say so myself) concert checklist. I myself am a rather organized person who disdains confusing, or uncomfortable situations (then again, who doesn’t?) so don’t worry, this list is 100 percent Jasmin-approved! Without further ado, here are some things you should make sure you do in preparation for your concert experience!

Before anything at all…

So before you sing along to every song at the top of your lungs, and even before you pose for Instagram pictures at the concert, there are a few things you need to make sure you’ve completely nailed.

Know how to get to your venue. It’s awesome that you’re going to see Ellie Goulding perform in Somethingtown, but if you have no clue how to get to Somethingtown and day of the concert you still have no clue how to get to Somethingtown, umm…you’re in some pretty deep crap. Transportation is time and time is money. Having to use public transportation to get to your venue may take more time than driving there, which means you’ll have to plan ahead more. You wouldn’t want to end up not being able to see your concert because you couldn’t be on time, now would you? You might feel like throwing caution to the wind and being a little spontaneous, but don’t underestimate the power of a well thought out plan.

Know how to return from your venue. Especially if you’re using public transportation! Personally, I’m a rather awkward public transportation user — I have to quadruple check that I’m standing on the correct platform before boarding a train — so to me, knowing every detail of your transportation plan (including how to not get lost)  is the difference between making it home in time to tell your smiling parents every detail of your experience, and making it home to a stern talk about being more responsible when traveling so you don’t come sauntering through the front door at three in the morning because you took the wrong train twice. I like knowing at least two options for making my trips, so if one is no longer doable I have a backup plan.

Make sure you have a fully charged phone. Not 60 percent battery, and definitely not 40 percent battery! You may also want to be concerned even at 80 percent. Phones are for more than just Snapchatting amazing moments for your Story that will make all your friends wish they were at a concert too. If you need to make a call to someone — a parent, a friend, a relative, the police — you shouldn’t have to worry about how soon your phone will die on you. Save yourself the worries and charge your phone. You know you’ll likely be waiting in line for ages, and you know the concert isn’t going to be a super quick thing, so be prepared!

Charge your portable charger as a backup. By now you should know just how much I love backup plans! If you really want to get to the next level of prepared, you’ll bring a portable. But if you want to be the king or queen preparedness, you’ll remember to actually charge the charger before throwing it into your bag. I have a portable charger and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to actually charge it just for everyday use, so I end up bringing my whole phone charger to class with me. A portable charger is useless if you don’t charge it for at least three hours in advanced.

Stay hydrated. Especially if the concert you’re attending is outdoors under the hot July sun. Carrying water bottles to a concert is tedious, and at some venues they might not allow you to go in with outside beverages of any kind. At the same time, not many people would want to pay for a bottle of water from the venue, and even fewer people would want to leave their place in line to buy something to drink. You definitely don’t want to end up passing out in the middle of the concert, so make sure you hydrate beforehand throughout the day.

Make sure you have tickets! Your concert tickets are one of, if not the most, important items for you to have at the ready for your concert experience. I’ll even forgive you if you opt to pack your concert tickets instead of the portable charger. How else would you get into the concert? That was a rhetorical question by the way. In any case, make sure you are holding your tickets or printed confirmation of paid tickets in the palm of your hands before you even think about stepping out the door. TickPick is a great place to buy tickets. The interface is rather simple, so first-time ticket purchasers need not be intimidated! Users can select tickets to concerts from a multitude of artists including Shawn Mendes, Ellie Goulding, and many more!

For figuring out your wardrobe…

They say getting there is half the fun, but I think picking outfits is half the fun (getting there is more like a quarter of the fun). So amid all the shopping, try-ons and whatnot, what should you remember?

Wear comfortable shoes. And try to avoid having to pack comfortable shoes, because then you’ll have to either carry an extra bag or use a bag that’s bigger than you might like. You know that at some point you’ll end up with blisters and/or sore feet and the pain isn’t always worth it. Plus if you’ll be standing most of the time you might want to treat your feet like they’re royalty.

Try on as many outfits as you can. Can we be blamed for wanting to look as fabulous as we can? I think not! Sometimes, the first outfit you try on at the mall or in your closet isn’t going to be your ultimate choice for concert wear. I’m usually happy with an outfit at first and then I decide that I’d much rather wear something else, but then I go back to the first idea, but not before coming up with a completely different idea. Our accessories need to be dazzling in those selfies; our outfits need to be on point for Instagram — there’s nothing wrong with wanting to show off an even more fabulous version of yourself for a concert! But there are still a few points that go along with finding your perfect concert outfit…

Don’t think you’ll be able to overlook a minor discomfort. If from the beginning you feel that your shorts are just a little too short for your personal liking, chances are you’re going to feel like you have to pull on them all throughout your concert experience. And who wants to miss an opportunity to take an epic pic of the artist performing because they were too busy being uncomfortable in the outfit they chose? You may think it’s no big deal because you see other people wearing a certain thing all the time, so you can power through it. Remember that everyone is different and what one person might be comfortable wearing wouldn’t necessarily bring another person as much comfort. There’s definitely a difference between going outside your comfort zone and doing something you already know will drive you bonkers. This being said, this is an important point on this checklist because you never want to forget such comfort at home!

Wear something that won’t make you freeze half to death. So recently my school had our annual “Brookfest” concert, and these past few weeks in Long Island have done very little to prove that spring was actually upon us. I saw so many girls walking across campus to the concert in tube tops while shivering profusely. Again this also has to do with your personal level of comfort, all factors considered (remember that it’ll probably get really hot if your venue is indoors). But you can totally check this off your list once you’ve fully considered your comfort.

Channel your creativity. An amazing thing about concerts is that it’s full of creativity — no matter where you attend one, who’s performing, or even who your fellow concert goers are. You can bet your boho accessories that people will take this as an opportunity to add their own personal touches to their concert experience to make it a true concert dream. Feathers, intricate jewelry, crochet, lace — you name it! Plus, it doesn’t stop there. I got to handpick my dream Coachella lineup, a.k.a. Faux-Chella, thanks to the awesome team at TickPick. TickPick was able to highlight a number of dream music festivals by teaming up with a number of music lovers out there. Below you’ll find a super cute graphic they created for me based on my personal picks for my dream festival. And if you haven’t already noticed, the name Faux-Chella is super adorable!

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So do you have all these things in the bag? 

Don’t worry, we’re almost done! So now that we’ve covered a couple of points with regard to dress and essentials for a great concert experience, all we have to do is make sure you’ve got a couple of things in the bag (aside from tickets and a fully charged phone).

Do you even have a bag? Like a little pocketbook for carrying around cash, ID, your phone, and the like? Some may find it useful to carry just a small drawstring backpack or a small crossbody. The choice is completely yours, but I don’t think you’ll find yourself able to fit everything you need into just your pants pockets.

Cash. You’re probably going to buy merch before the concert (because the experience wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t bring back a t-shirt). Make sure you’ve got enough cash to fulfill your concert merch dreams.

A small pack of tissues. Hello, allergy season. You might want to make sure you have even just a few tissues to wipe your nose with if you’ve got some annoying sniffles come concert time. Plus, if you’re chilling at your concert and someone accidentally spills soda on sandals, tissues might be a good way to clean up the situation (side note: making up hypotheticals is another one of my talents).

Sunglasses. I wouldn’t be caught dead outside without sunglasses on me. If you’re going to an outdoor music festival, sunglasses are a must! They not only shield your eyes from the hot yet sometimes annoying sun, but can also add to your outfit and make you look even cooler.

ID. Even if it isn’t required that you bring ID, or if the venue doesn’t typically check for ID, you should probably have some form of identification on you at all times anyway. But if there will be ID checks, guess what you might want to consider bringing!

Friends who want to have a good time! Okay, you can’t fit your friends inside your crossbody, but you should still bring them along, too. Everything’s better with friends (except when eating cake because who’s trying to share cake?) So grab some buddies to make memories with!

If you made it this far in my blog post, congratulations because I know I’ve said (typed?) a mouthful. I hope you enjoy your next (or first) concert experience!

What are some of your concert experiences? 

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Note: All thoughts and opinions discussed are completely my own. Thank you to TickPick for the beautiful Faux-chella concert graphic!

 

 

Swatches + Review Of MAKE Beauty Eyeshadow + Lipstick

Anyone who knows me knows that I love pretty makeup products — eyeliner, lipstick, eyeshadow, you name it! So I was super excited to receive free eyeshadow and lipstick samples from MAKE Beauty, a company that strives to encourage individual artistic approaches. MAKE is also awesome because their products are cruelty free (yay animals!) plus, 10 percent of their sales is donated to the We See Beauty Foundation, an organization that seeks to empower female entrepreneurs. So you can really see why I’m crazy about this brand!

I received eyeshadow in the shade, Alabaster, and lipstick in the shade, Taffy (sounds delicious!) Below you’ll find swatches of the two on my rather tan arm. Alabaster is a silky, light cream-colored eyeshadow, and Taffy is a soft pink — perfect for spring (whenever that is in New York!) I really loved the simple and sleek packaging because it makes the makeup look very sophisticated.

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I did this simple, natural look using these products, which is great for adding a little extra something to a plain day at school or work. After applying my foundation and doing my eyebrows, I took my ELF eyeshadow brush and dampened it ever so slightly because I found it worked better for application since I was able to get more product on the brush that way. I patted the Alabaster onto the inner 2/3 of my eyelids. I used a brown eyeshadow on the outer corners and in my crease. After topping it all off with my classic winged eyeliner and some mascara, I moved onto my lips. Fun fact about me: taffy used to be my favorite candy when I was a kid — especially the sour apple flavor! I could hoard that stuff like it was my job. Anyway, I applied Taffy to my lips — no primer and no lipliner — and was met with a pretty, soft, natural looking tint.

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I would definitely recommend the Taffy-Alabaster combo for a soft, natural look. They pair well for when you want to add just a little pizzazz to your makeup without going over the top — really great for job or internship interviews. Because of the ease of use of these products, they’re also great for beauty beginners who have never before jumped into the fabulous world of all that is makeup.

Alabaster Pros: 

  • Buildable: I was able to easily build up my coverage for a more pigmented look without it looking cakey, so that’s a definite plus!  
  • Light shade is great for natural looks: I love insane eyeshadow colors, but this is fantastic for those times when you really just need to tone things down and go au naturale.
  • Soft, satin finish: This product makes my eyelids look so delicate! The finish is really smooth and pretty.
  • Long-wearing: I’m a full-time college student with lots of 13-hour days, so I really appreciate an eyeshadow that actually lasts!

Alabaster Cons: 

  • Slightly reflective: I didn’t have a problem with this, but if you just prefer completely matte eyeshadows then be aware of the fact that this eyeshadow is just slightly reflective and the more you put on, the more of that effect you get.

Taffy Pros: 

  • Non-drying: I have so much appreciation for lip colors that don’t dry out my lips because my lips get dry and chapped really easily, so this product was great for me.
  • Soft and subtle color: As with Alabaster, the softness of this shade makes it great for more toned down and delicate looks.
  • Fragrance-free: If you aren’t too fond of lip products with some kind of fragrance in them, this is a great pick for you!
  • long-wearing: Ah, those 13-hour days…

Taffy Cons: 

I didn’t experience any particular cons, which is really awesome!

I hope you all liked this product review, and if you haven’t considered buying products from MAKE then I hope you will! I have a little surprise for you, too: Take 20% off products on the MAKE website using the discount code MAKEYOURSELF 

Click here to go to MAKE’s website to explore all the pretty stuff they have. Act fast, though, this offer ends on May 31st! Have you ever bought products from MAKE? What’d you get? Let me know in the comments!

NOTE: This is a sponsored post in partnership with MAKE Beauty and powered by BrandBacker.  As always, all words and opinions are my own. Thank you so much for supporting brands that make cool posts from Macarons & Mascara possible!

Tasty Tuesday: M&M’s Taste Test

This weekend I went to M&M’s World on Broadway and had a rather colorful time. Aside from the shelves and shelves of M&M-themed mugs, shirts, sweatshirts, keychains, backpacks, pillows and sleepwear (because who doesn’t love pajamas) There is a station that houses stacks of assorted M&M’s where you can grab your own bag and twist tie and fill it up to your heart’s content. There are so many flavors and colors to choose from, including classic peanuts, pretzels and the other well-known flavors out there. But as an adventurous soul with even more adventurous tastebuds, I decided to try out some of the stranger flavors they M&M’s offers. Brace yourself; you’re about to delve into a world of M&M’s like you’ve never seen them before!

“Spicy Chili”

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This is the first flavor I gravitated toward because it’s pretty crazy — chili and chocolate, what?! I’ve had Spicy Aztec Chocolate flavored frozen yogurt before, but I really wanted to see how M&M’s would incorporate a spicy chili flavor into their candies. Keep in mind that I have a rather high tolerance for spiciness! So upon first popping an M&M into my mouth and chewing, I didn’t get hit straight away with any type of spiciness. I was about ready to say, “what a joke,” when I finally got that taste of chili. You do feel it on your tastebuds and in your mouth, but it isn’t super dramatic. Spicy flavors are pretty tricky because it all depends on the individual’s tolerance for spiciness, but let me tell you, you definitely feel the sprinkle of chili flavor on your tastebuds!

This flavor is inherently colored shades of hot red (emphasis on the hot) which is pretty. Confession: I think the warning reds add to the anticipation because you feel like you’re selling your tastebuds to the devil and you’ll need a gallon of milk next to you! This flavor is good, but it wasn’t my favorite of my 2-pound bag of M&M’s.

“Easter Sundae” 

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This one looked pretty because it was an assortment of pretty, spring, Easter-themed M&M’s. I was curious because of the ‘sundae’ part. Essentially, it’s supposed to incorporate the yummy flavors of an ice cream sundae, all into one itty, bitty piece of deliciousness. In my opinion, these were pretty sweet but didn’t highlight any individual traditional ice cream sundae flavor — no vanilla ice cream taste; no chocolate syrup or fudge taste; no banana on the side. Instead, it all tasted like just a mass of sweetness with no pin-pointed flavors. Because of this, this flavor fell very flat for me. I tried eating more of it because I thought, “maybe I was being closed-minded.” It was still no use; in fact, I disliked the flavor more with every additional M&M that entered my mouth! This flavor really just wasn’t for me.

“Honey Nut” 

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You know those cereals where the cereal flakes are lightly coated with honey? Or better yet, those crunchy Nature Valley granola bars that have a hint of honey in them? Yeah, this flavor of M&M’s is the embodiment of those. This one actually wasn’t my all-time favorite, but it wasn’t my least favorite either. My dad actually really loved this flavor because it wasn’t overpoweringly sweet, so it’s a good pick for those who want to enjoy a candy that doesn’t make them feel like their molars now have cavities in them.

The colors of the M&M’s were really pretty — black, yellow, orange — and they reminded me of a beehive. Well, I guess M&M’s wouldn’t be doing their job if their “Honey Nut” M&M’s didn’t make you think of bees and beehives! So good job with that, M&M’s!

“Cherry”

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I hate cherries. They definitely aren’t my favorite fruit, however, I usually find cherry flavored sweets…sweet! I honestly wasn’t all that excited for these because I’m just never excited for cherry anything in the first place. I made sure to not get too much of this flavor because, like I said, I wasn’t at all excited for it. Damn, I wish I had gotten more of it now! The cherry flavor isn’t extremely strong — you don’t get immediately swept off your feet by the flavor — but it’s still prominent. It literally tastes like you’re biting into one of those chocolates that have cherries in the middle! “Cherry” was probably my favorite flavor of the six that I tested. It made me respect cherries just a little bit more!

“Crispy” 

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I love Kit Kat bars because of the crunchy wafer covered in chocolate. I love Crunch bars because of the crispy rice pieces covered in chocolate. “Crispy” M&M’s are basically like those except in teeny, tiny M&M form. I know these aren’t exactly a flavor, but they were intriguing (and really fun to eat!) I was gobbling up spoonfuls of these because The crunch sound they made was even more satisfying and made the M&M feel like it had a lot to offer. These are comparatively smaller than most M&M’s (awww) but this is a collection of M&M’s that I would want to repurchase in bulk!

“Dark Chocolate Mint” 

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I normally like mint flavored things — especially with chocolate — so I knew right away that I’d like these. The hit of mint is definitely strong — you can smell it a mile away. Okay, maybe not exactly one mile, maybe from your seat at the kitchen table. These are exactly what anyone would imagine the classic mint-chocolate combo would taste like; nothing more, nothing less. I also really liked that they came in an assortment of pretty shades of green (because that’s really important when eating M&M’s).

Final Thoughts

“Cherry” was the best flavor of the six! My second favorite was “Crispy,” followed by “Dark Chocolate Mint.” Then I obsessed over “Spicy Chili,” “Honey Nut,” and last, “Easter Sundae.” How’d you like this taste test for Tasty Tuesday? Let me know in the comments!

What’s your favorite flavor of M&M’s? 

How To Get Motivated To Get In Shape

You’re probably hearing a bunch of lifestyle platforms, magazines and the like tell you to get ready to get in shape because ‘bikini season is approaching.’ Well, I’m not going to tell you that, and that’s because I don’t really believe in working hard toward a body that society deems as ‘appropriate for bikinis.’ Now, I’m not bashing anyone or any entity that uses the term, ‘bikini body,’ so don’t get me wrong. I’m here to talk to you about my personal meaning of ‘getting in shape,’ which is working toward the goal of achieving your personally desired standard of health and fitness — no matter what that looks like.

So now that we’ve established that, let’s get back into the how-to part of things…Finding motivation — to do anything — can sometimes be pretty difficult. But we must have good reasons for wanting something, right? No one is immune — believe me. There have been many times when I’d say to myself, “Okay, starting today I’m going to make the effort to cut out certain foods from my diet in order to eat better.” And yet, I sometimes find myself barely lifting a finger to get started. If you keep finding yourself at a loss for motivation when it comes to getting yourself into shape, take a look at some great ways to raise those motivation levels.

For going to the gym…

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  1. Buy cute new workout outfits. Yes, you can still break a sweat while looking super cute. About two weeks ago during my spring break, I went to the mall and bought a bunch of cute workout outfits. I noticed a really cute pastel theme going on in the active wear section of Forever21 and was immediately drawn in. I bought pastel colored sports bras and muscle tops, the text on which matched the colors of my bras! I couldn’t wait to wear them to the gym — I was even genuinely pissed off that the Monday our classes resumed there was snow and I couldn’t make it there. You’ll have so much fun pairing your adorable purchases, and you’ll have even more fun working out in them! 
  2. Come up with a blood-pumping playlist. Come up with a playlist to set the tone for your workout. Go through some bouncy songs for a warm up, power ballads when you’re really picking up the pace and at the peak of your workout, and some lighter but catchy songs for a cool down. One song I always get excited to play during my workout is ‘Exes and Ohs’ by Elle King. Her genre is normally light rock, which is awesome because it just goes to show that you can grab great workout music from any genre, really. Take a look at my workout playlist if you’re looking for some inspiration. They really make you look forward to sweating! 
  3. Grab a buddy. If you normally think of working out as your one-way ticket to an exhausting, sweaty, painful hell, well…at least you’ll suffer with a buddy! Friends make things more tolerable (I know this all too well walking outside during those Long Island winters — at least I’m walking with someone I can complain to about it). Knowing that you’ve already committed to this plan with someone else will make you less likely to back out at the last possible minute, so you’ll have to go (and you won’t regret it!)  Plus, when you’re with someone, you’re way more likely to be comfortable trying out new machines. 
  4. Put it on your to-do list for the day. If your friends are too lazy to go to the gym with you and you haven’t yet convinced them to go, then your to-do list can be one of your closest friends. This is sort of the same idea as going with a buddy; once you add a workout to your schedule, you feel committed to it — like it’s set in stone and you need to fulfill this task otherwise you can’t sleep at night. Okay, maybe you’ll still sleep just fine, but let’s pretend that you won’t so you’ll feel even more committed to getting in a workout. Plus, incorporating workout time into your schedule can become a habit. On days that I don’t have my Zumba or boxing class, I have a relatively packed schedule during the day, so I choose to workout at the gym during the early morning hours. I can go back to my room and shower and change afterward, so I’m refreshed and ready to start the day. 
  5. Start off small. You don’t have to run five miles on the treadmill your first day, and you don’t have to bench 175 either. Starting off small doesn’t make you look pathetic or weak, and it can actually be a good thing. When you start off small, the only way you can go is up; you can only improve from there and once you start seeing that you can progress, you’ll be excited to keep going. This is a great way to get you motivated to attain your workout goals. 
  6. Use it as an opportunity to catch up on Netflix shows while you work out. When you’re running on the treadmill or using the elliptical, you can kill two birds with one stone by squeezing in an episode of your favorite Netflix guilty pleasure. I’ll be the first to admit that mine is currently “Grey’s Anatomy.” Plus most tv show episodes are about 40 minutes long so that guarantees that you’ll be working out for at least 40 minutes when you go to the gym. Bring your phone, ipad, or whatever device you normally watch your shows on (except your actual tv. Somehow I don’t see that working too well). 
  7. Join a fitness class. Fitness classes are commitments in disguise, which is a really good thing! Once you sign up, you’ll feel like you have to go, because making awkward eye contact with the instructor of the class you skipped is pretty awkward! If you go to college and have a gym or rec center on your campus, then you definitely have to take advantage of that — you’re paying for it with your tuition money… I’m currently in a Zumba Toning class and boxing class (see my how-to on surviving boxing class), and there are a few others that I’m super excited to try out too, like POUND. These classes feature a group setting, so you’re definitely not alone. You’ll have so much fun if you really get into it, and you’ll make sure you make time for a class or two! 
  8. Make an incentive/reward for yourself after working out. I like treating myself to a green smoothie from Red Mango or a Mango Black Tea Lemonade from Starbucks after a workout. They’re refreshing ways to indulge in something I really like. You can treat yourself to something yummy after you workout because you earned it! 
  9. Think about how relaxed you’ll feel after letting off that steam. Especially after you hop in a nice, hot shower! This is one of the simplest, yet most satisfying feelings. Great for stressed college students, parents and teenagers! This is also a great feeling you can look forward to, so that’s even more of an incentive for you to start hitting the gym. Ah, I can feel it now…
  10. Think about how soundly you’ll sleep that night! I mean, who doesn’t love sleep, right? 

For eating healthy…

 

  1. Instead of thinking about what you can’t have, think about what you can have. You know how you’ll read a bunch of those healthy eating guides and most of them tell you to stay completely away from certain foods if it’s the last thing you do? It can feel a bit discouraging hearing all that, because it’s really hard to part with some of your all time favorites, even if you know they aren’t necessarily good for you (shout out to my beloved chocolate mousse tuxedo cake!) So I started reminding myself of what I can have. I actually write those foods down on post-it notes and leave them stuck to my desk, so every time I’m craving something yummy, I can run by my list. 
  2. Search for scrumptious looking alternatives. This ties into my last point. One time, I went to a nutritionist and she kept telling me about all these snack alternatives that I could have, such as celery and things like that. Now, I’m personally not much of a veggie person (except for spinach — I LOVE that stuff) so this wasn’t exactly the type of conversation that got me super excited to buy all the vegetables in the grocery store. So to combat this, I searched the internet for more appealing ways to incorporate certain healthy foods into my diet. This may sound petty, but sometimes aesthetics can really encourage you to add something to your diet. Often times, that’s just how the human brain works. 
  3. Take a trip to a grocery store you’ve never been to before. Okay, so confession time: I’ve never been to Trader Joe’s. Yup, that’s right. I usually just get my food from Target. I’m really excited to finally take my first trip to Trader Joe’s because I have a very strong feeling that it will be different from what I’m used to but it will be a really good and impactful change. The grocery stores I’m used to don’t normally have a wide variety of options for vegans, glute-free, or other dietary paths, so I will certainly be exposed to new items. This can really motivate you to not only buy what’s there, but actually start eating that food too! I definitely can’t wait — it makes me happy just thinking about all the new changes! 
  4. Try a 30-day eating challenge. Who doesn’t love a good challenge? This is a great way to motivate yourself to pick a dietary lifestyle that’s different from what you’re used to. Because you feel almost ‘bound’ to that challenge, you’re less likely to stray from its guidelines. Plus, there are ample online resources for you to use if you aren’t sure what to eat. One challenge I’m interested in trying out is the 22-day vegan challenge. Personally, I have always been interested in a vegan lifestyle. It’s easy to just look at what vegans eat, but I’d like to try it out for myself. Another great thing about these eating challenges is that it gives you a time limit. It’s easy for anyone to say that they ate gluten free for one week, but one week isn’t enough to see any changes (especially not if you’re eating gluten free. It takes months for gluten to be completely gone from your system). Of course, just under a month isn’t normally enough either, but it’s a much better start. From there, you can decide if this is something you’d like to make permanent. 
  5. Now try that challenge with a friend! I think we’ve covered the power of friendship in great detail already. It’s great to grab your suite mate, roommate, housemate, or apartment mate for a healthy eating challenge. You can even take turns cooking dinner, which is super fun! 
  6. Watch YouTube tutorials on making healthy meals. I’m not sure why, but watching those meal prep videos not only makes my mouth water, but it also makes me want to create those meals myself. If healthy food videos on YouTube have the same head-over-heels effect on you, then maybe it’s a sign to try them out! 
  7. Scroll through Instagram to look at pretty pictures of healthy food. Oh man, Instagram is the same thing, only more effective because there are far more pictures of enticing healthy meals. I started seeing these photos of avocados with eggs half-baked in the middles and I am OBSESSED with looking at these pictures. They look so delicious! I don’t really like eating bare avocados, but this really makes me want to buy an avocado, split it down the middle, take out the center and bake an egg inside it. Without a doubt, this is packed with protein and good fats. I might actually use this as a recurring breakfast option if I try it and like it. 

If you’re looking to get started on your road to getting in shape, I hope at least one of these points gave you enough motivation. Don’t forget that another way to get motivated is by remembering why you’re doing this in the first place — for your family, for your personal health, for your confidence — these are also fantastic and some of the most powerful sources of motivation for getting in shape. Good luck y’all!

What motivates you to get in shape?