Monday, September 29, 2014

Feel-Good Finds

Apparently, aside from being a Monday, today is also #NationalCoffeeDay.  If you can have coffee and like it (and buy it fair trade!), that's totally awesome, but, as for those (like me, tragically) who cannot have coffee, here are a few feel-good pick-me-up finds that may help to ease the pain:
Natural Calm flavors
  • Natural Calm: The Anti-Stress Drink is a totally wonderful magnesium and Stevia powder that, when combined with water, produces a wonderful beverage that not only tastes good (cherry flavor is amazing!) but also lowers stress and anxiety levels.  It's OK for blood types A and AB, non-secretor B's, and secretor O's.  

    Gloomaway™ Grapefruit bath bar
  • All of the Gloomaway products by Origins smell like grapefruit and will make your world a better place. Some products are pricier than others, but, if you have $15.00 and are experiencing any sort of life crisis, buying the bath bar  would be highly recommended.  Come to think of it, any grapefruit-scented aromatherapy product would be highly recommended.  We also love perfume roller sticks and the fruits themselves.

  • Green tea is something that has made my mornings significantly less difficult.  You can have it plain or in fun flavors like blueberry and hibiscus.  A much-needed dose of metabolism-boosting caffeine!
  •  100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Eye Cream is the best alternative to coffee for non-coffee people because it smells like coffee and reduces the edema you get around your eyes after staying up all night working. It also comes in one of the most adorable containers ever.

<3 Frances

Friday, September 26, 2014

Gratitude (aka Friday)

There are so many difficult, sad things going on in the world right now, and every time I see another news story about war or open up another letter from PETA about animal cruelty, I'm reminded how important it is to practice feeling grateful for what we have.
And today, friends, we have Friday.

Friday, embodied by people.  
But wait--there's more! It has just been announced that Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument will be expanding to six times its current size, becoming the biggest ocean reserve!  Read more here.

<3 Frances

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cruelty-Free Beauty Haul

On this first day of autumn, we're excited to announce our list of our favorite cruelty-free beauty brands out there.  That's right--these, in no particular order, are some of the best skin-certified, bunny-friendly companies that aim to emphasize your natural beauty without hurting others.

Tarte Cosmetics
With Amazonian clay and fine pink powders, Tarte specializes in "high-performance naturals" that are bright, colorful, natural-looking, and blemish-covering without being chalky or irritating.
Must-Try Product: Tarte Cheek Stain.  Each color has a cute name ("Blushing Bride" is one of our favorites) and stays on all day.  They go on perfectly under powder blushes, too, if you're looking for very bright cheeks.

Urban Decay

Aside from having an awesome brand name, Urban Decay makes products that are good for everyone from the au naturale environmentalist to the dramatic, smoky eye-loving club queen. 
Must-Try Product: Naked Concealer.  Like the name suggests, it's light, airy, and feels like it's not even there--but it is.  

Benefit Cosmetics
Anyone who has ever seen a Benefit Cosmetics product or advertisement knows that this brand is sassy, fun, and--wait for it--animal-friendly!  With product names like "The Pore-fessional" and "Bad Gal Lash," it's no surprise that Benefit specializes in out-there beauty: painted pouts, pink cheeks, and long, long lashes.
 Must-Try Product: Bad Gal Lash.  It works wonders for even the lightest lashes, comes in a container with a whole lot of personality, and isn't too clumpy.  

Origins Skincare & Makeup
Origins is one of the original natural makeup brands. and a longtime favorite.  It makes everything from skin-clearing serums to anti-wrinkle masks to lip gloss, and all the products not only smell really nice (grapefruit, anyone?) but also feel pretty freaking good.  
Must-Try Product: GinZing Brightening Cream Eye Shadow.  The creamy shadow from this little glass pot glides right on and makes your eyelids look bright and fresh. Plus, there are a variety of colors to choose from--everything from vanilla to plum.

Derma E Skincare 
Derma E makes products that make you feel good.  While it's not so much a makeup brand as it is a skincare one, it's pretty awesome at what it does, and its moisturizers and creams come specialized for every skin type imaginable (dry! oily! etc!). 
Must-Try Product: BB Cream.  Light and fluffy, this cream comes in a pump container and almost makes your skin feel airier after you put it on. It's also got SPF, so it's protecting and covering at the same time.  Bam.  Double whammy. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sad Stories

I have a bit of a thing for sad stories.  And movies.  And songs.  I guess it's that I connect very easily and very deeply with people who are suffering, and so, despite all attempts at keeping myself sane and away from the melancholic, I always end up inevitably drawn to it.  Fortunately, so do Iris and Jill, so we can cry together.  Like we did this weekend, when we finally watched The Fault in Our Stars and became totally broken.

Feelings aside, though, and in honor of sad stories everywhere, here's the video for "Possibility," one of my favorite heartbreak songs by the one and only Lykke Li.   
<3 Frances

P.S. If you're looking for a reason to cry, try watching TFiOS, Graveyard of the Fireflies, Watership Down, or Moulin Rouge!  Seriously, though--this upcoming Friday should be one on which we break out the brownies and tissue boxes and then just let ourselves break down.  #emoti-fest2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Autumn is one of my favorite times of year (leaves and sweaters and socks, oh my!), but whenever I'm missing summer, I find solace in the music video for Quasi Fae's "Immaculate."  
I mean, it's got to feel like summer somewhere, right? 

<3 Frances

Monday, September 15, 2014

Stress Much? Yeah, Me Too...

It's Monday, and, being under the weather, waking early and returning to another week of academia is slightly traumatizing.  And I'm wearing jeans for the first time in ten months, so that's taking some getting used to, too.  I can't help but to get tempted into feelings of anxiety/worry/etc. That being said, though, I've decided recently to try and take charge of my own thoughts, so I'm using preventative measures to try and avoid feeling like the main character from Wemberly Worried.  
Without further adieu (as there is some homework I should probably be tackling right now....), here are some tips for dealing with everyone's friendly neighborhood anxiety ulcers:

1) Practice gratitude. Yes, I know you've heard this before, but when you seriously take it to heart, it starts to actually work.   Instead of focusing on whatever is causing the acid in your stomach to shoot up into your throat, think about what you appreciate.  Even if it's something small--like the fact that the sun came up this morning or the pretty color of the grass--it can help put things into perspective and take your mind off of whatever's bothering you.

2) How much does it really matter?  Ask yourself this question repeatedly.  Next week, is this going to have been the defining moment of your life?  How about thirty-seven years from now?  If, retrospectively, it won't end up being a big deal, drop it.  Clearly it isn't worth causing an acne breakout over, right?

3) Let it go.  Yeah, that's
right--unleash your inner Elsa.

4) Focus on something good.  Or great.  Great would be even better.  For me, I think about the joy I have when talking to my mum, dancing in my living room, finding Halloween decorations, and watching reruns of Party of Five. Those are my happy places. Find yours.

5) Be proactive--in an un-anxious way.  That history paper weighing down on you even though it isn't due for another few weeks?  Break it into manageable chunks and start on it now.  Because the deadline is far away, you'll be less stressed out while writing it.  And that means there's a lesser chance that you'll take years off of your life freaking out.

58 Essential Dance GIFs6) Do or plan something fun!  You may not necessarily be able to turn on your favorite song or start dancing in the immediate moment that a stressful situation occurs, but you can plan on doing so later. Anxious at school?  As soon as you finish your homework, turn on the strobe light and pump up the Skrillex (or, if you're like me, 1940's swing dance music).

7) Breathe.  Breathe and realize who you are: you.  A human (or a vampire or a witch--we're all-inclusive here!).  I saw a post once that said something along the lines of this: "You are a ghost driving a meat-covered skeleton made from stardust.  So now what are you afraid of?"  Something about that really put things in perspective and made me feel so much better.  Because, if you're that, then you're pretty much invincible, right?

<3 Frances

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Jill's Library: The Bumblebee Flies Anyway

Though it's been difficult to find much time for any reading that isn't part of a school textbook assignment since the end of the summer, Jill's Library is still open and active, and it's high time for another book suggestion....another bittersweet, with-you-for-life book suggestion:
The Bumblebee Flies Anyway by Robert Cormier tells the story of the young patients of a mysterious medical center known as "the Complex."  They're all haunted by their own personal ghosts and medical conditions, but the plot gets progressively more complicated as it goes on, twisting into a story about relationships, the will to live, and, of course, love.  It's not exactly a book for the faint of heart, but, if you're open to tears and loss, it's a must-read. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Autumn Obsession

Summer isn't over yet (well, at least not technically), but, with it being September, we can't help but to be getting ready for autumn.  Our current seasonal obsession? Socks and arm warmers.  Nice, comfy socks and arm warmers.  Paired with buckle shoes, plaids, and big chunky sweaters, they're absolutely perfect for fall and all it has to offer.



Need to satisfy your fall sock/arm warmer addiction?  Check out Sock Dreams--they have tons of cute, comfortable options in a slew of colors, patterns, and graphics.

<3 Frances

Sunday, September 7, 2014


It's officially September now, I suppose, given that it's been a week.  Between assignments and tests (oh, dear!), it's been difficult to find time to do much other than study, but we've managed to delve into a bit of artwork, writing, and music.  Escapism in its purest forms, right?  But we've also discovered a new acne product (Kate Somerville's Anti Bac) and good herbal remedies that can be taken as preventative measures against the illnesses we're all being exposed to now that the summer is over.  Old Indian Wild Cherry Bark Syrup is a miracle-worker during flu season.   Oh, and happy Manatee Day!


<3 Frances