November Favorites

Sorry this post is a bit late! But as I said in my Pile of Applications post, things are a bit hectic around here. Still, there were some products that managed to stand out from the PhD application craze and make it to my monthly favorites!

 

Quite by accident, my November favorites are color coordinated.

Quite by accident, my November favorites are color coordinated.

 

Too Faced Lip Insurance Lip Primer

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This is a sample size, but I cannot for the life of my remember how I received this sample since I don’t own many Too Faced products. I really enjoy this primer though. Only recently have I been concerned about lip primers in particular. Mostly because fall and winter are the seasons of darker, more matte shades and you want those lippies to stay put! Maybe it’s just me but I also think that this primer has helped seal some moisture into my lips. I notice less drying and chapped lips when I use this lip primer. A full size Lip Insurance primer retails for $19 and when this sample is up I may have to bite the bullet here.

The Balm’s Meet Matt(e) Palette

I got this palette awhile back from a Hautelook sale for $17, but it took me until November to really explore this palette properly. Honestly, having a Hautelook account is worth it for The Balm alone since this palette runs for $34.50 at Nordstroms.

All your matte needs in one.

All your matte needs in one.

All the shades are named after a Matt, which is cute. But the colors themselves are amazing. Buttery soft shadows that blend like a dream. The little brushes that come with the palette will do in a pinch but they’re nothing special.

Left to right: Matt Patel, Matt Schilling, Matt Smith, and Matt Gallagher.

Left to right: Matt Patel, Matt Schilling, Matt Smith, and Matt Gallagher.

The above photo shows some of my favorite shades from the palette. I love the smokey-taupe of Matt Patel, and the dusty emerald of Matt Schilling will be perfect for the upcoming holidays. You can barely see Matt Smith on my hand because it’s such a close match for my skin tone, which is great for those days you want to pretend you’re not wearing makeup. For similar reasons, Matt Gallagher is great crease shade.

Dr. Jart + Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm

This tiny tube holds one amazing product!

This tiny tube holds one amazing product!

This wee sample came in my first Birchbox, which I did not do a review on because it came so late in the month. This BB cream has blown me away. Such a small amount covers my face and makes my skin look so much healthier. It helps conceal and combat blemishes and evens out skin tone. There is also a 25 SPF in this product, which is ideal for my lifestyle (I never walk out of the house without some level of sunblock on my face). Your skin will look velvety smooth. This balm comes in one universal shade–for my fair skin this blends out beautifully but darker skin tones would have a hard time matching up with this formula I think. A full-size .6 oz tube of this costs $36. Since I’ve gotten at least a half-dozen uses out of this tiny tube and it’s not empty yet, the price point for this BB cream is probably worth it.

Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser

Almost empty.

Almost empty.

As you can see, I am almost out of this sample sized cleanser, which came in an ipsy bag. Luckily, I already have a full-sized bottle of this from a previous PopSugar Must Have box since the product retails for $32. There’s a light strawberry scent to this cleanser that is invigorating. This cleanser is multi-purpose too: you can use it as a make-up remover (and it’s gentle on the eyes too), as a cleanser, or as an exfoliator. I have used this product all three ways and I will say each way is effective, but my favorite way to use it is as a cleanser. I just feel refreshed after using this cleanser.

Real Techniques Stippling Brush

The perfect brush.

The perfect brush.

Up until a year ago I was not that invested in makeup brushes. Boy, has that changed! My brush collection has grown, but my favorite brush is easily this Real Techniques stippling brush. It has a pleasant heft to it and the bristles are soft and densely packed. I use this most often for blush; this brush has cut down on heavy-handed application a.k.a. clown face. When I use this stippling brush it puts on just the right amount of color and gives a stunning airbrushed effect over the cheeks. For $9.99, you need this brush in your life.

And now for my other monthly favorites…

Favorite Film

It should come as no surprise that my favorite film for November is Interstellar. It’s been weeks, but I still return to the idea of that film and turn it around in my mind. A close runner-up though, would be Fury, another film I saw this month that blew me away.

Favorite Book

I think my favorite read from November would have to be The Book Thief.

That wraps up my November favorites. Hope you found something to enjoy!

Thanks for popping in!

Interstellar

In talking to friends and family, it has become quite clear that Christopher Nolan’s latest film, Interstellar is rather divisive. Some find the film to be too far-reaching, with plot holes they cannot forgive. Others are willing to connect the dots and have been drawn into Nolan’s bleak, sci-fi future.

As for me, here’s where I stand: Interstellar is necessary.

Nolan’s latest is one of the few original, non-franchise science fiction films to make headway at the box office. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Star Trek movies and The Guardians of the Galaxy too, but there is something to be said for a stand alone sci-fi flick that is its own story, not based on one in another medium. And these days, American sci-fi desperately needs an injection of originality.

Interstellar is a film rooted in enough science for you to accept the premise but with enough fiction to make you believe in infinite possibilities. In fact, the film was largely inspired by the work of physicist Kip Thorne, who also acted as a consultant for the film.

When the film opens, former fighter pilot turned farmer, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is struggling to make a living as a corn farmer in a future where Earth’s sustenance is drying up and dust storms can bring life to a standstill. Cooper is clearly dissatisfied and longs for the days of American exploration, but he finds solace in his kids Tom and Murph.

Murph is inquisitive, with a budding mind for science; in an era that no longer teaches the moon landing, she stands out. Murph’s insistence that there is a ghost sending messages in her room leads Cooper to discover an underground NASA facility headed up by his former boss, Professor Brand (Michael Caine). A team of scientists, including the Professor’s daughter Amelia (Anne Hathaway), insist that Murph’s “ghost” are mysterious beings guiding them to find other worlds for humanity’s survival.

When Cooper is offered the chance to fly the spaceship, he cannot get off Earth fast enough, though he is constantly thinking about getting back in time to save his children. Through the time-lapse in space, Cooper is forced to watch his children grow older through the ship’s video screen as humanity continues to struggle. Embittered by her father’s abandonment, Murph (Jessica Chastain) throws herself into the tutelage of Professor Brand, equally desperate to save humanity from the ground. Both father and daughter must race against time and fate to save the people left on Earth.

Image respectfully borrowed from wired.com

I find it’s hard to properly summarize this film without giving too much away. But the tension-laden relationship between Cooper and Murph definitely drives the film in a major way. With every peril that Cooper, Amelia, and the team encounter on their journey there is the faint presence of the people left behind on Earth, a reminder of Murph.

There are a definite set of clues about the ending that carry through the film, but Nolan muddies the waters and spirals you off on another leg of the adventure in order to make you forget. It is only after the movie is finished and you’ve had some time to breathe that the clues might come off as heavy-handed; we trick ourselves into thinking we knew it all along.

Much of the story’s strength can be attributed to writer, Jonathan Nolan. Whenever the Nolan brothers collaborate they create stronger films than when they’re apart. Some of the best parts of the film are the feather-light touches of humor that allow you to care about the characters just a few inches more. In particular the robot characters TARS (Bill Irwin) and CASE (Josh Stewart) allow for moments of odd humor and wit that lighten the mood just enough for you to be ready to plunge back into the mystery.

Image respectfully borrowed from screenrant.com

 

As for the director, Christopher Nolan surely must be one of the greatest of our generation, in large part because he makes a 169 minute (2 hours 49 minutes) movie riveting. He manages to critique our present by presenting a desolate future. It’s a future that isn’t slick. In fact, it’s rather dingy. But the tech for this film feels tangible. All of these factors combine to create a world that might hit a little close to home, but that is also what makes it a good, relevant piece of science fiction.

The acting is strong from all fronts. McConaughey fits the role of reluctant explorer well, looking equal parts rugged and gaunt. Anne Hathaway provides one of the better speeches in the film about the importance of love that will bring tears to the eye. Jessica Chastain continues to be the go-to in Hollywood for strong, emotionally aggressive performances. And if Michael Caine could release an audio-book of him reading classic poetry, that would be fantastic. The only person whom I feel wasn’t fully utilized was Casey Affleck as the adult Tom. Though Affleck is undeniably skilled, his character wasn’t given enough of a chance to do anything more than look resigned or angry.

Image respectfully borrowed from ew.com

 

There are some undeniable comparisons to Gravity (2013)–themes of rebirth, a dark-haired woman of science facing her fears, and the increasing isolation of space to name a few–but for my money, Interstellar is the more satisfying film. For one thing, though there are CGI effects in Interstellar, Nolan blatantly tries to do as much as possible with sets and does not solely rely on computer animation for world building. In the long run, I think Interstellar will age better than Gravity.

It’s equally easy to compare Interstellar to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Nolan clearly created this film as a tip of the hat to one of his favorite films, though he may have tipped his hat a bit too far in some places: I was initially afraid upon meeting TARS and CASE that we would have a HAL situation on our hands. Thankfully, Nolan is able to distinguish himself from his influences overall.

Though critics have given mixed reviews on Interstellar, it is a film undeniably worth seeing if for no other reason that to form your own opinion. For me, Interstellar earns 4 movie bubbles–A Poppable Product.

I get most excited about movies when I get inspired to teach them in a classroom, and I would love to one day teach a class on science fiction that would include Interstellar because it’s a film that forces you to think.

Thanks for popping in!