My Ulta 20% off purchases reviewed

Yesterday, I ventured into the west side Ulta to make some returns I’d been sitting on since their 20% off sale. I had been holding out because 1) I was still trying some things 2) I was afraid of holiday crowds 3) I’m a horrible procrastinator.

But I finally got it all together and went to make the return–only to find I was 2 days past the 60 day deadline. They still let me do it, but it was an ordeal. So note to self–and to you–get on those returns!

So what made the cut and what didn’t? Here you go!

NYX Lid Lingerie Eye Tint in Rose Pearl

First off–these are $6.99 without the 20% off–so it’s not a big investment. I just wish I liked it more. I might try other color and see if it’s better but I don’t really like the Rose Pearl and I kinda forgot I even had it until just now.

NYX The Skinny Mascara

Yeah–this is good. I use it on my lower lashes and it’s the right size. And it’s cheap. A good buy.

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Lightning Round: 2017 Beauty Favorites!

Ok Lovelies- 2017 is about to wrap up and we couldn’t be more ready to ring in a fresh new year. Here’s a quick snapshot of everything we reached for most over the past 12 months. Ready? Hands on your buzzers!!

Daytime moisturizer:

J: Dr Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Balm!

L: What Jess said! But I’ll also go with Glossier, Priming Moisturizer

P: Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50


J: NYX Micro Brow pencil

L: Lashfood, Browfood Tinted Brow Enhancing Gelfix in Brunette

P: Glossier Boy Brow


J: L’Oreal Voluminous Feline Noir (waterproof formula)

L: Covergirl Clump Crusher–the green one, for every day, L’Oreal Lash Paradise

P: Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir

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My Favorite 50–actually 51–Songs of 2017

This was a really good year for music. Really good. Some years, I get nervous about putting my list together. I’m afraid there won’t be enough to fill it out. But this was definitely not one of these years.

If anything, there was so much good stuff, I had a hard time getting to all of it. I  could’ve easily made a list of 100 songs–but I kept it to 50–actually 51. There are many release that people loved that I didn’t get to spend enough time with or didn’t full give my attention, so I know there are songs I missed.

But that’s what’s fun about these lists. To back and discover all the great music that’s all around you.

Admittedly, my favorites list is just that–MY favorites. And that means they aren’t necessarily the BEST songs of the year, but they are the songs I have the strongest connection to and therefore, stand out. Generally, seeing an act live can assure a place on the list. I tie so much to that live experience–but that also means that if I didn’t get to check out an artist’s show–that relationship with the music may not be complete.

I tried to keep it to one song per artist and I’ve stuck with my rule that songs had to come out between November 1, 2016-October 31, 2017 to be considered for this list.

Additionally, I still like to organize my list into two “CD” sets, even though now they just live as playlists. I like the narrative and mood these songs can create so I’d prefer you listen to them in order I put them in–at least the first time through–then go ahead and shuffle away!

Reviewing the list, I’m excited that it turned out to be such a great reflection of my general music sensibilities and includes a mix of old favorites and new finds.

And for the record, this list is in no particular order, but my favorite song of the year was Break Apart, Bonobo featuring Rhye. To get a full appreciation for the song, may I recommend you check out the Song Exploder episode on this track. I loved it on first listen, but I was in DEEP after hearing the song broken down.

And if you missed my list of my favorite albums of the year, that list can be found here.

Let’s do it!! Here’s the list! Enjoy!!

Disc One

Frontline, Kelela

Cola, CamelPhat, Elderbrook

Just Dancing, Sylvan Esso

Priestess, Pumarosa

You Don’t Know Me, Jax Jones featuring RAYE

Heartline, Craig David

Lost In Your Light, Dua Lipa and Miguel

Body, Syd

First Fuck, 6lack and Jhene Aiko

IDK About You, Fever Ray

Cut to the Feeling, Carly Rae Jepsen

Still Got Time, Zayn and PARTYNEXTDOOR

Super Trapper, Future

wokeuplikethis*, Playboi Carti featuring Lil Uzi Vert

Crowded Places, Banks

Something Here, Day Wave

Doomed, Moses Sumney

Three Rings, Grizzly Bear

Does She Even Know, IDER

Baby Luv, Nilüfer Yanya

Little of Your Love, Haim

Bobby, (Sandy) Alex G

Gonna Hurry (As Slow as I Can), Whitney

oh baby, LCD Soundsystem

Don’t Leave, Snakehips & MØ

Disc Two

Halfway Home, Broken Social Scene

Break Apart, Bonobo and Rhye

Sideline, Niia featuring Jazmine Sullivan

Olvidame y Pega la Vuelta, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony

Bodak Yellow, Cardi B

Chanel, Frank Ocean

Andromeda, Gorillaz featuring DRAM

Shark Smile, Big Thief

Blue Train Lines, Mount Kimbie featuring King Krule

Sign of the Times, Harry Styles

(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano, Sampha

DNA, Kendrick Lamar

Day I Die, The National

Young Death, Burial

Bike Dream, Rostam

Get it Together, Drake featuring Black Coffee and Jorja Smith

(trailer video)

Prom, SZA

On and On, Curtis Harding

Selfish, Future and Rihanna

Lay It On Me, Vance Joy

Jackpot, Nikki Lane

Undercover, Kehlani

Love, Lana del Rey

Slip Away, Perfume Genius

Afterglow, Ásgeir

Radiohead, I Promise

Here are some playlists so you can listen to them all at one–the first is all the songs on YouTube and then the Spotify playlists. What songs am I missing? Are there songs on here you also love? I wanna know!! Hit me up in the comments below!


Weird Things I Bought For Vacation (HELP!!)

You guys- I need your help. See, I’m no stranger to traveling or vacations, but this year we are doing a different kind of vacation: a few days at Universal Studios Orlando, and then we jump on a 7-day cruise. How in the world do you pack for this?!?!

We usually do one beach resort vacation a year, and then one or two long weekend city vacations, and I feel pretty solid about planning for those. But this is making me panic a bit! For one, it’s almost a 2 week trip- so long! How many shoes do I need?? There will be many different types of things happening! We have been on a cruise before, so I think I know what to expect there, but I’m sure I am missing some great insider tips for both cruising and for spending days at a theme park. My mind is completely bypassing the holidays in favor of preparing for this trip. Also, I am REALLY ready for a vacation!!

Here are some random things I have purchased in order to make my trip more… efficient? Enjoyable? Nerdy?? I don’t know. Tell me what I’m missing!

Packing Cubes

After watching one million YouTube videos on packing (why are these so fascinating? I’m a sucker for a packing video!), I finally decided to see what the hype is all about with packing cubes. I got this random set thanks to it’s five star reviews, plus you get six for a reasonable price. I already roll my clothes and put my socks and undies in separate gallon ziplock bags, so this feels like the next logical step. I like that I can keep things divided, like my dress clothes that I won’t even need to unpack until I’m on the ship. Will it be a magical solution?? Let’s hope so!

Nerdy Phone Lanyard

Ok- this is soooooo nerdy! But if I’m going to be traipsing around Hogwarts, I’m going to want to have a boss InstaStory without worrying that a magical owl is going to swoop down and steal my phone. So I got this stretchy phone… web? That I can then wrap around my wrist or my fanny pack (hell yes I’m bringing a fanny pack) and snap stories with reckless abandon. I’ve tried it at home and it feels pretty secure! Oh, also last time we were on a cruise I left my phone in the room the entire time (and thus have zero pictures) because I was sure it would fling out of my hand and into the ocean.


This may be in the TMI column, but hey, isn’t that what we’re here for?? Last summer we went to New York and it was HOT, so one day I wore shorts while we bummed around SoHo. Here’s the thing: I rarely wear shorts, and also my legs touch each other. Long story short, by the end of the day my rookie shorts-wearing thighs were on fire and I wanted to die, plus I was walking around like an old timey cowboy. So! I took a tip from the IronMan community and got me a stick of BodyGlide! I don’t even know if it will be warm enough in January to wear shorts, but I’m sure I’d like to wear a dress or two, and both my husband and I will be glad for it on our heels as well- one of us is always making a run to Walgreen’s for blister blockers by day two of a walking around vacation.

Teva Original Sandal

Another thing I don’t wear often? Sandals. On the beach, it’s either Vans or flip flops for me. This trip, though, I feel like I’m going to need something more… amphibious? I mean, Jurassic Park is a water ride and I fully intend to spend some quality time with dinosaurs, and if it’s hot out, there is also a water park available to us at Universal. Also flip flops on the cruise deck are oddly slippery. Since I’m not a big sandal fan, I struggled with this purchase, but ended up with a pretty inoffensive pair from Teva. They’re basically a flip flop with an ankle strap. I might get weird tan lines around my ankles, but maybe I just embrace ankle bracelets for this trip??

A Jumpsuit (Finally!)

I’m panicking a bit about how many things I need to pack. Aside from needing a few swim suits, day clothes, workout clothes, and sleeping clothes, I also need dinner clothes for the fancy cruise dinners. I have prepared myself to endure one laundry day so that I don’t feel compelled to bring 20 t-shirts (I will anyway), but don’t I also need some versatile day-to-night options? Why yes! A jumpsuit will do the trick perfectly! Admittedly this is still on it’s way to me- it could be terrible! But I’m cautiously optimistic that it will both fit and look ok. It will pack down small, will be casual cute with Vans and a jean jacket, or dressy with a pair of boots and some sparkles. Right??

Ok fam- what am I missing?? Are any of you cruise and/or theme park pros?? Am I overthinking this?? Can I wear the same three outfits over and over?? Help a girl out!!


I spent all of my own money on these things, mostly on Amazon, but a few of them during cyber week sales!

Lyn’s Favorite Albums of 2017

It’s December which means the year-end lists are coming–my favorite!!

I’m still working on my favorite songs of the year list–which is very late for me–but there were so many great songs I’m having a hard time trimming the list down.

But for albums–this list was pretty easy for me.

There seemed to be a few albums that just kept bubbling back to the top all year. And looking at my list, it’s pretty indicative of my overall taste in music, so it’s a good Lyn music primer.

I like to try and get my lists out–or at least done–before all the other ones come out so my opinion doesn’t get influenced. I’ve refrained from reading the few that I’ve seen get posted, but it’s been hard.

So I’m glad to get this one up! Hopefully, there are a few albums that speak to you or that you’ve also enjoyed this year.

Here we go!

1. Lana Del Ray, Lust for Life: I completely freaked on the first listen of this album the day it dropped and haven’t put it down since. A perfect genre blend speaking to the political climate, love, heartbreak and what it means to be a woman trying to find your place in the world. And getting a little help from friends like Stevie Nicks certainly doesn’t help. I don’t consider myself the biggest LDR fan, yet she consistently makes my lists. I think this her strongest album yet showing confidence and bravery with a clear voice and vision.

2. Broken Social Scene, Hug of Thunder: So great to get the band back together! It’s been a seven year break and this album feels like an explosion of pent up sound and emotion. Everyone has a time to shine–including Feist–whose album I loved but didn’t quite make my top list.  Great for a drive, great to put on when you’re hanging and great in headphones to really listen to what this community of artists has to say.

3. Harry Styles, Harry Styles: What an accomplishment! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had this album playing and had friends stop and ask who it was. Again–confident songwriting, chameleon-like genre shifting and a perfect for any mood album. Well done, Harry!

4. Sampha, Process: Completely worth the wait! I’ve loved his work with SBTRK, his features on Solange and Drake’s albums and he’s a stand out track on this year’s Everything is Recorded album. But boy, oh boy! He can break your heart with is voice and have you feeling all the feels. Process is a revelation.

5. Haim, Something to Tell You: No surprise here. I love them and this album didn’t disappoint.

6. Kehlani, SweetSexySavage: I love this album so much–and then seeing what a star she is live made me love it even more. A really nice mix of bangers, ballads and singalongs. Can’t wait to see what this talented lady does next!

7. (Sandy) Alex G, Rocket: I’m not sure how I missed this guy over the years because his whole thing is totally in my wheelhouse. I was in a crabby mood this spring looking for something new and found this on So I gave it a listen and he’s quickly become a favorite. His live show was perfection, too. He is definitely solidly on my radar now.

8. Fever Ray, Plunge: In mid-October, I traveled to see my friend, Erin and we were talking about we were due for new music. Two weeks later, we get this gift. It’s like she knew we needed it. It has been six year and her mix of dystopian sound and raw emotion cuts through like no other. This album was an immediate favorite. (her videos are way too much for me though.)

9. Kendrick Lamar, Damn: It’s getting kinda repetitive, isn’t it? He’s the best and this album doesn’t keep it close.

10. Grizzly Bear, Painted Ruins: Here’s a band I didn’t even know I was missing. But from the first track off this album I realized, it was really good to have them back.


11. Syd, Fin: I have a lot of debut albums on my list–and here’s another one. Known for her work with Odd Future and The Internet, this album shows the depth of talents Syd possess. Top to bottom, this is a fantastic and super sexy listen.

12. Gorillaz, Humanz: There seems to be a theme of debut or comeback on this list. Here’s another comeback. There’s a delicate balance happening on this album–sharing heartbreak whether it’s from the loss of a love or an election with a dancefloor groove. Add in a million features. There’s a lot that could go wrong with this album–but it works for me.

13. Kelela, Frontline: This album is a journey and a perfect listen from top to bottom. I also have it on good authority that this album can win over even non-R&B fans, so give it a shot.

14. Natalia Lafourcade, Muses: I am completely charmed by her and listening to her albums makes me feel like I speak Spanish. Her music is so expressive and I’ve regretted not putting Hasta la Raiz on my favorites of 2015, so I will not make that same mistake this year.

15. Curtis Harding, Face Your Fear: I’m not sure why Curtis Harding isn’t as known as artists like Leon Bridges, Charles Bradley or Michael Kiwanuka–he is a star–and gives a fresh take on an old school soul sound.  His sophomore album is confident and builds on his debut with an even broader and more complex sound. A fantastic listen.

16. Future, Future & Hndrxx: Seriously. It’s just so much music, Future.  I put them together in a playlist so I pretty much treated it like a double album. It’s a lot, but goodness if I don’t love it all.


17.  Rostam, Half-Life: I’m a huge Vampire Weekend. Based on this excellent debut album, his collab last year with Hamilton Leithauser and his hand on the Haim album, it makes me nervous to hear the new Vampire Weekend stuff without him, rumored to be released in 2018.

18. SZA, Ctrl: I’ve been solidly in SZA cheering section since I saw her completely charming and sweet performance at Pitchfork Festival in 2014. To think she almost quit the biz is unimaginable and would’ve been such a loss. She wears her vulnerabilities on her sleeve and her music offers a fresh voice distinctly her own–she has a writing credit on every track. It took a while to get her debut album out, but we are lucky to have it.

19. Bonobo, Migration: This album contains my favorite song of the year, so of course it made the list. And his live show at the Orpheum was one of the best this year.

20. Courtney Barnett, Kurt Vile, Lotta Sea Lice: I love them separately, why wouldn’t I love them together? I just didn’t think I’d love them this much.

Here’s all the videos in a YouTube playlist:

A lot of great music came out this year and I’m sure I missed a lot or didn’t spend time with albums I should have–so let me know what you loved this year–I’ll add it to my “albums I missed” playlist!