Kari Gran: Naughty & Nice

I've been making a list (and checking it twice) of my favorite things from 2014, and according to my archives, Kari Gran's Lip Whips might be the most-mentioned product on this blog. To recap my multitude of praises, these all-natural, peppermint-flavored lip treatments are filled with organic hydrating oils and beeswax, and they're one of my go-to remedies for chapped lips. I also love the fact that Kari Gran is based in Seattle and therefore local to me! This season, Kari Gran has released two new tinted Lip Whips: Naughty*, a deep chocolatey plum, and Nice*, a peachy champagne. Both are much sheerer on the lips than they appear in the pot, so they're subtle and easy to apply on the go. I like wearing Naughty during the day for a my-lips-but-better effect and layering Nice over lipsticks to add a golden sheen and extra moisture. Naughty suits me more than I thought it would... just don't tell Santa! 

In case you're in need of a last minute stocking stuffer, place your order on karigran.com by the 20th to receive free shipping and gift wrap in time for Christmas. 

* PR samples kindly provided by Kari Gran

5 More Documentary Films


The obsession continues: here are five more documentaries I can't stop recommending to everyone I know. In case you're all caught up on "Serial" and in need of another true story to get lost in, these are full of tricky questions and stranger-than-fiction stories. 

In Stories We Tell, actress and writer-director Sarah Polley pieces together her deceased mother's secret past to answer a delicate question: did her mother have an affair, and is she the child of that affair?  Through interviews with family members and her mother's old acquaintances, Polley explores how we reach "the truth" about someone based on faulty memories and contradictory stories. 

Best Kept Secret focuses on a class of autistic young men who will soon graduate out of the school system. Its star is one passionate teacher, Janet Miro, who works doggedly to ensure her students' livelihoods once they graduate. The film offers an honest and touching glimpse at a minority group that is too often overlooked.

This year, "catfish" earned another official definition in Merriam-Webster: a "catfish" is "a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes." In Catfish, Nev Shulman uncovers the reality behind his own romantic online relationship with a young woman. The story is so bizarre that you can forgive the cinematography's amateurish, vlog-style quality. 

In Inequality for All, professor and former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich explores the severe income disparity between the extremely wealthy and everyone else in the US. Trust me, it's not as boring as it sounds. Though the issues at stake are politically charged, Reich approaches them in a fair and well-reasoned way. 

The Imposter tells the sensational true-crime story of an American family whose 13-year-old son goes missing. Three and a half years later, the family receives a phone call from Spain that their son is alive. Though the family identifies the boy as their own and brings him back home, the FBI begins to suspect the boy's unstable story. Is the boy the family's missing son, and if not, why is the family so convinced he is?

If you've watched anything good lately, documentaries or otherwise, please share! I just started Fargo and I need to start saying "uff da" more often.

See my last documentary film recommendations right here!

Handmade & Vintage Gift Ideas

In case you're like me and you still have 90% of your holiday shopping to do, 'tis the time for list-making and internet-scavenging! This year, I'm making more of an effort to support small and local businesses. If you want to shop independent and you're not sure where to start, Etsy makes it easy to search across many small businesses for a particular kind of item. You should also check out the comments section of this recent post on the excellent blog Door Sixteen for a roundup of links to all sorts of small businesses. Easy ways to shop local include frequenting independent bookstores, markets, and craft vendors; these shops enrich my life all year long, so it only makes sense to support them during the holidays. 

I often forget about the vintage side of Etsy, but if you do a little searching, you can find some truly unique items. There are so many affordable vintage posters, books, and household objects that might align perfectly with a loved one's special interest or aesthetic. I'm planning to gift a couple of vintage items found on Etsy, and I cannot wait to see the expressions on the recipients' faces when they open them!

These are just a few of the items I've bookmarked this season; if I have time later this week, I'll share a few more. This is probably as close as I'll get to a holiday gift guide this year, if only because I find gift guides so hit-or-miss. (Also, procrastination.) If you want to share your love for a small business, please leave links below! 

Items above, from upper left: VaseCord WrapTerrariumEarringsNecklaceHat

Snow Day


Over the weekend, we woke up to our first snowfall of the season. It's never wise to count on a chance of snow in Seattle, though I grew up fluent in all the superstitions that would supposedly guarantee a snow day, such as performing "snow dances" (see Yahoo! answers for an illustrative example or several), praying to "snow gods," and wearing my pajamas inside-out and backwards. Our winter wonderland was modest -- a blanket just an inch or two thick -- but that didn't stop me from staying outside until my fingers froze while Eva, clad in plaid and boots, romped/nosedived through every corner of the park. The rest of the weekend was spent staying cozy by the fire, watching Manhattan Murder Mystery and feasting on Thanksgiving leftovers and homemade almond cake. Happy first of December! 

Workout Playlist

Here is my current workout playlist, which I'm tempted to entitle either "Anti-Hibernation Tunes" or "Music That's ≥ Caffeine." In an effort to boost my energy levels during the winter months, I've been trying to convince myself that the gym is always a good idea, even if I'd rather be sitting on a couch eating ramen and watching Downton Abbey. As research and more research confirms, music is an excellent secret weapon for fitness training. It all comes down to mind over matter: "running in place for an hour" sounds terrible, but "moving to pump-up beats" spins the whole affair in a positive light. The songs on this playlist are somewhat sorted by tempo, though I tend to just hit shuffle play on Spotify and shift my pace according to the songs. I tend to get bored of my workout playlists after a few listens, so when I'm too lazy to create my own, I also like streaming music via 8tracks. What songs get your heart pumping? 

♫ Listen on Spotify

1. Miss Right - Anderson Paak
2. Flicker - Porter Robinson
3. Ray Charles - Chiddy Bang
4. Freak - Olivver the Kid
5. An Act of Mercy - The Mercy Beat
6. Heartbeat - Childish Gambino
7. - Kendrick Lamar
8. Hideaway - Kiesza
9. Divine Sorrow - Wyclef Jean feat. Avicii
10. Go All Night - Gorgon City
11. Kiss and Not Tell - La Roux
12. Gimme a Chance - Azealia Banks

13. 3005  (Friction Remix) - Childish Gambino
14. Push - A-Trak (feat. Andrew Wyatt)
15. Love Looks - Style of Eye
16. The Man - Aloe Blacc
17. Complètement fou - Yelle
18. Runaway (U & I) - Galantis
19. Never Say Never - Basement Jaxx
20. Burn the Pages - Sia
21. Set Yourself Free - Tiësto 
22. I Wanna Get Better (RAC Mix) - Bleachers
23. All the Way - Milkman
24. Drunk in Love - Beyoncé