January favorites

Since I’ve never done a favorites post before, some of these finds are from December. From cookies to lip butter to metal music, there’s a bit of everything included.

Orphan Black

Airing on BBC America, Orphan Black is a sci-fi thriller about a troubled woman who discovers she is a clone. There’s enough of twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end of the season, and Tatiana Maslany’s multiples roles as the clones almost had me forgetting the same actor was inhibiting each one.

Orphan Black

I was late to the show, which originally aired back in March of 2013, because it aired on BBC America, and I’m not fancy enough for satellite TV. It only took me two days, however, to catch up on all ten episodes of the first season because I was hooked from the beginning.

If you haven’t watched the first season yet, there’s still time to catch up until season two’s premiere in April.

The Hunter by Mastodon

Sometimes you need a break from an album so that when you revisit later, it still sounds fresh and invigorating. That’s what has happened with The Hunter. I haven’t seen them play live in almost four years, so going back to the last album before the new one is released this year seems like a great lead-in to a new tour.

"The Hunter" by Mastodon

It’s a divisive record for Mastodon fans. Some feel they have strayed away from their progressive roots and conceptual themes by penning songs averaging three or four minutes long, while others praised Mastodon for taking a risk by composing music that could be taken as more “mainstream.”

I personally love this album. I don’t necessarily love it more than the others, but in a different way. Kudos to Mastodon for not fearing the wrath of metalheads and taking a different approach to the sound.


When I heard the news about Spike Jonze’s new movie being about a man that falls in love with his computer, I was yearning for him to just keep making Arcade Fire music videos. Thankfully, this film was much more endearing than I thought it would be.

Joaquin Phoenix’s sympathetic character Theodor Twombly (are we in a Roald Dahl novel?) tries to navigate the world of intimacy and relationships in a nearby futuristic world that covets connections with technology more than person-to-person interaction. More than just a quirky romantic comedy, it’s a take on what it means to build a relationship in a world constantly replacing real emotional connections with technological ones.

Clarins One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser

The 1.7 ounce version of this product was my 100-point reward for Sephora’s Beauty Insider card, and I’m sure grateful I picked it! The orange smell isn’t all that great, but it’s quite faint. Personally, I’m not fond of a scent coming from my face anyway.

Clarins Exfoliating Cleanser

What sets it apart is the exfoliating power that leaves skin feeling baby-bottom-soft. Seriously. I felt the need to stroke my face several times after first using it.

The downside to this cleanser is that it’s indeed pricey, but worth it in my opinion since a small amount goes a long way. It lathers nicely, but if you have sensitive skin like me, I advise moisturizing immediately afterwards before the exfoliating beads cause any irritation or further dryness. Thankfully my sensitive skin actually cooperates with this cleanser, but it does cause a little redness at first.

Anastasia Brow Wiz

Anastasia Brow Wiz

Here’s yet another expensive item, but the results are incredible. Anastasia has great products to tame and shape eyebrows. This pencil and wand combo succeeds in creating realistic coloring and fuller eyebrows, while also being long-lasting.

Unlike eyebrow pencils, it’s a felt tip, so making mistakes are easier to wipe off, and it’s more a softened look compared to the intensity from an eyebrow pencil. If you’re really wanting to go further with taming those brows, the brow gel is wonderful also.

Nivea Lip Butter in Raspberry Rosé Kiss

Nivea Lip Butter

Hydrating and oh-so-lovely smelling, the Nivea lip butters are beneficial for drying lips in the wintertime.

The lip butter keeps my lips hydrated and soft for most of the day, but I will say that the raspberry flavor has a slight light pink tint to it. If you prefer no color whatsoever, caramel and vanilla flavors are also available. This is a great moisturizing lip product.

Forever 21 Open-front Shag Cardigan

Forever 21 Cardigan

Never did I think I would own anything related to the words “shag” or “faux fur,” but here I am with an exquisitely comfortable cardigan that I can throw on with a band T-shirt or nicer knit top when it’s cool out, but not too cool, which happens a lot more in Texas than actually being cold.

The cardigan is long, which comes in handy when I want to wear leggings to work and cover up what little butt I have, or to add more depth to a simple top.

Pepperidge Farm Milano Melts in Vanilla Crème

Pepperidge Farms Milano Cookies

So simple, yet so delicious. They’re like Oreos but less sweet. The only downside is that there’s not enough of them in each package!

I haven’t tried the other flavors yet, but the Dark Classic Crème and Boston Cream Pie sound like a mouth-watering foodie session too.

Related Links

“The Hunter” by Mastodon

Anastasia Brow Wiz

“Orphan Black”: Episode 1 [HD]

Matthew McConaughey is finally starring in interesting movies

Matthew McConaughey has  just been announced as a Best Actor nominee for the Oscar because of his performance in "Dallas Buyers Club"
Matthew McConaughey has just been announced as a Best Actor nominee for the Oscar because of his performance in “Dallas Buyers Club”

Several years ago, I used to pile on the jokes about Matthew McConaughey.

Whether it was the Texan accent, his ubiquitous voice on commercials for energy companies (fellow Texans know what I mean), or his penchant for run-of-the-mill romantic comedies, it has always been easy to make fun of his often shirtless self.

Lately though, the humor has been harder to conjure. Ever since I saw his performance a year or two ago in William Friedkin’s Killer Joe, my thoughts on McConaughey began to change. It wasn’t exactly movie of the year in my mind, but Killer Joe displayed his range and ability to take on more intense roles, which in this instance meant a slick but deeply sinister cop moonlighting as a hit man with a moral code of little to none. It happens.

Unfortunately I haven’t seen the dark comedy Bernie or the mystery-drama Mud yet, but those are on my never-ending Netflix queue. The recently released Dallas Buyer’s Club, which is based on a true story, is a startling transformation for Matthew McConaughey.

His portrayal as a carefree, fast-living cowboy who discovers he has HIV and decides to smuggle in drugs to help others with HIV but also make a profit showed a riskier but yet more personal side to the actor that has rarely been seen.

It’s going to be interesting to see if his role in the new HBO series True Detective will be just as memorable, but considering it’s HBO I’m certain it will at least push boundaries.

Related Items

Mud [HD] on Amazon

Bernie [HD] on Amazon

Killer Joe Unrated Version [HD] on Amazon

It’s film festival time in Fort Worth!

Because we can’t let Dallas have all of the fun, Fort Worth’s Lone Star Film Festival has arrived as a remedy to long Dallas drives all for the sake of watching an indie or foreign movie.

"Once Upon a Time in Anatolia" (Photo credit: Zeynofilm)

Possibly the best aspect of the festival is that there are only two venues (with additional programming at the Fort Worth Library), and they’re within a relatively close driving distance. Both the AMC Palace 9 and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth will hold screenings, though most of them will be at the former. There’s going to be screenings everyday until the 13th. Just remember that the Modern’s screen is smaller than the average movie theater.  Below are just a few of the movies I’m thrilled about watching.

The Descendants, starring George Clooney, has already been screened, but there’s still a multitude of offerings . I’m personally interested in seeing We Need to Talk About Kevin after reading the book a few months ago. If the movie stays with me like the novel, there might be a few restless nights. Plus, the film stars Tilda Swinton, so that’s reason enough. The Turkish flick Once Upon a Time in Anatolia sure looks like an interesting prospect. It’s dark, atmospheric, and has a movie title derived from a Spaghetti Western- what’s not to love?

If you would like to read more about my top 5 picks for the festival and the picks of programming director Kelly Williams, click here.

Ticket info


Trailer for We Need to Talk About Kevin