make me up: benefit’s gimme brow

I’m making a definitive, bold statement and naming a single product for effortless brows: Benefit’s Gimme Brow is the end all, be all for easy and natural eyebrows.

I had a dilemma: some brow products, like powders and pencils, were too time-consuming and hard to use for everyday wear. They gave a great brow, sure, but it only looked natural with a full face of makeup. Enter Gimme Brow, the on-the-go, keep-in-your-purse-car-and-gym-bag product I’ve been waiting for.

Available for $24 at Sephora, Gimme Brow is an easy, quick solution. Today, where people obsess over brow shaping, threading, and complicated fill-ins, most notably with Dipbrow and other products, Gimme Brow is a breath of fresh air.

I just get my eyebrows waxed at my salon every few months, and I will say they have a decent natural arch. They often look barely there and especially absent in flash photos, but Gimme Brow changed all that. With literally two strokes through my brows, it darkens them a little and, due to the gel texture, also refines the shape. I use the light taupe shade, but they’re coming out with a wider variety of shades as we speak. (Like, literally as I type the website was updated.)

If you’re looking for a mindlessly easy brow product that gives a natural look and requires no skill to use, this is your ticket.

This video is a simple how-to, though the YouTuber has the older model like I do. The image below, which I think is a great representation of the nice shading and shaping Gimme Brow offers, is from Sephora’s video how-to on the product.

benefitgimmebrow
[via youtube.com]
I’m torn on wishing I had gotten the product a week later. On one hand, I would’ve gone another seven days without better brows, but, on the other, I like the new package design and color range better. Take a look:

benefitgimmebrow2im
[via birchbox.com]
May your brows always be beautiful. Bravo, Benefit.

xx

instantblonde

that ’70s show: minor characters

As most classics do, a lot of the comic relief in That ’70s Show comes from the more minor characters. They’re not the teens themselves, but they’re deeply intertwined in their lives. Kitty and Red, Bob, Leo, Laurie, and Randy instigate conflicts, snoop, gossip, offer advice, and share secrets like family and friends really do.

Mrs. Kitty Forman (Debra Jo Rupp) is Eric’s mom, but more importantly a mom to all of the kids. She takes in Hyde, cooks for everyone, and opens up her home consistently. Kitty’s sunshine-y, optimistic, and endlessly loyal to her family. Even though she’s the classic American housewife who cooks, cleans, and does laundry, she’s a skilled nurse and isn’t afraid to step up and support the family that way. In my opinion, some of the funniest moments on the show were from her boozy tendencies. The margarita scene from the final season with Jackie and Donna will forever be a favorite.

Mr. Red Forman (Kurtwood Smith) is the pessimist of the family. He utters the word “dumbass” at the drop of a hat, and is brutally hard on Eric. It’s ironic that, despite his strict parenting, Laurie ends up being a traveling whore and Eric ends up floundering with life decisions for a good two years. I love Red’s sarcasm, which perfectly counters Kitty’s positivity. His strong nationalism and military pride reminds me of my own grandfather, who no doubt would’ve hated Fez as much as Red does. You can tell that Red actually does love his family because of how hard he works; it felt like a personal victory when he sold the muffler shop for a nice sum of money in the final season. And Kitty and Red’s love may just top some of the kids’ relationships.

Bob Pinciotti (Don Stark) is a true idiot, but a lovable one. I’d almost describe him as an adult Kelso, as they share fondness for crude remarks about women, poking fun at Red, and Jackie’s mom. Somehow, though, he manages to be successful, first with his own store and then an invention. Bob loves Midge and Donna fiercely, and often wears a low cut silky shirt that exposes plenty of chest hair and beer gut. Kitty once said that he was tacky because he’s Italian. In fact, besides Fez, I think he’s the only character whose nationality is mentioned. Anyway, Bob’s patient and a little too open, especially when he wears his robe, but I think he’s a great dad. If I were Donna, no way would my dad have caught me that many times with Eric and not killed him!

Leo Chingkwake (Tommy Chong) is the clear hippie of the show. He’s dirty, clueless, and perpetually stoned. I really didn’t find his humor that funny- I’m more partial to Red and Hyde’s biting sarcasm, but he does have a few memorable scenes. Speaking of Hyde, I appreciated and admired the role Leo took on as Hyde’s surrogate father until W.B. came along. Seeing the switch from Leo employing and mentoring Hyde to Hyde employing and taking care of Leo marked an important step in Hyde’s growing up. Plus, no one rocked a circle quite like him. Remember when he met God, who gave him a pretzel, on the bus that one time? Me too.

Laurie Forman (Lisa Robin Kelly and later Christina Moore) might be Satan in blonde, skinny form. Saying Laurie is a slut would be an understatement. From Kelso to her professor at the University of Wisconsin to married men, Laurie’s had relationships with all types of men. I would call her a tease because she’s flirtatious, but a tease doesn’t actually pursue all the male attention she gets. Despite her skankiness, she’s Red’s favorite and uses that to her advantage. Unfortunately, Lisa Robin Kelly had some addiction issues (and she eventually overdosed, so sad!), so Christina Moore replaced her. Laurie and I started off on a bad foot when she mercilessly pursued Kelso knowing how much Jackie loved him. Pass.

Randy Pearson (Josh Meyers) gets a lot of flak from fans as being a failed attempt as Eric’s replacement. I’m only really mentioning him because he’s fresh on my mind after watching season eight. However, I really liked him for his short run. He was cool, funny, and easy on the eyes. Like Kelso, he’s a ladies man, but, like Eric and Hyde, he’s smart as a whip and can keep up with the group’s banter. Also, his gorgeous waves compete with the early haircuts Kelso rocked. Randy put me at ease, almost as if he had the familiarity of Eric with the confidence of Kelso or Hyde. I would’ve been annoyed, though, if he had been in the final circle, so I thought his exit was welcomed.

that70sshowminorim
[via carlustblog.com]
Overall, I’m grateful for the addition of the more minor characters. Without them, we’d miss a lot of the humor and family dynamics of the show, and I think the gang’s antics and relationships would feel tired without a little focus shift.

Also, Kitty, please be my mom. Thanks.

xx

instantblonde

 

that ’70s show: main characters

If any TV show is responsible for bringing a ton of the 2000’s and 2010’s greatest movie stars to fruition, That ’70s Show might be it. Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis both got their big break from this show, and so did Topher Grace, who was actually discovered by the creators in a school play. Now that I think about it, that’s such an Eric thing to do.

The cast is perfectly cliche. It’s the neighborhood kids. They start out as a band of misfits, and they’ve mostly known each other since Kindergarten or elementary school in Point Place. Of course, there are the minor additions, like Mr. and Mrs. Forman, Laurie, Randy, and Leo, but I’ll save those for another day.

Eric Forman (Topher Grace) is perhaps the star of the first few seasons, as he quickly moves to share the spotlight pretty equally with the other five. Eric’s cautious, geeky, scrawny, and a little too much of a Mama’s boy. He loves Star Wars and Donna Pinciotti, literally the girl next door, that’s way out of his league. Eric’s issues with his father are relatable and, in my opinion, represent the gap between WWII/Korea veterans and their children nicely. Like a lot of others, he’s genuinely lost on what to do after graduation, and him staying home to help after Red’s heart attack is admirable, though he basically turned it into a relaxing gap year for himself. I love his steadfast love for Donna and relative innocence he had compared to Kelso and especially Hyde. But, towards the end, he annoyed me with the way he floundered with Donna and lacked direction until Africa. He’s often the moral compass of the group and always the most generous for sharing his parents, car, and home with everyone.

Michael Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) is stunningly handsome, but truly idiotic. He starts the show dating Jackie and ruins it with his incessant cheating. I appreciated the way this actually realistically mirrored how a lot of teenage relationships go- too many movies and shows romanticize teenage boys and girls to be wholly, truly in love. More than the others, Kelso is quite a womanizer and it bites him in the back when he falls into Laurie’s evil grip and messes around with Hyde’s sister for a bit. It’s only poetic justice that he falls off the water tower something like five times, including once in the finale. Naturally, he’s the one out of the group that can’t stop laughing in the circle. I envy his carefreeness and confidence. While I started to resent Eric, who I originally loved, towards the end of the show, Kelso was the opposite. I was way more proud than is socially acceptable when he ditched his boyish tendencies to help Brooke with the baby. In my opinion, out of all the male leads, Kelso’s transition out of childhood and his teenage years felt the most natural. And, even if you hate him, he’s easy on the eyes!

Steven Hyde (Danny Masterson) is the group’s bad boy. He supplies the circle, has an addict mother and absentee father, and won’t tie himself down to just any girl. Despite his anti-Man and counterculture leanings, he bonds with Red the most because of his dry sense of humor. Hyde is blunt, badass, and stubborn. I also think he’s the genius of the group for his masterful party plans and witty burns on his friends. His sarcastic remarks kept me hooked through all the seasons. I loved his brief tryst with popular girl Kat Peterson and his remark, “You know, for a rich girl you’re kind of skanky.” Despite his rough and tumble exterior, I felt like he had a heart of gold. The Jackie situation in season seven was sad, because poor timing really does ruin too much. He recovers quickly, though, thanks to some circle time and a stripper, who he actually fell pretty hard for. It was ironic that, despite his rough childhood, he came out on top with his own record store, and a father that loved him, both thanks to W.B. Underneath those sunglasses he’s a sweetheart.

Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) is the lovable exchange student and often the butt of the group’s jokes. He loves women, like the other boys of the show, but he’s the last to lose his virginity due to his nervousness and lack of self-confidence. In season eight, though, he has a stretch in which he is quite a playboy, proving that he can be a huge flirt and that his metrosexual tendencies pay off sometimes. His marriage to Laurie may be one of my favorite storylines of the show. Of course, he’s Mrs. Forman’s favorite and one of Red’s least favorites. Despite being prejudiced and the target of racially charged jokes, Fez keeps a positive attitude. Perhaps it’s naivety, but he’s optimistic and really does seem to love the group’s members through their flaws. He loves candy and creeping on Donna more than anything and might even be more gullible than Kelso. I’d describe him as the group’s puppy dog, a cute, joyful addition to the family. And Caroline, his on and off girlfriend of the show, is also a highlight that he brings in.

Donna Pinciotti (Laura Prepon) is Eric’s next door neighbor and longtime crush of all of the guys. She’s tall, a little boho, and absolutely over her eccentric parents. Donna frustrates me, because I feel like for all the times that she stood with feminism and progressivism, she let her future depend on Eric for just as many times. I obviously feel deeply for Donna and her issues with Midge, and respect her for her closeness to Bob despite him being a total embarrassment. Though she’s a tomboy, Donna’s a bombshell, which she doesn’t let get in the way of her job at the radio station or dreams of college. I was happy to see her eventually go, although it’s not quite confirmed that she leaves. Personality wise, she’s quite mellow, which balances out Jackie’s boisterousness nicely. In many ways, she was the stereotypical guy’s girl, hanging out with the boys, being naturally athletic and averse to girl drama. Her DJ job suits her perfectly: she’s an energetic, go-with-the-flow music lover, although her trendiness is balanced nicely with a steady boyfriend and a protective dad. She’s the definition of a girl next door.

Jackie Burkhart (Mila Kunis) is probably the character I relate to the most because, like me, she’s bossy, talkative, and maybe a little too big for her britches. Next to Donna, who has money from Bob’s businesses, Jackie’s the wealthiest of the six and isn’t afraid to show it.  Like Eric, I lost respect for Jackie near the show’s close for how much she started to settle. At the start, she’s overly bossy with Kelso, but she knows what she wants and how to get it. By the end, however, she’d barely branched out on her own, felt lost without a relationship, and seemingly gave up on her dreams. Regardless, though, she was both a huge part of Hyde and Kelso’s lives and turned them into the men they later became. Watching her grow to be a central part of the group from the nuisance she was as Kelso’s girlfriend kept me sucked in. The satire from her character is great comedy, and I often felt her emotions the most since, as the youngest, she seemed the most vulnerable. Favorite quote? When Fez kisses her and comments on her strong tongue, she replies, “Thanks. It’s from all the talking.”

If you made it through that, God love you. To reward yourself, catch an episode of something on Netflix… may I suggest That ’70s Show?

that70sshowcharactersim
[via themotionpictures.net]
They were such babies here. My whole Netflix-loving heart is in that photo above.

xx

instantblonde

that ’70s show: overall

Having just finished That ’70s Show, an iconic Fox show known for its long run and portrayal of, well, the seventies, I am a mess of emotions. I grew up catching the show on TV when I was too sick to go to school- or just didn’t want to go, sorry Mother!- and finally got around to watching it all the way through on Netflix.

For organization purposes, I’m going to break my thoughts into a multi-part installment over some time. I think my opinions and grievances with the show would be better organized into sections, so that’s just what I’ll do. Keep in mind, I wasn’t a teenager nor even alive during the ’70s, so I can’t speak to its historical accuracy.

WARNING: Spoilers below. Read with caution.

Today, obviously, is my general outlook. Really, I loved the show. It was truly funny without feeling artificial or scripted. The characters are people we all knew as teenagers and probably still know as adults. Like any TV show, some of them I loved and some of them I hated (looking at you, Laurie!). I’ll add a characters installment, but it’s quintessential American, coming of age TV. The things the kids go through are very real even today. Think losing your virginity, navigating your first relationship, going through your first breakup, getting a job, figuring college out, dealing with your parents getting older, witnessing unemployment or layoffs, experimenting with alcohol and drugs, and growing up in a small town that feels too restrictive and too traditional for many.

At times, though, the timeline issues became prominent and it was hard to follow. The show aired over eight years in real time, but the setting is supposed to be from 1976 to 1979. It starts accelerating through more than a year in the first season, which forced the producers/creators to slow the timeline down. So, in that sense, it was confusing to have to deviate from a season representing one calendar year or one September-June school year, but it didn’t really take away from the show until the end. Once the gang graduates from high school, minus Jackie, of course, at the end of season five, things move strangely, some too slow and some too fast. It seems like some have been living at home for a gap year for WAY more than twelve months, but, at the same time, Kelso and Brooke’s baby arrives in just a handful of episodes. I will add, too, that seasons six through eight drag a little bit compared to one through five, partially caused by the timeline issues.

Honestly, that’s really the only thing I didn’t love about the show. It’s easy to watch: you can doze for a few minutes or have a text conversation during an episode and you won’t miss a thing. Plus, the humor is light and the episodes are about twenty minutes, which makes it easy to squeeze one in. As I mentioned before, the characters are lovable and real without being impossible to believe or overly stereotyped. A lot of episodes reminded me of my childhood, even though I didn’t grow up in the seventies. And, the circle, a tasteful but funny addition of drug culture into the show, never gets old.

that70sshowoverall.png
[via showbizgeek.com]
xx

instantblonde

happy father’s day

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

I am eternally grateful for the positive and constant presence my father has had in my life. He is my #1 cheerleader, sounding board, consultant on all things sports and grilling, Consumer Reports recipient, and so much more. Growing up, I resented his protectiveness, never-ending sports tips, and incessant calls and texts, but now I appreciate it so much more.

I wouldn’t be anywhere without him, his hard work, or his motivation. People that just meet him fall in love with how easygoing and friendly he is. The phrase ‘heart of gold’ comes to mind when I explain him to other people.

Just like a lot of people, I could ramble on about all the great things my father has done for me, but I won’t. He deserves the world.

Just like a lot of dads, though, he’ll have to settle for a golf shirt and some grill accessories.

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 [via the George W. Bush Presidential Library, georgewbushlibrary.smu.edu]
Happy Father’s Day, from me, my father, and America’s cutest father-son duo.

xx

instantblonde

 

what to wear: beachy bonfire ii

You guys, I was so proud of myself for how cute the J. Crew hoodie outfit I had in my last post.  (Even though the spacing is fucked up, which I somehow can’t fix.)

And then, the online shopping gods chose to bless me, because I found something more perfect than their paneled terry hoodie: the linen lace-up beach sweater. I love it. It’s vaguely nautical but truly summery. Wear it with lightly distressed shorts, as I discussed in my last post, or white denim. The slightly open neck and rib trim make it effortlessly beachy and almost a little sexy.

linenlaceup1
[via jcrew.com]
This is the type of top that looks natural when a bikini strap or two peeks through the knit. It looks perfect tossed in a weekender duffel or edging out of a beach bag. It can take sand and a lot of wear and tear over one summer- slouchy shapes lend themselves nicely to heat and water.

linenbeachim
[via jcrew.com]
It’s also in navy, for those of you still on the #NavyOrNothing train. Or, for those of you like me, who might be a touch too pale to rock the cream. I need to see in person, though, so I’ll report back ASAP.

xx

instantblonde

what to wear: beachy bonfire

Back again! Eight days later, wow- summer flies by. I decided I’m no longer apologizing for not posting… the best thing I can do is just post again. Who cares?
After attending a few of America’s favorite summer evening activities, bonfires, I can sufficiently say I’ve reached the perfect outfit for looking effortlessly pretty at one.
beachy bonfire
This J. Crew hoodie, their new paneled terry hoodie for $50, is a little nautical but also classic and cozy, and terry lends itself nicely to beachy (read: dirty but dry-shampooed to high Heaven) hair and a tan. Stow your phone and a napkin for any s’mores mishaps in the pocket.
Denim shorts are so quintessentially American summer that it hurts. Nothing screams girl next door hot like long legs in cutoffs, right? The pair pictured is actually Vigoss, and I found them on ThredUp, but they don’t seem to be available anymore. It’s worth a look there and on Poshmark, though, if you’re looking. The second pair  is H&M. I’d try on in store since their sizing is always wonky, but they look good.
And a few pro tips? Some of the best deconstructed or slightly distressed denim shorts I’ve found have been from local boutiques where they’ve been hand-worn or in vintage shops. Also, Nordstrom has quite a few Rag & Bone options if you’re loyal to that brand, which is well worth it because they make amazing cuts with effortless rips. Worth it.
And if it’s chilly? Easy. Switch out shorts for distressed white jeans or lighter denim and there you have it.
For shoes, I’d recommend my Tory Burch pair, which have gotten a lot of coverage here- like my goodbye to $2 flip-flops. If you’re more uptight, and smoke from a bonfire makes your eyes water, go with the more preppy Jack Rogers.
Have fun! Don’t burn any marshmallows.
xx
instantblonde