Products that upped my game in 2016 by Grace Stamps

I am trying to be intentional about purchases in all aspects of my life, including beauty products. Last year I tried a few new items that are now a part of my daily arsenal. I figured I'd share with you my top game changers from 2016. And great news, each product is under $25 ;)


B U R T ' S    B E E S    T O N E R

AMAZING product. It's hard for me to find an acne fighting toner that doesn't have tea tree oil in it–I'm allergic–but this toner replaces tea tree with witch hazel. It still disinfects but does so without making my face swell in to an angry scaly rash (win win). I only use this toner when I am breaking out; it zaps the moisture right out of your skin. Normally I apply it at night and slather my skin with lotion in the morning, otherwise my cheeks are so ashy it looks like I used white chalk as a blush.

$8 - $10 per bottle


G L O S S I E R    M A S K S

Masks are new to my skin care regimen but I have found them to be most necessary. Living in Colorado makes my skin change drastically with each passing season. In the summer I can stick to a gentle face cleanser and I'm golden. In the winter, my skin becomes dry, oily, and littered in acne. This is where the masks come in.

Glossier's Mega Green Galaxy Pack is my mask cleansing go to. What I love most is the texture: smooth and creamy with a few crystals of clay speckled throughout. As a bonus, the product has a cooling effect when first applied. It leaves my skin feeling tight and refreshed, as if all the black heads and dried skin were washed away like rocks in a mud slide. I usually follow it up with the Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask. They're the perfect duo.

$22 per single container or $40 for the pack


G L O S S I E R   H A L O S C O P E

Can you tell I love Glossier? Really, they make such simple products that are easy to apply and are great for your skin. They're a skincare first, makeup second kind of company, with a huge emphasis on highlighting one's natural beauty. (No, Glossier did not sponsor this post, I'm just a fan)

Haloscope may be the simplest makeup product I have ever applied. In the morning I just run product on my cheekbones, brow bone, and Cupid's bow, gently blend it in, and then rock that dewy highlight all day long. My favorite perk is that the product lasts all day–if I throw it on at 6 am it's still there by 10 that night. Worth every penny.

$22 per stick


M A C    E Y E    B R O W S

I have struggled with drug store brow liner. All the pencils have a warm tint or are such deep browns they apply like black eyeliner. I finally got my butt down to MAC to have a color matched to my eyebrow and skin color. It was suggested I use stud and now I am never going back. Before, my brows appeared over lined and harsh. Now, my eyebrows look fuller yet still have a natural aesthetic. With this brow pencil I can even go so far as to draw individual hairs–I could never do that before. Mac Eye Brow is a bit pricey for a pencil–around $16–but I've found it is worth the investment.

$17 per liner


H U D A    B E A U T Y    L I Q U I D    M A T T E    L I P S T I C K

Can I just say woah? I am a big fan of drug store lipstick, Maybelline being my favorite, but the matte colors always dry out my lips and the pigment fades quickly. When I tried Huda Beauty I was shocked by how strong the color is, how smoothly the lipstick applies, and the distance a small dab of pigment can go! On top of that, my lips don't feel like the Sahara when I take off my lipstick at night. Though still a bit drying (what matte isn't?) I am not slathering my lips in Vasoline or Chapstick as an eleventh hour lip repair. Also, once dry these colors do not leave lipstick marks on glasses, lips, cheeks–whatever your kissing. Not a trace.

$20 per tube


There you go! My top products of 2016. Have you tried any of these products yourself? Or do you have any products/brands of your own that changed around your routines? Let me know In the comments below. 

- G R A C E

On Depression by Grace Stamps

Hey, guess what!? I have depression. Also, obsessive compulsive disorder.

Part of being mindful is taking care of yourself not just physically, but mentally as well. And for me, part of my mental health includes dealing with my depression and an anxiety disorder.

The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality. And it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment.
— Andrew Solomon

I dislike the stigma that comes with talking about mental health so I plan to delve deeper in to my depression and OCD in future blog posts. However, I want to keep this initial post short.

I came across this amazing TED Talk on depression, and I figured I’d share. It sums up the condition beautifully.

Of course, if you are feeling depressed I recommend you seek help whether that be through therapy or medication. Take care of yourself. Mental health is so important, please don't let it fall by the wayside.

- G R A C E

A 2012 Throwback to Obama by Grace Stamps


I was digging through the archives of my old (horribly designed) blog from my freshman year of college when I came upon this: the 30 Reasons campaign.

30 Reasons was, and still is, a campaign for a presidential candidate in which 30 designers and artists offer their reasons for supporting a candidate by creating unique posters. For the month leading up to election night, a poster is released daily. This year the campaign focused on Hillary Clinton.

I subscribed to the 30 Reasons newsletter in 2012 during the Obama/Romney race. Back then, I collected some of my favorite works and posted them on my blog. As the Obama's will be leaving the White House this week, I wanted to revisit some of my favorite posters from that time period.

Whether or not you liked the Obama administration (or perhaps you just don't care), I hope you can at least admire the designers work.

Image / ALSO

Image / ALSO


Unfortunately, I am unable to remember the names of all the designers who created the pictures shown above. 30 Reasons only has Hillary posters up at the moment, so finding an archive has been difficult. If you know which artist made what, please let me know in the comments below so that I can give them proper credit!


Got a favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

- G R A C E

All images via 30 Reasons.

Image / Bonnie Siegler

Image / Bonnie Siegler

A nonsensical, unexpected, humorous poem just for you by Grace Stamps

Sorry I have been so poor at posting lately! The holidays had me spread thin. I went from one state to another to another with only a few days in between. As I write this, I am laying in my own bed for the first time in almost 3 weeks! I have to admit, my bed is notoriously uncomfortable but damn does it feel good to be back in it.

To make up for my sporadic posting as of late I wanted to share this poem my friend Ben wrote for an old class. He let me read it when I was visiting him in Baltimore and I died laughing.

Ben has a unique way of writing. His prose is jumbled and playful and dark--mostly it's all over the place--yet it always comes together in a clean and humorous conclusion.

Ben is a no rules kind of writer, which is one of the reasons I love his prose. Though he does not write frequently--he is a graphic designer and makes guitars on the side--I am always excited when I am able to glimpse at a bit of his prose and poetry.

You will have to tell me what you think of his poem in the comments below! I am very interested in how others perceive his work. Enjoy!


by ben torres


Pastures are lovely and pastures are fine

I fondly remember pastures time after time


Pastures are nice and pastures are fun

Such room to frolic and such room to run


Pastures are nurturing and supple and sweet

There’s room to grow barley and room to grow wheat


Pastures have farms with happy brown cows

They’re over by the shed where dad keeps the plows




I sure do love pastures, you can probably relate

It’s a place to take lovers out on a date


Pastures are friendly and dapper and neat

With happy green grass that tickles your feet


Pasture have thistles I’m sure you will learn

With poisonous prickles that make your feet burn


Pastures smell fresh and pastures smell clean

With little men in the air that filter your spleen


Pastures are silly and funny and weird

They’ll make you laugh till you cry and then fill you with fear


Pastures have feelings and pastures feel hate

They’ll castrate your cattle so that they can’t mate


Pastures take form as horrible beasts

That ruin your crops and the thanksgiving feast


Pastures hate you because they think that you're boring

They sneak through your windows at three in the morning


Pastures eat the who pudding and they eat the who hash

They look through your drawers and steal all your cash


Pastures eat limbs but they also eat light

You are shrouded in darkness and can’t put up a fight




Pastures are wrinkly and pastures are old

Pastures suck on your nostrils to steel your young soul


Pastures are metallic with tentacle armor

They suck at your brain cells so you will have thoughts no longer


Pastures spit fire and they love to take turns

You hear your sister screaming as the family room burns


Pastures have teeth and have eaten the milk cows utters

Now they’re eating your mother slowly and they’ll kidnap your brothers


Pastures like blood and they want to see it bad

They use their sharp claws to bleed your poor dad


Pastures put probes in your lungs and they study your breath

The pain is unbearable, you are begging for death


But pastures feel mercy so they pop your human head

So you can be just like your family, one of the dead


See more of Ben's creative work (he mostly does graphic design, art, and guitar building) by following him on Instagram, viewing his Behance, or following his guitar company, Evil Evil, on Instagram.

What did you think of the poem? Let me know!

- G R A C E

6 Hours in Philly by Grace Stamps

A dinner of pho with the squad

A dinner of pho with the squad


When I lived in Baltimore, Philadelphia always had this magnetic pull. I heard stories of the art scene, Italian markets, endless museums, and killer food. It was a fabled place I needed to visit, but somehow never made it to.

This New Year I spent my time in Baltimore visiting old friends and they were kind enough to entertain my wish to visit Philly. Unfortunately, I have no geographical awareness of the east coast. What I assumed was a cheap, one hour train ride was actually an insanely-expensive-many-hour-train-ride (oops). So instead we slipped in to the car and drove two hours to The City of Brotherly Love—yet this left us with only six hours to spare in the city.

Photo / Beyond my Ken

Photo / Beyond my Ken


Philadelphia has a wise appearance. I hesitate to say “aged” instead, though the city certainly shows its years. But “aged" implies a kind of slow and docile behavior that Philly lacks. Instead, the high rise buildings and teal bridges intermingle with grey skies, old brick factories, and marble buildings, creating a visual ruckus more blaring than “aged” can convey. The city wears its history—both good and bad—with pride; scars beside merit, wounds beside beauty. I was surprised by Philly's semblance, yet as we entered the city I found it comforting and welcoming.

I have a friend in Philadelphia, V, who was kind enough to show us around. Without V we would have been lost, wasting our time google mapping and scouring yelp for all the best places to visit.

Weaving our way through Reading Terminal Market.

Weaving our way through Reading Terminal Market.


They met us outside the Franklin Institute and took us straight to Reading Terminal Market (pronounced “redding”). It reminded me of Baltimore’s Lextington Market, though a bit fancier and more packed. The walkways were thin like veins, people pushing forward in a steady stream. We had to keep moving—to halt in the midst of the crowd caused a thick clog—so I am not even sure what we saw. We did not stay long for fear of congestion, but we did manage to snag some great ice cream from L.D. Basset before we left. (I always have room for ice cream.)

Gates of Chinatown

Gates of Chinatown

The best thing about knowing someone in a new city is that they are aware of all the good places to eat. After leaving Reading, V took us to a delicious pho place. It was on a side street in Chinatown, somewhere we would of never found on our own. This restaurant had a broth as strong as it was fragrant, vegetables were piled high in our bowls, the hoisin somehow proved sweeter and more authentic than any other I have tried. It was heavenly.

The best pho I have ever eaten, from Pho Xe Lua Viet Thai Resturant

The best pho I have ever eaten, from Pho Xe Lua Viet Thai Resturant


Leaving pho, we peered at a few more shops in Chinatown. For instance, a unique crepe place and a restaurant with seafood on display in the entryway. We found a couple dead things in each fish tank—but not to worry, we observed their death kindly while V sang “In the Arms of an Angel” in their honor.

We drove to the infamous Philadelphia Museum of Art next. Before you ask, no I did not run to the top like Rocky. Nor did I take a photograph with the Rocky sculpture out front—it was a tad too dark for that. We only had an hour in the museum so we tried to make the best of it.

None of us knew of any exhibitions at the art museum, so when we stumbled upon the Mexican Modernism show we were all pleasantly surprised. Our geeky art selves were fawning over Frida’s first ever portrait and old Mexican political posters. I rarely see art by non-western people of color, let alone non-western women of color, so it was refreshing to see a plethora of historical work by artists from a country in the southern hemisphere who, sadly, I had never heard of.

Frida's first self portrait

Frida's first self portrait


By the time the Philadelphia Museum of Art had closed it was 9 pm. We bid farewell to V and left the city shortly thereafter. I am grateful we drove instead of traveling by train as the car gave us the ability to take in parts of the city we did not see by walking. Though we only trekked a few blocks, driving allowed us to see parts of Germantown, West, and Central Philadelphia as well as Chinatown and Reading.

It is safe to say my attraction to the fabled city was fair; Philly fulfilled my expectations and more. I am grateful I was able to visit, even if it was for a short while.


If you are ever in Philly for a quick time I highly recommend visiting the few places we managed to see. It was well worth it!

Thanks again, V, for showing us around!

- G R A C E