Product Review⎮ Benefit Cosmetics: They’re Real! Big Sexy Eye Kit

On the eighth day of January my mother gave to me: six eyeshadows…and a sponge that’s quite gimmicky


Most people don’t have a middleman when it comes to makeup products, but luckily enough, I’m constantly graced with beauty hand-me-downs from my maternal relatives. Recently I was gifted Benefit Cosmetics’ They’re Real! BIG Sexy Eye Kit, which is essentially an eyeshadow palette with three paired eyeshadow duos, a rounded sponge, and a mirror built into the bulky kit.

Benefit 1

The three eyeshadow duos are composed of neutral shades, each with grandeur names:

  • Beyond nude: champagne and cappuccino
  • Naughty neutral: soft pink and rosy brown
  • Bombshell brown: taupe and sable brown

The colors are gorgeous. Within each duo is a satin shade and a soft matte shade, perfectly paired together. If you’re not completely sold on one of the duos, have no fear! Benefit Cosmetics sells all the duos separately at $24 per palette. The singular duo palette also comes in additional colors that the trio doesn’t have. However, buying the three colors together in this palette is the best option, as a $72 value is yours for only $36.

Continue reading “Product Review⎮ Benefit Cosmetics: They’re Real! Big Sexy Eye Kit”

when people ask me, I say

when people ask me, I say


I’m stealing his eyes

in an assemblage of bodies

familiar faces

They don

charcoal outlines &

coruscate teeth


In awe of you before me

Two types of feelings

engulf me like twin


sinful, entwined:


  1.  We’d be better separate—

A match &



  1. It’s all in frame,

an involuntary fantasy,

a supercut

We move like oil paintings

our lines blend into each other

our strokes brisk

Sugarcane byproducts mess with

our organs

The clock reads 0:00—we

burst & we start over

primal rush

People envy us—

we steal their glances &

hoard them in the limited space

between our torsos

The supercut concludes

when we study each other,

parallel, drawn-out stares


These warm nights with you are

wild, and meaningless

Product Review⎮Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots

I haven’t loved a sticker this much since preschool

My mom was casually browsing Sephora’s website—her only mistake of the day; she can never casually browse any website that sells a product without making her wallet cry out in sweet, sweet agony—when she turned her laptop screen toward me to reveal a particular acne product to her acne-prone daughter.

I can’t pin-point when it started, only its worsening growth over the years. I’ve tried all of the face washes on the market; Neutrogena, Aveeno, Burt’s Bees, La Roche-Posay, Cetaphil, and more. The summer before my senior year of high school I had cried to a dermatologist, afraid that every spider bite would transform into a pimple, and every acne scar would be a badge of shame. Though I was prescribed a topical lotion and an adapalene gel at the time, neither did anything to stop new pimples from forming, lessen existing ones, and heal acne scars. But my mom was hopeful; she kept ordering new products every few months and encouraged me to return to past ones—secretly we’re both masochists, hell-bent on either humiliating our bank statements or our skin. Then she decided to try one more product, and while I was hesitant to try it, having been fed up with putting my skin through sustained changes, we finally found something that worked.

The Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots are sold in two sizes; essentially a large or small deal, where the large pack contains 72 dots (also recognizable as circular adhesive patches) and the small pack contains 24 dots. The pack of 72 dots contains 6 sheets with 12 dots per sheet, and is contained in a light blue tin. The pack of 24 dots lacks the convenient storage tin, and only contains 2 sheets with 12 dots.

Continue reading “Product Review⎮Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots”

BØRNS Announces New Album, What’s Her Name?

Blue Madonna

For the people who are bad at remembering faces but terrific at remembering names, here’s one: Blue Madonna.

Garrett Borns, who goes by the stage name BØRNS, has finally announced the title and release date of his long-awaited sophomore effort. Blue Madonna is set to release next year on January 12, but not without already receiving public praise. High-profile fan Lana Del Rey recently promoted his LP, claiming it’s “one of the craziest, best records [she’s] heard in years.”

Earlier in the year, the Michigan native released two singles titled “Faded Heart” and “Sweet Dreams.” Both are illustrative of his ability to find refuge in his falsetto and in poetic, glitzy lyrics.

The glam-rock artist became an instant sensation in 2015 after the virality of his song “Electric Love.” He’s come a long way since then, and while his debut album explored the ideas of love, emotions, and sex, fans are excited to see the identity of his upcoming release. 

What's her name?

A post shared by BØRNS (@bornsmusic) on

Nonfiction Excerpt

The house seemingly ages along with my grandparents.

Below is an excerpt for my nonfiction class. This piece is titled ’48 Duncan St.’ and follows the relationship I have with not only my grandparents, but the house they’ve lived in for over fifty years.

That house seemingly ages along with my grandparents. The skin on Papa’s hands peels like the lid of the painted toilet seat; Nana’s teeth fell out like the knobs on cabinets did; they had a bad storm one year that took all the ivy off the wall in their backyard, but it would grow again in the same way Nana’s hair would regrow after the doctor said her cancer was in remission; Papa once collapsed in the same manner their folding chairs seem to snap; the last few times I’ve visited them there has been a chocolate chip cookie on the floor behind one of the couches, forgotten about by Papa just like how he sometimes forgets my name. The cookie was there the last time I visited, crumbled and scattered, and I thought if his brain wasn’t like that yet, then it would be soon.

With love, Alyssa

“December” – Spenserian Stanza

I stand at winter’s edge and plead for sun;


I stand at winter’s edge and plead for sun;

New England days of wintry light conceal

what warmth was present—now just slim to none.

The clouds do swell and all the lakes congeal,

cadet blue-sky that brings me no appeal.

The coldest winds of December relay

a sense of despondence that’s not ideal.

I perch on winter’s edge like birds of prey

and use my beak to plead for beaming warmth of day

I normally hate poems in which I have to rhyme and follow specific guidelines, but this Spenserian Stanza, written for my English Epic class, was fun to write.

With love, Alyssa

LISTEN: Banks releases new single “Underdog”

Banks is no stranger to sultry, albumless singles

Banks is no stranger to sultry, albumless singles. Earlier this year she put out a single titled “Crowded Places” to commemorate the last season of HBO’s Girls. In 2015 she released the sinister and demanding “Better.”

Two days before the one-year anniversary of her sophomore effort, The Altar, the LA songstress released a new track called “Underdog.” It’s slick and synth-heavy, abnormally upbeat compared to the rest of her discography. In less than a week it garnered nearly 1.5 million streams.

During the premiere of the track on Beats 1, Banks explained where the song came from: “There’s a beast inside of me that I haven’t let out fully. And I still haven’t, but I’m allowing it to poke its head above the water a bit more.”

Listen below.

Nonfiction Excerpt

Carmeltucky: Like Kentucky but Worse

I’m taking a nonfiction class this semester, and this is an excerpt from my first graded assignment about the town I grew up in and where I still currently reside. It’s titled, “Carmeltucky: Like Kentucky but Worse”

One Thursday afternoon after school my mom reminded me of the fact that Goodwill was supposed to pick up garbage bags full of clothing donations, and she sent me to our front porch to see if they had made their journey down our driveway and seized our bags in the same manner a pigeon would a french fry: swoop in and leave with it immediately. I checked the porch only to see that the bags were still there, piled on top of each other like nesting bowls. I told my mom and she opened her address book to find their number.

She tucked the phone between her shoulder and ear. “You didn’t pick up my donations!” she exclaimed, followed by “I live in Carmel.” She stood there in silence as the person on the other end spoke.

When she hung up the phone I asked, “what happened?”

“They said they picked up our donations,” she said, staring at me, her face washed blank with confusion. But there was a moment when her confusion turned to shock, completely cadaver-like, simply lifeless and pale. “Oh my god. Goodwill took our garbage.”

I imagined the workers ripping open the bags of putrescible waste masquerading as clothing. Fermenting liquids warmed up from the morning sun amid banana peels, cat litter, curdled milk. Every time someone would enter the area they’d be gunned down by waves of nauseating stink, acrid smells. They’d curse, maybe search the surrounding donations for a gas mask. Our local Goodwill no longer accepts our donations.

With love, Alyssa

*Featured Image was taken from my living room on a rainy day, and is of the park built behind my house

An Ache, Exploded

An Ache, Exploded


Smutty, sweet, exploiting heart

planted an olive tree in me that


won’t die until we’re one-thousand & nineteen

Pray for verticillium wilt when


a whipping disorientation festers, a sickness

climbs into my hippocampus


You persevered like a seed against

my visceral doubt & so the personal decayed


Now I wake up feeling ugly, skin

like boils redder than dawn


It shrivels up like wet band-aids

where prehensile fingers commandeered


Lacerated to the bone

Toss me neosporin, a tourniquet


Lick your lips when you’re finished &

perch on the backbone of no-woman’s land—


—a landscape of sulfur, eddied around grass,

the blades piercing me hot


He told me to

think the whole thing null,


make a martyr proud.


With love, Alyssa