Friday, August 31, 2012

August Empties

Let me start this post by admitting that this month was, well, somewhat of a fail. Just in terms of money spent, I mean––how much of a fail could a month that gives us baby watermelon really be? But, yeah. Mint is pretty angry with me. I had hoped to keep it under $100, and I did not. Not even close. And that's not counting the stuff I bought with birthday funds! Sighhhh. It's so much stuff, and I did such a crappy job of keeping track of/photographing everything that I'm not even going to talk about acquisitions. It's also rather shameful. I was doing so well! Sighhhhhhhhh. Anything worth noting will be reviewed/discussed in other posts! I did pretty okay with empties this month, though, so here those are:

Clockwise from top left:
Pacifica California Star Jasmine body wash. This lasted me a really long time! I adore the smell and how delightfully foamy it was. I picked up the Waikiki Pikake version with my birthday discount, but I don't like it nearly as well––it's runnier, the scent isn't as appealing, and I'm going to use it up a lot faster both because I find I need more product, and because I want it empty so I can rebuy this one!
8 oz containers of acetone and pure acetone nail polish remover from Sally's. I like this kind, because the acetone (not 100%; in store it's pink) one smells nice and works well, and 100% acetone is my go-to tool for cleaning up cuticles. These smaller bottles are nice for travel, but they're not as good a deal as the 16 oz ones, so that's what I tend to buy instead. The 32 oz ones have an enormous opening that is far too large for my cotton balls, so I don't like buying those, either.
Secret pH balanced deodorant/antiperspirant in Spring Breeze. Worked pretty well, didn't mind the smell, would consider rebuying.
Bioré Deep Cleansing Ultra Pore Strips. The boy finished off the last of these. It was wonderfully disgusting.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Deluge

This is a non-post to apologize for my absence, both on here and in commenting on other bloggles. It's the last week of class so I've got lots of end-of-term grading to do, but I will be back in normal form (which is, admittedly, still not great at posting) after this weekend. At which point I will promptly jet off to the East Coast and be MIA again. Siiiigh.

But here! Have a picture of my mother and me in the Arcimoto car. The boy is in charge of outside design (my boyfriend designs cars, how cool is that?!), so the final product will look much more complete, but isn't it cute?! And so much fun, aaah.

But anyways! Hope y'all are enjoying your August, and I'll talk to you soon :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Benefit They're Real! Mascara Review and Swatches

I have an HG mascara, but it is rather prohibitively expensive (though compared to Guerlain, it's a steal), and one time when I needed to reach $50 I decided to pick up a travel tube of Benefit's They're Real! to try out. Herewith, my thoughts.
image via Sephora

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Summary

Next week is my last week of class! It's hard to believe I've known my students for 8 weeks now. I'm going to miss them when the class is over––I'm just hoping I can keep from crying on the last day (I have overactive tear glands, in both sad and gleefully happy times). The first four days of the week are going to be workworkwork (and I need to finalize lesson plans and figure out some ideas for activities after I finish writing this post!), but Friday I told them we would have a party. I'm still going to make them learn English, but there will be food and prizes and no quizzes! Should be a fun time.

That's really all I've got, y'all. That, and the observation that I have gone so far over my monthly beauty budget it is not even funny. Oh and also that I'm going to a wedding back east with the boy in a couple of weeks, and I have my dress! Still waiting on lipstick, though (and yes, lipstick is at least as important as the dress, c'mon folks). And, of course, a watermelon update. I took the most recent picture yesterday, again after a 5 day interval:

Grown some more

Barely fits in my hand anymore!
It's not been nearly as warm the past week as it was 2 weeks ago, so its growth has slowed considerably, but it is definitely still getting bigger. Another update in a few days!

What new, interesting, or exciting things have you been doing lately?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fragrance Friday

FF has been on a bit of a hiatus, due to an overly-tenacious cold and a lack of new perfume acquisitions, but my nose is mostly back to normal, and I took the plunge and ordered some Sonoma Scent Studio samples (as well as some more Guerlain, during a StC sale). For those of you who don't know her, Laurie Ericks is the mind behind SSS. She's regarded by perfume bloggers as one of the greats, and is renowned for her excellent quality and (relatively) affordable prices. All of her scents are in extrait concentration, 20-25% fragrance oils, which is twice as strong as most mainstream (and niche, for that matter) perfumes. I ordered 6 samples, plus a bonus free sample, and haven't disliked a single one (even the powdery, aldehydic floral!). Needless to say, I will be ordering samples of the rest of her collection (though she sadly lacks a white floral at this point in time, sigh), and I highly recommend you check them out yourselves! Anyways, enough chitchat, onto the rambling.

Friday, August 17
I'd ordered a full bottle of Mitsouko on eBay with some of my birthday funds, and was dismayed to discover that it didn't smell like the sample I'd received from TPC several months ago. I wasn't sure if it was a reformulation or a fake, so I ordered another sample from StC with which to compare it (as I'd long finished my original sample vial). Tragically, it seems that the original Mitsouko sample I got is not the same as the current formulation. *sob* The one I have is much more powdery and slightly sour (perhaps due to aldehydes?), at least for the first hour, though it does start to smell more like the Mitsouko I fell in love with as time goes by. After a couple hours, I like it fine, but it's not the same passionate joy that that original vial gave me. Oh, well, I'll just have to continue my search for a signature perfume...I suspect I'll get along better with this Mitsouko once the weather's cooler, so I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

30 Days: Day 14

Are there any brands you refuse to buy from? Why?

I'm just going to discuss beauty brands in this post, though there are certainly clothing brands I stay away from (Abercrombie & Fitch for being racist and horrible, Victoria's Secret for using child slave labor cotton, Forever 21 for wildly underpaying their employees [not to mention blatantly ripping off designers] all come to mind––and whoops, guess I am going to mention non-beauty brands!). After reading about how racist and awful the owner of Bond No. 9 is, I can safely say I will never be buying any of their perfumes, whether full bottle or samples. After reading about the theft of Christine's photographs by e.l.f., I shan't be buying from them again, as much as I like their $3 face brushes. I don't own any Lynnderella polishes, and after reading about that whole drama I can be sure that won't change. I know lots of people don't buy from brands that aren't "cruelty-free" (=no animal testing), which I don't pay much attention to in my own purchasing decisions, but the reveal that some brands were testing in China and didn't publicize that information (spearheaded by PETA, which is a company I loathe, but this article on the topic doesn't seem to be affiliated with them) definitely left a bad taste in my mouth. And Urban Decay's recent flip-flopping on selling in China annoyed me––they'd always been so loud and proud about no animal testing, then they decide they want to expand to China and argue that they can help change the system from within, then when the public response is overwhelmingly negative in the US they decide not to sell in China. *Sigh.*

There are some brands that actually do some good, though. The whole "pink for breast cancer" thing is mostly ineffective, not least because of how far the Susan G. Komen foundation has fallen (somewhat related, every month Planned Parenthood sends the nicest thank you email for my donation. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy), but MAC's Viva Glam line is wonderful, with 100% of the selling price of Viva Glam lipsticks and lipglasses going to the MAC AIDS Fund ($15 apiece, at this point in time), and Avon has the Empowerment Collection, where the net profits (generally around 60% of purchase price)  of certain products are donated to the Avon Foundation and used to fund programs that help women who suffer from domestic violence (they also have a similar program for breast cancer). So it's good to support those companies!

What about you? Are there any companies you steer clear of? Any programs you try to support?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wet N Wild Petal Pusher Color Icon Palette Review and Swatches

While this is the second purple palette I'm reviewing, it was the first to join my stash. I picked it up when I was contemplating making color a regular addition to my eye looks, and figured for $2.99 (on sale) it would be hard to go wrong. And, while I ended up buying another palette (Tarina Tarantino Fantastical) as well, Petal Pusher has not been entirely pushed aside (bahaha). It does, however, have its issues...
The palette has two sides, each split into browbone, eyelid, crease, and definer (which they say is meant to be used along the lashline).
On the left, the browbone is a sheer white-pink shimmer with blue shift. It has a nice texture, not too powdery, and the sheerness means it can be worn as a highlight without looking overly bright or weird. The eyelid is a satin-finish mauve with subtle gold iridescence, though it looks matte at first glance/before being used. It's a very pretty color, but it requires a ton of product to show up (even on my super-pale eyelids!). The crease shade is a neutral-cool purple shimmer, cooler than it looks in the arm swatch above. It's got decent pigmentation and isn't too loosely packed, so it's easy to build up without worrying about overapplying, though it could be a bit softer. The definer is a semi-chunky glitter mix of silver and blue in a cornflower blue sheer base. It's pretty sheer, not to mention the fallout from the glitter, but I find it works fine layered over other shades for some extra glitz and shine (and it doesn't suffer from much fallout after application). Here's an EOTD using the shades; I placed them as recommended by the palette, though I brushed the definer shade over the crease shade rather than along the lash line.

On the right, the browbone is a high frost pale lavender-pink. It is entirely too shiny for me to want to wear it on my browbone, but the pigmentation and texture are wonderful and I like to wear it on my inner lid to add some glitz. The eyelid shade is a warm coppery mauve shimmer with mediocre pigmentation, though the texture is fine. The crease shade is a blackened red-brown with shimmer, and the definer is a black with silver shimmer. The crease shade has good pigmentation, while the definer leaves something to be desired. My problem with the two shades is that a) once they're blended out, they look basically identical, b) they're too soft, and whenever I've tried to use them I've kicked up way too much product, and c) blending makes all the pretty shimmer go away! ((c) is a bit of a corollary of (a), but it irks me enough I wanted to mention it separately.)

I make use of the left browbone, eyelid, and crease shades, usually wearing them as suggested, though I also like the crease shade with other shadows in my collection, and the lid shade is also nicely versatile. On the right side, I'll use the browbone as an accent on my lid, as I find it to be too light and shimmery for much else, and occasionally I'll wear the eyelid shade in a warmer look. I pretty much steer entirely clear of the bottom two right shades and use the bottom left shade only sparingly. But hey, 5 shades ain't bad!

I think this palette is a good choice if you:
-are on a budget
-like softer shadow colors
-have light-to-medium skin (I think the lighter shades will look chalky on darker skins, if they show up at all)

I'm happy having it in my collection, but when I strike it rich I'll buy the same shades from, say, Inglot, and kiss this palette goodbye. Until then, purple onward!

$4.99 for 0.30 oz, available from drugstores

Quality: 7.5
Effectiveness: 3.5 (supposed to have "high pigment and pearl for ultra-impact color", which is overstating things)
Ease of Use: 4
Senses: 5
Pigmentation: 3.5
Duration: 3.5 (it does fade over the day, alas, and creases after a few hours without primer, and after ~7 hours with primer)
Consistency: 3.25
Price: 5
Value: 5
Grade: B-

What do you think of Petal Pusher? Have you tried any Wet N Wild palettes? What did you think?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Summary

Well, this is a day late, but at least Monday rhymes with Sunday, right? WHATEVER. Here's some pictures of my weekend.

Saturday: Went to Bite of Benton with my mother. $5 to get in, loads of free food samples and (relatively) cheap wine samples. Got rather overstimulated because me + big crowds = stress, but the food was great (thank God for lactase), and I'm always happy to spend some time with my mother! Stopped by my brother's on our way there, since the festival was in Corvallis, where he lives. Took a nap on his couch. Good times.
Free food from Market of Choice! So many choices! So
much deliciousness.
Buffalo jerky is delicious, y'all. So moist. So flavorful.
So expensive.

Bacon cheeseburger sliders! Which my mother had to
wait in line foreverrr to get. But so nommy...

Other things I ate but didn't photograph: Cafe Yumm, mini churros, marionberry cider, pinot gris, and syrah. And lots of water.

Quick Reviews: Updated Haircare Routine

Suave seems to have discontinued my previous haircare products, so I decided to try venturing out and trying something new.
image via Drugstore
For shampoo, I picked up the new Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Color Care Shampoo, which I actually really, really like. It's got a very mildly sweet smell (like nice department store perfume, actually––very pleasant in a shampoo), it foams like crazy, I only need a little bit to get my hair clean, it rinses out easily, and it helps reduce frizz.

image via Drugstore
It works really well with my current conditioner, Herbal Essences Totally Twisted, which is intensely moisturizing (less is more with this stuff, since if I use too much, it weighs my hair down) and very effective for keeping my curls bouncy. Unfortunately, it smells like synthetic froot, but I guess you can't win it all! Both run around $3 at drugstores, less if you wait for a sale. I recommend both; I think the shampoo would work for just about anyone who has issues with frizz and dyes their hair, and the conditioner would obviously work best for those with curly hair (keep in mind that my hair is very fine, so it may not work  as well if yours is really thick, though who knows, it could work even better!). 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tarina Tarantino Jewel Eyeshadow Palette in Fantastical Review and Swatches

Another birthday purchase! I bought this one after much research and consultation with other beauty nerds, and I must thank Larie for suggesting Tarina Tarantino to me (not to mention encouraging me to wear color!). Purple is a color that I feel comfortable wearing on my eyes, unlike, say, lime green, and I thought it would be a nice way to dip my toes into non-neutral shadows. Read on for more thoughts!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Nude Lip for the Cool and Fair: Le Métier de Beauté Lip Crème in Purple Haze Review and Swatches

I love my LMdB Fraise Crème lip crème, but it's quite bold and the gold shimmer requires decidedly warm accompanying makeup so I don't wear it all that often (also, it was a gift from L so I don't want to use it up too fast!). But I love the lip crème formula, with its creamy texture, long-lasting color, and nice moisture, so when I received some money for my birthday, I decided I needed to pick up another in a more neutral shade. After much internal debate and googling, I settled on the limited edition from last fall (though still available online) Neiman Marcus exclusive shade, Purple Haze.

They Grow Up So Fast

Remember the adorable watermelon from this weekend? Here, I'll refresh your memory:

Awww, I know, it's just too damn cute. 5 days later, this is what it looks like:

That is all.

Monday, August 13, 2012

30 Days: Day 13

Whoa, another 30 Days post! Long time no see, bra. I can't believe I have 17 more of these...

Are there any brands that underwhelm you?

This is something that I think about not infrequently in the course of my daily blog reads, and I'm wondering if anyone else does the same! Some brands seem to be really inconsistent, which turns me off big time––MAC and NARS are the ones that particularly come to mind, since it seems like some of their products are amazeballs and others are just plain sucky, with plenty of mediocrity in between, even within the same product range––I have yet to buy a NARS eyeshadow in part because they're expensive, and in part because they seem to be so hit-or-miss! Other brands just seem overpriced for the quality––like Smashbox, Stila, Kat Von D, Pixi. There are, of course, some products from those brands that are well worth the mid-range price, but again, inconsistency is frustrating! Some brands' packaging is overly cutesy or artsy, which is not always a bad thing (I have plenty of love for Benefit, Urban Decay, Too Faced, and theBalm), but I do wish that I didn't have to pay luxury prices for nice packaging (Revlon is one brand that does really, really well in that regard––drugstore prices, but weighty and solid products with pleasant aesthetics). And some high-end brands don't seem to have commensurately quality products––some Chanel and Dior eyeshadows, for example, seem to be lacking in pigment (based on reviews and the one lone Chanel eyeshadow I ever tried), and those same brands' lipsticks aren't always as long-lasting or moisturizing as one would hope for from a product that costs $30+. I realize not every product in a brand's range can be expected to be of great quality, but reliability and consistency is something that I would like to see more of! These same issues apply to drugstore makeup as well, but it annoys me much less there, because the price is so much lower so I'm willing to go to the trouble of researching extensively before purchasing and the hassle of returning something that doesn't work is less, because I have drugstores relatively nearby (10 minutes instead of the 20 minutes for Sephora).

Of course, much of that is based entirely on reading about others' experiences with the brands in question, since I cannot afford to try out everything (especially if I have ambiguous feelings toward the brand!), so perhaps with more exposure my opinions would change.  And the opposite may be true as well––there are several brands that I view very favorably (Le Métier de Beauté, Chantecaille, Armani, Shiseido, Hourglass) that with more experience would lose their luster. And this isn't even mentioning the numerous problems I have with cosmetics advertising, which also factors into my opinion of a brand––that's for another day, though!

What about you? Are there any brands you find yourself turned off by?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday Summary

Happy Sunday! Here's some pictures I've snapped recently.

Baby watermelon! I love that they have their characteristic stripes even when they're so tiny. Isn't it just adorable?! This is one of the bigger ones we have, but it's still super cute.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Skincare Saturday: Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 in Original and Rosé Review and Swatches

I think everyone was super psyched when this year's Sephora birthday gift was announced at the end of last year. I know I was, at least! I've heard pretty much nothing but good things about the Fresh lip balms, but at $22.50 apiece, they're just too expensive for me to want to purchase if I'm not sure they'll work out. Enter the birthday duo!
Fresh Sugar Rosé and Original Lip Treatments

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Currently Coveting: Smooch-Proof Lip Color

Unlike all other Currently Covetings, I don't have a particular product in mind for this one, and I'm hoping y'all can help me out! I'm looking for a truly smooch-proof lipstick (or gloss, but that seems extremely unlikely). I have lots that are long-wearing (Rouge d'Armani, Le Métier de Beauté Lip Crèmes, Shiseido Lacquer Rouge), and I know there are many others that do the same, but I don't have any that are transfer-resistant, much less transfer-proof. Rouge d'Armani is the closest, but even it transfers (to the boy, in case that wasn't clear). Ideally, it would be something that is comfortable to wear, isn't sticky, doesn't dry my lips out, and isn't painfully expensive, but the primary goal is something that stays put. I've tried several lip stains in the past and had truly abysmal results, so I would guess that anything liquid or gel is unlikely to work for me.

So, ladies: suggestions? Thank you for your help! (I'm sure the boy thanks you, too.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Shiseido Lacquer Rouge in Nymph Review and Swatches

Shiseido Lacquer
Rouge in Nymph

This is the first of the products I purchased as a birthday present for myself after seeing swatches of it on The Non-Blonde and Best Things in Beauty. I am all about MLBB shades, and Nymph seemed to fit the bill perfectly. I've also got a thing for comfortable, long-wearing lipsticks, and it sounded like the Lacquer Rouge formula would fulfill both those things. After having had it for a few days, I can safely say...

Last day... enter the birthday giveaway! Since the original posting, I have updated the photos (since I finished making the earrings, whee), added some sparkle to the earrings, and put in another way to earn an entry.
So, yeah, I guess this is why people make sure everything is solid before posting a giveaway? Oh wells. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

NYX Bronzer and Blusher in Marbella Review and Swatches

I'm going on 2 weeks of this goddamned stupid horrible plague (finally started antibiotics, though, so fingers crossed I feel a bajillion times better by class on Tuesday) and I do not feel like being smart or witty or coherent. But I do want to share swatches with you, so here's a super lazy and incompetent post. Enjoy?

Friday, August 3, 2012

July Favorites, Acquisitions, and Empties

Alright, so, technically it's no longer July, but just barely! so I'll count it as a win. Like last month, I'll try to keep this brief, Tweet-style (though there are some places where I just can't help myself from rambling!).

Matrix Biolage Hydratherapie Conditioner: Gift from Nana a few months ago when I ran out of conditioner. Had to use a lot, but my hair did like it–never weighted down.
Shiseido Ultimate Cleansing Oil: Finally ran out of it! Bought a replacement bottle stat (see below). Lasted 6 months with 1-2x/day usage. Extremely effective. Well worth the $25!
Suave Captivating Curls Mousse and Conditioner, Color Protection Shampoo: Finished all 3 of my haircare staples! Repurchased the mousse, couldn't find the conditioner anywhere so bought a different one (see below), ran out of shampoo on the last day of the month so new shampoo will be featured in August's post.
Jack Black Black Tea & Blackberry SPF 25 Lip Balm: OMG YOU GUYS I FINALLY FINISHED IT! I generally love the Jack Black balms (though the recent information that they have not been disclosing all the ingredients was very disheartening––part of why I liked them was because I thought they were petroleum and lanolin-free [not because I'm sensitive to either, just because it seemed better for the environment], but I do find it to be very effective for me, so I will certainly use up the ones I have left), but I did not like the smell of this one. Reminded me of dirt! But damnit, I was not going to let it go to waste, so I wore it before going to sleep (both at night and before naps) and the stupid thing still lasted more than 7 months. You definitely get your money's worth! Now I can switch to my favorite scent, Grapefruit & Ginger. 7 months of bliss comin' on up!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

FOTD, as Photographed by The Boy

I recently wore a full face of new products on a night when the boy came over for dinner with the fam and managed to rope him into taking pictures for the blog. I have a hard enough time getting decent pictures when I'm photographing myself, so you can imagine the number of ridiculous photos that resulted from having a partner in crime. Or you could just read the rest of this post! Take note of the interesting evening lighting...
Looking suspicious
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