Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ramblings of a nicotine-deprived mind...

So it has been approximately seven days, seven hours, and 55 minutes since my last cigarette... but who's counting?

Fuck you, cigarettes. No, seriously, fuck you.
I AM, DAMMIT. I need every bit of affirmation I can muster. Side note: while trying to check the time I took the above photo so I could have an exact quitting time, I discovered that iPhones DON'T REPORT PHOTO TIMESTAMPS. What the hell, y'all? So I actually had to download some weird geek app that somehow scrounges up all the technical details about iPhone photos, just so I could have my precise starting point. It's the little things.

I don't have much to say about this right now... I haven't even told anyone other than my coworkers yet, because I don't want to get people (read: Mom) all excited, then have to feel even worse if I fail and fall off the wagon. I'll talk more about it later, once I'm not teetering so close to the edge.

I do, however, want to document the reward schedule I've laid out for myself, just for motivational purposes. I decided to make it makeup/pampering-type things, so I can at least feel pretty while I'm toughing this shit out.
  • ONE WEEK: TokyoMilk Lip Elixirs (already ordered three of these a few hours ago, so Reward #1 is en route).
  • TWO WEEKS: BH Cosmetics "Galaxy Chic" eyeshadow palette, so I can have some pretty shades to color on myself with.  Idle hands smoke cigarettes, ya know. The packaging looks like a nine-year-old designed it, so I'll have to hide it from public view, but the colors are gorgeous.
  • THREE WEEKS: Buxom Full-On Lip Polish. I received a sample of this from my Ipsy subscription and just love it, so I'll be needing a full-sized one even though it's way more than I should really spend on a silly lip gloss.
  • ONE MONTH: Skyn Iceland skincare products. I tried some samples from this line and am very impressed with how great my skin feels, but it is EXPENSIVE AS SHIT (in my opinion, at least). So I figure I'll have earned a big splurge at the month mark, right? And I'm really trying to find some anti-aging products that I like, because I'd rather prevent that shit before it starts. I want to keep people surprised by how old I am, and guessing a decade less than my true age, for a loooooooooong time.
And no, I really don't need any of this stuff, because I've already gone a bit overboard with my newfound cosmetics obsession, but I figure the cost will be covered by what I would otherwise have spent on cigarettes, right? And after I'm done with my little rewards program, some "cigarette money" will go into my vacation jar each week, and the rest will stay in the bank where it belongs.

The battle continues...

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 2014 Ipsy Bag Review: "Destination Beauty"

Huzzah, it's already time for another Ipsy bag! (A refresher: Ipsy is a makeup sampling service that sends me a little makeup bag full of 4-5 cosmetics goodies each month.) This one's theme is "Destination Beauty," which somehow denotes a connection between cosmetics and traveling, so there ya go. I don't require a theme... just give me the pretties!

The bag...
This month's bag is interesting... the pattern is a detail of a larger piece by artist Klari Reis, which is an abstract map of the city of San Francisco. (Get it? "Destination Beauty" = map? Cute, Ipsy.) For me, the beauty of the piece was lost in translation due to the scale; a smaller scale incorporating more of the image would have been much more appealing, and could have made it more clear that it was a map and not just a random, vaguely amoeba-esque pattern. The vibrancy of the colors is also muted on the bag because of the plasticky material it's printed on, which is great for bag-cleaning purposes, but not so great for translating the crisp, bright hues. I still like the bag, though, and it's already living in my purse.

The goodies...
My bag contained:
  • bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in "Get Ready" (mini, valued at $7.50): At first glance, this pink lipstick didn't appeal to me, but it's a very pretty "my lips but better" color when applied. Smooth creamy consistency, but the jury's still out on lasting power. I usually prefer glosses to lipsticks, but isn't trying new things what a sample service is for? And I actually really like getting these mini lip products, because I almost never finish full-sized items before they pass their "use-by" date, and they take up less space in my purse, so there's that.
  •  Nicole by OPI Roughles nail polish in "On What Grounds?" (full-size item, valued at $8): As soon as I saw that I'd be getting this item, I made arrangements to trade it. This is a textured polish... and the swatches that I've seen online just weren't appealing to me. The color is a lovely robin's-egg sort of blue, but honestly, to me the gritty texture makes it look like blue sandpaper, and that's just not my jam. Plenty of people seem excited about this product, though, so it was easy for me to arrange a trade for an indigo Chella eyeliner that was one of the other options this month. I've really gotten into colored eyeliners lately, because they're great for adding a little vibrant color to my eyes without looking like I just stepped out of the 1980s or got punched in the eye.
  • Be a Bombshell Eyeshadow Quad in "Bora Bora" (full-size item, valued at $16): Speaking of looking like I just stepped out of the '80s, there's this eyeshadow palette. Three of the four shades are more neutral, workable hues, but then there's that BAM teal! Not sure that quadrant of the palette is going to see a lot of use, and honestly, the other three are a little more shimmery than I like, but I'm going to experiment with them and see what I can pull off.
  • Pixi Beauty Flawless Beauty Primer (deluxe sample, valued at $8.80): Like the eyeshadow quad, this primer is a little more shimmery than my usual selections, but I will probably end up using it when I run out of my current bottle. I think it may just need to wait its turn until warmer weather arrives... the shimmer may work a little better with bronzed summery makeup and a bit of a tan.
So the total value of my bag this month is $40.30. I don't really care about the dollar value of items or the brand names in my bag as long as I like the products; this time, I'm trading a cheaper item for a more expensive item, but I'd also happily do the reverse if I found a less expensive item more interesting than something else in my bag. I just kind of think it's interesting to keep track of the prices for informational purposes.

In other "newly-discovered makeup obsession" news, I also received a lovely little package from City Color Cosmetics, containing three "Be Matte" blushes. These blushes were options in the February Ipsy bag, but I did not receive one, and after seeing some good reviews, I couldn't pass up an order. I've found that a lot of blushes have more sparkle to them than I like, especially for work where I don't need to be looking like a glitter explosion, so I was excited to snap this matte trio up for the loooooooow price point of $2.99 apiece!

Enough blush for a stylish army...
 From L - R: "Fresh Melon," "Dragonfruit," and "Blood Orange." These pans are HUGE... I doubt I'll have to buy blush again for a long time. (I won't be keeping the Blood Orange, though, because it's just too bright for me.) The Dragonfruit is a really pretty pink shade that's not nearly as aggressively fuchsia as it looks in the pan. The Fresh Melon is a lovely change from the usual pinks, with a coral sort of hue that I find really natural and flattering. Both are highly pigmented and very easily buildable... I have to be careful to start small so I don't end up with clown cheeks! For the price, I'm very happy with the quality of these items.

Oh, and speaking of colored liners...

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I'M WATCHING YOU... with my snazzy green eyeliner, which is the only nod I'm making to green on this goofy beer-soaked holiday. A hearty "slainte" to you, dear (probably non-existent) reader... and may you be in heaven a half-hour before the devil knows you're dead!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

February 2014 Ipsy Bag Review: "The Look of Love"

Because I find myself reading a lot of other Ipsy subscribers' reviews, I decided that I might as well try my hand at my own critiques. What is this "Ipsy" of which I speak, you might ask? Ipsy is a beauty subscription service, from which I get a monthly shipment of 4-5 deluxe-sample or full-size makeup, skincare, and haircare products. For only $10 a month (shipping included), this is a fun little surprise for me, and the value of the bags is always way more than $10 (as you'll discover below). It's a good way to expand my style horizons, since I've been doing my makeup pretty much exactly the same way since the Spice Girls were a thing. I don't love every product, but I've loved enough in each bag so far to make it totally worthwhile... plus, each shipment comes in cute makeup bags, which are proving to be great for organizing some of my little odds and ends. Off we go...

The goodies.
The theme of the February 2014 bag is "The Look of Love," which kind of makes me want to hurl as a single girl on V-Day, but whatevs. Pink it is! The bag is pretty plain on the outside, but the interior is a fun pink leopard print, so there's that.

The contents:
  • 'Tini Beauty's Eyetini Cordial Cream Shadow + Base in One in "Violette" (full-size item, valued at $18): BOOM, this one item nearly doubles the cost of the bag! I typically fail at putting on regular eyeshadow, much less cream shadow, so this is going to require some experimentation, but the color is really soft and pretty.
  •  Zoya's nail polish in "Odette" (full-size item, valued at $9): In the interest of transparency, I must confess that I originally received this polish in the pale pink color "Dot," which just didn't float my boat, so I traded with someone for the far-more-me "Odette," a beautiful neutral lavender sort of shade. I haven't gotten a chance to do a mani yet, because as a nurse, it's impossible to keep polish looking nice when you're using hand sanitizer 1,358,569 times a shift, but I'm planning a full "paws and claws" for my upcoming vacation in a few weeks.
  • Skyn ICELAND's Fresh Start Mask with Ice Age Mud (sample packets, valued at $6.50): This item is currently socked away until I find myself in one of my "needs a spa day" moments, but all the reviews I've read have been glowing. I'm actually hoping I don't like it THAT much, though, because it's not cheap!
  • J.Cat Beauty's false eyelashes in style no. EL15 (full-size product, obviously, valued at $3.99): Unless you count the ridiculously OTT feathers-and-glitter styles that I've occasionally slapped on for Halloween, I've only tried to wear falsies once before, and it didn't go well... they just seemed so unnatural-looking to me, and they're a pain to put on. I'm going to try again on my next special occasion, though, armed with the new-found knowledge that these will look much more natural if I snip them in half and only use them on the outer halves of each eye. We shall see!
  •  Pop Beauty's Plump Pout Mini in "Fuchsia Freesia" (deluxe sample, valued at $8): more on this little item to come in a sec.
So, my February Ipsy bag added up to $45.49... none too shabby for my $10 investment! This was my second bag from Ipsy, and I've heartily approved of both so far, so I definitely foresee myself sticking around for a while. If Ipsy sounds interesting to you (assuming that anyone ever reads this), please use my referral link to go check out their website. (Full disclosure: if you do sign up using my referral link, I get some points that I can use towards products in the future... but I wouldn't recommend it if I didn't love it.)

However, this bag also brought with it a maelstrom of drama, all wrapped up in a tiny pink tube. When I opened my Pop Beauty lip gloss, I noticed an odd chemical sort of scent, but went ahead and tried it on my lips. Loved the color and the consistency of the gloss... but after a while, instead of dissipating, that scent evolved into an extremely potent gasoline/"burnt rubber" sort of stench. Into the trash with it! After reading a few other subscribers' reviews and seeing that I wasn't alone in this issue, I contacted Ipsy's customer service to let them know about the issue, and they swiftly sent me a replacement Pop Beauty gloss and also threw in a Buxom Full-On Lip Polish in "Dolly" for my trouble. Nice, right? However, the replacement Pop item smelled even worse than the first... epic fail. I contacted CS again to let them know that the replacement was also bad, and despite telling them that they didn't need to send me anything else in return, they sent me a mini Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in the shade "Anarchy." While all this was happening, I also contacted Pop Beauty directly to ask about the odor, and they sent me a super-generic reply and a full-size replacement gloss. When it arrived... it smelled like delicious vanilla cupcakes! None of the funkus of either of the minis.

The replacements.

So... problem solved and everybody's happy, right? Negative, Ghost Rider! It turns out that some of the eagle-eyed Ipsy subscribers had taken photos of the mini gloss packaging before opening them, which included a list of ingredients that didn't match the ingredients in the full-size items. Additionally, it was determined that the minis were manufactured in Taiwan, while the full-size items are made in the good ol' US of A. (For the full play-by-play, check out Zadidoll's breakdown of the situation.) Pop Beauty is insisting that the minis are safe to use, despite the fact that they smell like a burning jetliner, so people are up in arms and some are even contacting the FDA and whatnot. I just trashed both of my minis and called it a day, but I definitely don't see myself purchasing anything from Pop Beauty in the future. (I am, however, wearing the full-size gloss as I type this... hate to see it go to waste!) And I'm not letting this put me off Ipsy, since the problem is with another company's product, not their service... I just feel sorry for their customer service agents who are having to do all this damage control!

In other news, this happened:


And so it begins...

So I had one of these before, back in the days of yore, but I have no idea what I called it or even which site I used. Ah well... somewhere in the annals of the Internet, there's a time capsule of early-20-something moi, just waiting to be re-discovered.

I really have no idea why I'm choosing to start this blog, because I'm pretty sure nobody will ever find my wonkiness worth reading... and frankly, the jury's still out on whether I'd even want anyone to do so! For now, I suppose this is just an exercise in keeping some sort of tabs on all the random things I do, see, create, cook, and/or think. We'll see where it goes.

(Oh, and there might also be some entries about my traveling monkey... just sayin' is all.)
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