Late to the party as usual, but here I am for Sepia Saturday as we get back on track with weekly prompts! Our first week featured a holiday calendar from Germany and I really had nothing quite like it in my collection since I have mostly photos, but since it was meant for a holiday greeting for the month of December so I figured a photo meant for the same effect would work just as well! Above, we have Mary Victoria Creber, my 1st cousin 3x removed or my great grandmother’s first cousin. Mary Victoria was born 10 October 1907 in Plymouth, Devon, England and went to Canada with her mother and father in 1911. She married Alan George Armstrong in 1943 and passed away on 29 October 2001 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. I never met her, but she kept in touch with her aunt, my 2x great grandmother and sent lots of photos. At the bottom of the photo is my great grandmother’s handwriting indicative of her later years, so she went back and labelled this later on.
The back of the photo features this little greeting, so we know Mary was 21 when the photo was taken. She’s wearing some sort of fur lined cape in the photo and it looks rather wintery to me, so I thought it would work well enough with the theme. Looking forward to catching up and getting back on track for next (this) week!
Oh man am I behind, like, crazy behind. Yes, this November edition of Sephora Play! arrived on time as usual, but it’s been sitting around until I had time to sit down and actually review it. Things get pretty crazy this time of year and with all the other commitments, the first thing to go is keeping up with the blog. But hey! Better late than never, right?
- The Estee Edit Dissolve The Drama – 6.7 oz / $32 – (Product is .5 oz, value of $2.39 by volume) I’m a total ingredient-reader, but the only way I could find a printed list of ingredients for this product was in the Sephora Q&A section – Estee Lauder doesn’t even have a list on their website! Anyway, the first oil is 9th out of 17 on the ingredient list, the first 7 being chemically derived thickening agents. Really unimpressive. The whole Estee Edit line is really unappealing to me since it feels like it’s trying too hard to be something young and hip but still using the same tired old ingredients and formulas in a new package. This has a very light fragrance that I don’t find appealing (stinky floral) and the texture is odd – like rubbing alcohol and oil at the same time. I won’t even dare bring this near my eyes to try it since they’re too sensitive and I love my plain jojoba oil for makeup removal MUCH better.
- Cover FX Illuminating Primer – 1 oz / $38 – (Product is .16 oz, value of $6.08 by volume) This is WAY too light for my skin. I didn’t find that it illuminated so much as visibly lightened and I’m already a pretty fair shade of pale to begin with. I probably couldn’t use this all over my face, just in areas where I needed a highlighting boost. Honestly, I prefer a more matte look and this definitely leaves behind a dewy sort of look that I don’t like.
- Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color – 1.64 g / $29 – (Product is 1 g, value of $17.68 by volume) The color I received is, “Rose Gold,” which is pretty much just plain gold (not like Apple’s new name for pink). I’m not a huge fan of cream/stick eyeshadows like this since they tend to crease, but I haven’t had a chance to try it out just yet, so the verdict is out so far! The color goes on nice and blends easily though so I’ll still use it, I’m just not huge on the formula.
- Sephora Ultra Shine Lip Gel – .11 oz / $12 – (Product is .1 oz, value of $10.90 by volume) The color I received is, “Pin-Up Pink,” a pretty bright, almost neon pink. There’s really barely any color payoff, so the color isn’t nearly as intense on as it looks in the tube. For a gloss, it’s not that sticky and actually feels nicely moisturizing. There’s a light bubblegum scent/flavor to it that’s actually surprisingly nice!
- GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment – 1.2 oz / $69 – (Product is .3 oz, value of $17.25 by volume) My first thought was, DAMN, that’s pretty expensive for what’s basically a mud mask. The ingredient list has a decent concentration of an ingredient that contains AHA and BHA which my skin responds pretty well to, plus the usual clay and charcoal. Unfortunately, it has a very heavy peppermint scent to it as well as including peppermint oil, so that’s a total deal breaker for me. I did try it out since I had the sample. The formula is a medium to thin consistency and a dark grey from the charcoal with little bits/chunks of what are apparently tea leaves in the formula. You’re supposed to use it very thinly which may allow for about 3 applications in the sample tube. The peppermint makes it feel cooling, but it also caused my eyes to water since the scent is rather strong and after a little while my skin felt like it was burning too (I seem to be a little sensitive to peppermint oil). Did it work wonders on my skin? Ehh. Not $69 for just over an ounce of product miracles, but my skin did feel toned without feeling tight, so it was nice, but not quite worth the price tag. Between the peppermint and the price, this was fun to try, but I’d never buy it.
- Stella McCartney Pop Eau de Parfum – 1.6 oz / $72 – (Product is .05 oz, value of $2.25) The musk doesn’t balance out the awful florals enough to make this wearable for me, so this is another in a long line of floral fails for me. It’s not as terrible as some of the other samples, but it’s definitely not one I could wear and not want to wash off in under 10 minutes. I still prefer the cedarwood, sandalwood, and musks by themselves without any of the violet or plumeria.
For a value, this box totals up to $56.55 which is a great value when you consider I only paid $10.60 for the box including tax! This box was less of a hit than others since I really didn’t like half of the box, but the half I did like was where the big values were with the eye color and mud mask. I mean, even if I didn’t necessarily like the mask, I’m glad I had a chance to try it, especially since it has such a high price tag for the full size. And hey, the box is all about trying new things, so that works! Looking forward to December’s box!
For our final week of the, “War and Peace,” Sepia Saturday theme, I thought I’d add in this great photo of Bouwe Jaarsma, my husband’s great-uncle (brother of his grandfather). I don’t know much about his military service since the record privacy blackout extends into his career, but I know he was described in a newspaper article as, “gepensioneerde militair,” or retired military, so he clearly made a lifelong career out of his military service, presumably in the army. Bouwe was born 7 Sep 1918 in Sint Nicolaasga in Friesland, Netherlands to parents Douwe Jaarsma and Pietertje de Boer, the 5th of six children. He married Baukje Zijlstra in 1946. We have photos taken more recently of a trip he and his wife made to the USA to visit his siblings that had left the Netherlands for the USA as well as a number of letters he wrote to his brother, so they clearly kept in touch dispite the distance. Bouwe passed away on 14 Oct 1992. I don’t know too much about his life, but I do love this rather nicely posed photo of him as a young man, his cover resting on a fringed stand and his uniform pressed and perfect. The back of the photo postcard has the photographer’s stamp for, “Fotografie H. Jager,” who had a studio in Ede on Stationsstraat near the Roman Catholic Church. It looks like the street was renamed Stationsweg (small change from “street” to “way”), but the church is still there. If I had to guess on a date for the photo, I’d say late 1930s, probably between 1938-1942 or so.
A very late post for the Benevolent Beauty Box for October. This one arrived on time as usual, I’ve just had no time to get the blog post up! Still a stellar box even if it’s not exactly one of my favorites. Out of the two nail polish variants, I got the one I wasn’t interested in (I definitely liked the blue better) and the lipstick color was way too dark for my tastes, but the oil and eyeshadow are awesome! I’m not quite sure how I’ll use the Punker shadow since it’s the darkest black and my eyes are too deep set to really look good with that whole smokey eye thing. They’re still all awesome, full size products, just a little off the mark for me this time around, but the box has been so amazing overall that one slight miss isn’t a big deal for me.
- Medusa’s Makeup Maracuja Oil – .34 oz / $12 – (Product is full size) Also known as Passionfruit seed oil, this great oil is wonderful for dry skin. It absorbs quickly and has a very faint nutty scent, almost a little like Cocoa butter. My skin is alway dry, so this is great to see in the box, and I had never tried this oil before!
- Modish Polish – .5 oz / $12 – (Product is full size) I received the color, “No Time for Bullshit,” which is a nude-ish mauve. I probably would’ve preferred the other color variant here since I definitely prefer blue over a pink toned color, but this goes on more like a warmer nude than a pink. Surprisingly, it’s mostly opaque in one coat which is really awesome. I gave it a quick try and it did dry quickly and seemed to be pretty durable! I like a bunch of the other colors on the site so I may have to keep them on my radar.
- Tat2U Lipstick – 4.5 g / $16 – (Product is full size) The color received is, “New Generation,” and it’s described as a light plum, but it comes out more like a dark mauve on me and is just a bit too dark for my comfort level. I may have to try lightening this up a little with the Color Switch from the first box or going with a gold gloss over top to brighten it up a bit.. As it is, it just makes me look more pale than I already am!
- Tat2U Lip Pencil – 1 g / $14 – (Product is full size) The color received is, “Hyper,” and is described as a deep purple color. It’s definitely a little darker than the lipstick but does go on nice and smooth. Not sure again on the color since these dark, plummy purples just aren’t doing it for me, but again, I think with a sparkly gold gloss on top, it might work.
- LaRitzy Eye Shadow – 1.48 g / $16 – (Product is full size) The color received is, “Iced Malted,” and is a shimmery golden toned neutral tan color. I’m really digging all the golden shimmer eyeshadows that have been popular this year, so this is a welcome addition! It goes on velvety smooth and works nicely for a good pop of shimmer.
- Ardency Inn Punker Eyes Like Fire Shadow – 2.2 mL / $21 – (Product is full size) The product is a highly pigmented black eyeshadow with a brush attached to the applicator. I really can’t pull off the smokey eye thing (or I feel like I can’t since my eyes are pretty deep set and it just makes them look even deeper and not in a good way!), so I’m not sure how to use this! I think I might be able to make it work like a smudged eyeliner if I’m really careful with the applicator, but since the brush is attached, it makes that pretty difficult. I think it might work as an eyeshadow base layer too since it does blend easily and seems to have great staying power.
The total value comes to $91 which is fantastic since the box costs $29.95 per month for a month-to-month subscription. My personal cost is covered between the two products I really loved (the oil and eyeshadow), so I’m okay with that, even if the colors of the lip products weren’t quite a good match. That may be on me though since my personal comfort zone for color goes more bright/vivid reds and pinks instead of dark/deep plums and mauves – someone else might think it looks fine on me, but to my eye it just looks off. I’ll have to do some more playing with the color to see if I can get it to work though since I do like the formulas of both. Looking forward to November’s box and December’s Special Edition box!
Another round of the Espionage Cosmetics Nexus has arrived! They get here a little ahead of the month, so this is for December’s theme, “Twisted Holiday,” with two nail wraps to fit the theme! I expected probably something with string lights based on the theme image, but like always, had no idea where they might take the theme!
- Holiday Lights – A glossy nail wrap with a glow in the dark accent that is hinted at in the subtitle, “When Phoning Home Can’t Do The Job.” It’s a pretty clever way to incorporate Stranger Things into a holiday theme, and the nerd value here is subtle, but will no doubt be super popular.
- Patron Spirit of Halloween – This is a glossy nail wrap with black and white stripes that are reminiscent of Jack Skellington’s tuxedo. I honestly really dig the simplicity of these and Nightmare Before Christmas is a favorite, so it’s going to make voting super difficult this month!
I have to admit that I’m still undecided! While I love Holiday Lights, I have a soft spot for Patron Spirit of Halloween and really love those classy but still spooky pinstripes. Both nail wraps fit the theme perfectly! The nail wraps each cost $10 on the Espionage Cosmetics website, so the value exceeds the $15 month-to-month subscription cost. Voting has started, so if you’re a subscriber, go and vote now (if you can choose a favorite!). Public voting usually opens in a week or two, so keep an eye on the Espionage Cosmetics Twitter for details! The winner goes on to fame and glory for sale to the public once voting has ended, and the loser remains a Nexus exclusive. In case you’re thinking about subscribing and want to send me some love, hit up my referral link!