Storybook Cosmetics – November 2018

My poor little blog has been neglected since April, but it’s time to get back at it.  To be fair, there were a lot of crazy things happening, but I think I’ll get into that in another post.  This post is about the first shipment from the Storybook Cosmetics Book Club!  The first shipment was originally scheduled to ship in August, but there were a few delays, and this finally arrived on the 27th of November.  There was clear communication on social media about delays the whole way along, so I’m okay with that.  This being the first shipment, sometimes it takes a while to work out all the logistics and timing, and hey, it was well worth waiting for!

The first shipment is based on Little Women and is shaped like a book, complete with a dark green woven fabric printed book cover featuring gold lettering.  Inside the book, there’s a mirror on one side, and three eye shadows and a liquid lipstick on the other.  The eye shadow colors are Meg, Beth, and Amy, and the liquid lipstick is Jo.  This is just so perfectly on theme!  The packaging is gorgeous and sturdy with a magnetic closure.  As for the eye shadow colors, Meg is a shimmery sage green, Beth is a matte tan, and Amy is a shimmery, plummy pink sort of color.  The liquid lipstick is a deep raspberry shade – not a bright color, a good bit darker than my natural lip color, and it goes on much darker than it looks in the tube.  I really do love the color though, and the formula goes on creamy without drying out my lips.  It dries to a pretty long lasting matte finish.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next shipment which, according to an update today, looks like will arrive in January.  Honestly, I’d be okay with this being an every-other-month club since I could see it going to makeup overload pretty quick since those are all full-size products.  The cost is $24.99 per month plus shipping which came out to a total of $28.99 for me.  As far as a value goes, the liquid lipstick costs $14.00 on their website, and a 12 pan eye shadow book goes for $55, so it’s hard to come out with an exact value, but I’d say it’s right on target with their other products, plus, it’s a unique one-of-a-kind item that only goes out to subscribers which is always the draw of subscription boxes.  Overall, it’s a stunning product, and I can’t wait for the next!

Benevolent Beauty Box April 2018

Another Benevolent Beauty Box is here!  April’s edition featured four items this time, but the one is basically a four-in-one by itself and is a huge item, so I’m perfectly fine with this!  Let’s get into the contents.

  • Bellapierre Colour Stay – .32 oz / $10 – (Full Size Product)  It’s essentially an eye-safe glitter glue or primer that helps cosmetic glitter or shimmer eye shadow stick in place.  I, um, I tend to use a good bit of cosmetic glitter, so this is great by itself, but it also goes well with the other products in the box.  I think this is a touch thinner and easier to apply than the Too Faced glitter glue I love, so I’ll have to see how it holds up against the classic.
  • Star Looks Makeup Remover Pen – 2.5 g / $14 – (Full Size Product)  I guess I’m good enough fixing makeup oops with a q-tip that I just never bother getting special pens.  I mean, this is great, I’ll use it, but the fact that the ingredients on the box don’t match the ones on the website make me a little worried.  On the website, it says it contains paraffin and on the box, it doesn’t.  *shrugs*
  • Manna Kadar Blossom Floral Compact – 3.2 g / $29 – (Full Size Product)  I don’t really use blush or highlighter, but it says this can be used as an eye shadow as well, so that’s probably where it’s going to go.  The colors are pretty neutral between the light, pink, and bronzeish color, so it’ll work blended together or separately, no problem.
  • Bellapierre Eye Slay – 1 set / $45 – (Full Size Product)  I received the color, Mermaid Glam, which is going to be SO much fun to try out.  There are three pots each with 2 grams of mineral eye shadow plus a brush.  One of the pots in my set is a cosmetic glitter (the super bright blue one in the middle), so GLITTER!  I’m definitely going to give this a whirl sometime soon.

Overall the value of the box comes to $98 which is probably around the lower end of average for this box.  The big item is that eye color set, and I’m glad there’s the Colour Stay glitter glue to go along with it.  I’m kind of neutral on the Manna Kadar compact and the Makeup Remover pen, but they’re still items I’ll use for sure.  As always, looking forward to next month!

Sephora Play! April 2018

April’s Sephora Play! arrived this past week, and it was box variant #351.  I’m WILDLY underwhelmed.  I got a ton of anti-wrinkle products that the product sheet says were selected for my skin concern, but nowhere at all on Sephora’s website – not in the Play! Profile or in my regular Sephora Profile – do I ever list wrinkles as a skin concern.  In fact, I rather love my little wrinkles.  They’re badges of honor for all the times I’ve smiled and laughed, squinted and raised an eyebrow.  I don’t find trying to stop the inevitable march of time a worthy effort when I can actually do something about dry skin and acne.  It’s just silly to me.  Anyway, so yeah, this box was basically a total miss for me because I DO NOT CARE ABOUT WRINKLES.  Way off base, Sephora.  The theme this month was, “Insta Beauty” which was all about getting a perfect selfie, but again, if you know me, I’m not going to all perfect up my face when I take a selfie in my beekeeping suit.  I am who I am, and FWIW, sparkly lip gloss looks terrible on camera, so.  I don’t even.  *sigh*  But hey, at least the bag isn’t culturally insensitive this month?

  • Dr Dennis Gross Wrinkle Recovery Peel – 16 treatments / $88 – (Product is 2 packets, value of $11 by volume)  A wrinkle product I don’t need, not to mention how it contains AHA and increases sun sensitivity while we’re working our way into Spring and Summer.  This would’ve been way better in Fall or Winter, but nevermind that because I don’t even want this.  I don’t want to ‘recover’ wrinkles that are just going to come back anyway – again, I’d rather work on my dry skin and acne than worry about things you can’t stop.
  • Kiehl’s Line-Reducing Concentrate – 1.7 oz / $62 – (Product is .17 oz, value of $6.20 by volume)  Another ‘wrinkle reducing’ creme that contains ingredients that make your skin more sun sensitive.  Poor timing, and another poor choice for my profile.  Straight to the give-away box with this too.
  • Burberry Blush Eau de Parfum – 1.6 oz / $90 – (Product is .06 oz, value of $3.38 by volume)  Oh gosh, this is hideous.  I sprayed a little on the card and it’s just a mess of florals including my least favorite, Jasmine.  Straight to the give-away box you go!
  • Buxom Full-On Lip Polish – 4.44 mL / $20 – (Product is 1.5 mL, value of $6.76 by volume)  The color I received is Celeste which is described as a prismatic soft peach.  I have to tell you that I’ve never bought a Buxom lip product because I get SO many of them as samples, and I find the tingle a little off-putting.  This is no different.
  • Philosophy Purity Made Simple Moisturizer – 4.7 oz / $25 – (Product is .25 oz, value of $1.33 by volume)  It’s a pretty basic moisturizer, though the first two ingredients are water and silicone, so, I’m not all that impressed right off the bat.  For a moisturizer, I’d expect to see an actual moisturizing ingredient in there, but silicone is kind of an inert filler, not a moisturizer.  Philosophy is also not cruelty free, so while this is basically the one product in the box I’d consider using, I’d never repurchase it since their parent company, Coty, engages in animal testing (they sell in China).
  • Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Perfector Skin Tint – 30 mL / $36 – (Product is 5 mL, value of  $6 by volume)  The color I received is #6, Warm Sand, and it’s WAY off base for my skin tone.  I fall somewhere between a light and fair, and this has some wild yellow tone to it that shows up as fake-spray-tan orange on my face.  Another huge miss, not to mention that the company isn’t cruelty free anyway.

Overall the value of the box comes to $34.58 which is about average.  The cost is only $10.60 including tax and shipping for me, but my personal value here is basically zero.  This box is pretty much a huge waste and I feel like I got a box intended for someone else since NONE of it matched my beauty profile.  Hugely disappointed this month, Sephora.

One Local Summer 2018 – Meal 1

Well, here we are with another One Local Summer coming upon us.  My local farmers market has already switched from their winter every-other-weekend schedule to every-weekend albeit still at the shorter, winter hours.  Last year, I dropped off blogging after Meal #7, but there were still local meals being made since it’s become a habit.  This is now year number TEN of One Local Summer for us and every year there’s something new to try – new recipes, cooking methods, etc.  But ten years is something pretty amazing.  The whole idea behind One Local Summer is that you make one meal a week during the summer using ingredients sourced from local farmers and growers.  The result is that you reduce your carbon footprint by using fewer “food miles” (instead of getting lettuce from California at hundreds of food miles, you get it from the small, family-run farm five miles down the road), and support hardworking local farmers and growers closer to home instead of large corporations that aren’t as invested in doing things the right way.  All of the producers at my local market love talking shop, whether it’s about how they care for their animals, their pest control methods, what new vegetables they’re trying out this year, and what works best for our local micro-climate.  Before I go on too much about how amazing my little farmers market family is, here’s the first meal!  I’m going to go on a meal-to-meal basis instead of sticking strictly to week-by-week since some weeks just get away from me, and that’s alright.  I don’t want this to be a huge chore or burden, so giving myself some leeway on busy weeks has proven to be super helpful.

First meal up!  A friend was raving about how awesome the Instant Pot was and while I’d heard about it before, I guess I never quite knew how amazing this little kitchen gadget was.  It’s essentially a pressure cooker and crock pot in one, and the model I have has SO many features, it almost replaces the oven and a good bit of the stove.  Did you know you can make PERFECT pulled pork in a matter of an hour?!  YEAH, I KNOW!  CRAZY.  So, basically, I’m smitten with this thing, and you will pry it from my cold, dead hands before I’d give it up.  One of the neat options is the ability to do Sous Vide cooking since the temperature control holds steady within 5 degrees.  We already had the vacuum sealer gizmo that we use quite a bit, so I found a recipe for Sous Vide fajitas and went to town.  Using bison skirt steak instead of beef, I added garlic, cumin, pepper, salt, and chili powder to the vacuum bag, sealed, and let marinate overnight in the fridge.  I decided on 145 for the temperature using this chart since I tend to like red meat more on the well-done side, and I know bison doesn’t need quite as much heat as cow beef.  I set the timer for 2 hours to be sure it was cooked thoroughly, though I probably could’ve gone for less since the cut wasn’t terribly thick.  While that was going on, I got to work on the flour tortillas using this recipe.  They’re rather easy to make with only four ingredients, but it’s pretty time consuming, and there is a bit of a learning curve with the thickness and getting them on the skillet just right.  I got a little overzealous with the rolling pin and made them larger than my cast iron pan, so in hindsight, I should’ve probably set up the pizza stone on the grill for more space to get them thrown down nice and flat.  Yeah, they ended up a little smooshed and wrinkled at the edges, but do you know what?  The recipe says the wonky-shaped ones taste better, so, I’m just going to stick with that.  Once the bison was about done, I loaded up the cast iron skillet with olive oil and scallions and then wilted some baby chard on top.  Then I gave the bison a quick pan sear once it was out of the Sous Vide bath, and piled my creation on a plate with some cheese.  To top off the meal, there’s a glass of homebrewed hard cider made with apples from my grandparents’ place that we picked, crushed, pressed, and fermented ourselves.  It’s a true labor of love, and I’m going to be super sad when this keg is empty since we don’t have a batch waiting in reserve.  That’s that for the first meal!  I already have plans for another Instant Pot meal for next week once my fajita leftovers are gone.

Ingredients:
Bison – Backyard Bison
Flour – Mill at Anselma
Chard – Charlestown Farm
Scallions – Charlestown Farm
Lard – Deep Roots Valley Farm
Cheese – Birchrun Hills
Garlic – Hill Creek Farm
Non Local – Olive Oil, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, lime juice