Lip Monthly August 2016

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August’s Lip Monthly finally arrived!  I’m not a big fan of this one at all, to be honest – the colors are pretty off for me, and even the bag isn’t one I’ll keep (ugh, pink AND flowers, c’mon).  When I opened the bag which was delivered Monday, August 22nd, the product card was stuck to the vinyl inside the bag and left behind orange residue from the card on the bag.  The colors?  Two are soft, dusty rose colors, one is a neon salmon pink, and the only acceptable one is the red stain.  For as much as I loved what I got in July, I’m wildly disappointed in this month’s shipment.

  • Hikari Dual Color Stick – .23 oz / $15 – (Full Size Product)  The color I received was “Dusk” which is basically a neon salmon pink and not at all like its namesake.  It’s bright, BRIGHT-bright.  This isn’t a color I can wear since anything that has even the slightest yellow tone doesn’t look good on me, but it’s honestly SO bright, I can’t see how this would look good on anyone who isn’t in an 80s music video.  It didn’t look that bad in the tube, but on?  HUGE NO.  The formula is nice and the stick is huge, but as a lip color, it’s not for me, and I really don’t use blush since I have pretty red cheeks to begin with.
  • Lord & Berry Lip Liner – .03 oz / $19 – (Full Size Product)  People still use lip liners?  I thought we had those invisible ones now and the colored ones were a thing of the past.. anyway, any sort of dusty rose sort of color isn’t for me, nor do I EVER use lip liners, so this is going straight to the trade/give-away box.
  • Manna Kadar Liplocked Priming Lip Wand – .09 oz / $24 – (Full Size Product)  I’m honestly not sure what color I received since it isn’t printed on the product itself.  It may have been on the safety seal band, but I’m at a loss!  Looking at the colors online, it’s probably “J’Adore” since it’s a pinky nude which fits the color description.  It looks like this pretty closely matches the other Manna Kadar Liplocked gloss I received last month though, so the two should work together pretty well.  It’s a thick crayon sort of product and goes on very matte.  I actually tried the Hikari color on top and as long as I went really lightly with the Hikari, it wasn’t too bad!  The color is just a shade darker than my natural lip color, so it would definitely work best as a primer.
  • Seraphine Rosy Cheeks – .35 oz / $20 – (Full Size Product)  It’s a lip and cheek stain, and the formula is almost like a cream gel consistency.  I received the color, “Bloom.”  Thicker than other gel stains, but thinner than liquid lipsticks.  It’s got a pretty strong floral scent which to me smells a lot like roses.  Again, not something I’d use on my cheeks since they don’t need to be any redder, so I tried it out on my lips.  It didn’t really stain much, but instead it clumped together and went on really unevenly.  I thought maybe I just needed to start with freshly exfoliated lips, so I did that and tried again, but it was exactly the same.  When I rubbed the gel into my lips with my finger to better distribute it, it ended up all coming off on my finger instead.  What little did stay on my lips was uneven and didn’t stain very much.  I was hoping for a nice classic red stain to wear under lip balms and glosses, and it’s there, but it’s much more subtle than I expected.  I think my finger is stained more red than my lips.  The company does advertise that they’re cruelty free and vegan, and that this product is 95% natural, so that’s pretty awesome.

The total value of the bag comes to $79 which is great when you consider that the bag cost me just under $10 for a 4 month (buy 3 get 1 free) subscription.  When you consider that I’m not really wowed by any of the products, for $10 it’s still okay, and I will use that Manna Kadar primer for sure.  I really wish the company had a way to set preferences for colors so the value would consistently be worth it every month.  I know that dusty rose and salmon/corals don’t work for me but berry and cool reds do.  I know I don’t like lip pencils, but I love trying new stains (even if they don’t quite knock my socks off).  Beyond that, for a subscription called “Lip Monthly” having two products be dual-purpose lip/cheek products isn’t really that fantastic for variety’s sake.  I probably would’ve appreciated a little more variety in color too since the lip liner pencil and Manna Kadar are basically the same color (though that might be intentional).  Anyway, two more months left, here’s hoping next month’s is better!

Sephora Play! August 2016

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August’s Sephora Play! has arrived!  This month’s theme was, “Wink Outside the Box,” so of course there are a bunch of products for eyes.  All of these are samples, no full-size products in the lot, but for a box that costs $10, I guess that’s to be expected!  It does give me a chance to try products and not end up with a full sized product that doesn’t work, so that’s good.

  • Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow – .07 oz / $21 – (Product is .02 oz, value of $6 by volume)  The color received is I544, “Pink Granite,” though it looks less pink and more purple to me.  It’s velvety smooth and iridescent.  It’s a nice color, nothing really outrageous, just a pretty basic color that probably everyone can use.  I’m not sure I like the packaging since it’s plastic and cardboard, but it *is* a sample, so..
  • Lancome Energie de Vie Smoothing & Glow Boosting Liquid Moisturizer – 1.69 oz / $55 – (Product is .16 oz, value of $5.21 by volume)  The tube is probably about half full which means this is a teeny little sample of a pretty expensive product.  It smells nice, and the formula is basically like a watery gel so it applies easily.  I’d probably never buy it because of the price and because denatured alcohol is the 4th ingredient which is no bueno for my dry skin, and moisturizer my ass – none of my moisturizers contain alcohol!  I’ll still try it though, but I can’t see how this is a good product to include here when my preferences are set to dry skin.
  • Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm – 15 mL / $68 – (Product is 7 mL, value of $31.73 by volume)  This is the highest value item in the box and the one I’m least interested in.  Yeah my eyes get puffy and have dark circles and wrinkles, but after trying eye cream after eye cream, nothing has ever made a difference, and I find them about as effective as water.  It’s a thick cream that has a very light fresh sort of scent.  So far it hasn’t irritated my eyes, and the ingredient list, outside of extracts and shea butter, has a bunch of silicones but no parabens, sulfates, or phthalates.  I probably would’ve preferred getting a full-sized mascara or something else instead of this product.
  • Clean Reserve Eau de Parfum – .34 oz / $25 – (Product is .05 oz, value of $3.68 by volume)  This is probably not a scent I’d ever pick for myself.  I could smell this when I opened the box and it basically smells like fresh laundry which is a nice scent, but not for a perfume.  It warms up a little on the skin with a hint of a deeper sort of musk, but it still mostly smells like laundry.  It’s not too overwhelming or floral which is nice, but I don’t think I want to smell like clean clothes all day.  I do like that the company is committed to eco-friendly practices, but this perfume is just not to my style, and as it’s on me while I write this, I definitely like it less and less as time goes on.  It’s like I doused myself in fabric softener.  I ended up having to go wash it off since it was starting to bother me.
  • Urban Decay Perversion Mascara – .4 oz / $22 – (Product is .1 oz, value of $5.50 by volume)  It’s just a hair smaller than the travel size which is .13 oz for $10.  I’ve heard LOTS of good things about this mascara, and taking a check over the ingredients, no cyclopentasiloxane or parabens!  It’s a keeper!  Or at least, I’ll be able to try it and see if there’s something else in it that irritates my speshul snowflake eyes.
  • Sephora Waterproof Contour Eye Pencil – .04 oz / $10 – (Product is .017 oz, value of $4.25 by volume)  The color received is #33, “Love Affair,” which is a shimmery plum color that I rather like.  It’s another product that seems to be okay for my eyes as far as the ingredients go, so I’ll have to give this a try and report back if it irritates my eyes or not!

The total value of the box by my estimation comes to $56.37 which is pretty decent for only costing $10.60 including tax.  I’d definitely have preferred to see more eye makeup products (a shadow primer or fake eyelashes?) in a “Wink Outside the Box” theme and less skin care type products, or at least have one of the makeup products be full size.  For the over $30 value of the eye cream, we could’ve had a mini palette from Tarte or Smashbox, or a nice mirrored compact, or something other than an eye cream (I’m really not feeling the eye cream for the price it takes up which is over half the box value).  It is a good variety of products though, just not as eye-focused as I initially thought, and I do like getting a perfume sample every month even if both of them have been complete misses so far.  Finding a scent you like can be a real pain and having a sample to try and think about on your own time instead of a snap decision in a store is pretty nice.  Anyway, sort of mixed feelings on this box I guess – I was expecting something entirely different this month!

Sepia Saturday 342-c

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For this week’s Sepia Saturday, again, we’re on our own to follow the prompt image for #342 or go off on our own.  I guess I’m sticking with my little personal theme of couples to explore some photos that may not have made it into a Sepia Saturday otherwise.  Above is a photo of Mr & Mrs IJselstein or Yselstein depending on how you spell the name.  The Dutch “IJ” is more commonly spelled with a “Y” in English, but it’s not *really* a Y in pronunciation – it’s more like an “ay” as in “day.”  This couple, identified only by their surname, was photographed, probably in Uithuizen in Holland in the 1930s.  Assuming they’re about 70 years old, their presumed birthdate is 1860, +-10 years or more though.  Without first names and some more background, it’s hard to be sure exactly who they are!  I know that the IJselstein surname doesn’t appear in my husband’s tree, so I don’t think these were related, but they likely knew my husband’s grandmother who lived in Uithuizen.  There’s something about the framing of this photo that I love – the way the man is sitting in the chair which I’ll bet he sat in every day and had regular chats with people who passed by.  The dog, looking right at the camera while the woman holds his leash.

This was on a page with two other photos – one of Hilda Dijkema in a garden captioned, “Lunteren, Hilly,” and another of a family with a caption, “van Beek Fam.”  Sometimes placement of the photos in an album helps tell the story, but I still can’t be sure where the photo was taken – it could’ve been while Hilda was in Lunteren (for what I’m not sure, though I suspect it has something to do with the tuberculosis sanatorium Sonnevanck where she was treated in the late 1930s) and not in Uithuizen.  Still, it’s a really great photo of a married couple though I wish I knew more about it!

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One Local Summer 2016 – Week 12

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Yep, still playing catch-up.  It should be week 15 as I’m posting this, so I’m still behind.  Life just keeps getting away from me and the first thing to go when things get to be too much is cooking.  But hey, I’m still here making the effort, and I have to wonder if I’d even bother cooking at all if it weren’t for this challenge!  So, this meal was a ham steak with grilled onions and eggplant and a cucumber and tomato salad on the side.  Everything was cooked on the grill, so it was great to not have to heat up the house on a day that was already too hot to begin with!  I may have ever so slightly overcooked the ham steak, but it was still delicious since it was given a little rub down with our own honey before it was introduced to the grill.  I need to remind myself that I don’t have to be fancy, and it’s okay to slap meat and veggies on the grill and thats good enough (and better than a microwaved boxed dinner).

Ingredients:
Ham Steak – M&M Creek Valley Farm
Tomato – Kimberton CSA
Eggplant – Kimberton CSA
Cucumber – Jack’s Farm
Blue Cheese – Birchrun Hills
Peach – Our Tree
Honey – Our beehives
Non Local – Olive Oil

Glossybox August 2016

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After the good deal they offered for Buy-1-Get-2-Free, I decided to stay on another month, just in case Glossybox has somehow magically become a box that works for me.  I’m sad to say it hasn’t, although it looks like there’s more of an effort to include paraben-free and cruelty-free products which is nice to see.  At first when I opened the box, I thought, “Oh hey!  This is pretty good!” but when I got to actually looking at the products and ingredients, the initial excitement faded.  I’ll get into why for each product below.

  • Too Faced Mascara Melt Off – .23 oz / $17 – (Product is .04 oz, value of $2.96 by volume) I wanted to be excited about this, but you can get the same results with pure olive oil and not be using a petroleum-based product (it contains Isohexadecane as the 2nd ingredient which is derived from petroleum).  I’ve used a few different oil blends to remove mascara before, and they’re actually 100% oil – for this product, the first oil is the 9th ingredient out of 16.  Disappointing, really.  You can actually use straight olive oil to remove mascara and it works just about the same.
  • Borghese Fango Ferma – 17.6 oz / $72.50 – (Product is 1 oz, value of $4.12 by volume)  It’s a mud mask basically, and I dig mud masks, but unfortunately this contains parabens.  I know Glossybox isn’t an ingredient-conscious or cruelty-free box, but, I expect better of high-end products.  The scent is rather pleasant though and not too terribly overwhelming, sort of a natural floral.  The mud is also a pale lavender color which is different!
  • Wella Oil Reflections – 1 oz / $20 – (Product is 1 oz, value of $20)  SIGH.  I was initially pretty excited about this.  Hair oil?  TOTALLY ME.  Then I looked at the ingredients – the first two are silicones and the third is denatured alcohol.  When we get down to the tenth ingredient, we finally find three oils, but they’re so low on the ingredient list, they might as well not even be there (water is listed higher).  So, this product is just barely an oil – it’s actually a silicone-based smoother just like all the other cheap silicone-based anti-frizz products out there.  The addition of alcohol (an ingredient that’s incredibly drying) runs against the hydrating properties of the oils and is listed higher, so there’s more alcohol than oil in here which is really silly.  This is completely useless to me since I don’t use silicones on my hair, and it’s basically lying about what it actually is.  The scent is nice though – sort of a fruity vanilla – but I’ll never, ever use it.
  • De Bruyere After-Sun Lotion – 50 mL / $12.30 – (Product is 50mL, value of $12.30)  I love after-sun lotions for hydrating parched skin after a day in the sun (usually post-shower after mowing the lawn).  The scent is a coconutty Monoi and it’s pretty light and perfectly summery.  This, again, contains Isohexadecane though, so it’s not exactly perfect, unfortunately.
  • Trifle Cosmetics Lip Parfait – 3.5 g / $18.95 – (Product is 3.5 g, value of $18.95)  I received the color, “Exotic Fruits,” which is a super pale nude pink.  The color is better suited to being a concealer than a lip color for my skin tone, and as you can see from the swatch (linked here), it’s just a wee bit pinker than the skin tone on my inner arm.  I don’t look good in nude shades like this, so it’s a complete miss for me.
  • Invisibobble – 3 pcs / $7.95 – (3 pcs included, value of $7.95)  UGGHHH PINK.  WHY PINK?!  I loathe pink.  Absolutely hate it.  Outside of the color, I decided to give it a try since, hey, if it works, who cares what color it is if I’m using it around the house where no one can see me wearing such a terrible color.  Well, my hair is very curly, so when I tried to pull it out of my hair, it tangled up into such a snarl at the ends that it ended up ripping out a bunch of hair, far worse than a traditional hair elastic that at least slides out smoothly with no spiral to catch on every last hair at the ends.  It also stretched out like crazy and didn’t manage to hold the whole time (it has since returned to shape, but it’s not as elastic as traditional hair elastics when in use).  So, another nope.  This definitely does NOT work on all hair types.

Overall the value comes out to $66.28 for a box that costs $21.  The value is great on the surface, but when you consider that I’m only keeping three items (Mascara Melt Off, mud mask, and the after-sun lotion) that have a value of $19.38, it really isn’t that great.  This really just isn’t the box for me – the products included consistently  miss the mark for having quality ingredients (ie. ingredients that aren’t petroleum-based, parabens, irritants, silicones, etc).  I know I’m a bit of a natural hippie who prefers more of a purist approach to the things I put on my face and skin, and I should know that this isn’t going to be a good fit, but every once in a while it’s fun to try something new and different.  Well, I’m over it, back to the ones I know and trust to deliver exactly the products I’m interested in!