Sepia Saturday 411

Our Sepia Saturday theme image this week featured a woman on her wedding day in 1928 in Canada.  Well, fortunately, I have photos of a wedding in 1927 in Canada that line up pretty well!  Above, we have Bessie Melita Creber on the left and her mother, Mary Jane (Battin) Creber on the right.  Melita (or “Meta” for short, as it appears on the back of other photos) was born 1 August 1899 in Plymouth, Devon, England, daughter of Mary Jane Battin and John Samuel Creber.  Her family, along with two siblings, left England for a new home in Canada in 1911.  Meta is just a year younger than my great grandmother, and both their mothers were sisters who must’ve kept in touch over the years.  On 18 Jun 1927, Meta married Alfred Norman Harris in Montreal, Canada at the Trinity Memorial Church.  I’m not quite sure where these photos were taken, but it’s probably Alfred’s mother’s home in Montreal.  The couple appears to later have lived in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada where both Meta and her husband passed away in 1985 and 1969 respectively.

This also lines up with a previous Sepia Saturday posting (#233) where I posted a larger group shot of the wedding party.  It’s pretty great to find a match to the theme image so close in time and place, so I knew this had to be the one for this week!

Benevolent Beauty Box February 2018

February’s Benevolent Beauty Box did indeed arrive on time, but I got behind (again, I know, shocker).  I always love the variety in this subscription – that they cover a wide variety of products in each box, despite being makeup/skincare only, not to mention that every product in the box is cruelty free or even completely vegan.  Anyway, on to the contents of this box!

  • Honey Belle Flora Rosewater Toner – 2 oz / $22 – (Product is full size)  Only 5 ingredients and no alcohol make this a toner I can actually use!  The scent is rosy but not overly floral since the rosewood tones it down and makes it a little musky.  It dries up nicely matte with no grease or oil and feels really pleasant on the skin.  I can’t wait to use this regularly!
  • Jacq’s Nourishing Face Moisturizer – 2 oz / $28 – (Product is full size)  I’m going to have to give this a cautious try since the third ingredient is coconut oil, and coconut oil is known to clog pores and cause acne.  The scent is nice though – herbal and clean without being overpowering.
  • Kismet Lovely Liquid Illuminator – .33 oz / $16 – (Product is full size)  The color is “Rosy” and it’s a very sheer, pearlescent pink.  It’s not one of those glitter bomb highlighters, it’s definitely a more subtle, pearly illuminator which I actually rather like.  I’ll probably end up using this one which is great since I usually pass on illuminators/highlighters – they’re just not my thing.
  • Vapour Aura Multi Use Blush – .24 oz / $36 – (Product is full size)  The color is “Crush” which is described as a sheer, soft pink.  I’m not too big on blushes since I have pretty rosy cheeks naturally, but this stick can be used on the lips and lids as well, making it more than just a blush!  The sheer, cotton candy pink is a little too light/pale for my lips in particular, but I think this might work well as a eyeshadow base color or as a brow bone highlighter.
  • Katherine Eyeliner Solution – .35 g / $26 – (Product is full size)  The color is “Cessna Brown” which is a dark brown.  The eyeliner goes on super smooth and easily with plenty of pigment, and there’s even a brush on the other end if you want to smudge out your eyeliner for a smoky eye look.

The total value of February’s box is $128 for five full size products!  I keep saying it every month, but getting full size products for $29.99 per month on a month-to-month basis makes this my absolute favorite subscription box.  The value is always out of the park, plus you get to try some neat products from smaller indie brands who are all dedicated to being completely cruelty free.  March’s box is already here, so that’s going up on the blog soon.

Sephora Play! March 2018

Another Sephora Play! has arrived, and it’s a little on the late side this month.  The theme is, “Festival of Beauty,” but again, a pretty nebulous theme that doesn’t actually make sense for any of the products in the box.  This is box variant #364 and it arrived yesterday, March 21, 2018.  I saw the spoilers and wasn’t too pleased with what was going to show up, but again, for $10, I guess I don’t have a lot of room to complain, but!  Then I saw the bag.  Sephora, you’re better than this.  There’s a great article here that goes into the detail on the use of the term, “Spirit Animal,” and it’s really awful that Sephora chose to use it on the bag this month.  It’s a shame, because I love the bag fabric, color, and ribbon, but the use of a culturally insensitive term like that really ruins it for me.  They could’ve easily said, “Beauty is my life,” or, “Beauty is my passion” instead of using a term that’s garnered some controversy.  Anyway, rant aside, on to the contents.

  • Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner – .016 oz / $22 – (Product is .008 oz, value of $11 by volume)  I know I have a sample of this that I’m already using, but it must be from a gift-with-purchase or something.  I could’ve sworn it came in another Sephora Play! box, but I guess not since I didn’t find it in the blog archives (I missed posting a few months, so maybe it was in one of those?).  Anyway!  Waterproof black eyeliner from a cruelty free company?  Yeah I can use that!
  • IGK Mistress Hydrating Hair Balm – 5 oz / $29 – (Product is .5 oz, value of $2.90 by volume)  Well, sure, it’s paraben and sulfate free, but unfortunately the third and fourth ingredients are silicones, so it’s a hard pass for me.  If you’re using products without parabens and sulfates, then you’re not able to wash out the silicones in this product that build up on your hair, so it’s silly to be all “we’re good for curls!” when you’re not.  It’s also incredibly heavily perfumed and smells just awful to me.  I’ll stick to my natural hair products, thank you very much!
  • Supergoop Setting Mist – 3.4 oz / $28 – (Product is .5 oz, value of $4.11 by volume)  It’s got an SPF 50 rating, but it’s heavily alcohol based which is bad for dry skin, and it has peppermint and spearmint oil, so that pretty much makes it a nope for me (mints tend to irritate my skin, and they just smell awful to me – why would you want a face product to smell like toothpaste?!).  This goes traight to the trade/give-away pile.
  • Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm – 1 oz / $68 – (Product is .17 oz, value of $11.56 by volume)  It’s basically a moisturizer with a very, VERY subtle pearlescence.  It’s okay – nothing really amazing, definitely not $68 for an ounce amazing, plus it’s not cruelty free, so this wouldn’t end up in my skincare routine on the regular.
  • Korres Greek Yoghurt Foaming Cream Cleanser – 5.07 oz / $26 – (Product is .68 oz, value of $3.49 by volume)  I haven’t yet tried this, but I love Korres products already.  Even though they started selling in mainland China, it’s only via internet sales, so they maintain their cruelty free status.  The cleanser smells light and fresh, and I love having these smaller sizes for travel.
  • Amika Soulfood Hair Mask – 2 oz / $12 – (Product is .7 oz, value of $4.20 by volume)  This is another product I haven’t tried yet since it’s going to be a single use foil packet tube.  Unfortunately, a quick glance at the ingredients means I won’t be trying this either since it contains silicones that don’t wash out without a shampoo containing SLS/ALS which I don’t use, so they just build up over time, and that’s no good.  It also contains Isopropyl alcohol (ie. Rubbing Alcohol) which is a heavy NO for dry and curly hair (SERIOUSLY?!).  I’d never EVER put rubbing alcohol on my hair and expect it to be nourished, so I can’t even believe it shows up in the ingredients here.  Hard pass.

The total value of this box comes to $37.26 which is pretty great for a cost of $10.60 per month including tax and shipping.  Unfortunately this box is mostly a miss for me since they included products that they thought were suited to my curly hair profile, but aren’t actually suitable for curly hair at all.  Super disappointing.  I will keep and use the eye liner, cleanser, and moisturizer which still make up for the cost of the box, but I’m bummed about the two hair products being absolute misses as well as the controversy over the bag.  Honestly, I’d be happy to go without the silly bag if we can get a full-sized product each month.  We’ll see what next month brings!

Local Meads

A local meadery, Haymaker Meadery, decided to run a fun competition among local beekeepers across three counties.  The idea was that beekeepers from Philadelphia, Chester, and Montgomery counties in Pennsylvania would bring in honey from their beehives which would then be turned into three separate meads using only honey from each individual county.  They collected the honey in August 2017 and in February 2018, the meads were finished, bottled, and ready to be tasted and judged.

Since I make mead at home as well, I was pretty psyched to be a part of this and rustled up two jars of honey to participate.  Each 2.5 lbs of honey is returned to the beekeeper in the form of a bottle of mead which is a pretty great trade!  Plus, participants also received a discount on purchases during the judging day.

The honey in the photo above is late Summer honey from my hives, so it’s darker than its earlier Spring counterpart.  As part of Chester County’s mead, the final product was indeed the darker of the three meads, so I have to imagine I wasn’t the only one bringing in fresh, late summer honey that was probably mostly clover-based.  After judging, the winner was declared to be Montgomery County’s mead, a lighter mead reminiscent of a Riesling with a touch of lemon and floral notes.  I’ll hand it to Montgomery County bees and beeks – they really put together some lovely honey to create a great mead.  I mean, they’re all good, and I was hard-pressed to pick a favorite since they all have their merits, but it was neat to see that even a matter of 10 or 20 miles could create honeys so different and as a result, meads that were so different.  Haymaker Meadery is looking to start another round of county-specific meads this year on Mead Day in August of 2018, so beekeepers, be sure to set aside some honey to participate this year!  It’s exciting to see your honey made into a professional mead, and getting to chat with other area beekeepers while sipping on delicious meads at judging day is a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  There may still be bottles of these three available at Haymaker, so I’d definitely suggest visiting the shop and trying some truly local flavor!