Sephora Play! January 2019

Since I’m back on blogging, here’s my Sephora Play! box for January 2018!   My box was variant #279, and I have to say it was mostly a miss, but I’ll get into that below in the box contents.   I’ve been subscribing to this one since nearly the beginning (since it was available in my area), and sometimes it’s a big hit, and other times it’s just all wrong.   They still can’t seem to get the curly hair items together, and I really don’t need yet another Smashbox Primer product (I’ve gotten Photo Finish twice, and I know I have samples of the Primer Water around too).   I do like the switch to these plastic zip bags – I mean, they’re plastic which, meh, but they’re way more useful for travel since they’ll contain spills and products that accidentally open mid-flight, but again, overall I could do without the bag.

  • Hum Daily Cleanse Supplement – 60 capsules / $25 – (Product is 6 capsules, value of $2.50)   These are going straight to the trash.   I don’t want ‘dietary supplements’ in ANY beauty box, not to mention that stuff like this is worthless.   You’re not going to detox or cleanse anything by taking these, other than that you’re going to pee out nearly 100% of what’s in there, and you could possibly do harm to your body by taking a supplement you don’t actually need.   What a waste.
  • Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon – 1.56 g / $24 – (Product is .89 g, value of $16.27)   Color received is “Glacé” which is a dusty mauve.   Mauves usually don’t work well with my skintone, but this one is just cool enough that it looks great!   Plus, Bite is cruelty free and already a favorite.
  • Origins Clear Improvement Mask – 1 oz / $13 – (Product is .5 oz, value of $6.50)   Charcoal masks are great and I use them all the time, so I’ll definitely use this one.   It’s nothing new to me since I know I’ve bought this before, but at least it’s not sketchy vitamins.
  • Smashbox Primer Water – 115 mL / $32 – (Product is 5 mL, value of $1.39)   Meh.   I don’t use primers often since I rarely to never use foundation, and I know I have a sample of this around here already anyway, plus I have probably a dozen of the regular non-water Smashbox primers too.
  • Laneige Water Sleeping Mask – 70 mL / $25 – (Product is 10 mL, value of $3.57)   I have super dry skin, so this will be fun to try!
  • Marajo Cleansing Creme & Deep Treatment Butter – 8.5 oz / $29 and 5.3 oz / $29 – (Products are both .23 oz, total value of $2.04)   A hair product that contains silicones, acrylates, and sulfates.   Curly hair that isn’t washed using a traditional shampoo with SLS/ALS cannot use these products because they cause buildup.   This is going straight to the trade/give-away box.

I think the reason I’m so disappointed with this box is that here we are starting a new year, and it’s all old products really.   I’m super disappointed with the inclusion of a supplement especially considering the science keeps proving over and over and over again that they’re useless and can actually do more harm than good.   It’s irresponsible to send these out without having some kind of opt-in for this kind of product.   The value in total comes to $32.27.   For a personal value, the Bite Lip Crayon makes this box worth the $10.60 cost for me alone since I really do love the color and will absolutely use it.   The rest is kinda meh.   Two products (hair care and supplement) are either being tossed or traded/gifted, and while I’ll probably use the remaining three (primer, two masks), I’m not really thrilled about them.   I know Sephora is sending out TONS of these boxes at this point, but they’re doing a really poor job at customization and keeping things fresh and new – it’s been a lot of repeats and old products instead of new items to explore and discover.   I wish they’d let you review your box and give ratings to let them know what you loved, hated, didn’t use, or were ambivalent about.   Anyway, I suppose for $10.60 a month, I really don’t have a lot to complain about, and getting samples to try, even if I’ve tried them three times before, is still worth the money for now, but if this keeps up, it might not be.


Medusa’s Makeup December 2018

I wanted to get back into the habit of posting subscription boxes and whatnot even though I’ve dropped a bunch of subscriptions this year.   We’ve been away or moving most of the year, so it didn’t make sense to keep receiving stuff I wasn’t home to use (or, not wearing yoga pants and t-shirts 24/7 for months on end).   Anyway!   I jumped back on Medusa’s Makeup after a hiatus when I saw this box teased on social media.   Unicorns, I’m in!

  • Unicorn Farts Lip Sparkle – 2 g / $10 – (Product is full size)   The sparkle looks like it would show up like crazy, but not a whole lot of it transfers to your lips, so it ends up being just a subtle pink shimmer.   AND, it smells like cotton candy.   What’s not to love?
  • Magical Makeup Setting Spray – 2 oz / $11.95 – (Product is full size)   It has a light, fresh smell, and while it dries a little slower than some other popular setting sprays, it didn’t feel tacky or sticky at all.
  • Disco Queen Lip Gloss – .2 oz / $11.95 – (Product is full size)   Oh boy, I’m usually not that into lip gloss, but this one is surprisingly not sticky and goes on more like a lip balm but with decent glitter payoff and has this pretty peachy shimmer.   It’s enough to be like HELLO GLITTER, but not so much that it’s WHOA, GLITTER.   Plus, it smells like cupcakes.
  • Glam Rock Eyeshadow – 2 g / $9 – (Product is full size)   The color is “Heroes” and is a shimmery, metallic forest green.   It’s really easy to blend, so it can go on as lightly as you want, or crazy full blast deep, dark green.
  • Rainbow Brush – 1 / ?? – (Bonus item)   I mean, how could you have a unicorn box and not include something ridiculously rainbow fantastic.   Love it!
  • Unicorn Hair Ties – 2 / ?? – (Bonus item)   I go through hair ties constantly, so extras are always welcome!

The value of the items comes to $42.90 and the value of the bonus items is reported to be $12 according to the product card.   The beauty box only costs $15.95 per month including shipping, so we’re well over double the cost even without including the bonus item value!   I was surprised that I love the lip gloss this much (and I mean, I really really do), and I’ll definitely use everything in here, so chalk this up as a winner for me.   What’s even better is that every item in the box is vegan and completely cruelty free.

2018 Year in Review

I used to have WordPress create those little year-in-review things, but I guess they’ve stopped doing that.   I did promise an overview of all the insanity that’s been happening behind the scenes here and why the blog went dark from May through pretty much this month, so here we are.
Our last dog (right, photo above), the boydog of a set of siblings, was 14 and while he was old and creaky, partially blind and deaf, and partially incontinent, he had been a pretty happy dude.   His health dropped off rather suddenly over the course of two weeks at the end of May, and we had to make the tough decision to let him go.   Medications weren’t keeping up with his arthritis pain, he couldn’t make it up the stairs without assistance, he’d lost weight, he kept having these bizarre spells where he’d fall down howling and shaking and need a few minutes to recover and get back on his feet, and he’d stopped being interested in food (typically he’d devour breakfast the second it hit the bowl, but he started taking two hesitant bites and walking away).   We’d lost his sister two years prior to cancer, but at just shy of 13 and 15, these two dogs lived long, spoiled rotten, and much-loved lives.   It’s still difficult, adjusting to life without another living being in the house after having a companion here for almost 14 straight years (nearly my whole married life), and I still have bad days where the loneliness and lingering grief really overwhelm me.   The husband is away long stretches with his new job, so it’s been really difficult.   I don’t think we’ll get another dog partly due to how I’m just not at all ready, and partly because we have opportunities to travel more and it’s not fair to have a dog only to leave it so often.

At the exact same time all of that was going on with the dog, we decided that downsizing from our single-family-home-with-yard to a townhome would be a good option.   Again, husband is gone 4+ months at sea for work and keeping up with the yard work, house work, gardening, weeding, etc on a sizable lot didn’t make sense for one person when the other was only home to enjoy the yard/house about 30% of the year.   We had a really fantastic backyard space and had done a lot of improvements, but in the last 2 years husband had been at his new job with these lengthy absences from home, it just stopped making sense financially and in terms of my time.   Also, I REALLY hate mowing the lawn.   Loathe it.   I’ll clean 1000 toilets before I’d ever mow another damn lawn.   So, I started looking and finally found (and successfully bid) on a townhouse.   It’s an end unit with a really great view, and now I enjoy watching the complex’s landscapers mow and remove the leaves while I sip coffee and work on the computer.   Of course, this is the year that everything goes wrong, so the moving process was not without a lot of problems.   We decided to have the flooring replaced in the new place since the carpets were original and in pretty bad shape, but the installers couldn’t come out for two months which set us behind and left us with four rooms we couldn’t move anything into (3 bedrooms and the main downstairs living space).   The new place is a whole mile from the old place, so instead of boxing everything up, we moved bits and pieces in reusable grocery bags and big plastic bins, mostly unpacking as we went.   That was going pretty well until we found out that husband’s truck had a major mechanical issue and was out of commission for the remainder of moving.   He also went back to work in the beginning of September (we closed on the new place early July), so that left me with my little car to finish up clearing out the garage and shed.   We’d never had cars in the garage, so you can only imagine what a job that was.   We closed on the old place at the end of October, so that was a solid four months it took us and me alone to get everything moved.   Just don’t ask to see my garage right now!   The beehives were moved to a property nearby – I had found a woman who wanted to host bees but didn’t want to do the work of beekeeping, so that worked out perfectly for both of us.

In June, we went to the Netherlands to take our first trip to Janine, the barge we now own in the Netherlands.   Husband was delayed arriving for a week due to a delay at work, so I spent the first week aboard on my own, cleaning, relaxing, taking time coping with the loss of our dog.   The trip ended up being complete bliss, and it was just the break I needed from the stress at home, but re-entry was REALLY hard.   I absolutely did not want to come home because I knew what was waiting for me – reminders of the dog we didn’t have anymore, the empty house, the stress of moving.   On the plus side, we did get to see friends get married early July, and I was asked to be their photographer.   It was an amazing, joyful weekend celebrating their happiness!

After closing on the old house end of October, November was filled with photography clients.   I got to see all of my yearly clients and take photos of their families for their holiday cards.   It was busy, so I didn’t get any unpacking or organizing done around the house, but I did enjoy seeing my regular clients all again.   I’m probably going to have to close out the business over the next year since the husband’s unpredictable schedule means I’ve had to turn away clients.   Having the barge now means that we want to travel more to spend time in the Netherlands and take advantage of our investment, so if the husband is off of work, we’re going to be gone.   However, I don’t really have much notice regarding the specifics of his schedule so it means I can’t plan basically anything in advance.   My Fall clients would still be okay to keep on, but I’m not sure that’s enough to support the business without incurring a loss (the cost of taxes/insurance/etc).   That would leave me with just beekeeping, and while it’s not a full-time job, at least it’s still something to tell people when they inevitably ask, “And what do you do?”   You guys, if you can find me a job that would be completely okay with me up and running off at short notice for 2 months straight, and can handle a super unpredictable schedule, I’m in.   I haven’t found one yet.   It’s really tough to answer that question without feeling like a complete loser for not having a job, but still have an answer that’s socially acceptable as an occupation (and for friends with kids, being a parent is a legit full-time job and I respect the hell out of you for it since that’s a job I’ve never wanted because it’s REALLY hard).   Or I need to find a way to not care (yeah, sure, that’s easy).

So, a bit of a bigger brain dump than I expected to write today, but that’s been my insane life since May, and of course, that’s not even all of it.   Things are starting to get quiet finally, but this is the time of year I naturally want to hibernate and disappear, so it’s probably part that too.   I’m not big on the December holiday festivities and generally don’t mind being alone, but it’s been especially difficult this year, not having a dog around and being *really* alone.   Friends are great, and I love seeing them, but the company of a beloved pet is different.   Anyway.   I hope to get back to putting stuff on the blog regularly and already have a few things planned over the next few weeks – stuff I’ve been meaning to post and just didn’t get to, so stick around!

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!