L’Occitane Amande Concentre De Lait

Something that I am terrified of is my hands aging prematurely. I don’t know why. I honestly don’t. It just scares me. I’ve tried taking care of them via lotion and gloves, but the past couple of years I’ve noticed that the surface of them have started wrinkling and, honestly, looking much older than I’d like. And we all know that for the best goth complexions, smooth skin looks best under that pale foundation!!!

Working through my backlog of samples, I came across a .7 oz bottle of L’Occitane Amande Concentre De Lait (Almond Milk Concentrate) and figured what the heck. I’ve been using it a few times a day for three weeks (a little dab will do ya) and I’m amazed at the transformation my hands have gone under. My hands feel soft, like my infant daughter’s skin. It doesn’t dry down greasy like so many other anti-aging lotions I’ve tried. Even after doing dishes, they feel wonderful and they LOOK younger. Plumper? Less defined lines? There’s a significant lack of hangnails that I normally get from doing dishes and other mom stuff, and my nails aren’t splitting and cracking like they normally do. My *husband* even mentioned it last night that my hands looked really good.

The cost is pretty up there – $50 for 7 ounces. I also don’t like that the full size jar is a twist lid that you have to stick your fingers into. I’m a freak about bacteria since I was 16 and got pinkeye from sharing mascara with a friend (who didn’t have symptoms but apparently had held on to the mascara for a while). However, in my search, I found plenty of these little .7 twist bottles on ebay from good sellers. The batch that I bought included 3.6 ounces of product for 20 bucks, which is a little less than SMP, but also much more manageable while I budget for a full-size jar from L’Occitane.

I’m not sure of your feelings regarding aftermarket makeup sales and swaps, but I’m a fan, especially since most places don’t take returns and I had shelves of products used once or twice that I couldnt’ do anything with. I swap with people who have something I want, they get what they want, everyone’s happy.

Anyway, if you’re a woman of a certain age (agh! That marketing term!) and wanting your hands to look their best, but haven’t been sure about this lotion, give it a try. Sephora gives samples of it a couple times a year, and with the holidays coming up, they have trial sizes of this lotion in stores (L’Occitane and Sephora) as well as website, so you can try it out and not have to buy in at the full size. And if it wasn’t for you, let me know because I’ll gladly take your samples off your hands =D

 

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12 Year Old Girls

If you spent about six minutes with my SD, you’d know in two why we call her Sassypants. The girl just rolls in it. She usually uses it for good, but lately, it’s been slipping into a problem.

I made a deliberate  decision about four years ago to not put a lot of details regarding my husband and his ex, the custody issues, and that side of the family into the internet because of a couple reasons: With a little digging, it’s not that hard to figure out who I am, and I didn’t want her to have anything she could take to court and also because I don’t want to have the big kids come across my blog one day and think that I just trashed that woman. My husband and I make damn sure that we don’t trash her – mostly because it’s not fair to the kids. They are allowed to love their momma, and shouldn’t EVER feel bad about it.

The problem is, the majority of S’s issues stem from the custody issue. We have full-time, primary placement. She gets biweekly visits, school vacations, and summertime vacations. This was decided by the GAL for the kids, as well as an investigation by the courts into the allegations of abusive behavior and neglect she inflicted upon them. It was messy for her, guys. But it’s over with. Last year, on S’s birthday, while visiting her mother, she decided to tell all the business (her version of course, where she’s a victim) and blame S for them coming to live with their dad. She has done nothing over the past year but punish S repeatedly for this – telling her that it’s all her fault, blah blah blah. It’s awful, and if I were 12 and starting my period and a hormonal mess dealing with emotional issues from my mother separating herself from me, I’d be a bitch, too.

So now she’s got all of this going on, and she’s lashing out at us. She’s being cruel to her brother. This weekend we had a sleepover for her birthday and she decided to make fun of her brother, her grandmother and of course, me. Not going to lie, even though I understand the roots of it (trying to impress, pushing boundaries, typical 12 year old stuff that I’m certain I also did as a kid), it hurt. We have tried to support her and guide her through this as much as we can, but it seems like there’s not much else we can do.

Husband and I talked, and the “T” word came up – therapy. It’s a real thing we are considering. It’s not that we’re opposed to it – I’ve been frank about my mental health status, and I know that it can help – but we have some concerns. How do we find a good fit for her? We’re terrified that the therapist might teach her to be a victim instead of moving forward. She has a manipulative streak in her a mile wide (something she employs even now albeit rarely); would this trigger her to use it as justification to be shitty?

And at the end of the day: Are we awful parents that we think of this?

This is really more of a vent blog, but I’d love to know if some of you parents out there have been through this. We want to do the right thing for her, and we know that this might be good because we aren’t’ qualified to treat her mental health – but in issues of her health before, she’s used that as a weapon against things she doesn’t want to do (I can’t do the school walkathon, I have asthma; I can’t do the dishes, I had a fever last week). I love her. We want her to be happy. But have we already screwed her up?

Day Watch

On Friday, I came into the bedroom to see my husband watching a movie. Usually I don’t pay attention to them because he has a fascination for awful, terrible, seriously the lower on Rotten Tomatoes it has the better movies.

But there were two women in a shower, and suddenly it was a man and woman in the meadow and all of a sudden the two women were watching hockey.

I asked him what the hell and he told me that it was Day Watch, a Russian movie that came out in 2006 based on a trilogy of books and it was a sequel to Night Watch.

Guys. I got sucked in and watched the whole damn thing. It was absolutely ridiculous in all of the right ways. Plot pacing, continuity, set design – none of that mattered (which is a good thing because it wasn’t awesome).

From what I could tell, having not seen nor read the books, there are two factions of magic users in Russia – Light and Dark – and there’s a truce between them. The Dark ones want to break the truce, but not be at fault, so they use one of the Light Ones, Anton’s, son  as a pawn to get the Great Light One to come and fight him so they can start a war. Anton is trying to get a piece of chalk that a woman named Alicia – wife of the Dark Ones ringleader – has because it’s magic chalk and can undo his mistakes and make his son happy and love him, and not cause this war.

I don’t know why this movie sucked me in like it did, but I don’t regret it. It’s stupid fun, so if you like these types of stories, I’d watch it while it’s on Netflix.

ABH Prism Palette – Review

Got it on launch, arrived yesterday, and have been able to play with it on myself and my stepdaughter. Stepdaughter has normal skin, I am a greaseball.

The more I think about it, the more I don’t like doing first impressions, so I really wanted to talk about this with some authority. I’ve done ten different looks with this (and some help from Subculture), and today’s look has been on for eight hours. My husband got this for me as a surprise as it wasn’t something I was going to get for myself, but he said that he saw the packaging, and because I got the other two by ABH for my birthday, he thought it fit me. ❤ Y’all, get you a man who researches your makeup hobby and encourages it.

Here’s the review that I’m writing. I don’t have pictures because, well, my pictures absolutely suck, I’m not a pro so my looks suck, and swatches are out there in abundance. If you guys would like to see stuff that I mention, such as certain blends or whatever, let me know and I’ll do that – but in the meantime, I’m going to keep to the meat of the matter.

The cons:

  • The included brush is trash, just like with MR and Sub. It’s just a trash brush. Shedding straight out the gate, bent up hairs, and worthless. I know that ABH is trying to keep their palettes in a certain price point, but honestly, I’d much rather they skip the brush – maybe include a deluxe eyeliner that co-ordinates with the palette. For me (and this is me, not everyone else), it turns me off from wanting to purchase any of their brushes because this is the quality they send out – so why spend the twenty bucks on something that isn’t going to perform well?
  • The metallics have the same caking over issue as subculture.
  • The darker colors are tricky to blend.
  • The palette was shipped in the standard box (12x12x3.5), BUT without any sort of filler like they used to – instead there were eight pieces of black tissue paper simply folded up – not wadded to hold the palette or cushion it. There was bubble wrap around the palette and thankfully nothing was broken. I’ve been seeing lots of people speaking to getting broken palettes – go back to the paper shreds, ABH.
  • There are some similar shades (not quite dupes) in sub and MR.

The pros:

  • Ugh, it’s so freaking gorgeous. The box feels like a NARS compact and the palette itself has the velvet flocking on it. The gold detail is so thin and it doesn’t look gawdy. Even though I definitely see some Pink Floyd DSOTM influence, the geometric design is beautiful.
  • Mirror was the same size as MR and Sub – so a nice touch there.
  • The ingredients for this are similar to the mattes in Sub, which worried me. However, I think they used a harder press with these as there isn’t tons of powder or kickback when using the mattes. Additionally, they are extremely pigmented, but have better slip when applying regardless if I use bare skin, potion primer, or nyx eyeshadow base.
  • If there was a learning curve to using Sub (which I still feel is some BS and a PR mistake on ABH), there doesn’t seem to be one here. My stepdaughter (12) was able to play with the palette and achieve some nice blending very easily.
  • THE BLEND. Like butter. As a 34 year old woman, my eyes are not as smooth as they once were, and sometimes, you can see the wrinkles when I apply color. These mattes were so easy to diffuse, and I was able to achieve soft and dramatic looks with ease, simply by adding a tad more powder to each brush.
  • There wasn’t any issues with oxidation that I experienced with Sub. Today’s look has been on for 8 hours and I’m not mad at all about it. It looks the same as it did this morning.
  • The metallics are stunning when you use a WET brush. Because I had an issue with this with sub, I was nervous as six or seven of these colors are metallics. I looked at the ABH insta and saw where they said use a damp brush. And they are breathtaking. Do yourself a favor and try it out – this singlehandedly is what made me really fall in love with this palette for fall and winter.

Bottom Line:

If you like MR and are willing to give ABH a shot, go for Prism while it’s around. I don’t feel like my husband got ripped off buying this brand new. If you have a lot of similar colors to this palette, and don’t like metallics, then pass on it. But if you like the metal look and are wanting something new to add to your arsenal, these metallics are done very well.

I don’t regret getting this one, and I think that if I had my pick, this is the one I would have gone with.

 

The Great Purge

A year ago when we moved, we got rid of a lot of our things in anticipation of having things in storage. It was also a chance to declutter some things that the kids didn't use – and that we didn't either. While we eliminated a great deal of things, we still have a long way to go.

Our living situation doesn't look like it's changing for a long time so we have to start paring down. We have an entire house full of stuff in the garage and storage unit and need to eliminate a lot of it. The good news is that by waiting a year before we start this is that the emotional attachment that we have to a lot of junk has been eliminated and it should be easy to make better choices.

I'm just at a loss of how to do this. I don't want to throw things away because environmentally it's bothersome. But how do I go about selling this stuff? It's overwhelming to think about. I think I'll wait and do a few boxes at a time, and go from there.

Any advice?

Birthday Haul

So I'm not sure how you feel about haul posts but I love them. That's what this post is so feel free to skip over if you aren't in the mood!

My husband is an awesome guy and keeps track of my wish lists. He also knows that I've been keeping with that low-buy this year and loves supporting my hobby. Don't get it wrong, I support his as well – he loves video games and tech. We also don't go in really big on holidays with each other because of the kids but our birthdays we treat as a big deal. Regardless, this was unexpected!

Some of these items I got from selling my old stuff, a couple are rewards program gifts, and then the rest are from husband.

From the Viking:
Modern Renaissance and Subculture palettes from ABH. I have had MR on my want list since it launched but never quite jumped in since I was uncertain about the coloring. He went ahead and took care of that for me😄

Moonchild glow kit from ABH

Dark side liner and Gold liner from ABH.

I asked him why ABH and he said that he knows it's a brand I've wanted to try so he would get me started.

Everything Now night version by Arcade Fire. I also got Music for Heart and Breath by Richard Reed Parry.

Lolita blush and eyeliner

I picked out the UD stuff using destash cash: afterglow blush in Bittersweet and Quiver, Deslick primer, All-nighter foundation, 24-7 liner in a silver and copper colors and a replacement for my Meltdown.

Also from destashing, I ended up with the Auroa Glowkit, the Beauty Killer palette, and Candlelight Glow by TooFaced.

Birthday Promos this year were had from Ulta (Nyx palette), Sephora (Tarte blush and liquid lipstick) and UD (full-size Afterglow highlighter in Sin.

Also I got the spirit board pillowcases from killstar and the mini planchette pillow from Killin Me Softly Co. (gift from a friend who knows I'm trying to goth up our room and have a weakness for all things Ouija).

I'm such a happy camper guys. I hope your birthdays are full of awesomeness this year and you get at least one thing your heart desires! Stay tuned for reviews and looks and thoughts coming up in the next few weeks!!

Ulta Birthday Reward: NYX Happy Birthday Eyeshadow Palette

First, I’m sorry to those who didn’t get this quarter’s gift from Ulta. If it makes you feel better, last year’s UD shadow was AWFUL.

This quarter’s Ulta gift is a 10-pan NYX eyeshadow palette. There is no name for the palette nor the colors, so I’m just calling it the Happy Birthday Palette.

I’ve never used any NYX colors before, so it was nice to try it out. When I swatched, I didn’t use any primer and I used my fingers, so please note that. Also, even though I tried several times with different types of lighting, some washed out against my skin color. Also, the metallics simply don’t hold up under photo and those are what makes this palette gorgeous, IMO.

IMG_1588As you can see, there’s some patchiness in the orange matte shades, and the neutral is, well, neutral against my skin – I promise there’s a swatch in that middle picture!

I wore a couple of looks with this palette over the past week and was happy. As I said, the metaliics make this palette completely awesome. my favorite are the copper and metalic burgandy shades and that gorgeous green-bronze shift shade in the third picture. While I’ve seen it photograph as a silver, I didn’t get that on me. The green popped really nicely.

When they rang this at Ulta, they said the retail value was $18.00. It says that the net weight across all ten pans is .04 oz when a full size shadow is .06 oz and retails for $4.49, so you end up with 6 and 2/3rds shadows for the cost of a little less than 3  if you were to be able to purchase this.

I wore them with UD’s potion primer and they lasted for about six – eight hours until they started fading, and I have oily skin and live in high humidity areas. The metallics lasted a lot longer than the matte shades, although once the color faded, there was still shimmer which was an interesting look. There wasn’t a lot of oxidation or color changing that I could tell, and while it took some blending on the matte shades to get them to look how I wanted, it wasn’t anything that would stop me from buying the brand.

For those of you wanting it, there are some available on ebay averaging ten bucks. It’s a great way to try out some of the shadows that I’ve seen being praised and for free, I don’t have any regrets.

For those of you who have picked it up, what are your thoughts?

 

PR 101

Last week, for my birthday, my husband did an amazing thing: He got me a crap ton of makeup that I had on my wishlist but had never really purchased. Five of the things were from Anastasia Beverly Hills (ABH) – The Modern Rennisance and Subculture Palettes, Moonchild, Darkside gel liner and the Liquid Gold Metallic Luster Liner. People, when you marry, make sure that you marry someone who loves you and supports your hobbies – and that you support theirs!!

Anyway, I have been using these products and I plan on reviewing them, but I’ve been really caught up in watching the mess over on ABH’s social media! Full disclosure: For about six years, I wrote copy and also did reviews in exchange for products. At first it was very easy to be able to be honest with a company if they had issues, but as more and more people were willing to throw ethics out the window, it became more like “If you don’t say something positive about our product, we’ll blacklist and make sure you don’t review again”. The FTC changing disclosure laws made it a little easier, but about two years ago, I stopped doing reviews in exchange for anything.

That’s why I’m always doubtful when I see PR reviews. The idea of Beauty Gurus and Influensters are pretty neat, but just like anything else when it becomes corporate, you have to take it with a grain of salt.

The initial reviews on the subculture palette were glowing and totally hyped up. Then, people started getting the product that they paid for, and they were unhappy. Of note, Alissa Ashley over on Youtube had an awful experience with her palette. So many people are having issues with this thing.

So what does ABH do? They put out a seven minute long Instagram video “teaching” people how to use the palette!!! Their story is that because they are intensely pigmented, people don’t know how to use them right. it doesn’t take much to realize that it’s a complete and total jab at Alissa – which is fucking petty and unprofessional as hell.

For me, personally, I found a few of the shadows difficult to work with. Two of them crusted over like cheap Wet and Wild shadows from the late 90’s – after ONE USE. I found a few shadows to be absolutely stunning. I don’t think that I don’t know how to use eyeshadow – and this isn’t my first rodeo using highly pigmented shadow.

Norvina is also out on her twitter asking for people to become “brand educators” – another insult. I get that ABH has a type that she wants to use her products, and that they have a look they want everyone to fall into (pale, white, mid-20’s, matte lips, big brows), but it is bothersome. I’m 34 and I love these colors. I don’t think the palette is perfect. I think there are problems. But to run a discrediting campaign simply because others think that is a HUGE issue – and honestly about as mature as J* going on his snapchat to bitch about people.

PR 101: If you talk about what an important impact social media has had on your brand (per all the media talking points leading up to the Subculture release), don’t bite that hand. Don’t insinuate that all of us using your product are stupid. As one commentor wrote: “This is a $40.00 palette. It’s not for pros. It’s for everyday people who like to wear makeup and I shouldn’t have to learn a brand new way for your specific product.”

Anyway, if you like popcorn eating, definitely check out some of these things. You’re watching a brand implode without realizing what they are doing.

Another Day, Another J* Story

So, first and foremost, I know that a lot of people that I follow and those that follow me are fans of his products. I get that. I too have yearned for his liquid lipstick until I started finding dupes by other manufacturers.

The thing is, how many mornings do we need to wake up to another report of his shitty behavior before we stop rewarding him and his non-apologies?

Since the days of Myspace gone by (oh gosh, so embarrassing to go back to), J* has been an absolute train wreck of a human. I fully admit that I followed him, being only 2 years older than him. Then I realized, I’m supporting a guy who thrives on tearing people down. I lost track after my personal Facebook exodus, and then saw that he was launching a makeup line. The products were extremely interesting to me as they fit my aesthetic, but I never made the purchase as whenever I would, they would be sold out.

I’ve gotten to use a few of his products here and there through my burly pals sharing, but the quality has never really made me drop everything – it’s comparable to my favorite brands.

And the thing is, even with his newfound enterprise, reports still came out about his behavior. I decided a few years ago that I personally wouldn’t buy anything of his. I can’t support a monster.

That’s my personal decision, based on my research and knowledge. I viewed it like I could very easily put my money behind people I want to support, and I also know that if there was evidence that Star would actually change, I wouldn’t have a problem supporting him in the future (see me and my relationship with KvD cosmetics). I don’t go to different posts maligning him, as I felt for the longest time that people can make the decision for themselves, and I also hate pushing my views onto others.

But then I had a long conversation with one of my friends two (three?) Jeffree Vs Blackyoutubers rounds ago, and I’ve come to the realization that in my position as a white woman, it’s not enough to personally not support a racist misogynist, but I need to start speaking out about it.

I don’t understand why this is so controversial in the world of makeup. MUA on reddit has countless threads regarding J*, his behavior, and why/why not to support. Whenever a blogger or vlogger posts something negative about him, his supporters come out of the woodwork to troll them. Those that don’t participate in those actions, but rather passively support him by purchasing, reviewing and promoting his products are just as bad – or even worse because of their apathy.

Seriously, there are people who avoid brands because a subsidiary of a subsidiary has a separate production company in China so they might have some sort of cruelty issues unrelated to the product at hand – but they purchase every damn thing J* (cruelty incarnate) puts his name on.

And I don’t get how people can STILL do this.

The arguments always end up being something like “He’s just a kid/he was just a kid” or “But this makeup artist did something bad”, “he was bullied as a kid so he was triggered” or “he’s apologized, let it go.”

And we know those arguments are pretty pathetic, but we still say them.

My POV is this: He’s NOT a kid. He’s a 31 year old man – 2 years younger than me. If I went on a racist tirade in my early 20’s, video taped it, and then uploaded it to myspace for other people to laugh at, I would have lost my job. I would have lost everything. Because we expect 22 year old adults to not be racist.

If I did do something like that, and apologized it, but kept proving that I was racist by going in on WOC who happened to not like my product, I would lose my job. I would lose everything. I’d have my information plastered all over tumblr and people would incessantly call me out until I had nothing left.

I was tortured as a kid. I know those wounds can carry over into adulthood. I also know the benefit of therapy in dealing with those issues, and I also know that just because I had a shitty childhood, it doesn’t mean that I am allowed to abuse people as an adult.

An apology has to have meaning behind it, and then it has to carry over. It doesn’t matter that he apologized (again) or promised to do better if he doesn’t do a damn thing to change his behavior.

Come on people, we can do better. We need to support our brothers and sisters with our dollars and ability to say things without having our financial background pulled into the conversation. It’s time to say enough is enough.

Jeffree Star is a bully, a racist, and a misogynist (and yes, you can be LGBTQIA and still be these things). STOP supporting him. Stop reviewing his products. If you have to purchase it, do it secondhand in a swap to stop giving him money. Support those who he goes in on for simply having a differing opinion. And stop enabling this behavior from a spoiled man with a peter pan complex.

Portland Black Lipstick Company

A friend of mine moved to Portland for a few years,  and being part of the burlesque scene, she was introduced to this brand. She recommended it to me about a year ago, and I only just got around to ordering something from them.

Major claim to fame besides the best black lipstick money can buy? The owner’s Corpse Paint foundation and lipstick was used for the Weirdos in Portlandia!

I love that the website puts right up front that the word “natural” doesn’t mean anything in regards to cosmetics and then explains their formula. From what they’ve listed, they are as natural as one can get for doing what they do. Also they seem to be doing a vegan base as well as accepting customs.

They really stick with what the store says, offering 25 shades of lipstick in alternative colors, some glitter, Corpse Paint, and a setting powder.

I want to say that they also offer samples, which is something I love about indie companies, and I also get what a pain in the ass it can be to put them together, so I really appreciate that they offer that service. It helps me be able to try a variety of colors and keep my money in products that I’ll actually wear, instead of just more vanity decor. (Seriously, my husband is starting to ask questions about if I’ll be able to run out of makeup before I die)

As I was doing swatches and looks, my daughter was not having a great weekend, so please excuse the pictures and my acne. Read More »