Archive of ‘about face’ category

The Cruelest Cuts

Cruel to be kind

It’s funny how when you’re living in a present moment, it’s incredible easy, almost an automatic reflex to be cruel to yourself, just utterly savage. I was so happy when this photo was taken, ecstatic, even. A huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders just months before, and I was back among people who loved me. In spite of that, there are so many things I poked and picked and pricked at myself about. Too flubby in the bod, crooked teeths, frizzy hairs. Wow. Rude.

I see this photo today and just…marvel at how pretty I look. Why is it so much easier to show these kindnesses to a past version of ourselves? I’m trying to keep this in mind this morning and hold it close to my heart as I’m looking in the mirror, not pleased with what stares back. I’m trying my best to be kind to that person right now in this present, fleeting moment. I’ll never get this moment back again, you know? Now is when I need this love most. Not eight years ago. Not the faded me in a photograph. Current me, the one existing this second. Who knows how many more seconds are allotted to me? I can’t waste them being mean to a person who did nothing wrong but look in a mirror and just wish to see something nice.

Here Comes Little Sarah!

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“Here Comes Little Sarah!” That is something my late Mawga used to say when she heard my presence somewhere in the house or saw me peeking at her from around the corner and knew I was readying myself to run into her arms.

Sarah is not so little anymore (she wasn’t very little back then, either) but “Here Comes Little Sarah!” is something I still whisper to myself when I’m about to embark on something that feels big and important, or more precisely when I’m about to finish such a thing and reveal it to the world.

I am somewhere between the two right now, midway on my journey of beginning and finishing a thing, and when my sister shared with me this stash of photos from my childhood that had been recently uncovered, it felt like such wonderful timing. Firstly because I need a new author photo (ha!) but mostly because it’s such a powerful exercise to gaze into the past at that round little dumpling face and channel that jaunty insouciance from say, the featured photo up top, or that sense of wonder and curiosity exuding from the photo of be-mulleted, lavender crop top-wearing little me at the very bottom.

I look forward to seeing the other versions of myself that emerge from this mysterious cache, and all of the other little Sarahs that I may have forgotten about along the way. Here she comes! There she goes! Where does she end up? I’ll check back with you right here and let you know when I get there.

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An Inarticulate Rant: I Hate Scentbird

fucking scentbird

This is probably one of those things that people have YouTube channels for, to air their petty gripes and grievances aloud, for an audience (and perhaps future sponsors). I imagine on some level, that must be cathartic, to give voice to your criticisms and objections. I also imagine sometimes that people are better speakers than writers, and so recording their complaints and contentions is the option they’d prefer. (Although, I gotta tell you, from watching some of these videos,  some of these individuals sound as dumb as a bag of hammers, so maybe they were not blessed with gifts of either the oratory or compositional kind.)

Myself, I prefer to write when I’ve got a problem. And the problem I have right now, it’s perfectly petty, I know, I KNOW, but dammit, I’m mad, and I feel that I have to share anyway– even if it makes me sound bitter and hateful: I fucking hate scentbird.

I’m not going to link to them, but you may have heard of them: scentbird is a subscription based designer perfume program that allows you to try a 30-day supply of perfume for something like $14.95 a month. There are about 450 different scents to choose from “top designers” such as Gucci, Tom Ford, and Dolce & Gabbana, (which, if you ask me, sounds a lot like the crappy scents that are included in your Sephora Play box and are really nothing to get excited about.) A cursory peek at the brands they stock tells me that they may have something from Amouage or Etat Libre d’Orange, but other than that, they offer nothing extraordinary, rare, or niche. Which, okay, that’s fine. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to perfume and fragrance, and I don’t think that scentbird is pretending to offer that kind of service, or cater to those tastes, so I can’t get too mad about that. Conversely, I can’t muster any excitement for it, either.

What really burns my muffins, though, are scentbird’s advertisements, which I am bombarded with every time I watch a youtube video lately. In each and every single one of these ads, the person touting the service looks like a social media beauty “influencer”, and I know that you know exactly what I am talking about. Not just “pretty”, but beautiful in an instantly recognizable, very contemporary sort of way– from their Instagrammable caterpillar eyebrows to the radioactive luminescence of the highlighter on their cheeks, from their impossibly long fringe of false lashes, to their vacuum-device puffed pout. These people and their perfect faces and unattainable levels of beauty have been chosen to represent a perfume service, and I find that absolutely insufferable. Why? Because I believe that the wonderful thing about fragrance it that it makes you feel beautiful in ways that has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with your appearance.

“What is it, exactly, that you are saying, Sarah?” you might be asking. That perfume is the domain of the unsightly, the unattractive, and the straight-up ugly?

YES GODDAMMIT THAT IS WHAT I AM SAYING. CAN’T YOU JUST LET US HAVE THIS ONE THING?

I can’t make my eyeliner match, and it never looks good on my beady eyes anyhow; I’ve got sun spots and broken capillaries that foundation and concealers can never seem to cover; lipstick only draws attention to my snaggletoothed, crooked smile; my hair frizzes and frays in every direction, and every single part of me jiggles when I move…but do you know that when I smell beautiful, none of that bothers me? For while a scent lingers, I can slip through the world in a veil of impeccable elegance or a melancholy cloud of romantic longing; fragrance moves me to beauty in places that powder and glosses can never hope to reach. An extraordinary scent makes me feel that I’ve achieved a beauty far beyond what you can capture on camera in a well-lit studio with an arsenal of face paint and filters at your disposal.

And I guess what I am saying is that I would sure like to see an ad campaign for a thing I that I love very much, like fragrance for example, portrayed by people who also have an intense passion for it…not just by people who look good talking about it.

Also that dumb-ass white lady in the featured photo is a screen shot from a scentbird ad wherein she is actually rapping about the service. I’m not even making that up. What the hell.

And yes, the screen shot is an ad preceding a video about someone eating cheesy noodles. I told you, I’m jiggly.

 

On Bobby Pins, And Other Things They Do Not Tell Us

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I’ve never really understood the great love for bobby pins. I knew that many people thought them to be an important, even crucial, tool for styling their hair, but I just didn’t get it. Whenever I tried to use a bobby pin, I’d end up using all 50 of them from the package, and no matter how many I used or how tightly or viciously I jammed them into my coils or rolls or twists or buns or braids, they’d all eventually slip out, and my one hundred pounds of hair would be left hanging lopsidedly on my head.

Well, as it turns out, I was using them the wrong way. Not just the wrong technique, mind you, but they were literally oriented the wrong way. On a bobby pin, there is a straight side, and there is a bumpy/rippled/wavy side. (However you might call it. One side is straight and flat, and the other is not.) I don’t know why it does not say so on the packaging, but, the general consensus is* that the wavy side is to face down, against your scalp when you pin your your hair; the ribbing is designed to grip hair and lock it into place.

How am I only just now learning this??

I feel like there’s things in life that people never tell you, and that somehow you’re just expected to know (but how??) and this is definitely one of those things.

Am I the only one? Have you all been using them wrong, too? Or are there other, basic things that you learned late in life, which you could have been doing better or more correctly, if only someone had told you about it? Let’s pool our knowledge! It’s never to late to learn something new.

* I hesitate to say there is one right way to do something. I’m sure that some very professional, deft-fingered stylists can use it the other way, and it’s just fine.

 

Even More Stinkers & Duds

Stinkers

Welcome to another installment of Stinkers & Duds, wherein I complain about the products that really gross me out! Don’t expect thoughtful, articulate commentary on these things (I hope you have figured out by now that you should probably shouldn’t ever expect that from me). These are beauty products and cosmetics that usually make me a little bit irate, so it’s basically just a lot of cusses and hate.

If you’d like to visit the things upon which my wrath and disappointment fell in the past, see:
Stinkers & Duds // More Stinkers & Duds // Hateful ‘fumes

 

adgWhy is it that when someone gifts you with something awful, it’s a jumbo-sized version of that awful thing? Yes, I’m a jerk for complaining about a gift…but…it’s not like I’m complaining to their face, right? Aqua di Gioia from Giorgio Armani was a Christmas present this past year, and I am fairly certain I already knew I would hate it; a very similar scent was gifted to me right after high school, as well. And true, when we are young, we haven’t really developed all of our tastes, we are still trying to figure out what we like, but I can assure you that when it came to fragrance, I knew what I was all about–and it was not “shower fresh”, “soapy clean”, or “the world’s most watery glass of lemonade.”

This is a bland, polite scent whose very inoffensiveness offends me. ALSO, and here is a loathsome confession. I am kind of addicted to the youtube channel of this really horrible celebrity; I don’t know why I continue watching her, but I just cannot look away. There is really nothing at redeeming about this person or her place in the world, including and especially her horrible taste (which I know is so subjective, and I am sorry, but she’s pink and UGGS and spray tan and oh my god why can’t I stop watching her?) Anyway, she bought herself Aqua di Gioia as a Christmas gift and as soon as I saw that this dumb dummy loves it, well, that just summed it all up for me. It’s just a dumb, pointless perfume.

 

 

07629Oh my god, I am such an asshole. This LUSH Shoot For The Stars bath bomb was a gift, too, and even worse, it was a gift that I suggested someone buy for me. It’s beautiful, right? It purports to smell of bergamot which sounds super classy, right? Well, we would be wrong for thinking that. It smells like a peach gummy scented urinal cake. Which is the exact opposite of classy. It also left both the tub, and my post-tub bod, super greasy. I know this for a fact because when I went to bed that night, I snuggled up against my partner, who remarked, “…ugh…you’re super greasy.”

 

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Joseon Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream was highly recommended to me, first by friends, and secondly by the internet–reddit threads, facebook groups, beauty blogs.  It has a cult following, all sorts of heavy-hitter ingredients, and it seems to be everyone’s Holy Grail multifunctional skincare cream.  It’s supposed to be brightening, anti-aging, and give you beautiful, bouncy skin. Use it as a face massage, a sleeping pack, with your bb cream, whatever. It was starting to sound like coconut oil, in that regard, right? Like, what can’t this amazing stuff do?

Well, I could not use it long enough to find out. While I didn’t love the powdery-cucumbery scent, it was the slimy, sticky texture that I couldn’t get past. It had a this horrible jellied, stringy consistency (if you are familiar with snail mucin products, you know what I mean), and if I am being honest with you, it looked like someone jizzed all over my face. It was really bad. Like, Faces Of Jizz 18: The Jizzening bad. To add injury (injizzy?) to insult, not only did I look like a glazed fucking donut the few times I used it, it really reddened and inflamed the sensitive areas on my face. Not cool, Joseon Dynasty Cream*. Not cool at all.

To be fair, I purchased this product through amazon. I am aware that purchasing things like this through third party sellers can be risky business, but I truly think I was using the actual product, and it just didn’t work with my skin.

So that’s it for my recents Stinkers and Dud products? What about you? Tell me what you’ve been hating lately!

Empties Of 2017

January 2017 Empties

My problem, and I know I have rambled about this before, is that I am really good at acquiring new things, but I am terrible at actually using them–or rather, using them all up.

I’ve got three-quarters to half-full bottles and jars and vials and packets of products all over the place, but I never finish anything because I am suckered in by the idea that there is something newer, better, more *special* just around the corner…and so my stockpile grows, instead of diminishes.

This is kind of problematic. I only have a limited amount of space on shelves, and my funds are, unfortunately, not infinite. So to remedy this, I made it my business this year to try my best when it came to using what I already had, or as some beauty bloggers say, “shop your stash.” Which is not to say I didn’t make any purchases, I won’t try to fool you on that point, but I was very conscious about buying something only when something else was used up. Sometimes this turned into a “use one thing up, buy two more things”, but hey, no one is perfect, heh.

Here is a listing of all of the products I used up and emptied this year. If it was something extra special, I no doubt repurchased it, and I have tried to note when that happened– both to keep a record for myself, and for those who may be curious about such things!

January empties

February 2017 Empties

February Empties

March 2017 Empties

March Empties

April May 2017 Empties

April/May Empties

June 2017 Empties

June/July Empties

August September 2017 Empties

August/September Empties

  • ZenMed cleanser;  I liked this until I found something better.
  • Josie Maran argan oil body butter sample; I really like this but could buy the same thing from small, independent sellers, I think.
  • Kat Von D Sinner sample; I purchased the full bottle of Sinner, not because it’s super great – – I actually have something that smells pretty much exactly like it – – but I could not resist that dreamy bottle.
  •  Witch Baby Psychic bath bomb; my favorite from Witch Baby, always repurchase
  • NeilMed saline for cleaning a new piercing. It did the job.
  • Iope air cushion compact; didn’t I finish this last month? Whoops.

October November 2017 Empties

October/November Empties

December 2017 Empties

December Empties

  • Sunday Riley Tranquility Cleansing Balm; I love this exfoliating balm so much I kinda overused it and fucked up my face for a while. Still: repurchase.
  • LUSH Olive Branch shower gel; the selection of scents offered by LUSH that I actually like is rapidly dwindling. I settled for this one.
  • Kat Von D Saint and Sinner perfume samples; neither of these scents are all that interesting or innovative, but oh, those bottles.
  • Sister Spinster Flora Elixir; a flower essence formula “for connecting to abundant and divine nourishment”, Flora is composed of essences of anemone, wild iris, foxglove, rose, elderflower, lady’s mantle, belladonna lily, apple and olive in a rose and honey infused brandy. I don’t know if it “works”, but I really love this stuff. I will repurchase.
  • Montale Blue Amber decant; I tried a sample of this a very long time ago, back in 2005, maybe? Around the time I was first exploring my fascination with fragrance. I loved it at that time, this strangely sharp, intensely sweet, then slightly smoky, and all-the-while marvelously powdery masterpiece, and I was delighted to rediscover it when a kind friend sent me a small decant this year. I haven’t yet purchased a full bottle (lordy, those Montale bottles are hideous,) but once I find a good price, it’s going to happen.

So that’s it, then! I didn’t empty as many full size things as I might like, but I am going into 2018 with the same mission, so we shall see how it goes!

Did you keep track of your empties this year? How did you do? Did you uncover any duds, or discover a Holy Grail that you cannot live without? I’d love to hear all about it!

16 Things I Loved In 2016

loveLet’s face it. There was not much to love about 2016. We watched as our beautiful, beloved dreams died one, by one. Whether it was our star men, our poet-bards, our very first motorcycle-riding, purple velvet wearing crushes, our hopes for a magnificent female president, or at least president who isn’t completely bat-shit bonkers, and as of when I began writing this– the loss of my beloved rebel princess, my very first role model–2016 was devastating in so many ways, and saw the end of so many wonderful things.

And so I look to the little things. The sweetness that lightened the burden. The small discoveries that made life easier, or little luxuries that eased a horrible day, a terrible month, or a no good, very bad year.

In no particular order, and for these reasons, here are 16 things I loved in 2016.
(Curious about my picks for previous years? Here’s 2015 & 2014)

nail

Christian Louboutin Nail Polish. Now someone will say to me, “Really, Sarah?”  A $50 nail polish?” And yes, I will agree, that’s pretty ridiculous. But the bottle is gorgeous, and the wand is the perfect petite height for my small hands (the stiletto lid is deceiving) and this is absolutely high quality lacquer, very long wearing. I mean, I guess it is. I knit and wash dishes and read books and type and use my hands a lot, and 2 coats lasts me a week without chipping. That’s pretty great, right? I wear it almost exclusively.

Oud Wood

Tom Ford Oud Wood Shower Gel. Yeah, so…if you weren’t keen on the thought of a $50 nail polish, you are probably not going to get on board with a $67 bottle of body wash. But this one smells like woods and incense and secret forest temples and is an utter treat. It is my secret weapon in the constant battle of “ugggghh…do I really have to shower today?”

baies

Diptyque Baies candle. I first sniffed this stunningly gorgeous candle whilst shopping at Uncommon Objects in Austin. They had it burning on a counter top near the entrance and I was so enthralled with the fragrant wafts drifting throughout the store that I had actually ordered the candle on my phone on amazon before I made a purchase from the shop I was actually in. Rude! I’m sorry, but I really had to have it. I was so surprised when I read the description for Baies: “a luscious blend of black-currant leaves and Bulgarian roses”. Usually these are not smells that I want anything to do with! But somehow this combines for a strikingly elegant scented object, a sort of woody-musky-green fragrance, that I never ever want to be without.

owl moon
Owl Moon bloodmilk X Black Phoenix Alchemy collabroative fragrance. From chapter one of bloodmilk’s sister shop, Exquisite Corpse, this is an exquisite, unique scent experience that literally sets my teeth on edge, but sometimes I need that very sort of fearsome inspiration and motivation. With notes described as “dark, rooty, sweet patchouli swirled with honey,” Owl Moon opens with the blackest, earthiest patchouli (before learning of the notes, I actually thought it was vetiver!) and calls to mind cool, moist soil at the base of a pine tree through which all of the busy little night creatures slither and crawl, the pale, ghostly light of the moon glinting off their scales and wings. A yellow-eyed owl, perched overhead, meditates briefly before silently embarking on his nightly hunt; the sour, screechy scent of his nest, littered with rodent bones and pellets, serves as a warning nearby.  This is the fragrance of potent night magics, rich and ripe with darkness and feral mysticism. The sharpness of the patchouli streaked with high-pitched honey combine to form an aura that is both graceful and grotesque, sacred and profane. If all of that reads familiar to you, this is exactly what I have written about Owl Moon before, elsewhere, but it’s not plagiarizing if it’s your own words, right?

hurraw

Hurraw lip balms. Several people mentioned these lip balms in passing this year, but I pooh-poohed them because I thought the name was dumb. Well, turns out I am an idiot. These are amazing. Vegan, organic, fair trade, all of the buzzwords that are bandied about, yes all of those things, but they are also smooth, and not at all draggy or grainy or melty or overly smelly, AND they have options that are not mint or fruit. Also, they are about $15 less than my previous favorite lipbalm, so Hurraw, despite the stupid name, is a win.

zenmed
Zenmed Anti-Redness Rosacea Treatment. I self-diagnosed myself with rosacea earlier this month, after noticing and freaking out over the course of the year fluctuations and flare-ups of redness and stinging on my face. Based on some suggestions from friends I tried this particular set of products from Zenmed and my face cleared up overnight. That is not an exaggeration or embellishment. It literally cleared up over night. (I also stopped drinking coffee and started taking omega-3s, but I really do think it was this thing in particular that did the trick.) I cannot recommend it highly enough.

And speaking of coffee. I would be remiss in not mentioning cold brew coffee on my list. Any kind, but especially the pre-made stuff in the bottle that you buy at the store. It was a lifesaver this summer when it was too hot to drink hot coffee, and I was too sweaty and lazy to go through the process of brewing the cold stuff. I’m not really drinking coffee anymore, but it certainly made this past May-August ever so much more bearable!

gardein

I think Gardein Breakfast Pockets may be my favorite discovery this year. I’m not one of those people who can eat as soon as I get out of bed in the morning; I need to take my time, sip a hot beverage (now that I’m not drinking coffee, the current beverage of choice is turmeric-ginger tea) and just go about my early hours ver-r-rrry slowly. It’s not that I am not a morning person–I am totally a morning person!– but it really does have to be at my own pace. I try to eat a little something right before my work day starts, and these hand-held little pockets are really delicious. I am also a person who absolutely cannot do sweet things in the morning, so to find a convenience food that isn’t a waffle or a poptart or a cloying breakfast bar is pretty awesome. It’s vegan, but I am under no illusions that it’s “healthy”. With no animal products and at only 200 calories though, it’s good enough for me. (Note: I am not vegan. Not even vegetarian.)

southern-reach-paperback-covers

The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer left me speechless. I was certain nothing could ever measure up again, and I was very nearly afraid to start reading something else afterward! The books tell of the mysterious, dangerous wilderness of Area X and the humans exploring it: several decades ago, an inexplicable environmental change occurred and a large swath of land and sea was sealed behind an invisible and largely impenetrable barrier. “Inside it, nature shifted. It grew wild and pristine, dense and fertile—improbably pure, as though nature had said “Enough!” and reclaimed itself.”  It’s an uncanny, and genuinely surprising read that haunted me for days and probably will continue to do so for many years to come. With this series The New Yorker refers to Vandermeer as The Weird Thoreau, and …yep. Totally apt.

salt Salt Is For Curing by Sonya Vatomsky. I make myself very sad thinking about missed connections. What would life be like if perhaps I’d never gotten to know certain people, if I had carelessly just let those opportunities slip past? Sonya is one of these people. We connected via social media before I even knew they were a writer and I sometimes think…what if I’d totally ignored this weird person who started following me on twitter? What if I wasn’t a nosy so-n-so and took no notice of the fact that they were also a poet?  In my reading of Sonya’s book, Salt Is For Curing, it took all that I had not to devour this small book of spooky delights in one greedy instant. I feared that to do so, to ingest all of these potent magics at once, would give me a terribly heartsick sort of heartburn and yet leave me with the very worst sort of emptiness, knowing there is no more to be had. I drew it out for as long as I could stand. It is now in its fourth printing, which I think is basically unheard of for small press stuff, so, congrats my darling Soyna! Even if this is my fourth time saying so.

whatisawitch_456x608-456x600

What Is A Witch by Tin Can Forest and Pam Grossman is equal parts storybook, grimoire, comic book, and illuminated manuscript, What Is A Witch explores the many guises and archetypes of the witch–that ultimate icon of feminine power. The book’s lyrical language of night-song and half-rhymes, when given voice (and it absolutely must be read aloud), becomes a wild, witty, wondrous invocation, threaded throughout with fanciful visions, whimsical allegory, and magical truths. I engaged with its mesmerizing imagery and the poetic spell it cast, and immediately it awoke something within me. I felt it rise within myself, something fierce and surprising and nearly frightening in its power. If you feel yourself similarly compelled, don’t fight it. Go where this book takes you. See what you draw forth from yourself. Don’t be alarmed. Let it change you. This is magic, after all, and we are witches.

full-circle-packshot

It’s not spooky or eerie in the least, so it may surprise you to know that HÆLOS’ Full Circle is my favorite album this year. I know it’s not supposed to work this way, but I made my decision back in February and I’ve heard nothing that even comes close to changing my mind since that time. A sweeping, meditative album, comprised of down-tempo, melancholic dissonance, lustrous synth, and cinematic, kaleidoscopic strings; reminiscent of 90s atmospheric trip-hop, and reverberating with narcotic, late night poignancy, this is the sonic equivalent of the steady, gorgeous thrum and throbbing heartbeat of a hand in your own.

demonhandmaid

Two of my favorite movies this year would have to be Demon, incorporating Jewish folklore and demonic possession into a tragic tale that’s not quite horror and not quite comedy, but works quite well as precisely what it is not, and The Handmaiden, a gorgeous, deliciously twisted film, by Chan Wook Park.

coffins

My marvelous coffin-shaped jewelry and pin display boards from LifeAfterDeathDesign, which I have written more about previously here.

And numbers 14-16 are a cheat, but maybe more important than anything listed: I loved collaborating with my brilliant, talented, visionary friends on our various projects–we created not just one, but TWO wildly successful Occult Activity Books this year! That’s amazing!

I loved (is loved the right word?) that I knew when a relationship with a particular outlet was no longer working for me and was lucky enough to move on immediately to something not only better, but which also felt tremendously more right for me. Life is too short to be in an uncomfortable situation that makes you unhappy! Also, boo to bullies and blowhards, what ever form they take. I love that I finally knew when to move on, I guess is what I am saying.

And what about you? What did you take comfort in this year? What are some awesome discoveries you made? What are some of your favorites? Tell me all about it in the comments!

*featured heart garland image is, I think, from etsy seller Kirrakai

Currently {12.13.16}

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“Rotten”. That pretty much sums up the past month and a half. Too little time for all that I need to do and too much stress about all of those things have left me ragged at the edges, and edgy to the extreme. (“rotten” graphic above courtesy a Stay Home Club tee shirt which I am appropriately wearing today.)

My body does weird things when I am freaked out, and these anxieties over the years have found new and exciting ways to manifest physically in my poor bod.  What I’m pretty sure have been mild cases of acid reflux and rosacea that developed in my late 30s but which I have always been able to pooh-pooh because they’re not that bad…well, all of a sudden they are that bad. Massive flare ups. I’ve been walking around for the majority of November and December feeling like I’m going to barf and like my barf is burning a hole in my throat, on top of which my face is red and stingy-rashy with itchy bumps constantly appearing and disappearing in the same day.

The acid reflux, well, I can get over that, but roseacea? ON MY FACE? Ugh, no. Last straw.

I am, however, happy to report that after polling some friends on facebook I found some tips and various things to try that actually seem to be working. For those who are curious…

  • I cut out coffee (I didn’t drink that much anyway. Only a mug a day, which I drinkuntil it gets cold, and then I dump it out.) I replaced the coffee with a hot turmeric-ginger chai from Rishi.
  • I started taking omega-3s and acidophillus
  • I changed up my morning and evening face cleansing routine and am now using the anti-redness rosacea products from ZENMED. I am not exaggerating in the least when I tell you that I noticed an overnight difference after first trying them. On one hand that’s amazing, because my itchy lobster face was pretty awful. What stinks, though, is that now I basically have a cabinet full of expensive beauty products that are totally useless because I can’t use right now.

Shoes

On to more glamorous things! I received my beautiful Pilgrims from Fluevog and they fit gorgeously. These are truly the One Pair of Shoes to Rule Them All.

They are pictured here with a dress from Noctex, which you can’t really see, and I can’t link properly link to because it is no longer sold, and Avignon from Comme des Garçons, which of course you cannot smell, but I will share with you that it smells like very fancy pencil shavings. The tote is from Haute Macabre, but no longer available.

magnets

Also good for alleviating stresses: making your own monsters! A fashionable, fantastical harpy-footed, squid-armed cyclops! A jaunty minotaur with mummy legs and bat wings! A dragon with torn dungarees! Ridiculous! I picked up up this magnet set in Austin, but you can easily find them on amazon. Also, if you have a weird friend for whom you need a last-minute Hexmas gift (or maybe one of those white-elephant/dirty santa exchanges?) I can personally attest that this is the most perfect thing ever and there will be much deranged cackling.

insexts

BOOKSCurrently reading:
InSeXts // Angels of Music // Valancourt Book of Horror Stories

I am too brain dead to think of much to say about any of these books, but if you like the idea of vengeful Victorian lesbian insect women, then give InSeXts a try, and if Charlies Angels as managed by the Phantom of the Opera sounds campy and delightful to you, then I think you’ll like Angels of Music. I haven’t delved into the Valancourt anthology yet, but come on–just look at that cover! It’s got to be good.

GF Currently watching: a lot of Gravity Falls. My beau has been trying to get me to watch this with him forever, and I finally gave in. It’s a Disney show, (I think?) and has described as Twin Peaks meets Eerie, Indiana. Except without all the murder. Anyway, I won’t go into what it’s all about because if you already know then I’ll feel dumb for having done that. I will say that it’s a lot of fun and it’s good when you want to watch something silly but not exactly mindless, but…I don’t know. I find some bits of it a little problematic.

And finally, some one-word movie reviews!

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them-sure! (saw this in theatre)
The Lobster– hrrrm
Sacrifice– UGH
Demon-YESSSSS
Restoration-nope
Kristy-yes (surprisingly)
Green Room-maybe
The Last Witch Hunter-skip (got this from the library)

A Mint-Haters Guide To Non-Minty Lip Products

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I tried to come up with a pithy title for this post, but I couldn’t make it work.

No doubt you have read my thoughts on mint scented/mint flavored beauty products previously, but if not, I will sum up for you: there is a special place in hell reserved for them.

There is nothing I find more galling that to have paid good money for a beautiful lipstick or soothing lip balm or what have you, only to ease off the lid and be greeted by the repugnant odor of peppermint or, (worse), spearmint [EDIT: or even worse–wintergreen!]. These odors remind me of chewing gum (which is the most disgusting thing of all time, ever) and the dentist office (an association for which I don’t think I need to justify my dislike).

Though most people associate the smell of mint with adjectives such as “cool” or “fresh”, I find it nauseatingly antiseptic, clean and pure to the point of parody, where it’s almost a mockery of the associations it’s supposed to conjure forth, where it somehow loops around and becomes vulgar and tacky.  I’d almost rather smell rotting garbage or poopy diapers, to be honest.

14156601_673154089518253_883477789_nI started thinking about all of this when I finally gave in and bought one of the Lip Tars that everyone seems to adore from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. I’d been on the fence about it for awhile; I mean, just the name itself, “Lip Tar”, brought up unsavory imagery for me: a gooey, glunky product that would sit on my lips and annoyingly ensnare stray hairs. But I thought, well, I’ll just give it a try.

And I knew just from twisting the cap off, before I’d even slid the wand out of the tube, that it just wasn’t gonna work. A smell wafted forth and struck me full in the face, an odor not unlike my worst nightmare, which is to say that it smelled like being trapped in close quarters with someone chewing and smacking on their gum, and they won’t stop talking to me, not even for one second.

Another one which recently broke my heart this past year are the liquid lipsticks from Nero Cosmetics. Miss Argentina and Gold Dust Woman are such stunning shades, but alas, I cannot handle their foul stench.

Are you like me? Can you just not even with the mint scented/flavored things? Do you hesitate before purchasing a lipstick/gloss/balm because it’s kind of a crap shoot and you just don’t know if it’s going to be pleasantly fragranced or if you’re going to wind up with a toothpaste-scented piece of garbage?

Well, I hear you. It’s an unfriendly world out there for us in the us mint-hating minority.  And so beneath this image of my weird, staring eyes and blue-lipped crone kisses you will find that I have compiled for you a list of brands that I have recently tried and found to be free of the mentholated menace. If there is anything you think that I am missing or that I should try, let me know in the comments!

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Note: don’t expect in depth reviews on these products. It is not my aim to be a beauty blogger! When possible, I have included links to photos of yours truly wearing these colors, although I get a little nuts with the Instagram filters so they might not be totally true to life. Also note, I know everyone hates Jeffree Star right now, and to a lesser extent I realize that Lime Crime is problematic for certain people. I am including them because I have tried them and they fit into this non-mint category; but yes, I am also aware of the issues surrounding them.

💄 L.A. Splash Lip Couture – Favorite color: “OG Ghoulish” (grey/nude); a liquid lipstick that smells aggressively like nailpolish remover. At least it’s not mint! Also, this stuff will not budge; you need a sandblaster to remove it.
💄 Necromancy Cosmetica Matte Lipstick – Favorite color: “Deadly Nightshade” (light grey with soft blue undertones/as worn by me). A tube lipstick that smells vaguely of crayons.
💄 LimeCrime Velveteen – Favorite color “Cashmere” (greige). A liquid lipstick that smells of sickly sweet butter creme frosting.
💄 Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick -The only color I have tried is “Unicorn Blood” (dark, rusty red/as worn by me), and I really don’t love it on me. I don’t love the formula either, it’s really quite soupy and drippy. It smells of acrid, acidic fruit candies.
💄 Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick -Favorite color: “Ayesha” (pinky lavender/as worn by me). I think, even after everything I have tried, KvD’s will always be my favorite. It’s unfragranced as far as I can tell (though other folks say otherwise), the formula never gets gross and crusty throughout the day, and it’s not *too* much of a hassle to wash off. Second favorite color: “A-Go-Go” (bright orange red)
💄 Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipsticks – Favorite color: “Purple Rain” (pearly deep purple/as worn by me). Many folks comment on how good these smell, but I don’t get that at all. The few I have tried have a mild, chemical smell. The colors are gorgeous and there’s usually a coupon code floating around at all times for this brand.
💄 Black Moon Cosmetics Liquid Lipsticks – Favorite color: “Grim” (cool toned brown). I love the packaging from this brand and the product itself smells plastic-y and a little sweet, sort of like the top of one of your old Strawberry Shortcake doll’s heads.
💄 Lipland Liquid Lipstick -Favorite color: “Retrograde” (purple grey/as worn by me). Several folks say this this shade is similar to MAC’s stone, but I can’t personally confirm that. Like Ofra, the smell is vaguely chemical (it reminds me of synthetic fibers, like warm polyester, I guess?)
💄 DNA Cosmetics Intense Pop of Color Lipstick – The only color I have tried from DNA is “Disco” (silver grey/as worn by me). I recall thinking that the formula wasn’t very …slippy? It was kind of dry, and it had a lot of drag to it.  Smelled waxy. But I really dig the ghastly grey blue, and it doesn’t smell like mint, so it remains in rotation.
💄 Colourpop Lippie Stix – As much as I loathe the name (which is super dumb), I do love the Lippie Stix. They smell exactly like crayons–which is totally okay with me– and at $5 each they are relatively cheap in comparison to the rest of the stuff on this list. They have a million colors and though I don’t find the formula to be very long wearing, well, I don’t fault it much for that. I mean, you get what you pay for, right? Favorite color: “Tootsi” (described as a cool-toned grey beige, but it seems pretty warm toned on me) Bonus: they have matching lip liners (“Lippie Pencils“) for every shade they sell, and “Marshmallow” is a greyed out lavender that matches just about everything I am into lately.
💄 Rituel de Fille Forbidden Lipstick – Favorite color: “Strange Creature” (cool, silvery grey). There is not much I don’t love about this brand.  I believe it’s run by three sisters, which of course I find powerfully compelling, and their aesthetic is absolutely gorgeous, full of magic and mystery. Their Forbidden Lipstick smells waxy and faintly herbaceous. Lavender, perhaps? Exactly like how you’d want something that looks like this to smell. Tip: “Strange Creature” goes very nicely with ColourPop’s Lippie Pencil in “Marshmallow”!
💄 Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick – Favorite color: “Lavender Jam” (electric blue-violet). I’ve saved the weirdest for last with this one. This is a beautifully creamy formula, and I really love this stunning color, but the strange thing is, sometimes this smells a little minty to me, just for a split-second. But as soon as I catch notice of it, it immediately morphs into scent of a lime freezee pop. Odd! However, there is no mint listed in the ingredients anywhere, and the so allow it to remain on the list.

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Mailing things just became way more awesome with the immortal Amazon glory of the Wonder Woman stamp. (h/t Archie McPhee)

For folks who loved the Stranger Things score…

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Color palettes based on classic films
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