Archive of ‘about face’ category

Currently {May 2016}

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I cannot believe it is almost the end of May already! I guess I’ve been busy, although I sincerely couldn’t even say what I have been up to, it’s all been a bit of a blur, really. I read some things, knit some things, had a bit of a milestone birthday and did some fun stuff, and today happens to be the birthday of my youngest sister.  Happy birthday to you, little toaster-mouth!

Speaking of knitting, it was my goal this year to tackle again those projects that gave me troubles in 2015.  Strangely enough, both of these patterns were by the same author, and the part that is really odd is that I normally love her designs and have no issues with them! I reached the conclusion that clearly, the problem here is me–my evidence being that when I slowed down, paid attention, and stopped being so careless and lackadaisical about things, they came together wonderfully. Featured above is the Chinquapin Wrap by Romi Hill and for those interested it was knit in Knitpicks Palette, a wool, fingering weight yarn. The color is “Briar Heather” and I think it was knit on size 5 or 6 needles. The previously finished problem knit was Terpsichore Street, also by Romi Hill.  Both of these have been gifted away.

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Our garden is growing things!  Approximately 50 different kinds of kale, to be precise! Ok, let’s not exaggerate, it’s maybe three different kinds of kale. A few lettuces, some collards, peppers, green onions, eggplants, and even the cutest tangling green tendrils from the pea plants have begun to shoot up from the dirt.  I am basically just going to put kale in everything this summer, I guess.

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Taking a page from Eaumg’s book, I’m trying to keep better track of my empties; that is, the products that I end up actually using completely, thus emptying the package or container. I’m very guilty of jumping on bandwagons and collecting beauty products that sit on the shelf, never being used–and that’s dumb. I’m wasting money and not reaping the (probably dubious) benefits of these potions and elixirs! So, no more of that. Last month I used up two masks and some various samples. I really liked the Tony Moly broccoli mask, it was cooling and soothing…even though the boyfriend suggested that it made my face feel weird and clammy afterward. Ha! The rest of it was ….meh. Nothing I would purchase for myself, though if I stumble across another sample of the Tatcha cleansing oil, I’d give it one more try. In the meantime, I’ve gathered up all my samples in an adorably tiny basket and placed them strategically in my bathroom so that I will actually remember to use them.

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I’ve picked up this weird habit lately where I am reading three things at once + knitting on a thing. A Sunday afternoon basically looks like this: read a few poems from a slim book of poetry, read a chapter from a larger novel, read book one in whatever volume of whatever graphic novel, knit four or five rows, repeat. Then I get up and hop around a lot because my butt has usually fallen asleep by this point.

I recently finished You Can’t Pick Your Genre by Emily O’Neill, which was inspired by the Scream movies, and are described as “warnings, testimonials, declarations”. One reviewer describes it thusly: “These poems are not tropes, but triumphs. Instead of running up the stairs, they are charging towards the killer and digging a pair of scissors through the eyehole of his shitty patriarchal creep mask”. YES! I loved this book and these poems immensely.

Also: The Late Work of Margaret Kroftis by Mark Gluth. Themes of loss and grief and daydreams and stories within stories within stories. A series of vignettes, a chain of lives connected by death. Spare yet dreamy prose. SO many reasons to recommend this to so many people, and yet, I feel that I must warn you. Steel your sweet hearts. This is a rough one for sensitive readers.

Also pictured but not yet read: A Pillow Book by Suzanne Buffam and Cities I’ve Never Lived In by Sara Majka. Not pictured and not yet read, but it looks to be quite wonderful is In The Hours of Darkness by Katie Metcalfe, a lovely Swedish blogger.

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I’ve been catching up on my movie watching over the past month or so and it seems like I’ve been able to cross quite a few off my list! Here are my one-word reviews:

Thale*–Yes
We Are Still Here*–No
Road Games–Maybe
The House At The End of Time*–Yes
The Purge–No
The Purge: Anarchy–Maybe

*currently available on Netflix

To be honest, I’m a bit off my music game lately.  I’ve been listening to the same things for months now, which is fairly unusual for me because I’m constantly amassing new sounds, never listening to the same thing twice.  My current obsession is Ruby The Hatchet, a hypnotic, hallucinogenic, headbanging blend of compelling psych rock energy and thunderous melodies. For fans of Jex Thoth, Purson and the like.

What are you into now? What amazing things are you reading or doing or listening to?

 

Currently {3.01.16}

writing

Doing: For Hexmas, I was gifted with several books for writers–writing prompts, inspiration, that sort of thing.  I really only do a certain kind of writing, which is to say I blog. Mostly about personal things and the things that interest me.  I do this both for myself, and for whatever outlets want to feature some of my scribblings.  I don’t know that I ever want to do more than that, but it occurred to me that I am awfully one-note and it wouldn’t hurt to flex my writing muscles and challenge my creativity more, even if I am the only one who ever sees whatever these exercises produce or inspire.  For example, I am definitely not a writer of fictions!  But it might be fun to try.  We’ll see.   Pictured is A Year of Creative Writing Prompts, but I’ll also be delving into Ghost Stories and How to Write Them, and What It Is, by Lynda Barry (which was recommended to me by so many brilliant people, so I have high hopes!)

book stack

Reading: Speaking of books! My current bookstack:

The Darker Sex: Tales of the Supernatural and Macabre by Victorian Women Writers
You Have Never Been Here:  Stories by Mary Rickerts (“lush & alchemical”, say reviewers!)
The Book of Nightmares, poetry by Galway Kinnell
Ghostly A Collection of Ghost Stories by Audrey Niffenegger

LUNA

Face stuff! People, I am going to be 40 in a few months.  Am I freaked out about it? Not especially.  I still feel like a dorky 14 year old in my heart and bones and soul, and I suspect I’ll feel that way on my deathbed…so 40, 50, 80, whatever. Just numbers.

I am, however, trying to treat this year as a very special marker on my timeline, though;  everyone thinks of 40 as a “milestone” type of birthday, and I’m part of this world, so I am not immune to that type of thinking. I am tackling all of the projects that might have intimidated me (i.e. The Occult Activity Book–which sold out in three weeks time! Holy crap!) I am trying to tie up loose ends on things that have been hanging around too long, and I am definitely trying to take better care of this meat suit I’ve been shackled with during my tenure on Earth.

As part of that, I’m getting fancy with my face! Two of my favorite products right now are:

Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Night Oil, which is a retinoid complex for calming and repairing damaged skin with blue tansy and chamomile and IS BLUE (I feel like a warrior goddess when I dab it on at night) and I wake up with the most amazing, velvety feeling skin. It’s definitely pricey, but it will last a good long while it looks good on my shelf! Ha, like anyone is looking at my shelves, I know.

Le Baume Lip and Dry Skin Balm; I recently ran out of my beloved Nivea lip balm, the kind that comes in the little tin, and which smells like vanilla.  I have been trying to replace it, and in doing so have found a lot of lip balms that I hate. Le Baume is the first one I have come across that I am thrilled with.  I have a list of no-nos for lip balms but at the very top is no mint, nothing mentholated.  Mint one of the grossest smelling/feeling/tasting things ever, like you just smeared toothpaste on your lips (I feel that way about mint-flavored foods, too. Mint is for toothpaste and that’s it.  End of story.) Anyway, non-minty lip products are tough to find!  I also like a product with a nice ratio of waxiness to slippiness. Le Baume fits the bill perfectly. It’s got a sort of…herbal(?) smell, which must be due to the high concentrations of Marula, Perilla and Calendula.  Anyway, I just love it.  I may have found a holy grail.  Plus the packaging is adorable.

Listening: I’m pretty predictable.  If it’s mopey or kind of haunted sounding, that’s most likely what I am listening to.  Ever since BBHMM though, I have been keenly interested in what Rhianna’s been up to, and I was surprised by how much I am enjoying Anti right now. I’ve read that this was an album that’s been in the works for a number of years and that everyone was expecting some sort of opus, and that’s not what they got with Anti…which doesn’t really mean much to me since I’ve never really listened to Rhianna.  Anyhow, I am not a great reviewer of things, but this seems to me a fairly self-reflective bunch of songs. I also hear that she had a lot of control here and made exactly the sort of album she wanted to make, and you can somehow hear that here.  There’s not very much in the way of radio-friendly type of stuff. It’s the sort of thing I’d want to turn off all of the lights and lay on the floor and listen to in the dark.  That’s my idea of a good time.

More Stinkers and Duds

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Earlier in the year I wrote of my unfortunate experiences with a handful of cosmetics and beauty products, so that I might save you, dear friends, the misfortune of spending your money on them, or perhaps worse – applying them to your person.

As it turns out, there are quite a lot of really awful products out there! And as you can imagine, I like to ramble on extensively about such things, so I shall be featuring a quasi-regular Stinkers & Duds column to share with you these products that range from Mildly Offensive to Relatively Useless to Really Fucking Gross, Kill It With Fire.

On today’s list:

1. Caudalie Lip Conditioner $12: this has the consistency of a 1000 year old crayon – nay, a fossilized million year old crayon.  Perhaps carbon dating methods cannot even determine the exact age of the waxy substance which comprises this product. Combine this with all the healing properties of spiked lizard skin and scraping sandpaper and then imagine scouring this rough specimen across your poor, tender lips. Wonder at the bleeding mess you have made of your mouth because you have done this ill-advised thing.  Think about demanding your money back from Sephora but then never actually do it because you find the act of returning things to the store and dealing with customer service repugnant.  Stew fretfully for the rest of your life about it.

2. Nature Republic Bee Venom Cleansing Foam $12.98: I had read several good reviews about this product, the bee venom is supposedly good for neutralizing redness, and I have this problem on my cheeks and chin every now and then. I don’t quite understand what it is – i am not naturally ruddy-cheeked (I am actually rather sallow) and it’s not acne or blemishes.  Just sort of an…inflamed irritation?  I don’t know.  Anyway, this did not help at all.  Not only did it do nothing – I am still as red as a tomato most days – it smells a bit like hand cream that you’ve left in your pocketbook too long and which has gone off, and it was terribly drying. Nope.

3. Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb $50: I hate Victor and Rolf’s Flowerbomb so much that I nearly fly into a rage. It smells petty and mean spirited and small-minded. Like bigoted small town pageant moms and the shitty popular girls in 80s movies. It simultaneously makes me want to cringe and cry.  It’s all the Heathers. Also: it’s an enormous lie. It smells nothing like any flower, ever. Unless, of course, there is a blossom that smells like Bongo jeans and hair-sprayed bangs and the wretched duo of Jennifer W. and Amanda P. in the 7th and 8th grade. How’s it feel to be the inspiration for the world’s worst fragrance, you dumb, hateful bitches?

4. Redken Color Extend Magnetics Sulfate Free Shampoo and Conditioner $26.50 Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sulfates are bad, I get it.  Whatever – I LIKE sulfates!  They actually lather up and clean my hair and get the dang job done.  However, my stylist talked me into trying this stuff, and to be honest I only used it once. T

Me: nearly waist length, color treated hair. Slightly coarse, wavy. Frizzes up in the right conditions (ie 100% in Florida). I have a lot of hair and you can tell.

Me on Redken Color Extend Magnetics: Hair is lank, limp, greasy. I look like Samara, crawling out of the well and off of your teevee set to kill you. Guess you shouldn’t have watched that video when you knew your friends were dying one by one a week later. I now officially resemble a Japanese murder ghost and obviously someone has to pay.

Also when my sweet, thoughtful, always complimentary dude wrinkled up his nose as he sniffed my freshly washed head and remarked with a grimace “ugh, you smell like dog ears” – which, WTF does that even mean? –  I threw it out with out a backward glance.  Life’s too short to smell like dog’s ears, folks.

What’s had you wrinkling your nose lately?  Tell me all about your own stinkers and duds!  I’m all ears, as always.

Currently {11.04.15}

Currently stepping up my pin game with offerings from monpetitfantome, adipocere, and vacvvm.

 

Currently reading: Small press, local authors haunted nonsense in addition to learning about secret German fencing societies.

 

Currently wearing: my Lorraine cross and Two of Swords earrings from bloodmilk, all the time. And tee shirts because November in Florida.

 

Currently testing: Kypris Moonlight Catalyst, Herbivore Botanicals Rose Lip Butter, Moon Juice Heart Dust. (Verdict, the Kypris is a lovely overnight skin elixir but it may be too soon to tell, and the Heart Dust is delicious! The lip butter is nice, but not as great as my old standby.)

 

holy beast

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Currently watching: School of the Holy Beast.  Sans subtitles.  “…a veritable furnace of subjugated carnal desires and broken vows.” I probably don’t need the dialogue, right?

Currently listening: As beautiful and melodic as Julia Kent’s Asperities is, it is also an album full of tension and darkness. You’re not sure if that breathless feeling you’re experiencing is the welling emotion of tears yet to be shed or a silken noose tightening about your throat.  This is the sound of my every November. Haunting, heartless; exquisitely cruel.

Friday Fripperies

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Folks who have been following my tumblr for awhile probably remember my Friday Fripperies – a slew of posts every Friday featuring gorgeous (and usually pretty spendy) needful things.  This was actually a carry-over from my LiveJournal days, believe it or not!

I was never really happy with that format…I didn’t really like the items spread out over 8-10 posts throughout the day. And eventually, due to life things and busy-ness, I stopped with the fripperies posts altogether – although, believe you me, I never ceased mentally collecting the beautiful things!

In an effort to continue with the tradition of Friday Fripperies, I have moved them over to a blog format, and I think we’ll be very happy here!  See below for item details and links to the frips that I am currently swooning over.

1. Muchacha octopus moccasins from zozo.jp // 2. Niello moon and stars bracelet // 3. Waxed canvas tote from Peg & Awl // 4. Lonely high-waisted brief and long-line bra // 5. Rituel de Fille’s Night Visions collection

A tale of three lipsticks

So, here’s my weird face wearing a few of my favorite new lipstick colors lately.  It’s taken me awhile to embrace color on my lips. Hell, it’s take me awhile to embrace my own face, let alone any sort of makeup on it. A long time ago, a jilted lover said some awfully cruel things to me, remarking, upon other things, my “fucked up mongoloid face”.  I guess it’s kind of weird looking for sure, but I don’t know that kind of language was called for.

For the longest time I shied away from lipsticks. I have crooked teeth, and a crooked smile and I don’t really like to draw attention to it. I feel my attitude has slowly been changing over the last year or two, and I don’t know exactly what to attribute this too, other than I am growing older and I am figuring what the hell, it’s the face I was stuck with, so I may as well have some fun with it.

Plus, as I may have mentioned before, I have a nervous habit of biting my lips.  Not dainty nibbles, mind you, but the sort of worried gnawing that results in ragged tears. So more often than not, I end up eating all of my lip product.  Gross.  I’ve been working on this though, and I think I am starting to have it under control.

In no particular order, here are three of my current favorites:

Kat Von D liquid lipstick in Vampira Oh my god. This red. Even the most rhodophobic amongst us (me) must acknowledge the rubeus glory of Vampira. I have never seen a more gorgeous red lipstick in my life. As far as the formula, I really love liquid lipsticks; sure, they go on slightly gloppy but they dry quickly, and matte, and they tend to stay put all day long. Or, in theory they do.  Out of the liquid lipsticks I have tried, this one has the least stay-puttage.

LA Splash Lip Couture in OG Ghoulish. I have heard this described as a “slightly pinkish ashy neutral”. Uh…I don’t know about that.  I would say it is more a “definitely grey-blue, necrotic neutral”. Very drowning victim-esque; “my lips but deader”, as EauMG might say. When I first saw this in the tube I thought it would be too similar to Limecrime Velveteen in Cashmere, but nope. I wear Cashmere quite frequently and it’s actually my favorite of all that I’ve listed here, but I just didn’t have a photo of me in it that didn’t look kind of deranged.  Cashmere is more beige, and probably a bit more wearable.  As far as formula is concerned, there is something about the LA Splash liquid lipstick that feels a little glunky.  Cashmere, though, is practically perfect.  Not glunky, stays put all day (you really have to scrub it off at night) and you barely notice you are wearing it.  My one complaint is the sickly sweet cake batter smell that all of the Limecrime Velveteens seems to have, but it fades quickly once it is dry.

Colourpop Cosmetics Lippie Stix in Feminist is a dark purple…almost black…but it ends up more like a blackberry on me, or maybe a plum… or perhaps eggplant if I were really heavy handed with it. The formula is smooth and creamy, and not at all drying.  They sell a matching lip pencil with they highly recommend pairing with it. Which I did.  And I think I might recommend it, as well.

A bonus mention goes to Teez Cosmetics Read My Lips Lipstick in Killing Me Softly, a fun, matte coral which I unexpectedly fell in love with. It’s a silly color; I feel like it’s something Minnie Castavet might have worn. Makes me want to don a tropical muumuu and gather up some cronies for a game of canasta.

K-Beauty Madness Part 3

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More tales of fripperies and frivolity involving Korean cosmetics and skincare:

When I first started, I thought oh, I’ll just try one thing here and one thing there, no big deal.  Well it turns out my middle name is “Moderation? What’s that all about?” and things didn’t quite work out that way.

I will keep this quick though, because at this point even I am tired of hearing myself go on about this.

Pictured up top are two products from glowrecipe, a website that offers “natural and harsh free” items.  I was originally looking for cruelty-free items, and  they are out there, but it’s all very confusing.  The one website I found that had a list of cruelty-free companies on it now looks like the domain is up for sale, so I am not sure how legit it may have been in the first place.  The search continues.

I didn’t feel a compelling need for anything on glowrecipe (what could I possibly need at this point?), but I was seduced by the gorgeous packaging, so I picked up a bottle of the Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Essence Toner and the Blossom Jeju Camellia Seed Dry Oil. The toner is for all skin types and boasts Aloe Vera extract, Chrysanthemum extract and Oat Kernel extract, as well as fermented Dandelion and Argan Oil.  It has sort of a floral-anise scent and a …bouncier texture than most toners I’ve used.  I don’t know how else to explain it…maybe a tiny bit more viscous, I suppose. The Camellia seed oil is lightweight and fairly odorless, and to be quite honest, I have only used it once or twice.  I keep forgetting about it. It’s one of the site’s best-sellers, though, and apparently is great for hydration and nourishment.

The Etude House Dear Darling lip tint, “vampire red” was purchased for the name alone, as you probably could have guessed. I like the gradient lip trend (I think it sort of looks like you’ve been enjoying a blood popcicle) but it turns out I am too lazy to put in the work to figure out how to do it.  Also, this is a fairly sticky product, which I hate.

The Etude House Lash Perm 3 Step Volumecara is a mascara with an adjustable dial to dispense more or less product. I believe you are supposed to start with step 1, dial up to step two, etcetera, but I just skip straight to step 3 because who has time for that?  It’s actually a pretty great formula and one of the best mascaras I have ever used. My lashes are pretty skimpy and this makes them really stand out.

The Innifree No Sebum Mineral Pact makes me laugh every time I have to say it.  Probably because in my head I am substituting the word “semen” for “sebum” because I am a filthy pervert and eternally 12 years old. It contains Jeju natural mineral and mint and is a 6-free product: paraben, talc, artificial colours, animal ingredients, mineral oil and artificial fragrance free. The packaging is adorable and resembles a macaron, but the sponge is kind of low quality. I am not even sure why I purchased this; for the past few years my skin has really dried out, I’m  not nearly the greasy teenager I used to be.  I don’t really have that much oil on my face that needs absorbing anymore.  The funny thing is…when I use this product over BB cream or whatever, I actually find that I am oilier at the end of the day! Very strange.

The Holika Holika Jewel Light Pencil eyeliner in Black Plum is a really gorgeous earthy plum shade that probably makes for a great smoky eye.  It’s a nice quality eye pencil, not too creamy but not too scratchy.  I read reviewers mention that you can sharpen it, even though there is plastic around it, so that is definitely a plus.

Of the last three products I will mention, only two of them, I believe, are actually Korean.  I think I threw them in my shopping cart because I had seen beauty bloggers mentioning them as part of their routine, and I didn’t realize at the time that the Bioderma was a French product and Natural Aqua Gel Cure is Japanese.

The Bioderma is basically an eye maker remover, and as it turns out is sort of a cult favorite. After using it a few times, I can see why. No left over panda eyes, no oily residue, no red, inflamed skin. I really love this stuff.  Very gentle, very mild, and I believe they make it for both dry and sensitive skin.  I am not sure which one I purchased, but whichever one it is, I am okay with it. Highly recommended.

The Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Serum…was not actually the product I thought I was ordering. I thought I ordered an ampoule. The Time Revolution Night Repair line uses Retinol technology for “intensive 3D night care” for strengthening and moisturizing skin, while also providing it with the necessary nutrients. Also has wrinkle repairing and whitening benefits.” I don’t know about all that, as I have only been using it for a week now, and I suspect some of these products produce the sorts of results you don’t really notice until you are 50 and folks are telling you that you don’t look at day over 30. Here’s hoping. It’s a little sticky and leaves your skin feeling a bit tacky – definitely something to use at bedtime.

And finally…the Natural Aqua Gel Cure.  This one is another cult favorite, with apparently a bottle sold in Japan every 12 seconds. I’m not sure if it’s due to the efficacy of the product or the gross-out factor – which for some people (me) – is a huge selling point.  Remember those Biore pore strips that you paste over your nose for a few minutes, tear off, and when you look at them closely you can see a dense forest of your former blackheads waving in the breeze?  I always got a kick out of that. To me, the the Natural Aqua Gel Cure is sort of the same principle.  It’s a scrub-free, water-based exfoliate – a gel that you gently massage onto your clean, dry face (wash it with your cleanser of choice, first), and as you massage, you should see little white balls like spots appearing. These little balls are the dead skin cells that are being lifted from your face. Once you have completed massaging your face, then rinse off the gel with just warm and not hot water. UGH IT IS SO GROSS I LOVE IT. And seriously, my face felt pretty fantastic afterward.  This is an exfoliating product though, so once or twice a week is enough – any more than that will qprobably do more harm than good.

 

K-Beauty Madness, Part Two

Continuing with my K-Beauty Madness reviews: next up we have sheet masks, super cute stuff, and a few miscellaneous items.

Sheet masks were probably my first introduction to Korean skincare products…I think.  I feel like maybe my BGF brought me a few back from one of her trips to Korea, but I don’t remember ever actually using them.  Or maybe I am imagining that scenario, it’s hard to tell with me sometimes!

Anyhow, sheet masks are basically microfiber sheets saturated with serums and a variety of botanical ingredients and/or vitamins to help diminish various skin conditions.  After just 10 minutes of using the mask, skin is supposedly noticeably springier, softer, and more radiant. I’ve read that they are best used for hydration – they don’t exfoliate or cleanse deeply, and they are not meant to replace your regular serum. And they are meant to be used but once or twice a week, definitely not an every day thing (also the effects aren’t supposed to last more than a day.)  Also, maybe not for acne-prone skin.

As for when to use these masks, I am still not entirely certain. According to a user on reddit:
“I do my nightly sheet masks after all my essence/serum/ampoule steps and before my cream/sleeping pack steps. This way, the sheet mask format can help my essences, serums, and ampoules penetrate more effectively and avoid evaporation of those products, and then the cream/sleeping.”  I guess that makes sense, right?

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The first brand I tried, Hey! Pingko Girl, is actually not even Korean! Hey Pinkgo Girl is a Taiwanese brand. But amazon told me that I might want to try them, and I threw them in my cart without knowing anything about them because I am very impressionable. There are 8 masks in the set that I purchased (for about $18); 4 of the microfiber, and 4 cotton lace variety – with ear straps!  And a total of 8 entirely different formulas.  The first mask I used well, let’s just say I am an idiot.  The microfiber masks in this set come with a thin paper backing…which I didn’t realize…so I just slapped the whole thing on my face. “Why isn’t this contouring to my face?” I thought irritably. “Why is this flapping around so much?”  20 minutes later I realized my mistake but I was too grumpy with myself to give it another try that night. Unfortunately the one I tried was the Black Rose Collagen mask, which was the one I was most looking forward to.

 

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After that I tried the Brightening White Yogurt mask with aloe and hyaluronic acid, for all skin types, but particularly dull skin. The lace was super stretchy, which was good, because I have a pretty big head. After laying back on the sofa and listening to John Diliberto’s Echoes on public radio in the dark for 20 minutes, I removed the mask. It’s a soothing, relaxing process to be certain, but with this mask, other than feeling like my face was weirdly drippy (without the actual drips? Hard to explain.) I couldn’t tell the difference.

Not pictured: The Face Shop Hyaluronic Acid sheet mask. I don’t recall anything good about this one.  I used it one evening while keeping my grandmother company.  It didn’t fit my face right and it was kind of dried out.  Another reviewer mentions it smells like Cool Water for men, and I don’t quite remember that, yet nonetheless now I like it even less.

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Now I am not entirely certain about this, but I think the main demographic for Tonymoly products are meant to be teenagers. Which is not to say that a grown ass lady can’t love the adorable packing, because more often than not, I suspect that is the case.  And you’d think something marketed toward teenagers (and I am really just guessing at that) would be of an inferior quality, because teenagers – what do they know, right? I am happy to report that this is not the case.  Out of all of the sheet masks I have tried so far, I think the Tonymoly is the best of the bunch.  These weren’t even something I picked out for myself – my BGF brought them back for me from a recent trip- so it just goes to show that I’m not nearly as smart as I like to think I am.

The only one I have tried from this lot is the Tomato Radiance mask.  This one was definitely well saturated, it fit my face well, and while it did not smell of tomatoes, it smelled pleasantly enough. I think my face actually felt nicer after wearing it, though I could not pinpoint exactly why! I am excited though, to try the rest of the masks in this line up.

What are your favorite sheet masks?  What should I try next?

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I could not order just the masks from Tonymoly, of course!  I mean look at that pink winky cat compact! And the bunny glosses! Here’s a quick breakdown of some other things I picked up.

The Petit Bunny Gloss bars are a must. So cute.  So stinking cute. I bought the entire set, though I am fairly certain you can purchase individually.  I just know myself, and if I got just one or two, they’d probably be misplaced in the span of a day. Better to play it safe. Each one is a different flavor, (cherry, apple, peach, etc.) and though I as a general rule don’t care much for fruit flavored cosmetics, these aren’t too obnoxious. If you’re curious as to the colors, here are some swatches.

As an aside, don’t you hate it when people describe soap, lotions, creams, etc. as “flavored”? If they’re not anywhere near your mouth, then my take on it is that they are “scented”. That’s not a raspberry flavored deodorant, you psycho! What, are you going to eat it? It’s raspberry scented. Jesus.

The Tonymoly Cat Wink Clear Pact is another one that I didn’t really care what it did, I just wanted it because it was cute. Which is good, because as soon as it was delivered, I dropped it and all of the powder in it shattered and fell out. That’s ok! I really just wanted a cute mirror for my handbag.  Anyway, it comes in two shades and people seem to like it, so I still consider it a good purchase.

The Etude House Kissful Lip Concealer is a weird little product. Lip concealer itself is a weird concept, you know. It’s supposed to “conceal lip blemishes”, but I got it because my lips are naturally not very neutrally colored and sometimes when I want to wear pale lipsticks, I think my lip color interferes . Also, I though the girl on the packaging was kind of creepy, so bonus points for that.

The Etude House Precious Mineral Blooming Fit has some opinions: “Brightening OK! Darkening Zero!”  This is sort of illuminating BB cream, which leads me to think that I got a bit of a bad batch.  It gave my skin a dull, grayish cast that was even less attractive than it sounds.  The packaging is really pretty, so there’s that, but I have since found some great BB creams so I just gave this one away.

The Missha The Style Under Eye Brightener works just as well as that NARS under eye concealer that everyone is wild about; I use them now interchangeably, and this is loads cheaper.

 

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Some miscellaneous items:

The Tonymoly Peach Anti Aging Hand Cream is fantastic.  I cannot even believe I am saying this.  Ordinarily I hate artificial fruit scents and fruity fragrances, peach in particular.  But I keep this little pot of cream by my desk and it is really perfect.  Wonderfully hydrating, non-sticky, and the peach smell is really, really strong. But it’s not sickly sweet, which I love, and I think that’s where so many peachy fragrances get it horribly wrong.  This is so much like a ripe peach. Also: it looks like a boob.

Another Tonymoly product I can’t get enough of is the Gel Eyeliner #1. Let’s face it; I cannot now, nor will I ever be able to draw that perfect cat’s eye swoop that so many of you are good at. That’s 50% of the reason that I bought these cat’s eye glasses frames, dammit. And I think I prefer a more smudged look anyhow. I love the packaging, it looks like a little ink well!  The brush is built in at the top, and the eyeliner is in the little pot at the bottom. It’s highly pigmented, so a little bit goes a long way, and I also like that it’s small and can fit into nicely into my weirdly tiny hands.

Last and most definitely least is the Skinfood Salmon Dark Circle Concealer Cream. Infused with salmon oil and boasting salmon undertones to brighten the under eye area, packaged in a cute retro little pot, highly pigmented and super creamy – this product has a cult-like following and I really wanted to love it, but it didn’t seem to work for me at the time. It seemed too orange-y; like I was sporting some sort of salmon-tented eye grease that the football players wear underneath their eyes (to reduce glare.  I just now found that out)  I am at this point retroactively reading all of these glowing reviews about it though, and I am starting to wish I’d given it more of a chance.  Oh well!

Up next: some other stuff!

 

K-Beauty Madness, Part One

2NE1, “It Hurts” video still

Several years ago my best good friend cheekily informed me that “Korea was the new Japan”.  This was big news, as she and I had initially bonded at the start of our friendship over a mutual love of Japanese food and culture and anime (of course anime).

Over the course of the next few years she would attempt to entice me with K-pop or Korean dramas and Eat Your Kimchi, a super fun blog by non-Korean couple living in Korea, about food, travel, adventures, and culture. Despite her best attempts, however, I never quite contracted the K-Fever.

…and I am not saying that I have now, mind you, however a few months ago, a few friends recommended some Korean beauty products to me, and I drank the K-oolaid. Fell down the K-rabbit hole.  Whatever.  All of a sudden, out of nowhere, an obsession was born.

Products to brighten your skin! Products to reduce redness! Products made from snail mucus and fermented rose petals and mushroom extracts! Products to make you look like this!

2NE1 Fault Magazine Interview, 2012

Here’s a run-down of the products I have tried over the last few months – which ones were duds, which ones have become Holy Grails, and every thing in between.  Disclaimer, and I feel I need to add this because I am wretchedly paranoid.  Anytime I write something I am plagued by doubt and insecurities, convinced that someone is going to call me out on some minor (or, major -eek!) detail that I’ve gotten wrong. Something I missed. As some sort of amateur hack who has no business voicing an opinion.

So as a reminder, I am no cosmetologist or aesthetician.  I am not a professional Reviewer of Things.  I am certainly not a foremost expert on All Things Korean (or anything Korean, really). I am just a woman with an opinion. An opinion which may not be the same as yours! But an opinion which I would like to share with you, nonetheless.

Before doing so, though, there are a few other things I would like to share in terms of resources.  Korean cosmetics and skincare is apparently a complicated business in terms of which products do what, and the multi-step processes that go along with them.

Here’s a decent breakdown from Into The Gloss, which pretty much says that you should be spending the same amount of time in the evening taking your face off and treating it after, as you do with the spackling of it on in the morning.  And here’s another really great article from Style.com in which one expert asserts that the commonly talked about Korean 10 Step Process is not actually a real thing. Here is an article that talks about the difference between tones/serums/essences/ampoules, and here is a blog that you should look at because it’s basically the most beautiful blog I have ever seen.  She talks about a few must-haves, but I just can’t stop looking at her photos. Here’s a lady at the Huffington Post who gave all of it a try. Basically any google search for Korean Skin Care Products/Routine will unearth a bunch of great information, but you can really make yourself nuts about it.

From what I understand, the process for youthful, dewy skin looks like something like this.

1. Pre-cleanse with makeup removing wipes
2. Cleanse with an oil cleanser or foaming cleanser or balm
3. Exfoliate (not an every day thing)
4.Toner
5. Essence
6. Serum (or ampoule, if you need it, for an extra boost)
7. Sheet Mask (twice a weekish)
8. Eye cream
9. Moisturizer (I think these are sometimes called emulsions)
10. Night cream before bed / SPF in the morning

Obviously, this can be streamlined for budget and time constraints, once you find the things that work best for you.  And in the morning, for example, I imagine you can cut it down to less than half those steps.  You’re probably not wearing makeup to bed.  Hopefully.

I’ve purchased all of these things on my own, except for a few things gifted to me by my best good friend.  None of these were given to me by the companies or the retailers. Also, the things I am listing below are not in any order of where they might belong in the process listed above.  I’ve sort of just been buying things willy-nilly, here and there, and so if anything, it’s in order from earliest purchase to most recent.

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The first few items I purchased:

The Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick  is a a bit of a luxury item. A low PH cleanser with fermented damask rose extract in a twisty push up container. Retails anywhere from about $25 to $40 or so. I really loved this.  The instructions say to apply directly to your face and then lather it up, but it’s probably less stressful on your skin and will use less product if you lather up in your hands and then apply to your face. My face never feels tight, or worse, flaky, after using this. The container makes it super convenient for travel, so that’s a plus too.

The Lioele Water Drop Sleeping Pack ; this and other packs (or sleeping masks) of it’s type are, I believe, applied after the rest of your night time beauty regimen, to sort of seal everything in for the rest of the night, and then you wash it off in the morning.  An oil free gel, it’s supposed to reduce bloating and redness and the particular appeal of this item is that once you massage the product onto your face, it beads up into water droplets on your skin.  Not sure I understand how that’s helpful (don’t we want to keep moisture in, not out?) and it seems kind of gimmicky.  I tried it a few times and gave it away.  It just didn’t make much sense to me.

Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream contains snail mucin, which is all about cell regeneration.  My best good friend warned me that she tried a product with snail mucin in it and it made her break out but I was so high on the idea of slathering snail slime on my face that I’m afraid I might have pooh-poohed her. The product itself is nice enough, a light gel consistency with a bit of a cucumber fragrance.  But I didn’t like how sticky my face felt afterward, and sure enough, it did break me out.  This was another one I gave away.

The IOPE Air Cushion is probably the most amazing cosmetic product I have ever used.  Sorry for the hyperbole, but I stand by it. It is basically a compact with a BB cream soaked sponge in it. It comes with a non-absorbing puff that wicks the formula off of the sponge and “…effortlessly applies evenly onto your face, for that dewy no-makeup, makeup look”.
The first time I used it, I was a little disappointed; it got patchy and flaky (like all my makeup started doing around two years ago BECAUSE I AM GETTING OLD) but then I realized I hadn’t moisturized properly. The next few times I used it, I fell in love. The coverage at first is sheer to medium, but definitely buildable. Check out this blogger’s photos for an idea of how it worked for her.  And it’s just…really easy to use. Easier than smearing actual BB cream on your face. Also, it’s got some really sturdy packaging, a pleasant scent, and out of all of the things I have tried so far, it is my number one recommendation.  At $35-$45 though, it’s not inexpensive.

Missha Time Revolution – The First Treatment Essence Mist contains fermented yeast extract which is supposedly good for skin recovery.  Many bloggers claim this helps for whitening and supple skin, but, eh…I can’t see an difference on my end.  It’s a fine mist, which is nice, but it smells kind of strange.  I can’t see that it’s hurting me, so I will probably use it up, but after it is gone, I will be on the lookout for a new essence.  Suggestions are welcome!

To sum up, or as the kids say, TL;DR -I can definitely recommend the Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick  and I strongly urge you to try The IOPE Air Cushion. If the other three interest you, be certain to read up on reviews and research on the Lioele Water Drop Sleeping PackMissha Time Revolution – The First Treatment Essence Mist , and the Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream. Obviously, just because I didn’t love them doesn’t mean that you won’t, so let me know if you give them a try!

Up next – Masks! And Cuteness Overload!

Stinkers and Duds

duds

I am certainly no guru when it comes to cosmetics and beauty products; those elixirs, serums, and potions we sink hundreds and thousands of dollars in every year to keep us from mummifying or stinking or being generally hideous.  I do, however, know what I like.
That, however, is a different story for a different time.

I am here today to talk to you about some items I most assuredly did not like.

1. Lavanila – The Healthy Deodorant

On trip to DC in 2014 the airline lost our luggage and since they were reimbursing us for our expenses I figured I would splurge on a “fancy” deodorant. Of all the things on which to splurge.

Anyhow, the product itself smells very nice – a lovely combination of “fresh” and “clean” and mildly sweet. Once applied, however, I have found that the scent dissipates very quickly and after an hour or so in the warm weather, seems to disappear altogether. Up until that point I was blissfully unaware of how truly, incomparably awful my own body smelled in the absence of deodorizing beauty products. My god. That foul stench was coming from me? Unbelievable! Inconceivable! I had to keep surreptitiously sniffing myself to remind myself that yes, that vile odor was actually emanating from my person. You know the wiggly waves that come off smelly people in comics and cartoons? I am pretty sure that’s what my olfactory aura looked like during this time.

As someone who always smells pretty great (in my humble opinion), this turn of events -while disappointing and which made me a bit of a social pariah for the remainder of my vacation – was absolutely fascinating. I had no idea, NO IDEA that one human being could smell so bad. Well, I am here to tell you that they can, and apparently lacking properly effective deodorants, I am the equivalent of a ticking stinkbomb.

I cannot in good faith recommend this product. Who knows what evil lurks under our arms when we are caught unawares by an an incompetent deodorant? Steer clear from this product, and you’ll not have to ever find out.

2. Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask

I suppose it is rather unfair to judge and review a product after one usage, especially one that is not really designed to produce instantaneous results (as oppose to say, a swipe of lipstick or a spritz of perfume.) However, I am compelled to record my initial thoughts on the subject here, few though they may be.

I call upon you, if you will, to remember the film Poltergeist, when Carol Anne’s mother pulls her out of the closet and she is covered with that pinkish, ectoplasmic goo? The viscous ooze that I extracted from the small sample packet resembled that sticky slime to such a degree that I actually found myself retching a little bit as I spread with trembling fingers that rosy jellied mucous on my face. Though the smell was in no way off-putting, the texture was like so much partially digested pudding and I shuddered to think how this slithering, slippery mass might transform my familiar (if slightly reddened and visibly aging) visage.

As instructed, I rinsed the sickly substance from my cheeks with warm water and waited with mounting fear to see what would emerge from beneath that foul fluid. Would the face staring back from the mirror be deformed, disfigured…dissolved? …would it even mine?

Indeed it was. Same enlarged pores. Same dark spots. Same dull countenance.
No radiance, no dewy glow. No youthful rejuvenation.

No point to this hideous exercise.
A horrific ordeal.

3. Parfumerie Generale – Aomassai

I feel like I may be the lone dissenter on this much beloved gourmand, but I think it smells like being locked in a humidor full of Ding Dongs. Which is not my idea of a good time.

4. LUSH – Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner

In theory, this is probably a great product. It’s a decadent, heavy cream that you slather on in the shower and then rinse off and then voila! You are no longer a dry, scaly winter lizard. The smell, however, MY GOD THE SMELL. I knew it wasn’t going to work for me because it was just so sweet and fruity and awful and cloying, but when my partner pointed out that I smell like Jolly Ranchers – those disgusting candies that were enormously popular during my sixth grade year – I literally gagged. I still have 99% of a jar of this stuff sitting on the counter and it’s quite a waste because it’s definitely not cheap.  Let me know if you want it. I haven’t got cooties.

Are there any products or items that you had pinned your hopes on, spend your monies on, and then let you down horribly? Almost killed you? Forewarned is forearmed – leave a comment and tell me all about it so I can learn from your mistakes as you have learned from mine.

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