The May Vella Box

The May 2020 Vella Box

As you might remember from my Friday Face mask last week, my monthly candle subscription Vella Box came in. It arrived last wednesday. It was a week later than usual as they are having to mail in batches due to current restrictions. I actually don’t mind as all but one of my current subscriptions arrive closer to the beginning of the month and it is nice to have a later arrival. (I think the only subscription left to arrive this month is my Facetory sheet mask subscription).

While there are several levels of subscription, the one I receive is called The Lucerna Tier and in it comes one 14 ounce candle which has approximately a 25 hour burn time.  I will have to say the time estimate for my last candle was pretty spot on.  The subscription is $10 per month and for me it has a $3 shipping fee so for $13 I get a candle and one surprise gift each month.

The candle comes in a reusable glass jar with a lid and is encased in a canvas bag that can also be reused.  I find the bag handy for corralling all sorts of little things.  I actually have my extra lip balms in last month’s bag so they don’t get lost in the drawer while they are waiting for their turn to be used.  And so that I don’t just reach in and grab one to open without looking to see which ones are already opened.

I’m sure I’ll find a use for the bag that came this month as well.  They are quite a handy size.

The jars containing the candles are also reusable, but before they are reused, they must be used.

Quite frankly I am looking forward to using this one.  Each candle comes from a different supplier and this one came from Roam Botanicals.  Apparently they were once sold by Anthropologie and Martha Stewart but the company is moving out of candles and into skin care.

While I suppose that means there will be no more candles, it might be interesting to check out their skin care.  The scent of my candle is Cactus and Jade.  The descriptive card is almost worthy of a perfume ad.  It reads…

…a fresh earthy scent with the perfect blend of floral and woodsy notes. May it remind you of travels out west or inspire you to take an adventure in nature.

Almost to perfume levels of intrigue, but not quite.

I will say that it is softly floral, but not overpowering. The floral is the sort of floral I would associate more with arid environs than wet ones.  It makes me think of the flowers I smelled when I lived in Texas rather than those from New Hampshire.  I’m guessing that is the cactus part. 

I’m not entirely certain what jade is supposed to smell like as I think of it as an unscented stone, but I can smell the cypress and the bayberry.  They do help ground the floral so it isn’t cloying and overpowering.  I would guess those are the woodsy notes. Overall it is a quite mild scent. You can smell it in th room but it doesn’t dominate.

I really like the scent and I enjoyed using it for my Friday afternoon break. I had the candle lit when I was reading over the weekend as well and enjoyed it then.  I suspect, I will enjoy it all month.

I think I will also get quite a bit of enjoyment out of my surprise gift as well.  This month it was a pack of basil seeds.  I tend to start my basil in waves so that I have the plants growing all summer without risking them getting woody so I appreciate extra seeds. I use it fresh in tomato salads all summer, make oils, pestos and vinegars with it and then freeze it in ice cube trays for use all winter.  I love basil.  Oddly enough I’m not a big fan of it when it is dried, but every other way I can use it I do. So I am happy with my extra surprise.

I am very glad I decided to give this subscription a trial.  (I found it when looking for something else entirely on Cratejoy – a tea subscription for my mom for mother’s day and subscribed on a whim.) I am rather glad I did. In the store this is a scent I probably would have passed up, but I actually find quite delightful.  I don’t like that the company won’t be making them anymore as it means I can’t order a replacement, but it was nice to have my comfort zone stretched a bit.

Clearing out the Empties Bin

Happy Memorial Day! As with a lot of folks I’ve been sorting, cleaning, experimenting, and using the extra time at home to go through things.  Once I started clearing things out, I realized I had a lot of open and partially used travel sized items that I needed to use and clear out so I have been making a concentrated effort to use them up.  It is amazing how much space those little items can take up. 

Plus I am fairly certain I am not going to be traveling any time soon so I might as well use the products now and then just get new travel items when I do travel.  In case you are wondering, that’s also why there are so many travel sized items in this post. I also tend to get sample and travel sized items specifically to try out a formula before committing to a full size.  I find it helps with my budget. But enough of an intro, to the products.

We’ll start with two empties from Sol de Janeiro.  One is the Brazilian Bum Bum Cream and the other is the Coco Cabana cream.  Both are excellent body lotions and in fact the Brazilian Bum Bum cream I have been using to help with the stretch marks that have been appearing as I’ve started losing weight. 

Free 25ml Brazilian Bum Bum Cream with every order over $55!

I actually have a large container of the Bum Bum cream that I am still using, I just wanted to clear out the two smaller ones.  I will definitely be reordering the Bum Bum cream, but I don’t think I will order the Coco Cabana cream.  It is a nice cream and I have no problem with the scent, but for some reason I find the formula just a little sticky.  After applying it I have to wash my hands.  I don’t have to do that with the regular Bum Bum cream. So I will continue to purchase the Bum Bum, but not the Coco Cabana.

Next up we have two empty containers of dry shampoo.  Both actually full size.  The first is the TRESemme between washes volumizing dry shampoo.  While it does have a little bit of a white cast when first sprayed, a quick brush and it is is gone.  I also find that the dry shampoos that have just a little white cast to them tend to work better on greasy hair.  As long as the white brushes out easily, I am fine with it. 

The scent reminds me of a good salon. I’m not entirely certain what that scent is, but that is my best description.  Personally, I like the scent.   As the name suggests it is a good between washes shampoo.  For heavy sweat days I’d still go back to the IGK, but for the day between, this is a really good dry shampoo I would purchase again.

I cannot say the same about the Pearlessence Cherry Blossom Dry Shampoo.  It has a slightly sweet scent that could be termed cherry if you were being generous.  Smell aside, I was not thrilled by the way this dry shampoo performed.  There was a white cast that was a pain to brush out, and it didn’t absorb a lot of the grease. 

My hair didn’t look cleaner, like it did with the TRESemme.  It also made my head itch a couple of hours after I applied. It.  I generally found that shortly after using this , I either needed to use the dry shampoo again to absorb more oil or I just needed to take a shower.  This was not a day between dry shampoo, it was a ‘I can’t shower for an hour’ dry shampoo.  I will not be buying it again.

Keeping with the theme of hair for the moment I have two trial sized hair products.  One is the Eva-nyc Satin Dream leave in conditioner and the other is the Bumble and Bumble Don’t blow it Fine (H)air styler. I would actually purchase full sizes of both of these products. 

I love the argon oil in the eva-nyc.  My hair always reacts well to argan oil.  And the conditioner smells vaguely like candy. It was not too heavy in my hair and gave it great manageability.

The Bumble and Bumble was an excellent product on days where I was just going to let my air air dry.  I could put a little in, let the hair dry naturally and then just run a brush through it, easy peasy.  There were no tangles and it didn’t weigh down the hair.  I think I am actually going to be repurchasing a full size soon as I really don’t like blow drying my hair in the summer time.  I think this could really help me out this year. And yes I know it says for fine hair and I have thick hair, but I tried the one they offer for not fine hair a while back and found it too heavy feeling.  This despite the fine hair claim was perfect for me.

Another item I will definitely be ordering again is the Hydro Biotic Recovery sleeping mask from Dr. Brandt.  During the winter this year this was my go to night cream whenever I felt like I had any dryness.  It wasn’t too heavy, didn’t clog my pores and made my skin feel hydrated and refreshed come morning.  I think when the weather turns in the autumn I will purchase another tube to use throughout next winter.

In my empties bin I have three powders, one pressed and two loose.  The pressed powder is the ELF Perfect finish HD powder.  I will definitely be reordering it in the near future. 

Shop e.l.f. Cosmetics now

It is one of those powders I always keep on hand.  What I tend to do is use the ELF translucent powder all winter and then the Rimmel Stay Matte in the summer, just because  my skin tone changes with the season and the ELF is a little lighter.  I almost always order this as soon as I start to see pan on it, but this year I want to give other products a chance.  It is actually killing me to have this empty and know I haven’t reordered it yet.  So suffice it to say it is my favorite.

The first of the empty loose powders I have are the translucent Cherry Blossom Matte powder from Pacifica. This I will definitely re order in the future.  It worked well on my skin and I personally love the scent of it.  It kept my makeup in place and didn’t look powdery on the skin. 

50% Off Last Call items at Pacifica Beauty. Valid with Code SALE50. Shop Now!

The second loose powder is the Becca Hydra Mist Set and Refresh powder.  When I first got it I adored it.  It worked well on my skin and it had that nifty, feels wet sensation that got everyone so excited. I’ve also had really good luck with Becca powders in the past.  I generally keep the pink toned setting powder around because I really like it to add a touch of color to the face when winter has made me pale.

However, the wet feeling didn’t last.  Soon it just felt like regular powder.  Which is fine.  I love using powder and the powder still performed well.  I am just a little leery of whatever chemical change happened.  The cooling sensation dissipated rapidly  so  I was always suspicious that the powder went bad.  Because of this I think I will stick to other Becca Powders in the future.

Next up is the Wet ‘n Wild photofocus 3-in-1 Primer water in Rose.  It is a good affordable setting spray.  The Rose scent was a bit much for me, but the spray was nice and it held my makeup in place when I used it.  I will probably repurchase this, but I think I would pick a different scent.  I would probably go with something like cucumber.  The rose was just a bit much. The spray is worth purchasing though.

I have two eyeliners in this bin of empties.  They are both black and they both have a felt tip applicator.  One is the Eyeko London Skinny eyeliner in black and the other is the Illamasqua liquid eyeliner.  I enjoyed both of them and would purchase them both again.  Once in place they didn’t budge or smudge and they were smooth in application and easy to use.

Marc Jacobs

Finally we get to the mascaras.  I have four travel/sample sized ones that are leaving me.  The first is one I am sad to see go.  It is the Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara.  I love the formula, I love the wand and I love the way it makes my eyelashes look.  What more is there to say?  It is a fabulous mascara.  I had three of the travel sizes and this is this is the last one.  I will be getting a full sized version of this one.

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Oddly enough, despite the similarities in the applicator wand, I will not be purchasing the Stila Huge Extreme lash mascara.  It didn’t work as well as Marc Jacobs and tended to clump.  The wand may have been similar, but the formula wasn’t. 


I was pleasantly surprised by the Marcelle Curling and Lengthening mascara.  It both curled and lengthened. The formula stayed in place without flaking off.  It was a very good mascara.  I liked the curve of the wand as it enabled me to more effectively reach my lower lashes as well.  It is one I would definitely pick up again in a full sized formula. 

The Clinique High Impact mascara was also a decent formula.  It stayed in place and didn’t flake, but it was nothing extra special.  It is a good solid mascara, I just didn’t find it to be a WOW sort of mascara.


And finally we have the MAC Extreme Dimension 3D Black Lash mascara.  I have to say this is the last of these little tubes I have in my collection.  For a while it seemed like they were everywhere.  I’d open a drawer and then BAM, MAC mascara.  It felt like as soon as I finished one, another would magically appear in my drawer. If there are such things as mascara fairies then I think this is what they leave.


At least for me anyway.  Not that I mind.  It is a really good mascara.  I enjoyed using it.  Once I finished this little tube I went into the drawer and was rather surprised there were no more left.  Apparently I am no longer on the mascara fairy’s delivery route.  I think now that I have one through all of my samples, I would consider buying a regular sized tube of this mascara. It has a nice wand, although it seems a little longer than many others, but I like the way it applies.  The thinness of the wand also allows for application on the lower lashes without making too much of a mess.

So there you have it.  We have made it through my empties bin and I have managed to clear out a bunch of partially used products.  It makes me feel all virtuous inside.  I also now have a list of several products I would like to repurchase and several that I know I don’t need to bring home again.  Given the plethora of summer sales, it is a very good time to stock up on products I like. I just have to remember, I’m not allowed to use a new ELF powder until I have at least tried something else.

I know this was a much longer post than usual, so for those of you who made it to the end, congrats and thanks for sticking with me.  Now that I am doing my weekly makeup bag post, it should help keep the length of the empty posts down in the future (should you want me to continue them).  Happy Memorial Day everyone.  I hope you are having a great one .

Should anyone be interested in doing a little shopping over the Memorial day weekend, there are heaps of sales going on. One that I will be taking advantage of is the sale on the Look Fantastic site. I know normally you think of their subscription box, but they do sell products and they are having some pretty good sales. It might be worth a look to scoop up some of your favorite brands while saving a little. (personally I am all over the Molton Brown Shower Gel – The Rhubarb line is really hard to find where I live.) Anyway, it is linked below for those interested.

It’s Pureheals for Face Mask Friday

Welcome to Face Mask Friday.  It is time once again to take fifteen to twenty minutes to relax, destress and just let everything go. 

On Wednesday my Vella Box subscription arrived and so I had a brand new candle to try out.  This one is in the fragrance Cactus and Jade from Roam Botanicals.  I’ll cover the details of the company and such when I review the box, but when lit the candle was a nice lightly floral scent that is perfect for today. 

But what mask did I pair this lovely new candle with?

Today I went with the Pure Heals by Nature Village Pore Clear Black Charcoal peel off mask.  It was in this month’s IPSY box and so I thought I’d give it a try. According to the product information page…

This mask is formulated with activated charcoal, which dives deep into your pores to clear out blackheads, impurities, and dead skin. We love the immediate effects of this mask. Once you peel it off, your skin is visibly smoother and tighter. If you’re on the oily side, this mask also minimizes shine and shuts down the appearance of pores. K-beauty obsessed? You’re gonna want to add PUREHEALS to your list of Korean skincare brands to love.

Sounds promising.

So on to the face it goes. I have to say I did just pick up a tool that is the reason I chose this mask to begin with.  It is one of those little silicone spatula brushes.  It was less than a dollar so I added it on to my Amazon purchase a while ago.  It just came on Monday so this was my first use of it.  I think it may be the best dollar I have ever spent on a product.  It made applying the mask so much easier.  There was less waste and a lot less mess.

I felt a little extra for adding it because it is technically unnecessary, but I have to say I will get this one or one just like it again when this wears out (as the brush part is already kind of loose in the ferrule I know it won’t be lasting all that long).  There is no name brand and it really was the cheapest one I could find since I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but I love it and may order a sturdier one to make sure I have one around for masks at all times.

But on to the mask.  As it is a charcoal mask, it looks like black tar as it comes out of the tube.  And as a consequence I look like a very inept bank robber with the mask on.  The mask smelled very chemically which I wasn’t a fan of.  The scent dissipated pretty quickly though and what remained was overpowered and subdued by my candle.  The mask dried and like all peel off masks the hour of reckoning was at hand.

The mask needed to be removed.

Here’s the thing with me and peel off masks.  I always expect them to work in a similar fashion to the pore strips you can get to put on your nose.  Personally I am partial to the Biore charcoal pore strips. Some of them do, and some of them don’t.  But most of the pore cleansing ones do something. 

For example the Formula 10 charcoal peel off mask doesn’t peel off blackheads like a pore strip but it brings everything to the surface so the clogs can leave the skin instead of being stuck beneath it in little bumps that never seem to want to rise and be dealt with.  At least on me. Others do act as giant pore strips. An example of that is the Hell Pore mask (which is sold on beautynetKorea if you are looking for it, I’ve not had much luck finding it anywhere else).  I tried a tube of it a while ago.  It acts exactly like a giant pore strip.  It is also called the most painful peel off mask for a reason.  Still AMAZINGLY clear pores (so figure out where you lie on the beauty-pain debate before you try it but I’ll link the site below).

oh the red patches

I wasn’t entirely certain where on the scale this pore mask would lie but when it was dry, it had to come off.

On the pain scale it was about midrange for peel off masks.  The more sensitive areas hurt more.  The thing is, it didn’t really seem to do much other than cause pain. It wasn’t like a pore strip and it didn’t bring the bumps of clogged pores to the surface.  It was pain with no gain.  (and not in the pro-dieting sort of way). 

So now I have red patches that will soon calm down once my skin is over the affront of being peeled for no reason, but I personally didn’t see the benefit in this particular mask.  It is not a favorite. 

If I’m going for a charcoal peel off mask, I will take the gentle draw to the surface of the Formula 10 or the more scorched earth policy of the Hell Pore over the Pure heals. Maybe some of you out there will have better luck with this than I have, but this is not the mask for me.

If you do want to look into the Hell Pore, the only place I’ve managed to find it consistently is on BeautyNet Korea (link below) Just search Hell Pore and it’ll come up. I cried when I peeled it off (literally cried, that is not a figure of speech, there were real tears) but it it did draw everything out. It’s kind of the nuclear option for clogged pores. And after that first time I ended up using it in patches instead of doing a full face each time I used it. And even then I used it sparingly. You are warned.

The Make Up Bag: May 22, 2020

The Makeup bag for the week of May 15th – 22nd, 2020

Welcome to my new segment called the Make Up Bag. I’m really excited to be doing this actually. so lets begin!

I love trying out new products.  As a consequence though sometimes when I sit at my dressing table and prepare to put on my make up for the day I sometimes feel a bit like a distracted bumble bee.  Do I want this blush or that?  Am I in the mood for a Space Case Bronzer or do I want the Too Faced? As a consequence my choice of products change daily and some products I don’t try as soon as I want because others are pushing them out if sight. 

Plus, let’s face it I am not at my best in the morning.  Functional thought requires at least two cups of coffee.  Anything prior is me running an automatic response program.

Since, at the moment, I am trying different foundations and giving each a week of trial to each, I thought, why not do the same with other products.  To keep myself from becoming distracted, last Friday I filled a small makeup bag with the products I wanted to use for the week and relocated the bag to my bathroom next to my skin care.

Here is my plan.  Some of the items are ones I have never used and want to try out, others are ones close to being using up and want to finish. Some will only remain for the week others I will continue to use until the product is gone. At least this is the plan. 

Knowing me, I am sure it will change at some point.  But here is where we begin.

Last Friday I chose the Wet and Wild photofocus Foundation for my foundation trial of the week. The foundation review was posted on Thursday as was the review of the eyeshadow palette I chose for this week the BH Cosmetics Glam reflection Smoke. The links in this paragraph will take you to those reviews, I won’t bore you by reposting them here. Each had pros and cons.  I suspect Thursdays will end up being my foundation and palette reviews moving forward, but we shall see.

The primer I chose for this week was the Skin to Die For No filter mattifying primer and complexion Perfector from Peter Thomas Roth.  It is a trial sized sample I picked up as a free with purchase add on a while back when I was ordering  a container of the Cloud Cream.  I picked it up on a whim partially because I have a great love of primers and I had only tried skincare from Peter Thomas Roth and never a primer so I thought it looked interesting.  But then it went into the drawer.  So this was it’s week.

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the primer

My plan was to try the trial size and see if it was worth picking up a full sized one.  After one week of use, I have to say I will be picking up a full sized version of this product.  The primer has a slight tint that completely melted into my skin and made my skin look both matte and smooth.  There were a couple of days where I just wore the primer with a light dust of powder instead of bothering with foundation. I really liked the way my skin looked with this primer and as there is still product left, I am going to keep it in my make up bag for next week and use it until it is gone rather than putting the opened and half empty tube back in the drawer.

My powder will also be staying with my makeup bag this week. It is the Rimmell Stay Matte pressed powder and as you can see from the photo, I am actually close to using it up so I will be using it until it is gone.  The Rimmel stay matte and the Elf Translucent pressed powders are the two drugstore pressed powders I always keep on hand.

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What I have tended to do is use them until they are gone and then immediately repurchase next time I am in a drug store. I actually finished the Elf pressed powder a few weeks ago (I tend to use it more in the winter and the slightly tinted Rimmel in the summer).  But because I haven’t been stopping into any drug stores lately I have not repurchased.  I’ll be placing an order with ELF soon, but I wanted it to be for more than just one product and I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I actually picked up a No. 7 pressed powder I wanted to try out but I haven’t let myself open it until I finish the Rimmel. It’s not a hardship to use the Rimmel powder as I adore it, but the temptation to try the new product is hard to resist. But resist I will.

This is what they call character building, no?

With the Rimmel I will also be using it up and this time not immediately replacing it so it will go back in the bag for next week as well.  It is hard not to replace this immediately though. Seriously, I look at the sight of the pan shining through and my first thought is ‘I should reorder that before I run out.’ It is harder than I thought to ignore that impulse.  Bu I will try. 

In case you hadn’t picked up on it, I really like the Rimmel Stay Matte pressed powder.

But we move on.

To Blush. More specifically the Kaleido Cosmetics Skin Blush in Primadonna.  This came in an IPSY bag a while ago and I think I swatched it and then set it aside to use the Real Her Palette. When stocking my weekly makeup bag I was surprised and pleased to find it.  The package is cute and quite sturdy.  The blush is highly pigmented. 

I dipped in lightly and ended up with a lot of blush on my brush.  It does blend out well though so there is that. Despite the somewhat mauve-y look of the product in the pan it is quite pink on the cheeks.  When sheered out for a light makeup day it gives the cheeks a natural flushed look.   It stayed in place well and lasted all day.  I think it might be a little too pink for my skin tone though.  I will be on the lookout for a slightly deeper tone though as I really like the formula.

Next up, the bronzer I chose for the week was the Fakecation on Mars from Space Case Cosmetics. I have several of their single eyeshadows and I remember liking a blush from them a while ago although I can’t remember the details.  I hadn’t tried the bronzer so I was keen to try it.

It too is a highly pigmented product that needs a light hand with the brush.  It does blend out well so if you go a little heavy, there is still hope for redemption. It tends to lend itself well to a more natural makeup day.  I probably wouldn’t use it on a high glam look, but for everyday use it performs quite well. I enjoyed using it and even though I will be replacing it this coming week, it will stay in rotation and make an appearance in the future as I cycle through products.

For highlighter this week I chose the Dew Me Pearl from Estate Cosmetics.  I think this might have been a product I picked up for points because I wanted a more pink shade of highlight as I didn’t have one at the time.  Most of the ones I gravitate towards tend to either be gold or purple in tone. 

If I tried it before, I didn’t remember it so it was a new product to me, or close enough to count. To be honest, it is not my favorite and I don’t believe I will be keeping it in rotation.  While white-ish pink on the finger, when applied with a brush on the face it disappears. I tried applying it with a finger  to the high points of my face and I could see a stripe, but the second I tried to blend it in a little so it didn’t look like a stripe I made with my finger, it disappeared. 

Even if I left it as a stripe on the face and didn’t attempt to blend it, an hour later it was gone completely. I’m not sure if it is the product or my skin tone that just loses the color, but I will not be keeping this in my makeup rotation but passing it on to a friend with a different skin tone. Perhaps she will have better luck. And yes there will be disinfectant wipes involved with anything I pass over to her. I also know she’ll wipe it down a second time, just as even though I know she has wiped down the things she passess to me, I will wipe them down again.Given that we both love subscription boxes and have different skin tones, we have been doing the shade swap for a while now.

As I finally made it through the last of my open travel sized mascaras (I’ll be going over them in mass in my empties post next week) I got to open a new full sized mascara.  I chose at random and came up with the Wander Beauty Mile High Club Mascara. 

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It is supposed to give the lashes both volume and length.  I am all for both.  I have to say though, I was a little disappointed. There might have been a little lengthening and maybe a little volume, but it wasn’t much. It is a good everyday mascara.  It didn’t flake or smear.  It didn’t make my lashes clumpy. But there wasn’t a lot of extra length or volume.  I will be keeping it in the rotation because it is a good solid everyday mascara, it’s just not a WOW mascara.

This brings us to the lips. 

Oh, the lips.

I know as this is my first make up bag post you are probably expecting my favorite Kristopher Buckle lipstick to be included, but no, no my darlings. For this week I have been testing a  lipstick I received in a subscription box.  It is in a color I would not normally wear, but as it is the only lipstick I have from the brand, I wanted to try out the formula despite not being all that bowled over by the color.  And what is this product?  It is the Fenty Beauty lipstick in the shade Clapback.

I love the packaging.  I really like the slim style of lipsticks. The color not so much.  Blue is not really a shade of lipstick I gravitate towards. Unless the blue is so dark that it is almost black.  Those I have been known to wear. But not this.  However, this week it was my daily color. (I occasionally took a break with lip balm and no lipstick because that blue is hard to take daily)

When applied it was a bit streaky and required several passes to fully cover the lips.  It never fully dried down so I was still leaving lip prints on any mug or cup I used throughout the day.  Despite that, my lips felt dry. Not to the touch, but as though the moisture was being pulled from them. It was actually the worst of both worlds for me, dry lips and smearing lipstick on everything.

I applied lip balm several times throughout the day.  I used the Sugar crush  potted lip balm in Peony actually rather than my Jersey Shore Cosmetics one because I didn’t want the blue staining the lip balm and I could apply the potted one with a finger more easily.  Admittedly, I then had to wipe blue off of my finger.

In the past I have noticed that sometimes a deeper more pigmented color can alter the lip formula.  There are several lighter colored lipsticks I have used where the formula was great in them, but when I went for deeper shades in the same brand I was not happy with them.  I don’t know if that is the case with this formula or not.  I do know I am not a fan of this formula and will probably not be buying Fenty lipsticks anytime soon. This one just dried my lips too badly.

Finally, as we’ve already covered eyeshadows, We come to the setting spray.  This week I used the Farsali Rose Gold skin mist. It too came in a subscription box and I never got around to using it.  So this was it’s week. 

The scent was nice, the gold flakes are pretty to look at and I had no problems with any of my makeup not staying in place.  I wasn’t terribly enthused by the spray nozzle however.  A mist it is not.  The product release is quite intense.  I would suggest spraying it in the air to test before you aim it at your face so you can judge the distance.  It is a stout spray and I had to dab off a few drips from my face before my makeup ran.

Once I adjusted my aim things went better, but definitely test the spray if you are using this product. I think because it is open, I will use this another week or so. I do have to admit though, it is more the glass bottle and the gold flakes that I enjoy more than the spray product itself. As a display it is gorgeous, but I probably wouldn’t be purchasing it to use anytime in the near future.

So that my darlings was this week’s makeup bag.  As I shuffle some of them back to my dressing table and bit a few others farewell as they head off to some other destination I begin gathering items for the coming week.

The items I am putting in my makeup bag to try this coming week are: Becca Ultimate Coverage Foundation (which I forgot to put in the picture and am just now realizing), Huda Beauty Topaz obsessions Palette, Marc Jacobs HiFi Filter, Flesh cream highlighter in Twitch, Pretty Vulgar’s Feathers mascara, NARS Liquid lip, and an OFRA blush.  I will also be adding the Eyeko Fat eyeliner (even though I also didn’t put it in the photo).

Remaining from last week are the Peter Thomas Roth Primer, Farsali setting spray and my Rimmel stay matte powder. As the NARS liquid lip is a purple shade called Wild Night I suspect it will clash horribly with the Topaz Obsessions palette, but I have my clear Ciate lip oil on standby if the color combo becomes too much to handle. Wish me luck and tune in next week to see how I felt about these products.


Weekly Weight: 206.2 lbs

May 22, 2020

Welcome once again to Friday. Because of my unscheduled …well we’ll call it a vacation, shall we? I have spent the week playing catch up. I’m beginning to feel like one of those hamsters on the wheel to be honest. This week just seemed to be in constant motion, but because of the stay at home time the only time I really left the hoe was to walk in a big circle on the walking trail.

Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely happy to be walking on the walking trail. In fact I celebrated with a happy dance when I was able to lace up my sneakers with no pain. That’s right, the tops of my feet are burned no more. Peeling and itching constantly, yes. But officially not burnt.

So things are edging back into routine for me here. Which is nice. I think I have officially caught up on the back log and with a breather over the weekend, I will be ready to work at a regular pace on Monday without hitting supersonic speeds.

All of which means I am extra glad it is Friday.

I will also very much enjoy my Friday Face Mask this afternoon as well.

Also I decided to add another feature called The Make Up Bag, which will post right after this. I thought it would be a fun thing to do. And Friday seemed the time to do it.

But this post is about my weight, which I am pleased to see is still edging downward. I do hate to admit that I didn’t take my own advice with regards to patience once my feet were capable of sliding into shoes without pain. I managed to walk a blister on to my foot. Oddly enough it is between my big toe and the one next to it. Seriously, how do you gt a blister between the toes? It makes no sense but i some how managed it. The thought will haunt me until I figure it out.

Anyway, since I’m sure you are all eager to get on with your Fridays as well, to the Stats!

Starting weight: 246.0 lbs

Last week’s weight: 207.0 lbs

This week’s weight: 206.2 lbs

Lost this week: 0.8 lbs

Total lost thus far: 39.8 lbs

Left to lose (apx): 83.2 lbs

So that is my weekly weigh in. I’m happy with the loss, especially as we are eating far more dried pantry items than fresh veg these days. But even though my usual goal is to lose about a pound a week, but I am okay with not reaching it, as long as I am moving forward I am happy. So I am off to post The Make Up Bag and then to get to work, eagerly anticipating my afternoon masking break. Welcome to Friday everyone!

Palette Review: BH Cosmetics Glam Reflection Smoke Palette

The BH Cosmetics Glam Reflection smoke palette

I have to say one of the most difficult things about reviewing this palette was trying to take a picture of it. The polished silver outside reflects everything and once you open it, the entire inside of the top cover is mirrored.  I finally had to use the foundation bottle to at least block some of the reflection. Not that I am complaining about the mirror.  It is a nice large mirror that is worth using even when you don’t want to use the palette. It is just hard to photograph.

To be honest I found this a very interesting palette.  Upon first glance it is a very neutral palette.  That doesn’t change no matter how many glances you give it.  What I found most interesting was that I was very much torn between loving and hating the palette.  The reason is that the mattes and shimmers are so different from each other.

First let’s talk mattes. 

They swatch well.  In fact all of the shades swatch really well. In the pan they feel butter soft. When applied to the lid however the mattes tend to be both patchy and powdery. With a couple of the darker browns I felt like I got more on my nose than on my eyelid.  I found I could use a smaller brush to avoid the problem of powder everywhere, but the colors were still light.  They are buildable though, it just takes a while.  I had better luck when I sprayed the brush with fixing spray, but there was still a patchiness to them that I didn’t care for. 

Swatches from the top row

The shimmers however are another story.  In the pan they feel buttery and they swatch well, just like the mattes.  They are not highly pigmented but they are buildable and go on a little better with a brush than the mattes.  They are also less patchy. With a damp brush they are stunning. I would keep this palette around simply for the gold in the top row, the ice blue in the second row and the copper in the bottom row.

Middle row swatches

If you are into blues, the two darker blue shimmers are fantastically pigmented and pair well with the ice blue to create amazing peacock looks.  If you look closely at the pans you can see the gold and copper have been used the most and that’s because even when I use other palettes, I find myself coming back to this palette for those shades to finish off a look. 

Third row of swatches

I used this palette for my sole palette this week and I really had to restrain myself from going to get a second palette to use other mattes with these shimmers.  I bought this palette from BH cosmetics when they were having one of their 80% off sales a while back.  I think I also had a coupon to go with it at the time so I believe I paid about five or six dollars for it in total.

At that price I would definitely pick it up again just for those three shades.  Without the sale price, to be honest, I still might pick it up for those three shadows.  Admittedly, first I’d look around to see if they were sold individually.  I suspect I will wear those three shades to pan and leave the rest untouched.  I really wish that the shadows had names on them so they were easier to find.  But then again, I don’t think BH sells individual shadows.  Which means I will use these three down to pan and then look for replacements elsewhere rather than repurchasing the palette. For now I am content to keep this palette in my collection.  I just think next time I take it out for a week of use, I will be pairing it with some single matte shadows.

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Foundation Quest continues with Wet ‘n Wild Photo Focus

Wet ‘n Wild PhotoFocus Foundation

When I first became interested in beauty products there were three items I started with.  The first was a set of Lip Smackers lip balms that smelled of various soda pops. The second was a bottle of Love’s Baby Soft perfume and the third was a selection of Wet n’ Wild nail polishes. 

While the Lip Smackers continued to appear in Christmas stockings for the next few years and Love’s Baby Soft held on for quite some time, my Wet ‘n Wild collection expanded exponentially from nail polishes to eyeliners and pretty much everything in between as I started to try out products.  

Eventually my repertoire expanded beyond the Wet ‘n Wild realm and the brand was relegated to the past.  I always smiled fondly when passing it, but to be honest I didn’t give it much thought beyond occasionally noticing that the section looked bigger than I remembered it being.

Then all of a sudden it seemed everyone was talking about the Wet ‘n Wild photo focus Foundation. I found it surprising, but when I started gathering foundations to test out, I decided to give it a try as well, for nostalgia’s sake if nothing else. I went with the matte version rather than any of the dewy ones. On the Wet ‘n Wild site the foundation retails for $6.49.  I think it was on sale when I picked it up at Target because I bought it for less than $5.  In the spirit of full disclosure I also purchased a pink glitter nail polish, because if you are going to do nostalgic then you need to go in with both feet and glittery toenails.

Also it looked pretty and I was getting ready to have an at home spa day with a group of ten year olds.(Mostly nail polish and face masks and water with enough fruit in it that I am pretty sure it qualified as fruit cocktail and needed to be eaten with a fork, because why would you stick to cucumber and lemon when there are raspberries and strawberries around?)

In case you missed the foundation hype…

Your skin, only better. Our new high-performing, skin-perfecting foundation underwent major road testing under several different photo lighting conditions to deliver flawless camera-ready makeup every time. Specially made with a matte, light-diffusing complex to give your skin #nofilter perfection. High-performing, breakthrough formula, Featuring light-adjusting complex to help prevent white cast in photos, Tested under several light conditions with and without the use of flash.

I have to say I was surprised it was in a glass bottle.  I know that sounds kind of snobbish, but I always think of glass bottles as being for more expensive products. (Even though I know quite well that isn’t true).  I am perfectly happy with a glass bottle though as it can be more easily recycled where I live.

applicator from the front

And the impression of luxurious doesn’t last past the opening, the applicator wand is a piece of flat plastic. Before you even get to the applicator though you have to deal with the scent.  It is the scent of fresh paint and it is strong. As the time of trial went past and I repeatedly opened it every day the scent became less noticeable.  I’m not sure if I just became used to it or if it was just the initial opening of the bottle that blasted the scent out.

applicator from the side

Regardless of the reason, the first day I wasn’t sure I was going to make it past the scent.  The second day I didn’t think it was that bad and the third day it was just a minor scent.  So it became more manageable.   If the scent stops you, maybe open the product, leave it open for a few minutes and then close it back up and try it the next day.

I will say though there were a couple of days where I didn’t wear foundation (which is why this test took two weeks rather than the usual one).  When I opened it after not using it for a few days, the paint smell was back with a vengeance.  I think with this foundation as soon as you stop using it regularly the paint smell returns and builds up. So if you get it and continually use it then it is fine, it just has to be routinely aired out or you can get a paint headache.

Once the bottle aired out a bit, the scent wasn’t too bad.  The applicator I sort of found annoying. The applicator is designed as a stick with a flat panel at the end.  You really can’t put the foundation on your hand and apply it the way I usually apply foundation.  You have to basically dot your face with the stick.  While I have used a doe foot this way before, I found I had less control over the amount of product I put on my face.  Sometimes I’d dab a tiny spot, sometimes I would glob a bunch in one area.  It was less controlled than I prefer, but I got there in the end.

Just the foundation

I know it is not a terribly expensive product, but I think just changing the shape of the applicator end to something more round and less paddle shaped would give a little more control. I think if I were to use this for an extended time I would probably use a dropped taken from another product in place of the applicator but for this weekly trial I used the applicator as it came in the bottle.

I have to say once I finished with the applicator and began to work with brush and sponge, I really liked the formula of the product.  It went on well and covered blemishes. The soft beige was the perfect shade for me and it didn’t settle into my fine lines. 

It lasted throughout the day and stayed in place without creasing.  The longest day I wore it was eight hours.  It was starting to wear out a little around my mouth and at the edges of my nose, but otherwise it was fine.  I wouldn’t use this formula for an extended day or when I was going out straight after a day in the office, but for a day in the office alone it would last well.  

end of the day

It’s just happy hour that would get you in trouble.

Of course that’s not just limited to foundation issues.

Over all I was pleased with the way this foundation performed and I can see where it gets the hype.  In this instance it is actually well deserved hype. It is a good, affordable product that performs well. I have to say seeing the name Wet n’ Wild on a product in my bathroom this week caused some older memories to float to the surface of my mental pond.  That’s not an entirely bad thing either.

I suppose the only thing left to say is that the Wet n’ Wild Photo Focus Foundation passed the initial wearability test and will take it’s place in the line up once each of the five foundations I’ve tried has had it’s week of exclusive use.  For those counting, this was foundation number three in the second section of the Grand Foundation quest.  Next up is the Becca Ultimate Coverage. Stay tuned.

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