Happy Hour: The Grand Royal Fizz & Popcorn

Welcome to Happy Hour my darlings!  You have made it through the week and now it is time to relax. Your favorite snazzy cocktail lounge may not be open, but your kitchen is. And there is something to be said for kicking off your shoes and getting comfortable at home after a long week.

Tonight my babydoll and I are settling in with a Fizz.  I know some of you saw the name and immediately thought champagne.

Not tonight though.  Tonight we will be imbibing a drink called a Fizz that has nothing to do with champagne. It is called a fizz because of the added carbonated water.  The fizz isn’t around much these days but was apparently all the rage in the US between 1900 and 1940. Which is quite a long time for a drink to remain on the to be ordered list and so fashionable or not, it deserves respect.

I actually had my first Gin Fizz in New Orleans where it was once massively popular.  There are still places that serve it, but I don’t think they are as popular anymore. Which is a shame as I recall it being delicious. Like fashion, drinks fall in and out of favor.  It is one of the reasons I like old cocktail manuals.  You can see what was popular when and get a taste of a different era as well as branching out from your own personal tried and true drink of choice.

It’s always nice to have options.

Tonight’s fizz is still gin based. And unlike my martini it will have the dickens shaken out of it.  While you can still taste the components of the gin, it is a background note to the other ingredients. So…To the recipe.

To a martini shaker add:

The juice of half a lemon (about a tablespoon)

½ Tablespoon of powdered (icing) sugar

1 shot of gin (I use the large side of the jigger since mine is double sided. The big side can contain two ounces, the small 1 oz)

1-2 tablespoons of maraschino cherry juice to taste (I prefer mine closer to 1 than 2, but that is a taste call)

The juice of half a lime (about half a tablespoon)

I tablespoon of cream

Once everything is inside the shaker add the top and shake it until it is thoroughly mixed.  Strain it into a glass and top off with soda water (I use the water from my Soda Stream rather than getting any separate soda water).  Be very careful when adding the water and go slow.

Actually that wasn’t warning enough.

GO SLOW when adding the water.

The foam rises quickly on this drink

It’s like adding root beer to ice cream to make a float.  The cream in the drink meets the bubbles in the water and creates a foam.  You can very easily shoot up past the top of your glass and make a mess. To garnish I just dropped a maraschino cherry into the glass.  It sinks to the bottom of course, but then at the end of the drink you get a gin soaked maraschino cherry, so that’s not a bad thing.

The glass is of course your call. I love the shape of this glass. I have no idea where I picked it up but it fits comfortably in the hand and I really find the shape of it pleasing. For those looking at measurements This is exactly an eight ounce glass. Clearly the foam takes you a little past the rim but if you fill the glass with water and stop pouring before you risk sloshing over the sides it fits exactly 8 oz.

But it is happy hour and it isn’t all about the drinks, there is food to consider as well.

When deciding what to serve with this, my baby doll and I tossed around ideas.  It sounded sweet and so we thought something salty would do well with it.  I was all up for a kitchen creation, but he suggested popcorn and I have to say it sounded just about perfect. So with our cold sweet drink, we went with hot, salty popcorn.

The botanical bite of the gin kept the drink from being overly sweet.  It was however a sweet drink and to be honest, I don’t think I’d want more than one. It seems like a drink where one is delightful and two is a bit too much sugar. I am however not an overly sweet person. I tend to lean more savory. A friend of mine who normally leans into sweet cocktails said that she could easily have several. She also said she would probably regret having several later on, but that they are easy to drink.

Since the point is to have one drink at the end of the week with my baby, I’m perfectly fine with the fact that I can only have one without wanting another. This is about a slight indulgence, not over indulgence after all.

I would make it again and I would still make certain to serve it with something salty.  The popcorn worked perfectly and was super simple since we went with a microwaved bag. Our weekly home happy hour is more about a delightful treat for us at the end of a week than it is about needing to be over the top.  Don’t get me wrong, some weeks, I do go a bit over the top.  This week, there was no need.  The cocktail was the star and it just needed a backup singer rather than someone to sing a duet.

My budby popcorn was happy to in the role of supporting cast to the diva drink. And really with fast moving foam like that, you know the drink is a diva.

I don’t know what you have planned tonight, but I hope you take some time out to slow down, and take a moment for a few simple pleasures at the end of the work week. The week is done and happy hour is the brief pause at the end. Like a period at the end of a sentence.  This week the punctuation was the Grand Royal Fizz, or at least this version of it. Hopefully next week’s will be just as fun, even if it isn’t cherry flavored.

No Fine Print Wine

Cool Down and Drop Kick with the Face Mask Friday

Good afternoon my darlings and welcome to the Friday face mask.  Today was a sheet mask kind of day.  I love masks but somedays are not meant for the wash off kind of masks.  This was one of those days.  This was a sheet mask day.  In fact it was a Cool Down Drop Kick kind of masking day. 

That’s right is was time to try the Haruharu mask that came in one of my Facetory Boxes.  For those who don’t know, Facetory is a sheet mask subscription.  I absolutely love it because it lets me try all sorts of different sheet masks so I can build a list of those I want to re order.  It also lets me reorder the ones I like. Sheet masks can pile up though, especially if you have any subscription boxes and Face Tory is super easy to pause. If you are drowning in masks you just press a button and skip the month.  They have different numbers of subscriptions.  I use the Four pack masking subscription as that is the right amount for me. 

Four-ever Fresh Subscription!

They also have other skin care products and non-sheet masks and you don’t actually have to be a member of the subscription service to order from them.  Even if you don’t sign up for a subscription, I highly recommend signing up for their free newsletter.  They’ll send you e-mails about deals that way. And every Monday they have a selection of masks reduced to a $1. The newsletter lets you know which ones.  Some of my favorites have made the rotation list into the $1 Monday lists so I think it is well worth checking out.

The only issue I have with some of the masks is that most of the information is in Korean.  I do not happen to be able to read Korean so sometimes I have to sort of guess as to what the mask is for.  This one actually says soothing and Maqui berry in English.  Hich would provide me with more information if I knew what a maqui berry was.

According to Healthline: Maqui berry (Aristotelia chilensis) is an exotic, dark-purple fruit that grows wild in South America. It’s mainly harvested by the native Mapuche Indians of Chile, who have used the leaves, stems and berries medicinally for thousands of years 

When I took the mask out, it smells somewhat grape like. Beyond that the only other English on the package is Cool Down Drop Kick.

I will say the mask, right out of the package is quite juicy with serum.  On the face it feels instantly cooling.  The extra serum means that the mask sticks well to the face.  Even though it felt oversaturated, no serum ran down my face once it was on.  I did have to wipe off my hands, but the mask didn’t drip.

So mask in place I lay down closed my eyes and listened to my ipod. Today was actually a Beethoven kind of day.  I know, surprise. But that was what appealed when I scrolled through my play lists. So I relaxed and I listened.

As I lay down, he mask almost felt like it was getting colder and colder.  It was kind of fun, in an odd sort of way.  After fifteen minutes I turned Beethoven off and returned to the bathroom. There was no noticeable drying of the mask.  It appeared just as soaked as when I applied it.  Once removed there was a lot of serum on my skin. I rubbed as much of it as I could into the skin but had to wipe some off in the end.  Once my skin was patted dry, I have to say I really liked it.  I felt super refreshed as though my skin just pounded back an energy drink.  It was kind of nice actually.  The skin felt soft and clean, but it was mostly the feeling of suddenly being wide awake that this mask provided.  That is I think this masks strong suit. I didn’t feel terrible soothed, but I did feel invigorated.  I feel ready to tackle the rest of my day.  And so that is where I will be going now.  Later I’ll return for the Friday Night Happy Hour post, but for now, I am going to finish out my workweek feeling energized and revived.  I also think that this mask is going to go on my list of masks to reorder. I don’t think it is one I would use often, but I can definitely see the perks of keeping it around for occasional use.


The Curateur Subscription box has launched a new Welcome Box for you to try out the Subscription. The Welcome Box costs $25 (instead of the usual $99 of the full subscription box) It includes the best sellers and member favorites: Kat Burki Form Control Marine Collagen Gel (retails at $160), Carly Cushnie Grey Horizon Ombre Scarf (retails at $150), Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Glow (retails at $25), and Eddie Borgo Supra Link Necklace Gift With Purchase (retails at $350).

Those who sign up for the welcome box receive the same member benefits that seasonal members enjoy (you can find them listed on the website) and the box will roll into the normal seasonal subscription in Spring of 2021. I haven’t heard any spoilers from the Spring box but their past boxes look really amazing, so I’m sure the Spring one will be as well. The Welcome Boxes go on sale to day and I expect they will run out quickly.

The Makeup Bag: January 15th, 2021

The Makeup Bag used January 9th – 15th, 2021

Welcome my darlings once again to the weekly makeup bag. It was an interesting mix of products this week.  Some are tried and true favorites while others were first time uses. The tarte Maracuja tinted Hydrator was a new use product.  The link will take you to the full review. It was only a sample  because I wanted to see how I felt about the product before committing to the full size.  I absolutely loved the way it performed this week and have added the tinted tarte to my future purchases list.

Look ma, nothing on my face

As it was a moisturizer the tarte tinted moisturizer was, well, moisturizing.  Unfortunately so was my primer. This week I had a new Studio Makeup Silk Hydration Face Primer in my bag to try.  It is very hydrating.  So much so that I really couldn’t wear it with my chosen foundation product this week without being far too overly hydrated.  I had to call in my e.l.f. poreless putty primer instead. It is a tried and true and it was easy to press it into service again this week when I was overly hydrated.

Just the primer

I think that the Studio Makeup  primer may be good under a foundation that is especially drying, but it was a bit too much hydration with an already hydrating skin tint.  I may set it aside to try at a time when I do have a more drying foundation rather than pass judgment on it now.

foundation application

The Julep Cushion complexion was added to my makeup bag as my concealer of the week and it did a great job as always.  It covered and didn’t crease throughout the day. It is kind of fun that it is a cushion applicator though.  I really don’t like the cushion applicators. 

Concealer and yes I realize I am getting the superman curl on the center of my forehead, although not being a superhero, it doesn’t quite curl automatically.

There is no real reason I can point to but I just don’t care for them.  However the formula of my two favorite concealers both have the sponge top applicators rather than wands.  My two favorites are the Julep that I used this week and the Revolution Fast base concealer in case you were wondering.  Both have those soft cushion tops. So clearly I don’t mind the applicator enough not to use the product. The Julep concealer is a really good formula so I use it. Pretty simple really.

My bronzer this week was an Anastasia Beverly Hills Bronzer that I picked up and then forgot I owned.  I don’t actually recall using it before now even though I must have purchased it sometime before. I Think because it is a small dark compact and it was placed towards the back of the drawer it got lost in the shadows.  So I am going to call it a new to me product. It is a highly pigmented bronzer and quite frankly may be a little dark for me at this time of year.

Bronzed and blushed

You may notice I appear a bit overly bronzed in these pictures.  The day I took them I went a little too heavy handed with the bronzer.  I actually liked the way the bronzer performed, however I think it may be more of a summertime use product for me.  Even though it looks to be the same shade as many of my other bronzers, because it is so highly pigmented, it comes across darker on the skin.

As this is my only ABH Bronzer, I’m not sure if that is standard or not but I think I might pick up a shade lighter than what I want and see how that works out.   As this one looks like the shade I want in the pan but is too dark, perhaps a shade too light will be just right.  At least that is my current theory. I’ll have to see how it plays out in practice.

The Blush Divot increases

My blush this week was one of my recurring favorites. I used the Benefit Cosmetics Gold Rush Blush.  On top of the highly pigmented bronzer it almost disappeared.  However in general I really like this blush.  It isn’t as sparkly now that the overspray is gone and it is just a nice blush with gold undertones that really suits my skin tones.  I really like that it is buildable rather than highly pigmented.  Buildable blushes keep me from inadvertently creating clown face.  I can not be trusted with highly pigmented blushes.  This buildable formula is one I reach for a lot, which is why it has a deepening divot in the center of the pan.

For highlighter this week I went with Ofra’s Blissful. I am a big fan of this one.  It has the rose gold undertones that make the highlighter look pink on the fingertip, but blends in to a soft warmth on my skin.  I prefer the warm glow to the bright spotlight.  It is an Ofra Highlighter so it is quite pigmented but because of the tones it is easily blended into something more subtle.  And in case you are wondering, yes I do apply my highlighter with my fingertips.  I haven’t found a brush that applies the highlighter quite the way I like it.  I should probably experiment more with brushes and highlighter but to be honest I generally don’t think of it until after I’ve used my finger to apply it.

Swatches: Blissful Highlight top, Caramel Lip Middle and Infuse Lip bottom, both lips by BITE BEAUTY

I did pull two powders this week, one loose and one pressed.  The loose powder was the Smashbox photo finish fresh setting powder and to be honest, I didn’t actually use it this week.  It has a tint to the powder that is normally very nice, however with the extra dark bronzer this week, I ended up feeling like it was too much, so I just used the pressed powder on my face this week. 

The pressed powder I used this week was a samples size of the Bye Bye Pores Pressed by It Cosmetics.  It came in an Ipsy bag and this was my first time using it.  I like that the pan size of the sample made it easy to get my brush into it.  It is a nice powder.  It worked well and it did help lighten up my aggressive bronzing a little bit.  I can’t say that it gave me an airbrushed finish. 

It Bye Bye Pores Powder

It worked like any other powder.  To be honest it was okay but not likely to make my favorites list.  The No 7 pressed powder is what I compare powders to and if I had to choose between them it would be an easy choice to go with the No. 7 Perfect light instead of the It Cosmetics. This is going to be one of those samples that I will use and then not replace once it is gone.

My eyeshadow palette this week was from Complex Culture.  The link will take you to the full review.  While it looks like a color scheme I would wholeheartedly embrace, I did not care for how it performed. It is beautiful, but it just didn’t work for me. In the photo below you can see some of the fall out. The glittery descent got worse as the day went on. I was not a fan.

The shadow fall out was a big issue, especially with the shimmers

My brow pencil this week was from Il Makiage.  And yes I did use a brow pencil this week.  This pencil is a little stiff and the color comes off a little cool toned for me.  I’ll still use it, but it is not my favorite formula of brow pencil. It is actually one of the few Il Makiage products I don’t like. And when it runs out, I will not be replacing it.

So let’s talk eyeliner. I know recently I haven’t been wearing a lot of eyeliner.  This week I had a fun one to play with though.  It was the Stamp and Drag from Ciate London. (at the moment it is on sale actually. Ciate London is having a pretty big sale with loads of products 40% off it is well worth checking out.)

I have never been a really big winged eyeliner sort of person.  I tend to do a little flick rather than an actual wing, when I bother at all. Part of that is my eye shape.  I have slightly hooded lids and sometimes when I get crazy with the liner it is all you can see and it can make my eyes look too heavy.

Stamp end of the Stamp and Drag

This Ciate liner was fun to play with.  I won’t lie, at first I made a mess with it.  Let me explain.  The stamp and drag eyeliner is a dual ended liner.  One end is a pen style liner and the other is a stamp used to create a wing. Pretty straight forward.  When you stamp the liner you need to make sure you put it in the right place, because it is staying where you put it. I’d suggest practicing. There were a couple of days where at least one of my eyes had a strange double winged look to it because I stamped wrongly and tried to correct.  I suggest using the stamp first and then going in with the liner so you can use the liner to fudge the lines a little but if you have to. The liner itself is with picking up even if you don’t play with the stamp. Although the stamp is fun.

The key to this liner my darlings is practice  The liner itself is easy to use, the stamp placement though. It takes practice. By the end of the week, I had it more or less down and I didn’t look as lopsided as I did earlier in the week. The formula of the liner is really good on both sides of the liner.  It is very pigmented black and it stayed in place all day with no smudging or fading. Give it a second to dry and it isn’t going anywhere the rest of the day.  I was very impressed with the liner and thought the stamp was fun once I got the hang of it.

Because I used a black eyeliner this week I used my Milk Makeup gel liner.  I have no idea what shade it is officially but it is a cream color, softer than a straight white liner and I used it in my water line.  I find it helps keep my eyes from looking heavy when I have darker makeup on the lids when I line the water line in a lighter color like this.  I put it to good use this week and as always I remembered how much I really like the gel formula of the Milk Makeup liners.  They are long lasting , glide on easily and stay in place.  It is a really good formula that doesn’t tug at the skin of the eye like a lot of pencil liners can do. I need to look into getting more shades of this actually. I just have so many black eyeliners that it doesn’t always occur to me to go eyeliner shopping (even if I am not buying black eyeliner)

For mascara this week I used the last of my Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir mascara.  It is a sample size and alas it has given me it’s all. The Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir is one of my top five mascaras, possibly even number one actually.  I love the formula which doesn’t flake or peel and I love the fat fluffy wand.  This is not the first tube of this mascara I have taken down and it won’t be the last.  However it is now empty and must make the journey to the empties bin.  This is not goodbye, merely a parting until we meet again.  Because oh yes my darlings, this Marc Jacobs mascara will definitely be repurchased.

No mascara on the left, Mascara applied in the picture on the right

For my lips this week I used a Bodyography lip liner.  It isn’t my favorite formula as it is somewhat stiff and tends to dry the lips.  However the shade Rosewood was perfect with my two Bite Beauty liquefied lips. To help with the Bodyography I hold it in my hand for a minute of so to let my body heat warm the product up. Once warm it glides on a lot more smoothly. It is a pencil though so it is always going to be a little stiff. If you take a breather to warm it up though it works so much better.

I used two Bite Beauty Liquid lipsticks this week. One was the lighter shade Caramel and the other was the darker shade Infuse.  Both are from the Amuse Bouche line. The rosewood pencil shade works well outlining the lips for Infuse and under the Caramel shade I used it all over the lips to darken the lippie a bit more.  It is just a bit too light a shade for me.  It is an excellent formula though. 

I originally planned to break the lipsticks out in their own post as I did with huda Beauty, but when I went to look up details on the Bite Beauty website, I couldn’t find them.  I really hope the Amuse Bouche line has not been discontinued, but I fear it might. At the moment the only place I could find the liquified lips was at Sephora (I’m not in any way affiliated with Sephora but the link will take you to their sales page) and they are listed at 75% off. Which does mean that you can pick up the remaining colores relatively inexpensively if you are interested. I love both the liquefied version and the more traditional lipstick formula from the line.  I sent an e-mail to Bite Beauty’s customer service to find out more information, but have yet to hear back.  I’ll let you know when I hear back,  At the moment I am hoping they have not been discontinued as I really enjoy the formula.

What I ended up with (prior to fixing my hair)

And finally we land on the setting spray.  I had plans to switch out my setting spray this week but found myself reaching for the Pore Professional Super Setter once again despite my intentions.  It is currently my strongest setting spray and with the eyeshadow palette’s tendency to migrate I wanted as much staying power as I could get.  Plus I just absolutely love the mister on this.  It is a pump but it comes out like a light aerosol. It is just a fantastic product I really enjoy using. 

And so that my darlings was this week’s makeup bag.  We had some highs and some lows. I tested new to me products and trotted out old favorites. And I have to admit, I had a boatload of fun playing with the Ciate Stamp and Drag. It is a great product, but it was also just fun to play around with. But now the makeup bag must be emptied and items either returned to the dressing table or to the empties bin.  And a new bag must be assembled for the upcoming week. Next week I have absolutely no meetings scheduled so it will just be me at my computer for the day.  I’m not sure if I should go low makeup casual or pull out my brightest glittery eyeshadows to play with. Maybe I’ll pull a mix so I can decide each day whether I want to be low key or super glam.  Either way it should be interesting.


As many of you may be aware, Monday is Martin Luther King Day and while it should be celebrated all on it’s own, MLK Day also brings sales. I already mentioned the Ciate London sale (which is technically a winter sale rather than an MLK one) where you can get 40% off a ton of products. But

Look Fantastic is also having a 25% off Sitewide + Up to Extra 10% with the Code EXTRA from now until January 19th, Plus there is up to 70% off clearance items.

Grande Cosmetics is also having a MLK Day 20% Off Sitewide With Code: TAKE20 that you might want to check out as well. I’ll post more throughout the day, but those are three sales that you might want to take a look into if you are stocking up or just looking for something new.

Weekly Weight: 220.0 lbs

The Scale: January 15th, 2021

Today I am pleased I lost some of the weight I gained over the holidays.  I am happy I lost over a pound this week. 

I didn’t always get my workouts it. Or at least not my full ones but I did manage to keep on track with my calories.  So that was a pretty big deal.  And I’ll admit, there were days this week I really didn’t want to.  I’ve been waking up sore and stiff and I couldn’t figure out what was happening. 

I foolishly started checking medical websites. After ten minutes I thought I was dying. Then I realized most of the symptoms didn’t match anything I had. The worst was when I thought it could be a heart attack and so I listened for my heart to see if it was beating okay and if there were any chest pains. 

Then I realized that to listen I was holding my breath, which was starting to cause chest pains until I released it.

It turned out it really was pillow and possibly mattress related.  We did a pillow swap and while the muscles still ache, I can tell it isn’t as bad as yesterday. New pillows will be ordered this weekend and the great mattress replacement quest will begin.

But as health related as that is, it is not the point of this post.

Although I will leave you with the recommendation that if you are going to look at medical websites, have someone with you to tell you when you are being crazy.  Don’t search them when you are alone or you will make yourself crazy.

But back to the weight. Less exercise but maintaining my calorie count helped.  I don’t know why I’m shocked as it is basic logic. Yet somehow, I am. 

So to the stats!

Starting weight: 246.0 lbs

Last week’s Weight: 221.2 lbs

This week’s weight: 220.0 lbs

This week’s loss: 1.2 lbs

Lost thus far: 26.0 lbs

So I am going into the weekend feeling slightly foolish for my reaction to medical websites but over a pound lighter than last week. It doesn’t erase the feeling of foolishness, but it helps. I hope everyone has a fantastic Friday. And uses the buddy system for medical websites.

RawGeneration.com!

Complex Culture Full Time Eyeshadow Palette

Buckle up my darlings, because this is going to be a bumpy ride. this Full Time eyeshadow Palette from Complex Culture arrived in my December Ipsy Box. I believe it is edit 2. It has a hard plastic case, that is quite beautiful and sleek. The packaging feels quite luxurious. It is also sturdy enough that I would have no problems worrying over it during travel. The shiny surface does collect fingerprints quickly though.

But it is what’s inside that counts.

So what is inside?

Nine eyeshadow colors.Four shimmers, and five mattes. While the shadows are grouped together in rows that run top to bottom, when I swatched them I went left to right across the rows without thinking. So even though Cream, Chestnut and Rose gold are grouped together under the category of Dinner Party. the first set of swatches is actually Cream, Toast and Silver.

Row 1: L to R, Cream, Toast, Silver

I have to say I am not terribly enthused by the groupings, hyust looking at them. Dinner Party looks like it might be nice as does cocktail party but Surprise party just didn’t work for me as a grouping. In practice, that wasn’t how I reached for the shades. I found rose gold went better with the cool matte tones of Cocktail Party and Honey went better with the warmer Dinner Party shades.

Row 2 L to R: Chestnut Chocolate, Redwood

Of the mattes, my favorite actually came from the Surprise party line up and that was Rosewood. I found it to be the most pigmented of the bunch and the least patchy when applied.

I was not a big fan of the mattes in general. They look patchy on the swatches, they were really powdery in the pan and even tapping the brush off left a lot of fall out to tidy up. In addition the coverage was spotty. I could apply a matte shade to my lids and then blink a few times and a small patch of lid was cleared.

3rd row L to R: Rose Gold, Honey and Bronzed

When I used my trusty Pretty Vulgar Lid Primer it helped, but not much. It just seemed to make the line across my lid sharper. Ido have slightly hooded eyes, so i can see where it is rubbing off, however I don’t have this problem with every shadow so I can’t just blame my eye shape.

Glitter fall out at the start of the day

Plus, the Pretty vulgar Lid primer is like super glue for shadow. If it couldn’t hold it in place, nothing was going to.

The fall out from the shimmers was even worse. I had glitter dusted cheeks all week long with this palette. I started the morning thinking, okay a few flakes aren’t bad but by the end of the day I looked like a low rent version of a Twilight style Vampire. while that look has it’s place, it wasn’t what I was going for.

Patchy across the center after applying all over the lid.

While I will concede that the matte color choices work well and can be layered quite effectively (minus the above issues) the shimmers weren’t that spectacular a choice. Silver and Bronzed looked identical on the eye. Bronzed might have had a slightly more gunmetal looking swatch, but the difference was lost on the lid. Rose gold was only a slightly warmer silver. The gold looked gold, so that was different.

I had high hopes for this eyeshadow palette. And my hopes weren’t based solely on the beautiful packaging. I’ll admit, that did draw me in. the reason my hopes were high is that I have several brushes from the brand Complex Culture and the brushes are really well made and I frequently use them. Their powder brush has become a staple in my makeup bag. I somehow thought that their makeup products would be as good as their brushes. I was wrong, at least as far as this eyeshadow palette goes. It is a beautiful packaging but I really did not enjoy using it this week. I thought I would because the matte colors are really amung my go to shades, but sadly, it just didn’t work out for me.


Sparitual

Testing a tiny Tarte Foundation

Okay, so it is officially a tinted hydrator from tarte and not an actual foundation. This week the Tarte Maracuja Tinted Hydrator served as my foundation product. Please ignore the nails. If I wear nail polish too long they get this pinkish look to them. So when they get the look, I take off the polish and let them breath until the pink is gone I also paper them with cuticle oils and other nice things but right now my nails are in the ‘just breathe’ stage of post polish removal.

In case you are wondering about the tiny size, let me explain. This is one of IPSY’s $3 samples that you can add on to your Glam Bag each month. I actually chose this one and the tart Shape Tape Concealer that I tried a few Make Up Bags ago from the IPSY ad ons. I know it is a small sample, but it has lasted the entire week.

tarte on hand

The reason I picked up these samples is quite simple. For a long time tarte was one of my go-to makeup brands. I occasionally branched out for Urban Decay and Mac but most of my makeup was tarte. I still use my small tarte travel palette any time I travel as I absolutely love the formula, but at this point I have only one small blush and the base tape primer in my collection left from my tarte products. Everything else I used up.

And then I started trying new products from other brands.

When I saw the Shape Tape Concealer sample and realized how long it had been since I tried tarte face products I snapped it up along with the Maracuja Tinted Hydrator. I found the concealer creased on me more than I remembered, which is probably because I have more creases. It was excellent everywhere but on my eyes and I used it up. While I had used tarte foundation before I had never used this specific product. so I came to it fresh and hoped it performed as well as their face products usually do for me.

According to tarte the Maracuja Tinted Hydrator…

  • delivers 12-hr hydration & wear
  • naturally radiant finish that looks & feels like skin
  • skin-loving formula delivers light-buildable coverage
  • helps minimize appearance of imperfections 

All of those things are things I look for in a tinted moisturizer. And I have to say, it delivered on all fronts. The product went on smoothly and blended in easily. my skin drank it in and as this is the driest time of the year for my skin, I appreciated the extra moisture. It did look and feel like a better version of my skin and it lasted all day with no problems.

dotted on face (i had the moisturizing primer on this day)

I found one layer of coverage was fine for me. I had no real desire to build it up as one application covered all of my skin issues beautifully. Plus as it was such a small sample I wanted as many days as possible to test it out.

I found out that it works okay on the skin without a primer beneath it. It doesn’t give me as much pore blurring as I would like. Since I love primers this wasn’t an issue. The issue came with which primers I chose. In my makeup bag this week I had a hydrating primer. While the hydrating primer might work well with a more drying foundation, it wasn’t the best with the tarte tinted moisturizer. It went on well in the morning but I was always super shiny by mid day when I used it.

just blended in with no concealer (moisturizing primer underneath)

When I switched to the e.l.f. poreless putty primer to see if it was the foundation or the primer that was causing the shine, it was definitely the primer and not the foundation. Because this is a tinted moisturizer and provides moisture to the skin, I needed to stay away from hydrating primers when i used it. A pore minimizing primer worked beautifully and really made the tarte tinted hydrator work so much better.

While nice on it’s own, the right primer just took this product up a notch. I very much enjoyed using this product this week and because I played around with the sample I now feel confident in ordering a full sized version of this. This shade actually worked well for me, so I will have to check to see what the shade actually is. I couldn’t find it on the tube but it should be recorded in my IPSY orders. Spending the $3 on the sample means I know my $29 won’t be wasted when I pick up the full size. It’s one of the reason I love samples. However, sadly this sample has given it’s very last drop of product in it time serving in this week’s makeup bag. And so I will have to send it on it’s way to the empties bin. But I definitely see a full size of the Tarte Maracuja Tinted Hydrator in my future.


Perfume Review: Viva La Juicy Le Bubbly

That’s right, it is time for another perfume review. For the past week I have been wearing Viva La Juicy Le Bubbly. It was a sample that came in my December Macy’s Beauty Box. I have to admit, I’ve seen Juicy Couture perfumes around for a while but never really tried any of them. I don’t know why actually. It just somehow slipped my radar.

I think it might be because the language in the descriptions don’t tend to grab me the way some perfume copywriters do. Usually the copy that accompanies a perfume paints a picture and lets you imagine the scent. The description for Le Bubbly is very much like most of Juicy Couture Perfumes descriptions…

Make every night in, a night to remember. Viva La Juicy Le Bubbly perfume for women makes pink champagne wishes and glam dreams come true, all with a POP of pinkatude. Your party for one has just begun as fizzy fragrance notes of pink berries and sweet jasmine keep things feeling bubbly. This couture scent is poppin’! #PartyForOne

I can see how that description is more of an effervescent bubble that goes along with the pink champagne, but it doesn’t suck me in like a lot of perfume descriptions do. I have to admit, I love the descriptions of perfume almost as much as the perfumes themselves.

But that aside, it is the perfume that matters.

And as I have the sample, I tried it regardless of the accompanying text.

When sprayed on the wrist, the scent comes on a bit strong at first but almost immediately fades back to something that stays closer to the wrist. When i first applied it I thought that it was going to be one of those perfumes you can scent from around the corner. It is not.

Nor does it fade away completely throughout the day.

It is just excited to leave the bottle. Then once it has greeted the room, it settles in. In an eight hour day it did fade down a little bit more, but it was still a noticeable scent at the end of the day. That initial fade down is generally what it holds for the day.

I really like scents that stay close to the skin. I wear perfumes I like but I don’t want to force them on others. I think of scent as something more personal and like for them to remain in my personal space. This one does. Others you are talking to can smell, but really only when they are right in front of you and not across the room. Which is kind of the perfume sweet spot for me.

The only scent indications the description gave were red berries and sweet jasmine. I definitely scent the sweet jasmine in this perfume. It is one of the defining scents. However I don’t really get red berries. Oddly, I get more tangerine.

The scent is sweet, but not cloyingly so. There is a tartness that mellows the sweet out a bit. It doesn’t hit as really floral though. I think that is why red berries took first billing over the sweet jasmine. There are floral notes with the jasmine but it leans slightly fruity.

I actually rather like the perfume and am sorry my sample is almost used up.

I would say that despite the fact that the description leans more towards party than anything else, this is definitely a day time scent more than a night time one. I think you could wear it at the office and transition to happy hour with it, but it isn’t one I would deliberately put on for a night out.

The bottle the perfume comes in is very much in keeping with the Juicy Couture theme. It looks like a Juicy Couture product. While pretty the pink and the bows make it visually look as though it is for a younger audience. However, while the perfume does feel young and fresh, it does not feel little girl-ish. It is a scent that an adult could wear without the scent seeming too childish.

The perfume is a new arrival to the Juicy Couture line up of perfumes and the bottles fance in price from $25 to $99 on the Juicy Couture site. I don’t know if this is limited edition or if they are going to keep it around. There is a mention of it being a part of the Limited Edition Collection. I don’t know enough about the brand to know how long their Limited Editions last. Some companies have a limit of only a few months while others keep it seasonal or eventually ad it to their line up. This is my first Juicy Couture perfume and I was surprised how much I like it. I will be paying attention to the availability and hopefully adding a bottle to my collection. It has also encouraged me to try more from the brand. They have quite a few perfumes out there, I think it would be interesting to see how their standards compare to this one. Sobelia actually has many of their scents, most for 40-60% off the regular retail price. I might be perusing their selections later as it is a great way to try out scents without breaking the bank.


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Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm is one of those products that I always think of as a sort of super intense lip balm. I think part of that is because the brand is Dr. Lipp and the other part is because I have always only used sample sized tubes of this nipple balm.

According to the website…

Original Nipple Balm: For Dry Skin, Luscious Lips and Glossy Bits

Famous for its gloriously thick, ultra-long lasting & instant hydrating effect! Historically used as a nipple balm, Dr.Lipp’s luxurious formula will rebalance, hydrate, nourish, soothe, plump and even help heal all types of dry, sore, cracked, itchy or sensitive skin anywhere. One product, one ingredient, 100’s of uses. Where you apply it is your business…

The full size is 15 ml and retails for $14.50. The size I always seem to pick up is 3 ml. It also has a lip style applicator whereas the full size looks more like a tube of hand cream and has a flat top. Personally I like the shape of the small applicator.

It is perfectly shaped to apply product to the lips and it limits the amount of product that comes out. Plus as it is plastic, you can wipe it off when you are done and it is all neat and tidy.

This is not a light weight product. When you put it on it has a vaseline like quality to it. The product is thick and it is present. It is not vaseline however. And I personally live the ingredient list. Want to hear it?

Ingredients: Lanolin.

Yup, that’s it. One ingredient. Now lanolin is derived from sheep so it is not vegan, however the sheep are not killed to get the lanolin. Some people who use lanolin do develop a wool sensitivity and if you are allergic to wool you should avoid it. I like that it is a natural product with no petroleum based products included.

I don’t use it a lot, but it is one of those products that is excellent for dry chapped lips. What I like to do is apply it, and let it sit for about an hour and then wipe off anything that remains on my lips after that hour. If I am going to be in a cold and possibly windy environment I will put it on before leaving the house and just leave it on my lips, because it also protects against chapping.

bare lips on the left, product applied on the right.

I just can’t leave it on my lips for long periods of time without wanting to wipe it off. The longer I wear it the more I find myself rubbing my lips. Which sort of helps rub it in, but if my lip are really rough it can lead me to start picking at them. Worn alone though it is a very shiny lip gloss. More nourishing than most lip glosses, but still looking like a lip gloss.

With the Dr. Lipps, I can apply it, wait an hour, rub it in a little bit and then wipe off the excess and I feel a distinct softening of the dry lips. It is a really good product. Especially before applying a lip product. It is nice to have that nourishment under the lips. I get a lot of use out of the sample size in the winter. Although if I am going out, I will use it as part of my pre makeup ritual. I apply this, wait then wipe it off, then apply a lip plumper, wait and wipe the lip plumper off and then o my makeup. I find it really helps give me smooth lips for lipstick application.

While the full size is $14.50 I don’t ever see myself buying the full size as I really only use it on my lips. They do sell a six pack of full lippie sized tubes (8 ml) for $38 which I would probably pick up instead of the one large one. To be honest, the six pack would last me the entire year if I kept it all. The last time I purchased it, I kept two and gave the others to family members.

And when I went on their website I found they now make a tinted version as well. the link is for the three pack which appears to be all of the tints they make. They are sold separately. I find the tinted versions interesting and out of curiosity I may end up picking one of those up to try. Because of the weighty feel of the lip product I wipe it off before apply lipstick. But I have been known to wear heavy lip products if I like the color and it wears well, so I suspect I would either really like or really hate the tinted versions of this. I have no idea which way that would go. I’ll be placing the tinted version on my to try list and will find out.

For now I am happy with the untinted version and while this is a sample, I have purchased the lippie sized before and would again even if i wouldn’t pick up the large squeeze tube. I simply don’t find myself using it anywhere but on the lips. That’s really the only reason.


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Macy’s Beauty Box January 2021 unboxing

Yesterday my Macy’s beauty box arrived.  I was kind of surprised actually as yesterday morning I received an e-mail letting me know that my Macy’s Beauty Box was going to be late this month.  Admittedly I received the same message last month and my December box came in around the same time of month.  This is the second Macy’s Beauty Box I’ve received so I’m guessing they were accustomed to sending them out at the beginning of the month.

I’m not certain.  Regardless, it arrived.  For those that don’t know Macy’s Beauty Box is a $15 per month box ($16.27 with tax for me) and it is supposed to have five sample sized products per month.  This month the theme is Hair Care Heroes and with the exception of the perfume sample everything in this month’s box is haircare related. 

Since it isn’t hair care related, I will go ahead and start with the perfume.  This month I received a sample of the Michael Kors Hello Gorgeous to try out. The card says that it is a new perfume and I honestly couldn’t find a link to it. I don’;t know if that means it is so new it isn;t up on the Michael Kors’ site yet or if they have discontinued it. I’ll keep looking for links and will hopefully have them before I review the perfume.

I have added it to my perfume line up and as there is enough product in the little spritz bottle to last a week so I will give it it’s week of testing to see if I want to try and pick up the fill sized version for my collection.

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I did spray it once and it smelled nice enough that a week won’t be a hardship.  I did however accidentally spray over my water glass. Which I didn’t realize until I later took a sip.  It smells much nicer than it tastes. I do not recommend tasting it. I very much do not recommend tasting it. I do recommend Crest mouthwash however. I know it isn’t technically designed to get the taste of perfume from your mouth, but regular rinsing just left a remaining taste lingering on the tongue so I had to call in the big guns. Crest Mouthwash, for when you accidentally taste something nasty. Yeah there is a reason I don’t work in the marketing department. They do have a current discount running until January 18th, with the code posted just here and if you’d like to see their actual marketing (non-mimsy designed) there is an ad at the bottom of this post as well. It is much better than ‘helps when you’ve accidentally tasted perfume.’

Crest 15% Off Order $50+ (CODE: TEETH15)

As for scent, I’ll get back to you on the details.

For now, me and my now minty fresh mouth are moving on to the hair related products.  The first item out of the pink tissue paper was none other than Klorane dry shampoo. And yes I did a happy dance. Those of you who read my posts often know that it is my favorite brand of dry shampoo. 

While I am currently enjoying the Nettle infused dry shampoo for dark hair, the Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk that came in this month’s Macy’s box was my go to for a really long time.  I am always thrilled to have more Klorane products on hand.  (at the moment I am absolutely loving their eye makeup remover too, but that is another story.)

I initially thought that there were two dry shampoos in my Macy’s box this month because the second item that rolled out of my pink tissue paper bundle of fun was from Dry Bar.  It is the Southern Belle Volume Boosting Root lifter and it is apparently a spray foam that gives lift and volume.  Which from the name Volume Boosting Root Lifter I would expect.

Kind of a no brainer there.

I’ve tried several Dry Bar products. I think the last one I tried I liked the way it worked, but didn’t care for the scent.  It has been a while though so I could be wrong.  All of the Dry Bar products I have tried have been non-foaming so this will be a new to me product that should be fun to try out.  Currently I use the Oribe foaming mousse when I want to give a little volume to my hair.  It would be nice to find another product I like as at the moment it is the only real volumizing type of styling product I use.

The next item in this month’s box was the Verb Ghost oil. Verb has been cropping up in my world a lot lately. I enjoyed their hair mask and I believe I have a sample of their leave in conditioner in my to be tried drawer. 

Also in this month’s Birchbox I chose a sample of their shampoo and conditioner to try. Now courtesy of Macy’s, I have the Ghost Oil to try. By the time February rolls around I think I will have tested a substantial amount of their products. Which I kind of like. 

I like trying out a lot of different products from a brand so that when I put together an order I can order several different items at the same time instead of just getting one thing from the brand. I like having a list for each of the brands I like.  Plus, the only hair oil I’ve tried that I really liked has been the Moroccanoil for fine hair. (Yes, I know I don’t have fine hair, but I find it lighter weight  than the regular one and it works for me.)  It is a good oil actually and I tend to use it in the summer time especially as it is lighter in the hair than a lot of leave in conditioners.  But it would be nice to have a second oil I like keeping around so I’m glad I have the chance to try one. 

I have to admit that I have never tried anything from Rahua before.  I’ve seen the brand around, but I have never actually tried anything thing from them. I like that Macys put both the shampoo and conditioner in the box. 

I also like that they are tubes with more product than should be used in one sitting. a couple of uses will give me a better feeling for the product. bove all I love that this was not a foil packet. I won’t go into my shampoo and conditioner foil packet rant again, just know that while I can occasionally accept foil packets in other products I loathe them in shampoo and conditioner.

Don’t worry, I won’t inflict the full rant here.

I know it seems like a no brainer, but not all boxes pair the shampoos and conditioners.  I really like having both.  I also like that this is listed as their classic formula.  Since I’ve never tried anything from the brand it is nice to try their classic before trying out other versions.  At least that is my feeling.

There were two more items in the box this month.  One is a velvet hair scrunchie that was apparently created for Macy’s. It’s a cute little scrunchie.  It isn’t a really ‘wow look at that’ kind of scrunchie but it is nice and I will use it. I think I’m used to seeing the velvet scrunchies that are a little poofier. This one is only as wide as my index finger. This is nice and I’m sure it will do the job, but it isn’t all that spectacular.

The final item in the box is a mini ceramic flat iron from Sutra Beauty.  And when they say mini, they mean mini.  I popped a picture of it next to my travel sized Foxy Bae flat Iron as a size comparison.  (they both retail for the same price)

I use the Foxy Bae travel flat iron for my bangs when they go all wonky and sometimes to curl parts of my hair.  To be honest, I am not sure it will work with my hair.  It might be super fantastic, but it is really small and I have a lot of hair. It is adorable though and I like that it was included in this month’s box.

It really does make a box like this feel kind of special when you get a tool that you can use well after the samples are gone.  I really like that, even if I do have more hair than I think the mini flat iron is equipped to take. My mother however has shorter and thinner hair so since I already have a mini flat iron that I like and I think this would work better with her hair, I will be putting it back in the packaging without trying and sending it over to her. Funny enough, she has been claiming that her hair tool is actually too big and heavy for her hair, so this might be the perfect tool for her.

Even though I will not be using it, someone else will and getting this hair tool in the box made it feel luxe. Especially in a $15 box. (The tool retails for $59 on the Sutra Website.)

This was my January Beauty Box from Macy’s  I have to say I am very impressed with it this month.  It stayed on theme, it gave a good assortment of products and I for one will use almost all of them.  And the flat iron will see use, just not by me. I feel it was definitely worth my $15 and I very much look forward to seeing what Macy’s comes up with for February.


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Trying out the One Hit Wonder by Mane Club

Recently I was very kindly sent a package by Mane Club with several of their products to try out.  I had never heard of the brand before then but looking them up I found they are in indie brand based in NYC that started in 2019.  They’re goal is to create a range of hair products that you can wear and share without breaking the bank.  They are cruelty free and vegan as well as junk free: no sulfates, parabens, phthalates, gluten or artificial colors. 

The first item I had to try from the fabulous box of goodies they sent me was the One Hit Wonder 10-in-1 Leave in Spray.  It just looked too interesting to wait. So what is the One Hit Wonder? Well according to the website…

Meet your new best bud: a multi-benefit miracle leave-in spray that does it all. Laced with cannabis sativa seed oil, this non-greasy leave-in treatment aims high to deliver 10 essential benefits.

MANE PAYOFF:

• Conditions
• Detangles
• Heat protection up to 445F/230C
• Prevents breakage
• Hydrates
• Smooths
• Softens
• Controls frizz
• Boosts shine
• Strengthens

DIRECTIONS: Shake well and spray generously onto damp or dry hair and comb through.

And since they are committed to affordable hair care products, this 159 ml (5.3 Fl Oz) spray is only $8. I think this may be the least expensive leave in conditioner in my current hair care drawer.

But as my grandmother always said, it is only a deal if it works. So does it work?

To try it out, I put it through several basic tests.  Currently, I am finishing up a shampoo that I don’t particularly care for.  It tends to overly clean my hair and is sort of an anti-detangling formula. I can use it if I use a lot of conditioner, but on its own it is problematic (I will be doing a full review of that particular product soon)  I know you may be asking why I haven’t pitched it and replaced it, but the truth is, while not a great shampoo, it is really good for testing out other products like hair masks and leave in conditioners. (I test them with good products too but having the not so good one on hand helps)

So the first test is sort of a combination test.  I washed my hair with the shampoo that tends to tangle my hair if I don’t use conditioner and then I deliberately did not use conditioner. It was hard to resist, but I did. Then I got out of the shower, toweled off my hair and sprayed in the One Hit Wonder.

It is a relatively fine mist with a light, clean scent.  The scent dissipates rather quickly which is kind of nice. A lot of my hair products have a scent to them and while I like scent, sometimes different scents don’t layer well. This layered well with everything without clashing (I tried it with good shampoos as well as bad). It just provides a clean scented back note that makes you think your hair has just been freshly washed.  Which mine had been.

For those who caught my New Year’s eve post, you may recall that my hair dryer gave up the ghost just before 2020 ran out.  It was relatively old and I was thinking about replacing it for a while, I just never got around to it.  I also need to do more investigating into hair dryers before I pick a new one up.  My hair dryer was as basic as basic could be.  Its main redeeming feature was that the handle folded in so that it was easy to travel with. Which I know sounds like a somewhat silly feature to love, but my old job had me almost constantly on the road so it was a fantastic feature for me.  I now travel less so I am exploring more options other than ‘compact enough to travel well’. But it means that while I research I will be air drying my hair.

Air dried with no product in it

I know that was a bit of an aside, but it does mean that a good detangling spray is a necessity. While I towel dry and then let time and the air do the rest, if I want some semblance of order I need to comb through it when it is still wet so that it can dry relatively straight.  If I don’t then I have to spend a lot more time using the flat iron and I like to limit my use if hot tools where I can.

So, after my shower, the One Hit Wonder went into my hair.  It didn’t feel heavy at all. I lightly sprayed the top of my hair, flipped my head over and sprayed the underside.  Then I ran a comb through my hair.  The comb went through with no problem.  I had no pulling or tangles.  I was very pleasantly surprised. 

wet and somewhat tangled hair

After combing my hair out, I let it dry and I was pleased to see my hair was soft and shiny without being greasy.  There were some fly away and frizz after it dried, but then I sprayed a light spritz over the top after it was dry, combed it through and was fine.  I was rather impressed with it actually. I was worried that the additional spritz might make my hair feel a little greasy or weighed down since I used it as a leave in conditioner, but it did not. 

The next trial I put it through was as a heat protectorate. It worked well with both my hot brush and my flat iron.  I had no damage from the tools and it worked as well as my usual heat protecting spray. 

However, I did notice something.  If I used the One Hit Wonder as a leave in conditioner and didn’t use hot tools to style my hair, then my hair was soft and had a lovely shine to it.  If I used the One Hit Wonder as a heat protecting spray, but hadn’t used it as a leave in conditioner earlier, then my hair was soft with a lovely shine to it.  If I used it as a leave in conditioner to detangle my hair after the shower and then again tried to use it later as a heat protector, then while my hair remained soft, it lost a little of its shine.

combed straight, tangles not a problem, the glare from the light placement is a bit of a problem

I think it was just too much product.

At the moment because I am not drying my hair with a hair dryer, there is a significant gap between washing and styling.  I comb through my hair very soon after showering so that I don’t have to use a lot of heat on my hair. But I generally don’t style it until it is dry.  When I use a hairdryer, I clearly don’t wait.  The leave in conditioner is applied, my hair is combed through and then dried and styled. So I would only apply it once, not twice. Applying it twice was just too much.

allowed to dry down after combing with nothing else done to it.

It is just habit for me to reach for the heat protecting spray when I sit down with hot styling tools. With this product I just needed to remember I already had the product in my hair.  If I did things were fine.  You just don’t want too much of a good thing. 

And really too much just dulled down the shine a bit, it caused no other problems. I will say that adding a little spritz to tame frizz and flyaways did not dull down the shine.  I also used significantly less on those sorts of ‘touch up’ applications than I do as either a leave in conditioner application or a heat protecting application.  It is just my normal application of those two combined that proved too much.

At the end I really enjoyed this spray.  I think it is a really good detangler and leave in conditioner. My hair felt soft as well as looked healthy and nice. To my surprise it actually accomplished all ten of the listed goals.  I am always leery of products that have a long list of claims since usually they don’t do all of them well.  This one does all of them well. 

There is clearly a point where you can overload your hair, but it really does take a lot to reach it.  I would keep this around if only for the detangling and shine aspects of it. The fact that this product is only $8 means that it is one I not only want to keep stocked, but one that I could easily afford to keep stocked at all times.  I was very pleased with it and I can’t wait to try out some of the hair masks that were sent over with this spray.  I generally use a hair mask once a week. Given how well this One Hit Wonder performed, I can’t wait to try out the masks. Hopefully they will be just as good. The Mane Club wasn’t on my radar before this but I will definately be paying attention to them in the future.