Thankful Thursday // June 22, 2017

It’s been some time since my last Thankful Thursday, and I think it’s definitely needed right now. Gratitude is a big part of my happiness, and intentional practice is necessary to keep up habit.

While definitely not all-inclusive, here’s a list of a few things I want to be intentionally thankful for.

  • Flavored water and Powerade Zero. I think these made the list last time. Being sick, and hating the taste of normal water, these liter bottles have been a huge life saver in general the past month and a half. I’m drinking twice as much fluids as before, and my face and scalp are reaping the benefits.
  • The opportunity to host MUR’s daily challenges. Yes, on r/makeuprehab, I’ve been hosting daily challenges for the month of June. By doing this, I’ve been able to spend more time focused on my own collection and focusing on makeup as a whole in ways that don’t require spending and over-consumption. This has made it so easy to stick to my low/no-buy that I’m on.
  • My mom’s health insurance, which I am still on. I’m so incredibly grateful that not only can I get the coverage offered from my mom’s insurance but that she still pays for it. I mentioned that in the beginning of May, I got pretty sick and Urgent Care sent me to the ER, where they did CT scans, EKGs, etc. I went back to urgent care a couple days after for worsening respiratory symptoms before getting a prescription to make it easier to breathe. I was so concerned about the cost, and I just paid off two of my bills- totaling under $100 together. I still have two claims being processed, but I’m much more optimistic about my ability to pay for this illness now.
    • I’m also very thankful that my insurance offers me the ability to view my claims and statuses online. Looking through them, I see that the total claims I have processing are around $2700, meaning I know that I won’t be paying more than that. I’m given info about all of my benefits- $500 deductible and 20% coinsurance for all services in-network- so I know that with all of this, my total cost will probably be under $1000. So. Grateful.
  • My new (128GB!!) phone. I don’t know if I mentioned this, but after a particularly awful work week, I dropped my phone and the screen shattered (underneath the screen protector). I was so disheartened by this, and I tried to replace the screen myself. A screw became stripped, and my phone was irreparable. I found a refurbished iPhone, in the same model as my old one, for around $360, and I’m so thankful that I was able to get it that cheap. It’s even got more storage than my old phone, so now I don’t have to worry about downloading my road trip play lists!
  • My October Vacation! I know I talked about this relatively recently in a life updates! I swear this is not a plug, but I’m thankful that I found to find and book an all-inclusive resort package to take a trip to Tulum, Mexico with my Badger this October. Somehow, the exact dates I needed were pretty inexpensive, and we’re able to take this trip for just around $1100 each. While still a ways away, just having this vacation to look forward to has given me some renewed inspiration, hope, and excitement.
  • A steady source of income. This may be one I include “too often,” but it’s one I really need to be intentional about. I struggle to maintain positivity at my job, but remembering how nice it is to have my own source of income that provides for all of the above is very important.

These are just some items I feel the need to be intentionally thankful for; this list definitely doesn’t encompass the things I feel gratitude for on a daily basis. I’d love for you all to join me in intentional gratitude!


Fragrances // Deconstructing Eden’s Poseidon


Brand: Deconstructing Eden
Perfume Name: 
Indie or Mainstream: Indie
Cost and size: Ranges. $2.75 for 2.5ml sample; $9.75 for 5ml; $18 for 15ml; $28 for 1oz.
Availability: Permanent as part of Deities collection.
Shop description: Crashing waves, seaweed absolute, ambergris, ozonic air, and a touch of petrichor.

My opinions: This is a true wet sea smell. I definitely get the crashing waves and petrichor listed. There’s a hint of seaweed, but it’s not as noticeable; I think the sea salt scent of “crashing waves” is too similar to the seaweed absolute to get a strong sense of the seaweed. I don’t notice much ambergris personally, but this may be because I’m so used to the scent of the ocean as is, and ambergris is found naturally in the sea! I get a hint of the ozonic air, but it isn’t strong to me. I like this personally, as most of the time I’m sickened by strong ozonic scents.

Longevity: High! This is a fragrance that stays on my skin, even longer than 24hrs. It isn’t as strong the next day, but I can still smell it.

Sillage and throw: Moderate. I haven’t received any comments while wearing this

Where this scent takes me: From the very first whiff, I’m transported to a small wharf. It’s early morning, and the boats docked are old. The air is warm, but not hot, and I’m comfortable wearing linen shorts. I’m sitting in an old schooner type boat, where I spent the night. It had rained all the night prior, and the skies are still a little grey, but the morning sun is starting to shine through.

When I would wear this: Late spring to early fall, during the day mostly, but possibly at night during the heart of summer. Any time I’m going to a beach, most definitely, or any time I want to remind myself of the sea.

Would I purchase a larger size of this scent? As much as I enjoy this scent, I’m not sure. It’s such a strong scent. I want to try out other oceanic scents before I commit to any full-size sea fragrance.

Unboxing // Bookcase.Club Strange Worlds June Unboxing

I feel a bit late to the game on this, as my Bookcase.Club packages arrive pretty early in the month (like, they ship out on the first). I almost didn’t do an unboxing post for this, but I figured some of you may be very interested in what you get in these kinds of subs.

This month, the packaging (which I already tossed- sorry) is exactly the same. The box is a very unisex feel; it’s dark blue and contains nothing masculine or feminine. It has the Bookcase.Club brand written on it in white, just like before. This packaging continues on the inside. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing, but it serves the purpose of saying that this box is for any and all readers.

Like last month, this box contains two hardcover books. Here’s a little bit about the books

Departure by A.G. Riddle

According to the dust jacket, this book is about a plane that suddenly loses power and crash-lands in England… into a different world. This book follows five different people: Harper Lane, a write; Nick Stone, a venture capitalist; Sabrina Shroder, a genetic researcher; Yul Tan, a computer scientist; and Grayson Shaw, the son of a billionaire. These five apparently “hold clues about what’s really going on.” The dust jacket also says it’s “nonstop action…,” which isn’t really my thing. However, I like that there are female protagonists, and this is from the sci-fi box, so it must have some element of science fiction to it.

This book is 322 pages and the font and pages appear to be of normal size; I expect to  read this in 5-6 hours. It retails for $21.99.

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Based on what I’ve gathered from this book’s dust jacket, this book is about a protagonist named Zacharias Wythe, who is a sorcerer (“Sorcerer Royal,” which appears to mean a sorcerer whose task is “maintaining magic within His Majesty’s land”). The dust jacket alludes that this protagonist might be a freed slave (at least, they say a freed slave is named Sorcerer Royal). England’s magic is apparently decreasing, and people believe it’s because the magical society is too loose with their use (giving freed slaves access, for example). Zacharias thinks this is obviously false and travels to find the true source for why England’s magic stock is drying up. During his adventure, he meets a very powerful woman (a sorceress?) and ‘he sets on a path that will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain – and the world at large.” I love books with magic and sorcery, so I’m excited to read this one! This also seems to have some social overtones; this alludes to some social tension among the “societal elite” and freed slaves (blacks?) and women, but it also appears to be empowering for those marginalized groups, so I’m interested in how these dynamics are written.

This book retails for $26.95 and is 371 pages long. The font and page size remind me a bit of Harry Potter, and the paper itself feels a bit reminiscent of papyrus, complete with unfinished edges that look a bit “torn.” I’m expecting this read to take 6-7 hours.

Overall thoughts: I’ll admit that I haven’t read last month’s picks. Neither of last month’s books appealed to me during the hectic times, and even though I brought one with me while visiting my parents, I still didn’t feel compelled to read them. This month, I’m actually very excited to read both. I’m hoping to finish both books before the next month. The overall retail value is $48.94, which is more than the price I paid for my three-month subscription! The cost of this sub makes each book cost $8 total (including shipping), and I think that is a steal.

Unboxing // Ipsy June 2017: Volume Up

Another day, another unboxing… It’s what I do! Today’s unboxing is Ipsy’s June 2017 Glam Bag. The theme this month is “Volume Up,” which I think is inspired by Pride, as they say this about the bag:

This loud and proud pouch is a not-so-subtle reminder to *always* speak your mind!

“Loud and proud” definitely has that Pride vibe to it, as does speaking your mind. If I remember correctly, a lot of emails and teasers sent out felt very political, too. That said, the actual bag design isn’t super “Pride” or political; the design features large pop-art lips on a background of white polka dots on beige, and honestly, minus the pop-art style lips, it looks very delicate and pretty! It’s not my favorite bag, but it’s not one I’d be embarrassed to use.

So, what was in my Glam Bag this month? Let’s discover!

  • NYX Whipped Lip + Cheek Souffle in 05 Cocoa Bean. This was my sample choice for the month, and I’m decently pleased with it. I like the texture, and it is quite easy to “sheer out” to use as a cheek product. However, while the color is a good depth for my lips, I’m a bit scared to try to use it on my cheeks. It also has a slightly too-warm feel to me, and I honestly wish I had gotten the Plush shade instead, although that wasn’t an option for me when I selected what products I wanted. Full size; 8ml. Retail value: $5.99


    Swatches from top to bottom: NYX Cocoa Bean (sheered out on the right), theBalm Balm Springs, and City Color Cheers to Life

  • BioRepublic Skin Care Sheet Masks: Green Tea Detox + Aloe Rescue. WHO LOVES SHEET MASKS?! THIS GIRL! I love getting sheet masks from Ipsy (you get two masks for the one bag item). These ones look okay– not the best quality, but they don’t contain alcohol or Shea, which makes them good in my book. Full size; 2 masks at 28g each. Retail value: $10 if purchased individually ($9 per 2 masks when you purchase packs of 10).
  • theBalm Cosmetics Balm Springs Blush. I’ve enjoyed theBalm samples I’ve gotten in Ipsy before, but they are incredibly small. This pan is literally smaller than most eyeshadows!! The pro is that I might actually hit pan on it someday 😉 I’m not sure how easy it will be to use this as a blush, even though the color looks pretty nice- it’s a nice muted color, and it’s not too pigmented/dark, but it is a hair warmer than I’d like. I’m happy, though, that I get to try out a relatively new theBalm product… so. C’est la vie. Deluxe sample; 0.8g. Retail value: $2.99
  • City Color Cosmetics Shimmer Shadow in Cheers to Life. First, can I just say how much I love this shade name? It inspires so much happiness! I really enjoy City Color Cosmetics, because they’re quite affordable but their quality is pretty decent, and they’re cruelty free! This shade is a beautiful shimmery copper. The product feels more creamy than powder shadows, but it’s not a cream either. It’s a little bit textured, but oh my goodness, it’s a beautiful formula IMO. I might look into buying more of these!  Full size; 3.65g. Retail value: $3.99 on “special” ($4.99 regularly).
  • Skone Cosmetics Insanely Intense Tattooed Waterproof Eyeliner in Jet Black. How many black eyeliners does a normal person go through? It can’t be one a month, can it? Then why is Ipsy sending me a boring black eyeliner in every bag?! This is the third month in a row that I’ve gotten a basic eyeliner, and honestly? I’m over it. I’m refusing to open this one up until I’ve gone through all the liquid black liners I currently own… Full size; 2ml. Retail value: $15 on sale ($20 regularly)

Overall retail value: $43.97. This RV is, of course, calculated using regular prices, not sale prices. If we used sale prices and group discounts, this drops to $36.97.

This is a pretty good RV for a $10 beauty bag, however half of the value is carried by the Skone eyeliner, which IMO, who would buy a $20 eyeliner that isn’t known to be amazing? A quarter of this value is in the two sheet masks- and while I LOVE sheet masks, and I’m very happy to get them, I’d never pay more than $2.50 for a single one. I’m honestly quite excited for the NYX product, theBalm blush, City Color Cosmetics shadow, and sheet mask… I’m not excited for the basic black liner.

To me, this personal value is around $15 if I just severely undervalue the Skone eyeliner; however, if I get to the point where I can use it, it might be worth $5? I don’t know! Normally, I like my beauty boxes to have a personal value twice the cost, but given that this contains sheet masks, even though the PV is lower, I’m still okay, because I know that I’d spend the $2-4 on two additional sheet masks for my collection when the time comes, and this is a brand that I know and trust. I feel like, even though the value is a little low, these are products that are just lower-priced, not products I’m just “trying.” For instance, I’d definitely spend $5 on the City Color eyeshadows- I might even spend $7 if that’s how expensive they actually were.

Unboxing // Sephora Play! June 2017

The theme for Sephora’s June box is “Your Summer Starters,” and I’d have to say that I’m pretty excited about this one! I love the beach vibes this box’s artwork sends out! I’m very pleased that they went back to the cute muslin/cloth bags instead of sticking with the clear polyvinyl “Play!” bag from last month.

I think this is SO cute! I love the “in a summer state of mind” phrase on the bag; it’s one of the more appealing ones as of late. Kind of an aside, but I’m really enjoying the little bits of diversity in this month’s artwork, too. While I think their dark-skinned beauty really isn’t dark enough, I love that they have different hair colors and skin tones (do you see how one of the white girls is pink and the other is peachy?). It’s a step in a good direction. I also love that one of the girls is wearing a basic black one-piece! While I think anybody who rocks a bikini is free to do so as they please, I am not one of those girls, and I love to see basic one-pieces being normalized.

Okay, I’m off my soapbox now. Let’s get into products!

  • Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer. Aw, this is just so teeny! I actually have a larger, travel-size version of this primer, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it, so I”m not sure how I feel about this primer being in my box. Deluxe sample; 3ml. Retail value: $4.43 (based on $31 for 21g full size). $5.14 if based on travel sized.
  • COOLA Green Tea & Aloe Makeup Setting Spray SPF 30. This was a sample  from Birchbox a while back that I didn’t end up getting but secretly wondered about for a while. I love green tea, I love aloe, I love setting sprays… and I love sun protection! But… drawbacks. SPF 30 for a spray? You won’t be getting even half of that, honestly, because there’s no way you’re using 1/4 tsp of spray on your face. The other downside? This smells straight-up like skunk to me, making me feel pretty sick. Still, the concept is cool! I might let the scent “air out” a bit (like I did for some skunky perfumes) and see how it works later. Deluxe sample; 10ml. Retail value: $7.20
  • Verb Sea Spray. My hair is fairly short (I guess it’s “technically” medium length, but for me, I’m used to medium-long to long hair), and it’s naturally very stick-straight. This says it’s for all hair types, but I’m very concerned it won’t actually do much for my hair. I’m still interested in trying it out, though! Travel size; 2.4 oz (72ml). Retail value: $7 ($5.42 based on full-size).


    KVD Lovesick: Current one is on the left; new is on the right.

  • Kat von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lovesick.  I have many deluxe-sample sized KvD ELL’s in my collection, as I purchased a huge set around the holidays last year. Lovesick was included in the set, and it’s one of those shades that survived my Great Lip Destash of 2016. I’m not sure yet what I want to do with this one, because this actually looks different in-tube than my current Lovesick… what?! Seriously, the new one looks darker and a bit less pink? Deluxe sample; 3ml. Retail value: $9.09.
  • Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk. If you know me, you know that when my hair is dyed, I don’t wash my hair as often to preserve the color. Because of that, I love dry shampoos! However, my dry shampoos that I’m trying to work through leave some white cast on my (very dark) hair. I’ve heard amazing things about Klorane, so I’m very excited to try this! Travel size; 50ml or 1 oz (note: it’s probably mostly gaseous as usually 1 oz is ~28-30ml). Retail value: $10 ($6.67 based off of full-size)
  • BVLGARI Omnia Crystalline. This is the perfume this month, and it smells very interesting. It’s supposedly lotus, nashi (pear), and balsa wood according to the brand. According to Sephora, the top notes are bamboo, middle notes are lotus flower, and base is balsa wood. I’m currently on the fence with this one. If you’d like to see a review, let me know! Sample spritzer; ~1.5ml. Retail value: $1.89 (based on largest available size)

Overall retail value: $39.61. Note: this is based on either the price for the item on Sephora if that size is available, or the calculated value based on the most economical packaging. Meaning, for instance, that the dry shampoo was given a RV of $10, not $6.67, because I can buy this exact size from Sephora, but that the Professional was given a RV of $4.43, because this exact size was not for sale at Sephora and this was the cheapest RV. For a $10 subscription, this is definitely not a bad RV; however, I’m not super impressed either. Taking the top prices for RV, this would be a ~$41 box, and if taking only the smallest (based on largest sizes available at Sephora), we’d be looking at $34.70.

Overall, I’m a bit… ambivalent. I think I’ve been using that feeling a lot lately. I’m curious, but also a little suspicious. I’m most excited for the dry shampoo and the sea spray. If the KvD lipstick hadn’t looked so different from my current Lovesick (or had been in a shade I don’t own), and if the COOLA spray hadn’t smelled so… musky… I think I would be much more excited for this box overall. Remember that for me to love a beauty box, I expect around 2 times the cost of the box in personal value, so I look for around $20 estimated personal value for a Sephora Play. Because I’m not sure about those two items, I’m not sure what my Personal Value is. I estimate a personal value around $20 after all is done and said, so I am okay with this box, just not 100% thrilled. I do think this is a better box, product wise, than some others recently!

Unboxing // BeautyCon Summer 2017

When I received the tracking info for a BeautyCon box, at first I was confused. I had planned to cancel this subscription as my first year (four boxes) contained mostly products I didn’t end up using much (especially products that were a terrible match for me). Then I remembered: they changed the billing, so I was hesitant on cancelling.

BeautyCon has removed the option for annual subscriptions, which is what I was on. Now, new subscribers can only buy the seasonal subscription, which is $29+$7 shipping or $36/box. For those who had an annual subscription, BeautyCon “grandfathered” a new subscription type, which is essentially the seasonal subscription minus the cost of shipping. Overall, this makes each box cost $29 total, whereas before it was about $33.50 after shipping per box with the annual rate.  Because the rate was so much better, and because I’d “lose” the offer if I cancelled, I remember keeping the sub as-is.

So, what came in the BeautCon Summer 2017 box? Let’s get into it!


The box itself is standard BeautyCon with the grid-pattern, but I really enjoy the shiny/holographic look to the slipcover. However, do you see what’s missing from this? Yes- it’s missing an influencer! Unlike most of their previous boxes, this box was not curated by an influencer. I’m currently ambivalent about this.


The box came full of some really great products this season, which surprised me. I was half expecting two or three self-tanning products and at least one sun-related item, but nothing about these really scream “summer beauty box,” and for that reason I’m actually happy. In list form, here’s what this box contained:

  • ColourPop Ultra Satin Lip in London Fog. This is a pretty pinky-red color, almost like a true strawberry. It’s quite saturated, and it WILL smear and bleed. Full size; 3.2g. Retail value: $6.
  • Deco Miami Lemon Blossom Cuticle Oil. This is a delicious-smelling cuticle oil that comes in an adorable small square polish bottle with a typical nail polish brush. While it’s mostly mineral oil and safflower oil, there is a bit of argan oil and bamboo extract to set it apart from cheap oils. Full size; 6ml. Retail value: $12.50img_7114
  • Deco Miai Pink Crystal Nail File. This is your standard crystal nail file, but it looks pretty sleek with it’s frosted glass appearance. Full size. Retail value: $10.50img_7115
  • Dirty Little Secret Cosmetics Eye Shadow Crayon in Gold Plated. While this is technically what most would consider a “beauty box brand,” this product is fairly decent; it feels very much like any other eye shadow crayon, but it is a little bit creamier and will smudge a bit more. Full size; 3g. Retail value: $14
  • Doucce Lush Lip Gloss in Glistening Petals. The only reason you know the shade name is because it’s on the info sheet; for whatever reason, Doucce didn’t think to print it on the tube! This is a very pigmented, slightly sticky gloss in a warm pinky nude shade. The third ingredient is lanolin oil, so I suspect this will feel pretty hydrating. Full size. Retail value: $22
  • Feel Beauty Bamboo Charcoal Facial Sheet Masks. Everybody should know by now that I love a good sheet mask. This look very intriguing, especially because I don’t see alcohol in the ingredients! However, I did see Shea butter, and I’m unsure if I want to use them because of my historical sensitivity to Shea. Full-size; two sheets. Retail value: $17.50 (based on $35 for a 4-pack)
  • Freeman Beauty Renewing Cucumber Peel-Off Gel Mask. I’m all for a peel-off mask, as I find them fun. This is a brand that is very affordable, and while it says it’s for normal to combo skin, I think this particular one will work for all skin types. Foil packet; 15ml. Retail value: $0.36 (based on $4.30 for a 6oz tube at Ulta)
  • Jonteblu Eyeliner Pencil in 905 Electric Bleu. This is a fun pencil liner in an oceanic blue shimmery shade. The formula feels creamy, not stiff. However, it’s not waterproof… Full size; 1.2g. Retail value: $5
  • MakeupDrop x BeautyCon Original Silicone Makeup Applicator. I think this is essentially the “sillisponge?” Until now, I’ve never heard of MakeupDrop.  It feels pretty substantial, but there’s one issue I have with the construction: there’s a film over it, which creates this “lip” of silicone on the bottom. Full size. Retail value: $20
  • Manna Kadar Beauty Flutter Mascara in Jet Black. The packaging on this is very beautiful and I actually enjoy the simple black look of the tube combined with the fun shape. I also like that it’s “jet black,” as I’m not a brown mascara kind of girl. My complaint is that this is not waterproof; I’m way more apt to try a new waterproof mascara than a normal one, especially during the summer. Full size; 10ml. Retail value: $29.img_7113

Now, onto swatches of the color products:


Lef to right, we have ColourPop London Fog, DLS Cosmetics Gold Plated, Doucce Glistening Petals, and Jonteblue Electric Bleu.

Overall retail value: $136.86. For $29 (or $36), this gives you a pretty good retail value. That said, I have yet to see how much personal value this will hold, as so much will depend upon how the products perform for me. Judging preliminarily, off of what I’d pay to purchase the items or similar items myself, I’m looking around $40-$45 or so on the lower end and maybe $60 or so on the higher end.

Life Updates // October Vacation, Job Changes, Etc…

Hey everyone!

It’s been a while since the last time I’ve posted. My life has been a whirlwind lately. Where to begin?

So, first things first: we are not moving, and as far as I know, I’m not actually changing my career… at this moment.  I’ve applied to some positions in Milwaukee, where my sister is going to school, and I haven’t heard back, at all, from any of them. It’s been around a month or so, so that’s very disappointing. Now, my job is changing a little bit, but it’s not 100% finalized yet. First, I got a slight raise. Nothing huge, but now I’m making just a bit more, to the tune probably of around ~$40 more a month. I did say it’s slight! It’s definitely not enough to keep me from looking around at jobs that may be better experiences for my life goals, but it’s nice in the mean time. The second change is that my unit is going to self-scheduling, and the first bit about this is that our templates are changing. I’m actually quite displeased. A friend of mine from work volunteered to be in charge of this, although she did get some help from a nurse. My template, probably because I don’t have much seniority, is not what I want. I will no longer have long weekends (only 2-3 days off at a time, I believe), and I’m very angry because I have family that lives far away. This family is not family that can travel to me, so if I want to see them, I have to travel. This gives me no wiggle room and just… no. I’m angry about it, but there’s nothing I can do besides look for new jobs, which is what I’m doing. I don’t know when the new schedules will even start, nor how we are going to do self-scheduling anyway, so I’m very irritable and resistant to this to begin with.

Enough talk about what I’m unhappy with… let’s get into something else: vacation! My boyfriend and I have been talking about going on a vacation together, as we’ve been together for over five years and haven’t taken a real vacation yet. Well, now we have one planned! We are going to Tulum, Mexico in mid-October! We’re very excited; we’ll be staying four nights at an all-inclusive adult-only resort that’s about an hour from Cancun. While this might interfere with the new scheduling I talked about above, I made sure that I’d be able to call off if needed, which is why it’s not a very long vacation all things considered. If this one goes very well, we’ll look at saving up for another longer vacation sometime.

We leave in about 16 weeks, so I’m going to be trying really hard these next 16 weeks to get into better shape. My goal is to aim for around a loss of ~20 pounds, but it’s subject to change as I see what is doable for my lifestyle without becoming unhealthy. I figure 1.25 pounds/week is fairly doable.

Other minor things: I have a ton of unboxings to get to, but I’ve been pretty stressed out with work and home-related things on top of planning this trip, trying to be healthier and making healthier choices, etc. I will do my best to get them up, but it’s still a work in progress at this point. Quite a bit goes into my unboxings, not just taking some picture and typing up what was in the box. Also, I’ve signed up for a new “sponsorship” program called BzzAgent. I will be posting my reviews and thoughts about the items they send me, and just a warning: not all of them will be beauty related.

I think that’s about it for all my updates! Thanks for staying with me. Of course, I always welcome any questions, comments, or concerns. I write my blog for me and for all of you who read. Let me know what you enjoy seeing and what you want me to write more about!



Fragrances // Twisted Wonderland’s “Better Not Cry…”


Perfume Name: Better Not Cry…
Indie or Mainstream: Indie
Cost and size: $13.50 for 5ml perfume oil, $15 for 10ml eau de parfum. Available as soaps ($5), sugar scrubs ($8.50), 2oz body mists ($8), and lotion ($9.50).
Availability: Limited edition from Winter 2016/2017 (currently off market- sorry!)
Shop description: “Sweet strawberry pulp swirled into creamy milk with the smallest hints of powder, black currant, and oak in the background.”

My opinions: Holy sweet, syrupy candy, batman! Do you remember those creme saver candi? That’s exactly what this reminds me of. Very strong hints of artificial strawberry (not knocking it; I quite enjoy artificial strawberry), slightly creamier rather than tangy and clear… I don’t get the powder notes the same, nor am I able to tell there is black currant in the beginning. While there may be oak contributing in the base, the strawberry scent is far too strong to note the note in the beginning. It comes through only after a couple hours, and only very slightly according to my nose.

Longevity: Moderate (do I say this about all TWP oils?). I think this is just based on how my body chemistry reacts to the oils used in fragrance oils. The scent is very powerful for about 30 minutes, then slowly recedes. After a couple hours, the scent lingers where I applied it, but I have to seek it out for several hours until it is gone.

Sillage and throw: Low-moderate. Similar with the other TWP oils I have, it’s harder to tell without an atomizer. To me, the fragrance stopped appearing to throw within two hours and you would have to be quite close to smell it. While wearing it, I didn’t receive any comments from Boyfriend, which usually means it’s either very inoffensive or he can’t smell it too much so it’s inoffensive to him. He’s used to me smelling sweet and like candy, so I’m unsure if the smell was so light or if he simply didn’t put together that this was a perfume and not candy.

Where this scent takes me: Set the scene with me as a child, perhaps around 7. First, I’m in school, where my teacher at the time would pass out Cream Savers. That night, I’m in the kitchen of the house I spent my childhood, mixing up a small batch of cake batter with my Bake With Me Barbie. As I fall asleep after a job nicely baked, I’m transported into a dream of myself as a teenager, crafting strawberry shortcake with my little sister and mom, as a daydream of creating a similar dessert as an adult for a garden party.

When I would wear this: Late spring to summer, during the day. I find it too bright and sweet to be a nighttime or cold-weather scent. I also don’t see this as complex enough to use in a very professional setting. I honestly do not quite understand why this was created in the winter!

Would I purchase a larger size of this scent? While I am enjoying it, and I wish the sample vial was a little larger, I will most likely not seek out any full-size products. Part of this is because the scent is not one I can see being good for daily use (I don’t believe I will use up the vial before another, similar scent comes by), and part is because it is currently discontinued, so the efforts would be fruitless. I think it would be nice as a lotion, though!

Sub Boxes // Goodbye, So Choix!

In the beauty box sphere, companies seem to come and go. For the last year, I have been subscribed to a beauty box called So Choix, a box which prepared small samples for you that you get to try out. I loved my subscription at first. It was a great way to try out new foundations and test colors before springing for the full-size version.

However, I have some sad news. As of May 11th, the company has been no longer. So Choix first listed “growing pains” as a reason why boxes and orders were slow to ship- in fact, my final two sample orders didn’t even ship for nearly a month! However, growing pains may not have been the right word. They released to some subscribers that they were insolvent and had to stop their shop. Yep- they couldn’t make ends meet and had to close!

Many people have different theories about why they had to close. It could be that few people wanted to pay for samples Sephora will give out for basically free. It could be that the brands themselves didn’t authorize the company to resell their items and there were potential lawsuits. It could be that the company was receiving several complaints and couldn’t keep up with the customer service… I don’t know, so I won’t state anything definitive.

For the sake of completion, I wanted to go through my last “order” of samples.

My last order was actually a double order because I kept forgetting to choose my samples. I chose ten products I most wanted to try, and they shipped them to me together. However, as I mentioned, this order took me quite a while to ship. From the time I placed the order to the time it was prepared? Four weeks. Four. FOUR. My final order did not even contain the products I originally asked for!


In this box, this is what I received:


Top to bottom: Skin Serum in Alabaster; Water Foundation in Porcelain; Even Finish in Alabaster

  • Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation in Alabaster. This is a sample I did request. It’s much darker and orangey than anticipated. However, it came in a tube with one of those hard fabric tops that belong on a Too Faced Melted lipstick… not a good application method for foundation.
  • Tarte Water Foundation in Porcelain. Another requested item. This one actually looks how I expected it to look, minus that annoying applicator ti.
  • Bobbi Brown Even Finish Foundation in Alabaster. Requested. You’ll notice it looks funny in the picture; I
    took the tip off beforehand and actually did try this foundation out already.
  • Giorgio Armani Eye Tint in Camel Smoke. I did NOT request this product. It’s a liquid eye shadow in a warm brown shade which is basically not usable for me. Product not received: perhaps Nars All Day Luminous Foundation (a formula I had really wanted to try)
  • Smashbox Alwas On Liquid Lipstick in Big Spender. Another requested item, but this shade does not look like the “matte rose” I was expecting. This is more red than I was expected. I’m unsure if that’s just how Big Spender is or if I got a bad product… I might have to swatch this at Ulta.


    Top to bottom: Candlelight, Dandelion Twinkle, Rockateur, Big Spender, and Camel Smoke.

  • Fresh Rose Face Mask. My second not-request product. I think I actually have a deluxe sample of this around somewhere, which means this is redundant and unwanted. Thanks, sub box. Product not received: YSL Touche Eclat Radiance Awakening Foundation
  • Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer in Vanilla. Uh. So, I did request this, but this looks nothing like Vanilla to me. It’s so dark compared to the RCC I have in Vanilla- and this makes me seriously wonder if this actually is the correct product and/or shade.


    Top: So Choix Soft Matte sample. Bottom: NARS RCC purchased from Sephora. Both supposedly Vanilla.

  • Kevin Aucoin The Celestial Powder in Candlelight.  Strike #3 for non-requested products. It isn’t much of a highlight IMO. It’s not the shade I would choose for myself. It doesn’t actually appear beige to me- more warm and yellow than beige. Product not received: Nars Illuminator in Copacabana. 

  • Benefit Dandelion Twinkle Powder. Requested. Looks okay? I don’t know what I should expect from this one, but it looks more peachy and yellow than I was expecting (I own the Dandelion blush).
  • Benefit Rockateur Blush. Also requested. Looks much warmer and orangey on my skin than in the pan. It’s supposed to be rose gold? Temptalia did say it’s a warm coral, and that’s how it swatches.

That’s three items I did not get and instead I was given a product I didn’t want. Knowing that the company is insolvent, I’m not surprised. I’m a little irritable though because I didn’t receive what I ordered and there is no way to fix it. Oh well, though. I will work through the products, review them, and move on.

Unboxing // Notoriously Morbid Vanishing Cabinet May 2017

I always look forward to my monthly Vanishing Cabinet. If you’re familiar with me and my personal values, then you know I love supporting independent business, especially the smaller, hand-crafted variety! I was so excited for this month’s Vanishing Cabinet!

This month’s VC had five total products: four shadows and one Mystic Matte. There’s also some Double Bubble bubble gum. Unlike last month, this VC is not a “full face” curation. I have mixed emotions about this; I liked the idea of having everything I need in front of me with details on how to use what, but I also love having products that are more curated to a theme rather than a look. This month’s theme is Evil Dead, a franchise I know of but have not really explored.


So let’s get into the swatches! Here we have them under low levels of natural light and with flash.

  • Evil Ash: This is a very lime-green-yellow shimmer shade- it looks actually chartreuse! To me, this is a strange blend of cool and warm tones; it’s not a totally cool yellow, nor is it a warm green. I don’t think it looks good against my skin, but it’s definitely a fun, unique color.
  • Hail to the King, Baby: This is a dark purple shade with blue-green shimmer (this is very hard for me to determine exactly; it may be teal). It’s a little patchy and difficult to get a good swatch on, but it’s a very lovely shade.
  • Groovy: A deep indigo shade, reminiscent of dark wash jeans, with pinky shimmer. The shimmer is less noticeable than in Hail to the King, Baby- but you can definitely tell IRL. I’m unsure how this will look on my eyes; plums and purples tend to turn brownish on me, but I’m worried deep, muted blues might look like a bruise.
  • Gimme Some Sugar: A very pale lavender with multidimensional shimmer- the shimmer really is in every color! This is the only truly light shade and could be used as an inner corner highlight or for a halo eye.
  • This is My Broomstick!: This Mystic Matte is a dark, vampy brownish plum. It’s beautiful, dries down well, and has great lasting power… it also imparts a stain that lasts through everything, so beware!

I’ve been wondering lately about the exact size of these products and retail value, and truth be told, I’m still not sure how much product is in the containers. I’m fairly certain they are all Mini sizes- each Mini shadow is $2.75 on NM’s website, and the Mini Mystic Matte is $4.50. That makes this worth $15.50 (without factoring in shipping costs). I find NM’s products are very reasonably priced as is, so even though this isn’t as cost-effective as I like my mainstream subs, I am very happy with this sub overall.

I’m also considering doing more Sub Box Overview posts to build a compendium of subscription boxes- and the one I’m working on currently is for Vanishing Cabinet. Let me know what kind of sub box posts you’d be interested in!