Sunday, 7 October 2018

2018 Reads: July to September

I did make the grand statement that I wanted to read 52 books this year - but at the six month mark, I was only at 18 books. I don't think it's the end of the world if I don't meet my goal...but I want to meet my goal. Fortunately, after struggling with it for what seems like ages but is actually only 3.5 years, on and off, I feel like I'm finally getting somewhere with reading. It also probably helps that this is the quarter during which I finally got new glasses, so I can finally read just before I go to sleep again. I'm not sure I'm making much progress on my to-read piles, both physical and digital, because I keep adding to them, but hey! I'm regularly reading things that aren't work-related and that is a triumph.



The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone, and Written in My Heart's Own Blood - Diana Gabaldon

Finished all the currently published main series Outlander books, so I've started the TV show. Book Claire of the later books is far less irritating, and I'm glad we finally started to get around to more of the mythos of time-travelling, because I've always felt that it wasn't a huge part of the series that really needed to be explored - you know, more than the kinds of plants that grew in North Carolina in the 18th century. Gabaldon can write beautiful descriptions, and I'm going to see this through, but less woods and hardships of life in the 18th century and how to run a still and more about time-travelling.

Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech - Sara Wachter-Boettcher

More AI fun! I probably didn't need to read all of these books on AI, but honestly, a lot of my work is governed by search algorithms and how they're biased absolutely matters to me. Peeling back how these systems work is so important, and the more that we're aware of them, the better. 

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism - Safiya Umoja-Noble

This tackles AI and algorithms from the lens of how they propagate racism, addressing the lack of diversity in tech companies, and how it directly affects and reaffirms how society treats minority groups. This is something we need to be more cognizant of, and again, examine our Internet trawls more critically. 

The Firebrand - Marion Zimmer Bradley

My thing this quarter has been retellings of Greek myths. And it started with this one. The Firebrand takes the Iliad, and flips it, telling the story from the viewpoint of Kassandra. This was riveting - it's framed as an elderly Kassandra telling the truth of what happened, after she listens to a minstrel sing about the fall of Troy. It follows Kassandra through her childhood, from an unloved child to finding a home with Amazons to becoming a priestess. It's chilling and sad, but also hopeful and beautifully written. Unfortunately, Bradley was a garbage person, which is always disappointing when it comes to art you've enjoyed. 

Winter Tide - Ruthanna Emerys

If you like H.P. Lovecraft for the mythos but want less horror and racism in your stories, you need to read this. It's the first of a series, taking place twenty years after the raid of Innsmouth in 1928. The narrator, Aphra Marsh, and her brother Caleb are Deep Ones who were placed in internment camps, (alongside the Japanese) and this meets them as adults, still far from home, and puts them in a position to help the FBI figure out what dangerous information from Miskatonic University may have fallen into the hands of Communist spies. It ties so much of that period in history with the Deep Ones and weaves it into a completely believable story - one that flips Lovecraft and makes the Deep Ones more fleshed out and sympathetic. You don't need to have read Lovecraft before, however, since Emerys explains enough of what you need to know. Anyway. It's great. It started off a little slow, but picked up in the second half of the book.

The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite - Duff MacDonald

So this was an exercise in validation. I'm sure there are lots of lovely people who get MBAs, who want to make the world a better place - but I've always been slightly suspicious of business school in general. Plus everything I've read in the Harvard Business Review has been maddening and/or poorly researched. This was not a flattering portrait of, arguably, one of the top business schools in the world. It goes through the founding, the early struggles of HBS, the development of the case study method of instruction, the influence of HBS, and examines whether or not the MBA-educated have been successful. It didn't exactly improve my opinion, though it is only a slice of the current picture. If you're interested in a critical look at the evolution of the MBA from where it began, I recommend it.

Esther - Sharon E. McKay

I actually have read this book before, probably shortly after it was published in 2004 and I bought it in a Coles either in Saint John or Sydney (there are no other options for that period in my life). However, I left it at my parents's house and forgot it was still in that bundle of books, which I allowed my parents to give away (presumably, my dad was running out of room on all the other bookshelves in the house and saw an opportunity). And then when I came across a mention of Esther Brandeau somewhere online, I remembered this book and promptly took myself to Amazon to order a new copy. Esther Brandeau was the first known Jew to arrive in New France in 1738. Her story on the official record is very brief, but what is there is fascinating: she disguised herself as a boy named Jacques La Fargue, a sailor. She stayed in New France for about a year, resisting attempts to convert her to Catholicism, and was ultimately sent back to France, as there were no Jews permitted in the Catholic colony of New France. This is one of the imaginings of what led Esther to New France, and I think my favourite one. It's tumultuous and takes the brief details that were given in the official record to create a compelling story about a woman who wanted freedom.

The Tale Teller - Susan Glickman

This is the other novel about Esther Brandeau, and I think McKay's novel is far superior. This one focuses more on her time in New France, rather than the lead-up and her story. Glickman imagines Esther as a storyteller, weaving elaborate tales to disguise who she really is. She also takes a few more liberties with the few details we do know about Esther. Ultimately, I didn't find this one to be as compelling and none of the characters were as interesting as they were portrayed by McKay.

The Home for Unwanted Girls - Joanna Goodman

A lot of CanLit really just reminds you that you're fortunate to not have grown up in the deeply religious parts of Canada before society shifted. Goodman tells the story of Maggie, the daughter of an anglophone father and a francophone mother, coming of age in the very Catholic 1950s Quebec. She falls in love, gets pregnant, and her parents force her to give up her daughter, who she names Elodie. Elodie is sent to an orphanage run by nuns, where she grows up relatively happily, until, as the result of a new law, orphanages are converted to mental hospitals in order to get more funding, and Elodie's life spirals into a darker place. Meanwhile, Maggie pulls her life back together, though not without consequences, and a desire to find out what happened to her daughter. It's dark, brutal, critical, and somehow still hopeful, even though it is a tragic story. I thought the ending was a little too neat, but overall, it was good.

Circe - Madeline Miller

The second of my Greek myth retellings this quarter - I had actually already decided to get my hands on a copy of this when Renee posted her glowing recommendation of it, but that made me even more excited to start reading it. I was not disappointed. This is a truly wonderful story. It paints CIrce as far more real, far more complicated, and examines her motivations for her actions. It is masterful, honestly. It follows CIrce as a child through her life, and balances the magic and brilliance of the immortal, legends, and gods, with very real things like single motherhood, betrayal, disappointment, protection, and the ties of family. This is among the best books I've read this year.

The Weight of Ink - Rachel Kadish

I wanted to like this story more than I did, because it sounded really cool, but parts of it dragged and no one was likeable or really compelling. It was still good, I just think it could have been...more. This is split between London in the early 2000s and London of the 17th century: Helen, a historian specializing in Jewish history at the end of her career, is asked to go to a house in the city after the owners find a stash of papers hidden in the walls. The stash, or genizah, turns out to be the writings of a rabbi in the 17th century who knew wrote to many influential people in the European Jewish community. Aaron, a pretty obnoxious grad student, is enlisted to help Helen unravel the mystery of the genizah. They determine that the rabbi, who was blind, employed the help of a female scribe - a shocking thing for the time. Said scribe is Esther Velasquez, a young Jewish woman and radical philosopher, who defies a lot of norms of the 17th century. Esther's story is told alongside the story of Helen and Aaron going through the documents. There's also some really annoying stereotypical portrayals of librarians and archivists in this novel, which of course pissed me off and probably contributed to me not enjoying it as much as I could have.

House of Names - Colm Tóibín

And the third of my unintentional Greek myth retelling theme. This follows Clytemnestra, Electra, and Orestes at the end of the Trojan War, and the fallout of the sacrifice of Iphigenia, Agamemnon's return home, and subsequent murder by Clytemnestra. The bulk of the story is focused on Orestes, and creating a story for what he was doing in between the murder of Agamemnon and his return many years later, to kill his mother, though it also addresses Electra's years of lying in wait for revenge, and the original catalyst of this, Clytemnestra's grief over the death of her daughter Iphigenia and revenge on Agamemnon. Tóibín doesn't waste words, but he also leaves out things that probably would have enriched the story, like more details about how the society worked. It falls a little short without some of that context. Interestingly, the gods are left out of this one, other than various characters to dismiss them and their involvement or care for humans. This is kind of a dark, murky story, without the details I think it needed to really shine.

Total this quarter: 15
Total this year: 33

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Current Wishlist

With the winds of autumn comes the part of the year where people ask me for gift ideas and then give me Sephora gift cards. My birthday is in early November, and then a scant seven weeks later, Christmas shows up. My birthday also falls very close to the fall Sephora sale (if there is one this year - the surprise August sale may have borked my usual timeline; regardless, I'll probably get a Sephora gift card around my birthday). So this is also the time of year where I tend to lie in wait for these occasions, and carefully build a wishlist of things I might spend gift cards on.

A burnt orange lipstick

I have a few that are close to this, but what I'm really feeling for fall is a burnt orange lipstick. All of the current possibilities in my collection are too red - Bite Braised Maple is more red, and Besame Chocolate Kiss leans too brown, as well as lacking the brighter warmth of orange tones. I've never really been big on orange, but I've never actively avoided it either. And for some reason, I latched onto the idea of a burnt orange lipstick when I was thinking about what I might be wearing this fall.

There are a few possibilities I have in mind, like Marc Jacobs Rei of Light (which I think might be too red) or Buxom Covert Affair (may pull too brown). What I'm going to have to do is go on a good swatching session in Sephora sometime before November, and fortunately my work travels in October will bring me close to all four of the Maritime Sephoras.

Update: Since I wrote this, I went and swatched a bunch of burnt oranges at Sephora. It's going to be Buxom Covert Affair.

Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer in Diamond Milk


I love the original Gloss Bomb in Fenty Glow - so much so that I convinced one of my neighbours in the next department at work to buy it. It's a great gloss and a great formula. So when I saw that Fenty had released another shade in this formula, I was immediately intrigued. However, I'm a little divided on this one. Diamond Milk is, well, milky. And I've not loved milky glosses in the past - they wash me out in a non-cool dead way. But I would absolutely love another shade in the Gloss Bomb formula. Just maybe not this shade. I'll have to swatch this one too, preferably a tester that hasn't been ravaged yet.

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask


After the wild year of skincare I've had, with the changes in my skin and already having a solid routine that works, should I really be looking at more skincare to try out? Especially when a lot of things I've tried this year ended up breaking me out. No, no I should not. And yet, when I saw that Glow Recipe had finally come to Sephora Canada, I popped this onto my wishlist. It's been raved about for so long and by so many people and the fact that I hate watermelon on most levels is apparently irrelevant. I may be easily swayed out of this one, especially since I don't need a sleeping pack or want one in my routine, but it's intriguing. And there is a mini, which makes more sense for something I want to try. But we'll see.

Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eye Colour in Golden Peach

Source: TomFord.com

I know, I know. An $80 powder and cream shadow duo. $80. Are you kidding me? There is no eyeshadow duo worth $80 in the entire world. However, I've heard nothing but raves for the cream eye colours, and solid reviews for the powder shadows. The peachy bronze powder shadow and rose gold cream shadow are things that I would wear, a lot, now that I've dipped my toes back into eyeshadow. This is definitely not something I would spend my own money on, but a gift card, were I to get one...it would be a consideration.

Glossier Lash Slick

Source: glossier.com

Since I already know I like this, this isn't a wishlist item so much as a repurchase. But I'm sticking it here because I really have no business buying mascara right now: I finally got my hands on this year's Sephora Favourites Lashstash, and am working my way through the five mini mascaras in there, so I can pick out my free one for the voucher that comes for a full size. Plus I picked up a few more minis in gifts with purchase and codes. I have a ton of mascara right now...but my heart calls to Lash Slick. I've been wearing mascara most days since 2004, guys. I've worn a lot of it. I've tried a lot of it. Lash Slick is the first mascara that I've genuinely loved. Admittedly, a lot of mascaras are decent enough for me, and there have been very few I've said were garbage and tossed. But there haven't been a ton of ones that stuck for more than one repurchase. I think Lash Slick may be the one. So I fully anticipate breaking down very soon and re-ordering it because none of the ones I've been cycling through get even close to my love for Lash Slick.

A new travel makeup bag

I said I was moderately okay with my current travel makeup bag setup in my last post, though I was interested in a new bag for my morning stuff. This was a little bit of a lie. I like to pack things in two different bags, one for things I use at night and one for morning stuff, but that's also a convention I practice because I've never really been satisfied with one makeup bag. So what I really want isn't a new morning bag, it's a new makeup bag, period. I always feel like I'm looking for the perfect travel toiletry bags. Always. I find one, I buy it, I use it for a while, and then its flaws become apparent or it falls apart or my needs change slightly and suddenly it doesn't fit all the things I need (side note: weirdly, my makeup never takes up the most room. It's always the contacts and glasses stuff. Ugh). The perfect makeup bag needs to be large enough to hold all of my stuff, but also not too bulky. Which is something of a paradox, but it's what I want. I want it to have sufficient pockets to hold smaller items (eye drops, makeup) and a separate zipped pocket for brushes. I want to not have to play too much product tetris to get it shut.

What I really need to do is to go examine a bunch of travel bags in person, check sizes and pockets and think about what I really need to bring with me and what's just nice to have, for most travel. But if you have any recommendations, seriously, let me know.

And that's it. Some of these things are probably going to appear here or on Instagram this fall/winter. We'll see what sticks (and how many gift cards I get).

Sunday, 16 September 2018

The Travel Makeup Bag

The biggest reason the blog has been so quiet this summer, aside from the fact that it was 1.2 billion degrees out for most of July and August, is because I was never home. Just about every Friday for the last three months have involved me coming home from work, quickly packing, and hitting the road to whatever family thing/party/camping was planned. On the Fridays I wasn't going anywhere, it's because I was either already there or leaving on Saturday. While I've been very happy to have to much to do over the summer, I've been dragging the last couple of weeks because I just wanted to spend time at home, enjoying my town in the summer (when it's the nicest it will be all year). But all this travelling has allowed me to do something I'd fallen out of really good practice in building: the travel makeup bag.

I'm a planner. I do not like surprises. I will run through every possible thing that might happen to me during a trip, no matter how long or short, and then make sure I'm prepared. Just in case. So while I make adjustments for what I know I'll be doing (like camping or just visiting family or going to a party), I also try to bring a couple of items that could fill in if something unexpected comes up. Like we're camping but we decide to go to a bar in the closest community - yeah, I'm going to want to throw on some mascara and a tinted balm. If I'm enjoying a family weekend but we end up having a last minute party, I'm going to want to have a brighter, long-lasting lipstick to look a little more dressed for the occasion. 

The easiest packing jobs for me is when I'm travelling for work, since the bright lipstick I prefer to wear in the library can do double duty if I end up doing something unplanned that requires more of a statement.

When I pack to go somewhere, I usually prefer to bring two bags: one for my night routine and one for my morning routine. The morning routine one being where my makeup goes, of course. I'm still not totally satisfied with my makeup bag situation for the morning, so if anyone has any suggestions for a medium sized bag with a few pockets/pouches, let me know. There are a few things that I have to shuffle back and forth between bags: contact case, glasses, and comb, but I find the two bag setup works well. I'm not going to go into detail about my skincare, since it's all mini or decanted versions of what I detailed in this post.

Base

I've been living a foundation-free life for the last two months (which has really helped me return to a healthier relationship with my skin), which means fewer things in my makeup bag, which means more efficient packing. Because even though I have a car now and can pack as haphazardly as I like, as long as it all fits in there, I still like to use smaller bags and take up as little space as I can with my belongings. I credit the joy I get out of this to my five years in grocery retail.

My base these days consists of concealer if needed, a little bit of powder, and once everything else is on, a finishing powder. Surprisingly, the ones in my current rotation are all things that I've started using this year, after a fairly long period of having the same base products. 


I started using the Sephora Collection Make No Mistake Concealer in Fleur de Sel this spring, and I love it. It's highly pigmented, but blends well, and you don't need very much of it. I  bought it to replace my beloved by oxidized and kind of going off Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in SX01. The Sephora one comes in a tube, which I think is more hygienic and easier to preserve the product. I'm really only interested in concealer for hiding pimples and residual redness, and this is great for that.


I also added MAC's Next to Nothing Powder in Light to my collection this spring, after reading posts from Lena of Faceonomics on Instagram praising it highly. Light is dangerously close to being too dark for me, so I think I'll be shelving it in the winter, but here in the summer, it's been great for providing my t-zone with a little extra help to stay satin but not greasy. 

I swear there are three swatches there. L-R: Guerlain Méteorites in in Clair, MAC Next to Nothing in Light, Sephora Make No Mistake in Fleur de Sel

My third base product, and the thing that melds it all together, are my Guerlain Méteorites in in Clair. I've been toting the whole tin around all summer, but recently sprung for the pressed compact for travelling, thanks to some PC Optimum points. I typically don't like to get travel versions of my makeup, since I don't really see a need, but in this case: the pressed compact will be in all ways better for when I'm not in my usual set up at home. After this summer, I felt it was worth it for me. 

Eyes

This is very dependent on where I'm going and what I'm doing, but generally, I bring mascara, eyeliner, brow gel, and some sort of one-and-done eyeshadow if I think I might need something to step up my look. My usual travel and/or weekend eye look these days is a swipe of mascara and the brow gel to hold my unruly brows in place, but I always bring an extra something if I decide I want to step up my look a little more. 


I'm in the midst of trying out mascaras from the minis I have, but my true mascara love these days is Glossier Lash Slick. It's perfect: darkens my lashes, keeps them separate, makes the fluffier, and is basically my lashes but better. But because I have so many minis right now, I'm not repurchasing it till I get through the stockpile (but I'll probably crack in a few months). Currently using Lancôme Monsieur Big mascara. It's okay.

The next two items are long time staples: Glossier Boy Brow, the only thing I've put in my brows willingly since I got it in July of 2017, and the gimmicky-sounding Physician's Formula Eye Booster 2 in 1 Lash Boosting Eye Liner & Serum in Deep Brown. I hate the attempts to convince me this will make my lashes longer, but it's an amazing brush tip liquid liner. Since I don't do wings or like a heavy liner, I use Deep Brown for some easy definition that looks a little more natural.

L-R: Physician's Formula Deep Brown, Glossier Slip, Urban Decay Grind, Laura Mercier Rosegold, Laura Mercier Amethyst, Laura Mercier Vanilla Kiss, Laura Mercier Au Naturel, Tocuh in Sol Grace (liquid), Touch in Sol Grace (glitter), Touch in Sol Titania (liquid), Touch in Sol Titania (glitter)

In terms of colour cosmetics in the eye category, I usually bring a couple of things: some glitter and one or two one-and-done eyeshadows, or a couple of cream shadow sticks that can make a look together. I largely prefer cream or liquid shadows in general these days, and have mostly gotten rid of powder shadows, but I definitely won't bring powder shadows with me on a trip. The fewer brushes I have to bring with me, the better. 

The last few times I've gone anywhere, I've brought Glossier Lidstar in Slip (my very favourite Lidstar of all) and Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Liner in Grind, since they pair well together and also stand alone nicely. For something a little more complex, I'd bring my mini Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks. For the next weekend away I have planned (for a concert), I'll be bringing my new Touch in Sol mini Metallist duos, since they have both glitter and a liquid shadow in them. 

Face

I also prefer to bring creams or liquids when it comes to my blushes and highlighters, though I have two powder blushes that go with absolutely everything (Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure and Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Paaarty). I've been bringing Paaarty with me a lot this summer, since it's such a natural, warm glow on me. If I ever pan this mini, I'll be getting a full size because I love it that much. 


Hourglass Mood Exposure, Tarte Paaarty

L-R: Mood Exposure, Paaarty

The last few trips I've taken, however, I've been bringing multisticks for my blush/lip colour, to cut down on the number of products I pack. My current three multisticks are NARS The Multiple in Orgasm, for a more glowy look, and two of the Shiro Multisticks, which I've really been enjoying, in Wu (a cherry red with very fine gold, almost invisible, shimmer) and Lovelace (a light bright pink). The Multiple is more like a powdery cream, while the Shiro ones are closer to a real cream. All three tend to fill out the needs I might have. However, I've come to the conclusion that I don't like the cardboard packaging of the full size Shiro Multisticks: I find the product harder to apply from the tube, and the tube doesn't feel like it's going to stand up well. They are smooth and easy to blend, but the swatches do not indicate that at all.



Highlighter-wise, I've been trying to use up my Glossier Haloscope in Quartz this summer, so it's been the highlighter I wear pretty much every day and the only one I bring on trips right now.

L-R: NARS Orgasm, Shiro Wu, Shiro Lovelace, Glossier Quartz

Lips

In addition to my multisticks, I also like to bring a few other lip products. You know, in case I haven't full anticipated everything I might like to have. This is the category I definitely way overpack in. I usually bring a clear lip balm with me for morning and evening wear while I get ready - lately it's been Hurraw! lip balm Moon Balm (Blue Chamomile Vanilla). I also bring a lip scrub, currently Mountain Madness lip scrub in Peach & Coconut Milk. This a solid oil with very fine sugar in it, and I use it to prep my lips. 


I lean toward longer wearing lip products for travel. Since my routine is disrupted and I'm never quite sure when and how I'll be able to reapply, plus I usually anticipate a lot of eating and talking, I focus on things that I know can withstand meals and drinks. Lately, it's been Peripera Peri's Ink Velvet in Sellout Red, which I got recently in Halifax and adore; and Marc Jacobs Le Marc Liquid Lip Crayons on Night Mauves (for more neutral looks) and Fram-bois (for bolder looks). If I decide not to bring the Ink Velvet but still anticipate needing a red, I bring NYX Super Cliquey Matte Lipstick in In the Red or any Bésame lipstick, because those things do not budge ever. 

L-R: Peripera Sellout Red, NYX In the Red, Bésame Victory Red, Bésame Cherry Red, Marc Jacobs Night Mauves, Marc Jacobs Fram-bois

Brushes

The three brushes I end up bringing with me are my Zoeva 142 Concealer Buffer (I have two of these, so whichever one is clean), and two of the Hakuhodo + Sephora brushes: the Ougi (fan cheek brush, for Tarte Paaarty) and the Kusabi (wedge powder brush, for the Méteorites). I know the Hakuhodo + Sephora brushes weren't popular, but I love them, so thanks everyone else for hating them and letting me get the ones I wanted on sale (I also have the Kotsubo, the small teardrop powder brush, which I use for powder highlighters).

Top to bottom: Kusabi, 142 Concealer Buffer, Ougi

I've got a super brief reprieve from travelling most weekends right now, but I'll be hitting the road for most of October, largely for work, and I'll be sure to show on Instagram what made the cut as the weather gets cooler and my tastes shift to reflect that.

Monday, 3 September 2018

2018 Reverse Rouge Challenge: July and August

The fourth installment of my Reverse Rouge challenge. Spoiler: I hit the $1000 mark in using up products. Other spoiler: while this has been a great exercise, and I will continue it till the end of the year, I won't be doing it next year since a) I've made headway on reducing my consumption, and b) I mostly use up the same things over and over. I'd rather write about individual rare pans either here or on Instagram. You get it.


Hair

  • OGX Coconut Water Conditioner and Coconut Water Shampoo: $16.94 ($8.47 each)
    • I've been emptying these pretty regularly this year, and they're still my favourite drugstore duo. I will say I'm probably going to shake it up in the next couple of months, just because I'm now bored of the coconut water scent. But we'll see.
  • L'Oreal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray in Unscented (400ml): $10.99
    • One of the few hairsprays I can easily find here that both holds my hair and is unscented, which I need for work. I try to get it on sale, otherwise the price is a joke. I'll continue to repurchase.
  • Drybar On The Rocks Clarifying Charcoal Shampoo (7ml): $0.84
    • Wasn't a huge fan of this sample (I got two washes out of it). The scent is very strong and it didn't do anything special or better than OGX.
  • Drybar on the Rocks Lightweight Replenishing Conditioner (7ml): $0.84
    • Same as the shampoo, it was kind of meh. Wouldn't buy it, but glad I had the satchets for a weekend away.
Body

  • Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion in Cocoa Butter: $5.94
    • I've gotten really lazy about moisturizing my body in the last year (I know, I know). This has been the answer to that, especially in the winter: lather up in the shower, rinse it off, have softer, more hydrated skin. I'll be grabbing it again.
  • Neutrogena Uttra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen in SPF 110: $9.99
    • This is a long-time summer favourite of mine. I know that SPF 110 is kind of silly, but here's the thing: I'm fair and I burn easily. I have never, ever burned while wearing this, even if I don't reapply like I should. Good enough for me.
  • Oh K! Fruit Enriched Peeling Foot Mask: $10.99
    • Picked up another one to freshen up my feet partway through this summer (though paid full price this time).It most definitely works, and I'm really glad to have an accessible option for a good foot mask. I'll continue to purchase this every so often to help my feet lose some of that dead skin.
  • Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream (7.5ml,): $1.78
    • This smelled amazing, and was decently hydrating, but I couldn't wear it every day since it smells so strongly. Too bad.
Skincare

  • Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream: $21.50
    • I bought this earlier in the year when it was harder to find and the prices were all high. I reordered yesterday, and they're back down to normal. This stuff remains a staple of my skincare routine. Heals, soothes and hydrates. Love it.
  • Nivea Sun Protect Water Milk: $11.66
    • Bought this to try out - while I'm still loyal to my Biore Bright Milk, this was a lovely texture, wore really well on my face, and kept me from getting sun damage while out and about, as well as camping. I'm not the best for determining the intensity of a white cast, but after using it every day, I'm pretty sure it has one, which would make it difficult for darker skin tones to use. Meh.
  •  Formula 10.0.6 Seriously Shine Free Mattifying Oil-Free Moisturizer: $9.99
    • Still loyal to this one! Still fabulous.
  • The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion: $9.80
    • Still a staple. Honestly, as my supply dwindles, I've come to realize this is one of my best options for a retinoid, in terms of price and accessibility in rural NB, which is kind of depressing, since I'm not super keen to support Deciem after the shenanigans of the last several months. Feeling conflicted over this for sure.
  • Mysterious sheet mask (one with a baby face on it): $4.49
    • I got this on a whim one weekend in Halifax. I have no idea of the brand or what it was supposed to do. It was kind of a meh mask, but since I view sheet masks as a random splurge and not a frequent thing, it was fun.
  • Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels (sample, two gels): $4.13
    • Felt nice, did nothing. Was unimpressed. I wouldn't buy them, but I used the sample on a very hot day, and they did help cool my face down. So yay?
  • Formula 10.0.6 Best Face Forward Daily Foaming Cleanser: $8.99
    • Still my favourite for a night cleanser. Continuing to repurchase.
Makeup

  • Glossier Lash Slick: $20
    • It's been a long time since I've been this enthusiastic about a mascara, but guys. This is so good! I love it. If I didn't have a billion mascara minis, I would have already reordered, and honestly, probably will reorder in the coming months. Defines, darkens, makes my lashes look so fluffy...I adore it.
  • Glossier Boy Brow in Clear: $20
    • Still my current favourite, after a year's use. Also very excited that Lash Slick + Boy Brow hit the free shipping tier exactly, which is pretty great.
  • Fyrinnae Oil Control Finishing Powder: $7.20
    • When I needed more oil control, this was lovely, but I don't, and so it's been a little drying and chalky. It's a beautifully milled loose powder, and I recommend it if you need something mattifying. It's not as heavy duty as Shiro's version, but it's pretty good.
  • Milk Kush High Volume Mascara (3ml): $8.70
    • Got this mini as a GWP, and it was garbage. Brush was huge, clumpy as hell, and was the first mascara in a decade to smudge on me. Nope. This isn't a true empty, but I can't pass it on and also it sucks a ton and that needs to be said.
  • Geek Fire Labs lip balm in Mother of Dragons: $6
    • A nice light lip balm in a spicy scent. I liked it. It's not for days that need a blast of moisture, but it is a good day balm. I have a couple of other tubes I'll be happy to use, though I'm not sure right now if I'l repurchase.
Total these two months: $190.77

Total year to date: $1010.59

Friday, 24 August 2018

Current Look: Worksafe Glitter

A long time ago, when I was a baby contract librarian, I tamped myself down when it came to my makeup and fashion at work - not a lot, but some. I was also still getting used to being a professional adult with an office and a dress code that wasn't going to let me wear jeans. Now I'm still a baby librarian, but one with a permanent job, a better handle on what I want to look like at work, and the freedom to express my liberal interpretation of the dress code, which is curiously silent on makeup. But it does use the term "conservative" to describe how we should be dressing. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that my dinosaur dress and very bright red lipstick really pushes that line. However, while healthcare as a whole is certainly a sea of business casual neutrals, I've been able to reject that and wear what makes me feel more like myself. Which is a lot of fun patterns, cropped pants, and a billion cardigans. People tell me all the time at work that I don't look or act like a librarian, whatever that means, but I walk around with a mug of tea and a cardigan just about every day, so dunno what they're looking for. 

In the last few months, I've started getting more creative with my makeup, and seeing if I can push the boundaries, whatever they are, a little more, and add some more fun elements to my look. I'm never going to look at home in a truly business casual look. I need pieces that undercut any seriousness, or makeup that very subtly subverts expectations while still looking appropriate for work. Enter things like green highlighter, cupcake earrings, glow in the dark Christmas light shoes, and what I like to call worksafe glitter.

Disclaimer: I don't answer to anyone directly at my worksite and my boss mostly sees me on Skype. The only time she's ever commented on my makeup has been to ask me where I buy my lipstick. If you don't have this fortunate situation and a similarly conservative environment makeup-wise, step lightly. 

Worksafe glitter, or casual glitter, is wearing of what would traditionally be a fabulous, in-your-face, over the top, New Year's Eve product during your everyday, not-quite-as-glamourous life. There are lots of ways to do this, but I'm telling you the ways in which I do it. The secret to my worksafe glitter is that I wear it almost totally alone. It's not part of a smoky look, or dabbed on to give dimension. It is the star of the look on an otherwise bare eye (you know, other than my customary mascara and thin swipe of brown liquid liner). 


An attempt to show the thin line of subtle glitter I like to wear sometimes. This is Urban Decay Heavy Metals Glitter Eyeliner in Grind.

I wear glitter in a couple of different ways: either as a thin line of glitter, applied directly over my swipe of liquid liner, or a glitter eyeshadow, smudged on the inner corner of my eye. I suggest the former for those who want a more invisible kind of glitter that leaves you with some plausible deniability. Say, the kind of glitter you might wear during your annual performance review or in headshots taken for the library website. Maybe. The latter is a little more daring, more obvious, and something that will earn you a mix of admiration and some slight shock, if you work in the aforementioned conservative environment.


Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow in Bronze Bell in the inner corner

Despite a 15 year love affair with beauty, I was never really into glitter. It's pretty, yes, but I was never into having much of it on my face, except for a cheapo blue glitter eyeliner used to draw paw prints on our faces during house hockey games in university. I don't even remember when I bought that liner and I tossed it the day I moved out of my undergrad apartment. So it was something of a whim that I decided to grab Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner in Distortion with my Christmas gift cards in January. When I got it, I swatched it on my arm and was immediately confused as to why I had done this. After a couple of weeks of ignoring it, I decided to wear it. And because I had no other ideas, I swiped it on over my normal liner and went to work. My on-site coworkers loved it. Thus, worksafe glitter was born.



Current glitter holdings: Urban Decay Heavy Metals Glitter Eyeliner in Grind and Distortion, and Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow in Bronzed Bell, Kitten Karma, Rose Gold Retro, and Smouldering Satin

I came to glitter at just the right time for my lazy ass: cream and liquid products for all areas of the face are having their moments in the sun, and Stila Glitter & Glow liquid eyeshadows also caught my eye. I ordered a trio of minis in winter, and redeemed a bunch of PC Optimum points at the end of June for another one. These are what I use for a little more glitter: dabbed on the inner corner of my eye or used for a little more definition, since most of the ones I have are glitter + a base colour. I have yet to wear them as full on lid colours, and honestly, I think that much defined glitter would defeat what I'm trying to do here. But never say never.



L-R: Grind, Distortion, Bronzed Bell, Kitten Karma, Smouldering Satin, Rose Gold Retro

The beauty of worksafe glitter is that it's fun and sparkly, but also easy to swipe or dab on first thing in the morning, since you had to get up at ungodly hours to go to work. If you're not a morning person (like me), it's a great way to bring a much-needed dose of whimsy into your day. This is a low-effort look that makes a statement. Worksafe glitter is here to stay, and I'm always interested in expanding it - as a first tentative step back into eye makeup, it may well lead to other things.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

2018 Reads: April to June

Again, better late than never! The second quarter of 2018 was very busy professionally, and when that happens, I tend to stop reading in my leisure time...since that usually means I'm reading and writing more for work, and I tend to Netflix and game when I get home. 

It's also been ridiculously hot for most of July here and I've been spending my time not in my air conditioned office melting in my non-air conditioned attic apartment. When it stops being so hot that I sweat while lying on the couch in the dark, then I promise more consistent blogging. Basically all of my Instagram photos lately have been taken in the first five minute home from work when I'm still cooled by the hospital and blasting the AC on my drive home. 

I'm behind on where I want to be, reading-wise, but I've been making much better progress in July, so things are looking up for the second half of the year.

Jade City - Fonda Lee

This was a recommendation I got from a Reddit thread - the commenter said that this was excellent fantasy with strong world-building. Correct! Since George R.R. Martin has ruined book series for everyone forever, I was hesitant about reading this since it's the first book of a series that was published in 2017. But I'm really glad I did. In Jade City, jade is a magical stone known for granting enhanced capabilities to those who can wield it, and has created an upper class of warriors, with those cannot viewed as lesser. This has family struggles, mafia-like structures, war, fraud, a drug that permits anyone to wield jade and threatens the order of Kekon, the fictional country where the novel is set. The characters are complex and interesting. It's easily the most riveting book I've read so far this year. 

Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn - Diana Gabaldon

Still trekking through the Outlander books. I kind of despise Claire, and her daughter Brianna, is worse. Unfortunately the story revolves around them, though I'm hoping someone will drop kick their time-travelling asses off a cliff or something. It's a shame, because Gabaldon has built a very interesting and vivid world and I'm committed at this point to finding out how it ends, even though the one fantasy element of the story isn't focused on as much as I like. This is a story about time-travelling and instead I'm ready about the minutiae of how to run a still in 18th century North America? Come on.  

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder - Caroline Fraser

This was a great biography of Wilder, as well as her daughter Rose Wilder Lane. It picks apart the truth and the fiction of the Little House books, setting it in the context of Wilder's real life, world events, and her relationship with her daughter. If you, like me, have very fond childhood memories of the Little House books (and only the books; I tried to watch the TV show once, said "What is this garbage?" ten minutes in and shut it off), and are interested in the history of "settling the West," this is fantastic. It's got historical context for the world in which Wilder was born and ended up writing about, as well as the story of how Wilder ended up writing her books. It's critical but fair about Wilder and Lane.

Young Pioneers - Rose Wilder Lane

I picked this up because I've already read Free Land and I wanted to see how similar this was to the Little House books. The answer: pretty similar but less good. I think Rose Wilder Lane had some questionable political views at best, and honestly every memoir or portrayal of her as an adult makes her sound awful, so the fact that I've now read two of her books makes me wonder about myself. You want a story about plucky pioneers and a nice dash of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps? Read Laura Ingalls Wilder, she at least makes it less in your face. This was at least short. But I felt like I'd read it before, which I pretty much had.

Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life - Emily Nagoski

I think every woman should read this book. The end. Read it. Do it. Everyone should, really, but I'll start with you, fellow women. There's so much shit in the way that society frames narratives about sex, the way in which we shame women and make them feel other, the way we tell women they ought to feel, and the expectations that society places on everyone. Sometimes you just need someone to tell you that you're not broken, and it's okay to feel the way you do - and how to work with that. This was good and I think very necessary for everyone. It's geared toward women, but the examples are varied and broad enough to help everyone who wants to sort something out.

Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy - Cathy O'Neill

This was on a reading list about artificial intelligence that was referenced at a conference I went to in June. Since I spend a lot of time creating and manipulating search results, I find AI and algorithms endlessly fascinating. This was a very sobering look at the tech we use and the algorithms that have changed decision making, democracy, society, and how we live.  A lot of that is coming out in recent times, so it's very timely, but still something which isn't taken seriously enough. I recommend this as a good starting point for beginning to understand where we are with algorithms, big data, and how they impact your life.

Total this quarter: 8
Total this year: 18

Thursday, 5 July 2018

2018 Reverse Rouge Challenge: May and June


Third round of reverse Rouge! I'm doing pretty well - halfway through the year and almost there. I do expect my empties to dwindle a bit in the latter half of the year, as I try to reduce things I've had to try, and be more consistent with what I do use. Hoping to add some more makeup to the pile in the next six months - I've got some very promising pans lying in wait.

Hair
  • OGX Coconut Water Conditioner: $8.47
    • the mate to my favourite shampoo. Good stuff, keeps my hair moisturized and is also noticeably different from the shampoo bottle which something I will never not be mad about for most of their line. Come on.
Body
  • Oh K! Fruit Enriched Peeling Foot Mask: $7.99
    • This brand is new to Shoppers, and this was on sale when I was there, so I bought it. This mask worked very well - skin started coming off my feet in sheets about 5 days after I used it, and my feet were notceably softer once I finished peeling. This is regular $10.99, but worth it for the exfoliation a couple times a year. I'm very pleased. 
  • Sally Hansen Strengthening Nail Polish Remover: $3.99
    • I've had this bottle of nail polish remover so long that I think they've rebranded since then. I've definitely had it since before I got my current job. Finally I got through it. I'm not super picky about nail polish removers, so as long as it gets the polish off, I don't care. I'd buy it again. But I'd also buy another one if it was on sale first.
Skincare
  • Burke's Honey Canada No. 1 White Raw: $7.99
    • Yes, a jar of honey. This jar of honey was used exclusively for making honey masks, which I talked about in my routine post. I love honey masks. I purchased another jar of honey, though a different brand mostly due to convenience.
  • Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack: $27
    • This is my favourite clay face mask, I might as well admit it. It reduces redness, smooths my skin, alleviates any irritation, and is the only clay mask I've ever tried that never feels tight or drying. I've already repurchased - I use this at least once a week and usually twice.
  • Formula 10.0.6 Best Face Forward Daily Foaming Cleanser: $8.99
    • My favourite night cleanser. I keep buying it. It smells like passionfruit and green tea. It's great.
  • Mizon Snail Recovery Cream Gel: $21.50
    • This has gotten more expensive recently, which worries me, but so far I haven't had issues finding it and it hasn't gotten too crazy. My skin loves snail, but it especially loves this. This is magical healing cream, I swear. Soothes my skin and makes it glow a little more. When I first started using snail. I wasn't sure if it was doing anything. A few weeks without cleared that mystery up for me.
  • Papa Recipe Bombee Honey Mask: $3.99
    • This was the second sheet mask I picked up at Zakka Mart in Halifax. I liked it, though it didn't fit well at all. Not sure it did much. Do sheet masks ever do much? I'm of the opinion of not really. Plus they're wasteful.
  • Oh K! Avocado Sheet Mask: $4.99
    • Everything I said about the Papa Recipe mask could be said for this one. I'm quitting sheet masks. Really.
  • Vaseline Lip Therapy in Cocoa Butter: $3.99
    • This was okay. I used it as a night lip balm, and while the tin lasts forever, it's not my favourite formula and didn't do as much as Nuxe Reve de Miel or Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. Won't be repurchasing (though I have another Lip Therapy in Pink Bubbly to use up).
  • Glossier Milk Jelly Cleanser (3ml, sample + 177ml, full size): $22.37
    • Trying to price sample sizes can be hilarious. Milky Jelly is an acceptable morning cleanser, and I keep getting samples when I order from Glossier because they're good for travel. I used this up on a weekend in Halifax. It lasted me three mornings, and probably would have gone for another one if I hadn't been so heavy-handed. The full size was used from November to June, which was good, but there are cheaper and better ones out there. I won't be repurchasing.
  • The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion: $9.80
    • This has done so much for me so it sucks that Deciem is still falling off the rails. Fortunately I still have plenty left so I can continue delaying the dupe hunting and hoping that Deciem gets a new owner.
  • The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA (100ml): $7.70
    • Still my favourite moisturizer, still going through my stockpile while Deciem is doing whatever it is it's doing. I have plenty more still.
  • Formula 10.0.6 Pores Be Pure Skin Clarifying Mud Mask: $9.99
    • This was the first Formula 10.0.6 mask I tried and it's still my favourite one. It's a great drugstore mask, it smells like strawberries and cream, and it does a good job reducing redness and smoothing my skin. It is more of a traditional clay mask than Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack, so I do feel a little drier after using it. I'm not going to repurchase immediately, since I have some other masks I want to use up, but I will repurchase at some point.
  • Bioderma Hydrabio H2O Moisturizing make-up micelle solution (mini, 100ml): $5.99
    • I like to pick up the minis of these for travel. I've already talked about how this is my favourite micellar water all over the place, and it's still true.
  • Biore UV Bright Milk SPF 50 PA++++: $11.47
    • Used up another bottle of my favourite sunscreen. Still great. 
  • Mountain Madness Soap Company lip balm in Cranberry: $4.75
    • This is a decent lip balm, scented like bright fresh cranberry. It's a little on the oilier side, so not my favourite, but it does a good job at removing tough lipsticks and providing a thin layer of moisture. I have another one to get through and probably won't pursue getting more, since I had a friend buy these for me to get around MM's extortionate Canadian shipping. I have other, better balms.
Makeup
  • Makeup Forever Water Blend Foundation in R210: $54
    • Back to this base, and back to finishing two bottles a year. This has such a beautiful finish, is wonderfully light-weight, and matches me so well. I never should have left you, Water Blend.
  • Tarte Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint in Birthday Suit (1g, deluxe mini): $4.17
    • The Sephora 2017 birthday gift, I loved this and used up about three-quarters of it before it started separating and leaking oil. Yay. I only got this in November, but I assume it sat around for a while before I got mine. I had considered getting the full size once I was finished with this mini, but now...I think I'll pass. Don't need  liquid lipstick with a very short and obvious shelf life.
  • NARS Pro Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base: $33
    • I'm almost certain this was $29 when I bought it, but I couldn't find that proof in my Sephora account, and it's pretty old. I finally scraped out what I could with the doefoot. I'd cut it open typically, but it's so old at this point that it didn't seem worth it. I have a deluxe sample of this as my backup, but I only wear it with powder shadows...which I don't wear all that much. It's a great primer, though.
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel: $29
    • My opinion on this brow gel never changed. This gel is boring and not that great and the spoolie bristles are too far apart and it's way overpriced for something that doesn't hold that well. Good-bye, and good riddance.
  • MAC Strobe Cream (mini, 6ml): $2.40
    • It took a long time for Strobe Cream to grow on me, but it did. Since I've embraced glowier, dewier skin, this has been great under my foundation for extra shine. I would repurchase, though I'm trying out L'Oreal Glotion instead, since it's far more accessible.
  • Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara (mini, 3ml): $18.50
    • I got this in a 500 point perk from Sephora last year. I was a little underwhelmed by it - it's more subtle than I was expecting. It's nice, just less impact or volume than I would have thought. Probably wouldn't buy it, since the full tube is $37 and that's not worth it.
Total for these two months: $312.04

Total year to date: $819.82

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Sephora #Lipstories Lipstick in Popsicle Lips and After Hours

When Sephora Collection released their new line of bullet lipsticks, called #Lipstories for what I can only assume is easy Instagramming of them, the hype was real. This was a big line - 3 finishes (matte, cream, and metallic) and 40 colours, plus they're $10. Even in Canada, this is cheap for a lipstick. Most drugstore lipsticks these days run at that regular price, and more often, $10 is your sale price. It's gotten way less satisfying to roam through the drugstore and see what's on sale. And with #Lipstories, it seemed to make the drugstore kind of meaningless. May I repeat: $10 lipsticks. At Sephora. The dream. Or a dream that I've had more than once. 

L-R: Popsicle Lips, After Hours

After a flurry of posts and reviews about #Lipstories in the online beautysphere, they quietly vanished and no one ever talked about them again. I picked up two of the #Lipstories in March, when I sent myself to the mall in my hometown during a car appointment for recalled parts. They were still relatively new and shiny, and Temptalia was either almost done swatching them all or had just finished. I weighed the decision for a moment, and then proceeded to try and swatch a bunch of them to narrow down my choice. While I appreciate that the line has a lot of unique colours (blues, greens, golds), I think we all know full well that I'm a lot of talk when it comes to the offbeat colours: I buy them and then only wear them at home. Wild. So I went for colours that I would be far more likely to wear, and ended up with two reds: Popsicle Lips, a cream-finish neutral red, and After Hours, a matte-finish neutral red. I took these descriptions from Temptalia. These are decidedly not the same at all; check this, Christine. Popsicle is a cool-leaning neutral red, while After Hours is more of a brick red. 

Top: After Hours, Bottom: Popsicle Lips

Top: Popsicle Lips, Bottom: After Hours

Before I get into the formulas, let's talk about the packing. All of the #Lipstories have really cute, different pictures on their tubes for the different shades. It's adorable. But the tubes are also cardboard. CARDBOARD. Listen, if I'm paying any amount of money for a lipstick, cardboard packaging is not going to make me happy. A palette is one thing - chances are that it'll spends its life sitting on my vanity anyway. A lipstick travels with me, and I'm kind of hard on most of my belongings that leave the house on a regular basis. These are not going to stand up to a life of hanging out in a makeup bag, you know? And the display at Sephora didn't fill me with a lot of faith: a lot of the caps had been pounded a bit, smeared up, and generally giving a good example of what a lot of use would look like on that packaging...and it was not pretty. Cheaping out on the packaging is probably how they sell that whole "Sephora lipsticks for $10!" but these are not good for your every day lip colour that you carry around everywhere.

Popsicle Lips

Popsicle Lips, the cream formula, is a beautiful red but that's the only positive thing I can say about it. Oh, and the picture on the packaging is really cute. Based on Popsicle Lips, I can't recommend the cream (or satin; Sephora's website is a little vague there) finish. This is bright, saturated, and easy to apply, but it is a trash lipstick. I don't normally have issues with feathering, but this feathered so badly you could see it standing a few feet away from me. It was awful. I attempted to photograph it but it was such a mess that the photo couldn't capture it all. I have worn Popsicle Lips over lip liner and lip primer, both of which did cut the feathering problem, but I don't love the glossy finish that the cream finish has in Popsicle Lips, nor is it such a unique red that I'm going to always wear it with a primer or liner to make it wearable. I won't even pass this on to someone else. It's that bad. 

With some similar reds in my collection, L-R: Bite Amuse Bouche in Flag Red, Besame Lipstick in Red Velvet, Popsicle Lips, Besame Lipstick in Victory Red, NYX Super Cliquey Matte Lipstick in In the Red

After Hours

After Hours, on the other hand, is a very lovely lipstick and I would recommend it. The matte finish on this is a demi-matte, it lasts most of the day with minimal wear and makes it through lunches on the less greasy side, it's a little drying but not uncomfortable, and it doesn't feather all over my face. It's more red than most of the red browns I have in my collection, and it feels very versatile - I've worn it with a more wintery wardrobe and a summery one, and it looks good in both seasons. Excellent. You do need to be sure you don't have any dry skin flakes on your lips, because it will catch on them, and can be very noticeable if you reapply over an old layer.

With some similar lipsticks, L-R: 3CE Mood Recipe Matte Lip Colour in Smoked Rose, After Hours, Besame Lipstick in Chocolate Kiss, Bite Matte Creme Lipstick in Braised Maple

Were these worth the hype? I don't have a great sample size, but I think it was way overblown. Certainly there are gems in there, but cardboard tubes, guys. And while I think there's a great range of colours for an affordable price, drugstore brands have already cornered that market - though in Canada, #Lipstories may come out cheaper if you can't wait for a sale. We do live in a world where NYX thinks their lipsticks are worth $12-13 regular price. It is telling that most people have since ceased to talk about their #Lipstories - and the cardboard tubes scream "I am disposable!" (Yes, I really hate cardboard tubes.) I like After Hours, but I won't be seeking out more of the #Lipstories and I definitely would beg you to not use the cream finish ones. 

2018 Reads: July to September

I did make the grand statement that I wanted to read 52 books this year - but at the six month mark, I was only at 18 books. I don't thi...