Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Long December

I'm posting this from my phone while trying to sleep, so excuse any typos or gobbledygook. 

I had so many posts I wanted to write, but I can't write any of them, at least not right now. December has been utterly hellish. We lost two of our babies to a mysterious illness that seemed like a cold at first. We even thought Chloe was in the clear since she was able to come home for a week, but she took a turn for the worst. 

I don't feel like recommending a new nail polish or raking a poorly formulated cleanser over the coals right now. I can't fathom the idea of writing a December Favorites post because the good has been overshadowed by the bad. 

I'll be back when I can think clearly. Until then, please keep an eye on your cats. If they're sneezing and have no appetite, take them to the vet immediately. It didn't save our babies, but it could save yours. 

Happy New Year, everyone. 2013, I will not miss you. Please be kind, 2014. A lot of us need it.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

November Hits and Hell Noes

Wow, I seem to have a thing for the number 10, don’t I? Once again, this was unintentional, but what do you know? Like my last empties post, I seem to have rounded up ten products for my monthly favorites. I just couldn’t whittle it down anymore since I used all of these religiously. And I don’t have a single Hell No for the month of November! It was nice to love everything I used.*

*now featuring fewer hilarious typos thanks to Angel!

1.) L’Oréal Voluminous Butterfly: Not gonna lie here — the brush scared the bejesus out of me the first time I used it. It took me, like, three minutes to apply my mascara to one eye. But I’ll be damned if the wicked-looking brush isn’t effective! It took my pitiful, sparse lashes and made them look long and thick. It isn’t the waterproof formula, but it lasted from 10:30 in the morning when I applied it until roughly midnight when I showered with nary a smudge. 

2.) ELF Long-Lasting Lustrous Eyeshadow in Soiree: Okay, so I’m basically the laziest person when it comes to applying my makeup. I want it to be quick and easy, because I typically only have five minutes to get dressed and slap on my war paint. (I’d rather sleep an extra five minutes! Gimme a break!) This little gem, which cost a whopping $2.99 at Walmart, does not budge once it sets. This has the staying power I expected from the L’Oréal Infallible shadow I tried and hated so much at a fraction of the price. I’m really into reddish tones this fall, and Soirée is a stunning plummy burgundy. I never expected this type of shade from such an inexpensive range. I’ll definitely be delving more into ELF from now on.

3.) Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Liner: What time I do spend on my makeup, I dedicated to doing a quick cat eye. This liner, which comes with a really useful little brush, makes it effortless even for someone like me, who does not have the steadiest hands in the world when I’m playing around near my eyes. Seriously, it takes about a minute and a half, and I’m all done. It glides on, doesn’t tug at the eyes, and is the blackest black of any liner I’ve tried. Plus it doesn’t dry up in a month, which is a bonus.

4.) It’s A 10 Miracle Leave-In Product*: My poor hair. It’s been through a lot of trauma this past year, so I’m going as easy on it as I can and trying to nurture it so it will grow. I’ve heard about It’s A 10, which has achieved cult status amongst bloggers, but for some reason, I’d just never thought to buy it. The decision was made for me when it arrived in the mail. I started using it, and I noticed a difference immediately. My comb just slides right through my hair without hitting any snags, and when my hair dries, it’s softer and shinier than usual. I’ve also noticed that the chaotic mess I used to deal with when I woke up has been less Wolverine-on-a-bad-hair-day and more, well, normal-human-bedhead. This is totally worth the hype, and when I finish this bottle, I will rush out to buy another.

5.) Sally Hansen Triple Strong: I have the worst nails in the world. They either don’t grow, or if they do, they flake, peel, splinter past the quick, bleed all over the place, and cause great pain. So… I just don’t let them grow since the alternative is terrible. The result? I perpetually have little girl hands with short, stubby nails. I’m not going to lie and say this is a miracle cure that’s allowed me to have lovely, long nails. They still break if I try to grow them, but they seem less flaky, and this time the breakage didn’t split my entire nail in half. I’ll take what I can get. For any of you whose nails are only slightly evil, this might be what you’ve been looking for.

6.) NYX Matte Lip Cream in Istanbul: I’ve had this for a year or two and recently rediscovered it. That awkward moment when you finish off two lipsticks you’ve worn religiously, wail that you no longer have lipstick to wear, and then find six tubes jammed in a makeup bag. Ahem. But I digress. The Matte Lip Creams should need no further introduction after achieving cult status, but for anyone who hasn’t heard about them, they apply like a lipgloss and dry down to a matte, lipstick-like finish. They don’t claim to be waterproof, but I’ve worn this baby out to dinner, consumed messy foods and copious amounts of tea, all without having to reapply. Istanbul is a soft, pinky nude that goes with everything. This is literally all I’ve been wearing since I found it again. The only downside is that it can be a little bit drying now that the weather has turned cold. You can use lip balm underneath, but it does decrease the wear time by a good few hours. Since it’s so easy to slap more on, I don’t see that as much of an obstacle.

7.) Dior Rosy Glow*: I just recently became a blush-wearer, so this couldn’t have arrived at a better time. I actually squealed aloud when I opened the box to find this stunningly packaged blush inside. It claims to adapt to the wearer’s natural chemistry to become a unique shade. Whether or not this is true, it’s gorgeous on.  It looks shockingly bright in the pan, so I was very light-handed when I applied it, and that’s the way to use it. One tiny swipe per cheek, and the brush it comes with is actually perfect. With as little as I need to use, this will last forever. I hope it does.

8.) Korres Wild Rose Instant Brightening Mask*: When I think “brightening,” I think “oil-making” and fear I will resemble a disco ball. Had this sample come from any other brand, I probably would have handed it off to someone with very dry skin, but Korres is a brand I trust. Their products contain roughly 95% natural ingredients, and I’ve never used anything from them that caused any kind of adverse reaction. This mask smells heavenly, doesn’t sting, itch, or even tingle, and when I wash it off, my skin looks renewed whether I have a cold (like now) or just haven’t slept well. 

9.) OPI Muir Muir On the Wall: Autumn/winter is definitely the time of year for dark nail polish. I mean, I keep my polish collection on rotation throughout the year. It’s not unusual for me to sport neon yellow in the dead of winter or black in the middle of July, but I do tend to gravitate toward darker shades more consistently during the cooler months. Muir Muir On the Wall, from OPI’s San Francisco collection, is a gorgeous, shimmery plum that compliments all skin tones and looks perfect against the backdrop of a knit sweater, skinny jeans, and knee-high boots. Or I hope so since that’s my uniform this time of year. 

10.) Dior Hypnotic Poison: The oldest of my perfumes, (around four, but the fragrance has only improved over time if it’s changed at all — or maybe I just love it more now?), and it never lets me down. With notes of Bitter Almond, Caraway Spice, Sambac Jasmine, Cinnamon, Tuberose, Vanilla, Musk, Mosses, and Jucarunda Wood, Hypnotic Poison definitely lives up to its claims. It’s hypnotizing, and despite being an Eau de Toilette, it’s every bit as long-lasting as my Eau de Parfums. It just smells like Thanksgiving in a bottle to me. It’s warm and sweet, but never cloying, and whenever I wear it, someone always sniffs me and says, “You smell good!”